Friday, December 30, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
- If BYU didn't have fans right next door and gobbling up 30,-000 + tickets can you imagine Vegas Bowl officials ever inviting the Cougars for this game? "come on down BYU fans and party like there is no tomorrow--what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" Somehow I don't know that slogan would go down well with the non-drinking, non-gambling (for the most part) Cougar fans, especially if they had to come cross country. But lucky for Vegas, Utah is next door and Mormons have to eat and sleep and they still like to shop like normal folks god bless them.
So in the game that I know you all watched, Cal beat BYU 35-28. I wasn't surprised that Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Cougars (195 yards). The defense has been the Achilles heel of BYU all season, especially their secondary (can't tackle-can't cover). Still BYU made a game of it and that's encouraging. I'm not a die-hard BYU fan (after all I root for rival Utah as well) so I wasn't having brain aneurysms when they began to have losing seasons after dominating their conference for decades (although Gary Crowton could not get fired fast enough for me). ---But I do root for them and would like to see both Utah and BYU compete for the conference title every year.
Recruiting and the Role Sex, Booze and Religion Play
I'm realistic about BYU's place in the national picture. In addition to playing in a mid-major conference BYU has one huge disadvantage going for them. They'll never be able to consitently recruit great players. They are a Mormon school with an honor code that kicks players off the team if they are caught drinking, smoking, or having pre-marital sex. That's right-- no nookie. Think about that. What good football team could recruit top players if booze and chicks were out of the picture? I'm getting the giggles just thinking about it. It's amazing BYU is able to field a team. Fans for teams like Stanford and Notre Dame complain about how tough their academic standards are and how that hurts recruiting. Try telling 18 year old kids who haven't been virgins since they were 14 that they will need to be celibate for the next 4 years. Now that's a handicap. I'm not saying it's a terrible thing to ask kids or God forbid, even football players to live with these standards. I'm just saying it's unrealistic if you want a top 25 football team year in and year out.
BYU will always be able to get a healthy dose of Mormon recruits and some other good non-Mormon players that are either willing to adhere to the standards for a few years or perhaps already have those standards (umm..its possible) --but not in the quantity that will make them a dominant team every year. And lets be honest here, there are players currently on the team that aren't following the honor code and just haven't gotten caught. (also I've always wondered how it is these guys do get caught--its not like they are feeling so guilty about it that they go into the administration to confess --"uh yeah, I uh got drunk out of my mind the other night and slept with the Biology professor's daughter..thats an honor code violation right?" --uh uh-- it's either some girl that confesses to her Mormon bishop and he tells the school or it's the girl's friends that spill the beans. Probably because it was just a one nighter for the guy and they're pissed that he would use her and drop her--yeah, that would be shocking for football players wouldn't it?)
Also, as long as were on the topic of disadvantages, when BYU used to run roughshod over their conference every year, teams like Wyoming would complain that they had an unfair advantage because of all the Mormon kids that would serve two year missions for the church (at 19 years of age many Mormon guys volunteer to do this) and supposedly come back more mature physically and mentally. --what?! --That's insane. Yeah that really makes sense-- go spend two years away from football and then come back and suddenly your better than you were before. --Somebody shoot me now. ---Now that the team has sucked for a few years you don't hear that coming out of rival coaches mouths as much. Not only that but think about the disruption and management nightmare it is year in and year out to figure out which guys are going and who's coming back from the mission and how to plug them in. Don't get me started on this. For a really good explanation of just how ludicrous this supposed advantage is check out this article.
BYU Not Assured of Top Mormon Recruits or Top Coaches
Anyway, back to recruiting problems---if BYU isn't as successful as they were in the 80's and 90's then even some top Mormon recruits like UCLA's backup QB sophomore Ben Olson (who was the # 1 rated recruit in the Nation in 2002--played his freshman year at BYU--went on a mission for two years--saw that BYU still sucked -and transferred)will go someplace where they think they will get more exposure and a better shot at being drafted. It's a pickle for coaches that's for sure. Which is why having the best coach in the conference is a must. If you can't get the best players then you have to have someone who will squeeze every ounce of talent out of what you have. Here too though BYU is at a disadvantage. They will only hire a Mormon coach. I'm not sure if this is policy or just practice because a Mormon guy understands the culture and will accept the unique challenges that are part of coaching at the school. Also they underpay their coaches compared to the other high profile football programs in the conference. So the guy has got to be loyal. We'll see how that pans out if current coach Bronco Mendenhall somehow molds the team into a winner and other teams come calling.
-wow I've really gotten long winded with this thing so I guess I'll shut up. I'm not trying to make excuses for BYU's mediocrity....wait a second, yes I am...but they are legitimate excuses I think. In additon to the disadvantages associated with missionaries, keeping the very top Mormon recruits and getting a quality coach from a very limited coaching pool, we come back to the fact that they are missing out on a lot of recruits because of their honor code. Bottom line: Sex sells and BYU isn't buying (and neither are the recruits). You know what? I'm all right with that. I'm not whining about these disadvanatages (they are of BYU's own making), I'm just pointing out that they are there. I'll still root for them to do well but the school is what it is. I get my fix of football without the distraction of morals every week in the NFL.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Damon-"Yo, George, hows it hanging?"
Steinbrenner-"how's what hanging?"
Damon-"thats cool dude, thanks for the cash. Hey how about we forget about this whole haircut, anti-beard vibe you got going on here?"
Steinbrenner-"Mr. Damon I'll see you on the field this spring."
Damon - "Wait man, ...hey I just wanted to say I think your an idiot"
Steinbrenner- "Excuse me?" What the hell did you just say?"
Damon-" it's cool, I'm an idiot too. It's a compliment dude."
(Steinbrenner walks out the door with a face as purple as A-Rods lips.)
Say this for the Yankees, they're not boring. I just can't figure out their clubhouse though. Could you find a better collection of guys that have less in common with each other?
Monday, December 19, 2005
I'm still under the gun at work to complete a huge project before the end of the year. My time for writing in this blog is sparse so again just a few thoughts this week.
--So congratulations to Lovie Smith for doing what many of us have been calling for: --give Grossman a shot when he gets healthy. Anybody who watched their game knows that when Grossman was in and there was a 3rd and long, there was actually a shot for a 1st down. It's the weirdest thing in the world for a 1st place team's fans to go ballistic when the backup QB comes into the game. If that doesn't sum up how bad the Bear's passing offense has been this season, I don't know what does. Grossman will throw more interceptions than Orton (in large part because they may actully throw it more) and it may cost them a game at some point. But how is that any worse than their offense costing them a game by not scoring? Grossman is not the second coming of Manning or Brady but he gives the Bear's offense something it hasn't had all season. Hope
--Vick looked about as uncofortable in the cold weather as I've ever seen from a QB. Horrible game.
--If it sets up as predicted the Jags will play the Patriots in the first round of the Playoffs. To me this is the easiest game of the year to call. Brady is the best QB in the NFL. Yes even bettter than Manning. It pains me to state this because I can't stand him, his coach or his team but If I've got to have clutch quality play from a quarterback in a crucial game, I'm taking Brady over Manning any day of the week. I've been saying it for awhile now but I think the Pats are still the most dangerous team standing in the Colt's way to the SuperBowl (especially since I don't think the Chargers will even be around for the postseason) . I'm still picking the Colts but I'm not sure it's out of conviction or just because I can't stand the thought of the Patriots back in the SuperBowl.
--Kudos to another Utah State guy (my Aggies are few and far between in this league so I've got to plug them when I can) , tight end Chris Cooley from the Redskins who scored 3 TDs yesterday. He's had a nice season for Washington.
--Speaking of Utah State guys, the Rams second leading receiver, Kevin Curtis had better hope Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't play another game this season for St. Louis. After week 11 Curtis had 48 catches for 678 yards. Since then, the rookie Fitzpatrick has taken over at QB and Curtis has had only 6 catches in 4 games for a total of 82 yards. 56 of those yards were in that crazy Houston game where he took a short receiver screen pass and won the game for the Rams in OT. What a waste of an offensive weapon.
--teams that surprised me this week: the Redskins, Texans, and the Jets (they lost but played tough against a decent Dolphin team)
--teams that didn't surprise me this week: the Chargers, Bucs, and Falcons.
--The Seahawks are winning and are the top ranked team in the NFC right now, but isn't it ridiculous that if the Chargers (who most likely won't even make the playoffs in the AFC) were in the NFC they would be without a doubt the odds on favorite for the SuperBowl. That doesn't say a whole lot about the conference.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
--and the way he wants to play the game apparently is to cheapshot guys after they're down and twist their legs in an attempt to injure them. Nice. --I actually think Peterson is a great linebacker. A bit demented as that quote suggests but who doesn't like a little splash of crazy in their middle linebacker? ---Probably the Colts
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
1. Michael Vick may not ever live up to his hype but since I'm not a Falcon fan or Falcon hater I don't care. I still tivo his games.
2. Warrick Dunn is the other reason I watch Falcon games. That and to see if I can catch a glimpse of Jim Mora going back on his promise to abstain from the smelling salts. "just a quickie guys, just a quickie!...ahhhhhhhhh ...damn thats good."
3. Did Pat Riley pull Stan Van Gundy into a dark room with a single lampshade hanging over the table and say, "It's your choice on what you want to say at the press conference but know this...your done." Or did Stan just know that conversation was coming and he decided to save himself the sight of Riley dripping hair grease as he hovered over him. Either way, he was pushed out. I'm not saying Riley shouldn't be the coach. His pedigree is longer and better than Van Gundy's. Lets just be honest about why he's taking over. I haven't seen this much political manipulation in the NBA since....well....since Larry Brown.
4. Ron Artest is certifiably insane. Lets take a quick look at the past year and a half of his life through his eyes.
-Last year your team was being touted as a championship contender and you are seen as one of the best all-around (defense, offense, rebounding) players in the game. It's only logical then to mention to the Pacers and the world that even though the season has just started you are going to need a month off. Burnout is real baby, and you would be better off the second half of the season if you could take some quality time now to rest, relax and you know...promote a rap album. Cause your business ...no not basketball business....your real business...."Tru Warier" records (check it out you won't regret) really needs you.
-the next step in the how to win friends and influence teamates playbook is to go apeshit on some Detroit kid in the stands who just soiled himself as you prepare to take his head off (never mind that it's not even the guy who threw the cup at you.....speaking of which, do you know how dangerous those cups are? don't get me started on this...the paper cuts those things can cause are legit). The bonus part is you get some time off now and a good buddy (O'Neal) to hang with. The Pacer's season is screwed but "Tru Warier" records is off the hook.
-Now you are playing again and the Pacers are seen again as a legitmate contender. Your ability to excell in so many aspects of the game evokes faint comparisons to your boss Larry Legend. People tell you that you need to lay low this year, just play hard and your image can be rebuilt. Image? You're Ron Artest and Tru Warier records is the "shit", so what's to rebuild? Too much negativity in Pacerville baby. A change of scenery and people who understand a "tru warier's" needs is what the doctor ordered.
Ron Artest is not a bad guy. He's just freaking crazy. NBA players, they're fannnntastic!
Monday, December 12, 2005
Vikings are supposedly on a hot streak. yippee. All I know is that my Rams are hard to watch on offense now (and that hurts, it really does). Harvard dude is mobile but like many rookies, completely lost. Does Mike Martz laugh or cry about this? If you're crying Mike, could you pass the tissue box?
It's good San Diego has the weather they do in January because the coming winter months are going to suck for them. Talk about a winter of regret.
-I've said it before but Chris Chambers is a very good WR. Frerotte made some of the best throws I've ever seen him make in the second half of this game. San Diego had to be thinking, "wait, who the hell is this?...we didn't gameplan this."
This game proved what most of us already knew. The Bears need to improve on offense to go deep into the playoffs. If their defense doesn't at least score once for them and the opposing team scores at at least 3 touchdowns, then Chicago is toast. I think Grossman needs a chance when he's healthy.
-The Steelers are one team that the Bears can't out-tough. Talk about old school. Bettis and Ward's TDs were some serious smashmouth. Not my favorite kind of game but effective considering who they were playing and the weather conditions. The snow was some nice icing for their cake.
I've taken my shots at Bledsoe this year and I really thought even with less than average KC defense, he would still find a way to lose the game for Dallas. What can I say Drew, I'm sorry. 300+ yards, 3 TDs. Impressive. hell of a game. I'll never doubt you again. Oh who am I kidding. Of course I will.
Other than some turnovers, I thought the Jaguars played a pretty solid game. Problem is, those turnovers really are killers and you need more than solid to beat the Colts. Marvin Harrison is one of the best receivers I've seen in the past ten years. Sure he's had Payton, but I'm convinced he would be great anywhere.
The Pats scare the hell out of me. I really would like to believe they will make an early exit in the playoffs. My gut tells me otherwise and that they have another date with Indy. Anything's possible with Brady in January. Is Brady undefeated in cold weather games? Anybody got a stat on this?
Did you see the shanked kick at the end? Saying it was shanked is actually being too kind. I'm joining the conspiracy theorists on this one. Somebody had to have walked up to the Texan's kicker before he went out for the snap and said "Think Reggie Bush. Do you want to keep your nuts?"
I'm just sad Curtis Martin is out for the year. One of my favorite running backs over the years.
I know the Raven defense can be tough but I'm guessing not too many have the Broncos rated #2 in the league anymore.
After playing Seattle tough last time, San Fran looked like a 6th grader at the high school prom yesterday.
Hasselbeck was great and Alexander continues his possible run at an MVP. I look forward to the Colts game. If Indy plays their starters for the whole game it will give us an idea of how good Seattle is against the AFC elite. If the Seahawks play them close or beat them then we might have the makings of an interesting SuperBowl.
I thought it was a mistake when I read that Palmer was under 100 yards passing for the game. Not exactly a statement game considering the scrappy Browns aren't at their level but it had to be a good sign for the Bengals that if Palmer is a little off, Rudi Johnson can step it up.
I have no idea how to read this division. The Bucs are certainly looking like the favorite now. They've beaten Atlanta and Carolina in the past month now and are much tougher than anyone expected. I'm not a Panther fan so I would rather see the Bucs or Falcons win out.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
The Cream of the Cream
He's got Kenny Loggins blasting in his car while he's lip syncing (not a pretty sight) and he’s incredibly annoying at the line of scrimmage. He also is damn good at the quarterback position.
still played well enough this year to keep a decimated defensive team atop their division (yes the other teams in his division really suck but without Brady the Pats might be fighting the Jets for the rights to Reggie Bush next year)
Starring at Quarterback...
It’s amazing how he has vaulted into this group in the span of a year and half. It’s early in his career to be considered this good but the Bengal offense is the 2nd best in the NFL. Palmer is a big reason why. Next year against a tougher schedule will tell us if he stays in this group.
The last few games of this year (and playoffs if they make it) should reveal more of what Brees is made of but I like what I’ve seen for two years now.
He was terrible this year, but he was really banged up. If he’s healthy he belongs here.
Some people are so polarized on this guy. They either think he’s the best thing since disposable diapers or that he’s as overrated as Anna Kournikova. It’s probably a little bit of both. He’s shown enough to be a legitimate starter and the fact that he is the main weapon that teams game plan for means he has star status in my book. He doesn't like to hear it but his passing does need to improve. When the running isn't working he needs to be able to win games with his arm. That's iffy right now. Even so, he scares defenses. Not every QB can make that claim.
Solid starter but…
He is dependent on protection because he has zero mobility. When he has time he can pick apart a defense. When he doesn’t, he’s on the injured list.
Needs to avoid injury bug and do a better job in the red-zone.
When the Steelers are ahead he’s been good. When they’re behind, he has struggled. Needs to avoid inury...and dramatizing them.
his last couple of games have me seeing Jake the Snake again. In case you didn’t know, the “Snake” sucked. He needs a good running game and to play with the lead. Still his play this year puts him in this group.
He's been pretty good for a few years now but I don't see him getting any better than he's been.
has shown me enough with Tampa to make me believe that with the right system and protection he can be an effective starter. You might say that is true with any QB but there have been plenty of guys that have shown us that’s not reality. Tommy Maddox is exhibit A. You still have to have the skills and instincts to play well even with a good team around you.
Throws too many stupid interceptions for me to label him a star QB yet. Still, he has played some great games and deserves to start.
I think he has played well enough to cement starter status. His completion percentage and decision making still needs much improvement.
The last couple of years I was expecting him to have a breakout season. It hasn’t happened and I don’t think its going to now. It might not be too long before he drops out of this group. If the Seahawks are going anywhere in the playoffs he’ll have to play better.
he had two standout seasons prior to this year so even though he started off terrible before the injury, I’m not ready to write him off yet. I still believe he’s a starter for the Vikes and even with out Moss he could be great again. We’ll see.
Of course he's a Hall of famer but his team is bad and so are some of his decisions.
Could his career have been a Hall of Fame one had he not been injured seemingly every game?
Has proved the last few years that he can win games. I still think he is better now in the relief role.
is playing better this year than last but that he’s still not what he was a few years back with the Jags.
can throw for 300 yards a game. Can also throw 4 picks and have 2 fumbles in the same game. Yeah he fit the Ram system perfectly for a couple of years. But starting the year he had the thumb injury with the Rams, he’s been a different guy.
He’s has a solid year so why isn’t he in my “solid starter” group? I have some immobile and poor decision making QB’s in that group it’s true, but some of his interceptions or fumbles come at the worst possible time for the Cowboys. I see implosion written all over the next few games for him.
With the defense he’s had it’s not like he’s trying to come back against impossible odds each game.
many say that he needs a better line before we judge him too harshly. Sorry, 45 Tds and 51 Ints in 4 years is enough for me.
he has enough good games to tempt you into thinking he could be a decent starter someday. Someday isn’t coming.
see David Carr
had a playboy model girlfriend get involved in a catfight with his other ex-girlfriend. That's the only highlight of his worth talking about in the past few years. He’s never again going to be the guy that made the Pro-Bowl with the 49ers.
See Kerry Collins
good backup. Nothing more.
Had a chance to impress this season. Didn't happen.
-Gus Frerotte, Anthony Wright, & Jay Fiedler/Dolphins/Ravens/Jets
Just re-read their names. It'll come to you.
Too early to judge..but it's ugly so far
Too early to judge...but some signs of life
Agree or disagree with these? Have others I didn't mention?
Sunday, December 04, 2005
- As a Ram fan I think I know how Ravens fans feel in a bizzaro world kind of way. One part of their team has always sucked, sucks now, and for the foreseeable future will continue to suck. No, I'm not talking about Brian Billick, but yes, he could qualify on a couple of those points. It's their offense that is similar in futility to the Ram's defense. Ram defense is a complete oxymoron. They don't play any. Redskins running backs have petitioned the NFL for 8 games against the Rams next year. No word on a league response but Portis is planning to dress as Mike Martz for his next alternative personality interview.
- The Bears defense is their best offense. These guys are starting to get a lot of hype like the Ravens and the Bucs did a few years back. You know what, I think they deserve it. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if they won a Super Bowl with a score of 17-3 and the defense scored 14 of their points. I'm officially on their defense bandwagon. Is it ok if I don't sit next to Kyle Orton?
-I was frankly expecting a little more out of Garrard for the Jaguars today. His numbers don't look that great but I guess he must have picked it up in the second half with a couple of key touchdowns. I guess if your going to stink it up, it's better to get it out of the way early (that's why my office always smells better in the afternoon). It's a good sign that he could make plays when they needed to pull ahead. Also, Jones isn't a bad fill in for Fred Taylor, but when Fred is healthy and running well he's a weapon that makes the Jags a different offense.
- and congrats to the Browns for finally getting a running back (Droughns) to 1,000 yards. Who do they send that ball to, Art Modell?
-The Bucs got a needed win especially with Carolina beating Atlanta. Just like I thought, the Saints always play Tampa Bay tough. I cannot figure this division out though. It wouldn't surprise me if Tampa Bay, Carolina, or Atlanta won or lost a majority of their remaining games. It would seem that Carolina has the inside track. I'm not sold on Delhomme yet but I think if Foster can stay healthy he's a better back than people know.
-Biggest surprise for me the past few weeks? It would have to be the Chiefs. I honestly thought they would tank in the second half of the season. Good for them. It should make the AFC a little more exciting down the stretch. - Some Chief fan wrote a comment to me today that I thought was hilarious. He felt that I hadn't given enough respect to Tony Gonzalez and wrote, "you have proven that you were a highschool kicker and that is about all you should write about. Please do us all a favor and just write facts-not trash talk players in the NFL that are proven pro-bowler caliber year in and year out."
It was anonymous so I'm not entirely sure it wasn't Tony, but seeing how he had a game today, I'm going to assume it's somebody with a crush on Tony who gets a little butt hurt when somebody isn't singing the praises of the guy that he's got posters of on every wall in his room. It's funny first because I couldn't trash talk my way out of a high school cheerleader catfight, and second because of course blogs should be strictly about facts. That's some good reading. I stand chastened. Also, I indeed was a high school kicker but sadly my stories would tend to be embellished (60 yarders etc.) so again, facts here would get lost in the shuffle. By the way, I think Tony Gonzalez is a pretty good tight end. Dammit.... facts, not opinions. I'll work on it.
-Once you get past the fact that the Dolphins won with a guy named Sage at QB then you can appreciate the way they won this game. That was a clutch throw and catch with not a lot of ticks left on the clock. I've always liked Chris Chambers, he makes some amazing catches.
-Nice first 15 minutes for JP Losman and Lee Evans. They need to remember there are 3 of those quarter thingys left.
-Maybe we were wrong about that boat cruise scandal for the Vikings. Maybe they just needed a little lovin to get them going. Maybe Tice said, "two boats?, listen you bunch of numbnuts, if your going to do something then do it right! Now go out and apologize for the cameras and make sure you sign up for one of the 8 yachts I've got chartered for thursday night." Reports are that Mariucchi tried the same thing before he got canned but wires got crossed and "exotic dancers" was interpreted as toxic dangers. He ended up with a ship full of Matt Millen's jockey shorts.