Monday, November 28, 2011

Urban Meyer Retires From Ohio State, Plans To Focus On Family

AP Columbus, OH- Newly hired head football coach Urban Meyer has announced his retirement from coaching today.  Meyer who accepted the job at a 5:15 EST press conference announced his subsequent retirement at 7:38 EST.  "The press conference (announcing his hiring) today just reminded me of all of the time that I will be away from my family.  My esophagus started spasming and my mitral valve began prolapsing just thinking about it.  This latest foray into coaching has really given me perspective on what is really important in life."  Meyer went on to explain that he is planning to take his family to an Old Country Buffet for a family meal to discuss his options going forward.  "I can't rule out a return to coaching sometime after dessert but it really is too early to say."  During his 2 hour long tenure as Ohio State head coach, three Buckeye football players were arrested.  Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith is expected to name an audio-animatronic version of Woody Hayes as head coach.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Tressel leaving day job to focus on his book signing tour

Ohio State University announced the forced "resignation" of Jim Tressel today.  Some thoughts:

  • I love that I was woke up by a text message about this on Memorial Day.  Did the public relations department at Ohio State think that this wasn't going to be a huge story because they dropped it on a federal holiday.  One should note that they previously had increased Tressel's suspension from 2 to 5 games on St. Patrick's Day/first day of the NCAA basketball tournament to try to minimize the impact.
  • What would tattoo parlor owner Ed Rife pay for a signed copy of Jim Tressel's book "Life Promises for Success:Promises from God on Achieving Your Best" today?
  • First job offer for Tressel:  Las Vegas sports memorabilia store, Field of Dreams, has hosted weekly events with Pete Rose over the past 7 years where he autographs baseballs with the inscription, I'm Sorry I bet on baseball.  Rose left in February to pursue other options.  Tressel could slide right in and sign footballs with a similar inscription.  
  • I hate to see someone lose their job, but there is a certain sense of validation when something your parents taught you from when you are 5 years old holds true in the real world.  If you do something wrong and then lie about it, it is significantly worse than just doing something wrong.  And if you fail to apologize for clearly doing something wrong despite the fact that you were supposed to apologize at a press conference for that purpose and then don't apologize for another 11 days it is even worse.  I think it went something like that.  
  • Were the nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor a part of the group of advisors to OSU president E. Gordon Gee that "allowed his resignation"?
  • The Urban Meyer talk will now reach a fever pitch as he reportedly bought Kirk Herbstreit's house, burnt it to the ground, and rebuilt it with a Tim Tebow statue out front or something like that.  I may be getting a few stories confused.
  • Jim Tressel's firing (Let's call it what it is) is a big loss to the Ohio State University Medical Center as he has been a great fundraiser.  That loss in revenue could be offset by Urban Meyer's weekly trips to the Ross Heart Hospital with his mitral valve prolapse/esophageal spasm exacerbations.
  • As an Ohio State fan, are you still happy that Terrell Pryor chose Ohio State over Penn State?  The program will continue to be successful, but there is a "mystique" that Ohio State will not recover.  Two words- Lawrence Phillips- this stuff doesn't go away.
Please share your thoughts and comments.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: First Round Irreverent Analysis

I love draft day.  The reason you ask: It means that I won't have to listen to Mel Kiper and Todd McShay's ramble about their ever shifting draft boards which seem to vary by the direction that the wind is blowing and/or the relative fiber content of their previous day's meals until 2012.

First observation, does the NFL only allow fans with a body mass index greater than 35 into Radio City Music Hall?  If they don't start the first round earlier in the future they are going to have to outfit the seats with CPAP machines.

On to the picks:

1. Carolina Panthers-Cam Newton- Auburn  There are years that you want to pick first.  Unfortunately for the Charlotte Kittens, this was not the year.  Newton owes a debt of gratitude to Mike Vick's outstanding season for taking away the stigma of drafting an "athletic" QB (ie the Jamarcus effect) with the first selection.  Cam Newton is the ultimate coin flip and perfectly emblematic of the imperfect science of drafting a QB and frankly if he is the best QB in this class I'm not buying ESPN's assertion that 2011 is the Year of the Quarterback.  Cam Newton's father, Cecil, has reportedly requested $150,000 for Newton to play in Carolina next year.  This makes him a steal relative to last year's number 1 pick Sam Bradford who signed for approximately $50 million guaranteed.  Cam Newton reportedly knows nothing about this deal.

2. Denver Broncos- Von Miller- Texas A&M-  Not a big surprise.  Broncos needed an upgrade in their pass rush.  Of note,  Miller is the first LB selected in the first two picks of the draft since Lavar Arrington in 2000.  I like to think that the pick occurred only after Pat Bowlen and Vice President of Football Operations John Elway realized that NFL draft rules did not allow for a filibuster that would prevent the 2011 season from occurring.  Prior to OTAs, Denver is planning to have him report to a knife training course to minimize his risk of getting stabbed as this has become quite prevalent amongst current and former Broncos of late.  The nice thing for Broncos fans is they have finally made a first round selection that may actually improve the team.

3. Buffalo Bills- Marcell Dareus- Alabama

4. Cincinnati Bengals- A.J. Green- Georgia- A nice addition to the Bengals offense although it raises the question of who is going to throw the ball to him.  I've heard that Carson Palmer's nephew may be the starting QB next year.  It definitely seems like inspired casting to bring the OG amateur jersey salesman to the state of Ohio.  Perhaps Jim Tressel could serve as his personal mentor.

5. Arizona Cardinals- Patrick Peterson- LSU- The war room in Glendale gets a gold star for taking him instead of stretching for a QB. This pick could serve them well for a decade- ala Champ Bailey.

6. Atlanta Falcons- Julio Jones- Alabama- An expensive pick (Atlanta gives up a 1st, 2nd and 4th rounder this year and a 1st and 4th next year) but the Falcons move up 21 spots to snag one of the few offensive impact players in the draft.  You could argue that 5 early round draft picks would be a lot to give up for Jerry Rice in his prime let alone an unproven college player.  However, it should be exciting to watch Matt Ryan throwing the ball to Roddy White, Jones, and Tony Gonzalez (if he doesn't retire) but Atlanta may have to win some games by scoring 50+ points this year

7. San Francisco 49ers- Aldon Smith- Missouri-  I can't say much about his game as I don't think he was 100% healthy against Nebraska (a game in which the Huskers dominated the edge in the 1st quarter).  I do tip my hat to offensive-minded Jim Harbaugh for selecting a defensive player with his first pick.  Apparently somebody learned something from Josh McDaniels Broncos draft strategy or Harbaugh's planning on tanking the year to get Andrew Luck in 2012.

8. Tennessee Titans- Jake Locker- Washington- Really..a The last time I checked Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was not making selections for the Titans, although it sure looks like it with this pick.  Seriously, is a players's performance in games less important than the combine and workouts.  If I was a general manager, I wouldn't care if his 40 time was 4.1 seconds (it was 4.59 which was good for the 3rd fastest QB time) or how he throws in workouts.  The only information that you need to know about Jake Locker are his completion percentages against the Nebraska Blackshirt defense in their two 2010 matchups (16.6 and 31.25% respectively). Editor's note: the Nebraska Cornhusker defense is not an NFL defense.  Winning QBs in the NFL have pinpoint accurancy (ie Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees), Jake Locker does not.

9. Dallas Cowboys- Tyron Smith- USC

10. Jacksonville Jaguars- Blaine Gabbert- Missouri-  Good opportunity for Gabbert.  As a 10th selection, he will not be expected to make an immediate impact.  This is good as he has spent a large percentage of his college career in the shotgun and will require some adaptation to play under center.  So what's the knock on Gabbert: I don't know if he is a winner by nature.  On his biggest stages, he was responsible for major 4th quarter implosions against Nebraska in 2009 (Ndamakung Suh's introduction to the world) and in the Insight Bowl against Iowa this year.  I still think this is a good pick here.  Could this be the first attempt for the Jaguars to trade for Tim Tebow to save their franchise? 

11. Houston Texans- J.J. Watt- Wisconsin

12. Minnesota Vikings- Christian Ponder- Florida State- Too many jokes... Maybe it's not too late to see if Brett "the king of the camera phone" Favre will come back for one more year.  Joe Webb breathes a sign of relief.  Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the Los Angeles Vikings.  Somewhere Chris Weinke is shaking his head.

13.  Detroit Lions- Nick Fairley- Auburn-  The Husker fan in me really wanted to see Prince Amukamura being reunited with Ndamakung Suh with this selection.  This might be my favorite pick of the first round.  After his dominant performance in the BCS championship game, Fairley's name was floated as high as the number two pick as recently as February or March.  Many experts compared his performance in that game with the performance of Nebraska's Ndamakung Suh in the 2009 Big 12 Championship Game. His draft status fell due to concerns about his work ethic.  However, by pairing him with Suh and his infectious energy, the Lions may have picked up the piece that will give them the most dominant interior line in the NFL in the near future.  Prediction: If Matt Stafford can stay healthy, the Lions will be in the playoffs in 2011 or 2012.

14. St. Louis Rams- Robert Quinn- North Carolina- Missed this year after lying to NCAA investigators about accepting almost $6000 in benefits.  This point raises two questions: 1)How do good football players end up playing for the Tar Heels and 2)why isn't Jim Tressel teaching his players to hold out for the big money like Robert Quinn was getting and not just settling for discount tattoos?

15. Miami Dolphins- Mike Poucey- Florida-  Miami got confused and thought that they were drafting current Pittsburgh Steeler Markice Pouncey.  Ultimately, the Fish are glad that they didn't accidentally take Ted Ginn Jr again.

16. Washington Redskins- Ryan Kerrigan- Purdue- Having recovered from a tire iron attack planned by Tonya Harding, Kerrigan is poised to play OLB for the Landover Native Americans. The good news for Daniel Snyder and Mike Shanahan is that they couldn't possibly screw this pick up as they have needs at every single position on the football field.

17. New England Patriots- Nate Solder-Colorado- Notable for the fact that this was the first New England 1st round pick not involved in a trade since 2007.  Solder is a converted tight end who is still adapting to the offensive line.  Huge upside.  Nice pick.

18.  San Diego Chargers- Cory Liuget- Illinois- Never underestimate what the Chargers "strength and conditioning program" (translation: steroids) can do for this defensive lineman.  Why is it that everyone blames Shawn Merriman's professional downfall on his knee injury and not because he got busted for steroids?  Sammy Sosa and I will never understand that.

19.  New York Giants- Prince Amukamura- Nebraska- Projected to go as high as the sixth or seventh pick, this pick was a steal for the Giants.  Prince's freefall to 19 may have been multifactorial: Justin Blackmon accumulated over 140 yds receiving day against Amukamura in 2010 and he allowed a total of 18 completions (in contrast to highly ranked Colorado CB Jimmy Smith who allowed only 11 in man coverage this year).  Keep in mind that Amukamura's compatriot at CB Alfonso Dennard is also a lockdown CB (2nd team all-Big 12) and as a result Amukamura faced a larger number of targets than he might have faced had he played for a lesser team like the Buffaloes.  This ultimately pushed him further down the draft board than initially anticipated.

22. Indianapolis Colts- Anthony Castonzo- Boston College-  Apparently the Colts have finally seen Sandra Bullock's the Blind Side and decided that protecting the quarterback is kind of a big deal.

27. Baltimore Raves- Jimmy Smith- Colorado- A million dollar talent with a 10 cent head.  He could be the missing piece that fills in a significant hole in an aging Ravens defense that is running out of time to make another run at the Super Bowl (see the 2011 San Antonio Spurs) or he could end up as an extra on the feature length film version of "The Wire."  Only allowed 11 completions on 20 targets in man coverage.  However, he has been targeted by Boulder Police just as frequently and has multiple failed drug tests and an alcohol charge to show for it.  Question: how did the Bengals pass on this guy?  He is Cincinnati's kind of guy.

28. New Orleans Saints- Mark Ingram- Alabama-  Just curious, am I supposed to get all teary eyed because his dad is a criminal and got busted for money laundering and bank fraud and as a result is in jail and couldn't be there when his son won the Heisman, won the National Title game, or was selected in the NFL draft?  OK good, because I didn't.

Did things get better or worse for your team?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Frustrated Bracketologists Seek BCS-Like Solution for NCAA Basketball Championship

Washington, DC-With the federal government budget crisis seemingly under control for the next week, President Barack Obama has convened a committee of basketball experts to seek a more satisfying resolution to the college basketball season.  This years Final Four was the first without a #1 or #2 seed advancing since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams.  In the final game, three seed UConn defeated eight seed Butler in an ugly low scoring affair.  Obama who selected all four #1 seeds to advance in his bracket stated, "The current NCAA tournament format which pitted the 9th best team in the Big East (UConn) against the 28th best team (Butler) in the NCAA in the championship game could be markedly improved to feature the best team versus the third or fourth best team like college football."  "If we could only use a more scientific system that incorporates votes from random ex-college players who probably don't even watch the games, journalists who haven't played the game since they were cut in 7th grade, and some computer rankings designed by a cadre of Star Trek fans that didn't even bother to try out for sports instead of a tournament featuring head to head games, we could reach a much more satisfying result."

Obama's committee includes basketball experts ESPN analyst Jay Bilas and Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras.  To date little progress has been made in reaching a consensus in the group as to what system would reach the most satisfactory match-up to decide a champion.  "Our early meetings have been frustratingly slow.  Adras' won't stop talking about how Ohio State has to be the #1 team despite not even reaching the Elite Eight and Bilas has just been rocking in a chair in the Oval Office mumbling "VCU-Shaka Smart" over and over like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man."

When asked about why he is attacking this issue when the federal government budget is still not resolved and United States troops are currently fighting on three fronts, he said "Yeah it's funny that you would mention Libya.  I was kind of busy watching the Richmond Spiders upset Vanderbilt when the UN contacted us about military action in Libya so I just signed whatever they put in front of me that day.  Oops."  He went on to say "the championship game was the worst basketball game that any American has ever seen.  I probably can't do much with this budget and these wars but I can make sure that a monstrosity like Butler-UConn never happens again." 

When asked how he plans to implement his strategy to extend the BCS to college basketball, he said "the representatives from Ohio, Kansas, Western Pennsylvania, and North Carolina will sponsor a filibuster featuring Dick Vitale, Bill Walton, Clark Kellogg and Gus Johnson that at best will force the NCAA to convert to whatever system we develop but at a minimum will induce a Jonestown-style mass suicide of  congressman that could shift the balance of power in the House of Representatives."   

Monday, April 4, 2011

NCAA Championship Breakdown

You win with defense- UConn Football Coach Paul Pasqualoni is reportedly going to offer the defensive coordinator position to head basketball coach Jim Calhoun after UConn's NCAA championship victory.  The UConn basketball team held Butler to 18.8% field goal percentage and 41 points.  UConn's football team gave up 48 points to the Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl.

High percentage shot-Butler basketball star Matt Howard just missed the urinal in the men's restroom.  NBA prospect Howard was only 1 for 7 from the field in the Butler loss.

Postscript for the Big East-So what is the final interpretation of the Big East and this years NCAA tournament?  The Big East which placed 11 teams in the tournament had only 2 teams advance to the Sweet 16 but ultimately the 9th best team in the conference by regular season record wins the tournament.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thoughts from the weekend: NCAA tournament edition

-"I guess Texas finally had to give that second back."
               -My wife's response to the controversial 5 second call at the end of Texas-Arizona game referencing the controversial end of the Nebraska-Texas Big 12 Championship in 2010 in which a second was put back on the clock at the end of regulation allowing Texas to kick a game-winning field goal.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rick Neuheisel: American Patriot

As you complete your brackets tonight, I ask you to stop and reflect on some of the true American heroes who have given up their careers fulfilling their obligation as an American to gamble in an office NCAA tournament pool.  Patriots like Rick Neuheisel.  Current UCLA and former Colorado head football coach was fired in the summer of 2003 for participating in a neighborhood tournament pool and subsequently telling lies to the NCAA about his involvement.  This came after his compliance officer had sent a memo authorizing University of Washington employees to participate as this would not be considered a violation of the NCAA's prohibition on gambling.  So as you watch the games this weekend dreaming of a $100 payout, I hope you can think about the sacrifices of those that came before you.  Thanks for the memories, Rick.  We will always remember you fondly in Nebraska.