by John Walters

Happy 71st to late-Sixties uber-babe Joey Heatherton, who was once married to Dallas Cowboy wideout Lance Rentzel.

I feel as if we need a Joey Heatherton primer for the uninitiated. She appeared on seemingly every Jerry Lewis telethon and at every Bob Hope USO Show in Vietnam. Vixen personified.

Starting Five

Marietta became the first NFL player to throw four touchdown passes in the first half in his debut, like, ever.

1. MaMa Magic

Jameis Winston was chosen No. 1 overall last spring. Marcus Mariota was selected No. 2 overall.

The last two Heisman Trophy winners, who met last January in the Rose Bowl — a lopsided Oregon win — met in their respective NFL debuts yesterday. Mariota, for the Tennessee Titans, was 13 of 16 with four TD passes (Fran Tarkenton is the only other NFL player to have thrown four TD passes in his debut, on September 17, 1961, or before the Super Bowl was born, for the Minnesota Vikings).

Jameis was 16 of 33 for 210 yards with 2 TD passes and 2 INTs.

Tarkenton threw 4 TD passes in his NFL debut. Yes, that’s incredible.

Winston has now started 28 games, college and pro. He is 26-2 in those starts, with both losses coming against Mariota. The Titans scored 35 points in the first half of their 42-14 win. Last year they NEVER scored more than 28 points in a game while going 2-14.

Winston’s first NFL pass went for a touchdown…for the Titans. Coty Sensabaugh returned it 26 yards for a pick-six.

It’s one game, but Mariota has the league’s top QB rating today with a perfect 158.3 (Tom Brady is in 2nd place and Aaron Rodgers in 3rd; they each have two NFL MVP awards). Winston is in 27th place, but that still puts him ahead of Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco (in 31st; maybe he is not a elite QB, after all?).

2. Kizer Will Helm Irish For Rest of Season 


The day started out easily enough for Notre Dame redshirt freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer. He was literally kneeling down when he tossed a ball forward no more than three yards to tight end Durham Smythe for a seven-yard touchdown pass and a 6-0 lead (the Irish went for 2 because BK was feeling frisky; it didn’t work out).

(It took me five minutes to figure out how to post that photo, so we’re just gonna have to live with it. MUCHO THANKS to @BobaBettis for the genius photoshoppage)



His last throw was a little more stressful. Less than 20 seconds remained and the Irish trailed 27-26. Their starting QB, Malik Zaire, had been lost for the season with a fractured ankle in the third quarter. Kizer, throwing off his back leg, heaved a pass 45 yards in the air that Will Fuller caught for his second touchdown pass of the game — and fourth of the season — as the Irish escaped Charlottesville with a 34-27 win.

Ballgame. Fuller hauls in the winning flag route pass off a double move with :12 remaining

Fuller now has touchdown catches of 39, 59 and 66 yards this season. He’s no longer a secret.

Meanwhile, just like in 2007, Georgia Tech is about to invade Notre Dame Stadium in September against a redshirt frosh QB making his first collegiate start. The Irish QB then — making his last appearance in a Notre Dame uniform — was Demetrius Jones. Notre Dame lost 33-3. This game won’t be that ugly but the Yellow Jackets, averaging about 67 points per game after two games, will be favored now that the Irish have lost their starting running back (Tarean Folston) and quarterback.

3. No Djok

Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer in four sets in a rain-delayed U.S. Open final, which begs the question as to why they bothered to put a roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first place. It was exquisite tennis, as the snobs like to say, but Djokovic, 28, is in his prime while Federer, nearing 35 years of age, is not.

Since the start of 2008, when he won his first grand slam title in Melbourne, Djokovic has won 10 of the past 32 men’s grand slam singles titles. Federer, who has 17 overall, has won five in that same span, the last one coming at Wimbledon in 2012.

It is only a coincidence that Fashion Week in NYC coincides with the second week of the Open, I swear (in honor of Fashion Week, I ironed my khakis)

No one has more grand slam victories than Federer with 17, and because of both how he plays and how he comports himself — he is an excellent self-comporter — there is a large faction who will always consider him the greatest men’s player of all time. Rafael Nadal, 29, has 14 grand slams while Djokovic, still a good 20 months shy of his 30th birthday, has a good chance to catch Roger. And who will come up from the ranks to challenge him?

4. On, Wisconsin!

Wondering if the women departing the restroom felt badgered

Reason No. 4,794 why college football trounces the NFL. The Wisconsin band, bored during Saturday’s 58-0 stomping of Miami (OH), opted to play their rusty trombones outside a lady’s room.

This has pretty much been Tanner Mangum’s life the past nine days. Not bad, eh?

Reason No. 4,795, by the way, would be BYU’s habit of winning games on Hail Mary passes. The Cougars are now 2-0 due to Tanner Mangum’s heroics, although Saturday’s win versus Boise State was not on the game’s final play.

5. Not Your Average Betty

Cantrell sings opera and knows how to skin a rabbit

Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell, wins the Miss America pageant — the one Donald doesn’t own — while Miss America 1984 Vanessa Williams receives a long overdue apology as pageant officials reluctantly come to grips with the fact that her career will not be a flash in the pan.

In the midst of the pageant, Miss America CEO Sam Hassell apologizes to Vanessa. Why didn’t he save the best for last?

Music 101

Comfortably Numb

Pink Floyd’s 1979 classic, off The Wall (as opposed to Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”, which was released in the same year; man, was that confusing), is one of the all-time great hypnotic rock songs. And yet there’s also a blazing guitar solo in the midst of it. Roger Waters’s and David Gilmour’s greatest collaboration, perhaps.

Remote Patrol

MNF Doubleheader

Eagles-Falcons; Vikings-49ers

ESPN 6:55 p.m.

Jarryd Hayne down under…

Sam Bradford, DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones, Adrian Peterson and recent rugby league crossover Jarryd Hayne, who already has an Under Armour deal.

…and Jarryd Hayne up over.


by John Walters

Happy Birthday to Scott Patterson, 57, who served up the best coffee in Starrs Hollow (also, he’s sponge-worthy)

Starting Five

1. One World Trade Center

a.k.a., The Freedom Tower. Here’s a terrific piece on the tallest building in the western hemisphere* by Scott Raab in Esquire.

*Granted, only because the antennae stick up so high. I don’t like this rule. It should be the last spot on the building someone can actually stand.

Here’s one of the ways I choose to remember this date, annually.

2. New England ‘Beats’ Pittsburgh

Week 1 side eye from Mike Tomlin

Tom Brady threw four touchdowns, three of them to Rob Gronkowski, as the Patriots beat the Steelers, 28-21, in the season opener in rainy conditions at Foxborough.

The story, however, was headsets, or how Pittsburgh’s coaching staff getting interference on theirs and hearing the voices of the Patriot Radio Network during the game. Here’s the allegation, which will probably once and for all send Roger Goodell to check in to Bellevue.

3. Follow You, Follow Me

Perry is also one marriage ahead of Swift

In case you were wondering, the most followed person on Twitter remains Katy Perry: 75 million-plus. She is “followed” in the rankings by Justin Bieber and Barack Obama, both of whose accounts list them as following hundreds of thousands of accounts themselves. Katy follows just 156 people. No. 4 on the list is Katy’s not-even-frenemy, Taylor Swift, with 63 million-plus follows.

However, Taylor is now the most followed person on Instagram, with 45.9 million followers. Kim Kardashian has thus fallen…behind.

Cristiano Ronaldo (13th) is the most followed jock, with 37 million followers. LeBron is the most followed American jock (29th, 23 million).

4. The Class of ’88: Most Likely To…

Before becoming the sultan of skinny suits, Thom Browne was a model

Three people who were in my graduating class at Notre Dame: Heisman Trophy  winner Tim Brown. International best-selling author Nicholas Sparks. And skinny suit designer Thom Browne. Here’s a Fashion Week piece on the latter (lattest?) from a cute little daily we get here called The New York Times.

Also, not: all three earned a varsity letter or four: Tim for football, Nicholas for track and cross-country, and Thom for swimming.

5. Surfers Are Insane (Part 45)

As you know, I am perpetually in awe of surfers. They ride the backhand of God every chance they get, unfazed by the laws of physics and, also, the chance of lurking sharks.

On Monday Shawn Dollar, who holds the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever paddled into and surfed (big wave surfers need the assistance of wave runners to catch a wave), broke his neck in four places when he was tossed into a car-sized boulder in Big Sur. He also suffered a concussion.


Dollar was lucky to not have been paralyzed, and he was also very fortunate that he was not surfing alone.

Music 101

My City of Ruins

Bruce was less than two weeks away from turning 52 when he opened the WTC benefit just four nights after the attacks of 9/11. As you know, he’d written the song before the event, about Asbury Park, but the somber tone fit almost too well. It was eerie. It’s a short list, songs better than this written by artists over the age of 50. This performance gave me goosebumps.

Remote Patrol

No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State

Saturday ABC 8 p.m.

Is Shilique Calhoun the most terrifying defensive lineman to play for the Spartans since Bubba Smith (“Kill, Bubba, kill!”)?

Duck season arrives early in East Lansing. Based on their Week 1 performances, both of these programs are overrated at this point (the Ducks allowed 42 to Eastern Washington with a quarterback making his first start; how are they going to do against Connor Cook?), but I like Mark Dantonio and his grim visage to prevail. Reece Davis takes over for Chris Fowler, who will be in Flushing to cover the U.S. Open (would he be here if Serena’s slam was not at stake?)


by John Walters

“86 Arnold Palmer!” It’s not just his birthday, it’s restaurant jargon for being out of either lemonade or iced tea.

Starting Five

What’s up, slugger?

1. It’s Not Over…’til It’s Over

You know who said that? Former New York Met manager Yogi Berra (who is still around).

The Mets (no longer Mess), led by the studly hitting of Yoenis A-Cespedes-For-The-Rest-Of-Us and the lights out relief work of Jeurys “Famous” Familia, swept the Nationals three games in D.C.

Cespedes has hit 14 home runs for the Mets since they acquired him on July 31st. Once again, great move, Billy Beane. The A’s were 66-41 on day they traded him last year. Oakland is 82-113 since (oh, they also got rid of Josh Donaldson, who’s doing okay in Toronto from what I hear).

Anyway, Mets fans were celebrating (and Nats fans lamenting) the end of the N.L East race up and down my Twitter time line last night. After all, the Mets have a 7-game lead on September 10th. I mean, it’s not as if the Mets could hold a 7-game lead (2007) this late in the season (2007) and blow it (2007), could they (2007)?

I love these Mets, too. They’re probably itching to have Jeff Pearlman write a book about them. But it’s funny how fast sports fans forget the past. Especially when the team in second place has Bryce Harper, the best player in baseball this season.

2. Blake Lives Matter

We are not even 14 months past the Eric Garner tragedy, and the NYPD incites a new furor after two plain clothes officers tackled former U.S. tennis star James Blake outside of his hotel in midtown Manhattan. Blake, 35, who is biracial and attended Harvard, was waiting to head to the U.S. Open, where he twice reached the quarterfinals.

Ironically, the fuzz were pursuing a man they believe to have strongly resembled Blake in a case of identity theft. But they seemed to be itching for a physical confrontation. “You’d think they could say, ‘Hey, we want to talk to you. We are looking into something.’ I was just standing there. I wasn’t running,” Blake told the New York Daily News. “It’s not even close [to being OK]. It’s blatantly unnecessary. You would think at some point they would get the memo that this isn’t OK, but it seems that there’s no stopping it.”

It’s almost impossible to imagine a Harvard man being roughed up by cops in mid-town Manhattan. Unless, of course, he happens to be black.

3. No Ordinary Joe

Hubener, who hails from a town of 2,000 humans, is suddenly in the spotlight in Manhattan

When Kansas State quarterback Jesse Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury on the season’s very first play last weekend, coach Bill Snyder inserted 6’5″ junior backup Joe Hubener. The native of Cheney, Kans., promptly led the Wildcats to a 34-0 win over South Dakota.

Where did Bill Snyder find Hubener? Is “1955” an acceptable answer?

Hubener gets the start this weekend at Texas-San Antonio, and it will be his first. Not just at K-State. It’ll be Hubener’s first-ever start as a quarterback. Like, ever. In high school he was a situational backup at QB who started at wide receiver on offense. He did place 5th in the state in the javelin throw, but still Hubener had to walk on at K-State.

This Saturday a guy who never started a game in his life at quarterback is about to start for a Power 5 conference team. How bizarre is that?

4. All This Time, We’ve Been Living in the Elizabethan II Era

By this time tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth II will have sat on the throne for 63 years and 217 days (I hope there was a courtesy flush or two in there), making her the longest-reigning British monarch of all time. QE2 ascended to the throne in 1952 and has thus far outlasted the IRA, the Falklands War, Monty Python, the Sex Pistols, a former daughter-in-law and even the other Queen.

Queen Victoria. From a long line of fun-loving Windsors…

QE2 has now ruled for 7% of Great Britain’s history since the time of the Norman Conquest (1066). She passes her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

She is 89 years old, and a great grandmother. Meanwhile, her son Prince Charles is 66 and still waiting for his mother to get off the throne.

Your move, Cersei.

5. I’m 1K, You’re OK

Today marks the 1,000th post from the staff of Medium Happy. We’d like to thank all past (and future?) contributors, especially Bill Hubbell and his equally gifted sister, Katie McCollow. Judging from Malcolm Gladwell’s maxim, we only need to do this many posts nine more times before we finally become deft at it. We’ll be in our mid-Seventies then, but where else were we about to go?

Thanks to everyone for the loyal readership, particularly Susie B., An Inconvenient Ruth and a certain young lady in Sun Lakes, Ariz.

Music 101

Under Pressure

The song was written almost by accident — Queen was working on a song called “Feel Like” in Montreal, Switzerland — and David Bowie had come to sing backing vocals on another song. They jammed all night together and came up with this hit (my favorite pop song). Bowie’s backing vocals on the other song never made the album and sadly Freddie Mercury and Bowie NEVER performed this song together live…even though the two acts performed back to back at Live Aid in 1985 (history’s loss).

No more charismatic live performer that I ever saw than Freddie. None.

Remote Patrol

Steelers at Patriots

NBC 8:30 p.m.

The Bingo squares: ” -gate”, “Goodell,” “cheat,” “Brady,” “Kraft,” “Belichick,” “Gisele,” “murder him,” “Super Bowl,” “Roethlisberger,” “Edelman,” “concussion,” “suspension.” What am I missing?






by John Walters

Happy Birthday to HUGH! He turns 55 today. “Ohh, Mr. Graaaaaaant!”

Starting Five

Serena is just now two wins away from a Grand Slam

1. Sister Act 27

Last night at the U.S. Open, in an event that had to be at least partially scripted, Serena Williams, 33, took down big sister Venus, 35, in three sets: 6-2, 1-6 (you take this), 6-3. Next up: Roberta Vinci, 32, whom you can blame for depriving us of at least one more hour of Kristina Mladenovic on our TV screens this week due to her three-set win yesterday afternoon.

Mladenovic: Does she earn more in endorsements than Serena, also?

Serena is now two wins away from a Grand Slam — the first in 27 years — and most likely one win away from a final against Simona Halep. If Serena wins and loses out on SI Sportsman of the Year to American Pharoah, I believe my online friend Bomani Jones’s head will exploded. The only thins worse would be if they named them Co-Sportsmen of the Year and made them pose together on the cover (inducing laughing fits on my couch).

Trump kissed Superbrat’s hand. Just a couple of kings from Queens (behaving like queens?)

By the way, Serena is now 16-11 lifetime versus Venus.

2. Make-Up Call

And all this time Goodell was Petyr Baelish. My buddy Adam Duerson conceived this cover, and he was right on the money.

So…wait. Just as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell agrees to a modified ESPN car wash (“Mike & Mike,” “Lebatard”), ESPN drops the most illuminating story on the “Swinging -gate” fiasco yet? Whaaaaaaat? Norby, was that you?

A few thoughts: Isn’t this expressly the type of journalism SI or MMQB should have been doing? Why did ESPN, which is purportedly eating fondue in bed with the Shield, break this delicious story?

Also: Can we now not say that Charlie Weis earned his Notre Dame job under false pretenses? Can we wonder if Weis was having videographers do the same thing while in South Bend? Can we ask whether the school paying him $18 million AFTER firing him in 2009 and through this December is simply white-collar crime? And just how awful of an alum does this make him?


Finally, has Bill Simmons lost his mind? Mocking every team that lost a meaningful game to the Pats as using all of that cheating as their excuse? Is that really the most important point here, Bill? Do you raise your children with that mouth?

3. He Really Is America (And So Can You!)

I missed the premiere of Stephen Colbert on Late Show, but I think the above video is all you’ll need to remember. Pretty solid idea, although this is no way to win over the “West of the Rockies” demo. Nothing from the Grand Canyon? Vegas? Standing next to the Hollywood sign?

Here’s your New York Times review of the entire episode….

4. Rooney, More a

Rooney striking the record breaker

My favorite tweet of yesterday (sorry I cannot remember its author): “You’ll always forget where you were when Wayne Rooney scored his 50th goal for England.”

With a goal in the 84th minute of a 2-0 win versus Switzerland on a penalty kick (this footage was actually shot from David Beckham himself — why are his seats so poor?) Rooney became the all-time leading goal scorer in England’s history, surpassing the legendary Bobby Charlton. And he did so before the age of 30 and after only just one hair transplant. He’ll one day surpass Charlton as the all-time goal scorer for Manchester United, too.

And yet Rooney has always been an A-Rod figure of sorts in England. A star-crossed star. Charlton, after all, led the Lions to a World Cup win in 1966. Rooney’s England teams have  always underachieved at the World Cup.

5. A True Burning Man

A record number of people attended this year’s event in Santa Fe…

Only three weeks after I moved to Santa Fe for a one-year stay back in 1989, I was invited to Zozobra. It is the true “burning man” festival and it belongs on your Americana bucket list (as does Santa Fe, one of the true under-the-radar gems in America; let’s hope New Mexico never lands a pro sports team).

Last week’s event drew a record-crowd of 48,000, despite rains. It’s just a one-night event annually on the first Friday of September, but apparently word is getting out.

Music 101

Hot ‘n Cold

Dedicating today’s tune to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which as CNBC host/terrific Twitter follow Carl Quintanilla points out was DOWN 540 points and this week is UP 520 points. Those are some serious mood swings of the VIX (Volatility Index). This was Katy Perry’s breakout hit and it was released on THIS DAY seven years ago. Katy Perry is the Roz to Taylor Swift’s Sandy.

Remote Patrol

The Thomas Crown Affair

HBO 9 p.m.

A few things you should know: 1) Your girlfriend/wife would leave you for Sting in a heartbeat. She just would. Now, if she’d leave you for Andy Summers, then you’ve got problems. 2) An inordinately high number of women over the age of 40 think this is about the sexiest film out there. Pierce Brosnan is more 007 here than he ever was as James Bond. And Rene Russo, well, she’s an uber-cougar. It’s a remake, but they may have outdone the original (with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway). Now, as for Stewart Copeland…


by John Walters

Happy 58th, Heather Thomas! No, really, we were heading into Spencer Gifts to look at the black-light Iron Maiden posters. Totally.


Starting Five

And there’s Ezekiel Elliott (15), about to jack up Deon Clarke (40) of the Hokies

1. Pirouectsasy*

*The judges will not accept “Miller Time.” It’s lazy. You’re BETTER than that.

If a 3rd-string quarterback could lead Ohio State to the national championship, why can’t one win the Heisman Trophy? Braxton Miller — No. 1 in your programs, No. 3 on the Buckeye depth chart before he was moved to wide receiver — scored on this garjus (Irish brogue) 53-yard run in the third quarter that included a pirouette that left two Hokies whiffing, a de-cleater block by leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott (who had an 80-yard TD run, abetted by holding, on his first carry of the season), a man in a suit in the end zone holing an oversized banana, and a female Hokie fan doing a modified surrender cobra.

Buckeyes 42, Virginia Tech 24 (failed to cover; I feel so much like ESPN now!). Ohio State opens with a W on Labor Day, and its next challenging non-conference game will take place on New Year’s Eve.

2. “Bercoveni, Bercovidi, Bercovici!” 

Bercovici was sacked 9 times, which is even more than Carthage (was sacked by the Romans…I didn’t really need to finish that, did I?)

I’ve been waiting nearly nine months to write that headline: Arizona State goes on the road, Michael Bercovici is now the Sun Devil quarterback, and the Sun Devils, clad in their “Desert Ice” uniforms, put the gig ’em to Texas A&M.

Alas, the Aggies’ Myles Garrett was a monster at defensive end and Valley of the Sun natives Kyle Allen — they should name a field after him in College Station —  and Christian Kirk hooked up for a 66-yard score in the fourth quarter for A&M to make Arizona State the first Top 15 team to lose this season.

The Sun Devils are now 0-7 all-time versus the SEC.

p.s. Neither Allen nor Kirk (nor frosh No. 2 QB Kyler Murray) were made available to the media after the game. What gives, A&M?

3. The Blindsiders

*The judges will also accept, “Targeting.”

So, I don’t expect John Jay High School out of San Antonio, Texas, to receive many favorable calls the rest of the season. This happened in the waning moments of a 15-9 loss at Marble Falls, and it’s pretty much assault. If any coach on the John Jay staff ordered this hit — literally — he should be fired and banned from coaching in the state of Texas.

If the two safeties (ironic term, that) conspired to do this on their own, they should be banned from ever playing high school football again. Even if the ref was verbally abusive (no evidence of that at the moment, but I haven’t heard either way), there’s just no excuse.

By the way, kids, who’s teaching you how to tackle. Never lower the crown of your helmets. Geez.

4. Week 1 (All The Vines, Please)

Coleman had an untimely third-quarter fumble

A glorious first week of the season, as Josh Rosenrosen completes 28 of 35 for 300-plus in his first collegiate start, Pitt gets a 200-yard rusher (and it isn’t James Conner…one of many outstanding players who will be lost for the season along with Eddie Vanderdoes and   Tarean Folston), it’s freshman Qadree Ollison, Notre Dame does its ’78 Cotton Bowl thumping of Texas one score better (then: 38-10; now: 38-3), a Bowling Green linemen flops and plays dead when he loses a shoe on the goal line versus Tennessee, Georgia Tech leads 34-0 after one quarter versus Alcorn State, New Mexico State has its buses ransacked with items stolen during a loss at Florida, Va. Tech tailback J.C. Coleman wears a gold watch during the Ohio State game, Kansas State mimics fellatio during its halftime show, and Brigham Young spoils Mike Riley’s debut as Nebraska coach with a game-ending, 42-yard Hail Mary and Emma and Jezebel and Desdemona pass.

5. Harvey: Danger

Wright went from balletic to operatic as he scored to give the Mets the lead yesterday. He’s the most fun Met to watch since Tug McGraw.

Judging from my Twitter feed yesterday afternoon, the Mets were involved in a one-game playoff with the Nats yesterday (if there were just a player who represented a midway point between the two clubs…. a Matz, perhaps) in D.C. But in a way, it was. The Mess entered the series up four games on Washington, and the loser of this N.L. Central race isn’t entering October via the wildcard lane.

So the Mets break a 5-5 tie in the 7th, go on to win 8-5, and are now up 5 games with 25 to play. Ace Matt Harvey gets the start tonight, but the Dark Knight, who has already had one Tommy John surgery, may only start once or at most twice after this before the playoffs begin.

Harvey has pitched 166.1 innings this season, and his agent Scott Bore-us said on Friday that  the Mets would be putting him in peril if he exceeded 180 innings (hey, he’s the Dark Knight; he thrives on peril). My guess is that if the Mess leave Washington up at least 5 games, that you won’t see Harvey pitch for at least 10 days and then again not unless the Nats are within three.

See you in September is a song…See you in October is the one Harvey is playing.

Music 101

Summer Wind

Ah, Labor Day is behind us but it’s going to be 93 in the Big Apple today. Time for a wistful  Sinatra summer tune as we collect these last golden days of warmth. Ol’ Blue Eyes couldn’t get this song any higher than No. 25 on the Billboard pop chart in my birth year, 1966. Man, was that an SEC West year in music.

Remote Patrol

The Late Show

CBS 11:30 p.m.

The debut of Stephen Colbert (that’s two French pronunciations in four words) at the Ed Sullivan Theater. “You have to learn how to love to bomb,” Colbert, who lost three family members in a (Sept. 11, but not THAT Sept. 11) plane crash when he was 10, has said. True. What, after all, is dying onstage compared to…dying? I know someone who wrote a feature on CBS’s new host recently.


by John Walters

Bey watch: Happy 34th!

Starting Five

The Czech was not bounced

1. Petra-fied!

When I began paying attention, Petra Cetkovska, No. 149 in the world, was leading Caroline Wozniacki, No. 5 in the world, 6-4, 4-1 at the U.S. Open. Wozniacki battled back to win a second set tiebreak, and then led 6-5 and 40-15 in the third set. It looked as if the gold standard would prevail.

But Cetkovska, 30 years old, battled back. She held off four match points to force a tiebreak, which she handily won 7-1. Last September the Czech was having hip surgery and she was bounced from both the French Open and Wimbledon in the opening round. How far she will advance in Flushing, who knows, but she just kicked out the No. 4 seed with the biggest win of her career.

2. Is There a Scrappy Wright?

Wright’s injury meant there was less ice for margaritas at Dirtbags

Last year’s Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Scooby Wright, incurred a boo boo on his left knee during Arizona’s opener versus UTSA in Tucson. The Wildcats still won, 42-32, and Wright is scheduled to have an MRI today. As the Mystery Machine rolls on….

Don’t those crazy kids believe in seat belts?

3. A Work in Progress

Harbaugh (khaki pants) and his players (white pants) take the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium

Michigan under Jim Harbaugh is going to be good. Very good. You should already be salivating for their 2017 home game versus Ohio State. It’s just that, well, it’s not going to happen overnight.

And certainly not last night. Wolverine QB Jake Rudock threw three picks, one of which was returned for a touchdown, in a 24-17 loss to a solid Utah squad in Salt Lake City. Tight end Jake Butt (8 catches, 1 TD) has All-American potential as does DB Jabril Peppers, and yes you are welcome to say, “Butt Peppers” as often as you please.

The Butt does not stop here….

My major complaint with last night’s Michigan team? The uniforms. You have arguably the best uniforms in college football. Don’t mess with it. Bring back the Maize trou.

4. All Is Not Lost

Sandra Tsiligeridu is apparently a model.. Which one is she, though? 

Every crisis is accompanied by tragedy and also tales of salvation. Yesterday, there was the sad photo of the toddler who had drowned and washed up on the beach on the island of Kos. Today, a group of tourists on a boating excursion off Kos discovered this Syrian refugee bobbing in the waves, desperately hanging on to a life jacket. They saved him.

Of course, the CNN hed was “Model Rescues Man Lost at Sea.” For me, modeling should be like pro tennis or golf. If you’re not ranked in the Top 200, I don’t think you get to use that as your title, at least not in major news stories.

5. Oh, Wait. Actually, All IS Lost

Lonnie Robinson, a reporter at the The Daily Reporter (you probably already have it Bookmarked) in Goldwater, Michigan, predicts a September 24 end date for the planet. So I won’t be going to see Notre Dame at Clemson, after all. Bummer.

I’m not sure if that story has any more or less credence than this one from The Onion, which I also enjoyed.

Music 101

Why Should I Cry For You?

Is this the best post-Police song that Gordon Sumner gave the world? I think so. Your dissenting opinion is welcome.

Remote Patrol

Texas at Notre Dame

NBC 7:30 p.m.

Johnathan Gray. Notre Dame fans will know his name tomorrow night.

No, do NOT shake down the thunder from the skies. T-storms predicted for tomorrow night’s opener between the 2nd- and 3rd-winningest (in terms of total victories) programs in college football lore. The last time Notre Dame had a home opener versus a bovine opponent interrupted by a T-storm, they lost.


by John Walters

Happy 50th, Chuck! Still winning….

Starting Five

Look who’s not having an RG3 kind of week….

1. All He Does Is Win, Win, Win, Win, Win

Avowed: In our next life we are all coming back as Tom Brady. Judge Richard Berman overturns Roger Goodell’s four-game suspension and Brady will start next Thursday night in the season opener versus Pittsburgh.

Tom denied everything from the start, figuring (correctly) that it was more valuable to play in the Super Bowl and win and let the punitive chips fall where they may than it was to potentially miss the Big Game. He gambled, he won, and then he still got off scot-free. Was there malfeasance and, minimal as it may have been, was he involved? I believe so. Did the NFL actually prove it? No.

The Pats still lose $1 million and two draft picks. As if they care.

2. Where There’s a Wool….*

This is shear madness

…there’s a weigh. This is Chris the sheep, who was found outside Canberra, Australia, and just lost 89 pounds of wool thanks to a kindly shearer by the name of Ian Elkins. If you’ve ever worn an Irish cable sweater on a 90-degree day, you have a tiny idea of what it felt like to be Chris. Released of his fleece, he feels relief.

“Coming up next on ‘Extreme Animal Makeover’….”

*The judges will also accept “Baa Baa, Fat Sheep” and “Ewe Won’t Believe How Large This Sheep Is” and “It Could Be Just About Anything In Sheep’s Clothing”

3. ISIS at Work

This is Aylan Kurdi, one of 12 Syrian refugees (five were children) who drowned when their boat sank before reaching the Greek island of Kos. ISIS is everyone’s problem. And sometimes it takes photos like this one, of a little three year-old boy, to remind people that there are monsters in the world and that they are currently occupying Aylan’s country.

Also, before you start blaming Hungary or Germany for being unsympathetic, ask yourself why hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees aren’t fleeing to Muslim nations that are closer to home — and don’t involve a sea voyage.

4. “Off With His Head!”

I go to, I see a headline of “Why Roger Goodell Has To Go.” Charlie Pierce said the same thing in Grantland. Steve Politi called for the head of Kyle Flood, the coach of Rutgers, today. When did everyone in sportswriting become young Jon Arryn (I throw that bone out for you Game of Thrones readers), “I want to see him FLY!”

“Off with his head!” is not a universal answer to the world’s problems. And my experience is that most scribes know — and understand — less about what’s going on inside a big operation than the people running it.

Fire someone for corruption? Sure. For a criminal act, or sexual harassment, etc? Sure. But if sportswriters held themselves to the same standard they are holding Roger Goodell, for example, there’d be even more of us unemployed.

5. County Antrim

The Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

I saw a photo of this rope bridge on a travel site and thought, So that’s why Game of Thrones does so much of its filming in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Cool spot (I still have a softer spot in my heart for Scottish Highlands, but they’re both gorgeous).

Remote Patrol

Michigan at Utah

FS 1 8:30 p.m.

The David Puddy of coaching, Jim Harbaugh, returns to his old school

What are you still doing here?!? Go turn on the game!!!!


by John Walters

Feliz Cumpleanos, Salma Hayek!

Starting Five

The search for intelligence on late-night television is finally over

1. Wake Me Up When September Begins

September 3: First FBS college football game of the season, as the Khaki and Blue of Michigan visit Utah.

September 5: Texas (881) at Notre Dame (882)

September 7: Scott Van Pelt launches new Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil SportsCenter.

September 8: Stephen Colbert makes his debut as host of The Late Show. Excellent profile of the South Carolina native last month in GQ, in which he talks about loss and faith and says, “I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.” If only the show has the sizzling magic of Only in Monroe

–Also on Sept. 8, Colin Cowherd’s Fox Sports 1 show makes its debut. Now that was a quickie divorce, wasn’t it? You can tell he’s divorced, by the way, from the dye job in his hair.

2. Josh RosenRosen

Rosen(rosen). Are you sure he’s Jewish (Heyyyy, what’s that supposed to mean?)

So, the UCLA quarterback. A true freshman from the shangri-la-esque community of Manhattan Beach, Calif. A Jewish lad who played at a Catholic high school (though, as he has said, “I’m kinda an atheist”).

Mom attended Princeton (was a classmate of both David Duchovny and Michael Lewis). A descendant of Joseph Wharton, as in Penn’s Wharton School. Dad attended Penn and is now a renowned spinal surgeon (THE Dr. RosenRosen!) and was on a short list a few years ago to be POTUS’ Surgeon General. The parents were national ice dancing champions before they wed.

Dr. Rosenrosen. Can you tell him where the records room is?

Interesting kid, interesting family. Can you imagine a UCLA football parents’ gathering if Cordell Broadus had stayed? P. Diddy, Snoop and Dr. RosenRosen?

3.Nick at Night

It isn’t that it’s past Nick Kyrgios’ bed time. It’s just that he’s a little bored by five-set matches, too.

Aussie tennis player — and infamous on-court gossip — Nick Kyrgios says, “No, mate, you keep that Five-Hour Energy drink for yourself” as he power naps during a changeover at the U.S. Open (not to be confused with a Chang-over, for when a certain Asian-American tennis player competed in Flushing). Kyrgios, 20, lost to Andy Murray in four sets and then went back to sleep 

4. Railroaded*

And the script for Hostel 3 writes itself just like that

*The judges will also accept “You DO Have To Live Like a Refugee”

A couple of thousand migrants/refugees are being detained outside of Budapest’s Keleti station and are being prevented from boarding trains bound to other parts of Europe. Most of them are Syrians, but local officials are trying to figure out how to handle this influx of humans from ISIS-ravaged areas of the Middle East.

In related news, Donald Trump is leading in the polls to become Hungary’s next president.

5. Wipeout

Was this the heaviest wipeout in surf history? Aussie surf mag Liquify thinks so

I honestly don’t understand surfers. And I mean that in an awestruck way, not in a condescending way (for once). That’s Niccolo Porcella, who on July 22nd in Tahiti caught this wave — and then it caught him. Here’s the video.

Not only did Porcella survive this wipeout, but he got right back on his board and sought out the next set. I really need to watch Point Break again and soon.

Music 101


Life In a Northern Town

No one gets more One-Hit Wonder-ish in the 1980s than The Dream Academy, but what a fantastic and unusual and visual song this “dream pop” trio gave us. The band, two men and one woman — touring must have been interesting — formed in London and their debut album was produced, in part, by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. This song rose to No. 7 on the Billboard chart in 1985.

Remote Patrol

U.S. Open

1 p.m. —> ?

Serena is vying to become the first calendar Grand Slam gal since Steffi Graf in 1988. We dare you to get in her way.

No. 1 seeds Serena Williams (3:30 p.m.) and Novak Djokovic (9 p.m.) all take the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium today. I’l be watching with Nick Kyrgios.


by John Walters

Beano Cook was born 84 years ago today. As game week is here, it feels right to remember him….

Starting Five

Remembering you left your phone charger back at the hotel. Damn!

1. The Daily Harrumph: League of Denali*

*The judges will also accept “Fit of Peak”

So, are POTUS’ opponents making a mountain out of a molehill (that, as you can see above, is clearly not a mole hill), or is he simply trolling FOX News to new, um, heights by renaming America’s tallest mountain Denali (it does happen to sit in Denali National Park) and relieving it of its former name, Mount McKinley?

And, oh God, what does Sarah Palin think of all this?

McKinley: “Well, it IS good go to be in the news again, but I’m the second guy over 50 to have his photo in MH today and we aren’t even to the 2nd item yet. What gives?”

Well, here’s all that I know: this week POTUS will become the first sitting U.S. president  to visit the Arctic in hopes of showing those of us overly concerned with our Fantasy drafts and whom Taylor Swift will next invite on stage that climate change is very real. As a nod toward that, he’s formally changing the name of the 20,230-foot peak to Denali, the indigenous Athabascan name that most Alaskans have long called it, and away from the name of the third U.S. president to be assassinated.

I’m sure all the usual people will find a reason to decry this move (Obama hates white people), and all the other usual people will find a reason to substantiate it (this is the name Alaskans have long called it). There’s nothing like hearing a bunch of folks who’ve never been somewhere and have no intention of ever going argue about what that place’s name should be.

2. Van-tastic*

Precious Time may be slipping away, but (Cara) Van knows how to enjoy it….

*The judges will also accept anything better you can throw at them

To celebrate his 70th birthday, Van Morrison came home. To Belfast. He played two shows on Cyprus Avenue, the street he immortalized in song on his 1968 classic album, Astral Weeks. See, that’s the big difference between Morrison and his Irish counterpart, Bono. His streets DO have names.

Bono signaling how many billion he would like to be worth….

Speaking of Bono, it was announced that he is now a billionaire and the world’s richest pop star (What about Dr. Dre? Or is he not “pop”?). Six years ago Bono’s investment group   — yes, you read that correctly —Elevation Partners, purchased a 2.3% share of Facebook for $86 million. Its current valuation is $1.5 billion (he is more than Dublin down on that bet),

Facebook has made Bono more scratch in the past six years than all of U2’s album sales and touring have in 35-plus years. If he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, it’s only because he’s searching in all the wrong places.

3. Reaper Concussions*

Wait a second… Is THIS the film we’re talking about?

*The judges will not accept League of Denial or League of Denali

The movie Concussion will be released on Christmas day. Sports Illustrated had EXCLUSIVE footage of the trailer for at least three hours yesterday (a moratorium that I’m not sure other websites even honored but, hey, ask forgiveness not permission, right?).

I don’t think that this is a scene from the movie, either. I could be wrong. I often am.

The NFL reminds me a lot of Lucky Strike in 1960. It knows its brand is wildly popular even though it also brings about an earlier grave for far too many who play it. Roger Goodell needs to just walk into that pitch meeting with Sterling Cooper and hear someone tell them to stop denying it or apologizing for it. “The NFL: It’s Toasted!”

People still smoke. And people will continue to play football (just like people continue to sit in the upper deck of Turner Field, even though that can also be dangerous).

4. Zibby

I’ve attended many games at Notre Dame Stadium. It was never louder there than at this moment, Zibby’s punt return. The play that showed Notre Dame could compete with USC’s naut of jugger.

A tremendous read on former Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski by Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune. A couple of personal memories: on my first trip to Notre Dame as an employee of NBC Sports, during the summer of 2006, I was asked to bring along a younger colleague (a good guy, he’d worked with me at SI on Campus).

So, we have somewhat unfettered access to ND players as we are NBC, and this is also Brian Hardin’s first summer as the football SID. And so I am off interviewing Darius Walker and the younger guy is talking to Zibby. And his first few questions are all about what bars Zibby visits during the summer in South Bend. And suddenly there’s a commotion and I think if it weren’t a media member, boxer Zibby would have KO’d him.

Instead, Hardin intervened, I tried to play diplomat, and it was all very awkward for awhile. Thinking back, my colleague had probed a point that even he didn’t know how sensitive Zibby was about it.

Zibby was perhaps not the most gifted player of the Charlie Weis era (Kyle Rudolph? Michael Floyd?), but he’s probably the favorite. Plays such as this helped. And I like what Jason McIntyre added here.

Another friend, Tim Ring, did some research this week and came up with this stat. Tom Zbikowski, 7 career touchdowns in college (two each at least by fumble, INT, and punt return). Charles Woodson, 1997 Heisman winner, 4 career TDS.

Zibby, by the way, should have had 8. His best TD came on an interception return-double lateral right before halftime versus Stanford in 2007 (when both programs were crap), but I believe Trevor Laws was penalized for a personal foul trailing the play. The Pac-12 refs that day, man were they crap.

5. Grange Award!!!

Grange, a former Illini, on Tim Beckman: “What an a-hole.”

Finally, we know you’ve been waiting….here’s our Red Grange Award Watch List. Are you ready? Are you seated? Our Watch List is….EVERYBODY. You should watch every college football player, or at least consider all of them potential winners at this stage. But here are five of my favorites:

1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

2. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (yes, I realize he is not playing at Va. Tech).

3. Trevon Boykin, QB, TCU (honestly, I don’t think he’ll win, but everyone else does, and I’m weak and a follower, as you all know)

For this year’s Grange Award, I’m Chubb-thumping…

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (but will he still be as good having to wear a full jersey?)

5. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (America loves a great white hope RB and Heisman voters love a guy who shines in a season finale versus Notre Dame).

My preseason pick? Well he’s a Nick (ba ba bow wow) Chubb!

Music 101

September Morn

Why not begin the greatest month of the year with a little Neil Diamond schmaltz? The 1979 mont peaked at No. 17 and became the Brooklyn native’s 30th Top 40 hit. Neil OWNED the 1970s.

Remote Patrol

Hollywood Game Night

NBC 10 p.m.

You only have so many precious minutes on this earth. Go ahead and spend 60 of them watching this heaping, flaming pile of crap (or almost anything else the networks currently air in prime time). I am beginning to think that a while ago the heads of programming at ABC, CBS and NBC made a bet amongst each other as to just how bored (and boring) Americans are and who could air the most inane, useless piece of garbage and still persuade people to watch.