Score: Indianapolis 27 Chicago 23
*It wasn't enough that Patriot nation was still recovering from the gut wrenching AFC championship loss to the Colts, now this hits the front pages. Former Patriot LB Ted Johnson is saying that depression, memory loss, amphetamine addiction and other issues he is currently suffering from are all Bill Belichick's fault. Now, Teddy isn't saying that the Hoodmaster drove an 8-ball of meth over to his house and shoved it up his nose, he's accusing the head coach of forcing him to practice and play despite the fact the head trainer told him not too. According to Ted, he suffered a concussion in 2002 and was told be the team's head trainer that he should stay out of any drills that involve contact. Johnson claims the head coach not only knew this information, but prodded Ted to participate in contact drills, perhaps hinting that his playing time or even roster spot were on the line if he did not oblige. Ted said he then went on to suffer many more concussions that caused him permanent brain damage, but they they too were a result from him coming back too soon from his original head injury. Johnson has even provided a document in which a physician advised the Pats of Johnson's issues, but Bill ignored it. I don't know what to make of all this quite yet, but it doesn't look good. Not only are Bill and the Pats staff being accused of something totally egregious, but the claims are coming from one of the players that helped define the workman like attitude that drew fans in to the New England dynasty. Ted Johnson represents all the things that were/are right about the way the Patriots win their games, and if it's exposed that things went down as he claims they did, this could not only tarnish the Pats mystique, but it could even expose Belichik has what some already think he is, a guy who tries to win at all costs. This story isn't going away, so expect more as it unfolds.
*As if a straight guy needed another reason not to roll around with another dude while sweating and wearing tights. A bunch of hick high-schoolers in Minnesota have contracted herpes that was apparently spread to them during a wrestling tournament. I mean I get it. Herpes is a disease that's spread through open soars, and these guys were sweating and rubbing skin together. But I want to know why people aren't saying maybe they got in some other way? It may sound juvenile, but after all these guys were voluntarily rolling around in tights with other sweaty dudes. I mean come on now. And what are they supposed to do now that their season has been suspended? Oh wait, they have frozen ponds in Minnesota right? I got two words you sweaty man humpers....Ice Capades.
*You notice you never heard any Todd Helton talk out of this guy. One reason for that was the story of his possible trade from Colorado to Boston basically broke and then dissolved in about 3 days. But the other reason was that the proposals I was reading online and in the papers were just absurd. The basic proposal, if we are to rely on reports, was the Sox sending Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez and two high end prospects (most notably RP Manny Del Carmen and RP Craig Hansen) in return for the 33 year old Helton and about 1/3 of the money to pay the remainder of his contract. Now I've been a big Helton fan for a long time, but this deal just isn't sweet enough. He would add stability and potency to our lineup for sure, but not enough of one to warrant giving up all that pitching. Besides, our lineup is already way too heavy with lefites for my liking (which seems like a good thing but can come back to bite you in the post-season) Del Carmen and Hansen can both turn out to be busts and I still like this deal not going down. No hard feelings Todd, but we need bullpen help right now way more than we need another lefty who has declining power numbers and recent injury issues (see: JD Drew).
*I also want to weigh in on the recent Tiger Woods and Roger Federer talk that's been buzzing around. (Disclaimer: I understand that these arguments are equivalent to a dog chasing the tail of it's dead father, but hey that's what we do in this biz) All these talking heads on TV have to fill the dead air with something, so they've decided to try and argue which one of these guys is more dominant in their sport. To me it's an open and shut argument. With all due respect to Mr. Federer, Tiger wins this one in a landslide. While Roger owns the tennis tour, he still only has to play one weird European guy at a time. Add to that, that while the impressive run he's been on the past few years has been amazing, it's not like other guys in history haven't put up similar streaks. With Elderick Woods, he's winning every week, period. And he has to beat entire fields of guys. And don't tell me how he skips events and picks and chooses the ones that suit him best. Or don't say how he "technically" hasn't won 7 straight events, because that's not at the heart of my argument. He's just more dominant. Even the best golfers of all time weren't expected to contend every time out, let alone win. The way I see it, Tiger instills fear in everyone he faces, and that's where he beats Federer. Sure, other players are "scared" of Federer, but nobody rattles his closest rivals like T-Woods. So to answer the unanswerable, Tiger is more dominant, and his current run is more impressive. But props to Roger, because for a long time now, we've been wondering if anyone, in any sport, could step forward and even challenge Tiger as the most dominant athlete in all of sports. (sorry Michael Shumacher but you just drive a car)
*And from the "apparently this guy just suffers from diarhea of the mouth" files, I bring you Nick Saban...yea...again. I guess when this guy isn't straight up lying to the press, fans and ownership, he's making "off the record" racist remarks. No he didn't use the "N" word, but he might as well have. When talking to reporters in what he thought was an off the record conversation, Saban referred to a Cajun contruction worker as a "coon-ass" and then proceeded to mock the way the man spoke. Of course, when the audio leaked, Saban claimed he was simply retelling a story and that he was sorry it was taken out of context, the damage has already been done. No, he won't be fired, but this still isn't good. Especially for a guy who makes his money recruiting those very people he seemed to so carelessly mock. Just stop talking to the media already Nick! Although if he's interested in some spin control, I offer my PR services to him. My solution would be to come out and say, "We all know I mean exactly the opposite of everything I say to the press! I love the black man!!!!!....Show me the money!!!!...wait...not the second part. Got a little caught up in the spirit of my man Cuba Gooding Jr. and that Scientologist guy in that movie with him....speaking of Cuba....
*And one more Super Bowl note....oh wait, can I even say Super Bowl? I love the sport and everything, but the guys that call the shots in the marketing department are straight up pinko Fascist's. A church in Indianapolis was served with a cease and desist order by the No Fun League's lawyers because they were advertising for a Super Bowl party. Yea I didn't see an issue either, but apparently the league is going straight up Nazi on anyone that attempts to benefit from using the words "Super Bowl" when advertising an event. When the church said they would stop charging (they were asking $5 to help cover the snacks, most likely delicious mini sandwiches, chips and plenty of soda), the NFL still said no dice. Turns out the church wanted to display the game on a 12-foot projection screen, while the league says they can only use up to a 55 inch TV. Now, I'm not naive, so I bet that the league busted a lot of other places for using the name they coined for the big game, but this one made all the noise. But it should have because it's rediculous! Leave God alone National Football League, or he might slap an injunction against you for using the term "Hail Mary"!
Just as I reserved the right last week to keep a team at #1 even when they lose, I also reserve the right to completely reshuffle my top 10 for no apparent reasons. Like I've always said, I watch a lot of games and I call 'em like I see 'em. And sometimes the little things I notice totally change my view of a squad and their chances in March. Why is UNC my new #1? Well, the Heels have flat out impressed lately. Not only are they 5-0 since losing to Virginia Tech on 1/13, but they've won those games by an average of 27 points each! And these aren't all stiffs here. They're 3-0 on the road in that span with a pair of huge wins (@ Arizona by 28 and @ Clemson by 22). More than that, though, it's the way the Heels win. They may be young, but this team goes deep, with 9 guys logging more than 12 minutes per. And they have clear leaders on their team to look to during crunch time with big guys Brendan Wright and Tyler Hansbrough down low and frosh stud guard Wayne Ellington. So then why is Kansas down all the way to 3 despite not losing? Well basically for one main reason. I still love the Hawks talent and depth, but it's the lack of a proven leader down the stretch of games that has me worried. Sure, they have a bunch of freakish athletes, but who is going to take those big shots? Until they prove they can battle in a back and forth game down the stretch against top competition, they won't be back in the top spot. Other than those two, like I said the top 10 has simply reshuffled itself. But keep an eye out for some rapid risers in the NCAA like Georgetown, Washington St., and even Winthrop. It's this time of year that teams that have been under the radar all season begin to gain momentum and push for a run deep into March. And in case you didn't notice, I've vastly picked up my college hoops coverage this week. Seeing as my favorite sport, the NFL, is winding down, and college hoops is right up there for me with the Sox, there will be a heavy dose of it right up through March Madness. It may only be two weeks till pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, but it's the 6 weeks until the Big Dance that'll get most of my love for the next month or so.
1. North Carolina (20-2) 7
2. Florida (20-2) 2
3. Kansas (19-3) 1
4. Ohio St. (19-3) 5
5. Pittsburgh (20-3) 6
6. Wisconsin (21-2) 3
7. Nevada (20-2) 8
8. UCLA (19-2) 4
9. Bulter (21-2) 10
10. Memphis (18-3) 9
just missed: Marquette, Texas, Oklahoma St., Georgetown
And oh yea. If you wanna check out how my poll compares to the frauds in the Coaches and AP polls, check em out right here http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/ratingsindex
Big Games This Week
Virginia Tech @ Boston College - BC has only been 2-2 since dismissing Shaun Williams. Another loss here lumps them in with Clemson and FSU, while a win puts them at the top of the ACC with UNC...with a bullet.
Providence @ Marquette - PC has a chance to put another nice stamp on their tourney resume...or this could be the game where they really start to fall off the Big East map. Talk about a big swing either way.
Ohio St. @ Michigan St. - Greg Oden and crew have struggled beating quality teams on the road. A win in East Lansing over Izzo and crew would shut a lot of people up...for now.
Texas A&M @ Kansas - Winner of this can say they are the best in the Big XII, and they'd have a pretty good argument.
Oregon @ USC - Yea I know the Pac 10 is garb, but they still matter when it comes to the tournament. If Oregon wins here, they can lay claim, along with UCLA, as the only left coasters that aren't posers.
Florida St. @ Duke - At 16-6, and 4-4 in the ACC, the 'Noles could make things really interesting with a win at Cameron indoor. But when your only road wins this season are against Stetson and Georgia St., your going to have a tough time finding too many believers.
Texas @ Texas A&M - If nothing else, just watch to see Kevin Durant. Man that boy can ball. And it doesn't hurt that the Aggies have had little trouble with any team not coached by Bobby Knight.
Syracuse @ UCONN - What happened to this rivalry? Hey at least Cuse could be 5-4 in the Big East with a win, while the JUCO/UCONN Huskies would be left at 2-7 with a loss. Ouch.
Air Force @ San Diego St. - I've been saying all season that Air Force is a bunch of frauds, and I stand by that. Hell, any team that's leading scorer is only getting 15 ppg doesn't scare anyone come tourney time. Add to that the only conference teams they've beaten on the road this year have a combined 8-8 record in the MWC.
LSU @ Tennessee - Big Baby Glen Davis is having a hell of a year, but the exodus of Tryus Thomas to the NBA has left a larger void than many anticipated for last year's National runner up. They've fallen to 2-5 in the SEC West, and only 13-8 overall, and while the committee will take their tough schedule into account, some marquee wins before the conference tourney would stop the Tiger faithful from biting off all their nails.
Pittsburgh @ West Virginia - The Mountaineers have a chance to reel in Pitt from atop the Big East with a win in Morgantown. A more likely scenario? Pitt announces their presence with authority!...anyone?...anyone?...that was a Bull Durham reference kids, watch a movie once in a while.
UNC @ Duke - Both teams are in the top 10. And if you even needed that as a reason to watch, you're a poser, and possibly even a skank. OK that was harsh, but this is one of the best rivalries in all of sport, and since Top Chef is over, there's nothing better to watch on Wednesday night anyway.
Kansas St. @ Kansas - The story of the Kansas St. revival led by former booze bag and Cincy head man Bob Huggins has been a non story for most of the season. But at 5-2 in conference and 16-6 overall they could start to make noise with a few marquee wins in February. They'll need some big wins down the stretch to help balance all the cupcakes they played in the early season. And if their coach manages to stay sober that should help too.
USC @ UCLA - Ya bro I'm totally diggin this matchup. Fer sure.
Georgetown @ Louisville - I still say G'town is gonna be mighty dangerous come tourney time with 7 footer Roy Hibbert (12.5 ppg 6.2 rpg) and lanky swingman Jeff Green (12 ppg 5.8 rpg). Yea I know I said i didn't trust squads with such low leading scorers, but this isn't the Mid Western Conference, and the Hoyas aren't a military service academy.
Stanford @ Washington St. - I'll be sleeping, you'll be sleeping, but we will both be missing the matchup between the two Pac-10 teams that scare me most come March. Stanford took the first matchup in Pao Alto, but look for the Cougars to even the score at home. The battle of the mascots alone should convince you Wash St. has this one. The Stanford Tree makes Otto the Orange look like Hannibal Lecter. (yea apparently the ads for that new Silence of the Lambs movie has finally penetrated my psyche)
Nevada @ Fresno St. - Don't sit there and tell me you know about Nevada, or that you think I overrate them, because frankly it just makes you look stupid. You might know about senior All-American Nick Fazekas (20.2 ppg / 11.6 rpg), but it's guards Marcellus Kemp and Ramon Sessions (combine 32.4 ppg / 8.6 rpg / 6.7 apg) that make the Wolfpack one of the most feared teams in the nation.
JUST LOSE BABY!
The talk has begun. Now that the Celtics have extended their losing streak to 13, everyone wants to either accuse the front office of tanking the season on purpose. The fans want to know. Are the C's holding Paul Pierce out of games for a shot at a franchise player, are they trying to get more experience for their young players (finally I might add), or are they actually trying their best to win but are just so pathetic that they actually can't beat anyone? I don't have the answer, but for the love of God I hope it's a combination of all three. I want Greg Oden here, and I want him here now. Only problem is (as we learned when we tanked to get Tim Duncan), the NBA draft lottery is exactly that, a lottery. Say we do lose the rest of the games, that still leaves the C's with at best a 20-24% chance of landing the #1 pick. So, while I will be rooting like the rest of ya for the Green to play for the most ping pong balls in that rigged event in Manhattan, I'm still very weary. I don't trust Aine further than I can throw his Mormon ass. And I can just hear it now...With the 4th pick in the 2007 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics celect....some 14 year old 8 foot European shooting guard....Here we go again....oh yea and it's 13 straight losses and counting my friends. Not only that, with the Bruins recent slide, nobody has won in the TD BankNorth Garden since January 6th, a span of 14 games combine. WICKED PATHETIC DUDE.
Next on ESPN's Cold Pizza.....Dana Jacobsen tacks on another 25 lbs and widens by another foot....dear lord lady get on a treadmill or somethin'
And one final note. I know a lot of you that read this love Jim Rome like I do, so here's a link to a hysterical sound board that will keep you busy for a good hour or so. And those of you that don't at least appreicate the man are just stubborn. No that's not a generalization, because when I ask these people why they dislike Rome I either get the answer that they hate his TV show (me too) or have never listened to his radio show. Or best yet I realize they are just too dumb to understand him. His radio show is hysterical, so listen and have fun. In the mean time feast on this...http://www.2flashgames.com/f/f-151.htm...and don't forget to click on Rome's red eye...Believe it!