Tuesday, January 27, 2015

UNC-Wake Show How Mega Conference Can Be Too Big

UNC-Wake Forest may not be a well known national
rivalry, but it is very important to the schools
involved.  
I like the fact that Syracuse, Notre Dame and Louisville are now in the ACC.  I like the fact that the ACC was proactive in the conference realignment game.  However, I'm not a fan of the mega-conferences and the wreckage they've left behind.

This is pointed out in the fact that UNC and Wake Forest have agreed to play a non-conference series at the end of the decade.  UNC and Wake Forest have played each other pretty much annually for 125 years and are just miles apart in the state of North Carolina.  However, they are placed in separate divisions in the ACC and will have to wait until 2022 to play again after their scheduled game this coming season.

Neither school likes that.

So they scheduled this "non-conference" series in 2019 and 2021.  It won't count in the standings, however, but it will be a game against a Power 5 opponent and one the schools want to see and players want to play.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Still Hate The Pro Bowl ... Just Not As Much


Look, I've made no bones about the fact that I wish the Pro Bowl would go away.  The football is weak, the players have either been sitting for a month or just come off a tough playoff loss so they aren't in to it.  If it went away, I wouldn't care.

However, the NFL still has it on life support and ... well, I'm coming around to some of the ideas.  It could still go away for all I care, but if it has to be, at least they are changing things up.

I rolled my eyes with the whole "fantasy draft" aspect of it originally since it reeked of desperation.  But in its second season, I actually enjoyed watching the draft (though Chris Rose sure look tired are ragged hosting it).  I like the fact that not only were the guys drafting (this year Michael Irvin and Cris Carter) into it and had some sort of homework they were doing when constructing their rosters but the players themselves were there and would go up on stage to join their new teams.  That was pretty cool.

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#49-BY THE TIME I GET TO ARIZONA:  The Phoenix area will be hosting their third Super Bowl.  Their first one was SB XXX, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers, 27-17.  They hosted it again for SB XLII, this time at the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, for the immortal Giants 17-14 win over the Patriots that ended New England's perfect season.
Super Bowl XXVII was supposed to be held at Sun Devil Stadium as well, but when the state chose not to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the NFL backed out of the site and held the game in Pasadena.  In that game, the Cowboys pummeled the Bills, 52-17.

#48-WE'RE NOT NEIGHBORS:  Seattle and Foxborough, MA are 2,488 miles apart, making it the third longest distance between Super Bowl opponents in history.  Only the 49ers-Dolphins (Super Bowl XIX) and Raiders-Eagles (Super Bowl XV) were further apart.  As you can see, the west coast team won both previous games.  


#47-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick ties Don Shula with his sixth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.  Belichick has taken the Patriots to the big game each time.  Shula took the Dolphins to five Super Bowls and the Colts to one.
Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.  That's nine Super Bowls he's coached in.

Amazingly, in his 15 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 9 AFC Championship games.  


49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#1-9)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#9-STILL HAVEN'T WON ONE: There are now four franchises that have never appeared in a Super Bowl (Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans). But there are nine others that have never won the Super Bowl in any of their appearances. They are the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Arizona Cardinals. The Bills and Vikings have lost four games apiece; the Bengals and Eagles have each lost two. The rest lost on their only trip.

And while the Jaguars (1995) and Texans (2002) haven't been to the big game, they don't have quite the drought as some other franchises. The Jets haven't been to the Super Bowl since the 1968 season. The Chiefs went to two of the first four Super Bowls but their last appearance was after the 1969 season.

It's been a while since the Vikings (1976), Dolphins (1984), Bengals (1988) and Redskins (1991) have been there as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#10-19)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#19-WEARING WHITE IS THE KEY:  Since the Seahawks are designated the home team, they will be wearing their home blue jerseys for the Super Bowl. That means the Patriots will go with their white jerseys. In fact, the team that has worn white uniforms had won the last nine of ten Super Bowls (Seahawks, Ravens, Giants, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts, Steelers, Patriots).  The Packers won three years ago wearing green. The Seahawks won last year's Super Bowl victory while wearing white.

#18-ALTERNATE VIEWING: Wife doesn't watch the Super Bowl?  Are you forced to go somewhere where football isn't recognized?  Well, here are some alternatives for her or what you may be forced to watch.  Remember, there's not only the Puppy Bowl, but a Kitten Bowl and Fish Bowl as well.

Friday, January 23, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#20-29)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#29-FUTURE SUPER BOWLS: Next year's Super Bowl will be a huge one.  The 50th Super Bowl.  Unlike every other Super Bowl, there will be no Roman numeral used.  It won't be Super Bowl L.  Instead, for one year only, it will be Super Bowl 50.  The logo will have the 50 in gold with the numbers on either side of a graphic of the Lombardi trophy.

That game will be played in Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, CA ... home of the San Francisco 49ers.

Super Bowl LI will be held in NRG Field in Houston, TX.  Houston will be hosting its third Super Bowl.  Super Bowl LII will be in the new Vikings Stadium in Minneapolis, the second time that city has hosted the game.

Atlanta is looked at as the front runner for Super Bowl LIII.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#30-39)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#39-TOP SEEDS MEETING AGAIN: Believe it or not, but Super Bowl XLIX is the third time that the No. 1 seed in the NFC and AFC met in the Super Bowl since 1993.  The top seeded Colts and Saints met in Super Bowl XLIV and the Seahawks and Broncos met a year ago.  Both times, the NFC team won the big game.  

#38-DIVISION ALL IN: The only divisions that don't have all of their members with appearances in a Super Bowl are the AFC North (Browns), AFC South (Titans, Jaguars) and NFC North (Lions).

No division has all their members with Super Bowl championships. The NFC East (Eagles didn't win), AFC West (Chargers) and AFC East (Bills) have seen three of their four members win a title. The NFC East is the only division to have each of their members in multiple Super Bowls. The Cowboys have been to eight, the Redskins and Giants have been to five and the Eagles have been to two.

The odd thing is that each team in the NFC South has been exactly once to the Super Bowl. The Panthers and Falcons lost their only time there, while the Bucs and Saints won in their only appearances.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deflate-gate Perfect Ending To Rough Year For NFL

Roger Goodell probably would like a mulligan
on the 2014 NFL season.
If Roger Goodell could get a do-over for the 2014 season, he most certainly would.  This was one of the toughest seasons for the league in quite some time.  With the signature game nearing, it just isn't getting any better.

No, Deflate-gate is yet another black eye for a season that has seen too many of them.

We had the Ray Rice incident.  Not just the incident, but the inadequate punishment.  A punishment that got more severe when another video surfaced, which actually made the league look worse since there were rumblings of a cover-up.

We got the Adrian Peterson incident.  One of the best and well-liked players in the NFL sat most of the season after he went a bit too far punishing his kid.

There was the ongoing debate of the Washington Redskins nickname.  Various protests as well as announcers and publications refusing to say their name.

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#40 - 49)


Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#49-BY THE TIME I GET TO ARIZONA:  The Phoenix area will be hosting their third Super Bowl.  Their first one was SB XXX, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers, 27-17.  They hosted it again for SB XLII, this time at the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, for the immortal Giants 17-14 win over the Patriots that ended New England's perfect season.  
Super Bowl XXVII was supposed to be held at Sun Devil Stadium as well, but when the state chose not to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the NFL backed out of the site and held the game in Pasadena.  In that game, the Cowboys pummeled the Bills, 52-17.

#48-WE'RE NOT NEIGHBORS:  Seattle and Foxborough, MA are 2,488 miles apart, making it the third longest distance between Super Bowl opponents in history.  Only the 49ers-Dolphins (Super Bowl XIX) and Raiders-Eagles (Super Bowl XV) were further apart.  As you can see, the west coast team won both previous games.  


#47-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick ties Don Shula with his sixth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.  Belichick has taken the Patriots to the big game each time.  Shula took the Dolphins to five Super Bowls and the Colts to one.
Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.  That's nine Super Bowls he's coached in.

Amazingly, in his 15 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 9 AFC Championship games.  


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kobe 2015: Not The One We're Used To, But Nice

During a bad season, it seems that Kobe Bryant is
enjoying every minute of it.

We all get older.  This summer, your's truly will hit that magical 40 mark.  In life, you are hitting that middle age point where kids don't need you as much and you've got a bit more time on your hands and you realize that that guy you were in high school is long gone.

In sports, getting older isn't as graceful.  A (nearly) 40-year old like me still has a spot in this world.  In sports, an expensive, aging superstar can be somewhat of an albatross to an organization or the league as a whole.  That's why it wasn't fun seeing Shaquille O'Neal bounce from team to team in his final seasons to chug up and down the court.  Or Patrick Ewing in a SuperSonics jersey.  Or it hit people hard when Peyton Manning was throwing ducks in the Broncos playoff loss to the Colts ... who imploy the next Peyton Manning in Andrew Luck.

Which brings me to Kobe Bryant.  Full disclosure, I am a Lakers fan.  I've been one since the early Showtime era when the only NBA that was on television were two Sunday games that involved the Lakers, Celtics or Sixers.  Needless to say, it's sad to see Kobe on his way out the door and how bad the Lakers are during this time.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ranking the NFL's Quarterback Situations

The Colts quarterback situation should be
the envy of the entire NFL.  

The NFL's Final Four is upon us, which means we get to see four of the best QBs in the game compete for a title.  Tom Brady wants another ring to match the four Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw have before he rides off into the sunset.  Aaron Rodgers wants a second one to solidify his place among the all-time greats.  Russell Wilson wants to repeat as champion.  Andrew Luck wants his first crack at it and enter into his destiny.

But there are 28 other teams that have cleaned out lockers and looking to see what they need to do moving forward.  Some of them have huge QB problems.  Some don't know it yet.  Let's look to see what everyone is up to heading into this offseason.

1-COLTS:  Andrew Luck is their guy and is the leader of the next generation of QBs.  This doesn't mean he's better than Tom Brady or other guys on this list (at least not right now), but the Colts are set for another 10 years.

2-PACKERS:  Aaron Rodgers may very well be the MVP for the season and one of the elite QBs in the game.  He's a Super Bowl winning QB who has supreme confidence in himself ... as does anyone else in the Packers organization.  He's in him prime, though he has been banged up a bit in recent years.

3-PATRIOTS:  Tom Brady showed that he is still one of the best out there.  However, Brady won't be around forever and as Peyton Manning just showed us, sometimes it creeps up faster than you think.  I'm sure the organization has thought about the post-Brady years but not until they milk that cow for all it has.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Looking Back At My Preseason NFL Picks

Tony Romo and the Cowboys made me
look a bit foolish
A lot of people hate doing this because it exposes them a little bit.  They don't like the hit to their ego.  I don't mind.  No one is perfectly correct and being humble is a bit of a virtue.

So let's look back to my preseason NFL picks to see where I went right and where I went wrong:

NFC EAST:

1-EAGLES*
2-REDSKINS
3-GIANTS
4-COWBOYS

I totally undersold the Cowboys.  I figured that defense was just so bad that it couldn't keep from losing games.  Plus, the Cowboys have that weird aura about them over the last several years of a franchise mired in mediocrity.  The Giants were the team I thought they were while the Redskins and Eagles slid a bit from my prediction.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

NFL's Black Monday Is A-Comin'

Black Monday in the NFL is the date, right after the end of the regular season, that sees coaches and general managers fired.  Some years, there is a huge chopping block.  Other years, it is rather calm.

To me, this will be one of those calmer years.  Sure, there will be firings, but not to the insane extent that we've seen before.  So who is on the hottest of seats?

OH YEAH, THEY'RE GONE

Jim Harbaugh, 49ers:  This hasn't been a secret all year long.  Not only were there grumblings in September that Harbaugh had worn out his welcome, but the Niners would put up a disappointing 8-8 record.  With suitors in Oakland and Michigan waiting for him, he shouldn't be out of work long.

Rex Ryan, Jets:  Ryan has been barely holding onto this job the last two years and this horrid 4-12 season makes the decision so much easier.  Like Harbaugh, Ryan will land on his feet somewhere.

Marc Trestman, Bears:  Chicago shockingly took the Dumpster Fire Award away from the Redskins this season, and that's not an award you want to win.  That franchise is a mess.  The once proud defense is in shambles and an offense filled with playmakers looked pedestrian.

Mike Smith, Falcons:  Smith has been one of the most successful coaches in Falcons history and was Coach Of The Year in 2008.  But his history of poor game management and the team's shocking fall into the abyss makes it where Atlanta must move on.  With your job on the line, it doesn't help to get spanked at home by a division rival in a winner-take-all game.

Tony Sparano, Raiders:  This comes with a caveat.  Sparano is an interim coach and Oakland will replace him if they feel they can find a better coach.  However, there is some sentiment in the organization that Sparano has the team on track and could retain the job if no big name wants the gig.

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