Friday, February 16, 2007

Mid-Major Basketball Rant of the Week

Drexel Basketball is in the midst of yet another up and down season. The team has a non-conference RPI of 6, but they just lost to William and Mary on Wednesday.

Whats more upsetting is that their lost threw my column out of wack a little bit. This week, I wrote about the CAA's top four teams and how they stack up to bubble teams of other conferences.

That loss to W&M was the type of loss Drexel needed to avoid. Now they must win out, including at Creighton tommorow, and go deep in the CAA tourney to have a legit at large shot.

That's the beauty of ESPN's BracketBusters. It gives teams a chance to get quality non-conference wins. I hope the tournament does right by the mid-majors again this year. They've proven year after year that its better to send a #2 or #3 from a mid-major than a 15-11 team from a big conference.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Grammy Fiasco

I guess you could call this the non-sports rant of the week/month. Before I get into my rant, I'll give all one of my fans some random sports talk.

I was really looking forward to Agent Zero's first shot at the Blazers this year, but it was a dud. However, maybe not getting 50 in this game and getting called out by Eddie Jordan will light a fire under Gil and he'll go nuts the rest of the year (scoring wise, he's already crazy).

I wonder why everything T.O. does or says is news to ESPN? Please leave him alone, we are tired of hearing about him.

The Suns suck without Steve Nash. This is why he will win his third straight MVP. I wonder if they had him fake this injury to solidify his spot as the league's most valuable.

Baseball is almost back, time for more talk about steroids, more Bonds hate, more A-Rod hate, and a long boring regular season with a wide open playoff.

I hope the NCAA selection committee does right by the mid-majors this year.

Ok, now for my rant. Lupe Fiasco somehow didn't win any Grammy's tonight. "Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor" was not only the best rap album this year, it was one of the 10 greatest rap albums of all time. Lyrically, Lupe Fiasco is definately top 10, probably top 5. Maybe he would've won if "Failure" was on the album.

His punchlines are so sick on this song, the second verse might be the illest of all time. If you want to catch all the punches, you might want to look up the lyrics or something.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

We Don't Want You Either, Tyrus

The 2007 Slam Dunk contest lineup was announced Monday. Reigning champ Nate Robinson will defend his title. No word on if he is in the block contest too.

Competing with Nate Robinson this year is Gerald Green, who can throw down, and two head scratchers. Dwight Howard, the 6-11 Orlando Magic All-Star center, and 6-9 Chicago Bulls Power Forward Tyrus Thomas. Both men can jump, but they're not dunkers. The only big man to ever win the dunk contest was Larry Nance, who pulled it off by dunking two balls at the same time.

To add to my dismay with this lineup, Tyrus Thomas was nonchalant about being selected, saying "I'm just into free money. That's it." If Tyrus is only in it for free money, why not give that free money to somebody else.

Instead of somebody who doesn't care, the NBA should select a player who would put on a show and do something we haven't seen before and may not see again. That somebody is James White. If Commissioner David Stern can switch balls mid season, I know he can replace Thomas with Flight 75.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Under the Radar, The Blur Takes His Act to Oregon

Being recruited for Division I athletics can be either a dirty game or the experience of a lifetime. Talmadge Jackson, an 18-year-old Chaparral High School Football star, has experienced this first hand.

By this time next week, Jackson will officially be signed to play Division I football at the University of Oregon. Talmadge is looking forward to campus life and being apart of the Oregon program.

Known as “The Blur” or simply Tal, Jackson has already been immortalized with a highlight reel on Youtube, reminiscent of Reggie Bush’s now famous highlight tape. This was a great experience for the humble star, who realized he had Pac-10 potential when his coach Tom Leach arrived at Chaparral.

Tal is ready to work hard at Oregon. He expects to play as a true freshman and is ready to enroll in classes as soon as possible. He wants to earn a starting spot in the defensive backfield, but he knows that will take alot of hard work.

Although he’s nicknamed “The Blur,” his time in the 40-yard dash was a 4.5. Yet, his least favorite part of recruiting was the over aggressive coaches who would even show up at his school. He blames being overlooked by closer Pac-10 schools on coming from an area not known for producing football stars.

Thanks to Coach Leach, he said, Jackson was able to score a scholarship to Oregon over smaller schools who were recruiting him like UTEP and Colorado St.

Jackson was very candid about the college coaching carousel and the big money in Division I sports. Even though there’s millions of dollars involved, he feels like the experience alone is worth it. Tal believes that if you do your job on the field, the money will come.

As for his coach, Mike Bellotti, Jackson believes that Bellotti is committed to the program and the university and doesn’t see him leaving. As a true freshman, Jackson is ready to take the Pac-10 by storm next year. He hopes to take out his opponents, especially USC and UCLA, in a blur.

Check out The Blur in action.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The Super Bowl Prediction

The moment that everyone has been waiting for is finally among us. James Mason has sat down at his keyboard to give the world his Super Bowl pick. Since nobody reads this but me, I think its time to stop talking in the third person.

This was a moderately interesting week of talk. There has probably been an equal amount of columns about the significance of the race of the two coaches and jokes about that angle being blown out of proportion. It’s not surprising that Lovie and Tony are being treated like conquering warriors; it gives us as Americans a chance to act like racism is dead.

Tank Johnson and Rex Grossman have taken a lot of heat for different things. Johnson has been criticized for his legal issues (which don’t include any murder charges, by the way) and Grossman for his struggles as a QB. In my opinion, Tank Johnson isn’t a barbarian and Grossman isn’t the worst QB in Super Bowl history.

In fact, an interesting dynamic with the Bears are the contract situations of some of the key components of this team. Ron Rivera will be a free agent after Super Bowl XLI. Pro Bowler Lance Briggs will be a free agent as well, and Grossman and Lovie Smith are among the lowest paid in their respective positions.

Win or lose, the Bears will be dishing out a lot of money if they want to be back at the Super Bowl next year.

For the Colts, this is Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning’s chance to win the big game they couldn’t win, 2 weeks after they won the big game they couldn’t win.

Marvin Harrison has made alot of noise by being the "anti-T.O.", or pretty much a regular guy. Good for him, bad for his wallet. Say what you want about antics, but I don't think many people knew who Joe Horn was until he did this.

All things considered, the Colts are big favorites in this game. Vegas has them by a touchdown, and many people think the Colts will win fairly easily.

However, both Bill Simmons and my mom think the Bears will win. As for me, I’ll first go to the good old tale of the tape.

Bears Passing Game vs. Colts Pass Defense

Chris Collingsworth was on the Jim Rome radio show this past week. He’s considered one of the best analysts in the business. He made an interesting point about Rex Grossman that I never heard anyone else bring up this week. All of his good games and most of his decent games came in either domes or warm weather. (Don't forget, Grossman was a star at the University of Florida.)

With the exception of the Arizona game, he usually sucks when it’s cold. As for tomorrow, it’s going to be around 70 all game. However, it will probably be rainy and windy which might bring this advantage down some.

The Bears have two other things working in their favor. First, Bob Sanders will probably have to help with run defense, which will open up Bernard Berrian deep. Second, the Colts and Bears run the same defense, so the Bears will have a good knowledge of what the Colts.

Advantage: Bears

Bears Running Game vs. Colts Run Defense

The Colts run defense is very different with Bob Sanders, who only played four games in the regular season. They’ve shut down every team’s running game they’ve played this post season with Sanders back.

However, having Bob Sanders back just makes their run defense average, instead of horrible. Plus I like the way the Bears backs have been running. They ran really aggressive against the Saints last week, and fought for extra yards all game.

Advantage: Push

Colts Passing Game vs. Bears Pass Defense

The Bears have a lot of injuries at safety and will probably start two rookies. The Cover 2 defense is very dependent on the safeties, especially if there is no pressure on the quarterback.

The Bears safeties are so suspect that I like the Colts big on this match up. Danieal Manning made a horrible play on Reggie Bush’s touchdown last week (corny Youtube kid alert!), and I can see him giving up at least one big score this game.

Advantage: Colts

Colts Running Game vs. Bears Run Defense

In my opinion, everyone has been sleeping on the Bears defense. They are a defensive team first, especially when it comes to stopping the run. If Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister are the best running back combo of all time and the Bears shut them down, I have to believe that the Bears will do the same to the Colts' backs.

Fortunately for Colts fans, I never bought into all the Bush hype. They’re good, but they’re not that much better than everybody else. Deuce and Reggie combined for 2,562 yards from scrimmage and 18 TD’s. Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for 2,298 yards and 13 TD’s. Factor in the trickiness of Peyton’s no-huddle offense, and I’m going with a push.

Advantage: Push

Special Teams

Devin Hester > Terrence Wilkins. Adam Vinateri > Robbie Gould. That’s all you really need to know about this match up. How about more Hester highlights?

Advantage: Push


I’m not going to mock the significance of two black coaches in the Super Bowl. It’s a great accomplishment, but we haven’t climbed the mountaintop just yet. For starters, nobody is calling these guys geniuses. Instead, we get pieces about how classy they are, etc. These guys can flat out coach, and don’t get the respect they deserve for their intelligence and what they contributed to football X’s and O’s.

Since Tony brought in Lovie, I’m going with Dungy over Smith.

Advantage: Colts


There isn’t much to talk about in this section. A black coach will win this game, and a black coach will lose this game. Grossman is due for a game to silence the critics, while Manning and Dungy can finally get the monkey off their back.

Advantage: Push

All things considered, I think it will be a shootout. With both teams running games stalled, I can see a lot of points put up in a match-up between two defensive masterminds.

Final Score: Colts 37, Bears 31 (With my recent prediction history, the Colts will probably win 9-3.)