Thursday, January 31, 2008

NBA Line of the Week 1/21-1/27

I give this one to the little know Western Conference player of the Week, the Minnesota Timberwolves Al Jefferson. Everyone knows how terrible the T-Wolves are after trading the

Big Ticket, but with the help of Jefferson, the young team how a decent week. Wednesday (1/23) Jefferson ahd 39 points, 15 rebounds in 35 minutes in a 117-107 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Sunday (1/27) Big Al had a career high 40 points to go along with 19 boards and 3 assists in a 98-95 victory over the N.J. Nets. The only flaw for the T-Wolves last week was a one point loss to the Boston Celtics.

American Idol in Omaha

I normally would not write about American Idol, but since the auditions are hilarious and last nights episode featured my home state, Nebraska, I couldn't resist. Why would AI go to Omaha? I could have saved them the trip. All you need to do is watch the first minute of this video and you can see what Omaha is all about, corn, rolling fields, and yes more corn. As for the talent, or lack there of, it was horrendous! The first guy was gayer than Waylon Smithers! As a matter of fact, I think half of the auditions they showed featured homosexuals. Since the first guy was flat out horrible, he was still able to make his dream come true by asking to audition for another AI job, hosting the red carpet finale for the local Fox network. Simon you let me down. How can you give this loser who's only looking for camera time any kind of chance?

The second guy was from Stout, Iowa, home of 500 people (this seemed to be the theme of the night, small town), stared into space as he could not remember the lyrics after one line. However Simon, let this loser through to Hollywood. Simon, you're letting me down. The third audition happened to sum up Nebraska women, an arm wrestling champion! If that wasn't enough and you were still tuned in for the pro wrestler chick. Yikes! Way to represent Nebraska and reinforce every stereotype the rest of the world has of the Cornhusker State.
Overall, I think 19 people passed through to Hollywood. I don't think anyone was actually from Nebraska. I know the first person with any kind of talent was from Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good Reads

Sticking with college hoops. Great venues to catch a college game.

Who was the quarterback after Bob Griese and before Dan Marino?

23 years of Air Jordans.

Check out what the NY Post thinks of the Patriots and spygate on their daily sports line.

10 biggest Super Bowl underdogs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

NBA One Liner of the Week: 1/14-1/20

Candidates included Lebron James (51 points, 9assists, 8 rebounds) after driving 101mph.
Marcus Camby tearing it up (20 points, 23 rebounds, 6 blocks, 6 steals)
Camby again (24 rebounds, 11 blocks, 8 points)
Denver's Linas Kleiza (Who!) (41 points, 9 rebounds)
But I have to give it to Sacramento Kings' shooting guard Kevin Martin (Western Carolina), maybe the best player in the NBA you don't know.
In his second game back after sitting out 17 games with a groin injury, Martin helped the Kings top the Dallas Mavericks 122-120(last Monday 1/14).
His line: 39 points, 14-16 field goals, 2-2 3pt, 9-11 free throw, in 28 minutes.

College Gameday: Gainesville

With all the upsets in the past week, College Basketball is definitely underway. Unless your interested in what type of footwear Tom Brady is wearing today, NCAA basketball has the spotlight all to itself.
ESPN tipped off Saturday morning with its premiere college basketball show, College Gameday. The Site was the home of reigning back to back champions Florida Gators. It may have not been quite a marquee matchup, neither the Gators or Kentucky came in ranked, but nevertheless, it was a great game won by the Gators in overtime.

The highlight of the weekend wasn't the game, but Tim Tebow's presence around campus. At halftime of the game, Tebow was center court with his Heisman Trophy thanking the University of Florida for all there support. Saturday also happened to be a major recruiting visit for Florida's football team. What a recruiting tool. You have Urban Myer with his championship ring and Tebow with his Heisman showing recruits around the beautiful Gainesville campus.

Throw in ESPN College Gameday, Erin Andrews, and the Rowdy Reptiles chanting "Come to Florida," and I'm guessing all these recruits gave their verbal commitments on the spot. Hell, I'll pimp Tebow and the Gators. He's a freak of nature and a great guy on top of that. Here's to back to back Heismans in '08.

By the way, if you have a son or ever do have a boy, to him a favor: make sure he goes to college in Gainesville. Trust me, the kid will thank you for it someday.
How you know that you might be partying with minors: Guy asks you if you want a Red Bull and Vodka? Sure! And he hands you a bottle a vodka and a can of Red Bull and tells you to take a swig and swish it around in your mouth. MMMM! Tasty!
This weekend? Another matchup of unranked teams in BFE Carbondale, Illinois for Creighton (you lost to Drake at home!) at Southern Illinois.
Here's a video with Erin Andrews interviewing Tebow. College Gameday opened with Tebow giving a pep talk to Rece, Hubert, Jay and of course Digger. Pretty hilarious!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

18 and Oh!

Real quick on the Chargers/Patriots. Phillip Rivers should not have started that game. I know, it's the AFC Championship Game, Phillip Rivers likes to talk trash, and he have a gutsy performance, but I believe the injured Rivers never gave the Chargers the chance to win this game. In the red zone 3 times and come away with three field goals, not gonna beat the Pats that way. Rivers couldn't make any plays with his feet. Every time he was under pressure, he couldn't scramble out of the pocket so he was forced to throw the ball away or make horrible passes. It finally caught up to Rivers at the end of the first half when he threw two INT's. Billy Volek should have been named the starter the whole week prior to this game. It brings less confusion to the team and gives you a better chance to win. And hey, Volek's not a bad QB.

I you ask me, Lawrence Maroney is the MVP of this team. He may be the best back in the league. You really can't say that Maroney has carried this team, but he has come up with huge plays for the Patriots in the playoffs. He's the main reason why Tom Brady can complete 26-28 passes; he's the reason why the Patriots can run out the clock with 11 plus minutes to play in the game. Sick! What we've learned about Maroney in the playoffs is that he's not just an up and down bruising runner, this guy is stiff arming and making nasty spin moves on opponents like it was Madden football.
Answer me this, how is Wes Welker always open? I mean the guy only runs one route. All he does is run a quick slant in the middle of the field. Keep a linebacker planted in that area!

It's absolutely amazing that the Patriots are still undefeated. In this day and age of the NFL. All the talk about the NFL is how great it is because of the parity giving any team the chance to win. That's not to say the Patriots have had a few very close calls and scandal. The whole spygate and asterisk thing hasn't been blown up to that big of deal because it was against a horrible team, the Jets. If that game from week 1 was decided by a TD or less, maybe spygate takes away from what this team has accomplished.
The Patriots have had plenty of luck along the way. I mean the Monday Night Game against the Ravens.

Stopped once on 4th down because the opposing team's coach calls a timeout. And then stopped again but the Pats get away with it because there own player is offsides. If that's not enough, the pass interference call on 4th down! Wow! How many opportunities can one team get. Even when New England makes a mistake, it benefits them. I keep waiting for their luck to run out and if that doesn't happen, one thing that is universal, cheaters never win!

Another Giant Victory

If you were not at home in front of the TV, at a sports bar, or at a championship day party, you don't like football, you probably don't like me and there's no way you're reading this. With that being said, You suck along with your miserable boring life. Sunday's two championship games were better than Super Bowl Sunday. You get 2 great games back to back, so of course it's better than the one over hyped Super Bowl game. (This year maybe an exception.)

What better setting for the NFC Championship Game than the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field! Freezing cold weather, a mix of flurries, and hard hitting trash talking football. And yes, The New York Football Giants with little Manning vs. Old Man Winter, Bret Farve and the Green Bay Packers. The only that could hurt this game would be the referees. Yes, the refs seemed to be taking control of this game with bad calls that seemingly affected the outcome. To start the 3rd quarter, the Packers seemed to stop the Giants on third down. I'm not even quite sure what the call was, but the Giants were the awarded a first down and went on to score. On the ensuing drive, the Packers failed to convert a third down, but of course, a yellow flag laid on the field. Sam Madison was involved in some kind of skirmish away from the ball. Even the commentators saw no reason for the flag and maybe the refs should just let the teams play.

I mean, this is for the Super Bowl and emotions are at an all time high. Editors note: Sam Madison is a former Dolphin CB who was known for bonehead plays similar to this one. I believe Trick Daddy sported a Madison jersey on one of his CD covers. "Baby cuz I'm a Thug."
Another question, is Plaxico Burress really this great or is Al Harris completely overrated? Burress quieted a lot of critics with the game of his life. The only setback was the dropped pass inside the 5 yard line, though it would have been a remarkable catch, Burress seemed to be catching everything thrown his way.
The 4th quarter brought more bizarre plays and seemed that luck was riding on the Green Bay's side. First, there was the INT by R.W. McQuarters that may have sealed the deal but McQuarters fumble the ball on the return. Packers get another shot and tie the game. From there on, it was pretty much all Eli and the Giants. Between Green Bay's play calling and Farve's carelessness, the Pack never had a chance. They practically abandoned the run game and the Giants defense could just play against the pass and read Farve's mistakes.
The Giants outplayed the Packers and owned the second half but still needed an extra session to win. The Giants kept the Packers in the game with missed opportunities.

A couple of missed field goals and a great run by Ahmad Bradshaw called back for holding gave the home team a chance. But with the Packers being one dimensional at this time, they didn't deserve to win.
Watch out for The New York Football Giants!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

NCAA Hoops College Gameday

In case you're wondering my schedule for the next 8 weeks...
ESPN College Gameday for basketball tips of this weekend in Gainesville, home of the back to back champion Florida Gators. Yeah, Billy Donovan has a whole new squad, but I have no problem going to Gainesville.
College Gameday airs every Saturday for the next 8 weeks at 11am(est) and 8pm(est). Hoops Gameday is picking up momentum and is very similar to its sister show for college football. The show is very informative with lots of energy and school spirit.

1/19 Kentucky @ Florida
1/26 Creighton @ Southern Illinois
2/2 Arizona @ UCLA
2/9 Georgetown @ Louisville
2/16 Michigan St. @ Indiana
2/23 Tennessee @ Memphis
3/1 Kansas St. @ Kansas
3/8 North Carolina @ Duke

Former Phins Flourish

While watching the NFL playoffs this weekend, the same thing continued to catch my attention. No, it wasn't whether Tom Brady would throw an incomplete pass or if Jessica Simpson was in attendance for the Cowboys' collapse, it was watching former Dolphins contribute big for their new teams. Wes Welker and Junior Seau continue to be huge factors for the Patriots success. The Patriots acquired both these studs from division rival Miami for next to nothing.

Also, Chris Chambers caught a huge TD reception for the Chargers on their way upsetting the Colts. Chambers was the main reason the Dolphins drafted Chambers' "boy" Ted Ginn Jr.
So you can see how grateful Phins' fans everywhere are that Randy Mueller was canned last December. How do you give away stud players for nothing in return?
Every NFL team as at least 3 or 4 Pro Bowl caliber players.

Smart front offices (See Patriots) take advantage of dismal teams by picking up veteran studs for nothing. How do the Patriots get the 49ers first round pick? The Raiders dropped? Charles Woodson to Green Bay and Randy Moss to the Pats. Isn't this blatant highway robbery?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Razor"backs" Bail on Petrino

Like he has done to so many others in the last year, Bobby Petrino gets a dose of his own medicine. Petrino heads to Fayetteville just in time to see his star two players, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones leave for the NFL. Not that this was unexpected, but it's just kind of funny to see this hint of irony land on Petrino. McFadden was the Heisman Trophy runner up two years in a row. Jones rushed for over 1,000 yards two years in a row and also tore it up on special teams as a kick returner. Being known as a quitter, it should be interesting to see just how tarnished his reputation is and if Petrino can bring star recruits to Arkansas, or how long he'll stay with the Razorbacks.

Giants/Cowboys:One and Done in Big D

Talk about saving the best for last! I don't even know where to begin on this one. Easily, the biggest play of the game was the Giants' touchdown drive with 47 seconds left in the half. Dallas had just put together a 90 yard TD drive taking over ten minutes off the clock. The drive gave the Cowboys their first lead of the day, 14-0. How do you let Eli Manning put together a TD drive with under 50 seconds to play? So right there you can't blame Tony Romo. You blame the entire team! The defense, Romo, T.O. (failed to catch a pass in the second half), and the offensive line giving Romo no protection whatsoever.
This game really wasn't a surprise.

I mean Dallas hasn't looked good since the first half of the Green Bay game over a month ago. Dallas started the season 12-1, but limped in the playoffs 1-3. In any sport, it is nearly impossible to beat the same team three times in a row in one season. Oh, and also the fact that Wade (I've inherited every talented team I've coached) Phillips is now 0-4 in the playoffs. There was talk about Phillips being fired if he didn't win this game. Why not? Mary Schottenheimer was fired after a 14-2 record! Brian Billick was 13-3 with the Ravens last year and he was canned following this season.
What about T.O. doinig his best Hillary Clinton impression? What the hell was that?

Was T.O. tying to not make himself look bad and steer the blame from him? Maybe T.O. really does have some mental issues, like being bipolar. This is the same guy who is notorious for throwing his QB under the bus, see Jeff Garcia, Donavon McNabb, Drew Bledsoe. The Cowboys loss wasn't completely Romo's fault, but he did set himself up for this and put the bull's eye on his head.

Romo did have great support from his running game, so you would think the Giants' secondary would be on their heels. Also note that Romo was going against an injured secondary. In the Cowboys' last two playoff games, they've lost on the last play with the ball in Tony Romo's hands.

Chargers/Colts:Colts Shocked

Saturday's games had nothing on Sunday's. This game changed in the first quarter. With Indianapolis already up 7-0, Peyton Manning had the offense driving again. Peyton also had his favorite receiver Marvin Harrison back. Manning quickly hooked up with Harrison, but with his first action since October, Harrison fumbled the ball away to the Chargers. San Diego marched down the field to tie the score 7-7 and save the game and the season. Indy was easily on its way to a 14-0 lead and would have blew the Bolts out of the Dome.

Now it was game on! You'll hear the word "gutsy" to describe this Chargers team all week. It was more than gutsy. It was great coaching (Norv Turner!) and great overall team play. The Chargers played most of the game without all universe running back Ladanian Tomilson and Pro Bowl TE Antonio Gates, the bread and butter of this team for the last couple of years. To make matters worse, Phillip Rivers was knocked out in the fourth quarter. So now, it's the fourth quarter with the Colts on top. The Chargers have second string QB Billy Volek on the road in a hostile environment going up against one of the best defenses in the NFL. And Volek looked great having no problem coming off the bench and marching his team down the field. Reminisce of Jeff Hostetler.
You've have to blame the Indianapolis coaching staff for this meltdown. Maybe it had something to do with the whole Tony Dungy retiring rumors. The Colts quickly turned one dimensional and gave up on Pro Bowler Joseph Addai and the running game. San Diego was able to play against the pass the rest of the game and Indy could not control the clock or the game. Peyton Manning was seen more on commercial breaks than the game. Still, Manning had two chances late in the fourth quarter to win the game. With under five minutes to go, Indy had 1st and goal, 1st and goal! and took four shots at the end zone and came away empty. On the last two plays of the drive, Manning had Anthony Gonzales open on third down, and Dallas Clark wide on fourth.
The Colts were still able to get Manning the ball back with around two minutes to go. This was situation that every boy dreams of. Playoffs. Two minutes to go. Down by four. At home. You would think by now Peyton Manning would strive in this situation. Manning was unable to move the Colts pass midfield and give them any kind of shot for the win. Yeah, Manning won the Super Bowl and got that monkey off his back, but now, for his career in the fourth quarter of the playoffs, Manning has thrown 5 TD's and 5 picks.

Hats off to the Chargers. This is the same team that started 1-3, was 5-5 at one point and written by everyone. The Chargers fought through injuries and home team penalties to somehow earn a trip to Foxboro next week. The Chargers are making their first trip to the AFC Championship Game since 1994 when they were led by Junior Seau, Natrone Means, and Stan Humphries, how about that!
That maybe the biggest gift to the Patriots. Not only do the Patriots avoid their arch nemesis Colts (And many believe the team with the best shot to knock off New England), the Chargers will come into Foxboro banged up. But with the way San Diego's defense played yesterday, anything's possible. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts.

Jaguars/Patriots:Pats Still Perfect

Jacksonville came into the game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL. A great call on 4th and 1 on the team's opening drive put the Jags in position to take an early lead. This was also the first points Belichek's Patriots have ever given up on the opening drive in the playoffs. Impressive! However, the Jaguars' defense looked soft the whole game unable to stop the Patriots once and making Tom Brady look nearly perfect. Jacksonville was unable to put pressure on Brady or force any turnovers. The Jags rarely blitzed, double teamed Randy Moss and let the other receivers run wild.
The biggest plays of the game: After Jacksonville opened the game 7-0, on the Patriots ensuing drive, they faced a fourth and 4. No surprise that Belichek would go for it, but if the Jags stop the Patriots here, the game really gets interesting and maybe Jacksonville has a legitimate shot. Of course Jacksonville plays a zone defense and somehow leaves Moss wide open for his only reception of the game (Still a huge one).
Second big play of the game: Jacksonville's second possession David Garrard is under pressure and fumbles the ball away. With great field position, the Patriots have no problem going up 14-7. So just when the Jags start the game off in the best possible situation, everything quickly crumbles and somehow the Patriots are up a TD.
That's what makes the Patriots so good. They don't beat themselves, they rarely turn the ball over and limit themselves to stupid penalties. Even when they do land a penalty, it seems to go in there favor (See the Ravens game).
Whatever happens to the New England Patriots, they can win their next 80 games, and Bill Belichek will die a grumpy old sour man. Way to live your life buddy.

Wow! What a Weekend!

Who needs the BCS and College Football? The NFL playoffs are far more exciting and mean a heck of a lot more than any bowl game. I didn't leave the house Saturday and Sunday, I was glued to the screen the whole time, well except maybe the fourth quarter of the Green Bay/Seattle game. Let's start right there with the first of four weekend games.
With Seattle jumping up to a 14-0 lead, you had to feel for Ryan Grant. If you turned away early and came back in the second half, don't adjust your tv set.

I know, I'm one of the few households in America without HDTV and this time, the snow on the screen wasn't from my crappy, out of date tv, but the actual conditions in Green Bay. The Pack came storming back and scored all the points they needed to win the game before half. As for Ryan Grant, he only brushed the two fumbles off his shoulder and set the franchise playoff game rushing record.
However for the Seahawks' Marcus Pollard, a lot of the blame might fall on him. The sure handed Pollard had a crucial fumble in the first half and then in the second half with Seattle trying to stay in the game, Pollard was wide open in the back of the end zone and dropped an easy TD reception. Upon further review, you could tell Pollard had a rough time seeing the ball coming through the snow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bowl Season Recap Part 2

2007 may have been the year with the biggest upsets in college football, but when all said and done, the top honor really was no surprise. I know, after the third quarter of Monday's BCS Title game, everyone who knows me was probably saying to themselves, "Freakin Tree was right!" I pimped the SEC all year and continued my support for the Big 10 being the most over rated conference.
Don't worry Big 10 fan, I've heard your complaints. The Big 10 had to play way tougher teams. Well let's see, the beginning of the season, your non conference schedule was built around teams such as Youngstown St., Florida Int, Akron, The Citadel, Eastern, Western, Central Michigans, App St, and Duke (Whoops).

So you finally get your chance for redemption and you complain you were forced to play too tough of teams. Welcome to College Football. Who did you expect to play in a bowl game? You claim the SEC played weak teams during the bowl season. Let me put this in perspective for you, the SEC finally didn't have to compete against each other. Against top 25 teams, the SEC was 4-1 in bowl games, the Big 10 1-3. The lone bright spot and the best thing to happen to a Big 10 team was Michigan's upset over Florida. Could you imagine if Michigan had not shown up for that game, the SEC goes 8-1! Funny, all year Michigan was looked at as the red headed step child in the Big 10, and what little, if any, respect the Big 10 gained this bowl season, came from the Wolverines. I mean, if you think going 3-5 in bowl games gains respect. What a showing by the Big 10. A squeaker by Purdue over a mean Central Michigan team and Penn St., very fortunate to escape with a victory over the "who's coaching this team today?" Texas A&M Aggies.
Congratulations LSU!

You punched Ohio St. right in the teeth and knocked out the dot on the i! Ohio St. is much starting to resemble the Buffalo Bills. The only exception was the Luckeye's title win against Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. And anyone watching that game knows how bad Miami got screwed in that game.

Other quick stats from this year's bowl season...The average margin of victory in the five BCS games was 20.0 points....Oklahoma has lost 4 of 5 BCS games....7 of 9 teams with coaching changes lost (Michigan and West Virginia were the two winners)...The ACC went 2-6, and are 1-9 overall in BCS Bowl games...And my favorite, Ohio St. is 0-9 all time against the SEC in Bowl games. Chew on that Buckeyes!
Editor's note: I previously wrote how Rich Rodriquez totally blew a championship season in Morgantown and he may be a great recruiter but he's horrible when it comes to play calling. West Virginia maybe had the most talented team in college football and maybe one of the more easier schedules, somehow wound up with two losses! An assistant coach takes over for the Fiesta Bowl, and the Mountaineers were the most exiting team during the bowl season. Boy Richie, what a waste of talent!

FYI: This is $1400 worth of ink!

NCAA Bowl Recap Part 1

Just got home Tuesday night. I was on the road for nearly two weeks. Factor in the ten days I spent in Nebraska for the Holidays and I have basically been traveling for the last month. One week off and then back at it again with College Hoops. I made the trip to my fourth career Rose Bowl (I believe I'm tied with Illinois for trips to the Rose). That means four New Year's in Pasadena. I never really like LA.

Maybe it was the time I got food poisoning, maybe because my call time every New Year's Day has been 3am, or maybe it's the fact that LA is the Left Coast and is 3 hours behind everything so you never really know what time it is. You get home from work at lets say 6pm,

all the East Coast (we all know that's what really matters) sporting events have concluded. LA does have sunny skies, (the 15 minutes out of the day when the smog is somewhat clear) sandy beaches and has a reputation for being home to some of the hottest woman on the planet.
But let's face it, to ever have a realistic chance to score and have a good time, you have to be ballin (by ballin, I mean being worth over $1 million and have some face time in the news). Also, to attempt to go out and have a good time, you're gonna spend half your night driving.

With that being said, I was very happy to leave LA. The Rose Bowl was a preview to the much mistaken match ups put on by all the BCS Bowl games. USC maybe solidified it's preseason no. 1 ranking for next year. Illinois fans traveled in large numbers, but, to no ones surprise,

the Illini were faced with a much too stronger opponent. One of my favorite traditions of college football, the USC Song Girls. WOW! Year in and year out, they never change. Also, that USC fight song has a way of sticking in your head.
From LA to LA, that's Louisiana, New Orleans. What a cool little city! Between Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, you can see how it's a great tourist town, if you're the type of tourist who likes to get totally hammered! I mean, talk about blatant drunken debauchery!

The place promotes alcoholism. If you're walking down Bourbon Street without a beer in hand, no worries, somehow one will show up soon enough. The street is about I'd say 8 blocks long, who really knows though. I mean it's nothing but bars and strip clubs (I think Larry Flynt has 3 different Hustler joints there.
Sunday night, BCS Eve, was complete anarchy. I don't know the numbers, but Bourbon St. was jammed packed with Scarlet and Grey, and Purple and Gold.

It's pretty hard to believe there's a place like this in America. The best scene? All the sorry Buckeye fans who were so obnoxious and rowdy before the game, exiting prematurely looking like they just got the crap beat out of them.