Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I just don't care

Right now in the sporting world, I feel abandoned. I feel like nothing is happening, or at least the things that are happening, and matter to me, are too complicated to even speculate about. Specifically, this means the hullabaloo taking place in the WAC and Mountain West Conference. I refuse to be a part of the madness and refrain from any comment. Because of all this madness, I haven’t even checked a favorite forum of mine for that exact reason. Last night I broke down got on and every single post was a repeat of two topics: who should start at QB and will how the MWC will look like when the dust settles. I’ve decided that I don’t care what the answer is to those questions. Either route will neither positively nor negatively affect them. I want all those people gabbing on and on about it to go away for a couple of weeks. I want my forum back. Besides the person who posed the question, “What sports athlete would you punch in the face if you could?” I was shocked when I saw someone break from the pack and bring up the FIBA World Basketball Championships. He asked some meaningless question but it got me thinking about the tournament and Team USA.

Besides Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo, name me three players currently on Team USAs basketball roster for the FIBA World Championship and I’ll buy you a mansion in Malibu. Coach Mike Krzyzewski does not count for an answer either. Stumped? Me too, I can’t do it either. I could probably hand you the roster and you still wouldn’t be able to name three people. You’d think I had made up the names. Who is Team USA? Do I even care?

The sad truth is I do not care about this year’s World Championship and it’s not like me. Team USA (fill in the blank sport) typically ranks high on my sports pallet. If any USA team were a girl I was dating, she’d be the type of girl I would bring over to my house and my over-zealous, match-making Jewish mother could be found saying something along the lines of, “You two look so wonderful together; I’m getting verklempt ” and me going “Maaaaaaaa!!!” Something about cheering the red, white and blue while playing against the all of the other—true or not—evil countries in world gets it done for me. I don’t know why I feel that way. Perhaps it is my need to feel better than others, or my need to feel that I live in a society that seems put together, non-chaotic, and better by comparison to the other guys. Obviously winning a sporting competition is the criteria for having a country that is put together, non-chaotic, and better by comparison. In reality, I feel this way because I watch too many movies and play too many video games and have been brainwashed in to this kind of thinking. This is pop culture bred elitism at its finest. I dress it up and call it loyalty. This is not happening this year. I’m not bringing this girl over to meet my mother.

So why is my loyalty taking the summer off? Why am I not checking the scores live on my phone throughout the day? Why am I not running around singing the theme song from the movie Team America: World Police?

Oh I know the reason(s). Their names are Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Kevin Love, Jeff Green and Tyson Chandler who are currently filling in for the 2012 London Olympic team players named LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.

You see, the Squad A guys, which will now be referred to as the The Miami Heat and the Other Guys, have waaaaaaaaaaay better things to do than the Squad B guys. James, Bosh and Wade need to spend these next 40 days figuring out how to each spend $100 million dollars; instead of playing basketball for a country that allows people to make $100 million dollars playing basketball. This is extremely important. What do you do with all that cheddar? I know what I would do, but I’ve never had millions of dollars before. These players have it harder than you think. Show some compassion people. Meanwhile, Kobe will be dividing his time between devising an evil plan to win more NBA Championships than Michael Jordan and shooting over one-hundred thousand jumpers while muttering, “I got one more than Shaq, I got one more than Shaq, I got one more than Shaq…” Carmelo can’t risk an injury. He just can’t, OK. Otherwise he’ll miss out on a Miami Heat like payday in next year’s offseason, when he and fellow Squad A guy, Chris Paul, sign to the Brooklyn Nets. As for Dwight Howard, it is a little known fact that the reason he has basketball-sized shoulder muscles, is from an early age Dwight has been addicted to playing Red-Rover, Red-Rover. He now plays against the local school children while holding up two Mini Coopers every summer. He hasn’t lost a game since the 6th grade. When you begin to realize this, you can start to comprehend why you’re not following your beloved stars and stripes.

Those are the reasons you and I have to watch Rudy Gay miss open court dunks, or in my case, watch the highlights on Sportscenter. You’d be surprised at how good I am getting at shaking my head in embarrassment. We just don’t care. How can we? How do they expect us to when we know what we are missing? This is why there are literally thousands of TV channels included in your cable subscription, but the FIBA World Championship isn’t the only thing NOT getting my TV time. I’m talking to you, NFL Preseason.

Right now the only thing I can rely on for any sports gratification is baseball, but baseball is in that lull. You know what I’m talking about. The one that is two months before the regular season ends, and games are still important but they have at least 2-3 weeks before you have to start panicking or start counting down your team’s magic number. I feel like there is nothing for me to watch. I tried to get in to the Bachelor Pad without any success. Great name, great idea; just poorly executed. It’s not their fault, ABC isn’t the right outlet. Put this on a channel like HBO or Skinemax and you’ve got something. College Football is on the precipice, but not here. The English Premiere League is barely starting but they air the games at weird and inconvenient times. Even worse than the Premiere League is the MLS and the only team I follow are the 8-5-8 Seattle Sounders FC. However, I will get to see them in action against defending league Champions, Real Salt Lake, on September 10th. All I’m left with is the NFL and its crappy preseason.

Why is there an NFL preseason?

It is so unnecessary. Like in the Italian Job, at the end when they’re trying to steal the gold back from Edward Norton (who in my opinion is reprising his role of Worm, from Rounders, only this time he is rocking the dirtiest of dirty mustaches). For this scene, I’ve never understood why they had to drive super crazy through the streets of L.A. when the gold is in route, drawing all sorts of attention to themselves. If they had kept a low profile they would have never been all over the police scanners and Edward Norton’s goons wouldn’t each be paralyzed from terrible motorcycle crashes. They had control of the traffic lights. They didn’t need to be top side. Why they had to narrowly race on to the train tracks in front of a speeding train, when they could have just parked the Mini’s in the tunnels the same time they set the explosives, is beyond me. Too much nonsense involved in getting to a simple point. Exactly like the NFL preseason.

Why can’t they cut the preseason down to two games and make the real season longer? I’ll never be able to understand this, especially when it would increase revenues 10-fold, teams with open stadiums could host better weather games, not to mention it would make everybody’s fantasy league last longer. We all win! We need this. We need this because around this time of year, I’m sick of hearing about how out of shape a lineman is, while getting paid millions or whether or not 82-year old quarterback will be back for one more go round. I want to hear about meaningful wins and losses. I JUST WANT TO CARE! IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR?!!

(Exhaling a deep breath, counting to 10)

Maybe I just need to be put down for a nap and everything will be better when I wake up. By the way, my response to the person I’d punch in the face question: I couldn’t think of anyone—that plays sports—so I just went with my standard answer of Toby McGuire. I don’t know what it is, I even like most of movies and thinks he does an alright job, I especially loved him in Brothers (fantastic rent) but something about the guy has me seething. I’d punch him as hard as I could in his stupid sounding voice face. BAM!

(Exhaling and counting to 10 again).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cracked Out

Never try to conquer an empty stomach with two cans of Rockstar. If you take any pearl of wisdom from this column, let that be it. You won’t believe what has crawled out my mind this week. What does this have to do with sports? Nothing. You’ve been warned.

Before I get to my Top 5, let us take a look at a few of those who missed the cut:
Evan Longoria, Ryan Reynolds, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher and Eminem.

Evan Longoria is really good at baseball and should have a bright career, but outside of the realm of MLB there really isn’t much going. He seems like a normal guy, living a normal life. I am already doing that currently. Ryan Reynolds is love/hate relationship. I can only take him sparingly and right now I’m in the Ryan Reynolds off season. Cristiano Ronaldo possesses everything to make the Top 5. Good looking, amazing soccer player, tons of money, women love him, ect. But I am absolutely POSITIVE that Cristiano Ronaldo is STD POSITIVE. I just know it. A guy that young, with those looks, has to have picked something up along the way. Same thing for Kyle Korver. Thanks, but no thanks. Michael Schumacher gets to drive Ferraris for a living, but I saw an interview of him on Top Gear and he’s really boring. Eminem is the greatest rapper to ever have lived, I’d kill to have that talent, but Em has got demons in his closet I know I want nothing to do with.

Without further ado, if I could be anyone in the world besides myself, her is my Top 5 List:

#1, BRUCE WAYNE
This has to be at the top of every existing male’s list. It can’t be beat. Mother effin Batman! The best part behind the idea of Batman is the theoretical possibility. Superpowers do not factor in to the equation; he is a man, the same as you and I. He doesn’t have super strength, but rather he is trained in the ways of the samurai and ninja assassins to overcome his foes. All of this is achievable. Everything exists in the realm of possibility for any human on earth. Let’s break it down and see if it is possible or not.

He is a billionaire. Check. Has ballin’ wise crackin’ butler. With a Bruce Wayne bankroll, guys like this are dime a dozen. How much do you think Alfred is making? $5 million a year, $10 million a year? Bruce writes that check no questions asked. Alfred would probably work for lest too factoring in that he is pretty much Bruce’s father. He did raise him after all. In fact, I’m positive the real life Michael Cane would be any body’s butler for five million a year.

Back to Batman, he pretty much owns a city identical to New York. Possible. With Wayne Enterprises having a hand in pretty much everything how can you not own Gotham? I believe one man can cast a spell over a city. Just look at the power the guy wearing #2 for the pinstripes in New York wields. It is a perfect example. Derek Jeter could commit homicides in broad daylight at Time Square and every juror in the state would let him walk. All he does is play baseball for Yankees.

As far as gadgets go, Bruce has barrels of cash specifically funneled in to R&D to make kickass Bat Gear. Its 2010, the technology exists. He fights crime and super villains. This relates to the technology advancements. Then there are the slews of hot chicks. Again the money plays a card. Google Peter Crouch images and then Google images of his girlfriend for an example. A hot skintight-PCV-wearing Michelle Pfeifer is on his jock is totes believable. Lamborghini Reventon’s and Aprilia’s by day and a Bat Mobile by night. Check, check and check.

What is there to NOT like? And don’t say he can’t have a love life because I’m not buying it. There is ZERO chance Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes version) picks a Harvey Dent over a Bruce Wayne/Batman. Just like there is a ZERO chance Harvey Dent and Bruce Wayne go after Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal version). Hands down, this is easily the biggest stretch in the entire Batman story. Batman jumping off sky scrapers and landing unscathed is so much more believable than the love lost angle.

Batman: the highest achievable position in the male food chain.

#2, TOM BRADY
In the words of Teddy KGB, “Pay theess man his muhney.” This is the only problem that I can see in Brady’s life (Hey, that’s my name too! I am TOM BRADY! Oh, wait…). Right now Brady is in the midst of contract extension that is dragging its feet. Until his contract is reworked, Ole’ Tom is pulling in $6.5 million this season. Bradford just got guaranteed $50 mill, so Robert Kraft should have some kind of ballpark in mind for his 3-time Superbowl winning QB. Let’s move pas this. Other than the contract issues, look at his life:

He’s handsome.
He’s married to the biggest supermodel in the world.
He’s got around $100 mill in the bank.
Plays sports for a living and is really good.

Yes, excuse me waiter… I’ll have what he’s having.

#3, LeBRON JAMES
I’ve already written about the drama, that shouldn’t be drama, here. So we are just going to look at the positives.

By my calculations, adding all of the NBA deals and endorsements, LeBron has made around $450 million dollars. He has also said that he wants to be a billionaire. So what do you do if you have a couple hundred million dollars and have a goal to be a billionaire? Attach yourself to marketing genius Jay-Z and investment savvy Warren Buffet obviously. If Vincent Chase’s life models any person’s real life, it has LeBron’s. I want it.

#4, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Ever since I saw Jessica Biel in I’ll Be Home for Christmas, starring Jonathan Taylor Thomas, it has been game over for me. She’s my #2 in life. She would be #1, but I’m married and enjoy sleeping in my bed as opposed to sleeping in the tub. Know what getting at? Good. Either way she’s Top 2, and Timberlake has got her on lock. Throw in some wicked acting chops (Alpha Dog and the anticipated The Social Network), some hilarious SNL hosting gigs, dance moves that make women’s clothes fall off and a guy named Timbaland who makes all the beats for your albums. Maybe I should be putting him higher on my list.

#5, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO
There are 3 things in this life which are impossible. They are:

1. Understanding the female species
2. Breaking Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak
3. Thinking of a movie that Leo D has been in that sucked

It’ll never be done. Remember this too; before Tom Brady landed Giselle, she was DiCaprio’s arm candy. Some could argue damaged goods (I won’t). Either way Leo rolls through the hunnies like Bee Money does at the BK. Plus he legitimately likes the Lakers or at least I think he does. He goes to all of their games, not just the playoffs games or the games played on the same weekends of a movie premiere. He keeps it real. The only other actor out there in his league is Daniel Day Lewis.


With honorable mentions included we got six sports superstars, two A-list actors, two music mega-icons, or mother effin Batman. Now, if only deciphering the pros and cons of football independence were this easy…

Thursday, August 12, 2010

College Football Preview, Part 2

If you missed Part-1 of the College Football Preview, click here. Here is Part 2.

Before I finish the Top 10 preview, I have these quick BYU sports thoughts:

Is it better to have a good defense and new faces on offense or vice-versa in a rebuilding year?

Yesterday, my buddy Eric and I were talking shop about this and also about the BYU open practices for this Friday and Saturday. Obviously it is a rebuilding year for Brigham Young, having lost the teams three best players and the school’s all-time leaders at their respective positions (QB, RB and TE). Last year, those three created an electric, high-powered offense that was so fun to watch. Eric (who will now be referred to as “E” in homage to Entourage) posed the defense/offense question, and we agreed we would rather have better defense because in any game, with adrenaline, an offense can score, even the not-so-good ones. That’s what BYU will have this year. A pretty decent D and a learning, new look offense.

Also, after mulling it over, I think we will see Riley Nielson emerge as the starter and see Jake Heaps in situational packages; much like the way we saw Nielson last year with Hall. This year, instead of bringing in a Wildcat QB to shake things up at the 20, bring in Heaps. Give O’Neil Chambers a similar type route TE Dennis Pitta would run last year. Put Nielson in the HB, or in a trips package with Heaps under center. This will require the free safety to play closer to the line and free up Chambers to go one on one. Heaps accuracy combined with Chamber’s leaping ability could very easily equal some post pattern scores. They can call this play ‘The Annexation of Puerto Rico’. Heeeyyy, wait a second…

In an Oscar-worthy performance, Paul Walker’s character from Fast and Furious solemnly tells Vin Diesel, “A lot has changed.” It certainly has. Here is a fun and probably unrealized fact about the departed Max Hall, Harvey Unga and Dennis Pitta: they were responsible for 276 out of the 455 points scored by the Cougars last season. Take in to consideration that 89 of those 455 points came from special teams (kicking) so in reality, the big three accounted for 276 of the 366 scored. Seventy-five percent. The 11th best offense in college football last year. Gone. Yowza. Anyways, that wasn’t what we were talking about. We were discussing the Cougar’s opening day match up against Washington, and premier—future #1 NFL draft pick—Jake Locker. I was telling E that I’m scared for the September 4th home opener. Not scared of the Huskies, just Locker. You see, I had an opportunity to see him when he was in high school, state playoffs.

Locker was twice the size of anyone in the Tacoma Dome; field or stands. He was four times faster than any car in the parking lot and was billion times better than the kids he was playing against. 3A Ferndale (Locker’s school) was playing their game on the field before 4A Curtis’ (my school) match up. Locker played both ways, as most do in high school, but I didn’t notice him till they took their first series on offense. All I could think about was why one of their offensive linemen taking the snap. Two plays later Locker busts one for 60 yards, making everybody miss on the way to an easy touchdown. Ferndale went 14-0 and won the 3A Title. His senior season Locker passed for 1600 yards and 25 TD’s but also ran for 1300 yards and 24 scores. Now Locker is entering year two under Steve Sarkisian or as like to call him: The Quarterback Whisperer. Just Google him, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Looking what he did in just his first year there with Jake, makes me not even want to think about what Locker is going to this season.

Clearly the game plan on defense is to limit Locker’s run game, particularly on third downs. BYU’s secondary finally has some depth, so the linebackers will need to seal the corners quickly if Locker cannot find a viable passing option. E is hoping Locker tries to go the corner early in the game, and if so, SR Coleby Clawson meets him with a good pop, just to make him think twice about it. Problem is that Locker is a bruiser too and the exact same size as Clawson, 6-3 230. Locker runs a 4.3 40—Clawson doesn’t. Gulp. Now you see why I’m scared.

On to the preview.

FLORIDA GATORS, SEC East
USA Today Ranking: 3
My Ranking: 6

Plain and simple: too many pieces are gone. Tim Tebow WAS the Florida Gators. Be skeptical all you want about Tebow at the next level, in college, he did everything for the Florida. Yes, I know, the Gator defense was crazy. Not anymore. They’re still good, perhaps great, but take away Joe Haden, Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes from the defense + Tebow = losses. It is what it is.

TCU HORNEDFROGS, Mountain West
USA Today Ranking: 7
My Ranking: 7

TCU has been tough for five straight years, except for 2007; I don’t know what happened there. Since then however, they’ve been straight rough, raw, and balanced—playing with chips on both their shoulders. I think the mugging the BSC pulled on Boise State and the Frogs last year affected the men in purple more than the Broncos. But what can you do? I know, channel it. I feel bad for Oregon State. The beating they’re going to take isn’t deserving, but at least at the end of the year it’ll be good loss. TCU will be ranked Top 10 for sure. Jerry Hughes’ absence will be noticeable but most of last year’s pieces remain, including QB Andy Dalton.

OREGON DUCKS, PAC-10
USA Today Ranking: 11
My Ranking: 8

I don’t see how Iowa or Nebraska rank above the Ducks. Neither of those teams crack my Top 10. Iowa was good last year, jumping out to 9-0 but before that… their last credible season was in 2004. I don’t see them beating Penn State again and they’ll probably have Northwestern-esque loss again this year. Nebraska is even worse than Iowa. Oregon, on the flip side of the pillow, is legit. Legit as their uniforms and that says something. The Pac-10 is theirs to lose. Jeremiah Masoli baby, lookout. If LeMichael James can get through this domestic violence drama and play, Ouuhhwee!

MIAMI HURRICANE, ACC Coastal
USA Today Ranking: 13
My Ranking: 9

THE CANE ARE BACK! Maybe I watched the VH1 True Hollywood story on them and I’m a little too excited. Ok, probably. BUT… Jacory Harris is for realz. Realz with a “z”. How can you not when your nickname is Afro Butterfly? This is the same guy who said he was going to hoist the Heisman while wearing a pink suit and hold a pimp cup. With a swagger like that things can only go up for you. At least his numbers will in one particular area.

You see, last year Harris rushed for a negative -219 yards. That’s right, negative. It’s not like he’s slow either. In high school he ran a 4.6 40 and from what I’ve read, but can’t confidently confirm, it’s more like 4.5 now. The passing game was there and can only get brighter by my calculation. Harris threw for over 3300 yards and 24 TDs but also had 17 INTs. I blame at least 4 of those picks on the O-line and a collapsing pocket. They’re also responsible for the negative rush yards too. Needless to say the offense line has been seriously upgraded with the arrival of 6-foot-8, 350-pound Seantrel Henderson, the number one recruit in the country. Miami was able to snag him when USC had to release him due to sanctions earlier this year. Combine him, with the depth the Hurricanes have at wide receiver, to Harris and keep an eye out for fireworks.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS, Big 12 South
USA Today Ranking: 8
My Ranking: 10

Had the Sooners not blanked #12 Oklahoma State in the final game the season, I doubt they would have even made a bowl game. They get a mulligan because nobody saw Bradford getting knocked out and BYU squeaking a 1-point win. That was season changer. Plus is cost Bradford, at minimum, $10 mill less in guaranteed money… poor guy. OU also lost a handful of players to the NFL draft, with four players going in the first round, and three of those four as Top 5 picks. The good thing about having a bunch of guys going in round one like that means your school recruits top tier talent year in year out. The Sooners have basically had a season to adjust to life without Bradford, so in essence they should only feel the losses of Gerald McCoy and Trent Williams. I’ll think they’ll get by just fine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

College Football Preview

Below you see the USA Today Coaches polls’ for the final rankings in College Football 2009, and this year’s pre-season rankings 2010. I’ve decided to tackle the rankings and give you my take on teams, as I break down the Top 10 teams. Teams 6-10 will follow Thursday.

USA Today Poll 2010                                                            USA Today Poll 2009
RK TEAM                                                                               RK TEAM RECORD


1 Alabama (55)                                                                     1 Alabama (58)      14-0
2 Ohio State (4)                                                                     2 Texas                13-1
3 Florida                                                                               3 Florida               13-1
4 Texas                                                                                 4 Boise State         14-0
5 Boise State                                                                         5 Ohio State          11-2
6 Virginia Tech                                                                      6 TCU                   12-1
7 TCU                                                                                   7 Iowa                   11-2
8 Oklahoma                                                                           8 Penn State         11-2
9 Nebraska                                                                            9 Cincinnati          12-1
10 Iowa                                                                                10 Virginia Tech     10-3
11 Oregon                                                                             11 Oregon             10-3
12 Wisconsin                                                                         12 Brigham Young   11-2
13 Miami (FL)                                                                       13 Georgia Tech     11-3
14 Penn State                                                                       14 Nebraska            10-4
15 Pittsburgh                                                                        15 Pittsburgh          10-3
16 LSU                                                                                  16 Wisconsin          10-3
17 Georgia Tech                                                                    17 LSU                   9-4
18 North Carolina                                                                  18 Utah                  10-3
19 Arkansas                                                                           19 Miami (FL)         9-4
20 Florida State                                                                     20 USC                   9-4
21 Georgia                                                                            21 Mississippi          9-4
22 Oregon State                                                                     22 West Virginia     9-4
23 Auburn                                                                              23 Texas Tech        9-4
24 Utah                                                                                 24 Central Michigan 12-2
24 West Virginia                                                                    25 Oklahoma State  9-4

Before I begin, real quick, I want to address the bottom half of the 2009 final rankings, from #14 on down. And yes, last year is over and done with, yada yada yada. Bear with me.

I don’t care who you lost to or who you beat, but any time you finish the season with a four-loss record, your team does not deserve to be ranked. Period. Your team sucked you cannot legitimately debate this. Claiming they belong in the Top 25 because your team has a lot of individually talented players, your school has a storied program and on paper you’re supposed to be really good (I’m talking to you LSU and USC) does not. Mean. Jack. ----. Because guess what: you went nine and FOUR. Your team lost four times. That is thirty-three percent of your games El Captain. Nine and four, by no means, equals a relevant football season.

There are exceptions to this rule however. Last season we saw an example, with a bunch of teams finishing the season with four losses, so naturally we had teams in the Top 25 with that kind of record. The problem is that these teams somehow managed a higher ranking than teams that had fewer losses. Below you’ll find the rankings as they are and as they should have been, because, well . . . I actually have a spine and everything.

BOGUS/LEGITIMATE

14 Nebraska 10-4/Pittsburgh 10-3
15 Pittsburgh 10-3/Wisconsin 10-3
16 Wisconsin 10-3/Central Michigan 12-2
17 LSU 9-4/Utah 10-3
18 Utah 10-3/Nebraska 10-4
19 Miami (FL) 9-4LSU 9-4
20 USC 9-4/Mississippi 9-4
21 Mississippi 9-4/Miami (FL) 9-4
22 West Virginia 9-4/West Virginia 9-4
23 Texas Tech 9-4/USC 9-4
24 Central Michigan 12-2/Texas Tech 9-4
25 Oklahoma State 9-4/Oklahoma State 9-4



On with the 2010 College Football Preview:

ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE, SEC West
USA Today Rank: 1
My Rank: 1

The reigning National Champions took a hit on the defensive end, thanks to the NFL draft. Losing four players in first two rounds of the draft alone, Rolando McClain (ILB) will be missed the most. The 6-4 254 pound signal caller, was taken 8th overall by the Oakland Raiders. Look for touted recruit Petey Smith or junior linebacker Chavis Williams to fill this gap this season. Don’t worry, the Tide will basically reload—that kind of thing happens when you’re Alabama and your head coach is Nick Saban—plus they have the reigning Heisman Trophy winning running back returning. That oughta help. Starting quarterback Greg McElroy will also be back for another year. For those of you that do not know a ton about McElroy, he is really, really good . . . at handing the ball off to Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

OHIO STATE BUCKEYES, Big Ten
USA Today Rank: 2
My Rank: 2

I don’t like the Buckeyes. I always root against them. I hate the voting bias they receive in all the polls. Maybe it’s the way the fans carry themselves; almost as if it is an exclusive club that outsiders are not allowed to be a part of. Or the Buckeyes are God’s gift to college football. I can’t stand it. I will nonetheless give credit where credit is due. This year’s high pre-season ranking is deserving. This is the year of Terrell Pryor. Last year was supposed his year, but I wasn’t sold because I thought it was too early. Now, in year three, he has no room for excuses. His passing will be more accurate, more than people are expecting and naturally it will open up his ground game. Look for 2500 passing yards, and 900+ in the run game. The entire offense is returning. I hope they go 7-6. Not likely.

BOISE STATE BRONCOS, WAC
USA Today Rank: 5
My rank: 3

STOP THE HATING. The hatred is entering year five for those of you keeping score at home. A Top 5 ranking is really good, but come on now voters. The five spot? Really? For a team that went UNDEFEATED last season? A team that is returning EVERYBODY on both sides of the line? Did you know starting quarter back, Kellen Moore, was 10th in passing yards (3536), 2nd in passer rating (161.7), 2nd in touchdowns (39) and only threw THREE interceptions all of last year.

It should come as no surprise that the Broncos had the nation’s best scoring offense. And who wouldn’t with such a dominant O-line? The Boise State offensive line was last season, in a word: stout. Guess how many times his offensive line allowed Moore to get sacked. I’ll give you some hints:

25 times LESS than the revered Texas Longhorns offensive line
24 times LESS than the esteemed Florida Gators offensive line
17 times LESS than the illustrious Ohio State Buckeyes offensive line
13 times LESS than the National Champion Crimson Tide offensive line

The correct answer: Kellen Moore sacked 5 times all of last season and two of the quarterbacks from those teams were the best scramblers in football. I could go on pages about the Broncos. They’re not even my team. I just respect greatness and you know, possess the aforementioned spine. But whatever…

TEXAS LONGHORNS, Big 12 South
USA Today Rank: 4
My Rank: 4

The Longhorns lost four really big pieces in the off season. QB Colt McCoy, S Earl Thomas, OLD Sergio Kindle and WR Jordan Shipley. I’ve wondered “What might have been?” had McCoy, who won more games than any other quarter back in NCAA Division I football history (45), not been knocked out of the championship game. What’s done is done I suppose, either way, Garrett Gilbert was baptized by fire before millions of people seven months ago. This is how I remember it:

[Moments after McCoy heads to the locker room, with his throwing arm hanging lifelessly at his side, Mack Brown (played by Clint Eastwood) approaches Garrett Gilbert (played by Shia LeBouf). Wide shot of Brown slowing walking and stopping in front of Gilbert, who is sitting on the bench, takes a moment to pause; kicking an empty Styrofoam water cup].

[Close up of Brown] Brown: (apologetically) Well, son… McCoy is done. We don’t know how long. In sixty seconds, that whistle is going to blow and you’re gonna be responsible for bringing a National Championship to the great state of Texas.

[Close up of Gilbert nervously looking up from cleats; meeting eyes with Brown hesitantly. Medium shot, sideview, of Brown and Gilbert. Brown speaks]: It’s OK, you know the drills. The men are going to be looking to you for leadership. Trust your instincts. Don’t panic. You can do this, son.

[Close up of Gilbert, eyes completely glazed over like Kylie, the building supervisor Opossum on Fantastic Mr. Fox. Whistle blows, Gilbert, disconnected, slides his helmet on jogs on to the field trying to remember how to make his lungs inhale oxygen].

[As the play clock ticks down, Gilbert bends down to take the snap. Camera pans from the players on the field, Alabama clearly about to bring the entire house on top of Gilbert, to a close up Brown on the sideline, his eyes completely glazed over like Kylie, the building supervisor Opossum on Fantastic Mr. Fox].

And you know how the rest played out. It’s interesting to think, that Texas played that game without the university’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdown passes, handed the reins to a freshman quarter back, turned the ball over 5 times, and only lost the game by 16 points. Just saying. Look for Gilbert to do well with actual preparation for being the #1 guy. Look for Mack Brown to reload just like Nick Saban.

VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES, ACC Coastal
USA Today Rank: 6
My Rank: 5

Since 2004 the Virginia Tech Hokies have gone 10-3, 11-2, 10-3, 11-3, 10-4, and 10-3. This year I see them as a one-loss team, falling to Boise State in the season opener. 2009 introduced us to red shirt freshman Ryan Williams who totaled 1655 and 21 touchdowns. I don’t think teams will be able to contain him and their record will show it. Williams broke every single one of Tech’s single season rushing records, except for TD’s scored. That honor goes to Lee Suggs who scored 27 in 2000. All I’m going to say is that Williams is breaking records (school or national) and ankles this season. You read it here before it happened. I predict 2000+ yards and 23 scores. Maybe more. Mark Ingram and Toby Gerhart overshadowed Williams and the things he did in 2009. Not this year.

By the way, how did Gerhart not win the Heisman with 1871 yards and 27 TD’s—213 and 10 more than Ingram—goodness gracious! The fact that Gerhart is a white running back ought to give him a handicap of 500 yards and 5 scores.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Going on a rant

[Imagine your typical, dubious person, trying to sound technical and articulate, talking their way around something on the fly on COPS—preferably speaking with a lisp—and ACTION!]

“Well you see, what had happened was…”

This is how am going to start my memoirs; among other things. It is the single greatest way to lead in to story of intense explanation. Will I ever actually write memoirs? No, I’ve never once intended to compile my life’s conquest in to something called a memoir. Memoirs are something that you expect an oil tycoon from the late 1800s to have; or any Jason Schwartzman character. To be truthful, I’m not even entirely sure what needs to be entailed to classify as a memoir, but anyhow, if I ever do write memoirs, I have my first seven words on lock. I think it is just fun to say ‘memoirs’ and likely will never take it beyond that. Memoirs. Ahh… The French. You just gotta give them a hand for keeping things classy.

All of last weeks’ time and attention was spent on moving. You see, what had happened was (couldn’t resist) I moved 95% of our belongings out of our basement apartment by myself. That isn’t necessarily my complaint. I mention it more for bragging purposes. I know I could have called up a bunch of people and completed the move in an entire afternoon, but when you do it that way, you throw all organization out the door, the only thing you accomplish is moving all your crap from point A to B quickly, so I really do not feel bad that I did most of it on my own. The one day, A to B move is more my dad’s style, much to the chagrin of my mom. The worst part about moving is not the loading, driving back and forth between the old and new place, the sadness you feel when you leave a place you once deemed home, because it is somewhat thrilling to be in a new place and start fresh, but the worst part is when you have to start boxing. You never know where to start. You pick an item and then you box all of the same type items in one box, only without fail that box fills up before you get everything in it, so the excess starts a second box. Clearly though, there is not enough to fill it up so now you hastily fill with odds and ends, BUT once you’ve taped the box up and move on to another room, you find more items that would have matched and filled the second box. I hate it. It drives me insane.

I also hate the discovery of all the crap that you have stored away for no purpose at all. You could bring in a team of scientist and philosophers to study and decipher, why in all that is holy, the reason you decided save a cheaply made cardboard ‘Congrats Grad’ banner bought at a dollar store. Plus it’s torn in half and rendered useless, which probably happened when I ripped it down off the wall. What state of mind was I in? Clearly I was just savoring it for a day when I could break it out for one of the grandkids and say, “You know Tommy, when grandma graduated college I bought this broken thing at a dollar store and have been saving ever since, knowing one day I could give it to you, and hopefully one day you will be able to give it to your grandchild.” Heaven forbid I throw away something bought at the dollar store. You look at some of the items you discover and ask yourself, “Why did I ever keep this? I want to know what compelled me to take this object, climb in to our storage room, and place said object in safe keeping, because I KNEW somewhere in the future, I’m gonna need this?”

Anyhow, I’m almost done with venting. At least these next few rants are sports related.

Sports Rant # 1

I’ve held my silence for as long as I can, but the haters will not let it rest. Stop talking/hating on the LeBron James situation. I’ll admit I was caught up in it—the stuff before the announcement—because I wanted to know where LeBron wanted to go. Everyone wanted to know where LeBron wanted to go. “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” was cheesy and I wish he just said, “I’m going to Miami” but he didn’t. But all of this non-stop talk about how LeBron “betrayed” Cleveland and “stabbed them in the back” drives me nuts. He did not betray Cleveland. It wasn’t like he told everybody he was going to stay and then out of nowhere, he suddenly up and left for Miami like some dead beat dad. Everything positive thing that happened for that team over the last seven years is owed entirely to LeBron James. They had seven years to bring the proper pieces to Ohio and they didn’t. He was free agent, he never said he was staying, and left a team of Anthony Parker’s and Antawn Jamisons’ for bigger and better.

I’m also sick of all the talk of how “Jordan never would have done that. Same for Kobe.” They never had too. Talent was always brought to them. Jordan had Pippen and the greatest head coach in the history of the NBA and possibly professional sports. Ron Harper, who was the 1990s Derek Fisher or you could say Derek Fisher is the 2000s Ron Harper and Steve Kerr who shot 47% from 3-point land while in Chicago, including a couple of game winners. Jordan also had boy Dennis Rodman who pulled down a million rebounds every game. Kobe had Shaq and (wait for it) the same aforementioned greatest head coach of all-time, and remember after Shaq left the Lakers they were pretty much crap and Kobe was talking about leaving L.A. until Santa Claus brought Pau Gasol over from Memphis for nothing. Jordan and Kobe had help, only they didn’t have to leave to get it. If you were to use the same rational—that Jordan and Kobe are the best because they stayed where they started—then Dwayne Wade is now going to be the greatest basketball player to have ever walked the earth when this is all over. STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS TOPIC ALREADY!

Sport Rant #2

Option one: Just retire and stick to jean commercials where you play pick up games with your buds already.
Option two: Tell everyone that you’re going to play the next five seasons without question, or until your limbs fall off. That way you can retire sometime in between then and we do not have to go through the circus every year.

You know who I’m talking about. I was over this drama two seasons ago.

Sports Rant #3

Why is the closing role in Boston being brought up? It is not a situation needing discussing or changing. The Red Sox have bigger issues elsewhere. Yes, Jonathan Papelbon had me screaming words at my TV last post-season that I cannot put in print and yes, this year he has been shaky. Or has he? Anytime I read something about the Red Sox closing situation, the person writing seems to indicate that the Sox need to deal Papelbon this off season or that they actually are, along with David Ortiz and Mike Lowell. I do not know why we signed Mike Lowell to the length and amount that we did. I just didn’t see it. Ortiz… I don’t know what is going happen there. Nothing will surprise me on the Papi situation. As far as Papelbon however, I don’t think they are going to deal him nor should they. Currently Papelbon is tied for 10th in the MLB for saves (24) and given how injury plagued the Red Sox have been I say that is pretty good. He is still an amazing closer and they would be dumb to get rid of him. Just compare his first four full seasons as the closer against the two greatest closers of the game in their first four seasons as the closer:

Mariano Rivera
SEASON      G    ER    BB    SO    SV    HLD    BLSV    WHIP    ERA   
1997          66    15    20     68    43      0         --       1.19    1.88
1998          54    13    17     36    36      0         --       1.06    1.91
1999          66    14    18     52    45      0         --       0.88     1.83
2000          66    24    25     58    36      0         --       1.10     2.85
AVG          63    17    20     54   40     0         --       1.05    2.11


Trevor Hoffman
SEASON      G    ER    BB    SO    SV    HLD    BLSV    WHIP    ERA   
1994          47    16    20     68    20      0         --       1.05    2.57
1995          55    23    14     52    31      0         --       1.16    3.88
1996          70    22    31     111  42      0         --       0.92    2.25
1997          70    24    24     111  37      0         --       1.02    2.66
AVG          61    21    22     86   33     0         --       1.03    2.84

Jonathan Papelbon
SEASON      G    ER    BB    SO    SV    HLD    BLSV    WHIP    ERA   
2006          59    7     13     75    35      1         6      0.78    0.92
2007          59    12    15    84    37      2         3      0.77    1.85
2008          67    18    8      77    41      0         5      0.95    2.34
2009          66    14    24    76    38      0         3      1.15    1.85
AVG          63    13    15   78    38     1         4      0.91    1.74


Blown saves did not become an official stat until 2002, which is why Hoffman and Rivera have theirs omitted but on their careers since 2002 Rivera has averaged 5 a season and Hoffman 4. Pretty much you do not deal Jonathan Papelbon. This is issue is now closed. I will not debate this.

Sports Rant #4

Why can’t College and NFL football get here all ready? I am ready to do my Fantasy Draft, like you have no idea how ready I am for this. I’m the Drew Brees of Fantasy Football preparation this year. Normally I have my ideas and theories and go with gut. This has always done me proud in the early part of the draft, but in the late rounds, in my opinion, this is where the league is won and lost. In fact, I’m probably over prepared and have doomed myself by over analyzing everything. I compare it to naming a child. Someone once wrote, “Naming a child is like trying to fit in at a party. You usually screw up by trying to hard.” Whatever, I’m ready. I’m also ready to see who will be the starters for the BYU Cougars so I can a write a column on it. I will not speculate on college football until fall practices begin even though I want to so badly. I’ve read every article as to why each potential QB will start and why the other will not. I cannot be concerned with their speculation. This is all I know at this point:

A) Bronco (“I told you to call me Bronco” name that movie challenge one) Mendenhall can coach the shitake mushrooms out of the Cougars
B) He’ll put the best QB on the field, for every given situation, on every single down
C) September 4th, Washington doesn’t scare me, but Jake Locker certainly does

I want fall practices to begin. I want our secondary to GET AT IT THIS YEAR, plus I want my pre-season rankings out. I want some Brazilian all you can eat buffet for dinner. And I want 90 billion dollars... for FRREEEEEEEEEEEEEE (name that movie challenge two)! The wait is killing me. I suppose I ought to take my own advice and hang in there.