Tough day for the Pac-12

Louisiana State University running back Spencer Ware (L) celebrates his touchdown run against the University of Oregon with center T-Bob Hebert (C) and offensive tackle Chris Faulk in the second half of their NCAA football game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas September 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

College football guru Bruce Feldman is now with CBS Sports following his controversial treatment by ESPN and ultimate departure. Bruce sums up this weekend’s college football action by noting the bad day for the Pac-12, at least on the field. off the field the conference might be on the verge of adding Texas and Oklahoma, further shaking up the crazy world off college football.

Chip Kelly has a dynamic offense, but it is seeming more and more like the frenetic Ducks attack that looks so, well, awesome in league play wilts when it goes up against power teams from other leagues, or at least teams with added prep time. (See: the 2009 opener at Boise; the 2010 Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State; the 2011 BCS title game against Auburn; and now Saturday night’s game against an LSU team that still had to replace an All-American DT [Drake Nevis] and the best defensive back in college football [Patrick Peterson]).

Kelly’s star, running back LaMichael James, who was held to just 54 yards rushing and 3.8 yards per carry against Auburn, managed 57 yards and fewer than 3.2 yards per rush against LSU. The most telling stats for the night, though, were these: Oregon had 28 carries and none went longer than 13 yards; and on 82 plays, the Ducks didn’t have any go for more than 18. That sounds so anti-Oregon. In fairness, we should note that the Ducks did travel into SEC country last year and blow out Tennessee, but those Vols were one of the worst teams in the SEC in 2010.

Kelly pointed out before the game that those teams that handled Oregon are great ones, well-coached and stocked with outstanding athlete. He echoed that point, again, after losing to LSU: “They’ve got a little bit different athlete running around out there right now,” he told Ted Miller. “Looking at their D-line, standing next to them, walking off the field, they don’t look like the kind of guys we see. That’s the common trait, the trait you saw in the Auburn game.”

As blunt as that is, that’s still not the kind of talk you’d expect to hear from the coach of a powerhouse program.

There a gimmicky element to what Kelly has been able to accomplish at Oregon. Sure, they’re a great team, but everyone gets caught up in the stats they rack up and their quick scoring ability, but the harsh reality is that their system comes up short against physical defenses with tough d-lines. It will be interesting to see if they can adjust, but in today’s idiotic BCS system, the chances are now much slimmer that they will get a chance to redeem themselves.

If we had a rational system, Oregon could get back to work and focus on running the table so they could be one of the final eight teams in the season-ending playoff system. Instead, we’ll have to listen to the talking heads on TV drone on endlessly about how they might squeak into the BCS title game if x, y and z occur.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Grant Hill responds to “The Fab Five”

In the ESPN documentary “The Fab Five,” Jalen Rose and his teammates made a few comments about the Duke basketball program. The most inflammatory was that the black Duke players were “Uncle Toms.” Grant Hill’s name was brought up, and Hill has since responded via the New York Times’ college sports blog.

My teammates at Duke — all of them, black and white — were a band of brothers who came together to play at the highest level for the best coach in basketball. I know most of the black players who preceded and followed me at Duke. They all contribute to our tradition of excellence on the court.

It is insulting and ignorant to suggest that men like Johnny Dawkins (coach at Stanford), Tommy Amaker (coach at Harvard), Billy King (general manager of the Nets), Tony Lang (coach of the Mitsubishi Diamond Dolphins in Japan), Thomas Hill (small-business owner in Texas), Jeff Capel (former coach at Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth), Kenny Blakeney (assistant coach at Harvard), Jay Williams (ESPN analyst), Shane Battier (Memphis Grizzlies) and Chris Duhon (Orlando Magic) ever sold out their race.

To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous. All of us are extremely proud of the current Duke team, especially Nolan Smith. He was raised by his mother, plays in memory of his late father and carries himself with the pride and confidence that they instilled in him.

Well said, Grant.

In a recent column, FoxSports columnist Jason Whitlock took the Fab Five to task for saying such things:

The Fab Five clearly believe Coach K and Duke didn’t and don’t recruit inner-city black kids, and they believe race/racism/elitism are the driving forces behind the philosophy.

Let’s go back to the Fab Five era and Duke’s philosophy then. Coach K recruited kids who had every intention of staying in school for four years. He recruited kids who had a good chance of competing academically at Duke and could meet the standardized test score qualifications for entrance.

The Fab Five stated it was their intention to win a national championship and turn pro as a group after their sophomore season. Webber, who was recruited by Duke, left Michigan after two years. Rose and Howard left as juniors. Impoverished inner-city kids have good reason to turn pro early. I’m not knocking Webber, Howard and Rose for their decisions. They didn’t fit the Duke profile at the time.

During the three-year run of the Fab Five (one season without Webber), Duke beat Michigan all four times the schools met while winning two ACC titles and one NCAA title. During the same span, Michigan won zero conference or national titles. In addition, Webber’s interactions with booster Ed Martin put the program on probation and caused Michigan to forfeit all its games.

I think Coach K recruited and recruits the right kids for Duke.

It turns out that Jalen Rose was the executive producer of the documentary, so it would be tough to argue that his words were taken out of context.

A few random thoughts about “The Fab Five”

ESPN is currently running a two-hour documentary about Michigan’s Fab Five (Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, and if you haven’t seen it, I’d definitely recommend it. Webber didn’t agree to participate, but the interviews with the other four members along with members of the coaching staff were quite compelling.

Yesterday, the internet was abuzz with comments made by the former Michigan players about Duke and especially Christian Laettner, whom Rose thought was an “overrated pu**y,” until he actually played against him and saw that he had some serious game. I’ll leave those comments alone since Rose eventually gave Laettner credit, but there are a few other moments in the documentary that jumped out at me:

1. Rose hated Duke because they wouldn’t recruit someone like him; they only recruited “Uncle Tom”-type black players. He also admitted he hated Grant Hill because Hill grew up in a great home while Rose grew up poor with an absentee father. Rose probably hit the nail on the head with regard to why many inner city blacks resent/criticize suburban blacks; it’s out of envy. They see lives that are more comfortable than theirs, and they lash out in anger. The Fab Five translated this to a hatred of the Duke players, including guys like Grant Hill and Thomas Hill.

I suspect if Mike Krzyzewski were asked about his recruiting habits and answered honestly, he’d say that he had the luxury of recruiting players (of whatever race) that he thought would fit into his team-first concept. He already had a successful college program, so why recruit a ‘risky’ player like Rose who may or may not fit into what he’s trying to build? The last thing he wants is to have a to battle a player on a daily basis.

In the end, Duke was 3-0 against the Fab Five, so I’d say the Blue Devils got the last laugh.

2. Forget the shorts, shoes, socks or even the style of play. The thing that bothered me about the Fab Five was the in-your-face taunting. The film was great because it reminded me of what I didn’t like about the Fab Five. Their play was outstanding. Nobody hogged the ball and winning was paramount, so from a pure basketball respect, they were wonderful. It was all the antics that drove me nuts. There were several highlights that showed the players getting into the face of the opponent after the guy was just dunked on. It’s one thing to over-celebrate with your teammates, but to show up an opponent like that is just bad sportsmanship. This was explained away as being part of the inner city playground culture, but my guess is that if they would have gotten into someone’s face on the playground, they would have been punched in the nose (or worse). At the time, officials didn’t really call taunting technicals, so there were no consequences to those actions. Oh, and Juwan Howard was the worst. Webber or Rose would dunk and there comes Howard, getting into the grill of the guy who just got dunked on. It was no surprise that against Ohio St. in their first Final Four, Howard got headbutt to the nose at one point in the game.

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Hannah Storm and Adam Schefter high five after Mangini is fired [video]

I have two things to say about this video: 1) I have no idea why they are high-fiving each other and yelling to people off camera just because there was some breaking news, and 2) this has to be one of the most awkward transitions ever. They go from a joyful celebration into a somber “the families are affected” mode. Odd.

Eli Manning’s one-man press conference [video]

This clip is making the rounds, but this wasn’t as unusual as the Monday Night ESPN crew made it out to be. The footage shows Eli Manning waiting around for the media to arrive at his post-game presser.

But, per ESPN, this was nothing unusual:

But this wasn’t a slight by the media or a case of reporters ignoring Manning, who didn’t have to wait too long. And it was nothing unusual. Following every game, Manning and other Giants stars such as Justin Tuck conduct their news conferences at the same time as the rest of their teammates are talking in the locker room.

Reporters in the locker room are alerted by the Giants public relations staff multiple times when Manning is heading to the podium. Although the players can walk directly to the podium area from their locker room, reporters have to take a roundabout route.

And Manning typically walks into a near-empty room at the start of his postgame news conferences and patiently waits for reporters.

Ok, so you’re straight — the ESPN Monday Night crew made a big deal out of something that wasn’t a big deal, per ESPN.com. Glad that’s settled.

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