With Barry Bonds now under indictment, there is a good chance he will stand trial on the perjury/obstruction of justice charges. We can all wait to see what evidence his lawyer presents in the case to make our own judgments as to whether or not he is guilty of perjury/obstruction of justice or not; I would imagine that it would not be in Bonds’ best interest to drag out the procedures here too much if he has any idea that he wants to play baseball any more. Time will tell. Additionally, if there is a trial, we may get an ancillary benefit from it. In testimony, we may learn who actually did leak the grand jury information to the two SF Chronicle reporters thereby kicking this snowball over the cliff.
Oregon lost to Arizona last night on national TV ending any realistic chance it had regarding the BCS Championship Game and perhaps killing its hopes to play in the Rose Bowl. A first half injury to Dennis Dixon leading to Brady Leaf – Ryan’s little brother – playing QB for the rest of the night sealed Oregon’s fate. I don’t want to gloat about yet another #2 team going down to defeat or to hint that Oregon and/or Dixon did not deserve their ranking; Oregon with Dennis Dixon at QB is a very good football team. However, something happened after the game that demands a comment.
After the game was over – very late here on the East Coast – I was winding down by watching SportsCenter. Eventually, they got to the Oregon/Arizona game that ESPN had just televised and had extensive highlight clips. I wasn’t paying the strictest of attention because I had just seen the game but one of the talking heads – speaking over the video tape so I do not know which one it was – said something about Dennis Dixon’s performance prior to his injury. If I heard it correctly – no, I did not record it – I think he said that Dennis Dixon looked like a man playing with boys. On the assumption that I heard that correctly; and remember, I said I was not paying strict attention here:
Memo to ESPN Editors: In the modern parlance, the phrase “man playing with boys” has an extraordinarily negative connotation. Please assure your on-air folks replace that with “man playing against boys” or “man amongst boys”.
If I heard that incorrectly, then I apologize to ESPN for my error – but continue to suggest that my memo to them has merit on its own.
Speaking of college football, I noted some bad games coming up this weekend in yesterday’s rant. Allow me to add the New Mexico State/Utah State game to the list. Utah State is 0-10 for the season – one of only two winless Division 1-A teams this year. New Mexico State has lost three in a row and two of them were by 5 TDs. That game will be a real treat…
In NFL matters, I read that Oakland Raiders fans “booed relentlessly” last weekend when Josh McCown played QB in the Raiders’ loss at home to Houston. This week the Raiders play Minnesota – in what ought to be a miserable game to have to watch – and the word is that Duante Culpepper will get the start against his former team. With half a season behind them, the Raiders’ braintrust has to have at least an inkling that McCown/Culpepper is not the future of a successful franchise. So, I take from the fact that JaMarcus Russell is still assigned to clipboard duty and baseball cap wearing the following:
His month-and-a-half holdout from training camp has rendered him useless for this season. When/if he gets to start later this year, the Raiders’ season will already have been delivered to the septic tank.
The other “bad game” on the NFL menu for the weekend involves the other Bay Area team. The Niners play the Rams; there was a time when the two games a year between those teams were intense rivalry games of importance. This weekend the combined record of these two teams is 3-15. How far have the Niners fallen? The Rams are 3 point favorites on the road with a 1-8 record for the season. Yowza!
Since the Rams won last weekend, that gives Miami control over who will get the overall #1 pick in next year’s NFL draft. In the history of the Dolphins’ franchise, they have had the overall #1 pick only one time. That was in their first year of existence when the expansion franchise received the first pick in the draft as part of the deal for paying the entrance fee to the old AFL.
The Dolphins play the Eagles this week and set up an interesting dynamic for the Eagles. In their next two games, Eagles’ opponents have a combined record at the moment of 9-9. The Dolphins are 0-9; the Patriots are 9-0. Despite the combined records, the Eagles will not be laying two mediocre teams in the next two weeks…
The best NFL games this weekend should be:
Giants/Lions: Both teams would be NFC wild card teams if the playoffs happened now; both are two games behind in their division races; both need this game.
Browns/Ravens: Always a rivalry game, the Ravens have enjoyed the upper hand in the series. But the Browns look like a team on the rise and the Ravens look like a team headed south. Have they passed by each other yet?
Chargers/Jaguars: The Chargers lead their sorry-assed division by only a game and have looked less than fearsome much of the year. The Jags are tied for second in their division – one game behind the Colts. Both need this game.
Pats/Bills: A rivalry game from back in the AFL days, the Bills have won four in a row and would love to knock the Pats off that “unbeaten perch”. It’s not likely to happen, but the game might be interesting.
Do you realize that when the Carolina Panthers take the field in Green Bay this weekend, there is a real possibility that Brett Favre will be the “young gun” QB on the field? That doesn’t happen all that often for Favre any more…
As of this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense ranks first in rushing defense, passing defense and total defense. That is not something that happens all that often; in fact the last time it happened was in 1991 when the Eagles defense led by Reggie White hit that trifecta for the season. Now you’ve probably been conditioned to expect that the 1991 Eagles would have been serious Super Bowl contenders in that year because “defense wins championships” – - right?
Well, the Eagles of 1991 didn’t even make the playoffs. They had a 10-6 record for the year, but that wasn’t good enough. A great defense – and that Eagles’ defense was one of the great ones – can carry a team a long way. But when it has to carry the team and a coaching staff headed up by Richie Kotite, even a great defense won’t be enough.
Finally, here’s an observation from Scott Ostler in the San Francisco Chronicle about Barry Bonds:
“Barry Bonds says he would boycott his own Hall of Fame induction. That should win him some votes. I will give Bonds this: The Hall of Fame people are idiots for accepting the asterisk ball, unless they’re going to rename the place The Baseball Hall of Fame and Carnival Sideshow. I can’t wait to see the Ted Williams exhibit.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…