Monthly Archives: October 2010

Dark Days In Miami (NBA Preview)

Lebron James... welcome to the darkside.

So… anything interesting happen in the NBA since last June?

Unless you’ve been under a rock then you know about the Miami Heat trying to buy their way to a championship. Sorry if I sound a little bit bitter while writing this. Keep in mind I live in Ohio now and in case you haven’t been attention again these people aint happy LeBron James dipped out on them to Miami. Of course I didn’t care about it much, I’m a Knicks fan WE GOT AMARE STOUDEMIRE IN THE GREAT SUMMER OF 2010… (Crickets chirp).

Back to James and Cleveland and everything in between. The controversy surrounding the decision and what was said in the aftermath I have already covered, the funny thing about it is how it continues to linger as Miami rises to the top of everyone’s list and Cleveland is in the running for Harrison Barnes in next year’s draft.

Cleveland number one has to get over it. It’s happened, there’s nothing you can do about it. LeBron is the new Art Modell a get that, but LeBron didn’t do anything for you all other than block some shots, dunks some balls and have a puppet. He hit one game-winning shot in his entire career and that was against mighty Golden State. In other words you had the new age Dominique Wilkins playing for you. I know the Q won’t be the same on game nights but you gotta let this go.

As for LeBron… well… he needs a new PR guy. I think I’ve learned that LeBron, the attention hog that he is really isn’t that smart when it comes to the media. The GQ interview where he stated that no one in Akron like Cleveland, fail. The reposting of hateful tweets, fail. The promise that he’s taking mental notes and it’s pushing him harder than before (until he gets to the playoffs and fizzles again), fail. I can’t believe this but we’ve actually found a sensitive athlete who cares more about perception of himself than anything to replace Alex Rodriguez.

First off this whole monster was his creation. From not being honest about free agency from the jump, to The Decision, to that interesting commercial that was just released where he goes off on everyone and says he won’t be what you want him to be. I’m sorry LeBron that all we wanted you to be was the media hyped sensation that you created by taking Jordan’s number, calling yourself “The Chosen One” and then fleeing to Miami with a big middle finger to the 216. See the bitterness is still there and I’m not even a Cavs fan.

(Side note: LeBron’s “Rise” commercial, and Tiger Woods’s commercial after his return from the incident that he still refuses to discuss were the most uneasy, uncomfortable and biggest ego stroking moments of two athletes who aint too well liked right now. What’s next? The Ben Roethlisberger commercial where he confesses some of his missteps in the last year? Nike, just sell some damn shoes.)

Sick of them yet? I am.

LeBron isn’t the only star than played a city, While Chris Bosh has about as much affiliation with Toronto as I do with Baltimore the way he put on a dog and pony show in front of them reeks of discrepancy. It’s not like Bosh ever won anything either, Bosh is a mid-level star who just so happened to be in the same draft as his two new teammates James and Wade. Bosh couldn’t carry the Raptors to the playoffs let alone carry himself to elite status so he decided to join forces and be Ringo to James and Wade’s Paul and Lennon. The whole thing was plotted ever since they won gold in the Olympics and the last two years they’ve been doing things to hide the scent of their obvious trail. The scenario wreaks of jealousy, greed, sloth and lust…ITS EVIL I TELLS YA!!

I actually had a Facebook status about this awhile ago just as a joke, think about this for a second; three men sign 6 year deals…. To play for the Heat… leave two cities in destruction… all for their own greed and purpose…get it? 3 guys, 3 headed monster, 6 year deals 666? Heat, hell fire? Greed? Destruction? IT’S THE TEAM OF SATAN!!!!

Ok not really but you have to think someone’s not happy about and already the Heat have injury problems from Wade’s hammy to Mike Miller’s injury that has him out until January. So the “Yes We Did” machine has slowed considerably in Miami.

Yet the NBA championship is still the main goal of this team. While they have some competition for the crown, it aint much. The NBA has turned into a 5 team league  with a bunch of exciting players that will wither be like LeBron and join forces with another player to build a contender, or do it the Kevin Durant way, do it yourself like all of the legends did.

While everyone is so excited about the start of the season I could honestly care less. The league isn’t anything special until after the all-star break. Except for LeBron’s return to Cleveland in December I could care less about this season. it’s like my feelings on La Liga, I have to be interested in more than two teams to care about a league, and in the NBA there’s only 5 teams out of 30 that matter, Orlando, Miami, Oklahoma City, Boston and the Lakers (apologies to Dallas but you’re not their yet). While to some it makes for appealing basketball I’m more into the middle tier of teams Chicago, Milwaukee, Portland and the Clippers… yes Clippers I said it.

Come on Blake Griffin is back from injury, Eric Gordon is looking to continue his momentum from a great World Championships  and the team looks like it can be competitive enough to make the playoffs. The Gordon-Griffin combo is especially exciting to watch because of the possibilities  of what could become of these two, just keep in mind, these are the Clippers, anything can happen.

I’m also intrigued by Sacramento with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins leading a young team that could be the next Oklahoma City. There is a ton of young talent in the league in places that they can build up to challenge some of the guard within the next few years. There are some special things brewing in Milwaukee as Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut lead a team that would be a Eastern Conference contender if not for the constant attention given to Miami.

Another team that looks intriguing is Minnesota. Granted they won’t come near the playoffs but they’ll be interesting with a new up tempo style of play and do it all wingman Wesley Johnson flying all over the place.

Kobe aint the only reason to watch games at staples this year

Yeah it sounds nice to give the little guy some pub, but  it is all about the Heat and since Satan’s squad is getting all of the pub here are some angels that could rescue the NBA from the on court Armageddon.

DWIGHT HOWARD

In case you haven’t noticed the Heat have no inside presence at all. Bosh can’t guard any athletic big men, let alone the best center in the game. This has to be the year where Howard stops being so nice and turns into an animal. Even Superman knew when it was time to stop being a Good Samaritan and beat some ass. This is Howard’s time. Florida has been his state for the last three years and he and the Magic are on the verge of being overtaken. If Howard’s offseason workouts were really serious and he did get better then the Magic could make a run back to the finals.

KEVIN DURANT AND OKLAHOMA CITY

I really, really want them to take it to L.A. this year but they are still one year away. Durant is the real deal beyond a shadow of a doubt. He’s the guy that really wants to be the man in the big situation and doesn’t shy away from attention. It doesn’t hurt that he has Russell Westbrook breaking ankles at every turn and Jeff Green doing everything at both ends. With the King settling for becoming a prince Durant is now the man to beat for MVP and the next in line for the title of best in the league.

BOSTON’S BIG THREE

Don’t tell me that they don’t want a shot at Miami’s big 3. Boston might be old but the old legs still have life in them as well as Rajon Rondo running the point. If they stay healthy they get to finals due to their depth, if they break down then Danny Ainge may want to start the rebuilding process.

CARMELO ANTHONY

Did you hear Carmelo wants out of Denver? If you saw what that team was like you would too. Carmelo desperately wants to be a Knick along side of Amare with the possibility of Chris Paul joining them. Now that’s a big three.

But back to Melo for a minute. In that class of 03 with Wade, James and Bosh, Melo always seems to be the forgotten man. He’s t he best pure scorer in the league who whopped LeBron in Cleveland last year with a game winner at the buzzer. Carmelo has the potential of being the best in the league but he needs help more than anyone else. If he becomes a Knick with that much talent and possibly Paul following him than Carmelo may be the man to beat for the next few years.

DERRICK ROSE AND JOAKIM NOAH

Not Batman and Robin, just two dudes who back down from nothing. Come playoff time they’ll bruise the Heat inside and out.

KOBE BRYANT

Yeah, um, I'm still here incase you forgot.

 

Yeah… him… he’s still walking around. Injured or healthy there’s no one better that will bring it night in and out. Who would’ve thought five years ago we’d be talking about Kobe in a better light than LeBron. Kobe is the old-school player that we all admire. He wants the ball late, he plays the best offensive player on the floor, and he fears nothing. He’s also one ring away from matching the man that we all compare him to, Jordan. He knows this. He knows that his time is limited for as long as he’s played and the injuries that are piling up. You also know that none of this mattered as soon as he saw James, Wade and Bosh standing together and saw the entire world claim them as title favorites.

Kobe is a monster. He never forgets anything, ask Shaq. His motivation right is winning a title and if the Heat get in the way then destroy them. Kobe is still the best player in the league no matter who is walking around be it Durant, CP3 or Prince James. He’s also got (in no particular order) Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and a cast of shooters and role players that once again make the Lakers the real team to beat. Betting against Kobe is not smart, no matter whom Miami just acquired.

So sorry Miami for all of your hype, antics, controversies and other offseason craziness you’ve built up you won’t win the NBA title this year. That will once again go to the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers will save the NBA from Satan’s minions and keep the promise of good basketball alive for another year. However, you know evil never sleeps and anything can happen. I just hope it doesn’t involve the Heat in any way possible, they bring the anger out of me as a writer. Guess they’re doing Satan’s work well.

ATLANTIC- BOSTON

CENTRAL- CHICAGO

SOUTHEAST-MIAMI

PLAYOFFS- ORLANDO, ATLANTA, MILWAUKEE, NEW YORK, INDIANA

NORTHWEST- OKLAHOMA CITY

SOUTHWEST- DALLAS

PACIFIC- L.A. LAKERS

PLAYOFFS- UTAH, PORTLAND, CLIPPERS, SAN ANTONIO, HOUSTON

ECF- MIAMI VS. ORLANDO

WCF- LAKERS VS. OKLAHOMA CITY

FINALS- LAKERS VS. ORLANDO

MVP-KEVIN DURANT

6TH MAN- TY LAWSON

DPOY- JOAKIM NOAH

MOST IMPROVED- JRUE HOLIDAY

ROY- BLAKE GRIFFIN

COACH OF THE YEAR- TOM THIBODEAUX

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Thank You Cincinnati… For Nothing

You got some 'splanin to do Marvin.

I would like to send a thank you note to the Cincinnati Bengals. Thank you for making me look like a complete idiot. Thanks for making me believe that you guys would actually contend for a Super Bowl and that you were the team to beat in the AFC. Thanks for once again giving me and your fans a false sense of hope after an active off-season which made your offense look like an all-star team waiting to explode even though you have a mediocre quarterback (note to the reader: I KNEW CARSON PALMER WAS OVERRATED AND EVEN SAID IT AND STILL PICKED THE BENGALS TO WIN THE SUPER BOWL!!! UUUUGGGHHH!!!)

Thanks for roping me in at the end of last year with that supposed great defense that was top 15 in the NFL and that was without Antwan Odom who got injured in the middle of the year while leading the league in sacks. If you saw Sunday’s game versus Atlanta then you would realized that even if they had Lamar Odom they still would be a horrible defense.

Save for a great play by Adam Jones (the artist formally known as Pac-man) the defense got gutted by a potent Falcons offense that rebounded after a tough road loss in Philadelphia. Roddy White shredded the Cincy secondary for 201 yards and Michael Turner ran all over the front 7 to the tune of 121 yards. The defense couldn’t stop the Falcons attack from the jump as Atlanta built a 24-3 lead at the half  then eventually withstood a roaring charge by the Bengals offense to win 39-32. In all honesty, Marvin Lewis’s defensive background has done him no justice in Cincinnati. The man that helmed the Baltimore Ravens dominating defense has not been able to replicate that success in Cincy.

The Bengals have never been ranked in the top ten in total defense during Lewis’s tenure even with high draft picks that they have used for seemingly talented players like Jonathan Joseph, Leon Hall and Ray Maleluga. They can’t get any pressure on the quarterback and have been shredded time and time again.

However, a special shout-out goes to the Cincinnati offense and the aforementioned Carson Palmer. Thanks for making believe that Terrell Owens was the missing piece to your offense (though he has been spectacular). It doesn’t hide the fact that your quarterback is terrible.

Forget the gaudy stats for a minute, Carson Palmer is not an elite quarterback, nor should he be the starter in Cincy after this year. His inconsistent play mixed in with horrible passes have killed the Bengals offensive production all year long. It’s forcing them to be a pass happy team when they really need to feed Cedric Benson like a rabid wolverine. At this point I’m actually waiting for T.O. and Ocho to raise hell and turn on Palmer in an instant.

Roddy White had a field day against the Cincinnati secondary.

If the Bengals have any shot of making a playoff run then it has to begin next week at home versus Miami. The Bengals have to get Benson 25 touches and limit Palmer’s throws. They have to stop the run game of Miami which seems like an impossible task with the number 22 ranked run defense in the league. They have to slow down Brandon Marshall who after a non effective day versus the Steelers yesterday is licking his chops to get at the same secondary that let White go off yesterday. They have to do something to resemble the Super Bowl contender that they were supposed to be, and they have to do it quick.

They trail Pittsburgh by 3 games and still have them twice in the next month, not to mention Baltimore again, New Orleans, Indianapolis and the Jets. That’s 6 potential in-season playoff games that may make or break them.

Matter of fact, I’m changing my mind they won’t turn it around, they’re done. The Bengals will finish 8-8 and begin to rebuild again, a sound far too familiar in the Queen City. The Bengals fooled all of us with their hopes and dreams hiding the inconsistencies and lack of production in areas that now hinder them. I knew this… yet I still picked them to win it all. I don’t know what’s worse the way their playing or me picking them to win it all. Never again.

Special shout-out also goes to these teams for making me look bad:

-San Francisco 1-6. I picked them to win the NFC West, they lost to the worst team in the league after leading by ten. I love Mike Singletary but he may be shown the door at season’s end.

-New Orleans 4-3. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Madden Curse has found Drew Brees. Four picks against the Browns?… THE BROWNS?!

-Minnesota 2-4. Favre should’ve never left his tractor and he knows it. If you saw him after the game on Sunday night then you saw a beaten man who didn’t want to take anymore. He’s a walking Roberto Duran. Unfortunately for him there is still 10 weeks to go.

 


Man U Is A Little Too Hot For Rooney

There is an old saying, “if you can’t take the heat, then get the hell out of the kitchen. “ its description is for people that can’t take pressure packed situations and what their immediate response should be in that said situation.

You see some people are great in pressure situations and love when all the attention shines down on them, others think they can take the abuse but soon realize that they are in over their heads and know that they should get out quick before the heat gets too hot.

Consider this when you think about the situation of soon to be ex Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney.

Rooney can't take the heat of playing for the Red Devils.

Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson outed his star striker this week by saying that Rooney had wish to be moved and moved quickly. Rooney has responded by saying that he is disappointed because the Red Devils didn’t do enough in their offseason to make the team more competitive in the transfer market. This can be seen as truth when you look at all of the transfers made by Chelsea to make their team younger and better for the long haul, as well as the boatload of moves made by Manchester City including the acquisition of former Red Devil Carlos Tevez.

However, none of this was a concern to Rooney when the season began… you know, when star players normally confront the office about certain situations. Rooney’s new “concerns” interestingly come after a rough month that featured an uncovered accusation of adultery while his new wife was pregnant with his child and a slew of tabloid rumors that led to Sir Alex benching him for concerns of heckling at his old stomping grounds at Everton. Can you imagine if Joe Torre benched A-rod for similar concerns in games at Texas? Would never happen.

It seems as though Rooney is another case of an athlete that thought he could be the man and take the pressure that comes with it , and cant. It happened to Randy Johnson when he came to New York, it happened to  Elvis Grbac when he went to defending champion Baltimore after they jettisoned Trent Dilfer Jaromir Jagr couldn’t take it in Washington, and it’s happening to Rooney. While says it’s all about his feelings on the direction of the team, it’s obvious that he can’t handle the public pressure that comes with being the face of Manchester United.

Man U is the Premier League’s flagship franchise. It holds the largest stadium at over 75,000 and has the richest history. After the departure of all world forward Cristiano Ronaldo (who after some disappointing play at Real Madrid you may have to wonder the same thing about him) Rooney was the man at Old Trafford and last year showed it. He scored 26 goals in Premier League play, second only to Didier Drogba of Chelsea, and soon rose to being the face of English football by being featured in Nike’s Rewrite the Future campaign for the World Cup as well as the pitch man foe EA’s FIFA 11. Now after the scandal? 1 goal in 5 uninspiring appearances while Dmitri Berbatov has shined with 6 goals for Man U.

As for Rooney’s claims that Man U didn’t do enough to make the team better? They’re only 4th in the Premier League, 5 points behind Chelsea and are dominating their Champions Leaguer bracket. Hmmm, makes you wonder about his general management skills.

Rooney may also be a bit of a front runner as well. Rooney revealed that he would want a transfer to rival Manchester City, who spent a ton of money this season on transfers to stay competitive and were picked by many to win the Premier League due to those acquisitions. So he would want to play for a team that has just begun to position itself to be competitive instead of play for the most renowned team in Europe. Another Arsenio Hall hmmm please.

Sir Alex has stated that this will all be solved within the next week, but it’s clear that his star can’t take his licks off of the field and wants to move to safer housing. It’s just another example of a star player that can’t handle being the man in a big situation. It got too hot for Jagr, Grbac and Johnson and it’s the same for Wayne Rooney. Maybe he should have a sit-down with Derek Jeter and learn the proper way to conduct himself when the cameras are always following you.


Full Exposure

The Overrated dont last long at number one coach.

Congratulations Ohio State, thanks to Wisconsin you have been exposed as a fraud. The soft schedule and lack of a true early season road test all came to head this weekend in Madison as the Buckeyes got beaten up by the Badgers 31-18 in their first and only week as the nation’s number one team in the country.

The game was over before it truly began. The Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead thanks to a kickoff return by David Gilreath and two John Clay scores. In fact the Badgers running attack is what really did Ohio State in. James White, John Clay and the Badgers offensive line completely controlled the line of scrimmage and pushed back the now overrated defensive line of the Buckeyes  for 184 yards on the ground and Clay become the first runner in 30 games to gain 100 yards on the Buckeyes.

So once again the Buckeyes fail in a game of great importance for their program, OSU should be used to it by now. However Buckeye faithful keep those chins up, because you have plenty of company in the house of frauds this week in both the NCAA and NFL. This weekend was the weekend of the exposed as many teams that we thought we really good were really overrated and their performance showed it.

OHIO STATE

Not to beat a dead horse but Jim Tressel your play calling is quite suspect. Look at the second quarter drive with the Buckeyes inside of the Badgers 10 yard line down 21-0.  Three runs, one up the middle, one QB option and a wildcat formation with Dan Herron at the QB position. Three plays, no points. I guess Tressel forgot about that 6’3 receiver named Devier Posey that he has on the outside and forgot that throwing the ball in that area is a neat option.

However, what really irks me about Ohio State is the lack of fixing the problems that they already knew existed. The special teams was horrible versus Miami and coach said that he would take a big look at it. Guess it wasn’t too good a look after the Gilreath touchdown that put the Buckeyes from behind from the beginning of the contest.

Personnel isn’t the problem it’s the way they play the game and that falls on the coaching staff. The fact that the Buckeyes don’t have a reliable short yardage runner or an intermediate passing game falls on Tressel. You can only live so long with Terrelle Pryor running options and chucking the ball downfield all game.

NEBRASKA

So much for that revenge against Texas.

Well, there goes the Taylor Martinez for Heisman talk and the talk of Nebraska looking to avenge that loss to Texas last year. Texas came in and punched the Huskers in the mouth and sent them off to the Big Ten with a not so lovely parting gift.

As talented as Martinez is the Huskers relied on him a little too much during their first few games and their lack of offensive depth showed as Texas slowed them to a standstill and built up an insurmountable 20-3 advantage.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gee, thanks Steve Spurrier. After I give you all of those props for closing out the defending national champs at home. You go on the road and can’t hold a 28-17 fourth quarter lead against the SEC’s perennial underachiever in Kentucky.

How does a defense that kept Alabama in check let Kentucky rack up 401 total yards? How does Stephen Garcia go from looking like he turned the corner to throwing two costly picks and the offense struggling with 4 turnovers after running over the Crimson Tide? Take back what I said last week.

NEVADA

I mean I didn’t expect them to get to the Fiesta Bowl, but I did expect them to set up a good undefeated matchup with Boise State in Reno in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately Colin Kaepernick and company couldn’t get that dominant run game going and now we get to not talk about Nevada again for awhile.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

I mean it’s not their fault that the entire team seems as though its injured, but to lose a ten point lead in Washington after dominating most of the game and then to come home and lay an egg like they did?

This isn’t the work of a Super Bowl contender. The Packers should have done a better job looking for a backup to Ryan Grant so their running game wouldn’t be abysmal. Also Mike McCarthy’s game management right now is starting to rival Les Miles in Baton Rouge. Maybe they exchanged notes or something.

THE CHICAGO BEARS

I guess that Giants game wasn’t an aberration, that offensive line is poor. Matt Forte is back to being that unproductive running back that teased us with an awesome rookie season. I can’t blame Jay Cutler for being a burden to this team, its every area but the quarterback position this year. He’s probably wishing that he didn’t hurry back from that concussion.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS

Funny story; after watching the Philadelphia Eagles jump to a 21-0 lead with Kevin Kolb slinging the ball all over the Falcons I sent my buddy Scully a text that said that Atlanta was trash, he responded by saying that, you’re only saying that because we’re (the Eagles) are winning. After further review this is not so.

Who do I have to yell at to get us going?

The Falcons can’t defend the pass. Kolb and company turned the game into a track meet and ran all over the field against these guys. They don’t seem like they have the personnel to keep up with speedy playmakers.

Also, this is a horrible road team. Forget the Saints win for a minute, the Falcons in the Matt Ryan era are two games under .500 and routinely come out flat. If they want to win the NFC (which they won’t) then they have to get more focused on the road.

THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Ugh. It doesn’t get any uglier than this team. Contract disputes, lack of a running game, an immature and volatile quarterback and a defense that underachieves like no other.  Watching the Chargers on Sunday made me realize how truly dysfunctional this team is. They seem to lack leadership and direction.  They were constantly out of position on defense and the offense couldn’t get a continuous flow going.

With all of that said they still may win the AFC West because the Chiefs may have finally come back down to earth and no one in that division really has any consistent game plan week in and out to make that next step. Still the Chargers are no threat to go anywhere this year, well except Norv Turner. He might be fired in three weeks.

See Buckeyes you weren’t the only contender that laid an egg this week. So cheer up as you and the rest of these teams watch your game film and wonder what went wrong. Also watch as you get passed by every other team in the standings and miss out on another title shot. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Buckeye in the last four years it’s that no one gives an underachiever a shot, especially when they get it wrong by overrating you to begin with.

 


The Yankees Should Think Twice Before Starting A.J. Burnett

Joe Girardi, if you’re listening, at all… do not, DO NOT start A.J. Burnett in game 4 of the ALCS. PLEASE!!!

Learn from the mistake that Joe Maddon made in game 2 of the ALDS when he started James Shields against Texas. He knew that Shields wasn’t pitching well all year. He knew that Shields couldn’t shake his struggles and control problems. He knew that Shields wasn’t the right man to pitch in that situation, but still did. Why? Because he’s “Big Game” James. He was the guy that led Tampa’s charge to the World Series in 2008. Because he was hoping that James would find his motor once again in another big time series. He was wrong.

Girardi better be right about A.J. Burnett

This is the exact same scenario with A.J. Burnett. He’s 10-15 with a 5+ ERA, this is after a 6-1 start. He lost control of his stuff and never regained it. He struggled mightily against everyone. He had a 7.80 ERA in August and a 6.14 ERA in September. All of these numbers should tell any sensible manager that starting Burnett is a no-no even in the Arizona Fall League playoffs.

Yet here is Joe Girardi revealing his 4 man rotation for the playoffs and after Andy Pettite in game 3, there it is Allan John Burnett set to go in game  4. Why? Because last year when the Yankees only went with a three man rotation in their World Series run it was Burnett who set the tone in game 2 of the ALCS and virtually saved the Yankees season with a gem of a game 2 against Philadelphia in the World Series. Despite his 5.27 ERA Burnett put the Yankees in position to win each of their series after following C.C. Sabathia in the rotation.

This is why Girardi is putting him in the rotation. He didn’t pitch Burnett in the ALDS because of his struggles, but is hoping that A.J. can regain his form of last year and help pitch the Yankees into the World Series once again.

The problem is that no, and I mean no one believes that A.J. is fit to pitch on this team this year. Just look at his last simulated start a few days ago. he was wild, viciously wild, he hit two batters and threw a wild pitch, yet the Yankees brass are saying that A.J. took big steps forward in his location and delivery. Do I believe that? Of course not.

However when you look at the Yankees other options you  could understand why they need to talk themselves into thinking that A.J. is ready to go. You can’t do the three man rotation again with a young Phil Hughes and Andy Pettite off of an injury. You can’t throw Ivan Nova out there because of his inexperience. As for Javier Vazquez… id rather Hideki Irabu pitch for the Yankees that Vazquez. It honestly looks like it could be A.J. or bust. What else could the Yankees do, pull Joba Chamberlain from the bullpen and start him?

It’s the lesser of two evils for the Yankees right now, A.J. Burnett or a question mark filled field of pitchers. Honestly? I would take my chances with throwing Nova out there before I let Burnett go near the field. As clutch as he was last year Burnett is not the same guy this year. Throwing him out there is a huge mistake and would kill the Yankees shot at making it to the World Series. Unfortunately, Joe Girardi thinks differently. I really wish he would’ve talked to Joe Maddon first before making his decision.

 


Inside The Minds Of Mangini And Holmgren

These guys are throwing Colt McCoy to the lions den on Sunday... pray for him.

The following is a documented transcript of a conversation between Browns GM Mike Holmgren and head coach Eric Mangini over his decision to start Colt McCoy this Sunday versus Pittsburgh… in Pittsburgh… it’s his first start ever… DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE LONG TERM RAMIFACATIONS OF THIS IF THE STEELERS WERE TOO KILL HIM ON SUNDAY? Anyway, this was taken Thursday in Berea, Ohio.

Eric Mangini: Hey Mike how are ya?

Mike Holmgren: Don’t call me Mike.

EM: sorry. Um I’m sure that you’ve seen the quarterback situation we have right now.

MH: yep, I know. But don’t worry; we’re looking at some options right now. Maybe Alex Smith if he keeps bombing in San Francisco or Matt Leinart in Houston, if he can actually throw the ball downfield.

EM: actually coach I was thinking of starting Colt this Sunday.

(Pause)

MH: what?

EM: yeah. I think he’s ready Mi—um Mr. Holmgren. He went 13-13 in his last preseason start, he’s always been accurate and I think it’s time to throw him into the fire.

MH: you do realize that you’re playing Pittsburgh this week right?

EM: yeah, but we beat em last year, with Derek Anderson no less.

(They both shudder at the mentioning of Derek Anderson’s name)

EM: I think it’s the perfect opportunity for him and us.

MH: sit down Eric (he sits).  When I took this job I knew it would be challenging, I mean it’s the Browns. The last time they won anything a guy named Jim Brown was the best running back in the NFL and hot dogs were ten cents. Hell no one in Cleveland has won anything in 50 years. It’s downright depressing. The shot, the drive, the fumble, the decision, Jose Mesa, I mean even Drew Carry blew town…

EM:  um… this is kind of depressing.

(Holmgren just looks at Mangini)

EM: sorry.

MH: where was I… oh yeah. Then there was Art Modell taking the team to Baltimore and then they win a Super Bowl. This team gets Tim Couch. Fail. Now after listening to all of that do you really think it’s a good idea to start what possibly could be the only good quarterback that this team has had since Bernie Kosar in a game against the most athletic, talented and scariest defense in the NFL? Do you really want to make his first game in the NFL one that could affect his psyche for a long time?

EM: gosh, I haven’t thought of that.

MH: exactly.

EM:  but coach, Sam Bradford is playing well as a starter, and Carolina put Jimmy Clausen in because they feel like he’s ready. Granted that entire team is a train wreck and Jimmy has looked like Casey Clausen so far, but they’re getting a shot at least. Also who’s out there to get and turn into a starter. The Jaguars jumped on Trent Edwards to make him David Garrard’s backup. Trent Edwards… captain check down… the guy that lost his starting job to a guy from Harvard.

Hey Colt, remember Alabama? Yeah, Pittsburgh is like ten times worse.

MH: how does that guy keep getting starting jobs in the NFL?

(They both look up in amazement that Ryan Fitzpatrick is starting again in the NFL… I don’t blame them. Then again if Todd Collins is still throwing passes and Carson Palmer is still allowed to throw than nothing should really amaze me.)

EM: anyway. You see my point? Plus our skill players would be ok with it cuz they played with crappy quarterbacks in college. Brian Robiskie with Todd Boeckman, Mohammed Massoquoi with Matt Stafford, Peyton Hillis with Casey Dick…

MH: and you’re used to having crappy quarterbacks.

EM: hey you brought in Jake Delhomme after watching him lose his job to Matt Moore… MATT MOORE!

(Holmgren utters fail under his breath.)

EM: besides have you seen our schedule coming up? I was sure we were going to beat Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but we could possibly be 1-9 by mid November. We’re not going anywhere…

MH: again.

EM: we might as well get everyone ready for next year.

MH: again. (Under his breath). Except you might not be here next year.

EM: what?

MH: what?

EM: did you say something?

MH: no. just um… thinking.

EM: oh.

MH: about Bill Cowher.

(Mangini looks at Holmgren who smiles back at Mangini.)

MH: you are right though. There is nothing out there to make us better. Maybe we should throw him into the fire and see what happens. He can’t be worse than Brady Quinn.

EM: so I can start him?

MH: eh sure why not? (Under his breath). It’ll be your last mistake.

EM: yes! Thanks coach. We’ll be ready for Pittsburgh on Sunday! The colt McCoy era is about to begin!

MH: yeah and it might end just as quick.

(Mangini leaves the office. Just then Holmgren receives a call. It’s Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman.)

MH: Hello?

Rick Spielman: hey it’s Rick over here in Minneapolis. I hear you need a quarterback this year.

MH: yeah. Who you got? I really don’t want this McCoy kid starting Sunday.

RS: well, what are you willing to give up for Brett Favre?

(Holmgren promptly hangs up the phone.)

MH: you know what, maybe starting McCoy aint such a bad idea after all?

 


The Gamecocks Arrival, Six Years In The Making

 

The Gamecocks got their biggest win ever on Saturday knocking off Alabama.

 

Six years. Six years of promise, expectations, letdowns and everything in between for Steve Spurrier and the University of South Carolina. Six years of searching for the right formula that was so easy to concoct when he was running up the score in Gainesville, trying to implement his offense in Columbia, South Carolina but to no avail.

Six years… and finally the Gamecocks and their fans got what they had searched for and wanted, a win. Not just any win no, but a signature win. One that they can hang their hat on and show to the country that they are for real.

It came this Saturday and the victim was number one ranked Alabama.

The Crimson Tide rolled into Columbia fresh off of an impressive beatdown of former Spurrier employer Florida. They were number one with a bullet, the best running back in the country and the best defense in the land. They left beaten up, bruised and with lots of questions.

Their run game was trounced by South Carolina’s front 7 as they were limited to 36 yards on the ground.  Their defense allowed much maligned quarterback Stephen Garcia to have a field day as he threw for a career high three touchdowns as Spurrier’s air assault finally seemed to get going. The Gamecocks were the best and most prepared team on Saturday and now can claim to be the best team in the SEC.

This was way more than overdue for Spurrier.

Spurrier strolled into Columbia six years ago after a failed stint in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and immediately  expectations soared. The folks in the area new Spurrier as the offensive genius that tormented them in his first stint in the SEC with Florida as he routinely made the Gamecocks his Saturday snack. However, with him South Carolina was hoping that the tide would turn and they would be the ones crowing at the top of the conference.

Unfortunately Spurrier’s “Fun and Gun” has never quite taken off. The Gamecocks have been ranked sparingly and haven’t won more than eight games in a season and have lost 5 games in each of his six seasons. Before the beginning of this year many wondered if Spurrier was on the hot seat if he couldn’t deliver the SEC title that South Carolina so coveted. Even after a 3-0 start the Gamecocks, ranked 12th in the nation threw away a certain victory last week versus Auburn when Garcia lost two Fumbles which led to two scores and an eventual loss and the grumblings began again.

This week’s showdown with Alabama was not a must win but it felt like… and Spurrier finally delivered the goods.

Stephen Garcia played his best game in Gamecocks uniform on Saturday.

The Gamecocks started out red hot and jumped to a 21-3 lead stunning the defending champs. Then the Tide roared back thanks to a Greg McElroy touchdown pass and a weird safety by Garcia which more than irked the ol’ ball coach. It was looking like the same old same old for the Gamecocks.

Then after a Jeremy Shelley field goal cut their lead to 21-14 the Gamecocks put  together a 15 play, 82 yard drive capped off by a Marcus Lattimore touchdown that put South Carolina up by 14 and they never looked back.

Nick Saban uncharacteristically tried a fake field goal to no avail in the fourth quarter and Spurrier’s boys put the game away with another Lattimore score. After that the party was on and rightfully so. The Gamecocks finally got the kind of win that they imagined when Spurrier arrived years earlier and are in position to win their first conference title since they were members of the ACC in 1969… yeah it’s been awhile.

What stands in the way of that conference title are two pivotal matchups versus Arkansas and a homecoming for Spurrier versus Florida. The Gamecocks control their own destiny  and realistically could find themselves in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl in January.

This is what they had envisioned six years ago when the ol’ ball coach arrived in Columbia. It took a few heartbreaking losses, disappointing seasons and mind boggling missteps but after a long time South Carolina finds themselves as the team to beat in the SEC East and with the possibility of a BCS bowl game in the future.

Its vindication for South Carolina and for Spurrier. Saturday’s win over Alabama gives South Carolina the spotlight victory it’s needed to make them a major football program and it gives Spurrier his swagger back as one of the best coaches in the land. Spurrier finally has the team and the athletes that he has coveted and it shows on the field. It took a little longer than expected but ask the 92000 that were in attendance yesterday if they cared how long it took. Their Gamecocks are major just in the nick of time.