Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tressel Out At Ohio State, Justice Still Not Served

As you probably have seen, Jim Tressel resigned yesterday at Ohio State, bringing his stellar on-field career to a close.  However, as the NCAA and Ohio State officials continue to uncover the truths surrounding Tressel's deception, I hardly see this as closure for the Buckeyes program.  As a matter of fact, more allegations are being brought to light even as Tressel exits Columbus.  I believe this is just the beginning of a very long, embarrasing process for THE Cheating University.

What I do know is this:  Tressel did not resign on his own, this was forced by Ohio State administration.  They have stubbornly stood behind their guy through this entire process, but in the end, I think they realized there was no way that Tressel could withstand the fallout from this scandal.  Once they saw it would be impossible to keep Tressel, they asked for his resignation.  This was not a decision of morality, but of CYA for the Suckeyes. 

Understand the strategy being played here by Ohio State:  In getting rid of Tressel, the university will try its best to distance themselves from Tressel and throw him under the bus for the corruption in Columbus.  In tossing the Sweater Vest aside, Ohio State will now claim that they had no knowledge of what was happening under Tressel's watch, in an attempt to take a smaller hit from the NCAA. 

I think that the violations are so plentiful at Ohio State, that there is no way they can dodge the train coming their way.  If even half of the alegations are true, then they should be hammered way worse than USC.  The NCAA will never give a program of this stature the death penalty, but these allegations are similar to those of SMU back in the day.  I do think a huge reduction in scholarships and postseason ban will be on the way.

What is next for Ohio State?  The Buckeyes will make Luke Fickell the head coach for the 2011 season.  I think it's interesting that they would keep Tressel's staff moving forward.  Do you really think no one else on the staff was complicit in the cover-up?  Did they not know about these violations from the past years?  I have a hard time believing that.  I am pretty sure of this, however:  Urban Meyer will be leading the Buckeyes out of the tunnel in Spetember 2012.  This just makes too much sense, as this and Notre Dame are his two dream jobs.

What is next for Jim Tressel?  Tressel has ruined his career as a coach and a motivational speaker.  He may be able to coach somewhere small in a few years, but his star has dimmed greatly.  Any school who hires him will have to show cause for hire, and big name schools will not go through that process to hire him.

Even though Tressel is out in Columbus, true justice will not be served until THE Cheating University meets with NCAA officials in August and penalties are later levied.  Unlike the Auburn scandal that revolved around one player, there are too many involved here.  There is no way the Buckeyes will be able to escape the falling hammer on their once way-too-proud program.

No Team on earth can stop the big 3!!!

Sorry I have not written in a while my computer has been broken. I will add a picture to this blog when I have my computer again.

It looks like Jordan(not Mike) was right to pick the Miami Heat to win it all. It is impossible to get around the big three, and by the big three I mean the refs. The three stars tonight in the NBA Finals will be wearing black and white. Miami has shot more free throws than their opponents the entire playoffs, and by a large margin. The Heat are even getting the star treatment at other teams' home courts. With the talent Miami has and the calls they will get there seems no way to stop LeBron and company.

Still, I hope I am wrong and Dirk gets his first. Watch the how many shots at the line the Heat get in this series it will tell the story of who gets the hardware. If LeBron is not complaining to the refs then you know he is getting all the calls, and that is bad news for the Mavs!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Hole Keeps Getting Deeper At Ohio State

He sold stuff too?  Who didn't is the easier question.
Former Ohio State wide receiver Ray Small has come forward today saying he sold bowl rings and other memorabilia and got special discounts on cars as well while on scholarship at THE Cheating University.  You can read the ESPN article HERE.

Once again, here's another example of the blind eye that Jim Tressel turned to his players violations.  The most important quote in the entire article is when Small says that "everyone was doing it" while he was on campus from 2006-2009.  Just think, last week president Gordon Golly Gee Willikers still stood behind Tressel as Ohio State's football coach. 

How long can the NCAA sit idly by and let Ohio State be run by these buffoons?  How can anyone honestly back a coach that has this much smoke surrounding his program?  If THE Cheating University or Jim Tressel somehow skates their way through this, then this will supplant Auburn and the Camburglar as the biggest heist in NCAA history. 

Who knows, maybe the NCAA is sitting back and letting the Suckeyes dig their own grave?  I just have a hard time believing that this can drag on long enough that Jim Tressel is able to coach the team this year.  At some point, though, the NCAA has to step in and stop the circus.

What is your opinion of Ohio State's program?  Will Tressel coach this upcoming season?  If not, who will it be?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ray Lewis' Appeal To End Lockout The Best Yet

What time is it?  CRIME TIME!

Ray Lewis has made his appeal to end the lockout and quite honestly, it's the funniest thing I've heard in a while.  (You can see the interview HERE)  According to Ray-Ray, if the NFL doesn't play this season, we all should stay inside our homes and deadbolt our doors because crime is going to be rampant. 

Seriously.  He said that.  If there is no NFL season, the crime rate will skyrocket, according to Lewis.  He says that because so many people live vicariously through NFL football and the players, that if they aren't playing, everyone will have nothing left to do but commit crimes.  Ray, give the American public a little bit of credit, my friend!  We don't love you guys THAT much!

If there's no NFL season, forget finding something productive to do, like reading a book, taking a Sunday nap, going outside for a jog or even watching another sport, I'm going to find some crimes to commit!  If there really are people who are going to commit more crime without the NFL, then they were going to commit crime anyway.  

I'm sure Roger Goodell had a good laugh when he heard Lewis' statements. 

My only question to Ray Lewis is this:  If there is no NFL season in 2011, which will increase more, America's crime rate or the NFLPA crime rate?

Do you buy the hype?  Will you be committing any crimes if there's no NFL in 2011?  If so, which ones?

Quick Hitter: Harvey Updyke Interview A Must-Read

If you haven't already, you need to take 10 minutes and read THIS INTERVIEW AND STORY with Harvey Updyke, the infamous Toomer's Tree poisoner.  ESPN's Wright Thompson paints a great picture of just how crazy Updyke really is, and how scared he is about his future.   

Some of you thought I was crazy about the Dawgs, but I've got nothing on this guy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Will The Diamond Dawgs Make The Postseason?

Finally Some College Baseball Talk on DBTH!

So here's the deal:  I started this blog two months ago, in the spring, and I'm finally writing about college baseball.  Don't worry, there will be plenty more as we near the postseason on the road to Omaha.

If my beloved Georgia Diamond Dawgs are to start the journey, they must do some work here in the next week.  To make the regionals as an at large team, you must be at least one game over .500, which is where the Dawgs stand now at 27-26.  After playing the toughest schedule in the nation and being in 4th place in the SEC, Georgia is assured a berth in the SEC Tournament next week in Hoover, AL.  With an RPI of 25, conventional wisdom says if Georgia could finish one game above .500, they would be a near lock for the field of 64. 

Therein lies the hard part.  Georgia's regular season finishes with a three-game series against Top 5 Vanderbilt tonight at 7:30 on ESPNU.  They will face a sure-fire top 10 pick in next month's MLB Draft, Sonny Gray.  Since the SEC West winner would get the #2 seed in Hoover, Georgia could draw the #5 seed and be in a bracket with Vanderbilt, the SEC East winner, and either South Carolina or Florida, both of which are top 5 in the country. 

For Georgia to make it in, they need to do at a minimum:

Scenario 1: 
1.  Take 2 of 3 from Vandy
2.  Win 1 game in the SEC Tournament (double-elimination)
This would leave the Dawgs at 30-29 and should make them a lock.  Two wins versus Vanderbilt and possibly another in the first game of the SEC Tourney would boost the Dawgs into the RPI Top 20 with ease. 

Scenario 2:
1.  Lose the Vandy series (either 1-2 or get swept)
2. MUST WIN the SEC Tournament (and get the automatic bid)
This would be tough as well, because Georgia has never won the SEC Tournament and has gone two-and-out on many occasions, even the College World Series teams.  This scenario is much less likely in comparison to Scenario 1.

My Take:  As much as I've appreciated the job Coach Perno and the players have done in righting the ship this year, even under very difficult circumstances, I just don't see either scenario above playing out.  I don't put anything past the resolve of the Diamond Dawgs, and wouldn't be shocked if they made a way, but I give them about a 30% chance of making the NCAA Regionals.  I'll be down at the game tonight, so let's see if we can increase that percentage against one of the best teams in the country.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Braves Report Card: First Quarter Grades

First quarter grades are in!

It's hard to believe we are 1/4th of the way through the MLB season.  Here are my grades for the Braves so far:

Offense:   B-
Some people would say this is a little too high, because the Braves are in the bottom 10 in batting average, but the offense has really come through in the clutch.  The Braves are in the top 5 in BA with runners in scoring position and 9th in the league in runs scored.  Jason Heyward was off to a great start before a minor injury and Martin Prado should be an all-star, even after moving to the outfield.  Eric Hinske has been clutch off the bench and David Ross has been equally productive on Brian McCann's off days. 

Despite the low average, the Braves are getting some bang for their buck at the plate.  They are 3rd in MLB with 47 homers already, and it is a distinct possibility that they could have 6 players with 20+ HRs this year.  I expect for the offense to produce even more in the next month or so.  If only Chipper could stay healthy...

Good Surprises:  Eric Hinske, David Ross, Nate McLouth (Don't Hate!)
Bad Surprises:  Dan Uggla (has some big HR, but inconsistent at the plate)

Pitching:  A
I think most expected the Braves to have a good pitching staff, but even I've been surprised with how well the bullpen has performed, especially after last year's set-up guy, Peter Moylan, went down with a back injury.  The Braves are 2nd in the league with a 2.88 ERA and lead the league in strikeouts, shutouts AND batting average against!  Opponents are only hitting .218 against the Braves so far.

The combination of Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel in the 7th, 8th and 9th has made the starters' job that much easier, and could be the best back-end in the league.  The only reason I don't give the Braves an A+ so far is the fact that Kimbrel has blown 4 saves already, even though that could be expected from a rookie closer.  My preseason prediction for blown saves for Kimbrel was 10, but he is on pace to go above that, which could really hurt in the stretch run later in the season. 

Good Surprises:  Jair Jurrjens, Eric O'Flaherty, Cory Gearrin, Brandon Beachy
Bad Surprises:  Scott Linebrink

Fielding:  A-
This is the most surprising area of the Braves for me this season.  Much was made of Dan Uggla's poor glove, but the Braves have been rock solid up the middle all`season.  The Braves have made 20 errors (6th in MLB) and 3 of those were in one bad loss to the Nationals.  Uggla and Gonzalez have proven to be quite a double play combo, but Freddie Freeman has saved the infield on multiple occasions with his scoops at first.

Good Surprises:  Dan Uggla, Martin Prado (smooth adjustment to LF)
Bad Surprises:  None

Coaching:  B
Fredi Gonzalez has done a good job filling Bobby Cox's shoes this season.  He finally cut his losses and moved McLouth to the 8th spot and Heyward up to 2nd, and he has done a god job managing the bullpen.  My only concern is that he may be overusing O'Flaherty and Venters early in the season. This is something to keep an eye on in the future.

Overall:  B+
Despite some hiccups in the bullpen, slow start at the plate combined with the Philles' hot start, the Braves are only 1.5 games out of first place and have the 4th best record in the National League.  If the Braves can avoid major injuries to more key cogs, they should easily be in the pennant race at the All-Star Break.

Braves at the moment: 25-19
All-Star Break prediction:  52-40

What are your grades for the Braves?  How do you see the next quarter playing out?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

So This Is How It Ends For The Thrashers?

Phoenix Scores, Atlanta Loses!

Will Atlanta lose its second NHL team?  It appears to be more likely than ever now.  It is being reported that the Atlanta Spirit Group have not been able to find a buyer to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta, so`they've initiated negotiations with True North, who is poised to buy the team and move them to Winnipeg.  After Glendale, AZ city government decided last week to help subsidize the Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL-to-Winnipeg relocation saga turned to Atlanta, toward a very willing seller, ASG.

If the Thrashers are to leave, there is plenty of blame to go around. 

First, the ASG has done a half-butt job of making the Thrashers a good product ever since they bought them from Time Warner.  The last time I went to a game was three years ago.  I went on a Friday night to watch them play the Senators, who were the #1 team in the East at the time.  The arena was almost full, yet only half the concession stands were open.  It took 20 minutes to get a burger and a Coke and it cost me $9 to get it.  I've heard weeknight games were even worse.  That's cheap and unacceptable for a major sports franchise, especially when you consider the high ticket prices people pay just to get in the door. 

Second, former GM/current president Don Waddell made plenty of personnel blunders in constructing the team.  No matter how many bad trades/draft picks "Teflon Don" made, he always had a job: ruining the franchise's future.  The Dany Heatley situation was unfortunate and out of Waddell's control, but the mishandling of Ilya Kovalchuk and Marian Hossa's contract situations were detrimental to the progress of the franchise.  And Patrik Stefan as the #1 overall pick?  The only draft picks Waddell hit on were the ones that were no-brainers (Heatley, Kovalchuk, Pavelec).

Thirdly, I refuse to blame the fans!  Atlanta sports fans get a bad rap, but people in the South aren't overly rich and don't want to spend their hard earned money on a crap product.  I think Atlanta fans are smart fans, honestly.  If an Outback steak costs $15 would you spend $15 on a steak from Waffle House?  Didn't think so.

The Bottom Line:  Garbage ownership and poor management have been the demise of the Thrashers, not the lack of fan support.  The lack of support has come as a result of the poor management.  ASG tried to put the blame on the fans for not showing up, but fans will only be suckers for a third-rate product for so long.  Most likely, we will say goodbye to the Thrashers and I will be sad.  Professional hockey can survive in Atlanta, but nothing will survive the incompetent, neglectful ASG ownership.

Monday, May 16, 2011

He Ain't As Good As He Once Was...

Jorge Don't Bat Ninth...

Listen, I am by no means a Yankees fan or apologist, but I do respect their level of success over the last 15 years, especially guys like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, who have been along for the entire ride.  That said, I have an issue with Jorge Posada and his refusal to bat 9th on Saturday against the Red Sox.  Here is my open letter to the once great Yankee catcher:

Dear Jorge:
The fit you pitched by not playing Saturday was selfish and inexcusable.  Listen, the Yankees pay you to play baseball.  Get out there and play and quit getting your ego hurt by hitting last.  At least you're still getting paid to play a kid's game. 

Jorge, if you haven't noticed:  YOU'RE NOT GOOD ANYMORE!  As a matter of fact, you're downright terrible.  You're defense/arm is so bad that you don't catch regularly anymore and you're hitting .164 as a designated hitter.  They pay you just to hit and that's all the production you can muster?  I realize you're 39 and are one of the greatest catchers to wear the Yankees pinstripes but get over yourself.  You should be thankful you're in the lineup at all.  I guess Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi don't want a $13 million man riding the pine. 

Just maybe, they're doing you a favor and trying not to completely destroy your ego by sitting you down permanently.  You say you want out of New York?  No other team want a 39 year old DH that can't hit his own weight!  Batting 9th for the Yankees doesn't seem like such a bad idea anymore, huh?

 A Fan Whose Respect You've Lost

While I respect the fact that Yankees brass has left Posada in the lineup every day, I respect guys like Braves GM Frank Wren even more.  When a similar situation to this occurred with the Braves and Tom Glavine a couple years ago, Wren realized Glavine had nothing left and pulled the plug, instead of letting ego negatively affect results on the field by running a has-been out there every fifth day. 

These guys play a game and make inordinate amounts of money doing it.  If they can't get the job done, do us all a favor and retire, or better yet, go join the rival and let us pound you, like the Braves did to Glavine when he played for the Mets.  Jorge Posada to the Rays, anyone?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mark Turgeon To Maryland: Smart Move

Maryland Got "Their Guy"

Maryland has hired Mark Turgeon from Texas A&M to be the new head basketball coach, and Terp Nation should be very excited about the future.  They have secured a bona fide winner who has managed successful programs at schools that were not considered "basketball schools".  Maryland should give Turgeon all the support he needs, then sit back and enjoy the results.  Turgeon has taken schools that were at the bottom of their conference in basketball (Wichita State in the Missouri Valley and Texas A&M in the Big 12)  and risen them to prominence in short order.

This is a great career move for Turgeon as well.  He was wise in leaving a successful Wichita State team for a successful Texas A&M (Billy Gillispie to Kentucky) squad.  Now he leaves for one of the best jobs in the ACC.  This is also his first job at a "basketball school" in an area that is full of high school talent that wants to attend. 

The bottom line for Turgeon is this:  At Texas A&M he was playing second fiddle at a second fiddle institution in Texas.  No matter how much he won in College Station, football would always be king.  No matter how much he won, the state of Texas will always be Longhorn Country.  Now he will get the notoriety he deserves on a national level, because he WILL win big at Maryland.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If You Need A Good Deal On A Car, Get A Scholarship To Ohio State!

Even the mascot gets a free ride, literally!

The lies just keep on piling up at THE Cheating University.  I mean seriously, who knew anyone could kick Auburn's indiscretions out of the media spotlight?  Jim Tressel should be on Gene Chizik's Christmas card list for sure this year.  There is more paper evidence against Tressel and the football program, and one has to wonder how much longer THE Cheating University can continue to defend its rogue program.

If you missed the latest allegations, HERE is the latest regarding Ohio State athletes getting deeply discounted/free cars from local dealerships.

Has anyone in recent years besides Tiger Woods fallen from the graces of public perception fast than Jim Tressel and Ohio State?  Less than a year ago, he was perceived to be one of the greatest college football coaches of our era, a bastion of winning with class.  Now he's on the same level with Lane Kiffin. 

I don't know what is worse though.  His lack of integrity, or the majority of Buckeye Nation that is still in denial and backing Tressel to the death? Their arrogance (they demand to be called  THE Ohio State University) is astounding.  The sense of entitlement is astounding as well. All they've won in the past two decades is a National Championship that was handed to them by the back judge, on which they rode the coattails of a convicted felon.  It was cause for celebration when they defeated ARKANSAS in the Sugar Bowl this year, after being dominated by almost every other SEC team for the last 20 years.  To quell their SEC inferiority complex, they've scheduled a series with Vanderbilt.  What did Gordon Gee say about TCU playing the Little Sisters of the Poor (and I like Vandy)?

What will the NCAA do regarding these allegations?  The evidence seems to paint a dark picture for the future of the Buckeyes.  More importantly, what will Ohio State do?  Will they sit back and "dare" the NCAA to drop the hammer?  My guess is the latter.  The Suckeyes are too proud to admit they've done anything wrong.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Don't Hate Nate: Campaign Update!

Blowing up in the 8 spot!
I should have a direct line to Fredi Gonzalez's office.  Seriously.  A few weeks ago, when the rest of Braves Nation was ready to kick Nate to the curb, I asked Fredi to move him down in the lineup and watch him produce.  And that he has.  Since moving to the 8 spot in the lineup here are McLouth's numbers:

.323 BA  .443 OBP  2 HR  14 Walks/12 Strikeouts

The one thing that Joe Bravesfan and I agreed on was the fact that Heyward, not McLouth should have been hitting second in the lineup. 

The most impressive statistic for me here is the .443 on-base percentage, which is the penultimate goal of a 8th place hitter.  Eighth place hitters are often pitched around in the National League because teams would rather face the pitcher, so it's not like McLouth is going to see tons of fastballs to hit. This was the rationale behind his starting the season in the #2 spot, to see more hittable pitches to help him break out of his year plus long slump. 

Moving to #8 has forced McLouth to be more selective at the plate, and has actually caused him to relax and see pitches better, instead of trying to drive the first fastball in the neighborhood of the plate.  The fact that he has more walks than strikeouts is amazing, since his high strikeout totals and low OBP have been his bugaboo throughout his career, even in Pittsburgh. 

As a result of his new-found patience at the plate, he is performing another of his jobs as an 8 place hitter.  Turn the lineup over.  His ability to get on base is allowing the Braves to clear the pitcher's spot in the lineup in many innings, allowing them to start the next inning at the top of the lineup.  Also, Braves pitchers are able to bunt McLouth into scoring position, instead of aimlessly hacking away with no one on base(Braves pitchers now don't hit quite like the old ones did!).

I know this is only a 3 week sample space for McLouth in the 8 spot, but it looks promising for the rest of the season.  Do you still hate Nate?  If you want the Braves to make the playoffs, you shouldn't!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Silent Science Part II

What we Love about Sports?

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, 2011 Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao fights "Sugar" Shane Mosley. This should be a very entertaining fight, but the average sports fan will never see it. Two great fighters enter the ring tomorrow night, one will impose his will on the other and emerge victorious. I put my money on Pac Man, no big surprise, he is pound for pound the best in the world, and Mosley is over the hill and with few exceptions, boxers are like milk. Once they go bad, there is no going back.

These days boxing is almost completely the silent sport. Yes, they still box on TV, but no one knows or cares (other than a few celebs and die hard fans). Sad thing is that like this fight there are some great bouts and some great sports moments that will never be viewed that way. Recently, many sports' analysts celebrated and remembered the Ali vs. Frazier fight. I wonder if any of the current fights happening this year will ever be remembered that way. Boxing is, however, a hidden jewel that can be unearthed by the true sports fan. This is true, especially with the summer producing so few sporting events to watch, I really look forward to Saturday fight night.

Boxing has such a great product that has been really untapped for at least the last two decades. Boxing must take some steps in another direction to bring itself into the mainstream again. Step one, it has to get the best fighter into the mainstream public eye. They can start having fights on the network channels, and most importantly back on ESPN. Friday night fight on ESPN only showcases C and D level fighters. If this happens then the next step will follow, ESPN will start having shows like Boxing Live, and then the experts can began to explain the sport to the common man. To the average Joe, boxing can look like dancing or sweating guys hugging.

I don't know how, but boxing needs to stop allowing fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr. to hold boxing hostage, he is a cancer. As, I said in my last boxing entry, a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is the only fight that would peak the average sport fans' interest. Yet, Mayweather refuses to fight Pac Man even though there will be $40 million paydays for them both. To turn down 40 million, he must be really scared!

I spotlighted the Berto vs. Ortiz fight and wrote about all the amazing sports moments and qualities it had to offer. The ironic thing was that what's wrong with boxing was present at this fight as well. Floyd Mayweather, Jr sat ring side with rapper, 50 Cent at his side. Mayweather watched the fight and every time the camera found him he was showing his perfect, bleached white smile. People might like him better if he had a war with Manny, and if we are lucky maybe Manny knocks out one of those ultra white teeth. But, I laughed when I saw Mayweather there enjoying the battle, because no matter how rich or famous he gets, he will never put on a show like Berto and Ortiz did!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rashard Mendenhall Is Such An Idiot!

He said WHAT?

I was looking forward to a night off from the blog as we began spring practice today and I'm tired, but Rashard Mendenhall has ticked me off with his ignorant opinions.  So much so, that just had to put this story together tonight.  If you missed the action, here were his Tweets after the capture and death of Osama bin Laden:

"What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."

Regarding September 11:
"We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style."

First, let me say this:  My celebration on Monday was not simply for the death of Osama bin Laden; instead it was a celebration of THE CARRYING OUT OF JUSTICE!  If it's even possible for the thousands of families who lost loved ones due to the terrorist acts of bin Laden, there was closure in his death. 

Did Mendenhall really say we've never heard Osama speak?  You mean, like on those videos?  The ones where he took credit for the Sept. 11 attacks and said there would be even more blood shed for us American "infidels" in the name of jihad?  There were countless other videos produced by al-Qaida where bin Laden took credit for other attacks as well as inciting others to do the same.  Has Mendenhall never watched the news? 

Did he really say we never will know what happened on Sept. 11?  I know he was only 13 at the time of the attacks, but did he not have a television at home?  If so, he must have missed the part where the planes crashed into the Towers and then collapsed on LIVE television.

I fully understand that as an AMERICAN we have the right to have our own opinions.  As a teacher, I encourage my students to formulate their own opinions, even if it's not the popular opinion.  Some people even like to be contrarians, or "devil's advocates", but not if it means being a total buffoon in the process.

Rashard Mendenhall will certainly regret making these ignorant statements, if he isn't regretting it already.  There has been a tremendous backlash already that could derail his career, a la John Rocker.    If he doesn't regret his statements, then he needs to be placed on the "No Fly" list.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Atlanta Falcons Draft Recap

Did the Falcons make all the right moves?

After the playoff destruction the Falcons suffered at the hands of the Packers in January, the word out of Flowery Branch was that the Falcons brass wanted "explosive" playmakers on offense.  They made sure they got one on Thursday night. 

I still don't believe that Julio Jones was "their guy," as it was stated the Falcons really wanted A.J. Green.  When the Bengals reneged on a possible trade, it was obvious Atlanta didn't want to be left in the cold, so they were almost forced to move up and take Jones at #6, since Cleveland was about to take him.  I do like Julio Jones and believe he will help the Falcons soon, but I think the price was too steep.  Giving up four picks (the two 2011 1st rounders cancel out) for one player is just too much for me.  Roddy White said it best; he was glad to have Julio, but that "we gave up our whole draft" to get him. 

Here is a rundown of the other picks:
3rd Round-Akeem Dent, ILB, Georgia:  Obviously I like the pick based on the fact that he's a Dawg, but I do think this will help with ILB depth, and Dent is talented enough to become an eventual starter.

5th Round-Jacquizz Rodgers, RB/KR, Oregon State:  This is my second favorite pick for the Falcons in this draft.  He's another "explosive" (Mike Smith buzzword) guy who got knocked for diminutive stature and his 4.6 40 at the combine, but he can make plays on offense, and will compliment Eric Weems in the return game.  If you don't like him, you will after you watch this:

6th Round-Matt Bosher, P/K, Miami FL:  I've never understood why punters and kickers are drafted, unless they are rare talents.  Sebastien Janikowski was a freak of nature, but only Al Davis would've ever drafted him in the first round!  Bosher has the ability to pull double duty, and Michael Koenen is overpaid anyway, so I guess he is the heir apparent.

7th Round-Andrew Jackson, G, Fresno State:  To me, the hardest position to evaluate on the field is the offensive line, because it takes lots of film study and I don't have access to much, especially for late-round guys.  He is 6'5" and 299 lbs., and was in the Fresno State power run game, so I will assume he is a mauler, which has been the draft M.O.for Thomas Dimitroff.

7th Round-Cliff Matthews, DE, South Carolina:  This is my favorite pick of the draft!  To be able to snag a guy this talented in the 7th round is huge for the Falcons, because he can contribute quickly. Georgia fans saw up close how tough Matthews can be to block on the edge, and Mel Kiper had him graded as a 4th rounder.  Huge value here and the kind of luck the Falcons needed to run into after giving up so many picks in the Julio Jones trade.

Who was your favorite Falcons draft pick?  Did you like the Julio Jones trade?  Let us know!  Comment below!

NFL Draft Winners and Losers

Were the Panthers winners at this year's draft?

As is the case in all things life, there are winners and losers.  Here are the winners and losers from the NFL Draft:

Cam Newton:  Newton went from being questioned about his pro potential to being the #1 pick in four months.  His measurables and stout pro day made him tens of millions of dollars.

Teams drafting from picks 20-30 in the First Round:  As I watched teams reach for quarterbacks in the early/mid first round, I knew it meant there would be some great defensive talent left at the end of the first round.  The Buccaneers (Adrian Clayborn), Ravens (Jimmy Smith), and Saints (Cameron Jordan) all landed elite defensive talent that went well after slot.

New Orleans Saints:  Speaking of the Saints, they were not only able to land Jordan, but traded up to draft Mark Ingram as well, effectively ending Reggie Bush's stay in New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  The Bucs drafted two bookend pass rushers with questionable medical history (Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers) but the upside for the two to make an immediate impact is tremendous.  They also drafted TE sleeper Luke Stocker.  To say the Bucs will be tough and physical is quite the understatement.  They may be my sleeper pick to reach the Super Bowl next year.

Detroit Lions:  It must have felt like Christmas morning in the Lions war room when Nick Fairley fell to them at 13.  Teaming him with Suh and VandenBosch may give Detroit the best defensive line even this season.  Michael Leshoure and Titus Young will be impact player shortly as well.  Now, if they could just keep Matt Stafford healthy, they could make the playoffs THIS YEAR.

Ryan Mallett:  Did  Mallett lose a lot of money falling to the 3rd round?  Yes, but he is very fortunate to go to New England.  He will be coached very well and is under no pressure as he learns the NFL game from one of the all-time greats.  He may never start a game for the Pats, but he could be traded to another team as soon as he is ready to start, a la Matt Schaub.  If his reputation of having character flaws is true, he is in the perfect organization to break him of his bad habits.  Kudos once again to Bill Belichick for making another high-value selection.


Carolina Panthers:  The Panthers felt the pressure to take Cam Newton in a draft that lacked a true franchise quarterback (thanks, Andrew Luck!), and it's a gamble that appears to be a much higher risk than potential reward. 

Carson Palmer:  Marvin Lewis and company let Palmer know their thoughts regarding his future as they rebuilt the cornerstones of the offense in the draft.  A.J. Green, Andy Dalton and Clint Boling are pieces drafted to rebuild the Bengals offense of the future, sans Palmer, and Ochocinco if we're lucky.  Rumor has it now that Palmer may be on his way to Seattle when the lockout ends.

Seattle Seahawks:  Speaking of the Seahawks, Pete Carroll reached big time for 1st round pick James Carpenter, as many had him graded 2nd or even 3rd round.  None of their other picks stirred much interest either.

Justin Houston:  Many mock drafts had Houston as a late 1st or early 2nd round pick, but he slipped to #70 when he tested positive for marijuana at the combine.  I hope he enjoys the hippie lettuce, because it cost him a few million dollars.

Who were your winners and losers from the draft?

This Week in Sports!

So, I was 6 of 8 in my first round NBA predictions. This is good, but not great. The only pick that I regret is picking the Orlando Magic to beat the Atlanta Hawks. I picked the Magic because I thought Stan Van Gundy would out coach Larry Drew Sr., and the Hawks would have no answer for D. Howard. The way things shaped up, was that the Hawks were to athletic at the wings and the Magic need better players and this may cost them the man in the middle a year from now. No one really saw the Memphis Grizzlies beating San Antonio Spurs, but I had the Spurs losing in the next round so no big surprise. This was an important series because it marks the end of this Spurs team as we know it. The Spurs must bring in new young talent to be a contender again.

In the summer there is not a whole lot of good sports going on. I have always had trouble finding and keeping up the important sports events. I have a hard time remembering when the good events of games are coming on, or finding the times of these events. So, here they are:

Tonight May 2, 2011
Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks 8:00 PM on TNT
L. A. Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks 10:30 PM on TNT

Tuesday May 3, 2011
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat 7:00 PM on TNT
(This should be a really good game and series, but in game one the Big 3 decided the ball game. And by the Big 3 I mean the refs. Hopefully the refs will not continue to give Miami so much star treatment.)

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 10:30 PM on TNT

Wednesday May 4, 2011
Atlanta Hawks vs. Chicago Bulls 8:00 PM on TNT
L. A. Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks 9:30 PM on TNT

Thursday May 5, 2011

Friday May 6, 2011
Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks 7:00 PM on ESPN
L. A. Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks 9:30 PM on ESPN

Saturday May 7, 2011
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 5:00 PM on ESPN
Miami Boston vs. Boston Celtics 8:00 PM on ABC

Another good sporting event this week is the Wells Fargo Championship. This PGA tour event is in Charlotte, NC and is always a good one. I don't watch too much golf unless the big boys are there. Good News Phil Mickelson will be playing!

May 5-8 2011 Live at 3 PM or replay 8:30 PM on the Golf Channel

Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley May 7, 2011 on Pay-per-view