Archive for December, 2006

Greatest comeback in bowl history!!!

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Texas Tech just completed a 31-point comeback to defeat Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. They trailed 38-7 with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter, then scored 31 unanswered points to send the game to overtime, and won 44-41 in overtime! WOW!!!

Alas, the game wasn’t televised here, even though it was happening right down the road in Tempe. Stupid NFL Network! But I assume that has to be the greatest comeback in bowl history, right? Michigan State’s 35-point comeback against Northwestern earlier this season was the biggest ever in any college football game, and this is only four points less than that.

UPDATE: SportsCenter confirms it was the biggest bowl comeback ever, beating out Marshall’s 30-point comeback over East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

To invoke a word that’s vastly overused in sports commentary, but is entirely appropriate here: Unbelievable.

P.S. It took a 52-yard field goal by Red Raiders kicker Alex Trlica to send the game to overtime. That was after his team got the ball back on their own 11 yard line with 1:06 left in regulation.

Like I said: un-freakin’-believable.

P.P.S. Texas Tech’s incredible comeback win means that, instead of leading by two points in the Irish Trojan bowl pick ’em contest, Bill Reising is tied for eighth place, behind a seven-way first-place tie among Jeff Freeze, David Plewes, Timugen, thebeef, alphadog, Ed (SFV) and defending champion Brian Dupuis (DUP).

The first-place septet has 21 out of a maximum possible 25 points. Reising is one of four contestants with 20 points apiece, the others being Joe McDade (Texasyank), Joel Thrift and seth. Colin Pedicini, who started the bowl contest 11-0, is now 14-3 and has 19 points, tying him with 11 other contestants: Matt Fairchild, Brendan Loy, Brandon Minich, Nicole Simmons, Harold Adkins, Kay Torg, Patrick Cooper, Joe Mama, Scientizzle, Colin S. and JakeDC.

Three bowls will be played tomorrow. More details and scenarios after the jump.

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CNN Breaking News

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is dead — executed by hanging for killings committed during a brutal crackdown nearly 25 years ago — Iraqi TV stations report. Visit CNN for the latest.

Saddam is dead

Friday, December 29th, 2006

As of 10 minutes ago.

According to the U.S.-backed TV channel in Iraq, Al Hurra. So says CNN.

May he rot in Hell.

UPDATE, 10:09 PM EDT: Al-Arabiya now also reporting that Saddam has been executed.

UPDATE, 10:10 PM EDT: We just did our toast. “To the death of the tyrant.”

UPDATE, 10:34 PM EDT: The execution was filmed, according to the BBC.

Saddam to be executed “within minutes”

Friday, December 29th, 2006

So says CNN (which has better coverage than Fox — they actually have people reporting live from Baghdad, not just stock footage of Saddam and live images from Dearborn, Michigan).

Saddam has arrived at the execution site, according to Arab TV, via CNN.

Larry King says the dictator’s death is “really imminent.” And now, in a wonderfully inappropriate segue, he’s plugging Jack Hanna on tomorrow’s show.

The death of a monster

Friday, December 29th, 2006

As noted below, Saddam Hussein is set to be executed between 9:30 and 10:00 PM Eastern time tonight. That’s between 7:30 and 8:00 here in Arizona. We’re having dinner at 6:00, so if all goes as planned, the dictator will face the gallows while we’re lounging around after dinner, watching the Champs Sports Bowl. I’ll probably learn the news from the telltale buzz of my cell phone, vibrating as the first of several breaking-news text messages arrives.

When the first Gulf War happened, I was nine years old. At nine, I was an even bigger dork than now (believe it or not), and I used to love writing “alternative” versions of Christmas carols. So when we attacked Iraq in January 1991, I conceived of the idea of singing “Joy to the world, Saddam is dead” when that moment — which I presumed was inevitable — came. A bit distasteful, I suppose, turning a song about the birth of the savior into a song about the death of a dictator, but I was a nine-year-old boy, and I thought it was pretty funny. Needless to say, I was bitterly disappointed when President Bush stopped short of invading Baghdad and finishing Saddam, and thus denied me the opportunity to sing my song and mean it.

In a sense, then, I suppose you could say I’ve been waiting almost 16 years to sing those words — “Joy to the world, Saddam is dead” — and the wait ends tonight. But will I sing them? Probably not. I’m a bit more reflective at 25 than I was at 9 (one would hope!), and in addition to the general distastefulness of the lyrical adaptation, I recognize now that there will be nothing joyful about Saddam’s death; it is simply justice long delayed, and woefully inadequate. As Casey wrote: “Vengeful Iraqis seem to grasp this concept with their notion that ‘A thousand deaths would not be enough for a man like Saddam.’ While the American press and politicians take satisfaction in the man being ‘held accountable by a due process that he denied his own people’, Iraqis intuitively reject the petty fiction that due process somehow instills proportion where none is possible.”

So I won’t sing. But if I happen to have a drink in my hand when the news breaks, I might propose a toast to the richly deserved end of an unspeakably evil tyrant. J.R.R. Tolkien urged Frodo (and through him, us), “Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment,” but in this case I must disagree with the good professor. I have no qualms whatsoever about judging Saddam worthy of his fate. My only wish is that it had come sooner, before he had killed so many innocents, and at a less horrific cost to those who liberated the people he enslaved, and to the liberated people themselves. But his death is still cause for — well, not for celebration, exactly, but for raising one’s glass and saying words to the effect of, “Finally. Good riddance.”

UPDATE: Welcome, InstaPundit readers!

According to TVnewser, the networks will break into programming to announce the news of Saddam’s death. I wonder, for those of us who will be watching Purdue vs. Maryland, will there will be some message on ESPN (perhaps in the scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen) breaking the news and telling people to tune to ABC?

Also, TVnewser quotes NBC as saying, “We will use care and caution in airing whatever video becomes available and will make a final decision about which images to use only after we have seen them.”

UPDATE 2: In comments, wolfwalker makes an excellent point in Tolkien’s defense:

He (or rather Gandalf, his Wise One) didn’t say “don’t deal out death.� He said “Don’t be too eager to deal out death� — in other words, don’t do it hastily or in the heat of the moment. You never know when you might need somebody later … like Gollum or Wormtongue.

But Gandalf himself never hesitated to deal out death, once he decided it was deserved — to Orcs, to dragons, to the Balrog, to the Nazgul. Saddam is at least a mortal analog of a Ringwraith; he’s earned death, and worse than death, a hundred times over.

Well said.

PLEASE NOTE: Further updates will be in new posts. If you’re viewing this post at the permalink URL, please visit my homepage for the latest.

A cup of kindness

Friday, December 29th, 2006

An acoustic version of “Auld Lang Syne” by country singer Jack Ingram is available for free on iTunes for today only (or perhaps this week only?). Just in time for New Year’s Eve on Sunday. (Hat tip: TUAW, via dcl.)

Beavers redeem the Pac-10

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Just when it looked like the Pac-10 was going to fall to a dismal 1-4 in bowls, Oregon State capped a heroic 14-point rally by going for the two-point conversion when trailing by 1 with 22 seconds left, and made it, defeating Missouri 39-38 in the Sun Bowl. Woohoo!

The win kept Colin Pedicini in first place in the Irish Trojan bowl pick ’em contest. Pedicini had regained the lead from Bill Reising when Kentucky beat Clemson earlier in the day. If Missouri had won, he would be tied with Jon Schoenwetter, Conor Sullivan, Brandon Minich and Andrew Long right now. Instead, he continues to have first place all to himself. His picks for the rest of the day: Houston, Texas Tech and Purdue.

Saddam to die tonight

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Saddam Hussein’s execution is expected to occur within the next few hours, before 10pm EST.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM EST: What the heck does this mean?

Is he dead?

UPDATE, 6:26 PM EST: Okay, Drudge has now clairified his siren with the message: “State TV: Mounts the gallows between 9:30-10:00 pm ET…”

So, he’s not dead yet. But soon.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM EST: More in a new post above.

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Missouri is leading Oregon State 17-14 at the half. If BOTH of the teams that beat USC lose to crappy bowl opponents, I'll be really annoyed…

At the zoo

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Stupid Pac-10 refs. :)

Congratulations, Rutgers

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Seriously. Awesome.

Nice going, Schiano, Rice & co. See you next year. This Irish Trojan will be rooting for you.

Pedicini starts 11-0, then Reising takes the lead

Friday, December 29th, 2006

Colin Pedicini broke the record for best start in an Irish Trojan bowl pick ’em contest, improving to 11-0 when time expired in Rutgers’s rout of Kansas State — then, minutes later, fell to 11-1 and ceded first place to Bill Reising when the clock hit 0:00 in Cal’s even bigger rout of Texas A&M.

Reising is also 11-1, but his only mistake came in the Las Vegas Bowl, worth 1 point, whereas Pedicini’s only mistake came in the Holiday Bowl, worth 2 points. As a result, Reising has 14 out of a maximum possible 15 points, while Pedicini has 13 points and is tied for second place with twelve other contestants: uscroger, alphadog, thebeef, Scientizzle, Matt Fairchild, Jon Schoenwetter, Jeff Freeze, Harold Adkins, Brendan Loy, David Plewes, Conor Sullivan and defending champion Brian Dupuis (DUP).

Fourteen contestants are tied with 12 points, twenty-six more have 11 points, and another fourteen have 10 points. With five bowl games on Friday, each worth two points, the standings are very volatile. Twenty-eight different contestants, including everyone currently tied for second place, have a chance to be in the lead (or a tie for the lead) at the end of the day.

Reising’s picks in Friday’s bowls are: Clemson, Oregon State, South Carolina, Minnesota and Maryland.

Down to the wire at the Galen Center

Friday, December 29th, 2006

It’s USC 62, #13 Washington 62 with 1:53 left. FIGHT ON! BEAT THE HUSKIES!

Also in L.A., unranked Wazzu is hanging with #1 UCLA. Elsewhere in college basketball today, #24 Notre Dame crushed Rider, 101-51. That’s small potatoes for #12 Texas A&M, which destroyed Grambling State, 101-27. Oh, and also in Texas, Texas Tech lost, denying Bobby Knight (for now) his record-setting 880th win.

UPDATE: USC and Washington are going to overtime! The Trojans had a two-point lead with 6 seconds left, but then inexplicably fouled a Huskies player and sent him to the line, where he tied it up. Argh!! (Please note, this commentary is based on following the game on the Internet; it’s not on TV here. So I can’t actualy see what’s happening.)

Meanwhile, the Bruins survive, 55-52. The Cougars Coug’d it; they had the ball in the final seconds and a chance to take the lead, but took an utterly unnecessary desperation three-point heave with 10 seconds left (despite being down by only one point) and missed. UCLA got the rebound and held on for the win.

UPDATE 2: Holy crap! The USC-UW game is going to double overtime after Washington’s Spencer Hawes hit a three-pointer at the buzzer, off an inbounds pass with 1.4 seconds left, to tie it. (They just showed it on SportsCenter.)

UPDATE 3: Trojans win, 86-79! WOOHOO!!!

That’s two straight wins over ranked teams. Methinks we’ll be seeing the 11-3 Trojans getting some votes in the polls next week.

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Can anyone who was watching on TV confirm that the Rutgers game ended before the Cal game did? I was “watching” via cell phone so I'm not sure.

Pedicini leads pick ’em contest

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

Colin Pedicini took sole possession of the lead in the 2nd annual Irish Trojan bowl pick ’em contest as Oklahoma State beat Alabama on a last-second field goal, surviving a Crimson Tide comeback to win the Independence Bowl.

Pedicini is now 10-0 in predicting bowl results, tying the record for best start set last year by Mark Gardner, Darrin Bartley and Carl Lindecrantz.

If Texas A&M wins the Holiday Bowl and Rutgers wins the Texas Bowl, Pedicini will improve his perfect record to 12-0. If A&M wins but Kansas State upsets Rutgers, Pedicini will fall to 11-1 but will still be in sole possession of first place. If Cal and Rutgers win, Bill Reising will take sole possession of the lead. If Cal and Kansas State win, Reising will share first place with Chris Healey.