Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Bowl Wars: A New Hope(cont'd)

In our last installment of Super Bowl Wars, Obi-Wan Coughlin, Eli Manwalker, C3PK and R2G2 stopped at the spaceport to look for a pilot.

Eli: Do you really think we'll find a pilot here?

Obi-Wan: Well, some of the best pilots can be found here. So we'll just have to look around. Let's try that Gentleman's Club over there.

After a brief scuffle inside the club with some bouncers, Eli is introduced to Strahbacca.

Obi-Wan Coughlin: Eli, this is Strahbacca. He's first-mate on a ship that could transport us.

Strahbacca guides Obi-Wan Coughlin and Eli Manwalker over to meet the captain of the Meadowlands Eagle, Han Plaxico.

Han: So you need to get to Glendale huh? I can help you out with that.

Obi-Wan: Really? Will you be able to break through the Empire's defense, and help us attain victory?

Han: Of course! I predict that we'll be able to defeat them no problem.

Obi-Wan: That's pretty bold. The Empire is undefeated you know.

Han: Yeah, but everyone has to lose at some point. Besides, I've given them problems in the past.

Obi-Wan: Ok, we'll use you. Where should we meet?

Han: Runway #17. Don't be late.

Obi-Wan and Eli take off to gather up C3PK and R2G2. Han Plaxico and Strahbacca leave to prepare the ship. Soon they are off to Glendale, but before reaching their destination they encounter Foxborough Stormtroopers and have to do battle. Obi-Wan seperates from the group so that he can engage his former pupil, Darth Brady, in battle.

Darth Brady: I've been waiting for you Obi-Wan Coughlin. We meet again, at last. I will achieve victory because I am the master.

Obi-Wan Coughlin: Only a master of evil, Darth Brady.

Obi-Wan and Darth engage in battle. Darth Brady using his athletic skills and charm, while Obi-Wan Coughlin diagrams it up in his head and proceeds with a gruff confidence. They continue to battle until Obi-Wan Coughlin, sensing that he must give up his fight so that Eli Manwalker can thrive, allows Darth Brady to cut him down.

Eli Manwalker: No!

Manwalker and Han Plaxico fire at the Foxborough Stormtroopers that have advanced toward the Meadowlands Eagle. However, they quickly realize that it's futile and decide to take off.

After some time Eli Manwalker and his teammates realize that they have to destroy the Oline Star in order to take out Darth Brady. Eli battles his way through adversity, and drops a bomb with the help of Han Plaxico. Together, they've helped demoralize and destroy Darth Brady and his Oline Star. However, they both know that this war is far from over.

Coming tomorrow, Super Bowl Wars: The Evil Empire Strikes Back.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alonzo Spellman Is Still Having Problems

Alonzo Spellman, former Ohio State Buckeye, Chicago Bear, Dallas Cowboy and Detroit Lion, was arrested again on Tuesday night. Apparently, he got into an altercation with clerks at a convenience store in Tulsa, OK, and when the police were called he fled the scene and lead them on a chase. He was arrested shortly thereafter.

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It is sad to see someone who has as much talent as Spellman suffer through something like bipolar disorder. While it seems that he's been able to keep it in check in recent years, it has caused him great problems dating all the way back to 1998. His most recent incident before this arrest was in 2002 when he disrupted a flight, and was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. Spellman will likely struggle with his condition for the rest of his life, but hopefully this is the last time that the police will have to intervene.

Tony McDaniel, Finally Pays For His Heinous Act

Tony McDaniel, a former lineman at the University of Tennessee and now a defensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has finally settled his civil lawsuit. He was sued for $800,000 by Edward Goodrich, a UT student, for basically breaking his face. But that is what's to be expected when you suckerpunch someone during a basketball game.

That video still turns my stomach a bit, and it's been two years since I first saw it.

Is Having Clemens At Their Pitching Camp The Best Decision?

Updating an earlier post, Roger Clemens decided to attend the Houston Astros' mini-camp that starts today. Apparently he's looking forward to speaking with the Astros' prospects, though there's no word on whether that will include tips on taking injections and denying published reports.

The Astros kept an open invitation for Clemens to participate in the minicamp, a precursor to spring training next month. Clemens planned to throw batting practice and talk to the Astros prospects.

"I'm doing everything I love to do. I mean, I'm not going anywhere," he said. "So I love to do these things, and the Astros and the other teams that I've worked with have always been real supportive. And like I said, if I can share any insight to these young kids at this level while they're trying to reach their goals, reach their dreams, it's all the more better."

Honestly, I am a bit surprised that the Astros invited Clemens to the camp. I understand that his presence is a huge draw, but it also seems to be something that could blow up in their face. Right now, the Clemens talk has died down, but with Andy Pettite prepared to corroborate Brian McNamee's statements next Monday the "Clemens did steroids" hype machine is about to get back into fullswing. Just in time for the Astros to have to field questions about why they invited him to the camp this year. To me, it just seems like a situation that is just waiting to become a problem for Houston, and one that could have been easily avoided.

Look Out NBA Fans, J.J. Could Be Heading To Your Favorite Team!

Somewhere along the way, J.J. Reddick became a target of jokes and ridicule. However, for the past year and a half he's been stowed away on the Orlando Magic's bench, unable to flourish on the court and draw jeers from NBA fans across the country. But have no fear, that could soon change!

Magic General Manager Otis Smith said that J.J. Redick's agent, Arn Tellem, has suggested the club trade their top 2006 pick, who is frustrated over his lack of playing time for a second straight season.

"I told him what I tell everybody else," Smith said. "Why would I do that before I've really seen him? So he can do something somewhere else? I think J.J. can play.

"He has to have patience. It's the worst thing for young guys, having patience. I know. I was that guy (when Smith played in the NBA)."

Redick, who seldom played last season under Brian Hill, is facing the same scenario under Coach Stan Van Gundy. He has played in just 20 games, averaging only 8.3 minutes and 3.7 points.

Van Gundy said he's already had a sit-down with Redick. He told him there wasn't much hope for him getting off the bench the rest of this season.

He's not playing because the Magic need defense and rebounding at his shooting-guard spot. Van Gundy says that Maurice Evans and Keith Bogans are simply better at those tasks than one of the most prolific shooters in college basketball lore.

It doesn't sound like Reddick is going anywhere anytime soon, but basketball is a business so I doubt that the Magic would turn down a good offer if it came along. But who cares about that? Where should we want J.J. to go?

Of course it's gotta be the Knicks. Starbury's ankle "problems" are keeping him off of the court, and out of the spotlight that's focused firmly on New York's mediocrity. Even if he doesn't improve the team that much, Reddick could take some of the heat off of Isiah if just for a short time. And that sounds like a match made in heaven. Reddick leading on the court, and Thomas leading from the bench. If nothing else, it would provide bloggers with something to write about almost every day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Now T.O. Has Something Else To Cry About

For premier athletes, money isn't really an isssue. When you're getting roster bonuses with multiple zeroes attached at the end you don't have a hard time paying for things. But even for an athlete of T.O.'s caliber, $770k has to be a little bit hard to part with. However, that's about how much he owes the Eagles.

Terrell Owens should set aside part of his roster bonus from Dallas to pay his old team a debt. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday on a grievance that was filed by the NFL players' union on Owens' behalf in 2005, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday, citing a league source.

A team spokesman said the Eagles wouldn't comment. Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, didn't immediately return a phone message.

The union disputed the Eagles' effort to recover $1.725 million of the $2.3 million signing bonus the team paid the wide receiver when it signed him to a seven-year, $48.97 million deal in 2004.

Owens was kicked off the team seven games into the 2005 season for a series of infractions, including repeated criticism of quarterback Donovan McNabb and lashing out against management. He was suspended four games without pay and the team withheld his final five paychecks, totaling $955,880. That means Owens still owes the Eagles $769,120.

Owens will be receiving a roster bonus of $3 million from the Cowboys, so he has money to spare. Though, taking a hit the equivalent of a Pagani Zonda plus a couple hundred tanks of gas can't feel all that great.

What Surfing Has Taught Me

Usually I stick to the "major" sports here at The Sports Oasis. They appeal to such a wide audience, and it seems that everyone can find something they enjoy reading when those are covered. However, I also try to mix it up a bit with off-beat or non-mainstream sports related posts as well. This is going to fall more into that category.

For some reason, I've never really considered surfing a "sport". Maybe it's because I've never entered any contests, but I've always seen it more as an interest or a lifestyle. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there aren't waves all of the time(especially in Florida). At any given moment you could shoot some hoops, play 18 holes, get in some batting practice or throw some passes. However, while you can paddle your surfboard around anytime you want, it's not really the same as dropping into a wave, hitting the lip or getting barreled. Those moments seem to be few and far between. Though, they have taught me one thing very well.


Now don't get me wrong, I still get impatient. Probably more often than I should. Whether it's at the self-checkout counter where someone has 50 gazillion items(and no idea how to scan them properly), or driving behind someone doing 10 under the limit while they talk on their cellphone. I still find myself wishing horrible things upon them in my head. However, I think that practicing the art of patience while waiting for surf has made the elapsed time from calm to super-pissed at least a little longer. Getting your hopes up a week before a projected swell is to arrive, only to have it fizzle out can produce similar results.

At least it used to. Now I know not to get my hopes up too much. Instead of being angry that the swell didn't arrive I find myself more grateful for whatever swell does arrive. Sure 2-3ft and choppy isn't as nice as 6ft glass, but at the end of the day it's all about being in the water and just getting one or two rides. Clearing my head, and being thankful for everything/everyone that I have can be accomplished in both conditions and that's what surfing is all about to me. Though, the 6ft glassy waves seem to bring on that stoked feeling a little quicker.

I read a quote once that said "only a surfer knows the feeling", and I think that there is a lot of truth in that statement. There are many different types of surfers, and we all go about our daily lives in many different ways. But when a good swell hits we're all in the water, cheering each other on(vocally and non-vocally), sharing that same stoked feeling. It's the in-between times that are the most difficult, but they also serve to teach us good lessons and make us grateful for what we've got. Those times might not be making us better surfers, but hopefully they're making us better people.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Can Red Bull Please Take Over Olympic Skating?

Whenever someone makes ice skating look cool I think they've accomplished quite a feat. For the most part, it's something that draws comparisons to watching paint dry, and leaves people wishing for a horrendous wipeout. Unless they're viewing Red Bull's "Crashed Ice" event. In that case, they're probably hopped up on Red Bulls, yelling at the TV and letting out an "oooohhh" everytime someone smacks into an ice wall.

And exactly what does this event consist of?

Basically you outfit four competitors in hockey gear, then turn them loose on a luge-like course that includes a steep downhill start, a number of jumps and a series of bumps and turns. This year's event took place this past Friday and Saturday in Quebec City, and it was awesome as usual.

Maybe someday the Olympic committee will ask Red Bull for their input on some of the more boring events. It couldn't hurt.

Dawn Hamlin Update

About two weeks ago, I posted about Dawn Hamlin's plan to run seven marathons, on seven different continents in seven weeks. At that time I wasn't aware of any way to track her progress. Well, thanks to the power of the Internet, I received an e-mail today with a link to a website. It's not functional just yet, but the e-mailer said that it should be up and running "in the next day". The address is:

It also motivated me to check out how Dawn has fared so far. As of now, I was only able to find her results for the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.

pos/pos(ac)/#/name, forename/ac/club/finish gun/finish mat
119/(23)/177/Hamlin, Dawn (USA)/WMC//04:44:23/04:44:02

It looks like she's gotten off to a good start, and hopefully her site will keep us up to date with her progress.

Super Bowl Wars: A New York Hope(Cont'd)

When we last left Eli Manwalker he was heading out to chase down one of this new droids, R2G2, that had gone on the hunt for his owner, Obi-Wan Coughlin.
The trio encounter some Fanpeople and an Oaktown Raider, but are rescued by Obi-Wan Coughlin.

Eli: What happened?

Obi-Wan: Just relax. You tried to do too much again, and almost fucked everything up. You know forcing things and whatnot.

Eli: Tom? Tom Coughlin? I am sure glad to see you!

Obi-Wan: What are you doing here son? I can't believe that you've made it this far.

Eli: Well, this droid seems to be looking for his owner, and he thinks that he belongs to you.

Obi-Wan: Well, we better hurry back to my place before we're accosted again.

Obi-Wan Coughlin, Eli Manwalker and the two droids head back to Coughlin's place. It's a dark room with a desk, an archaic film projecter, a blackboard and a whip. Obi-Wan proceeds to tell Eli about his father.

Obi-Wan: He was the best star-qb in the galaxy. I understand that you've become a pretty good qb yourself. Which reminds me that I have something for you. Here, this is for your.

Obi-Wan Coughlin hands Eli Manwalker a leather wrapped device with some laces on it

Eli: What is it?

Obi-Wan: It's your father's pigskinsaber. He was very skilled with it. You use it to take out your opponents.

Eli: How did my father die?

Obi-Wan: He was killed by a young Jedny. One who had been seduced by the darkside of The Force.

R2G2 lets out some beeps which draws Obi-Wan's attention.

Obi-Wan: Alright little fella, let's see if we can figure out what you are.

Eli: Earlier he played this message...

Obi-wan: It appears that I've found it.

R2G2 projects the same image of the '72 Dolphins from before, but this time the message is much longer.

'72 Dolphins: Coach Coughlin, weeks ago you almost ended the reign of the Empire. You were so close, yet fell just short. Now it is up to you again to defeat the Empire, and keep our records intact. Help us Obi-Wan Coughlin you're our only hope.

Obi-Wan: You muct learn the ways of the Force if you're to accompany me to Glendale.

Eli: Glendale?!? I'm not going to Glendale! I've got Double Stuf Oreos to consume!

Obi-Wan: Do what you feel is right, Eli.

Obi-Wan, Eli, C3PK and R2G2 head out after Eli discovers that his uncle Archie has been killed by Foxborough Troops. They arrive at the spaceport to look for a pilot.

To be cont'd...

The Only Guy That Nick Saban Helped While In Miami

For the most part, Nick Saban was not a good coach for the Miami Dolphins. He never got the offense headed in the right direction, and there were questionable personnel moves that took place under his watch. One of the most questionable being the pickup of defensive tackle Manuel Wright during the NFL's Supplemental Draft in 2005.

Wright received All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors during his sophomore season at USC, and probably could have matured into a talented DT. However, he was ruled academically ineligible for the '05 season, and decided to leave college early. Wright showed that he had some skills during his stint at USC, but he probably wasn't worth the Dolphins spending a 5th round pick in the '06 NFL Draft on him. However, that wouldn't be the oddest occurence involving Wright and the Dolphins.

On July 26, 2005, after being berated by Coach Saban, Wright was filmed walking off the practice field crying. The video instantly made the rounds on network TV and the Internet. It further cemented Saban's legacy as a no bullshit type of coach, and cast Wright as a whining rookie who wasn't ready for the NFL. He lasted the season with the Dolphins, but missed numerous training camp workouts while battling depression and asking the team to trade or release him. He went on to miss the entire 2006 season, and eventhough he said he wanted another shot with Miami after Saban's departure he had already decided his fate with his past actions. However, getting out of Miami was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.

The Dolphins released Wright in May of '07, and the Bills claimed him. Though, they only kept him for a week. He went on to be signed by the Giants, where he's played in six games and is headed to the Super Bowl. Yes, that's right. Manuel Wright has gone from crying on the practice field to playing in the biggest NFL game there is.

Honestly, without the Dolphins drafting him in the Supplemental Draft, or Nick Saban subjecting him to a very public verbal asskicking I doubt that he would have ended up in New York. So thank Nick Saban for where you are today Manuel Wright. The rest of us Miami fans are still cursing his name.

Friday, January 25, 2008

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere - You Wish You Were This Good At Something Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

You know how when you see an athlete do something on the field it sometimes makes you wish that you were as good at something, anything, as they are at their sport? Well, this video is like that. Let me tell you, I surf decently, and I can snowboard 'ok', but me and skateboarding never really seemed to get along. Rodney Mullen on the other hand? He pretty much makes skateboarding his bitch. Watch and appreciate/envy/cry, or whatever else it causes you to do.

Happy Friday!

Load Up Your Protest Signs, We're Heading To Bristol!

After hearing about ESPN "First Take" co-host Dana Jacobson's off-color remarks, and not being satisfied with her being suspended and not fired, the Christian Defense Coalition is heading to Bristol, CT to protest outside of ESPN.

The Christian Defense Coalition are protesting in front of ESPN headquarters, in Bristol, today calling for the firing of on-air personality Dana Jacobson for comments she made at a recent roast.

Jacobson, co-host of the "ESPN First Take" morning show, was disciplined by her employer after an expletive-laden speech. The Chicago Tribune reported she was suspended one week.

The CDC's director, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, believes that because ESPN is not terminating Jacobson that they're sending a message that they tolerate hateful speech.

"Hate speech, and religious intolerance should have no place in American society. When we see these things raise their ugly head, it is critical that people of good will unite together and prayerfully stand against such bigotry and prejudice. By publicly saying, 'F--k Jesus,' while representing ESPN, Dana Jacobson has crossed a very well defined line. Her comments are so outrageous and inflammatory that the only proper response for ESPN is to immediately release her. A week suspension is simply not enough and sends a message that ESPN tolerates this kind of behavior and speech.

"Imagine the outrage if Ms. Jacobson said, 'F--k Mohammed,' 'F--k Jews,' or 'F--k African Americans.' Although the faith community can forgive and extend mercy to Ms. Jacobson, she still must assume full responsibility and accept the consequences for her hate-filled rhetoric."

Ok, I get what Rev. Mahoney is doing here. He obviously has an agenda that he's pursuing, and going after a popular, and extremely visible, entity like ESPN is a great way for him to make his message heard. While I do agree that Jacobson made a huge mistake, I'm not entirely convinced that her rhetoric was meant to be hateful. Did it come across that way to some people? Obviously. However, I think it was more about being drunk and stupid than specifically targeting someone's religious icon and denigrating it.

Up to this point I haven't heard any accounts of Jacobson spewing anti-religious hate speech so I have to assume that this sort of a one-time deal. She's paying the price right now with her suspension, and my guess is that she'll pay for it in some fashion for the rest of her life because the world is so connected that it will never be fully swept away. In that respect, her punishment more than fits the crime, and it seems to me to be more than appropriate.

Keeping The Seminoles Out Of Sports Stores Is Priority #1

Florida State has hired a new director of its Athletics Academics Support Program in the wake of the cheating scandal that hit the school right before its Music City Bowl game. His name is Bill Shults, and he actually used to be an FSU employee before.

From 1979 to 1992 he coached swimming at FSU, and then he was the university's assistant director for NCAA compliance for five years before leaving in 1997. Having someone familiar with the school is definitely a good thing, but not everything ran smoothly under Shults' watch when he was the assistant director.

No, in 1993 seven FSU players were involved in a $6,000 shopping spree at a Foot Locker store that was paid for by an unregistered sports agent. Five of those players were suspended for games during the '94 season for "accepting shoes, clothing and other gifts in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules".

And guess who was supposed to assist in keeping the university compliant with NCAA regulations? That's right, Bill Shults.

Obviously, not every football player can be watched all of the time. However, it is up to school officials to make sure that the players understand the rules, and that breaking them not only damages their reputation but hurts their teammates and school. Somewhere along the way that didn't exactly happen, and Bill Shults was one of the top guys when it occured.

Oh well, I'm sure that Tallahassee will welcome him back with open arms as long as he keeps the players away from shoe stores, and discourages them from cheating on online exams.

The Darkside Of Fishing

Sure, everyone has told a "fish story" or two, and maybe some of us have even cut the tip of a fish's tail to get within the size limit(looks around nervously). But what about secret compartments? Filleting at sea to avoid detection? And possible violent reprecussions? Well, that's exactly what is happening in Ponce Inlet, FL.

On Dec. 20, marine patrol officers inspecting a fishing boat returning to the Ponce Inlet boat ramp discovered a secret compartment beneath its deck.

After removing bulkhead panel screws to open the compartment, 51 red snapper were found by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law enforcement officers Chris Creese and Clay McDonough.

The catch egregiously exceeded the five-man crews' state limit of two red snapper per person in the Atlantic. And many of the snapper were shorter than the state's minimum-size limit of 20 inches.

Then on Saturday, a sportfishing boat returning from federal waters to Ponce Inlet was stopped and inspected by a marine patrol and 126 filleted red snapper were found bagged in a cooler. Charges for filleting fish at sea, bag limit and size limit violations are pending.

But surely they've encountered things like this in the past, right? Uh, apparently not so much.
The wildlife commission handed this second case off to its federal counterpart, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement, and federal agents are investigating.

One of them, special agent Richard Chesler, said, "Apparently we have an issue with that kind of activity in this area."

McDonough said the two incidents, which occurred within 23 days of each other, are the largest busts he's made in his 10 years on the force.

And while some know that there is a problem, they're scared to go on the record about it for fear of reprecussions. Which they say could be life-threatening.
Has Ponce Inlet become a hot bed for black market seafood?

More than a few local charter boat captains say yes, but they're not willing to say it on the record.

They worry their boats left unattended at docks overnight will be targeted. They worry about violence.

"Narc on one of these guys, you could get shot over something like this," said one local captain.

Like I said, if you've ever been fishing, chances are that you broke a law either intentionally or unintenionally. From not having the correct license, to using incorrect tackle or even violating the size limits. However, the scope of these infractions is much wider, and hopefully state authorities can put an end to it without anyone being shot, stabbed or gaffed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The A-Train Is Officially Off The Tracks

First, let me set one thing straight. For the foreseeable future, Mike Alstott is the "A-Train" in the NFL world. I know some call Anthony Thomas the "A-Train", but he's more of a light version. Like an "A-Trolley" perhaps. Adrian Peterson could stake a claim to it, but he's already been annointed as "Purple Jesus". Besides, I doubt that either one of them train by pushing a Jeep through a parking lot. In any case, Alstott announced his retirement from the league after playing 12 seasons.

Alstott played the fullback position with a mix of speed, power and nimbleness that is rare even in pro-football. He could run through you, around you and then block you on consecutive plays without missing a beat. Though, watching a guy built more like a linebacker than a running back be able to change directions was always awe inspiring. He currently holds the Bucs' record for rushing and total TD's, 58 and 71 respectively. He also holds Purdue's records for career rushing yards(3,635), rushing TD's(39), total TD's, 100-yard rushing games and the single season rushing record(1,436).

Alstott's bruising and battering of defenders will be missed, though we always have highlights to remember him by. Thanks for everything you brought to the game A-Train.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is Paul Pasqualoni A Good Hire For The Dolphins?

Paul Pasqualoni has been hired by the Miami Dolphins to be their next defensive coordinator. Prior to joining Miami, he worked with new head coach, Tony Sparano, in Dallas where he was the linebackers coach in 2006 & 2007 and the tight ends coach in 2005. Before coaching in the NFL, Pasqualoni was the head coach at Syracuse University where he compiled a 107-59-1 regular season record and a bowl game record of 6-3. And exactly how did the Syracuse defense perform while he was the head coach there?

Well, it's hard to track down solid statistics for his entire tenure, however we do have a pretty good set to look at from 1999 to 2004, his final year. Also, from '99-'03 Chris Rippon was SU's defensive coordinator. He's now the special teams and defensive backs coach at Ole Miss. In 2004, Steve Dunlap became the DC for Syracuse. He's now the defensive coordinator at Marshall.

Defensive Stats(rush yds allowed, pass yds allowed, tot. defense, pts/gm)
1999: 116.7 rush yds/gm(#28), 184.5 pass yds/gm(#18)[10TD/12INT], 301.2 tot. yds(#14), 22.1pts/gm(#36)

2000: 135.8 rush yds/gm(#42), 176.09 pass yds/gm(#12)[9TD/7INT], 311.9 tot. yds(#18), 19.3pts/gm(#23)

2001: 170.2 rush yds/gm(#72), 189.00 pass yds/gm(#24)[13TD/13INT], 359.17 tot. yds(#46), 20.3pts/gm(#26)

2002: 171.9 rush yds/gm(#85), 303.75 pass yds/gm(#117)[22TD/10INT], 475.67 tot. yds(#113), 33.8pts/gm(#98)

2003: 138.2 rush yds/gm(#42), 222.17 pass yds/gm(#62)[22TD/17INT], 360.33 tot. yds(#47), 25.1pts/gm(#59)

2004: 186.7 rush yds/gm(#86), 240.17 pass yds/gm(#90)[23TD/13INT], 426.83 tot. yds(#101), 28.7pts/gm(#76)

Hmmm, 2004 could be written off as a bad year because of the defensive coordinator change. However, I am a little concerned with the steady decline in total defense from '99 to '02. Though, the defense rebounded a bit in 2003. Part of the sharp dropoff between '01 and '02 could be attributed to Dwight Freeney's departure to the NFL. His pass rushing ability was undoubtably missed, and was a reason that SU's sack total dropped from 40 to 26. They also lost Will Allen to the NFL prior to the 2001 season, and that surely impacted their pass defense in that season and possibly beyond.

From looking at the stats, it appears that Pasqualoni can coach when he has the talent. When he had players like Freeney, Allen and Keith Bulluck his defense performed well. However, without players of that caliber his teams gave up points and yards. And while some might think that this doesn't bode well for his ability to run Miami's defense, I don't think that it's all that bad. After all, Pasqualoni will not be asked to recruit free agents to the team, which I have a feeling is a weakness that hurt him at Syracuse at times.

He does seem capable of coaching players at a high level, as his record at SU indicates. Pasqualoni appears to me to be a decent hire, though it's going to take time and a lot of work to revamp Miami's defense that is filled with aging players, inexperienced young recruits and not much in between. Hopefully he can mold the unit into one similar to some of the top ranked defenses he fielded while at Syracuse, and not one like the one he had in 2002 that was ranked #113(out of 117) in the country.

This Is Not Your Driveway Mr. Crowder

It seems that Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder had a little trouble parking his truck early this morning. You see, instead of pulling it into his driveway or garage, he ran over a palm tree next to the Florida Turnpike and abandoned the vehicle there.

It was a Channing Crowder mystery. Florida Highway Patrol troopers found the Dolphin linebacker's mangled 2007 pickup truck on the shoulder of a northbound exit ramp from Florida's Turnpike at 5:15 a.m. Wednesday morning.

But where was Crowder? And what about the two items he left behind: a firearm and crutches.

The mystery was solved by Crowder himself. Troopers contacted the football player at his Davie home.

Yes, he said, he lost control of the pickup at the rain-slicked Hollywood Boulevard exit, slamming into a tree.

And yes, rather than wait around in the rain, he caught a ride home, leaving the crunched truck on the roadside, -- gun, crutches and all.

He didn't want to wait in the rain? Riiight. Sounds like someone may have been out and about, and could have ingested some alcoholic beverages and then lost control of their vehicle and smashed it into a tree. Instead of waiting around for the police to arrive, they got a ride from a friend and went home to "sleep it off". Though, I may be totally off, and maybe Crowder enjoys leaving his property smashed up on the side of the highway. If that's the case, then he should definitely make sure to retrieve any firearms before he hauls ass.

Clemens Staining Nolan Ryan's Pitching Camp?

This coming Monday, the annual Nolan Ryan Elite Pitching Camp and Jeff Bagwell Elite Hitting Camp begin. In the past, Roger Clemens has assisted with the pitching camp, though due to the recent steroid use allegations it's unclear whether or not he'll be at the camp this year. However, the Astros have extended an invitation to him.

Roger Clemens is deciding whether to accept an invitation to appear at a Houston Astros pitching camp next week.

"He knows he is welcome and appreciates the Astros standing by him," Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, wrote Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "He would love to be with the kids, but doesn't want to be a distraction. He will decide later what to do."

Well, that's nice. First the Astros sign Miguel Tejada, who was also listed in the Mitchell report, and now they're inviting The Rocket to come mentor the kids. I am somewhat surprised by this considering what Nolan Ryan had to say about the subject of steroids last May.
Ryan, 60, now a special assistant to the general manager of the Astros, said he thought steroid use has been a “big stain” on almost all sports.

“It probably has impacted baseball more than any other sport, mostly because of the history of the game,” said Ryan, who retired with 5,714 strikeouts and 324 wins.

“There were benchmarks that when approached were indicative of what kind of season a player was having. Steroids has changed that.”

Obviously Ryan believes that steroids have negatively impacted the game of baseball. Which is why I can't believe that he would let the Astros invite Clemens to a camp that bears his name. Unless he's just setting up Clemens so that he can put him in a headlock and punch him a few times. Now that's something that everyone would probably enjoy seeing.

Super Bowl Wars: A New York Hope

The Sandcrawler pulls up to a homestead, and the Jawas begin showing off their captives. At first, Uncle Archie isn't impressed, but one of the droids strikes up a conversation, and quickly convinces him to purchase him and his friend.

Later on that day, the trio of Eli Manwalker and the two droids, C3PK and R2G2, are sitting in the garage.

C3PK: Oh thank the maker! This whirlpool is going to feel so good. I've got such a bad case of chokitis.

Eli Manwalker: This isn't fair. I'm never going to get any respect.

C3PK: Is there anything I could do to help?

Manwalker: Not unless you can do cosmetic surgery, or teach speech classes or give me a Super Bowl win.

C3PK: Well, I'm just a placekicker droid so I'm not very knowledgeable about such things. In fact, I don't know how to do much more than kick a ball, and sometimes I'm not even very good at that. Sorry, sir.

Manwalker: You can call me Eli.

C3PK: Well, I am C3PK, and this is my counter-part, R2G2.

Manwalker: Hello.

C3PK climbs out of the whirlpool, as Eli works on R2G2.

Manwalker: Looks like you guys have seen some action.

C3PK: Yes, I'm surprised that we're in as good condition as we are after going through what we did with the Rebellion.

Manwalker: You know of the Rebellion?

C3PK: That's how we ended up here.

Manwalker: Have you been in many battles?

C3PK: Several, though the Empire is still undefeated.

Eli notices a metal fragment stuck in R2G2, and begins to work it out of the droid. As he does, it breaks and causes R2 to project an image.

1972 Dolphins: Help us Obi-Wan Coughlin. You're our only hope.

Manwalker: What is that? Who are they?

C3PK: R2 says that they are Don Shula, Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka. Members of the undefeated '72 Dolphins.

R2 beeps and whistles.

C3PK: He says that he belongs to an Obi-Wan Coughlin. A resident of these parts.

Manwalker: Obi-Wan Coughlin? I wonder if he means old Tom Coughlin?

C3PK: Do you know who he's speaking of?

Manwalker: Well, I don't know any Obi-Wan, but old Tom lives out beyond the concrete jungle. He's kind of a crotchety old man.

Eli leaves to eat dinner, and when he returns he finds that R2G2 has scampered off to go find Obi-Wan.

C3PK: Please don't deactivate me sir. I told him not to leave. I promise that I'll perform better next time in the clutch.

Manwalker: Well, it's too late to leave now. We'll have to wait until morning. That droid is going to cause me a lot of trouble.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Note To Announcers: Of Course They're Signaling That Way

Since the end of the NFL season is alomost here, I thought this would be a perfect time to address an issue that has become a pet peeve of mine. Even if you've only watched one football game in your life I'm sure you've seen/heard it, though you might not be aware of it.

And what is it?

It's when the announcers go out of their way to make us aware that the players on the field are signaling either that they've recovered a turnover, or that they're signaling that a penalty is against their opponent. Of course the players are signaling that way. What the hell else would they do? Have you ever seen a player signal that a penalty was against their team, or that they turned the ball over and didn't recover it? No? Didn't think so.

So, please announcers, follow the action on the field, but when the players are signaling that their team has done something good don't feel the need to beat it into our brains that that's what their doing. It makes us feel like you think we're stupid, and really pisses some of us off.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tom Coughlin's Kicker Woes

Tom Coughlin's kicker almost cost his Giants a shot at the Super Bowl yesterday. However, it wasn't the first time that Coughlin's Giants have experienced some problems in that department.

Last year, they went into their matchup against the Chicago Bears with a 6-2 record, and as one of the best teams in the NFC up to that point. They were trailing the Bears by just four points when Coughlin decided to attempt a 52-yard field goal. That's when this happened...

The Giants ended up losing the game, and five of the next seven. They did make the playoffs, but were bounced in the first round by the Eagles.

Maybe that's why Coughlin's face was so red yesterday. He couldn't get the thought that his kicker was going to lose the game for him out of his head.

How Do These Young Gators Really Compare?

It's no secret that this year's UF men's basketball squad is young. Just about every team breakdown mentions it, and they're right. There are no seniors, and just two juniors on the roster. Some point to the '04-'05 team as a comparison, and state that the "Big 3" of Horford, Noah and Brewer stepped onto campus in a similar situation and they ended up winning two national championships. Well, let's take a look at just how accurate that comparison is.

The '04 team started two freshmen(Horford & Brewer), two juniors(Walsh & Roberson) and one senior(Lee). The '07 lineup consists of two freshmen(Calathes & Lucas), two sophomores(Speights & Werner) and one junior(Hodge). Right away it's apparent that this year's team, while it's starting the same amount of freshmen, lacks the upper classman experience that the '04 team had. And what about the key bench players?

That 2004 Gators team had two freshmen(Noah & Green), two sophomores(Humphrey & Richard) and one junior(Moss) coming off of the bench. This year's team has three freshmen(Parsons, Tyus & Allen) and one sophomore(Mitchell) making an impact off of the bench. Once again, that '04 team had more experienced reserves.

And how do the two teams stack up through their first meeting of the season against Kentucky?

The '04-'05 Gators had a 14-6 record, including a 69-66 loss against the Wildcats. They were averaging 80 points per game, and had cracked the 100 point mark once up to that point.

The '07-'08 Gators have a 16-3 record, and that includes an 81-70 overtime win against Kentucky. They're averaging 81 points per game, and have scored over the century mark twice this season.

That '04 team finished with a 24-8 record, defeated Kentucky for the SEC title and made it to the second round of the NCAA tourney before being defeated by Villanova.

If this year's team can duplicate that type of success, then they are on the right track to achieving the same level of competitiveness that Horford, Noah and Brewer exhibited on their way to winning back-to-back national championships.

You Can't Play "Gutless" Against The Patriots

As we were watching the Patriots eek out an ugly victory against the Chargers yesterday, a friend and I couldn't help but think that some of the Pats victories have come because their opponent played timid at a crucial point. As of now, we've termed it "gutless" football because instead of going all out against arguably the best team in NFL history(ugh, it really pains me to type that), they play it safe, hoping to minimize the damage at that point in the game.

Exactly what am I talking about?

Think back to the Jacksonville/New England game last week. Heading into the fourth quarter the Patriots held an 11 point lead. On their first possession of the final quarter the Jaguars drove 86 yards, used up 5:16 of the clock and settled for a 25-yard field goal. At that point, the momentum had shifted over to New England, as they had outscored the Jags 14-3 in the third quarter. Instead of going for it on 4th and goal from the 7-yard line and cutting the lead to 4, possibly 3 with a successful 2-pt conversion, they played it safe. The Pats responded with a field goal of their own, and won the game by 11.

Obviously hindsight is 20/20, but the Jags had to be ready to score a touchdown on every possession, especially that late in the game down by 11. However, they chose to play it safe, and ultimately lost the game.

The same thing could be said about San Diego yesterday. With about 12 minutes left in the game, and New England leading 21-12, the Chargers faced a 4th and 10 from New England's 36-yard line. At that point on the field, they were looking at about a 54 yard field goal. A distance that Kaeding had made one out of two attempts over the course of the season. Sure there was a lot of time on the clock, but the Chargers had to know that they had a very limited amount of possessions left. They had to make the most of them, especially because they were down two scores. However, instead of going for the first down, or kicking the field goal, they chose to punt the ball down to the Patriots' 13-yard line. New England responded with a 15 play drive that killed the remaining 9:13 on the clock. The Chargers never had a chance to get one more score, let alone the two they needed to win the game.

Like I said, it's easy to be critical of a team's playcalling after the game is over. However, this New England team is capable of scoring a touchdown on every possession, and teams have to be aware of that. They can't be scared of giving up good field position, or putting their defense in a bad spot. Last I checked, those don't explicitly determine the winner of the game, though the amount of points scored does. Teams have to be willing to take some risks in order to keep pace on the scoreboard with the Patriots. Hopefully the Giants learned that from their first meeting with New England, and they'll follow that course of action during the Super Bowl. Otherwise, they'll just end up as win number 19 for the Pats.

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

I rarely discuss anything outside of sports on this blog, but wanted to devote a little bit of space to Martin Luther King Jr. since it is his day today.

Obviously, we should do our best to remember him 365 days a year, and try to advance his dreams of treating everyone equally with love and respect. Without his work, the civil rights movement probably wouldn't have been what it was.

So take a moment to read up on some of his accomplishments, or watch his "I have a dream..." speech. It's a powerful reminder of where we've come from, and just how much farther we can go.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

ESPN College Gameday Flip-Floppers

Last night, prior to the Florida/Kentucky(Thanks for pointing that out bkassing) game, the ESPN College Basketball Gameday Crew discussed some of the results from earlier in the day. At one point, they got to the topic of what team had been the most impressive, and that's when things got a little wacky.

Hubert Davis stated that Maryland had impressed him the most, though his on-screen graphic said USC. At least he rolled with it, and gave his explanation as to why the Terps were so impressive.

Digger Phelps on the other hand, starts out by saying "I'm going with Southern Cal. I really thought that when you look at what Southern Cal did against UCLA..." Then he sees the on-screen graphic that says Villanova, and quickly changes his pick to the Wildcats. Finishing his praise of USC with "...oh no, I mean Villanova on the road at Syracuse".

Apparently, all that talk of politics finally got to Digger. With the ability to change his opinion in mid-sentence like that he'll be running for office in no time.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere - Net Gunned Superheroes Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

I'm a big fan of Rob & Big. It seems that just about every episode has something that causes me to laugh to the verge of crying. Whether it's mini-horses, freestyle raps or weight loss challenges, I find the show funny as hell. This season it appears that a net gun is going to play a significant part in the hi-jinx. Rob bought it after someone mysteriously crapped in his pool, and up until the new episode he had only used it on family and friends. That was before he came across a bitchass Spider-Man imposter.

Spidey ended up tossing a cup of coffee on Rob's Urban Assault Vehicle, and for the rest of the episode Rob couldn't get it out of his head. In the end, he exacted his revenge using Spidey's own power, the ability to shoot a net, against him. It's hilarious, and the perfect addition to this Friday's posting.

Happy Friday!

Could Dana Stubblefield's Guilty Plea Open The Flood Gates?

Earlier today, former NFL player Dana Stubblefield was charged with perjury. This afternoon he plead guilty to those charges which stem from the BALCO steroids case.

Former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the BALCO steroids case.

Stubblefield was charged with perjury earlier today, becoming the first football player accused in the case.

Stubblefield, a three-time Pro Bowler who testified before the BALCO grand jury in November 2003, is charged with lying to federal agents about his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.

The charges unsealed in federal court in San Francisco allege Stubblefield made false statements to an Internal Revenue Service Agent when he allegedly said he had not used steroids linked to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and denied receiving performance enhancing drugs from BALCO founder Victor Conte.

Up to this point, the NFL has been able to deflect any criticism that's accompanied positive tests for performance enhancing drugs by their players.

Two participants in this weekend's conference championship games, Shawne Merriman and Rodney Harrison, have been suspended in the past because of violations of the league's substance-abuse policy(Merriman-supposed Nandrolene use, Harrison-HGH use). However, those positive tests have been all but forgotten. Other players such as Jarrod Cooper, Ray Edwards, Jim Miller and David Boston have all missed time because of steroid suspensions, but we rarely hear about them. For the most part, the NFL isn't portrayed as having a "steroid problem" on the level as say Major League Baseball.

However, Stubblefield's involvement with the BALCO case, and his acknowledgement that he lied about taking steroids could be the first step in the "outting" of other players. Don't forget that Barry Bonds' involvement with BALCO was sort of a starting point for where Major League Baseball is today in terms of steroid investigation and controversy. While Stubblefield probably isn't as disliked as Bonds was/is, which was a factor in the BALCO investigation, he has now admitted to taking steroids and obtaining them through the same channels as Bonds. And don't forget that Stubblefield was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1993, the Defensive Player of the Year in 1997 and was a three time Pro Bowl selection. So he has some amount of fame attached to his name, like Barry Bonds.

It will be very interesting to see how this admitted guilt by Stubblefield affects the NFL. Up to this point the league has been able to stay out of the spotlight when steroid talk takes place. However, this event could focus that light brightly on it.

Magazine Cover Wasn't The First Noose Incident Related To Golf

By now you've probably heard about Kelly Tilghman's use of the word "lynch" in reference to stopping Tiger Woods, and the subsequent Golf Week magazine cover that featured a noose. However, as unfortunate as it may be, that's not the first noose related incident that's impacted golf in Florida over the past year. In June of 2007, an employee of Orlando's Orange County National Golf Club placed a noose in a room at the course that was visibile for all to see.

David Brice, a former African-American employee with Orange County National Golf Club in Winter Garden, filed a formal complaint to the PGA Tour after witnessing the noose in one of the club's offices in June, Brice and the Tour confirmed to the Sentinel.

The Tour held an investigation of OCN before it hosted Q-School, PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. Votaw said OCN assured the Tour that Q-School would run smoothly after learning the man whom OCN determined had placed the noose was no longer working there. The course also promised diversity training for employees.

Bruce Gerlander, OCN General Manager, confirmed the man who hung the noose was no longer there, but he declined comment about all matters pertaining to the incident. The person, a former supervisor, could not be reached for comment.

Brice said he returned to his job as a golf-services worker on June 4 to see the noose with the sign "1-800-whiners" hanging from the right corner of the outside-services office, which was located underneath the pro shop. The office had a window on the door, Brice said, making the noose visible to the public upon a closer look.

Obviously, putting a noose up anywhere is a disgraceful action that shouldn't be taken lightly. To me, it's an example of some of the racism that I believe still exists within the sport of golf. While the sport as a whole has tried to engage people of differing ethnicities, I think that some involved with the sport have struggled with the newfound diversity. Granted, not every golfer in America is against seeing minorities playing on their course, but it seems to me that golf still has a long way to go before it reaches the level of diverseness that other major sports have reached. Hopefully, both of these incidents just serve as catalysts that keep the sport moving towards a goal of equality for individuals from contrasting heritages.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vince McMahon's Newest Recruit

Normally, high school wrestling is full of grappling, referee stoppages and the occasional pin. Rarely does one of the participants execute a flashy move that wows the crowd. And honestly, I have no idea how this kid didn't hurt himself.

All it needs is a turnbuckle and a top rope, and this kid would be all set for Wrestlemania, brother!

You Will Wear This Jersey And You Will Like It!

Sometimes sports fans can get a little out of control. Yelling at the TV, throwing things across the room, getting skull tattoos of their favorite team. You get the idea. But taping your kid down and forcing him to wear a jersey? That's just crazy.

Upset that his 7-year-old son wouldn't wear a Green Bay Packers jersey during the team's playoff victory Saturday, a man restrained the boy for an hour with tape and taped the jersey onto him.

Mathew Kowald was cited for disorderly conduct in connection with the incident with his son at their home in Pardeeville, Lt. Wayne Smith of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department said. Pardeeville is about 30 miles north of Madison.

The boy refused to wear the jersey Saturday, when the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks in a playoff game, Smith said. Smith said the incident sounded strange when reported at first, but the mother took pictures with her cell phone and that type of evidence is difficult to dispute.

Of course the father is trying to play it off as a joke, but the mother has taken out a restraining order against him so there is probably a little history of domestic issues here.

Oh well, it's got to beat hanging out with Mark Chmura in a hot tub.

Note-There's been no mention of what player's jersey it was, but imagining that it was an Aaron Rodgers jersey just makes it that much more humorous.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And You Thought Cutting The Grass And Washing Your Car In The Same Day Was An Accomplishment

You know how some days you feel like you really accomplished something? Maybe you cleaned out your attic, and the refrigerator in the same afternoon. I know, such physical work could leave one disabled.

Well, what if you planned to run seven marathons, on seven different different continents, in seven weeks? You would probably call shenanigans, stating that not even the great Pheidippides himself could accomplish such a feat. But that's exactly what Dawn Hamlin is hoping to accomplish.

Dawn Hamlin figured she had reached her physical limits last year when she completed the Kilimanjaro Marathon and climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in the same week.

But if her latest adventure proves successful, that outrageous feat will seem like little more than a warm-up.

Hamlin, a 27-year-old Ormond Beach marketing professional, departed for Dubai on Monday to begin a challenge sure to make extreme sports enthusiasts salivate and sports medicine physicians cringe.

Her goal: To complete seven marathons. On seven continents. In a span of about seven weeks.

Wow, just attempting to run those races in that timespan is impressive. And it's not like she's running them in the easiest of climates either.
Her schedule starts Friday with the Dubai Marathon. It also includes 26.2-mile races in Morocco, Orlando, New Zealand, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago and Antarctica, an icy finale to her ambitious quest.

So, what does she get besides respect should she complete her quest? How about a world record?
And if you're wondering whether her feat would represent some sort of record, it would indeed. Though 175 people worldwide have run marathons on all seven continents, no woman has accomplished it in less than 100 days.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the shortest time span is 113 days, set by American Ginny Turner between Nov. 5, 2006, and Feb. 26, 2007.

Hamlin's journey kicks off this Friday, and I'm still trying to track down any type of website that will keep us updated on her progress. Hopefully she completes her journey, and inspires some of our lazy American brethern to get out and get active. Remember, twelve ounce curls and changing the channel aren't exactly tests of physical endurance.

The Dallas Cowboys Season In 8 Seconds

Thanks to YouTube member travis122imdb for this funny clip.

Yes, how 'bout them Cowboys?

Randy Moss Issues The Standard Denial

Randy Moss has answered the allegations that he injured a woman, and then refused to let her seek medical help. And eventhough it's a pretty standard denial, it does raise more questions than it answers.

"I want to make something clear," the Patriots wide receiver said while surrounded by reporters and cameras at his locker. "In my whole entire life of living 30 years, I've never put my hand on one woman, physically or in an angry manner."

Florida radio station WDBO reported that a woman filed for an order of protection against Moss, alleging he committed battery against her. The report said a temporary injunction was issued, barring Moss from coming within 500 feet of the woman and from using or possessing firearms.

Moss gave no details of the alleged incident, saying he was restricted by the legal case.

He said the woman was a friend of 11 years and that she asked for "six figures" for what Moss said was an accident in which she was hurt.

"They're false allegations, something I've been battling for like the last couple of days of threats going public if I didn't pay X amount of dollars," Moss said. "So before people rush quick to judgment I think you need to find out the facts about, really, what's going on.

"This young lady by no means is hurt. I didn't hurt her."

Ok, so Moss has known this person for 11 years, and now, all of a sudden, she's decided to try and extort money from him through some type of false accident claim? Why now? I guess it could be because of all the attention focused on Moss as the Patriots try to make it to the Super Bowl undefeated. However, she could have just as easily done it when he was in Oakland or Minnesota.

Also, Moss claims that the woman was involved in "an accident in which she was hurt", but then goes on to say that she is "by no means hurt". He does state that he "didn't hurt her", but his denials leave a lot of room for speculation.

I'm not saying that Moss is definitely guilty of assaulting this woman. Athletes and celebrities are always targets of people looking to make a quick buck, probably far more often than any of us ever realize. However, I'm not fully convinced by his statements that something between him and the woman did not happen. One scenario that I thought of, since it's obvious that he knows his accuser, is that he got her pregnant, asked her to get an abortion while promising to take care of her and never gave her any assistance. It's a bit farfetched, but in this day and age crazy stories pop up on the news every day. It's definitely something to keep an eye because I don't think that this one will be going away anytime soon.

Mike Nifong, Possibly Losing More Than Just His Dignity

Remember Mike Nifong? You know, the overzealous prosecutor in North Carolina that basically convicted the Duke lacrosse players before the evidence had been examined.

Well, most of us probably thought he had hit rock bottom when he had to spend a night in jail for lying to a judge. However, that's not nearly as bad as having to claim bankruptcy because you're faced with "$180 million in liabilities".

In his bankruptcy filing, Nifong lists liabilities of $30 million for each of the cleared players as potential damages in that lawsuit. In addition, it lists a potential of $30 million each for three unindicted players who accused Nifong and dozens of others of inflicting emotional distress in a lawsuit last month.

It also lists roughly $300,000 in other debts, including $8,897.71 owed to the North Carolina State Bar for costs tied to his June disbarment trial.

Prosecutors generally have immunity for what they do inside a courtroom, though legal experts have said some of Nifong's actions - from calling the lacrosse players a bunch of "hooligans" to putting himself in charge of the investigation - might leave him vulnerable to a civil case.

I would like to say that I'm somewhat surprised, but really I'm not. Nifong mishandled this case from the very beginning, and anything bad that comes back on him is probably deserved.

What Do The Dolphins Get With Tony Sparano?

Well, he's obviously got at least a little bit of a sense of humor as is evident in this "Mayne Event" segment.

But how did the Cowboys teams that he helped coach perform while he was there? Let check out some stats.

Since Sparano contributed mostly to the coaching of the offensive line, I'll compare the sacks allowed and rushing statistics to see how the Cowboys improved(or worsened) under his watch.

Sparano took over in 2003, and inherited a team that was in the lower half in the NFL in terms of average rush yards per game and allowed the third most sacks.

2002(pre-Sparano): 109.6 rush yards/game, 7 rush TD's, 54 sacks allowed

Sparano's impact was noticeable in 2003 when the Cowboys' rush average and rushing touchdown numbers went up, and their sacks allowed went down. Obviously, personnel changes factor into these improvements, but Sparano's coaching did help the Dallas offense perform at a higher level.

2003(Sparano's 1st season): 124.9 rush yards/game, 11 rush TD's, 37 sacks allowed

Sparano continued to coach the offensive line unit into better shape, and they performed well under his guidance. Though, in 2005 they did allow quite a few sacks(50), but that probably had to do more with the fact that the picture of immobility, Drew Bledsoe, was their quarterback.

2004(2nd season): 110.6 rush yards/game, 14 rush TD's, 36 sacks allowed

2005(3rd season): 116.3 rush yards/game, 13 rush TD's, 50 sacks allowed

2006(4th season): 121.0 rush yards/game, 21 rush TD's, 37 sacks allowed

2007(5th season): 109.1 rush yards/game, 14 rush TD's, 25 sacks allowed

By all accounts, Sparano is a no-nonsense type of coach that gets along well with his players. He obviously has a good working relationship with Bill Parcells and Jeff Ireland, and both of those guys believe that he can coach the Dolphins back into form. It's going to take a lot of work, but right now I'm confident that he can get the job done. Though, he is taking over a unit that averaged just 98.1 rush yards/game, scored 14 rush TD's and gave up 42 sacks. Lik I said, it will be tough work, but Sparano is the new capo in Miami and he's shown that he has the juice to get the job done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Norm Chow Won't Be Coordinating The Titans Offense Any More

Norm Chow, the former offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, has been fired. Chow lasted three seasons with the Titans.

Chow took over a team that averaged 21 points and 340 yards on offense in 2004, and never really improved on those numbers. In fact, this season the Titans averaged just 18 points and 311 yards on offense. Chow never got close to the same success he experienced in the college ranks while at USC, which is why the Titans hired him.

He had been linked to the head coach opening at Hawaii, and the offensive coordinator position at UCLA. However, both of those spots are now filled so it's unclear where Chow will be next season.

It's Just More Opportunities For Us To "Get Croomed"

That's right, the SEC Coach of the Year(twice in the same season, no less!), Sylvester Croom, received a two-year contract extension on Monday. That means he's signed through 2011, and provides ample opportunities for his opponents to "Get Croomed".

Women Tennis Players, Being Asked To Fix More Than Just Pies

Who knew that professional tennis could be so seedy and full of cheaters? As if those prior incidents weren't bad enough, it seems that women tennis players have also been asked to throw matches.

Five or six players on the WTA Tour have been approached to throw tennis matches, tour chairman Larry Scott said Tuesday.

"I've said several initially, and I think five or six would be in the ballpark," Scott told The Associated Press. "I don't want to go into any more details because it's part of an investigation.

"But we were surprised by the amount of gambling on tennis in general, and the number of players approached."

Scott said that the WTA has determined that no matches have been affected by gambling. And he also has threatened any player involved with gambling on matches with a life ban.

I am surprised that tennis has seemingly been targeted very heavily by gamblers, and those looking to gain an edge when placing a wager. Though, I suppose it could be because tennis is an international sport, and it doesn't seem to be policed as closely as some sports. Though, I could be wrong in that assessment. Whatever the reason, it appears that officials are serious about keeping any form of cheating out of their sport.

Wasn't Someone Overlooked In The Comeback Player Of The Year Voting?

Every year(well, except for 1985) the Associated Press hands out their award for the NFL Comeback Player Of The Year. It's given to the player that shows perseverance in overcoming adversity, in the form of not being in the NFL the previous year, a severe injury, or simply poor performance. This year's recipient was Dallas Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis. Ellis tore his achilles tendon nine games into the '06 season, and returned in '07 to tally 12 1/2 sacks. I don't really have a problem with him winning the award, but here are the other players that received votes:

10 Votes: Randy Moss(WR-New England)
7 Votes: Ben Roethlisberger(QB-Pittsburgh)
5 Votes: Brett Favre(QB-Green Bay), Jamal Lewis(RB-Cleveland)
3 Votes: Bobby Engram(WR-Seattle)
2 Votes: Patrick Kerney(DE-Seattle), Derek Anderson(QB-Cleveland)
1 Vote: Amani Toomer(WR-New York), Albert Haynesworth(DT-Tennessee), Mario Williams(DE-Houston), Andre Carter(DE-Washington)

Of those players, Engram, Kerney and Toomer missed significant time last season due to injury. Moss missed a few at the end of the season due to an ankle injury. Roethlisberger was involved in a motorcycle accident, and had his appendix removed during the offseason prior to the 2006 season. Haynesworth missed some games, but that was because he was suspended for kicking Andre Gurode in the head. The other players receiving votes contributed for the majority of the '06 season, except for Anderson who was a back-up for much of last year.

So those players basically overcame poor performances in 2006, and turned in great ones in 2007. If that's the case, how could Wes Welker not receive any votes? Granted, he hasn't really had a year quite like this one to compare him against, but he definitely perservered through some rough years in Miami and put up stellar numbers this season. Besides, it's not like Mario Williams or Derek Anderson returned to greatness this year.

Welker finished tied with T.J. Houshmanzadeh for most catches in the NFL this season, and he beat his previous best by 45 receptions. He also lead the top 10 receivers in terms of catches with a 5.7 YAC average. And was a consistent contributor on punt and kick returns.

Welker might not have the longest stat sheet to draw from, but he's definitely turned in a performance this year that's worthy of some individual awards. He might have come back from an injury, but he's just as worthy of inclusion on that list as some of the other players that received votes.

Brandon's Wrestling Streak Has Been Suplexed

Brandon High's wrestling team had put together an amazing streak of wins over the past 34 years, but on January 5, 2008 it all came to an end.

In those three decades, Brandon High had amassed 459 consecutive victories and 468 matches without a defeat.

Brandon's streak for matches without a defeat began on November 29, 1973 when they defeated Chamberlain High 40-12. Their streak for consecutive victories began on January 28, 1974 when they defeated Robinson High 32-17. There is a 9 match differential because in between those two matches Brandon tied with Bradenton High 24-24 on January 26, 1974.

During "The Streak", Brandon produced 46 individual state champs, and they combined to win 66 individual titles. To put that in perspective, South Dade is second in the state with 38 individual titles in the entire history of their program. Brandon also put up numerous records for "most individual championships in one meet", garnering 6 three times and 5 once.

Brandon High put together an amazing streak of wins, but like all good things it eventually had to come to an end.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Xavier Lee Done At FSU

It's being reported this morning that Xavier Lee will not return to Florida State for another season of football. If true, it would be the end of a turbulent four years that began with Lee heading to Tallahassee as a top recruit, and finished with him not playing in the team's bowl game against Kentucky.

When he committed to Florida State, it appeared that Lee was going to come in, learn the ropes and then challenge for the starting position in 2005. When Wyatt Sexton contracted Lyme Disease and was ruled out for the '05 season, it seemed that Lee had a shot at beating out Drew Weatherford for the starting quarterback role. However, he wasn't able to outperform Weatherford, and from that moment on he never looked completely comfortable running the offense. He had some flashes here and there, but never seemed to grow into the type of quarterback that Coach Bowden and his staff had envisioned when they recruited Lee.

Eventhough I'm a Florida Gator, it is sad to see someone as talented as Xavier Lee not live up to the expectations that his past success had warranted. I don't think you can place full blame on either Lee or the coaching staff, as I'm sure that they each can share it. However, I was aware of Lee's tremendous talent and potential when he was in high school, and I'm sad to see that his college career hasn't worked out very well. Though, that's sort of the "business" side of college athletics.

Good luck to Lee in his quest to play in the NFL someday.

Could Super Bowl XLII Be The Battle Of The '04 Draft?

It's a matchup that most probably never thought of, and while there still is a ways to go before it becomes a reality, it is a possibility. Yes, what if the Giants and Chargers upset their opponents again, and they both get tickets to the Super Bowl?

Would Eli Manning concede that he may have been wrong about San Diego not being a good place to start his career?

Would Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding, players selected with the picks that the Giants traded to the Chargers, have a big impact in the game?

Would Manning and Rivers duel it out in Arizona, or would they crack under the immense pressure?

Personally, I would love to see a Manning vs. Rivers Super Bowl. As if the circus surrounding the game isn't big enough, this matchup would increase it many times over. Plus, we would get to hear Manning and Rivers doing their best to not put down their opponent while getting slammed with questions about that trade four years ago.

It would be a great storyline. Far better than the machine that is the New England Patriots just churning out another win, and grabbing another trophy for Belichick to wrap his sleeveless arms around.

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere - Technology Smashing Edition

Since it's Friday, and the end of the workweek for most people, we think that you should be provided with a post that takes the edge off so to speak. Because it's going to be random and hopefully humorous, that means that it won't always be sports related. It will also pop up at any time on Friday.

Non-existant posting for much of the day thanks to some tangle of the Intertubes. Once again proving that when computers work, they're great. When they break, they can cause "Big Dig" type problems. In the spirit of wanting to smash technology, I present to you another classic "Office Space" clip.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why The Jaguars Will Beat The Patriots

Ok, so the "in" thing to do this week is to predict a Jacksonville win over New England. The reasons are really two-fold. One, a number of people have come to hate New England so predicting them to lose is a popular choice. Two, if you pick Jacksonville to win and they do, then you look like a genius of sorts. If they lose, no one remembers, and they really never bother you about making a stupid pick.

Sounds good to me!

Actually, since it looked like Jacksonville was going to make the playoffs I've wanted them to get matched up with New England as early as possible. The only thing I wish I could change is that it would be the Sunday game instead of the Saturday one. That way the Patriots would know exactly who they were playing if they won, and there might have been the added aspect of them looking ahead a bit. Alas, Commissioner Goodell didn't ask for my input so it's Jax at New England on Saturday night. Now onto some questions and stats!

Jacksonville Went 0-2 Against The Colts This Season So How Can They Beat The Patriots?

Good question! To start, let me say that I think it's different when you're playing a division rival than when you're playing an opponent for the first time in a season. Jacksonville and Indy know what to expect from each other. New England and Jacksonville haven't faced teams quite like each other this season, so it's a different feel for both of them. It's true that in their first meeting the Jags were destroyed by Indy. In Jacksonville no less. However, that game saw Quinn Gray stepping in for an injured David Garrard, and subsequently throwing two interceptions. Without Garrard in the lineup the Colts were able to stack the box and concentrate on shutting down Taylor and Jones-Drew. The second Jags/Colts matchup was much closer, and showed that the Jags are capable of hanging with the elite NFL teams. However, we're talking about them beating one. So just how are they going to do it?

With their returns and running game.

Everyone knows about how dangerous Jones-Drew can be on kickoff returns. Most of us saw it first-hand on that 96 yard return against Pittsburgh last weekend. However, one player that has been overlooked a bit is Dennis Northcutt. He's never been an outstanding receiver, but this year he's been a decent punt returner for the Jaguars. Jacksonville is going to have to make the most out of every possession, and if Northcutt can set them up with good field position, then they increase their chances of pulling off the win. Besides, if Jones-Drew is returning a lot of kicks, then that probably means that New England is scoring. And Jacksonville can't survive a shootout with the Patriots. The only problem is that New England does a pretty good job at covering punts and kicks, so hopefully the Jags have worked some wrinkles into their return game. Though, they've only had 14 punts returned them this entire season(lowest in the NFL), and that bit of inexperience could lend itself to some mistakes.

The other tool that Jacksonville will use to beat New England is their rushing attack. We've seen what a good rushing game combined with a good defense can do against the Patriots. The Colts and Ravens both have good defenses, both rushed for 100+ yards against the Patriots and both almost beat New England. Philly and the Giants also almost defeated New England, but that was more because of defense and quarterback play. The thing is, none of those four teams have a running back tandem like Taylor and Jones-Drew. Addai and Keith are pretty good, but not quite on the same level as the Jags' backfield duo. Taylor grinds it out on first and second downs, but also still has the speed to go the distance like he did against Carolina. Jones-Drew moves the chains on third down, but can also churn out yards on first and second down and is a threat take it to the house whenever he has the ball. He's also a great receiver out of the backfield, and can wreak havoc when covered by a linebacker. New England's rush defense is pretty strong, but I still think that Jacksonville can get Jones-Drew matched up one-on-one at times with their linebackers and that he can exploit that match-up. Jacksonville's strong rushing attack should also limit New England's scoring opportunities, though they do have an explosive offense that can score from anywhere on the field.

Yes, Jacksonville does have a good defense, but they have to do more than just defend New England well. The Jaguars have to control the game. They can control field position with their returns, and control the clock/tempo with their run game. Both of those are crucial if they want to win, and I believe that they'll utilize both to knock off the Patriots.

Darren McFadden Just Wanted To Tickle Your Ivories

College players getting into a skirmish at a bar is nothing new. Getting into one at a piano bar, however is a bit different.

Arkansas star Darren McFadden was involved in a "pretty rowdy scene" at a Little Rock bar early Thursday, handcuffed by police, then released without charges, a police spokesman said.

McFadden, the Heisman Trophy runner-up, and at least four others were at the Ernie Biggs piano bar in downtown Little Rock when a disturbance broke out shortly after midnight, police Lt. Terry Hastings said. A bouncer was hit in the face as he was trying to get the group to leave, Hastings said. A police report did not specify who hit the bouncer.

"There was a whole bunch of people there," Hastings said. "They were inside and it spilled out into the street."

Outside, McFadden was handcuffed by a police officer "because he was agitated and was provoking aggressive behavior inciting the incident," according to the police report.

"We handcuffed him for a few minutes because he was rowdy," Hastings said.

McFadden, who was the only person handcuffed, was released after he calmed down. Hastings said it was routine procedure to handcuff a person to gain control of a situation.

Apparently, McFadden was just trying to protect his brother when the ruckus started. Though, some involved claim to have seen McFadden hit the bouncer.
A bar employee, Kevin Anderson, told police he saw numerous people, including McFadden, hit Hankins.

It probably doesn't matter much now because I have a feeling that McFadden is headed off to the NFL. However, if this thing somehow drags on, then he could be looking at using his newfound NFL riches to do more than buy a car or a house.