Tuesday, November 30, 2004


I won't be posting anything good today as I tried to post just a few minutes ago and lost my entire post. It is nearing five and I'm not gonna try and remember everything that I wrote today. So maybe we'll ge to something tommorrow. Sorry.

DoesShavlik have a brother named Dontarious?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mmmmmm.....Turkey Bowl

Not a whole lot going on today as I am getting myself mentally prepared for our annual Turkey Bowl. The Turkey Bowl is a Thanksgiving tradition that is just what it sounds like...a football game. The added bonus of the Turkey Bowl is that instead of actual football players, the field is covered with out of shape twentysomethings who are still half drunk from wednesday nights revelry. Or in my buddy Kurt's case from last year...still completely hammered. I swear that Kurt was about to puke as we got out of the car, even stopping to lean over in anticipation. Yet, Kurt is a pro and got it together in time to throw approximately 12 touchdown passes on his way to the MVP award. If you know Kurt, this was quite a moment for him.

I, on the other hand, did not have what one would call a memorable performance. Coming off of MVP honors the previous year, I was poised to repeat my two touchdowm, two interception performance. Alas, I was teamed with Kurt's brother JJ and his gay lover Ricky who did his best Vinny Testaverde impression by staring down JJ and throwing balls at his feet. I caught three passes (on the first drive) including the game's first touchdown only to be frozen out the rest of the way like Jordan in the '84 All-Star game. It got so bad that I was openly ripping my QB for most of the second half. Not a T.O. on the sidelines type display but more like a heckler at a bad comedy club...only one for horrible QBs who want to make out with their wide receivers. That's one thing about the Turkey Bowl...its never predicatbale, other than the fact that somebody is going to throw up on the field at some point in the morning.

Just a few random thoughts as I avoid work for the remainder of the day:

If I didn't know better, I would swear that Raja Bell was faking it when he got shook by Dwyane Wade last Friday. Did you see that highlight? Bell looked like he was diving to avoid a bomb blast in Die Hard 18: The Battle for Planet Hollywood...For a guy who made his name with his defense that was pathetic, and funny. I don't know if I'll ever be able to look at Raja the same way again.

It probably won't happen, because he's certifiably crazy, but the potential influence of Kevin Garnett on Eddie Griffin could finally make Eddie realize that he has as much talent as any PF in the NBA and that shooting twenty-three footers is not in his best interest. Another angle on this is that Eddie has already been making an impact on KG, by introducing him to the fun filled world that is sucker punching your teammates. I'm not saying that Eddie told KG to punch Rick Rickert this summer but its not like Eddie has a rep of "working well with others". I think this theory may have slipped under alot of people's radars because sadly, after you shoot at your ex-girlfriend, people tend to forget all the tender moments that Eddie shared with guys like Ty Shine over the years.

With the success of guys like Tayshaun Prince and Josh Howard, do you think NBA GMs will start taking a longer look at versatile swingmen who attended four years of college? Of course they won't. Why would you want to draft a guy who won his conference player of the year award when you could draft a European who played in his league's second division or a 19 year old who has an affinity for taking bad shots? Jeez, maybe I'M nuts because I cannot understand at least 75% of the GMS in the NBA. Do you even have to interview for these jobs? Its not like Prince and Howard played in the Mountain West. They were the best players in the SEC and ACC, respectively, and both of them lasted until the last 5 picks of the first round. Of course since they were 22 at the time, then they were definitely done improving as a basketball player. Yeah, that's about right...I don't recall Mullin, Pippen or Steve Smith ever improving once they got out of school.

What in god's name is with all of these teams breaking out yellow uniforms this year? Is it really neccessary to wear jerseys that Gordon Gund can see? How long until some team takes the court with pink uniforms? Actually, that would be the exact same amount of time until my death by electrocution.

I absolutely hate NBA Inside Stuff (because I'm not a 12 year old girl) but the all access stuff with the Hornets has been very interesting. I only hope that they continue this all season long so that we can all see Baron Davis attack Byron Scott after a loss to the Knicks or somebody. Which brings up an interesting question....Can you actually fight somebody with your arms crossed? For Byron's sake, I hope so.

Maybe its just me but the Pistons have a "lose in the second round" kind of feel to them this year. I'm not saying I'm rooting for that to happen...I'll just say I root for whatever is going to get Darko on the court.

The University of Florida takes on Providence College on Saturday as Billy Donovan returns to take on his alma mater. That alone is interesting enough, but anytime a team plays in an arena named the Dunkin' Donuts Center and used to have a starting point guard named God then you know that you're in for a treat.

I'm interested to see how the Gators react to a hostile environment as that has not been one of their strong suits the past couple of years. This year's freshman class has looked good (too bad its been against Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic) especially Corey Brewer, who is already the best defensive player we've had since Justin Hamilton. The other freshmen all look to be finding their niche and should all (hopefully) provide nice contributions throughout the year.

The matchup to watch in this one is David Lee vs. Ryan Gomes. Lee was a McDonald's All-American who has been good, but not great in his Gator career because of his inability (or unwillingness) to take over a game at both ends of the floor, especially on the backboards. Gomes, on the other hand, was very underrecruited coming out of high school and has blossomed into a dominant offensive player who has elevated the Providence program. So its the age old matchup of potential vs. productivity. While Gomes became a national name as junior, Lee looked clearly distracted by the need to impress NBA scouts (think Keith Bogans as a junior) and show off his individual abilities, even putting on so much weigh that he became a walking cramp for much of the first half of the season. If Lee wants to recapture the buzz that he had accrued after a sensational finish to his sophomore year and have a big senior year, therby improve any shot he has at being drafted...it all starts here. Lee HAS to come out and post a double-double while containing Gomes and leading the Gators to victory if he wants to get NBA scouts talking again. If Lee can lead by example and show some real toughness on the boards then the Gators have a shot. If not, well then Gator fans ought to get ready for another early NCAA flameout. I think that this Gator team has alot of potential to be very, very good but only if their leader(s), this includes Roberson and Walsh, can figure out a way to win with defense and toughness. What better place to show everything that you've learned than at your coach's alma mater.

Now if you'll excuse me. I have to go film the intro sequence for tommorrow's game...here's a hint: It involves a butterball turkey in nothing but a towel.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Spurrier is COCKY.....

My god, how many times are we going to have to hear that or some variation on that statement in the next 5-10 years. And no, I'm not bitter...really I'm not at all. Let me explain...

There is a growing sentiment among the Gator nation that Spurrier is a traitor and that we should all hate him now that he's agreed to be the Head Coach at South Carolina. That he can't possibly love the University of Florida and still coach one of their division rivals. What a bunch of crap. First off, South Carolina is NOT one of the University of Florida's rivals. Florida may have as many real rivals as any school in major college football (FSU, Georgia, Tennesee, even Miami or possibly LSU), but South Carolina isn't one of them. Its tough to call something a rivalry when one tean wins EVERY YEAR and usually by wide margins. I guess that makes Vanderbilt one of our rivals as well. Sorry, I'm not buying it.

Spurrier IS the University of Florida in many ways. So many people have forgotten that before the Head Ball Coach came back to Florida from Duke that the Gators were alternately crappy or on probation, sometimes managing to do both (much harder than one would think). Florida was a middle of the road SEC football team, at best. Spurrier came back and immediately delivered Florida to the top of the SEC in 1990 (though the Gators didn't go to the SEC championship game because they were....Surprise! On probation). Over the next 12 years, Florida was a consistent Top 5 team nationally, going to two National title games and winning one in 1996 (against FSU no less). Oh yeah, and the guy won a a Heisman at Florida as a player and had his jersey retired. That's a pretty fair resume and I think that entitles him to a little leeway when it comes to his career plans. I may be in the minority but I will ALWAYS love Spurrier and appreciate what he did for my alma mater.

One last Spurrier note: If you had the chance to go coach at a school with impossibly high standards for their football program and coach or one where 8-9 wins a year will make you a living legend, where would you choose? Thats like asking if you would rather screw a hot stripper or a really hot virgin.

A few more things about this Pistons-Pacers Fight:

Ron Artest is going to lose $5.5 million in salary as a result of his suspension. Does anybody else think that he might be applying for a job at his local Circuit City?

I am a big fan of Bill Simmons aka the Sports Guy but he was WAY OFF on a couple of his observations of this whole fiasco. First, Simmons contends that the NBA shootaround crew (I can't believe I'm defending THEM) was off in their assertion that any NBA player would've reacted that way. He backs his point up by saying something to the effect of "Grant Hill would never do that." You're right, he wouldn't, but Grant Hill is about as far away from the AVERAGE NBA player as Ron Artest, just on the opposite side. For chrissakes, Hill played piano on Letterman after his rookie year. Maybe its just me but I have a VERY hard time imagining Quentin Richardson or Rashard Lewis doing that. On the other hand, I find it much more plausible that those two (or any number of other players) would have charged into the stands in similar situations. Maybe not all, but most NBA players WOULD have reacted in a similar fashion as Artest.

My next beef with Simmons is his contention that the Pacers have Ewing Theory potential without Artest. The Ewing Theory says that when an overrated/media hyped player leaves a team that the team will play better in their absence than when they had said player. In my opinion, this does NOT apply to Artest. Artest is the best defensive player in the league and an extremely underrated offensive player who brings a toughness and attitude that nobody else can consistently bring on the Pacers. If anyone is a candidate for this Theory, it is Jermaine O'Neal. He is a very good player but not the great player that the media makes him out to be, as he is an average rebounder (for his size, especially in the East) and lacks a go-to move in the post. I'm just saying.

To add to this point, Fran Frischilla commented yesterday that Ron Artest basically lifted the St. John's program by virtue of his competitive nature. Great point. Think about it, St, John's was average at best in the years before Artest came there. They became a consistent Top 10 team in his time there with only one other NBA level talent, Erick Barkley (who I, by the way, grossly misjudged in his ability to play in the NBA) , even making the team a hot ticket in New York, which is very hard to do for a college team. After Artest left though, St. John's has fallen past their former mediocrity all the way to just plain bad. I don't think I'm the only person who doesn't attribute that succes to Lavar Postell.

I already thought that Ben Wallace deserved more than six games for overreacting to what really wasn't that bad a foul and then further inciting the Detroit crowd afterwards. Yet, now that we have found out that it was a memeber of his posse who was the guy rabbit punching Fred Jones in the head, can't we get a new ruling from Stern. Wallace is getting off EASY. By the way, who knew that Ben Wallace even HAD a posse? I bet that they're a real wild bunch. I mean, this is a guy who plays with remote control cars as a hobby.

If Jonathan Bender can't make a significant splash in the next 25-30 games then can we all agree that he is a monumental bust?

So they've identified the "cup thrower" and it is a guy named John Green who has a past conviction for felony assault and three, count 'em, three DUIs. As my friend Joe said, "Sounds like the greatest guy ever."

Somebody referred to this as a "black eye" for Detroit...you've got to be kidding me. This isn't Dallas we're talking about...its freakin' Detroit. You're lucky that nobody got shot.

I know the Rashad McCants jail analogy has been beaten to death but I have just one question...What state's correctional program allows for all expense paid trips to Maui for the Thanksgiving holidays? Because I'm definitely going there before I commit any future crimes.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Bo Jackson...don't coach basketball. Trust me.

WOW!! What a weekend of sports. I seriously contemplated calling in sick today because I was just so worn out from all the events of the past weekend. I was gonna speak almost exclusively on the Florida-FSU game and add in a few other observations that I had, but I just received an email from the FCC that said I was obligated to share my opinion on the Pistons-Pacers fight since I write about sports...these are the rules folks. I don't make them, I just obey them. I can hardly contain myself so we'll just get right to it as I have lots of work to avoid and even more things to spout off on.

Florida-FSU: "I can see Blue, he looks glorious"...On Saturday night, for some reason I kept thinking about Ron Zook laid out on the lockerroom floor with that goofy smile of his and saying this quote. Whenever your head coach reminds you of Frank the Tank, its not a good thing. With that being said, Zook did a great job in Tallahassee. He clearly learned his lessons during the Florida losses and never got too conservative when he could have on Saturday night. The best example of this is when Florida was facing 4th and inches on their own 30 yard line with less than 3 minutes remaining. This scenario was almost identical to one faced by Zook and Co. against LSU (except Florida was up by 4 in this case) earlier this season where Ron chose to punt and LSU drove down the field to score with less than a minute remaining. That, to me, is the true test of a good young coach....does he learn from mistakes? Of course, you can, say that he wouldn't have done that if he hadn't already been fired. I disagree. Some school is going to get a much improved head coach when/if Zook decides to coach in college football again.

FSU's #1 ranked rush defense wasn't up to the task. They were manhandled by the Florida offensive line in the 4th quarter. They are a very good defense but there is a difference (a big one) between having the best rush defense in the nation when you play in the SEC as oppossed to the ACC. It's just that simple. You don't see the same quality of backs and offensive lines in the ACC, period. This also happened to be the best run blocking offensive line that Florida has seen in many years. Quite a departure from the passive, pass-oriented lines of the Spurrier era. This year's Florida O-line was nastier than the bathroom after Joe McGrail comes back from CiCi's pizza. Ugh.

I never thought that I'd say that the SEC's leading rusher is underrated but that is EXACTLY what I'm saying. Ciatrick Fason didn't even get nominated as a semifinalist for the Doak Walker award. Yet, he went out and put the Gators on his shoulders on that last drive like the workhorse that he's been all year and led them to what was the winning touchdown. He is as good a running back as you will see in terms of all around ability and he's a pretty damn good pure runner as well. Sadly enough, I think Saturday's performance sealed his entry into the NFL Draft but I will continue to hold out hope that he returns for his senior year. One final note, for those of you who don't know...Ciatrick is married to a woman named Yolanda and they have two children named Ciatrick Jr. and, you guessed it, Yolanda Jr. How can you not root for a guy with a daughter who is a Jr. and a son named Ciatrick? That's like rooting against Lydell Ross after you found out he was using counterfeit money from a strip club called Pure Platinum, it just doesn't make sense.

Speaking of next year, Florida has 34 of the 44 guys on their two deep returning for next year barring any transfers or NFL entries. You think this won't be one of the most talented teams in the country over the next two years? If the new coach (cough, Urban Meyer, cough, cough) can convince Fason, Degory and Crowder to stay then the only significant contributor that we'll lose is OJ Small. Can we start spring practice yet?

Last spring, Florida fans were devastated when we missed out on All-World LB recruit Keith Rivers, who was from Orlando, to Pete Carroll and USC. At this same time though, we got a commitment from another LB from Orlando named Brandon Siler. Yes, the same Brandon Siler who has had 22 tackles including 6 for loss in his last two games. Rivers may end up being a great player but Siler is already on his way. The kid is a STAR and we have him for at least two more years. Its not exactly discovering Pam Anderson on a jumbotron but its a nice surprise nonetheless.

After FSU's contrived dedication ceremony and subsequent loss, Florida fans have already taken to calling it Ron Zook Field at Doak Campbell Stadium. Where can I buy the T-shirt? Now good 'ole Booby has to sit for an entire offseason with a losing record on the field NAMED for him. Really, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

As many of you know, I had to work a Christian concert all day on Saturday. I actually had to listen to the first 3 quarters of the game on an AM/FM walkman while Christians danced and sang (horribly out of rhythm, no less) all around me. In order to prepare for this, I skipped my normal Friday night routine (getting so drunk that I pass out on my lawn) and kept it light by going out for an hour and being back home by 11:30. As I drank my last beer and watched the end of the Syracuse-Memphis game, I decided to check on the Pistons-Pacers. I flipped channels just as Ron Artest was fouling Ben Wallace. What ensued was the greatest 10 minutes of my sports year. I am not going to pretend to be appalled because, frankly, I don't have to...like so many talking heads do. That WAS fantastic.

What in god's name were those two Mexican dudes who ran onto the court after Artest thinking? "Hey, the craziest dude in the NBA is in a fit of rage...lets go get him." And if you're going to go after Artest, maybe you should think about getting that first punch in, huh? That one guy got up to Artest and froze, bad times.

The second Mexican definitely caugh the worst of it as he had no idea that Jermaine O'Neal was coming in for the biggest haymaker this side of Rocky 4. That punch from O'Neal has moved past Nolan Ryan punking Robin Ventura as my all-time sports fight moment. Yes, I have a list for these things. What, you don't?

Can we really be surprised that Jermaine O'Neal reacted this way? I mean, he did learn the NBA ropes in Portland under the watchful eye of such noted pacifists as Rasheed Wallace and Ruben Patterson.

One thing slipping thru the cracks is the restraint shown by Rasheed Wallace in all of this. This is a man who just three years ago would've been voted "Most likely to commit a felonious assault on an oppossing fan" at the annual GM meetings each summer. Of course, I'm willing to bet that if Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje were in the stands that Rasheed would've at least thrown a ball at his head when he wasn't looking.

Stephen Jackson is completely nuts, without a doubt. Of course, we should've known this when he turned down the defending World Champion Spurs' offer for a slightly better offer from the Atlanta Hawks two summers ago, but Friday night sealed it. If you ask me, HE should've been suspended for the season, not Artest. Did you see some of the punches he was throwing at people? At least Artest had been provoked. I half expected him to kick a pregnant woman in the stomach while he was in the stands.

Surprisingly few people have seen this clip but Jamal Tinsley slammed an old white dude to the floor before hopping the scorer's table and joing the fracas and somehow he has escaped suspension. Apparently its only wrong to fight fans, not employees of the team that you're playing. Good to know.

With all the violence in sports right now do you think Rudy Tomjanovich would be offended if the Lakers did a Rudy T and Kermit Washington bobblehead night? You know, to pay homage to the roots of all this FANTASTIC NBA action. You could even have Rudy as the bobblehead and have Kermit with a bobblearm with real punching action. Can you imagine how much these things would go for on Ebay? I can say stocking stuffers, can you?

The Expos/Nationals traded for Jose Guillen last week. Does anybody else think that they were severly dissapointed in the general lack of craziness that Carl Everett showed this past year and decided to go with someone who had a little more to prove, in the "guys who may inexplicably snap at any moment" category? No? Me neither.

Did you hear Tommy Bowden trying to blame the ridiculous Clemson-USC fight on the Pistons-Pacers fight? I call shenanigans. Yeah Tommy, it was definitely the highlights they saw that caused your guys to act like complete and total thugs. It couldn't be the fact that you recruited complete and total thugs, could it? Not to worry, you'll be recruiting 200 pound offensive tackles now that Spurrier is at South Carolina. Might be time to call Terry and ask him if John Saunders is fun to hang out with on Saturdays.

Julius Hodge has put on at least 15 lbs. in the offseason. That puts him up to a solid 160, at least. I'm not saying that he used, um supplements, but if his head keeps growing then you might want to see if Barry Bonds' tried to steal his personal chef this summer.

As I watched Memphis play St. Mary's on Thursday night, the announcers made reference to John Calipari feeling better than ever after his hip replacement this summer. Huh? Is John Calipari secretly 74? What man his age needs a new hip? Furthermore, what is it with coaches and hip replacements? Larry Brown just had one, Coach K had one like two years ago. The only person I ever knew who had a hip replacement was my Grandma and thats because she fell on the ice and broke her hip every winter. It was like her very own version of the Christmas card. You always knew that it was time to put up the tree when Grandman broke her hip. But seriously, is it all that stomping and crouching that causes coaches hips to go out? Is it only basketball coaches? Do insurance companies know about this phenomenon? Do coaches have to get special coverage? I'm full of questions right now.

Friday, November 19, 2004

At least I'm not in Tallahasee...

Florida-Florida State weekend is upon us and I couldn't be less happy. Surprisingly enough, this has nothing do with the fact that Florida sucks this year. This year will mark the first time since 1995 (my junior year in high school) that I won't be attending this game. Even worse than that, is the fact that I probably won't even get to watch much of this game as I am working a concert tommorrow night. How would I describe this turn of events? Horrible, just horrible. I haven't been this bent out of shape over working since I got that job as a fluffer in Van Nuys, CA.

I do however, still harbor an inordiante amount of hate for a school that every member of my family attended so we'll delve into that as your week ends and mine slowly drags along like that dog tied to Clark Griswold's bumper in Vacation (and no, I'm not bitter at all).

Before tommorrow's game, FSU will be christening the field of Doak Campbell Stadium as "Bobby Bowden Field". Maybe its just me but I find this whole trend of naming courts or fields after coaches a little disingenuos. Can't you just wait until these guys retire and/or die before you name something after them? And we're now going to be subjected to intros that go something like, "Welcome to Coach K Court at Cameron Indoor Stadium for Duke University vs. The University of North Carolina." Give me a break. Pick a facilty name and leave it at that. One other note on this Bobby Bowden lovefest, they dedicated a statue to that old liver spot earlier in the year but there was one VERY key thing missing from the statue of this football "coach"....give up? A headset. Maybe thats because good ole' St. Bobby has been doing his best Queen of England impersonation for the last decade and is nothing more than a figurehead who charms parents on the recruting trail. If you hadn't guessed by now, I can't stand that old man and his fake southern charm. He gets a free pass from the media because he's old and affable even though he runs a program as dirty and corrupt as any in the country. Don't believe me? Ask Lavernues Coles what he thinks.

It's over for Zook but he would forever be fondly remembered by Gators of all ages if he won tommorrow. Its a long shot but its his ONLY shot at Gator immortality.

Bobby Meeks will start at right tackle for FSU tommorrow. Just as he has since all season long despite the fact that when he was arrested this summer he had to be pepper sprayed AND tasered by police in order to subdue him. Good guy.

I'll probably regret saying this tommorrow but for a guy who announced his college choice live on Sportscenter, Lorenzo Booker sure hasn't done a whole lot in his college career. Third down back, nothing more.

If the Gators are to win, either Chad Jackson or Andre Caldwell needs 100 yards receiving. It will take more than that but it won't happen without it.

Buster Davis may play for FSU but he's awesome, just always seems to be around the ball. Plus, he walks exactly like Willie McGee, its like Willie and Grace Jones had a love child in the early 80's and dropped him off on somebody's doorstep in Daytona Beach.

Am I the only Florida fan who is having Marcus Outzen-Marquand Manuel flashbacks everytime I think about Wyatt Sexton and Cory Bailey? Really? I can't be the only one.

I guess we can safely assume that the reports of Craphonso Thorpe running a faster 40 time in the spring were false. Not that I'm saying anybody in the FSU program would lie. I'm certainly not saying that. A funny story about Craphonso...my brother-in-law is a Tallacrappy native and one of his friends used to coach youth football, we'll call him Jim. Many years ago, Jim had the first pick in the Pop Warner draft and since there are no tryouts for Pop Warner football he really had no idea who to pick. So, Jim grabbed the list and scanned for names looking for the most, uh...urban sounding name when he came across the name Craphonso Thorpe. He was sold and picked him first. Needless to say, he was not dissapointed and with the "Thorpe Offense" (Thorpe right, Thorpe left, Thorpe up the middle) at his disposal, Jim cruised to a league title. At least Craphonso went undefeated in some kind of football league along the way.

I'm keenly interested to see whether it's a Cuban or Puerto Rican that is dressed up as a Chief Osceola this year...frankly, I may have trouble sleeping tonight.

When I heard Travis Johnson talking about a lack of class by the Gators earlier this week, I almost got whiplash from the double take I took. Hey Travis. Wasn't that YOUR team stomping on the Gator logo last year? What team did Darnell Docket play for when he wrenched Earnest Graham's leg ( later bragging about it) and then tried to stomp on Rex Grossman's hand? Oh my bad...I didn't know we weren't allowed to bring up the past.

If I see Chris Rix come off the bench for FSU tommorrow night, I'm going to burn off my eyelids. For such a shitty QB he sure manages to find his groove against UF. Its like we're the Cleveland Browns and he's John Elway when he lines up under center versus Florida. I'm getting ill just thinking about all the possible scenarios.

This game will come down to two things...1. Florida's D-line: If they are unable to at least slow down the FSU running game, specifically Leon Washington, it will be a very , very long night for UF. 2. Chris Leak: Leak has to have a good to great night and MUST avoid anything more than one turnover and that turnover cannot be costly (see: deep in UF territory or in the red zone). Plus, Leak must buy time with his legs and make yardage from broken plays. A very tall order for a sophomore going into Doak for the first time. If he can though...a legend will be born.

How many current FSU players do you think Bobby Bowden can recognize and name without any help? Ten, eleven...tops.

The FSU football dorm is named Burt Reynolds Hall...I'm not even kidding here. It says alot about your school when one of your dorms is named after a guy who starred in "Smokey and the Bandit".

Another fun FSU fact...they have there very own CIRCUS. Yes, that's right a circus. Located right there on campus with garnet and gold big tops and all. What a fine institution. Florida has a world renowned Medical school AND Law school while FSU has a circus. I think this illustrates the differences between the two universities as succintly as possible.

Geez....I think I need a nap after thinking about all of that. Maybe when I wake up I won't have to work tommorrow...or not. Go Gators!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Deshawn...bring back the headband.

I was genuinely excited to see the Magic take on the Utah Jazz last night as the Jazz were, by far, the best team that the Magic had faced yet in this young season. I thought that the Magic's chances were a little better than normal considering that the Jazz were playing their second game in as many nights after narrowly escaping Charlotte with a win over the BETcats on Tuesday night. A special thanks for that near loss goes out to ex-Magician Keith Bogans who lit the Jazz up for a career high 28 in his first game for Charlotte. I was dissapointed to see the Magic trade Bogans earlier in the year as I believe he has legitimate Bruce Bowen/Trenton Hassell potential and was often the ONLY player on the Magic who was actually trying in many games late last year. Yet, it was the right move because Keith wasn't gonna get anytime in Orlando this year and being in Charlotte will give him a great opportunity to show the rest of the league what he can do. Wow. I don't think I've ever shown that much love to a Kentucky Wildcat and...wait...yep, I just threw up in my mouth.

As for the Magic, I can't remember a Magic team that was this much fun to watch. Sure the '99-'00 team was fun to watch with Doc Rivers cutting his teeth as a head coach and a team of 10 guys who all played hard, but Matt Harpring was the "star" and they finished 41-41. They were fun to watch in a "Boy these guys are scrappy" kind of way. This Magic team is just plain fun to watch. They have a couple stars (Francis, Hill), a few good supporting players who can step up from time to time (Mobley, Turkoglu), a bunch of other guys who know exactly what their role is (Garrity, Cato, Battie, Augmon, etc.) and a rookie who has as much potential as anybody who' s ever come into the league other than that new guy in Cleveland (and no, I'm not talking about Sasha Pavlovic).

With that being said, I still didn't really think that the Magic would win last night but I sat down anyway and here are a few of my observations:

The Magic miss Cuttino Mobley and will need him back before they can really think about contending, even in the East. DeShawn Stevenson has done an admirable job as the temporary starter but he doesn't stretch defenses the way Mobley does and without him Garrity becomes the Magic's only REAL threat from downtown.

I am completely unable to get a feel for DeShawn Stevenson. He's athletic, plays hard and generally makes good descisions but I don't know if he'll ever be any better than he is right now. He just seems like much more of an athlete than a basketball player. If there is one MAJOR complaint that I have about this years version of DeShawn Stevenson, its the lack of headband. For those who never saw it, Stevenson wore his headband last year at the top of his head, making it look like it he had just been smacked in the head while driving to the hoop. Except, he wore it like this ALL GAME. Fun for the whole family, I promise. Deshawn played great last night though against his old team and was big in the 4th for the Magic.

Speaking of big...Steve Francis has at least one big dunk a night and last nights may have been the best yet (though I'm still partial to the one on Erick Strickland) as he took off from outside the lane and flushed right on a completely shocked Matt Harpring. Francis is playing so much more free than last year when the Pallbearer, er Jeff Van Gundy had him playing in Norman Dale's offense. He is by no means the perfect point guard but he fits in really well with this team and Paul Westhead's running style. He does so many different things on the court that it just stifled him to be dropping the ball into the post on every possession. He felt like he wasn't impacting the game and this was having a serious effect on him psychologically (proof: He led the league in T's last year). Well, this year he is playing the style he wants to play and whether he plays good or bad, he is coming to play every night. Furthermore, and I don't think this can be underestimated, Grant Hill has been a great influence on Francis. Hill is so unselfish and team oriented that it seems be rubbing off on Francis's approach to the game to say nothing of the even-keeled veteran approach that Hill takes into every game. They seem to really enjoy playing with each other and their styles have complimented each other better than anybody could've imagined.

Which brings us to Grant Hill. I am still unwilling to make any predictions on how long this will last but if he continues to play at this level (or anywhere near it), you're looking at the starting Small Forward for the East in this year's All-Star Game. What Hill did to Andre Kirilenko in the second half last night was vintage stuff. Hill was hitting his once patented step-back jumper all over AK-47 who seemed genuinely afraid of Hill's first step. Who ever would have thought that DikembeMutombo would be afraid of Hill's first step at this point of his career, much less one of the two best defenders in the league? The scary part is...that Hill is still shaking off the rust from what amounts to a four year layoff. Can you imagine how good Hill will look (if still healthy) in March? I think its time for ESPN to break out that commercial of Grant Hill playing piano in the lobby again...I'm just saying.

Hedo Turkoglu: That sound you heard in July was the sound of me slamming my car door on my head (over and over) when I found out the Magic had signed Hedo for 6 years and $39 million. I was beside myself, actually saying things like why didn't we just go after Christian Drejer if we wanted a 6'10" softie to stand on the perimeter and brick threes all night. Hedo...I'm sorry. I was wrong. Sure I'd like to see him battle for a few more boards but Hedo has shown a much more aggrssive streak than I ever saw in Sactown or San Antonio. Its almost as if the established stars in those two franchises were too intimidating for Hedo to really blossom. That hasn't been a problem in Orlando as Hedo has been using his handle to get in the lane and or create space for 18 foot jumpers. He has been aggressive on both ends of the court and has even taken over a couple of long stretches in games this year (New Orleans, Washington). I'm not saying that we're looking at a guy who ever becomes an All-Star here but he could be a very, very good fourth option for a contender...something I would've never said two months ago. Plus, he's already got a spot on reserve for the "Kurt Rambis Ugly/Goofy Role Players" wing in Springfield.

Dwight Howard: I have admitted that I wanted Emeka Okafor. I admit that I was wrong. Howard was in early foul trouble last night (as is often the case so far this year) but he still managed to grab 12 boards. He has not a had a game with less than 10 rebounds yet this year. I don't care how old you are, that is UNBELIEVABLE for a rookie, much less one that still wears braces. He works his tail off on both ends of the court and never looks intimidated by anybody. We'll see how he reacts when he has to go into the Target Center or Conseco Fieldhouse but I, for one, feel pretty confident. His offensive game is coming around as well. The spin and dunk he had in Philly on Sunday was sick, sick, sick. Can you imagine what this kid did to 6'3" centers in the Atlanta Private School League. That's like my buddy Hildebrand playing on the short hoops at Gemini elementary. I know he's been playing well for the Cavs but does anybody in Orlando, other than the local...um...entertainers, miss Drew Gooden?

That's all I'll the Magic analysis that I'll torture you with today. The more anonymous role players will be highlighted in a week or so. I have to get my mind focused for Florida-FSU this weekend. Plenty of random thoughts on that matchup coming tommorrow. I bet you won't sleep tonight, will you?

Monday, November 15, 2004

How do you like your Chicken & Waffles?

A pretty unremarkable weekend for me. Gators won, impressively no less, and I got drunk, so all in all I'd say the weekend was a success. But, of course I'm still horribly bitter about some things and just plain dumbfounded by others...so without further delay, here are my thoughts.

My fantasy receivers are going to kill me...I'm not even making a joke here, they are going to cause me to have an aneurysm before too much longer. Last week, I made the adept moves (so I thought) of picking up Larry Fitzgerald and Donte' Stallworth (who I had already cut earlier in the year) because they were playing the inept secondaries of the Giants and Chiefs, respectively. Well these two along with the help of the ever unreliable Darrell Jackson combined to give me one , count it, one fantsy point yesterday. Are you kidding me? I could play my dog, Tinsley, my mother and my less-than-athletic office mate Jeff and get more than that, week-in week-out, but two first round picks and a pro bowler get me one lousy point. I guess I should be thankful though, since that one point (did I mention that my fantasy receivers only garnered one point?) was the difference for me this week as I rode my winning streak to an impressive four straight weeks. I'm like the Oakland A's of a few years ago, making all the right moves down the stretch and scaring the living hell out of anyone and everyone who may have to face me in the playoffs. Of course, if thats true then I'll be out of the playoffs in the first round and half the other GM's in the league will refuse to talk to me by this time next year.

"The Wire" was fantastic last night. I was literally pumped when the show ended last night. So much so that I told my girlfriend all about the emerging storylines invloving Stringer and Avon. She, inturn, was so intrigued about this that she proceeded to clean out her fridge while I gave her a full account of last night's episode. Nothing says "you have my full attention" like wiping down the crisper at 10:15 on a sunday night. Oh well, for those that do watch the show, I think we are in for a classic run of episodes as Avon and Stringer battle for control and leadership As Biggie once said, "Somebody's gotta die." Personally, your guess is as good as mine at this point.

Not that he is a Hall-of-Fame caliber QB, but isn't it a little sad to see Mark Brunell go out like he has this season? Yesterday's 1 for 8 performance before being yanked for ex-Javelin thrower Patrick Ramsey was just painful to watch. For a few years with the Jags, he was as dangerous a QB as there was in the league and now he looks like a flag football QB ( and not a very good one either).

I know that the Ron Zook firing is still fairly big news and the specter of Steve Spurrier going to South Carolina was an intriguing subplot to Saturday night's Florida-South Carolina game but that announcing was atrcious. It was almost as if the actual game itself was becoming a bother for the announcers because it was forcing them to interrupt their diatribes on both subjects to, well, announce the happenings of the game that they were BROADCASTING. A typical exchange went something like this....Play by Play Guy: Wouldn't it be something if Zook beat FSU and then the boosters were stuck thinking "Why did we fire this guy?" Bill Curry: It could very well happen with the way this team is playing tonight. Play by Play Guy: OJ Small with a 6 yard catch...so getting back to what we were talking about with Ron Zook. I couldn't believe the lack of attention paid to the game during some points of the broadcast. It's not like they were doing this in the 4th quarter when things were way out of hand, this went on from the opening kickoff. Hey! Guys in the booth. If you want to pontificate on varied subjects around college football, join Trev Alberts and Mark May in the studio. Yet, if you are actually at a game, how about concentrating on the action on the field.

A few more thoughts on the Florida-South Carolina game:

Once again, I may be biased but Florida has as much young talent (read: freshmen, sophomores) as anybody in the country. Almost every significant playmaker, save for Fason, Degory and Small, is in his first two years of eligibility. This team should be SCARY in each of the next two years if they hire the right coach and can avoid losing too many transfers.

Kyle Jackson made more plays in one half on Saturday than Cory Bailey has all year long. I'm sure Cory is a great leader and a nice guy but he is a below average safety and Jackson shouldn't have had to wait so long to get some meaningful playing time.

It was nice to see Florida actually go after the punter this year. I never understood why a special teams guru like Ron Zook was so reticent to try and block punts as a head coach. I mean, its not like we had Mel Gray back returning punts these last three years.

Brandon Siler is the real deal. If Channing Crowder comes back next year (he needs to) then the new staff should move him back to OLB, where he excelled as a freshman, and keep Siler in the middle. Crowder seems to get caught in traffic a little too much and Siler looks very natural in the middle. Everytime that South Carolina ran the screen he looked like the only guy on our defense who knew what was coming. He is very impressive.

Do you think that SEC groundskeepers have ever considered a bounty on Lou Holtz's head? No? Me neither.

Other thoughts from this weekend:

All you have to do is watch one Sixers game to realize why Andre Igoudala is starting at the 3 and not Glenn Robinson. Basically, Robinson can do one thing better than Igoudala: shoot. Other than that, Igoudala is a vastly superior defender, ball handler, passer and rebounder than the "Big Dog" and I think we all know that shots are at a premium in Philly to begin with...I mean, c'mon you have to feed Samuel Dalembert, right?

The Sonics remind me of an average intramural team. They have no legitimate post scoring, don't play much defense and shoot an ungodly amount of threes, but they are at least alot of fun to watch when they're hitting jumpshots. When they're not...well, lets just say that there is a reason there's a slaughter rule in intramurals.

Based on his recent performances, if Brandon Lloyd hits a slump in the coming weeks, I am seriously considering coming out in the papers and blasting his professionalism.

Say what you want about Kobe, the crowd at the AMA's certainly did, but when he puts his mind into dominating (as he did in the 4th quarter against the Magic on Friday) he is as unstoppable a player as you will ever see. He has an innate ability to hit ridiculously hard shots with guys draped all over him. My only criticism of him (as a scorer) is that he too often settles for jumpshots early on in games instead of consistently attacking the basket throughout the game. With that being said, it was nice to see the Magic show enough confidence in Grant Hill's ankle to put him out there on Kobe in the 4th. He didn't exactly shut Kobe down but he forced him into some really tough shots (most of which Kobe made) and generally looked unafraid to test his body defensively. Who knows how long this will all last with Grant but I , for one, am thoroughly enjoying it.

I don't like jerseys as a rule and have never (as an adult) bought a current players jersey but I may make an exception if the Cardinals acquired Randy Johnson. Good god, the Cards would be scary with him as their No. 1 starter. One question: Would it be wrong if I got "Big Unit" embroidered on the back instead?

Do you think that Butch Davis was egging William Green on in the lockerroom yesterday? saying things like, "Joey Porter said he'd never have let HIS girlfriend stab him...only a punk would let that happen to him." Is it really that hard to imagine this? Which team do you think stood to lose more in a fight between a defensive captain and a running back with a tenous, at best, hold on his starting job? Not that this sort of thing ever goes on in the NFL.

Do you think Mike Tice has ever met Rich Kotite? Would it be possible to get them together in January to compare notes? Somehow I don't think Tice is going to have to clear his schedule to make this happen.

I've always liked Roscoe Parrish...how can you not like a guy who's named after a place that serves Chicken & Waffles? With that being said, he has turned himself into a very good receiver this year. The adjustment on that touchdown catch was NFL quality. It's just too bad that he is 5'3".

Note to Georgia fans: That sound you hear is your window closing. If you couldn't play for national title in either of the last two years then you certainly won't next year. Not with the DJ Shockley Experiment at QB and while trying to break in what amounts to a whole new defense. I'm not saying that Georgia is going to fall into mediocrity but they shouldn't go selling their bowl rings on Ebay anytime soon. Not that any Georgia athlete would ever flout NCAA rules like that.

Dwight Howard is the first rookie to post double digit rebounds in his first 7 games since Wes Unseld. I think this is a VERY good sign. Not for the team that one day employs Howard as their GM, but definitely for the Magic.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Marc Stein...watch your back!

Some good football games this weekend are making me less than productive at work today but, then again, its Friday...the perfect day to waste your employer's money.

Auburn vs. Georgia: This should be a classic, the oldest rivalry in the south hasn't meant this much to BOTH teams in quite some time, probably during the Pat Dye era was the last time. I personally think that Auburn is a much better team than Georgia but alot of that has to do with my complete and total lack of respect for David Greene as a big-time QB. I'm sorry, I just don't see it. Sure he makes plays here and there but I can't ever remember thinking, "Oh wow, David Greene this weekend. What are we gonna do?". Then again, he's been consistently better throughout his career than the suddenly not so bipolar Jason Campbell. Auburn OC Al Borges should get a medal for what he's done with this kid this year. Of course, having two of the most talented backs in all of America doesn't hurt either. For those of you who haven't really watched Auburn this year, pay attention to all the different things that Ronnie Brown does during the game tommorrow. He's an unbelievably complete player who would be a top tier Heisman candidate at about any other school in the country.

I think Auburn's D will be too much for Georgia and they'll win by a touchdown or more. For the sake of those at Auburn, win or lose, lets just hope this game doesn't end up like the Auburn-Ole Miss thriller last year around this time. For those that missed it, Auburn mounted a furious late game comeback only to have Ben Obomanu snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by being unable to snatch a wide open touchdown pass. Suffice it to say, I'll be rooting for Auburn...one of the few SEC teams that doesn't make me want to puke in my own mouth.

Miami vs. Virginia: Two of the most overrated teams in the country. Everybody was ready to annoint the Miami D as the second coming of the steel curtain after the FSU game...I guess that people forgot that Chris "Corky" Rix was under center during the game. Well, the jig is up in Coral Gables as that D has been thrashed on the ground of late while the offense has gone back to the trainwreck it was last year which, surprisingly enough, isn' really due to anything that Brock Berlin has done wrong. Maybe its just me but I always get the feeling that Larry Coker runs a really loose program which is the absolute last thing you can afford to do in Miami...too many temptations, too many shady characters around that program and, lets face it, Miami doesn't exactly recruit from areas of Florida that I would say reside in the moral high ground. Its not their fault but you have to counterract all of that with a coach who will at least instill discipline while ON the field.

Virginia on the other hand, has been able to slide by because of a ridiculously easy schedule. They run the ball well and play good enough defense but are just not an elite level team yet...not even close. They totally crumbled against a Wyatt Sexton led FSU team that has proven to be VERY beatable. I'd like to think that UVA's run game can keep this thing close long enough for Miami to cough up a key one, but I just don't think Virginia is any good...though it is for lovers, which is nice.
One prediction: Devin Hester will have an INT and a touchdown, they may come on the same play or not but both WILL happen.

There are plenty of other games that I'll be watching tommorrow and Sunday but those were the two that inspired me to ramble on with no real point...aren't you lucky.

Now...some randon thoughts to mull over while laying on your couch this weekend...

On this Maurice Clarett thing: Maybe Dick Tressel isn't evil at all and he just gets a bad rap because he doesn't look nearly as snazzy in the sweater vest-tie combo. Also, do people really get excited to be a booster of a Div. I-AA football team? I mean, I can see how people could get excited about having influence on a Div. I-A program, even a crappy one, but Div. I-AA? Really? That is almost as bad as being a die-hard (see: face/body painter) fan for an NBDL team. These kind of people should be sterilized.

Apparently somebody told Jeff Garcia that he was having a good year in Cleveland. I know that two models were fighting over him a couple of months ago, and that must be really good for your ego, but when you've thrown for just over 1500 yards with 9 TDs and 8 INTs at this point in the season, you're not exactly in the postion to be caling people out now are you.

With regards to both of my previous topics: Have I ever mentioned that I absolutely HATE the state of Ohio? Nothing redeeming about that place whatsoever. If you haven't been, don't go. Trust me.

I haven't been this nervous about a Florida-South Carolina game since the infamous "blackout" game in 2001. If this game turns out anywhere close to that one I will probably throw up (in a good way) by 1 AM on Saturday night. Of course, if it is like last year's game I will probably throw up (not in a good way) by halftime.

I wonder if Darren Sharper is having people over to his house to watch the William & Mary game this weekend. What? You mean its not going to be on TV? That's ludicrous. They play Div. I-AA...and I'm a BIG (prepare for $100 handsake) supporter.

ESPN had footage of Women's Field Hockey on their nightly top ten list a couple of nights ago...What the fuck? Did somebody in production have a daughter playing in this game? Are you really trying to tell me that there wasn't at least one more NBA highlight that we could've put in that slot? It wasn't even a "wow" play. I hate ESPN.

Speaking of ESPN...has Greg Anthony ever been wrong? And don't you get the feeling that Anthony and Stephen A. Smith are gonna rough up Marc Stein at the company Christmas party? I haven't seen that kind of palpable hostility since Kerry Collins spoke at that NAACP rally a few years back.

Nothing puts a hop in my step like seeing Rick "don't call me Casey" Clausen under center for Tennessee.

I may be biased but Jabar Gaffney is going to be the Alvin Harper to Andre Johnson's Michael Irvin in a couple of years. Speaking of the immortal Alvin Harper, did anybody ever actually make him "run around the streets of Dallas naked" when he attempted a comeback with Dallas? Do we have proof? Jerry Jones seems like the kind of guy who would've had this taped.

I'm a little disapointed that Spurrier isn't coming back to Florida for two reasons 1. The hilarity that was his post game show. Spurrier had such disdain for the whole thing and its host, Mick Hubert, that he didn't even attempt to hide it, often going whole shows without makig eye contact with 'ole Mick. Classic stuff. 2. Nobdoy will be around to make LSU wear their purple jerseys on the road. For those of you unfamiliar with the SEC, LSU wears white jerseys at home which is very abnormal. Well Spurrier hated this tradition and would lobby the SEC to let UF wear their white jerseys at home when LSU came to the swamp for no other reason than to piss off LSU and their fans. God, I'll miss that crotchety old bastard.

Who would've guessed that 4 years later, the only member of the three-headed Milwaukee Bucks monster of Allen, Robinson, & Cassell that would still be relevant in the NBA would be Cassell? I guarantee you could've made some money on that bet in Vegas. Also, when will Cassell pass the torch of NBA's ugliest man to Hedo Turkoglu? Will they televise the ceremony?

Did anybody see Steven Hunter go ape shit during the third quarter of that Cavs-Suns game on Wednesday? How did he look? I would know but I was busy stabbing my eyes out with a salad fork.

If 'tweener ever officially becomes a word, I fully expect to see Antawn Jamison's picture next to it in the dictionary. Speaking of Jamison, now that he is reunited with Brendan Haywood on the Wizards, couldn't they just sign Ed Cota and Ademola Okulaja, you know, for old times sake?

Yep. Time to go get drunk. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Are YOU down with the Pilgrims?

Its been a few days since I last posted, so we'll get right to it today.

Does it make me a horrible person that I am visibly excited about the Suns-Cavs matchup tonight? I mean, its not normal to get excited about two lottery teams from last year, squaring off in an early November matchup is it? No, its not, and I know this...but the thought of the suddenly exciting Loyola-Marymount, uh I mean, Phoenix Suns going up aginst King James has been dancing thru my head since Sunday night when I saw the preview while watching the Browns-Ravens game. Speaking of that game, can we pass a rule that says that NO AFC North intra-divisional games can be nationally televised? Joe Theisman for three hours is bad enough but do we have to watch Jeff Garcia too...jeez, how many times have those words been uttered in a, um, alternative lifestyle club?

Anybody who compares what Hines Ward did this past week to what Terrell Owens did two weeks ago is either legally blind or retarded (maybe both)...C'mon, Hines Ward didn't have to practice "the bird" in the mirror now did he?

Whatever GM offers a free agent deal to Chris Rix after this years draft (and there will be AT LEAST one) should be fired on the spot. This is a kid who couldn't even successfully decipher the Duke defense. Tommie Frazier could've passed for 250 yards on that defense..and thats WITH one of his mysterious bloodclots.

Speaking of old Nebraska heroes, did anybody here/read Maurice Clarett talking about his transgressions by saying "its not like I dragged a girl down the stairs by her hair"...this I will grant you Maurice, but when you start comparing yourself to Lawrence Phillips, you've officially gone overboard. What's the matter with this guy? Did he run out of Cecil Collins analogies?

How has Tatum Bell not taken over the starting job in Denver? It was practically his to lose going into the preseason and he hasn't sniffed the starting lineup? Call me sinical but I have a hard time believing that figuring out Denver's playbook, from the tailback position, is that taxing.

I know he's a Gator but after his season long Houdini act and subsequent revival last week (which of course he was on my fantasy bench for), I am about a week away from calling Jeff Gilooly and asking him to go "see" Darrell Jackson.

Erick Dampier is up to his old tricks again...just last night I saw him back away/shield himself during two Steve Francis dunk attempts. Um, Erick, you're 7 feet tall and Steve is only 6'3"...do you think you can TRY and block his shot? No? Ok, just asking. What a waste of space...of course not nearly as big a waste as Adonal Foyle. Goooo COLGATE!!

Isn't it funny how NBA teams are always wasting first round picks on point guards (see: Jerryl Sasser, Antonio Daniels, Reece Gaines, etc.) but both Carlos Arroyo and Rafer Alston bounced around to two or three teams apiece before anybody realized, "Hey these guys can penetrate, defend and shoot well enough to keep teams honest, maybe we should keep them."? And, by funny I mean the "burning sensation when you pee" kind of humor.

My question on the Dave Wannstedt resignation is this...Did his crooked caterpillar mustache resign too? Because that would be a shame...seriously, couldn't Jim Bates just wear it for the next 8 games? Would that really kill him?

There's a theory going around my office that Dick Tressel is Jim Tressel's evil brother who instead of sporting the sweater vest and tie combo, walks up and down the sidelines with a shirt half-un buttoned and a leather jacket. Yes, I do work with people like this. Sadly, this is one of the more feasible theories to have been floated in this office for months now.

Another (very belated) office note: A guy who works here, we'll call him Skyler, actually argued around the trading deadline that Carlos Beltran wasn't an "impact player". Considering that we work in baseball, shouldn't this be grounds for immediate dismissal?

Kenyon Martin sure looks alot less impressive without Jason Kidd pushing the ball and throwing alley-oops. There's a real shocker. In all seriousness, this guy has NO post moves and only averaged 16 ppg in the EAST. What would possess Kiki Vandeweghe to think that he could be an elite power forward out west? Shit, Pau Gasol can't make the All-Star team out there but Kenyon can? I should've majored in NBA GM at college.

Speaking of the Nuggets, has any point guard (who's not a scorer) ever had worse overall court vision than Andre Miller? At least Gilbert Arenas can put up 30 a game if he tries. Miller would need to play in the William & Mary intramural league to do that.

Is there anything on earth uglier than Bo Outlaw's jump shot? If I ever have kids I will let them watch "Faces of Death" before I let them watch tapes of that man shooting a basketball.

I'm thinking about sending Antonio Gates a Christmas card. Would that be over the line?

I am physically incapable of enjoying a Steelers game...I could care less about the Steelers or any of their rivals for that matter. Its just that James Farrior is a damn good linebacker and his younger brother Matt is, well, shitty. I was so excited when he committed to Florida over UVA (his brother's alma mater) only to watch him royally suck for four years. Four years that saw him lose his starting job not once or twice, but THREE times. The third time coming during his senior year when he lost his job to a very average TRUE FRESHMAN...UGH, I'm getting sick just thinking about it.

When I was watching the Steelers-Eagles game this weekend and discovered that one of Pittsburgh's corners was named Willie Williams, I could only think of one thing...."Is Willie Williams, down with the Pilgrims?" Ice Cube is awesome.

If I was drafting a running back this year (which, unfortunately, I'm not) I would definitely take Ronnie Brown before Cadillac Williams...I'm just saying.

If Nomar went to the Yankees to play second base, would that be a BIGGER bitch move then his "Thanks Beautiful" in that Gatorade commercial? Is that even possible?

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hello NBA...Goodbye to a goodnight's rest.

Two days after the election and we can finally get back to living a normal life again. Personally, the election was a MAJOR annoyance to me because of one thing, and one thing only...all the damn supporters that I had to encounter at sporting events, for christ's sake. I was literally overwhelmed with both Bush and Kerry supporters trying to push their wares on me the last time I went up to Gainesville (which was early October, damnit!). Don't get me wrong, I'm as in favor of the democratic process as the next guy but I prefer my football to be just that, with my focus sqarely on football...that becomes tough to do when you have 19 year old frat boys pushing the political agendas that their Daddies told them were right. Next time you want to suport a candidate go to city hall...leave my football time to me and my good friend Jack Daniels.

With that being said, we can get on to more important topics...like the start of the NBA season. I realize that the NBA isn't even close to the immensely popular entity that it once was but frankly, I don't care. I love basketball, in all forms, even one as mutated and canned as the NBA can be. So here are a few of my thoughts from the first two nights.

Can I order the poster of Steve Francis dunking on Erick Strickland yet? Can I order two?

Cleveland WILL make the playoffs and may even put up a good fight for home court in the playoffs. Lebron is just THAT good. Seriously, name me three other swingmen who keep the Cavs in that game versus the Pacers last night...I didn't think so. The Boozer debacle will come back to haunt them but they made enough stop-gap moves that they will be very, very competitive in the east, then again, Kansas might be competitive in the East.

Dwight Howard is gonna be REAL good. I have no idea if his offensive game ever develops but if, and that is a pretty nice size if, it ever does...WATCH OUT!! he is freakishly athletic, has huge, broad shoulders that can put on alot more muscle and is already clearly not intimidated by NBA competition. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it didn't have something to do with playing the Milwaukee Bucks and their awful frontcourt but he plays hard on both ends, attacks the boards, has great hands (most underrated aspect of a big man), runs the floor (like a gazelle?), and has great timing when going for blocks. I was very disapointed when the Magic passed over Emeka Okafor but I can defintely see the reasoning behind it now. This kid has top 5 in the league, SUPERSTAR potential. Seriously, I haven't been this excited since I saw a drunk Bushwick Bill dancing on Rap City 6 years ago.

I have to say one thing about the Bucks...they are in for a precipitous downfall this year. I don't think people realize how much TJ Ford meant to this team with the way he pushed the ball and set everybody up with his insane court vision. He was like that friend you had in college who always knew hot girls but never hooked up with them so when you went out with him your chances of scoring were immediately raised 30-45%. Also, the Milwaukee front court is awful, just awful...Dan Gadzuric, Zaza Pachulia (will be good one day, just not today), 87 year old Toni Kukoc and Joe Smith. Jesus, Jack Sikma could start on this team. Eeek!!

Speaking of Joe Smith...how in god's name was he the NUMBER ONE PICK IN THE NBA DRAFT? C'mon, the guy is a 6'8" C/PF who is not overly athletic with no jumpshot to speak of, yet at the time, he was the consensus No. 1 pick...its not like the Warriors went out on a limb when they drafted him. Everybody wanted him. Is it just me or is this like drafting a receiver who runs a 4.6 40 and has a noted attitude problem No. 1 overall...not that that has ever happened.

Everybody needs to hold off a bit on this whole Lakers/Kobe revival thing. Maybe I'm crazy but I can't see a guy who has a history or dysfunctional relationships with teammates (not just Shaq) not going crazy at some point during a 6 or 8 game losing streak (a streak like this WILL happen, they ARE in the West). Plus, as much as I love Lamar Odom, and I really do, I am having trouble imagining him holding his own against some of the Power Forwards in the West. Sure that works in the East when you're going up against PJ Brown and Kenny Thomas but one of two things will happen here: 1. Odom breaks down from all the pounding, which would be absolutely catastrophic for the Lakers or 2. The Lakers get outrebounded by 25 a night. either way...not good times. Odom is a SF...I will not argue about this, just because you are 6'9" or 6'10" doesn't mean you are a banger especially in the West. Sure it "worked" in the Olympics, but I think we all know the physicality of the NBA game is just a bit more taxing then the international game that has produced such rough and tumble forwards as Dirk, Hedo Turkoglu or the immortal Mark Anstey.

Does Derek Fisher realize that nobody is going to be double teaming Adonal Foyle? Or has he been hiding the ability to create his own shot for all these years?

You have to feel bad for Nate McMillan, a GREAT defensive player in his day who is now coaching a backcourt of Luke Ridnour and Ray Allen...not exactly Alvin Robertson and Michael Cooper. To top it all off, he brings in Flip Murray off the bench who couldn't hate defense more if he was named Rodney White.

Rodney White played his high school ball at Kensington Prep in Maryland, as did DeMarr Johnson...do you know who else played there? Former Gator and current Bearcat James "Flight" White...you couldn't pay me to draft this guy next year...unless of course my name was Elgin Baylor, then I'd probably do it out of the kindness of my heart.

Alright I'll say it...I had given up on Larry Hughes before last year. I just chalked it up to him being an athletic tweener who couldn't shoot straight...sometimes when I try and analyze the NBA I feel like I've never even watched basketball before...its like I'm watching curling or something.

Following in the grand tradition of the '03 Nuggets, '02 Warriors, '01 Sonics and 2000 clippers, My new west coast team to follow on DirectTV this year that my girlfriend will inevitably end up irrationally hating is (cue drumroll)....the Phoenix Suns...seriously, Nash running around on speed, Q being Q and Crazy Amare are enough but when you factor in Joe Johnson (so f'in complete) and Leandro Barbosa I may need to resort to naps in my office in the afternoon.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Still slowing recovering from a wild weekend in jacksonville....win or lose, that weekend is the best day of the college football season for me. It is the very embodiement of the pageantry of fall saturdays in the south. Obviously, being a Florida fan, I am biased but do yourself a favor and go...at least once...unless you encounter the Jacksonville Police Department, you won't be dissapointed.

Speaking of dissapointed...the Florida defense is just not that good, they may have some athletes on that side of the ball but they ARE NOT a talented defense, not yet at least. With that being said, I was/am proud of the way that the Gators fought back in a game that could've gotten ugly, very ugly. Georgia deserved the victory but don't think for one second that everybody (and I mean everybody) in red and black wasn't just a little nervous when Billy Latsko scored to make it 24-21.

I may hate the University of Georgia, but damn if I don't love their women...Georgia girls are the hottest in the SEC, hands down...and no I will not argue about this.

Andre Caldwell didn't even look like he was running that hard on his touchdown catch but since he was blowing by everybody on the field I guess he must've been. I don't mean to get ahead of myself here but the very thought of Caldwell, Chad jackson, Chris Leak and (crossing fingers) Ciatrick Fason running around in the Fun n' Gun makes me giddy...even aflutter. Sorry about that. When you're 4-4 and 2-4 in conference you need something to keep you going.

One last thing about Andre Caldwell...when his brother, Reche, was a sophomore, the Gators ran a fake reverse pass against Mississippi State that was almost identical to the play run on Saturday, except for one thing...Reche UNDERthrew the QB (the immortal Doug Johnson) by about 15 yards...whereas Andre overthrew Leak by 5. Both times the Gators lost...so for the record, receivers from the Caldwell family are 0-2 on reverse passes and florida is 0-2 in those games. And yes, I do have a girlfriend...for how long is anybody's guess.

I had a great time on Saturday but couldn't have the 5-6 unbelievable games that occured on Saturday have happened on a normal Saturday when I'm laying on my couch and scratching myself? I don't ask for much.

As my friend Joe said this morning, "If Adrian Peterson doesn't win the Heisman, they should just name it the "Best Senior in the Country Award"...wait, you mean, it's not? Then why did Eric Crouch win 3 years ago? Anyone...seriously, anybody?

Could I be more excited for a Monday night game then tonight's Jets-Phins tilt...well yes, actually.

This is just a suggestion for the people who make highway exit signs...if I have to drive THRU a neighborhood to get to one of the restaraunts listed on the Food/Gas sign then it is OFFICIALLY too far away to be listed on the afforementioned sign.

In 10 years, we may look back on the 2001 Bucs team and ask the same question that people ask about the 1986 Mets team...and that question is...How did they win a World Champoionship before somebody was beaten to death by a teammate in the lockeroom? I mean c'mon the cast of Different Strokes wasn't that dysfunctional.

Does anybody else get the feeling that Avon Barksdale is going to shoot Stringer Bell soon? Really...I can't be the only one, can I? (And if you don't watch The Wire, then I only have one thing to say...Get off your knees because you're blowing it.)

I am thinking of just not starting ANY Wide Receivers for the rest of my Fantasy season...if you had gone thru such complete and utter busts as Justin McCariens, Brandon Lloyd, Santana Moss, Darrell Jackson, Lavernues Coles, Tyrone Calico, Donte Stallworth and Steve "I should've known it wasn't my year on the first Monday night of the season" Smith already this year, then you'd be at the end of your rope as well. I swear the only thing keeping me together is Antonio Gates...is it ok to be in love with a Tight End who doesn't even play for your favorite team? No? Uh-Oh.