Tennessee men’s basketball coach, Bruce Perl, filed for divorce two days before his 25th wedding anniversary on the basis of “irreconcilable differences”. Took him a while to notice them, don’t you think. Normally, I would ignore that item because I really don’t care about the marital state of coaches; but this time there is an angle. A month or two ago, Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summitt, filed for divorce just before her 27th wedding anniversary. Now imagine if these two people were Hollywood celebs instead of basketball coaches and picture the tabloids’ obsession with them and how each of them may have “caused” the break-up of the other’s marriage. It won’t happen here because these folks aren’t famous enough even though Bruce Perl waved the proverbial red flag in front of the tabloid producers saying:
“This is a very difficult time for my family and me. It is my hope that everyone will understand that this is a personal matter and respect our privacy.”
Right on, Bruce. That usually calls the dogs off…
The way the MLB post season is set up, there are lots of off-days during the playoffs that lead to the World Series that will start on October 24. Someone calculated that if there is a sweep in the NLCS, the winner of that series would have eight off-days until the start of the World Series. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated observed that the San Diego Padres could start Jake Peavy and Chris Young in 10 games – including Games 1 & 2 of every series – and there would be only one three-day rest for either of them. Does this make a lot of sense to you? Is the pitching in MLB so diluted that the powers-that-be are actually trying to make the playoffs into games involving a two-man rotation?
The MLB playoffs have stretched into something that is too long. But perhaps NASCAR’s protracted “playoffs” will give them cover. Here’s Greg Cote’s take in the Miami Herald regarding NASCAR’s “Chase”:
“NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup, culminating in Homestead, is now underway and lasts 2 ½ months. It is believed to be the longest sports playoffs not involving ice.”
Speaking of concocted sporting “playoffs”, I assume that all of the golf fans in the world are now officially into mourning and introspection since the Fed Ex Cup is over and done with. How will they manage to adjust?
In the world of college football, the Sun Belt Conference has long been a group of teams highly sought after by big schools to pad the schedules of the big schools. The Sun Belt teams are Division 1-A, but they rarely pose any real threat to the “big boys”. Well, this year the Sun Belt has two upset wins over BCS Conference schools. Troy beat Oklahoma State and Florida Atlantic beat Minnesota. Could there be more? Well, Arkansas State plays Tennessee this weekend… The oddsmakers in Las Vegas aren’t believers because the Vols are 20 point favorites.
Obviously, the NFL fans in Cincy had to be stunned and even a bit angry when the Bengals gave up 51 points to the Browns last Sunday in a loss. However, I think there had to be rumblings of discontent elsewhere in NFL fandom. The Dallas Cowboys own the Browns’ first round pick in the 2008 draft and every loss by the Browns means a higher pick for the Cowboys. Not only was last week’s game a victory for the Browns but an offensive display of 51 points against any team above the Ivy League level has to give Cowboy fans pause. Many of them were fantasizing about the overall #1 pick in the draft next April; now they look at the Falcons performances so far and wonder if that Cleveland pick will even be in the top five. The draftniks in Dallas probably have a severe case of agida this week.
Two NFL “battles of the unbeatens” this weekend could be interesting games. San Francisco meets Pittsburgh in one of them. It’s not a huge shock that the Steelers are undefeated so far having had to play Buffalo and Cleveland in the first two weeks. It’s a bit surprising that the Niners are undefeated at this point because they have won two games without having been able to move the ball offensively or score very many points. And these two teams have won ten Super Bowls between them – that’s 25% of the championships that have been contested. If this game is available in my viewing area, I’ll definitely be dropping in to watch stretches of it.
The other “battle of the unbeatens” matches Indy and Houston. For the Colts to have won the opening two games is not a surprise; for the Texans it is a shock. In team history, the Texans have never started a season 2-0. Counting last year’s regular season, the Texans have now won three games in a row and they’ve never done that either. With Andre Johnson probably hors de combat this weekend, the Texans would be wise to try to make this a low scoring game. And maybe the way to do that is to forget watching lots of Indy game tapes and focus on the last three times the Colts played the Tennessee Titans. In those last three games against the Titans, the Colts have averaged only 17.6 points per game. That’s the defense Houston will need to play to keep this game close.
I got the following in an e-mail from a reader without a citation as to where it was printed, so I can’t provide a proper citation. Dan Jenkins – the legendary Texas sportswriter and connoisseur of golf and football – supposedly had this to say about Michael Vick’s finding religion as he awaits notice regarding his sentence for dogfighting. I do not know Dan Jenkins but I have read many, many of his writings and this surely sounds like something he would have written/said:
“I’m so pleased Michael Vick found Jesus. I remember when Bonnie and Clyde found Jesus. It was during those moments when Ranger Captain Frank Hamer was peppering their car with machine-gun bullets. I also remember when John Dillinger found Jesus. It was just after he walked out of the Biograph Theatre in Chicago and federal officer Melvin Purvis said, ‘Hold it right there, Johnny.’ “
Finally, here’s a comment from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times regarding Michael Vick:
“Latest Michael Vick rumor: OK so he did bet on dogfights – but just the ones Tim Donaghy officiated.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…