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So now what?

New England sports fans find themselves without a horse in the January NFL playoffs for the first time since 2003. While there will still be football games going on, it won’t quite be the same without Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and company occupying the most anticipated time slot of the weekend.

However, the local media has the Red Sox to thank for providing them ample fodder for discussion with their press release last night about Theo Epstein’s return to the organization and the promise of a press conference next week to further discuss the issue.

The two NFL conference championship games will be held on Sunday, with CBS broadcasting the AFC title game (Pittsburgh at Denver) at 3:00 and FOX carrying the NFC game (Carolina at Seattle) at 6:30.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their picks for this weekend. I.M. Bettor likes the home teams this weekend, but Double D thinks that the Steelers might be worth some play.

The Globe has short scouting reports on Steelers/Broncos and Panthers/Seahawks. Alan Greenberg has a good piece on Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who talks about his interception of Tom Brady last week.

Mike Reiss has the news of the Patriots officially naming Josh McDaniels as Offensive Coordinator. Beyond the fact that McDaniels was in many ways the public face of the position this season, the move makes sense from the standpoint that if another team had wanted to interview and hire McDaniels as their OC, they would not have needed to get permission from the Patriots as it would’ve been an upward move from the Quarterbacks Coach title McDaniels had officially held.

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Yesterday, Greg Gatlin in the Herald wrote a column entitled Fans: Hitting home team foul. It is a look at whether fans will put up with sportswriters criticizing the New England Patriots. It is centered around the column from this site last Friday which called for the firing of Ron Borges. I think the article is pretty fair for the most part, though there are still some areas where I think our point is being missed. Gatlin writes:

The anti-Borges crew insists that they

The Prodigal Son Returns

The worst kept secret in Boston over the last few months has been the impending return of Theo Epstein to the Boston Red Sox. That move became official last night as the Red Sox issued a press release around 7:30 or so stating that Epstein was returning to the Red Sox in a full time baseball operations capacity and that more about his role would be revealed in a press conference next week.

Chris Snow and Michael Silverman report on the return of Theo to the Red Sox. Interestingly, Snow’s article contains quotes and comments from John Henry, as Snow acknowledges in the course of the article that the Globe had an interview with the Red Sox principal owner prior to the team making the official announcement and that Henry had stated that Epstein would be returning, but that he is ”not going to come back in a higher position” than what he previous held as GM. Sean McAdam also reports on the return of Theo, and notes that Larry Lucchino had “lobbied to hire Jim Beattie as Epstein’s permanent replacement, but was consistently rebuffed by ownership.” That could make things interesting within the Red Sox. David Heuschkel wonders what has changed to make Theo change his mind on working for the Red Sox. David Borges and Garry Brown have more on Epstein’s return to the Red Sox.

Tony Massarotti says that it has taken the Red Sox 2 1/12 months to simply run in a circle and end up where they were before. He notes their curious move of issuing the release and then holding off on the press conference until next week, stating that the are “Acting like a collection of children who cannot garner enough attention

The Young Bigs Get It Done

Was that a bit of the future that we saw on display last night at TD Banknorth Garden? The Celtics defeated Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves 103-96 behind 25 points from Paul Pierce. However, Pierce was ably assisted by the young big men duo of Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson, who played in crunch time together for really the first time and contributed 17 and 18 points respectively. Shira Springer, Steve Bulpett and Shalise Manza Young have the stories of the game. Lenny Megliola notes that a mixture of old and new led the Celtics to the solid victory last night.

Jackie MacMullan says that Michael Olowokandi would not be a good fit with this Celtics team, which needs time to grow and develop. Tony Massarotti says that Olowokandi was the center of attention last night with all the trade rumors swirling involving he and Mark Blount. Tim Weisberg says that Blount isn’t likely to be here for long, even if nothing happens with Minnesota. Mike Fine also looks at the trade rumors, which will continue to circulate in the coming weeks, or until something is done.

Massarotti has Pierce and Garnett speaking about the Celtics young players and what it is going to take from them to get them to the next level. Bulpett has Pierce still holding out hopes of a playoff berth for the Celtics. Weisberg reports that the Celtics have a new member of their ownership group, in New Bedford native Joe Lacob. Bulpett’s notebook says that the trade rumors are quiet for now, while Springer’s notebook has both Blount and Olowokandi speaking about the possibility of being traded.

Michael Felger hands out his season ending report card for the Patriots. Alan Greenberg looks at the AFC East choosing to copy the Belichick model for the most part. Nick Cafardo looks at the trend in the NFL this year to go with new names as head coaches rather than recycling the same old candidates. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots naming Dean Pees as Defensive Coordinator. He also has the always-ready-to-talk Pete Kendall talking about his new coach, Eric Mangini.

Karen Guregian has a look at Vince Wilfork stepping up his game along with the rest of the Patriots over the second half of the season. He also gives his thoughts on Dean Pees being promoted. Buddy Thomas says that his Colts may have been beaten, but that Tom Brady choked. Jerome Solomon looks at Ben Roethlisberger, who is now a playoff veteran in his second season.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on Andrew Raycroft not making the trip with the Bruins because of his swollen knee. There have also been trade rumors surrounding the Bruins goalie as well. Joe McDonald examines the play of Tim Thomas while filling in for the top two injured goaltenders for the Bruins. Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins going into Philadelphia, where their real struggles began earlier this season on November 8th. Harris’ notebook has more on Raycroft missing tonight’s game.

Chris Snow and Michael Silverman report on Bronson Arroyo nearing a three year contract with the Red Sox…against the advice of his agent. Alan Siegel looks at Brooklyn Dodgers great Don Newcombe speaking to Londonderry students about the civil rights movement. John Habib reports on former Red Sox draftee Jay Yennaco being named pitching coach for the Nashua Pride.

David Scott reports on rumors that have Duke Castiglione being approached about coming to Boston as part of ESPN Radio and even as a possible replacement for Bob Lobel at CBS4. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at new book about the often overlooked 1972 US Olympic Hockey team, which won a Silver medal.

NESN has Bruins/Flyers at 7:00. TNT has Pistons/Knicks at 8:00 and Lakers/Kings at 10:30.

Dean of the Defense

The Patriots didn’t wait long to name a successor to replace departed defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, tapping veteran coach Dean Pees, who spent the last couple season coaching linebackers for the Patriots, and naming him as their new defensive leader. Mike Reiss notes that it was a quick ascension for the 56 year old Pees, who ad coached in the college game for 25 years before joining Bill Belichick’s staff two years ago. John Tomase says that Pees is a logical successor because of his experience and penchant for speaking up in team meetings. Tom E Curran says that “The youth and promise of Eric Mangini will be replaced by the experience and stability of Dean Pees.” Alan Greenberg has a brief bio of Pees, while Chris Kennedy notes that Pees’ group of linebackers was the most productive unit on defense last season. Christopher Price also looks at the promotion of Dean Pees.

Greenberg talks to Mangini’s college coach, Kevin Spencer, who first recommended Mangini to Belichick in a phone call 12 years ago. He also talks to others he knew Mangini at that stage of his life. Nick Cafardo looks at Eric Mangini’s first day as coach of the New York Jets. Tomase has Mangini saying there was no rift between he and Bill Belichick over whether he should take this job or not. Albert Breer says this is the right move for both the Jets and Mangini, as more often than not taking a talented assistant from a championship program works out. John Altavilla says that the Jets feel that Mangini’s experience and training will make up for his youth. Eric McHugh looks at the hiring of Mangini, while the New York Sports Pages are filled with coverage of the hiring as well.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots may have even upgraded by replacing Mangini with Pees, and says that the “majority” of players feel that Mangini is not ready to be a head coach. He also looks at what other holes will need to be filled on Belichick’s staff. Jerome Solomon talks to owner Bob Kraft, who is trying to be positive after the loss in Denver last week, and feels good about how his team is positioned for the future. Tony Massarotti says that the loss of Mangini shouldn’t be a big deal for the Patriots. Jim Donaldson notes that now only the Bills are lacking a Belichick connection in the AFC East. Hector Longo insists that the Patriots defense is in “total transition” and that this is the most crucial offseason of Bill Belichick’s tenure. Jerry Spar reports that there was another missed call in Denver…Troy Brown was apparently touched by a Denver player before the ball hit the ground on his muffed punt catch.

Peter May has a good look at Celtics rookie Gerald Green as he sends some time in Fayetteville, N.C in the NBA Developmental League, getting some playing time and court experience. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett address and examine the trade talk surrounding Mark Blount, who apparently could be dealt at any moment. Minnesota, Cleveland, Denver and Memphis are all mentioned as possible trade partners. Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers insisting once again that he is only going to play the kids if they earn their keep and don’t hurt the team while they’re on the floor. Celtics TV guy Mike Gorman took a couple minutes to do a little Q&A session over on the FSN website.

Rob Bradford has a good profile on new Red Sox backup catcher Ken Huckaby, who should fit right in here in Boston, as he has received death threats from Yankees fans in the past. Bob Ryan looks at the Hall of Fame case for Albert Belle, who despite having impressive numbers, only picked up 7.7% of the vote in the recent balloting. Michael Silverman reports on the Red Sox agreeing to a one year deal with reliever Guillermo Mota, who was acquired in the Josh Beckett trade. Chris Snow also reports on the signing, and says that the Red Sox are talking to Bronson Arroyo about a three year contract. Jon Couture says that we all might end up watching the World Baseball Classic…simply because there won’t be anything else on at that time.

Fluto Shinzawa looks at goalie Tim Thomas, who has been able to step in and make some good plays in net for the Bruins. Stephen Harris says that contract negotiations with Sergei Samsonov are going nowhere.

FSN has Celtics/Timberwolves at 7:30 (HD). ESPN has N.C. State/Duke at 7:00 (HD) and Cavs/Nuggets at 9:00. ESPN2 has Wisconsin/Ohio State at 8:30.

Mangini Heads to the Jets

The Patriots will once again start next season with a new defensive coordinator, as Eric Mangini decided last night to leave his position with the team to take over as head coach of the New York Jets. John Tomase looks at he move by Mangini, whom some feel isn’t quite ready for this job yet. Nick Cafardo looks at what is next for both the Patriots and Mangini on the Jets. Albert Breer feels that Dean Pees, Pepper Johnson or Jim Bates could be candidates to replace Mangini on Bill Belichick’s staff. Dan Pires says that the Patriots are the official shopping destination for teams looking for coaches. There are also several articles on Mangini’s hiring in the New York Sports Pages.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots will need just a few tweaks here and there to return to a championship level for next season. Tomase looks at some of the top free agents this offseason in the Patriots positions of need. Alan Greenberg says that this offseason, the Patriots at least have a chance to make an early start in preparation for next season. Greenberg also examines some of the top personnel decisions facing the Patriots this offseason. Chris Kennedy also looks ahead to the offseason, while Hector Longo says that the team has a lot of work to do this offseason. Ian Clark notes that in some areas it will be back to the drawing board for Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli and company.

Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Patriots dynasty isn’t dead yet, they won’t have the problems and issues that faced the 80’s 49ers or the 90’s Cowboys. Bill Reynolds notes that eventually, sports humbles everyone. Tomase has several Pats musing about what could have been for this week and this season. Jonathan Comey looks at the Patriots losing, and how it affects how we should view this team. Bob Halloran says that the Patriots run over the last few years was due in large part to a lot of good luck. Eric McHugh notes that it’s going to be awfully quiet around here for a few weeks now. He also looks at the Patriots roster to see who is signed for how long.

The Herald lists out the top five highs and top five lows of this season for the Patriots. McHugh’s notebook looks at David Givens and other offseason decisions facing the Patriots. We’ve also got a season ending Game Day Rear View Blog with a look at each unit as we head into the offseason.

Ron Borges feels that the road teams could pull upsets this weekend.

Andrew Marchand in the NY Post has a short report on Fred Smerlas causing a bit of a stir in New York after he went on WFAN and called Pete Carroll “light in the heels” and “fairy.”

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris look at the Bruins 4-3 Overtime win over the Mighty Ducks yesterday. Joe McDonald looks at Patrice Bergeron, who scored the game winner, and who is starting to really display his star qualities. The BSMW Power Play blog weighs in on yesterday’s win by the Bruins as well. Steve Conroy has more on Bergeron, who really showed his skills yesterday, especially on the game winner. Conroy also has Sergei Samsonov speaking out against Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle’s challenge of Samsonov’s stick curve, calling it a “gutless” challenge. Burrell’s notebook has more on the challenge, as does McDonald’s notebook. In the Herald, Harris’ notebook has a look at Dan LaCouture showing some fight for the Bruins.

Mark Murphy and Shira Springer examine the Celtics giving up a 14 point first half lead in a 94-84 road loss to the Detroit Pistons. More coverage on the game is available from the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News. Murphy notes that Ricky Davis had easily his worst game of the season yesterday going scoreless, and the Pistons admitted after the game that a big part of their game plan was to shut down Davis. Springer’s notebook reports that the Celtics and Timberwolves are discussing a possible Michael Olowokandi for Mark Blount trade. Murphy’s notebook has Paul Piece making his case to be on the Olympic team in a talk with USA men’s basketball chief Jerry Colangelo.

Jeff Horrigan talks to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek about the off season roster overhaul the team underwent, and Varitek sounds like he has a wait and see attitude about the upcoming season.

Jim Williams in the DC Examiner reports that PawSox voice and former WWZN co-host Dave Jageler is the top candidate to replace Dave Shea as a member of the radio team for the Washington Nationals.

NESN has BC/Holy Cross at 7:00. ESPN has Indiana/Illinois at 7:00 (HD) and Kentucky/Georgia at 9:00 (HD). ESPN2 has Charlotte/St. Josephs at 7:00 and Louisville/St. Johns at 9:00. ESPN Classic has Seton Hall/Villanova at 7:30. OLN has Devils/Blues at 8:00. NBATV/INHD has Suns/Kings at 10:00.

MLK Day

Got a holiday today, so this won’t be a regular posting day, as I’m going to try to get a few things done. Here are a few thoughts from the last few days.

First, thanks to everyone who supported the Ron Borges article from Friday. I wasn’t quite sure how it would be received, as it was a bit different tone from what you might normally see here in this space. I thought Kerry from CHFF did great job of writing the piece with enough of an edge to make sure it was noticed, and I tried to feed him enough facts, transcripts and articles to make the case as strong as possible.

It’s important to note that neither Kerry nor I are under the illusion that Borges’ job would really be in any sort of jeopardy. What was important, we felt, was to get the facts out there, and get the public to make some sort of statement to the Globe that they feel that Borges’ coverage of the Patriots is biased and unacceptable. The response was incredible. I thought that we might generate 100 or so emails total. From just this site, there were 500+ clicks on the email link, and though I don’t have specific numbers from the Cold Hard Football Facts website, they had their busiest day of traffic ever in the history of their site. The total number of emails sent is likely going to approach 1000. Of those, there have been perhaps 10 that were against the premise of the article. The message was sent loud and clear.

What is disappointing to me, is that the few media members that did comment on the article seem to have missed the point of it completely and were more interested in circling the media wagons than they were in presenting an accurate rendering of the facts of the article. Mike Felger and Mark Jurkowitz in particular seemed more intent on making it seem like the two of us, as well as fans, don’t like Borges simply because he doesn’t write positive articles about the Patriots all the time. These ones appeared to comment on the article without having read it, and used buzzwords such as “Borges’ rights” and “Opinion and freedom of speech” to hide what the real issues were…quality of reporting and respect for the readers, as well as unethical tactics used by Borges, such as talking with Tedy Bruschi “off the record” and then revealing the contents of that conversation later on the radio airwaves.

All in all, I’m satisfied that the huge response that the article got is proof positive that the readers in this region are tired of personal bias, mail-it-in type reporting, and are willing to instead speak up for quality reporting and quality journalism. Readers have a right to expect those things, and whenever we can get them to speak up in this manner, to this extent, it is a victory for the intelligent sports consumer. The Globe’s canned response was disappointing, but Globe management was at least shown that more that these feelings are more than just those of a few “internet yahoos”. What was also encouraging to me was the number of people who didn’t just use the pre-written email, but typed their own message to the Globe. Many of those also mentioned Mike Reiss as an example of the type of reporting that they want to see more of. I hope the Globe considers the wishes of these ones.

I believe that Cold Hard Football Facts will have a more thorough wrap-up on their site tomorrow.

Patriots’ Reign Ends

It was of course, crushing to see the Patriots reign come to an end in Denver on Saturday night. However, Patriots fans can take solace in knowing that their team is likely to be contender for the foreseeable future, and that if Tom Brady is as much like Larry Bird as everyone seems to believe, he’ll be spending this entire offseason working to improve and get back on top.

For me, I never liked the Broncos growing up. Probably because they always seem to beat the Patriots. (Actually that trend has never really gone away, has it?) But I have to say that I’ve got respect for this Denver team. I think they showed a lot of class, both in how they approached the game, but in how they played the game, and how they acted in victory. My hat is off to them and to their coach Mike Shanahan. Shanahan and Bill Belichick have a mutual admiration society going on between them, and it is well deserved on both ends. I believe they’re clearly the best two coaches in football today. Patriots fans might be of the opinion that their team handed the game to the Broncos, but Denver capitalized on every miscue, which is the mark of a good team.

Red Sox/Theo Drama Continues

There was a little back and forth between ESPN.com’s Buster Olney and the Boston Herald this weekend, as Olney reported on his Insider Blog on Saturday that Theo Epstein was making calls on behalf of the Red Sox organization that that indicated to some “that he is a special assistant to John Henry.” Jeff Horrigan in the Herald yesterday had John Henry shooting down that report, and had Horrigan noting that “each passing day seems to indicate that a position as baseball operations director is less of a possibility.” Then, later on Sunday, Olney updated his blog with the following note:

The Red Sox say Theo Epstein's status hasn't changed. Stand by what was written here yesterday: He's made calls on behalf of the Red Sox -- as it should be. He's a great baseball talent and the whole Wizard of Oz thing the last 2

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A shorter version this week, as I spent a lot of time researching the previous post during the week. There may be another post this weekend on the game and coverage.

Once again this weekend, sports fans of New England will be watching the Patriots in the playoffs. This time it is a Divisional Playoff game in Denver against the Broncos Saturday night at 8:00.

CBS has the game, and local affiliate CBS4 Boston will have a one hour pregame show starting at 7:00 and then will have “Fifth Quarter” immediately following the game.

Tonight (Friday) WCVB Channel 5 will have a special edition of Patriots All Access aired from Denver. The show will be see at 7:00. According the Mike Reiss in his blog Thursday, the show will feature “interviews scheduled with linebacker Rosevelt Colvin, tight end Benjamin Watson, as well as a behind-the-scenes look of practice.”

WEEI will again have “Patriots Sunday” on Saturday morning to start off your Patriots coverage over the radio waves. WBCN will have their Pregame show starting at 5:00 PM. ESPN Boston will have former Patriot Russ Francis and Kevin Winter on their Patriots pregame show starting at 6:00.

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For the weekend, you can check in here and get links on the following pages:

Sports Media Reporters From Around the Country:

David Scott, BSMW – Cartel Creator Comments aka Howard Bryant Checks In.

Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe – The ‘5th’ is worth taking in.

Richard Sandomir, New York Times – Mets’ New Network Makes Great Calls.

Phil Mushnick, New York Post – A Spit In The Face Of Logic

Bob Raissman, New York Daily News – Mex marks spot in Met booth.

Neil Best, New York Newsday – NBC: One more shot with NHL.

Michael Hiestand, USA Today – NBC set to take shot at NHL.

Chris Zelkovich, Toronto Star – NBC focuses on real fans for broadcasts.

Jim Williams, DC Examiner – Getting SIRIUS about the Skins.

Barry Jackson, Miami Herald – Mixed reviews for changes. (NFL)

Ed Sherman, Chicago Tribune – Sports-talk battle goes to

Fire Ron Borges, the Broadsheet Bully

Fire Ron Borges, the Broadsheet Bully
By Kerry J. Byrne, publisher, ColdHardFootballFacts.com and Bruce Allen, publisher, BostonSportsMedia.com.

Update: Ron Borges “Retires” From Globe

They’re already chiseling a Ron Borges bust and reserving a special place of dishonor for it in the Hack Hall of Fame.

His crime? Serial hackery below and beyond the call of duty.

Why Ron Borges should be fired
Boston Globe football writer Ron Borges, the Broadsheet Bully, believes fans dislike him because he expresses unpopular positions and because he challenges the New England Patriots organization and its management at a time when the franchise is hugely successful and popular.

This is simply not true.

Football fans dislike Borges because he’s wrong about virtually everything, he lacks basic journalistic standards and he uses his forum with the Boston Globe to bully his subjects, especially those whom he personally dislikes, while currying the favor of his inside sources. In fact, there are many reasons why Borges is perhaps the most unpopular sports reporter in America. There are many reasons, in other words, why Borges should be fired.

Borges lacks objectivity
Football fans have long wondered why Borges seems to hammer New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick so hard and so often. After all, the coach has set numerous NFL records, is the only coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years, has rewritten the book on NFL team management in the salary cap era and is considered by virtually every football expert to be the best coach in the game.

But not in the eyes of Borges, who continues to insist that Tony Dungy of Indianapolis, who has never won an NFL championship, is somehow a better coach.

Well, we discovered why Borges continues to hammer Belichick: He personally dislikes the coach. Football fans have long suspected that this was the case. But it was proven on Friday, Jan. 6, when Borges appeared on ESPN Radio Boston with host Michael Felger. Borges said he?s not going to invite Belichick over to his house any time soon, and otherwise admitted his personal distaste for the coach for the first time in a public forum.

Borges makes things up
Why does Borges dislike Belichick? Well, nobody knows but Borges and God apparently.

During that same Jan. 6 radio appearance, Borges implied that he has some dirt on Belichick that nobody else knows about:

“This fellow (Belichick) has cornered the market on convincing people with the help of his friends that no one has ever worked harder than he does and he’s out, uh, you know, when everyone else is sleeping, he’s working, when everyone else is eating, he’s working, uh, I could say something, but I won’t … about uh, how at least some of his time is being spent… “

Does Belichick kick dogs, don a white sheet and burn crosses or plot acts of bio-terrorism? Who knows? Borges did not say. All we know is that Belichick commits acts so dastardly and atrocious that it has forced the Broadsheet Bully to devote his life to exposing the coach as a fraud.

At least one caller to the program, “Bob from Marlboro,” questioned Borges about his accusation.

Caller: “Two minutes ago, Ron, you kind of hinted about something else Belichick does, whether or not it be coaching. That’s a major scoop on your end. What is it? Answer. I’d like to hear that. Outside of the football world, what is Bill Belichick doing that you don”t like?”
Felger: “I’m not going to allow this line of questioning.”
Borges: “I don’t think you should.”
Felger: “I don’t want Ron getting in trouble.”
Borges: “You don?’t have to worry about me.”

Borges did not come forth with his information. He simply tossed it out there like a big pile of mud to splatter all over the coach’s reputation, and then refused to explain himself. This means there are two possibilities:

1) Borges was referring to something intensely personal that doesn’t warrant discussion in a public forum and he realized it was inappropriate only after hinting at it. If this is the case, Borges should be raked over the coals for attempting to insert into the public discourse something that does not belong there.

2) Borges is simply making something up. What reporter has some personal dirt on a major public figure, admits he has this dirt, yet fails to tell people about it? Do you think the editors at the Globe are happy to hear this? Aren’t they paying Borges to report information that only he is able to uncover?

Why would he take an accusatory stance with the coach and then, when pressed about it, say that people should not be allowed to ask him questions on the topic – It stinks of the double standard the media has for itself that drives people crazy. Hey, there’s a reason why the media is the most distrusted institution in America. They spend all their time grilling public figures, seeking out dirt that, in many cases, ruins careers and even lives. But when someone dares to question a reporter about an entirely inappropriate statement the reporter has just made in a public forum, they shouldn’t be allowed to ask. It’s pharisaic.

If Borges knows something about Belichick he should share it, if only because it might resuscitate his own comatose reputation. Borges is wildly unpopular. Belichick is wildly popular. Borges apparently has information that would turn the tables, yet he continues to keep it a secret. Come on folks, are we supposed to believe that Borges is taking a bullet for Belichick, a person he openly despises?

Of course we’re not supposed to believe this. The only rational conclusion one can draw is that Borges made something up to fill time on the radio. So, Borges now has two options:

1) He could share his information and prove the doubting public wrong, or
2) He could apologize for his public fabrication and keep his mouth shut in the future.

Borges is a bully
Borges is also a boxing writer who seems to fancy himself a tough guy – at least if his behavior as a reporter is any indication – and wants everyone to know he’s a tough guy.

Former New England coach Pete Carroll often got the bully treatment from Borges, such as the time former linebacker Ted Johnson missed a tackle in a game that New England lost.

Borges berated the coach in the postgame press conference, demanding that Carroll mete out some punishment after – gasp! – a player missed a tackle.

The Broadsheet Bully attempted to flex his muscles most recently on Friday, Jan. 6 during that appearance on ESPN Radio Boston. Once again, Belichick was the target of his schoolyard antics:

‘Bottom line is, you know, I bet he (Belichick) had a lot of his lunch money taken from him in sixth grade. And you know what? And you know what? I’d have had all his quarters.”

Yeah, that is about the most juvenile thing we’ve ever heard. He says that back in school he would have beaten up the coach and taken all his money. That’s called a Bully Complex.

But, hey, it’s nothing like beating up a fat, old man who walks with a cane, which is exactly what eyewitnesses say Borges tried to do back in 2004 when he was covering a Bob Arum press conference before a fight card that featured Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins. Borges apparently got into a physical altercation with a boxing writer named Michael Katz, who wears a neck brace, walks with a cane, and was described as an overweight man in his 60s.

Here’s how New York Daily news reporter Bob Raissman described the scene, which began with a verbal exchange between Katz and Borges:

Katz: “Yeah this sounds like a Don King toady, a Don King writer, attacking a guy (Hopkins) Don King hates.”
Borges: “You need a punch in the face, I’m really sick and tired of your …”
Katz: “Shut the (expletive deleted) up.”
“This is when the words turned into actions. Borges reached around and landed a hard open-handed blow on Katz’s right cheek. Katz never saw it coming. The shot sent Katz reeling back, separating his head from his beret, which went flying through the air.
Katz: “You shmuck. How can you hit a cripple?”
Borges: “You been getting away with that (hiding behind an infirmity) for years.””

Hey, Borges: Belichick may kick dogs. But at least he doesn’t smack aging cripples.

The irony, of course, is that Borges thinks Belichick is the Gridiron Anti-Christ. Yet in the boxing world, he’s considered a Don King “toady.”

Oh, yeah, and Borges’ other big sports management hero, besides Don King? Yes, it’s Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders.

Borges is wrong about virtually everything
Every writer, particularly a sports writer, is going to be wrong from time to time. We all understand that. But Borges is habitually wrong, comically wrong and, even worse, is not man enough to admit the errors of his ways when he’s egregiously wrong. And it seems he?s often purposely wrong, spitefully attempting to drive home his anti-Belichick agenda, such as the time he predicted a 73-0 win by St. Louis over New England in Super Bowl XXXVI.

New England won, 20-17.

There are far too many examples of Borges being wrong to list all of them here. But we?ll provide a few. And remember, it’s not that Borges is wrong. It’s that he’s wrong simply in an effort to spite Belichick and the New England organization.

For example, following the 2001 draft, Borges ripped New England for drafting defensive lineman Richard Seymour and offensive lineman Matt Light. He even taunted Belichick with a mock “genius” reference – and this was before Belichick had won a single Super Bowl as a head coach.

Quoth the hack on MSNBC.com:

“On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon.”

Seymour is a four-time Pro Bowler who was just named an Associated Press first-team All Pro for the fourth time in his five-year career. And…this must come as a surprise to a keen talent evaluator such as Borges… Seymour has proven one of the most versatile defensive linemen in football: he’s adept at playing defensive tackle AND defensive end. Light, meanwhile, started more than 60 straight games before being injured this season and was a stalwart at left tackle, the most important position on the offensive line. Both Seymour and Light have been key contributors during New England’s three Super Bowls teams.

Terrell and Ferguson, however, have been outright busts. Robinson has been a bona fide underachiever. Among the four players Borges would have chosen instead of Seymour and Light, only Walker has had a strong career.

Despite the preponderance of evidence that indicates that Borges was wrong about the 2001 draft, he still can’t bring himself to admit it. During the Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston, the appearance that should ultimately torpedo his career, Borges insisted that he was “right at the time.”

So, Borges was completely wrong in his ability to evaluate the NFL success of virtually every player he mentioned back in 2001. But, in his own mind, he was “right at the time.” Hey, we thought the Titanic was going to make it all the way across the Atlantic. Sure, it sunk on its maiden voyage. But we were “right at the time.”

Of course, failing to understand the draft is a Borges specialty. Last year, during the 2005 draft, he proved to be among the worst ?experts? in the nation when it came to predicting draft picks.

Another Borges specialty is misunderstanding the salary cap. He routinely rips New England for not paying its players enough, as if the organization has an unlimited pile of cash to toss at players.

What Borges fails to understand is that the salary cap creates a finite pie to be shared among all players on a team. For every dollar given to one player, it’s essentially taken out of the pocket of another player. His inability to comprehend the salary cap was on display last April, when he wrote about the contract of New England fullback Patrick Pass.

Interestingly enough, Borges ripped the player?s agent, yet never contacted the agent to get her side of the story.

Borges also seems to equate paying too much for a player with good management. When New England refuses to pay as much for a player as another team is willing to do, he takes it as a sign that New England is cheap. There is, of course, another possibility: The other team is overpaying for the player. But Borges’ default position is always the former: New England is cheap.

During his Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston, Borges said New England management is limited in what it can do in the offseason because it’s too close to the salary cap. He didn’t realize that this argument contradicts his default argument that New England doesn’t pay its players enough.

In an era when New England has won three Super Bowls in four years and is two games away from playing for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl championship, you would think New England management would get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to personnel decisions. After all, its method is clearly working. New England currently stands on the cusp of NFL history.

But it’s all a mystery in the eyes of Borges. In his estimation, New England drafts poorly, doesn’t pay its players enough and has an overrated coach and quarterback.

Why is Borges wrong so often? Well, maybe you could blame the sports interns at the Globe. After all, Borges has said they are sometimes given the job of making his expert picks before each NFL game. It explains why Borges has frequently been caught picking one team to win in one medium and another team to win on the pages of the Globe.

That’s what happened last year during a TV appearance when Borges picked Indy to beat New England in the playoffs, but then in the paper picked New England to beat Indy. New England won.

Chalk one up for the interns.

Borges is not just a factless hack, he’s a tactless hack
Borges took the occasion of the death of Belichick’s father, Steve, to debunk the notion of Bill Belichick the “genius.”

Hey, Ron: We all know the term “genius” is overused when it applies to NFL coaches. And nobody really believes Belichick is an Einstein-ian mental giant. The term “genius” is, dare we say, a “relative” term when it’s applied to football coaches. We all know that. But did you really have to take the occasion of Steve Belichick’s death to state your case once again?

Borges routinely insults his readers
What do you say about a reporter who routinely insults his very own readers, the people to whom he owes his livelihood? We’d say he deserves to be fired.

In particular, the Broadsheet Bully is fond of insulting those fans (and other reporters) who admire the play of Tom Brady.

Ever hear of Brady? He’s the quarterback of the New England Patriots, someone who has had the most successful first six years in the league of any quarterback in modern NFL history. He has set numerous passing records, won three Super Bowls, earned two Super Bowl MVP awards and has become a darling of American pop culture. His ascension to the level of sports and pop culture icon was cemented last month when Sports Illustrated named Brady 2005 Sportsman of the Year. In the eyes of most people, that?s not half bad.

But Borges is unimpressed. On Oct. 7, 2004, Borges appeared on a show called Sports Plus on New England Sports Network. He said anyone who would choose Brady over Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is “an idiot.”

Brady has proven to be the best big-game quarterback of our time. Manning has struggled in the playoffs every year he’s been there. But if you’d pick Brady over Manning, Borges thinks you’re an “idiot.” In other words, virtually every Boston Globe reader …along with millions of fans, coaches, scouts and football observers all over the country…is an “idiot.”

But New England fans aren’t just “idiots.” They’re “drunk” idiots, said Borges on April 20, 2005, when he appeared with host Eddie Andelman on radio station 1510 AM in Boston.

Andelman: “Well, there would be a revolution if they (New England) didn’t (sign Tom Brady).”
Borges: “Well, I don’t believe there would be. I used to think that there would be because I use to think that the fans were smart around here, but they’re drunk.”

So, let’s get this straight: Borges admired the intelligence of Patriots fans back when they supported the team through its lean years and rooted for players like Drew Bledsoe, who many believe was Borges’ inside source during the quarterback’s years in New England.

But once Bledsoe was traded and Brady ascended to become one of the premier sports icons in the nation, those same football fans suddenly became “idiots” and “drunks.”

Borges thinks his job is too hard
Interestingly, it was the 2002 trade of Bledsoe, whom Borges continues to defend to this day, that sparked an increase in the reporter’s attacks against the organization. Sports insiders say the loss of Borges’ most coveted source (and even his friend) sparked his anger at the organization.

There’s a reason, then, why Borges is often first in line to complain about the organization?s unwillingness to share information with the media. Other reporters still seem capable of digging up great stories about the team, including Felger and the Boston Globe’s Mike Reiss, among others. But Borges just lashes out at the team, asserting that the team does everything it can to make his job as difficult as possible.

New England is, of course, notoriously tight-lipped with the media. But we didn’t know making Ron’s life easy was part of the mission of the New England Patriots. We thought it was Borges’ mission to ferret out good stories and the organization’s mission to win Super Bowls and sell tickets. Well, only one party here is succeeding.

Borges knows nothing about athletes
The Broadsheet Bully’s adversarial ignorance goes beyond the world of football. In fact, he knows nothing about cycling, either, and is quite vocal about it.

Consider the case of Lance Armstrong. He has won seven straight Tours de France, an event considered by many to be the most demanding and punishing athletic challenge ever created. Because of Armstrong’s dominance of this event, most people consider him one of the great athletes of our time. Some might even argue he’s the greatest ever.

But not Borges. “Don’t try to convince me he’s the world’s greatest athlete,” Borges wrote on MSNBC.com back in 2002. “First try to convince me he’s an athlete at all.”

There you have it: Armstrong, the guy who cycles up mountain ranges and across entire nations faster than any man on earth, is not an athlete.

There are two conclusions one can draw from this statement: Borges is incompetent and ignorant. Or he writes things not to educate and enlighten people, but simply to get a cheap rise out of them.

In either case, it’s an embarrassing indictment of the Broadsheet Bully’s method of sports reporting and should not be allowed in publications that take journalism seriously.

Borges is culturally insensitive
Boston Globe reporters, along with its discredited hacks like Borges, are not allowed on sports radio WEEI in Boston. The ban apparently began with something Borges allegedly said on the station back in 1999. According to some sources, he called New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu “a fat Jap.”

Concerned by the content of the station’s programming, the Globe soon banned its reporters, and hacks like Borges, from WEEI.

But Borges simply moved his venom up the dial, where insulting Japanese people, and Asians in general, seems to be a Borges specialty. On May 5, 2005, Borges was on sports radio 1510 in Boston when he had this exchange with a caller.

Caller: “Well, I just have the feeling that Belichick … we all trust him at this point…”
Borges: “We don’t all trust him …”
Caller: “Most of us trust him … three Super Bowls, he’s got a little bit of a track record around here.”
Borges: “Yeah, well, you know, Emperor Hirohito had a big lead in the early days too…”

Hirohito became emperor of Japan in 1926 and ruled the nation during a period in which it attacked the United States and invaded virtually every nation in Asia, slaughtering, raping and enslaving tens of millions of people in the process. Japan’s actions under Hirohito have been chronicled in numerous historical works, with names like “The Rape of Nanking.” In many Asian countries, he?s known as the “Asian Hitler.”

So, with one single sentence, Borges smeared Belichick, comparing him to a genocidal emperor, and showed a complete lack of sensitivity toward the hundreds of millions of people who were killed, raped, enslaved, conquered or otherwise adversely affected by the ruination that Hirohito’s Japan brought upon their part of the world. A politician who made a joke that insulted gays would be vilified in the pages of the Boston Globe. But Borges insensitively compares New England’s football coach to the “Asian Hitler” and someone holds a prominent post at the paper.

But, hey, at least Hirohito wasn’t a “fat Jap” like Irabu.

Borges misunderstands the role of the media
Borges certainly secured the noose around the neck of his reputation during his suicidal Jan. 6 appearance on ESPN Radio Boston.

The single worst thing he did in the appearance -other than implying that Belichick has a sinister side – was to consider himself a part of the story. We understand that inserting oneself into a story is a grand and glorious tradition among Globe sports writers ? a lesson handed down by the late Will McDonough – but it’s completely inappropriate for a journalist to do so.

Borges doesn’t seem to understand this, as evidenced when he said during his Jan. 6 appearance:

“You know what I find interesting about this? People always like to do this, say, “You know, Borges, what do you got against Belichick? Blah, blah, blah. Anyone ever say ‘Hey, Belichick, what do you got against Borges? What’s your problem with him? Have you had anything to do with this?’ No one ever, ever does it.”

Hey, Borges, why should people ask Belichick what he thinks about one of the reporters covering his team? How is this relevant? You are not the story. Belichick is the story. You are simply a medium through which the story is told. If Belichick has a problem with you…and he should…well, tough, who cares? If you have issues with Belichick and it affects your writing, well that is a problem, because every one of your readers care. Obviously, it corrupts your objectivity and your journalistic integrity.

Here’s why: Belichick’s job is to coach a football team. His opinion of a reporter does not affect his ability to do his job. Your job is to write about Belichick. Your opinion of Belichick does affect your ability to do your job. And, in this case, it affects your ability negatively.

That, Borges, is the difference between a story subject and the medium through which a story is told. Belichick is the former. You are the latter. Maybe a seat back in Journalism 101 might help you out a bit.

Borges is illogical
Borges believes Belichick gets more credit than he deserves. His argument is that New England?s players deserve more credit for the organization?’s success.

There’s certainly some merit to this argument. Belichick gets a large percentage of the credit for the team?s success. But, of course, Borges can’t legitimately make this argument without painting himself into a logistical little corner of his public doghouse.

Here’s why:
Borges says Indy’s Tony Dungy is a better coach than Belichick.
Borges says Indy’s Peyton Manning is a better quarterback than Brady.
Borges, as we have seen, believes New England drafts poorly.
Borges, as we have seen, believes New England doesn’t pay its players well.

Despite being handicapped by a second-rate coach and quarterback and by poor drafts and sub-standard payroll, New England stands two games removed from playing for an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl victory. This is the same organization that has just set every major winning streak in NFL history: it owns the record for longest regular-season win streak; longest overall win streak; and longest postseason win streak. Not bad for a team with all the problems Borges has identified.

Indy, for its part, has yet to reach a single Super Bowl and routinely gets hammered by New England.

Something has to give here, Borges. Either New England management picks better talent, the team has a better quarterback or it has a better coach. Based on the relative success of the two teams, at least two of those things have to go in New England?s favor.

You tell us which two.

Borges has brought shame and ridicule to his employer
Ultimately, employers have to make personnel decisions based upon the job their employees are doing.

In this case, and in the final argument, Borges should be fired because he does nothing but bring shame, embarrassment and public ridicule to the Boston Globe.

  • His knee-jerk negative response to virtually every move made by the New England Patriots organization does little to educate readers.
  • His personal vendetta against New England?s coach clouds his ability to report fairly.
  • He?s habitually inaccurate.
  • He beats up elderly, handicapped men.
  • He makes up things about the people he covers.
  • He makes culturally insensitive comments, a serious transgression at a newspaper that prides itself on its multicultural tolerance.
  • He insults the paper’s readers.
  • He misunderstands his role as a reporter.
  • He has painted himself into a logistical corner from which there is no way to emerge, except to admit defeat.
  • The Boston Globe’s reputation as a fair and accurate newspaper has suffered a damaging blow because of his reporting.
  • And, finally, Boston Globe readers deserve better than the Broadsheet Bully.

Sorry Borges. That doesn’t cut it anymore. Football fans are sick of your tired, old act. They now demand that the Boston Globe take action.

After years of listening to the Broadsheet Bully beat up on his subjects and insult his readers ? after years of watching Borges tie a noose around his very own reputation while being habitually and comically inaccurate – football fans have had enough. It’s time for his employer, the Boston Globe, to fire Ron Borges for incompetence – if only to save its own reputation, which is also taking a beating as Borges continues to bludgeon basic standards of journalism in an attempt to serve a personal agenda and vendetta.

It’s for this reason that BostonSportsMedia.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com have teamed up today to call for The Boston Globe to fire Ron Borges. Firing Borges is the responsible thing to do.

Slacking off?

Email received today:

slacking off during playof week.....gooooood

No, I’m not slacking off today. Actually I’ve been working on something pretty big that I think you’re going to enjoy. I thought it would be ready for this morning, but just keeps growing. So I apologize for the tardiness, and want to reassure you that I do have something in the works today. I don’t know if it will be done today or not, but I just wanted to you know I wasn’t just taking the day off.

In the meantime, check out Bill Simmons column today on the Celtics. He’s frustrated like most of us, over the slow development of the team and in particular the coaching of Doc Rivers.

We’ve also got a good BSMW Full Court Press entry on the Celtics.

Patriots Continue Prep, Short Return for Jumbo Joe

Just a few more days to go..

Jerome Solomon looks at Tom Brady’s perfection under pressure. Howard Ulman of the AP examines Brady’s chance this weekend for a little payback against Denver, which beat up New England pretty badly in their last meeting. The Broncos are perfect at home this season, and John Tomase examines the challenge facing the Patriots in their effort to break up that perfect run. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots top mission is going to be to shut down the running game of the Broncos.

Eric McHugh notes that this week provides the stiffest challenge yet for the revamped Patriots defensive secondary. Mark Blaudschun profiles Patriots right tackle Brandon Gorin, who has stepped into the starting lineup after an injury to a starter, just as he did last season. Albert Breer has a bit on Troy Brown, who just does whatever the coaches ask of him, be it on offense or defense. Steve Britt has a piece on tight end Benjamin Watson, who despite essentially being a rookie this season, has become one of the more dynamic tight ends in the game. Tomase notes that Tedy Bruschi was not listed on the injury report at all yesterday.

Steve Buckley says that whatever happens with Eric Mangini and the Jets, the Patriots playoff run will not be distracted. Alan Greenberg has more on the Jets and their interest in the Patriots defensive coordinator. Christopher Price also wonders if Mangini is the next to go. It seems all the New York papers have articles on Mangini today, including an article in the New York Daily News where Ty Law says it would be an injustice if the Jets don’t hire Mangini. Check out the news on the New York Sports Pages.

Solomon’s notebook looks at Tedy Bruschi being left off the injury report entirely yesterday. Kennedy’s notebook has more on Bruschi, who is quite likely to play on Saturday. Tomase’s notebook reports that Mangini will interview on Sunday for the Jets head coaching position. Curran’s notebook confirms that Mangini is the Jets’ top choice to be their next head coach. The Standard Times notebook looks at the meeting of the masterminds on Saturday night. Parente’s notebook says that Mangini’s status won’t be a distraction this week.

Nick Cafardo looks at Denver All Pro Cornerback Champ Bailey, and says that if anyone can foil Tom Brady, it’s Champ. Karen Guregian has a look at Broncos QB Jake Plummer, who knows that the Patriots are likely to have a few tricks up their sleeves for Saturday night, but hopes to be able to react to it in the right way. Tom E Curran looks at Plummer’s attempts to reinvent himself as an elite NFL quarterback after seeming to throw nothing but interceptions for six years in Arizona. Hector Longo looks at 10 Broncos that the Patriots have to look out for on Saturday night if they hope to come out of Denver with a win. Michael Parente notes that beyond having great running backs, the Broncos are a great running team. Christopher Price notes that the Broncos thrive on the big play.

Cafardo’s notebook reports on Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who is likely headed to the Texans as their new head coach as soon as the Broncos’ season ends.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Joe Thornton’s return to Boston being cut short after the former Bruins captain was ejected from the game for hitting Hal Gill from behind during a 6-2 Sharks win over the Bruins. Stephen Harris says that in a season filled with them, this was a new low for the Bruins. Joe McDonald has more on Thornton getting tossed early in the contest. Douglas Flynn also looks at Thornton and the Sharks beating up on the Bruins. The Bay Area Sports Pages also have coverage of Bruins/Sharks.

Kevin Paul Dupont says that the hit on Gill was precisely the sort of thing that we never saw from Thornton during his days with the Bruins. Dupont is still highly critical of Thornton, even though he has been gone for six weeks. Harris however, says that Thornton should have never been traded, and that if things weren’t working out here, it was the Bruins job to make them work. Steve Conroy has more on the hit on Gill. Rob Bradford looks at the impact that Thornton has had on San Jose, both on the Sharks and on the city. Mick Colageo writes that it was a short reunion for Thornton and the Bruins last night. Tim Bresnahan says that life after Joe hasn’t been all that bad for the Bruins.

Fluto Shinzawa looks at the spotty Bruins defense, which was giving up “slam dunks” to the Sharks last night. Harris’ notebook has Brian Leetch trying to take the blame for the Bruins shoddy defense last night. Burrell’s notebook says that Gill has no hard feelings toward his former teammate for the hit that took him out the game last night. McDonald’s notebook looks at Tim Thomas getting another chance in goal for the Bruins.

Peter May and Steve Bulpett report on the Celtics 98-94 win in Atlanta over the Hawks last night. It was a much needed win for the Celtics, who did not want to lose to the 9-23 Hawks for the third time this season. A surprise contributor for Boston last night was Brian Scalabrine, who had a huge follow up bucket in the final minute of the game to help the Celtics to the win. Scalabrine played 28 minutes…easily his longest stint of the year for the Celtics. Mike Fine says that the Celtics need to learn how to play the full 48 minutes. Perhaps last night was a step in the right direction as the right plays were made as needed down the stretch. Michael Muldoon looks at the cruel and unusual punishment being handed out to Celtics fans these days.

Bulpett reports that Paul Pierce confirms that he said everything that was in the Lenny Megliola article yesterday, but wanted to make sure that it was known that he also said more than what was published. Pierce tells reporters that his first choice is to be with the Celtics for his whole career. He said as a businessman, he would be open to talking about a trade if the Celtics approached him with one. May’s notebook has more on Pierce keeping his options open for the future. Bulpett’s notebook looks at the little things that make Brian Scalabrine valuable to a team.

Michael Silverman reports on Jim Rice once again falling short in the Hall of Fame balloting. Dan Shaughnessy makes the case for Rice, and believes his best chance will now come on the 2008 ballot. Bill Reynolds believes that Rice sealed his own Hall of Fame fate with his attitude toward reporters. John Molori’s Media Blitz says that if this is truly the case, then the vote should be taken away from media members.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) asserts that the Red Sox have not really done all they can to boost Rice’s case. He says they haven’t celebrated his career, really, and despite the fact that no one has worn #14 since Rice retired, they have not officially retired the number because of a “laughable policy created by the previous ownership and strangely embraced by the new one.” David Borges remembers Rice as the most feared hitter of his time. Tony Massarotti says that the Hall voters failed to send a message to steroid users with their vote.

Gordon Edes and Paul Doyle look at the career of Bruce Sutter, the only player who was elected to the Hall yesterday.

Only college hoops on the TV docket tonight. ESPN has Indiana/Michigan St. at 7:00 and Maryland/Duke at 9:00. ESPN2 has Syracuse/Notre Dame at 7:00, Texas A&M/Oklahoma St at 9:00 and TCU/New Mexico at 11:00. CN8 has UMass/Saint Joseph’s at 8:00.