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MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro

In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on February 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm

The last time I spoke with Frank Chirkinian was the week before Super Bowl XLIV when I asked him to reflect on CBS Sports celebrating its 50th year of televising NFL games.

Ckirkinian had been a young football television director in Philadelphia back in 1960, and he regaled me, as usual when we spoke, with several delightful anecdotes about his days in the early years of sports broadcasting. At one point, I also asked him what he thought about the current state of the business.

“The announcers all talk too much,” he grumped. “There are too many graphics cluttering up the screen. I always had one rule for every sports announcer: don’t be obtuse. Don’t insult the viewers’ intelligence. Don’t tell us what we can already see for ourselves on the screen. Stay away from the obvious. And it’s not just in football. It’s across the board, and sometimes it’s hard to watch.”

Those words ought to be burned into the memory banks of every long-winded, golden- throat broadcaster in the business. It surely would be a fitting tribute to Chirkinian, who died in early March at age 84 after a long battle with cancer.

Chrikinian best will be remembered as a pioneering, behind-the-camera genius. He’s the man who changed the face of golf on television with a wide variety of technical innovations ranging from blimp shots to microphones on tee boxes to painting the inside of cups white so they would show up better on the screen. He hired the talent and trained them in the classic less-is-more style he always preferred.

Chirkinian did as much for Augusta National and The Masters as anyone in the tournament’s history, constantly pushing for more cameras, more microphones, more scoreboards, more time on the air, the better to show off what he considered the crown jewel of golf’s major championships.

“Frank invented golf, the scoring system for golf and then golf on TV,” Davis Love III told the N.Y. Times this week. “That’s a pretty good resume. Knowing the CBS crew, they’re still trying to do whatever he taught them. I’m sure he’d be proud of how they have carried on the way he would have wanted them to.”

“Frank is universally regarded as the father of golf on television,” Jim Nantz, who joined the network’s golf coverage team at age 26, told the PGA Tour web site earlier this year. “He invented it. He took a sport that no one knew how to televise and he made it interesting. He brought the Masters tournament to life.”

Chirkinian was also a demanding taskmaster known for more than occasionally losing his temper with the people who worked on his telecasts. He was particularly profane with announcers who literally got an earful in their headsets if they didn’t stay on point. Pat Summerall, for many years the lead voice for CBS golf, once called him “The Ayatollah,” a moniker Ckirkinian cheerfully embraced.

“I admit, reluctantly, that I enjoyed the nickname,” he told Golf Digest in a 2003 interview. “If nothing else, it beat being called Adolf. In rehearsals, I was as profane as I could be. I ripped everybody. We had seven announcers all wanting air time and it was important they remembered I was the boss. I treated my crew like children, and let’s face it, sometimes children need to be spanked. It was a form of tough love.”

And yet, talk to virtually anyone who ever worked for Chirkinian, and their reverence and respect for the man is almost universal. That is particularly true in the case of Nantz, who still calls him a father figure, and current CBS executive producer Lance Barrow, who literally learned his craft at the feet of the master, sitting next to him in the production truck for many years.

“I never took anything personally that Frank said during a broadcast,” Barrow told the N.Y. Times on Sunday. “On this one day, I got called some names that I hadn’t heard before. So I went into Frank’s office and said to him ‘it takes real talent to be able to take those words and put them together like that in one sentence.’”

In a tribute to Chrikinian aired on CBS, Nantz said, “he was the quintessential leader and everyone who had the honor of working for Frank loved him, respected him. He was a father figure to so many of us. It could be said that golf was good to Frank Chirkinian, but Frank Chirkinian was great to the game of golf.”

Chirkinian will be honored on May 9 with induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, an honor that should have been accorded far sooner. Two weeks ago, on one of his good days, Chirkinian taped his acceptance speech, knowing he would not live long enough to attend the ceremony in St. Augustine, Fla.

Knowing Chirkinian, it will be a vintage performance, direct and to the point, sort of the way he once told Sports Illustrated how he’d like to be remembered.

“I showed lots and lots and lots of golf shots,” he told the magazine in 1995. “And I try never to subordinate the event to my ego. When I die, I want my epitaph to read ‘he stayed out of the way.’”

Len Shapiro can be reached at badgerlen@aol.com

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LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT Ross MacCallum

In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on February 18, 2011 at 7:28 am

Tony Kornheiser of WTEM ESPN Radio 980 in Washington, DC likes Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Former Washington Post colleague and well-known author, John Feinstein says so in his blog, Feinstein on the Brink.  Kornheiser also works for Snyder who owns WTEM.

And at this moment in time, all of this has become a problem and a news item unto itself in DC.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be a problem if Kornheiser didn’t also happen to host a daily radio show that focuses on sports and the media. It wouldn’t be a problem if Tony, who also works for ESPN itself, didn’t have a national reputation for tackling tough topics on the popular TV show, Pardon the Interruption.  It wouldn’t be a problem if Kornheiser wasn’t a widely respected journalist and columnist from his long tenure at the Post. It wouldn’t be a problem if Dan Snyder was a saint who never so much as creates a ripple in the sports pond. It wouldn’t be a problem if Dan Snyder wasn’t suing Kornheiser’s fellow DC journalist, Dave McKenna, and the City Paper, into oblivion for an unfavorable article published last November. It wouldn’t be a problem if Tony Kornheiser was willing to discuss Snyder v. City Paper on his radio show.

But, it is a problem, and Tony Kornheiser knows it.  It’s probably killing him inside. It’s certainly doing a tap dance on his credibility.  I mean, I’m not saying he should have McKenna’s back on this. And, nobody is demanding that Kornheiser attack Snyder, or even simply take a position on the somewhat pretzel logic behind the lawsuit. Heck, a good ride on the fence would probably satisfy most folks.  We all understand that it’s tough to bite the hand that pays a good salary. But, to almost pretend this headline-grabbing issue with Snyder doesn’t exist.  To, according to Feinstein, ask his radio guests not to bring up the matter on the air.  Well… the silence is deafening.

Tony Kornheiser has crossed one of those lines that true journalists aren’t supposed to cross. Sure the line is more gray than black these days.  ESPN college football hosts have sneaker contracts and others do commercials. Several DC TV sports reporters have also had ties to the Redskins in the Snyder era; although money may never have changed hands. And, at one time or another, all of the DC TV stations have had lucrative programming ties to the Skins: The Donovan McNabb Show, The Norv Turner/Terry Robiskie/Marty Schottenheimer/Steve Spurrier/Joe Gibbs/Jim Zorn/Mike Shanahan Show, and so on.  All of this can call into question “journalistic independence and journalistic integrity.”

The problem of course, is that Snyder pays Kornheiser. Pure and simple. Honestly, I don’t buy Feinstein’s contention that it’s not about the money.  It’s always about the money.  Money blurs the line that separates journalists from the people they cover.  Money creates a relationship, a friendship, a “liking” of someone that begins to erase the line.  Money makes a man beholden to another.  Money lowers the volume on the microphone, fades the ink of the writer’s pen, changes the subject when the questions start to get too tough to answer.

Money puts saving your job ahead of saving your reputation.

Tony Kornheiser is better than this.  At least, he used to be. He knows it. And, it’s killing him inside.

Ross, the creator of Throwback Baseball 1.0, also blogs about sports memorabilia at: www.aberdeentradingco.com

SPORTS LANDSCAPE Bill Sullivan

In THE SPORTS LANDSCAPE Bill Sullivan on February 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Wake Up and Smell the Horsehide: Miguel Cabrerra’s problems with alcohol continue. On Feb. 16, the Detroit Tigers’ slugger was arrested and charged with DUI in Florida. Disturbing was what he said to the arresting officer: “Do you know who I am?” before taking a swig of whiskey right in front of him! Annoying was the comment of teammate Carlos Guillen who said, “It’s tough for him, for us Venezuelans.”

Earning millions is tough? They should be thankful they’re blessed athletically and that America allows them to earn millions playing a game they love. Venezuela offers no such opportunity last I checked.

Success Should be Measured in Titles: Albert Pujols reportedly wants an 8-year deal worth $240M or $30M per season. The first baseman has Hall of Fame numbers over his first 10 years but only one World Series title in two trips to the Fall Classic. Statistics matter to an agent negotiating a contract but shouldn’t the St. Louis Cardinals look at championships? Albert is far down the list when looking at other superstars’ accomplishments over their first 10 years: Bill Russell-8, John Havlichek-8, Joe DiMaggio-5, Mickey Mantle-5, Derek Jeter-4, Wayne Gretzky-4, Kobe Bryant-3, Stan Musial-3, Michael Jordan-3, Sandy Koufax-3, Reggie Jackson-3, Walt Frazier-2 and Bobby Orr-2.

Numbers Don’t Add Up: Josh Hamilton of the Texas  Rangers — American League Championship Series MVP who led his team to the World Series — signed a 2-year, $24M pact with Texas. No typo  — he’ll be paid $12M a year for two seasons. Meanwhile — the crestfallen Derek Jeter  recovers from his protracted contract negotiation — one where the charmed New York Yankee captain settled for $15M for three years.  Jeter sought $23M a year for 5 years. Last year was one of Jeter’s worst — 10 HR, 67 RBI and a . 270 BA — 44 points below his career average.  In the clutch, he was 1 for 22 with the bases loaded and struck out 106 times – the most in five seasons. By contrast, Hamiliton hit 32 HR, drove in 100 runs and hit .359 – 89 points better than Jeter last year.

The Balance of Politics: Six years ago, Brad Brownell, coach at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, made a lateral move to Wright State in Ohio. Seems he had a falling out with his athletic director. Whatever the issue, it had nothing to do with wins and losses. See, Brownell took the Seahawks to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. At Wright State, he continued to win, leading the Raiders to 20-win seasons four times and once taking the team to the NCAA Tournament — the first time for that school in 14 years. Back east, people were watching. When Clemson Coach Oliver Purnell left for DePaul in 2010, Brownell was snapped up in Tigerland. Today, his Clemson team is 18-6 and fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference, trailing only Duke, North Carolina and Florida State. If he continues to win, he won’t be leaving for another mid-major job. It’ll more likely be at Indiana University for the Evansville native.

Behind the Rooney Rule: Established in 2003, Art Rooney’s measure to aid minority coaches — mostly African-American — has worked. Before the measure, there were 2 black NFL head coaches. Today, there are 7.

Comments from Steelers’ Coach Mike Tomlin soothe, to a point. “I think it’s gave me an opportunity to present myself maybe in some situations that I wouldn’t have had,” he said in 2007 upon being hired by the Rooney family, owners of the club. Added former Raiders’ Head Coach Art Shell at the time, “Mike wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity without this rule. He never would have sat down with Dan Rooney.”

True but what about the racial disparity among assistants?

Currently, there are 29 NFL coaches — mostly assistants — who have blood relatives (past and present) in the NFL or the NCAA. Another is related to the manager of a Major League Baseball club.

Of that 29, just ONE is black – Skip Peete of the Dallas Cowboys . His brother, Rodney quarterbacked in the league for 16 years. One in 29 figures to .032%. And of those 29 assistants, there are more than a few “quality control” positions — posts  seemingly created for the sons of current coaches.

Keeping up with the Jones’s: Why does the media keep feeding the Arlington-Stadium-sized ego of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones? A month ago, Scott Pelley of CBS News interviewed a teared-up Jones on “60 Minutes.” A camera close-up caught Jones crying while  saying, “This is agony” in reference to his team’s dismal 2010 season. Then there had was the homespun “sit-in” with Jones and former players Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Darryl Johnston.  Last I looked, the Cowboys weren’t playing in the big game. Finally we learn 400 people with Super Bowl tickets were not allowed inside the stadium because their seats weren’t installed. Yup,  Jones planned the extra seating but his maintenance crew never got the memo. Reason was, Jones sought a new attendance record for the sport’s biggest game. “For greed’s sake,” was how the New York Times called it. Remember those crowd shots outside FOX kept showing but never commented on? I thought they were fans in Green Bay, getting ready to celebrate in the streets when actually they were the patrons with tickets outside the stadium in Dallas.  See – Jones has FOX in his pocket just like 60 Minutes!

Christina UGH-guilera: If we can make performers blink like androids, why can’t we set up a Teleprompter for those singing the national anthem? What should be honorable again turned into a botch job from an entertainer far-more concerned about her hair, make-up and manicure than memorizing the lines for maybe her most notable live performance.

Highest of Insults: Gilbert Arenas recently returned to Washington as a member of the Orlando Magic. The headline on the Washington Post web site read, “Fallen Hero Returns.” Just who compiles these pitiful phrases? Any sensible person  realizes “Fallen Hero” refers to a man or woman fatally wounded in battle defending his or her country. This phrase should be used only for when remains of a true fallen hero are flown home to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. And remember, Arenas had a felony gun charge for when he brought and allegedly drew a pistol on a teammate in the Verizon Center. Some hero!

Creative SENSEless: Super Bowl advertisements are costly so you’d think the marketing staffs in charge would be, well, creative. Instead, we witnessed one mindless ad after another  — each filled with sexual innuendo. Just “out with it” stuff that lacked ingenuity, charm or humor. In one, a young man sends an e-valentine to his girlfriend, saying, “What a great rack you have.”  In a talking car commercial, a male car says to a female car,  “I think you’d like my ride.”  Another ad featured a man telling his girl over and over, “I want to sleep with you.” I’m 55 and was turned off by the empty themes. What must an 10-year-old girl have thought? Or a 75-year-old woman? Class and decorum obviously had no place here.

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MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro

In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on February 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Every day and night on CNN over the last week, the Power of Tweeting has been in full view on the streets of Cairo. It’s a revolution, super-charged by messages of 140 characters or less advising the citizenry to rise up against a despised dictator. That’s the good news, unless your name happens to be Hosni Mubarak.

Here’s the bad news on Twitter, especially if your name is Jay Cutler and you play quarterback for the Chicago Bears.

Two weeks ago, Cutler had a nightmarish day in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Mostly ineffective in the first half, he played one series in the second and was taken out of the game, suffering from a partially torn knee ligament that hindered his ability to plant his leg and throw effectively.
And so, Cutler spent the rest of the second half on the sidelines, huddled under a parka watching his team fall ever so short of upsetting Packers with a novice quarterback in his place, ending the Bears dream of getting to Super Bowl XVL.

But while Cutler tried to stay warm, all around the country, mean-spirited NFL players past and present were giddily talking trash about the wounded quarterback, tweeting some very nasty stuff.
“I have to be crawling and can’t get up to come off the field,” read one posting. “There is no medicine for a guy with no guts and no heart,” ripped another. “If I’m on the Chicago team Cutler has to wait ‘til me and the team shower (and) get dressed and leave before he comes in the locker room.” One more: “As a guy with 20 knee surgeries you’d have to drag me out on a stretcher to leave a championship game.”  And my all-time favorite, posted by a former cornerback and current talking head television loudmouth named Deion Sanders: “I never question a player’s injury, but I do question a player’s heart.”

Would that be the same Deion Sanders who never saw an oncoming running back trying to turn up field that he couldn’t duck, preferring not to get his jersey dirty or his bones bruised by, heaven forbid, standing his ground and making the tackle?

All of the above quotations and many more were colliding all over the information super highway that day and for many more after that, with Cutler the victim of a hit-and-run assault perhaps unprecedented in the annals of his or any other game.

If this is an example of the new media, I’d like no part of it, thank you very much. The sad part on the whole ugly mess is that the old, traditional media actually included many of those malicious tweets in their own dispatches coming out of Soldier Field that day.

Never mind that the tweeting player-fools had no idea that Cutler had been injured, that the team’s doctors had advised his coach, Lovie Smith, that Cutler was injured and was having difficulty throwing or moving around in the pocket because of what later was diagnosed as a partial tear of the ligament. Every one of his teammates questioned in the locker room stood up for their quarterback, defending his courage and the size of his heart.

And yet, some legitimate journalists—in print and on the air–had no qualms about using comments from players watching at home on their big-screen televisions who had as much access to information on Cutler’s injury situation as the guy watching the game from the comfort of his favorite sports bar.

“There was no reason that any of them would have been searched out for a quote on Cutler,” wrote Dave Kindred, one of the most widely respected sports columnists of his generation. “Yet their social media attack was reported as news inside gamers and columns written in the stadium that day. News? Oh please. The quotes served only two purposes: 1) they reinforced suspicions that repeated concussions affect a man’s reasoning powers and 2) they reinforced suspicions that reporters and columnists with a personal distaste for the sullen, snarly Cutler used the quotes to say what they would never have said on their own.”

Cutler has not been a particularly media-friendly quarterback since he was traded from Denver to the Bears. One ESPN.com columnist described him as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery hidden inside a jackass.”

Something else might have been at play, as well. Whenever the television cameras zoomed in on Cutler in the second half, he was usually alone, away from his teammates. It appeared as if he had taken not only his body but his head out of the game, as well. Wouldn’t the two guys who replaced Cutler have benefited from him being in their sideline huddles with offensive coaches and Smith when the Bears defense was on the field?
Truth be told, Cutler probably should have been involved, certainly a fair point anyone covering the game was justified in pointing out in print or over the air. But quoting all those tweets from uninformed sources with no knowledge of the real situation was unconscionable and, hopefully in the future, a teaching moment as well.
Leonard Shapiro can be reached at badgerlen@aol.com

LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT Ross MacCallum

In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on February 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm

With the possibility of an NFL lock-out looming, it appears that Dan Snyder’s back-up plan is to spend the 2011 season trying to sue the pants off a tiny Washington media outlet, the City Paper.  What a great way to pick up cash to offset lost ticket revenue!  Although, I’ve read that Snyder’s lawyers have suggested that any proceeds will be donated to charity.  If so, can I suggest starting a legal defense fund for the City Paper?  We’re not talking about the Washington Post.

According to the Associated Press and other major news organizations, the Redskins owner is suing the City Paper and its parent company for $2 million plus punitive damages and court costs claiming defamation in a November 19th article called “The Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.”  And, depending on which on-line report you read, Snyder either is or isn’t seeking the dismissal of the story’s author, Dave McKenna.  Snyder is also reportedly upset with other articles that have appeared in the City Paper since 2009, and he seems notably unhappy with the photo art that went along with the “Fan Guide” that depicts Snyder with a beard and devil’s horns.   Reportedly, Snyder’s lawyers have gone so far as to get a west coast rabbi to label the crudely drawn horns as “anti-semitic.”   For the record, Snyder is Jewish.

Now, to be completely honest, I had not read the McKenna article until the lawsuit story broke.  And, I couldn’t pick Dave McKenna out of a lineup even if he was alone.  I would classify the writing as “tongue-in-cheek” humor with an EDGE.   A SHARP EDGE, at that.  At first glance, the article’s “A-Z” approach pretty much hits all the low points of the Snyder-era as Redskins owner; on and off the field.   (I think we can all agree that the “high points” wouldn’t make for much of an article).  To call it libel or defamation is a stretch, at best.   To call the photo embellishment of Snyder anti-semitic is a longer stretch.   To call it unflattering would pretty much hit the nail on the head.

So, I can see why Danny is displeased with his portrayal.  But, why on earth would he draw attention to a not-so-positive article from a media outlet with a very limited readership (sorry City Paper) and turn it into a NATIONAL HEADLINE and splash it across the worldwide web, ESPN, the Washington Post, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum?  Is it because to claim libel somebody actually has to have read the allegedly libelous article in the first place?   If it were only that simple for Snyder’s lawyers.  You see, there’s the issue of proving malice, and there’s the sticky little issue of Snyder being a public figure (unflattering stuff comes with the territory).   Oh, and I seem to recall this little note from my Business Law class in college, “You can’t libel someone with the truth.”   And, while Snyder is claiming the article in question contains “lies, half-truths, and innuendo” designed to smear him, the City Paper says the facts of the story are facts.  And, let’s not forget the First Amendment here.  Danny’s lawyers could clearly use a little re-fresher on this one.

So, what is the truth?  Well, the truth is, as they say, out there.  Snyder may lose, but he can afford to lose.   The City Paper probably can’t afford to win, lose, or draw.  Money is power, and Danny is flexing the money muscle, for sure.   But, bizarrely, this might actually be the best thing that’s ever happened to McKenna and the City Paper.   Money just can’t buy the exposure they’re getting right now.

As for the outcome,  Snyder might wind up proving the original point of McKenna’s article. (If you get my drift).  And, if you didn’t, let me just say that Danny might just have clinched another “Sports Jerk of the Year” award from Tank McNamara.   More critically, however, Snyder may have committed the biggest PR blunder in NFL history.   Never bite the hand that feeds your ego.  The City Paper is an easy target for a bully and his legal team, but it’s not alone out there. The media can and will bite back.

And, the fans?   Dan Snyder lost them years ago.

Ross is the creator of Throwback Baseball 1.0 www.aberdeentradingco.com

SPORTS LANDSCAPE Bill Sullivan

In THE SPORTS LANDSCAPE Bill Sullivan on February 1, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Super Shocker: Forty-two years ago, the New York Jets upset Baltimore in the Super Bowl.  Joe Namath got the credit but the Jet defense held the Colts to a season-low 7 points, 22 below their average.  The upset snapped the Colts’ 10-game winning streak, reports profootballreference.com and left them with a 15-2 mark. Baltimore hadn’t lost a game away from Memorial Stadium all season. In its two playoff wins prior to the Super Bowl, Baltimore outscored Minnesota and Cleveland by a combined 58-14.

What’s With the Wiz? After a record-setting 23rd -straight road loss to “start” the season, Washington Wizards players revealed problems. “We’re soft, man, soft as hell.” said Al Thornton. Teammate Nick Young added “We don’t stay consistent with play-calling. Everybody came out forced.” And this, from Trevor Booker: “We didn’t stand up to the challenge and play with energy.” After Memphis had scored 68 points in the paint, Wizards guard Kirk Hinrich said, “It was pretty much a layup drill for most of the game.” Besides coach Flip Saunders, the Wizards have seven Randy Wittman, Don Zierden, Sam Cassell, Wes Unseld, Jr., Ryan Saunders, Mike Wells and Gene Banks. Just what are they doing? Or not doing? By no coincidence, Wes Unseld, Sr. failed as head coach, as it seems Ryan’s  father is doing. BTW, it’s 24 and counting…

Self PromoSHUN: During halftime of the Richmond – Xavier basketball  game, the geeky studio host prodded partner Jay Williams about his running  in a charity race. He teased him about his time before praising Williams once being national player of the year. There was NO mention of the specific charity. The host could have asked why Williams participated but he was busy “sucking up.”  Charities are slighted these days by celebrities looking to promote themselves. True charity is when no one knows except the recipient in need.

Malcolm in the Middle: Ravens Coach John Harbaugh gave Malcolm “Cam” Cameron expanded duties with the offense while firing quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn. Two Ravens assistants left for other NFL jobs. Cameron failed as head coach at Indiana University (18-37) and with the Miami Dolphins (1-15). Four NFL owners besides Miami’s Joe Robbie interviewed Cameron for head coach vacancies  in 2006-07. Still, ‘Cam’s’ resume is weak for one who keeps landing jobs and gaining promotions. He never played a down in the NFL but  Zorn quarterbacked for 12 seasons. Now, QB Joe Flaaco is sounding off, saying They know I’m not happy about it and my feelings aren’t going to change.”

JMwho?: The Dukes of James Madison collected four votes for the AP Poll despite one quality win (S. Florida) and one quality loss (Kansas St.). When it faced tough league foes – Old Dominion, George Mason and Hofstra – it lost each time. Among the Dukes’ cupcake wins: Presbyterian, Radford, the Citadel, Longwood, Eastern Michigan, Towson and William & Mary.

Capital Improvements: But ODU has defeated Xavier, Clemson and Richmond while losing to Missouri and Georgetown (by 3). And fellow Colonial member VCU – 16-5 – has toured the PAC-10, ACC, Big East and SEC. In so doing, it defeated UCLA and Wake Forest and lost to South Florida (by 1 in OT), UAB (by 3) and Tennessee (by 5). Richmond is also 16-6, having defeated No. 8 Purdue, Arizona State, Seton Hall, Wake Forest and Charlotte while losing to Georgia Tech. See the difference?

Skin Deep: Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson’s minions paraded the scarlet-lettered Mike Leach around campus while a College Park Realtor did the same with Leach’s wife. This while Ralph Friedgen still was coach. In Steve Yanda’s Jan. 26 Washington Post piece, he wrote new coach Randy Edsall is a “more alluring” successor and how he’s going to lure Terrapin boosters with his “character traits – reliable, calculated and organized.” This implies Friedgen lacks character. Yes, Ralph is obese and doesn’t have the “Crest smile” or bronze tan of his successor. But it  shouldn’t have gotten him fired. He’s a Maryland alum and 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year. Anderson’s been on Maryland’s campus about three  months.  It’s obvious why Friedgen was never hired as a head coach. Kudos to Debbie Yow for knowing “character” minus the gift wrap when she hired Friedgen.