After USC’s wild - and maybe undeserved - win over Ohio State, the Trojans shift their attention to the Washington Huskies, while the media still ooh and ahh over true freshman Matt Barkley, who might not even play this weekend. More on that in a second, though.
For the 21-point underdog Huskies (underhuskies? no, probably not, let’s scratch that one), though, the game’s all about finding some personal affront to build off of, even if it’s just about the dumbest thing in the world. To that end, Washington tailback (and noted USC de-commit) Chris Polk is outraged - outraged, we say! - over the unforgivable slight of having been photoshopped by some bored USC fans. Wait, really?
All this week, one of the top stories in college football was about the resurgence of the University of Miami football program after their Labor Day victory over Florida State. They were ranked in the Top 25 for seemingly the first time since Bernie Kosar was behind center, and people were talking about how head coach Randy Shannon had turned the moribund program back into players on the national stage.
Which meant only one thing: The ‘Canes were due to crash and burn last night on ESPN against Georgia Tech. After all, they would certainly be dealing with a team-wide outbreak of swollen heads after their “program changing” win against the Seminoles. Plus, they would have to deal with the Yellow Jackets’ screwy triple option offense, which is tough under any circumstances. All the signs were there for a total meltdown: in fact, it had to happen.
Saturday I spent the afternoon in the broiling sun at the Los Angeles Coliseum, watching the USC Trojans’ final full-speed scrimmage before opening the season against San Jose State on September 5.
(No old media, hype-machine analysis from me after I eyeballed Barkley Sat.)
Why did I blow a perfect, sunny Saturday SoCal beach day for an afternoon in the bowels of the decrepit Coliseum? Earlier in the week, USC Coach Pete Carroll made the surprise announcement that true freshman Matt Barkley would start at QB for the Trojans in the home opener against SJSU. Carroll’s curious decision has made the largely-unknown Barkley the most buzzed-about college football player entering the season. And is also the reason 5,000 other folks fought with me for a spot in the shade under the Coli press box two days ago.
It’s pretty common knowledge here in SoCal how Barkley struggled his senior year at Orange County’s Mater Dei. He was picked off an astonishing 18 times in 2008, and his struggles have largely continued in fall camp with the Trojans. But despite that, Carroll announced last week that he was going with Barkley instead of junior Aaron Corp. Corp has shown considerably more polish at the position than Barkley, but clearly doesn’t have the upside potential of the rocket-armed freshman.
(Solace for SC Fans: at least the band, parking trolls were in midseason form)
So that’s where we stood as Barkley took his spot as starter last Saturday. He ended up handling 80% of the plays on the day, leading the first team and second team offense against a black-shirted scout team defense consisting of a rag tag collection of walk-ons and 3rd and 4th-stringers.
And to the surprise of no one, Barkley didn’t exactly blow away the competition.
You think that baseball umpires have it easy? Talk to Kerwin Danley. Actually, don’t talk to him today - he’s probably nursing one heck of a headache. Unlike me this morning, it was not as the result of a night of heavy drinking, but from a baseball bat to the back of the head. The DALLAS MORNING NEWS says that Danley was whacked by Hank Blaylock’s broken bat while working the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game, and had to go to the hospital with a possible concussion.
Please ignore the Zapruder film quality (get some video conversion software, people) and prepare to wince at footage of the incident:
Unfortunately for Danley, winding up in the hospital is getting to be a regular occurrence for him. You might remember last year when he took a 96 mph fastball to the jaw courtesy of Brad Penny.
If I were Danley, I’d avoid any home plate assignments for the rest of my career if possible. Or I’d only work from a perch about ten rows in back of home, or wearing more padding than The Michelin Man.
But also: THE KILLER BATS ARE BACK! I thought we stopped the maple bats’ raping and pillaging of the baseball world last season? Actually, I don’t know if that was a maple bat or not, but why not start the overly-heated, panicked reaction now?
Meanwhile, you might have missed this Washington Nationals bit of news because, well, they are the Nationals, but sluggers Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman were forced to wear jerseys that said “Natinals” during a game last Friday. Which, as you can imagine, was a bit of an embarrassment … for Majestic Apparel, the company that makes all uniforms for MLB. (I can’t imagine the uniform gaffe caused Dunn or Zimmerman to lose their “Natinals Pride”.)
So MLB.COM says that Majestic has apologized for the mistake. They didn’t give an explanation for the error, but we can assume it’s because it was a Nationals jersey and no one cared. Apparently the Nationals’ clubhouse attendants didn’t care, since they just checked to make sure the names were spelled right on the back of the jerseys and didn’t look at the front when they opened the boxes before Opening Day. Honestly, you don’t wash those once to make it less itchy?
Finally, you have to wonder about La Salle University’s basketball recruiting process. After all, top recruit Karon Burton was supposed to be known for his speed, which led him to be named Delware County, PA’s Player of the Year this past season. But if that’s the case, how in the world did he, as the DELAWARE COUNTY DAILY TIMES says, get caught by a police officer when trying to flee on foot as cops were chasing him as part of a massive drug bust? Either someone’s scouting department sucks, or there’s a cop who should be receiving a recruiting visit.
But I’m guessing that Burton won’t be getting that scholarship anyway. He was one of 11 people arrested on Monday as part of a two-hour undercover drug sting. Police say Burton ran from a car that had tried to purchase heroin from a cop posing as a dealer, and he tried to ditch bags of pot before being chased down by the cops. But that’s better than the woman who was also arrested in the sting trying to buy heroin and cocaine - with her young daughter in the car seat in back.
Another day, another case of a South American soccer match turning into a giant brawl. SKY NEWS says this one in Argentina started after the captain of Guarani Antonio Franco (who I think was dictator of Argentina at one time) bumped into the ref. Here’s the wackiness that ensued:
Ole Miss DT Jerrell Powetold police that “he couldn’t read“ when they came over to his place about a noise complaint. The CLARION LEDGER says that Rebels head coach Houston Nutt is not pleased, especially since he’s had a history of eligibility issues with the NCAA.
Manny Pacquiao threw out the first pitch in San Francisco at the Giants’ home game against San Diego. The final verdict: more of a light jab than a knockout punch. Check it out for yourself (but don’t tell me you don’t want one of those T-shirts):
Even NASCAR is getting into the “helping the environment” business, with USA TODAY saying that for the first time, they will be using a hybrid as a pace car during the Coca-Cola 600 over Memorial Day weekend. This is what happens when the pinko leftists take over, people.
Congratulations, Blue Jackets fans: you got to see the first home playoff game in team history last night, as Columbus hosted Detroit. The bad news: THE HOCKEY NEWS reports that the Red Wings scored about one minute in and never looked back, coasting to a 4-1 win and a 3-0 series lead. But hey, you can show up tomorrow and be there to see the Blue Jackets get swept for the first time in franchise playoff history.
Finally, let’s give one last finger wag for Dikeme Mutombo, who the HOUSTON CHRONICLE says suffered a knee injury in the Rockets’ 107-103 loss to the Trail Blazers that Mutombo says is career-ending. And whom was he battling with when his knee exploded? Of course it was Greg Oden - he’s now made knee injuries viral. But let’s honor the defensive beast and great humanitarian by sexing someone tonight.
USC later reported that Sanchez dislocated his left kneecap when “he jumped slightly while making a throw and landed awkwardly“, and now there’s a chance he could miss the Trojans’ season opener against Virginia.