New Jersey Resplendent

The stadium scene.
Sept. 19 2000 9:00 PM

New Jersey Resplendent

(Continued from Page 3)

TMQ has no idea where these schools are (particularly Indiana of Pennsylvania) or whether they actually exist (some determined prankster may be calling a "Lenoir-Rhyne" score into the Associated Press weekly). Yet TMQ finds it reassuring to think that at hundreds of small schools in the glorious autumn, people strap on pads, tape their fingers, and slam into each other repetitively, all for the sheer inexplicable joy of it. Audiences clap, bands play, car alarms go off in the parking lot: the cycle of life. How comforting to know that long after we have left this Earth, each Saturday all over the country, people will still be slamming into each other pointlessly and—well, I'm entering a contemplative state. Better stop before I go haiku.

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Obscure College Score of the Week: Chadron State 66, Colorado Mines 2.

Most Magnificent Dennis Miller Moment: TMQ was so, so wrong about Miller. He's brilliant! That waffling crack to Al and Dan, "Oh, you men with your football talk!" Nobody's ever brought drag sensibility to network football commentary before, and it's so original in show business, so unusual. And dropping the names Dante and Stephen Hawking! Sure the references were incomprehensible, but they did what they were supposed to do—impress us! And his predictions at the "top" of the broadcast, as booth types gratingly say: that Deion Sanders and Brad Johnson would have the game's big nights? So what if Sanders fumbled a punt, and Johnson threw the killer interception in the fourth, nobody remembered by 11:45 p.m. what Miller had said at 9:15 p.m. And oh, how masterfully Miller praised Owner/Twerp Daniel Snyder! The key to understanding Hollywood self-promotion is that the kneepads are put on whenever the money guys are in view, and Dennis Miller now brings that sensibility to Monday Night Football. What a genius!

The Stephen Hawking remark: "Deion Sanders has a sense of the moment like Stephen Hawking." That's it, no further comment or explanation.

Hawking once postulated that perception of time would accelerate in proportion to any rise in the Hubble Constant, then reverse during cosmological contraction if lambda was overcome. Maybe this is what Miller was alluding to. Readers are invited to submit explanations of Miller's comment—if any are possible—via The Fray, titling entries "Sanders-Hawking Postulate."

New York Times Final-Score Score: The Paper of Record goes 0-14 in its quixotic attempt to predict an actual final score, bringing the season's Times Final-Score Score 0-44 combined.

Times predicted: San Diego 20, Kansas City 17. Actual: Kansas City 42, San Diego 20. Times predicted: Carolina 28, Atlanta 24. Actual: Atlanta 15, Carolina 10. Times predicted: Eagles 17, Packers 14. Actual: Packers 6, Eagles 3. Times predicted: Tampa 13, Detroit 9. Actual: Tampa 31, Detroit 10. But wait, in the Dolphins-Ravens game, the Times projected a final of 20-6 and barely missed the actual of 19-6! Unfortunately the Times said Baltimore 20, Miami 6 and the actual was Miami 19, Baltimore 6.

TMQ's Irrefutable Reasons to Torment the Times: Several readers have written in suggesting the New York Times' quixotic quest to predict an exact final score isn't really that at all: Rather, it is a coded way of signaling point-spread advice. The Times has a policy of not printing the spread, to discourage the sin of wagering—although this does not prevent the paper from reporting in detail on IPOs.

According to this theory, when the Times projects, say, a final of Washington 28, Dallas 21 (Friday's edition), and the line is Washington giving 10 (Friday's line), the Multicolored Lady through this artifice is covertly advising clued-in readers to cash their Halliburton options and let it all ride on the Cowboys. Sounds pretty good as hidden advice, since the final was Dallas 27, Washington 21, meaning Cowboys bettors collected.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback would like to believe that the Times is so amusingly devious as to plant hidden messages in football predictions, especially if clandestine control of the sports pages by the Israeli government could somehow be worked into the theory. But TMQ takes Times predictions at face value. Why? Because viewed as encrypted betting advice, the Times predictions finished 7-7 against the spread this week, which sounds more like chance than a hidden hand. And many predictions did not follow the secret-advice form.

Two examples: Friday, when the spread was Broncos plus three at Oakland, the Times predicted a final of Raiders 24, Broncos 21. What, the Times was signaling readers that it thinks this game will wash against the line? Not even the guys at Gamblers Anonymous try to call ties.

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