November 3, 2007

Heather Dinich to ESPN

First Sage Steele, now Heather Dinich? Why can't the Worldwide Leader leave our hot chicks alone? According to sources at Sports Journalists, The Baltimore Sun is losing Terps beat reporter and blogger Heather Dinich to ESPN as part of ESPN's new blogger initiative.

We'll miss Heather in Baltimore if the story is true. On the other hand, some of the WWL's eye candy is getting a little ragged, so I will appreciate the infusion of "talent".

Nebraska's Black Shirts say "We SUCK!"

I've alluded to this a few times earlier in the year, but this week's performance against Kansas made this post necessary. The once vaunted and respected Nebraska defense is one of the worst in the nation. What do you get when you combine an offense averaging 42.5 ppg and a defense giving up 31? 76 points! This is not basketball, look again. Kansas put up 76 on the Huskers, on 11 offensive TD's. No punt returns, no INT's returned for TD's. KU had 69 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

I think it's officially time to say Callahan should be fired along with his entire defensive staff. The offense has looked decent at times, but everyone in corn country has to be embarrassed. The defense has given up 40+ pts 5 times this year (USC, Ball St., @Missouri, Okla St, @Kansas), and also gave up 36 to A&M and 28 to Texas (including 290 yds rushing to the Texas RB). Nebraska is now 1-5 in the Big 12 North, with the lone victory over Iowa St. (who lost to Northern Iowa and Kent St. this year), and they have to beat K State and Colorado to be bowl-eligible at 6-6. I wrote previously about how Frank Solich got the shaft at Nebraska. Do you think they might take his "terrible" 9-3 seasons after the debacle that has been Callahan's era? Last year's trip to the Big 12 Championship game was the only time in the last 4 years that Nebraska has had a winning record in conference. In arguably the weakest division of any major football conference over that period, that's awful.

Callahan should resign out of shame and return the money Nebraska was stupid enough to offer in a lucrative extension.

As if winter in East Lansing isn't long enough...

#8 ranked Michigan State lost in double OT to Division II Grand Valley State last night.

Full details on the game available here: story on Michigan State sucking

Now college basketball teams have gone on to success after early disappointing and shocking losses (see UNC losing to Santa Clara in first game last year). But hell, this was a D-II school. Fortunately for MSU, it was an exhibition game so it won't count in the standings. Technically it won't count for NCAA tourney seedings either. Grand Valley State apparently also made the Elite 8 in the Division II NCAA Tourney last year (there is a D-II NCAA Tourney?!?!) But this doesn't change the fact that the eighth-ranked team in the country lost to a D-II team on their home floor. This would've been like if Juan, T-Mo, Lonny, Steve, and the gang, had lost to the Australian All-Stars who used to always appear on the Terps' exhibition schedule in the late-90s and provided countless "Hey! A dingo ate your center" comments that became less and less funny as the game went on.

I think that horribly-designed statue of Magic (the one with the groupies at his feet) in front of the Breslin Center has a tear running down its face this morning.

November 2, 2007

Oklahoma City Sonic Burgers Closer to Reality

We've been keeping tabs on Seattle SuperSonic's owner Clay Bennett's quest to move the team to his hometown of Oklahoma City (the corporate headquarter of the fast food drive-in chain Sonic coincidentally). Today, that came one step closer to a reality, as Bennett notified the league of his intention to move the franchise. There had been an October 31 deadline set for the city to provide a plan for developing a new publicly-funded arena for the Sonics (and the WNBA's Storm). That deadline passed, and Bennett, in all magnanimity, gave Seattle one-and-a-half more days to come up with a solution.


blahblblablahblah Good luck getting that suit in Oklahoma hoss

Skeptics will note that Bennett had until March 1 to formally petition the league for permission to move, and that the announcement comes suspiciously AFTER the Sonics have played one home game at the league's smallest venue, Key Arena. Normally, a move such as this might be viewed as leverage, but it should be noted that the previous owner of the Sonics, Starbucks Coffee chairman Howard Schulz, sold the team last fall over frustration that the city would not give him a free arena.

This is not a move to empty the seats this season to make him look less like a bad guy. Bennett always intended to be the bad guy. This was the ownership equivalent of a sign-and-trade, a "buy-and-move" if you will. A group of local investors have made an offer for the team, but with only one year of appreciation in value, they would have to overpay Bennett to make him relinquish his dream of bringing the NBA to Oak City.

ahblah Sonic is awesome, but the nearest to ECB are in Dover and Bridgeville, DE

Not lost on ECB is the fact that former Longhorn great Kevin Durant would enjoy quite a pre-built following in Oklahoma City, as it is in clear Big 12 territory. Kevin Durant, on the other hand, may not enjoy life in Oklahoma City too much.

November 1, 2007

College Football Teams and the Candy they Resemble

[Editor's Note: This is ENTIRELY Steve Czaban's. His website,, is consistently funny and consistently underrated. Check out Czaban's site. - J-Red]

So I'll give credit to Steve Czaban for authoring this, but it is pretty damn valid! And pretty damn funny for some of them. Without further adieu, 25 NCAA football teams and their confectionary counterparts:

1. Ohio State (M&M's Plain) - The Buckeyes are a dependable presence, much like good ol' M&M's plain. They won't really excite many people and can be knocked off by a better choice of candy, but they are seemingly always around.

2. Boston College (Bit O' Honey) - Nobody likes Bit O' Honey, and even fans in Boston are largely ignoring this year's mid-major Cinderella story. Who wants a chunk of chewy, half-brittle, honey-based candy that gets stuck in your molars? Awful.

3. LSU (Snickers) - This is a meaty, serious gut stuffer of a candy, just like the football team. However, LSU isn't likely to make many fall in love with them, just as you don't rave about a Snickers aside from it's ability to satisfy your hunger.

4. Arizona State (Spree) - On the one hand, every once in a while, this candy makes sense. A big long roll of sweet, hard, disks. What's not to like? The chafed tongue. Arizona State seems like a good idea now. We'll end up thinking different.

5. Oregon (Mike & Ike) - The colorful candy chewies now come in different flavored boxes - regular, tangy typhoon, tangy twister, jolly joes and berry blast. Like Oregon's uniforms, you could theoretically mix and match Mike and Ikes into 2,432 flavor combinations.

6. Oklahoma (Milky Way) - They perfected the basic chocolate, caramel and nougat bar combination. A triple threat, just like Oklahoma perfected the wishbone.

7. West Virginia (Fun Dip) - This is a "candy" that involves a sugar stick you lick, and pouches of sugar powder to dip them in and lick off. Total novelty, gimmick candy. Like the spread with Slaton and White. Gimmicky, but delicious to watch.

8. Kansas (Candy Cigarettes) - People always ask: "Do they still make candy cigarettes?" Yes, yes they do. Just like people ask: "Does Kansas really play Division I football?" I'm afraid so.

9. Missouri (Abba Zabba) - Nobody is really sure what they are, where you can find them, and whether anybody really likes them.

10. Georgia (Hot Tamales) - A truly second-tier candy amongst the chewy non-chocolate set, no matter what fans of the candy may say. Let's be honest. Hot Tamales are over-rated. Just like Georgia fans think of themselves and their team. Overrated.

11. Virginia Tech (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups) - A delicious candy that will melt at the slightest increase in temperature above room level. Not unlike the Hokies, who typically melt once the schedule heats up in November.

12. Michigan (Kit-Kat) - What's not to like? Chocolate. Wafers. Simple, satisfying, right? Like the football team however, the Kit-Kat doesn't really inspire or wow you. It's just sort of there.

13. UConn (Nerds) - Best consumed in small doses.

14. Hawaii (Pop Rocks) - Oh sure, they are a laugh riot when you first try them. "Hey Mom! Listen to my mouth!" But not an everyday candy. Just like Hawaii's football. Hilarious when you are taking the "over" 92.5 and not even sweating it. But sorta stupid to root for when you think about it.

15. Texas (100 Grand Bar) - You gotta have a candy that matches the average payout for an offensive starter over four years in Austin.

16. Auburn (Hershey's Crackle) - This is the exact same bar as the Crunch, but they swear theirs is so much better. To outsiders, it's hard to tell the difference.

17. Alabama (Nestle's Crunch) - See above.

18. South Florida (Smores bar) - An enticing newcomer to the candy scene. Nice mix of ingredients, and very satisfying. But does it have staying power to challenge the big vending machine boys in the future? Only time will tell.

19. USC (Twix) - A classic, classic, candy, with a near perfect mix of ingredients. A candy bar that will always be in "consideration" when you choose a champion at lunch time at your break room snack machine.

20. Florida (Starburst) - Packs a powerful sugary wollop to your taste buds in a compact form. Flavors are light, sweet, and fruity. Perfect for a sunshine state team.

21. Wisconsin (Twizzlers) - This candy won't fool you. It's coming right at you, with a basic taste, a meaty chew, and unmistakable all-red uniform scheme.

22. Boise State (Bottle Caps) - One of the most under-rated candies ever. Yet how come it is not stocked as a regular treat in 7-11's? I tell ya, no respect. Maybe it's the gimmicky "Bottle Cap" shape of the candy -- not unlike a blue Astroturf field -- that is cheating this candy of respect.

23. Virginia (Whoppers) - On the outside, they look like a substantial candy. But once past the soft chocolate shell, the guts of this candy melts away faster than you can say "Independence Bowl."

24. Wake Forest (Butterfinger) - This candy bar was never, ever a good idea. Brittle peanut butter innards, that make an ungodly mess when bit into. Remnants stay lodged in teeth until next dental visit. Again, why is Wake Forest playing football?

25. Clemson (Raisinettes) - In a limited way, this does remain a "power" and "tradition" candy. You can pretty much find it in every movie house. Still, I never understood the appeal. You are eating candy, folks. Why let real fruit remnants ruin it?

Recommended Reading has a nice article about a high school team that got out to a 72-0 first quarter lead. Surprisingly, this was not a matter of running up the score.

Who Will Need a Cybernetic Arm?

Week 9 NFL Against the Spread Picks

Now that two humans are at or above .500, the race to Week 17 has some drama. We know a little bit about all the teams now, but so does Vegas. We should start seeing more pushes and more backdoor covers now. On to the picks!

Sheridan's Odds used, current as of post time

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (19-16-5 and 22-13-5)

It's November and I'm still above .500. If December comes around and I still have a winning record, I'm opting out of my contract with the law firm and going to Vegas. Just kidding Mr. Anonymous Supervising Partner who I told about this blog!!! Anyway, on to the picks:

Washington (-3.5) over JETS - I'm picking this one purely with my heart instead of my head because my head knows if the 'Skins lose this game, their season is as dead as the Ravens'.

Green Bay (+2) over KANSAS CITY - I think the Pack is slightly overrated, but with a line like this, I think the Chiefs are being VERY overrated by Vegas.

Baltimore (+8.5) over PITTSBURGH - The Steelers win, but by a touchdown or less.

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over Arizona - Jeff Garcia is very quietly having a huge season and no reason why the Cards D will put a stop to it.

And finally, because J-Red is making us pick it, but really I couldn't care less about this game because the one that will really count will be their inevitable matchup in January and I have no plans to watch this game...

New England (-4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS - Listen, if you're a Skins fan, and you witnessed the carnage last week, it doesn't matter where the game is being played or who the defending champs are... you simply do not pick against New England right now.

Magic 8 Ball Picks:
NEW YORK JETS (+3.5) over Washington - "My sources say yes." [Jets beat spread]

KANSAS CITY (-2) over Green Bay - "My sources say yes." [Chiefs beat spread]

Baltimore (+8.5) over PITTSBURGH - "No." [Steelers won't beat spread]

TAMPA BAY (-3.5) over Arizona - "Yes." [Bucs beat spread]

INDIANAPOLIS (+4.5) over New England - "My sources say yes." [Colts beat spread]

(I swear, the Magic 8 Ball was getting shaken well despite having three of the same answer come up. At this point, with its success on the year, would YOU question the 8 Ball???)

J-Red (19-19-2)

I'm feeling good about my evaluation of all the teams through a half-season. No particular theme today. For the record, I am not picking Ravens/Steelers because a) you never have any idea how that game will turn out, b) the Ravens are healthy for the first time this year and c) the Ravens suck in night road games. I'm not picking Skins/Jets because a) Kellen Clemens is a total wild card, b) the Jets and Redskins have a weird relationship when it comes to trading players (Coles/Moss, Pete Kendall, Patrick Ramsey), and c) the Skins are very angry.

DETROIT (-3.5) over Denver - Jay Cutler just isn't the answer, and the Lions are coming into their own with Kitna's solid play and Kevin Jones nearing playing shape. I will continue to ride the Lions and Cowboys.

San Diego (-7) over MINNESOTA - Against Houston, Norv played Martyball to perfection. Minnesota is much better than Houston against the run, but they can't muster points.

Dallas (-3) over PHILADELPHIA - If Romo hadn't just gotten a new contract, I'd have taken this line up to 10. That's the only thing about this game that worries me at all.

TENNESSEE (-4.5) over Carolina - Tennessee just never seems to slip up against mediocre teams. I'd like a half point, but I still feel like this could be a 19-3 cruise control game for the Titans.

New England (-4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS - I'd love for the Colts to win this game, but I just don't see it happening. I suspect Dungy will attempt to control the ball on offense, mostly running with Addai and throwing underneath to backs and Dallas Clark. This will probably keep them in the game for a half, but New England's LBs are just too good against both the run and the short pass. Since I don't see New England having any trouble scoring, it will only take a couple stalled Colts drives for this thing to start getting out of hand in the late third quarter. On the other hand, if Dungy just tells Peyton to do whatever he sees, the Colts could jump out and be in it the whole way.

Brien (19-20-1)

OK, I learned my lesson. New England is an absurd 8-0 against the spread this year. I could have been doing a lot better if I just rode the hot team instead of trying to outsmart myself. That changes this week. I'm taking the Patriots every week from here on out, at least until they fail to cover.

New England (-4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS - Not only are the Patriots the hottest team in football right now, I think this game means more to them than it does to the Colts. The Patriots have shown through the first half of the season that they care about individual statistics, margin of victory, going undefeated, and looking like the most dominant team in the NFL. The Colts seem to only care about one thing: winning the Super Bowl again. So to the Colts this is just another regular season game against a particularly tough opponent. For the Patriots, it's a chance to be the top sports story for another week.

Baltimore (+8.5) over PITTSBURGH - This game brings up one of my favorite college sports betting rules: always take the underdog in rivalry games. Vegas always sets the spread too wide and discounts the extra emotion in these games. The Ravens are playing for their season in this game, against their rivals, on Monday night. They'll be fired up, and that should at least let them keep it close.

Green Bay (+2) over KANSAS CITY - I know Arrowhead is a tough place to play, but seriously? The Packers are a far better team. KC has won 5 straight against the packers, dating back to 1989, but that's ancient history.

BUFFALO (+1) over Cincinnati - Amazingly, both of these teams only have wins over the Jets and the Ravens. But after watching an undisciplined Bengals team lose at home last week in a game that wasn't as close as the score, I'll take the Bills.

Jacksonville (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS - The Saints have won 3 in a row, but they were all against crappy teams. Meanwhile, the Jaguars are looking like the team you don't want to face in the first round of the playoffs.

Russell (15-24-1)

Wow, I suck. This week brings a lot of WTF lines, but when you're as bad as I am, what is a WTF line? I'll take them all.

Green Bay (+2) over KANSAS CITY - Did someone miss the fact that the Pack is 6-1 and Favre just torched the best CB's in the league?

OAKLAND (-3) over Houston - Texans are really bad against the run.

ATLANTA (-3) over San Francisco - NO beat SF bad at SF, NO barely beat ATL at NO. Now apply deductive logic. Atlanta also had a bye.

Jacksonville (+3.5) over NEW ORLEANS - I don't care who starts at QB for the Jags, they will hit you in the mouth repeatedly.

INDIANAPOLIS (+4.5) over New England - Let me get this straight. Assuming a 3 point home field advantage, this means the Pats are more than a TD better than the undefeated Super Bowl champs? Ridiculous. If you need more, the Colts are a more balanced team, with a better defense and a much better rushing game. Plus Peyton got over the Belicheck curse last year. This game boils down to the Colts' ability to get pressure on Brady with the front 4 quick enough to prevent deep balls to Moss.

Recap and Standings

Magic 8 (22-13-5) - .613
Jeremy (19-16-5) - .538
J-Red (19-19-2) - .500
Brien (19-20-1) - .488
Russell (15-24-1) - .388

Brien - BAL, BUF, GB, JAX, NE
Jeremy - BAL, GB, NE, TB, WAS
Russell - ATL, GB, IND, JAX, OAK
Magic 8 - BAL, IND, KC, NYJ, TB

October 31, 2007

Week 10 CFB Picks

So clearly the sports gods have not smiled on me lately, but I am not dissuaded and will continue to charge recklessly to my demise, by picking road teams this week.

Virginia Tech (+2.5) over GEORGIA TECH - The "No Offense Bowl" goes to Beamer Ball, since their defense and special teams can score on their own. GT's star running back Choice is out, and so are GT's chances.

Maryland (+2) over NORTH CAROLINA - This may be the last year the Terps can squeak past an improving UNC team.

South Carolina (+4.5) over ARKANSAS - Spurrier has a stout defense, which will stuff the Arkansas run.

Navy (+3.5) over NOTRE DAME - So Navy lost to Delaware last week. They still put up 52 points. Can ND put up enough points to compete with one of the top offenses in the NCAA? I think Navy's defense gets healthy enough against the SUCK that is the ND offense.

Lsu (-7) over ALABAMA - The LSU defense pounds Alabama just like the FSU defense did.

Ucla (-2.5) over ARIZONA - UCLA is much better.

Arizona State (+7) over OREGON - Not saying they'll win, just expecting a close game. I really shouldn't pick this game since I haven't seen either team play a half yet.

Illinois (-11.5) over MINNESOTA - This is like taking candy from a baby.

And the late game for the East Coast, my only home team pick,
BOSTON COLLEGE (-6.5) over Florida State - FSU has no offense.

Last Week: 3-7-1
Season: 29-36-2


Oakland has not sold all of their tickets for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. If they haven't sold them all by 1:15p tomorrow, the NFL will impose a blackout (barring an extension).
Guess what? The NFL isn't granting an extension. The blackout rules provide that the ALTERNATE game is shown. This Sunday afternoon, that would be the Patriots v. Colts. If the fans in San Fran/Oakland want to see that game, Roger Goodell would be a fool not to give it to them.

As you can see here, only Houston, Cleveland (4 p.m. home game against Seattle), Fresno and Eureka would be forced to endure the Raiders-Texans game, and I'm guessing Fresno and Eureka will flip too if the game is blacked out in Oakland.

Read about it here in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Team Spirit

When it comes to showing the world where your sports allegiances lie, how far is too far? The question is, of course, ridiculous. One can never go too far, unless it impairs the ability to procure the company of attractive sex partners.

I, personally, would probably be willing to get a Maryland tattoo. I'm averse to car flags, mostly because they look too soccer-mommy. I'm somewhat averse to writing things on the car for the same reason, though Jeremy will recall that I did paint "F--- Duke" on the hood of my stunningly craptacular (and depressingly blue) Oldsmobile Achieva back in 1999 or so.

The gentleman above, though, wins the award for best display of team spirit. He is Philip Labonte, and he lost his left eye in Iraq. As you can see above, he got a prosthetic glass eye. Why didn't he match the color of his functional eye? If you look closely, you'll see that Mr. Labonte has a Detroit Lions logo where his iris and pupil should be. That is a kickass American grade-A display of allegiance. It makes me (still) want to punch a pink hat Red Sox fan in the ovaries.

Plus, if the Lions season goes south he only has to close one eye, or cut one eye hole out of the paper bag.

Special thanks to Paul Lukas at UniWatch for bringing this to my attention.

October 30, 2007

Football Players Never Learn

As reported here, Ryan Perrilloux is the latest in a seemingly endless string of athletes, especially football players, involved in an "incident" at a nightclub. How many cases like Darrent Williams does it take? How many Pacman Jones suspensions? Ray Lewis found himself in a courtroom. I'm not saying I know what happened or even that they were at fault, but it should be clear at this point that going to nightclubs is ill-advised. What happened to a good old-fashioned frat party? When was the last time you heard about a football player being arrested or suspended for an incident with a frat boy? Or even at a bar?

Picture this: You're the second-string QB on a top 5 team, and will probably start next year. You will almost certainly be drafted. You have already been involved in 2 separate "incidents" with the law and you're under 21. You have a bye week and get an evening out. Your choices: a nightclub where literally anything can happen including your future disappearing or your life ending, or pretty much anything else. Maybe Decision-Making 101 should be a required class.

Are athletes really this stupid or is the allure of the nightclub that overpowering? Ever wonder why there are so many good athletes that never make the pros or why great athletes don't always set the records? Common sense and a little hard work. Ever hear about Jerry Rice at a nightclub? All I remember is hearing how hard his offseason workout program was. What will it take for young players to learn from their elders?

The Plane of the Goal Line


We've all heard this before: "The plane of the goal line extends to infinity horizontally and vertically."

It's not true. The field of play is a well-defined rectangle, consisting of the sidelines and the two end lines. The goal line is special too, but only in that possessing the ball in the field of play beyond the goal line can have special outcomes, either a touchdown, safety or touchback.

So why is there so much confusion?

The goal line is treated differently from the sidelines. To score a touchdown, a player must possess the ball in bounds at or beyond the plane of the goal line. This should not be confusing, but after officials ruled that Ben Roethlisberger scored in SB XL, despite absolutely no visual evidence of the ball crossing the goal line, it has become a bigger problem.

With regard to the sideline plane, when a player dives OB with the ball, the ball is properly placed where the ball is when the possessing player touches something out of bounds. This means that on the sideline, except at the goal line, a player could dive three yards out of bounds, and get the benefit of the ball being spotted where the ball is when the player touches ground.

If a player were to dive for a TD, with the ball clearly outside the pylon, and then land out of bounds, the ball would be spotted out of bounds where it left the playing field (as that was the last valid location of the ball within the field of play, since it cannot be spotted in the end zone). There is pervasive myth that the goal extends sideways indefinitely, into the seats and eventually the parking lot. Under this theory, an infinite goal line plane is probably intersecting me right now, from some high school, college or professional field somewhere. People who dial into this concept often wonder why players make such an effort to get the ball inside the pylon.

blaahblah What will land first and where will the ball be when he flies by the goal line?

The confusion lies in the three methods of breaking the plane of the goal line, two of which are essentially the same. The first method is the best known - break the plane of the goal line with the ball (hence the desire to get it inside the pylon). The second method is commonly seen, but never really considered - catch the ball in the end zone, thus legally possessing a ball that has already broken the plane of the goal line.

The third method is essentially the second, but is a source of infinite goal line confusion. If some part of the player touches in bounds beyond the goal line, no matter where the ball is in relation to the field of play, the player is in bounds beyond the goal line and in possession of the ball. Even though the sideline plane was broken by the ball, and the ball itself never broke the goal line plane between the pylons, the superceding rule provides that an in-bounds player in possession of the ball beyond the goal is credited with a touchdown. The NFL rule itself reads "The goal line is actually in the end zone. A player with the ball in his possession scores a touchdown when the ball is on, above, or over the goal line." Why do they say "above" and "over"? Isn't that redundant? No, because the knuckleheads who wrote the rule meant BEYOND when they said "over". "[A]bove" refers to the fact that the goal line does extend infinitely vertically, between the pylons. Ed Hochuli could show them a thing or two about drafting.

To illustrate, a few years ago Warrick Dunn dove for the pylon, but missed badly, landing a few feet out of bounds. However, on his way down his foot clipped the pylon. The pylon is considered in-bounds (because the interior face of the pylon is lined up precisely with the sideline), and Dunn was credited with a touchdown. If you re-read my explanation for the "third method" to score a touchdown, he possessed the ball while technically in bounds and beyond the goal line. The ruling was correct.

Now for some real fun: the goal post. We know the goal post is in bounds, right? Otherwise, a field goal that hit the cross bar or uprights and went through would not count because it struck out of bounds. Well......not exactly. According to retired NFL referee Jerry Markbreit, the goal post is in bounds for field goal and extra point attempts, but out of bounds for all other plays. Since the cross bar and uprights, like the pylon, line up exactly with the back line of the end zone, you may rightly be thinking "what the hell?!?". The effect of the cross bar being out of bounds is that a pass or punt caroming off the crossbar into the hands of a player would be blown dead. More interestingly, if a player leaps to catch a pass, and any part of his body or the ball touches the crossbar, the player would be out of bounds, no matter where his feet land. Given the athleticism of some WRs and CBs, and that the crossbar is only 10 feet off the ground (the same as a regulation basketball hoop), this definitely could happen.

I hope that clears it up. Note that picture above is an optical illusion. This is Willie Parker's record-breaking TD in Super Bowl XL, and he was diving for celebration and well in-bounds.

Ed Hochuli says:

Excellent explanation, Jason. You are absolutely correct. The NFL rule was changed this year, so the Warrick Dunn play referenced would no longer be a TD because the ball did not pass over the top of or inside, and no part of the player touched in the end zone. But under the current rule, a player in possession of the ball gets a TD at the goal line pylon by either touching some part of his body in the EZ after the ball has broken the goal line plane extended, or by getting the ball over the top of, or inside, the goal line pylon.

The Wire - Invitation to the Set (Season 5 Preview)

Pop culture post of the day... at this point, the only excuse not to watch The Wire is that you don't have HBO. Listen... trust me... go to Blockbuster, Netflix, or your favorite video rental agency (or if you have HBO, visit HBO On Demand which now has seasons 1 and part of 2 up), and over the next two months, your homework assignment is to watch Seasons 1-4. The Wire is hands down the greatest show to ever appear on television. There really can be no debate about this. Furthermore, it really hits home for those of us who have spent some time living in Baltimore. So what the hell are you waiting for? Get out there and catch up. Oh, and for the record, I was up on The Wire from the start of Season 2, way before Bill Simmons, Entertainment Weekly, and the rest of pop culture America started breathing down David Simon's jock.

A-Rod Overshadows Red Sox???

I said A-Rod's claim for free agency would be a bigger story than the Sox "winning" the series (how proud can you be after beating a AAAA team?).

MLB agrees with me.

Who cares about the one team that won the Series after leading wire to wire? There's some free agent talent to tease the other 29 teams.

If this isn't proof that the Red Sox and Yankees have ruined baseball in Toronto, Baltimore and Tampa Bay, I don't know what is.

October 29, 2007

Truly Excessive Celebration

Somehow I missed this from the World's Largest Cocktail Party this weekend. And as somebody who during my brief coaching career loved the psychology of coaching and motivation, I LOVE seeing this. It takes balls by a coach to admit that you planned this and know that a fine is coming, but it worked. Georgia took Florida to the woodshed, and obviously while performance on the field ultimately determines games, I'm convinced that tricks like this that give psychological edges are of critical importance. I wish the Terps had something to celebrate like this. Maybe against UNC if Chris Cosh can actually develop a scheme to force a three-and-out, we'll see the same sort of thing.

Tony Dungynobi, You're My Only Hope

I thought the Patriots were an entertaining team until yesterday's obliteration of the Redskins (who I hate dearly). When Matt Cassel was playing during the fourth quarter, I saw something in Brady's eyes that made me come to a stark realization.

Tom Brady is a Sith Apprentice.

blahblahblahblah Tom Brady's Sith name is Darth Dinkus

Special art credit to ShadOwzOne at, with a little Photoshop help from me

You see, when the Patriots failed to get a pass interference call on a sideline pass by Cassel, Brady accosted the Side Judge and berated him for a good twenty seconds. Then he seemed to make a smart ass comment to him as he started to back away, before coming back for a little more. Tom Brady is a team captain, and thus permitted to talk to officials, WHEN HE IS PLAYING THE GAME. Almost any other player in the league (Manning being the lone exception, but back to him in a second) would have drawn an immediate 15-yarder for distracting an official between plays. At that juncture, Brady had no more right to berate the ref than a fan in the stands.

Brady has embraced the teachings of his Dark Lord, Bill Belichick a.k.a. Darth Deceptor. As he grows in power and stature, he is even permitted to wear the trademark hooded sweatshirt of his master, just as Darth Maul and Anakin were permitted to match Lord Palpatine.

So who must we embrace to rid the league of this scourge? None other than milktoast himself, Peyton Manning. Manning is much like the Jedi Luke Skywalker. He has submitted to temptation, humiliating his "drunk idiot kicker" (and basically ruining his cushy dome kicker career), cursing at children for laughs on SNL, running up the score a bit himself (the six TD game against New Orleans stands out) and basically calling out his offensive line whenever he actually gets touched by a defender. But Peyton's Obi-Wan, Tony Dungy, has returned Peyton to the relatively humble wunderkind we knew he could again be.

bblahblah Our Messiah seeks redemption for his own 49-TD season

Now Peyton must strike Darth Dinkus and Darth Deceptor down, not out of anger or vengeance, but because the balance of the league demands it. TMQ called it the battle of Good vs. Evil, and he was correct, only he had no idea what is truly at stake.

Running Up the Score

The big story today is the Patriots running up the score on the Redskins yesterday, resulting in a 52-7 final. I was going to do a big post on the game and the implications, but The Big Picture pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'm not a Skins fan, but it was absurd watching Brady repeatedly throw deep with the Patriots up by 30+ late in the game. The icing on the cake was when the Patriots went for it on 4th down in field goal range. At the time, they were up 38-0. Kick the field goal, asshole. I'm not going to go all TMQ here and act like it's the end of the world when coaches run up the score, but I've never seen anything like that in the NFL. Running up the score in any league where margin of victory matters (college football, college basketball at least to a certain extent, most soccer leagues, etc.) is perfectly acceptable. If that extra score can help you in the standings, then by all means keep playing hard. But in the NFL, margin of victory doesn't come into play until the 6th tiebreaker for wildcard races (and the 7th for division races). The Patriots had nothing to gain by scoring more, other than humiliating the Redskins (not a difficult task).

Patriots fans should be embarrassed, too. They were cheering every late score and every completed bomb like it actually mattered. I'm sure you'll see plenty of Belichick apologists excusing all of this. They'll claim that the Patriots just play hard, and you can't ask them to go easy on teams. It's one of the first lessons of sportsmanship, though. You should be gracious in victory as well as defeat. If Belichick had pulled Brady at the start of the 4th quarter and then run the ball for most of the rest of the game, I wouldn't be complaining. Even if he called a few pass plays to get Matt Cassel some experience, as long as they punted or kicked a field goal on 4th down, I think Belichick would have an argument.

The Big Picture makes a great point that the Redskins showed a lot of discipline by not getting into a brawl or taking any cheap shots at the Patriots once the game got out of hand. If this sort of thing continues, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see some defensive players taking out their frustrations on Brady (seriously, where's Bill Romanowski when you need him?).

So basically, fuck the Patriots, fuck Boston, and especially fuck Belichick. You're a real first-rate asshole, Bill.

Photo credit: i-dig from fark via KSK

Tony Dungy wants to lose on Sunday

Well, maybe not, but he should want to lose, at least if he wants to repeat as Super Bowl Champion. The Colts are 7-0 and should easily win their division (even though it's the toughest in football) and get a first round bye in the playoffs. The only other thing to play for is home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which will be pretty much out of the question if the Colts lose to the Pats. Even so, the Colts will be better off if they lose on Sunday.

The Patriots have been the story of the season so far, and if they beat Indy on Sunday, the coverage will only increase. I'll probably throw up from all the "Can the Pats go 16-0?" stories we'll hear for the rest of the season, but that will be a good thing for the Colts. Indianapolis is already having one of the most low-key seasons ever for an undefeated defending Super Bowl champion. Losing to New England will let them fly under the radar for the rest of the regular season. The Patriots would get all the attention for the undefeated season and Brady's run at individual records, and Dungy can play up the "no one respected us" angle that seems to work so well.

Dungy and the Colts know first hand how the pressure to go undefeated can sink a season. Losing to the Patriots could be their best chance to repeat in February.

Props to DJ Gallo

I'm late on this, as it was in Friday's AM Jump, but I've got to give the Towson boy props when he hits a homer:

Travis Henry listed as "probable" for this weekend's Breeders' Cup

Red Sox Win

7 down, 19 to go. Might take a bit of time to catch that "Evil Empire" (assuming that title doesn't belong to Belichick and Brady now).

October 28, 2007

Scott Boras Gives Yanks One Last Favor

Jon Heyman of CNNSI is reporting that Alex Rodriguez has notified the Yankees that he will opt out of his contract and enter free agency.

As I type, the Red Sox lead the Rockies 3-0 late after a Mike Lowell solo home run. Scott Boras left the Yankees with one last favor: a major distraction late on the evening where the rival Red Sox are clinching their second World Series in four seasons.

blhblah Distant frustrated look now available in Anaheim Red and Cubbie Blue!

Considering how bad this Series has been, and how dominant the Colts and Pats have been, I'm not even sure the Sox championship is the top story tomorrow, in terms of fan interest.
UPDATE (11:10p et): It's a series-deciding Game 4 in the World Series, with the formerly lovable Red Sox about to close out the series. Since Fox broke the news that A-Rod is opting-out, the game has gotten no attention. Joe Buck and Ken Rosenthal have been discussing the ramifications, with Tim McCarver apparently enjoying some Rocky Mountain Oysters.
John Henry "smiling" (what does that look like exactly?) while checking his Blackberry took precedence over the Red Sox threatening to blow the game and Series open. Why do I feel like baseball is nearly tied with NASCAR, in terms of the subtext being more important than the game itself? It's a soap opera, and the powers that be don't get that 25 teams don't care that A-Rod is a free agent, because they can't foot the $30M/year tab.

You Can Go Home Again

With the surprising play of Arizona State and, to a lesser extent, Hawaii, it's interesting to see how NFL coaches fare when they return to the college ranks. Off the top of my head, I can think of these former NFL head coaches at the helm of college programs.

1) Pete Carroll - Patriots then USC
2) June Jones - Falcons/Chargers then Hawaii
3) Dennis Erickson - Seahawks then Oregon State then Niners then Idaho and ASU
4) Al Groh - Jets then Virginia
5) Steve Spurrier - Redskins then South Carolina
6) Matt Riley - Chargers then Oregon State (again)
7) Bill Callahan - Raiders then Nebraska
8) Nick Saban - Dolphins then Alabama
9) Dave Wannstedt - Bears/Dolphins then Pitt
10) Butch Davis - Browns then North Carolina
11) Jerry Glanville - Falcons then Portland State (I-AA/FCS)

Add in coordinators (Ralph Friedgen, Charlie Weis are notable) and players (Jim Harbaugh for one), and it appears to be a solid strategy to bring in a head coach with NFL ties.

What former NFL head coaches currently serving as NCAA head coaches have I forgotten?

Week 8 NFL Against the Spread Recap

Another human has climbed back to .500! J-Red put his faith in New England (or, more accurately, Washington's inept coaching) and rode MJD, Fred Taylor and LaBrandon Toefield to an unlikely Jax road upset. Jeremy continued to pick well, despite apparently thinking New England would quit throwing 25-yard jump balls to Randy Moss up 38-0 in the fourth. Brien remained steady, but remains half a game below .500. Russell, well, can look to next year.

Brien (3-2-0) - IND, JAX, NO, TEN, WAS
Jeremy (3-2-0) - IND, PHI, PIT, STL, WAS
J-Red (4-1-0) - DET, JAX, NE, NO, NYG
Russell (1-4-0) - CHI, CLE, MIN, SF, TB
Magic 8 (4-1-0) - CLE, IND, MIN, NE, PIT

Magic 8 (22-13-5) - .613
Jeremy (19-16-5) - .538
J-Red (19-19-2) - .500
Brien (19-20-1) - .488
Russell (15-24-1) - .388

Awesome Game-Winning Lateral Play

I can't count all the laterals, but this shows why conditioning is so important. I can't imagine why the defense didn't just collectively say "F*** this, let's set up shop at the five"