1. Holy Brow!
This did not come out of nowhere…which is to say it came out of somewhere.
Anthony Davis was, after all, the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA’s 2012 Final Four despite making only one field goal in the championship game win over Kansas. The then-freshman DID collect 16 rebounds, block six shots, have five assists and three steals. He was a stat stuffer.
And, of course, Davis did become the No. 1 overall pick that June.
And though Davis’ first two years in the NBA with the New Orleans Non-Noels were decent, the light appeared to go on this summer at the World Championships in Spain. Charles Barkley declared afterward that the 6-10 Chicago native would be the NBA’s “next big thing” and Sir Charles may be on to something.
Yes, it’s not even Thanksgiving, and the NBA season does not really begin until Christmas Day…or is it All-Star Weekend?…or is it April?… but Davis currently LEADS the league in Blocks (3.9 pg) and Steals (!) (2.3 pg), is 5th in Rebounding (11.40) and 3rd, behind former NBA MVPs Kobe and LeBron, in Scoring (25.5 pg). No other NBA player is in the Top 5 in more than three categories (Stephen Curry and DeAndre Jordan).
2. Tweet-le Dumb
Sunday night: Hallie Shea (a.k.a. Grace Gummer, a.k.a. Jim Harper’s Latest Squeeze, a.k.a. Meryl Streep’s Daughter) is fired from ANC News after a 2:37 a.m. tweet riffing on the Boston bombings in which she tweeted, and I quote, “Republicans rejoice that finally there’s a national tragedy that doesn’t involve guns.”
When Charlie Skinner terminates her ass, he asks what she was thinking at the time she typed those words, what value did it have? “Retweets,” she answers.
Fast forward to late Tuesday night, when a Florida State alumnus (and an attorney) shoots up an on-campus library. A tweet is sent from the account of Marisa Martin, an ESPNU Campus Connection student reporter (Martin actually attends the University of Alabama). The tweet reads, “Reported gunman on the FSU campus. Maybe he is headed for Jameis.”
Then, after considerable –and understandable– brushback (though I don’t understand how #FSUTwitter did not get that tweet Spammed…you guys were off your game some), there is another tweet from the account: “Since apparently I cant make a joke in all seriousness I hope everyone at FSU is safe & that the gunman is found. But I stand by my opinions.”
Then Martin deleted the account.
THEN…Martin went on another account –the Alabama Campus Connection Twitter feed –and claimed that her account had been hacked.
Marisa, it’s not the crime that condemns you most of the time. It’s the cover-up. We’ll see if this is truthful. Meanwhile, this is the second young, female reporter associated with FSU football who has landed in infamy this autumn. Natalie Pierre, who covered the Noles for the Tallahassee Democrat, resigned in early October amidst plagiarism charges.
p.s. One more The Newsroom note: Olivia Munn (Sloan Sabbith) and Thomas Sadoski (Don Keefer) killed it last week. Best Sorkinian sexual tension banter since, when, “The American President?” “Sports Night?” Fantastic stuff. Great acting and even better dialogue. And not one, not two, but THREE walk-and-talks! (“Big laughs from the crowd”)
3. Nichols’ Worth
Judging from the reaction by Hollywood stars I admire such as Neal Patrick Harris and, last night on Letterman, Edward Norton, director Mike Nichols was more than just a prolific legend of both Broadway and films. He was a genuinely good guy. Nichols, who was married to Diane Sawyer (and was the father-in-law of Rachel Nichols) died on Wednesday.
(P.S. Norton was a last-minute replacement for Meryl Streep, who was either too overcome with grief over Nichols’ death or Hallie’s firing from ACN. I cannot be sure.)
There’s a lot of work in his curriculum vitae. Probably the most indispensable was The Graduate. I’d point out to you, the next time (or if it’s the first time) you watch the film, to notice the camera angles. When Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) is being seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft, who was only six years older than he in real life), notice how the scene is shot from behind her bent and naked leg, which then frames a curious but unsure young man. Deft touch.
Nichols, who was born in Nazi Germany in 1931 and emigrated with his family to the U.S. in 1939 when they escaped (I’m not sure if they were all singers), was 83.
4. Just Win, Maybe!
The Oakland Raiders refuse to go 2008 Detroit Lions on us (the only NFL team to go 0-16; the Buccaneers only went 0-14) by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 24-20 last night in O-Town (Do they call it O-Town? Or is that Orlando?). Anyway, it was not a huge surprise, as the Raiders had lost by seven or less in five of their first ten games.
One great “Pride & Poise” moment, though. Having taken a 24-20 lead with 1:42 remaining on a 9-yard TD pass from Derek Carr to James Jones, all the Raiders needed to do was hold K.C.
The Chiefs faced 4th-and-3 from their own 46 when Da Raidas committed THREE defensive penalties on the same play: two defensive holding infractions and one hands to the face. Pity for the Chiefs that it was a grab bag, and they were only allowed to choose one.
Three plays later, the Raiders celebrated a sack (or as I like to call them, a “Matuszak,” 20 yards up field and were still reveling in their bad selves as K.C. snapped the ball; Oakland coaches wisely signaled for a timeout to avoid another dumb penalty).
The Silver & Black eventually held on to win.
Somewhat related, the 0-11 Philadelphia 76ers host the Phoenix Suns tonight.
5. Harrumph!-ing the CFB Playoff
First, and this is VERY important: as Rece Davis has said, “There’s a lot of losing left.”
Second, let’s all remember how much kvetching we’re doing about who should be in the final four and who shouldn’t when it’s absolutely meaniningless because, referring back to No. 1 somewhat, the landscape will be entirely different in three weeks. Even if everyone from Nos. 1-7 don’t lose, their –I sorta hate this word, but it works–resumes will look different.
It’s a little like declaring the winner of a mile race after three laps.
Third, much as I love Jason McIntyre, it isn’t “doomdsay” if Mississippi State fails to make the playoff. Why would it be? Because the Bulldogs’ sole loss would’ve been at Alabama? Granted, that’s a solid resume, but if nothing changed, the Horned Frogs’ sole loss would be by a field goal, after not one but two sketchy PI calls (one was a non-call), on the road against the nation’s No. 1 Scoring Offense. So while you can make a great case for MSU, you can also make a great case for TCU (not to mention Ohio State and Baylor). It’s not a “doomsday” situation.
The only Doomsday situations would be if undefeated Florida State failed to crack the top four or if Mississippi State had won at Bama and failed to crack the Top 4.
Me, I’m always amused when people are irate when I type, “All Mississippi State had to do was win at Alabama.” And they’re like, well, that’s not easy. And I’m like, Well, you want to be able to designate a team as the nation’s best but you’re offended when I suggest that it might be opportune of them to actually prove they’re the best?”
I’ll say it again: you can make a great case for Oregon or Mississippi State or Baylor or any one-loss team. The common thread is that people lobbying for those schools will use the stats/metrics that portray their schools in the best light. And then they’ll argue that those stats have more value.
But they’re arbitrary. Florida State, if it wins out, is a lock. Everyone else, even Alabama, is contingent upon how the SelCom feels about them to a degree.
Finally, teams like people are not static: they evolve or devolve over a season. And not just because of changes in personnel. We don’t “find out who they were” in the final week because they truly may have been a different, better or worse, squad, in September. USC was definitely a worse team in September, for example; Texas A&M was definitely a better team then.
That doesn’t mean that a team’s overall record should not be held against it (e.g., USC is actuall 7-3). What it does mean, at least to me, is that I rate how good a Win was at the time it happened, because in college football how good a team believes it is at the time it plays goes a long way in determining how well that team plays that day. Passion and confidence definitely play a role in how good a team is.
Okay. I’m out…
No. 19 USC at No. 9 UCLA
ABC 8 p.m. (Saturday)
This game is always one of college football’s sexiest, and tomorrow night offers the drop back of my (and Stewart Mandel’s) favorite place to take in a college football game, which is to say a football game: the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have won two in a row, but the Trojans are surging with DT Leonard Williams, super WR Nelson Agholor and running back Buck Allen. Oh, and Josh Shaw may drop in…
Also, Chris and Herbie are doing GameDay from Cambridge, Mass., so that would be some transcontinental hustling if they get out to Pasadena to call this one: it’s physically possible, just not very pragmatic.
Winner remains alive for Pac-12 South crown and chance to dance versus Oregon a Levi’s Stadium, which is located not far from the 101 (though that section of highway should be redubbed the “501”).