TGIF everyone, here's my Top 5 for January 8, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* Alabama beat Texas 37-21 to win the college football national championship.
* The NFL playoffs get underway tomorrow with the Jets @ Cincinnati at 4:30pm and the Eagles @ Cowboys at 8pm.
* Former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, serving a 2-year jail term on gun charges, has been denied work release.
* Eric Mangini gets to keep his job as Cleveland Browns coach.
* The PGA tour kicked off 2010 yesterday in Hawaii without you know who.
2. Collegiate $port$
Alabama football has climbed back to the mountaintop. It's been 18 years since their last national title. Their coach Nick Saban makes $4 million a year. You would expect the academic community at Alabama to be jealous. But the president of the Alabama faculty senate was quoted in the New York Times yesterday as saying, "we're one of the few universities in the country that's hiring.... a lot of that has to do with the success of the football team." She said because of football they're attracting more quality students, and as a result, faculty salaries are going up.
Normally students go wild on campus celebrating championships. At Alabama it's also the professors.
3. A True World Series
Is a real World Series in the offing? The commissioner of Japanese baseball says Bud Selig agrees the World Series winners of their two countries should play each other. Of course other countries will complain about being left out. But hey the BCS system has worked so well in college football........
4. Friday Mailbag
You had mixed feelings when I saluted Al Sharpton for urging the NBA and black leaders to end the "culture of violence being perpetuated in professional sports."
L.K. wrote: "I wouldn't be endorsing anybody who was so wrong and arrogant about Tawana Brawley. He is a self-promoting demagogue."
S.N. counters: "The Tawana Brawley incident was an obvious misstep for Sharpton... but the man is smart, he is passionate, and there is nothing wrong with that."
B.P. thinks I messed up with my list of "Worst Sports Stories of the Year." He writes, The biggest story of 2009 was the rape of the N.Y. sports fans by the local baseball and football teams. Who cares whether the average fan can attend games as long as the corporate spenders buy luxury boxes and tickets at outrageous prices and eat at stadium gourmet restaurants? Let the average fan be satisfied with buying team 'gear,' also at outrageous prices." He went on to chastise the media for not sticking up for the little guy.
Editor's Note: I should point out the Top 5 has been all over this issue.
R.B. has a good idea. "The undefeated BCS & Fiesta Bowl winners should play for the true Nat'l Championship...let's call it the Obama Bowl (the President favors a playoff) to be played on the weekend before the Super Bowl...forget the Pro Bowl."
Editor's Note: It would certainly be a better game.
And coming off the Gilbert Arenas suspension, subscriber T.M. has the question of the week. "With all these idiots with guns, why doesn't the U.S. dominate the shooting events at the Olympics?"
Editor's Note: Maybe because accuracy counts?
5. And While We're on the Subject....
Wisconsin hunters mistakenly shot 10 buildings in November. That's a vast improvement from the 25 they shot in 2008. I guess authorities figured it out when hunters were spotted driving home with dead barns tied to the roofs of their cars.
Happy Birthday: The Giambino. Former Yankee Jason Giambi. 39.
Bonus Birthday: Elvis Presley would have been 75 today!
Today in Sports: Jack Nicklaus makes his first appearance as a pro at the L.A. Open. He comes in 50th and wins $33.33. 1962.
Bonus Event: Chief Crazy Horse (one of the leaders at Custer's Last Stand) fought his last battle. 1877.
Follow Len Berman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lenbermansports