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Shooting from the Lip

By Tom Jones
Published November 20, 2006


Does Michigan deserve another crack at Ohio State? Why are the Irish out of luck? Who is the best center in the NBA? Who is the best coach in college football? And what the heck is the deal with Joe Namath and Suzy Kolber? Get the answer to these questions and more as Times staff writer Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

Most forgotten game

When Southern California went to Little Rock in September and pounded Arkansas 50-17, it didn't seem like a big deal because no one thought Arkansas was any good. But now we know differently. Arkansas is darn good, and that makes the Trojans all the more impressive. Some think Ohio State's Jim Tressel is the best coach in the country, but what about USC's Pete Carroll? He took over a program in way worse shape and has won five consecutive conference titles, one outright national title and a share of another.

Best interview

Jim Lampley's sit-down with former ABC announcer Keith Jackson during halftime of the Notre Dame-Army game. Jackson, who called college games for 54 years, says he doesn't miss it a bit. "Travelling was killing me," Jackson, 78, said. He also pointed out how money has changed everything, including his ability to spin yarns. "The last game I did there were 54 interruptions," Jackson said. "That's one of the reasons I'm sitting on the porch now." That's too bad, because wouldn't it have been great if he had called Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game instead of Brent Musburger?

Heisman is history

You have to think that at this moment, whoever engraves the Heisman Trophy is putting the H on "Troy Smith" after that performance against Michigan on Saturday.

Most needless decision

ESPN and ABC both had former Ohio State QB Kirk Herbstreit talk about what Michigan needed to do to win instead of Ohio State so that Herbstreit couldn't be seen as biased. But, the guy is so good at what he does that if I didn't know he went to Ohio State, I never would've guessed it by watching Saturday's game.

Most eloquent words

Michigan graduate Desmond Howard of ESPN's College GameDay gave an emotional two-minute speech on former Wolverines coach Bo Schembechler, who died Friday. Howard talked about how much Schembechler taught his "Michigan Men," and Howard's stirring words were proof of how much Howard learned under the great coach.

Another rough weekend

Poor Lee Corso. We love the College GameDay analyst, but these days he can't pick the winner of a one-horse race. He followed up last weekend's dreadful performance with another rotten selection of picks Saturday. Corso goofed on Michigan-Ohio State, Cal-USC, Rutgers-Cincinnati, Oregon-Arizona and Alabama-Auburn.

The aftermath

No. That's my answer. No. Michigan should not play in the national championship game. If Michigan gets another shot at Ohio State, then Ohio State has to beat Michigan twice to win the title, while Michigan gets two chances to beat Ohio State only once. That's not right. Michigan lost its chance Saturday. Now someone else deserves a crack. If USC wins out, the Trojans have earned the right to play Ohio State. If not USC, then Arkansas or Florida.

Best feature

ESPN's Outside the Lines did a neat piece on how crazy people go for the Ohio State-Michigan game, including Buckeyes fan Jerry Marlowe, who has been sneaking into Ohio State-Michigan games in Columbus since 1954. He has snuck in as a vendor, with the band and even once dressed like a referee. His attempt Saturday to get in as an usher failed.

Irish out of luck

Speaking of the national championship, the OSU-Michigan game officially knocked Notre Dame out of the national championship hunt. There's no way anyone can justify Notre Dame getting into the national championship game ahead of Michigan after the Wolverines destroyed the Irish in South Bend earlier this season.

In the middle

After watching the Rockets' Yao Ming score 33 with 16 rebounds against the Pistons on Saturday for his third double double in five games, I'm convinced he is the best center in the NBA. It's not even close. Ming is averaging 25.7 points (on 53 percent shooting) with 9.8 rebounds and 1.78 blocks while playing 35 minutes a game.

Best scoop

CBS' Solomon Wilcots told viewers that Titans quarterback Vince Young missed the team plane to Philadelphia and had to pay his own way to catch a commercial flight.

Explain this

Jaromir Jagr, now of the Rangers, helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups and will go down as one of the best players in that franchise's history. Yet, he was booed every time he touched the puck Saturday night in Pittsburgh and I was just wondering ... why?

Biggest (but most truthful) insult

Fox's Jimmy Johnson, talking about Raiders malcontent Randy Moss: "You know what? He's talking about getting traded. Nobody wants Randy Moss."

Funniest line

The Sports Reporters' John Feinstein said Texas Tech coach Bob Knight "emotionally abuses" his players, including hitting forward Michael Prince on the chin last week. Host Jeremy Schaap, who was once told by Knight that he had a long way to go to be his father, deadpanned, "I know exactly how Michael Prince feels."

Vote of confidence

We're being sarcastic. Fox's Terry Bradshaw let Falcons coach Jim Mora have it. "They're too inconsistent for me. I don't like my head coach chest-bumping, hollering and saying words like 'freakin'. I don't want that from my head coach. I think they're a team that's going down. ... They start out 6-2 and finish 2-6. He will get fired if they lose out."

Strangest quote

Remember when Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath made an idiot of himself by telling ESPN's Suzy Kolber on the air he wanted to kiss her? Later he said it was the wakeup call he needed to realize he had a drinking problem. On CBS' 60 Minutes, Namath admitted his problem but also seemed to admit he still has a thing for Kolber. "I think I would like to kiss Suzy to this day," he said. "But that was the wrong place and very inappropriate to say it at the time. Yes, but I was under the influence. And, when you get under the influence, you may think you have things under control, but it's a fact you don't." Yes, the sideline on live television is the wrong place and time to tell Kolber you want to kiss her. The most-watched news program in TV history is a much more appropriate place and time.