Sports

Ness Notes (January 11)

Was it really just a week ago that Texas beat USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl? Can Vince Young be as good in the NFL as he was in his two Rose Bowl appearances? Is the ‘monkey’ finally off Mack Brown’s back?

Bringing CFB’s season to a close, note that Texas’ 83 wins in the last eight years is the most of any school. The Longhorns are also the ONLY school to finish in the final BCS standings in EACH of the last seven years. Texas is also the only BCS-affiliated school to have won at least 10 games in each of the last five years.

My bye game for Wednesday is Min T-wolves vs. Chi Bulls in the NBA at 8:05 ET. I jumped to a 3-0 start with my 15* CBB plays in 2006 and I’m offering another 15* play tonight (rarely 15* in a row!). Also, I present my 10* SEC Game of the Month and my 10* NBA Favorite of the Month. Get them ALL, right now!

Ending bowl season, 16 of the 28 games were decided by one TD or less, with EIGHT decided by three points or less (two in overtime). Fifteen of the 28 winning teams came from behind to win, with EIGHT of them erasing double-digit deficits!

The average margin of victory was 10.9 PPG, the lowest in the BCS era and the lowest since 1992. Next year will see the addition of the fifth BCS bowl game, but there are NO playoff plans in the near future. Speaking of which, it’s BASKETBALL season!

Tonight’s college basketball schedule features 46 games. Last week was a bad week for the top 25 teams as 15 ranked teams lost, including two losses to Michigan St. FOUR teams fell from the ranks of the undefeated last week. Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio St and Villanova.

That leaves Duke (14-0), Florida (14-0) and Pittsburgh (12-0). Duke held the No. 1 spot all season, but was the unanimous No. 1 this week, for the first time all season. Florida, unranked earlier in the year, has to be the biggest surprise team of the season, in Billy Donovan’s 10th year in Gainesville. Pitt is 12-0 but ranks 12th. Kentucky dropped out of the AP poll for the first time this week, after 88 straight rankings, as did Wake Forest (60 straight appearances). The current leader in consecutive poll appearances is Duke, with a mother of 176! U Conn is now second with 49.

Both Duke and Florida play tonight, while Pittsburgh plays Thursday (at home against DePaul). Duke hosts Maryland tonight on ESPN at 9:00 ET and the Blue Devils are 14-point favorites with a total of 156 1/2. Florida is home to an 11-3 Miss St team, but the Caymans are still 18 1/2 point favorites!

ESPN2 features a triple header tonight beginning with Syracuse at Notre Dame at 7:00 ET. That game is followed by Texas A&M at Oklahoma State (9:00 ET) and TCU at New Mexico (11:00 ET). Before the Maryland/Duke game, ESPN opens its coverage with Indiana at Michigan State at 7:00 ET (the Spartans are five-fold favorites with a total of 146 1/2).

NBA fans have a busy 10-game slate tonight and all eyes are on Portland as Kobe tries to get 45 or more points for the fifth straight game. However, he has a little more work to do if he plans to catch Wilt, who set a 1964 NBA record of NINE consecutive 45-plus games!

Who said 13 was an unlucky number? Surely it wasn’t because of Bruce Sutter. Sutter became the fourth reliever to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, joining Hoyt Wilhelm, Rollie Fingers and Dennis Eckersley. However, Sutter is the ONLY one of the four who has NEVER had a major league start.

His ‘pick’ in his 13th year of eligibility is the last by any player since Ralph Kiner was elected in 1975. Jim Rice was 53 votes short in his 12th year on the ballot and Goose Gossage 54 votes short , in his seventh year of eligibility. Sutter’s pick was long overdue, but he wouldn’t expect 13 to be Rice’s charm next year.

The rookies at next year’s nerd HOF will be Tony Gwynn (lock) and Cal Ripken Jr (lock), not to mention a member of Sports Illustrated’s so-called “Liars Club,” Mark McGwire. In case the voters forgot, Rice has 382 career HRs from him, 1,451 RBI and a .298 LT batting average. He topped .300 seven times, scored 100 runs eight times, while winning three HR titles, two RBI titles and AL MVP in 1978.

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