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African American news from Pasadena -  Sports WatchingIT IS TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES!

The Pasadena Rose Bowl is where most of the people in the world would like to be this coming Friday. The weather is likely to be pleasant and pristine, and the Rose Parade will be spectacular as usual. Millions of happy visitors will line the parade route, and hundreds of millions more will watch the event on television. When it comes to spectacular sporting events, the Rose Bowl is truly the Granddaddy of them all! Riding on one of the floats, will be about 10 of the Tuskegee Airmen. These remaining heroes from World War II will get their deserved place in the sun. Their average age is about 90 years, but many of them are still spry and surprisingly active.

After the parade, there will be the intriguing football matchup between Ohio State University, and the University of Oregon. Both teams and their many supporters are absolutely thrilled to be in the Rose Bowl. They would rather be here, than any other place in the world. They just love this wonderful weather, the opportunity to be seen all over the world, and the game itself.

The Buckeyes (10-2) have played in bowl games for nine straight seasons. However, under the direction of Coach Jim Tressel, they have not won since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. So, winning this game is a very high priority for them. This season has been something of a disappointment for their budding superstar, Terrelle Pryor. He is about 6'2" tall, 230 pounds, with the speed of a deer, and the strength of an ox. He is the quarterback, and he also earned Big Ten Academic Honors. He was such a phenomenal player in high school  that they may have expected too much from him, too soon. The Rose Bowl may be the setting for his breakout game.

The Ducks (10-2) are absolutely thrilled to be away from Oregon for a few days. Wouldn't you be? They have a sensational team that is noted for its ability to score early and often. Anyone who doubts that, should talk to the Trojans. They surprised the world with their smallish, unknown quarterback. His name is Jeremiah Masoli, and so far, he has been an unstoppable scoring machine.

Oregon started the season rather inauspiciously, with a loss to Boise State in Idaho. I watched the game, and when it was over, the Oregon players were walking towards their locker room. One of the victorious players walked up behind Oregon’s LeGarrette Blount, and tapped him on the shoulder. When the unsuspecting Blount turned around, the other player said something to him. It might have been his first mistake of the night. If it was, it was a big one. Without a moment’s hesitation, Blount decked him, with a right to the jaw. I was never able to find out what was actually said, but I don't think that it was “Congratulations, great game!"

As punishment for hitting his provoker with a perfect punch, Blount was suspended for the entire season. Since he was a senior, this ended his college football career, and probably ruined his opportunity to be a high draft round pick by the NFL. I absolutely agree with the fact Blount should have been punished, but I disagreed with the severity of the sentence. I contacted the Officials the University of Oregon, and asked that they consider reducing his penalty to not more than five games. I am sure that I was just one of many who sought leniency for this athlete.

Blount's suspension was reduced to eight games, and he has rejoined the team. I am certain that he is eagerly looking forward to this Rose Bowl, since for a while it appeared to be beyond his reach.  I expect Oregon to win big over Ohio State, and I would not be surprised if LeGarrette Blount turns out to be the most valuable player in the game. I am certainly rooting for him to make the most of his second chance, Will you join me?

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