Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thursday 12/20 A.M. Quickie:
Parcells, Celtics, Schilling, Bowls, More!

Today's Names to Know: Bill Parcells, Plus One, Celtics, Knicks, Curt Schilling, Bobby Bowden, Big Ten football, Memphis hoops, College Bowl Pick 'Em and More!

Bill Parcells to run the Falcons Dolphins! What a turn of events. Instead of hope for Falcons fans, another massive disappointment/humiliation.

And for Dolphins fans, between the win last Sunday and potential for hiring Parcells today, this might be their best week in years. Nice little holiday gift.

(It really doesn't matter which woebegotten franchise he takes over; both need his help.)

NFL Tonight: Steelers-Rams. Yeah, I'll be taking the Steelers, who are coming off that tough loss at home (their first) to the Jaguars.

CFB: NCAA honcho Myles Brand supports the ridiculous and regressive "Plus-One" playoff idea. To recap: (1) Reseeding the Top 2 teams after the bowls have been played as usual is ridiculous, patently.

(2) Finding a Top 4 to play "semifinal" bowls before a "Plus-One" title game COULD work... if the difference between the No. 4 team and the No. 5 (or 6 or 7 or 8) team was clear. But it's usually not.

For example: Please explain how you would parse this season into a 4-team playoff. Ohio State and LSU? (Sure.) Oklahoma? (Over Kansas? OK, although Oklahoma lost to two unranked teams, while Kansas lost once, to a team that was No. 1 in the last week of the season.) But let's stipulate to it. One spot to go...

USC? (Can't get over that loss at home to Stanford; how can you pick USC over Virginia Tech? Because USC is hot at the end of the season? OK, fine: If that's your standard, Georgia earns in ahead of USC.) So without trying too hard, I got 5 teams for 4 spots, with no way to fairly decide.

Celtics lose at home (finally): Well, at least ONE team in Boston will lose this fall. The Celtics' perfect home record was snapped by the Pistons (of course it was Detroit).

If the Knicks suck and they beat the LeBrons by 30, what does that say about the Cavs?

More: Is Alonzo Mourning's career over? If so, it was a Hall of Fame career.

MLB PED Scandal: Guess how many players appeared in front of Congress? Zilch. What a difference between this hearing and the famous "Don't want to talk about the past" circus.

Curt Schilling doesn't believe Roger Clemens: Beyond the argument Schilling makes (provocatively, that Clemens should be stripped of his Cy Youngs and wins after 1997), this post put the signature on what has been the sports blog experiment of the year, the next evolution from Gilbert Arenas' pioneering effort in 2006 (which continued in 2007). Schilling's transparency and direct pipeline to the fans (and media) is the model for any athlete.

Must-Read: The Year in Schadenfreude, by Fanhouse's Brian Cook. Fantastic recap, as we head into the time of year when year-end recaps are the norm. Here's the link.

College Bowl Mania: Poinsettia! Utah vs. Navy, where they are simultaneously celebrating an amazing season (headlined by that dramatic, once-a-half-century win at Notre Dame) and lamenting the loss of coach Paul Johnson to Georgia Tech.

FSU academic scandal: The NYTimes correctly points out that if the scandal forces forfeits, that drops Bobby Bowden on the career wins list; with perhaps only one season to go in his career, he can't afford to give away too many Ws.

Big Ten Ref Scandal: I'm two days late to this, but this was yet another piece of crackerjack, headline-making investigative reporting by Yahoo Sports. Let's get to the story...

Did the Big Ten use a ref who was sketchy? (Say, sketchy enough to make some questionable calls? Some, say, "Donaghy-like" calls?)

Here's the thing: I'm quite sure that there are refs with, um, "incentive issues" in every sport, perhaps working almost every weekend or every night.

It's part of the game, and you just hope it never affects your team – or stays at the margins, where most of the expert gambling or point-shaving goes on.

(Take it from a guy who watched a Northwestern running back – on the take – fumble on purpose in an otherwise meaningless game against Iowa. Seriously: My era at Northwestern was like Point-Shaving U.)

College Hoops Tonight: Duke vs. Pitt at Madison Square Garden. One of the Top 5 games so far this season – the first real test for both teams (and a clip-n-save result until March).

(Last night: Memphis rolls on. Given the expectations for this team, anything less than a trip to the Final Four is an utter failure. On the "Utter Failure Spectrum," not nearly as bad as the Patriots not winning the Super Bowl, but certainly more of an utter failure than any other team – including UNC or UCLA – not making the Final Four.)

College Bowl Pick 'Em: Last chance! Sign up using the link on the right. Group name: Daily Quickie Readers. No password needed!

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

Dan, I don't really get the argument why a plus one system is so bad because we can't choose between number 4 and 5. No matter what system of playoffs is used in a sport, even if it is 2 teams like now, there is always a last team in and a last team out.

I was pissed off last year that Syracuse didn't make the NCAAs. Arguably they were the last team out. OK, but they had to draw the line somewhere. In the NFL, there usually is one team that makes the WC with the exact same record as a team that doesn't get a WC spot based upon tiebreakers. The last tie breaker is a coin flip of all things.

There will always be a last team out unless every team makes the playoffs.

Kevin C said...

Dan, you can't really believe this is the first "real" test for Duke when they played an outstanding game against a very good Marquette team in Maui and won by 4 in a game that wasn't decided until the Duke made two free throws in the closing seconds.

Watch out for Marquette in the Big East and the tourney. James has "returned" to playing an actual point guard this year and McNeal will end up being the team MVP and a better pro than Dominic.

Dr. Zoom said...

To complete the point of the first poster: it's a lot harder to muster up righteous indignation for a #4 bridesmaid than a #2 jiltee.

J Fitty said...

Huge game Satuday...G-Town @ Memphis. GO HOYAS!!!!

C Gally said...

4 teams having a shot to win the title is still better than 2 teams. Perfect? Of course not. But BETTER. Dealing with these college presidents is like dealing with 4 year olds. You can't expect them to be doctors right away.

John said...

The first real test for Duke? Pittsburgh has played a soft schedule for sure, the almost lost to Duquense. But the Blue Devils played a very good Marquette team on a neutral court in Hawaii that some people are predicting to finish ahead of Pittsburgh in the Big East.

Dylan said...

Cycledan: In your example with Syracuse, there's a big difference between being on the bubble as a team ranked 30-60 than a team ranked 4-5. Statically speaking, the probability of an NCAA basketball bubble team winning a national championship is vastly different than a team ranked 5 in football (Take any of the teams mentioned by Dan, a valid argument could be made for each).

In your NFL example, who earns a wild card is derived by statistical tiebreakers agreed to before the season even began. Teams in the NFL aren't ranked and the wild card teams picked based upon those rankings.

It's not really comparing apples to apples.

Kurt said...

"Curt Schilling doesn't believe Roger Clemens" - DS

Dan I think you should go back and read Schilling's post...No where does he say..I don't believe Roger Clemens. He says "Roger should take this to court and fight to have the statement retracted and if he doesn't, I'm left with no choice as a fan but to believe he took steroids."

You're a typical journalist Dan, report on what you want to hear, not what was actually said...

hutlock said...

Dan, come on -- the Cavs only lost to the Knicks by 18. That's a WHOLE lot different than losing by 30.

jtlight said...

I also do not see what is hard about picking the top 4 this year. LSU, OSU, OU, and VT. These are the top 4 teams in the BCS, and just happen to be conference champions. How does this not work?

We could really seed 1/4 and 2/3 based on the top 4 conference champions in the BCS standings, and still have bowl games (BCS and otherwise). Granted, this isn't as good as a 8 or 16 team playoff, but it's an improvement on the flawed system.

Richard K. said...


Only 5 teams for the four spots? I'm suprised you narrowed it down that far:

I have (not in this order):
Ohio State
West Virginia
Virginia Tech

I'm yet to hear a convincing argument as to why any of those two loss conference champs should be in over another one. As for Georgia, they didn't even win their case. I'd rather take Mizzouri.

aikehara said...

Blazers' win streak now at 9...

nicker66 said...

The SEC is such a great conference!

Chaddogg said...

Dan -
Like Roger Clemens' post-1997 wins and Cy Young awards, your "years at NU" have been officially stripped from the record books. Enjoy wearing jean shorts in Gainesville, Benedict Arnold.

Unknown said...

I agree, comparing the BCS, and the NFL is completely different in some ways. However they have to come up with some criteria for who makes the playoffs and who doesn't. In the NFL it is so much easier because there are only 32 teams and they play enough games to base it on record. However, how are NFL tiebreakers much less subjective than using a combined human/computer poll? The BCS tiebreaker is not a coin toss, it is in the NFL. Granted it has never come to that since point differential is in there as well.

In the NFL strength of schedule is not really taken into account whereas it has to be in college football since teams play such vastly different schedules (see Hawaii).

David Kippe said...

the lack of love of the Pistons continues...

Last night was the epitomy of Deeeetroit Basketball! Lindsay Hunter took those young cats to school with his defense.