Friday, December 30, 2011

Strange but True Tales of Football, 2011

The Colleges

---It wasn't Astro-Turf: LSU suspended three players for smoking synthetic grass.

---Maybe they should have radioed the Air Force for assistance: Army, apparently using a 19th century manual, completed no passes in four attempts in a 48-21 loss to Ball State.

---Unclear on the concept: Wofford's Stephon Shelton neglected to kneel in the end zone after catching a kickoff and was tackled, causing him to fumble. The ball was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Northern Iowa, which won, 28-21.

---Roughing the furniture: Terrell Brown, a 6-11, 390-pound defensive tackle at Ole Miss, broke a folding chair on the sidelines when he attempted to sit in it during a game against LSU.

---Good/bad news for Troy: USC's football team outscored its basketball team on the same day. The Trojan gridders defeated Oregon, 38-35, on Nov. 19 while the Trojan hoopsters were losing to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo), 36-42.

---When Tennessee's two injured placekickers became unavailable the day of a game against Middle Tennessee, a call was placed to the frat house of third-string kicker Derrick Brodus. Coach Derek Dooley later recalled quipping to his staff, "Hey, an intoxicated Brodus is better than nobody." Brodus, who was sober, made a field goal and three conversion kicks, earning a game ball in the 24-0 win.

---A streaker disguised as a ref ran on the field during the Arizona-UCLA game. ``People realized the streaker wasn't an actual college football official," Omaha columnist Brad Dickson quipped, "when his microphone worked."

---Georgia tight end Aron White eluded defenders in the end zone to snare a touchdown pass and then leaped over band members before being brought down by a thick hedge. He required the help of several teammates to escape the grip of the limbs.

---Best time in the 40: Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris was pulled over by officers after speeding 118 m.p.h.---a Division 1 record.

The Pros

---Inauspicious Starts Dept.: San Diego Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding suffered a season-ending injury on the first play of the Chargers' opener, tearing ligaments in his knee while diving at Minnesota returner Percy Harvin. "There was no contact on the play," coach Norv Turner reported, somewhat in disbelief.

---Lay off the coffee!: Kaeding's replacement, Nick Novak, was observed urinating on the sidelines against Denver later in the season while teammates attempted to shield him from the spectators. Novak explained that he gets the call of nature ``two to three times a game."

---It's called ``Pulling a Plaxico": A 51-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the leg as he put his licensed gun in his car before a New England home game. The Patriots were playing the Giants (of course).

---Unclear on the Concept, II: A Miami man accused of stealing several Dolphins jerseys showed up at his court hearing wearing a Dolphins jersey.

---The Cleveland Browns lost 11 consecutive coin tosses, the streak ending Dec. 3 against Baltimore. Mathematicians seemed uninterested.

---It seemed like a good idea: The 49ers' Vernon Davis called for a fair catch on an onside kick by Washington. Davis was flagged for an invalid signal because he made it after the ball touched the ground.

---The Vikings' Harvin returned a kick 104 yards against Atlanta but did not score. He was tackled on the 4 (not by the kicker). What's worse, the Vikings then failed to get into the end zone on four attempts.

---Quote of the Year: "The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said before a game against Denver and Tim Tebow. The not-so-awake Jets lost, 13-17.

---It was a one-vehicle accident: Denver's Knowshon Moreno fell off an exercise bike during a game against Green Bay.

---From Hail Marys to Bloody Marys: Miami cornerback Vontae Davis was suspended for one game for showing up for practice with alcohol on his breath.

---Unclear on the Concept, III: Dallas coach Jason Garrett iced his own kicker, Dan Bailey, by calling time out just as Bailey was converting what would have been a game-winning, 48-yard field goal. On his second try, Bailey was wide. The game went into overtime, with Dallas losing to Arizona, 13-19.

---A horse-collaring penalty was called against a Colt---Indianapolis linebacker Philip Wheeler.

---Three NFL head coaches, New Orleans' Sean Payton, Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio and the Giants' Tom Coughlin were injured in collisions on the sidelines. However, Dallas cheerleader Melissa Kellerman emerged unscathed after 265-pound tight end Jason Witten ran into her.

---Fashion police report: The NFL fined New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas $5,000 for a uniform violation_wearing Christmas-theme green and red tape on his black and gold saints uniform. Just the NFL's way of saying, ``Happy holidays!"

---And, in a sad development, the Miami Caliente team of the Lingerie Football League folded. "At least every player was given a pink slip," noted Seattle columnist Dwight Perry.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Bottom Ten: A Division of Bottom Ten International



By Steve Harvey

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The Colleges

The Meager Beavers of Oregon State (0-4) constructed a small lead in the Bottom Ten but now comes their biggest test_the streaking Arizona Mildcats (1-4), who have chalked up four straight defeats.

This is an early-season crucial for each team, a must-lose game, a die-or-die situation. They don't get much smaller than this.

It's a tough one to call. The Mildcats scored 41 points last week but look who they did it against_USC's push-over defense. The Beavers once scored 28---against Sacramento State (while allowing 29).

Meanwhile, the Ohio State checked in at No. 18 with a miserable offensive performance in a 7-10 loss to Michigan State. But there's a "silver lining" to Ohio State's mishaps, pointed out Janice Hough on "This year, the Buckeyes won't have any big-time bowl memorabilia to sell."

Wreck, Record................. Last Loss.......................... Next Loss

1. Oregon State (0-4)............... 20-35, Arizona State.............. Arizona
2. New Mexico (0-5)................ 28-42, New Mexico State...... Nevada
3. Indiana (1-4)........................ 10-16, Penn State .....................Ill
4. Western Kentucky (0-4).... 22-26, Ark. State..................... Middle Tenn
5. Memphis (1-4)..................... 31-38, Middle Tenn................ Rice
6. Colorado (1-4)..................... 27-31, Washington State........ Stanford
7. Minnesota (1-4).................... 0-58, Michigan....................... Purdue
8. Arizona (1-4)........................41-48, USC ...............................Oregon State
9. Alabama (Birm.) (0-4)...... 23-24, Troy ..............................Mississippi State
10. UNLV (1-3) .......................16-41, Southern Utah ..............Nevada

11. Akron (1-4); 12. Buffalo (1-4); 13. Nevada (1-3); 14 B.C. (1-4); 15. Idaho (1-4); 16. Eat Carolina (1-3); 17. Minute Rice (1-3); 18. Ohio State (3-2); 19. Out of the country; 20. Texas at El Wobbly Paso (2-3).

Not-so-instant replay: A review of one play during the Hawaii-Louisiana Tech game took 22 minutes, believed to be an NCAA record. The issue was whether a play from scrimmage was canceled by a time out. (I can't be more specific---no one involved could remember the details once they made a ruling.)

The Pros

The Kansas City Chefs trailed Minnehaha 7-3 early Sunday. The Chefs knew they had the Vikings right where they wanted them inasmuch as Minnehaha blows a lead every week. In their first three games of the season, the Vikes led San Diego 17-7, Tampa Bay 17-0 and Detroit 20-0, losing each time.

Sure enough, the Vikes (0-4) eventually fell as well to the previously winless Chefs, 17-22.

But now Minnehaha has another tough test_a game against a team with just one victory_Arizona. Can the Vikes go ahead and blow another one?

Sure they can, especially when they know they have to keep up the losing to stay ahead of the No. 2 Philadelphia Dream Teamers. The DT's (1-3) fell to powerful San Francisco, 23-24.

Still in contention are the St. Louis Lambs (0-4) and Miasma Dolphins (0-4), both heavy underdogs against Idle this week. The Lambs have drawn attention with their unusual hurry-up defense, which allows opponents to hurry up and score.

Wreck, Record....... Last Loss.................. Next Loss

1. Minnehaha (0-4)..... 17-22, Kansas City......... Arizona
2. Philadelphia (1-3)... 23-24, San Francisco.... Buffalo
3. St. Louis (0-4)......... 10-17, Washington........ Idle
4. Miasma (0-4)............16-26, L.A./San Diego.. Idle
5. Indianapolis (0-4)... 17-24, Grampa Bay....... Kansas City
6. Jacksonville (1-3); 7. Denver (1-3); 8. Kansas City (1-3); 9. Arizona (1-3); 10. Brett Favre (for saying in a radio interview that he's surprised that successor Aaron Rodgers didn't win a Super Bowl "sooner" since the "talent" on the current Packers is "even better than when I was there").

Crummy Games of the Week: Arizona (1-3) at Minnehaha (0-4).

Rout of the Week: Buffalo (3-1) over Dream-Teamers (1-3).

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Start, thieves!

With budgetary woes what they are, you'd think that public agencies would be careful about guarding their property. But writer Jay Berman found a different attitude in Manhattan Beach.

Good news:
On Craigslist (where else?), David Batterson found just the service for people worried about their rodents' choppers.

Yes, I was a real SMOC (Small Man on Campus):
You can imagine my excitement when I received the accompanying notice from an on-line class reunion site.

You'll just have to take our word for it:
Angelenos have always tended to look down on Long Beach, my town. But perhaps it's because they don't take the time to appreciate our picturesque construction sites and sewers.


Unclear on the concept:
For the convenience of drivers, my picturesque post office in Long Beach has two outside mail boxes pointed toward the street_along some red curb. I guess you're expected to drop off your letters while on the move_drive-by mailings, in other words.


Hands off, mister!
In the central California town of Cayucos, I chanced upon a sign posted by a company that was going all out to avoid sexual harassment suits.

Don't know much about geography:
Easterners always seem baffled by our freeways. The other day, the New York Times said that the next home of the San Diego Chargers may be a ``a two-and-a-half-hour drive north on the Golden State Freeway to downtown Los Angeles."
Only problem is, the freeway leaving San Diego is called the (surprise) San Diego Freeway. It eventually turns into the Golden State east of L.A.'s Civic Center, but it never goes through downtown L.A.

Don't know much about geography, Part II:
A few weeks before that, the New York Times, writing on the eve of Carmageddon, referred to the closure of ``a 10-mile stretch of I-405, a major highway running through the center of town."
The 405 does not, of course, run through downtown L.A., even if some Westsiders do believe that they're the center of the universe.

Language, please!
Paula Van Gelder noticed a headline that seemed to give the very erroneous impression that the Beverly Hills police had committed a crime.


Sounds like...
In Pacific Palisades, Tom Hofer spotted a notice that appeared to be about a lost masseur. Perhaps the notice was referring to a Shih Tzu dog.

My wife was paying at an In-N-Out drive-through when the young clerk mumbled an indecipherable question. ``I asked him to repeat it," she said. ``He asked me if I wanted a lap mat. I told him I thought he said `lap ban.' He said, `I've had people say they thought I asked, `Would you like a lap dance?'"

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Bottom Ten

A parody of Top Ten football polls by Steve Harvey
(Updated every 30 seconds, except on some Tuesdays)

The Colleges

With all its suspensions, Miami (Fla.) may soon announce that it's switching to 6-man football.

Whatever, the Hurricanes seem to have what it takes (or doesn't take) to win the Bottom Ten title this year, emblematic of the worst team in college football.

Right behind them in the BT's pre-season rankings are the Ohio State Blackeyes, who are coming off a winless year. The Blackeyes, you may recall, lost all their games July 8, when they were forced to forfeit their 2010 victories because several players had received illegal benefits.

QB Terrelle Pryor received the ultimate punishment_he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders.

Right behind Miami and OSU were bowl losers Oregon (0-1), Penn State (0-1) and Virginia Tech ( 0-1) (the Bottom Ten's primitive computer counts only 2011 bowl games in the 2011 pre-season rankings).

Middle Tennessee (0-1) came in at No. 10, based on its 21-35 bowl drubbing by Blank of Ohio (the former Miami of Ohio has dropped ``Miami" from its name to avoid being confused with its Florida namesake).

Wreck, 2011 Record Last Loss Next Loss

1. Miami (Fla.) ? * Maryland
2. Ohio State (0-1) T. Pryor Akron
3. Oregon (0-1) 19-22, Auburn LSU
4. Penn State (0-1) 24-37, Florida Indiana Sate
5. Virginia Tech (0-1) 12-40, Stanford Appalachian State
6. Wisconsin (0-1) 19-21, TCU UNLV
7. Texas A$M (0-1) 24-41, LSU The SMUs
8. Michigan (0-1) 14-52, Ole Miss State Western Michigan
9. Michigan State (0-1) 7-49, Alabama Youngstown State
10. Middle Tenn. (0-1) 21-35, Blank (Ohio) Purdon't

11. Fum-Ball State (0-0); 12. Western Kentucky (0-0); 13. UCLA (0-0); 14. Akron (0-0); 15. Texas (0-0); 16. Kansas (0-0); 17. Very Ole Miss (0-0); 18. Gone Fishing; 19. Vanderbilt (0-0); 20. USC (0-0).

*Exact number of Miami (Fla.) forfeit losses yet to be announced, as authorities dig through records and cash receipts dating back to school's founding in 1925.
**Don't worry, Trojan fans, USC is eligible for THIS set of rankings.

Crummy Game of the Week: Michigan (0-1) vs. Western Michigan (0-0).

Rout of the Week: Akron (0-0) over Ohio State (0-1) (admittedly, this is a hunch bet).

Worst pre-season insult: BCS winner Auburn was rated No. 23 in Associated Press' 2011 pre-season poll, the worst ranking of a returning national champion since 1960 champ Minnehaha failed to make the pre-season rankings in 1961.

Seeing red: Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy is being sued for breach-of-contract by a worker who claims he was fired from a job at Gundy's house for showing up in a University of Oklahoma baseball T-shirt, the Tulsa World reported. The suit claims Gundy yelled, ``How dare you come into my house and offend my wife?" (She was offended, Gundy explained, by the T-shirt.)

Quotebook: The Los Angeles Times reported that when a car driven by Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris was pulled over for allegedly cruising along at 118 mph, he was asked if he had any marijuana in the car. He responded: ``We smoked it all." Hey, end of problem!

Football's Shoeless Joe: The Associated Press said that police raided the apartment of LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, accused of using his feet in a bar fight, and seized 49 pairs of his shoes_including the pair he was wearing.

Best pre-season laugh: After a Miami (Fla.) booster said that he had provided illicit benefits to 72 Hurricane athletes, President Donna Shalala said, ``Nationally, the academic achievements of our student-athletes are mentioned in the same breath and spirit as Notre Dame and Stanford."

Next Week: The Pro Bottom Ten (including some teams from the Canadian Football League) as well as the College BT (unless the NCAA has called off the season).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Ultimate Sig-Alert

In the new movie, "Battle: Los Angeles," a soldier with a besieged group of folks is told by a superior: "Get them off the goddamn freeway." Yes, the Angelenos were suffering the ultimate nightmare--being attacked from outer space while stuck on the Santa Monica Freeway.


Waist disposal?

David Batterson wonders if he stumbled on to some new type of diet fad on the internet.


"Duh!" Award Winner A sample test from the Department of Motor Vehicles includes a question about some long, thin models I've never seen on a freeway.


Unofficial economic indicators

In San Diego, Meredith Sewell found an ATM with a very tight monetary policy.


Unclear on the concept

This video shop didn't know which end was up, which may be one of the reasons it went out of business.


Taking his role literally

While in San Francisco I ran into a true PAN-HANDLER. (He's smiling because I gave him a dollar for letting me take his photo).


Such a deal

I think it was wise of this company to make it clear to customers that it sells "modern" computers, not outdated ones.


Or maybe go by dogsled

My old Times colleague Bob Pool writes: "Got an ad at home yesterday from the MTA (Metro Transit Authority) promoting ditching the car for the bus...Got a mailer hanging on my front door this a.m. from Morrie Sage's Universal City Nissan urging that I 'get off he bus and march over to us with O% financing (on select models).'"


X-rated dish?

While in Huntington Beach I was shocked by the title of one granola product. I knew that kind of thing went on in the Valley, but in Orange County?


I beg your pardon!

Dr. Patrick Mauer, a spell-check fancier, wasn't insulted when he received a note from a urologist telling him he was insane. Mauer figured out that it was supposed to mean that a patient's "urine" had been "sent for culture." It's a crazy world.


miscelLAny: I don't mind that movie theaters order spectators to turn off their cell phones before the feature starts. But couldn't they also remind folks to turn their phones BACK on when the movie ends? I can never remember. And I am insane for culture.


Steve Harvey can be reached at