Question: Which of these television prognosticators had the best record for picking NFL winners at the end of the regular season—Tom Landry or Frank Glieber of KXAS in Ft. Worth, Nick Buoniconti of HBO, Pete Axthelm of NBC or Omar Guerra of KGBT-TV in Harlingen, Texas?
Answer: Guerra, who was right 59% of the time, having picked 133 winners in 224 games.
Guerra is a rabid Cowboy fan who attended the second pro game of his entire life just last week, his entire life to date being seven years. For his services to KGBT-TV, which include a pick and a comment for each game ("They [Cowboys] have too many offensive weapons"), Guerra receives $12.50 a week, but he's not complaining. His paycheck makes him the best-compensated second-grader in Harlingen.
Not many fans traveled all the way from Indiana to California to root for the University of Evansville when the Purple Aces played Pepperdine in the Malibu Classic basketball tournament the week before Christmas. And that may explain why Larry Calton, who calls the Aces' games for WROZ radio in Evansville, felt obliged to fill the void singlehandedly. Or maybe Calton had legitimate gripes against the timer, the scorer, the Pepperdine coach, the Pepperdine sports information director and just about everyone else in Pepperdine's Firestone Fieldhouse that night. "I never heard such language at a press table," said Tim Wilhelm, Pepperdine's associate athletic director.
Not until only 2:51 remained in the game, however, did Calton become a footnote to college basketball history. At that point the Pepperdine center clobbered an Evansville player, and though the center fouled out, the Evansville bench continued to decry the crime. So the bench was handed a technical. Then Calton, who witnesses say had been heckling the officials all night, joined in the fun, and Referee Al Hackney handed him one too, saying as he did, "And that'll be a T on the radio!"
Evansville won the game nevertheless, 77-69, but thanks to Calton, the definition of a bench technical may have to be expanded. Or maybe a new kind of T should be created. How does technological technical sound?
A strike threatened by the NHL Officials Association, which was outraged by an insignificant penalty imposed on Paul Holmgren of the Flyers when he punched a referee in the chest (SCORECARD, Dec. 28-Jan. 4), appears to have been averted. The officials were mollified, at least temporarily, when NHL President John Ziegler agreed to 1) increase the severity of penalties for a player who strikes a referee and 2) appoint a panel (what else?) to study the rules and procedures on physical abuse of officials. Given the NHL's long history of resistance to reform, however, the officials might be well advised not to pack up their picket signs quite yet.
THE 108-POINT NOBODY
They say you can prove anything with statistics, and in the case of North Carolina Running Back Kelvin Bryant, official NCAA figures would appear to show that he didn't exist in 1981. NCAA rules specify that to qualify as a season statistical leader a football player must appear in at least 75% of his team's regular-season games; for the Tar Heels, who played an 11-game schedule, that meant a minimum of eight games. Because of knee surgery, Bryant played in only seven games, but he made the most of his limited participation, to put it mildly, scoring 108 points. The NCAA determines scoring leaders on a per-game basis, and it awarded the scoring title to USC's Marcus Allen, who averaged 12.5 points a game. Because he played too few games, Bryant, with a 15.4 average, didn't qualify to be the scoring champion, which may be fair enough. But Bryant also was excluded from the list of 25 top scorers even though—surely there's an injustice here—he ranked fifth in total points behind Allen (138 points), Georgia's Herschel Walker (120), SMU's Eric Dickerson (114) and McNeese State's Buford Johnson (l10). Absurdly, Iowa State's Dwayne Crutchfield, who scored just 104 points, is listed in fifth place, while Bryant and his 108 points are nowhere to be seen.