Archive for November, 2011
In the NBA, with the lockout over, the free agency moves and rumors are in full swing. First up, it looks like the New Jersey Nets are trying to court Orlando’s Dwight Howard. Remember, the Nets will be moving to Brooklyn soon and need some type of superstar presence to market against the Knicks. Howard, combined with Deron Williams, if he stays there, could be that guy. As of right now, the details are uncertain, but the rumors out there are that they include Nets center Brooke Lopez and two future first round picks. This would definitely get in the way of the previous rumors that Howard would join Kobe on the Lakers. Anyway, this is just talk right now, but you have to imagine that with all the down time, all the owners really did was think up trade scenarios.
Additionally, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge, a man who is no stranger to swinging big deals (bringing in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form the original big 3 that prompted the owners complaints about big markets stealing all the star players), looks like he’s up to something again. Apparently, Ainge is putting a deal out there that would send their star point-guard Rajon Rondo to New Orleans in exchange for super-duper star Chris Paul. The Hornets franchise is bleeding money right now, and need to find a way to win in a less expensive manner. Shipping Paul out of town in exchange for some good parts might be a good move. Then again, letting go of a once in a generation point guard isn’t always a good exchange no matter whom you get in return. The reason for this is that the Big 3 are getting old and the Celtics need someone new to build around. We’ll see how this pans out.
Finally, in the NFL, after a horrible 3-8 start to the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are making some major changes. First, they fired long-time head coach Jack Del Rio. Then, they announced that the team was up for sale. Many thought that they would be the franchise to wind up in Los Angeles, but reportedly, the sale of the team is going to a guy who wants to keep the team in Jacksonville. Apparently, Jacksonville has a “passion” for football, the current owner said of the big small market city. The team has a chance to thrive, it’s just been heading in the wrong direction for a while now. Del Rio stuck with David Gerrard for way too many seasons when many agreed he wasn’t worth much. Then, five days prior to the season, Gerrard was released by Del Rio, leaving the team searching for a quarterback. They ultimately went with rookie Blaine Gabbert, but he gets scared under pressure AND hasn’t shown much development in 9 games starting. He may be a bust. Either way, this team is heading in a new direction.No comments
In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints. Both of these teams are playing well, so this was expected to be a good game. Except, with the Saints, you never know when they’re really going to heat up. Saints quarterback Drew Brees went absolutely crazy, throwing for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns! Plus, he added one more rushing touchdown on top of that. The Saints simply destroyed the Giants — New York had no answer for their high powered offense. In the 4th quarter, Eli Manning got a bit hot, connecting with Victor Cruz on 2 touchdowns, but it just wasn’t enough, and the Saints move to 8-3. New Orleans 49, NY Giants 24.
And in college football, two major changes were made yesterday. First, despite winning the Pac-12 Southern Conference, UCLA has decided to fire head coach Rick Neuheisel. UCLA plays in the conference championship this Saturday against Oregon, but Neuheisel won’t be on the field. This is mainly due to the fact that (A) UCLA didn’t authentically win the Pac-12 South. After all, USC was 2 games ahead of them (but are disqualified from post-season play), and (B) USC beat them in their annual rivalry match-up 50-0. Repeat: 50 to nothing! That’s just an embarrassment, and the Bruins program knows it needs a fresh start.
The other major change, after going through a lackluster season that included losing to average teams and… losing to super-rival Michigan, the illustrious Ohio State football program has decided to right its ship in a major way. They’re shifting current head coach Luke Fickell into a supporting role, and bringing in storied coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was recently viewed as, arguably, the best coach in the game after leading Florida to 2 National Championships. Then, this seasons, Meyer stepped down for health reasons and to spend time with his family. Ohio State has been to a BCS for the past 5 seasons, but won’t play in anything major this year. That’s a huge step back for a program that is EASILY the most popular team in the state (more important than the Cavs, Browns, Indians, and Bengals combined). You can bet that Urban Meyer will attract the best recruits and return the Buckeyes back to the BCS Championship conversation every year. And, of course, he’ll be very well paid while doing it.No comments
In college football, all eyes were on #1 LSU vs #3 Arkansas in a battle that could have huge BCS implications. Arkanasas had been playing fantastic as of late, and many thought they matched-up very well against LSU’s staunch defense. They might have been right, but it doesn’t really matter until the game starts, and you see just how amazing LSU really is. Arkansas got out to an early 14-0 lead, and looked like they would definitely be making this competitive. But then LSU just came surging back thanks to an amazing game from their best player Tyrann Mathieu. Before Arkansas knew it, LSU had build a huge second half lead, and there was just no coming back from that. With the win, LSU stays #1 and will take on Georgia next week in the SEC Championship. Right now though, the National Championship would most likely see #1 LSU vs. #2 Alabama, but a lot could change next week. LSU 41, Arkansas 17.
In the the NFL, the Texans are having their best season ever. But 2 weeks ago, they lost their starting quarterback Matt Schaub. That would give Matt Leinart his big comeback opportunity. But, in Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Leinart went down with a broken collar bone. There are reports that Leinart’s season may be over as well, which would make #3 quarterback, and North Carolina T.J. Yates, their starting quarterback. Yates came in and helped maintain the lead to give the Texans another win. But will the Texans stick with Yates? Fortunately, the Texans are built to run the football behind amazing running-backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Plus, they have the best defense in the NFL right now, so that is another thing to take the pressure off a young quarterback. But, you still have to wonder if the Texans are going to risk their best season ever on a rookie quarterback. Then again, they also signed former Jets quarterback Kellen Clements. It should be an interesting road for the Texans. Houston 20, Jacksonville 13.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Tim Tebow circus continued. In traditional fashion, it took Tim Tebow a while to do anything productive, and the Broncos allowed the Chargers to take an early 10-0. Fortunately for the Broncos, the Chargers are one of the most pedestrian teams in the NFL this year. They’re not explosive this year as they have been in season’s past, and thus… they’re beatable. And, yet again, the Tim Tebow show kicked in in the 4th quarter. He connected with Eric Decker on a clutch pass that would put the Broncos in field goal range in overtime. Then, Matt Prater, came on and booted a 37-yard field goal to give the Broncos their 4th straight win. Tebow continues both not to impress and truly impress. His stats are not eye-popping, but he just finds a way to help the Broncos win… and they’re not complaining. Denver 16, San Diego 13.
Finally, the big news of the weekend was out of the NBA. It looks like after about 6 months, the NBA Lockout is finally over. The deal is for 10 years with the players essentially doing a 50/50 revenue split with the owners. The luxury tax is still in place (which means teams can go over the salary cap if they pay a penalty), but it’s apparently much larger, meaning if the Lakers want to bring in big-name talent and go over the cap they can, but it’s really going to cost them BIG. This year, we’ll have a 66-game season that begins on Christmas Day. All the players were all over Twitter this weekend, and all said they’re excited to get back to playing. The NBA is back, baby!1 comment
Finally, in college football, Stanford coach David Shaw has come out and publicly said the the BCS is flawed. His primary argument is that the BCS computers have Stanford ranked below both Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State. But, Shaw Said, Virginia Tech plays much easier teams in the ACC than Stanford does and Oklahoma State lost to an unranked Iowa State team. Stanford’s only loss came against a very tough #10 ranked Oregon team. Shouldn’t that make them, on paper, a higher ranked team in the BCS standings? Stanford can only get in the Pac 12 title game if Oregon loses to Oregon State this weekend, but they could still have a shot at playing in the title game if certain top-ranked teams lose. This weekend Stanford will host Andrew Luck’s final home game against Notre Dame. It will be a bittersweet day regardless of the outcome.
In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots. The Pats have been struggling to find their way lately, but the Chiefs certainly have it worse being plagued by injuries including their starting quarterback Matt Cassel. That’s why the Chiefs had Tyler Palko under center last night — a distinct advantage for an otherwise somewhat hapless Patriots defense. The game actually started out in favor of the Chiefs. They got the first points on the board with a field goal. But, from there, it was all Pats — specifically the now illustrious Tom Brady to tight-end Rob Gronkowski. The two connected for 2 touchdowns, and Gronkowski finished with a total of 96 yards receiving. This guy is an absolute powerhouse. With the blowout victory, the Pats now have a 2 game lead in a competitive AFC East division. Looks like they will probably make the playoffs again. New England 34, Kansas City 3.
Elsewhere in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins are actually starting to play pretty well. On Sunday they crushed the Buffalo Bills 35-8. This is a team that just a few weeks ago couldn’t put up any points, and now they have become a threat. This is largely due to the fact the Dolphins lost their starter Chad Henne and replaced him with Matt Moore, a guy who really hasn’t gotten a chance to prove himself. He’s using this starting opportunity as that chance, and intends to use the rest of the season to prove that he should be the Dolphins starter next season and going forward. After all, now that the Dolphins are winning a few games, they are most likely taking themselves out of the running for Stanford’s Andrew Luck. It may behoove them to nurture Moore and make sure he gets even better.
In college football, the University of Arizona has had a pretty unimpressive football program the last decade. Last year, they made a bit of a surge, but still got destroyed in a couple of key games. ‘Zona is a major athletics program, and their basketball program is typically one of the best in the nation. However, they would like to have a successful football program as well. So, they have decided to completely change their scheme, and bring in one of the experts of the spread offense — former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the guy who turned West Virginia into a scoring machine. And even if those teams don’t win every game, they are still very entertaining to watch — meaning entertaining for boosters. Nobody wants to go to a game and watch Arizona lose 44 – 7 at the hands of Oregon or USC. Rodriguez can make Arizona a high-flying team that could actually seriously compete in the Pac 12. This is a good move by the Wildcats.No comments
In college football, it was a weekend of upsets that has completely scrambled the BCS picture. First, on Friday, #2 Oklahoma State and their explosive offense headed to what should have been an easy win at Iowa State. Nobody has come close to stopping the OK State Cowboys, and there was no way the lowly Cyclones were going to make a dent, right? Right??? Um, not exactly. Iowa State played hard the entire game, and thanks to a few OK State mistakes, Iowa State found themselves in the position of overtime. OK State couldn’t score, and then… MISSED THE FIELD GOAL!! All Iowa State needed to do was boot one through. But, they didn’t even take that risk. Instead, they burrowed their head, and made it to the endzone, upsetting the #2 team in the nation. Iowa State 37, OK State 31.
This was great news for Oregon, who now found themselves in a position to possibly play for the National Championship. They would have the howling support of their home crowd at Autzen Stadium (one of the toughest places in the nation to win as a road team) as they took on USC. USC has been no slouch this year, but there’s no way they could beat Oregon in Oregon. Right? Right??? Um, not exactly — Oregon’s defense just couldn’t stop the Trojans in the first half, and the Trojans went to the locker room with a hefty lead. The Ducks posed a serious comeback in the second half, but it wasn’t enough, and USC pulls off the upset to spoil Oregon’s chance of returning to the National Championship. USC 38, Oregon 35.
Oklahoma thought they could make a late run at the title being a one-loss team, but they are most likely without their Heisman candidate wide receiver Ryan Broyles for the rest of the year. Could they go on to Baylor and smash them with all the motivation of getting to the BCS Championship? No. They didn’t even come close, because Baylor has a Heisman candidate of their own in Robert Griffin III (or as Baylor fans call him… RG3). Griffin threw for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns in an amazing destruction of the previous #1 team in the nation. That ends their title hopes as well. Now, atop the charts are an undefeated LSU team at #1, Alabama at #2, and a Arkansas at #3 — all teams in the same exact division. And coming up next Saturday — Arkansas v. LSU, and Arkansas knows how to play them. We could seriously have a big mess on our hands. Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38.
Finally, in the NFL, both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are gearing up for their ultimate Thanksgiving Day showdown. The Packers took on the Buccaneers, and beat them handily to move to a perfect 10-0, while the Lions QB Matt Stafford had to comeback from a huge deficit to beat the Panthers. Stafford finished the day with a whopping 5 touchdowns. So, on Thanksgiving, for the first time in a long time, we have a much anticipated game. The Lions are finally good this year, and have a chance to spoil the Packers perfect 10-0 season IN DETROIT. If they win, you know Detroit fans are going to go crazy! Green Bay 35, Tampa Bay 26. Detroit 49, Carolina 35.No comments
In the NFL, it was Thursday Night Football between the NY Jets and the Denver Broncos. This was an important game for both teams with playoff implications. The Jets have been slipping lately and the Broncos have been on the rise ever since they inserted Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. But could Tebow summon the magic against a very tough Jets defense? Not at first. The Broncos had trouble getting their offense going. Fortunately for Denver, so did the Jets. Sanchez just couldn’t get in the groove. But the Jets still held a 13-10 heading into the final 5 minutes. And then… it was Tebow time. Using their versatile option and rushing attack, Tebow marched the Broncos down the field into the red zone. And then, Tebow went for it, rushing past their defense, breaking a tackle, and getting into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. Truly awesome! The Denver crowd went crazy and Tebow was the hero again. Denver 17, NY Jets 13.
Elsewhere, in baseball, new Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein has hit the ground running turning around the franchise. The first thing necessary to having a strong team, is strong leadership. So the manager search began. They looked at Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddox and Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., but eventually settled on Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. The Brewers had a clutch hitting season, and much of that credit should go to Sveum. Other players have said that he knows how to read players. That he isn’t just necessarily interested in being their best friend, but he knows what they’re thinking. All baseball experts agree that this is a good pick and a good start for the hopefully new Cubs era.
Finally, in some more baseball news, baseball has approved the sale of the Houston Astros to multi-millionaire Jim Crane. However, there was once exception, and Crane didn’t exactly like it. In order to acquire the Astros, Crane had to move them to the American League West. Crane said he simply likes National League baseball better because the pitcher has to hit. This adds more strategy to the game, as managers have to delicately watch a pitcher’s pitch count, and make seriously calculated decisions of what to do with them at bat. However, a move to the American League gives them great rivalry showdowns with the Texas Rangers. Texas, of course, has been dominate the last 2 seasons, because they now have the money to spend on fantastic players. They should be a contender for a while. But the Astros… they’re revenue has been dwindling the last few seasons because they’ve been horrible. Hopefully, playing in the American League and bringing in a host of new opponents will boost attendance and thus revenue. How fast can the Astros rebound?No comments
In the Penn State scandal, a new interesting development. It seems the issue now is that everyone is changing their stories and everyone is denying new admissions. Yesterday, on NBC’s Rock Center, the alleged child rapist Jerry Sandusky gave a disturbing live interview briefly recounting his side of the story. To keep it brief: He basically said he didn’t do it. At this point, very few believe him, but one man knows for sure, which is the key witness in the case — assistant receivers coach Mike McQueary. McQueary has been under fire for allegedly not doing anything in 2002 when he spotted Sandusky in the shower in the Penn State Locker room with a young boy. But now McQueary says he did ‘do something’ (i.e. break up the assault), and also immediately told police. But now the police are saying, “He never came to us”. This just increases the curiosity to the level of cover up that may have taken place in State College, PA.
In baseball, the League has handed out its managers of the Year honors. In the American League, the award went to Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays had a horrible start to their season, then were lackluster at best. But, in the last 2 months, they launched an amazingly impressive campaign to get into the playoffs on their final game. It was an impressive managerial achievement. And in the National League, a similar story, as the award went to former Dodgers star and now manger of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kirk Gibson. The Diamondbacks were known to be one of the worst teams in the league the first two months. Then, suddenly, they were smashing people. This all paid off in a wild card appearance. Gibson took a franchise that looked like it was headed to the basement the next few seasons, and turned them into a contender in his first year. Well done Maddon and Gibson.
And finally, some good news in the case of the kidnapping of Washington Nationals star Wilson Ramos. A few weeks ago, Ramos was kidnapped in his homeland of Venezuela. He was there to play for a local club during the baseball off-season, and was seized outside of his home at gunpoint. He was missing for a few days, and in the case of a kidnapping, the end result is typically 50/50 on life or death. In Ramos’ case, he got lucky, and returned alive and healthy. And just yesterday, the Venzuelan police caught the 8 suspects involved in the kidnapping, which actually included a 74 year old and a 59 year old. His family is happy to have him back, and the Nationals will welcome Ramos back to the field as part of their family next season. Everyone here is relieved.1 comment
In college basketball, Duke’s Coach K was looking for his 903rd win, which would make him the ‘winningest’ coach in college basketball history (surpassing Bobby Knight). He would have to do it against a pesky Michigan State team led by another all-time great coach, Tom Izzo. Michigan State is unranked so far this season, but they can be tough. They actually kept it pretty close against Duke, thanks to a strong game from Keith Appling. But Duke’s Andre Dawkins had a beautiful 26 point night and led Duke, and Coach K, to his 903rd win. Very, very impressive. But Coach K shows no signs of stopping just yet. Duke 74, Michigan State 69.
Elsewhere, in some baseball news, the American League has handed out it’s 2011 Cy Young winner. This year wasn’t a real surprise, as Detroit’s Justin Verlander took home the prize. Verlander wasn’t on many people’s radar at the beginning of the season, as even Verlander admitted, “If you would have told me I would have unanimously won the Cy Young Award at the beginning of the season, it would have blown my mind”. Verlander got a reputation for his 100mph fastball that was the villain to many of the American League’s toughest batters. And soon, the National League will award their Cy Young winner. Although there appears to be a heavy favorite on that end too: the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw.
Finally, in the NFL, the Houston Texans are having their best season in franchise history. They’re 7-3, and giving defenses fits with their solid passing attack, and now duel-headed rushing attack of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Remember, these guys have never made the playoffs. Unfortunately, just when they were starting to heat up, their quarterback, Matt Schaub, went down with what looks like a season-ending injury. The Texans have been battling injuries all season, and they hoped that Schaub would just be a one or two game setback, but it looks like he is probably down for the count. And that brings in… Matt Leinart. Not exactly a guy you want leading you to the Super Bowl, but if there was ever a second chance for one of the most famous USC alum… it’s this one. Can you imagine? Matt Leinart, a team that was discarded by the Arizona Cardinals… in the Super Bowl?No comments
In the NFL, it was Monday Night Football between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. Just 2 seasons ago, this was a heated rivalry between 2 great teams. But now… the Packers are a dominating force, and the Vikings are in rebuilding mode. Fortunately for the Vikes, they’ve gotten some success from their rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. But — playing a polished machine like the Packers defense, a team that came into the game at 8-0 with no intention of losing… is a different story. Aaron Rodgers was brilliant yet again, throwing for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns. And if you haven’t yet watched the Packers this season, you should, just to see how effortlessly Aaron Rodgers plays the position. He never looks in trouble, casually throws 30 yard bullets to receivers, and knows what to do in every situation. This year’s Packers are truly a work of art, and could definitely repeat. Green Bay 45, Minnesota 7.
This year in college football, the Big 10 conference will have its first conference championship game. The trophy that’s awarded to the winner of said championship includes the names of all the head coaches in the conference. Of course, the major head coaching name in the Big 10 is Joe Paterno. But, in light of the recent sexual abuse scandal, the Big 10 has decided to remove Paterno’s name from the trophy. They said they want the trophy to be celebratory, not controversial in any way. And there is no name more associated with controversy right now than Paterno. Probably a good move on their part.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be having some turmoil with their ownership situation, but they also know they have a rising superstar in Matt Kemp. That’s why they are very close to signing an 8-year $160MM deal with Kemp. The Dodgers know that they need a marketable star, and they’re banking that Kemp is that star. Additionally, the Dodgers are looking to bring in star free agents as well. That could include Brewers slugger Prince Fielder to possibly bat in front or behind of Kemp. The Dodgers have been lackluster for pretty much the last two decades, and they’re looking to become a regular contender. Matt Kemp also said that he felt loyal to the Dodgers, as they’re the team that allowed him to grow and gave him the chance to follow his dreams.No comments