Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Rantings of a Madman

Lets see...the Raiders won this week. So did Nebraska.

Hockey is underway, the Broncos lost last night, the Cowboys are a mess, it's World Series time, and I have a three-day weekend.

Yes, life is good.

Time to get a few things off my chest.................

Why is it that the media buries Al Davis for being out of touch all the time but Jerry Jones is just NOW starting to take some heat for wrecking the Dallas Cowboys?

Seriously, that team is a mess. The way Jones hogs the spotlight makes Mr. Davis look saintly. Don't believe me? You don't see Al Davis mugging for microphones and cameras, ever - unless he is firing a coach for being a liar and a phony.

Jones has no regard for his coaches, which takes away the authority of those in "charge". Wade Phillips is a puppet, the players know who is in charge.

It is the reason Bill Parcells is in Miami, trust me. Jerrah forced Terrell Owens on Parcells and the Big Tuna took his ball and went home. It is a circus in Big D, and that act historically isn't conducive to winning the in NFL.

Write it down, T.O. is ready to explode, he'll cause more than a ripple sometime very soon. Pacman Jones is, well, Pacman Jones. Dallas was the perfect fit for him.

Jones has created a very talented group that acts like they've won a bunch of Super Bowls together. Truth is, the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996. At this rate, they won't qualify for the playoffs this year, let alone win a postseason game.

World Series Prediction

Not going to go too in depth with the analysis here.

This should be the best World Series that nobody is going to watch in quite sometime. I'm a baseball fanatic so I'll be riveted to the Series.

The young Cinderella Rays against the powerful Phillies. It isn't' Manny and Joe Torre against the Red Sox, but as the Stones once sang....."You can't always get what you want."

I have no ax to grind with either club. A win for either club will make a nice story, and I'm a sucker for those.

I'm rooting for the Phillies for the lone reason that a win will do more for the moral of the sports-crazy Philadelphia sports fan. The Tampa fans probably would be over a loss in a matter of hours.

That is what I'd like to see happen. But it won't.

Tampa in six. James Shields will be the MVP

Upset Alert - Colt McCoy will win the Heisman Trophy. He's been the best player this year in a season filled with great quarterbacks.

However, the Longhorns will bite it this week at home against Oklahoma State. I picked the Cowboys over Missouri two weeks ago on my CollegeFootballNews.com blog - they changed my pick on me.

This time, its documented.....Oklahoma State 34, Texas 31.

Time to Drop the Puck

Please, please, please.........Let the Bruins win the Stanley Cup!

I've waited a lifetime. Forget everything else, I DESERVE IT.

The B's have lots of young talent up front and are as deep on the top three lines as they've ever been. The defensive corps is young and getting better and captained by massive Zdeno Chara.

The goaltending is good enough and Claude Julien is capable of guiding the team to the top.

Truth be told, this is probably the year that Sidney Crosby and the Penguins begin their mini-dynasty.

Anybody but Montreal.

The NBA starts next week. I don't care. Call me when the playoffs start, maybe I'll take a look at it then.

'Til next time

Monday, October 20, 2008

Raiders Win! And I'm going to gloat...

A Raider win is always a nice feeling.

However, this one is a little sweeter given that I live in New York and know a lot of Jets fans, who have no clue how to handle what little success their team gives them.

Sebastian Janikowski saved the day, filled with defensive offside penalties and an annoying attempt to freeze a kicker in the waning moments of regulation that nearly blew up in the face of INTERIM head coach Tom Cable.

First, the good stuff:

Janikowski's 57-yarder in OT is a Raider record. I'm one of the few who still likes the fact that the Raiders took him as a first-round pick way back when.

JaMarcus Russell played very well, especially in OT. There were a few down moments, but Russell stepped up and tossed more than a few lasers to his receivers. Javon Walker had a nice day as did TE Zack Miller. Russell was on par with future HOF'er Brett Favre.

Speaking of Favre, I can't remember the last time the Raider defense harassed and pounded on a QB like they did Sunday. The blitz schemes were well choreographed and Favre took a beating.
With Nnamdi Asomugha and Deangelo Hall on the corners, the Jets were conservative in the passing game, rarely challenging the pair. Most of New York's damage was done on short passes over the middle that Oakland - for the most part - contained and kept the gains short.

The running game was solid. Justin Fargas had some minus plays, but he ran hard as he always does. OC Greg Knapp is doing a good job and getting Darren McFadden the ball in space and the rookie is showing why he was so heavily hyped.

The Bad:

Four offsides penalties in the first quarter, three on the opening drive. I can't type the word STUPID enough here, so I'll leave it at one. We won the game so I'll get over it quickly.

PLEASE.....enough with calling the timeout just as the ball is being snapped on a field goal. Jay Feely's kick hit the upright and bounced out in what would have been a Raider win in regulation. Because of the timeout, Feely was able to gather himself and buried the 52-yard re-kick.
Don't give a professional time to gather his thoughts and possibly guage the wind in what is a practice kick. This trick fails as much as it works. Let it go.

Last thought - Welcome to the win column, Coach Cable.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big 12 Observations

Just a few random thoughts on day after a great day of college football.

1-The Big 12 is the best conference in college football

Top to bottom, the Big 12 is the best and deepest conference in the country.

The SEC has been commonly referred to as the top conference for the last few years and does boast the last two national championship winners. In 2008, it’s all about the Big 12.

Half of the Big 12 teams are ranked in the top 16 teams in the national rankings, as of October, 12. Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State all are 6-0 while Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas are 5-1.

Nine of the Big 12 teams are averaging over 32 points a game. The level of quarterback play this year is what separates the Big 12 from the rest of the country.

Texas and Oklahoma State are battle tested while Texas Tech boasts the top passing offense in the country.

OU and Mizzou lost to Texas and Oklahoma State and Kansas’ blemish was a wild 37-34 road loss to South Florida in September.

The depth of the conference is shown in the lower tier. Nebraska, Kansas State, and Colorado have the ability to step up and pull an upset at any time and young QB’s Robert Griffin (Baylor) and Austen Arnaud (Iowa State) are giving a glimmer of hope the immediate future of their teams.

Texas A&M is the worst team in the conference so far but is in total rebuilding mode under first-year coach Mike Sherman.

2-A Big 12 quarterback will win the Heisman Trophy

Prediction – The quarterback on the Big 12 conference champion will win the Heisman Trophy.

Right now, the Heisman Trophy is Colt McCoy’s to lose.

The junior has been dominate all season and has played like the most valuable player in college football. McCoy has thrown the ball well and is capable of picking up big chunks of yards on the ground.

Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), and Chase Daniel (Missouri) all have jaw-dropping stats that Heisman winners are made of.

Harrell leads the top passing attack in the country and if Tech is able to win the Big 12 South, Harrell will be the one leading the way.

For a player to drop from Heisman consideration, it typically takes a poor performance in a loss to do it. Bradford was sensational against Texas in the loss and definitely will take a backseat to McCoy unless the Longhorns stumble and McCoy plays poorly.
Daniel wasn’t great in the Oklahoma State loss and he threw three interceptions. He’ll drop from the contenders list for now but has time to move his way back up.

OSU’s Zac Robinson is the sleeper in the mix as is Kansas’ Todd Reesing. Both will have their opportunities to make a name for himself on the national stage.

3-The Big 12 won’t have any unbeaten teams, but it’ll have a team in the national title game.

The conference is just too tough and too deep to expect anyone team to run the gauntlet.

Because of the depth and balance of the Big 12, a one-loss conference champion will be rewarded with a spot in the national title game. The SEC champion has been afforded the same respect the last two seasons (LSU had two losses) so there is precedent.

Unbeatens Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State all still have to play each other. It is very possible they take turns knocking each other off. All are capable of beating the other two teams.

Oklahoma and Missouri still must win-out and get to the Big 12 title game. Missouri is in the better spot as the North Division isn’t as deep as the South. Mizzou still has this week’s road trip to Texas but the Tigers will be favored to win their remaining games.

Oklahoma was ranked number-one until the Texas loss. The Sooners are as good as any team in the country and have all the ingredients necessary to get back up in the polls.

Prediction – It is too early to project possible tiebreakers for a Big 12 South tie. There is an intense desire to pick Cinderella Oklahoma State…. but I’ll go with Oklahoma to beat Missouri in the Big 12 title game.

I picked Missouri at the start of the year but the Tigers showed they are not ready to be prime-time players with the loss to Oklahoma State. Missouri looked like a team not capable of embracing the lofty national status they had achieved.

Oklahoma will go on to play USC in the Orange Bowl for the national title.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Greatest Sports Movies of All Time

When I was informed that Paul Newman had passed away the other day, I, like a few others I'm sure, said to myself, "wow, self, Reg Dunlop died."

After pausing for a moment of sadness, I couldn't help but blurt out, "Trade me right (censored) now!"
***Sidebar....yeah, I know. The dialogue in verbatum form is much more effective, but I agreed to a clause with this blog that prohibits certain things. Swearing is one of them. Sorry, you'll have to fill in the blanks.***

So, the process began to swirl in my head and internally, the great debate began.

What is the greatest sports movie of all time?

I'm sure you have your own list...............here is mine

1 - Slap Shot
This classic never gets old.

The Hanson Brothers, Ogie Oglithorpe, "old time hockey", "putting on the foil", this movie is my favorite sports movie of all time.

The scene when the Hansons take the ice for the first time had me laughing so hard I felt like I'd done 100 situps (trust me, I've never done that).

From the whacky, cross-dressing GM Joe McGrath to Hanrahan the goalie to calling the pizza man with your one and only phone call from prison, this film is a laugh a minute.

It was fitting that in 1998, Maxim magazine voted "Slap Shot" as the number one greatest Guy movie of all time.
Great lines:
McGrath - "There's scouts, in the stands, with contracts...and you guys are playing like *(@)#&*@!"
McGrath - "Piss on Eddie Shore"
Dunlop to Hanrahan - "Your wife.......she's a lesbian. I know, I know, she told me."
Dunlop - "She's a terrific gal."
2 - Rocky

Yeah, they overdid it. But, Rocky I was an all timer.

The story of the true underdog was brilliant. Sly Stallone was awesome in his role as Rocky Balboa but the movie became a classic due to the supporting cast.

The storyline of Rocky and Adrian didn't mean anything to me, but he performances of Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed), the Penguin, Burgess Meredith (Mickey), and Burt Young (Paulie) is what made the movie special.

That Creed's character so closely mimicked Muhammad Ali in his heydey, made it easier for viewers to relate to the film.

Great Lines:
Paulie - "I don't sweat you."
Balboa - "Cut me, Mick."
Balboa - "Yo, Adrian"
3 - Bull Durham

There have been many great baseball films, but this is the best.

Crash Davis and Ebby Calvin "Nuke" Laloosh are a perfect pair in this minor league story.

For me, this is Kevin Costner's best performance ever. Tim Robbins was perfect as his young protoge as the hard-throwing, erratic pitcher with a million dollar arm and a ten-cent head. Toss in Susan Sarandon as Annie Savoy for the obligatory love triangle, and the plot is complete.

Played by Robert Wuhl, the pitching coach character is one that stands out for me. If I'm going to a wedding, I'm giving candlesticks. This movie was going on my list just so I could type the word "lollygaggers".

To sum it up, a great movie about life in the minor leagues of baseball.
Great Lines:
Davis - "Just throw it at the bull, trust me."
Laloosh - "Don't think, Meat, just give him the gas."
Davis - "You have fungus on your shower shoes. In the show, that makes you colorful. In the minors, that means you're a slob."
4. Caddyshack

Rodney, Bill Murray, Ted Knight with his Billy Barool putter, Chevy Chase, Mr. Wang and the rest.
If you don't like this film, get back in touch with your therapist 'cuz this is too funny not to enjoy, over and over.

The over/under on quoting this film when on the golf course is 18 times per 18 holes.
Great Lines:
Rodney - Look at that hat. What, do they give you a free bowl of soup with that hat?"
Murray as Carl the assistant greenskeeper during a driving rainstorm - "I don't think the heavy stuff has come down yet."
Rodney - "You scratched my anchor."
Knight as Judge Smails - "I never slice."
5. Hoosiers

If ever an actor was made for a role, Gene Hackman was perfect to play Coach Norman Dale.
This story, taken from a real Indiana high school basketball Cinderella story, is the stuff that storybook sports dreams are made of.
The Hickory Huskers with slick shooting Jimmy Chitwood win the Indiana State Basketball title in improbable fashion. Coach Dale is nearly excused early in the season (insert Al Davis joke here. Go ahead, kick me when I'm down) during a town vote but survives.
Dennis Hopper turned in a classic performance as his role as Shooter, the on-again, off-again assistant coach of the team. The sight of him jumping hysterically after the championship game win is enough to bring a tear into the corner of a grown man's eye.
Great lines:
Norman Dale to an unsuspecting ref - "What, do you have pigeon #^&$ in your eyes? Kick me out of the game."
Shooter - "I know everything there is to know about the greatest game ever played."
Shooter - "No school this small has ever won the Indiana State basketball championship."
The Best of the Rest:
6 - Bad News Bears I - Right in the middle of my little league career, minus the beer.

7 - Field of Dreams - Has to be on this list
8. Longest Yard I - Hated the remake, the original Mean Machine was much better.
9 - Raging Bull - DeNiro is my favorite actor, and neither Good Fellas or Midnight Run were sports movies.
10 - Brian's Song - The story of Brian Piccolo is a must-see.