A different view of sports

Clearing my mind and notebook while becoming a fan of Tar Heel-slaying Wofford College basketball:

Danny Boy

Former Clemson football coach Danny Ford, who was Dabo Swinney long before Dabo came along, is back in the news. He’s now, and always will be, the most famous hemp farmer in South Carolina.

He’s also the only S.C. hemp farmer who will have ever coached Clemson to a national title in football.

Until Swinney proved he could win ACC and national titles, Clemson fans were always daydreaming about ways to bring Ford back after he was forced out in 1990. He had bumped heads with university administrators a few too many times, though. And that, combined with run-ins with the NCAA, kept that door hammered shut.

While all the coaches Clemson hired after Ford enjoyed success, they weren’t Ford. They also weren’t Frank Howard.  But Ford was Howard after Howard, and Dabo before Dabo.

All three had Alabama roots. And all three are among Clemson’s all-time winningest coaches with Howard leading the way with 295 wins (1940-69) and Ford winning 129 games from 1978-89. Swinney has 114 wins. But the real difference is Howard was grumpier than Ford and Swinney is less grumpier than Ford.

If Dabo wins a second national title in two weeks, it may convince the rest of the Clemson old-timers to finally put Ford on the shelf alongside Coach Howard.

At 69, that’s probably even OK with Danny the Hemp Farmer.

He plans to grow the crop on 20 acres and partner with Clemson on research for medical and commercial purposes. Hemp fibers can be made into rope, cloth and non-psychoative cannabidiol (CBD) oil.

Maybe even football uniforms

 X marks spot

Just what the sports world needs.

More Vince McMahon. More XFL pro football. More players wearing jerseys with nicknames on the back.

You may recall the XFL played one season in 2001. It was one season too many. NBC pulled the plug on the joint effort with WWE wrestling after just one season.

Thus, we had to say farewell to the Orlando Rage, the Chicago Enforcers, New York/New Jersey Hitmen, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons, Memphis Maniax and Las Vegas Outlaws.

I’m sure I’ve got an old Rage T-shirt stored in a box somewhere

Now rumor has it that ol’ Vince has put together his own financing plan to give the league another launch.

Please Lord, have mercy on our souls because this is surely another sign of the Apocalypse.

They said it

Dwight Perry of Seattle Times: “If the Texans lose their final two games, the Browns will wind up with the first two NFL draft picks next year. Hey, don’t laugh: Jed Clampett struck oil once, didn’t he?”

RJ Currie of SportsDeke.com “Someone broke into Ex-Maverick Charlie Villanueva’s home in Dallas and stole — his toilet. Police say no arrests have been made because there’s nothing to go on.”

Janice Hough of LeftCoastSportsBabe.com: “NFL tells officials not to use index cards to measure 1st downs. The way officiating has been going this year might be more appropriate to use toilet paper.”

Mychal Thompson, ex-NBA star and father of the Warriors’ Klay, to San Francisco’s KGMZ Radio on why he could never be a stage father like LaVar Ball: “Man, if I tried one one-hundredth of what LaVar does, Klay would disown me as a parent.”

Jack Finarelli of SportsCurmudgeon.com after write-in votes placed Tide football coach Nick Saban third in the recent Alabama U.S. Senate election: “Would you be shocked to learn that Bear Bryant finished fourth?”

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to reporters after receiver Damiere Byrd landed barely inbounds, butt-first, to secure a TD pass: “I guess it pays to have little cheeks.”

Brad Dickson of the Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald after Patriots coach Bill Belichick was spotted shopping for a Christmas tree: “A little different: Instead of a star, Belichick places a little hoodie atop the tree.”

Wrong team, right move

When Connor Shaw learned a young football fan in Columbia, S.C. had major lung surgery earlier in the week and wanted to visit with a Clemson player, the former South Carolina quarterback called an audible.

He visited Garrett Sontag himself on Friday.

Garrett and his dad, Kevin, were delighted to pose for photos and visit with the “enemy.” They even watched a little Clemson basketball together while hanging out.

His dad lataer Tweeted his thanks.

@cmshaw14 thanks for taking the time visit my little Tiger today. What’s in our hearts is what matters, tigers, nor gamecocks. just God’s children.

Dabo Swinney and his Clemson players have some catching up to do – even if they are dominating the rivalry and preparing to defend their national championship.

Winning argument

Ohio State came out of the early signing period with the No. 1 recruiting class but that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes got every player they targeted.

They missed out on one player in particular – 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle Jackson Carman.

It’s one more reason Urban Meyer is carrying around a grudge that he needs to settle with Dabo Swinney before the pressure becomes too much for him again.

Last year Clemson routed the Buckeyes 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl to advance to the national championship game.

This week Swinney stole the state of Ohio’s best player and the nation’s best offensive tackle out of Meyer’s backyard.

How? Swinney apparently convinced the 6-foot-6, 330-pound Carman that Meyer, 53, won’t be coaching more than a couple more years.

Never mind Swinney is only five years younger.

 Headlines

TheOnion.com: “NBC camera fails to cut away from owners booth in time as nude Jerry Jones leaps up from hot tub following touchdown.”

SportsPickle.com: “NFL video replay reveals Colin Kaepernick’s knee never hit the ground while kneeling.”

Fark.com: “Cleveland Browns quest for a perfect season is now only two games away.”

TheOnion.com: “Father teaching daughter how to drive stick in empty Browns parking lot.”

SportsPickle.com: “Reports: All college coaches happy with their current jobs now.”

Fark.com: “Seahawks fined $100,000 for discovery of world’s fastest concussion protocol.”

SportsPickle.com: “NFL clarifies catch rule: Players must hold onto ball, take it home and raise it as their own.”

Ball & chain

After withdrawing son LiAngelo from UCLA and deciding that third son Lamelo won’t play his senior year of high school, LaVar Ball better start a GoFundMe page to bankroll that basketball league for high school dropouts he wants to lauch.

That’s about the only way any of his sons not named Lonzo will make money off basketball in the next five years. And frankly with all the ups and downs Lonzo is experiencing with the Lakers, he might not be long for the league, either.

Not if you figure in the extracurricular headaches that come with  having LaVar Ball handing around.

My takes

Rehastagging this week’s top tweets from @Randy_Beard11

Bryson Scott (Purdue, Fort Wayne) and brother Brent (Indiana State) are 5-0 against Indiana University.

Evansville coach Marty Simmons to his players, who trail at Duke by 51 early in second half: “Hey, remember, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger … Now quit playing like zombies out there.” #excusemysarcasm

In interest of fairness, Duke’s players should be required to play second half blindfolded with one hand tied behind backs. And 3 on 5. Evansville trails at half in Durham, 58-18. I expected 40-point win for Blue Devils over 40 minutes.

Duke 104, Evansville 40. Blue Devils could have gone scoreless in second half and still won by 18.

 Name-dropping

From Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “This just in: Raiders wideout Amari Cooper chosen to drop the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.”

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