Thursday, November 30, 2006

What is "dirty"?

Was reading thebiglead.com the other day (if you don't read it you should...along with the daily hoops stuff and blog links, they have some great posts on topics that you won't find on other sports sites) came across their interview with Dan Wetzel.

Interesting read. One of the questions he was asked was which programs in college hoops were the dirtiest. His response was essentially that everyone pretty much operates in a gray area.

And that got us thinking. The contributors here attended a college that is home to one of the most legendery hoops programs in the land, and is usually held up as a bastion of compliance and wholesomeness. We figured it might be fun to just throw out a few things of which we are aware might have happened. Now these are just examples of things that might go on...not accusations. Although, if these examples did take place, they would be told by first person accounts. Anyway, you get the message...covering our asses OJ style.

-Our alma mater took great pride (and these NBA stars lapped up the media attention) when some of the bigger name players that left early for the NBA "came back" in the off season to finish their degrees and then attended graduation. Well, if attending the first day of class and then never showing up again, while the rest of the class members are held to a standard that if they are not present when certain guest speakers are there or if they miss 3 classes, they can not pass the summer class is "graduating"...we think that sheet of paper housed in expensive wood up on our wall has lost some of its luster.

-Blue Books. Remember those? You fill them up with whatever BS you can think of to answer essay questions on exams. It's wild when, you show up at the exam...walk up to the desk next to the instructor and pick up an empty blue book...then sit down and start the exam..WHILE a basketball player walks in hands the instructor a blue book that is already filled out...and goes home.

-Cars. Cars. Cars. Certain high profile players and two sport athletes had some phat ass rides. Weird, how guys that came from single parent low income backgrounds could have several different new rides during the year. I guess that food stipend each month is a lot bigger than we thought. We thought it was about enough to cover meals...somehow these guys stretched it into new Lexus' and Range Rovers.

-Weed. Bet selling weed out of your apartment would be a good way to finance the requisite bling necessary to look like an NBA star while on a college "salary".

-Free housing. That rent stipend would go a lot further if "friends" of the program owned the apartment you stay in...

-Control. Get picked up by the police? Been in a fight? Caused a problem out in town? One call from the higher ups in the basketball office can make that disappear in an instant. Won't even be on the police blotter.

Again, these aren't accusations. And really, they aren't examples of anything earth shattering or truly unexpected. But they are examples that even places thought of as being pristine have happenings that go on...and some are clearly institutionally condoned...that are pretty gray in color.

NC State: Cowher Not Interested

NC State fans have been buzzing about the possibility of Bill Cowher taking over their faltering program. The rumors centered on the poor season the Steelers were having and the fact that many believe this will be his last season in the Iron City. And of course, his being an NC State alum and building a brand new mansion in Raleigh fueled the fire of fantasy at North Carolina's land grant university.

Well, looks like those dreams of a savior for the program are short lived:

"I'm very flattered to hear some of the things that have been coming out, but I'm not a candidate," Cowher said after practice. "I have a job here, and my focus really is on this job right here, so you can take me off the list."

This really isn't a shock. After 15 years as an NFL head coach, the prospect of having to hit the recruiting trail can't be terribly appealing. And let's face it, Cowher's tough guy routine is not something that plays well to the young athlete these days. John Bunting over at UNC found that out. Talking to several UNC players, they made it clear that they felt a lot of potential recruits to the program were turned off by the tough guy disciplinarian style of Bunting.

Running the NC State program is not a plumb job, either. Amato's run peaked a few years ago with the win over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. After that it has been declining on a yearly basis. The most positive aspect of things over in Raleigh are the facility upgrades and stadium expansion that have taken place under Amato. On the downside, the natives have been restless. NC State has always had an inferiority complex due to the proximity to Carolina and Duke, the academic reputations of Carolina and Duke and of course hoops. NC State fans somehow have been convinced they can dominate those schools in football, be a power and get respect. But lack of success against their archrival (UNC, who has been atrocious the past few years) hasn't helped the situation and expectations in Raleigh. If they can't beat UNC while the 'Heels are at the bottom, well, that doesn't paint a rosey picture.

NC State is certainly hoping for at least a reasonably well known name to take the job. Competing with UNC bringing in Butch Davis down the road is tough. And speculation is already growing that Davis is going to be bringing in some high powered assistant coaches. Davis also said that he plans on focusing on making the state of North Carolina his primary recruiting grounds (UNC was very successful during the last several years of Mack Brown's reign, when they completely locked down NC). Add to the mix that Wake Forest is going to be higher on recruits' radar after the year they had, and ECU just beat NC State and is climbing back up the ladder.

It is clear: Whomever takes over at NC State will have a hell of a lot of work to do.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Def Comedy Jam With Michael Irvin



















Tom Knott wrote an interesting article in the Washington Times, basically saying that Michael Irvin's jokes were out of line, but also chastising those who got their noses bent out of shape by them.

While we do believe that in a way, since the jokester was Michael Irvin, that taking them too seriously is not necessary: Wagging a finger at those that didn't appreciate them and telling those people that double standards exist so get over it is....well....essentially BS.

Knott pleads his case by essentially saying that it is incumbent on the viewer/listener to understand that Michael Irvin was not only making a joke, but was using it as a backhanded compliment to Romo. He goes on to compare the comments made by a jokester/clown to those made by Jimmy "the Greek"and other's by categorizing the one's that weren't made in jest as being worthy of scorn because they were attempts at actual social commentary. They weren't simple (but poor) attempts at a complimentary joke.

"Irvin may be a clown, but he is harmless. The same cannot be said of so many of the other clowns on the airwaves."

Agreed. Few would argue that Irvin is a clown. But are jokes of that type harmless?

Probably not. One of the problems that exists is this: If we are to forgive Michael Irvin and say "he's just a clown", what are we to do when ESPN trots Michael Irvin out and he gives us "serious" commentary?

Forget about double standards and what would happen if a white guy said something of the same nature. That is a whole other issue. But what happens the next time there is sports-race story in football and ESPN let's Irvin comment? We have been told to allow Irvin leeway on this because he is comic relief. A sideshow. Not to be taken seriously. How can ESPN then trot him out to give us serious opinions...on anything? Accepting Michael Irvin as a loose cannon and as comedy relief is one thing. Trotting him out holding a microphone with an ESPN logo and letting him take on the role of serious commentator is something else. Even in sports journalism, there is something called credibility.

By allowing Michael Irvin to get away with this sort of commentary, and then later allowing him to make "serious" commentary degrades the credibility of the WWL. Michael Irvin makes off the wall comments continually. Remember the TO fiasco involving his saying the Eagles would be undefeated if Favre were the QB instead of McNabb, and the racial implications of the white QB on the downslide over the black QB in his prime? Do you also remember that that whole thing originated through comments made on the Dan Patrick show...by Michael Irvin?

If ESPN wants Irving to be the host of the WWL's version of Def Comedy Jam, that is fine. But by doing so, they seriously undermine their own credibility. How the hell are we supposed to know which crazy Irvin statements are serious, and which are part of the Def Comedy set?

Michael Strahan calls Plaxico Burress Out...

"It's a shame, because Plaxico is a great player and a good guy to be around, but at the same time you're judged by your actions on the field and you can't give up, you can't quit, because you're not quitting on yourself, you're quitting on us," Strahan said Monday on his weekly WFAN appearance."

Between Eli Manning's rapidly plummeting confidence and a growing feeling the coach Tom Coughlin is losing the team...now throw into the mix Strahan esssentially calling Plaxico Burress a quitter...and well, things don't look so rosey for the Giants.

We are anxious to see Burress' response...he of the diva tendencies and all...

On The Wire:

-A scouting report for the big conference title game this week, the MAC conference

-Florida might be down 3 starters for the SEC title game

-Does it even matter to Oklahoma that Adrian Peterson is not playing ?

-Another coach bites the dust

-Offensive line woes plague Florida for the SEC title game

-Jim Leavitt says he has no interest in leaving USF...think he means it ?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BCS Title Game: What if USC and FL BOTH lose?

If by some freak of nature both UF and USC lose, then Michigan gets the bid, right?

A team with 5 wins over teams with winning records and wins over two teams currently in the BCS Top 25 deserves to be in, right?

Well, let's throw in the fact that that team is also undefeated!

That's right, we are talking about Boise St.

Michigan has 4 wins against teams with winning records and also two wins over teams currently in the BCS Top 25. And they have a loss.

If USC and FL lose: Why not Boise?

Monday, November 27, 2006

How Joe Theismann clears his mind.







Joe T after knocking some sense into himself....



Our favorite Joe Theismann moment from last night:

Hasselbeck drops back to pass and ends up tucking the ball and running.

Theismann says he did it because he is upset with his decision making and wanted to get hit to have some sense knocked into himself. Then he says, "Really, that's how it happens."

After a slight pause, Tony K says, "OK...I can't let that one go...the guy has been out for four weeks and you are saying he WANTS to get hit????"

Like Theismann or don't...but you gotta admit...NOBODY sees the game the way he does...

Let's put the team that beat ND worse in the title game...

Is the most telling agrument in who deserves a crack at Ohio St. simply which team beat Notre Dame worse?

Gerry Ahern over at yahoo sports thinks so.

"But as the Bowl Championship Series computers whirred and spit out the Trojans as the new No. 2 team in the land Sunday night, it dawned on me – we now have an apples-to-apples comparison of USC and No. 3 Michigan – the teams’ performances against the Fighting Irish, their lone common opponent."

Uggh...so this is what it comes down to? Can there be a less reasonable approach to this? You are comparing a game played in early September to a game played in late November.

"The evidence seems pretty empirical, especially when you factor in that the Wolverines’ lone loss came by three points at top-ranked Ohio State (12-0), while the Trojans lost at unranked Oregon State (8-4) by two."

Very true. Michigan's loss was way more "impressive" than USC's (funny, we always thought a loss was a loss). But hey, why not also factor in the WINS?

"Strength of schedule? USC faced 10 teams that will play in bowls, Michigan seven."

Ok, so wouldn't that imply that USC played a more formidable schedule? And if we look more closely, it is no longer just an implication:

Michigan beat 5 teams with winning records. In what is widely recognized as a down year in the Big Ten, Michigan's non-conference wins were ND, Central Michigan, Vandy and Ball St. The wins over teams with winning records were ND, Wisconsin, Central Michigan, Penn St. and Purdue. Only ND and Wisconsin are currently ranked.

USC beat 6 teams with winning records. Their non-conference schedule included wins over Arkansas (who is in the SEC title game), Nebraska (who is in the Big 12 title game) and ND. Four of the teams that USC beat are currently ranked. The IF factor: If Arkansas and/or Nebraska win their conference title...then game over. A PAC-10 championship and a win(s) over other conference champions HAS to trump finishing second in the Big Ten. If it doesn't then why have conferences?

Apparantly, Gerry doesn't care:

"As you do the math, it seems clear that the Maize and Blue should be making their way to the desert for a date with the Buckeyes, not the Cardinal and Gold."

Where did Gerry learn to do math? It must have been in Ann Arbor. He has completely disregarded that USC's schedule is MUCH more impressive than Michigan's, and seems to think that because Michigan beat ND by a few more points...that that is the determining factor. Is he kidding?


Sorry, Gerry. BOTH teams lost. Giving Michigan the edge because they lost to a better team doesn't trump the fact that the Trojans played a harder schedule and racked up WINS over better teams. Both teams lost a game. If you are going to let the determining factor be the loss and not the wins...then undefeated Boise State should get the bid!

The Coaching Carousel


Looks like Mich. St. is taking Mark Dantonio of Cincy link

Mike Shula is shown the door at 'Bama.

Dirk Koetter's desk is cleared out Arizona State.

Chuck Amato falls victim to John Bunting's evil strategy to save all his wins for the end of the season and beat virtually no one for the past three years but Duke and NC State.

CAROLINA: ARE...YOU...READY?!?!?!


The Butch Davis Era begins!

Could he LOOK more thrilled to be in the Southern Part of Heaven????

Check here for a special message from Butch to Carolina fans, AND to order the hot commodity that surely will be UNC season tickets. If you DON'T order TODAY, there are NO guarantees you will get 'em.

TAR!!!!!


HEELS!!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

King Me

This week in Peter King's fantasy tips:

Two pieces of advice on this long, wonderful weekend:
• Life advice: Enjoy the turkey. Best meal of the year.
• Fantasy advice: Don't play turkeys.

And don't take the fantasy advice of turkeys....

1. You probably will be tempted to play Ronnie Brown, the Miami running back bothered by a sore groin. The Lions' best run stuffer, Shaun Rogers, is eligible to return from his steroid suspension but will miss the game after a knee scope. Unless you have bad alternatives, I would sit Brown. It's all about human nature. The Lions have played some ferocious games on Thanksgiving. They'll have some emotion trying to stuff Joey Harrington into the turf. I like Miami, but I fret the Dolphins will win it with defense, not offense.

Ronnie Brown 15 carries for 65 yards...he was actually doing OK til he got banged up...Peter's concerns were about his groin...but he ended up breaking his hand...the groin was fine...as for the ferocious tradition of the Lions on Turkey Day...well, they were pussy cats today...and Joey Harrington had a nice day...over 200 and 3 TDS...guess Peter's mind was on the pumpkin pie and not the prediction...

2. Re Harrington: I know you all want to play him, because he's looked good, and it's emotional for him to return. While I do think he'll play better than Brown -- there's not a Lions pass-rusher worth his giblets playing in this game, with James Hall and Rogers missing -- emotion in games like this can be bad, particularly for someone who plays a precision position. Sit Harrington.

as noted...over 200 and 3 TDs...how bout we sit Peter instead?

3. It's getting close to playoff time for all of you, so this would be some advice for you about December playoff lineups. If you've been waiting for the Tampa Bay defense to come around, thinking they'd finally get it together down the stretch, please stop. Now, Indy, New Orleans and Cleveland are all stingier on D than Tampa Bay. And who would have ever guessed that the Bucs and the Redskins would be 15th and 16th in the NFC in sacks? Dump the Bucs.

every stinking week Peter slips in a "tip" that does not even qualify as a tip...we call them the "I bet you have a nose on your face" tips...he points out something so painfully obvious that you want to smack his wife...if you haven't figured out by now that Tampa Bay has a pourous D and isn't worth playing...well, YOU deserve to get Peter's advice then...

4. Had a long chat with Mike Nolan, Mr. Dapper, on Tuesday. He was extolling the virtues of his defense, and rightfully so. The Niners have won three in a row and climbed into the NFC West race, and they've done it with Frank Gore and defense. In the last 14 quarters, San Francisco's allowed 40 points. Pick up the 49ers defense for your playoff run.

The 'Niners lost...and the D registered two sacks and a fumble recovery...not a big point day for fantasy...we'll see how they do the rest of the way...but my advice would be to dump them...ever heard of the Midas touch?...anything Midas touched turned to gold...well, Peter has the Fecal Touch....figure it out...

5. Strange Injury Note of the Week: Dallas has zero players on its injury report. This doesn't mean the Cowboys don't have guys banged up. It means Bill Parcells is the coach, and you don't get hurt when you play for Bill Parcells. Little side note there. Anyway, with the Tampa secondary beat up so bad, even if Little T Learns to Share Thursday against the Bucs, there will still be enough to go around for everyone in the Dallas receiving game. Both Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are good plays against Tampa, and I'd play Patrick Crayton if I had him. Dallas should throw for 300 in this one.

KUDOS!...Peter hits the nail on the head...instead of smashing his thumb, like he usually does...

6. Tatum Bell plays for Denver. Must game for the Broncs. Play him.

we searched and searched the box score...no Tatum Bell...then we searched the inactive list...THERE he was....great inside info there, Peter!...

7. Jump on Justin Fargas as a December pickup, obviously. But just as obvious should be this: Don't play him against the voracious Chargers this weekend. Save him for Houston next Sunday.

sit Justin Fargas and his 1.6 yards per carry average over the last 3 games?...nice tip!!! Pick him up for December...running behind that Raider line?...are you trying to destroy people, Peter?

8. Understand this about John Fox: He won't play favorites at running back. He'll play both DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams down the stretch. Williams has 27 carries the last two weeks, Foster 22. I'd still have both active, with a nod toward Williams if you carry both and have to play just one.

Peter does it again...more advice to play an inactive player (Foster)...and Williams lights it up with 68 yards and no TDs...

9. With Eli Manning in crisis mode, look for Tom Coughlin to put him in position to do exceedingly well at Tennessee. Not saying you should play him or not, because this is a bad matchup for the Giants; Tennessee is playing well on defense and Albert Haynesworth is back to clog the rush lanes for Tiki Barber. But I think Manning will throw for a high percentage in Nashville. Jeremy Shockey owners? Do not hesitate. He'll have 11 balls thrown to him Sunday.

SWEET...one of Peter's patented "I'm not telling you to play him or not" tips...Eli was 18-28, 143 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT and a 59.1 QB rating...Shockey 5 catches for 39 yards...

10. If you can get a plugged nickel for him, trade Edgerrin James now, before your playoffs begin. He's coming off his best game in Arizona, and maybe you can get a fourth receiver or second tight end. He won't have a good game down the stretch, and certainly not Sunday against the stingy Vikes.

and Peter saves his best for last...James goes 4-15 as the Cards completely abandon the run...


It is too painful to go back through his picks and tally the correct ones...HOWEVER, we are deducting extra points for advising that we play not one, but TWO inactive players...doesn't this guy supposedly get inside info?...HA!...

Hope your turkey was stuffed with as much space taking filling as Peter's tips column.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Peter King, Football Expert and Fantasy Guru.

Michael Vick: Does His Marcus Vick Impression

A few weeks ago, some folks were ready to give Michael Vick a statue in Canton. After two nice passing games in a row there were declarations that his potential had been fulfilled. But what might be reality is starting to set in in Atlanta.

After 4 straight losses in which the Falcons have failed to put up more than 14 points in a game, and one dismal performance after another, it seems things are approaching a breaking point in ATL. The owner has said he is going to "evaluate" all facets of the organization. Can you blame the guy? He made Vick the highest payed player in the league and has nothing but the occassional flash of Vick's "potential" to show for it.

Factor the owner's dissatisfaction in with the losing streak and Jim Mora, Sr's comments about Vick being a "coach killer", and you end up with an angry Vick storming off the field flipping off fans and throwing F bombs at them as well (haven't found any pics of it on the net yet, but they showed clips on TV).

Things are gonna get real interesting in Hotlanta!

Notre Dame has left the building












USC dominated the Irish. They were able to pressure Brady Quinn early on, and the Trojan offense was able to get off to a quick start that ND could not match. In spite of that, ND had some chances and couldn't capatilize. All in all, USC handled the Irish about as effectively as Michigan did.

The thin opening for the Irish to make the title game has been officially slammed shut. ND will probably get an at large BCS bid, and will probably get a lot of gripe from the haters and teams with similar records that are left out (we're looking at YOU SEC teams). But the bottom line is ND is cash money. And the BCS series of bowls is cash money. So, an eligible ND team and a BCS bowl go together like sex with Jenna Jamison and a shot of penicillin.

The games with Michigan and USC exposed how far ND still has to go to be back in the picture as a serious contender. But Weiss does deserve credit for taking ND to the point now that they win the games they are supposed to win. Davie and Willingham weren't able to do that consistantly.

Well, looks like things are now down to this:

-USC beats UCLA and they get Ohio St.
-USC loses to UCLA and Michigan gets 'em again
-Sorry Florida, just not gonna happen (cut to Urban Meyer temper tantrum)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

West Virginia, Mountain Mama, Lose at Home...

Take me home,
To the Place,
Where I belong,
WEST VIRGINIA, mountain mama
Take me home...

West Virginia makes it clear where they DON'T belong....

WVU relied on 132 yards of total rushing and 2 fumbles...and mixed in 2 interceptions...to make their statement about getting an at large BCS bowl bid: WE DON'T WANT IT!

South Florida (which by the way, is NOT in south Florida) came out and shut down the combo of White and Slaton. And WVU made the same types of mistakes that cost them the game at Louisville.

If WVU beats Rutgers, the Big East will be down to just one BCS bid...seems like just yesterday we were debating which Big East team was gonna make the title game. HA! Good One!

HEY! Wash Your Hands!



Story

Next time you are at a sports bar...make sure to wash your hands if you use the facilities!

At a sports bar in Ft. Worth, TX, a man became irrate that some customers apparently didn't exercise proper hygiene practices. He called them names and threatened to slash their throats. And it wasn't an idle threat, either. The man hid in bushes outside the tavern and attacked the men when they left; stabbing one 4 times.

Bit of germophobe, are we?

On The Wire:

After upending Arkansas, LSU is proudly thumping its chest and extolling the virtues that they bring to the BCS table. Wisconsin had been doing the same thing, for no apparant reason. At least LSU does have a legit reason to stump...if Florida knocks off Arkansas; LSU probably will get the second SEC bid.

An argument that South Carolina-Clemson should be considered amongst the great college football rivalries. Sure, they hate each other...but, one of the key ingredients in being held in the same high esteem as the great ones: There has to be a national interest. Outside the Palmetto State....who cares?

Apparently, someone cares about UNC-DUKE : "We want to win this game bad because it's our next game." UNC Wide Receiver Jesse Holley (check out "Jesse Holley for Heisman" , very funny) said. "We want to beat Duke because a big rivalry is at stake. We don't want to lose the Victory Bell to those guys." So...umm...yeah...big rivalry...a bell...the star power of Jesse Holley...yeah...the nation waits on the edge of their seats...

A few weeks ago, the Oklahoma-OSU game seemed to be just for state bragging rights...now, with A&M dumping Texas (we've been posting they were over rated all year)...OU is playing for a spot in the Big 12 title game.

'Canes Coach: Who's It Gonna Be?











There is obviously going to be all kinds of speculation about who Miami should bring in as the new coach. Here is some of the speculation and thoughts floating around out there:

-Miami Needs Bob Stoops

- A look at all the possible candidates

-Miami needs to open the checkbook and bring in Rutger's Greg Schiano

-Is Miami job a plumb job? Facility and salary upgrades are necessary to get a top coach AND keep the talent at home

-Barry Alvarez was mentioned because of past ties to Donna Shalala, but those were quickly squashed

-Miami's past championships still means it is a top job

-Unrest has effect on recruits

Friday, November 24, 2006

Joe Knows...umm...what does Joe know?













If you enjoy watching Joe Theismann expose his lack of intellect on MNF, may we suggest you peruse his written offerings as well?

In a recent column in espn Insider, Theismann lays claim to a discovery that he says no one else has talked about yet. The discovery that WR's have become the new alpha males on NFL teams. That now, when you talk about team leaders, WR's are the "engines" of the teams.

"Now, when I talk about the engine of an organization, I'm talking about a guy who gets the team going and without him the team wouldn't be nearly as good."

The examples he gives are Steve Smith, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Tory Holt, Anquan Boldan, Chad Johnson, Hines Ward, Andre Johnson and Javon Walker.

Certainly, a guy like Steve Smith is widely recognized as the "engine" in Carolina. The argument could probably be made for Holt in St. Louis. But Terrell Owens in Dallas? Moss in Oakland? Johnson (this year) in Cincy? Certainly, his examples present plenty of room for debate. But the most suspect part of his column is this:

"The reason this sudden change has taken place is because of the change in offensive rules. It's vitally important to have a very good receiver on your team because they've been set up to be the true game changers on the field and it isn't as important to have a great quarterback to be successful. "

Really? Quick look at the QB's of the Division leaders in the AFC: Manning, Brady, McNair and Rivers. Even Joe can't argue that Manning and Brady are GREAT. McNair has been widely credited with being the key ingredient in the Raven's new offensive competency. And Rivers is having an INCREDIBLE first season as a starter. Oh, and not ONE of the "engines" that Joe mentioned plays for any of these teams.

Over in the NFC, the current leaders are Dallas, Carolina tied with N.O., Chicago, and Seattle. Dallas has gotten great play out of Romo. Does anyone (besides Joe) care to argue that since he took over, HE is the "engine", and not Owens? Anyone, anyone? Ok. Chicago didn't have a player on Joe's list, and we all (even Joe) know that the D is the "engine" in Chitown. In Seattle, when they are healthy, Hasselbeck and Alexander are the driving force. The Saints signed Drew Brees in the offseason and he is having a great year, and while rookie Marquis Colston has been great; Brees has been the difference. That brings us to Carolina. And this is the one team that I think Joe is right about, and it was proven while Steve Smith was injured.

Obviously, great receivers are a key ingredient to a winning team. But the idea that if you have a very good receiver and an average QB you enhance your chances to be a winner, or that the trend is that WR's are now the "leaders" on most teams is close to stupid.

I think Joe has somehow misconstrued the diva behavior of many WR's and has equated it with being a leader. Look at the teams on top of each division. Not only do almost all have a very good QB, but very few have players Joe listed as engines.

This is an open plea for ESPN to please keep Joe's low football IQ confined to MNF. Allowing his insights and "discoveries" to proliferate in other mediums and outlets could be construed as cruel and unusual punishment. Please ESPN, we have done nothing so bad as to deserve this! How dare you take my money at Insider and then wrap a sloppy turd in an ESPN logo and call us even!

LSU-Arkansas: The picture becomes clearer

For the past few weeks the bellyaching about the BCS and who will be in the title game has been non-stop. Which one loss team will get to go? Complaints that the BCS is flawed and sucks. Hate and discontent.

Sure, the BCS isn't perfect. But, generally, things seem to somehow pan out. Not long ago, there were about 6 teams hoping to stake a claim to a shot at the title game. Now it's really down to about 3. And of that only 2 really have a shot. We are going to hear Urban Meyer doing some more bitching if Florida beats Arkansas, but it won't matter.

-The Big East teams ensured that none of them would come out alive.

-LSU just ensured Arkansas is done.

So, that leaves us three with a claim: Michigan, USC and Florida. Some would say ND still is in the mix, but we can't see anyway they are gonna jump Michigan, even with a win over USC. That beatdown in South Bend may have been early in the year, but ND haters have kept it fresh in everyone's mind.

-USC: If they beat ND, they are going.

-Michigan: We believe if USC loses, Michigan is in.

-Florida: Not gonna get the nod. If they beat Arkansas and USC loses, Michigan is still going to get in ahead of them.

Predictions:

-USC beats ND. Love the Irish, but USC is clicking right now and ND just doesn't have the D.

-We also think (and hope) that Arkansas is going to knock of Florida. We hope so, anyway. We are going to hear enough arguments about whether it should be USC or Michigan. There will be no room for Urban Meyer's temper tantrums.

The Playmaker Chronic-les




















Michael Irvin. To know him is to love him. Renowned for his incredible effort on the field and for being the heart and soul of a Cowboy dynasty. Now, frequently in the news for his "interesting" views and statements from his perch on ESPN. Always smiling and dressed to the nines, The Playmaker has become the Teflon sports commentator. Seems the man can say just about anything and all he gets is, at worst, a scolding from Tom Jackson: "Are YOU retarded?"

His most recent contribution to the blogosphere was his insinuation (maybe not a strong enough word) on the Dan Patrick Show that Tony Romo is as good as he seems to be because one of his female ancestors went out behind the woodpile with an African slave. Yes. We know. It HAD to be a joke. But the reality is, if any such joke comes across pale, thin lips; it results in termination. But Irvin is able to brush his shoulder off, smile and slide on down the way. The Teflon sports commentator.

In case you have forgotten his past, have a gander at this compilation of his greatest hits. And remember: Statistics show that people generally only get caught 1 out of every 75-100 times. Imagine the Playmaker stories that are still out there!

1996: Irvin and former Cowboy Alfredo Roberts are arrested, found in a hotel with a few ladies and plenty of coke. Rumors of sex toys abounded, including a phallus taped to a photographer’s monopod. Gotta be able to reach the girls from all the way over at the coke table, right?

A Police Officer pleads guilty for paying to have Irvin killed. Problems between Irvin and the cops girlfriend led the cop to make payments to an undercover DEA agent.

Irvin is accused of holding a gun to a stipper’s head while teammate Erik Williams raped her. The stripper was later convicted of perjury.

2000: In the wrong place at the wrong time, Irvin is busted with the sister of a fugitive police were searching for...in an apartment with plenty of drugs. He had recently completed his probation for the cocaine rap. The interesting part of this is that the police were searching for the woman because she was believed to be involved in the selling of the heroin that killed former Irvin teammate Mark Tuinei.

2001: Irvin surrenders after an arrest warrant for felony cocaine possession is issued on him.

2005: The incident with the crack pipe. The "I took it from my friend" excuse.

These are just the criminal incidents.

The legend of the White House in Valley Ranch, a place to run hookers and party for the team members, led to one of our favorite quotes:

Nate Newton said, "We got a little place over here where we’re running whores in and out, trying to be responsible, and we’re criticized for that, too."

And finally, one of the less publicized Irvin incidents:

In training camp in 1998, players were lined up to get hair cuts in the dorm. Irvin was in a rush (probably to get to the White House) and cut the line. Lineman Everett McIver grabbed him and told him to get back in line. The requisite brawl breaks out and Irvin grabs a pair of scissors. He cuts McIver....across the throat. The coach at the time poo-pooed the event, saying boys will be boys. Witnesses were shocked that Irvin sliced a guy across the throat with scissors.


Now, do you really think someone from ESPN is going to confront Irvin about his racial jokes, and risk a Columbian necktie? Irvin is the Teflon Playmaker. He should be in the Penn, but instead is on ESPN. You can't touch this!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ranking the Top Ten (after happy hour)

Long day at work, and after a stop for happy hour and several discounted bourbon and waters, we feel that after 13 weeks of college football, we know enough to give a dead on accurate Top Ten.

Let's preface this by saying we put much stock in the records and schedules of the teams you beat. If you are 9-2 and the only teams on your schedule that had winning records beat you...peace! You ain't in our rankings. We will take an 8-3 team that maybe played a crappy game and lost to one team that didn't have a great record, BUT has wins over good competition, over the 9-2 team we just mentioned, any day (yeah, I know that was an awkward sentence...the bourbon). Anyway, if you didn't beat anybody worth a shit...you ain't worth a shit in our poll. If you beat someone that was #12 in week 2, but now is 6-6 or unranked...we don't care. All that tells us is that team was way f'ing over rated early in the year. #'s 7-10 are pretty much interchangeable. Some of them have beaten each other. And others just don't have that BIG win to differentiate themselves.

The Bourbon Top 10:

10) LSU: Yeah, they have two losses and there are a few other one loss teams out there, but they have better wins than Wisconsin and Rutgers.

9)West Virginia: That offense just looks so damned good. Don't really have the big win. Maryland seems like the best team they have beaten. However, I'm telling you, if they beat Rutgers, they leapfrog Louisville. I don't care if Louisville beat them.

8)Louisville: Obviously, that loss to Rutgers after the WVU win ruined their season. Funny, Rutgers fell into the same big game hangover after they beat 'Ville.

7) Notre Dame: Disclosure: Huge ND fan. Probably judge them too harshly as a result. But the reality is that the best win is over 9-2 Georgia Tech. The wins over 8-4 Purdue and Penn State, with records bloated feasting on a crappy Big 10 under caste, just aren't enough to get them higher...but it is enough to get them above the Big East boys who can't even really boast of bigger wins than that.

6) Boise State: Seems high, huh? Well, they have beaten everyone on their schedule and their quality wins over 7-4 Oregon St (who has beaten USC) and 9-2 Hawaii certainly match the best wins of the teams with losses behind them.

5) Florida: The wins at Tennessee and over LSU were quality wins. They have taken heat for not being overly impressive in a lot of their games. The loss at Auburn was a game they could have won. Compared to the one loss teams ranked ahead of them, Florida just hasn't been as impressive. They get their chance to prove otherwise head to head with Arkansas, tho.

4) Michigan: Michigan is a very good team. The win at ND was impressive. Other than that, their most impressive game was a loss. They beat 11-1 Wisconsin, who has played no one (the only teams they beat with winning records were Penn St and Purdue, not impressive). Other than the blowout in South Bend, Michigan can't match the wins of the teams we have ahead of them. They just can't. If USC or Arkansas lose one of their remaining games, obviously, Big Blue moves up.

Comment: Everyone that has Michigan #2 touts that blowout at South Bend as being a big part of the reason. Yet, the same people say ND is overrated and hasn't beaten anyone. If ND is so overrated and hasn't beaten anyone, how the hell can Michigan's win over them hold so much weight? You can't have it both ways. If you think ND is over rated and has no big wins (and we kinda do) then you have to reflect that in Michigan's ranking (and we do).

3) Arkansas: The wins at Auburn and over Tennessee are more impressive to us than Michigan's wins at ND and over Wisconsin. As stated, Wisconsin ain't beat a team worth a damn this year. Yeah, the Hogs got hog-tied by USC. It was early in the year...we have USC as #2....so what the hell.

2) USC: Have been knocked because they haven't been as dominant this year as past years. But so what! Christ, they are playing so many underclassmen and STILL have been, in our minds, the best team outside of Columbus. The Oregon St. loss was a crapfest for USC, but losing that tight game seems to have woken them the hell up. They have been very tough since. Blowing out Stanford (as they should) and also overwhelming Oregon and Cal. If they beat ND and UCLA, I think that loss to Oregon St is easily forgiveable. A win over ND, and no one can touch their non-conference wins, and from top to bottom, the Pac-10 is much better than the Big 10. They have to get the nod over Michigan.

1) Ohio State: Yea, big shock. As the season has worn on, we aren't as impressed with the Texas win as we were at the time, but they have taken on all comers and pretty much dominated. Only real poor performance was Illinois, but that is easily forgiven. Even though we feel Texas is overated, they were still ranked #2 at the time, and that is a hell of an accomplishment to beat two #2's in the season.

Judging Peter














See, here is why Peter King sucks…well, some of the many reasons:

"I'm not here to judge any of that. I'm here to analyze how he played in a crucial 26-10 loss to the Jaguars on Monday night. I charted his 41 throws and made this simple judgment on each of them: Was the ball thrown on target (within the plane of the body on a curl route, for example, or in stride on a cross or sideline throw); was it thrown too high or too far in front of the receiver to catch; was it thrown behind the receiver; or was it broken up by a defender at the line of scrimmage or downfield?"

You suck Peter...not here to judge anything...but you broke down every single throw he made and judged each one?...hey, you are a sports columnist...it's OK to judge...just quit with the BS act of "hey, fellas...I'm everyone's friend...I'm not here to judge"...I think what I hate most about Peter is that he has no sack...none.

"No way. Manning, Brady, Drew Brees and Carson Palmer are more invaluable to their teams right now. Remember 2002? The Eagles went 4-1 with A.J. Feeley playing quarterback, and it would have been 5-0 had David Akers made a chip-shot and beat the Giants."

There are many, many examples of why all those QB's are "more invaluable" to their teams right now...but Peter sites an example from 2002 to show us why McNabb is less valuable right now?...jeezus...next week he is gonna work in reverse and site reasons from this year why Aaron Brooks was a lousy quarterback two years ago...

Peter, I rue the day I first read you...but like a horrific car crash...I must stop and look at the carnage that is your column...I must witness the blight that you are on sports journalism...like a disciple of the devil, I pour over your fantasy tips...weighing the egregious suggestions against real outcomes, which inevitably, are wrong 85% of the time...I read your MMQB column, that document of deju vu you submit each week...which seems to pride itself in rehashing the painfully obvious but attempting to fool us into thinking there is some modicum of original thought or "insider" information contained in there...masking your mundane contributions to the weekend's happenings by camouflaging them with references to calling players on the phone and talking to this big wig or that big wig...and then feeding us information we have known for weeks...but I read...every column...I can no longer help myself...you have become my penance...through you I shall cleanse my soul...through you I shall achieve football divinity...you are my daily exercise in self flagellation...like a cilice tightened around my bleeding upper thigh, your "knowledge" will provide me salvation and clarity...it is only through the pain you administer that I will reach football nirvanah...the blood you let is my constant reminder of the only hope for those that enter your world...suffer the greatest pain...bask in the greatest pleasure...so, keep the blood flowing...slice me with your words...carve me with your insights (that my 10 year old mentioned two weeks prior)...flog me with your humorless anecdotes about travel...disembowel me with your colonoscopy play by play...blind me with references to your daughter...scald me with your coffee reviews...lobotomize me with the things you think you thunk...I feel no more pain...with an iron will and steady jaw...I scream: FREEDOM!...the pain has set me free!

WISCONSIN!!!!!....We said: SHUT UP!

We have already posted twice about this here and here. But apparently, Wisconsin just doesn't care. Imagine that!

Having a never say die attitude is wonderful. It helps teams and people beat the odds and accomplish things they might never have been able to do. However, when you cross the line and hold out completely unrealistic hopes or refuse to believe that the rules apply to you...well, you end up just looking like a jackass.

With that in mind, we are looking at Wisconsin.

"The world of college football is very unique and very strange," Bielema said during a news conference Monday. "Every weekend there's a few things that pop up that surprise the outside world."

That is how Bret Bielema, Wisconsin's coach, views things. And he is holding out hope for no less than two stange and unique happenings:

1) Somehow, with neither team having a game left, for Wisconsin to jump from 8th in the BCS and leapfrog Michigan.
or
2) For the rules that only two teams from a conference can go to the BCS games not to apply.

It takes vision to lead a big time football program. It takes optimism. It takes a never say die attitude. But clearly, Bielema is leading his program with delusion.

"There are (five) teams in front of us and two of them play each other," Bielema said, with Notre Dame at Southern California on Saturday. "The others have opponents coming up that could be a toss-up game for them. I know eight minus four is four. I know there is a rule in the BCS that the top four teams automatically get BCS bowl berths."

Clearly, Bielema's hope is that all the teams ahead of him lose a game (which may happen) and that might vault the Badgers into the top 4. And the top 4 automatically get bids.

The only problem is that little rule about only 2 teams from one conference getting bids. And it trumps the top 4 rule.

So the reality of the situation is this: There is only one team that Wisconsin needs to pass. Michigan. And Michigan already beat Wisconsin, they don't play another game and Wisconsin doesn't play another game. So regardless if USC, ND, Florida, Arkansas or West Virginia lose ALL their remaining games, if Wisconsin doesn't pass Michigan, they CAN'T go!

BRETT BIELEMA DO YOU HEAR THAT!!!! YOU CAN'T GO!

Stop! Stop holding on to these crazy dreams and coming up with these insane scenarios and only reading one section of the BCS rules. JUST STOP.

If Michigan doesn't lose again, YOU CAN NOT PASS THEM IN THE RANKINGS. And we just checked the schedule and guess what? MICHIGAN DOES NOT PLAY AGAIN!

How can this be any clearer? How?

Monday, November 20, 2006

And IT Begins: Meyer Upset Over BCS Rankings

Looks like Florida coach Urban Meyer is beginning the onslaught on the BCS rankings and demanding his Gators be more seriously considered a little early. Meyer is upset that Michigan is still number 2, after their loss. Of course, his team still has their rivalry game against FSU and the SEC title game with Arkansas. So, we could see Meyer being served an icey tall glass of STFU! before any of this even matters. Even though things still aren't clear in the BCS picture, you have to admit, things are sort of taking care of themselves week by week.

''If they do that [rematch], there should be a playoff system next year,'' Meyer said Sunday. ``I think if that [rematch] happens, I think it's over. All the presidents would need to get together immediately and put in a playoff system -- like now!''

Meyer probably should have included the caveat "Oh, and if we lose...disregard what I just said."


''I think that would be unfair to Ohio State and I think it would be unfair to the country. I don't believe [a rematch] is the right thing to do,'' Meyer said. ``You're going to tell Ohio State that they have to beat the same team twice and that is extremely difficult. I think they had their chance. Someone else should have a chance to go get No. 1.'' Meyer thinks it would be ludicrous, especially if Michigan won the rematch. "Absolutely [there would be no national champion]. If I'm Ohio State I go get a bunch of rings and say, `We won the national championship.' That's not right,'' Meyer said.

This is a legitimate gripe. In what was essentially the Big Ten conference championship game, Michigan lost. They had their chance at Ohio St.

''I think you can make a case for USC and you can make a case for us,'' Meyer said. ``Arguing for Arkansas would be a little more difficult because they went head to head and got blown out at home [by USC]. Same thing with Notre Dame. Not that they're not deserving, but the fact is they got beat at home [by Michigan] by a substantial margin.''

What Meyer didn't mention was that Florida lost to a 2 loss Auburn team that at this point is not in the mix for anything.

This is a complicated scenario. But Meyer is jumping the gun with his anger and lobbying. His team still has two very big games left. USC has two very big games. Arkansas has two very big games. ND has one big game.

To start holding your breath and stomping your feet before any of these are played out is premature. Michigan's season is over. They aren't going to be in a position to impress anyone the next two weeks. Florida is. Coach Meyer should let his teams performance the next two games do the lobbying. If his mouth runs but his team doesn't, that icey tall glass of STFU! will be waiting at the bar.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

King Me

This week in Peter King:

1. Pick a couple of lesser Bengals and Saints. Like tight end Reggie Kelly and wideout Devery Henderson or, if he plays, wideout Terrence Copper, who had a big fumble last week in Pittsburgh. Play one. Get a gut feeling. Why? The spillover effect from a 900-yard game, which I think will happen, means a couple of low-wattage players will blow up.

another of Peter's "pick everybody on both teams" deals...Kelly 1-32....Henderson 9-169...Copper 6-87 and a TD...I guess if you are giving out tips, the shotgun approach is a nice way to go...you will probably end up hitting something...

2. One of these weeks Joe Klopfenstein will have a big day at tight end for the Rams, and with the hard-charging Panther pass-rush coming aggressively at Marc Bulger, I'd pick this day. Klopfenstein has only nine catches, but his per-catch average is 14.4 yards.

yeah, one of these weeks he will...but not this week...one catch for 18 yds...this is the second time Peter has given us the Klopfenstein...both times with equally worthless results...PETER, if you are gonna rehash old tips, PLEASE use the ones (or one) that came thru!!!

3. Dick Jauron was born to run, even though he's not from New Jersey. That's why Anthony Thomas is a great play this weekend against the softish Texans.

Peter says ride the A-Train...if you did, you got 19-56 and no TDs...the Texans' defense may be soft....but Peter's pick is even fluffier...

4. I'm not sure exactly what this means as you plan your lineup, because I cannot definitely tell you to "Play Jake Plummer. Play Rod Smith.'' I do know this. Denver's going to have a chance to put up 30 on San Diego ... a very good chance. Not only will the Chargers be without pass-rusher Shawne Merriman (steroid suspension), but also out is invaluable defensive tackle Luis Castillo, sidelined for two weeks with a sprained ankle.

and we aren't exactly sure what your tip is, Peter...you aren't telling us to play Plummer or Smith..so, wtf are you telling us?...how is the Bronc's offense having a "very good chance" of putting up 30 on the Bolts a fantasy tip?...Peter, is this your special way of finally telling us you don't know wtf you are doing?...almost forgot...Denver didn't put up 30...

5. Can you still pick up Reche Caldwell? With Doug Gabriel having gone cold for New England, Caldwell's been the Patriots' best wideout weapon. He could have a 100-yard day in Green Bay.

I like your style on this one, Peter..."could have a 100 yard day"...way not to commit...oh, and Caldwell went 3-70... so, Peter "could" be wrong...

6. It's going to be a nice day at the Meadowlands ... and nice for the Bears' physical offensive weapons. Got a trade pending for Muhsin Muhammad? Pull the trigger. He's facing the Jets and Patriots secondaries the next two weeks.

and if you picked up Muhammad today....you got 2 catches and 29 yards...the only trigger i wanna pull has a barrel pointed at Peter...

7. This shouldn't come as a surprise, except maybe for its volume. But if I were you, and I had Julius Jones and Marion Barber, I'd play them both against the Colts. As Indy GM Bill Polian told me Friday: "Bad matchup for us.'' Physical Dallas run game vs. an Indy defense that gives up 5.1 yards per carry.

Barber only 35 yards, but 2 TDs...and Jones 79 yards...I guess we can give this one to Peter...although it doesn't add up to a ton of points...like a stopped clock...he is right twice a day on Sundays...

8. Oh, and play Tony Romo. He won't have Bob Sanders (injured knee) to scare the bejeezus out of him in the Colts secondary.

I dunno, what do you think...is 226 yards and no TD's a terrifying fantasy day?...what really scares the bejeezus out of people is that Peter is referred to as a "football expert" in some circles...

9. I've told you several times to ride Maurice Jones-Drew until he drops. My Jag-Giants advice: Ride Maurice Jones-Drew until he drops. No one in Jacksonville can catch, so they'll try to run all night.

Peter is doing so shitty this week, we aren't even going to bother to wait for this game to post...we will GIVE this one to Peter, sight unseen, and label it the stopped clock being right for that second time...


10. My unknown-guy tip of the week last Friday was Mark Bradley of the Bears. Worked out okay. Tip of the week this time: Owen Daniels. Houston tight end. He'll score this week ... and give you 80 receiving yards.

well, well...listen to Peter...sounding a little cocky there, isn't he...what are the odds of having tips two weeks in a row work out...let's see...Daniels: 1-10 and no TDS...sometimes it just seems like blind luck when he actually is right, doesn't it?...Peter, what did we tell you about the retread tips that didn't work out the first time?...a few weeks ago you gave us Daniels...and he gave us squat...

What was the deal with giving us the two tight end picks of guys you picked a few weeks ago? You were wrong to weeks ago...Peter, you are just getting lazy now! What, are you just gonna keep throwing these guys at us until they have a break out week...and then pat yourself on the back for giving us the Klopfenstein or Daniels? How bout giving these guys a shot and not mentioning them in your tips again, ok?..Jeezus...the requirements to be a guru sure have become lax...

Ladies and Gentlemen: Peter King, your football expert and fantasy guru!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Rutgers Story:






IT'S OVER





Cancel the BCS title game...

Ok, Ohio St. won. The outcome of the came was never really in doubt. Michigan scored first, but OSU was able to get ahead and really never look back. Michigan gave a valliant effort, but they just didn't have enough.....DEFENSE. Yea, the team that was built up all year long as being a brick wall gave up over 40 points and over 500 yards. So, OSU is the last unbeaten...well, the last in contention since it seems Rutgers just isn't going to be able to leap frog some of the one loss teams. And they still have to play a WVU team that matches up with them better than Louisville did...in Morgantown.

As for the one loss teams. No one deserves a shot at OSU in a title game. Crown OSU now, and let the bowl games go on for the joy of it......oh, and the profit of it.

OSU just beat Michigan. A rematch? Pffft...please. You just had your shot.

None of the other one loss teams deserve a crack either:

USC lost to Oregon St....buh-bye.
ND lost to Michigan...if Michigan don't deserve a crack at it YOU don't either.
Florida lost to Auburn...I don't care how tough the SEC supposedly is...you still lost to a two loss team.
Arkansas lost to USC...we kicked USC out, so the Hogs can go with them.
The one loss Big East teams....well....they played in the Big East....see ya...

Let's send the glass football to Columbus, call it a season...and start anew with ranking the recruiting classes on signing day.

Futility Bowl 2006: UNC Squanders Chance

While Duke is currently holding up their end of the deal by getting waxed by Georgia Tech (the game was still going as of this post), UNC decided to field a defense today against NC St. By doing so, the Tarheels wound up with a 23-9 victory and lost any claim to being the worst team in D-1.

The Tarheels relied on solid defense and a new found running attack to control the clock and win the battle of field position, setting up 3 field goals. The defense registered a fumble return for a touchdown.

It took 11 games, but right now, Carolina is playing as well as anyone in the Research Triangle (fyi, Wake Forrest is NOT in the Research Triangle), and look poised to knock off Duke next week in a game that now has lost much of its luster and appeal due to Carolina defeating NC St and registering their first win over a D-1 team this season.

Certainly, if this victory is followed up by a win at Duke, many will be questioning the dismissal of John Bunting. Over the last few seasons, Bunting has employed a unique strategy to his coaching, that only after he is gone will be appreciated. His method of sacrificing almost every game during the season to tune up to beat NC St. and Duke in the final two games is unorthodox, but has been highly effective.

Hats off to the Heels.

Friday, November 17, 2006

You don't say...

Seminoles offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden told the players he was sorry if his resignation caused a problem. Left tackle Mario Henderson said. ``He did a good job of helping not make it seem like anything's going on.''

Interesting…the Seminole’s offensive performance for the last few years gave the same exact statement…


Famed boxing trainer and HBO analyst Teddy Atlas has been helping Eric Mangini and the Jets: "I went out there to Hofstra, and (Mangini) told me they had New England coming up and they'd lost seven games in a row (to them)," Atlas said. "I talked to him about things I would hope would elicit some response. I said when Tyson was fighting, his greatest strength was other people's weaknesses. I told the players, before Buster Douglas, you realized (Tyson's opponents) were defeated not because they couldn't fight but because they didn't. I said, why don't you just go out against New England and play them?"

Teddy Atlas advises the Jets to just play them, and they win…umm, are we sure that we wanna keep calling Mangini a young genius?

On The Wire:

Have a coke and a smile…how the payoff for Jeff Bowden’s resignation is being financed…Link


The NCAA generates over $8 Billion a year…and it’s tax exempt?....umm, Congress, please have a look at that…Link


If you are gonna accept money from boosters…at least pay it back when you reach the league...Link

If you are playing Miami this week…watch your back…Anthony Reddick is reinstated…Link

Black and white isn’t as simple as Black and white

Race issues and commentary in sports columns seem to be becoming more prevalent. Over at Page 2 on espn.com, Scoop Jackson has been churning out features that often point out perceived racial biases in the sports world for awhile now. The newest Page 2 hire, Jemele Hill, made it clear in her first submission, that she is “the” columnist that will point out the double standards that exist in sports. At the same time, writer Jason Whitlock recently left espn.com for aol.com, and he had some parting shots directed at some of the black talent at the WWL accusing some of overplaying the race card. Why exactly has this become such an issue at a supposed sports syndicate?

If ESPN’s mission is to provide sports entertainment and information, why has Page 2 been such a fertile ground for race issues, both black and white AND black and black.

Years ago, MTV was music. Just music. In fact, if you are old enough to remember, there was a time when they played nothing but videos, with the occasional VJ introducing the new videos or giving some music news. Over time, MTV evolved into a pop culture outlet that now is active in not only music and entertainment, but actively pursues a political and social agenda. This came about as the ability to influence the market was realized by those on high at MTV. MTV is essentially one never ending commercial. They have fully tapped into the fact that Americans are not a market society. We are a marketed TO society. In that way, they are able to influence our musical, entertainment and fashion tastes. Over time, that has led to the ability to influence and promote their political and social views. All this was made possible by carefully elevating the status of music within society and culture (ie, the never ending presence of the stars in our lives) and ensuring that music had the opportunity to intermix with other components of our culture.

There are some similarities over at ESPN. Of course, the same concept of controlling the market exists and this means that to constantly expand, the influence of sports within our culture must expand. And it has. Sport isn’t just on the field or the court. Sport is everywhere. And anything that is so omnipresent is going to overlap in other areas of culture. Culture is fluid and ever changing; therefore, issues that exist in some areas become prevalent and more focused in other areas as culture changes.

Throw one more thing into the cultural mix: money.

The underlying reason for influencing and changing culture for these corporations is to increase the ability to generate revenue. Not hard to figure that out. Obviously, sports has become a billion dollar industry. Its monetary growth and influence can be traced right alongside its cultural growth and influence. Which, in turn, can be traced right along side ESPN’s growth and influence.

Essentially, when we see more and more social issues addressed on ESPN, it is because sports are no longer just sports. We have had Congressional hearings on drugs in sports, during a period when you would think Congress’ attention would fully be focused on the war. Sports have permeated and intermixed with society and culture completely. And when you have that intermixing going on, issues that exist in one or the other will overlap.

Take into account that so many athletes are black. In our society, race is an issue that (particularly for black folks) doesn’t go away. So, it is not surprising that it is a prevalent topic for black columnists.

The only thing is: black and white isn’t always black and white.

Constantly calling racial bias every time a black athlete is “disrespected” or doesn’t get what they want is (in most cases) a thorough oversimplification of what is really happening. Sure, we all know that racial bias exists out there; however, a lot of other factors exist that preclude people from being treated the way they feel they should be or from getting their way. Not only does dropping the race card every time there is a perceived slight against a black athlete oversimplify things, but it also waters down those instances in which it truly would be relevant. This is a concept that Whitlock seems to advocate. Usually, if Whitlock drops the race card in one of his columns, you can bet it is relevant.

Columnists are going to write about things that they know (at least one would hope). They are going to carry over their own life experiences into their columns, because our experiences are what shape our views. So obviously, if a columnist is black, that is going to effect how they see the world. And it is, at times, going to effect the topics about which they write.

When you take into account all these factors, it seems only natural that we are going to be seeing more and more things on ESPN which we might not readily associate with sports entertainment. And, we might not be fans of seeing it on ESPN. However, WE are the ones that have allowed sports to be elevated to such an influential status within our society and culture. All we can hope for is that those lucky enough to be given the opportunity to share their thoughts and views on ESPN do so intelligently and creatively.

Remember: black and white isn’t as simple as black and white.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Butch Davis: Think he is at UNC for the long haul?

Before taking the North Carolina job this week, sources said Butch Davis contacted the Cowboys because of a widespread assumption that Bill Parcells will not return next season. But Davis was told that Jeff Fisher was the No. 1 candidate to replace Parcells. -- Los Angeles Times

A bride walks to the alter and before she says, "I do", she calls this guy she thinks is sexy. She tells him she is still interested. He says no. She turns back to the preacher and tells him to carry on.

What are the odds she files for divorce the first time a good looking guy looks her way?

Butch Davis, you are such a slut.

On The Wire:

Bobby Bowden says his son went through the process of resigning behind his back and without his knowledge…kinda like how he ran the offense…. Link



A sad day in the history of tradition rich Florida International…the only coach they have ever had, Don Strock, has resigned…those will be big shoes to fill down there in South Florida… Link



There is a growing rift between the compliance office and the football office at USC…looks like the compliance folks are fishing for violations… Link


And another one bites the dust…Iowa State coach Dan McCarney is done after this season…Link


The top 5 Illinois-Northwestern Rivalry moments….who knew they had 5…heck, who knew it was a rivalry… Link


Michigan-Ohio State Jeopardy!...how well do you know the Big Game?...Link

HEY WISCONSIN…………………………shut up!

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=531753

Yesterday, Rod Gilmore wrote a column postulating that if Notre Dame wasn’t so damned sexy, Wisconsin would be in the running for a BCS bid. Apparently the folks up in beer and cheese country couldn’t agree more, and have a plethora of reasons why Wisconsin is being overlooked. Before we explain why the reasoning is flawed, we must point out: HEY WISCONSIN! You play in the same conference as Michigan and Ohio St! Only two teams from a BCS conference are allowed in the BCS cash line. Michigan + Ohio St = TWO teams. Tap your brat against your head twice if you understand!

We know, we know: Wisconsin is going to finish 11-1 after the pending clash with superpower Buffalo. How can an 11-1 team be shut out of the BCS, you ask?

“The consensus among pundits appears to be that if the Badgers, who finished 7-1 in the Big Ten Conference, would have played a tougher non-conference schedule they would be in the hunt for a BCS bowl berth and perhaps in the running for a national title.”

This isn’t just a consensus, and it doesn’t take a pundit to figure this out. Look at the schedule. Bowling Green, Western Illinois, San Diego St., Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Buffalo. Wisconsin’s wins against winning teams were Purdue, Penn St., and Iowa. Not one impressive win. Not one win over a team currently ranked.

The column we linked to above complains:

Bret Bielema's team had little chance to make a run at the BCS title game, barring winning the Big Ten title, because it was not ranked in either pre-season poll. (UW received votes in both polls and technically was tied for No. 32 in the AP poll with Arkansas and No. 32 in the USA Today poll.

Again, it doesn’t take a pundit to figure this out. If you don’t beat anybody of consequence, you aren’t moving up! Look at Rutgers. Their schedule wasn’t overly challenging, BUT when they played a top 3 team, they WON. And moved up. Imagine! And look at Arkansas, a one loss team, like Wisconsin....but unlike Wisconsin, they beat some teams that mattered and are currently ranked: Auburn and Tennessee. Lo and behold, they moved UP!

The column goes on:

No one can call UW's 2006 non-conference schedule formidable and maintain a straight face. However, UW was originally scheduled to open with Oregon State instead of Bowling Green. Oregon State officials asked out of the two-year agreement, which was to begin in 2005, for financial reasons. Oregon State handed No. 3 Southern California its only loss this season and is 4-3 in the Pacific 10 and 6-4 overall.

Is the insinuation that Wisconsin should somehow get some credit because Oregon St. beat USC? Hey Wisconsin, no one told you to fill the hole with Bowling Green!

More important, however, it appears UW's pre-season poll position and its Sept. 23 loss at Michigan have been the most significant obstacles preventing the Badgers from securing a BCS berth.

Holy Smokes! You think so? The only team of consequence on your schedule, the only team currently ranked and it “appears” that because you didn’t beat them that THAT is why you aren’t getting a BCS bid?

Look, if you are going to play a bunch of cellar dwellers and only ONE team that matters, by god, you MUST win. Wisconsin has ZERO wins that matter. You can knock Rutgers schedule, but they beat Louisville. You can knock ND’s schedule, but they beat a Georgia Tech team that is ranked and playing in their conference championship game. You can knock the schedule of every one loss team out there. But every one loss team in the running for a BCS bid has at least ONE win over a team that matters. Every team EXCEPT Wisconsin, that is.

Hey, Wisconsin: If you had beaten Michigan you would be one of the top two teams in your conference. You lost. You are the third team in your conference. You AREN’T eligible for a BCS bid. Please, shut up.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You don't say...

John Bunting said Tuesday that he will offer his help to Butch Davis -- if Davis wants it.

Umm….thanks, but no thanks, Coach Bunting…you have done QUITE enough…you just focus your little mind on Duke and Futility Bowl 2006, mmkay?….

On his resignation, Jeff Bowden said: "My biggest regret is that I won't be here the next time Coach Bowden gets to hold up the crystal ball [signifying a national title].

No worries, Jeff…Pops will be long gone before FSU is doing anything with a crystal ball but trying to see the future...

"To be honest with you, my belief is Michigan has some tremendous fronts. Both of their fronts are as good as there is in the country," Michigan State coach John L. Smth said. "My belief is that Ohio State has a little bit more capability of making plays when they don't really have a play, just based from their skills guys making something happen. And I'd think the advantage would have to go to Ohio State because they're at home."

And Smith ought to know…he got steamrolled in back to back weeks by these teams…the guy can’t coach a lick…but he might have a future as an analyst…

Crank it up: The Game of the Year!

Seems like a lot of folks are caught up in the hype of this week’s Michigan-OSU game. Obviously, the winner moves on for a crack at the glass football, and the loser might not be out of it either. Media hype is overwhelming and fan interest seems to be devouring the hype. Lost in all this is the battle that will take place a week later. On November 25 two teams will clash for the right to lay claim to another title: Worst Team in College Football.

That’s right, folks. If Duke (0-10) can continue their losing streak against Georgia Tech, and if UNC (1-9, with a 3 point victory over 1-AA Furman) can ensure that John Bunting’s final clash with Chuck Amato ends in defeat, we will have the pillow fight of the year to determine who is the worst team in D-1: Futility Bowl 2006.

The stats paint the picture for us. This game is a pretty even tilt. Offensively, both teams are ranked near the bottom in almost every measurable category.

Duke: 115th with 11.4 points per game
109th with 292.3 ypg
91st with 169.4 pass ypg
97th with 103.5 rushing ypg
89th with 16.3 1st downs/game
111th with a 29.5% 3rd down conversion rate.
101(t) with a 33.3% 4th down conversion rate

UNC: 109th with 14.8 points per game
104th with 294.9 ypg
85th with 176.6 pass ypg
96th with 103.7 rushing yps
107th with 15.5 1st downs/game
104th with a 32.6% 3rd down conversion rate
30(t) with a 61.5% 4th down conversion rate

Defensively, the picture looks pretty much the same:

Duke: 103rd with 31.2 pts/game, and they are allowing 222.7 passing ypg and 160.2
rushing ypg.

UNC: 105th with 31.3 pts/game, and they are allowing 179.4 passing ypg and 189.0
rushing ypg.

The numbers don’t lie. Not only is this an incredibly even match-up, but both teams truly have earned their way into Futility Bowl 2006.

This is going to be a tough game to call, but, if we look at the kicking game, we see the area of separation:

Duke: extra points, 9/12
field goals, 3/9
punts, 36.3 avg.

UNC: extra points, 16/16
field goals, 6/6
punts, 41.3 avg.

Clearly, UNC has a major advantage in the kicking game.

We predict that UNC will be able to turn that advantage in the kicking game into the difference. UNC will also use their Top 30 4th down conversion rate to their advantage. Instead of a constant flow of 3 and out, as has been their modus operandi this season, the Heels are going to convert a few fourth downs to get themselves in field goal range and come through with their first victory against a D-1 (Duke is still D-1, right?) opponent this year.

John Bunting will be carried off the field in orgasmic victory celebration of his leading Carolina to victory in Futility Bowl 2006. If I remember correctly, when Bunting took over 6 years ago, the first thing he may or may not have said was: Carolina will never be the worst D-1 team on his watch. Way to go coach! That in and of itself makes your turn at the Carolina helm a successful one.

Butch Davis, come on down! YOU are the next contestant on: I CAN WIN AT CAROLINA!

Gee, wonder why Wisconsin isn't in the mix?

"To the BCS, the 10-1 Badgers are the girl next door and won't likely get a date to the BCS party. The soon-to-be 11-1 Badgers (after facing Buffalo on Saturday) sit at No. 9 in the current BCS Rankings -- with five other one-loss teams ahead of them (USC, Florida, Notre Dame, Arkansas and West Virginia). And hardly anyone outside of Madison is screaming that the Badgers aren't being treated fairly. The most cited reason for casually dismissing the Badgers from the BCS discussion is that their schedule isn't as strong as the other one-loss teams." Rod Gilmore Espn.com Insider

Rod Gilmore makes the argument that Wisconsin is being overlooked in the hunt for BCS bids. He seems to think that their schedule is unfairly being called soft. Umm…Rod, it is soft AND that isn’t the only reason Wisconsin is being overlooked.

Gilmore seems to think that Wisconsin is passed in the rankings by the likes of Notre Dame because the Badgers aren’t as “sexy” as the Irish. Let’s look at the schedule. And remember both teams only loss was to Michigan and the other common opponents were Purdue and Penn St.

Wisconsin: Only wins over winning teams were Purdue, Penn St. and Iowa, middle of the road Big Ten teams in an overall down year for the conference. Rest of schedule is a hodge podge of losers. Bowling Green, Western Illinois, Sand Diego St., and the dregs at the cellar of the Big Ten. Remaining game is Buffalo. One has to ask: What the hell is “sexy” about that schedule? The three teams with winning records that they beat are going nowhere and the rest of the schedule is lame.

Notre Dame: The teams that they beat that have winning records are Georgia Tech, Purdue, Penn St. and Navy. Wins over PAC 10 and ACC bottom dwellers Stanford and UNC can be listed with those patsy wins Wisconsin had. Wins over Michigan St, UCLA and Air Force aren’t very impressive either. Remaining games are Army and USC.

Looking at the schedules and the common wins and losses, it would seem the win over an 8-2 Georgia Tech team (that is going to play in its conference championship game) is the differentiating factor. Of course, if ND beats USC there is no argument about why ND is ranked higher.

As stated earlier, the schedule isn’t the only reason that Wisconsin isn’t in the hunt for a BCS bid. They play in conference with Michigan AND Ohio St. BOTH of those teams are going to a BCS game. You can’t have three teams from one conference. Sorry, Rod Gilmore and Wisconsin….THERE IS NO ROOM FOR YOU.
.

You want an OSU-Michigan rematch already?

The college football season is winding down and the picture is becoming a little clearer, with a handful of teams being knocked out of contention, as to who will be in the BCS title game. The scenarios are pretty much set and we have an idea about which teams need what to happen to get into the game. It looks like USC has the inside track if they can run the table, although if some other teams finish with one loss, there will be some legitimate debate. But there is one scenario that a few, like Gerry Ahern on yahoo sports (I think Mitch Albom also wrote a column demanding this), are hoping to see: a rematch of Michigan-Ohio St.

The argument being that Michigan and OSU are head and shoulders above the rest; that every other team has a “damning” loss. USC lost to a non-contending Oregon St. team. Notre Dame was waxed by Michigan. Florida lost to a two loss Auburn team. Arkansas was blown out at home by USC (who lost to that Oregon St. team). And Rutgers hasn’t played a challenging enough schedule. Because of this, some feel that the title game should be a rematch of the Michigan-OSU season finale.

The only problem is: the game hasn’t been played yet! What happens if the game is a blowout? You still want a rematch? Also, after the game, either Michigan or OSU will join the one loss teams. And, if you are going to look at the schedules of the one loss teams under the scope, you have to then put the loser of Judgment Day under it as well.

Michigan: Big wins were registered over one loss ND and one loss Wisconsin. Decent wins over Penn St. and Iowa. Michigan has registered 6 wins over teams with losing records. Let’s face it; after OSU, Michigan and Wisconsin, the Big Ten doesn’t offer much of a challenge. Penn St. and Iowa, despite winning records were not threats this year. And the bottom half of the conference is pretty lousy. Certainly, wins over ND and Wisconsin are impressive. But if Michigan winds up losing to OSU and joins the one loss cadre, are those wins any more impressive than USC thumping Arkansas, Oregon, and (if it happens) Cal and ND?

Ohio St.: Big win was Texas, and that UT loss to K-State knocks some of the luster off. Same decent wins over PSU and Iowa. Other than that, no wins over teams with a winning record. So the same question applies: If USC runs the table and OSU loses, does that win over Texas match all of USC big wins?

OSU and Michigan have looked very impressive most of the year. They are obviously the cream of the crop. But, if you are going to discount the one loss teams and go through their schedules with a fine tooth comb, you have to do the same to the loser of the OSU-Michigan. It would be hypocritical to somehow say the loss doesn’t count. And when you pin a loss on either of those teams, all of a sudden their schedule isn’t as impressive. If OSU loses, they join ND (and Wisconsin) as having only lost to Michigan. Look at the schedule. ND’s (and USC and the SEC teams) compares favorably to OSU. And if Michigan loses, are their wins over ND and Wisconsin more impressive than the big wins of the other one loss teams (besides ND)?

Calling for a rematch before the game takes place is just silly. If the game is a tight one or an overtime affair; well, make the argument then. If it ends up being one sided, calling for a rematch before the game was a waste of time.

Let’s let the season play out before we decide who gets in the title game. There is still a lot of ball to be played.

OJ the Author Writes a "Novel"

LINK

What does a guy that was acquitted of murder over a decade ago, despite overwhelming evidence against him, do for fun in his spare time? Well, if that guy is OJ Simpson, apparently he writes a book describing how he would "hypothetically" commit the murders.

FOX will be airing an interview with the Juice about the book later this month. The book's working title is "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened". Which is slightly better than our suggestion: "I Did It, And Ain't Shit You Can Do About It".

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

McNair: Did you say Favre and Manning??

Steve McNair being shut out of Tennessee has been in the news again, because of the off handed introduction of race into the equation. For some reason Ray Lewis was asked about his thoughts on this matter and he said, "I don't ever want to turn it into a black-white issue. But it would really puzzle me, seriously, if anybody would ever tell Brett Favre ... if anybody would ever tell Peyton Manning not to walk into the Indianapolis facility.” Why it is important to get Ray Lewis’ view on this, I don’t know. But he clearly hints that in his mind, race played a factor. And, by making such a statement, he turns it into a black-white issue. Nicely done, Ray.

The argument has been made that race could not be a factor, based on the Titans’ franchise history of employing and drafting black QB’s. When they were the Oilers, they brought in Warren Moon from the CFL. They drafted McNair. They drafted Vince Young. Is there another franchise that has played as large a role in the rise of the black QB? Mike Wilbon addressed this by saying, “Bigotry isn't always obvious or overt and it's very, very often something people aren't aware they're doing. But I reject the notion that because the Titans have had three black quarterbacks (Warren Moon in Houston when they were the Oilers), McNair and Vince Young means the organization is free of bigotry. Black people have always been accepted as performers for white people...For 200 years, it's been okay to entertain or perform...that doesn't mean the same people were treated equally.”

While certainly there is a truth in Wilbon’s comments, he also said (in reference to Lewis’ remarks about Favre or Manning ever being treated like McNair), “I agree with him. I couldn't see that happening with those guys either.”

Bringing Favre and Manning into the discussion is a losing proposition. McNair had a great career with the Titans and brought them to the Super Bowl. He played through incredible pain and gave himself to the organization. That is not in question. But to compare him to a guy that won a Super Bowl for a team that has one of the most loyal followings and richest histories in the NFL; a guy that has set numerous records and has literally BEEN the franchise for close to 15 years, seems a bit of a stretch. To compare him to the current poster boy of the NFL also seems beyond a fair reference.

McNair is a very good quarterback and has had an outstanding career. That can’t be argued. It also can’t be argued that McNair was completely disrespected by the Titans. The franchise showed no compassion or loyalty for his years of service. But the suggestion that this was done based on skin color, or the suggestion that McNair should expect the same treatment as Favre or Manning is irrational.

The only color of concern here was green. The franchise put the bottom line ahead of one of their great players. And they went on to handle it and communicate it very poorly. Black players and black columnists won’t, and maybe can’t say it. But it has to be said: McNair ain’t in the same league as Favre and Manning and his not being treated as they might be isn’t so much a commentary on race as it is on ability and dollars.

The only racial bias here is the notion that because McNair was a very good black QB he should be held in the same regard as two of THE greatest QB’s of all time. McNair was wronged, no doubt. But let’s keep expectations and comparisons in line with ability.

To do otherwise might be perceived as preferential treatment based on race, and Ray Lewis and Mike Wilbon have clearly stated that would be wrong.

Monday, November 13, 2006

ESPN's Peyton Manning Doppleganger

Column


ESPN writer Kieran Darcy's coworkers believe he is dead ringer for Peyton Manning. So, he was assigned to head to Indy and try to see if he can pass for Manning. Nice premise for a little column. Sounds fun. Why not?

Well, after spending the better part of three days in Indy, not a soul mistook him for Peyton. Even after having his cohort try to cajole people into thinking it was Manning. I can't imagine why people didn't fall for it, can you? Try and pick out the real Manning below.
























We had a tough time picking the real Manning out, too. I can't imagine why the people in Indy didn't mob Darcy. I mean, aside from the obvious facial similarity, Darcy has the finely honed athletic look of an NFL QB. What gives Indy? Don't even know what your hometown hero looks like?

I want someone to tell Peter King he looks like Norm and send him off to Beantown to write about it.

Borat takes a beatdown...

Did you see Borat yet? Funny movie. Sasha Baron Cohen is already planning his next film, which will be him as that fruity fashion character from his Ali G show.

Hopefully he doesn't go walking the streets all in character as the fruity fashion guy...the results might be worse than this...

Borat gets beat down.

Carolina blue goes Butch…

Looks like Carolina is getting a name coach this time. After replacing Mack Brown with two guys better suited to be coordinators or position coaches, UNC has decided to go after a big name. But is this going to work?

Davis had a pretty successful stint as the Head Coach at the “U”. He was able to get them through a period of probation and then turn the program over to Larry Coker to win a title. Davis went on to coach the Cleveland Browns to many losses.

In the mid-90’s, under Mack, UNC was bringing in future NFL players by the bus load. For one three year stretch, the only school that put more guys in the league was Florida St. Those days are LONG gone and it is going to be tough to bring in the talent. Whether Butch still has connections to the South Florida talent pipeline that served him so well at Miami, remains to be seen. John Bunting brought in some talent. But, talk to former players and you will find that many recruits were turned off by the hard ass disciplinarian approach Bunting took. So, Davis is walking into a program that doesn’t have a real solid recruiting base at this point, regardless of the rosie picture the school might like to paint.

The facilities at UNC are pretty solid. During the Mack years, the school raised around 50 million to build one of the nicest football centers in the country. Carolina is a pretty wealthy school with an alumni base that isn’t afraid to hand over the dough. So, Davis should have the financial backing to start rebuilding.

Right now, the expectations are so low for the program that Davis isn’t going to be under pressure to win immediately. Talking to several former players and alumni at the recent homecoming, there wasn’t even a buzz or much excitement about the prospects for the program or the pending naming of Davis as the coach. Folks were focused on the start of hoops season and the squad that Roy Williams had assembled for the upcoming season. Imagine that.

The same reasons Mack Brown left (ie, football will always take a back seat to hoops) despite putting together a top 10 program are going to continue to be an issue. Carolina has a history of having some real solid football years, but no staying power. And that will continue under Butch.

Davis may be able to get Carolina to the upper half of the ACC, but do you really think he will be around long enough to BUILD a power? The reality is, Carolina is a stepping stone program: tons of resources and a top brand name (because of hoops) but not a destination spot for top coaches (more of layover stop). We think Davis will get some wins at UNC and bring them to a bowl game or two, but in less than 5 years, UNC will be searching for another coach.

But, by then the basketball program should have another NCAA championship banner hanging in the rafters of the Dean Dome, so it won’t really matter.