Sports

The Various Faces of Football

The world of football has two distinct branches: one is that of the NFL and the other is of its little brother, college football. The state of each is on vastly different sides of the scale. The NFL seems to being doing a lot right. It has diversity amongst the teams. This year’s playoffs feature a number of clubs that, had their names been considered for the playoffs before the season started, the ones making the predictions would have been labeled insane or on heavy amounts of drugs. The Saints and the Eagles both miraculously turned things around and made it to the postseason. Amazing. Even better yet, the Saints did it without their starting quarterback and running back for a large portion of the year. They had a couple of unknowns lead their team on offense, winning the Western Division. Who would have thought that either of those teams would make it to the respectability, let alone make it to the postseason? The same goes for the AFC. Baltimore, of all teams, is in the postseason. It didn’t even have a team a couple of years ago. Trent Dilfer has seemingly come back from the dead, playing just enough to let the Baltimore defense win games. The other surprise is the Oakland Raiders. The dreaded silver and black were preparing to explode, but their run this year is still impressive. The college game is a little different. The college football bowl season came to a stunning halt last week when Oklahoma University defeated Florida State University 13-2 to win the Orange Bowl and the Bowl Championship Series National Championship. College football lucked out. If the Seminoles had won that game, all hell would have broken out. Miami defeated Florida handily in the Sugar Bowl the day before. It would have had one loss, just like FSU. The only difference is that Florida State’s loss came against Miami. Even more, the University of Washington also had one loss, and its victory list included a conquest of Miami. The question of which was the best team in the country would have been anyone’s guess. Luckily, the Sooners won and all was well. Oklahoma was clearly the best team of the year, going 13-0. But should it have been Florida State in the title game instead of either Miami or Washington? That is still up for argument. The system still stinks, though, and needs to be changed. The pro game seems to have accomplished what it has been trying to do: Give every team, every city and every fan a chance at glory. The college game, on the other hand, is wallowing in confusion, running the risk of not having a clear champion. ...

Twice as Sweet

Division II? Piece of cake as far as the UCSD women’s soccer team is concerned. David Pilz Guardian Last month, the Tritons captured the 2000 Division II championship by defeating Northern Kentucky University 2-1 at Barry University in Miami Shores. With the score tied at 1-1, Triton senior Christy Abizaid passed the ball to teammate and fellow senior Cindy Dostalek. Dostalek took the ball and scored the winning goal with only 15 seconds remaining in regulation for the title. “”I saw Kristin (Jones) coming down the line and I said ‘this is it’,”” Dostalek said. “”The ball came across from Christy, and I just followed it through. After the goal, I looked up at the clock and it said 15 seconds and I could not believe it.”” The Tritons dominated the second half, attempting six corner kicks in five minutes. UCSD almost gave up the winning goal as the Norse’s Becky Schnieder launched a shot with 43 seconds left. Triton goalkeeper Kami Poma came up big with her second save of the day and set off the events that led to the winning goal. The first half was scoreless but not without championship-caliber excitement. UCSD almost took a 1-0 lead, but Laura Dooly’s header came just short, striking the crossbar. Northern Kentucky goalkeeper Lauren Piening was busy all day, making six saves. The second half looked frightening as the Norse took a 1-0 advantage at the 51:31 mark. Northern Kentucky’s Betsy Moore dribbled the ball up the field and passed the ball to teammate Tricia Ruark. Ruark passed it to Denise Kunz, who introduced the ball to the net. “”I felt we needed a goal against us to wake us up,”” said Triton head coach Brian McManus. “”I think today we deserved it. We’ve had games at times that we thought we may have stolen, but we deserved this one. We outplayed them.”” The Tritons quickly answered Northern Kentucky’s goal. At 66:15, Christine Wensel launched a corner kick to the far post. Dooly was there to greet the ball and rocked it into the net, tying the game at 1-1. Northern Kentucky was very impressed with UCSD. “”UC San Diego has a great team,”” said Northern Kentucky head coach Bob Sheehan. “”We were pleased with our effort, but a little disappointed with how we played. When you give up 16 corner kicks it’s tough to win. They just kept serving the ball into the box and taking their shots.”” The Tritons are no strangers to championships, having captured five trophies at the Division III level. This title was even more impressive, considering that this was the first year for UCSD at the Division II level. Accolades went all around for the Tritons. Dostalek earned the tournament’s Outstanding Offensive Player award and Kara Morris was named the Outstanding Defensive Player. Also making the all-tournament team were Elizabeth Hughes, Julia Cuder and Erika Alfredson. The road to the final was not an easy path. UCSD had to get by defending national champion Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire. The Tritons did just that, winning in overtime 2-1. Northern Kentucky knocked off host school and previously undefeated Barry University to reach the final. The Tritons finish the year with a 21-2 record. They have also won 17 straight matches, with their last lost coming back on Sept. 22 against California State Dominguez Hills. “”You can’t go out better than this,”” Abizaid said. “”The first half was the most fun I’ve had playing soccer. I really appreciate the chance my teammates gave me to go out this way.”” ...

In Two Directions

It was the best of breaks, it was the worst of breaks. The month of December saw a tale of two different basketball squads for UCSD. The men’s and women’s teams seem to be headed in separate directions. The women’s record now stands at 7-3 while the men now sport a 2-8 record. The highlight for the women was the 21st annual UCSD Doubletree Invitational. The Tritons knocked off Savannah 71-67 to earn a trip to the final. In the final, UCSD outplayed the University of Findlay, narrowly winning the 70-68 overtime tilt. Maya Fok was on fire for UCSD in the final game, scoring 22 points. Ashley Kokjohn contributed with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Fok made the All-Tournament team and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Kokjohn also was named to the All-Tournament team. The men had a rough month but did have a couple of highlights. The Tritons made mincemeat of San Francisco State 96-77 in the middle of last month for their first win of the season. Nick Christensen led the way with a career-high 26 points. Christensen was hot from downtown, hitting four of five three-pointers. He also had nine rebounds. Cole Miller scored 17 points for UCSD and Ryan Swed chipped in with 12. UCSD was up 44-36 at half-time and cruised from there. A second Triton win came on the road at La Verne, with UCSD winning 77-63. Miller scored 19 points and had eight rebounds. Swed scored 18 and Mike Martin contributed with 10. Both the men and women travel for games against Cal Poly Pomona on Friday. The women play at 5:45 p.m. and the men play at 7:45 p.m. ...

UCSD club Sports

CLUB SOCCER The UCSD club soccer team, on the strength of their 5-0-2 record in league play, was given the No. 1 ranking in the West region and invited to the national tournament in Orlando, Florida. A pumped up UCSD squad headed to the East Coast, where they handily dispatched University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and Clemson on their way to a quarterfinal slot. In the quarterfinals, they were barely edged by eventual tournament champion Texas A&M, in a heart wrenching 2-0 loss. The UCSD soccer club was led throughout the tournament by offensive stalwarts Dana Carliss and Kevin McAllister, who were especially impressive in the Clemson game, where they had two goals apiece. Impressive performances also came courtesy of Tyler Thompson, who was named the team’s offensive most valuable player for compiling two goals and two assists in the tournament, and Wes Roberts, the adept ball handler who contributed an inspired effort for UCSD throughout the weekend. ICE HOCKEY The Triton ice hockey team, rife with stellar players, once again proved too much for their competitors, as they absolutely demolished Sacramento State to the tune of an embarrassing 12-1 final score. UCSD skated circles around the hapless Sacramento State skaters, utilizing a full bench to tire out and demoralize the opposing squad at UTC Ice Arena Friday night in their last home game of the quarter. UCSD’s Stephen Cohen turned in a sparkling performance, netting the match’s first five goals. With the win, UCSD increased their record to 3-0, looking to continue UCSD’s fine ice hockey tradition. WEEKEND EVENTS Saturday, Dec. 2 * Men’s rugby vs. USC 1 p.m. at Warren field Saturday through Sunday, Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 * Equestrian horse show at Pomona, all day Compiled by Scott Burroughs, Staff Writer ...

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright In the Forests

Tiger Woods is bigger than the PGA. This is a straight-up fact, and to extrapolate upon this a little further, Woods is bigger than just about anything out there, except maybe a Barcelona versus Madrid soccer match. Sorry to all those basketball and baseball and football prima donnas, but Woods overshadows just about any athlete, if not any event or personage around. Woods has captured the imagination of the country and of people around the world, and all through a sport such as golf. Golf is a great sport and it is fun to play, but conversely, how much fun is it to watch? Golf is usually just a bunch of tubby, pasty white men huffing around a golf course, each in pursuit of one of those enormous purses that golf tournaments provide. There is no action in golf like there is in football, basketball or baseball (though some people might disagree with me there). Despite golf’s innate disadvantage in the area of excitement, Woods, like The Bear before him, has transcended the sport of golf and has come to represent something better than just his sport. He is part of that new class of athletes, who have come to save us from the egos that so pervade America’s professional athletics system. In baseball we have Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra. Football gives us Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner and Jevon Kearse. These are some good guys. Sorry about basketball, but all of those guys are still just whiners and show boaters. The above athletes have class and respect, which is more than can be said for a good portion of the athletes in professional sports, and Woods leads all of these people; He is the head of the class. I remember seeing Woods on “”Scholastic Sports,”” an old ESPN show, when I was about 12 years old, which would make him somewhere around 15 or 16. Even then, the guy had it in him, and you could tell he was going to be great. I just didn’t know that he was going to be this spectacular. He is winning major tournaments like they’re miniature golf at the local put-put and taking event after event from the best golfers in the world, relegating them the place of candyless, screaming babies. This year alone he has won 10 tournaments and collected over $12 million in prize money. By the way, as long as we are talking about money, let’s not forget the $54 million he will be making in endorsements this year. At the same time, he wins with class. He gives deference to those who have gone before and to those who will come after him. He has studied his game and plays it with edict. He had such a good start, no slip ups, no gargantuan sporting ego taking the place of his fragile perch atop America’s current sports heroes. We should have known, though, that the days where a man can stay atop forever are gone, if they even existed at all. Even Joltin’ Joe went through a phase of disdain when he became the first million-dollar man in baseball. But here is Woods, this year alone, $66 million richer, and he hints that because of his popularity, he and only he in this day and age should be entitled to more money: specifically some of the TV money that will be negotiated next year, because of the number of people that he attracts to the tournament. When asked if he thought he was entitled to more money than other players, Woods responded, “”Philosophically? In a perfect world I would be. Arnold [Palmer] would be. All the great ones would. Arnold is the one who got it all started.”” Right you are, Tiger, and good job maintaining your image of young upstart deferring to the greats, but as Dave Anderson of The New York Times points out, “”Palmer and Nicklaus helped resolve the Tour’s financial structure a quarter century ago, but they were acting on behalf of the other touring pros, not just themselves.”” Note to Tiger: This is not what you are doing. Furthermore Tiger has been complaining about how the commissioner of golf, Tim Finchem, doesn’t talk to him enough, saying, “”The only time he talks to me is when he wants me to do something for him — to play in this tournament or that tournament. It’s not like he comes up to me and asks me how I’m doing.”” What is he, 5 years old? I am sure Bud Selig is calling up Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza all the time just to shoot the breeze. Why don’t you grow some cajones and learn to survive on your own? The commissioner’s job is not to make you feel better, Tiger, but to make the sport that he presides over better for all the players in it. Finchem probably goes up to Phil Mickelson and David Duval once a week and asks them how their day is going. Wait, I forgot — those players don’t matter, do they. It is only Woods and his $66 million-plus that should matter to the PGA. Maybe this is just a stage. Tiger could be tired of the hype; I would be. All day every day, followed, harangued and accosted by anyone and everyone. Maybe this is his way of lashing out, and I hope so, because if that is what it is, then it is not that bad. He could be punching cameramen, like certain movie stars have been known to do. However, if Tiger has any common sense left in that brain, which seems to have been swelled by the sweet nectar known as feeling God-like, he will just get back to playing and retire 30 years from now as possibly the greatest sportsman the United States has ever produced. ...

College Bowl Format is Complete Bull

The college football season is winding down, and by the time we all return from our glorious winter break, the winner of the national championship will have been decided at the Orange Bowl in Miami. And if you believe that, I have some swamp land to sell you, also located in Florida. The way that college football decides on its national champion is ridiculous. Instead of a playoff format that would pit all deserving teams against one other, a special few are selected in what is known as the Bowl Championship Series. The Bowl Championship Series takes a school’s record, various polls, strength of schedule, how much it has outscored its opponents, the meaning of life, its mom’s age divided by the number of No. 1 Beatles songs, combines that with some fuzzy math, and voila! It magically comes up with the best college football team in the nation. Right now, Oklahoma stands at No. 1 because it is the only undefeated school. Fair enough. But what about second place? Who should be ranked second is not quite so clear. So far, Florida State looks like it will be second. Miami is ranked third and Washington is fourth. Even though Miami defeated Florida State and Washington knocked off Miami and each has only one loss, they are ranked in reverse order. Why is this? Well, first off, people back East don’t like any team that is not from the East, especially those from the West Coast. Also, football “”experts”” are infatuated with schools from Florida, especially Florida State. I don’t know what it is, but the football people in this country love Florida State. Another question arises: What if Oklahoma loses to Kansas Sate this weekend in the Big 12 championship game? That would leave a plethora of teams with only one loss. The top team will be determined by some computer, run by some guy who has never ever been within a mile of a football field. Boy, that’s fair. If Oklahoma loses this weekend to Kansas State, which very well may happen, Florida State will become No. 1 and Miami will be No. 2. The two teams will duke it out in the Orange Bowl, played in Miami. So, a pair of colleges from Florida will play in a bowl game in Florida. Whoopdee freakin’ doo. What is needed is a playoff format. Take the top 16 teams and start a tournament the first weekend in December, and have it run until New Year’s Day. Yes, there will be a lot of argument when it comes to who should be the 16th team, but at least this guarantees that the top elite eight or 10 schools will all be given a shot at playing in the national championship. This is the only sport to act so absurdly. Professional football has playoffs. College basketball has one of the biggest playoffs in the nation in their much-hyped Road to the Final Four. Football would be just as big, if they would only do it. Why don’t they? The sponsors of the bowl won’t let them. There is a lot of money involved in this business, but just as much can be made with a playoff. The powers that be must realize this. College football needs a playoff format to legitimize itself. Until then, it will wallow in the bullshit of polls and computers, with each year culminating in nothing more than a mythical national champion. ...

Is there a championshipin the house?

The Triton water polo team is going to the NCAA Final Four,after sweeping the competition at the Western Water Polo Association Championships two weeks ago. Lyon Liew/ Guardian It will compete with UCLA, Navy and USC. Although USC lost to Pepperdine in the first round of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament, it was awarded an at-large berth based upon its regular season record. UCSD dominated the WWPA tournament with its defense. It allowed fewer than five goals in each game. For his efforts, Glenn Busch, Triton goalkeeper, was named to the all-WWPA second team. “”Our defense really re-emerged this tournament and led us to the win,”” said head coach Denny Harper. The Tritons’ first game in the tournament was against Chaminade, and it was a laugher. UCSD made it look like second graders with a bed-wetting problem and took it down 17-4. Air Force was UCSD’s next opponent and the toughest of the tournament. In the end, though, UCSD proved too strong and won 6-4. The last game against Loyola Marymount was close, but UCSD pulled away to win 10-5. Jonathan Samuels, who has been a rock for UCSD all season long, rose to the occasion at this tournament and annihilated opposing defenses, shredding any front thrown at him. Samuels was named the all-WWPA Most Valuable Player. “”[Samuels is a] man amongst boys,”” Harper said. “”All season long he has lead the team and has been the dominant player in the pool.”” Justin Wylie and Samuels were named to the all-WWPA first team. Joining Busch on the second team were Jason Boettner and Vladimir Djopic, each outstanding contributors in the Tritons’ run to this year’s Final Four. “”Who lead us through this tournament were our seniors,”” Harper said. “”[Vladimir] Djopic, Jason [Boettner], Ken Woodruff, Justin Wylie and Glenn Busch really emerged and gave it their all and helped us win.”” UCSD will face tough competition in the first round of the NCAA championships. It will play USC, which just barely squeaked by the Tritons 7-5 at Canyonview Pool earlier this season. The Tritons had a chance to beat USC, but gave up a couple of goals from 9 meters, which doomed them. Despite their year-end slump, the Tritons seem to have regained the confidence and form that allowed them to start the season on a tear. They ranked as high as fifth in the nation, a position that they held for two weeks. If the Tritons can retain this form and eliminate the kinds of mistakes that belayed their loss to USC, they have a serious chance to overcome the Trojans. “”The Trojans might be looking past us to UCLA,”” Harper said. “”They have such a rivalry there and after their earlier loss they have a lot of emotion invested. With the way we are playing that is going to play to our advantage.”” The NCAA Final Four will be played this weekend in Malibu. The UCSD vs. USC game will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner of this game will play UCLA or Navy in the championship game at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The third-place game will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday. ...

UCSD Men's Basketball Falls To Cal Poly

The UCSD men’s basketball team faced another tough opponent last Monday when it squared off on the road against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The Mustangs gave the Tritons more than they could handle, winning 89-67. UCSD did make it a game early on, down only 10-9 after a pair of Sam Higgins’ three-pointers. Later, the Tritons’ Cole Miller hit a three-pointer to give his team a 17-16 lead. It was all Cal Poly after that. The Mustangs went up 45-30 at halftime and led by as much as 25 at one point. The Tritons did rally back to pull to within 13 points, but that would be as close as they would get en route to the loss. Cameron Jackson led UCSD with 18 points and four assists. Higgins chipped in with 14 points and Miller finished with 12 points and five rebounds. The Mustangs sported four players scoring in double-digits, including Scott Jamaal with 20. The win was the first game of the year for Cal Poly, while the loss made UCSD fall to 0-2. After playing a two tough games against a pair of Division I schools, UCSD looks to pick up a victory on Wednesday when it face Christian Heritage College at 7 p.m. at home. ...

Despite it All, America is Still Beautiful

Here in San Diego, there is much to be thankful for, as we are among the luckiest of the lucky to be not only smart enough to get into a high-faluting institution of knowledge endowment like UCSD, but also wise enough to choose a place where we can still drive our car to school (or the local tavern) without shoveling heaps and heaps of snow. There are many people in the world who would sacrifice one of their more valuable limbs for just a glimmer of our pleasant SD paradise. I spent last Thanksgiving in some cold Parisian pub tucked away in the hulking shadows of the Eiffel Tower, with only a few other Americans with whom to share my plight. As our families back home feasted on succulent turkey with all the flavorful trimmings, warm, moist mashed potatoes and ears of corn glistening with butter, we sat and drank warm beer on uncomfortable bar stools, with a bunch of non-American freaks frolicking about us prattling on in their ridiculous tongues. It was about that moment when I realized America is beautiful. Despite its many and varied flaws, America rules, and those wacky foreign people, obsessed with snooty cricket and riot-inducing soccer, can all just bow down and prostrate themselves before our mighty nation. No matter how many chads are impregnated or ballots vomited on, there is nothing that can shake my faith in our grand system. At least there wasn’t until I opened the sports section a week or so back and read about how the devil, known above ground as agent Scott Boras, was attempting to destroy our beloved American pastime. He was demanding, on behalf of his client, superstar shortstop Alex Rodriguez, numerous and extravagant luxuries, the likes of which have never been fathomed by mere man, all in exchange for Rodriquez’s baseball-playing services. The list of demands included private jets, office buildings and an island chain in the South Pacific. Of course, this was in addition to the $20 million or so in salary that this cretin pulls down each season. All to play a wondrous game, a game that makes me proud to salute the red, white and blue. As I fell retching and trembling to the floor, I realized that our nation, which is set apart from all other by this grand game, is losing its grip, with dictator-like players overrunning the game in a quest for land and riches. With mongrels like that dominating our grand old pastime, maybe it’s time to break out the wickets and bowl us a cricket match. Cheers! ...

UCSD Cycling Team Wins Home Event

The UCSD cycling team hosted a race on the par course behind RIMAC on Nov. 19, and won by scoring 298 points. The weather held true for the race while UCSD faced San Diego State University, Chico State, Cal Poly San Louis Obispo, Stanford, and Cuesta Community College. The race featured two events. The first was a one-lap time trial and the second a short-track cross country competition. Each event was then divided into five races: men’s A, B and C, and women’s A and B. Race director Pete Knudsen was in charge of controlling and setting up this grandiose race. “”It was a lot of work setting up the race, but I had some help, and it was worth it,”” Knudsen said. “”When you get six teams together and have a good turnout like we did here, and when the team performs well, it makes the race fun.”” Knudsen also participated in the men’s A division race and helped lead UCSD to wins in both the time trial and the cross country race. He placed first in the time trial and was one of four riders to break the course record, which he previously held. Knudsen finished with a time of 6:28 and was closely followed by Jesse Beck, also of UCSD, who finished in 6:29. The last two riders to break the old course record were Anthony Medaglia of SLO at 6:35 and Eric Wicker of SDSU at 6:43. The men’s team continued its cycling dominance in the B and C divisions of the time trial event. Eric Mellers won the men’s B in a time of 7:13, just edging Gerry Elbert of SDSU in what was a mad-dash finish. In the C division, UCSD captured three of the top four spots and was led by Brian Flock, who finished first in a time of 7:27. Flock destroyed the rest of the field as the second place finisher, Eric Hermawan from SDSU, clocked in at a distant 8:00. The women’s team was not able to field a time trial in the A or B squad. However, Triton Sara Peetz did take the women’s B cross country race over Kim Klemintowski from Chico. The Tritons outclassed the opposition in the cross country race as well as the time trial. “”As a team, we performed incredibly well,”” Knudsen said. “”Even though the event used an outdated scoring system, which favored participation over place, we still won six of the 10 races.”” UCSD won every event it entered except the men’s C team short-track. Mark Lunden of SDSU won that, but the Tritons captured the next three spots in the race to assure them of an overwhelming victory. “”Everyone was excited to have a race at home and I think we came out and showed that by performing the way we did,”” Knudsen said. In the short-track, the same two A-team riders captured the top two spots. The only difference was that Knudsen and Beck switched places as Beck captured first and Knudsen second. Dirk Van Ulden also had a strong performance for the Tritons, placing sixth. In the B and C divisions, UCSD again showed its strength, winning the B division and capturing places 2 through 4 in the C division. Mellers won the B division and Flock, after tiring himself out by winning the men’s C time trial by a mile, finished second in the men’s C cross country to an energized Mark Ludin of SDSU. Team president Jason Goldberg placed a solid fourth in both the time trial and short track B division. The winner of each race, instead of being presented with medals, was given tropical plants and propeller guns. “”We just tried to make things a little bit more relaxed out there, and besides, wouldn’t you rather have a propeller gun or cool plant than a dinky medal?”” Knudsen said. As it goes, the team performed well and the event as a whole was a success. “”Everything worked out,”” Knudsen said. “”We had generally fast times and overall the event was satisfactory. I think most people enjoyed themselves out there.”” ...