Saturday, August 30, 2008

Signs seen on College Gameday

I wanted to start compiling these, so this may be a recurring blog. Post any good ones you see or have seen.


Kirk > Phelps + C.Norris

I could start in the big 10

Knowring 4 Knowshon

About 7 "Julio 4 Heisman"

Julio trained Phelps

Today's rank at about a 5.0 out of 10. None have come close to what we usually see in the Big 12. The best of all time so far?

Fowler, you look like F in HD

I dare anyone to top that one.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A College Football Preview

I have been doing this for years and now I finally have some accountability...

1. Oklahoma (13-0) - Toughest Road game is A&M, don't play Mizzou and get Texas Tech at home
2. USC (11-1) - Even if they lose to OSU, Pac-10 doesn't have another top 15 team to challenge them
3. UGA (11-2) - Probably a good bet to slip up twice in brutal schedule, my guess is UT and LSU
4. Ohio State (10-2) - Should once again be dominant in Big 10 - defense will keep them in the mix again
5. LSU (10-3) - Best at the line of scrimmage in the country, decent QB play will put them in the top 5
6. Missouri (11-2) - Daniel should have the Tigers back on the national scene with no OU on the schedule
7. Florida (10-2) - Only 1 ten win season the past 6 but have enough offensive talent to be pretty good
8. West Virginia (10-2) - Interested to see how they handle the loss of Coach Rod, White and Devine=Big East Title
9. Texas (10-2) - Should be improved on both sides of the ball, sleeper contender if they win the RR Shootout
10. Tennessee (9-3) - 16 Senior starters return for another run before lack of quality recruiting catches up to them in '09
11. Clemson (9-3) - Should be the best in the ACC, but until 'lil Bowden wins 10+, I cant put them in the top 10
12. USF (10-2) - Two all-americans on defense and Grothe back at QB make them a solid bet to be good again
13. Texas Tech (9-3) - Will be 7-0 going into last weekend of October before running into the big boys
14. Wisconsin (9-3) - Sepetember 13th 10:30 pm clash with Fresno should be a good one - lose to OSU, Fresno, and Iowa
15. Auburn (8-4) - First year in the spread offense will have some growing pains but still a top 15 team - Bama streak will end
16. Oregon (8-4) - Tough schedule involves trips to USC, Cal, ASU, and Purdue - enough weapons to win most of the rest
17. Virginia Tech (8-4) - Rough stretch from 9/20 to 10/25 will determine season
18. Michigan (8-4) - Must beat Utah Week 1 to stay in top 25 all season
19. Arizona St (8-4) - Lost way too much off last year's team to improve to a top 10 calibur club
20. Kansas (8-4) - Three tough road games plus Texas will keep Kansas from matching last season's magic
21. South Carolina (8-4) - May need to win at Florida or at Clemson last 2 weeks of the season to ensure 8 win season and Jan 1 Bowl
22. Illinois (8-4) - Probably the 4th best in the Big 10 and are at Mizzou non-conference - 8 wins is do-able though
23. Fresno St (10-2) - Starts with a bang by beating Wisconsin but stumbles down the stretch with BCS pressure
24. Alabama (7-5) - Will break the drought against Auburn to squeak into another lower-tier bowl - top 10 next season
25. BYU (10-2) - Have enough returning to remain a top 25 team all season

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Olympic Thoughts...

I want to go ahead and apologize to anyone who read this back in June and were pumped up to see Tyson Gay in the 2008 Olympics. What a disappointment Gay was in Beijing - I almost feel sorry for him. He failed to reach the final in the two events he qualified for and didn't even qualify in the 200M. Whether or not the baton debacle was his fault - he was still involved - Gay has probably been the most disappointing athlete on the most disappointing team.

It goes to show you how hard it is to win multiple gold medals when some of your events are relays (i.e. Phelps). Another example of how remarkable his feat actually was. At least Brian Clay saved some face for the US in T&F by winning the decathlon.

As I am typing this, I have to refresh to get results of the 4x400 men's and women's relay final this morning. The only Olympic coverage on TV right now is the gold medal baseball game, which has been very entertaining - but, where are the other networks? It is the middle of prime time in China and we have one live event? Just refreshed again - both teams won easily...

Usain Bolt has been the top story since the swimming events ended. He is truly unbelievable. Hope he doesn't pull a Ben Johnson...

My boy Deontay Wilder took the bronze in the heavyweight division, the only medal won by the USA in boxing. Does the scoring in boxing make sense to anyone? In one match, a fighter knocked another guy down yet did not score a point? Seems strange to me.

Time to sneak in a quick nap so I can be fresh at 2:30 tomorrow morning for USA-Spain hoops...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

MLB Draft revisited...

I will spare everyone and not bring up the Beijing Games. Those athletes over there (especially the swimmers) are already getting too much pub - you know what half-man half-fish half-olympic-gold-medal-winning-machine accomplished Saturday night.

The other news that has caught my eye this weekend is the deadline to sign players from the MLB draft. Georgia got good news when Trevor Holder could not come to terms with the Marlins, but the Aaron Crow story was the biggest national story.

Crow was the Big 12 pitcher of the year for Missouri and the 9th overall pick by the Nationals. Crow initially was asking for close to 10 million guaranteed, but backed down to 4 million just before the deadline. Washington would not go over 3.3 million. Why in the world would you let the 9th pick sign with the Fort Worth Cats over 700K? Now, Crow will be back in the draft next year hoping to pull a Luke Hochevar.

The details of some of the contracts are pretty interesting. The guy who received the largest signing bonus was Buster Posey with 6.2 million, 50K more than Tim Beckham. Last minute signees Pedro Alvarez (#2) and Eric Hosmer (#3) both got 6 million. Miami's Yonder Alonso (#7) only gets 2 million, but check out some of his perks. That looks like a pretty sweet deal - 18K for books and board??

Those that watched the Fresno State love-fest on ESPN back in June know the name Tanner Scheppers. He was the ace of the FSU staff before hurting his arm early in the season. After being projected in the 1st round, Scheppers fell to the 2nd because of this injury. Well, Tanner thought he was worth way more than pitchers with hurt arms actually are (2 million). He went unsigned and I don't blame Pittsburgh one bit. They got the Alvarez deal done and that was priority #1.

The only other player in the top 70 that didn't sign besides Crow and Scheppers was Yankee 1st rounder Gerrit Cole (#28). Cole is honoring his commitment to UCLA and says the decision has nothing to do with money. He wasn't signing no matter what NY offered? Please.

The Red Sox took no chances with their 1st rounder Casey Kelly and dished out 3 million for the 30th pick. Kelly was the only player outside of the top 11 to get more than 2 million!

If you are interested in any other picks, check out this link.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cox's Successor

I was wondering today about Bobby Cox and his potential successors as Braves manager. A lot of people assume it will be Terry Pendleton, but he was linked to the KC job and is also rumored as a candidate to replace LaRussa in St. Louis. Terry would probably be decent as a manager, but I think the Braves could do better.

Is it possible that the ear-marked successor is not currently with the organization? Is that why there is not much talk even though it looks like Cox will be around through 2009 at the most?

I think a possible candidate is Leo Mazzone. He has been out of coaching for a few years, but still works as an analyst and does some radio. At age 60, Mazzone may think he has 7-10 years in him to try and bring another title to Atlanta.

Seems to makes sense.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time for a Soccer Blog...

With the Community Shield match kicking off the new season tomorrow morning, I felt it was time for an EPL preview. Here is how I see the final table shaping up...

20) Hull – Like Derby last season, Hull will be one and done while hoping to get at least a victory or two before bowing out.

19) West Bromwich – The other newbie that just spends a year in top flight English football. They will do better than Derby last year and Hull this year, but 30 points is still a push for WBA.

18) Bolton – Just two years removed from a Top 7 finish, Bolton just does not have any goal scorers to keep them up this year. The Wanderers made a few decent signings, but not enough to avoid relegation.

17) Stoke City – Stoke fights off relegation on the final day to fight on another season. Newcomer Dave Kitson makes it consecutive years in the EPL with 10+ goals.

16) Middlesbrough - As much as I like Gareth Southgate running the show, Middlesbrough just doesn’t have enough to make a run at a mid-table finish. Didier Digard is a good young talent they just brought over from France.

15) Wigan – Wigan has been hanging on the past 2 seasons and appears set to make a run at a mid-table finish. The duo up front of Marlon King and Emile Heskey should provide enough goals to ensure a solid finish.

14) Sunderland – Sunderland seems poised to become a mainstay in the EPL after signing a trio of players from Tottenham, including a solid defender in Chimbonda. El Hadji Diouf also has come over from Bolton to solidify the forward spot.

13) Newcastle – Newcastle will produce lots of goals with forwards like Viduka, Owen, Martins, and Ameobi – the problem will be similar to last season – their defense. Without top-flight defending and aging midfielders such as Nicky Butt and Damien Duff, Newcastle is looking at another disappointing finish.

12) Blackburn – Blackburn will have a difficult time replacing David Bentley. He has been such a force at forward for the Rovers the past few years. Robbie Fowler will be a decent replacement, but he is not the goal-scorer Bentley is. Washed up Paul Robinson takes over in goal from Brad Friedel who has been better the last few years than people realize.

11) Fulham – Fulham makes a solid jump from near relegation to a mid-table finish. They have been very active in the transfer market and picked up a pair of good forwards in Bobby Zamora and Andy Johnson. Throw in Clint Dempsey, who was outstanding last season, and Fulham looks like they could be a force.

10) West Ham – Alan Curbishley now has a fit club and should finish at least as well as they did last season. If Bellamy and Ashton put up double digit goals between them, the Hammers could push for a Top 6 finish.

9) Manchester City – City made huge leaps last season and should now become a fixture in the top half of the table. Ben Haim comes over from Chelsea to solidify the defense.

8) Everton – I hate to be a pessimist, but my beloved Toffee’s are going to struggle this season. Taking on a 2nd consecutive season of European football while not making any signings is very disturbing. Moyes wanted to add 5-6 players and the only off-season movement so far has been selling players like Carlsey, Johnson, etc.

7) Aston Villa – Villa is a club that could make some serious noise this season. With Brad Freidel now in goal and the upcoming superstar Ashley Young in the forward spot, Villa could contend for a top 4 finish if fit.

6) PortsmouthPortsmouth really shored up their front line by signing Peter Crouch. English national goalkeeper David James is outstanding in goal and Jermain Defoe should complement Crouch nicely.

5) Arsenal – Arsenal slips out of the top 4 this year due to their youth and lack of quality players. Losing Hleb and Gilberto Silva were big blows to the Gunners. Jens Lehmann can be replaced and Cesc Fabregas is one of the world’s best, but I don’t think Wegner has enough this year to stay in the top 4.

4) Tottenham Hotspur – The Spurs had some money to use this summer and they picked up some quality players. They still have some extra cash, but so far have landed Luka Modric and David Bentley who will help take Tottenham into the top 4.

3) Liverpool – As much as I hate to say it, Liverpool has really positioned themselves nicely to make strong runs in the league and in Europe. This year will be a coming out party for Babel and Robbie Keane will certainly off-set the loss of super-sub Peter Crouch. Fernando Torres will get his 20+ goals and Dirk Kuyt will continue to be a force for the Reds.

2) Manchester United – Manchester United will not match last year’s double and will fall just short of the top spot in the table this season. Keeping Ronaldo was the key move of the summer, but he won’t have enough help this year to match the magic of last season.

1) Chelsea – The Blues take the top spot this season behind the new leadership of Luis Filipe Scolari. Michael Essien will return to mid-field where he is more effective and will team with Lampard, Ballak, and recently acquired Deco to form the best group of mid’s in the world.

Community Shield Prediction for tomorrow:

Manchester United 3 - 1 Portsmouth

Three quick things of note...

How great was it to see Colin Montgomerie once again wet the bed in a major championship? Monty shot a solid 84 and missed another cut on US turf. If you don't know why I enjoy this so much, read this.

Good to see Hawks management waste no time in matching the offer sheet Memphis gave Josh Smith. I have been worried about this for quite a while - June 24th to be exact.

I blogged a bit about complete games in baseball last month and mentioned Brandon Webb lead the league last year with a whopping four. Well, as of this morning, CC Sabathia has four in his seven starts with the Brewers. He also has four shutouts on the season. Only two players have topped four shutouts in a season since the turn of the century. Former Marlin greats AJ Burnett and Dontrelle Willis. Maybe Sabathia and Halladay will bring the complete game back to baseball.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finally a blog about Brett Favre...

I have been silent on this issue the last 6 weeks as I know everyone is tired of hearing every tiny detail about the entire situation. Now that he is at least gone from GB (if you think the stories will die down now that he is in NY, think again), I got to thinking...this has to be one of the most worn out-overblown-make you suicidal-stories ESPN has ever thrown at us the past few years. What are some of the others?

1) Yankees-Red Sox
2) Cubs fans are cursed and you gotta love 'em!!
3) Tom Brady is God and he dates hot women
4) David Beckham warming up on the sidelines
5) Anything involving Pacman Jones

Give me some help on the others. What makes you want to vomit every time you see it on the ESPN ticker?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hawks situation revisited...

Well, there is still no end to the Josh Smith saga. Even though the market is now set with Biedrens, Deng, and Okafor signing, Hawks management still can't reach an agreement with J-Smoove. Sign and Trade options have been explored, but none make the Hawks a better team. I think the rumored trades (Prince and Amir Johnson from DET & Josh Howard and Brandon Bass from DAL) are decent, but not better than re-signing Smith.

Even with Smith back, this team still has issues in the front court. Only about 3 million is available from the MLE, so there isn't any cap room to sign much else. The roster would almost be set with a Josh signing, giving Atlanta a depth chart of:


With so many other teams in the East improving (Philly, NJ, Toronto, Chicago), the Hawks are probably looking at a dogfight to get back into the playoffs. Anything less than a return trip to the post-season would be devastating to the franchise. I do think that if the team remains relatively healthy most of the season and Marvin gets a lot better they can win 42-45 with this squad. Maybe a trade deadline deal with Claxton's upcoming expiring contract and a pick can get us some veteran help down the stretch, but there is not much left on the free agent market right now.

All the more reason to get the Smoove deal done now...