Tag:Pac-10
Posted on: March 2, 2010 9:02 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:43 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Mar. 1st

Good evening, boys and girls, and welcome to my little neck of the cbssports.com world known as 10TILTW.  It's great to be back, although I always find things easier when it's football season.  Conference tournaments are next week, and should give me plenty to talk about.  And despite the Olympics, my favorite hockey team tried to make some noise, unfortunately in a bad way.

1) Golden Re-Match - Olympic hockey got the boost it needed in an overtime classic between the USA and Canada.  That was the kind of game that could go a long way to getting casual fans back into the sport.  Kudos to the scrappy American team that never gave up and fought every minute, not just in that game, but every one, and congrats to the Canadians, eh.  A well deserved win to great fans of a great sport.

2) "Breakout Sport" - The breakout sport of this Olympics was curling, but I must confess I'm still at a little bit of a loss.  I get that the stone closest to the center wins, but couldn't quite get the scoring, especially when teams would get more than one point in the end.  I did finally pick up on the "curling" aspect of the thrower turning the stone, which eventually would get the stone to "curl" it's path.  Still can't figure out how sweeping the ice gets the stone to go further.  Those girls can come work on my apartment, though.  All in all, though, a very strategic sport with angles and english similar to billiards, but too often to me, it seemed to come down to the team with the "hammer" in that particular end.

3) "I'm Not Carrot Top!" - Even for someone like me who does not follow snowboarding, it's clear to see that Shaun White is in a league of his own.  Dude was getting 10 feet more air than anybody else out there.  It was like the Saints playing the Lions.  Just not fair.

4) The final count - I read an article going into the Vancouver games by this guy that has some sort of "formula" that appearantly is pretty accurate that had the Canadians taking the most medals with 28.  I do know the expectations were for a very strong showing by the home nation.  It resulted in the USA taking a record 37 medals and leaving Canada well behind in the total medal count.  But the Canadians need not hang their heads, they did take a record number of gold medals, meaning when then were winning, they were WINNING.

5) Orange Crush - In a weird weekend in college hoops which saw #1 Kansas and #2 Kentucky fall (and an inexplicable loss by my Gators to Georgia), Syracuse stepped up on the national stage and scored a huge win against Villanova to earn the number one spot in both polls.  I still think Kansas is the best all around team.  I still think Villanova has the shooting to when they are hot, they'll make serious noise.  But you have to give credit to the Cuse who parlayed a great early start into a phenominal season and a possible #1 seed in the big Tourney.

6) The back of the Pac - Just how horrible has the Pac-10 been this year?  You are looking at most likely the Pac-10 tournament winner being the only one in the conference to make the NCAA's, a la the Southland.  That is inexcusible for a big time conference, although well appreciated by the A-10, Mountain West, and Big East.  I'll be happy to see more than 4 non-BCS teams make the tourney this year, and will be happy to see teams that actually deserve it make it, including 8 or 9 from the conference playing the best basketball in the land.

7) Shaq shacked - The injury to Shaquille O'Neal is a huge loss to the Cavaliers, not that they won't still be in every game, not that they still won't likely win the East, especially with MVP LeBron, but because Cleveland got him for one reason and one reason only, to neutralize Dwight Howard in the playoffs.  If Shaq is unavailable for the playoffs, it may make the east wide open when you get to seven game series.

8) Crunch time on ice - Now that the Olympic break is over, the NHLers return to the playoff push, having only 1/4 of the season remaining.  The pre-break story of the year has to be (and I hate to say it) the Alex Oh-retch-kin led Washington Capitals (maybe he can disappear like he did in the game against Canada), who aren't just running away with a mediocre division, but the entire Eastern Conference.  The road to Lord Stanley's Cup will travel though the nation's capital.

9) Power struggle - Incredible.  Just when I thought things were turning around for the Lightning, in the playoff hunt, good coach, new owner, the GM Brainless Lawton decides to essentially pull a coup during the break when everybody's attention was elsewhere and put his own hand picked assistant on the coaching staff without the consent of the head coach.  Tocchet and this guy (both the assistant and Lawton) are like night and day, but now Tocchet is in a no-win situation, and the writing is on the wall.  And it's too bad, because I really like what he's done in turning this team around from the post-Tortorella era.  Now, if the team misses the playoffs, Rick will be the goat, and if they make it, Brainless can say it was because of the changes that "his" guy made to get them over the top.  Nothing would please me more than seeing Lawton being shown the door by new management.

10) The look ahead - Some games to watch this coming week, The Heat have a couple huge games in the NBA this week with the Lakers on Thursday and the Hawks on Saturday, but it will be all college b-ball as teams make their push for the tournament.  Among the key games, Kentucky Florida on Saturday, which the Gators might need to make the tournament, the Kansas Kansas State rematch tomorrow, West Virginia Villanova on Saturday, and a huge Big East bubble game tomorrow between UConn and Notre Dame.  Looking forward to tourney basketball the next few weeks.

Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:44 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2009 10:12 am
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of September 8th

It's BAAAAACK!!!!  My friends, I welcome you to the proud and triumphant return of 10 things I learned this week, one person's slightly biased (hey, we all have them) review of the week that was in sports.  I do try to remain as objective as possible with these, but sometimes you'll see my Gator or SEC love shine through.  I'll be upfront that my favorite sports are by far football (college and pro) followed by hockey (pro) and then college basketball.  As such, my blog will be heavily skewed towards these sports while they are in season (assuming I'm not forced to quit before the Super Bowl like last year).  I will mix in pro basketball and baseball on occasion, but as I am not as heavily versed in these sports, don't expect too much from me.  For those of you who didn't catch it when I was running it last year, on Tuesdays (or if I miss Tuesday, I shall limit it as though I am talking on Tuesday), I shall put up 10 things that I feel I have a strong opinion about from the goings on of the previous week in sports.  Readship is encouraged, comments even more so. Well, here goes me diving back into the pool.  Enjoy...

1) Early season kinks- One game from college that pointed out the glaring difference between pro and college ball was the South Carolina vs. NC State game on Thursday.  That huge difference?  PRESEASON!!  Both teams could have used a game or two against live competition, in a HIGHLY mistake filled game by both teams resulting in a 7-3 final.  Now, I won't put up an arguement against people who say the NFL preseason is too long (it is), but I will fight tooth and nail against those who say it's unnecessary.  Not only to you have to determine exactly who your 53 best players are, but it cuts down on this.

2) Will the Pac-10 be USC and everybody else again?- Cal will hopefully provide them some competition, but one of the teams that was SUPPOSED to give them issues didn't even DESERVE to be on the smurf turf on Thursday against Boise State.  Folks, don't let the final score fool you.  If Boise State hadn't fumbled 100 times, losing about half of them, Oregon would have been CRUSHED.  I stayed up to watch that whole game, but it was a huge disappointment.  And, taking nothing away from Boise State, but had that been a competent team they were playing against, they would have been punished for those miscues (see: Ole Miss at Florida September 2008).

3) Grohing pains- Did I really just see Virginia, a January Bowl team from two years ago LOSE to William and Mary?  As in FCS (Div 1-AA for those of you still stuck two years ago) William and Mary?  If Al wasn't on the hot seat to begin with, his butt cheeks are firmly planted there now, and it might take pretty much winning out to remove them.  Of course, they weren't the only team that struggled against FCS competition.  Duke lost as well, and Iowa, a top 25 team, was lucky to escape against Northern Iowa.  And there was a board poster who suggested Iowa would remain a Top 25 team after that because "I've never seen a team get knocked out of the Top 25 for winning."  My response was, "Hello.  For a 21-25 ranked team after week 1?  Not only do I guarantee it has happened numerous times before, but that it will happen numerous times again, starting with Iowa."  Hmmm, guess who was right.

4) UGAly offensive performance- Well Bulldog fans, now you KNOW just how much the loss of Matt Stafford and Knowshon Moreno is going to hurt you.  But in spite of this, I was amazed at the lack of respect being shown to the Oklahoma State Cowboys (by posters, not pollsters for a change).  Look, I don't care how you win a game, if you win a big game, you win a big game.  And deserve all the kudos thereof afterwards.  So, "How 'Bout them Cowboys?!"  And Dez Bryant is a stud.  I think he'll be the next Calvin Johnson.

5) Stormin' Mormons overrun Norman south- Impressive, impressive win by BYU.  And let me be the first to say that it sucks that Sam Bradford will be down 2-4 weeks rehabbing his shoulder.  You never want to lose a player of his caliber, even as a college football fan in general.  The thing I took out of this game, however, was just how good OU's offensive line was LAST YEAR, and I'm absolutely shocked by how much they seem to miss the four starters they lost along that front.  Honestly, even with Bradford all year long, I don't think this offense would have thrown up NEARLY the numbers this year compared to last.  And OU fans, please DO NOT say you would have won with Bradford in the game.  It was 7-7 when he went down (and you could have been losing had BYU not had a case of fumbleitis), it was 10-7 your favor at halftime, you were up 13-7 very late in the game, and you were attempting a game winning FG at the end.  You had every chance to win this game, still.  Take your loss and hope you run the table and hope everybody in front of you loses.  Lord knows it's happened the last two years.

6) BCS Championship game buster- With BYU's win and astounding jump to 9th in the AP poll, could this set up for a Mountain West team not just making the BCS, but making Pasadena on Jan. 7th?  I have to say, a resounding maybe.  One of the things holding "mid majors" back was the ridiculous pratice of preseason polls, but the AP made up for that in one fell swoop with an 11 spot jump.  Personally, I think the first poll should come out after week 4.  By then, you have a pretty accurate gauge of where teams really stand.  BYU still has games against FSU (tarnished a little by their loss last night), TCU, and Utah.  As long as TCU and Utah win the games they are supposed to, and as long as there are not 2 BCS conference teams that are undefeated, I think BYU should be there.  And actually I think it would be better if there were 2 undefeated teams besides the Cougars, because it would make the Mountain West's "Why not us?" arguement stronger and we might take one step closer to actually deciding a champion on the field.  As for those BCS fruitcakes like John Saunders of ESPN who spew out the arguement that every week is a playoff and that not having it will diminish the regular season, see my comments on number five about OU and tell me they're not true.  Fact is, they KNOW they're not totally out of it yet.

7) Kickoff "Classic"- Let me be one of the ones to say the game for the most part lived up to it's name.  It was a great back and forth game against two good teams with good defenses.  And way to go Tide defending the SEC's honor.  Unfortunately for the SEC this year, all the strength is obviously in the West.

8) Restoring "The 'U'"- Big win for Miami last night in what was a very exciting keep you on the edge of your seat games.  I was a little surprised by the lack of defense.  Last year, Miami hung with UF for 2 1/2 quarters based on their D, which looked young and hungry.  I didn't see that D last night.  One of my Seminole friends got mad at me for suggesting UM should have won by a TD, or maybe a little more.  If you can fault the Canes for anything last night, it was the horrible play calling on the first and goal from the 3 when it was 23-14 where they ended up kicking a FG and the failure to recognize where Reed was on the field on the last kickoff.  You have to, have to account for that type of player on special teams and recognize that he was up front, so kick it long.  Kudos to the FSU special team staff for noticing what UM was doing, and adjusting for it.  And to Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge, who I thought called a good game, get off the FSU kicker's back.  He did not cost them that game by missing the PAT.  You could say that if it happened at the end of the game, or had FSU not been able to score any touchdowns afterward, but FSU went for and made a 2 point conversion afterward.  And had he made the PAT, FSU would have kicked the PAT after the following touchdown.  So the situation was that FSU would be down 4 anyway, or down 6.  In either case, they would have needed that last TD.  What a leg on that kid.  Actually, what cost them the game was their horrible clock management at the end.  That, also, CANNOT happen.

9) A baseball thought- I am finally conviced that the Tampa Bay area doesn't deserve the Rays or baseball period for that matter.  If the Rays were having the year they are having ANY OTHER year, we'd be beside ourselves, but no, we're a bunch of spoiled brats for having won the ALCS last year.  And the media here is just atrocious and are making a bad situation worse (as they always do, see: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jon Gruden).  Just as a curious side note, for most of the year, the Rays would have been leading at least two other divisions in baseball (of course, it's zero now), and how sick are the Yankees that they are SIXTEEN AND A HALF games up on a team that is six over .500.  I can't stand the Yankees, but you HAVE to give them their kudos.  This might be the year A Rod finally wins a world series.

10) Weekly look ahead- The games I will be looking forward to are the Steelers/Titans to kick off the NFL season, Miami/Atlanta to see if both teams can keep the momentum from last year going, the Packers/Bears, and in college, Michigan/Notre Dame to see just how far the Domers have come along, South Carolina/Georgia to see which one of them seems destined for a long year, and to see if Melanie Oudin can continue her run in the U.S. Open.  Talk about a never quit attitude and a spunky spirit.  The Williams sisters won't play forever, and we don't have a male player worth anything noteworthy, so hopefully this kid will continue to develope and give us a reason to watch tennis as a sport.  I couldn't turn off her match yesterday. 
Posted on: October 21, 2008 8:39 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2008 9:20 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Oct. 20th

1) Kissing your sister - God what an awful game.  In a game that set the NFL back at least 25 years, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a FIFTY FREAKIN' SEVEN yard field goal (that would have been good from at least 63) with 2:30 left in OT to beat the Jets.  Anybody paying attention to that game should have been hoping for that game to end in a tie (which would have been the first since I believe the Steelers and Falcons tied a game back in 2002 ).  What a horrible display of football.  And when are coaches going to learn to stop calling a TO the millisecond before the ball is snapped to ice the kicker?  You want to do it?  Call it right after they get set, not right before they hike it.  All it does is give the kicker a free practice swing at it.  Unfortunately, both the Raiders and Cardinals won a game that that boneheaded move should have cost them.

2) West Coast Love - Yes, I truly believe that for the most part, there is an east coast media bias.  Why?  Because most of your largest cities are east of the Mississippi (duh).  So what on earth is everybody's fascination with USC?  Why are they fifth in the first BCS poll?  They play in THE WORST conference (yes, worse than the ACC and Big East.  Even the Mountain West has more teams in the top 25) and have THE WORST loss of ANY of the one loss teams.  I shouldn't have to worry about them playing in any game other than the Rose Bowl, and yet I have to because the pollsters are freakin' idiots.  Why are they not being punished for their schedule that was put together by silkworms and NEVER being in a game they were like a billion point favorites?  Again, and being a Gator fan, I HATE tOSU, but I would a million times MORE rather see them in the BCS championship game than the Trojans, especially if they beat Penn State this week.  Speaking of Penn State, I have yet to mention them on my blog, and to their fans who might read it, I apologize.  I cannot begin to say enough about the job that they and Joe Pa have been doing.  This appears to be their last obstacle, and that the winner of this game will go on to win the Big Ten.  Good luck to you all.  Anyway, back to the University of Southern Chokeifornia, you pull this yearly choke job, and I for one am sick and tired of it.  As much as I HATE Notre Dame (which is more than I hate tOSU, by the way), I will be the world's BIGGEST Domer Homer the week they play you, and if there is a god, they will win that game.

3) Dallas' implosion is on - How 'bout them Cowboys.  I especially chuckled when people were saying that they didn't miss Romo when they took their first drive of the game for a TD.  How did the rest of the game work out?  Their secondary is a wreck (and now they've lost the Roy Williams that matters for the season), and their offense looks lost.  I'm hoping my Buccaneers pile on to their misery this week.

4) Another firing - Mike Nolan was the latest coach to get the axe.  What amazes me is that, while I don't hate this move, the amount of misdirected hate coming from Niner fans toward Nolan and their unreasonable expectations.  I heard many of them say that he underachieved with their talent.  Talent?  What talent?  Beyond Patrick Willis, exactly what talent has he been "underachieving" with?  He has no QB (through partial fault of his own due to Alex Smith being a bust).  Niner fans, vent your angst where it belongs, and just like your friends across the bay, you need to be looking at your owner, Dr. York.  He is BY FAR one of the worst owners in the league.  I know, you can't fire the owner, but you need to be wishing you could.  I do wish Mike Singletary the best of luck.

5) Weekend look ahead - Other than the World Series, the games I'm looking forward to are the aforementioned Penn State-Ohio State, Georgia-LSU and Texas-Oklahoma State in college, and the Steelers-Giants and of course the Cowboys-Buccaneers in the NFL.

6) Tebow to McCoy ... Heisman - Earlier, Tim Tebow was asked who he was voting for for the Heisman trophy, as being a former winner he gets a vote.  He rightfully pointed to Colt McCoy of the Longhorns.  An EIGHTY ONE completeion percentage?  Are you kidding me?  I mean, yes, he doesn't play SEC defenses every week, but still, that's phenominal.  What he and the Longhorns have accomplished so far is beyond words, absolutely DESTROYING the Missouri Tigers.  And Chase, you can go ahead and unpack that bag, because you won't be going to New York.  The Longhorns continue their brutal schedule this week against a very good Oklahoma State Cowboys team.

7) Yurgh!!! - The horrible start for my Bolts continues (talking NHL Charger fans).  Not scoring a single goal in a game, not even in the SHOOTOUT portion.  Inexcusible.  They need to get it turned around, and quick.  Update: Yea!  They finally won one.  Now they just need to string about 10 more in a row, and then go about .600 the rest of the way.

8) An interesting theory - Well, the rest of these will be baseball takes.  I heard a theory today that Vegas made the Rays -135/+115 favorites to try to recoup impending losses on Rays early season bets at 100:1 in case they win.  Two problems with this.  Even at 100:1, they only need 100 bets on TWENTY NINE other teams, including two from Chicago, two from New York, two from LA, Boston, Philadelphia, and a Detriot team that was supposed to do better than what it did.  I can't imagine there were THAT many Rays bets to not have it covered.  Secondly, even if that is true, it still makes no sense.  As anybody who does any sports betting will tell you, Vegas wants equal action on both sides.  If they PURPOSEFULLY set the line to get all the money on one side, and then the Phillies WIN (which is very possible), now you're paying out all these +115 bets, plus whatever bets you had on the Phillies to win it all at the start of the season (let's say it was 10:1).  Now Vegas IS losing money.  They are not in this to LOSE money.

9) Another interesting theory - Yes, this isn't the LA-Boston series that everybody wanted, but why does everyone think that nobody will watch this series.  First, they were the two best teams, period.  Secondly, both cities are very passionate and will watch.  Which brings me to the fact that Philadelphia is the FOURTH largest market, and Tampa/St. Pete the THIRTEENTH.  Those aren't bad numbers.  Plus, yes, Boston was involved, but game 7 was the highest rated baseball game on cable EVER.  That's EVER.  And maybe some of the people watching that game outside of Boston/Tampa/St. Pete will want to continue to watch this fascinating team.  I'll tell you one thing, this series will feature a lot of speed.  The Rays were first in stolen bases, the Phillies were fourth.  Could put a lot of pressure on the batteries.  Both teams can mix in the long ball, too.

10) World Series predicition - Well, so far I'm batting exactly .500.  So this one will decide if I'm successful or not.  The Phillies will win any game that they can get to Madsen and Lidge with the lead in the 8th and 9th.  Clearly this is where the Phillies have their advantage.  The problem will be getting it there, because I believe the Rays have the advantage everywhere else.  Their biggest advantage might come in starting pitching.  Cole Hamels is lights out, but the rest, eh.  Plus I think the Rays have SLIGHT advantages in speed, hitting, power, and defense.  All this will amount to Rays in Six.  I heard that this has the softest odds in Vegas of all the possible combinations, so I'm going with it.

 
 
 
 
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