Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leach of Contract


Mike Leach's firing this week has helped to reinforce something that has been made apparent throughout both college and NFL football this year: concussions are very serious and overlooking them will not be tolerated. I for one was a fan of Mike Leach. He brought the Texas Tech program back to a national level and coached in one of the most exciting games I have ever seen when Texas Tech beat Texas on a last second TD pass last year. However, it appears that even in Texas, where everyone is a little bit tougher, Leach's old school coaching style has become intolerable. My how the times have changed.


In case you haven't heard, Mike Leach was originally suspended by Texas Tech for locking a player who had a concussion in a dark closet while the rest of the team practiced. His actions soon thereafter led to his swift termination, despite the fact that he had just signed a 5 year, $12 million contract.

In the old days a player who refused to play with a concussion would be labeled a pussy, or a guy who is not committed to the team. If this were the 1970s in South Bend, Indiana, Leach would have said; "You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence!" and would have busted this player Adam James from the third team straight to the prep team. Then he would have thrown his hat to the ground, kicked it and shouted "Get me a new wide receiver!". And he would have been right. Nowadays, that type of thing doesn't happen anymore. Trainers and players have just as much power as coaches.

Apparently this guy Adam James was kind of a turd. Other players didn't like him, and a lot of people thought he wasn't committed to playing football. Unfortunately for Mike Leach, that doesn't matter anymore. If a player is injured, you can't touch him. We have seen how playing through injuries can devastate a players life after football (look at Ted Johnson) and programs will not allow injuries to go untreated anymore. The balance of power has shifted in the arena of football.

Unfortunately in this situation, I think both sides lose. Mike Leach was a great coach, and despite what they say I don't think Texas Tech will find another one better than him. For Mike Leach, his name is ruined and he probably won't be able to find another D-1 coaching job. Both parties might have been better served to sweep this thing under the rug, but with the way the wind is blowing these days mistreatment of players is becoming a thing of the past. Get with the times man!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When's the Next Haley's Comet?


Every once in a while, when Mercury aligns itself with Jupiter and the moon spins without moving, we are treated to one of nature's most beautiful phenomenons, the Double Manning Face. This weekend, if you happened to be looking at your TV as the sun set you were lucky enough to witness this miracle of nature. These sightings are indeed so special because rarely if ever do we see Peyton Manning lose a game anymore. Quite frankly, we were very lucky to see the Double Manning Face this Sunday, because the Colts should have won that game. I for one do not see the point of resting the Colts starters against the Jets. Moreover, you could see it on Manning's Manning Face that game, he wanted to go 16-0.

Rookie coach Jim Caldwell defended his decision to rest his starters against the Jets on Sunday, costing them their perfect season in a 29-15 loss. He argued that a player could have gotten injured and that he wanted his team to be fresh for the playoffs. In my opinion, these are two of the stupidest arguments that I have ever heard for taking players out of the game.

Coaches need to know that you can not protect against injuries. Injuries are freak accidents that can happen any time, on or off the field. Players get injured just as often in practice, does that mean that the Colts starters are not going to practice either? Moreover, taking players out of the game in the second half leads to them not being prepared to play a full game and forgetting what game conditions are like. Leave the starters in for the full game for crying out loud. Peyton Manning has started 206 games in a row, he is in no danger of getting injured out there. Let him go for the perfect season.

Another phrase I hate is players being "fresh" for the playoffs. Rusty is the word I would use. These guys are going to be a step behind guys that have had to play for however many weeks in a row. The Colts can use the bye week that they earned to "freshen up", that's what it is for. For now, keep them playing a full game. Or if you want to take them out, take them out against the Bills, who the Colts backups could probably beat to preserve the perfect season. A perfect season doesn't come around too often, and Jim Caldwell threw it all away for no good reason.

Maybe this I why I like Bill Billabill so much. He never would have taken his players out in this game, and didn't in 2007. He would have used every minute on the clock and every available starter to step on the throat of the other team and then twist his white sneakers, spraying blood all over his baggy fit Dockers. Sure the Pats did not win the Super Bowl that year, but they made it there, and losing had nothing to do with their starters being injured or "unfresh". God, I feel like I am writing for a Summer's Eve ad or something. Every time the Colts have rested their guys, they have ended up bowing outt short of the Super Bowl. From here on out, the protocol should be if you are undefeated, play your starters all the way. For now, we will just have to settle for taking joy in the warmth provided by the Double Manning Face.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Tribute To Some of the Greatest Sports Fans


Here are some of the best videos of sports fans I could find on youtube. In homage to Sportsnation, which is a stupid show but Michelle Beadle is hot, please comment on which one is your favorite. Here we go.


1. I wonder how this guy felt when he found out Uga died.

2. The incomparable Monty G.


3. "Chillin in the sun" = dancing in the elephant suit.

4. Celtics fans are pretty good.

5. Assist to Dorne on this one.

6. I imagine that going into Lincoln Financial Field as a rival fan is similar to marching for civil rights in the South in the early 60s.

7. New York is no picnic either.

8. We don't come close to those soccer hooligans though.

9. Especially not those pussy Chargers fans...or Colts fans. Can't tell.

10. Can't see his face, but it is probably Firk.

11. Also might be Firk.

12. Most action we have seen from the Browns all year.

13. Me, Dump and Dorne were at this game. Dorne muttered "no way he hits this" right before the shot.

14. Did anybody order me a plain cheese?

15. Everyone thinks they are an umpire.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Heisman Curse


During my half an hour or so of slapdicking around on sporcle.com today, I came across an interesting quiz. The quiz asked you to name all of the former Heisman Trophy winners that are now in the NFL Hall of Fame. I thought I might be able to take this one down so I clicked the link and got rolling. Much to my surprise, there were only 8 players on the list. I knew that there were some real dud Heisman winners out there, but I couldn't believe that this few were in the Hall of Fame. This leads me to believe that the Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy and Toby Gerharts of football will have a much better pro career than the likes of Mark Ingram or Tim Tebow.

Doak Walker, Paul Hornung, Roger Staubach, O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders. These are the only Heisman Trophy winners to have gone on to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. Out of 74 winners (Archie Griffin won twice) only 8 have gone to Canton, that's about 11%. You would think that the percentage would be a lot higher, but it is not. If I were Ndamukong Suh, Colt McCoy or Toby Gerhart I would actually be pretty pumped about losing out on the Heisman.

In my opinion, there might be a reason for this statistic. I think that the Heisman Trophy is more a popularity contest than anything. Sure, all the players that are invited to the presentation are all very good, but I think more often than not the "best" players are overlooked in favor of the most popular guy on the best team, or the most heralded player by the media. Moreover, it seems that the Heisman committee is heavily in favor of quarterbacks winning the award. That is the only way to explain guys like; Troy Smith, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Ty Detmer, and Andre Ware all winning the Heisman. The Heisman trophy seems to be more a barometer of popularity than actual skill.

If I were an NFL GM, I might actually hold a player winning the Heisman trophy against him, certainly more for quarterbacks at least. Maybe I am being too strong, but let me just say that winning a Heisman trophy wouldn't be any sort of a credential in my mind.

I know what you are thinking, 11% is probably not bad compared to the percentage of all other players making the Hall of Fame. You are probably right, but I still find it shocking that out of the 254 players in the NFL Hall of Fame, only 8 were considered to be "the best player in college football". Moreover, that some of the "best players in college football" turned into such terrible pro players.

Maybe I should create the award for "most likely to be a successful pro", but all I know is that if I were a betting man, I would put money on Colt McCoy to make it to the Hall of Fame before Tim Tebow, or Toby Gerhart before Mark Ingram. As a matter of fact, I'd take my boy Terrence Cody over all of them. He is the second coming of VW-WF.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Bitch Is Back


Brett Favre better get one thing through his thick gray skull pretty damn fast: he is not Jon Moxon. The fact that he is even trying to re-enact the story of Mox pisses me off to no end. I told you that this guy was more trouble than he is worth, and as usual Favre and his team are starting to unravel toward the end of the season. The Vikings can thank Big Ben and his 500 yard passing game yesterday, because if it weren't for him I don't think the Vikings would have won the division. Either way though, I doubt the Vikings will make much noise in the playoffs. Because unlike Mox, Favre can't rally his team to get rid of Coach Childress. But similar to what Kilmer said about Mox, Favre has poisoned his team.

Apparently on more than one occasion, resident geriatric GUNSLINGER Brett Favre has ignored play calls by coach Brad Childress and called a passing play of his own in the huddle. Now I'm all for calling your own plays from the huddle when you have a racist coach that won't let Wendell score any touchdowns or help him with recruiting, but not when it is the man with the most interceptions in NFL history calling his own passing plays. You both might be number 4, but there is only one Mox.

Seriously though folks, didn't I tell you this was going to happen? Brett Favre is one of the most selfish players in NFL history, and all of his actions are based on getting more attention for himself. This might have been okay 10 years ago when he could still throw as hard as anyone; but now he is old. It seems as if every season his coaches try to rein him in and the team has some success, but then the old Brett re-surfaces and the season goes down the tubes. It is just not worth it to take a chance on Brett Favre. Vikings, if you want to win, put in one of your backups for the rest of the year.

What is Favre gonna do next? Throw the ball at the other teams mascot to stop the clock? Don't you dare, Brett. Don't you dare. One thing I'm sure he will do though is throw some classic 50 yard heaves for interceptions. The Vikings might as well kiss their season goodbye because: The Bitch Is Back.

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm Here to Get Drunk

Everyone has probably heard of the drink called the John Daly, mixing iced tea, lemonade and whiskey. But here are some drinks named after popular sports athletes that you may not have heard of. You may not have heard of them because I made them all up.

Tiger Woods:
Midori
Hennessy
Gatorade

So strong you could crash your car and divorce your wife after just one!



O.J. Simpson:
Hennessy
Apple Juice
Splash of grenadine (to give it that blood color)

Why apple juice? 'Cause O.J. will kill you.



Cecil Fielder:
Egg Nog
Buttermilk
Half and Half


This is a non-alcoholic drink. His son Prince enjoys them too.



Troy O'Leary:
Jameson
Hypnotiq
Club Soda


Also referred to as a Larry Fitzgerald



David Robinson shot:
Shot of Goslings Dark Rum

chase with Pace Salsa


The Navy man's drink with a kick all the way from San Antonio




Pavel Bure aka "The Russian Rocket":
Stoli
151
Kahlua
Milk


This one will warm you up after a long shift on the ice.




So the next time you are watching the game or entertaining, whip up a few of these drinks and you'll really wow all of your party guests! (Patent pending on all of these)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fat Version of Rob Schatzman Signs With Boston





If only Rob were a fat man, then he would be making millions as a starting pitcher in the American League. As it is, his fat twin signed a 5 year $82 million dollar deal with the Boston Red Sox this week. In my opinion, this gives the Red Sox one of the best, if not the best rotation in all of baseball.

Imagine playing a three game series and having to go up against Josh Beckett, John Lester, and John Lackey all in a row. You can pretty much count on three losses right there. These guys are all legitimate number 1 starters and now they are all on the same team.

I believe the Red Sox made a wise by signing John Lackey over Jason Bay this off-season. As they learned last year, you can never have enough pitching, and Jason Bay seemed to be seeking too much money for a guy who hit .250 last year. Moreover, the Lackey signing might give them some room to trade one of their other pitchers as well.

With a rotation featuring Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, and Clay Bucholz, the Sox have some wiggle room to try and find the missing piece to their offense. Mike Cameron, Jeremy Hermida, JD Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury are by no means studs offensively, and with Mikey Lowell gone at third, and David Ortiz clearly not a threat anymore the Sox are going to need to find some help offensively. This addition enables them to add another bat if they have to via trade.

A few weeks ago, it looked like the Red Sox were not going to be able to challenge the Yankees for the AL East next year. Now in one fell swoop they have put themselves in position to contend in the division as well as the playoffs again. The starting 4 in their rotation have all won over 15 games in a season in the last 3 years, and are very capable of doing it again this year. Moreover, the signing of Lackey allows them to pursue a big bat if they need to. The signing of John Lackey was probably the best thing the Red Sox could have done for their team this offseason. However, now they are going to have to pay for a lot of hotels.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What's Up Doc? or: Halladay, Celebrate?


A post so nice that I had to name it twice! In a potential blockbuster deal, the Phillies are apparently very close to acquiring their original target from last year's trade deadline Roy "Doc" Halladay. Unfortunately, this trade his also means that Cliff Lee will be sent out of town. While I really loved Cliff Lee on the Phillies, I am beginning to think more and more that the Phillies' hand was forced and that they had to make this trade. Therefore, they might have had to give up a little more than they wanted to, but in the long run will be better off.


Ok, so here is how the supposed trade would break down:

Phillies get:
Doc Halladay
Tyson Gillies
Phillippe Aumont

Blue Jays get:
Kyle Drabek
Michael Taylor
Travis D'Arnaud

Mariners get:
Cliff Lee


My first reaction to this trade was; "Wow, the Phillies are really giving up a lot." Thinking back to last year's trade deadline, the Phillies gave up 4 players from Pat's beloved Iron Pigs to acquire Cliff Lee. Now they are trading him and 3 of their best prospects (including Kyle Drabek, who was supposedly "untouchable" and was what caused the Halladay deadline deal to fall apart) to get Halladay? That is more than the Blue Jays wanted for Halladay back at the deadline! What gives? I'll tell you what gives, Cliff Lee's salary demands.

I think when the Phils traded for Lee and he helped them reach the World Series again this year, it was sort of just assumed that he would sign a contract extension with them. As Lee Corso would say; "Not so fast my friend." Apparently, in brief talks with Lee's agent, the Philly brass found out that he was looking for "C.C. Sabathia type money" As a matter of fact, as I write this Kruky is on ESPN saying that Cliff Lee turned down a long term offer from the Phils because he is intent on testing the free agent market. The Phillies may be a big market team, but they can't afford to get in a bidding war with teams like the Sox and the Yanks. They also can't afford to lose a guy like Cliff Lee and get nothing in return. Thus the trade.

The Phillies know what they are getting with Halladay, and I fully expect him to win at least 20 games this year. Moreover, this deal is conditional on Halladay signing a 3 or 4 year extension so he will be around for a while. I also like this guy Phillippe Aumont though. The only time I saw him play was in the WBC this Spring, but the 6'7" Aumont mowed down the likes of Kevin Youkilis, D Wright and Curtis Granderson with some serious heat. He could make the Phillies opening day roster, and possibly be the next closer if Lidge continues to struggle. I don't know much about the Gillies guy, but with the Phillies lineup pretty set for a while, I don't see him being a big piece to the puzzle. All in all I see this move as some the Phillies had to do, so while I will miss Cliff Lee, I'm not gonna complain at all about Roy Halladay taking his place.

As far as the other teams go, the Blue Jays also did what they had to do so they are winners. J.P. Ricciardi looked like a real moron at the trade deadline by demanding so much for Halladay, but their new G.M. got the soon to be departing Halladay traded away for a decent supply of players in return. From all accounts Kyle Drabek is going to be a stud too. The Mariners may appear to be winners as they now have a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and Erik Bedard. However, they better do what they can to win next year, because I would guess that Cliff Lee won't be around for long. The Mariners may have mortgaged their future to win in the present. As Robin Williams would say "good luck." With the Angels clearly on the decline though, the division may be there for the taking. Short term win, long term loss for the M's.

The more and more I think about this deal, the happier I will be if it gets done. Ruben Amaro Jr. is really doing an amazing job as a GM for the Phillies. He realized that he can't allow his team to lose a great pitcher so he did what needed to be done to get Roy Halladay. Halladay apparently really wants to be in Philly, and their spring training stadium is about 10 minutes from his house in Florida. The Cliff Lee regime is apparently over, but now it is time to Halladay, celebrate. I plan on doing something like this.

Friday, December 11, 2009

All I Want for Christmas Is You



On a frigid day like today, it is important to remember the people that help keep us warm. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Coan Oil for providing heating oil and heating and cooling equipment to the entire MetroWest area. While they don't actually heat my home, they provide me with my favorite commercials of all time starring this babe. There is also another great video on their website. Bravo Coan Oil on a bang up marketing campaign.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Ringing Heisman Endorsement


I am here before you today to officially endorse Toby Gerhart as my pick for this year's winner of the Heisman Trophy. Now I'm not going to break down the stats of each eligible player and nit pick as to who had the best year based on one thing as opposed to another, I'm not even going to mention any stats at all as a matter of fact. There are two VERY good reasons as to why I think Toby Gerhart eclipses all of the other Heisman candidates this year. Number 1: He is a white running back. Number 2: I have actually heard of him. When you put these two immutable facts together, it is a no brainer that this kid deserves to be the Heisman Trophy winner this year. There probably won't be another guy like Toby Gerhart ever again.

Who was the last white running back that you can remember having any impact on college football whatsoever? I am talking about a true running back, not a fullback like Mike Alstott. Having trouble? The only guy I can even recall is Gordie Lockbaum, a running back for Holy Cross in the 1980s who finished 3rd in the Heisman Trophy race. The last white guy I can even remember playing running back is Travis Jervey, who owned a pet lion and lived near the airport, and even he was more of a special teams guy. That is what makes Toby Gerhart's success that much more amazing. He is succeeding at a position where white people are not supposed to succeed anymore.

Sure, Mark Ingram played great against Florida, Tim Tebow is the face of college football, Colt McCoy is a great quarterback (and is incredibly fast to boot), and Ndamukong Suh is the best defensive player in football, but Toby Gerhart is a white running back for crying out loud! The fact that he is even playing division 1, let alone having such an amazing season, should be enough for him to win the Heisman. Toby Gerhart is a special player and has truly defied the odds. In my opinion, he is the no brainer choice for the Heisman this year and I wish him continued success in NFL. Represent!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great, Grand, Wonderful!


It appears that the Curtis Granderson deal has gone official today. In a 3 team trade, the Yankees have acquired Curtis Granderson, the D'Backs have acquired Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, and the Tigers have acquired Phil Coke, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth. While I am normally opposed to any moves that the Yankees make, at least this time they are acquiring through trade rather than through their limitless supply of free agent money. Moreover, I think that this trade makes sense for all teams involved. If pressed though, I would argue that the Diamondbacks got the best deal of all participating parties.


While Curtis Granderson may be the big name in this deal, the Tigers and the Diamondbacks did not get the short end of the stick by any means. I don't know much about Austin Jackson or Daniel Schlereth, but they are apparently very highly touted players. I don't think much of Phil Coke, but I thought that a guy named Coke belonged in the Bronx. As for Max Scherzer, he could be the next Justin Verlander, but he failed to break out with the D'Backs and it is always harder to be a successful pitcher in the American League. He still has a high ceiling though. All in all, the Tigers got a good deal in return for two guys, but I'm a little confused as to why they shipped away Edwin Jackson after a good season.

The Yankees certainly upgraded at center field by acquiring Granderson, and in turn upgraded their defense in the outfield altogether as the Melk Man can now play a corner outfield spot. Addition by addition. Offensively though, I don't think this is as good a move as everyone thinks. Granderson's average has been sinking steadily over the years and last year was a meager .249. He is trying for the home run to much, when with his speed he should be hitting the ball on the ground and getting on base. Joe Girardi should put him on the Willie Mays Hayes pushup plan whenever he pops the ball up. He also needs to work on his .188 average against lefties. A good move overall for the Yankees, but Granderson is not as great as he appears offensively.

The real winners in this trade in my opinion are the Arizona Diamondbacks. They add yet another stud arm to their rotation in Edwin Jackson. Last year, he went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA and 162 K's. Now put him in the NL and watch what happens. Now the D'Backs have an extremely solid rotation including Brandon Webb (if he is healthy), Danny Haren and Edwin Jackson. If their young hitters can ever get it together, they could be a really formidable team. Not to mention, they get a young pitcher in Ian Kennedy with some upside. The Diamondbacks gave up very little, and got a lot back in return. They are the real winners here in a trade where everyone was a winner.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Look Back


Game's on! GAME'S ON! With the Packers victory last night on MNF coupled with the Vikings bad loss on SNF, I thought back to my predictions at the beginning of the season. I picked the Pack to win the NFC North with the Vikes coming in second. As the Pack continue to look stronger and stronger, especially on D, I began to wonder how my other picks have fared to this point. Let's have a look eh?


NFC East:
I had the Iggs winning the division and the G Men challenging for a wild card spot, followed by the Skins and the Boys hovering around .500. I like where I am at right now with these picks. I think Cowboys fans should adopt this as their theme song, especially with games against San Diego, New Orleans, and the Iggs still to play. I really see the Tony Homo and the Cowgirls going 9-7, the Iggs going 11-5 and the G-Men challenging for a wild card at 9-7 or 10-6. I give myself an A so far on this one.


NFC North:
I had Green Bay winning the division, followed by the Vikes, Bears and Lions. It's a long shot but it could still happen! Think about this, the Jets were 8-3 at one point last year only to go 1-4 down the stretch and miss the playoffs. I doubt the Vikings will miss the playoffs this year, but this is around the time when Old Brett gets a little tired from constant GUNSLINGING. The Pack could close strong and steal the division.


NFC South:
I had the Falcons winning this division and representing the NFC in the Stupid Bowl. D'oh! I did have the Saints making the playoffs though. Ehh? Ehhhh? Clearly the Saints are the class of this division. I did have the Panthers and Bucs right where they are though.


NFC West:
I had this one scoped perfectly from top to bottom. Sit Ubu, sit. Good dog.



AFC East:
The only thing I have wrong in this division is the Jets. They are still fighting for the division after a mid-season slump. The Pats better shape up fast if they are going to make me look good as the AFC Super Bowl representative. Could TPLIYP have a stronger jinx than SI, Madden, Gillette and Casey Dorne combined? We shall see.


AFC North:
Who knew? The Bungals. I had this division all wrong, though I knew the Bengals would be better, and I knew the Browns would be dead last. The Steelers have really disappointed and have let the Bengals take control of this division.


AFC South:
Texans winning the division? Good lord. Clearly messed this one up with the 12-0 Colts securely on top here. Underestimated the Jags as well. I have the Titans right on track though!


AFC West:
I knew the Chargers would win the west, but I had the Broncos finishing in dead last. I hope somehow they still do. I like what I've seen from the Raiders this year, they are really hitting teams in the mouth and look to get better in the coming years. They should turn Jamarcus Russell into a fullback too. I also knew the Chiefs would be bad.

All in all, not too bad I don't think. A few mistakes, especially with the two undefeated teams, but hey I'd like to see you do better. Yes Pat, I'm talking to you. I've attached the links to the original posts if you'd like to take a look.

AFC

NFC

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bowl Game Bonanza


The match ups are set. With 5 unbeaten teams and a couple of wild games to end the regular season, there was much ado about the BCS Bowl games this year. Everyone pretty much knew that Texas and Alabama would be in the BCS Championship game, but I would have liked to see the rest of the games shake out a little bit differently. I will give you my fearless predictions nonetheless, and then sit back and wait many weeks for them to come to fruition. Why can't we have a playoff system again? Oh yeah, then we would lose the privilege of seeing how awkward of a name a bowl game can have. What would life be like without the Meineke Car Care Bowl? Wait, don't answer that. I don't even want to imagine. Although it's easy if you try.


ORANGE BOWL: Georgia Tech vs. Iowa

Talk about your ho-hum BCS bowl game. The Ramblin' Wreck have to be one of the weakest ACC Champions in a while, and the Hawkeyes were deemed totally insignificant after their loss to Northwestern. This game will decide whether the ACC or the Big Ten is worse.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 21, Iowa 13



ROSE BOWL: Oregon vs. Ohio State

This game looks good on paper, but I have a feeling it is going to be a blowout. Ohio State lost to USC in a high profile game earlier this year. Little did we know that USC would fall to 5th in the Pac-10 by year's end. If that is any indication of how strong each conference is, I like Oregon to roll Ohio State in their return to the Rose Bowl after a 15 year absence.

Prediction: Oregon 35, Ohio State 14



SUGAR BOWL: Florida vs. Cincinnati

Cincy just barely made it into the Sugar Bowl thanks to a ferocious comeback and a missed extra point by Pittsburgh last week. Meanwhile, Florida is tasting defeat for the first time in a while. While the Big Ten and ACC may have fallen on hard times, I expect Cincy to make a statement for the Big East in this game. They may not win, but I expect a barn burner.

Prediction: Florida 28, Cincy 24



FIESTA BOWL: Texas Christian University vs. Boise State

This is the bowl game that I will be paying the most attention to. I think this game will be the best, and has the most interesting teams in it. My only regret is that the BCS committee screwed it up again, perhaps on purpose. The committee pitted the two non-BCS teams against each other in a BCS Bowl. While it promises to be an exciting game, what will the result tell us? What is the one thing we always wonder about schools like Boise, TCU et al. that play BCS Buster every year? How would they fare against the big BCS schools? Well, in their infinite wisdom, the BCS committee has decided that they don't want to know the answer to that question, pitting two of the best non-BCS teams possibly of all time against each other. Perhaps they did it on purpose to avoid controversy, but I think this was a stupid move by the BCS committee. I would have liked to see a TCU-Florida matchup and maybe a Cincy-Boise matchup. This game promises to be a good one though. I expect the boys from Fort Worth to pull it out.

Prediction: TCU 24, Boise St. 17



BCS CHAMPIONSHIP: Texas vs. Alabama

Alabama proved this weekend that it no doubt belongs to be in this game by throttling Florida, while Texas won a squeaker against Nebraska on a last second field goal. While this might appear to be an uneven match up on paper, I think that this will be a close game. As a matter of fact, I think that I will go for the upset and pick the Longhorns to win it all. Mack Brown has done it before hasn't he? Hook 'em horns.

Prediction: Texas 27, Alabama 24

Friday, December 4, 2009

Filling the Void


That'll Put Lead In Your Pencil: Your source for all the infield news of the week. The Red Sox announced today that they have signed shortstop Marco Scutaro to a two year deal with an option for a third year. While Scutaro had a pretty good year last year, I don't think that this signing is a very good one. Scutaro's career numbers are much lower than those he put up last year, and who is to say that he won't revert to those numbers after a contract year anomaly? It has been interesting to see over the years how the Red Sox have tried to replace the man they traded away in order to win a championship.

For almost ten years Nomar Garciaparra, seen here looking very sodahead-ish, was the franchise player for the Red Sox. He and Mo Vaughn created one of the most fearsome middle of the order tandems in the late 1990s, and in the early 2000s Nomar and Manny Ramirez also made for a potent 3 and 4 in the order. With this hitting prowess though came little success in the playoffs, and the Sox 1918 World Series drought continued into the new millennium. Then a funny thing happened in 2004.

In 2004 the face of the franchise was traded to the Cubs in a three way deal which brought the Sox Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz in return. With these solid role players, the Sox were able to do the impossible and win the 2004 World Series much to the chagrin of Glenn Halsteads everywhere. Since the split in 2004, it has been interesting to notice how the Red Sox have never really found a shortstop, and Nomar has never really found success.

It is like some sort of twisted love saga. The two were happy together, but ultimately needed to go separate ways. Now the Red Sox have won two championships, the equivalent of them dating a hot girl for show, but they are not truly happy because they don't have a franchise shortstop. Meanwhile, Nomar is pulling a John Beckwith and reading don't kill yourself books after losing his soul mate.

Will the Sox ever find their franchise shortstop again? Who knows? They had a chance with Hanley Ramirez, but traded him for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Not a bad trade by any means, but maybe they just weren't ready to love a shortstop again. Since Nomar, the Sox have suffered through the likes of Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Alex Cora, Julio Lugo, JT Rivela look-alike Jed Lowrie and now Marco Scutaro. While Scutaro might be a better fit than the rest of that awful chorus line, he will by no means be the next Nomar. Meanwhile that guy in New York has been there the whole time.

The Red Sox have made a lot of mistakes at shortstop since shipping Nomar out of town in 2004. Here's hoping Marco Scutaro can have some success at a position seemingly cursed for the last 5 years. Scutaro has a lot riding against him though, and the expectations in Boston are much higher than they are in Toronto. My guess is that the Red Sox will be looking for another shortstop again soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Heed! Phillies! Now!


In an interesting move today, the Phillies signed former Tigers second baseman Placido "Polly" Polanco. This move is interesting because the Phillies already have a second baseman named Chase Utley. Polanco has been signed to play third base, a position he hasn't played in years. I think this move is a little risky, but in the long run it could really help the Phillies offense become a real juggernaut.

Placido Polanco is about to begin his second stint in Philadelphia after signing a 3 year, $18 million deal this week. During his first years in Philadelphia, I never really thought much of him. He was acquired from St. Louis in the deal that sent Scott Rolen out of town, and the expectations on him and the other players acquired were unfairly high. Obviously, Polanco could not fill the void that Rolen's absence created and most Phillies fans regarded Polanco as simply a look alike of this guy. It was not until after he left that I realized how valuable of a guy Polanco is. I am very happy to have him back now.

Though Polanco is now 34 years old and hasn't played third base in a long time, I think his presence will be very valuable on the Phillies. First of all, the man can fucking hit. He has a career average of .303 and averages a miniscule 39 strikeouts a year. On a team with strikeout machines like Ryan Howard, Polanco's presence in the lineup will be HUGE. Secondly, Polanco's power numbers will definitely spike in Citizen's Bank Park. Last year he had 10 homers and 72 RBIs, but in the Bank I see him equaling or surpassing the power numbers of the departed Pedro Feliz. The addition of Placido Polanco will really round out the Phillies lineup and gives them a disciplined right handed bat in the order.

On defense, I am not really sure how Polanco will fare at third base. He has played the position before, but I think it is fair to say that he will be a step back from Pedro Feliz. I'm sure Polanco will bust his ass to become a sound 3rd baseman, but if I were the Phils I might sign a good glove man to possibly fill in late in the game. This is a small price to pay for such a good player though. Moreover, Polanco's acumen at second base can help spell Chase Utley if he is a little dinged up.

All things considered, I think this is a great signing for the Phillies. Sure, Polanco will have some bumps in the road re-teaching himself the 3rd base position, but you can't underestimate the value of another great right-handed bat in the Phillies lineup. Think about a lineup that looks something like this:

1. Jimmy Rollins
2. Shane Victorino
3. Chase Utley
4. Ryan Howard
5. Jayson Werth
6. Raul Ibanez
7. Placido Polanco
8. Carlos Ruiz
PH. Matt Stairs

LOOKIN' TOUGH.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Paper Tiger


The Tiger Woods saga appears to be falling further and further into the realm of tabloid scandal. So far we have a wrecked Escalade, a golf club wielding wife, two alleged mistresses, one damning voice mail, and a partridge in a pear tree. Rather than coming clean to the ever pressing media, Tiger has chosen to become more and more reclusive. He has prepared statements asking for his privacy to be respected over and over again, and has not made any public appearances since his accident. Tiger needs to learn that this is not the correct way to get the media off your back, and more importantly needs to understand that as a celebrity you can never truly lead a normal life.

Am I the only one that thinks Tiger has been acting like a little bitch lately? Don't get me wrong, I still love Tiger and I think that this dual mistress wrinkle in the story is awesome, but he is acting like a baby. He does not understand that when you are a celebrity, your life almost becomes property of the people in a way. In exchange for millions and millions of dollars, Tiger has to sacrifice his anonymity and privacy. People want to know what he is doing on a daily basis and he is obligated socially to share that. If it were me in this situation, no one would give a damn; but I don't make $100 million a year.

Think about it, if this happened to any other celebrity it would already have blown up way bigger than this, but Tiger is trying to stonewall people into making the story go away. It doesn't work that way. The media is going to get to the bottom of this one way or another and Tiger needs to realize that. The life of Tiger Woods is always going to be under a microscope and the more honest he is about it, the better off he will be in the long run. You can't hide forever Tiger!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It Ain't Right


With competition coming from Steve Kohut, I figured that I had better step up the postings lest I be deserted by my followers. I'd also like to give a shout out to my newest follower Heide. Hopefully you become more actively involved than that brigand Ethan128. That being said, I'd like to express my dismay today at the forced retirement of Bobby Bowden. The man is as big of a legend as Bud Kilmer, and has an equally iconic statue to match. After all this man has given to Florida State over his 34 years as coach, I thought it very disrespectful and ungrateful to force him to step down in such a way. Shame on the Florida State athletic department.

34 years. Think about that sports fans: 34 years. Bobby Bowden has been the head coach at Florida State since well before most of us were born. Over that time, Bobby Bowden has compiled a record of 315-97-4, won two national championships, set a record for most consecutive years ranked in the top 5 at 14, sent countless quality athletes onto the NFL and even ended up coaching against several of his sons. When Bowden inherited the Seminole program, they had only won 4 games over the previous 3 seasons. Now they are a national powerhouse. Seems to me that Florida State owes Coach Bobby an awful lot.

Not only is Bowden a great coach, he is also a great human being. In admiration of his outstanding character, the Bobby Bowden Award is given to one player each year who excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community. There is no better model for this award than Bowden. If you have seen the movie "We Are Marshall", you might remember that Bowden, then the coach at West Virginia, put a cross on the back of his players helmets in solemn remembrance of the terrible plane crash that killed most of the Marshall football team in 1970. What you may not know is that Bowden also petitioned the NCAA to let the Mountaineers play as the Marshall Thundering Herd, in full Marshall uniforms, to finish out their season after the crash left them with only a few players left. You can not find a man like Bobby Bowden just around the corner, that is for certain.

Certainly in his later years Bowden might have started to lose his edge. If his best players got in trouble, he would overlook it and let them play. During academic scandals he turned a blind eye. And most importantly to FSU fans, the team started to lose more and more games. But is this really enough to force a living legend from his post? Absolutely not.

At Penn State, Joe Pa paces up and down the sidelines raving like a lunatic each Saturday. Do Penn State fans care? No. Has Bobby Bowden not earned as much as Joe Pa? Why not let Bobby Bowden have one more year as head coach? That's all he wanted. It's not like removing him now is going to give the Seminoles a better shot at the BCS title next year. Bobby Bowden's forced retirement from Florida State was a very shameful act by the university in my opinion. He brought them up from nothing and was basically shown the door after a few bad years. I hope Florida State loses a few fans over this disrespectful act. Especially this one.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Showdown in the Superdome


Who Dat? Dat's the Pats returning to the Superdome for the first time since their first Super Bowl win. Tonight could be the biggest game of the season for both the Saints and the Patriots. The Superdome is sure to be rocking as the Saints try to extend their perfect record to 11-0 against easily their toughest opponent all season. Meanwhile, the Patriots try to prove that they are still the class of the NFL despite their 3 losses. Despite the unblemished record, I think the Saints will end up losing to the NEP tonight. However, if the Patriots want to win, they might have to do it in a way that they are unaccustomed to; by running the ball.


Even though they were quite porous last year, the Saints have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and are playing great defense this year. TB12 is going to have his work cut out for him against a pass defense that has only given up 9 touchdown passes this year. On the other hand, the Saints rushing defense has given up 12 TDs and gives up an average of 4.56 yards a carry. BB is going to have to be patient, play clock control and grind this game out if the Pats are to win.

I'm sure that the Patriots are aware that they have to finish games after the Colts debacle, but the Saints are even more of a closing team than the Colts. While New England averages the most points in the first half, the Saints lead the league in second half scoring at an average of 18.8 points. Even if the Pats have the lead at halftime, they should play the second half as if they are trailing and keep trying to add to their lead.

While the Pats should look to run the ball, the Saints have a distinct advantage in the aerial attack. They have scored 22 times through the air this year, while the Pats pass defense has given up 14 TDs. The Pats run defense is significantly better than the Saints run defense though, only giving up 3 rushing TDs all year. The Pats will need to focus on the pass first and force the Saints to run the ball against wicked fat Vince Wilfork.

Despite the guidelines that I have laid out for success, I think each team will try to win the way it is accustomed to. That is, both teams are going to be airing it out. While this might appear to give the advantage to the Saints, I think that the Patriots will still prevail. My main reason for thinking this is that the Saints really haven't had that difficult of a schedule so far this year. Though they are 10-0, I think that their record is a bit deceiving.

A wise man once said, you are not as good as your best win, and not as bad as your worst loss. You are somewhere in between. That being said, the Saints best win this year probably came against either the Dolphins or the Panthers in comeback fashion. While their worst (near) loss came in a recent 5 point win over the hapless Rams. Sound impressive to you? Didn't think so.

Meanwhile, the NEP are playing their 7th undefeated opponent of the year and have beaten the Ravens, not required a furious comeback to beat Miami soundly, and drubbed the suddenly surging Titans 59-0. Their worst loss was a last second heart breaker to the best team in the league. This seems to be a bit better track record to me, so I think that the Pats might be on a bit higher level than the Saints. Despite that, I think the game will be a great one. Get your popcorn ready.


Patriots 38, Saints 28

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In Need of an Answer in Philly


The Philadelphia 76ers shipped off their former MVP and perennial all-star guard Allen Iverson 3 years ago after a 10 year marriage that included much turmoil, several run-ins with Johnny Law, and many skipped practices. Those ten years also included a winning record, an NBA Finals appearance and a stunning upset in game 1 over the heavily favored Lakers. Since 2006, the Sixers claimed to be in a rebuilding effort with Andre Igoudala as the new face of the team. However, it appears that the rebuilding efforts of the team have been for naught as they have failed to achieve any real success, and they seem to be mired in the realm of perennial first round playoff knockouts. The state of the Sixers begs the question; could the return of Allen Iverson be a benefit to the franchise?

I have always been a huge Allen Iverson fan. From the day he was drafted, to when he burst onto the scene in the NBA, to when he led the Sixers to an NBA Finals appearance. Even when Iverson got arrested for threatening his fiance with a gun in his waistband, or when he demanded to be traded out of Philadelphia, I still regarded him as my favorite basketball player of all time. I never really cared how thuggish he seemed to others, because he had the heart of a champion and defied his diminutive stature with gigantic plays on the court. Needless to say, I have not really cared about the Sixers since Iverson left town.

That is the biggest reason the Sixers need Iverson back. People care enough to watch him play. He puts butts in the seats. The once proud Sixers franchise has slipped to 29th out of 30 teams as far as average attendance is concerned. Honestly, nobody is going to pay to see Andre Igoudala or Elton Brand. Allen Iverson is a different story though. He brings a certain electricity with him to every game, and is never one to shy away from stirring up controversy. Right now, this is what the Sixers need.

Getting down to brass tacks, Iverson is 34 years old, and is coming off of several of his worst years in pro basketball. His scoring is way down, and he is nowhere near as quick as he used to be. But as I said before, that is not really why the Sixers should pick him up. The Sixers do not really appear to be going anywhere this year, so what would be the harm in bringing Iverson in as a sort of last hurrah for a guy who gave so much to the city? It would only cost them the veteran's minimum. Moreover, the injury to starting guard Lou Williams presents a need to bring in another guard anyway. The re-signing of Allen Iverson makes too much since for Philly not to do.

The big hurdle here is that Allen Iverson demands to be a starter. If some sort of agreement can not be reached between him and the Sixers about playing time, then Iverson seems content to walk away from the game for good. Again, I stress that the Sixers don't really appear to be going anywhere this year so they should take a chance on picking up a proven guy. I know one thing for sure; if the Sixers signed Allen Iverson, I would certainly start watching them again. Long live The Answer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crashing Tiger, Hidden Dragon


I know there are a lot of questions to be answered about Tiger's big car crash this weekend. But the biggest of all should be, why wasn't he driving a Buick? Perhaps this is all some crazy marketing ploy and Buick is about to come out with an ad saying that if he was driving a Buick he wouldn't have been injured a la National Lampoon. And to think you wondered why Mark Forwood drives a VW. Despite my tomfoolery Tiger does have a lot of explaining to do, and unfortunately for him his privacy that he has valued so much is going to be invaded until he explains himself.

Tiger Woods is a man who enjoys his privacy. He doesn't like to do personal interviews, he doesn't play a full golf season so that he can spend time with his family, and he even owns his own yacht named "Privacy". This has been all well and good for all parties involved since Tiger was a rookie on the tour. He wowed on the course, did his interviews on the 18th green, and then we left him alone to lead a seemingly normal and boring life. However, at 2:25am on Friday morning, that all changed.

When I saw the headline on ESPN.com that Tiger Woods had been involved in a serious car crash, my first thought was that it was a prank of some sort. Tiger is one of the most thoughtful and responsible athletes in sports today, he would never do anything like this. Then some of the details began to emerge. What was he doing driving at 2:25 am on Thanksgiving night? Had he been drinking? Was there a problem at home? Where was he going? Was his Buick in the shop? All of these except for the last question are going to have to be answered by Tiger if he ever wants to be left alone again.

If I were Tiger, I would try to be as honest as I could about the events of Friday morning without divulging too many personal details. If he does, I'm guessing the world will realize that he is a human (despite the widely held belief that he is in fact a machine), and all humans make mistakes. If he does not, he will be dogged by questions at every tournament he plays in and will never be able to fully regain the privacy he once enjoyed so much. Tiger, the truth shall set you free!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Rivalry

As a resident of the town with the oldest public high school football rivalry in the country (with only those dandies from Exeter and Andover, and Norwich Free and New London having played more) and an alum of the most played rivalry in college football, I know a thing or two about rivalries. This weekend will mark the 145th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette and everyone is gearing up for the biggest weekend of the year for these two schools. So make sure the Star is polished and all the light bulbs work, the Fritch Electric sign is on, and the pierogies are on the grill, because hordes of outsiders are about to invade the Christmas City.

All of us recent Lehigh grads remember the horrible 4 year span in which Lehigh did not win a game against Lafayette. We shall call that era "The Dill Administration". But here are a few things that you might not know about "The Rivalry". First and foremost, this writer's very first citation for underage drinking came on the eve of the Lehigh/Lafayette football game in the fall of 2003. After a long day of small drinking games involving skill, I meandered back to my dorm room. However, I fell just a bit short and ended up taking a nice little nap on the bench outside the dorm. I should like to think that there is a plaque with my name on it on that bench now.

In the early years of the rivalry Lehigh used to get trounced by Lafayette, including a 50-0 loss in the first game. It wasn't until 1887 that Lehigh finally upended Lafayette 10-4 (on a grand slam by Jesse Novalis no doubt), and the students burned down the stands in celebration. Some say that this man rose from the ashes of that burnt offering.

In 1917 Lehigh dominated the Leopards by a final score of 78-0. That Lafayette team then went on to play the Cleveland Browns to see who sucked more.

The very next year in 1918, Raymond "Snooks" Dowd is said to have had a 115 yard touchdown run for the Engin-, er, Mountain Hawks. Apparently, he ran the wrong way into the end zone, circled the goal posts and ran all the way down the field for the 6. Snooks also went on to play baseball for the Philadelphia Athletics, Detroit Tigers and the Brooklyn Robins, where he compiled a .115 average with 4 runs, 3 hits and 6 rib eye steaks. Talk about a double threat!!

Despite all of these interesting little tidbits that only add richness to the great tapestry that is Lehigh/Lafayette, it seems that the rivalry does not get as much respect as say a Harvard/Yale or even an Amherst/Williams. This is pretty upsetting. I would like to see a little more press on this rivalry. Maybe Donk can talk to his boy Kornheiser and get him to give us a shout out on PTI. A unique trophy would also help create a little more tradition in this game. The rivalry is so old that it pre-dates trophies, but maybe something like a golden railroad spike, or a gift certificate to the Apollo Grille would be iconic and nice for bragging rights. I would also really like to see College Gameday make a stop at Goodman Stadium, though I doubt that will ever happen. Bottom line is, we don't need all this stuff to know that our rivalry is legit.

As much as Lehigh/Lafayette is a great rivalry, it is my opinion that nobody really cares about the football. In my four years of the Lehigh/Lafayette rivalry, my most vivid memories include sleeping off my citation in the dorm, tipping over porto potty's at Lafayette, telling a girl that I "was her father" (much to the chagrin of her mother, whom I didn't know was standing right there) while wearing a fur coat and Gerry McNamara jersey (IFC Beirut Champs!), and bleeding profusely from the finger after smashing bottles at the Lafayette tailgate area. It is the camaraderie, the intensity, and yes, the debauchery that is most important to us fans.

Though it is the most played rivalry in college football, Lehigh/Lafayette is so much more than a football game. In fact it is more about heading back to the old alma mater, walls in ivy dressed, and re-living the best years of our lives. We don't need no stinking send ups in the newspaper, or national TV time, we just came here to party. See you all this weekend. Let's go Lehigh!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lehigh Hoops: Flying High in '09


With the biggest Lehigh football game of the year upon us this week, what better time to take a look at the Lehigh basketball season? Honestly though, even if Lehigh beats Lafayette this weekend, something has to be done about the football program. Lehigh used to be a perennial powerhouse, and often times competed for the division II title. It was those teams that attracted the kind of Lehigh student that is slowly becoming extinct at Lehigh: the big kid from Pennsylvania who drinks too much. Lehigh is quickly becoming a nerdery it seems and someone has to do something to stop it. Where is Kyle Neptune when we need him?

The Lehigh hoops team is off to a rocky start at 0-2, and will probably not compete in the Patriot League this year, but it can't hurt to dream can it? At first glance at the Lehigh roster, I see this guy. David Safstrom, aka "Sunshine", is just the kind of player Lehigh needs. Look at his stats, in a total of 19 games he has 0 points and 7 rebounds. He is no doubt a defensive stalwart, continuing the tradition of tall awkward guys from Washington. I expect him to add a few rebounds this year that will be more clutch than the Mountain Hawk that bears the same name. A Safstrom for Patriot League MVP campaign is apparently in its early stages already.

Next I wanna introduce you to a real mench, Dave Buchberger. Check out his 3 point percentage. The kid from Cincy clearly made three shots in a row, went on fire, then stepped behind the arc and drained another one. Look for him to keep this percentage up all year and break all the NCAA records.

Next we have Michael Ojo, codename "Mojo". The 6'5" junior went to the same high school as Baron Davis and Austin Croshere. Yeah, and I went to the same high school as the creator of the Island Oasis Frozen Drink Mix. So there. We can all tell stories.

Another guy that caught my eye on this team was John Adams. Hey, hey John Adams. I expect a great year from him.

Finally we have Rob Keefer from my kindergarten alma mater Abington Friends School, and Prentice Small who is probably related to this guy. Yeah, it's a real motley crew these days over at Stabler Arena and I expect nothing less than an NCAA Tournament berth from the Mountain Hawks this year. Yes sir, the Hawks will have us hearkening back to 2004 when they got dominated by FAMU in the play in game. This year, let's hope that they advance past that play in game for the right to get dismantled by a team like Kansas or UNC. That would be uber sweet. Until then though, let's go Mountain Hawks.