Other Voices

November 29, 2008

A sampling of columns from around the country this week:

Wide-outs: the NFL's divas

A scourge is sweeping across the NFL landscape. It boasts the preening of Terrell Owens, the showboating of Chad Ocho Cinco, the sneer of Randy Moss. They are appreciated and even celebrated in some corners, condemned and vilified in others. Pampered yet petulant prima donnas, thy name is wide receiver, and they have become the game's brightest celebrities and, oftentimes, biggest headaches. So what makes receivers such different cats who crave attention with the same hunger they want the ball? "They just don't know who they are," said former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp. "They know they're better than defensive backs because if you can't make it as a wide receiver you become a defensive back. And they're not running backs because they're not getting the ball 15 times a game. They're lonely. That's why they're psychos. It's always been that way, and leopards can't change their spots."

PAUL GUTIERREZ, McClatchy-Tribune

Hoping coaches play fair

If you think the Bowl Championship Series system has all the credibility of a banana republic election, you'll hate it more after you read what could happen tomorrow. Say Oklahoma, third in the BCS standings, beats a good 12th-ranked Oklahoma State team on the road tonight and No. 7 Texas Tech beats Baylor. The Big 12 South will finish in a three-way tie with No. 2 Texas having beaten Oklahoma, Oklahoma having beaten Texas Tech and Texas Tech having beaten Texas. The winner, the one advancing to the Big 12 championship game and likely one step from the BCS title game, will be determined by the highest BCS standing. One-third of the BCS formula is the USA Today coaches poll made up of 61 coaches. Two of the six Big 12 coaches with votes are Texas' Mack Brown and Texas Tech's Mike Leach. Can you imagine Brown and Leach possibly looking at tomorrow's vote the least bit objectively? With a possible national shot riding on their vote, can you blame them for looking out for Numero Uno? The fate of coach Bob Stoops' Sooners could be at the mercy of his two biggest competitors this season. That's why I asked him during Monday's Big 12 conference call how much faith he has in his colleagues across the country. "I hope everyone does their job," he said. "I know it's hard to do. It's always interesting because it's our lives. It's what we do. It's hard not to have those biases, your own agendas. You just have to deal with it."

JOHN HENDERSON, The Denver Post

Knicks' bridge to nowhere

Didn't New York used to have a professional basketball team? There is a team that calls itself the Knicks; the players wear the same orange and blue as the NBA team I remember; they occupy the same famous arena. But they really don't resemble the NBA team that played there years ago. Professional basketball seems like everything else in Manhattan: in a constant state of building up and tearing down. At Detroit on Wednesday, the team that calls itself the Knicks played short-handed. Its former best player, Stephon Marbury, in uniform but out of action, watched dispassionately while seven exhausted teammates played with their tongues hanging out, broken and bruised. Detroit won. The Knicks' front office is involved in a tug of war with Marbury, the one-time star guard turned invisible man. Team officials made it clear before the season that they did not want him, that the franchise was going in a new direction. Suddenly, the new direction seems to be on a bridge to nowhere. Thanks to a portion of a "blockbuster trade" that is not working out, the Knicks are desperate.

WILLIAM C. RHODEN, The New York Times

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