Friday, May 27, 2011

Top College Quarterbacks 2011-12

Andrew Luck, Stanford
Arguably the best quarterback in college football last season. Would have been the no. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft and is already considered the front-runner for next season, even though we have no idea which team will pick first in 2012. 453 rushing yards, 32 touchdown passes and 3,791yards in total offense. Did I mention he’s only going to be a junior?!

Kellen Moore, Boise State
Kellen heads into his senior season as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in NCAA history. Career totals of 10,867 yards, 99 TD’s and only 19 INT’s. 38-2 record after earning the starting job as a redshirt freshman. Don’t let the WAC schedule fool you: he could be the starting qb for any other school in the country…except Stanford.

Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
The All-Big 12 signal-caller ranked among the nation's best in passing yardage (4277) while leading OSU to an 11-2 record. Weeden and OSU should have a good season. The 27 year old QB should have good command of the offense while leading OSU to another double digit-win season. However, they could struggle having to travel to Texas A&M, Texas and Missouri in a four week span.

Aaron Murray, Georgia
This true sophomore will be the best quarterback in the SEC in 2011 and should continue to put up similar numbers to his freshman season…3,049 yards, 24 TD’s, 8 INT’s. Despite no longer having A.J. Green as a target, the Bulldogs have a few new WR recruits and former back-ups more than capable of catching a couple of passes.

Denard Robinson, Michigan
Arguably the most explosive quarterback in college football (in the spread offense). The reigning Big Ten offensive-player-of-the-year has tons of talent and is almost impossible to defend when he is on his game. But he could struggle and be highly ineffective in Brady Hoke’s new offense if he does not adapt well to spending more time in the pocket. His potential highs and lows land him at number five on the list.

Darron Thomas, Oregon
Although overshadowed by LaMichael James, Thomas is the best dual threat quarterback behind Robinson. He comes to play, and is capable of stepping up in big moments of big games. He will once again lead the most exciting and best offense in the country. Don’t be surprised if you see the Ducks in the title game once again at season’s end.

Landry Jones, Oklahoma
His stats were amazing his first year as a full-time starter. There is no reason to believe that he will not continue to be wildly successful running the Sooner offense. Landry is still young though, and despite his 38 touchdown passes he should try to throw less than 12 interceptions next season. Six of which came in his final four games.

Matt Barkley, USC
He would be a lot more interesting to watch this season if USC was not on probation. However, after starting since he arrived on the Southern Cal campus, Barkley should lead a strong team in the Pac 12 that could give Stanford and Oregon a run for their money.

Nick Foles, Arizona
Had a decent junior season. 20 td’s and 10 int’s are not terrible, but not great either. Losing his final five games last season is not a promising sign. Arizona should compete this season in the Pac 12, however. They were 7-1 before taking going on their tail-spin last season.

Robert Griffin, Baylor
Led Baylor to their first bowl appearance in 16 years as a sophomore. He should benefit this season by getting to play Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas at home.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Let's Be Friends

Why do the Yankees and Mets fans dislike the other team? How about the Cubs and the White Sox; why do the loyal fans of those franchises detest “that other team” from the north or south? And why does one have to choose between the Giants or the J-E-T-S?

Now I obviously know the answer to these questions. The fact that these pairs of teams are in the same cities causes a territory conflict. The Giants and Jets share the same stadium. The Cubs occupy the north side of Chi-town and the Sox belong to the south. And the Mets/ Yankees are just a 4 Lexington Avenue Express ride away. Although I know the geographical location of teams can lead to rivalries, other factors give reasons as to why these particular teams and their fans have no reason to dislike the other.

Since we are talking about franchises, we should take the conferences and divisions they belong to rather than the city. The Cubs are in the National League Central and the Sox in the AL Central. They only play six times in a 162 game season. They only play those six games a season because interleague play was developed in 1997. Before 1997, they only played each other in exhibition games besides the 1906 World Series. These two teams hardly have an extensive history between one another to fuel a rivalry. The same can be said for the Yankees and Mets series. They only meet about six times a year since 1997 and have only met once in a World Series in 2000.

The Jets and Giants play in different conferences, meet once every four years, and have never met in a Super Bowl. Another weak history that doesn’t help contribute to a rivalry. Yet fans are often forced to choose between one or the other. These so-called rivalries are weak and the teams that are a part of them have had very limited effect on the other’s success.

Although this may sound like Barney and Friends, why can’t the residents of these cities like both teams? The limited amount of games between these teams during the regular season means that there are little times of controversy. Then by the off chance that the two teams meet in the championship of their league, the fan could be happy with the result either way. Wouldn’t that just be great!?!?!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Don't Fear the Dark Side

Unless you’re a die-hard Yankees fan, chances are you hate them. Why? You may say, “All the Yankees do is buy their talent; they never develop any of their own players.” Well, let’s look closer…this is short list of key players that have been drafted by the Yankees and have contributed to their championships.

Andy Pettitte
Mariano Rivera
Jorge Posada
Derek Jeter
Bernie Williams

Alfonso Soriano was not drafted by the Yankees, but they were the first team he played for in the MLB after starting his career in Japan, so you can either count him or not. You may say that this is a short list of players that was combined with other “bought” talent and you may be right, but the superior talent that these players possess cannot be overlooked. Now you might say, “No other team stands a chance because the Yankees huge pay scale dominates free agents.” Perhaps, but the Yankees have only been in the fall classic once in the past seven seasons. Only winning one in the past 10 years, they have given plenty of other teams the chance to get a championship.

Now don’t even try to say the casual baseball fan likes it better when the Yankees are losing. Since 2004, only one individual World Series game had more than 20 million viewers. The 2009 fall classic between NY and Philadelphia had two games of over 20 million in that series alone.

Now with these statistics and numbers I’ve thrown at you, you may assume that I am a huge Yankees fan. Quite the contrary, I have no loyalty to the “evil empire of professional sports.” But many people hate the Yankees for the wrong reasons. A team dominating a sport is no reason to hate it. They do what every team wishes they could do; they play the business side of the game as well as they play the sport and they do it better than anybody else.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Malletting us Down

Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett canceled a pre-draft meeting with the Carolina Panthers on April 9 apparently after too much partying the night before. Brad Briggs of the National Football Post reported that Mallett was “out on the town late” the night before. This story has been supported by multiple sources. J.R. Carroll, Mallett’s agent, contends that Mallett was genuinely sick and that “Ryan was in his hotel room by about 10 o’clock”. Carroll also said that Mallett did have a meeting in the morning of the 9th but then had to cancel the rest of the day’s planned activities because of his illness.

Regardless of the reason behind Mallett’s decision to cancel it was a bad decision. Who cancels a job interview when there are millions of dollars to be made or lost? Especially when his job is supposed to be one of, if not the most, mentally and physically demanding positions in professional sports. Although he seemed to overcome setbacks by his admitted past drug use and his 2009 arrest for public intoxication, he may have slid back dramatically personally and in the draft. Teams will not want to invest substantial amounts of money in a kid that can’t make the right decisions.

Despite being one of the most talented quarterbacks in this year’s draft, Mallett’s most recent poor decision may have dropped him from being the third for fourth to the fifth or even sixth quarterback taken in the draft.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft

With the 2011 NFL draft being only weeks away there have been many speculations about who will go where and in what round. Although there are already thousands of mock drafts out there, how about one more. Step aside Kiper and McShay!

Carolina: Blaine Gabbert,QB, Missouri
Denver: Marcell Dareus,DT, Alabama
Buffalo: Von Miller,OLB, Texas A&M
Cincinnati: Cam Newton,QB, Auburn
Arizona: Jake Locker,QB, Washington
Cleveland: A.J. Green,WR, Georgia
San Francisco: Patrick Peterson,CB, LSU
Tennessee: Nick Fairley,DT, Auburn
Dallas: Tyron Smith,OT, USC
Washington: Julio Jones,WR, Alabama
Houston: Prince Amukamara,CB, Nebraska
Minnesota: Da’Quan Bowers,DE, Clemson
Detroit: Anthony Castonzo,OT, Boston College
St. Louis: J.J. Watt,DE, Wisconsin
Miami: Mark Ingram,RB, Alabama
Jacksonville: Ryan Kerrigan,DE, Purdue
New England (from Oakland): Corey Liuget,DT, Illinois
San Diego: Muhammad Wilkerson,DL, Temple
NYG: Mike Pouncey,OG, Florida
Tampa Bay: Cameron Jordan,DE, California
Kansas City: Akeem Ayres,OLB, UCLA
Indianapolis: Gabe Carimi,OT, Wisconsin
Philadelphia: Nate Solder,OT, Colorado
New Orleans: Marvin Austin,DT, North Carolina
Seattle: Ryan Mallett,QB, Arkansas
Baltimore: Aaron Williams,CB, Texas
Atlanta: Cameron Hayward,DE, Ohio State
New England: Derek Sherrod,OT, Mississippi State
Chicago: Torrey Smith,WR, Maryland
NYJ: Phil Taylor,DT, Baylor
Pittsburg: Jimmy Smith,CB, Colorado
Green Bay: Brooks Reed,DL, Arizona

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ugly MLB Uniforms

These are some of the ugliest uniforms ever worn in Major League Baseball. They are not listed in order, or ranked, because it would be impossible to establish a deciding characteristic amongst these ghastly uni’s. Which one is the worst? You decide...

San Diego Padres (1978)

Chicago White Sox "Shorts Game" (1976)

Chicago White Sox (1982-86)
Kansas City Royals "Turn ahead the clock" uniform. (1999)

Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday nights. (1979)

Oakland A's Throwback (1968)

Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998-2000)

Pittsburgh Pirates alternate uniform. (1999)

Montreal Expos (1969-77)

Houston Astros (1975-79)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Baseball, Bonds and Biceps

It is opening day for Major League Baseball! The sun is shining, hotdogs are on the grill to give us our first taste of that ballpark flavor, and Barry Bonds is in court. Bonds is on trial for perjury, obstruction of justice, and is accused of lying when he told a federal grand jury that he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs. The prosecution, which should be completed early next week, has three remaining witnesses. The defense will then be given the opportunity to present their side. Regardless of when and how the trial ends, Bonds will most likely never recover from this. His arrogant and lackadaisical attitude toward the justice system has done nothing to improve his already diminished public image. For Bonds, all this could have been avoided very easily by publishing a book. It’s the perfect way to take the lowest “high road” possible. Admitting to what he did through an author who has the ability to articulate and skew his words in a tell-all story about how he really was a victim of an ongoing trend or just a small piece of a bigger puzzle (coughJoseCansecocough). But don’t worry Barry, you still have a chance to beat this. Just “misremember” (coughRogerClemenscough) and become the hitting coach of your old team (coughMarkMcGwirecough). Excuse me, I have a tickle in my throat.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Playing Hard Ball

In another desperate attempt to stick it to the NFL, the players’ union has been putting pressure on potential first round picks not to attend the draft in April. The NFLPA (Players Association) apparently has contacted the 17 top prospects likely to be invited by the league and have recommended they not attend.

This is an immature and shameful attempt by the players’ association. They are trying to pressure and influence guys who are not part of the union yet. They are trying to take away a once in a lifetime experience that these players have rightfully earned through their years of hard work. But don’t worry, one source told ESPN analyst Adam Schefter that they plan to give the prospects the "same experience down the street." What is this, high school? They’re going to throw their own party down the street from the cool kids and have a super duper fun time by themselves with no jersey or cap to receive after walking to the podium in front of the nation to kick off their professional careers. Yeah, great trade.

For a group of guys who have tried to make themselves out to be the victims, the NFLPA has turned from the oppressed to the oppressor. If they think they will be able to scare the owners with this rinky-dink tactic, I’m afraid they’re mistaken. If 16 days of mediation didn’t work, I doubt this will have a significant impact. Players present or not, the draft will still sell out and have millions of television viewers. It’s time for the players association to put their toys away and act like adults. Man’s game!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness Personalities: Which One Are You?

March Madness is in full swing and millions of brackets are being filled out by hopeful individuals who are looking to win their pool and have bragging rights for the rest of the year, or maybe just until fantasy baseball starts… Although it is not certain which team will have their one shining moment, you can be sure to come across these people as this mad month of March progresses.
Which one are you…?

The Outsider:

This is the guy at work that knows very little about basketball and is not widely accepted by the majority of his peers for his lack of sports knowledge. He keeps to himself and doesn’t say much but would like to be noticed and part of the group, so he joins the pool. His picks are predictable. All of the higher seeds move on with maybe a 9 beating an 8. Because he plays it safe he finishes in the middle of the pool. His attempt and an average finish make some of the guys at the office more accepting.

The Cute Girlfriend:

This pretty and put-together girl knows even less than The Outsider and has just finished watching Sex And The City 2. But she joins her boyfriend’s pool to show him and his friends that she too can be “one of the guys”. Her picks are solely based on the schools’ colors and mascots. Believe it or not, she almost always finishes towards the top of the pool and in front of her boyfriend, who gets a razzing from his friends every week she advances with more points than he. When the tournament is over and she gets her money back, the boyfriend and his friends swear that they will use the same method in next year’s tournament… That never happens.

The Statistical Guru:

This fan is too informed. They will buy every magazine and go to every online source to analyze every matchup solely based on statistics. The team’s coach, conference, character have no pull in their decision making. They usually finish in the middle of the pool.

The Tool:

A pain to deal with, the Tool is the least liked amongst his friends. He knows more about ball than the average guy but thinks he knows a lot more. He will enter seven pools with different picks for each to almost ensure he wins at least one pool. Throughout the tournament he will regurgitate the ideas he hears on the TV from the experts and pawn those thoughts off as his own. While with a group his bracket is doing poorly in, he will constantly talk about his “one other bracket” that is doing great. While with the group that his bracket is successful in, he will gloat about how knowledgeable he is in this subject and rejoice in the success of “this, his only bracket”.

The Delusional:

The homer or alumni is not a fan of the sport, but a delusional fan of their school. They can tell you the height, weight, hometown and major of any player on the team but knows little about the opponent. Their team, a 12 seed, managed to beat a top-ten-team in the regular season and they believe it will happen six straight times in the tournament. Which means once their team loses in the first or possibly second round, their bracket will fall apart as a result of their other uneducated guesses.

The Informed:

Having a healthy relationship with the sport, the informed fan usually has the best chance of winning their pool. They have a favorite team, but are not delusional about the team’s talent. They pay attention to other teams and have a good idea of what the competition is like. Trying to outwit their friends is not their priority. They do not over-analyze stats or take days to fill out their bracket because they just can’t figure out if that 7 will beat that 10. They stick with what they know, which is more than the average bracket maker, and they are confident about their picks. They fill out no more than two or three competitive brackets because they are comfortable enough with their fanhood that they can handle not winning this season. They are well liked by their peers because of their healthy balance of confidence, competitiveness and sportsmanship.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tressel in Trouble

Ohio State has suspended head football coach, Jim Tressel, for the first two games of the 2011 season and has also fined him $250,000 after Tressel admitted to withholding information about his players’ involvement in selling memorabilia. Five Buckeye players were suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season last December after being found guilty for accepting inappropriate benefits for selling team memorabilia. It has now been proven that Tressel was aware of these infractions last April, nearly 9 months before the issue was brought to the university.

As a Michigan fan, people would think that I would be jumping for joy in result of the demise of the “hated” Buckeyes. To be honest, I am discouraged. This serious infraction the OSU team has to deal with does absolutely nothing to enhance the Michigan program, except for possibly gaining a potential recruit that might have otherwise chosen the Buckeyes. However, with the constant character problems OSU has had with players, I wouldn’t want them on my team anyway. This infraction is not just a blow for the Buckeyes, but a blow for college sports. Jim Tressel, despite having a few troubled players on the team, has always been perceived as a clean coach with a clean program. However, the NCAA has yet to enforce their consequences on the coach and must make an example out of him. More game suspensions and a bigger fine would send a significant message to Tressel. Once you truly inhibit his ability to do his job (a two game coaching suspension against Akron and Toledo at home is not a suspension, it’s a vacation) and you take away a serious piece of his salary ($250,000 is about 1/12 of his yearly salary) might make him think a little harder the next time he decides to conveniently forget the rules. The more severe penalties that coaches have to account for MAY make it less likely for them to commit infractions in the future.