Fresno State Fires Basketball Coach Cleveland

A Fresno State athletic department source confirmed to me today that the school’s head basketball coach for the past six seasons, Steve Cleveland, has been relieved of his duties.

Fresno State coach Steve Cleveland Fired

An announcement by the school is forthcoming, most likely this afternoon. Read more…

Fresno St, Nevada Accept Mountain West Invites

The Mountain West announced today on its official Twitter feed that it, “has extended an offer of membership to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Mountain West Conference invites Nevada and Fresno State

Two Salt Lake City outlets reported today that BYU will soon leave the Mountain West conference and go independent in football while joining the WAC for all other sports.

In lieu of the Mountain West invitation, the FRESNO BEE has since reported:

Fresno State will announce this evening that it has accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Bee this afternoon.

The RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL had this official reaction to the MWC invitation from Nevada:

University of Nevada President Milton Glick said today that Nevada is considering an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference.

“We are honored to have received the invitation to join the Mountain West Conference,” Glick wrote in an news release. “We are seriously considering the invitation and do so with the best interests of our athletics program, university, community and Wolf Pack fans as our priority.”

Despite Nevada’s lack of confirmation, a Mountain West administration source told me today that the school will indeed accept the invitation of the MWC and agree - like Fresno State - to pay the five-million dollar buyout as contractually obligated by the WAC.

Ryan Greene of the LAS VEGAS SUN reported of that buyout today: Read more…

Furlough, Schmerlough — I’m A College FB Coach

So the economy has been a barrel of laughs lately, am I right folks? If you’re unlucky enough to be familiar with the term “mandatory furlough days,” then chances are you work at a newspaper, or for the government. Heck, I guess these are turning up in just about every type of business, come to think of it. Yes, it sucks.

Rick Neuheisal

(Too important to be furloughed)

But if you’re a California State University football coach, the government is willing to work with you. Other state employees are currently required to take two unpaid furlough days a month. But football coaches, who presumably put in long hours in the fall and sleep on their office sofas (your team may vary), simply can’t get away! Read more…

Fresno St. Coaches Furloughed In Budget Mess

You might have heard that California’s finances are in such dire straits that Lenny Dykstra is shaking his head in disgust. In order to close a $26 billion budget deficit, the state was forced to pass a budget that includes drastic cuts to services such as health care and education. In fact, things are so bad that they’ve started taking down the “Hollywood” sign in order to use it for firewood. (That’s a lie.)

Pat Hill

One of the cost-saving measures is to force state employees to take two furlough (i.e. unpaid vacation) days every month. And the FRESNO BEE has proof that this means every state employee, as Fresno State AD Thomas Bosch is trying to come up with a program to place Bulldog coaches on furlough - even those whose sports are currently in season.

Read more…

Jailed Fresno St. Hoopster Has Host Of Excuses

You see, it really isn’t Dwight O’Neil’s fault that is currently sitting in a Fresno jail and suspended from the Fresno State basketball team. After all, the cops were out to get him. Plus, it was all just a big misunderstanding, and he didn’t have the right paperwork. And he was hurt. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN’T HIS FAULT, HE SWEARS TO GOD.

Fresno State player Dwight Oneil

Speaking from jail to the FRESNO BEE, O’Neil apologized for being arrested for driving on a suspended or revoked license. Sort of. Technically he apologized “for minimal mistakes that seem so big and shine a bad light on our basketball program,” which is hardly a sweeping mea culpa. (Also, it’s hard to make the Fresno State basketball program look even sleazier. Congratulations.)

Then again, it’s hard to blame O’Neil. Clearly none of this is his fault, as evidenced by the myriad of excuses he gave during the interview, including:

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Jones Blames ‘Boys Bodyguards On Pac’s Scuffle

Jerry Jones went on Dallas radio today and said he blamed himself for being the “enabler” of Pacman Jones’violent scuffle” last Tuesday at a hotel.  Apparently though, Jones’ definition of enabler is a little different than yours or mine.

Jerry Jones

(Why the stretched long face, Jer?)

From an interview on KTCK-AM: “I almost feel like I’m an enabler, because it’s the very people that I have with him that created this. Had we not had that security with him, this wouldn’t have happened. Really. Had we not had the security with him, it wouldn’t have happened.”

With that sort of thinking, you think Plax Burress is ready for a trade to Big D right about now?

Congrats to A.J. and Enrico. Now if only Brett Myers had been required to pitch six for the win today, the Dodgers might’ve had a chance. Guess he was anxious to get home to the wife. Or not.

Former NBA coach Eric Musselman has a post on his blog that I guarantee will make your day.

Tickets are available for USC’s home game against A-State tomorrow. So much for a soldout season.

OK, this might be old, but a kind soul a couple weeks back sent me these screen grabs of a Slovenian sprinter named Alenka Bikar, and they’re too good not to post (’specially since I hadn’t seen them before):

Alenka Bikar

Video of her after the jump. Read more…

Speed Read: Are LA Fans Ready For Lakers Now?

That low rumble you heard in Los Angeles last night wasn’t an earthquake - it was the sound of one million Dodger mini-flags being ripped off of cars simultaneously. The team didn’t have a total collapse like the Cubs, but a sixth-inning mini-meltdown of one bad throw and two lousy pitches undid the rest of the night and equaled a 3-2 defeat.

Pat Burrell is manly

Dodger fans throughout LA have one question: when does the Lakers season start? That, and if Joe Torre should have lifted Derek Lowe after Chase Utley deposited a ball into the bleachers in right center to tie the game. I agree with the LA TIMES’ BLUE NOTES that you have to leave Lowe in: he had been cruising along until then. If you want to find a goat, look at Rafael Furcal going 0-4 at the top of the line-up and making a lousy throw. Or the 6-7-8 hitters for the Dodgers, who went 1-11.

Clemson Tigers head coach Tommy Bowden

And speaking of finger-pointing: Clemson Tigers, meet your fans! If you thought that the fans were hard on you after your loss to Maryland, you probably want to schedule some extra sessions with the team therapist to deal with the fallout from your 12-7 loss to Wake Forest and practically Auburn-like offense. Perhaps it’s just karma for taking away Ray Ray McElrathbey’s scholarship in the off-season.

Here’s some more news to ponder while watching the Dow Jones Index go down another hundred points. Wait, make it two hundred! Three hundred! Wow, I didn’t even know it could go into negative numbers…

Gina Carano

Which Top 10 team is mostly likely to be upset on Saturday?

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Wanna Get Shot? Wear Fresno St. Gear In Fresno

Now I know why the LOS ANGELES TIMES didn’t lay off Diane Pucin. She has a terrific hustle piece today on one of the tragic offshoots of the success of the Fresno State football program. Although the team is wildly popular locally, if you’re under 18 and live in the Central Valley, you probably don’t own a thread of Bulldogs gear:

Fresno State Bulldogs Logo Used By Fresno Bulldog Gang

Membership in a large and notorious Central Valley gang called the Bulldogs. Beginning in the 1980s Fresno State’s fearsome mascot became a symbol of gang violence.  About two years ago, city officials and the police department began a public crackdown on the gang and even now grade school and high school students here can’t wear Fresno State gear to school.

Bulldogs Coach Pat Hill and Fresno Mayor Alan Autry obviously aren’t happy about the situation, but have deferred to local law enforcement in the matter. Autry, who was a teammate of Pete Carroll’s on the now-defunct University of Pacific football team, did though declare that the city and the university have “declared war to get that logo back.

Have you noticed how little coverage Manny Ramirez’s disparaging comments about the Red Sox have gotten?

The reason: Ramirez is despised personally by most baseball reporters, which is one of the reasons his comments have been generally ignored. It’s also why he has absolutely zero shot at winning the National League MVP - as voted on by those same blackballing writers.

Ramirez is the sole reason I’ll be attending a Dodger playoff game for the first time in 10 years in Los Angeles this weekend, thanks to discounted tickets (use the code SbB010) from My Boy Barry. So obviously the people who pay baseball’s light bill don’t give a damn in Manny is an ass off-the-field.

Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS has an embarrassingly puffy piece on ESPN’s College GameDay that reads like it was written in 1999. Lede:

Unusual but true fact about ESPN College GameDay: Lee Corso gestures with a pencil on TV to promote Dixon Ticonderoga, which is best known for its yellow No. 2 pencil. Corso is the company’s director of business development.

Lee Corso's Tired Act

Hopefully the good folks residing in Estonia take Solomon’s B-News, since I’m guessing they’re the only respirating souls left in the solar system who haven’t already been leveled by Corso & Co.’s public relations pablum express.

Solomon does slip in an interesting tidbit from Kirk Herbstreit though, who still refuses to admit he was wrong in reporting the Les Miles-to-Michigan hire last season (thank goodness for that LSU media guide!). Read more…

Lisa Guerrero: Off The Air & On The Blogosphere

Lisa Guerrero - from primetime sidelines to blogging for the L.A. Times.

Lisa Guerrero MNF bra

• Bet the Philadelphia Police Bomb Squad feels like a bunch of wieners for blowing up a box of the Phillie Phanatic’s hot dogs.

• Ex-Nebraska RB Thunder Collins heals wounded Huskers’ hearts by saying he’s didn’t die in an apparent drug deal gone wrong.

Plaxico Burress’ two-week timeout could be explained by troubles at home.

• Remember all that money T. Boone Pickens gave to Oklahoma State to build up the Cowboys’ athletic facilities? Well, he might want some of that back.

Read more…

UCLA Caught Begging Fresno State Fans For Cash

UCLA’s delusions of grandeur — the football monopoly in Los Angeles is not, in fact, over — have gone a full 180 degrees this week. After a pair of embarrassing defeats to BYU and Arizona, UCLA now finds itself begging for visiting fans to put their butts in historic Rose Bowl seats.

UCLA’s marketing wing (via THE WIZ OF ODDS) has placed radio and print ads in Fresno this week urging Fresno State fans to “say they were there” and buy tickets to the game between the schools. Consider linebacker Reggie Carter displeased:

Read more…