Monday, November 27, 2006

He's heeeere!

After receiving my video message from Butch Davis, I can now breathe easy that he really is going to be UNC's coach next season. I don't like getting excited over unofficial deals. Remember Bobby Cremins taking the job at the College of Charleston, only to change his mind mere hours later? Not to worry, Tar Heel fans. He's now decked out in Carolina Blue, with the fight song running in the background, saying how glad he is to be UNC's coach. He's a coach to get excited about. Don't associate him with "the dirty Miami program," as I've heard some people refer to it. He had a fantastic win-loss record with the Hurricanes, despite the fact that he was also cleaning up that program. Davis should bring the same level of honor and respectability to the university as did John Bunting, but (hopefully) with a better record.

On the one hand, I feel bad for John Bunting. He's definitely a first-class guy. On the other hand, I don't think his firing is going to have a major negative impact on his career. That's the beauty of the coaching profession...if you don't succeed with one team, you still have a good chance of finding another coaching job elsewhere and making an impact. Look at Matt Doherty. After a humiliating "resignation" from UNC, he's gone from the television booth to Florida Atlantic to SMU. Butch Davis is another example. After his success with the Hurricanes, he was unable to accomplish anything with the Cleveland Browns (insert your favorite Cleveland Browns joke here). Point being, Bunting's career is not over.

Neither are Larry Coker's or Chuck Amato's, for that matter. Here's where the fun begins!

Actually, talking about the Miami coaching search is no fun at all. It's going to be either Rutgers coach Greg Schiano or Wisconsin athletic director (and former head coach) Barry Alvarez. Period.

Now, I do think it's fun that Miami is trying to woo anyone from Rutgers. A friend of mine who lives in New Jersey swears that there are three truths in life: death, taxes, and Rutgers football sucks. Due to Rutgers unexpected performance this season, she's probably now wandering the shoulder of the turnpike carrying signs predicting the end of the world.

Barry Alvarez makes sense, especially when you remember that Miami president Donna Shalala used to be the chancellor at Wisconsin. I've got no problem with Alvarez, but I am troubled by the idea that he would be both the head football coach and the athletic director. Hello? Les Robinson? Why does anyone ever think being both a head coach and an AD is a good idea?

Of course, Alvarez turned the Hurricanes down once before, back in 1995. But that was before Shalala was there. And shoot, Roy Williams said no to UNC the first time they asked. Well, okay, maybe this coaching search is fun to talk about after all.

Now onto NC State, which has already had one fun coaching search this year. Don't worry, Wolfpack fans. This search should be shorter and less circus-like. Why? Because the circumstances are different.

The decision to leave NC State was Lee Fowler's not Chuck Amato's. Amato liked being at State. The names State has supposedly targeted as potential replacements, Navy head coach Paul Johnson and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, are people who would benefit from becoming the head coach at an ACC school.

This thought, of course, assumes that Bill Cowher is not going to leave the Steelers to coach the Wolfpack, although he does have a nice house in Raleigh. I really can't imagine why Cowher would want to leave the NFL in order to coach college. Coaches leave the NFL for college for two reasons:

1) It's a promotion. As it would be for Norm Chow, and as it was for John Bunting.
2) They left college for the NFL, and realized it was a mistake. As it was for Steve Spurrier and Butch Davis.

Cowher fits into neither category.

I've also heard people mention Steve Logan. I'm not going to flat out say he wouldn't do it, but I doubt it. I think if he wanted to get back into coaching college football, he would have done it by now.

The process of finding a new coach should be short and painless. Now let's compare this search with the basketball search. Sendek had Lee Fowler's full support, at a premiere ACC school, and still chose, for all intents and purposes, to leave Raleigh in the middle of the night. While many Wolfpack fans celebrated Sendek's departure, many coaches probably saw Sendek's actions as a big warning sign, i.e. "Don't coach here." State then turned around and courted coaches (read: Rick Barnes, Rick Pitino, etc.) who would not benefit from leaving their schools to go to NC State. I bring up the basketball search not so much to make fun of it, but to point out why the football search should not resemble it at all. AT ALL.

But these things always have twists and turns. Let the fun begin.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Sports Chic returns (at the most opportune time)

For my two fans who have asked about my blog, I'm back. The master's paper is done, the semester's almost over, and there's still tons of football and basketball to be watched.

I think I picked a good two months or so to tune out. Who wants to write about UNC getting trounced by South Florida, anyway? That was the last game I attended until the NC State game this past weekend. The South Florida game was cold, we lost to a team that everyone thought we could beat, and I didn't get my free hot dog for Student Appreciation Day because of some planning snafu (as in, the vendors seemed unaware that every student in the stadium was going to ask for a hot dog). It was enough to make me wonder why I wasn't watching the game in a climate-controlled bar, with beer, where I had the option of watching other games as well.

I was so distraught, I decided to go underground and do things like attempt to graduate on time.

I re-emerged into the sports world just in time for the UNC-NC State football game. I think I timed that as well as I possibly could. UNC continued its mini-tradition of beating State, regardless of their performance during the rest of the season. The only drawback of this victory? Lee Fowler might just decide to can Chucky. UNC fans feel the same way about Chucky as they did about Herb Sendek--they like him because UNC always finds a way to beat him.

Oh well. UNC gets Butch Davis (we think..we hope...the end of the Dook game can't come fast enough...). I'm more than happy to sit back and watch another NC State coaching search circus.

Okay...let the catching up begin.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New Updates Soon

Contrary to popular belief, the Tar Heels football team has not driven me to stop posting on this blog. I just caught up with trying to graduate (imagine that! I'm stopping at 5 degrees!). Stay tuned.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Clemson 52, UNC 7

Let's revisit a few sentences from last week's blog about the Furman game:

1) "There's no defensive players in here. I've killed them all."

That's what John Bunting told reporters after UNC's narrow victory over the Furman Paladins, during which UNC's defense(?) gave up 521 yards of total offense.

2) Now my question is, if Bunting killed them all, who's going to play defense(?) against Clemson this weekend?

Well, ladies and gentleman, we now have the answer to my question! Absolutely no one!

I don't think I need to go into detail about what went wrong here. The defense didn't show up. The offense didn't show up. The final score looked like a score we're accustomed to seeing for Dook, not us.

Here's a very important consequence of Saturday's loss: my dad has decided he wouldn't mind if John Bunting gets fired.

For those of you who don't know my dad, he's rather passionate about Carolina football. He goes to the games and yells. If you didn't know better, you'd think he's always waiting for the coach to get fired so he can get a chance at the job. But in reality, he's usually on the coach's side. His saying has always been that you don't fire a coach mid-contract over a matter or wins and losses.

Don't look for him to start contributing to anytime soon. But his statement that he would not disapprove of Bunting being fired is, for me anyway, quite a strong statement.

So what's caused my dad's change of heart? Read on. I've inserted some of my own commentary as well.

1) This is John Bunting's program.

That's right. He's been the head coach since 2001. The recruits are his. The system is his. He's had time to dismantle any remnants of Carl Torbush's system.

Dick Baddour axed Torbush after a mere three seasons, after he had racked up a 16-18 record (17-18 if you count his first game as head coach, the 1997 Gator Bowl). Torbush's biggest problem was that he was the first head coach after Mack Brown. Brown compiled a 62-32-1 record during his tenure as UNC's head coach, including a 20-3 record in his last two seasons. UNC had big expectations and a renovated stadium. 16-18 wasn't going to cut it. You can argue that Torbush got a raw deal. After all, Brown went 2-20 during his first two seasons. But that's a whole different line of discussion.

What is up for discussion is that Bunting now has a 25-39 record at Carolina. That's 9 (or 8) more wins in 5+ seasons than Torbush had in three seasons. And he's already lost more games than Brown lost in 10 seasons. Lucky for him that he's the second coach after Mack Brown and not the first.

All this talk leads to...

2) The program isn't going anywhere.

If anything, it's going backwards. Sure, it's great that we can beat State and Dook most years, and the 2001 win against FSU and the 2004 win against Miami were nice. But when you give up 40+ points and have to rely on a last second field goal to beat a Division I-AA team, and then lose 52-7 the next week, people begin to dismiss your team (if they haven't already).

Let's go back to Carl Torbush's first win as UNC's head coach, the aforementioned 1997 Gator Bowl.

I remember this game quite well. I was visiting my family in Miami. On the day of the game, my dad, brother, and I boarded a commercial flight to Jacksonville, rented a car, went to the game, and then flew back to Miami. The next day, we got in the car (with my mom) and drove home to Virginia. Don't worry if those arrangements don't make any sense to you.

Anyway, the Tar Heels were ranked #4 in the nation, and had a legitimate argument that they should have gone to a BCS bowl. Denied, UNC played an up-and-coming program who many people had never paid attention to before, and won the game 42-3.

The team they beat? Virginia Tech.

As I said, the program isn't going anywhere. And unfortunately, that all leads back to Bunting.

3) The natives are restless

It's nice to think that Tar Heel fans will sit back, smile, and root for their team regardless of performance. But this never happens in reality, either in college sports or professional sports.

Look, going to games is time-consuming. You have to find and pay for a parking spot. You've got to walk to the stadium. You've got to push your way through the crowd. You've got to pay for the overpriced concessions. You've got to watch the game while avoiding getting your eye poked out by an over-enthusiastic pom-pom waver. Then you've got to find your car and wait 5 years to get out of the lot/deck. I'm not whining. I love going to games. But the more disappointing the team, the less likely people are going to be to go through the whole ordeal, especially when they can watch the game at home and flip to a better game when necessary. It's no coincidence that good teams play to packed stadiums, and bad teams play to empty stadiums. And no amount of arguing that "fans should support their teams no matter what" is going to change that.

John Bunting knows this. That's why he thanked the fans during their support during the Furman game.


Okay, so we've established reasons why Bunting should go. Now, let's not do silly things like expect the first top-name coach we can think of to take the job should it become vacant. I've seen the names Jimmy Johnson, Lou Holtz, and Tommy Bowden all thrown out on Don't be disappointed if none of those coaches are there next season. For all we know, Bunting will still be there. A few years ago, many Tar Heel fans started talking about Steve Spurrier coming to Chapel Hill. The only problem was that the team didn't have a coaching vacancy. And Dick Baddour says he's not planning to fire anyone.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Panthers: I know I'm not a coach...

...and there's a good reason that I'm not a coach. I know that John Fox is much more qualified to coach the Panthers than I am.

But I am absolutely speechless about two calls Fox made versus the Vikings on Sunday.

1) You know what this point is without me saying it. Why, with a 13-6 lead...midway through the fourth quarter...with momentum...and good field position...did Fox tell Chris Gamble to throw a lateral on a punt return?

My initial reaction: "Leon Lett is off the hook."

I can't say anything more about this play. I am absolutely speechless.

2) Since the Vikings took advantage of their fantastic field position and scored a touchdown, why...with 15 seconds left in the game...with two timeouts remaining...on the road...when you know sudden death is the alternative...did Fox decide to run out the clock and go to OT? Delhomme couldn't have taken a shot at the end zone? Or tried for field goal position?

So, the Panthers took a risk when they didn't need to, and chickened out when they should have gone for the win.

I know, I know. I'm not the coach.

UNC D(?)

"There's no defensive players in here. I've killed them all."

That's what John Bunting told reporters after UNC's narrow victory over the Furman Paladins, during which UNC's defense(?) gave up 521 yards of total offense. The Sports Monday section of the Daily Tar Heel: "UNC eludes embarrassment, barely."

Now, had you told me that the defense(?) would give up such numbers after UNC's loss to Rutgers, I probably would have believed you. After all, Rutgers' running back Ray Rice rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns. My final assessment: offense okay, defense bad.

But the following week against Virginia Tech, the defense played just fine. Sure, the final score was 35-10, but VT got a bunch of those points due to interceptions. My final assessment: offense took fall break a month or so early, defense just fine.

So, I don't quite understand how during the Furman game, the offense looked as good as it's probably going to look, and the defense(?) looked like it had forgotten it had played so well against the Hokies.

The only glitch in the offense was the one Cam Sexton interception. That was my friend's fault. For whatever reason, he commented that we hadn't had any interceptions. Sexton threw the INT during the next play. People who aren't sports fans don't understand sports fans' beliefs in superstitions and jinxes. But oh, how real they are. In fact, maybe my blog is a jinx...

...okay, that's a whole different blog post.

Now my question is, if Bunting killed them all, who's going to play defense(?) against Clemson this weekend? Will they prove to be consistently bad or consistenly good, or will they keep us guessing each week?

Tune in Saturday to find out.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Meet Stanley

To celebrate the beginning of NHL training camp, let's take a few moments to view last season's ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup. Most of these pictures were taken at the home of Carolina Hurricanes' Director of Media Relations Mike Sundheim. The latter pictures were taken at Linda's Bar & Grill on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Many of the pictures feature Kyle Hanlin, the Hurricanes' manager of media relations.

A few comments: It's the real Stanley Cup. No, not the original Stanley Cup. We all know that one's in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Get over it. But this one is the current real Stanley Cup, not the replica that gets taken to promotional events.

Also, if anyone wants to post their own Stanley Cup pics on this blog, let me know. I'll see what I can do. Watch out for new pics as they appear.


Click here to see Stanley.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Panthers: the season is not lost...

...although Fox's announcers would like for you to think it is. According to them, the fact that Carolina lost to Atlanta signifies "a major shift in the NFC South." (I apologize for not remembering who the announcers were.)

Mind you, the Panthers lost their opening game of the season last year to the New Orleans Saints. I don't think that loss lead to a major shift in the NFC South. Come on, folks. It's the first game of the season. In fact, the Panthers have now lost their past three season openers--all at home. This isn't college football. You can lose some games along the way without sending your season into the oblivion of meaninglessness.

Furthermore, it's not like the Panthers looked awful in the pre-season. But since everyone seems to have picked Carolina as their Super Bowl favorites, the Panthers are going to have to deal with the fact that every blemish on their record is going to be overly scrunitnized.

With that being said, I was disappointed by the 20-6 loss. Atlanta's offense, lead by Warrick Dunn, had their way with the Panthers' defensive line. Carolina's offensive line couldn't figure out how to stop Falcon offseason acquisition John Abraham. I could go on and on, but the main theme is this: the Falcons looked like they were ready to play, and the Panthers didn't.

It's true that the Panthers were playing without Steve Smith, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Had he played, he might have been able to electrify the offense. But I'm not going to dismiss this loss as something that happened because Smith didn't play. Yes, I'd like him to get healthy as soon as possible so he can get on the field. But although he's the Panthers #1 offensive weapon, he's certainly not the only one. The Panthers are talented enough to run a good offense without Smith, although they are more talented with him.

In summary: Today's loss doesn't really mean much. And don't blame Smith's injury for it.

As always, and perhaps more annoying than the Panthers performance, was the fact that the game was on Fox. Let's list some of the more interesting aspects of the broadcast:

1) On more than one occasion, the cameraman in charge of following the ball failed to do so.
2) On at least one occassion, the person in charge of adding the "down/to go" arrow graphics displayed the wrong information.
3) Near the beginning of the game, Carolina linebacker (and former Georgia Bulldog) Thomas Davis was called for a late hit. The crowd started booing. One of the announcers commented that this was probably the first time Davis had been booed in Georgia. Apparantly that guy isn't too good at geography, as the game took place in Charlotte. I can pick apart his statement even further, but I'll spare you.
4) Sound level issues.
5) Once the Falcons-Panthers game ended, the Jaguars-Cowboys came on. On at least one occasion, one of the announcers (mind you, different announcers) referred to the Cowboys as the Panthers.
6) Etc.

Oh, the joys of watching football on Fox.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This is going to be a long season...

When Tar Heel football fans first heard that the team had a quarterback controversy, they might have thought that there were two good quarterbacks fighting for the starting positon.

Instead, John Bunting seems to be picking the lesser of the two evils for each offensive drive. It seems that the thing the Tar Heels do the best is throw the ball to the other team.

If you've been lucky enough to miss the Tar Heels' first two games, let me explain. Before the season started, John Bunting announced that the quarterback position would be split between two players: Cam Sexton and former Nebraska Cornhusker Joe Dailey. On Labor Day weekend against Rutgers, Dailey played the entire game. His performance included two interceptions, including one to end the Tar Heels' potentially game-winning final drive. Some of us laughed that Dailey forgot he had switched teams, and therefore threw to red jerseys. UNC lost 21-16. Sigh.

The game today against Virginia Tech started ominously enough. Bunting started Dailey. UNC scored a field goal, and the cheerleader who does push-ups went ahead and did three. Push-ups on field goals? When did we start doing that? I really thought we only bothered doing push-ups for touchdowns. Maybe I remember incorrectly...

Then Dailey threw two interceptions. I pulled out my cell phone, only to realize that I didn't have John Bunting's number programmed in. My message to him would have been: PUT SEXTON IN THE GAME. Lo and behold, Sexton came into the game on the next offensive drive. I was so excited. The drive didn't go anywhere, but I decided that was better than throwing another interception.

As the half was winding down, I was reasonably content that that the Tar Heels were going into the locker room down only 14-3. The Tar Heels even had the ball and looked like they might have had the opportunity to tack on one more field goal. Instead, they ran out the clock. On the one hand, it's understandable that they wanted to prevent VT from getting the ball back and scoring again before halftime. On the other hand, it seems like the team gave up then and there.

Onto the second half. Sexton started. After a few more drives, I thought I had figured out Bunting's quarterback controversy: Dailey was perfectly able to drive down the field, but would then throw an interception. Sexton didn't throw interceptions, but couldn't drive the ball down the field. Sexton therefore didn't get anyone's hopes up too high. I was trying to decide which situation was the lesser of the two evils. The score was 21-3. I figured I could live with that. After all, UNC had given up 21 points to Rutgers the week before. VT is supposedly a much better team than Rutgers. The defense seemed to be playing much better than the week before. So, really, everything was more or less okay...

Then Sexton threw an interception. 28-3. Then Sexton threw another interception. 35-3. I never leave games early, but at that point, with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, my friends and I figured we'd had enough. By the time we got to Franklin Street, the game had ended. 35-10. I have no idea how we managed to score a touchdown, but I imagine a VT player must have intercepted the ball and mistakenly ran into the wrong end zone.

Oh man. The only reason I've calmed down is because NC State LOST TO AKRON 20-17. Poor Chuck Amato. All the NC State fans are now going to talk about how Bill Cowher recently bought a house in Raleigh, and that he can be their next head coach. Right. Just like Rick Barnes was going to be their basketball coach once Herb Sendek left.

That's right. I make myself feel better about the Tar Heels losing by making fun of NC State. But come on, they lost to Akron. THE AKRON ZIPS (the mascot is actually a kangaroo)! That's a good story.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cheering Etiquette

Just a quick note folks:

When you are at a football game, you CHEER LOUDLY when your team is on DEFENSE. You want to make as much noise as possible in order to prevent the offense from being able to hear. Therefore, you NEED TO BE QUIET when your team is on OFFENSE, because otherwise they can't hear.

Tar Heel fans seem to be picking up on this concept better than in the past, but there are still a few enthusiastic fans in the student section who haven't quite figured it out.

I also want to commend the "Turn it Blue" campaign on its excellent job of getting most of the fans to actually wear Carolina Blue to the games! The stands looked much bluer than I remember in the past.

Now if we had only won the game...

Friday, September 01, 2006

For "diehard" fans only!

What's the latest controversy on the UNC campus?

The ever-increasing tuition rates?
The overpriced textbooks?
The lack of parking?
The ongoing construction?

Nope. The latest controversy in the Southern Part of Heaven is the new online distribution system for basketball tickets. According to the (many) critics, this system will allow "casual" fans to easily gets tickets, while the "diehard" fans will have to settle for watching the games on TV. The system's advocates argue that it gives all students a fair chance to get tickets.

As someone who considers myself a "diehard" Tar Heel fan, I support the new system. Why? Keep reading.

Here's how the new system works: students go to and click through a series of screens in order to enter themselves into a lottery. If a student is selected to receive tickets, he will get an email instructing him to confirm his tickets. He can reserve up to two tickets. The tickets will then be sent to him in PDF format 48 hours before the game.

This system replaces the "old" bracelet system, which began in 1997. Under this system, students obtained numbered bracelets. Students then lined up outside the Dean Dome on designated Saturday mornings in order to pick up their tickets. The person who had the bracelet with the selected "magic number" was the lucky first person in line. The rest of the bracelet holders lined up in numerical order behind that person. If you weren't in line at 7:00 a.m., you forfeited your spot.

Before 1997, students camped out for tickets.

Here are some of the arguments presented by the critics against the new system, and my responses to them:

Changing the system destroys tradition.

Oh please. There are many traditions at Carolina, and the bracelet distribution system isn't one of them. As stated above, the bracelet system started in 1997 It went through several changes during its nine-year existence. For instance, when I was a freshman, I had to walk down to the Dean Dome in order to get my bracelet. The "magic number" was then printed in the DTH the day before ticket distribution.

The Carolina Athletic Association (CAA) figured out reasonably quickly that students were going down to the Dean Dome multiple times and obtaining multiple bracelets. I'll plead guilty to this one. I have a small wrist, so I could easily slide my bracelet off and get a new one. Students then waited for the DTH to print the magic number so they knew which bracelet they needed to wear to line check. The smart folks at the CAA then decided not to announce the magic number until after they conducted line check. This change put a halt to the bracelet hording.

At some point after I graduated, the CAA moved bracelet distribution to Kenan Stadium and started announcing the magic number in the Pit the Friday before ticket distribution. Since I'm quite sure students didn't become more honest after I graduated, I assume the CAA started swiping ONE Cards at bracelet distribution to assure each student obtained only one. I don't know this for certain, though.

And let's not forget that when I was an undergraduate, people were complaining that the bracelet system destroyed the camping tradition.

If you want tradition, we can go back to watching the games in Carmichael. The atmosphere would be a lot better. And since the stadium is much smaller than the Dean Dome, a lot less students could see the games. So maybe that's not the best solution now, is it?

I could list numerous other Carolina "traditions" that have been destroyed over the years as well. Had one of them stood the test of time, Michael Jordan would have never been a Tar Heel.

The bottom line: "tradition" is a ridiculous defense.

Changing the system allows "casual" fans to easily obtain tickets.

The thinking behind this argument is that only "diehard" fans will bother to get a bracelet and show up for line check Saturday morning. A few years ago, I might have agreed with this argument. When I was an undergraduate, I spent many a frosty Saturday morning standing outside the Dean Dome waiting for my tickets. But in January 2005, I returned to Carolina as a graduate student. Oh, how I wanted to get basketball tickets again. The only problem was that I had to be at work, in Raleigh, at 9:00 sharp Saturday mornings. According to the new system's critics, this fact threw me into the "casual" fan category. Yup, that's me: the casual fan.

To be fair, I had other ways of obtaining student tickets. In fact, I signed up to get "Ceiling Fan" (i.e. the last few rows of the upper level) tickets with other graduate students from my department last season. I went to a couple of games. No one else from my department did. And since I only had one ticket (the bracelet system allowed you to pick up two as long as you had two ONE cards with you), I couldn't invite anyone else to keep me company. I decided I would have more fun watching the games with my (non-student) friends on Franklin Street at Linda's.

Point being: EVERY student, whether or not they have the ability or desire to show up at the Dean Dome on Saturday mornings, pays the fees that allows students to have "free" tickets. Therefore, EVERY student should have an equal chance of getting tickets. If students really don't want to go to basketball games, they won't sign up for the lotteries. Similarly, if you're not sick, you won't go to Student Health. But if the need arises, it's there for you. Your student fees pay for it.

Furthermore, what is a "diehard" fan? Only those people who showed up for line check at the Dean Dome? The people who used to camp out for tickets probably don't think that's too diehard. To think that every student at UNC pays fees so that who you consider to be "diehard" fans can attend games is just snobbery.

Changing the system prevents groups of students from sitting together.

Well, that is a problem. As the system stands now, there is absolutely no way to guarantee that more than two friends can sit together. But I'm willing to bet the CAA can fix this problem. And if it doesn't happen this season, it will happen next season. It's really not a reason to scrap the system altogether.

The new system abolishes the Ceiling Fan system.

Despite my unfortunate experience as a Ceiling Fan (see above), many people liked the system. But since the Ceiling Fan system was designed to enable people who couldn't show up for line check to get tickets, the online system makes it unnecessary. Well, almost. Keeping the Ceiling Fan system might satisfy some students who want to sit in large groups. I'm sure others would complain that it prevented the "diehard" fans from having good seats.

Dook doesn't have this "stupid" system.

This argument ranks right up there with the "tradition" argument. I don't know why we care what Dook does for ticket distribution. Is it because Krzyzewskiville always makes the news before UNC-Dook games? Dook Athletics has been in the news for other reasons lately, but I don't think we want our lacrosse team accused of rape, our basketball players arrested for drunk driving, or our starting quarterback(s) suspended for plagiarism. I'm leaving out the last one because I don't want this blog to become a "pick on Dick Baddour-fest."

That's all, folks. Time to get over it and move on with our lives.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NFL Preseason Update: Plutoizing, etc.

What's been perhaps the most interesting aspect of the NFL preseason? Listening to Tony Kornheiser's commentary. Who else is going to use the term "Plutoized" in their commentary? (For the record, he said something along the lines of: "The Bengals had been so bad for so long that they could have been Plutoized from the league.") Classic. He might want to lay off on the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern references, though.

Well, it's a good thing the Bengals weren't Plutoized from the league after all. They looked absolutely fantastic Monday night. Based on his performance, you'd never know that Carson Palmer suffered a career-threatening injury at the end of last season. The team looked like a well-oiled machine.

Granted, they were playing the Packers, who looked more like the guys from Necessary Roughness than an NFL team. Brett Favre's performance calls into question his decision not to retire before this season. But let's be fair. The team has many more problems than Favre. In fact, Favre would have looked somewhat better had his receivers actually held onto the ball. Or at least looked like they were trying to catch the ball, which in many cases they didn't. The team also can't block (last year's miserable o-line does not appear to have improved), and they most certainly can't tackle. I don't know what the Packers organization is paying the defensive unit for, but it's most certainly not tackling. I can think of at least two Bengals touchdowns where it looked like the Packers were trying not to tackle.

Of course, the problem is that everyone wants to see Favre go out on a high note. We're just going to have to accept that, unfortunately, he's not.

But onto better teams...

Yesterday Adam Gold announced that he thought either Carolina or Tampa Bay would be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. He acknowledged that most people didn't agree with him about Tampa Bay. Don't worry, Adam. Sports Illustrated has one-upped you and announced their Super Bowl teams: the Panthers (no shock there) and the Dolphins (!?).

Yes, I mentioned in a previous post that the Dolphins should be a much better team than in recent years, especially since they acquired a quarterback who can get the job done. But the Super Bowl? That's a bold pick, SI.

I don't even know what I'd do if the Panthers and the Dolphins played in the Superbowl. It would be the childhood team vs. the team that presently gets my allegiance. I think I would just sit in front of the TV in utter confusion. I'm personally hoping SI is wrong so I can avoid the whole thing.

Monday, August 21, 2006

William & Mary players in NFL training camp!

A former co-worker of mine sent me this rundown of William & Mary players currently in the NFL, or at least in NFL training camp. The grand total: 6 players. Yes, he's a W&M alum. Enjoy:

As for W&M players, get a good look now, because I don't think most of them will be employed come September. To wit:

DB Billy Parker, Carolina: had a great year in the AFL last season...this is his second camp (after Miami last year)...haven't heard any news on him at all, and he's at the bottom of the depth chart on the Carolina web site...could stick since he can play both positions, but I haven't heard any news on him.

OT Adam O'Connor, Carolina: undrafted free agent, played DT in college...big guy (6'8"), but again I haven't heard anything on him from camp...the only things I've read about the offensive line is that it looks really thin, so he's probably not impressing...then again, as a defensive line convert, he's going to be a project...if he showed anything at all in camp, he'll be on the practice squad.

QB Lang Campbell, Cleveland: was in the Browns camp last year, too...I thought he had a chance to be drafted last year after a spectacular senior season for the Tribe, but alas no...remember how good he looked against you guys two years ago?...he played two weeks ago and looked good against the Eagles scrubs, but didn't play Friday night, which has me wondering if his last chance for the NFL has come and gone, especially as the Browns website has a new article about two other schlubs competing for #2 behind Charlie Frye...who knows, maybe he'll make the practice squad or get signed by another team.

WR Dominique Thompson, St Louis: played two games for the Rams last year, and was on their practice squad the rest of the season, so I don't know if he's got any eligibility for that left...could make what is a very deep WR unit...then again, I haven't heard any news, so I don't know how he's doing.

WR Rich Musinski, New England: has been kicking around the camp grind for a couple of years an item in Patriots Football Weekly recently along the lines of "great hands but too small and slow to separate from dbacks," which probably means sayanora for little Richie...but he plays hard and Belichick likes these project guys to come out of nowhere and make the team, plus the Pats are really thin at WR, so who knows? He does keep playing in the pre-season, and caught a TD Saturday.

FS Darren Sharper, Minnesota: loved him when he played for my favorite team (Green Bay), but hate him now that he plays for my brother's fave...still can't tackle, but has a nose for the ball (9 picks last year, 45 career)...another all-pro season likely.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My first real prediction for the season is...

...that Peyton Manning will get injured. I'm making this prediction because Al Michaels just said that Manning is indestructible. Damn those jinxes!

The NFL is back!

Oh man...I know I haven't posted anything to this blog in so long! Don't worry, with classes starting up again on Wednesday, I'll be posting on here all the time in order to procrastinate from doing work. I've also discovered that 850 & 620 The Blog have linked to this blog (thanks, guys!), so I have added incentive to keep it updated. And finally, I have two other writers posting to this site, and they have classes starting up this week, too. So...this blog will be jam packed with sporting goodness, at least until exams end in December.


The NFL is back! I've been counting the days since last season ended. I'm pleased with the Panthers' performance in their first two games, and after years of badmouthing Keyshawn Johnson, I have to admit that he seems like a good addition to the team. As long as he doesn't cause any distractions, I'm fine with Keyshawn.

Aside from the Panthers, here are the teams I'm looking forward to watching this season:

1) The Dolphins. I'll start by disclosing that my family is from Miami, and I've therefore always been a Miami fan. But at some point in my life, I got bored with watching their mediocrity year after year, especially when I could watch the Panthers instead. The last straw was when my dad, brother, and I sat in the cold and watched the Dolphins squeak out a 10-7 snoozer of a win against the Browns in 2004. Yes, that game was played in Miami. Yes, it was cold. Anyway, since the Dolphins finally realized that Dan Marino retired years ago, they went out and found themselves a decent quarterback. I'm eager to see if Daunte Culpepper can take the Dolphins to the next level. Granted, they no longer have Ricky Williams. It'll be interesting to see if they can compensate for that "loss," too.

2) The Colts. I don't think I have to give much more of an explanation on this one. It's always interesting to watch Peyton Manning. They will be a little bit less interesting to watch because they no longer have David Thornton.

3) The Chargers. Drew Brees is out. Philip Rivers is in. I have to admit I'm excited to see what the former Wolfpack quarterback can do. I hope it's been worth the wait. Speaking of Drew Brees...

4) The Saints. They have Drew Brees. They have Reggie Bush. They don't have Aaron Brooks. This combination should be a recipe for improvement.

5) The Titans. They have Vince Young. Ah, and they also now have David Thornton. I usually have little reason to be excited about the Titans, so these players are key for me. In fact, the last time I really payed attention to the Titans was when Samari Rolle played for them, and that's really only because I like his name. Not a great reason to be interested in a football team.

6) The Texans. They make my list only because because of Mario Williams, another former Wolfpack player. As long as he stays healthy, I'm sure he'll have a great career. I don't think he'll ever get the credit he deserves, though. Too bad defensive ends typically aren't as exciting to watch as running backs.

7) The Steelers. Can Willie Parker have another spectacular season? Can the Steelers succesfully defend their title? Will the commentators spend at least half of each Steelers game talking about Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident? Tune in to find out!

Note that the Cowboys did not make this list. I'm sure I don't have to watch any Cowboys games in order to get the latest T.O. updates. Sheesh.

Since the football preseason is underway, the Sporting News Radio Network has been full of commentary about the NFL. Last Tuesday, Dave Smith went on a tirade about how boring the NFL is and how college football is so much better. And I do mean a tirade. I think he talked about it for an hour. Well, fine. That's his opnion. I do have a few rebuttals in the NFL's defense, however:

1) Dave Smith is based in Los Angeles. L.A. and the NFL don't mix. But there's great college football to be had there. I smell bias. It's the same thing as when I argue that college basketball is better than the NBA. I live in Chapel Hill. I've never lived more than an hour away from Chapel Hill. Of course I'm going to argue that college basketball is better than the NBA.

2) Dave Smith argues that college football is more exciting because every regular season game is like a playoff game. He then turns around and admits that the NFL has a better playoff system, and that college football should scrap the BCS and implement a playoff system. Now, a playoff system wouldn't mean that 6-5 teams could win the National Championship, but it probably does mean that, say, Miami could lose to both Florida State and Florida in the regular season and still win it all. Every regular season game a playoff game, eh?

3) Dave Smith argues that the NFL's clock management/field position game is boring. Sure, it's not the most exciting thing to watch, but I've also seen it in the college game. Maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams. The Triangle isn't exactly a football hotbed.

4) Dave Smith argues that throwing a 3-yard pass on 3rd and 7 is stupid. I can't argue with that one. It is stupid. It drives me crazy. I don't think that's a problem with the NFL, though. I think it's a problem with individual coaches. Some of them don't make the best calls. It's also not a bone-headed play that's confined to the NFL. I've seen college teams run the same stupid play. Again, maybe I'm watching the wrong college teams.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Let's get the Landis facts straight

Good call, Stephanie. Let's address the Floyd Landis doping issue.

My initial reaction to the story, before I knew any of the details was: "How could anyone, after watching Lance Armstrong contstantly having to defend himself, be stupid enough to do such a thing?"

The answer might simply be that he wasn't stupid, and he didn't do anything. Landis's case is not like the Barry Bonds saga, where a player clearly took a synthetic performance enhancing drugs and has been pleading ignorance ever since. Lets get the facts straight, since the media seems to be having trouble doing so.

Floyd Landis did not test positive for:

* steroids.
* abnormally high levels of synthetic testosterone. (As much as I love NPR, they never seem to get the sports stories quite right.)
*abnormally high levels of plain ol' naturally occuring testosterone.

But, he did test positive for having a high testosterone (which is a performance-enhancing substance) to epitestosterone (which is not) ratio. In the cycling world, any ratio greater than 4:1 is considered suspicious. Of course, since we are dealing with ratios, and not actual levels, a ratio greater than 4:1 could mean that Landis's epitestosterone levels were low. If that's the case, having normal testosterone levels would have set off the alarm bells.

You might be asking yourself what threw the ratio off. Good question. Landis's backers claim that the imbalance is natural, and could have been caused by cortisone shots or alcohol (Landis took a shot the night before after his disappointing performance in Stage 16). They also point out that at the time of his amazing Stage 17 comeback, no one thought anything was amiss.

Do I think Landis did anything wrong? I honestly have no clue, but I'd like to think that he's smart enough to stay away from the doping scene. It's easy now to pounce on any sports figure who might possible have taken performance-enhancing substances. It seems that after years of turning a blind eye to what was obviously going on in baseball (I still can't figure out why so many people were so shocked when that story broke--I had been waiting for Bonds and McGwire to get caught for years), there is now a tendency to jump on anyone who might have done something wrong.

Had Landis tested positive for steroids or high levels of synthetic testosterone, I'd jump on that bandwagon. And even though he didn't, I still have to admit that having the high ratio doesn't sound good. The 4:1 ratio isn't arbitrary, and there are good reasons to think that anything over 4:1 means an athlete cheated. And if Landis did in fact cheat, I might stop paying attention to the Tour de France for a few years.

For the moment, however, I'll wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

There have been no new posts because...

For those of you who actually read this blog, I apologize for the absence. The reason is twofold:

1) I went to the beach and actually spent my time doing beachy things. AND I played golf ( was a par 3 pitch and putt). By the way, I'm not good at golf. At all. For those of you who have never played golf and complain that it looks easy when you watch Tiger Woods play, go try it out. Anyway, the point is, I wasn't blogging during that time.

2) It's summer. There's not much to write about. I'm sure the baseball fans are all mad at me now. I could write about the ongoing A-Rod saga, but I'm not. You know me, I like the football and the basketball more than the baseball.

So with that having been said, here's my brief two-cents worth on those sports:

1) Kevin Love has decided to attend UCLA instead of UNC. I'm not sure whether or not I should be upset about that, since UNC seems to have a good list of incoming recruits with or without him. Part of Love's reasoning for going to UCLA is that Ben Howland had been recruiting him since eighth grade. I know it's not at all uncommon, but it still kind of shocks me when I hear that players get recruited that young. I know no one was recruiting me to go to their college when I was in eighth grade, for athletics or anything else. Shoot, I was still selling Girl Scout cookies in the eighth grade. By the way, refrigerating the Tagalongs makes them all the more delicious.

2) UNC (and the rest of the ACC's North Carolina teams, for that matter) is expected to have a lousy football season. Shocking. Next.

3) The ACC has devised a hurricane rescheduling plan, meaning you can't avoid getting trampled by Miami, FSU, and VT due to tropical disasters. Put away your rain sticks.

4) If you listen to the hype, Reggie Bush is threatening to sit out the entire season and re-enter the draft if the Saints don't offer him more money. If you listen to calmer voices, Bush has considered the above idea but probably won't do it. Good for him. His image would suffer greatly, especially since he would be walking out on New Orleans. Perhaps unfair, but true.

Okay folks, until next time.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

American Soccer: An incomplete response to the Sports Chic

First of all the headbutt by Zidane was stupid, immature, may have gave the game to those grass-diving pansies the Italians, and absolutely hilarious. I really want to know what set Zidane off because there is no way someone jogging away from the play would just turn around and head butt another man in the chest for no reason. Right?

Anyway, for my first post on the Sports Chic I just wanted to give an answer to the Chic's five gripes below.

1) The stretcher factor. From what I understand, if you lay down for a while they bring out the stretcher. Not to necessarily because the player needs it, but just to get the player off the field as fast as possible regardless of what the injury is.

2) The "no one can touch anyone" factor. This World Cup had some terrible officiating. Sometimes you couldn't even breath on an opposing player without the ref calling a foul (of course the diving didn't help either). Other times, people could be slamming people to the turf and nothing would happen. The gripe shouldn't be the crazy non-fouls but the inconsistent officiating.

3) The *yawn* factor. Well, the net is huge but the holes they've got to shoot it through are pretty small. Can't be easy to shoot a goal while surrounded by defenders and trying to find a spot the goalie can't get to easily. Your alternatives are shooting it through everybody from the outside or trying to get a perfect pass to a perfectly placed defender in order to get the goalie out of position. Combine that with the difficulty of getting a shot at all and relatively few rebounds it's pretty damn hard to get a score in soccer.

4) The "no golden goal" factor. Well if there was a golden goal rule people would complain that it takes away any chance for the other team to come back in the allotted play time. One can argue that you get a set amount of time to prove yourself out on the field and that time should be played. Probably less annoying than sudden death in the NFL since both teams get their chances, but it's the same idea.

Also, having a golden goal tends to make each team become more defensive minded, not attacking for fear of losing on a quick counter attack. Ironically, this means that more games end up going to PKs because there's less scoring in the overtime periods. I can't imagine anyone wants that.

5) The anti-climactic factor. Yep, I hate games decided by PKs too. It's more shocking to see someone miss a PK than hit it. But after 120 minutes, I can't imagine another way to decide the game.

American Soccer: At least we didn't headbutt anyone

We Americans love the violence of American football. One of my problems with soccer is that everytime a guy trips, 5 doctors and a stretcher comes onto the field. Maybe if our team started headbutting people, Americans would get excited and pay attention.

I have to say, I've seen a lot of violence stupid penalties/stupid fouls in American sports. Kicking, punching, biting, headbutting someone else's head, you name it. Today, however, might be the first time I've seen someone headbutt someone else's chest. Not only that, the culprit, Zinedine Zidane, was in the last game of his career and heading toward overtime in one of his country's biggest games.

So needless to say I'm a bit surprised by his decision to pick up a red card at such an inopportune time. I did laugh my ass off, though.

Now, Jonathan, here are my problems with watching soccer, at least at the international level. I know it's sacreligious. I'll go ahead and admit that I played soccer for years and loved it. And no, it doesn't explain why I don't pay attention to soccer at any time other than the World Cup. I've made my point about priorities before. I can only pay attention to so many sports at one time, and soccer hasn't given me much of a reason to pay attention.

Here we gripes with watching World Cup soccer:

1) The stretcher factor: The guy tripped and he needs a stretcher? Give me a break! Even I'm not that big of a wuss, and I'm a pretty big wuss.

2) The "no one can touch anyone" factor: I know there's been discussion about the number of yellow and red cards during this World Cup. No kidding. It's a contact sport. People fall down. Get over it and let the guys play the game.

3) The *yawn* factor: How many World Cup games did I watch where teams needed overtime or penalty kicks to win? My two cents: if the teams play for two hours and can't score, they should both lose. The net's frickin' huge. Why can't they score?

4) The "no golden goal" factor: Once we're in the overtime period, the first goal doesn't win? Why? It's not exactly a fast-paced, high-scoring game. It's not like American football where teams get alternating possessions. Having said that, the NFL STILL has the "golden goal" rule. Why? Because they realize it's time to end the game!

5) The anti-climactic factor: And so then, after all that...90 minutes of regulation and another 30 minutes of overtime where the first goal doesn't win so we're forced to keep watching...the game ends on penalty kicks that a 5-year-old could make? Not to sound like a broken record, but the net's frickin' huge. Admittedly, I did see a game where one of the teams managed to miss most of their shots. But what are the odds of that, really? If someone tell me that I'm wrong, and that teams do not usually make their penalty kicks, I'll actually be happy. Can't we back the guys up a few yards or something?

There. Now I sound like a stupid American. And proud of it.

American Soccer: PUT UP OR SHUT UP

According to the FIFA world rankings, the United States ranks as the 5th best soccer nation in the world out of 200 countries. After watching the 2006 World Cup, I wonder how countries such as Portugal, France, Italy, and Germany; the countries who made up the final four teams in the tournament ended up behind the United States. After watching all of these teams play, it became quite obvious that the skill was there for the United States, but a team wasn’t. I am among the people who believe that the United States needs a new coach. No offense to Bruce Arena, he has done a fine job making the USA look like a contender, but that’s as far as he has gotten. The United States seems to enter and leave tournaments every four years with the same expectations. Unfortunately, they never reach them. After a horrible outing in 1998, America managed to reach the round of 8 in 2002 before losing to Germany. This year was supposed to be even better, but another early exit in group play ensued. I don’t want to place all the blame on Coach Arena. Talent doesn’t win games when talent doesn’t work hard… and honestly, the US looked pretty lazy in this year’s tournament. However, I don’t want to put all the blame on the players either. For right now I will call it 25% coach, and 35% players. That leaves 40%. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, I’m placing the remaining blame on the rest of America. It’s come to the point where I believe that the American team doesn’t under-perform, causing us not to care. Alas, I believe it is exactly the opposite. The American public does not care, therefore the American team under-performs. It is hard to find a soccer fan in American until the World Cup comes around. Suddenly everybody is a soccer fan and an expert. I don’t care for the MLS and I don’t have the proper channels to watch the English Premier League, but I at least care enough to watch qualifying and friendly matches when they come on television in years not hosting the tournament. I feel I am in a minority who at least care to do this. It also doesn’t help that America’s best athletes don’t care either. America’s best athletes become basketball, football, and baseball players. Many of them played soccer as youths, but didn’t care enough to continue on with the world’s most popular game. If the fans don’t care, and the athletes don’t care… well I guess we are just an apathetic nation. If the American public wants their soccer team to be as good as their world ranking, it’s time to start caring, it’s time to start paying attention, and yes it is time to put up or shut up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Garnett to Chicago? That's a lot of bull.

It's not a new topic, but since it made it's way onto PTI this afternoon, it seems to be getting more attention than usual:

1) Will the T-wolves trade Kevin Garnett? (Minnesota fans have been thinking about it longer than I've been paying attention.)

and if so...

2) Will he go to Chicago?

My two cents worth: not if there's any brainpower in the Bulls' management office. Come on, Garnett's a good player, but unless Minnesota is looking to get rid of him by any means necessary (read: Lakers dealing Shaq, or perhaps more impressively, the Magic dealing Stevie Franchise...your vote), Chicago will have to deal too much young talent in exchange for a 10-year veteran who hasn't successfully lead a team through the playoffs. Bottom line: it's not a fair trade.

Now...if we tell the same story...

...and take out Minnesota and Garnett...

...and replace them with Cleveland and LeBron or Miami and Dwyane Wade...

...then we've got a deal that's more fair.

But as that's not the rumor in question (nor will it be), let's get back to the matter at hand.

Will the T-wolves trade Garnett? Only if they can find a team that's willing to trade a lot of talent in return. My guess is that he stays in Minnesota. And definitely don't look for him in Chicago.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

NCAA Tournament stays at 65

Potentially ending the fun water cooler arguments of the past week or so, the men's and women's basketball committees turned down the National Association of Basketball Coaches proposal to expand the NCAA Tournament to 128 teams.

Big shock there, as it seems that the only people who liked the idea were the members of the NABC. I attempted to outline some reasons that the expansion might be a good thing, only to have a friend of mine exclaim, "I can't believe you'd say anything in favor of that proposal. Oh, and saying it would allow more coaches to keep their jobs is not a legitimate argument."

Well, yeah, it probably wasn't the best argument on the list. If my friend was a coach, however, he'd probably think it was a great idea.
Funny how that works.

There is one lingering argument in favor of expansion that really irks me. The George Mason argument. It's plastered all over the ESPN article declaring the expansion idea dead, at least for the moment. Of all the arguments I heard in favor of expansion, that's the one that made the least sense to me.

I admit, I thought George Mason's run was great. Hell, if you're going to upset UNC in the second round, you might as well get to the Final Four. But are the coaches saying that George Mason's run was so unique that they proved that 63 more teams deserve to get in? Doesn't the fact that they got into the field of 65 prove that they were worthy of a chance to make a Final Four run? Did they not join an already impressive list of teams who won more games than everyone expected them to? Has everyone forgotten that Gonzaga built its reputation by doing just that? Do you think either George Mason or Gonzaga would have made runs as the 128th ranked team in the tournament?

So please. Stop with the George Mason argument. I think it actually insults George Mason more than it defends it.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


As you know, I'm a huge Tar Heel basketball fan. I'm watching the NBA Draft and waiting for the second round. If any Tar Heels get drafted, it will be David Noel...and he's not going in the first round. To add excitement to the first round, I've been predicting that each team will draft Noel. I figured if any team actually did it, it would be the Knicks. THE KNICKS! What other team would make such a silly move with their first round pick?

Did the Knicks take Noel? HELL NO! They took South Carolina's Renaldo Balkman! RENALDO BALKMAN!

One of NBA Draft talking heads: He's been described as a combination of Rodman and Artest.
Sports Chic: Which aspects of Rodman and Artest? That could be disastrous.

They could have at least gotten some dunks out of Noel. How insulting.

Monday, June 26, 2006

New Sports Chic Bloggers | UNC Loses the CWS | Tantrums

I'm adding more people to the Sports Chic team! Say hello to Jonathan Howard and Dan. Yes, they are male. Yet they have still agreed to contribute to a completely pink blog. They're quite manly, I must say. Welcome, guys!


Unfortunately, last night's wish that the UNC baseball team would do a better job of fielding did not completely come true. To be fair, they did field better than the night before for most of the game. But then they lost the series on what should have been a routune out at first base. I'm proud of the guys for making it as far as they did, and I don't want to criticize them too much. I will say, however, that if such a mistake had been made during the finals of basketball's NCAA Tournament (Chris Webber 1993, anyone?), the team would never hear the end of it.


Lastly for the night, the Asheville Tourists manager succeeded in throwing a bigger tantrum than I tend to throw when UNC is losing a basketball game. Yup, he should be suspended for quite awhile. Nope, not a good role model for the 18-year-old players. But entertaining to watch on SportsCenter? Hell yes. Gotta love it when your home state makes the news in such fashion.

More on a proposed expanded NCAA Tournament field

In my last post, I gave a brief gloss-over about why an expanded NCAA Tournament field doesn't sound so bad. I'd now like to expand on the pros and cons of the proposal (which, by the way, is merely a proposal. Don't look for 128 teams to be in the tournament next season). It's just a few points that I think NCAA officials should ponder if and when they seriously consider expansion:

Here's some possible good points for expansion:

1. Hey, why not? It only adds a week to the tournament. After the initial round, we're back down to 64, like usual. It would give more teams exposure and money, similar to college football's bowl system where most of the bowls don't count for anything, but everyone goes home happy.

2. It could give more deserving mid-major teams a chance to go to The Dance. The days of going 27-3 and missing the tournament because no one cares about your conference and/or your RPI and SOS wasn't too strong could be over.

3. It would enable more coaches to keep their jobs. See point #1 above.

And now some possible downfalls:

1. Would it really give more mid-major schools a chance to go to The Dance, or would it merely allow more mediocre ACC, Big East, SEC, etc., teams to get in?

2. More games mean more chances for the heavyweights to slip up and lose a game to a team they shouldn't lose to. Granted, that can happen in the tournament as it is now (no offense to the Weber State fans who are still celebrating their 1997 tournament victory over the Heels, but I think in a seven game series, UNC would have come out on top).

3. Whereas I understand where the magic number 128 came from (64x2, which seems like the logical way to expand), it just seems rather excessive. I understand that every year, some deserving teams get left at home. But is doubling the field really the answer? I think if the NCAA decides to include more teams, it would need to consider reformatting the tournament altogether. And THAT is something I don't see happening anytime in the near future.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this topic if it stays in the news...

Sunday, June 25, 2006

5 More Years! | UNC in the CWS | NCAA Tournament expansion? | GO HEAT!

Good news! Less than a week after winning the Stanley Cup, the Carolina Hurricanes locked up 5-year contract extensions for coach Peter Laviolette and captain Rod Brind'Amour. I didn't realize Brind'Amour planned to play for five more years (he's currently 35), but I'm not going to complain. I'm comforted by these signings, since it's well-known that several Hurricanes players, including Doug Weight, Martin Gerber and Glen Wesley, are probably not going to return to the team. Edmonton is also going to lose at least one key player, as Chris Pronger has requested a trade to a team that's anywhere further south from the Arctic Circle.

I want the Hurricanes to keep as many players as they can, but wish the best to the guys who are leaving. I think after watching the UNC basketball team lose its entire starting lineup after winning the NCAA championship in 2005, I can handle pretty much anything. Plus, a little change can't hurt, as we learned during the 2002-2003 season after the 'Canes made it to the Stanley Cup finals the previous season.


I certainly can't complain about UNC's performance in the College World Series. Until tonight, they were undefeated. I have to admit that I'm disappointed by tonight's performance, though. Carrying a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning, the Heels looked confident and ready to bring a championship back to Chapel Hill. This confidence somehow translated into them throwing their pitching and fielding fundamentals out the window, as they allowed 7 runs in the bottom of the fourth and ended up losing the game 11-7.

Here's to a good night's rest and some extra fielding practice before tomorrow's final game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN 2). As always, GO HEELS!


So, the NCAA is considering expanding the field of 65 to a field of...128? seems a bit excessive, but expanding the field to allow more teams could be good for the tournament for the following reasons:

1. It would end a lot of the bickering amongst coaches, analysts, etc., over teams that supposedly should have gotten into the tournament and didn't, or teams that shouldn't have gotten into the tournament and did.

2. It could end a lot of the annoying "Who's in?/who's out?/who's on the bubble?" talk that starts way too early in the season and culminates in the dilemma described in point #1 above.

The main downside I see to this expansion is that it will cause the tournament to be longer, which will add yet another week to the decreased work productivity that occurs in North Carolina from the time the ACC Tournament begins to the time the last ACC team (well...more like last North Carolina team) is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.

So please, please, don't make the tournament last as long as the NBA playoffs.


Speaking of which...GO HEAT! I've been waiting to celebrate this championship since the team came into existence, but it seemed to get lost in the mix of the Stanley Cup. Since I got to see the Heat play from the very last row of the upper deck at American Airlines Arena in December, I can say that I've seen a championship team play in Miami. Trust me, it was a much better experience than the Browns-Dolphins game I saw in Miami the previous December.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Redneck Hockey | The New York Knicks

First of all, here's what we're not going to talk about. Ozzie Guillen's comments. Why? Because if everyone stops talking about it, it's no longer a story.


Next, hockey. As you should already know, the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup on Monday. I echo Dan Lucas' feelings about hockey. I was a Hurricanes fan before this playoff run, but there have always been other sports (mainly college basketball and the NFL) that have taken priority. But now that the NHL season is over, I keep looking at the picture of Cam Ward, Rod Brind'Amour, and the boys that's decorating the desktop on my iBook. Man, I wish next season would hurry up and start.

You have to excuse us southerners for being slow to catch onto hockey. You see, it's not exactly a southern sport. In this region of the country, ice means one of two things:

1) something you really, really want in the summer.

2) what knocked everyone's power out for days on end in December 2002.

Furthermore, hockey coverage here isn't exactly great. The guys on 850 the Buzz and 620 the Bull do a great job, and we get some games on OLN. I remember following Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins when they made their Stanley Cup runs in the early 1990s. For all I know, that might have been the last time ESPN covered hockey on SportsCenter. When I flipped to see their Stanley Cup coverage following Monday night's Game 7, they were talking about the NBA.

So please forgive us. We do love the hockey. My sunburned head is still recovering from Tuesday's parade around the RBC Center.

In case you missed it, Mike Commodore did finally get his hair cut, raising $15,000 for pediatric cancer research.


Finally, the train wreck officially known as the New York Knickerbockers. I don't really know how to express my comments in words. Good luck, Isiah. You now have the chance to make Larry Brown look stupid by showing him how to successfully coach the players on your roster. Unfortunately, I don't think you can. I've also heard a rumor that Larry Brown could be headed down to Charlotte. If that does in fact happen, I'd like to go ahead and give a big thank you to the Knicks management. But one should never believe rumors, especially since last I checked, the Bobcats still had a coach.


That's right...after months of complaining that blogs are stupid and pointless, I'm jumping on the bandwagon. Not only that, but I'm creating a sports blog, because you know there just aren't enough of them already. So get ready for a female, Tar Heel Born/Tar Heel Bred perspective on football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and hockey. No NASCAR. I promise.