Monday, January 26, 2009

The Time Has Come

We've been talking about it for a number of weeks, and we are finally ready to jump to our new site:

We'd like to thank the 60,000 people who have checked out this blog over the past 8 months and hope you can all bookmark the new site. And please, cotinue to add your comments, post in the forums, and make the Strap a good place to read sports opinions. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jazz Fan

Living in Salt Lake City for the majority of my life has put me in position to get to know an incredibly strange and intriguing member of our little sports world: Jazz Fan. Jazz Fan is a great and endless source of entertainment to me and I appreciate him for it.

If you ever read national basketball columnists, experts, and bloggers, they all seem to agree that Jazz Fan is one of the most rabid around the NBA. Energy Solutions Arena is consistently one of the loudest, most difficult places for other teams to play. The basketball writers all seem to agree on another thing: that Jazz Fan isn't very knowledgeable. How they come to that conclusion, I don't know. I only know that they go to games around the whole league in many different arenas and all seem to agree that Jazz Fan doesn't know his shit. In knowing and interacting with Jazz Fan on a day to day basis, I would have to agree. But you know what bugs me most about Jazz Fan? The Persecution Complex they all seem to have. Here are a few major themes of that Complex:

1. The Refs Hate Us: Most fans probably think this, but Jazz Fan takes it to a whole other level. I can't even go to the Energy Solutions Arena anymore because all it consists of is me listening to the fans bitch the ENTIRE GAME about the officiating. This seems more important to them than the score or really any other factor in the arena that night. This is especially true when facing Kobe Bryant. See, the NBA has a conspiracy to keep the Jazz out of the finals because it wants Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the finals. Or something like that.

2. Nobody Respects Us: Come on already, anybody who knows anything about the NBA and it's history highly respects the Utah Jazz organization. David Stern recently named owner Larry H Miller one of the best 3 owners over his time as commissioner on a Bill Simmons podcast. Just because you aren't on National TV a lot doesn't mean no one respects you, it means that you don't have any huge stars and you aren't elite enough to be on TV over many teams. (Boston-elite team. LA-elite team, plus Kobe Bryant, Cleveland-LeBron James and so on.)

3. John Stockton is the best pure point guard ever/is better than Isiah Thomas: Stop it. Putting emphasis on the word pure will never make John Stockton better at point guard than Magic Johnson. Never. Ever. Ever. The only thing Stockton did better than Magic was outside shooting. He wasn't a better passer or better defender. And don't give me the assists record or the steals record. Both are longevity records, which are always overrated. The assists record is lame and I think assists are the most overrated stat in sports, but I digress. (PS-Magic averaged more assists per game than Stock.) As for the steals record, Stockton was an average on-ball defender who had to rely on trickiness after he got beaten to get so many steals. Jazz Fan forgets that game after game the opposing point guard lit the Jazz up. They should have nightmares of Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Isaih Thomas, and especially Kevin Johnson. People seem to be fairly divided on the Isiah/Stockton debate. Look at this list. 8 of 14 experts put Isiah over Stockton, but it is a good debate. Now, I would put Stockton above Isiah barely, but Jazz fan thinks it's a slam dunk and can't believe Isiah is even in the conversation. I mean, come on, Stockton is the all-time leader in assists.

4. Karl Malone is the best Power Forward of All-Time: Amazingly, I find in my conversations that most Jazz Fans think that Stockton was a better player than Malone, which I can't even fathom. Take Stockton off the team and the Jazz were still a solid playoff team because of Malone. Take Malone off the team and the Jazz were pure lottery. Who was Stockton going to get all those assists to, Blue Edwards? I put Karl Malone at #2 all-time, behind Tim Duncan. Jazz Fan tends to forget about Tim Duncan in this discussion. But mad props to Karl Malone, by far the best player to ever don the Jazz uniform. I wonder if Karl drops to number 3 if KG can lead Boston to another title or 2.

5. Deron Williams is better than Chris Paul: This is the worst one, and I have to hear about on local sports radio all the time. Now, head to head, Deron Williams plays very well against Chris Paul and has usually gotten the best of their match ups. His size seems to really disrupt Paul. But you can't judge a player based on one match up, and Chris Paul causes more problems league wide that Williams does. There just isn't a single thing that Willams does better than CP3. Paul is a better shooter, passer, rebounder, defender, is more efficient, and seems to me to be the better overall leader, taking a team of no-names (who ever heard of David West before Paul got there?) and previous misfits (Tyson Chandler) and leading them to 50 win seasons.

Those are the major things I've heard about over the last 30 years. But that list isn't everything. Let's not forget the following things heard over the years:
Bryon Russell is going to be an All-Star this year. (heard every year during the mid 90's. Number of All-Star bids: The same number I've had)
Michael Jordan pushed Russel out of the way in the NBA Finals. (he did, but they don't call that at the end of the game, and don't forget that Malone got away with a "bear hug" pick on Charles Barkley on that classic shot that sent Utah to the finals.)
Carlos Boozer is tanking it and should be traded(despite the surgery on his knee)
Karl Malone is a traitor for going to LA his last year (even though Utah made it clear they didn't want him back.)
Jerry Sloan marches a group of scrubs to the playoffs every year (only the years he's had All-Stars)
If Utah was in the East, they would take the #1 seed every year (heard the last 4-5 years.)
Jerry Sloan should be coach of the year (this one is true. Sloan has been cornholed a number of times on this one, but make no mistake, everyone in the world respects the shit out of Sloan.)

Anyway deep down inside I love Jazz Fan. He may say insane things and be delusional about the Jazz' chances year in-year out, but he is true blue, and for that I salute him.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So Sorry

That we haven't been updating this week. We are making the jump to our new website and don't want to use our ideas up so that the new site can get started on the right foot. Anyway, please keep checking this site to get info about the new site.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Shaq Nicknames

Shaquille O'Neal is at it again. After showing some improvement in the area of freethrow shooting (he actually hit 11 in a row over the course of two games and is shooting like 69% over his last 100 chucks [which for him is a molten lava hot streak]) Shaquille gave himself yet another nickname, Shaqovic. His reasoning for his latest nickname is that all of the best shooters in the NBA have a last name that ends with "vich"(Stojakovic, Radmanovic, Vujacic, etc.).

I have to admit that the big fella is funny and often times very creative when it comes to giving himself nicknames. Over the years he has dubbed himself "Shaq," "The Diesel," "Shaq Fu," "The Big Aristotle," "The Big Daddy," "Superman," "The Big Agave," "The Big Cactus," "The Big Shaqtus," "The Big Galactus," "Wilt Chamberneezy," "The Big Baryshnikov," "The Real Deal," and "Dr. Shaq" (after earning his MBA). His back yard at his Miami mansion had a water slide and a tiki-bar and so he named it Shaqapulco.

SportsCenter ran a story on this last week and asked viewers to come up with their own nicknames for Shaq. All I can say is that the list was lame as lame can be and for this reason I started thinking of my own nicknames for the great Shaquille O'Neal.

1.  ShaqDonalds:  Take a look at some rookie footage of Shaq on YouTube and you will see that he has done nothing but eat since he made it into the NBA.  I thought he was fat when he played for LSU, but dude looks like he did that experiment from the movie Supersize Me where he had to eat at least one of everything from the McDonald's menu in thirty days only his experiment has spanned 16 seasons.  Is he still good?  Yes.  Is he one of the best?  Yes.  Is he twice the size he used to be?  Hell yes.  Step away from the Big Shaq, Fillet O'Neal, and the Sham-Shaq-shake and mix in a salad big guy.

2.  Radio Shaq:  I thought this one would have been a gimmie during Shaq's ill advised rap career.  Albums included Shaq Diesel, Shaq-Fu: Da Return, You Can't Stop the Reign, Respect, and the Best of Shaquille O'Neal.  That's right folks, he has a "best of" CD.  My favorite lyric you ask?  Simple:  "I flow like a stream, better yet a river.  You need to call me Mailman 'cause Karl can't deliver."  Brilliant Radio Shaq, brilliant.

3.  The Big Heart-A-Shaq:  It's not nice to say, but let's face it, dudes this huge do not live long lives.  If he is as big as he is playing basketball and working out almost every day of his life what is he going to look like when he retires?  A black Andre the Giant that's what.  Before he is 50 years old he is going to die of a massive heat-a-Shaq just like Andre and the saddest thing will be that Andre will have died the better actor.

I was going to put up a top five, but I see now that most of my nicknames for Shaq are weight related, so I will stop here.  Feel free to give me your ideas.  I only ask that you bring it harder than the ESPN audience that could come up with nothing better than "the Big Fella".  Please.  I know that this has been a little short, but I've really got to go take a Shaq.  Peace. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who is the best NFL player you've ever seen?

Who is the best NFL player you've ever seen? I ask this question because every national radio show I listen to this week is debating whether or not Larry Fitzgerald is now the best receiver in the NFL. I say yes, but it got me thinking about who would be the best NFL player I have ever seen. I'm relatively young, so my history doesn't go back to guys like Jim Brown, Gale Sayers, Roger Staubach, etc., but I have seen Joe Montana, John Elway, Walter Payton, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Lawrence Taylor, and Ronnie Lott. But none of those guys would get my vote because Barry Sanders is the best football player I have ever seen. As icing on the cake, he was also the best player I ever used on Tecmo Super Bowl too (with apologies to Bo Jackson and QB-Eagles, who both contend for that crown). If anyone reading this has seen Jim Brown, please post who you think is better and why, because I can't imagine a better back than Barry.

I used to look forward to Thanksgiving day just so I could watch Barry Sanders play football. The Lions weren't on television too often (especially since the market I live in plays mostly the Broncos and 49ers) and I always expected something amazing. Barry had a way of making people look stupid that I've never seen anyone else come close to, other than maybe Reggie Bush in college. Barry never rushed for under 1,100 yards in a season and averaged over 1,500 yards per season. His lowest season total (1,115) came when he missed the last 5 games with an injury.

He had 14 straight games of 100+ yards in 1997, an NFL record. He fumbled only 41 times in his career - only once per 83 touches (for a reference point, Jim Brown fumbled once every 43 touches). Barry played on a crappy team and he was the only weapon; he didn't have an Aikman or Irvin to distract the defense. And he still did stuff like this:

The quality isn't great, but you get the point. If you want more check this one out (notice the crazy juke on 51 in the second one). He could stop on a dime, break ankles, and spin at full speed. He had defenders looking foolish and leaving their straps on the field on a regular basis. I'm not saying Barry Sanders is the best football player of all time, but he is the best I've ever seen. What's your take?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Levels Of Geekdom

Sometimes life gives you a glimpse into the secret chambers of another man's heart, and that glimpse is usually one which makes you glad to be yourself. I have recently had one such experience.

There is a new guy who started working at my office a few weeks ago. He is a jolly soul, and while not pushing 3 bills like myself, is quite stout and girthy with a big laugh and a quirky sense of humor. He has come by my office several times to discuss "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (which I strongly recommend) and other comedies of that ilk. Needless to say, I've taken a wee bit of a shine to him and dare say that he has done the same with me.

Anyway, the other day I went over to his office to see what he was doing and I noticed that he had a number of oddities hanging on his wall and sitting on his shelves, namely: Action figures of Optimus Prime, He-Man and Battle Cat in full armour, several GI Joe figurines as well as a tank or some sort of vehicle, and a poster with Sergeant Slaughter. Initially I thought this was pretty cool and asked him why he had these relics of childhood. He replied that he likes to collect 80's toys and memorabilia.

This lead to a 3 hour discussion where I came to learn that my friend has every Star Wars toy from the original series, something like 80% of the GI Joe toys, and several other toys from that time period. Indeed, he has taken his toys up to the mountains and taken action photography with them and posted them on a website, this website, in fact. Now, we looked around and found that my friend was just the tip of the iceberg for GI Joe photography, with some even photo shopping fake missiles and fire and such coming from the toy planes.

At this point, I asked my friend if he owned any swords and if so did he know that the next logical step would be for him to go to the park, dress up in chain mail armor, get some 20 sided dice and act some shit out. He couldn't even believe that I would suggest that as a course of action, letting me know that what he did and what the people who dress up in chain mail do aren't even remotely comparable. He claims it is like comparing apples and oranges. They are "totally different levels of Geekdom." Are they, friend? Are they? He offered some explanation about how collecting Military Toys is nothing like getting dressed up in Knights armor and chanting in Latin, but to me, they are quite similar. Not in theme, but in obsession and mania.

After some good natured ribbing, a trip to my Mom's house to get my old toys, and a back rub with scented oils, minus the back rub with scented oils, my friend went home and left me thinking. I have a few beliefs in life, (one of them being that every man craps his pants at least once a year. Now, it might not be a full-on crapping, but he at least sharts once per year and if he denies it, he's lying.) And now, after my discussion with my cohort, I've decided that I have a new belief: Everyone has at least a little geek in them. But not everyone is prepared to learn Elf languages or Klingon and not all Geeks are dangerous, so to help you sort out who is who, here is a brief run-down of my 3 Levels Of Geekdom:

Level 1: General Geek
Most people fall into this level. Level One includes any of your basically acceptable nerdiness: lower level collections, obsessions with video games/sports/fashion/television, basically anything that you don't want other people to find out about unless you trust them. This may include the eating of boogers, making an NBA Live Team out of all Old Testament Characters (i.e. Habakkuk and Moses) having pictures of cars or half-naked women on your garage walls, really just the usual things that are geeky, but overall socially acceptable. It is important to know that there are sub-levels included in the major levels, but I'll let some geek with more time than I have fill you in on what those are. Derek. Level 1 Geeks can generally be trusted, and are not dangerous.

Level 2: Fantasy Geek
Level Two is really just the taking of a healthy enjoyment of a hobby and raising it to a whole other, scarier level. Collecting baseball cards is one thing, and is certainly geeky, but then pulling the cards out, getting 6 dice and trying to come up with a formula that will, in tandem with said cards, calculate how many strikeouts Ed Johnson had in his eighth season, and then having debates with yourself over if he would make the Hall of Fame after his career ends (Yes, he would), is an entirely different thing. Level 2's collect things and never remove them from the original packaging, buy special computers to run their video games they play for hours on end, and have thought about going to a Star Trek Convention, but have never done so. Level 2's are usually safe, but when they are on the verge of becoming Level 3 or are displaying Level 3 type behaviors, they should be avoided as they may have just bought a Ninja Star and are certainly on the edge of using it.

Level 3: Get Out and Do It Geek
This is by far the most disturbing and subsequently most humorous level of Geekdom. This is when you decide that just knowing all the facts about the French and Indian War aren't enough, no, you need to collect some black powder muskets, the pelts of animals, and go to a re-enactment of said war. And when you are out roughing it, you certainly can't use toilet paper, pussy. You need to use leaves and shrubs to get your arse clean. Of course there is a lot of variation in this level, with your Low-Level 3's being Trekkies and people who dress up as Albus Dumbledore for the premier of the new Harry Potter movies, and your Upper-Level 3's who are usually just multiple offenders or Double Dippers in Geekdom(trekkies mixed with civil-war re-enactment, World of Warcraft players who also actually like the last 2 hours of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy etc.) Be very cautious when speaking to and especially mocking Upper-Level 3's as you must remember they probably have a Katana and iron breastplate at home and they are definitely closer to using them in real life than you would imagine.

Well, now that you are armed with this knowledge, I hope you can diagnose yourself honestly, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm.
Live Long and Prosper.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The BCS is Awesome.

I mean it. I know Boyd says poo on the BCS, but come on, it's awesome. What other sport has you pissing and moaning about who deserves to be called the best days (and probably weeks) after the final game was played? I don't remember anyone talking about how the Patriots should have actually been the NFL champs, or the Lakers as the NBA champs. This is what makes the BCS so great: it is consistently debated and no one ever stops talking about it.

Utah and Texas fans are up in arms right now because they got "screwed by the BCS." If college football had a plus-1 (as everyone seems to be pimping right now) the Utes wouldn't have even gotten in. So, a full playoff would be great. But how many teams? 8? 12? 16? There is always going to be some complaint in college football, so why not let the complaining be about the BCS and who gets hosed every year? It makes for great debate. I can sit around with my friends and debate the BCS for hours. With a playoff, it would be something like this: Well, I figured Florida would win and they did. Captivating. I'd rather debate what would happen if Utah played Florida or USC than discuss who just won a playoff. For my money, the BCS gives us something extra to talk about, something to get irate about.

Everyone wants some kind of a playoff, but how often does the best team win a single-elimination playoff? Was Kansas truly the best team in college basketball last year? Were the Giants really the best team in the NFL? Does anyone really think the Cardinals, Eagles, Ravens or Steelers is the best team in the league this season? Mostly just their own fans. The NBA and MLB both do it right - a series. You can't really make the argument that the Celtics weren't the best team in the NBA last year because they had to go through 4 series' in order to win the trophy. But, the Giants as the best team in the NFL last year after the season the Patriots had? No - the sun shines on every dog's a$ at least once. The G men played their best game of the season when it mattered. It doesn't mean they were the best team in the NFL, but they were crowned champions. In a 7-game series, the Pats win in 6 max. But without it, the 10-6 Giants get the crown. But at least they had to go through a playoff, right?

If a college football playoff could be done that included at least 8 teams, it would be awesome. I can only assume the ratings would be through the roof. But how do you decide who gets in? Each of the BCS conferences get one team in and the other two are at-large? If that's the case this year, then eligible for the two at-large spots would be Utah (12-0), Alabama (12-1), Texas (11-1), The Ohio State (10-2), Boise State (12-0), and Texas Tech (11-1). Who do you leave out? Or do you just put in the top 8 teams regardless (not irregardless) of conference affiliation? Personally, I think that would be awesome, but current BCS conferences would throw a hissy fit and Notre Dame would find some way to buy themselves a guaranteed spot using NBC's money. But would a playoff like this (or any kind) put a damper on the regular season? That's what all these college football experts keep saying - the BCS makes the regular season mean something. Would a playoff change that? Would it become like college basketball, where only the die-hard fans pay attention before the tourney starts, or would it increase in popularity and build on the already growing fan base?

The point is, nothing in college football is ever going to work. Maybe they should go half an NCAA basketball tournament - a 32 (.5) team playoff. At least that way the only team whining would be #33, and no one gives a deuce about them. The BCS allows the controversy that is college football to be put on display all season long, most especially for one week in early January for everyone to watch. It's not perfect, but it sure makes for some good debate. The BCS is awesome.

The BSC Sucks!

Just kidding. You thought I was going to write another posting about the BCS and what a horrible thing it is. The best part is that a few of you probably even got a little bit excited about it. I am laughing at you, not with you.

See, this whole BCS thing is so played out that I don't want to hear another damn word about it until next season. And so this is the last sentence I will write about the BCS until next college football season: Poo on the BCS.

Now, on to an observation. I was watching 1st and 10 on ESPN last week when they had Lil' Wayne as their guest for the debate part of the program with the semi-retarded Skip Bayless. Now, I can't say that I like or dislike Mr. Lil' Wayne's music as I frankly haven't heard much of it, but I was a little surprised to see him on the show. He was dressed in a very casual, conservative manner. Of course, one could never overlook the diamond encrusted teeth or the multiple facial tattoos, but otherwise, Lil' Wayne looked like a normal dude.

I have to say I was surprised because this normally audacious, flamboyant rap star was a gentle, quiet, reserved fellow, with a ton of sports knowledge. In fact, he picked all four of this weekend's NFL playoff games correctly. Of course, I was scratching my head when he picked Arizona, but dude got it right. The best was that at one point he said something to the effect that Lendell White is not good and has done nothing impressive and that the Ravens would beat the Titans.

So props to Lil' Wayne. That's it for today. Bye.

Friday, January 9, 2009

To BCS or not to BCS? That is the Question.

So the NCAA College Football season is over, the Bowls have been played out, and the Poll votes have been cast.  Now that it's all over, I have to tell you, I'm a little disappointed with the results.  Florida beat Oklahoma 24-14 in a sloppy, boring BCS Championship game last night, and only 16 voters had the sack to vote Utah #1 in the AP poll this morning after they dominated Alabama, who held the nation's top ranking for most of the season, 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl last week.  I find this whole BCS mess very sad and I'll tell you why.

It seems that most of the national media and most of the coaches, especially those who's conference champions are excluded from an automatic BCS bowl bid (i.e. the Mountain West), do not like the BCS.  Every time I turn on SportsCenter I hear this guy or that guy talking about a playoff and how that is the only way to escape from the ambiguity, confusion, and conjecture that the BCS system always seems to generate.  But the problem is, when these same guys who complain about the system have a chance to stir things up and actually make a statement by going against the BCS and voting in a national champion that does not fall in line with the BCS's chosen champ, they don't have the guts to do it.  And if ever there was a year for them to do this it was this year.

The University of Utah beat five teams that were ranked in the top 25 when they played them (Michigan, Oregon State, TCU, BYU, and Alabama).  Of those five teams only one (Michigan) turned out to be a stinker.  The other four are still ranked in the top 25 in the AP poll.  The Mountain West, long considered a mediocre conference, has three teams in the top 25 and Air Force also proved to be a quality program capable of scoring points in bunches.  Utah beat Oregon State who beat USC.  Utah killed Alabama who Florida struggled to beat.  And of all the reasons for AP voter to vote Utah number one:  the fact that Utah was the only team in America that beat every single one of their opponents.  13-0 is a big statement and the Utes are the only team that can make it.

Sportscasters, writers, and coaches do not like to take chances that might make them look foolish in the eyes of their peers.  They don't want to predict upsets.  When they fill out their March Madness brackets they all go with the chalk.  It's an understandable behavior.  For example, in last years NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament nobody filled out their bracket with the 10th seeded Davidson Wildcats beating 7th seeded Gonzaga, 2nd seeded Georgetown, 3rd seeded Wisconsin, and narrowly losing (57-59) to number 1 seeded, and eventual national champion, Kansas.  Did anybody take any flack for not advancing Davidson to the elite eight in their bracket?  Hell no.  Gonzaga should have taken care of them in the first round because they were ranked higher and thus the better team.  Right?

That's why the NCAA Basketball tournament is such a beautiful thing.  They play the games because, as history has shown, you never know what's going to happen until you play the games.  Did anybody outside of the State of Utah think that the Utes were going to win the Sugar Bowl?  There was no way a crappy team for the weak Mountain West Conference was going to beat a powerhouse from the SEC.  Almost unanimously the nation's media has dubbed the SEC the most physical conference in the country and Alabama this year was that conference's most physical team.  The SEC has more money, better facilities, better recruits, better coaches, better starters, and better back ups than the Mountain West.  The SEC is bigger, faster, stronger, and more athletic than the MWC.  There wasn't one player on the Utah team upon which Alabama would have spent one recruiting dollar.  Everybody knows that.  But when they actually played the game Utah beat seven shades of shit out of the Crimson Tide and that's why the BCS sucks.

In a playoff all of the biases, speculation, and discrimination can be washed away.  Teams can actually line up and decide who is better by their play on the field.  The final score decides who the National Champion is not a computer program.  But it is what it is.  Florida finished #1 and Utah was voted #2 in the AP poll because too many people were worried about what everyone else would think.  The Utes ended up #4 in the Coaches Poll and Florida received all but one first place votes.  Coaches are required by rule to vote for the BCS champion, but one coach bucked against the system and voted Utah #1 (God bless you Kyle Whittingham).

And here is the most confusing thing of all.  Florida is the National Champion in both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll, but if you look at the final BCS Rankings, after all the bowl games have been played, 2 loss Oklahoma is still ranked #1 with Florida (who beat OKU) at #2!  Does any of this make sense to anyone?

Oh well, what else can I say that hasn't already been said.  Congratulations Florida on your retarded "National Championship", I guess.

P.S. Phil, the "Roll Tide" cake that you brought to our Sugar Bowl party was delicious.  Thanks.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Predictions for 2009

By the end of the week we should have this site revamped because we are expanding a bit. Of course we want to thank everyone who has kept up with us so far and we hope you keep coming to see what we have to spew at you next.

Everyone seems to make New Year’s resolutions when the calendar flips to January. I made a couple this year, but my prediction is that I won’t accomplish any of them for more than a month. So instead of making a New Year’s resolution post, here are some predictions for 2009. Most of them are predictions, but some of them are things that I just want to happen. As always, feel free to add what you expect to see.

Brett Farve will retire. Please.

Now that I have my required anti-Farve comment out of the way, 2009 will also bring the following:

The BCS will screw someone next year, just like it did to Texas and Utah this year.

Joe Paterno will make it through the entire year. Not just his job, but his life too.

The Utah Utes will finish third in the Mountain West in football, as they are typically accustomed to under Kyle Whittingham.

If Tim Tebow decides to stay in school, the Gators will go undefeated next season and Tebow will win his second Heisman trophy.

An important college football trend will continue: players will continue to hold up four fingers to let people know when the fourth quarter is beginning. We lay people appreciate that.

The Detroit Lions will show marked improvement by going 3-13 next season. Just for the record, I was on the bandwagon for the Lions unblemished season pretty early on this season. I knew they could do it.

Reggie Bush will again not reach 1,000 yards rushing.

The Seattle Seahawks will return to their rightful place as perennial NFC West champs.

The Cowboys will implode and TO will light the fuse.

The New York Yankees will make the playoffs only to lose in the first round.

The New York Mets will make the playoffs only to lose in the first round.

North Carolina will not win the NCAA basketball championship this year. I’m not sure who will win it, but it won’t be UNC. Or Duke.

Stephen Curry will hang 50 on someone.

The Boston Celtics will beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals. Again. It’ll go 7 this time, but Boston will pull it out. Again. (unlike on Christmas, when the Lakers defeated the Celtics. Jim has mentioned this in past posts, so I'll leave it at that...)

I will finally admit that LeBron James is better than Kobe Bryant. I still can’t do it yet.

Jim and Boyd will continue to be firmly planted on Paul Pierce’s jockstrap.

Utah Utes-2009 NCAA Champions?

Thursday night my Alma Mater Utah rose up and laid a major league smackdown on Alabama in the All-State Sugar Bowl. Immediately, fans of Utah began claiming the NCAA Championship and Number One ranking. This is understandable. Utah finished the season ranked 13-0. The question is, are they really deserving of the Championship? I believe they are, but perhaps only as Co-National Champs. My arguments:

Number of Undefeated Teams: One
Utah is the only undefeated team left. This is very important to note. The way that College Football's post-season is set up lends itself to ambiguity and second guessing, but there is one indisputable fact: Utah didn't lose to anybody. Period.

Strength of Schedule:
Does Utah play in the MWC? Yes. Is the MWC fairly weak? Of course. Utah did, however, defeat quality teams in TCU, BYU and Oregon State, not to mention Alabama. TCU and Oregon State were nail-biters, but still victories. BYU and Alabama were both good, solid beatings of worthy opponents. Utah also beat a decent Air Force team. In fact, the Jeff Sagarin Ratings that the BCS uses to rank strength of schedule had Utah's as the 8th most difficult before the bowl game against Alabama.

Head to Head vs. One Loss Teams:
Now, let's look at the other teams who have a claim at the championship.
First off, we have
USC: USC's record is an impressive 12-1, their only loss coming at Oregon State. Hmmm. I think Utah played Oregon State, didn't they? Oh yeah, and they beat them. So, you have two teams with similar records (13-0 vs 12-1) with similar strengths of schedule (8th vs 5th) who have a common opponent in Oregon State, to whom USC lost and Utah beat. I don't care about arguments of who would win if they played head to head, because that is a part of the equation that the BCS system, of which USC is a willing member and participant, decided to leave out when they failed to create a playoff system. And are you certain, after seeing Utah vs. Alabama, that USC would win that game? I would have my doubts.
Florida: Let's assume, for arguments sake, that Florida beats Oklahoma in the BCS Championship. We'll do the same when arguing for Oklahoma. Ok, that would make Florida 13-1. They would have won the SEC championship and beaten the Big 12 Champs as well. In the end, they do have that blemish on their records from when they lost to an underrated Ol' Miss. So record wise, Utah would still have the edge (13-0 vs 13-1). Florida would have admittedly the better SOS (8th vs 3rd) and the teams would have one common opponent who they both beat in Alabama. In that regard, I saw both games and have to say that Utah was much more impressive vs. the Crimson Tide than Florida was, and have a better margin of victory (14 vs 11) vs Alabama.
Oklahoma: The Sooners have had a wonderful season, losing only to Texas. Assuming they beat Florida, they have had a great run this year. They do however, have that one pesky loss. Utah has them in W/L record (13-0 vs 13-1). Oklahoma does have superior SOS (8th vs 1st), and the teams have one common opponent worth mentioning in TCU, who Oklahoma beat soundly and against whom Utah struggled, but did beat.
Boise State: Say what you will, but Boise State is still a one-loss team that deserves a ton of respect. They however, are obviously the worst team in the discussion, having lost to TCU (who lost also to Oklahoma and Utah).
Texas: Let's assume Texas goes out and beats Ohio State, as I suspect they will. That would leave Texas at 13-1, with their only loss coming on a last second play vs. Texas Tech. Texas got screwed out of the Big 12 Championship, and they too will have a claim at the BCS title if they win. Against Utah, they have an inferior record (13-0 vs 12-1), a higher SOS (8th vs 2nd), and no common opponents. Makes it hard to say who would beat whom, doesn't it?

In conclusion, this is how I see things, not any sort of prediction: Utah should have a piece of the BCS title, regardless of who wins that game. They are undefeated, have a strong SOS, and beat up on Alabama in their bowl game. If Florida wins the title game, then Utah and Florida share the title. If Oklahoma wins, Utah and Oklahoma share it, and I kinda lean towards saying that Texas deserves a piece of the title as well, but if Oklahoma can beat a worthy foe in Florida, I'll give them the nod.

This is all a pipe dream, I'm sure, as the BCS will crown it's champion on Thursday, but that doesn't change the fact that Utah deserves a piece of the crown.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Every year at this time people all over the world decide to put their collective foot down and make some changes in their sad lives.  The New Year's Resolution is something to which each of us have fallen victim over the years.  I myself have purchased the Torso Tiger, the Ab Roller, the Torso Tornado, and that one ab thingy that you attach to your abs and turn on the electricity and it makes your abs contract while you watch TV and eat nachos, which by the way did NOT work (that Bruce Lee was full of shit, man).  How many of us have made the resolution to lose 20 or 30 pounds only to reach the end of the next year with an extra 10 pounds to add to our goal?  A wise man once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results, so why do we put ourselves through this nonsense year after year?  I suppose we all need a little hope in our lives, even if most of the time it is a fool's hope.

What follows is a list of New Year's Resolutions, some of my own and some that certain sport's franchises/figures need, to not only make but accomplish if we are to make 2009 a better year the 2008.

1.  I resolve to not get so damned angry with my teams -- Over the last few years I have gone in to many sports season's with high hopes.  The Mets fresh off of signing Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado looked poised to win the NL East and maybe even the World Series.  Then came the catastrophic collapse of two years ago.  All is well, they'll just sign the best free agent pitcher of the off season in Johan Santana and World Series here we come.  Not so fast Mets' fan as another late season collapse left them inches from the playoffs (damn you Aaron Heilman).  My anger at these unfortunate events was so intense that I almost had a couple of strokes.  My wife tells me it's just a game and that makes me even more irate, but in the end she is correct.  I need to take it down a notch when the Celtics lose three out of four on a west coast road trip, and realize that three games do not a season make or else I'm going to pop a blood vessel in my brain.

2.  Jazz Fan needs to resolve to calm down and get in touch with reality -- Yes Carlos Boozer is a candy ass and yes he is going to get hurt a lot and stay out longer than most players will with the same injuries.  You have to realize that Booz is all about the Benjamins (ask Cleveland Fan) so he is not going to play unless he is 100%, period.  You also have to realize that when he is healthy he is one of the best power forwards in the NBA.  You can count on him for 20 and 10 night in and night out and as good as Paul Millsap has been he is still a couple of years away from Boozer's production level.  You had better hope that Larry H. Miller decides to loosen his wallet strings and resigns both Booz and Millsap (and Okur, but probably not) instead of letting Boozer take his game and his injuries to the Heat in the off season.

3.  Brett Favre needs to resolve to retire, for real this time -- Brett, come on man look at your interceptions, look at your quaterback rating, look at your gray hair and beard set, look at your helmet for hell's sake you play for the Jets, the Jets!  Can't you hear the people of Greenbay crying?  Can't you hear the people of the Earth yearning to hear other stories on SportsCenter than your tragic tale?  Please Brett just let it go.  Let it go like you do when you see your outside receiver open in a small window downfield even if the Defense is in a cover two and the Strong Safety is clearly cheating to that side, just begging you to do it.  Let it go, Brett.  Please!

4.  Yankees please resolve to die.  That's it, just roll over and die.  (Lakers, too) Please.

5.  I resolve to stop watching late night info-mercials and buying things -- No more ab machines, no more pull-up bars, no more perfect push-ups, nada.  I'm done thinking that I can make boatloads of money placing tiny classified ads in the newspaper.  I don't need a knife that can cut through a hammer and then slice a tomato with surgical precision (even though I bought a set of these knives and gave them to Boyd for his wedding and  he has been nothing but happy with their performance).  I resolve to ignore Ron Popeil and Billy Mays no matter how convincing their arguments.  I just hope that Danny Ainge isn't up late at night when a "Sign Stephon Marbury, he's not a locker room cancer" info-mercial comes on.  Turn off the TV and back away from the phone, Danny.  Trust me, no matter how good these late night wares seem, you're just setting yourself up for a world of disappointment and shame.

Feel free to add your own New Year's Resolutions or don't, whatever.