Tuesday, February 27, 2007
College Hoops Top 10
1. Kansas (26-4) 1
2. Florida (25-4) 2
3. Ohio St. (26-3) 5
4. North Carolina (24-5) 3
5. UCLA (25-3) 7
6. Georgetown (22-6) 6
7. Memphis (25-3) 8
8. Nevada (26-2) 9
9. Southern Illinois (25-5) 10
10. Wisconsin (26-4) 4
just missed: Texas A&M, Texas, Louisville, Butler, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech
Wanna check out a bunch of suits awkwardly disagreeing with each other? Head here...
West Virginia @ Pittsburgh
Brigham Young @ Air Force
Florida @ Tennessee
Kansas St. @ Oklahoma St.
Texas @ Texas A&M
Maryland @ Duke
Virginia Tech @ Virginia
UCLA @ Washington St.
News and Notes
*Go ahead and add "surviving a plane crash only to have to swim for 90 minutes in 44 degree water to survive" to this list; being stranded on a snowmobiling trip and losing a toe due to frost bite, being shot with an arrow on a hunting expedition, being hit by a car, and winning an Olympic gold medal as perhaps the largest under dog in Olympic wrestling history. No, that's not the guy playing Sally Field's husband on the latest Lifetime movie, it's a real dude. And his name is Rulon Gardner. Most of us remember Gardner from his "Miracle on the Mat" match in the Sidney Olympics in 2000 in which he defeated Russian legend Aleksandr Karelin, who hadn't lost in like a million years. Then, it wasn't long after that, that Gardner began experiencing all this life threatening instances, the latest being this plane crash and frozen swim. And all that begs the question, is this guy extremely lucky, or extremely unlucky? On one hand, his plane crashed in a half frozen lake. On the other hand, he was able to survive in this lake for 90 minutes+ when all medical evidence says you should begin having severe hypothermia after only 30 minutes. Hmmm. Gold medal vs losing a toe. Successful motivational speaker vs arrow impaled in your back. You know, it's amazing this guy is still alive, but I'm gonna have to go ahead and say he's just an accident waiting to happen. If Rulon Gardner pulls up to the curb and asks me if I need a ride, I think I'll waive him by and wait for a ride from the Son of Sam or that crazy hitchhiking hooker from that Charlize Theron movie.
*The freaking NFL combine. It's not the event so much that I have a problem with as it is the way the events are perceived and dissected that gets me all riled up. It may just be me, but I don't get how a guy running without pads (something they never do in a game), in track shoes (again never in a game) and going straight for 40 yards (OK this happens but not nearly enough to make it relevant) tells us anything about what kind of pro this guy is going to be. Maybe I'm just bitter because my Pats took a guy last year that was relatively unknown until he came in and ran a sub 4.4 second 40-yard dash at the combine, and that guy has been a complete bust! Of course I'm talking about WR Chad Jackson, who did about as much on the field this season as I did. I understand that these drills and evaluations can help determine a players worth, but shouldn't the hours and hours of game film on a player be a much better indicator of how they will play at the next level? I can't imagine how it would. And what about this high class Crossword puzzle known as the Wonderlic test? All I know, is that even if this test was ever relevant, then Vince Young scoring a 6 and then getting Rookie of the Year at perhaps the most mentally complex position in the game but that sucker to rest. The way I see it, if your smart enough to score well on that thing, then you have been reading too many damn books and not practicing enough for football! Well, whatever, what do I know about scouting football players anyway? I guess what it comes down to is I'm just sick of all this over analyzing guys when they aren't even playing the game you are going to pay them to play. But like I said, that's just me.
*Only Manny Ramirez can show up 8 days late for camp and be considered "early". After telling the team, and by the team I mean Julian Tavarez, that he would show up to camp on March 1st, Ramirez surprised everyone when he lally gagged into camp this Monday, a full 3 days early! Like I said before, I could care less about all this so I'm not even gonna waste me time. I was just hoping that Manny tried to sneak in disguised as a Japanese reporter. Would have been more entertaining than him showing up with red braids in his hair. At least he's showing team spirit? Good news though. The Sox actually begin playing games today (2/27), and while not all the regulars will be in attendance, it's good to know they've actually taken the field. Next stop, full squad games! And as the season becomes more legit, my coverage and comments will likewise improve, so stay tuned.
*Now that the dust seems to have settled on the Corey Dillon situation, I'm gonna take another crack at trying to determine how this effects the Pats. After much debate over exactly what it was Dillon wanted, it's become clear that he has asked for his release from the team in order to explore opportunities with other squads. To me, this sounds like the Dillon that wanted out of Cincinnati. We thought that he was fitting in well here, but low and behold, the second a legit back shows up (Maroney) Dillon wants out. All due respect to the guy, but not only is he no longer a premier back in this league, he's also past the point in his career where he alone can handle a full load for a full season. Don't get me wrong, he's still an above average back, especially for short yardage and goal line situations, but any team that thinks he can be their only running back, they are going to be for a rude awakening. I would have loved for Corey to stay in New England and watched him team with Maroney for one more year, but it seems he's just too selfish. Apparently the Belichick approach of putting the team before yourself doesn't rub off on everyone. Go ahead Corey, while you're getting 3 more carries a game on some ass backwards NFC cellar dweller, we'll still be here competing for yet another ring. And as far as who the Pats could use to replace Unity Killin Corey Dillon? Free agency kicks up this week, and some of the names out there include Ron Dayne and Marcel Shipp. Both are durable backs that can help spell Maroney and work in short yardage situations. But don't expect the team to make replacing Dillon a huge priority. After all, Kevin Faulk and Heath Evans are still on the roster. While they might not be the best options, at least the cupboard isn't totally bare.
*This story comes from the sale of a Honus Wanger rookie card this week for $2.35 million dollars. Now, I used to be an avid baseball collector myself, and while I still hope someday either I or a child of mine will be able to pawn the collection for a pretty penny, I can't even fathom paying that much for a single card. Just because the gum that game with those cards was probably the inspiration for modern day Meth, doesn't mean the cards themselves should hold that much value. I understand a lot of people have a lot more disposable income than I do, but even a total card freak could use cake like that to take a much needed vacation. You know, get out of your freaking basement and get some color on your Caspar like dead skin flakes. If people really have loot like that to be tossin around, I would greatly appreciate their mailing address, because I'm willing to do a lot of things for $2.35 mil. Up to and including riding some sort of donkey like animal in a Provincetown parade wearing nothing but a kids sized small Tim Hardawy jersey. Gimmie that money!
I couldn't talk about the past few days in sport without talking about the epic 20 hour period from know on known as "Tropical Storm Miguel". While Mikey wanted me to go all "Bill Simmons" and totally recap the weekend's antics, I've decided that think I usually think Billy Boy is a slight tool, I'll just provide some on the more memorable outtakes. Here's a look at some of the quotes and characters that made the cut:
Providence Associate Head Coach Steve DeMeo (AKA Coach Tard) - I'm not one to judge anyone by the way they look, so rest assured that's not the only thing that got him this nickname. Besides, anytime you are drunkenly pointing out chicks in the bar and referring to them as "layups" while your vodka tonic is trickling out the side of your mouth, you are just begging for me to make an example of you.
John Egan (AKA Mr. Rhode Island) - Seriously, this guy knew everyone at every place we went. Seriously. And what a great guy, hooked us up with the ill seats so everyone could see me on TV! Not to mention he lives in Attleboro (although he says he can't wait to leave.....whaa whaa whaaa)
Tommy Valentine - To quote Mikey P, "I thought I'd have to move to Providence before I'd be able to tell people I actually knew a guy named Tommy Valentine"
And here are some memorable quotes:
(While Mikey P are walking back from the game and basically making fun of Italians by pretending we're Sabby)
Mikey P - "Uhhh stideech and uhhh sizeech"
Me - "Hey paisan!"
Short shady guy coming up from the side of us - "Hey you guys making fun of Italians?"
Me - "No, actually I am Italian"
Mikey P - "Yeah we were just talkin' about how Italians run this city."
Shady guy - "Well I'm Italian and I grew up around here, let me tell you they don't"
Mikey P - "It sure seems like they do."
Shady guy - "yea right, just head down to Atwells Ave and you'll see who really runs this mother fucker."
(right as we are leaving the Dunk)
Loser PC Fan all wasted - "I can't believe they let me be this good looking."
Me to everyone that could hear - "Apparently good looking now means so drunk I'm about to puke and piss everywhere" (yea everyone laughed and you know you would have too)
(confrontation after the game between former Cuse PG and current PC assistant Allen Griffin and some biter PC season ticket holder)
Douche Bag - "Hey Allen! I bet you're happy we lost you fuckin' traitor!"
Griff - "What?! What did you just say? You're a fag!"
Douche Bag - "Hey man there's your emotion, I was just trying to get you fired up" (a blatant back peddling lie)
Griff - "Fuck you man fuck you don't you ever.....etc
PC Suit - "Hey buddy, you talkin' to one of the coaches? How bout you say anything ever again and we take your season tickets away"
Douche Bag - (tucked unit between legs and began to sniffle)
(finally, my great conversation on Friday night with Coach Tard)
Tard - "Hey, you must know Leland Anderson huh?"
Me - "Yea, I actually recommended to him that he go to Providence right out of high school"
Tard - "Yea, why did he end up picking Michigan, do you know?"
Me - "Yea, they bought him a car"
Tard - "Whoa are you serious?!?!"
Me - "Hahahaha nah man I made that up."
So there you have it, the best of the one of the best weekends in a while. Had a good time, saw an old friend, and created some great memories. Thanks again to Miguel Pejada, and all the sore losers at the Dunk. N-I-T! N-I-T!
Last but not least. My boy Jared Hutter (AKA Lord Shirtless, Nappy Hutts, Lord Edward) showed me this site that allows you to bet on sports and actually win prizes without putting up any money. Check it out, it's called Wagerline and I just added it as one of the links on the top right of this page. Finally, a site that allows us to feed the need without draining the bank account or risking losing limbs to guys named Vinnie Boom Bots.
Friday, February 23, 2007
News and Notes
*I'm sure you've heard by now, but in case you haven't, Tom Brady knocked up his now ex fem slice Bridget Moynahan. Since I didn't get to it earlier in the week, and I figured you were all dying to here my take on it, I'll give you a little bit right now. While I don't see anything morally wrong with having a kid out of wedlock (as long as the child has two capable and involved parents), I do think that this situation will at the very leas take some of the glow off of the NFL's golden boy. Whether you chose to believe it or not, there are fans out there that will hold this against Tom Terrific. Some who viewed him as a perfect role model, will now group him in as just another NFL playboy. I look at it this way. Did he want this to happen this way? Probably not. I mean hell, the last thing you need when you're dating a smokin' hot super model is for your ex to tell you she's pregnant, but what can you do? Fact is, in today's world, things like this are more common than we like to think, and sometimes those normalcy's creep over into sports, and eventually effect even the most admired super stars. It doesn't effect the way I view Tom, and while I can see how it might effect the way others view him, everyone should just remember this. Athlete's may be role models simply by being athletes, but it's the job of the parents out there to tell their kids why they should admire a certain athlete. Read Charles Barkley's lips people. "Athletes are not role models!". God, you know I'm getting pathic when I try to get laughs out of Charles Barkley's lips two weeks in a row.
*Speaking of good role models. We're all familiar with the phrase "the only sure things in life are death and taxes". Well I propose changing that saying to "the only sure things in life are death, taxes, Joan Rivers and University of West Virginia or Cincinnati Bengal players getting arrested". And no, Chris Henry, having gone to to WVU and played for Cincy and getting arrested multiple times doesn't somehow make you the man. Who I'm talking about in this case is none other than former WVU star and current Tennessee Titan Adam "Pacman" Jones. Let's recap shall we? Pacman went up on stage at a Las Vegas strip club during NBA All-Star weekend and began showering more than 40 strippers with about $81,ooo in cash. Then, when the "working girls" wouldn't give him his cash back, he allegedly grabbed one by the hair and slammed her head to the stage. Then, after being confronted by a bouncer, Pacman smacked the guy with a champagne bottle and then bit him in the leg! Finally, shots rang out in the club, leaving 3 men injured, one critically to the point where he may never walk again. Of course, Pacman's agent says that his client had nothing to do with the skirmish, but something tells me that may be slightly inaccurate. I mean, aren't we talking about the same Adam Jones who has been questioned by the cops 7 or 8 times since being drafted in 2005? To his credit, Pacman is allegedly saying that he brought the money at the request of the club promoter as part of a stunt where he was told to "make it rain". I guess that's a term for showering amateur hookers with hundred dollar bills. So, with good reason, after it "rained" Pacman just wanted his loots back. Yea, I'm sure that's what happened Adam. You and you're boys were just chillin' and all of a sudden shots rang out right? Uh huh. And Britney Spears shaved her head to avoid chronic lice. I'm, sure this story is just gettin' revved up, and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.
*Move over sliced bread, we have a new winner. It's called "letting dudes with deadly and contagious blood diseases compete in competitions that are designed to draw blood and maim". And the man responsible for such an event actually going down? Well it's none other than Rocky V co-star and former top heavy weight contender Tommy "Gun" Morrison. After being barred from professional fighting in 1993 after a positive test for HIV, Morrison promptly dropped off the boxing map, as he should have. Now, Morrison is saying that the test was a false positive (despite him telling ESPN in 1996 that he indeed was HIV positive), and that he was basically black balled from the sport. Now, I don't claim to be any sort of medical expert, but if someone told me I was HIV positive and I was pretty sure I wasn't, I think I would go to great lengths to prove it. Then, when it was determined it was a false positive test, I would scream from every media outlet that I was hosed and robbed of my career. And let me tell ya, it wouldn't take me 13 years to make all that happen. All I'm sayin' is, whoever let this guy into the ring this time better have made damn sure he isn't carryin' the HIV. Cuz if he is, oh boy. Imagine the shit storm if he spread the virus through fighting? Move over herpes spreading wrestler, there's a new don of the disease in the ring now! Ay Yo Tommy! Lemme get that needle!
*Now I know we've had enough of the Duke lacrosse rape scandal, or whatever it's even become these days, but I have one final bone to pick before I let it rest. ESPN has recently begun promoting their coverage of the upcoming college lacrosse season by touting that they'll have coverage of national powers like the Duke Blue Devils. Granted, they Dukies have been very successful in recent years, but you really think bragging about having them on your airways is the smartest move right now? Is ESPN so greedy and heartless that they are trying to gain ratings over an alleged rape? You would have to think so. I mean, why wouldn't they instead promote Virginia, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse, three teams that have won a combined 17 division 1 lacrosse titles since 1988? Oh no, instead it's "check out the team with the dudes that raped a stripper, next on ESPN!" Really pathetic if you ask me. Good thing nobody is going to be watching anyway. I can say that since I was at Syracuse when they won two of those titles and never attended a single game! Boo ya!
*If Patriots' fans were pissed with 2nd round pick Chad Jackson because he under achieved in his rookie season, lord knows they aren't going to be happy with this next piece of news. According to the team, Jackson tore his ACL during the AFC Championship game against the Colts. Now, because it's the Pats, and because the news is breaking, we have very few details about the injury. But, if history is any indicator, this type of injury usually takes 8-10 months to completely heal. Translation: Don't expect to see Jackson on the field in '07-'08 either. Whether that's good or bad I've yet to decide, but it's certainly looking like a wasted draft pick at the very least.
*On one more Pats note, it's just breaking now, but it seems that Corey Dillon is going to announce his retirement this week. If it is actually true, I'll comment on it further later. For now, all I got is this. I don't think Dillon is headed to the Hall of Fame, despite his 11,241 rushing yards (14th all time) and 82 rushing TDs (16th all time). At this point, I'm more concerned about the gaping hole this leaves at RB for my boys. Yea, I love Maroney as much if not more than the next guy, but in today's NFL you really need two stud backs. Then again, the Boston Herald is also reporting that Dillon simply wants his release from the Pats to play for another team, not to retire. So stay tuned for more on this one.
*And finally, it's a sad day in Celtic Nation, and for once the sorrow wasn't caused by yet another loss. Instead, Boston fans and NBA fans around the country are mourning the death of former point guard Dennis Johnson at the age of 52 after he collapsed while coaching a Celtic D-League practice in Texas. DJ, as he was often called, spent 7 of his 14 seasons in the league with the Celts, including NBA title teams in '84 and '86 for Boston and the '79 Seattle Sonics (he was the MVP of those finals). Larry Bird called DJ, "the best I ever played with", and the man was probably involved in one of the most memorable plays in the NBA history in the Eastern Finals against the Pistons. I know I joke a lot about how much I hate the Celtics, but I do want to extend my appreciation for DJ. It's always sad when a great sports figure passes away, and even more so when when they are taken at such a young age.
College Hoops Top 10
1. Kansas (24-4) 1
2. Florida (24-3) 2
3. North Carolina (24-4) 3
4. Wisconsin (26-3) 4
5. Ohio St. (25-3) 5
6. Georgetown (21-5) 6
7. UCLA (24-3) 8
8. Memphis (24-3) 7
9. Nevada (25-2) 9
10. Southern Illinois (24-5) 10
just missed: Texas A&M, Pittsburgh, Texas
Check out Lunardi's Bracketology here http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/bracketology and as always, feel free to compare me to the FRAUD polls http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankingsindex
Big Games This Week
Syracuse @ Providence - You know, in the age of teams making runs in conference tournaments, it's way too cliche to call a game like this a "must win", but this one's about as close to that as it gets. Cuse is in dire need of a win due to their lacking RPI and strength of schedule numbers, while PC just could use wins period. Eh, who am I kidding. While probably only one of these teams will make the NCAA field of 64, neither is capable of doing any real damage. I'm pretty much only including this game because I will be there with Mikey P. Look for us on TV, we'll be the ones in the completely black Dunkin' Donuts center wearing ORANGE. Just pray that if I shoot my mouth off, then Syracuse actually wins. If not, it could be a dicey walk back to the car.
Pittsburgh @ Georgetown - I'm a firm believer that not only is Georgetown the best team in the Big East, but one of the best in the nation. Prove me wrong Pittsburgh. Prove me wrong!
Marquette @ Notre Dame - At this point it looks like both of these squads are sure fire tourney teams, but how good is either one? I was high on Marquette for most of the year, but recent struggles (losing 3 of last 4 including by 18 @ G'town and @ Depaul) have me rethinking the Golden Eagles chances. As for the Irish, they're way too inconsistent. One night they win @ Syracuse by 12, the next they're losing @ South Florida or @ Depaul. I know they beat both of those teams when they visited South Bend, but last time I checked they don't play any NCAA games there. At least not ones that Notre Dame will be a part of.
Brigham Young @ San Diego St. - Don't come crying to me after the NCAA tournament field is announced asking about BYU and SDSU. Instead, watch this game and figure these teams out for yourself! Despite the fact the conference gets no love, not even really from me, the Mountain West is poised to send 4 teams dancing (Air Force, BYU, SDSU and UNLV). The SDSU Aztecs are not a lock by any means yet, but a win over conference leader BYU certainly would help. And as far as the makeup of this team, it seems almost perfect for March. They have experience in seniors Brandon Heath (19.1 pts / 3.9 reb / 3.6 asst) and Mohamed Abukar (15.3 pts / 5.8 reb) as well as youth in underclassmen Lorrenzo Wade, Jerome Habel and Richie Williams (combine 29.4 pts / 15.6 reb / 7.8 asst). A balanced team that comes out of nowhere? Sounds like a Cinderella candidate to me.
Clemson @ Boston College - Dear BC fans, I told you so, I told you so, I told you so. I give the Eagles props for staying strong after losing Shaun Williams earlier in the year, but like I said, they were only atop the ACC because they hadn't played any decent teams in conference! 3 straight losses later, and it's possible they might even miss the Big Dance. Winnable games at home against Clemson and @ Georgia Tech still to come. But I said winnable, not guaranteed wins.
Indiana @ Michigan St. - This is how the dominoes fall. Now that Michigan St. has secured a bid with their win over Wisconsin, they themselves become a "marquee win" if beaten, especially at home. And fewer teams need a big win to secure their spot more than the Indiana Hoosiers. According to "expert" Joe Lunardi, the Hoosiers (at 18-8, 8-5 in conference) still need some help to consider themselves a lock for the dance. I see it this way. They are third in the Big 10, have beaten Michigan St. already and Wisconsin, and both their RPI and strength of schedule are in the top 40 in the nation. Does that sound like a team that really needs help down the stretch to make the dance? I didn't think so.
Wisconsin @ Ohio St. - Game of the week by far and away. Also, and intriguing match up between player of the year candidates Wisconsin F Alando Tucker and Ohio St. C Greg Oden. Sure, we might all know that Texas F Kevin Durant is gonna win that sucker, but shhhh don't tell those guys.
Kentucky @ Vanderbilt <-----FRAUDS
North Carolina @ Maryland - Wait. Two ACC teams on National TV? You've got to be shitting me! Watch Maryland get trounced it you want to. The Terps are another perfect example of a big name team taking perfectly good tourney bids away from deserving Mid Major squads.
Georgetown @ Syracuse - Orange really need a big win to put on the ole tourney resume. This is their last shot at doing so before the Big East tourney in the Big Apple, and seeing as Gerry McNamara is probably busy delivering mail or MySpacing in Scranton, PA, I'd feel a lot better if they grabbed this one before they head NYC.
West Virginia @ Pittsburgh - The "I Sleep With My Cousin" Classic. First 1,500 in the door get a tin of Skoal and a banjo. (insert Beverly Hillbilly's song here)
Brigham Young @ Air Force - Second game in a big week for BYU. And if they win this one, they can not only stamp their ticket for March, but they can help sew up the Mountain West regular season title. Ew, I can't believe I just said nice things about a team with an Ainge on it. (Danny's son, Austin averages 7 points 3 boards and 4 assists in about 25 minutes a game)
Florida @ Tennessee - Florida rebounded nicely from their loss to Vanderbilt with a nice win against South Carolina, and should continue their winning ways against the Vols. Tennessee on the other hand is another in the latest of teams that really needs a win to impress the tournament committee. Who better to beat than the defending National champs? I'd watch this one just to see Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl sweat through three undershirts and a bright orange blazer. That guy makes Jenna Jameson look hygienic.
Kansas St. @ Oklahoma St. - I can't tell what that sound is. It's either Tim Hardaway's public image, or the Oklahoma St. Cowboys plummet ting back to earth. Since their thrilling OT win against the Texas Longhorns on 1/16, OK St. is a meager 3-5 and are fresh off a 20 point loss to Texas A&M. Seems like a few days ago that they were a top 10 team and a main reason why the Big XII was the best conference in the country. Now they aren't even a lock for the tournament. So, one more time. They were 15-3, and they might miss the tourney? No wonder former coach Eddie Sutton was poundin' booze faster than John Daly at a frat party.
Texas A&M @ Texas - Acie Law IV (17.1 pts / 45% 3-pt / 5.4 asst) of Texas A&M vs Kevin Durant of Texas (24.4 pts / 11.4 reb / 1.7 blk). While Durant seems to have National player of the year honors all locked up, it's more than possible that Law IV could still be considered front runner for Big XII player of the year. Seems dumb I know, but these awards are funny like that (a lot like baseball where a lesser player on a better team sometimes gets the nod). However, with the emergence of Texas quickly replacing the demise of Oklahoma St., the top of the Big XII is looking stronger than the top of any other power conference.
Maryland @ Duke - See: UNC @ Maryland
Virginia Tech @ Virginia - I'm telling ya, there aren't two good teams in a major conference that there's been less buzz about than these two. Fact is, these two in state rivals sit tied for 2nd in the ACC behind the Tar Heels, yet neither is considered a tourney "lock". Again, I honestly don't know where these experts are looking. Va Tech swept the season series with UNC and beat the Dukies @ Cameron. and Virginia has been one of the best teams in the nation since starting conference play. Not to mention their dynamic back court of J.R Reynolds and Sean Singletary average a combine 36.6 pts, 8.5 reb and 8.6 asst each night out. Guards win in March, and that's as good a pair as any you'll find.
UCLA @ Washington St. - Just to prove that I'm not a total West Coast hater, I want to go on record as having said that both these teams are not only legit, but have a good shot at doing some damage come tournament time. Unlike those other FRAUDS from the WHACK 10.
And since I've been having a good time unleashing these pop culture videos on all you folks, here's another. I'll take 3 large helpings of whatever Anna Nicole was on in this video. Not too soon to be cracking jokes about her is it? Eh, sue me. (note: please don't sue me) And I've also added a nice video of recently crazed out Brit Brit on the prowl with her latest weapon of choice....an umbrella! Mary Poppins look the hell out!
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
This may shock a few people, but I don't think the Chargers hiring of Norv Tuner was a bad move at all. I know I bashed the Cowboys for attempting to hire Turner, but this is a totally different situation. First, Norv not only was the last offensive coordinator in San Diego prior to the recently departed Cam Cameron, but he was the one that actually installed the offense that the team still currently runs. Secondly, this team isn't in need of a new coach that will implement a new philosophy and mind frame. All they really need is a better signal caller. I think it's widely agreed that it wasn't talent on the field that held these boys back last season, it was their coach. And while Norv Turner may not have the regular season success that Marty Schottenheimer had (58-82-1 as head man in Washington and Oakland, but those teams blow anyway right?), or even any real post season success (1-1 in career) somethin' is tellin' me a lateral move like this to another experienced coach is just what the Chargers need. Besides, just because Norv hasn't had success at his two head coaching stops, doesn't mean he hasn't had coaching success. There was a certain Dallas dynasty in the early 90's that he had a rather prominent hand in (offensive coordinator) and his recent stint as 49ers OC can also be classified as a success. I mean come on, raise your hand if you honestly thought the 9ers offense was going to do anything this year after such a dismal display in 2005. You can justify it by saying Alex Smith got older and the team added weapons like Frank Gore and Vernon Davis, but to totally ignore Norv's impact would just be ignorant. That being said, it's not like I'm ready to hand the Lombardi trophy to the Bolts just because they now have Norv Turner as their head coach. But I like the move. Instead of bringing in some young gun, they decided to let a veteran basically guide this squad, Make no mistake, Norv is there to "not make the mistakes Marty did". But if he can't get a few post season wins in the next year or so, look for the Chargers front office to completely abandon this strategy and begin looking for someone to peg as the next new hot young coach. So, for the record, I can totally see why anyone would take issue with the Chargers hiring Norv Turner, but for the time being, I don't see it has all that bad of a move.
News and Notes
*The New England Patriots took an important step in their off season this week when they assigned the franchise tag to CB Asante Samuel. Now, since I've already been asked exactly what the franchise tag is about 55 times this week, I'm a gonna splain it to ya. When a player is franchised, they receive a one year, guaranteed contract worth the average of the top 5 salaried players at their position for that one season (or a 5% raise of their latest salary, whichever is more). Now, the key word there is "guaranteed". Most contracts in the NFL aren't guaranteed, meaning that when a player is released from a team, they stop getting paid unlike in the other major pro sports. That's the case for almost all NFL players, even stars like Brett Favre or Tom Brady. The franchise tag is used for two main reasons. First, is to prevent a player that you don't want to pay big money for a long term contract, which is the case with Samuel. The fact is, Asante would command much more per year on the open market than he will be getting paid by the Pats this season. The second reason to franchise a player is simply to protect your interests. The way this happens is three fold. Obviously they protect themselves by keeping a big name player for another season, but they also allow themselves a time table to work out a long term extension if that's their ultimate goal. Even more important though, is that if Samuel can work out a deal with another team while being franchised by the Patriots, New England will receive 2 first round picks from that team as compensation. So, essentially, the player gets screwed in the franchising experience. Sure they get one year guaranteed money, but what if they get hurt in that one season? SCREWED. But hey, I'm a Patriots fan first and foremost, so anything that helps them get the damn thing done is A-OK with me. Hope that explanation was helpful. And the next time someone asks me about franchising I'm simply going to respond with "Sucks you don't have the internet, you tool".
*When the most exciting part of NBA All-Star weekend was Charles Barkley kissing a 67 year old man on the lips, you know the event has lost almost all of its luster. If I were grading All-Star weekend, that sucker would be Velcroing his trapper keeper together for another shot at the 2nd grade. First off, the skills contest is bogus. I mean I guess I don't have a total beef with the actual contest itself, but why will LeBron and friends compete in that and not the freakin' dunk contest! That pisses me off. And don't even get me started on the dunk contest. I guess I can take some solace in the fact that Gerald Green won and Nasty Naked Nate Robinson didn't, but it was another snoozer. The best dunk of the whole contest by far was Gerald Green's first dunk attempt, and then the rest were mostly duds. I do, however, want to give props to Dwight Howard for at least attempting to add some excitement and showmanship to the festivities. But no matter how high he stuck that sticker on the backboard (pretty sure it was 12 feet 6 inches). the judges still seemed to be more impressed with Nate Robinson jumping to 10 feet. Just to recap though, a guy that is 5'8" jumped to 10 feet (difference of 4'2"), and a guy that's 6'11" jumped to 12'6" (difference of 5'7"), and the smaller guys feat was still more impressive? Guess that's about what you should expect from a league full of high schoolers that spend more time in strip clubs than gonorrhea. And don't even get me started on the All-Star game itself. Never has there been a sporting event where all you really needed to do was watch the SportsCenter highlights. Just one look at that game and you realize why so many true bball fans prefer the college game these days. And finally, you have the race between 44-year old retired NBA Hall of Famer Charles "the Round Mound of Rebound" Barkley, and 67-year old NBA referee Dick Bavetta. It was entertaining for sure, but I totally could have done without the two grown men kissing on the lips at the end. And still no confirmation that at that moment Tim Hardaway obtained an inadvertent erection while watching on his TV at home.
*I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only thing better than watching Tiger Woods win, is watching Phil Mickelson choke a win away. All Phil needed this weekend at the Nissan Open was a par on the final hole of the tourney to secure a win. Instead, Philly Cheese Steak bogeyed the final hole, and lost the tournament on the 3rd hole of a playoff to one of my favorite golfers (and friend of T-Woods) Charles Howell III. Anyone that has "the third" in their name gets props from me, and anyone that beats Phil is immediately moved right into my good graces. I wonder if Tiger told Howell some secret to getting Phil to collapse under pressure. Like maybe he told him to tell Phil he looked thin, but to then whisper something under his breath immediately after. When Phil says "what was that?", Howell would just dismiss it as nothing. But what he really would have said was "that fat ass looks like Jared from Subways bastard child with Riki Lake". And honestly, I don't even know where I came up with that one. How on earth is Riki Lake still registering in my conscience?
*This just in. Manny Ramirez is saying he won't show up on time for the start of Spring training....again. Better yet, it's not even that Manny came out and said he won't be in camp until March 1st, it's that Julian Tavarez said it for him! Personally, I could care less when Manny shows up. Hitter don't need the full six weeks of Spring training to round into shape, and everyone knows it. Now, I understand that there are people out there that think he's putting himself above the team and sending out the wrong message to his teammates by pulling this shit, but I also understand that the intense media coverage of the club makes all that seem like a bigger deal than it actually is. Manny's teammates know Manny. They know this is what he does. And they also know that he's going to hit .300+, mash 30 or more dingers and drive in 130+ runs. They also know that when it comes to hitting, nobody works harder all year round than Manny. Sure he might take a whizz in the monster from time to time, and cut off throws from center field, but that's just part of the Manny package. I don't want to overuse the "Manny Being Manny" cliche, but that's just what's goin' on. Leave the man alone. He'll make it to camp when he's good and ready, and that should be good enough.
*And a funny thing happened on February 2, 2004 that is still going on today. No, it's not the "Hollywood train" being run on Lindsay Lohan, or even the start Britney Spears mental meltdown. Nope, it was on Ground hog's day more than 3 years ago that tennis great Roger Federer moved into the #1 spot on the pro tour rankings. And since, he's yet to relinquish that position, a streak that has now reached 160 straight weeks. With that, Federer ties the record of Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors, who held the top spot from 1974-77. He might not be Tiger, and he might be Swiss, but damn is Federer good. And while this might not seem like a big sports story to most of you, I'm just using my little journalistic power here to expose you fools to somethin' other than the NFL for a few seconds. No need to thank me all at once for making you smarter, but sending me an e-card to express your gratefulness wouldn't kill you either.
*Finally, I'd like to mention that I would comment on the thrilling finish of the Daytona 500 if I either A) watched a single lap of the race or B) actually cared about NASCAR. If I want to see hicks driving their cars, I can hop on route 90 and have all I can bare in about 90 minutes. (note: I did hear a rumor that a guy crossed the finish line upside down and on fire though, and that actually sounds pretty damn cool)
Well, I guess it only took one week, and weak wins @ Boston College and at home against 17-9 Georgia Tech for the National media to insert the Duke sausage back into their mouths. Not only are the Devils back in the top 25 this week, but those two seemingly "decent" wins propelled them up nine spots from 26 to 17. The next time someone tells me there isn't a Duke bias in the National media better be ready to have me blow a snot rocket directly in their eye. Now, back to talking about teams that are actually good. Kansas moves back into the top spot this week thanks mostly in part to Florida getting spanked at Vanderbilt. I know, I know. I said teams don't fall in my poll just because they lose. But come on. Vanderbilt? Plus, remember when I said Kansas didn't have enough of an identity to be considered the team to beat? Well, I've changed my tune. Most of my change in heart can be due to the improved play of freshmen PG Sherron Collins. The "best Kansas guard since Kirk Hinrich" has been so solid at the point lately (14 ppg 4 apg 45% 3-pt in Big XII play), breaking pressure, driving to the hole and distributing the rock to all his talented teammates. Remember, no matter how talented your team, you;re going to need great guard play come tourney time. Now that they have that with Collins, the Jayhawks have officially again become my team to beat. Barring them losing an embarrassing game a la Florida, they should remain at the top from here on out. Here's how the rest of my top 10 is shakin' out these days...
College Hoops Top 101. Kansas (24-4) 2
2. North Carolina (23-4) 3
3. Florida (24-3) 1
4. Wisconsin (26-2) 4
5. Ohio St. (24-3) 5
6. Georgetown (20-5) 7
7. Memphis (23-3) 6
8. UCLA (23-3) 9
9. Nevada (24-2) 8
10. Southern Illinois (23-5) NR
just missed: Texas A&M, Washington St., Pittsburgh, Butler, Alabama
dropped: (10) Texas A&M
Duke humpers feel free to go here http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankingsindex
Texas Tech @ Texas
West Virginia @ Providence
Missouri St. @ Wichita St.
Boston College @ Virginia Tech
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma St.
Florida St. @ Maryland
Washington St. @ Oregon
Duke @ Clemson
Friday, February 16, 2007
*Leave it to the Evil Empire to stir up the first bit of contract controversy in the marathon that is the Major League Baseball season. Not a single pitch has even been thrown in Spring training, and already the Yankees have a problem with their stud closer, Mariano Rivera. This week, upset that he has yet to be offered a contract extension, Rivera said that if one doesn't get done before the season, the Yanks won't have any advantage in obtaining him through free agency at season's end. Now, as a Red Sox fan, this is music to my ears. I mean who wouldn't want the best closer in baseball history out of their division, let alone out of your main rivals bullpen. If I were Georgie and the Yanks, I wouldn't mess around with this one. What, you're afraid to waste a little cake on a guy that might be on the down turn in his career? Eh, just throw it on the pile with the other $200+ mil your already set to drop.
*And on another "leave it to MLB" note, it's only been two days, and I'm already sick of the 24/7 Dasiuke Matsuzaka coverage. Sure, I'm just as excited as the next guy to see what this kid can do on the diamond, but it's getting ridiculous faster than the battle for Anna Nicole's Trim Spa'd corpse. Too soon for a crack like that? Well, my bad. But I think it rings true. And it's not helping the cause that the Dais Man's translator seems to have gone to the Bill Belichick school of answering reporters. No matter how long his responses seem to be, all the answers come out sounding like Stephen Hawking's answering machine. "I like baseball" "Baseball is what I play". How about this. We just let the guy play, and stop handing out press passes to every Pokemon peddler from the Tokyo times. 200 media members are already at Fort Myers and players don't report for 3 more days! The last thing I want is for this guy to be a distraction to his teammates. I know they are media crazy in Japan, and that everything they do can somehow be controlled be their cell phones (except for sex, but I hear they Sony is fast at work on the "Me Love You Long Time" flip phone), but I don't think even they need information regarding each step the guy takes during Spring training. Ease up boys and let the man do his thing. If he starts to blow, then I say let him have it. Until then, keep your distance, or I'll have some ninjas on the next boat to Fort Myers. Konichiwa bitches!
*While I have never really been a fan of the actual game when it comes to NBA All-Star weekend, I have religiously watched the dunk contest ever since I can remember. However, unless the contest improves this year, I may even stop watching that. Not only has the quality of dunks seemed to go down in the last 4-5 years, but it's starting to turn into an afterthought and a freak show. Anyone who watched last year knows that Andre Iguodala got robbed because people like watching midgets dunk, and I don't see this year being any different. 5-9 "Nasty Naked" Nate Robinson is back to defend his title, and honestly, I don't see how he could lose. He won last year basically because he was small, and he can jump. Well, he hasn't grown, and last time I checked he could still jump, so where's the suspense. Iguodala even pulled off a dunk (throwing the ball off the back of the backboard and reversing it) that I'd never seen, which is rare, and still didn't win! So what's it gonna take this year, Gerald Green jumping over the backboard? Or maybe Tyrus Thomas dunking a ball that's actually on fire? It's a joke. But, I will still watch, at least for one more year. But if Dwight Howard, Tyrus Thomas or Gerald Green can't make me stand up and give one of those And1 "oh snap" moments where you start shoving all your boys in the room, then I may just call it quits. Somebody needs to step up and make the prize money worthwhile for all the big names to compete, then maybe the event can be restored to it's glory. Anything short of that just ain't gonna git er done. Also, I'd like to officially throw my support behind the City if Sin in their efforts to land an NBA franchise. NBA ballers are gonna get with hookers and gamble anyway, so why not just make it so they don't have to drive as far to do so? We all know these guys tend to get in trouble when they have to drive anywhere. I know Stephen Jackson is feelin' me. Wait, I got it. How about the Las Vegas Bengals? Just throwing it out there.
*Now I know earlier in the week I took a run at Tiki "When am I finally going to come out of the closet?" Barber, but it seems he felt the need to give me even more ammo to fire his way. Barber came out earlier this week and vented about how Giants coach Tom Coughlin's rough practices helped convince him it was time to retire. If I may echo the thoughts of University of Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins, "It ain't intramurals!" (that rant may not have been up to Denny Green's lofty standards, but it's quickly becoming a classic in my book) Simply put, grow a set Tiki. Your out of the league now, no need to whack guys on your way out the door. Although we all know you'd love to be whackin' some guys now don't we?
College Hoops Top 10
1. Florida (24-2) 2
2. Kansas (22-4) 3
3. North Carolina (22-4) 1
4. Wisconsin (25-2) 4
5. Ohio St. (23-3) 5
6. Memphis (22-3) 7
7. Georgetown (19-5) 8
8. Nevada (23-2) 9
9. UCLA (22-3) 10
10. Texas A&M (21-4) 6
just missed: Southern Illinois, Pittsburgh, Washington St., Butler
Big Games This Week (Bracket Buster Games)
Winthrop @ Missouri St. - The first of the Bracket Buster match ups pits #1 squad in the Big South against the 3rd best from the Missouri Valley. Winthrop may be 12-0 in conference (22-4 overall), but with an RPI of 83 and the 286th toughest schedule in the land, they need a big win bad. If they fall in this one, anything short of getting the Big South's automatic bid will prolly leave them in the NIT. Really a shame too. They're probably one of the most talented teams to avoid being on TV all year, led by feisty guards Torrel Martin (14 pts 5 rebs) and Michael Jenkins (16 pts 4 rebs). Little inconsistent though. Lost @ UNC and Wisconsin by a total of 10 combine, but lost @ Maryland and A&M by a combine 31.
Southern Illinois @ Butler - Best two "Mid Major" teams in the country. Winner probably has the inside track to a #4 seed or better come tourney time. Gotta love the Salukis in this one though. Butler is mainly a perimeter scoring team, and that never bodes well against arguably the best defensive team in the nation.
Georgetown @ Villanova (in Philly) - Villanova has been a real mystery this season. One game they look like a team that could make a decent tourney run, the next they look mediocre at best. And it's not like they're losing either, they just aren't looking that great. If you ask me, and most people do, they look like a team on the cusp, a la Kentucky. They beat everyone they should, but can't seem to elevate their game to beat the big boys. Here's there chance to make a statement to the selection committee. Won't be easy though against a Hoya team riding an 8 game winning streak and looking for their 10th Big East win.
UCLA @ Arizona - It's important that UCLA right the ship after that loss to West Virginia last week. Plus, it wouldn't hurt my feelings if Arizona was knocked out of the top 25 again. I mean really, how long can an 8-5 Pac 10 team with one marquee win (@ home vs Memphis 2 months ago) stay in the conversation as a prominent team? I know I'm a Zona hater, but for once I'm thinkin' I have a pretty good case.
UNC @ Boston College - In case you were wondering why people haven't been making more noise about a Boston College team that leads the ACC (18-7, 9-3), chew on this. Their only impressive wins in conference are at home against Virginia and Virginia Tech. Let's see how they do down the stretch. They've already dropped 2 to the Blue/White Devils, and now they finish up with the Hells, Hokies, Yellow Jackets and Clemson. Who's ready for the fastest fall from grace in the Northeast since Bill Buckner? OK maybe that's a little harsh.
Kentucky @ Alabama - It may not look it, but this game will go a long way in deciding how my bracket shapes up in March. Bama has played classic underachiever all season long (including blowing an 18 point lead to Florida the other night), and Kentucky has been a classic FRAUD. Should the Cats prove me wrong, I might have to rethink how I view the SEC.
Memphis @ Gonzaga - I'll be honest. I just wanted to preview a Gonzaga game so I could use the phrase "psychedelic mushrooms". Hey when one of your stars gets caught with buds and booms, it's news. Besides, it gives a whole new meaning to the words "road trip" doesn't it? And in an unrelated story, Nate Newton has recently moved to Spokane, Washington.
Holy Cross @ Hofstra - Holy Cross didn't pass their recent test @ Bucknell, and I don't expect them to pass this one either. Simply put, they aren't that good, and even with a win against the Pride (it was so much cooler when they were the Flying Dutchmen wasn't it?) anything short of the Patriot League title with send them to the NIT. Hofstra's been swimmin' up stream too. Despite having the back court of Loren Stokes (21.4 pts 5.8 rebs) and Antoine Agudio (20 pts 4 rebs) lighting it up night after night, they are only 3-3 in their last 6 and 3rd in the Colonial Conference. To quote Dana Carvey as H. Ross Perot, "Not gonna do it!".
Appalachian St. @ Wichita St. - Losing @ Drake on Valentine's Day probably dashed the last hopes Wichita St. had for an at-large bid, but let's not bury them quite yet. After this match up with Southern Conference leading Appalachian St. Mountaineers (pronounced App-ul-atch-in), they still have big win opportunities against in conference tourney locks Missouri St. and Creighton. If the Shockers can stay at .500 in the MVC (currently 8-8) and make a decent run in the conference tourney, they could be back in business. As for the Mountaineers, when your biggest win is @ Virginia, you best be winning your automatic bid, so this game is more just for show.
Bradley @ Virginia Commonwealth - Bradley is another Missouri Valley team in need of a strong finish to secure a tourney bid. While in a slightly better situation than Wichita St. at 9-7 in conference, they can use all the big wins they can get too. Much like Appalachian St., VCU just needs to focus on holding it down in conference. They seem to have the regular season title in hand, but with awful computer numbers (#45 RPI, #128 strength of schedule) and no marquee wins, they too will need their automatic bid for any shot at dancing.
Drexel @ Creighton - Despite being 4th in the Colonial, Drexel could make a strong case with a win against the Blue Jays. They have a slew of quality wins (@ Syracuse, @ Villanova, vs George Mason), but also a number of head scratchers (@ Penn, @ Rider, @ William & Mary). Creighton is already in, but the Drexel Dragons could start to make some real Cinderella noise with a win here and a nice run to at least the Colonial title game. Stay tuned.
UCONN @ Syracuse - People often think I hate on the Orange, but I'm just a realist. And the reality is, if they can't win this game, then they don't deserve to be in the mix for an at-large bid. A win here would give them 20 wins and guarantee an above .500 Big East record. I know they have some ugly losses, but if that's not enough for a bid these days, then I'm not sure I know what it takes. Oh yea and UCONN is beat. Guess that's what happens when you steal laptops. Punks!
Villanova @ Marquette - One thing about playing in a power conference like the Big East is that you're never short of chances to get big wins. That's the plus side. The down side is, well, it's tough to get wins. Marquette needs to rebound after dropping back to back games against Georgetown and Depaul (gulp), and should they drop #3 in a row to Louisville, you gotta start thinkin' they are fraudulent at best.
Kansas @ Kansas St. - Sure, the Jayhawks smacked K-State by 27 just a week ago, but this one is in Manhattan (that's Manhattan, Kansas for all the geographically challenged). Their computer profile is bad for a major conference team (RPI #52 SOS #98) and their only key win is against USC, so they need this one bad. But this is a classic example of how one big win could throw them right back on the bubble. Then again, Kansas is again in the drivers in the Big XII, and don't expect them to exactly hand the reigns back over to A&M without a fight.
West Virginia @ Providence - Clock is ticking for the Providence Friars. They've been real solid this year and have probably overachieved a little, but without a few big wins down the stretch it's not gonna be enough. PC has been another example of a team that usually wins when it should, but just doesn't have what it takes to win those big games (see single digit losses @ Pitt, @ Marquette and @ Notre Dame). A win in either of those would probably have the Friars closer to the bubble.
Texas Tech @ Texas - You know it's getting good in the Big XII when Bob Knight is getting reprimanded for comments he made about the officiating after their loss against OK St. As if this match up of in state rivals jockeying for conference position needed anything to spice it up. Oh and did I mention Bob Knight is in a pissy mood? (PS - Kevin Durant is a pimp on a mission...mission: stay in school one more year to avoid playing for the Celtics. Sounds like a good mission to me!)
Missouri St. @ Wichita St. - It's the Val baby! Go ahead, throw up the Shocker!
Boston College @ Virginia Tech - The Virginia Tech Hokies have been the picture of up and down this season. They are 18-7 (8-3 in the ACC), and in the top 25, but their resume is shady at best. They've beaten Duke once and UNC twice, but also have losses @ Western Michigan, @ George Washington and @ Marshall. I mean, maybe they just don't travel well, but that's not exactly a good sign come tourney time is it? Add to that they're recent 21 point loss to the Eagles in Chestnut Hill 2 weeks ago, and it makes this game about as tough as any to pick a winner.
Texas A&M @ Oklahoma St. - As much as I love me some OK St., things are going downhill in Stillwater faster than Eddie Sutton pounds Jack Daniels. Remember when these Cowboys were flirting with the top 10? Well, now they've dropped to 5-5 in the Big XII, and are fresh off a 19 point shalacking at the hands of the Texas Longhorns. If they can hold court against Mizzou on 2/17, then this game will be a chance for them to gain so momentum back before the conference tourney.
Florida St. @ Maryland - Loser has their bubble officially burst in the ACC. You heard me Frosco. I don't care if FSU beat Florida, or even the Globetrotters for that matter. If they can't start winning on the road, they will be receiving a bus ticket to MSG in a few weeks. And yes, in case you wondering, that's Frosco on the right there fresh off his visit to the John Amaechi 3D Experience in Provincetown.
Washington St. @ Oregon - I'm not sure how they've managed to do it, but the Washington St. Cougars have managed to stay off the National radar all season long. Even now, as they climb towards the top 10, most people still have no idea who these guys are. They may not score a lot of points (another one of those squads where the leading scorer, G Derrick Low, is below 15 pts per game) but they play great defense. Tony Bennett (not the old singer), the son of former Wisconsin and Wash St coach Dick Bennett, has continued his dad's repuation for stingy teams. A win in Eugene agains the Ducks will affirm that this Cougar squad, along with UCLA, are the cream of the weak Pac 10 crop. But don't get it twisted, those two teams are actually legit, no matter how overrated the rest of their league may be.
Duke @ Clemson - The two biggest FRAUDs in the ACC battle it out for the title of "Who is the Bigger Phony". Loser takes all. And oh yea, Josh McRoberts is still gay, and if he wants to fight me he knows where to find me (shhhhh no he doesn't). Seriously though, how long ago does it seem that the 19-6 Tigers were 18-0? Answer: A long time
And as one final note, I'd like to inform all my loyal readers that my good friend Michael Patent (AKA Mikey P, Miguel Pejada, Sanjay Kumar and Tyrone Washington) has returned to society. Not only that, but he's decided to pay me a visit next weekend. And when he returns to society, the kid comes back better than Jay Z. He's scored some choice seats to the Cuse/Providence game and some comped meals to boot! Allow me to officially welcome you back Sanjay, you have been sorely missed.