By Scott Gleeson and Tony Andracki
Intro: From the masters of “that’s what she said” jokes, these two Illinois State alums bring a weekly entry to the table discussing the biggest topics in the sports world. (For the record, Scott and Tony hate “that’s what he said jokes.” Don’t ever use them. Stick to “she.” More fun that way.)
Mayweather knocks out Ortiz
What happened: Floyd Mayweather Jr. floored WBC welterweight champ Victor Ortiz near the end of the fourth round in a stunning, controversial match in Las Vegas to help boxing come to life and bring the topic of Mayweather’s greatness to the forefront.
SG: The thought that Mayweather was too old or outmatched before this match was a telltale sign of him being removed from the spotlight for far too long. Now that he’s fresh in our minds and Ortiz is an afterthought, it’s clear that Mayweather is a cold-blooded killer in the ring and a bona-fide bad ass.
Ortiz head-butted Mayweather and then, when it looked like Ortiz was apologizing, Money May delivered the decisive blows. There was questioning as to whether or not it was a cheap shot by Mayweather and in turn this allows Ortiz to have the “gimme another shot” demeanor. But, in reality, Mayweather was doing this guy a favor by sparing him any more rounds of fighting.
The real topic that has arrived from all of this is one that hasn’t gone away for the last two years: will Mayweather ever fight Manny Pacquiao? Mayweather seems determined to keep the jabs outside the ring. But this is the fight people want to see. Give it to them.
This reminds me of the time Tony didn’t want to arm-wrestle me in front of a bunch of girls outside a bar. I understand the hesitance for Mayweather to keep his undefeated record, but him not facing Pac-Man shows that he’s hungrier for a big paycheck and not as hungry to up the ante on his greatness level. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier staged the “Thrilla in Manila,” pitting the two best against each other. You can’t be the best unless you beat the best. That’s the only way to silence doubters.
TA: I think you’re on to something there, Scotty G. You do have to beat the best to be considered the champ. As Ricky Bobby said, “if you ain’t first, you last.” Words to live by, my friend.
I’ll be honest, as a boxing expert (And by expert, I mean I have seen all the “Rocky” movies, ya know. Plus, “The Fighter.”), I think Mayweather-Pacquiao would be a better fight for America than when Rocky beat roided-out Russian Dolph Lundgren. How would this not get the kind of attention the boxing world needs right now?
Because of the violent nature of the sport, boxing is relegated more to the HBOs and such and rarely graces the screens at ESPN (which we all know is the only way to get any attention in the sports world). They need a fight that will suck everybody back in and remind them of the classic Tyson-Holyfield bouts. Or the classic Voss-Andracki-donning-baseball-helmets-to-club-each-other-over-the-head-with-MMA-gloves fights.
The boxing world has the attention after this fight, now go for the knock out (get it?).
ACC adds Syracuse, Pitt
What happened: Syracuse and Pittsburgh are departing from the Big East and will join the ACC, an unexpected move that preludes many more potential moves that could significantly alter the entire landscape of college athletics, particularly with football and basketball. “Superconferences” appear to be the future.
TA: Well, President Obama wanted NCAA football to develop a playoff system, maybe the organization is starting to listen. These so-called “Superconferences” could be the easiest way to do that. Instead the SEC and the ACC and Big Ten and the Pac-12 and whatever other acronym or “12” conference out there, instead, there would just be four big conferences. Sixteen teams in each, providing an automatic 64-team playoff pool.
How cool would that be? It’d make things a lot simpler, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t have to worry about random programs popping up out of nowhere anymore. Or keeping tabs on an obsolete team that has the outsidest (that’s a word, right?) of outside chances at the National Championship.
But how exactly would this work without leaving programs out like the smelly kid on the playground that whispers to himself when he thinks nobody is listening? Somebody is going to be unhappy. And with a playoff system, how would money work? Would there be a salary or stipend for the players on the Super 64 teams? There’s so many questions. It’s making my head spin.
And there’s so many rumors. Especially over the last 48 hours. First Mizzou is heading to the SEC. Then they’re not. Then they are again. Then Texas is moving programs. And Notre Dame is rumored to be staying an independent, or are they? I hear Joanie loves Chachi, too. This is worse than all the lockout talk.
And that’s just football. What about basketball, Scott?
SG: This might be the quote of the year from Syracuse hoops coach Jim Boehim: “If conference commissioners were the founding fathers of this country, we would have Guatemala, Uruguay and Argentina in the United States. This audience knows why we are doing this. There’s two reasons: money and football.”
This clearly seems to be a football-dominated move with dollar signs at the end of the road. Meanwhile, college basketball in particular could be hurt by moves like this. The biggest question with superconferences is what happens to the schools left behind. In the Big East, basketball-driven schools such as Georgetown could be shortchanged with no football team as a driving force.
When considering the NCAA tournament, conference realignment could serve as a double-edged sword. With superconferences forming, will this hinder the NCAA selection process or better it? We saw the Big East ship 11 teams to the Dance last year. If there are superconferences, will the NCAA committee feel obliged to throw in .500 teams simply because they played in “one of the toughest conferences.” That or we could see more mid-majors get in this way.
Following a year when mid-majors had a tremendous breakthrough (VCU, Butler in Final Four), it’d be sad to see dominating conferences brainwash Big Dance selectors more than they already have been. Not to mention, if teams are beating up on each other in these soon-to-be elite conferences, there will be even more of a hesitation to schedule top-tier mid-major teams in the nonconference, thus hindering the little guys’ resumes that already appear to get dissected unfairly.
The return of Sexy Rexy
What happened: After being picked by Sports Illustrated to win two games all season, the Washington Redskins have hit that mark already after the season’s first two weeks. One of the reasons for the turnaround, aside from dumping Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth, is due to the play of our favorite dude, Sexy Rexy Grossman.
SG: Seeing the Redskins alone in first place of the NFC East is like seeing Tony proven wrong in a vocabulary test by a Hooters waitress. It just doesn’t happen that often. But believe it or not, the ‘Skins are undefeated in Week 2 and one of the most talked about teams in the NFL.
Before the season, Mike Shanahan played around with the idea of John Beck—kind of like the girl who’s not that into you plays around with the idea of dating you—but ultimately realized Grossman was the soulmate of his offense. The embattled signal caller still has hatred from fans in Chicago, but he’s starting anew in Washington and despite a few hiccups, seems to be a smarter, better quarterback (596 yards, four TDs through two games) after taking the backseat as a second stringer for the last couple of seasons.
What troubles me, is that so many of these analysts want to say Grossman is this new player and he fits better in Washington’s system. That’s not to be disputed, but, let’s not try to act like this guy is going to be a Pro-Bowler. He led the ’06 Bears to a Super Bowl (even if the defense did almost everything) and knows how to win ball games. But he’s also a proven needle-threading, bonehead of a quarterback. Consistency is to Grossman what Tony is to brunettes: unattainable.
TA: Ahhh, remember the good ole days when Rex was nearly booed off Soldier Field and the crowd actually chanted for Kyle Orton (who, mind you, was a rookie at the time)? I was at that game. Kinda sad. It was also cold as all hell. My eyeballs were freezing. I complained so much, I felt like Scott on one of his typical pity-party displays of manliness.
I can’t say I’m shocked at the success of Rex and the Redskins so far. But, I can’t say I’m not shocked, either. Rex is what he is. He’s inconsistent as all hell. I saw it firsthand in Chicago. He’s been pretty dang good so far, but he will also have his bad games where he looks more like a Rookie level QB than one on the All-Madden setting.
He’s going to turn the ball over. The Redskins are going to lose. They won’t continue to outlast the likes of the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants. I’d still be blown away if Washington even makes the playoffs. But, yes, this is a good story. A better story than Scott and our buddy Alex tried to make up on the way back from the University of Iowa that included a brush with death with some angry meatheads.
But if you really want to hear a good story, check out Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills. Or Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions. Those guys are really worthy of headlines. Let’s not crown Rex the next Aristotle just yet. It’s two weeks, folks.