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Morning Briefing

To be fair, it's a pretty big state

December 22, 2006|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

Desmond Howard underscored his 1991 Heisman Trophy season with a statue-like photo op after scoring a touchdown that year. Now Howard, an analyst for ESPN, has struck a new pose: deer in the headlights.

Howard was among the talkers giving bowl game breakdowns at halftime of Tuesday's Poinsettia Bowl and chose to wax poetic about the Holiday Bowl.

"In the spirit of the holiday season, I want to see the Holiday Bowl, Cal versus Texas," Howard began.

He then touched on key matchups in detail, omitting only where Bevo, the Texas mascot, will be grazing for a pregame meal. Howard particularly wanted "to see if Nate Longshore and Marshawn Lynch, the quarterback and running back for Cal, can hit a groove, because that Texas defense will be ready for them."

If so, the Longhorns are waiting in the wrong place. California plays Texas A&M in next Thursday's Holiday Bowl.

And Texas? Howard would do well to remember the Alamo Bowl.

Up next on ESPN: Howard's pick in the Rose Bowl game between USC and his alma mater, Michigan State.

Upon further review

Later, Howard made an on-air apology, saying, "You don't need me to tell you who you're playing against in the bowl."

Still, as a reminder to Howard, Texas is playing Iowa, not Iowa State, in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30.

Trivia time

When was the last time Notre Dame won a bowl game and whom did the Fighting Irish beat?

For better or worse

The traditional 40th wedding anniversary gift? Apparently, it's NCAA violations.

South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier found those are also community property recently, after Jerri Spurrier, his wife, unknowingly violated NCAA rules by sending handwritten notes to families of players who had signed with the Gamecocks, one of eight secondary violations discovered by the school.

Spurrier, like any husband trying to avoid sleeping on the couch, defended his wife of 40 years, lashing out at the unknown whistle-blower.

"So anybody can turn anybody in just like anybody can sue anybody in America," Spurrier said.

Speaking of litigation, lost scholarships and bowl game bans are not grounds for divorce in South Carolina.

New York

sock exchange?

Stephen Mara, son of late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara, traded blows, not stocks, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

Mara, in fact, showed more passion than the Giants did in Sunday's 36-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. That's the Jeff Garcia Eagles, so there was plenty to mock Giants fans about. But when fellow broker and Eagles fan Bob Tomasulo did just that, Mara attacked.

"He charged me like an animal," Tomasulo told the New York Post. "He charged me like he wanted to sack me. At first, he got me in a bearhug and bent me over a trading post."

Charges like an animal, hugs like a bear, driven to sack? Sounds like criteria in a want ad the Giants need to place: Old family firm seeks aggressive self-starter to revitalize defensive line.

The Giants' defense ranks 20th in the NFL and 18th in sacks.

"Give him a helmet. Get him out on the field," retired Giants tight end Mark Bavaro told the paper.

Trivia answer

Notre Dame, which has lost eight consecutive bowl games, last won in 1994, beating Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl.

Note to Howard: That's A&M.

And finally

In Indianapolis, nice guys finish last, or at least lose in the AFC title game, which seems to sit OK with the Colts fans in the stands, according to Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films.

"As far as the fans go, without being insulting, it's like an Amish picnic compared to what we see in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh or Oakland," Sabol told the Indianapolis Star.

Word to the wise: Giants fans, apparently, aren't big pacifists either.

chris.foster@latimes.com

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