There were a lot of Barack Obama detractors out there over the last year who were telling you that his campaign slogans of Hope and Change were nothing but buzz words to distract people from thinking about the real issues. And while they were totally right, what they didn’t take into account was the fact that by making people believe these things were possible actually makes them possible. I mean, just look around the world of sports right now. We’re not even 48 hours into Obama’s Presidency and already hope and change are evident everywhere, or at least in the world of college basketball.
Just look at the Speed Read this morning. Virginia Tech toppled #1 Wake Forest, Northwestern — freaking NORTHWESTERN — went into East Lansing and ended Michigan State’s 28-game home winning streak, and Clemson finally, well, okay, Clemson must have been McCain supporters. Still, as remarkable as all of those stories are, none of them can hold a candle to what happened in Newark, New Jersey, on Tuesday night.
Uh-oh. Buffalo doesn’t have much going for it, so reminding every Bills fan of the one time they were a foot and a half from winning the Super Bowl isn’t really a great idea. Ryan Lindell joined Scott Norwood in the “wide right” hall of fame as the Bills lost to the Browns 29-27 on Monday night. It’s not an earth-shattering loss. I don’t think Vincent Gallo’s going to make a movie about shooting Lindell or anything. But it does drop the Bills to 5-5, which is now last place in the AFC East. Remember when they were going to run away with this division? Making all this more painful is the fact that Browns kicker Phil Dawson nailed a 56-yarder a minute earlier to take the lead.
(It was all downhill from here)
Still, it’s tough to pin this all on Lindell. People miss 47-yard field goals all the time, and Lindell isn’t the one who threw three picks in the first quarter (that would be the suddenly terrible Trent Edwards). And while the Browns did win tonight with Brady Quinn at the helm, I’m not ready to call him a difference maker. His completion percentage tonight was lower than Manny Ramirez‘ batting average with the Dodgers.
Get ready, Buffalo, because the Sabres are probably losing their next game on a goal with like four people standing in the crease.
College basketball always just comes out of nowhere, doesn’t it? ESPN is in the midst of a season-opening marathon of games. As you read this, Penn is preparing to play Drexel (tipoff at 10 a.m. Eastern). Earlier this morning, Saint Mary’s beat Fresno State 99-85 in a game that started at 11 p.m. on the west coast (2:00 in the east), followed by Hawaii’s 67-64 overtime win over Idaho State that tipped off at just after 4:00 a.m. in the east (11:00 Hawaii time). I don’t know if I’m supposed be proud of the fact that I watched both games in their entirety. ESPN is continuing to show games live all day today, culminating in Kentucky-North Carolina. I figure that since UK can’t beat VMI, they’ll be lucky to stay within 40 of the Heels.
The best game of the day should be Davidson’s matchup with Oklahoma. Each team has a pre-season first-team All-American (Stephen Curry and Blake Griffin, respectively).
Don’t tell Donovan McNabb (he’s already too confused), but they don’t have ties in college football anymore. That means that somebody has to win this weekend’s Apple Cup debacle between Washington and Washington State, who are a combined 0-20 against FBS teams this year. And the line is set: Washington by 8 1/2, according to the SEATTLE TIMES. Yes, a winless team with a lame duck coach is an 8 1/2-point road favorite in a conference game. The Cougars have been outscored 440-61 in eight Pac-10 losses (that’s an average loss of 55-7).
It’s the harvest season, so think of today’s links as being delivered to you in a cornucopia:
• Utah has a lot on the line in Saturday’s game against BYU. Win, and they’re in the BCS. Lose, and they’re probably going to the Poinsettia Bowl. The SALT LAKE TRIBUNE examines the situation, and the financial windfall that would come from the BCS bid, not just for Utah but for the entire Mountain West. In all honesty, it would be better for BYU as a university to lose the game.
• Things aren’t so rosy up the road at Utah State. They’ve fired their coach, Brent Guy, effective at the end of the season (what ever happened to just cutting a guy loose and going interim?) THE SPORTS NETWORK has the details.
• Oh yeah, baby. Cricket cheerleaders! But it’s India, so they can’t wear skimpy outfits. And it looks like there’s some dudes too. LION IN OIL shares our disappointment.
• NJIT (that’s the New Jersey Institute of Technology) lost its 35th consecutive game last night, a Division I record. The Highlanders (because nothing says rugged terrain like Newark) might not technically go in the record books, though, since they are a “transition” member of Division I. The AP has the game story.
• We have a double-feature from TAMPA BAY’S 10. First we have the story of a lady who’s being told that she can’t say “Ref you suck” at Buccaneers games anymore because it violates some code of conduct bullcrap. Because there’s nobody in NFL stadiums saying worse things than that. Here’s a picture of the woman:
• HOME RUN DERBY points out that, by his own criteria, Albert Pujolsshould not be accepting the NL MVP award. Seems Al said in 2006 that players who don’t take their team to the playoffs shouldn’t win the award.
• The SAN JOSE MERCURY-NEWS’ Andrew Baggarly wildly claims that the Giants are almost assuredly going to win the World Series next year because they’ve signed Jeremy Affeldt to a two-year deal at $4 million per. If you’re scoring at home, that’s approximately 10 times more than Tim Lincecum made this year. And Baggarly actually doesn’t think the Giants are going to be any good.
• The “Heidi” game was 40 years ago yesterday. If you don’t know how it all went down, here’s some video. Particularly brutal is the scene where a girl is shown falling out of a wheelchair and attempting to walk while the final score of the game scrolls at the bottom:
NJIT lost to Utah Valley State 76-50 on Saturday, completing their 2007-08 campaign with an 0-29 record. And like Clemson’s last visit to Chapel Hill, the Jersey boys’ visit out west made NCAA history, as the Highlanders set a new mark for most losses in a season.
Pity poor coach Jim Casciano, who already had enough to deal with this year. Read more…