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43 posts from December 2005

December 31, 2005

Vote: A referendum on Larry Coker

Coker      Most Miami Hurricanes fans are disappointed by the 9-3 season just ended, all are sick over how it ended -- in Friday night's 40-3 Peach Bowl embarrassment against LSU -- and some are blaming coach Larry Coker.

     But how many? I'd like to know: What is your level of support right now for Coker after five seasons?

What best reflects your feeling on UM football coach Larry Coker?
Full support. Are you kidding? The man is 53-9.

Marginal support. Better see improvement next year or else.

Program is headed in wrong direction. UM should make a change.

December 30, 2005

A.J. Nicholson: Merely the latest

Aj_1      Florida State linebacker and leading tackler A.J. Nicholson, sent home from the Orange Bowl in the wake of an accusation of rape.  Miami receiver Ryan Moore, suspended by UM from the Peach Bowl for violating team policy. Texas players, investigated for allegations of burglary as the Rose Bowl approaches...

     The ill-timed carelessness of college football players is staggering. It's not a guilt/innocence issue. Not at first. It's a matter of a player, preparing for maybe the biggest game of his life, putting himself in a position to attract the wrong kind of attention.

     Nicholson may be not guilty of any crime; let's hope so. Hell, for all we know right now, his accuser may have been paid to accuse by a deranged Penn State booster. But Nicholson obviously put himself in a situation that left him vulnerable.

     The words of Bobby Bowden, discussing the matter of Nicholson and the like, ring, and echo. The words are naive, old-school, quaintly parental, and dead-on accurate: "If they'd do what they're supposed to do, it'd be alright. But..."

     But they sometimes don't, and then the sad headlines happen.

    

December 28, 2005

If you could ask Nick Saban one question

     You are standing next to Dolphins coach Nick Saban. You can ask him one question. About anything. What is it?

     I'll be the "media guest" at Saban's final radio show of the year tomorrow (Thursday, airing on 790 The Ticket) from 7-8 p.m. at Gatsby's in Davie, with a chance to fire a few questions at him -- and I'd like one to be from you.

     If you could ask Saban one question ... what would it be?

     I'll pick a combination of the the most interesting question that I think he'd actually answer, and put it to him.

     So. What's your question? Click on "comments" below and let me now.

December 27, 2005

Vote: 2005 Embarrassment of the Year

     They shame themselves. They are an embarrassment. They give sports a bad name. We wish they would go away, and yet, somehow, despite it all, they are a guilty pleasure we find perversely interesting.

     We invite you to help us name the 2005 Embarrassment of the Year from a following list of 10 finalists. Anyone receiving at least 25 percent of the vote will be inducted into the Random Evidence Hall of Lame, whose charter members are Jose Canseco, Pete Rose and Mike Tyson.

     Our '05 finalists are embossed by the contenders who were considered but judged unworthy of the final vote, including NHL union chief Bob Goodenow, me-agent Drew Rosenhaus, Temple goon-coach John Chaney and Onterrio (Whizzinator) Smith.   

     The 10 finalists, alphabetically, with qualifications:

2005 Embarrassment of the Year
RON ARTEST, Indiana Pacers -- Couldn't compete with his stellar '04 (The Brawl), but qualified on pure gall, demanding a trade of a team that stuck by him through his year's suspension

KURT BUSCH, NASCAR -- Reckless driving, impetulant disrespect, a two-race suspension. This was a defending champion? Made Tony Stewart seem saintly.

VICTOR CONDE, BALCO -- Sleezy head of a steroids empire (presently serving prison time) helped bring down baseball stars and Olympians.

CITY OF MIAMI / MARLINS -- You may have heard. City and team can't get together on a new stadium deal. City looks small, incompetent. Team has fire sale, threatens to move.

TERRELL OWENS, Philadelphia Eagles -- Star receiver publicly criticizes team and quarterback, accentuates me-first reputation, draws suspension, wrecks season.

RAFAEL PALMEIRO, Baseball -- Star tesifies indignantly before Congress (that he never used steroids, "period!"), only to soon be found to be a liar.

PANTHERS CHEERLEADERS, Football -- Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders found themselves arrested in a Tampa bar, after angering patrons by commandeering a bathroom to allegedly have sex in a stall.

KENNY ROGERS, Baseball -- The then-Texas Rangers pitcher assaulted cameramen trying to film him. Off hours in a restaurant? No. Pregame, on a field.

SEX-BOAT VIKINGS -- A couple of dozen Minnesota Vikings including QB Daunte Culpepper decided to spend their bye week in some debauchery on Lake Minnetonka.

LATRELL SPREWELL, Basketball -- Not up to his classic choke-my-coach standards, but he qualifies for turning down a $7 million-a-year offer with an indigant, "I've got to feed my family!"

December 26, 2005

The Heat's Sumo solution

Sumo      Apologies for the photo at left. Then again, if you're from South Florida, it probably is nothing worse than you've seen on Haulover Beach.

     Have you heard? Heat coach Pat Riley said -- kiddingly, thank God -- that he might deploy Japanese sumo wrestlers in practices to work against Shaquille O'Neal, to duplicate the physical pounding Shaq takes during games from defenders pushing into him.

     Here's an even better idea to help keep aggressive defenders off O'Neal's back.

     Have Shaq compete in games wearing one of those cheek-baring, sumo-styled diapers. Seriously. If you see Shaq wearing that, backing up at you, what are you going to do? Press up against him ... or run like hell?

For UM, Moore is less

     Bowl update. Miami's already depleted receiver corps is weakened by the suspension of Ryan Moore, and LSU announces starting quarterback JaMarcus Russell will not play in Friday's game.

     Welcome to the Chik-fil-Uh Oh! Peach Bowl.

     LSU's QB will be a sophomore and first-time starter, Matt Flynn, while the Canes are pretty much down to Sinorice Moss and a prayer in terms of hands.

     As for Moore's suspension, "violating team policy" is official-speak for "somehow, some way, at the worst time possible, you acted like a dumb ass."

What to make of the Heat?

     Pat Riley inherited (or seized, depending on your poInt of view) a project as much as a juggernaut. That Christmas Day win over the Lakers verified as much.

     Defensive problems remain. Beyond all of that, the best team in the NBA -- 21-3 Detroit -- stands in the Eastern Conference path (among others), even before you get to West beasts like San Antonio.

     Shaq vs. Kobe and Pat vs. Phil made Heat-Lakers the sexy holiday main course, but it was the appetizer, Detroit vs. San Antonio, where you found your championship preview based on current indications.

     So tell me. Why should Riley and the Heat -- right now -- be seen as anything more than a longshot, second tier, for a title?

December 24, 2005

The Year-End Dolphins Poll

     While watching the Dolphins win a fifth straight...

     'Twas the night before Christmas, and despite all the fog, I was here posting a Dolphins poll to the blog:

Who has been the Dolphins 2005 MVP?
Chris Chambers
Zach Thomas
Jason Taylor

Would you like to see Ricky Williams return or be traded?
Return
Be traded

Should Miami pursue Brett Favre if he becomes available?
Yes
No

Should the team try to sign Terrell Owens?
Yes
No

How would you rate Ronnie Brown's rookie year?
Excellent
Good
OK

What should be the Dolphins' No. 1 draft priority?
Offensive line
Quarterback
Secondary

December 22, 2005

Tragedy will make Colts better

Dungy      The strongest team in the NFL just got stronger.

      Emotionally stronger, tighter-knit stronger, driven stronger.

      Colts coach Tony Dungy's 18-year-old son, James, was found dead Thursday in his college apartment near Tampa, the grief compounded by the early word an apparent suicide was the cause.

      Any parent's worst fear is the worst possible tragedy whenever it occurs, but let alone on the eve of Christmas and in the midst of a fairy tale season in the father's professional life.

     From this, the Colts will be better in support of an immensely popular, respected coach -- one of the great guys in the NFL. A team cold in its efficiency has added a heart and been galvanized

     Suddenly the Colts are a team you root for as much as admire.

     Condolences to the Dungy family.

With three you get Pro Bowl

     Three quick observations on the three Dolphins who made the Pro Bowl:Jt

     Defensive end Jason Taylor. Solid pick. Great speed-rusher and offense-disrupter. He's in the conversation for most dominant DE in the post-Bruce Smith/Reggie White era. I don't see Jason as Hall of Fame stuff (the lack of team success hurts), but a few more Pro Bowls and he's a legit candidate.Jt2

     Linebacker Zach Thomas. Happy to hear it. Deserving. Helped by the injury-wrecked season of AFC perennial Ray Lewis, but deserving nonetheless. Like his brother-in-law, Zach was able to erase doubts whether he could adapt to a new role. Like his brother-in-law, Thomas is a longshot for Canton but has had (is having) a truly outstanding NFL career.Jt3

     Receiver Chris Chambers. A surprising pick, to me, but he got hot just in time to turn a somewhat underachieving season into the best of his still-ascending career.  Chambers has verified himself as a highlight-reel receiver, but let's see the past month played out over a whole season before we call him elite.

     I don't see any other Dolphins who deserved the Pro Bowl but were overlooked. Do you?