Urban Meyer Puts The Ol’ Clown Suit On Ron Zook

Other than a few folks in downstate Illinois, a washed-up NFL QB, and perhaps a certain native Mattoonian writer, it’s hard to find anyone who would admit to being a big Ron Zook fan. At this point in his career, the book on the Zookster is pretty much written - he’s a great recruiter-slash-snake-oil salesman who, when it comes to actually running a major-college football program, is essentially clueless.

Ron Zook, waterskiing

But it’s one thing for the media and fans to bash the guy; it’s quite another for his successor at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer, to do the same. But that’s exactly what Meyer did today. As Zook himself would say, this is “getting better and better.”

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Jeff George’s Annual Plea For An NFL Roster Spot

It’s a story that happens every year - retired NFL quarterback alerts the media to his intention to consider playing again. The QB’s supporters in the media kick up the “will he or won’t he” rhetoric. Speculation on where he might land abounds. But most people just scoff at all the kerfuffle and wish the guy would just hang ‘em up and go away.

Jeff George June Jones

(Never forget.)

We are, of course, talking about former NFL quarterback Jeff George. Yes, it’s that time of year where the NFL bust with the rocket arm informs the world he’d like another shot at an NFL roster. The only surprising part about it is that the news didn’t come in a Jason Whitlock column.

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Speed Read: Buzzer Beaters Punch NCAA Tickets

If you are only going to hit one basket in a game, hitting the shot that sends your team to the NCAA Tournament is good time to do it. And that’s just what Robert Morris University guard Dallas Green did (not the former big league manager), picking up a loose ball and draining a baseline jumper with 2.5 seconds left to give the Colonials a dramatic 48-46 victory over Mount St. Mary’s to win the Northeast Conference Championship.

Dallas Green

But as exciting as the final three seconds or so were, the first 39 minutes and 57 seconds were just as ugly. As in, “hey, look, ‘Sports Soup’ is on!” bad. The second half was pretty rough to watch, and that was a huge upgrade over the first half: the halftime score was 19-19, and the leading scorer for the game was RMU’s Jeremy Chappell (seen below celebrating) with 15 points.

Jeremy Chapell

But in the end, it was Green who provided the heroics. Which rubbed his opponents the wrong way:

Mount St. Mary’s guard Jeremy Goode was particularly stung that Green — a player who even Robert Morris coach Mike Rice admitted was the fifth option on the play — was the player who hit the decisive shot.

“It hurts more,” Goode said. “You’d rather see a guy who makes shots the whole time he has been here make the game-winner. Not [Green] though.”

I’m sure that Green is going to be very upset about those comments…as he and his teammates prepare for the NCAA Tournament, while the Mount St. Mary’s team prepares for a long off-season. But based on the game last night, I doubt that Green or that rest of the Robert Morris team should be game planning for more than one game.

(And in case you were curious, Robert Morris guard Mezie Nwigwe played despite being arrested on assault charges after a fight this past weekend, scoring a whopping three points in 18 minutes.)

Portland State clinches Big Sky

There was another ticket punched to the Big Dance last night which also ended in dramatic fashion. Portland State squeaked past huge underdog Montana State team (who finished the season 14-17) to win the Big Sky Championship. The Vikings also used a last-second shot to clinch their spot, as Julius Thomas dunked with 3.5 seconds left for the winning points in their 79-77 victory. Hopefully they can avoid being a No. 16 seed again, like they were last year before getting thumped by Kansas.

Quinton Rampage Jackson pickup truck

Meanwhile, coming on the heels of the death of TapouT clothing co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis being killed in a gruesome car crash, there was more bad news from the MMA world. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson broke his jaw in his UFC 98 victory over Keith Jardine on Saturday, which will force him out of his light heavyweight title match against Rashad Evans. Unbeaten Lyoto Machida is taking his place. Let’s hope that Rampage finds a healthier way to deal with his disappointment than before.

(And about the crash that killed “Mask” Lewis: the police are now looking into street racing as a cause of the accident, and it turns out that Lewis had at least eight traffic violations since 2001, including a DUI.)

Other sports stories floating around as you pondered who will make Bristol Palin an honest woman:

Which of these four bubble teams has the best case for an NCAA bid?

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For NFL QBs, It Really Does Pay To Be Attractive

Darren Rovell reports on his SPORTS BIZ blog about research done by sports economist David Berri showing a correlation between an athlete’s attractiveness and their salaries. Which probably explains why Willie McGee never received the big money contract he deserved.

Brazil face lift

Berri wrote an article for the NEW YORK TIMES PLAY MAGAZINE detailing his research. Since “attractiveness” is a relative term, he used a program to analyze the symmetry of the faces of 121 NFL quarterback - research suggesting that humans perceive symmetrical faces as more attractive. The results were clear: the better looking you were, the better you were paid:

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Blog Jam: Torii Hunter’s Tribute To Michael Phelps

• YOU BEEN BLINDED splashes up a clip of Torii Hunter celebrating the Angels’ AL West title with a tribute to Michael Phelps.

Torii Hunter is Michael Phelps

We understand that Stephanie Rice is swimming her way to Anaheim as we speak.

• Sure he can do a mean Milli Vanilli, but LARRY BROWN SPORTS discovers Jonathan Papelbon’s real talent - cross-dressing for high school productions of “Dirty Dancing“.

• If New England is looking for a QB, Jason Whitlock of the KANSAS CITY STAR suggests the Pats get on the phone with Jeff George.

Palmer? Bush? Leinart? FIRST & BIG TEN has an interesting interview with the USC player really responsible for the Trojans’ re-emergence: former WR John Zilka.

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Is Cassel’s Anti-Favre Streak Coming To An End?

The trickle-down effects of the Tom Brady injury are already being felt, as Brady’s collapsing knee has all but ensured the demise of one of the more unusually impressive streaks in sports. Backup Matt Cassel — who replaced Brady and led the Pats to a 17-10 win over Kansas City — has managed to become the #2 quarterback for (arguably) the top franchise in professional football despite not having started a game at the position since high school (it’s sort of a bizarro Brett Favre streak). Cassel was the understudy to Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart for four years at USC, and is now in his fourth year with the Pats.

Matt Cassel

Cassel threw more passes on Sunday (18) than he had in the last two seasons combined (15). As a reward for his unwavering commitment to the game and all the hard work he’s put in over the years to get his chance to shine, the Pats are bringing in just about anyone they can scrounge up for a workout, hopeful of keeping the non-start streak in tact.

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Blog-Some: Painful Sunday For Texas Asst. Coach

Sunday’s loss to Kansas was painful for Texas. Just ask this Longhorns assistant coach who gets a tap to the testicles from one of his players.

YAHOO SPORTS’ BALL DON’T LIKE dresses down one angry Blazers fan who’s ready to kill over his (or her) missing sweatshirt.

TIRICO SUAVE tosses over an amusing video compilation of Cuba Gooding Jr. ruining Jeff George’s NFL comeback.

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Blog-O-Rama: Hal Steinbrenner Is On The Prowl

• The LOHUD YANKEES BLOG plays cupid, as new Yankee co-boss Hal Steinbrenner is looking for love.

Hal Steinbrenner Cupid

• ODENIZED hears Jason Kidd plead his case during Thursday’s Mavs-Spurs game: “I tipped it off his face, I swear.”

• WAS WATCHING has a new job for Carl Pavano - mascot for the Yankees’ Double-A farm team.

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Blog-O-Rama: Fans Grunt Along With Sharapova

Quite an exciting half, eh? Here’s some news to wake yourself up while you enjoy the haunting melodies of Mr. Petty & his Heartbreakers:

• The MONTREAL GAZETTE’s OPEN COURT is at a loss for words, as Israeli tennis fans decided to grunt along with Maria Sharapova during her Fed Cup match.

Maria Sharapova leaning forward

• The RICHMOND (VA) TIMES-DISPATCH notes that musicians often see record sales skyrocket after Super Bowl appearances - even if they’re not getting paid for it.

• Speaking of Sunday’s spectacle, THE BACHELOR GUY has some helpful tips in explaining the Big Game to your girlfriend.

• GAME DAILY learns that Joe Montana can be a big jerk about being a little camera shy.

Joe Montana

• BUSTED COVERAGE sends along news that FedEx employees better deliver themselves to work on Monday, or else.

• THE WIZARD OF ODDS gets teary-eyed at the tale of a Washington State football player replacing his teammate’s contact-lens solution with rubbing alcohol.

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Cora To Jail, Gasol To L.A., Pats To Patent Office

SbB hopes everyone had a happy and healthy Groundhog Eve.

Alex Cora is heading to jail due to a DUI in 1999.

SbB Girls Alex & Cora

(SbB Girls Alex [L] & Cora [R])

Personally, we find our own Alex (&) Cora much more arresting.

Pau Gasol motors out of Memphis for La-La-Land.

Bill to have twice the fun with both Beli-Chicks attending the Super Bowl.

• The Patriots are going after the perfect trademark.

• But if the Giants somehow win on Sunday, shouldn’t the victory parade be in Jersey?

Michael Wilbon receives a special get-well message - from Jeff George.

Jeff George Michael Wilbon

Mike Piazza’s dad had to sadly sell off one of his family’s treasures - ownership in a strip club.

• It’s a relief to draw up Osi Umenyiora in Etch-A-Sketch form.

Tom Brady’s personal barber says he did him on Tuesday.

• ESPN anchor is sorry for saying “wife-beater” on-air. Chris Berman is enraged.