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My alma mater beat Boston College in an exciting overtime game tonight, 60-59 to advance to the NCAA hoops regional final. In typical fashion from Rollie Massimino’s days on the bench, they were losing for the first 38.5 minutes, took a brief lead, and then had to go into OT when BC hit a three-pointer with a few seconds left in regulation. If I were Boston College, that would be a bitter pill to swallow. It’s tough to have your season end to a team you manhandled most of the game. I cannot recall a time BC has ever beaten us in a big spot. Not long ago, BC and Villanova were both in the Big East, but BC defected to the Atlantic Coast Conference. It didn’t help- they still can’t win when it counts.
1 2 OT Total
(4) Boston Coll. 28 23 8 59 Final
(1) Villanova 24 27 9 60 OT
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Steroids

The popular drive time radio sport stalk duo, Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo, were discussing the two New York Yankees who have used steroids. High-priced mercenaries both, Jason Giambi has admitted his use, while Gary Sheffield has denied or refused to comment on the allegations. Russo, a San Fransisco Giant fan with the intellectual heft of a cotton puff, remarked that Yankee fans could now no longer razz him about Barry Bonds’ doping in view of this news.
Chris Russo is an idiot.
The use of illegal steroids is the biggest disgrace in the Game since the Black Sox scandal of 1919, except you hardly know it because the Commissioner, Bud Selig, is an inept eunuch. Any baseball player who used performance enhancing drugs should have their statistics expunged or demarcated, and the sport should restore the records of Hank Aaron (if Bonds surpasses him) and Roger Maris as being the true and authentic standards. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmiero, Giambi, Sheffield and whoever else used should have their numbers disqualified and their eligibility for the Hall of Fame revoked. It transcends whose guy did what or what team they played for, and Russo should know it.

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Imagine this. You are a PAC-10 basketball player, and you are instant messaging some co-ed at a rival college. You appear to hit it off and set a date to meet after your team’s game when you visit Berkeley. During the game, you go to the free throw line. Suddenly, the entire arena begins chanting your IM buddy’s name, her phone number, and your phone number. You’ve been punk’d. You play crummy and your team loses. That’s what happened to USC guard Gabe Pruitt. More details are at Rangelife.

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Curt Gowdy

It is a rare day when I would ever say anything to console the heart of a Boston Red Sox fan, but the recent passing of Hall of Fame broadcaster Curt Gowdy is not something I can ignore. If you are older than I, you might remember his AFL football broadcasts and the American Sportsman interview series. That was before my time, but I distinctly recall his voice on the NBC baseball Game of the Week, AFC football, NCAA basketball, and a number of other broadcasts where he was a fixture in my childhood in the 70’s. Gowdy was also the voice of the Boston Red Sox from 1951-1966, and he broadcast Yankee games in ’49 and ’50.
There probably will ever be a sports announcer with his breadth of excellence.
Over the course of a career that stretched into the 1980s, he also covered Major League Baseball and college basketball; called 13 World Series, 16 baseball All-Star Games, 9 Super Bowls, 14 Rose Bowls, 8 Olympic Games and 24 NCAA Final Fours; and hosted ABC’s long-running American Sportsman series.
In 1970 Gowdy became the first sportscaster to receive the George Foster Peabody Award. He was given the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, the Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1992, and was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995. Gowdy was president of the Basketball Hall of Fame for several years, and that institution’s Curt Gowdy Award (presented annually to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters) is named after him.
I still recall his cowboy hat and distinctive tone. He was literally the voice of AFL/AFC football, he was a baseball Hall of Fame inductee in the announcer wing, and he covered a slew of NCAA Final Fours. He didn’t simply cover a variety of sports- he was the guy who was in the booth for Superbowls and World Series games. He called Carlton Fisk’s historic game 6 home run in 1975 against the Reds and the Jet’s upset of the Colts in Superbowl III in 1969 to name just two. In addition to all that, by all accounts he was a decent, fine human being. We may never see another like him.

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Guts

It would be easy to comment on Bryant Gumbel’s latest inanity on the 2006 Winter Olympics, but I prefer to focus on something which the games are all about, namely Zhang Dan. She and her partner were in second place and within shot of gold when she took a bad spill while attempting a risky quadruple whatchamacallit. The routine had to be stopped and there was doubt whether she could continue- it was an ugly fall, one that even Gerald Ford would have envied. 
Zhang Hao and Zhang Dan
She caught her breath, walked (skated?) it off, resumed the routine, and performed brilliantly, strained knee ligament and all. It was good enough for them to hang on for the Silver. That comeback took some real heart, and I’m glad Ann TiVo’d the whole thing. The Russian pair which took Gold also recovered from a horrific fall, but theirs was last year and they had more than just a few moments to bounce back. Today, everyone is talking about the pair who won the Silver because of Zhang Dan’s courage.

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My Very Very Last Football Post

On Friday I predicted that the Steelers would win by 10, cover the spread, and that the overall point total for the game would be under the 44.5 over/under line set by the odds makers. I should add that I know very little of football. I was a 98 pound bespectacled runt at age 14 when all the other guys were grunting in shoulder pads and cups.
The Steelers won by 11, covered the spread, and the overall point total of 31 for the game was under the 44.5 over/under line set by the odds makers. Does this make me a genius? Lucky? Neither. It shows how much the odds makers know when they set the numbers up.
My friend the ex-football player predicted that the Seahawks would win a close game. He should have listened to the odds makers.
Anyhow, hail to the Champions. The Steelers earned it, and even the one questionable call that went in their favor ended up not being the difference in the game. Congratulations to Pittsburgh, a town of down to earth real people. Seattle fans will have to cry in their mocha chinos and hope for better luck next year.
Nut

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame has selected former NY Giant great Harry Carson, as well as John Madden, Troy Aikman, Rayfield Wright, Warren Moon and Reggie White into this years class. Harry Carson, while as deserving as anyone else on the list, is a long, long overdue selection. I recall as a kid how the Giants would stink year after year, and number 53 was one of the few bright spots. He remained with the team to participate in the great 80’s turnaround orchestrated by Parcells and GM George Young. Seeing him dump the Gatorade onto Bill Parcells in the Giants’ 1987 Superbowl victory is one of my most satisfying sports memories. I have strong feelings about Reggie White’s selection as well. While some may remember him for his foot-in-mouth speech in front of the Wisconsin legislature, his enduring legacy will always be his dominant play. Sadly, his widow got the call that he’d been voted in. I hated White as an opposing player but he was a good man off the field. He died far too young.
The chatter is that the Rolling Stones were not the best choice for this year’s Superbowl halftime show, since a Detroit event would lend itself more to Motown artists. Perhaps,  but isn’t it appropriate that in a year ushered in by stroke victim Dick Clark that this halftime show be the first ever to feature walkers, bedpans and the odd ostomy bag? Keith Richards is so keen on performing that they’ve already got pictures of him getting prepared backstage at Ford Field.
Tos16

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