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Trick question – there isn’t a dominant team in college hoops this season.
Texas’ loss last night to #9 Kansas State just proves the almighty Jay Bilas right, that this year’s Final Four is completely wide open. You can look at the nation’s top-five ranked teams and easily realize that not one team can gain 100% of one’s confidence. And I say top-five because any consideration for any team past the #5 Syracuse Orangemen, at this point, is simply a waste of time.
Texas – Obviously a great squad this year, but even more obvious that they don’t deserve the “dominance” label. The Longhorns can push it when they want to, their big men can hold their own, they have decent depth off the bench, and they have their own edition of the ‘freshman phenom’ (Avery Bradley). But as we all saw with the K-State game, Texas can be shut out of a game by a few bad calls and an exploding student section. The Horns still have to play at UConn this weekend and they have to defend homecourt when they take on the Kansas Jayhawks in February. But we also must not forget that this team has taken down a couple of respectable foes, including Pittsburgh and North Carolina.
Kentucky – Actually the only undefeated team remaining at 18-0, Coach Calipari has this squad runnin’ and gunnin’ this season. The Wildcats are touted with highly-recruited freshman and the team is certainly prospering. The play of John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Patrick Patterson really makes this team a threat come March. And the versatility of the entire team really scares opponents. Possibly one of the most, if not the most, athletic teams in the nation. With that being said, this team still has to face Tennessee twice, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State at home. Can they remain undefeated? Possible, but doubtful.
Kansas – Although they have since fallen from their pre-season #1 spot, the Jayhawks are probably the closest thing to a legitimate number one team. The team is rich with talent, has their own freshman to brag about (Xavier Henry – 15 ppg), and their leadership is second to none. Sharon Collins comes up huge in big games and the big white semi-hope Cole Aldrich is a man down low. Their offense is explosive and they’re holding their opponents to just 60 ppg.
Villanova – I love the backcourt of the Villanova Wildcats that includes Redding, Reynolds, and Fisher. However, a loss at Temple cannot be in the genetic make-up of a dominant college basketball season. Yes, I understand that anything can happen in the wide world of sports but that’s literally the lone loss holding the Wildcats back. Their schedule thus far isn’t overly impressive by any means but their remaining schedule is where their name will be made. They just rolled past Georgetown last week but they still have to face WVU twice, Georgetown one more time, go on the road to Syracuse, face Harangody and the Irish, play UConn, and take their team over to Pittsburgh. And look out for Seton Hall, they have the potential to bust some Big East hopes this year.
Syracuse – They are my favorite to win the Big East this season but the Orange aren’t necessarily the dominant man in the conference. Syracuse obviously has the outstanding zone defense and their offensive ability is through the roof – as they can shoot the three, cut to the rim, and draw fouls. One specific reason why I don’t see the Orange running the table is because of how Luke Harangody and the Irish actually got behind the zone in their closer-than-appears game Monday night. I have a feeling that if the opponent can get momentum on the Orange, they begin to panic just a bit. This team does get ‘Nova late in the season and it is guaranteed to be one hell of a match-up. The Big East title will be between the Wildcats and the Orange.
And that’s about it. You’ll of course get some complaints, comments, and screeches from the typical Duke Blue Devil fan, claiming they are more than deserving of the label. However, Duke has yet to see the beef of their schedule. They still need to play at Georgetown, they have Georgia Tech at home, and they still have UNC and Maryland twice. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Let the madness begin…
The NFL playoff picture looked so boring at the start of Saturday and it pretty much stayed that way. Saturday included wins by the Saints, which many expected, and the Colts, which even more expected. Followed by Sunday in which we saw wins from Minnesota, which many expected, and New York, which very few expected. A breakdown of sorts, shall we….
Who Dat Saints – They started the season so hot and created a media buzz that could choke a whale, on the brink of an undefeated year. The Cowboys barge into the Dome and put a hole in the sails. They go on to lose a few more and the country writes off the New Orleans Aints. Why? As if the Saints lost everything they had prior to the Dallas loss? Although the Cardinals were more than a touchdown underdog against the Saints, we all knew the easy money was on the Saints. The Cardinals were unpredictable, up-and-down, and coming off a draining win against the hungry (but not hungry enough) Packers. Not to mention, the New Orleans Saints have very quietly become America’s new favorite team. Ever met a person that said they hated the Saints? Can anyone really say that? They have the support of America behind them and no one would down the Super Bowl if the Saints were involved. And just to help their case, the Saints defense is playing well and their offense is prolific.
Indianapolis Colts – Whether you like him or not, people like Peyton! He’s easily the best quarterback in the league and perhaps the most intelligent passer we’ve seen. Are the Colts necessarily flashy? I would argue no. However, audiences enjoy the happy feet of Peyton Manning and his last-second audibles, which leave defenses simply, well….defenseless. The Colts’ defense is faster than most people give them credit for and the coaching staff for this team could be the brightest in the playoffs. Would the country really not tune into a Super Bowl that included Peyton Manning? Doubtful.
Minnesooota Vikings – I think we all saw this coming. Even before Brett Favre took the field in purple, everyone claimed that the Vikings were just one decent quarterback away from making a Super Bowl run. Soooo, they get a better-than-decent quarterback and land ol’ ageless! Brett has been nothing but spectacular this season, aside from the off-season distracting crap, and he has really made everyone on the Minnesota team better. Take Sidney Rice for example. This kid was about three hairs short of being labled a “bust”, if not labled so already, and suddenly he becomes a Hall of Famer’s favorite target. The Minnesota defense may be a little overrated but they showed otherwise against the Cowgirls and their sissified offensive line. This team controls their own destiny. Picture this: Brett Favre, age 40, leads Vikings in Super Bowl. Whether you’re a football fan or not…is anyone gonna miss the ‘Wrangler Guy’ in the Super Bowl? No way.
New York J-E-T-S – And finally we have the New York, underdog, never-had-a-shot, rookie coach-havin’, rookie quarterback-havin’, no good, stinkin’ Jets. Who’d-uh-thunk-it? The San Diego Chargers were apparently built to win the Super Bowl and the time was now. But then they realized that their head coach was Norv Turner…and that guy couldn’t win a tee-ball game. The New York Jets were told all year that they “couldn’t” and they were told all season that Mark “Sanchise” couldn’t get it done. And now look! The Jets built themselves on the classic football frame – defense and running the football. Now the Jets are in the AFC title game and looking to make history. Would anyone miss the playoffs with an underdog like the New York Jets in the Super Bowl? Um, yes. Although the Jets retain a strong and very supportive fandom, they wouldn’t draw the largest crowd.
So here we sit. Who will be playing in the Super Bowl? I’m no prophet but I predict two scenarios ( not hard to determine if you think about it )…
Indianapolis Colts v. Minnesota Vikings – This one makes the most sense for me. Two Hall of Fame quarterbacks going head-to-head in America’s largest sporting event; who’d miss this? Football people like Peyton and Brett, or at least have respect for their game. And non-football people know Brett and Peyton for their Wrangler and Visa ads, respectively. And did we mention Brett Favre was 40? Every middle-aged man in America will be watching this game and rootin’ for the ol’ guy, even if this is their first ever football game! Rogaine might as well go ahead and buy the largest advertising spot if Brett and the Vikes make it to the Bowl. And can us football fans really make a case that Peyton Manning doesn’t deserve a second Super Bowl ring? This is the best match-up for the audience and the NFL’s pockets.
Indianapolis Colts v. New Orleans Saints – It’s hard for the league to go wrong this year. Even if Minnesota and the original Viking himself, Brett Favre, don’t make it – America’s favorite team will. We all love the Saints! And wow, what a story! A natural disaster literally leaves the historic city of New Orleans in ruins and the fight to rebuild is a long and hard process. The New Orleans Saints have never been so talented and have never given so much to their city. And now, when all their chips were down, the New Orleans Saints make the biggest rebound in history (all statistics aside) and make it to the Super Bowl to represent everyone who is not a Colts fan! And taking on the Saints is the future Hall of Famer that some may call “the best player to ever play the game”. Needless to say, everyone will be watching except maybe a few less uninterested females due to the non-appearence of Brett Favre.
And that’s pretty much it. The league has allowed the underdog Jets to stay in it this long just to make sure that audiences tune in to see if they can “really pull it off”. But in the end, the NFL won’t allow a small-market underdog make it to the Super Bowl over the likes of Peyton Manning and the Colts. The New Yorks Jets are a great story, don’t get me wrong, and they have been absolutely sensational thus far. but the league will have no more. Unfortunately the Super Bowl picture can be too sweet and the NFL’s pockets can be too heavily stuffed.
And with that being said – would the League have it any other way?
NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today that Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas will be suspended indefinitely for his recent involvement with handguns in the nation’s capital.
If you haven’t heard about the latest news surrounding Gilbert (or you just so happen to be living under a rock), Arenas was being investigated by the NBA, the FBI, and D.C. Metro Police for having handguns stored in his locker at the Verizon Center (located in Washington D.C.). Why he brought the guns to the arena is irrelevent (he said it was to get the guns out of his home and away from his kids) in this case because you are NOT ALLOWED TO HAVE A HANDGUN IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. And then, to add insult to injury, reports surface that Arenas pulled one of the guns on a fellow teammate in the locker room over an unpaid gambling debt.
Gilbert Arenas acted as if the whole thing was one big joke and I’m glad to see David Stern lay the law down on him. Although Stern said he thought of waiting for the justice system to take its course first, he decided to act early (pro-active). Arenas is suspended without pay and it will cost him about $150,000 for every game that he misses due to suspension.
This could quite possibly be a blessing in disguise for the Washington Wizards franchise. If the new ownership of the Washington Wizards can find some way to void the absurd $111 million contract that Arenas possesses, that would certainly give the management team more money to work with in order to better build a contending basketball team. The worst move the Wizards made (aside from the drafting of Kwame Brown and many others) was when they were convinced into giving an $111 million contract to an egotistical guard with rubber knees. Now we can only hope that the contract including something about maintaining good behavior, having morals, acting as a grown man, and avoiding stupid situations.
Here’s to hoping Gilbert Arenas came with a receipt.
The Washington Redskins and Mike Shanahan agreed to terms this evening, a five-year deal worth a reported $7 million a year for the former Denver Broncos and two-time Super Bowl winning coach. Shanahan was hired as the head coach and Executive VP of Football Operations, the latter title being currently occupied by the newly hired Bruce Allen. Shanahan and Allen will work together to help build the organization but Shanahan will ultimately have the final say in all football matters (hoping this isnt a duplicate of what we had before: a “yes” man for owneer Dan Snyder).
It has also be reported that Mike Shanahan’s son, Kyle Shanahan, will become the new offensive coordinator in Washington. Kyle Shanahan was the former offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans.
Let the games begin!
The Monday following the final Sunday of games in the NFL’s regular season is commonly known as “Black Monday”, mainly because it involves a large dish-out of executive firings, coaching dismissals, and team overhauls. And that was just the case in Washington, D.C. this morning.
The Washington Redskins arrived home this morning around 2:15 am after dropping a close game to the playoff-bound San Diego Chargers in California. Just hours after the team landed, head coach Jim Zorn, executive VP Bill Allen, and owner Daniel Snyder had a meeting at around 4:15 am. And by 4:45 am, sources say FORMER head coach Jim Zorn was being escorted from Redskins park by security officials.
And just like that, the Zorn regime in the nation’s capital has ended, going 12-20 in two seasons. Sources are also reporting that absolutely no one from the current coaching staff at any position will remain with the team for next season and the heavy speculation is that former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan has already signed the papers to become the next head coach in Washington. His rumored right hand men are Mike Zimmer, the current defensive coordinator in Cincy, and Kyle Shanahan, Mike’s son and current offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans.
This is where things get interesting…
Rumors are surfacing that Mike Shanahan is the next coach in line for the Washington Redskins. Although ex-Bucs coach Jon Gruden would seem like the sure-fire candidate for the Skins’ job, it seems as though his MNF contract has him staying put, leaving Shanahan as the “next best available”.
Mike Shanahan is a proven winner in the league but him taking orders from an executive doesn’t seem like a job he’d like to have. Shanahan has always been his own general manager and he has said he wants a coaching job with general manager duties included.
Only rumors at this point. Stay tuned.