Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Excuses...and I'm an asshole...

This is probably all I'll be able to post for the remainder of the week, unless I can manage to find some time on Friday afternoon to waste pontificating on all that is wrong with the world, and of course, right with me. Here's a hint: EVERYTHING.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm especially bitter today. I'm stuck finishing up my 2006 budget and marketing plan for the rapidly approaching fiscal new year of my company. I'm quite sure I'll be able to finish this all during the course of work today, but then I'm off to Orlando for a day's worth of meetings tommorrow. After that, there's a solid chance that I'll call in sick on Friday. As you may have guessed, that prediction has absolutely zero to do with my health at the current moment and a hell of alot more to do with me wanting to start my weekend just a little bit early. That's all I've got time for today.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Shutouts (almost) and Shout outs.

Where ya from?

And who ya crew?

If you didn't get the two questions above, don't worry about's a Chocolate City thing.

I'm not going to write too much this afternoon. Part of that is due to the power outage that caused my first post to be erased just as I was editing it. The rest is due to the amount of work that I have to do after being out of the office for the past few days.

I will start off by saying congrats to the University of Florida football team for their nearly historic 34-7 victory over Florida State University. I say nearly historic because it would've been historic only if the Gators had managed to pitch a shuout. Despite the lopsided score, it wasn't the most impressive or efficient performance that I've ever seen out of the Gators, especially the offense (Will somebody work with Chris Leak on his accuracy over the summer? I'm begging you!). Even without the shutout, the game was still a beatdown of Florida's biggest rival. In fact, the Beatdown in Ben Hill (I made that up, thank you very much) was just the kind of dominating performance against an in-state rival that results in some serious juice on the recruiting trail. Don't believe me? Just check out the number of commits that Urban and his staff have picked up since Saturday. None of these commits are binding until February but you still ahve to fel good about the way things are shaping up. If you have time, and you want to waste it, then check out some of the videos of these recruits, specifically Jarred Fayson.

Other than Saturday's victory, my weekend was a menagerie of sleeping, drinking and complete and utter immaturity. Don't know what I mean? The non-football highlight of my Sunday afternoon was when Matt sidled up to the unsuspecting face of Dave and let loose with a vicious seafood gumbo fueled fart that brought down the house. I was nearly in tears. Yes, I know, we're all extremely mature individuals.

Of course, I needed something to lift my spirits after Matt Bryant summoned the ghost of Martin Grammatica by missing a 29 yard FG with just over two minutes left and the Bucs down by three. That is the kind of mistake that can change the course of an entire season, especially when you're a young football team that has to go on the road for the next three consecutive weeks. I don't want to talk about this game anymore. Watching that kick was enough to make me want to crawl into bed until Monday morning.

Luckily for me I didn't go to bed, as there were three fantastically entertaining OT games yesterday. The first games ended exactly how I like OT games to end, with exciting and decisive finishes. Don't get me wrong, I thought that the Giants-Seahawks game was great, but it's also a little challenging for me to stay finely focused on a game with which I have no vested interest in when it's two participants are making less progress towards victory than Gunnar Esiason and Doug Fluite Jr. in a 110 meter hurdles race.

Finally, a big MVP (or is it MP3) sized shout out (do I hyphenate that?) goes to Chris Silva for bringing home top honors in the 8th Annual Turkey Bowl. Silva, aka OJ Santiago, bounced back from last year's loss to capture the MVP by tossing 10 TDs while also returning a pick for a TD. According to my records, this makes Chris the most successful Mexican QB since Archie Manning's half brother (and Mexican League legend), Julio Cesar Manning. Congrats again Silva.

My original post was longer and far more grammatically correct but I'm too damn tired (and pickled with alcohol) to try and piece it back together in my head. Enjoy the rest of your day...bitches.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Working hard...or hardly working?

I've been pretty busy today trying to take care of some things (coughjobinterviewcough) before I take a half day off tommorow and a full day off on Friday. It's asinine that I even have to take a day off on Friday, but that's besides the point. I'll use my vacation on Friday to head up to Gainesville for the first (and last) time this season to take in the Florida-FSU matchup. The game doesn't mean as much nationally as many of the past classics between these two teams but I assure you that the dimished implications of this tussle won't result in any less passion or excitment from the fans, players, and coaches involved. Regardless of what people may say, these two teams are each other's biggest rivals and a win in this game changes the way that fans view the entire season (to a degree). I'll try and do a small post on Friday morning about the weekend's festivities, but that all depends on how late Thursday night/Friday morning lasts.

I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving and the reason for that is Sure the food will be great and it's always nice to spend a little time with your family, but that's not what I've been waiting for. I've been anticipating Thursday because Thursday will be a day chock full of football. First, on Thursday morning, my friends and I will get together for the 8th Annual Turkey Bowl. It's a well established Thanksgiving tradition at this point, and all the participants look forward to it's arrival with a level of excitement usually reserved for lapdances and mind altering fungi. What do you expect? You're not exaclty talking about the Consortium for High Moral Standards when my friends are the topic of discusion.

After a game that is guaranteed to be short on athleticism and long on hungover guys in their 20's, I'll retire to my parents' house for the best slate of Thanksgiving Day NFL games in recent memory. The Lions suck, but at least they're playing Michael Vick and the Falcons. Regardless of if you have any vested interest in either of the teams, it's always fun to watch Michael Vick do Michael Vick type things (as opposed to watching him do Ron Mexico type things). Shortly after Michael Vick has finished skeeting all over Detroit's defense, the Cowboys will play host to Denver Broncos and "No Mistake" Jake Plummer. In my opinion, this is (on paper) the best game that we (as a nation) have been given on Thanksgiving since the late '90s. Then again, I always end up falling asleep during the Cowboys game on Thanksgiving so I'm probably not the guy to listen too when it comes to the Thanksgiving activities of America's team.

Two last things before I go:

-Michael Irvin's tie on Monday Night Countdown last night was an abomination. If Irvin had been shirtless, his belly button would've been exposed. I realize that you're wearing a coat with that tie Michael, but maybe you should take more than 20 seconds putting your tie on when you plan on removing that coat during the broadcast, don't you think? I've seen kids at their first commuinion with a better idea of how to dress like a man. If you have enough time to pick out a mink coat for your court appearances then you can probably the spare five minutes it will take Ron Jaworski to teach you how to wear a tie.

- If there's a better song out there than House of the Rising Sun, then I don't want to know about it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pretty...pretty...pretty good

There you have it, my four word assessment of the University of Florida's victory over Wake Forest last night. Despite my optimism for this season, I was genuinely worried about being run out of the gym by a much more experienced Wake team. In actuality, the Demon Deacons were alot closer to getting run out of the gym than the Gators ever were.

Taurean Green played the game of his young Gator career as he recorded 23 pts, 5 assists, 4 boards and 3 steals while also managing to control the tempo of the game to the Gators' favor. He could've had at least another 3-4 assists if it weren't for some missed layups inside by the big men. I'm sure he's going to be up and down this year but he is already much more of a true point guard than Anthony Roberson ever was. In addition, both Corey Brewer and Al Horford overcame sluggish starts to finish with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

A special note of congratulations should also go to Horford and the rest of Florida's frontline (Joakim Noah, Chris Richard, and Adrian Moss) for their collective efforts on All-American candidate Eric Williams. Furthermore, Billy Donovan played nine guys last night and I'd expect to see the bench minutes increase as the year goes on and some of the freshmen become more comfortable in their roles. This is going to be a very deep team capable of throwing alot of different lineups on the floor as the season progresses. As for tonight's final, I'm worried about how a team this young will handle the Syracuse 2-3 zone. If Florida is to win then they'll need a big game on the perimeter from uber-bama Lee Humphrey. Win or lose it's going to be tough for me to get too upset a night after knocking off the #18 team in the country.

Finally, in my excitement over last night's game I failed to mention the single best thing about this Florida team...the Corey Brewer face. Corey Brewer is not an attractive young man, not by a longshot. He's the kind of kid whose mother had to tie a ribeye around his neck just to get the dog to play with him. Just unfortunate, as my girlfriend would say. What's not unfortunate are the crazy faces he makes. Vitas noticed it in a picture form the SEC Tournament last year where Brewer looked like he was sucking on a tabasco soaked lemon during a postgame celebration. The bottom line is this: When Corey Brewer is on the floor you're going to get a minimum of 13 points, 3 steals and two crazy faces. In fact here's one :

As for the sport that normally dominates my weekends, college football is quickly coming to a close. It seems like just last week that I was listening to my drunk girlfriend bitch about the two TV setup in my living room. Sadly, it's not early September but, rather, mid-November and the bowl season will be upon us before too long. Not before a healthy heaping of rivalry games in the next two weeks, though.

The Gators have the week off to prepare for the annual showdown with Liver Spot Bowden and the Noles. Which reminds me...did you hear that Florida State "recovered" their missing National Championship trophies? As it turns out, two graduates of Florida were responsible for the heist and ended up turning the trophies into authorities earlier this week. Here's hoping that these two fine young gentlemen get themsleves a judge who graduated from law school at UF and not FSU. Oh wait, that's impossible because FSU doesn't have a law school. At least they have a good medical...nevermind, umm, well their Circus is definitely one of the best around.

Anyway, back to tommorow's games. Their are a number of interesting games between tradtional rivals and even a USC-Fresno matchup to add some spice to the late afternoon. Fresno may not be a natural rival to USC but they are bunch of bitter, valley residing hicks who would love nothing more than to ruin the season of all those hollywood pretty boys down in LA. As for the rest of the games that I'm interested in, I'll break them down as quickly and succintly as possible beginning now:

Michigan-OSU: Great rivalry. It's too bad that nobody ever tells the Michigan fans that they're supposed to do things like "stand during games" and "cheer for the home team". As a result, the overall feel of these games is never quite what it should be when this game is in the Big House. Still a great rivalry that always involves a ton of talent. Prediction: Buckeyes by 10.

Alabama-Auburn: The Iron Bowl, or as I like to call it, The Clash of inbreeders and rednecks that really, truly hate each other. Alot of rivalries claim to be about hating the other team and fall short, this is not one of them. Most (if not all) of these fans would rather have a son-in-law named LaDarius before they'd cheer for the opposing team. Prediction: Auburn by 6.

Penn State-Michigan State: Battle for the Land Grant Trophy...are you kidding me? What a joke. This isn't even as big a rivalry as Mel-Hi and Palm Bay. Let's just not even pretend like these two schools are bitter rivals in any way, shape or form, alright? Prediction: Penn State wins and Joe Pa kisses Derrick Williams on the mouth.

Cal-Stanford: The Big Game. Who named this thing the Big Game anyway? Who, outside of the Bay area, even cares that this game is taking place this weekend? Nobody, thats who. I don't know jack about these teams (and care even less) but my good friend Mike Coffey is the Strength coach at Stanford, so I'll pretend to be interested for at least an eighth of the game (a quarter is far too long). What do you want from me? It's not like you'll be watching. Prediction: I watch exaclty zero second half minutes and Cal wins by 13.

Va. Tech-UVA: Winner gets a "Virginia is for Lovers" T-shirt. Loser has to give the opposing coach a sponge bath. Prediction: Frank Beamer's creepy plastic neck will be shining brightly on Saturday evening.

Oregon-Oregon State: The Civil War, or as I like to call it "The Battle for the Bong". Do the cops even bother searching people on the way in to this game? Seriously, you'd be eliminating half the crowd before kickoff. They'll be more patchouli at this game than people who can correctly identify the neccessary elements of a screen pass. Prediction: Lots of points for Oregon and a contact high for all those in attendance.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Here come the Gators....

For anybody who's ever watched a University of Florida home football game, the mere thought of that announcement ringing over the loud speakers in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium can elicit goosebumps. Oh, there we go.

Anyway, I'm not talking about football here but rather the return of the University of Florida to the hardwood. Technically, the Gators have already played two games this season as they opened at home against St. Peter's and Albany in the early rounds of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. With all due respect to both of these fine institutions of higher learning, I wasn't all that worried about the Gators losing these games, and I certainly wasn't going to put alot of stock in the individual and collective performances in either of these games. That's why, for all intents and purposes, the 2005-2006 season begins tonight at 7:30 in Madison Square Garden against Wake Forest.

By now, everybody is aware that the Gators lost their three leading scorers off their SEC Tournament Champion team to the NBA (congrats to all three for making NBA rosters, something that this guy thought highly unlikely for both Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh). As a result, there are far more questions about this Gators team than answers. If you're looking any definitive answers from me then you're barking up the wrong tree. I have a feeling for what we might see but I can't pretend to know with any certainty about the squad that's going to hit the floor in MSG tonight. Truthfully, nobody knows exaclty what to expect from this team. Not even their coach, who has said as much in interviews. Other than sophomores Corey Brewer and Al Horford, there isn't a single player on this team who has proven themsleves to be a consistent performer in high-major college basketball.

With all of that said, this Florida team is much stronger inside and far more athletic than the last three squads that Billy Donovan has trotted out. I expect to see Billy return to the days of relentless full court pressure, pushing the ball on offense and ten man rotations.

Predictably, many pundits are predicting a big fall for Florida this year, but I have a different feeling about this group. What this team lacks in offensive firepower, they will more than makeup for in defense and toughness. They may struggle early, but they'll hit their stride by the time conference play rolls around. Florida will not only be competitive within the SEC but also finish near the top of their division while earning Billy D. his 8th straight NCAA Tourney berth. Their will be no star on this team (though Corey Brewer has a shot at being a big time player in the SEC if he gets more comfortable offensively), rather this will be a collection that is greater than the sum of its parts. For the first time in years, the Gators will be playing the style of basketball that Donovan envisioned when he first came to Gainesville. That alone should be enough to get Gator fans excited for the season, it certainly is for this guy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Buhhh! Ed Rider...

It's already past 5 and I haven't even begun to put together any material for my previously promised afternoon post.

Oh well, I lied. It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever done. That honor would most likely be a two horse race between the time I peed on some girl in my sophomore year and then shamed her out of school by the semester break (it was a very small college) and the time some friends(I'm looking at you Greg) and I got one the retarded kids in school elected as the ninth grade class president. Come to think of it, I've definitely done alot worse than either of those in my time but since I'm not exaclty "built for prison" we're going to drop the subject.

The subject at hand for this evening's mini-update is none other than basketball. (cue Kurtis Blow's classic "Basketball"...We're playing basketball, we're playing...). Well you get the idea.

-The Magic finally pulled out a win at home last night over the Charlotte BETcats and Rookie of the Year Emeka Okafor. This game was of special interest for two reasons. First, the Bobcats are a team that the Magic could, and should, beat at home (even though Charlotte won 3 of 4 last year). Secondly, this was the season's first clash of last year's #1 and #2 picks. Dwight Howard was selected #1 by the Magic but he finished second to Okafor in the Rookie of the Year voting. Don't think that his teammates haven't been reminding Howard of that fact every chance they get either. Somehow I think that Dwight was the guy doing all the talking at this morning's shootaround. Dwight came in to the game with better stats than Okafor in every major statistical category, further serving notice that he was the right guy for the Magic at #1. His increased output is not only a sign of his continued improvement but also a by product of his increased role within the Magic's offense. Howard continued to build upon his already stellar season last night as he posted his fifth straight double-double, getting 21 points and 20 rebounds on Charlotte. Getting to watch this kid develop is almost worth the pain caused by the Magic's decade of ineptitude.

- I had no idea that Reggie Theus was the Head Coach of a Division I basketball team. Am I the only one who missed that blurb on ESPN? Evidently, he's the coach at New Mexico State...that's big step up from high school ball in Indiana. I only found this out because I turned on ESPN2 last night to catch a little of UCLA's game against NMSU. I tuned in to catch a little of UCLA point guard Jordan Farmar, who I think is the best young point in the country right now. He's extremely smooth, a more than capable scorer and he runs a team like few his age. He has a good shot at being a lottery pick in a year or two. As for NMSU, Reggie and the boys were having a tough go of it offensively against a pretty athletic Bruin team. Though I think you can attribute alot of NMSU's struggles to them being without their leading scorer, that cute blonde girl who plays shooting guard and dates the power forward. Her jumpshot just changes the way teams have to defend the Lobos.

- Finally, while we're here I thought I'd give you another drinking game to pass the time this evening. Tune in to the Lakers-Knicks game tonight. Everytime that the announcers bring up Larry Brown and/or Phil Jackson and their new jobs/challenges, go ahead and take yourself a big swig of firewater. You'll be hammered by halftime and Greg Anthony will actually make sense.


Just a city boy....

I'm pretty busy right now scouring the internet for a new place of employment. I do have some real work to do but, the way I see it, that work isn't going anywhere and a better job may very well be. As I'm busy this morning conducting my search, I won't be able to do much writing but I'll try my damndest to get something more substantial up by this afternoon.

In the meantine, I thought I'd share with you a few items of interest (to me). When I got in my car for the ten minute drive home last night, the local classic rock station was just jumping into a block of Journey, unbeknownst to me. You can imagine my excitement as I pulled out of the parking lot to the sweet sounds of Wheel in the Sky. My drive would only get better from there, as the guitars of Wheel quickly gave way to the opening pianos chords of Don't Stop Believing. I was sitting in my driveway before Steve Perry had even stop serenading my work weary heart. It was enough to make me forget how much I hate dancing to whitey's tune all day long, for a little while at least. Thank you Steve Perry, you are a god amongst men.

In other music news, some of the University of Miami's fine student athletes recorded quite a little love song last year. It's found it's way onto the internet and I've found it suitable to bring to you today. Click on this link, shut your office door and let the good times roll.

Just in case you were wondering, Linebacker Tavares Gooden wears #52 for the Hurricane Football team. I promise you'll understand why I told you that in a couple of minutes.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pour out a little liquor...

For former WWE Champion Eddie "don't call me Pedro" Guerrero, who died in his sleep in a Minneapolis hotel room on Sunday night. First comedian Mitch Hedberg dies in a Minneapolis hotel room late last year and now Latino Heat bites the dust. The moral of the story is, of course, never sleep in a Minneapolis hotel room. I don't care if you have to stay up all night doing blow with Kent Hrbek and Jimmy Jam, just don't go to sleep in those Minneapolis hotel rooms. It's like playing russian roulette except it involves slumber and a hotel room instead of bullets and a gun...other than that, it's exaclty the same.

I actually tuned in to a little bit of RAW last night in an effort to see some of the hearfelt tributes to Eddie by his comrades in the WWE. Not because I was a big Guerrero fan (Rey Mysterio Jr. was always my favorite Mexican wrestler) but more because I think it's hilarious watching 300 lb. steroid ingesting gorillas try and adequately express themsleves in any emotion that doesn't involve rage or utter insanity. Now, I don't mean to be an insensitve jerk or anything (it just comes so natural to me though) but last night's episode of RAW could have been the basis for the greatest drinking game of all time.

Here's how it works: You wait until they cut to a taped tribute to Eddie from one of the other WWE stars. Then every time that one of these wrestlers says "uh" or "um" during their time, you have to drink. If you had been playing this game last night you would've gone through at least a double deuce during Triple H's tribute to Guerrero alone.

By the way, Triple H was either extremely fond of Latino Heat or he put on the greatest performance by a wrestler/actor since Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride (my apologies go to Hulk Hogan for his star turn in Suburban Commando...close but no cigar). Either way, the water works were flowing for Mr. Helmsley last night.

Since you've already got the cold 40 out, you might want to let a little hit the ground for Donovan McNabb. Not only did he throw the most devastating pick of his career late last night (or early this morning) but he also managed to get absolutely trucked while trying to stop Roy Williams from scoring on the ensuing return. I'd be amazed if this guy can even walk today after the beating that he's taken this year.

One last random thought: Of all the names that have been made up over the last twenty to thirty years (and that's quite a large number), none have stood the test of time quite like Jarvis. Jarvis is most certainly NOT a real name. However, it has worked it's way into the American culture for so long now that most people who read/hear the name Jarvis never even bat an eye. This makes me wonder which of the seemingly ridiculous names that we hear these days will have become commonplace by the time I'm wearing a pair of Oops! I crapped my pants. D'Vontrey? LenDale? Demarco? NaDerris? Aleric? Jamarcus/J'Marcus?

Yes. These are all real names, most of which belong to some of the nation's top football recruits. In case you were wondering, I'm planning on naming my first son Ovington. Well, either that or Beasley...after none other the man, the myth, the legend himself, Beasley Reece.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm just a caveman, your world confuses and frightens me...

I’m stuck at work for another hour or so this evening so I figured I’d use the time to get up my thoughts on the weekend that was. I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m a little worn down from the weekend, as it saw me do an awful lot of late night reveling on both Friday and Saturday evenings. As if the copious amounts of alcohol that I ingested weren’t enough , I even went so far as to donate a portion of my paycheck to the good people of Columbia courtesy of their most prized national export. I’m not talking about Carlos Valderamma either.

So there you have it, my preemptive apology for the following post, as it is more than likely going to be a subpar effort. It’s 6:15 on Monday night and I’m still at work, deal with it. Furthermore, as a result of being at about 45% of my normal brain capacity, I’m going to try a new format for the weekend wrap up. I will fit all my proceeding thoughts and/or analysis under one of two categories: Things I enjoyed about the weekend and things that I did not enjoy. I know it’s a very complicated system, so just try and keep up.

Things I didn’t enjoy:

-Florida losing to South Carolina. I had a feeling that this game could end up in a loss so it’s not like I was shocked by the outcome. What I found especially vexing was how winnable this game turned out to be. Even more so than the LSU game that saw the Tigers turn the ball over 5 times while amassing 13 penalties. In my opinion, this game came down to four key moments. If the Gators had managed to prevent just one of these four from happening then Florida's got a real shot of winning. If somehow they could have stopped two of these from happening then I'm talking about a rematch with LSU in Atlanta right now instead of a third Outback Bowl appearance in the last 4 years.

(1) The first quarter interception and subsequent 50 yard return by D-Lineman Chris Tucker on South Carolina. He should see him now, he's really let himself go since Friday. After Tucker pulled a joint out of his sock, lit it up a joint and passed it to Spurrier, South Carolina's offense stepped on the field at the Florida five yard line, quickly converting the field position into a touchdown. The crowd went crazy, the offense got a confidence boost and Florida had to play from behind on the road once again.
(2) The long catch and run by WR Sidney Rice. After closing the gap to 20-19, Florida surrendered a 60 yard pass play that got USC down to the 1 and eventually resulted in a TD. USC's defense had been dominated by the UF offense on it's last drive and the folks in black and maroon were getting awfully quiet. This play re-energized the crowd and got the Gamecocks back to believing that they could pull of this upset. HUGE momentum swing.
(3) Florida’s next offensive possession. Even after going down 27-19, the Gators were not ready to fold. After physically dominating the Carolina defense on it’s prior drive, the Florida offense was back on the field and running the ball down the Gamecocks’ throats. That is until the offensive line reverted to their early season struggles. Florida had a 2nd and 1 at the Carolina 49. False Start, 2nd and 6. Holding, 2nd and 16. One yard run, 3rd and 15. Florida ended up punting one play later and they would never look competent on offense again. There were a lot of costly penalties in this game but none larger than those two. Instead of responding with a long TD drive of their own and sucking the life out of the stadium, the Gators punted and further fueled the emotional Carolina crowd.
(4) Illegal participation penalty with 1 minute left in the 4th quarter. While it’s unlikely that the offense would have driven 70+ yards in a minute, it would have been nice to give Chris Leak and Co. a shot at saving the season. Of course, they never got that chance. The eleventh penalty of the day for Florida. South Carolina wins. I have nothing more to say. Well, actually...

- Dee Webb’s play at corner: I’d like to take the time to personally call out Dee Webb. You’ve been labeled a “shut down corner” by many pundits and that’s a flat-out lie. You are a decent cover corner who struggles mightily against top-flight SEC receivers (see: Bowe, Dwayne and Rice, Sidney among others). You were torched by the freshman Rice on Saturday and it’s time for people to start calling you what you are, overrated. You’re a junior now, the learning process is over and there are no more excuses. Right now you’re a whole lot closer to Bennie Alexander than you are to Lito Shepard. Step your game up.

- The Magic’s OT collapse yesterday. After trailing by as many as 20 early in the second half to Cleveland, the Magic clawed their way back into the game, finally taking the lead at 96-94 (their first lead since 4-2). Shortly afterthat , Orlando found themselves up by 3 with 16 seconds left. Cleveland called timeout and designed a play for Donyell Marshall to get a look at a three on the right wing. The play worked perfectly and Marshall nailed a very tough shot. I know that a play like that has got to take the wind out of your sails, but you are professional athletes and you've got to be able to get past a play like that. Especially when you still have ample opportunity to win. The Magic couldn’t/didn’t and the next thing you know they were down ten with just two minutes gone in OT. They totally folded when it got tough and ended up losing by 9. Pulling out a win after something like Marshall’s shot could have been a huge boost to the overall confidence of the team, instead it is just another example of so many of the things wrong with this Orlando team. On the bright side, Dwight Howard recorded his 4th straight double-double last night. That’s life as a Magic fan, silver linings.

- White people who have replaced the “n” word with thug. I have noticed quite a bit of this lately. A football fan will say something like, “Santana Moss is such a thug.” Really? How many times has he been arrested? What exactly has he done to merit being labeled a “thug”? It seems to me that many people judge somebody as a thug based on things like skin color, hair style and number of tattoos. That’s not a thug folks. A thug is someone who will pistol whip you for the last pork chop, not someone from an underprivileged background with a questionable fashion sense. Additionally, as for Moss, he originally went to Miami on a track scholarship and I have a real hard time calling anybody a thug that’s ever worn tights at a major public event. I’m just saying.

Things I liked:

-The Geico commercial with the Cavemen. I pretty much like anything that involves Cavemen. Captain Caveman, Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, you name it. In my mind you can’t really go wrong with a joke that involves a Caveman or men. Speaking of Cavemen, my friend Greg’s dad looks just like a Caveman. He’s used to look like the lead singer from the Spin Doctors but he’s lost all his hair and I’m pretty sure that his head has grown a bit since his younger days. My point? Go Cavemen!!

- The Buccaneers’ unbelievably exciting win. Easily the most entertaining Bucs game in 3-4 years. That’s not saying as much as most might think, since the Bucs specialize in games where one of the participants puts up single digit points. This game was far different though. It had everything. Great plays in every phase of the game. Two teams trading huge plays as momentum swung on what seemed like a minute to minute basis. A (hopefully) breakout performance by a young QB with plenty of doubters (this guy right here chief among them). Even some controversy late. For the record, I don’t think that Alstott crossed the plain of the goal line. However, I also believe that the replay was far too inconclusive to merit an overturn of the call on the field. Either way, I was ecstatic that it stood and that the Bucs defense stepped up and finished the game against a Skins offense that had given them fits all day long. This was the biggest game (in terms of playoff implications) the Bucs have played in about two years and, as a team, they responded with a fantastic effort. If they had lost yesterday, the playoffs would be little more than a pipe dream today. As it stands now, they are in the driver’s seat for a wild card berth. They have a couple more very tough games and Chris Simms is going to have to continue to progress against some very tough defenses but, for now, all is good at One Buc Place. Fantastic effort and a fantastic win.

- Hanging out at my friend Kurt’s house yesterday afternoon. I watched the end of the early games as well as the first half of the Bucs game at Kurt’s. Kurt has NFL Ticket so it’s a gathering place of sorts on Sundays. I managed to catch the end of the Giants game, which was a good finish and especially satisfying due to Kurt and his brother Matt (they’re from Long Island) being nearly suicidal after the Giants gave up a game winning FG drive. Watching those two suffer through losses never really gets old for me. That alone wasn’t what made my time there so enjoyable. Rather, it was the conversations that took place during the two to three hours that I was there. The topic of conversation was pretty much relegated to the people in attendance (6 of us) and the actual topics included such subjects as vaginal narcolepsy, sexual assault, drug trafficking, herpes, slapping girls with dick, and men who kiss each other on the mouth. At one point (just in between vaginal narcolepsy and dick slapping) I was giggling like a little girl while I writhed on the couch uncontrollably. I haven’t laughed this hard since we met the waitress who Mark McCracken licked his own spunk off of. Fear of prosecution keeps me from divulging anything further but trust me when I say a good time was had by all. Well, I can’t speak for the girl with the mushroom shaped bruises, but I certainly enjoyed the hell out of myself.

- Finally, I haven’t watched a ton of HBO's Rome, more along the lines of watch one episode, then miss the next episode. However, if you have a chance to tune in to a rerun of this week’s episode I strongly suggest you do so. You don’t even have to watch the whole thing, just make sure you turn it on at about the 40 minute mark. What you will see is one of the more fantastic, and gruesome, fights scenes to ever grace your TV. The special effects left a little to be desired, but as far as blood and guts go you won’t watch a better ten minutes of TV all year. You can thank me later.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Southern Showdowns....

A big weekend in the SEC is quickly approaching with no fewer than three games that will dramatically affect the standings as well as the postseason plans of a number of different teams throughout the conference. The matchup that most intrigues me is obviously the annual SEC East tussle between the Florida Gators and the South Cackalacka Gamecocks. This is a battle that is usually one of the more lighthearted affairs of the SEC season. Despite being division foes and playing each other every year, this rivalry has always been missing a lot of the traditional animosity that is a hallmark of intra-divisional matchups in the SEC. This was always due in part to South Carolina being an extremely inconsistent, often downtrodden football program. It seemed as if the arrival of Lou Holtz in the late 90’s would add some juice to this rivalry but after the ill-fated attempt to “blackout” the Gators in 2001 (Gators won 63-10 in Columbia) this rivalry once again regressed back into just another late season game among many other more notable November matchups on the college football landscape.

However, this year is already shaping up to be as spirited a game as anyone can remember between these two long time rivals. This is due, in no small part, to the new head coach in Columbia, none other than Steve Spurrier. Spurrier is still a god to many Florida fans even as he directs a new program within the same division as his alma mater. Honestly, why shouldn’t Florida fans have these types of feeling for him? This is a man who not only won the Heisman at Florida but also managed to resurrect a severely tarnished program when he took over in the early 90’s. The fact that Spurrier then went on a run of success not seen in the SEC since the likes of Bear Bryant should not discounted either. Without Spurrier, the University of Florida is still just another school in the SEC instead of the nationally recognized powerhouse that it’s become over the last fifteen years.

As it stands now, Spurrier has South Carolina out to an improbable 6-3 record (including a win over Tennessee) despite an off-season that saw him kick a number of key players off of an already talent thin roster. Down in Gainesville, Urban Meyer has fought through a slew of injuries and some shaky play on offense and now has his Gators sitting at 7-2 with a chance to win the SEC East this Saturday. It’s tough to imagine a more compelling scenario for Saturday’s game. Spurrier has the chance to knock off a second top tier SEC team that just happens to be his alma mater, while Meyer has a shot to take Florida to it’s first SEC title game since Spurrier was coaching in Gainesville. Provided that he can muster a win in what will assuredly be an absolutely electric Bryce-Williams Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Of course, a good deal of the country will not be able to see this game as it has not been picked up by either CBS or ESPN due to two other SEC showdowns on Saturday. Alabama is set to put their undefeated record to the test as they take on LSU in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. If this game was being played in Baton Rouge then I’d go with LSU here. Even on the road, I’m tempted to take an LSU squad that has been improving all year long. However, LSU typically makes more mistakes on a Saturday afternoon than Verne Lundquist. There’s no questioning the talent on this team, what is in question is their ability to avoid killer penalties and turnovers. Alabama has been living a charmed life so far this year and I just can’t see the dream dying in Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

Finally, Saturday night on ESPN Georgia and Auburn get together to renew the South’s Oldest Rivalry. These two teams have been playing each other since the beginning of time, or at least since Beano Cook was in high school. Besides the obvious rivalry angle at play here, Georgia could clinch the SEC East with a victory over Auburn. Conversely, if Georgia were to lose and Florida knocked off USC then the Plainsmen/Tigers/War Eagles would have denied DJ Shockley his place in Georgia history while also helping Florida back atop the SEC East. I haven’t watched a lot of Auburn this year but I do know that they have a very good defense and a solid running game. They also happen to have a very bad kicker (as evidenced by his FIVE missed field goals against LSU). Georgia, on the other hand, will be buoyed by the return of DJ Shockley as well as a generously lathered up home crowd who will be fired up from about noon on. I’d like to say that I’m seeing an Auburn upset in the future but I’ve been bitten by this scenario before and am going to wait before I start making any reservations for Atlanta. In any event, Saturday promises to be a day long on storylines, individual matchups and (hopefully) drama that fans in the South should remember for years to come.

A couple of other items:

-Florida’s injury situation has gotten god damned ridiculous. It started with Andre Caldwell and Ray McDonald going down in the Tennessee game. Since then, Florida has had injuries to each of their remaining top three wide receivers as well as injuries to starters at tailback DeShawn Wynn (shoulder), DT Marcus Thomas (knee), Corner Vernell Brown (broken leg), Safety Jarvis Herring (thigh) and LB Earl Everett (knee). The most concerning of these injuries is undoubtedly the broken leg suffered by Vernell Brown against Vandy. Despite his size (and a large group doubters, yours truly included) Brown has been the Gators’ most consistent cover man in a secondary that has fallen short of it’s lofty preseason expectations. After he left Saturday’s game with Vandy, his replacement, converted wideout Reggie Lewis, was picked on relentlessly resulting in two pass interference penalties and a number of completions. The matchup with Spurrier’s passing attack was a major concern before Brown’s injury. Without Brown, I would expect to see the Gators play far more zone than at any time yet this year.

-Florida caught a real break with the schedule for Saturday. In just about every other possible scenario this game would be at least a 3:30 game on CBS, if not a Saturday night ESPN game. Yet, because of the other two marquee SEC matchups of the day, Florida and South Carolina’s game is being shown locally on JP Sports at noon. It’s tough to over state how much this benefits the Gators. The extra 3-8 hours of tailgating would serve to add quite a bit of liquid enthusiasm to the South Carolina faithful and therefore make the atmosphere in Columbia even more intimidating than it’s already going to be on Saturday. As it stands now, it should be near halftime before the rednecks in South Carolina get their collective faces out of their grits.

- Spurrier will run at least two trick plays against Florida, one of which will be a halfback pass back to the QB. These types of plays have always been a staple of Spurrier’s arsenal during big games going back to his earliest days at Florida (probably at Duke too, but I’m not going to pretend like I watched him coach in the ACC). Spurrier knows that he doesn’t have the overall talent to matchup with Florida so expect him to rely on his wits in an attempt to level the playing field.

Finally, it is my assertion that Monday Night Football would be imminently more enjoyable if ABC would hire Jason Bateman to reprise his role as the color commentator from "Dodgeball". Who wouldn't enjoy his antics more than listening to John Madden hem, haw, and stammer his way through 45 replays a night?

Why do I bring this up? Because I meant to bring this up during my Tuesday entry and John Madden makes me want to impale myself on a javelin.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I challenge Jay Cutler's Dad to a duel...seriously.

Did you see that bama on Saturday night? He was openly taunting fans in the Swamp with his version of the chomp. Wow, that's original...nobody has ever had the presence of mind to mockingly turn around our own cheer on us. Bravo Mr. Culter, Bravo indeed. For those of you who missed it, he was a shining example of exaclty the kind of restraint and decorum that we've all come to expect from the fine men and women that patrol our nation's highways. Pure class, all the way.

There's nothing quite like writing this blog from home. Mostly because I don't have to pretend that I'm actually working on something while I'm in the middle of putting this thing together. It really affects my writing and, consequently, my mood when I have to deal with some donkey's question about their membership or about the availability of adult swim lessons.

Listen, It's not my fault that you never learned to swim during the summers of your youth like a normal person, so don't go ruining my day with your inane questions and horrible breath.

Anyway, I stayed home from work today for a Doctor's appt. that lasted all of 45 To me their is nothing quite like taking a random day off of work in the middle of the week. It really breaks up the work week, you should try it sometime. The day off also allowed me to stay up last night and have a few while I watched the Pats-Colts matchup on MNF. I should have known that my decision virtually guaranteed a lopsided game. I was going to write some analysis of the game today but it hardly seems worth it after the dominating performance that Peyton Manning and Co. put on. In hindsight, I/we should've all seen this coming. The Pats are completely, ridiculously, over-the-top beat up. For instance, last year's emergency replacement at corner (Randall Gay) was the starting safety last night and the second most experienced player in the Pats secondary (with regards to the Pats' defensive system). Of course, Gay ended up moving back to corner in the second quarter of last night's game due to the unbelievably inneffective Duane Starks.

The Colts, on the other hand, haven't had a single injury of note on either side of the ball and were as prepared (both mentally and with regards to gameplan) as anybody has ever seen when going into a matchup against this Pats team. This is not to say that the Colts impossible to beat last night. Rather, the Patriots needed nearly every break to go their way in order to achieve victory yesterday evening. Without those breaks, a victory was going to be nearly impossible. The game's key moment (in my estimation) came shortly after Manning was intercepted by Mike Vrabel. The Pats seemed ready to make a game of it and were quickly gaining momentum as they surged down field. Then Corey Dillon fumbled and the Colts recovered. If the Pats had gone down and tied it up on that drive, we may have seen Manning tighten up a little and start forcing things, as he is wont to do. A 14-14 tie midway through the second would've tested the Colts' resolve as well as Manning's dedication to the gameplan. However, once Dillon fumbled it was as if the Colts knew they had been issued a reprieve. They immediately responded with a touchdown drive of their own which resulted in a 21-7 lead. After that the Pats were forced to throw even more than they currently do (which is a ton, by the way). Does any of this mean that Indy is the best team in the AFC? Of course not. It does, however, mean that the rest of the AFC is going to be hard pressed to wrestle home field advantage from the Colts. That alone could mean the Colts will end up as your AFC Champions as I believe that homefield advantage is as (if not more) important to Indy as it is/was to team's like Pittsburgh and New England. If you play in a dome all year long it's damn near impossible to go win the biggest game of the year in 10 degree weather in front of a hostile crowd. A couple of other notes from last night's game:

-Did anybody else see the guy from Brand Nubian/Oz (Lord Jamar, I believe) on the Patriots' sideline last night? I think that the Pats have him listed as "Mike Stone" on their roster but I'll eat my hat if that's his real name.

- Why does Vince Wilfork introduce himself as having attended the "University of Miami" in stead of "The U" like all the other former 'Canes in the NFL? Can't you just imagine guys like Michael Irvin and Clinton Portis calling him up in the just before he appears on Monday Night and saying something like, "Now Vince, when it comes time to say what school you went to what are you going to say?

Wilfork: The University of Miami?
Irvin: NO!!!! It's the U! Remember? It's all about the U!
Wilfork: the U of Miami?
Irvin: Awww! C'mon Vince it's not that hard, just say The U?
Wilfork: Huh, what? My bad, I was heating up a taquito.
Irvin: Forget it.

At least that's how it goes in my head.

- How did Duane Starks get so awful in the last couple of years? At one point, not very long ago, Starks was considered the better of the two starting corners for Baltimore (along with Chris McAlister). Then he went out to Arizona after signing a lucrative free agent deal with the Cardinals. Maybe it's that he's been hiding out in the desert for the last five years and nobody has bothered to talk about his precipitous drop off in level of play. It's not that hard to believe that maybe he just got lost in the shuffle of unabashed mediocrity that exists in Arizona. What I do find hard to believe is that the Patriots could've misjudged his talent (or lack thereof) so badly this off-season. For a front office that is generally regarded as the most cromulent talent evaluators in the business to miss so badly in a position of such dire need in free agency is extremely perplexing. This isn't some bum that the Patriots brought in off the street to plug a hole (I'm looking at you Arturo Freeman) that I'm talking about here. I know that he has had some injury issues in the past but that's hardly an excuse considering the Patriots had full opoortunity to give him a physical before acquiring him this summer.

Now onto a few items regarding other sports teams that I follow with special interest:

-The Magic are 0-3 and staring a fourth loss directly in the face tonight as they go in to Houston to take on Yao and the Rockets. On the bright side, T-Mac is out so I won't have to endure a full night of him torching helpless Magic defenders with vengeance in his eye. Notice I said eye, not eyes. The reason being that McGrady has a lazy eye which makes it highly unlikely that he would have vengeance in his eyes. Vengeance takes alot of effort, far more than his lazy eye is capable of putting forth because, well, it's lazy. On a serious note, it's already become painful to watch the Magic stumble about the court during this young season. Put simply, they are a team with a number of pieces that do not fit together. They have no inside scoring threat and no real playmakers now that Grant Hill is out for at least 6 weeks. In addition, they have only one consistent outside shooter and even that's a stretch since you're applying the word "consistent" to the play of Hedo Turkoglu. The one bright spot (other than Dwight Howard who is quickly becoming the sunshine of my life) thus far has been the play of Jameer Nelson who, despite his size, has been a menace defensively and has managed to energize the team and crowd whenever he's been in the ballgame. At this point, it's time to continue with this group until the front office can find a taker for Francis sometime around midseason, at which point the organization should then focus on building around Howard (and to a lesser extent Nelson and Turkoglu).

-The Bucs are awful. I officially gave up on Sunday when Chris Simms threw the easiest touchdown pass of the season to Chris Gamble. That throw made Drew Brees' pick in week 3 versus Denver look like merely a stroke of bad luck. I'm going to say it right now...there's no chance, I mean no chance that the Bucs will make the playoffs. Hell, they'll be lucky to finish above .500. Just look at their schedule the rest of the way: Skins, Falcons, Bears, Saints, Panthers, Patriots, Saints, Falcons. There's only one sure win in that bunch. It's time to face reality for Bucs fans. The reality being that the Bucs had an extremely easy early schedule that made them look alot better than they actually are. When you couple that with an injury to the only competent QB on your roster early in the season, you are more than likely looking at a pick in the single digits of Round 1. By the way, Derrick Brooks is a great player, a first ballot hall of famer, a Super Bowl Champion, even a former defensive MVP. So how come nobody is talking about how sad it is that he is having to endure such a sad and pathetic offense during the twilight of his career? Just wondering.

- You'll have to excuse me if I was unable to muster up any tears for the poor folks at Vanderbilt University over the weekend. I agree that the excessive celebration penalty that was called late in the fourth quarter was bush league. I agree that Vanderbilt would've gone for two if the penalty hadn't been called. I'll even go so far as to say that I believe, with the way Florida's defense was gassed, that Vanderbilt would've converted the two point try which, more than likely, would've resulted in a monumental upset of Florida. However, I won't pretend to feel bad for all the Ivy League rejects up in Nashville. In my estimation no team in recent college football history has received more raw deals courtesy of the referees than the University of Florida. In just the last three years Florida has suffered losses due, in part, to two of the worst officiating jobs that anybody could ever imagine. First there was the Swindle in the Swamp, as it's come to be known, against FSU in 2003, which more than any one game is responsible for the institution of instant replay in college football. Then there was the debacle against Tennesee during the late stages of last year's game in Knoxville. Even this year, the refs flagged Dallas Baker for a highly questionable offensive interference penalty during a crucial fourth quarter series against LSU. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Florida was owed one (if not more) and I'm glad that we finally came out on the right side of a blown and/or overbearing call.

Of course, all of this sets up Saturday's matchup against South Carolina and Stephen Orr Spurrier in Columbia. If the Gators win and Auburn knocks off Georgia on Saturday night then Florida would be headed back to the SEC Championship in Atlanta for the first time since 2000, when the Gators were coached by none other than Mr. Spurrier. I'll talk about this game in a little more length later on in the week as it is a huge game for a number of reasons, only some of which have anything to do with the guys who'll be playing on Saturday afternoon.

As for now, I'm gonna leave you so I can set up the third TV that I just bought for $35 from one of the local beachside motels. My TV's are like the family I never had...except I have a family...only that don't operate via the use of a remote control like my TVs. Other than that, they're nearly identical.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Uh, yeah...well not so much...

I was planning on writing about the day of college football that's ahead of us today but I got a little sidetracked. The day started with a hangover and the best of intentions. The plan was to play a little football with some friends of mine in the late morning, followed by some beers and a days worth of college football. Unfortunately my friends are a bunch of drunk losers who can't manage to roust themesleves out of bed by 11 AM. Well, not all of my friends. Six of us managed to make to my buddy Kurt's house by 11...ish. Of course, 3-on-3 football isn't exactly a recipe for an afternoon full of fun so we decided to go up to the local pub and have a few drinks. Just in case you were wondering, drinking is alot more fun than sweating your ass off playing touch football. Now, I'm four beers in and I don't have the patience or the mental capacity to craft any sort of redeemable prose concering today's gridiron action. So you'll just have to enjoy a full day of football without my literary assistance. I know that it's gonna be a struggle but you're strong enough to get through this...just believe in yourself. Somebody has to.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lunch meeting with Bo Outlaw...

I'm going to Orlando for a meeting in about a half hour and I sure as hell won't be returning to this god foresaken place once that's over, so my love letter to Smush will have to suffice as today's only real post.

I'll try and talk about some football tomorrow. Florida-Vandy at 7:45 in Gainesville should be very interesting for two reasons (1) Vandy is MUCH better than normal this year, which admittedly isn't saying much because, well they're Vandy. (2) Over the years Vandy has given Florida a really tough time. The final scores don't bear it out, but it's often been a struggle for the Gators in the early going against the Ivy league rejects from Nashville.

Other than that the other games that I'll be watching tomorrow include Miami-Va. Tech, Notre Dame-Tennessee, Wisconsin-Penn State, Cal-Oregon, with a sprinkling of Mizzou-Colorado and N.C. State-Florida State for flavor.

See you bitches on the other side.

All Smush, all the time...

I guess I should write about journeymen point guards in this space more often. I only stayed up long enough to watch the first half of the Laker game last night but man did I get plenty to gawk at in the play of Smush Parker. At one point in the first half the young guard from New York picked Steve Nash clean on three consecutive possessions. I don't think I can recall ever seeing Steve Nash ripped at all, much less three straight times down the court.

Finally, late in the half Smush drove baseline and hammered down a dunk on the Suns. It was as impressive a half that I've seen out of a young point guard in quite some time. All of this and he was coming off a 20 point effort against the Nuggets that included a clutch three in the fourth quarter. The Lakers lost and Nash ended up with a very Nashy 12 points and 17 assists but even that doesn't take away from the fact that Parker had the Staples Center buzzing with excitement for a good portion of the first half. That might not sound like much, but in a town like LA where half the crowd doesn't arrive until the second quarter it is quite an accomplishment. After one steal that Parker ended up losing out of bounds, even Jack Nicholson felt obliged to extend a hand to help Smush up. That's big time right you think that Jack bothers to help up Brian Cook when he goes tumbling out of bounds? Yeah, me neither. Why do I seemingly have a man crush on this undrafted guard? Have you seen his hair cut?

It's tough to tell from the picture but this dude has a down the middle part, ala Larry Johnson circa his UNLV days. You know what I'm talking about. The best part is that Smush has taken his part all the way to the back of his head. This is a haircut that would even make Eddie Winslow cringe. What a haircut. What a name. What a guy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Work blows. My blog...not so much.

It seems like I’ve been endlessly searching for topics that stoke my creative fires enough to warrant a column for this space. A large part of the problem is that I’ve had an inordinate amount of work to do as of late. With all the time that I’ve been spending doing whatever it is the higher ups deem as necessary around here, I haven’t had nearly enough time to waste on the internet. As a result of this I have a lot less useless and entertaining thoughts running through the smoked filled cavern that passes as my brain these days. So if you have any complaints about the lack of provocative prose in this space than you (a) clearly haven’t read this blog for very long and (b) can take your complaints elsewhere. I don’t care…at least I’m willing to admit it.

However, I DO have some thoughts on the brand, spanking new NBA season. Some are predictions while others are merely just random ruminations that are more than likely a by product of all those nights spent doing knifers with my friends Jeff and Kurt. Either way, this is what’s got me thinking lately:

- How the hell is Smush Parker starting for the Lakers? He’s relatively talented but supposedly had an attitude problem at Fordham where he left after his sophomore year and subsequently went undrafted. Since then he’s bounced around the NBA and NBDL with mixed results (at best). When I was watching a Lakers pre-season game last week and saw him I was surprised, to say the least. Mind you, I was surprised that he was even on the roster that late in training camp. You can only imagine my shock when I found out that he was not only going to make the team but was also slated to start. He can shoot it pretty well which I guess works well for the Lakers considering that they run the triangle and their two primary ball handlers are Kobe and Lamar Odom. Even with that, I can't shake the feeling that he must have pictures of Phil and Tex winter in a four way with Andy Dick and a 12 year old Cambodian boy.

In case you were wondering, their has never been more written about Smush Parker in his entire career. I have a feeling this gonna end up in his scrapbook.

- How long until Fabricio Oberto gets an endorsement deal with Oberto Beef Jerky. They’re already “America’s #1 beef jerky”, why not Argentina?

- Do you think that Nick Van Exel signed with the Spurs so he wouldn’t look ugly when he was standing next to Greg Poppovich? Or was it the other way around?

- I’m not buying the feeling that the Wizards will be better without Larry Hughes. Caron Butler can barely guard small forwards, much less shooting guards and there isn’t a more erratic player in the league than Antonio Daniels. Don’t get me wrong, I think Daniels is a solid player but he’s about twice as good coming off the bench as he is as a starter. He’s a little out of control to be the kind of guy you rely on for 30-35 minutes a night.

- If you’re Terry Porter, don’t you want to kill somebody with a nail gun right now. This guy made the Bucks into a playoff team two years ago with little to no established talent only to be fired a year later. If that wasn’t bad enough, the team that fired you turns around and has probably the best off-season of any team in the league and hands the new bunch of guy over to, Terry Stotts? Are you kidding me? If you don’t think the Bucks had a great off-season just look at who they added this year: Jamaal Magloire, Andrew Bogut, Bobby Simmons, TJ Ford and they resigned Michael Redd. That’s pretty damn good if you ask me. Oh, and for the record, I called them as a playoff team over a week ago. Just wanted to put that out there.

- I love how Sports Guy is shocked that Shaun Livingston has had this rash of injuries so early in his career. Give me a break, the kid was 6’7” and 195 lbs. when he got drafted. He couldn’t even bench 185 lbs. once. Shouldn’t it have at least occurred to people that maybe he wouldn’t be able to handle the physical grind of the NBA at 18? Am I the only person who thinks about this?

- I’m convinced that there isn’t a single player in the NBA who could frustrate Larry Brown more than Jamal Crawford. Even Ricky Davis takes better shots than Crawford.

- Converse’s new slogan for the upcoming Dwyane Wade shoe is “Get yours while they last.” Ummmm, but you’re Converse? I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to need to pre-order those or anything like that.

- Is there a player in the league who is going to take more big shots for his team this year than Sam Cassell? Seriously, this guy was the clutch performer on the same team as the MVP two years ago. If he had been healthy at the end of the Western Conference Finals then that team makes the NBA Finals, I’m convinced of that.

It’s pretty unlikely that Mike Dunleavy is going to take the ball out of his hands so that he can get Corey Maggette a last second look. Well, it’s Mike Dunleavy so anything is possible but I wouldn’t bet on it. In case you were wondering, Cassell had 15 of 35
points in the fourth last night.

-The Nene for Antonio McDyess trade of a few years back doesn’t look nearly as lopsided these days does it? Sure, the Knicks got nothing from McDyess before they gave him away but at least he’s somewhat healthy and producing. Nene, on the other hand, has never developed any semblance of post game and has had an awful rash of injuries in the last year or two. It still could’ve worked out great for Denver if they had been able to trade him for a shooter this summer, but now they’re pretty much screwed.

-The Utah Jazz will be at top 6 seed in the West. Just the difference of having a point who can run Jerry Slaon’s system as well as a healthy Andrei Kirelenko virtually guarantee that.

-Chris Duhon had a triple-double last night? Wow. I haven’t been this wrong on a guy’s ability to play in the NBA since Randolph Childress.

- I guarantee that Marvin Williams will get at least 5 DNP CD’s before the All-Star break. Mark my words.

- Did you hear that Chris Paul has been practicing with the University of Oklahoma’s basketball team? Why? Shouldn’t you be practicing against guys who are better and more experienced than you (admittedly hard to do when you play on the Hornets), not against the guys whom you were clearly superior to last year.

- Damon Jones will win the Sixth Man of the Year. He’ll come off the bench because of Eric Snow but he should get most of the crunch time minutes, and with all of the open looks he’ll get from LeBron, Hughes and Ilgauskas, he should be in line to average 12-15 a game.

- If Chris Bosh isn’t careful he’s going to become Shareef Addur Rahim 2.0. In my opinion, he’s a far better player than Shareef but he’s stuck on a team going nowhere with no real teammates to teach him or make him better. If he doesn’t get out of Toronto soon (not likely) then he’s almost guaranteed to become the new quintessential good player/bad team kind of guy.

- Best West coast late night team (strictly for entertainment value): Golden State with Portland running a close second.

-Fantasy Sleeper: Chris Anderson. Now that Magloire is gone somebody’s gonna have to get the inside touches on that team. Who do you think will do more with his opportunities, the Birdman or PJ Brown?

Alright, I’m completely over this whole work thing so I’m going home.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Return of the Man (Child)...

Old man Leyland has really been busting my hump today. Seriously, I haven’t had more than a few spare minutes all day long. Of course, I’ve used those moments to scour the internet for anything that would take my mind off the ridiculous people that I deal with at work on a day to day basis (this includes both co-workers and customers).

It’s not all bad though as the Magic kick off their season tonight against the Indiana Pacers. I guess I shouldn’t be too excited about tonight’s matchup since it’s fairly likely that the Magic will be run out of the gym by a Pacers team that I fully expect to challenge for the best record in the league. Have you looked at the roster that Indy is throwing out on the court this year? It’s by far the deepest in the league, without question. Not only are they getting back a healthy Jermaine O’Neal and a fresh legged Ron Artest, but Larry Bird went out and signed the best guard in Europe in Sarunas Jasikievicus (no spell check on the last name…I’m testing my knowledge of Euroleague stars on this one) as well as one of the few ready to contribute draftees from this past June in Danny Granger.

Speaking of Danny Granger, it’s a good thing that the Magic passed on him this summer because it’s not like he would’ve have come in handy now that Grant Hill is out for up to two months with sports hernia surgery. At least Fran Vasquez has looked good in the preseason…for Unicaja Malaga.

As best I can tell, there is only one reason to be excited about this year’s edition of the Magic…Dwight Howard. He exceeded expectations last year while showing glimpses of becoming an absolute monster down low, and that was as a skinny 18 year old who had no idea what to expect of the NBA. Now that he has a year of experience under his belt as well as a summer to get stronger and refine his offensive game, it should be fascinating to watch his development throughout the season. He has an outside shot of making the All-Star team this year if everything were to come together perfectly for him. However, the more likely scenario is him averaging 15-16 ppg and 11-12 boards a contest. Either way the Magic MUST make it a priority to force feed him the ball 20-30 times a game. Even if it means that the Magic give up a few games (or murder Steve Francis) because they are so intent on leaning on Howard’s offense. As a team, you are clearly not going to compete with the big boys in the East this year so why not use this as the year to establish Howard as the alpha dog of the franchise?

I’ve got to get moving now because I have a board meeting to get to, but I’m going to keep an abbreviated journal of sorts tonight in the comments section as I watch the Magic along with some of the other NBA games that are airing this evening.