Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Athlon is Picking the Sooners in 06

Believe it or not football season is just over two months away and the reputable publications are coming out with their pre-season rankings. Athlon has put out there Top 25 with Oklahoma at the top picking the Sooners to win their 8th National Championship. Here is a snippet of what the magazine had to say about the 06 Sooners.

Flying in under the radar come the Oklahoma Sooners. After an uncharacteristically sub-par season, it’s out of sight, out of mind — but not for long. Due in large part to a ruinous rash of injuries in 2005, there are 22 players back who drew at least one starting assignment last fall, compared to only 17 with starting experience going into last season. OU won six of its last seven games, including a 17–14 victory over sixth-ranked Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. In addition, the 2006 Sooners welcome back their top passer, rusher, receiver, tackler and sack man from ’05.

Athlon’s Pick: National champions

Athlon’s Top 25

1. Oklahoma
2. Notre Dame
3. USC
4. Ohio State
5. Florida
6. West Virginia
7. Texas
8. California
9. Auburn
10. Louisville
11. LSU
12. Clemson
13. Michigan
14. Miami
15. Georgia
16. Iowa
17. Florida State
18. TCU
19. Oregon
20. Tennessee
21. Virginia Tech
22. Texas Tech
23. Utah
24. Arizona State
25. Nebraska

Monday, May 29, 2006

Checking In on Texas Tech, Again

Better late than never! RD from the Cheap Seats and Double T Ranch was able to answer my questions regarding the Texas Tech Red Raiders spring football practice and the upcoming season.

Thanks RD for the response.

Who will be the next 4,000 yard passer that Mike Leach plugs in?

Most likely, it will be Graham Harrell, a redshirt sophomore out of Ennis, TX, and probably the best overall talent they've started at the position in the Leach era. The major difference between him and some of the other quarterbacks Tech has started in past years is that Harrell actually has arm strength enough to stretch the field. What remains to be seen over the next year will be if he can make the quick reads that Leach's offense demands.

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

Can they find defensive linemen that can give them a consistent pass rush? Texas Tech was near the bottom of the country in sacks last year, and never seemed to give opposing QBs much trouble.

As for an answer, the defensive linemen were impressive in the spring game, particularly DT Dek Bake, but we'll have to wait and see whether they can get pressure on a conventional offense.

What will be the biggest position battle this spring?

Both Safeties were really up for grabs with the departure of Vince Meeks and Dwayne Slay. Strong Safety is still TBD, but it looks like Joe Garcia locked up the Free Safety spot.

On offense, Shannon Woods, who was supposed to take over for Taurean Henderson, is basically hanging onto his job by a thread because of his mediocre play and Kobey Lewis's excellent play. If Woods doesn't improve drastically over the summer, he may lose his job.

Kicker has also been a point of contention, as it has been for the last 3 years with Alex Trlicka and Keith Toogood battling for the starting placekicking duties, but I wouldn't trust either one if the game was on the line.

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

A lot of defensive players that may be in starting spots in 2007 or 2008 got a chance to star in the scrimmages and Red-Black game due to injuries to starters, particularly LBs Kellen Tillman, Brent Slaughter, and Calen Shearer, and CB LaShawn Vation. (Personally, I'm in favor of starting a lot of these guys since our starters were bad last year, but apparently the coaching staff thinks they're still too green.)

As for the people who might actually play this year, Dek Bake is beginning to emerge as a DT that can stuff the run and play the pass, and Kobey Lewis may have played himself into the RB spot.

What will it take for the Red Raiders to reach the Conference Championship game?

Unless the rest of the defensive starters recover from their injuries over the summer and improve their games or they play some of those freshmen and sophomores that are actually starting to look like bonafide defenders.

It looks like Tech is going to be stuck in that 2nd place/3rd place holding pattern for another year.

Mariners’ Skid Reaches Five

Seattle lost another game 2-0 Monday (that’s four times this season) and were shut out for the seventh time this season. That mark leads the majors if you are keeping track.

Here’s the problem. The Mariners pitching staff has a collective 4.74 ERA which isn’t that astronomical when you consider that number includes Bobby Livingston (18.00 ERA) and Clint Nageotte (27.00 ERA).

Seattle also has eight players batting .250 or better for a total of 465 base hits on the year. They just can’t seem to turn base hits and solid pitching into wins consistently.

In Monday’s loss to Texas, Mariners’ starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn gave up only sic hits in seven innings and allowed no walks. The Rangers scored their runs when Mark Teixeira went yard in the sixth scoring himself and Gary Matthews Jr.

Seattle had five runners reach base, just one less than the Rangers, and left the field with a goose egg on the scoreboard. Rune support, or lack of, is killing Seattle. The Mariners had a chance to make up a game on division leading Texas and got a gift from the Royals who beat second place Oakland on Monday. Instead they lose their fifth in a row and find themselves in the division cellar.

The season is still young but opportunities are dwindling.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mariners Get Swept by Twins

Seattle has now lost four games in a row after getting swept by the Twins in a three game series. The Mariners lost the three games to Minnesota by a total of seven points.

Eddie Guardado, Sunday’s starter in the 4-3 loss summed up the series like this.
“It’s embarrassing! Not just for me, but the entire team. I think today we should have killed those guys, even with their best pitcher going. This three-game series absolutely was not good baseball."

The Mariners are now five games behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the division and will start a three game series at Texas today. It’s time to step up M’s! Tanking it in against the Twins gives Seattle no chance of catching Texas this week but winning the series can put them back in play with the Royals waiting next.

AL West Standings
W L Pct GB
Texas 26 24 .520 --
Oakland 23 27 .460 3.0
Seattle 22 30 .423 5.0
LA Angels 21 29 .420 5.0

Sooners Rout Pokes Will Host Regional

The Sooners baseball team had a pathetic showing in the Big 12 Tournament but released a fair share of frustration on little brother Oklahoma State in a 21-6 seven inning run rule Saturday night. The 21 runs marked a Big 12 Tournament Record for most runs in a single game.

"I am really proud of our student athletes and the way that they came back and fought today," said OU head coach Sunny Golloway. "I don't think that there is any question that yesterday was a disappointment. We really fought hard today and gained some much needed momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament."

OU will start NCAA Tournament play in Norman on Friday. The Sooners are hosting a regional on campus for the third time in school history.

OU coach Sunny Galloway had this to say about hosting the regional.

“This was a dream and goal of the 2006 team in the fall before the season started and now that it is secured, we look forward to our next goal of getting to Omaha. Our team saw signs of what a regional atmosphere in Norman could be like when we played in front of a packed house versus Texas and Rice at L. Dale Mitchell Park this season and hope our fans will turn out in similar fashion during next week’s action.”

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mariners Lose Second in a Row

After splitting a four game series against Baltimore the Seattle Mariners dropped the first of a three game series with Minnesota 3-1.

The game was a pitchers duel as Twins hurler Francisco Liriano pitched five scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing only four hits against the Mariners.

Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez had eight strike outs in seven innings, retiring 14 batters in a row at one point, but gave up a three run homer to Joe Mauer.

The loss dropped Seattle four games back from the first place Texas Rangers who have won two games in a row. Wasted opportunity is what the Twins series will be if Seattle doesn't win because a three game series with Texas is waiting next.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sooner Basketball Gets Probation/Scholarship Reduction

The Kelvin Sampson case appears to be closed now. The Oklahoma men’s basketball team will face a two year probation period through May 24, 2008 and will have scholarships reduced from 13 to 11 for the 06-07 season.

In addition, former Sooner coach Kelvin Sampson will not be allowed to call any recruits for the next 12 months, he also won't be allowed to take part in any off-campus recruiting for the next year for Indiana.

"This case is a result of the former head coach's complete disregard for NCAA guidelines for proper telephone contacts with recruits," said Thomas Yeager, acting chair of the committee. "The former head coach created and encouraged an atmosphere among his staff of deliberate noncompliance, rationalizing the violations as being a result of 'prioritizing' rules."

The penalties are as follows (including the gymnastics team):

• Public reprimand and censure.

• Two years' probation for the institution through May 24, 2008.

• The committee adopted the university's reduction in scholarships in men's basketball from 13 to 11 for 2005-06 and from 13 to 12 in 2006-07.

• The committee adopted the university's reduction in the number of permissible calls to prospects in July following their junior year in high school from three to one.

• The committee adopted the university's reduction in number of permissible calls from one call per month to one call every other month to prospects on or after June 15 of the prospects' sophomore year in high school through July 31 of the prospects' junior year in high school, starting August 1 2005, and ending July 31, 2007.

Certain exceptions are permitted per NCAA rules and are noted in the public report. The committee notes that this penalty will result in the reduction of at least 240 calls over two years "and was imposed to directly address any recruiting advantage gained by the impermissible telephone calls."

• The committee adopted the university's reduction in the number of calls allowed to prospects after August 1 of their senior year in high school from two calls per week to one call per week for two years starting Aug. 1, 2005, and ending July 31, 2007. Certain exceptions are allowed per NCAA rules and are noted in the public report. The committee said this will reduce the number of calls from at least 780 to possibly more than 1,600 calls over two years.

• The committee adopted the university's restriction on the former head coach to recruit off-campus in July 2005 and its reduction on the number of permissible recruiters at any one time from three to two during July 2005. The committee also adopted the university's restriction to limit the former head coach from off-campus recruiting for a maximum of 19 days from Aug. 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006, including at off-campus appearances where prospects might be in attendance.

• The committee adopted the university's reduction in official paid visits in men's basketball from 12 to nine in 2005-06 and permissible recruiting days from 130 to 96 for 2005-06 and 2006-07.

• The institution issued a public letter of reprimand to the former head coach and retroactively banned him from receiving bonuses in his contract from March 2, 2005, to March 1, 2007. During this period, the former head coach's contract shall not be renegotiated, amended or extended and he is not eligible for any increase in compensation. The university said the cost to the former head coach over the two-year period for this penalty will be approximately $180,000.

• The former head coach's current institution adopted and transferred several penalties in this case, including the reductions in permissible calls; the limits on off-campus recruiting for the former head coach through June 30, 2006; the public letter of reprimand; and limits on the former head coach's bonuses and employment contract. The current employer noted to the committee that the former head coach used 15 of 19 allowable days to recruit off-campus at Oklahoma and could only be off-campus to recruit four days from when he was hired through June 30, 2006. His present institution has also required weekly meetings between compliance staff and the director of basketball operations to monitor men's basketball recruiting activities. As previously mentioned, the committee added a one-year prohibition on recruiting phone calls and off-campus recruiting activities to these penalties.

• Regarding women's gymnastics, the committee adopted the university's penalty to reduce practice activities by 192 hours for 2004-05 and 2005-06 and require the coaching staff to reduce practice by one hour a day in 2005-06. In addition, the coaching staff was allowed to provide individual skill instruction only every other week during Fall 2005 out-of-season practices.

• The committee acknowledged the university's self-imposed penalties of issuing letters of reprimand and one-week suspensions from practice and team-related activities to the head women's gymnastics coach and the assistant coaches. The head coach was also required to attend a 2005 NCAA Regional Rules Seminar at his expense. The institution also froze the head coach's salary for one-year and he did not have the opportunity to receive any bonuses in his contract for 2004-05, which were penalties imposed by the university and acknowledged by the committee.

• The university self-imposed reductions in practice activities for the men's gymnastics teams by 108 hours in 2005-06 and only allowed the men's gymnastics coaches to provide individual skill instruction every other week during Fall 2005 out-of-season practice activities.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sexson Lifts Mariners Again

Two days ago it was a grand slam home run. Last night it was driving in three RBI in two hits that allowed Seattle to build a 7-0 lead after just two innings before cruising to a 7-4 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Sexson hit a single in the first that scored Jose Lopez and followed it up with a double in the second that would score Ichiro and Raul Ibanez (former Royal).

Seattle’s win along with the losses of the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics pull the Mariners within two games of first place in the AL West. Seattle has won four of their last five games and will face Baltimore again tonight in the final game of their series.

In a related story the Kansas City Royals have lost 12 games in a row.

Western Conference Finals

Fasten your seatbelts because the Western Conference Finals could be a wild ride. A fast tempo game will favor the Suns and if the games are in the 120’s every night Dallas will be in trouble.

Phoenix is one of the hottest teams in the NBA for the second year in a row, they love to run the floor and do it better than anyone. The problem for them is going to be fatigue. Steve Nash was out of gas in game six of the Clippers series and a few days rest allowed him to get his legs back for game seven. That can’t happen against the Mavericks!

Steve Nash is about as fun to watch in the backcourt as anyone and Shawn Marion can jump out of the gym but the inside play of Dirk Nowitzki and Erick Dampier will wear down the Suns over the course of this series and allow Dallas to slow it down to a half-court game at times.

I also give Dallas an edge on the bench as well. Jerry Stackhouse and Keith Van Horn could be huge in this series. The Mavericks will ultimately provide too many obstacles for the Suns to run around.

Eastern Conference Finals

The conference finals are finally here and don’t hold you breath on the NBA Finals arriving anytime soon. Both conference final series have the potential to go the full distance of seven games.

Once again Shaq and Wade have to pay the piper known as the Detroit Pistons in order to try to reach the coveted championship.

As has been the case for the Pistons throughout the play offs the Eastern Conference Finals will feature the team with the most dominant player against the best team in basketball.

Shaq is averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds and almost 2 blocks a game for the Heat while Dwayne Wade is leading the team in scoring with 27 points a game. The Heat also have an edge in rest as well. While the Pistons were toying with Cleveland the Heat were home resting their legs.

That said, here is why the Pistons are going to win this series. Take away the fact that Detroit really does have the best starting five in the NBA they also have a great bench with Hunter and McDyess. The Heat are going to bring Payton and Walker off the bench but over the long haul the Pistons will be the stronger team with bench players.

Miami will also wear down the longer this series goes. Their aged veterans will show their fatigue in games five and beyond. It will be a great series!

Semifinals Look Back

Here is how I picked the Conference Semifinals and what actually happened. I got all the winners correct but missed the number of games in all but the Mavericks/Spurs series.

My Prediction: Detroit in five games.
What really happened: Detroit won in seven games.

New Jersey/Miami
My Prediction: Heat in six games
What really happened: Heat won in seven games.

Dallas/San Antonio
My Prediction Dallas in seven games.
What really happened: Mavericks won in seven games.

LA Clippers/Phoenix Suns
My Prediction: Suns in six games.
What really happened: Suns won in seven games.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mariners Extend Winning Streak to Four

My first full day as a Mariners fan and Seattle gets a win over Baltimore thanks to a grand slam by Richie Sexson and a perfect 9th inning by closer Eddie Guardado.

Sexon’s second grand slam of the season came in the fifth inning and capped a five run inning for the Mariners helping Seattle to an 8-6 win and extending the winning streak to four games.

The Mariners are very much in the race for the AL West with the best record in the division over the last 10 games (6-4) and the second longest winning streak in the majors behind the Dodgers.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Will The Dolphins Make the Play-Offs in 06

You bet, according to Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News. Iyer says that the addition of Daunte Culpepper, improved offensive line play and an arsenal of receiving threats are what Miami needs to end the five year drought.

Free Agent Fan No More

It’s official! The votes are in from the poll and they concur with my initial thoughts of making the Seattle Mariners my new team to follow in Major League Baseball. Seattle received the most voted in my opinion poll followed by the Dodgers, staying with the Royals and then the Blue Jays.

The Mariners are currently 20-25, in third place in the AL West and only three games out of first place. Raise your hand if you think the Rangers are going to continue to play at the level that has put them in first place? That’s what I thought. Seattle is very much in contention for the AL West title and it will be fun following a contender for a change.

In a related story the Royals are on a 9 game losing streak.

AL West Standings

Team W L Pct GB
Oakland 22 21 .512 --
Texas 22 21 .512 --
Seattle 20 25 .444 3.0
Angels 17 27 .386 5.5

Sooners Win Rubber Match against Huskers

After winning game one of their series against Nebraska 3-2 Friday night the Huskers came back to win game two of the series convincingly 10-4 on Saturday setting up Sunday’s rubber match.

The Sooners and Huskers were tied 1-1 after two innings on Sunday afternoon, but OU took the lead for good with a three-run third.

Lead-off batter Chuckie Caufield and No. 2-hitter Aaron Reza both got on base with singles and Kody Kaiser moved them over to second and third with a sacrifice bunt.
Kevin Smith and Brandon Moss reached on walks to score Caufield before Freddy Rodriguez hit a single through the middle to score two more runs.

OU scored two more runs for insurance in the top of the ninth, but they were unnecessary as closer Will Savage struck out two and forced a ground out for the final at-bat of the game for a 6-2 Sooner win.

OU pitcher Daniel McCutchen went eight full innings striking out 11 batters. It marked the fifth time this season that the senior posted double-digit strikeouts in a game.

“Daniel struck out a lot of batters, and he’ll tell you that he likes to strike out batters, but he wasn’t being selfish,” Sooner coach Sunny Golloway said. “He forced batters to hit a lot of pop-ups and fly balls, too. You can’t last as long as he did just trying to throw strikeouts because your pitch count will get too high.”

McCutchen was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week today.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ricky Williams is Running North

According to SI.com Ricky Williams is heading north to play in the Canadian Football League for the Toronto Argonauts.

The Miami Dolphins have given Toronto and Williams’ agent Leigh Steinberg to work out a one year deal that will free Williams from any CFL responsibilities at the end of the season in November.

Even though there is the chance that Williams could get injured playing up north and make the Dolphins front office look foolish it is still worth the risk. It was widely speculated that Miami wanted to trade their pot smoking running back before the NFL draft but Williams recent one year suspension makes him unavailable for a trade this year and leads him with no trade value at all for next season.

Playing a season in the CFL will again give Ricky some trade value and even if the Dolphins decide to keep him a season in the CFL will make him less rusty going into next season.

For Williams, playing in the CFL is an opportunity to earn some cash, something that he hasn’t done in a while. With his sudden retirement before the 2004 season, playing for the league minimum last season and then facing a one year suspension Williams is strapped for cash. Reports are that he has only made $285,000 since December 2003.

Irish Coming Home to Dallas?

In an attempt to return the school to its independent roots Notre Dame is going to schedule one home game a season at a neutral site beginning in 2009.

Athletic director Kevin White said that traveling to different parts of the country every year would help with recruiting and allow more Irish fans to have the opportunity to see the team play.

"I think over time we've really begun to behave like a wannabe conference member," White said. "I think it was real important for us to go back to our roots and behave more like an independent -- go back to the coach Rockne barnstorming era if you will."

White admitted that it won’t actually be a neutral site but a home game played away from South Bend against a soft opponent.

"We have enough heavyweights on the schedule," he said. "We need to have a schedule that's conducive to success."

The Irish aren’t trying to put together the most difficult schedule in the country but a successful one.

"We need to schedule in a way it puts us in a position to win national championships," he said. "We could have a great football team and schedule ourselves out of a championship. You can schedule yourself in, you can schedule yourself out. The last time I checked, the most important thing here is to try to win national championships."

Notre Dame is currently negotiating to play in Jacksonville and Orlando, FL, New Orleans and Dallas.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bonds Gets Hit And the Crowd Goes Wild

Barry Bonds stood before a standing ovation Tuesday night. Not because he finally hit home run number 714 but because he was hit by a pitch and received a free pass to first base.

Houston pitcher Russ Springer was tossed from the game and the Astros were beaten by the Giants 14-3 but the 35,000 fans in Houston couldn’t have been happier. Instead of witnessing history they witnessed the greatest slugger of the modern era get plunked and were content.

You would think history is what they would want to see. You would think that if Bonds was going to make it on base and score a run then they would want it to be that historical run. You would think that if your team was going to lose by 11 to the Giants then at least you would want to see Bonds hit the long ball. You would think?

The truth is that no one outside of Bristol, Conn. wants to see Bonds hit another home run. Bonds is not Roger Maris and no one should confuse him as such. No one wanted Maris to hit 61 homers in 1961 because the record was considered sacred. No one wants Bonds to hit career number 714 because he cheated. Barry Bonds knows it. The American public knows it and even ESPN knows even though they make him out to be the second coming of the Great Bambino.

The standing ovation in Houston shows how not only Astros fans feel but how fans around the country feel about number 714. They could care less!

And Now A Word From Your Local Pecan Farmer

Rob Stewart was just trying to throw his daughter a graduation party/camp out on Saturday night when Ramonce Taylor and his crew showed up uninvited. About 100 people had gathered for the party and campout in a remote corner of Stewart’s 260-acre farm.

Stewart said that about 1:30am his son and other guest said that seven uninvited guest were trying to sell drugs at the party and he asked them to leave.

When Stewart first encountered the uninvited guests, they were exchanging heated words and pushing and shoving with some partygoers, he said. As they left, someone in the group threatened to return with a firearm, Stewart said. The police affidavit says that person was Texas running back Ramonce Taylor.

Shortly after, according to the affidavit, Taylor called Bell County sheriff's deputies reporting a fight involving as many as 100 people at the farm. He complained that the window of his vehicle was broken. When deputies responded to Taylor's call, he told them that people at the party "provoked a fight and demanded that he leave.”

The affidavit also said that while deputies were talking to Taylor, they learned from fellow deputies, who were by that time at the pecan farm, that Taylor was being accused of threatening to return with a gun. When Taylor consented to a search of his vehicle, a 2004 Chevy Tahoe, deputies found 5.3 pounds of marijuana in a bag stitched with "Big 12 Conference."

Taylor's lawyer, Robert "Buck" Harris of Killeen, said that if his client knew there were drugs in the car, he would not have called Bell County sheriff's deputies or allowed them to search his vehicle.

"He's not playing hide the ball. If he's carrying five pounds of marijuana, either he's the stupidest person alive or thinks he's bulletproof," Harris said after the brief arraignment hearing in Belton. Harris said that Taylor only wanted to “hang out” at the party (for a graduate of A&M) but was met by angry guest who shouted racial slurs. Someone call Jesse Jackson and the NAACP!

Wait a minute before you boycott pecans for not supporting the black man. Pecan man denies Taylor was asked to leave because of race or school affiliation. "It was not a racist thing," Stewart said. "These kids (at the graduation party) had black friends there, Hispanic friends. It was not a UT and A&M thing. . . . They were asked to leave because we don't condone drugs."

Stewart does condone malted beverages stating that the party was well chaperoned and that alcohol was served. He also said that he intended to lock the gate preventing anyone from leaving.

Is it me or does this sound more like a sequel to Deliverance?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ramonceing the Stoned

Just when the Texas Longhorns were having all kinds of fun rubbing salt in the USC wounds over the Trojans recent troubles one their own has fallen from grace.

Sheriff's deputies were responding to a report of a fight involving over 100 people at a pecan farm (I guess that’s where they go to throw down around Austin) where Longhorn’s running back Ramonce Taylor was reportedly involved.

Apparently Taylor’s car window was busted out during the altercation so he did the only logical thing any guy who had just been involved in a gang fight would do. He called the police!

Deputies met up with Taylor at a convenience store where they learned, from officers who were at the scene of the fight, that Taylor was involved and had threatened to return with a gun. In his attempt to prove to officers that he was unarmed he gave permission for his vehicle to be searched.

“No officer I don’t have a gun. Look in the car if you want. I only have a backpack loaded with marijuana.”

The deputies found about five pounds of Mary Jane in the backpack and Taylor was arrested and charged with state jail felony drug possession of marijuana, pending lab results to determine the total weight of the drug, the sheriff's office said.

If it weighs more than five pounds, the charge will be upgraded to a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in jail and $10,000 in fines. A state jail felony carries up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

I wonder if this is what Mac Brown had in mind when he dismissed Taylor from spring practice to focus on his academics. Apparently his major was distribution and he was behind in production.

"We are aware of this recent situation and will follow it as the legal system runs its course. At this time, we will not consider reinstating him to the team," Brown said. Taylor scored 15 touchdowns last season, including a 30-yard scoring run in the Rose Bowl.

I can't wait for the arraignment, I can see it now. How do you plead Mr Taylor? Enter Mack Brown, "I'll answer that one for Ramonce"!

Cowboys Sweep Sooners in Bedlam Baseball Series

Maybe the Sooners peaked too early in the season. Maybe the Cowboys are peaking at just the right time of the season. Whatever the reason it made for some bad Bedlam baseball as the Cowboys outscored the Sooners 15-2 in a three game sweep.

OU had no offensive answer against the Cowboys pitchers. “They did a good job pitching. Good pitching is going to get good hitting out,” said Sooner head coach Sunny Golloway.

Sunday’s loss marked the first Bedlam sweep by the Cowboys since 2001 and the first time Oklahoma has been shutout in back to back games since losing 4-0 and 2-0 to No. 1 Texas in games one and two of the 2005 series in Austin.

“Oklahoma State played terrific this weekend and you can’t take anything away from them,” Golloway said. “Good baseball is good baseball and they played good baseball.”

The good news in all of this is that Nebraska was swept by Baylor over the weekend which puts four teams within reach of second place in the conference going into the final weekend of regular season play. Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are all within three games of each other.

Baylor plays at Kansas State and Oklahoma goes to Nebraska while the Cowboys finish at home against Texas Tech. Should be a fun final weekend!

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Texas 19-4-0 38-15-0
Nebraska 16-8-0 37-12-0
Oklahoma State 15-9-0 36-14-0
Oklahoma 15-9-0 37-16-0
Baylor 13-11-0 33-19-0
Kansas 10-14-0 35-22-0
Texas Tech 9-13-1 31-20-1
Missouri 9-15-0 25-24-0
Texas A&M 6-17-1 25-27-1
Kansas State 5-17-2 26-20-2

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Blake Griffin Commits to OU

Blake Griffin, the 18th rated basketball player in the country by Rivals, has committed to play for Coach Jeff Capel and the Oklahoma Sooners according to SoonerScoop.com.

Griffin is listed as a five star player by Rivals.com and is the younger brother of Sooner standout sophomore-to-be Taylor Griffin. He is the second verbal commitment for Coach Capel, joining Cade Davis, for the 2007 recruiting class.

Friday, May 12, 2006

T.S.N. Pre-Season All-Conference Team

The Sporting News picked three Sooners on their first team All-Big 12 Preseason Team. Junior running back Adrian Peterson was the only offensive selection while defensive end C.J. Ah You and linebacker Rufus Alexander, both seniors, were named to the first team defense. Texas leads the way with 8 first team selections.

Two Sooners were also selected for the offensive and defensive players of the year - Adrian Peterson on offense and Rufus Alexander on defense. Sooner defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was selected as the defensive newcomer of the year.

Receiver Malcolm Kelly, quarterback Rhett Bomar and corner back D.J. Wolfe were all named to the second team.



WR Todd Blythe, Iowa State 6-5 208 Jr.
WR Joel Filani, Texas Tech 6-3 222 Sr.
TE Matt Herian, Nebraska 6-5 245 Sr.
T Justin Blalock, Texas 6-4 335 Sr.
T Corey Hilliard, Oklahoma State 6-5 310 Sr.
G Kasey Studdard, Texas 6-3 305 Sr.
G Manuel Ramirez, Texas Tech 6-4 328 Sr.
C Mark Fenton, Colorado 6-4 295 Sr.
QB Bret Meyer, Iowa State 6-3 208 Jr.
RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma 6-2 218 Jr.
RB Jamaal Charles, Texas 6-1 190 So.

E C.J. Ah You, Oklahoma 6-4 272 Sr.
E Tim Crowder, Texas 6-4 270 Sr.
T Frank Okam, Texas 6-5 315 Jr.
T Red Bryant, Texas A&M 6-4 330 Jr.
LB Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma 6-1 231 Sr.
LB Justin Warren, Texas A&M 6-3 245 Sr.
LB Thaddaeus Washington, Colorado 5-11 240 Sr.
CB Tarell Brown, Texas 6-0 200 Sr.
CB DeAndre Jackson, Iowa State 6-0 192 Sr.
S Michael Griffin, Texas 6-0 205 Sr.
S Jerome Kemp, Kansas 5-10 200 Sr.

K Mason Crosby, Colorado 6-2 210 Sr.
P Daniel Sepulveda, Baylor 6-3 227 Sr.
KR Aaron Ross, Texas 6-1 192 Sr.

Players of the Year
Offense: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
Defense: Rufus Alexander, LB, Oklahoma

Defensive Newcomer of the Year
Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Free Agent Fan Gets Free Stuff!

My pursuit of a new Major League Baseball team to follow has taken on a new twist. This week I received some free stuff from the LA Dodgers and the Seattle Mariners. In an attempt to win me over as a fan both clubs sent me a “fan pack” in the mail.

The Dodgers pack included a license plate frame, window sticker, refrigerator magnet and a magazine. Not a bad package and I was surprised to receive it because I had not yet heard anything from the Dodgers. Their act of generosity has definitely put them on my list of teams to consider.

The Mariners pack was full of stuff and included a hand written note. In the pack was a Safeco Field poster, window sticker, ballpark menu, magazine, a sheet of stickers, pocket schedule, a few brochures and some baseball cards.

The Mariners have been by far the most fan friendly in response to my initial free agent fan letter. I have received two e-mails and the package which included a hand written note. I would have to say that they are in front right now.

I will make my decision by the end of next week but I want to know who you would choose if you were in my shoes. I have narrowed it down to three teams the Mariners, Dodgers and Blue Jays in that order.

If you could remove all bias and put yourself in my shoes who would be your new team? Make sure to let your opinion be known in this week’s Opinion Poll on the right of the page.

Another Scandal at Colorado?

If any school in the Big 12 knows scandal it's Colorado. A federal lawsuit filed by two women who claimed they were sexually assaulted at an off-campus party in 2001 opened an investigation into the University of Colorado’s football program that erupted into a football recruiting scandal that led to the resignations of several CU officials.

Since early 2002, the school has seen the resignations of President Betsy Hoffman, Boulder campus Chancellor Richard Byyny, former athletic director Dick Tharp and football coach Gary Barnett. Now new allegations of sexual and racial harassment are popping up in Boulder, this time with the basketball program.

Athletic director Mike Bohn told the Associated Press he could not comment. The investigation was being handled by the school's Office of Discrimination and Harassment, which said it was also investigating a racial harassment allegation.

The school didn't release details of the racial allegation, but Calvin Williams, who is transferring to another school, told the Daily Camera that Coach Ricardo Patton once tried to motivate his team by implying that darker-skinned players were tougher.

Looks like another season of the soap opera known as Colorado athletics is about to begin.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Would the Real “12th Man” Please Stand Up?

Texas A&M and the Seattle Seahawks have reached an agreement over the use of the phrase “12th Man.”

As part of the agreement, the Seahawks acknowledge Texas A&M's ownership rights of the trademarked phrase but will continue to use it under license. Seattle will pay an undisclosed licensing fee to continue the use of the phrase.

The Aggies hold federal trademark rights to "12th Man” and wanted to stop Seattle from using the phrase earlier this year.

In February, the university filed a lawsuit in Brazos County over the Seahawks use of the trademark.

I guess I can see A&M’s point but how much did the Seahawks use of the phrase damage the Aggies? Did A&M lose ticket or merchandise sales? I guarantee they lost 1000% more revenue over the lousy play of their football team then they did from the Seahawks using their “sacred” phrase 2300 miles away.

In My Opinion it’s a sad day for you university when you have to earn your respect in the courtroom instead of on the playing field.

Origins of the term "12th man" aren't exactly clear, but the traditions in Seattle and College Station date back decades.

The Aggies trace their use to 1922, when an injury-plagued roster led the team to pull E. King Gill from the stands and suited him up to play. Gill never took to the field, but the legend strengthened campus-wide commitment to support the team. The words "Home of 12th Man" adorn the stadium and the entire school is considered the 12th Man.

The Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984 to honor fans who made the old Kingdome one of the noisiest stadiums in football.

Monday, May 08, 2006

MLB Free Agent Fan Response: Yankees

The Evil Empire that is the New York Yankees has replied to my MLB Free Agent Fan appeal. The Yankees are obviously proud, as they should be, of their 26 World Championships and seem equally impressed with their message boards.

Dear Matt,

Thank you for your comments and opinions. You said you are "sick of the constant losing". How about 26 World Championships?

We value your thoughts, and welcome you to share your enthusiasm for the Yankees with others on our Message Board. You can find the Message
Board by clicking the link below (or cut and paste the entire URL into your browser):



I admit that 26 championships is impressive but is that alone enough to make me a fan. I would really feel like a band wagon jumper if that were my only reasoning. As far as message boards go – name a franchise that doesn’t have one.

I’ll be honest with you. I really despise the Yankees but then again so did Johnny Damon at one point.

NBA Second Round Play-Off Predictions

The first round is over and the second round began with a nail biter and a blow-out. I correctly picked the winner in six of the eight first round series and here are my thoughts on the second round.


What we saw in game one was an omen of what is still to come for the Cavilers. LeBron is as good as they get but he is going up against the best starting five in the league.

Cleveland may sneak away with one victory in this series but I don’t see it going beyond five games.

My Prediction: Detroit in five games

New Jersey/Miami

This isn’t the same Miami Heat team from last season. This new version seems to have lost a step from last season but they can still turn it on when they need to. That could be dangerous against the Nets because New Jersey is sure to pose some problems for the Heat. It will be a two man game in this series, Shaq and Wade for Miami against Kidd and Carter for New Jersey.

The Nets will have the backcourt advantage and the Heat should dominate the frontcourt. The deciding factor in this series will be the bench points. That advantage goes to the Heat.

My Prediction: Heat in six games

Dallas/San Antonio

If the Mavericks are ever going to make the Finals this is the year. They are already in a one game hole to the Spurs but is Sacramento can get a few games from San Antonio then you know the Mavericks can.

The winner of this series will have the inside track to representing the West in the NBA Finals. San Antonio might have a slight edge in personnel but at times they looked old and slow against the Kings.

I think this series will go seven games which could favor the Mavericks who are coming off a short series against Memphis.

My Prediction: Dallas in seven games.

LA Clippers/Phoenix Suns
Phoenix just finished off one LA team and now gets to take on another one. I am not sold on the Clippers yet. They were barely challenged by the Nuggets in the first round while the Suns were pushed to the limit against the Lakers.

There are several reasons why I could pick the Suns to win this series, home court advantage, more depth, players who can score from anywhere on the floor but I’m going with Phoenix because they are a better team.

My Prediction: Suns in six games.

How I picked the first round

Sacramento/San Antonio
My Prediction:
I’ll take the Spurs to win. My guess is the series will go five games.

What Really Happened: Spurs won in six games.

My Prediction:
I’m picking the Mavericks to win the series. I’m guessing five games here as well.

What Really Happened: Mavericks won in four games.

Los Angeles Lakers/Phoenix Suns
My Prediction:
I pick the Suns to win the series. I’m guessing six games.

What Really Happened: Suns won in seven games.

Los Angeles Clippers/Denver Nuggets
My Prediction:
I’ll take the Nuggets. I see this one going seven games.

What Really Happened: Clippers won in five games.

My Prediction:
Pistons sweep.

What Really Happened: Pistons won in five games.

My Prediction:
Washington wins the series. I think it will be six but wouldn’t be surprised to see it go seven.

What Really Happened: Cleveland won in six games.

My Prediction:
Miami wins the series. I think it will be in five games.

What Really Happened: The Heat won in six games.

Indiana vs. New Jersey
Nets win. I say the series goes seven games.

What Really Happened: The Nets won in six games.

MLB Free Agent Fan Response: Philadelphia

My new team won’t be the Phillies. Looking at their response it appears that they are too busy or just don’t want to take the time to tell me why their club is worth rooting for.

I’m not asking anyone to beg for my loyalty or to send me a bunch of free stuff (although I have appreciated the clubs that have). I just asked a simple question as a person looking for a new team to cheer for, “Why should I cheer for your team?” Apparently the Phillies don’t know.


We appreciate any support that a fan may bestow on the Phillies, however that is a decision that must be made by the fan and not as a result of a direct appeal from the club.

Thank you.

The Phillies

Sooners Take Series Against Wildcats

After losing three games in a row the Sooners will enter the Bedlam baseball series on a two game winning streak thanks to a series win over Kansas State.

Thanks to Chuckie Caufield, Joe Dunigan and Kody Kaiser the Sooners were able to pull off another late rally Sunday beating the Wildcats 7-6 to take the series two games to one.

After losing the first game of the series 2-3 OU cruised to a 16-6 victory in the second game before Sunday’s victory.

The series against Kansas State left OU just one game behind Nebraska in the Big 12 standings. OU will play their final series of the season against the Huskers in Lincoln.

The annual Bedlam series with Oklahoma State begins Friday night in Tulsa and will continue Saturday and Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Big 12 Baseball Standings
Texas 18-4-0 35-15-0
Nebraska 15-4-0 36-7-0
Oklahoma 14-6-0 36-13-0
Oklahoma State 11-8-0 32-13-0
Baylor 10-11-0 28-19-0
Kansas 10-13-0 33-20-0
Missouri 9-12-0 24-21-0
Texas Tech 6-13-1 27-20-1
Kansas State 5-14-1 26-17-1
Texas A&M 4-17-0 23-27-0

Saturday, May 06, 2006

University of Stealing and Cheating

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll said that he is confident that his program will not receive any major penalties and I guess I am out of the loop for wondering why. Why wouldn’t USC get hammered? Here are the issues at hand.

• Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush’s family reportedly received over $100,000 in cash from Michael Michael’s.
• Bush’s family also reportedly lived rent free in a ¾ million dollar home for over a year.
• Quarterback Mark Sanchez was arrested for investigation of sexually assaulting a female student. Sanchez was released on $200,000 bail. How does a college kid get $200,000? Maybe he’s “in” with Bush’s family.
• An investigation is under way as to whether an upscale apartment Dwayne Jarrett shared with Matt Leinart violated NCAA rules.

Do the words “lack of institutional control” sound familiar? Through it all Pete Carroll remains confident. "We're trying to inform and educate better than anybody in the country.” The Trojan coach said. “I'd like to think we do it better than anybody. We're going to continue to bust our tails to make sure everybody understands. We're trying to do this better than anybody else has ever done it."

Carroll said he hasn't felt any negative impact on recruiting.
"Right now, I don't feel it," he said. "We're getting great response wherever we go."

Of course you are getting a great response. What 18 year old kid wouldn’t want to go to school someplace where your family gets paid lots of money, you get to have you way with the ladies and live in a lush apartment?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

MLB Free Agent Response: Toronto

I received my second response to my letter sent out amongst the major league baseball teams. This time it’s Toronto checking in. The Blue Jays make a stronger effort to impress but are weak in the offering. There is no mention of an information pack or even a schedule available. Here is what they said.

Dear Matt,

On behalf of the Toronto Blue Jays, thank you for your email.

Here's a bit of background on our team, The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club was originally founded in 1976 and began play in Major League Baseball's American League the following year. The Club's historical achievements in the ensuing years have been significant, capturing five American League East Division crowns, two American League Championship titles and back-to-back victories in the World Series in 1992 and 1993, while earning the distinction of being the first team in Major League
Baseball to draw more than four million fans in a single season. In September 2000, Rogers Communications Inc. purchased controlling interest of the Club, providing strong dedicated local ownership of the team.

This season the Toronto Blue Jays have high hopes of making it all the way to the World Series because of their exciting new acquisitions such as Troy Glaus, AJ Burnett, BJ Ryan and Lyle Overbay; along with favorites Roy Halladay, Vernon Wells and Russ Adams. This team is definitely has a lot of potential and thus far they have shown its going to be an exciting season to watch. You gotta believe in these Jays!


Kathy Dolenc
Guest Relations Assistant

In all I think the Blue Jays have less chance of winning a division crown than the Mariners do because Toronto is in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. I think I’ll still consider them though because they did actually give me reasons why I should cheer for them instead of telling me that they never have to convince anyone to become a fan. I think I’ll ask them if they will send me some stuff.

MLB Free Agent Fan Response: Seattle

My quest for a new baseball team to cheer for received it’s first response today as the Seattle Mariners were the first to respond to my e-mail sent out to Major League Baseball.

Thanks for your e-mail, Matt. We are thrilled to have as many loyal and enthusiastic fans as we do and there is always room for more. However, we have never had to convince anyone to cheer for the Mariners; choosing a baseball team to root for is usually more of an emotional decision than a rational one, and there are a myriad of reasons that people become fans of a specific team.

As an organization, we place a high priority on responding to our fans and other people, so while we believe that the decision to become a fan is a personal one, we are happy to send specific information to anyone expressing interest in our team. We have an assortment of free literature that may be helpful to you (Ballpark A-Z Guide, Guide for Guests with Disabilities, information on assorted ticket plans, groups or suite sales, little fanpacks for our faraway fans, Transportation Guides, Pocket Schedules, etc.), and we'd be happy to send you any of that information if you provide us with your mailing address and the information you would like to receive. Again, thanks for taking the time to contact us and expressing an interest in the Seattle Mariners.

Obviously the Mariners are willing to negotiate. They come across saying that they, “have never had to convince anyone to cheer for the Mariners” but they are willing to mail me some free schedules.

I’m reading between the lines here and what I am seeing is that this may be a tough negotiation. The Mariners play in the AL West and even though they are in last place at 12-17 they are only 4.5 games out.

The Mariners have made it to my list but I’ll have to see what is in the free information packet they are sending as well as weigh other offers.

Stay tuned!

Wildcats Getting Tough?

I guess there really is a new attitude in Manhattan as the Kansas State Wildcats are trying to beef up what has been a perennial weak non-conference schedule. Kansas State is putting the finishing touches on a home and home series with Miami.

The Hurricanes initially wanted to play Texas but the defending national champs backed away choosing instead to ink a deal with Central Florida.

Notre Dame was another choice but rumor has it that the Irish wanted Miami in South Bend but didn’t want to play at the Orange Bowl. Notre Dame instead wanted to play the return game in Jacksonville.

Mixed Reviews on Miami Draft

Apparently the “draft experts” don’t quite know how to rank the Miami Dolphins 2006 draft. However, they all do agree that Jason Allen was a great selection with as Miami’s first pick.

ESPN's Mel Kiper, who gave the Fins a C, likes defensive back Jason Allen's ''linebacker mentality'' but questions receiver Derek Hagan's consistency and dependability, though ''getting him in the third round wasn't a bad pick.'' Kiper calls receiver Devin Aromashodu a steal in Round 7.

GM Junior's Russ Lande, a former Cleveland Browns scout, gave Miami a B: ''I love Jason Allen. He was the best defensive back in the draft and can be an excellent corner.'' Lande rated Hagan the second-best receiver, behind Chad Jackson, and despite his drops the week of the Senior Bowl, insists Hagan ``had some of the best hands ever to come out of the Pac-10.''

And of Texas defensive tackle Rodrique Wright, Lande said: ``If someone can motivate him, he's a first-round pick [in talent]. Nick Saban could turn this guy into a Pro Bowler.''

Next Level Scouting's John Murphy gave the Dolphins a B-, noting they got great value in Wright in Round 7, but ''you could see Hagan being a guy who doesn't live up to expectations, like Derrius Thompson.''

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm Declaring Free Agency

I am declaring myself a Major League Baseball free agent fan. If you are a regular reader of My Opinion on Sports then you know that I am a Kansas City Royals fan. I have followed the Royals since 1983 and am sick of the constant losing over the past 10 plus years.

Kansas City has become a revolving door of top notch talent and managers who cannot compete with the minor league roster the Royals are putting out on the field. So now I am looking for a new team to cheer for.

Before you call me a sell-out (maybe that’s what I am) I will still follow the Royals but I need a team that will give me hope for October not a team that is done by the end of April. So, I drafted the following letter and sent it to every team outside the AL Central.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Matt and I am a huge fan of baseball. I have been a Kansas City Royals fan for almost 25 years and unfortunately have had very little to cheer for more than a decade. I have been able to cheer more for former Royals like Johnny Damon that the actual Kansas City franchise.

I am just sick of the constant losing and the revolving door of managers and big time talent. That is why I need your help. I am declaring myself a major league baseball free agent fan. I am not a sellout who is quitting on his team. I will still keep an interest in Kansas City hoping that at some point they will turn the franchise around but I need at team that I can follow with hopes of having something to cheer for in the month of October.

So please as a member of the marketing and promotion staff tell me why I should cheer for your franchise. What are the benefits of cheering for your team? What will they offer me as a fan?

I am sending this letter to every team outside of the AL Central (I Just can't cheer for the teams I have cheered against for long) sincerely looking for a new team to root for. I will consider all responses and pick my new team based on them. Thank you for your help in this matter.


This should be interesting. I’ll let you know what the responses say and keep you informed on my decision process.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dolphin's Draft Review

Here is a quick recap of the Dolphin’s draft. I was pleased with Miami’s selections as they went to fill their needs. The two biggest needs the Dolphins had at the end of the season were quarterback and defensive secondary.

Miami acquired Daunte Culpepper, before the draft, which will be a major upgrade from last season once he gets healthy. There is also the prevailing rumor out there that Miami is going to pick up Joey Harrington as well. It didn’t happen on draft day which means that the Dolphins will wait until Detroit releases him and then go after him.


1 Jason Allen - DB - Tennessee (16) – This was a great pick in my opinion. I know that several fans wanted the Dolphins to go for a receiver with this pick but a defensive back was a much bigger need. Gone are the days of Sam Madison and Pat Surtain. Hopefully Jason Allen will bring in a new era.

2 To Minnesota for QB Daunte Culpepper (51) – Looking at the quarterbacks that were left when the Dolphins made their first pick at #16 overall you see the steal that Culpepper was with this draft pick.

3 Derek Hagan - WR - Arizona State (82) – Here is the receiver that Dolphin fans wanted. Maybe not the exact one but Hagan is a gamer. He finished his college career as the Pac 10’s all-time leader in career receptions and number two in receiving yards. Hagan will be a solid addition to an already established receiving corps in Miami.

4 Joe Toledo - T - Washington (114) – I guess you could put offensive line on that needs list but Miami had done enough through free agency to put it on the back burner so to speak. Toledo is a former tight end turned offensive tackle and brings quickness to the line. He’ll compete for a starting spot but will more than likely be a special teams player his first couple seasons.

5 Exercised in 2005 supplemental draft for Manny Wright (149)

6 To San Diego in Cleo Lemon-A.J. Feeley trade (188)

7a (from Green Bay in Brad Bedell trade) Fred Evans - DT - Texas State (212) – I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about Evans but he will have to battle to make an active roster spot on the defensive line. He recorded 11.5 sacks in his two years at Texas State.

7b Rodrique Wright - DT - Texas (226) - Wright will have a solid career and should see significant playing time as a rookie. His draft stock plummeted because of injuries and the reputation of taking plays off. Manny Wright learned the hard way that Coach Saban doesn’t appreciate or allow his guys to take any plays off.

7c (from Chicago in John Owens-Brendon Ayanbadejo trade) Devin Aromashodu - WR - Auburn (233) – Aromashodu is a triple threat guy who registered receiving and rushing yards as well as 45 tackles and an interception on the defensive side of the ball during his career at Auburn. In my opinion the worst case scenario for Aromashodu is a special team’s player. He has too much talent to not make the active roster.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Sooners Lead Big 12 in Players Drafted for 2nd Year

Eleven Big 12 Schools had a total of 29 players selected in the NFL draft but Oklahoma and Texas led the way with six players from each school selected. The Sooners led conference with five players taken on the first day. Texas had four players taken on day one.

This is the second year in a row that OU has led the Big 12 in draft picks. Since Oklahoma and Texas tied with the same number of players selected here are a few ironic things to think about concerning Sooners and Longhorns in the NFL.

Vince Young will now be throwing the ball to Brandon Jones.
Chris Simms will be protected by Davin Joseph.
Cedric Benson will have JD Runnels for a lead blocker.

Here is the breakdown of the number of players taken from each school.
Oklahoma 6
Texas 6
Colorado 4
Nebraska 4
Missouri 2
Texas A&M 2
Baylor 1
Iowa State 1
Kansas State 1
Oklahoma State 1
Texas Tech 1

Sooners Taken in the Draft
Davin Joseph (OL) 1st Round Pick #23 Tampa Bay
Chris Chester (OL) 2nd Round Pick #56 Baltimore
Dusty Dvoracek (DT) 3rd Round Pick #73 Chicago
Travis Wilson (WR) 3rd Round Pick #78 Cleveland
Clint Ingram (LB) 3rd Round Pick #80 Jacksonville
J.D. Runnels (FB) 6th Round Pick #195 Chicago

Jason Taylor Victim of Hate Crime

"My wife and I were the victims in an unfortunate incident last night, but we are both fine," Jason Taylor said after an incident on Sunday night that left the All-Pro defensive end with a torn shirt and a laceration on his forearm.

Taylor was assaulted by Redmond Charles Burns. Burns ran Taylor and his wife off the road and then assaulted Taylor with a sharp object. Burns, who is white, faces charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, which police have also classified as a hate crime that would permit tougher penalties. Burns also is charged with obstruction for allegedly resisting arrest after Taylor identified him from a photo array.

Burns was being held Monday on $10,600 bond at the Broward County jail.

Man faces hate crime charge after incident with Dolphins' Taylor

Here are a few interesting tidbits to this story:
- Jason Taylor (who is black) is married to the sister of Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Tomas (who is white) providing the motivation for the assault. It is a good thing that he is in police custody because if NFL quarterbacks fear these guys then this punk doesn’t have a chance. I say before he is put in jail (where he belongs) they should pad him on and let Taylor and Thomas have their way with him on the practice field for a while.

- Jason Taylor (abive) is listed as 6 foot 6, 255 pounds and Burns (right) weighs in at 5 foot 11, 168 pounds. This resulted in Burns fleeing the scene in his truck with Taylor following him while calling the police on his cell phone.

- The chase ended in up with Taylor losing sight of Burns in a trailer park. You can’t make this stuff up! That is why people who live in trailer parks get a bad rap and the reason the phrase “white trash” was invented.

- Taylor was able to pick Burns out in a police photo lineup. This means the police were familiar with Burns. When Taylor described Burns and pointed to the trailer park they probably responded something like, “Oh that guy. Yeah we know him. He’s white trash.”