Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday 12/28 A.M. Quickie:
Knicks, Zito, NFL D POY, Tiger, More!

How's this for an unexpected end-of-year event: The Knicks are 13-18 (and one game out of first place in the Atlantic Division) after beating Detroit, the best team in the East, in 3 OT last night.

Isiah Thomas for NBA Coach of the Year? It's not as crazy as it sounds. As of right now, he'd get my vote, simply for defying the common expectations that the Knicks would be a lot closer to 31 losses than 13 wins right now.

(For the record, Isiah is three games ahead of Larry Brown's pace after 31 games last season. And, remember: When Brown's team reached 13 wins a year ago, they lost 16 of their next 17 and 20 of 22. Watch the Knicks' next stretch of 22 games before the All-Star Break.)

But, really, who would have thought Isiah would have them playing with this level of success, particularly winning 4 of 5 since the Brawl?

More NBA: Fantasy Line of the Night: Gerald Wallace, who had 40 points, 14 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 blocks in a loss to the Wizards (who got 39 from the sizzling Gilbert Arenas). It was the type of game that Wallace fans have been expecting all year.

MLB ROIDS: How quickly before someone in the government leaks the names of the 100 MLB players who tested positive for steroids in 2003? (And who wants to bet that Barry Bonds' name isn't on the list?)

MLB HOT STOVE: Rangers give Zito an ultimatum: He has until the weekend to accept their six-year offer. Between Boras' advice and the Rangers trading for Brandon McCarthy, I think Zito will hold out for the Yankees/Mets/Mariners offer.

NFL AWARDS: Jason Taylor smacks Shawne Merriman! Dolphins DE says Chargers LB shouldn't be eligible for NFL Defensive Player of the Year because of his steroid suspension. (Silly, Jason: If it wasn't for PEDs, there wouldn't be an NFL!)

NFL CONTRACTS: What are the Bucs thinking? The team gave injured QB Chris Simms a 2-year contract extension that Simms reportedly called "starter's money." I prefer to call it "fool's gold."

CFB BOWLIN': Where was that Florida State team all year long? Maybe it's just that Bobby Bowden is the sport's biggest Bowl-Master; maybe they should re-position their schedule so every week has a "bowl" name.

Meanwhile, THIS was the UCLA team that stifled USC? Just goes to show how out of their minds the Bruins played in their ultimate rivalry game. Against FSU? By comparison, they had nothing to play for.

AP Story of the Year: Tiger's season. Seems like kind of a cop-out, given that the AP gave him Male Athlete of the Year and "season" isn't exactly a story. (For example: At what point in a "season" is it defined as a single story, rather than a lot of small stories?)

I've been going back to this well a lot, but if I had to pick a single best Story of the Year, it would be Texas' national-title win over USC. Just because it happened the first week of the year doesn't mean it should be forgotten.

Finally, any comments about ESPN.com's ranking of every state by its football power? Including high school, college and pros, they have Texas ranked No. 1. I don't have a quibble with that, but I'm pretty sure they'll get some arguments down the line.

-- D.S.

41 comments:

Perks said...

The comments about Isiah Thomas for coach of year? insane. just look at the comments you have following it- they're going down after the AS break.

Also, Story of the Year goes to Jason McElwain.

Anonymous said...

Re: FSU/UCLA

just goes to show, yet again, how meaningless these bowls are, and the need for a playoff. who frickin' cares about the emerald bowl? certainly not the ucla players.

this also shows that you cannot judge a conference by the bowl season, either. lack of motivation, nothing to play for, long layoffs, player suspensions, etc., create these "bizarro world" games that have little to do with how these teams played their seasons. FSU scoring 44? WTF?

Anonymous said...

The top 5 in the state football rankings were a given.

Glad to see my state at #6 even with the sorry state of the Falcons.

Sheldiz said...

i fully accept MD as #18... especially given that my high school didn't win a game in the 4 years i went there. :)

Eric said...

I’ll take Wisconsin at #10 overall, but how in the world is it only #10 in “Pro” ranking??? Missouri? New Jersey? GEORGIA!?! How can Georgia have a higher “Pro” ranking? How???

Steve said...

I've never seen a state vote 97% on anything on an espn poll. Congrats Louisiana on your voting for Payton as coach of the year so close to unanimously.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

Isiah Thomas can't win coach of the year for the same reason Shawn Merriman can't win defensive player of the year - dubious decision-making. Merriman took PEDs, Isiah ordered his guys to foul hard to salvage "respect" & ended up triggering the brawl.

These types of accolades should be going to guys who are doing it the RIGHT way. If the Bengals win the Super Bowl, Marvin Lewis still doesn't deserve Coach of the Year in the NFL - he did it without giving two shits about character.

At least Coach K wants you armed for life. Where's the love for Coach K, Dan? C'mon, it's the season to embrace good human beings, regardless of what team they coach. C'mon, Dan! DO IT! GIVE K SOME PROPS!

Ok, I need to lay off the caffeine....

jtlight said...

Re: FSU/UCLA

I agree wholeheartedly with the comments of dan and pootietang. No one has anything to play for with bowls. I find myself getting bored by them. This may change with the upper bowls, but the battled between 5th Pac-10 and 6th ACC? Does anyone care at all?

Imagine if there was an 16 team playoff (screw the bowls), where conference championships meant EVEN MORE than they do now, and winning and losing could mean the difference between making the playoffs and going home, and not the difference between a good bowl, and a medium bowl. Bowls are a joke, and are getting boring too.

Anonymous said...

That's why if you are a gambler you look at who was disapointed in where they went (for example Cal 2 years ago missed out on the Rose Bowl)and load up on the other team.

Anonymous said...

eric, Jersey has 2 pro teams these days with some relative success. Missouri also has 2 pro teams with quite a bit of success.

LudaKris said...

Wow Dan....you smacked both of my teams in two paragraphs (Seminoles and Bucs)...My Fantasy Football team got second this year atleast...anything bad you want to say about them?

Anonymous said...

if we had a 16 team playoff, this weekend would be the semifinals. after 2 prior weekends of intense games that mean EVERYTHING. we would all be in football heaven, no matter our rooting interest. will this ever happen?

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

I was pissed at first with the rankings then I fully read the entire piece. Pro football takes into account championships and hall of famers. I was pissed PA was #1 but then I realized they have the most HOF'ers. However...PA is nowhere near the talent level of Ohio in high school.

pcoelho said...

I have a serious issue with Shawn Merriman making the Pro Bowl because of his steroids suspension. I also have a serious problem with Rivers over Brady, and Romo making that NFC team.

Elsewhere, I think Isiah was absolutely in the right when he ordered that foul. It still is basketball - a man's game. So many complain about the NBA lacking regular season fire, well there it is for you. It is a battle out there, I for one love it.

Anonymous said...

16 team playoff sounds great but arent we forgetting something? These guys are student/athletes. Unless the schedule were to be completely revamped, the playoffs would be occuring during finals. IMO finals are much more important than a national champion. Anyways, it would render at least half of the analysts and blogs obsolete. So there, bowls create jobs and job security.

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FutureLegendVinceYoung said...

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Sheldiz said...

steve -- exceptions are made for athletes all the time, i'm sure if some sort of playoff system were ever instituted, the kids could take their finals prior to finals period.

i had the entire lacrosse team in my theology class sophomore year and they always had the chance to change tests and assignments around w/ notes from coaches or trainers.

not that i advocate it, but i don't think final exams is going to be the one hinderance to a playoff system.

Anonymous said...

And seriously, how many of these football players are in college for academics anyway? Take a look at how many graduate now and tell me that final exams are all that important to the football teams. Besides, they have playoffs everywhere else, and those students don't get paid like they do in D-1. :)

mattie said...

Wow, Isiah's a whole three games ahead of last year's scorching pace? Of course he's a Coach of the Year lock! I always said that Dolan's little thing about Isiah having one year to improve the team "or else" meant that essentially he had to get one more win than last year. I guess three games more will get him awards, accolades, a contract extension and raise, huh?

But then, if getting caught using steroids doesn't stop you from getting recognition and the like in the NFL, why shouldn't Isiah be given all sorts of rewards for his amazing success?

(I wish I could use a rolling-eyes smilie on this blog.)

And IMHO, a definition of "manhood" that includes getting your #@$ handed to you by a superior team, then waiting until the very, very last minute (literally) to take offense that said superior team hasn't appropriately accepted your publicly admitted "surrender" is a definition I can do without. If Isiah's COTY, maybe he should arrange it so that they generally play well enough to not have to "surrender" or "save face" because they're being blown out.

Jo Fer said...

Isiah coach of the year! HA

On pace for 35 FVCKING wins with BY FAR the highest payroll in the NBA and he would get coach of the year! G'head, Give him your vote Dan. You are a moron and jobless in the sportswriting world for a reason.

gerard l callan II said...

hey RevScottDeMangeMD -- how can you say OHIO and PA are not close in high school

just look here

http://www.big33.org/

if you search the results you will see that they are pretty even historically.

chipp said...

If Probowl voting finished after the season, would Garcia be in and Romo out?

Dan Mega said...

Its official- Zito signs with San Fran per MLB.com

Kevin said...

San Fransisco? What the hell? And $18 mill per year is way too much for Zito.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

All I can hope for now is that Zito demands, as part of his contract, that Barry Bonds be bound and gagged for the '07 season.

Ma4tt (the 4 is silent) said...

How is $18 mill a year too much? Compared to what the Sox paid for Dice-K, I'm thinking that Zito is a steal at that price... and I'd say Zito has a better chance of being Cy-worth this year than the Gyronator.

RevScottDeMangeMD said...

@ gerard...

I am fully aware of the Big 33. However, Ohio's top players hardly ever play in that game because it's played after they graduate. I am trying to look around the internet, but I know I have read somewhere that Ohio Division I football tournament is the hardest in the country. Yes, even better than Texas big boys. Chris Wells and Maurice Clarett were National POY. Ohio consistently has more all-americans than every state other than Cali and Texas. PA is good...but not as good as Ohio.

Eric said...

@Will - Either Jersey or New York claims the teams. Not both. One of them should be lower than Wisconsin.

How many NFL titles do KC and STL have? 2? 3? How many HOF's? Can't be as many as the Pack. Crazy that they're ahead of Wisconsin. Factor in the rabid fan base and sustained success (last year excluded) - C'mon!

Big D said...

OK, let's put it out there:

Which mammoth contract is going to look worse in its final season:

Barry Zito - 7yr/$126M with SF
Soriano - 8yr/$136M with CHC
Drew - 4yr/$70M with BOS (assuming it ever gets signed)
Meche - 5yr/$55M with KC
Ramirez - 5yr/$75M with CHC
Matthews - 5yr/$50M with LAA
Marquis - 3yr/$21M with CHC
Lee - 6yr/$100M with HOU
Schmidt - 3yr/$47M with LAD
Suppan - 4yr/$42M with MIL
Pierre - 5yr/$44M with CHC
Matsuzaka - 6yr/$52M with BOS
Lilly - 4yr/$40M with CHC
Lugo - 4yr/$36M with BOS


Way too many representatives from the Cubs on this list...

Big D said...

Along the same line...

So far this offseason, MLB players have signed contracts or accepted arbitration worth just under $1.4 BILLION Guaranteed over the lives of the contracts.

I'm in the wrong business.

WuzUpG said...

Zito agrees to $126 million, seven-year deal with Giants

Kevin said...

The Zito contract is absolutely the worst deal of the offseason. He doesn't throw even mid-90's, doesn't have a good second pitch after his curveball, and doesn't strike out anybody. Pitchers like that don't age well. I know starting pitching is hard to find, but Zito's getting the sixth-richest contract in baseball history. You can't tell me he's worth that kind of money.

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. Plus, Zito doesn't throw a lot of strikes, so he won't eat up as many innings as you'd expect for that kind of money.

A third thing: Each of Oakland's Big Three (Hudson, Mulder, Zito) starters threw a lot of innings early in their careers, and this year both Hudson and Mulder broke down. Zito's thrown 200+ IP each full year in the big leagues, and he's one year younger than the first two. Is it crazy to think the same will happen to Zito?

Three things that make this deal a little less terrible: 1)He's going to the NL, 2)He's going to a pretty big park, and 3)He won't have to be the Giants' #1 starter (Matt Cain). But they're still spending way too much money for an average #2 starter.

Lenny said...

Big D, you're an idiot. Pierre did NOT sign with the Cubs. He signed with the Dodgers. Not as many Cubs representatives as ya think. Ramirez just resigned with the Cubs. Yes, he filed for FA, but he always maintained that he had no intention of leaving. It was just easier to rework the deal. Get your facts straight dude.

Big D said...

@ lenny:

You're absolutely right. I blew the Pierre one.

I just typed "with CHC" so many times, it began to feel natural.

And Ramirez filed, so I listed him. I skipped Vernon Wells' sick numbers because he never hit the open market.

Dan Mega said...

Regardless, the Cubs have overpaid on overrated talent. This will allow their media-fueled hype machine to bring all the sheep back in to their dump of a ballpark to sit in seats with obstructed views for $50 a ticket.

Anonymous said...

steve-

re: student athletes

1.) that's a joke
2.) football players are on campus all week long(at leat sun. thru thurs.), so i don't think there would be an interuption in finals
3.) it kills me that people like you continue to eat what the anti-playoff people feed you

bring on a d-1 playoff!!!

Anonymous said...

There's no sports-based or academics-based reason to keep the bowl system. Div II has playoffs. What more do you need to know?

Does the Zito signing mean that we're stuck with the Big Unit? Anyone know?

Generik said...

Regarding student athletes and a D1 playoff system. Does NCAA basketball take a break during semester ends when finals would be going on? How can college hoops athletes play multiple games a week on occasion and we still get the argument that the football players couldn't handle an extra couple games because of academics. Football players have it the easiest of all the college sports when you get down to it. They have to travel maybe 6 times a year for an away game and that game is almost always on Saturday. Look at the other sports and these kids are traveling alot more, during weeknights and weekends.. It is a flawed argument to say they couldn't handle it.

Brian in Oxford said...

Then simply get minor-league football out of the universities, and find people to pay these people over the table.

(yeah, I'll duck for cover, but it's a very simplistic smart-ass answer.)

chipp said...

The bowl games currently pay 64 teams to have them play one extra game with the best (highest profile) teams getting the most money. If a 16-team playoff was introduced, FSU and UCLA would get nothing this year: no extra money, no free publicity, no recruiting opportunity, etc. The major schools would be INSANE to agree to a playoff system. One year of slightly less greatness and there off TV by mid-November.

Keep the bowls. (However, why is the championship game Jan 9?!?! It was a lot better when all the games were on the first and the vote came out on the 2nd.) If you want a 16-team playoff, you need 15 bowl games to decide the winner. The other 17 bowls could take place as usual.

I'd prefer an 8-team playoff using the 7 biggest-name bowls with the big 4 (or is it 5 now?) rotating for the championship bowl on Jan 1.c