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The season music died for Bowden

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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So I'm reading about this academic scandal at Florida State, about the 20-odd players reportedly cheating in a online music history exam, and I'm thinking: Is that the same course Jack Black taught in "School of Rock"?

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Here's what I really love: Of all the postseason games the Seminoles could have played in, they're going to the Music City Bowl.

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I just got a hold of some of the questions on the test:

1. How many members of the Four Tops are there?

2. What instrument does Matt "Guitar" Murphy play?

3. Who invented the Sousaphone?

4. Complete the following lyric: "A-B-C, it's easy as 1-2- ..."

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What, you were expecting multiple choice?

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All the suspensions have wreaked havoc with the Seminoles' depth chart. In fact, right now, their backup nose tackle is the tuba player in the marching band.

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According to Mel Kiper, though, the kid is "strong enough to bench press the entire woodwind section" and capable of "blowing his man off the line — literally."

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Asked if he was worried that Florida State might have to forfeit some games, Bobby Bowden said, "I don't think that's possible. We didn't intentionally play an ineligible player."

I can't wait for Bobby try that argument in the bowl game against Kentucky.

"Aw, come on, ref, we didn't intentionally jump offside, dadgummit."

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Maybe it's just me, but it seems like Bowden is caught between a Rachmaninoff and a hard place.

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Quote of the Week: "Maybe we should be a farm system — until our coaches get good enough that they can coach at Michigan."

— West Virginia booster Dean Hartley in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after football coach Rich Rodriguez followed basketball coach John Beilein to Ann Arbor. Nikki Izzo-Brown, the Mountaineers' women's soccer coach, reportedly also has interviewed with Michigan.

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Less than two weeks after they traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers, the Marlins held their annual "Select A Seat" day ... and fewer than 50 people showed up in the first two hours, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Where was everybody, you ask? Probably at "Select A Seat" day at Comerica Park.

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The Marlins would have gotten a better turnout if they'd shown just a little imagination. Next time, guys, try this sales pitch:

"Buy a season ticket, get a free supply of paper bags — in your choice of designer colors!"

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According to Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, the ball he used to get the last out in the World Series — and subsequently absconded with — was ripped to shreds by his bulldog, Boss.

How unbelievable a story is that? I'm not talking about his dog destroying a priceless historical artifact, I'm talking about his dog answering to the same name as George Steinbrenner.

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It's just misplaced aggression, if you ask me. What the mutt really wished he was chewing on, I'm sure, is one of Michael Vick's ESPY Awards.

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At least, I hope it was just misplaced aggression — and not steroid rage. The Mitchell Report didn't make any mention of Boss, did it?

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Fearless prediction: When the Letterman show resumes, the pooch will make an appearance on "Stupid Pet Tricks."

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After all, isn't a dog that devours baseballs the canine equivalent of a man who eats light bulbs?

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And who doesn't enjoy watching a man eat light bulbs?

As long as they're energy-efficient, of course.

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Haven't seen Nic Cage's latest "National Treasure" movie yet, but I hear Frank Herzog's cameo is Academy-Award caliber.

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Mr. "Touchdown, Washington Redskins!" has one line in the film, a source says — and no, it isn't "Assassination, John Wilkes Booth!" (I won't spoil it for you, though, by giving it away here.)

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Perusing a list of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks the other day, I was reminded that the first three Ultimate Games were won by QBs from the University of Alabama — the Packers' Bart Starr (Nos. 1 and 2) and the Jets' Joe Namath (No. 3). Trivia question: What was the only other time two quarterbacks from the same school won back-to-back Super Bowls? (Answer below.)

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Perhaps the most amazing stat produced by Tom Brady and Co. this season is this: Not only are they going to break the record for most points scored (they're only 33 shy of the 556 put up by the '98 Vikings), they also have a shot at being the most mistake-free offense in history. The Patriots have committed just 11 turnovers (four fumbles, seven interceptions), one less than the mark held by the '82 Chiefs (who only played nine games because of the strike).

If nothing else, the Pats should set a record for fewest turnovers in a full season. That mark is shared by three teams — the '43 Giants (10 games), '60 Browns (12) and '90 Giants (16), all with 14.

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Interesting parallel: When the Redskins set a record in 1983 by scoring 541 points, they also had the fewest turnovers in the league, 18. In fact, their per-game turnover average (1.13) was, at the time, the best in NFL history.

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I must admit, I wasn't familiar with the term "Gordie Howe hat trick" until I saw it applied the other day to the Penguins' Sidney Crosby, who scored a goal, got an assist (two, actually) and engaged in a fight in a 5-4 win over the Bruins. Soon enough, though, I was dreaming up other possible "hat tricks" in different sports. For instance:

• Shaquille O'Neal Hat Trick — a dunk, a blocked shot and an airball from the free throw line.

• Terrell Owens Hat Trick — a touchdown catch, an excessive celebration penalty and a post-game sound bite that gets shown on "SportsCenter."

• Manny Ramirez Hat Trick — a misjudged fly ball, a single off the Monster and a demand to be traded.

• John Daly Hat Trick — a 350-yard drive, a quadruple bogey and a mid-round withdrawal because of "injury."

• John McEnroe Hat Trick — a running argument with a linesman, a warning from the chair umpire and a late dinner with an Oscar-winning starlet.

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Answer to trivia question: Super Bowls 16 (1981 season) and 17 ('82), when Notre Damers Joe Montana (49ers) and Joe Theismann (Redskins) were the winning QBs.

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And finally ...

News item: Struggling Michelle Wie won't get an invite to the PGA Tour's Sony Open next month, as she has the past four years, but she still might start the 2008 season in Hawaii, her swing coach says.

Comment: Are you wondering what I'm wondering — that the poor girl has taken a waitressing job at the Waikiki Hilton?

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