Freitag, 30. September 2011
From The Varsity News:
UDM senior Brad Harbison told Detroit Police that Holman assaulted him in the early-morning hours Saturday, Sept. 17, at a party at the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity house at 16800 Fairfield.
In a Detroit Police report, officer Kenneth Cawley noted that Harbison said Holman struck him "in the nose and mouth with a closed fist two times then left. Mr. Harbison was conveyed to Beaumont Hospital by a friend at 2 a.m."
Harbison told The Varsity News that Holman broke his nose in two places and chipped two of his teeth.
Athletic director Keri Gaither told the paper the removal of the Horizon League's top rebounder from team activities wasn't directly related to the alleged assault, but rather, "It's in conjunction with a series of personal issues." Detroit coach Ray McCallum would not confirm the incident caused the leave of absence in an interview with the Detroit Free Press, adding, "I don't know when he will rejoin the team."
Holman was involved in a previous incident that involved campus police at Indiana while informing the Hoosiers coach Tom Crean he was transferring.
At some point, Holman became agitated and ended up knocking over a potted plant.
Crean told The [Indianapolis] Star he believed Holman had been "coached up" on what to say before meeting with him. Holman publicly apologized to Crean a day later, the same day the player's release was granted.
Since then, he has led the Horizon League in rebounding for the past two seasons. As a junior, he averaged 11.8 points and 9.6 rebounds, establishing himself as a big reason why Detroit could have a breakout season.
But now the Titans will have to wait to see what legal ramifications Holman might face from the fraternity house incident.
The eighth amendment of the United States Constitution protects defendants in criminal cases from cruel and unusual punishment.
Baseball is considered America's Pastime.
It's very coincidental. Why? Because baseball is as cruel and unusual a sport as one can find.
Take for instance the 2011 National League regular season. In particular, look closely at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers, playing way out on the left coast, thousands of miles from the media-favored east coast, were victims of cruel and unusual punishment.
The Dodgers, the team, organization and fans only seemed to make national headlines a couple of times this season.
The talk all season about the Dodgers has been the divorce. While I won't get into specifics, most of America is well aware of the current state of the team's ownership and the trials and tribulations that have taken place over the last six to 12 months.
Then there was the tragic incident in which Brian Stow, the Giants fan who attended opening day 2011 at Dodger Stadium, was beaten so brutally that his life was in jeopardy.
To this day, he remains hospitalized. Thankfully, he has made great strides in his recovery, but he still has a ways to go.
It's easy to understand how and why these two stories dominated the headlines nationwide. For sure, they are both compelling.
What isn't so easy to understand is how and why Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp haven't been making their own nationwide headlines.
A lot is owed, I suppose, to the fact that the Dodgers aren't very good.
They finished the season at 82-79 and were never really in playoff contention.
On the other hand, Kershaw and Kemp have been nothing short of dominant.
Clayton Kershaw, the 23-year-old left handed starting pitcher for the Dodgers, has been as good or better this season than any pitcher in the majors, and that includes this year's media golden boy, Justin Verlander.
Kershaw dominated the league this year, posting a major league best 2.28 ERA.
He was also second in the majors in WHIP at 0.98 and first in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings for pitchers with over 200 innings pitched.
While I don't usually put much credence in a pitchers' win-loss record, I think that in Kershaw's case, the fact that he went 21-5 for a team that finished the season three games over .500 just further exemplifies what he accomplished this season.
In terms of his National League counterparts, Kershaw sits atop nearly every major category: ERA (2.28), WHIP (0.09), wins (21) and strikeouts (248).
The only major category which he does not lead is innings pitched, where he sits at 233.1, good enough for third on the list behind Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay.
Obviously it's easier to give the Cy Young to Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, the top two pitchers for the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies.
After all, those two and the rest of the Phillies have been the talk of the baseball world since before the season even started.
As a whole the Phillies and all of those great pitchers have lived up to their expectations, but individually, not one of them out pitched Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw clearly dominated the national league and is on his way to what should be his first Cy Young Award.
On the other side of the equation stands the Dodgers' 27-year-old center fielder, Matt Kemp.
Again, here is a guy who has been a very good baseball player in the past but has emerged this season as a bona fide superstar.
Sure, I've seen Kemp's name in the headlines in the past, but most of those had to do with his dating R&B superstar Rihanna.
While that's newsworthy to a lot of people, it definitely took the focus off of what Kemp is capable of on the field.
Kemp did everything he could to remind everyone this season that he is a baseball player and not tabloid fodder.
Kemp had the single best season of any National League player this season. He won two of the three triple crown categories after leading the NL in both home runs (39) and RBI (126). He also hit .322 which was good enough for third place overall in the league.
Add into that the fact that Kemp stole 40 bases, putting him exactly one home run shy of the ultra exclusive 40-40 club—and I'm not talking about Jay-Z's chain of clubs.
I'm talking about 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases. It is a club occupied by only four other major league players.
Of those four other players, three (Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez) have questionable pasts that causes anything they've done to be scrutinized.
The fourth player is Alfonso Soriano, who accomplished the feat in 2006.
Kemp had a great year and is young enough that I fully expect that he will give it another run or two before his career is over.
His rare combination of power and speed makes him the ultimate threat at the plate and on the bases.
While some may say, since this Dodgers team as a whole wasn't very good and they missed the playoffs, perhaps Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder or someone else moving onto the postseason is more deserving of the MVP.
I would disagree.
Matt Kemp has played and produced like an MVP this season and should be rewarded with the hardware.
All in all, I feel like these two Dodgers haven't received their just due this season. They have outperformed every one of their contemporaries, albeit while flying basically under the radar for the entire season.
I'd say, for talents like these two, that was is a bit of cruel and unusual punishment.
Everyone should now know both of their names.
A Cy Young and an MVP should help with that.
That's where Texas coach Rick Barnes comes into the picture.
According to WBTW-TV, Barnes became a godsend to Tara Hall, which was in need of major financial assistance until Barnes' wife, Candy, read of the group home's struggle in a magazine while vacationing in the area and told Rick all about it.
[Tara Hall executive director Jim] Dumm said Barnes called and within days was on-site at Tara Hall with a contractor friend and plans to re-floor, re-paint, and generally make-over the entire residence hall. It all culminated over Labor Day weekend, when Barnes and other volunteers helped move new furniture into the dorms.
"They just really are dedicated to seeing that these boys have a first-rate chance at everything," said Dumm, who still can't help but smile on Tara Hall's fortunes lately.
In a quick phone conversation Thursday morning, Barnes told News13 he didn't want any publicity for the deed, and he and his family were inspired by what Dumm and his staff are doing at Tara Hall. Barnes brought his son to help and to spend time with the youths at the home this summer, and Dumm said Candy Barnes has also come by to spend time.
The new furniture inside the residence hall includes new beds for the students and the adult staff, along with new sectional couches and high definition TVs for the lounges. Dumm said Barnes even threw in satellite TV service and separate TVs so the boys could play video games in the lounges and in the rec hall. There are also new pool tables and tables and chairs in the rec hall, new floor coverings throughout, and coats of fresh paint on walls everywhere you look.
Quietly, Barnes stepped up to help at a place off the beaten path that desperately needed it. He spent his time and energy, and his family members pitched in as well when no one was looking.
That's a credit to Barnes, who clearly has compassion for young men looking to better themselves, and it doesn't just end with the basketball team at Texas.
From The Sun News:
Dumm said new beds were the first thing he asked for when Barnes wanted to know what he could do to help. When Barnes pressed for more, Dumm had a hard time asking.
"He said 'Jim, you’re not asking for enough' and I said something about not wanting to be greedy and he said ‘Sometimes you just have to get out of the way and let God work,' said Dumm.
"That was the last peep out of me. I let Him work."
It isn't hard to see that Ohio State's offense needs a spark outside of Jordan Hall going into their Saturday matchup against Michigan State.
With Jaamal Berry out of action for the time being due to "health issues", the team needs some help to jumpstart a unit that has been underwhelming for most of the season.
Braxton Miller hopefully will be better this season after getting the nerves out of the way from his first start against Colorado.
Corey Brown's status for Saturday is still unknown, but he likely may miss another week recovering from an ankle sprain.
With all of that in place, the Buckeyes will be looking for a spark.
That spark may come in the form of another true freshman: WR Devin Smith from Massillon, the same school that produced Chris Spielman almost 30 years ago.
Smith is the team's leader in receiving yards with 183 in just eight receptions, three of them for touchdowns, and he has speed that should remind fans of Santonio Holmes.
In a year where one freshman wideout, Clemson's Sammy Watkins, has captured the attention of offensive-happy fans, Smith is another guy people should keep one eye on.
Smith and Miller seem to have a natural chemistry from the get-go and could emerge as the go-to guy in the absence of Brown and DeVier Posey, who will serve the final game of his five-game suspension against the Spartans.
But what this young man brings to the table is a pair of hands that Miller trusts, and that may be the most important thing for a young QB.
Look for Ohio State's offense to try to get the Miller-to-Smith connection going in the passing game early on.
Defenses have keyed on TE Jake Stoneburner lately to force the ball to Ohio State's weakened wideout corps in the passing game, however many few times OSU throws the ball.
Saturday could be the coming out party for Devin Smith if Michigan State is able to contain Miller's running and Hall's explosive plays.
If he is, then the Ohio State passing game could suddenly be much more dangerous with the return of Posey and a healthy Corey Brown. But all of that is dependent on Miller's arm.
But the potential is there. And in a season where a seventh-straight Big Ten title is unlikely or forbidden depending on NCAA rulings, potential is what Ohio State needs to focus on right now.
Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for more college football updates.
Donnerstag, 29. September 2011
Roe, it should be noted, is 21 years old. (He'll be 22 on Oct. 3.) Needless to say, players don't retire at the age of 22 very often. Of course, most don't deal with the kinds of recurring physical problems Roe has suffered since missing his senior high school season to a knee injury. Before that injury, Roe was a highly touted prospect, the centerpiece of Tom Izzo's 2008 class. Since then, he's been a reduced but still effective player, one that constantly reinvented his game and battled through his injuries to contribute as much as he could despite his maladies.
Now, unfortunately, he's calling it quits. He will remain on scholarship and is on track to graduate next spring, but he won't be playing basketball anymore. According to Roe, the pain was just too much.
“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make," Roe said in a statement. "It feels that I’ve been playing through pain throughout my career at MSU, but the daily grind of basketball – the running, cutting, jumping – has finally taken its toll given the intensity required to play at our level. I started playing basketball because I loved the game, but the pain has taken that away and forced me to always think about just getting through the next few minutes or the next game. I don’t want to just ‘get through’ anymore. I’ve played on a leg and a half for most of my career, and that’s not fair to my teammates as they go through the daily grind.
“I have no regrets about my time at Michigan State. I’ve been blessed to be a three-year starter and be a part of back-to-back Big Ten Championships and Final Fours. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by great teammates that have become my brothers, and coaches that have provided great guidance. The medical and training staff have been phenomenal just to give me the opportunities that I’ve had. But as one of our doctors told me, the wear on my knee is like tread on a tire, and that once it’s gone, it doesn’t come back. It became time to consider my health moving forward.
Like I said: Press releases don't get much sadder than that. Just a few years ago, Roe was a bouncy high school star with a full and promising basketball career ahead of him. He had NBA talent. How tough is that?
Not as tough as Roe. Check the kid's game logs: For three years, despite the kind of knee pain that makes you want to quit playing basketball just so you don't hurt anymore, Roe never missed a game. He battled his knees as hard as he could, but the knees won in the end.
“We’ve built our program at Michigan State on toughness, and I’ve never had a player who played through more pain than Delvon," Izzo said in a statement. "I feel bad for Delvon, because I know how much basketball means to him. It’s a shame that most Spartans never got to see the player I recruited. And yet he found a way to contribute and be a valuable part of two Final Fours and Big Ten Championships just by his will and desire. Last year, he unselfishly reinvented himself into a defensive stopper that the team needed. For him to call it a career at this time shows the severity of his pain. I look forward to having him remain around the program this year as he finishes his degree.”
There's no getting around it; this is a sad end to a once-promising career. The silver lining is that Roe is on pace to graduate from Michigan State with his degree in 2012. Better yet, Roe -- by all accounts a great kid with a wide range of interests outside hoops -- may now have the time to focus fully on his acting, which he discovered a passion in 2010 after he scored a role in an MSU theater production of William Shakespeare's comedy "As You Like It." Besides, who knows what more basketball may have done to his knees? Leaving now makes Roe much less likely to spend his later life limping every time he has to walk up a flight of stairs.
It had to be a brutal decision, but it's impossible to argue with Roe's choice. I have a feeling Spartans fans would agree.
“I will always be a Spartan," Roe said in a statement. "The support of everyone in the University and the fan base has left an impression that will last a lifetime. It remains my goal to walk across the court on senior night."
Authorities say ex-NBA player Javaris Crittenton is free on bail after he was charged with murder in an August drive-by shooting. Sheriff's spokeswoman Tracy Flanagan said Crittenton was released at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. Fulton County Magistrate Judge Karen Woodson allowed Crittenton to go free on $230,000 bond after hearing testimony Tuesday from the player's friends and coaches.
So, as the need to make a new labor deal is reaching its apex, let’s see how one of the most notorious owners in the history of sports could possibly play a hand in a full 2011-12 NBA season being salvaged.
Freitag, 23. September 2011
The Miami Hurricanes are 1-1 after two games, which included a dismantling of the previously ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 24-6.
In both games, the Hurricanes have been competitive. Considering all the distractions with the Shapiro scandal, the 'Canes have played as well as anybody could have imagined through two tough games.
In the game at Maryland, the 'Canes came up a bit short.
Had Stephen Morris been able to lead the 'Canes down field before the interception returned for a touchdown sealed the deal, we may be talking about the 'Canes as a Top-25 team at the moment.
The most credit has to go to coach Al Golden. No 'Canes coach has gone through the situation that Golden has in his first year coaching Miami.
Golden came in and already had a tough task facing him.
He had to rebuild one of the most prestigious programs in the country. A school who hasn't won a bowl game since 2006. A school that hasn't even played in their own conference championship game since their debut in the ACC in 2004.
Al Golden has coached the team better than anybody thought.
Here are five reasons why the Hurricanes will have a successful season for the remainder of 2011.
The Minnesota Vikings can win in Week 3.
This Sunday Minnesota (0-2) draws the ever-so-hot Detroit Lions (2-0) for an NFC North battle at Mall of America Field.
Minnesota enters the game having had halftime leads of 10 or more points in each of its first two games and having blown each game in the second half.
It wouldn’t seem like Minnesota should have much of a chance in this one, but the Vikings can pull it out.
- Andrew Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com: "After much waiting and anticipation, there will finally be a rematch between the Los Angeles based Drew League and the Goodman League of Washington D.C. The game will take place on Oct. 9 in Los Angeles at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The time is tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. PT. Longtime Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley confirmed the news and date to ESPNLosAngeles.com. The first meeting on Aug. 21 in D.C. saw the Goodman League squad, fueled by 44 points and a pair of clutch free throws from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, eke out a 135-134 victory. Since then, fans and participants alike have been clamoring to see these squads meet up again. After a series of scheduling conflicts, a mutually agreeable time was finally discovered."
- Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "Dan Gilbert spent three straight seasons paying into a revenue-sharing system that following the 2009-10 season was projected to be at $60 million -- or $336 million less than Major League Baseball's redistribution plan. It stands to reason the Cavs and others want the Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, etc., to share more profits from their local revenue streams. The last four NBA champions represent the second (Los Angeles), fifth (Boston) and seventh (Dallas) media markets. If the lockout continues into the season, Gilbert likely will remain an inviting target. But if the past is any guide, that's unlikely to detour his pursuits."
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: "Usually when the Celtics gather for their Shamrock Foundation golf outing, they’re taking a break from preparations for a season that is fast approaching. But yesterday when the basketball operations people came together at Weston Golf Club for the annual event, they were taking a break from ... taking a break. ... The Celts, like other clubs, have done what they can to prepare for the time when a new system is in place and they can begin signing free agents, but, as expected, things have been much slower than normal. Asked what he’s been up to, coach Doc Rivers said, 'Golf, family and that’s about it. Decompressing is always good. We’ve all done that pretty much, and we’re antsy again.' Celtics president Danny Ainge knows the free agent market will be like the Wild West once a new CBA is reached, but all he can do is prepare wish lists. 'We’ve done that,' he said, 'but we’ve done that every summer, every draft and every trade deadline. It’s the same as usual. We’ve just had a lot more time to go over things. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we’ll be prepared. We’ve just gotten organized in our scouting. We’re just more organized now.' "
- Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times: "The assignment: rank the best current commissioners in sports, factoring in various economic, labor and field-of-play issues. The consensus of several sports business experts was that David Stern is No. 1, though with an asterisk because of the labor dispute that led him to lock players out on July 1. 'At the collegiate level right now, no one's killing it like Larry Scott is. To do what he has done with the Pac-12 is astounding,' said Scott Rosner, associate director of Wharton Sports Business initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. 'Track record, though, I think you have to give it to David. To think about where this sport was when he took over in the early '80s, so many teams losing money — the majority of the teams losing money — the Finals were on tape delay in many markets across the country, and David has brought that league to where it is. That said, if you're grading on the latest semester his grade wouldn't be as strong, obviously, with the lockout. And this is in many respects important to his legacy, but my sense is when all is said and done that the owners will score a pretty major victory.' "
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Chris Duhon, the Orlando Magic's representative to the National Basketball Players Association, isn't ready to predict whether the 2011-12 NBA regular season will start on time. 'Obviously, there's a standstill going on, and there's major points that we're not going to give up on, and there's major points that the owners are not going to give up on,' said Duhon, who attended last Thursday's union meeting in Las Vegas and regularly updates his teammates on the status of the ongoing negotiations. 'The good thing is that now we're actually trying to communicate. Now, there's communication. Obviously, the time is getting shorter and shorter, and nobody wants to miss games. So now we're communicating a little bit, but at the same time, at the end, we've got to know that the players, we're prepared. We've been prepared for two years. We've been prepared for two years to sit out a year or maybe two.' The NBA lockout, which completed its 81st full day Monday, shows few signs of letting up."
- Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "Griz forward Rudy Gay was cleared to resume full-contact basketball activities, seven months after he suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder, Gay's agent confirmed Monday afternoon. Jeff Austin, one of Gay's representatives at Octagon Sports, said his client met with renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews then declared that Gay's surgically repaired shoulder has full strength and range of motion. ... Gay signed a five-year, $84 million contract before the start of the 2010-11 season. He responded by producing a career year in seven statistical categories before the injury. It is believed that Gay will return to Las Vegas to continue working out at Impact Basketball, where more than 40 NBA players are participating in a so-called 'lockout league.' "
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Rockets forward Patrick Patterson underwent ankle surgery last month but is on pace to be ready for the start of training camp should the NBA lockout end in time, Patterson's agent, Odell McCants, said Monday. Patterson had surgery to treat bone spurs in his right ankle. He is rehabilitating the ankle and training at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis. 'He was playing through it the past couple years,' McCants said. 'He's right on schedule to be ready if training camp does start on time.' Because of the lockout, Rockets officials could not comment on Patterson's condition or be involved in his rehabilitation."
- Joe Freeman of The Oregonian: "In the end, Bill Bayno’s departure from the Trail Blazers’ coaching staff came down to one thing: Security. The Minnesota Timberwolves and new coach Rick Adelman offered the former Blazers assistant coach a four-year contract — three more years than the Blazers would offer — and a difficult decision became a no-brainer for Bayno. 'We talk all the time about this being a business when players get traded or coaches get fired and its no different in this situation,' Bayno said in an e-mail to The Oregonian. 'My first choice was to stay and I did everything in my power to do that. But in the end, I had to take this offer. It was too good to pass up.' As a general policy under the current management, the Blazers do not offer assistant coaches more than one-year contracts on a year-to-year basis. Coach Nate McMillan lobbied on Bayno’s behalf when the Timberwolves’ interest surfaced, but the Blazers were unwilling to budge on a multi-year offer."
- Jason Loyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: "The Cavaliers are holding open tryouts in both Cleveland and Canton for men interested in trying out for the team’s new Development League team which begins play in Canton this fall. The Cleveland tryout is Saturday, Oct. 8 and continues on Sunday, Oct. 9 at St. Ignatius. ... 'The open tryout process is an important part of our launch and a good way to evaluate additional talent on the court,' Canton General Manager Wes Wilcox said. 'It will be a great opportunity for players to make their case for an invitation to our training camp.' "
- Langston Wertz Jr. of The Charlotte Observer: "Former Wake Forest and Charlotte Hornets point guard Muggsy Bogues is the boys' basketball coach at private United Faith Christian. He will start Tuesday. Bogues, 46, replaces Shaun Wiseman, who led United Faith to three straight appearances in the N.C. 1A Independent Schools championship game. The Falcons won the title in 2009 and 2010. 'My goal is to make sure I do a great job this year and give the kids what they need,' Bogues said. 'I'm looking forward to working with the kids and helping to build the program.' "
Manchester United took a stranglehold on the English Premier League last week. Although they didn't dominate, United made the most of their opportunities.
City finally dropped some points, and now Sir Alex Ferguson's club sits alone at the top of the table. We are still a long way from the end of the season, but it would be ignorant to overlook United's dominance.
A lot of clubs are hoping to answer some questions this week, we'll just have to wait and see if it happens.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Stoke City 0 Manchester United 2: By simply looking at last week's scorelines, this appears to be a foregone conclusion. Not so fast. Stoke have one of the toughest defenses at home, and despite getting worked last week (4-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light), they have an outside shot of a Champions League spot this year.
United demonstrated last week that their backline is far from impenetrable. David De Gea has looked a little better, but the defense just hasn't looked flawless (like most of the United attack has looked).
With all that said, United are too talented to lose this match. In fact, I think they will win. However, don't be surprised if Stoke are able to earn a point at home.
Manchester City 2 Everton 0: For the first time this year, Roberto Mancini's squad dropped points in the league. While they are no longer untouchable, City are still really good. This will be a nice homecoming match, as they will win handily over an inferior Everton squad.
Arsenal 1 Bolton 0: The Gunners simply aren't very good this year, are they? Despite that fact (and having more matches played than points), Arsenal should earn three points at Emirates this week. Bolton are a tougher side than they've played like, but I just don't see them getting any points on the road this week.
Chelsea 2 Swansea City 0: If you watched last week's match at Old Trafford, you would believe me when I say that the Blues could've won it. In fact, with the amount of quality chances they had, Chelsea should have won it.
But that doesn't matter. With a Jose Bosingwa cheap foul (setting up the free kick for the first goal), a Juan Mata lazy tackle (letting Nani cruise right past him) and poor interior defending (Phil Jones running nearly the length of the field), they were down 3-0 at half.
Despite his embarrassment, Fernando Torres was, in my opinion, the man of the match. Now, he needs to start putting the ball in the net more often. He should notch a brace this week, and get his season on the right track.
Liverpool 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0: Liverpool have really slipped. With injuries and suspensions, the Reds have been outscored 5-0 in their two September matches. With a return to Anfield, I think they will get a much-needed three points.
Newcastle United 2 Blackburn 0: Don't look now, but the Toon are in the top four. Obviously, it's early in the season, but it is a great sign for a historic club that was embarrassingly relegated three seasons ago. Now, led by the best statistical defense in the league (two goals conceded in five matches), Newcastle hope to return to European football by the end of the year. We'll have to see about that, but a win this week doesn't sound to outrageous.
West Bromwich Albion 1 Fulham 0: Both of these teams surprised me last week. However, now that West Brom returns home and Fulham is on the road, I think their results will be reversed. West Brom should earn a solid three points at the Hawthorns.
Wigan Athletic 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1: Spurs are starting to look better as the season goes along. Not to mention, Luka Modric scored one of the best goals in this campaign. Look for him to dominate the midfield as Spurs earn three points away from White Hart Lane.
Queens Park Rangers 2 Aston Villa 1: I think Villa are more talented than QPR, but I don't think they are quite playing to form. At Loftus Road, QPR have been unimpressive, but I think they'll notch a victory for the home crowd this week.
Norwich City 2 Sunderland 0: Sunderland finally got back on track with a thumping 4-0 victory last week. However, things won't be as easy against Norwich. On the road, I expect Sunderland to drop this match, in relatively boring fashion.
Last Week: 3-5-2 (W-L-D)
Season: 20-12-8 (W-L-D)
Well, those are my predictions for the week. As always, feel free to let me know what you think, and give me any input on any of the matches. Thanks!
Donnerstag, 22. September 2011
The introduction is by Robert Lipsyte, who shares a little tale from his days as an "expendable" 22-year-old writing for The New York Times when he was sent out to ask Mickey Mantle about a mildly controversial incident:
Mickey and Yogi Berra were playing catch in front of the dugout when I politely introduced myself before the game. I'm sure I was wearing a suit and tie that evening at the stadium, possibly a matching vest, and I'm pretty sure I called him "Mr. Mantle" when I inquired if I might ask him about what happened the previous week. Very casually, Mickey glanced over his shoulder and made a rude and impossible suggestion.
Now I had heard such words before but never from an American hero. I read the papers; I knew the story of this sunny Oklahoma Kid gutsing it out on bad wheels, genetically doomed to an early death as he tried to replace the Clipper and the Bambino. Yet despite it all, he was terminally loveable. What I didn't know was that he had been permitted, enabled, by his press claque to disregard any questions he didn't want to answer, assured that his image would be protected no matter how much snarling at reporters and spitting at young fans he needed to do to relieve his angst. No wonder the Times had ambassador to the Yankees didn't bother. I assumed I had asked the question incorrectly, so I rephrased it. Mickey signaled to Yogi, and they began throwing the ball through my hair. I was experienced enough to realize the interview was over.
I felt ashamed, humiliated by the experience. What had I done wrong? How had I offended this American icon? Should I even be doing this work? It was a long time before I told the story to a more experienced reporter, who laughed. "That's Mickey. We don't write about it," he told me, "because our editors don't want to print such stuff because our readers don't want to hear about it, and we don't want to lose access. Welcome to the club, kid. Don't let it get you down. Happens to all of us, every day."
It took me a while to become properly angry because I didn't want to admit to myself that I had been bullied, that I was a victim. It was all too close to the feelings that women have when they are sexually harassed and made to feel that it is their fault, that they bring it on themselves. I didn't want to feel like a girl. I am a man -- I hang with the Bronx Bombers.
Lipsyte isn't the only one who was mistreated in that story.�Sports heroes are a Big Cultural Deal. To the extent their heroism is really an illusion, a conspiracy of profits, we are dupes.
While the powers that be huff and puff to realign college basketball as we know it, let's get back to the season at hand.
Lost in all the speculation of which teams are going where is the fact that we are about to face one of the most intriguing seasons in a while.
Talented recruits and returning sophomores are what make college basketball, and teams are currently rife with them.
Everyone has their respective team to follow and all their games are important, but if you are a fan of college basketball as a whole, you will want to see these games.
Right around the time North Carolina heads west to play in the 2012 Maui Invitational next November, Long Beach State will get the Tar Heels on home turf. According to the Daily 49er, athletic director Vic Cegles is already making preparations for a record-setting crowd by funding a temporary expansion of about 2,000 seats in the Pyramid.
The men's basketball team, which set an attendance record of 5,143 in last season's home opener against then-No. 25-ranked San Diego State, will be hosting perennial powerhouse UNC on Nov. 18, 2012.
Cegles said that LBSU head coach Dan Monson's friendship with UNC head coach Roy Williams aided in the process of scheduling the Tar Heels.
"Scheduling a top-10 team at home provides the 49ers and the university national recognition," Cegles said, "and acknowledges the quality of the program and respect for our basketball tradition. Obviously, winning the game enables you to build a stronger schedule for the future and generates new revenues from ticket sales."
Long Beach State this season returns a senior-laden roster that has already experienced going to Chapel Hill and losing by only five points. The 49ers played especially well in the second half last December, outscoring North Carolina 57-48, and should carry that confidence into this year's Dec. 10 game.
Yes, it's going to be difficult for Long Beach State to pull off any upset wins as part of the three-game series. But for a Big West program to have North Carolina on its home floor next year should be a great event in Southern California.
If No. 25 San Diego State drew the largest crowd in the history of the Pyramid crowd, the excitement level for a game against the Tar Heels should be off the charts.
Reality is a hard thing to face when dealing with your football team. If you know it would take a miracle to get your team to the playoffs, it can be 17 weeks of absolute gut-wrenching agony.
The New York Giants are in a very unique position.
The team is decimated with injuries, the quarterback has not shown the ability to carry the team on his back at any time, the general manager stole a page from the Kansas City Royals leaving his team without any resources to compete and the coaching staff is continually out-coached by delivering uninspiring, predictable game plans.
So what now?
The players on this team have pride. There is never a moment that these guys mail it in or take a play off. The Monday night win against the St. Louis Rams was ugly. Real ugly. But some things did stick out and should be noted.
The D Positives: Boley, Tuck, Tollefson, J. Williams and Rolle.
- Michael Boley continues to fly around the field. His overall tackle numbers are a bit low; however, he has taken over as the defensive signal caller and has showcased his skills by picking up the lateral against the Rams and bringing it back to the house.
- Justin Tuck is the rock of the defense and the glue that keeps it together. I would like to see Perry Fewell dial up some crisscross stunts for Tuck as well as moving him inside (see Spagnuolo) to use his skill set a bit more effectively.
- Tollefson continues to be a key football player for the Giants. On Monday night, he showed why the Giants re-signed him in the offseason, as he picked up a fumble by Rams punt returner Greg Salas that helped set up Nicks' three-yard touchdown score. Last week, he picked up a big sack against the Washington Redskins, and he continues to be a stud on special teams.
- Antrel Rolle and rookie Jacquian Williams (sixth round USF) did a nice job of keeping Cadillac Williams to 36 yards. This is the second week in a row that a defensive back led the team in tackles.
The O Positives: Manningham, Bradshaw, Hixon and Ware
- Manningham continues to develop and has a knack for big plays. His three catches for 57 yards, averaging 18 yards a catch, was excellent; however, he was targeted seven times before leaving the game with an injury. His quarterback absolutely stunk on Monday, hampering any type of rhythm Manningham might have gotten into.
- Hixon and his latest injury is devastating for the Giants. Don't be fooled by Cruz playing as much as Hixon. Hixon was the better player, purely on the fact that he would go over the middle. His acrobatic touchdown catch was pure commitment. He will be missed.
- Bradshaw had 104 all-purpose yards and DJ Ware averaged 7.3 yards a carry when called to carry the rock in second half.
Wild Card: If you didn't know: The Green Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 with 17 players on injured reserve. Therefore, you could ask yourself: Should the Packers have won the Super Bowl when one-third of their roster was on the injured reserve?
Lightening in a Bottle!
In 2007, the New York Giants received huge contributions from Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Jay Alford, Aaron Ross, Michael Johnson and Zak DeOssie. One can only hope when the Prince arrives he jump-starts the 2011 class.
Players in the Dog House:
- Aaron Ross—Ross has two major flaws: he's always hurt and he never looks back at the ball. Terrible play. Can someone tell Ross to stop playing with a 25-yard cushion.
- Brandon Jacobs—The Eagles linebackers are small and inexperienced. He needs more carries and he needs to get the second level. He is great in space, and should request the bubble screen.
- Linval Joseph—I sit on the 22-yard line in the new Meadowland Stadium. I didn't hear Joseph's name one time. I understand he's overshadowed, but make a play or go home.
- Kiwi—Practically Invisible. He needs to be a defensive end. Thanks Jerry Reese!
- Hakeem Nicks—No show in the second half. A bit injury prone. Elite receivers don't disappear in the second half.
- Greg Jones—You want to be an NFL linebacker? Just look at the Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis. Fourteen tackles Monday Night.
- Corey Webster—Critics and analysts say you're in the upper echelon of NFC cornerbacks. Time to put up or shut up. You looked soft vs. the Rams and receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will own you.
- JPP—Don't just disappear. JPP will be going against Jason Peters, who is loving Philadelphia, for it is crafting plays that he respond well to. He needs to get more consistent.
- Eli Manning—What can I say? The second worst performance I have ever seen from No.10. It is very clear that he can not carry a team on his back. In the first half of the game, he had two passes knocked down, two dirt balls and one INT. He is not worth $100 million.
After the announcement by the Pac 12 that it will remain the Pac 12 and not become the Pac 16, everyone seemed to let their held breath go and assumed realignment was over for now.
Realignment is still happening and will go forward. The question is just how long will it take. Conferences may now pull back and actually examine the issues and see what they want to do going forward.
What issues, you ask? I am glad you asked.
With the creation of a sixteen-team Superconference, the power conferences were looking for two things:
- A reasonably strong team and tradition and
- New markets to add to their television and recruiting area
And in my opinion, the latter is more important than the former to the Conference. The Big East adding TCU, the ACC adding Pitt and Syracuse and the SEC looking to schools like Missouri and Texas A & M have way more to do with where these schools are located and what television and recruiting areas they contain than the recent wins and losses of any of these teams.
This is all about the huge amounts of money available for these conferences to tap.
What the proposed Superconferences have failed to account for is just how the new conference would shape and go forward. How many conference games would be on the schedule? How do you rotate the teams in the other division into your schedule? Will the BCS still see a two- or three-loss Superconference Champion as Championship game-worthy? Will the BCS still exist? What happens to any stragglers or Independents not in a Superconference?
The Conferences need to know the answers to these questions before they form and create new schedules.
But the conferences have seen the future and Superconferences will arrive. It is just a matter of what will be the trigger that sets it off. We have seen the minor earthquakes signaling a change, but the “Big One” has not arrived yet. The creation of the Pac 16 may have been that big event, but now it has been pushed back.
The question is whether the power conferences are investing in earthquake protection or investing in earthquake-creating technology?
To sum up what has happened thus far:
Nebraska has moved from the Big 12 to the Big 10.
Colorado and Utah have joined the Pac 12.
Pitt and Syracuse have announced they are leaving the Big East to join the ACC.
TCU is scheduled to join the Big East.
Texas A & M is proposing to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC.
This is already a tidal wave of change that hasn’t been seen since the SWC died. The old Southwest Conference died and created the Big 12 in its wake. The remainder of the teams joined the WAC and Conference USA. This is not a new phenomenon.
What appeared to hold back the Pac 16 from forming at this time was the “bogeyman” in the room—the Longhorn Network.
The reports are that the Pac 12 would not allow Texas to get a sweetheart deal that included their fledgling network. The Oklahoma schools would not sign off on any deal that included the Longhorn Network in the same conference as them, and the deal all went on hold for now. In the history of the creation of Superconferences, this will undoubtedly be known as the Longhorn Network Reprieve.
In the meantime the Pac 12—which has been the most forward looking of the conferences—will form its own Pac-12 network that someone may actually see on their cable or satellite package. Once this is sitting pretty and progressing, they will re-investigate who wants to join and look again at the usual suspects (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) and possible new recruits.
The SEC is eventually going to add Texas A & M. The rumors of who will come with them to make the conference contain an even number of teams are plentiful and change faster than a teenage girl’s love interests.
Whether it is Missouri, Clemson, Florida State or someone else, it will be a two-team addition. This would put the SEC at fourteen teams and may force other conference’s hands into going forward to fourteen or sixteen-team arrangements.
The Big 10 now has twelve teams, a conference championship game and its own successful network, so they may be happy with this for now. If dominoes start to fall and Superconferences begin to pepper the landscape, they will certainly do whatever is necessary to position themselves with another four teams and two divisions with ridiculous names ready to go into the new era.
Again the rumors of who would join are too numerous to take seriously. Everyone assumes Notre Dame would end its interminable courtship with the Big 10 and become a full-fledged member, but this could just as likely go a different direction.
Originally it appeared that the ACC and Big East would be left in the position of picking up who’s left rather than getting first pick when it all went down. The Longhorn Network Reprieve may allow them to consolidate their positions and create stable conferences before the big earthquake arrives.
The ACC has struck first in claiming Pitt and Syracuse and now doubts are surfacing about the future of the Big East. The Big East will need to reassure TCU that all is well and make some moves of their own in the near future to strengthen their position.
The Big 12 has been more raided than any other conference and seems to be the straw stirring the realignment drink thus far. This area of the country appears to be the France of college football in that it is conquered by a new conference over and over. The SWC and Big 8 begat the Big 12, which now may beget the new era of Superconferences.
The Longhorn Network Reprieve gives the Big 12 a last hope to continue. With the defections of Colorado, Nebraska and now Texas A & M, the Big 12 will be down to nine teams and the Longhorn Network is still hanging over its head.
There will be a lot of boardroom negotiating that needs to come out with a solution to the Longhorn Network (how a network no one has ever seen can cause so much trouble is tickling me) before any team will sign on to join the conference. They need to get it back to at least twelve teams quickly so a championship game can be scheduled, or the conference may become extinct.
If the “Red River Negotiation Shootout” fails to deliver a solution, look for the Big 12 to fall apart. This may be the spark that spurs the Superconference mania on to begin again. Word is that Texas is open to at least discussing ways the Longhorn Network revenue could be divvied among the conference participators.
But whether this goes forward or Texas decides this is their baby alone could go either way.
Texas has always had dreams of being J.R. Ewing, so deep down you know they would love to be independent. But when Superconferences happen, will conference schedules now be ten games long and will independence even be possible anymore?
It may be tough but if you're Notre Dame, or Texas, it may still be possible to make a blockbuster schedule as an independent. Notre Dame has had their own private network for years and this allows them to create a top flight schedule without the benefit of a conference alignment.
Will that opportunity remain true five years from now? Everything is changing so much that this may not be the time to risk independence. Texas may deal some and decide they would rather stay in a revitalized Big 12 than go out there in the age of Superconferences as an independent, even with their own television network that no one has on their lineup yet.
All we are sure of at this point is that every program is only looking out for themselves. Tradition or long-term rivalries do not appear to matter to any of them. "Texas Fight" might mention A & M in the lyrics, but whether they play them every year or not does not seem to worry anyone at either school. Money and power will be the ruling factor here.
The big earthquake will arrive and Superconferences will form. It may be the SEC expansion, the Big 12 dissolution or the reinvestigation of the Pac 16 that starts it, but the questions is only when—not if.
Mittwoch, 21. September 2011
Kenyon Martin becomes the third Denver Nuggets free agent to sign a contract to play basketball in China this season. Martin's agent, Andy Miller, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 33-year-old forward has agreed to a deal with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association.
This amalgamation of the two presents fantasy scenarios for players who would help the Warriors in a potential Ellis trade.
From rebounding centers to athletic forwards to scoring swingmen, this article reveals the guys whom Larry Riley should really look to acquire because they'll help the team in one way or another.
Here they are.