Saturday, September 30, 2006

West Virginia HS Player Rushes For 658 Yards!!!!!


Okay....let's get this point out of the way.  Dude is from West Virginia.....and his last name is "McCoy".   Enter Appalachia jokes.

Now, what that there durn McCoy did was run for 658 yards and 10 TDs in a high school football game.

Paul McCoy, of Matewan High School, put up the single game rushing record in a 64-0 romp over Burch High School.  In 5 games this season, McCoy has rushed for 1,820 yards, 25 TDs and a punt return for a TD.  The 658 yards [once verified] will top the recorded high school record of 619 recorded in 1995 from a kid in Oxnard, CA.  The TD record is 12. 

Upon doing some research on Matewan High School, they have a total enrollement of 217 people.  Amazing to me, since I graduated from the largest high school in the state of North Carolina [Independence High School, who have won 97 straight football games and 6 straight state championships]. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Toronto Raptors Unveil New Jerseys


The Toronto Raptors introduced their new jerseys which, well, looked like their alternate jerseys.  Gone is the is the red.

A Phat Fight.....ARCA Phat

I don't know what my favorite part of this is:

*Dude flying feet first into the windshield

*Other dude running out of his car, bowling over everyone to get to him

*The tussle

*The redneck mating calls [whew-hew!] that roared during the fight.

Suicide....or Not?


If you haven't heard, Dallas WR Terrell Owens was rushed to the hospital last night to "induce vomiting".  That was the story all night long last night that he had an "inverse reaction to painkillers" that he was taking after having surgery on his broken hand. 

Now, there is a report that he actually was trying to commit suicide.

I don't really believe that report....but it isn't out of the realm of possibility.  Deion Sanders has been on NFL Network saying that he talked to T.O. and that Owens is denying the suicide rumors.  Then, ESPN's Michael Smith is saying that he's heard from former teammates of Owens that they felt he did have some issues regarding his mental health.  No incidents....just issues. 

Here is the story from the Dallas Morning News.

Dallas Cowboys star receiver Terrell Owens swallowed prescription pain medication Tuesday night in an apparent attempt to commit suicide, according to a Dallas Police Department report released Wednesday morning.

The police report says the complainant, identified as Owens, “stated that he was depressed” and that he had emptied a bottle of pain pills and was trying to harm himself, the report said.

Owens was admitted to Baylor University Medical Center, according to the report.

His publicist, Kim Etheredge, said Wednesday morning that she called 911 because Owens appeared lethargic.

"The police asked him a lot of questions," she said, "but he could barely answer them."

But she denied the suicide report, contending that the painkillers prescribed after surgery to repair his broken hand combined with the supplements that are part of his training regimen caused his body to react poorly.

"Here's a person whose body is so clean, it really had a negative reaction to the medication and supplements he was taking," Etheredge said. "Thank goodness someone was there to call an ambulance."

Etheredge said Owens was released from Baylor on Wednesday morning.

According to the police report, a woman who was with Owens saw him put two pills in his mouth, and she tried to get them out. She also said he had filled a prescription for 40 pills on Sept. 18, and taken only five through Tuesday, the report said.

Under questioning, Owens said he had taken the remainder of the prescription. He was described in the report as having “ingested unknown large quantity of RX pain medication.”

According to KTVT-TV, doctors treated him by attempting to induce vomiting.

At a Wednesday news conference, Dallas police Lt. Rick Watson said Dallas Fire-Rescue paramedics called police officers to a residence in the 3800 block of Commerce Street around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Owens owns a 2,656-square-foot condominium in Deep Ellum valued at $405,000, according to the Dallas County Appraisal District. 

Dallas Fire-Rescue Lt. Joel Lavender said it is routine for medics to summon the police in circumstances where they believe someone is trying to harm himself.

Lt. Watson said medics determined Owens needed to be hospitalized and the officers followed the ambulance to the hospital.

"In the course of this, in our investigation, we have determined that at this time this is not a criminal offense," he said. "This is a medical type of situation.

"The Dallas Police Department does not have any other investigation going on into this incident. ... Any information you need, you'll have to contact Mr. Owens or the medical staff."

Owens has proudly stated that he took no pain-killing injections before Super Bowl XXXIX after coming back from a fractured fibula suffered seven weeks prior to the game against the Cowboys. 

According to the NFL's substance abuse policy, "The illegal use of drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs and alcohol is prohibited for players in the National Football League."

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said late Tuesday he was unaware of Owens’ trip to the hospital, and Owens’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, could not be reached for comment.

Last week, according to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, Owens had a reaction to the pain medicine he was given following surgery in which a plate was inserted into his right hand to stabilize a fractured fourth metacarpal. Parcells said Owens became ill and could not work out, but he was improved the next day.

On Tuesday, Owens did not speak with the media, but he appeared to be in good spirits.

He continued conditioning work on the side with associate trainer Britt Brown and caught passes. He was wearing gloves and had his ring and middle fingers on his right hand taped together.

Earlier Tuesday, Parcells said Owens would practice some Wednesday and he had not ruled Owens out from playing Sunday at Tennessee. Owens was wearing a bone growth simulator Tuesday to help the healing process. According to Parcells, the swelling in Owens’ hand had gone down, and the biggest challenge for Owens would be handling the pain of catching passes.

“I have to see him out there being a confident player,” Parcells said. “I don’t want him out there thinking about something. If it’s going act as a deterrent, I don’t want that because that would eventually hurt us.

“I’m talking to him every day, seeing how he’s doing. We’re moving forward. We have a lot of time between now and the game.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Screw Sony and Screw EA Sports

To most sports fans who play video games.....the release of the new Madden game is like Christmas morning [as well it should be].  I get that same feeling when the new NBA Live video game comes out.

I've purchased EA Sports games forever.  Back when there was "Larry Bird v Dr J's One on One" to "Bulls v Blazers" to "NBA Showdown" to "NBA Live".  I've bought all the Maddens, all the different baseball, boxing, hockey and some soccer games.  I've been devoted to them.

But they've made me mad today.

Today was supposed to be the release of NBA LIVE 07.  Well, it kinda was.  You see, I found it on XBox, XBox360 and the PC.....but not Playstation2, which I own.   I took a pic of the game on my camera phone on XBox. 

I spent my entire free time today trying to find this game.  Before work, I searched for it a few places....but to no avail.  Then a Circuit City ad I had said it would be in the store at 5pm.  I had an opportunity for a day off from work today....and took it.  So at 5pm, I went out for it.


I spent the rest of my day driving around to about, uh, 8 different places to find the game....only to see the same mess.  There is Tracy McGrady's wall-eye starting at me from the Xbox game cover....but no Playstation2 game.


Screw EA Sports and Sony for pimping this game in nearly every ad this Sunday....only to see me not end up with the game.  Nice.  Show me some...then take it away.  I've been devoted to both EA and Sony for years.  I once bought another hoops game instead of EA once....and was disappointed.  Now, I may end up with Sony's NBA 07 which has Kobe Bryant on the cover, except.....

.....Sony's angered me as well.  My "galavanting" [my wife's word] finally led me to Geek Central....aka the used game store....and the dude told me that Sony is having production problems and doesn't know when the game will arrive.  These are the same people who know when any game's street date I believe that he doesn't know.  So I can see the game on XBox out there, but not for my PS2!!?!?  Crap!!!!  Ever since the Playstation came out....I've stuck with them and not once thought about buying an XBox.  Still, the XBox360 has been out a year, most likely will see a price drop soon, while Sony is going to show me a Playstation 3 soon that will cost....oh.....$600 and feature stuff I don't need right now.  And I can't even get the ONE FREAKIN GAME I WANT!!!

Screw Circut City for advertising the game and then not having it.

Screw Toys R Us for telling me "oh, we sold out" when you knew you never had it anyway.

Screw Best Buy for just looking on your computer and telling me you didn't have anymore.

Screw Target for having an idiot jockying the register.

Screw Wal Mart for a host of reasons....including having a huge ad pimping the game as I walked in.

Screw the Geek Central guy who acted like "you stupid jock can't have your sports game.....but try Alien Chainsaw Killers RPG 3 cuz they got chicks with big'uns". 

Screw EA who, hmmmmm, decided to not even mention the game on the website. 

Screw 'em all!

Tar Heels Hoop Schedule Released

The Heels will play at least 24 games on national TV.

Their two toughest stretches are:

-November 22 thru December 2.  In that time frame, they will hopefully play in the NIT semifinals and finals [and those games could be against Gonzaga and Indiana/Tennessee/Notre Dame].  They then face Ohio State in the matchup of the top two recruiting classes.....then Kentucky. 

-January 27 thru February 7.  Dead smack in the middle of the ACC season, the Heels must go to Arizona.  After a home game with Miami....the Heels then go to Raleigh and Durham to play NC State and Duke. 

Here is the schedule.

Wed 11/01/06 St. Augustine's (exhibition) Chapel Hill, N.C. 7:30 p.m.
Sat 11/11/06 Pfeiffer (exhibition) Chapel Hill, N.C. TBA
Tue 11/14/06 Sacred Heart (NIT Tip-off) Charlotte, N.C. ESPNU 7:00 p.m.
Wed 11/15/06 Iona or Winthrop (NIT Tip-off) Charlotte, N.C. ESPN 7:00 p.m.
Sun 11/19/06 Gardner-Webb Chapel Hill, N.C. Fox Sports Net South/NESN 1:00 p.m.
Wed 11/22/06 NIT Tip-off Semifinals New York, N.Y. ESPN2 TBA
Fri 11/24/06 NIT Tip-off Finals New York, N.Y. ESPN2/ESPN TBA
Wed 11/29/06 Ohio State (ACC/Big Ten Challenge) Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPN 9:00 p.m.
Sat 12/02/06 Kentucky Chapel Hill, N.C. CBS 12:00 p.m.
Sat 12/09/06 High Point Chapel Hill, N.C. TBA 7:00 p.m.
Sat 12/16/06 UNC Asheville Chapel Hill, N.C. Fox Sports Net 2:00 p.m.
Tue 12/19/06 Florida Atlantic Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPNU 7:00 p.m.
Fri 12/22/06 Saint Louis St. Louis, Mo. ESPN2 or ESPNU 7:00 p.m.
Thu 12/28/06 Rutgers Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPN2 7:00 p.m.
Sun 12/31/06 Dayton Chapel Hill, N.C. Fox Sports Net 3:00 p.m.
Wed 01/03/07 Penn Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPN 8:00 p.m.
Sun 01/07/07 Florida State Chapel Hill, N.C. Fox Sports Net 7:00 p.m.
Wed 01/10/07 Virginia Chapel Hill, N.C. Raycom/LF 9:00 p.m.
Sat 01/13/07 Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Va. ABC 3:30 p.m.
Wed 01/17/07 Clemson Clemson, S.C. ESPN 7:00 p.m.
Sat 01/20/07 Georgia Tech Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPN 9:00 p.m.
Wed 01/24/07 Wake Forest Winston-Salem, N.C. ESPN 7:00 p.m.
Sat 01/27/07 Arizona Tucson, Ariz. CBS 1:00 p.m.
Wed 01/31/07 Miami Chapel Hill, N.C. ESPN 7:00 p.m.
Sat 02/03/07 NC State Raleigh, N.C. ABC 3:30 p.m.
Wed 02/07/07 Duke Durham, N.C. ESPN/Raycom/LF 9:00 p.m.
Sat 02/10/07 Wake Forest Chapel Hill, N.C. Raycom/LF 1:30 p.m.
Tue 02/13/07 Virginia Tech Chapel Hill, N.C. Raycom/LF 8:00 p.m.
Sat 02/17/07 Boston College Chestnut Hill, Mass. ESPN 9:00 p.m.
Wed 02/21/07 NC State Chapel Hill, N.C. Raycom/LF 9:00 p.m.
Sun 02/25/07 Maryland College Park, Md. Fox Sports Net 5:30 p.m.
Thu 03/01/07 Georgia Tech Atlanta, Ga. Raycom/LF 9:00 p.m.
Sun 03/04/07 Duke Chapel Hill, N.C. CBS 4:00 p.m.
Thu 03/08/07 ACC Tournament Tampa, Fla. Raycom/LF or ESPN2 TBA

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Orleans Re-opens Tonight

The city of New Orleans gets their NFL team back as the Saints will play their first regular season home game in the city since 2004. 

They play the Falcons in the Louisiana Superdome....which is the symbol for all that went wrong after Hurricane Katrina.  It's tattered roof and stories of the horror inside still affect us over a year later.  But the refurbishing of the dome and the beauty it now holds can be the catalyst of a possible rebirth of this great American city.  The Saints won't save New Orleans just by playing football games there; but the fact that one of the big businesses is coming back to plant it's feet in the city should help other companies and people to want to do the same. 

The city was far from perfect before Katrina hit....but with everyone willing to try to build a new New Orleans from this even greater New Orleans can emerge.

The game is on ESPN at please watch. 

   Louisiana Superdome

Yet ANOTHER Bengal Arrested


Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman, who is currently suspended for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, was picked up last night for a DUI.  Some highlights:

-At a DUI check point, an officer saw an SUV drive across the double yellow line.

-He blew a 0.18 which is twice the legal limit. 

-Thurman was with two Bengal teammates whose names haven't been released...but the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the car was owned by rookie Reggie McNeal and that Chris Henry, a Bengal that has been arrested four times in three states in the last year, was in the car and threw up out a window. 

-He was cited with the drunk driving and was released to one of his buddies who wasn't drunk to drive him home.

This makes him the SIXTH Cincinnati Bengal to be arrested in less than a year.  Good thing they already wear orange suits and stripes. 


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Skins Run All Over Texans

REDSKINS 31-TEXANS 15 [Sportz 1-0 this week, 21-12 this year]:  The Redskins offense looked as good as they've looked bad in the first two weeks of the season.  Mark Brunell completed his first 22 passes, breaking the NFL single game record.  Clinton Portis scored twice; Ladell Betts ran over the Houston defense, and the Skins get their first win of the season. 

COLTS 21-JAGUARS 14 [Sportz 2-0, 22-12]:  The Jaguars defense did a good job holding down the Indy offense.  A punt return for a TD mixed with a Peyton Manning bootleg for a TD put the Colts in first in the AFC South.

PACKERS 31-LIONS 24 [Sportz 2-1, 22-13]:  Brett Favre, like Mark Brunell, didn't look like an old washed-up QB.  Favre threw three TD passes and had Green Bay's offense looking crisp. 

JETS 28-BILLS 20 [Sportz 2-2, 22-14]:  A weird game that saw the Bills play pretty well but the Jets still able to have a big lead and hold on for the win.  Buffalo dominated this game but still came away with the loss.

PANTHERS 26-BUCCANEERS 24 [Sportz 3-2, 23-14]:  Carolina had a 17-0 lead....then Tampa went on a 21-3 run.  The game ball goes to John Kasay who kicked four FGs [three of them 50 yds or longer] and Chris Simms, the Tampa QB who apparantly ruptured his spleen during the game, yet unknowingly, played on. 

BENGALS 28-STEELERS 20 [Sportz 4-2, 24-14]:  Carson Palmer looked good....throwing 4 TDs while Ben Roethlisberger looked horrible, again.  Huge loss for Pittsburgh, as they fall two games behind Cincy and Baltimore in the AFC North.

BEARS 19-VIKINGS 16 [Sportz 5-2, 25-14]:  In a battle of 2-0 NFC teams....this game was at times really depressing to watch. 

DOLPHINS 13-TITANS 10 [Sportz 6-2, 26-14]:  Sorry, but Miami looks like crap and why we even thought they could have been a Super Bowl contender is beyond me.

RAVENS 15-BROWNS 14 [Sportz 7-2, 27-14]:  Cleveland snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by "letting" Matt Stover beat them with a FG in the closing seconds. 

SEAHAWKS 42-GIANTS 30 [Sportz 8-2, 28-14]:  Seattle jumped all over the Giants 42-3 on the strength of 5 TD passes from Matt Hasselbeck.  What should worry Seattle fans is the fact that they are struggling running the of their usual strengths. 

EAGLES 38-NINERS 24 [Sportz 9-2, 29-14]:  Man that Brian Westbrook.  Three TDs and 164 total yards lifed his Philly Eagles to an impressive win in San Fran. 

RAMS 16-CARDINALS 14 [Sportz 9-3, 29-15]:  This game ended too strangely to phathom....but Arizona shot themselves in the foot here.  Down 16-14 late in the game, Arizona had driven into FG range and was just moving the ball up a bit before Neil Rackers' FG attempt when........Kurt Warner fumbled the snap, St. Louis pounced on it, and the game was in hand. 

BRONCOS 17-PATRIOTS 7 [Sportz 9-4, 29-16]:  Tom Brady didn't look that good, but still threw up 55 passes and mounting 320 yds.  But Javon Walker's big day kept Denver from slipping up here. 

Why Do We Care About the Ryder Cup??


RYDER CUP BLUES:  I'm embarrassed!  Well, actually, I'm not.  I could care less about the Ryder Cup.  I just don't care.  To me, it doesn't represent who is better:  the United States or Europe.  Rewind that back.  It is the USA v Europe.  What's that??  One nation versus an entire continent?  Congrats on dominating us.  And when this little get together is over....we can send our Tiger and DiMarco out there to win all the individual tournaments - including Europe's biggest event, the British Open.  I'll take that over a once-every-two-years spanking.  Sometimes the juice is worth the squeeze. 

NOTRE DAME'S COMEBACK:  It looked like Charlie Weis was about to be Ty Willingham-ed.  Ya know, that disease where your first Notre Dame season is awesome, setting off unreal expectations to only stay in mediocrity??  One week after the Irish were ambushed at home by Michigan, they were quickly down 17-0 [and 37-21] and looked like they were sunk again.  Then three turnovers in the 4th quarter capped by a miraculous pick and run back for a TD....and the Irish are saved.  Their remaining schedule is pretty easy until the season ender in Los Angeles against USC, but that gives a team a chance to find themselves and gain confidence heading into that game.  For Michigan State [who last year blew a lead in this game only to win in overtime] it is another painful loss in a history of bad losses. 

THE ACC SUCKS:  Hey, I'll be singing the conference's praises during hoops season....but this football season is gonna suck for 'em.  It isn't even October yet....and only Virginia Tech and, get this, Wake Forest are still unbeaten.  They have no teams in the Top 10.  The closest one, Virginia Tech, was trailing as they entered the 4th quarter against Cincinnati [they ended up winning].  Boston College was beaten by NC State...the same State that were run over by Southern Miss last week and beaten by Akron the week before.  Clemson beat North Carolina 52-7.  Maryland, a program that has completely fallen from grace, beat Florida International 14-10.  Miami was spanked by Louisville and has dropped out of the rankings.  Sure, Wake is a pleasant surprise....but they still have Clemson, BC, FSU and Virginia Tech left on their slate. 

BONDS HITS 734:  He owns the National League record.  Weird, since he broke Hank Aaron's NL mark by hitting a home run in the city Hank started and ended his career in.  Weird, since Hank's final 22 home runs, the ones that Bonds needs to break the all time HR mark, were hit as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.......who then were in the American League but now in the NL. 

MLB PLAYOFF PICTURE:  Pretty easy now, huh?  The AL Wildcard is now just between the Twins and White Sox....though Minnesota is just 1.5 games back of the Tigers.  The Tigers are just 1/2 game back of the Yankees for top mark in the American League...which matters for the home field in the ALCS.  And Oakland will be the AL West winner and #3 seed....and they will take on the AL Central winner [the Yanks will get the wildcard winner].  In the National League, the Mets have the NL home field advantage locked up.  The Cardinals nearly have the NL Central locked up....and most likely be the #3 seed.  The NL West is a fight between the Padres and Dodgers.  The Wildcard??  Essentially it comes down to the Phillies and Dodgers/Padres. 

NHL SEASON LOOMING:  We are just a week away from the start of the NHL weird is that? 

INDEPENDENCE WINS AGAIN:  Independence High School....where the Sportz Assassin attended in the early 1990s...won it's 97th straight football game.  They beat Weddington 44-0 to extend the longest current winning streak and 2nd longest streak all-time for the Charlotte, NC school. 

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Sportz' Week 3 Picks


I've been a decent 20-12 thus far.  But a blind rat can do that.  I need to do better.  So here is my no-frills picks for Week 3:

REDSKINS [0-2] OVER TEXANS [0-2]:  If the Skins can't get off the mat in this one, they may as well just hang up the season.

LIONS [0-2] OVER PACKERS [0-2]:  Flip a coin on this one. 

DOLPHINS [0-2] OVER TITANS [0-2]:  This could be the 3rd and Final game of the Kerry Collins Era in Nashville. 

PANTHERS [0-2] OVER BUCCANEERS [0-2]:  At least Carolina has been in one of the their games. 

COLTS [2-0] OVER JAGUARS [2-0]:  These usually turn into great games.  Should be same on Sunday. 

BEARS [2-0] OVER VIKINGS [2-0]:  Sorry, but I'm gonna pick the team that's blown out their two opponents over the one that's won by two late FGs. 

BENGALS OVER STEELERS:  Both teams are banged up and this game will be plenty physical.  So I like that Cincy offensive line and Rudi Johnson to do damage. 

SEAHAWKS OVER GIANTS:  This should be a great game to watch!!!!

BILLS OVER JETS:  Willis McGahee owns the Jets....and I'm banking on a big day from him.

RAVENS OVER BROWNS:  Let's see....Baltimore gets to face a bad young QB for the third straight week [Simms, Walters, Frye].

EAGLES OVER NINERS:  Donovan McNabb shreds that Niner defense. 

CARDINALS OVER RAMS:  Why not?  I mean, St Louis did lose in San Fran last week.  And Arizona has yet to lose a regular season game in the history of Cardinals Stadium.  Well, they are 1-0.

PATRIOTS OVER BRONCOS:  I can't in good conscience pick a team that has yet to score a TD to beat the Pats in New England. 

FALCONS [2-0] OVER SAINTS [2-0]:  This will be the most emotional game of the weekend and should affect us all.   In a perfect world, the Saints will win this game.  But as the citizens of N'Awlins can tell isn't.

Sportz Football Power Rankings - Week 2

NFL-Top 10

1-COLTS:  Indy got to stretch their legs with a drubbing of Houston.
2-BENGALS:  Their opponents are a combined 0-4 thus this Pittsburgh game will show us what they really are made of.
3-SEAHAWKS:  I'm still waiting for them to really impress me. 
4-BEARS:  The Bears offense has been on fire thus far.  Sure, the Lions and Packers aren't exactly great teams, but Chicago has been impressive, nontheless
5-CHARGERS:  They completely dismantled Oakland and Tennessee....without really throwing the football.  Still, I'd like to see Philip Rivers have to do something before I completely buy into this team.
6-JAGUARS:  They didn't just smack up the Steelers like they were the Texans, did they??? 
7-FALCONS:  See that Chargers model above.  Defense and running the football = success. 
8-STEELERS:  The defending champs look a bit sluggish so far....which isn't good heading into Bengal Week.
9-EAGLES:  Yeah, the Eagles lost this past Sunday....but they were sooo dominant for three quarters.
10-PATRIOTS:  The offense still needs work, and trading Branch won't help them now.  Still, getting a 1st round pick for a guy who hasn't netted a 1,000 yd season is pretty darn good.

NCAA-Top 10

1-OHIO STATE:  Not only are they sitting here comfortably, they seem to be pulling away.
2-AUBURN:  Great defensive game against LSU. 
3-USC:  It is unfair that this team can lose two Heisman Trophy winners and still have one of the nation's top teams.
4-WEST VIRGINIA:  Just biding some time until they have to play...
5-LOUISVILLE:  Spanking Miami had to be fun for the "lowly" Big East, eh??? 
6-FLORIDA:  Winning in Knoxville was a huge deal for the Gators, who pulled out a win under such tough circumstances.
7-MICHIGAN:  I had this team in the National Championship game last year.  Maybe I was one year too soon.
8-LSU:  Losing in such a gritty game [and with a tough pass interference call] didn't drop them much.
9-TEXAS:  Sure, a young QB is going to make mistakes against the #1 team in the land.  Still, they have a Big XII to win.
10-NOTRE DAME:  Getting spanked at home isn't much fun.  How they perform against Michigan State will show everyone what they are made of. 

Friday, September 22, 2006

Free The Birds!!!!

                      O's protest

Sorry, but I'm a little on edge right now.  I haven't touched this blog in a while since I've been busy working on The Fanhouse more and more.  But, rest assured, this is still the place to be!  But I am bent on a few things: 

FREE THE BIRDS:  This is what I am talking about!!  The problem with people is that we whine and moan about everything yet do nothing about it.  Your team sucks?  Well, you just stop going to the games and tell everyone that's your statement.  When all that really did was let some other schmuck move into your seats.  And when the team turns it around, you'll be there like a scolded puppy who wants to be petted. 

In Baltimore, they showed everyone why they were bent.  About 1,000 people attended the game wearing black "Free the Birds" t-shirts.  At exactly 5:08 pm [the "5" for Brooks Robinson and the "8" for Cal Ripken Jr], all those people got up from their seats and walked out of the stadium in a line.  This was done in protest aimed at Orioles owner Peter Angelos, widely regarded as the worst owner in baseball.  This is the 9th straight year that the Orioles finished a season with a losing record. 

Kudos to those fans for showing their support to the franchise but demonstrating that they aren't liking the direction the team is heading. 

WE SUCK AT BASKETBALL:  Not only did the USA men's team fail to bring home the gold in the World Basketball Championships last month.....but the women were upset by Russia [was it Russia?  I think it was Russia?].  This was their first international loss since 1994.  Now, it isn't like I'm going to slit my wrists that the women's team stunk because, to be honest, I had no idea they were even playing this thing. 

POCKET THE ROCKET:  With the Astros season winding down, it is now time for the speculation to begin if Roger Clemens is pitching his final games.  Excuse me for yawning.  Haven't we done this crap in each of the last 4 years??  Even Brett Favre is getting tired of hearing about it.  This year should be the easiest for the Rocket to walk away since, well, this is his first season in a while that is ending early. 

HERE, HERE!  BOBBY KNIGHT:  Normally, anything Bobby Knight says gets a roll of the eyes from me.  But I do agree with him here, talking about the recent controversial Oregon-Oklahoma football game:   "Maybe now those people at Oklahoma understand what I was talking about.  Had Oklahoma forfeited that game against us like I suggested, they would have gotten far more positive publicity out of that than if they had gone to the Final Four that year. Now I guess the 'duck' is swimming in the other pond."  The game he is referring to was a 2003 game between Oklahoma and his Texas Tech basketball team.  In that game, the Sooners were benefactors of questionable clock issues during the game.  When Knight demanded a forfeit, Oklahoma laughed it off.  Who's laughing now?

CRAP ON THE DRAFT:  Go to the major sports websites, and they are already looking at the 2007 NFL Draft.  Why?  It isn't fun and it isn't interesting.  These same honks do their mock drafts a week before the actual draft and get it completely wrong.  It is SEVEN MONTHS away!!!!  How about just enjoying the NFL season as it goes along and celebrate the draft when your team's season is over. 

IT'S ALL THE SAME:  Sure, the Braves didn't win the NL East this year, marking the first time since 1990 that Atlanta didn't win a division.  Man, that record will hold up forever!  Or just a little while longer.  The Yankees just won the AL East for the 9th straight year.  The same AL East that saw the best Red Sox team in many years.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Fantasy Prognosis For Week 2


Okay....Week 2 is in the books and I'd like to make fun of myself for my fantasy projections.  Go to AOL SPORTS FANHOUSE: FANTASY-FOOTBALL for my entire picks.....


-You have to start Antonio Gates if you have him, but he may disappoint you again this week. The Chargers get the Titans and should bleed them dry just as they did Oakland on Monday. A steady dose of the run game and limiting the amount of times Philip Rivers throws the ball will hurt Gates, Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker.

-Rudi Johnson gets to do himself what Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush did to the Browns....combined.

-Willie Parker will come back down to earth a little.

-Donald Driver will have a big game for the Packers against the Saints. He has to, or Green Bay can't score.

-Hmmm. LaDainian Tomlinson against that Titans defense?? Cha-ching!

-Hmmm. No Trent Green? I wonder how many touches Larry Johnson gets against the Broncos?? The same Denver D that was run over by Steven Jackson.

-Eli Manning seems to love throwing to Plaxico Burress....and the Eagles [their opponent this week] may be shorthanded in the secondary again.

-Hey Redskins fans! How excited are you about dealing for Brandon Lloyd????

-If you think Randy Moss struggled against the Chargers....wait'll they get a load of Baltimore. Maybe he'll snap.

-Even if Ben Roethlisberger plays this week, he goes up against a formidable Jaguars defense that will limit his stats.


-I'm not sold on Carson Palmer this week. He goes against the Cleveland Browns, who played Palmer tough last year. The last time the Browns came to Cincy, Palmer was limited to a 13-for-27 day with just 93 yards a one TD. Also, the Browns will be more likely to get beaten up by the run than the pass.

-Torry Holt will put up big numbers in San Francisco. Huge numbers.

-Hey, I am banking that Rod Smith will have a big game against the Chiefs at Invesco....especially since he has historically torched Kansas City.

-My sleeper pick?? DeShaun Foster against the Vikings.

-I just think that Eli Manning will struggle against an underappreciated Eagles secondary.

-Darrell Jackson is still a bit banged up and Deion Branch is too green in Seattle. So Nate Burleson should benefit playing against a weak Arizona pass defense.

-Since Trent Green is out, look for Damon Huard to use Tony Gonzalez as a security blanket. The NFL's receptions leader should build on that nicely.

-Marc Bulger should find plenty of holes in that San Francisco defense.

NFL Week 2


COWBOYS 27-REDSKINS 10 [Sportz 1-0 this week, 11-6 this season]:  What disgusts me more?  The fact that the Skins offense looks about as bad as it did when Heath Shuler was running it....or that the Boys ran up my Skins while T.O. did next to nothing?  Mark Brunell looks like one of those 40 year old washed up QBs that you only see in those "Necessary Roughness" type movies.  He's only 36.  I also think he needs glasses as he can't see anyone further than 8 yard down the field.  If the Skins don't beat the Texans next week.....then it might be his last start as a Redskin.

FALCONS 14-BUCCANEERS 3 [Sportz 2-0, 12-6]:  Atlanta likes running the football.  They did it well on Sunday.  Michael Vick is back to his old freelance ways as he and Warrick Dunn are tearing up the NFC South.  They are now 2-0 with both the Bucs and Panthers at 0-2. 

BEARS 34-LIONS 7 [Sportz 3-0, 13-6]:   Those Bears sure are offensive juggernauts eh? 

BENGALS 34-BROWNS 17 [Sportz 4-0, 14-6]:  This was the 2nd mismatched Battle of Ohio game during the weekend [the first was Ohio State-Cincinnati].  Nice to see Chad Johnson get popped. 

SAINTS 34-PACKERS 27 [Sportz 5-0, 15-6]:  Don't look now, but the N'Awlins Saints are 2-0 with both wins coming on the road.  And they have an emotional Monday night game next week in New Orleans just over a year after Katrina. 

COLTS 43-TEXANS 24 [Sportz 6-0, 16-6]:  Houston has still never beaten Indy.  And that Peyton guy is pretty good.

BILLS 16-DOLPHINS 6 [Sportz 6-1, 16-7]:  Miami falls again, giving them a surprising 0-2 mark.  The Phins offense still doesn't look very crisp. 

VIKINGS 16-PANTHERS 13 [Sportz 6-2, 16-8]:  Speaking of not looking crisp, the Panthers are a mess.  Jake Delhomme is a madman out there....yelling and screaming constantly.  Their running game isn't there and their defense has been bullied in the run game.  They have a huuuuuge game next week in Tampa. 

GIANTS 30-EAGLES 24 [Sportz 6-3, 16-9]:  Thank you New York.  The Giants magical comeback win over Philly left my 0-2 Redskins just one game back of first place.  We also need to remind Philly to play the entire game. 

RAVENS 28-RAIDERS 6 [Sportz 7-3, 17-9]:  I guess Randy Moss was right.  It is crazy in Oakland.

NINERS 20-RAMS 13 [Sportz 7-4, 17-10]:  How 'bout them Niners???  It isn't like beating the Seahawks....but it is something to build on.

SEAHAWKS 21-CARDINALS 10 [Sportz 8-4, 18-10]:  Not the shootout most people thought....but still put Arizona in their place. 

BRONCOS 9-CHIEFS 6 [Sportz 9-4, 19-10]:  I don't wish to discuss this steaming pile of crap.

PATRIOTS 24-JETS 17 [Sportz 9-5, 19-11]:  My upset pick neeeeeeearly happened. 

CHARGERS 40-TITANS 7 [Sportz 10-5, 20-11]:  Maybe this is the season that San Diego makes that big step.  Sure, pounding the Raiders and Titans aren't really mindboggling.....but the fact they've been so impressive doing so has me buying in.

JAGUARS 9-STEELERS 0 [Sportz 10-6, 20-12]:  Again, I don't want to admit I watched this thing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Two "O"s In Football

After the second week of the season, you are either 2-0, 1-1 or 0-2.  Some of those teams who have those zeros in their record were supposed to be there [Bengals, Raiders] while others are surprises [Panthers, Saints]



NEW ORLEANS SAINTS [biggest surprise]:  The Saints are 2-0 despite playing both games on the road.  Sure, the wins were against the lowly Browns and Packers....but the Saints were the 2nd worst team in the league a year ago.  Of course, a year ago there was no Reggie Bush or Drew Brees in the Saints black and gold.  Can they keep it up?  No.  Here is what the Saints' have to look forward to: Atlanta, at Carolina, Tampa, Philly, Baltimore, at Tampa, at Pittsburgh, Cincy, at Atlanta, San Francisco, at Dallas, Washington, at Giants and Carolina.  Wow. 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS [big surprise]:  The Vikings are one of the more interesting 2-0 teams and the rest of the league should take note.  Minnesota has won at Washington and against NFC favorite Carolina.  Their offense hasn't been spectacular, but very, very effective.  Their defense has played well, allowing just two TDs thus far.    Can they keep it up?  Well, they host fellow 2-0 Chicago next week.  A few weeks later, they get Seattle and New England back-to-back.  It will be tough, but they are a legit playoff contender. 

BALTIMORE RAVENS [nice surprise]:  Everything is looking better in B-more.  The defense looks like it's old self; the offense is legit; everything looks fine.  They've allowed just 6 points so far this season.  Can they keep it up?  At least another week.  They head to Cleveland next week before having a horrid three game stretch afterwards.  Struggling to punch the ball in againstthe Raiders has me worried. 

ATLANTA FALCONS [mild surprise]:  The Falcons have been good, so it isn't unlikely that they'd be 2-0 now.  But in doing so, they have beaten two playoff teams....the two NFC South teams that made the postseason last year.  And that's big.  They've already beaten the two teams they'd be battling with for division supremecy.  The run game has been phenomenal, as the coaching staff has allowed Michael Vick to use all his athletic talents.  Can they keep it up?  For a short while longer.  They have the Saints and Cards coming up next...then a bye.  After that, it is the Giants, Steelers and Bengals.  They could go from 4-0 to 4-3 really fast. 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS [little surprised]:  I mean, the Pats should be 2-0 against the lowly Bills and Jets.  But those Bills and Jets won road games against other opponents.  Plus, the Pats have had a hard time figuring out who their receivers would be this year.  Can they keep it up?  No one game plans like they do, but with the Broncos, Bengals and Dolphins up will be hard.  They are still the best team in the AFC East, but the next few weeks will see how strong they are in the AFC. 

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS [tiny surprise]:  Not that they aren't good....but their win in New York to start the season shows they are still a top dog to look at.  Can they keep it up?  Big game with the Jags next week before killing the Jets and Titans. 

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS [hardly a surprise]:  Let's see....the Raiders and Titans.  Wow.  Ohio State would be 2-0 with that schedule.  Can they keep it up?  Big game against fellow undefeated Ravens next week.  Then Pittsburgh. 

CHICAGO BEARS [not a surprise]:  It isn't a surprise that the Bears are 2-0.  They had the NFC's 2nd best record last year and boasts one of the best defenses in the NFL.  Also, they've played the Packers and Lions,who were a combined 9-23 last season and are breaking in new coaches.  What is a surprise is how great their offense has looked.  Can they keep it up?  Why not?  Of their next six games, only the Seahawks were a playoff team last season. 

CINCINNATI BENGALS [no surprise]:  Carson Palmer is is most of their weapons.  The defense has been a nice help and Rudi Johnson is running like a madman.  Can they keep it up?  How is this?  At Pittsburgh, New England, at Tampa, Carolina, Atlanta, at Baltimore, San Diego.  That's their next 7 games.  That ain't the Browns. 

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS [no surprise]:  What?  They had to be 2-0 after facing the Lions and Cardinals.  Can they keep it up?  Hmmm.  Well, they have a good two weeks ahead.  They host the Giants next week, then go to Chicago.  Both are huge games in the NFC race.



CAROLINA PANTHERS [savagely surprised]:  The loss of Steve Smith has had a huge effect on the offense.  But a team that was supposed to be so dominant shouldn't let one person bring it down.  Can they turn it around?  Yes.  They have a huuuuuuge game at Tampa next week in which both teams will be so desperate to win.  After that, they get the Saints and Browns, who they can beat. 

MIAMI DOLPHINS [very surprised]:  The Dolphins were supposed to be the team to topple the Pats' strangle-hold on the AFC East.  Instead, they lose a good game at Pittsburgh then lose a stinker at home to the Bills.  Can they turn it around?  Sure.  The next two games are against the bad Titans and Texans...but the Bills were supposed to be bad, too. 

WASHINGTON REDSKINS [moderately surprised]: I didn't think the Skins would be 0-2....but I thought they could be.  Their offense during the preseason looked horrible, and there really hasn't been a healthy Clinton Portis.  The Dallas loss isn't a shocker, but the Vikes one was a bit.  Can they turn it around?  They better next week in Houston....or heads will roll.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS [mildly surprised]:  Tampa's offense has been horrible.  Very horrible.  However, they've gone up against two really good defenses.  Can they turn it around?  It's gonna be hard.  They get the Panthers next week...then at New Orleans.  After that: Cincy, Philly, at Giants, N'Awlins, at Carolina, Washington, at Dallas, at Pittsburgh, Atlanta and at Chicago.  They do get to go to Cleveland before closing out the year against Seattle. 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS [tiny bit surprised]:  Well, they played the Bengals and Broncos....and had their QBs head taken off.  So, what are they supposed to do?  Can they turn it around?  Well, they won't lose next week [they have a bye].  After that, it is the Niners and there is a good chance they can get to 2-2 before a hell streak that sees the Steelers, Chargers and Seahawks. 

GREEN BAY PACKERS [maybe a bit surprised]:  Not that this team was supposed to be good or anything....but with two home games, you'd think they could come out of that with something to cheer about.  An ugly loss to Chicago with an ugly dive against the Saints makes me think that they're done.  Can they turn it around?  Favre usually plays well in maybe.  Also, they don't have a 2-0 team until November. 

CLEVELAND BROWNS [not terribly surprised]:  Well, the Browns have played the Saints and Bengals who are a combined 4-0 now.  Can they turn it around?  It's gonna be hard.  The Browns' offense has struggled at times, and with the Panthers, Ravens and Broncos defenses up in three of the next four weeks....this team could be a turkey. 

HOUSTON TEXANS [not surprised at all]:  Look, Houston has played two teams that are playoff contenders and feature two of the best QBs in the game.  Still, this team has struggled to run the ball and defend the pass.  Can they turn it around?  Not soon.  They get the Skins and Dolphins at home, a bye, then go to Dallas and then host Jacksonville.  They should be 0-6 when they head into Tennessee

TENNESSEE TITANS [not really surprised]:  The fact that they dumped their starting QB before the season started by replacing him with someone who wasn't on a team should've sent some major signals.  Can they turn it around?  Again, they should be 0-6 heading into the game against the Texans on October 29.  They have Miami, Dallas, Indy and Washington.  They may as well go ahead and start Vince Young. 

DETROIT LIONS [not surprised]:  This is a new coaching staff installing a new system with a new QB.  Oh, and they played the two best teams in the NFC last year.  Can they turn it around?  Yeah, they play the Packers next week. 

OAKLAND RAIDERS [not surprised]:  This team sucks.  Can they turn it around?  This team sucks. 

A Great Saturday of College Football

ESPN loves to dub each week some clever name.  Whether it is "rivalry week", "bracket buster weekend", "showdown week" or whatever they come up is usually overblown and over analyzed. 

Saturday was dubbed "seperation Saturday" for some reason.  Actually, that's the dumbest name you could come up with.  Why??  Most of the conference games were the 1st or 2nd game in their conference schedule.  And it is dumb name since.....well, nothing was is more jumbled up than ever.

You lying liars!

So what did we really learn yesterday?

Well, we do know that Ohio State really is the #1 team in the nation.  Sure, they struggled with in-state "rival" Cincinnati for 20 minutes.  But they imposed their will the last 2/3 of the game to run away.  And, still, their defense looks great.

We know that Notre Dame's defense blows.  Michigan came into that game with better athletes....but I didn't realize that the Irish were that slow.  They could go from "back to the national elite" to being a 3 or 4 loss team this year.  I picked Michigan to be in the BCS title game last year; maybe I was a season too early. 

We know that the Big East.....yes, the BIG EAST....could net two of the BCS' berths.  This was a league that many people, including me, threw away as a 2nd tier football power that should be stripped of their BCS automatic bid.  Ooops.  The way it looks now, the West Virginia-Louisville game on November 2 will be the biggest Thursday night football game in ESPN's history.  Both should be undefeated heading into that game, and both could be in the Top 5 by then.  Speaking of that, I'm sure everyone in the Big East rejoiced that Louisville pounded Miami, the team that left the conference for the ACC and started some really bad blood between the two. 


Speaking of the ACC....where is the seperation here??  The league is filled with pretty good, but not great, teams.  Florida State barely beat Miami....but lost at home to Clemson.  The same Clemson that were beaten by Boston College last week.  The same Boston College that just squeaked by BYU at home yesterday.  NC State has been beaten by Akron and then smoked by Southern Miss in back-to-back weeks.  North Carolina beat Division I-AA Furman 45-42.  Virginia was beaten, at home, by Western Michigan.  What!?!?!?  Freakin' Wake Forest is 3-0 after beating UConn [ah, so the ACC got even with the Big East!].  The league pretty much can just hold onto Virginia Tech...who pounded hapless Duke.

Wait.  All this talk about the Big East makes us forget about the Big Ten's big day.  They have the #1 team in the nation [Ohio State] and pulled off the day's most impressive win [Michigan].  But Michigan State also went into Pittsburgh and ran past the Panthers; Iowa beat rival Iowa State; Wisconsin, Penn State, Purdue, Northwestern and Minnesota all won.  Wait.  Illinois really sucks....and proved it by losing at home to Syracuse.  At least they weren't beaten at home by Southern Indiana did.  To me, this league is top-heavy and not as strong top to bottom as believed. 


We also learned that kicking isn't automatic.  Oklahoma had a game winning FG attempt blocked in Oregon [by the way, what a great finish!].  Fresno State had an extra point blocked in Washington [and lost by a point]. 

Speaking of Oklahoma....the Sooners capped off a bad day for the Big XII.  Oklahoma had that heart breaking loss where they blew a 13 point lead in the final 2:00+ minutes.  Nebraska hung tough in USC but were ultimately blown out.  Colorado continues to fall into a bottomless pit.  Texas Tech failed to score a TD for the first time since 2000...when they lost 12-3 to TCU.  Again, TCU is a legit BCS breaker team.  Kansas, Iowa State and Baylor also lost.  Texas A&M barely beat Army in College Station.  Yes....Army.  Sure, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma State all won....but they might as well been playing NAIA schools. 

And we know the true winners on this day was the SEC.  In a day filled with overhyped and under-drama games....the SEC delivered.  The LSU-Auburn game was a defensive beauty to behold.  A 7-3 football game usually isn't something to drum on about....but it had the same quality a Stanley Cup final game would have.  One mistake and the game is over.  But it wasn't a mistake....rather a great defensive stand that won it.  A goal line stand as time expired preserved the Auburn victory and the "seperation" in the SEC West. 

Later on in the evening....the Florida-Tennessee battle was nearly as epic.  A bit more scoring...but drama and emotion everywhere.  The Vols were held to TWO yards rushing and made that big mistake late in the game.  Also, it was nice to see Independence High's Chris Leak come up so big in a big game. 

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Week 2 NFL Picks


Last week, I wallowed to a 10-6 start.  Not the best....not the worst.  So, let's go to Week 2.

GIANTS AT EAGLES:  I don't like the G-men in this matchup.  The Giants were 3-4 away from Giants Stadium last year...and none of those victories were over a team with more than 6 wins.  Eli struggles on the road, and Philly has the defense that can trip him up.  And McNabb goes off again.  Eagles 24-17

PANTHERS AT VIKINGS:  Carolina is usually a great road team.  They've won 3 of their last 4 in domes....4 out of 5 on turf....and 12 of their 19 road games.  The Panthers are a little peeved at getting spanked at home last week and will be ready to make up for it.  Panthers 26-20

BUCCANEERS AT FALCONS:   Atlanta stymied Jake Delhomme last, they should be able to do the same with Chris Simms.  Tampa owns the Falcons, winning 6 of their last 8 in the Georgia Dome.  Well, I'm going against that stat.  Falcons 13-9

BILLS AT DOLPHINS:  A battle of 0-1 teams.  Buffalo is one of only two teams to have not played a home game in the first two weeks of the season [Saints are the other].  The Dolphins will use Ronnie Brown to pound the ball into a weak Bills run defense...and dominate.  Dolphins 23-10


SAINTS AT PACKERS:  A matchup of new coaches.  Green Bay must win this game.  If they fall to 0-2, both at home, they would most likely not be in position to win a game until they go to Buffalo on November 6th.  Lastyear, the Saints went into Green Bay and were thumped 52-3.  The Saints didn't have Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister then.  They do now.  Saints 24-10

RAIDERS AT RAVENS:  Let's see.  B-more shut out the Buccaneers in Tampa last week.....while the Raiders were shut out at home.  Hmmm.  Ding-ding.  Ravens 19-13

LIONS AT BEARS:  If there was any team that really surprised me last week, it was the Bears.  Not what they did to Brett Favre...but the fact that their offense moved the ball a bit.  Holding the Seahawks to 9 points shows how much Detroit's defense has improved.  Will this be another defensive struggle???  Yep.  Bears 10-7

BROWNS AT BENGALS:  The Browns will try to re-establish their run game against a team that isn't good at stopping that.  Still, that Cleveland offense doesn't have the weapons that Cincy does.  They just can't keep up.  Bengals 31-10

TEXANS AT COLTS:  The Colts are 8-0 against Houston.  They aren't gonna start losing to them now.  Colts 34-13

PATRIOTS AT JETS:  I have no idea why, but this thing just smells of upset.  Add to the fact that there is some real bad blood in this game due to the Deion Branch tampering rumors.  Jets 20-17


CARDINALS AT SEAHAWKS:  This will be a lovely shootout.  The Seahawks will abuse the Cards weak defense at the toughest place to play in the NFL.  Seahawks 30-20

CHIEFS AT BRONCOS:  Denver is 15-3 at home over the past three seasons.  Kansas City doesn't have it's QB.  Broncos 23-6

RAMS AT NINERS:  Niners should put up some decent numbers....but not enough after Bulger and Holt attacks that defense.  Rams 35-19

TITANS AT CHARGERS:  The Billy Volek bowl will see the guy that is replacing Volek [Kerry Collins] wish the God that he never came back to football.  San Diego's defesnse wins this one.  Chargers 31-14

REDSKINS AT COWBOYS:   The loser of this game will be 0-2 and, most likely, be two games back of Philly for 1st place in the NFC East.  Huge game here, moreso for Washington.  In the next 11 games, they face the Jags, Giants, Colts, Cowboys, Eagles [twice], Bucs, Panthers and Falcons.  I don't see how they can win this one.  Their secondary looked bad against Minnesota....and the Vikes didn't have T.O. or Terry Glenn - plus a banged up Clinton Portis doesn't help.  The only hope is the Skins defense bull rushing that suspect Dallas offensive line and force Drew Bledsoe [aka Sitting Duck] into mistakes.  Of course, they could get that one big pass play to make the Skins into the mistake.  Cowboys 14-10. 

STEELERS AT JAGUARS:  Pittsburgh played the first game in Week 1 and will play the last game of Week 2.  In that time, Big Ben Roethlisberger has gotten himself healthy, Hines Ward is healthier and the Steelers as a whole got some rest.  Meanwhile, the Jags looked good against Dallas.  These teams are more similar than they'd like to admit....but Pittsburgh does everything better.  They'll get to Leftwich and make him have a bad day.  Steelers 20-10

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Where Ya At, 85???"


BEREA, Ohio -- Kellen Winslow hasn't lost any quickness. On Wednesday, he beat Chad Johnson to the punch.

Before Cincinnati's talkative, touchdown-making, free-spirited wide receiver had a chance to make any bold predictions for Sunday's game between the Bengals and Cleveland Browns, Winslow offered his own guarantee.

"My boy, Bodden, is going to shut him down as he did last year," Winslow said, referring to Browns cornerback Leigh Bodden. "He's the best corner in the league. It's a big challenge for him, but it's also a big challenge for Chad, so tell him that."

So, Chad, whatcha think?

"It's humanly impossible to stop [No.] 85," Johnson boasted during an animated teleconference with Cleveland's media. "You are kind of insulting me. I cannot be stopped. Period."

Hmm. Perhaps Johnson has some selective amnesia.

Because with Bodden blanketing him all over the field during Cincinnati's 23-20 win over Cleveland on Dec. 11 last season, Johnson managed just two catches for 22 yards -- season lows in both categories for the fleet-footed Johnson, who led the AFC in receptions (97) and yards (1,432).

On Wednesday, Johnson blamed blustery conditions at Paul Brown Stadium for his atypical performance. However, during the offseason he had high praise for Bodden, an undrafted free agent from Duquesne who has emerged as one of Cleveland's top players.

On a nationally syndicated radio show, Johnson called Bodden the best cornerback he faced last season.

Trouble was, in doing so, he called Bodden, "Lehigh Bowden."

Bodden didn't take exception with Johnson for butchering his name.

"I was flattered because it's coming from a Pro Bowl guy, a guy who had 1,000 yards and 80, 90 catches," the easygoing Bodden said. "I can't really listen to it because I've just got to do what I do and do what I've been doing and let my play speak."

Nothing, it seems, can stop Johnson from speaking his mind -- on any subject. He again commended Bodden for his coverage, though he went to great lengths to explain his inability to get open for quarterback Carson Palmer and pad his stats against the Browns.

"Regardless as to how many times Carson and I missed on our page, I still give credit to him," Johnson said. "If you want to be realistic about it, he didn't stop me -- but I'm going to give him his credit anyways. That's what I did."

And not suprisingly, Johnson had an answer for Winslow's claim that Bodden will negate Cincinnati's No. 85.

"I can't be stopped, regardless as to what Kellen Winslow says," he said. "If he feels that strongly, that's good. His teammates should have faith in him like that, to feel that he is the best cornerback. I feel that way about my corner. There is nothing wrong with that. You know what I feel? I feel our defense will shut down Kellen Winslow."

Johnson was just getting warmed up.

He got downright testy with a reporter who reminded of a game in Cleveland two years ago, or as Johnson calls it, "The Pepto Game." Days after sending Browns defensive backs bottles of pink Pepto-Bismol because he planned to make them sick, Johnson dropped several passes in a 34-17 loss.

Those weren't the result of good defense, he said, but his own failure.

"Have you ever seen anyone cover me before?" he said. "I have six years' worth of film. Go get all of them and find someone that has stopped me. You saw me drop balls in the Pepto game. Last year, in the second game here, you saw balls all over the place because it was a heavy wind game.

"You didn't see anyone physically stop me, physically knock the ball down, physically jam me at the line or reroute me. Come on now, let's talk football."

As well as Bodden played against him, Johnson had the final say in the Bengals' victory last season.

On Cincinnati's 43-yard drive that set up a game-winning field goal, Johnson drew interference and illegal conduct penalties on Bodden, who had been knocked woozy following a collision with teammate Brian Russell.

"A few plays I didn't remember," Bodden said. "I remember the penalties."

Bodden was asked if the Browns got robbed on the calls.

"It could have went either way," he said. "But they gave it to Chad Johnson, who is a great receiver and I'm nobody, really, so they gave him the call."

On his way out of the locker room, Winslow stopped to make sure Bodden was aware he had been talking him up.

"You know 85?" Winslow said. "Twenty-eight's going to stop him."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Atlanta Braves: 1991-2005


I'll always hate the Atlanta Braves....but I am an admirer of what they've been able to do over the past 15 years.

In the last 14 seasons that ended when they were supposed to [read: except in 1994 which, apparantly, MLB has decided to just leave out there incomplete like an abandoned novel], the Atlanta Braves not only went to the playoffs, but were division champions.  They were NL West champs in 1991-1993 and NL East champs from 1995-2005.  In that time frame, the only team that finished ahead of them in the standings isn't even around anymore [the Montreal Expos in 1994]....four expansion teams have been added....two new divisions formed....and 19 new stadiums have been added.

The last season that ended without the Braves in the postseason [1990], the USSR was still around, George H. W. Bush was the President, Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan hadn't won an NBA title yet, Nelson Mandela was released from prison, there was still an East and West Germany, Iraq invaded Kuwait which introduced most of us to Saddam Hussein, Barry Bonds was skinny in Pittsburgh, Jon-Benet Ramsey was born and most of the players in the NBA and NFL hadn't set foot on the pro stage yet.

Oh, and the Braves were regarded one of the worst teams in baseball.

That makes their rise all the more remarkable.  Their ability to develop their prospects coupled with an ability to chose the right free agents and great coaching have put them in this position.  An amazing run that began with Terry Pendleton winning the MVP and a guy named Mark Lemke establishing a playoff rep. 

Yes, I'll be right there in line with people who criticize Atlanta for only bringing one World Series title home with them during this time frame...but the fact that they were such a playoff fixture is amazing.  Don't forget, it wasn't like they had stiffs in their division.  Florida won two World Series while finishing as runner up to the Braves....and the Mets went to one as a Wildcard as well.  Plus, the Braves held off the 100+ win Giants in 1993 to win thedivision.  The division they were playing in sent a representative to the World Series in 8 of those 14 seasons.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chicago Bears Fans Get Free Furniture



CHICAGO (Sept. 12, 2006) -- It all started with a little trash-talking.

Randy Gonigam, a Kendall County furniture store owner and "huge Bears fan," got tired of players bragging about their defense, so he decided to put his money on it. 

Over Labor Day weekend, Gonigam's World Furniture Mall in Plano offered customers free furniture -- up to $10,000 -- if the Chicago Bears shut out the Green Bay Packers in their season opener.

Four quarters, 206 customers and about $300,000 later, Gonigam is still a little shell-shocked.

"This is beyond our wildest dreams," he said.

The Bears blanked the Packers 26-0 on Sept. 10, ending Green Bay's 233-game scoring streak and giving Brett Favre the first shutout of his 16-year NFL career.

The idea that it was a long shot didn't keep him from insuring the store for up to $300,000 worth of furniture with a company that specializes in insuring prize reimbursements.

Gonigam got the idea to offer full refunds over Labor Day weekend after hearing Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher brag that the team would have the best defense in the NFL this year.

"As a Chicago sports fan, you get frustrated," he said. "I thought, 'Prove it."'

Customer and expectant mother Kathleen Spayer, 40, went back into the store Sept. 11 to make sure her $5,000 master bedroom suite was really free.

"It's the luckiest year of my life," she said.

Plano is about 45 miles southwest of Chicago.