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 ESPN.com 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
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