Sports Outside the Beltway

Northeastern University to end its football program

The school first suited up a football team in 1933. From ESPN-

Northeastern University is dropping its football program after 74 years, saying it’s too expensive to maintain.

President Joseph Aoun and the board of trustees endorsed the move Friday after a two-year review of the Boston school’s sports programs by athletic director Peter Roby.

The program’s 87 players and 10 coaches learned of the program’s demise Sunday night at a meeting on campus with Roby, a day after the Football Championship Subdivision team (formerly Division I-AA) won its final game 33-27 at Rhode Island.

The Huskies won their final two games to finish 3-8, their sixth consecutive losing season.

The school will honor team members’ athletic scholarships.

Northeastern, which began playing football in 1933, had an all-time record of 289-364-17.

Arguably the Northeastern player to make the biggest mark in the NFL, was the late Dan Ross who was a tight end mostly for the Cincinnati Bengals and was a star of Super Bowl XVI.

College Athletics aren’t immune from today’s bad economy. Northeastern, who has a quality hockey program, is just using its resources where they will be best suited.


Second Chance- Detroit Lions beat Cleveland 38-37

Matthew Stafford was flat on his back, getting his left shoulder evaluated on the sideline by the Detroit Lions medical staff.

The Cleveland Browns called a timeout and gave the rookie a chance to get back in the game.

Stafford threw his fifth touchdown pass from 1 yard to Brandon Pettigrew and Jason Hanson’s extra point with no time on the clock gave Detroit a thrilling 38-37 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

“That was wild,” Stafford said with ice strapped around his shoulder.

The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft became the first rookie to throw five TDs in a game since Ray Buivid for the Bears in 1937, according to STATS LLC.

Detroit was given the untimed play because safety Hank Poteat was called for pass interference in the end zone when Stafford heaved a desperation attempt.

Just an amazing finish. If not for a Brown timeout, Stafford wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity. Shades of Tony Sparano’s timeout to ice the New Orleans kicker. The Saints got the touchdown instead of the field goal and things went down hill from there for the Miami Dolphins. Here I don’t question Mangini’s call. In hindsight it looks bad, but his team needed time more than the Dolphins did.

Stafford’s five TD throws almost equaled his total for the year prior to this game(6). Cleveland Brown QB Brady Quinn also had a career day with 4 touchdown passes.

Two bad teams put on an entertaining game. Who would have thunk it? I certainly didn’t.


NY Knick Nate Robinson not benched for shooting at the wrong basket

Was he trying to earn infamy like the NFL’s Jim Marshall did? From AP-

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni says Nate Robinson was not benched for taking a shot at the wrong basket Saturday.

The Knicks inbounded to Robinson in the backcourt with 0.5 seconds left in the first quarter of their 98-91 victory at New Jersey. Rather than just hold the ball, or heave one at the basket the Knicks were attacking, Robinson turned and shot at the wrong basket. The shot went in, but it was released after the buzzer and didn’t count.

D’Antoni yelled at Robinson on the court between quarters.

“When you’re 2-9, which we were at the time, I think any distractions are bad,” D’Antoni said Sunday before the Knicks played Boston. “If our whole focus is not on trying to win and turn this thing around, then it’s not right and it’s not something we want to do, and it’s just one incident and we’ll go on and we’ll see what happens today.”

Robinson played only six minutes all game, leading to speculation he was benched. But D’Antoni said he just felt other players, such as starting guard Larry Hughes, were playing better.

Robinson has been childish in his actions before. I think the shot at the wrong basket was deliberate.

Here’s the video-

The New Jersey Nets went to 0-13 with their loss in this game. Next up- a 4-game road trip to Denver, Portland, Sacremento, and the LA Lakers. I suspect New Jersey will start the month of December still looking for their first victory.


Arizona State Baseball Coach Pat Murphy resigns

Before coming to Tempe he had coached at Notre Dame. From AP-

Pat Murphy abruptly resigned after 15 seasons as baseball coach at Arizona State on Friday.

University vice president for athletics Lisa Love said she accepted the resignation to allow Murphy and the program to move in a “new direction,” the Arizona Republic reported.

According to the report, Love said Murphy’s resignation was not directly related to an ongoing two-year school investigation into allegations made against him by a former baseball employee, including claims of academic fraud and improper recruiting travel.


The colorful and often outspoken Murphy led the Sun Devils to the College World Series four times — 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2009. The program has produced several major league players, including Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, who appeared along with Muhammad Ali at a recent Murphy fundraiser.

He took over the historically successful Sun Devils program in August 1994 after seven seasons at Notre Dame. Under Murphy, Arizona State was 629-284-1.

“Coach Murphy has an outstanding record of success on the playing field,” Love said in a prepared statement. “I thank him for 16 years of hard work and service to the university and the sport.”

The Sun Devils had won the past three Pac-10 titles, with Murphy named conference coach of the year each time. Murphy, 50, had offered no hint publicly of his impending resignation in recent interviews.

This is definitely an odd time to resigning. It would seem Murphy’s resignation to tied to the troubles currently under investigation at ASU.


Clipping their wings- Florida Panthers beat Detroit 2-1

The last time Florida won in Detroit was December 1st 1996. From AP-

Scott Clemmensen kept the Florida Panthers in the game until the rest of his teammates got their act together.

Bryan McCabe’s goal 40 seconds into overtime gave Florida a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Clemmensen made 39 saves for the Panthers, who won for the fourth time in five games to reach .500 (9-9-2). Stephen Weiss scored Florida’s other goal and added an assist. Nathan Horton had two assists.


Pavel Datsyuk scored for Detroit, which lost its second straight at home. Chris Osgood made 18 saves.


McCabe beat Osgood with a one-timed shot from the right circle for his third of the season, converting Weiss’ pass.

Weiss tied it 1-1 at 8:13 of the third period with his seventh goal. Horton threaded the needle on a cross-crease pass, and Weiss put a shot into the open side of the net.


Datsyuk’s power-play goal with 2:02 left in the second period opened the scoring. He jammed in his own rebound for his fifth goal.

I’ll be the first one to say Clemmensen saved Florida last night. His goaltending had been wretched this year, and I was expecting Detroit to have a feast. It didn’t happen and Clemmensen was getting absolutely no offensive help from the Panthers in the 1st period. Florida had just one shot on goal in the first twenty minutes.

Florida is playing eight games in two weeks. I expect Peter DeBoer to go back to Tomas Vokoun for tonight’s game against the New York Rangers. Clemmensen will have to probably wait a week till getting another chance in goal.

Last night marked the fifth time Florida won in overtime. The four previous wins were in shootouts. Overall Florida is 5-2 in overtime this year. Detroit on the other hand, is 1-4.

Florida is now 9-9-2 after a 2-7-1 start. As of yet, I’m not totally convinced the Panthers rally is a legitimate turnaround.

Besides the rare win in Detroit, the big news out of the game was the knee injury Cory Stillman sustained. Stillman had been one of the Panther’s hottest scorers of late. Since David Booth went out of the lineup, Florida has done their scoring by committee. The committee is now shrunk by one member. It’s time to bring Shawn Matthias back from Rochester, but DeBoer seems to have little confidence in the player. I don’t know why. Matthias is the only Rochester callup who knows how to put pucks in the net.


LA Clipper announcers suspended for one game

Remarks they made in a Wednesday night game offended at least one fan. From AP-

Clippers longtime play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler and color analyst Michael Smith were suspended one game by the Fox Sports Prime Ticket cable network for their comments about Memphis center Hamed Haddadi.

Lawler and Smith made their off-the-cuff comments about the Iranian-born center during Wednesday night’s telecast from Memphis. The on-air banter offended a viewer who e-mailed Fox to complain.

The duo did not work Friday’s night telecast against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. Michael Eaves and Don MacLean, who regularly serve as halftime and postgame analysts on the Clippers telecasts, substituted for Lawler and Smith at courtside.

What was it said that led to the suspension? I will put it beneath the fold. IMHO, it’s all pretty lame.


Backup power- Miami Dolphins beat Carolina Panthers 24-17

The Dolphins get to 5-5 after starting the year 0-3. From AP-

Ricky Williams showed he’s still got it.R Williams

The 32-year-old Williams rushed for 119 yards and scored three touchdowns, and the Dolphins beat the Carolina Panthers 24-17 on Thursday night for their fourth win in six games to get into the AFC playoff picture.

A day after learning Brown is lost for the season to a foot injury, the Dolphins (5-5) continued their surge after an 0-3 start behind Williams. The 2002 NFL rushing champion had a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game for the first time in his career that included a couple of lost seasons.


DeAngelo Williams rushed for 122 yards for the Panthers (4-6), but Jake Delhomme had his streak of three games without an interception snapped. His desperation pass into the end zone was knocked down as time expired.


Dolphins coach Tony Sparano hinted his team might abandon the wildcat without Brown, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Miami didn’t use the formation until the second quarter. It coincided with the Dolphins’ first touchdown drive — Chad Henne’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Williams, who wrestled away from linebacker Na’il Diggs.

Miami took a 14-3 halftime lead when Williams took the direct snap at the 1 and got to the end zone ahead of linebacker Jon Beason.

Carolina narrowed the score to 17-14 but a Ricky Williams 46-yard touchdown run with a little over minutes left in the game essentially locked it up for Miami.

The Dolphins rarely used the Wildcat. It isn’t the same without Ronnie Brown. Brown can throw the football as well as run it. Williams so far as I know is no threat with his arm. Backup Quarterback Pat White wasn’t seen last night.

Miami has turned it around this year but I remain pessimistic for the year. They have games left with New England, Pittsburgh, and Houston which they will be lucky to win one of. The rest of the schedule, including Buffalo a week from Sunday, is weak. I predict Miami to finish 8-8 for 2009.


Steve Elling of CBS Sports is jealous

That is the only conclusion I can draw from this diatribe of his.

The LPGA, in yet another sideways bit of marketing savvy, elected to stage Evans’ press conference on Wednesday at the Sugar Land City Hall, off-campus from the site of its season finale. Maybe they hoped players wouldn’t notice the details of the schedule if they handed it out elsewhere.

Unless you’re dumb or a non-jealous LPGA fan living in a cave, you would know already that the LPGA schedule was given to players at a meeting on Tuesday night. That’s why it was reported by the likes of Ron Sirak, Beth Ann Baldry, and Associated Press on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Some LPGA players leaked the new schedule out to certain members of the media.

It sounds to me as if Elling wasn’t one of them and that’s why he wrote what he did.

I got a couple of other problems with what Elling wrote.

Setting aside the bombast and bluster, the LPGA season next year will likely consist of 24 tournaments, the fewest since 21 were staged in both 1970 and ’71, a rollback spanning nearly four decades as the tour prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary next year.

More alarmingly, only 13 of the tournaments will be staged in the United States, the smallest number ever. If it wasn’t the LPGA, with that kind of minimalist American presence, they’d be calling it a mini-tour. A mini-tour with major underpinning issues.


Out of sight, out of mind? Playing abroad means even less media attention in the States and mostly tape-delayed TV coverage as the Golf Channel becomes the tour’s primary broadcaster in 2010.

Before a golf writer complains about the tape delay coverage of the LPGA or its foreign based schedule, they out have something drummed into their heads. Firstly GC’s contract with the PGA Tour which includes Nationwide events. They get first placement on the broadcast schedule over the LPGA.

Secondly, and more pertinently to Elling’s remarks, of the 11 foreign LPGA tournaments four of them are still played in North American time zones. Yes Virginia, Canada and Mexico are on the same clock as the United States of America.

As for the other 7, the Women’s British Open is broadcast by ABC who puts it on tape delayed. Which I have repeatedly complained about in the past.What’s your solution Steve? Play the British Open in Newport RI or Portsmouth NH?

Of the last six events, if they aren’t on tape delay, look at the hours they would be broadcast. Three, Four a.m. in the morning. How many golf fans are going to rise for that? The 2003 Solheim Cup went on the air at 4 a.m. in the morning but since it was without Michelle Wie almost nobody in the golf media noticed.

The tour instead created a season-ending LPGA Championship, signed Stanford Financial as the title sponsor, made it a full-field event and moved it to Houston, where it will be played for the first time this week. Now the radioactive part.

Allen Stanford, who wanted the tournament played in Houston, where his company has a large corporate presence, was tossed in jail. No replacement has been found to foot the title sponsorship bill, the format of the tournament has been criticized, and the event is running opposite the European Tour’s big-money Race to Dubai finale. Nice timing.

The ADT has been played the same weekend in November going back to 2003.(At least. I didn’t check 2001 and 2002 because I’m in a hurry.) Which is the same weekend the 2009 Tour Championship is played. When do you suggest they play the tournament? Next weekend is Thanksgiving.

One last bit of Elling derangement.

Twelve months ago, Bivens announced that the popular ADT event outside Miami,

Steve, you’re from Florida. The City of West Palm Beach where the ADT was played is not considered outside of Miami. When you were working at the Orlando Sentinel, were your offices outside Daytona Beach or Ocala? Those are Florida cities closer to Orlando than West Palm Beach is to Miami.


Detroit Lions put two defensive backs on Injured Reserve

Maybe Hall of Famer Lem Barney can come out of retirement to help the banged up Lions. From Sports Network-

The Detroit Lions placed safety Marquand Manuel on injured reserve due to a shoulder problem, meaning he will miss the remainder of the season.

The team also put cornerback Jack Williams on IR with a torn ACL in his left knee.

Lions safety Kalvin Pearson (hamstring), guard Stephen Peterman (ankle), linebacker Ernie Sims (hamstring), defensive end Dewayne White (toe) and wide receiver Derrick Williams (hip) all didn’t practice Wednesday.

So who gets first shot at tearing apart Detroit’s pass defense? The Cleveland Browns, who like the Lions, have won just one game this year. Will anyone outside of Ohio and Michigan be watching this game next weekend?

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The Dirty Dozen- Milwaukee Bucks beat New Jersey 99-85

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored a career high 31 points in the game. From AP-

MILWAUKEE — Brandon Jennings knew it was a gamble. So far, all the odds have been in the rookie’s favor.

Jennings made a swipe and slam past two stunned Nets during a 15-0 run to start the second half, Andrew Bogut and Carlos Delfino each scored 21 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat winless New Jersey 99-85 on Wednesday night.

“He saw the whole thing develop,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “That was a big momentum break for us. It was a big steal and you got to see the little fella down there dunk the ball.”

Jennings, who jammed a finger and got kneed twice that left him limping in the fourth quarter, said he took a beating against the Nets. But his nifty steal between Chris Douglas-Roberts and Rafer Alston was the more demoralizing blow.

Brandon Jennings, the 10th overall selection in the last NBA draft, is already making his mark in Milwaukee. Can he have the Bucks seriously challenging Cleveland for supremacy in the Central Division?

As for the 0-12 Nets, they are still four games short of their worst losing streak record. A mark that was set in 1978. I wonder how many Net player personal appearances have been sold recently and how much they’re going for.


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