16 April 2007

It's that time of year again...

Announcing the 2nd Annual "We Really Suck At This" NFL Draft Prognostication game. Post below if you're in. Rules will be as such:

Prognosticate the entire 1st round of the NFL draft, including any trades you think might occur. 1pt for choosing the correct player to the correct team at the correct slot, 1/2 pt for choosing either half of the equation - (i.e. Tony Graziani 1st overall to the Raiders is your choice, but somehow, they choose Jamarcus Russell, or you pick Brady Quinn 3rd overall to the Browns, but the Dolphins trade up to 3 to pick him...)

1/2pt each for selecting round and team for UGA alums, and other 'notable' players, to be decided on shortly.

Prizes, you ask? Why, nothing other than a couple of sentences from the Effusive-Praise-Machine (tm).

26 January 2007

The No-Fun-League strikes again

Citing 'Safety and Security' concerns, the NFL has banned fans from tailgating at Dolphins Stadium for the Super Bowl.

Granted, there's probably loads better eats, drinks, and action in and around the Miami area than can be had sitting outside the stadium, but this just goes to show that once again, the NFL doesn't really care about the fan base that supports it.

I personally know that if for some reason I felt compelled to spend several hundred bucks per ticket, I'd probably want to cut my costs of attendance, and tailgate in the parking lot, as is traditional with football games. God help the NFL if the Packers ever get back to the Super Bowl...

23 January 2007

Super Bowl Pickout

This should look familiar.

There's only 1 game so we're going to go all out here. Not only are we going to pick final score, we're going to get into yards, rushing TDs, passing TDs, and FGs. The game will be broken down into a massive 20 categories. One category will be worth 5 points. Some categories will be worth 2 points. The rest will be worth 1. A tie will split the point unless otherwise stated. I'm looking for some really real indepth analysis. Here are the categories:

5 Pointer:
-Correctly name the Super Bowl XLI MVP.

2 Pointers:
-Closest to actual winner's score.
-Closest to actual loser's score.
-Closest to actual point spread.
-Closest to total points scored.
-Correctly picked the winner vs. the spread (This point will NOT be shared or split.)

1 Pointers:
-Chicago Team Rushing Yards
-Indy Team Rushing Yards
-Chicago Team Passing Yards
-Indy Team Passing Yards
-Chicago Rushing TDs
-Indy Rushing TDs
-Chicago Passing TDs
-Indy Passing TDs
-Chicago FGs
-Indy FGs
-Box Score for 1st Quarter*
-Box Score for 2nd Quarter*
-Box Score for 3rd Quarter*
-Box Score for 4th Quarter*

*Now for the Box Scores by quarter, I only want the points for that quarter. So if after 1 quarter the score is P 14 S 7 and after 2 quarters the score is P 17 S 14, the box scores are "Quarter 1: P 14 S 7" and "Quarter 2: P 3 S 7."

The standard line is Colts favored by 7 Over/Under of 48.5. That's probably going to come down some the closer we get to kickoff.

Oh and just so you know, I'm not going to enforce that the numbers should add up. If you want to give box scores that don't add up to your final score prediction or put any other contradictions in there, go right ahead.

22 January 2007

We don't need no stinking merger!

The Colts defeated the Patirots to earn the right to play in the 7th Super Bowl matchup between pre-merger NFL teams. For those not in the know, when the AFL merged with the NFL there was a little problem. There were more NFL teams than AFL teams. When the AFC and NFC were created from the AFL and NFL leagues, 3 NFL teams had to switch sides and become AFC teams. Those 3 teams were the Colts, Steelers, and Browns. Then there were 2 expansion teams added to the AFC at merger-time: the Dolphins and Bengals.

The first 4 Super Bowls were pre-merger so there were 4 pre-merger NFL teams and 4 pre-merger AFL teams. It wouldn't be until Super Bowl XI that a pre-merger AFL team went back to the Super Bowl (Raiders). Until that time, the expansion Dolphins and pre-merger NFL Colts and Steelers were the only teams going. In the Super Bowl's 41 year history, only 25 of those years fielded a pre-merger AFL team. 8 of the remaining 16 years were pre-merger NFL teams, 7 were merger-time AFC expansions Dolphins and Bengals, and 1 was the Baltimore Ravens expansion team.

Compare this to the pre-merger NFL teams who have had a slot in every Super Bowl except for 2.* Super Bowl XXXVII was between pre-merger AFL Oakland and post-merger AFC-turned-NFC expansion Tampa. Super Bowl XXXVIII was between pre-merger AFL Patriots and the post-merger Panthers. The only other time the NFC wasn't represented by a pre-merger NFL team was Super Bowl XL between pre-merger NFL Pittsburg and NFC-turned-AFC-turned-NFC post-merger expansion Seattle.

You may be asking how pre-merger AFL teams do when they get a shot at the Super Bowl. They've won 10 of their 25 appearences. Congratualations pre-merger NFL teams for shutting that other (inferior) league out of the Super Bowl once again.

* I originally had the following sentence: "Super Bowl XXXIII was between pre-merger AFL team Denver and the post-merger expansion Falcons." This was excised due to a factual error. The Atlanta Falcons are a pre-merger NFL team. Their team began play in 1967. The merger was not until 1970. The number was updated to reflect that.

21 January 2007

Conference Championship Predictions

Chicago 24 New Orleans 17
The Saints lucked out on weather conditions in the windy city. For starters, it's not all that windy with 7-10mph winds and there's only going to be light snow. And it will almost be above freezing. I still don't think it's enough. The Saints in the dome are a lock for the Super Bowl. The Saints outdoors away from home? Not so much. Rex does enough to tie it and the Bears D for the win. 24-17

Pats 35 Colts 31
Once again, a team in dome is good. Same team outside? Not so much. Foxboro is downright brutal right now but that should clear up by kickoff. I think that inspired Colts D runs out of gas and we have a bit of a shootout. The Colts kick a FG late to go ahead and the Pats march with little time left for the winning TD.

What I'd like to see? Bears vs. Colts in the Super Bowl. A nice pre-merger NFL matchup.

Post your own predicitons here but due to the 11th hour post, there will be no competition.

09 January 2007

SEC

So let's recape the SEC's bowl accomplishments this year:

-Mid-tier SCAR hung on to beat a Conference USA champion Houston team.
-Kentucky completely and totally dominated a Clemson team that thought it was a lot better than it really was.
-An unranked UGA came back to knock off a very ranked VT in the Peach Bowl.
-Aurburn held its own and beat a Nebraska team that is a lot better than it has been in a long time.
-LSU got to be the ones who gave Nortre Dame their bowl spanking.
-Florida absolutely destroyed media darling Ohio State for the national title.

The only losers are a coachless Bama and their 3 point loss to the Cowboys and Arkansas' 3 point loss to Wisconsin.

The SEC completely dominated the college bowl scene this year.

And speaking of UGA knocking off a ranked team, how many ranked teams does UGA have to beat (in a row) before they're ranked? If I had team X and I wanted to schedule the easiest game possible from the list of teams receiving ranking votes, I'd sure take Hawaii, Oregon State, or TCU over UGA.

07 January 2007

In Case You Missed It

Ain't YouTube & Blogger great? Even if I hadn't been able to catch the game on TV, I could have spent a worthwhile seven minutes of my life to see the highlights.

Woof.

03 January 2007

Show Me the Money!

How good is Nick Saban?

We're about to find out all over again. Apparently, the University of Alabama, tired of having egg on their face and switching coaches every time the wind changes direction, have signed Slick Nick to an eight year, $32 Million coaching stint.

Yeah, he won a National Championship at LSU (and beat Georgia twice), won two SEC Championships in three years, and has coached in the NFL. He is now the Boss Coach of the SEC at the Conference's most Royal school.

As if we needed more high profile coaches stepping up the game in the SEC.

Analysis? Predictions? Especially since Georgia has to play Bama on the rotation again soon?

28 December 2006

Season Pickoff totals updated...

Yeah yeah, I was WAY farther behind on this than I should have been.

Totals, pre-bowls.

paT 80-98 0.4494
Dante 44-53 0.4536
SAWB 113-125 0.4747

The summation of this is, we all suck. I'll update the final totals with the bowls and such, after the bowls.

18 December 2006

Bowl Pickem...

Yeah yeah, I know, I've been neglecting the sports desk. Things have busied up around here. Here's the rules, and 'payoff' for the bowl pickem. We'll score wins, losses, and pushes, because I'm tired of getting schooled by the pushes. If you don't pick the bowl tomorrow, no worries. We're late getting this up, and we apologise. Picks for games must be made prior to that game kicking off, so, you don't have to pick everything at once.

They payoff? Why, a few sentences of effusive praise, and bragging rights.

There's a blank in the comments, for you to use and abuse. As usual, we're going Against the Spread, and the O/U. Favorite in the game is on the left, O/U total is the big number on the right. Happy Picking.

04 December 2006

SWC Recap


Well it's been a pretty good year for the now-defunct Southwest Conference. I was hoping Arkansas would walk away with an SEC conference title but those are the breaks. An astounding 7 of 9 SWC teams will be going bowling with an 8th that is eligible. Here is a breakdown:

-TCU will play Northern Illinois in the Poinsetta Bowl.
-Houston will get a SWC vs. SEC matchup in Philly against Spurrier and the Gamecocks at the Liberty Bowl.
-Arkansas snags the Capital One Bowl against Wisconsin. (Is anyone else getting tired of SEC vs. Wisconsin bowls? This game is getting more tired than Police Academy movies not starring Steve Guttenberg.)
-Texas is set to play Iowa at the Alamo.
-The smallest campus in Div IA football (and probably the worst mascot) Rice gets to play Troy (not Troy State since adding State after a school name is apparently unfashionable now) in the New Orleans Bowl. I wonder if Pat will be in attendance?
-A&M lucked their way into the Holiday Bowl against Cal.
-And the Texas Tech Red Raiders get to play the Insight Bowl against Minnesota.
-Unfortunately, SMU went .500 and was not invited to any bowl games this year. That's what you get for going 0-3 against SWC opponents.
-Baylor stinks.

Sadly, the Cotton Bowl will not field a SWC team this year but the Cotton will get a Big 8 vs. SEC matchup in Nebraska vs. Auburn. This should still be an excellent game though. Looking at their bowl games, it looks like Arkansas made the right move in jumping to the SEC. They probably would've been one of the 4 invited to the Big 8 had they stayed but dollar for dollar, the SEC is just more lucrative bowl-wise.

23 November 2006

Week 13 Picks

Details inside. Updated totals Fridayish...

20 November 2006

Going bowling (well, bowl eligible at least)...



For the first time since the 1987 death penalty, SMU is bowl eligible. SMU went out to Tulsa and overcame a 17 point defecit to make it happen. With a win over Rice next week, SMU will have a bowl spot all but locked up. The most likely candidate is the Armed Forces bowl in Ft Worth against cross-Metroplex rival TCU for a 6-6 record. They may get other options if they go 7-5.

If you are interested in SMU's death penalty and want to learn exactly how a school ended up in such a mess or just want some interesting college football reading, I highly recommend "A Payroll to Meet" by David Whitford. It covers the ground thoroughly and is still a good read.

16 November 2006

Week 12 Picks

Post em if you got em.

13 November 2006

Saving the Season

I absolutely harassed all my coworkers Saturday night about the previously ranked #5 Auburn Tigers's National & SEC Championship hopes. None of them were fans, mind you, but they had to hear me talking about it all night. One Auburn fan I know vowed to hold me down and paint me Orange the next time I see him back in Georgia. My phone blew up for three hours straight as Georgia fans called to ask me if I had been watching the game, to ask me what this means, to wonder where this level of play had been and imagine what had been different this week.

No calls came from the state of South Carolina, either...

This was one of the best and most important Georgia games I have ever seen, and some folks think this could be one of the defining moments of Richt's career.

The Georgia Sports Blog rounds it up better than I ever could.

09 November 2006

Week 11 Picks

Ok, will the usual suspects please report in inside? I hope we all had a nice vacation this past week. Updates inside later on when I've got more time...

08 November 2006

This has to be read to be believed.

I am in shock that a person would do this. I really don't know what else to say. Here is a follow-up. Thanks to Gregg Easterbrook at ESPN for bringing this story to light. It really needs to be brought to light. I would nominate Dan Hinkle as Jackass of the Month for the Month of November but I don't think a monthly award is big enough for what he has done.

02 November 2006

Georgia, what have you done?

College football is being turned on its head thanks in large part to UGA's utter collapse in the first quarter of the Sugar Bowl last year. If you thought strength of schedule didn't matter before, wait until WVU or Louisville plays in a national title game because they're undefeated. You'll start to see schools beat up on their grandmas to impress the pollsters. Florida State's and Auburn's non-conference schedules will start to look tough in comparison. But when we try to plea that WVU and Louisville are unproven teams in an unproven conference, the Big East will point to their Sugar Bowl vistory last year and laugh. And the worst part is that they'll have a point. I for one do NOT welcome our new cupcake scheduling overlords.

01 November 2006

Dare to believe it.

With a 3-2 record in Conference USA and 5-4 overall, SMU could end up in a bowl game this year. It's too early to start making airline reservations but they did come up big in a win over UAB and are now looking to finish with Houston, Tulsa, and Rice.

Rice is a walkover even in C-USA terms so eligibility shouldn't be an issue. But even 6-6 won't clinch it for the Mustangs. There are only 5 (possibly 6) bowl ties for C-USA. They need one of those wins over Houston or Tulsa to clinch a bowl and even then I won't believe it until I see the invitation. Sadly, Tulsa is almost certaily a loss for the Mustangs. Tulsa is 7-1 and has wins over both Navy and UTEP. Houston is having a decent season, but Houston is playing SMU at home and that may mean trouble for the Cougars who are just as bad on the road as SMU is good at home lately.

The way the bowl ties work, it doesn't look like an SEC matchup is possible. SMU would have to come out #1 in C-USA to face an SEC team in the Liberty Bowl. The only way that happens is if SMU wins out and gets help from Houston, Rice, or Tulane in beating Tulsa. That's not going to happen. There is still a regionally interesting matchup possible if SMU and TCU meet in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. And maybe based on regional interest SMU could land a spot in the Texas Bowl in Houston and play a mid-range Big 12 team but the way the Big East is playing this year, I can't see SMU getting the slot over a Big East mid-leveler.

The season is far from over but Mustangs fans can finally be proud of the team. Maybe there is life after the death penalty.

28 October 2006

Three things...

...that give me solace after this weekend.

1 - We played a solid game, turnovers not withstanding. Tackling was better, offense was improved, special teams were ok.

2 - Matthew Stafford will lead us to victory in two of the next three years.

3 - There's a hell of a lot of assholes in Jorts that lost a hell of a lot of money today.

25 October 2006

Week 9 Picks

I'm going to try something new for NFL picks. A volley of praise to anyone who spots my picking trend for those games.

21 October 2006

Week 8 Pickoff

A much better showing in week 7 by two of our three contestants. Picks and updated totals inside.

16 October 2006

National Title games and the SEC

Leave it to Tommy Tubberville to cry about how tough it is to play in the SEC:

" "That's why we need a playoff," said Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. "It's just so unfair to this conference. To go undefeated, it's got to be a miracle. You've got to be lucky, and then everyone's going to start politicking.

"That's the way it is, and probably the way it's going to be every year. It's just so tough." "

You know what, Tommy? You're free to leave any time you want. The SEC is a tough place to play. Period. You know the rules and you know how polling works. If you don't like your odds here, maybe you can go join the Sun Belt. I'm sure you can go 12-0 every year there. The SEC just isn't going to produce a whole lot of national title teams. There are too many good teams to overshadow the bad ones any given year. In fact, if I remember correctly the last SEC National Title Champ was a 1-loss team.

If you want to see some of those unbeatens in other conferences struggle, then take matters into your own hands and bully them into playing you. I do applaud Auburn for their somewhat recent games against USC but that's just not enough. Get at least two "overrated" teams on your schedule each year and show them how good they really are. Make great offers to them and be very public if they turn you down with their tails between their legs.

I'm pretty neutral on playoffs but they're not going to happen no matter how hard you wish them to. There are entirely too many schools that would take a pay cut on bowl appearences.

15 October 2006

Giant Killers

Gotta hand it to Vandy. They've been looking for a win over one of the royal East Division foes for a while now. I know they got Tennessee last year, but that was at the end of the season. They almost got Florida last year in the Swamp. This time, it was the Dawgs' turn.

Eventually, the coin comes up tails instead of heads, and we are reminded why Vandy still gets to play in the SEC.

So, is this what the road to 6-6 looks like, or are we going to salvage a little bit of pride against either Auburn or Florida? Tech is going to give us all they have. Is this what a rebuilding year is? Will the coaching staff get all shook up?

I haven't felt this way since 1998, maybe 2000. But it ain't good. Hopefully, we can get this ship righted and quick.

Go Dawgs!

Giant Killers

Gotta hand it to Vandy. They've been looking for a win over one of the royal East Division foes for a while now. I know they got Tennessee last year, but that was at the end of the season. They almost got Florida last year in the Swamp. This time, it was the Dawgs' turn.

Eventually, the coin comes up tails instead of heads, and we are reminded why Vandy still gets to play in the SEC.

So, is this what the road to 6-6 looks like, or are we going to salvage a little bit of pride against either Auburn or Florida? Tech is going to give us all they have. Is this what a rebuilding year is? Will the coaching staff get all shook up?

I haven't felt this way since 1998, maybe 2000. But it ain't good. Hopefully, we can get this ship righted and quick.

Go Dawgs!

At Least We Aren't...

...Miami, who looked like their old Dade County COPS episode selves by brawling with FIU (of all cupcake opponents).

12 October 2006

Week 7 pickoff

Let's not speak of week 6, shall we? Picks inside...

07 October 2006

Week 6 Pickoff Picks

Okeydoke. Let's see if we can have a real week, instead of an abomination like last week. Picks and updated totals inside.

29 September 2006

Week 5 Pickoff

Hokay,
bad week all around last week. updated totals inside, along with this week's round of monkeydarts.

26 September 2006

It's NOT a double reverse!

NFL.com: "Devery Henderson scored New Orleans' second TD on an 11-yard double-reverse, taking a handoff from Bush and cutting inside the pylon with help from a gutsy block by quarterback Drew Brees."

ESPN.com: "And after Devery Henderson scored the Saints' second touchdown on a reverse called "Superdome Special," where Brees play fakes to McAllister, then Brees gives to Bush on the end around, and finally Bush hands off to Henderson, the Falcons were forced to respect the reverse action with Bush the rest of the game."

It annoys me to no end when folks who write about this stuff for a living don't know what a reverse is. To make matters worse, this is the official wire copy from nfl.com. Kudos to ESPN for correctly identifying the single reverse when you see it. Nfl.com called the Henderson TD a double reverse when it was very obviously not one. For there to be a double reverse, there would have to be a single reverse that's reversed. Brees handing the ball off to Bush is NOT a revese. Therefore Brees handing to Bush handing to Henderson can't be a double reverse. The only reverse that happens is when Bush hands the ball off to Henderson. If Henderson hands the ball off again, that is a double reverse. It's not that hard to figure out, especially since the last time a true double reverse was run in the NFL it was at the request of Richard Nixon and Dallas lost the ball on a fumble in the process. There are too many handoffs and too much time spent in the backfield for a double reverse to be a viable option in today's NFL (or yesterday's NFL for that matter). When you hear the words "double reverse" uttered, they're usually wrong. We now return you to the non-rant items on the board.

20 September 2006

While I've got a minute (Week 4 Picks)

While I've got a minute, I'm going to go ahead and make my weekly pics so I don't forget. Post picks here...

Blog Poll Round Table: After the Darkness

There's a Blog Poll going around and I figure Dante ought to throw his 2 cents in.

1. Its only the third week of the season and we've already seen some highly ranked favorites drop out of national championship contention. Preseason favorite Cal dropped to #21 after a loss and a pair of underwhelming victories. Who's your pick as the next NC contender to take a fall?


Florida. Florida plays LSU, Auburn, and Georgia consecutively this year and that run starta in two weeks. They do get a bye before Georgia but even so, this is absolutely brutal. Add to the this to the fact that Meyer's spread formation had some success in Tennesse (on a very limited basis) so he'll be cocky enough to try and use it again when he really shouldn't.

2. By that same token there are several schools hanging around without a loss that all of a sudden look like surprise contenders. There are also a few one loss teams with a legit shot at getting back into it. Looking at the rankings who's the team no one's talking about with the best shot at crashing the party ?

They certainly won't get a national title shot, but there's a good chance TCU will end the season as the only undefeated or maybe as 1 of 2. They only play one ranked opponent and they already won that one. The rest of the schedule is a who's who of mediocre mid-major teams.

3. Every team has their quicksand away game. You know. That place you should win but somehow find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory or at least scare the &*%^ out of you every year. Did you know that over the last 21 years Kentucky wasn't won once in Knoxville? Where is your team's yearly sandtrap?

Of course it's Jacksonville. Usually my conversation with people on why I don't even go to the game anymore goes something like this:

Other Guy: "So are you going to Jacksonville this year?" (Of course this question doesn't need to be qualified with "for the Georgia Florida game" because there's no other reason a well-balanced person goes to Jacksonville.)

Me: "No. If I want to watch Georgia not play, I can do that for free and without a 6 hour car trip. I'm watching them not play RIGHT NOW! Look! Is that Quincy fumbling the ball on the 2 yard line?" (Other Guy turns around to look and I run off into the sunset.)

4. Now that you've looked into the darkest place in your football soul, free Escalades aside, turn and look into your crystal ball. Conference play is either just starting or a single game in. Based on what you've seen so far, give the order of finish in your conference, and if you've got a Conference Championship game tell us who the winner will be. Independents must predict the remainder of their schedule. The results your predictions will be held against you at the end of the season.

SEC East
1. Georgia (1 SEC loss to FL)
2. Florida (2 SEC losses Aub and LSU)
3. Tennessee (2 SEC loss to UGA and FL)
4. South Carolina
5. Kentucky
6. Vandy

SEC West
1. Auburn
2. LSU
3. Arkansas
4. Bama
5. Ole Miss
6. There is no 6th SEC West team.

SEC Title Game
UGA over Auburn. I just can't believe Auburn will run well against Georgia's defense.

5. In keeping with the spirit of Maize n Brew, name your beverage of choice on game days and why. It need not be alcoholic, as there are some of us who choose not to imbibe on game day. Further, it need not be limited to a single brand/type/category. If you enjoy drinking PBR and Kraft Turkey Gravy at the same time (which I have personally witnessed), please, elaborate. Finally, if you should feel so inclined, and this is not a requirement, add an anecdote involving said beverage choice.

Beer. More specifically, Coors Light or the almighty Coors Original if it's an early kickoff.

In our dormatories in college, we got pretty belligerent about smuggling beer in. The RAs didn't have much of an ability to search you if you didn't want them to so we used to stuff 12ers of Coors under our t-shirts and walk nonchalantly into the dormatory. One time, the girl working the door questioned me as to what I had under my shirt but backed off after I angrily accused her of calling me fat.

19 September 2006

Bad News Monday - At Least He's Not Paralyzed or Dead Edition

With such a great college football weekend, it's hard to find much more than the obvious bad news.

Pollack is out for the season with a broken neck. At least he's still alive. Would you strap on a helmet and go back after a potentially fatal injury like that? I might just take the money I have and call it a career.

Notre Dame got absolutely trounced by a Michigan team that's not that great. Of course, sports pundits are talking like Michigan can actually win a national title this year but that's just because they refuse to admit they were all absolutely flat out wrong about Notre Dame being an elite team. I'd like to see if Michigan can put those kind of numbers on any of our 3 (4 depending on who you talk to) elite SEC defenses (or even post a win for that matter).

Coutu tweaked his leg a bit while nailing that 55 yarder but it looked like he didn't even get all his weight behind the kick. Hopefully he'll be ok in the next week or so. It made me laugh later that evening when everyone was making a big deal out of Tennessee's 50 yard FG. Is that all?

In the battle of suck, TCU outshined TT and held them to 3 points. Way back when, I always questioned why the Big 8 took TT instead of TCU. TCU being in a lesser conference has hurt their talent and personnel pools since the SWC broke up. Good to see them contending anyways.

I would say something about the offense in the Auburn LSU game but the offense wasn't nearly as bad as the defense was good.

Atlanta has a kicker who can nail 50+ yarders but can't seem to hit 35 yard glorified chip shots.

How many more NFL teams are going to get shut out this year?

Will Rex Grossman be the Florida QB who breaks the curse of Florida players sucking in the NFL? Maybe but he's played some pretty easy teams so far.

A big mantra of not having playoffs in college football is that without playoffs every game counts. Has West Virginia played a game that counts yet? Other than their yearly clash with Virginia Tech, do they play any game at all that really counts? It must be nice to have a 1 game season.

That's just sad...

- SCar only won their "take it out on the little guy because last week a real team whipped us good" game by 7 points. They had to fight to keep the almighty Wofford from coming back for the win.

- Is it just me or did Ainge throw for fewer TD passes than his WR?

- Miami lost to Louisville. 'Nuff said.

- For the first time in 25 years, a defending Super Bowl champion was shut out.

- Tampa Bay lost to a team that missed 4 FGs.

15 September 2006

Wherefore Art Thou, Gameday?

My roommate Jerz let me hear the almost inexplicable news that ESPN's College Gameday will be MIA as far as the biggest games this weekend.

They're going to be in sunny California, broadcasting from the Western division game, two timezones removed from the giant battles taking place to the east. LSU v Auburn? No Gameday. Florida v Tennessee? No Gameday. Notre Dame v Michigan? No Gameday.

No, they go for the song girls, and place themselves in LA-LA land to watch USC crush the Cornhuskers.

Now, if the Corn Fed Ones are somehow able to topple the Profilactics, the programmers in charge of this move are going to look like geniuses. But for all the "ABC owns ESPN" rationalization, I just can't remember, for the life of me, the last time Gameday picked such an inferior game on such an important weekend. Maybe that's my failing. Maybe they do this all the time. But I don't think that is the case. Even if it was, I still think it is crap.

Third Battle of New Orleans thinks its crap too, as does my favorite sports blog, EDSBS.

EDSBS even provides links that mention the late date of the change, as Gameday was scheduled for Knoxville until the last minute....

14 September 2006

Week 3 Picks

Picking below. Getting an early start on this week...

13 September 2006

Bad News Monday - Hey, back off! At least I'm doing one this week,

NFL:
Did anyone see Atlanta completely shred the Panthers O-line? That was pathetic. Too bad Abraham has an injury that could conceivably nag him all season. And Kerney said he'd be able to play this week but that didn't stop Atlanta from signing an additional DE.

Did anyone see Atlanta completely shred the Panthers D-line? Equally pathetic. Here's a word of advice: Even if you're afraid of the cut block scheme Atlanta is using, don't go public with your feelings. That's just going to make the o-line more confident.

The popular rumour is that the Cardinals hand picked the 49ers to christen their new stadium. If true, how the mighty have fallen. The once proud 49ers to become Arizona's whipping boy. We're talking about the same Arizona team that the georgraphically challenged NFC East chucked out of their division. I still doubt this rumour though given the number of other divisional games being played in Week 1 (which is kind of an oddity).

Can Tomlinson carry the entire San Diego offense against sure-to-be better defenses coming their way this season? How can Oakland let San Diego shred them like that when they know full well the run is coming? What ever happened to making a team beat you with their passing?

MLB:
The Braves have officially ended their division winning streak.

College Football:
South Carolina got shut out and we heard all about it. I'd sure hate to be Wofford this week. If blowing out such a team improves South Carolina's morale then I can see why they are this bad to begin with.

SMU showed that they have no business in Div I-A football by getting blown out at the hands of North Texas.

Colt McCoy looked like a real Big 12 QB. He threw into heavy coverage, showed off his lack of arm strength, and hit the checkdown when receivers were wide open but he can run some. Texas really should be an option team this year. They don't belong in the Top 10 and I think we'll see them drop accordingly in the next few weeks.

When did Ohio State learn offense? Their D still looks a little fishy to me but they have some weapons on the other side of the ball, especially in the passing department.

Can we stop the nonsensical notion that Joe Paterno will ever be a good coach again? His glory days are over. He should take solace in being the winningest head coach of real college football games. Bowden should be ashamed of claiming Howard victories.

Can we stop the nonsensical notion that Notre Dame beating up an old has-been who had a small glimmer of glory last year is a big deal? The Big 11 has some strong football programs but Penn State isn't one of them anymore.

Speaking of Bowden, did anyone see the glory that is Florida State offense? I really thought they were turning a corner this season but the good folks at Troy showed us that Florida State's offense is as bad as it's been since Richt left the team.

That's just sad (South Carolina Items):
-South Carolina couldn't make a single point off 3 turnovers.

-Statisticlly, For Spurrier to match the offensive output of Lou Holtz, you have to count the offensive things he's said about his team.

-One of the ESPN commentators who picked South Carolina publicly apologized after the game. UGA still won the game despite Corso picking them to win (which is typically a kiss of death).

-Much like the two more recent Clemson games, Georgia Southern, and the last Auburn game where Tubberville got to hold the offensive clipboard, UGA fans were terrified of how their team would do against a vastly inferior team.

-Who though Holtz would make a good TV commentator? Are these the same folks who gave jobs to Deion Sanders and Jerry Glanville? Can Holtz be more of a homer for teams he's coached?

That's just sad (other items):

-Atlanta showed they may have the best D-line in football just in time for an anchor of that line to get injured.

-Aaorn Brooks somehow went to a team with a worse offensive line. At least he's getting better at the one step drop.

-Houston's running game. Especially given the game Bush had for NO.

-Every other team in the Braves division should be ashamed to let them walk away with 14 titles in a row, especially those between 9 and 14.

11 September 2006

Credit Where It's Due

So Saturday I ended up helping my cousin move to her new house in Dahlonega, GA. At 7:30PM we're supposed to be wrapped up and at her brother's house to watch the game. Of course we went over on time and I ended up missing most of the first half. We did have radio and since Jeep makes the best antennae anyone has ever put on an automobile, even out in the backwoods of Dahlonega I could at least listen to the game. But that meant listening to Munson and I have mentioned in the past my problems with Munson broadcasts.

I don't know if he's been taking flack from everyone or if he's just decided to step up his game on his own but the UGA vs. Scar Munson radio broadcast was very good. We knew exactly who was going in to what plays. We knew the formations (more or less) and when Larry was wrong about a spot, he corrected himself. He even mentioned who was going in motion and in what direction they were moving. Minus a few times when the reception started cutting out, I never had to ask myself what was really going on. Larry actually kept us very informed. Keep up the good work.

09 September 2006

Week 2 Picks

Week 2 picks here.

05 September 2006

Bad News Monday - Late Edition

We're back for a new season here at Bad News Monday. In addition to the usual bad news roundup, we'll also be adding a new section: "That's Just Sad." To get you used to it, this week will be an all out "That's Just Sad." Please feel free to add your own.

That's Just Sad:
- Ole Miss had to whip out a trick play against Memphis that made the difference between victory and defeat.

- You know those crappy teams universities schedule to get back in the swing of things? Colorado lost to theirs.

- A team people were saying could possibly win the Pac 10 lost big to a team people thought would finish anywhere from 5th to 8th overall in the SEC.

- Thanks to Georgia, in interdivisional games, Div IAA schools have more safeties than their Div IA opponents.

- Brady Quinn looked better on the ground than he did in the air.

- (ND 2fer) Charlie Weiss, who knows all about zone blitzes from his NFL days, couldn't handle Georgia Tech using it as a one-trick-pony their defense utterly relies on.

- NFL teams who feel good about 3rd and 4th quarter come-from-behind preseason victories. All that means is that if every NFL starter and 2nd stringer died in a car crash on the same day, your leftovers would win.

And the BIG that's just sad goes to...

- Houston, who was so sure they had their running back situation locked up that they passed on both Reggie Bush and LenDale White, is now looking to Ron Dayne to come in and help them with rushing duties while Wali Lundy is the favorite to be the starter.

02 September 2006

Pickoff Week 1

Late to the party with this, but, it's been a busy week, and the pros don't start til next week anyway.

My lines are coming from pinbet.com.

Michigan -26.5 vs Vandy
Marshall +21.5 vs WVU
Alabama -15 vs Hawaii
Alabama v Hawaii - Over 52
Florida Atlantic +32 vs Clemson
FAU v Clemson - Over 44

And even though it doesn't count in the standings, I'll call UGA v WKU at 45 - 7 for UGA.

30 August 2006

Football, Football!!!

The start of college football is merely hours away, and even Flagpole is talking about it.

I'm so excited, I've got to get my TOP 25 out on the web. This is not a ranking of where I think teams are going to be at the end of the season. This is how good I think particular teams are.

1. Auburn: The best college football program in the best college football conference. Their sociology department notwithstanding, Auburn is elite. They may loose one or even two games, but it won't be by much, and it will be because other teams got lucky. If the fumbles bounce Auburn's way, they can end up being the big Southern Buzzsaw for this year.

2. Notre Dame: This guy can coach, and now that this team has tasted victory, and has a shot at a legendary season, they won't let people down. This whole team will play with their hair on fire from September to January and that will keep them high in the rankings.

3. Texas: That defense is sick, and we all know about defenses and championships. The new guy at QB isn't the brightest star yet, but he's good enough not to loose games, and that will allow returning star power to do their work.

4. Florida State: That defense is sick all over again, and they appear to have a bit of competency on their offensive squad for the first time in a while. Baby Bowden's plays can work now that he doesn't have an offense committ seppukku.

5. Ohio State: They've got some serious offensive chops, but I think linebackers are the most important players on the field, and the Buckeyes were carried last year on the backs of the best. Now that the defenses' mad core division is gone, that will weaken this team significantly on the defensive side of the ball. But that offense is going to be a juggernaught.

6. LSU: Their only loss may be to Auburn. Les Miles may screw up this program eventually, but Saban left them with so much talent, Miles might not even have to call a play this year. Without so many distractions, this team (not unlike Notre Dame) is going to be playing with their hair on fire all season.

7. California: Hippie Bears beat USC, UCLA & Tennessee, but get crushed by the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. Counting Crows release a new album six months later.

8. Clemson: The second most important group of players on a field (after linebackers) are the offensive line. Clemson's has some good experience, a running back and a good enough defense not to melt down. Those close games from last year fall in their favor this year.

9. Georgia: Underrated linebackers stack with the stud defensive line and the raw talent of the secondary to produce the best defesne in the SEC. The offense, no matter what QB we go with, will be based around power rather than finesse, and that will keep winning in the SEC.

10. Louisville: Offensive fireworks and defensive speed will win this team the Big East, and their out of conference schedule. They will look like FSU of the 90's and put up unreasonable numbers.

11. Oklahoma: A running game and a Hiesman candidate can take you a long, long way. It won't take you all the way, but it will give you some power as a team.

12. Florida: Will win the 3 way tiebreak for SEC East champion, and have the pleasure of losing to Auburn twice. Chris Leak was the best SEC QB after Jay Cutler and DJ Shockley last year, and now both of them is pros. He will quiet critics with his numbers, and the defense will be stout.

13. West Virginia: I don't believe in ranking teams based on their lousy schedule. When WV loses one game it shouldn't and then to revenge minded Louisville, that easy schedule will be the only thing that keeps them ranked this high.

14. Miami: Used to be a stellar team playing in a crappy conference, now a good team playing in a real conference.

15. Michigan: This is a good team that won't have a special season.

16. USC: They've been up so long, they don't know down. I sense a Miami or Oklahoma like collapse. Western league will feast on this team, as will Notre Dame. Then they get to play Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl...

17. Iowa: This is a good team that won't have a special season.

18. Virginia Tech: Rebuliding year for a very good program.

19. TCU: Will try to play gate crasher, but won't be able to get over the hump this year.

20. Fresno State: Will try to play gate crasher, but won't be able to get over the hump this year.

21. Nebraska: Good enough to win the Big 12 North.

22. South Carolina: The other team in the 3 way tie for SEC East champ. Will take whole state to Outback bowl to beat Iowa.

23. Arkansas: The most underrated team in the best college football conference.

24. Penn State: They had enough experience from last year to do some damage, but not enough depth to do a lot of damage.

25. Georgia Tech: Will win games in spite of selves.

14 August 2006

Announcing the First Annual WHRG-Sports Pigskin Prognostication Pickoff

Hokay, kids. Here's the skinny. We's gonna have us a piggyskin prognostication hoedown. Or something to that effect. Here be the rules:

1 - You will pick at least 100 games over the course of the NCAA Division I-A and NFL regular seasons. NCAA games must be between two D I-A foes. Tech v Furman is not allowed, etc.

2 - You can pick ATS (Against the spread), or the O/U. If you pick both for the same game, and miss one of the two, you get credit for one of the two. Miss both, you're 0-2.

3 - You must provide where you are getting your lines from. Pinbet.com, bodog.com, etc. Any legitimate booking agency will show lines for free.

4 - This is NOT an open gambling contest. This is a prognostication contest amongst friends. There will be no money exchanged as a part of this contest.

5 - There will be one winner. Should there be a tie, the person who picked a larger number of games will take the win. (i.e. i pick 100 games and go 50-50. paT picks 102 games and goes 51-51, paT wins.)

If i've left anything out, lemme know. Otherwise, this commences with the first NCAA games. See comments for other details.

11 August 2006

At long last, Falcons Football

So it's finally here. Tonight at 8PM, we once again have real football in the state of GA. No more Arena or Arena II. Real NFL football. And to top it all off, it's preseason. I love preseason. Part of the reason is that I really like 2nd and 3rd string QBs. My favorite 90's Cowboys QB is Jason Garrett. My favorite QBs in the NFL right now are Schaub, Volek, and Vick in that order. And I'm suprememly proud that Volek will probably start for TN after years of riding the pine behind McNair.

I also love seeing new people play. For example, given that Vick is only going to be in for 2 series, it is very likely that young UGA star DJ Shockley will get to take a few snaps tonight in a fight for the 3rd string Falcons QB slot. I'll also have to check out the Seahawks preseason so I can watch Greene take a few snaps from under center.

Am I the only one who loves preseason? What preseason games are you looking forward to? What players do you want to see play?

09 August 2006

Internet Unmaskes OU Conspiracy

This ain't good. I worry that, even though someone got the Bom-head scandal right, the NCAA will now create a witchhunt division to scour the message boards of teams, looking for the thousands of unfounded rumours that surely must circulate.

Thoughts?

31 July 2006

Dynasty Mode

JMac at Safe As Houses stirned up a hornet's nest when he started exploring the question: Who's got the greatest college football program of all time. The man challeneges the Notre Dame narrative and mythos, and a veritable army of Gold Domers desend upon him from the ether.

Dang. It went so far that JMac had to post an additional explanation with even more research.

Wow. Props to McGinty for this one.

Though I was wholly unable to dedicate the time needed to follow the commentary fully.

21 July 2006

Anybody got a rhyme for Floyd?

Have you heard the one about the Tour de France cyclist who's riding on one hip? Floyd Landis, he who will need a hip replacement come the end of this tour, chewed up the field and spit them out yesterday, in what may possibly be the greatest single ride EVER in TdF history.

For Landis to make up nearly 8 minutes on the leaders without the benefit of a crash is unthinkable, especially considering his performance the previous day, where he dropped over 10 minutes to fall from first to eleventh.

I'm rooting for the greatest time trial in the history of time trials tomorrow.

18 July 2006

AFC Preseason Rankings

Without further ado, here are Dante's AFC Preseason Divisional Rankings:

North
1. Pittsburg - Yeah, I don't like it either but they are the best talent in this division.
2. Cleveland - I don't really think Cleveland will have a great season. They had a good draft but they still have a long way to go before those draftees are ready for prime time. However, I expect a Cinci implosion and nothing better from Baltimore than they gave last year. That puts the Browns at #2 in this division.
3. Cincinatti - Palmer coming back from injury and their defensive stud out for 1/4 of the season? Very bad things will happen to this team this year.
4. Baltimore - They still can't pass and as of last season it seems they can't run either. That's just not good.

South
1. Indianapolis - Yeah, I know I said they're a doomed team but how doomed do you have to be to not come out on top of a conference consisting of the Titans, Jags, and Texans?
2. Tennessee - Volek is just better than McNair. I'm glad he's finally going to get the chance to start. They're going to do just fine.
3. Jacksonville - A few years ago Jacksonville ran up the score on Miami during Marino's last game. Afterwards one of the team boasted that they were one of the greatest teams ever and a good portion of that team bought into it. They spent the next five or six years in the football wilderness or that. Now they think they're all big and bad because they won 12 games last year ignoring that 4 of them were against totally inept teams in their conference and at least one of the Indy games came after Indy had given up on the perfect season. Jacksonville needs some humblin again and that's just what they're going to get.
4. Houston - Good draft. If those o-linemen work out for them, they'll have a good defense in a few years. A few years in not now. Now they still finish last in the division.

East
1. New England - They're starting to slide but they're a long way from finished. They still win this lowly division.
2. Miami - Miami finished strong last year after its defense found it's footing and its offense started making some strides. Brown has a year under his belt and they have a decent QB in Culpepper. Defense has never really been as issue here.
3. NYJ - This division was given a gift last year when New York's entire QB corps got injured. Now they're all healthy but none of them are particularly talented. There's also the small matter of the Jets hiring a new coach this year.
4. Buffalo - A whole entire off season and they never really did what they should've to beef up their o-line. Team owner Crier McCrybaby (unofficial name) will have plenty to cry about this year.

West
1. Denver - Repeat after me: Denver wins division titles. Period. They'll muff the playoffs again but they'll make it back there.
2. Chiefs - Larry Johnson is one bad hombre but he's not enough to overcome that pitiful defense. The Chiefs may make the playoffs but they're not a divisional contender.
3. Oakland - Oakland made some decent moves in the off season and I think it will be enough to keep them 8-8 or better but I wouldn't expect too much out of the Oakland Retirement Castle.
4. San Diego - Rivers just isn't proven enough to have a good season. While I agree Brees had to go, I don't think Rivers is going to jump in immedeately and fill his shoes. I do think San Diego will have the best record of any last place team in their division though.

NFC Preseason Rankings

Well, it looks football is just around the corner. Time for Dante's NFC Divisional Rankings. Just to prove I don't have any sort of East Coast bias (even though I do), I'm going to start with the NFC West:

West
1. Seattle Seahawks - I don't like putting an NFC Super Bowl team at #1 due to their spotty season afters lately but they've been selling fake Arizona hype for so long that I just can't buy it again this year.

2. Arizona Cardinals - Like I've already said above, on paper this team looks better this year than they probably ever have but I'm not buying into it. I do put them at #2 though for reasons outlined below.

3. St Louis Rams - I expect the Rams to do some good things in the next few years now that they have a coach that actually cares about defense instead of just making them the whipping boy but it'll take some time. They're still better than...

4. San Francisco 49ers - This team is bad and it's not getting better any time soon. Alex Smith will be an NFL bust but that won't matter because the rest of the team is so pitiful nobody will notice.

North
1. Chicago Bears - The Bears will only be hurt by the health of Rex Grossman, but that's ok because he hasn't played a full season yet and he's not going to this year. He'll break his leg eating a ham sandwich and be out for 12 weeks. Their defense is top notch and isn;t going to get worse any time soon.

2. Green Bay Packers - Brett Farve will have a terrible year but so will the rest of this division.

3. Minnesota Vikings - Well, at least they got rid of any talent the team has ever had over the last two to three years so when they lose a lot of games, they have an excuse.

4. Detroit Lions - I couldn't for the life of me remember the other NFC Norht team. I had to look the Lions up on ESPN because I was drawing a blank. They're that good.

South
1. Atlanta Falcons - It's an odd-numbered year. That's all Atlanta needs to do well. There are so many question marks in this division. It'll probably be one fo the more competitive divisions this year. Mora has finally figured out the only way to win with Vick is bulk up the defense at all costs, even if it means ignoring the offense somewhat. I think it's a sound strategy and will pay off when Vick's inevitable injury comes.

2. Carolina Panthers - They would be #1 but I just don't see them getting the run support they need out of their oft injured running backs. If one of their running backs can stay healthy, they can easily be #1.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - I get the idea that Gruden just doesn't care as much now that he's won a Super Bowl. I like Sims (which is interesting because I was firmly pro-Applewhite) but he still has a long way to go. He does have great support around him. Maybe Buick (he's not a Caddy in NFL terms just yet) can string together an entire season without getting tired now that he's had a full year of NFL training under his belt.

4. LA Saints - There's a reason San Diego was willing to give up Brees for some guy who's barely played. The Saints will figure it out sooner or later in the season. They're still not back to pre-hurricane condition and they weren't exactly great then. It also won't help that their first game back in their own stadium will be against a team that owns them. If they can win that game they might be able to climb out of #4. If not, it's the same old story with the Saints.

East
1. Dallas Cowboys - I hate TO. He's a good player though and he has some stiff competition from Glenn. It's going to be hard to cover both of them. There are finally enough passing targets that Dallas can get a good running game going. And defense hasn't been a big issue in Dallas as long as the offense is productive.

2. NY Giants - Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs are only going to get better. This is a tough division but I think the Giants have enough youth and enough experience on this team to make things happen.

3. Washinton Redskins - The Redskins are a good team but they're saddled with quaterbacks who are either too old, too green, or just plain awful. This is not the year for the Redskins to excel. They'll do the same thing they did last year: start with a bang, suck in the middle, and pick it back up in the end.

4. Philadelphia Eagles - That team needed TO and after they lost him they didn't do much to replace him. That leaves the Eagles in trouble. This is probably going to be the most talented division in the NFC this year and the Eagles will be the odd man out.

13 July 2006

As far as I'm concerned, it's a miracle

Robert Edwards is back playing professional football. Granted, it's with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL, but he's their starting tailback. His brother Terrence is on the team as well, and contributing.

To me, this deserves a big, fat, loud, GODAWGS!

Oh, hell, Odell...

For some reason, I'm not real happy to be breaking this one early in the blogosphere world. Granted, we may never know what the violation was (i.e. a missed test, failure to produce, actual positive test), but this doesn't bode well...

11 July 2006

Wow.

What do you get when you combine the Zidane World Cup controversy, smack talk about American football, and New Orleans? You get Dangerblond, that's what!

09 July 2006

Italy Wins World Cup

So, ESPN says this wasn't a World Cup for the ages, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course, I think it completely classless that Zidane decided to throw in the towel, and with losing his cool probably cost his team the game. I mean, is it just me, or did France look like the better team in the Final?

I was really impressed with Germany, and though they were the host team, I thought they were the ones who absolutely played the best.

I was, of course, disappointed with the US's early exit, and I wonder what it would take to make the US consistently competitive into the later brackets. While there is the constant growl of getting US talent to play for the big Premier league clubs in Europe, I wonder if we don't just hamstring ourselves at home earlier on.

Some brainstorms:

- Get some serious Men's collegiate soccer clubs going at big, state universities.

- Participate in the Copa America consistently.

- Expand the MLS to include some Central American and Carribean squads.

I know soccer will never be the big dog sport here in the US, with the football/basketball/baseball triumvirate so dominant. But we saw this time with the Staples Center being rented out to watch South Korea's games and the crowd today in Boston rooting for Italy that there are serious fans here.

Anyone interested in flying to South Africa in about 4 years?

07 July 2006

You Must Read This

It is possibly the funniest blog post I've ever read about on any subject. This particular one is about sports, but you need not know sports to enjoy it.

You must click here. Dissapointment will not follow. Be sure to read the comments. Have tissues handy.

(Hat tip to Georgia Sports Blog)

05 July 2006

Georgia, Georgia, Georgia!

The Georgia Sports blog has unearthed an absolutely hilarious column concerning Georgia Tech. It seems the papaer in Albany is comparing GT to a certain middle Brady sister. I don't normally like to blog about a blog but this one is worth it.

Peyton went and doomed his team

I was in shock after watching Peyton Manning's most recent commercial for NFL Sunday Ticket. For those who aren't familiar, they've taken some real footage from a game in which the Colts were leading the Titans 28-3, and imposed Peyton telling the viewers that this game is a blowout and they should switch to another NFL game on the Sunday Ticket. Oh, wow. If there's one thing the football gods hate, it's grandstanding. He might as well be crying about having to play such an easy team in a bowl game. Indy and specifically Peyton Manning are doomed this year. I don't know how it will unfold but it will. Maybe Tennessee will knock Indy out of the playoffs or maybe Manning will break something like a leg, but it's coming and it's not going to be pretty. What really surprises me is that Peyton Manning of all people should've known better. He's not typically one for boasting.

28 June 2006

Two More

Reasons to love the World Cup.

Wish the US would play in the Copa America, then we'd have reason to travel to Brazil...

27 June 2006

1961

In 1961, Kennedy is inaugurated as president. Eisenhower states the US has broken its relations with Cuba. Ham the chimpanzee is launched into space, followed months later by our first astronaut Alan Shepard. The Peace Corp is established. DC residents are allowed to vote in presidential races. The disasterous Bay of Pigs invasion occurs. The Freedom Riders ride in Jackson, and martial law is imposed in Alabama. Kuwait becomes an emirate as the Arab League takes over protection of the area, British troops leave, and the USSR vetoes their application to the UN. Construction of the Berlin Wall begins. Who can forget that Tanganyika becomes an independent country. The Vietnam War begins. And the Marshall Plan expires after billions of dollars in relief and rebuilding had been granted to Europe. Princess Diana, George Clooney, Meg Ryan, Billy Ray Cyrus, and The Edge are born, and for s.a.w.b., Henry Rollins is also slapped on the buttocks in a maternity ward. Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter are both unbound in Hell, led across the Lethe River, and once again unleashed upon the earth.

In sports, Wayne Gretsky and Mark Messier are born days apart. Other births in 1961 include Isiah Thomas, Don Mattingly, Davey Allison, Dennis Rodman, Paul Coffey, Carl Lewis, Dan Marino, Greg LeMond, the late Reggie White, and the now infamous Ben Johnson.

The Packers and the Oilers win their respective football leagues. The Chicago Blackhawks win their last Stanley Cup. And while the Reds lose to the Yankees, the Cincinatti Bearcats win in the NCAA basketball championship. Also in 1961, a university wins its first and only championship in any sport by winning one in the hallmark of collegiate sports: cross country.

Oregon State's dynasty of ineptitude ended last night in a thrilling 3-2 victory over North Carolina. North Carolina didn't do itself any favors by committing four errors, two of which directly led to scores for Oregon State, including the game-winner. However, let's not forget that Oregon State won coming out of the losers' bracket, beating Rice twice by shutouts (Rice's 23 scoreless innings is an NCAA tournament record). After losing to UNC in game 1 of the best-of-three, OSU became the first team to lose twice in Omaha and still win the championship.

Pat yourselves on the back, Oregon State baseball. It may be another 45 years before you do anything else, but don't let that little issue get in the way of a hardy celebration. Too bad you had to pick a summer championship do win or else ther may have been a little property destruction in Corvallis.

26 June 2006

The hardest spot to fill on the field is...

I thought we might take a break from the world-cup breakdowns, and other ruminations, to have a run at a wide-open topic:

What is the hardest position to fill to have a successful team in each of the major sports?

Your categories are:

Baseball -
Basketball -
American Football Offense -
American Football Defense -
Hockey -
Football/Soccer -

I don't think i'm leaving anything out in the cold, major team sport wise.

Have a crack at it in the comments...

With refs like these...

Who needs to even play?

At first, it seemed upsetting, but not completely terrible.

Then it seemed really bad, but maybe it's just the world's against us type issues.

Now it's official: the refs are completely rooning this World Cup.

I didn't disagree with the refs needing to buckle down a little more and call some of these penalties. But they're calling hair-thin fouls. There's a fine line between rough play and fouls, and, granted, they'll get a few they shouldn't call wrong, but this many? And worse, at critical junctures in the game? They need to be more blatant.

The foul against the US in the Ghana match? The Australia call to end the game? Both bogus. And that Portugal-Netherlands match? Even the FIFA president was upset about it. So FIFA, whatcha gonna do? The world is watching and these refs are making all results almost illegitimate. What now?

One more article from across the pond.

23 June 2006

Hapsburg Cup

Mundial Copology

Stack 'em up, folks. It is now time for single elimination World Cuppage. Here's my bracket, and I predict a wildly incestuous result:

Germany vs.
Sweeden ---------- Germany vs.


Argentina vs.
Mexico ---------- Mexico --------- Germany


England vs.
Ecuador ---------- Ecuador vs.


Portugal vs.
Netherlands ------ Netherlands ------ Netherlands


Italy vs.
Australia -------- Australia vs.


Switzerland vs.
Ukraine -------- Switzerland ------ Switzerland


Brazil vs.
Ghana ----------- Ghana vs.


Spain vs.
France ---------- Spain ---------- Spain



With Brazil and Argentina eliminated, you come down to four nations of the olde world who all may be playing at similar levels once the dust settles. Then there is the re-bracket.

Germany vs. Switzerland

Netherlands vs. Spain

The Germans and the Spaniards's experience and stamina garnered from their respective home leagues will put these two over the top in to-the-wire and penalty kick matches.

That means third place will be decided: Switzerland vs. the Netherlands
The Swiss take this one back to the Alps

And El Final for all the glory will be Germany vs Spain, in what might touch off a major European war, and what will set EU negotiations back at least three years.

I just don't see Germany loosing this one on their home turf. You thought France's celebrations were big back in 1998? You ain't seen nothin,' baby.

World Cup Crashout...

By now, as I'm sure you've heard, the US Team has crashed out of the World Cup in rather spectacular fashion. Going in, the US team was picked by many to repeat, or exceed, the 2002 squad that made a surprising run to the quarterfinals, and was a missed-handball-shoulda-beena-penalty-kick-for-us from reaching the semis.

What was the problem? Well, we had a few, and these are the ones that FIFA can't address with their officiating...

1 - Team Selection - It became apparrent very quickly that we had no creativity up front or in the midfield. Taylor Twellman should have been on this team. He's the most electric scorer in the MLS right now, and did a fine job in the friendlies and qualifying stages for the US team. Freddy Adu could have made an impact as a last 30 minute sub in some of the games. Particularly the Italy game. He's blindingly fast, and would have pushed the Italians, and perhaps drawn some key fouls.

2 - Formations and gameplan - Why in the hell, knowing that we needed to beat the Ghanans, did we come out in a completely defensive 4-5-1 formation? Why did we stick with that formation after it didn't work in game 1 against the Czechs? We looked so bad in the middle at times, it reminded me of Steve Sampson's ill-fated 3-6-1 that we used to legendary results in the '98 cup. Why not go for broke in the Ghana game with a 4-3-3, or a 3-5-2 if you wanted to keep more folks in the middle? We needed bodies up front other than Brian McBride. Ifin it were me, we'd have seen this lineup in the Ghana game -
G - Keller
D - Cherundolo, Onyewu, Conrad, Bocanegra
M - Dempsey, Reyna, Convey
S - Wolff, McBride, Johnson

this lineup would have been an all out sell out for attacking, but it also leaves us with Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley on the bench, which is where they deserved to start the 3rd game. It would also have allowed us to go to a 3 man back line should we have needed to throw another man forward, which we did.

For the record, guys, kicking the long-ball and hoping you hit someone in stride is no way to win a World Cup Game.

What does the future hold? Well, it has become apparrent to me that the MLS needs to go forward and bring in as many European players as possible, to show the US players how the European/world game is played. We need to get our top guys into the top levels of European football. Oguchi Onyewu going to Middlesborough in the EPL is a good start. Now let's find a new home for Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Pope, Ben Olsen, and some others...

Good News Friday: what's so good about it edition

Oh, the summer doldrums are definitely here. The Diamond Dogs ousted from Omaha by Oregon State. The US teams booted from Germany at the hands of World Cup virgins Ghana. No "real" NFL news. For you Braves fans, they still stink this year. NASCAR folks in a tax scandal and introducing unleaded (say it ain't so), and it's a slow race week. Golf, tennis? Yawn.

So what good news do we have this week to start our weekend right? Oh, let us decend deep into the sports stories for this weekend.

Diamond Dog Josh Morris has signed a contract with the Braves. Hopefully, Bulldog fans will be able to see him relatively soon cranking out homeruns in the majors.

World Cup coverage continues this weekend. Us old folk remember when the US didn't even make the group finals, so keep watching and see how far the US still needs to go. There are some spectacular matches ahead starting tomorrow with host Germany facing Sweden and then Argentina (chachacha) against Mexico. I personally hope the Ceruleans ANNIHILATE our urine-flinging Osama-lovin' neighbors to the south. Then Sunday we have England vs. Ecuador and Portugal vs. the Orange of the Netherlands. Should be interesting.

For those who would rather have a more "American" sport, the finals of the College World series have two first time finalists meeting when Oregon State and North Carolina begin their best-of-three series tomorrow at 7 PM on ESPN.

Hockey enthusiasts can look forward to the NHL draft, which is also being held tomorrow. The Thrashers select 12th.

And lastly, the NBA season is over.

21 June 2006

Hockey: Southern style

If two states south of the Mason-Dixon, east of the Mississippi win the Stanley Cup back-to-back, and Canadians and northern folk won't recognize it, does hockey still belong only up North?

This year marks the second consecutive season a Southeastern division team has won the Stanley Cup. Sure, neither of the finals had powerhouse clubs like Detroit, Dallas, or Colorado, but guess what? Those teams lost in their divisionals. "The Eastern Conference is weak." But you don't see the Eastern Conference of the NBA winning their championship even though it is by far weaker (the Pistons have been the only non-Michael-Jordan Eastern team to win the NBA finals since Boston in 1985).

Let's hope this puts to bed the idea that the South is only good for college football, sweet tea, and 'nana pudding. There's a good and growing hockey product developing here in the South. Two Cups. That's two cups more than two of the original six since the time of expansion. And by the way, remember, Carolina started in Hartford. Which of those two cities has been more successful in terms on winning in the playoffs? 'Nuff said.

19 June 2006

Bad News Monday Extravaganza

The Bulldogs did lose to Rice last Saturday like almost everyone expected but they did keep it exciting. That silly Rice teams just doesn't have weaknesses. They're probably not the best at anything in this tourney but they just don't have any holes. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This baseball tounrament is Rice's to lose. Georgia can hang on by beating the Beavers today at 1PM.

GT was ousted by Cal State Fullerton but that's sort of a neutral item. I got fed up with Cal State's constant substitutions in the 8th and switched channels but I guess it paid off for them because they rallied to beat Tech.

Of course it's easy to tout Rice after Clemson's collapse at the hands of UNC. UNC's pitcher Woodard pitched a three-hitter shutout and went the distance. I only saw the last two innings and assumed Woodard was a closer because of how fresh he looked on the mound. Not bad for a guy who doesn't usually last more than 5 or 6 innings. Good job of landing Clemson firmly in the loser's bracket.

I'm working on a baseball joke right now. It starts: "Three teams located within 100 miles of each other go to a baseball tournament in Omaha." The punchline will be: "Well so far, they're 1-4!" I haven't yet worked out a way to tie the opener into the puncline or make it funny. Suggestions are welcomed.

Phil Mickelson channeled some of his old self and urinated away a US Open victory on the 18th by going for the green through a forest of trees. He was leading at the time on the toughest US Open round played in a LONG time. +5 won it. Go for the fairway, man! Your closest opponent was already in the clubhouse. You have the shots to use. You are such an idiot.

The US got manhandled by a card-happy ref in World Cup action. They did play well though and hang on to tie Italy but that means that the US will have to beat Ghana and Italy will have to beat the Czechs for the US to move on. There are some tie scenarios I'm leaving out but I'm sure Laddiator or SAWB can fill us in on those ramifications.

17 June 2006

Bah!

In the interest of keeping this blog 'PG', I now submit the following:

Not only do we have to beat a Ghana team that abused the Czech Republic today, we have to root for the ****E* ****I** *A** *O* Italian team to beat the aforementioned ****E* ****I** Czechs. Oh, and, the Uruguayan referee who 'called' the USA/Italia game can FALL IN A WELL AND DIE IN A FIRE...

/two absolute crap red cards...

16 June 2006

Good news Friday: Last weekend of Spring edition

Between helmet-less star QBs, MLB still on roids and enhancers, the Big Unit getting kicked to the curb, the NBA still going on, the NHL's joke for a substance-free proclaimation, the US getting spanked by Czech Republic, injuries, cuts, justice being served at Penn St. and coersion by the NFL (see article below), where's the good news?

Ah, HRS continues to plug away looking for bright spots in sports. As always, local news first.


The Athens Pirates are back in action. Correction to our last report on them: this year they are no longer in the SCBL, due to travel costs. They've already started play against the Norcross Astros and the (I kid you not) Atlanta Crackers. They have a double-header tomorrow vs. the Atlanta Yankees here in Athens. It's free so if you're in the WalMart/HomeDepot westside area, go check them out:

Smith Field - Athens Pirates Home Field
Near Athens, Ga. Home Depot Store (Epps Bridge Road & Hwy 316). Off Old Epps Bridge Road. Take Athens Perimeter Hwy (Loop #10) or Hwy 306 from Atlanta. Exit at Epps Bridge Road. Turn right onto Jennings Mill Parkway and make first left turn onto Old Epps Bridge Road. Field is on the RIGHT about a mile. Look for large CELL TOWER and ball field lights on the right.


So it begins, UGA travels to Omaha to begin their attempt at the national baseball title. They start with the truly scary Rice team (#2 in the country). The tournament is double-elimination, until the finals which is best of 3. Final series play begins next weekend. All games will be on the ESPN or ESPN2. Georgia-Rice is Saturday at 2PM, which sucks because...


The US men's team faces Italy tomorrow at 3PM. After a 3-0 shellacing by the Czech Republic, the US team needs to show why they are ranked #5, why the Czech team is really that good (#2 in the world), and why Italy today isn't the Italy of yesteryears. A loss sends the boys packing. Here's hoping for a solid game from our Yanks.


The US Open starts this weekend. Woods, Mickelson...whatever. Will the 15-year-old kid make the cut? Now that would be entertaining (if only as a footnote).


Roger Clemens has been looking good in the minors. Houston fans, rejoice. He looks like he'll be back before next weekend.


As much as HRS has admitted "we don't like the NBA", the NBA fans are getting a good run for their money in the finals. Dwayne Wade with scoring 2 shy of 80 in the last two games, and is averaging 32 ppg in the series. He's looking to be series MVP is the Heat can pull this out. He's been the reason for the last two wins. Does he have the gas to finish? Will the rest of his team wake up? And can either team win on the road? Miami will HAVE to.


Lastly, Team Croatia needs some motivating, so who else would YOU turn to? Motivational speakers? Old coaches? Old players? Oh, silly me, how could I overlook the obvious? Let's get an old fart rock band, and who else but: Deep Purple! Coincidence that their next team is Japan?

FIRE IN THE SKY!!!

NFL bother

NFL bigwigs, obviously coersion isn't a big issue to you. Mr. (Lame Duck) Tagliabue, why do you have this massive hard-on regarding a team in Los Angeles?

If I'm not wrong, the PEOPLE of New Orleans want the Saints to stay in NO. Also if memory serves me correctly, Los Angeles not only lost one but BOTH of their franchises in the same year due to LA's inability to work with the Rams, coupled with Al Davis' final understanding of why the Rams moved from the Coliseum in the first place (stadium capacity vs. blackout rules). Back in 1995, Tagliabue felt that the Rams organization did not display "good faith" in negoiating with the city of LA. Tagliabue made a strong concerted effort not to move the Rams from LA (and actually had the support of most of the NFL owners at the time). But did the NFL come in and help pay for a new stadium for the Rams, so they could stay in LA? No. So after some threats and no promises, the Rams club was allowed to move.

While the NFL didn't exactly help St. Louis get the team they wanted (they wanted an expansion team that was instead won by Jacksonville) and tried to stop the Rams at every turn, we forward to today to see the NFL is sure making sure that the city of New Orleans DOESN'T get what they already have, and that a city that gave two craps about either of their old teams gets what it doesn't even want to pay for. But that's okay. The NFL is ready to give them money hand-over-fist for this to happen:

"Parks and other defenders of the financing arrangement said the tax dollars would be spent in the surrounding area only because of the stadium construction, and emphasized that no general fund money from the city (of LA) or county would help pay for the stadium. The projected $800-million stadium construction cost would be borne by the NFL."
(emphasis added)

Not only that, but the NFL is trying to coerce the people of Louisiana by stating effectively, we'll help pay for repairs to the Superdome to the tune of $20 mil if you reduce your "exit fee" rule by "$15 or 20 million". Or to rephrase, "We'll pay you $20 million so we can turn (you) around and buy Benson a golden(-plated) boot to shove up your..."

And it's ironic that the Rams threat to sue back in the early '90s has made it impossible to stop an owner from moving a team today. It's strange how these things come around. First in Baltimore we had Irsay rip a team from a city, only to find Baltimore on the receiving end of a similar collusion. Now we have LA courting Benson who will likely try to use threat of a lawsuit as leverage to move the Saints (only this time against Louisiana), much like Frontiere threatened the NFL when they attempted to block her from moving the team from LA.

It's no secret that Tagliabue has wanted a team in LA forever. What really puzzles me is why he just didn't decide to expand there instead of Houston. He's had opportunities to get a team there. But the real question is: does LA even care? Some (myself included) think the answer is no. But who am I kidding? This isn't about a city of fans. It's about a city of MONEY.

And there is one other option.

14 June 2006

Summer's On

And that means college football talk can start again.

Jmac rounds up some SEC previews from I'm A Realist including IAR's Georgia Bulldawg rundown.

I can almost taste the tailgate beer...

Here's some rough and early thoughts about how the SEC is going to shape up, totally too early:

SEC East

1. Florida
2. Georgia
3. South Carolina
4. Tennessee
5. Vanderbilt
6. Kentucky

SEC West

1. LSU
2. Auburn
3. Alabama
4. Arkansas
5. Miss State
6. Ole Miss

OK, now that you're mad at me, let me explain. The Western Division is going to come down to LSU vs Auburn. Whoever wins that game wins the West, and maybe has a shot at the National Title. Florida, Georgia and South Carolina end up in a three way tie for 1st place (UGA beats UF beats SCar beats UGA) and the tiebreak goes to Florida because they always get that tiebreak somehow. Georgia or Auburn ends up in a BCS at large this year, putting Missippi State into a bowl.

13 June 2006

Bad news Monday: Tuesday morning hangovers

Quoted (from a 2005 interview): "Because you don't have to. It's not the law. If it was the law, I'd definitely have one on every time I rode."

"I think it can be a risk. It depends on how you ride. I don't ride a sport bike. If I'm riding a sport bike and trying to do tricks, and going 200 miles down the highway, that's probably pretty stupid. But when you're riding a Harley or a chopper and you're riding with a group of people and you're not on the highway and you're cruising, you're relaxing. I don't think its as much of a risk as people make it out to be."

"I don't ever ride by myself. We always have at least one other guy there. They say 'I'm not worried about you riding, I'm worried about the other people,' and it's true. People don't see motorcycles as much because it's a smaller vehicle."

"(In) everyday life, there is a risk no matter what you are doing. And yeah, there is a risk if I'm out there doing wheelies on a motorcycle. But I'm being the safest rider I can be."

Who knew it would take a year later for this to play in a terrible manner. Hopefully, Ben's on the field come September.




Has anyone informed the US team that these games aren't friendlies?




UGA got a heck of scare Saturday in baseball. Oh, well, South Carolina fans, welcome to hangover Tuesday.




Did I say Shaq would take the Heat to glory?



Onterrio Smith, how was Canada?



Good job, MLB, muscling your players to keep their yaps shut when talking to the feds. If you think Grimley got suspended using HGH (versus admitting to federal investigators he used HGH), I got a bridge to sell you. The 50-game suspension is punishment for squealing, not for using.



Bob Huggins back in coaching? Only in America.

09 June 2006

Good news Friday: World Cup edition

Terrible news isn't bountiful this week, as baseball is baseball (read: on steroids, HGH, and whatever else they can get their hands on), basketball finals are here (yawn), and the NHL final (I hear a lot of you yawning) is over before it really started now with Roloson out.

So that in and of itself would constitute good news. But that's not the purpose of this weekly.

As will hopefully be a trend, let's start local.

UGA Athletics is indeed continuing their "Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer" Golf Tourney. Details are in the article. Proceeds to go Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk to Find A Cure and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer.

The Diamond Dogs will play their best-of-3 Super Regional against South Carolina this weekend, the winner going to Omaha for the College World Series playoffs. If you're hoping for tickets, good luck. It's Standing Room Only for Kudzu Hill and the left field foul side fence ($6/ticket). Get there early as they go on sale 2 hours before the game, but you know how UGA kids camp out for stuff. You'll need to be in line at like 3 am for just a 50-50 chance of getting any. Then again, it is summer. And remember, that means it's H_O_T. Or you can watch it on ESPN2 or ESPN, while you're in between breaks from watching...

WORLD CUP action started today, with hosts Germany trouncing the weak Costa Rica team 4:2. If you missed the first 16 minutes, you probably saw a normal soccer game as, after the 3-goals-in-16-minutes flurry of action, Germany settled in and took control of the game. All games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2, or ABC depending on the day and match importance. Most games will be on ESPN2. The most exciting game of the day (just forego the obvious quip, you non-soccer fans) will be on ESPN Classic later that evening. USA had a terrible group drawing with formidable Italy and the Czech Republic, as well as nothing-to-sneeze-at Ghana being the fourth. The first US game is Monday, 11 AM vs. CR. Good luck to our team in Germany. If you don't watch soccer, you should go to a local pub with the games on and watch. It will change your enjoyment. And you don't even have to drink. (Btw, several Athens places are showing them, two notables being Achim's and Little Italy's.)

Kudos to Clijsters for sticking to her guns, maintaining that she will retire in 2007 due to residual effects of injuries. Remember, Clijsters is #2 in the world. It's not that she's gotten old (at 22!!!) or has fallen off as a player. "My main decision is just that I want to still be able to be healthy when I'm older," Clijsters is quoted as saying. We're hearing this more and more in pro sports. I want to be healthy when I get older. I've mentioned this before: it's called perspective. My health later, or play a GAME now to get even more money but the cost is to be on painkillers the rest of my life. Game now, future health. Tough choice, granted. But good for those athletes who make a choice and stick to it. And the NFL is starting to kind of see it (see: Bettis as one example). I'm not taking a side on the issue. If she said she's playing until she's 50, fine. Do it. Good for her. You play until you are ready retire or when "it's time." There's a big difference between "quitting" and retiring to save one's future health, especially if you're gathering a long list of injury in a short time. It's good to see a player stand by her convictions. It'll be interesting, though, to see if she "unretires" in 5-10 years...


I think that's it for this week. Feel free to post more Good News sports in the comments section.

06 June 2006

Your Super Diamond Dogs

I don't know why I only get interested in baseball when the college world series/playoffs come around, but I do. Actually, I do know why but that's irrelevant. And, yes, it stinks that they use metal bats.

If you missed last night's game, where UGA defeated FSU, you missed a heck of a game. The game was a good defensive battle, but for the baseball faithful out there, you have to be concerned with the Dogs stranding 11, one inning left scoreless with bases loaded. However, you have to be glad that pitching closer Fields finally got some pitching action to knock some of that bench rust off. He got the save, but it wasn't pretty. This loss for FSU marked their first time not making a Super Regional since the current system was instated.

So next Coach Perno and his squad will host South Carolina here at Foley Field this weekend. The Dogs should have their way the Gamecocks, being they beat them all four times they met this season, but hey, that's why they play the games.

Check with the Georgia Dogs web site for start times. General admissions will be $24. Television coverage hasn't been published, though AM960 will have the play-by-play.

And by the way, Dave Johnson does a heck of with play-by-play for their games, so if you're watching, you may want to turn down the sound on the TV and turn on the radio.

03 June 2006

Congratuations, Mavericks (this is NOT an NBA story)

You know they're not walking away with the Title. Heck, they're not even going to the big dance. I'd still like to congratulate the Dallas-Ft Worth Metroplex's real Mavericks team for making it to the college baseball regionals after they pulled of a big upset in the Southland Conference tournament. Sure, University of Texas at Arglinton is no match for Texas at Austin. The Wolfpack finished them off for good even though UTA managed to hold a lead into the 6th. Still, congratulations for making it to the big boy baseball tournament. And congratulations for giving an ACC team a scare.

So while everyone else is patting the back of the NBA team that didn't even have the decency to look further than 15 miles away to steal a team name (much to the consternation of UTA students at the time), I'd like to take the time to recognize the real Mavericks, who got to play among giants for a day or two.

Disclaimer: My father is a UTA alumni and he was one of those consterned UTA students mentioned above. Just throwing my biases out there so that they are known.

02 June 2006

Good news Friday: Trivia Edition

Now that you've had your fun over answering those questions, riddle me this, you web reading masses:

"Which one professional sports team is the ONLY team in pro sports to have TWO Heisman trophy players on their roster?" (Edit: current roster, not all-time)

A thank you to ESPNews for that ditty (the answer is in Jumbles format in the comments section).

We'll start at home. The Georgia Bulldogs earned a regional, so that's a sweep. Both baseball and softball had playoff action right here in Athens. Not to disparage the ladies, but let's hope the boys of summer do a little better in their effort. They may already be sold out, but check the Georgia Dogs website for ticket information.

To the NHL players, even us fans knew the owners would be right. You held out for NOTHING.

The NCAA did something right. They've eliminated the "calling timeout while in the air going out of bounds" in men and women's basketball. Bringing back the "you have to try to bounce of their chins" is okay in my book!

The "Not Good News but notable stories of interest" section:

A farewell to Wayne Chrebet, one of the better possession receivers the NFL would run across. A guy who knew his role and didn't complain because of it.

I hate the NBA, but Shaq. Man. He's a guy I HATED (H-A-T-E-D) when he was at LSU. And over time, I came to tolerate him. Then appreciate him. Now, he's by far one of my favorite sports athletes in any sports. "I am the best 34-year-old athlete in the world. You can quote me on that. In any sport." Honestly: possibly, but if nothing else, definitely one of the funniest, especially with his one-liners. "Shaq... ah-ah. He'sthegreatest of the universe." (see: Queen's "Flash's Theme") "I would like to be refered to as 'The Big Aristotle'." "Dampier is soft. Quote it, underline it, tape it, send it to him. Don’t ask me about that guy again, ever." And that's just off the cuff. (Googled: "Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God's way to say nobody's perfect") And when he leads the Miami Heat to the championship (and he will), it will be good and bad. Good because he will finish his legacy. Bad because it will show why the NBA stinks. And don't forget, he did Kazaam.

Lastly, the Athens Pirate Kings (wooden bat baseball team for college men) are having open tryouts. For information on the Southern Collegiate Baseball League, check out their web site. Okay, they don't have the Pirate Kings on their Web site, but they are a part of the league in some way, and this gives an idea of the league and its purpose. The Pirate Kings play off of Old Epps Bridge by the Home Depot/new WalMart area. I think games are free.

01 June 2006

Are any major sports ready for this?

Let me start this now by saying the question below is NOT about PLAYING sports, but being on the business side of it.

Dante brought it up in the previous (though brief) discussion regarding the NFL commissioner opening. Dante could have been half-serious or half-joking or completely joking. That's not the point. Could a woman like Condi Rice have a snowball's chance in Hades to even be considered for a league commissioner's opening? And while the obvious answer is "NO", this question isn't just in football, but in any major men's sport. Could Pat Summit, for example, be seen as NBA commissioner? Would men's professional sports admit a woman into its administrative roles? And the more politically dangerous question is should they?

I was discussing this issue with my better half, and it came down to this for us: is this the right time? (Which always leads to when is ever the right time for change.) I felt if Rooney, who is a serious mover in the NFL on the issue of "diversity", really wanted to move and shake, he could at least request her to apply. Ms. Better Half said even asking her would almost be an insult since it would be a token gesture with no chance at all. Why have her apply when you know before the ink was dry, she'd be rejected? To me, the symbol at this time would be more important even though the concept in reality is years beyond the present. Now I grant completely that NFL ownership probably doesn't even have women in the NFL on their radar for near future discussions. However, introducing the idea now may make the idea less novel or inciteful later, after more women gain pro sports business credentials.

Women like Pat Summit and Donna Orender (WNBA commish) have great experience which could make them experienced enough to make a possible try at a major position in the NBA. And again, this discussion isn't only about football but any major sport. So it's possible to note that it wasn't until 22 years ago that Marge Schott was the first woman to outright buy into principal ownership of a professional sports team (as opposed to inheriting it or gaining control by court order (see: 49ers)). Maybe getting more female in front offices and as owners (which baseball has been working to do) is a first step.

So the questions are:
1) Is the sports world ready to work women into, if nothing else, key roles in the front offices? Even on the college level, "big time" Div IA schools like Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas have Women's sports Athletic Directors. Only Cal-Berkeley, Arizona State, and Maryland have female ADs over men and women's sports. (There are 2 other ADs in smaller DI institutions). If on the college level, women aren't well represented in the big time AD function, commissioner in pro sports league?? Eh...

(Question 1-B) If UGA selected a female for AD (let's say Yoculan), how do you think alumni would react?)

2) Would fans leave if something like this happened, especially in a sport like football?

3) What would be a proper first step to a woman becoming a commissioner in any male pro sports league? Ownership? GM? Scouts? Where should leagues start when trying to incorporate women into the men's sports business?

And finally
4)Do you think on the business side that women should stay in women's league or does it really matter?


Discuss. And remember, this isn't about women playing in men's sports, just about them in positions on the business side.