Posted on: March 9, 2012 6:41 pm
 

I've moved!

Not away from CBSSports.com. As if.

No, but I've moved to another blog. A cooler, hipper blog, still spelled blogg cause I'm cool and hip like that.

Here I'll be, at this link!





Category: General
Tags: Gregg Doyel
 
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:18 am
Edited on: March 4, 2012 3:19 am
 

Registered sex offender was on Strikeforce card

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker expressed regret Saturday night that his outfit had allowed a registered sex offender with an apparent Neo-nazi tattoo on the card.

Welterweight Brandon Saling fought (and lost to Roger Bowling) with what looked to be a Neo-nazi tattoo, an "88" that in some circles means "Heil Hitler" -- 'h' is the eighth letter of the alphabet -- and with a criminal record. According to this newspaper account, Saler was indicted in 2004 on charges of unlawful sexual conduct when he was 18, "an alleged rape of a person under 13."

I couldn't find the disposition of that case on Saturday night, but Saling is registered in Ohio as a sex offender, for gross sexual imposition.

Afterward, I asked Coker why Saling was allowed on the card. Coker said he wasn't aware of Saling's past (or tattoo) until Saturday night, but expressed disappointment and said Saling's presence on the card will be subjected to "a full investigation on Monday."





Posted on: February 29, 2012 11:33 am
Edited on: March 1, 2012 4:12 pm
 

Bob Knight dislikes Kentucky -- it's transparent

Indulge me for a second and imagine this was college football season. And imagine there was a team, late in the season, that was demonstrably better than almost everyone else, bearing down on a spot in the BCS title game. Imagine that team was, say, Alabama. And imagine it had the likely Heisman Trophy winner in, say, Mark Ingram.

And imagine the most famous college football analyst in America, when asked about the top teams and players in the country, never mentioning the words "Alabama" or "Mark Ingram."

Couldn't happen, right? I don't care who he is -- Lou Holtz, Kirk Herbstreit, Gary Danielson, whoever -- no analyst could get away with that.

So why is Bob Knight getting away with it?

Why won't Bob Knight say the words "Kentucky" or "Anthony Davis?"

Knight was on the Mike and Mike show today, and he was talking about some of the top teams in the country. He glowed about Syracuse but never mentioned Kentucky, which is odd considering Kentucky is No. 1 in both polls. Of the 96 available votes in the two polls combined, Kentucky received 94 this week. Kentucky is the leading candidate not just for a No. 1 seed, but for the No. 1 overall seed, and is the overwhelming favorite of Vegas oddsmakers to win the title.

But Knight doesn't want to mention the Wildcats -- coached by John Calipari, whom Knight has verbally attacked in the past.

You could chalk that up as a matter of opinion, as Knight being vintage contrarian Knight, but not when you combine it with another recent segment of his -- when he was talking about the best players in the country. He never mentioned Kentucky's Anthony Davis, which is odd considering the rest of the country considers Davis and Kansas' Thomas Robinson not just the leading candidates for national POY ... but the only candidates for national POY. And as an added bonus, Davis is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick if he enters the 2012 NBA Draft.

But Knight doesn't want to mention Davis -- coached by John Calipari, whom Knight has verbally attacked in the past.

This sort of thing, coming from an analyst, is about as brazen and ridiculous as a coach throwing a chair across the court or grabbing a player by the neck and having it caught on video.

So why is Bob Knight getting away with it?








Posted on: February 22, 2012 6:35 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 6:45 am
 

Please keep talking, Gordon Gee

Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee says the NCAA had no precedent for giving Ohio State a bowl ban -- and for a change, Gordon Gee is right.

Has a school ever been busted because its head coach knew about violations by the team's best three or four players, didn't report those violations, then built a BCS-bowl season around those three or four illegally eligible players?

Has that ever happened?

No. It has not.

So E. Gordon Gee is right when he says, and I quote, "I'm a lawyer. I take a look at precedent. There's no precedent for a bowl ban for us."

So true, E. Gordon. No precedent for any of this.

I bet you were one dandy of a lawyer.

Next, try public speaking. You're the best I've ever seen at it.




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: February 6, 2012 12:07 am
 

Tiquan Underwood was released ... for what?

INDIANAPOLIS -- So about that Tiquan Underwood thing ...

It was nothing. And it was everything.

It was nothing to the game. Tiquan Underwood, the receiver the New England Patriots released on Saturday night -- roughly 24 hours before the Super Bowl -- might not have been active for the game anyway. He almost definitely wasn't going to be a major factor in what proved to be a 21-17 loss to the Giants. The final Patriots receiver to make the active roster for Super Bowl XLVI, Chad Ochocinco, played a handful of snaps and caught one pass. He was a non-entity in the game, and that's what Tiquan Underwood almost definitely would have been, had he played. A non-entity.

So this whole story is nothing, in a sports way.

And it's everything, in a real-life way. Because Tiquan Underwood is a real-life person, with real dreams and real, yes, feelings. Underwood was one of the hits of Media Day, a charming young man with crazy-tall hair who had a barber carve the Patriots' logo into the back of his hairdo.

You can't make this stuff up.

Underwood is a professional athlete, but he's also a person. He's a man with plans and pride -- and a guy who had all of it ripped from him on Saturday night, at about the time he was trying to decide how to spend his final few hours before going to bed and getting rest for the Super Bowl the next day. That's when Bill Belichick released him, waiting that long presumably to prevent the Giants from claiming Underwood on waivers and using his knowledge against New England. Belichick released Underwood at the best possible time for the Patriots, but the worst possible time for Underwood.

Officially, the Patriots wanted another defensive lineman for the active roster. So when they released Underwood, they also announced that they had signed defensive lineman Alex Silvestro from the practice squad.

But here's the thing:

Silvestro didn't play Sunday night. Only two New England defenders didn't get onto the field, and Alex Silvestro was one of them. In other words, Tiquan Underwood was released for nothing. He was released because Bill Belichick had to be the smartest guy in the room, even if that meant gutting a nice kid like Tiquan Underwood.

This has always been the Belichick way, and the Belichick way has been good for five Super Bowl appearances and three titles in a decade. Belichick's way works, no question. But it's a cold-blooded way that wins games, not hearts. When a player loses his value to Belichick, the player is gone. Even in the realm of professional football, where in theory that possibility is there for every player, nobody has proven to be as bottom-line cold as Belichick.

The Patriots say Underwood will be back with the team next season, and he'd be foolish not to take them up on that. New England is one of the best franchises in the NFL, and who is Tiquan Underwood to say no to the Patriots?

New England is everything. Tiquan Underwood is, relatively speaking, nothing.

As the Patriots made clear on Saturday night.







Posted on: February 5, 2012 9:54 pm
 

Coughlin and Eli, come on down (to Canton)

INDIANAPOLIS -- It's time to consider that maybe New England's Bill Belichick isn't the greatest active coach in the NFL. Yes he has three Super Bowl rings, and three is bigger than two, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin has just two Super Bowl rings.

But Coughlin won both his Super Bowl rings against Belichick, the second coming Sunday night, a 21-17 victory in Super Bowl XLVI.

Three is more than two. We all know that. But head-to-head matters. It must. And head to head, in the most important game in the NFL, the score is Tom Coughlin 2, Bill Belichick 0.

That is not a fluke. That is a trend. And a fact. And a symbol, perhaps, that Coughlin deserves to be considered up there with Belichick as the greatest coach of this era. And seeing how Belichick has been mentioned -- and rightly so -- as one of the greatest coaches of all time ...

That means Tom Coughlin must be mentioned -- and rightly so -- as one of the greatest coaches of all time.

That is the power of the Super Bowl. It shapes legacies -- crushing some, burnishing others. The Super Bowl has burnished the legacy of Coughlin, just as it has burnished the legacy of his quarterback, Eli Manning.

I insist that Peyton, even with one Super Bowl, is better than Eli -- but Eli is a Hall of Famer, right now. If he retires tomorrow, if he never plays again, Eli is a Hall of Famer. So is Tom Coughlin.

So is former Coughlin boss Bill Parcells, for that matter. Parcells didn't make it into the Hall this weekend, but that's an oversight to be corrected another day. And then another day, years later, Coughlin will join his mentor in the Hall of Fame.

Such is the power of the Super Bowl. Such is what Coughlin has accomplished, at the expense of Bill Belichick.



Posted on: February 3, 2012 5:39 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 9:25 am
 

On sparring with a UFC fighter-turned-politician

Chris Lytle and Gregg Doyel sparring at Kingdom Martial Arts, February 3, 2012. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

GREENFIELD, Ind. -- Chris Lytle doesn't hit like a politician. No shots below the belt, in other words. All to the face -- specifically, my face. We sparred six rounds on Friday, the former UFC fighter and me, and he punches like the professional boxer and cage fighter he used to be ... not like the state senator he's trying to become.

Fascinating guy, Chris Lytle. This is not a political column, so don't read this as an endorsement for Lytle's state senate campaign. Don't read it as the opposite, either. It's neither. But it's recognition of a guy who has always been willing to put his money, as they say, where his mouth is.

That's what he's doing now as he runs for state senator at a time in his life when, frankly, he didn't think he'd be doing such a thing. He's a full-time fireman, husband and father who always fought on the side, first as a pro boxer who built up a 13-1-1 record before switching to mixed martial arts, and then as an MMA guy who went 31-18-5 overall and fought 21 times in the UFC -- taking on the best welterweights in the world, guys like Matt Hughes and Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck and Matt Serra and Thiago Alves. And Robbie Lawler and Marcus Davis and Nick Diaz. He fought the best of the best and he gave as good as he took, going 11-10 in the UFC with six "fight of the night" awards.

But anyway, those days ended with Lytle's submission victory against Dan Hardy in August, and when his fight career ended he started to think about the bigger picture.

"I've been watching local politics, and I don't see people in it for the right reasons," Lytle told me before our sparring session. "They're not in there to help people in the region or state -- they're in it to help themselves and their friends. It's the good old boys' network, and I decided to stop complaining about it and get in there myself and help fix it."

The state legislature is a part-time job, so Lytle plans to maintain his job as a firefighter. But he says he's finished fighting professionally. More and more, fighters are "retiring" two or three times before finally, irrevocably, being finished. Lytle says that won't be him.

"I got into fighting because I liked the fight game, and wanted to actually do it and not just talk about it," Lytle said. "But you have to have 100 percent focus to do it right, and my focus is on other things."

And now, a little about our sparring session, which took place at Steve Guinn's Kingdom Martial Arts about 20 miles east of Indianapolis. It was my idea, not a tit-for-tat thing but just a chance to get in a workout while I'm town for the Super Bowl. I knew Lytle was from here, so I tweeted him a request to spar. He said yes.

Lytle's savvy campaign manager Beth Dockins turned it into an impromptu campaign stop, mentioning the sparring session on Lytle's campaign twitter and Facebook accounts. Although we were sparring at 2 p.m. on a work day, there were 20 or so people there to watch.



What did they see? The same thing millions of UFC fans have seen over the years: Chris Lytle kicking someone's ass. Problem is, this was my ass. Well, my face. Lytle gave me the option of MMA, but seeing how he has blackbelt-level submissions and I, um, do not ... we stayed with boxing. Unlike almost every other cage fighter I've sparred with, though, Lytle came up as a boxer -- which means he's always comfortable, fluid even, when limited to using "just" his hands as weapons.

And what weapons they are. He's a strong guy -- I didn't ask him, but I bet he benches 300 pounds or so -- and he throws short punches. He especially loves the uppercut, or at least he loved the uppercut against me. I felt like the loser in a game of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots, my chin getting popped time and again. But he must have hit me in other spots, because when it was over I was bleeding from both lips, the nose and (slightly) from the forehead. My face, never pretty after a sparring session, was a pulpy mess. It was so ugly, Lytle was apologizing to me when the session ended.

No need for that, of course. Lytle beat me up even as he was taking it easy on me. Fighters -- good ones, anyway -- have a code of honor in sparring: The better fighter will go only as hard as the lesser fighter. I went hard after Lytle, and he allowed me to do so, but popped me just enough to make it clear that there was only one alpha dog in the ring, and it wasn't the sportswriter.



Fine by me. It was an honor to be in the ring at all with such a good fighter, and a good man, as (possibly) the future state senator from Indiana, Chris Lytle.

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P.S. The video is of our first round, a warm-up round. It got much more painful intense as the rounds mounted.

Category: Mixed Martial Arts
Tags: Chris Lytle, UFC
 
Posted on: January 15, 2012 7:49 pm
 

New York Giants advance to NFC title game

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The NFL playoffs will continue without the top two offenses in the league, now that the New York Giants have eliminated Green Bay.

The Giants' victory on Sunday, which ended a 7-0 run by home teams in the 2012 NFL playoffs, came one day after San Francisco bounced the similarly potent Saints.

The Giants play at San Francisco next Sunday for the NFC title.

In this one, New York stuffed Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers with pressure from the front seven -- linebacker Michael Boley was as devastating as any down lineman -- and with help from Green Bay's receiving corps. The Packers dropped at least five passes, including one in the end zone by Greg Jennings. Instead of drawing within 20-17 on Jennings' (should-be) touchdown, the Packers had to settle for a field goal on the next play that made it 20-13.

The Giants drove for a field goal on their next possession, pushing their lead back to a comfortable two-score margin at 23-13. After the Packers' third lost fumble of the game, this one by running back Ryan Grant that New York returned to the Green Bay 4, the Giants scored on the next play to make it 30-13 with 6:48 to play.

The Giants got more than 300 yards passing from Eli Manning, including a 37-yard Hail Mary to Hakeem Nicks on the final play of the half for a touchdown that gave the Giants a 20-10 lead. Nicks, too strong for the Packers all day, also had a 66-yard scoring reception earlier in the half and finished with seven catches for 165 yards.




 
 
 
 
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