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Army Wins 4th Straight over Navy 14-13; World War III Imminent

Column by Bo Light
Associate Sports Editor

Welcome to the last EA Sports of 1995. Don't worry, loyal readers, EA Sports will return for IAP, providing the coverage and entertainment that will keep you amused during your 6.270 labs.

Gridiron Update

Start building your bomb shelters, folks. On Saturday, Army eked out a 14-13 win over Navy, the fourth straight time the Cadets have won the Army-Navy game. The last time Army won four straight was from 1938-1941; America entered World War II just weeks after the fourth game.

In other college news, the NCAA handed down a one-year bowl suspension to the Miami Hurricanes following an investigation of several ex-players and a school official for falsifying Pell Grant applications. Interestingly enough, the bowl suspension is occurring this season, shutting the 'Canes out of an Orange Bowl showdown with Notre Dame. Miami had been contemplating serving any suspension this season anyway, as the program finished with a "disappointing" 8-3 record, but this may hurt them more than they know. The NCAA also cut the number of scholarships Miami is allowed to give out, thus restricting recruitment for a team that was planning to rebuild anyway. Look for the 'Canes to be sitting home next January, too.

In the NFL, the Cowboys had a bad weekend. Not only did they lose their second game of the season to the 4-9 Redskins, they also lost one of their best defensive players. No, it wasn't Deion. Charles Haley announced his retirement after herniating a disk in his lower back. The loss of Haley definitely hurts Dallas' defensive line, and with the Cowboys likely to face some powerful offenses come playoff time, Team Jones is looking more and more beatable.

Think the playoff picture cleared up any this weekend? Not in the NFC. Check out this more-than-plausible scenario:

Minnesota beats Cleveland on Saturday. On Sunday, Chicago, Detroit, and Atlanta have easy wins (over Cincinnati, Houston, and New Orleans, respectively). Philadelphia loses to Dallas, St. Louis surprises Buffalo, and suddenly, six teams are 8-6! Go ahead, try and figure out who gets the wild card spots.

Hoops Report

Good news for frustrated NBA players: the NBA's lockout of its referees is finally over, and the regular officials will return to games after the weekend.

The bad news is for the referees: the newly ratified contract included no pay increases, and very few of the benefits they had asked for. In short, the officials caved in. This is a sad state of affairs for the NBA. Two months ago, the players were locked out, and there was no talk of replacing them with CBA players. Heavens, no. That would take away from the quality of the game. But when the referees were locked out, replacement officials were hired right away.

Hey, any fool can blow a whistle, right? Wrong. The replacement officiating did affect the quality of the game; numerous unnecessary and questionable calls made games slow and ugly, and the absence of a third official to keep things under control in the paint resulted in incidents such as Shaquille O'Neal's thumb injury. All because the league didn't want to spend an extra million bucks. Note to the NBA: the marketing dollars are pouring in. Stop trying to hoard it all, and spend a little on the guys who keep the game under control.

On The Ice

Holy sieves Batman! Canadiens goalie Patrick Roy did his best impression of the invisible man Saturday night, giving up nine goals in less than two periods, as Montral lost to Detroit, 11-1 (geez, I can't beat them that badly on my Nintendo hockey game). After being yanked, Roy did his best impression of a 12-year-old, throwing a fit in front of the team president and berating his coach. As a result, Roy has been suspended by the Canadiens and is on the trading block.

The question is, what can Montral get for him? Roy has a huge salary ($3 million per year), and Saturday's events, combined with the fact that the Habs have to trade him, give interested teams a lot of leverage in deal-making. The EA Sports prediction: Roy will be in St. Louis next week, and Grant Fuhr will be Montreal's new goalie.

Now, our NHL review winds up the year with a look at the division only a mother could love, the Pacific.

Could anyone else have guessed that the Colorado Avalanche (ne the Quebec Nordiques) would be running away with this division? With excellent goaltending and one of the top offenses in the NHL (only Pittsburgh has scored more goals), the Avalanche is the one Pacific team capable of running with the big dogs in other divisions. Los Angeles, behind a resurgent Wayne Gretzky (30 assists), is a playoff team, but the Kings lack the solid, consistent play needed to go deep into the postseason.

After L.A., things start to get grim. Perhaps this will be a big year for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Then again, perhaps not. When the rest of the league went for bigger players, Vancouver went for speed and skill, landing Alexander Mogilny to play alongside Pavel Bure. Nice idea, but big is in this year; look for the Canucks to finish out of the playoffs.

The Edmonton Oilers have their own Roy-like problems: they want to trade goalie Curtis Joseph, but they're having trouble getting him away from their IHL affiliate. Hey Oilers, keep Joseph, trade Bill Ranford. The Calgary Flames, last year's division winners, seem to have forgotten how to score in the offseason; perhaps they're still stunned by their first-round loss to San Jos. The Sharks won't be pulling any upsets in the playoffs this year; their remarkably poor defense has all but assured them of a last-place finish.

Trivia Question

Marcus Allen gained his 10,000th career rushing yard on Sunday, making him only the ninth player in NFL history to reach that milestone (Barry Sanders will become the tenth this week). Who was the fastest player to 10,000 yards? Send your answers, along with comments and David Stern's home phone number, to easports@the-tech.mit.edu.

Answer to last week's question: Barry Sanders holds the NCAA single-season rushing record, with 2,628 yards in his junior season at Oklahoma State. Correct answers were sent in by Sung S. Kim '99 and Burt Wendt '99.