N.C. State’s Season: From Breakout To Outbreak

Before Saturday’s game against in-state rival East Carolina, North Carolina State was a surprising 5-1 and appeared on the verge of a breakout season. But as any college football fan knows, you can never underestimate a team’s homefield advantage, as ECU once again proved in a 33-27 upset of the Wolfpack in the HOUSE STEVE LOGAN BUILT.

N.C. State syphilis letter to the editor

But in the aftermath of East Carolina’s surprising victory, at least one ECU fan wasn’t altogether pleased. In a letter to the North Carolina State University student newspaper today, East Carolina alumus Caroline Knauss apologized to Wolfpack fans for the behavior of one particular Pirate fan.

N.C. State syphilis letter to the editor

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EA Had Secret Service-Trained Bodyguard On Thu.

Since the Big National Hotel Peephole Incident and her subsequent venting on “Oprah,” keeping Erin Andrews safe is simply no longer going to be left to amateurs. According to North Carolina State’s campus newspaper, EA’s security for her return to the sideline at the NC State-South Carolina football game on Thursday was trained by the Secret Service.

Erin Andrews

Jack Bauer: “I am a sworn federal agent, here to protect Erin Andrews. Damn it, she’s down there by herself and one of those frat kids could go off at any second. We’re RUNNING OUT OF TIME!”

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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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Vandals Deface Yow Mural, Punch Ticket To Hell

While the Founding Fathers insisted that all men were created equal, we can safely conclude that not all men are created equally. The reason I bear no resemblance to LeBron James (or, if you want to take melatonin out of the equation, Dolph Lundgren in the early 80s) isn’t just a matter of a lackadaisical approach to exercise, but factors determined at or before my very conception. And let’s face it. Some people are born without legs, some without imagination, some without a sense of humor. And then there’s the folks in North Carolina who were obviously born without - and now live without - any sense of tragedy whatsoever.

Be Polite Vandalism
(In this instance, the sign had it coming.)

As you undoubtedly recall, last week, North Carolina State’s famed women’s basketball coach Kay Yow finally succumbed to cancer after fighting it for years. The school, conference, and college basketball world have been solemn and respectful as they remembered the matriarch of east coast college basketball, and one of the many tributes was a mural in NCSU’s Free Expression Tunnel, which is exactly what it sounds like. But placing a tribute to Yow in the one place on campus where graffiti is legal and encouraged may not have been the wisest idea, as it has already fallen victim to vandalism of a ludicrously offensive nature:

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Speed Read: Seymour’s Wife Arrested In Lynching

I cringe when I hear the words “lynching” and “South Carolina” in the same sentence. But this is about as bizarre as it gets. THE STATE is reporting that Tanya Seymour, the wife of New England Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour, was arrested on Thursday and charged with second-degree lynching stemming from an incident at a New Year’s Eve party. (This is what happens when you change the channel from “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve” to MTV without asking.)

Tanya Seymour mug shot

I’m sure your initial reaction is the same as mine: lynching? Turns out that no ropes were used: PRO FOOTBALL TALK breaks down the South Carolina Code of Laws, which defines second-degree lynching as “any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person and from which death does not result.” So maybe not quite as horrific as you would first think, but still not good.

Richard Seymour

Police allege that Tanya Seymour was among a group of people who “jumped” two women at a New Year’s Eve party after they had got into an argument and were asked to leave. The arrest affidavit claims that Tanya Seymour was part of the mob, and punched the two women several times in the face and body. Oddly enough, the affidavit also claims that she had use of illegally obtained scouting videos to prepare for the beatdown.

The injuries were fairly minor, including bruises, a busted lip and a sprained wrist. One of the women also claimed that her scalp was sore from having it pulled during the fight. And in one of the most obvious statements I’ve ever seen in a news story:

“The victims left after the attack, the incident report says.”

Really? Because I heard some people were making a run for another keg.

If convicted, Tanya Seymour faces up to 20 years in prison. The incident adds to the list of problems her husband has had to deal with in recent years, including his father killing his former girlfriend before killing himself. And if San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick thought Seymour was a dirty player, he really wouldn’t want to face his wife.

And speaking of beatdowns: Joe Torre might want to be leery if David Wells invites him to watch the Super Bowl with some of his buddies at his place this weekend.  The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS says that Wells has vowed to “knock him out” if he ever sees Torre on the street after his former skipper ripped him in his new book. Specifically, Torre compared Wells to Kevin Brown, except that “both make your life miserable, but David Wells meant to.

Joe Torre and David Wells

And of course Wells has a great response to those allegations: sure, he was a total pain, but not on purpose. Like when he would yell at Torre in the locker room because the manager had the temerity to turn down his boombox when he was blasting it before the games. Or get in drunken fistfights at diners at all hours of the night.  Based on Wells’ health issues and Type 2 Diabetes, Torre might want to carry around some concealed Pixy Stix in case he needs a weapon to defend himself against an attack.

  • …and No. 1 on David Letterman’s Top Ten Reasons He Likely Won’t Field an IndyCar Team This Year: no money. Not very funny, but then again, his partner Bobby Rahal isn’t laughing as he tells the INDIANAPOLIS STAR that while Rahal Letterman Racing will likely field a car at the Indianapolis 500, a lack of sponsorship will probably keep the team from the full IndyCar season.
  • Bobby Rahal and David Letterman

  • Meanwhile, the economic mess is also hitting north of the border, as THE CANADIAN PRESS reports that Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Bart Given was let go as a cost-cutting move. Or as part of a power play between the team’s interim CEO Paul Beeston and GM J.P. Ricciardi. Either way, Given gets to enjoy the Canadian unemployment system, which I believe includes 100 percent benefits and a free, stress-relieving massage.
  • MMA JUNKIE has the life story of Helio Gracie, the Gracie family patriarch and pioneer in the creation and growth of mixed martial arts, who tapped out to the chokehold in the sky on Thursday morning in Rio de Janiero at 95. Naturally, he’ll be laid to rest in a wooden octagon.
  • Congratulations to Tom Cable, as the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports that the Oakland Raiders will be removing the “interim” label from his title and making him their permanent head coach. On the other hand, condolences to Tom Cable for becoming the Oakland Raiders’ permanent head coach.
  • More economic cutbacks in NASCAR, as the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER notes that new rules to cut back on costs have been instituted in the Truck Series for 2009. The most shocking? All trucks will be replaced by 1974 El Caminos.
  • Usually a 61-52 loss would be cause for concern, but it’s pretty understandable when the team on the losing end is North Carolina State and it’s their first game since the death of their legendary coach Kay Yow. The WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL has details of their painful first game back.
  • Really, Bobby Estalella is the smoking gun in the Feds’ case against Barry Bonds? ESPN.COM has the latest information, although I’m shocked that Jeff Kent hasn’t volunteered to bury Barry yet.
  • How often is the marquee men’s college basketball game of the night in the West Coast Conference? Gonzaga stops St. Mary’s 15-game winning streak by handing the Gaels a 69-62 defeat.
  • More legal woes for Lenny Dykstra: TMZ reports that he’s being sued by four pilots who say Nails stiffed them for flying his private plane.
  • SOCCER AMERICA says that the San Jose Earthquakes are set to make millions from their latest sponsorship deal: they’ll be wearing the Amway logo on their jerseys. The downside is that their players will be going door-to-door selling household products.

What will be NASCAR’s next cost-saving move?

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ECU Loses As Another BCS Buster Bites The Dust

Well, East Carolina fans, I hope you enjoyed the ride. After climbing as high to No. 15 in the polls, the Pirates have finally fallen back to Earth after being upended by North Carolina State 30-24 in overtime this afternoon. Which just goes to show that you never know what will happen in a rivalry game.

Tom O'Brien and Skip Holtz

(And yes, the ESPN announcers called the match-up a “rivalry game” several times. Sorry if I’m a bit of an elitist, but East Carolina vs. NC State isn’t exactly UNC vs. Duke.)

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Topless Torontonians Make Blue Jays Games Fun

Brooks witnesses Papelbon booed, A-Rod ignored & Borat’s fat friend bored.

• Topless women standing in the surrounding hotel rooms will definitely get attendance to rise at Blue Jays home games.

Blue Jays mascot topless woman

Of course, they could always try this Rays fan’s helping hand.

• The son of N.C. State basketball coach Sidney Lowe has been a bad boy.

• Not interested in the All-Star Game tonight? They’re always part two of Brett Favre’s interview on Fox News.

• A lusted-after cricketer calls in female commandos to ensure his safety.

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Lowe’s Son Pleads Guilty; Doc Blames Childhood

Sidney Lowe II, son of N.C. State basketball coach Sidney Lowe, pleaded guilty to six counts of armed robbery, six counts of kidnapping and several drug-related offenses on Monday.

Sidney Lowe's Son

According to a forensic psychiatrist, the elder Lowe was too busy coaching a sub .500 basketball team to provide his son with the kind of upbringing needed to keep a kid out of jail. THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER reports “Moira F. Artigues, a forensic psychiatrist from Cary, told a judge that Sidney Lowe II’s childhood left him ill-prepared for college life at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro.”

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Was Holtz Fired For Friendship With Jesse Helms?

By way of the South Bend Tribune comes a story about the relationship between Lou Holtz and former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. As EDSBS points out, Holtz is an interesting guy to say the least.

Lou Holtz Sports Illustrated Cover

Lou Holtz met Jesse Helms during his coaching stint at North Carolina State. According to Holtz, Helms used his political influence to help Lou build the program. In his autobiography, “Wins, Losses and Lessons”, Holtz explains how the friendship later cost him his job at Arkansas. Read more…

Oral-Sex-On-Teammate Charge Earns No Suspension From NC State

HAPPY ENDING STILL IN SIGHT FOR NC STATE TENNIS TEAM? It’s a very, very happy group of N.C. State tennis players who are road tripping to William & Mary for a weekend competition. ABC 11 in Raleigh reports this week, via DEADSPIN, that last weekend a Wolfpack player was charged by police with “crimes against nature“.

What the hell is that you ask? Well a member of the team last weekend woke up in the early morning hours to find his teammate, 19-year-old Dejon Bivens, “performing oral sex on him“.

More: “Police arrested and served Bivens with the search warrant that allowed investigators get a saliva sample. He was released on bond that same day.

Dejon Bivens

Bivens has not been suspended with the team and may be accompanying the squad on the rollicking weekender to Williamsburg. Well it’s good to know that at least for the squad, there’s still a happy ending in sight.