Wake-up call: Chris Berman, Barack Obama, John McCain
First thing first: Anyone who knows ESPN's Chris Berman has one question about his interview with presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama scheduled to run at halftime tonight on "Monday Night Football" -- what nicknames will he come up with for these two? Berman is known for his colorful nicknames of athletes. Those include include Wade Cranberry Boggs, Jeff Brown Paper Bagwell, Dante Inferno Bichette, Bobby Bad to the Bonilla, Jose Can You See Canseco, Rob Bomba Deer, Jim Bela Fregosi, Fettucini Alfredo Griffin, John I Am Not a Kruk, Mike Pepperoni Piazza. There are hundreds. So what for Obama? Barack 'n' Roll Obama? John McCain and Abel? (Ouch, that is terrible, forgive me... ) Then there is last year's riff on Berman's penchant for nicknames on the satirical theonion.com. Our sports media columnist Diane Pucin will be reporting on Berman's interview later tonight on latimes.com. My bet is no nicknames tonight. This election is too important.
Two for two: There were two college games that stood out above all others. There was the Jimmy Clausen-fueled four-overtime thriller against No. 25 Pitt that Pitt finally won. But it's the victory by Texas Tech over No. 1 Texas that had me glued to the television. With one second left in the game, Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell connected with Michael Crabtree on a 28-yard touchdown pass. The Red Raiders moved up in the BCS poll to No. 2, while the Longhorns dropped to No. 5. And USC still can't believe it lost that game to Oregon State way back in the third game of the season.
Tennessee: Odd how I finally caught up to the Sporting News interview with Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt and men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, only to hear this morning that the school's football coach Phillip Fulmer (whose Vols are 3-6 after another loss on Saturday) would step down at the end of this season. A news conference is scheduled for later today. Perhaps this exchange with Pearl in the Sporting News article says it all if you stop at the first sentence of Pearl's response:
SN: Is Tennessee a football school or a basketball school?
PEARL: Of course it's a football school. But when people say it's not a basketball school, wait a second: What basketball program has won more national championships than Tennessee? I mean, the Lady Vols have been No. 1 in attendance 11 of the last 12 years. I also give a geographical analogy. We're way too close to Indiana and Kentucky to not have folks just genuinely love basketball. This is a very Northern Southern state. ... When I coached my first game, 22,000 people showed up. I hadn't ever won a game. It wasn't just about winning. They love basketball.
-- Debbie Goffa
Top left photo: Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Cincinnati on Sunday. Credit: Mark Lyons / EPA
Top right photo: Republican presidential nominee John McCain at a campaign stop in Peterborough, N.H. on Sunday. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Inset: Notre Dame's quarterback Jimmy Clausen leaves the field after the Pittsburgh Panthers beat the Irish, 36-33, in four overtimes. Credit: Matt Cashore / US Presswire