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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

They Think Irish Eyes Are Going to Be Crying

January 02, 2002|Mal Florence

Glenn Dickey of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Tyrone Willingham is making a huge career mistake by taking the Notre Dame coaching job because "he will be exposed for the mediocre coach he is.

"Willingham has gotten an inflated reputation at Stanford, largely because the nearest comparison is Cal, which except for one year of Steve Mariucci, has had seriously incompetent head coaches....

"Overall, Willingham is not in the top tier of Stanford coaches in the past half century. Indeed, his seven Big Game victories are virtually all that separate him from a .500 record."

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More Willingham: Skip Bayless in the San Jose Mercury News: "A dream opportunity has fallen to Willingham under nightmarish circumstances. He wound up being the school's eighth or ninth choice, and on personality, record and lack of Notre Dame ties, he'll be almost as tough a sell on campus as a USC jersey."

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Trivia time: What was unusual about USC's Rose Bowl games in 1933, against Pittsburgh; 1939, Duke; 1967, Purdue and 1989, Michigan?

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Way out: Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle has a prediction for April: "With the help of a stiff wind, pitching talent diluted by expansion and 20 extra pounds of muscle, Sammy Sosa hits 23 home runs in the first week of the baseball season."

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Is all forgiven? Paola Boivin in the Arizona Republic: "Look for David Wells' second marriage to the Yankees to be a rocky one.

"This is the same Wells who called owner George Steinbrenner a 'sneaky scumbag' on ESPN Radio and told reporters 'Joe Torre isn't much of a manager' and that Yankee players 'could have managed themselves to the championship' without him."

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Different look: Utah basketball Coach Rick Majerus: "Lute Olson looks like a coach. John Thompson looks like a coach. Pat Riley looks like a coach. I'm just the guy in the L Reebok sweater who likes Italian food."

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Trivia answer: They were played on Jan. 2.

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Learn from an old foe: Even though Dallas beat San Francisco on Sunday, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the 5-10 Cowboys could learn from the 11-4 49ers:

"Over the past 15 or so NFL seasons, no two franchises have played off each other, and also mirrored each other in good and bad times, like the Cowboys and 49ers.

"So now, as the Cowboys struggle to recover from self-induced destruction known as salary-cap hell, what better example than the once-hated San Frans. Hey, these guys are back from the football dead."

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Come again? Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, looking forward to some big sports stories in 2002:

"Dennis Miller quits Monday Night Football to join President Bush's speech-writing team. In a progress report on the war on terrorism, Bush tells the nation: 'That Bin Laden cat is harder to track down than Sasquatch after he's had a Jason Giambi make over."'

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All donations accepted: The Green Bay Packers are $14,000 richer--thanks to some enterprising fans and a 9-inch stuffed rat dressed in green and gold.

Dan Henning of Oshkosh and Randy Franklin of Anchorage, Alaska, recently donated the money to the Packers from the sales of the Lambeau Field Pack Rat.

The donation went to the team's capital improvement fund to maintain and improve Lambeau Field.

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And finally: Bob Harig on ESPN.com: "The official PGA Tour schedule begins Thursday in Hawaii with the Mercedes Championships, a winners-only event that will offer Tiger Woods his first opportunity of the new year to capture his 30th win.

"Here's one New Year's resolution: Let's not call it a 'slump' if he fails to win....Unless Woods starts missing cuts--he's missed none since 1998--or doesn't contend on Sundays, or fails to win a single tournament all year, it is no slump."

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