Then there's Penn State, which joins the Big Ten in football next season. The Nittany Lions' 24-3 loss to Stanford in the Blockbuster Bowl, their fourth defeat in their last seven bowl appearances, indicates that they should fit right in.
A Rasp for the Ages
The voice came from four packs of English Ovals a day and an adulthood spent railing against any referee who had the audacity to call a foul against the Boston Celtics. Johnny Most's excited rasp was perfect for the rat-a-tat tempo of pro basketball. As the Celtics' radio broadcaster for 37 years until his retirement in 1990, Most spun a grand allegory of good and evil in which Boston's pure-of-heart warriors were pitted against scoundrels and thugs. The Celtics never did anything bad. Bad things were done to them.
"Havlicek is fouled!" Most would croak with righteous indignation.
"They're calling the foul on Havlicek!" he would croak if the call went the other way.
Or he would object that opponent Rick Barry was "crying again, the big baby."
Most coined many colorful phrases, and somehow everyone knew what was happening when he said, for example, that Jo Jo White was "fiddling and diddling." But his most famous utterance was "Havlicek stole the ball!" which he hollered again and again on the night of April 15, 1965, when, well, John Havlicek stole the ball, and the Celtics were on their way to another of the 16 world championships they won while Most was at the microphone.
Most, who had been ailing for years, died on Sunday at 69 of a heart attack. A moment of silence was observed that night at Boston Garden, and then the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Clippers 120-112. The city was saved again from the infidels.
The Price of Proximity
After New York Knick power forward Charles Oakley was fined a whopping $10,000 last week for a blindside pick thrown at the Indiana Pacers' Reggie Miller on Dec. 30, Knick coach Pat Riley and president Dave Checketts charged that the league's view of the team is colored by geography. Referring to Rod Thorn, the NBA executive who dispenses fines, Riley said, "I don't think he's objective anymore. He's just singling us out because he's familiar with us."