Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"I'm Like a Phoenix, Rising From Arizona!"

Damn, I'm smart! Was I on the money about all Conference Championship games being blowouts, or what? Well, know this. Even if I was wrong, I'm sure I can think of great reasons why, and maybe even convince you that I was really right all along! Don't think I can? Well, there's only one way to find out, now, isn't there?...

To kick things off, I'm obviously going to talk about Brett Favre and the Packers. Oh, wait, you mean that pill poppin' loser threw his like, 1 millionth pick and blew the game? Alright. Well, in that case, I guess I'll start with the now 18-0 New England Patriots.

To be honest, the game didn't go anything like I thought it would, but I'm still happy with the win nonetheless. Brady played very un-Brady like with his 3 picks, but thanks to great performances by the much maligned defense, and emerging weapon Laurence Maroney, fans were spared the ultimate letdown, and New England will test their perfection at their 4th Super Bowl appearance in the last 7 seasons. While it was surprising to see Brady struggle, especially in the red zone, it was a true testament to this team that they could basically overcome all that and win "without" the league's Most Valuable Player. Maroney was able to tote the rock for an impressive 122 yards on 26 carries, and Kevin Faulk and Wes Welker kept the chains moving in the passing game despite the fact that Brady struggled to connect with both Randy Moss and Ben Watson. Perhaps if the Chargers weren't as dinged up, they might have been able to pull this one out, but between Rivers valiantly hobbling around on his surgically repaired leg, and LT sitting on the sidelines in a cape (still not sure why he took himself out of the game), it was just too much for them to overcome. Now, it's on to Arizona for Brady and the Pats, where they will take on sudden phenom Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

As for all the smack I figured the Chargers would talk on the field, it took almost a full 24 hours after the game had ended for a San Diegan to get a shot off. In fact, it wasn't Philly Rivers, LT or even Shawne Merriman takin' cracks this time, it was oddly slender center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick called out Richard Seymour in an expletive filled tirade, saying the All-Pro was a dirty player, and the Pats defense was actually better when Jarvis Green was on the field. Now I have to admit, I did see Seymour take a few cheap shots during the game, but for Hardwick to open his mouth the way he did, just proves that he's a whiny baby, and a sore loser. You lost the game, man. If you want revenge, get it on the field. Otherwise, shut your hole and enjoy your golf...

Oh, and as for Brady being spotted in a walking boot on Monday while visiting Giselle in New York, I'm not gonna let myself worry about that for at least another week, and I recommend you all take the same approach. Let the New York media do what they must to hype up this game, because it's only gonna end up hurting their own squad. Like those vulchers even care who wins...

Also, who the Hell kept calling Dan Marino on his cell phone during the CBS halftime show? For that matter, why did he have his phone on?! I get mad when people call me when I know I told them I'm workin', but I think if you're on TV, and your boys are still dialin' ya up, then they're prolly about as smart as Isiah Thomas, and you should really consider removing all sharp objects from their reach. Dan, shut off your phone. Dan's idiot friends, lay off the blow and stop calling Dan. When he's done with work, he'll come bail you out of prison. Until then, you're just gonna have to sit there in that cell, and let that big guy in the corner stare you down while he licks his lips and makes threatening pelvic thrusts in your general direction. Give me your cocktail......FRUIT! Wait. I bet it was Finkle on the phone...or was it Einhorn? I always get those two mixed up anyway...somethin' about the world's largest hemorrhoid...

OK. So obviously I'm gonna talk about the great game that went down between the Giants and Packers, but first and foremost, I demand to know what in the name of sweet baby Jesus happened to Tom Coughlin's face over the course of that game?! I mean, I know it was cold, but why was it that he was the only tard that looked like he'd tried that hand burning experiment from Fight Club on his entire face? Dude, wear a mask, wear a head wrap, or coat your entire mug with Vaseline, I don't care. Just don't stand there, with your face basically falling off, and scare the living shit out of all of us watching the game in High Def!

Good, so that's out of my system. As for the actual game, Brett Favre blew it, and Eli Manning continued his recent trend of "not" blowing it. I'm still not really on the Eli bandwagon, so while I won't say that he won the game for the surprising Giants, I feel perfectly comfortable saying Brett Favre was the main reason Green Bay won't be playing in Arizona in two weeks. Favre looked like the one that wasn't used to the weather, or the pressure, going only 19 for 35, and throwing a gross, game clinching interception in overtime. And if it wasn't Favre blowing the game for the Packers, then it was definitely head coach Mike McCarthy. I understand that he feels Al Harris and Charles Woodson can cover any WR in the league 1-on-1, but when it becomes obvious that's not true, you need to make an adjustment! Letting Plaxico Burress treat Al Harris as his whipping boy, simply so you have a better shot at stopping the run, obviously wasn't working! Time after time, Plax bitch slapped Harris, tugged on his dreds, and hauled in another chain moving catch. It just didn't make sense that they never made a change! I stand by this statement. Green Bay didn't LOSE the NFC Championship, but the Giants didn't WIN that thing either. The Giants let a bunch of opportunities pass them by, not the least of which were Lawrence Tynes two missed game winning field goals, and the Packers flat out played like ass. The result, thankfully, was a close game that was at least fun to watch, but if you think that either of those teams deserved to win that game, then you're probably also picking the G-Men to take down the Pats in the Super Bowl. Simply put, you're delusional.

And when it comes to Eli Manning, apparently I'm the only one who hasn't been absolutely blown away by his playoff performances. I mean, I'm all for the giving the guys props for not turning the ball over, but I actually read in a recent poll that better than 50% of the country thinks the guy is the playoff MVP, and all I hear in the media is how great he's been the last 5 weeks or so. Am I missing something, here? He has increased his completion percentage to a respectable 63%, and he does have 4 touchdowns and ZERO interceptions, but I see that as not sucking, as opposed to lighting the world on fire. Based on the reaction, you'd think the guy threw three touchdowns and 400 yards to help the G-Men rally past the Pack, not that he went 21-40 with no scores. Maybe I'm undervaluing Eli, but looking at his numbers I find that highly unlikely. The Giants are a team based on running the ball on offense, and pressuring the QB with their great front 7 on defense. If Eli can go about his business, handing the bean off, and not making mistakes, it will certainly serve the Giants well. But to give him credit for simply "not sucking" doesn't cut it in my book. Has he improved of late? Of course he has. But has the performance over the last month caused me to stand up and take notice to how good a QB he is? Definitely not. If the Giants have any shot, he'll have to play mistake free, but don't think that his play will by any means be a difference maker in Super Bowl XLII, unless the G-Men get blown out, in which case his play will have most likely been the reason...

I'll get to plenty of Super Bowl talk over the course of the next two weeks, but I figure if I don't start off slow, I might burn out faster than the batteries in Rosie O'Donnell's "girlfriend." And we wouldn't want that now, would we?

Last Week: 0-2-0

Overall: 65-47-6 (.577)

New and Notes
Now with two weeks to wait until the Big Game, it leaves plenty of time for me to really sink my teeth into the college basketball scene. Sure I'm psyched for the Super Bowl and the Patriots certain romp to glory, but I can only take so many Tom Brady interviews, and Eli-Peyton comparisons. And if your smart like I am (or as humanly close one can get to my level of intellect), you'll use that down time to get up to speed on the evolving season, and start gettin' your act together for the Big Dance in March.

There was a lot of action this weekend, as media #1 UNC took a dive, and joined the likes of UCLA, Washington St., and Georgetown as top tier teams to recently lose, but I wouldn't consider any of the losses "eye openers." Fact is, teams lose games, and just because a few UNC fans cried when their Heels finally succumb to their first defeat, doesn't mean that it's the end of the world. What those pussies don't realize, is that losses like this can often help a team, and in this case, I feel it was a good wakeup call for North Carolina as they move forward. Now they know they can't take any team for granted, and that they are gonna be getting the best effort their opponent can offer on any given night. Wake up calls like that can often be beneficial for a team, and we'll see soon enough whether this is a sing of things to come for these squads, or just your run of the mill bump in the road...

Being the nice guy I am, not only have I lightened the load by telling you all which games to keep an eye on, but I'm even going out of my way to give you a heads up on some teams so you won't be left scratching your head when they pop up on your office bracket. After all, it's always the teams nobody knows that end up pulling the upsets, right? You know your gonna wanna pick one of these sketchy schools for an upset or two, so I figure you might as well want an actual idea of how the team plays, rather than just telling peeps you picked them to win because they have a funny name, or a mentally unbalanced mascot. Here's the lowdown on a few squads that as of now, look like possible "bubble" teams that could by mysteries to most come tourney time. Granted, these teams have long roads ahead of them before they can slip on their dancin' shoes, but it's never to early to start your research when a possibly payday is on the line. Check 'em out...

DePaul Blue Demons (8-9, 4-2 Big East)
I know it might sound odd for a team that I have as "under the radar" to be from the mighty Big East, but going 4-7 out of conference will tend to throw you on the bubble pretty quick. However, when I take a look at DePaul's schedule, I like their tourney chances if they can hang tough for 10 wins in the Big East. Seven of their nine losses are; @ Creighton, @ Kansas, Vandy, Ole Miss, Clemson, Georgetown and @ Villanova. Granted, it would have been good for them had they actually won any of those games, but it will be hard to count any of those against them if they can keep winning, and actually make a case for themselves come Selection Sunday...

Baylor Bears (15-2, 3-0 Big XII)
Seems like only yesterday that this school was mired in a murder/drugs/not drugs/coaching scandal that left it in ruins, but Baylor seems to have bounced back with authority in '07-'08. They already sport wins over Notre Dame, South Carolina and Nebraska, to go along with close losses to Washington St. and Arkansas. More or less I'm just shocked they haven't fallen off the face of the planet, so that's why they made it near the top of my list as impressive "bubble" teams...

Houston Cougars (13-3, 2-0 Conference USA)
While all the talk out of Conference USA has been about the Memphis Tigers, and rightfully so, the Cougars are also doing their best to make a play for the post season. In what used to be a multi-bid league, CUSA took a major hit when half the league defected to the Big East, and has since had trouble getting a large contingent into the dance. If Houston continues to get solid play from their stellar backcourt, they shouldn't have any trouble holding down the #2 spot in the conference, and a sure fire spot in the tournament. Senior Dion Dowell leads this team as an all around threat, averaging 13 points, 8 boards and 2 blocks a game, all while pouring them in at 43% from the 3 point line. Add him with Rob McKiver, who's good for more than 21 a night, and you've got a tough combination that could be deadly in a "one and done" scenario...

Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (13-6, 5-1 Big Sky)
You always have to be weary of senior led teams that like to run up and down, and that's exactly what these boys bring to the table. They were blown out by Kansas in Lawrence, and lost a road game to Arizona earlier this year, but those games might prove to be just the right type of experience to prepare them for an upset in March. They average better than 74 points a game, and are led by senior forward Kyle Landry, who's good for better than 17 points and 9 rebounds a contest. They run, they play D, and they won't be scared of the big boys. Dangerous combination...

Akron Zips (14-3, 4-0 MAC)
To put it plainly, the MAC always produces teams that nobody wants to play in the post season. This year, the best of the bunch appear to be the Akron Zips. I know we've all seen the ZIPS hat, and have laughed about it possibly being a unit of measure for a certain "narcotic," but behind that hilarious pun, there's an actual team that can ball it up. They don't have any real quality wins as of yet, but close losses to Winthrop and Dayton in pre conference play let me know they can hang with the good ones. They bring a real balanced attack to the table, with 8 guys averaging 13+ minutes a game and 6 guys getting better than 7 points a game. Lots of unselfish seniors often lead to surprising tourney success...

UNC Asheville Bulldogs (14-4, 3-0 Big South)
*Everyone remembers when UNC's Tyler Hansbrough dunked on Asheville's 7'7" center, Kenny George, but what you should have taken away from that game was that this team could actually play some ball. George might be mostly a lumbering freak, I'll give you that, but it's the backcourt play that impresses here. Guards Bryan Smithson and KJ Garland combine for 33 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 11 assists per game, all while shooting better than 39% from downtown. A 7'7" center, no matter for stiff, and a pair of ballers like that? Wouldn't be shocked if they could create some matchup issues. They lost @ UNC by 12, and @ Tennessee by 13, so how shocking would it be for them to hang with lesser squads, on a neutral court..

I get all that info by watching games like the ones below. Well, that and the delicious Internet. But I always say that it's best to trust your eye when it comes to judging a team, so do yourself a favor and check out a few of the games listed below.

Tennessee @ Kentucky
Drake @ Creighton
Wake Forest @ Clemson

UNC @ Miami
UCONN @ Cincinnati
Iowa St. @ Kansas

Duke @ Virginia Tech
Washington St. @ Arizona
Dayton @ Xavier
UCLA @ Oregon
Seton Hall @ Providence
Nevada @ New Mexico St.

I'll have all the weekend's big games for ya on Friday morning, to go along with my fresh top 10 poll. I'm feelin' at the top of my game now, so it's sure to be even more correct than usual, if you can believe that. I'm amped baby, and I'm chuck full of opinions on this sport that are just waiting to be spewed! "You tell college hoops I'm comin'....And I'm bringin' HELL with me!!!"

While I'm talkin' hoops, I need to comment on the Knicks/Celtics game I watched yesterday while I took the day off in recognition of Martin Luther King's birthday. OH, and before I get to that, I want to clear one thing up. The holiday is in recognition of the day in which King was born, January 15th, and is held the Monday following the 15th every year. It is NOT the anniversary of his assassination, despite the fact that many media members, and many of you out there, seem to think so. OK, so back to the game. I really don't have anything to offer as far as the play on the court, as much as I have criticism to offer the Knick players, and Boston head coach Glen Rivers. As for the Knicks, I finally get why they suck. It may seem like they have some talented named guys on their squad, but when all those guys look like they've spent the hours leading up to the game throwin' back White Castle "slyders" and milkshakes, it's no wonder they're a freakin' embarrassment. Between Eddie Curry, Jerome James and Quentin Richardson, you got about 1,000 pounds of cheese and deep fried treats, that used to be about 700 lbs of actual basketball talent. I hate to say it, but even Isiah might not deserve this, that tiny little pimp. It does give me a great idea for a reality game show involving the Knickerbockers, though. Each week, someone gets fired until the team is actually good. I call it "The Biggest Loser." Ha!

As for "Doc," I've said all along his poor decision making would be this team's downfall, and he did little yesterday to change my mind. In a pre game interview, Rivers said he wasn't sure how healthy Rajon Rondo was, but he was gonna play him unless he started noticeably limping on the court. OK. First off, duhhhh. You're gonna take a guy out if he's limping. #2, if you're not sure he's healthy, and your team is 32-6, then why the Hell even risk playing him? And #3, why give all this information to the press right before a game? Maybe it's the Belichick in me, but it seems that the less you give the media, the less you give the other team, and they better off your team will be. Keep your mouth shut Doc, and at the very least, stop playing dudes that are injured when your team has already clinched a playoff spot in freaking January...Dumbass...

I happened to catch the Roy Jones Jr/Felix Trinidad fight this weekend on Pay Per View, and I must say I was rather disappointed. Maybe I just expect too much from boxing, but I wanna see knockouts and haymakers, not some strategic chess match of jabs and body shots. Those two traded "decent" shots round after round, and I came to the realization that it's gonna be a long time before I watch two Pay-Per-View fights in the span of a few months, ever again. Wake me up when the heavyweight division doesn't consist of an 8 foot Russian, and a bunch of ex-cons. Then maybe I'll feel like watchin' again. Then again, I might be too busy producing my new Knicks' reality show, so you better make it sooner rather than later...

Also, I thought I'd add this story fresh from the Cam Neely "why don't you just kick my dog while you're here" category. Upon busting a drug dealer in his hotel room, police not only seized the guys goods, but also his winning $1,000 scratch ticket. They say it was bought with proceeds from illegal activity, so it had to go, but I say it was just their way of rubbing it in. Either that, or they got caught trying to cash it in themselves and needed a snappy excuse as to why they had it. You know how cops is, all corrupt and whatnot. Oh, and if you didn't get the Cam Neely reference, then you don't that commercial, and you need to check it out. Ahh ESPN2. It seems like only yesterday you started showing sporting events that only women, and men in the south, seem to enjoy. Too bad I couldn't find the commercial on YouTube. Yeah, I was fairly surprised myself...

Finally, I'd like to share with you the answer to the mystery that has boggled European morons for generations. Why don't American's like soccer? Well, my simple minded Eurotrash friends, when your announcers are getting this excited about a player being "onsiders" and scoring a single goal, we don't get how it is that all of you haven't killed yourselves from boredom by now. Here's what I mean...

I don't know what's worse. Having to listen to that guy doing a soccer game, or listening to Bryant Gumbel do anything besides the Gumbel to Gumbel episodes on Family Guy. " appears as if the greasy European man has, um-hm, kicked the sphere into the, um-hm, netted scoring box, but they have decided to send it up to the officials for an instant review"

It's gonna be a fun two weeks, man, so make sure to keep it tuned here for all those Super updates that are sure to start rollin' down the good pimps...


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