Colt McCoy played a pathetic game against Nebraska today, and if he wins the Heisman I will no longer consider it a legitimate award.

Nebraska was literally one second from winning. I really wanted Texas out. Such a dagger.

We were so close to getting either TCU or Cincinnati into the BCS title game, but instead Boise, Cincy and the Frogs will all get screwed as Texas and Alabama go to the big game. I'm sorry, Alabama was very impressive today, but you can't tell me that those other three teams wouldn't have a chance to play with Texas, especially TCU which destroyed two ranked teams and won at Clemson this year.

Once again, college football really stinks. On a day where the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country played and there were three other games - UCONN-USF, Texas-Nebraska, Clemson-Georgia Tech - that went down to the wire, all we're left with is a feeling of emptiness as the computers (think about that) will likely put two powerhouses in the title game.

How is that the college football hasn't been able to create a better system than this? I won't consider watching anything but the title game, and even that's a sham, because again, three undefeated, very good teams are left out in the cold. Yawn.

Playing 5 on 8

I'm watching St. John's (the closest thing I have to a rooting interest in college bball) play at Duke, and the Johnnies really are playing against Duke and the refs. I mean Duke gets every freakin' call. It's pathetic.

Duke is better than St. John's, I'm sure they would win the game fairly easily even if they weren't playing on Coach K Court. But do they have to call an offensive foul on any St. John's player who enters the paint?

I can't wait to hear Duke Vitale talk about how good Kyle Singler is, when I'm sure by the end of this year he won't even be the best player on the team.


In what can only be described as a combination of stupidity and just plan weirdness, the Vikings have had another player get pulled over doing upwards of 100 mph.

Two days after Adrian Peterson got nailed going 109 in a 55, WR Bernard Berrian got stopped crawling along at 104.

I'm not going to go crazy with this, because my driving record is far from perfect. Like New York to Hong Kong far from perfect. But going that fast really is a little crazy. I only say that because often times when someone is pulled over it's because they either don't realize how fast they're going or the road is so open they just try to push a little too hard. There is no way, however, that a person could be doing over 100 and not realize it.

In a weird way, I think this relates to the culture of football players. I think guys like Berrian and Peterson probably feel pretty close to invincible. I can't really blame them for that, because they're young guys making a ton of money in a sport they excel at (this goes double for Peterson) despite its brutality. But these guys aren't invincible, in fact they've proven to be more vulnerable than most.

The new concussion rule is a positive step for the league, and it shows an effort to help protect its players. Still, an astounding 78 percent of players are broke or close to it within TWO YEARS of retiring from football. The culture has to change. I know the NFL tries to get these guys to think about their futures, but it has to try harder. Somehow, some way the league has to get through to these guys that if they're not careful life after football is going to hit them like a defensive end from the blind side.

Maybe it's a stretch to connect speeding tickets to the myriad problems NFL players have when their careers end. Maybe not. All I know is these players have to start thinking long-term, whether it's on the road or at the bank.

Notre Shame

The Golden Domers put forth another disgraceful display. Only this time, it came off the field.

Notre Dame announced yesterday that its football team will opt not to play in a bowl game, even though the team is "bowl eligible" with its pitiful 6-6 record (The criteria for being bowl eligible is the subject for another rip another time, but for now, I'll stick with skewering the Flighting Irish). Notre Dame hadn't locked into a specific game yet, but you can be sure they would have gotten into a better one than they deserved based on their gigantic fan base.

Seriously, who does Notre Dame think it is? The team has been mediocre for nearly two decades but yet it seemingly considers itself too good to show its face in the GMAC Bowl?

I guess playing in the postseason is old hat for this team after that monumental victory over Hawaii in last year's, you guessed it, Hawaii Bowl. Nevermind the fact that the Irish had lost nine straight bowl games before that, an incredibly anemic span stretching all the way back to 1995.

In other words, get over yourself Notre Dame! You're not a big deal anymore!

What makes this story even more distasteful is the fact that the players themselves had a say in this. This pervasive sense of unwarranted entitlement must have spread all the way down as the team took a vote in the past week.

Don't you have to question the mindset of a squad of college-aged kids that wouldn't want to take a group trip somewhere, get a lot of free stuff and get cheered on by screaming coeds to go play a football game on national TV? Man, am I thankful I don't have to do that.

Maybe Charlie Weis wasn't such a bad coach after all. Maybe his team was just a bunch of spoiled brats.

Well, check that. It was obviously a combination of those factors and others since Weis clearly stinks when running the show. He knows how to put up points (It helps to have Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate -- best name in sports?), but when it comes to everything else, he is as lost as they come.

I would say I wish I could watch the fat fraud lose one more time, but he's already gone anyway. Hopefully, the football program will ditch its snotty attitude next.


Empty Nets

I tried to give them a break for as long as possible, but tonight I have to touch on the Nets. New Jersey already broke the record for consecutive losses to start a season, and now they're trailing the Bobcats at halftime.

They had a lot of bad injuries early in the year, but now the Nets have most of their guys back. I had the Nets over 28.5 wins in a pool, and that's over. I mean, can they win a freakin' game already? How long is this gonna go on? 0-40? 0-50? A team with Brooke Lopez and Devin Harris should not be this bad.

Update: Hey, they got one!

Get off the road

It's time to get on my high horse. Preacher Norwood Buckner is here ready to pass judgment.

For the past week, we've been subjected to all the various critiques about Tiger Woods. Is it interesting? I guess to a point. His clean image and role model status took a hit...and he hurt his family. Deeply. That was about the extent of the damage.

But I'm way more bothered by Adrian Peterson getting pulled over for going 108 mph.

It's not only his reckless act that bothers me...it's that this won't get the type of attention that it deserves.

His cavalier attitude is also disgusting. He said, "I got a little speeding ticket. I need to be more aware of the speed I was going and not let it happen again."

Try again. Something like this: "I apologize for being reckless. To be going that fast is absolutely unacceptable. I'm embarrassed. I feel lucky no one was hurt. It will never happen again."

We won't hear much more about this story. Speeding tickets aren't juicy. It's not as good as Ron Artest drinking booze at games or Tim Lincecum smoking a joint.

Adrian Peterson put innocent lives at risk. 108 mph? Ridiculous. Criminal.

Sheriff Roger Goodell suspended Shaun Ellis for a game this season for using pot. Adrian Peterson should get more than that.

(He won't.)

No mo' Mangino

Well, it turns out a coach can't use the near-death of a loved one as a threat to motivate one of his players. Who knew?

Thankfully, we found out today that one of the biggest snakes in college football is gone. Mark Mangino has resigned as the coach at Kansas.

Read those last two sentences over. To rank someone among the top snakes in college football is saying something, considering the likes of Bobby "Turncoat" Petrino, Nick "The Backdoor Negotiator" Saban and Urban "Fleece My School for Every Last Penny" Meyer still roam sidelines across the country.

But let's be real. If Mangino never resigned, maybe he'd have some (severely-indented) ground to stand on. Once he skips Lawrence, he has basically admitted many of the allegations against him were true, and boy were they doozies.

I will not bore you with the whole laundry list, just the dirtiest, most disgusting item, one allegation I sincerely hope is not true but will repeat for your reading pleasure.

After watching former wideout Raymond Brown drop a pass in practice, Mangino had this delightful response to an apologetic Brown: "'Shut up!' He said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies."

This is the story Brown told ESPN.com's Joe Schad last week. Brown happens to be the same guy whose younger brother had been shot in St. Louis. Oh, that silly Mangino.

So, to Mangino, the man with more chins than the Octomom's nursery, goodbye and good riddance.

Yes, the eateries in greater Kansas will miss you, but we sure won't.

UPDATE: Oops. Missed another story about Scum-gino's madness. The Raymond Brown story shows the coach's lack of humanity. This story proves it in another way entirely. Disgusting.


Feelings hurt?

Eli Manning acknowledged that he indeed signed his name in the visiting locker room at the Cowboys' new stadium in the Giants' visit there earlier this season.

Now the Cowboys are upset. Awww. Poor wittle babies.

Get out.

A team that has consistently harbored the biggest jerks, phonies and idiots (this side of Oakland and Cincinnati, anyway) shouldn't throw stones in its new glass palace.

Wade Phillips didn't approve of Eli's John Hancock.

"Things tend to come around in this league," the consistently over-matched coach said.

What things would those be, Wade? Maybe he was referring to the dirty leg-whip that snake Flozell Adams put on Justin Tuck in Week 2. Or maybe he was referring to the fact that his mediocre coaching usually "comes around" to dagger the Cowboys in December and January.

I'm a Yankee-hater, but when baseball season ends the Cowboys do a nice job of filling in as the object of my antipathy.

Privacy for Tiger? Never

So through three skanky mistresses, three prepared statements and one crumpled SUV, the best golfer outside of Kim Jong-Il asks that we, the sporting public, do him one simple deed: respect his privacy.

Check that. He put it better.

"But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family," a statement on Tiger Woods' website reads. "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions."

Should it? Should a famous man who runs afoul on his marriage be forced to plead at the feet of fans? No, probably not. But apparently Woods has been too busy having his shaft shined the last two decades to realize this is how celebrity works.

The man's success and fame has been equaled in sports by just three men, guys named Ruth, Ali and Jordan. For a legend of that ilk, privacy is the fountain of youth, a figment he'll never see no matter how long he waits, no matter how many Bermuda-sand bunkers he sifts through to find it.

Woods struck this deal shortly after he began to shave, once he became an August star on NBC at 18, once ol' Earl compared him to men like Ghandi and once the kid himself waxed poetic about chasing the Bear whose posters adorned his boyhood walls. No one brought into public with so many balloons and streamers would have privacy. When he followed through on the hype (Ghandi aside), Tiger's privacy vanished.

The post-Thanksgiving criticisms have torn down all sorts of actors in this drama. The girls are ho's. Elin Woods a domestic abuser. Tiger a pimp, a fraud and an obstructor of justice.

The great Jason Whitlock picked apart the last few arguments on Wednesday night, using all his bombast to craft a reasoned and biting portrayal of mainstream media members as frauds and hypocrites. Whitlock's stuff can be so damning, so pointed that it's hard to quibble. But in at least one sense he's wrong. Just like Tiger.

No, Woods is not beholden to explain his mess because he sponsors products or hits a golf ball better than those before him. And, yes, as Whitlock surmised, in a dagger thrown toward the Post's Sally Jenkins, any man would massage the law to ensure the wife he already embarrassed avoided persecution. There are a pair of valid statements.

But no one here should wear blinders. Woods and his wife created this story. They are rich, famous, beautiful (Elin is) and interesting. It involves sex, clubs in Vegas and enough sexting to make a quasi-prude 16-year-old blush. Some people may demand these answers, which they are not entitled to. But can't they desire them? And if the public thirsts for them, shouldn't folks pursue answers until they're found?

This is where Tiger will prove to have hit the ugliest shank. By seeking to maintain some semblance of privacy, the firestorm, or, as Mr. Buckner called it, the "curiosity," will only swell. When Woods speaks, the world will watch, even the men and women who've never worn an argyle sweater or bucket hat.

Whitlock said the media made Barry Bonds into a pariah because he failed to participate in their game. True. But that's not why people chase him still. Enough mystery surrounds Bonds to keep him relevant.

Take Mark McGwire, a man light years more popular, who slunk away from public life after cowering in front of congress. He will return, four long years later, at Cardinals spring training and people will sit in Jupiter waiting for him, wanting their answers.

And McGwire — he's no Tiger Woods.


Tiger madness

We tried to stay away, but it's become impossible. I'm sure by now most of you are sick of the Tiger stories, so I'll keep this short.

This is a rare case where pretty much everyone is rip-able. Let's begin with Tiger.

Listen, it's not my job to comment on where adultery ranks among human transgression. But how could a smart, image-conscious guy like Tiger be stupid enough to leave so much evidence behind? Voicemails, text messages, etc. The message he left Jaimee Grubbs actually sounds a little pathetic, as he pleads for her to change her recorded greeting. I'm not a Tiger hater. I'm a huge fan, but this whole thing has become so messy that he needs to be ripped.

Now, the media. The main problem I have with the media is not the stories about his affairs, but the handling of the accident. Has there ever been a non-story pumped up like this one? I know Mr. Buckner said he felt Tiger should have had a press conference, but I disagree. I understand he's the most famous athlete in the world, so naturally everything he does is a big deal. But the guy hit a fire hydrant near the end of his driveway. Is that really worthy of round-the-clock, stake out his house coverage? Once the police said he hadn't broken any laws and the injuries were deemed minor, I think the frenzy could have been toned down a notch.

Finally, people in general who have sexual relationships with married people or other shady dealings, then sell their story. Again, I'm not commenting on the fact that they sleep with married people. That's not my place. But do they have to sink to the point of shopping their dirty laundry to the highest bidder?

I think a lot of these people sleep with celebrities for the express purpose of blackmail or selling the story, and that's pathetic. If you're doing that, sorry, you're a prostitute. If you don't start the relationship intending to make money but then eventually sell, that's still pretty lame. I mean, can you go out and make a real living?

All in all, I find this whole thing annoying. If Tiger was caught using PEDs, that would be a monster story. But I'm just not interested in this.

Maybe I'm the only one.

Never enough

OK, fine, I'll be the bad guy again.

Derek Jeter was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year yesterday, and good for him. Jeter had a great year, he's captain of the World Series champ, etc. But SI editor Terry McDonell just had to go the extra step.

One of the problems I've had with sports media recently is that it's not good enough anymore to praise somebody, now people feel the need to one-up each other with absurd statements and honors. It's not enough to give Jeter the award because of his squeaky clean off-the-field record, his improved defensive play, his dynamite offensive year and because he's a surefire first ballot Hall-of-Famer. Here's a quote from McDonell.

"This verifies my idea that he is on the level of Ruth and Gehrig."

Um, nope. First of all, Gehrig isn't even on the same level as Ruth. The Yankees were not the Yankees before Ruth, and baseball wasn't baseball the way we know it before he began clouting. Ruth started all the Yankee winning and tradition, he was the first real slugger and he pretty much defined the term 'larger than life.' Here are the American athletes on the same level as Ruth in the last 100 years. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson. That's it.

McDonell also called Jeter the greatest shortstop of all-time. This isn't as ridiculous a statement, but one could also argue that he's not even the best shortstop on his team. ARod played eight full years at short, and let's be honest, his career dwarfs Jeter's.

Let me be clear. I have NO PROBLEM with Jeter winning this award. No one else had a great enough year for me to debate it. But why can't giving him the award for all his good attributes and great accomplishments be enough?


Talk and say nothing

Brian Kelly won't comment about interest from Notre Dame. Tiger Woods won't answer any questions from the media. Roy Halladay needs any trade resolved before Spring Training so he can avoid the "distraction" of a possible trade.

It's pathetic and funny at the same time. The media really isn't that scary. Even the big bad New York media.

Athletes and coaches should take a page out of the Derek Jeter book if they don't want to be forthcoming. He is in front of his locker before and after every game and "answers" every question. Even the annoying ones. In reality, he never says anything other than cliches, yet no one ever really gives him a hard time for his boring answers. He doesn't raise his voice, doesn't appear exasperated, and doesn't create and adversarial situation.

All these athletes and coaches who refuse to comment and lecture the media about what is important and what isn't just put more attention on themselves.

When Brian Kelly is asked about Notre Dame, he shouldn't give a soliloquy on why it's NOT a distraction. He should just answer the question. Even if he isn't forthcoming, the media won't press him. Any answer will suffice.

Tiger Woods should have held a brief press conference following his car accident. If there were questions about possible marital problems, he could just answer by saying he doesn't want to talk about personal issues. Once he says that in a calm voice, there won't be follow ups. Releasing a statement on a Web site just adds to the curiosity.

It's very easy to reveal virtually nothing in an interview. And if it's done tactfully, no one will get the sense that there is anything to hide.


Belated rips from around the league

As I said, this weekend was a little crazy, but I could never neglect my favorite weekly post. Here we go:

Atlanta 20, Tampa Bay 17: The Bucs give up a late touchdown to drop to 1-10 in what is now officially a complete disaster of a season.

Buffalo 31, Miami 14: Good win for the Bills, although it's always unfortunate to have to listen to T.O. after he has a decent game.

Cincinnati 16, Cleveland 7: Brady Quinn, 16-34, 100 yards, 51.3 QB rating. Need I say more?

NY Jets 17, Carolina 6: Jake Delhomme, who threw another four picks, is the only guy threatening Quinn as the most ineffective QB in the league.

San Diego 43, Kansas City 14: The Chargers look more and more like a Super Bowl contender, while the Chiefs look more and more like a lost franchise.

Indianapolis 35, Houston 27: Houston led 20-0 after the first quarter, so this was about as daggerous a loss as a team could ever have. People keep talking about how overrated the Colts are, as they continue to win every game they play.

Tennessee 20, Arizona 17: People laughed when Vince Young said he'd be in the Hall of Fame one day, and he's certainly a long way from Canton, but he looks pretty damn good right about now.

San Francisco 20, Jacksonville 3: Jack Del Rio might be on his way to Daggerville (aka being fired) pretty soon.

Philadelphia 27, Washington 24: Once again, the Redskins play just well enough to lose.

Minnesota 36, Chicago 10: A thoroughly embarrassing performance by the Bears in every way.

Seattle 27, St. Louis 17: I saved this game for last because I have nothing to say about it. Wait.....nope, still nothing.

Tears of a clown, or clowns

Listen closely. That uncontrollable sobbing you hear is coming from the corner known as the national football media. This group of Not Woodwards and Not Bernsteins was dealt a mighty blow right around midnight when the Steelers lost to the Ravens 20-17 in OT thanks to an interception by Dennis Dixon.

Now, Dixon, in his first NFL start, filled in for Big Ben, who, going against the desire of some people he should never again consider friends, managed to wait at least one more week before putting his mental well-being on the line. Good for him. Good for Dixon, too. He played admirably, if a little uninspiring. Even though he lost the game — and don't get it twisted, he did — this rip is not for him. No, we devote this space to the poor boys who are unable to waive their Terrible Towels this morning.

Just imagine: Joe Flacco throws a pick, Rashard Mendenhall runs for a couple of first downs, Jeff Reed kicks an OT field goal and Pittsburgh wins. Would Dixon even have room to walk with all the knee-pad jobs given to him by the national football media? Game-manager. Stepped up. Cheered on every step of the way by the starter. All the cliches these clowns love were there. It had the potential to be a nauseating Monday.

We still may hear enough to get the bile bubbling in our stomachs. Take Cris Collinsworth, Mr. Buckner's boy, who raved about Dixon during his postgame thoughts. Wait, isn't Dixon the same player who tossed a pass directly into the hands of a Ravens' defender in overtime? Yes. Yes, he is.

Not to be mean, but I'm sorry folks. You cannot throw an interception that leads almost immediately to the winning score and have played well. That's like Tim McCarver saying Bill Buckner had a good World Series in '86.

Anyway, this speaks to a larger point about the national football media. Unlike in baseball or basketball where the narratives change, they never do in football. A numbers of these clowns still trumpet Shawne Merriman as a "great" defensive player. They wondered earlier this season when the Chargers' LB would pick it up. ... Hmmm. Tough question. Maybe when he starts using whatever he used in 2006 again.

Bottom line: National football media — get out.

Ripping ourselves

I want to apologize for being a little light on content this weekend. In a stroke of bad luck we all got bogged down in that pesky thing they call life. No excuses, just an explanation.

However, I can promise the ripping will be stronger than ever this week. The list of potential rippees is long and juicy.

Stay tuned.

Morris miscue

The Falcons-Bucs game might not have been one of Week 12's marquee matchups, but I'm going to write about it for two reasons:

1) I was there
2) Raheem Morris gave me material for a rip

Fans who saw highlights know that Chris Redman (filling in for the injured Matt Ryan) hit Roddy White on fourth-and-goal from the five with 26 seconds left in the game. Had the Bucs made a stop on that play, they would have won.

But what will never get mentioned is that there was a play two minutes earlier that also would have won the game for Tampa. The problem is, Morris didn't allow his team the opportunity to win.

Leading 17-13, Tampa had the ball on Atlanta's 33-yard line with 2:30 left and faced a fourth and four. Morris elected to try a 51-yard field goal. Wrong decision.

If Tampa makes the field goal, Atlanta gets the ball back trailing 20-13 with 2:20 left at whatever field position it would get following the kickoff.

If Tampa misses the field goal, Atlanta gets the ball back trailing 17-13 on its own 41. (That's what happened, and the Falcons ended up driving down the field for the winning score.)

What Morris should have done is tried for the first down. If Tampa makes the first down, assuming the play didn't end out of bounds, the game is over. Tampa qb Josh Freeman would just have to take a knee three times.

Assuming the probability of making a fourth-and-4 is similar to that of making a 51-yard field goal Morris made a misguided decision.

The benefit of making the first down is infinitesimally better than making the field goal (a guaranteed win vs. a 7-point lead with 2:20 left) and the downside of failing to convert wasn't as bad (opposition gets the ball trailing by four at its own 33 compared to its own 40). And even if a 51-yard field goal is more likely, it certainly doesn't make up for giving up an opportunity to end the game.

Another NFL Sunday. Another blunder by a clueless head coach. And this one may have cost his team the game.


ACC = A Collection of Crap

Here's a college football game I won't be watching: Next week's ACC "Championship" -- Georgia Tech vs. Clemson.

Good job by these two programs against their in-state rivals today. Georgia Tech lost 30-24 to Georgia; Clemson lost to South Carolina 34-17.

What does this say about the ACC? The championship game is going to be played between two schools that couldn't even beat two mediocre teams from the SEC.

I don't want to sound like an SEC booster. But I'm perfectly fine with being an ACC basher. The ACC likes to fancy itself as more than just a powerful basketball conference. It shouldn't put its 2009 results on its resume for that claim.