- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

“Three things can happen when you throw a forward pass, and two of them are bad.”

I always thought that was Woody Hayes’ line, but I’m beginning to wonder if Joe Gibbs hasn’t co-opted it.

• • •

News item: The NFL’s new TV contracts give it the option to move important late-season games from Sunday to Monday night.

Comment: Too bad it won’t be able to move stinkers like the upcoming Dolphins-Niners matchup to 4a.m. Wednesday.

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Elsewhere in broadcasting, DirecTV will launch a “Red Zone” channel next season “devoted to taking [NFL] viewers from game to game when a team is inside an opponent’s 20-yard line and poised to score.”

What’s next, the “End Zone” channel — specializing exclusively in touchdown celebrations?

• • •

Last Sunday wasn’t the first time Troy “Two-Way” Brown’s versatility helped the Patriots win a big one. As Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe reminds us: “In the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, after returning a punt 55 yards for the game’s first score, Brown picked up a blocked field goal and began making his way toward the goal line before lateraling to Antwan Harris, who took it to the house. Yes, that places Brown, who, in addition to the aforementioned punt return, caught eight passes for 121 yards, on the field goal defensive unit. I think we all know the answer to the following question: How many other guys returning a punt for a score and catching eight passes in a league championship game would find themselves on the field when the other team was attempting a field goal?”

• • •

Here’s why the University of South Carolina might be a good fit for Steve Spurrier (should Lou Holtz step down, that is): In polling done by Sports Illustrated last year, only 9 percent of Gamecocks fans considered Spurrier the No.1 “Enemy of the State” — compared to 65 percent of the folks in Tennessee, 21 in Alabama, 18 in Louisiana and 11 in Florida.

• • •

Something I didn’t know until I saw it on “SportsCenter”: Joe Paterno, at 77, is the second-oldest coach in Division I-A football history — after the legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who paced the sideline until he was 84.

(Actually, though, Stagg paced the sideline for longer than that. After retiring as head coach at Pacific in 1946, he served as an assistant to one of his sons for six seasons at Susquehanna College. Then he moved back to the West Coast and spent six more years as the punting and kicking coach at Stockton Junior College.)

• • •

I don’t suppose JoePa would be interested in a job at Susquehanna.

• • •

In Stagg’s last three seasons at Pacific, the Tigers went 3-8, 0-10-1 and 4-7. In their first three seasons under his successor, Larry Siemering, they went 10-1, 7-1-2 and 11-0.

Penn State, in other words, might have something to look forward to — if it can ever track down this Siemering fellow.

• • •

Virginia Tech’s Mike Imoh broke the school record Nov.6 for rushing yards in a game — thanks to the lead blocking of Carter Myers, statistician for the Hokies’ radio network. Imoh was initially credited with 236 yards against North Carolina, five shy of the mark set by Kevin Jones last year, but Myers was convinced the total should have been 243.

“When I got home,” he told Randy King of the Roanoke Times, “I checked my play-by-play sheet against the official play-by-play sheet, and I saw where I had given Imoh 7 yards and the official sheet had given Justin Hamilton 7 yards. Since my wife, Esther, had TiVo-ed the game for me, it was real easy to check it out. I went right to the play, and sure enough, Mike had carried the ball on that play.”

The resulting correction didn’t just bump Jones out of the top spot in the Tech record book, it also bumped Maryland’s Willie Joyner out of the top spot in the North Carolina record book — along with Georgia Tech’s P.J. Daniels. Both had rushed for 240 yards against UNC (Joyner in 1982, Daniels last season), previously the most ever allowed by the Tar Heels.

(Much thanks to my friend Robert, the Va. Tech zealot, for e-mailing me the information.)

• • •

Yes, that’s the same Carter Myers who used to keep the stats for Ron Weber on Caps broadcasts — and now has a similar job with Comcast. (Ron, one of the all-time Numbers Junkies, must be proud of him.)

• • •

This week’s trivia question (stumbled across while researching last week’s column on Roger Clemens): The five active pitchers who have allowed the fewest hits per nine innings in their careers are Pedro Martinez (6.844), Kerry Wood (6.938), Randy Johnson (6.980), Clemens (7.704) and who (checking in at 7.445, good for fourth place)? Note: He must have pitched at least 1,000 innings and had 100 decisions. (Answer later in column.)

• • •

Who says, by the way, that second place doesn’t pay? Randy Johnson ($150,000) and Curt Schilling ($400,000) earned bigger bonuses for being the runner-ups in the Cy Young voting than Clemens ($100,000) did for winning.

• • •

So I’m reading about John Daly’s wife pleading guilty to money laundering, and I’m thinking: It’s probably the only time she’s gone NEAR a washing machine since she got married.

• • •

Speaking of the PGA Tour, did you see who was the best “all-around” player this year, according to the statistics? None other than Geoff Ogilvy, who finished 61st on the money list and never placed higher than fifth in an event (a T-5 in the Western Open).

Golf stats, I think we’re all agreed, are kinda silly. The only one that really means anything is scoring average (and even that can be manipulated). Still, you’d think the “all-round” category would bear at least some relation to reality. And most years, it does. In 2003, Tiger Woods was the top “all-around” player; in 2002, it was Phil Mickelson.

But Geoff Ogilvy? The guy only played in one major — the PGA — and didn’t qualify for any of the World Golf Championships. (Perhaps you remember him tearing it up in the Booz Allen, where he shot 74-75 on the weekend and tied for 71st.)

The “all-around” rankings, the PGA Tour Media Guide says, are determined “by totaling a player’s rank in each of the following statistics: Scoring Leaders, Putting Leaders, Eagle Leaders, Birdie Leaders, Sand Saves, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy.” You have to suspicious, though, of any stat that ranks a Geoff Ogilvy ahead of someone who won nine tournaments (Vijay Singh, who placed second in the “all-around” category.)

Here’s hoping the Tour tweaks its formula so we don’t get Ogilvied again.

• • •

You know men’s tennis is, uh, floundering in this country when we’re represented in the Davis Cup by Mardy Fish.

• • •

On the subject of rapper/Pacer Ron Artest: Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I don’t remember Oscar Robertson ever coming out with a Christmas album.

• • •

“George Mikan Sings Sinatra” — I must have missed that one, too.

• • •

I’m not saying the NHL season is history, but I’ve got a pretty good idea where I can get a good deal on a used Zamboni.

• • •

Memo to the Blues’ Mike Danton: Don’t think of it as a 7-year prison term (for trying to have your agent killed). Think of it as 32,328 consecutive 10-minute majors. Breaking a big thing down into smaller pieces, I’m told, can make it more manageable.

• • •

Answer to trivia question: Well-traveled reliever Mike Jackson, 2-0 with the White Sox this season, has allowed the fourth-fewest hits per nine innings among active pitchers (7.445). (Source: Baseball-Reference.com.)

• • •

And finally …

Can’t say I’d ever heard of the team George Mason faced in its men’s basketball opener. Where does Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne play, anyway, in the Multiple Personality Disorder Conference?

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