Crystal Ball Lauds Price, Floyd, Raps Jerry Jones


I heard a rattling in my desk drawer and opened it. Sure enough, it was my crystal ball.  I’d never seen it more excited.  “I told you, I told you,” it screamed as it popped out onto the top of the desk.   “I told you UTEP would win six football games and earn a bowl bid. I told you, I told you.”


I recoiled. “Take it easy, take it easy,” I said. “Okay, so your prediction was

right. You don’t have to get so excited.”


“Not get so excited?” it said. “You dingbat. Man, this is great for the school,

the city and UTEP fans. It shows that, by gory, the Miners can be winners in

football. It means we can hold our heads up again.”


I TOOK a deep breath. “Well, yeah,” I said. “But haven’t you criticized coach

Mike Price in the past?”


The crystal ball sobered up a bit. “Well, yeah, but that was in the past,” it

said. “He did it right this year. He won the games he should have won and one

that he shouldn’t against SMU. In the past, he lost too many games that he

should have won. And unlike other years, he finished the season with a roar

instead of a whimper. He upset SMU and then put up a whale of a battle against

Arkansas and Tulsa.”


Then it seemed to get angry. “Hey, give me some credit,” it growled.


THE ORB has been so obnoxious in the past, always bragging when it’s right and

making excuses when it’s wrong, that I got my dander up, too. I said, “Well,

before you go on celebrating let me remind you that you also predicted the

Dallas Cowboys would win 12 games.”


The orb shuffled its feet and looked down. “Well, yeah,” it said, “but I also

said they wouldn’t get to the Super Bowl.”


Then it stiffened its back and snorted, “Hey, it’s not my fault their owner,

Jerry Jones, didn’t have enough sense to change coaches sooner. Heck, I’d been

saying for years that Wade Phillips didn’t have the stuff to lead the Cowboys to

the top of the heap. It was so obvious. If Jones had changed coaches sooner they

still might have had a winning season.”


THAT MADE sense. “Okay,” I said. “What do you see for the rest of the football

season? And how about UTEP basketball?”  It ignored my first question completely but it lit up like a campfire and almost hollered,  “Basketball? Oh boy, am I excited about basketball. I love Tim Floyd.

Everybody loves Tim Floyd. I can’t thank athletic director Bob Stull enough for

hiring him. How he got one of the best coaches in the country to come here is

beyond me.


“What a blessing. And Tim – yeah, I call him by his first name because I’ve

known him since he was just a kid starting out as Don Haskins’ assistant – has

already shown signs of good things to come. He hasn’t got all the players he

would like but he’s already won games he should have won and defeated big-time

Michigan away from home.”


IT CLEARED its throat. “Yes,” it said, “I’m predicting big things for the Miners

in the world of hoops.” It stooped down, looked deep into the future and added:

”Hmmm. Yes, I see conference championships, NCAA and NIT bids and winning

seasons ahead.”


I shook my head. “Well,” I said, “I hope you’re better in those predictions than

you were about the Dallas Cowboys.”


“There you go,” it said. “Always looking at the bad side of things. You refuse

to give me any credit, you #@$!!#* …”

I smiled. I love getting it angry. I picked it up and put it back in its drawer.


Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626,

by e-mail at or online at