Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thursday 01/03 A.M. Quickie:
West Virginia, Purple Jesus, Mavs, More!

Today's Names to Know: Cam Cameron, Pat White, Noel Devine, Bill Stewart, Virginia Tech, Kansas, Mike Nolan, Mavericks, Eric Gordon, Brian McNamee, Varsity Letters and More!

Bill Parcells fires Cam Cameron: Now THIS will be interesting. Will Parcells look for an experienced hand or a young up-and-comer? Will he go to the Parcells family tree or raid the Cowboys (Jason Garrett?), like he did for a GM (see below). The Cameron experiment was a dud; Dolphins fans I know are ecstatic at the news. When "anyone but the current coach" is the preference over "current coach," you are in trouble as a coach.

Fiesta Bowl: West Virgina crushes Oklahoma. Here was my first (and lingering) thought: How the hell did this West Virginia team get stifled by Pitt? Pitt?!?! Because they looked dominant versus an Oklahoma team so many fans and experts presumed was not just a Top 3 or 4 team, but a team that deserved some kind of shot at the national title.

This was WVU's spread offense in all of its unstoppable glory (without longtime head coach Rich Rodriguez, mind you).

QB Pat White was spectacular: For all of the highly touted QBs throughout the rest of the bowl season -- Tebow, Brennan, Daniel -- White put on the best performance. He rushed for 150 yards, but also throwing for 176 and 2 TDs. (After the game, White threw his support behind interim head coach Bill Stewart to get the position full-time.)

And freshman sensation Noel Devine rushed for 108 yards on 13 carries (9 ypc) and 2 TDs, including a 65-yard game-capper early in the 4th to break Oklahoma's spirit once and for all. (Devine added 47 receiving yards on 2 catches and 88 return yards on 4 kicks. That's 243 yards of all-purpose goodness. Take that, McKnight and Benn.)

How could I forget Owen Schmitt?

For West Viriginia, what a bittersweet moment: Abandoned by coach Rich Rodriguez, they rallied behind his interim replacement to put on a fireworks display in a BCS bowl game they were not supposed to win. At the same time, fans will be wondering "What if?" over that loss at home to Pitt in the regular-season finale, costing them a shot in the national title game, for a long time. This was a VERY good team.

For Oklahoma, it was a second straight shocking loss in a Fiesta Bowl. OU was 9th in the country in rushing defense, giving up less than 100 yards per game; West Virginia rushed for nearly 350. At this point, they're probably better off giving the spot to another Big 12 team, if they're just going to be befuddled by innovative offenses every year.

Orange Bowl Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Kansas. College football's most stirring preseason story versus its most amazing in-season story (though affecting for far different reasons).

At the same time, I think this will draw the lowest ratings of any BCS bowl game (and that's saying something in a year as down as this one). I'm intrigued to see Todd Reesing against the Hokies' D. Pick: Kansas.

Adrian Peterson is NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year: A no-brainer... almost makes you wonder what the GMs of teams picking ahead of the Vikings were thinking in passing on him.

Texas RB Jamaal Charles turning pro: He's not the next Peterson, but he is right in line with the rest of the talented Big 12 running backs of recent vintage -- and certainly of this draft.

Pats-Giants was the highest-rated regular-season NFL game since 1995: That's saying something in this age of consumer fragmentation. Then again, they DID have 2.5 networks (plus the local network) to help boost the number. That said: If it was on NBC, CBS or Fox alone, it would have probably come close to the 34.5 million who watched.

(Meanwhile, the NHL Outdoor Game on Tuesday earned the highest rating for a hockey game since February 1996. Hell, they should make EVERY game a gimmicky populist event.)

More NFL: The 49ers won't fire Mike Nolan. (Which always seems to need the qualifier: "Won't fire Mike Nolan... yet." It is an inevitability that they will, if not this season then next or the year after that.)

Meanwhile, Parcells taps Cowboys scouting guru Ireland to be his Dolphins GM, as expected. Ireland has a pretty daunting job from Day 1: Who should the Dolphins take with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft? Or, alternatively, should they trade down?

For example: Jerry Jones loves Arkansas almost as much as he loves his Cowboys. Jones also owns TWO first-round picks; don't you think Jones is ready to swap them to move up to take Hogs uber-back Darren McFadden? I do. ("Uber-Back": Hmm, I think I like that as D-Mac's new nickname. Claimed!)

NBA: Mavs beat Warriors. Another exemption to my "Won't-talk-about-the-Mavs-until-the-Playoffs" rule: Unless they are playing (and beating) the Warriors, and we get the usual round of sports media folks assigning any sort of redemptive meaning to a Mavs win.

There is none: It doesn't change the Mavs' unprecedented first-round choke in the playoffs a year ago. No regular-season win will change that.

To override that meme, the Mavs don't just have to beat the Warriors in the regular season (hell, they don't just have to vanquish the Warriors in the playoffs, which STILL wouldn't change the magnitude of what happened last year); the Mavs have to win an NBA title. Don't talk to me about the Mavs until they get to the NBA Finals.

CBB: Eric Gordon had 25 in his Big Ten conference-season debut, in an Indiana win over Iowa. It's a down year for the Big Ten, and he is the conference's most exciting player. Circle Indiana vs. Michigan State, Indiana vs. Wisconsin and Michigan State vs. Wisconsin.

MLB: McNamee vs. Clemens. Brian McNamee's lawyers will be TiVo'ing Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes this Sunday, just in case he says anything to defame McNamee's claims about Clemens in the Mitchell Report. Then they'll sue Clemens' ass. And THEN the fun begins.

Finally, don't forget: I'll be appearing at the Varsity Letters Reading Series TONIGHT in NYC, opening up for Will Leitch and Dave Zirin. It's at Happy Ending (302 Broome) at 8 p.m. and it's FREE. Full details here. If you haven't seen my pre-game interview, check it out here, because it includes what might be the most incisive thing I have ever expressed:

It's like the people who call into Jim Rome or other sports-talk radio are like the "before" version of Charlie in "Flowers for Algernon," when he was mentally challenged. The Deadspin commenters are like the super-smart "post-drugs" version of Charlie—still fundamentally retarded, but riding a tide of brilliance—that's the daily commenting stream.

See you tonight.

-- D.S.


pv845 said...

Dan, I was hoping for a KU victory, but you picking KU means that they are sure to lose. Thanks!

Tuffy said...

Dave Wannstedt must be a Deadspin commenter.

The Mark Show said...

Another exemption to my "Won't-talk-about-the-Mavs-until-the-Playoffs" rule that isn't really a rule since I talk about the Mavs every time something fairly noteworthy happens.

There, that's better.

That was a good interview with Gelf Magazine. I disagree with your comments on Celtics fans, or fans of other successful franchises experiencing down years. There's a difference between giving up on a team and recognizing a team's flaws and lowering one's expectations.

mirthywvu said...

just want to say WOOHOO to my WVU they put on a show. And to people like poster Dave Levy who was so ready to dismiss the Big East altogether I think we showed the country something. It's been an amazing run for us and I'm going to keep on enjoying it for a few more years with PW and Devine. I also wonder how much we can keep discussing "WVU" choking against Pitt. Maybe it was RichRod, not WVU who choked. If that's the case, then good riddance, we're much better off without a "genius" who gets ultra-conservative in the biggest game of the year. Heck, you can't tell me he wasn't thinking about the Michigan job before that game.
And yes, it is disappointing that we could have been in the championship, but didn't LSU choke on Arksansas, Oklahoma on Texas Tech, etc. But with all the adversity we faced, this victory is not meaningless...we have now won 3 straight bowls: Sugar, Gator, Fiesta...and we'll be back next year just as good or better.

Mike D said...

dan, do you have mavs fans chanting outside your window at night? Who's talking about them? No mention of the celtics barely beating the rockets without T-Mac

Boomhauertjs said...

If the draft was held over, I'd still be glad the Browns took Joe Thomas over Peterson. Thomas will still be a Pro Bowl tackle (blocking for 1000 yard rushers) long after Peterson's numerous injuries prematurely end his career.

Unknown said...

When WVU lost to Pitt, Pat White was hurt and out most of the game. Not the same team without him.

nathan said...

I can't take full credit for this, I'm sure I saw it on a t-shirt someplace, but Darren McFadden's new nickname should be "Run DMc"

John said...

"...his interm replacement" has a name you know. Nice to see WVU go against the trend of most major programs and promote a deserving assistant to head coach...whatever his name is.

I'm no NFL GM, but even I know it's going to take alot more than the Cowboys two low first round picks this year to jump up to the Dolphins number #1 spot. I wouldn't make the trade regardless. The Cowboys have holes to fill elsewhere, before they need an upgrade at RB.

Kurt said...

"Here's the thing, does the Big East really have anything on the WAC anymore? If WVU gets embarrassed tonight, does the BE have any claim at all to being one of the top six conferences in the country?" - Dave Levy

So did that embarrassment go? Where are you today to eat your crow?

Joey said...

I like AD and originally wanted the Browns to draft him, but after seeing Joe Thomas this year, he was the perfect pick for a team that has had an awful line all these years. He and Eric Steinbach solidified the Browns line into a strength. Even Jamal Lewis who many thought was done ran for over 1300 yards even with missing 2 games and parts of others.

Peterson will have a good career if he stays healthy, but the shelf life of a good running back isn't as long as a stud LT. The fact that the Browns were bad during the draft just shows that without the line in place in Cleveland, Peterson might have been injured more.

Thomas had the better overall season since he played every snap and anchored a line that produced 2 1,000 receivers and a 1,000 rusher along with helping Anderson look like the first real QB Cleveland has had in quite some time. Peterson was definitely awesome though.

the great bambi said...

what the hell? jumping off the VT bandwagon now?

Jen said...

I can't take full credit for this, I'm sure I saw it on a t-shirt someplace, but Darren McFadden's new nickname should be "Run DMc"

nathan~ I heard Tim Tebow call him Run DMc at the Heisman ceremony. I like it too.

Question Mark said...

What if Dallas dealt both of their first-round picks plus Barber? That would surely be enough to get up into one of the top spots --- perhaps #3, since Miami and St. Louis don't need a running back.

Michael W said...

I picked Peterson as my Heisman pre-season favorite last year. He didn't get it for the same reason a lot of people passed on him: he has a worrying injury history. I don't think his talent was ever seriously questioned, just his durability.

Matt T said...

fundamentally retarded, but riding a tide of brilliance

I think I'm going to put that on my resume.