Another year, another round of pies to throw

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone.  

On this day, many of us will reflect on all the good things that we accomplished in 2023 and make a list of what we hope to do next year. I’ll be one of them as I have many goals to achieve in 2024.  

However, before all go forth to do good things, it’s time for me to deliver some just desserts. As I warm my arm up to start flinging pie crust and whipped cream at all these well-deserving people, I want to thank you all for reading this site and especially this column. I smile and shake my head every year wondering how this tradition manages to remain the most popular thing I write on this hockey-focused website. It was also my most read article at the Mining Journal back in Michigan year after year when I started doing this bit almost a decade ago. Crazy stuff.  

I thought about making the 2022 edition my last batch of pies as I wondered whether the wackiness of this sports column fits with the site anymore. However, a few days ago, I was asked by some people when the pie column was coming out and they said they were looking forward to it. So as long as you guys enjoy it, I’ll keep writing it.  

Ding! Well, that’s the oven timer. So, it’s time for me to hurl some pies. Here’s this year’s list for the Pie In The Face awards and I’ll start with the ones that were on the cut list. 

Pie Crumbs 

Marcus Freeman 

The Notre Dame head coach just misses the final cut, but his blunder is still worth mentioning as his idiocy cost the Fighting Irish their game against Ohio State. In the closing seconds and with the Buckeyes on the Irish 1-yard line, Freeman sent his defense out there with only 10 guys on second down. OSU threw an incomplete pass on the play, so the Irish dodged a bullet. However, Freeman still had 10 guys on the field on the next play and didn’t call a timeout. The Buckeyes noticed this, ran right through the Irish line and into the end zone, right where that extra defensive lineman was supposed to be. When asked why he didn’t call timeout, Freeman said they were out of timeouts, and he didn’t want to risk the penalty. He was more focused on losing half a yard instead of preventing the winning touchdown. Enjoy your crumbs, Marcus.  

Mario Cristobal 

We go from one coaching blunder to another as the Miami Hurricanes boss gets served his humble pie. There’s a reason football teams take a knee to run out the clock when they have a lead late in the fourth quarter and Cristobal showed why. With Miami leading Georgia Tech by three and 33 seconds left on the clock, Cristobal told his team to run the ball instead. The Hurricanes fumbled, the Yellow Jackets recovered it and eventually scored the winning touchdown. This kind of idiocy can be a fireable offense, but since Cristobal is an alum, I guess the Canes gave him a pass. I won’t give him one though, so here’s some crumbs that I spelled out in your name, Mario.  

Other nominees: Aaron Rodgers for dubbing Travis Kelce as Mr. Pfizer; Former Oakland A’s broadcaster Glenn Kuiper for saying the “N word” on the air and then whining about being fired; Current Michigan Tech hockey player Austen Swankler for causing an preseason off-ice debacle at his former school, Bowling Green; Caitlin Jenner for using the ‘R word” in a tweet and then spelling it wrong; UFC President Dana White for slapping his wife on video and then introducing a face slapping competition; Jason Whitlock for saying multiple stupid things; Former women’s pro soccer player Stefany Ferrer Van Ginkel for doing the Nazi salute at pro-Israel demonstrators.  

Burnt Pie/Honorable Mention 

Draymond Green 

Many of us learn at a young age to keep our limbs to ourselves and unless it’s part of your sport, don’t kick or punch other people. Draymond never learned that, and it finally cost him in a big way. We all remember his past problem with kicking opposing players in the groin like a dancer auditioning for the Rockettes, but Draymond stepped up his game this year. Or should I say stepped down. He stomped on the chest of Sacramento Kings player Domantas Sabonis, which resulted in Sabonis having a bruised sternum. Draymond, as always, played the victim and said his leg was grabbed. He didn’t have an excuse for his next violation though as he punched the Phoenix Suns’ Jusuf Nurkic in the face a couple weeks ago and was ejected for the third time this season. Due to his repeated history of behaving like an angry toddler who got his binky taken away, Draymond got hit with an indefinite suspension by the NBA and will now be hit with a burnt pie.   

Third Place Ribbon 

SI Sportsperson of the Year Deion Sanders 

Most college football coaches have large egos, but Deion makes Nick Saban look normal. Everyone knew Deion was cocky from his playing days as a high-stepping, trash talking cornerback, but you’d think he’d tone down the narcissism once he became a coach. You’d be wrong. Since taking over the Colorado Buffaloes, Deion has demanded journalists call him ‘Coach Prime,” and thankfully, the ones with any self-respect refuse to do. ESPN personalities are another story, but I’ll get to them later in the list.  

When Deion first met his new team, he insisted that no job was safe and that he had transfers on the way. Now, you might say that this was an attempt at motivation, but Deion never planned on coaching the current players on the squad and building a culture. He wanted them gone so he could bring in his own players. He ended up cutting over 50 players and another 20 left on their own in what was the biggest roster overhaul in college football history. He also brought in his own kids, who are very good athletes, and thought his team could have a winning season based on the abilities of a bunch of transfers. This is a highly flawed plan, but I’m sure if you ask Deion, he’d say it was a great idea.  

The year started off surprisingly well as the Buffs started 3-0, but all the wins came against either bad or overrated teams. Then Colorado got stomped by Oregon and it was clear Deion was not Coach Prime. The Buffs lost six straight to close out the season at 4-8, including a hilarious defeat to Stanford where CU blew a 29-point halftime lead. Deion’s son, Shedeur, was the quarterback this year and was sacked repeatedly throughout the year thanks to CU’s shaky offensive line. Perhaps that wouldn’t have happened if Deion had tried to improve the experienced linemen who were there when he arrived instead of casting them aside for transfers, but that’s what good coaches do.  

As pathetic as his first season was as a coach, there’s two other reasons Deion is on this list: How he sees himself and how he sees his own kids. When asked about this year’s College Football Playoff controversy, which I’ll discuss shortly, Deion insisted the Buffs would never have been left out of the playoffs if they were eligible, saying “The real question that you have is would you leave me out of the college playoffs.” Not his own team. Himself.  

Earlier in the year, Deion also said that ranks his kids. Not just his players on the roster, his own children, and that he frequently updates his rankings in a messed up “What have you done for me lately?” format. Any person who puts himself above his players and pits his own kids against each other for his love is a terrible person and more than deserving of a pie to the face. So, here’s a jalapeno strawberry pie to your smug mug, Deion. I look forward to throwing another one at you next year. It’s almost a guarantee at this point.  

Second Place Ribbon 

Boo Corrigan, the CFP Committee and ESPN 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this group of morons were going to make the list. It just depended on what place he’d get. For those who don’t know about Eugene Corrigan, he’s the athletic director at North Carolina State and the chairman of the CFP Committee. Since the CFP began in the 2014-15 season, it has, for the most part, lacked controversy. The best four teams have made it into the playoffs and there hasn’t been any significant uproar. That is until a few weeks ago when the Boo Crew decided to do something unprecedented and that was leave an undefeated Power 5 conference champion out of the CFP. Almost everyone assumed Atlantic Coast champ Florida State would be a shoo-in for the playoff where they’d join fellow undefeated teams Michigan and Washington and a very good one-loss Texas team. FSU also won its final two games without injured star quarterback Jordan Travis, so it belonged in the CFP.  

Well, that’s when old Boo decided he and his band of buffoons would leave FSU out in favor of one-loss Alabama. When asked why they decided to leave out the Seminoles, Boo attempted to justify his idiocy by saying “Florida State is a different team than they were through the first 11 weeks.” Basically, Boo thought that the Seminoles wouldn’t be able to compete very well in the CFP without Travis. First of all, that’s a terrible reason. Just imagine any other sport saying an undefeated team shouldn’t make the playoffs because its best player is injured. We all know what the real reason was and that’s TV ratings. Alabama got picked because of its brand, which is stronger and more well-known than FSU’s brand. Since they didn’t make the CFP, a large amount of the Seminoles’ better players opted out of their bowl game against Georgia yesterday to help their NFL draft possibilities and I can’t say I blame them.  

All that would be bad enough, but then the barking hyenas at ESPN decided to weigh in and almost all of them agreed with this committee’s decision with Kirk Herbstreit losing all credibility he once had by trying to back up Boo during the selection show. I was surprised that Kirk lowered himself to that level, but the Worldwide Leader in Sports basically kissing up to the SEC is nothing new. ESPN owns the SEC Network, so of course its people would think Alabama belonged in the CFP and they were more than ready to kiss Boo’s behind for making that happen.

The only ESPN personality who took a stand for FSU was Booger McFarland, who called the CFP’s decision “a travesty to the sport.” And he’s right. The Seminoles won all their games and won their conference title. They did what was required and got hosed by a bunch of rich, old folks who probably went to bed at 7 o’clock. So, Booger, you get a slice of pie on a plate with some ice cream on the side and a fork to eat with. The rest of you clowns get a cherry pie to all of your faces. They should already be red due to embarrassment and now, they’re caked in red goo. 

Blue Ribbon  

Bob Huggins 

You’re probably wondering how the CFP clown car and the ESPN ignoramuses can be topped. Well, let me tell a story about a man named Bob. A rich Mountaineer who acted like a slob. And then one day when he was drunk in his car, the AD said he’d gone too far.  

It was quite a year for Big Bob, who has basically become Grampa Simpson at this point and is frequently shaking his fist at clouds. He’s basically Bobby Knight without the national championships to back up his growing insanity. The former West Virginia men’s basketball coach started things off by going on a Cincinatti radio show and dropping the “F word” twice when describing Xavier fans. No, not the casual F word. The other F word.  

In all my years on this earth, I’ve unfortunately heard that word said a handful of times, but always in a private setting like in the locker room. Then here’s Huggy Bear dropping the slur like he’s chilling with some peeps at the retirement home. That kind of talk might’ve been tolerated in the past, but nowadays, it goes over about as well as a fart during a HR meeting. You’d think Bob would’ve been fired for that, but instead, the Mountaineers docked his pay from just over $4 million to just over $3 million, suspended him three games and forced him to go through sensitivity training. Harsh stuff, right? 

Bob wasn’t done with his antics though. In June, Bobbo was arrested for DUI after his car was found in the middle of the road, blocking traffic with a blown tire. Cops found him getting into the driver’s side and after failed multiple sobriety tests and blew a .210 BAC, Huggs was in the back of a squad car. He also was slurring his words and had two garbage bags full of empty beer cans in his car. In a truly absurd moment, Huggy’s daughter said the police report was fabricated and said the bags of beer cans were there because her dad loved to recycle. Hey, he may be a drunk who endangered people’s lives, but at least he doesn’t litter. 

You may not be a Mountaineer anymore, Bob, but I’m going to keep you fed. So, here’s a hot blueberry pie up your schnoz. Good riddance to your coaching career.  

So, on that note, the oven has been turned off and the bakery is closed for another year.  

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