Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Those '72 Dolphins can rest easy

I'm going on record now...the New England Patriots will not go undefeated this season. I've thought this the entire season, actually. Going undefeated is just too hard to do, no matter how good the team. Which is, quite frankly, why it rarely ever happens in sports. Any sport. And as we all know, it's only happened once in the NFL.

The proof? Indianapolis' loss to San Diego. New England's win over the Colts during week 9 was supposed to be proof that the Patriots were invincible...they played a less-than-spectacular game against another undefeated team that clearly played better...and still won. But then the Colts turned around and lost to an up-and-down Chargers team that, on paper, the Colts should have had no problem beating. But paper doesn't play the games, and Peyton Manning threw an unprecedented (for Peyton Manning, anyway) 6 interceptions. And now the Colts have gone from being perhaps the best team in the NFL to, at best, the third best team.

More proof? The St. Louis Rams beating the New Orleans Saints. Granted, like San Diego, New Orleans is another team that can't seem to decide whether or not it wants to be good. But St. Louis? Come on, who predicted that one?

The final proof is last December, when the Miami Dolphins beat the Patriots in a game that, again, on paper, Miami had no business winning. But it was the end of the season, and by that point, neither team had anything to lose.

It'd be funny if Miami beat a still-undefeated Patriots on December 23, ruining the Pats chances at a perfect season, assuring the '07 Dolphins at least one win, and preserving the '72 Dolphins champagne ceremony. But I'm not really counting on it. And it might be a moot point, anyway, as New England has to play Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore before the Miami match-up. Call me crazy, but I think the '72 Dolphins can sleep soundly knowing their accomplishment of being the only undefeated NFL team will remain intact.

I guess they were due

What? A Carolina-State game nearing the end of the fourth quarter with Carolina's defense on a goal-line stance? Like that's never happened before...except this time State actually made its way into the end zone. Gah.

Okay, phantom offsides call or no, the better team did win. Which I suppose makes up for last year, when Carolina beat the snot out of State (by the end of the game, I actually felt kind of bad for the State fans that had shown up at Kenan Stadium). And for all of the other games that Carolina won in the past ten years, causing State fans to scream about the injustice of missed/botched/otherwise unfair calls.

It was fun to see Carolina climb back into the game, though. I mean, hell, if Carolina did keep State out of the end zone, it probably would have assured the Tar Heels a win in a game that looked like an easy Pack win half-way through the first quarter.

It's funny...I was just thinking that what has bothered me about the Tar Heels all season (other than the ever-increasing number of interceptions) is the defense's ability to make otherwise so-so running backs look like All-American candidates. Cedric Peerman (UVa)? 186 rushing yards. Jamelle Eugene (NCSU)? 159 rushing yards. But as I looked through the season's statistics, I realized that those are the only two players to have posted ridiculous rushing numbers. Maybe I'm combining the Tar Heels' efforts with those of the Carolina Panthers' defense. Man, this has been a hard football season for someone who roots for the Tar Heels, the Panthers, and (perish the thought) the Miami Dolphins.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm Just Going to Rant Awhile Here...

I've lost my voice. It's amazing how you don't realize how essential your voice is until you can't use it. Especially when your co-workers decide to take the opportunity to pick on you when you can't say anything back. So now I've sat at home for the past day and a half, which hasn't been too bad since I don't make a habit of talking to myself out loud. What's more annoying is that I've also lost my sense of taste. This all may or may not have to do with the medication I've been taking for the poison ivy I got a few weeks ago, which thankfully is now pretty much gone. So as you can probably tell, I'm not a fun person to talk to at the moment, and wouldn't be even if I could actually talk.

So in the name of complaining, here are my sports-related gripes of the day:

1) Not that anyone feels sorry for me, but my fantasy team didn't win last week. They tied, leaving me at 7-0-1 for the season. The culprit is Brett Favre, who threw that spectacular touchdown pass in overtime against Denver to Greg Jennings instead of Donald Driver.

2) Until Kobe Bryant has actually left the Lakers for another team, I don't want to hear anymore speculations about where he is going to play. The same goes for Alex Rodriguez. Just tell me when the deals are done.

3) I'm currently watching PTI, where they are discussing the fact that the Dolphins are trying to pay celebrities to attend games. The assumption here seems to be that no one wants to attend Dolphins games because they are a horrible 0-7. Which is a valid point. But hell, the Dolphins have been awful for years now, and the one game I attended in Miami was arguably the worst sporting event I have ever attended (10-7 Dolphins win against Cleveland. It was cold, even though we were in Miami, and we just wanted someone to win in regulation so we wouldn't have to stay for overtime). So I would really encourage the Dolphins front office to find good players to play on the field instead of celebrities to fill the stands. Thanks!

4) There is no such thing as running up the score in pro football. I guess I'm biased, though, as Tom Brady is my starting quarterback. But let's think about it: these guys are getting paid lots of money to do the best job that they can. So, 1) a team should be able to score as many points as they can without being questioned, and 2) the other team should, in theory, be able to prevent the first team from scoring that many points in the first place. Right?

5) Barry Bonds needs to lose his voice.

I'm sure there will be more to come...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fantasy Football Week 5: That was almost a disastrous decision

Or better titled: I'm starting Romo and T.O. and Nick Folk against Buffalo. How can I go wrong?

Which, really, I'm still asking myself. Starting that trio against Buffalo should have been the best plan ever, and yet it took Folk's last second (and for that matter, second) 53-yard field goal for me to win my fantasy matchup. The one week I decided to start Romo over Brady, and Romo nearly self-destructed with five interceptions and a fumble. Brady, of course, had his usual near-perfect game. This is what I get for taunting my friend who wanted me to trade Romo to him for Donovan McNabb.

I like Romo, though. One of the post-game interviews with him went something like this:

Reporter: How were you able to pull yourself together after you threw those four interceptions in the first half?

Romo: I had four interceptions in the first half?

Reporter: Yes. Well, actually, you had five overall, but only four in the first half.

Romo: Oh, I thought I had like seven in the first half.

Yes, the usually dismal Buffalo defense had five interceptions, two of which they ran back for touchdowns, and a fumble recovery. Special teams ran in another touchdown. Which means that the Buffalo offense, even with "the media drools all over me" Trent Edwards, mustered a mere three points. My husband was quite infuriated when he realized that he would have won his fantasy matchup had he started Buffalo's defense over Chicago's defense. Go figure.

Vinny Testaverde, yeah...

...He's the best quarterback in the American Football Conference Eastern Division...

Okay, so the song is a little outdated, but with the way David Carr has looked thus far this season, I might be willing to sing it loudly and proudly.

I'm also beginning to think that Carr likes getting sacked, because, well, he gets sacked all the time. Sometimes he gets sacked because the line doesn't protect him well enough, and sometimes he gets sacked for reasons that I haven't quite figured out. I applauded the Panthers when they acquired Carr during the off-season, figuring that his lackluster performance in Houston was due to the fact that he was, well, playing for Houston. But seeing as how Houston doesn't look quite so horrible with Matt Schaub, and Carr has not looked significantly better playing for Carolina, I'm beginning to think that I should stop making excuses for him.

So...Vinny Testaverde, yeah...

Sing it!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

UNC v. Miami: Everyone takes the blame

I love the unwritten understanding amongst sports fans that each person--no matter how removed from the playing field--has the ability to affect the outcome of games. It's something that is acknowledged by seemingly all sports fans, and not understood at all by people who couldn't care less about sports.

Yesterday's UNC-Miami game played at Kenan Stadium is a perfect example. UNC was leading 27-0 at halftime after playing a nearly flawless first half. Then, disaster struck. My brother and his girlfriend moved down from their seats in Section 209 to sit with me and my husband in Section 112. The daugther of the people sitting next to me came over from the student section to sit with her parents. I moved down one row so I could sit next to my husband instead of behind him. And boom. 27-0 turned into 27-20. Really fast. So, my brother and his girlfriend moved back to Section 209. The other girl moved back to the student section. I moved up one row and sat behind my husband. Crisis averted, we won 33-27. So you can clearly see how the people in my section were responsible for this near collapse, only to readjust so UNC could pull out the victory.

Right. It sounds oh so ludicrous. But almost everyone I talked to after the game had their own story about how they were responsible for what had happened. I love sports fans.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It would have been nice...

...to have been able to watch the Carolina Hurricanes' season opener on TV. But hey, whatever.

Someone explain Notre Dame's troubles to me, please.

We all know that Notre Dame football is awful this year. They've started their season 0-5, a program first. Experts think it's pretty much a given that they'll go at least 0-8 before seeing their first win, and many think it's possible that they'll go 0-12. It's a common story for, say, Duke, but at this point, it seems entirely likely that Duke will beat them when they play on November 17.

How did the Fighting Irish come to hit rock bottom? I've discussed Carolina's disastrous 8-20 baketball season on this blog before. I know about the perfect storm of circumstances that brought about that challenging year: Gutheridge had done a poor job recruiting because everyone knew he was going to retire; Doherty then took over a mediocre team who didn't like his interpersonal skills. And voila...you got the season that every Tar Heel fan loves to sweep under the carpet and every Duke and NCSU fan loves to rehash every chance they get.

But are those the circumstances surrounding Notre Dame? Weiss is in his third year as head coach, is coming off a 10-3 season with a Sugar Bowl appearance (albeit a loss), and has a strong recruiting class coming in next year. Compare to UNC: the 8-20 year was in Doherty's second year as coach, coming off a 26-7 season (albeit with a disappointing second half of the season and a second round loss in the NCAA tournament), and with a great recruiting class coming in.

Hey, I don't know much about Notre Dame football, so I'm asking someone to please explain to me how this is happening. Inquiring minds want to know.

No, I'm not trading Romo. Or Brady.

Still undefeated for the time being. I got an email from my Fantasy League informing me that another manager had proposed a trade:

Donovan McNabb and Chris Cooley for Tony Romo. Or if I couldn't part with Romo, Tom Brady.

I had to tell him that:

1) Donovan McNabb had been on my "no draft list" before the season started,


2) his performance against the New York Football Giants didn't exactly make me rethink that decision,


3) Chris Cooley doesn't sweeten the deal as I already have Kellen Winslow and Donald Driver,


4) giving him Romo or Brady would just mean that he would beat me with whichever one I parted with the week that I play him.

So, as you have probably already figured out, I rejected the trade.

But his proposal has made me wonder about what I should do with Romo on a weekly basis. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to get rid of him, but it seems like an awful waste to bench him the entire season except for New England's bye week. What to do, what to do? It might end in a coin toss this weekend.

I also realized that I have managed to build a bench that can outperform my starters. With the exception of Romo, both of my defenses, and Shayne Graham, I have acquired my entire bench off of waivers since Week 2. I think I did a good job, but it makes my decision-making tougher.

Decisions that will not end in coin tosses are as follows:

1) Cedric Benson: benched. I don't think I need to explain this one.

2) Sammy Morris: starting. I don't think I need to explain this one, either.

3) T.O.: starting, as usual, although it amazes (and frustrates) me that Dallas scored 35 points and T.O. racked up an anemic 33 yards. But HEY, I hear he threw an amazing block enabling Patrick Crayton to score. More on Crayton in a minute...

4) Joe Jurevicius: benched, as usual, although in retrospect, I should have started him over T.O. last week.

Decisions that probably will not end in coin tosses but who knows:

1) Donald Driver: benched. Green Bay's playing against Chicago, who still concerns me despite their poorer than expected performance thus far this season. Ah, expectations.

2) Shaun McDonald: starting. He's playing against Washington, and Detroit loves to throw.

Now back to Crayton...based on last Sunday's performance, 31,055 Yahoo! Fantasy Football managers added him to their teams this week. This reminds me of a few years ago when seemingly every other manager added DeShaun Foster to their teams after he had one great game. Being an avid Panthers follower, I could have told all of them that the move was probably futile, seeing as how Foster is dreadfully inconsistent. And I'm sure many of them figured that out a week or two later, and perhaps ended up dropping him in the end. Now, I'm not saying that Crayton is the same type of player as Foster, but it does surprise me that so many people are willing to pick a guy up after one good game.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fantasy Football: Week 3 Redux

Alrighty, my team is now the only undefeated team in my league. Which I think is cool, although it makes me think that I'm in for a rude awakening sometime soon. LT (15 points) definitely did better than last week, although he still isn't producing like he has in the past. I should have started Shaun McDonald (13 points) over Jerricho Cotchery (5 points) and Sammy Morris (10 points) over Cedric Benson (7 points--he had 10 points until he fumbled). Seattle's D (15 points) performed better than Green Bay's D (7 points), and Nick Folk (11 points) kicked his way to more points than did Shayne Graham (8 points). But as my opponent scored a mere 36 points (they started Marc Bulger (-1 points) and left Ronnie Brown (40 points) on the bench--doh!), it really didn't matter.

Notes from Week 3:

That Jake Delhomme (15 points)-Steve Smith (1 point) combo I raved about last week? Doesn't work so well when Delhomme is injured and Smith drops passes. David Carr, anyone?

I'm really glad my team played against Brian Westbrook in Week 2 (15 points) and not Week 3 (40 points). I would have lost big.

As mentioned before, I'm glad my Week 3 opponent graciously overlooked Ronnie Brown (40 points) sitting so nicely on the bench.

I can't say I ever paid attention to Kevin Curtis (40 points) until this past Sunday.

Along with LT, Philip Rivers and the entire San Diego team looked much better. Speaking of which...

...did anyone expect Green Bay to be good this year? Not me. I guess they traded fortunes with New Orleans.

Moves for Week 4:

Not many. Folk is gettting kicking duties this weekend. I dropped the injured Matt Spaeth and added Donald Lee (actually, I first added Bubba Franks, and then realized he probably wasn't going to play. Note to self to read the player reports before making moves). I'll start Lee if Kellen Winslow doesn't play. McDonald will start over Cotchery if Cotchery doesn't play, but since Detroit's playing Chicago and the Jets are playing Buffalo, I'm hoping Jerricho will be a go. I'm keeping Green Bay's defense in against the Vikings.

For those of you wondering why I'm not writing about Tar Heel football, it's because I don't have that much to say. The most conversation generated thus far this season has been about the now-infamous reviewed field goal. Now every time someone kicks a field goal, I yell, "Review it!" Note: I can really be an obnoxious person sometimes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fantasy Football: Where's LT?

After two weeks of fantasy football, my team is 2-0 and in first place in my league by a whole three points (230 points). This past Sunday's studs? Tom Brady (26 points), Jerricho Cotchery (16 points), and Kellen Winslow (16 points). They scored enough points to make up for the fact that LT did, well, almost nothing (5 points), and Seattle's defense also did, well, almost nothing (3 points). I ended up winning my match-up by a mere seven points because Brian Westbrook would not stop scoring points (15 points, just enough to make me sweat since I had thought that I had a comfortable lead going into the Monday night Eagles-Redskins game).

This scare made me take a closer look at my 1) defense and 2) my woeful bench. The Packers "D" is in, Seattle's is out. Brandon Jackson, Drew Bennett, Matt Jones, Chris Baker, and Dave Rayner? Waivers. Sammy Morris, Shaun McDonald, Joe Jurevicius, Matt Spaeth, and Nick Folk? Welcome to my bench.

Interesting observations:

1) Jake Delhomme (55 points) outscored Peyton Manning (47 points). But my husband still isn't starting Jake over Peyton.

2) I'd love to have the Jake Delhomme (55 points)-Steve Smith (50 points) duo on my team. I also wish the rest of the Panthers would step it up as well.

3) This Fantasy Football thing is way addictive.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 2 Fantasy Football Decisions

I mentioned two things in my last blog that I am now having to revisit:

1) Cedric Benson. After last week's disappointing performance, I seriously considered picking up another starting RB. But here's what I figure will happen: if I get rid of him, he'll have a breakout week this Sunday. So alas, I'm keeping him and starting him again.

2) Tom Brady and Tony Romor. I stated that I wasn't going to start Romo over Brady, even though Romo had fantastic numbers last week. And I'm still not going to start Romo over Brady. But Patriot-gate has me worried: are Brady's numbers going to go down if the Pats no longer know the defensive plays in advance? Argh. We'll have to wait and see. Who knows, maybe Romo will be starting after a few weeks.

Quote of the week: "The Michigan Wolverweenies better win big this weekend, because they're bringing Appalachian State's strength of schedule down." --caller on "Prime Time with the Pack Man"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fantasy Football/How good is App?/Wrigley Field

Okay, Week 1 of Fantasy Football is nearly over. I only have one player playing right now, and it's my kicker, so I don't plan on racking up that many more points.

Right now I'm sitting at 109 points. My biggest lesson of the weekend: I should have started Tom Brady over Tony Romo. Who would've picked that one? Will I put Romo in over Brady next week? No. But then again I'm hard headed.

I lucked out in my league and got the #1 draft pick, which means I picked up Tom Brady, LaDanian Tomlinson, and T.O. I also got Donald Driver, Jerricho Cotchery, Kellen Winslow, and, um, Cedric Benson, who I shouldn't have started in front of Brandon Jackson.

So at the moment I can't complain. I just wish the folks at Yahoo! would do their jobs and update point totals for the Ravens-Bengals game. We're all still sitting at 0 although the score is 9-7. Oh well.

I was in Chicago last weekend when App beat Michigan. Oh man, were the Michigan fans in Wrigleyville easy to pick on! They were none too pleased when I told them that the people at App are a bunch of hippie pot heads.

Quote: "You mean we were beaten by a bunch of hippie pot heads?"

So everyone catches (don't call it) Division I-AA fever, and the AP even decides that (don't call it) Division I-AA teams can receive votes in their poll. And hey, why not? Sure, it's a lot like comparing apples to oranges, and it's unlikely that any (don't call it) Division I-AA team will ever make it into the AP poll for any more than a week or two at a time, but it's fun to know that they can can get in there. I mean, if Duke's football team is allowed to receive votes, (don't call it) Division I-AA teams should be able to as well.

Granted, Oregon's thumping of Michigan at the Big House makes me wonder why App couldn't beat the Wolverines by more than 2 points. But I guess I'm being picky.

Speaking of Wrigleyville, I had the opportunity to go to a Cubs game while I was in Chicago. Here are a few facts about Wrigley Field that everyone already knows, but I'm going to take the time to point them out anyway:

1) It's windy there. Especially when you're sitting at the top of your section by the fence, and that little bit of wind is squeezing through just to chill you to the bone. Even in August.

2) It's possible to end up with a seat behind a pole that's next to impossible to see around. I did not have such a seat, but the poles do prevent you from seeing plays in the outfield every now and again.

3) Milwaukee is only a few hours from Chicago, so lots of Milwaukee fans come down for Brewers-Cubs games. They cheer loudly. Cubs fans get upset.

4) There are restrooms on the upper levels, but they're easy to miss. Don't be surprised if you end up going to the restroom and getting food all the way at the bottom of the ramp.

5) All in all: Priceless.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some People. Take The Joy. Out of Everything.

I don't think it takes a super-attentive sports fan to figure out that sports have been, well, not much fun this summer. We had to listen to the minute-to-minute updates regarding whether or not Bud Selig would be in attendance when Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. We had to listen to all of the controversy surrounding the fact that Bonds was about to hit his 756th home run. We had to endure Denmark's Michael Rasmussen's dismissal from the Tour de France. Then there was Michael Vick. Then there was there was Tim Donaghy. Sheesh. I have co-workers who simply do not understand the point of watching sports, and lately, I don't think there's much to say to convince them otherwise.

Ah, but there's Tiger Woods! He won the PGA Championship on Sunday, inching him closer to breaking Jack Nicklaus's record for major victories. This win was just the story the sporting world needed. Clean-cut Tiger, winning his thirteenth major in front of his wife and baby daughter.

But of course, some people must ruin everything. Take ESPN's Josh Elliott, who announced on Mike & Mike in the Morning that people might begin to speculate that Tiger himself has done steroids. Gah. This is what happens when people have to talk on the radio for hours at a time and have to say, well, anything, to avoid dead air. I mean, Josh might be right. People might begin to wonder whether or not Tiger has really obtained his success by lots of practice as opposed less legitimate means. But right now there is absolutely no reason to think that that's the case. So can we just enjoy one untainted sport for the moment? If there suddenly becomes evidence of steroids in golf, then let's talk. But let's just have...one...week...of..fun...thinking that someone has accomplished something legitimately, and that he won't be indicted or arrested anytime soon.

Also, I am going to be playing Fantasy Football for the first time this season. I've sworn it off for years because I want to enjoy watching the games without worrying about my players. I'll keep everyone updated on my progress.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mike Bacsik is now a trivia answer

Michael J. Bacsik to be exact. In case you missed it, the Washington Nationals pitcher gave up Homer #756 to Barry Bonds. Despite the fact that everyone knew he was going to break the record any day now, it was still easy to miss because Time Warner Cable doesn't carry MASN, which has the rights to all Nationals games. So in order to see the historic homer, you had to watch the ESPN News feed on ESPN2 and wait for them to cut in with Bonds' at bats. So he hit the homer, and then the hooplah began.

The game stopped. Hank Aaron came on the jumbotron screen and gave a speech. Bonds made a speech. There were fireworks. All during the bottom of the 5th inning. Since I don't have MASN, I currently have no idea whether or not the game has restarted. Crazy.

Now, are sports fans going to move on to other discussions, or are they going to continue the steroids debate? I think this question is, in a way, more interesting than the fact he broke the home run record. That was inevitable. Does that discussion now stop? Are we all going to forget about the controversy and move on to preseason football?

Whatever you decide to talk about, remember Mike Bacsik. It will pay off for you one day.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sports or Beach?

I just got back from a week in Maui. There's beautiful beaches and mountains, and countless places for great swimming, snorkeling, surfing and windsurfing, hiking, etc. I'll have the pictures available sometime in the near future.

Anyway, being in Maui and all, I didn't pay as much attention to the sports world as I usually would. As in, I didn't completely ignore the fact that Carolina was playing in the CWS, or that the NBA draft was taking place, or that there was some good tennis being played at Wimbledon, but I didn't sit glued to my TV, either. Now, there wasn't a ton of nightlife in the area where I was staying (which was perfectly fine due to the fact that my husband and I were usually dead tired by the end of our daily adventures), so had the CWS games started at 7:00 p.m. Hawaii time, I might have actually watched as opposed to checking the score in a bar on the wharf in Lahaina. And I might have learned that the Bobcats traded Brandan Wright to the Warriors hours earlier than I actually did. But you know, when you're in Hawaii for one week only and it's the middle of the afternoon, the beach somehow becomes waaaay more interesting. And to tell you the truth, it was nice not to have anyone in my face reminding me that UNC had lost to Oregon State once again, although we did meet quite a few people from Oregon. (Note: Whereas West Coasters apparently go to Hawaii all the time, it seems somewhat of a novelty to meet East Coasters there. I'm basing this statement on the fact that every time we mentioned that we were from North Carolina, people always responded, "oooh...that's far away. We're from L.A./Portland/Seattle, etc.)

Now, people who actually live in Hawaii must get used to all of the tropical attractions, because there does appear to be a market for viewing sporting events. ESPN is on at every bar (which is how we kept up with the CWS). One of the bellhops at our resort was even quite knowledgeable about UNC basketball and the Carolina Panthers. I assumed that Hawaiians had the luxury of watching Sunday NFL games on tape delay, but my understanding is that fans actually get up at 7:00 in the morning to watch. I'm not really all that surprised, because the sun rises at 4:00 and the birds will wake you up well before 7:00 anyway. Which, again, is why I didn't mind staying in nightlife-less South Maui.

Now if we could just figure out a good way to watch the NFL while sitting on the beach...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Have Some Hokie Pride Today

Please remember to wear Hokie maroon and orange today to remember the 32 students and faculty members murdered at Virginia Tech Monday morning, April 16.

Wear the colors even if you don't root for VT in the world of sports. Today is not about sports. I'm wearing the Hokie Nation colors. My mom is even wearing the colors, and that's roughly equivalent to me agreeing to wear Duke gear.

My fiance is perhaps exempt from this request, because I stole his orange and maroon clothing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Gah, does anyone like Billy Packer?

Here's a burning question: how does Billy Packer keep his job as lead college basketball analyst at CBS?

I ask because no one (with the possible exception of the people who work at CBS) seems to appreciate his "talents." There are petitions. There are blogs. There are people hanging around their break room water coolers.

The verdict from, well, pretty much everyone, is that Packer has to go. He's negative, without one nice word to say for anyone, with the possible exception of his alma mater, Wake Forest. At least "oh my God turn the sound down it's..." Dick Vitale has enthusiasm for the game, even if he does talk about certain ACC teams a bit too much (although those Hooters commercials ought to be illegal).

The list of complaints against Packer goes on and on...insulting female Duke students...showing more sympathy for the fact that Gerald Henderson was ejected from the March 4 Duke-Carolina game than the fact that Tyler Hansbrough had a bloody nose...just having a reputation for being that guy who rains on everyone's parade.

If Packer worked for ESPN, he would have been axed long ago. ESPN has not the first problem with firing or otherwise reassigning analysts it finds to be embarrassing to its image or ineffective (read: Michael Irvin and Joe Theismann).

The latest laughable incident? In an interview with WFAN radio, Packer called Tar Heel senior Reyshawn Terry's game "soft." Terry responded to CBSsportline Columnist Mike Freeman by effectively telling Packer off. The really funny part? Unless I've missed something, no one cares. They chuckle because they think it's funny that a player said such things about Packer to a member of the media. There's no outrage about disrespect. There's no outrage about speaking out of place. Maybe Packer thinks it's funny. After all, he doesn't seem like the best judge of what is appropriate speech and what isn't. In the end, though, it just adds up to another example of why CBS needs to enter the 21st century and find an analyst that speaks to a new generation. Or an analyst that can just muster up the energy to say something nice every once in a while.

Just keep that person out of Hooters commercials.

Friday, March 16, 2007

About Duke

I'm a UNC fan. I don't like Duke. I don't like Coach K. I loved watching VCU come from behind to win last night's game, leaving Duke one-and-done for the first time since 1996.

That being said, I think the criticism reigning down on the Blue Devils is a bit unfair. As usual, I'm calling for some rationality.

We knew coming into the season that the team wasn't going to be up to par with past Duke teams. The AP ranked them 12th in their preseason poll; ESPN/USA Today ranked them 11th. For most teams, such a ranking would be an honor. But for Duke, such a ranking was a sign that things were amiss. J. J. Redick was gone. Shelden Williams was gone. There were no comparable players to replace them. Greg Paulus? Puh-lease.

Some people took it almost as a sign of Duke's apocalypse. After all, even UNC was ranked 19th in both preseason polls before the infamous 8-20 season (they dropped out in the Week 3 polls). So I can just imagine some confused voters trying to figure out what to do with a Duke team that wasn't going to be ranked 1 or 2:

"Hmmm...we don't think Duke is going to be as good as usual this year. But...it's Duke...they can't really be that bad. Let's just throw them somewhere in the middle of the poll and see how things pan out."

But unlike UNC, Duke managed to stay in the Top 25 for most of the season, with the exception of a brief absence following a 4-game skid. Did they look like a Top 25 team? Sometimes yes, mostly no. But they didn't look like a bad team, either. They were still a good team, but an average type of good, rather than the usual spectacular type of good.

They lost 11 games total. They finished 8-8 in the ACC, good for 6th place. They lost to NCSU in the opening round of the ACC Tournament, meaning they would not win the tourney for only the second time since 1999. They had two 4-game losing skids: one to UVa, FSU, UNC, and Maryland, and the other to Maryland, UNC, NCSU, and VCU. They lost their remaining three games to Marquette, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech. Nine of these losses were to teams that made it to the NCAA Tournament; the other two teams made it to the NIT. Duke can at least say it lost all of its games to quality teams, unlike some teams (Syracuse) that failed to make the NCAA Tournament (Syracuse) and then whined about it (Syracuse) by pointing to their, let's say 3, quality wins (Syracuse).

As much as I hate to admit it, Duke is no Syracuse. Some people think they should have been ranked lower than a 6 seed, and based on last night's loss, that might very well be true. Or it could mean that VCU should have been ranked higher than an 11 seed. In the end, the seeding didn't matter. VCU won; the only reason Duke might not be back in Durham yet is a snowstorm in Buffalo. But despite their relatively sub-par season, I wouldn't count them out for the longhaul. Maybe this season was a sign that Coach K is slipping, and that might very well be true. But I think I'll wait and see what happens during the next couple of seasons before I make that assessment. After all, UNC did come back from that 8-20 season to win a national championship three years later.

And with that, I'm going to take a shower so I can wash off all this "apologizing for Duke" crap. Go Tar Heels!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Okay, they only won by 2

If anyone made a big bet on VCU winning by 3, I apologize for the fact that they only won by 2.


Monday, March 12, 2007

VCU v. Duke

Sources say VCU will beat Duke by 3. I'd link you to this prediction, but it's all contained in an AIM away message.

Ty Lawson Message Board Madness

I'm going to get a lot of nasty comments about this post. Or I would, if more than two people read it.

Here it is: people post stupid things to message boards. This apparently applies to any message board. For instance, I sometimes go to the Lost message board in order to see if people have interesting insights about the latest episode. What I usually find is something along the lines of:

1) This week's episode was the worst episode ever. The writers are way off track. Why aren't they answering any of my questions? I think I'm going to stop watching this stupid show.

(Which would be fine, except that the same person will say the exact same thing the next week)


2) Why aren't they showing more of Sawyer? He's soooo hot!

But since this is a sports blog, I'll stick to sports-related message boards. In particular, I'm going to focus on the message boards that UNC and NCSU fans tend to frequent. I don't post to them, but I sometimes read them to see what people are saying. What I see is not any better than the Lost board. Since we're all supposed to be intelligent folks in the Triangle area, I'm calling for people from both schools (and ECU fans, who like to troll the NCSU boards) to stop making stupid comments on message boards.

Here's yesterday's scenario:

UNC and NCSU played an exciting game that everyone should remember for a long time. The fact that NCSU made it to the final game was a great story, and most UNC fans that I know were rooting for the Wolfpack until they played the Tar Heels in the final.

With less than 10 seconds on the clock, UNC rebounds the ball. It ends up in Ty Lawson's hands. Lawson sprints down the floor and dunks the ball, which we all thought was funny because we always joke that he can't actually do that since he usually lays it in.

After that, my fiancee and I looked at each other and said, "The State fans are going to say that that was classless."

Which they did, repeatedly.

Well, okay...I'll admit...maybe he shouldn't have done that. But according to the NCSU message boards, Lawson's dunk was not the result of an excited freshman celebrating the Tar Heels' first ACC championship since 1998.

Oh no. It was a sign of disrespect directed specifically at the Wolfpack. State fans know this, because at the end of the Boston College game, the Tar Heels elected to take a shot clock violation instead of running up the score. Therefore, Lawson dunked the ball because he was playing State.

I don't know Ty Lawson, and I haven't drilled him about the reasons that he dunked the ball. But my guess is he didn't do it as a sign of disrespect toward the Wolfpack.

I think this because I think players respect one another a lot more than fans respect one another. You see, many of the players on opposing teams don't despise one another as much as the fans want them to. Some of them went to high school together. Some of them played on McDonald's teams together. Some of them know each other for other reasons. They don't go around stealing each other's mascots, spray painting other schools' property, or writing maniacal diatribes on other fans' message boards.

So let's end that thread now.

Here are my other gripes about the message boards:

1) Is it really necessary for UNC fans to comment on NCSU boards or vice versa? Doing so accomplishes nothing but creating a flame war. It doesn't matter if you compliment the other team or if you go in guns blazing. Then again, maybe that's what people are going for.

2) NCSU fans should not whine about "Carowhina" fans. Think about it.

3) Make sure you say something somewhat intelligent (or at least make sure you don't say something retarded). Example: An NCSU fan, in response to a thread that Roy Williams and/or Ty Lawson are classless, wrote: "NC = No Class" Think about it.

I'm willing to give some benefit of the doubt that a trolling ECU fan wrote that.

4) Furthermore, there was not a conspiracy to put UNC in the hardest bracket (although there is a legitimate argument that they are in fact in the hardest bracket). They're a #1 seed. If someone wanted a conspiracy, I don't think the #1 seed would have happened. Along those lines, Tyler Hansbrough's broken nose did not cause Carolina to be in the hardest bracket. Let's be reasonable here.

End rant. Why post to message boards when I can rant on my own blog?

I saw some of these comments last night and for some reason didn't mention them, but WRAL did.


5) Don't make racist comments on message boards. That goes for UNC fans, NCSU fans, and Duke fans.

And anyone else for that matter.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

He does it again!

Since my brother is, in fact, supposed to be a contributor on this blog, I'll make his contribution for him by posting the podcast of his correct prediction of last night's George Mason-VCU game--VCU by six. And to think that Rick Roth and Larry Richmond laughed at him on The Sportsline. Skip to the end of the segment if you don't want to hear about Zabian Dowdell or Virginia Tech in general.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Better than the Swami

Check out Virginia Commonwealth University's Commonwealth Times Super Bowl preview, where Sports Editor Jonathan Howard predicted that the Colts would win 34-17, and rather accurately broke down why.

Way to represent the family, little bro.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Creating a College Football Playoff

The college football season is now long over. There are plenty of great stories to remember, including Boise State's win over Oklahoma, Wake Forest's Orange Bowl run, and the Ohio State-Michigan game. The Florida Gators are the national champions, (perhaps) crowned with less controversy than some other teams in recent years.

Now that the season is over, let's rationally discuss why college football needs a playoff system. This conversation is hard to have during the season, because emotions tend to cloud rational judgment. People tend to say things like:

"Boise State's win over Oklahoma proves why there should be a playoff system."
"Even if we had a playoff, some deserving team (Boise State, for instance) would get left out."
"There aren't ever enough deserving teams to justify a playoff."
"A playoff would destroy the existing bowl system, which everyone likes for their own reasons."

Here's what I'm asking for: an eight-game playoff system. I think it can be done relatively easily, if the BCS is committed to doing it. And I think it beats the four-game playoff that BCS coordinator Mike Slive has said he is "open-minded" about considering.

For the love of [insert your deity here], Division I-A football is the only Division I-A NCAA sponsored sport without an organized tournament to determine a champion. Every other division has a playoff. We'd scratch our heads if at the end of the season, the NCAA decided that the #1 and #2 ranked basketball teams would play each other to determine a national champion, sans the NCAA Tournament.

With that said, let's pick the above arguments apart one by one. Be prepared for lots of references to college basketball.

"Boise State's win over Oklahoma proves why there should be a playoff system."

Boise State's win over Oklahoma bolsters the argument for a playoff, but by itself proves nothing. Just like George Mason's 2006 run to the Final Four bolstered the argument that letting more mid-major teams into the tournament was a good idea, but in reality didn't prove a thing (what if no mid-majors make it to the Final Four this year?). Really, I think everyone knows that this argument is silly. But emotions make people say silly things, see?

"Even if we had a playoff, some deserving team (Boise State, for instance) would get left out."

Well, you've got me there. That very well could happen. It supposedly happens in basketball every year, despite the fact that 65 teams get to go to the NCAA tournament. 65 teams. So yeah, I suppose at least one team is going to feel left out each year. But under the current system, only two teams get to play for the championship. So let's toss this argument out the window.

This argument actually supports my idea that an eight-game playoff is superior than a four-game playoff. With a four game playoff, all of the major conferences wouldn't even have a chance to be represented, so you can definitely forget about your Boise States.

"There aren't ever enough deserving teams to justify a playoff."

And here's the other extreme. This argument is really only relevant when discussing an eight-game playoff, not the four-game playoff. And of course, I'm going to use the NCAA Tournament again to make my point. The NCAA Tournament has 65 teams. 65 teams. Do you honestly think every single one of those teams really has a chance to win the whole thing? Doesn't a favored heavyweight almost always end up winning?

Plus, you're never going to convince me that there aren't eight teams deserving to go to a playoff. If we had had an eight-game playoff this past season, here's how it might have looked. We'll assume the champions from the six major conferences, plus two at-large bids:

ACC Champion: Wake Forest
Big Ten Champion: Ohio State
Pac-10 Champion: USC
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma
Big East Champion: Louisville
SEC Champion: Florida

WAC Champion/At-large bid: Boise State
At-large bid: Notre Dame

Oh, I know, I know. What about Michigan? What about LSU? Etc., etc.

I think I've proven my point.

"A playoff would destroy the existing bowl system, which everyone likes for their own reasons."

Here are the reasons:

The schools like it because of the money involved.
The hosting cities like it because of the money involved.
The fans like it because all their teams have to do is win six games, and they (usually) go to a (usually) meaningless post-season game that gives them an excuse to go on vacation to a place they (usually) wouldn't go otherwise. Or at the very least, it allows them to watch their team for one last game.

Why would having a playoff get rid of any of these aspects? An eight-game playoff would require seven games. There were 32 bowl games this past year, and if the creation of the Toronto Bowl, indicates anything, there could probably be more. Everyone likes these bowls, right? And hey, if any of these bowls fail, I don't think a playoff would have much to do with it.

From 1998 until 2005, eight teams played in four "BCS" bowls. Those bowls, the Rose Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Orange Bowl, were already being used for marquee games. The only difference was that one of the games was the "national championship game" between the top two teams in the BCS standings. The current system has five "meaningless" games taking place in traditional bowls, plus an additionally created national championship bowl. Neither of these formats destroyed the bowl system, so why would a meaningful playoff system? You wouldn't even have to extend the season further into January (playing the championship game on January 8 seemed a bit late to me, but I don't like having the Super Bowl in February, either). You can have multiple playoff games on the same day, just like in the NFL playoffs. They would all get spectacular ratings, just like in the NFL playoffs. They would all be well attended, just like in the NFL playoffs.

Hell, if the BCS wanted to, they could even continue to play the Pac-10 champion and the Big Ten champion against one another, even if it would mess up the seeding. Yeah, it would be a little silly, but no sillier than not having a playoff at all.

So let's have this idea turn into reality. I can wait until 2010 if need be. Just don't tell me that it can't, or shouldn't, be done.