THREE UP ...
1. No mistakes this time. Notre Dame seems to have it right, even if school officials aren't holding a broad search that would be more inclusive than this one was. But the ready candidate the Irish and their faithful thought they had (Urban Meyer) before hiring Charlie Weis is there for the taking this time, and if Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is their man, the football program will be better for it. While I'm not somebody who cheers for the Fighting Irish (not even when they play Michigan), I know that college football is always better when Notre Dame is good, not bad.
2. Where have you gone, Tiger? Once the TV face of cars and razor blades, Tiger Woods has disappeared from the airwaves in the wake of stories about his promiscuous lifestyle. He's bedded more cocktail waitresses than the late Wilt Chamberlain -- or so it seems. The last time one of Tiger's ads appeared on TV was Nov. 29, Bloomberg News reported. And if the self-righteous, petty, whiny and immoral golf star doesn't appear ever again, TV viewers will not miss him. Good riddance to Tiger-mania -- finally! Please give us Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer back.
3. The reigning king of home runs -- or is he the king of steroids abuse? -- is hanging up his maple bat. Good riddance! See you later, Barry Bonds? Don't book a hotel room in Cooperstown anytime this century. Between you, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, nobody did more damage to the game's integrity on the field than they did. Now off the field, commissioner Bud Selig's behind all the trouble there.
THREE DOWN ...
1. So, the authorities in New York don't want to give inmate Plaxico Burress, the former New York Giants star, a break, eh? I guess I understand their position in denying him work release, which one assistant district attorney said would send "a very bad message." But what's such a bad message about letting a non-violent offender out of an overcrowded jail early? Burress' real crime is stupidity, and stupidity shouldn't merit two years in prison, should it? His is a punishment that simply doesn't fit the crime.
2. Defending NFL champs? Heck, just make it ex-NFL champs now. Who could have predicted the injury-riddled Pittsburgh Steelers would be on the fast track to ordinary with a month left in their season? Their roster resembles a M.A.S.H. unit these days, and the latest name to appear in sick bay is safety Troy Polamalu (knee injury), one of the hardest hitters in football. The Steelers, who have lost four in a row and play the Browns tonight, aren't as good a team without Polamalu, and the chances of him returning anytime soon are slim. If he doesn't, the chances of the Steelers making the playoffs are about as a legitimate Elvis sighting.
3. Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins ... they seem like a good one-two punch at the top of the Mariners lineup. Few teams in baseball will have better table-setters. But there is a problem here: Who will clear the table? At the winter meetings in Indianapolis, general manager Jack Zduriencik made a bold move in signing the versatile Figgins, although I suspect Zduriencik overpaid. He would have done better for Mariners fans had he invested in a power hitter like Matt Holliday. Holliday would have helped more than Figgins.
AND NOTHING ACROSS ...
A bitter way to end his coaching career, but Bobby Bowden might be smart to steer clear of the football program he built from kindling. Unwanted at Florida State, Bowden doesn't want to linger in a place that carries so many memories. Still, it seems to me that he has some role he can play for the program, much as Woody Hayes, Earl Bruce and John Cooper found roles for themselves after Ohio State fired them. Hope Bobby can find something to contribute in his FSU life after coaching.