Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Tournament Thoughts

Quick Thought: Why is there only one play-in game for the NCAA Tournament? Wouldn't it make sense to have four of these games so three more deserving at-large teams can secure a spot in the Big Dance?

Thursday's Upset Special: Western Kentucky. Illinois G Chester Frazier will likely miss the game and Western Kentucky has more experience than the Illini.

Word to the Wise: Oklahoma might be the weakest #2 seed, but they will be playing their first two games close to home, and the Sooners went undefeated at home with Blake Griffin in the lineup.

My Final Four: Louisville, Missouri, Pittsburgh, North Carolina

My Championship Prediction: North Carolina over Louisville. Not sexy, but I don't see (m)any stumbling blocks for either team before the Final Four.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mock Draft III - Top 10

For a little change of pace, I will compare my newest mock drafts to those of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay of ESPN as well as Michael Lombardi from The National Football Post. Commentary certainly appreciated.

1. Detroit
Kiper: Matthew Stafford
McShay: Stafford
Lombardi: Stafford
Banter: Matthew Stafford, Georgia, QB - Stafford established himself as the class of the position at the Combine. If the Lions choose to address this need with the first overall pick - and unless they trade for Jay Cutler, I think they will - Stafford will be their guy. With all the hoopla surrounding the NCAA Tournament, Stafford's Pro Day might go unnoticed to many. I'm pretty sure the Lions won't miss it.

2. St. Louis
Kiper: Jason Smith
McShay: J. Smith
Lombardi: Eugene Monroe
Banter: Jason Smith, Baylor, OT - Smith seems like the class of the deep OT class.

3. Kansas City
Kiper: Aaron Curry
McShay: Curry
Lombardi: Curry
Banter: Eugene Monroe, Virginia, OT - I love the storyline of Monroe and last year's first rounder from Virginia, Branden Albert, protecting Matt Cassel.

4. Seattle
Kiper: Monroe
McShay: B.J. Raji
Lombardi: Raji
Banter: Aaron Curry, Wake Forest, LB - Curry dominated the Combine and is now considered by many to be the draft's top prospect. After Seattle's signing of WR T.J. Housyourdaddy and Michael Crabtree's imminent surgery, the two no longer look like the perfect match they were a few weeks back. The trade of LB Julian Peterson clears the way for Curry.

5. Cleveland
Kiper: Raji
McShay: Brian Orakpo
Lombardi: Orakpo
Banter: B.J. Raji, Boston College, DT - A great run-stuffer, but I still question why he never dominated in college like his skills indicate he would. Again, I do not think Raji is worthy of being a top five pick, but this is a mock draft and not what I would do.

6. Cincinnati
Kiper: Michael Crabtree
McShay: Monroe
Lombardi: J. Smith
Banter: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech, WR - The Bengals replace Housyourdaddy with Crabtree. Not a bad deal for them although they have a lot more needs than just this.

7. Oakland
Kiper: Jeremy Maclin
McShay: Maclin
Lombardi: Andre Smith
Banter: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri, WR - Al Davis has always been enamored with speed, and Maclin has plenty of it.

8. Jacksonville
Kiper: Matt Sanchez
McShay: Crabtree
Lombardi: Sanchez
Banter: Andre Smith, Alabama, OT - I realize Smith has not had a great few weeks, but his talent is undeniable, and he can slide into the right tackle position.

9. Green Bay
Kiper: Orakpo
McShay: Aaron Maybin
Lombardi: Maybin
Banter: Brian Orakpo, Texas, DE - If he can prove he's healthy at UT's Pro Day, Orakpo would help revamp a struggling defense at Lambeau.

10. San Francisco
Kiper: Maybin
McShay: A. Smith
Lombardi: Robert Ayers
Banter: Mark Sanchez, USC, QB - Can Sanchez be the QB of the future that Alex Smith never was? The 49ers sure hope so.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Recap of Sports Pet Peeves

Over the years, I have slowly revealed my Top 50 Sports Pet Peeves. The following have been published.

Sports Pet Peeve #1: In-game interviews of head coaches. I can tolerate coaches being interviewed at halftime (to a certain degree), but what is the purpose of interviewing a coach during the course of a game? Let me make sure I have this straight. It would be a good idea for a coach to divulge strategy or provide analysis during a game so the opposing team can know what he is thinking? How does that make sense? It's infuriating and completely nonsensical. These coaches get berated by the media for hours before and hours after the game. Leave them alone during the game. I beg you.

Note: This applies specifically to hockey (NBC) and baseball (Fox / ESPN). Sports Pet Peeve

#2: Detailing the score of a game by using the losing team's score first. An example: "The Dodgers lost to the Mets three to seven." No, the Dodgers lost to the Mets seven to three. It's not a difficult concept. Higher score followed by lower score.

Note: This does not apply to sports with sets (tennis, volleyball, etc) as it would be impossible to determine which team / player won which sets by using the rules outlined above. So, saying Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 would be necessary and perfectly acceptable.

#3: Unwarranted excessive celebration penalties after touchdowns. I understand offenses such as the "slitting the throat" gesture and taunting opponents, but the NFL and NCAA need to relax the illegalities of certain celebrations. A touchdown typically results from perfect execution after hours of film study and practice. Why do these governing bodies find the need to prohibit choreographed celebrations with teammates? God forbid a player share in the happiness with others who helped him arrive in the end zone.

#6: When trying to down a punt deep inside an opponent's territory, a player will wildly slide / jump / dive on top of a football forcing it into the end zone for a touchback. Failure to down the ball inside the 1-yard line has become an epidemic. I cannot count the times this has occurred recently.

#11: Defensive three seconds in the NBA. It's the NBA, supposedly the cream of the crop of professional basketball leagues worldwide.
Why can't you play any defense you want?

#34: Soccer players wearing gloves. Really, soccer players? It's so cold that you need gloves to cover your delicate fingers? Man up. You don't use your hands anyway.
Note: This applies to cross-country runners as well, but no one pays them much bother anyway.

#38: The Big 10 calling itself the Big 10. Has anyone figured out why the Big 10 hasn't changed its name to the Big 11? There are 11 teams in the conference; the conference logo (see below) has the shadow of an "11." You promote yourselves as institutions of higher learning. Do the intelligent thing here.