Monday, October 23, 2006

Monday A.M. Quickie:
NFL Gets Its Own Scandal

Shawne Merriman: Steroids?! There isn't a bigger hit the NFL can take than to have its reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year – and one of the top defensive players in the league, period – test positive for steroids. (And he's supposed to be a spry youngster! What do you think the more veteran players have to do to stay in peak condition?)

NFL Week 7 Wrap (Appetizer Edition)
Player of the Week: Matt Bryant
Who's the NFL's new No. 2: Pats
Game of the Year: ATL 41, PIT 38
Hunh?!?! KC, HOU, MIN pull upsets
Dennis Green: NOW they can axe him

CFB Hangover
1. Rutgers
is for real.
2. Clemson cracks my Top 10.
3. ND is more lucky than good.
4. Troy Smith, 2006 Heisman winner.
5. Northwestern: What the... GACK!

BCS Update: Michigan jumped over USC into the coveted No. 2 spot, but all that does is ramp up the ante even further for the Ohio St-Michigan game, which will be the equivalent of a national-title semifinal.

And you can see the controversy over "Who's No. 2?" looming huge, particularly if/when USC loses. Would the final No. 2 be the UM-OSU loser? The one-loss SEC champ? One-loss Texas? One-loss USC? (Or unbeaten Big East champ?)

New MLB Labor Deal: I'd argue that a labor war is worse for baseball than a steroid epidemic; at least with the 'roids, the players are on the field. It's good to see the owners and players understand that.

Michael Schumacher retires: If we were to expand a "Who's the Greatest Athlete" debate beyond our own nationalistic myopia, it's very possible that Schumacher would grade out as the top athlete of the last decade. He, Tiger and Federer comprise a Mount Rushmore of a Top 3.

Chicago Marathon Weirdness: I'm not sure you'll see a stranger ending to a marathon than Chicago yesterday, when winner Robert Cheruiyot slipped at the finish line and conked his head.

Don't F with Bassy Telfair: I know I'm a little late on this, but I had to mention this development where Sebastian Telfair ordered rapper Fabolous shot after a few of Fabo's boys stole Bassy's pricey chain. Let's presume this is true -- because, I mean, it would be such a let-down if it wasn't -- how in the world would David Stern punish that?

NBA Preseason: Don't be surprised when we find out that Nazr Mohammed (16 pts, 12 reb) is an UPGRADE from Ben Wallace... I'm not sure Kings coach Eric Musselman should be fired, but you can certainly question his judgment and/or fitness to be an NBA head coach if he's spending the weekend before the season starts getting tanked up... Sorry to see Jay/Jason Williams' comeback attempt cut short. Is it too late to make him the poster guy of the D-League? Give him an exemption, Commish!

Nelson De La Rosa dead at 38: If the 2004 Red Sox had a circus-like atmosphere, it was certainly in part because of Pedro Martinez' little locker-room friend, De La Rosa, who died yesterday.

Given his near-magical presence – the Red Sox haven't won a title since he left the clubhouse – I'd argue that there's a "Curse of De La Rosa" in effect. (Now, where's my Shaughnessy-style book deal?)

-- D.S.


Big D said...

Guess the Merriman episode drops the Chargers down the 'ol Power Rankings... eh? Morning Radio guys here had a good question this morning: between the transgressions of Merriman, Steve Foley, and Terrance Kiel, which franchise is in worse shape PR wise - SD or Cincy?

I'm a Pats fan - don't bump them up too high yet. They've only really played one team (Denver), and they got manhandled by them. If anything, I'd put Denver #2, even with an unreliable defense. They bring to mind mages of the 2000 Ravens - mediocre (at best) offense, dominant defense (2 TDs all year?)

Can't wait for OSU-UM... Can they just skip the rest of the year to get ready for that one?

Gary said...

Dan, the San Diego defensive class of 2005 is looking pretty steroid plagued...didn't Luis Castillo (from Northwestern) test positive for roids in the combine before the draft?

That is not a good trend to have in any lockerroom

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

1.)Merriman AND Odell Thurman...the 2 best defensive rookies last year busted for steroids/drugs. Not good for the NFL.

2.)God really does love Notre Dame...which makes me sick. Did anyone hear that announcer say that Quinn may have just won the Heisman? HA! If Ohio State wins out, it is going to be one of the biggest Heisman beatdowns.

3.)In the scheme of things...yes I will be called a homer...but the Bengals win yesterday was the biggest of the day considering the schedule that they have remaining. Last 3 games? AT Inday on Monday, AT Denver a short Sunday later, and Pitts at home. Can anyone name 3 harder games? I didn't think so.

4.) Mohammed may be an upgrade, but the Heat will still be the beast of the east...until next year when the Bulls get the Knicks draft pick.

5.) Ohio State/Michigan might be one of the greatest hyped games ever. Dan, you have access to this...but has there ever been a later 1 vs. 2 matchup? Not counting bowl game obviously. When was ND/FSU awhile back. Thank God I live in Ohio...I'll be there for the festivities!

Steve said...

Maybe with all the illegal drugs they should just move a bit south and be the Tijuana Chargers.

Anonymous said...

As a Bills fan, yesterday's game pissed me off because the Pats could have won by 40. They're just too conservative. Cheering for the Pats is like cheering for the house in blackjack: just one joyless, inevitable victory after another. The Bills were embarrassing in the first quarter. Guh.

The real upset was Oakland winning a game. Yeesh. Time to fire Dennis Green. If that isn't grounds for immediate dismissal, I don't know what is.

And I've got to tell you, falling off that Lienart bandwagon hurts. But I'd still take him over JP.

Unknown said...

Anyone think Charlie Batch has convinced half the owners in the league that he can start for them?

Good thing he enjoys being the backup in Pittsburgh. (Less pressure...and nature of Big Ben's play, he knows he'll get chances)

FreKy J said...

Dan, you failed to mention anywhere about "Superbowl McNabb" rearing his ugly head, heaving his guts out between plays in the 4th quarter of a close game they lose.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bryan said...

Well, at least the bashers are using the same moronic logic every year now...

Because Texas's victory (where the guy DROPPED a fumble after a first down) wasn't lucky at all, but driving the field in 40 seconds (I guess Brett Farve/Dan Marino/John Elway were the luckiest guys in the world) and breaking a tackle is all luck.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Merriman - Maybe this is one of the reasons I don't care about the NFL. I've been trying to understand all year.

"Matt Bryant is my hero." (from Bucs local radio guys, I heard it on ESPNRadio)

CFB Hangover - Is this really all you've got for CFB? C'mon, this is the only good thing about Mondays...
Rutgers is for real. Go Knights! This is half-because I hate West Virginia's obscenely inflated ranking all year, but I'm picking Rutgers in that matchup. Still an upset, but now I believe.
Clemson is still in the ACC. Can you say, 'Blaahhhhh?'
ND is way more lucky than good, but if they can keep UM's SOS high, and beat USC with a little of that luck of the Irish, I'll take it (although, there's nobody left to give them loss #2, which I wish they would pick up - I'd love a Big Ten vs. UF or UM-OSU rematch title game).
Troy Smith, Heisman Watch inertia beneficiary. Great, spreading it out against Indiana. Major Heisman cred. Let's see how he plays against a defense on Nov. 18th (even one with a sometimes-suspect secondary).
Northwestern - at least you're on [the wrong] end of a record that should stick around for a while, anyway. Now, between ND's 20-or-30-odd-point comeback against MSU, and MSU's 35-point comeback against NU, could one assume that Northwestern could have Notre Dame in a 50-point hole, and Notre Dame could come back and win? (Jokes. But I thought I'd rub it in.)

BCS Update/UM-OSU - The Game this year is more than a semifinal. It is the National Championship, and I don't think it's unrealistic to say that it might be played twice. (And if that series was split, how much would you pay to see the rubber match?) With the BCS Top Three at ~0.945, and the next team, which will probably lose before the end of the season (but would raise their BCS composite bigtime by winning out), sitting around, I think, 0.755, there's a lot of ground for any other 1-loss team to cover, especially since the human polls have no business dropping either UM or OSU very far for a loss, particularly if it's a close one. Oh, by the way, I'm assuming USC will lose one, probably two, before the season ends.

Does anyone have tickets to this? Do you want to support a poor, crazed college student trying to attend the game of his life without paying 20 times face value for a ticket? ...please?

NBA Preseason - Ben was indeed running out of steam last year; maybe that's why he hates Flip so much, maybe he's just getting too old for this. In any case, Chicago is gonna prove to be even worse for him, while Detroit and Nazr may be the best things in the world for each other. Ben should've asked his old buddy Larry Brown - it's a bad idea to treat the Pistons like a bitch. As much as I loved the guys until they turned, it's hard to decide whether it's hilarious or sad that these things happen to them when they leave. I think Larry's situation was just hilarious.
One more good thing came out of this - Detroit had so many now-useless "Ben Wallace fro" wigs, we had no problem repurposing them into ridiculous Magglio Ordonez hair.

Alright, I'll do some homework now...

The heroin sheik said...

I think SD might have a bigger problem than Cincy. Look at the incidents and I think that in the grand scheme of things SD troubles are worse. Foley is a moron mostly for driving like a drunk rich asshole but no one should ever drive drunk. Although I don't really care what kiel did. What are the odds that he got that medication in TJ? Those are really bad crimes in the eyes of the law. Whereas the bengals are mostly just a bunch of guy who like to get in fights get drunk and do drugsI like to do all those things on certains levels. However chris henry is the biggest irregular pap smear of them all. That guy should just be put down like a rabid dog for his own good. He isn't just a tool but the entire shed. Cmon getting underage girls drunk most likely so he can put it in their butts.

Someone said somewhere online that matt bryant's leg was like ton jones' cock and that was just cool to me for some weird reason.

Are you psyched Dan? It is georgia week, one long party that everyone should attend once. Gators by 35

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

John...I would rather light myself on fire than give you a ticket. Ann Arbor is a filthy whore.

That being's going to be a GREAT game. I'm excited.

A little trash talk never hurts! :)

Unknown said...

I have a friend with TWO spare tickets to the The Game. He might only charge you 19 times face value.

Christian Thoma said...

The more people hype up the OSU-Michigan battle, the more I think one is going to falter beforehand.

Brian in Oxford said...

A race-car driver as a top athlete? Hey Dan, I'm really good at jigsaw puzzles, I want in that pantheon, too.

(what? there's no hand-eye coordination handling pieces and matching up the picture?)

Christian Thoma said...

@brian in oxford:

So how many jigsaw puzzle competitions have you won, then?

Unknown said...

F1 racing is a bit more daunting than the perpetual left hand turn of NASCAR.

I'm disappointed in Telfair. You can't have any street cred if you have to call other people in to handle your business.

Steve said...

Brian in Oxford,

Are jigsaw puzzles the new poker?

john (east lansing, mi) said...

roboninja -


FreKy J said...

The new week of CFB Ladder Rankings is up. For anyone who is interested, the rankings are HERE.

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Good man, freky - I was just about to ask.

Cody - Good Saturday word, pretty good ranking; I'll argue with one point, though - Iowa was ranked. 23rd, in the BCS.
Michigan didn't squeak by with a last-minute drive or anything, but Iowa gave us a game. Fortunately, the D was tough when it needed to be, and Mike Hart got where he needed to. Super Mario, please come back...

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Just an advertisement for the Ladder Rankings, I guess; Freky's rankings have Rutgers at 3, and Louisville at 4, both above #7 USC (they had a bye week) and #9 WVa, and I love it. I guess this may go along with what I've been screaming for weeks about the Mountaineers. Has Rutgers really played a schedule that much tougher than theirs? Why are they in the Top 5 again? Anyone?

Oh, and I didn't say this earlier, mea culpa, but Rutgers has some defense. Wins [Big East] championships, friends.

I'm a little confused about a 1-loss ACC team in the top ten, but I think it's very interesting how the rest of the one-lossers get sorted out between 10 and 20. Cal at 5 seems high until they beat USC, but they must've been beating better teams than I thought, these last few weeks (and by a bunch).

I know chris, the illegitimate son of Bill Maher, is going to come on here later and bash the ladder, but that's probably just because it puts the Wolverines a little bit closer to his Buckeyes than the human polls, which have no reason to stop awarding OSU #1 votes after thrashing Indiana (as it should be).

(You know I'm just kidding, dear - we gotta get ramped up for November sometime, though.)

john (east lansing, mi) said...

Manningham -

I'm disgustingly busy these days (uhh... nevermind the 8 posts I've made this morning, nor the numerous UM/Det sporting events I've attended during the last few weeks...). I can let you know where my tickets are, though - we can kick it before kickoff of the Northwestern game, if you really want to.

And no, I'm not Pritpaul. Does he really have green leather pants? Do you think that guy even knows what a football looks like?

And if you're just now living at Bursley, I doubt you know me. But who's to know?

Christian Thoma said...

"Now, where's my Shaughnessy-style book deal?"

Shaughnessy was a popular and effective columnist with a major newspaper before he got his book don't expect the publishers to be calling anytime soon.

ToddTheJackass said...

No, Dan Shaugnessy is not popular and effective. I read the Globe everyday and don't understand at all how he's there. He's way too sensationalistic (is that a word?), and always comes across as being a know it all and writes in an I'm better than you tone that drives me insane. His articles are almost always fluff pieces that are meant to inspire an emotion, mostly which is 'man this guy is an ass'.

Why can't he be more like Bob Ryan, who is sensationalistic and comes off as a know it all, but I like him anyway for some reason?

Brian in Oxford said...

That's because when you see them on TV, Ryan is passionate and exciteable, while Shaughnessy's personality live just sucks beyond belief.

Whose "curly-haired boyfriend" did Carl Everett refer to him as, anyway?

Christian Thoma said...

@todd ching:

I said 'was'. I was referring back in the day before all the curse stuff went to his head.

Christian Thoma said...

Like it or not, a one-loss Texas, Auburn or Florida would move ahead of the loser in the polls, and also the BCS.

Not necessarily. If it's a one-loss Texas versus a one-loss Ohio State, some voters would put OSU ahead of Texas. Maybe not enough, but still possible.

Of course a 1-loss Florida or Auburn would move past, but there's no guarantee that the SEC Champ will only have 1 loss.

So the best way for the BCS Bowl to be a rematch is:
--Neither Michigan or Ohio State lose beforehand
--Michigan beats Ohio State
--No one (or maybe Rutgers) goes Undefeated in the Big East
--The Winner of the SEC Championship Game has 2 losses

Christian Thoma said...

Oh, and USC has to lose. Obviously.

ToddTheJackass said...


Oh okay, 'was' does clarify things a bit.

Christian Thoma said...

chrth, you've left out a possible one loss Tennessee team, a possible one loss Clemson team, a possible one loss Notre Dame team, a possible one loss Cal team, etc.

If Tennessee has one loss but doesn't play in the SEC Championship Game it won't be in the BCS bowl. A one loss Clemson team will not be ranked above a one loss Michigan or Ohio State team. Ditto Notre Dame.

Cal though is a possibility if it beats USC.

Christian Thoma said...

One other thing to point out: the only way a rematch happens is if the score is close. If OSU wins by 30, there will not be a rematch because the pollsters will make sure of it by dropping Michigan down several spots. If it's a 3-point game, however ...

Ingrid and Jim said...

USC might not lose. Suddenly Oregon (lost), Cal (almost lost to UW), and ND (almost lost to UCLA) look beatable.

Not that I care anymore. GO RUTGERS! BIG EAST CHAMPS!

john (east lansing, mi) said...

I don't think a rematch is possible if Michigan loses, even by 1 on a 62-yard field goal, or any situation. The key is that the voters need to have a reason to keep UM and OSU real high, and I think a UM loss would just allow them to say, "See, that's why we've had them below OSU all along," whereas an OSU loss would make them say, "Well, we can't be that wrong... Michigan is really good, but OSU is also good, as we have been indicating."

I know it's unlikely, but it would be great.

USC will lose.

Christian Thoma said...

Why NOT Tennessee if they don't play in Atlanta?

I think the Computers would kill them in the scenario you described. Florida is diminished by its two losses, especially to an underwhelming FSU team.

Christian Thoma said...

Again, it depends on how close it is.

In an ideal world, you can't drop OSU below Texas, and you can't drop UM below Notre Dame. However, in reality, both would likely happen. Except in the computers.

Computers are 33% now. That could be huge.

FreKy J said...

That's really the nature of the ladder. Teams that play weak opponents don't hold up, while teams that play strong opponents pass them by.

Also teams that have a bye week generally get passed by the teams directly beneath them, but that all balances out after everyone has their bye.

Clemson being high up is really easy to show. They downed Florida State before the nose dive, downed an undefeated Wake Forest, and downed a very strong Georgia Tech team. Combine that with their only loss coming to BC. Plus they've defeated 5 teams by 21 or more points, which has resulted in 75 bonus points throughout the season. Clemson might actually be #1 on this list if they hadn't lost that game to BC.

Also I'm working on completely rewriting the code on the ladder rankings and keep the data in XML, rather than just importing from a text file. The rewrite will allow me to add things such as keeping track of wins and losses, as well as being able to add in-conference mini-ladders.