Thursday, June 30, 2011

NBA Lockout: Batten Down The Hatches, It Could Be A Long One

Grab a cold one, we might be here a while!

Based on what we're hearing, when the NBA owners lock the players out tonight at midnight, it could be the last time the players come to work for a long while.  Some people are thinking this one could last well in to 2012, or even threaten the entire season.  Looks like the Mavericks may get to reign as champions for a good, long while.

There's really two paths this lockout can take. It will either resemble the current NFL Lockout or the last NHL Lockout.

If it's similar to the ongoing NFL lockout, we may see a delay to the beginning of the season, but should play the majority of this season's games.  At least in the current NFL labor dispute, both owners and players are making minor concessions in order to try and reach some sort of agreement before the beginning of the season.  Both sides are meeting pretty frequently now and there have been signs of progress. It is widely assumed now that an agreement will be reached before the start of this NFL season.

If I had to choose, I think NBA Lockout 2011 will look more like the NHL Lockout of 2004-2005.  Remember, hockey lost an entire season during that work stoppage, as both sides reached an impasse early in talks.  Finally, the lockout ended as players made huge concessions in order to get back to work. The NHLPA agreed to a hard salary cap and and a league-wide rollback in player salaries just to get back on the ice and get paid.

If the NBA owners are going to stick to their guns about a salary cap and rollbacks, I doubt we have a season. If they think players will agree to rollbacks on previously signed contracts, they're crazy.  The NBA claims that more than 20 teams lost money last year and they're blaming it on the out-of-control salaries.  Didn't the owners agree to the terms of these huge contracts?  For years NBA fans have sighed a collective "What?!" with each $10+ million dollar contract given to average NBA players.

Realize, it's not the players fault they got paid like they did.  The owners had to sign the checks.  For them to now hope that players under contracts will take a pay cut is ludicrous.

The only way for the owners to win this fight is to wait it out.  The NHL owners locked the players out for over a year before they got what they wanted.  Players had no choice to come back, as they went a year without a paycheck and those who didn't plan in advance were in dire straits financially.  It'll be interesting to see if this is how the NBA owners force the players' hands.  Will they hold out so long that the players "break" and give in to the owners demands?  Or will they follow the lead of the NFL and try to work to find common ground so that business resumes as usual?

Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy, as this is going to be a long, long fight.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Russell Wilson Chooses Wisconsin Over Auburn, Here's Why

Yesterday, Russell Wilson chose to attend Wisconsin over Auburn to complete his final year of eligibility, to the surprise of many, especially in the South.  Wilson has decided to put his pro baseball career on hold for one more year of college football, which could lead to a career in the NFL.  While many assumed Wilson would choose to step in and lead the defending national champions, he decided on Madison and the Big 10.  Here's why he did:

Wilson has one final year of eligibility and one can reasonably assume he would want to lead a championship contender.  This year Wisconsin is, Auburn isn't.  Simple enough.

With all the trouble in Columbus, Ohio, Wisconsin has stepped to the forefront of the Big 10.  A repeat of last year's 11-1 record could be in the future for the Badgers, or maybe an undefeated season.  The Badgers get Nebraska and Penn State at home, but do have road games at Michigan State and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks, as well as a trip to Illinois in late November.  Even if the Badgers do slip up once or even twice, a BCS bowl is certainly in the picture.

Along with the prospects of a great season, Wilson also chose a pro-style offense in Wisconsin.  This will prepare him for a career in the NFL.  While Gus Malzahn is quite the innovator on offense, the infamous Cam Newton/John Gruden dialogue added fuel to the fire that his offense is "gimmicky."  Remember Newton not being able to name and diagram a play they ran at Auburn?  What's "36"?  

Let's face it, Auburn isn't winning a championship of any sort this season.  If Wilson had chosen Auburn it would increase their chances, but they don't have the experience needed to win this season.  As a matter of fact, they only have SIX returning starters, lowest in all of Division I-A (I refuse to call it FBS.)

Wisconsin is a much better place for Russell to leave a legacy.  Anything short of a national title would leave Wilson in Cam Newton's shadow, but when has Wisconsin ever had a quarterback of his caliber athletically?  Try never.  If he can lead the Badgers to the promised land, his legacy in Madison is cemented forever.

Bottom Line:  Like anyone with one last chance, Russell Wilson just wants the best chance to win.  It's not at Auburn.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wolf, Rockies, or... Badger?

I am going to play for the red and white this year...

It is rare for an ACC quarterback to make national headlines, but with the public bored with baseball, golf, tennis and everything else, fans love football news. People need college football and while Russell Wilson is not a household name, any football news will do right about now. Russell Wilson will be attending Wisconsin University and will undoubtedly quarterback for the Badgers this season.
Except for ACC fans or die hard sports fans, Wilson may not be a superstar name YET, but this is a really interesting story. Add in sport fans, who are desperate for some football and this is a story that even ESPN( is giving some real face time to.
Wilson could have a huge impact not just in the Big 10, but on the national scene as well. Many experts are picking the Badgers to win the Big 10, which would allow Wilson to display his skills on a Rose Bowl stage. There are even some who believe that Wisconsin has a chance to play for the National Championship. Russell has only one year of eligibility left, but if the experts are right about Wisconsin this year, it could be a marriage made in heaven for the Badgers and Wilson.
This feels like a good match for both parties. It seems a little like when Cam Newton went to Auburn. Auburn had talent, especially on defense, but they needed a playmaker. Wisconsin has a very talented team, with a great offensive line and running backs, but they need a playmaker too, at the quarterback position. Wilson maybe the man for the job. If Wilson puts up the statistics he did at NC State for a National Champion contender, it might spell Heisman. Wilson is an athletic quarterback who can throw the ball and the Badgers are a running team, so like Newton he should be able to pick up on the playbook pretty quickly. Wilson also seems to be mature and intelligent, so the transition from Wolf to Badger could be seamless. Wilson and the Badgers can set their sites high because if this relationship works, nothing is out of their reach this season.
Wisconsin could really benefit from the addition of Wilson, but how will State deal with the loss of Russell? NC State will most likely lose 2 or 3 more games because of Wilson's absence. So, if State will suffer because of Wilson's departure, then why did NC State's Coach Tom O'Brien not allow Wilson to return to the team this year. It seems to be for two main reasons. First, O'Brien seemed to be tired of Wilson flirting with baseball(Wilson's baseball rights are owned by the Colorado Rockies) and not giving himself fully to NC State football. The second reason is Mike Glennon. Other than State fans, few people may remember this name, but Mike is the brother of former Virginia Tech quarterback, Sean Glennon. Mike was also a five star recruit coming out of high school. Glennon is a 6-6, 225 pound pocket passer with a rumored cannon for an arm. Glennon might be a stable future presence for the Pack at the quarterback position, but Wilson was a guarantee. Wilson threw for over 3,500 yards and 28 TDs and rushed for another 9 TDs. State will suffer from this loss at least in the beginning season, but O'Brien must be banking on having a full time quarterback for the next two years being better than having a part time star for one more.
No matter what happens to these two teams and quarterbacks, this story is bound to really heat up, as this season goes along. Both red and white teams will be compared to each other all year and the quarterbacks as well. If Wilson can pull off a Cam Newton and make a championship and Heisman run, it will be real interesting to see how the State fans react. Most likely O'Brien could take real hot criticism from all sides if Russell has a big season and State has a 6-6 or 7-5 season(State was 9-4 last season). Well, let the comparisons begin. The Pack and Badgers will be linked all year. Let's see who made the right choice, good chance only one team wins in the end.

Do The Braves Need To Trade For Another Big Bat?

Should the Braves trade for a guy like Matt Kemp?

If you keep up with the Atlanta Braves, you know by now that the offense has been very streaky all season, and hasn't been hitting well as of late.  Whenever a team is in a playoff race, as the Braves are and should continue to be, people always want to add pieces to bolster a run for the World Series.  The idea of adding a right handed bat to the lineup, presumably a guy like Hunter Pence or Matt Kemp, does excite me.  However, at what cost does it become counterproductive to the progress of the organization?

Understand, to get a guy like Pence or Kemp, the cost will not be cheap.  Houston or the Dodgers will want MLB-ready players and prospects for their franchise guys.  To get one of these, the Braves would be asked to trade Craig Kimbrel or Jonny Venters or both.  Young stars like Martin Prado or Freddie Freeman would be hot commodities as well.  Also, a potential trade partner would want a top-level prospect or two, which could play in the Braves favor, as they do have tons of young starters.  Guys like Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado fit this bill.

If you were in Frank Wren's position would you do the following:
Hunter Pence for Craig Kimbrel/Martin Prado/Brandon Beachy or Venters/Kimbrel/Minor
Matt Kemp for Kimbrel/Venters/Prado or Kimbrel/Prado/Teheran

Realize, this is what these teams would be asking for their respective franchise players.  These types of players are hard to come by, and don't come cheap.  To think that the Dodgers or Astros would trade trade for only two Braves prospects is not going to happen.

If I'm Wren, there is no way I would mortgage the future of the franchise for one guy.  Remember, Prado will be coming back soon and with Jordan Schafer playing like a bona fide big leaguer, where would the extra outfielder go?  Going Prado/Schafer/Heyward with McLouth off the bench is a solid outfield, especially when Heyward gets back to full strength.  In the era of the pitcher, the Braves have the best bullpen in the majors, with young guys, no less.  There is no need to create a crowded outfield and lose two key arms in the pen.

It is possible that Wren will try to make a move to bolster the lineup, but don't expect it to be a franchise stick.  The cost is just too high.

Do you think the Braves need another bat?  If so, propose your trade in the comment section.  Don't buy the hype!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

NBA Draft Live Chat Tomorrow Night at 7:30 ET!

As we did with the NFL Draft in April, DBTH will be holding a live chat during tomorrow night's NBA Draft which begins at 7:30 ET on ESPN.  Stop by and talk draft with us.  Our NFL chat was a success and we look forward to the NBA version being great as well.  See you tomorrow night! 

Jack McKeon To The Rescue? The Marlins Are A Mess!

Can he right the Marlins' ship?

Jack McKeon has been brought in to the lead the Florida Marlins again, after the forced resignation of manager Edwin  Rodriguez.  McKeon brought the magic back in 2003, leading the Fish to their second World Series, and was the obvious choice to take over in the interim, despite being 80 years old.

I'm sure McKeon has heard the jokes about his age and ability to lead the super-young Marlins, but the problems in Florida go way beyond anything even he can fix.  The product on the field should get better, though, under his watch.

The short of it is this:  Marlins upper management stinks.  Owner Jeffrey Loria and staff may be good at trading veterans and rebuilding with prospects, but its ability to adorn themselves to the fan base is lacking.  Jeff Passan's latest article from Yahoo Sports writes a great article that lends credence to this assertion. 

During Bobby Cox's farewell tour last season, every team but one honored him for his outstanding career.  Who didn't?  You guessed it, the Marlins.  Why?  When the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of last season, Cox spoke out against the move and it hurt Loria's feelings.  By the way Mr. Loria, Braves Nation, myself included, would like to take this moment to thank you for firing Gonzalez.  He's doing a fine job now that he has some resources at his disposal (Braves are 10 games over .500 now.)  Keep in mind Loria backed shortstop Hanley Ramirez over Gonzalez when Gonzalez benched him last summer for loafing after he kicked a ball down the left field line while the other team circled the bases.

Loria also fired Joe Girardi after one season in 2006, when Girardi took issue with Loria's personnel decisions and overall management of the franchise.  Girardi has since won a World Series as manager of the New York Yankees, and is in position to win more titles there.  Not bad for a "Marlins castoff."

Not only has Loria and stepson/president Dave Samson had issues with managers, but players as well.  Recently, Loria tried to place a gag order on outfielder Logan Morrison after some of his tweets were deemed too blunt.  According to Passan's article, president Samson has been keen on threatening slumping players with a trip back to the minors if they didn't start producing.  That will make them want to play hard for you!

Amidst all this controversy, the Marlins are set to open a brand new, retractable roof stadium next season.  According to Deadspin, the Marlins brass hosed Miami-Dade commissioners into paying the majority of the cost of the stadium with taxpayer dollars, while Loria continues to line his pockets with revenue-shared dollars, MLB's version of welfare.  Bud Selig had to issue an edict a couple years back to revenue sharing recipients that said they needed to spend their monies on their teams, not pocket the checks.  It was obvious that Loria was one of the owners in the cross hairs of Selig's ire, as soon after, he signed Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez to long-term deals.

As Jack McKeon returns to Miami, the Marlins have many more problems than their 2-19 record in June.  I have little doubt that McKeon will motivate the players and will lead them to plenty of victories.  Luckily for "Trader Jack," this is most likely a one year gig.  Then, Loria and crew will christen the new park and hire "their guy" as the new manager.  I wonder how long he will last.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Official DBTH Name Gene Chizik's Book Contest! Enter Here!

I was reading an article this weekend about the FBI investigation of some Auburn boosters when I ran across an advertisement for a book co-authored by Gene Chizik named "All In: What It Takes To Be The Best."

I have a few questions about this book that need to be answered:

Why would anyone want advice from Gene Chizik?  Didn't he win four games in two years at Iowa State?

Will this book be found in the Fiction section at Barnes and Noble?

Since Auburn fans will be the only people buying this book, will it be a coloring book?

Will the cover price be $180,000?

Here's the good part for you readers:  I will be holding the first-ever contest here at DBTH, and it will be to come up with a better title for Chizik's book.  The format will be as such:

Each entry will need to be in the following format:  All In: you title here
Example:  All In:  How to Buy a National Championship

Each person may enter up to three title entries for the next two weeks, and the contest winner will be decided by DBTH writers. 

Here's the good part.  The winner will receive a free book with advice from a real coach, John Wooden.
The winner will receive a copy of Wooden's last book "The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On And Off The Court."

You can enter by commenting in this blog post, or by leaving your title in the comment box at the bottom of the site.  Please leave your name as well, if you are not logged into an account when you enter.  Good luck and be creative!

Friday, June 17, 2011


Yep, Terrelle is just as good!
When the recent press conference, that featured Drew Rosenhaus and Terrelle Pryor started, it did not take long for Rosenhaus to make a controversial, quote worthy statement. "It took him only 15 seconds to liken Pryor to Cam Newton."
Almost automatically the TV and radio became full of people making statements about Rosenhaus' statements. It seems kind of lame and conjured up, but that is what Drew is best at, creating publicity for his clients. Like it or not, this is what he does and it works.
While everyone "important" in sports began to debate this statement, I began to wonder. So, is Drew right, simply put, YES.
Cam Newton is 6'6", 248 lbs. and runs a 4.5 40 time. Pryor is 6'6",233 lbs. and runs a 40 in 4.4 or 4.5 depending on what source you look at. They both are "winners" in college, both have big arms(Cam's motion is a little better), and both are surrounded by off the field controversy, spotlighted by the giant stages they performed on(Ohio St. and Auburn). Sounds like they are more than similar, sounds like they are twins separated at birth!
So, then why is one twin being thought by most experts to be a 4th or 5th round pick in the supplemental draft and the other was the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Can't try to color this any other way, the Panthers are stupid. Both Cam and Terrelle are projects who are not pro style quarterbacks, both have skill sets that would work better at other positions, and both will need time to develop. The difference is, the Panthers are going pay Cam about 60 million dollars over the next five years and Pryor will get maybe a million a year if he makes a team. Maybe this is crazy, but I would rather have Pryor at his price.
The Panthers never seemed to me to be the kind of team that buckled to public pressure, but this is the only explanation for the Cam Newton pick. Teams or anyone for that matter should not make a decisions because of public opinion. Everyone in the general public and press has been saying the Panthers need a real QB. So, the Panthers draft the biggest name on the board #1 to silence the critics. Not smart, this will be a crippling blow to the Panthers for a long time. At best, Cam may develop in a Vince Young type. The problem is no matter how big a star Young is in the NFL, his stats are not very good. Young is a fair starting quarterback and that is the best Panther fans can hope for in Cam. I wouldn't be surprised if Jimmy Clausen wins the job from Cam. When will NFL teams learn big time athletes don't equal big time Quarterbacks?
So, if you laughed at Drew Rosenhaus's comments the joke is on you, HE IS 100% RIGHT!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boy, Vancouver Takes Their Hockey Seriously, Especially When They Suck Again!

"I didn't set that police car on fire!  Promise!"

The videos below depict the scene from Vancouver after the hometown Canucks were walloped 4-0 by the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final:

I've heard of fans partying too hard in the streets after championship victories, but not all-out angry riots by cities in defeat.

Little did I remember, this is not the first time this has happened in Vancouver.  This video shows the riots that occurred after the 1994 Final where the Canucks lost to the New York Rangers:

According to the Vancouver Police, almost 150 people were injured, and luckily no one was killed.  You can see more photos from the riot HERE!

I still am having a hard time comprehending the idiocy of Vancouver fans after watching the news reports and photo galleries.  The level of stupidity displayed by Canucks supporters is appalling, not only to the average sports fan, but even Canucks players.  Henrik Sedin referred to it as "terrible," and that's being kind.  This is on the same level as the hooliganism of European soccer fans.  Unbelievable.

And just think, Joe Sports Fan thinks we take college football way too seriously in the South.  Atlanta sports fans have a bad reputation for being apathetic (we're not apathetic, we just don't waste money on losers) but we never torched the city after the Braves lost the World Series or Falcons lost the Super Bowl! 

I leave you with this analogy:

Vancouver Hockey Fan is to Hometown as General William Sherman is to Georgia on the March to the Sea

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why I "Root On" Lebron To Fail

This video above is why so many people want to see him and the Heat fail.  It's also embodies the reasons why the average sports fan can't stand LeBron James.

This calls for an open letter.

Dear LeBron,
Come on, Queen James, we know you just lost the NBA Finals for the second time, but did you really have to insult the entire NBA fan base? 

Yes, I will go about my same life today, and I will be much happier than you are today, as you bask in your failure once again.  You signed with Miami to virtually guarantee yourself to be the favorite to win the NBA for the next five to seven years.  Year 1:  Epic Fail.  You put yourself in a position where you have to win the championship or be a failure.  Don't throw insults at the rest of us because you're angry you couldn't get the job done.

Yes, I'm actually happy for you that you will be able to do whatever you want to do as well.  Since you make tens of millions of dollars each year, you are afforded many more opportunities than us peons who actually, sadly, pay your salary.

At the end of the day, there is one thing you and I have in common LeBron:  We each have ZERO NBA championship rings!  See, we're not so different after all.

Not Your Fan

As LeBron continues to not-really-surprise us all with his arrogant attitude, he make the target on his back that much larger.  Now that he has been called out by every sports media outlet under the sun, he is trying to "clarify", umm backtrack, his statements.  You can read about that HERE.

What is your take on LeBron James?  Is he a king or a princess in your book?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Destination Achieved: Omaha, Nebraska

For Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, California, Texas and South Carolina, a season's worth of blood, sweat and tears has all come down to a trip to Omaha and TD Ameritrade Park and a chance to play for the College World Series Championship.  The Gamecocks are the defending champions, but 7 other teams are vying to knock them off their throne.  You can find the CWS schedule with TV listings HERE.

I did get 7 of 8 teams correct in my College World Series Preview back a couple weeks ago.  The only one I missed was California, as they defeated underdog Dallas Baptist in the Super Regional that was played in Santa Clara, because the Bears don't have lights at their stadium! 

This weekend's Super Regional action provided some great drama, especially the ending of the UC Irvine/Virginia game 3:

I thought the Cavaliers were gone after they made the first two outs in the bottom of the 9th, but they made a rally for the ages.

I'm sure many college baseball fans were surprised to see Texas A&M go to Tallahassee and beat Florida State, but I wasn't one bit surprised.  As storied as Mike Martin's career has been, he still hasn't won a national championship.  That's amazing when you consider the amount of quality players he's had over his 30+ years!  I'm starting to think he could coach until he turns 100 and not win a title, just like Jack Leggett at Clemson and Danny Hall at Georgia Tech. 

Why do these great ACC program underachieve every year?  Did you know the ACC hasn't won a national championship since Wake Forest did it back in the 1950's?  Amazing.

Florida and Virginia are the two best teams in the tournament, and Florida has the deepest staff in the country.  They can also score enough runs to win even if the pitching lets down.  That will be the downfall of Texas, they are just too offensively challenged to win the whole deal. 

Watch out for Vanderbilt as well.  They have a deep staff and split the season series with Florida.  If Sonny Gray and Grayson Garvin get them through the first two, they will be in a great spot to advance to the championship series.

Don't count out California either.  They are playing with house money, as their program was due to be cut after this season, but a fund-raising effort has helped save the program.  They have all the confidence rolling in to Omaha, much like Fresno State in 2008. 

I will stick to my original prediction of a Florida over Virginia in 3 games for the title.  The Gators depth will help them through, even if they do slip up early and fall into the loser's bracket early on.  

Who is your choice to win this year's College World Series?   

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sometimes it's Just that Simple...

Come on guys, make some shots!
This has been a very weird NBA finals. Neither Dallas or Miami has played well.
After game one, almost the entire media (which means the guys from ESPN) were talking about how great Miami's defense was at putting the claps on the Mavericks' high powered offense. All the ESPN talking heads were analyzing what happened to the Mavs and trying to breakdown why Miami was so effective but, sometimes we as fans, can figure out why a team lost and the other won, better than the high paid analysts can. It is actually quite simple. Dallas missed shots, and that's all there is to it. The bench has missed shots all series and that is the real story. Dallas could be up 3-1 if their not so, turbo charged bench played like we all expected it to. Both Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson in game four discussed, how Dallas is getting wide open shots and just can't knock them down. So that doesn't make a great story but it is the truth of it. Dallas' points per game have declined dramatically, and if the bench was reaching its normal average, so would the team as whole.
There is no reason to discuss this series anymore than the media already has. ESPN's coverage is torture enough, so to be fair, I will say just a few things about Miami. Miami has a lot of problems that have been well discussed by everyone. The Heat could have easily won the series already, and still may in the end. Wade and James are the best kids on the court and when the two best guys get together they are hard to beat. The problem is James and Wade are the same kid and that makes it hard for them to both be at their best at the same time. The Heat will most likely get a true big man during the off season and then the championships may just pile up for the foreseeable future. But for now they have problems that are allowing Dallas to outsmart and play them.
To the Heat's credit, putting LeBron on Jason Terry was a great idea, and it has disrupted the flow of Dallas' offense, but Terry had a big game four and if he has two more big game games it may spell trouble for the Heat. Still, if the Heat play with heart and hustle, I don't know if the Mavs can win with just Dirk knocking down shots. Well, no matter who wins the Heat doesn't seem to be getting the star treatment, and this great for the fans. We just might get a thriller of a game seven and no matter how flawed both teams are, as basketball fans, that's all you can ask for.

Texas Rangers Draft Johnathan Taylor In The 33rd Round!

In the 33rd round, the Texas Rangers select...

Johnathan Taylor, OF, University of Georgia!
As many readers know, I am a baseball fanatic, to a fault.  I was tracking the MLB Draft online today and in the 33rd round, I did a double take.  I had been watching to see which local high school players and Diamond Dawgs players had been taken when I saw JT's name pop up.  It made my day, to say the least.

For the Rangers to draft JT is a remarkable, and has to be a huge lift to his spirits, as he fights hard to overcome paralysis.  The Rangers have immediately become my 2nd favorite team behind the Braves.  What a classy organization!

You can read the full ESPN article complete with Texas Rangers and David Perno quotes HERE!

Congratulations to JT and the Texas Rangers!  I'm off to buy myself a Rangers hat.

If You Let Me Play, I Promise I'll Come Back And Serve My Suspension!

Check out my free ride!

So Terrelle Pryor is not coming back to Ohio State for his senior season?  Did anyone really think he would return?  I sure didn't. 

According to this ESPN Report, Pryor banked thousands on selling his autographed merchandise while at Ohio State.  I think in the back of his mind, he knew all along there was no way he'd make it to the beginning of the season.

Terrelle Pryor is the poster child for everything that is wrong with college athletics.  At a distance, Pryor has come across as an arrogant, entitled athlete who seemed to believe he was above rules or regulation.  He was coddled and his childish behavior was enabled by Jim Tressel, and ended up being Exhibit A in the case of the Sweater Vest's dismissal.  This was never more apparent than when he showed up for Tressel's last team meeting in a brand new sports car with a dealer tag.  That's a bad choice, one that reeks of open defiance and blatant disregard.  It turns out the suspicions of most of us were correct.

Kirk Herbstreit spoke negatively about Pryor early in his college career, reporting on his divisiveness and general disregard for authority.  In a nutshell, Herbstreit said that by the time Pryor left Columbus there would be some skeletons in the Buckeyes' closet that would be brought to light.  His observations from inside the program matched my suspicions.  Herbstreit, a former Buckeye quarterback, was so highly criticized for his now-confirmed opinion, that he was blackballed by the majority of Buckeye Nation and was labeled a traitor who had to be jealous because Pryor was a much better quarterback than he was.  The backlash was so bad that Herbie had to move his family out of Columbus down to Nashville, Tennessee. 

In the end, it was Pryor who wasn't the true Buckeye.  He used his position and the school for his own profit and never once considered the repercussions of his despicable actions. 

It truly is sad that he is gone and will not face any punishment for his actions.  Instead his teammates, especially those who grew up dreaming of playing for the Buckeyes, will be left to shoulder the punishment that seems to be mounting as the NCAA hearing nears in August.  The fans will suffer as well, as the Buckeyes appear poised for a postseason ban and a heavy reduction in scholarships, at least. 

While Pryor skates scot-free toward the NFL Supplemental Draft and a career in pro football (maybe even the UFL first), Buckeye Nation will be left holding his baggage of indiscretion, awaiting the anvil the NCAA will be dropping on the program in August. 

I have to ask this:  Does Buckeye Nation deserve what they get for standing behind this clown for this long?  What do you think?

EXTRA:  The NCAA will probably use him as an example in their new compliance videos, much like they did the Miami Hurricanes when they cracked down on unsportsmanlike behavior.  (AWESOME CANES CELEBRATION VIDEO HERE)

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Most Unlikely Champions Ever!

Once, maybe.  Twice, unbelievable!

The Division-II Augusta State Jaguars golf team won their second straight NCAA Division-I national championship yesterday, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 3-2 in the championship match.  Tournament results can be found HERE.  (SIDE NOTE:  I love the new match play format in the Final 8 to determine the national champion.) 

In the sports world, this is not getting nearly enough hype, and it should be getting much more.  Among the recent golf national champions:  Georgia, Oklahoma State, Stanford, UCLA, Texas A&M and AUGUSTA STATE.  One of these things is not like the others...

Understand, golf is a sport still mainly dominated by the larger universities, and most all Division-I colleges have golf programs.  This championship isn't like water polo, where hardly any universities play.  And to think, a DIVISION-II school won!  Twice!

Upsets are what make sports great, and ASU's title last year was considered unique and highly unlikely, but not impossible.  However, asking the underdog to win two years in a row?  Not a chance.  Augusta State was the 7th seed in the tournament this year, and not a prohibitive favorite to bring home the trophy again.  That's what makes this story so unbelievable.   The second one is much harder to win than the first, and for the little D-II school to do it twice in a row?  Crazy. 

This is the most unlikely championship story in college sports I've ever seen:  A Division-II team winning a Division-I championship.  In football, this would be like Valdosta State beating Georgia, Florida State and Auburn on the way to winning the BCS National Championship, or a Columbus State navigating the Field of 68 in March to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  

Congratulations to Coach Josh Gregory and the Jaguar golf team on a remarkable achievement!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

NCAA Road to Omaha Baseball Tournament Predictions

The NEW Home of the College World Series

For the first time in over 50 years, the road to the College World Series will not end at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.  The brand new TD Ameritrade Park in downtown will be the new home of the CWS.  If you ever had the opportunity to visit Rosenblatt for the CWS, as I have, it will be sorely missed and will probably always be my favorite ballpark. 

However, we do have 64 teams vying for the right to be the first national champion in the new park.  To see the entire bracket, and follow the tournament in real-time, CLICK HERE!

Here are my projections for how this year's tournament will play out:

Regional Winners
Charlottesville: Virginia
Los Angeles:  UC Irvine

Houston:  Rice
Fort Worth:  TCU

Columbia:  South Carolina
Clemson:  Clemson

Tallahassee:  Florida State
College Station:  Texas A&M

Chapel Hill:  North Carolina
Fullerton:  Stanford

Nashville:  Vanderbilt
Corvallis:  Oregon State

Gainesville:  Florida
Atlanta:  Mississippi State

Austin:  Texas
Tempe:  Arkansas

Going to Omaha
Virginia over UC Irvine
Rice over TCU
South Carolina over Clemson
Texas A&M over Florida State
North Carolina over Stanford
Vanderbilt over Oregon State
Florida over Mississippi State
Texas over Arkansas

CWS Finals
Florida over Virginia in 3 games

Who do you think will win this year's national championship?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thrashers Are Gone And Gary Bettman Has Blood On His Hands

You can help Phoenix but not Atlanta?

It was a sad day yesterday as the Atlanta Thrashers finally died their slow death as the team was sold to True North Sports and will be moved to Winnipeg for this 2011-2012 season.  Much has been said, even by me, about the mismanagement of the team by the Atlanta Spirit Group and they do shoulder the majority of the blame for the Thrashers' failure.  You can read more opinion about ASG here, in this great column by ESPN's Scott Burnside.  You can also see the tearful apology (sarcasm alert!) from ASG member Michael Gearon here.

While we all know the troubles of ASG, it seems as though commissioner Gary Bettman has some questions to answer as well.  He jumped to the aid of the Phoenix Coyotes (HIS NHL even took over operations of the team) when they were let down by poor ownership.  You see, it was Phoenix, not Atlanta that has been rumored to be headed to Winnipeg for a while, but Bettman fought tooth and nail to keep the Coyotes in Arizona despite having the league have to run the team.

The reason Bettman fought hard to save Phoenix was the fact that the local government voted to use tax-payer money ($25 million per year!) to help subsidize the losses the Coyotes are bleeding each year.  In Arizona, Bettman gets to keep control of the Phoenix market AND not have to take a bath financially.  He also doesn't have to say that his project (moving to Phoenix from Winnipeg) failed.  It's as close to a win-win as he could have hoped.

In Atlanta, however, he had an eager seller, ASG.  There was going to be no local subsidy to keep the team, so Bettman could also win here by giving True North and Winnipeg (a truly hockey-rabid area) their team back, without having to admit the Arizona failure. 

However, here's the REAL REASON why the Thrashers moved:  the franchise relocation fee.  You see, as part of the Thrashers negotiated sale is a $60 million dollar relocation fee that ASG makes payable to who?  You guessed it, Gary Bettman and the NHL. 

With this plan, how could Bettman fail?  He gets to keep and run the Coyotes with free money from the Glendale, Arizona government and gets $60 million more to sacrifice the Thrashers and cover any potential losses for the Coyotes, until he can find a buyer in Phoenix on which he can make even more money!  I guess money means more than anything to Bettman.

In the end, it's a sad time for Thrashers fans, as we are left out in the cold for the incompetence of ASG and the greed of Gary Bettman.  That's twice now that the Atlanta market has failed in the NHL, and we seemed destined to never get another chance.  I guess it's Gwinnett Gladiators for me!