RichRod Falsifies Players’ Grades! (Well, Sort Of)

It would pretty well suck to be Rich Rodriguez these days. After all, the Detroit press seems to be on a witch hunt, except it’s not really a hunt, since RichRod’s already right there and they’re not looking for anyone else. At the same time, though they tut and moan about everything about the program, wins are the only thing that’ll shut them up, and they’ll come when they come.

Rich Rodriguez
(Not a man having a good time.)

So when some good news from off-the-field business comes along and can help Rodriguez manage the media horde, well, that’s just plain great. Nothing can possibly go wrong with a piece of news like “Michigan’s GPA is the highest it’s been in 25 years,” which Rodriguez says the Academic Success Program told him. Why, just a few months ago, he told reporters, his Wolverines “have recorded the highest GPA ever recorded.” Great news! Let’s just let the newspaper double-check on this and oh dear no, we’ve got a bit of a discrepancy. Juuuust a bit.

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Speed Read: Yesterday Brought To You By Gillette

While Brooks and the rest of the SbB crew worked hard to get you the very latest on the Steve McNair murder, Sunday turned out to be a pretty big day for three of the world’s biggest athletes — who just happened to have co-starred in the “Citizen Kane” of awkward athlete endorsement campaigns.

Tiger Federer Jeter

That’s right, now that Thierry Henry has been booted from the Gillette posse (at least in America), all three razor-wielding superstars had pretty huge days.

First, Roger Federer made history by winning his 15th Grand Slam title in a crazy five-set win at Wimbledon over Andy Roddick. Pete Sampras was in the audience, taking in the match as only Sampras could — puking his guts out on the sideline looking bored out of his gourd. The 30-game fifth set was the longest in Slam history by a full 10 games. The final game was the only time Federer broke Roddick’s serve the entire match. Only Roddick’s inability to put away four set points in a second-set tiebreak kept him from pulling off the huge upset.

Federer and Sampras

As Federer was accepting his trophy, Tiger Woods was getting ready to tee off in the final round at the AT&T National, which he hosts. I’m not sure I understand the “host” thing, is that like when Heidi and Spencer “host” a party at PURE? He started the day in a tie with defending champion Anthony Kim, but soon found himself needing to keep up with Hunter Mahan, who started well back but fired a 62 to zoom all the way to the top of the leaderboard. Tiger drained a 20-footer on the 16th hole to take the lead, and he got to the clubhouse with two easy pars to wrap up his 68th PGA Tour win. And he interviewed himself afterward. I have to give him credit, though, as it was the first time the questions in a Tiger interview were as boring as the answers.

Jimmy Fallon and Tiger Woods

(I’m sure that losing to this guy in anything would be enough motivation to win whatever you were doing next)

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter was trying his best to hold up his end of the bargain in a measly regular-season game. But he came through with a four-hit day, including what turned out to be the game-winning home run in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 10-8 win over the Blue Jays. Better yet for DJ, he was officially named the starting shortstop for the AL All-Star team when the rosters were announced later in the afternoon.

Derek Jeter

Jeter got more votes than anyone else in the AL, but is joined in the starting lineup by just one other Yankee — first baseman Mark Teixeira. A-Rod is nowhere to be seen, with Evan Longoria getting the starting nod instead. Josh Hamilton was voted into the starting lineup despite missing all of June with an injury, and this year’s recipient of the Lance Carter Memorial “Who?” Award is Oakland reliever Andrew Bailey, who is a fine pitcher but a guy even baseball fans would be hard pressed to tell you anything about. And while it looks like manager Joe Maddon pulled some homerism by adding Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, and Ben Zobrist to the team, all three of those guys are having huge years. And yes, if you’re scoring at home, Zobrist is the last All-Star ever, alphabetically speaking. The other big story is that of 42-year-old Tim Wakefield, who surprisingly has never been an All-Star until now. And congrats to the Royals for producing an actual All-Star this year, rather than their usual token “we gotta put someone on the team” guy.

The NL team is headlined by Albert Pujols, who received the second-most votes ever (only Ken Griffey Jr. got more, in 1994). At age 37, Raul Ibanez is an All-Star for the first time, and has been voted in as a starter. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s probably not going to be able to play. Nor is fellow outfielder Carlos Beltran. That means that reserves Hunter Pence and Brad Hawpe are likely to be out there when the game starts. No true no-name on the roster, as even Pittsburgh’s representative — Freddy Sanchez — is fairly deserving of his spot.

Full rosters can be found here. And there is now voting going on at MLB.COM for the final roster spots. Vote Kung Fu Panda!

Pablo Sandoval

(This fat man should be an All-Star)

• If you click on only one link today, read this story in the L.A. TIMES about Zac Sunderland, a 17-year-old kid who is nearing the end of a solo circumnavigation of the world on a sailboat. Pirates, broken sails on the open seas, armed police escorts in New Guinea. It’s safe to say he had a more eventful year than the rest of us.

Rasheed Wallace is going to be casting ill-advised 26-footers for the Celtics next year, meaning Big Baby Davis is probably on his way out. And Jason Kidd is about to get overpaid by Mark Cuban (enjoy 39-year-old Kidd at $8+ million in 2012, Dallas)

• POLITICO says that Sarah Palin’s lawyer has fired a warning shot to the media in order to squash lingering rumors that Palin awarded the contract for constructing a sports arena in Wasilla (where she was mayor at the time) with the understanding that the same company would build her a house. In other news, the Phoenix Coyotes have just announced they are moving to Wasilla.

• SPORTS RUBBISH has video of the most crucial moment in yesterday’s Wimbledon final. What? Tennis? No, it’s Andy Roddick’s brother searching for a snack inside his own nose:

• I gotta admit, I just don’t really get the Tour de France. One guy clearly won today, but somehow everyone except two guys (that’s like 178 people) were credited with the same time. Hey, but at least Jussi Veikkanen is finally wearing the red polka-dotted jersey!

• OK, there was something called the “Junior World Football Championships” going on for the last week, and you’re not going to believe this — but the USA won. Shocking, considering our boys had to take down the likes of France, Mexico, and Canada (which they did by a cumulative score of 174-3). Next time, in an effort to even the playing field and give other countries a fighting chance, the U.S. is just going to send Washington State’s football team instead (they might be able to beat Sweden).

Beavis would be excited by the news that a man in Scotland set a world record by running nearly 100 yards while on fire (and people complain that eating a bunch of hot dogs is bizarre?). And yes, I am aware that 1994 has called and wants its cultural reference back.

Man running on fire

Ryan Braun is an All-Star, which I guess gives him the green light to talk about how much the Brewers’ starting pitchers suck.

•  That fan who says J.C. Romero “assaulted” him at a Rays-Phillies game last week should be thrilled he doesn’t live in Colombia. There, the athletes just shoot and kill fans who heckle them.

• The city of St. Louis thinks it can tax the bonuses All-Stars receive for appearing in the game at Busch Stadium, but the POST-DISPATCH says that won’t fly if players can prove that their bonus was earned from their previous play outside of the city’s jurisdiction, and not for simply appearing at the game.

• Sure, losing 16-14 in the fifth set of the biggest tournament of your life is pretty brutal, but don’t feel too sorry for Andy Roddick. He has a pretty nice shoulder to cry on:

Brooklyn Decker

Would you rather have 15 Grand Slam titles, or have 1 and be married to Brooklyn Decker?

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Speed Read: Oregon Sports Teams End Year Up

The conventional wisdom is that the Pac-10 was having an exceedingly down year. In fact, that’s probably the main reason that USC was left out of the National Championship discussion: their one loss against a Pac-10 school was far worse than a loss to an SEC or Big 12 team.

Oregon celebrates versus Oklahoma State

So what do we make of Oregon’s 42-31 victory over Oklahoma State in last night’s Holiday Bowl? Yes, the Ducks featured an explosive offense, which you would expect from an Oregon team and is apparently mandatory to play in the Holiday Bowl. But the story was their defense in the second half, which put the clamps on the Cowboys’ star QB Zac Robinson.

How physical were they? DR. SATURDAY has some video evidence from YouTube of just one of the many big hits Robinson took in the second half:

It was just a big day all around for Oregon sports teams. Along with the Ducks winning the Holiday Bowl, the Portland Trail Blazers did the improbable on Tuesday night, taking out the defending champion Boston Celtics 91-86 without the services of injured All-Star guard Brandon Roy.

Trail Blazers vs Celtics

Keeping in mind it might be foolish for the Celtics to start panicking now - they are still 28-5 - but they have lost three of four. Oh hell, where the fun of having a sense of perspective: between this, the Patriots missing the playoffs and the Red Sox getting rejected by Mark Teixeira, let’s start wildly speculating about the end of the Boston sports dynasty.

Other sports news that happened as you prepare to get your drank on tonight:

Who will you be counting down to the New Year with?

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A.I., ‘Sheed Having Trouble Selling Their Houses

Oh, subprime mortgage crisis, why do you mock the rich and famous? Sure, the current dismal housing situation has hit the middle class the hardest, but that’s way too depressing to discuss on a sports blog. Instead, to take our mind off the drudgeries of the real world, we can point and gawk at those more fortunate than us. Misery loves company and whatnot.

Allen Iverson's home

NBAers Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace, who have combined to earn more than $261 million in their careers, are having a tough time selling their homes. So tough, in fact, that they’re slashing prices (Everything must go! Priced to sell! … so on and so forth) — Iverson has dropped the price by 37 percent; Wallace by six percent.

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Blog Jam: Tyson Livin’ Large w/’Big Brother’ Babe

WITH LEATHER by way of THE ANGRY T jabs up news of Mike Tyson dining on a new piece of cheesecake - a former British “Big Brother” house mate.

Mike Tyson Big Brother chick

• SI’s Richard Deitch uncovers the cameraman who got a towelful from a ravaging Rasheed Wallace.

Michael David Smith of AOL FANHOUSE relays news that sprinter Michael Johnson is returning one of his “tainted” gold medals.

• MR. IRRELEVANT sends a friendly reminder that Erin Andrews will be on Tuesday night’s “Blog Show“.

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Rasheed, Pistons Throw In Towel Against Celtics

And now we have an NBA Finals. It’s Boston vs. LA. The Celtics sat in the final musical chair before the NBA took the needle off the record with their 89-81 victory in Game 6 last night. (A second road win! How quaint.) The Pistons bowed out gracefully in three straight Eastern Conference finals in Buffalo Billsian fashion. Although I don’t know if the Bills had anyone throw a temper quite like Rasheed Wallace:

Wallace picked up his fifth foul with 9:04 left in the game, and rather than pick up his 7th technical, he decided to channel that frustration away from the refs and toward the camera man. If you can’t hear that audio too well — it was a little dampened — it sounded something like “get that stuck camera out of my face.” Well if it was stuck, Mr. Wallace, how can he really get it out of the way? If he does pull the camera out, does the camera man become King of England? Read more…

Roger Clemens Cuddled Up With Mindy McCready?

• Country singer Mindy McCready admits that she’s been randy with Roger Clemens for quite some time - starting back when she was just 15.

Mindy McCready Roger Clemens

Is it true? Well, Mindy’s mom confirms the connection.

• Just about a week after Danica Patrick tasted victory, Ashley Force is the latest hot motor mama to roll into the winner’s circle.

• A topless cyclist has been terrorizing and/or tantalizing a California town for some time now.

LeBron James has no time for a photo-op with a lowly fan like you.

• Who would’ve though that women’s collegiate track & field relays would be so violent. Thank goodness Allison Stokke sticks to pole vaulting.

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FAKExclusive: Rasheed Wallace “Talks” to a Blog

Occasionally, Brooks pulls a few strings for us writers around here. When he does, we get the privilege of “speaking” with a real live athlete. It’s nice because it gets us out of our mother’s basements for a little bit. On the docket for today, Rasheed Wallace:

rasheed wallace open mouth

Last night’s huge come-from-behind victory was keyed by an equally huge third quarter performance by Rasheed Wallace. In that decisive third, Sheed had 10 points and 3 rebounds as the Pistons turned a 10 point deficit in to an 8 point lead. I was lucky enough to imagine talking to him about the game.

Interview after the jump. Read more…

Blog-A-Rhythm: Marv Albert Doing The Soulja Boy

• AWFUL ANNOUNCING shows Marv Albert doing the Soulja Boy - sort of.

Marv Albert Soulja Boy screen capture

• Michael David Smith of AOL FANHOUSE learns that has caught another NFL player in another potentially embarrassing situation - this time it’s Terrell Owens lurking around the “Bang Bus“.

• Not happy with the “DUI” chants aimed at Carmelo Anthony, FIRE GEORGE KARL retaliates with their top 10 reasons to hate Lakers fans.

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS keeps a stiff upper lip, as the D-Backs’ Eric Byrnes is bringing back the ’70s porn mustache.

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Blog-A-Roni: Tyson Can’t Punch Out Quick Promo

• YOU BEEN BLINDED has some good news for commercial announcers - Mike Tyson won’t be taking your job anytime soon.

Mike Tyson

• The TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL reports that the CFL’s Argonauts have become a halfway house for another NFL problem player. This time it’s David Boston.

• WE ARE THE POSTMEN hopes new Bucks coach Scott Skiles enjoys his time in Milwaukee - since many sports folks don’t seem to.

• 100% INJURY RATE finds Rasheed Wallace jokingly joining the Sixers’ team huddle - then missing the potential game-tying shot.

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