Friday, January 28, 2005

Did anybody else see Caron Butler crying on Leno last night or was that just the after effects of all the LSD I did in high school and college? That was nuts. If I had to pick and NBA player that would cry on a late night talk show, I think that Caron would've finished in the bottom 5% of the league...then again, I also thought that Robert Traylor was going to make an All-Star team or two in his day. That's a public school education for you.

Thank effin god that its Friday...I don't think that I could have taken another day of consecutive work, but I'd better get used to the idea of working seven days a week...because Spring Training is right around the corner and that means I start working like a 10 year old phillipino kid making jordans. Until then, I can still go out and get drunk 3-5 nights a week...Oh, who am I kidding? I'm still gonna get drunk 3-5 times a week, I'll just have to be hungover at work instead of while advancing my NCAA Football 2005 Dynasty.

On TNT last night Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley were joined by Dwyane Wade because he's in town to play the Hawks tonight. The three usuals peppered Wade with the normal boring questions until Kenny asked Wade which specific players he really gets up to play against. Wade threw out a few names but the first name he mentioned was none other than Gilbert Arenas. Wade even went on to mention that he and Gilbert were developing a "real nice rivalry". I thought this comment was particularly telling in that Wade considers Arenas (at least) close to his equal. I , for one, look forward to watching this rivalry develop as you will have a hard time finding two more athletic and offensively talented young guards in the League right now. Of course, Wade may have been referring to the rivalry that he and Arenas have developed in ping-pong...because we all know that Gilbert takes his table tennis very seriously.

Shortly after this, TNT went to commercial by showing Tim Duncan (who was playing in the night's second game on TNT) on a Wheaties box while Charles openly wondered why Tim Duncan was on a Wheaties box to begin with. To which Kenny replied, "Its the breakfast of champions, they must not have served that in Alabama." I don't care how many times its done, making fun of Barkley for never winning a championship never stops being me at least.

The NBA announced the rosters for the Rookie-Sophomore game yesterday and I think the Rookies may be in trouble...of course if it gets ugly again then we can just stop the game and have an impromptu dunk contest again. I'm not sure what was better about that last year...the sheer ridiculousness of that whole last five minutes or the thought of David Stern's head exploding while he watched Lebron and Carmelo risk horrible ACL tears in a meaningless game.

Can we all agree that ESPN shouldn't be allowed to make a SportsCentury about a player who hasn't even retired yet? You're telling me that ESPN has run out of legends to profile and all they have left is SportsCenturies about Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant? I think they're both great players and all but neither of them has even reached 30 years old. It's kind of tough to do a good piece on someone's career when they're in the middle of it, don't you think? How about doing a SportsCentury on Bernard King, Walt Frazier, Warren Moon, or even Ozzie Smith? I could go on with these suggestions for really, I could.

Seriously, if the folks at ESPN are really having trouble thinking of athletes to profile, I'd be more than happy to help...because if I see a Lebron James SportsCentury at any time during the next five years...I'm gonna grow a beard and go to Bristol with a 2' x4' and do my best Hacksaw Jim Duggan impersonation on their entire production staff.

The Magic play the Wizards tonight in the beginning of a home and home. Even without my cousin Larry Hughes in the lineup, these are two of the more exciting teams in the league to watch because they both push the ball and play alot of young, athletic guys. Sure, sometimes Steve Francis and Gilbert Arenas think that they're playing fullcourt one-on-one for five and ten minutes at a time, but even with that this is as fun a midseason mathcup as you will find, especially in the Eastern Conference. Plus, you'll get to play the Doug Christie Drinking game which should be a perfect primer for the rest of your Friday night debauchery...or the it will result in you passing out on your front porch with your keys in the door...not that anything like that has ever happened to me.


Why is it that every person who I've ever met from Boston has the same annoying, horribly thick accent but the (self appointed) Boston Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, has a voice like a 15 year old who grew up in Coconut Grove?

Why is it that Merrill Hoge always looks like he bought his clothes at one of those men's stores in the mall with names like "Fashizzle" of "Off the heezy"?

Why does ESPN think that all of us want to see clips of Terrell Owens getting in and out of his car at the Eagles practice facility? I was under the impression that the only people who cared about those shots were living in Philly and were able to get that useless shit from their local TV stations? I guess Sal Palantonio has to do something.

Why would anybody be excited to go work for a hack like Jim Rome who still "blacks it up" around his black guests, even though he's white and pushing 40?

Why did I write a second blog today? Because I'm an awesome dude...thats why, either that or I'm a huge loser...not quite sure which yet.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I miss the Mad Dog....

I tuned into the Duke-Maryland game last night and was rewarded with a pretty good ACC wasn't the caliber of the Duke-Maryland games of recent vintage but it certainly was entertaining enough to garner my interest for most of the night...whne I wasn't switching over to ESPN2 to look at Serena Williams' ass, er watch Women's Tennis. I will say that Women's Tennis is alot more entertaining to watch based on the strenght disparity between men and women which allows for far better rallies in the women's game. Anyway, here are a few thoughts from the Duke-Maryland game as well as some other random, disorganized musings.

-Shelden Williams has the biggest forehead I have ever seen, he is listed at 6'9" but would be alot closer to 6'6" if he didn't have two normal forheads smashed into one another.

-Daniel Ewing is making himself into a pretty nice combo guard...I think that he is alot more like Gilbert Arenas than Troy Bell because he is a more natural slasher than shooter and if he works out well, he should be able to sneak into the late first round. Of course, I also thought that Ben Gordon would have to turn himslef into a point guard to be succesful in the NBA so I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about.

- Dick Vitale is clearly in love with John Gilchrist and he isn't afraid to let the whole country know about it...I get the feeling that this is all going to end badly. Probably with Gilchrist and JJ Reddick squaring off in a steel cage match to determine the winner of Vitale's heart.

-Duke has had some bad recruiting busts in recent years. I won't even discuss Shavlik Randolph because its a huge waste of all of our time. Sean Dockery is another story's a former all-american who Duke brought in to be the next in their line of good-to-great point guards who is now nothing more than a token starter on a pretty thin Duke team. By the way, the other point guards that Duke were after that year are as follows: John Gilchrist, Anthony Roberson, and Jarrett, yeah that couldn't ahve worked out much worse for Coach K.

-How far into his playing career at Duke do you think Steve Wojodhejufijdhfski was before he knew that he had no other option besides becoming an assistant coach at Duke? Five, maybe six games?

-Qyntel Woods signed with the Heat yesterday. That should be great for Qyntel's probation...because there are certainly no pit bulls, much less any organized fighting of pit bulls in Miami.

- Last night, Greg Anthony said that Lebron was his MVP over Steve Nash because he plays defense and affects the game on both ends of the court and that the MVP was suppossed to be awarded to the player who was "most valuable to the League"...evidently my email was down when the NBA sent out their guidelines for How to Define the MVP becauseI had no idea that it was determined by this criteria...since this is the way it works why don't we just factor in total jersey sales as well while we're at it. I'm not saying that Lebron isn't deserving of the MVP, but I do find it hard to beleive that Karl Malone won his MVPs because he was more valuable to the NBA than Michael Jordan.

-I miss the NBA 2night...NBA Nation give yous minimal highlights and spends half the time giving us the opinions of various NBA scribes and former players. Speaking strictly for myself here: I want as many highlights as possible in my late night NBA wrap up show, not Tim Legler and Marc Stein debating the merits of Jackson Vroman and Maciej Lampe. Plus, would it really kill ESPN to give us Fred Carter and his point four or five days a week?

Monday, January 24, 2005

I'd slit Landon's throat....

Man, I cannot wait for The Real World tomorrow...who knew that a black gay guy could still be that possesive of his black female roommate? I haven't been this excited for a Real World episode since Mike had that threesome in the shower during the Miami season...and yes, I know that I'm a sad and pathetic person and I'm ok with that.

After the two worst championship games in history, I don't have the patience to write any sort of column today so I'm just gonna give you some quick thoughts that I didn't forget after a FULL weekend of drinking....

- I had absolutely no idea that Brian Dawkins was certifiably crazy, that postgame speech was easily the most exciting thing that happened in either game yesterday. I honestly thought that he was going to puch Joe Buck right in the face at one point...with all of the media coverage that the Eagles get we couldn't have gotten him miked for a game or two these past couple of years? A reality show following him would give us twice the excitement of the proposed Christie reality show...until Jackie Christie maces some UCF co-ed of course.

-Is it just me or do the Conference Championship trophies look alot like ashtrays? Of course, I also think the Pro Football Hall of Fame looks like a giant orange juice squeezer, so maybe I'm weird.

-It's a good thing that Freddie Mitchell isn't a shameless self-promoter, because that would be really annoying.

-Peerless Price might be one of the worst wide receivers ever to get a huge free agent contract...he's approaching Alvin Harper on the Tampa Bay Bucs territory, quickly. Now that we've had a couple of years to take in all of this, would it be wrong to start garnishing his wages and sending a monthly check to Eric Moulds...would anybody (other than Peerless) object to this?

-I may be biased, because he's possibly my favorite Gator ever, but Lito Sheppard became one the very best corners in the NFL this season and has only raised his level of play in the playoffs so far, plus his name is Lito...that's got to be worth something doesn't it?

-There's not a more underrated receiving corps in the NFL than the Patriots' big names but they all make big plays and they all seem to have unbelievably sure hands.

-We all know that Tom Brady was a sixth round pick, but what many people don't know is that among the QBs drafted ahead of him was one Giovanni Carmazzi of Hofstra, who was drafted in the third round by the 49ers. Maybe I'm just old fashioned but, I would always draft an Orange Bowl MVP QB from Michigan before I would draft an Italian immigrant who played football at Hofstra. I also would draft a high school player before I would ever draft a Michigan tailback but like I said, thats just me.

-On a related note, in recent years the 49ers have drafted such Quarterbacking legends as Jim Druckenmiller, Tim Rattay, Degowop Carmazzi, Ken Dorsey, and Ron Powlus. Alright, I lied about the last one but who else thinks that maybe, just maybe forcing Bill Walsh out was a bad move for the organization? I can understand where Terry Donahue was coming from though. Why would you want to keep on the inventor of football's most popular (and prolific) offense and the man responsible (on one level or another) for all of your Super Bowl victories?

-Speaking of Hofstra, why did they stop using the nickname "Flying Dutchmen" in favor of "Pride"? Were the Dutch offended? Did they threaten to cut off all wooden shoe importing? There's got to be some explanation for this.

-Does anybody else think that Tom Brady is angling for an endorsement with Vidal Sassoon by pulling a Kevin Elster with regards to his recent lack of hair product? Remember when Elster broke the consecutive errorless games streak at shortstop while playing for the Mets and then said he'd stop wearing Rawlings gloves unless he got an endorsement deal with them? Really...I'm the only person who has thought about this?

- I must say that I was shocked when I saw Lenny Wilkens was fired on Friday night...shocked because I thought that Lenny Wilkens was dead and that was just a Lenny Wilkens robot that Isiah was controlling from his office.

- The Doug Christie trade has already had one GREAT benefit...a new drinking game for me to enjoy while sitting on my couch. Here's how it works: Every time that Doug signals to his wife (over 100 times in any given game) you must drink...simple, easy to follow, gets you hammered... now thats the recipe for a drinking game if I've ever heard one.

-I just found out that Stephen A. Smith is getting his own show on ESPN2 in June, coincidentally I also just ordered a pistol grip shotgun from my local gun shop...I wish I was kidding.

-Do you think that Marcus Vick kicked all the girls out of his apartment yesterday when it became aparrent that the Falcons were going to lose or did they just leave because they had a prom committee meeting to attend?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A request....

Can all of the NBA writers and "experts" stop referring to Tracy McGrady as a "hometown boy" when speaking of the city of Orlando? Better yet, can they just stop saying that McGrady signed with Orlando because he wanted to play in his hometown?

Listen up and grab a map assholes...Tracy McGrady isn't from Orlando, he isn't even from any of the many suburbs of Orlando. He was raised in a tiny hick town named Auburndale that is more than 45 minutes outside of Orlando. In fact, Auburndale is significantly closer to the city of Lakeland. This is like me saying that I am from Orlando even though I was born and raised over an hour away...its just not true. Yes, McGrady may have grown up an Orlando fan and even attended a few Magic games but the attachment ends there. I believe there are enough angles to explore about tonight's game against the Magic without the press fabricating some bullshit "Local boy done good" story.

Oh and by the way...I hope McGrady gets 45 and the Rockets lose by'll be just like old times in the TD Waterhouse Center with McGrady scoring in bunches and his team losing because all of his teammates stood around with their fingers in their ass for 3 hours.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I love the south...

I just got back to my office from running a few errands and I was driving next to a mid 80's Purple Chevrolet Caprice Classic with bowling ball paint and spinners. What's so great about that? The driver was a white man in his eighties, if that doesn't put a hop in your step...well, I don't want to hang out with somebody like you...

Figured I address a couple of basketball related issues today since there hasn't been much hoops discussion of late around here:

I was going to post some observations about Florida's basketball team a week or two ago and then the Gators went out and lost to FSU and after that, it was learned that Matt Walsh would be out for 4-6 weeks with torn ankle tendons. I am not a big Matt Walsh fan, but even I had to sigh at this news and expect UF to go farther into the tank than they already were. My thoughts were not going to be positive prior to these developments, so I decided not to pile on a clearly reeling team. Well, a funny thing happened after all of this...the Gators began winning some games, even going into Vanderbilt last Saturday and blowing out the Commodores which is a very tough thing to do up in Nashville.

In my opinion, there are a few big reasons for all of this. First, Anthony Roberson has begun to stop worrying about how he looks to NBA scouts and has reverted to playing to his strengths once more. You see guys try and tailor their game to what scouts think they need to do all the time and almost as often, these same players' level of play drops precipitously. I watched Keith Bogans do this his entire junior year at Kentucky, it even got so bad that he lost his spot in the starting lineup for a while. In Keith's case it was a matter of him trying to prove he had an NBA ready jumpshot. In the case of Roberson, he was trying to be a "pass first" point guard and show NBA scouts that he could run a team. Roberson struggled to figure out exactly how to do this and ended up being a non-factor in plenty of early season matchups (Louisville, specifically). There are few guards in the entire country who possess the raw scoring ability of Roberson and frankly, Florida needs him to score because (other than Walsh) they lack any other natural scorers. Since Walsh went down, Roberson has taken it upon himself to more actively look for his shot and the results have been nothing short of spectacular. He is averaging 26.3 points a game during the SEC play so far, including two straight road games of over 30 points. Roberson needs to continue to play in this manner because his enthusiasm and, more importantly, confidence clearly rub off on a young and inexperienced Florida team.

Another reason that Roberson must be the focal point offensively is none other than David Lee. Lee appeared to be on the brink of stardom at the end of his sophomore season but has been unable to ever take his game to the next level. It is now apparent to anybody who watches the Gators on a regular basis that Lee just doesn't possess enough offensive prowess and /or killer instinct to be the kind of guy that can routinely put a team on his shoulders and will them to victory as his game is much more similar to that of Kentucly's Chuck Hayes. It just not his game or his personality. Florida plays best when Lee gets double figure rebounds and gets his points by going to the offensive glass and running the floor while also kicking the ball out to open shooters on the perimeter. Lee doesn't want to be "the man" and really seems to have settled into this new role nicely since Roberson has taken control of this team.

And lastly, the insertion of freshman Al Horford into the starting lineup at Center has changed the makeup of this team. The son of former NBA center Tito Horford has given the Gators a physical presence in the middle that they haven't had since Udonis Haslem. Horford is nowhere near Haslem offensively (not yet) but he is averaging right near a double-double in his 9 games since being named the starting center and leads the team with 20 blocked shots. He plays with a controlled intensity and always seems to be in the right place on defense.

By no means am I ready to say that Florida is ready to challenge Kentucky for the SEC, but things have taken a 180 degree turn in the past week or two and if these young Gators can continue to play at this level then they will be a very tough team come tournament time.

-Earlier this week, it was revealed that Memphis' Sean Banks had been ruled academically ineligible for the rest of the season which, in all likelihood, ends his career at Memphis. Banks was the National Freshman of the Year in 2004 and seemed destined to be a lottery pick this year. Now, Banks will be lucky if he is drafted at is an example of a kid with all the talent in the world and nobody to help guide him. From the moment the season ended last year, Banks has done nothing but make embarassing mistake after stupid mistake. A quick rundown: (1) Skipped out on Junior World Championship trials (held 15 miles from his home) and never once informed anybody, not even his own coach of his decision. (2) Openly pouted on the bench during a Memphis win while his teammate, Rodney Carney, had a career night in MSG during the Coaches vs. Cancer tourney. (3) Suspended from team by John Calipari (not exaclty Bob Knight in regards to discipline) for basically being a cancer to the team. (4) Getting in a fight with teammate Arthur Barclay after a loss to Texas. Of course, the final incident is his being ruled ineligible. More than anything, it is sad to me that player so talented is willing to throw away millions because he is too dumb and selfish to see any kind of big picture. Calipari needs to take a large part of the blame here as well, he should've been more involved with a kid that everybody knew had issues when he arrived at Memphis. In my opinion, Calipari runs his program like an NBA team, letting players do what they please as long as they are at practice on time...that shit won't fly in college, especially when you are recruiting elite level players to a program located in a major metropolitan area. Calipari was able to do run his program at UMass this way because he hadn't started recruiting the cream of the crop just yet. But, remember that towards the end of Calipari's run at UMass alot of taudry details began to leak out about the behavior of players like Mike Williams and Marcus Camby, among others. Calipari may be a great teacher of the game but he is certainly not somebody I would want teaching life lesson to an 18 year old with NBA dollars signs in his eyes...Outside the Lines will return after these messages....

- If these last four games have taught us anything about the Suns, its that Steve Nash should win the MVP in a landslide. The award isn't for best all around player as some would have you believe (cough, Bill Simmons), it is for the player who is most valuable to his team and I can't think of anyone more integral to one team's success than Nash is to the Suns. This isn't the NCAA tournament where they award the MOP (most outstanding player). The Suns are averaging just over 11 assists since Nash went down, Nash averages 11 assists (10.9) all by himself. I realize that Nash plays about as much defense as 2001 Rams, but without him the Suns are jockeying for lottery position and with him they are the best team (record wise) in the league. Can you really imagine the Suns scoring 77 points in a game (what they put up earlier this week) when Nash is in the lineup? Shit, they score 77 in some halves when Nash is healthy. If we are only going to reward the best all around player in the game then we have to take away all of Shaq's MVPs because there's no chance that he's a better all around player than Duncan, KG or plenty of other guys. Why did he win those MVPs you ask. Because he was the most dominant player in the league and his team had no chance of competing without him...Nash isn't the most dominant player in the NBA but the Suns have absolutley NO SHOT of competing for even the eight spot in the West without him. That is how I define valuable.

Finally, in a report about Barrett Robbins the former Raider was identified with the phrase, "Perhaps best known for going to Tijuana on the night before the Super Bowl..." Perhaps?!!? Am I missing something here? Did I miss the time when Barrett was guest hosting The Grind on MTV? Maybe he was nominated for a Pulitzer that I'm not aware of. Gotta love the editors over there at the Worldwide Leader.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Rush needs more OC..stat!

I wish I could say that we just witnessed and exciting and heart pounding weekend of football but save for one game, it was all pretty boring and disapointing. The Jets-Steelers was exactly what you would expect a playoff game to be, with big plays being made in all phases of the game. Herm Edwards and the Jets had to be sick yesterday, knowing that they let a HUGE opportunity (not just for them but for the whole franchise) slip by them.

Santana Moss may be the quickest player in the league...he made four Steelers miss with one cut on his punt return. He almost had his second game altering, long TD catch in as many weeks if it hadn't been for a GREAT play by Willie Williams.

Ben Roethlisberger certainly played like a rookie and it is a testament to the rest of that Pittsburgh team, that they were able to play through his mistakes and still come away with a victory. Big Ben was 17-30 but would've had much worse stats were it not for about 5-6 fantastic catches by Hines Ward...its hard to call a guy underrated when he's made four Pro Bowls but that's exactly what I'd call Ward, just a big time player.

The announcers were talking about Duce Staley on Saturday when they mentioned that he goes 5'11" 242 lbs. To put this in perspective, Jerome Bettis is 5'11" 255 lbs. I knew Duce was solid but I had no idea that he weighed nearly as much as Bettis. He certainly carries it much better than the Bus.

Michael Vick had 82 yards passing on Saturday night...he has the innate ability to make an NFL game look like a high school football game when he's on the field. That's not an insult, he just always looks like that great high school athlete who is put under center because the head coach wants the ball in his hands as much as possible, pretty amazing to do that in the NFL.

If you pontificate on sports in any manner, you are required to dispense some sort of opinion on yesterday's Patriots-Colts snooze-a-thon, not my rule but a rule nonetheless.

Peyton Manning may be a heck of a QB and a very smart guy but he has some of the worst body language that you'll ever see from a big time QB. He exuded little to no leadership qualities when his team needed him the most yesterday. When things started going badly, he didn't react the way you NEED your franchise player to, it was actually much more reminiscent of my niece when she doesn't get to watch her favorite Clifford video. It easy to be calm and classy when you're blowing a team out, but the true test of a leader is when everything is going wrong and your team is falling apart before your very eyes, that time separates the great from the all-timers. One of the most important, and overlooked, qualities in a championship QB (at all levels of play) is his ability to lead and inspire confidence in his teammates in the most daunting of situations...when things got rough for the Colts yesterday, all Manning could do was make faces and whine to officials. One last note, Tennessee won a national title the year after Peyton left with Tee Martin as its QB (with less overall talent than the year before as well)...when evaluating them as QBs, one would have to give the edge to Peyton in all but two categories: mobility and leadership abilities. Its the little things that mean the difference between winning and losing and right now, Manning is deficient in these areas.

After the Pats-Colts game, Boomer Esiasion said that, "Peyton Manning might be this generation's Dan Marino, a great palyer who couldn't make it to the Super Bowl." Mind you, Marino was sitting about four feet away from Boomer at the time. After he punched a whole in the CBS desk, Marino pointed out that he had been to a Super Bowl and then he proceeded to stare holes in to Boomer's head for the next five minutes. Judging by the look in Marino's eyes, I wouldn't be surprised if Gunnar Esiason woke up with a horses head in his bed this morning.

The strength of the Patriots defense is their linebackers...because of this, a game plan that relies on underneath routes and the screen pass to beat them seems horribly flawed in its conception.

Corey Dillon is really damn good...can you imagine how many Pro Bowls he would have under his belt if he had been playing in New York his whole career, or even Miami? His performance yesterday was the best display of patience as a runner that I can ever remember seeing...if Michael Pittman had half of that, he would challenge for the league rushing title every year. Well, he needs to stop beating his wife during the off-season too.

Tedy Bruschi is the very definition of a playmaker. In basketball, some guys just have a "nose for the ball", getting their hands on loose balls whether it be through deflections, rebounds whatever. Bruschi is just like that...right places, right times, and when he's in one of those spots, he ALWAYS makes a play. Name one linebacker in the last ten years who has had as many game changing plays as Bruschi has had in the last four years...maybe Derrick Brooks but I give the edge to Bruschi because he has been on the winning end of so many big games, playoffs and regular season.

If you predicted that Willie McGinest would still be this good of an every down player 5 years ago, then you are a much better evaluator of football talent than I...though that itsn't saying much.

Who else thinks that ESPN should bring back Rush Limbaugh for next week so he can tell us all about how the liberal media and its need to praise black QBs is the reason McNabb and Vick will be squaring off in the NFC Championship game? I can't be the only one.

Friday, January 14, 2005

White guys with doo rags...hooray!

So I missed terribly on my pre-analysis of the GT-UNC throwdown. I know that GT was missing B.J. Elder but I don't even think that Larry Elder could've stopped UNC on Tuesday...unless he broadcasted a show right there in the Dean Dome where David Noel admitted to fathering the child of Sean May's girlfriend...nah, the Heels still win by a ten spot.

UNC is really good, though I'm not quite ready to say they're better than Illinois and it sure is tough to hate on Kansas after they beat GT & Kentucky without Wayne Simien. Everybody is saying that the difference in UNC this year is that they have "bought in" to Roy Williams' concepts. While they have definitely ratcheted it up a notch on defense and are sharing the ball somewhat better, the real difference is that they are finally deep enough to play at the pace that Roy Williams likes. This team is legitmately nine deep and that is much more than most major Div. I teams can say these days.

Judging by Jay Bilas and Dick Vitale's drool at his feet, I may be in the minority but I don't see Rashad McCants being a good pro. He is probably alot closer to 6'2" than 6"5" and doesn't have nearly the ballhandling ability that either Ben Gordon or Gilbert Arenas had in college. He basically pats the ball with his left hand when he dribbles and he won't be able to physically overpower other two guards in the league like he does now. One thing he does possess is legit NBA range but other than that I just don't see him as having any NBA ready skills. Other than freshman Marvin Williams (too early to tell just yet), I think that Raymond Felton has the brightest future in the pros among these guys...though, I hope he goes this year just so I don't have to hear Vitale scream "Everybody Loves Raymond" during 45% of every UNC home game. Could somebody just take him out to a field and shoot him? Seriously, how many more years are we gonna have to listen to this guy?

One last thing about Carolina: Some NBA GM would be wise to draft Jawad Williams in the later part of round one of this year's draft. He's gotten better every year he's been in school and is UNC's leading scorer this year...another one of those multi-dimensional four year guys that always seem to transition to the NBA very well. Of course, he'll probably go undrafted and have to play his way onto a roster during summer league while some Serbian kid gets three years of guaranteed money.

You may wonder why I haven't mentioned the possible game of the year in the ACC...the Carolina-Wake Forest matchup tommorrow, thats because I have to work during the better part of it and if I talk about it then my eyes will start to bleed due as a reaction to my overwhleming anger. One thing to watch tommorrow (not me, you!): For a point guard that is so universally loved, Chris Paul's left hand is a little suspect. I'm not saying he Capt. Hook but he can be slowed down if you force him that way all game. Funny that nobody ever really mentions it. Jameer Nelson really contained him last eyar in the tourney by doing just that.

I really like the new ACC in football but the new unbalanced ACC absketball schedule blows. Its effin' ridiculous that teams like Wake, Duke, UNC & NC State will only play each other once most years. The home and home rivalries was part of what made ACC basketball so interesting, now its just like any other conference.

The Playoffs were great last weekend and should be even better this weekend. Here are a few quick thoughts regarding this weekend:

- Everybody seems to like the Colts, well everybody except Bill Simmons, shocking as that is. I just can't pick Peyton Manning to win this game. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he could never beat Florida or maybe it has something to do with the Pats. The Patriots are very vulnerable, without question but I still think that the Pats pull this one out behind a big game from Corey Dillon, don't worry Tory, he want get to have the nickname that you gave yourself! Patriots: It is still January and this game is still being played in New England.

-The Jets are an interesting pick since Pennington looks healthy and Roethlisberger is gonna have to lose at some point but I don't believe in their offense enough to take them here. Pittsburgh's defense forces at least 3 turovers and they win by 9.
If you were the Giants, would you rather have Muhsin Muhammad or Plaxico Burress? Seems like a no-brainer after Muhammad went insane in the second half but most people were saying Burress was a better value earlier this year. Here's my take: Burress is younger, more athletic and is probably willing to sign for less money. Muhammad proved this year that he can handle the No. 1 receiver slot which Burres has never had to do with Hines Ward next to him (very underrated transition from No. 2 receiver to No. 1...just ask Peerless Price), is a MUCH more disciplined route runner and also seems to be a harder worker than Burress who has never struck me as a workout fanatic, well other than the type of "workouts" that occur between 2-5 AM. Also, I could never, EVER rationalize spending big free agent dollars on a receiver who lost (badly) to me in Madden a few years back...defensive tackle: maybe, receiver: no way.

- Peter King called Mike Martz the "best QB developer since Bill Walsh" yesterday. Pretty good point. Trent Green, Kurt Warner, Marc Bulger... not exactly a who's who of all-time college QB greats, and he's turned each of them into a Pro Bowl QB. He may be a horrible game day coach but the man can "coach 'em up" as Stephen Orr Spurrier used to, er, still does say. I am going with the Falcons here because I think they have the defense to force Bulger into some bad throws and I just have a feeling that we will get some Mike Vick Magic tommorrow. It may only be one great play, but it will turn the tide of the game. Just a feeeeling.

- I wish this game was tommorrow so I didn't have to hear about Randy Moss' ass anymore. The last time the media talked about a black man's ass this much in one week was the Clarence Thomas hearings and it wasn't Clarence they were talking about. Why can't the media harp on stories like Rodney White throwing up on the court at MSG last year? Now that would make me want to watch the Coors Light/Hershey's/Coca-Cola/Universal Silver Spotlight Countdown Jacked Up on Sportscenter every night...alas. I don't think that Moss is gonna be healthy enough to beat the Eagles secondary on Sunday and I just can't see Kelly Campbell or Nate Burleson putting together a strong enough performance to pull this one out. I am looking forward to seeing Donovan McNabb throwing balls at Freddie Mitchell's feet for 60 minutes, I think I missed that more than anything during this year's NFL season, well other than shots of Rob Johnson wearing a doo-rag on the sidelines...can't somebody sign him as their third QB? Just for a week or two?

Over/under on the number of times we see the Ms. McNabb Chunky Soup Commercial this weekend: 562

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I bet Mr. Met STILL has nightmares...

I was thinking that since the Magic have decided that they want to take all the Sacramento Kings' castoffs, that the Magic should go out and sign Keon Clark. He would instantly become their most offensively proficient frontcourt player and would give DeShawn Stevenson somebody to hang out with...then I remembered that nobody can find him. Seriously, with all the talking that people did about Ricky Williams and even Bison Dele when they just stopped playing and dissapeared, you'd think that somebody, anybody would've written an an expose on Keon Clark and how he has just willingly given up millions of dollars...It cpuld be because nobody can find him or it oculd be that I'm the only person who cares...but you have to admit that the whole thing is more than a little strange.

I had not seen the replay of Richard Jefferson being undercut by Chauncey Billups until yesterday when ESPNews was talking about Jefferson being out for the year. Wow. How did this play slip under my radar? As someone who played basketball on a competitive level for most of my life, I have to say that it was a very dirty play. Now Jefferson is out for the season. Chauncey can defend it all he wants, but the simple fact is DO NOT take out somebody's legs from underneath them when they are in the air. You just don't, its one of the few unwritten basketball rules. This even applies in pickup games. I have seen fights break out over fouls just like the one Billups committed. Hard fouls are a part of the game but to undercut somebody like that is cheap, plain and simple. Furthermore, it is a joke that Larry Brown, who always talks about his "respect for the game" and "playing the right way", can go out of his way to call out Carmelo Anthony for not being a "good teammate" during the Olympics but will then refuse to comment on whether he thinks Billups' foul was dirty...I guess respect for the game only matters when you can gain something by talking about it. Dean Smith must be beaming with pride.

Peter King brought up a great point in his tuesday edition of Monday Morning Quarterback when he discussed ESPN's refusal to show the Randy Moss celebration replay. How is showing that replay even close to as harmful or tasteless as showing the replay of the Pistons-Pacers fight ad nauseum? I can see where the executives at ESPN were coming from...showing gratuitous violence on a 24 hour loop is definitely alot better than showing a simulated mooning. Personally, I think that having to watch that old ESPN commercial with Mr. Met slathering sun tan lotion on Linda Cohn while she posed in a one piece swimsuit was far more damaging to the youth of America than the two of these combined, no question.

Tonight North Carolina takes on Ga. Tech and I couldn't be more excited. Though I graduated from an SEC school, I have always had a soft spot for ACC basketball. It is consistently the best conference in the country with a load of fantastic rivalries, not to mention NBA ready players. These are two of the better teams in the country and they both play an uptempo, exciting brand of basketball. I am most intrigued by the Jarret Jack-Raymond Felton matchup because I love watching good point guards go head-to-head. Personally, I like Felton's game better, as he is more of a point guard while Jack is a "lead guard" but you can't go wrong with either player as they both are extremely talented as well as top shelf competitors. It should be the first great ACC matchup of the year, but certainly not the last. One final could make a case that this game also features the country's most underrated coach (Paul Hewitt) versus the country's most overrated coach (Roy Williams). They can both recruit and coach but one of them sure seems to come up short an awful lot...and I'm not talking about Hewitt's days at Siena.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Minnie has been to known to get a little loose after a few cocktails...

So last night I sat down to watch my beloved Magic take on the Celtics in hopes that the Magic would play better than the last time these two teams met when Orlando put a stamp on it during the second quarter of a HOME GAME and allowed Doc Rivers his first win versus his former team. (I think that Brianna Banks was at Rachel's Cabaret that night so I can give the guys a pass on that one.)

I didn't tune in until midway through the first quarter so I was just settling into the action when former Magic coach and current Magic color man Matt Guokas mentions that Cuttino Mobley isn't playing because of a proposed trade. Thats it, no mention of the other team involved and certainly no mention of who he is being traded for. No big deal I think, they'll tell me soon. Well they didn't, not even close. Finally I go to to check the headlines. No dice., try again asshole. Finally, I ventured to a Magic message board in a desperate (and admittedly really nerdy) attempt to find out something, anything about this trade. Not one fucking topic. I'm getting fairly annoyed at this point and my girlfriend has come over at some point during all of this and is now wearing the "Jesus, how did I end up with such a loser" face. Listen, I understand...I'm a huge dork. You play the hand you're dealt.

Anyway, I decide to go back to watching the Magic in hopes that they'll mention at least a rumor that I can wrap my mind around...the only thing I get is a shot of Steve Francis openly pouting on the bench, which isn't much of a surprise since he and Cuttino have had a monogomous relationship for at least five years now. Not good news for the Magic. The whole team looks like its sleep walking through this game and they're already down by 16 in the second quarter. Frustrated, annoyed, and hungry, I agree to leave and get some dinner with my girlfriend.

No more than 5 minutes later I get not one, but two phone calls from my friends Vitas and Calvin informing me that the player in question is none other than Doug Christie...after I narrowly avoided the ditch that I nearly drove my car into, I'm able to process this info, barely. I am going to wait and see how this plays out because Magic GM John Weisbrod certainly did a good job this summer when he put this team together but right now, I don't get it. Christie is 35 with two years and $15 million left on his contract with a certifiably jealous/crazy wife who is notoriously hard to deal with...and that was in Sacramento where the women aren't exactly Victoria's Secret material. What is this nutty bitch gonna do in Orlando where women of questionable moral character walk around in skirts and tank tops 320 days a year?

I also know that Mobley was a free agent, but do you really think that we couldn't have gotten him to resign? For Christ's sake, his boyfriend is the starting point guard. I can guarantee that the only two teammates who have a less heterosexual relationship are David Pollack and David Green.

This move definitely makes the Magic a better defensive team (hard to be much worse) but I think that they are going to struggle to score points without, at least, the threat of Mobley out on the perimeter. Mobley singlehandedly won both the Knicks and Jazz games earlier this seasna nd the team struggled mightily to score when Cuttino had a bad groin (to say nothing of how "lonely" Francis was getting at the time) Remember, this is a team whose frontcourt includes the offensive wizardry of Tony Battie, Kelvin Cato and Mario Kasun, not exactly the '86 Celtics.

I'm hopeful that this trade works out but when you factor in the inevitable 15-20 game poutfest that Stevie Franchise is about to bless us with, along with the horrible offensive production of the frontcourt and the meshing of both Doug and Jackie Christie into the Magic lockeroom (oh, they'll both be a part of the lockeroom), you now have the potential for a very long and ugly losing streak that could submarine what has been a very promising Magic season up to this point.

Well, at least we'll get to hear all the crazy stories about Jackie Christie getting female Magic employees fired and her calling Minne Mouse a filthy slut...that should be fun.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Apparently they expect me to work all day during the year of 2005...if I'd have known that this was part of the deal then maybe I wouldn't have had the ER staff pump my stomach on New Year's Eve. As a result of the unreasonable demands on my time that my boss is making, I will once again be unable to give you much today...other than of course the two funniest things that I have seen/heard in months. Seriously, if everything in life made brought me as much unbridled joy as much as the following two items, I probably wouldn't have to preemptively place my name on the list seeking liver donors. Anyway...

The Orlando Magic snapped a 4 game losing streak last night which included losses to such powerhouses as the Bulls, Bucks, and Knicks. Somehow, Steve Francis was unable to comprehend why the media has been criticizing the Magic for losing to these NBDL teams. When asked how he felt about getting a big win over the Seattle Sonics, Francis replied that it felt good because, "We been hearing that we're the worst team since sliced bread." Evidently, I have been working way to hard lately because I didn't even realize that sliced bread was a team. What city do they play in? Who's they're leading scorer? As bad as they (apparently) are, have they considered firing their head coach? I couldn't be more full of questions right now.

This doesn't even need an explanation, just click on the link...all I can say is that I am ready to officially bury the hatchet with Clinton Portis for not attending the University of Florida. How can I be mad at him after this...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Pete Carroll didn't even have to bail Lawrence Phillips out of jail...

Oh my WOW!! That was my reaction when I was watching USC absolutely destroy Oklahoma last night. I haven't seen a performance so dominant in a #1 vs #2 National Championship game since Nebraska and Tommy Frazier annihilated Florida in the 1995 Fiesta Bowl. Needless to say, I enjoyed last night much more.

I said yesterday that I was basing my pick on LenDale White being unable to play...well, not only did he play, he looked like a future first round pick, bad ankle be damned. In hindsight, it wouldn't have mattered if USC had to start the actor who played Boobie Miles in "Friday Night Lights" last night, they were CLEARLY better than OU in every phase of the game. Even the OU Offensive Line which had been so dominant throughout the year looked completely outclassed by the USC Defensive Line.

For a team with so may seniors, OU sure did go in the the tank quickly. Their body language was "Paul Pierce-esque" which is inexcusable in a national championship game. As soon as Mark Bradley botched that punt, it was as if OU thought "here we go again". Jason White was the ring leader of it all for the second straight year. That interception that White threw up for grabs was actually worse than Brett Favre's int in the NFC playoffs last year...which is saying something. Somewhere Jake Plummer was feeling a little better about himself during that first half.

If anything, I think the last two national championship games have proved that OU is a program that lacks the true championship swagger that USC showed last night and the Miami has had for soooo long. Hit them in the mouth and get physical and they will cower in the corner like my friend Greg's dog Cali.

I still think that Matt Leinart has an above average arm, at best, but he compensates for that by throwing one of the prettier balls I have seen recently, his touch passes look like they were dropped from heaven. Simply put, he is everything that Jason White isn't...poised, unflappable, heady and most of all...a winner.

Congrats to USC, they are on the verge of a dynasty nearing 1980's Miami proportions...excluding Luther Campbell and the 2 Live Crew Bandanas, of course.

One last thing...with all of the crappy fluff pieces that ESPN and ABC drown us in each and every weekend, how in the hell did nobody ever run a story about Ken Norton, Jr. being a defensive coach at USC? I know its hard to believe that football fans would want to know about a great linebacker with numerous Super Bowl rings making the transition to college coach over a story about Guys who played pee-wee football together but...thats exactly what we want!! Ken Norton, Jr. is a relevant figure in the memories of most football fans, there is a pretty damn good chance that we'd be interested in the fact that he coaches one of the more dominant college defenses of recent vintage.

I will discuss some other topics tommorrow that I couldn't get to today because work is crazy, but I didn't want to let the day go by without at least quickly discussing the thrashing that we all witnessed last year. I just hope that Chris Leak and Co. were watching intently so they have some idea of what they should be shooting for in the next two years.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Curtis Martin-El Debarge: Separated at Birth?

I watch alot of college football. So much so that I knew the name of Boise State's QB BEFORE the Liberty Bowl and yes, I do still have a girlfriend...for now at least.

Being that I graduated from an SEC school, I have been one of Auburn's biggest supporters this year since I believe that on an almost yearly basis the SEC is the best football conference in the country...its similar to Vivid Videos in the porn industry, there are exceptions some years but for the most part, the SEC is superior in overall talent in relation to all their other competition. With that being said, Auburn doesn't deserve a piece of the national title. Auburn needed to win more impressively than that against a good (not great) Va. Tech team if they wanted to convince the nation that they were on par with USC and Oklahoma. I am fully aware that Va. Tech gave USC all they wanted early on and that Oklahoma struggled against Texas A&M and Ok. State (two teams who got pasted in their bowl games) but I just can't rationalize giving a share of the national title to a team that really struggled offensively after their first two drives of the game. If Auburn could've scored touchdowns on each of those drives they could've really blown the game open and then they may have a case in this national championship argument but then again, if Rick Pitino could've drafted Tim Duncan we'd all be calling him a coaching genius right now as well.

As for tonight's game, I think that Oklahoma will win due in large part to the injury to LenDale White. Its interesting that even though Reggie Bush was a Heisman finalist, he isn't even the regular starting tailback on his own team and that fact is where I think the difference lies in these two teams. Oklahoma will give the ball to Adrian Peterson 25-30 times tonight and USC would've spread those carries out between Bush and White but now the Trojans have to try and rely on Bush as their every down back...I don't see Bush being able to consistently get the tough yards tonight and because of this I think that Oklahoma wins a tight one. Either way it goes, I would really just like to see a GREAT and extremely competitive bowl game. With all of the talent that's on the field tonight, we have a chance to watch a truly amazing football game. There will be as much speed and athleticism as you'll ever see this side of the NFL...though the National Championship games that are played in the Orange Bowl always seem to be excruciatingly boring. Oh well, I always have sweet booze to liven up the festivities.

Hall of Fame voting results are released today and I, for one, am rooting for Ryne Sandberg. He seems to have slipped through the cracks among his generation of great players for a guy who was always among the top stars in the game during his heyday. I would've guessed that he would be inducted much earlier if you had asked me when he first retired. The man was the premier second baseman of his era, hands down. Oh yeah, and he did win an MVP...for the Cubs no less. Some may want to say that he was just a power hitting second baseman along the lines of Jeff Kent but that couldn't be more wrong. Sandberg actually won a few gold gloves, unlike Kent who acts like he'd rather be changing Don Zimmer's diapers than diving for a ground ball up the middle...though that difference is certainly evened out by Jeff Kent's mustache and the fact that Kent tried to kick teammate Barry Bonds' ass DURING a game. Come to think of it, those two things get Kent immediate induction into MY Hall of Fame. I can hear the champagne cork popping from here! Best of Luck to Ryne.

I read that Curtis Martin became the oldest rushing champ in the NFL since Marion Motley, who won his title in 1950. Now, I have never been a Curtis Martin fan (I really have no feeling on him either way) but to rush for over 1,600 yards at age 31 with all of the miles that he has on him is as impressive a feat as you will see in the NFL for a long, long time, and that includes Manning's touchdown record. One last thing about Martin, he gets my NFL Hall of Fame vote based solely on his headshot from Madden 2002 where he looked like El Debarge's long lost twin...the first time I saw that pic I nearly shat myself I was laughing so hard. If you don't know who El Debarge is, google the name and then take a look at your old copy of Madden 2002. Whats that? What exactly do you mean by "waste of time"?

Speaking of the rusing title, did you hear Shaun Alexander crying about being "stabbed in the back" by Mike Holmgren for not giving him the ball on the one yard line against the Falcons? I haven't seen somebody act this selfish since my buddy Federico wouldn't let us borrow his car to get breakfast a Cafe' Risque because his car "needed an oil change". Shameful. I know that Alexander has since apologized but a comment like that shows a sublime "me-first" attitude that definitely helps explain the Seahawks underachieving play this year. Apparently Shaun forgot how he cost his team a victory when he fumbled the ball into the endzone against the Jets...well, Mike Holmgren didn't. Winning is what matters in the NFL and unlike Alexander, Holmgren was obviously focused on getting his team into the playoffs. If Shaun is so damn interested in rushing titles then he ought to have a great time next year when he's going 4-12 for Denny Green in Arizona.

Antone Smith of Pahokee was named Mr. Football in the state of Florida recently after he led his team to a state title while setting the state scoring record for most rushing touchdowns in a season with 44. Smith broke the record, which had stood for 5 years, of current NFL player and former first round draft pick...Sean Taylor. Yes, Sean Taylor the Washington Redskins' safety. Gives you an idea of what kind of athlete Taylor is and the type of athletes that play at the University of Miami.

I, more than anyone, am sick and tired of the ass licking routine that the media gives Bill Belichick. Yeah, we all watch the Super Bowl. We realize that he's won two of them. We know he's great already. Yet, his insistence that all of his healthy players suit up and play on Sunday was exactly what makes him great. He demands maximum effort from his team every time out, no matter who you are. I have no problem with sitting guys to get them healthly, and it is completely and totally a coaches perogative, but I have always been weary of teams who put it in cruise control for the final game or two of the season. Whenever you do something like the Falcons did this year, you run the risk of not being able to turn it back on when the playoffs get started. You're only going to get so many chances to win a Super Bowl...why mess around with your team's level of intensity? Hey! I should know...I just won my 5th consecutive national title on NCAA Football 2005.

Count me among the few people who isn't sold on Matt Leinart as a franchise NFL QB. Everybody is calling him a lefthanded Chad Pennington but I think that is mostly because they both lack ideal NFL arm strength. When you factor in the great athletes that Leinart has had around him and the notoriously soft Pac-10 defenses that he sees each week, I think that you have the potential for him to be a bust...not a Ryan Leaf or Rick Mirer kind of bust mind you, but a bust nonetheless. I would draft Aaron Rodgers ahead of him based on his superior arm strength, mobility and the tutelage that he has gotten from Jeff Tedford. Of course, I'm also on the record as saying Jake Plummer just "needed a change of scenery". Yeah, I'm an idiot.

I'll be back tommorrow to discuss the deplorable state of the University of Florida's basketball team among other things. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to mold a new plastic neck for Frank Beamer.

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Year, old job....ugh.

So, I'm back with my first update of the new year, and the first one in almost three weeks for that matter. You may think that I didn't post anything for the last three weeks because I was spending time with my family or because I was on vacation in the Rockies or something...well, you'd be horribly wrong. I didn't go anywhere and I tried to avoid "family time" as much as possible. When your family includes 4 children under the age of 5, drinking is about the most enjoyable activity that one can think of during the holidays. Because of this extended , and glorious, drinking binge I am significantly less healthly than the last time I wrote but also far more incompetent in my day-to-day work life. Who says you can't have it all? Not this guy.

I will refrain from discussing much of the Peach Bowl debacle if only because I am just pretending that it didn't count since Florida didn't have a real head coach. Thats exactly what they looked like and exactly what they played like. I will say one thing though...never in my life have I seen a receiver (or any non-quarterback, for that matter) just lay down like Chad Jackson did against Miami...shit, even the St. Louis Rams receivers were making fun of Chad after that ridiculous display of feminimity.

Boise State may have lost but I think that alot of people were very surprised by how well they played against Louisville..I , however, was not one of them. Boise State can play offense and has been able to for a couple of years now, Dan Hawkins knows how to "coach 'em up" on that side of the ball. Stopping people on the other hand has never been their strong suit and will always be a struggle for them. You can hide a lack of big time athletes on offense but it will always catch up to you on defense where size and speed are absolute neccesities and gameplanning can't cover those definiciencies up.

The finish to the Citrus Bowl was amazing...amazing due to the unbelievable mental error on the part of the LSU secondary. I realize that Drew Tate made a heck of a throw, but you just can't let a player run free through your secondary like that with no time left in the game, inexcusable.

Finally, the Rose Bowl was probably the best and most competitive football game that I watched all year. Two very good teams playing at an extremely high level, and two teams who clearly cared about winning the game, which is more than you can say for most bowl games.

I realize that Chad Henne was a freshman this year and the Lloyd Carr must've paired down the playbook some but how do you not get Steve Breaston the ball more often? If Breaston played for a coach like Urban Meyer or Bobby Petrino he'd be a top tier Heisman candidate.

Also, Braylon Edwards is a heck of a receiver who I think will end up being much better than alot of recent Michigan receivers (I know thats not saying much), but at least once or twice a game he seems to lose concentration on the easy catches and just drop the ball. It cost his team against Ohio State and its something he'd better rectify soon because he won't get nearly as many chances to make plays in the NFL. Yet, without question, Vince Young was THE story of that game. He was completely unstoppable. Some of the plays he made in that game looked like the plays in grainy recruiting videos that you see when players are coming out of high school. If he had been making plays like that in a middle school game, the oppossing teams parents would've been demanding to see his birth certificate.

There's still plenty more college football as well as pro football to talk about but I have an early happy hour calling so we'll pick this back up tomorrow morning.