Sports Shorts

Friday Night Lights–There was something exciting and fresh about watching a televised collegiate football game on Friday night. The USC Trojans traveled to the great northwest to Pullman, Washington to take on the Washington State University Cougars in a Pac 12 game rife with potential title implications.

It was cool seeing the WSU campus stadium packed to the gills with lights shining brightly and knowing that the game was the only one playing in that time slot across the nation. Pullman is a veritable college town as the university and its students are the heartbeat of the area. When you have the fifth-ranked team in the country coming to your abode the ante is upped and the WSU followers elicited more of a fervent desire for victory. By kickoff the faithful in the stands were literally frothing at the mouth, be it their Cougar nature or their consumption of tailgate hooch.

And the fans were rewarded! Washington State pulled off the upset as they nipped USC 30-27. The Trojans 13-game winning streak was halted and the Cougars pushed their overall record to an immaculate 5-0. With the exception of a model victory versus Stanford, USC has been tentative at best to date. And with their first victory against the Trojans in Pullman since 2002 WSU has now catapulted itself into the national conversation. Cougar Nation is aglow.

Three’s Company–Did you see where the Oklahoma City Thunder petitioned NBA commissioner Adam Silver to institute the use of three basketballs for all Thunder games?  Me either. But they ought to, as the recent signing of Carmelo Anthony has delivered a third isolationist-scoring machine to their lineup. This signing adds to the fact that a few months back OKC inked Paul George to a one-year contract to help offset their loss of Kevin Durant a season ago.

Anthony and George will now be paired (or is it “tripped”) with league MVP Russell Westbrook who authored a triple-double last season by averaging double figures in scoring, assists and rebounds. These three were tops in the league last year in isolation plays, plays in which a player is purposely isolated to one side of the court on offense so that he can go one-on-one against his defender.

Thunder brass are banking on the three pushing their egos aside for the betterment of the team and melding together as a unit in order to compete in the agonizingly tough Western Conference. With all of that potential firepower take the over in all OKC contests.

The Hand Of Fate–They finally got him! Not the NCAA enforcement agency. Not the university overseers. No sir. It took the FBI to finally deliver the knockout blow to the career of head basketball coach Rick Patino at the University of Louisville. The university actually terminated Patino, but it wasn’t until the FBI had uncovered illegal payments to a Louisville recruit that the axe fell.

It was quite perplexing to all as to just how Rick Patino kept his coaching position at Louisville for as long as he did. First there was the admitted sexual act committed in a booth at a restaurant with a woman other than his wife. For this the university slapped his hand. Then there was the revelation that one of his assistant coaches was, allegedly, providing prostitutes to his players in their dorms.

Patino feigned ignorance and was still left on the Louisville payroll. (One of the hookers actually wrote a detailed book about the scandal!)

Well, the university finally had had enough after Big Brother exposed the pay-for-play shenanigans which were going on not only at Louisville, but at other major collegiate institutions as well. Patino said he was “shocked” to learn of the latest allegations. Hey Rick, we were all “shocked” that you lasted this long as the highest paid coach in all of college basketball. It was inferred before, but now we all know just how some big-time programs recruit so successfully. “The hand of fate is on me now. It picked me up and knocked me right down!” (Mined from the song “Hand Of Fate” off of the Rolling Stones album Black and Blue.)

And Finally–Um, who’s stinking it up the worst: Tampa Bay pitcher Jake Odorizzi with an era of 4.26 or Texas Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor with an anemic batting average of .205? Pee-yew!


-By Michael Elliott