Thursday, May 22

The Top Ten BCS Champions... if the Championship was Awarded the Day Before the Game

In light of the amazing BCS 10-Year Anniversary Analysis going on at, we're dedicated to bringing you, dear readers, the same level of quality right here. This top ten list in fact is the work of two of our writers, myself and Chris. Enjoy what the media had to say about the #1 team in the country on championship eve.

The Top Ten BCS Champions... if the Championship was Awarded the Day Before the Game

1 - USC '05
Everyone knew it would be an epic game. Except for that one guy - I forget who to be honest. But he's just certain that there was no way USC could win. A college team will never be better than a pro team, not even the lowly Houston Texans. Nevermind that USC is actually going to face the University of Texas for the BCS championship, not a spinoff of the old Chicago All-Star Game. A matchup of the best team the NCAA has ever seen against the team who had just won the so-called Reggie Bush sweepstakes is far more interesting to ponder than the obvious eventual champions going 11-on-1 against the Heisman runner-up. Hey for that matter, how's USC match up against the 95 Cornhuskers?

2 - Miami '02
They were champions the year before. Should have been champions the year before that. Hey, it's the late 80s all over again! Miami's scoring points about on pace as last season, and the defense is every bit as... yeah like I said, they're scoring point about on pace as last season. Meanwhile look at Ohio State, winning games something like 6-3 or 7-6. What are they playing, tennis?

3 - Miami '01
You can't stop them, you can't score on them. Most drives you can't even get a first down. They were pissed off about last year, and your ass is going to pay for it.

4 - USC '04
They were clearly the best team the year before, and it's clear that they are the second-most talented team in the NCAA this season but with God's other son as head coach. How else do you explain all of the second-half comebacks?

5 - Ohio State '06
The Buckeyes have an unstoppable offense led by dual-threat Troy Smith, speedsters Ted Ginn and Santonio Holmes, and a deadly backfield featuring Antonio Pittman. The defense has no weakness whatsoever, especially not stopping a pathetic short spread passing game.

6 - FSU '99
Blitz on every play. There's no room to run and there's no time to pass. Like the crane kick... if do right, no can offense!

7 - USC '03
There is no way USC would lose to LSU or Oklahoma. No way that a team who had already lost a game to a mediocre team could possibly lose to a top 3 team.

8 - Oklahoma '00
To be honest, with how close their last few games have been, ol Bobby Bowden's squad'll probably pull the upset. But, I guess they are unbeaten...

9 - Tennessee '98
Stoerner really shouldn't have fumbled that ball. If their opponent wasn't down to their second-string QB, they'd get killed. Still, that bounce did go their way...

10 - Ohio State '07
The Bucks scraped by by virtue of playing in the sorriest conference and scheduling a bunch of nonconference teams who'd go .500 in high school play. They don't deserve the top spot and are going to get killed by the SEC champion or USC, whomever they end up facing. Let's vote em #1, regardless.

It's Like a Time Portal to January 2008

If you read either this blog or ESPN's website - and, if you're reading this post, chances are that you do - then you know ESPN has finally gotten around to doing what I did in January. This of course lead to a fantastically hilarious phone conversation with my co-blogger, Chris.

ESPN's "BCS at 10" ranks The 10 BCS Champions
1. 2001 Miami
2. 2004 USC
3. 1999 Florida State
4. 2005 Texas
5. 2000 Oklahoma
6. 1998 Tennessee
7. 2003 LSU
8. 2006 Florida
9. 2002 Ohio State
10. 2007 LSU

I disagree with most of these by 1 or 2 spots, which for something so subjective really doesn't mean a whole lot... although no writer should be allowed to disagree with #1 or #10... and that's also not the point of this. They rank the Top Ten BCS Bowl games, eight of which earned spots in my top 9. (I'm not sure how the 2006 Orange Bowl or the 2004 Sugar Bowl qualify as classic games... my guess is that they needed two more to make ten, and for whatever reason don't have the same view of the meaningfulness of the 2000 Fiesta Bowl. Then again, I'd take the 2008 BCS Championship game over those as well.)

The Top Ten Performances was interesting. I'll just say, props to them for remembering Rohan Davey (I didn't), but be ashamed of yourselves for mentioning anything from the 2001 Orange Bowl as outstanding. That they ranked the top ten coaches is just hilarious. All that really needs to be said about that is the fact that the #1 guy on their list was outcoached by Mack Brown in the biggest game of the BCS era probably means such a list shouldn't exist. And how the hell is Stoops #3 with his current 4 game BCS losing streak? In fairness, it is the 10 most defining coaches, not the 10 best... and watching a Bob Stoops team choke in January has become definitive of the BCS. Around #7 or 8, you also realize that there aren't actually 10 coaches who have defined the BCS, so if they are going to violate rule #1 by making the list in the first place, it definitely should have been kept to a Top 5. It's like making a list of the Top 5 teams in the NBA West versus making a list of the Top 10 teams in the NBA West. You don't want the Portland Trailblazers making your list on account of being in the conference and winning exactly half of their games.

Then there's the top 10 calls of the BCS. Not surprisingly, two of the top 3 are by Boise State. Somewhere in the top 10, though, has to be Vince Young's never-publicized decision to ignore every call Mack Brown made in the 2006 Rose Bowl, instead audibling to himself. Good call, Vince.

The Top Ten BCS Snubs was interesting. Interesting because, some of them I agree with the decision (04 Texas over Cal), others I think have weak arguments against (01 Nebraska wasn't conference champion? By the way the Pac 10 awards titles, Texas Nebraska and Colorado all would have shared the Big 12... or conversely, under the Big 12 system, Stanford might have upset Oregon for the "Pac 10 Championship." The argument that gets skipped over - the argument that's actually good - is that Oregon was ranked #2, which of course is better than #4.), and most of them are judged in hindsight (if 04 USC destroys Auburn, we're sitting here arguing that Oklahoma clearly belonged in that title game, unknowningly dreaming of a game that in reality ended in a 55-19 massacre). It's when you get down to #6 (06 Florida over Michigan's rematch bid) that you realize they're not necessarily saying the decisions were wrong. That's a good point - it's very possible that the system itself simply guarantees that somebody will be unfairly screwed even if everyone else is equally deserving.

Let's take a look at these:

1. 2003 USC: left out of the championship in favor of LSU and Oklahoma.
My stance until recently was that only LSU and OU possessed the things needed to win a title: a top ten scoring defense and a junior or senior starting quarterback. Those teams had both, USC had neither. What's missing, though, is that a top ten statistical defense isn't a top ten defense. (like how LSU's defense was probably in the 7-10 range last season, but thanks to overtime games they were #14 or something - I forget the exact number) The Sooner defense without DC Mike Stoops just didn't have the same swagger that it possessed beforehand. So yeah, it should have been LSU vs USC. And LSU would have won.
Wrongness of decision: 5 - each team had the same record, USC had the weakest schedule.
Screwedness of the team: 9 - they were ranked #1, after all, so clearly in the eyes of the voters they'd done more than enough to prove themselves.

2. 2004 Auburn: left out of the championship in favor of USC and Oklahoma.
Well I think if you go unbeaten in the SEC they should just pencil your name into the BCS title game - at least with the current strength of that conference. But without the benefit of hindsight, which of the other two do you leave out? This season is the slam-dunk argument for a playoff - you CANNOT fairly deny an unbeaten BCS conference champion the opportunity to play for the national title. Again it doesn't matter in this specific case - USC beats Auburn it's just a closer game.
Wrongness of decision: 6 - Again, the teams had identical records. Auburn did play in the toughest conference, though they also faced the weakest nonconference schedule. (which was partially not their fault, but still two of those games were by choice and that's what happens when you bank your nonconference schedule on one game)
Screwedness of the team: 10 - it doesn't get much worse than winning all of your games and being left out.

3. 2001 Oregon: left out of the championship in favor of Nebraska.
Oregon won a lot of close games while Nebraska won big. Nebraska also lost big while Oregon lost a close one. Somewhere in the mix, Colorado had an argument that started with "Ignoring the fact that we lost more games than those other teams..." and ended with nobody listening. In the end, it's more a question of which team would have lost to Miami by the fewest points anyway.
Wrongness of decision: 6 - I'd almost rather watch Nebraska vs Oregon in the Fiesta and let Miami beat on Colorado. (better yet, have that be round 1 of the Plus One) I don't like the conference champions argument as a) the conferences don't decide champions the same way and b) the Big 12's way is retarded, but there's a legitimate argument that Nebraska lost their last game while Oregon's loss was in mid October. On the other hand, at the time of the BCS selections, nobody on Oregon's schedule had won more than 9 games, and their nonconference schedule was Utah, Utah State, and a Wisconsin team who finished 5-7. Nebraska defeated a Sooners team with 10 wins and lost to a Colorado team with 10 wins, though their nonconference schedule pathetic. For what it's worth, this would have looked like the wrong call either way.
Screwedness of the team: 5 - They had a loss and were ranked #2 by the voters with a weak SOS. It's really not that tragic compared to the first two.

4. 2000 Miami: left out of the championship in favor of Florida State.
Five teams finished this season with just one loss, and all but Oregon State had a schedule in the top 15. There were also four head-to-head games played in the group: Washington beating Miami and Oregon State, Miami beating Florida State and Virginia Tech. Washington's lone loss came on the road to Oregon, who finished the regular season 9-2. Apparently, back when SOS was a part of the formula, good teams tried to schedule each other. Interesting, that. In my opinion, Miami and Washington were #1 and #2.
Wrongness of decision: 9 - Are you kidding me? Miami beat Florida State and was ranked higher. They also hadn't lost since the second week of the season. Washington would have been a stronger choice than FSU, honestly. (Washington may have had the strongest argument.)
Screwedness of the team: 8 - Miami lost a nonconference game on the opposite side of the country by 5 points in the second week of the season. They beat the team who was chosen over them and they were on a 9-game winning streak. The schedule included three teams with double-digit wins two of whom's only loss was to the U. All but 3 teams on their schedule had winning records, and their combined November score was 154-34, all against winning opposition.

5. 2004 Cal: left out of the BCS in favor of Texas
The Cal Golden Bears won their first three games by a 49-12 average to set up a showdown with defending AP champion USC. The game did not disappoint, as Cal drove the field in the final minute but saw a potential winning TD slip through the hands of one of their best WRs. They rebounded by stomping UCLA, beating the state of Arizona by a combined 65-0, and really only being challenged in two games - Oregon and Southern Miss. Unfortunately, USM was their last game and their statement game, and apparently the win alone wasn't enough of a statement. Texas won their final game convincingly enough against A&M, although people apparently forgot the 4th down heroics needed to slip by a weak Kansas team the week before. The image of 50-point outbursts by an offense lead by Vince Young, and some late season campaigning by Mack Brown, provided Texas with a slim edge in the final tally. Perhaps more tragically, an 8-3 Pittsburgh squad boasting of two losses to .500 and below teams was given an automatic berth over Cal, Texas, and Utah.
Wrongness of decision: 4 - They made arguably the right choice for the wrong reasons (politics). Well, the voters actually chose Cal, but not by enough to offset the computers all choosing Texas with Utah between the two.
Screwedness of the team: 9 - When is losing to the eventual BCS champion in a close game enough to disqualify you from an at-large? Clearly, in a freak year when a midmajor runs the table while playing a decent schedule and another BCS team loses only one game to an unbeaten. Forget the decision - most seasons, a team of this caliber wouldn't even have to teeter on the edge of selection. I'd feel a little sorry for whichever of these three teams was left out.

6. 2006 Michigan: left out of the championship in favor of Florida
On November 18, 2006, Ohio State and Michigan faced off in the greatest college football game ever played. It was so breathtakingly perfect, many Big Ten fans wanted to see it again 50 days later. Ultimately, CBS and the BCS denied America this opportunity.
Wrongness of decision: 1 - A rematch for consecutive games against Ohio State would have been ridiculous and unfair not only to the Gators who hadn't lost since October, but also to the Buckeyes who would have faced the prospect of having their victory over the Wolverines practically reduced to the status of a scrimmage. The only reason this isn't a 0 is because some voters changed their minds specifically to avoid the rematch despite thinking that Michigan was the legitimate #2 team, which isn't really in the spirit of the polls system.
Screwedness of the team: 0 - They wanted to play Ohio State for the title. They did play Ohio State for the title berth. Gotta win with the chance you get.

7. 2007 Georgia/USC/Oklahoma/etc: left out of the championship in favor of LSU
Of the roughly nine teams with arguments that they should face Ohio State in the BCS title game, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia all lost in November. Hawaii's schedule was outside the top 100 (again, not joking about that) and Kansas's sucked too. LSU had annihilated Virginia Tech. That leaves Georgia, USC, and LSU. Eh, you call it. Probably any one of them would have beaten Ohio State, and I'd say that LSU beats USC who beats Georgia who beats LSU, all based on style of play and positional matchups.
Wrongness of decision: 3 - This season was really just baffling. I'm not sure if there was a right decision to be made here, but LSU seemed like the best choice of a bunch of questionable possibilities. And hey, they won the game.
Screwedness of the team: 0 - Come on, you all lost two games get over it. Well, except Kansas and Hawaii, but look at who they scheduled. For shame.

8. 2007 Missouri: left out of the BCS in favor of Kansas
The word nemesis exists for examples like this one. Missouri beat a number of quality teams but their lone regular season blemish was losing a 10-point decision to Oklahoma on the road. Joy of joys when they had to face that same team who had their number for the conference title. OU won again to deny Missouri the conference crown. Ultimately, the voters recognized that while Missouri had two losses, they had only lost to one team. This point was lost on the Orange Bowl selection committee.
Wrongness of decision: 10 - When all was said and done, five teams ranked below Missouri went to the BCS. Missouri had actually beaten two of those teams, and one also finished with a worse record (Illinois). Really, it's the Illinois decision that was most baffling. Did USC's pummeling of a helpless opponent really add to the legacy of the Pac 10-Big Ten rivalry? For shame, Rose Bowl committee.
Screwedness of the team: 8 - Missouri did have not one but two chances to beat Oklahoma. Bad selection decisions aside, if they were truly an elite team they would have at least split the Sooner series. Also, they probably should have beaten Kansas by 20+ points - great teams don't stop playing with 10 minutes to go unless it's truly out of reach.

9. 1998 Kansas State: left out of the BCS in favor of Ohio State and Florida
For most of the season, Kansas State was on the outside track of the national championship hunt. They cruised to an 11-0 record, outscoring opponents by an average of 49-11 although facing a schedule that ranked in the middle of the NCAA's top division. In the Big 12 Championship, KSU lost a close battle to then 11-2 Texas A&M, 36-33. This was their lone blemish.
Wrongness of decision: 9 - There is no reason other than "we don't want a team from a small state" and that's just sad. Did anybody watch these guys? That offense put up a lot of points, even if they do play in the less-famous Manhattan.
Screwedness of the team: 10 - KSU is the highest-ranked team ever left out of the BCS at #3. You'd typically think that the highest-ranked team not in the title game would at least play in some other BCS bowl.

As a bonus, Kansas State finished the following season 10-1 with a loss to 11-1 conference champion Nebraska. Maybe to prove a point, they followed up that loss with a 66-0 win over Missouri to finish the season. They were ranked #6 in the BCS standings, but the at large bids went to #5 Tennessee and #8 Michigan - both of whom had two losses. That's cold.

10. 1998 Tulane
1999 Marshall
2004 Boise State
2004 Utah
2006 Boise State
2007 Hawaii

Of these, 04 Utah and 06 Boise were the only teams who faced a decent enough schedule to warrant inclusion in the BCS. Indeed, 07 Hawaii was a sham as 20 teams could have gone 12-0 against those opponents. But for Utah or Boise to have been included in the championship game while only facing a handful of decent teams (to say nothing of good teams) all season would have also been ridiculous.
Although, 04 Boise deserved it more than 04 Pitt, for sure ;-)

Be sure to keep checking for more hilarity and this site for more write-ups about the hilarity.

The Big East Gets No Respect

From here:

West Virginia's upset might have been the defining moment for the new Big East. It gave the seven-team league instant credibility --arguably its biggest victory of all.

The Big East standings at the end of last year:
Big East Conf All
West Virginia (6) 5-2 11-2
Connecticut 5-2 9-4
Cincinnati (17) 4-3 10-3
South Florida 4-3 9-4
Louisville 3-4 6-6
Rutgers 3-4 8-5
Pittsburgh 3-4 5-7
Syracuse 1-6 2-10

I mean, Syracuse has sucked pretty hard, but last I checked they were still in the Big East.

EDIT: Apparently the Big East had 7 teams in 2004; however, that line was from the 2005 season, so ....still no credit.

Wednesday, May 21

Watch Me Steal This Schtick!

Does it count as theft if you're stealing from your own blog? I'm not sure, but considering James is the resident expert on all things BCS, I feel like I should be asking the whatever from high atop the thing for permission to ...well, make fun of ESPN. Maybe I should ask these guys instead.

It's not that I have a problem with the ESPN college football crew writing a ton about the BCS, or attempting to rank the BCS champions, or find the most dignified coaches of the BCS, or rehash the BCS v. playoff debate; if they want to do all of that, we can do that too - and we don't have word count limits. And it's not even us vs. them; that's not even anything I care about or want to care about. I find their stuff entertaining mostly, informative some of the time, and insightful rarely. I don't think there's anything wrong with that viewpoint.

- Honestly, it blows my mind that James can write 15,000 words on the BCS. Really, it does. It's not just you guys, we don't get it either. I'm not even sure he does.

However, I really have issue with their examples. Pat Forde's right; trusting the BCS bowls to select the most deserving team is a fool's proposition... but 2007 Kansas? Really? That's the bad selection you want to hang your hat on - the team that beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl? That only works if you write the article in December 2007, back when we all thought that selection was ridiculous.

If you're going to go with a terrible selection, what about that 2006 Notre Dame team that got completely demolished by a better, faster LSU team? Or the 2000 (?) Notre Dame team that got into the BCS due specifically to the Notre Dame rule only to get completely wrecked by Oregon f-ing State? Or, if you don't want to risk the wrath of Beano Cook (hint: you can probably run away from him, I don't think the guy can move that fast now; the same goes for Lou Holtz), 2007 Illinois was a pretty crappy selection. Bonus points: people still remember that selection.

- I really don't get why the ACC doesn't take more crap for fielding some bad football teams. I could go into a ton of detail over this (really, it's probably a separate post), but I'll keep it short: due to where I live, I get the Raycom Game of the Week - you could also call it the 4th-Tier ACC Game Taking Place at Noon on Saturday. Since I'm sure everyone else would immediately change the channel as soon as they realized they were going to be subjected to 3.5 hours of NC State playing Wake Forest, I'll describe what everyone missed: torture. I think the 1970's-era Big Ten migrated to Tobacco Road. My theory for now is everyone's still assuming Florida State and Miami are good.

- God bless Jefferson Pilot turned Raycom Sports. I don't even know how or why these guys put football and basketball games on, but if you get a chance to watch a broadcast, it's worth it. I'd describe it as "public access meets Fox Sports", but it's way more interesting than that. I grew up watching Jefferson Pilot Sports (I've been subjected to enough Vanderbilt football to kill most mortals), so I can't speak too much ill of it, but the broadcast quality is terrible. At least they're earnest.

Also, I don't really get why ESPN felt a need to not only do Top 10 BCS champions, but Top 10 BCS coaches. I guess it's a slow day? Either way, while I'm on the coaches, I don't get putting Bobby Bowden (responsible for the abomination known as the 2001 Orange Bowl) in over, say, Les Miles (who's won a title and wrecked Notre Dame, which has to count for something). If you want to leave Bowden in, fine; what about Mark Richt? Surely he's not *that* well-acclaimed for wrecking Hawai(')i and being partially responsible for the 2001 Orange Bowl, is he? I don't know.

I don't have that much issue with how they ranked the championship teams, although I'm a little surprised they didn't put the '02 Hurricanes, the '06 Buckeyes, and the '05 Trojans in there as well. Actually, that'd be a fun article - the Top 10 BCS Champions As Polled The Day Before The Game.

Tuesday, May 20

The Stanley What?

It's kind of funny how I follow sports. When I was young (quick, look away before I get dated), the first two sports I started to follow were baseball and hockey. At the time, I still lived in mid-state New York, so I didn't have much of a chance to really pick my teams. I still remember the run the Mets had in June 1990 which got me into baseball for the first time; of course, it ended up going nowhere (and yes, I was one of those people who buys the VHS of how a baseball team's season turned out .... I didn't know any better) and I ended up abandoning them for the Expos in 1994 - because hey, someone's got to root for the team whose season got completely blown up.

- This isn't what I meant this post to be about at all, but that's one of those things you do when you're young and naive, right? I never really got attached to the Mets; they were my dad's team, but when a whole litany of guys who I never met and didn't know anything about and didn't even see until 1996 lose their shot at wrecking the Braves' streak of division titles, where do I sign? In retrospect, I'm a Nationals fan because the Braves suck, and Skip Caray was only annoying to me. (You really had to be there to appreciate the Braves' announcers sense of inevitability; it was maddening, because they were right. Since TBS showed approximately 190 games a year, it wasn't like we could get away from them, either.) Once I got a bit older, either I started appreciating dry humor or they just started getting lit in the booth, I don't know, but by that point it was pretty much sealed that I was rooting for the Expos. In retrospect, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Of course, I started following hockey because my favorite animal was (and is) the penguin. Holy cow, there's a team whose mascot is my favorite animal! Where do I sign?! It didn't hurt that this was the time when the Penguins were last hoisting the Cup; do I remember that? Not really, but I can always kind of fake it. Of course, I was around for the '91 and '92 Cup wins and then I bailed - not by choice.

- Moving to the South kind of changes your perspective; I dropped hockey and picked up football. I never really got into the NFL, but I think it goes without saying here that I picked up the college game just a bit.

I'm not a bandwagon fan, honestly. I would follow the Penguins in the paper when I could, and when I thought about it. You can sustain on a sports schedule that goes like this: MLB, college football, college basketball, repeat. I had pretty much everything I needed there, so sure, I'd kind of follow the Penguins, I'd watch the games when they were on (yes, glow puck was a terrible, terrible idea), but that would be about it. I didn't really get involved in the game much beyond that point; how could I? I was way too far away to go to any games, interact with any fans - what else was I going to do?

Of course, now that I've moved back to an area where they actually notice hockey (and I've met people who care about the sport), things have changed. I bought Center Ice Online this year, which was a pretty decent deal. Most nights there were games on that I could watch, and I remember enough about sports to know that you don't change allegiances without a damn good reason; laziness doesn't cut it. So I got back into watching the Penguins.

- This, of course, ignores a couple of key points: 1) I'm sure alt.rec.sports.Penguins.Penguins_Rock.Tom_Barasso_is_my_daddy was a hopping place at the time, but I didn't know about it and would probably have been killed had I found it, and 2) I was in the exact same situation with the Expos and kept on following them. Not to mention I had a great opportunity to dump the Expos when all of the systematic gutting of talent, systematic gutting of revenue, owner bailout, systematic gutting of the fans, moving-but-not-moving, eventual relocation, stadium issues, and other general stupidity was going on, but I didn't. I'm not bitter about that at all.

For me, this Penguins team was more than the sum of its parts, and it didn't quite feel like it would be their year. Marc-Andre Fleury scared the piss out of me early in the season; there were a few weeks where I was more confident in Dany Sabourin than I was Big Rebound Fleury. (Thank god he's fixed that since he came back, otherwise I would've probably blown a few blood vessels by now.... in my brain.) Ty Conklin somehow survived for a month on smoke and mirrors. Crosby still isn't close to the player he's going to be, but it's awesome trying to figure out what he sees, what he's intending, even if it doesn't work. I think Malkin is the best all-around player on the team right now, but it's damn close (Crosby just needs a little bit more of a scoring touch, which is really nitpicking, not that I care).

The staggering thing about this season is how much fun it's been; I've thankfully missed a lot of the stinkers (that 8-2 loss against Philly felt a hell of a lot better at about 5 PM Sunday, I'll be honest), but I've seen more than a few "where the hell did they come from?" goals, and I say this with missing the Winter Classic - although I did watch it on replay.

- If Gary Bettman was competent I could easily be talked into believing that he wanted the game to end with Crosby putting in a shootout goal to win the game. Thankfully, he's a moron.

I would've been happy with a Stanley Cup Quarterfinal appearance up until about the end of February. This was probably my "wtf?" moment of the season; I was in the suburbs of Kansas City for work training, and I really didn't get cell phone reception down there, but I could get online during downtime. I was following the trade deadline deals, seeing that we would go down to the deadline with a fair amount of deals but the big prize (Marian Hossa) not going anywhere. I dropped out of and a couple of other sites around the deadline, mainly because we were picking back up with the training. About 45 minutes later (without getting online), I take a short walk around the office and check my phone; turns out I have a text message from my Carolina Hurricanes fan friend ( get the idea): "YOU got Hossa."

I really didn't think the Penguins were going to make any moves at the deadline; after all, most of the team was young - especially the real talents - so why go after someone who's only going to help for one season? I was talking to some of my hockey friends later on that night, and I basically said it was Eastern Conference or bust. Right now, I'm happy. Given how things could've turned out, getting a chance to play for the Stanley Cup with so many core players so far away from reaching their likely peak is kind of cool.

- It's always weird when you're fans of guys younger than you. I'm starting to see it in college football, but in hockey it's damn near bizarre. What am I doing with my life?

Would I like to see the Cup raised in Pittsburgh again? Better believe it, if only because of the parallels between when I was young and where the team is now, plus if Mario takes the Cup for a run down the ice ....well, that's kind of cool. Still, I'm not going to be too disappointed if it doesn't happen; it's not like team's going anywhere.

Don't Look (me up) Now...

As a preface, I've heard the chorus to that song probably 50-100 times the last two weekends alone. Rise Against's "Prayer of the Refugee" that is. When you follow so-called "e-sports" stuff like that tends to happen. So excuse the weird title, halfway expect some sort of followup on that comment in the next two weeks, and let's get rolling.

Doooooooooown.... ok, now it's out of my system.

Anyway let's take a look at the sports landscape as it stands today. In the NHL, the Stanley Cup Finals will feature one of the ultimate good vs evil stories with Pittsburgh facing off against Detroit. The NBA features absolutely no surprises with Detroit vs Boston in the East and San Antonio vs Los Angeles in the West. Officially, the NBA has been dead to me for a few years now... indeed, while I've followed the series online, I've probably watched parts of 5 games total this season. Manchester United won the premiership. That's something I actually care about (yes, really).

If boring as hell to watch on TV until August, the MLB at least provides something I could care to blog about. But alas, May baseball to me is the end of spring training. I mean, it's fun to go to the games but when you look at two of the last three NL champions, you realize that the season starts in mid/late July.

So that leaves us with the king of sports, college football. Spring practices are providing us with a small amount of information... let's see what's the hype in the Big 12.

Last season was the best instance of divisional parity the Big 12 has seen since Colorado upset Texas in a rematch in 2001, while conference-best Nebraska was left out due to tiebreakers. (That's not just my opinion; it's fact.) Anyway since 2000 we've had Oklahoma win the conference championship game five times and lost it once. The other two seasons, Texas won one and lost one. Again, in my opinion, the South team was better every time - so it makes sense that they won six of eight with one loss coming down to the final seconds. Some of the victories have come by scores of 70-3 and 42-3; even last season against a very good Missouri team, Oklahoma dominated 38-17. Nonetheless, it was a North team, Kansas, who won their BCS bowl and finished with the best record when all was said and done, and Missouri went on to an impressive 38-7 victory in the Cotton Bowl, setting the bowl's rushing record in the process. I wouldn't call the North better; Oklahoma was pretty clearly able to beat Missouri consistently, Texas did have yet another 10-win season, and Texas Tech did go on to yet another crazy bowl comeback and a strong finish for the divisional #3. But the North was no longer the redheaded stepchild to a superior South. There was parity, and parity's a good thing. It's party with i in the middle.

This season, the theme in the Big 12 is more of the same. The teams who were good last year will be good this year... those who weren't, won't be. The biggest changes in record will be more due to strength of schedule than anything else. (Here's looking at you, Kansas.)

Colorado is heading for a winning season.
Verdict: False

The Buffs really have not found suitable replacements for star CB Terrence Wheatley nor leading rusher Hugh Charles. The aerial attack should be improved with a better offensive line, basically the same receiver corps, and another year under everybody's belt. However, in the pass-heavy Big 12, the Buffs attack is still rather average and they're going to be weaker on the ground and more suspect in coverage than the top half of the conference. Talent-wise, there's no reason the team couldn't win 7 or 8 games, except that West Virginia and Florida State are two nonconference foes and the conference slate includes a visit from Texas and trips to both Kansas and Missouri (and A&M, for whatever that's worth). Avoiding Oklahoma and Texas Tech is nice, but realistically the Buffs would be lucky to go 1-4 in the aforementioned games, and they're still not the type of team who can just expect to win the rest of their games.

Iowa State won't finish last in the North division.
Verdict: False

The Cyclones lost Bret Meyer and Todd Blythe. They already finished 3-9 last season and it'll probably be about that kind of year again as they have to replace the bulk of their offensive production with those two losses alone.

Kansas is a legitimate two-sport school.
Verdict: True, but...

Look, I love what Kansas did. As a Big 12 fan, Oklahoma continues to embarass the conference in the BCS and the Jayhawks basically stepped up in a big and completely unexpected way to save face for the other 11 teams last season. (credit Texas and Missouri with big bowl wins too) But let's look at the situation for 2008: Kansas loses arguably the best corner in the NCAA, a 1000-yard receiver, a 1000-yard rusher, and both tackles on the o-line. One of the softest schedules in the NCAA has been beefed up to include a visit to South Florida and divisional games against Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech. As always, Missouri is on the schedule. I can see anything from 3-2 to 1-4 in those games - meaning, Kansas is looking at 8 or 9 wins in the regular season, realistically. It's not bad by any means, but don't expect them to be playing in January. Sorry, guys.

Kansas State will go three straight seasons without losing to Texas.
Verdict: True

Texas isn't on their schedule. *groan* okay that was a bad hype line. But how do you hype K-State, honestly? They lose a 1000-yard rusher and their top receiver, Jordy Nelson. The key games will be Louisville and Texas Tech in the first half of the season - particularly the Louisville game will be one where the Wildcats are underdogs but might be able to pull it off. There's a 15-day stretch when the Cats face Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri and you can expect that to be ugly.

Missouri is a legitimate national title contender.
Verdict: True!

I'm not gonna lie, I'm excited about the 2008 season for Missouri. Chase Daniel is back and with him return Jeremy Maclin, Chase Coffman, Danario Alexander, and Tommy Saunders. It's not the ridiculous volume of talent they have at WR and TE last season, but it's still more that sufficient given Daniel's mechanics, Coffman's size, and Maclin's speed. The questions on the offensive side of the ball will be at line (3 lost starters) and running back. Of the latter, I like Jimmy Jackson to be able to step in and give some punch, and De'Vion Moore had a great spring practice. On defense, 10 starters return from a unit that found itself in the second half of the season.

What about the schedule? Missouri opens against an Illinois team who may be searching for an offensive identity without star RB Rashard Mendenhall. The rest of the nonconference schedule isn't worth looking at, and the conference schedule is notably without Oklahoma and Texas Tech. There are road trips to Texas and a hosting of Kansas to consider, as well as a possible conference championship game matchup with Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech.

Missouri can go to the BCS Championship game with a 12-1 record as long as they don't lose after the Texas game. With the increased importance of the voter polls (compared to the last time the voters' #1 and #2 didn't go to the championship), it will be hard for a program like Missouri to be ranked in the top two if they lose a late game. The Tigers still do not have the respect as a program that LSU, Florida, USC, Ohio State, and the like have built over the seasons.

Nebraska win't allow 70 points in a game in 2008.
Verdict: True

I'm tempted to say "maybe" but surely Texas Tech won't run up the score that much, will they? The bottom line is that despite bringing in a great DC, the Huskers also lost five starters on each side of the ball. For an already suspect defense to lose Ruud and McKeon at LB and Grixby as their top corner, Pelini will be looking at a modest defensive improvemnt being offset by a modest offensive decline. Sure, Ganz has shown that he can replace Keller, but I'm worried about what the losses of Maurice Purify and Terrence Nunn means for the receiving corps. This team is looking at 5 or 6 wins again, but give Bo time.

Baylor will win a conference game in 2008.
Verdict: Maybe

But looking at their nonconference schedule, Baylor's also in for a 10-loss season.

Oklahoma will follow up their regular season with a BCS bowl victory.
Verdict: Depends

Despite not really being a Sooners fan, it just kills me to see this team kick the crap out of their regular season opposition only to choke away BCS bowl after BCS bowl. Texas and Missouri stomped their bowl opponents last season - it's not like OU is going through these seasons untested; they've been legitimate choke artists.

Offensively, OU is in the strong position of having an outstanding QB, outstanding offensive line, and a solid RB corps despite the loss of Allen Patrick. They will need to replace Malcolm Kelly at WR but do have a decent corps with a standout tight end, Jermaine Gresham. Defensively, however, they suffer four huge losses (Curtis Lofton at LB and Reggie Smith, Marcus Walker, and DJ Wolfe in the secondary) and return just five starters in total. Nonetheless, OU is certainly the favorite to win the Big 12 South and I'd give them better odds than anyone else of winning the conference crown, given their 2-0 record against Missouri last season with both teams expecting little change in their overall quality. OU won't be the best team in the country with the holes they'll have in the secondary, but if they face a team without a great passing game (Va Tech, Georgia?) in a BCS bowl they could have a matchup advantage.

Oklahoma State is bowl-bound in 2008.
Verdict: False

Despite the influx of juco's to shore up their defense, Oklahoma State is reeling from the losses of Dantrell Savage and Adarius Bowman. Competency does not replace excellence, and these were the Cowboys' positions of excellence in 2007. Games against Washington State, Texas A&M, and Colorado could be the difference between 5 wins or 8 wins; I'd bet on 6.

Texas will win the Big 12.
Verdict: False

The Longhorns simply lost too much talent on both sides of the ball to outplay Oklahoma in a 12 game season. Offensively, they must replace a 1,600 yard rusher in Jamaal Charles, along with their best receiver (Limas Sweed), one of the best TEs in the country (Jermichael Finley), and their leading receiver (Nate Jones). Throw Billy Pittman's name in with that, and you've got some real holes to fill at the skill positions. The players stepping up into these positions are all good, but all a slight downgrade. The offensive line loses just two players but both were excellent. Looking at the size of the 08 line, though... good god. Try an average of 6'5" 310 - a senior, three juniors, and a sophomore. Bottom line: with improved play from McCoy, this offense can be better than it was last year, but if McCoy plays like he did last season then there will be trouble.

Defensively, Texas returns just four starters. They have a new DC, and the secondary they lost wasn't that good anyway. I'm not that concerned about the front seven, because those are very strong recruiting areas for Texas who always seems to be able to replace DL's and LB's. Indeed, new starters like Roy Miller, Sergio Kindle, and Roddrick Muckelroy have extensive experience, and the linebackers in particular read like a who's who of we would have started at just about anywhere else last season. Henry Melton successfully transitioned from bruising RB to a speedy DE, and should restore some of the once-fearsome pass rush. From what I've been reading, Texas's DL and LBs are being underrated by 10-20% in most previews. However, the secondary is truly frightening - for Longhorns fans. Ryan Palmer is the only returning starter and he wasn't all that last season. This group seems a little small which could be a real issue when they face a team like Missouri. Texas' defense will probably rely heavily on Muschamp's coverage schemes and blitzes to take the heat off of their back four.

With Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Kansas all on the schedule, Texas will face four top 25 opponents from their conference alone, which is somewhat reminiscent of the SEC. What's really at stake here is Texas' seven season streak of 10+ wins. If the Horns go 2-2 in that stretch (I'm assuming this eliminates them from winning the South), then they cannot lose more than one other game counting their bowl and still reach 10 victories. Despite a notable dropoff around the 6/7 spot, the Big 12 has a crazy top 5 right now and that will make this the toughest season in that stretch should Texas keep it up.

Texas A&M is a better place without Dennis Francione.
Verdict: Undeniably True

I've never been a big Aggies fan, but honestly, how do you replace a class act like RC Slocum with Dennis Francione? Is all that rambling about tradition and what it means to be an Aggie a bunch of bull? Well, perhaps it's not after all. A&M finally said enough is enough, asking Francione to resign in the heat of a newsletter controversy and of course disappointing bowl losses. Mike Sherman will be brought in formerly from the Green Bay Packers, another organization steeped in tradition and all that stuff that makes an Aggie feel all warm inside. It's a good fit and I'm happy for the players, the fans, and the university.

On to the football team. Stephen McGee, Jorvorskie Lane, and Mike Goodson all return on offense, and so we would expect the unit to be it's inconsistent yet explosive self despite six new faces in total. Sherman has stated an intention to get Goodson more of a featured role in the offense, which has to be a good thing for this unit's production. Joe Kines promises to bring a more aggressive approach to defense, reminiscent of how the Aggies used to play in the 90s, but don't expect instant change overnight. This is not a program that has had outstanding recruiting the past few seasons; they will simply get more out of what they have than they have been recently.

The Aggies are probably in for five losses this season, but they're definitely back on the right track.

Texas Tech will win the Big 12 South.
Verdict: False

If it was going to happen any year, it would be this year. The Harrell to Crabtree combo will continue to be devastating in 2008, and 10 starters return on offense. They did lose a receiver - like those don't grow on trees in Lubbock. Defensively, TT returns eight and their two losses in the secondary are replaced with a pair of seniors - Marcus Bunton at CB and Anthony Hines at SS. Really, their biggest loss might be Alex Trileca at kicker who of course is the man who sent the Insight Bowl to overtime with a career-long kick two years ago in one of the greatest bowl comebacks ever. Overall we're looking at a sick offense and an above-average defense.

The schedule avoids Missouri but does take trips to Oklahoma and Kansas. Texas is a home game and the nonconference schedule is the utter joke you'd expect from Texas Tech. (Eastern Washington, SMU, and Massachussetts - nice) With that in mind, there probably is a 30-40% chance that they'll win the division. Make no mistake, though, the Red Raiders would be huge underdogs against Missouri who can go toe to toe with them in an aerial battle while also running the ball and playing defense.

So why won't they win the South? Oklahoma has vastly superior offensive and defensive lines. Because of that, I like the Sooners in their head to head matchup, and it's unlikely OU will lose two conference games if they beat Texas Tech.

Monday, May 19


I can't be the first person to notice this. Heck, I'm not even sure this means anything, but it seems like some of the Fox affiliates have added LOB to the typical R/H/E display they'll show at the end of innings. It's not all of the Fox affiliates - heck, Fox itself doesn't show it, IIRC - but some of them have.

- Actually, I have no idea if Fox is showing it; I'm too scared I'll turn it on one day and hear Tim McCarver finally implode in a black hole of suck. I don't know what Joe Buck would do. Or what that would sound like.

Since baseball moves at a glacial pace with respect to ...well, everything, it's somewhat of a surprising change. Granted, it's surprising in the sense of "hey, they did that", not "hey, they did that and it's a good thing." LOB really doesn't mean a lot in the grand scheme of things; you don't really get a feel for how a team's performing over a week, month, year, decade, whatever by looking at their total LOB and going "well damn, they left a lot of guys on base." Every team does that, really; the only real benefit you get is seeing how many opportunities a team whiffed on in a game. That's not a bad thing given the context of the line score; after all, seeing LOB in a one-game sense should give you exactly that approach, which is a good thing. (Not to mention the line score tells you about that game; you never see a season R/H/E line score for a good reason.) However, to some degree you can extrapolate that from the R/H line. If a team's runs are way less than the hit total, they've sucked getting guys in, and if they're about equal, they've done well.

Really, you get two large things and a small thing from getting LOB.

Large Thing 1: you get a feel for how often a team has walked over the course of the game. This is a big deal for all the obvious reasons - walks are good, get a feel for pitch count (if you're into that soft of thing), etc. This also helps to eliminate some of the R/H noise; a high R/H ratio (lots of runs, relatively few hits) could either mean low LOB totals or plenty of walks making up for the baserunners.

Large Thing 2: you get a better feel for DPs. This is kind of the converse of Large Thing 1, and actually will drive you nuts if you try and figure both of them out in tandem. Realistically, you can probably assume 1-2 DPs a game and be okay 80-90% of the time. The other 10-20% of the time will kill you, though.

Small Thing 1: it'll pick up any CS. Whoop dee doo; there's normally 2 a game at max, and normally it's 0.

Really, there's a lot of noise in LOB if you're trying to figure out any kind of components from it, but it's a step in a direction networks really haven't been willing to go. What's even cooler than this is some networks are also showing OBP to go with BA - I'd argue they should be showing OBP instead of BA, but hi, I'm on the fringe, relatively speaking - but I haven't seen that often enough for it to really mean anything. If more networks start showing OBP, great; I'll probably write about that when it happens, too.

- As an aside, I've never understood why they keep track of LOB for individual players. I think it's defined as "any runner the hitter doesn't advance by a base", which ...really, that doesn't help us at all. You can't sum up everyone's individual LOB to get the team LOB - that's separate. Some guy hits a rocket at the third baseman with the bases loaded? He left three on base - unless it turned into a DP, in which case he left two, which: what? I'd be lying if that made any sense to me. Besides, unless it's the third out of the inning - and not to go all John Madden on you, but it doesn't happen that often; you can probably figure out the frequency - those runners are still on base. They're not stranded, someone else is coming up to bat!

So does this mean anything? Probably not, but it's at least some concession that the ways people normally keep track of games may not be the best. It'll probably be another decade at least before networks start showing some of the even mildly interesting stats - we might get OPS by then, but we're certainly not getting OPS+ - but every little bit helps. I'll take the minor victories.

Friday, May 16

Don't Look Now...

We're starting to see some information trickle out about college football's 2008 season. Sure, there's nothing big that's happened yet - well, Ryan Perriloux's gone, but you've probably heard about that by now. Ohio State is once again slated to be in the BCS Championship race (God help us all) and we aren't going to see any surprise national title contenders. None of the coaching changes really mean a lot for 2008, but because everyone's going to be talking about why these moves are so critical, here's why they're not (SEC version):

- Ryan Perriloux's dismissal and transfer to Jacksonville St. Honestly, it was probably the best thing for his pro prospects to move to 1-AA, since Joe Flacco will likely prove that *someone* will take a shot on a guy if it looks like he could be a pro. For LSU, it doesn't mean as much - sure, losing Perriloux means they'll lose the only QB with game experience, but the story out of LSU will be how they respond to losing a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Yes, the Tigers also lost Bo Pelini to Nebraska (have fun!), but there's enough raw talent both on the field and off that his loss won't be noticed. It helps when a lot of the front seven comes back, especially Ricky Jean-Francois, who's the best d-lineman you probably don't know anything about.

- Houston Nutt's whirlwind tour to Ole Miss will rejuvenate the Rebels, making them a player in the SEC West. This one's probably partly true, but any rejuvenation will be due to A) Jevan Snead's transfer and B) drawing South Carolina and Vandy from the East. Couple that with likely wins over Samford (not Stanford) and ULM and they're bound to at least kind of improve. I doubt they'll make much noise before '09, though.

As an aside, I've always liked the way Nutt puts together teams; unquestionably McFadden was the most talented skill position player he's had on his teams, but he's always been able to put out 8-9 win teams and has never really gotten enough credit for consistently putting Arkansas in the SEC West discussion, even if it was normally as the 2nd or 3rd team in the conference. While that doesn't sound like a lot, ask anyone in Oxford how they'd like being 2nd in the SEC West - it's been nothing but dark times there recently.

I'm not 100% sure if Ole Miss is the best spot for Nutt, though; he got run out on a rail in Fayettesville for reasons I still don't get, but he goes to a school that ran David Cutcliffe out of town for - near as I can tell - having Eli Manning graduate. Nutt is from a similar mold; he's done a good job getting the most out of his guys without really getting credit for it. I'd love to see Nutt do right at Ole Miss, but it's pretty easy to see the fans turning on him the year after Snead leads the team to a 9-4 record (which'll be his senior season, of course).

- Bobby Petrino's taking Arkansas to the next level, right? Not anytime soon - it sucks when your best skill player returning is your QB, and it sucks even more when that guy is Casey Dick. If Petrino gets a 60% completion rate out of him that'll be Dick's best year ever by nearly 3%. Couple that with a total of 10 starters returning on both sides of the ball and it'll be a painful season, even with the infusion of Ryan Mallett (who's not playing this year anyway - way to bail out from Michigan, kid).

If nothing else, expect Arkansas fans to get a little restless early when Dick doesn't light up the field (although I guess he could light the bag of crap he'll likely drop against Texas). Of all the teams who are likely to move significantly in one direction, Arkansas's that team for a number of reasons that I may or may not get to. The bottom line for here is that even with a high-profile coach arriving in town, it doesn't actually mean you'll be good.

- Speaking of high-profile coaches, Alabama's going to have heightened expectations. Well, duh - but they draw Georgia and Kentucky out of the East to go with Tennessee; ouch. Thank god they downgraded from ULM to Tulane on their OOC slate, otherwise it could get bad. They'll be more explosive on offense, and they honestly got a bit unlucky last year; this could be a year where they look a lot better as a team than what they are due to scheduling quirks; last year's 6-6 could turn into this year's 9-3, but it doesn't mean the Tide are back.

While the backfield is back, the WRs certainly aren't (well, maybe Tyrone Prothro is still taking classes), meaning John Wilson (I refuse to use three names for a guy, unless he's yachting) will be in a similar position that Erik Ainge was in last year. Granted, that turned out pretty well, but Wilson isn't as good as Ainge - and Major Appelwhite bolted for Rice, meaning this'll be the third system Wilson's learned in as many seasons. That doesn't bode well, especially early - which that recruiting class won't help with.

- Auburn started to install their spread offense before the Peach Bowl last year, and that worked great, right? Well, yes, but they're still a year away from getting the right guys in for the system. Brandon Cox was disappointing during his entire tenure, but Kody Burns couldn't unseat him - how's he going to make this better? Couple that with both major RBs returning and 7 guys coming back on defense and Auburn'll get the job done the same way they always have.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw an Auburn team that was exciting on offense? I can't recall and I've seen way more SEC ball than most people over the last few years. It's kind of impressive; Auburn's been doing this for so long that people are kind of forgetting Tommy Tuberville exists. I think everyone's penciling Auburn in for 9-3 again.

- Mississippi State got ungodly lucky last year, so while it was a great story, ending this year at 5-7 really isn't *that* odd. Of course, other than luck and Anthony Dixon, there's nothing on offense; that hasn't changed. Defense will carry the team again. I'd normally have more here, but what else is there to say? The team won three games last year due to pick-sixes. That's not going to happen again.

- Florida's offense will still scare small children; their defense did get a bit better as the year wore on last year, and returning almost everyone will help. They're probably about equal with Georgia, maybe a notch below, and above everyone else in the East. UF is also the early leader in the "Where the Hell Was This Game Last Year?" contest, playing Hawai(')i to open the season.

Keep in mind that three of the guys in that terrible secondary come back this year; when you get torched that often (and the best offense you face may be in practice), you grow up really quickly. We'll see how that actually translates to real-life, but generally speaking if the D can hold teams to under 24 points that should be good enough.

- Georgia closed the season on a fierce tear last year, and everyone's anointing them the SEC champion before any games have taken place. Honestly, I can't blame them; they were arguably the 2nd-best team in the country at the end of last year and I don't see any reason that's going to change.

It was really amazing to see UGA's transition from getting wrecked against Tennessee (one of the most deeply satisfying games I've witnessed ....well, ever) to wrecking everyone in their path. I still don't like the "let's send everyone on the field and take the 15 yards" tactic from the UF game - I think it was childish and gimmicky - but I can't deny it worked. I'm curious to see what tactics Richt has up his sleeve.

- A bunch of new coordinators, some defensive losses, a new QB, and a stable running corps - who's this sound like? If I told you the new coordinator's last name sounded like Claussen, would that help? The net result at Tennessee is that this season looks a lot like 2004; oh boy. Where do I sign?

I don't expect it to be that bad, but I'm not too excited. That's neither here nor there; the big change here is the secondary being the team strength instead of the LB corps, but they'll still struggle on the line - which means the D will be spotty. As good as the secondary is (or will be), it's tough to cover someone for more than 5 seconds. The offense should be good enough, I hope. Lord knows I'll have Randy Sanders flashbacks if it's not.

- Vandy will likely suck but has hope they'll be good. We've been saying this (or they'll outright suck) for the last 20 years. Next!

- Kentucky lost a ton of talent on offense, but they'll retain the coaching staff, the gimmick offense, and a stupidly easy out-of-conference slate (Norfolk State? Really?) - sounds like a December bowl! Who's with me? It's teams like these that make me really hate that 6-6 can get you to a bowl; they're likely sitting on 4 wins to start with (3 of which are guaranteed, and if you want to get really particular you can probably assume they'll split Vandy and MSU, which is being pretty harsh), meaning they have to basically go 2-6 against decent to good teams. How's that deserve a bowl?

- South Carolina returns a ton of starters again (20 last year, 16 this year), but has no QB, no real running game, and a defense that should dictate how the team performs. They probably won't lose to Vandy again this year, but there's no reason to think they'll be ...y'know, good. Sure, Spurrier's handed over play-calling duties, but he's going to yank around the QBs enough to offset it. On the plus side, Captain Munnerlyn (who will be henceforth known as Cap'n Munner) is back - not that he's good, but good god I love his name.

Jasper Brinkley is back, but I don't think it'll be a huge difference. Sure, he says he's lost some weight and haven't lost a step, but that's one of those stories that we read about 400 times during Spring Training; why should I believe it now? In addition, the defense should be solid enough whether or not he's playing. South Carolina has taken the Auburn Path to Success, which isn't bad - unless you're trying to watch them.

Wednesday, May 7

It's time?

So Chris Needham over at Capitol Punishment signed off today, and good for him for doing so. I'm not going to lie - about 60% of the reason I stopped writing about the Nationals was due to him blowing me out of the water with both a) information and content and b) frequency. Lord knows this blog isn't updated often enough anyway when it's not college football season - and it took 2 years until that happened!

I can't even blame not being close enough to follow the Nats anymore; thanks to what some people would call a minor miracle, I ended up in DC - and I've been to a few games to boot. Hell, I've even been to the new stadium (nothing like a view of the Capitol parking garage). I just haven't had a whole lot to say here; maybe it's because I haven't thought about it. Maybe it's because I haven't cared to put proverbial pen to paper in months and/or years when it comes to baseball - I had too many other outlets. (Well, have too many other outlets.)

Either way, I should probably start writing about baseball again, although on some level it doesn't matter; people will just be confused when they come back in a few months and find something that's not college football anyway.