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Starting Lineup

By Dan Steinberg and Desmond Bieler
Washington Post Staff Writers

So remember that time when Chip Hilton got hurt, but instead of pouting he coached the local high school basketball team and no one got hit over the head with any chairs? What's that? You don't remember the clean-cut sports hero of mid-century children's books? You thought Chip Hilton was the scruffy, midriff-baring younger brother of Paris and Nicky? Well, something tells us that in these troubled sporting times, you're not the only one who needs a refresher course on Chip's sportsmanship primers:

"Hoop Crazy," Ron Artest: People were already questioning whether he was too unhinged to help a team win it all. Now it's clear: This is someone you would never want to spray with champagne.

"Backboard Fever," Pistons Fans: Play huge role in brawl by throwing beers, punches and a chair at Pacers. Whatever happened to those carefree days when fans were content to just drop a towel and leap into their favorite player's arms?

"Comeback Cagers," the Other Pacers: Nearly win post-brawl game despite having only six eligible players. Hmm, maybe they should join forces with UDC.

"Fourth-Down Showdown," Redskins: Another game, another hapless, demoralizing loss. This is getting almost as tiresome as that new U2 song. Almost.

"Tournament Crisis," the BCS: Critics rejoice as college football oligarchy still faces three worthy championship teams. Plus, Utah, Boise State and Evander Holyfield continue to maintain that they're legitimate title contenders.

"Championship Ball," Lou D'Ermilio: Fox Sports exec says network has exchanged ideas with BCS leaders in recent weeks. D'Ermilio emphasized that Fox wouldn't change much about the BCS format, although he recommended that struggling coaches be replaced at halftime by hot British nannies.

"Clutch Hitter," Jim Bowden: New Washington GM immediately makes moves, including one to bring right fielder Jose Guillen to D.C. Although that deal was nearly scuttled when Linda Cropp insisted on relocating him to first base.

"A Pass and a Prayer," Na'shan Goddard: Gamecock says of coaching change from Lou Holtz to Steve Spurrier, "That's like going from J-Lo to Halle Berry." Come to think of it, ol' Lou has been looking a little loose in the caboose of late.

"Triple-Threat Trouble," Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins: Surviving members of TLC turn search for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes's replacement into reality series. Contestants will be judged on their ability to sing, dance and set fire to Andre Rison's house.

"Touchdown Pass," Troy Smith: After win over Michigan, Buckeyes quarterback calls teammate Ted Ginn "the sparkplug in our car." Well, as long as the car's not a Lexus loaner.

"Hungry Hurler," Heavy Metal Has-Beens: Provide expert commentary for VH1's "100 Least Metal Moments," often proffering this insight: "That's so not metal!" Um . . . and appearing on VH1 is?

"Freshman Quarterback," The Terps: Despite sporting "Are You In or Are You Out" bracelets, Maryland loses by 49 points. Next week, the Terps plan to reveal their foolproof backup plan: "Friends 4EVA" brooches.

Benched: Vinsanity, "The Osbournes," Young Buck, Phil Knight, the Tar Heels, Spurrier's Augusta National membership, Vanilla Ice's wildlife collection.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company