Monday, November 29, 2004

Weekend Upside

On Thanksgiving night, Hubie Brown retired from coaching the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Some will remember him as the 71-year-old coach who came out of retirement when Jerry West came a-calling. Others will remember him as the former coach of the Knicks and the former coach of the Nets.

I will remember him as the man who infected the world with the "upside" during his NBA Draft analysis and his NBA broadcasting. He may not have invented the word, but he perfected it. He could hit you with the "huge upside" in the blink of an eye, then catch you off-guard with the "tremendous upside." What versatility!

So, in honor of Hubie Brown, we bring you Volume IV of the Weekend Update, with the upside of each event.

* - Quincy Carter got whacked in the head, Brooks Bollinger ably held down the fort for a few series, Carter returned to the game, threw the decisive touchdown pass to Santana Moss, the Jets beat Arizona 13-3 and moved to a head-twitching 8-3 on the season. Another ugly win. Another win!
Upside: One week closer to the Return of the King. Hurry Chad!

* - Philly's Eagles flew up the Jersey turnpike, then made Eli Manning look like he wanted to crawl up in a ball and cry underneath the bench. Two games in, and he has the worst record of any rookie quarterback this season. Geez, even Craig Krenzel won a game.
Upside: The Mannings are human. Let the next controversy begin. Bring back Kurt Warner. Better yet, bring in Jesse Palmer.

* - Brian Randall supplanted Don Strock as the career leader in passing yardage at Virginia Tech.
Upside: Not exactly the biggest news up here in New York, but anytime the words "Don" and "Strock" appear on the sports landscape, it's worth noting.

* - St. John's imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program after it was determined that Abe Keita received $300 per month from a former assistant coach. The Red Storm shorted themselves one scholarship in each of the next two recruiting cycles, plus a postseason ban this season.
Upside: We're spared the one-and-done run in the Big East tournament.
Tremendous upside: Mike Jarvis is no longer the coach.

* - The Knicks won a game against the Toronto Raptors, improved to 6-6 and took sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division.
Upside: We now have a reason to watch Knicks games in December.

* - Ben Roethlisberger improved to 9-0 as a starter for those pesky Pittsburgh Steelers.
Upside: His record remains pristine for another week. Three more such performances and the Jets' defense get the chance to shred him in half.

* - Bengals 58, Browns 48.
Upside: Suddenly, college football scores don't look so outrageous.

* - Nebraska's 35-year streak of bowl eligibility came to a crashing halt.
Upside: Another American institution crumbled. Surely, we can blame same of this on the Bush administration.
Huge upside: Ex-Raiders coach Bill Callahan looks even worse as a college coach, but that means more repeats of his "We're the dumbest football team in America" quote last year with Oakland.

* - Peyton Manning threw six touchdowns and moved within seven audibles of tying Dan Marino's NFL record of 48 touchdown passes in one season.
Upside: Marvin Harrison finally showed us his upside with a tremendous three-touchdown performance, allowing my fantasy football team -- the Fryburg Antonellis -- to avenge a Week 1 beatdown.

* - NHL players began receiving stipends from the union.
Upside: That means there's still no professional hockey being played on television here in America.

* - Anna Kournikova and Serena Williams lost an exhibition tennis match.
Upside: Anna.

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