California dreamin' beats losing


November 02, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

I heard the Ravens looked pretty good on Monday night, but I wouldn't know. I had to take Maese trick-or-treating, so I missed the first two quarters and then he kept begging me to help him sort his candy, so I had to blow the game off altogether.

Anyway, why would I bother watching a losing team when I've got the Redskins and Eagles at 4-3 and, of course, a favorite college football team that could probably beat all three of them. All I can say is, I'm sure glad USC signed Matt Leinart to that $2 million contract extension.

(I'm not complaining, but am I the only one who thinks it's odd that a fifth-year senior can remain eligible for NCAA competition by taking one Ballroom Dancing class?)

I know, I know, nobody wants to hear any more of my bicoastal blathering, but what am I supposed to do when the Orioles have turned into the Kansas City Royals and the Ravens have turned into the Houston Texans and the Maryland Terrapins have turned back into the Maryland Terrapins?

I've been told there were times when Anthony Wright was surprisingly effective on Monday night, but I did catch the last few minutes (so I lied ... sue me) and one thing was obvious. He's not a prime-time guy.

Quarterbacks make their reputations after the two-minute warning. Wright looked indecisive with the game slipping away, and coach Brian Billick's sideline body language made it obvious to me that Kyle Boller needs to start loosening up his arm.

This probably isn't a good thing, but I'm starting to hear fans talk wistfully of the Ravens going totally belly-up this year to put them in position to draft a certain Heisman-winning quarterback. It's a little early for that, but if Monday night's solid-but-inadequate performance was a best-case scenario, Ozzie Newsome obviously is going to be making his first pick in the draft a lot sooner than anybody expected.

Don't misunderstand. I think Ralph Friedgen is one of the best college football coaches in the country, but - quite frankly - if he really wanted to win a national championship, he should have put up more of a fight when the ACC invited every powerhouse team on the East Coast to join the conference.

There were some parallels between the Ravens' near-miss and the Terps' hard-fought road loss to Florida State on Saturday, right down to the key mistakes that kept each double-digit underdog from scoring a big upset.

There also was one major difference: When the smoke cleared, the Terps still came away with an outside chance to play in the postseason.

The Texas Longhorns dropped back into second place in the Bowl Championship Series standings this week, which can mean only one thing. Coach Mack Brown wants to conserve the anytime minutes on his cellular phone plan until later in the season.

Did Theo Epstein decide to leave the Boston Red Sox because of a contract dispute, or is it possible that he viewed the short-term prospects of the team with a quiet resignation?

His surprising announcement that he is giving up the GM job with one of the most storied franchises in baseball left room to wonder about a lot of things, including his sense of loyalty to a franchise that gave him both the chance to become the youngest GM in baseball and the huge payroll to become the youngest ever to win a world championship.

Something doesn't feel right here, and since Epstein has agreed to continue with his current duties while the Red Sox look for a replacement, I think you have to hold open the possibility that he will pull a Ken Macha and eventually decide to stay.

My favorite international sports story comes from Europe, where women's curling star Ana Arce has created a sexy calendar featuring some of the most beautiful women in curling. Players from several European countries and Canada posed in various stages of nudity to raise money for their teams and enhance the profile of the obscure Olympic winter sport.

I really didn't know that the sport was so common here in America, until my wife informed me that even she owns a curling iron. I have my doubts, however, since I've never seen her with a broom.

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