Wednesday, November 30, 2005

North Carolina v Kentucky


This Saturday...for the sixth straight year...the two winningest programs in NCAA hoops history will do battle. 

North Carolina v Kentucky.  They have played 27 times...with North Carolina holding the edge, 17-10.  They have 11 National Championships between them.  Tons of Final Four appearances, All Americans, future NBA stars, etc, etc, etc.

And it is odd that they aren't really rivals.  Well, not on the hardwood.  But Carolina and UK are certainly rivals in the big picture.  Nearly every season they are among the elite.  In fact, if the Wildcats could've found some way to top Michigan State in that Elite 8 thriller last year....they would've met in the Final Four.  They play in two conferences that jockey for position among the top status in the country.  They fight for recruits.  In the rankings.  For NCAA tournament seedings.

Hard to believe that 70 years ago....Kentucky and North Carolina were conference rivals.  They both belonged to the Southern Conference [which still exists]...which then was made up of essentially what the ACC and SEC are today.  Duke, hated by both UNC and UK, was also in that conference.   The first ever conference tournament was won by Kentucky in 1921.  The next year, North Carolina won it. 


The first time the schools met was in the Southern Conference Tournament in 1924 [a year that UNC would later win a retro "Helms National Championship"] with the Heels winning 26-15.  Despite being in the same conference, they only met once during the regular season [in 1929, again a UNC victory].   From 1959-1974, the two met nearly every season.

In 1977, the two met in the East Regional Finals in Maryland.  North Carolina won that game and went on to the Final Four.  In 1995, the two met again in a Regional Final...with the Heels winning yet again and going to the Final Four.  That was the last of a six-game winning streak the Heels had on the Cats.

Now the series has been reborn.  Kentucky won the first four...with North Carolina winning last season. 


To me, personally, this is a bitter game.  I am a Tar Heel fan.  Um...I'll be nooooooooooooo where near as bitter as a Duke-Carolina game...but bitter.  See, I grew up in Charlotte, NC.....but now live in Northern Kentucky.  And I did quite a bot of mouthing off when North Carolina won the NCAA title in April.  So when this game comes along the schedule, it does get my mouth chattering.  And that's always a good thing.  For my Wildcat gives them a chance to jaw with someone [since the SEC has never really produced a true long term rival for Kentucky].  For me, it's a great early season test to see where my team is at. 

So how do I see this game going??  Well, to be perfectly the five recent meetings between the two schools....the better team has won.  Every year.  So I expect the same to happen this year.  The Heels lost their top 7 scorers and play four freshmen [Hansbrough, Frasor, Green and Ginyard] quite a bit.  Kentucky isn't overly talented...but they have a wealth more experience...and the home crowd. 

Kentucky 71-North Carolina 66.  I hope I get to eat crow on

written by The Sportz Assassin



When I was asked by arguably the best sports blogger on AOL if I was going to write something on the UNC-UK game this week, it inspired me to sit down and think about both these teams and write something about the game Saturday. You see, the Sportz Assassin is a huge fan of North Carolina, and I originally wasn't going to hype this game up any this week with any sort of entry, so I thank Sportz for the inspiration and reminding me that this Saturday's game isn't just another game because UNC isn't as strong as last year, but this is a game between two of the most winningest programs in NCAA history who have a lot of history behind them. That's why you should watch it. So enjoy my take followed by the Sportz Asassins' take on the game to be played this weekend. Anyone up for a game of horse 'round this place?

So why do I love Kentucky so much? Well the answer to that has to go back to my parents and the many trips I remember as a kid going up to Lexington to visit family. If you've never visited Lexington, you are missing out on a great place to be. From Lexington you're always just minutes away from the countryside, and the great Bluegrass Parkway that gets you to Lexington via I65, and Versailles Road where just past the airport I'd always be fascinated with that huge castle just off to the side of the road, when you reach New Circle Road, you know you're officially in basketball heaven. They say from above in an airplane if you look down at New Circle Road, it's the shape of a basketball and all the tallest buildings inside the circle form the letters U and K. Ok, I made that up, but it sounds like it could be true. I remember as a kid in my teens, every summer between me and my three other brothers we would take turns spending the summer in Lexington with ourgrandmother and I remember always spending the early evening outside on the porch with a mason jar waiting to catch fire flies. It was good times. Yeah, the unfortunate part was not being able to go to any games since it was the off-season {now I know that getting tickets to Rupp Arena is almost hereditary lol}, but I have a personal attachment to Lexington, and with much credit to my parents, I grew up a Kentucky fan.

Growing up in a small town in Florida, there wasn't much to do but play basketball in the back yard and work in the back yard. At least that's what it seemed like. And when Kentucky basketball was on tv, and if any of us in the house were watching something, my mom would take the remote and switch the channel and UK hoops it was. She owned the remote for about 3 hours. That's how I remember becoming a fan of UK basketball. As a kid with parents who loved Kentucky basketball, let me just say that you could get away from doing some pretty bad stuff if Kentucky won that day, and you would eat pretty good, too. If they didn't win, you had to be on your best behavior and dinner would be something like liver 'n onions with mashed potatoes. I know, the taste left in your mouth was just about as bad as watching Kentucky lose a basketball game.

I was only about 11 until my interest in sports and realizing that Kentucky basketball was the only team I was ever going to root for, and I remember Kenny Walker just couldn't miss at all in the paint. I've only watched Kentucky win two national titles in my lifetime, so I missed out on the really good years when Adolph Rupp won 876 games and 4 national titles. Rupp won 397 conference games, winning 13 conference titles coaching the Wildcats for 41 years. I think one of the most important reasons why I respect North Carolina as a fan more than any other team is the fact that former UNC head coach Dean Smith broke Rupp's record of 876 wins by 3 more wins. An interesting fact is that Dean Smith's 879th victory came by defeating Louisville by 23 and reaching the Final Four for the 11th time in his career in 1997. There's a level of respect that I think UNC fans and UK fans have for each other because Dean Smith broke Rupp's record. UNC has something like 1,860 all time wins and by sometime during the 2006-2007 season, I expectthem to join Kentucky as the only two teams to reach 1900 all time wins. It's like a race to 2,000.

Kentucky is the only school in Division 1 history to have four coaches that have won a national title, that's also something else as a fan to pride ourselves on, but again, I'm only in this world so far to only see Rick Pitino win it in '96 and Tubby Smith in '98. Joe B. Hall won a national championship with Kentucky in 1978{wait I was alive but I was only 5}, and he coached from 1973 to 1985. He left and Eddie Sutton took over a couple years after I began watching UK Basketball as a kid. I remember watching Eddie Sutton and that full court press Kentucky always seemed to have the best of in 1980's, and I do remember when Sutton resigned shortly before or during the NCAA investigation on them. Then came Rick Pitino. I still admire the guy no matter what any other UK fan says out there. Rick Pitino is a class act, he just made a very tough decision coaching Louisville. Pitino coached for 8 seasons and has the highest winning percentage since Adolph Rupp. And now, Tubby Smith is right up there with the best coaches UK has ever had.

So what did I miss? Whether it be the other 5 national titles, or when Basil Hayden became UK's first All America basketball player in 1921, most of Kentucky's rich memories are way before my time. I didn't get to see Dan Issel become UK's all time leading scorer in just two seasons, or his season record of 948 points scored in just 28 games in '69-'70, or his performances of dropping 41 points vs North Carolina, 40 vs Navy, 40 vs Georgia, 53 vs Ole Miss, 51 vs LSU, 47 vs Alabama, 42 vs Auburn, and 44 vs Notre Dame between December 8, 1969 and March 12 of 1970. I can only read about the history that has made UK what it is today, like the Fabulous Five that won the title in 1948 and was also a part of the Olympic team that won a gold medal that same year. Or the Fiddlin' Five in 1958 that won the fourth and last national title for Adolph Rupp, and the famous 1966 title game that featured Rupp's Runts against the all-black starting lineup of Texas Western which UK ended up being on the losing end of one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history. That story of the destined Texas Western team will be shown in a movie this January called Glory Road. There's a lot of great moments in the history of Kentucky basketball, and afew I remember watching.

I grew up loving Kenny Walker play. Winston Bennett, Ed Davender, and Rex Chapman are some of my old time greats that I grew up watching. One of my greatest memories growing up is after watching UK play on tv, I'd go outside in my backyard with my brother and we'd reenact some of the plays Kentucky made. I usually sank some long balls just like Chapman. I was Chapman, my brother was more like Kenny Walker though blocking half my shots. He was a better Rex Chapman than I was, but we had fun. I had a nice 3 point jump shot back in the days. Nothin' but net. Number 3 was special.

"I'll be Chapman, who are you?"

And some of the other great Wildcat players I enjoyed watching include Rob Lock, Jamal Mashburn, Travis Ford, Rodney Dent, Tony Delk, Jared Prickett, Jeff Sheppard, Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson, Scott Padgett, and Jamaal Magloire through the 1990s. And even in this 'blogging' era, as I like to call it, Sparks, Rondo, and Chuck Hayes are right up there with Gerald Fitch, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, Erik Daniels, and Cliff Hawkins. Tubby Smith sure has made some stars out of a lot of kids at Kentucky, especially since 2000. It's been a treat to watch them play and be a fan of a team that's had some great coaches.

Chuck Hayes epitomizes what Kentucky basketball and college basketball is all about. Here is a guy who loves to play the game, is respected by everyone, and played all four years at Kentucky. Once in a blue moon there's a player that comes along that just catches your heart and soul, Chuck Hayes did that for me.

One of the most crushing loses in my time watching UK basketball that ranks among the top of my memories has to be the year Laettner dropped the bomb. Duke defeated Kentucky by one point off a last second inbound pass to Christian Laettner who turned around and shot the ball that dropped the hearts of Kentucky fans nationwide. I still remember what that felt like ... it's the opposite feeling of Patrick Sparks dropping the three against MSU in last season's Elite Eight to tie them in regulation only 1000 times worse. Seeing this picture makes me just want to say, 'Just shut up already!'.

Last year's Elite Eight game against MSU is right up there in UK memories.How can you not love the kid from Western Kentucky walking over to the sidelines to give Billy Packer a high five and reportedly had said, 'Take that!', to take the game into overtime?

1998's Comeback Cats! Their ability to overcome large deficits through the NCAA tournament was something special to watch but nerve racking. The 'Comeback Cats' overcame a 10 pt halftime deficit to Utah in the championship game to give Tubby Smith his first national title win and UK's seventh all time. It was the end of a three year span of going to the national title game, pulling out number six and number seven.

Or how about the 2003-'04 UK team that was one of the best Kentucky teams that didn't win a title in my lifetime that lost to UAB in the second round of the NCAAs? The loss was worse than losing to Duke in overtime because of the expectations. No one imagined Kentucky losing to UAB in the second round with Gerald Fitch, Erik Daniels, Kelenna Azubuike, Chuck Hayes, and Cliff Hawkins all averaging double digits. The next year Kentucky lost Fitch, Daniels, and Hawkins. A missed opportunity for an eighth title.

But yet, as a Kentucky fan, I am reminded how fortunate I am. I mean, seven titles. I got to watch Kentucky win two of them. Some fans don't even get that. The tradition of always winning and dominating the SEC. Kentucky is the team to beat or they are contenders in the SEC practically every year. Being a Kentucky fan, I get spoiled by the 43 regular season titles, and 25 SEC tournament championships. In fact, Kentucky enjoys a 79 percent winning percentage vs SEC opponents. And since 1983 when I first started catching on to Kentucky basketball, Kentucky has won the SEC tournament 12 times and has reached the Final Four 5 times. Since the loss to Duke in the 1992 Elite Eight game, the University of Kentucky has done this in the NCAA tourney ... Final 4, 2nd rd, Elite 8, National Champs, Runner-ups, National Champs, Sweet 16, 2nd rd, Sweet 16, Sweet 16, Elite 8, 2nd rd, Elite 8. All in all, Kentucky has a record 46 appearances in the NCAA dance with a 96-41 record, and has made it to the dance every year since 1992. Seven titles, Runner-up three times, 13 Final Fours, and 28 Elite Eights, and they have more 30-win seasons than any other school in the NCAA {11}. Am I not lucky to be a fan of a team that has done most of this before I was even born? I really like Tubby Smith and what he's done with his teams. He gets the most out of his players and has always kept UK competitive enough to make a run. I hope Kentucky never gets rid of him, and hope Tubby never wants to leave, because I appreciate what he's done not only with these kids but the message he sends them and the rest of us off the court as well.

So why is the North Carolina | Kentucky game so important to watch this Saturday? Well if you're just a college basketball fan you appreciate the matchup because North Carolina is right up there with Kentucky in terms of history. These are two of the winningest programs in the nation. Between them, over 3,700 wins and over a 70 percent winning percentage. Between them, 11 national titles, 83 NCAA Tournament appearances, 261 Tournament games, 184 Tournament wins, and 29 Final Four appearances. Kentucky and North Carolina are #1 and #2 in tournament appearances, tournament games, and tournament wins. So you can see why every time these two teams meet up in the regular season, it IS like a Final Four game. If you ever want to talk about the all time programs who've made it to the NCAA Tournament, UNC and UK are on the Top 5 list easily. When these two teams meet, it's the two best programs in history going against each other. You can argue that but the amount of games both these teams have won speaks for itself. There's a lot of respect in that when you realize what you're witnessing, not to mention that the best NBA player of all time came from Chapel Hill.

Take for instance last season. UNC was a heavy favorite to win it all, and they had top players to back it up, meanwhile Kentucky was returning Hayes and Buike and starting junior transfer Sparks, and freshmen Rajon Rondo and Randolph Morris. Kentucky went into Chapel Hill and lost the game but what the stats don't tell you from that game is that Kentucky had at least 3 chances in the second half to make a run of it. Three times they reached within 10 points of UNC but the better team prevailed, and if you watched the game, you know that it sounded like a Final Four game and had that tournament feel to it. If you want a 'mascot' game that represents the end of the college basketballseason, UNC - UK wouldn't be a bad choice at all. When you hear North Carolina - Kentucky your eyes have to get a little big and wonder what time the tip off is going to be regardless where either team is ranked in the AP, and I don't expect anything less than a hard fought 40 minutes in a sold out Rupp Arena that will make me forget that it's just December!

So what's up with this game Saturday?

Well first of all, let's put national rankings aside. The defending national champions are coming inside Rupp Arena and will try to make a little noise. When you look at North Carolina's roster, you don't recognize them from last year's team at all, but they do have size and strength that will match up well against Kentucky. Freshman Forward Tyler Hansbrough is their leading scorer, and they start three forwards and two gaurds which consists three freshmen, a junior, and a senior. They have four players who have averaged double digits in their first three games of the season, and they've played a lot of freshmen so far. Freshman Danny Green and Junior guard Wes Miller have come off the bench to provide some scoring power for the Tar Heels, but their starting forwards, freshman Tyler Hansbrough, Junior Reyshawn Terry and Senior David Noel, are the top 3 scorers and rebounders for them. Their first three games have been against non ranked lesser teams and they lost to #12 Illinois by only 6 Tuesday night before they come to Lexington Saturday.

The outcome of this game will really depend on Kentucky's ability to rebound and being able to score in the paint, and their ability to pressure UNC's freshmen gaurds. If Rondo can put together a double-double and if Rekalin Sims and maybe Bobby Perry can somehow be a force down low against UNC's more experienced forwards, it will help Kentucky more, but until the game starts, Kentucky's starting lineup will be unknown, and even throughout the game, depending on how well UNC plays emotionally, Tubby Smith will tinker with the lineups. It's going to be an emotional game. Rondo and Sparks are returning starters from last year who played against UNC last year so they will be emotional and ready to play. A big key to the game is going to be how well Kentucky can create the easy basket against the defending national champions while forcing a lot pressure and creating turnovers and fast break points.

Top Things To Watch For

Rajon Rondo: Stay out of early foul trouble and keep playing your D! Help create turnovers and share the ball like you have! And playing that D is including crashing the boards like you have so far this season. Don't let up. Minutes. How many minutes will be important. In a game like this, emotions will be high, and Rondo has been averaging over 30 minutes a game anyways. Rondo is a huge key to Kentucky's success.

Rekalin Sims: UNC will have experienced forwards starting in this game in Senior David Noel and Junior Reyshawn Terry, and the play of Sims being able to score and contribute some easy baskets down low will determine whether Kentucky abandons any inside attack and panics with the ball like we saw against Iowa if the game is close towards the end of the game. Sims must be able to also help Rondo rebound the ball, and his ability to create fouls is important. Sims is a veteran at drawing a charge! Watch for Sims to take advantage of a young UNC team who will have three freshmen starting in a big game for Kentucky!

Patrick Sparks: Sparks has to be ready to step and create plays whether it be knocking down a three or sharing the ball on an inside dish if he or Rondo gets extra attention at any point in the game. Keep your cool, and know that you have a fellow Junior transfer in Sims who has the ability to create a shot and draw a foul.

Kentucky's Bench: The ability of UK's bench will play a major role in this game that will give guys like Rondo and Sparks and Sims some rest time, even if it to catch their breath for a couple minutes. Thomas, Perry, Moss, and Bradely are four guys that have the ability to step up their game if anyone is struggling. Lukasz Obrzut might play a key role off the bench if he can be physical enough in the paint to create a score. It's no secret that UK's bench has saved them in a lot of games last year ... and lastly ...

Turnovers: Keep your cool and turn the ball over less than North Carolina and you should win this game! You'll have a sold out Rupp Arena supporting you. Just play your game, play your game.


I'm going to predict a close win for the Wildcats. In no way do I see Kentucky so much better than UNC, plus it's so early in the season. I think the Wildcats will win this game within 10 pts or less based on their ability to rebound and pressure UNC into some bad mistakes down the stretch. How well UNC can cover Rondo might be the difference from a huge win or squeaking the win out in the final minutes. There won't be anything sweeter though than to beat UNC, aside from beating L'ville of course. I just wish UNC had half their players from last year because it means more to me beating them when they're just as good or better than us, but it's still going to be one heck of a game. UNC 73 UK 79

The Wildcat Blog

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sportz College Pigskin Notes


Yep...I said it.  Look, I want them to be in the BCS because (a) they are an exciting team to watch and (b) I want to see how Charlie Weiss does when given a month to break down an opponent of the calibar in which he'll play.  But, if all things were equal, the Irish should miss out. 

Essentially, the Irish are banking on a close home loss to USC more than anything.  That immensely difficult season on paper turned into anything buy.  They won at Michigan when the Wolverines were struggling.  They beat Tennessee in it's worst season in the Phil Fulmer era.  They won at Purdue during their 6-game losing streak.  Michigan State beat them in South Bend....then went on to lose 6 of 8 games [their only two wins were against Indiana and Illinois who went a combined 1-15 in Big Ten play].  Sure, Michigan, BYU, Navy and USC will go to bowls...but that's the only one's on their schedule that will. 

The reason the Irish will be in the BCS [most likely the Fiesta Bowl] is strictly money...I know, shocking....and that is alright in the way it is set up.  They will fill any stadium and city they'll play in on New Year's Day.  Just don't get caught up in the fact that they deserve it more than anyone. 



The Seminoles may enter the bowl season with FOUR straight losses...with three of those four losses coming in the state of Florida. 

The Noles were beaten at home by NC State;  mauled at Clemson;  mauled at Florida;  and get Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game this weekend.  A loss there may keep the Noles in Florida for bowl season.  No...not the Orange Bowl.  Not the Outback Bowl.  Not the Cap One Bowl.  Not the Gator Bowl.  Try the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. 

They have fallen out of the Top 25...the first time they've been unranked since 2001. 

Yeah, how the mighty have fallen in just six weeks.  Remember, this was a top 5 team in mid-October when they went into Virginia, then lost.  And they join Tennessee, Michigan and Oklahoma as recent powers [all have won National Titles in the last several years] to find themselves unranked.



At least Florida State, Michigan and Oklahoma will be in bowl games....Tennessee will not.  But there are several other big name schools that will miss out on the Bowl Season.

Bill Snyder has coached his last game in Kansas their season is over.  No bowl game for them.  Snyder built K State into a semi-powerhouse in the 1990s. 

Texas A&M was a preseason darling for many people.  Some felt they even had a shot to knock the Longhorns from the Big XII South title.  Yeah...a 5-6 season takes them out of bowling. 

Michigan State quickly became a party crasher out of the gate...winning at Notre Dame.  They then lose 6 of 8 to close the season.  Purdue, who were lauded both offensively and defensively, also tanked to a 5-6 mark.  Maryland was the ACC champions a couple of seasons ago.  Now they will sit watching the bowls.  As will North Carolina....who seems to always sneak into a bowl. 



When you hear the words "championship game" are ready for a pretty good tilt.  Um, not this year.

The best of the bunch is the SEC Championship game, which features #3 LSU vs #13 Georgia.  The Tigers are favored...but the game will be played in it really is a toss up.  After that, the games get fugly!

The Big XII Championship Game looks to be a Texas is a 27 point favorite to down Colorado.  TWENTY SEVEN POINTS!!!!  That's one of those September games.....not a championship game!

The First ACC Championship Game also could be a route.  Virginia Tech is favored by two TDs as they take on floundering, unranked and 3-game losing skidded Florida State.  The game is in Jacksonville...where FSU is sure to get some support.  They better hope some talent gets out there. 

Even the MAC Championship Game sucks.  Akron vs Northern Illinois????  No Toledo, Miami or Bowling Green??  How many people even knew that Akron had a football program??

And, finally, the first Conference USA title game. Again, a clunker.  Tulsa vs Central Florida.  Remember, folks, that Central Florida had ZERO wins last season.  ZERO!!!

IF THERE WAS A PLAYOFF..... is how I'd line it up.  I favor a 10-team format [two "play in games" before the quarterfinal round].  That keeps the riff raff out but gets the elite teams that may have had some hardship still into the dance. 

In an 10-team format, there would be the six BCS conference champions plus four wildcard teams.  I'd use the BCS standings to determine the wildcard teams and the seedings. 

The conference champs would be Virginia Tech [ACC], West Virginia [Big East], Penn State [Big Ten], Texas [Big XII], USC [Pac 10] and LSU [SEC].  The four wildcard teams would be Ohio State, Oregon, Notre Dame and Miami. 

West Virginia at Miami 
Notre Dame at Oregon

West Virginia/Miami at USC
Notre Dame/Oregon at Texas
Ohio State at LSU
Virginia Tech at Penn State

USC/Miami/West Virginia vs Penn State/Virginia Tech
Texas/Notre Dame/Oregon vs LSU/Ohio State


Huggs Is Gone....But The DUIs Are Still There


Cincinnati Bearcat assistant coach Keith LeGree was charged with his 2nd DUI in nine months.  He was found in Newport, KY [just across the Ohio River from Cincy] asleep in his car with his foot on the brake.  There was a plastic cup and an open bottle of Hennessey in his console. 

He has now resigned, leaving an already shaky Cincy coaching staff even smaller.  His lawyer released this statement of LeGree's behalf...."After careful consideration and thought, I have elected to resign my position as assistant men's basketball coach with the University of Cincinnati. I am eternally grateful to the entire University of Cincinnati community including the administration, staff, students, fans and all members of the athletic department for the valuable opportunities, experiences, and support offered me during my six years at the University of Cincinnati."  

Some people believe that LeGree's DUI last spring was the actual straw that broke Bob Huggins' it solidified the university president's lack of faith in Huggs control of the program.  He was acquitted of that he was also found asleep in his car and told the court of his "sleep apnea".

As if interim coach Andy Kennedy needed any of this.  He basically gets a one year tryout as the head coach...and no one seems to be buying in.  Recruits are obviously weary of going to a program with no set future.  There are many fans who refuse to support the school [there are about 4,000 empty seats a night at 5/3 Arena].  Former Kenyon Martin....have distanced themselves from the school. 

Good luck!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Friendly Disagreements



Earlier today, the Lions made official what was rumored all weekend.....that head coach Steve Mariucci would be fired.  Happy Thanksgiving to all in Detroit!

I disagree with this in so many ways.  First off...I find no merit in canning a NFL coach mid season....even if it is Week 12, unless letting every "free agent" coach know that you have an opening.  Aside from that, it is pointless.  The team cannot get better, as more times than not an assistant coach will suddenly be thrust into the head job to hold down the fort.  In the NFL, there is no way that a interim coach can possible circle the wagons and make a positive out of this negative.

As for the ol' "well, the assistant coach gets to show what he's made of" line is a crock!  That interim coach all of the sudden takes responsibility for an obvious mess and a roster full of guys wondering about their futures with the team.  Not a recipe for success.  And, obviously, the team isn't very good anyways when you have to fire your coach during the season.

Also, if there was one coach that I may have even broken this rule for this would've been Mike Tice.  It seemed that the Vikings lacked "institutional control"...and they had a poor record.  I mean, it is one thing to have a morally inept team, but they cannot suck too!  But Tice stayed around...and Minnesota is suddenly 6-5 with a four game winning streak and are back on the playoff pace...trailing Tampa, Atlanta and New York by just one game.

Not to say that the Lions could/would do the same.  The team has played poorly...been dealt with a ton of injuries...and the GM, Matt Millen, seems to love drafting WRs in the first round.  Most likely, the Lions would have packed it in for the rest of the season and Mooch would've been canned anyways. 

But at least let him play it out. 



I got this comment today....

DUKEBLUEIS1:  "I am a Dookie, and proud of it. You want to talk about  Duke players and fans as you would like to be one! Sorry we dont take losers. Laettner, Hurley, Reddick, Ferry, Collins, Parks, Battier, Williams, last but not least our Crazies , have a winning record that ant team including UNC Tarbabbies would cheat to own . Maybe you will grow up and understand DUKE BLUE IS A WINNING color is that something else for Carolina blue to hate"

Now, allow me to retort. 

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS:  North Carolina 4....Duke 3
ALL TIME WINS:  North Carolina 1860 [2nd]....Duke 1764 [4th]
UNC-DUKE SERIES WINS:  North Carolina 124....Duke 95
BEST PLAYER:  North Carolina:  Michael Jordan....Duke:  Christian Laettner

Yep.  I'm so jealous



Alex from Alex's Sports Blog wrote this blog entry: 

"Mike Shanahan was happy with the sudden death rule yesterday, but I wasn't.  I'm sure many football fans weren't either.  I want to see both teams given a fair chance to win.  College Football does it perfectly, both teams start at the 20 yard line, and if one team scores than the other team needs to score.  Both teams get an equal chance.  I think the NFL shouldn't adopt the 20 yard line rule, but maybe both teams get a possesion.  After Dayne got that 55 yard run, and after the field goal, Dallas would've gotten the ball kicked tothem and then they would start a possesion.  If they couldn't score, then the game would end.  If they did score, the game would keep going. 

If the new overtime rule was adopted, maybe the Cowboys would've been celebrating yesterday.  This also works from a business perspective.  Anybody could figure this out, the overtime games would go longer, so obviously more additional ad revenue would be produced.  The sudden death aspect would still be there, because college still has a sudden death aspect, and they do give both teams an equal chance.  This change may not happen, but I feel it's long overdue.  Do you think the NFL overtime should chance?"

I respectfully disagree with everything here.  I am a Redskin fan...and watched my team lose in the exact same fashion that they Cowboys lost on Thanksgiving.  And I don't have a problem with the rule. 

What if the Cowboys stopped Denver with a 3-and-out??  Then Denver would have punted the ball...and Dallas gets it mid-field.  Then is that fair?  In the history of the NFL.....106 of the 381 all-time overtime games ended in the scenerio on Thanksgiving...that one team didn't get a chance in overtime.  It happens. 

So does the coin toss really determine the overtime winner??  Well, the same can be said in the NCAA version as well if you want to truly break it down.  In college, the team who wins the coin toss tends to go on offense SECOND so they know how many points they need.  If Team 1 scores a FG...than Team 2 knows all they have to do is get a FG to stay alive.  Team 1 doesn't have the option since they are going first.  Same principle. essence, the coin toss is just as important in the NCAA as it is in the NFL. 

And having the NCAA rule would completely skew the NFL game.  In the NCAA a few years back, Kentucky and Arkansas played to a 71-63 Razorbacks win in 7 overtimes.  All stats count.  And we usually see one of those 54-51 overtime games at some point during the college season.  Does the NFL need that??  No.

Also...the NFL ends overtime games with triumph!!  The NCAA does not.  I mean, to win an NFL game in overtime...there must be a made FGor a TD of some kind.  Even a safety.  In the NCAA, an overtime game can end with an incomplete pass.  Not as triumphant.  So....let's keep it the same way. 

Redskins On Life Support


Week 12 may be looked back as the week where the men seperated from the boys.  There were FOUR games that matched up teams who entered the week atop [or tied] for their division leads.  There were also a few games that featured two teams who HAD to have a win.  There were valiant comebacks....choke jobs...and just some great football around the NFL.

CHARGERS 23-REDSKINS 17.  For the third straight week, the Skins blew a 4th quarter lead and blew the game.  And, again, all the tell-tale signs of the Redskins demise was featured in this game.  Portis got off...but didn't score.  Big plays murdered that Skins TWO LaDanlian Tomlinson runs ripped this game from Washington.  Really, the Skins took care of the ball for once...but dropped balls were horrible!!! a Redskins can view the cup as half full or half empty.  HALF FULL:  The lone blessing in all of this is that the Cowboys and Giants the Skins are in the same position they were at this time last week.  Sure, they are 2 games back...but they get both the Cowboys and Giants at FedEx Field.  Moral victories are meaningless...but it can be argued that the Redskins should've won the last 3 weeks and be 8-3 right now.  HALF EMPTY: reality, the Skins didn't win those games and look done.  They've lost 6 of 8 including two straight home games.  The two wins in that span were against the hapless Niners and the Eagles right when the Terrell Owens saga came to a head.  (Sportz 1-0)

FALCONS 27-LIONS 7.  Here is one of those games where a team with a future smacked down a team who's playing out the string.  Atlanta found it's running game back, which is key for them...since Vick still isn't a great passing QB.  And that defense looked like it should.  (Sportz 2-0)

BRONCOS 24-COWBOYS 21.  Big win for Denver, who is trying to (a) stay with the Colts for a smowball's chance at the homefield advantage...(b) trying to get a first round bye....and (c) trying to distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West pack.  They did so by running all over Dallas even without Tatum Bell.  In fact, Bell's replacement [Ron Dayne] scored a TD and made the game's biggest play:  a 55 yard run in overtime to put Denver in FG range.  The Boys' loss re-opens the door for the Giants to take the division lead.  (Sportz 3-0)

PANTHERS 13-BILLS 9.  This Panthers desperately needed this game to stay on pace with the Bears and Seahawks/Giants winner.  It was anything but pretty...but the Panthers cashed in on a late opportunity to win this game....and did.  Props to the Bills for hanging in there.  Hey...and I picked this game to be 16-9.  Just a Kasay 45 yd missed FG away from that happening.  (Sportz 4-0)

BENGALS 42-RAVENS 29.  It is one thing for the Colts to put up 45 on ya...but another when the Ravens do so.  The Bengals were dominating this game.  Cincy was up 34-0 and were cruising in this game.  But, some bad defense got B-more back in this they outscored Cincy 29-8 to close out the game.  Still, the Bengals won a game they needed to have and will [possibly] go into Pittsburgh with a 1-game division lead.  (Sportz 5-0)

TITANS 33-NINERS 22.  Every other year or so...we get "The Stupor Bowl".  Two bad teams doing battle at the end of the year.  The winner gets a win...but the loser gets a better draft spot.  The Titans won the game...but the Niners moved up the draft board with this one.  Now, records aside, this was a pretty entertaining game.  There was some great offense in this one as we saw a glimpse of Air McNair again.  Oh...and I called this game Titans 31-23.  Close!  (Sportz 6-0)

CHIEFS 26-PATRIOTS 16.  I guess even Tom Brady can look like crap!  Brady threw FOUR picks and just under 250 yards as New England dropped to 6-5 on the season.  Despite the 10-pt margin, the game wasn't ever really that close.  KC jumped on the Pats, stunning them, taking a 26-3 lead.  Larry Johnson's 119 yards is making some think that Priest Holmes will be elsewhere next season.  (Sportz 7-0)

VIKINGS 24-BROWNS 12.  I know that they aren't beating great teams...but that's why I made the prediction that the Vikings would win the NFC North.  Well, with Chicago dominating...that doesn't look to happen.  But, they are inching closer in the wildcard race [they are only ONE game back of the Giants, who they beat, Atlanta, who beat them, and Tampa, who beat them].  Oh, I hate Marcus Robinson...whose 3 TDs helped to defeat my Fantasy team this weekend!!!  (Sportz 8-0)

BEARS 13-BUCCANEERS 10.  Okay, I guess they really are for real!  Don't look now, but Da Bears are the #2 seed in the NFC.  They've beaten Carolina last week then win in Tampa this week.  That defense shut down a suddenly robust Tampa offense.  In fact, a forced fumble gave Chicago awesome field position that led to their only TD.  (Sportz 8-1)

RAMS 33-TEXANS 27.  THIS is why Houston is the worst team in the NFL.  And an investigation may be needed!  Houston led this game 24-3 at halftime.  Dom Capers had to ripped his team for falling out of the Reggie Bush sweepstakes.  I'm sure he pointed to the scoreboard and said "look...the Niners are losing.  We need to lose to keep that #1 pick!".  I mean, how else do you explain a third string QB who was a 7th round pick out of Harvard to lead a comeback that saw the Rams outscore the Texans 30-3 over the final 25 minutes of the game?!!?!?!  (Sportz 9-1)

DOLPHINS 33-RAIDERS 21.  I quit.  I quit picking Raiders or Dolphins games.  I can't read them!  Miami gets clobbered by Cleveland last week...yet smacks around Oakland in the Bay?  Oakland beats the Skins in DC...yet gets mauled at home by Miami?  And how about Ricky Williams?  He rushed for over 80 yards and ran a TD in.  (Sportz 9-2)

JAGUARS 24-CARDINALS 17.  Arizona's gonna be great this year!!  Oooops!!  Well, the biggest "oops" in this game is that the Jags have lost Byron Leftwich for the rest of the regular season...but should befine for the playoffs.  Huge loss when you are dealing with the Chargers and Chiefs up your backside for the wildcard!!  (Sportz 10-2)

EAGLES 19-PACKERS 14.  Hey, I guess Philly is better off without McNabb too??  Oh, and thanks for the memories Brett!!  Which makes you wonder......SHOULD Favre sit down?  Should the Packers go ahead and get Aaron Rodgers some major minutes??  (Sportz 11-2)

SEAHAWKS 24-GIANTS 21.  To say Jay Feely is a goat is an understatement.  Look...none of us could've made those FGs...but none of us get paid to.  I'm sure when Feely turns on the TV back in the Big Apple, he's gonna hear about it.  To me, this game all but clinches the NFC's top Seattle has only one game against a winning team the rest of the way.  The G-men have a nice little scrum with Dallas next week.  (Sportz 12-2)

SAINTS 21-JETS 19.  Sorry, ESPN.  But no matter how hard you try...this matchup just sucked.  (Sportz 13-2)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Tulane Ends Nomadic Season


THE END OF TULANE FOOTBALL??  Tulane University played their final football game of the year on Saturday.  They finished 2-9.  11 games.  11 cities.  11 stadiums.  11 straight weeks.  This team endured despite not having a home field....heck, not having a home.  The school isn't functional, so the team was pretty much playing on name alone.  Students cheering for Tulane were now enrolled at new schools.  The football players were enrolled at Louisiana Tech.  Honestly, this could be the end of the football program.  The school still is in ruins and the players will most likely bolt for other schools [vultures have been circling].  I mean, their scholarships may not be there.  Yet, despite a season filled with an unknown future and a destroyed past....the team competed with whatever they had.  And no matter what, everyone associated with that team should be commended for the greatest season in college football.  God bless. 

THE SAINTS AREN'T MUCH BETTER OFF, EITHER.  The Saints and Jets meet tonight in what should be a bad football game.  The difference is that New York has a shot to get better.  New Orleans doesn't have that shot.  No pro sports team has been in limbo like this in a long, long time.  The team has mailed it in....and no one knows what the future holds.  Coach Jim Haslett may be fired and the team may be moving to a new city soon.  But what coach in their right mind would take that job??  It has consumed Haslett to the point that I'm surprised he isn't in consuling right now.  No free agent worth anything would sign there.  And the team may not have the budget to keep the guys it has under contract now. 

DON'T BE FOOLED....USC-UCLA ISN'T FOR THE PAC 10 TITLEForget the hype.  USC is already the Pac-10's representative in the BCS.  Even if UCLA beats USC this weekend....UCLA can't win the title.  A UCLA win would make USC, UCLA and Oregon all 7-1 in the conference.  Since UCLA and Oregon didn't meet....the tie breaker goes to record against like opponents.  UCLA would be eliminated from that group first....putting a new tiebreaker in effect between USC and Oregon.  The Trojans beat that gives them the tie breaker.  So, in effect, USC is already conference champs!

PETE ROSE GETS SCREWED BY THE HALL VOTERS AGAIN.  I understand that he's still not able to be voted in.  But Rose will never be on the Hall ballot.  Why?  Even if Rose gets reinstated into the league....his 15 years of being on the ballot have expired.  Huh?  How can Rose run out of "eligibility" if he has never been "eligible"???  It is a crock!!! 

INDEPENDENCE HS WINS 90TH IN A ROW.  The nation's longest high school football winning streak resides in Charlotte, old high school....Independence HS.  The Independence Patriots won their 90th straight football game by murdering Davie County 52-21 in the third round of the 4AA NCHAA football playoffs.  Next, the Pats take on Myers Park [who is also based in Charlotte].  The winner of that game will take on the winner of the New Bern vs Raleigh Wakefield game for the NCHAA Championship in Raliegh.   Independence beat Myers Park 30-13 last month.  If the Pats win two more games...they will win their 6th straigh state title.  Again, my alma mater....GO PATS!!

NFL COACHES WHO MAY BE DONE SOON.  The season is winding the line of coaches who may be out of their jobs is starting to shape up.  A speculative list.
1-Mike Martz, Rams.  A shame that his heart issues have forced him on leave.  But the attitude of the organization about Martx since he's been gone has spoken volumes to their thinking.  He's gone. 
2-Dom Capers, Texans.  Many people, including me, thought Houston would be a team to wreckon with this year.  They've taken a nose dive into the worst record in the NFL.  Capers, the only coach in franchise history, may have worn out his welcome in Houston and get his pink slip sometime around January 2. 
3-Mike Tice, Vikings.  I'm not sure if a recent hot streak can save his job.  It did last year.  But Tice has helmed a franchise that has seen the Love Boat, a druggie running back, and his own scalping controversy.  And this was all AFTER they got rid of Randy Moss.  Ownership has changed...and Tice may get the ax. 
4-Mike Sherman, Packers.  He may keep his job since Favre announced his devotion to Sherman.  But the second Favre hints at retiring...Sherman is cut loose. 
5-Jim Haslett, Saints.  Normally, he'd be atop this list.  His team is 2-8 after flirting with the playoffs a year ago....a year which he miraculously held onto his job.  But the unprecidented issues in which the Saints have had to deal with may allow for Haslett to get one more season in.  I mean, who would want this job??  The record stinks, but Haslett really must be commended for keeping this team going week to week. 
6-Brian Billick, Ravens.  Again, a case of new ownership and playing well below expectations.  And, like Tice, the attitude of the players seems to point to the fact that he's lost them.  They are better than how they are playing...and they are being beat mentally.  Billick may get the blame for all of this. 
7-Steve Mariucci, Lions.  I feel he gets one more year in Detroit.  Injuries and suspensions have limited his receiving corp plus Jeff Garcia's injury issues has stunted their offensive growth.  One more year to get this thing turned around.   
8-Norv Turner, Raiders.  I think he deserves one more year, but a fickle Al Davis and the prospect of Mike Martz on the market could end the Norv Turner Era in Oakland before it truly got off the ground. 
HONORABLE MENTION:  Herm Edwards may not get fired...but he may not be the Jets coach next year.  If the Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeilretires...then Edwards may jump ship to that job. 

TARK THE SHARK IN VEGAS.  UNLV has dedicated it's floor to Jerry Tarkanian...the coach for the Rebels during their greatest success period.  During his 19 years in Vegas, the Rebels won 509 games, 12 NCAA tournaments, 4 Finals Fours and a national championship.  Since he's been gone, UNLV has been to the NCAA tournament just twice.  However, Tark's program was marred by NCAA investigations and a penalty given to the program after he stepped down in the early 1990s.  But, for one night, Tark and the Rebels were united again.

BCS NOT TOTALLY A MESS.  The BCS looks to be in good shape, provided everything goes according to plan in next week's conference title tilts. 
ACC:  Virginia Tech plays Florida State for the inagurat ACC Championship game.  V-Tech should romp [FSU has lost 3 straight games] but the game is in Jacksonville.  The Noles would throw a monkey wrench into everything with a win.  But, I feel it is Virginia Tech.
BIG EAST:  West Virginia gets to go to a BCS bowl since South Florida lost to UConn.  WVU will most likely be #8 in the list of 8 BCS teams.
BIG XII:  Texas should maul Colorado [they did once already] for the Big XII crown.  Again, the Buffalos [like the Noles] could be a spolier and BCS team with a win.  Highly unlikely. 
BIG TEN:  Penn State tied Ohio State for the Big Ten crown.  But, the Nittany Lions beat the they are heading to a BCS bowl.
PAC 10:  See above "Don't Be Fooled...". 
SEC:  That LSU-Georgia game should be a doozy!!  The winner gets the BCS bid.  The loser doesn't.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Does Marty Schottenheimer Beat His Former Team?

Thanksgiving has come and gone....and in the NFL world, that means that the seperation between "playoff-bound" and "also ran" has officially taken place.  Oh, there's always one team that jumps ahead [Colts] and one that falls behind [Texans]....but now starts the time when the rest realize what they really are and what they can be. 

This is an extraordinary weekend.  There are FOUR games that matchup two teams who are in first place in their division.  There are also several "must win" games for both teams involved. 

So....on with my picks!!!

FALCONS 27-LIONS 7.  Here is one of those games where a team with a future smacked down a team who's playing out the string.  Atlanta found it's running game back, which is key for them...since Vick still isn't a great passing QB.  And that defense looked like it should.  (Sportz 1-0)

BRONCOS 24-COWBOYS 21.  Big win for Denver, who is trying to (a) stay with the Colts for a smowball's chance at the homefield advantage...(b) trying to get a first round bye....and (c) trying to distance themselves from the rest of the AFC West pack.  They did so by running all over Dallas even without Tatum Bell.  In fact, Bell's replacement [Ron Dayne] scored a TD and made the game's biggest play:  a 55 yard run in overtime to put Denver in FG range.  The Boys' loss re-opens the door for the Giants to take the division lead.  (Sportz 2-0)


CHARGERS AT REDSKINS.  Here is one of those "must games" by both teams.  Both teams will want to establish the run.  Both team's will be looking for big defensive games.  Both teams will need their QB to step up.  The Bolts need this game to keep pace with Denver, who won on Thanksgiving.  This game is HUGE for Dallas just lost and the Giants are underdogs in their game.  So a win puts the Skins just a game back of first...with meetings against both teams, in Washington, remaining.  My feeling is that the Skins offense will not be able to move the ball that well [just like against Oakland].  Portis will get his...but they won't be able to punch the ball in.  As for the Chargers...Tomlinson will break open a few runs and Keenan McCardell could end up with a big game.  Chargers 24-14

PANTHERS AT BILLS.  Trap game.  In 1998, the Bills-Panthers game in Charlotte was the very first NFL game I ever attended [the game was on Sunday Night Football].  Carolina is still one of the NFC's top teams but all their weakness were exposed in Chicago last week.  They are struggling to run the ball, they turn the ball over, and their offensive line is struggling.  Not good things going into a freezing Buffalo.  But, this is a Bills team that layed down against SD last week and is basically wrapping up their season.  Panthers play a solid enough game to skate out with a much needed win.  Panthers 16-9

BEARS AT BUCCANEERS.  One of those matchups of first place teams fighting for playoff positioning.  Believe this...but a Bears win could put them, right now, as the #2 seed in the NFC.  As could a Buccaneers win.  My insticts tell me to take Chicago.  Chris Simms is prone to mistakes and Da Bears are prone to forcing them.  Also, that Tampa defense has been missing the last two weeks, albeit wins.  But, Mike Alstott has suddenly re-emerged in Tampa [where that Caddy at??] and Simms has beaten the Skins and Falcons in back to back weeks.  Add a third straight win.  Buccs 17-13

BROWNS AT VIKINGS.  I caught a lot of flak a few weeks back for picking the Vikings to win the NFC North.  Well, they may not get there...but they are hot right now.  It's just that the Bears won two games that I didn't think they'd win.  Anyways, the Vikings now take on a Browns team that smacked around Miami last week.  I give the Browns credit:  they've won 2 more games than I thought they would.  But Minny takes this.  Vikings 27-17


PATRIOTS AT CHIEFS.  Wow.  This should be a nice game!  I think this will be another one of those "Tom Brady airs it out" roadies for New England.  He'll have Corey Dillon will be out.  Arrowhead is a tough place to win...and KC really needs this win.  Hard to believe that the Pats will be 6-5.  Chiefs 24-21

NINERS AT TITANS.  On the surface....both teams suck so it should be a bad game.  No.  This game will be entertaining and exciting...if you throw out the records.  The Niners defense is waaay better than the Titans....and the Titans O is waaaay better than the Niners.  I think McNair may get his final win here in Cashville.  Titans 31-23

RAVENS AT BENGALS.  Oh, Cincinnati can beat the bad teams.  It's those winning teams that they have a problem with.  Bengals 30-13

RAMS AT TEXANS.  This could be a real stinker.  Houston sucks...and St. Louis is missing their QB.  This might be a good shot for Carr to get going as that Rams defense stinks.  And he may be the only person in Houston that doesn't want to win the Matt Leinart sweepstakes.  He's on the "Bush in '06" campaign trail.  Rams 24-23


DOLPHINS AT RAIDERS.  Here is a perfect example of "holding on".  Both the Phins and Raidahs went into road games last week with a 3-6 record.  Oak-town went on to upset the Skins while Miami stunk up Cleveland Browns Stadium.  All the sudden...the Raidersare dubbed a "team no one wants to deal with" and the Dolphins are dead.  Raiders 33-14

JAGUARS AT CARDINALS.  Psst.  Don't look now but Jacksonville is 7-3 and lead the AFC Wildcard standings.  Pass it on!   Jags 20-16

GIANTS AT SEAHAWKS.  This is, arguably, a matchup of the NFC's two best teams.  Certainly looks as if they are the NFC's two best offenses.  This game could go a long way to deciding who gets home field advantage in the NFC title game.  Seattle has their division all but wrapped up.  The Giants, with a win, take over sole possession of the NFC East.  A Seattle win here would almost eliminate the G-men from the homefield advantage.  Seahawks 27-24

PACKERS AT EAGLES.  Philly is the laughingstock of the NFL right now.  And they should be.  They were nearly everyone's choice [including mine] to sweep thru the NFC and go back to the Super Bowl.  Now, there is no Owens and no McNabb.  The locker room is split in two and they are in last place.  Still, this just goes to show you have even worse it is in Green Bay.  Despite everything...Philly is favored to win...and I agree.  Eagles 17-13

SAINTS AT JETS.  The Saints will feel weird going into Giants Stadium as the "road team".  I mean, geez, these guys are usually the home team in this stadium, eh??  Anyways, now you know why the NFL will be tinkering with the schedule next year so crap like this doesn't happen.  My favorite thing is that ESPN doesn't even bother promoting this game.  Saints 3-0

STEELERS AT COLTS.  This game is meaningful in so many ways.  A Colts win means they've popped the Steelers, Bengals, Jaguars and Patriots.....and have done in Denver in the playoffs the last couple of years.  Basically, they know they can beat anyone and everyone.  The Steelers are dealing with so many issues right now.  Who knows who will run the ball....throw the ball...or catch the ball?  We do know who can for Indy.  Colts 34-20

Is This The End Of "The Christies"???


The Dallas Mavericks waived Doug Christie....which may mark the end of Christie's career.  He's having his surgically repaired ankle checked out...but he may be done.

Does this mark the end of

Will we never see him make those hand signals to his wife again?


Will we never see him brick jumpers in the Western Conference Finals again?

Will we never see him holdout for another team again?

Will we never see his wife beat Rick Fox over the head with a purse again?


Will we never get to see "The Christies" on reality TV?

Will "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" do another interview with him?

Will there never be any more weddings in Doug's future??

Will he not add another jersey to his collection....which already has Sonics, Lakers, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Magic and Mavs jerseys??

Will he the female beat writers be relieved that they can talk to anyone on the Mavs again?                          


Another ACC Team Wins the Preseason NIT

Let's just call it the ACC Invitational.

Just kidding...but the ACC has again got off to a great start.  Yep, I'm gonna write something complimentary about they won a thrilling NIT final.  This marks the SIXTH time in EIGHT years that an ACC school has won the preseason NIT Championship.

2004-Wake Forest
2003-Georgia Tech
2002-North Carolina
1998-North Carolina

In 1996, 1997 and ACC team lost the Preseason NIT Championship game.  In 1996, Duke lost to Indiana.  In 1997, Florida State lost to Kansas.  In 2001, Wake Forest lost to Syracuse.

So, in the last 10 years, an ACC team has appeared in the Championship game 9 times....and won 6 of them. 

In 1999...the only year the ACC didn't have a team in the NIT title tilt....Maryland finished 3rd.

While down a bit this year....the ACC will still be a force to be reckoned with.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!!


The Year 2005 has been a great one.  My health and happiness are better than ever!!  My wife and our family are all doing well!

My Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA tournament.  Four Heels were lottery picks in the NBA Draft.  My hometown, Charlotte, debuted their new NBA team.  My Redskins have suddenly become relevant again.  The Reds are being sold. 

There was no shortage of sports stories to blog about.  New blogging friends were well as older ones growing stronger. 

I give thanks to all those out there that (a) read this blog, (b) read all my other blogs, (c) supports my blogs and (d) comment yea or nea about the content put there.   Thanks to AOL Sports for keeping this thing rolling.  Thanks to the Mottrams and the rest of the SBL crew who keep pimpin' my blog whenever they get a chance.  Thanks to my Bloggers in arms who not only provide excellent things to read...but force me to bring my A game.  And thanks to everyone out there.

Here are a few questions that I am taking from my readership...that I thought I'd share with everyone.

Sure.  First off, I am correct, Seth Davis is wrong.  The stats speak for themselves. 
Feb 5, 2003:  6 of 12 [first game against Carolina]
Mar 9, 2003:  4 for 13
Feb 5, 2004:  3 for 12
Mar 6, 2004:  3 for 9
Feb 9, 2005:  4 for 12 [10 of those shots were 3s]
Mar 6, 2005:  5 for 13
In his 3 years at Dook...Redick is 25 for 71 from the field against UNC, which is 36%.  
Or his 10 for 38 shooting [27%] during last year's NCAA Tournament???
Or his 18 for 64 shooting [29%] during his last 5 NCAA Tournament games???
I'm not going so far as to say that Redick sucks.  Far from it.  But it has been shown that if you can stay in his face [which is tough] and follow him around...he's gonna have a bad time. 

I am going road on both games.  If Denver had closed out the G-men....they'd be 9-1 right now and an NFL darling along with Indy.  In the other game...Atlanta has lost 2 in a row...but I feel they'll hold Harrington up a bit and squeak out a victory. 

Yes.  Well, that's his job.  In the grand scheme of puts closure on this particular issue.  Neither side will really be bothered by the other.  Now...should the Eagles have done this??  Well, the fact that they did goes to show you that want nothing to do with him.  In Owens' defense, the Eagles 4-game suspension was solely about the money.  If not, they'd just de-activate him and keep paying his salary. 

I say he ends up in Denver.  The Broncos have a spot for his talent.  They have a QB that can get him the ball and a coach that can handle some tough personalities.  They also have a veteran that won't let his crap get a hold of them like Philly did.  But Owens' big payday that he so desperately wanted [I mean, that's what this whole mess was about] will never come.  He screwed that up.  From here on out...he'll get, at max, a 3-yr deal....but one that would most likely have an out clause after each year.  But he has the talent to still be in this league. 

I have to say hoops.  The makeup of the postseason dictates a much better regular season than football has.  In hoops, getting in the NCAA tournament is key.  To do so, you must schedule some pretty good teams to face....and you can afford to take a loss.  I mean, a loss to a good team is better than beating a horrible one.  In football, the key is to schedule well enough that it helps your BCS rankings....but not too tough that it may cost you a loss.  But I think you see much greater regular season games in hoops.  Just look at this week!  Gonzaga-UConn.  Michigan State-Arizona.  That's why everyone got all giddy when Ohio State faced Texas early thispigskin season. 

For me, it has to be the LA Clippers.  I mean, the Clips have won of the NBA's top records....with a team with quite a bit of turnover and some injury woes.  That new backcourt of Cassell and Mobley has performed very well...and the emergence of Chris Kaman on both ends of the court has been a huge key. 

Maybe.  I mean, the Red Sox and White Sox have just won World Series.  The Buccaneers won a Super Bowl a few years ago and the Bengals are good again.  Phil Mickelson is winning majors.  Now the Clips!  This is getting scary!

It is very unfortunate.  Sure, the Marlins' 13 year reign in Miami has been marred by smallish crowds and playing in a football facility.  But this has been a very successful franchise.  I mean, they have TWO World Series championships....which equal the same amount the Cubs, Phillies, Padres, Astros, Expos/Nats, Rangers and Angels have acheived in a combined 375+ seasons.  The issue I have is that this team won a title a few years ago and were very competitive the past few seasons.  They were sooo active in the free agent market a year ago....only to fold and dump the team to the point that Miami will turn their backs on them.  Which is what they want, so they can be in Vegas or Portland in several year. 

Depends on the season.  Right now...I am ALL NFL.  In a few months...I'll be ALL BASKETBALL.  After that, I will be....well, waiting for football.  So are the stages of my life.  When I was a youngster...I loved baseball.  I played in Little League, won an MVP trophy and was on All Star teams.  About the age of 10...I started playing basketball....and I loved it.  I played for my school, for the YMCA, for a church [that I didn't even go to], in tournaments and in various rec leagues.  Then I got a bit older and the soreness from hooping took it's toll.  I played football for my school and on the streets.  I have a love for them it is hard to pick my fave.

Well...I have two. 
MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH OUT was one of my favorites since it took me back to my teenage days.  Not just me...but people wrote to me about how much they loved that take and how many memories it brought back to them.  The one that I really think is my favorite may have to be Sportz Tribute To Carl Lewis.  To this day...I will go back to that take and just start crying laughing.  I can click onto the link for his music video and just laugh and cry to sleep.  The guy is one of the greatest athletes in my lifetime...but dude thinks too highly of himself.

                      "We will never break it up.....break it up....break it up!!!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Out Of Respect To Jiri Fisher....

                                      Jiri Fischer

For those who do not know, Jiri Fisher of the Detroit Red Wings suffered what was first termed a seizure [but now seen as heart fluttering] 12 minutes into last night's game with the Nashville Preds.  He was given CPR...a fibulator was used...and he was taken to the emergency room. 

He is recoverting nicely at this moment.  Thank God for that news. 

But one of the interesting issues of today is the fact that the Red Wings postponed [date not yet determined] the game with the Preds after the incident happened.  There were some boos heard in the crowd as they were total to, basically, go home. 

Now the issue comes up.  Was that the right call?  Should the Wings canceled that game??  A very simple question that, to me, had a simple answer.  But after listening to talk radio and having various discussions with some people today....the answer isn't so simple. 

At first...I thought it was the right thing to do.  A man almost died.  In fact, when he left the building, no one knew if he was going to live or not.  And you expect the man that battle alongside him to go back and play a trivial hockey game??  Take a step back and try it again some other time.

Then I heard the other side.  Sure, people didn't want to pass over what happened....but many feel the show must go on.  And they mainly point to past incidents.  How many times in the NFL do see a player go down....the medical staff is working feverishly....other players are kneeling down praying...the crowd is hushed...a stretcher comes out....and the player is wheeled off the field.  When he and the medical staff are off the playing field....the whistle sounds and the guys line up.  Perfect example is Mike Utley, a lineman for the Detroit Lions.  He suffered paralysis on a play where he broke his neck.  After his "thumbs up"....the game continued. 

We've seen in baseball games in which a line drive off the pitcher's chest or head, the game is stopped while medical attention is given....but they play ball when order is restored.  Or in the NBA, when Reggie Lewis fainted on the court during the 1993 playoffs versus the Charlotte Hornets.  The game and the series went on.  Or in NASCAR, when a horrific crash happens....they eventually see the green flag wave again. 

Even the NHL has had such incidents....including when Todd Bertuzzi's cheap shot on Steve Moore that broke Moore's neck on the ice.  The game went on.   Same with Chris Pronger several years back [he was hit in the chest with the puck and collapsed].  Or Donald Audette a few years ago [a blade severed 10 tendons in his wrist and almost...almost....lost use of his arm].  Or Trent McClearey who caught a puck to the throat with crushed his larynx and doctors had to perform an emergency tracheotomy on him at the arena.  The games went on. 

But, you can also point to the WCC Tournament being canceled after Hank Gathers collapsed and died during a first round game.  And the fact that most of the other things [not all] were sports injuries....not physical defects. 


It is a tad bit complicated issue...but in the end, I think that you cannot argue with the Wings thinking here.  The game can be made up at a later date....and there isn't any need to continue of there is a wonder if a player is going to survive or not.  The respect to Jiri Fisher and his family [his fiance was in attendance when the incident happened] is much more valuable than this game. 

Get well soon, Jiri!!


Sportz   (110-50)
Lew   (106-54)
Pre-Jock (103-57)
Monponsett   (100-60)
Treesoup   (100-60)
Kiser Blade   (97-63)
Raisin   (94-66)
Jamie   (89-55)
George Coztanza (91-69)
Yannis   (91-69)
Angel (57-45)
NYGFAN (30-30)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Help With Black Friday


When you think of Thanksgiving, you think of.....



-Pumpkin pie


-Opening up the newspaper and reading all of the ads for "Black Friday"

Yeah, that's us.  Every year, my wife and I pound thru the ads....figure up a strategy...then wake up at the crack of dawn ready for the riot of the Holiday Shopping season.  I guess we are sadists that way.  I think we enjoy the competition of it all.  I mean, we want to be able to go in around like man people...and get exactly what we set out to buy.

I remember standing in front of a Circuit City, in the freezing weather.....for a DVD player.

I remember standing in front of a Best Buy, in the freezing weather....for a "24" DVD.

I remember standing if front of a Shoe Carnival, in the freezing weather....for a pair of Reebok Classics.

I remember standing in front of a mall, waiting for the doors to open so I can run in and stand in front of a line at the KB Toy Store....for a bunch of Teletubbies.

And there are other memories, too.  My wife and I listening the Lil Jon and the Eastside Boys....getting hyped up....before dealing with a Best Buy crowd.  I remember dragging my wife's 9-yr old cousin out to Kohls.  Standing at the checkout line at Target, munching on popcorn.  Eating at Pizza Hut after a hard days 10 am. 

Alas, for those people who wish to pre-shop before the ads come out this is a couple websites for you.

Black Friday 2005 - The OFFICIAL Site for the Hottest Day of the Year

Black Friday @

Some notes:

*Just click on the stores on the left hand side of the screen to see what those stores will have on ad this Friday. 

*You can even create your own shopping list!

*There is even scans of actual ads.


Here is the "Story Of Black Friday" from  "The origin of Black Friday comes from the shift to profitability during the holiday season. Black Friday was when retailers went from being unprofitable, or "in the red," to being profitable, or "in the black" - at a time when accounting records were kept by hand and red indicated loss and black profit. The day is not important just for traditional retailers. Black Friday is also a huge day for internet retailers.   There are several tips for getting the best deals on Black Friday. First, the easiest strategy is to get to your desired stores early in the morning and take a list of what Black Friday items you are interested in. Second, if possible, use a buddy system with friends or relatives so that some people take certain stores and others take the rest. Plan out your items so that you can get in and out of the store quickly. The sooner you get to the register, the better. Especially if you go when the stores open. Make sure to keep track of the timing of promotions as many deals are so-called "early birds" that may only be available for a few hours. Another great tip is to use the store's pricematching policy to your advantage. Find a store that will match a competitor's price, and save a trip to another store. Finally, another possible option is to purchase the item before Black Friday and then go back to the store to attempt to get a refund. This is now discouraged at most stores, but you may find some stores that will allow it."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dookies We Loved To Hate

With J.J. Redick on AOL Sports: Sports Bloggers Live gets one [especially a Carolina fan] to wonder about all the other Dookies that chapped our hides....and Coack K is omitted from this list.

                                      "Oh my God!!  I am soooo fabulous!!!"

1-Christian Laettner
Oh, how we hated him.  "Christy" Laettner was the ring leader of the hated Devils.  His lisping, chest stomping style bit a tad worse since his teams actually won.  He hit two huge NCAA tournament shots in route to two NCAA Tournament of which [1991] was right in front of our Tar Heel noses.  Of course, the greatest Dook player ever tanked in the pros...bringing his whining style with him and crying out of so many towns.


2-Cameron Crazies
Nothing is more anoying than these morons.  Don't get me wrong....there is nothing better than watching a Carolina-Duke game in Cameron.  I can get with the cheers and their ritualistic chants [that most Heels know better than the Crazies do].  But I hate their spastic ways and dumb get ups.  These are supposed to be the smartest people of their age group...and they use such knowledge to gut open a basketball, cut out some eyes and wear a blue cape?  It is liking watching those band geeks making out with other band geeks and thinking they are cool.  I wonder of Richard Nixon was a Cameron Crazy??


3-Bobby Hurley
Hurley was easy to hate...since he was the human equivalent to a rat.  He looked like a Special Olympian on the court and played tougher than he really was.  Of course, a bad case of the "bubble-guts" during the 1990 NCAA title game threw him near the top of the hated list.  He'd try to pick fights....then run and hide when opponents wanted a piece of him.  He ruined his NBA career by running his car into a ditch.

                                         "I'm open!!  I'm always open!!!"

4-JJ Redick
It is easy to point to his cockiness....but I hate him for his game.  He thinks he is God....but comes up lame in big games in his career.  Sure, hitting 3s all over Boston U is all good....but maybe do it against North Carolina or in the NCAAs.  It reminds me of a line in Happy Gilmore [which I am about to butcher.  "I bet you can make a good living going around and getting in long rangecontests"  Same with Redick.  He will get to the NBA...but will be little more than a long range guy who cannot defend, handle the ball or do anything else


5-Danny Ferry
Of course, anyone with the name "Ferry" for Duke is an easy target.  But he was All World at Duke and was Coach K's greatest discovery -  bringing in white kids who looked like they were middle aged plays over really well!  But nothing was better than when he said "screw you" to the Clippers [whodrafted him #2 overall] so he could play for Real Madrid.  He should have stayed his NBA career was garbage.

                             "Can I change my last name to K???"

6-Chris Collins
Here is the kicker on can still hate him!  He was, at best, a 6th option for Dook who got a shot at being an assistant coach.  Yet, if he hit one shot in a game....he celebrated as if he hit that game winner over Kentucky in 1992.  He brings the same emotion to the coaching ranks....even baiting former Tar Heel coach Matt Doherty into sparring battle in an ACC tournament game.


7-Cherokee Parks
He was easier to hate since he manned that "horrible" Duke team of 1995.  Of course, the Herman Munster takes were funny at the time [and still are], nothing is funnier than seeing his colorful tatts all over his pimple filled arms


8-Shane Battier
As my wife head.


9-Sheldon Williams
Wait...I can't make fun of people with birth defects.  Dude, why are all your facial features dead smack in the middle of your face??

10-Steve Wojohoshocowshowstoppinkryzzski
This little ball of fire would make one layup....then slap down on the floor like anyone was supposed to be scared.  Oh, and like Chris Collins, he has landed on K's bench.