Wastin' away again in Opinionatedville

January 12, 2006|by ANDY MASON

Champion skier Bode Miller has received a lot of attention recently for saying he sometimes likes to race under the influence of alcohol.

Big deal. That can't be any more difficult than trying to write this column after a few too many ... just kidding, only joking.

Anyway ... I still can't get over this past college football season.

In late August, colleague Dan Kauffman and I tried to guess which one of our newspaper's Big Three teams, if any, would be the first to crack the AP Top 25 this past season.

Maryland, Penn State or West Virginia?

Kauffman said Penn State. I agreed, because as you might have noticed in the Fearless Forecasters, I never pick against my favorite teams - the Nittany Lions and the Washington Redskins.


At that point, it seemed fairly likely that none of the three would even crack the rankings. None was ranked in the preseason.

But our guess was right. After Penn State routed then-No. 18 Minnesota 44-14 on Oct. 1 to improve to 5-0, the Nittany Lions were No. 16.

Two weeks later, West Virginia beat then-No. 19 Louisville 46-44 in triple overtime to improve to 6-1 and was rewarded the next day with the No. 20 ranking.

In August, I'm not sure if either of us could have imagined both staying in the Top 25 for the remainder of the season, and guessing which would crack the Top 5 first would have seemed ridiculous.

The Nittany Lions finished No. 3, the Mountaineers No. 5.

Who could have possibly imagined that?

Maybe Joe Theismann.

In the preseason, he picked his former team, the Redskins, to win the NFC. He was the only one of the ESPN forecasters to even pick the Redskins to make the playoffs.

I at least know that Washington will win at Seattle on Saturday. Playing on the road doesn't seem to be a problem for the Redskins, who've won four games away from home during their current do-or-die six-game winning streak. Sure, the Seahawks are fresh off a bye week, but so is Washington's offense. ... Redskins 34, Seahawks 24.

I watched a documentary on Rosie Ruiz on TV the other night. Twenty-five years after clearly cheating to win the Boston Marathon, she still says her victory was legitimate. It was very sad to see.

I sincerely hope that before next year's Hall of Fame election that Mark McGwire will be a bigger person and own up to the shortcuts he took to become one.

I've been reading rumors that Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow are splitting up.

That would be too bad - because I picked the Ashton Kutcher-Demi Moore relationship to end first.

Did I hear last call?

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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