- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2002

Well, at least Maryland held 'em under 60.

Let me get this straight: Washington State elbows the Terps out of the AP Top 10 on the strength of its 33-27 win over Purdue in the Sun Bowl? Puh-leeze. The Boilermakers lost six of their last eight; they were Dead Men Walking by the time they got to El Paso.

I keep waiting for one of the lesser bowls to pick its teams this way: Put the names of all the schools that aren't invited to a postseason game in a hat and pull out two. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for programs that never get to go bowling, like Temple or Duke. You could call it the Irrelevant Bowl.

I mean, if the networks will televise Clemson vs. Louisiana Tech in the snow in Boise why wouldn't they televise, say, Louisiana-Monroe vs. the University of Buffalo in the Irrelevant Bowl?

Ralph Friedgen wondered last week who might play him in a movie about this year's Cinderella team, especially since "Jackie Gleason is dead." (As is Jackie Coogan, for that matter.) Here are four (living) possibilities:
1. John Goodman He was disappointing as the Babe, but he'd probably do OK with a more life-sized character like the Fridge.
2. Josh Mostel You know, the pleasingly plump assistant to Gordon Gekko in "Wall Street" (among other films). Gordon dubbed him "The Terminator."
3. John Ashton He even looks a little like Ralph. (See "Midnight Run," "Beverly Hills Cop.")
4. Tony Siragusa Goose is, after all, thinking about a film career, and with the right makeup man …

It's been a great football season for Maryland grads, hasn't it? First Friedgen takes the Terps to the Orange Bowl, and now Mike Tice gets to be coach-for-a-night with the Minnesota Vikings.

By the way, Marty Schottenheimer is no longer the only coach to have his brother on his staff. John Tice, another Maryland alum, tutors the Vikes' tight ends.

Unfortunately, Mike's 12-year-old son Nathan is too young to put on the payroll.

Idle thought: If the Redskins hire Steve Spurrier, will Brian Schottenheimer stay on as quarterbacks coach? (He did, after all, play under Spurrier at Florida.)

Hey, don't blame me. I didn't vote for Eric Crouch for the Heisman.

Five-for-15 for 62 yards against a Miami defense that pretty much called off the dogs in the second half? Sorry, a quarterback has to do better than that, even an option quarterback.

It wasn't just the phony master's degree from NYU that finished George O'Leary at Notre Dame, I'm told. It was also his claim of a Ph.D. from Hogwarts.

That, coupled with the three letters he said he won in quidditch, was just too much as far as the administration was concerned.

All this hoo-hah about Michael Jordan being the oldest NBA player to score 50 points in a game got me thinking: How old were some of basketball's other great scorers when they last went for 50? My findings:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 27 years old. (Scored 50 against Portland in 1975.)
Wilt Chamberlain 32. (Scored 66 against Phoenix in '69. Also had a 60-point game against Cincinnati that year.)
Elgin Baylor 28. (Scored 50 against Boston in '63.)
Jerry West 30. (Scored 53 against Boston in the playoffs in '69.)
Oscar Robertson 26. (Scored 50 against Philadelphia in '65.)
Bob Pettit 30. (Scored 52 against Baltimore in '63.)
Rick Barry Three days shy of his 34th birthday. (Scored 55 against the Knicks in '78).
Elvin Hayes 25. (Scored 50 against Seattle in '70.)
Larry Bird 32. (Scored 50 against Atlanta in '89.)
George Gervin 29. (Scored 50 against Milwaukee in three overtimes in '82.)
Karl Malone 36. (Scored 50 against Seattle in the playoffs in '00.)
Bernard King 34. (Scored 50 against Utah in '91.)
Adrian Dantley 26. (Scored 57 against Chicago in '82.)
Dominique Wilkins 31. (Scored 52 against the Knicks in two overtimes in '91.)

So, yeah, I guess scoring 51 at 38 is a pretty big deal.

Other discoveries:
Julius Erving never had a 50-point game in the NBA. His best effort was 45 against the Celtics in 1980.
The Bullets nearly had two players go for 50 in '87 both of them named Malone. Moses scored 50 against Cleveland on April 8, but Jeff only managed 48 against New Jersey on March 4.
Baylor was unbelievable. He reeled off three 50-point games in four days in '62 50 against Syracuse and then 51 and 52 against San Francisco. (The year before, he had three 52-point games in six days.)

Trivia question: Who has scored the most points in an NBA game without making a free throw?

I'd rather see the Caps tie 5-5 than 1-1. If they're going to be mediocre, this is definitely the way to do it.

There should be a rule in pro football that you have to try at least one trick play a half.

Then maybe the Giants wouldn't have waited until the last second too late to run that beauty of a hook-and-lateral against the Eagles.

Just wondering: Has there ever been an NFL season with so many long losing streaks nine games by the Chargers, 11 by the Lions and 14 by the Panthers? This in a so-called era of parity.

Even if Mark Gastineau gets his record broken by Michael Strahan today, remember: He still racked up more sacks in a season (22) than anybody who's ever been married to Brigitte Nielsen.

More evidence of the decline of western civilization: A guy named Spergon Wynn has now started for not one but two NFL teams the Browns last year (one game), and the Vikings this year (ditto).
And here's the kicker: Both times, Wynn lost.

Answer to trivia question: In 1960 against Detroit, Wilt Chamberlain scored 44 points on 22 field goals. (Obviously, this was before the invention of the Hack-a-Shaq strategy.) No other NBA player has had that big a scoring day without making at least one free throw.

My favorite award in sports is Rookie of the Year on the PGA Senior Tour recently won by Bob Gilder. It must be great to be considered a rookie at 50.

All of a sudden, Mike Weir who put up a 63 in the first round of the Mercedes is one of the best golfers in the world. Kinda snuck up on us, didn't he?

It's almost an insult now to call him the best left-handed player since Bob Charles. He's just a terrific player, period. Fearless prediction: He'll win his first major this year.

Weir, you may recall, practiced with the Caps for a couple of weeks in '99 during a break from golf. (He's buddies with Adam Oates.)

And finally, it's probably just a coincidence, but the Redskins-friendly Washington Post is dropping the "Tank McNamara" comic strip, whose creators have had much fun at the expense of Dan Snyder last year naming him their "Sports Jerk of the Year."
But again, it's probably just a coincidence.
In fact, forget I even brought it up.

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