October 26, 2006

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LONGSHOTS: Curses! The U is foiled again
by Dave Long

I donít know if anyone out there has seen the scene in the film A Fish Called Wanda where John Cleese is held out of the window of a London flat by Kevinís Klineís loutish Otto. In it Cleese is trying to make amends for making a play for Ottoís sizzling girlfriend Jamie Lee Curtis. He starts out with something like, ďI apologize profusely, in no uncertain terms, without rancor, or malice,Ē and the British humor-inspired hilarity continues in similar vocabulary-exhausting way for some time until Otto finally lets in back inside the posh flat.

It brings to mind how I feel about what has transpired for the state universityís football team since I wrote a gushing piece about how much fun they are to watch. Since that time they have lost two straight. The most recent was a heartbreaking and frustrating loss to Northeastern which ended in overtime on a two-point conversion, of all things. I feel like Iíve cursed them, or at least, as my friend the insurance mogul Dick Lombardi said in an e-mail, Iíve jinxed them. Thatís more responsibility than I can bear, so hereís a mea culpa for saying nice things about them and, in doing so, putting my version of the Curse of Joe Sullivan on them, as well as assorted other thoughts rambling about in my brain and trying to get out:

Donít know if anyone else at Parsons Field on Saturday besides me said to themselves that Ricky Santos was playing the worst Iíd seen him play and then was SHOCKED to see he threw for 434 yards and four scores. Maybe Iím expecting just a little too much.

Having said that Ö passing yards arenít always the key to winning. Just look at last week in the NFL, where six of the top 10 passing performances came from losing quarterbacks.

However, all of the top 10 rushing performances came from backs who won their games.

David Ball made one of the best catches Iíve ever seen on Saturday when he got flipped upside down after getting drilled while out-jumping two defenders for the ball at the goal line leading him to come down head first from about five feet. Holding onto the ball he caught one-handed was an amazing display of hands. And, since he bounced right back up, toughness as well.

Speaking of expecting too much: Even though theyíre 5-1, something still seems missing from the Patriots. The good news is the M. O. in the Belichick era is they get better as the year goes on. So maybe the missing offensive consistency will arrive before the playoffs begin. More good news is, theyíre starting to get turnovers again, which I like.

Sports 101: Just three colleges had three players named to the NBAís Top 50 Players Ė the most by any school. Name the schools and the three players who played for each.

Speaking of Top 10 Lists. After a Cy Young Award and three straight seasons with over 15 wins where does Chris Carpenter go on the list for all-time New Hampshire athletes?

With all due respect to everyone else, my nomination to Mr. Blackwellís list for best sports uniforms in the city goes to Central football, both home and away. If that says Iím favoring the Green, so it be it.

Forget the thugs in Miami, if Ivy Leaguers are getting into brawls on the post-game handshake line as Dartmouth did with Holy Cross two weeks ago the apocalypse has arrived.

The Lightning Round: Who do you take? Bill Belichick or Bill Walsh? Tom Brady or Joe Montana? Montana or Dan Marino? Matt Bonner the high schooler or Tyler Roche? Rick Reilly or Chris Berman? The Big F or the Big V? The Monarchs or F-Cats? Womenís tennis or the men? Pat Summitt or Geno Auriemma? Keith Dickson or Stan Spirou? Charlie Weis or Pete Carroll? LeBron James or Dwayne Wade? Barry Bonds or Ted Williams?

The final reminder of just how bad Theoís judgment has been for selecting and discarding pitching as Red Sox GM was seeing Jeff Suppan named MVP of the NLCS.

For the record, Iíd have let him walk after 2003 too. But we were both right about not giving Pedro four years over concerns for his fragility.

Hereís the answer to my question in todayís People, Places and Other Stuff section, as to when was the last time you saw anyone score the phenomenal seven TDs that Derryís Chris Sharpe did for Springfield College on Saturday. The only one I saw who got close was the great Gale Sayers. He got six against San Francisco in November of 1965. And thatís only part of the reason Iíll tell you he was the most exciting player Iíve seen play in any sport.

In case you missed it the Celtics were picked by Sports Illustrated to finish 14 out of 15 in the East. That came in the same week in which a writer on ESPN.com said Al Jefferson would the 32nd-best player in the entire league this year. I swear people say crazy things like those just to make me nuts.

Dick Umile has been on the job at UNH for 17 years? How can that be?

Sports 101 Answer: Amazingly it was not UCLA that won all those titles under John Wooden. It only sent Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton to the NBA Top 50. It was North Carolina, which Iím guessing you got, and Houston and LSU, which Iím guessing you didnít. The players? James Worthy, Michael Jordan and Billy Cunningham for UNC. Clyde Drexler, Akeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes for Houston. Shaq, Pete Maravich and Bob Pettit for LSU.

And finally, rest in peace Officer Michael Briggs. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and may the legacy of your passing be that none of us take for granted the important job policeman do for every community.

Dave Long can be heard on Sports Night with Dave Long nightly from 6 to 7 p.m. on 610 WGIR-AM


10/19/2006 Time for a trip to the sports mailbag

10/12/2006 U turns Granite Stare around on football
10/05/2006 James' gang riding into town to face the Celtics
09/28/2006 Words to describe a lost Red Sox season
09/21/2006 Football Friday can't stack up to Saturday
09/14/2006 A lesson to be learned in remembering a somber day
09/07/2006 Usual pat choice to win AFC East questioned
08/31/2006 Whining won't yank AL East away from NY
08/24/2006 Spring forward or fall behind for Sox
08/17/2006 Trash talking abounds in the Empire over Sox and Pats
08/10/2006 Monarchs call press conference to crown new leader
08/03/2006 Deadly Fenway duo leave mark on history
07/27/2006 Word of the wise gets lost in sports translation
07/20/2006 Looking beyond the Big Three
07/13/2006 Cream rises to the top of baseball talk at the Dot
07/06/2006 Greetings and salutations toThe Nation at mid-year
06/29/2006 Being dealt is a consequence of the trade
06/22/2006 A year later, Boudreau's cup runneth over
06/15/2006 See dogs and cats battle for a different fan experience
06/08/2006 Not Bad Anymore league makes a comeback
06/01/2006 Luck goes Sox way with Lowell in Massachusetts
05/25/2006 Pitching in to help the Sox trade a few places
05/18/2006 Going to school by cutting Red Sox payroll
05/11/2006 Columnist blows his mind; here are the results
05/04/2006 Yanks stormed Manchester 37 years ago this week
04/27/2006 Regular crowd nowhere to be found come playoff time
04/20/2006 Questions and answers from the mailbag
04/13/2006 Local sports teams spring into action
04/06/2006 Predictable Red Sox season lies ahead
03/30/2006 Analyzing this and that as Pats roster shrinks
03/23/2006 A week of following the bouncing balls
03/16/2006 The beginning of four days of basketball bliss
03/09/2006 Many miss the central point of the story
03/02/2006 Better late than never to jump through local hoops
02/23/2006 Celtic green means raw, not envy as it once did
02/16/2003 An issue that is all black and white
02/09/2006 Nomar curses from the UL's Sullivan
02/02/2006 Super memories from 40 years of watching the big game
01/26/2006 A certain uniformity to the inquiries in the mailbag
01/19/2006 Sudden end to Pats' season leave just one thing to do
01/12/2006 Pats on the back for the football team
01/05/2006 Predictions for Manchester Sports 2031
A lesson for Leo the Lip and nice guys everywhere

Chop House opening is Berra of good news
Event-filled weekend missed en route to evil empire
Heroís death lays to rest misuse of the word
Saint Theo ascends to new heights in The Nation
Santa sack filled to the brim with sports
Patriots march through injuries toward threepeat
Sports talk should be on the air
Stars shine brightest when winning is in the mix
The†Demonization of Johnny Damon
Thirty-seven topics and so little space
Too many holes in Sox for repeat
Trip to the injured list makes it a long weekend for local scribe
Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
Yanked from the edge of your seat