December 29, 2008
Anyone who writes a blog on any topic for pretty much any reason at all can tell you: Hitting the archives is a humbling experience. There's nothing like a three-month delay in proofreading to put one's haste and incoherence into a stark, mildly depressing focus.
But the entire Yahoo! Sports Blog clan is waxing nostalgic this week on the wit, irreverence and hangover-induced typos that defined 2008 in these parts of the Web. And though Dr. Saturday was a late addition to the crew in August and spent most of its first season chasing its metaphorical tail on a daily basis, a full season is worth at least one sober, misty look in the rearview.
That's what the bosses are telling me, anyway, so that's what you're getting, reader. You'll get the Year in Dr. Saturday, and you'll like it.
Ongoing Story of the Year. If you had to sum up the defining conflict of 2008 for posterity in one sentence, it would be something like, "45-35." That's only a shorthand for the great Texas-Oklahoma debate after the Longhorns' head-to-head win over the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl, from whence OU came roaring back to nip UT at the tape for the Big 12 South's bid to the conference championship game and, ergo, the mythical championship game. Here and elsewhere, I called the Sooners' path to the title game on Nov. 9, when OU (No. 5) was still two spots back of No. 3 Texas in the BCS:
Since the votes in this scenario would be tallied the day after Oklahoma finished off back-to-back wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, the Sooners would have all the momentum. ... since the human polls are already waffling between Oklahoma and Texas despite the Longhorns' win in the Cotton Bowl, it seems the Sooners have the upper hand if they win out. As it stands, I'd peg the championship game as a collision of the winners of Alabama-Florida and Oklahoma-Texas Tech.
The best part of this debate was that it actually fostered, you know, debate: About home field advantage, the proper impact of head-to-head in the polls (or lack thereof) and how to best compare teams to one another in the first place. That, and the airplanes.
Story of the Year: Throwaway Division. Ernie Davis' anachronistic Swoosh was a good story, but the cheapest thrill for me, personally, came from the tale of Central Florida beat writers who, on a supposed conference call to George O'Leary in September, were met instead with the greeting, "Hi sexy! You've reached the live, one-on-one fantasy line."
Game of the Year. Yes, there was the thrilling finish to Texas-Texas Tech, and the seemed-great-at-the-time drama of LSU's hard-hitting win over Auburn. But, improbably, no game was as fun to watch as Auburn's epic 3 to 2 victory at Mississippi State on Sept. 13, which shamed that night's USC-Ohio State tilt for tension and caused me to wax poetic for the only time all season:
Clouds of dust, adieu
The spread, it will redeem us
So much for the script
Zeroes all alike
All shutouts, all too cliché
Two transcends sublime
Less than a month later, Tony Franklin was gone, followed by Sly Croom at year's end. May their memories live on.
Videos We Loved. I was all too happy to relive a groin-centric evening in El Paso, as well as a Duke attorney trashing Duke. But with 4,177 comments and more than 3.8 million views, Stephen Garcia and Wilbur Hackett are the undisputed champions of Doc Saturday video clips:
Yeah, not even gravity-defying Beanie Wells can beat that.
Best Use of 'Hyacinth.' I would like to draw the reader's attention to Nov. 14's meditation on rejected names for the Keg of Nails Trophy in the Cincinnati-Louisville game, solely for its pioneering use of the term, "Pallet of Curs."
Quote of the Year. USC scored 41 unanswered points in a 44-10 blowout of Oregon in October, outgaining the Ducks 598 yards to 239 and holding the Oregon offense to a punt or turnover on eight straight possessions. But Duck quarterback Jeremiah Masoli isn't worried about results, man:
"We feel like we're the better team."
"Tonight they played better than us, and the score indicated that. But I still feel like we're the better team, we just gave that one away."
"We just made some mistakes that we usually don't."
"I feel like our football team is better all-around, but they played better tonight, so they got the 'W'.''
They just defeated us in every possible way for the
sixth year in a row fourth time in five games, is all.
Accidental Memes of Glory. I started "ACC Championship Roulette" as a lark, really, to fill a week or two until Virginia Tech put the thing in lockdown, like always. Instead, by Halloween, I'd cycled through North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Salvador Dali, Virginia Tech again, Georgia Tech and finally Virginia. But of course, in the end, it was Virginia Tech. It's always Tech.
One Last Prayer for Washington State. The weekly Box Scorin' item regularly chronicled the Cougars' woes, which included an average deficit of 31 points; a defense that allowed at least 58 points in six different conference losses; finishing 118th out of 119 in total offense, scoring offense and scoring defense; and, most embarrassingly, an open call for a backup quarterback at midseason. Wazzu was by far the worst major conference team in modern memory ... until it cemented rival Washington's 0-13 nightmare with a last-second win in the Apple Cup. And still, it's pretty close.
More Y! Sports year of the blog posts: The Y! Sports Blogs (general), Shutdown Corner (NFL), Big League Stew (MLB), Ball Don't Lie (NBA), Puck Daddy (NHL), The Dagger (NCAAB), From the Marbles (NASCAR), Devil Ball (golf) and Cage Writer (MMA)