Monday, February 28, 2005

The Award Ceremony Edition

Lots of accomplishments this weekend. Congratulations go out to:
  • Pennsylvania for being the first team to clinch a 2005 NCAA Tournament berth.
  • Jim Boeheim for his 700th D-I victory
  • Texas Tech's Larry Hays for winning his 1400th baseball game on the way to sweeping all three games at the Midland Rockhounds Collegiate Classic.
  • Kansas for getting back on track against #4 OSU.
  • David Toms for stepping up and claiming the World Match Play Championships after all the top seeds tanked.
  • Clint Eastwood for promoting the heck out of the worst boxing movie ever made and turning it into Oscar gold. (Seriously, Rocky V was better than that cliched piece of crap).
  • Texas A&M hoops for beating the Red Raiders and maybe smacking some sense into them. (Ouch, that loss hurt)

And a dishonorable mention

We'd also like to thank Maurice Clarett for participating in the NFL Combine, and proving the NFL and the U.S. court system right.

Seriously, Mo, 4.82 was my best 40 time in high school, and that was with a very stiff tail wind. You weren't NFL material then, and you aren't now.

John Chaney auditions for an NHL coaching job.

I know the blogosphere has beaten this story to death, but I can't help but look at the John Chaney gooning of St. Josephs forward John Bryant and think, "Indiana fired Bobby Knight for less than that."

In fact, if it was Bobby Knight who ordered something like this, the majority of the people sticking up for John Chaney, saying the joke 3-game suspension was fair, or saying he shouldn't be fired would be demanding Knight's head.

I can't believe Phil Martelli is taking the gooning as well as he is, but good job by him to take the high road.

New Blogs

Cheap Seats would like to formally welcome the following blogs to the blogroll:

  • The Mid-Majority - With Championship Week starting Saturday and March Madness around the corner, I thought this would be the appropriate time to add this excellent blog to the blogroll, since it covers a lot of the "mid-major" teams that fall through the cracks of the media and the blogosphere and always surprise us come tournament time. Start reading his blog at the beginning of the year, it will help your office pool sheet later.
  • SportsProf - This site bills itself as intelligent discussion and delivers.

Tomorrow: The last Big Monday report of the year.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Moss Gathers a Rolling Stone?

Everyone in Oakland seems to like the Moss to the Raiders deal, though Minnesota fans hate it. However, there is plenty for both sides to hate.

I know Oakland has this tradition of taking other people's castoffs and making a team of colorful characters. And Randy Moss certainly qualifies as a colorful character. But now they have a glut of recievers with no one to throw them the ball. Kerry Collins isn't a winner, Rich Gannon is too far over the hill, and Marques Tuiasawhateverhisnameis is a bust. And they could have used that #7 pick either to get a quarterback or as part of a deal to move up.

(On a personal note: Al Davis, if you have any sense of humanity and decency, please, please trade former Red Raider Carlos Francis to a team that needs a receiver so he can have a shot at playing in this league).

Minnesota, on the other hand, got a linebacker when they are already loaded at that position. Yeah, the #7 pick is nice, but there's no guarantee Braylon Edwards will be there. So unless they are planning on moving a linebacker before the draft, this was a stupid trade.

Minnesota fans have the right to be upset. And if Reggie Fowler didn't make this move, he should sue Red McCombs for doing so, because McCombs just ran a bait-and-switch on Fowler.

It makes you wonder if when he walked off the field early sealed his fate with teammates and coaches. It also makes you wonder if the ghost of Mike Lynn, who once traded 6 picks to the Cowboys for Herschel Walker, whispers bad trade ideas the heads of Viking management.

Speaking of Trades...

Now, I don't follow the NBA closely, but getting Chris Webber from the Kings was genius for Philadelphia, especially considering that Philly lacks quality people down low. Plus, since the Sixers have Allen Iverson take over in crunch time, C-Webb disappearing the the 4th quarter won't be an issue.

As for the Spurs and Rockets, what the heck were they thinking dealing with the Knicks? The only thing the Knicks can give you in return is junk!

Four to Watch

Narrowing the field down to four this week was a tough call because the World Match Play Championships were this weekend and that could very easily come down to Tiger Woods against Vijay Singh, But there were 4 college basketball matchups that are more worth watching, 3 of them featuring the top 2 teams in each conference.
  • Kentucky at Alabama (Saturday 12:30 PM Central. CBS) - Kentucky faces it's only SEC challenger, though given what LSU did to 'Bama, it may not be much of a challenge for the Wildcats.
  • UConn at Pittsburgh (Saturday 2:45 PM Central, CBS) - Two Big East teams with identical 18-6 records, both of which need this win to improve their seeding.
  • Arizona at Washington (Saturday 3:00 PM Central, FSN Southwest) - Arizona is playing for a #1 seed, Washington is playing to pull within a game of Arizona. We know the folks at Sports and Bremertonians will be watching, at least.
  • Oklahoma State at Kansas (Sunday 3:00 PM Central, ABC) - Expect this game to have a March Madness atmosphere as both teams are playing for the Big 12 regular season title.

Monday: Fore!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Why, Bill, Why?

Before we begin today, here's a funny article from The Brushback (the sports version of the Onion) about Isaiah Thomas. (Courtesy Pardon the Eruption blog)

Dissecting Media opinion on the Bonds press conference

Those who have the Bonds issue in perspective:

Those that still have their head in the sand. (Hello, people, he 'roid raged at the press conference, what more proof do you need?)

  • Dan Shanoff, ESPN (And by the way, Shanoff, 61% of the people who responded to the poll on your page didn't think that Bonds image improved at the press conference, contrary to what you wrote.)
  • Mike Lupica, NY Daily News (spineless, simply spineless)
  • Dan LeBatard, Miami Herald/ESPN (no surprise, anytime an athlete does anything wrong, you can count on LeBatard to kiss up...errr...stick up for them).

No good deed goes unpunished.

The athlete whose mother's accusations triggered the steroid scandal at Colleyville Heritage High School has to transfer because of death threats. Yeah, like it's his fault your athletes shot up, Heritage High. That's not school spirit, that's idiocy.

New Blog on the Roll

Check out
Pardon the Eruption, dedicated to ESPN's Pardon The Interruption. Funny as heck.

Proof that Parcells is no longer a genius

Parcells convinces the Cowboys to sign Bledsoe. I don't know where to begin to point out how wrong this move is.

  • Drew Henson is a decent QB. He just needs full speed game reps if he's ever going to be a good QB. You have Julius Jones in the backfield now to take the heat off him. He has Keyshawn Johnson and Jason Witten to throw to. He needs to be starting. Now.
  • Assume for a moment I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time) and Drew Henson is a complete bum. You have 2 first round picks, surely you can trade up to get a good young quarterback. If you are really the genius people say you are, you can take a QB and turn him into a winner.
  • Even if Drew Henson can't play, why Drew Bledsoe? Bledsoe is a complete bum who is as mobile as a boulder, can't lead a team, and isn't a winner. This move makes the team worse, not better.
  • Signing "your guys" was fine when you were 10-6, Bill. Now you're 5-11. Stop the nepotism.

There are a lot more things I could say, but I don't think they are suitable for polite company...

So here's Tim Cowlishaw to say what else is wrong with this deal.

Tomorrow: Four to watch

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Nice game, Tech, but...

On the anniversary of Bobby Knight's career-defining moment(the chair toss), his current Red Raider team delivered a 69-65 win over the depleted Texas Longhorns as a present. Jarrious Jackson led the team in scoring on this night with 22 points, which is a good indication that he's handling opponents zone defense a lot better than he has in the past.

Another area where the Red Raiders' improved is breaking down the zone with the dribble and getting it to collapse. There were a few times in the game where they got points in the paint breaking down the zone this way, and a few other times where they were able to kick it out to Ronald Ross or Martin Zeno when Jackson penetrated and collapsed the zone.

Finally, Tech helped themselves by getting many points off turnovers, and keeping their own turnovers in single digits.

I have a couple of bones to pick with the Red Raider basketball team, though. First off, pasty white toothpicks like Brad Buchman and Jason Klotz should not be getting key baskets. Second, If you're a top-25, NCAA tournament-bound team and one of the top 4 teams in the Big XII, you should be burying teams with only 7 active scholarship players, not letting them hang around until 1:30 left in the game.

Still, they played tight defense down the stretch and put the Longhorns away, which is an improvement over how they handled the final seconds of regulation against Kansas.

For the Longhorns, Daniel Gibson continues to impress all who watch him and should be the Big XII Freshman of the Year (and possibly national Freshman of the Year if such an award exists) for the way he has carried a Texas team that has been weakened by suspensions and injuries. Bad loss for the 'Horns, though, as they drop to 6th behind Iowa State and will have an uphill climb making the NCAA tournament now that they are behind another bubble team and have to play the opening weekend of the Big XII Tournament.

The irony of the Bonds press conference.

Barry Bonds has been accused of steroid use and is trying to clear his name. Now, most celebrity people who are accused of a crime follow the cops (and their attorney's) advice and excercise their right to remain silent, and are usually better off in the end for it.

Bonds, however, opened his mouth and 'roid raged on the reporters, calling them liars and telling them how to do their jobs.

Not a good idea Barry, now you look more guilty than before.

And if you think there are more pressing problems in sportsthan steroids, Barry, try telling that to the folks at Colleyville Heritage High School, who are mired in their own steroid scandal because their athletes saw you jack 73 out of the park while you were taking the "cream" and the "clear" and wanted to improve their performance.

Better yet, talk to the family of Taylor Hooton, a Plano, Texas high school baseball player who died of a suicide brought on by steroid-related depression in July 2003. He saw the success you had on steroids, tried to emulate you, and paid the ultimate price. Tell that family there are more pressing issues than steroids, Barry.

One more thing: this isn't about race, Barry, it's about you cheating. Hank Aaron didn't cheat his way to 755. He dealt with real, "segregation now and forever, and death to those who think otherwise," racism in the process. People were seriously going to kill Hank Aaron if he broke Babe Ruth's record, and thank God they didn't succeed. You are just under public scrutiny for steroid use. No one's going to kill you if you pass Ruth or Aaron. Huge difference.

Tomorrow: Drew Bledsoe a Cowboy?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What happened to the Jayhawks?

When Texas Tech beat Kansas last week, I felt like the Red Raiders had done something special. Now, with the Jayhawks mired in a 3 game losing streak and looking up at Oklahoma State, last Monday doesn't seem so special anymore.

Oklahoma beat Kansas yesterday to extend the losing streak to three. The game bore an eerie resemblance to the game Kansas lost last week. In both games, the Jayhawks' opponent jumped out to an early lead. In both games, Kansas managed to claw it's way back only to lose in the end. And in both games, Texas Tech and Oklahoma got contributions from players who don't normally contribute.

What's what was different about this game was that the Sooners were able to create offense by driving to the basket. That's something you would never figure would happen to Kansas so long as Wayne Simien was down low.

Among the people jumping off the Jayhawks' bandwagon at this point:
the Kansas City Star's Jason Whitlock.

Same Blog, New Location

No, Cheap Seats is not moving. With apologies to Sammy Sosa, Blogger has been very, very good to me.

But one of our blogosphere friends is.

Yoni Cohen, who was the first blogger to exchange links with me and was the first person to encourage me to keep blogging, has moved his site and improved it drastically. The site can now be found at

This new site is nice! It's got improved comments and a new "user diaries" section. Sort of a blog within a blog.

Following up: High School Steroid Use

The Dallas Morning News series on steroids continues to have ripple effects at school districts across the Metroplex. Now, Steroids are reportedly being used at Southlake Carroll High School, the preseason #1 team in the state of Texas, and apparently they used the same dealer that supplied steroids to Colleyville, Texas's Heritage High School, the school at the center of the DMN's steroid story.

Don't be surprised if your school is next. You would be naive, blind or stupid to think this stuff isn't going on at your school.

Tomorrow: Raiders-Horns (a must-win for Tech)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Stop the Jeff Gordon hating.

OK, Last Friday I said one of the Hendricks Motorsports racers would win the Daytona 500. I'm not going to say I called it though because I thought it would be Jimmie Johnson simply because he started in the front row.

But in a development sure to make most dyed in the wool NASCAR fans upset,
Jeff Gordon won Daytona for the Hendricks team, passing Dale "Stop asking me questions about my dad" Earnhart Jr. in the process. Which will lead to NASCAR Fan making excuses for Dale Junior and calling Gordon every name possible.

Now, I don't know much about NASCAR despite it's popularity. I don't know what a restrictor plate does, nor do I know anything about pit strategy or drafting. I don't even know half the drivers. I do know this: NASCAR Fan thinks Dale Junior is God and Jeff Gordon is the devil, and to them anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand NASCAR.

Case in point: If there's any contact and Dale Jr. instigates it, NASCAR Fan gives you the pat answer, "rubbing is racing". But when Jeff Gordon "rubs" someone, it's "Gordon was trying to wreck someone" and "Gordon should be black-flagged for that."

I was watching a race one time with a buddy who was into it, couldn't remember the race. where there was a huge wreck. Jeff Gordon couldn't avoid a car and got caught in it. Replays showed Jeff Gordon didn't cause this wreck, mind you.

The dude I was watching it with said, "Jeff Gordon caused another one."

"How did he cause the wreck?" I asked, slightly puzzled.

The explanation he gave me didn't work by any standard of logic or physics. I tried to explain this to him, and he just replied, "You just don't understand racing." Whatever.

I recognize the general "our team can do no wrong, but yours is a bunch of cheaters" attitude, because many hockey fans think the same way, regardless of your team affiliation. Any time a player cheap shots another player, fans of the first players' team will say, "That's hockey." But when it's their player getting the cheap shot, it's, "that is a bunch of cheaters." And anyone who disagrees, "doesn't know hockey."And that attitude, regardless of whether its from Detroit fan, Colorado fan, Toronto fan, or whoever, turns so much of the general public off of hockey, probably more so than the clutching and grabbing.

And I hope NASCAR Fan realizes that constantly sticking up for Dale Jr in this manner while trashing Jeff Gordon and all the other racers turns people off and limits it's growth potential.

OK State beats Texas Tech

In all fairness, it may have been too much to ask the Red Raiders to play 2 potential Final Four teams back to back. That said, Tech continues to prove its inconsistency. And they probably won't make the Sweet 16 playing this kind of basketball. They got Texas Tuesday and they need to right the ship quick.

NBA All Star Game

Well, the East Coast Thugs ...errrrrr... East All-Stars won, breaking the West Coast Thugs ...errrrrr... West All-Stars' win streak.

It was interesting that the halftime entertainment was country stars Big & Rich, they of "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" fame. Naturally, the hip-hop crowd in attendance had no clue what to make of these guys. I guess Big & Rich play their own instruments too much for their taste.


Author and part-time columnist
Hunter S. Thompson fatally shot himself yesterday and died at his Aspen home at age 67.

Even though we probably wouldn't see eye to eye on anything political, I would have liked to have met him because he was such a good writer. I doubt anything I write will ever be as ground-breaking as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But I can dream, can't I?''

Tomorrow: Big Monday

Friday, February 18, 2005

Just the Four, Baby

This wil be very short, I have to sub and didn't leave myself enough time to blog like I usually do
Quick hits
Four to Watch
  • Texas Tech at Oklahoma State (Saturday, 2:30 PM Central, CBS) - Can Texas Tech slay another Goliath?
  • Syracuse at Boston College (Saturday, 5:00 Central, ESPN) - Beasts of the Big East go head-to head
  • NBA All-Star Game (Sunday, 7:00 PM Central, TNT) - At least it doesn't pretend that it's a real game, unlike the Pro Bowl.
  • Daytona 500 (Sunday, 2:00 PM Central, Fox) - Let's see if someone can actually beat DEI on a super speedway this year. I think one of the Hendricks folks will do it.

Monday: OSU-Texas Tech

Thursday, February 17, 2005

An All New "Cheap Seats"! Ripped From The Headlines!

Warning: This post contains spoilers!

I watched "Law and Order" last night. Now, I'm a semi-regular "Law and Order" viewer because Wednesday's usually a bad night for sports on TV, so I'm familiar with the show. But last night I especially wanted to see it because the case they "ripped from the headlines" was "The Brawl". You remember "The Brawl," right? The one where some fan threw a beer at Ron Artest and he went crazy (though in Artest's case it could be "went normal") and went after the wrong guy in the stands? The one where all hell broke loose? Yeah, that was the basis for last night's episode

Here's how the episode went: (highlight it if you want to find out)

Story opens with two residents of an apartment shoot the breeze in an apartment's laundry facilities. One of them discovers the victim's laundry still in the dryer, so he takes it up to his apartment, where he discovers the victim. Cops show up, Detective Green assesses the situation, Detective Fontana cracks wise.

Apparenly Dennis Farina(Fontana) is getting all of Jerry Orbach's lines this week. Usually it's Jesse Martin(Green)

Anyway, The Victim is named Ira, he's a lawyer, a know-it-all hoops junkie (apparently the only one without a blog in the year 2005), and not very social around the office.

After talking to other residents, Fontana and Green discover that his Ira's landlord was trying to get rid of Ira to clear his apartment for reasons only New Yorkers would understand. They bring in the landlord, who mentions Ira has a pending lawsuit against him. They go down to the court, find out that Ira is not only suing his landlord, but also the "New York Empires", the "Philadelphia Cannons" and a player for a phantom injury he suffered in a big fan-player brawl at MSG.

The Cannons? That's the best you can do for a Philadelphia team with all the history in that city? I understand "Empires"; New York is the "Empire State", but the "Cannons"?

So Fonana and Green talk to the Empires' owner. No comment. They find some of the other season ticket holders. Season ticket holder says that Ira and The Player have a history, much like Spike Lee and Reggie Miller, except Miller only killed Spike in a figurative sense with all those clutch shots. The Player, rather than react the way Reggie Miller did, let him know who was #1 (i.e. he flipped him off) and got suspended. So now Ira always gets on him whenever The Player comes to New York. Season ticket holder also says that Ira went to a sports bar after the game. The Player was also promoting a video game at the same bar.

F & G go to the bar, find out Ira ran smack on The Player, The Player's Posse, The Player's Kid, and The Player's Baby Mama before The Player's Agent, a huge dude who used to be a player, asked him to leave. So they go to Philly and confront The Player and The Player's Agent. Both are about as cooperative as you might expect from a pro basketball player. The Player does offer that he went to visit his old college coach in New York City before flying.

Now, there's a Catholic university in New York called St. Johns, which is in Queens, whose colors are red and white, which has a big time Big East hoops program, and which has recently come under fire for its basketball players generally behaving in illegal and immoral ways.
In the episode, The Player went to a Catholic university called "St. James" which is located in Queens, whose colors are red and white, and from the description, has a big time basketball program in a major conference. Oh, by the way, while The Player was in college, he got arrested for a bar fight.

If I'm the real life St. John's University, I'm calling my lawyer.

Anyway, because some St. John's ...errrrrr... St. James boosters paid for decent legal counsel, the charges were dropped. So nothing they get can be used legally. The cops get The Player's prints anyway, which are still on file in the computer, and match them to the crime scene, then arrest The Player, but they can't use the prints they got from the system, so the charges were dismissed. For the moment.

McCoy and the new Assistant D.A., who looks like a cross between Angie Harmon and Jill Hennessey, dig a little deeper, get more evidence and charge him again. They go to trial where it is revealed that The Player was a discipline problem who once choked out his coach, that The Player got threatening phone calls from Ira (who had once taken a train to Philly and confronted The Player at his house), and that The Player got upset when Ira ran smack at The Player's Kid at the sports bar. The defense lawyer tries to argue self-defense and it doesn't work. The Player gets Murder One and his jersey flies off the rack. End Spoiler.

Did it seem to anyone else that they were trying to indict the whole NBA in this one episode? (Not that I mind, I think the NBA is populated by overpaid thugs anyway.) In addition to The Brawl they threw in elements of the Kobe Bryant case and Latrell Sprewell choking incident. I'm surprised that they didn't have basketball players physically abusing girlfriends. They showed everything that was wrong with the NBA except for the clear-outs and generally bad, selfish basketball.

Also, Law and Order really misses the late Jerry Orbach. It's clearly
jumped the shark since he left. Dennis Farina's OK at times, but Orbach made you feel that Lennie Briscoe was a veteran cop who had seen just about everything and was trying to cope. Farina's Detective Fontana seems like a charmer, which would be better suited for a lawyer than a cop.

Legendary Non-Sports Venue Closing

CBGB's, a New York night spot that is famous for launching punk music in general and legendary rock acts like Blondie, The Talking Heads, The Ramones, and The Police in particular, is suffering from the effects of the gentrification of some areas of Manhattan. The club, located in the Bowery, has seen it's rent skyrocket to $40K a month. It may be forced to relocate.

Can't we make this a national historic place or something so it doesn't have to move?

(Note: If you live in NYC, know what's causing this and can elaborate, please leave a comment.)

More Lockout Fallout.

Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw thinks that all-star Mike Modano may leave Dallas once the lockout ends

Meanwhile the AHL has made changes to increase scoring this year. The NHL is taking notice.

On a personal note, even if you are upset at the NHL, please continue to support your local minor league, college hockey team, or youth hockey league. Hockey is still a good sport, and one of the most exciting sports to watch. It's just run by stupid people at the top level.

Go Austin Ice Bats!

Tomorrow: Four to Watch

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Now it's over.

I know I told y'all I wasn't going to talk about the NHL, but I think we're all in need of some venting. That's why I waited so late on today's post.

I accepted pretty early on that the NHL probably wasn't going to play this season. Too many of my bretheren in the hockey fan community, unfortunately, were holding out hope.

"Because they didn't let it happen before," they said "and because they both know it would be a gigantic mistake."

Well, unfortunately people do stupid stuff, and people in positions of power are not immune. So now all hockey fandom is angry

Now, do we have a right to be angry? I'm mixed on the subject. The typical fan refrain whenever they are upset is: "It's our game because we buy the tickets, merchandise and sponsors' products." And it's true. Without us generating revenues, there would be no pro sports.

However, I think we as fans also bear some of the responsibility. Listen to sports talk radio when the hot stove league, any hot stove league, rolls around and we will call in demanding that ownership "do something this offseason to improve the team", meaning they want ownership to make a big free agent signing. (College sports fans are not immune to this general attitude either, see my posts about recruiting
here and here). Deep down, we want star players to play for our team.

And because ownership wants to satisfy our demands, they sign someone, anyone, to a big contract and hope it's enough to get us out to the arena or ballpark because they had to raise ticket prices to get them. Or they don't get the player and have to raise ticket prices anyway so that they have some money in the bank for next offseason. To sign a free agent. To satisfy the fan base.

Yes, owners and players are to blame here for not coming up with an agreement. I, as a fan, can't help but feel a sense of guilt for creating the situation we're in right now.

To all NBA fans who are pointing and laughing at hockey right now:

Your turn is coming. Very soon. Your CBA is set to expire this offseason and the NBAPA is out for blood after the Brawl at the Palace.

Kentucky-South Carolina

Just one day after Texas Tech's upset of Kansas, the South Carolina Gamecocks pulled off an upset that may have more impact on the big picture. As in "Kiss your number one seed goodbye, Kentucky" impact. This one wasn't close after the start of the second half.

Now, with an RPI of 59, it's not really a given that South Carolina will make the tournament. They have been very inconsistent, and have bad losses to Clemson(RPI: 102) and Auburn(RPI: 132). But they did expose an equally inconsistent Kentucky as a team not worthy of a #1 seed.

Bad Predictions Exposed

Greg "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" Easterbrook released his annual
"Bad Predictions" column. The winner for worst prediction: Boston Herald's Michael Felger who predicted that the Texans would make the playoffs (no dice, but they did get close), Willis McGahee would have no impact (The Bills, who traded their first pick to the Cowboys, would have been the worst team in the league had he not emerged late in the year. Damn you, Willis McGahee!), Jeff Garcia would be the perfect fit in Cleveland (The Browns cut him this week), and the Eagles will not make the Super Bowl (which they did, thanks to a weakened NFC).

Thankfully, Easterbrook does not track blogs. I had a Category IV (playoff picks) bad prediction that slipped by him when I picked the Colts to beat the Patriots in the Divisional Round.

Hey, at least I admit my mistakes. Besides, a fair number of bloggers and analysts had that game going for the Colts also.

Tomorrow: Law and Order (dun-dun!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What a night!

Wow, still coming off the incredible high of the Red Raiders' 80-79 double overtime thriller against Kansas. Texas Tech led Kansas for the majority of the game, then missed a bunch of key free throws in the last two minutes, went cold, and let Kansas tie it up. First overtime was a repeat of a pattern that occured throughout the game: Tech jumped out to a lead, Kansas fought their way back. Then the Jayhawks took the lead in OT and it looked bad for the Raiders. However, the Red Raiders showed a lot of heart and fought back. Darryl Dora, who has been a disappointment most of the season, knocked down his only 3 of the game with 3.6 seconds left in the OT to win the game.

I think we can safely say that Texas Tech will make the tournament. Beating the #1 team in the RPI (and #2 in the human polls) will help your profile. They still got some tough games ahead starting with OK State on Saturday, but maybe they can go into the home stretch with a little bit of confidence.

The win is big for another reason: first win for Texas Tech against Kansas as a Big 12 team. Because if your goal is to be an elite team, and Bobby Knight thinks it can be done at Tech (he may be the only one), you have to beat teams like Kansas.

Now, is Texas Tech a national championship team? Most likely not. A Final Four team? Probably not. Will they make the Sweet 16? Not unless they get more consistent. But for one night at least, it seemed like the Red Raiders could do anything.

Oh, and to all the Jayhawk bloggers complaining about foul calls:


On the down low at Savannah State

Savannah State is a great historically black college in Georgia with a great academic reputation. However, on Monday night, it joined an ignoble fraternity: D-1 schools that have gone winless throughout the regular season; the first winless campaign by any Division 1 school since the 1991-1992 season.
Savannah State
capped its season with with a 3-point loss at equally inept Florida A&M (9-13). At least it was closer this time. The Tigers average loss for the season was 23 points.

It's a shame a season like that had to happen to a really good school.

Positive news from the hockey world

Chris Bourque, son of Hockey Hall of Famer and former Avalanche and Bruins star Ray Bourque, scored the game winning goal as the
Boston U. Terriers won the Beanpot hockey tournament for the 26th time.

Nice to see clutch runs in the family.

Tomorrow: More hoops

Monday, February 14, 2005

And the Victory Bells Will Ring Out



(more tomorrow)

The Ellipsis Edition

Season gone...

TSN (Canada's ESPN) is reporting that the NHL will announce Tuesday
the season will be cancelled.

I've said all I'm going to say about it. Wake me when they have an agreement, and a way to better enforce the rules.

EDIT: OK, if you really want someone's opinion on it, here's the Star-Telegram's Gil LeBreton.

Now if we can do something about Jerry Jones...

Several news outlets are reporting that San Antonio-based car dealer and University of Texas big donor Red McCombs
is selling the Minnesota Vikings to Chandler, Arizona buisnessman Reggie Fowler, who would be the first African-American majority owner of an NFL franchise.

I think it's a great move, and not just from a PR standpoint of having minority ownership. it's pretty clear the Vikings need new ownership because they can't seem to build around Daunte Culpepper.

Just as things were going well in Raiderland...

Texas Tech dropped a weekend game to Iowa State. Somewhere around the end of the first half, the Raiders just got complacent, let Iowa State back into the ballgame, and never got their edge back. The second half was just horrible. They better find whatever it is that made them successful again because they have Kansas tonight at home on Big Monday.

Props to Austin station KTBC for showing the game, by the way.

In movie news...

Cheech and Chong are making a new movie. No word on if they've cast Ricky Williams or the Portland Trailblazers

Tomorrow: Big Monday

Friday, February 11, 2005

Four to Love This Valentine's Weekend

Dispatches from Red Raider Nation

Some people say baseball season doesn't officially start until pitchers and catchers report for spring training. They forget college baseball is already in full swing.

The Red Raider baseball team
will host Northern Illinois for a 3-game series this weekend after drubbing New Mexico in their season opener. Texas Tech finished last season short of the NCAA Tournament, here's hoping the Red Raiders will make it this year.

Meanwhile, Bobby Knight's basketball Raiders are playing Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum. This is a dangerous spot for Tech since these same Cyclones knocked off OU last week at the same venue, then turned around an beat the Longhorns, still a formidable team even with 6 scholarship players, at their barn. Plus, Hilton's always a tough place to play regardless of whether or not the Cyclones are any good. Fortunately, Iowa State is a primary man-to-man team and Texas Tech is coming into this game with some momentum of it's own.

Maybe Pete Rose can get a soccer ref job

Reports are coming out of Germany that
a German soccer ref threw some lower division games on behalf of some Croatian bookies. Those reports also say that more referees are likely to be arrested.

Never good to see someone in a sport involved with gambling on that sport. Especially since it's a German ref and Germany is hosting next year's World Cup.

More from the Steroid front

I don't care if Giambi's sorry for what he did or not. He should be apologizing to the parents of all the high schoolers who are following his lead.

Around the Horn's Tim Cowlishaw sounds off about steroids in baseball and it's impact:

The damage done to baseball's hallowed records is, of course, only of secondary importance to the real danger here. That can be found on the front page this week with the detailed use of steroids in our high schools.

What began with the confessions of nine athletes from Colleyville-Heritage has grown, and if you think this is a problem confined to the Grapevine area, you are badly misinformed.

That's the ultimate danger here. No matter what ultimately results from the BALCO investigation in the Bay Area, no matter the fallout from Canseco's tell-all book, we can't change one thing.

We can't change the fact that so many tainted baseball sluggers have been not only idolized but given guaranteed multi-million dollar contracts, that steroid use has been and will continue to be encouraged in this country.

We aren't talking about major leaguers or minor leaguers deciding to try a little "juice" or "cream" to get that extra 15 feet on those home runs. We are talking about middle school and high school athletes just wanting a little something extra to make the team in order to gain the attention and earn respect or admiration from their peers.

Four to watch (Valentine's Edition)
Rest assured that this blog will never, ever recommend you watch the Pro Bowl. You have better things to do with your time.
  1. Wisconsin at Illinois (Saturday, noon Central, CBS) - The last real test for Illinois before the Big 10 tournament.
  2. Duke at Maryland (Saturday, 8:00 Central, ESPN) - Revenge games are always fun.
  3. Oklahoma at Missouri (Saturday, 12:30 Central, ABC) - A closer game than might be expected because Oklahoma is in a bit of a slump, but if Missouri loses badly at home , it could grease the skids for Quin Snyder.
  4. North Carolina at UConn (Sunday, noon Central, CBS) - Carolina has to rebound from a heartbreaking rivalry loss against the talented, albeit underperforming, defending champs.
Monday: What you missed while you took your girlfriend out

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Duke beats UNC

Sadly, I bowed to sports blogosphere peer pressure and tuned into the Duke-UNC game. Thankfully it was a good game for most of it. A back and forth, close game. It could have easily been game of the year.

Then it ended on a "what the heck" moment.

Carolina "iso"ed Raymond Felton. Which means he had the ball and the other four players cleared out to give him an open lane to drive through. (This is sometimes called the "NBA offense") Except that about the top of the 3 point arc with said open lane, when Felton could have gotten by the Dukie guarding him with one move, he picked up his dribble. Picked up his dribble! What the heck?! Great games should not end on a bonehead play.

Anyway, congrats to Duke

Tech hoops continues to roll

Texas Tech, meanwhile continues to roll. They are now the #23 in the coaches poll. Which is good because the last ranked team in either poll to be left out was in UNLV the early nineties, and that team was on a postseason ban.

I don't want to jinx it by talking about seeding now, for a program with Tech's history, you have to worry about getting in first.

the Raiders beat Baylor 83-67 at the United Spirit Arena.

Hockey season all but done

The NHL is now saying they need an agreement by this weekend to have any type of season. The players rejected
the latest NHL offer, which would have gone with the players' luxury tax plan until salary conditions got too high, in which case the owners' salary cap plan would kick in.

The owners said to the players, "OK, we still want a salary cap, but we're willing to try your system to see if it works."
The players said, "Our way, right or wrong."

Bad move by the players. They should have accepted the agreement. Now there is no way they can win.
  • If they get somehow get the old system back, the league will shrink and many of their union members will be out of jobs.
  • If an impasse is declared, almost all union members are out of work.
  • If they give in, their supporters are going to wonder what the hell they were doing all this time.
  • No matter what happens, the players will never make the salaries they are making ever again.

Way to back yourselves into a corner, NHLPA.

Tomorrow: Four to Watch.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

This post not performance enhanced.

Apologies for today's post being extremely late... I was going to talk about Illinois' almost losing, but I didn't see the game. So here's someone who did.

New Blog Links

I'd just like to take a moment and recognize the new blogs on the blogroll:

  • KC's Royal Fan Zone is a site dedicated to, of course, Royals baseball. They were nice enough to link me, and I like their blog, so I linked their blog.
    Side note: KC people are nice folks who are very passionate about their sports teams, and they deserve a lot better than they are getting from baseball's economic system.
  • Marquette Hoops is a blog all about the Golden Eagles. Even though I really don't follow C-USA hoops, I decided to link it because it has great content, and the author occasionally comments here
  • The Sports and Bremertonians blog focuses on the Pacific Northwest. Again, I'm linking this blog because of it's good content, even though I don't follow any of the teams they cover.

More Steroid Fallout

The University Interscholastic League (the state agency in Texas responsible for public high school athletics) is considering instituting it's own drug testing in the wake of the Dallas Morning News' investigation of steroids in Dallas-area high schools. I don't know if they have the funds to do this effectively, but good luck to them. It's not going to be enough.

As Steve "The Holywriter" said in the comments section of yesterday's blog, "We need to understand our society, and then we'll understand the reasons for steriod use and how to combat the attitude behind it."


Meanwhile, The Tarrant County (county seat: Fort Worth) Narcotics Task Force is stepping up it's enforcement of steroid dealers, so hopefully we'll get a better picture of what's going on, at least in the Metroplex, as they start to make arrests and get info.

More opinions:
DMN's Kevin Sherrington
DMN editorial
Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial

Tomorrow: Something college hoops (assuming they don't discover steroids in some other place)

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Why you should be concerned about steroids.

Texas Tech off the bubble (maybe)

While I was caught up in other things this weekend, my beloved Red Raiders did something they have never done under Bob Knight and haven't done since 1998:
Beat Oklahoma in Norman. It's big for several reasons. First, Texas Tech got a road win against an upper-echelon Big XII team, which was usually an automatic "L" in the past. Second, Texas Tech may now be officially off the bubble because the committe like road wins and wins against top 25 RPI teams. Finally, Texas Tech was 4th place after the game and 2 games up on Texas. (Currently Tech is in 3rd after OU lost on Big Monday, but only a 1/2 game up on the Sooners)

Problem is, I live in Austin (home of the University of Texas) and it's tough to get a Texas Tech game here without plunking down for Digital Cable and getting ESPN Full Court, and I was already over the "fun budget" for the week and couldn't go to Rhinos and Jocks (my neighborhood sports bar). So I missed it. Which stinks because it will probably be one of the landmark wins for this program. And I want to know if (and if they did, how) they stopped Bookout and Gray and how they beat the zone that OU likes to throw at us.

Big Monday Notes

The Barry Bonds effect.

Often lost in the discussion on steroids and pro sports is its impact on the up and coming athletes still in high school. Which is why
this week's series in the Dallas Morning News on steroid use in high schools should be required reading for all parents of teenage athletes, and sports fans in general.

Because it is going on. In your town. At your high school.

I'm a substitute teacher at my old high school (near Austin) and I've seen the athletes. Some of them are almost NFL-sized. They never were that big when I was going to school there. In fact, when I was going to school, my high school used to always be "undersized" compared to other schools.

Some of the major things the DMN uncovered at Dallas-area high schools (again, this could easily be your high school) :
  • Steroids are very easy to obtain due to a of lack of federal and state resources. (They got lucky and stumbled on to BALCO, but there's still more labs out there).
  • Coaches and administrators can't deal with the problem because of over-litigious parents.
  • It's often too expensive for school authorities to run an effective screening program
  • There is an increased use among non-athlete males.
  • A lot of kids and don't see it as a problem or a bad thing, nor do they understand the health risks.
  • It's not considered a "bad kid drug" because the "Big Men On Campus" do it most.
  • Steroid use is becoming a gateway drug for other drug abuse, mostly perscription drugs.
  • Parents are either naive or don't care. (Which, by the way, is the root of most teenage drug problems. Ever wonder why they have to run "Parents, The Anti-Drug" ads?)

Let's review why steroids are bad for teens, since most of you don't seem to care. First off, it causes developmental problems in teens (stunted growth, decreased male organ size, "man boobs" in men; irregular periods, deepened voice, increased facial hair and reduced breast size in women; infertility in both) because it shuts down the production of naturally produced hormones. Second, it increases bad cholesterol in teens (already a problem because of the average teen diet), increases the risk of stroke and shortens their life. Thirdly, it leads to depression, which increases the chance of more steroid use, other drug use, relapse, and suicide. Finally, it increases the risk of soft tissue injuries, which short-circuits a teens chances of getting that scholarship or minor-league baseball or hockey contract he was taking the steroids to get in the first place.

This is why it needs to be stopped.

This is why Victor Conte and every other steroid lab owner needs to go down.

This is why Jose Canseco needs to stop publishing his tell-all book so we can focus on the real face of the steroid issue: our kids.

This is why parents, coaches, and administrators should care and do something about it.

Tomorrow: The Illini "Undefeated Victory Tour" continues.

Monday, February 7, 2005

A Patriot Act that people won't protest over (unless you're in Philly)

Congrats to the Patriots on winning their third Super Bowl in 4 years.

Random Super Bowl thoughts...
(in no particular order)
  • What was it that Freddie Mitchell had for Rodney Harrison again? Mitchell had 1 catch the whole game and an illegal pick that the refs missed. That was his contribution.
  • The Abraham Lincoln fry ad didn't do anything for me. Neither did the Olympus camera/mp3 player ads.
  • Despite the insistence of many that he shouldn't play, Terrell Owens played. He was basically a possession receiver, though. It didn't look like he had the same speed. What matters though is that he didn't hurt his team by playing, and actually got some key yards.
  • I will not be seeing any of these movies they are advertising.
  • There were officially 5 turnovers by both teams in the game, not counting the 3 that were overturned by replay or wiped out by penalty. Had all the turnovers counted, they would have been 2 shy of the all time record for total turnovers set in Super Bowl XII (10)
  • Ads that were priceless: The two Ameriquest ads, the Lay's ad with MC Hammer, and the Fed Ex ad.
  • If the Pats had run Corey Dillon more, this game would have been a blowout.
  • Overall, I think the ads this year were better and more clever than the ads in previous years. Looks like the Janet Jackson flap had a positive effect in that regard
  • The Eagles understand that the clock runs when you get tackled in bounds, right? Seems like they didn't on the drive before the onside kick.
  • Best ad of the night: The Budweiser/Bud Light folks for their "thank you" ad to the troops.
  • Deion Branch got the MVP. This is why the NFL should take the MVP vote away from teenagers with cell phones.

Tomorrow: Well, you'll just have to tune in and find out.

Friday, February 4, 2005

Super Bowl Preview, Fin

Emmitt's Place in History

Well, it turns out ESPN was engaging in some wishful thinking the other day. Emmitt Smith is finally retired, ending the greatest rushing career in history. That's right, I said it, the greatest rushing career in NFL history. Look at the numbers

I'm sick of people not giving Emmitt his due. Every commentator is trashing him because he played behind a great offensive line. Guess what, most of the other greats played behind a great offensive line also. Why is only Emmitt getting penalized for it?

Some say he got a lot of one-yard touchdown runs because Michael Irvin couldn't find the end zone. That's solely on Michael Irvin, who's a good player, but not a Hall of Famer. Why do columnists want to make Emmitt Smith pay for Michael Irvin's mistakes?

The fount of most of the Emmitt criticism seems to be Skip Bayless, who is normally a good columnist, but he's got a history. He left Dallas for reasons still unknown, and is still acting out his bitterness towards Jerry Jones for whatever the the so-called transgression that was done to him by trashing Emmitt Smith. And the legacy of great players like Emmitt should not be tarnished by a bitter man like Bayless.

Four to watch
  • Georgia Tech at Duke (Saturday, noon Central, CBS) - Duke faces another ranked opponent. Should be a little easier at home, but you never know.
  • Cincinnatti at Charlotte (Saturday, 3:00 PM Central, ESPN - Charlotte can enhance it's profile with a win against the Bearkats
  • Indiana at Illinois (Sunday, noon Central, CBS) - Illinois should be on upset alert here, Indiana would make it's season by upsetting the undefeated Illini.
  • New England at Philadelphia (Super Bowl, Sunday, 6:00 PM Central, Fox) - If I have to explain why.....
Super Bowl Preview Part 4: Intangibles

The Eagles have the disrespect factor, which will carry you a long way, but they're up against a Patriots team playing for history. Rare is the team that gets to play for a Super Bowl, rarer still is the team that wins twice in a decade and gets to play for 3. The Patriots may act like they don't know, but they know. And they want it. You don't blow a shot at history.

The Pick
I guess it's really no surprise at this point, seeing as how I've given the Patriots the edge in every area. It's not going to be close. Patriots dominate in too many areas
Pick: Patriots 45-10

Have a good Super Bowl weekend everyone. Take care and God bless

Monday: Super Bowl Hangover

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Super Bowl Preview, Part 3

Ok, since my first venture into the non-sports topics went off with no negative comments and a nice mention from "The Holywriter," and since there's no news coming out of J-ville except Freddie Mitchell's lunatic ranting... I think I'll lead off with non-sports stuff

The death of a great website.

One of my favorite websites died this week. The creative forces behind
Grudge Match, a website that pitted pop culture icons against each other with web surfers determining the outcome, has decided to hang it up. If you've never heard of the site, I'm sorry you missed out.

I used to look forward to each posting every other week for 2 reasons. First, the commentators were just laugh out loud hilarious in the way they trashed the competitors and each other. Second, some of the contests they had were hilarious. Among the matches they posted over their history were:
A hot air balloon race in between Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, John Madden vs. The Fridge in an eating contest, a lawsuit between Microsoft and Disney, The French Army fighting English Soccer Hooligans after a World Cup match in France (this match was 6 years prior to the Iraq conflict and people were piling on on the French then!), and a road rally featuring Speed Racer, the Blues Brothers, and the Dukes of Hazzard.

Sadly after 10 years, they just ran out of creative ideas and decided to call it quits. Sad because it was a reminder of a simpler, more innocent time on the web when all you needed was an original idea, some HTML knowledge and a few scripts to put up a fun website.

Makes you wonder, in 10 years, how many of the bloggers of today will still be around?

Bitter, Bitter Longhorn Fan.

So national signing day came and went and Ryan Perriloux, the guy whom Texas really wanted and thought they had, suddenly changed his mind and went to LSU. Which meant for the first time since Mack Brown was UT head coach, Texas will not have a top-10 recruiting class.
Naturally, Longhorn Fan is bent. Longhorn Fan has called Bucky and Erin (and all the other local shows here in Austin) and said every nasty thing they can about Ryan Perriloux. All the local hosts have even had to cut off some people for cursing. I have never heard such vitriol in my life.

Please, Longhorn fan, give it a rest. You don't really know how good he is. You don't know if he's just all hype. None of that recruiting BS you paid for is accurate anyway. And finally, I know this may come as a shock to you, Longhorn Fan, but I'm gonna let you in on a little secret:

Not everyone wants to play football for Texas!

So please, get on with your lives.

Super Bowl Preview Part 3: The Little Things

Special Teams
Both teams have Pro Bowl caliber kickers in Adam Vinateri and David Akers. Neither team has a kick return unit or punt return unit that is spectacular or game-changing. What may make a difference in favor of New England, however, is that Philadelphia is handing over the punt return duties to Brian Westbrook, who hasn't fielded a punt during the playoff run. You can't change things like this before any big game, much less the Super Bowl. You run the risk of turnovers that way.
Edge: slightly to the Patriots because of the one substitution, otherwise it's even

Turnovers get their own category because they turn close games into blowouts and vice versa. I know it's cliche that you can't turn the ball over, but it's true. Remember Super Bowl XXX? Two turnovers by Larry Brown decided that game. Remember the Super Bowl two years ago? Turnovers made an evenly matched game a blowout.

So, the stat lines on each team:
Philadelphia - 27 takeaways, 16 giveaways, +11 turnover margin, 2nd in the NFC
New England - 30 takeaways, 20 giveaways, +10 turnover margin, 5th in the AFC

Hmm... Well, New England did force a lot of picks from Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger so I'm going with the Patriots on this one.
Edge: Patriots

No one has been as good over the last 4 years as Bill Belichick. Andy Reid, though, has kept the Eagles consistently good over the past 4 years through free agent defections and roster turnover. Even though this is their first Super Bowl trip in 4 years, that has to count for something.
However, Reid seems to be trying to add new wrinkles at the last minute. If he's already made Westbrook the punt returner, what else is he going to try? Changing things at the last minute never works.
Gotta go with Belichick here. He's learned not to add anything new on Super Bowl Week.
Edge: Patriots

Tomorrow: Super Bowl Preview Part 4, and my pick.

Quick hits

I don't think I can get a long post done before going to work today, so I will give you some quick college hoops notes

Catch everyone later.

5:00 PM today: Super Bowl Preview, Part 3

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Super Bowl Preview part 2, and more troubles at Colorado.

More Red Raider love.

Yoni Cohen who runs the most comprehensive national college hoops blog out there,
warns Texas Tech opponents not to sleep on the Red Raiders.

More Colorado Embarassment.

I'm not trying to pick on Colorado, really. At this point I feel for the folks in Boulder. (In fact, I have an uncle who works for CU and I'm sure he doesn't appreciate all the scandal either.)

First, a former CU female kicker says she got sexually harassed by the football team. Then Gary Barnett basically says she kicked like a girl. Then the Boulder DA's office starts investigating sexual assaults by Buffalo football recruits. Then
budget cuts force the men's basketball team to cancel charter flights and miss class. Then the women's hoops team has to cancel the end-of-year banquet. Then we find out the football team gets free electronic gear for making a bowl game despite $3 million in losses by the athletic program.

So not wanting to be left out of the "embarrass our university" trend, the CU faculty has decided to join the party. An ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado
recently compared the people who died in the World Trade Center attacks to Adolf Eichmann (The Nazi who was the architect of the Holocaust).

Having spent time in graduate history courses, I know that in academic circles comparing someone to a Nazi or suggesting that a person is "facist" is about the worst insult you can levy on someone, so basically he was justifying their deaths. Which is bad enough except that this professor, Ward Churchill, was scheduled to speak at a panel discussion at a college in New York state, a state where many 9/11 families live.

He may have a right to say it, but please pick a topic that doesn't get others to exercise their right to respond. Especially since the Holocaust and 9/11 are sensitive subjects and those statements could cause people to respond by not donating or your Board of Regents to respond by cutting your department's budget. Given what this school has been through already, you'd think everyone at Colorado would be a bit more careful.

Sorry for venturing into a quasi-political topic like that, I know you the reader normally read this for sports. But it's just been scandal, scandal and more scandal at that school, and nothing's going to change at Colorado unless someone calls attention to it. CU needs new leadership badly. I feel for the folks in Boulder, really.

Anyway, Ricardo Patton's Buffs travel to Lubbock to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders tonight. Hopefully, CU administration relents and lets them take a charter flight because there are no direct flights between Denver (the nearest airport) and Lubbock. Besides, it sounds like they have bigger problems to deal with.

Still the undisputed, undefeated #1

now the unanimous #1 in both polls, passed it second crucial road test with flying colors last night, beating Michigan State 81-68.

If you were to look up "winning going away" in your Microsoft Encarta it would have a video of this game. After 13:57 in the first half, Illinois pulled away and never looked back. It wasn't that Michigan State wasn't trying, it's just hard to stop a team when they are shooting 60% overall and a mind-boggling 54% from 3-point range.

NFL Retirements

Will Emmit Smith retire? At first, it looked like he would. Then ESPN reports that Smith told the Dallas Morning News that he's not retiring. One problem: The DMN story may not exist.
I'm not finding this story anywhere on the website (it's about 7:17 AM Central when I'm typing this), so I don't know where ESPN is getting this info (if it's legit, they probably got it from Tim Cowlishaw). If it pops up later, I'll update.

There are equally mixed signals on whether Brett Favre will retire or not. Donald Driver says he thinks he might retire, family sources say he'll play.

Super Bowl Item of the Day

Freddie Mitchell took another shot at Media Day,
this time at the Eagles' media people. He's upset that he didn't get a podium, and suggested that the Eagles were censoring him because of his remarks about Rodney Harrison.

Super Bowl Preview Part 2: Eagles offense vs. Patriots defense

Eagles' Offense: #9
Patriots' Defense: #9

In order to break down this matchup, you first have to answer the question whether or not Terrell Owens is going to play. I think he is. He's convinced himself and his coaches that he's heathly enough to play, and apparently that's all it takes. I still don't think he should play, but that's a completely different issue.

So now that we've settled that question, how will Donovan McNabb and company fare against the Patriots' defense?

Everyone says Brian Westbrook will be an X-factor, I don't think he will be a factor. Mike Vrabel and Willie McGinest are both athletic enough and good enough pass defenders to keep up with Westbrook.

Some say Donovan McNabb will beat the Patriots with his legs, something the Patriots haven't seen all year. Maybe, but Belichick has proved that he can game plan for anything.

Some say the Eagles and an "81%" T.O. could try and take advantage of a depleted Patriots' secondary. Didn't we say Indianapolis was going to do that too? What happened there?

So how about running the ball? Nice idea, except Brian Westbrook isn't a 25-carry-a-game guy.

Doesn't look good for the Eagles offense. This is where the Patriots will really dominate.
Edge: Patriots

Tomorrow: Part 3

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Super Bowl Preview, Part 1

I goofed when teasing today's blog yesterday. I thought Illinois-Michigan St. was last night, but it's tonight. To make up for it I bring you this article from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Big Monday: Kansas 73, Missouri 61

That gasoline you smell, that's Mizzou Nation getting ready to light the hot seat under coach Quin Snyder. Missouri had Kansas down at the half, then saw Kansas shoot 70% in the second half as the Jayhawks. This makes Syder 3-10 against Kansas, and he now finds his Tigers at 2-6 in the Big XII and 1 game under .500 overall.

Snyder has to be one of the most disappointing coaches in college history. Formerly Mike Krzyzewski's top assistant, he landed the Missouri job in 1999 (beating out current Kansas coach Bill Self for the job), had a few good years with a point guard named Kareem Rush, and was hailed as one of the top young coaches in college basketball. Then Rush graduated and the scandals hit. And the mediocrity set in. Turns out Snyder's only as good as his talent.

Say it Ain't Sosa... to the Orioles?

All the physicals have been completed without any major breaking news, so it's safe to say that the Sammy Sosa trade to the Orioles will go down today. This trade will help no one and probably assure the Cardinals and Astros will be in a 2-team race for the Central title. Obviously, what makes this story so interesting is Sammy's fall from grace as a Chicago (and even American) icon to a bat-corking malcontent and trade bait. I won't go into the details because I'm sure SportsCenter will recap the rise and fall of Sosa at some point.

Why it got to this point, though, I will never understand. I still have the mental image of Sosa in a suit at the 1999 State of the Union Address, at the height of his popularity, just months removed from his chase with Mark McGwire (who may be in for a similar fall from grace once the steroid scandal is fully known), smiling and listening to the President of the United States. Who knew then that Sosa would sink so far as to be traded in disgrace?

Can we get signing day over with?

Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the college football season, National Signing Day. Now I normally don't want to get caught up in the recruiting wars. Mainly because I've never seen or heard half the people Texas Tech gets. But because I live in Austin, which is the capitol of Longhorn nation, and the Austin media and UT fan actually pay attention, I hear all of it.

The big focus of the Austin media this year has been one Ryan Perriloux, a "top" Louisiana quarterback prospect who was committed to Texas and allegedly the next Michael Vick (their words, not mine. I want to see this guy suit up and play first). Accorting to most recruiting "sources" he was committed to LSU. Then Nick Saban left for the Dolphins and he allegedly changed his commitment to Texas. Now, after taking his final recruiting trip, Perriloux is
dead silent about where he's going and the entire city is in a panic because supposedly several other recruits may de-commit to Texas if Perriloux goes to LSU, which may trigger the end of the world.

OK, I made the "end of the world" part up, but if you listen to the local media long enough you might think that.

Seriously, there's no way you or I or Mack Brown or Les Miles or anyone knows how good this kid really is. The recruiting news services all charge too much and never give you reliable information. Coaches can time, drill, and test these guys all they want, but they still could be getting "workout warriors." You won't ever know his work ethic or propensity for getting into trouble, and there's no way to know how good a player really is until you get him on campus and you get him into practice and scrimmages. People, give it a rest.

Super Bowl Item of the Day

In a recent edition of the Dallas Morning News, Rick Gosselin went position-by-position
comparing the 1990s Dallas Cowboys and the 2000 Patriots.

Super Bowl Preview Part 1: Patriots offense vs. Eagles' Defense

(Some of you may be looking at that and thinking, "wait a minute, shouldn't you be comparing offenses?" No, football doesn't work like that. One team's offense plays the others' defense and vice versa)

New England's offense - 7th
Philadelphia's defense - 10th

This is a relatively easy call. We all know the Patriots have a great quarterback in Tom Brady and a group of receivers in David Givens, David Patten, Daniel Graham, and Troy Brown that each average 12 yards a catch or more. We also know that the Eagles have a pass rush that could very easily shut all that down if they can put New England in obvious passing situations. The big question is, can the Eagles stop Corey Dillon.

I took a look at the
Scouts Inc. flip card on and it reveals some disturbing characteristics about the Eagles' front 4.

Jevon Kearse: "struggles when teams run against him"
Corey Simon: "has to play with good technique against the run" (usually implies that he doesn't always do so)
Darwin Walker:
"vulnerable to wearing down when teams run at him"
Derrick Burgess: "doesn't shed blocks quickly at times."

Not exactly great qualities you want in a defensive line that you're counting on to stop a good running team. After this front four gets gashed a number of times, Brian Dawkins will have to come up in run support, which will open up the passing game for Brady and his recievers.
Edge: Patriots

Wednesday: Super Bowl Preview, Part 2