With the final week of the NFL regular season approaching I couldn't help but write down a few thoughts streaming through my head.
Straight to the point there are some teams I'd like to touch upon.
First, the Kansas Chiefs. If the Chiefs lose Sunday to the Bengals they will finish 2-14 on the year. This will be the franchise's worst record since 1977 when KC went 2-12. With that said, I have to tip my hat to the Chiefs on fighting each and every week. So far the team has lost an amazing 7 games by 7 points or less! It's an impressive thing for a team to be 2-12 and take a playoff team in the Miami Dolphins and lose a very close one. Herman Edwards might be back next year...
Second, the Green Bay Packers. I can't remember another time where the Packers, continuously, found ways to lose games. Monday Night was a classic example. Packers had control of the game and still found a way to choke. That is not a good thing to develop. Since being blown out by New Orleans 51-29, Green Bay has lost four straight games. They lost by 4 points to the Panthers, then 3 points to the Texans, then 4 points to the Jaguars, and finally 3 points to the Bears in overtime.
If you are an Atlanta Falcons fan I am sorry. I am sorry for so much of this year constantly and continuously doubting your team. Mike Smith has done a terrific job as well as MVP Matt Ryan. About two weeks ago I came to the conclusion that Atlanta is for real. Coach Smith has the 'Cons drinking some sort of Kool-Aid because every time that team steps out on that field they think they are the better team. Just a little FYI if the Saints beat the Panthers this weekend and Atlanta beats the Rams; Atlanta has the number two seed.
The New York Jets collapse is nothing short of phenomenal. I think Eric Mangini is a good coach, but for some odd reason things just keep falling apart for them. I mean they lost to San Fran earlier, now Seattle? 13-3? That's just pathetic. I expect New England to win the AFC East as the Jets will defeat the Dolphins, even so the Jets collapse is about as bad as the Mets...every year.
The recent run by the San Diego Chargers reminds me of the amazing run by the 2004 New Orleans Saints. The Saints that year fell to 4-8, won four straight, but where still denied a playoff spot. (That's another story for another time. Still angry about that one.) Anyway my point is during the Saints roll back then they were playing as crisp as San Diego. Playing good towards the end of the year can always turn out well for a team. (Cough! New York Giants 2007.) Who cares that they are 8-8! All that matters is they got a spot in the playoffs. Right now no one wants to play them. San Diego is a healthy team right now that will easily beat Denver Sunday. Question is, can they defeat the Colts?
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
With the final week of the NFL regular season approaching I couldn't help but write down a few thoughts streaming through my head.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Before you start, realize this is lousy writing. Even so, I just needed to get some points across.
LSU football is currently 7-5.
LSU football is currently 7-5.
Here at Baton Rouge that is a losing season and the whole Tiger team is aware of it. Coming into this season there was hopes of LSU repeating their glory from last year. Even after Ryan "Airhead" Perrilloux was kicked off the team this dream was still strong.
And on September 20 LSU would beat the SEC West favorite Auburn Tigers 26-21 on Auburn's field. The dream would only grow...
My, oh my, have the mighty fallen.
The LSU football team would lose to Florida (51-21), but that was ok because it was a mere one loss; LSU would rebound. Then the Tigers lost at home to Georgia 52-38. Hey Jarrett Lee played awful! Then LSU lost 27-21 in overtime to the No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. Again, the loss was painful to say the least, but worst was over, right? I mean Lee would get better?
Two weeks later. LSU loses at home for the third time 31-13 to Ole Miss. The defense is lousy.
And finally the nail in the coffin for the 5th time this year, LSU loses to Arkansas 31-30.
Again, 7-5 and the finger pointing is not stopping anytime soon. Let me be very clear.
LSU stinks in all facets of the game. Offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. You name it, that unit stinks.
All of us in Tiger Nation knew this would be a rebuilding year, but not like this.
Not this bad.
In one year, just like that, Les Miles has a target on his forehead. The question on everyone's mind is can he rebound? Can he make the necessary changes to the LSU staff? Can he keep the big time recruits from backing out from coming to LSU?
He has to or next year will be Les's last. Plain and simple.
Two actions must be done to turn stuff around for LSU:
1. Fire every coach working on the defensive side of the ball. Anything short of that and LSU will fail again next season.
2. Make sure Russell Shepard comes to LSU.
It's one thing for a team to finish the year up with five losses (Florida 2007), it's another thing when a team finishes with five losses and the general perception is that anarchy is taking place on the field. That's what I saw on the field Friday against Arkansas.
Thank God LSU basketball has started...
Monday, December 01, 2008
As I sit here in the computer lab on a crisp Monday afternoon I can not help by ask myself the age old question, honestly, what has to take place for a playoff to be implemented in division one college football?
Honestly, nothing. Nothing can ever take place for that to happen. Each year is more crazy than the next in the lovely relationship between the Bowl Championship Series and college football. And each year the old men who keep the BCS so blindly look away from the obvious...
This is not right. This is not just.
The Oklahoma Sooners will be going to the Big 12 Championship game over the Texas Longhorns. Yes, Little Johnny the same Texas team that beat Oklahoma.
When the announcement of Oklahoma jumping Texas hit me, I knew the BCS failed again, and during it's existence that seems to have happened quite a lot. For the moment I would like to indulge on the mishaps the BCS has delivered.
2000: During the season the Miami-Florida Hurricanes defeated the Florida State Seminoles. Amazingly, Florida State still jumped Miami to go play Oklahoma for the title.
2001: Miami-Florida finally gets into the championship game where they will play the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The same Cornhusker team that was beaten to a pulp by a two-loss Colorado team. Which leads me to my next statement? Why, oh why, where the Oregon Ducks overlooked? Strength of schedule I suppose...
2003: LSU beats Georgia for the SEC Championship and Oklahoma gets pummeled by Kansas State (35-7). So it should be LSU vs. USC, right? Nope. Oklahoma was so ahead of everyone that despite a 28 point conference championship loss, Oklahoma still went to the Sugar Bowl to play LSU for the title.
And now that leads us up to this year, 2008. I can not understand it. Listen, the Sooners have a terrific team hands down, but to go over Texas?
This is madness.
I have to agree with many college football fans across the country. The BCS is turning into a political game. I mean collecting votes from voters and you can be in office (at the championship game)!
Here's my thinking! Why not have a four team playoff? It does not have to be the typical fan sought after eight team playoff. Oops! I did it again. I am starting to do that "hope" thing again. The hope that the numbskulls running the BCS finally realize a playoff is needed.
Stay tuned for later this week I will rip LSU the lashing it deserves...
Monday, November 24, 2008
The college football regular season is about finished, and to no one's surprise the BCS is again pure chaos. Even so, with one final week much is still to be determined. (Let's not forget the upcoming conference championship games.)
Without further ado I know give you my thoughts and predictions on some key match ups.
1. Florida and Oklahoma will both roll this weekend. Florida will handle the Seminoles by at least 17, and I think the Cowboys of Oklahoma State will give Oklahoma some trouble. Yet, in the end, final score will be the Sooners by at least two touchdowns.
2. The SEC is inferior to the Big 12. Sure, maybe the SEC's best is better than the Big 12's best, but from top to bottom: Big 12 is superior. No ifs, ands, or buts. My main reason for this is the strength of teams like Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. The SEC has Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, but I honestly don't think they compare. It would be a coin toss between Texas/Florida or Oklahoma/Texas. With that said, I think Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech would all beat the Tide. Let me stop the rambling: it's the Big 12's year.
3. Most teams would be happy to go to the SEC Championship Game at 11-1. Not Alabama. The Tide have lost an amazing six straight games to the Auburn Tigers. As great as this season has been it will be extremely disappointing if Saban's crew loses to their arch rival...again. Tuberville has had a nightmare season at Auburn and knows a win can bring some sort of salvation. Two things make me think this will be a close one. 1. Alabama has not been pummeling opponents like Florida and Oklahoma and 2. Auburn nearly beat a good Georgia team. If the Tigers can keep it close with defense then maybe a victory might happen. But I don't see it happening. Auburn will be close. Very. But again, Bama will do just enough to move on...and that's all that matters.
Final: Alabama 24-20
4. I have not looked at bowl projections, but I really, really hope that Utah does not play the ACC champion in their BCS bowl game. I say this because people want to see the underdog go against the juggernaut. Remember the Boise State/Oklahoma game? How could you forget! Sure, Hawaii got embarrassed last year, but in the end one Boise State game every five years makes putting a mid major team in the BCS all worth it.
5. I am sure this has been touched upon by a couple of people. Maybe a couple more. I do not understand for the slightest second why Oklahoma is said to be the team that will get in the BCS National Championship game. Yes, they beat a good Texas Tech team 65-21. I 100 percent agree that is acceptable to make a riot about the Sooners' win. OU looked good. Real good. But, but keep in mind that people are now saying they should go to the BCS National Championship game over a team THEY LOST TO. Reread that. That is all that needs to be known. Texas 45-35. That's it. No debate needs to be started. How can you possibly say OU should go over Texas? They beat them! Remember 2001 when Florida State went over Miami-Florida to the national championship game? How unjust was that?! Let's not repeat it again.
Monday Night prediction: 34-29 Packers over Saints
Friday, November 21, 2008
Holidays are almost here and I'm helping you guys do your shopping. A sports merchandise website called BigFlySports gave me a to pass on to all my loyal readers! They specialize in NCAA Merchandise and I was pretty impressed by how much LSU Gear they had. To get the discount, simply enter the promotional code LSURULES and the free shipping will be applied! It's that easy. I think their coolest stuff is in the LSU Tailgate Equipment section. Take a look and if you find something you like, don't forget the to enter LSURULES for your free shipping! Don't say I never did anything for your guys.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I am a fool. I should of known this day would come again. I should of known.
It was 1074 days ago and the year was 2005. The day, December 3rd. LSU loses to Georgia 34-14 in the SEC Championship Game. The following day, December 4th, the Saints lose to the Buccaneers 10-3.
Unlike this past weekend that was the last time I experienced the dreaded double-loss weekend. Yes, every sports fan has experienced this awful set of circumstances. Not only does your college team lose, but your NFL team as well.
This December would of been three years since I last felt the horror of a double-loss weekend. I am an LSU and Saints fan. Countless times I have not had to focus on the LSU loss because the Saints won, or better yet I did not have to focus on the Saints' loss because of an LSU win
Well, that didn't happen this past weekend. First, LSU lost to Alabama 27-21 in overtime, and then when all my chips rested on the Saints. Sadly, New Orleans did not cash in. They lost to the Falcons 34-20, and in turn the apocalyptic weekend I was experiencing really kicked in.
Maybe the sun will come up tomorrow. Just maybe. But it will be difficult. I must remove myself from all sports media for one week. So no Internet, television, or telegrams.
I can only hope this article serves as a shoulder for those other fans who, too, have had to experience the apocalyptic weekends known simply as double-loss.
Hold strong and be strong.
Did I mention both my fantasy football teams lost too?
Sunday, November 02, 2008
At this moment working on my school should probably remain a top priority, but honestly who can work on homework when the college football season has yet again taken another incredible twist?
Many thoughts are running in my head. I will attack them one by one.
First, Penn State...
Nittany Lion fans do not start fussing at the BCS just yet. I can understand your frustration on Texas losing and you not moving up at all, but keep in mind (as cliche as it is to say) lots of football remains to be played. By no means think this this season is over. Alabama at No. 1 still has LSU and the possibly the SEC Championship, meanwhile Texas Tech still has Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Wow. Is there a team out in America that strikes fear into the opponent more so than Florida? Not only are the Gators winning against good competition, they are destroying them. First, LSU 51-21, and then Georgia this past weekend 49-10. Sadly, I have trouble focusing on Florida's impressive win, but rather Urban Meyer's classless demeanor. Why do you, Coach Meyer, find it necessary to throw the ball downfield late in the fourth quarter with a huge lead? I am sorry, but Coach Meyer has that same "respect" as Steve Spurrier. There was a lot of angst in Meyer and the team prior to Saturday's game considering how Georgia danced in the end zone following the game's first touchdown last year, but still that does not legitimize running up the score.
Thirdly, Texas Tech...
Maybe just maybe the Red Raiders are for real. Who am I kidding? They are for real. Down by one with eight seconds remaining Graham Harrell connected with Michael Crabtree on the 28 yard game winning touchdown. Honestly, I was imagining new kicker Matt Williams missing a field goal to give Texas the victory. Not much can be said to soothe the pain Texas feels right now. Crabtree made a play. That happens and unfortunately with every amazing play in sports comes that player on the other side of the spectrum who is nothing short of devastated.
Fourthly (yes that is a word), LSU...
Despite my allegiance to LSU football I must say how I see things. I want LSU to beat Alabama, but after the Tulane game I did not see much improvement. Tiger Stadium will be rocking Saturday night when Nick Saban makes his return to Tiger Stadium. Despite all that, I think the Tide get the win. Again this is my prediction. I will be screaming my lungs out for an LSU win. 'Bama might not be as good as the media makes them out to be, but they are still a better team than LSU. If I am bashed, criticized, and tar-and-feathered for picking against my Tigers so be it. Jarrett Lee has not shown an ability to navigate games during tense situations. But with that said, I think the Gators of Florida will end Bama's magical season with a win in the SEC Championship Game.
Is there a one-loss team out there in more of a pickle than the Trojans of USC? I think not. The Trojans slip up against Oregon State could be enough for Carroll's Crew to not reach the BCS Championship Game. Yes, plenty of time remains in the season, but as of now USC is No. 7 and behind a plethora of one-loss teams (Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma), plus undefeated teams (Alabama, Texas Tech, and Penn State). You can be sure each week USC will be rooting for the upset just to get closer at a chance at possibly winning their second National Championship of the 21st century. How's this for something ironic? This weekend the USC Trojans will be rooting for LSU to beat Alabama. Strange world isn't it?
That is all I have for now. Relax this week, and go enjoy yourself a sandwich.
Monday, October 27, 2008
In Michael Crichton's epic novel Jurassic Park the mathematician, Ian Malcolm, studies a mathematical formula known as the chaos theory. In short, chaos theory deals with certain scenarios on earth that are unpredictable. An example Malcolm talks about in the book is predicting weather.
If only the BCS were around during the writing of Jurassic Park because I am sure that would of qualified as unpredictable as well.
After the weekend of October 25th things are beginning to heat up in the race for the BCS National Championship, and again the outcome is unpredictable.
In the past the BCS has been nothing short of chaos, but this year seems to be leaning towards an even more hectic finish. According to the latest BCS poll the Top 10 consists of (in order) Texas, Alabama, Penn State, Oklahoma, USC, Georgia, Texas Tech, Florida, Oklahoma State, and Utah. The eerie-ness in this season's Top 10 is just how close so many teams are to grabbing the No. 1 and 2 spot. At the moment Texas and Alabama control their own destiny, as does the surprising Red Raiders of Texas Tech. But not Penn State who could finish 12-0 and miss out on a ticket to the BCS National Championship game.
What about the one-loss teams? Teams such as Florida and Oklahoma (and a few others) could run the tables and be left to wonder how the season could of turned out had they not slipped up against Ole Miss or Texas.
Before you start to panic and fret your team will be Auburn'd, rest assured much of the season remains to be played.
I will give you my thoughts on how it plays out...
Texas will prevail in Lubbock. It will be close, but McCoy will provide just enough for a "W." Alabama will lose not in Death Valley, but rather the SEC Championship Game. Penn State will run the tables and finish undefeated. Florida will win the SEC, but there one loss and Penn State's undefeated season will propel the Lions past them into the title game.
Texas Tech will trip again at least once more after they lose to the Longhorns, and look for the magical undefeated season of Utah's to end with a loss in the season finale to BYU. USC will win out but will remain far back in the polls because of their weak conference schedule.
As for the state of Oklahoma, the Sooners will win out for the season and the Cowboys of Oklahoma State will trip up twice more.
Monday, October 20, 2008
It's had a good run but it no longer serves the community that spawned it.
Innovation has been replaced with mediocrity and originality replaced with recycled nostalgia for the ghost of hip hop past, leaving nothing to look forward to. Honestly when was the last time you heard something (mainstream) that made you want to run around in circles and write down every word. When was the last time you didn't feel guilty nodding your head to a song that had a 'hot beat' after realizing the lyrical content made you cringe.
When I heard Jam Master Jay had been murdered, it was the icing on the cake.
A friend and I spoke for hours after he'd turned on the radio looking for solace and instead heard a member of the label Murder, Inc. about to give testimony about the slain DJ's legacy. My friend found the irony too great to even hear what the rapper had to say.
After we got off the phone, I dug through my crates and played the single "Self Destruction." The needle fell on the lyrics: "They call us animals I don't agree with them Let's prove em wrong But right is what were proving em"
The only thing that kept me from crying was my anger trying to imagine today's top hip hop artists getting together to do a song that urged disarmament in African American communities, or promoted literacy, or involved anything bigger than themselves for that matter. I couldn't picture it.
All I could picture were the myriad of hip hop conferences where the moguls and figureheads go through the motions and say the things that people want to hear but at the end of the day nothing changes. No new innovative artists are hired to balance out a roster of the pornographic fratricidal MC's.
In their place, we're presented with yet more examples of arrested development - the portrayal of grown men and women acting and dressing like 15 year olds. Balding insecure men in their mid 30's making entire songs about their sexual prowess and what shiny toys they have and you don't.
The only hate I see is self-hate. The only love I see is self-love. All one needs to do is watch cribs and notice none of these people, showing off their heated indoor pools or the PlayStation Two consoles installed in all twelve of their luxury cars, have a library in their home. Or display a bookshelf, for that matter. No rapper on cribs has ever been quoted saying: "Yeah, this is the room where I do all my reading, nahmean?"
To quote Puffy in Vogue magazine Nov, 2002: "Diamonds are a great investment... They're not only a girl's best friend, they are my best friend. I like the way diamonds make me feel. I can't really explain it, its like: that's a rock, something sent to me from nature, from God, it makes me feel good... It's almost like my security cape."
If rappers read, they might know about the decades of near-slavery endured by South African diamond miners. Or the rebels in Sierra Leone whose bloody diamond-fueled anti-voting rampages leave thousands of innocent men, women and children with amputated limbs.
Often, hip hop's blatant excess is rationalized with, "We came from nothing." That statement rings hollow given even a little bit of context.
African Americans have been "coming from nothing" for 400 years. That didn't stop previous generations of artists, activists, and ancestors from working toward a better situation for the whole, not just themselves. It's grotesque to see such selfish materialism celebrated by a generation who are literally the children of apartheid. The time has come to re-define the street and what it means to come from the street. Yes, criminals & violence come from the streets, but so do men and women who live their lives with kindness, and within the realm of the law. The problem with making! 'street' or 'realness' synonymous with criminality is that poor black children are demonized. You never see the image of middle class white children killing each other promoted as entertainment.
I respect the ability of an artist to explore the darker side or extremities of their personality but when that's all there is, there is no balance. In previous years, NWA existed simultaneously with Native Tongues, Cypress Hill and Digable Planets, Gangstar and 2 live crew.
There's room for thugz, playaz, gangstas, and what have you. My issue (aside from the fact that rappers spell everything phonetically) is that they have no heart. Rappers reflect what has become a new image of success where money is its own validation and caring is soft unless you're dropping a single about your dead homie.
Question: Why haven't these so-called "ballers" gotten together and bought a farm, a prison, a super market chain, or chartered a school? But they all have clothing lines. Smells like a sucker to me. The lack of social responsibility from people who claim to 'rep the streets' is stunning.
Yet we still have had the hearts and minds of most of the world. We negate this power if we don't step up to the plate. Our perspective needs to change; our whole idea of power needs to globalize. Gangsta shouldn't be shooting someone you grew up with in the face; "Gangsta" is calling the United States to task for not attending the World Summit on Racism in South Africa. "Balling" shouldn't be renting a mansion; it should be owning your own distribution company or starting a union. Bill Cosby's bid to buy NBC was more threatening than any screwface jewelry clad MC in a video could ever be.
As a DJ, it's hard: I pick up the instrumental version of records that people nod their head to... and mix it with the a cappella version of artists with something to say. It is expensive and frustrating. But I feel like the alternative is the musical equivalent to selling crack: spinning hits because it's easy, ignoring the fact that it's got us dancing to genocide. There are plenty of alternatives today but you'd never know it through the mass media. Hip hop has become Steven Seagal in a doo-rag.
Meanwhile, media radar rarely registers artists like Cannibal Ox, Madlib and the whole Stones Throw crew, Bless, Saul Williams, Bus Driver, Del, Gorillaz, anything from Def Jux, Freestyle Fellowship, Anti Pop Consortium, Kool Keith, Prince Paul, shit Public Enemy... the list goes on for ever. I get some solace from knowing and supporting these artists, and from the fact that around the world from Germany to Cuba to Brazil to South Africa, hip hop's accessibility and capacity for genius is still vital, thriving, and relevant.
And yes even among the bleak landscape in this country, wonderful things do happen. Like Camp Cool J and various artists donating money to research AIDS and even lend their faces to voting campaigns. Russell Simmons, among other socially conscious endeavors, led a rally to stop NYC's mayor from cutting the school budget and donates part of the proceeds from his sneaker sales to the reparations movement. The lack of coverage of efforts like this is as much to blame as any wack MC with a platinum record.
I'm not dissing the innovators of the art form, or those of us who got it where it is today. I will always play and support what I feel is good work. I guess this rant came more out of what Chuck D said at the end of Self Destruction: "We've got to keep ourselves in check," and no one has checked hip hop for some time.
I've entertained the idea that I might just be getting old. But if it's a function of my age that I remember hip hop as the peoples champ, so be it.
I was raised on a vital art form that has now become a computer-generated character doing the cabbage patch in a commercial, or a comedian 'raising the roof.' That's not influence to me, that's mockery. Hip hop my friend, it's been a great 30 years filled with great memories, and it's been fun to watch you grow. We've got dozens of broke innovators and plenty of mediocre millionaires out of the deal, but I really need my space now and we've got to go our separate ways. I will always love you, but it's time for me to move on.
Yo, what happened to peace? Peace.
Wanna see this article in your favorite hip hop, teeny, style or music magazine. Make one or more copies go to your local drug store or supermarket and stick them there. If that act is too guerilla for your tastes, just email it to a friend.
Have fun, stay blessed and smile today.
- Pierre Bennu
Friday, October 17, 2008
Last Saturday the LSU Tigers got clobbered by the Florida Gators 51-21. The loss was nothing short of painful and embarrassing, yet because of this loss something died. Something immeasurable by any scientific study.
The death was that of my lucky LSU purple t-shirt.
Luck and sports almost play hand in hand. No team has ever been successful without the help of some no-name fan wearing his lucky shirt on gameday. You think LSU won last year's BCS Championship because of Matt Flynn, Jacob Hester, Early Doucet, and Glen Dorsey? Well they did most of the work, but lets not forget another little helper out there.
My shirt that is.
Yes, that purple shirt was special. For a good two years I wore it and last year's season the luck of the shirt was at it's climax. Would LSU had come back and beaten Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Tennesse had it not been for my shirt? I really don't know.
Let me put it this way, the games I did not have my t-shirt on the entire game (Kentucky, Arkansas) LSU lost.
Scary isn't it?
Even after the 2007 season ended I still felt there was some luck in that shirt. Sure it was a shard of cloth by now, but again some luck was left. September 20 LSU beat Auburn 26-21, which could only mean one thing: the shirt was still alive and well.
But last Saturday I pushed my luck. I obviously without knowing pushed my t-shirt's luck too far. He's done a lot for me, I mean he helped bring in a National Championship for LSU football. I wish I had known prior to the LSU/Florida game that he did not have a lot of time left and that our days of miralce wins were over. He did his best to try and bring a win back to Baton Rouge. Using his amazing luck he did manage to have LSU rally from a 20-0 deficit to a mere 20-14 ball game, but that was all he could do.
Every sports fan knows the death of a lucky item happens when your team puts up a terrible performance. That performance for my shirt was the 51-21 Florida slaughter of LSU.
I write this blog in memory of my purple LSU shirt. You never talked much, but you brought me more fortune than any shirt I have ever had.
May you rest in peace old buddy.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Bengals 0-5; 4 losses by 27 points; average loss just under 7 points
Texans; 0-4; 2 losses by 7 points total; average loss 3.5 points
Chargers; 2-3; 3 losses by 10 points; average loss 3.3 points
Eagles; 2-3; 3 losses by 14 points; average loss just under 5 points
Raiders; 1-3; 2 losses by 11 points; average loss 5.5 points
Wonder how good these teams would be if they could (gasp) play in the fourth quarter!
Okay now onto the college football match ups. Here are my predictions for the games taking place in the Top 25 this Saturday.
1 Oklahoma vs. 5 Texas
Bob Stoops owns Mack Brown in this rivalry. Yes, Vince Young lead the Longhorns to two wins, but overall, Stoops's teams have always won. I don't see any reason to think that just maybe this one time Texas pulls off the upset. In a losing effort Colt McCoy will be outstanding.
17 Oklahoma State @ 3 Missouri
I understand it was Nebraska they destroyed, but still! Mizzou is better than I thought. Oklahoma State could keep it close at first, but ultimately future Heisman trophy winner Chase Daniel will be too much. In two eye blinks Daniel will destroy Okie State's dreams of an upset. 7-7 to 28-7 in no time.
4 LSU @ 11 Florida
So much is at stake here. First, LSU can ruin Florida's season by handing the Gators' their second loss of the season. Second, Florida can be the first team to dethrone the national champions from last season. Third, LSU could potentially win in another difficult atmosphere. Fourth, Florida could avenge their heartbreaking 28-24 loss at Tiger Stadium from last year. Fifth, okay okay you get the picture this game is big. It will be close and both teams are bringing everything. Even the towel boy. LSU will prevail because the line domination. Charles Scott will ulitmately have his way with Florida and Colt David will provide enough to clinch a victory in the Swamp.
Nebraska @ 7 Texas Tech
Well, Coach Pelini it does not get any better. First Mizzou now the Tech offense? Geez. Good luck. I think the Red Raiders are not worthy of their No. 7 ranking. No big wins. And a big win is not stomping Nebraska.
6 Penn State @ Wisconsin
My oh my are the Nittany Lions are sneaking up on the college football world! It's been a while since Joe Paterno had a really good PSU team. Wisconsin has lost two straight Big Ten games. Things are looking desperate for the Badgers who just let the Buckeyes get out of Camp Randall with a win. I was thisclose to having Wisconsin pull off the upset, but that Penn State offense has been pretty impressive. Joe Pa and Co. will not win this one easily.
26-18 Penn State
Arizona State @ 8 USC
What happened to the Dennis Erickson Tempe, Arizona party? ASU has fallen flat this year and after USC with or without Sanchez they will be even flatter. You are thinking the Trojans come out flat...possibly? Please. McKnight has a field day. Yawn.
New Mexico @ 9 BYU
Max Hall's destruction of all defenses will continue when he goes against a weak Lobos' D. The record number of TDs in a game was 11 by David Klinger in 1990. Hall won't break that on this day, and well, won't really need to. Look for BYU's D to again impress people.
Tennessee @ 10 Georgia
Georgia got embarrassed by Bama two weeks ago. They are looking to prove people that a national championship dream is still not out of the question. As for UT they beat Northern Illinois 13-9. By the way, I'm sure Georgia wants payback for last year's terrible loss to the Vols. Look for the score to be closer than the actual domination UT will be handed.
Purdue @ 12 Ohio State
I could see the Boilermakers possibly causing some problems for the Bucks in this game, but Boeckman is not QB anymore. Meaning? OSU can move the ball now. Purdue keeps it respectable, but again that Bucks offense with Pryor and Wells is too much.
13 Vanderbilt @ Missississississippi State
I think I spelled everything right. Not sure. Anyway, Vandy needs to watch out for this trap game. MSU took it to LSU two weeks ago and will be wanting to end this happy undefeated Vandy season this Saturday. I look for a letdown from the Commodores.
Mississippi State 24-20
14 Utah @ Wyoming
Utah avoided an upset last week when they defeated Oregon State. The Utes are definitely BCS potential and are aware of that. Look for Utah to come out rolling on all cylinders after coming so close to defeat last week.
15 Boise State @ Southern Miss
This seems to be a big upset pick for a lot of analysts. But one thing will stop that from happening: Boise State has a defense. In the past, Boise never had a stellar unit on that side of the ball. Sure the offense has been terrific, but the game is won by the D Saturday.
28-22 Boise State
Colorado @ 16 Kansas
Kansas did not look good for four quarters in their 35-33 win over Iowa State. As for Colorado the Buffs got outplayed big time in their 38-14 loss to Texas. Colorado will lose a nail biter as Todd Reesing of Kanas directs a late game winning scoring drive. So close Colorado...
Arkansas @ 20 Auburn
Auburn fired their offensive coordinator Tony Franklin after nearly being last in just about every category. It was the right move for an Auburn team already with two losses. In comes Arkansas, who has been getting slaugthered week in and week out. This will be a good confidence booster for Auburn, but again this is Arkansas.
Notre Dame @ 22 North Carolina
Let the ND babbling begin. Charlie Weis will pull of this upset behind the stellar play of Jimmy Clausen. Clausen has slowly been developing each week into a better QB. Butch Davis does have a team in UNC, but look for the Irish to squeak one out in the end.
26-24 Notre Dame
23 Michigan State @ Northwestern
In 2006 Michigan State played Northwestern. The Spartans would trail 38-3 before rallying to win the game. That remains the greatest comeback in the history of college football. Anyway, as for this year's game, NW is undefeated but has not gone against anyone like Javon Ringer. Ringer will be the deciding factor.
31-21 Michigan State.
25 Ball State @ Western Kentucky
Congratulations on being ranked Ball State. No reason to think that will change this week. Ball State shut out a Toledo team last week at home (31-0) that hung 54 on Fresno State. Quite simply, Ball State has a defense which will ultimately stop an upset from ever happening.
30-16 Ball State
Friday, September 26, 2008
Unless you live under a rock I am sure all college football fans are aware of the stunning upset the Oregon State Beavers orchestrated against the USC Trojans. Against the No. 1 team in the land, the Beavers of Corvallis, Or., unseated Pete Carroll's crew 27-21. Behind the obvious thrilling game that took place Thursday night, what really did USC's loss signify?
Looking back their are several main areas this loss touches on. For one, Oregon State needs to get the credit they deserve for having pulled off two straight wins against USC in Corvallis. OSU did not get any lucky breaks or use trick plays, they simply manhandled the Trojans. Head coach Mike Riley seems to have Carroll's number. I know, I can not understand it either, but Riley always gets his troops ready for battle when the Trojans come to town.
My second point rests with big deficits USC throws themselves into. Point 1: In 2006 the Trojans trailed the Beavers 33-10 before losing 33-31 after missing a two point conversion. Last night USC trailed 21-0 at one point. Basically the Trojans do not just put themselves in a hole, they nearly dig a canyon. Had USC not played so lousy in 2006 and 2008 to where the deficits were difficult for any team to come back from, then maybe the team could of rallied for a win. But the fact remains, no matter who you are, coming back from 20+ points is pretty difficult. Especially in an environment such as Corvallis.
Thirdly I would like to discuss the unbelievable performance by 5'6'', 180 pound, freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers. On 37 carries Rodgers had an astounding 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Oregon State's successes would never had happened had this virtually unknown athlete ripped through the Trojan defensive line time and time again. But, after Rodgers's performance there was one thing I could not stop thinking about? Beanie Wells. Seeing such a small running back do so much damage to the USC defensive line definitely makes us all wonder how Beanie Wells would of done against USC. In fact, it almost puts a big asterisks next to the Trojans' 35-3 win. Then again maybe USC just had an abnormally bad game Thursday night.
Let me say this. A lot of people in the country, more so than ever, really want to see a USC/Ohio State rematch in the Rose Bowl. Bottom line: people want to see what Beanie can do against this Trojan defensive line.
My fourth point: leadership. USC has all the talent in the world. No question about it; Carroll knows how to recruit and put a team together. Yet with all the talent in the world, USC still lost? Why? Like so many others have stated, "USC did not have the leadership it needed at the end of the game." Mark Sanchez could end up being a terrific QB, but last night he did not have it all. He was not able to drive down his team for the tying touchdown when trailing by seven in the fourth. That in itself is nothing short of huge.
In 2007 the LSU Tigers found ways to win. They had players who made plays and made victories happen. It does not seem USC has that yet. Sure, Joe McKnight is one of the most dynamic players in the nation, but he was gone yesterday. He was simply lost in a different world bobbling punt returns and getting tackled for huge losses. This leadership flaw was certainly seen by all.
So overall this victory is significant because it shows a) USC is not an invincible as we were lead to believe, b) USC is in a state of flux. The Pac-10 has one team in the Top 25 (USC), and they just lost to a Beaver team with a losing record. How strong is that conference? And finally, c) USC already has one loss and we have not even finished September yet. Could more be coming?
Before I sign off let me recognize the Unsung Hero of last night's game. Of course Rodgers was the star, but the guy who really made an impact was Johnny Hekker the punter. Three times Hekker pinned the Trojans inside the 20, twice he pinned them inside their ten. Listen I do not care how good of a quarterback you are, to be trailing by seven on the road, 95 yards aways is nothing you could characterize as "simple."
One final note: I must acknowledge that indeed my friend Corey called this upset. Yes, I too was shocked when I heard him make this statement. Very well, Corey you were right I was wrong.
Reap the benefits.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
In my lifetime I really wonder if I will ever, 100 percent comprehend, what Jarrett Lee pulled off at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday night.
When all the dust has settled and this game is looked back at in 15 years it will not be the ending of the home winning streak in the LSU/Auburn series that will be remembered, but more importantly the emergence of an LSU quarterback. The birth of a leader who lead his team to victory, despite going against all odds.
Lets try and put into perspective what Lee accomplished last night.
One year ago on October 20, 2007, LSU trailed Auburn 17-7 at half in Tiger Stadium. Even with Glenn Dorsey, Matt Flynn, Jacob Hester, and Early Doucet on the roster, victory for the Tigers still seemed like a long shot. LSU did win that day in one of the most exciting games in LSU history. Flynn-to-Byrd is etched in the minds of Tiger faithful forever.
Now fast forward to about a year later; last night, and you had an even more overwhelming situation. LSU was down 14-3 at the half, at Auburn, with inexperienced Jarrett Lee and Andrew Hatch taking turns at quarterback. To top off this daunting task the starting quarterback, Andrew Hatch, went out of the game with a head injury in the third quarter.
With Hatch out for the game early in the third quarter, Lee was thrown back under center. In the first half Lee threw 5 passes, all were incomplete, including one that lead to a costly, six Auburn points.
Was LSU's back against the wall? You bet. Was Auburn one score away from putting this game away? For sure. Did seeing Hatch go out injured then replaced by Lee scare the bajezuz out of many LSU fans? Of course.
This was not an ordinary victory for LSU. Yes, you could say this was essentially the same group of men who lead countless come from behind victories last year, but still one main difference sticks out: Jarrett Lee.
A 19-year old redshirt freshman from Texas was supposed to lead the Tigers to victory? Les Miles believed and so did offensive coordinator Gary Crowton.
In one quarter LSU transformed a 14-3 deficit into a 17-14 lead. Behind play calling that had one of the best defenses guessing play after play, LSU switched from a first half team that was a deer-in-headlights to the swaggering, SEC juggernaut that we have all come to know.
Lee's first touchdown to Chris Mitchell for 39 yards gave LSU players one thing: hope.
The second touchdown, Keiland Williams's half-back pass to Demetrius Byrd gave the LSU players another thing: their swagger.
And finally, LSU's winning touchdown, a short screen pass from Lee to Brandon LaFell, gave the LSU team their biggest missing ingredient: confidence.
There are various reasons as to why LSU came out on top last night at Jordan-Hare stadium. Too many to count, too many to state. But the main one, the one everyone saw is Jarrett Lee.
On September 20, 2008, Jarrett Lee transformed from a quarterback prodigy to a starting SEC quarterback.
Welcome to manhood Lee.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
This past week in Baton Rouge, La., has been nothing short of hell. Hurricane Gustav made sure of that by attempting to ruin all sorts of football entertainment.
He failed because I am still here and I am still going to give you my analysis on some important football games I saw this weekend.
26 Florida 3 Miami-Florida
To the naked eye the final score of this game might make one think it was all Florida all four quarters. As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend!"
Tim Tebow is an incredible player, but it seems more and more teams are doing a better job of putting pressure on him. (Remember Michigan in the Capital One Bowl?) Miami outplayed Florida in the first half, and maybe could of hung closer if more experience was on the team. Either way, Florida does not look as awesome as they were proclaiming all offseason. The Gators are a work in progress and Superman is not unstoppable.
On the other hand, maybe, just maybe, the U is farther along with Coach Shannon than anyone expected. The 'Canes have the talent it's just a matter of producing on the field.
26 OSU 14 Ohio
Maybe it was the fact OSU plays USC next week, or maybe it has to do with Beanie Wells not playing. Either way trailing the University of Ohio on your home turf going into the fourth quarter is NOT good thing. Listen, personally I think OSU just overlooked the Bobcats. I mean look at the talent on OSU. You think not having Beanie Wells against the Bobcats was really that much of a difference? I didn't think so.
Now let's say OSU did play so poorly because they were without Beanie. Well, then I don't see a happy September 13 for the Buckeye faithful. Reason? This is a clear cut sign OSU relies too much on Beanie. USC will be expecting that. For OSU to beat USC they need Beanie and some more. Make sense?
NEW GAME MOUTH RECENTLY STARTING WATERING FOR....
Ohio State @ Wisconsin (October 4)
We knew this game would be good (at Camp Randall!) before the season started, but now it looks like it could be a classic. The Badgers run the ball crazy (that's a given), but they also seem to be throwing it out more (308 yards against Marshall). When the notorious OSU defense takes the field against the Badgers offense, basic science tells us something has to give.
24 Saints 20 Buccaneers
The ending to this one was nothing short of what the audience expected. But, unlike last year the Saints' D did come through in the clutch. In their first appearance as a team the D unit was shaky at times, but it did seal the victory.
Some key points:
1. Jonathan Vilma. The new linebacker made his presence known forcefully. 9 tackles, all with the same jaw-dropping intensity. The Saint faithful only hope No. 51 gets better.
2. Reggie Bush. No one seems to be criticized faster than Mr. Bush. Okay so maybe he can't be an every down back. So what. Just get him the ball somehow. He's electric and is nothing short of a playmaker. Not every player takes that little slant pass today and turns it into a 42 yard scamper.
3. Pierre Thomas. The undrafted second year man is making a name for himself. 10 carries for 52 yards. With Deuce still recovering and Reggie not being much of an every down back, Thomas has stepped in and done nicely so far. Rumors have it that N.O. is pursuing the recently released Chicago Bear Cedric Benson. Either way, Thomas is moving up the depth chart.
34 Bills 10 Seahawks
Whoa! Are these the same Bills I'm thinking of? Seattle is no pushover so this could be big news for the Bills. Reading the recap on the game, Buffalo jumped out on Seattle and never let up.
For the first time in a while the Bills may have themselves a solid offense, right when Tom Brady is pronounced out for the year. Wow. Can you spell possible AFC East champs? Hmm.
It will be interesting to see if Marshawn Lynch can reach his potential and become that marquee back the Bills have been missing ever since McGahee left town.
Well that covers about all I have to say for tonight. Yes, I could of written more, but again Hurricane Ike is outside my window. What nerve.
Monday, July 28, 2008
When I was younger I never could quite understand how NFL players can spend their entire career never giving into pain, always fighting for the extra yard, only to breakdown into tears the day they retired.
I never understood how these men, born to fight through pain, let everything out during the press conference they called it quits.
Yes, these men love the game, but tears? Why?
I did not find the answer to the question until about 15 months ago. At the time I was a writer for LSU's Daily Reveille. That spring I took on the task of interviewing NFL Hall-of-Famer Y.A. Tittle. Tittle was one of football's first pocket passers in the 1960s. Towards the end of our discussion I asked Tittle a few questions pertaining to retirement. As Tittle stated the hardest thing about retiring is the reality that football, the sport you have played your whole life, is all over.
"When you did have to retire you missed it many years after that. I know I realized that I’ve been out so long that my memories are fading still I do miss the game. I started playing [football] in the 5th grade. I played for 37 years counting the pros and LSU."
To put it simply, retiring from a professional sport is a little different than retiring at the age of 65. For one, most of these guys, like Tittle stated, have played football their entire lives. When a man retires from his engineering job, you pretty much know that that individual was not an engineer his entire life. Sure he might of been in the business for 37 years, but doubtful he was always an engineer.
When athletes retire they enter a completely different world. A world that have not lived in since they were a child. And it is that thought, that realization, that their is no more football, basketball, baseball, and so on that makes these grown men cry.
This is why you had Michael Jordan return to the NBA twice. This is why shortly after retiring, Brett Favre wants to come back. Despite all the battles these men have endured on the court or field the reality of living in a world without themselves competing in their sport is too much to bear.
It's a cold reality.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Sorry to all who read my blog. I have been out of the country for over a month. I'll be sure to update you on my thoughts when I return.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The NBA Playoffs are amongst yet again, and much like every other year the constant suckling of Robert Horry carries on. The life or death stories of Horry's incredible postseason shots are once again told to large audiences. People gasp at the man who now has 7 NBA titles.
But, it's all overhyped. All blown out of proportion because when you get right down to it. When you really look at Robert Horry's career you see Big Shot Rob was nothing more than an average player on some very good teams. In my mind, I see him as a leach.
In 16 seasons Horry's career numbers are about 7.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, and yes of course we have to add in his staggering playoff numbers as well where Horry has averaged 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Listen Robert Horry has been an incredible clutch shooter in playoff time, but please let's cease from putting him in the same paragraph as playoff legends Micheal Jordan, Larry Bird, Jerry West, and so on. Horry's name should probably be mentioned alongside someone such as Bill Laimbeer.
Simply put, Horry made a living on jumping on teams on the rise. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets and where he stayed for 4 season. It was here Horry was his most most dominant. (10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds in the regular season; 12 points and 6.3 rebounds in the postseason) Horry won 2 titles with Hakeem and Co. Following a brief stop in Phoenix, Horry latched on in LA with the Lakers where he helped win 3 titles. When that title run was over Horry jumped ship and struck land in San Antonio where he has already won two titles.
After leaving Houston that impact on games was seen less and less by Robert Horry. From the 1996-97 season to present day, stats for Horry are around 6 points and 5 rebounds per game, with a slight increase in playoff times.
Pretty impressive, yet I sit here waiting for the long time vet to make his next move. I mean in a couple of years Boston may be his next stop. His next destination to win 2 titles and further embellish his career and yet again let us, the fans, hear his name thrown around with legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Horry will be remembered for his countless big shots, but remember, Big Shot Rob was never the focal point on any of his championship teams. He was never the dominant player, the guy who was the focal point of a team. It seems to me the media loves embracing the fact that there is a basketball player in the league who has 7 rings. That simple fact drives all of this. It is the underlining reason Horry's career is held in such high regard when in all honesty Robert Horry is nothing more than the most infamous, average ballplayer we have ever seen.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
In general, professional sports are ruthless when it comes to hiring and firing coaches. But nothing holds a candle to the NBA. Don't get me wrong the NFL and MLB are tough, but the NBA is downright cut throat.
And it needs to stop. This is not right. This is not just.
Two prime examples stick out to me the most: Sam Vincent and Avery Johnson. Both coaches were recently fired, and frankly, I believe they were mistakes.
Exhibit A: former Charlotte Bobcats coach Sam Vincent
One year ago Vincent was the talk of North Carolina as UNC grad Michael Jordan recently hired him to be the new coach. Vincent was going to the next best thing to coach in the NBA, but MJ seemed to think it was time to part ways with Vincent after one year.
That's right, after one season Jordan felt a new guy was needed. Correct me if I am wrong, but Jordan has not had was you could call the most "stellar" NBA front office career so far. Wouldn't you think that giving your team's coach needed, I don't know, more than one year to show his potential? I mean one year? That's absurd.
Sure Charlotte went 30-52, but I do believe it was the franchise's best record ever and believe it or not the 'Cats finished a mere 7 games out of the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
I don't get it. I would think that MJ would realize getting a solid basketball team is not a quick fix solution. So why Jordan, why fire your coach after one season?
Exhibit B: former Dallas Maverick coach Avery Johnson
It is the 2006 NBA Finals and it is Game 3 between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. Dallas currently leads the series 2-0 and is up by 13 with about 6:40 remaining in the game in Miami. Before long it should be 3-0 Dallas! The trophy will be heading to the Texas city in no time!
Then Dwyane Wade came alive and just like that Miami stormed back to win the game...and the next three games.
The Mavs would never be the same.
Ever since the losing the 2006 NBA Finals Dallas seems to be taking more and more steps back. Last year the team was a league best 67-15. As great as their record was the Mavs were manhandled in six games by the 8th seeded Golden State Warriors. Flashforward to this year where Dallas is struggling midseason. The team makes a blockbuster trade for Jason Kidd, yet in the the end same result: first round series loss in 5 games to New Orleans.
Avery Johnson the coach of the Mavericks during the city's up and down times was brought in for Don Nelson as the coach who would lead Dallas to promised land (well, he got halfway). The coach was a star in the making, yet in such a short amount of time that all changed. Johnson is unemployed for the wrong reasons.
Cuban, like Jordan, got frustrated and in my opinion will not get a better coach than he had in Johnson. Dallas lost something inside themselves when Miami defeated them. Something that no matter how hard Johnson pressed on would not change in his players. For one, it seems Dirk is universially now known as a flake come playoff time.
Did Cuban get it right firing Johnson for back-to-back playoff exits? I, honestly don't think so. Sure you can say, "Dallas wasn't going anywhere!" But, to be frank I think that has to do with the players on the team. Cuban will find out in a hurry that he had a good coach in Johnson who just needed some time to get over the hurdle...and when he does Cuban will be kicking himself for letting him go in the first place.
Two first round exits are bad, but keep in mind this year Dallas was going against the 2nd seeded team in the New Orleans Hornets. When you look at Avery Johnson's three years it really can be seen that in fact his "failures" were nothing more than blown out of proportion situations.Note: Avery Johnson is going to get snagged by someone. Here's my shot in the dark: LA Clippers. Also, reports are saying that Larry Brown is headed to Golden State to coach the Warriors....
in two years...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I have come to realize I am not a normal sports fan. I do not just watch sporting events, I live them. I am a sports maniac and it has been 153 days since my last explosion at the television.(Gulp. LSU's triple overtime loss to Arkansas on November 23, 2007 to be exact.)
Anyway it has been through thorough research that I have come up with 5, that's right 5 basic rules/signs that correctly classify someone, such as myself, as a sports maniac.
If you answer "Yes" to anyone of these you are a sports maniac. The more times you say "Yes" the more of a maniac you are.
Enjoy and by the way I said "Yes" to all 5.
5. When Your Team Loses You Are in Depression for a Week
This is a big one, especially when it comes to LSU football. When my team loses everything else just stinks. What's that we are having steak for Sunday's family dinner? Doesn't matter they lost! Sweet I no school this Friday! Doesn't matter they lost. When your team loses, the world stops revolving. I am sure that is a scientific fact
4. You Imagine Yourself as a Superstar Athlete During Your Sporting Endeavors
It's a nice, friendly came of touch football in the backyard, but not for you. Oh, heck no! Why you are Peyton Manning directing the offense ready to win the game! Call the signals and watch for that pass rush from your younger brother who seems to be switching up the defense! And remember stay composed! Do not let the three people on the sidelines talking distract you!
3. When You Lose In a Meaningless Sports Game You Blow It Out of Proportion
The pickup basketball game is going great. It's two of your buddies and you versus three other guys. Next basket wins. Your buddy gambles on defense and you lose the game. You are devastated as victory was so close; now it is gone forever. How will you ever recover from having lost the single biggest game (of that evening)?
2. You Get Upset When Team's Lose You Really Don't Care About
The Trailblazers epic loss to the Lakers in 2000 and the recent defeat by the Memphis Tigers in the NCAA Tournament championship game upset me, but honestly why the heck do I care? I mean nothing against Portland and Memphis, but 99% of the year I really am not a fan of them. I like LSU and the Saints, yet when I watch a game I get into it so much that when the team I am rooting for loses I get upset. Yes, I am indeed troubled.
1. You are American
I understand Europeans are probably the most intense fans (look at the soccer games), but no nation is more involved in more sports than America. I mean there's football, soccer, basketball, baseball, hockey, and that's not even including the college aspect of them. Americans are by far the kings of sports obsession.
Now if I could only find a cure to my disease...
Monday, April 14, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
I must admit I never would of thought 4 No. 1 seeds would make it to the Final 4 and I would also be satisfied with the tournament so far. I always imagined myself rather upset if 4 No. 1 seeds made it to the Final 4 because that would mean the tournament had no upsets.
Well, as we all know that is not at all the case for this year's tournament. Before I breakdown the Final 4 matches here are 5 thoughts I say...
1. Texas faithful do not be upset your Longhorns lost in the Elite 8 for the second time in three years. This Texas team was a year ahead of schedule. I expect to see them in the future as Augustin continues to develop. Oh and that Memphis Tiger team was pretty darn talented too! Yeah Texas was over matched.
2. One of my friends is right, Kevin Love makes everything go for UCLA. Sure he can rebound, block, and score, but he really does even more. He is incredible at creating endless opportunities for the Bruins. Without him on the court I think UCLA is a completely different squad.
3. Throughout the year the two main men I knew that were great ball players for Memphis where Douglas-Roberts and Dorsey. I didn't really see how good Derek Rose until his game against Texas. Wow he's a sure lottery pick. Absolutely blew by Augustin countless times. I remember one instance that took my breath away. Rose grabbed a board, went coast-to-coast and drove right down the lane for layup in the Longhorns face. Wow.
4. Who hit those big shots for Xavier against West Virginia? BJ Raymond. Mr. Raymond was a fellow classmate of mine at St. John's Jesuit high school. I was happy to see him in his golden moment, but sad his team did lose that weekend to UCLA. Don't hang your head Raymond you lost to a UCLA team that could very easily win the whole tournament. Good job on putting St. John's Jesuit back on the map!
5. And finally no team lost with more honor than Davidson. Sorry Wildcats but I never gave you a chance in hell against the Jayhawks, yet in the end you had Kansas right where you wanted them. Stephen Curry seems to need about as much of an opening as Reggie Miller to get a shot off. Despite his 9/25 shooting I was overly impressed on just how successful he was at times despite KU players chasing him all over the court.
Memphis vs. UCLA
Storyline: Last week was not too difficult for both teams, especially Memphis which won both it's contests by 18 points. UCLA is entering a Final 4 matchup for the third consecutive year.
My Call: This tournament I have done better than in the past, which is why I am sticking with my original prediction that the Memphis Tigers will advance to the Finals. Everyone seems to be banking on UCLA winning the whole tournament, but I was really impressed with the Tigers thrashing of the Spartans and Longhorns this past week. I look at the lineups and I have to say the Tigers are going to bring it 100% at Love. Joey Dorsey, Robert Dozier, and Pierre Niles are all either 6'9" or 6'8". They are going to be putting a body on Love all night.
Plus, I look at Antonio Anderson the 6'6" who suffocated numerous opponents in the tourney so far. Prime example is sharpshooter Drew Neitzel.
And finally the exceptional play of Derek Rose. Rose is going to give Collison trouble all night.
76 Memphis 67 UCLA____________________________________________________________________________________
North Carolina vs. Kansas
Storyline: These teams have faced-off 3 times in NCAA Tournament. One of the most notable showdowns was the 54-53 triple overtime win the Tar Heels had over Wilt Chamberlin's Jayhawks in the championship game. (How do you only score 50 something points after 2 halves and 3 overtimes? Beats me.) UNC comes into this game with the best player in the nation in Tyler...oh let's stop with that nickname! His name is Psycho T. The Heels held off a strong Louisville team to reach another Final Four for Roy Williams. Kansas comes into this game with Coach Bill Self finally getting the monkey off his back. Kansas held off a the Cinderella story Davidson Wildcats with some clutch defense down the stretch.
My Call: I would hate to think one of these fan bases is going to be crushed come this weekend. Who will that loser be? North Carolina. Kansas will prevail in this game for a couple reasons. For one, I like Kansas's style of play. They are constantly running the court. I guess when I see Kansas I keep thinking there are a heck of a lot of seniors on that team. Not to say the underclassman for UNC are not serious about the game, its just there is a certain something dramatic for a basketball player to know in the back of his head, "This could be the last game I ever play in college."
Also, I like this Sasha Kaun character. Psycho T will outplay him, but Sasha will be the X-Factor in this game. If he gets hot, trouble could start right from the get-go for Roy Williams and Co.
Final Score: 73 Kansas 68 North Carolina
Storyline: Can Kansas finally win their first championship after Danny and the Miracles did it in 1988? Will Memphis's John Calipiri finally bring home some hardware?
My Call: Enjoy this Bruce Pearl, your Tennessee squad is the only one that beat the National Champion Memphis Tigers. Memphis will beat the Jayhawks in a very evenly matched game. First and foremost the athleticism on the court will have any NBA scout drooling. But the difference in who wins this game will be Derek Rose. I firmly believe this guy is a very dangerous player who is going to make some big shots in the final moments against Kansas to pull out a W. He will be a top 3 NBA draft pick.
Final Score: 72 Memphis 65 Kansas
Note: All Memphis, UNC, UCLA, and Kansas fans enjoy this moment right now because come this weekend it could be gone like that (for three of you). I am an LSU fan and loved the 2006 season, but just like that UCLA ripped our hearts out. Still, be proud your team got this far.
Friday, March 28, 2008
It's funny how the sports world works. I mean in the end when you retire all that matters is the championship column. Who you were as a person, how you were as a player are all really irrelevant.
Lets look at Chris Webber an All-Star power forward who just retired this past week. No one seems to point out how he was one of the greatest big men passers ever, or how he averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds for his 15 year NBA career. No the only thing that comes to light when Webber is brought up is he never won a title.
Nothing about his teams, no him. Never is it pointed out that maybe the Kings could of taken the Lakers in 2002 if Peja could of hit the right side of a barn.
No, all that is pointed out is Webber did not win a championship. Webber did not beat the Lakers.
Here's a thought, why do we the fans hold this no title aspect of a player's career in the same regards as someone suffering from a disease?
I am a sports nut and I understand the great value a title is, but do not rip a man apart for all he did for a sport. Webber will be remembered for his majestic style of play for year's to come. No he is not a Hall of Famer, but regardless he is worthy of being remembered. Not tarnished.
Webber is a 35 year old man who is financially set for life. He did a terrific job contributing to the continuously growing game of basketball. He has kids who I expect will become the focal point of the remainder of his life.
What is so wrong with that? What is so wrong with what he did?
The constant talk shows bashing Webber's career flat out sicken out. Stop sitting there and treating Webber like he was useless because he did not get a title. Believe me I am still ticked off the Kings could not close the deal against the Lakers in 2002, but I am a fan. I was never on that court.
He was busting his butt and for him to lose that game, and for that matter countless others during his quest for an NBA title I can't help but tip my hat to him.
He did his best for 15 years game in and game out.
I would like to put a quote below that Webber said after officially retiring. It is short and sweet, but has a big meaning behind it.
"I just felt it was time to let the game go and be able to be happy about what I accomplished without trying to keep coming back."
The man did his best, it is now time for him to hang his coat up.
Honor that, respect it...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
The first week of March Madness has passed and despite reason for me to believe I was doing well for once, I, in the end did nothing short of average.
I got 20 out of the 32 teams correct for the second round, and 10 out of 16 teams for the Sweet 16. In case you are wondering for both rounds I correctly made my picks 63% of the time.
Below are 5 thoughts on my good and bad selections of the tournament so far...
1. I successfully called the Western Kentucky and Davidson upsets on Friday. Aaah doesn't get any better than this!
2. Thank you Xavier for being a second half team. I was sweating in the first and some of the second half, but the X-Men did turn it around!
3. I was on the money on selecting Butler to lose to Tennessee in a nail biter. That was my golden moment.
4. I figured Louisville would be a dark horse coming into this tourney, but the way they are playing now I would be pretty sure that dark horse image is gone. Pitino's crew is kicking tail and taking names.
5. The USC/Kansas State game was a coin flip for many people, yet for me I always imaged Michael Beasley getting the upper hand against OJ Mayo in the end. He did.
1. Thank you Clemson! You are up 36-18 and can not hold a lead? Pathetic. Don't talk to me. And then there is Oregon and St. Mary's who can't even hold second half leads . Yes, I will be getting sick thinking over this.
2. Um, yeah, never thought that Davidson would win another game. That completely screwed my bracket!
3. Are you kidding me Duke? You enter the tournament expecting to make noise and you nearly lose to Belmont then you get outplayed by West Virginia. What's going on Coach K? Wait! You can't forget about lovely Pittsburgh! I think the Panthers ended their season disappointing for the 27th consecutive year. Will this school ever live up to expectations.?
4. I would of done better in the first round had I just chosen the higher seed each time. Wow.
5. At least I did not have Kansas State going to the Sweet 16. Whew. Nah, I had them going to the Elite 8. I knew I never should of made that gamble official!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Again, I'll try my best to predict March Madness. Let me be honest as much as I love this tournament I have come to realize I am terrible on predicting.
It's awful. It's pathetic...but here I go. Enjoy.
1 UNC over 16b Mount St. Mary's
8 Indiana over 9 Arkansas
5 Notre Dame over 12 George Mason
4 Washington State over 13 Winthrop
11 St. Joe's over 6 Oklahoma
3 Louisville over 14 Boise State
7 Butler over 10 South Alabama
2 Tennessee over 15 American
UNC will cruise by the Play-In winner Mount St. Mary's with little effort; Indiana will defeat the Hogs because of their stellar guard play lead by Eric Gordon; ND will get past the first round for once and defeat a George Mason school with lofty expectations; Wazzu will beat Winthrop in a nail biter; St. Joe's will prove they deserved a bid by defeating an Oklahoma team by nearly double-digits; Louisville (my underdog for the region) will pull away from BSU in the final 5 minutes; Butler will get by South Alabama by 10+ points because of their experience and American's magical run will be over before it started as UT has a chip on their shoulder after the disturbing showing in the SEC Tourney.
1 UNC over 8 Indiana
4 Wazzu over 5 Notre Dame
3 Louisville over 11 St. Joe's
2 Tennessee over 7 Butler
UNC again will not have much trouble with their opponent, Indiana, who will really have nothing in store to stop Pyscho-T; Wazzu will again creep on as they defeat Notre Dame in an old-fashion defensive showdown; Louisville will prevail over SJ easily and for my big early missed opportunity game, Butler will lose a heartbreaker to a Tennessee Vol team poised to win the region.
1 UNC over 4 Wazzu
3 Louisville over 2 Tennessee
With nothing to stop Mr. Tyler, UNC will again move to the Elite 8 with not much trouble; Louisville will defeat an over hyped Vol team that nearly lost to Butler the week before.
3 Louisville over 1 UNC
Definitely the upset of the region. Pitino finally gets his club deep into the tournament with an unlikely upset of the tournament-favorite Tar Heels. Bottom line: Hansbrough can't win the game by himself.
1 Kansas defeats 16 Portland State
9 Kent State over 8 UNLV
5 Clemson over 12 Villanova
4 Vandy over 13 Siena
11 Kansas State over 6 USC
3 Wisconsin over 14 Cal-State Fullerton
10 Davidson over 7 Gonzaga
2 Georgetown over UMBC
Kansas, without a sweat, rolls past PSU in the second half after a slow first half; Kent State trips up UNLV to again make a statement the MAC is overlooked; Clemson beats 'Nova convincingly to show the Duke upset was no fluke; Vandy defeats a Saints' team that will give the Tennessee school a run for their money; Wisconsin defeats Fullerton with their old boring style of basketball; Davidson finally gets it right and gets past the first round with a closing moment victory over John Stockton's Alma mater and the Hoyas win over UMBC because I don't know what "UMBC" stands for.
Second Round1 Kansas over 9 Kent State
5 Clemson over 4 Vandy
11 Kansas State over 3 Wisconsin
2 Georgetown over 10 Davidson
Kansas gets huge scare, but comes from behind to beat the Flashes; Clemson takes down Vandy in one of the best games of tourney; Michael Beasley and Co. continue their tournament run with the defeat of the 1940s style basketball squad of Badgers and Georgetown easily prevails over Davidson as Roy Hibbert becomes too much to handle.
1 Kansas over 5 Clemson
2 Georgetown over 11 Kansas State
Odd thing is I actually had Clemson winning this game for a while, then I changed it at the last minute. Kansas will win this game because of the superior level of talent AND the Clemson's inexperience in such big games in the tourney. And much like the Clemson game, I switched my decision on this one as well. The Hoyas head to the Elite 8 for the second straight year.
1 Kansas over 2 Georgetown
I see a very lopsided win for the Jayhawks on this day. I have never been overly impressed by the Hoyas this year and a juggernaut team such as Kansas will prove my point. I think this is finally the year the Jayhawks stop tripping up in the tourney early on.
1 Memphis over 16 Texas-Arlington
9 Oregon over 8 Mississippi State
12 Temple over 5 Michigan State
4 Pitt over 13 Oral Roberts
6 Marquette over 11 Kentucky
3 Stanford over 14 Cornell
10 St. Mary's over 7 Miami (FL)
2 Texas over 15 Austin Peay
Memphis is my favorite for the tourney so Arlington should be no trouble; Oregon wins over MSU simply because choosing the 8/9 games is nothing short of a coin flip; Temple takes down Izzo's squad only because every now and then the Spartans choke in the first round; Marquette (tough one) makes the committee realize that yes, UK did not deserve to get a bid; Stanford wins over Cornell because it's Cornell; St. Mary's is victorious over The U because the Gaels have a reputation for making noise in the tourney and the Longhorns prevail because of the guard play differences amongst the schools.
By the way this is the best cheer ever. In the 1970s, Fly Williams was a basketball at Austin Peay. The stands use to yell, "The Fly is open! Let's go Peay!"
1 Memphis over 9 Oregon
4 Pittsburgh over 12 Temple
3 Stanford over 6 Marquette
2 Texas over 10 St. Mary's
Memphis cruises past the Ducks in what will be known as a No Contest; Pittsburgh wins simply because they are the ultimate sleeper; the Cardinals defeat Marquette because I really think this Stanford team is better than given credit for and Texas defeats St. Mary's it what will be a surprisingly close game.
1 Memphis over 4 Pittsburgh
3 Stanford over 2 Texas
Memphis beats Pitt in a nail biter because I thought about this match up too long and changed my mind. On the contrary, Stanford again moves on as the Longhorns yet again do not live up to expectations.
1 Memphis over 3 Stanford
This is a team on a mission. The Tigers lost a mere one game during the season. This squad is not going down this early. Memphis will win this by at least 7 points.
1 UCLA over 16 Miss. Valley St.
9 Texas A&M over 8 BYU
12 Western Kentucky over 5 Drake
4 UConn over 13 San Diego
11 Baylor over 6 Purdue
3 Xavier over 14 Georgia
10 Arizona over 7 West Virginia
2 Duke over 15 Belmont
UCLA will handle MVSU; A&M beats the Cougars because of a coin flip; Western Kentucky defeats this Drake squad because of more March Madness experience; UConn squeaks one out against St. Diego; Baylor defeats Purdon't as the team begins playing like it's the start of the season; Xavier, my big sleeper, ends UGA's dream week with a brutal thrashing of a Bulldog; 'Zona takes down WV with superior guard play and Duke, without error, takes down Belmont.
1 UCLA over 9 Texas A&M
4 UConn over 12 Western Kentucky
3 Xavier over 11 Baylor
2 Duke over 10 Arizona
UCLA defense is again too much for the Aggies as the Bruins advance with ease; UConn continues to sneak into another round by defeating the surprising Hilltoppers; Xavier lets the magical run continue and Duke exploits the Wildcats nationally on why the team had 14 losses.
1 UCLA over 4 UConn
3 Xavier over 2 Duke
UCLA defeats UConn by at least 10 points because of an absolute mismatch in talent and Xavier slays the Blue Devils in a game for the ages.
1 UCLA over 3 Xavier
The run is over as UCLA stops the Musketeers from continuing there magic anymore. Bruins make third consecutive Final Four.
1 Kansas over 3 Louisville
1 Memphis over 1 UCLA
Kansas stops Pitino's team's race for glory behind senior leadership and Memphis takes down the Bruins for their second straight Final Four exit because of Memphis's team of destiny standing.
1 Memphis over 1 Kansas
No surprise but the Memphis Tigers win the national championship for the first time ever. Memphis pulls out a 7 point win because of the team's consistency throughout the season. The Tigers have been waiting for this!
I'd be happy to read the predictions you guys have. Do not think you have type as much as me. Just let me know who you have in the Final Four and what big upsets you have.
Friday, March 14, 2008
5. "Get Low" by Lil Jon
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away rap music use to have meaning (gasp!). Yes, young child there was a day. A day when men such as Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, Tupac Shakur, Nas, and Biggie Smalls made music that had something to it. That music officially died the day Lil Jon composed this crapshoot.
Wow. Wow, wow wow. Where do you start with this song? Do you start with the fact it's written by someone who looks like the Predator? Or the fact the lyrics are so cheesy and flat out stupid that was hip-hop itself was sent back 15 years because of it?
No, I know where you start. One verse, one lyric.
"From the sweat drip down my balls..."
I don't even have to explain it. Geez, I hope Lil Jon gets hit by a car. Enough said.
I remember first hearing this garbage. It was elementary school and the song was fun to dance but...
along came the 4th grade and I was done with it, but not America. Oh dear nothing "makes" a baseball game than to hear that stupid song through the PA system. But as we all know the song is half of it. The dance is equally as disturbing.
I guess I just do not get it. I don't get why people play a song and say, "Hmm I'll waddle my butt to the ground!"
Chickens don't even do that! I think the chicken race would hate this song as well!
I am in 4th grade heading to Mrs. Skapik's math class. Some kids where in the hall dancing...dancing to the newest poison. Hanson's Mm Bop. I can proudly say I never took a sip of this poison aka danced to it/liked it/cared for it.
Years will pass, but every now and then for some unknown Satanic reason the song will be played again...and all those bad memories again return. This song is awful for 3 reasons:
1. It's song by 3 girly-looking boys. Where's the masculinity?!
2. What the hell is it about?
3. Mm Bop? Is that a noise? WTF?