Monday, October 31, 2005

NFL Round-Up, Week 8

Miami Dolphins
Just when I had settled into the fact that this is the same old Dolphin team from last year they go and pull off a stunt like this. Not only did they win on the road against New Orleans, they one on the road at Baton Rouge, a location a lot closer to home for the Saints than the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.

The Dolphins snapped a three game losing streak with their 21 to 6 win over the Saints as the defense dominated the Saints throughout the day. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown showed that they could thrive in the same backfield as Williams ran for 82 yards and Brown ran for 106.

The Dolphins are now 3-4 and are in second place in the East. With the Patriots hosting the Colts Monday night, a win a home Sunday against the Falcons could put Miami in a tie for first place in the division. I’ll try not to get my hopes up.

Conference Rankings
NFC East 18-11
NFC South 17-12
AFC West 17-13
AFC North 15-14
AFC South 14-15
NFC West 13-16
AFC East 12-17
NFC North 10-18

Big Game
New York Giants 39, Washington Redskins 0
This game had big promise and little pay-off. The Giants dominated from the very start on the legs of Tiki Barber who ran for a career-high 206 yards and scored one touchdown. The Giants held Washington to 34 yards from scrimmage in the first half. The New York defense also recorded five sacks and forced four turnovers.

Big Upset
Houston Texans 19, Cleveland Browns 16
Whenever I think my Dolphins quarterback situation couldn’t be worse I think of the Cleveland Browns and Trent Dilfer. Suddenly my spirits are uplifted. The Browns lost to the worst team in the league this year on the foot of a kicker who has the last of Brown. Kris Brown kicked a 40 yard field goal with 2:45 left in the game to give Houston it’s first win of the season.
This was an upset that I predicted last week.

Worst Game
San Francisco 49ers 15/Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10
The 49ers lost Ken Dorsey and Alex Smith to injuries and had to rely on former fourth string quarterback Cody Pickett to lead the offense that scored on five field goals. San Francisco only managed 208 yards of total offense.

Looking Ahead to Week 9

Big Game

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
The Colts are the only undefeated team in the NFL but they are going up against the one team that seems to always have their number. Not this time! The Colts have made major improvements on defense and the Patriots, even with Bruschi back, are hurting on defense. This will be the year Manning gets that New England monkey off his back.
Prediction: Colts 27/Patriots 21

Possible Upset
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are 2-5 and quickly falling out of contention. The Bengals are 6-2 through the first half of the season and are quite possibly the most over-rated team in the NFL. Their two losses have come against the only two teams they have played with a winning record. Look for the Ravens to bring them back down to earth.
Prediction: Ravens 17/Bengals 13

My Vote in the Blog Poll

Here is how I voted in this week’s blog poll.

Gone from my poll this week are Minnesota, Northwestern and Tennessee.
New to my poll this week are TCU, Michigan and Louisville.

Biggest Rise: Florida moves from # 17 to # 13.

Biggest Fall: Georgia falls from # 4 to # 16.

1 Southern Cal (1) 8-0
2 Texas (2) 8-0
3 Virginia Tech (3) 8-0
4 Alabama (5) 8-0
5 UCLA (6) 8-0
6 Louisiana State (7) 6-1
7 Miami (Florida) (8) 7-1
8 Florida State (9) 7-1
9 Penn State (11) 8-1
10 Wisconsin (12) 8-1
11 West Virginia (13) 6-1
12 Texas Tech (14) 7-1
13 Florida (17) 6-2
14 Notre Dame (15) 5-2
15 Oregon (16) 7-1
16 Georgia (4) 7-1
17 Ohio State (18) 6-2
18 Colorado (19) 6-2
19 Boston College (10) 6-2
20 Auburn (20) 6-2
21 Cal (21) 6-2
22 Fresno State (23) 6-1
23 TCU (NR) 8-1
24 Michigan (NR) 6-3
25 Louisville (NR) 5-2
The official poll will be released tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sooners Win Third in a Row

Saturday’s win over Nebraska reminded me of another one of Bob Stoops’ OU football teams. Not particularly the national championship team of 2000 or even any of his Big 12 championship teams. This team reminded me of Bob Stoops first season in Norman when the Sooners went 7-4 and earned a trip to the Independence Bowl where they lost to Ole’ Miss. That 1999 team had a lot of talent, they played hard and they were very young.
Fast forward to 2005 and look at what the Sooners did in Lincoln Nebraska:
* Sophomore running back Adrian Peterson scored a 36-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game. He finished with 146 yards and 2 touchdowns.
* Sophomore kicker Garrett Hartley's 50-yard field goal pushed the lead to 24-3 early in the third quarter.
* Redshirt Freshman quarterback Rhett Bomar completed 14 of 28 passes for 157 yards, with no turnovers.
* Freshman receiver Malcolm Kelly caught eight passes for 86 yards.
That 1999 team had problems putting other teams away and so does this Sooner team. Last week the Baylor Bears came from 8 points down late in the fourth quarter to put the game in overtime. This week Nebraska mounted a late comeback as well.
Husker quarterback Zac Taylor finished a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with a 3-yard pass to Terrence Nunn. Then on the next possession OU holder/Punter Cody Freeby mishandled a snap on a 52-yard field goal attempt, the Huskers were set up at the OU 48. Six plays later, Taylor threw a 25-yard TD pass to Nate Swift to pull Nebraska to 24-17.
The Sooners went on to win 31-24 over Nebraska in a wild rollercoaster game. In the same way that 1999 OU team, with all of their young players, pulled fans together with several roller coaster ride games, and that is what excites me the most. Why, you may ask? Because as an encore that young team from 1999 went on to win the national championship in 2000.

My Player of the Game: Running back Adrian Peterson, 24 carries 146 yards, 2 TD’s

On a side note I had a small wager with Joe from Strugglin Joe. He is a Nebraska fan and if the Huskers won I would have to promote his site for a week on My Opinion on Sports. If the Sooners won he would have to do the same for me. Obviously OU was the victor, but check him out anyway because it’s a good site that is worth your time.

College Football Round-Up, Week 9

Unbeaten Bulldogs fall to Gators in The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
After struggling to sustain drives and score in losses at Alabama and LSU, Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen spent the bye week retooling the offense to better suit the unit's strengths. That meant less option for quarterback Chris Leak, extra help for a shaky offensive line and more power running plays for DeShawn Wynn.
Florida scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and might have added points before halftime had Wynn not fumbled a handoff near the goal line. Leak finished 15-of-20 for 108 yards with a touchdown. He also ran for a score and was sacked just once. Wynn ran for a career-high 109 yards on 19 carries.
The Gators can win the SEC East and return to the conference championship game for the first time since 2000 by beating Vandy and South Carolina and having Georgia lose at home to Auburn or Kentucky.

Tennessee drops out of AP Top 25
Tennessee has gone from preseason No. 3 to not even receiving a vote in The Associated Press Top 25. The Volunteers (3-4) fell from the rankings Sunday for the first time in three years after losing 16-15 to South Carolina.
Tennessee becomes the sixth team ranked in the AP preseason top 15 to fall out of the rankings at some point this season. The others are Michigan, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisville and Purdue.
I guess you could say that Phil Fulmer is officially on the hot seat.

Longhorns tested
``Plan on being behind,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said he told his team before the game. ``Plan on getting yourself in trouble.''
With 5:44 left in the first half, the Longhorns were in perhaps more trouble than they had anticipated. Oklahoma State picked up momentum with 49-yard touchdown pass on a quick-snap fourth-down play, then took advantage of two first-half turnovers by Vince Young and a great one handed reception by OSU to go up 28-9.
Texas regained control early in the second half when Vince Young sprinted 80 yards for the score that opened the game up and allowed Texas to cruise to a 49-28 victory.
``Last year's team had some of this. This year's team hasn't had this yet,'' Brown said. ``They anticipated it at Ohio State, but this was a great learning experience for us and one that will help us the rest of the way.''

UCLA Escapes Another Upset
I had written off the Bruins, while watching Texas embarrass Oklahoma State for the second year in a row, I had the UCLA game on the small TV. UCLA trailed by 21 points with 8 minutes left and in my mind there was no way to recover from this. ``With a 21-point deficit with 8 minutes to go, there's not much you can talk about except scoring,'' said receiver Marcus Everett, whose fourth-quarter fumble set up Stanford's final touchdown. ``We got urgent in a hurry.''
UCLA trailed 24-3 midway through the fourth quarter before scoring three touchdowns in the final 7:04, including Maurice Drew's game-tying rush with 46 seconds left in regulation. The Bruins quickly finished off the demoralized Cardinal in overtime, with Brandon Breazell catching a 23-yard TD pass from Drew Olson.
If the Bruins can survive two more games they will be undefeated going up against cross-town rival and two-time defending national champions USC.

Alabama Stays Undefeated
They really didn’t play anyone, but they moved a step closer to an undefeated season with a 35-3 victory over Utah State. The Tide are 8-0 for the first time since 1994 and are now the toast of the SEC.

Miami/Virginia Tech Next Week’s Big Game
This very well could be the ACC Championship game and it should be a hard hitting defensive battle. Right now I’m going to lead towards Virginia Tech as the favorite. It will be fun to watch!

Heisman Performances

1. Most Deserving Vince Young (QB) Texas – 15-30 239 yards 2 TD’s, 1 INT, 21 rushes 267 yards 2 TD’s.
Overall Stats – 120-190 1835 yards, 16 TD’s, 8 INT’s, 103 rushes 725 yards, 8 TD’s.

2. Close Second Matt Leinart (QB) USC – 24-34 364 yards, 3 TD’s
Overall Stats – 169-258 2513 yards, 19 TD’s, 6 INT’s. 2 rushing TD’s

3. Slipping - Reggie Bush (RB) USC – 17 rushes 97 yards, 4 receptions 40 yards
Overall Stats - 111 carries 909 yards, 9 TD’s, 23 receptions 284 yards 2 TD’s.

4. Holding SteadyCody Hodges (QB) Texas Tech – 22-44 264 yards 1 TD, 2 INT’s Overall Stats – 256-376 3094 yards, 25 TD’S, 8 INT’s.

5. In DangerJarod Zabransky (QB) Boise State – 12-16 180 yards 2 TD’S 1 INT, 6 rushes 6 yards 1 TD
Overall Stats – 140-220 1725 yards, 13 TD’s, 7 INT’s, 72 rushes 239 yards, 7 TD’s.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

The Big 12 is now down to one unbeaten team thanks to the Texas Longhorns who trashed the hopes of Texas Tech last week. Now speculation begins that the Longhorns will face off against USC in the Rose Bowl. I’m not convinced that it is a lock yet because I think Virginia Tech will continue to gain support and could generate enough votes to make it very close, too close for comfort for Longhorn fans.

Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Texas – Time to start looking into reservations in Pasadena.
2. Texas Tech – Still the second best team in the conference. Yes, Texas is that good.
3. A&M – Positioning themselves to make the Texas game a national event.
4. Colorado – Reestablished themselves as the best team in the north.
5. OU – Big win against Huskers in Lincoln could salvage the Sooners season.
6. Missouri – Caught Nebraska off guard should be able to roll against Kansas.
7. Iowa State – Can you really celebrate a win over OSU
8. Baylor – The Bears have taken the Sooners and Aggies into O.T. this season.
9. Nebraska – Looking to bounce back against Sooners this week.
10. Kansas State – Stood toe to toe with A&M.
11. Kansas – The Cowboys will keep them from dropping any lower.
12. Oklahoma State – Cowboy fans can’t wait for basketball season.

Big Game
OU @ Nebraska
The Sooners almost let a victory against Baylor slip away last week and the Nebraska defense was taken to task by Brad Smith and the Missouri Tigers. The good news for the Huskers is that OU doesn’t have Brad Smith. The bad news for the Huskers is that OU does have Adrian Peterson who is as healthy as he has been for a month and should play.

The Sooners are in trouble if…
• Peterson cannot go. Jacob Gutierrez ran well last week for the Sooners but two fumbles were costly.
• Sooner defensive ends cannot get to Zack Taylor. The OU secondary has had their share of coverage problems this season. If the Sooners can’t pressure Taylor then it could be a long afternoon.
• They turn the ball over. Turnovers almost cost them the Baylor game and they would cost the Sooners this game.

The Huskers are in trouble if…
• Peterson is healthy. The huskers would have their hands full facing the best back they have seen this season.
• Bomar has a 200+ yard passing game. That could mean thing are opening up for the Sooner attack.
• Ross does not break the century mark rushing.

This rivalry has fallen a long way from those classics of the 70’s and 80’s but still should provide us with an entertaining football game. I think ultimately the Huskers will win because of the number of freshman the Sooners will be playing on the road.
Prediction: Nebraska 24/OU 21

Possible Upset
Iowa State @ A&M
The Aggies are poised for an upset for one reason. I can’t find anyone else in the Big 12 to be my upset victim. Do you really think OSU has a chance against Texas (See game no one cares about)?
The Cyclones do have upset ability and if Baylor can stretch the Aggies why not Iowa State?
Prediction: ISU 31/A&M 28

Must Win
Missouri @ Kansas
The Tigers are suddenly tied with Colorado at the top of the north division. The Jayhawks have yet to win a conference game and will soon be looking for a new coach if that doesn’t change. This game becomes a must win for these schools, one to stay competitive and the other in an attempt to become competitive.
Prediction: Tigers 27/Jayhawks 10

Game No One Cares About
Texas @ Oklahoma State
Who had the idea to schedule Texas for homecoming? This game should be a blowout of massive proportions and even though Texas is #2 nationally, no one cares about this mismatch.
Prediction: No one cares

Other Big 12 Games

Texas Tech @ Baylor

The Bears are getting to the point where the can start winning games at home and establishing a home field advantage. Just not this week!
Prediction: Tech 42/Baylor 21

Colorado @ Kansas State
The Buffalos are in control of their own destiny. If they win out they will earn their second consecutive trip to the Big 12 Championship game. For a reward, they get to face the Longhorns again.
Prediction: Colorado 24/Kansas 10

Hornets 89, Rockets 88

P.J. Brown put back Speedy Claxton's missed layup with 0.4 seconds left to give the Hornets their first win in Oklahoma City. The Hornets trailed 43-21 in the first half before they mounted another comeback. This time they would not fall short.

Claxton and Bostjan Nachbar hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the left wing, and Nachbar added a three-point play to get the Hornets within 63-61 with 4:05 left in the third quarter. J.R. Smith brought the 15,063 fans to their feet when his 3-pointer from the right wing gave the Hornets a 72-70 lead, their first of the second half.

``We're feeling good I think from a mental standpoint just to get our first home win,'' Brown said. ``I think it would have been tough to come into the season next Tuesday not having won a home game in our preseason. It's good to establish a good feeling.''
``It means the world to our guys,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said. ``We're a young team trying to find our way. And when you're trying to find your way, sometimes victories like this can be big things for you.''

Next up for the Hornets: @ Atlanta Tonight.

Broncos lineman Carswell injured in multicar crash

AP - Denver Broncos offensive lineman Dwayne Carswell was in critical but stable condition Thursday after he was seriously injured in a five-car accident.

Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist told KCNC-TV in Denver that Carswell tore his diaphragm and had internal bleeding in his chest. Doctors were trying to determine whether there were injuries to his heart or aorta, Sundquist said.

Team spokesman Jim Saccomano said Carswell was undergoing surgery but refused to release any details. Hospital spokeswoman Beverly Petry said Carswell was still in surgery, five hours after the crash, in critical but stable condition.

Officer Tony Guzman said Carswell was in one of three cars traveling south when two northbound cars collided and veered into the southbound lanes. Several of the cars were extensively damaged, Guzman said. A woman also was taken to the hospital. Her name was not released.

``In no shape or form was (Carswell) the one that caused the accident,'' Guzman said.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Buster's Best

Buster has another winning week and I had my first push of the season that kept me from having a winning week or a losing week depending on how you look at it.

Last Week’s Games

Game One Kansas City @ Miami – Don’t blame this Miami loss on the hurricane, the Dolphins are just a bad team. Buster picked Miami to win and I had them to cover the 2 points they were favored by.
Buster 0-1/Dad 0-1

Game Two Dallas @ Seattle – Buster went with his Cowboys yet again and was again disappointed. I took the Seahawks and the three points and earned my first push of the year.
Buster 0-2/Dad 0-1-1

Game Three Baylor @ Oklahoma – OU was up by 8 late in the game and had the ball driving deep into Baylor territory. I’m thinking the cover the 14, which I picked them to do, next thing I know it’s in overtime and I’m just hoping for a Sooner victory. Buster picked the Sooners to win.
Buster 1-2/Dad 0-2-1

Game Four - Oregon State @ UCLA – Buster picked the Bruins to win and I picked them to cover the 9.5 points they were giving to the Beavers.
Buster 2-2/Dad 1-2-1

Game Five USC @ Washington – Buster picked USC to win and I took Washington and the 30 points they were getting from the Trojans.
Buster 3-2/Dad 2-2-1

For the Season: Buster 26-14/Dad 18-21-1

This Week’s Games

Game One

Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys can’t keep finding ways to give the game away. Buster likes the Cowboys to win and so do I but I’ll take Arizona and the 8.5 they are getting.

Game Two
Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints
Buster likes the Saints who seem to have been hosed for two weeks in a row now. The Dolphins have a lot of injury problems on defense but something tells me that they are the pick. I’ll take Miami and the 2 points they are getting.

Game Three
OU @ Nebraska
This is simply a pride pick for both of us. I want to go on record saying that I think that Nebraska is the better team and they should win. Buster is taking the Sooners and I’ll take the 1.5 points they are getting.

Game Four
UCLA @ Stanford
Buster likes the Bruins to win and I’ll take them to cover the 7.5 points they are giving to Stanford.

Game Five
Washington State @ USCBuster likes the Trojans to win and I’ll take WSU and the 29.5 points they are getting.

Flag Football Update
Buster’s team was off this past weekend and they have two games left before the season ends. They have already locked up first place.

Western Conference Preview

Pacific Division

Phoenix Suns
Outlook: The Suns will have to overcome the loss of Amare Stoudemire and they are counting on Raja Bell and Kurt Thomas to help them do that for the next four months until Stoudemire returns. Mike D'Antoni believes his team can still score 110 points a night, even without Stoudemire. With Steve Nash leading the charge along with Shawn Marion the Suns should still be able to run the ball up and down the court. Defense will be an issue but it didn’t stop them from winning the division last season

Los Angeles Lakers
Outlook: The Lakers will be much improved over last season, if Kwame Brown can be a force in the front court that the Wizards wanted him to be. Lamar Odom is the wild card for this team. He could be a very solid #2 guy for Kobe Bryant.

Sacramento Kings
Outlook: This will have to be Mike Bibby’s finest season, as he becomes the sole leader, and Peja Stojakovic will need to return to the level of play from a few seasons ago. The Kings will be in a dogfight with the Lakers for second place but they still should be a play-off contender.

Golden State Warriors
Outlook: Golden State has a very good chance of making a play-off run if Baron Davis stays healthy. However, if they don’t get him any help they will be a one man show like Seattle was last year with Ray Allen.

Los Angeles Clippers
Outlook: The Clippers have not been to the play-offs since 1997. Elton Brand and company will have to wait at least one more season to make that run.

Southwest Division

San Antonio Spurs
Outlook: And your Western Conference Champions are … Spurs fans will not only be hearing that they will be celebrating back to back world championships. The additions of Nick Van Exel and Michael Finley made this year’s team even better than last year’s

Houston Rockets
Outlook: With Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady clicking and strong support from Stromile Swift the Rockets are going to have a great season. To bad they play in the same division as the Spurs.

Dallas Mavericks
Outlook: The Mavericks window of opportunity may have closed. Dirk Nowitzki no longer has Steve Nash and Michael Finley to help him out and it will take a while for chemistry to develop between him and Doug Christie. The Mavs will still be a good team but not to the level of year’s past.

New Orleans/OKC Hornets
Outlook: The Hornets are already winners this season. They have found a new home in Oklahoma City (trust me it’s not temporary) and a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks lands them not only Desmond Mason but also another first round draft pick.

Chris Paul and J.R. Smith seem to be working well together and the addition on Desmond Mason gives them a legitimate scorer. I think the Hornets will be the surprise on the league this year as they try to out run their opponents. Look for Paul to build a case for rookie of the year.

Memphis Grizzlies
Outlook: Who is the star of this team? Is it rookie Hakim Warrick? Seasoned veteran Bobby Jackson? I’m not quite sure but it might just be next year’s lottery pick.

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets
Outlook: George Karl had the Nuggets playing very well at the end of last season and that should continue into this season. Look for Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin to be lethal and a small back court of Earl Boykins, Andre Miller and Earl Watson to apply lots of pressure on opponents with their speed.

Seattle SuperSonics
Outlook: The Sonics will follow last year’s blueprint to the play-offs. Spread the floor on offense and shoot from outside. Play tough defense. Ray Allen should have another amazing season.

Utah Jazz
Outlook: I think the Jazz could return to the play-offs this year as long as they are not decimated by injuries again. Deron Williams should be the answer for the Jazz at the point and I think the pick and roll can still be effective.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Outlook: Minnesota needed to make some big moves in the off-season and they didn’t. Kevin Garnett is as athletic as they come but his body is beginning to show wear and tear and he stands alone on the team in athleticism.

Portland Trail Blazers
Outlook: Nate McMillan is an excellent coach, but there is way too much youth on this team for it to go anywhere. They will win some games but not many. Sebastian Telfair and Darius Miles have a great future with the Trailblazers but there will be growing pains first.

Western Conference Final Standings
1. San Antonio
2. Houston
3. Phoenix
4. Denver
5. Dallas
6. L.A. Lakers
7. Seattle
8. Sacramento
9. Utah
10. Minnesota
11. Golden State
12. New Orleans
13. L.A. Clippers
14. Portland
15. Memphis

Blog Poll Week 9

1 Southern Cal (39)
2 Texas (9)
3 Virginia Tech (3)
4 Georgia
5 Alabama
6 Miami (Florida)
8 Louisiana State
9 Notre Dame
10 Florida State
11 Penn State
12 Ohio State
13 Boston College
14 Oregon
15 Wisconsin
16 Florida
17 Auburn
18 West Virginia
19 Texas Tech
20 Northwestern
21 TCU
22 Fresno State
23 Minnesota
24 Cal
25 Tennessee
Also Receiving Votes: Michigan(1.6), Colorado(1.1), Louisville(0.9), Toledo(0.3), Georgia Tech(0.2), Michigan State(0.2), Texas A&M(0.2), Rutgers(0.2), UTEP(0.2), Oregon State(0.1), Missouri(0.1), Southern Miss(0.1), Virginia(0.0), Boise State(0.0), Stanford(0.0),

Total Ballots: 51

How I voted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NBA Eastern Conference Preview


Detroit Pistons
Outlook: The Pistons are still one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and with new head coach Flip Saunders their offensive game should continue to rise. Look for the Pistons to face off against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Indiana Pacers
Outlook: The Pacers are very good defensively and will be focused to erase the memories of what went wrong last season with the suspensions. They are a well-coached team should challenge Detroit for the division

Cleveland Cavaliers
Outlook: This could be the year LeBron James wins the league MVP. With the additional support on Larry Hughes the Cavs should be a play-off contender.

Chicago Bulls
Outlook: Can the Bulls make it to the play-offs two years in a row. I think it all depends on Tyson Chandler and what coach Scott Skiles will be able to get effort wise out of is still young team.

Milwaukee Bucks
Outlook: Andrew Bogut, the first pick in the draft and a healthy T.J. Ford automatically upgrade the Bucks roster from last season.


New Jersey Nets
Outlook: Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson make New Jersey the most explosive team in the Atlantic Division. Their ability to stay healthy will determine how far they go into the play-offs.

Philadelphia 76ers
Outlook: The 76ers are talented but team chemistry could be a huge question mark for this team. I can’t see Allen Iverson and Chris Webber getting along all season. There will be some turmoil on this team. The question is; how well will they overcome it? Oh yeah, and can Chris Webber play defense?

New York Knicks
Outlook: Larry Brown begins yet another reclamation project. What’s the over/under on his time in New York, three years? No doubt the Nicks will play better defense, but can Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury carry the offense every night?

Boston Celtics
Outlook: The Celtics are going to miss Antoine Walker. Without him I think this becomes a one man show with Paul Pierce. Tony Allen could be the second best scorer on the team now and rookie Gerald Green will develop into a solid player, just not in time to help the Celtics this season.

Toronto Raptors
Outlook: This is a bad team in a bad NBA city. It will be a long season for the Raptors. Their lone bright spot will be Chris Bosh.


Miami Heat
Outlook: I think the addition of Antoine Walker will turn out to be one of the best stories of this season. Shaq will still dominate inside, regardless of who he is playing and Wade continues to improve each season. I think he will be the most exciting player in the NBA this season and will steal the MVP trophy. The Heat are the best team in the Eastern Conference and will go all the way to the NBA Finals this year.

Washington Wizards
Outlook: Kwame Brown, Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas are all gone from last year’s play-off team. Antawn Jamison will become the scoring leader but he will have to get help from someone. The best option will be from Caron Butler

Orlando Magic
Outlook: Dwight Howard and Steve Francis will be a good one two punch for this team and any help they could get from Grant Hill would be better than… well… anything they have gotten from him in the past.

Atlanta Hawks
Outlook: This is still a very young team that needs an inside game and time to grow. Atlanta will be better on offense but will still lose games because of a lack of a defensive presence.

Charlotte Bobcats
Outlook: The Bobcats just don’t have it. Emeka Okafor could be a defensive star but he could also be injured most of the season. Looks like Charlotte will join Toronto back at the lottery again this season.

Eastern Conference Final Standings
1. Miami
2. Detroit
3. New Jersey
4. Indiana
5. Cleveland
6. Philadelphia
7. Chicago
8. Washington
9. Milwaukee
10. New York
11. Boston
12. Orlando
13. Toronto
14. Atlanta
15. Charlotte

Official Pre-Season Basketball Blog Poll

College football is past the half-way point and basketball practice is officially under way. Here is the release of the pre-season basketball blog poll and there already is some discrepancy as to who should be #1. So you tell us, vote in this week's opinion poll.

1 Duke (13)
2 Texas (4)
3 Michigan State (1)
4 Connecticut (1)
5 Oklahoma
6 Villanova
7 Gonzaga
8 Louisville
9 Kentucky
10 Boston College
11 Arizona
12 Memphis
13 Stanford
15 Illinois
16 West Virginia
17 Iowa
18 Syracuse
19 Alabama
20 George Washington
21 Washington
22 Wake Forest
23 Indiana
24 Maryland
25 Kansas
Also Receiving Votes: Iowa State(2.4), Nevada(1.9), Texas Tech(1.9), Ohio State(1.4), Wisconsin(1.3), Georgetown(1.1), North Carolina(1.0), North Carolina State(1.0), LSU(0.9), Charlotte(0.7), Oklahoma State(0.6), California(0.4), Vanderbilt(0.4), Cincinnati(0.4), St. Mary's(0.3), Northern Iowa(0.2), Bucknell(0.2), Holy Cross(0.1), DePaul(0.1), Arkansas(0.1), Utah State(0.1), Northeastern(0.1), Creighton(0.1), Ohio(0.1),

Total Ballots: 19

How I voted.

Hornets 111, Heat 91

The Hornets led 37-19 after one quarter and 66-50 at halftime and then cruised to a 20 point victory. Most of the starters for both teams played the first three quarters.

J.R. Smith scored 24 points and Chris Paul had nine assists to lead the New Orleans/OKC Hornets. Bostjan Nachbar also scored 20, Kirk Snyder 19 and Jamaal Magloire 12 for the Hornets who got their second win of the pre-season.

Shaqued Up
Shaquille O'Neal played three seasons at LSU, returned to play at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center for the first time since leaving college after the 1991-92 season. He finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot.
O'Neal received a loud ovation during pregame introductions and on two monstrous dunks in the first half. He left in the third quarter after picking up his fifth foul and then a technical foul for arguing with the officials.

Monday, October 24, 2005

NFL Round-Up, Week 7

Big Game
Steelers 27/Bengals 13
The Bengals have played two games against teams with a winning record and are now 0-2, their latest defeat coming Sunday to the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes and the Steelers ran the ball and played stingy defense on their way to a 27-13 victory.
Good news for the Bengals, they still have Baltimore and Cleveland on the schedule.

Big Upset
Raiders 38/Bills 17
This is a game that I called last week in the round-up, but the Raiders man handled the Bills more than even I thought they would. The Raiders hero was Lamont Jordan who ran for 122 yards and a career high three touchdowns.

Worst Game
Cardinals 20/Titans 10
Arizona turned three Tennessee turnovers into 17 points to help overcome an early 10-0 deficit.

Miami Dolphins
Alas the Dolphins of last year have returned. A season opening win against Denver was nothing more than false hope for Miami fans who believed this would be a turn around season for the Dolphins.

In a must win game against the Chiefs on Friday night, the Dolphins seemed to have no sense of urgency. Sure, a hurricane was coming, but we are talking about trying to get to .500 and staying in the division race.

The Chiefs totaled a season-high 462 yards while controlling the ball for nearly 42 minutes. The Chiefs dominated this game in every way and with the Dolphins having the injuries they do on defense it may not get better for a while.

The good news is that the Saints are next and they have found a way to get hosed two weeks in a row. Maybe their streak will continue to three.

Conference Rankings
NFC East 16-9
NFC South 16-10
AFC West 14-12
AFC North 13-12
AFC South 13-13
NFC West 11-15
AFC East 10-16
NFC North 9-15

Looking Ahead to Week 8

Big Game

Washington Redskins @ N.Y. Giants
The NFC East is deadlocked with all four teams having four wins. Only the Cowboys have three losses, so New York, Philly and Washington are in first place and the Cowboys are in second. In this tight race a division loss will drop you a long way. Eli Manning is coming of age and has proven that he is not riding on his brother’s coat tails. I like the Giants and the home field advantage.
Prediction: Giants 21/Redskins 13

Possible Upset
Cleveland @ Houston
The two longest streaks in the NFL right now are the Colts seven game winning streak and the Texans six game losing streak. What’s the remedy for Houston’s woes? The Cleveland Browns.
Prediction: Texans 13/Browns 7

My Vote in the Blog Poll

Gone from my poll this week is Maryland and new is Northwestern.

Biggest Rise: Colorado moves from #25 to #19.

Biggest Fall: Texas Tech falls from #6 to # 14.

1 Southern Cal (1) 7-0
2 Texas (2) 7-0
3 Virginia Tech (3) 7-0
4 Georgia (4) 7-0
5 Alabama (6) 7-0
6 UCLA (7) 7-0
7 Louisiana State (8) 5-1
8 Miami (Florida) (9) 6-1
9 Florida State (10) 6-1
10 Boston College (11) 6-1
11 Penn State (12) 7-1
12 Wisconsin (13) 7-1
13 West Virginia (14) 6-1
14 Texas Tech (6) 6-1
15 Notre Dame (15) 5-2
16 Oregon (17) 7-1
17 Florida (18) 5-2
18 Ohio State (19) 5-2
19 Colorado (25) 5-2
20 Auburn (20) 5-2
21 Cal (23) 6-2
22 Minnesota (15) 5-2
23 Fresno State (24) 5-1
24 Northwestern (NR) 5-2
25 Tennessee (21) 3-3
The official poll will be released tomorrow.

Basketball Pre-Season Top 25

1. Duke
2. Connecticut
3. Texas
4. Arizona
5. Oklahoma
6. Michigan State
7. North Carolina
8. Syracuse
9. Kentucky
10. Illinois
11. Memphis
12. Boston College
13. Louisville
14. Stanford
15. UCLA
16. Iowa
17. Gonzaga
18. Kansas
19. West Virginia
20. Alabama
21. Texas Tech
22. Ohio State
23. Georgetown
24. Villanova
25. Maryland

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sic Em

The Baylor Bears have never beaten the Oklahoma Sooners in football, but that almost changed Saturday night as the defending Big 12 Champs found themselves hanging on for dear life in double overtime Saturday night in Norman, OK.

Rhett Bomar threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Juaquin Iglesias in that second overtime to give Oklahoma a 37-30 win. This was a different Sooner team than from weeks before. In my opinion this is a game the Sooners would have lost 4 or 5 weeks ago. OU had to overcome a lot in order to secure this victory and the Sooners freshmen took more baby steps on their way to replacing the superstars who played before them.

The Bears came from 11 points down to pull within two on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Bell to Dominique Zeigler with 1:17 left. Bell then scrambled for the 2-point conversion to tie it.

With Adrian Peterson out with a sprained ankle, backup Kejuan Jones suspended, Donta Hickson out with an injury the Sooners started fourth string running back Jacob Gutierrez who had 173 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries.

Forget the fact that this was Baylor! The Sooners aren’t playing for championships this season, and this is the kind of victory that gives a young team identity and character. They showed mental, overcoming more bad calls, and physical, Gutierrez and Bomar were obviously hurting in the second half, toughness.

The Sooners are above .500 for the first time this season and at 4-3 are two games away from being bowl eligible.

My Player of The Game: Jacob Gutierrez, RB 30 Rush, 173 yds 2 TDs

College Football Round-up, Week 8

Hook Em

The Longhorns did more than take sole possession of first place in the Big 12 South with their 52-17 thrashing of previously unbeaten Texas Tech. They also picked up two more first-place votes in The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday, gaining on No. 1 Southern California.

``I didn't move USC down as much as I moved Texas up,'' said Joe Giglio of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., one of two voters to switch Texas and USC this week. ``I feel (the Longhorns) have a more complete resume and I'm really impressed with how they've handled their business.''

Cocktail Party Without Their #1 QB

Georgia coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday that starter D.J. Shockley sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and isn't expected to play in next Saturday's crucial game against Florida.

So, it looks like Joe Tereshinski will get his first career start in the one of the biggest spotlights in the college football season, the ``World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.'' The Bulldogs (7-0) can clinch a spot in the Southeastern Conference title game -- and they can't afford any slip-ups if they want to remain part of the national championship race.

``I don't want to do anything to make this team lose,'' Tereshinski said.

Fumbled Opportunity

Roman Harper jammed his head into the ball and jolted it loose from Tennessee fullback Cory Anderson, it bounced into -- and out of -- the end zone. And it was a touchback, not a touchdown.

``A lot of things are going our way,'' Tide linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. ``In past years, one of their players probably would have picked that ball up for a touchdown.''

The result was another huge drive for a team that had been prone to letting such games slip away in recent seasons -- including back-to-back narrow defeats to Tennessee.

The Tide is the only SEC West team without a league loss, though it still must play LSU and Auburn. Up next for Bama? Utah State and Mississippi State, can you say 9-0?

Wildcats Share Top Spot in Big 10

The Northwestern Wildcats are one of four Big Ten teams with one conference loss. Penn State and Wisconsin are 4-1 in the league, while Northwestern and Ohio State are 3-1. However don’t look for it to last much longer for the Wildcats who still have games Michigan, Iowa, Ohio State and Illinois.

``I reminded them in the locker room, there's still a lot of football left in the season,'' Coach Randy Walker said. ``This thing is going to be a wild race to the end, and hopefully we can keep getting better as a football team.''

Best Offensive Performance of the Week: UCLA, 516 yards and 51 points against Oregon State
Worst Offensive Performance: Florida Atlantic, 168 yards and 0 points in overtime against Arkansas St.

Best Defensive Performance: Alabama, 272 yards and 3 points allowed against Tennessee.
Worst Defensive Performance: BYU, 531 yards and 49 points allowed against Notre Dame.

Heisman Performances

It’s a toss up with the top three. Hodges is steady on the list with his play station numbers and Zabransky needs more games like he had Saturday to be an official dark horse.

1. Most DeservingVince Young (QB) Texas – 12-22 239 yards 2 TD’s, 2 INT’s, 7 rushes 45 yards 1 TD.
Overall Stats – 105-160 1596 yards, 14 TD’s, 7 INT’s, 82 rushes 458 yards, 6 TD’s.

2. Close SecondMatt Leinart (QB) USC – 20-26 201 yards, 4 TD’s
Overall Stats – 145-224 2149 yards, 16 TD’s, 5 INT’s. 2 rushing TD’s

3. Charging - Reggie Bush (RB) USC – 8 rushes 51 yards 1 TD, 2 receptions 18 yards
Overall Stats - 94 carries 812 yards, 9 TD’s, 19 receptions 244 yards 2 TD’s.

4. Holding SteadyCody Hodges (QB) Texas Tech – 42-64 369 yards 2 TD’s, 1 INT
Overall Stats – 234-332 2830 yards, 24 TD’S, 6 INT’s.

5. Needs More Games Like ThisJarod Zabransky (QB) Boise State – 26-39 328 yards 4
Overall Stats – 128-204 1545 yards, 11 TD’s, 6 INT’s, 66 rushes 233 yards, 6 TD’s.

Nuggets 97, Hornets 93

Chris Paul (left) led the Hornets with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Speedy Claxton scored 14 and J.R. Smith finished with 10 points.

The Hornets rallied from a 26-point deficit in the first half, had a chance to tie after getting the ball out of bounds with 7.8 seconds left, but Denver’s DerMarr Johnson blocked J.R. Smith's 3-pointer from the left wing.

The Nuggets capitalized on a20-3 run in the second quarter and the Hornets, playing in Oklahoma City for the first time, would never recover.

``We wanted to impress the crowd so much. The city has done so much for us and welcomed us right in, and we just wanted to give them a good show and show them that we're going to play for them,'' New Orleans guard Chris Paul said. ``I think guys just had a little bit of jitters.''

Friday, October 21, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

It seems as if there are only two elite teams in the Big 12 Conference and they square off against each other this week. There also seems to be a log jam in the middle of the pack and there are two teams who will play for the cellar dweller spot. It also appears that the north has no prayer against the south for the conference championship. It should be an interesting weekend of Big 12 football.

Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Texas – Looks like Tech could be their final test on the way to the Rose Bowl.
2. Texas Tech – Will have to play their absolute best to prove they are an elite team.
3. Nebraska – Should be undefeated.
4. A&M – Ahead of OU because of better offense.
5. OU – Can't keep winning with defense alone, the offense has got to get better.
6. Colorado – Shouldn’t be punished too much for losing to Texas.
7. Missouri – Overtime win against Iowa State could boost Tigers confidence.
8. Baylor – A win at Oklahoma would be huge for struggling Bears.
9. Kansas State – Disappeared in the second half against Tech.
10. Kansas – Hands down the worst offense in the conference.
11. Iowa State – Where did that team that beat Iowa?
12. Oklahoma State – Has a long way to go.

Big Game
Texas Tech @ Texas
I think this is the biggest game in the history of this series. The Longhorns are on their way to Pasadena and no one would love to detour them more than the Red Raiders. This should be an entertaining game as Mike Leach and Texas Tech look to gain a little national respect.

Tech is in Trouble if …
• Vince Young is running the ball. Last year Young ran for 158 yards and four touchdowns.
• If Cody Hodges doesn’t have time to throw the ball. The Longhorns will bring blitzes from all angles.
• They cannot control the clock. The Red Raiders will have to keep Vince Young off the field.
• If Texas has more than 200 yards rushing.

Texas is in Trouble if …
• Charles does not play. With Adrian Peterson injured, Charles is the best running back in the conference and the Longhorns will need him.
• If they can’t contain Taurean Henderson. He could be the best all-around back in the conference.
• Cody Hodges has time. Hodges has completed more than 71 percent of his passes (199-for-280) for 2,531 yards with 24 TDs and only six interceptions.
• They suffer any injuries. One knock on the Longhorns is that they are not deep at key positions, especially quarterback.
Prediction: Texas 38/Tech 24

Must Win
Nebraska @ Missouri
Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska are all tied with Colorado at 2-1 in conference play. That is why this is a must win because either the Huskers or the Tigers will fall out of the face for the north.
Prediction: Nebraska 24/Missouri 13

Possible Upset
Texas A&M @ Kansas State
A&M is coming off a big win against a bad team and Kansas State is coming off a bad loss to a good team. This is always a recipe for an upset.
Prediction: Kansas State 24/A&M 21

Game No One Cares About
OSU @ Iowa State
Definitely the two worst teams in the conference which is surprising because of good starts to the season, the loser of this game may not win again this year.
Prediction: No one cares!

Other Big 12 Games

Kansas @ Colorado
The Buffs were thumped by the Longhorns last week and take on another stingy defense this week. Fortunately for them the Kansas offense has forgotten what a goal line looks like; it has been that long since they scored a touchdown.
Prediction: Colorado 24/Kansas 3

Baylor @ Oklahoma
The Sooners have the chance to do something that they have not done all season, win two in a row. The Bears are bringing their best team in years to play and they should keep it close. The Sooners will need another amazing performance from their defense and I think they will get it.
Prediction: OU 24/Baylor 10

Spurs 97 - Hornets 90

The Hornets trailed 49-38 at halftime. Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan combined to score San Antonio's first 11 points of the third quarter, pushing the Spurs lead to 60-42.

With reserves on the court for both teams, the Hornets cut the deficit to 90-86 with just over 3 minutes remaining but got no closer.

Maciej Lampe led the Hornets with 23 points and Rasual Butler added 12.

The Hornets fall to 1-3 in the pre-season with this loss. They play next in Oklahoma City, Sunday night, against the Denver Nuggets, the one team they have beaten.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

World Series Preview

It will be the bats of the White Sox against the arms of the Atsros. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Sox have good pitching as well with Contreras, Buehrle, Garland and Garcia, but I’ll still take the Astros Staff.

Led by Paul Konerko (4 Home Runs) the White Sox are hitting very well in the play-offs. The Astros actually have a slight edge in batting average .272 to .263 and both teams have scored 47 runs in the play-offs, but the White Sox have 12 home runs to 9 for the Astros. Plain and simple it will come down to hitting verse pitching and I think that favors Houston.

The Astros took the toughest rout to the World Series and are more battle proven, in my opinion. Look for them to get the split in Chicago and then take control of the series when it moves to Houston.

Prediction: Houston in 6.

Buster's Best

I finally had a good week last week with my picks, but I still have a long way to go to catch up with Buster.

Last Week’s Games

Game One New York Giants @ Dallas – Buster picked his Cowboys to win and I said they would not cover the 3.5 points they were favored by. Buster 1-0/Dad 1-0

Game Two Miami @ Tampa Bay – Buster picked the Dolphins to win and I said that Tampa would cover the 4.5 points they were giving to Miami. Buster 1-1/Dad 2-0

Game Three Oklahoma @ Kansas – Buster picked the Sooners to win and I picked them to cover the 6 points they were giving to the Jayhawks. Buster 2-1/Dad 3-0

Game Four Michigan State @ Ohio State – Buster picked Ohio State and I took them to cover the 6.5 points they were favored by. Buster 3-1/Dad 4-0

Game Five Florida @ LSU – Buster picked LSU and I took the Gators to cover the 6 points they were getting. Buster 4-1/Dad 5-0

For the Season - Buster 23-12/Dad 16-19

This Week’s Games

Game One Kansas City @ Miami – This game has been moved to Friday night because of hurricane Wilma. I’m trying to decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing for my Dolphins who desperately need to win to keep from going two games below .500. Buster likes the Dolphins who are a 2 point favorite. So, can the Dolphins beat the Chiefs? I say yes because it’s a home game. I’m picking Miami to cover.

Game Two Dallas @ Seattle – The Cowboys have been very up and down this season. Buster likes them to beat the Seahawks and I like them to lose on the road. Seattle is favored by 3 and I say they cover.

Game Three Baylor @ Oklahoma – The Bears are bringing their best squad in years to Norman and the Sooners are playing with their worst squad in years. Buster is picking the Sooners to win and I think they will, but a 14 point spread is a lot of points. I think with some help from the defense the Sooners will cover.

Game Four - Oregon State @ UCLA – The Beavers are coming off of a great game and the Bruins are coming off of a bad game. This sets up to be a trap for Oregon State. Buster likes UCLA and I like them to cover the 9.5 points they are favored by.

Game Five USC @ Washington – Buster likes the Trojans who are 30 point favorites on the road. I know that Washington is not a good team, but I think they will cover that spread.

Flag Football Update – Buster did play in his games on Saturday and ran for four touchdowns and threw for a PAT to help his team win the first game 25-0 and tie the second game 12-12.

NFL moves Chiefs Dolphins to Friday night because of hurricane

The Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs football game has been rescheduled to Friday night to beat Hurricane Wilma's arrival in Florida.

The game will begin at 7 p.m. Friday instead of Sunday afternoon, which is about when Wilma is expected to hit Florida's southwestern coast.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said broadcast and television details were being worked out.

It's the third time since the start of the 2004 season that the Dolphins have rescheduled a home game because of a looming hurricane. Last year's home opener against Tennessee was played a day early because of Hurricane Ivan, and the Dolphins' Week 3 game with Pittsburgh was pushed back 7 1/2 hours by Hurricane Jeanne.

Jordan Admits to Being Stupid with Gambling

In a “60 Minutes'' interview to be broadcast Sunday, Michael Jordan admits being ``stupid'' in his gambling, but he never jeopardized his livelihood or his family.

Jordan said his gambling is related to his fierce competitiveness. But he realized when he stepped over the line.

``Yeah, I've gotten myself into (gambling) situations where I would not walk away and I've pushed the envelope,'' Jordan said in the interview.

``It's very embarrassing ... one of the things you totally regret. So you look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I was stupid.'

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blog Poll, Week 8

1 Southern Cal (42)
2 Texas (7)
3 Virginia Tech
4 Georgia
5 Alabama
6 Miami (Florida)
8 Louisiana State
9 Notre Dame
10 Florida State
11 Texas Tech
12 Penn State
13 Ohio State
14 Boston College
15 Auburn
16 Oregon
17 Tennessee
18 Wisconsin
19 Florida
20 West Virginia
21 Michigan State
22 TCU
23 Virginia
24 Fresno State
25 Minnesota
Also Receiving Votes: Cal(1.2), Nebraska(0.8), Maryland(0.5), Louisville(0.4), Louisiana Tech(0.3), Northwestern(0.3), Colorado(0.3), Arizona State(0.3), Michigan(0.3), Georgia Tech(0.2), Iowa(0.1), Toledo(0.1), UTEP(0.1), Oregon State(0.1), Texas A&M(0.0),

Total Ballots: 50
See how I voted.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mid-Season Q&A with Bruce Feldman of ESPN

I had the opportunity to do a five question Q&A with ESPN’s Bruce Feldman to get his mid-season thoughts on the college football season. Here are my questions and his answers.

My Opinion on Sports: What is the biggest surprise of the season so far?

Bruce Feldman: How bad Michigan has been.

My Opinion on Sports: How would you rank the Conferences in order from strongest to weakest?

Bruce Feldman: ACC, SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, MWC, C-USA, MAC, WAC, Sun Belt. I think ACC and SEC are very close. This season there’s a gap between those two and the next three. Normally I’d say it’d go Big 12, then Big Ten, then Pac-10, but with OU and A&M being mediocre, that hurts the Big 12 and this is a good season for the Pac-10.

My Opinion on Sports: Are we heading for more BCS controversy with more than two undefeated teams? Of the undefeated teams who would play in the Rose Bowl and who gets left out?

Bruce Feldman: Yes, I’m afraid so. (PLEASE, CAN WE NOW GET A PLAYOFF!!) My hunch at this point is USC and Texas, but that’s to this point. V-Tech has the burden of proof in the second half of the season, with three potential huge games ahead.

My Opinion on Sports: What coaches are on the "Hot Seat"?

Bruce Feldman: Rich Brooks, Jim Hofher; Tom Craft; Mark Mangino, Chuck Amato; John Bunting; Phil Bennett, Houston Nutt.

My Opinion on Sports: Give us your prediction of the five players invited to New York for the Heisman.

Bruce Feldman: Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Reggie Bush, Brady Quinn, Marcus Vick.

BONUS QUESTION: If you were the host of My Opinion on Sports, what would you do to make the site better?

Bruce Feldman: Use more pictures.

Atlanta 97 – New Orleans/OKC 94

J.R. Smith hit a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining that capped an 8-0 run and pulled the Hornets within three.
Atlanta’s Al Harrington then drove the baseline with the shot clock running down and drew a foul on David West. Harrington missed both free throws, but the Hornets Arvydas Macijauskas missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.
Smith led New Orleans with 26 points, going 6-for-9 from 3-point range. Rookie Chris Paul had eight assists for the Hornets.
The game was originally scheduled to take place in Louisville, Ky., but was moved to Alltel Arena in Little Rock, AR. in August. Attendance was only 4,290.

NFL Round-Up Week Six

Big Game
New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
The Broncos capitalized on big plays to build a 25 point lead early in the third quarter, then held off Tom Brady to get a 28-20 win over the defending world champs. Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer had completions of 72 and 55 yards and running back Tatum Bell had a 68 yard run on his way to his second 100 yard rushing game in two weeks.

Big UpsetThere really were no big upsets this weekend by the New Orleans/San Antonio Saints came very close. Todd Peterson’s 36 yard field goal won it for Atlanta in the final seconds of the game, but only after his miss from 41 yards was negated by a holding penalty on Saints defensive end Tony Bryant.

Worst Game
Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears
The Vikings have officially become the laughing stock of the NFL and Mike Tice has evened with Texans coach Dom Capers in the race to be the first coach fired this season. Minnesota managed only 3 points in their fourth loss in five games.

Miami Dolphins
Turnovers were again the demise of the Dolphins along with poor tackling. Michael Pittman ran for 127 yards and a touchdown for Tampa Bay in their 27-13 win over the Dolphins.

The good news for Miami is that at 2-3 they are only one game out of first place and there is still plenty of time left in the season for this team to make a run. The Dolphins host Kansas City next week, a team that has given up yards on the ground this season, and this becomes a must win game for them. Miami cannot afford to go 2-4.

Looking Ahead to Week Seven

Big Game
Pittsburg @ Cincinnati – Suddenly the Bengals are all alone atop the NFC North Division. The Steelers don’t miss Big Ben as much as they just need to take care of the football. Cincinnati has a great opportunity to take control of the division at home in this game.

Prediction: Bengals 24/Steelers 21

Possible Upset
Buffalo @ Oakland – The Raiders are 1-4 and in last place in the AFC West. The Bills are 3-3 and in first place in the AFC East. This could be Oakland’s last chance to salvage what has been a disappointing season to this point.

Prediction: Raiders 28/Bills 24

Bye Week – New England, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Carolina

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Vote in the Blogg Poll

Here is my vote in this week’s blogg poll. Gone from my poll this week is Louisville. New to my poll is Fresno State.

Biggest Rise
West Virginia moves from # 19 to #14
Biggest Fall
Florida falls from # 10 to #18

1 Southern Cal (1) 6-0
2 Texas (2) 6-0
3 Virginia Tech (3) 6-0
4 Georgia (4) 6-0
5 Alabama (6) 6-0
6 Texas Tech (7) 6-0
7 UCLA (9) 6-0
8 Louisiana State (11) 4-1
9 Miami (Florida) (12) 5-1
10 Florida State (5) 5-1
11 Boston College (14) 6-1
12 Penn State (8) 6-1
13 Wisconsin (17) 6-1
14 West Virginia (19) 6-1
15 Notre Dame (13) 4-2
16 Maryland (18) 4-2
17 Oregon (20) 6-1
18 Florida (10) 5-2
19 Ohio State (22) 4-2
20 Auburn (24) 5-1
21 Tennessee (21) 3-2
22 Minnesota (15) 5-2
23 Cal (16) 5-2
24 Fresno State (NR) 4-1
25 Colorado (23) 4-2

The official blog poll releases tomorrow and will be posted here after 10:00 a.m.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

"D" Was the Key for Sooners

It wasn’t pretty at all. For most of the game you thought that the contest was to see which team had the worst offense. Well, if that was the case then Kansas won hands down. The Jayhawks struggled from the very start, on the third play of the game OU cornerback D.J. Wolfe intercepted quarterback Brian Luke's pass and returned it 65 yards to the end zone.

On their very next drive another Luke pass was intercepted by OU linebacker Clint Ingram which set up an OU field goal to put the Sooners up 10-0. Luke had two interceptions in his first three throws, and things would not get better as he finished the night 11 of 30 for 86 yards, 3 interceptions and was sacked 3 times. The Jayhawks managed just 102 yards against a blitzing Oklahoma defense.

The Jayhawks defense was able to match the Sooners blow for blow during the first half, holding OU to just 82 yards total offense. However, after a few halftime adjustments OU was able to put up 224 yards and score 9 points to put the game away in the second half. The clincher came early in the fourth quarter when OU quarterback Rhett Bomar hooked up with receiver Malcom Kelly for a 25 yard touchdown pass that ended an 11 play 92 yard drive.

The Sooners can walk away from this game with some confidence even though they struggled. The defense was nasty all night and definitely kept the Sooners in the game when the offense faltered. As time went on in the second half things began to click for the Sooners as the Jayhawk defense wore down.

Bomar, who had the worst game of any Sooner quarterback in a long time against Texas, bounced back to put up some semi-respectable numbers (16-31, 206 yards 1 TD/2 INT’s). The running game is still very shaky without Peterson going full speed and you get the feeling that if he would just spend a week without practicing or playing it would go a long way towards his recovery.

From this point on OU has got to show improvement each week. They are now playing for next season and it is important that they get these young players as much solid game experience as possible. The Sooners have to win three of their last five games to become bowl eligible.

Something We Haven’t Seen Yet.
A home game against Baylor gives OU a chance to do something that they have not done this season. Win two games in a row.

My Player of the Game: DE C.J Ah You 5 Tackles, 1 Forced Fumble, Pass Break-Up, Sack Assists

Heisman Performances

Last week you voted to add Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges (left) to the My Opinion on Sports Heisman watch list. He responded by having a monster game against the Kansas State Wildcats and is now set for a showdown with our “most deserving” candidate, Texas quarterback Vince Young.

Here are our candidates, to be voted on at the end of the year, ranked from most deserving to not living up to the hype.

1. Most DeservingVince Young (QB) Texas – 25-29 336 yards 2 TD’s, 10 rushes 58 yards 3 TD’s.
Overall Stats – 93-138 1357 yards, 12 TD’s, 5 INT’s, 75 rushes 413 yards, 5 TD’s.

2. Close Second Reggie Bush (RB) USC – 15 rushes 160 yards 2 TD’s, 4 receptions 35 yards
Overall Stats - 86 carries 761 yards, 8 TD’s, 17 receptions 226 yards 2 TD’s.

3. On Fire - Cody Hodges (QB) Texas Tech – 44-65 643 yards 5 TD’s, 2 INT’s
Overall Stats – 192-268 2461 yards, 22 TD’S, 5 INT’s.

4. Slipping Matt Leinart (QB) USC – 17-32 301 yards, 2 INT’s
Overall Stats – 125-198 1948 yards, 12 TD’s, 5 INT’s. 2 rushing TD’s

5. Not Living Up to the Hype Jarod Zabransky (QB) Boise State – 20-27 249 yards 1 TD, 9 rushes 40 yards 2 TD’s.
Overall Stats – 102-165 1217 yards, 7 TD’s, 6 INT’s, 62 rushes 235 yards, 6 TD’s.

College Football Round-Up, Week Seven

Irish Eyes are Crying
Notre Dame did everything it could to end the Trojans winning streak except finish one play. With a 31-28 lead and under two minutes remaining in the game, Notre Dame forced USC to a fourth and nine. On that fourth down play Matt Leinart hit Dwayne Jarrett in stride on a perfect pass for a 61 yard gain.

That is the play that won the game for USC! If the Irish hold on that play then the goal line controversy doesn’t even happen. Regardless of how you fell about the ending of the game you have to give USC credit for putting themselves in position again to win.

FSU Upset
Last week I put out a warning that the Florida State Seminoles were quietly sneaking up the polls and could make some noise towards season’s end. You can ignore that now. The Seminoles were upset by Virginia 26-21 on the same night the Cavilers celebrated their only other victory over a top 5 school 10 years ago.

Who did they beat in that victory? Florida State.

All Over for Penn State
As quickly as Penn State’s talk of a possible shot at the national championship began, it ended on Saturday with Michigan quarterback Chad Henne throwing a 10 yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham as time expired for a 27-25 Wolverines victory

Tide Keeps Rolling
I was a close win over a bad team but Alabama did what they had to do to come away with a 13-10 victory over Ole Miss. Alabama is 6-0 for the first time since 1996. The Tide is 4-0 in Southeastern Conference play. You have to say now that Bama is the favorite to win the SEC.

Texas Calls Off the Dogs
Up 35 – 10 at half-time you got the feeling that the Longhorns could have named their score against Colorado. Instead, they coasted to a 42-17 win over the Buffalos. Many people, including myself, considered the Buffalos to be the best team from the north. I hope they are not, because if they are it will be another blow-out for the south in the Big 12 Championship game.

Best Offensive Performance Texas Tech - 59 points and 734 yards against Kansas State.
Worst Offensive Performance Syracuse - 9 points and 238 yards against Rutgers.

Best Defensive Performance Oklahoma – 102 yards and 3 points given to Kansas.

Worst Defensive Performance Oklahoma State – 695 yards and 62 points given to Texas A&M.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Orlando 101 - New Orleans/OKC 83

The Hornets led 30-23 after the first period, but was outscored 56-34 during the second and third periods. Jamaal Magloire scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds for the Hornets. Dwight Howard had 19 points and nine rebounds to lead the Magic.

Next up for the Hornets is their first home game in OKC against the Atlanta Hawks, Tuesday night.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Last Minute Football Notes

Last week began to define the order of the Big 12. In the South, Texas took control with their whipping of Oklahoma and Texas Tech remained undefeated with a miracle in Nebraska. Make no mistake about it the South belongs to the Longhorns. Tech is improved, but only Texas can beat Texas. The Longhorns will have to have a meltdown of some sort to not roll through the conference undefeated. My advice, don’t read your press clippings.

In the North, Colorado has taken control once again. Like him or hate him you have to respect the job Gary Barnett has done in Boulder. The Buffalos are now in control of their own destiny and could make a return trip to the Conference Championship game. Just behind Colorado is Nebraska. The Huskers are improved this season, but how much is yet to be determined. This may sound strange but their game in Waco against Baylor will tell us a lot about this year’s Husker team.

Here are my last minute football notes for this week.

Big Game
Colorado @ Texas
This is quite possibly a preview of the Big 12 Championship game. Colorado will approach this game with a nothing to lose attitude, which makes the dangerous. Texas will have to avoid the Sooner slump coming off the Red River Rivalry game last week. Colorado has a better over-all defense than the Sooners do and is leaps and bounds ahead of OU in offense. That should make this a tougher game for the Longhorns, but they also have the advantage of being at home.

Colorado is in trouble if
• Vince Young is running and passing. The Sooners were able to limit Young’s running last week, but the Longhorns really didn’t need his feet. If Young is able to pass as he did last week then it could be a long day for the Buffalos. To beat Texas you have to force Young to be one dimensional.
• Texas does not turn the ball over. Texas is still turnover prone, something that should be driving Mack Brown crazy.
• Charles is in charge. Freshman running back Jamaal Charles is the spark that makes the Texas running game work. If he is healthy and has a big day then the Longhorns will cruise.

Texas is in trouble if
• The Buffalos are running. Colorado will try to win with ball control and running is a key to success there.
• Jamaal Charles is not healthy. He is by far the best running back on the roster for Texas and a nagging injury will allow the defense to put more focus on Young.
• They let the Buffalos hang around. Remember Arkansas two seasons ago? This game could set up in the same manner.

Prediction: Texas 27/Colorado 14

Must Win
Oklahoma @ Kansas – The Jayhawks moved this game to Kansas City in an effort to get more fans at the game and to create a better atmosphere. Had they known how bad OU was going to be and how horrendous their offence would be I doubt they would have gone through the trouble to move this game.

A bowl season is on the line for both of these teams Saturday. Kansas is 0-2 in conference play and the Sooners are 1-1. It’s safe to say that the team that loses will officially be out of contention for the Conference Championship and will have a huge hole to climb out of just to make it to a bowl game, that’s why it’s a must win.

This game should be a low scoring defensive battle. The Jayhawks struggled against a Kansas State defense that OU ran all over two weeks ago. I’m surprised to say that I think OU may have the better offense and I’m confident they have the better defense.

I tried to get the Phog Blog to make a friendly wager with me over this game, but never heard a reply.

Prediction: OU 17/Kansas 9

Possible Upset
Nebraska @ Baylor – The Bears actually should be 2-0 in conference but an overtime loss to A&M has them at 1-1. Nebraska could be 0-2 in conference but an overtime win against Iowa State has them at 1-1. Nebraska comes in a slight favorite and could be walking into an ambush. The Bears are playing solid defense and could actually have a home field advantage with a sell out crowd.

Prediction: Baylor 24/Nebraska 21

Other Big 12 Games

Kansas State @ Texas Tech – This is the Red Raiders final tune up before a big showdown with the Longhorns. Tech is a much better team than Kansas State and barring an injury or looking ahead they should win easily.

Prediction: T Tech 45/KSU 20

Oklahoma State @ Texas A&M – Oklahoma State finally found some offense last week, which is good news. The bad news is that the found it against Missouri who has the worst defense in the Big 12. Oh yeah and the Cowboys have quarterback issues as well. Let me see if I can get this right. The QB who started the first three games of the season now plays defense and their third team QB actually may be the starter this week because the first team QB could be injured and the opening day QB who was moved to the number two spot is now on defense. Raise your hand if you are confused.
A&M has struggled this season, but this is a great chance to put some things together and take advantage of a Cowboys team that has struggled all season on offense and has had some key injuries on defense. If Fran loses this one the hate mail campaigns will go into full swing.

Prediction: A&M 31/OSU 10

Game No One Cares About
Iowa State @ Missouri – That’s right we are bring The Game No One Cares About back because of this game. Missouri not only has the worst defense in the conference but they could be the worst coached team in the Big 12.

Iowa State showed lots of promise in the non-conference part of the season by going undefeated and knocking off Top 10 ranked Iowa. Then they start conference play with losses at Nebraska and at home against Baylor.

Prediction: No One Cares

Big 12 Power Rankings
1. Texas – Can they handle the pressure of being the frontrunner?
2. Texas Tech – Looks like the best team under Mike Leach.
3. Colorado – Huge showdown with Texas.
4. Baylor – Already a successful season.
5. Nebraska – When you intercept the ball late in the game JUST FALL DOWN.
6. OU – Worst team under Bob Stoops?
7. Kansas State – At least the punter showed up last week.
8. A&M – College Station could become an ugly place for Fran.
9. Iowa State – Fading quickly
10. Kansas – Soft non-conference = no offense in conference.
11. Missouri – Could have the first coach fired.
12. Oklahoma State – Has a long way to go.

Hornets 100, Nuggets 90

Can you believe basketball is here? The My Opinion on Sports basketball preview begins next week, starting with the NBA and moving to college.

The New Orleans/OKC Hornets will be our new NBA team this season because they play in my backyard at the Ford Center here in Oklahoma City. Let me go on record again by saying that I do not think the Hornets will leave OKC. They have already sold over 9,000 season tickets and the city has taken a losing team and made them heroes. I think they will be here for a while.

New Orleans/OKC 100 - Denver 90

Rasual Butler scored 19 points and had eight rebounds to lead the Hornets to victory over the Denver Nuggets in the first preseason game for both teams Thursday night. Bostjan Nachbar added 16 points, 14 in the third period, and J.R. Smith had 12 for New Orleans. First-round draft choice Chris Paul had 6 points and dished 7 assists.
Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 17 points and DeMarr Johnson had 15 for the Nuggets who shot 40 percent.
The Hornets shot 63 percent.

Cowboys RB Jones, LB Nguyen questionable

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Running back Julius Jones and linebacker Dat Nguyen did not go through team drills Wednesday and the Dallas Cowboys aren't sure whether either will play Sunday against the New York Giants.

Both are listed as questionable.

Coach Bill Parcells said he is ``kind of hoping'' Jones will be able to play despite a sprained left ankle that kept him out of the second half of a victory over Philadelphia on Sunday. Jones had 72 yards in two quarters and was clearly frustrated to be on the sideline.

Rookie Tyson Thompson, who gained 75 yards in Jones' place, or veteran Anthony Thomas likely would start if Jones can't play.

Thomas has been inactive for several games and isn't happy about it. Parcells said he spoke to Thomas this week to clarify his role.

``It wasn't exactly a two-way discussion,'' Parcells said. ``I told him exactly what I thought, where he was in this world, and I'm hopeful he's receptive to it.''

The Cowboys also have rookie Marion Barber III and they added Keylon Kincade to the practice squad Tuesday.

Parcells said Jones spent Wednesday rehabilitating the ankle. Parcells made it clear that Jones won't play without practicing either Thursday or Friday.

``I'm not telling you who (the starter) is or who it's going to be because I haven't decided,'' Parcells said. ``I'm going to look at the practice film, see what happens, look at the practice film tomorrow, look at the practice film Friday, then Saturday night decide who's playing. That's what we're going to do. To do something in advance of that would not be too smart.''

Nguyen missed the Eagles game with a neck injury. Scott Shanle did well in his place and likely would get the start again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Buster's Best

Last Week’s Games

Game One Philadelphia @ Dallas – Buster picked the Eagles and I took the three points they were favored by, looks like we walked into the ambush with the Eagles.
Buster 0-1/Dad 0-1

Game Two Miami @ Buffalo – Buster picked the Dolphins, they were a three point underdog and I picked them to win as will. Eighteen penalties and five turnovers later we are both 0-2.
Buster 0-2/Dad 0-2

Game Three OU/Texas – At least Buster had enough smarts to go with the Longhorns here. I was dumb enough to think OU could stay within 14 points.
Buster 1-2/Dad 0-3

Game Four Kansas @ Kansas State – Buster picked Kansas to win and I took them to cover the 6.5 points they were getting from Kansas State, three points, that’s all they score, three points. Could I go 0-5?
Buster 2-2/Dad 0-4

Game Five - LSU @ Vanderbilt – Vandy, what was I thinking? They lost to Middle Tennessee State the week before, and I still picked them to cover the 14.5 points they were getting from LSU. Buster picked the Tigers and is right now laughing at me.
Buster 3-2/Dad 0-5

For the Season
Buster 19-11/Dad 11-19

This Week’s Games

Game One New York Giants @ Dallas – Buster is back on the Cowboys band wagon after their thrashing of Philadelphia last week. I’m not so sure, there is a definite riff going on between Keyshawn and Bledsoe and you have to consider the big game letdown. The Cowboys are favored by 3.5, which means they have to win by 4. I say they won’t cover.

Game Two Miami @ Tampa Bay – Buster has more faith in my Dolphins than I do, he is picking them to win. They are a 4.5 dog and I say that they do not cover.

Game Three Oklahoma @ Kansas – This game will be played in Kansas City and I bet that the Jayhawks would love to have their home game back. Hmmmm which OU and which Kansas team are we going to see this weekend? Buster is staying true to his Sooners. If OU loses this game then you can kiss bowl hopes goodbye and go ahead and purchase your basketball tickets early. That’s why I like them and cover the 6 points they are favored by.

Game Four Michigan State @ Ohio State – Buster is picking the Buckeyes and I think I will too. Ohio State is giving 6.5 to the Spartans and I say they cover.

Game Five Florida @ LSU – Buster is picking the Tigers who are a 6 point favorite. I think there are some serious defensive issues for the Tigers and that is why I’m picking the Gators to cover.

Flag Football Update – Buster’s team did not play last weekend and he is off his crutches and moving around pretty good. He is listed as questionable for Saturday’s games.


Barber fined $30,000

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber was fined $30,000 by the NFL on Wednesday for punching an official during last Sunday's game with the New York Jets.
Two other prominent players, Baltimore's Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed, were fined $15,000 each for making contact with an official during the Ravens' game in Detroit.
Of the three players, only Suggs was ejected. The Ravens' B.J. Ward, who was ejected from the Baltimore-Detroit game, was not fined.
``I think my dad was more upset about the fine and mom was more upset because I'm not supposed to get angry on television like that,'' Suggs said.
Barber inadvertently hit umpire Butch Hannah in the eye during a scuffle with the Jets' Kevin Mawae in the second quarter of the game. Normally one of the NFL's solid citizens, the Pro Bowl cornerback said after the game: ``It was two guys with their triple testosterone running high, acting like idiots.
The league said the fine was levied for ``impermissible physical contact with a game official.''
Suggs was fined for the same offense. He was called for roughing the passer by referee Mike Carey and was ejected after his face mask made contact with the bill of Carey's cap.
``I owe my team big and I'm apologizing for not upholding our Ravens' name,'' Suggs said.
Reed, last season's NFL defensive player of the year, was fined for grabbing an official and shoving him after an extra-point attempt. Ward was thrown out after attempting to intercede in the melee involving officials and Detroit players following the play.

I’m not really sure what to say about this other than if you are going to take a swing at another player it’s less expensive if you actually hit him.

Thirsty for a title, Chicago must overcome 1-0 deficit

CHICAGO (AP) -- Three time zones in three nights. No matter, the Los Angeles Angels were plenty fresh thanks to Paul Byrd and his bullpen.
Byrd pitched effectively in a pinch, Garret Anderson homered and baseball's most frequent flyers edged the Chicago White Sox 3-2 Tuesday night in the opener of the AL championship series.
The Angels were supposed to be more than a little jet-lagged. Sunday night, they were on the East Coast, playing the Yankees. Monday night, they were back on the West Coast, beating New York. Now, they're in the Midwest, with no off-day until Thursday.
``We've had a couple of redeye flights and guys haven't really complained. I don't know if we're delirious or what,'' Byrd said.

I picked the Angels in the Championship Series Preview and so far so good. I’m more confident about this pick than I am about my Astros pick.

Stoudemire will be sidelined four months after knee surgery

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Phoenix Suns intend to keep running while their dynamic young center heals from knee surgery.
All-Star Amare Stoudemire is out for about four months, and Suns coach Mike D'Antoni insists the style will not change despite the absence of their slashing, slam-dunking man in the middle.
``We've got a lot of offensive weapons on the floor,'' D'Antoni said. ``We lost our biggest weapon, but we have a lot of others. We're not hanging our heads at all. It's just too bad for Amare, but the Phoenix Suns are going to go on.''

No Doubt this will hurt the Suns. If they can stay in contention in his absence they could make a serious run during the last half of the season.

NCAA Football
Former NFL coaches Carroll, Weis match wits again

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis used to scheme against each other in the NFL. Now the coaches find out who can one-up the other in a college game.
Carroll, considered a defensive guru, and Weis, whose genius with offense helped make the New England Patriots an NFL powerhouse, will be on opposing sidelines Saturday in South Bend, Ind., when Carroll and top-ranked USC go against Weis and No. 9 Notre Dame.
Both coaches' backgrounds include stints with the New York Jets and the Patriots, although never on the same staff. They've only spoken a few times, but obviously share a great mutual respect.
``Pete and I, we go back a ways, back to when he was a defensive coordinator with the Jets, then the head coach with the Jets, then the head coach of the Patriots,'' Weis said. ``Because we were in that northeast corridor together, we had an opportunity to compete.
``I think he is a really good coach. He has been good for college football. He came in there when that program was a little down. Obviously, they're setting the bar now.''

I’ll take Weis’ intelligence and Carroll’s players. I do think the Weis is the better coach and if he can recruit anything like Pete Carroll he will quickly catch up to the Trojans as one of the best teams in the country. Look for the Trojans to win this weekend, but if there ever was a coach who could exploit USC’s defense, it’s Charlie Weis.

Spotting trouble

It has become a regular occurrence in NASCAR.
Two cars attempt to claim the same space on the race track ... at the same time. The result usually is not very good and often is catastrophic.
One or both cars end up either in the wall or upside down, as we saw during the Cup race in Talladega two weeks ago and during last month's Busch race at Richmond.
After these types of incidents, drivers involved often make comments like "Where was his spotter?"
Or worse yet, "Where was MY spotter?"
The spotter is a team member with a radio who is placed in a high position where they can see as much of the entire race track as physically possible – usually on top of the highest grandstand. His or her primary job is to make sure the driver is safe during the race and to be a second set of eyes.
Spotters first were used by some NASCAR teams as early as the 1950s. But it wasn't until after Darrell Waltrip was seriously injured in a practice crash at Daytona in July 1990 that NASCAR mandated all teams have at least one spotter using a two-way radio at all times. Today, NASCAR views the spotter as an important safety device.
Ironically, with all of the safety improvements NASCAR has instituted in the past five years, a driver's vision from inside the race car has become very limited, particularly off to the sides and behind the car.
"They really can't see all around them. It's a double edged sword, to be sure," said Mike Calinoff, spotter for '03 Cup champ and current Chase contender Matt Kenseth. "The safety improvements help the driver in the event of a wreck, but they've also made it more difficult for the drivers to do their job."

This just goes to prove that NASCAR is more of a team sport than many people give it credit for. There is a lot that goes into a driver’s chances on race day and just as in any other sport the better the team the better the results.

My Opinion on Politics

Two things people always have an opinion on are sports and politics. I'm expanding the My Opinion Empire to include politics. My Opinion on Politics is your forum to share your political opinions. I’ll post headlines and opinions from the political world and you can vent, rant, relate or explain. The only thing we ask is that you keep it clean.

Blog Poll, Week Seven

1 Southern Cal (47)
2 Texas (6)
3 Virginia Tech
4 Georgia
5 Florida State
6 Alabama
7 Miami (Florida)
8 Penn State
9 Notre Dame
10 Louisiana State
12 Florida
13 Michigan State
14 Texas Tech
15 Boston College
16 Ohio State
17 Cal
18 Auburn
19 Tennessee
20 Oregon
21 Louisville
22 Minnesota
23 Wisconsin
24 Colorado
25 West Virginia

Also Receiving Votes: Fresno State(0.8), Arizona State(0.8), TCU(0.6), Maryland(0.4), Iowa(0.2), Baylor(0.2), Nebraska(0.2), North Carolina State(0.1), Georgia Tech(0.1), South Florida(0.1), Connecticut(0.1), Northwestern(0.1), UTEP(0.0), Toledo(0.0), Indiana(0.0),

Total Ballots: 53

How I voted.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

MLB Championship Series Previews

American League
White Sox vs. Angels
The Angels may be road weary, but they are glad to be where they are. The White Sox are rested and ready to play and they have the home field advantage. The White Sox have found their bats suddenly as well. In three games against Boston Chicago hit 7 homeruns and batted .289.

The Angels play better defense and have the better bullpen, ask the Braves how important that is. Without Bartolo Colon in the rotation you have to give the starting pitching edge to the White Sox.

The key in this series will be the experience of Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, his 2002 title run experience will be huge.

I think this series could go seven games and I’m picking the Angels.

National League
Astros vs. Cardinals
The Astros are the comeback kids this season and now face their biggest test in the Cardinals. Against Atlanta Houston had an eye popping .667 batting average. The Cardinals have been the best team in baseball all season and snoozed past the Padres in the first round.

I think both teams are a wash on defense and starting pitching should go to the Cardinals but not by much. Lidge gives the Astros the best bullpen but the managing edge goes to the Cardinals with La Russa.

Everything in me says to pick the Cardinals, but I just have a feeling that the Astros are not finished yet. This team has amazing chemistry and very well could be this year’s version of the Boston Red Sox.

I’m taking Houston on a hunch.

Steelers' Roethlisberger has hyperextended left knee, could play this week

From the APPittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has a hyperextended left knee and a bone bruise sustained during a game-winning field goal drive at the end of a 24-22 victory over San Diego on Monday night, but hasn't been ruled out of Sunday's game against Jacksonville.
The injury isn't as severe as it initially appeared to be -- immediately after the game, coach Bill Cowher said ``it looked bad.''
``It's a deep sigh of relief,'' Cowher said Tuesday.

Roethlisberger, 16-1 as an NFL regular-season starter, was injured with 1:05 remaining when Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo's helmet collided with his left knee as Roethlisberger was completing a 9-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El.

Monday, October 10, 2005

NFL Round-UP, Week Five

Big Games
Washington Redskins @ Denver Broncos
It looked like Washington’s luck was going to continue as quarterback Mark Brunell drove the Redskins 94 yards for a touchdown late in the game. However, Ian Gold had other plans as he broke up Brunell’ pass for a two point conversion.
The Broncos have now won four in a row and are in complete control of the AFC West, while the Redskins got some help from the Cowboys beating Philadelphia.

Pittsburg Steelers @ San Diego Chargers
Jerome Bettis made his NFL debut and Jeff Reed kicked the game winning field goal with less than 10 seconds left in the game. The problem for the Steelers who won 24-22 was that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was carted off the field, after the game was over, with an apparent knee injury. Look for more details in the week on this, because a serious injury to Big Ben would put the Steelers in the same boat as the Jets.

Big Upsets
Cincinnati Bengals @ Jacksonville Jaguars
I called this one last week! Cincinnati started 4-0 for the first time since 1988, but the winning streak would end there. Byron Leftwich threw for two touchdowns and Fred Taylor ran for 132 as the Jags handed the Bengals their first loss of the season 23-20.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Dallas jumped out on the Eagles early and never looked back in a game they had to win in order to stay in the division race. Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw three first half touchdowns, two to Terry Glenn, and the Cowboys led a shocked Eagles team 27-3 at the half on their way to a 33-10 rout.

Worst Game
Indianapolis Colts @ San Francisco 49ers
Peyton Manning was not his typical self, throwing two interceptions to a 49ers defense that has been decimated by injuries. The 49ers had two guys in their secondary from the practice squad. Alex Smith made his debut throwing four interceptions. Colts win in boring fashion 38-3.

Division Rankings
Here are the divisions in order of wins and losses.
NFC East 12-6
NFC South 12-8
AFC North 10-7
AFC South 10-9
AFC West 9-9
AFC East 9-10
NFC West 7-13
NFC North 5-12

Looking Ahead to Week Five

Big Games

New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos
Are the Patriots riding on emotion or have they really pulled it together? After a big win against the Steelers they were pasted the following week by the Chargers. New England is now coming off a big win over Atlanta and going on the road to Denver where the Broncos have one 4 in a row.
Prediction: Broncos 24/ Patriots 21

Possible Upset
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders
San Diego is hurting after giving up the lead in the fourth quarter in all three of their losses. The Raiders don’t have a very good defense, but they have had two weeks to prepare and the Chargers are coming off a short week.
Prediction: Raiders 28/Chargers 20

Bye WeekCardinals, Eagles, Packers, 49ers

Miami Dolphins
Eighteen penalties and five turnovers in a 20-14 loss to the Bills, this is a game Miami could have and should have won. It’s a game you don’t get back and coming off a bye week Miami should have been much better. Performances like this will be the reason the Dolphins won’t make the play-offs.

Miami is in great position right now, but they have to be a lot smarter. After giving the game in Buffalo away, the Tampa Bay game becomes a must win this weekend. The Bucs are getting Cadillac Williams back which will make the task of shutting down the run much more difficult for the Miami defense, but Tampa Bay will have to deal with both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

Miami could have the best running back tandem in the NFL and hopefully will be able to pound on defenses and wear them out. This could make Miami a very dangerous team but they have got to cut down on mistakes and take care of the ball.