The Good, The Bad, and The Really Ugly

November 28

Now the story takes a quantum leap. Bernie Fine is fired as Syracuse University associate basketball coach amid child sexual abuse allegations, as evidence mounts against him. There are now three accusers, but it’s important to emphasize that unlike the Penn State case no charges have been filed yet.

Head coach Jim Boeheim denies knowing anything, and he staunchly defended his longtime friend and his associate. There’s nothing wrong with defending a friend, unless you know better. There is something wrong with the way Boeheim went after Fine’s alleged victims at first. Now he has apologized for that, in a statement that sounds like it was crafted by an attorney.

It may be too little, too late.


Tim Tebow has become a lightning rod with a helmet. Those uncomfortable with his religious convictions, and his willingness to be a witness for his beliefs, have had a field day. Their vilification of him has been unfair at times.

On the flip side, others have elevated him to a status just below Messiah. It’s tough to be comfortable with that, either.

As a football player, he has already accomplished something: he has forced us to look at the game a bit differently. We have to get around our preconceptions about what a quarterback is supposed to be.

He is unorthodox, to say the least, but he is 5-1 as a starter. Will it last ? Even Tebow acknowledges he has to get better.

He can’t carry the ball 19 times a game for very long, and his much-analyzed throwing motion will be a weakness defenses will learn to exploit. He’s big and strong and pretty fast, but so are NFL linebackers. There will be wear and tear.

How long can this go on ? Despite his shortcomings, longer than his critics think, and it’s not necessarily because of his will to win or his work ethic. Many players possess those qualities.

It’s because Tebow does a pretty good job of taking care of the ball, is pretty smart, can make good things happen on broken plays, and he plays on a team with a pretty good defense. As long as it can keep games close, he can work whatever magic he has. He does have experience in big-time pressure situations, so that helps.

I was one of the many skeptics when he was drafted. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a believer ( in his football skills ) but I understand that he can succeed short term, and why.


Chargers kicker Nick Novak relieved himself on the sidelines, and soon Norv Turner will be relieved of his duties. Novak took a leak on the sidelines, and his kicks leaked to the right.

If you take away one of Novak’s misses, Turner’s less-than-aggressive style might have worked against the Broncos. Now the Bolts have lost six in a row and are fading away in the less-than-electrifying AFC West.


If Norv Turner is on the hot seat, Rick Neuheisel’s seat has flames leaping 20 feet into the sky. Saturday was a dark day for longtime UCLA fans, a soul-crushing 50-0 loss to USC in the rivalry game.

It’s a nightmare scenario for the Pac-12 that the Bruins are in the championship game at Oregon Saturday. The only reason the Bruins are going is because USC is on probation. It’s an absolute joke that they should be even sniffing a bowl game.

I tweeted that Saturday’s “contest” was like the Packers vs. a Pop Warner team, but that’s an insult to young football players everywhere. I’d like to think Saturday was when the Bruins hit bottom, but I’ve said that a couple of times already this season.

Neuheisel, a former quarterback, couldn’t recruit a good quarterback and can’t beat USC. Case closed. He most go, and so must the man who hired him, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. I don’t trust Guerrero to hire anyone better.

As much as I hate the notion of paying college football coaches more than CEO’s of major corporations, if some of UCLA’s well-heeled boosters can pony up, the school needs to pay for a top-notch coach. Otherwise, stop pretending you have a football program.

I’ve watched the Bruins since I was a kid, going to games with my Dad, who had season tickets at the Coliseum for many years. The Bruins didn’t win a national title during that time but had some pretty damn good teams, and they managed to beat the haughty Trojans once in a while. Those days are a distant, distant memory.


Andrew Luck is a victim of his own success. He managed to throw a few interceptions, including a couple of pick-sixes, and “the bloom is off the rose.”

Let me give you some stats: 87-for-131, 952 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. That constitutes a “slump” over his last four games. Meanwhile, some other top players have put up gaudy numbers and he has supposedly “lost” the Heisman Trophy.

Let’s forget for a moment that the Heisman is a joke of a popularity contest that excludes almost anyone who can’t put up tangible “numbers,” something for fantasy and rotisserie players. Luck has lost several of his top weapons, and is one of the few quarterbacks able to select a play call at the line of scrimmage. To me, that gives him a decided edge.

Matt Barkley might end up being an even better NFL quarterback, and he totally eviscerated UCLA Saturday. ( Love how Lane Kiffin kept him in almost the entire game, despite an insurmountable lead, so he could put up more big numbers. ) He’s got all the tools, but he also has incredibly talented receivers.

Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, and others have had unbelievable moments this year. I’ve obviously seen Luck and Barkley play much more than other candidates around the nation, but I don’t see what Luck has done to “lose” the honor.


Karma is a bitch. Just ask Bills receiver Stevie Johnson. After scoring a touchdown, he mimicked Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. Admit it, you laughed, I did — for a second.

It was, however, an obviously stupid stunt. Not as stupid as Plaxico’s stunt in a nightclub, but dumb nonetheless.

Johnson was given an excessive celebration, and the Jets really appreciated the extra 15 yards. On the subsequent drive they tied the score at 14-all at the end of the first half. Later, Johnson dropped a potential game-winning pass later in the fourth quarter, and the Bills went down to their fourth straight defeat.

Johnson’s not a bad guy, just misguided. After the game, he apologized. At least he didn’t blame God in a tweet this time. Or Tim Tebow.


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