As Paulus Gets Booed, Star WR Leaves Syracuse

Not surprisingly, the Greg Paulus Experiment has failed to go according to plan. Paulus was serenaded by a chorus of boos last week as Syracuse lost 28-7 to Cincinnati in a game that was somehow more boring than the final score would indicate. The impetus behind the booing was largely that the offense was anemic last week; Syracuse didn’t take many shots downfield, and the underneath throws they did attempt were largely bottled up by the stingy Bearcat defense.

Mike Williams Peaces Out
(Mike Williams, seen here hating life.)

The DAILY ORANGE, Syracuse’s campus newspaper, noticed the lack of offensive aggression and wondered why the team wouldn’t at least try to go deep to their stud wideout Mike Williams (game stats: 4 catches, 34 yards, 0 TD), since that’s his specialty and all. Williams, it would seem, wondered that too; he just approached first-year head coach Doug Marrone and, in Marrone’s words, “removed himself from the team.” Hoooo boy.

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Speed Read: Cable Doesn’t KO Punch-Up Rumors

The Oakland Raiders: they put the “Holy crap, Coach just slugged an assistant!” in “dysfunction.” At least, we’ll have to assume that’s what happened, as Raiders head coach Tom Cable (who is not, by the way, in way over his head) didn’t do much to clarify reports that he broke the jaw of defensive assistant coach Randy Hanson with a sucker punch, with his only response being that “it’s an internal issue and we’re dealing with it, and that’s all I’m going to say.”

Tom Cable, Randy Hanson

That sure didn’t sound like a denial, and “dealing with it” sure seems like code for “I’m going to use a tire iron to cave in the head of the next pipsqueak who asks me about this.” The Raiders are becoming more like a sitcom every day. Sort of like “Coach“, but with less physical comedy and more physical assault.

Cast of Coach

 (Remember when Hayden Fox crushed Luther’s jaw with a punch? Me either.)

(Although I do love the episode where Coach smashed in Dauber’s face with a beer bottle after he lost the playbook right before the big game in a wacky mix-up.)

If Cable (who is totally qualified to be an NFL head coach and has the winning demeanor of a John Madden or Curly Lambeau) wasn’t admitting to anything on Monday, then at least his players were rolling over on him, starting a “Cable, Bumaye” chant during practice to mimic the cheers Muhammad Ali got from the African people before the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

And about Hanson: Raiders fans might remember, he’s the same coach that irritated Lane Kiffin so much that he “suspended him for one game, said he had medical issues and then tried to fire him” before Al Davis stepped in and backed Hanson, who apparently is one of his favorites. So Cable (who is not treading so much water that the band from “Titanic” is standing by) probably picked the worst person in the organization to slug except for Davis himself.

(Also, you have to wonder if one of those “medical conditions” that Kiffin tried to use to fire Hanson was a “permanent glass jaw”…)

Meanwhile, Beano Cook thinks that Syracuse should get a spot ready for another Heisman Trophy to go along with those representing Jim Brown and Ernie Davis. After all, if they found a way to get Ron Powlus back at QB, anything is possible. Of course, Beano Cook is a rambling old man, the kind who holds up the line at the supermarket so he can check every item on the receipt for errors.

greg paulus qb

So no, Syracuse didn’t get “Heisman” Powlus into their football program, but it’s close: they announced yesterday that former Duke point guard Greg Paulus will be the starting QB for their opening game against Minnesota. It’s either a testament to the athletic ability of Paulus - who hasn’t played football since high school but was once the Gatorade National Player of the Year - or the sorry state of Syracuse football that someone who has been out of the game for years is their best bet. I won’t say which one, but merely point out that Syracuse was 3-25 in the Big East the last four years.

Finally, let’s see…former WWE champion decides to become an MMA fighter. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. But this time we aren’t talking about a UFC heavyweight champion/Coors aficionado, but a new possible women’s MMA star. The DAYTON DAILY NEWS says that Lisa Marie Varon, who wrestled until recently in the WWE as Victoria, has been training for nearly a year and is ready to make her MMA debut soon.

Victoria

On the positive side, Varon is a former bodybuilding and fitness model who was one of the most physical women’s wrestlers, and she is working with former UFC champ Rich Franklin’s trainer. The downsides are that she is 38, and has almost no fighting experience.

Victoria

Still, she apparently is quite serious about this, and wants to become a part of the Strikeforce women’s division. While she might not talented enough to rival Christiane “Cyborg” Santos, I think we can agree that seeing Varon take on Gina Carano would be a much more attractive match-up.

In other sports news that you might have missed while celebrating the fact that The Kids In The Hall are getting back together for a TV project:

  • No matter what, Scott Boras always wins. This time it was getting a last-minute deal done between the Washington Nationals and his client, No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg. The price tag? Just a cool four years and $15 million - almost double what the Cubs signed Mark Prior for in 2001 in what had been the previous largest contract for a draft pick.
  • The NEW YORK TIMES wonders if Y.E. Yang’s shocking victory over Tiger Woods in the PGA Championship will start a golfing boom in Asia that could help the PGA Tour. Because that’s worked so well for the LPGA…
  • Speaking of which, CNBC’s Darren Rovell says that other than Yang, the biggest winner on Sunday might have been Le Coq Sportif, the clothing line whose red rooster logo got almost $2 million of free air time during final round coverage.
  • The Lingerie Football League has released its preseason “All Fantasy Team“, but BUSTED COVERAGE wants to know if you should be more insulted to be a third-team offensive lineman or first-team offensive lineman.
  • Stephen Good might be the starting right guard for the Oklahoma Sooners, but EVERY DAY SHOULD BE SATURDAY says there’s one thing that terrifies him more than losing to Texas: Clowns, especially Pennywise from “It”. No word on if he wet the bed when Bozo the Clown came on as a kid.
  • Sad news from the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: former North Carolina State LB Edrick Smith was killed early Sunday morning when a hit-and-run drunk driver smashed into the Honda Accord he was in, splitting it in two.
  • NEWSOK.COM says that Oklahoma All-American TE Jermaine Gresham broke his vow of media silence last Friday … to give a “shout out” to Michael Vick for being signed by the Eagles. Also, he gave “mad props” to attempted Presidential assassin/Manson Family member Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme for being released from prison.
  • Great, another “Polish canoeist goes nuts on the way to World Championships and forces plane into emergency landing” story.
  • Two men from Honolulu were arrested in Las Vegas for having pot in their car after leading police on a short chase. Not much of a story, until you realize that the men were Honolulu cops in Nevada to play on a softball team in the Nevada Police & Fire Games. Needless to say, Dano has already booked them, and then beat them for being so stupid.
  • This might be a bit more than gamesmanship: a top British rugby team was having players use fake blood so they could substitute in better kickers during key stages of games.

What’s your favorite moment of coaching violence (real or threatened)?

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Shaq, T.O. Taking Baby Steps In Broadcast World

As a stunt for his new reality TV show, BLACK SPORTS ONLINE says that Terrell Owens went down to a TV station in Buffalo and spent the day learning what goes into producing a newscast, before taking a crack at becoming a sports anchor for one segment. But anyone expecting a “Boom Goes The Dynamite” -style meltdown should prepare to be disappointed: he was poised, confident and frankly better than half of the sports guys doing the evening news here in Los Angeles. Certainly, it was impressive for the first time.

Terrell Owens at TV taping

But perhaps we shouldn’t be shocked that T.O. would take to being a sports anchor. If you describe someone as a self-centered prima donna who thinks the world revolves around them and will wreak havoc if he doesn’t get exactly what he wants, you just as easily could be talking about Keith Olbermann (allegedly) as you could Terrell Owens (not so allegedly).

Video of Owens’ big day at the TV studio after the jump:

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Speed Read: Washing Our Hands of the Swine Flu

The discerning reader prefers the news (and most foods) wrapped in bacon and liberally salted with panic. Therefore, we provide your Thursday morning sports-centric swine flu stories to better arm you at the water cooler to pass along the latest gossip mumbled through your faux designer mask:

Swine flu (or pigs fly)

Whew. That’s a lot of abject terror sensible precaution for one morning. Please add any additional sports-related swine flu stories to the comments below so the few remaining survivors have a record of these final days.

Thankfully, our few remaining moments left as a functional species can be well-represented by the following people tellin’ it like it is and keepin’ it real with the kids, assuming your kids take Don Rickles’ routine at face value:

Geno Auriemma

Fire truck at Comerica Park

(Emergency vehicle sized appropriately to emergency)

Finally, a false alarm (possibly a fire alarm) in the eighth inning could not shake the New York Yankees from barely holding onto a 8-6 lead at Comerica Park over the Detroit Tigers last night despite holding a 7-1 advantage late in the contest. As Joe Girardi put it, “In this day and age, that’s a little scary.”

Heck, Joe … in this day and age, what isn’t?

And now a hail of bullet points caused by two heroin-slingin’ senior citizen sisters (though you can’t fault them for looking for a new retirement plan these days) …

What’s your favorite pandemic?

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Padres’ Bell Rings Out Anger Over ESPN Choices

• Sick of ESPN’s baseball coverage only showcasing the Yankees, Red Sox & Mets? Padres pitcher Heath Bell feels the same sourness.

Heath Bell ESPN Baseball Tonight

• Fights, stabbings, gunplay - just another Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.

John Calipari greets the Memphis faithful one more time - but not without some bodyguards.

• Former Duke basketball star Greg Paulus gets a pro tryout - with the Green Bay Packers?

• Dallas would be happy to take the College Football Hall of Fame off South Bend’s hands.

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Packers Should Be Serious About QB/PG Paulus

Remember when the Texans drafted Drew Henson as a safety plan, then held his rights hostage when he decided he was ready to give up being the Yankees’ third baseman and wanted to come back to football? Well, there’s a PRO FOOTBALL TALK rumor that the Packers have worked out Duke point guard Greg Paulus at quarterback, despite the fact that Paulus hasn’t thrown a competitive pass since high school. If that sounds surprising, well, this may be even more shocking: The Packers may be dead serious about drafting him, too.

greg paulus qb

(Yes, this really could be Aaron Rodgers’ new backup in Green Bay.)

While Paulus was never going to set the world ablaze as Duke’s point guard, he still insisted on playing for Coach K because Greg’s just a hoopster at heart. That’s never taken away from his overwhelming talent behind center, where he was the starting quarterback in the U.S. Army All-American game and was also a Parade Magazine All-American. How good was Paulus in high school? Good enough that, if he decided to take a scholarship offer to play quarterback and point guard at Notre Dame, Miami or Syracuse, he easily would have been not just the top quarterback recruit on Rivals.com’s list of national prospects, he would have been the top ranked recruit overall.

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Duke’s Paulus Doesn’t Fear Your Poster Materials

We know Craig Ehlo.  Craig Ehlo is a friend of ours, if by which you mean that he spent a lot of time in our room growing up, both of us looking up at Michael JordanGreg Paulus, you are no Craig Ehlo.  Damned if you’re not trying to convince us, though.

(A full honor-bestowing bow to AWFUL ANNOUNCING)

Duke defeated The U 78-75 in extra time, so the foul shot didn’t affect the outcome poorly for Le Dookers.  Greg Paulus: today’s unwitting sponsor of the “On Means On” movement.  (Oh, and Miami’s Dwayne Collins?  You’re no Jordan.  Nice work, though.)

ESPN To Get Vitale Far Far Away From Duke Game

ESPN is being forced to resort to desperate measures and ridiculous publicity stunts to keep Dick Vitale from calling Duke games. For the Jan. 7 Duke-Davidson game, ESPN will bring in its NBA announcers, while moving Vitale and co. to the Heat-Nuggets game later that day.

Dick Vitale

So that means Mike Tirico, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy are going to have to do some cramming to figure out what the hell a one-and-one is, while Vitale and Dan Shulman are going to need to get used to the 24-second shot clock. But obviously, the real benefit to viewers everywhere, other than not being forced to hear Elliot Williams called a diaper dandy ever 2 minutes, is not having to deal with Vitale having an orgasm on-air anytime Duke does anything competently.

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Michigan Upsets Duke Krzyzewskis, Looks Legit

For all those Michigan fans still pining over the much publicized demise of their football program, they finally have something good to talk about: Evidently they’ve got a decent basketball program again!

kryzewski darth vader

(Pyleoflist is dead on. Playing the role of Luke Skywalker: John Beilein.)

Just 16 days after being embarrassed in New York by Duke, Michigan beat the very same team on their home court, 81-73, in front of a crazed Crisler Arena and second-year coach John Beilein, who exorted his team to do anything possible to avenge their earlier loss an, finally, earn a win over a top-5 team. Done and done.

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Blog-O-Rama: “Mike Tyson’s Knockout” On Stage

• FAN IQ punches up this amusing video of “Mike Tyson’s Knockout” - the Off-Broadway version:

• SIGNAL TO NOISE documents the latest drama at Staples Center - and it has nothing to do with Kobe.

• HUGGING HAROLD REYNOLDS serves up this fun quiz - tennis player, vodka brand, or Bond villain?

• DEADSPIN horses around with news that Central Park will be putting up a statue of Barbaro - upside down.

Barbaro Upside Down

• The LADIES… pass the bean dip, as they present ‘How Not To Throw A Super Bowl Party‘.

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