Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Gift List

As you’re out at the malls and at your local shops on the busiest shopping days of the year, don’t forget some of the more notables on your list. What do you get a just un-retired NBA superstar who’s playing with a bunch of dolts? Or an NFL coach whose stars can’t stay healthy, and who, in his own words, can’t get the ones who are on the field to “play above the x’s and o’s?” Some people are easy to buy for; for some others, you have to be pretty creative.

For Michael Jordan, see if you can find a giant bag of patience, and check in a specialty shop for a huge dose of sense of humor. It’s pretty obvious with the supporting cast he has on the Wizards; he’ll need both as the NBA season goes along.

Getting gifts for Tom Coughlin is easy. Grab every medical supply available, and while you’re there, see if the pharmacist can write a prescription for a little luck, the good kind. His team has had plenty of the other already. And while you’re at it, see if the pharmacist has any extra sense of humor samples around you can slip in Coughlin’s stocking. I know Tom has one; it’s just not on display enough. A little extra can’t hurt.

It’s hard to tell what Wayne Weaver would want. His Jaguar investment has more than tripled in just seven years. His wish list includes an appearance in the Super Bowl. That one will have to wait a few years.

Shop around for a match up between JU and Edward Waters on the basketball court. I think you find that in the “when hell freezes over” section.

Grab a little Florida State for the Gator Bowl and you’ll be done with them. See if some sort of weird ending to the BCS Rankings is still available. The line will be long, but if you’re a Gator fan, it’ll be worth the wait.

Drop in the hardware store on your way home and see if they have any “shut up you won the game” for Steve Spurrier. And while you’re there, check for some “better sportsmanship lessons” for current, future, and recent FSU players. Bobby Bowden used to hand that out for free, but I think he’s all out, or he forgot where he left it.

Grab a bunch of those “No Whining” hats. About 90% of the players in the NBA need one of those.

And that extra bag of toughness you bought for your friends in the NHL? Sprinkle that around to some of the other sports, the hockey players have enough.

If you have any money left, and you can find some somewhere, get a little style and pr savvy for Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. Maybe you can take some from Paul Tagliabue. He has more than enough. In fact, a little too much. And see if they have any “dominant team” in the fragrance section. The Commissioner and the NFL could use a little spritz of that around the ears.

Tiger seems to have everything. A little “cordiality while dealing with fans” would be a nice gift. It’s small, and it’s something he needs and doesn’t know it!

Sometimes you have to buy people something they need, but don’t necessarily want. For many NFL Players, that item is personal accountability. It’s not hard to find, and it won’t be expensive, but getting them to take it will be a whole other story.

That should be about it.

If you have a minute, pick up something for Billy Donovan. Anything will do.

Whatever it is, he’ll get the best out of it and make it a winner.

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Happy Thanksgiving

Holidays are always a time of reflection and Thanksgiving is a good time for that, the essence of the day itself created around giving thanks for all of the blessings we have. Following the attacks of September 11th and the subsequent military action in Afghanistan, sports have new perspective in America, and they should.

I heard a reporter saying, “Since September 11th, these games don’t mean anything in the overall scheme of things.” Another reporter laughed and said, “These games didn’t mean anything before September 11th, we just made them more important.”

There was a big rush to patriotism, the networks even showing the National Anthem being played. That’s faded a bit, which is a shame, because even as we celebrate today, American’s are on the front line of this battle, protecting our freedom and our way of life. I know I’m thankful for those people, thankful for the chance to talk and laugh about sports. Thankful for the people and personalities that make this job never seem like a job. Thankful for my family’s tolerance of my weird hours. And thankful for the sports fans in this town who’s passion make every day an adventure.

Hey, I’m even thankful for a 3-6 team!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Florida/Florida State

I don’t know if Rex Grossman will win the Heisman Trophy, but he was the best player on the field Saturday night in Gainesville. The Florida quarterback did not throw for 300 yards, but directed the Gators offense with the precision to break the will of Florida State and did the things necessary to give his team a win.

FSU’s game plan was executed perfectly on defense, making Florida go through long drives to score points. The Gators, and especially Grossman, were willing to take whatever was there, move the ball downfield, and go for the end zone when they were close. That’s the sign of a mature team, a mature coach and a mature quarterback.

While FSU’s defensive plan was on the mark, the offense couldn’t hold up their end. Quarterback Chris Rix couldn’t match Grossman’s accuracy and field generalship, missing receivers on key plays and failing to convert for first downs. That left the Seminole defense on the field too long, and let the Gators dictate the game. Not to say that Rix won’t be good; he’s big, strong, fast and is learning, but he was not Grossman’s equal, and it was the difference in the game.

There were some things open for the FSU quarterback, but he didn’t take them, especially the 12-15 yard patterns. The Seminole wide receivers are young, and it showed in their performance. Missing Anquan Boldin for the entire season has hurt FSU on offense, not only with his physical talent at wide receiver, but as a player who was on the field last year, and could provide some leadership for a very young Seminole football team.

As for Grossman’s Heisman chances, no Sophomore has ever won the Heisman, although a few have finished second, the most notable, Herschel Walker and the most recent, Marshall Faulk. The voters are biased against a Gator Quarterback, unless he can’t be denied, a la Danny Wuerffel. “The system,” is what they credit for any Gator Quarterback success, rather than his particular talent. If Florida had gone undefeated and won the National Championship, and Grossman had performed this way, he might have taken the hardware home. But with the loss on national cable television and Eric Crouch and Ken Dorsey headed to undefeated seasons, Grossman’s chances seem diminished. Still, the voting is done before the first Saturday in December, so voters will have to make up their minds early.

Maryland’s dramatic win against N.C. State gives the Terps the ACC title outright, the first team to win the title alone since FSU joined the conference. It puts the Terps in the BCS as the ACC Champion, headed to either the Sugar or the Orange Bowl. Florida State most likely will be invited to the Gator Bowl, no matter what happens against Georgia Tech. Gator Bowl officials are concerned about fans’ willingness to fly after the attacks of September 11th and are looking for a team who’s fans can arrive by car. It will not have the economic impact of a long week of visiting fans, but the Seminoles seem like the logical ACC choice.