Speed Read: Playoffs Ruin The Regular Season?

One of the arguments I’ve heard over and over about keeping the current BCS system in college football is that a playoff would make the regular season irrelevant. Why get fired up about USC losing to Oregon State if they are still going to make it into the playoffs? The traditionalists, conference heads and Beano Cook all agree that college football already has a playoff called the regular season, and a postseason playoff would only tarnish it and make it unimportant.

Michigan State players react to Northwestern loss

Allow me to offer a counter argument based on last night’s college basketball results. Go tell the Northwestern basketball fans (and yes, they do exist) that the regular season doesn’t matter because it’s all about March Madness. In what might be the greatest day in Northwestern basketball history (and possibly the only great day in Northwestern basketball history), the Wildcats beat No. 7 Michigan State 70-63, their first win at East Lansing since 1984.

Or, go ask Virginia Tech fans if they are excited about knocking off No. 1 Wake Forest 78-71, handing the Demon Deacons their first loss of the season (that is if you can get them off the court.) Or Clemson fans how they feel about their team extending their record at North Carolina to 0-54 after getting shellacked 94-70 by the Tar Heels in a match-up of Top Ten teams.

But clearly, nobody cares about college basketball until March, which is why ESPN has about 500 games on a night across their vast network of channels. Seriously, this logic is as flawed as the BCS system itself - college basketball is thriving because of March Madness, not in spite of it, and nights like last night serve as a pretty stark reminder why.

The NBA also has a playoff at the end of the regular season, and people seem to be watching that as well (at least the final three minutes or so of games). And it was a pretty fun night there, too, if not as upset-filled. For example, the Lakers beating the Clippers 108-97? Not a surprise.

Andrew Bynum

But Andrew Bynum going off for 42 points and 15 rebounds? Big surprise. The Lakers are already among the league’s elite teams. If they get anything resembling that kind of production from Bynum on a regular basis, it’s a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA.

Here’s the other sports news you missed last night as you were still stuck in traffic trying to get back from the Presidential Inauguration:

  • With all the great basketball finishes last night, the best one was certainly in the SMU vs. Marshall game, where Markel Humphrey made a 75-foot shot as time expired to give the Thundering Herd a 53-50 victory. WSAZ-TV has the story and video.
  • Marshall player Markel Humphrey

  • You might remember the Greek basketball team Olympiakos when they lured Josh Childress from the Hawks and made a big money offer to Kobe Bryant. Now NEWSDAY is saying that they have contacted the Knicks about getting Stephon Marbury out of his contract and over to their team. I wonder if they buy cheap sneakers in Athens, too.
  • Rod Marinelli isn’t bitter at the Detroit media. No, not at all. MLIVE.COM says the new defensive line coach for the Bears greeted some male Detroit writers who approached him at the Senior Bowl with a curt “Hello, Ladies” before ignoring them. Needless to say, a women’s sports group has already squeezed an apology out of him. Hey, he might not like the Detroit media, but at least he didn’t steal their luggage.
  • Ever see the scores of one of those ridiculous high school basketball blowouts and wonder what it feels like to be unceremoniously thrashed? The DALLAS MORNING NEWS talks to the players on the Dallas Academy’s girls basketball team after their 100-0 loss on Tuesday to find out.
  • OK, I understand that Stanford might be having budget woes, as INSIDE BAY AREA reports. But they have a squash team? What’s next, racquetball? Kickball?
  • I imagine being a ball boy is a rough job - physically demanding, pressure-filled, and having to deal with your friends’ jokes about your job title. So what you probably don’t need is to take a forehand to the head, like STUFF NEW ZEALAND says this poor kid did at the Australian Open:
  • After getting ripped by Troy Aikman, who said that he didn’t “fully grasp what being the Cowboys quarterback is all about,” Tony Romo tells the DALLAS MORNING NEWS that he has vowed to change his leadership style in 2009. The first step: personally delivering a Singapore-style caning to anyone who speaks to Ed Werder.
  • With Charles Barkley having exited the broadcast booth (temporarily or permanently), it’s fallen on Chris Webber and Gary Payton to pick up the slack of slightly insane basketball analysts, and they are doing a fair job of it. NESW SPORTS has video of them slamming Nene for getting married over the All-Star break, which devolves into suggesting that Dwight Howard dunk over him and his bride. Good stuff.
  • In yet another example of the failing economy intruding into the protective bubble we call sports, the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER reports that the Browns have laid off 18 employees, including their Director of Media Relations. Perhaps Rod Marinelli could handle a second job?
  • A high school basketball coach in Philadelphia tells the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS that he doesn’t blame his player who sucker punched him in the back of the head following a close loss, but feels for him. If only my old boss was so forgiving after I kneed him in the groin after he cost us the Putnam Electronics deal.

What was last night’s most shocking college basketball upset?

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Rob Parker Joins Marinelli In Unemployment Line

If you live outside of Michigan, you probably know DETROIT NEWS columnist Rob Parker as the idiot who asked then-Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli after a typically ugly loss if he “wishes his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator,” (Marinelli’s son-in-law was also his defensive coordinator), drawing the ire of the nation. Local fans knew this was just one in a series of self-aggrandizing, idiotic escapades showing his lack of journalistic integrity. Either way, chance are you think he’s a total sleaze.

Rob Parker's next stop

If so, then the WORLD OF ISSAC has great news for you: they’ve confirmed that Parker is no longer with the paper. The DN’s managing editor has said that Parker “resigned,” which is a nice way to say “canned” without violating any terms of a contract buy-out. And his name has been removed from the paper’s list of columnists.

Video of the infamous press conference (and the Fox NFL crew’s reaction) are after the jump:

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Jets, Browns, Lions All Cut Their Losses, Coaches

Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel & Rod Marinelli get to join all the other out-of-work folks on the unemployment line.

Eric Mangini Romeo Crennel Rod Marinelli

• Meanwhile, it took until the very last weekend of the season, but the NFL playoff picture is finally set.

• Guilt by association: A fan says he was removed from an NFL stadium just because he was rooting for the Raiders.

• A one-armed basketball prospect is hoping for a chance to jump onto an Ivy League roster.

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Former N.E. Coaches Mangini, Crennel Take Fall

The NFL coaching carousel has it’s first official shocking offseason casualty: Eric Mangini. According to PROFOOTBALLTALK and, shortly thereafter, FOX SPORTS’ Jay Glazer, the Jets dumped the former Patriots defensive coordinator after the Jets dropped their final two games with a playoff berth on the line.

eric mangini
(Guess who has more time to attend Lupus Research fundraisers!)

The move is one of three head coach firings on “Black Monday”, with the more expected falls of Browns head man Romeo Crennel and Lions coach Rod Marinelli also receiving post Christmas pink slips.

The move was a surprise, particularly after the Jets midseason surge that had many heralding the official arrival of the glory years of a Mangini-Mike Tannenbaum era.

“For the current New York Jets organization, we’ve made the decision to move on,” owner Woody Johnson, who was reportedly ‘visibly upset and agitated after Sunday’s loss’ said at a news conference Monday morning. “It’s a judgment call.”

The move doesn’t say much about Johnson’s truthfulness, after the owner pledged last March that Mangini and Tannenbaum would “absolutely” be back in 2009.

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Speed Read: Donovan McNabb Gets Tongue-Tied

If you didn’t know by now, the NFL has a state-of-the-art website with lots of features, not excluding a standings page. Right there on the left we have a ‘W,’ ‘L,’ and ‘T.’ There they are. Win, loss, and tie. Donovan McNabb doesn’t need the NFL.com website to see what’s going on in the standings. He knows who has how many wins and losses. But what if, say, his Eagles are tied 13-13 with the Bengals after an overtime frame?

Donovan McNabb tie game lesson

Why, the game ends in a tie, of course. But McNabb — this has to be a fake video, according to my tentative faith in humanity — didn’t know ties were a rule in the NFL. Moreover, he said, “I hate to see what would happen in the Super Bowl and in the playoffs.” We here at SbB obtained exclusive footage of the reporters in the press conference:

FACEPALM

All he knew was that “the game would continue until someone scored”, which in all fairness is I think what the referee does say prior to every overtime rule. The striped men never mention the possibility of a tie, and perhaps McNabb thought those were the complete rules of overtime. That’s the only possible reason I can use to defend McNabb’s ignorance.

But if I’m playing all-time lawyer, I can turn around and say that one the last teams to play in a tie game — the 2002 Atlanta Falcons — played McNabb’s Eagles in the playoffs that year. Your witness, me.

I now call to the stand: Jimmie Johnson.

Jimmie Johnson

It’s probably the most under-represented major sport on the Internet, but Johnson has won three straight championships in the Sprint Cup, something only Cale Yarborough has done in NASCAR’s top level of racing. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED lists the five reasons he won, omitting everything except the Cubs-esque Kyle Busch implosion. Oh, and his crew is already looking ahead to a fourth straight Cup in 2009. This could be Lance Armstrong-type stuff here.

Manny

And now we move onto news that could have happened but didn’t so it’s even bigger news. ESPN’s primadonna-following minstrel Pedro Gomez reports that if the Boston Red Sox weren’t able to trade Manny Ramirez, the Sawx probably would have suspended him. But they didn’t suspend him, and they ended up trading him. But we’re just finding out about this now, so we’re interested now. And even though we didn’t know this then, we knew there was tension between Ramirez and the Red Sox, so this news changes nothing about any of our premonitions of Ramirez or the Red Sox or Belgian waffles. Because Belgian waffles rule.

Waffles

Seriously, you can’t tell me that those waffles would be immediately eaten by you if they were on your plate instead of whatever stale, bland breakfast you pulled out of a wrapper this morning. Look at ‘em. All sugary and waffly and full of compartments where syrup can collect, and then you can put different syrups in different compartments because you’re OCD and need to have organized delicious breakfasts. You’re pretty sure if Brooks took photographs of beautiful waffles in exotic locales — many with big, bountiful “compartments” — his business would take off and go mainstream. You’re going to skip work and head out to IHOP right now, aren’t you?

See? I made you forget about Manny Ramirez and the Red Sox, and you are happier for it. My work here is done.

Troy Polamalu runs

Check that. My work actually isn’t done. There are still links to visit. All of them. Click on every single one. Full disclosure: I do not get a bonus for that.

Do you like ties in the NFL?

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Le Batard Sides With Fox On ESPN Story Boycott

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Jay Glazer’s report on Fox-TV about Brett Favre providing tips on the Packers to the Lions early this season. Since the report came out, there’s been lotsa discussion about it’s veracity. (Favre has denied it.)

Dan Le Batard Jay Glazer

And now Mike Florio at PRO FOOTBALL TALK is reporting that ESPN is not allowing on-air staffers to report the story - claiming that the tip by Glazer isn’t true. (Bristol also recently released a statement on why the net isn’t covering it.)

Who do you believe in Brett Favre’s “Lionsgate”?

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Well that, as you might expect, didn’t sit well with Glazer. So he went on ESPNer Dan Le Batard’s radio show in Miami (on 790 The Ticket) to address the situation. Read more…

Yeah, Brett, We Get It - You Like Shooting Things

• What’s more hilarious than showing up at practice and noticing that Brett Favre has put a dead animal in your locker? Reportedly it was a wild turkey, but usually when dead things end up stuffed in lockers in New Jersey, it’s not something to laugh about.

Brett Favre hunting

Ozzie Guillen is in love with a certain team on the south side…of the country.

Misty May-Treanor can win gold medals running around on a beach, but she can’t physically keep up in a competition that still includes Cloris Leachman. So now the well-endowed lawyer’s daughter is back in.

Vladimir Putin released a DVD to teach you about Judo. Next in the series of world leader instructional DVDs: Robert Mugabe’s ground-breaking series of curling lessons.

• Even Frank Caliendo has had enough of the Frank TV ads. And he’s the star of the show.

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Rod Marinelli Isn't Quitting, Nor Making Any Sense

You’re at the helm of an 0-4 team — one of the biggest embarrassments in all of football — and the guy who hired you just got axed last week, to the great joy of anyone who’s ever cheered for your team. Kyle Orton just destroyed you on Sunday. It’s probably a pretty good time to just cut your losses and move to Montana.

Rod Marinelli

But that’s not what Rod Marinelli does. In fact, he pretty much hates you for even suggesting that as a possibility. He’ll play Drew Stanton if he has to, but dude is not giving up. And he has no problem sounding like a complete babbling lunatic in proving it to you.

The DETROIT FREE PRESS has some choice quotes after the jump.
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