Last night’s season-opening college football doubleheader on ESPN was a nightmare for fans everywhere. It started off with South Carolina’s dreadful 7-3 win over N.C. State, and wrapped up with a much-hyped matchup between Boise State and Oregon that quickly turned into a one-sided snoozefest. Things couldn’t have been more embarrassing for the Ducks, who didn’t even manage to get a first down until the 7:07 mark of the third quarter. Oh, wait, I guess it could get worse:
Yup, that’s Oregon running back/loose cannon LeGarrette Blount, saving the evening, entertainment-wise, by lighting up Boise State’s Byron Hout with a right cross as the teams left the field after Boise State’s 19-8 win that wasn’t really anywhere near that close. Blount, you see, had promised to give the Broncos an “ass whuppin’” in the weeks leading up to the game, and since he didn’t really deliver that while the clock was running (he had 8 carries for -5 yards) I guess he figured he might as well get a shot in afterward.
There have been some stunning falls from grace over the years, but 18 hours ago I was hearing HEISMAN PUNDIT touting Blount as a darkhorse Heisman candidate on the Dan Patrick Show. Even Boise’s paper was talking him up. Now, not only did Blount obliterate any of that talk with his game performance last night, but it appears as if he may have completely ruined his college career by losing his mind afterward. And, if you think the punch was bad, things got even uglier a few moments later. Video after the jump.
(Can’t the Geek Squad come and pick it up and put a new one in next week?)
It’s strange that the Cowboys had everything about the new stadium approved by the league, but Colts President Bill Polian — who is on the league’s competition committee — is quoted by King as saying this:
“The irony is that our stadium architect [at new Lucas Oil Stadium] wanted to hang the videoboards the same way in our stadium,” Polian said. “So we put a metal beam about 90 feet above the ground and had our punter at the time, Hunter Smith, punt the ball up there trying to hit it. He hit it the majority of the time. That’s why we put our replay boards on the wall.”
Seriously, nobody from the NFL or the Colts, realizing that another team was building a new stadium, said anything to anyone else at the NFL or with the Cowboys about this possible issue? A guy on the competition committee didn’t see where the screens were going to be and say “uhhh, that’s not gonna work?” Or did Jerry Jones just not want to listen to anything because his punters don’t do silly things like kick the ball high and hard? Jones, for what it’s worth, installed the screens five feet higher than is required by the NFL. So why, if 90 feet wasn’t high enough for Indianapolis, does the NFL still only require 85 feet of clearance?
Cowboys punter Mat McBriar said yesterday that he plans on kicking to the sidelines, and isn’t worried about the boards. That’s great for Mat and all, but the problem is that you don’t want to get in a position of the screen being in play at all. It’s entirely possible that it could be hit two or three times in a row, and then you’re stuck with do-overs that exhaust players and open more opportunities for injuries.
The NEW YORK TIMES’ Richard Sandomir says that a screen like this is a completely new animal, and was specifically designed to hang at its current height. It is also designed to be able to be lowered, but not raised. One imagines that permanently raising it up would certainly be possible, but quite costly. And who foots the bill in that case? Jones (because it’s his stadium), or the NFL (because they approved it to begin with)? A Cowboys spokesman tells the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that the team doesn’t believe the height of the board will be a factor “in a competitive-game situation.” I guess they just think that A.J. Trapasso was screwing around when he plunked it.
The Giants looked poised to pull within two games of the Rox, scoring three times in the top of the 14th to take a seemingly insurmountable 4-1 lead. But then Merkin Valdez completely blew up in the bottom of the ninth, walking pitcher Adam Eaton with the bases loaded to make it 4-2, then serving up the game-ending meatball to Spilborghs two pitches later.
Let’s be honest, here. The Giants are extremely fortunate to be anywhere near a playoff spot. It’s a testament to guys like Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain that they’re able to overcome an offense that features Bengie Molina’s .280 on-base percentage batting fourth every night. They’ve always seemed a bat or two away from being a real threat, and Freddy Sanchez wasn’t exactly the answer.
If Colorado can split the six games left with the Giants in San Francisco, they have a very favorable schedule, including 10 straight home games in September against the D-backs, Mets, and Reds. Then they get six games with San Diego down the stretch. It all leads up to a three-game showdown at Dodger Stadium to end the regular season. The Giants have nine games with Arizona and six with the Dodgers, but also have to go on the road to Philadelphia and Milwaukee while Colorado is in the midst of its long homestand.
Crazy to think that the NL West has become the best race in baseball, considering how well the Dodgers were going earlier in the year. And yes, a lot of that lead was built without Manny in the lineup.
• A 13-year-old, 383-lb. football player from St. Louis collapsed and died of a heart condition last week during practice. Anthony Troupe, Jr.’s father dropped dead at the age of 45 in 2007. The AP asks if all student athletes should be tested for heart problems. I think the more reasonable question is why a 13-year-old kid was allowed to reach 383 lbs. Not to judge the kid himself, but someone around him should’ve taken some initiative to ensure that he was healthy enough to play football, considering the fate his father suffered.
Remember when M. Night Shyamalan made good movies? And I’m not talking about the one with the kid seeing dead people. I’m talking about “Unbreakable”. That’s right, I’m the guy who liked that movie. I’ve stuck to my guns over the years on this on the off chance that the film enjoys a resurgence and I can take credit for being a fan all along.
(”One hundred and thirty one die. One survivor. He is unharmed.”)
But a new candidate for our generation’s David Dunn has emerged, and his name is “Punch”. At least, that’s the nickname former hockey coach Ernie McLean has gone by for most of his adult life. McLean coached at the major junior level for 16 years, and led the New Westminster Bruins to four Memorial Cup titles (that’s the biggest prize at that level of hockey).
(Punch once got lost in the pattern of this jacket for three days without food or shelter)
He’s also survived a number of incidents that would’ve killed most mere mortals. The latest came this week, when the 77-year-old endured five days and four nights lost in the wilderness in British Columbia when he fell into a crevice while prospecting for gold (they still do that?). With no food, and subsisting just on stream water, he spent entire days walking and eventually reached higher ground, where he was spotted by a helicopter search team.
Reed credited McLean’s legendary toughness, and a bit of luck, for his survival, noting McLean previously survived a plane crash in Saskatchewan, and walked out of the woods alive a few days later despite losing an eye and breaking several bones.
He’s also survived car accidents, being run over by a bulldozer and being stranded on a frozen lake in freezing conditions for several days.
Yeah, I’m pretty sure if you’ve wandered around without an eye for a few days that being a little wet in the forest isn’t going to really phase you. Perhaps McLean should ditch the gold prospecting in the deep wilderness and do something a little more acceptable for an old guy, like going to the golf course with a big net and fishing out Titleists. See if you can turn that into a weeklong “Blair Witch” debacle, Punch. (h/t to the PUCK DOCTORS)
(I guess being lost in nice scenery is better than being locked in a car trunk for a week)
Perhaps she should be more worried about her husband hanging out with teenagers, but it looks like Danica Patrick has made her decision about where she’ll be racing next year. And while jumping to NASCAR would provide unbelievable marketing opportunities and a much larger audience, both on TV and at the track, it appears that she’ll be hanging around with IndyCar for at least one more year. (I bet the new turbo button had something to do with it.)
(Maybe if she stopped holding the steering wheel like this, she’d win a race or two)
I suppose there’s not too much to be read into any of this. While Patrick visited several NASCAR teams during the year, it doesn’t sound like any real serious offers have been made for her services. Perhaps she’s using the news of her impending new deal with AGR as a last-ditch call for offers from the left-turn circuit. For now, her line of reasoning is, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.” That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Danica leaving IndyCar would be a huge blow for the series, to the point where viability would have to become a concern. There’s nothing wrong with Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, and Ryan Briscoe, but could you pick them out of a police lineup? Ratings are hockey-esque as it is, so removing the one bankable star would be a big problem. Would ABC even want to show races other than the Indy 500?
For now, that’s a question that doesn’t need to be asked.
• BASEBALL DIGEST wonders why the Mets acknowledged every other living member of the 1969 World Series championship team during a ceremony on Saturday night (even those that didn’t attend), but completely ignored second baseman Ken Boswell. Boswell played 102 games that year and spent eight years with the Mets, but reportedly didn’t even get an invitation to the celebration.
You know, the Dallas Cowboys might just want to stop building things from now on. As mentioned here earlier today, the new stadium opened this weekend with a gala concert featuring two of the most relevant country music superstars of 1985 — George Strait and Reba McEntire.
(”The margarita machine’s going over there.”)
Arlington police said that everything went really well for an opening night, and only one person who was at the event was arrested that night for drunk driving. Of course, that man was Jack Hill, the man who oversaw the construction of the stadium and is now the director of operations. Well, I suppose having a drunk guy in charge of building your stadium is better than hiring a criminal with no credentials to fix the roof on your practice facility. Baby steps, I suppose.
Let’s hope Hill put down the bottle long enough to get the building inspected before opening it to the public.
With the Dallas Cowboys getting set to play in a brand new stadium next season, there are still a few finishing touches that need to be put on the joint. Primarily the fact that we still have no idea what to call the place. The working title is New Cowboys Stadium, but let’s be blunt, that’s probably not going to work in 15 years.
The closer we get to the stadium opening, however, the more likely it becomes that Jerry Jones won’t be able to find a long-term corporate sponsor to name the stadium after, thanks to this lovely little recession we’re having. Still, every stadium needs a name, and that’s why the DALLAS MORNING NEWS has a suggestion for Jerry. How about Salvation Army Stadium?