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Sinking Saban

The Dolphins blew it yesterday, or I should say the Dolphins' offense blew it. Had Miami beaten Jacksonville, they'd have been in the thick of the playoff race, believe it or not. And even though Jax QB David Garrard was sensational, the D held them pretty well. Naw, it was Joey Harrington, O-coordinator Mike Mularkey (who has proven aptly named this season), and less than inspired play from his receivers and line who threw the game away.

They still aren't out of this thing, because both wild card teams going into the weekend, the Broncos and the Chiefs, lost. But the odds are ridiculous at this point; the Post's Greg Stoda looks good in his pronouncement last week. Too many weird things would have to happen and the Dolphins still have N.E. and Indy looming.

So what about Nick Saban? Well, so far his team, despite having great talent, has been mundane. Saban possesses two traits that should never be mixed together: arrogance and mediocrity. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he's also extremely dedicated and determined. Something to be said for that and you saw those traits in his team during last year's string of victories late in the season and during the little winning streak during this mess of a year. But he's not getting over the hump -- and the seemingly ill-fated move to get Daunte Culpepper could prove his ultimate undoing. I don't know why I feel this way, but I'd give him one more year. He doesn't make the playoffs, he's headed back to college ball.

(Or, as the Sun-Sentinel's Alex Marvez reports, Saban could be back in NCCA ranks a lot sooner than that.)

After the jump: Wussing In The Boy's Room and Thanks To Murder On The Beach

-- A six-month-long series about bullying at school in the Sun-Sentinel produced this "lesson" for boys: "Don't go to the bathroom alone." Why? Well, the Sun-Sentinel's Ralph De La Cruz tells us in his Sunday column that "bathrooms are among the most dangerous places for a boy. It's a place where drugs can be tried and bullies can intimidate."

Nice advice, Ralph. Listen, kids, you want to get your ass whupped? Tell your buddies that you have to go to the bathroom and ask them to accompany you. Hell, I would've probably knocked one of my own friends for pulling a move like that.

You can make what you will of Ralph's lessons by reading here. But no matter what you think, you have to give it to De La Cruz for braving the kiddies at Sawgrass Mills to report this baby. Here's his meta-report on his efforts:

The toughest part of this series was finding kids willing to discuss The Big Issues. Particularly when you're 35 years older than they are.

"I wonder how long it'll be before I'm accused of being a pedophile?" I asked my wife. I was halfway into spending four straight nights outside the movie theater at Sawgrass Mills, trolling for tweens, trying to talk about their love lives.

"My name is Ral..." is about how far I usually got. Before long, I was reduced to quickly offering other, more relevant, credentials: "Hey, I've got a 12-year-old son ..."

Nothing helped.

I finally found a couple of willing subjects. Confident and enthusiastic, the boys talked up their vast experience with the opposite sex while waiting for a group of girls to join them.

When the girls got there, the boys told them what I was doing. They glanced at me. Then, one girl -- the alpha female, obviously -- promptly turned her back to me, and the others quickly followed. Then, so did the boys. Never did get that interview.

And you thought the journalists in Iraq had it tough.

-- Have to publicly thank Joanne Sinchuk, owner of Murder on the Beach in Delray, for hosting my book reading Friday for Florida Pulp Nonfiction. I was surprised at the turnout and I want to thank all of those who made it out there as well to endure my stammering through the pages for my first reading. Speaking of books, though, my friend Jim Greenhill's Someone Has To Die Tonight got a nice plug on Dateline NBC after it re-aired the tale about his creepy relationship with killer Kevin Foster. Knowing the story a little better than most, I can barely keep a straight face as it shows Jim ominously running through the woods, but it is a hell of a story.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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