Sportswriters shouldn't make predictions on events because they leave themselves open to ridicule if they're wrong. Dan Barreiro of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis has joined a club with a vast membership.
He predicted that the Dallas Cowboys would defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 31-27, in their playoff game Sunday. Way off. The Vikings won, 27-10.
"The problem with making a bold prediction is that by late the same afternoon the prognosticator can look like Nostradamus . . . or a doofus. A doofus with egg on his face," Barreiro wrote.
". . . Now that the game has been played, it is fairly obvious that the Cowboys could not have scored 31 points on the Vikings if the game had been extended into February."
Trivia time: UCLA has a current 10-game winning streak against USC in men's basketball. What is the overall record in the series?
Update: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune: "Jan Gangelhoff, the woman who brought down the University of Minnesota basketball program by admitting she wrote more than 400 papers for players and was paid for it by Coach Clem Haskins, is now working at a casino in Wisconsin."
Options: From comedy writer Earl Hochman: "After being fired, Mike Ditka says he'll never coach again but is considering either broadcasting Monday night football or entering the diplomatic corps."
Mr. Coherent: Terry Pluto in the Akron Beacon Journal, on Bill Belichick: "Know how he told the Jets he was quitting? In a handwritten note scribbled: I Resign as HC of the NYJ.
"As someone suggested, it's what a teenager would do when walking away from a job at McDonalds."
More Belichick: From columnist Norman Chad: "Say what you will about [Belichick] but during his one-day stay as Jets head coach, he streamlined a lot of administrative areas--i.e., updating the Rolodex, relocating the main water cooler--that will benefit his successor."
John who? Can John Rocker patch things up with his Atlanta Brave teammates after his display of bigotry? Said John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune:
"The only way [pitcher Tom] Glavine could have distanced himself further from Rocker was if he'd chartered a Concorde."
Stay away, Mike: Ron Rapoport of the Chicago Sun-Times questions the wisdom of Tiger Woods having Michael Jordan as his amateur partner next month at Pebble Beach when he tries to extend his PGA Tour winning streak to six in a row.
"Surely, there will be enough pressure on Woods as it is without Jordan's presence turning the tournament into a complete circus. Jordan might do Woods a favor by staying home, or playing with David Duval."
Trivia answer: UCLA leads the series, which began in 1928, 115-92.
And finally: Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times, on writers prematurely "retiring" Dan Marino:
"Why are we like this? Why do we approach great players and, in the late stages of their careers, attempt to snatch the ball from their hands?
". . . It is as if we want to be the first to pronounce a great athlete as finished, as if our memories were more precious than his career."