A Chicago volcano

And now we turn our attention, for some reason, to Bulls coach Tim Floyd.

While Jim Mora sets his jaw and flies into a cold steely rage, and Pat Riley lets loose the plaintive wail of the sudden loser, Floyd goes about his business in what appears to be a calm, orderly fashion.

Clearly, in this season of the contentious press conference and hollow prediction, it's Tim Floyd's turn.

If anyone has a reason to work himself into a Network-style lather, it's the guy who's coaching under bosses who believe Charles Oakley, Greg Anthony and America's tallest teenagers would make a nice foundation for an NBA team.

(By the way, when Mora slipped in the little aside, "We threw that game," there was a little part inside all of us that stopped for a millisecond and asked the question, "Oh, man -- you think Jimmy Goldfinger was in on this?")

Even Doug Collins, who walked into his own nightly sitcom on TNT/TBS/NBC, gets all bobble-headed and irrational on occasion.

So how about this: After another boilerplate 19-point loss to the Timberwolves -- you know, down 10-2 at the start, 53-35 at the half, garbage time for the final 10 minutes -- wouldn't it be rich if Floyd met with reporters and acted like he didn't see it coming? If he flew into a spittle-and-fist frenzy and savaged his whole roster? Wouldn't you think more of him, if you bother to think of him at all?

Until then, though, we'll all have to make do with the platitudes. You know the ones. This is just a phase. Growing pains. Small steps. Saw some good things out there tonight.

Meanwhile, the rest of the coaching world gnashes and wails and foams.

We can only guess that Floyd is readying himself for the big one.

A nation awaits.

This Week's List

After careful deliberation, quiet contemplation and hours of consultation with my family, I have reached a decision: I don't want to be like Buddy Lee.

We haven't seen anyone this oblivious to the fast-break offense since Eric Montross: A mop boy almost got himself run over by Jacque Vaughn on a breakaway in the Hawks-Cavs game on Thursday night.

Or, in the old-school version, it was Rodman after three quarters: The Pistons grabbed a record-low 18 rebounds Wednesday night.

And now for this newsbreak: Gen. Barry McCaffrey sounds just like Jimmy Stewart.

The A.L. MVP thing is old news, granted, but even when you take away the obvious power discrepancy between the two players, there's no denying the following statistic: Giambi's on-base percentage -- .477; Ichiro's on-base percentage -- .381.

A summary of Giambi's guest spot on Jim Rome's TV show, condensed for the Oakland market: See ya.

Just in time for the holidays: On eBay now -- "1977 Topps Cloth Sticker Richie Zisk ChiSox."

Ah, the old double-negative trick, sure to come in handy if someone points out a disconnect between what you said and what you meant: Asked about rumors that coach Mike Riley is heading for San Diego State, Chargers president Dean Spanos said, "He ain't going nowhere."

And if that isn't a lesson for the bigger-headed among us: Eight weeks ago Riley was more of a candidate for the job at Notre Dame or the Dallas Cowboys than San Diego State.

At the risk of having John Ashcroft appear at the door in the middle of the night: By the middle of the third quarter, I think the concept of Army-Navy will far exceed the reality on the field.

We all saw this coming, didn't we?: As Peyton Manning's star falls, Kordell Stewart's rises.

The answer, these days, might be neither: Manning or Leaf?

Just for the heck of it: Louie Giammona.

This week on "Ask the Coach" you'll learn that the Rams' turnover problems would be solved by one minor change: As good as he is, Kurt Warner has one troubling habit -- he does the Jeff George, undo-the-chinstrap-after-every-play thing.

Then again, there's always hope: Jay Fiedler seems to have overcome the stigma of looking like a high school civics teacher.

Jamaal Tinsley's 23-assist night on Thanksgiving immediately brought up one name from the past: Kevin Porter.

He isn't taking into account the scientific evidence that states young men who stand around watching someone shoot a basketball age much faster than those who do not: After a recent loss, Michael Jordan said of his teammates, "These guys are young enough to step forward and make an effort."

Not only that, but the syntax was an absolute abomination: A letter sent from the Cincinnati basketball office to potential recruits deriding the basketball programs at Temple and other universities has John Chaney even more irate than usual.

And finally, where have you gone, George Rogers: Has there ever been a less soul-stirring "run" for the Heisman?

Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. E-mail him at tim.keown@espnmag.com.