Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All Team Distractions Lead to An Equal, An Opposite...

Distractions to a team can destroy it, or in someways strengthen it.

The latest distraction in the sports world deals with LSU's head football coach Les Miles and the University of Michigan's recent decision by 13-year head coach Lloyd Carr to resign.

Now by all means I have no desire to type out the details to a story everyone is familiar with.

Short and sweet: Les Miles is the head coach at LSU, but went to UM and has always had strong ties. Yadda, yadda, you know the drill.

The MORE important aspect of this recent news is HOW the LSU football team deals with it.
I mean I will be perfectly honest, I am a huge LSU fan and this whole Michigan-Les situation does not concern me UNTIL the season is over.

LSU still has some business they need to take care of, and Les Miles knows that. The real question, like many LSU fans are asking, is will this recent media frenzy be the ultimate destruction in what could be a very special LSU season?

Will LSU come out flat against Arkansas and watch right in front of them as their hope and dreams die in Tiger Stadium?

Or better yet maybe LSU beats Arkansas then performs terribly in the SEC Championship Game?

Or maybe, just maybe, the LSU football team comes out with a chip on their shoulder from here on out to show America this team is not ready to throw the towel in yet. This team is not ready to go down quite yet.

The Tigers are for sure a team that is battling all the elements on the field week in and week out (exhaustion, dehydration, mental battles, etc.), but now more than ever LSU will have to defeat not only their opponents, but a new villian...

...the national attention surrounding their head coach.

So what's it going to be LSU? Trip up and end the run or buckle your chin straps and finish what you started?

Friday will only begin to tell that tale...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stephon Marbury: Destroying the NBA's Reputation

I consider myself an avid basketball fan. I love college basketball and do get involved in the NBA. With that said, I am well aware that today's NBA is looked at by many people as a league filled with nothing more than punks and thugs.

We can thank this image to Ron Artest and the Palace Massacre.

Even so, whenever it seems the NBA gains a little respect back, a new incident will occur that causes the NBA to lose even more credibility.

Last year it was the Nuggets/Knicks fight, and now this year it was the gutless actions by Stephon Marbury. To sum up a long story, Marbury got upset at New York Knicks' head coach Isiah Thomas when he learned on the team plane that he would not be starting that night's game. In retaliation, Marbury did not show up for the game and instead flew home.

The Knicks' following game Marbury showed up like nothing ever happened.

Putting my thoughts on this situation in words cannot be done because the disappointment and anger I have inside of me towards a self-centered player like Marbury is immeasurable. To put it plain and simply, Marbury quit on his teammates. Instead of being a MAN a saying, "I don't want to be benched, but hey I can get through this," the coward decided to run away from the team, and more importantly the problem.

It really is a shame that a league's reputation can get so damaged by one player. Yes, I understand there are other "loose cannons" in the NBA, but you cannot deny that the individual actions by Starbury (as he likes to call himself) have put a huge dent on the NBA.

I, for one know my father, like many other middle-aged men, will say he does not watch the NBA because, "there's just a bunch of troublemakers running the court."

Why would my father think something like that? This Marbury story, that's what.

In response to anyone who might somewhat consider Isiah Thomas at fault, please rethink your thoughts. Yes, Isiah is not the greatest coach, but you cannot deny that Thomas is indeed a leader and person of example (excluding his recent sexual harassment charges). This is a famous quote Isiah once said, and for me it best sums up the person he is.

“If all I'm remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I've done a bad job with the rest of my life.”

Guarantee you would never hear something like that from Starbury.

Overall, I am still in shock that Marbury, a 30-year old professional basketball player, still acts like this. How as a Knicks' fan can you go to a game and root for a player who quit on his teammates? The guy did not even show up for the game! He went home! To put it simply; he's a loser, coward, and most importantly a complete waste of talent and money!

This will stick with Starbury for a while. He already had a bad teammate reputation, but when he arrives at a new team in the future, I can assure you his recent actions will be in the heads of his new teammates.

New York is better than a guy like Stephon Marbury. By all means they need to part ways as soon as possible. His actions have already caused enough trouble.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Falling Giants

Penn State, Nebraska, and Notre Dame

These 3 schools strike fear into all opponents in college football. They represent the elite, the juggernauts of NCAA football...

...or at least they use to...

Times have changed in the world of college football. The Nittany Lions, Cornhuskers, and Fighting Irish are no longer seen with the same image the nation saw them for so long.

Penn State, home of 2 National Championships (1982, 1986) is a school in disarray. Fans find themselves looking at their 80 year old coach and asking, "What happened Joe Pa?" A very proud football school is continuously finding themselves attending low-marquee bowls. As for big games at Happy Valley, they all end in such similar plights (OSU 38-17). Other than the 1994 undefeated season, and a couple late 1990 seasons, the Lions have not found themselves in some serious national championship talk for quite some time.

Is a change needed?

Then there is Nebraska. The nation of Big Red. The land of Tom Osbourne and Tommie Frazier. Those names are about as ancient as the word "Mayans." Other than foolishly being chosen to go to the 2001 National Championship and getting destroyed by Miami-Florida, not much has been worth cheering for in Lincoln. The once proud school is being forced to settle for their 3rd and 4th choices for head coach. Frank Solich? Was not the school's first choice as well as Bill Callahan.

You can't help but wonder how far this school has fallen? Considering Callahan's team has pretty much quit on the season the bleeding will only continue for the Big Red faithful.

The 3 National Championships of the 1990s (1994, 1995, 1997) seem so far away...

And finally there is Notre Dame. The "favored son" of college football has been to back-to-back BCS bowls. Regardless of not rightfully earning the 2007 Sugar Bowl bid, the Irish nonetheless competed in those bowls. With that said, championship times have been gone for quite some time in South Bend. 1988 was the last time the Irish have won a National Championship. Furthermore, the Irish really haven't found themselves in the championship race late in the season since 1993.

3 legendary programs all falling and all soon hoping to stop the plunder. Currently, Penn State is 8-3, Nebraska 5-6, and Notre Dame a dreadful 1-9.

Hey there's always basketball season...

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Chaos Continue for College Football...

Lots of big games went down this past weekend. I do not want to dance around the subject, so here are my thoughts on Saturday's games.

No. 1 Ohio State rolls over Wisconsin in 4th Quarter...

Buckeyes were in trouble on Saturday against the Wisconsin Badgers. Badgers had the lead for the majority of 3 quarters, until OSU tied it up with a late score in the third quarter. In the 4th, Ohio State showed why they are the No. 1 team in the nation. Behind 3 rushing TDs, the Bucks rolled to a 38-17 victory. Despite the criticism the Big 10 is soft, which it is, OSU is definitely worthy of their No. 1 ranking. Tressel's crew is the team to beat. To make matters worse for opponents, the offense of OSU which was formerly known as the weak spot is only getting better.

No. 2 Boston College Falls Flat Against Florida State

Over one week after BC's sensational Thursday night win against VTech, Boston College falls flat against a disappointing Florida State team. Matt Ryan finished with 3 INTs including one returned for a TD when BC at the time was only down 20-17. The 27-17 loss stings for the Eagles, but winning the ACC is still very much in grasp. With that said, I don't think Boston College will win the ACC either.

No. 3 LSU Wins Despite Sloppy Play

I went to Tuscaloosa for the game. Didn't have tickets, just wanted to be apart of the atmosphere. LSU did everything it could to give Alabama that game. Silly turnovers, stupid penalties, and a defense and special teams that had big mental lapses at times. But, as we know LSU didn't lose. The Bayou Bengals won 41-34. The Tigers again pulled things together to win yet another dramatic football game. After 3 INTs in the second quarter, Matt Flynn was able to compose himself and lead the Tigers to victory. In response to so many complaints for calls being overturned in LSU's favor let me just say it was the right decision. The refs in the SEC are not too efficient from what I have seen. Without instant replay some bad calls would of stuck in the game. Granted, I will admit one replay that was overturned in LSU's favor was a tad surprising. I clearly thought the Bama WR made the catch.

No. 4 Arizona State's Undefeated Season Halted by the Quack Attack

Arizona State only lost the game at Autzen Stadium by the score of 35-23, but anyone who watched the game or read the stats can see it was not even that close. Oregon had jumped out to a 21-3 lead. ASU did cut it to 21-16, but Oregon and Dennis Dixon would pull ahead to a 35-16 lead that was lessened when Arizona State put up a late score. I think this Oregon team is definitely a legit contender for the National Championship. But, before you claim someone is going to get screwed in being selected for the BCS National Championship Game understand a lot of football is still left.

No. 14 Texas Needs Another Dramatic Final Quarter to Overcome Defeat

Was not too long ago when Texas was playing Oklahoma State in a game the Longhorns trailed 35-7. Longhorns would come back to win that game big. Some guy named Vince Young lead the charge. Anyway, that same thing could not happen against for Oklahoma State, right? Well, going into the 4th it was 35-14 Cowboys. Behind the stellar play of Jamaal Charles, Longhorns scored 24 points in the 4th quarter to win 38-35. Just like that UT is back in the BCS mix. After some disappointing losses, UT can find themselves in something like the Orange Bowl if the team can win out. I am saying it: University of Texas at Austin will lose another game this season. Too many close calls to mediocre teams. Sooner or later that will catch up.

No. 15 Michigan Halts the Spoilers Upset with a Late Score

The Michigan State Spoilers were predicted by a lot of analysts to upset the Wolverines. That was happening as the Spartans lead by 10 midway through the 4th quarter. Much like LSU has done countless times this year, UM stayed composed and scored twice to win 28-24. The last of scores came with 2:28 left in the game. Slowly, but surely, Michigan is creeping up the rankings and in time they will be ready to pull off the upset I have predicted all year long. Let me just repeat myself: Michigan will beat Ohio State this year. Period.

No. 23 South Carolina Gets Piggg Sooooied!

So all that talk about the Gamecocks winning the SEC has been completely deflated. After watching Darren McFadden eat South Carolina's D alive, Spurrier's crew lost 48-36. This victory also shows that despite Arkansas's 3 losses, the team is still very capable of making some noise in the SEC. Remember the SEC is a gunfight each and every week. Could Arkansas be the team that knocks out the LSU Tigers in the race for the National Championship?