Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Around the Horn ...

... now Marriotti-free!

LSU college football champs -- allegedly

LSU beat Ohio State 38-24 Monday night in the BCS Championship Game, which -- apparently -- means the Tigers are national champions.

Well, if you believe the computers and the polls and money-grubbing conference commissioners.

I didn't watch the game -- or any bowl game -- because I refuse to give ratings (and, by extension, money) to a system so fraudulent that the only undefeated team in the country doesn't even get a shot at being the last one standing when all's said and done. What message does that send to Hawaii? "Congratulations on going 12-0 this year ... how about the Sugar Bowl? Sorry, but you're not good enough to contend for the national title."

More like "You can't make us the money that Ohio State or LSU can."

Unless and until the BCS goes the way of the Clerks television series, I will have no part of major college football. How a system can just arbitrarily pick the nation's two best teams and then make them take nearly two months off before playing for the title is beyond me. Simply put, the BCS makes a ton of cash, so it's staying.

Which means I'm staying away.

Gibbs stepping down

Joe Gibbs announced Tuesday that he would be resigning as head coach and team president of the Washington Redskins, following a year that saw the team lose one of its emotional leaders and rally into the playoffs.

Gibbs was 31-36 in his second tour with the Redskins, though he did manage two trips to the postseason, including a win over Tampa Bay in 2006. Washington had to win its last four games this season to get in, a remarkable run following Sean Taylor's death and a coaching gaff from Gibbs against Buffalo, in which he inexplicably called back-to-back timeouts.

No doubt Gibbs has found success in his life -- three Super Bowl rings and three championships in NASCAR's top series. And given his age (67), I don't blame Gibbs for stepping down. I'd imagine this past season wore on him, particularly the last six weeks or so. Keeping a team together following a loss like the one the Redskins had to endure can be draining for anyone, and Gibbs' Hall of Fame credentials have already been stamped.

Who will owner Daniel Snyder hire as the sixth head coach in his tenure? I'm not sure -- some insiders say assistants Al Saunders and Gregg Williams are candidates -- but Snyder will be hard-pressed to find someone with Gibbs' demeanor.

Can You Hear Me Now?

We hear you loud and clear, Roger Clemens ... I'm just not sure I believe you.

You swear up and down former trainer Brian McNamee never injected you with steroids and HGH -- despite his assertions otherwise in the voluminous Mitchell Report a month earlier. And yet ... nothing you tell us or show us is that convincing.

If nothing else, that taped conversation between you and McNamee raises more questions. Why didn't you tell him to tell the truth? Why didn't he contradict you when you told him you never juiced? Why are you bothering with niceties with a guy who apparently has told a horrible lie about you? If it were me, I would've torn him a new one (and no, a defamation lawsuit a month after the fact doesn't count).

And do you really expect me to believe you had no knowledge of Andy Pettitte's HGH use? Please ... you two were best friends, you shared the same trainer and you worked out together. How could you not know?

Unless that mythical third ear grew somewhere other than your forehead.

Such vewhement denials sound nice -- and provide fodder for your most adamant supporters -- but to anyone screaming that Clemens is innocent, I pose the question: what other athletes have offered stern, take-no-prisoners denials with regards to performance-enhancing drug use?

Rafael Palmeiro and Marion Jones. I rest my case.

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