Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How Perfect

The Nasti Natti Bungles, apparently are in some need at running back after cutting Rudi Johnson (avg. 5.5 ypc in Detroit, missing some luggage) and sending DeDe Dorsey to the IR. So where to turn? You always hear about teams worrying about picking up players that will affect the "Team Chemistry" so the Bungles didn't want to pick up any running back that would alter their team's dynamic and be too different than anyone else on the team. So.....

The Bungles signed former Bear Running Back/Draft Day Bust Cedric Benson to their roster. Good job Cincy, the perfect place for a should be in jail waste of space bust is in Cincy. After all in Chicago all eyes were on him after his arrests. With the Bungles, there are plenty of people to take the spotlight off of him with their own arrests.

More after the jump...

Monday, September 29, 2008

RIP Reggie

I got a bit of unsettling news when I landed in Tucson Saturday night. Apparently, while I was in Dallas, Paul Newman passed away. I found this sadly fitting and ironic as Friday night (the 27th) I was sitting in my hotel room watching the YouTube Clip of Paul Newman Singing Plastic Jesus and holding back emotions in Cool Hand Luke. This is one of my favorite scenes in one of my favorite movies.

I don't really know what compelled me to watch this other than the fact that it had been in my head almost constantly for about 6 hours, it continued to be in my head through today, and probably will be for awhile as it is a very catchy tune. I spent the last few days, as I wandered the Dallas Convention Center and Dallas' West End humming to myself about "colors pink and pleasant" and a "pedestal of Abalone Shells" as well as Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and a "Sweet Madonna dressed in Rhinestones". I'm not a religious person so it is not often that I sing old Church Folksongs to myself.

Again, it was very sad to hear of the passing of Paul Newman from Cancer. I could at this point go on, at length, about the many things that this man has done in the fields of acting and activism from racing to fund-raising but the bottom line is anyone who has seen any of his movies, loves Paul Newman. I made the wife watch Cool Hand Luke less than 2 weeks ago (which could very easily be why the song was stuck in my head this past weekend). If you haven't seen it, I highly suggest buying or renting it and while you're there scan for any other Paul Newman movie, you will most likely not be disappointed.

So I scanned the internet for some clips of Paul Newman. If you are not familiar with the man, please watch them and become familiar with him. If you are familiar I'm sure you remember the man who played real-life legends Rocky Grazino (Boxer), Billy the Kid (American Outlaw), Butch Cassidy (Bank Robber), Judge Roy Bean (Saloon Judge - The Law West of the Pecos), Buffalo Bill Cody (Wild West Showman/Namesake for the AFC East Leaders), Leslie Groves (Head of the Atomic Bomb developing Manahattan Prject), Gov. Earl Long (Lousianna Eccentric Governer). Beyond those historically famous (and infamous) characters he gave us Brick Politt, Hud Bannon, Luke Jackson, Henry Gondorff, Frank Galvin, Sidney Mussburger, Doug Roberts, "Sully". He also gave to the world of sports with the portrayals of the aforementioned Graziano, "Fast" Eddie Felson (twice and 45 years before 'Fast' Willie Parker was so named), Frank Capua, and of course Reggie Dunlop (Player/Coach for the Charlestown Chiefs).

During his career he replaced James Dean in a leading role as a virtual unkown (due to Dean's untimely death) and starred alongside Steve McQueen, Orson Welles, James Best, Elizabeth Taylor, Burl Ives, Joan Collins, Jackie Gleason, Sidney Poitier, Ed Begley, Rip Torn, Eva Gabor, William Shatner, Robert Wagner, Shelley Winters, Julie Andrews, Alfred Hitchcock, George Kennedy, Robert Redford, Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Anthony Perkins, Henry Fonda, Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Ned Beatty, Fred Astaire, O.J. Simpson, Harvey Keitel, The Hanson Brothers, Bruce Willis, Jack Warden, Morgan Freeman, Tom Cruise, Forest Whitaker, John Cusack, John C. McGinley, John Wayne, Dustin Hoffman, Tim Robbins, Bruce Campbell (yes, The Bruce Campbell), Jessica Tandy, Gene Hackman, Susan Surandon, Kevin Costner, Tom Hanks, a pre-Bond Daniel Craig, Ed Harris, Phillip Seymor Hoffman, Dennis Farina, and of course shared the road with many stars in his voice acting during the movie Cars.

He headlined most of his movies and was in movies with Taglines such as:
"M.G.M presents a most important motion picture" - Somebody Up There Likes Me
"Paul Newman, a wonderful new star!" - The Rack
"They called him "Fast Eddie"... He was a winner... He was a loser... He was a hustler" - The Hustler
"The man with the barbed wire soul!" - Hud
"Paul Newman is 'Harper' and Harper does it better" - Harper
"Hombre means MAN... Paul Newman is HOMBRE!" - Hombre
"On the chain gang, they'd seen every kind of man...but Luke became a legend" - Cool Hand Luke
"Winning is... everything" - Winning
"You never met a pair like Butch and The Kid" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
"you'll see Paul Newman doing things you'd never expect him to do... saying things you'd never expect him to say!" - Slap Shot
"One man against the world." - Quintet
"Another con. Another sting. Another day." - Where the Money Is

He drove indycars on and off film and rode horses, he escaped from prisons (plural as in more than one), and robbed banks, he scored goals, grifted, conned, and hustled. He got in fights (both with fists and with guns), Cut down trees, Boxed many men, shot many men, and loved many women (starring often alongside his wife Joanne in many films).

Rest In Peace Mr. Newman, you're free from the Chain Gang Now:

More after the jump...

Lance Armstrong Returns to Cycling

In case you haven't heard, Lance Armstrong is returning to the world of professional cycling. The coverage hasn't been as big as I would have thought, and the reaction is pretty much just the opposite of what I would have hoped. I know that the only sport more tarnished by performance enhancing practices than baseball is cycling and that Flyod Landis didn't really do anything to help America's image. I understand the doubt, but I think we have a case of, the rest of the cycling world, who actually care about the sport outside the Tour de France, refusing to believe that arguably the greatest cyclist of all time is American.

Armstrong retired from cycling in 2005 after his 7th Tour de France Victory, a feat that is even more amazing due to the fact that he had fought cancer and returned to the world stage. He raised countless of millions through the Lance Armstrong Foundation, or better recognized as the LiveStrong campaign. Armstrong was also a key player in passing Proposition 15 in Texas which would allow for $3 billion to be allocated for Cancer Research.

Do you think he is doping, that he really isn't strong enough to come back and win again? Did you not think he was the first time?

Well he is about to try and prove a lot of people wrong, and we will be joining the 2009 Astana Cycling team. At this point he is planning to race in the Tour Down Under and the Tour de France, but is discussing other possibilities as well.

While others aren’t, I am excited. There is a lot of skepticism from the Cycling community and the public. Armstrong, just wants to race and just wants to show strength for other Cancer survivors. I think it is admirable, but the media and public opinion has a huge impact, not only on this quest but on his career and marketing as a whole. Luckily,Lance was ready for that. He had made comments that he would be "completely transparent" with the media or in otherwords would not hold anything back. To further feed the media's appetite and to show just how confident he is was reported saying that they could test him for "everything". Astana will be paying for the now famous anti-doping scientist Don Catlin to test Armstrong's blood and urine. Not only that, but Catlin will be allowed to freeze some of the samples for testing in the future.

If that isn't one of the most confident things I have ever heard, than I don't know what is. For everyone's sake, including the cycling world, his foundation, and everyone who has supported or benefited from him over the years I hope he is clean. We will find out when the test results come back which both parties said they would post online.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

News and Notes

A few different news and notes for this week.

I had a fun little mold problem at my apartment and moved a couple time (hotel, temp apartment) which means no cable or TV whatsoever. I've also been swamped at work fitting 7 days worth of work into less than 3 so needless to say, I've been a little busy. So there hasn't been an updated Top 25 or Heisman Hopefuls countdown. We will see what develops tomorrow but worst case, hopefully I'll have something for you by Thursday, only 3 days late.

First off last week I decided that a Cubs/White Sox World Series would be crowned the Red Line Series.

Well, apparently Scott Merkin is an avid Beardown reader and decided to write a piece about the possible Chicago Series. This series has never, to my knowledge been called the Red Line Series, until I wrote about it last week. I said you would see it everywhere.

Next on my list of things to discuss an old DMX song. People constantly suggest that 2Pac was predicting his death, others deaths, and of course faked his own death to live on a beach with Elvis. Going as far as to call him this generations Nostradamus at times. Well I never knew that DMX was going to predict the Pacman Jones fiasco:

and to hear the unedited ending with gunshots:


More Music and More Cubs: Thank you Eddie Vedder

And for those of you wondering where I stand on the whole Notre Dame thing, I am a huge ND fan and have been for as long as I can remember (Thanks Dad!) so needless to say it pains me to have to agree with certain sections of Randle's argument against Notre Dame. But then again, I only agree to a select few sections and I totally disregard his SDSU/Cal Poly argument as I have always disregarded the if/then arguments thrown about in Sports. If a team beats one team it is no measure of how good they really are. So I totally disagree with his statement of, "San Diego State who lost to Cal-Poly before losing to Notre Dame...Notre Dame dominated the mighty Aztecs and pulled out the convincing win 21-13". I guarantee that SDSU probably brought their "A" game against Notre Dame and put up a better fight than they did in their loss to Cal-Poly. As I wrote in another earlier article,

'I hate the 'in turn' argument. As a Comment to the
original Heisman post back in December I received a plea for Appy St. QB Amanti

'Armanti Edwards is the Truth. He should win the Heisman, he's
the best all around football player in the country. He handled Michigan, who in
turn, handled Tib [ed. note: I assume he meant Tim here but I can't be positive]
Tebow's Florida, what other proof do you need...'

So then by that thought process Arizona should have won the National Championship last year right? After all, Arizona beat Oregon, who beat Michigan, who beat Florida, who beat Kentucky, who beat LSU. Just send the trophy back to Tucson."

Again, sorry Randle but I wanted to make it clear to our readers that not all of us (Me), though most of us (Garnes, 4Real, Randle), dislike Notre Dame. With that said, it's almost painful being a ND fan and having to watch your team get beat at home 6 or 7 times a year on National TV. But I do love having Notre Dame most weeks even just to watch Notre Dame football, deserving the TV Coverage or not it's a matter of making money and Notre Dame has one of the largest audiences and it makes sense for NBC.

Did anyone else see all of the pictures of Roger Clemens and Joe Torre in the Yankees goodbye ceremony....Wait they weren't in it? Real Classy New York. I might not agree with everything that Roidger has done, but he is still a rather large portion of Yankee history, and success. And don't get me started on leaving out Joe Torre. I may hate the Yankees, but I'm pretty sure that Joe Torre was the last New York Manager to lead the Yankees to the Postseason. In fact the last time the Yankees weren't in the postseason it was the Strike shortened year when they were in 1st place in the AL East. And of course the year before under Buck Showalter. In fact they won 4 World Series Titles with Torre. Wait isn't Torre's LA team going to the playoffs after not making it last year? Hmmmmmm.

Again I am Cable-less for the next couple weeks so I will be watching every Cubs playoff game at the Trident Bar and Grill in Tucson, AZ. If you are in the area come watch the Cubs with me and possibly 4Real, Randle, and maybe some other guest appearances. For those of you in the greater Dallas region I'll be in the West End area on Thursday and Friday night so keep an eye out.

I said it before, I'll say it again. Favre still sucks and is still overrated.

I'm not a Uni-obsessed guy like many out there but the Cats came out against UCLA Saturday sporting Red Pants. I don't like the Red Pants. 1 singular reason why. Blue Helmet, White Jerseys, Red Pants. I'm ok as long as 2/3 match or else it looks like it was pieced together at the Clearance rack at Sports Authority. Red Helmet, Red Pants, White or Blue Jersey. Fine. Blue Helmet, Red Jersey, Red Pants, I'm all for it. But that multi-colored combo just looks thrown together and sloppy. They look like a HS team that left their gear on the bus, or the Freshman wearing the hand-me-downs. And of course it reminds me of an old Optimal Stubble Cartoon:

Who else is ready for a Tiger-less Ryder Cup team in 2010. It's funny just how absolutely AMAZING Tiger is that the team actually wins without him. In my theory when Tiger is there the rest of the USA guys choke and shudder in his aura of greatness and there is no sarcasm implied here at all. They can't play, meanwhile the European players play tourneys on the European Tour and don't have to play against Tiger each week. Also, Tiger is notoriously guarded and the youth and fun that the Cup team had this year would not have been there. The guys all develop the yips around the guy and it's like playing golf with your dad when you're 11 years old, you don't want to embarrass him in front of his friends and you begin to grip and play worse than if he wasn't there. Would we have ever seen Boo Weakley go Happy Gilmore on Sunday, before the Tournament was even close to being over?

And of course Sheffield charging the mound against the Indians...From First Base:

As I'm sure you're familiar these videos won't last long so enjoy them while they're there. If you can't find them, google them.

More after the jump...

Wildcat Injury Report: Blake Kerley Out for Season

Offensive lineman Blake Kerley is out for the season. This is a huge loss for Arizona, as the junior has done a tremendous job at center all year.

The Tucson Citizen quoted Stoops as saying, "We are 99 percent sure it (involves the) ACL. That will take the rest of the year away from him."

Stoops talked with an air of confidence about the depth of their squad and has rotated the line a bit to compensate. Colin Baxter (6’4”, 295-lb. SO) will move from left guard to center, while Mike Diaz (6’5”, 340-lb. SR) will move into the left guard position.

The silver lining on this one is that we are coming up on a bye week and then face a subpar Washington Huskies squad on Oct. 4.

More after the jump...

The Day it All Changed in the NFL

With the recent loss of Tom Brady, many are speculating that this could be the end to their season. But is it Momentum or maybe is it Karma as I mentioned in my Week 1 News and Notes column. Maybe the lone loss in the Super Bowl was Karmic retribution for all of the "eff you" TDs, running up the score, and maybe it can all be traced back to one moment before the loss of Brady. Maybe the Patriots recent problems all started at a different time.

These thoughts have been going through my head so I've decided to create a list for all 32 teams of the precise moment that set them on the path to where they are right now. THE moment it all started going downhill (or uphill if applicable) and the reasons that they are now where they are.

AFC West:
Denver Broncos - May 2, 1999
One of the few teams that haven't really had a whole lotta bad. The Pinnacle of their Success was in 1999 at Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami. A couple months later, John Elways, rightfully so, stepped away from the game. The Broncos have struggled at times to find a QB to fill the shoes left by the Hall of Famer. They have not had the postseason success that one might wish for since winning back to back Big Games. The following season the Broncos went 6-10 and missed the playoffs but rebounded the following season and returned in 2000. They've spent the better part of the last 9+ seasons over .500 but are 1-4 in the playoffs and have missed the past 2 seasons.

Since Elway's retirement the Broncos have had their head above water and more 2,000 yard rushers than any other team, it seems like anyway. They've compiled a regular season record of 84-62 but have gone 1-4 in the postseason.

Kansas City Chiefs - February 2, 1983
Having previous fired the (12-2 in 1982) Head Coach Marv Levy the Chiefs decided to sign inexperienced 39 year old John Mackovic as their new head coach. 25 years is a long time, with a few bright spots but before this KC had had a few decent seasons and had won Super Bowl IV. But for whatever reason they fired Levy and signed Mackovic. In the draft that following April the Chiefs, in need of a QB, drafted Todd Blackledge and passed on Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Dan Marino as well as two time Pro Bowler Ken O'Brien. The Chiefs finished 6-10 and have been a perennial disappointment.

Since Hiring Mackovic the Chiefs are 212-190-2 with a 2-10 postseason record and have not been to the Super Bowl. I've said it before, I'll say it again...Mackovic sucks.

Oakland Raiders - February 17, 2002
The Raiders coming off of a successful season in which they very easily could have been in the Super Bowl (see Tuck Rule) were primed to come back for another season with Rich Gannon leading the charge. Things looked good for Gruden and Co. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers needed a new coach and offered a small fortune to take Gruden away from the Raiders. One month after that fateful loss to the Patriots the Raiders "traded" their Head Coach to the Bucs. In the end the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl in the 2002 season, but only out of Football God Spite, as the Bucs humiliated the Raiders 48-21.

Since that game the Raiders are 20-63 and their coach is rumored to be out. What did the Raiders get with the draft picks acquired in the Gruden Trade? Sam Williams, Kirk Morrison, and Arman Shields.

San Diego Chargers - January 20, 2008
It might be too early to tell for sure but on that day the Chargers were visiting Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. looking to take down the undefeated Pats and take vengeance after watching the Pats, unceremoniously dance on their helmet logo at midfield 1 year earlier. During that game SD QB Philip Rivers played on an injured ankle, but MVP candidate, former MVP, and team leader LdT sat out the last 3 quarters of the game with a sprained MCL as the cameras continued to show him pouting on the sideline with his black visor on his head, emotionless. The Pats won the Chargers went home. While I actually agree with LdT sitting (if the injury was as bad as it sounded at the time) his lack of emotion left his team flat. They lost the game by 9 and were never really in it.

Since that game the Chargers are 1-2 with last night's win and two last second losses. While they can claim lucky play in week 1 (Panthers TD catch with 00:00 on the clock) or bad call (recent fumble/inadvertent whistle screw up) the point is they still let the Panthers drive the field 68 yards on 11 plays over 2 minutes and 21 seconds while the Chargers sat back and let Delhomme go 8 for 11 for all 68 yards. Again, despite the bad call, they still let the Broncos go 80 yards over 12 plays in under 4 minutes allowing a TD and 2 Pt. Conversion.

AFC South:
Houston Texans - April 29, 2006
After losing the "Bush Bowl" at the end of the 2005 season most people thought that the Houston Texans, on the heels of their 4th straight losing season (out of 4 seasons) Houston needed a big play guy to take over their team. After an amazing Rose Bowl it really came down to 2 players. Would the Texans take Heisman winner and Highlight Film Freak Reggie Bush, or go with the Hometown boy from Texas, Vince Young, who single handedly beat Bush's USC team in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship. Tension mounted as the weeks passed and with the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft the Texans committed to...Mario Williams Defensive End from North Carolina State. What? How could they pass on two amazing offensive weapons for a Defensive End. A Highly touted Defensive End, but a Defensive End nonetheless. Well they signed Williams to a lucrative 6 year $54 Million Dollar contract, rather than the ridiculous first round money they would have had to pay Bush or Young.

Since then the Texans, in no small part to Williams and the extra money available by not signing Bush or Young, are 14-20 but in Williams' 2nd year they managed their first season at or above .500 in franchise history. Meanwhile Reggie Bush is taunting and upsetting players all over the league and is only used sparingly and Vince Young is having his own off the field, and on the field problems. Williams has accumulated 117 tackles, 20.5 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles in his first 2+ seasons.

Indianapolis Colts - January 13, 2008
It's hard to find anything negative about the Colts over the last 9+ seasons. They've only missed the playoffs once and have the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, a dangerous TE, a good Running back, good receivers, and the NFL's most marketable player who also happens to be a 3 time MVP (Peyton Manning). How can there really be a downside. Well on the 13th of January the Colts not once, but twice failed to convert on 4th downs and lost to the Billy Volek led Chargers to end their bid for back to back Super Bowls. That was the last game played at the RCA Dome where the Colts had the friendly crowd noise on their side.

Since that game Marvin Harrison has been allegedly involved, though not charged, in a shooting, Peyton Manning had a Bursa Sack infection, and hasn't been too impressive in his return. The Colts are 1-2 overall but 0-3 in Lucas Oil Stadium a.k.a. "The Luke" including a preseason loss to the Bills in Week 3.

Jacksonville Jaguars - August 31, 2007
They really haven't been around long enough to have a altering moment of negative proportions, yet. So, in one of the rare examples of a team who doesn't have a "moment it all went downhill" for the time being Jags fans can look back at that Labor Day weekend when the Jaguars announced David Garrard as their starter. In his first season as a starter replacing the oft ineffective Byron Leftwich the Jags went 11-5, a 3 game improvement on their 2006 8-8 campaign.

Since then the Jags are 12-7, but unfortunately the Jags haven't had the best start to a season and are 1-2 right now with Garrard's unimpressive numbers (547 yds, 1 TD/4 INTs) making this seem a bit too early, but the Jags also have an almost entirely new offensive line due to a few different issues including a life threatening shooting. We'll have to see how this season pans out but perhaps the Jags are just another downhill team which will lead us to look for new answers and reasons.

Tennessee Titans - January 30, 2000 00:06
1999 was a fun year for the Titans and their fans and their playoff run was exciting for everyone. The Magic that was the Music City Miracle had the entire state of Tennessee gleeful (and probably more than a few in Houston missing their old Oilers). The Super Bowl that year was one of, if not the most exciting of my entire life, and perhaps even the history of the Super Bowl. It was the Greatest Show on Turf facing off against the unlikely opponents fresh off of the Miracle. Coupled with the Kurt Warner story, the resurgence of the Rams and the success of the Transplanted Tennessee Titans it was a Super Bowl for the ages. With 6 seconds left and no time-outs the Titans were down 7 and Ten Yards from the End Zone. Dyson caught the ball on a cross route, rolled and stretched, but wound up less than a yard from crossing for the score.

Since then the Titans are 70-61 but have only made the playoffs once in the last 4 years. They flirted with playoff runs but never made it back to the Conference Championship. They're 3-0 this year but have had their share of issues relating to Vince Young.

AFC North:
Baltimore Ravens - February 28, 2007
The Ravens were coming off of a 13-3 season after 2 losing seasons and everything seemed promising. Until the Offseason. On the 28th and last day of February the Ravens cut Running Back Jamal Lewis with every intention of re-signing him at a fraction of the cost, but on March 7 he signed with rival Cleveland. They failed to Franchise star Linebacker Adalius Thomas who went to the Patriots. There were plenty of boneheaded bad moves by Ozzie Newsome and things went from bad to worse as the season progressed.

Since then the Ravens are 7-11 but 2-0 this year over subpar Cleveland and Nasti Natti. The Ravens have a shot at 8 wins and possibly a playoff in the very weak AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals - January 8, 2006
In 2005 the Bungles became the Bengals and surprised everyone winning the division and 11 games, making the playoffs for the first time since Boomer Esiason led them there in 1990. USC Heisman winner Carson Palmer finally had his breakout season, Chris Henry was running the ball well, and they had Chad Ocho Cinco (formerly Johnson) and TJ Houshamadaddy catching the ball. On the second play of the game for their offense Palmer lobbed a beautiful 66 yard pass to Henry and was immediately cracked on the knee by Kimo von...a Steeler Defensive Lineman, and tore his ACL and MCL. The Bengals lost but vowed to return in 2006. Palmer made a quick (as ACL and MCL's are concerned) rehab and was back on the field in 2006, but not at the same level as 2005. Also, following the 2005 season and into the 2006 season the Bungles had 9 players arrested.

Since that game the Bungles have returned and are 15-20, have dealt with a different Palmer, a media focused receiver, player suspensions, jail time, and have had who knows how many arrests in the last 3+ years.

Cleveland Browns - January 7, 1995
You could go back to so many moments for Cleveland if you want to go back to Elway and "The Drive" or when Art Modell sent the team to Baltimore in the middle of the night. You could even go to the drafting of Tim "Ouch" or the countless other front office mistakes and errors, but they did have a fun 2007. So I decided on 1995. The Browns came into the game after a solid win over the Patriots including 3 INTs off of Drew Bledsoe. This looked to be a good year for the Browns but they faced off against the division winning Pittsburgh Steelers at Three Rivers in the Divisional Playoffs. The Browns defense never got off the bus and they were down 17-0 after the first 3 Pitt Possessions. They never looked back and a couple years later Bill Belichick and Art Modell trucked the team to Baltimore to win a Super Bowl.

Since that game against the Steelers the Browns are 55-185 with 2 AFC Central/North 2nd place finishes and a whole lot of 4th place finishes. 2007 gave the Browns fans false hope as they have come into 2008 with 3 straight losses. Is Brady Quinn on the horizon?

Pittsburgh Steelers - June 12, 2006
The Steelers were riding high on the Hog (pun intended) coming off of a Super Bowl win on the shoulders of Big Ben. Then Big Ben and that same Hog they were riding high on wrecked in the middle of the offseason. Ben came back only to need an emergency appendectomy and miss a start. He also managed to get injured in what seemed like every game in his roughest season. The Steelers also lost Star LB Joey Porter in the offseason.

Since the crash the Steelers have still been moderately successful going 20-15 with a playoff appearance (2007 lost to the Jags). But they don't look too much like a Super Bowl team, though they should win the AFC North pretty easily.

AFC East:
Buffalo Bills - January 27, 1991
One of the longest suffering teams in the NFL the Bills turmoils can be traced to a high note, Super Bowl XXV, a High Note until Scott Norwood's "No Good, Wide Right" Field Goal at the end of the game clinched it for the Giants 20-19. The Bills went on to lose Super Bowl XXVI 37-24 to the Redskins, Super Bowl XXVII 52-17 to the Cowboys and a much closer XXVIII to the Cowboys 30-13. The Bills have not been back to the Super Bowl since going 0 for 4 and have been to the playoffs 4 Times ('95, '96, '98, '99) going 1-4 in those 4 trips. They have not been back since and might be moving to Canada. They've gone through numerous coaches, quarterbacks, running backs, and missed field goals over the last 17 years.

Since losing that 1st Super Bowl the Bills were 36 - 12 (6-3 Postseason) over the ensuing 3 seasons (each with another Super Bowl Loss) and a total 17 season combined span (1992-2008) their record is 159-132 with a 7-7 postseason record, but a 3-0 record this year.

Miami Dolphins - September 4, 2006
Nick Saban's 2nd year, the Return of Ricky Williams, Daunte Culpepper at the helm. 2006 is the year of the Fins. Sports Illustrated released their season picks and had the Fins winning the AFC East and representing the AFC in the Super Bowl in a close match-up against the Panthers. In the same issue, different article Culpepper was called the best Dolphins QB since Dan Marino and would serve as a "springboard to undreamed of success". Instead the Fins flailed and lost 3 of their first 4 and after 2 TDs/3 INTs, 3 Fumbles and being sacked nearly 10 times in the first 4 games Daunte was shown the bench and didn't attempt another pass the rest of the campaign.

Since that time the Dolphins are 8-27, have a new coach, a pair of oft-injured running backs, they've started 5 different quarterbacks, and Daunte has retired from football. The lone bright spot of that 2006 season? WR Wes Welker had 67 catches for 687 yds spent the next season pulling in 8 TDs and 112 catches for division rival New England in 2007. Of course Ronnie Browns 5 TD performance and the thrashing of the Pats has Miami fans thinking maybe there's a chance 2 years later.

New England Patriots - September 10, 2007
The New York Jets outed the Patriots for Cheating via the Spygate scandal. The Patriots, out of their Eff You mentality spent the rest of the season running up the score, Bill Belichick became even more hated, Tom Brady was shoved down our throat, and we all just sat and stared as the Patriots went 18-0 and went on to the Super Bowl against the Giants. The Giants beat the Pats, that Pats had a rough offseason and Tom Brady went down for the season and have Matt Cassel taking over at QB. It might be too early to tell but will the Pats begin spiraling downward? Not being able to stop the Dolphins looks like it. Take a look at Carson Palmer since he went out on an almost identical play with an almost identical injury.

Since that game against the Jets the Pats are 20-2. The lone loss being the Super Bowl. But they've also lost Tom Brady and who knows for how long? Who knows what percent Brady will be at upon his return. This Patriots team was built for the now and doesn't have much longer. Their getting older and this could be the thing that moves them down to the likes of the Vikes (sorry it rhymed and I can't help it). Keep an eye out.

New York Jets - September 23, 2001
In twisted terms of fate the Jets were partially responsible for the downfall of the Pats, and it seems the opposite could also be said. The 2001 Jets were coming off of a 9-7 season in which they were primed for a Postseason spot until dropping the last 3 games of the season. They had talent, and they had the edge and anger that comes with a disappointing season. They had a new Head Coach (Herm Edwards) but they came out in week 1 and lost but they rebounded in week 2 and defeated the Patriots. But in that game Jets LB Mo Lewis took out Patriots All-Pro QB Drew Bledsoe who wound up suffering internal injuries and sat out much of the 2001 season. His replacement Tom Brady came in and led the Pats to the history we've seen for them.

Since then the Jets have lost to the Pats 14 (of 17) games including on in the playoffs. They've also gone 54-60 in the regular season and are 2-4 in the playoffs. They've gone through 2 coaches since that time (Herm and Mangenius) and 6 starting QBs.

NFC West:
Arizona Cardinals - March 13, 1960
The Cardinals had been floundering for years in the shadow of the Chicago Bears and hadn't won a league championship since 1947. The upstart AFL was moving into the Midwest and the NFL wanted to counter with a team in St. Louis. Owner Violet Bidwell decided this would be a win for everyone. I could go into the vast depths of the Cardinals past but we'll just skip to the end.

Since moving from Chicago the Cardinals have gone through God knows how many coaches, quarterbacks, busts, stadiums, players, curses, etc. The only two things that remain constant, losing and the Bidwells. Since leaving Chicago they've amassed 0 Super Bowl Championships, 0 NFL Championships, 4 Hall of Famers (0 from their time in Phoenix), 4 trips to the playoffs (1-4 record) and 0 in the last decade. Their overall record could be described as a lot and a little or more specifically 309-500-9. Congrats to the Cardinals for their 500th loss since moving from Chicago.

St. Louis Rams - January 15, 2004
The first 4 years since moving over from LA the Rams were one of the Worst Shows on Turf. In 2000 that all changed and they became the Greatest Show on Turf going to 2 of 3 Super Bowls and going 1-1 in the Big Game (Spygate's origin?) Everyone credits Mike Martz and the explosive offense, with good reason, for the Rams rise to the top but not enough credit went to Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith who took the Rams from a league worst 29.4 PPG allowed in 2000 to a 17.1 PPG Allowed in 2001. Which took at 10-6 team and made them into a 14-2 team primed to win another Super Bowl (if not for Spygate). On January 15th the Chicago Bears hired away Lovie Smith and the Rams haven't been the same since.

Since then the Rams are 25-42 and have gotten rid of the aforementioned Mike Martz who has been an assistant in Detroit and San Francisco. The Rams went from 17th (20.5 PPG) in Lovie's last season there to 31st (27.4) in 2007. They went to the Playoffs once in the weakest division in the league.

San Francisco 49ers - January 15, 2003
The 49ers had been one of the most dominant teams for much of the 80s and 90s. They followed up a Hall of Fame Quarterback (Montana) with a Hall of Fame Quarterback (Young) and had a couple guys named Rice and Owens during parts of those stretches. In 2002 they went 10-6 and won the NFC West but lost in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs. Ten days after the season the Niners fired Head Coach Steve Mariucci and hired Dennis Erickson. Their next 5 seasons ended with them in 3rd or 4th place all 5 times and Erickson's tenure, as per usual was short.

Since firing Mooch because of some front office power struggle the Niners are 27-46 and have gone through 2 coaches. And that front office? They drafted Alex Smith 1st overall. They haven't been back to the playoffs since and have 5 losing seasons in the worst division in football.

Seattle Seahawks - January 4, 2004
The Seahawks have won 4 straight division titles. How could a low point be at the end of the first year they won the division? Well it's a weak division (have I mentioned that already somewhere above) so winning it isn't the hardest thing to do. So the Moment of decline came with Matt Hasselbeck proclamation, "We're taking the ball and we're gonna score" in Overtime against the Packers. He proceeded to throw a pick 6 for the Packers game winning TD.

Since then they've compiled a winning record and have even been to the Super Bowl, but since that moment they are 42-26 in the regular season, but are 4-5 in the playoffs and are 1-2 this year.

NFC North:
Chicago Bears - April 26, 2003
"And with the 22nd pick in the 2003 NFL Draft acquired from the New York Jets, the Chicago Bears select...Rex Grossman Quarterback, Florida". Of course it can't all be stuck on the shoulders of Rex Grossman, but due to the fact that he spent 3 seasons on the bench constantly injured and let the Bears without the "need" for a new QB. They thought they had one waiting in the wings and never bothered to go after other QBs in Free Agency and the Draft. The Bears could have gone after Big Ben, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Jason Campbell. Also, perhaps they would have drafted Rodgers or Campbell instead of Cedric Benson, yet another bad draft choice in Chicago Bears History.

Since that Pick the Bears are a deceiving 44-38 in the regular season (2-2 postseason). The numbers are deceiving as the Bears special teams and defense have pulled Grossman out of a few games and made up for his mistakes. Enter Kyle Orton.

Detroit Lions - January 9, 2001
The Detroit Lions, coming off of a 9-7 season, hire former player and Radio/TV Commentator Matt Millen to run the team. In his first 4 seasons as Team President the Lions went 11-48, at which point many figured Millen's contract was due to be terminated. And they were right, as he was signed to a 5 year extension and made him the 2nd highest paid GM in the NFL.

Since originally signing Millen the Lions are 26-84 and have finished last 4 times and 2nd to last 3 times. They have also made about "A Millen" bad draft and free agency choices (get it). Also, reports say that the Lions are trying out Former Bear and future inmate #45918235 Cedric Benson.

Green Bay Packers - August 7, 2008
Not often is getting rid of your Hall of Fame QB a good decision, but as I said in the past the Packers needed to go in a different direction. Now as a Bears fan I constantly said that I wanted them to keep Favre. Chicago is 7 of the last 8 against the Pack averaging over 2 Takeaways per game, off of Favre alone. So when the Packers finally got rid of their Hall of Fame QB, they finally got the "will he won't he" monkey off of their back. Instead of having to waver and wonder whether or not he would be back for another year and leaving the team to actually make plans and not have to change them.

Since getting rid of the Favre monkey they Packers are 2-1 and Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 796 yds 4 TDs/0 INTs and a rushing TD meanwhile Favre and the Jets are 1-2 and Favre has thrown for 646 yds 6 TDs and a glaring 3 INTs and a fumble in typical Favre fashion.

Minnesota Vikings - October 31, 2004
The 5-1 Minnesota Vikings came into that Halloween game against the Giants leading the NFC North. The Giants defense picked apart the Vikings and at halftime Moss (with 0 receptions in the game) came out for the game and wound up sitting the next 3. The Vikings went 1-2 during that stretch narrowly defeating the Lions 22-19. They finished the rest of that season with a 3-7 record and lost to the Eagles in the 2nd round of the Playoffs.

Since that game the Vikings are 27-34 in the regular season and 1-1 in the post season. Randy Moss was gone after the '04 campaign and Culpepper had one of his worst statistical seasons in '05. Hopefully for Nordic fans, Adrian Peterson will remain healthy and Gus Frerotte is the prodigal son.

NFC South:
Atlanta Falcons - May 22, 2001
The NFL Decided to realign their divisions and everyone was thrilled (except Cardinals fans since they were going to lose their Dallas Cowboys gate). The Teams were where they were supposed to be. The Cardinals left the NFC East for the NFC West. And the Falcons left the NFC West for the NFC South. The realignment went into effect in the 2002 season and over the ensuing 5 years, each team that finished last in the NFC South finished first the next year...which means that they aren't going to finish first the year after. Also going into the 2002 season the Atlanta Falcons lost the original Dirty Bird in Jamal Anderson to retirement due to injury.

Since the 2002 season the Falcons are 46-52-1 in the regular season and 2-2 in the playoffs, but they are 2-1 right now and they did finish last in 2007. Are they destined to continue the 5 year long worst to first division streak? Or will they blow it?

Carolina Panthers - Exempt
The only exempt team on the list. The Panthers have only been around a short time and for the most part are just under .500 with a couple of deep playoff runs. They're 632 in the playoffs and have been to the NFC Championship 3 times, and the Super Bowl once. They haven't won but they are 2-1 this season. Other than a few meager years in the late 90s/00s where they went 20-44 they have been largely successful in their short Tenure. The Panthers are safe. If they go one and win the Super Bowl or have moderate success this year perhaps we can look back on Delhomme's return.

New Orleans Saints - September 16, 1967
Who can forget the 'Aints and their paper bag covered fans. The Saints spent so many years below mediocrity it's hard to narrow it down to a specific date, time, person, or game. They have 14 seasons at .500 or better and 6 of those 14 were at .500. Meanwhile they also have 14 seasons with double digit losses. So where do we put the blame. They've only won 2 (out of only 8) playoff games in their history. Oh and that stretches back to 1967. I guess then we could place the blame for the Saints futility on the secret backroom politics of Pete Rozelle, who wanted his brainchild NFL-AFL Merger to happen. So he awarded a team to New Orleans. But it actually doesn't date that far back instead it is Game 1 of the New Orleans Saints storied Franchise history. In their Inaugural Game Rookie John Gilliam returned the Saints Opening Kickoff, the first in the Franchise history, for a Touchdown. And as we all know and preach, never return the opening kick for a Touchdown. Ask Devin Hester and Ted Gin Jr. how that worked out for them.

Since Gilliam returned that kick for a TD the Saints are 255-368-5 and 2-6 in the postseason. They've never been to the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - March 13, 2003
Coming off of a Super Bowl win, the first in Franchise history the Bucs decided to cut their Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson. As far as I could find twice before a team lost/cut their MVP. Larry Brown in Dallas and Desmond Howard in Green Bay. What happened to those teams? Dallas lost in the 2nd round after going 10-6 and beginning their decline. Green Bay cut Desmond Howard and went on to lose the Super Bowl and fade into mediocrity. What did the Bucs think was going to happen?

Since releasing MVP Dexter Jackson the Bucs are 38-45 and 0-2 in the playoffs.

NFC East:
Dallas Cowboys - January 5, 1997
Sure the Cowboys have won the NFC East twice and have taken 2nd 3 times in that 11 year span. But that's not why this day was so bad for the Boys. The Cowboys were still celebrating their 1995 Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and thought there was no chance they wouldn't win it again. Especially going up against the Sophomore Carolina Panthers who were playing in their second ever season and first playoff run. Well the Panthers closed out the Cowboys which led to the disastrous 1997 Cowboy season and enter Chan Gailey.

Since that playoff loss to the Panthers the Cowboys are 89-90 and more importantly they are 0-5 in the playoffs. They are 3-0 this year but I guess it doesn't matter if they go 16-0 since chances are they'll drop the 1st game of the playoffs, again.

New York Giants - December 2, 2007
If the Giants had lost the Super Bowl (or not made it that far) last year than many people would be keying on the Rivers Manning Trade in the 2004 NFL Draft as the downhill moment. But Manning went Manning and went crazy, like he forgot he was Eli Manning and won the Super Bowl orchestrating a great drive to win the game against the undefeated Patriots. Instead the Giants are looking like the Real Deal and Peyton and Eli seemed to have switched jerseys and teams. In that game against the Bears Eli was having one of, if not the worst game of his career. A loss and he might have seen the bench for good. Eli had 2 INTs and a Fumble and the G-Men were getting beat by the Bears. Going into the 4th Quarter the Giants were down 16-7 and looking Bad. Then the Giants went 77 and 75 yards for a pair of TDs and the Win on the Road in frosty Soldier Field.

Since that game the Giants are 10-2 (8-0 on the road) and oh yeah, they beat the unbeatable Patriots, and Packers, and Cowboys to win the Super Bowl last year with Eli playing out of his mind.

Philadelphia Eagles - February 6, 2005
3 words. Super Bowl Hangover. The Eagles went to not one, not two, but THREE straight Conference champions losing each time just a game shy of the Super Bowl. Then in 2004 They finally went for the first time since 1980. They had McNabb and TO coming off of a broken leg. They lost to the Pats (video taping?) and suffered the Super Bowl Hangover that most Super Bowl losers have.

Since then they are 26-25 and 1-1 in their lone playoff appearance. They've had to deal with plenty of injuries and issues but have looked good so far in '08.

Washington Redskins - February 3, 1994
Ah the Skins, a soft spot in my heart (Craig Hughes and of course THE Trident Bar and Grill in Tucson/Uncle Nelly's Old Bay Cafe). How to pick a date when it all went downhill. How about following the terrible 4-12 Richie Petitbon season. Something had to be done and Norv Turner was the guy for the Skins. So they hired away the Cowboy Offensive Coordinator. All things looked grand for the Skins and they would return to the glory brought by retired Head Coach Joe Gibbs.

Since then Turner went Norv Turner and compiled a 46-59-1 record going to the playoffs only once. The Redskins since that day have recovered slightly but haven't returned to glory just yet. They are 99-124-1 overall since hiring Norv and his ensuing coaches and are 2-3 overall in three trips to the playoffs.

More after the jump...

Heisman Busters: Week 4

Named after the now common phrase BCS Buster, lets take a look at Week 4 performances that might prove to be Heisman Busters.

Note: I have decided that I will use the ESPN Heisman watch as the radar for players, and strive to bring you guys that are not on the list but should be. Once they have made ESPN’s list I will take them off my reports and let the “real” media keep you informed.

In Week One I listed Mark Sanchez, Max Hall, and Jahvid Best as the players to watch for.
Sanchez was an easy pick as it was only a matter of time before USC picked up some momentum and the main behind the helm was acknowledge, and he was.

Max Hall was my sleeper pick, but I have been hyping his chance at the bronze stiff arm as well as BYU’s BCS Busting hopes. Finally, ESPN has recognized him and he is legitimately in the running . To quote myself from Week One’s article “Hall has a chance to be this years Colt Brennan. That is to say that a Non-BCS QB could break into the hunt if they can finish out their season undefeated.” Those dreams are still alive.

Jahvid Best: I talked about Best and his upstart Cal squad who was looking to break into the Top 25. They did, Best spent a week on ESPN’s Heisman watch and then both dropped out after week three. No surprises here, he is off the Buster’s list as well.

Week Two saw a number of players on watch, but none of them are in the running besides Penn State’s Evan Royster.

Royster’s Stats
Week 4: 9 Car 73 YDs 1 TD 1 Rec 12 YD
Season: 47 Car 379 YDs 7 TD
Why and Why Not?: With the continuing disappoint of The Ohio State University, Penn State continues to beat teams big. Their schedule hasn’t been anything to write home about, but I believe they may be the best team in the Big 10. Royster is splitting carries with freshman back Stephfon Green, but still continues to put up numbers averaging around 8 YDs per carry. Penn State’s first real test will be this Saturday when they host Illinois, which will be interesting to see how Royster performs against their toughest competition thus far.

Week 4:
There are a couple of surprising players that haven’t made the national spotlight early in this 2008 season, and I think we all need to be aware of what they are doing on the field.

RB Donald Brown: UConn
Week 4: 34 Car 150 Yds 2 TD
Season: 113 Car 716 Yds 10 TD
Why and Why Not?: The Huskies are 4-0 and are playing in a Big East conference that appears to be South Florida’s to lose. Brown is averaging 179 yards a game, and really making a statement both for himself and his team. Unfortunately, UConn has a tough schedule from here on out. They will face Louisville, North Carolina, Rutgers, Syracuse , and South Florida all of which are on the road. If he can still post these numbers down the stretch against these teams on the road, there should be Heisman talks.

RB Javon Ringer: Michigan State
Week 4: 39 Car 201 YDs 2 TD
Season: 143 Car 699 YDs 11 TD
Why and Why Not?: The Spartans are better than everyone thinks, and they proved it against Notre Dame. Granted that shouldn’t be the crowning achievement on your resume, but beating the Irish 23-7 does make a statement. Michigan State is sitting at 3-1 with their only loss coming from their road opener against Cal (38-31). Their remaining schedule isn’t as bad as it could be, hosting Ohio State and Wisconsin, while going on the road to match up against Penn State and Michigan. Ringer has proven that he is the heart of this team. If they keep playing above expectations they will take a lot of teams by surprise and open some doors for themselves.

QB David Johnson: Tulsa
Week 4: 24/39 469 YDs 3 TD 2 Int
Season: 69/96 1219 YDs 15 TD 2 Int 225.93 Rating
Why and Why Not?: Conference USA. It really is that simple. We already have one QB from a Non-BCS conference that has solidified his spot in the running, and there really isn’t room for two.

Special Recognition:
CB Glover Quinn: New Mexico
Quinn had both interceptions against Johnson, giving him three on the season. He is also the biggest reason why the Lobos were able to beat Arizona in Week 3. I had not seen a Corner control a game the way he did in a long time. Quinn made key plays when they needed them, and proved that games are not always just a matter of statistics. I was disappointed we lost that game, but I have to give it up to the man he is a great athlete.

More after the jump...

To You Weisgipper...

O.K. Weisgipper lets take our little disagreement out of the ally and into the arena.....

You maintain that we unfairly criticize your team The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and that we are "homer's" for our "mild-cats" as you so eloquently put it. I will freely admit that I am a nutcase, over the top, biased as hell WILDCAT fan, but I am also a realist. I have criticized much about our proud program and even agreed with you that we are a mid level D-1 team at best in past posts...But you sir, the bastion of honest and balanced analysis take exception to what we have said or done to soil the honor that belongs to touchdown Jesus and the golden dome.

I feel like maybe I can help you find your sanity and regain some of the respect and friends you must surely have lost in your life over these delusions of grandeur...with out further adieu I present the evidence(duh-duh duuhhhhhhhh)

Exhibit A: The stats of the so called Mild-cats as of the completion of week 4

per gameNCAAPAC10

Total Offense
423.5 yds36th5th
Total Defense
221.8 yds7th2nd
Points Scored
42.5 pts14th4th
Points Allowed
15.5 pts29th2nd

36th nationally on total offense, 14th in scoring offense...wow

7th in total defense....that's just preposterous, surely something is wrong here

Lets see exhibit B the stats of the proud, tradition filled, TV time deserving IRISH

per gameNCAAIA

Total Offense
286.7 yds106th3rd
Total Defense
359.7 yds69th2nd
Points Scored
21 pts89th3rd
Points Allowed
17.7 pts36th1st

Uh-oh one of us appears to be better....I won't rub your nose in it man...clearly it's because you guys are playing so many quality opponents while we are playing cupcakes.

We beat Idaho 70-0...they suck I'd compare them to, Oh I dunno...San Diego State who lost to Cal-Poly before losing to Notre Dame...Notre Dame dominated the mighty Aztecs and pulled out the convincing win 21-13...Clearly a case of homer-ism

How about your dominating performance against the storied program in Ann Arbor, big time college football folks...How was that not on two networks at once to handle the public clamoring for more coverage...We'll compare your victory over Michigan to ours over...Toledo who gave #25 Fresno St all it could handle this weekend....We beat Toledo 41-16, you beat the mighty might Wolverines 35-17....Wow that also seems close...again let's not let the facts speak lets just assume that I made all this up.

Bottom line is this - Notre Dame is a FARCE...they do not deserve to be on TV every week and you Mr.Weisgipper are exactly the reason that 99% of the world hates Notre Dame...Your sense of false entitlement and inflated worth are scary...I hope you find a quiet little corner to spend your happy time, because yours is with out question a lonely existence...Your arguments all resemble your coach at the moment....Lame

P.S. - Our ESPN analyst's son was a 1st round draft pick, yours is in some trouble.

Originally posted by Matt Randle "El". I, Dom, deleted and edited the piece and have nothing to say negative about the Irish.

More after the jump...

Monday, September 22, 2008

More things to hang on the fridge door

After an outstanding performance this weekend at the Rose Bowl some of our boys in Red and Blue have been recognized by the PAC-10 as the outstanding players of the week in their respective areas of play.

First off Corey Hall, Jr. DB from DeSoto, TX has received the PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Week award for his outstanding performance against UCLA this past weekend. Hall posted "six tackles, four solo, including one quarterback sack and broke up two passes, leading Arizona's defensive effort. The Wildcat defense did not allow a touchdown and limited UCLA to 11 first downs and 196 yards of total offense (115 rushing, 81 passing)."

On the Special Teams side of things Money Mike Thomas receives the Special Teams Player of the Week award. "Thomas, a senior also from DeSoto, Texas, had 257 all-purpose yards against UCLA, including 107 yards on six punt returns (17.8), with three of the returns setting up Arizona touchdowns. Hall and Thomas were teammates at DeSoto (Texas) High School."

It should be noted that Rob Gronkowski was a runner up for the Offensive Player of the Week award after his two touchdown performance.

More after the jump...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

World Series Possiblities

We all remember the Subway Series back in 2000, and those of you old enough to remember there have been more than a few other Subway Series when New York had 3 or 4 teams to choose from. But out in the Midwest and West there haven't been as many match-ups. Los Angeles has had 2 MLB teams since 1961 and only once have both teams been in the same playoffs (2004) and they have never met in the World Series. As for Chicago the two teams have been in existence in the same league for over 100 years and have actually met in the World Series in 1906 and the Southsiders took home the title over the Cubs.

Well this year could be an historic year for the MLB as both of these options look like they could happen. All four teams lead their respective divisions. The Angles clinched their division last week. With a Cubs win over 2nd place Milwaukee last night their magic number dropped to 4 with 2 more against the Brewers, and have all but locked up the Wild Card. White Sox are much closer as their lead is down to 2.5 with 12 to play and the Wild Card out of reach. Lastly, the Dodgers have a 4.5 game cushion over the slumping DBacks in the NL West with 11 to play and the Wild Card is out of reach.

Potentially this year we could see either an Freeway Series on the I-5 between Stadium Way and Orangewood or an El Series on the Red Line between 35th and Addison, so you will most likely see these everywhere:

More after the jump...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Heisman Hopefuls: Week 3

Week 3 has come and gone and most of my Heisman Hopefuls (same list since March) have at least 2 games under their belt so it is time to start eliminating names off of the list of Bronze Stiff Arm Candidates. As always you can refer to the Bronze Stiff Arm Link at the bottom of the article for the past few lists.

Todd Boeckman, QB - Ohio State
14/27 - 87 yds - 2 TDs/0 INTs - 81.22 QB Rating
Through 3 Games:
44/66 - 381 yds - 2 TDs/2 INTs - 119.1 QB Rating
With the loss against USC on Saturday Todd Boeckman looked a lot more like the Boeckman we saw against Ohio which started to worry Buckeye Faithful. There are clamors for Freshman Phenom Terrelle Pryor to step in, can't remember the last time a Heisman Candidate was being pressured by a True Freshman backup.

Sam Bradford, QB - Oklahoma
18/28 - 304 yds - 5 TDs/0 INTs - 285.88 QB Rating - 1 Rush - 1 yd - 1 TD

Jimmy Clausen, QB - Notre Dame
10/21 - 147 yds - 2 TDs/2 INTs - 118.8 QB Rating
Through 2 Games:
31/55 - 384 yds - 5 TDs/4 INTs - 130.47 QB Rating
Despite the win over Michigan Jimmy is out of the running. Though 2-0 with a weak schedule, Notre Dame will not be in the National Spotlight, beyond their typical overexposure, and his numbers aren't enough to garner National Award Recognition.

Michael Crabtree, WR - Texas Tech
8 Receptions - 164 yds - 3 TDs

Chase Daniel, QB - Missouri
23/28 - 405 yds - 4 TDs/0 INTs - 250.78 QB Rating - 1 Rush - 12 yds - 0 TDs

Noel Devine, RB - West Virginia

Graham Harrell, QB - Texas Tech
31/48 - 418 yds - 5 TDs/0 INTs - 172.11 QB Rating

P.J. Hill, RB - Wisconsin
26 Rushes - 112 yds - 0 TDs

Ian Johnson, RB - Boise State
13 Rushes - 97 yds - 2 TDs - 1 Reception - 10 yds - 0 TDs - 1 KR - 25 yds

Kellen Lewis, QB - Indiana

Jeremy Maclin, WR - Missouri
6 Receptions - 172 yds - 3 TDs - 4 PR - 23 yds - 2 KR - 39 yds

Ryan Mallet, QB - Michigan

Colt McCoy, QB - Texas

LeSean "Shady" McCoy, RB - Pittsburgh

Joe McKnight, RB - Southern California
12 Rushes - 105 yds - 0 TDs

Knowshon Moreno, RB - Georgia
20 Rushes - 79 yds - 1 TD - 2 Receptions - 13 yds - 0 TDs - 1 PR - 32 yds

Ryan Perrilloux, QB - Lousiana State

Mark Sanchez, QB - Southern California
17/28 - 172 yds - 4 TDs/1 INT - 152.31 QB Rating

Matthew Stafford, QB - Georgia
15/25 - 146 yds - 0 TDs/0 INTs - 109.6 QB Rating - 8 Rushes - 15 yds - 0 TDs

Tim Tebow, QB - Florida

Mike Thomas, WR - Arizona
12 Receptions - 136 yds - 1 TD - 2 KR - 40 yds

Willie Tuitama, QB - Arizona
27/50 - 321 yds - 3 TDs/2 INTs - 119.73 QB Rating

Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB - Ohio State

Pat White, QB - West Virginia

Isiah "Juice" Williams, QB - Illinois
13/25 - 147 yds - 1 TD/1 INT - 106.59 QB Rating - 11 Rushes - 35 yds

If I were to give the Award today, based on 3 weeks, my recipients would be:

Week 3 Winner:
Sam Bradford, QB - Oklahoma
18/28 - 304 yds - 5 TDs/0 INTs - 285.88 QB Rating - 1 Rush - 1 yd - 1 TD

Winner after 3 weeks:
Sam Bradford, QB - Oklahoma
64/81 - 882 yds - 12 TDs/2 INTs - 214.43 QB Rating - 4 Rushes - 4 yds - 1 TD

As I mentioned before I am sticking with my original list of names so Jahvid Best, Javon Ringer, Max Hall, and the others who deserve to be on this list aren't. Look for 4 Real's Heisman Busters column where those fellas will be mentioned in detail.

More after the jump...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Abdul Gaddy Committs to Arizona Again

Well it is official, again. The 6’3 170 pound point guard out of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma Washington has committed to the University of Arizona for next season. Scout.com has him ranked as a 5 star caliber player, and the 2nd ranked point guard in the recruiting class. It came down to point guard U and UCLA, and Lute won out.

Gaddy who had decommitted to Arizona in May because of the coaching changes, has apparently been shown that Lute is here to stay and that Arizona is the place from him. There is no doubt that he will make an immediate impact on our Cats, and were glad to have him back on board, again.

So yes Randle, according to my sources they did do a good enough job of reassuring Gaddy that spending a couple years in Tucson is the right decision.

4Real Out...

More after the jump...

Lute Olson under NCAA investigation

In keeping with the over all theme of bad luck and bull $h!t surrounding the storied Wildcat coach and program the Tucson Citizen broke this story today.

Any other program, any other coach and this goes away as if nothing ever happened. This is at face value an honest mistake that has already been handled, but Coach Olson has been so nasty to the media and will probably been answering about this for a while. I know he has every right to dislike the beat writers and the national pundits that keep telling him he is to old and has lost his edge, but you should avoid picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel and paper by the ton. I hope this blows over, my gut tells me it won't.

All the while we are still waiting to hear if Lute and his new staff did a good enough job reassuring Abdul Gaddy that the controversy and turmoil surrounding the program and coaching staff is over...OOPS, do you think Ben Howland hasn't all ready called this kid and let him know that no matter what Lute said to him it is still a mess at Arizona.

More after the jump...

College Football Top 25 Poll: Week 3....

...Now with 25% less Pac-10.

Week 3 is going to give us our first major shakeups of the season in The Beardown College Football Top 25 Poll. Work has been hectic today so not much analysis, just know that I should have waited until week 3 to make my Top 25 predictions since a good portion of the teams I have had in here didn't play too well yesterday. It could be worse, I could have had Michigan in my Top 25 (USA Today Coaches Poll).

1(1). USC Trojans
Number one again and not only furthering themselves from the Pac-10 but the rest of the nation as well. They have, by far, played the toughest non-conference schedule of the rest of the Top 25 (other than ECU). USC is the real deal...until they blow an easy Pac-10 game sometime later in the year (2003 - California, 2006 - Oregon State, 2007 - Stanford, 2008 - Arizona?)

2(2). Oklahoma Sooners
It may have been a lowly Pac-10 school but 55-14 is convincing in anyone's book.

3(3). Florida Gators

4(6). Missouri Tigers
They leapfrogged AN Ohio State University and Georgia to take the up for grabs 3 spot. I don't care if it was Nevada Jeremy Maclin and Chase Daniel are just too good. Big XII play will be exciting this year.

5(5). Georgia Bulldogs
I considered moving them up with AN Ohio State University's loss, but bottom line was 14-7 over SoCar wasn't as impressive as Mizzou's Saturday performance. Unluckily for them, a Win over ASU next week won't do as much to launch their season as they may have hoped. They need the teams ahead of them to fall and spotless SEC play to make it to the Big Game.

6(7). Texas Tech Red Raiders
Maintaining, although they have put up 127 points, I expected more out of their offense against Eastern Michigan, Nevada, and Southern Methodist.

7(9). LSU Tigers
They move up due to AN Ohio State University loss and an unimpressive Auburn performance. Oh and they beat North Texas, but who cares, Play someone already.

8(10). Texas Longhorns

9(11). Wisconsin Badgers
The new Top Big Eleven team. A nice road win at Fresno State and they make it into the Top Ten.

10(16). Brigham Young Cougars
59-0 over UCLA. Outplayed them in ever single facet of the game. That meeting with Utah at the end of the season could be the biggest game in MWC history.

11(8). Auburn Tigers
3-2 over Mississippi State. 15 of the 18 Baseball games played on Saturday had a combined higher score, the remaining three each combined for 5 points as well: 3-2 (Reds v. Backs) 3-2 (Braves v. Mets) and 5-0 (Braves v. Mets). Not impressive.

12(14). Alabama Crimson Tide
It came down to ECU and Bama right here and despite ECU's resume I gave the edge to Bama due to the most recent performance.

13(13). East Carolina Pirates
Had they played a little bit stronger against 0-2 Tulane they would have jumped to 11, but a 28-24 victory didn't impress. I think that their slipper has a short shelf life especially with the recent injury to Star Linebacker Quentin Cotton.

14(4). AN Ohio State University
10 spot slip after getting blown out by #1 team sans Heisman RB. Would Beanie have made a difference. Absolutely. Would Ohio State have won with Beanie? Absolutely Not. The Big Eleven is starting to look like the Little Eleven. When do you start Pryor if you're the vest?

15(17). Oregon Ducks
Eeking out a game against Purdue (32-26) and losing a QB sohuld be a scary sight for Oregon fans, unless 4Real is right by thinking that Masoli should be in there anyway.

16(18). Penn State Nittany Lions
They're doing what they've gotta do, we'll see how real they are come Little Eleven conference play. I'm still not sold on them just yet.

17(21). South Florida Bulls
Great game against Kansas on Friday. A solid home "upset" over an outmatched Reesing and Co. Maybe they aren't just a one-year wonder.

18(12). Kansas Jayhawks
They lost to a better South Florida team. With Conference play aroud the corner don't expect Kansas to get much higher than this without a couple of really well played games.

19(19). Clemson Tigers
Pretty run of the mill 27-9 victory over NC State.

20(20) Wake Forest Demon Deacons

21(25). Utah Utes
Moving up a few spots, doesn't matter if it was Utah State (a bottom feeder) they looked clean and crisp. Like I said, the match-up with BYU should be the difference between a BCS bid.

22(UR). Illinois Fighting Illini
Survived a tough one against what should have been an outmanned opponent (LaLaf). That Illinois defense needs to get a fire under their Ass to have a chance at the Little Eleven title.

23(15). Arizona State Sun Devils
USC has clearly made a case for the National Championship, or at the very worst, the Rose Bowl, and Oregon having a step up on ASU, the Devils are going to need something big to happen to get back into the national spotlight. A Home game against a Georgia team that hasn't played a lot of top competition could be their only hope. Unless the same team that lost to UNLV steps on the field.

24(24). Tennessee Volunteers

25(23). Fresno State Bulldogs
Hung in there with (now) #9 Wisconsin, lost by 3 at Home in a tough game. The Bulldogs stick in there one more week.

Outside looking in:
Florida State Seminoles, Kentucky Wildcats, Boise State Broncos, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Oklahoma State Cowboys, West Virginia Mountaineers.

As Always:
Week 1
Week 2

More after the jump...

Searching for Roses: Pac-10 Woes

The weekend was bad. The kind of bad where six of the loudest, most obnoxious guys are watching in silence. The kind of weekend that makes you remember the reason why being a fan is so hard, where your perfect season is taken away from you and replaced by the backhand of reality. It can’t really be that bad though can it? The Pac-10 went 0-4 against the Mountain West this weekend, while USC put on a clinic against two time defending runner up Ohio State.

To Recap:
UCLA’s ego takes a huge hit when they fall 59-0 to BYU in their worst loss since 1929.

Arizona State proves talent isn’t everything when they lose in OT to UNLV at home 23-20.

CAL, one team I have been talking up as a rising stock in the Pac got manhandled by
Maryland in a score that was way closer than the actual game looked live: 35-27

Washington State 45 Baylor 17: There is really nothing to say here, WASU who may be one of the most underrated teams in the last 10 years doesn’t look like it now.

Washington not to be outdone by their State School counterparts takes a 55-14 beating from Oklahoma.

Stanford traveled to TCU to come home with a 31-14 loss.

Finally, our own University of Arizona went into Albuquerque and left with a 36-28 loss, their second consecutive loss to the Lobos.

How do you pick contenders for the Rose Bowl? Oregon looks like a legit contender for the honors, but a close game against Purdue doesn’t exactly bode well for their longevity. The main cause for concern for the Ducks is the fact the Roper left the game with an injury, again. Masoli has looked solid, and I’m not sure that he isn’t the better option regardless of Roper’s health.

If Oregon is at the top, then the entire state of Washington is at the bottom. The Huskies and the Cougars have no chance at contention at this point.

Then we have the middle of the pack: Cal, Arizona, Arizona State.

How the Schedules look:
Cal only has three road games remaining, having to travel to USC and Arizona.
Arizona State has to go on the road to face Cal, Arizona, and USC.
Arizona has four road Pac-10 games this season: UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, and WASU.

At this point it is almost impossible to differentiate, but it looks like Arizona State has the toughest road ahead of them especially after how they looked this weekend. Cal has a lot of home matches this year, but their two road games will be no easy task. Arizona has a difficult road ahead of them as well, but I think those games are more manageable than the other two programs.

Pac-10 play really kicks in this weekend and it will be interesting to see what kind of damage the programs can do to each other’s records. This season is looking rough.

4Real Out....

More after the jump...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wildcat News and Notes

You may not realize it Wildcat fans but this weekend could have a huge impact on our beloved teams for years to come. Here is the latest News and Notes coupled with my opinions which no wanted in the first place.....

First things first; FOOTBALL: We haven't been 3-0 in Mike Stoops entire tenure, nor certainly in John Maco-sukcs either...it has been since Dick Tomey was the head coach that we have been 3-0. That's huge by itself, but the fact of the matter is New Mexico is a lower middle tier team in D-1 football, which is where we have been stuck the last 2 seasons. Those teams do not get Bowl Bids very often if at all as we know all to well. New Mexico beat us last year and not only do we want revenge we need to prove we are moving up and are capable of beating a mid level team that is having a bad year so far. This game is a statement game, make no mistake about it, don't let UCLA distract you from two weeks out. Win this as we are EXPECTED to and feel good about handling 3 teams that you are supposed to beat if you are a bowl caliber team. Lose this and suddenly Mike Stoops will feel his seat start to heat back up in a hurry. Remember, New Mexico isn't a push over, they are not as talented as we are but the will execute because they are well coached by Rocky Long, just like they were last year when they took us out behind the wood shed and whipped our butts.

Football side notes:

Terrel Resse got suspended for last weeks game over academic issues and decided to use his free Friday evening to get hammered drunk and back his car into a wall and then run over the air/water machine at the Circle K on 6th across from the stadium. He is now out indefinitely as far as I have heard.

Mike Turner is suspended for the season and while mums the word on why officially I have it on good word he got caught indulging in the hippy lettuce and sure enough the NCAA guidelines on these matters calls for a season long suspension.

Lolomana Mikaele has been suspended for both games so far and I have not heard how long he will continue to be in the ol' doghouse at this point. Word is he is in some academic trouble as well.

These shouldn't be to big of deals though, Turner was a 3rd string corner at this point after switching back from WR last year. Mikaele could be used at DT but he isn't a proven commodity just a warm body in the rotation. Resse was the starter at the outside receiver position but true Freshman Juron Criner has been the surprise of the season so far and made everyone forget anyone was missing.

2nd Issue of the Weekend:

Abdul Gaddy is here on his official visit. He is "THE" PG in the class of 2009, the only 5 star recruit we are recruiting at the moment, a prior commit to us and our competition for his services is UCLA. If we lose this kid we have no one to blame but ourselves(Insert coaching staff) as he has said all along that the U of A is his dream school and he just isn't sure if we are the same school he dreamed of with all the scandal and question marks surrounding our Coaches. Meanwhile enter Ben Howland with 3 other 4 or 5 star guards in the 2009 class all ready signed working against him, yet we still haven't sealed the deal with this kid. If we can not get Gaddy to re-commit to us, it may be time to talk seriously about the decline of this program. I have defended every move papa Lute has made so far but his handling of this entire situation is confusing at best. We have now signed four 3 star recruits in the last two months. We have lost a 5 star and two 4 star recruits in that same span. I have made excuses so far and put my faith behind the Silver Foxes wisdom and track record. I can only hope I will be rewarded for my faith. This is a kid that we have pursued hard for 3 years...make no mistakes about it...if we don't land Abdul Gaddy we got beat by a program with less to offer on account of the doubts surrounding Lute. Fingers crossed, Mid-Night Lute will strike again and my cup of faith will be replenished and over flowing.

Basket Ball side notes:

Pick up ball has been going on for a few weeks now and from what I have heard and read it is your normal no defense stuff with very little to be taken from away in terms of evaluation. However I have heard that that the team seems more relaxed and seems to be actually having fun out there which is a real change from last season.

More after the jump...

Calling All Fans

Attention College Football fans, we're asking for a little bit of help here. We want to hear from you and see you and your friends tailgating, BBQ-ing and going to football games. We've all seen The Hoff videos by now (posted by 4Real on the 5th, posted on Deadspin and other sites on the 7th, 8th, and 9th) and that got us thinking about you, the fans in the stands going to games. Send us all of your favorite pictures and videos (old or new) of your College Football games. Whether it's at a friends BBQ watching the game or live in the stands, it doesn't matter to us. We want to put together the Ultimate Fan Album. Submissions can be sent to thebeardown@gmail.com.

We will post the best pics and videos in the future so send us your submissions. Obviously if you've got baseball, basketball, or any other College Sport under the sun go ahead and send them in.

More after the jump...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Brady's Injury: Bookmark and Send to Your Favorite Patriots Fan

If you hate Tom Brady, and we know you do, then you will definitely enjoy this video. This was sent to us by the guys over at Rotohog who are probably loving the fact that fantasy football owners (hopefully from New England) are in absolute panic mode. It makes me smile just thinking about it.

More after the jump...