Sports

Time to Get Your Scrum On

The year was 1823, and a young ruffian named William Webb Ellis grew tired of conforming to the simplistic, one-dimensional rules that dominated the game of soccer at the time. So this brash young visionary plucked the ball from the pitch and ran downfield with the ball tucked snugly beneath his arm. The other players stared on in disbelief at this hooligan’s actions, wondering if perhaps he had been patronizing the local pub prior to the game. What they were unaware of was that they were witnessing a special moment in the history of sport. A whole new game had just been laid bare before their very eyes. It was to be named after the very school at which they were playing. That school was the Rugby School of England. Yes, rugby — the brutal, eye-gouging, scrum-busting sport came to be on that very square of pitch that very day. The game of rugby soon caught on at a much larger scale as Cambridge University adopted the sport and created a local set of rules. By 1871, the sport had been formalized, when a professional league was established in London. From there it spread across the globe like the bubonic plague, intriguing toned athletes and bloodthirsty prisoners alike. Here in the United States, the game initially caught on primarily on the West Coast. It slowly established itself and looked on course to join the mainstream sports such as baseball, when a pixellated tragedy killed any hopes of an American pro league. Violent photographs of a rough-and-tumble tilt between Swarthmore and Pennsylvania were brought to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. His outrage resulted in the alteration of the rules of the traditional rugby game, which led to the introduction of the forward pass and other changes, until it finally morphed into the game of football that we know today. While the true game is still played elsewhere around the globe, one of the only places that you will find the game stateside is on the green grass of its college campuses, including one tucked away down in La Jolla, Calif. The UCSD rugby program has enjoyed a long and storied history. The fact that the sport could be played with no more of an investment than the purchase of the ball was what first made the game appealing to the Tritons, but it was the intense game play, ample scoring and the opportunity for anyone to play that helped it stick around. UCSD boasts both men’s and women’s rugby teams. The men’s squad has been around since 1966 and the women started playing in 1972, but faded away by the late ’70s before returning with a vengeance in 1996. Wearing cleats and lacking pads, these fearless souls each do battle about 10 to 15 times a year, from the warm grass of Warren field to the warmer grasses of the Bahamas and Jamaica. The men’s team is one of the oldest club sports on campus and has achieved many things over its heralded tenure. In 1975 it captured the collegiate championship at the Santa Barbara Tournament, which, at the time, was the largest rugby throwdown in the West. Over the years it has traveled near and far with spikes in hand. It has visited the aforementioned green fields of Jamaica, and the not-so-tropical locale of Houston, all in an effort to spread the good word of Triton rugby. In 1987, under the charge of Coach Tom Sertic, UCSD grabbed the first of its three successive college division rugby championships. In 1989 the Tritons moved up to the university division, where they took home bragging rights by sweeping the University of San Diego and San Diego State to take home the “”King of the City”” title. In the late ’90s, the UCSD program once again came into prominence. In 1996 it auspiciously took home the college division runner-up flag, and two years later, the Tritons took it all home — winning the 1998 Division II National Championships. Looking to repeat its victory in 1999, the Tritons came up against a fierce Chico State squad. Losing by two tries at halftime, the situation for UCSD looked grim. Yet the team came out in the second half to take not only the lead, but also its second consecutive Division II National Championship. After back-to-back championships at the Division II level, the Tritons felt a need for a more serious challenge, so this year they have moved to Division I. Here they hope to experience the same success that they have had at various other levels since the ’70s. The UCSD women’s rugby team is also looking to make a name for itself. At the moment, rugby is the fastest-growing collegiate women’s sport, and interest in women’s rugby is at an all-time high. At UCSD this is readily apparent, as the women have seen a renewed interest in their matches. They have had big plans since being reinstated in 1996 and they look to see some of these well-laid hopes come into fruition in 2001. If you are in the mood for some raw, hard-hitting, volatile sports action, you should head over to Warren field and check out the game for yourself. Upcoming matches include Saturday’s battle versus USD for the men, and a women’s tilt on Sunday against UCSB. The women hit the field at 11 a.m. sharp. The men suit up at 1 p.m. Be on hand at one of these sure to be thrilling matches to see the bastard child of William Webb Ellis in all of its glory. ...

Men Continue to Struggle

It was a rough couple of days for UCSD men’s basketball coach Greg Lanthier. On Wednesday, UCSD trekked out into the middle of the desert to face off with Grand Canyon University, and then hosted the lowly Antelopes two days later. Lyon Liew Guardian Both face-offs resulted in Triton losses. Despite overcoming an early 24-point deficit, the UCSD men’s basketball team could not seal the deal in the Wednesday game. The match was an up-and-down affair for the Triton squad. It fell behind 13-0 to open the game, and was down 40-16 at the end of the first half before coming back in the second. Capitalizing on some key GCU miscues, the Tritons pulled within one. But that was as close as they got, as the game ended with the Antelopes winning 84-75. GCU was led by Eddie Turner, who sparked a late 15-7 run to lock up the victory late in the game. He finished with 15 points to go with his 10 rebounds and three blocks. Toure Knighton also came up big for Grand Canyon in the win, notching a team-leading 21 points. The Tritons were led once again by the stellar play of Cole Miller, who had 21 points, going five for eight from three point land. Ryan Swed also continues to impress, scoring 13 points and pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds. Kyle Moyneur made the most of his limited playing time, notching 10 points in 11 minutes. Cameron Jackson was also solid for the Tritons, scoring seven points and dishing out six assists in the loss. When the squads met again in the gleaming hulk of metal and glass that is RIMAC Arena Saturday night, the end result was the same as when they met out in the wastelands of Arizona, with GCU once again taking home the victory by a score of 74-66 in front of a boisterous home crowd of 562, including the very audible and supportive men’s track and field team. However, the beginning was quite the reverse of the previous game, as the Tritons came out strong against Grand Canyon as they strayed from their usual three-point attack and dominated the Antelopes inside en route to a 15-6 advantage. However, Grand Canyon would eventually battle back. This time, though, it was Jovian Dobrzenski who stood out on the floor for the Antelopes. He had 24 points on eight of 12 shooting and and five for five perfection from the free-throw line. Kenny Mullins was also a key contributor, knocking down 15 points, while Chris Costello chipped in with 10 and Knighton pulled down nine boards for the victorious GCU squad. UCSD was led on the court by the exploits of senior guard Nick Christensen, who sparked the team with 17 points. Miller was once again a factor, draining 14 points, while Sam Higgins had 13 of his own. Those points were especially significant for Higgins, as it put him over the 1,000-point plateau for his career. His 1,010 points place him among only eight other players who have amassed 1,000 or more points while wearing Triton blue and gold. While history was made, the Tritons would rather have picked up a victory or two, especially against GCU, whose record, with the two wins over the Tritons, improves to a meager 5-7 in league play and 5-11 overall. No team is a walkover in the strong CCAA division though, as the Tritons and their 1-11 record will attest. They hope to pick things up a notch or two Friday night, when they will go head to head with a strong Chico State team at 8 p.m. at RIMAC Arena. ...

XFL Offers More Than Just Football

A new television experience will be brought to life next week. It will be entertaining. It will be ruthless. It will involve cutthroat tactics. No, I do not mean “”Survivor II.”” I am talking about the Extreme Football League, or XFL. The XFL is being brought to us by those fine folks at NBC and Vince McMahon, he of World Wrestling Federation fame. See, NBC got outbid a couple of years ago to air the NFL. Now all the network has is NBA basketball, in addition to the occasional Olympics. So, without the NFL, NBC decided to create a league of its own. McMahon was more than happy to get on this. He is, seriously, a marketing and entertainment genius. I am not a wrestling fan by any means, but the industry makes millions of dollars a year, has scores of adoring fans, and even I know who The Rock is. The XFL promises to be football at its best. It is supposed to be a purer form of the game. See, the NFL has become somewhat of a sissy league. I am not calling the likes of Junior Seau and Ray Lewis sissies (I’m not that stupid), but there are a number of things in the game that have taken away from its toughness. One example is the “”in the grasp”” rule. This means that if a quarterback’s progress is impeded, if a defender has an arm on him and the guy can’t move, then the play is over without the quarterback ever being tackled. Yes, for an “”in the grasp,”” they remove tackling. I think that is ridiculous. If the quarterback is too fragile to get thrown to the turf, then he should take up golf. Another rule in the NFL is the fair catch. When a ball is punted, the guy receiving can call a fair catch, meaning he can catch the ball without getting hit, but the play is over. Again, taking the violence out of football. Sorry guys, but football is violent. It isn’t checkers. The XFL promises to play real football. Hitting, tackling and some violence will return to a violent sport. Also, the XFL will allow celebrations. The NFL, or “”No Fun League”” does not allow touchdown celebrations. Good sportsmanship or something like that. Not in the XFL. If you’re good, you can flaunt it. If you stink, get off the field. The XFL will be filled with a lot of gimmicks. Announcers in the stands. Cameras everywhere. God knows what else, we’ll just have to wait and see. And the cheerleaders. Have you seen them? They look like strippers. Not to say that’s a bad thing. I don’t know if the XFL will be more sports or entertainment. It can’t be all football, or it will go away like the USFL or the World League (which is still around but not stateside). We have football already. We need football and something else. I do hope that there is at least some football in the XFL, that the nonfootball entertainment does not take away too much from the game. I will watch a game or two, give it a fair trial. It will be fun, if McMahon has his way. I just hope it isn’t too stupid. ...

Men's Volleyball Overcome by Pepperdine

The UCSD men’s volleyball team hosted the Pepperdine Waves Friday at RIMAC Arena for a night of rock ’em, sock ’em volleyball action. However, the Pepperdine players were less than gracious guests, putting the hurt on the Tritons in their own house in front of the 298 spectators in attendance. The men’s volleyball team got a taste of a new game format, as it now uses rally scoring on every point, with the first four games played to 30 points, and the fifth game, if necessary, played to 15. It only took the Waves four games to down the Tritons, en route to rolling up a 3-1 victory over the home team. UCSD got out to an early lead, winning the first set 30-28. This marked the first winning set of the season for the Tritons, but this was all they could muster, dropping the next three by scores of 30-18, 30-21 and 30-22. Matt Shawley led the Waves with 14 kills in the match. Teammate Fred Winters had 12 kills, while Brad Keenan and Scott Wong had 10 kills each. Their attack was made possible by setter Keith Barnett, who compiled 50 assists in the tilt. The Tritons were led by the exploits of 2000 MVP Donald Chen, who had 16 kills in the effort. Griffin Cogorno, in his first year playing for the Tritons, also exhibited inspired play, knocking down 15 kills and notching 10 digs. Senior Zach Hite added 10 kills of his own, while Eric Perrine hooked his teammates up all night long, compiling 47 assists. These fine efforts just weren’t enough to topple the Waves, though, who came out firing on all cylinders after dropping an extremely close first set. At this early juncture in the season, a few key players have emerged to lead the Triton club. Chen, one of the team’s more seasoned veterans, is leading the club in kills with 35, and blocks with 10. Fellow senior Hite has also made his presence felt on the hardwood with 28 kills. Cogorno, recruited from Orange Coast College by coach Ron Larsen, is also steadily becoming an impact player. His 17 digs lead the team, and his 33 kills place him second. Another new face on the Triton team, Brian Foott is also proving to be a force, as he’s second on the team in blocks with nine. The team’s record does not truly reflect the skill and drive of these Triton athletes. Competition at this new level of play is extremely fierce, and once they get acclimated to going up against these big-time, scholarship-waving schools, their record and numbers will undoubtedly begin to climb. Rome wasn’t built in a day though, and with the loss to Pepperdine the Tritons’ record fell to 0-3 in both the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and overall for the season. The Waves upped their record to 2-1 in league and 5-1 overall. The Tritons will next go toe to toe with perennial volleyball powerhouse Long Beach State up in the LBC Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. before returning home to face Princeton on Thursday night. The Tritons will be looking to build on the progress that they have made to date and start notching a few checks in the win column. Check out all of the action Thursday at 5 p.m. in our very own RIMAC Arena. ...

Women Excel in Overtime

In a thriller at home, the UCSD women’s basketball team improved its overall record to 10-7 and its league record to 6-6 by defeating Grand Canyon University 91-78. Lyon Liew Guardian In the first half, the Tritons came out a bit off. They took 21 shots, making only 8. Grand Canyon was also a mediocre 33 percent shooting in the first half, and at that half’s close, the UCSD Tritons were up by only a single point. The second half was a different story. Both teams were hot from the field, shooting over 40 percent. The three-point shooting kept Grand Canyon in the game, as it made three out of four in the second half. When the second half came to a close, the game went into overtime with the score 62-62. In the first overtime, it was obvious that both teams were a bit tired. The two teams had a combined point total of 16 (8 for each team) so another overtime session was needed to decide the game. In the second overtime, UCSD kicked it into overdrive and took Grand Canyon right out of the game. It went on a 21-8 run to seal the deal and to defeat Grand Canyon University for the second time this season. “”Everyone did their part in the victory,”” said senior Ashley Kokjohn. “”When the game went into double OT, we were able to keep our momentum and escape with a victory. I am not sure why they couldn’t hold up in the second overtime, maybe because they haven’t traveled enough this season, but our team played great and came up big down the stretch.”” The fabulous three for the Tritons came up big in this game: Genevieve Ruvald had 19 points, and Maya Fok and Nicholle Bromley each had 17. Each is averaging in double figures for the season. Kokjohn, the rebounding leader for the team, was excellent on the glass, grabbing 10 rebounds, including six offensive boards that gave UCSD second-chance opportunities. The assist leader on the team, Fok, dished out nine to aid the cause. “”The rookies are doing a good job adjusting to the level of play this season,”” Kokjohn said. “”With Kimberly Neal out for maybe the rest of the season, the rookies will need to pick up the slack, which they have done.”” When asked about how the Tritons prepare for their opponents, Kokjohn responded by saying that they just take “”each game at a time”” because no opponent is a pushover and the team looks to “”surprise some teams that may underestimate them this season.”” The seniors have stepped up for the team, as Ruvald and Kokjohn have done their jobs both on offense and defense. Neal, the only other senior on the team, got injured and might be out of for the rest of the season. Yet for some of the new underclassman, the seniors have truly helped their transition to collegiate basketball. “”I can see the difference in the level of play; all the players are stronger and more physical than they were in high school,”” said freshman Tricia Young. “”The seniors have been really great and encouraging for all the freshman players and it has showed in our team chemistry.”” The Tritons take on two very good teams next weekend here at RIMAC Arena. On Feb. 2, the team squares off against California State University Chico and on Feb. 3, UC Davis comes to town. “”This weekend will be a good test for our team, with both Davis and Chico coming to town,”” Kokjohn said. “”Maya [Fok] transferred from Davis last year, so she is anxious to show them how good a player she is. All we must be concerned of is our consistency. If we can be consistent in all facets of the game, we will win.”” Both games start at 6 p.m. and should showcase some of the best talent the California Collegiate Athletic Association has to offer. ...

UCSD Club Sports

Women’s Ultimate The UCSD women’s ultimate team displayed its West Coast dominance by sweeping all its competitors at the Santa Barbara Classic this weekend. First, UCSD downed undefeated Claremont 13-2. Then it smacked around UCSB with a 15-3 victory to advance to the finals. Against Stanford in the final bracket, UCSD did not slow down, winning again 15-3. Bryan Martya and Alicia White were dominant forces for UCSD. The next big competition for UCSD will be the Presidents’ Day Tournament from Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, which it will host. Men’s Ultimate The UCSD men’s ultimate team did not have as much success as its female counterpart, but it did hold its own at the UCSB Classic. The men faced Stanford in the semifinals, knocking them off 14-10. Jeff Smile, Brian Chu and Philipp Miller had great games for UCSD. In the finals against UCSB, the men came up just short, losing 16-15. Jake Chang and Steven Ringel kept UCSD in the match until the very end. The next big event for UCSD is the Presidents’ Day Tournament, Feb. 17 to Feb. 19 at UCSD. Women’s Rugby The UCSD women’s rugby team suffered a disappointing loss against UC Santa Barbara on the road this weekend. The two teams were as even as can be heading into the game, which UCSB won 24-20. UCSD had their way with UCSB in the first half, and were actually up by 15 points at the end of the first half. Laura Reeves scored twice and Melina Madrigal also scored. In the second half, however, UCSB had an amazing comeback, pulling out the win. Candace Jackman and Teresa Facchini had big days for UCSD. The team next plays at home on Jan. 27 against Arizona State. Ice Hockey The UCSD ice hockey team had a weekend it would rather forget as it fell to California State University Long Beach 8-4. UCSD gave up four unanswered goals to open up play and never recovered. The team did struggle back, closing to within 5-4 at the end of the second period, but it was too little, too late. Long Beach strapped on its skates and gave it to UCSD in the third period for the dominating win. Casey Kempneil, Stephen Cohen, Rich Hsiao and Keith Davis all contributed goals. UCSD goalkeeper Scott Friedman tried his best, making 18 saves in the third period alone. Upcoming Events Friday, Jan. 26 Ice Hockey vs. Fresno State at UTC, 10:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27 Men’s Lacrosse Scrimmage at Warren Field, 1 p.m. Men’s Rugby vs. UCLA at Warren Field, 1 p.m. Women’s Rugby vs. University of Arizona at Warren Field, 11 a.m. Ski/Board at Mammoth Mountain, all day Sunday, Jan. 28 Women’s Rugby vs. Arizona State at Warren Field, 11 a.m. Surf Contest 2 at Ventura Beach, all day Ski/Board at Mammoth Mountain, all day ...

It's Time to Play Ball!

The UCSD softball team is venturing into uncharted territory, hoping for a new beginning but with the same positive results. This is the first season that the team will participate at the competitive Division II level. At the Division III level, the Tritons held their own. Just last year, they went 25-13 and earned a playoff berth. This year’s competition will be much tougher, but the team hopes to still make some waves. With the move up to a higher division comes something else — a home in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The CCAA is regarded as the best Division II conference in the nation. “”First of all, we’re very excited about it,”” said Triton head coach Patti Gerckens. “”I don’t really know a lot about the conference. I know the teams are strong. I don’t know if the strength is more in the pitching or in the hitting.”” The move up to a different and harder level requires a different approach to how the Tritons will deal with new nemeses. “”We’re adjusting, we’re working on a higher intensity level,”” Gerckens said. “”People have a lot of confidence right now. They believe in themselves, they believe in each other. The team chemistry at this point is probably stronger at the beginning of the season … than ever before. It’s all new, so there are a lot of uncertainties, definitely.”” UCSD is bringing back a number of top players from last year’s playoff team. Senior Michelle Wilson, who batted .366 last year, can be found in right field. Senior Jeanine Cordero also will be returning, as will senior Christina Searing at second base, bringing her .579 slugging percentage. The always-dangerous sophomore Kristin Hunstead will be back behind the plate. Juniors Samantha Hayes and Kristina Anderson are also coming back. “”We have a lot of strength, but I don’t know [how much] compared to what we’re going to face,”” Gerckens said. Leea Harlan will again take the mound and be the No. 1 pitcher. She finished last year with a 15-6 record and a .88 ERA. Also in the pitching rotation will be junior newcomer Christy Martineli. “”We only have two pitchers, but a lot of teams only have two pitchers,”” Gerckens said. “”We’re not going to have the luxury of having the third pitcher. We’re going to have to see.”” New talent coming through will also be strong, including up-and-comers such as Angie Carr in the outfield, Amy Mettee in the infield and Kim Aggabao at second base. “”We have some incredible, talented new people,”” Gerckens said. Gerckens understands the challenge before her team. Many tough teams in the CCAA will be licking their chops in anticipation of the new kids on the block. “”We’ll get hit,”” she said. “”I know we’re going to get hit, but I also think we will hit.”” Gerckens believes that her team will be strong at the plate and in the field, enabling UCSD to keep stride with other schools. “”I think our offense is going to be strong,”” Gerckens said. “”I also think our defense is going to be strong. We’re just going to see how much we’re challenged if we’re put on the defensive right away. Obviously, that’s nobody’s goal. Our goal is to score first and put the other team on the defense.”” All in all, it looks as if the Tritons are ready for the upcoming softball season. “”The team has been practicing hard,”” Gerckens said. “”They’re really focused and they’re excited about being in a conference.”” The Tritons’ first game will be Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. at home against Biola University. ...

Miller is Bright Spot

Most of us have heard the saying “”What a difference a year makes.”” In the case of UCSD basketball forward Cole Miller, one year has definitely made a difference. This season Miller, a senior, is shooting a lethal 40 percent from three-point land and leads the team in points per game, rebounds per game, minutes played and free throw percentage. So is there anything more the senior could possibly do? Probably not, but his tremendous work ethic will no doubt propel him to even greater heights. Courtesy UCSD Athletics Although the transition from Division III to Division II has not been the easiest for the men’s basketball team, Miller is doing all he can to lead the Tritons to victory in his final season. The California Collegiate Athletic Association has proven to be a tough league, but Miller sees a lot of positives to playing in Division II. “”The events are more exciting because at both home and away games, a lot of people come out to watch,”” he said. “”It’s also easier to win at home in the new league.”” And after looking at UCSD’s pair of home games last weekend, it is easy to see why Miller believes in home court advantage. Even though the Tritons lost both games, they were never out of contention in either game, losing by 10 points to California State University Los Angeles and a mere two points to CSU Dominguez Hills. Miller led the team in scoring both nights, finishing up the weekend with a total of 45 points and nailing eight of 15 three-pointers against Dominguez Hills. With just over 10 games remaining in the season, Miller says that the team has a positive outlook and has to remain as competitive as it has been. When asked if he feels any pressure to put up big numbers game in and game out, Miller simply said that there is no pressure, but that he does it for his teammates. “”I don’t really have to do anything extra,”” he said. “”We have a team-oriented offense, so it doesn’t have to come down to just one person.”” However, head coach Greg Lanthier recognizes the extra effort that Miller has put into his game since his junior year. “”Cole has worked hard in the offseason to get better, and he’s played outstandingly well this season,”” Lanthier said. “”You have to credit him for that.”” “”He’s always been a hard worker,”” he added. “”The only thing that surprises me about him is how comfortable he is on the floor when you compare this year to last year.”” Aside from hard work, there are a few other things that have helped Miller with his remarkable season. His superstitions and pregame rituals include wearing a particular ankle brace and using visualization. Despite having a wide array of ankle braces to choose from, Miller has been wearing the same black ankle brace for quite some time. The reason? “”I’ve been shooting well ever since I started wearing it,”” he said. Visualization is a technique that many athletes use to help them perform well in games. As shown by Miller’s numbers this season, this technique is certainly working. “”My dad gave me an article from ‘Sports Illustrated’ about an Olympic athlete who uses visualization,”” Miller said. “”It works really well for my shooting.”” Miller, an art major who does a lot of oil painting in his free time, is graduating this year and has aspirations of continuing to play basketball, perhaps overseas, after leaving UCSD. He and fellow senior forward Sam Higgins will be attending the Showcase Camp in Utah, where coaches and scouts will be watching for potential players. So, if the basketball career doesn’t work out, what will Miller do? “”I guess I’ll have to go out into the real world and find a job,”” he laughed. What the future holds for Miller is uncertain, but in the meantime the UCSD men’s basketball team can count on him, lucky ankle brace and all, to lead the way. ...

Super Bowl is All About the 'D'

This weekend, the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens will engage in Super Bowl XXXV. Who will the winner be, you may ask? Well, New York, of course. The big game this year pits two teams better known for defense than for offense. In other words, this will not be an offensive blockbuster. Defense, though, is awesome to watch when it is done right. It can be just as fun to observe as high-flying offenses such as those of the Rams and Vikings. The question just flips around. It is no longer a wonder how much a team will score, but how little the opponents will be held to. The Ravens have a stellar defense. Unfortunately, that is all they have. The superiority of the Baltimore defense is not up for debate. They have some of the best defense in recent memory, maybe even as good as the Bears’ defense in 1985. It is their offense that has a problem. Defense does win championships, but you need at least a little bit of offense to make some points. The Ravens’ plan so far this year has been to have the defense hold an opponent’s offense in check so the Ravens’ offense can get into field goal range. Sorry, but that is not going to work in the Super Bowl. Frankly, the Ravens’ offense is downright pitiful. Folks, we’re talking about a bunch that did not score a touchdown during the month of October — an entire month. Trent Dilfer is not a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, and he does not have the potential to be one, yet he is in the big game. He’s a nice backup, sure, but not a championship starter by any means. Why do you think Tampa got rid of him in favor of Sean King? At running back they have Jamal Lewis, which is not too bad considering he rumbled for over 1,300 yards this year, but he can’t do it by himself. Plus, the Giants’ defense will be all over him like Bill Clinton on an intern. Who else do they have? Shannon Sharpe? He is the best tight end playing today, but someone has to get him the ball. If they put Sharpe in as quarterback and have him throw the ball to himself, maybe they would have a game plan. The Ravens got extremely lucky a couple of Sundays ago against an overrated Oakland team in the AFC Championship game. If it hadn’t been for a lucky pass play to Sharp and a turnover by the Raiders, they may still be playing that game as we speak. On a scale of 1 to 10, the Ravens defense is a 9.8, but their offense is not even on the chart. The Giants’ defense is not nearly as good, but their offense is a whole lot better. On defense, the Giants will not have to do much to keep the game close, but there are high school teams that could stop the Ravens’ offense. OK, that may be a little much, but what the Giants do have to offer will prove sufficient. Hell, look at what they did to Minnesota’s high-flying attack a couple of weeks ago. With inspired play, they made the Vikings look like the Chargers. On the offensive side, the Giants running game is decent with Tiki Barbar and Ron Dayne. Will they be able to get anything done against the Ravens? Not at all, but that is not to say they won’t try. The difference in this game is the Giants quarterback, Kerry Collins. OK, no more scoffing, or at least cut out your boisterous laughter. But I think Collins has it in him to win this game. Many forget the good parts of Collins’ career and concentrate on the bad. Yes, he did have an alcohol problem that nearly cost him his career. He also simply gave up with the Carolina Panthers, making him look like a jackass. But hey, this is the NFL, home of second chances. When Collins was not acting like a dumbass, he was pretty good. He led the Panthers to the NFC championship game during his third year. He was a hell of a college quarterback. If he remains focused, he can make things happen. He did throw for 3,600 yards this year. The way I see the Super Bowl shaping up is this: The Ravens’ defense will get a safety some time in the first half. They will also cause a turnover early on, setting the ball up for their offense deep in Giants territory, giving them a field goal. For these accomplishments, Ray Lewis will be named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Yes, someone charged with murder will be named the MVP of the Super Bowl. Not only that, he will be on the losing team — only the second time that will have happened. The Giants’ defense will keep the Ravens’ offense at bay, aside for the field goal, the entire game. Kerry Collins and the offense will have two big plays in the second half, setting up two field goals and a championship. My final score: Giants 6, Ravens 5. ...

Fighting the Shortage

It is said that the best gift a person can receive is the gift of life. With the blood supply critically low in San Diego County right now, the gift of life is certainly more important than ever. Over the holidays, there was a drop in donations and as a result blood is more in demand than ever. Fortunately, the UCSD athletic department is eager to do all it can to alleviate the problem. Each quarter, the athletic department participates in a community outreach activity, and this winter the activity is a blood drive. This Tuesday, the athletic department, working in conjunction with the American Red Cross, will be sponsoring the blood drive. Associate Athletic Director Ken Grosse has taken a genuine interest in encouraging UCSD students and faculty to donate blood. The goal is to get everyone involved and ultimately to help increase the blood supply. “”We’re looking to generate at least 125 units of blood,”” Grosse said. Students who are interested should call the athletic department at (858)534-4211 or (858)534-8460 and sign up to donate blood. The blood drive will take place in the green room of RIMAC, which can be entered through the Arena. The doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Most slots are taken by coaches and athletes, so if more students participate, the turnout will be phenomenal. Keep in mind that it does not take much effort to give blood. Here are 10 great reasons to donate, according to Blood Centers of the Pacific Online: – Blood transfusions save lives. – There is no substitute for human blood. – Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion. – About 60 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood, yet less than 5 percent do so. – A pint of blood, separated into components, can help up to three people. – You will make your community a safer and better place. – Donating fulfills your desire to “”give back”” to the community. – You will receive a mini physical (blood pressure, temperature, iron level). – You will learn your blood type. – It is safe, simple and it saves lives. So, if you are at least 17 years old, are in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds, come to the green room at RIMAC on Tuesday or call the athletic department to set up a time when you can come in and donate some much-needed blood. The UCSD athletic department has done its part in establishing this wonderful opportunity, so the least students can do is show an equal commitment to the San Diego community by giving a little. ...