January 19, 2008

Maryland Knocks Off #1 UNC, 82-80

In December, Maryland looked dead, having lost to American University and Ohio University in the span of a week. A lackluster showing against Boston College and a tough loss to Virginia Tech had the Terps staring down the possibility of a 0-5 start in conference with games against UNC and Duke coming up after a winnable game against Wake Forest.

Well, Maryland beat Wake. Today they beat #1 UNC at the Dean Dome. The victory marked Gary Williams' 7th win over a top-ranked team (one with Ohio State, six with Maryland), the best among active coaches. In fact, Maryland has fared well against #1 teams throughout its history, winning 10 of 24 of such contests and 4 of the past 7.

Maryland led for most of the game, with the margin usually between 3 and 9 points. Right around the 13-minute mark in the second half, the Dean Dome crowd came alive as they cut the lead to two. Recognizing that the 12-minute officials time out was coming, Williams wisely called one of his own at the heigh of UNC's run. The back to back stoppages did little to kill the momentum or the crowd, as a quick Hansbrough basket tied the game at 59 coming out of the break. At the eight minute mark, they took their first lead since late in the first half.

Maryland remained scrappy, enjoying strong performances from guards Greivis Vasquez (12 pts, 11 assists, 6 rebounds) and surprise contributor Eric Hayes (battling ankle sprain but providing two crucial threes). James Gist (22 pts, only one foul) also finally put a complete game together, hitting some key shots, playing strong defense and playing very well in the paint. Bambale Osby single-handedly saved the game for Maryland with a series of clutch inside moves. For UNC, Tyler Hansbrough (17 pts, perfect 5/5 from the line) started slow but eventually dominated inside. Lawson battled foul trouble, getting his fourth with nearly nine minutes remaining.

UNC took a four point lead around the 2:30 mark, but Maryland battled back to tie it at 1:22 on a pair of Vasquez free throws. Maryland got a key stop on the ensuring possession, and Gist earned a trip to the line after his strong rebound, making both shots. Hansbrough made a shot in traffic to tie the game back up under a minute. Osby hit a driving runner to take the lead. On UNC's trip down, Ellington missed a three and neither team could corral the rebound, but UNC kept the ball (on a questionable call). With 10.7 remaining, UNC inbounded and Ellington missed a runner. The ball was tied up with 1.7 left, but the arrow favored UNC. Hansbrough took a three, which missed.

Maryland 82, UNC 80

NBC Sports Has Fallen - Seal on Ice!

The studio host for NBC just said with a straight face, "Enjoy the skating to the music of Seal on ice."

I watched eight minutes, but unless there is a costume change coming up the women are not scantily-clad enough to hold my interest.

Hewitt v. Baghdatis -- All Night Tennis

As I write this it's just after noon East Coast time, which is 4AM in Melbourne. Lleyton Hewitt and Marcus Baghdatis have been playing their third round match for over 4 hours now and are on serve in the 5th set. Baghdatis has looked dead in the water several times already, rolling his ankle in the 2nd set and going down 1-5 in the 4th. He stormed back to force a 5th, ensuring that this will be the latest finish ever for a Grand Slam match (the previous record was 3:34 AM in last year's Australian Open).

Amazingly, the stands are still relatively full. Hewitt and Baghdatis both have crazy fan bases, and they haven't stopped yelling and cheering since the match started. It doesn't hurt that they never stop selling beer at the Australian Open.

ESPN2 keeps showing shots of Hewitt's sister Jaslyn, who looks pretty good sitting in the stands. I went to find a picture of her and came up with this:

Yikes. Believe it or not, she's only 24.

Update: Hewitt won the match 6-3 in the 5th.

MLB Still Thinks It Owns Nats

Check out this post by Paul Lukas, better known as Mr. Uni Watch. It seems that Major League Baseball still thinks it owns the Nats, as it has asked 20,000 fans for feedback on the Nationals' uniform.

Of course, my favorite part is where Lukas points out that they've had dismal merchandise sales (though they did very well in 2005, sales have badly slowed since). I'm still not sure whether they'll be in Portland or Norfolk in 2012, but poor merchandise sales point to the problem with Washington's first two failed franchises. It's a transplant town, and transplants will come see their favorite team when they come to down. The novelty of baseball is already wearing off, and the Nats will have the smallest hardcore fanbase of any MLB team within a couple years, if they don't already. The new stadium will infuse some life this year, but that's another novelty. Bringing in a marketable player would also help.

Plus, lobbying rules are already tightening and are likely to tighten further if a Democrat is sworn in on January 20, 2009. If free tickets become a no-no for law firms and businesses as well as lobbying firms, they're going to really struggle to sell their luxury boxes. In baseball, with 81 home games, selling luxury boxes is crucial.

January 18, 2008

Ravens Hire Harbaugh - A Fan's Perspective

No, not that Harbaugh. His brother, John, the DBs coach with the Eagles. I'm comfortable with the decision because Harbaugh has an excellent relationship with Rex Ryan and Cam Cameron. While I'm wary of too many chefs, especially when Rex was interviewed to be the head coach and Harbaugh has no head coaching experience, I think the move is good and I think the players will be on board.

Harbaugh is reputedly extremely intelligent and energetic, which catapulted him to second place in the Ravens coaching search (Jason Garrett was first, but he is a pussy). The Ravens' owner, Steve Bisciotti, built his near billion dollar fortune on a staffing business. If his gut says this is the right guy, I'm inclined to believe it.

Plus, if he totally tanks we can always offer Cowher a boatload of money next year.

Terp Wins on Both Tours

Just a quick shout-out to a Terp of limited physical ability (5'8" 165) who has the made the most of it. Fred Funk wants to win $2 million on two tours this year, and he just might. A native son from Takoma Park and the golf pro on the University of Maryland course for 6 years, Fred has become one of the better players in the world. I wish my job included January in Hawaii...

Golfweek Editor Put in His Own Noose

Today, Golfweek Magazine announced that they had fired the editor responsible for the choice of their cover photo, a noose set against a purple sky. The cover had been intended to fuel discussions, and the magazine included commentary from both perspectives on Tilghman's comments. Unfortunately for the editor, the conversation turned more aggressively against the cover than they had on Tilghman's original comment.

While the image was very graphic and certainly aroused vivid, unpleasant thoughts and memories, I do not think this was a ridiculous ploy for attention by the magazine. The PGA, Tiger, and the Golf Channel all tried quite vigorously to sweep this under the carpet. Tilghman was not even suspended by the Golf Channel until two days ago while the comment was made last Friday, indicating they didn't think anything of it until public sentiment was sufficiently audible. Tim Finchem of the PGA was the most vocal opponent of the image, saying it was worse than the original comment and prevented the issue from "heading to its appropriate conclusion." What exactly is that conclusion, Tim? That's it's ok to say in jest you should lynch someone if you know him? That a little two week suspension (slap on the wrist) in one of the most boring golf months of the year is enough?

I'm white with Southern roots and I live in Georgia, and I'm offended. My wife is offended. Everyone I know is offended. Kelly Tilghman is well-educated, but her North Carolina roots reached up and brought out a word that should never be used in any context. But when it's used about a successful black athlete in a predominantly white sport by an announcer from the South, there's no way to take it but as a racist comment. One of the reporters on Cold Pizza argued that if the comment had been about a Jew being put in a gas chamber, the national reaction would be different. Wilbon on PTI, discussing the cover picture, said that the picture brought up serious images for him because his father basically fled Georgia out of fear of just such a noose (video below). And while the image might have gone too far, he agreed it needs more discussion. If we are ever going to rid the South of its racist past, comments like this need to be treated seriously and addressed. I'm not saying Kelly Tilghman needs to be a scapegoat, but Tiger and others need to express how unacceptable such a remark is, regardless of context, jest, or implied compliment to Tiger. Tiger should not focus on the compliment in such a remark, but rather the implication that he needs to be removed because of his talent. One point made on Cold Pizza was that Tiger might not consider himself black, but Thai or some polyglot without the Southern history. But as an American and as a person, he needs to make it clear that this is offensive language. It's like calling him a n-----, maybe even worse. I don't care how good of a friend he is with her.

Whether the cover image was appropriate or not, people need to focus on the original remark and its implications, not the manner in which one publication decided to address it. Jason Sobel on ESPN thinks the cover image was worse because it was premeditated, but Golfweek was not encouraging us to lynch the most successful black man we know.

The first 1:45 of this clip with Wilbon and Kornheiser:

Andy Roddick Outplayed, Ousted

The best American male tennis player of this decade lost again, this time on a night when he played well, just not well enough. His 42 aces (career best for a player known for his serve) and 79 winners were not enough as he lost 8-6 in the fifth set. Even more impressively, he only had 24 unforced errors in a 5 set match that included two tiebreakers and an extended fifth. Meanwhile, Kohlschreiber outplayed him, posting 104 winners to only 33 unforced errors (incredible!) and bombing in 32 aces.

Watching this match was incredible, with both players playing at the top of their game throughout and matched so evenly in talent and style.

Unfortunately for American tennis, Roddick again showed that he is not an elite player. Not only should he not be in such a position, but he was unable to pull it out and was not even threatening Kohlschreiber's serve late in the fifth. Kohlscreiber had numerous match points at 4-5 before breaking him at 6-7. A player known for his dominant serve (and with 42 aces) should not have been in such trouble. Let's face it, Roddick is falling out of the top tier of tennis, clearly behind Nadal and Djokovic as a challenger to Federer. At least he has a hot girlfriend to comfort him, and maybe thoughts of her body were just a touch distracting.

Marcus Camby is a Beast!

Last night, Marcus Camby had 24 rebounds and 11 blocks against the Jazz, contributing to his league-leading 4 blocks/game and 2nd best 14 rebs/game. He has 8 20-rebound games this year (in 38 games), and was the NBA Defensive Player of the Year last year. Credit the 2nd overall pick from 1996 with reworking his game after so many injuries to be an extremely valuable member of a good team.

And I give you the Marcus Camby personal highlight reel. Check out the behind-the-back action on #1.

January 17, 2008

Iverson Is a Genius - The White Sleeve

Allen Iverson has been rocking the white sleeve on his shooting arm for nearly a decade now. It's brilliant.

Why is it brilliant? Most professional basketball players are black. The whitest player ever, Shawn Bradley, is no longer in the league, and even his (oft-used) fouling hand is darker than snow white. If you are a scorer you will draw extra fouls by wearing a snow-white sleeve. The contrast makes shooting fouls more obvious. Plus, most shooting fouls occur below the wrist, so there is no disadvantage in terms of getting called for more fouls.

So why is AI the only guy who has figured this out? I expected an outbreak of white sleeves back in 1998 or so when Allen started sporting his.

Carmelo apparently had a talk with AI, as he added the white sleeve recently. The only problem is that Melo added it to his left arm, though he is right-handed (like Iverson).

Garrett Shuns Ravens

As was suspected, Jason Garrett used the Ravens to get a raise from Jerry Jones. Clearly, Garrett is a pussy. He's not ready for the show, and he used the Ravens to get a big raise.

Have fun with that. Pussy. I didn't know your NFL career and your reputation as a pussy would carry over to you coaching career. Pussy. You're a pussy. Pussy. Pussy.

The Ravens now focus on John Harbaugh. Since his brother, Jim, played here we know that Harbaugh recognizes the advantages of being in the B'More.

Garrett isn't ready to be a head coach. I'm not sure he is ready to change diapers.

NFL Conference Championship Against the Spread Picks

There are only three meaningful games left, so the evil Magic 8 Ball has clinched the championship. There are still tight battles between Brien and Jeremy for the humans title and between J-Red and Russell for the humans cellar.

Also, I'm willing to bet one of us has a perfect weekend.

Brien (47-44-2 for .516)

Taking the home teams last week didn't work out too well for me, but I managed to keep my lead over Jeremy.

NEW ENGLAND (-14) over San Diego - As we get further into the playoffs, two things become even more important: quarterbacks and coaches. I don't want to be watching this game on Sunday knowing that I'm counting on Phillip Rivers to outplay Tom Brady or on Norv Turner to out coach Bill Belichick.

GREEN BAY (-7) over NY Giants - This one isn't as clear cut, because I think Eli is a good quarterback and Coughlin is a good coach. But this is a playoff game at Lambeau Field. You really want to bet against Brett Favre? Oh, and the high temperature for Sunday is forecast to be 7 degrees. The game kicks off at 6:30, so we're likely to see temperatures below 0 before the game ends.

Jeremy and Magic 8 Ball (44-43-6 for .505, 50-37-6 for .570)

Jeremy's Picks:
It's conference championship time, and you have to like the home teams to win this week, especially with two home teams playing in elements that are largely unfamiliar to their opponents.

NEW ENGLAND (-14) over San Diego - I got killed last week because the spread was too big and the Pats couldn't cover against the Jags. They'll cover against the Chargers. This has the potential to be Giants-Vikings 2000 NFC Championship game material.

NY Giants (+7) over GREEN BAY - It's going to be fucking freezing. Three degrees. I can't even imagine functioning in that kind of cold. Green Bay wins, but even they have troubles putting up points at their normal rate in the cold. Not to mention I couldn't deal with two weeks of coverage of Eli Manning.

Magic 8 Ball Picks:
NEW ENGLAND (-14) over San Diego - "Signs point to yes." [Pats beating spread]

GREEN BAY (-7) over NY Giants - "Yes." [Green Bay will beat spread]

J-Red (41-49-3 for .457)

San Diego (+14) over NEW ENGLAND - San Diego deserves to be in this game, and teams that deserve to be in the AFC Championship don't lose by 14, no matter how good the opponent is.

NY Giants (+7) over GREEN BAY - I like the Giants rushing attack more than the Packers in this game. There should be some fumbling, and I like the Giants DL and LBs to do something with the loose balls. I'm not saying the Giants will win, but I think this might come down to a kick.

Russell (40-50-3 for .446)

After a strong showing last week, I'm breathing down J-Red's neck.

San Diego (+14) over NEW ENGLAND - The Chargers are much better than week 2, even with (or especially with) Volek in there. The Pats D isn't good enough to merit this spread. My theory on how to beat the Pats: The Chargers' best three healthy offensive players are LT, Turner, and Sproles. Norv should break out some old-school misdirection rushing offense that they haven't shown all year. This will burn clock and wear out the aging Pats linebackers. Throw to Vincent Jackson when necessary. On defense, Merriman and Phillips have to be all over Tom Brady all the time.

GREEN BAY (-7) over NY Giants - While the Giants are much improved, so are the Pack. The storyline of Favre in the Super Bowl is just too good to pass up, and the home field advantage is worth well more than the standard 3 or 4 points. It might be cold in NY, but it's not Lambeau night game cold. And Brett is much better than Eli in cold weather (predicted high on Sunday: 4 degrees Fahrenheit). Also, the wind is predicted to be 13 mph, but on Saturday the wind will be 37 mph (BBRRRR...) and the front might take a little longer than expected to move through. Who knows, maybe the flurries will turn into real snow again. Even the Pack might wear sleeves for this one.


Brien - NE, GB
Jeremy - NE, NYG
J-Red - SD, NYG
Russell - SD, GB
Magic 8 Ball - NE, GB


Magic 8 (50-37-6 for .570)
Brien (47-44-2 for .516 -- 5 GB)
Jeremy (44-43-6 for .505 -- 6 GB, 1 GB Humans)
J-Red (41-49-3 for .457 -- 9.5 GB, 5.5 GB Humans)
Russell (40-50-3 for .446 -- 11.5 GB, 6.5 GB Humans)

All of us: 222-223-20 for .499
Humans: 172-186-14 for .481

Who's Better: UNC or Kansas?

This comparison is based solely on the games played by each team at Georgia Tech this year. Both undefeated teams struggled to win in Atlanta, with GT having the ball with less than 30 seconds to play and a chance to tie or take the lead against both.


Perimeter - UNC's Ty Lawson showed the ability to blow by GT's slower guards at will, but UNC did not have a ton of open looks outside and failed to convert when they did. UNC's guards were very effective at feeding Tyler Hansbrough, but also committed a lot of turnovers in the process. Kansas' three (sometimes four) guards were quite effective beyond the arc as well as driving to the basket. The smallest guys on the court had great games and looked unstoppable at times, while Rush, Arthur and Kaun struggled. Advantage: KANSAS.

Post - Darrell Arthur for Kansas was not able to establish consistent good position inside, so he did not get as many touches as he should have. Sasha was almost totally ineffective. The Kansas forwards and centers combined for 6 made field goals, 7 attempted free throws (in a foul-filled game), and 2 offensive rebounds, a pathetic showing against GT's frontcourt (not All-American material). In the UNC game, Hansbrough dominated, especially in the first half with 18 points. His 7 baskets, 15 free throws, and 3 offensive rebounds all exceed the totals of the combined Kansas big men. However, it is noteworthy that the other UNC big men were not particularly impressive. Advantage: UNC.


Perimeter - Kansas was able to shut down the GT offense most of the night, preventing them from running anything close to a set play and forcing 18 turnovers. UNC was able to generate a few turnovers leading to easy scores, but did not apply a consistently high level of pressure on the ball (GT put up 46 in the first half). GT had no trouble running their offense most of the game, in spite of some incompetence. Advantage: KANSAS.

Post - Tyler Hansbrough is an excellent position defender, allowing very few easy shots and forcing the opponents to shoot over him. This allowed him to stay out of foul trouble. However, a skilled post player could take advantage of that strategy. Kansas had the manpower to be more aggressive, and they blocked 9 shots as a result (4 of them by Rush at guard/forward). This resulted in the GT big men going 6-22 from the floor, while those same players were 17-33 against UNC. By the second half, GT pretty much abandoned their inside offense against KU. Advantage: KANSAS.


Both teams have experienced leaders and are highly motivated. Both coaches know their stuff. No advantage.


Both teams have talented players coming off the bench. However, UNC only has one truly talented big man, while Kansas has 5 guards that rotate into the game, any of whom can go off any given night. Foul trouble for Tyler would be crippling to UNC, while Kansas does not appear to have a single point of failure. Advantage: KANSAS.

So who's better? KANSAS.

January 16, 2008

Mob Boss Named Head Coach of Dolphins

Today, Tony Soprano was named head coach of the worst NFL franchise (by record) last year. It is believed that Tony's extensive experience in the CEO-type role as head of the family will translate well into a successful career as football coach. As a CEO style coach, he will rely heavily on his coordinators for the day-to-day coaching and the front office for personnel decisions. No one can question his ability to motivate or intimidate. Interesting hire by Parcells.

So really, Tony Sparano sounds like a great hire, and remedies a lot of the problems I found with the Ravens' choice of Garrett. Sparano has been around the NFL and apparently gets a lot of respect from his players (see Mosley's post on ESPN). He's worked with Parcells so that won't be the shock it could be for others. His interview with the Ravens was described as "unbelievable". The toughest part of the job could be dealing with the press.

The Parcells era has officially begun in Miami. Sparano and Brian Gaine (new hire as assistant director of player personnel) have both worked closely with Parcells in the past. We'll see if the Tuna can run a franchise.

Brien adds: I saw this on Sunday and thought it was hilarious

To All the Girls Who Don't Think Sports Matter

Stolen from It Never Rains in College Park.

The facade of Memorial Stadium had a simple inscription. "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds." That applied to our veterans and our sports heroes.

The entire inscription is copied below:










As a Memorial to All

Who so Valiantly Fought

and Served in the World

Wars with Eternal

Gratitude to Those Who

Made the Supreme

Sacrifice to Preserve

Equality and Freedom

Throughout the World



Beat that memorial. The most famous phrase, "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds", is now on display on Eutaw Street between Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium.

Duke Lax Prosecutor Bankrupt (Financially, Too)

The sad, sad story of Mike Nifong, the prosecutor who inexplicably pursued rape charges against three Duke lacrosse players, is not yet over. Nifong filed for bankruptcy, citing $180M in potential legal liabilities arising out of the incident.

I know one way he could raise some capital. He needs a real tell-all interview, because I don't get it. The whole story is impossible for me, a lawyer, to understand. Did he really need to be re-elected as the DA in the county this badly? The job doesn't pay that well and doesn't even confer that much power.

Does Nifong have a personal vendetta against Duke? If anyone could understand that it would be me, a Maryland grad. Still, my hatred of Duke doesn't rise to the level of wanting innocent 20-somethings to go to prison.

I do blame the media somewhat for Nifong's fall. When Gerald Poindexter, the prosecutor for Surry County, Virginia, refused to be forthcoming with the media during the Michael Vick investigation, I pointed out that he was doing the right thing. His reward was that blogs such as ProFootballTalk and people even as high up as ESPN painted him as sloth and corrupted. Now that Vick has been convicted, and still will face state charges later this year, no one is jumping up to note that Poindexter created an untainted case in a rural county with the glare of the world pounding down on him. His initial legwork laid the ground for a quick federal prosecution of Vick and his co-conspirators.

So Mike Nifong is now disbarred, broke, and humiliated. The only positive thing I can say about him is that I am impressed that he has not attempted suicide. People have done so over far less.

And no, I don't place as much blame on the accuser as I do on Nifong. He is the safety net in the whole system. People lie. His job is to look at evidence and determine if a prosecution is warranted. It's not to fabricate evidence and hide exculpatory facts.

January 15, 2008

PhiLLLLip Rivers...Still a Little Bitch Pt. 3

It's not just the bloggers who hate PhiLLLLip Rivers. Check out what Kevin Van Valkenburg (real name!) of the Baltimore Sun has to say about the player he terms "moderately successful professional athlete".

Rivers discusses with LT the "awesomeness" of Rivers' 76-yard swing pass in the flat for a TD

College Basketball Quick Hitters

Read: Miss St. 69 - Kentucky 64
React: The Vanderbilt game appears to have been an aberration, as UK comes back to earth and loses to a mediocre Miss St team. Gillespie still has some work to do.

UK's Bradley prepares to sneeze while dribbling.

Read: Maryland 71 - Wake Forest 64
React: The Terps showed how right Vegas can be, finishing 1/2 a point off the spread. While the victory was absolutely necessary, the manner was awful. Wake's dismal night from the 3 point line (5-30) kept this from being much tighter. Maryland allowed 23 more shots than they took, and both teams had an assist-to-turnover ratio less than one. Things will get ugly against UNC and Duke.

Read: BC 76 - Miami 66
React: Don't be fooled by the final score, BC dominated and held a 20 point lead most of the game. BC will give everyone but UNC and Duke a lot of trouble this year and could go 10-6 or so in the ACC. Miami showed that they can go very, very cold, starting both halves 1-10 or worse from the field, and they will have a very unpredictable streaky season. If McClinton shoots well, they'll win most of the time.

Read: Baylor 79 - Okla St 71
React: What? The Bears are good? Wow. Baylor is now 14-2 (2-0) with wins at Notre Dame, at Winthrop, and at South Carolina, along with home conference wins over Iowa St. and Oklahoma St. The Bears are in really good shape to make the NCAA tourney. Their only losses are (6) Washington St. and Arkansas.

Tonight in the ACC...

...we have three games that few would have predicted to have the implications they do.

(21) Miami, FL (14-1, 1-0) at BC (11-4, 2-0) - Who would have thought that both teams would still be undefeated in conference play (even after only 3 combined games)? Tonight, we find out if Miami deserves to be ranked. They've already won at Miss St and VCU, can they do it on the road in the ACC against a team with an experienced leader and a team that just destroyed Wake? BC, similarly, is trying to prove that victories at Maryland and vs Wake were signs of good things to come, even though they've lost most of the talent from their top-10 team of a couple years ago (Dudley, Smith, Williams). The winner will still be over-rated.

NC State (11-4, 0-1) at (24) Clemson (13-3, 1-1) - The battle of teams that lost to UNC. NCSt got pounded, while Clemson took them to the limit in OT. Can Clemson establish themselves at the top of the ACC's second tier? Every year, Clemson gets better, but no one believes they're for real until after they have 3 or 4 ACC wins. Is NC State in the second tier or just a bottom feeder in their second year under Sidney Lowe?

Wake Forest (11-4, 1-1) at Maryland (10-7, 0-2) - The Terps are 7.5 point favorites at home in this battle for last place, and it may be the last time the Terps are favored if they don't win. Both teams have had close games with VT and both have lost to BC. If Maryland even wants to make the NIT, this is a must-win. A second ACC win for Wake would put them on pace for a finish in the middle of the conference, much better than expected and a nice tribute to Skip. Go Terps!

Jason Garrett: Next Ravens Coach? But Why?

ESPN is reporting that the Ravens are offering Jason Garrett the head coaching position in Baltimore. I'm shocked.

Jason Garrett only has 3 years of coaching experience, two on the Dolphins staff under Nick Saban and this year as OC for the Cowboys. Granted, Garrett's years as a backup QB and Princeton education are worth something, but he's a very young guy to come in and take over an experienced, veteran team. How will he earn the respect of guys like Ray Lewis? The Cowboys' offensive performance wasn't spectacular at the end of the year or in the playoffs, and the Ravens are bringing in a coach who they expect to win soon. Otherwise, it will be a long rebuilding process.

In addition, Jerry Jones almost hired Garrett as head coach of the 'Boys last off-season, and semi-promised the head coaching job to him in the future. If the Dallas job opens, do the Ravens really think Garrett will stick with them? I don't.

Hey Ozzie, go talk to Rex!

[See also Blogimore Ravens' take]

Brady to Retire?

This is from KSK, so I was expecting a dick joke at the end, but apparently Tom told Bridget who told some guy who told Big Daddy Drew that he would retire at the end of the year to spend time with his kid.

I think this will rightfully be greeted with a lot of skepticism. I think it's either total bullshit or a ploy by Brady to look like a better dad and not get bashed by Dan Shanoff anymore.

How seriously do you take this? What odds would you put on Brady's retirement? Before reading that, I would have said 1000:1, after reading it I'd still give 200:1

January 14, 2008

Reality TV Retreads

Because there was a new episode of The Wire on at the same time, I had to record the premiere of "Rock of Love 2" (that's right, I like Rock of Love enough to DVR it). One of the first girls they showed looked really familiar. At first I thought she was on season 1 of Rock of Love, but then I realized that it was Megan, the winner of season 3 of Beauty and the Geek (go ahead, make your jokes about my taste in TV shows) and former Playboy model.

Who are these people who appear on multiple reality shows? Especially ones like this. Beauty and the Geek is supposed to represent an opportunity for brainless, big-titted girls like Megan to change themselves. Rock of Love is supposed to be about Brett Michaels's attempts to find true love (NOT LUST, as he reminds us all the time). No one really believes the premises behind reality shows, but it's nice to not have our intelligence insulted by professional reality stars.

For more Megan:

Ex-Terp Cheerleader is a SBB Babe!

That's right, for all the people (normally Maryland students or alumni) who like to say that Terp ladies aren't as hot as girls from other schools, I present Nicole. She graduated in 2006 and is a former Terp cheerleader. She even used to date DJ Strawberry.

Many more pics at SportsByBrooks.

T.O. Crying Presser - Coors Light Style

The internet has officially destroyed the world. This press conference occurred 18 hours ago, and already there is a hilarious mockup, Coors Light style.

PhiLLLLip Rivers Is a Bitch - Part 2

The World of Isaac has taken our hatred of Philip Rivers to a whole new wonderful level. Now with pictures and video!

Where Are They Now: Peter Warrick

Peter Warrick was an electric wide receiver for the Florida State Seminoles during the late 1990's, and was a critical component during their back-to-back national championship appearances in 1998 and 1999.

He also was known for his love of bargains. He and fellow receiver Laveranues Coles purchased $412.38 worth of Dillard's clothing (a department store in the south that falls between JC Penney and Macy's) for the low low price of $21.40. That earned him a two-game suspension in 1999 and killed his Heisman hopes.

The Bengals took Peter Warrick with the fourth overall pick in 2000. He struggled with the Bengals until 2004, when he was injured and lost his job to 7th round pick T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The Seahawks signed Warrick in 2005, where he mostly returned punts (including in Super Bowl XL). He was released in September 2006. The Giants and Bengals worked him out during the season, but neither offered him a job.

Now it gets funny. Warrick signed with the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League in January 2007, but never showed up. Four teams contacted Warrick's agent in 2007 for work outs, but Warrick never attended any.

Warrick is ready to make his comeback however. Team Florida of the All-American Football League has signed Peter Warrick. The AAFL an upstart spring league with six teams. They are hoping to attract guys who were stars in college but didn't make it in the NFL, or had their careers end prematurely.

Not all is lost though. Warrick still owns an Applebee's in Sarasota.

Read more in this October article from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Learn more about the AAFL here.

Conference Championship Point Spreads

Watching the Giants finish off the Cowboys last night, I started looking ahead to next weekend's games and, of course, the spreads.

Next weekend we have two young and relatively unreliable quarterbacks going into very hostile environments against proven veterans. In the Chargers' case, we also have a coach with a reputation for running the two minute drill with both hands wrapped around his neck. How big would the spread have to be to get you to put money on either the Giants or the Chargers?

Last night I guessed that New England would be favored by 15 and Green Bay would be favored by 8. The only spreads I could find today (Sheridan and Covers.com don't have them up yet) are NE -14.5 and GB -7 at point-spreads.com

Vegas is predicting blowouts again this weekend. When is the last time there were two straight playoff weekends with no spreads under a touchdown? If New England wins, the Super Bowl will probably be the third weekend in a row (I can't imagine them giving less than a touchdown, even to Green Bay).

January 13, 2008

NCAA Team Fouls Out All But Two

This actually occurred back on Thursday, January 3rd, but got lost in the shuffle.

Arizona hosted Oregon State in a Pac-10 Women's Basketball matchup. Due to two injuries, one academic ineligibility and one player out for personal reasons, Arizona only dressed six players. With 1:28 left in regulation, Arizona had a second player foul out, leaving them with only four players on the floor. They lost their lead, once 16 points, and went to overtime.

The NCAA and Title IX are considering banning men from serving as practice foes for women

With four players, Arizona actually stayed with Oregon State and forced a second OT. The wheels came off then. At the 2:28 mark another player fouled out. At the 1:01 mark, a fourth player fouled out, leaving Arizona to defend the court with only two players.

Obviously, 5-on-2 is a bit of a handicap. Arizona succumbed 94-88.

Imagine how bad this would have gotten in a men's game? What would the strategy be? Hold the ball for 35 seconds (and trying to avoid the 5-second violation) and then tossing up a highly contested three. The other team would then inbound and then run down and dunk. It would not have been pretty.

NFL Divisional Round Against the Spread Recap

OH THE HUMANITY! Vegas made a TON of money this weekend, with three of the four underdogs covering. Plus, there was probably late action on Seattle because of the weather in Green Bay (keeping the score down and making 7.5 more appetizing).


Brien (1-3-0) - GB, NE, IND, DAL
Jeremy (1-3-0) - SEA, NE, IND, NYG
J-Red (0-4-0) - SEA, NE, IND, DAL
Russell (3-1-0) - GB, JAX, IND, NYG
Magic 8 (2-2-0) - GB, NE, SD, DAL


Magic 8 (50-37-6 for .570)
Brien (47-44-2 for .516 -- 5 GB)
Jeremy (44-43-6 for .505 -- 6 GB, 1 GB Humans)
J-Red (41-49-3 for .457 -- 9.5 GB, 5.5 GB Humans)
Russell (40-50-3 for .446 -- 11.5 GB, 6.5 GB Humans)

All of us: 222-223-20 for .499
Humans: 172-186-14 for .481

2008 NFL Draft Order - All 32 Teams Slotted!


Now that there are only four teams remaining, we have an excellent idea of nearly the entire draft order. I've even included all four possible contingencies based on the outcomes of the AFC and NFC Championship Games next weekend.
Keywords: 2008 NFL Draft, 2008 NFL Draft Order, NFL Draft Tiebreakers, NFL Draft Tiebreaker Rules, NFL Draft Picks, NFL Draft Ranks, 08 NFL Draft Picks, 2008 NFL Draft
1) Miami
2) St. Louis
3 or 4) Oakland
3, 4 or 5) Atlanta
4 or 5) Kansas City
6) New York Jets
7) New England (via SF)
8) Baltimore
9) Cincinnati
10) New Orleans
11) Buffalo
12) Denver
13) Carolina
14) Chicago
15) Detroit
16) Arizona
17) Minnesota
18) Houston
19) Philadelphia
20) Tampa Bay
21) Washington
22) Dallas (via CLE)
23) Pittsburgh
24) Tennessee
25) Seattle

If NE and GB win:
26) New York Giants
27) Jacksonville
28) San Diego
29) Dallas
30) San Francisco via Indy
31/32) New England (forfeited) and Green Bay

If NE and NYG win:
26) Jacksonville
27) San Diego
28) Dallas
29) San Francisco via Indy
30) Green Bay
31/32) New England (forfeited) and New York Giants

If SD and GB win:
26) New York Giants
27) Jacksonville
28) Dallas
29) San Francisco via Indy
30) New England (forfeited)
31/32) San Diego and Green Bay

If SD and NYG win:
There will be no draft because hell will have frozen over and the Rapture will occur. Hypothetically though:
26) Jacksonville
27) Dallas
28) San Francisco via Indy
29) Green Bay
30) New England (forfeited)
31/32) San Diego and New York Giants

Atlanta, Oakland and Kansas City all have the same strength of schedule. Oakland was 0-8 against opponents in common with KC, so Oakland must pick higher than KC. Since Atlanta and Oakland are in different conferences, that tie will be broken with a coin flip. If Atlanta wins the flip, Atlanta picks 3rd, Oakland picks 4th and KC picks 5th. If Oakland wins the coin flip, Atlanta and KC (as teams in different conferences) flip a coin to determine who picks 4th and 5th.

Other ties, (Denver beat Buffalo head to head, Chicago was swept by Detroit) were broken using conference/division tiebreakers.) Washington's strength of schedule is better than Tampa Bay's. Tennessee's is better than Pittsburgh's. Indy's is better than Dallas'.

The draft tiebreakers are as follows:

1) Worst record picks first, and teams are ranked by record, worst to best. A non-playoff team takes priority over playoff teams with the same record. Playoff teams with the same regular season record are prioritized by the round in which they exit the playoffs.

2) Ties are broken first with strength of schedule (total number of wins by 16 opponents, or average winning percentage of all 16 opponents, the result is the same)

3) If teams are same division, divisional playoff tiebreakers

4) If teams are same conference, but not same division, conference playoff tiebreakers

5) Coin Flip

Mike McCarthy: Best Coach in NFC

There are lots of great stories this year in the NFL, many of them involving great QBs. However, the great job done by Mike McCarthy has been lost to some extent in the resurgence of Brett Favre.

In 2005, the year before McCarthy was hired, Brett had the lowest QB rating of his career (70.9), set a personal record with 29 interceptions, and lost the most fumbles of his career (7). Many people, including Brett, thought his career might be over and perhaps should have been over because the team and Brett had a terrible year, finishing 4-12. No one thought Brett could regain his MVP form of a decade prior.

Over the last two years, McCarthy has transformed the youngest team in the NFL, with an ancient QB, into the favorite to win the NFC Championship this year. The turnaround began last year, when the team won the last 4 in a row to finish 8-8. No one thought much of it at the time, but the team was buying into McCarthy's ideas. Even though Brett's rating was similar to the previous year's (72.7), the INT's had come down and he clearly played better down the stretch.

This year, the Packers are now 14-3, making them 18-3 in the Pack's last 21 games. Brett had the best completion pct of his career this year (66.5%), and had the best rating (95.7) since his MVP seasons under Holmgren. Yards per attempt went up to almost 8, but the sacks went down, so the line was protecting him when he needed to throw downfield. Favre received an MVP vote in spite of the great year had by Brady, and McCarthy would have gotten some votes if the Pats didn't go 16-0.

Looking at the divisional game this weekend, McCarthy outcoached Favre's previous mentor, Mike Holmgren. He developed the running game throughout the season, from almost nothing, to a 200-yard performance by Ryan Grant. He held a young team, especially the young defense, together after an unimaginably bad start. The team responded, with TD's on 6 straight drives while the defense held the Seahawks to 6 points the rest of the game. The Seahawks were outschemed and outplayed, and of course the cold helped (Marcus Pollard will be receiving a gift from the Packers in a couple weeks). Good for McCarthy, a man no one thought deserved the job and a man no one thought could manage Brett Favre. Expect them to beat the Giants next week at Lambeau, and remember in all the Favre fanfare that the coach is pretty good too.

T.O. Breaks Down and Cries Defending His Quarterback

As heard on ESPN Radio this evening, T.O. broke down while pre-emptively defending Tony Romo and his little vacation to Mexico with a couple teammates and Jessica Simpson. Terrell correctly pointed out that Romo didn't lose the game, but that the team did. He began crying when saying "This is my team," and with regard to Romo's vacation, "It isn't fair."

People I watched the game with said immediately after the Giants kneeled to win, "How long before T.O. criticizes Romo?" We don't know the answer to that, but it won't be tonight.

PhiLLLLip Rivers... still a little bitch.

Video to come, but wanted to post this as soon as I saw it. So the Chargers amazingly stop the Colts on fourth down to guarantee the ballgame. And what does the camera cut to? PhiLLLLip (one L for each of his losses with NC State against the Terps) walking right up to the railing at the RCA Dome and getting into a very colorful taunting exchange with Colts fans. Hey, by the way PhiLLLLip... you didn't score the go-ahead TD nor lead the team on the go-ahead drive all the way down the field. Maybe it's time you cut out your idiotic, needless trash-talking, and grow the fuck up. People wondered what went on in that altercation between L.T. and PhiLLLLip earlier this season. Well given that L.T. has been nothing but upstanding in his time in the league, and PhiLLLLip has proven to be a pouty, arrogant, taunting, S.O.B., I think we know who the culprit there was.

Still an impressive victory by the Chargers and an impressive choke by Peyton.