Monday, December 15, 2014

Comparing Players Can Be Fun ... But It's Useless


Sports, by nature, is competition.  Teams and athletes compete to see who is better.  In most cases, we get a winner and a loser.  In a world filled with gray, sports is pretty black and white.

When we start comparing players off the field, we get into a tough debate.  While it is usually fun to say this person is better than that one, it is just wasted time and energy.  Sometimes it can distract everyone from the greatness of both.

Kobe Bryant just passed Michael Jordan in career scoring.  That fact re-opened a decade-plus long debate about who is better.  To most, Jordan easily bests Bryant.  He won more titles, didn't lose any Finals, won more MVPs, more scoring titles, more efficient and was a better teammate.  Ah, but Kobe fans can say that he went to more Finals, was a better shooter, hit more game-winners and dumped 81 points in a game.  And the argument begins.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sportz Assassin's College Football Playoff

Okay, forget that controversial nonsense going on in real life!  Let's try my playoff!

It's the same one I've had for years now.  Twelve teams make it with the champs from each of the "big five conferences" in and the top ranked champion from the non-"big five conferences".  Add in six at-large bids and we are all good.

I'm seeding according to the AP rankings.

FIRST ROUND BYES

1-Alabama (SEC champ)
2-Florida State (ACC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-Baylor (Big 12 champ)

12-Kansas State at 5-Ohio State (Big Ten champ)
11-Boise State (MWC champ) at 6-TCU
10-Ole Miss at 7-Michigan State
9-Georgia Tech at 8-Mississippi State

Here would be the television schedule:

DECEMBER 20
Ole Miss at Michigan State   12p
Kansas State at Ohio State  3p
Georgia Tech at Mississippi State 6p
Boise State at TCU 9p

DECEMBER 27
Michigan St/Ole Miss at Florida State 12p
Mississippi St/Ga Tech at Alabama 3p
TCU/Boise St at Oregon 6p
Ohio St/Kansas St at Baylor  9p

JANUARY 3
Semifinal #1  1p
Semifinal #2  4p

JANUARY 12
National Championship Game  8p

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Big 12 May Need To Expand ... And Here Is Where

Would the Big 12 look west for a new member?
The biggest loser on college football's Selection Sunday was the Big 12 Conference.  Baylor and TCU tied for champions of the league and both were the first two teams out of the Final Four.  TCU had the committee's love last week but Baylor owned the tiebreaker.  The Big 12 commish didn't do his league any favors by wavering on declaring a champion since Baylor was the champ but declaring that meant possibly screwing TCU out of playoff berth.

Turns out neither is going.

Look, when there is a four team playoff and five "big time" conferences, someone gets left out.  The Big 12 feels that being to lone conference of those five that doesn't hold a championship game hurt them.  They may be right.  Not only was the declaration of a champion muddled a bit, but it cost the league a showcase for their best teams.

Alabama played Missouri, Florida State beat Georgia Tech, Ohio State stomped Wisconsin and Oregon blew out Arizona.  Those losing teams were all ranked.  Alabama, FSU, Ohio State and Oregon are in the playoff while TCU, who blew out lowly Iowa State, is not.

The Big 12 is licking its wounds and is looking to change this from happening again.  Right at the very top of the list is expanding from 10 to 12 teams, which would enable them to have a championship game.

So who could they go after to get to those 12 teams?  Let's take a look at the candidates:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sportz' College Football Playoff Race (Dec 1)

Forget that College Playoff Rankings crap. I like my postseason better.

I've done this for a few years now. My playoff is 12 teams where the champs of the big six conferences are automatically in, the top ranked champion from one of the other conferences and then five at-large bids (no more than three teams from one conference allowed). I seeded them by using the now-defunct BCS standings.

 With the new way of college football, there is no BCS standings (I'm using a variation of that for this exercise) and there are now a big five conferences and not six. So, we will use the champs from those five leagues, the top champ from a non-five league and then six at-large bids.

 And here is what I got:

 FIRST ROUND BYES

1-Alabama (SEC champ)
2-Florida State (ACC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-TCU 

FIRST ROUND GAMES

12-Boise State (MWC champ) at 5-Baylor (Big 12 champ)     6p
11-Mississippi State at 6-Ohio State (Big Ten champ)             3p
10-Kansas State at 7-Michigan State                                         12p
9-Wisconsin at 8-Arizona                                                          9p

What is interesting is that this weekend we will see Wisconsin play Ohio State, Arizona facing Oregon and Baylor hosting Kansas State ... meaning there will be a ton of movement among the playoff seedings before my final playoff bracket.  Plus if Missouri upsets Alabama, the Tigers will then qualify for a playoff spot and most likely knock Mississippi State or one of the losers of the aforementioned games out of the postseason.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

If UAB Folds Football Program, Where Will Conference USA Look To Next?

UAB may shut down their football program this week.

There are reports out there that the University of Alabama-Birmingham will be shutting down their football program.  That is a rather shocking bit of news since everyone seems to believe college football is such a cash cow no matter who the school is.  It is sad news for the students at UAB, their players, coaches and fans.

So what will become of UAB's membership in Conference USA?

Word is that Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said that the other schools in Conference USA won't support having UAB as a member if they don't have a football program.  That means that UAB, if it drops the sport, will have to find a new conference to join and C-USA will have an opening to fill very quickly.

Conference USA, in it's hierarchy at the college football table, will most likely look to poach from the Sun Belt Conference.  The league will have 14 schools for football next season but played this season with 13 members (Charlotte will make the jump from the FCS).  They could just stick with that.  If they didn't, the Sun Belt would most likely be where they'd look.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mark Cuban Wants To Realign The NBA

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is always thinking outside the box ... I appreciate that ... and his latest idea is rather interesting.

He is tired of the Western Conference being so much better than the East.  For example, his Mavericks finished as the 8th seed last season in the West, though they'd have been the No. 3 seed in the East.  His idea is to swap teams around.  Send the Bulls, Pacers, Bucks and Pistons to the West and the Mavericks, Spurs, Rockets and Pelicans will move East.

Sure, those three Texas teams plus New Orleans would look a bit silly east of those Great Lakes teams.  I also don't understand why Memphis wasn't included in this since they are the easternmost team in the Western Conference.  But it would solve some of the problem.  The Spurs have won five championships since 1999 and is a title contender this season.  The Mavericks won a title in 2011 and have been a routine playoff team.  The Rockets won titles in 1994 and 1995 and have an outstanding core of Dwight Howard and James Harden.  The Pelicans are young and talented and feature the next big star in Anthony Davis.  Not to mention those three Texas teams have outstanding front office leadership.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

No, Do NOT Realign The NFL Playoffs

Look, I've always been one for changing things up.  Just go through this blog from ... I dunno ... 2004 until now and you will see me realigning divisions, conferences and playoffs.  So I'm not that old guy that wants everything to stay the same.

However, I'm not big on this talk of the NFL realigning their playoff format.

A little background.

Right now, the AFC North has the Bengals at 7-3-1 while the Browns, Steelers and Ravens all sit at 7-4.  One of those teams are guaranteed to miss the playoffs.  Depending on what the Chargers and Chiefs do in the AFC West, two or all three of those 2nd place teams will miss the postseason.

Meanwhile, the first place team in the NFC South is the Atlanta Falcons with a record of 4-7.  Barring either they or the Saints going 4-1 the rest of the way, the division champion will most likely have a losing record.

Yes, the 4-7 team has a better shot at the postseason than the 7-4 teams.  And, guess what?  That 4-7 squad will actually host a first round playoff game!  Is it fair?  Probably not.  Those Falcons are not a playoff caliber team and the Browns, Steelers and Ravens are much more deserving.  But that's the way it is laid out right now.

I'm fine with that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ten Year 'Anniversary' Of The Malice At The Palace

                       

Ten years ago today, the Malice At The Palace happened.  Watch above to relive the moment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sportz' College Football Playoff Race (Nov 16)

Forget that College Playoff Rankings crap.  I like my postseason better.

I've done this for a few years now.  My playoff is 12 teams where the champs of the big six conferences are automatically in, the top ranked champion from one of the other conferences and then five at-large bids (no more than three teams from one conference allowed).  I seeded them by using the now-defunct BCS standings.

With the new way of college football, there is no BCS standings (I'm using a variation of that for this exercise) and there are now a big five conferences and not six.  So, we will use the champs from those five leagues, the top champ from a non-five league and then six at-large bids. 

And here is what I got: 

FIRST ROUND BYES
1-Florida State (ACC champ)
2-Alabama (SEC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-Mississippi State

FIRST ROUND GAMES
12-Marshall (CUSA champ) at 5-TCU                     6p
11-UCLA at 6-Baylor (Big 12 champ)                      9p
10-Kansas State at 7-Ohio State                            3p
9-Michigan State at 8-Ole Miss (Big Ten champ)     12p

SECOND ROUND GAMES
Michigan St/Ole Miss at Florida St                        9p              
Ohio St/Kansas St at Alabama                             12p
Baylor/UCLA at Oregon                                        6p
TCU/Marshall at Mississippi St                             3p

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sad Times Again For A Redskin Fan

I've been a Redskins fan since the early 1980s.  That means I've seen the glory days of the franchise with their trio of Super Bowl titles from 1982 to 1991 ... and the tundra that has been the last two decades.  I've seen the amazing Hogs, Doug Williams' brilliant second quarter of Super Bowl XXII and that dominant season on 1991.  I've also watched the team I love turn into a laughingstock on and off the field.

Joe Gibbs.  John Riggins.  Timmy Smith.  Art Monk.  Darrell Green.  Charles Mann. Ricky Sanders.  Gary Clark. Mark Rypien.  Brian Mitchell.  RFK Stadium. Jack Kent Cooke.

Heath Schuler.  Jason Campbell.  Desmond Howard.  Patrick Ramsey.  Trading away Champ Bailey.  Steve Spurrier.  Albert Haynesworth.  Sean Taylor's murder.  FedEx Field.  Dan Snyder.

Well, there was Joe Gibbs again.

It makes no sense, really.  Sports teams do go into funks, but this is rather ridiculous.  Since 1992, the January of the Skins last Super Bowl victory, the NFL has added the Panthers, Jaguars, Texans and the Browns again.  The Rams and Raiders left L.A., the Oilers left Houston and the original Browns turned into the Ravens.  Those Ravens, which play up the street, have won two Super Bowls since becoming a franchise while the Redskins have only won just three playoff games since they won Super Bowl XXVI.

Why, after 23 years, am I venting on my blog that I've run since 2004 right now?  Because yesterday's game just felt differently than most of the 219 regular season losses we've suffered since beating the Bills in 1992.  Losing to the abysmal Tampa Bay Buccaneers ... at home ... after a bye week ... seems like a bottom.  I mean, it is one thing to just be a bad team with a slim ability to win NFL games and playing this bad.  It is another when you were wins over Minnesota and Tampa Bay (very winnable games) from being 5-5 right now and in a playoff chase.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

If I Expanded The NFL To Six More Teams ...

Earlier, I wrote about if I expanded the NFL by eight teams, who would those teams be and where would they go.  What if eight was just waaaaay too much and the NFL just wished to expand by four teams?  That may be more likely.

Using that earlier article, I'm going to use these as my new four franchises:  Los Angeles, London, San Antonio and Portland.  Frankfort just misses out but would be strongly looked at down the road if the London franchise works out.  Toronto just misses out due to Buffalo getting a brand new owner and not trying to steal some of their fan base.

To me, if the NFL did this, they may not like having the eight division format anymore.  That would mean half the divisions would have five teams and the other half with four.  The NFL would look something like this if they went to that:

NFC EAST:  Dallas, NY Giants, Philadelphia, Washington
NFC SOUTH:  Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, San Antonio, Tampa Bay
NFC NORTH:  Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota
NFC WEST:  Arizona, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle
AFC EAST:  Buffalo, London, Miami, New England, NY Jets
AFC SOUTH:  Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Tennessee
AFC NORTH:  Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
AFC WEST:  Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, Portland, San Diego

I just am not a fan of that.  Could the NFL ... which is watching a very bad NFC South race that could end up with a sub-.500 champion ... decide to go back to a six-division format?  Maybe.  That NFL could look like this:


If I Expanded The NFL To Eight More Teams ...

If the NFL expanded to 8 more teams, of course
L.A. would get at least one of those teams.

If I expanded the NFL to eight more teams, who would I pick?

First off, let me just say that I'm not unsatisfied with the 32-team member league at all.  I like the setup of the 32 teams in eight 4-team divisions.  I love the schedule and the whole deal.

But, ya know, let's just say that it was going to happen.  And you can't just add two or four teams, right?  I wouldn't like the 1980s way of having two four team divisions while the other four had five teams.  Let all the divisions have five teams.

So who would I pick to make a 40-team league?  If any league could pull it off, it would be the NFL.  Oh, and I may go a bit out there with my new league.

Now, how do I do this?  In adding eight teams, should I make two new divisions of four teams?  Or should I add a fifth team to each division.  I'd rather do the latter, but it may be tough to do since I'm going a bit wild with some of my franchised cities.  Also, I'm going to go on the naive premise that no one is relocating.  I know that Los Angeles is trying to lure the Rams, Raiders or Chargers back to town but for this exercise, none of that is happening.

First, the cities I'd want to see teams in.

-LOS ANGELES:  LA is going to get a team if the NFL has to buy the team themselves and run it.  It will happen one way or another.

-LONDON:  The NFL also seems hellbent on placing a team in London as well.  I've been a bit torn on this since I'm not sure if London would truly support a team that was there all the time.  These few games they get a season are event games that see people from all over Europe attending.  Would that last with a permanent team?  Which leads me to add ...

-FRANKFORT:  If you are going to put one team in Europe, I think you should put a second team over there as well.  Why Frankfort?  Well, when NFL Europe was a thing, Germany really supported American Football.  The Frankfort Galaxy drew very well and the league ended up with teams in Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamburg.

-SAN ANTONIO:  San Antonio did a great job hosting the Saints during Hurricane Katrina, Texas is a football crazy state and they've long been the bridesmaid while other franchises use them as leverage for a new stadium.

-PORTLAND:  Portland is a great town and certainly has the wherewithal to support an NFL team.

-TORONTO:  If we were going to have some international flavor, Toronto deserves a team.  They've hosted Bills games for a while now, football is popular in Canada and we Americans are used to having Toronto in our sports leagues (see: Maple Leafs, Blue Jays, Raptors).

-SALT LAKE CITY:  I think this one is a no-brainer.  Utah has been a great NBA area and football would seem to work just as well.  Like I've always said, the NFL isn't like other sports where it is impossible to get free agents to go to smaller or less desirable markets.

-OKLAHOMA CITY:  Same as SLC.  The NBA has shown that this is a great sports town and they could certainly support an NFL franchise.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Stop It With The College Football Playoff Rankings!!!!!

The college football playoff committee is entrusted to pick the new
four team playoff, but why do we need them to pick these teams now?

Every Tuesday, ESPN and the sports world sets aside some time to unveil that week's college football rankings.  The committee who sorts through who will ultimately make the playoffs keeps releasing their "rankings" even though we are a month away from actually having all the information in front of us.  Then ESPN and the rest of college football fans and media can break it all down as if this really was a thing.

It is silly.

Does the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee gather together in January and release their tournament bracket each week even though none of it matters until the actual selection Sunday?  No.  So why do we have to have this weekly update over who is their top four teams to get in ... and why do we need a full Top 25?

I know, I know.  You can scroll down and read my imaginary 12-team playoff race and think I'm a hypocrite.  Sure, there are zillions of bracketology sites for the NCAA Tournament.  But that is just media and fans getting a grip on what could happen.  That, again, isn't the actual tournament committee coming up with their official bracket at the moment so we can gripe about it.


Sportz Assassin College Football Playoff Race


Forget that College Playoff Rankings crap.  I like my postseason better.

I've done this for a few years now.  My playoff is 12 teams where the champs of the big six conferences are automatically in, the top ranked champion from one of the other conferences and then five at-large bids (no more than three teams from one conference allowed).  I seeded them by using the now-defunct BCS standings.

With the new way of college football, there is no BCS standings (I'm using a variation of that for this exercise) and there are now a big five conferences and not six.  So, we will use the champs from those five leagues, the top champ from a non-five league and then six at-large bids.

And here is what I got:

FIRST ROUND BYES
1-Mississippi State (SEC champ)
2-Florida State (ACC champ)
3-Oregon (Pac 12 champ)
4-Alabama

FIRST ROUND GAMES
12-Marshall (CUSA champ) at 5-TCU                     6p
11-Michigan State at 6-Baylor (Big 12 champ)        3p
10-Nebraska at 7-Arizona State                                9p
9-Auburn at 8-Ohio State (Big Ten champ)             12p

SECOND ROUND GAMES
Arizona St/Nebraska at Florida State                        12p
TCU/Marshall at Alabama                                        3p
Ohio St/Auburn at Mississippi State                         6p
Baylor/Michigan State at Oregon                              9p

Sunday, October 26, 2014

NFL Coaches On The Hot Seat (Pre-Halloween Edition)

REX RYAN, JETS:  Ryan has survived the ax the last two years, but it seems all but inevitable that Ryan will be out of Gotham Green after this season.  They are 1-7 and Ryan's usually stout defense is giving up over 28 points-per-game.  Ryan has also wasted away two top quarterback picks in Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith.

MIKE SMITH, FALCONS:  I thought Atlanta's sad sack season of 2013 was an aberration.  Injuries and bad luck just strangled them.  Well, the 2014 Falcons are checking in at the halfway point with a 2-6 mark and they just wasted away a 21-point lead to the Lions in London.  Smith's Falcons have been close to a Super Bowl but didn't push through, meaning he doesn't have the kind of cache to survive this kind of nosedive.

MARC TRESTMAN, BEARS:  Chicago was supposed to contend for an NFC North title and a possible Super Bowl berth.  However, these Bears are mired in a slide where they've lost 4 of 5 games and two of their three wins have come against bottom feeders Jets and Falcons.  This pasting by the Patriots this Sunday doesn't help matters.  Chicago's saving grace is that they still face the Lions and Vikings twice each and the Packers once more ... making a surge up the standings possible.