Normally, I save any commentary regarding MNF for the Mythical Picks exposition later in the week. However, last night’s game demands a comment. The Bears and the Niners are on the very short list for “Best Team In The NFC”. Last night, the Niners administered a total beat down to the Bears. The 25-point difference in the score did not come close to representing the dominance of the Niners in this game. It was not until only 7 minutes remained in the game when the Bears reached a net total of 100 yards on offense. Ladies and gentlemen, that was an ass-kicking kind of game…

The University of Tennessee fired Coach Derek Dooley after last weekend’s loss. Dooley took over a program that was a mess and at best, he tidied up a bit around the edges. The telling numbers regarding his firing are these:

    Tennessee is 1-14 in its last 15 SEC games.

Back in 2008, Tennessee fans and boosters just could not abide Phil Fulmer for another moment and forced him out. They got what they wanted in the immediate term but the fact is that neither Lane Kiffin nor Derek Dooley did Tennessee proud. Now the word is that Tennessee covets Jon Gruden to take over the program. I have two comments on that:

    1. Lord knows that I do not like Jon Gruden with a microphone attached to his lapel so I would certainly welcome his departure from the ESPN broadcast booth.

    2. If Gruden were to hint ever so obliquely that he was ready to leave TV, he would have at least 3 NFL teams in hot pursuit. Why would he consider Tennessee?

The word is that Maryland and Rutgers are joining the Big 10, which should now be the Big 14. I can see why both teams would be thrilled to move from their current conferences to the Big 10 but I must say that I cannot understand why the Big 10 wants either school.

Football is the big hammer in collegiate athletics in terms of money and neither Maryland nor Rutgers is a “football school”. If you want a ticket to a Maryland football game, you can walk up and buy one 20 minutes before kickoff. In terms of “local interest”, Maryland is the featured game in a prime TV slot in the DC area about once every five years. I do not have personal experience with Rutgers football except to say that I have seen Rutgers play on television more than a few times and I never recall thinking that the stands were full to overflowing. Here is the best justification I can come up with for Big 10 interest in Maryland and Rutgers:

    These schools are geographically close to NYC, Philly, Baltimore and DC. If at some time the Big 10 provides enough of an attraction, perhaps those cities will begin to follow Big 10 football – and other sports too of course – and that would allow the Big Ten Network to get a higher cable fee from cable TV providers in those large market cities.

I know; that is a stretch. However, it is the best I can come up with.

I ran across this item in Gregg Drinnan’s column in the Kamloops Daily News over the weekend:

“The New York Giants won the Super Bowl. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series. The Yomiuri Giants won the Japanese World Series.”

I am sensing a trend here:

    Look for They Might Be Giants to win a Grammy.

    The pro ‘rassling folks will come up with someone they can pretend is the son of Andre the Giant.

    Bet on Goliath if he can get a rematch.

In terms of prescience, consider this item that I found in Bob Molinaro’s Saturday column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot – before the college football games of the day had kicked off:

“Whoa: There’s every chance not just one, but two of the polls’ top three – Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame – will lose a game, so let’s not be too quick to dismiss Alabama from the BCS conversation.”

Whoa, indeed…

Bill Simmons of ESPN.com and Grantland pulls no punches in his assessment of Gary Bettman as Commissioner of the NHL:

“Gary Bettman needs to step down. No, we can’t impeach him. Yes, we can continue to excoriate him. He’s the worst commissioner in sports history, and really, it’s going to remain that way unless Roger Goodell extends the NFL’s season to 20 games, adds Wednesday- and Friday-night football to the schedule, pays a hitman to murder Jonathan Vilma, and gets outed for having a heated affair with his biographer, Peter King . . . and even then, I’d probably still give the edge to Bettman.”

Speaking tangentially of Roger Goodell, recall that he said earlier this year that he could envision a time when there were several games a year played in London and perhaps even a franchise located there. On the assumption that he was serious and not just posturing, allow me to make a suggestion to The Commish as a way to test the waters here:

    Schedule four of Jacksonville’s eight home games in a season in London. Here are the benefits of doing that:

      This will give an indication if there is enough interest to draw capacity crowds more than once a year in London.

      This will have to increase the Jax attendance figures and increase team and league revenue since Jax cannot draw flies at home.

      This will also test the degree of difficulty for the Jags and their four opponents to handle trans-Atlantic trips to play football games in the event that there is a franchise in London someday.

Just trying to be helpful here…

Finally, here is something I found in Greg Cote’s column in the Miami Herald:

“FIU and FAU, a combined 5-15, battled for the Shula Bowl trophy Friday night. Anybody else think it strange that the NFL’s all-time winningest coach is aligned with these schools? Sort of like the Sir Laurence Olivier Regional Dinner Theatre.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • David Egbert  On November 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    It’s all about the Big Ten networks and trying to get east coast subscribers. As a UW graduate, I am totally p….d about this move. It ruins the Big Ten. Delany is the Bud Selig of college football!

  • Doug  On November 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Today I read that Ga Tech might be #15 and Delany will try to lure ND to be the final piece of the 16 team puzzle. The common thread in all this is money. Rutgers, MD and GT all need it, and the BTN hopes those big TV markets will generate more than they have to dish out in shares to the newcomers. I am doubtful.

    Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago the 49ers laid an egg against the Giants and we were talking about how bad they were on offense? This NFL season gets increasingly weird as the season goes on. The Falcons and the Texans are 9-1 and don’t really look like the two best teams. Yet, they keep winning.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 21, 2012 at 9:22 am


      Notre Dame makes sense for the Big 10; it always has. It is in the right geographical area and it fits the “academic image” the Big 10 likes to promulgate.

      Ga Tech has the “academic image” but it is in the wrong place and – at least in football – it does not have “gravitas”. However, of the ACC schools (other than Notre Dame which is a faux ACC school) Ga Tech makes more sense than most others.

      I still do not see why the Big 10 cares even a little bit about Maryland or Rutgers…

  • Rich  On November 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

    With all those Giant triumphs, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk) should be concerned…..

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On November 21, 2012 at 9:40 am


      Agree. Parlay the Giant over Jack (and the Beanstalk) with Goliath over David in a rematch…

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