Thursday, November 30, 2006

Charlie Weis Swallows Buffet, Pride.

So I missed this the first time around, but here is a quick clip of the post-game handshake between Charlie Weis and Pete Carroll after USC took care of Notre Dame, 44-24. What's the first thing Charlie Weis says to Carroll as they meet?

"Nice butt-kicking."

Actually talking to the opposing coach...that's one thing he didn't take with him from New England.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Blue and Gold Nightcap

This special UCLA edition of the Nightcap is brought to you by Ben Howland's Kool Aid, which I am drinking liberally and finding to be quite delicious. Earlier tonight I spent an enjoyable 2 hours at Pauley Pavilion watching the much anticipated matchup between the #1 UCLA Bruins and the #223 Long Beach State 49ers. Ok, so maybe it wasn't a great game, but I did get some great seats on Craigslist, and isn't that what really matters? This was a classic letdown game for the Bruins after winning the Maui Invitational, so it wasn't much of a surprise when UCLA found themselves up only 5 at the half. But after a wake up call in the lockerroom, the Bruins stormed out on a 15-0 run to open the 2nd half and never looked back, ultimately winning by 30. Here are a few notes from the game:

The UCLA big men (Lorenzo Mata, Alfred Aboya, Ryan Wright, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute) combined to go 7-14 from the free throw line. This has been a recurring problem for UCLA and if not corrected, will cost them a few games in conference play.

This team still misses Ryan Hollins. Hollins' shotblocking was an intimidating presence on defense and his explosive dunks were a catalyst on offense. While Mata and Aboya are great hustle guys, noone has been able to fill the void left by Hollins' departure. And with noone on the squad taller than 6'9", I'm not sure anyone will. However, if there is a guy that could do it, it's Alfred Aboya. (His dunk on top of a Florida defender was the lone highlight of the championship game.)

With a few more years of development on his offensive game, Mbah a Moute has the potential to become the next Ron Artest, only without all the craziness....
By the way, here's my audition to become an ESPN announcer: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute never gives up on a play. He's a joy to watch. He's everything that's right about college basketball.

Arron Afflalo will likely test the NBA waters again at the end of this season, but the player with the best all-around NBA game is Josh Shipp. As long as he and Afflalo don't have a battle of egos, those two will form one of the best one-two combinations in the nation. 3 pt shooting, driving to the lane, finding open teammates, aggressive
rebounding, and solid defense- there's nothing Shipp can't do. He's the player that JaRon Rush would have become if he didn't let alcohol take over his life.

I wonder what my life would have become had I never discovered alcohol? It's probably best if I don't think about that.

Overheard from the crowd after Lorenzo Mata took a hard foul right across the face: "At least he can't look any worse."

Jaleel White was in attendance tonight. He's an alumnus of UCLA and has been a supporter of their basketball program for years. Now he has courtside seats directly in front of the student section. The Lakers have Jack Nicholson. The Bruins have Urkel. That's a situation in need of an upgrade.

At 96 years of age, John Wooden is in better shape than I am.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Just Another Flippin' Sunday

Headline seen today:

"Vick apologizes for making obscene gesture"

“First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my inappropriate actions with fans today,” the quarterback said in a statement released by the Falcons. “I was frustrated and upset at how the game was going for my team, and that frustration came out the wrong way.”

Headline from Oct 3, 2005:

Marcus Vick apologizes for obscene gesture"

"I apologize for letting my emotions get the best of me Saturday,” Vick said in a statement issued Sunday by Virginia Tech. “What I did was wrong and I am sorry. My goal is to be a leader of this team and do things the right way.”

I think Michael might have cheated off of baby brother's paper...

The Denver Post and other outlets are reporting that Jay Cutler will be the starting quarterback from here on out for the Denver Broncos. While not that surprising of an announcement, it does make Denver the 13th team this season to play at least one game with a different starting quarterback from the season opener because of either injury or coaches decision. The Plummer/Cutler combo joins:

Miami: Culpepper/Harrington
Jacksonville: Leftwich/Garrard
Kansas City: Green/Huard/Green
Oakland: Brooks/Walter/Brooks
Pittsburgh: Roethlisberger/Batch/Roethlisberger
Dallas: Bledsoe/Romo
Philadelphia: McNabb/Garcia
Washington: Brunell/Campbell
Tampa Bay: Simms/Gradkowski
Seattle: Hasselbeck/Wallace
Arizona: Warner/Leinart
Tennessee: Collins/Young

With this many teams switching their "field general" during the course of the season, is it any wonder that this has been one of the most inconsistent, unpredictable seasons in recent memory?

The only thing shorter than the distance the 49ers needed for a game clinching 1st down was head coach Mike Nolan's dick Sunday afternoon. His decision to kick a chip shot field goal rather than go for the jugular on 4th and inches showed a lack of both a killer instinct and confidence in his players. If the Niners don't make the playoffs this season, they'll look back on that play as the turning point.

When the 3rd quarter ends, some players put 4 fingers up in the error to signify that it's winning time. Eli Manning has a different routine. He prefers to take both hands and wrap them around his neck.

Here's a log of Eli Manning's passes in the 4th quarter:
Incomplete, Intercepted, Incomplete, Incomplete, 4 yard completion, 9 yard completion, Intercepted.

4th quarter line: 2/7 13 yards, 2 INTs.

No wonder Tiki felt like quitting on this team.

LaDanian Tomlinson now has more career TD passes (6) than former #3 overall draft pick, Akili Smith (5)

The Titans have 4 wins on the season. Three of them have come against the NFC East.

Which one was the #2 overall pick again?

Name Att Yds TDs Rec Yds TDs
Bush 109 331 1 64 431 0
Jones-Drew 90 454 6 32 317 2


Including bonuses, Edgerrin James is being compensated roughly $600,000 per game this season. For his work Sunday, he received $150,000 per carry.

Friday, November 24, 2006

For What It's Worth

As I begin to come out of my food coma, let's reflect on the last few days of sports...

Can we just agree that unless Florida loses, there's no such thing as a "major" upset this year in college basketball? With the exception of the Gators, the top tier teams are all very young and as such, vulnerable to being beaten by a veteran mid-major team. The season is only a few weeks old, and already Gonzaga has beaten North Carolina, Marquette has beaten Duke, Old Dominion has beaten Georgetown, and Butler has beaten Tennessee. In the past, these would have all been monumental, historic upsets. Now, they are just one of many anticipated bumps in the road as a team tries to develop some cohesiveness early in the season..

UCLA looked like a legit top 5 team in winning the Maui Invitational with a sweep of Chaminade, Kentucky and Georgia Tech. Darren Collison is the prototype college point guard- looks to push the ball when he sees the opportunity, he looks to pass first and shoot second although he has a decent shot himself, and he has the energy to play as many minutes as needed. The center position with Alfred Aboya and Lorenzo Mata is solid, albeit unspectacular, and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute is quite simply the best college rebounder I've seen in 20 years. The only problem for the Bruins is that they'll consistently need to build a double digit lead in the first 38 minutes of the game, because their free throw shooting leaves a lot to be desired...

To noone's surprise, the Hurricanes fired Larry Coker today. My guess is the reason Butch Davis took the job at North Carolina is because he was told the job was already reserved for Greg Schiano. Of course, that would imply that the Hurricanes were actually organized, so perhaps my theory needs work...

During the Boston College/Miami game, Kirk Herbstreit made a point of mentioning how outdated the Miami facilities are, and if the Hurricanes want to remain competitive in recruiting, they'll need to upgrade those facilities. The comment was directed towards Miami president Donna Shalala, but he should have been directing it at Michael Irvin, Ray Lewis, Edgerrin James, and every other NFL player who can thank the "U" for turning them into what they are today- great football players who are impossible to listen to. If the University of Miami really is in disrepair, it's time for the alumni to shut their mouths and open their wallets to bring the university up to standards...

The November elections were a signal that America was unhappy with the current direction of the country, and CBS for one, has listened. Gone were the patriotic country music anthems during the game, replaced instead by anti-war songs "Waiting for the World to Change" in the pregame and "Fortunate Son" at halftime. This is however, still our country...

Cowboys fans are absolutely giddy that for the first time since Troy Aikman, they actually have a franchise quarterback. It's only been four starts, but Romo has demonstrated the poise, accuracy and fire that are the attributes of a winner. In fact, Cowboys fans are so excited about the performance of their quarterback that they've been able to block out the reality that any Super Bowl run is going to be ruined by the choking antics of Mike Vanderjagt. My guess is a 16-14 loss to the Bears in the NFC title game during which Vanderjagt misses two field goals, including a 34 yarder to end the game...

As happy as fans are about Tony Romo's performance yesterday, nobody had a bigger smile on his face than Tono Romo himself when he learned at the end of the game that because of his great play, Jessica Simpson would be giving him "the Gobbler."

Romo, you lucky, lucky bastard.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Putting Food on Junior's Table

Here's a familiar scenario:

Player outperforms his career stats in a contract year and is rewarded with a contract commensurate with someone who would put up similar or better numbers over the duration of that contract.

This time the player is 7 year veteran Gary Matthews Jr., who in 2006 put up career high numbers in batting average, slugging, OPS, runs, hits, HRs, and RBI. Rather than look at the six years in which Matthews was a very average hitter with a superior glove, teams decided to highlight 2006 and get in on a bidding war for his services. The result is a 5 year, $50 million contract with the Anaheim Angels.

So far this year, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Juan Pierre, and now Gary Matthews Jr have signed contracts that just make me shake my head. These "franchise" players all come from teams that finished a combined 52 games under .500 (I won't double count the Cubs who finished 30 games under.) But somehow, these guys are the missing pieces for another team's championship? Um, ok.

As pointed out elsewhere, the teams don't really have to worry about the extra expense, as they'll just pass the cost on to us fans.

My $7 dollar beer is going to taste really bitter next season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Making Soriano's Contract Seem Reasonable

ESPN is reporting that the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed with Juan Pierre on a 5 year contract worth $44 or $45 million in real American money.

No Juan Pierre isn't some hard-throwing Cuban defector that the Dodgers just bid on. It's the same Juan Pierre that's been slap-hitting for the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Cubs.

That sound you hear is the collective sobbing of Brett Butler and Willie McGee as they realize what kind of fortune they could have made if they'd been born a few decades later.

Oh, and that sniffle with a little whistle to it? That's Otis Nixon. All of the coke has eaten away at his septum such that when he breathes in through his nose, it's like playing a recorder.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Make Me Happy, You Get Good Results

#1 vs #2, Indy goes down, and Alfonso Soriano gets about $250,000 per Cubs win. I guess it was a busy weekend in sports. Here are a few thoughts...

As much as Terrell Owens has been ripped over the last 12 weeks, if you were starting a team and were forced to choose between Owens and Randy Moss, would you even consider picking Moss? Owens may be incredibly self-absorbed, but at least he wants the ball. Randy Moss has admitted in the past that he takes plays off, but this year he's decided to take the entire season off. His effort is pathetic and embarrassing, even by Raiders' standards. The Raiders need to send some of Moss' THC-riddled urine to the league so that he can be suspended without pay...

The most coveted free agent next year will be Drew Bledsoe. Having him as a starting quarterback has a magical effect on late round and undrafted quarterbacks. Maybe Bledsoe inspires confidence in them that they can't be that far away from being an NFL QB if even Bledsoe can start for a team. Bledsoe sets the bar so low that there isn't much pressure on the replacement quarterback when he finally gets his chance, as he knows that just simple things such as "running away from the big guys" or "throwing to guys with the same jersey" will earn praise from coaches and fans. Just imagine what Bledsoe could do for the careers of Dan Orlovsky, Derek Anderson, or Jared Zabransky (assuming he's a late round pick)...

Now that Urban Meyer has realized that without a lot of help from other teams, his Florida Gators will be left out of the national championship picture, he's an advocate of a playoff system. When he learned that despite losing a game that the Buckeyes controlled throughout, the Michigan Wolverines were still the #2 team in the BCS, Meyer was none too pleased.

"If they do that [rematch], there should be a playoff system next year,'' Meyer said Sunday. ``I think if that [rematch] happens, I think it's over. All the presidents would need to get together immediately and put in a playoff system -- like now!...Someone else should have a chance to go get No. 1.'

Meyer then excused himself as he had to go review film from his team's 62-0 victory over Div 1-AA Western Carolina...

You know how anytime you go buy a new car, it seems like the dealer only has vehicles on the lot that are already fitted with all of the unnecessary, overpriced upgrades that you probably wouldn't have chosen on your own, but now will have to pay for it you want to drive away a car that same day? I think the Tribune Company, which has put its newspapers and Cubs up for sale, just pulled the same stunt with the $136 million acquisition of Alfonso Soriano...

When Ned Colletti came over to the Dodgers from San Francisco, he signed veterans to short term contracts in what was lauded as a shrewd move to solidify a few positions while some heralded minor leaguers got some needed seasoning. But I don't know what the plan is now that Colletti has signed Nomar Garciaparra to a two year deal and is close to signing Juan Pierre to play center field despite having some young players (James Loney and Matt Kemp) ready to fill those spots. I think Colletti might just have a fetish for old dudes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Should Be Lots of New Listings on Ebay Tomorrow.

For anyone that spent last night camped outside of their local Fry's, Target or Walmart for a PS3, here's a quick recap of the night in sports. (I'm assuming most people who would camp out for a PS3 would also bring a laptop with them.)

Kansas lost at home to Oral Roberts, 78-71. Kansas head coach Bill Self, who used to coach at Oral Roberts, tried to warn the Kansas faithful. He told them that if they didn't contribute $8 million to the Jayhawks athletic fund, God was going to remove them from the AP top 5.

The UCLA Bruins avoided an upset to BYU when they realized that they were playing a team full of small white guys, and it might be a good idea to start guarding against the three point shot.

North Carolina pulled away late from Winthrop, 73-66, after the Eagles cooled off from the field. Tyler Hansbrough led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds. By the way, contrary to the tales of Fran Fraschilla, I never saw Roy Williams, nor Ben Howland, nor Bill Self deliver an uppercut to the chops of one of his players. Strange, because Fran told me it happened all the time all around the country. I guess Bob Knight must be the only head coach in midseason form.

Top recruit OJ Mayo signed with USC. The deal clincher came when Reggie Bush told him about the great free housing program offered at Southern Cal.

Andrew Walter apologized for criticizing the playbook after the Raiders' loss to Denver last weekend. He then asked head coach Art Shell if he could please have the playbook back..and his locker...and his uniform.

Seeing how much coverage Sportscenter gave to Emmitt Smith after winning Dancing with the Stars last night, I only had one thought. Thank God, OJ Simpson's confessional interview is on Fox and not ABC, lest we be treated to a very special 3 hour edition of Outside the Lines every day leading up to the circus.

By the way, what happened to the good old days when being a ratings whore during sweeps week just meant a week long investigative report asking the question, "Has lingerie gotten too naughty?" I miss those simpler times.

I guess everyone is going lowbrow these days. At this very moment, if you go to, the cover page has a picture of an old man (Dr. Z) with a model, and the headline is "Tough to Swallow."

The LPGA has announced that beginning in 2008, they will implement drug testing on the tour. That's noble and all, but if they really want to increase viewership, they shouldn't be testing for drugs. They should test for body fat. Anyone over 22% should be given a one month suspension and a free trial of TrimSpa.

(Sorry for the lack of a salacious pic here. Blogger isn't cooperating w/ me right now. Hopefully by the late afternoon, I'll have a scantilly clad golfer to the right of this text.)

(Update: has changed the headline to the slightly tamer "Taking a Beating." I knew I should have done a screen capture while it was there.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Six Degrees of a National Title

Realistically, the chances are looking slim for Rutgers to get an invitation to the Championship game even if they manage to run the table. Rutgers is #2 in the computer averages, however they've only been able to climb as high #6 in the overall BCS standings because of their standing in the Harris Interactive Poll (7th) and Coaches poll (8th). These are both human generated polls, which are in large part influenced by a team's preseason positioning. Basically, because noone expected Rutgers to be any good at the start of the season, the Scarlett Knight are unable to leapfrog the teams that coaches had predetermined would be championship contenders- even tho many of those contenders have one loss. The computers are blind to such prejudice. Unfortunately, it appears unlikely that the human voters will be able to surrender their preconceived notions.

Many people discount Rutgers because of their schedule and the strength of their conference. But while their conference isn't deep, it is top heavy with good teams. That same statement could be used to describe the Big 12, Pac 10, and Big 10 this year- and the ACC is very average this season. The Big East is still a BCS conference, so it would seem to me that an undefeated champion within that conference should merit more consideration for a championship bid than a one loss team from a different conference. Besides, if you break down the top 10 teams in this week's BCS standings, here is how the conferences are represented:

Big Ten: 3 teams
Big East: 3 teams
SEC: 2 teams
Pac 10: 1 team
Independent: 1 team
Big 12: 0 teams
ACC: 0 teams

So explain to me again how the Big East is the worst conference in the BCS?

Just for fun, let's see how an undefeated Rutgers team would stack up against the current top 10 teams in the BCS standings.

#1 Ohio State- Rutgers shut out Illinois 33-0. OSU only beat Illinois by 7, 17-10.

#2 Michigan- No good comparisons available. I guess Michigan will have to beat OSU and then play Rutgers for the title.

#3 USC- Stay with me on this one. Rutgers beat Louisville, who beat Kentucky, who beat Georgia, who beat Auburn, who beat Washington State, who beat Oregon State, who beat USC.
(Alternatively, Rutgers will have beaten West Virginia, who beat Mississippi State, who beat Alabama, who beat Vanderbilt, who beat Georgia, who beat Auburn...)

#4 Florida- Using the two above scenarios up to Auburn, who beat Florida.

#5 Notre Dame. They share Navy as a common opponent. Rutgers shut out Navy 34-0. Notre Dame beat Navy by 24, 38-14. Also, Rutgers beat Illinois who beat Michigan State who led Notre Dame by 16 going into the 4th quarter.

#7 Arkansas- Take either of the USC scenarios and then add in that USC beat Arkansas.

#8 West Virginia- If Rutgers is to go undefeated, they'll have to beat West Virginia.

#9 Wisconsin- They share Illinois as a common opponent. Rutgers won by 33. Wisconsin won by 6.

#10 Louisville - Beat Louisville 28-25.

And if that isn't enough, consider this:
James Gandolfini is an alumnus of Rutgers university. Gandolfini was in Get Shorty with Rene Russo, who was in Tin Cup with Kevin Costner, who was in JFK with Kevin Bacon....

C'mon, what more do you need? Rutgers' students deserve one more moment of glory before Greg Schiano is given a king's ransom to rebuild the University of Miami. The BCS committee should tell Rutgers' cheerleaders to pack their swimsuits and send them to Arizona.

Monday, November 13, 2006

On Rubber, Glue, and Bouncing

I'm short on time today. But they say that a word is worth 1/1000 of a picture. So let's recap Sunday through the words of the participants:

Joe Gibbs after losing 27-3 to Philadelphia:
"We need to take a long, hard look at everything."
-My recommendation is that his first look is into a mirror.

Andrew Walter taking a shot at Tom Walsh and the Raiders offense:
"We don't have a lot of depth as far as our playbook goes."
-I think it's just a sheet torn from a notebook with the words, "everyone go deep" written on it. Of course, Al Saunders has a 700 page playbook, and look where that's getting the Redskins.

Written by on a dry erase board for the cameras by Chad Johnson:
"Mommie and grandma, I love you."
-The NFL will likely fine ocho cinco. Not for using a prop, but for actually misspelling "Mommy."

Brett Favre, after beating the Vikings:
"At least for another week, it gives us a little hope."
-Ah yes, rallying the team with the uplifting feeling of a faint, short-lived glimmer of hope. It's safe to say if Favre ever does retire, his next job won't be as a motivational speaker.

Michael Vick taking responsibility, kinda, for his team's loss:
"If you want to say it was my fault, go ahead and say it, but I know what I feel inside and I know what I know. It never should have come to that point."
-Translation: I know I'm supposed to say it all falls on me, but I also know that I'm so much better than anyone else on my team, so it can't really be my fault.

Detroit's Roy Williams, after losing to San Francisco:
"I think we came out a little flat. I don't think we were into this ballgame. I don't know if it's because it was San Francisco, and not an Atlanta Falcons team."
-And this concludes today's lesson on 'How to talk smack in a defeat.'

Nate Burleson describing his punt return for a touchdown:
"I looked at the punter. He looked at me. I knew I had to give him something."
-This is also the first line of Burleson's upcoming romantic novel, "Playing the Field."

LaDanian Tomlinson's version of the wild 49-41 Chargers' victory over Cincinnati:
"Being involved in that game, it was about like it was a cartoon or something."
-I think I remember that cartoon. Was that the Transformers episode where the Super Bowl contending team changes into a bunch of criminals who fight with each other and fall out of the playoff race? I remember Optimus Prime spotted them a 21 point lead before scoring 4 touchdowns of his own to win the game.

Carson Palmer isn't giving up on the 4-5 Bengals entirely:
"We just have to keep fighting and we might be able to scrape into the playoffs. You never know- 9 and 7 could get in."
So I guess Carson is already conceding two more defeats? Way to pump up the team!

Houston Texans' guard Chester Pitts, describing the feeling of beating the Jags:
"To win this game here is huge. It's bigger than a monkey off our back. No, it's a cow. It's a longhorn."
-No wait, it's a gorilla. No,'s a gorilla riding on top of a longhorn. Yeah, that's it. The only bigger relief would be getting that donkey off your back.

Aramis Ramirez, upon being offerred a 5 year, $73 million contract from the Cubs:
"You do know I was on the team last year and we finished 30 games under .500, right?" -Ok, I made that one up. But does the name Adrian Beltre ring a bell?

Shaquille O'Neal failing to give any credit when he was dominated by Yao Ming in the Rockets 94-72 beatdown on the Miami Heat:
"He's pretty much the same. Just big, 7-6. He's just doing what he's supposed to do."
-Wouldn't the flip side of that statement then be that Shaq wasn't doing doing what he was supposed to do? Oh well. At least Shaq can vent his frustration by breaking into random people's home and accusing them of running a child-porn ring.

...Lastly, I've been telling friends that ESPN's Becky Hammon is the worst sideline reporter in sports. But since nobody's watching the NBA right now, it's gone unnoticed. Thanks to "A Magician named Gob" over at Deadspin, there is now some video evidence. Here's Becky screwing up the name of last year's NBA finals MVP:

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Morning After

Thursday Night's "Nightcap" feature has been turned into a Morning After, thanks to the evil geniuses who made Gears of War and NBA2k7. As if I wasn't wasting enough of my life with sports, poker, surfing the net and the occasional cocktail, now I'm adding video games into the nightly routine? Has anyone's brain ever actually turned into soup and oozed out of a person's ears before?

For anyone that cares, Gears of War is rather addicting, although I seem to be more consumed by NBA2k7 now that I've created an all-UCLA team. I mean who wouldn't want to play hours and hours with a roster consisting of:
G Baron Davis
G Dijon Thompson
SF Trevor Ariza
PF Matt Barnes
C Dan Gadzuric

Bench: Jordan Farmar, Earl Watson, Jason Kapono, Jerome Moiso, and Jelani McCoy.
The game doesn't come with Ryan Hollins or Cedric Bozeman. I think that's all that's missing from this being a championship team. Well that and some players that can actually shoot and rebound.

As for the diversional world with live humans...

Rutgers fans can thank me for flip flopping at the last moment and going with Louisville last night. Sure their defense in the second half had something to do with the win, but the deciding factor had to be the Lounge curse which clearly has no bounds. The victory by the Scarlet Knight opens the door for a myriad of teams to enter the national championship picture: Florida, Texas, Auburn, USC, Cal, and Notre Dame- everyone except undefeated Rutgers themselves. Of course real college fans know the true champion will be determined when Rutgers plays Boise State in a BCS game...

Nice job by New York of claiming another New Jersey sports' team by lighting up the Empire State building in scarlet red. The Giants and Jets apparently weren't enough so now they've annexed Rutgers too. Next thing you know, there will be talk of moving the Nets to Brooklyn...

While the contest was one of the great college football games of the season, if a Rutgers home game turns Erin Andrews into a Jersey Girl, I'll never forgive the NCAA, ESPN or the state of New Jersey...

For some reason, J.D. Drew opted out of the 3 years and $33 million remaining on his contract with the Dodgers. My only guess for his reasoning is that he's an upstanding guy and he just didn't feel right stealing from the Dodgers. If there is any GM out there that is willing to give JD Drew a contract that surpasses those terms, he should be relieved of his duties immediately...

Class move by Jay Wright to play at Northwood University for Rollie Massimino's home debut in his return to coaching. Sure, he gets to hang in West Palm Beach and he'll likely cruise to victory, but I still like the respect Wright shows his mentor in making the trip...

Doug Collins, who I'm a fan of, had some brilliant analysis in the Mavs/Suns game on TNT:
"You love to have a lot of guys on your team that know how to play." That's why Doug gets the big bucks...

Mike D'Antonio had his own analysis in the aftermath of the Suns' loss: "We're soft as friggin cupcakes out there!"

What D'Antonio didn't know is that his team was playing 5-on-6 for the entire game. In the postgame, Mavericks guard Jason Terry revealed to Craig Sager that in the locker room he "got on (his) knees and prayed for victory, and God came through again." This really added a new element to the postgame analysis, as pundits had to figure out if the Mavs won because:

1) God loves Dallas more than Phoenix (tho any visit to a strip club or Hooters in those areas will reveal he's blessed both cities amply.)

2) Steve Nash is Canadian, and God hates Canadians.

3) The Jews killed Jesus. The Germans killed Jews. Dirk Nowitski is German. (I hate myself for writing that, but not so much that I actually deleted it. The other Dirk connection was that Hasselhoff is actually Christ on earth and Dirk worships the Hoff.)

4) Jason Terry's God thought Amare was a Muslim name.

5) The last option- and I know this is going to sound crazy- is that maybe Dallas just made more shots at the end of the game.

Besides, I thought Jesus wore #23 and played for the Cavs. That's what I've learned in the gospel according to Nike.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Feedback Wanted

Have any blogger users moved over to Blogger Beta? If so, what has been your experience?


A Championship Berth in the Cards?

Louisville is giving a touchdown today at Rutgers. My gut really feels there's a chance that Rutgers' running game could be enough to keep the Scarlett Knight close. The Cardinals struggled to contain Pat White last week in their victory over West Virginia, and I expect Raymell Rice to give Louisville similar problems.

But one glance at my record reveals that I'm eight games under .500 on the football season, and on pace for the worst football wagering season of my storied gambling career. So, I'm gonna go with the opposite of my gut, and bet on a route by Louisville, easily covering the spread, 38-17. Take Louisville -7 at Rutgers.

Besides, this gives me an excuse to repost one of my favorite pics:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Celebrating Our Nation's Heritage

YouTube is such a wonderful gift to the lazy blogger, and I'm in a lazy mood today. So here are a couple of clips that I stumbled upon today that make me proud to be an American. (Tho I'm not proud of the scoring, which I suspect was due to the mannish features of one of the participants.)

I don't know if game shows actually count as sports. But neither does Beverly Hills 90210 and yet that somehow manages to find its way onto a certain sports' blog:

Man, I miss the days when game show hosts were blitzed/stoned out of their mind. Ah, hell, one more piece of Americana:

Let's see Howie Mandel do that!

...As for an actual sports item, I really like the TWolves +7.5 at the Lakers. As much as I like Ronny Turiaf, he's not ready to guard KG. But who is. This is a pivotal pick for me, as with an early record of 2-1, this might be my last day above the .500 mark. I feel like Isiah Thomas after beating the Grizz on opening day.

My Civic Duty

I gotta go rock the vote, so no post from me until later today.

For now, I have to determine which candidates are most likely to have gambling addicitons and would be more amenable to legalizing online poker.

Unfortunately right now, the fad in politics is underage boys and war profiteering. But these things have their cycles. Gambling will have its day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bet on Silver and Black

I was going to do a football recap today, but how can I possibly do justice to this weekend when the Seahawks and Raiders haven't battled yet? I truly won't know where the balance of power lies until I see who wins the Andrew Walter/Seneca Wallace matchup. So until then, let's get some bets in. Oh, and if you want the best recap of the weekend, the Smorgasboard over at MJD is great as always.

(Btw, a few old posts may disappear today. There are three or four that are just being consumed by some sort of spam spider/worm/whatever. I've had to delete over 300 spam messages from this weekend. Maybe losing the posts will help. Don't worry tho, you'll still be able to see those insightful, inspiring columns when I release my compilation book, "Now I Can Blog in Peace- How Blogger's Insomniac Found Salvation, and a Paycheck.")

Ok, on to the picks:

Oakland +7.5
at Seattle. This pick is more of a reflection on where the Seahawks are and not some sort of endorsement for the Raiders. The Seahawks are a team in disarray right now and are just trying to hold on until Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck return. Since the Rams lost yesterday, they know that even if they lose tonight, they will still be on top of the worst division in football, the NFC West. I don't know if the Raiders actually study film and gameplan, but if they do, they'll see that the Seahawks are having trouble stopping the run. Lamont Jordan and Justin Fargas aren't exactly Brandon Jacobs and Tiki Barber, but they'll be enough to keep the game close.

Portland +11 at LA Clippers. For the first time in a decade, the Blazers actually have a player that cares about winning. Brandon Roy is going to have a huge impact on this team, not just for what he does on the court, but the effect he'll have on the players around him. The Blazers might still be a lottery team this year, but they're finally on the right path. As opposed to slowing the game down like some inferior teams do, the Blazers will stay close by keeping pace with the Clippers. For that reason, I also like the over (193).

San Antonio Spurs -6.5 at New York Knicks. Last year, Larry Brown wanted his team to focus on defense, but they pretty much refused to do so. This season, Isiah Thomas has decided to be the anti-Larry, which means trying to score as many points as possible while having a total disregard for the defensive end of the court. I normally don't like betting on a team on the 2nd of back-to-back road games. But when it's Tim Duncan vs Eddy Curry, I'll take my chances.

...Hey whaddaya know, I picked three road teams again. I will never learn from my mistakes. It's like I'm auditioning to be the coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Schmoke and a Pancake

Ok, this has nothing to do with sports at all. But it's Friday morning, the weekend is on the horizon, and what better way to start the day than with a satisfying breakfast?
(moderately safe for work)

By the way, the tell-tale sign that I had nothing to do with the making of this video is the complete absence of syrup in this sequence. How did the director miss that opportunity?

This Will Be Good For a Laugh Monday

The Nuggets may have been screwed over by the officials Thursday night, but at least they beat the spread, making me undefeated on this young NBA season. Undefeated? As Lamar Thomas might say, Hell 2 DA YAW! So let's see if we can build on this little bit of momentum and actually get some football games right, where my record currently stands at a pathetic 28-35-1. Ouch.

Michigan State -2 vs Purdue. I have a feeling that the players will rally around John L. Smith now that it's been announced that he'll be fired at the end of the season. Sure, the Spartans were just routed by Indiana and needed the greatest comeback in the history of football to get their only conference win. And sure, Michigan State looks like a team with no direction, focus, or drive. And yes, Purdue is actually a game above .500 and only one win away from bowl eligibility. But John L. Smith is one crazy old coot, and you should never underestimate a guy with nothing to lose. Plus, his press conference sure will be entertaining if he wins this one.

Hawaii -26.5 at Utah State. People are saying that this might be the best Hawaii football team in the history of their program. Ok, that isn't saying much, but this does: 61.7. That's the number of points that Hawaii has averaged in their last three games. The defense isn't stalwart by any means, but defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville has the team at least thinking about stopping somebody from time to time. No word on whether or not he leaves tickets for Don Ho at will call.

Washington +16.5 at Oregon. The Huskies may have lost four in a row, but they haven't lost any of those games by more than 10 points- including a six point loss at USC and a seven point loss at Cal. If they can stay within a touchdown of Cal, they should have little problem staying within two touchdowns of Oregon. For what it's worth, this is my college pick of the day.

Cal -16.5 vs UCLA. This Bruins team is D-U-N, done. They were totally demoralized by their loss to Notre Dame, and I don't see a recovery in their future. The defense will spend way too much time on the field and get worn down in the second half. UCLA might do for Marshawn Lynch's draft prospects what they did for Edgerrin James in 1998. Cal also knows that there's still the very slightest glimmer of hope for them to get a bid to the BCS championship game. But they'll need to run up the score to remain in the conversation. Fortunately for the Bears, UCLA will be willing to oblige.

Georgia Tech -5 at NC State. I have no real opinions on this game. I've just been sitting on this photo for a few weeks and am looking for an excuse to post it. This looks like as good a time as any. Hey, I'm seven games under .500, what more do you want from me?


Denver +3 at Pittsburgh. Someone please help me understand the flip-side to this bet, because this line seems way, way off to me. 1) Denver's defense is going to be looking to make a statement after getting torched by Indy. 2) This is a revenge game for Denver after last year's playoff loss. 3) Ben Roethlisberger is a shell of himself, and while he might want this to be a statement game, I just don't think he's physically capable of it right now. I am absolutely giddy about this game. I'm tempted to bet my house, my relative's house, and all my future childrens' college funds on the Broncos. I haven't felt this good about a game since I went big on the Chargers at KC a few weeks ago. Wait a second....

Dallas -3 at Washington. Another game where I'm totally disregarding home field or the rivalry factor. Clinton Portis is a great player, but the one guy that can beat Dallas is Santana Moss. But he's listed as questionable. I'm sure he'll play, but if he's not the deep threat that he usually presents on the field, then the Redskins are in trouble. I don't think Tony Romo is the second coming of Brett Favre, but he has given this Cowboys team a sense of confidence that they lacked with Bledsoe at the helm. It's like an awkward teenage boy losing his virginity to the homely girl in his class- sure, he's not going to suddenly morph into the prom king, but he won't be getting stuffed into lockers anymore either. (Sorry, but these are the analogies you get when I'm still up at 5 am.) Anyway, the Cowboys' offense should be able to put at least 20 points up on the board, which will be enough to cover the spread.

NY Giants -13 vs Houston. I know the Bears are undefeated, but at this point in time, I think the Giants are the best team in the NFC. They are clicking on all cylinders. The rushing game is great with the one-two punch of Tiki and Jacobs; the passing game is working with Eli and Plaxico forming a Peyton-Harrison type of connection; and the defense is a force, thanks to a front four that puts relentless pressure on the quarterback. As for the Texans? Well last week, they thought they had a better chance of winning with Sage Rosenfels as their QB. 'Nuff said.

Cleveland +12.5 at San Diego. I just can't pick the Chargers right now. Have you heard about all of the contaminants that are harbored within their facilities? We already know that the bee pollen in the weight room was somehow contaminated with Nandrolone (my guess: bees that had visited Barry Bonds' flower garden in Beverly Hills), but what else might be lurking about Mission Valley? Maybe the pregame chicken dinner will have been infected with Mad Cow Disease, causing Philip Rivers' brain to melt and ultimately leading to him completely forgetting the gameplan. What's that you say? You thought you couldn't get Mad Cow disease from eating chicken? Well, I didn't think you could test positive for high levels of an injectible steroid by swallowing a dietary supplement. I guess we both learned something new this week.

Click Me For a Good Time

It's been a little while since I've given credit to some of the really good writing that's being done across the blogosphere. Here are just a few of the many great sites that I frequently read and then summarily steal their commentary and claim as my own:

The Hater Nation- Along with all of his biting wit, he somehow manages to relate the latest scoop from the gossip mags without making you feel "kinda gay." It's quite an achievement. (And I promise that will be the last time I use the "kinda gay" joke for at least 24 hours.)

. It's kind of like Hater Nation, only imagine Karl Dorrell is the Raiders and Ben Howland is the Angels.

Bruin Hoop Scoop. I just discovered this terrific resource about a week ago- just in time for basketball season. It's a very comprehensive listing of all the developments in UCLA basketball. Read this along with BruinsNation, and you'll immediately be more qualified to talk about Bruins basketball than anyone working for the LA Times.

Complete Sports is creating a compendium of Bill Walton quotes. It may very well be the most ambitious project in the history of modern literature, if not all of Western Civilization.

The Big Lead has just completed their college hoops preview. It is an excellent primer for the upcoming season, and you'll never guess who they have at #1! (Ok, it's Florida.)

Zach over at the Big Picture has been showing off lately with articles that contain actual Q & A sessions with real live sports figures. Who does he thing he is- a journalist or something?!

WBRS Sports Blog. He doesn't need me linking to them. He's got Deadspin citing his stuff every other day.

The Pacifist Viking has been saying some really crazy stuff lately- like men and women are different, the 49ers used to be good, and that the 2006 Vikings are worth getting emotionally invested in. Sounds crazy, I know; but read his articles, and it starts to make sense. Drew Bledsoe's blog. I hate myself for loving this.

I'm sure there are other sites that I'm forgetting, but at this point my brain is mush. If you're a reader of this site and have a blog, leave a comment and I'll be sure to check it out. That is, unless your site is "online business opportunities," "soft-tab Cialis," or "Jennifer Aniston hair-style," in which case I will curse the day you were born and delete the link.

...ok, maybe I'll check out the Cialis link...

The Nightcap

Tonight's Nightcap is just being brought to you by Full Throttle, because I am struggling to keep my eyes open. If this entry fades away into a jumble of letters, you'll know that I've fallen asleep on my keyboard.

-As already mentioned by Charles Barkley and Twins15 of Complete Sports, the new issuance of technical fouls in the NBA is absurd. Tonight it was Carmelo Anthony who was at the mercy of the officials and was tossed early in the 3rd quarter. I can't imagine that it's good for the NBA to have a marquee player sitting in the locker room for half of the game instead of on the court, so I anticipate one of two things to happen very soon. One possibility is that the star system that already exists in the NBA with regards to other whistles- such as palming, walking, touch fouls, etc.- will soon have an influence on technical fouls as well. Veterans (like Sam Cassell) and stars will be able to get away with some jawing and showing of a reaction, while the technical fouls will be reserved for bench players- and Rasheed Wallace. The other, and more likely, scenario is that officials will agree across the board to thicken their skin and only call technicals in extreme situations. In that way, it will be like the high strike in baseball. Home plate umpires always call it in the first few weeks of every season, but by the end of the first month, they've settled back into their old ways. Either way, a change needs to be made; because the way things are being whistled now, the game has no emotion and no flow.

-By the way, how is being genuinely surprised that a foul is called worthy of a technical, but Tim Thomas' lil' waving of the hand over his face after he hits a three isn't? That's an obvious taunting violation preened in front of the entire crowd. Where the hell is the whistle and the T for that BS? (Disclaimer: I am very biased against Tim Thomas. Can't stand the guy. But if anyone started doing that crap with me on a basketball court there's no way he'd go unchallenged.) I just hope he tries that move on Ron Artest on the same day he gets the sales numbers back from his latest CD.)

-The influence of sports on pop culture was on display Thursday night in Louisville. On the sidelines of Papa Johns Stadium, Erin Andrews was sporting a new hair style- the Mike Miller headband! That means it's only a matter of time before we tune in to Sunday Night Football and see Andrea Kramer with the Frohawk.

-By the way, midway through the game, I actually ordered a Papa John's pizza- proving once again that there is noone on the planet more susceptible to advertising than me.

-West Virginia has a player on defense named John Holmes. This led to all sorts of good commentary. My favorite was Kirk Herbstreit complimenting a blocking tight end by saying, "My gosh does he do a good job taking on John Holmes!" Yes Kirk- anyone that can take on a big push from John Holmes and still walk back to the huddle deserves high praise indeed.

-Immediately after Herbstreit made that comment, I found myself ordering some vintage porn, proving once again that...well, that just shows that I like porn.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tossing Up a Few More Airballs

I should start off this post with a correction of my previous post. As has been pointed out to me by a few people, the only reason that Sasha Vujacic was starting on opening night was because some guy named Kobe something was out with an injury. Once Kobe returns, Smush Parker will be the starting PG for the Lakers. My bad on that one. Pretty dumb oversight there. Nevertheless, I'll stick with the overall point of that comment which was that Jordan Farmar is going to be stealing more minutes as the year goes on...

So, I guess the NBA means business with this new mandate that cracks down on players complaining to refs after calls. By my count, there were 20 technical fouls whistled in yesterday's action. The rule has been referred to by some as the "Rasheed Wallace" rule; and Sheed didn't disappoint, being whistled for two technicals and ejected from the game. The other players to get a T yesterday were: Maurice Taylor (2), Mike Bibby (2), Ruben Patterson, Othella Harrington, Al Harrington, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Kirk Hinrich, Kendrick Perkins, Tyson Chandler, Desmond Mason, Channing Frye, Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Kevin Garnett, Kurt Thomas, and Shaun Livingston. With a few exceptions, it pretty much reads like a "who's who" of NBA head cases. I found it especially entertaining to watch Stephon Marbury every play after he received his first technical foul. You could see that it was absolutely killing him not to be able to bitch to the refs every trip down the court. It will be interesting to see if the NBA continues to call the technical fouls this closely, or if this is just one of those things that NBA refs do for the first week of the season and then phase out...kind of like calling travelling.

The other interesting observation from the Knicks/Grizz game was Mike Miller's hair. I guess he was jealous of Danny Fortson's pigtails and wanted a WNBA look of his own. So now he's sporting a headband that's been borrowed from an 80's sitcom mom. To quote Brian Kinchen, "That's kinda gay."
(By the way, the Brian Kinchen clip has been removed from YouTube for copyright infringement. Thanks Google!)

(Parenthetical comment #2: Speaking of sitcom moms, you can buy freakin' Kate and Allie on DVD (unfortunately, it's just the first two seasons which is before Ari Meyers got hot) but the studios still haven't released One Day at a Time on DVD. What's going on here?! Sometimes a guy needs a 19 year old Valerie Bertinelli fix! Ok, back to basketball..)

On opening night, the Bulls beat the defending champion Miami Heat by 40+ points. Then last night, the Orlando Magic easily handled the Bulls, winning 109-94. Since I'm fully embracing knee-jerk reactions, this makes the Orlando Magic the best team in the NBA! Ok, perhaps not. But this will be the season that casual basketball fans become aware of the dominant force that is Dwight Howard.

Watching Adam Morrison's debut last night, he sure did remind me of Larry Bird- well, if Larry Bird shied away the ball in clutch time and refused to pull the trigger on the big shot when his team needed it. But, at least he didn't cry during the Bobcats loss, so he is making progress.

If ESPN's goal was to get me to hate Lebron James, they made great strides yesterday. The primetime edition of SportsCenter was sponsored by Lebron and Nike, which meant that every commercial break was an extended version of a Lebron commercial, complete with faux behind the scenes commentary. If "Wise" Lebron was really that wise, he should have known that people will soon get sick of this overexposure. I wouldn't be surprised if next week, we see Lebron driving a Chevy Silverado through New Orleans while John Mellancamp camp sings "This is Our Country."

...and just to prove that my crappy sportsbook picks aren't limited to football, I'll share that I like Denver +3.5 at the LA Clippers tonight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Miami Heat Lacks Fire

It's always foolish to try to make too much out of one game- especially when it's just the opening game in an 82 game season. But, I've been a fool many times before, so why stop now? Here's what I learned about the NBA last night:

-It can be a savvy move to compile a team full of solid, aging veterans who have yet to win a championship. They can sense the clock winding down on their career and our hungry for a ring. However compiling a team full of satisfied, complacent veterans who just added a title to their resume and our now just feeding their retirement fund can have less than stellar results. Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, Alonzo Mourning, and Shaquille O'Neal (yes, he already had the ring, but he had the revenge factor going last year) look like guys that are more than happy to play at half speed during the regular season, and then try to turn it on one last time in the playoffs before riding off into the sunset. If the Heat are going to be better than a .500 team, they'll need younger, energetic guys like Dorrell Wright and Wayne Simien to lend some support to Dwyane Wade.

-The Miami Heat fans are horrible. During the pregame introductions of the 2005-06 champions, the crowd sat on their hands for all but a handful of players (Wade, O'Neal, Mourning). The players may have bought into "15 strong," but the fans just wanted superstars. Just an embarassing, disgraceful performance by the crowd. I'm sure you would have seen a much better sign of support in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, or even a Laker's crowd. Someone needs to let these people know that there's more to being a fan than wearing a white tshirt to a game.

-If Amare needs a "surgery killed my career" support group, Garrison Hearst and Eric Gagne are a phone call away. It pains me to say it, but Amare Stoudamire will never be Amare Stoudamire again. But with every death, there is a birth. For it looks like Tyrus Thomas might be the reincarnation of Amare.

-If the Lakers are going to be a team of consequence this season, Kobe Bryant needs to remember how Lamar Odom played in his absence. Maybe it's unfair to compare Bryant and Odom to Jordan and Pippen, but last night's game demonstrated why those comparisons are made. Odom looks focused this year, and if Bryant keeps him involved, the Lakers could be dangerous this year.

-ABC's Christmas present to us is a Lakers at Heat game. The pregame hype will be Shaq vs Kobe, but judging by what I saw last night, Shaq vs Bynum might be the most entertaining matchup of that game.

-I hope Sasha Vujacic has enjoyed his time as a starting point guard in the NBA. It's only a matter of time before Jordan Farmar gets comfortable with the Lakers' offense and knocks Vujacic out of the starting lineup. Jordan brings more quickness, vision, and the ability to drive to the basket. Vujacic's best attribute is his complete disinterest in looking for his own shot, which in a Kobe Bryant-led offense might just be enough to save his roster spot. The good news for Sasha is that once he does find himself out of the league in 2007, he'll be able to return to Slovenia and be the richest guy in all of Maribor.

-Lastly, it was reinforced that it doesn't matter how many years he spends in television, Magic Johnson will never, ever learn to conjugate a verb. Ever.