How do you know when you’ve just made a mistake? Well, if you’re former Ball State quarterback Nate Davis, the first sign might be that, according to the MUNCIE STAR PRESS, only one team shows up at your personal pro day workout, and that team is the Indianapolis Colts. Making matters more insulting, the Colts happen to be less than an hour’s drive away and can’t possibly be serious about drafting him. After all, they have this Peyton Manning guy. Davis has a better shot at being the Colts traveling secretary than he does being the starting quarterback sometime in the next two to three seasons.
(Josh Freeman is better? We talking about the same Josh Freeman?)
For Davis, that is absolutely, positively the worst thing that could have happened. Billed as a small school quarterback with big time talent and leadership — think Ben Roethlisberger with onemore curshing MAC loss (damn you Buffalo!) — Some analysts had targeted Davis as a potential second round steal. Evidently actual NFL teams seem to disagree, since none of them bothered to show up. And there’s nothing Davis can do about not being wanted. He already left school after his junior season and passed the cut-off date for re-entry … and already hired an agent. Basically, if he doesn’t get drafted in a high round, he probably blew it.
Remember a couple of weeks ago when the Celtics were going to challenge the ‘96 Bulls for the best record ever? Yeah, you can pretty much put that possibility to rest. The C’s continued their strange descent on Tuesday night, dropping a game to the lowly Bobcats, 114-106 in overtime. Boston has lost five out of seven games following a 27-2 start, and now faces the real possibility of not winding up with the best record in the East at the end of the season. Orlando is 27-8 after beating Washington last night, and the idle Cavs sit at 27-6.
There was a huge bowl game last night too. I mean, all the best games happen after January 1st, right? Oh, it was just the GMAC Bowl. And what better company to be bringing us a bowl game this year? It actually wasn’t a terrible matchup, as both Tulsa and Ball State took undefeated records deep into the season before faltering late. In wet, sloppy conditions in Mobile, the Golden Hurricane rocked the Cardinals 45-13. BSU was once ranked 12th, but will probably not end the season in the rankings. It’s a shame former Cards coach Brady Hoke, who left for San Diego State, couldn’t have stuck around for this one since he needs some experience in losing games by that margin for his new job.
His name is Corky Simpson, and he might be the only member of the Baseball Writers Association who didn’t vote for Rickey Henderson to be in the Hall of Fame. Henderson, who is among the all-time leaders in a number of categories and considered by many to be one of the 10 greatest players ever, is up for election for the first time this year. HOME RUN DERBY has tracked down the ballots of 31 writers so far, and all but Simpson’s contain Henderson’s name. And it’s not like Simpson was being stingy with his votes. He voted for eight players, including Tommy John, Tim Raines (the poor man’s Henderson), and — get this – Matt Williams! HOME RUN DERBY further analyzes Simpson’s insanity.
• The whole dating hockey players thing has worked out well for Elisha Cuthbert and Hilary Duff, so Carrie Underwood has apparently jumped on that train as well. REALITY TV MAGAZINE reports that Underwood is dating Ottawa’s Mike Fisher, as she was seen watching the game from a suite with Fisher’s parents this past weekend.
• Somebody dressed as a security guard took a hockey stick from a teenage fan that was given to the kid by Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg during the New Year’s Day game at Wrigley Field. The “guard” said that the stick would be available to be picked up at the customer relations booth. There was no stick at customer relations. The kid is crushed, and nobody knows who the guy is that took the stick nor where the stick went. The CHICAGO TRIBUNE’s Jon Yates has the odd story.
• A San Francisco couple with too much time on their hands are in the process of suing the 49ers for patting them down before entering Candlestick Park, saying that it’s an invasion of privacy. The SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE has the arguments from both sides.
• In a stroke of genius roster management that would make Isiah Thomas proud, Tottenham Hotspur sold striker Jermain Defoe to Portsmouth last January for £9.0 million, and now have decided they want him back. The price? £15 million. Well played, Spurs.
You know, I was just thinking recently that Alex Rodriguez needs to do some more to endear himself to the rest of the country the way he has with the people of New York. It seems now that, in addition to not being a True Yankee, A-Rod is also not a True American as he’s allegedly decided to play for the Dominican Republic in March’s World Baseball Classic. He played for the U.S. in the 2006 WBC, but perhaps thinks that jumping ship might be the only way he sees a title of any kind in his career.
(Flipping countries. Rooting for Duke. Seriously, what’s not to like about A-Rod?)
None of this is a done deal yet, as the only source of this info seems to be YAHOO! SPORTS’ Gordon Edes, who says Big Papi told him that A-Rod has chosen to play for the D.R. and will make an official announcement soon. And last time, he wavered between playing for the D.R., then the U.S., then not at all, then back to the U.S.
This isn’t totally egregious (like Chris Kaman playing for Germany in the Olympics), as other players chose to play for their countries of heritage rather than their birthplace in the last WBC, but none of those guys were good enough to be chosen to play for the U.S. team (except maybe Mike Piazza, who played for Italy). A-Rod is one of the best players in the world, and while he did live in the D.R. for a while as a kid, he was born in New York City and went to high school in Miami. Luckily, Americans are totally reasonable about nationalism. I’m sure U.S. fans will greet him very warmly if the two teams meet up.
Remember when it looked like Louisville might be a football dynasty in the making? We can pretty much put that to rest. The Cards simply forgot to show up last night and got rolled by Rutgers, 63-14. With the loss, Louisville finishes 1-6 in Big East play and misses a bowl game for the second straight year. Meanwhile, Rutgers has risen from the dead and looks like one of the best offensive teams in the country all of a sudden. Quarterback Mike Teel, who was smacking teammates earlier in the season in the midst of the team’s 1-5 start, threw six touchdown passes in the first half as the Scarlet Knights built a 49-0 halftime lead. Louisville was so bad they had to resort to tackling RU players by the hair:
I forgot that the Raiders and Chargers were playing on the NFL NETWORK last night, and by the time I turned it on it was already 24-0 in the second quarter. San Diego cruised to a 34-7 win. Oakland’s only points came on a kickoff return at the end of the first half. Good to see the Raiders are back after that inexplicable win over Denver a couple weeks ago. As for the Chargers, it looks like too little, too late. The Bolts have to win out (including a win over the Broncos) and hope Denver loses every game. And the Broncos are playing the Chiefs this weekend. Not looking good.
With the ACC-Big Ten thing over with, college basketball now turns its attention to the awkwardly-named Pac 10-Big 12 Hardwood Series, which saw both L.A. teams go down on the road. UCLA fell to Texas, 68-64, while USC squandered a late comeback bid and lost to Oklahoma, 73-72. I gotta say, though — I like Blake Griffin and think he’s a stud, but he’s already getting the superstar treatment from the officials and it’s only December 4th. Although, Griffin did get elbowed in the nads by USC’s Leonard Washington during the game, which was a pretty legitmate foul. See for yourself:
• The BOSTON HERALD tells us about a high school football player in Massachusetts who dropped out of school, then returned for a fifth year to play football and graduate. He’s been ruled ineligible because the state’s rules say that a player beyond a fourth year of school can’t play. The guy’s only been in seven plays all year, but his team may have to vacate it’s league and potential state title (provided they win this weekend). Of course, there’s all sorts of legal challenges going on. The lesson here: don’t try to better yourself by returning to school.
• The last time the Bills played in Toronto, during the preseason, thousands of tickets went unsold and had to be given away. NATIONAL POST says that this weekend’s game at the Rogers Centre is finally sold out, but the fact it took so long is not exactly what the Bills and the NFL were looking for in this whole Canada experiment.
• So far, it appears as if Michelle Wie is actually going to qualify for the LPGA tour. She’s tied for the lead after 2 rounds of Q-school, and only has to finish in the top 20 to earn a tour card. So, it’ll be like, an actual accomplishment. In golf.
You know, at this rate the college basketball season isn’t going to be very interesting. North Carolina has now won each of its eight games by at least 15 points, and absolutely crushed Michigan State at Ford Field last night, 98-63, giving the Heels one more win in that venue than the Lions this year. The stadium will host the Final Four in just under four months, but was a morgue for this game. There were about 70,000 tickets available, but the announced attendance was only 25,267. Hardly seems worth it now to move the game to Detroit when a rocking Breslin Center might’ve at least given MSU a fighting chance.
As for the Tar Heels, with Tyler Hansbrough getting healthier, they’re as close to unbeatable as any college basketball team this decade. Their two games with Duke might be the only games they play this year with a single-digit point spread.
UNC’s win helped the ACC win the ACC-Big Ten Challenge for the 10th consecutive year, but this was the closest the midwesterners have come to pulling it off with the final tally being 6-5. Clemson and Boston College won their games by just two points each over Illinois and Iowa, respectively. And, of all things, both Northwestern and Penn State won their games.
Good to see that the Knicks are getting back to their old ways. LeBron and the Cavs blasted New York 118-82 to move to 10-0 at home and 15-3 overall. And looking at the schedule over the next month, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Cleveland sitting at 27-6 when they face the Celtics on January 9th. The Cavs are winning games so handily that James hasn’t even played in the fourth quarter of four of the last five games.
The dream matchup of undefeated Ball State (provided they beat Buffalo this week) and undefeated Boise State is not going to happen, according to ESPN. The Cardinals would’ve had to bail on their MAC bowl commitments and agree to play the Broncos in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. But they didn’t want to do that and now are either going to Detroit or Mobile. Boise State, on the other hand, looks like they’ll take on a very good TCU team in the Poinsettia Bowl.
• According to TMZ, Amanda Beardfiled a lawsuit yesterday claiming that a tanning salon company in Florida called ProSun has posted pictures of her on their site without permission, which she says insinuates that she endorses the company. No, this isn’t one of the offending pictures:
But, apparently this is:
This photo is one of many pictures of celebrities who were on hand at some sort of event at which ProSun was showing off a shower that also acts as a tanning bed. Also pictured are such sports heavyweights as Rodney Peete and Shaun Livingston. I suppose the photo makes it seem as if Beard endorses the product, but this is really the only offending material I could find on ProSun’s site.
• So, Barry Melrose leaves ESPN to coach in the NHL and the world’s economy goes in the tank. Luckily, Barry got fired by the Lightning so he could get re-hired by the WWL, according to the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. All is now right with the world. Thanks for playing, Matthew Barnaby.
• West Virginia’s going to wear white uniforms at home this weekend against South Florida says the CHARLESTON GAZETTE, which is against the rules or something. But USF is playing along and wearing their green unis, so nobody’s going to be losing timeouts like USC.
• This might just be the worst soccer dive ever taken. And that’s saying something, considering it’s soccer and all. FAN NATION brings us this one. Really, this is just spectacular in its idiocy, and the ref has the gall to reward him for it:
• Ever been up in the top deck of a sports arena and been worried that you’d trip down the stairs and fall over the railing? Well, it happened to a guy carrying two beers back to his seat at an Ottawa Senators game last night. According to NBC SPORTS, the guy tripped over a purse and fell 25 feet to the next level. But he never lost consciousness and just had cuts and bruises. He fell on two people, who were also not seriously injured.
• Alcorn State’s athletic director fired seven of the school’s nine assistant football coaches…on Thanksgiving…without telling the team’s head coach, who found out on the news. Classy. The NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT has the details (thanks to SPORTING BLOG for the tip)
Is it going to be like this for the next year and a half? Every NBA team with cap space rolling out the red carpet for LeBron James like it’s a recruiting trip and he’s Johnny Walker. Last night was the Knicks’ turn to playing willing host, both figuratively and literally - the fans gave him a hero’s welcome, and the team played their role as second bananas as they were little obstacle in the Cavaliers’ 119-101 win.
Meanwhile, let me remind again you that King James doesn’t become a free agent until July 2010 - that’s almost two full seasons from now. So expect the parade to be coming to your town very soon - perhaps he won’t be wearing special shoes dedicated to your city, but believe me, you’re going to get really sick of it very soon.
Also coming to your city is Ball State - provided that your city is Detroit, and not a place like Glendale, New Orleans, Miami or Pasadena where they have a BCS bowl game. The Cardinals took care of Western Michigan 45-22 to wrap up a perfect regular season and book a date in the MAC title game in the Motor City. So good for them, I guess.
Meanwhile, there were some damned compelling college basketball games last night. Chief among them was Notre Dame hanging on to beat Texas 81-80 at the Maui Invitational, as A.J. Abrams’ desperation 60-footer at the buzzer hit the rim but missed. It sets up a meeting against No. 1 North Carolina for the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish and a chance for their fans to have something to celebrate in advance of their annual thrashing at the hands of USC this weekend.
Say hello to Diagne Thierno Seydou Nouro, the Danny Almonte of Japanese high school basketball: The MAINICHI DAILY NEWS says the Senegalese exchange student shaved almost five years off his age to play on a championship-winning high school team.
Just when Cleveland Browns fans thought they had seen the last of Derek Anderson doing anything other than holding a clipboard…the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER notes that he’ll be the starting QB for the final five games now that Brady Quinn is shelved for the year with his broken finger.
Julius Jones tells the SEATTLE TIMES just how fired up he is to face his former team the Cowboys this Thanksgiving. I’m sure that Dallas is just as excited to see his hapless new team the Seahawks come to town.
It’s official: Ball State is the real deal. At least, as real as a win against a team called the Chippewas can make a team, but still: going on the road to take out a tough opponent like Central Michigan is tough. But the Cardinals pulled it off, winning 31-24 behind 177 yards rushing from Quale Lewis, keeping them perfect at 11-0 and keeping them on track for…the Motor City Bowl.
Because no matter if the Cardinals win out, they aren’t getting an automatic BCS berth ahead of Utah, Boise State and BYU. And even if, say, Boise State loses a game, and USC wins the PAC-10 outright, freeing up another at-large spot, the choice for a BCS bowl would likely come down to a non-BCS school or Ohio State, and guess who wins that battle? (Unless the Buckeyes get upset by Michigan this weekend. Please stop laughing now.)
So yeah, another reason to hate Ohio State - not only did they ruin the last two BCS Title games, but now they are ruining things for Ball State. I know that Hawaii totally tanked last year against Georgia, but come on - wouldn’t you rather see Ball State in the Sugar Bowl against, say, Alabama than Ohio State?
Speaking of Cardinals…just as Arizona fans were starting to enjoy their team’s prosperity and start thinking about home playoff games, here comes a giant mess down the I-10. In this case, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC reports that it’s disgruntled running back Edgerrin James, who apparently wants to be released but the team won’t let him go. His agent Drew Rosenhaus maintains that he won’t be a distraction.
Since this is Drew Rosenhaus saying this, let me translate for you, Cardinals fans: this is going to be a massive, season-crushing distraction. Glad I could help. I still don’t know what team would be interested in a running back who is an old, beat-up 30 but plays about 40. Unless the Detroit Lions are in the market.
That’s pretty impressive moral fiber - it’s better than how I felt when I found someone’s wallet and resisted the urge to use their Shell gas card to by smokes even though I was broke and totally need some.
Top Rank boxing promoter Todd duBoefrips the ending to the Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar UFC Heavyweight Title fight, telling the LOS ANGELES TIMES that it looked “nothing more than a tough man contest” and that there is “no way it’s safer than boxing.” UFC President Dana White responds by telling the MMA EXPERTS BLOG that Top Rank chief Bob Arum is “95 years old and senile.” Let’s give this round to White, 10-8.
How does Mike Mussina plan on celebrating his first-ever 20-win season? Ken Rosenthal of FOX says he’ll do so by retiring.
Want tickets to the big Utah vs. BYU game? How about coughing up $1,600 each, asks the DESERET NEWS? I guess when you don’t drink, your have to spend the beer money somewhere.
The U.S. breezes past Guatemala 2-0 to finish up the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying. But as GOAL.COM notes, the big story is that Freddy Adu (is he really still only 19?) scored his first goal for the National Team during the match on a rather impressive free kick:
Toronto probably aren’t getting the Bills any time soon - in fact, FOOD COURT LUNCH thinks the NFL is going to London before Toronto. So they’ve provided their Canadian brethren with a handy British lingo guide.
What do you have in common with the NFL? You both probably want 49ers coordinator Mike Martz to shut up: CBS SPORTSLINE says he was fined $20,000 by the league for whining about a “quick spot” of the ball on the team’s final play against the Cardinals a few weeks ago.
The TENNESSEAN reports that eight players from a Knoxville high school football team were arrested in a shoplifting ring that involved $9,000 in stolen merchandise, putting their status for their playoff game this week in doubt. Do you think?
Don’t look now, but here come the Ball State Cardinals. The 10-0 monsters from the MAC are making a serious (OK, semi-serious) run at the BCS elite. It’s a long shot & many cards (excuse the pun) would have to fall into place, but the way this super silly system has worked in the past, BSU could conceivably make it to a BCS bowl.
And no one is more excited than the Muncie, IN, school’s most famous alum - David Letterman! (Cue the music, Paul.)
Dave is so thrilled about his Birds, that he took a little time on his busy late night gabfest Wednesday night to talk a little turkey about the Cardinals.
I knew that Manu Ginobili’s injury would lead to a few more scoring opportunities for Tony Parker this year. But I don’t think anyone thought he’d be putting up 55, even if it was on the T-Wolves. The Spurs needed all of those points too, as they struggled to get by Minnesota 129-125 in double OT.
Parker’s big night overshadowed Amare Stoudemire’s 49-point performance in Phoenix’ 113-103 win over Indiana. He became the first player in 34 years to have at least 49 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals in a single game. He was 17-of-21 from the field. LeBron James was the third member of the 40-point club on Wednesday, putting up 41 in a 107-93 win over Chicago after showing up to the arena in a Barack Obama t-shirt. This guy who was at the game also likes Obama, and links him to another national symbol of change (remember when Derek Anderson was popular?):
Ball State got to showcase its football program on national TV for the first time this season last night, pounding Northern Illinois 45-14 to go to 9-0 on the season. The Cardinals are 17th in the BCS standings right now, with three fellow BCS-busters standing in their way (Boise State, Utah, and TCU). But should the others falter and the Cards find their way into the top 12, they could still potentially get into a BCS game. They got a big lift from injured receiver Dante Love (pictured below), who was with the team for the first time since his career-ending spinal inury and took part in the coin toss. Even if the Cards miss out on the BCS party, this has been a season of unprecedented success for the school in Muncie, Indiana.
Now, moving on to football teams that are having the exact opposite of unprecedented success, the Raiders have decided the key to turning things around is to cut a guy they just signed to a seven-year, $70 million contract after eight games. DeAngelo Hall won’t be getting anywhere near that much money from the team due to the nature of NFL contracts, but Al Davis did have to give up second and fifth-round draft picks to acquire him from the Falcons. The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS’ Tim Kawakami has had a hate-hate relationship going on all year with the Raiders, and he runs with yet another opportunity to unload on Davis.
• So, that Patriots cheerleader who was booted from the team for allegedly anti-Semitically marking a friend with a sharpie? She told TMZ last night that she’s not the one who drew on him, and that being a “passed-out drunk guy with a bunch of stuff written on him” was actually his Halloween costume. She also says she didn’t see any of the offensive things drawn on him. She’s still apparently out of a job, but I’m sure she’ll have a real tough time finding new employment if she walks around wearing this:
• Jason Varitek had a horrible year at the plate and will be 37 in April. So, naturally, Scott Boras is asking for somewhere in the neighborhood of four years and $50 million for his services. FANHOUSE says the Sox are unlikely to offer anything close to that (wisely), and may have to part ways with their team captain.
• Florida sophomore point guard Jai Lucashas decided to transfer, just as the season is about to get underway. Lucas, the son of ex-NBAer John Lucas, was the starter last season for the Gators and was expected to have the same role this year.
• Buried in this Ken Rosenthal piece about the baseball offseason is how the ludicrous four-year, $48 million deal Carlos Silva signed with the Mariners last year will haunt teams in negotiations this winter. Basically, any starting pitcher who can throw the ball over the plate without dying will want at least that much, since Silva’s basically the worst possible guy you can have on the mound to start a baseball game. Oliver Freaking Perez is going to end up getting $15 million a year because of this.
• RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER is ecstatic that Nate McLouth won a Gold Glove. I mean, the words “Pirates” and “award” don’t usually appear in the same paragraph. But then comes the realization that by most fielding metrics, McLouth was one of the worst outfielders in all of baseball this year.