August 27, 2004
U.S. women's soccer:
Getting all the pub today (and maybe a cereal box? See Big 5), but all signs point to the "next soccer" being softball. Fab 5? Meet the Fab 9.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Mike Williams should have won the Heisman; instead, the NCAA gave him the Heisman.

It was a stiff arm to his sincere efforts, to the national legacy of collegiate experimentation and to the NCAA's own already pathetic rep.

For once, the NCAA had a chance to be the good guys: Embrace Williams' good-faith effort to return (taking summer classes to get academically eligible) and restore a bit of luster to the NCAA's laughably eroded code of "amateurism."

How ironic that the NCAA will reap a nice reward from this Saturday's season opener on the backs of USC players (vs. Va Tech, 7:45 p.m. ET, ESPN). They're right -- something's amateurish.

But today, Mike Williams now suits up for "U.S.C-ya!" and the NCAA ("Where the extra 'A' stands for asinine!") has managed -- yet again -- to fumble their own interests, teaching the worst kind of lessons to its members, players and fans.

S.C. stands for S-C-r-e-w-e-d. Williams was screwed. By the courts. By the NFL. By his professional "advisors." And now -- most royally of all -- by the NCAA.

OLY: Finishing Fast
Is it over already? Consider this closing thought, rather than the closing ceremonies (Why should I watch when I can catch Natalie Coughlin's legs stateside on Letterman?):

The Summer Games may still be corrupt; taped (vs. live) still causes an allergic reaction; training "methods" are still sketchy; and 99 percent of the sports and the athletes will be forgotten for four more years -- but the Summer Games re-established its place as a preeminently exciting spectacle in sports culture.

LLWS Championship
Int'l: Watch powerhouse Pabao (Curacao) over Nuevo Leon (Mexico). Why? Pabao beat Taiwan. Isn't Taiwan the Yankees of LLWS? (Sat., 2 p.m. ET, ESPN)

U.S.: In the last week, Richmond, Texas, has scored nearly 13 runs per game, giving up an average of 3. That's the pick in the U.S.

Cubs: 5 straight wins; on a roll since Sosa moved to No. 5
Dallas Cowboys: Start own TV net; again, Jones pace-setter
Adrian Beltre: May not be MVP, but keeps cranking HRs (41)
OLY closing ceremonies: Running against MTV MVAs
Hoops reporters: NBA bans use of cellys in the locker room
Tim Couch: Losing GB No. 2 QB battle to Scott "Who?" Brien
final, over Cali's Thousand Oaks. (Sat., 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Overall championship: Richmond has too much offense; break out the bottles of non-alcoholic sparkling beverages! (Sun., 6:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

NFL Weekend
Top 5 plotlines to watch:

SEA/SDC: Will we see Rivers?
NYG/NYJ: Kurt, Eli, Quincy?!
BUF/IND: Ongoing McGa-hoo-ha
DC/StL: Pat Ramsey gets start
NE/CAR: Super rematch, kinda

Ichiro Rules
"First Ever" Alert! Became the first player ever to get 200 hits in each of his first four MLB seasons. Another six seasons at this current pace and he's a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Where's Ricky?
Ricky-related rhetoric gets a little nastier. From the Dolphins GM: "We're going to let him hang himself." 'Nuff said.

Pennington: New Deal?
The Jets should rush to give Chad Pennington a contract extension. He's their best QB since Namath -- and currently top 5 in the AFC (behind only Manning, McNair, Brady and Green). More important, he'll soon be top 5 in the NFL, period.

Kobe, I, the Jury
So you want to be on the Kobe Trial jury? Pros: Post-trial TV, book deals; Cons: Please, there ain't gonna be a trial.)

Jury questionnaire: What should be on it? Three samples:

How do you feel about guys in your gym league who shoot too much?

Can you recite from memory any notable Bryant basketball statistic?

Are you, or have you ever been, a Clippers fan?

Olympics naysayers:
Low expectations became the easiest hurdle of all: Swimming hype delivered; controversy stayed in the gym; Drug scandal? Umm, later.
Today on
Page 2: Simmons on the Olympics
College football preview
Olympics coverage
Wheaties Watch
(Nearly Final!)
Women's soccer
Nostalgia; p.r. quotient
Michael Phelps
Last week long time ago
Women's softball
Fab 9: "The new soccer?"
Carly Patterson
Well, it won't be Hamm
Men/women hoops
Hunh?! (Only if both gold)

How badass is the U.S. men's sprint team? 1-2-3 in 400 earlier; now 1-2-3 in 200 (add 1-2 long jump for good measure) ...

Marion Jones Watch: She's going to quietly win gold on the 4x100 relay team, but don't expect medal in the long jump finals ...

Hottie Coughlin on Letterman: Why should we take the closing ceremonies seriously when top athletes are back home doing the TV tour? ...

MLB "Playoff Preview?" Series to Watch: Giants at Braves (NL); Twins at Angels (AL) ...

And remember when we all thought an August Astros-Cubs series would mean something special? At least it still is for Chicago ...

The NHL top legal honcho calls labor negotiations a "charade"; funny, that's the same label the upcoming non-season will get ...

Seriously, Greece fans need to get over banished 200 sprinter Kostas Kenteris. Don't they get it? He disgraced their country! ...

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