Friday, March 31, 2006

My Opinion on the Final Four

Its game day in Indianapolis and two teams will have their dream season come to a screeching halt. Just which two teams? Well I glad you asked because I was about to tell you.

Cinderella gets the night started when the George Mason Patriots take on the Florida Gators. I’m trying to find a good reason to pick against George Mason but I just can’t. The Patriots have destroyed my bracket winning game after game that they shouldn’t have. Remember according to two guys from CBS, who will remain nameless, this team shouldn’t even be in the tournament. After beating UConn last weekend who’s to say that they can’t win the whole thing? The biggest problem for George Mason may not be the Florida Gators but the press clippings they are reading and the pressure of being the first #11 seed in 26 years to be at the Final Four. I do think it will be a close game.

The late game features UCLA against Glen “Big Baby” Davis, err… I mean LSU. While the Bruins have a defense that the school’s football team could learn a thing or two from their in ability to produce on offense will cost them this game and an ugly game it will be. Both UCLA and LSU are great on defense but the Bruins will get muscled around on the inside and their defense won’t be able to make up for sloppy play on offense. I’m picking the LSU Tigers to advance to Monday night’s championship game to play Florida.

Those are my thoughts, feel free to leave yours. Enjoy the games!

Join the My Opinion on Sports Fantasy Baseball League

The Major League baseball season opens on Monday and this is your invitation to join us for an exciting season of fantasy baseball. The My Opinion on Sports fantasy baseball league has been set up through Yahoo Sports and we want you to play with us.

Here is the link to join and sign-up will close on Monday at 5:00 pm CST. The league ID# is 317528 and the password is dolphinfan. Have fun and good luck! IT'S FREE but you do have to have a yahoo ID which is free as well.

Once you are registered with use the link above to register your team.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Big 12 Spring Review: Kansas State

The Kansas State Wildcats began their spring practices on Monday with a new coach for the first time in 17 years. While the absences of Bill Snyder couldn’t help but be noticed Prince was ready to get his team out on the field.

“Fans and players love the games, but coaches love practice,” Prince said, “To be able to teach your players and go into your lab, your classroom so to speak, is really when the coaches have the most fun. Spring ball, for coaches, is probably our most enjoyable time all year.”

Kansas State has 41 returning lettermen, including 20 starters back from last year’s 5-6 team. However according to Prince there are no positions set just yet and the depth chart will be updated throughout the spring.

“One of the biggest things we want to try to accomplish is to create some competitive tension,” Prince said in reference to his goals for the spring. “We will ask our players to compete for playing time, which is why we really haven’t made up our mind about any of the depth chart issues yet. I am really excited to see which kids have competitive toughness and want to perform when something is on the line.”

Despite trying to find out who is going to win what position the Wildcats are also installing a new playbook. “These are really the first 15 days of (fall) training camp,” said Prince. “But we won’t be trying to put everything in our systems all at once. There will also be all the nuts and bolts of football, because we are dealing with a lot of kids up and down the roster that really need that at this time. We will be very basic. We’ll install our systems and try to make sure that our young people understand the big picture of what we are trying to get done.”

The Wildcats return nine starters from last season’s offense that averaged 26.3 points per game and will be led by one of five quarterbacks in camp competing for the starting job.

The frontrunner will be sophomore-to-be Allan Evridge, who started six games at quarterback for the Wildcats during 2005 and ended the year as the most prolific freshman passer in school history (1,365 yards/6 touchdowns).

Allen Webb, who has gained nearly 2,000 yard of total offense over the past two seasons, started five games in both 2004 and 2005 and returns for his senior season as does Dylan Meier, who missed all of 2005 with an injury after starting six games as a sophomore in 2004 and passing for just under 1,500 yards.

Redshirt freshman Kevin Lopina and true freshman Josh Freeman are also expected to compete for the starting job.

Thomas Clayton is expected to win the running back spot. He started eight games last season and ran for 637 yards including three games of 100 yards or more. He finished the year ranked eighth in the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 70.8 yards per game, and scored five touchdowns.

The Wildcats also return eight starters from last season’s defense. That could be good or bad depending on how you look at it because KSU gave up almost 28 points per game in 2005. They will be led by senior linebacker Brandon Archer who has been the leading tackler the past two seasons.

2006 Kansas State Football Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sat, Sep 02 Illinois State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 09 Florida Atlantic Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 16 Marshall Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 23 Louisville Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Sep 30 Baylor at Waco, Texas
Sat, Oct 07 Oklahoma State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Oct 14 Nebraska Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Oct 21 Missouri at Columbia, Mo.
Sat, Oct 28 Iowa State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Nov 04 Colorado at Boulder, Colo.
Sat, Nov 11 Texas Manhattan, Kan.
Sat, Nov 18 Kansas at Lawrence, Kan.

Big 12 Spring Review: Kansas

With several positions needing to be filled in Lawrence the biggest position battle for Kansas is who will play quarterback for the Jayhawks this fall. Kerry Meier, Adam Barmann and Todd Reesing all are competing, with a starter expected to be named soon.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do when the pads come on and people start flying at them,” lineman David Ochoa said. “We’ll see, but the first impression is very good.”

Barmann has started 13 games over the past three seasons, but Meier and Reesing are the unknowns.

“They need a lot of repetitions in terms of being able to recognize things,” KU coach Mark Mangino said. “I think they just need to improve in all areas of the game. But it’s plain to see that they have some natural abilities you really like at the position.”

On the defensive side of the ball the Jayhawks might have suffered a seroius loss in the secondary after safety Rodney Harris suffered a fluke injury resulting in him having emergency neck surgery. Mangino described the injury as a fluke.
“A very routine tackle,” KU coach Mark Mangino said. “He practiced the rest of practice. He happened to stop in the training room after practice and said, ‘Hey, I’m a little sore right here.’”

About 48 hours later, Harris was having neck surgery and now football career is in jeopardy.

“He didn’t even lay on the ground,” Mangino said. “Didn’t say ow. Didn’t do anything.”

With Harris’ future uncertain KU gets even younger at free safety. Jerome Kemp is expected to start at strong safety, but free safety could be between freshman Darrell Stuckey, sophomore Raymond Brown.

2006 Jayhawk Football Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 2 Northwestern State Lawrence
Sept. 9 Louisiana-Monroe Lawrence
Sept. 16 Toledo Toledo, Ohio
Sept. 23 South Florida Lawrence
Sept. 30 Nebraska Lincoln, Neb.
Oct. 7 Texas A&M Lawrence
Oct. 14 Oklahoma State Lawrence
Oct. 21 Baylor Waco, Texas
Oct. 28 Colorado Lawrence
Nov. 4 Iowa State Ames, Iowa
Nov. 18 Kansas State Lawrence
Nov. 25 Missouri Columbia, Mo.

Top 10 Tight End Prospects

I have to disagree with CBS SportsLine again. When it comes to the top tight ends in the country Leonard Pope and Joe Klopfenstein are my one and two. I see both of these guys having long NFL careers, Pope is in the Randy McMichael mold and Klopfenstein could be the next Jay Novacek.

Dominique Byrd is a beast. He has great hands and perfect size but attitude could be an issue with him. Marcedes Lewis, like Byrd, has the size and hands but seems to be a finesse type player. I think of Keyshawn Johnson and Lewis as the same type of player even though they play different positions.

What are your thoughts?


1. Vernon Davis Maryland
2. Marcedes Lewis UCLA
3. Anthony Fasano Notre Dame
4. Leonard Pope Georgia
5. Joe Klopfenstein Colorado
6. Tony Scheffler Western Michigan
7. Dominique Byrd USC
8. Jason Pociask Wisconsin
9. Anthony Mix Auburn
10. T.J. Williams N.C. State

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Big 12 Spring Review: Iowa State

Ten starters return on offense for Iowa State, led by record-setting quarterback Bret Meyer and All-America candidate Todd Blythe at wide receiver, which means there are no real position battles going on in Ames this spirng. The Cyclone offensive line returns four of its five starters this fall and its starting tight end. A healthy Stevie Hicks battling a healthy Jason Scales this spring should put the Cyclone running game back on track from last season’s 96th ranked attack.

Despite not having a consistent rushing game, Bret Meyer exceeded the expectations of many with the No. 2 passing season in Iowa State history. Meyer will start his 25th straight game in the season opener against Toledo on Aug. 31. Last season Meyer threw for 2,876 yards and 19 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Nine of those TD passes went to wide receiver Todd Blythe, who tied the school record for touchdown receptions he had set as a freshman.

Iowa State forced a conference-best 35 turnovers last season, leading the Big 12 in turnover margin and placing seventh in that category nationally. But the ultimate stat, scoring defense, at 19.2 points per game, was the best by a Cyclone defense since 1980.

The 2006 Cyclone defense isn’t as fortunate as the offense. Gone is Nick Leaders who was a first-team all-Big 12 nose guard and started all but the first game of his Iowa State career. Also gone are LaMarcus Hicks who was a part of the Cyclone secondary that made a Big 12 best 22 interceptions, and first team All-Big 12 middle linebacker Tim Dobbins.

When it comes to replacing the departed talent on the defensive side of the ball head coach Dan McCarney doesn’t seem too concerned.

“I would be really surprised if Collins Eboh is not in the mix right away. Because he played as a true freshman on a good football team and he is bigger and stronger now and we hope he has more maturity. But I would be really surprised if Collins can't come in and fight for some playing time. Beyond that, there are a lot of good, young athletes. A number of high school defensive linemen and a number of high school DBs and linebackers, so it should be a fun group to evaluate and to see what happens in August and who and how many guys might be ready to help our team out in 2006."

2006 Cyclone Football Schedule
Day Date Opponent Location
Thu 08/31/06 Toledo Ames, Iowa
Sat 09/09/06 UNLV Ames, Iowa
Sat 09/16/06 Iowa Iowa City, Iowa
Sat 09/23/06 Texas Austin, Texas
Sat 09/30/06 Northern Iowa Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/07/06 Nebraska Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/14/06 Oklahoma Norman, Okla.
Sat 10/21/06 Texas Tech Ames, Iowa
Sat 10/28/06 Kansas State Manhattan, Kan.
Sat 11/04/06 Kansas Ames, Iowa
Sat 11/11/06 Colorado Boulder, Colo.
Sat 11/18/06 Missouri Ames, Iowa

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kelvin Sampson to Indiana

OU men’s head basketball coach is moving on to greener pastures and many people from the state and around the Big 12 are wondering why. Some have said that Sampson is getting away before the NCAA lowers the boom on the Oklahoma program for the 500 plus illegal phone calls that Sampson made to recruits. Some say that a riff has developed between Sampson and the Oklahoma administration that made him want to leave. The list goes on and on – he was tired of the lack of sell-outs at Lloyd Noble, the talent cupboard was bare, Lamarcus Aldridge is returning for another season at Texas.

The mystery behind Sampson’s departure is actually quite simple. HE GOT A BETTER JOB! Oklahoma is a football school and football schools don’t pack the basketball arena night in and night out. Football schools don’t make their basketball coaches the highest paid person within the athletic department and football schools don’t care about basketball until the second week in January.

At Indiana Sampson will have what all division I basketball coaches want a rabid fan base, a sold out arena and top billing as the Big Man on Campus. Take that Bob Stoops! This was just a move that was simply in the best interest of Kelvin Sampson and OU fans will be fine next month after the spring football game.

As far as the pending NCAA boom being lowered on Oklahoma that people in Austin and Stillwater are waiting for, don’t hold your breath. Even though Sampson isn’t scheduled to appear before the NCAA until April 21 he has already received his punishment. Sampson lost scholarships, was limited in recruiting and had some money taken out of his wallet. The NCAA isn’t going to do anything else.

For those of you who are willing to disagree are you saying that the people in Bloomington are bloomin idiots? Are you forgetting that NCAA headquarters is in the Hoosier backyard? Are you forgetting that Miles Brand was the President at Indiana? Don’t you think some phone calls were made to check on the future status of Mr. Sampson before this hire was made? The Indiana basketball program has always been squeaky clean and I seriously doubt that they would intentionally ruin that to hire a guy that the NCAA was about to come down on.

So where does this leave the Oklahoma basketball program? OU athletic director Joe Castiglione keeps a short list but no one really knows who is on it. With the rise of the women’s basketball program and the playing second fiddle to the football program I think it will be difficult for the Sooners to land a big name like John Calipari, but you never know. The compensation package to coach at OU is very generous and the Sooners are a top 25 program. Here is my list of candidates to watch in no particular order.

Bob Hoffman – OU assistant
Barry Hinson – Missouri State head coach
John Beilein – West Virginia head coach
Lorenzo Romar – University of Washington head coach
Tim Floyd – Former Iowa State head basketball head coach

Sooners Lose to Dallas Baptist

I guess the baseball team was looking forward to playing Texas so much that they forgot to show up against Dallas Baptist. Not only was this an embarrassing loss for the Sooners who are ranker 14th nationally but the fact that they lost at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman just pours salt into the wounds.

The Patriots scored a combined seven runs in the second and third innings and held OU scoreless until the fourth to record just its second win in the all-time series which began in 2004. The Sooners lead the all-time series 15-2. The loss dropped OU to 20–7 overall while Dallas Baptist improved to 19-10.

To 10 Wide Receiver Prospects for the NFL Draft

Continuing with our look at the top draft prospects according to CBS SportsLine I have to disagree a little with the rankings of the receivers.

Looking at this list I do agree with Holmes at the top spot but I also think Hagan and Moss are very close behind him. I have seen Cory Rodgers and Skyler Green in person and I would definitely have those two players flip-flop. Green has made more big plays against better competition and if I have to make a choice between Greg Jennings and Jason Avant I'm going with Avant every time.

If you are the GM how do you rank them?

1. Santonio Holmes Ohio State
2. Derek Hagan Arizona State
3. Sinorice Moss Miami (FL)
4. Greg Jennings Western Michigan
5. Cory Rodgers T.C.U.
6. Chad Jackson Florida
7. Maurice Stovall Notre Dame
8. Jason Avant Michigan
9. Skyler Green L.S.U.
10. Will Blackmon Boston College

Big 12 Spring Review: Colorado

I got some inside help on the Colorado review from Marc at BuffsTV. Basically I tossed some questions out there about Colorado’s spring practice and he answered them. Thanks Marc!

Questions about the Buffalos

What is the biggest question that Colorado needs to answer this spring?

For the sake of all of the upperclassmen on the team, 2006 can not be written off as a rebuilding year. The Buffaloes must adapt to new coaches and new systems and be ready to define this season as a successful one. They've got one breather game with Montana State before heading into the standard difficult non-conference schedule that has come to define the Colorado program (Colorado State, Arizona State and Georgia) MSU should allow them to get a feel for the new offense in a real game before the pressure comes squarely down upon them.

What will be the biggest position battle this spring?

Quarterback. Joel Klatt the CU starter for the last 3 years is looking for an NFL team now. The competition will be fierce with seniors Brian White and James Cox competing with junior Bernard Jackson for the top spot. This competition will not be finalized in the spring. That's a great thing for Cox who has a bruised thumb and is sitting out much of the spring. Watching these guys compete is great since they are all starting from square one with a brand new offense. Brand new and exciting!

Who is an unknown player that will emerge as a star this spring?

A bulked up junior Hugh Charles is a force to watch at running back and it is great to see redshirt freshman Kevin Moyd provide him some excellent competition in his first year of action. And probably the best news for the Buffs is the play of junior Tyson DeVree at tight end. Quality tightends are a staple at CU (see Daniel Graham, Joe Klopfenstein, Christian Fauria, Matt Lepsis..) and Tyson is on the national watch lists already.

What can we expect to see different from the Buffs with new head coach Dan Hawkins?

This guy is passionate. He has slept every night at Dal Ward duirng spring practice. Check this out. A few days ago sophomore Ben Burney made an interception in 7-on-7 drills. Hawkins sprinted down the sideline after him trying to strip the ball along the way then the two of them celebrated together with high fives and chest bumps in the end zone. That's what I want from my coach.

Who will be the biggest star on the team?

The stars are still to be determined, but one thing we know for sure is that senior center Mark Fenton will define the heart and soul of this team as he leads the Buffs into the 2006 campaign.

Dolphins Sign Fullback Fred Beasley

Ronnie Brown has a new lead blocker and a very good one at that! The Miami Dolphins signed fullback Fred Beasley to a one year contract yesterday bring an all-purpose back who is a punishing blocker into their backfield.

In his NFL career Beasley has served as the lead blocker for three different 1,000-yard rushers. In his eight previous NFL seasons Fred Beasley, a 6-0, 245-pounder has appeared in 114 regular season games, including 82 starts. He has rushed for 610 yards and eight touchdowns on 183 carries, and caught 133 passes for 1,017 yards and five touchdowns. He was selected as the NFC’s Pro Bowl fullback in 2003 when he led a 49ers rushing attack that amassed 2,279 yards and a 4.6-yard average per attempt, as the unit ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing offense.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Dolphins Take Prime-Time on NFL's Opening Night

The NFL regular season schedule won’t be announced and released until sometime in April but the NFL did release the opening weekend schedule and the Thanksgiving Day schedule.

The season will officially “kick-off” on Thursday September 7 at 7:30 CST when the Miami Dolphins visit the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC.

The rest of the nationally televised schedule will feature the Dallas Cowboys at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday September 10 at 3:15 CST on Fox. The Sunday night primetime game on NBC will make history as two brothers face each other for the first time as opposing quarterbacks. The Indianapolis Colts will visit the New York Giants.

Monday night will mark the premier of Monday Night Football on ESPN. It will also mark the first ever regularly scheduled Monday night double-header. The first game will feature the Minnesota Vikings at the Washington Redskins and the late game will be the San Diego Chargers at the Oakland Raiders.

Thanksgiving Day will feature an NFL triple-header! The Dolphins will play at Detroit on CBS and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will visit the Dallas Cowboys in a game that will be featured on Fox. The NFL network will feature the late game as the Denver Broncos visit the Kansas City Chiefs.

Big 12 Football Spring Review: Baylor

They Can Play Defense but…

Apparently the Baylor offense has struggled getting started this spring and the defense may have a lot to do with that. After struggling against the defense during a two-hour practice last Wednesday Baylor head coach Guy Morris addressed his team’s performance.

"We struggled offensively today, the defense got after us pretty good today," Morriss said. "It (the defense) is overwhelming us right now, we are still thinking too much and they are throwing the kitchen sink at us. And, they (our defensive staff) have a pretty good idea on handle on stopping this offense to start with. They are sending the house and we are still struggling to deal with all that stuff.“

When it comes to the defense dominating the offense Morris is trying to encourage his offense to continue to improve and build confidence.

"I try and encourage them (the defense), because we can't win ballgames if we can't stop anyone," he added. "We (the offense) need to see that because we are going to see that down the road and we have to deal with it. The defense makes the offense look bad at times and sometimes we get down, but I told our players this is not an overnight deal. We have to keep working at it."

The Bears are looking to replace seven starters from last year’s defense and to this point the coaches are pleased with what they are seeing on the field.

"Everyone that is out here, for the most part, has been in the system for at least a year, so there wasn't that lull of learning a new system," Morriss said. "The new guys have to learn the details and grow up in a hurry. They know the basics, but they don't have any experience."

Morriss did say he's been pleased with the play of fifth-year senior quarterback Shawn Bell and his redshirt freshman back-up, Blake Szymanski, but noted that "it is hard to throw the ball with bodies in your face."

Spring Review/Round Table

Spring football practice has started across the country and My Opinion on Sports is going to review all 12 schools from the Big 12 Conference. Before we start with that Schembechler Hall has posted a round table amongst the members of the blog poll about their respective football teams.

Here are my responses;
1) Its early, but thus far, which off-season change or changes in college football are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about new offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. I was a Chuck Long supporter but wasn’t sad to see him leave to San Diego State. Wilson was the coordinator for the Sooners win over Oregon in the Holiday Bowl and we saw some very good new wrinkles with just a few weeks to prepare.

Having the entire off-season and spring and summer camps to install the new offense I can’t wait to see what the Sooners unveil this fall. When Wilson was offensive coordinator at Northwestern his offense was crazy good against Big 10 competition.
Look for more play action and qb roll outs from the Sooners this fall. Opposing defenses will again focus on shutting down Adrian Peterson and Wilson has the game plan that will punish teams for that.

2) With spring practice underway, what are the three concerns about your team that are causing you the most anxiety? (USC fans can't just list the departures of Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, and LenDale White.)

1. Offensive line. There is no question that the offensive line cost Oklahoma the season opener against TCU last year. The line was the Achilles for most of the season and finally gelled late but now the Sooners are back to square one because of graduation.

2. Defensive secondary. I am pretty confident in the ability of the defensive line and linebackers to frustrate and confuse quarterbacks as well as play strong against the run. What I am not confident in yet is the ability of the OU secondary to maintain their coverage on opposing receivers.

3. Rhett Bomar. He is a year older and has a bowl season of experience under his belt but I still see maturity as a possible issue. A recent citation for under age drinking in a very public place only fuels that doubt for me. Bomar has until August to get his head on straight because for the Sooners to be Big 12 contenders they will need him to become the leader and take care of the football. I am confident that he can do both but the question is, will he?

The addition of Josh Heupel as the quarterback coach will be huge to Bomar’s progress. You won’t find a better class act than Heupel and he understands what it takes to be a champion and what it is like to be a Sooner.

3) Care to take a stab at a preseason top five?

This is all speculation and is subject to change, several times, before August but here we go.
1. LSU
2. Ohio State
3. West Virginia
4. Auburn
5. Texas

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Party Crashers

If you told me your bracket had George Mason in the Final Four then I would call you a liar, unless you are the guy on yahoo sports that accurately picked all four teams to advance to Indy.

I said that George Mason’s magical run in the tournament would end on Sunday against UConn but I couldn’t have been more wrong. George Mason played like they had nothing to lose, which is the way they have played the entire tournament, knocking off Uconn 86-84 in overtime.
It will go down as one of the greatest upsets in NCAA tournament history during one of the greatest tournaments in history. Not bad for a team that wasn’t supposed to be in the tournament.

I expected Florida to beat Villanova but not by that much. The Gators seem to be peaking at the right time and the Wildcats were just a victim of circumstance. This was the year when #1 seeds dropped like flies.

My Final Four Pick was
Ohio State

Sooners Take 2 of 3 from Baylor

Baylor took an early 8-0 lead on the Sooners but OU fought their way back by scoring four runs in the fifth and then five more in the eighth to take an 11-8.

Eleven runs would be all Oklahoma needed on Sunday afternoon as they held on to beat the Bears 11-10 and take the second game of the three game series.

“Things did not go our way early and we battled through a lot of adversity to record a win.” Said Sooner head coach Sunny Galloway. “The four-spot in the inning gave the guys the confidence to come back in this game and I am really proud of the way we stayed in the game today.”

The Sooners dropped the first game of the series 6-5 on Friday but rallied to win 5-2 on Saturday and Sunday’s 11-10 decision. The weekend series improved OU’s record to 20-6 and 2-1 in Big 12 action. Baylor dropped to 16-8 and 3-3 in conference play.

OU will play Dallas Baptist on Tuesday in Norman before hosting a weekend series with the defending National Champion Texas Longhorns this weekend.

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Missouri 5-1-0 15-8-0
Texas 4-1-0 19-10-0
Nebraska 2-1-0 17-3-0
Oklahoma 2-1-0 20-6-0
Baylor 3-3-0 16-8-0
Texas Tech 2-3-0 19-9-0
Kansas State 1-2-0 17-3-0
Kansas 2-4-0 17-10-0
Texas A&M 2-4-0 17-10-0
Oklahoma State 0-3-0 15-7-0

Let the Hype Begin

Its way too early for this in my book but with the NCAA basketball tournament winding down next weekend eyes are becoming gazed upon the upcoming college football season. Even though it is still over five months away!

Dennis Dodd from CBS released his Spring Top 25. Topping it off are the Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that is loaded on offense but has a big question mark for defense. There are three Big 12 schools in his top 25 Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska in that order.

Here are Dodd’s rankings along with his comments on the Big 12 schools. To read his comments on all 25 teams click here.

1. Ohio State
2. LSU
3. West Virginia
4. Auburn
5. Notre Dame
6. Oklahoma: Bob Stoops was due a "down" year, but a strong finish in an 8-4 season raises hopes again. Adrian Peterson is rededicated. Rhett Bomar gets it at quarterback. Most of the offense is back. We somehow feel that Stoops will be able to build a defense.
It's still early but ... the offensive line needs work. Spring practice started Monday. Get ready for reps, reps, reps for a line that loses four starters.
7. Texas: Save your e-mails, Orangebloods. There is a reason Oklahoma is ranked higher. Call us heretics but we're thinking your guys might lose at least one this year, and one of them might be to OU. The Sooners will have had a year to think about the thrashing last year in Dallas.
It's still early but ... this ranking is very tentative. Colt McCoy doesn't have to be a superstar at quarterback. If the Horns beat Ohio State and everything falls right, they could be back in the national championship game.
8. USC
9. Florida
10. Georgia
11. Oregon
12. Virginia Tech
13. Iowa
14. Boston College
15. Louisville
16. California
17. Clemson
18. TCU
19. Penn State
20. Michigan
21. Miami
22. Nebraska: With no one else stepping up, the Huskers should win the watered-down Big 12 North.
It's still early but ... two fantastic recruiting classes should begin to contribute -- or else.
23. Florida State
24. Georgia Tech
25. UCLA

Which teams are ranked way too high and which ones are way too low? Let the hype begin!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Defense Shines in First Sooner Scrimmage

The Sooners had their first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday and the defense was dominant. The offense scored only twice, a three-yard run by RB Allen Patrick and a five-yard scramble by QB Joey Halzle, and the linebacking corps showed that it could be just as strong, if not stronger, than last season. Strong side LB Ryan Reynolds topped the defense with five tackles and one interception. Weak side LB Rufus Alexander also have five tackles.

In all head coach Bob Stoops seemed to be pleased with the effort.
“It was only our second day in pads, so it was about what you would expect,” Stoops said. “We’re a little rusty, but I like the effort and attitude. We’re developing a lot of depth with a lot of young guys getting reps.”

Stoops was also pleased with the defense’s performance.

“We’re much farther along than a year ago,” he said. “There are just a lot fewer mistakes.”

Official Scrimmage Stats:

Patrick 10-28
Clapp 6-25
Bomar 3-25
Peterson 6-20
Halzle 1-5
Bomar 10-19-106 (1 INT)
Halzle 6-8-83
Strong 2-45
Kelly 2-34
Zaslaw 2-15
Whitson 1-22
Thompson 1-17
Finley 1-16
Eldridge 1-8
Iglesias 1-7
Peterson 1-7
Chaney 1-6
Gove 1-5
Clapp 1-4
Bothun 1-3
Reynolds 5 tackles, 1 INT
Alexander 5 tackles
Lofton 5 tackles
Holmes 5 tackles, 2 PBU
D. Williams 4 tackles
Smith 3 tackles, 2 PBU
Wolfe 3 tackles, 2 PBU
J.Carter 3 tackles
Q. Carter 2 tackles, 1 FF
Harris 2 tackles
Baker 2 tackles
Bowers 2 tackles, 1 PBU
I. Pleasant 2 tackles
Coleman: 2 tackles
Birdine: 2 tackles, 1 sack (-10 yards)
Bennett: 2 tackles, 1 sack (-5 yards), 1 PBU
Granger: 1 tackle, 1 FR, 1 PBU
Davis 1 tackle
Thibodeaux 1 tackle
A. English 1 tackle
L. Robinson 1 tackle
Clayton 1 tackle

The Cows are Coming Home

If you are one of those people who like to party till the cows come home then it’s time to start winding down the party. The LSU Tigers sent the Texas Longhorns packing Saturday night in Atlanta.

Both teams seemed to be equal with on another during the first 40 minutes of the game but the Tigers stepped up in the overtime while the Longhorns seemed confused and frustrated.

LSU dominated the game on the inside and Texas is still looking for LaMarcus Aldridge to show up. 2 of 14 shooting with 4 points just won’t cut it in the Elite 8.

I tried to send out a warning about Memphis! These guys hadn’t been tested in the tournament and had no answer for the UCLA defense and it was and ugly, ugly game. How ugly was it? During the first 8:30 of the second half Memphis had only one field goal and it was a credited goal on a goal tending call.

Two Down-Two to Go!

George Mason/UConn
UConn got their scare from Washington on Friday night. It won’t happen again Sunday afternoon! I have touted George Mason for most of the college basketball season and they have had a good run but it will end here.

On the other hand, what a story it would be for George Mason to knock-off the #1 seed and advance to the Final Four. Don’t hold your breath.

I’m calling for an upset here. I put Villanova in the same category as Memphis. A team with loads of talent but can get out muscled and out hustled at times. Look for that to happen against Florida and for the Gators to win a tight one.

Bonus Basketball

The Sweet 16 was even sweeter last night as top seeds Villanova and UConn had to fight for their lives in overtime.

Twins15 left a comment stating that this has been the best tournament he has ever seen. I have to agree with him. When is the last time the Big Dance had this much drama on back-to-back nights?

Villanova had the biggest scare having to survive Boston College 60-59 in overtime. The Wildcats benefited from a goal tending call with just a few seconds left to advance to the elite 8.

UConn’s Rashad Anderson hit a trey with just under 2 seconds left to complete and 11 point comeback to send the game into the bonus round. In the overtime Washington simply ran out of players as five players fouled out, two in regulation and three in O.T.

Florida and Georgetown had their own share of drama but the Gators didn’t didn’t need overtime to set up a match with Villanova and Cinderella will try to crash the Final Four ball as 11 seeded George Mason advances to the Elite 8 to play UConn.

Time to Punch that Ticket
Texas may be in trouble against LSU because the Longhorns have struggled against physical teams this season. If the Tigers are allowed to be just as physical tonight as they were Thursday night against Duke then I like their chances.

I actually had Texas losing in the Elite 8 on my bracket. I just had them losing to Duke. Oh well, the Tigers are my pick.

It’s the way it should be! A #1 playing a #2 with a birth in the Final Four on the line. The problem is that neither one of these teams has really played anyone to get here. UCLA does have the benefit of playing Gonzaga which is a far better team than anyone Memphis has played. I’m picking the Bruins!

My Opinion on Sports Pick’em Contest

Looks like Twins15 is going to bring it home. No wonder this is the best tourney he has ever seen. Congrats Twins!


Rank Team Points
1 twins15 69
2 dolphinfan 62
3 blahblahblah 60
4 tecopomo 57
5 soonersteppingstone 54
6 underdawgs 49
7 hoosierfunball 48
8 mowmen 0

Friday, March 24, 2006


I know that by this time everyone is sick of that word in reference to college basketball but there is no other word to describe the finish of the Texas/West Virginia and the UCLA/Gonzaga games.

After the Mountaineers and Longhorns traded three’s to end their game I thought out loud that I may not see another game end with that much excitement the rest of the tournament. Then I watched UCLA pull out their miracle against Gonzaga.

You know it has been a crazy night in the tournament when a #1 seed falls and it isn’t the biggest story of the night. LSU and Duke seemed to mirror their respective football teams in the basketball court. The Tigers were big and physical and the Blue Devils were soft and slow.

Move over Sports Illustrated there is a new curse brought to you by those wonderful people at ESPN. First they anoint USC as possibly the greatest college football dynasty ever only to see them fall in the Rose Bowl to Texas. Then they start comparing Duke to the great UCLA dynasty of years past only to see them bounced in the Sweet 16. Good job ESPN! Please stay away from my Sooners.

In a related story Memphis sent Cinderella home from the ball. The clock struck Midnight for 13 seeded Bradley as they were thumped 80-64 by the Tigers. On a related note has Memphis beaten a quality opponent in this tournament? I believe that UCLA will be a rude awakening for them Saturday night.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Analyzing the Big 12 Football Coaches

Rich Cirminiello from Fox Sports recently analyzed the coaches from each conference and had some interesting things to say about the coaches of the Big 12.

Best Coach
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma and Mack Brown, Texas

Cirminiello tried his best to give props to Bob Stoops without taking away from Mac Brown citing both coaches’ accomplishments and recognizing Brown’s recent success. However when it came decision time Stoops was his man, “With a gun to your head and one game to play, Stoops is still the choice.”

Most Underrated
Dan McCarney, Iowa State
Kirk Ferentz at Iowa overshadows McCarney’s success but don’t be fooled into thinking that Iowa State is the perennial doormat they once were. Cirminiello points out that McCarney has won at least seven games and earned a bowl invitation in five of the last six seasons.

Most Overrated
Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
Here’s a surprise, not! After three seasons Fran is 0-6 versus the 'Horns and Sooners, and has drifted way behind Texas Tech on the Big 12 South totem pole. You can even throw a loss to Baylor in there as well. Cirminiello also mentions Nebraska’s Bill Callahan stating that wins over Colorado and Michigan to end the season bought him some breating room.

Coach on the Hot Seat
Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M
Fran was the only coached mentioned twice and neither was for a good reason. “One more season like last year's 5-6 debacle, and you can see the headlines now: Fran Canned or Fran Told to Scram. Franchione took his most talented A&M team, and promptly guided it off a cliff over the season's final month.”

Bucking for a Promotion
Mark Mangino, Kansas
Ahhhh the coach everyone likes to make fun of. When you beat Nebraska for the first time in 37 years it goes a long way but when you do it in blowout fashion (40-15) you become a cult hero. Cirminiello warns that Mangino may be the coach lured away to bigger and better things.

Best Offensive Coordinator
Mike Leach, Texas Tech

Mike Leach is the Mad Scientist of offensive ingenuity! Coaches fear what he is tinkering with this spring and would pay top dollar to peek inside his secret playbook. “So fine-tuned is Leach's system that he's been able to plug in an average, first-year starter at quarterback for three straight years, yet still churn out points as if he's calling plays with a joystick.”

Best Defensive Coordinator
Gene Chizik, Texas
You just thought it was Vince Young who made the difference in Texas’ magical run to the national championship. Don’t forget someone had to figure out how to stop Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. Chizik was a part of the Auburn staff that went undefeated in 2004 and then Texas in 2005. Then man hasn’t lost in 28 games. Bill Young at Kansas gets honorable mention here.

The Anchor Holds

The Miami Dolphins re-signed center Seth McKinney, who had been an unrestricted free agent to a two-year contract.

McKinney started all 13 games in which he appeared for the Dolphins in 2005. He spent the final three games of the year on injured reserve with a lower leg injury.

Having 29 starts over the past two seasons has established McKinney as the anchor of the Dolphins offensive line. This is another good move by the Dolphins who are trying to rebuild their offensive line. McKinney is the one guy from last year’s line that Miami couldn’t afford to lose.

Top 10 Fullback Prospects

Quickly becoming the lost art, and the lost position, in the NFL is the Fullback position. Here are the top 10 Fullback prospects, according to CBS Sportsline for the upcoming NFL draft. Quadtrine Hill is solid at number one but I would put Lawrence Vickers next to him at 1a.


1. Quadtrine Hill Miami (FL)
2. Naufahu Tahi BYU
3. Lawrence Vickers Colorado
4. David Kirtman USC
5. Deon Anderson U. Conn.
6. Brandon Jones Purdue
7. Matt Bernstein Wisconsin
8. Daccus Turman South Carolina
9. Victor Mann Kansas State
10. Gilbert Harris Arizona

Huggy Bear Coming to the Big 12

First there was Larry Eustachy then Quinn Snyder and Bobby Knight. Now Bob Huggins will become the next controversial head coach to call the Big 12 Conference home.
Huggins, who was fired from Cincinnati in 2005 and did not coach this season, will replace Jim Wooldridge, who was 15-13 this year with the Wildcats.

Kansas State has not been to the NCAA tournament since 1996, but Huggins will be stepping into a promising situation with most of the team's top scorers returning next season.

Huggins was 399-127 in 16 seasons with Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including the 1992 Final Four. He won 10 regular-season Conference USA titles and was honored as the league's coach of the decade. He also coached at Walsh and Akron and has a record of 567-199 during a 24-year career.

Huggins agreed to leave Cincinnati last August when university president Nancy Zimpher refused to extend his four-year contract rollover following his arrest and conviction for drunken driving in 2004. Huggins received a $3 million buyout.
Cincinnati cited the arrest as the culmination of many problems. He also had been criticized for a low graduation rate and for several off-court incidents involving players.

"We expect our coaches to be role models, and we expect our students to be role models," Zimpher said after his firing. "We make no apologies for setting high standards."

This is a huge move to Kansas State who has always run a squeaky clean program but has also struggled to find its way out of the Big 12 basement. Coaches in the Big 12 North should be concerned, not for the fact that the player graduation rate is bound to drop in Manhattan, Kansas or the fact that there will be an increase in player arrest. North coaches should be concerned because all of a sudden wins will be abundant for Kansas State.

Not only are the Wildcats landing a top coach they will land some top recruits as well. O.J. Mayo, a two-time Associated Press Mr. Basketball in Ohio, said this week he and Bill Walker, his teammate at Cincinnati North College Hill, may sign with whoever hires Huggins. Both are juniors.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dolphins Ink Bell & Jackson

The Miami Dolphins re-signed safety Yeremiah Bell and cornerback Eddie Jackson to one-year contracts on Tuesday. Both players had been exclusive rights players.

Bell (pictured) played in all 16 games in 2005 and tallied 21 tackles, three sacks and an interception. He also was second on the squad with 14 stops on special teams. Jackson was awarded off waivers from Carolina just prior to the start of the 2005 regular season. He appeared in 15 games with Miami, including one start. He recorded two tackles on defense while posting 12 tackles on special teams.

I guess I will have to see the team play but I am concerned about the secondary. To me that is the biggest question going into the season, even bigger than the offensive line. I still expect the Dolphins to try to shore up their secondary through the draft next month.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Top 10 RB Prospects, Is White Really #2?

Here are the Top 10 running backs according to CBS Sportsline. While I have endorsed Reggie Bush as the best NFL prospect around since personally watching him and the USC Trojans dismantle my Sooners in the Orange Bowl in 2005 I do wonder if LenDale White is the second best prospect out there.

I’m not trying to discredit White in any way because I think he has a great future in the NFL but if you are a GM would you take him next after Bush? I think I would take Lawrence Maroney or Maurice Drew over him. Who would you take?


1. Reggie Bush USC
2. LenDale White USC
3. Lawrence Maroney Minnesota
4. Maurice Drew UCLA
5. DeAngelo Williams Memphis
6. Gerald Riggs Jr. Tennessee
7. Leon Washington Florida State
8. Joseph Addai LSU
9. Taurean Henderson Texas Tech
10. Mike Bell Arizona

Sooners get 6-1 odds to win BCS

The odds on favorite to win the BCS National Championship are the Ohio State Buckeyes at 5-1 but just behind them are the Oklahoma Sooners at 6-1. Spring football starts this week and September will be here before we know it.

Here are some of the more interesting odds according to

5-1 Ohio State
6-1 Notre Dame
6-1 Oklahoma
7-1 USC
10-1 Florida
10-1 West Virginia
12-1 Texas
12-1 LSU
15-1 Miami
15-1 Florida State
20-1 Michigan
25-1 Penn State
25-1 Auburn
40-1 Cal
45-1 Arizona State
50-1 Nebraska
50-1 UCLA
100-1Texas A&M
100-1 Texas Tech
200-1 Arizona
200-1 Colorado
300-1 Iowa State
1000-1 UNLV

Dolphins Sign CB Will Allen

The Miami Dolphins added two more unrestricted free agents to their roster when they signed former New York Giants cornerback Will Allen to a four-year contract and former San Diego Chargers tight end Justin Peelle to a three-year deal.

Allen, 27, was a first-round draft choice (22nd overall) of the Giants in 2001. He has started for the Giants since day one and has amassed 274 tackles, eight interceptions, 68 passes defended, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. He recorded a team- and career-high four interceptions in 2001, becoming the first Giants rookie to lead the team in interceptions since 1988.

The 27-year old Peelle was a fourth-round draft choice (103rd overall) of San Diego in 2002. He has only played in 19 games for the Chargers catching 40 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns. He had his most productive season for the Chargers in 2003 when he started nine of the 15 games that he played and totaled 16 receptions for 133 yards and a TD.

Signing Allen was a good move for the Dolphins because they need help in the secondary in a bad way. The Dolphins are also addressing offensive line issues through free agency which leads me to believe that they will use their first round pick in the draft to take a defensive back.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Is Your Bracket Busted?

My bracket isn’t busted but it is broken. I still have 11 of the Sweet 16 and 3 of the Final Four.

Here are my Sweet 16 picks by region.

I actually got this region correct by accurately picking all four.
Duke (Elite 8, Final 4)
West Virginia
Texas (Elite 8)

I got three of four correct here. It gets worse from here though.
Pittsburg (Elite 8)
UCLA (Elite 8, Final 4)

Washington D.C.
I’m 50% in D.C.
UConn (Elite 8, Final 4)
North Carolina
Tennessee (Elite 8)

I’m 50% here as well.
Villanova (Elite 8)
Ohio State – (Elite 8, Final 4)

I’m hanging on by a thread atop the leader board of the My Opinion on Sports Picks Contest.

My Opinion on Sports Picks Contest Standings
Rank Team Points
1 dolphinfan 46
2 twins15 45
3 blahblahblah 44
4 tecopomo 41
5 hoosierfunball 40
6 soonersteppingstone 38
7 underdawgs 37
8 mowmen 0

Top Ten QB Prospects, Vince Young's Free Fall


1. Matt Leinart USC
2. Jay Cutler Vanderbilt
3. D.J. Shockley Georgia
4. Brodie Croyle Alabama
5. Brett Basanez Northwestern
6. Vince Young Texas
7. Charlie Whitehurst Clemson
8. Omar Jacobs Bowling Green
9. Kellen Clemons Oregon
10. Paul Pinegar Fresno State

CBS Sportsline has released their top 10 prospects by position, according to GM Jr Scouting LLC, for next month’s NFL draft. I’ll post them here throughout the week with a few of my own thoughts.

Looking at the quarterback rankings I am surprised at how far Vince Young’s stock has dropped. There is a chance that the two-time Rose Bowl MVP won’t even be a top 10 pick.

The Texans gave David Carr a contract extension securing their QB position and pretty much locking up Reggie Bush as the top pick. The Saints went to free agency to acquire Drew Brees as their quarterback of the future which leaves the Titans at number three as the first team in need of a quarterback. I seriously doubt that Norm Chow will want Young over Matt Leinart whom he coached to two National Championships at USC. It’s safe to say that there is not a quarterback in the world that Chow knows or trust better than Leinart. That is why Matt Leinart will be the first quarterback taken in the draft.

Picking number four and five are the Jets and the Packers. The Jets just worked out a deal with Washington and acquired Patrick Ramsey and the Packers drafted their quarterback of the future last year in Aaron Rodgers.

The next team to need a qb is the Raiders, who have the number 6 pick, and reports are that Jay Cutler is the man at the top of their board. The next logical spot would be the Lions at number nine but they have signed John Kitna and Josh McCown already and they still have a lot of money tied up in Joey Harrington.
Wherever Young falls to he only has himself to blame. His PR has been one disaster after another since his magical night in Pasadena. The hiring and mishandlings of his agent and a less than par performance at the College Football All-Star Challenge in Miami put the pressure on Young at least “show up” at the NFL Combine which also turned into a nightmare when Young didn’t work-out and then had the Wonderlic troubles.

Sure the Wonderlic test doesn’t indicate how a player will perform on the field but is one great college season enough to be a top pick? Young struggled reading defenses in college and often made stupid mistakes that led to turnovers. Given the fact that he did have a great season this past year but the reality of it was that it took him three years to grasp the Texas offense and Young finally succeeded after the coaches dumbed it down for him.

Young does have two things going for him. The fact that he is a physical specimen and the NFL will always, always take a shot on a guy like him. His athleticism alone can and will allow him to have some success in the NFL. The second thing he has going for him is that he still has his pro-day on the Texas campus where he is expected to shine.

Young can and should use that as a springboard to move up on the draft chart. With guys like Croyle and Basanez ranked ahead of him how far Young moves up should be his choice but then again everything else has been up to this point as well.

Cyclones are coming!

This week’s renter is CrossCyed. At CrossCyed rants, raves and generally succinct thoughts will be found here about the Iowa State Cyclones. Anything is possible, especially with a bit of Hilton Magic.

If you are an ISU or just a college basketball fan then CrossCyed is a must read. Check it out by clicking on the thumbnail at the upper right of the page.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Catching Up!

A lot happened in the world of sports while I was gone to Panama. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order, on the happenings of the last week.

Kansas Wins Big 12

Kansas and Texas tied for the Big 12 regular season title so it is only fitting that they played in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament. Anyone who is a real man would have put it all on the line and said, “this one is for all the marbles.”

Of course Texas fans are going to say that they won the regular season match-up and therefore should be given the regular season title. Again Texas showed that they are not a deep team and they failed to show up for a big game. This would scare me going into the Big Dance if I were a Longhorn fan, but I’m not and I’m crowning Kansas and Champions of the Big 12 on simple logic. Both teams had even conference records and the Jayhawks won going away 80-68 when it mattered most.

Congrats Kansas fans!

Sooners Bounced in the First Round

It was a disappointing end to a disappointing season for the Sooners who started the season highly ranked. After winning four games in a row by just one point Oklahoma dropped its final three games, including their opening games of the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments to end their season with a 20-9 record.

The bottom line on this team is that they just weren’t that good. The only “big win” that OU had was an 82-72 home win over Texas on January 28. OU has talent but no leadership which is really surprising because three of OU’s starting five were seniors.

The question now is, what does the future of Oklahoma basketball look like? The program faces possible NCAA sanctions stemming from a cell phone scandal and reports that head coach Kelvin Sampson has put out feelers for other coaching positions.

New QB in Miami!

The Dolphins finally got a big name quarterback but it was just about 6 seasons too late. Miami gave up their second round pick in next month’s draft to acquire Daunte Culpepper from the Minnesota Vikings. The trade gives the Dolphins an All-Pro quarterback for the first time since the retirement of Dan Marino and the consensus is that Ronnie Brown will be an All-Pro soon. Add Chris Chambers into and Randy McMichael into that mix and the Dolphins should be looking at their most potent offense of the post Marino era. So, why is this decision 6 seasons too late? Because now Miami is lacking on Defense.

The addition of Culpepper gives Miami a championship caliber offense but the Dolphins had had a championship caliber defense and they wasted it. That defense is gone now with the departures of Sam Madison and Pat Surtain, just to name a few. While Miami may be improved on offense they will most likely struggle on the defensive side of the ball. Makes you wonder why this team didn’t go after a big time quarterback until now.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

NCAA Tournament Pick’em Contest

I am leaving the country go down to Panama again. It is a horrible time to go because I am going to miss the conference tournaments and the first day of the NCAA tourney.

I did create a tournament pick’em contest on Yahoo for My Opinion on Sports and would like to invite you to join in on the fun. To join you need to have a yahoo ID (takes three minutes and is free if you don’t already have one) and just go to this link. The group ID number is 18081 and the password is dolphinfan.

I will have some kind of small prize to give to the winner. Keep in mind that My Opinion on Sports is a very, very low budget operation. Good luck everyone!


Oklahoma linebacker Rufus Alexander is on the initial watch list for the 37th Rotary Lombardi Award.

The Lombardi Award will be presented on December 6 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston. A.J. Hawk of Ohio State won the award last year.

The 44 preliminary candidates earned a place on the initial Watch List by earning All-American honors at the end of the 2005 or previous seasons, or by being named to their respective All Conference team as selected by the conference's head coaches.

The Watch List will be updated prior to the start of the 2006 season, in order to identify those players who have been selected as pre-season honors candidates.

Last season, Alexander posted 102 tackles while starting all 12 games. He registered six double-digit tackle games, including a career-high 13 at Nebraska.

Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen and those defensive players who line up within five yards of the football.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

U.S. Wins WBC Debut

Jake Peavy and a parade of relievers combined on a four-hitter against a lineup loaded with major leaguers Tuesday, leading the United States to a 2-0 victory over Mexico in its World Baseball Classic debut.

Home runs by Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones were all that was necessary on offense.
"Today I felt proud," Lee said. "I felt like the whole country was watching."

I don’t know about the whole country but I was watching. I have to admit that the WBC has been slow but interest will grow now that the U.S. team has started playing.

UConn Tops CBBA Poll

UConn is back on top in the CBBA Poll and inexplicably the Sooners moved up two spots after tanking in one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a long time this past Sunday.

Rank Team Record
1 Connecticut (4) 27-2
2 Villanova 24-3
3 Gonzaga (1) 26-3
4 Ohio State 24-4
5 Memphis 27-3
6 Duke 27-3
7 George Washington 26-1
8 Texas 25-5
9 North Carolina 21-6
10 Illinois 25-5
11 Washington 24-5
12 UCLA 24-6
13 Boston College 24-6
14 Tennessee 21-6
15 Florida 24-6
16 LSU 22-7
17 Pittsburgh 21-6
18 Oklahoma 20-7
t19 Iowa 22-8
t19 Kansas 22-7
21 Nevada 24-5
22 West Virginia 20-9
23 Georgetown 19-8
24 N.C. State 21-8
25 Alabama-Birmingham 22-5

Others receiving votes:
Michigan State 12, Marquette 8, George Mason 6, Arizona 4, Bucknell 4, Southern Illinois 2, Colorado 1, Hofstra 1, Pennsylvania 1

Dropped Out:
Michigan State.

See how I voted.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Is Today the Day?

I’m really surprised this isn’t settled yet. Neither side wants to walk away having given up ground but neither side wants to be classified with MLB and the NBA.

The problem is not between the owners and the NFLPA it is between the owners and the owners. As long as the small-market and large-market owners are arguing amongst themselves there will not be an agreement made.

The question for the owners is, how long can they push back free agency before it really hurts their teams? With the draft a month away there are holes that can be filled by signing free agents before drafting.

The question for the players is, how much money do they want to make? An uncapped year in 07 may sound great but 06 free agents will pay dearly for it. Guys like Ed James and Lavar Arrington, who bought his freedom for $4 million, will play for much less than they are worth because of the low cap.

If an agreement is not reached today then teams must be under the cap of $94.5 million by Wednesday. That would mean a lot of big names and big contracts will be getting cut.