Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday 12/29 A.M. Quickie:
Last Weekday of 2006!

Thoughts on the final weekday of 2006 as I ponder the idea of Foremanning up some delicious cloned beef steaks this weekend...

Largest. Contract. Ever. (At least for a pitcher.) Barry Zito gets 7Y/$126M from the... Giants?!

A prediction for 2007: Behind a "Barry and Barry!" marketing campaign, Zito wins the 2007 NL Cy Young Award.

And what is the residual impact on the Mets, who were so hot for Zito? Another prediction for 2007: The Mets trade for Dontrelle Willis.

Bob Knight falls short of becoming all-time winningest coach. I haven't really talked about this much. Is he the greatest college coach of all time? (Or, maybe, given the John Wooden Factor, of the ESPN Era?) Is he better than Coach K? Does it impact your decision to factor in that K learned from Knight?

Prediction for 2007: Knight sets the all-time college hoops wins record. (Big leap, I know. Hey, they don't ALL have to be bold.)

Grizzlies fire coach Mike Fratello. After their woeful start, is this really a surprise? But who would have guessed that Fratello would have fewer than half as many wins as... Isiah Thomas?

Prediction for 2007: Memphis wins the NBA Draft Lottery and drafts Greg Oden after realizing they are in an amazing position to tank the rest of the season to get him.

Rutgers beats Kansas State in Texas Bowl: First-ever bowl win for Rutgers, who became the Cinderella story of the 2006 college football season. (And the No. 2-ranked Cindy of the year behind George Mason. No, the Steelers don't count as a "Cinderella," even though they were the worst-seeded playoff team to win the Super Bowl in NFL history.)

Prediction for 2007: Rutgers will match this season's 10 regular-season wins and Ray Rice (170 yards in the Texas Bowl) will finish Top 3 in Heisman voting. But they will NOT win the Big East's BCS bid, which will go to West Virginia.

(More Bowls: Cal stomps Texas A&M, Oklahoma State edges Alabama.)

College Football: Gone Bowlin'. Big lineup today:

Music City: Was it so long ago that Clemson was a hot pick to be the ACC's BCS team? Yes, it was. (Clemson over Kentucky)

Sun Bowl: Was it so long ago that Missouri was a hot pick to be the Big 12's BCS team? Yes, it was. (Missouri over Oregon State)

Liberty: Was it so long ago that Steve Spurrier nearly knocked Florida out of BCS title contention at the Swamp? Yes, it was. (S. Carolina over Houston)

Insight: It's your last chance in 2006 to watch Mike Leach's innovative Red Raiders offense. Yarrrr! (Texas Tech over Minnesota)

Champs Sports: Maryland is a poor man's Wake Forest. What does THAT say? (Maryland over Purdue)

(Weekend bowl – and NFL – preview coming later today.)

NBA Last Night: Mavs eke out a last-second win over the Suns. (Prediction for 2007: That's flip-flopped in the Western Conference Finals.) Nuggets beat the Sonics behind AI's 44. Wow. (Prediction for 2007: Overheated playoff expectations for Denver fizzle when they lose in the West semis.)

NFL: How about that rare "double-doubleheader" on Sunday when CBS and Fox get to both show doubleheaders? Should be enough to keep everyone satisfied. More on the NFL's final weekend later.

Prediction for 2007: Needless to say, I expect a let-down weekend, with the Jets/Broncos and Giants claiming the remaining Wild Card spots and the only fun being that the Giants make the Wild Card as a .500 team.

College Hoops Parity Watch: USC beats No. 14 Washington. Wow, between that and USC's win over Wichita State, the Trojans are off to an impressive start. And this is WITHOUT OJ Mayo. Meanwhile, Clemson moved to 13-0. Also: No. 1 UCLA survived a slow-down game with underrated Washington State.

Prediction for 2007: Both USC and Clemson lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. UCLA loses in the Elite Eight.

What a 2006 for Durham DA Mike Nifong: He goes from the most high-profile criminal investigation of the year (Duke LAX) to being charged with ethics violations by the North Caronlina state bar. (Prediction for 2007: By next year's end, we'll be going... "Who?")

Must-Read: My friends Jason and Carl at the WSJ's Daily Fix have a list of their Top 10 sports columns of 2006. I don't see any Daily Quickie editions on there, but I won't hold it against them. Here's the link.

More coming later today, including NFL and CFB bowl posts, plus predictions for 2007, my annual Hot/Not List and more!

-- D.S.


RevScottDeMangeMD said...

It's a great day with the College Bowl Shanoff Pick 'Em. We can now see what everyone picked now. It's interesting to see people's confidence points. Do you use the big points first or save them? Question to it me or are 4 of the BCS games super easy? Louisville, Oklahoma, LSU, and OSU all winning. I used my last all my big confidence points on those games.

What did everyone else do? Use the points early or save them?

Christian Thoma said...

So Rutgers improves by 3 games, finishes 3rd in the Big East ... and they're the top College Football Cinderella?

Stop drinking the Kool-Aid, Shanoff. Wake Forest improved by 7 wins, won the ACC, and all that after losing their starting QB and the top 2 RBs to injury. Not to mention they're the smallest school in the Big 6 conferences, and not the only game in state like Rutgers.

I'm glad Mandel wrote about this, because I couldn't figure out how Schiano could win any awards over Grobe:
What people don't realize is that a lot of the time, the finalists or semifinalists for these awards are determined ridiculously early. For instance, I received my ballot for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year in early November. Grobe was not one of the 10 finalists, so I picked Schiano (who wound up winning). My vote for AP coach of the year, on the other hand, was not due until the last day of the season, and there was no list to choose from. Not surprisingly, Grobe won that one.

Anonymous said...

There's a decent argument to be made that Rutgers faced stiffer competition in the Big East. But I don't think either is a bad choice.

Here's my Greatest College Basketball Coaches list:
1. Wooden
2. K
3. Dean Smith
4. Knight (I hate this guy, but he IS this good)

I'm ignoring everyone (except Wooden) from the prESPN era (like I just googled and I know nothing about Rupp and Haskins) and I know little of the West and South (Sutton).

Anyway from ESPN era coaches, I would add:
John Thompson
Carril (I love the Princeton offense)
Tarkanian's towel

marcomarco said...

Behind a "Barry and Barry!" marketing campaign, Zito wins the 2007 NL Cy Young Award.

Come on dude. Your instant history schtick is getting beyond silly. It seems that you're just throwing handfuls of crap on the wall, hoping one pile will stick.

Then you'll be able to say "I told you so"

Your unborn NBA MVP in 2029, Lebron James Jr.! Yay Dan!

marcomarco said...

From the thread yesterday, Kevin had a thoughtful analysis:

Another thing to think about - here's a lefty (meaning he'll face a lot of right-handed batters) who relies on his breaking ball and can't miss bats. That means a lot of action for the left fielder, right? And who do the Giants have in left field? The corpse of Barry Bonds.

Kevin said...

Dan, maybe for 2007 you can make a resolution to stop posting while high. Barry Zito for Cy Young? That's even dumber than your Matsuzaka for Cy in the AL. At least we don't know if Dice will be good. Everybody who follows baseball knows that Zito's an average #2 starter, and he has some injury worries heading into next year.

amr said...

Not to defend DS too much,
But a solid #2 AL starter sounds like a NL CY to me. Consider Arroyo, and just about every other pitcher who switched leagues last year.

Dan Shanoff said...

Re: My Zito-for-07-NL-Cy pick... hmm: As you look over the dregs that comprised the 2006 NL Cy contenders list, it's not so crazy. NL Cy voters will be dying to give it to him if he's even near the conversation. Carpenter? Old news. Pedro? Won't survive the injuries. Webb? Please. I don't see how it's crazy to put Zito at the top of the list.

BLUE said...

Maybe i'm a homer, but I don't see Oklahoma as a slam dunk winner of their BCS game. I'll give you LSU, and Louisville, but the other 3 games should be fairly good games.

Anonymous said...

Memphis won't get Oden. The team with the worst record almost never gets the #1 pick. Gotta love the lottery.

Dan Shanoff said...

Aha! Zambrano! I obviously picked the wrong "Z" pitcher. I must be confused...

marcomarco said...

Have we forgotten that Jason "Ironman" Schmidt is playing in the best pitchers park in baseball? Not exactly a shabby defense behind him either. Or Offense supporting him.

marcomarco said...

Lets put it this way:

If you're drafting a 2007 team in an NL only fantasy league, is Zito your #1 pitcher?

I didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

If Sheets stays healthy (HUGE if) and if the Brew Crew give him any sort of offense, he will be in the mix. I am a jaded Brewer fan too, but I remain hopeful each season.

Ftrain said...

Did anyone see that ridiculous ally oops with a minute to go in the Suns-Mavs game?

Now I pose this query to the masses: Why wasn't this the marquree game on Christmas day?

Yes I understand Kobe,Wade & Shaq and the NBA's marketing of stars but c'mon!
They couldn't schedule last night's contest for the 25th.
That game was awesome. Why not showcase the leagues two most entertaining teams? Someone at the marketing dept needs a headcheck.

Anonymous said...

And the 15th anniversary of the last winning record. Go Brewers!

Kevin said...

NL pitchers who will be better than Zito by the end of the year:

Oswalt, Hou
Carpenter, STL
Webb, Ari
Willis, FLA
Zambrano, Chc
Schmidt, LA
M.Cain, SF
J.Johnson, FLA
A.Sanchez, FLA

Pitchers who will be about as good as Zito:

C.Hamels, PHI (would be above except for injury concerns)
C.Billingsley, LA
A.Wainwright, STL
C.Young, SD
S.Olsen, FLA
Lowe, LA
Penny, LA
B.Myers, PHI
Smoltz, ATL
Peavy, SD (unless he figures out how to pitch again, then he goes into the first group)

Kevin said...

Forgot to mention Ben Sheets - he's in the second group if he's healthy.

Steve said...

I can tell you one thing, when I'm watching a bowl game I never ever ever think to myself, gee I wonder how the funeral of Gerald Ford is going I sure wish they'd cut away to that. I don't give a rat's ass about the funeral of a guy who was president before I was even born. Show the damn game!