Friday, December 08, 2006
But that's neither here nor there (sort of like those freakish gold Wiz unis). Here's my question for you:
What trade makes the most sense, both to the team that will acquire AI and for the Sixers to attempt to start to rebuild in the post-AI era?
(Meanwhile, I've been advocating that the Sixers trade AI for at least three years, despite the fact that he's one of the most entertaining players in the NBA and one of the few most fans would agree is worth paying to watch. Let's hope he lands in an interesting situation.)
Look forward to reading your trade scenarios in the comments section, and have safe and enjoyable weekends.
At this point, we're talking about jockeying for playoff position, either for home-field advantage or simply to get in...
Bengals over Raiders: With five 7-5 AFC teams battling for two playoff spots, Cincy gets a gift with a near-lock for an 8th win.
Vikings over Lions: Who gives a shit? Has Matt Millen been fired yet?
Chiefs over Ravens: KC is another team in that AFC 7-5 dogfight.
Pats over Dolphins: Isn't this
Falcons over Bucs: Meanwhile, the NFC has four 6-6 teams battling for two Wild Card spots (with another three teams at 5-7 who actually still believe they have a shot).
Eagles over Redskins: Is Jeff Garcia really going to lead this team to the playoffs? That's hilariously amazing.
Panthers over Giants: Just fire Tom Coughlin and the retiring lame-duck GM Ernie Accorsi now and give the Giants fans SOME form of victory.
Colts over Jags: Tough luck for Jax (one of the AFC's 7-5 5.) to draw the Colts, particularly with Indy coming off a rare loss.
Titans over Texans: Forget Reggie Bush; where's the outcry that
Seahawks over Cards:
49ers over Packers: I keep saying "Now THAT is the final insult to Brett Favre's staggeringly embarrassing career finish." And yet he keeps finding new ways.
Jets over Bills: Simply being in playoff contention in Week 14 puts Eric Mangini in position as Coach of the Year.
Chargers over Broncos: The AFC Game of the Week. The Broncos have the urgency of being one of those 7-5 teams, but the Chargers are playing for AFC HFA.
Saints over Cowboys: NFC Game of the Week. With a win,
Bears over Rams: The only Monday Night drama is whether we'll have a Brian Griese sighting. (Over/under on the number of camera shots of Griese: 15.)
Comments Question: What are your picks for the most intriguing plotlines and X-factors of the weekend's games?
Comments Question: What are your picks for the most intriguing plotlines and X-factors of the weekend's games?
Barry Bonds to stay with the Giants: I hate to be the one to break it to Giants fans who might be disgruntled or annoyed that the team re-signed Barry Bonds (1Y/$16M), but he's the only reason the rest of the country might follow the team next season.
In fact, he makes the Giants THE must-see attraction on the road, not to mention will continue to pack the place at home. His assault on Hank Aaron's career home run record – which he'll presumably top some time next season – is the biggest storyline of the 2007 MLB season.
From a business perspective, the Giants would be insane not to take advantage of it, even if most of the media coverage and fan attention – particularly on the road – will be negative. No such thing as bad publicity, of course. Again, it's the only thing keeping that franchise on the national sports fans' radar.
Meanwhile, with their consistent support of Bonds (and, don't lie, you'd root for him too if he was on YOUR team) through both the MVP seasons and the subsequent PED scandals, Giants fans have earned the right to get the chance to watch THEIR guy break the record. For everyone involved, it was the only deal that made sense.
Otherwise, the MLB Winter Meetings were a huge dud. Oh, there were a few laughable contracts (Gil "55 Mil" Meche), but where was the Manny trade? Where was the Zito free-for-all? MLB has a new split: Instead of "big revenue/small revenue," it's "crazy spender/no-spender."
Oh, wait: Red Sox tampering? If there's one juicy story out of Florida, it's that there are rumors swirling (hardly under-the-radar) that the Red Sox might have done a little tampering with JD Drew opting out of his Dodgers contract and taking a huge deal with Boston. Tracking...
Willie Parker runs for 223 in Steelers romp over Browns: With a franchise as storied as the Steelers, it's pretty amazing to set the single-game record in anything, let alone rushing yards. Willie Parker continues to prove why the NFL Draft is a highly inexact science.
NBA: Suns 161, Nets 157 in 2 OT. I think the score says it all.
College Hoops Parity Watch: As quickly as unbeaten
College Football Awards: I'm not quite sure why Brady Quinn beat out Troy Smith for the Maxwell Award, which is sort of a poor man's Heisman. Maybe Maxwell voters, recognizing that Smith was a Heisman lock, decided to throw Quinn a bone for his career body of work?
(Meanwhile, Penn State LB Paul Poluszny won the Bednarik for best defensive player, for the second year in a row. Interesting split with the Nagurski Award choice, which was Big Ten rival LB James Laurinaitis.)
CFB Coaching Carousel:
Meanwhile, WVA coach Rich Rodriguez continues to weigh that offer from
Arlen Specter vs. the NFL: The Senator wants to look into the NFL's antitrust status, specifically because he doesn't like that he can't get Sunday Ticket on his local cable network (only on DirecTV). Now THAT's a populist stance; what fan doesn't agree with him?
"Ali Rap": There's a new ESPN documentary on tomorrow night after the Heisman show about Muhammad Ali's status as
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Troy Smith is going to win the Heisman. I don't have any specific scoop; like the rest of you, I simply assume this as fact.
Should the Heisman be for the most talented player in college football? The most valuable? Some combination?
Is Troy Smith really the best player in college football? Or does he get at least a little "Geno Torretta Bonus" for being the QB of the No. 1 team?
To steal a baseball stat, is Troy Smith's VORP (Value Over a Replacement Player) really that high -- or could you stick a serviceable QB in at
If that's the case, maybe Smith isn't the best player in college football. And it's not like I'm nominating Brady Quinn. If Quinn played for any team but Notre Dame, he'd be at home, not in
(Meanwhile, I saw that the ceremony would only feature three players: Smith, Quinn and Darren McFadden. I'm not sure why they ever went away from bringing the five top players to NYC for the ceremony. Even though at least 3 of the players perennially knew they weren't winning, it was always such an honor to be invited to
If Heisman worthiness is a function of talent and singular value to a team, I'd give my vote to
It's no surprise that
Darren McFadden is college football's LaDainian Tomlinson. He is its most talented player and – given
Two years ago, I gave Reggie Bush my Heisman vote over Matt Leinart, who ended up winning the award. At the time, Bush was the most talented player in college football – and I'm quite sure that Leinart wouldn't have been Leinart without Bush being Bush. I was right about who *should* have won, but a year early on who *actually* won.
My 2006 Heisman vote goes to Darren McFadden. He won't win this season, but – based on my track record – they might as well engrave his name on the Trophy for 2007. But he's the best player THIS season, too.
Comments Question: Given that Troy Smith WILL win the Heisman this year, a few questions: (1) Do you think, like me, that another player SHOULD deserve the award? (2) If not, who do you think should be No. 2? (3) Which player didn't get much consideration but should have?
Quick Take on Today's Biggest Storylines:
Barry Bonds on the defending World Champion Cardinals, whose fans are among the wholesomest in sports, would be hilariously awesome. I can't wait to see where he ends up.
Jason Schmidt signs with the Dodgers (3Y/$47M), which is fascinating because he's staying in the division, joining a team that could really use that super-top-line ace.
Wait: Are the Red Sox going to miss out on Matsuzaka? What a waste that would be.
Wait: Are the Red Sox going to sign Eric Gagne? I know they're moving Papelbon to the starting rotation, but...Gagne?
As I'm still in
*Signing Ted Lilly? The Cubs are off the deep end.
And if they sign Gil Meche, too, will that make the Yankees players in the Zito auction? But not as off the deep end as the Royals, who after a decade of parsimony caught whatever spenditis the Cubs currently suffer from.
*Trading Freddy Garcia? The White Sox better get a big year from Brandon McCarthy.
How is Tom O'Brien going from BC, where he had the Northeast recruiting scene much to himself, to NC State, one of the most competitive recruiting markets in the country, an upgrade? And staying in the conference? He must have really seen he was never going to do better than his perennial 8 or 9 wins in Chesnut Hill.
If you were Rich Rodriguez, would you leave West Virginia – with an awesome chance to go unbeaten and make the BCS title game next season – for an Alabama program that is all impossible expectations (uh, and money)?
If you were Miami, would you hire Bernie Kosar, who has zero experience as a college football head coach? I sure as hell wouldn't.
NFL: I'll take the Steelers over the Browns in an utterly meaningless game, then give you the rest of my picks for the week tomorrow.-- D.S.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I'm in Chicago right now, and – wow – the fans and media here hate Rex Grossman far more than you can understand simply from reading the local papers, etc. Meanwhile...
This is turning into "Sportsman of the Year" week: You've seen SI's pick (Dwyane Wade) and I chimed in with mine yesterday (Vince Young), but here's a very cool spin-off: Jamie Mottram of Mr. Irrelevant (and ringmaster of the excellent AOL Fanhouse blogs) got 50 leading sports bloggers (including me) to vote on their top 10 sports figures of 2006, yielding 226 nominees and a Top 40 list that's way more fun than anything from SI or any other mainstream-media outlet:
T.O. was Number 1, which – unlike other year-end lists – reflected reality: T.O. had to be the most blogged-about figure in sports of the year. Does that mean he's a good guy? Far from it. It more accurately reflects his status as the sports world's leading douchebag. But still, that should count for something, and it raises the ultimately interesting question about whether "Sportsman" of the year necessarily has to be about a hero, rather than the athlete/coach/etc who had the most impact on the sports year. Check out the link here.
MLB Hot Stove: Red Sox sign JD Drew to 5Y/$70M deal. $14 million a year is a steep price to learn the valuable baseball lesson about "regressing to the mean." And you'd THINK that that would clear the way for
Barry Zito update: Did the Rangers offer him a 6Y/$100M deal? You'd think that Tom Hicks would have learned his lesson about overpaying after the A-Rod debacle. Does this mean the Yankees will be bailing the Rangers out with a 50-cents-on-the-dollar trade in a few seasons?
Ripken speaks out on McGwire: Actually, he didn't want to talk about McGwire. Didn't want to talk about... hmm, could we say "the past?" Where have we heard that before?
NFL: The Saints got some bad news in an otherwise dream season when DT Hollis Thomas was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's steroid policy. Expect this to be swept under the rug much like every other NFL steroid violation.
NBA: It's rare to see David Stern make a misstep, let alone admit one, but he did about the new ball, saying he should have consulted with the players before installing it. Oh, NOW he says it...
Meanwhile, the league said no to the group that wants to buy the Grizzlies led by ex-Dukie Brian
Oh, were there actual NBA games last night to talk about? How about Nash's 20 assists? Don't go using that as a springboard to argue he deserves a third straight MVP. Let's hope that era is behind us.
CFB Coaching Carousel: Wake's Jim Grobe said he is staying at Wake. Doesn't anyone want the
College Hoops: What have we learned so far about the young season? Parity rules. Think Gonzaga is all that? Whap: They lose to
You have to take anything Ben Johnson says with a grain of salt, but he insists that his problems at the '88 Olympics were the result of a conspiracy led by rival Carl Lewis. Track and field is so sketchy -- particularly back then, before most people really knew about steroids -- that I'd argue that anything is possible.
And, finally, if you live in NYC and are looking for fun tonight, I highly recommend heading to Happy Ending (302 Broome) for the latest installment of the Varsity Letters Reading Series. This month's event features Jack McCallum from Sports Illustrated, Josh Prager of "The Echoing Green" and Brad Snyder, who wrote an interesting book about Curt Flood. I should mention that the series is under new management; I have passed host and management duties along to Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal's excellent "Daily Fix" and Gelf Magazine. Should be a great event – and it's FREE – so head on over there (8 p.m. start time) to check it out. Here's a link.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Dwyane Wade wins SI Sportsman of the Year: Amazingly, this award continues to be relevant; it's probably the most sports-culturally relevant thing SI does all year (aside from the occasional cover-story scoop).
Anyway, I can't disagree with the choice. Wade emerged from the shadow of LeBron AND Shaq to not only lead the Heat to its first NBA title, but to become perhaps the most respected player of his generation.
Comments Question: Who would you pick as your "Sportsperson of the Year?" Why? And who would round out the Top 5 on your ballot? That's an awesome question that should keep the comments section hopping.
(Personally, I would have given it to Vince Young. I know it's hard to credit something that happened in early January, but VY had the best individual performance in the biggest and best game of the sports year -- and perhaps college football history.)
Quick notes on today's biggest storylines:
Jeff Garcia: 315 yards and 3 TDs! Who saw that coming? Kudos to anyone who started him in their fantasy league, particularly if you're in playoff contention.
Schiano staying at
Laurinaitis wins "Heisman for defense": Because a defensive player will never win the Heisman, the Nagurski award is the de facto Heisman for defensive players. And Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis became the first sophomore to win it, beating out rival Michigan CB Leon Hall and Florida S Reggie Nelson (my choice), along with Gaines Adams and Patrick Willis. Hmm: Laurinaitis on the '07 Heisman watch list?
Thankfully, the Florida-Michigan-BCS hysteria appears to be waning after a fierce 24 hours after the announcement. But USA Today released the coaches' ballots, and there's one notable choice: The only Big Ten coach to rank
MLB Winter Meetings: "Where's Manny Going?" is the hot storyline from the first day, but the Cardinals quietly locked up their anchor SP Chris Carpenter for 5 more years (at $65 million).
NBA: (1) Big night for my favorite NBA player, Gilbert Arenas, who had 38 points helping the Wiz snap the Mavs' 12-game winning streak. (2) Meanwhile, if you want to see why the Jazz are doing so well, check out the box score of their win over the Bucks. Start with Boozer's 30 and 13. (3) The Magic win again. In Sacto no less at the tail end of a road trip. Amazing. They're for real.
I'm on the road traveling this morning so posts might be light until the afternoon...
Monday, December 04, 2006
I'm already sick of the BCS griping.
I don't have a problem with pollsters vaulting
I don't think
I don't think it's invalid for voters to have used "
(I do think it's invalid for voters to have used "
I don't think that Jim Tressel should ever be allowed to vote in the coaches' poll ever again, for opting out this final (and most important) vote of the season.
I don't think that
I don't think that everyone should presume that
I don't think the BCS system works either, but I don't think that the various playoff suggestions I've heard are without their own massive flaws.
(For example, if you thought there was a debate over No. 2, how exactly do you expect to resolve the "Who's Number 4?" debate in a mythical 4-team playoff:
weak totally underrated Big East? One-loss
If you thought a debate over two teams for one title-game spot was insane, try arguing over five teams for one playoff spot. And that's just this year: The problem is that from year to year, there might be no debate -- like last year, when a playoff would have been ludicrous -- or there might be even more teams in the mix.)
Again, I'm not arguing against a playoff. I'm just saying it creates new issues that don't really solve the problems we've got now. "Deciding it on the field" doesn't really fly when you've left 4 arguably worthy teams out of a 4-team playoff field.
Finally, if you want the "Oh, the humanity!" moment of the year in sports, just take a look at some of the ridiculous ballots from the Harris poll. It gives the media a convenient punching bag, but when you look at the voting pool, it's totally random and some ballots are a joke. (FanIQ has some highlights -- or lowlights -- of the human poll balloting.)
Here's the bottom line: It's a broken system, and everyone knows it. It was unfortunate that one arguably worthy team had to be left out. (BTW,
More Quickie takes, including five on the NFL:
(1) Oh, so THAT's what all the Reggie Bush hype was about...
(2) Holy smokes, is Rex Grossman bad...
(3) Has Tom Coughlin been fired yet...?
(4) So much for the Dolphins as a surging would-be playoff team...
(5) I should have had followed my gut about Vince Young in my Friday picks...
More CFB: After Rutgers' loss at West Virginia on Saturday night to sort of taint an otherwise Cinderella season, perhaps Greg Schiano realizes that he'll always have trouble beating Louisville and WVA if he stays with Rutgers, while at Miami, he could own the otherwise soft ACC. When
College Hoops: Let's not forget that karma is a boomerang: The same night that
MLB Hot Stove: The annual winter meetings start today, with the top storylines being: (1) Bonds, (2) Manny, (3) Zito, (4) Schmidt.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
ORIGINAL POST: I'm hesitant to start a new post about the Michigan-Florida debate, because the post from Saturday has generated more than 330 contributions, shattering the previous total and making it the most commented-on post ever for this blog. (I highly recommend scrolling down and checking it out.)
But it's a new day, and everyone has had a chance to sleep on the decision: Florida or Michigan?
If you were a voter, who would YOU rank No. 2? What SHOULD they do? What's fair? What's right? What's best for college football? What's best to determine the right team to play for this year's title?
There is a particularly compelling angle: Should "Michigan had their chance" be considered a legitimate argument for Florida? If you think Michigan is the unquestioned No. 2 team in the country, probably not. But they're not, and I think "had their chance" isn't nearly as illegitimate as some might be arguing.
(I wonder if Kirk Herbstreit - who made the most impassioned and high-profile plea against the "had their chance" argument last night -- would be saying the same thing if, hypothetically, Florida was unbeaten, and Ohio State was a 1-loss Big Ten champ vying for a spot in the national title game versus 1-loss LSU, runner-up in the SEC and a team Florida had already beaten.)
The other thing Michigan backers are saying -- including Lloyd Carr -- is that Michigan shouldn't be penalized for not playing the last two weeks. I think that's bogus. That would mean that your biggest ranking criteria is "inertia."
There is no evidence that Michigan is anything but the same team that ended the season two weeks ago. However, since then, there is new evidence that Florida should be considered and weighted better than they were two weeks ago.
In other words, forget the number of the ranking next to Michigan's name two weeks ago or last week. With the entire body of work from the season now in place for both teams, has Florida proven itself better than Michigan -- or more worthy to play Ohio State for the title? I argue yes.
Here's the best news for BCS-haters: It's the best-case scenario to trigger some kind of change to the system. (But don't hold your breath. And don't expect a playoff to fix the type of controversy we're having now: Picking one team over another -- whether it's "Who's Number 2?" today or "Which team coming out of four bowls should be in the Plus-One title game?" or "Who's snubbed in a 4- or 8-team playoff?" there will always be controversy.)
Anyway, I digress: Michigan or Florida?
(By the way, there's a very easy way to deliver justice: Provided that the team picked for the BCS title game beats Ohio State -- iffy on so many levels -- and the team snubbed for the title game wins its bowl game, the AP can simply vote to award its share of the title to the snubbed team, like they did with USC following the 2003 season.)
Oh, and one more thing: As mentioned on the comment board below, it's going to be absolutely fascinating to see how the various Harris poll and coaches' poll (and even the AP poll, though that doesn't count toward the BCS) voters did their ballots. Who has which team number 2? (And are there any shenanigans where they don't rank Michigan and Florida in some combo at No. 2 and No. 3? Any other pick should obliterate that voter's future as a pollster.) I would imagine that there will be great incentive for rogue pollsters -- Harris poll, probably -- to vote some crazy stuff if only to make themselves the story. I cannot wait to see the data.