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Monday, January 26, 2009

College Hoops Top 25 (1/27): If It's Gonna Be That Kinda Party...


If College Basketball were a house party, then the Duke Blue Devils would be the ugly chick with the big rack in the bathroom giving out free blow jobs. You know you know better than to go anywhere near them, but when all your friends are blindly stepping into line and unzipping their flies, you can't help but think that maybe everyone else is right. Maybe she's not as beat as you thought. And besides, it's not that bad if she wants to do it, right?...

Well this guy's takin' a stand. I won't be swayed by the big jugs that are the Duke name, or the free fellatio that is their gaudy record. Instead, I'm gonna hang in the kitchen with the keg, and avoid being a perverse footnote on some poor soul's lonely road to a life that ends on the bathroom floor of a bus station in a pool of their own urine...

OK, perhaps that visual was a little extreme. But it was all in an attempt to get across the metaphorical point that college basketball is just one big party, and the Duke Blue Devils are the confused whore either giving you thrills, or simply pissing you off and making you feel uncomfortable...

And if it is going to be that kind of party, then I may just have to go ahead and insert my reproductive organ into a bowl full of Idaho's finest deconstructed and buttered up carbohydrates. At least I can be sure that they won't one day find Jesus and write a tell all book about how they swallowed the whole basketball team in one sitting...

It's week 2 of my Top 25. Get some...


Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25
1. Pittsburgh (18-1) 1

The Big East is king, so that makes the Pitt Panthers Zeus. Or maybe it's Hercules, I can never seem to remember. Either way, Pitt's still the only team I've seen this year with the ability to score, defend and rebound from every spot on the floor. Whether it's LeVance Fields outside, DeJuan Blair inside, or Sam Young every place in between, Jamie Dixon's boys have about a million ways to beat you, and just as dangerous, are prone to do it a different way on any given night...

2. UCONN (18-1) 2

3. North Carolina (17-2) 3

They're still head and shoulders above any team in the ACC. And while that might not mean what it used to, it's still good enough that they'll be a sure fire #1 seed come tourney time...

4. Louisville (15-3) 6

UCONN and Pittsburgh, say hello to Louisville. After early season losses to Western Kentucky and Minnesota, the Cardinals have rebounded nicely, going 7-0 since the start of '09, including a 6-0 start to Big East play. Pitino's boys are big, strong, fast and finally playing with the confidence that made them last year's trendy pick to make the Final Four. They keep this impressive play up, and they could even enter March as a chic favorite to cut down the nets...

...and FYI. It's pronounced "Lew-Vull", not Louie-Ville. I don't know why, and I don't make the rules. But like I always tell people, we don't pronounce it Ark-Kansas or Wor-Chester either. After all, it's not their fault they're from Kentucky and will never have the ability to read above a 4th grade level. I say we cut 'em some slack...


5. Duke (18-1) 9

God help us all if the Dukies take care of business this week on the road against Wake Forest. If they do, we'll have to hear about how great they are and how big a genius coach K is until the Tar Hells come to town on February 11th. And could it be any more taylor made for the Devils? They finally get to play the Heels, and they'll have them at the cozy confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium...

6. Oklahoma (19-1) 5

The Sooners are still the beasts of the Big XII, but what exactly that means isn't all that clear. And don't expect the picture to get any clearer anytime soon. Oklahoma's next 6 opponents have a combined 8-18 record in conference play until they finally play back to backs @ Texas and against the 4-0 Kansas Jayhawks...

7. Marquette (17-2) 8

I'm on the bandwagon, kids, and I've made room for some friends. Just make sure you're not late to the party. There's really not enough dip to go around, and word is head coach Buzz Williams didn't get his nickname from his receding hairline...

8. Wake Forest (16-1) 4

9. Arizona St. (16-3) 12

10. Texas (14-4) 10

11. Michigan St. (16-3) 11

12. UCLA (15-4) 14

13. Kentucky (16-4) 17

14. Syracuse (17-4) 7

Louisville and Syracuse might as well have switched places after the Cardinals narrow but decisive defeat of the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Louisville got their first real big road win in conference play, while Syracuse was exposed as a team that's going to struggle to win against bigger teams that are more defensively active. The Orange managed just 4 of 16 from 3, shot just 35% from the field and were out-rebounded by the Cardinals 39-35. The good news is they can still score in bunches, and their D held Lew'vull to just 37% shooting...

15. St. Mary's (18-1) 15

16. Xavier (17-2) 20

Nothing's sexier to a pollster than respectable non-conference win during conference play, and the Musketeers 10 point win @ LSU was exactly that. It also lends credence to the belief that guys who find college basketball wins "sexy", are virtually irresistable to women. Case in point...

17. Butler (18-1) 16

18. Washington (15-4) NR

Big win against UCLA doesn't tell me that the Huskies are better than the Bruins, but it tells me their legit. I like the fact they're packed with veterans too, with Jon Brockman on the inside, and Justin Dentmon and Quincy Pondexter on the outside. The fact that a freshmen guard named Isiah Thomas is leading them in scoring (16.3 ppg)? Well that's just flat out creepy...

19. Gonzaga (14-4) 21

20. Davidson (16-3) 22

21. Villanova (15-4) 18

22. Georgetown (12-6) 13

For whatever reason, either the win over Syracuse or the loss @ Duke has sent the Hoyas reeling. Since scoring a 14 point win at home against the Orange, G'town has dropped 3 straight to Duke, West Virginia and Seton Hall, with the Mountaineers beating them in their own gym by a mind boggling 17 points. I still have faith in JT3 and the boys, but it's gonna take a few solid wins to really make me a believer again...

23. Purdue (15-4) 23

24. West Virginia (14-5) NR

Can you say Kevin Pitts-karma? Bob Huggins and West Virginia are a match made in heaven. Just like celebrity rehab clinics and reality TV. Ahhh Dr. Drew. Is there nothing you can't do?

PS - This is America. If you don't like watchin' celebrities do drugs and endanger themselves and their families, then you can get the Hell out!

25. Kansas (15-4) NR


just missed: Notre Dame; Illinois; Memphis; Missouri; UNLV; USC; LSU

dropped: (19) Notre Dame; (24) Texas A&M; (25) Tennessee


ESPN/USA Today and AP Polls

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings


Conference Power Rankings

Let's go ahead and end this argument right now...

Not only is the ACC not as good or as deep as the Big East, but I wouldn't even like their chances if they went head to head with the up and coming Pac 10...

In the Big East, Pittsburgh, Lousiville, UCONN and Marquette make up the top. Teams like Syracuse, Villanova, Notre Dame, Georgetown and West Virginia give the conference some serious depth. And even bottom dwellers like Seton Hall, Rutgers and Providence are no easy out when playing on their home courts...

In the Pac 10, UCLA and Arizona St. were joined this week by Washington as legit contenders, while Stanford, California and USC make up a strong second tier...

But in the ACC? Sure North Carolina is good, but what's anyone else bringing to the table? Even if you want to buy Duke and Wake as conference heavyweights, who else in the ACC is gonna scare anybody on a neutral court? Maryland? Florida St.? Virginia? Georgia Tech? Certainly not Clemson. Matter of fact, no matter how much you love the ACC, I'd have trouble believing that you think any team other than those top 3 and either Virginia Tech OR Miami would even be able to hang in a conference like the Big East, Pac 10 or SEC...

The ACC is just a house of cards. Clemson's already been exposed, and should either Wake or Dule turn out to be softies, then the whole bunch of 'em are going to instantly lose any shred of credibility the conference may have had...

1. Big East 1

2. Pac 10 3

3. ACC 2

4. Big XII 4

5. SEC 5

The SEC is the real wild card in all of this. Like what the Hell do you make of the fact that Arkansas, a team that's currently 0-4 in conference, has wins over both Oklahoma and Texas?

6. West Coast Conference 6

7. Big 10 7

8. Mountain West 8

9. WAC NR

10. Atlantic 10 9


dropped: (10) Missouri Valley


Sure are some good games on this week. That is, if you're not too busy watching 24...


This Week's Slate...

1/26
Marquette @ Notre Dame (ESPN 7 pm)
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma St. (ESPN 9 pm)


1/27
Texas @ Baylor
Miami (FL) @ NC State
Purdue @ Wisconsin (ESPN 9 pm)
BYU @ Utah


1/28
Duke @ Wake Forest (ESPN 7 pm)
Pittsburgh @ Villanova
LSU @ Tennessee
Michigan @ Ohio St.
Syracuse @ Providence College*
UTEP @ Houston
UNC @ Florida St.


*you may remember last year's installment when I could be seen in my Kueth Duany jersey going berzerk and sitting behind the PC bench...on a night where the rest of the pathetic crowd was wearing black. Probably won't get a repeat performance this time around, but that's not a certainty quite yet!...

1/29
St. Mary's @ Gonzaga (ESPN 2 11 pm)
California @ UCLA
Stanford @ USC
Clemson @ Virginia Tech
Illinois @ Minnesota
Alabama @ Arkansas
San Diego @ Portland


1/30
Brown @ Cornell

Hey, I figure if I have to work it, then you're at the very least going to made aware of it's existence...


1/31
Notre Dame @ Pittsburgh (ESPN 12 pm)
Georgetown @ Marquette
Stanford @ UCLA (ABC 3:30 pm)
UNC @ NC State (ABC 3:30 pm)
Washington @ Arizona St.
West Virginia @ Louisville
Michigan @ Purdue (CBS 1 pm)
Providence @ UCONN
Florida @ Tennessee (ESPN 9 pm)
Arkansas @ LSU
Baylor @ Missouri
San Diego @ Gonzaga (ESPN 2 6 pm)
California @ USC


2/1
St. Joseph's @ Dayton


Player of the Week

Earl Clark, Louisville

His numbers aren't gonna wow ya, but he's the cog that makes Pitino's Cardinals work. This week's stats are a great example. In Louisville's 2 road wins over Rutgers and Syracuse , Clark averaged 15.5 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. What's even more impressive, is that the guy averages over a block and a steal a game, all while managing to stay out of any serious foul trouble. Now that's a guy you can depend on come tournament time...



So there it is, kids, in all it's glory. You learned a bit, perhaps laughed a bit, and are just flat out a better person for having experienced it...

Make sure to check back on Friday for my Super Bowl pick, along with several other good reasons you should be watching Sober House on VH1. Here's a hint. It has nothing to do with that fat, busted chick from American Idol...

See ya then...

100...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pap Smeared, Bauer Jeered...

No time for small talk and pleasantries today, kids. Let's get right down to bidness...


Barry Obama

Earlier this week the Nation welcomed it's 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama, to the Capital with a welcome fit for a conquering ruler. Only problem, was that he sounded to me more like a guy that had just accepted a job as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. I mean was it me, or was there a lot of "we have talent, and we used to win, so dammit we can win again!" type shit in there?

Ah, well whatever you think of the man and his policies, I hope as I am, you're looking forward to a fresh start. Maybe not the radical changes a lot of people are expecting, but at this point, a new guy at the helm couldn't hurt...

Let's give the guy a shot, huh? Give the guy a chance. I figure, if he can look at the Raiders and see a contenders, then maybe, just maybe, he'll be able to pull this country up by it's boot straps, and once again lead us to the promised land...Ah, shit. I just got caught up in that idealism shit, didn't I?...

Quick, let's move on to some sports news before I decide to completely embarrass myself...


AFC Championship

I guess it's poetic justice really. I mean before the season began, I picked the Baltimore Ravens to go 4-12 and be in utter disarray. So I guess it's only appropriate that in all 3 post season games they played this year, they somehow managed to bend me over against the spread, and make me their San Quentin Meat Puppet...

In reality, the better team won, and that's really all there was to it. Now the Steelers move onto the Super Bowl. And while most fans think the game is against the Arizona Cardinals, some of my friends seem to have the delusion that this Super Bowl could very well determine whether or not the Patriots were the premier team of the first decade of the new millennium...

Now I'd get into stats and break down why that argument is ludicrous, but I'm deciding instead to refer to all my friends as pink hats. I mean should I really listen to such a pointless argument from a group of people who didn't know what time a single playoff game started since their precious Pats weren't playing?

Yeah, I think not. Get some knowledge in your system, and maybe then we can talk...Maybe...


NFC Championship

Conversely, the Cardinals have been pretty damn good to me this post season, but it has virtually nothing to do with how well they may have been playing on the field...

Against Carolina, I just thought that 10 points was way too much. I mean it's the playoffs Divisional round of the playoffs, right? I mean how often do teams get blown out? Personally, I don't even have the answer to that question, I just felt that 10 points was a tall order to ask of any team at that point of the season...

Against the Eagles, it was my distrust in all things Philly that led to me taking Kurt Warner's crew. My logic was that the Eagles would blow the game in the final minutes, but their choosing not to show up in the 1st half turned out to work out too. The out-of-this-world play of Larry Fitzgerald didn't hurt my cause either, but I'd rather end the talk of this game by saying the Eagles blew it, and now their free to shave their hideous beards...


As for my Super Bowl prediction? I'm holding off til next week, but I'll give you a heads up towards my thinking...

About a week ago when Cuse was playing Georgetown, I asked my buddy Jared Hutter to send me the spread from his iPhone. It's Syracuse + 6.5. I comment to him how that seems like a lot, and ask him if he feels the same. His response? "Either we cover, or we get blown out". Not exactly Nostradamus, but I gotta admit that's how I'm feelin' about the Cardinals. Good thing I have another week to figure out which way I'm gonna lean...



Jonathan Papelbon

I can see it coming, and it aint gonna be pretty...

My bread and butter, the thing I like to promote the most about myself when it comes to my sports rhetoric, is that if nothing else, I try to have as little bias as possible when it comes to analyzing and commenting on my "home town" teams. But Jonathan Papelbon? Dudes startin' to put me in a pretty tough spot...

The always high energy and loquacious Boston closer was on TV again this week, saying he though he deserved the same $14 million a year type contract that New York Yankee legend Mariano Rivera is set to get paid in 2009. Paps, fresh off signing a 1 year deal for $6.25 million to avoid arbitration, has always been boisterous, and this is not the first time that he's compared his game to that of the Pin Stripes sure fire Hall of Famer. Now I admire the confidence he has in his game, and there's no doubt he's one of the best closers in baseball, but all this talk about being somehow equal to Rivera is just making him look straight up like the back woods hick he undoubtedly is...


Don't believe me? Well then let's just check out the tale of the tape:



Mariano Rivera

39 years old (11/29/69)

14 seasons (9 time All Star)

482 career saves / 2.24 career ERA

4 World Series Titles

34 post season saves

9 seasons of 35+ saves

12 seasons of 65+ innings pitched


And here's the kicker. Rivera didn't start making more than $6.25 million until the 2000 season. Up to 2000 he had 129 saves in just 3 season as NY's full time closer...


Jonathan Papelbon

28 years old (11/23/80)

4 seasons (3 time All Star)

113 career saves / 1.84 career ERA

7 post season saves

2 World Series Titles

3 seasons of 35+ saves

2 seasons 65+ innings pitched


So at this point of his young, and yes very impressive career, Jonathan Papelbon has done absolutely nothing in my eyes to suggest he's even living on the same planet as Mariano Rivera. Is he a great pitcher? Yes. But Kobe Bryant's a great basketball player too, and he's no Michael fucking Jordan, now is he?


Listen, Jono, it's like this. If you wanna be the wild and crazy hick, that's cool. Just don't expect people to take you seriously when you try to talk about business or your place in history. You're a closer, and a damn good one that's been very important to the Red Sox success. But the contract you signed, says you have to deal with this arbitration process for the 1st 6 years that you're under the Red Sox control. Bobby Jenks just got a deal for a little over $5 mil a year, and he's got more saves (117). Granted his ERA is a little more than a run higher than Paps, but that's where that extra $1.25 mil comes from, am I wrong?

The act is just getting tired. Mariano Rivera is a once in a lifetime talent, that turned one simple pitch into more than 500 saves, 4 World Series titles and well over 100 million dollars. You are just a great closer, with the "potential" to one day be considered one of the greats. And with closers, that's an iffy proposition. At no other position do guys go from looking like sure fire prospects, to middle relief throwaways more quickly. Just as Mark Wholers, Mitch Williams or Derrick Turnbow. 40 saves one year, Home Depot the next...

I won't say you should consider yourself lucky, because that's just being arrogant. But shut up and pitch man. Let people like me bring up the comparisons to Mariano. It's your job to make as much money as you possibly can, I get it. But mouthing around and making yourself sound stupid usually isn't the best way of getting the bigwigs to crack open the wallet and hand you that long term deal...

So keep Riverdancin' and chuckin' heat, and there won't be a problem. But keep yappin' like a Ted, and you'll receive a spot on the roster of Sox I despise. Right next to JD Drew. I doubt he'll talk to ya, but at least you won't feel so lonely...


Jason Varitek

Thanks to what one would refer to as "double secret underground sources", it's come to everyone's attention that Jason Varitek was now fully aware of what he was getting himself into when he turned down Boston's offer of salary arbitration. If you believe the rumblings, Tek had no idea that when he turned the Sox down, it meant that any team wishing to bid for his services would have to in exchange, give up a 1st round pick and send it the Boston...

Uh oh. Is there a chance the mighty Scott Boras made a mistake? One that could cost his client in excess of $10 million? That can't be good, can it?...

Well, looks like it should be good for the Sox. To me, it's becoming clearer by the day that Jason never really wanted to leave Boston, and that now the Sox have him in a bind and should end up getting him back at a bargain basement price. And let's face it. Whether he hits .220, .200, .190 or .350, I'm not willing to make it a month into the season only to realize we can't replace his play-calling and defensive ability. Not saying his necessarily the reason the pitchers do what they do, but for short money and short years, I don't think Sox fans are eager to find that answer out the hard way...


Jack Bauer...

...sucks, and so does his show! The show has barely been goin' again, and already I'm sick of that modern day MacGyver and his man-love for all things to do with nuclear weapons and suave, yet equally dangerous international terrorists...

And you can add LOST to the list I'm sick of people talking about as well. Listen, the only mystery left to solve on that show, is what's going to happen to the careers of the actors and actresses that are as we speak thriving from the shows impressive success. Oh, wait. That's no mystery. Previously unknown actors? Big time hit show that all but type casts you for the rest of your career? Oh, you'll be fine. Just ask these fellas...



http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/article/5951/poker-stars-signs-actor-jason-alexander

Yeah, this is exactly where we thought these two would land after their epic run on one of the most popular shows in television history (at least you can see Jennifer Tilly's cleave in the background). And don't even get me started with Julia Louis Dreyfus. Sure we all wanted to bang her as Elaine, but her attempts at her own show have been about as successful as Steven Hawking's attempt to swim across the Atlantic...

Ahhh making fun of the less fortunate with no chance of reprecussions. Does it really get any better?...


Al Gore's Greatest Hits...

This one comes to me courtesy of media mogul, and lover of all things Kobe (up to and including the rope he used to gag that chick from Colorado he had "consensual sex" with), Mr. Robert Slavin...

...and Rob, via his back room connections to the entertainment industry, was also able to pass along the knowledge that the TV program "Better Off Ted" is in the works, and should soon be coming and going from a TV schedule near you. Oh, and if you don't know why that's absolutely hysterical, then you're just not as fortunate as the rest of us...


And Then There's These...

*The NHL has narrowed it's choices down for next year's Outdoor Classic. The choices? Pasadena, Las Vegas and New York City. Right. Cuz outdoor hockey in the desert makes a lot of sense...

I don't even follow hockey and I know that for years players have complained of choppy and slushy ice in places like LA and Dallas. Then again, this is just more of what I've come to expect from the league that allowed FOX to trail their puck with a glorified laser pointer. The only thing missing there was the video game voice guy screeching "HE'S ON FIRE!!!".

Just collapse this league already and spare me having to waste my time pointing out how a deaf monkey with no right arm and no controls of his bowels could put forth a more watchable product...


(NOTE: Rick Tocchet says the odds of Pasadena getting the game are 9 to 1m easily making the best bet)

http://www.newsday.com/sports/hockey/ny-spnhl0115,0,2975512.story


*PETA's fired the first shot over the bow in their "Keep Michael Vick From Making a Living" campaign. They took time from tossing red paint on fur coats to draft up this little statement regarding the Don King of the Dog Pit, and his desire to actually get on with his life and try to put this whole thing behind him.

http://www.examiner.com/x-426-Sports-Examiner~y2009m1d22-PETA-demands-Vick-have-mental-evaluation-before-return-to-NFL


*Vegas knows what's up. The odds are already out for next year's Super Bowl, and the New England Patriots have been installed as the 6 to 1 favorites. I get it. Brady's back and you essentially have the same team that went 18-1. Makes sense, right?...

And speaking of Brady. Tom Terrific broke his media silence in Toronto of all places this week, and says his knee rehab is going "really well", and he probably the "best taken care of knee patient in history". Good to hear, Tom. And on such a reputable and relevant station too. Yeah. Needless to say I wouldn't go taking any of what was heard in that interview as any sort of real "update" on how he's coming along. Canada sucks...

http://www.fan590.com/media.jsp?content=20090121_184331_42676


*VS, the TV network that brings you hockey, slam ball, and the world's sketchiest police chases, has joined forces with Michael Irvin and the Dallas Cowboys to perhaps chip off whatever credibility and dignity "America's Team" had left. According to reports, Irvin is set to host an American Idol type football show where the winner will be awarded a spot on the Cowboys roster entering training camp...

All I can say is, if any of this surprises you in the least, then you're reading the wrong blog...


*Curt Schilling took time out from blogging to co-shot WEEI's Big Show on Thursday, and I couldn't help but finding myself asking the same question again and again as I listened. "Does this guy even still play for the Red Sox anymore?" Hey, just throwin' it out there. Cuz if I don't know for sure, I'm damn certain you fools probably have no idea what's up. I just know that he showed up wearing a Jack Lambert Steelers jersey, and told the Terry Francona impersonator that he'd like "matching up against him" in what was discussed as being a "future October match up". Prolly Curt just being Curt and stirrin' the pot, but I'm certainly intrigued to see how this saga unfolds over the course of Curt's rehab...


*Mark McGwire's brother is sellin' him out. According to Deadspin.com, Jay McGwire is set to release a book that will allege that his brother got into using steroids and HGH during the 1994 season. Granted, this whole thing wreaks of "jealous brother" or "broke ass junkie", but I'm sure it's gonna be a solid read. I mean, who has better shit on you, and would know how to make you cry, better than your family?


http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3851381

And for the record, have you ever heard a nickname disappear from common usage faster than "Big Mac"? I mean Hell, PacMan Jones asks people to stop using his nickname, and they don't even try, but shove a few needles up your ane and lie about it? Well they'll strip you of that thing faster than you can say "I thought it was a supplement"...


Change + Hope

I figure I started with Barack Obama, so I'm gonna end with two words that we all know are very near and dear to his heart. Change, and Hope...

I started off '09 by telling you that while this may be a new year, that you were still gonna be getting the same Rooch. Naturally I then tweaked the format of my posts, and changed my weekly College Hoops Top 10 into the now legendary Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25. So I've changed. Maybe not a lot, but I think in a few positive ways that have helped streamline my process, and help better define the type of sports journalist that I still one day hope to be. And with this change, has come to desire for more change. Nothing drastic mind you, just more ways to help, again, streamline the process...

In this case, I'm talking about the comments link on the bottom of the page. A) I know it's beat. But I've gotten in touch with Kevin "Frosco" Tomasso, my web master extraordinaire, and he's on the case. After all, it's been my goal for quite some time to get some banter going with my readers, and really get down to business, but the format for the comments has always and continues to muddy that process...

So as I "change" the format, I "hope" it will encourage you to attempt to go tow to toe with yours truly...

Oh, and I finally caved and joined Facebook. Yet another thing you can blame almost exclusively on Frosco, and the rest of you Intraweb hustlers that just wouldn't leave well enough alone...

And on that note, thanks for stoppin' by, and have fun as you conitnue to hustle...

100...

Monday, January 19, 2009

College Hoops Top 25 (1/20): It's the Pitts!

I asked for it, an now you get it. It's the Rooch Nation Top 25, baby, and it's finally here in all it's beautiful glory. This week kicks off what should be a weekly installment of the goings on in the world of college hoops, complete with players to watch, teams on the rise, and of course the all important unearthing of the frauds. You know who you are, Clemson and Minnesota, and I'm here to make sure you get exposed...

So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn more about college hoops in 10 minutes, than you ever thought (or wished) was humanly possible...

Get some, and enjoy...



Rooch Nation College Hoops Top 25

1. Pittsburgh (16-1) 1

The one lesson you should take from the Rooch Nation Top 25:

A loss doesn't mean you move down, and a win against a team doesn't mean you move above them in the standings. Last time I checked, the NCAA tourney is played on a neutral site, meaning unless a team beats you on a neutral site or in your own building, they've done very little to prove they are a better team...

...unless of course they blow you out...

2. UCONN (16-1) 2

3. North Carolina (16-2) 4

4. Wake Forest (16-0) 7

Jeff Teague and Al Farouq Aminu introduced themselves to the nation this Saturday with impressive performances against the Clemson Tigers. Sure orange clad Tigers might be located in Fraudsville, South Carolina, but that still doesn't undermine the duo's outstanding play. Aminu is an ahletic freak with great rebounding and finishing skills, while Teague has an amazing motor and an uncanny nose for the basketball. Wake's just flat out athletic, and it should only be a matter of time before their nationally recognized as the best team in the ACC...(and no, simply being higher in the ACC and the in the polls than UNC doesn't mean people still aren't picking the Heels when all is said done)...

5. Oklahoma (17-1) 3

6. Louisville (13-3) 8

Here's another free tip to all the pollsters out there. When a team starts out with as high a pre season ranking as Rick Pitino's Cardinals, there's usually a good reason. So when a highly ranked team gets off to a slow start, don't immediately send them free falling down the rankings. This latest win against Pitt moves L'ville to 4-0 in the Big East, and right back in the mix in the argument for the country's #1 team...

7. Syracuse (17-2) 5

When the season began, Orange fans like myself were counting on Flynn, Devendorf, Harris and Rautins to carry the day. And while they've been great, it's been the interior combination of ARinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson (combine for 21 pts/14 boards a game), that's helped keep the Cuse at the top of the Nation's premier conference...

8. Marquette (16-2) 9

Granted it was only Providence, but Marquette's Big 3 put on a show Saturday worthy of the National stage. Lazar Hayward, Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews combined for 72 points in the win, making them the Big East's only 5-0 team, and the best 3-some to hit Rhode Island since Nick, Ron and Pete Cardi...

Oh and PG Dominic James doesn't exactly suck either...

9. Duke (16-1) 14

Eh, maybe the Dukies are a little better than I thought. They had to beat Georgetown, and they did. Now to convince me further, there gonna need to start beating teams like Wake and UNC on the road. Then maybe we can talk top 5...maybe...

10. Texas (13-4) 6

11. Michigan St. (15-2) 10

12. Arizona St. (15-3) 13

A big win @ UCLA puts the Sun Devils squarely atop the Pac 10 power structure. And just because leading scorer James Harden looks 45 years old, doesn't mean Herb Sendek's boys shouldn't be getting their just praise...

13. Georgetown (12-4) 12

14. UCLA (14-3) 11

15. St. Mary's (17-1) 17

An overused term for sure, but this Gale's team is the best team in the country that nobody's talking about. They have 3 starters averaging more than 13 points a game, led by Patrick Mills (19.1 ppg) whose also good for nearly 3 boards and 3 steals a game as well...

16. Butler (16-1) 18

17. Kentucky (14-4) 22

Jodi Meeks and Patrick Patterson are as dangerous an inside/outside combination as you'll find in the country...

18. Villanova (14-3) 16

19. Notre Dame (12-5) 15

Notre Dame's been losing a lot lately, but you can hardly blame them. Losing @ St. John's may have been a bit of a downer, but other than that neutral court losses to Ohio St. and UNC, and road losses to Louisville and Syracuse are just business as usual in the brutal Big East. And I'll take Luke Harangody (24.8 ppg / 12.9 rpg) on my team any day of the week...

20. Xavier (15-2) 19

21. Gonzaga (12-4) 21

See Louisville.

22. Davidson (14-3) 25

Stephen Curry (29.1 ppg) isn't going anywhere, and until he does, this Davidson squad is gonna be one tough out come tourney time...

23. Purdue (14-4) NR

24. Texas A&M (15-3) NR

25. Tennessee (11-5) 24


just missed: California; USC; West Virginia; Clemson; Baylor; LSU; Florida

dropped: (20) California; (23) Baylor

And seeing as I'm nothing if not an equal opportunist, feel free to take a gander at the various frauds that, in some delusional way, consider themselves my peers on this matter...

AP Top 25 + ESPN/USA TOday Top 25: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/rankings


Here's a look at how I view the strength of each conference, just to give you an idea of where my head's at when I'm fillin' out my rankings. Just like the Top 25, these too are subject to change on a weekly basis...

Conference Power Rankings
1. Big East
2. ACC
3. Pac 10
4. Big XII
5. SEC
6. West Coast Conference
7. Big 10
8. Mountain West
9. Atlantic 10
10. Missouri Valley

And here are this week's games. I know it's impossible to watch all these bad larry's, but I advise you use this lineup as a way of keeping note of all the week's "important" match ups. At least that's what I do. And hey, it seems to be workin' out prett well for me, doesn't it?...


This Week's Slate...

1/19
Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (ESPN 7 pm)
Texas A&M @ Kansas (ESPN 9 pm)


1/20
North Carolina St. @ Duke
Creighton @ Evansville
Ohio St. @ Illinois (ESPN 7 pm)
Virginia @ Maryland
Tennessee @ Vanderbilt (ESPN 9 pm)


1/21
Villanova @ UCONN (ESPN 7 pm)
Clemson @ North Carolina (ESPN 9 pm)
Missouri @ Oklahoma St.
Arizona St. @ Arizona


1/22
Purdue @ Minnesota
UCLA @ Washington St.
West Virginia @ Georgetown
UW- Green Bay @ Butler
St. Mary's @ San Diego


1/23
NONE

*Figures this is the day I'm gonna be stuck at work producing the Brown/Yale game, but I guess dems da breaks


1/24
UCONN @ Notre Dame (ESPN 7 pm)
Texas A&M @ Texas
Baylor @ Oklahoma
Maryland @ Duke (ESPN 12 pm)
UW Milwaukee @ Butler
Xavier @ LSU (ESPN 2 8 pm)
UCLA @ Washington
Wisconsin @ Illinois (ESPN 4 pm)
Kentucky @ Alabama


1/25
Louisville @ Syracuse
Michigan St. @ Ohio St. (CBS 3:45 pm)
Pittsburgh @ West Virginia


Player of the Week
Needless to say, this is where each week I will be highlighting someone who I felt had an exceptional week of games...

Jodie Meeks, Kentucky

Big man Patrick Patterson figured to be the star of Billy Gillespie's Wildcat's this season, but the hot shooting Meeks is having none of it. The junior guard is averaging 25.7 points per game on the season, aided by his school best 54 against Tennessee, and is averaging an impressive 30.1 points a game in his last 8...

And speaking of Big Men on Campus, I'd be remiss if I didn't pass along this tasty little nugget that Frosco was kind enough to send on down the line...

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/blog/the_dagger/post/Finally-an-answer-to-Whatever-happened-to-Kevi?urn=ncaab,134910


There he is. God's meth dealer. And nothing makes me happier than to know that not only is he 300 pounds and living in a double wide trailer, but that his tatted up body is being used to mentor the young minds in his community...

Go get 'em, buddy. You'll always hold a special place in my heart, while at the same time occupying a shady place in most people's cellular phones...


And like that, it's over. Hope you enjoyed the "inaugural" version of the Top 25, and may it from here on out serve as the place you go every week in order to see who's who and what's what in the world of college hoops...

I'll be back Friday with my normal ish, so I'll catch you then...

Peace in the middle...

100...

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Lawfirm of Boras, Pioli, Rice & McBeard...

What it is, fine citizens?

It's another week, and thanks to some editorial adjustments that means I have another list of names to throw at ya. I've been getting a lot of positive feedback since starting 2009 with this new and improved format, so for now, I'm just gonna run with it...

This week I start off with Scott Boras, end with Gus Johnson, and manage to tackle some football, fat chicks, and drugged up monkeys along the way. If you think manipulating monkeys for the purpose of entertainment is wrong or cruel, then not only is this not the site for you, but you're gonna need to go ahead and get yourself a bloody steak, a fur coat, and a freaking sense of humor...

Get your read on, and enjoy...



Scott Boras

Got a new Boras conspiracy for ya, and this one revolves around still unsigned former Red Sox captain and catcher, Jason Varitek.

Now let's break it down...

1) Varitek became a free agent after the '08 season, the final season of a 4 year $40 million contract.

2) The Red Sox offered Varitek salary arbitration, meaning that should he walk away and sign with another team, the Sox would be guaranteed a 1st round draft pick from the team that picked him up.

Now for those of you not familiar, salary arbitration is a process where the team and the player both come up with a # they think they should be making, and an independent arbitrator decides on which party has the right #. Make no mistake, there's no middle ground. If the Sox think Tek should make $10, and he thinks he should make $10,000,000, the arbitrator can't settle on somewhere in the middle. He (or she?) would have to pick one of the #'s. Now what normally happens is that the two sides decide on a # before the arbitrator, but that's not always the case.

In this particular situation, it is widely believed that Jason would have garnered somewhere between $8 and $11 million for one year.

3) Varitek and Boras decline the offer of salary arbitration, thus officially putting him on the open market.

Translation: Boras and Tek were convinced they could get more money, and more years than the Red Sox were willing to give them...

Now stop, because this is where shit could have gotten dicey...

Imagine this for a minute. What if Scott Boras and Jason Varitek turned down salary arbitration because they were under the impression that Theo Epstein was willing to discuss what in their eyes would be a legitimate contract, with money in the same neighborhood as the one year salary arbitration offer? All of a sudden that deal falls apart from what Boras sees as a lack of good faith by Epstein, and the super agent decides to turn the tables, and screw the Sox out of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. Possible? Why not? Likely? Well I'd say it's just as likely as Teixeira not comin' here because his wife had a bad experience on Newbury Street!

Just somethin' to mull over in the 'ole noggin'...

Sox Ink Youk to 4 Year Deal Worth $40 Mil: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3835955

See what happens when you don't need to deal with Boras?...

So can the Sox and Boras put their anger aside long enough to bring Tek back? Do the Sox even want Tek back? And at what cost? Not until these questions are answered, or as close to answered as humanly possible, will we know if my conspiracy theory holds any weight. But hey, the waiting is supposed to be the fun part, right?

Yeah, waiting for Boras to get whats comin' to him...



Jim Rice

It took 15 years, but in his final year of eligibility Red Sox slugger Jim Rice was finally elected to Baseball Hall of Fame. He'll join Ricky Henderson as the only 2 members of the Cooperstown class of 2009, and perhaps just as importantly, will begin to remind the elitist MLB writers who vote to take a second look at a lot of the worthy players whose careers got lost in the shuffle amid all the bloated stats of what's now referred to as the "Steroid Era"...

Think about it. Rice got on the ballot in 1993. Now the reason he didn't get in right away, was because the writers didn't really care for him, and wanted him to wait a few years to help teach him a lesson. Sounds dumb, but the baseball writers are about as pompous and arrogant as they come, and to get into that would be a whole other column altogether. So, right about the time they were getting ready to come of their high horses and let him in, power numbers started to skyrocket higher than Roy Tarpley at Escobar's after party. All of a sudden his 382 career homers look paltry for a Hall of Fame slugger, and his average of 113 RBI a season looked more like the production that most MLB teams were looking for from their everyday 2nd baseman rather than a feared middle of the lineup slugger...

Now, with numbers starting to fall back to earth, his 30 homers, 30 doubles, and 113 RBI a year, along with his career .298 average, are beginning to look every bit as impressive as they should have all along, and as impressive as they were to the fans that watched him play in the 70s and 80s. Writers and fans alike have recognized that there was indeed a Steroid Era, and that a guy like Rice truly was one of the games best players before the pharmaceutical madness ensued..

So props to the writers for finally coming around, and props to Jim Ed Rice for finally getting in the Hall. It's a well deserved honor, and will hopefully serve as a wake up call, and allow many other deserving candidates entry into one of sport's greatest Halls of Fame...


Rice's career #'s: http://www.baseball-reference.com/r/riceji01.shtml

Note: Mark Grace, Ron Gant, Matt Williams, Mo Vaughn, Jay Bell, Greg Vaughn and David Cone all recieved less than 5% of the vote in their 1st year on the ballott, meaning that it will also be their last year on the ballott. Poor Mo. First he loses his carwash, and now this!


Scott Pioli + Josh McDaniels

Before Scott Pioli, there were coaches, co-oridnators, players and general managers. Now, thanks to his mastery of the position, people in New England have come to know the term "Vice President of Player Personnel". To borrow a term from the Bill Parcell's book, he did a great job writing out the grocery list so that Bill Belichick could put together a great meal...

Before Josh McDaniels, there was Charlie Weis, and unlike Pioli, it took about 4 years on the job before anyone really even knew McDaniels existed. When he first took over, everyone assumed it was Belichick calling all the offensive plays, and that this late 20-something kid was just there to more or less make it look like they had an offensive co-ordinator...

Now, they're both gone. Piloi to KC and McDaniels to Denver. And like it or not, both will have the unenviable task of proving that Bill Belichick was not the sole reason for their success. Piloi will have to prove he's just as good at shopping for the gorceries as he is setting up the list, while McDaniels will have the even taller task of translating the success he's had with the Pats prolific offense into wins with the Jay Cutler and the Denver offense...

The question now becomes, will it be tougher for the Pats to replace them, or will it be tougher for them to duplicate the success they had here in New England. Guys like Crennel, Weis and Mangini would humbly admit that the ladder is probably the case, but it's going to be intersting to see how these guys manage outside the Foxboro Family...

Good luck, fellas. And as Don Vito Corleone said to "the Turk", Virgil Sollozzo. "I want to congratulate you on your new business and I'm sure you'll do very well and good luck to you. Especially since your interests don't conflict with mine. Thank you.".

..and hey, look out for those toll booths on the causeway...


Ed Werder

The only thing creepier than John Clayton's alleged ponytail, is Ed Werder's moustache. And the only thing that out rivals Clayton's man love for his fights with Sean Salisbury, is Werder's raging hard on for meddling with anything and everything to do with America's Team, the Dallas Cowboys...

He's to the Cowboys, what Sal Paolantonio is to the Eagles, and what ESPN is hoping Wendi Nix will turn into for the Patriots. Only difference is, instead of reporting on the news, Werder is a flat out insitgator. He's the one that broke the news about the infighting between TO and Jason Witten, and now he's the one breaking the story about how Jerry Jones son is trying to convince the aging owner to cut Owens loose...

Now I know that's what a good reporter should be doing, hunting and digging for stories. But since when did ESPN turn into TMZ? And don't even try to tell me that I myself feed off stories like this, either. I like to rip people's character as much as the next guy, but I at least wait for them to do something first, rather than snooping around for something merely because it could be sensational...

When and IF TO gets cut, then you go with the story about the son talking him into it. Until then, stick to picking dude liquid out of your mustache, and leave the real reporting to the real reporters, you creep show...


God Bless Al Gore

Not sure if this is a new segment or not, but here are the best/worst things people have sent me this week from the glorious tool known as the World Wide Intraweb. Take a look, just keep in mind that I'm not responsible if you puke all over your keyboard. And yea, I'm not talking about the story with the flying animal feces...

This Shit Is Bananas!: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D95N55DG0&show_article=1

This Shit Is Disgusting!: http://www.sidelinehotties.com/cold-pizzas-dana-jacobson/


The people commenting on that message board can also be found using cream cheese as lube while they rub out a quick during their 15 minute break at Krispy Kreme. Come on now, boys. Dana Jacobsen? She's a smart gal and everything, and I know there's someone out there for all of us, but really? To me, she looks like a cross between Smarty Jones and the guy from the game "Operation". And let me tell you right now, I bet there's plenty of places you could poke her where you would immediately here that "buzz" sound. That would be your brain telling you your a sick bastard, and that you possibly could be a homosexual with a fetish for inside linebackers. These guys do know the Internet has porn with hot chicks on it, right?...



Now let's see if I can't build on last weeks strong performance, and finish this year's NFL season on a high note..

It's time for the picks!..


Championship Picks
Arizona Cardinals (+4.5) vs Philadelphia Eagles

While everyone's still waiting for the Cardinals to show their true colors, I'm still waiting for McChoke and the Eagles to break through and show theirs.

Fans and analysts alike have been tripping over themselves praising Donovan McNabb's play and Andy Reid's beard, but I'm still not willing to concede that these dirty birds have changed their feathers.

McNabb may be playing better, but it's only a matter of time before he starts pukin' all over the place, forgettin' the rules and flat out mismanaging the play clock. And don't give me any of that 'Cuse shit either. I'm a Marvin Harrison man. You screw with him, he shoots your ass. You screw with McNabb, he just sits there like a Ted, slurpin' up his chunky soup...

And Andy Reid? Please. I mean I used to be a big fan, but after watching this team over the years, the only person that seems less apt to succeed in a late game situation, is Herm Edwards. Whether it's, again, mismanaging the clock, or just making questionable play calls, this guy just can't seem to get it done in the final few minutes of half or the game. Not a good trait to have, especially when it comes to getting it done in the playoffs.

...Oh, and as for his shady beard? I know it's been a source of team unity, with them all growing one, but I don't think Andy's fur deserves any props. Listen. Just because his kid has been locked in the bathroom for the last 4 weeks coming down from a 4 day meth binge, and he can't get to his razor, doesn't mean he's all of a sudden some great leader of men. It means he's a piss poor dad, with the inability to grow a beard that doesn't remind us all of a deranged recluse that lives deep in the mountains of West Virginia or Montana., and gets his kicks by writing the government letters and diddling every passing grizzly bear...

That fat fraud...

P.S. - Here are four reasons I not only like the Eagles to lose, but why I like Cardinals to win. Hey, I figure I'm picking them, so I gotta give you some reasons other than just "the Eagles are chokers". Although with their track record, that should be enough...



1) Kurt Warner loves Jesus, and apparently when it comes to the playoffs, the feeling is mutual. I expect Jesus to protect Kurt and his boys from Jim Johnson's exotic and persistent blitzing packages...

2) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been money since head coach Ken "takin' a" Wisenhunt started lining him up 1 on 1 against the oppositions #1 wideout a few weeks ago. He helped shut down Steve Smith and Roddy White, and while the Eagles have no true #1 wideout, I expect him to bust out and wreak havoc this weekend in the Philly passing game.

3) The Eagles excel at stopping the run, which should play right into the Cardinals hands. With even a semi-healthy Anquan Boldin, the last thing Arizona is going to want to do is run the bean anyway, therefore nullifying one of their opponents greatest strengths. And if you say that will simply allow Johnson and the defense to tee off on the QB, I say that's where Warner, Boldin, Breaston and Fitzgerald have proved that they thrive. So bring it on...

4) Speaking of Larry Fitzgerald, dude is a freak. ESPN.com had a poll of which NBA player you would want taking the final shot, and it made me think if I had one ball I could throw the ball in the endzone to, who it would be. I only came up with 2 names. Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. He's had a great start to his career, and this playoff run has given the rest of the country a chance to see his skills on full display. Not to mention made me think long and hard about changing my name to either Brett Rodgers-Cromartie, or the possible porn name Insertmy Rodgers-Cromartie...Oh!...


Yeah, we should just move on to the next game before I competely lose you...




Baltimore Ravens (+6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Six points? Really?

Week 4: Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Baltimore Ravens 20 in OT (Pittsburgh, PA)

Week 15: Pittsburgh Steelers 13 Baltimore Ravens 9 (Baltimore, MD)


It's a no brainer, right? Not only were both games close, but the Pittsburgh road win came only after a late, controversial touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes (AKA-Kordell Stewart). Now I know the 46 regualr season sacks the Steelers let up may be a concern against this blitzing Raven defense, but I gotta figure if that didn't lead to their demise during their 2 regular season match ups, then it's not gonna be the reason they lose this time around.

You're gonna be shocked when you hear this, but I expect a close, low scoring game, where you hear the announcers comment on how "physical" the game is more often than you see any points put on the board. Basically, it should be classic playoff football, the way all the purists would want it to be. Me? I'm not a purist. But I love a big hit as much as the next guy...oh and tough defense isn't bad either. Oh!...



Last Week: 3-1-0

'08-'09 Playoffs: 4-4-0

Regular Season: 130-90-12 (.602)

Top Picks: 76-39-8 (.650)


College Hoops
College Basketball: Where a game isn't a game until Gus Johnson blows out one of your speakers, and a week isn't a week without the newly formed Rooch Nation Top 25.

I've been saying for years that I've got just as much, if not more knowledge than the guys voting in the national polls, so now it's time to step up and prove it. In addition to my top 10 that will remain posted on the right side of the page at all times, I will debut a new top 25 poll every Monday. The poll will be complete with interesting tidbits, games to watch during the upcoming week, and just overall college hoops knowledge that will leave you simultaneously impressed and contented. Who knows, maybe I'll even bring in some of my hoop-head buddies from Cuse to help me out with my rankings and even toss in a few predictions of their own. Either way, it's comin' to a slice of heaven on the Interpeice near you called, Rooch Nation, so make sure to check it out each and every Monday...

Until then, keep on keepin' on, and remember, anyone that doesn't enjoy a monkey riding a dog in cowboy clothes, doesn't have a soul...

Goodnight everybody!!

100...

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Year, Same Rooch...

Greetings and salutations my good people, and welcome to 2009...

I hope you're all having a great start to the new year, and hopefully my latest barbs and observations will help keep you going down that prosperous path.

Since it's been a while since I last vented, I'm starting the new year with a list of topics that I've been wanting to rant on, but haven't been able to due to the joyful stress of the holiday season. It'll be like a Rooch enema to get your new year started off right. Except not nearly as gross as an enema. OK, I guess it's not like an enema at all, and more like a B-12 shot. And not like the one Miguel Tejada got. OK, you get the picture...

Get your read on, and enjoy...





Stephon Marbury

Celtic fans need to check themselves big time on this one...

1) Marbury has never been a backup

2) Marbury has never not been a role player

3) Marbury has always been a handful

4) This team lacks defensive intensity, and Marbury doesn't play defense

5) He has a tat of his sneaker brand logo on his dome piece


Yeah, signing him would make a lot of sense. Never in his career has he been asked to come off the bench (except when he refused) or play a lick of defense, yet the Celtics are expecting him to do both? Right...

If anything, I want the Celts to pick him up so I feel a lot better thinking that Danny Ainge is still an inept little elf. It'd really be a great year to start the year...


Matt Cassel

I gotta admit I'm in a bit of a bind when it comes to Cassel. And seeing as Starbury got me goin' in list format to start my '09 campaign, I figure why not keep that trend alive...


1) My man Andy Gresh, now of Sirius NFL Radio fame, has been saying all year long that there was no way the Patriots were going to franchise Matty Cassel. Granted he was the only one saying that, but as someone that used to work with Gresh, it wouldn't have been odd at all had he been the only one to get this thing right. Flat out, the guy knows football, and he excels at being able to look at a situation from all sides before coming to what he deems a very logical conclusion. All that being said, reports are now out that Cassel will indeed be franchised, which leads me wonder what good reasons could have possibly led informed my friend to be so misled. Long story short; just because everyone is saying the Patriots are going to franchise Cassel, I'm not gonna believe it until they actually do. And if I were you, I'd heed the same caution, lest you look like a complete tard...(and I mean "tard" in the most PC way it could possibly be used)...


2) A lot of people have been comparing Cassel's situation to that of former Dan Marino backup and noted Wayne Fontz impersonator, Scott Mitchell. A lot of people in the know will laugh that off and say Mitchell was just a bum, but that's just how history has chosen to remember him. Sure he had his off the field issues with the Lions, but he also put up some good numbers before the team and the franchise conveniently came crumbling down around him...

I look at Cassel, and I see the potential for the same thing when he leaves the cozy confines of Foxboro. I'm not saying he's a "system quarterback" that only achieved because of Belichick's genius, but I am saying there's no way he'll end up in nearly as stable an environment. Face it. If you're a team that needs a QB, then chances are your team isn't on very stable footing. Therefore, in more instances than not, adding a QB only means that you have a mess of a team, that's a little better off at the QB position. Not exactly a great situation. Sure the money will be great, but I still live in a world where I think even the mountains of cash won't help Cassel's mind when his team is busy goin' 6-10 and missing the playoffs year after year...

I guess if I were him I'd take the money, cross my fingers, and hope for the best, but in reality the odds are not in his favor that he'll come out on the other side of this thing looking like a great QB. It's just the way it is. And I wish him the best, I really do. And I respect the fact that he'd rather play than be a backup. I just don't like his prospects all that much. He's good, he's just not a franchise changer. There, that's a good way to end it...


Just some things to keep in mind when all this madness starts up for real at the beginning of February...


Mark Teixeira

Going into the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, I figured that everyone involved knew these 2 important facts...

1) Scott Boras is an evil genius. He would as soon shake your hand as he would take a dump on your grave. His job, is to get his clients the most money possible. And while he's good at it, the very nature of his business means that being good at it, makes him a complete and utterly untrustworthy asshole.


2) The only people with a realistic shot at getting Teixiera were the Yankees, the Red Sox, and any sort of legit team that would be willing to grossly outbid the Yankees or Red Sox. That one "legit" team this time around was the Angels. They said no mas, so it was down, as usual, to the big 2...


Well apparently, I was wrong, yet again proving the saying that when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me...

Remember that email that John Henry sent out about a week before the Yanks nabbed Teixeira? It said the Sox were out of the running, but at the time, everyone seemed to view it was simply another negotiating tactic. The reality? The day that email came out, was the same day Theo and the Trio learned that they were being played by MLB's equivalent of "Gecko the Great". It became clear to the powers that be, that at some point during the Teixeira sweepstakes, Boras made a deal with Yankee GM Brian Cashman, that he would bring back the market's top offer, and the Yankees would beat it by enough money to make it worth every one's while. To Boston's credit, when they realized they were bidding against themselves they called it a day. But the real question is why it came to that end in the first place?


Did Teixeira just flat out not want to come to Boston, or was it that somehow Epstein dropped the ball? Well if I'm to believe my own "conspiracy", it would appear the Sox were willing to do whatever it took, but that Teixeira and/or Boras were determined that the 1st baseman land in New York. OR you could subscribe to the theory that Teixeira's wife wanted no part of the Massachusetts capital, and that Boras, knowing this all along, just strung the Sox along just long enough to get the right price out of the pin stripes. Now as a male, I find it hard to believe any one's wife is calling the shots when the husband is making in excess of $20 million a year. But that thinking could also be the reason why I've lived most of my life as an eligible bachelor. Hmmm...

When all is said and done, I tend to think the simplest theory is probably the right one. Boras led the Sox to believe they were the front runner for Teixeira, when all the while Brian Cashman and his CC Sabathia sized check book were waiting in the wings. It was cold hard business, and while the Sox front office may not have dropped the ball, they've learned something I figured all of us already knew.

Scott Boras is an evil genius. Turn your back, and he'll ram some pin stripes right up your backside...

Here endith the lesson...




Big East Basketball

I consider myself a college hoops junkie, and I've never, EVER seen a conference nearly as talented and deep as this year's crop of Big East behemoths. 9 teams currently in the top 25? 4 in the top 10?! And if you ask me, that doesn't even come close to speaking to how good this group really is.

Example: Of the 9 Big East teams currently ranked in the top 25, I can make a legit case for every single one of them to represent the conference in this year's Final Four. The same can't be said for the Big 10's Minnesota and Purdue*, currently ranked 19th and 16th, or the ACC's Clemson and Boston College*, currently slated at 11th and 25th respectively. Simply put, the only thing that seems to rival the Big East's talent these days, is it's extraordinary depth...

(*suffered gross losses after I already had this ish down on paper. Get some!!)

And while from Pitt to West Virginia the Big East's best might be spread full across the top 25, the most intriguing fact may be that they're all much more tightly grouped. It's like there's those 9 teams, and maybe another 10 in the rest of the country that would be able to compete with them on any given night. That's why I've been referring to this year's Big East schedule as "The Gauntlet", and that's why it's gonna be so God damned fun to watch. Almost every game will have direct impact on that week's top 25, and virtually every matchup will have implications to this year's NCAA tournament seeding. Sure it's 3 months away, but with so many "quality" teams in the conference, almost every night is an opportunity to pick up a resume building win...


This season's gonna be bigger than Wahlberg's hog at the end of Boogie Nights!!! It will just also be real...Oh!



Jeff Jagodzinski

BC head football coach Jeff Jagodzinski was told by his athletic director that if he interviewed with the Jets, he would lose his job. He interviewed anyway, and was subsequently canned. The sad thing is that not only did Jag's jolt emotionally stun his good friend and boss BC AD Gene DeFilippo, but it was the biggest news to come from Chestnut Hill despite the Eagles back to back ACC title game appearances...

But that's what you get when your fans don't travel and your school has such high academic standards. You get run ragged playing the recruiting game, and you get the shaft when it comes to your post season payday. I mean this team was one win away from a BCS bid, and they get stuck in Nashville at the Music City Bowl in a virtual home game for the opposing Vanderbilt Commodores? Please, that's just pathetic. So when DeFilippo comes out and say he and Jags had a difference in opinion of the programs "future", you have to believe the coach saw the writing on the wall, while the successful and committed AD still has what would seem to outsiders as delusions of the programs potential grandeur. To most fans worth their salt, it's apparent that BC is a "stepping stone" job, and not necessarily someone would want to spend the rest of their career. DeFilippo disagrees, which shows his dedication to the program, but holding that hard line could eventually lead to discouraging any big time coach from ever taking the job...

There's certainly more to this story than meets the eye, with two friends being torn apart by the rigors of big time football. But thanks to a neat little settlement, I'm sure we'll never know the true extent of the Boras like back stabbing that may have ensued...


Eric Mangini

Staying on the coaching tip for a second, Eric "the Rat" Mangini just inked a comfy little 4 year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Mangini, who began his "career" as a ball boy in Cleveland, always seemed like the man for the job, but his hiring leads me to wonder the fate of their staff and perhaps more importantly, their front office. I mean not that I care, but if you're to believe what's out there, the Belichick imposed hatred for Mangini runs deep throughout the Patriots organization. So what of Scot Pioli and Romeo Crennel? Will Pioli come and will Romeo stay if the Fat Kid's calling the shots? I'm not so sure...

And when was the last time a fired coach got a job this quickly, anyway? Weird. And I know they say your first instinct is probably your best instinct, but for the Browns? Well, let's just say if I were them I would have given this one some additional thought...


Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan

Some of you may recognize Phil Ivey as one of the original superstars to come out of the TV poker boom, but to most the 2nd name should be a complete mystery. Dwan, just 22, has quickly become one of the most dominant forces on the poker scene, specializing in dusting his competition on the virtual felt. And his rise has been as rapid as it has been impressive Example: Ivey was one of only 3 players to have better earnings (over $7.5 mil) in 2008 @ noted poker site, Full Tilt Poker, than the young Dwan who netted in excess of $3 million. Not bad for a BU dropout from Jersey, eh?

Now even though both of these pros seem to be at the top of their game, that alone is not what puts them on my radar. While that alone should earn them props, it's their ensuing uber high stakes online battle that's grabbed my attention. Dwan, known in the online poker world as "Durrr", has recently been taken up on his standing offer to play anybody, anytime, playing no limit hold 'em and/or pot limit omaha, for 50,000 hands...

His stipulations? The game will be played simultaneously on at least 4 tables, with each competitor playing each other heads up at blinds of $200/$400. So you play at least 4 heads up matches at the same time...

The prize? Well if the cash incentive weren't enough, Dwan is also offering 3 to 1 odds on a side bet of $500,000 that he will be the one with the net gain in his bankroll when the marathon session is complete. You win, and that's another coll $1.5 mil you can add to you're already bulging stack...

You can read even more about the match up here, http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-news/article/5842/ivey-accepts-durrrrs-poker-challenge

(note: the day after I wrote this, high stakes pro, Patrick Antonius, also accepted Durrr's offer, and the two are currently working out the details)


Quick Hitters

*Upon hearing that the Boston Red Sox had recently agreed to term with veteran pitcher, John Smoltz, and veteran outfielder and Rhode Island native, Rocco Baldelli, Frosco sent me a text message that looked a lot like the one below...

Smoltz?! God, we're going to have the most fragile team in baseball, but I love it. Baldelli too! HEY THERE WEIRD MUSCLE DISEASE!

Hey, when you can't say it any better yourself, you just have to tip your cap and move on to the next topic...



*Is Matt Millen really doing pre and post game coverage for NBC?

NEXT on the Travel Channel...Susan Smith Presents: A Mother's Guide to Taking Your Kids on the Perfect Road Trip

I mean, what the fuck?...



*Everything's bigger in Texas, right? Well Colt McCoy better hope so if that little dime next to his parents at the Fiesta Bowl was actually his sister. Dude's gonna need a gun the size of a John Deere and a chastity belt booby trapped with land mines to keep the little Colt wannabe's from trying to get at her gully hole. Yeeeeee haaaww!!!...(Yeah, I wish I had a pic of her too, but een the almighty Intraweb could not meet my demands. It's OK, though. I got it all on file in the spank bank...that is if she's 18...wink, wink)


*Tim Tebow: He's everything your parents wished you were...Peace be with you & thanks be to God...

Just ask FOX's Thom Brennaman who said "Spending 5 minutes with Tim Tebow will make everyone a better person"

And hey, just because Thom thought 3rd and Goal last night was really 4th and Goal and went a little overboard, doesn't mean he shouldn't be taken for his word...Putz. Go get your Jesus on, and leave the sports to the morally ambiguous. Or in my case, to those with little to no moral values at all when it comes to sports and entertainment...


*ESPN.com went and fucked with their website, and now it's beat. Trying to look at one of their scoreboards is like trying to look at a picture of the ocean in one of them "magic eye" paintings. This is the 2nd time in the last 3 years that they've attempted to "fix" it, and I hope like the last time they just give up and head back to the ole reliable format...



*Rip Torn, Charles Barkley and Antoine Walker all got pulled over for DUI's recently. One is a clown, one acts like a clown, and one is brick chuckin' T-Rex putting together an audition tape for the upcoming remake of Michael Jackson's Thriller. I'll let you figure out who's who...


Now, it's on to the NFL and my delicious picks for this week's Divisional matchups. I'll try my best to bounce back from the disappointing 1-3-0 I pulled in the first round, but I have to be honest. I don't like my chances. Hey, picking winners is hard enough, let alone taking into account the unpredictabilty and craziness of the playoffs...


Well, here it goes!...



Divisional Picks

Tennessee Titans (-2.5) vs Baltimore Ravens

I've wrestled all week with this one, and I still don't really like my pick. So instead of attempting to give you analysis on why I picked who I picked, I'll just tell you this. The Ravens are "too good to be true" and the Titans are playing at home. We all think Baltimore is the next best thing since we watched their impressive win last weekend, but just because we haven't seen the Titans at their best in over a month, doesn't mean their still not capable of laying down some smack. I like this to be a low scoring game too, but I;m not even gonna get into that...


Or am I?...


Arizona Cardinals (+10) @ Carolina Panthers

I had an epiphany last week when it comes to picking OVER/UNDERs...

I was watching the Chargers/Colts game in which I had picked the OVER of 50.5, and when Darren Sproles fumbled a ball through the back of the endzone for an Indianapolis touchback, it hit me. If I'm just picking against the spread, I'm more or less picking for one team, or against the other. When I'm picking and OVER or an UNDER, I'm essentially picking for or against both offenses, while at the same time picking for or against both defenses. Well for someone that doesn't trust most of these teams further than I can punt 'em, I realized I was putting way too much of my destiny into their hands...

Why am I explaining this, you ask? Well in a game like this, with two high scoring offenses, and the fact that it's a playoff game, I'd tend to take the OVER rather than trying my luck with such a large spread. Instead, thanks to my epiphany, I'm taking the Cardinals and the massive 10 point spread. I know the Panthers are the better team, but with a spread like that, they're only gonna cover in a blowout. Arizona may not keep it close, but I figure even they have enough on the defensive side of the ball to help keep this one within shouting distance until the final horn sounds...


Philadelphia Eagles (+4.5) @ New York Giants

I learned four things from listening to sports talk on "the Fan" during my New Year's Big Apple excursion...

1) Thomas Jones loves Hot 97

2) Bill Cowher is NOT! a Hall of Famer. (It was a big topic on local sports talk radio, seeing as the story was breaking about Cowher talking to the Jets...it keeps going below...)

3) ESPN doesn't break any news at all, they just steal shit from other people and don't even bother to fact check it before they slap it up on their "bottom line". That's what Mike Francesa (Mike from the now defunked "Mike and the Mad Dog") said in regards to ESPN flashing across the screen every 5 minutes that Cowher told the Jets he would only take the job if he had complete power, and the Jets fired GM Mike Tannenbaum. Francesa made it very clear that he had sources (basically it sounded like he had talked to Cowher or his agent) telling him a very different story, and within minutes of his declaration, ESPN had changed their breaking news to mimic exactly what the legendary drive time host had just said. Naturally they gave themselves credit for this latest bit of investigative mastery,

AND the part that's relevant to this game....

4) Giant fans are scared to death of the Philadelphia Eagles. There were Giant fans everywhere already making excuses (Plaxico, Osi, Jacobs, etc..), and even local radio hosts using the Rooch trick of picking against the team you want, simply for good karma. I feel the thought, I do, but convincing yourself you're jinxed, or turning your team into some sort of #1 seeded underdog just makes you look pathetic. Get a sack, Giant fans. You're supposed to be from New York for Christ's sake! Then again, maybe that was just all those pussies from Connecticut...


And after absorbing all that Big Apple info, I've decided to pick their team to win the game, but pick the Eagles to cover. I figure their divisional rivals, so it should be a close one, and that Andy Reid and Donovan McChoke will show their true colors down the stretch and mismanage yet another golden opportunity. So either Philly wins, or they blow it in the final minutes. Either way, I like the Eagles with the points...


Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) vs San Diego Chargers

I sure do love those powder blue uni's, but thats where it ends...

Now unlike most of my friends, who have come to identify the Chargers as public enemy #2 to the Jets #1, I still have no greater loathing for an NFL team than I do for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And it's the good kind of hatred. I hate them, because if I were from Pittsburgh, aside from having black lung and a one legged Polish girlfriend, I'd love the Steelers, and hate the freaking Patriots. It's like Rodney Harrison. You hate him, unless he's on your team. And no, that's NOT like TO, Pacman, or any other guy who makes you hate them because of things they do OFF the field...

I hate them, simply enough, because I respect them. And in the playoffs, I like to think I can trust them, especially against an enigmatic team like San Diego. So take the Steelers, plus the points, and feel good about your weekend...



Last Week: 1-3-0

Regular Season: 139-90-12 (.602)

'08 Top Picks: 76-39-8 (.650)


Well kids, it's good to be back!


I hope everyone enjoys their weekend, and I'll catch you all some time next week. With the end of football I'll be picking up my NCAA coverage, so make sure to tune in...

Until then, keep an eye out for my latest NCAA poll updated every week, and keep gettin' your life on...

Be good...

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