Daily Sports Roundup 1/7/08
Big day in sports today as Clemens filed a lawsuit and the BCS National Championship game is tonight among others
Clemens Files Suit Against McNamee: The saga continues as Roger Clemens filed a defamation lawsuit against former trainer Brian McNamee. The suit alleges that at fifteen different points while speaking to George Mitchell, McNamee said things that were “untrue and defamatory”. McNamee has responded, through his lawyer of course, that he will file a counter-suit against Clemens, claiming that Clemens’s remarks in his “60 Minutes” interview are a “total lie”. Clemens also released a tape of the phone conversation between Clemens and McNamee. From my perspective, this is a great move by Clemens. Taping and releasing the conversation makes it seem as if the phone call was not to speak about the situation, but rather to catch McNamee in a lie. McNamee never admits to lying about Roger using steroids, but does say “Tell me what you want me to do. I’ll go to jail. I’ll do whatever you want”. Remind you of someone? Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ former trainer, has sat in jail cell for months for refusing to speak with federal investigators. This situation is different though, as McNamee would go to jail if he said that he lied to George Mitchell in his investigation. If McNamee takes the stand and says that he injected Clemens with steroids, he doesn’t go to jail.
After waiting a month to really take a stand, Clemens did it today and this story is not going to go away. The greatest pitcher of my generation is accused of using steroids. I have tried to stay as partial as possible while looking at the evidence. After originally believing that Clemens used steroids, my opinion is changing and I now believe that Clemens is innocent. Apparently there aren’t many people like me as in an ESPN SPORTSNATION Poll, more than 57% believe that Clemens used steroids, 25% believe Clemens is innocent, and the final 18% are undecided. The congressional hearings that will be held on January 16th will be extremely interesting in seeing if either person changes his position. After todays’ whirlwind of news, I doubt that either is going to adjust there stance. The one other question I am wondering is whether Chuck Knoblauch and Andy Pettitte, both asked to speak in front of congress, will risk going to jail. If Clemens used steroids, I believe that both of those players saw it. Steroids weren’t exactly being hidden in clubhouses. If both Knobluach and Pettitte take the stand and say Clemens is innocent, that is only going to increase my belief in Clemens.
BCS National Championship: LSU and Ohio State face off tonight in the BCS National Championship game, but is it really a championship. Of the four other BCS Bowls. only one was close with the three others being blowouts. In the blowouts, the victorious teams all played National Championship caliber football, but will never get a chance for the title. I want a close game tonight, so it is exciting until the very end, but it will be better for college football if either LSU or Ohio State dominates the other. It will prove that the winning team deserves to be called National Champions. LSU has two losses, just like USC and Georgia who destroyed Illinois (49-17) and Hawaii (41-10) respectively. Why should LSU be in the championship over USC or Georgia? Anyone has an answer for that please comment. I’d really like to know. The solution: A playoff system. What is the point of a National Championship game if we aren’t sure that the two best teams are playing in it? There isn’t one and the only way to be sure of the top teams playing in a championship game is through a playoff system.
Enough whining about the playoff system. Let’s look at tonight’s game where Ohio State wants to avenge its pummeling by Florida in last years’ National Championship. LSU will have the home crowd, but Ohio State has the experience. The Tigers have a +18 turnover margin this year, and a couple of turnovers by Ohio State could turn this game into a blowout easily. However, the Buckeyes don’t turn the ball over much as well and are one of the best teams in the country at capitalizing off of their opponents turnovers. They are going to have to rely upon running back Chris “Beanie” Wells against a very good LSU defense. It should be a close, hard-fought game that will be exciting to the final whistle. In the end though, I think Ohio State is too skilled and has the experience to handle a game of this magnitude: Ohio State 28 LSU17
New Coaches Poll Out: College Basketball released their new poll today with no big changes. UNC beat Clemson on a three-point by Wayne Ellington with .4 seconds left in overtime, barely holding on to the number 1 spot. Saint Mary’s fell out of the poll after getting beaten handily by Michigan State. Xavier took their place. Undefeateds Vanderbilt and Mississippi moved up 3 and 2 spots respectively. My new poll will be out later tonight so be sure to check back.
June Jones Going To SMU: I wrote about this a couple days ago, but the move became official today. Hawaii head coach (former) is leaving the school to become the head coach at SMU. Jones lead the team to a 12-1 record this year with their only loss coming in the BCS Bowl. Hawaii offered $1.6 million to the coach, while Southern Methodist was willing to give him $2 million. Hawaii was pleading with Jones to stay, but he turned it down. I think it is a bad decision, but parts of it make sense. He is losing star quarterback Colt Brennan, meaning the team will not be nearly as good next year as it was this year. Even if they do go undefeated in the regular season next year, they won’t make a BCS Bowl, because they proved that they weren’t worthy of going to one this year. SMU isn’t in any better shape as a football program though, going 1-11 this year. Jones will need to work his magic, both on the field and recruiting, to turn the team around. Good luck to him, because if he can’t do it, he will regret leaving Hawaii the rest of his life.
I know I focused a lot on Clemens and the BCS Title game, but those were the big stories today (and they are huge). Also, the Indianapolis Colts’ safety Bob Sanders was picked as the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL today. Back tomorrow. Enjoy the game tonight!