Thursday, August 26, 2010

Better Know a Conference: The Big 10

Burning Question: Is this really the last year of the great Big 10 traditional hate games? I'm sorry I just can't get over the Big 10 is being this stupid about moving OSU v. Michigan and putting them in separate divisions. Compounding my disbelief it's been confirmed Iowa/Wisconsin are being put into separate divisions (for those unaware Iowa v. Wisconsin has been played every year for 88 years and is THE rivalry for Iowa). What are they smoking in the Big 10 offices?

Biggest Non-Conference Games: Alabama v. PSU, tOSU v. Miami, Iowa@ Arizona, Michigan v. UConn, Anyone v. Notre Dame

Mighty's Predictions

1. Ohio State - The expectation is that with a fully armed and operational Terrel Pryor tOSU will win the Big 10 for a record tying 6th straight time. However it's more than Pryor at Buckeyeville this year, it's the best o-line, best d-line, best linebackers, and deepest RBs tOSU has had in awhile. It is a tough schedule and if the Buckeyes have an achilles heal it's the secondary. Nonetheless it'll a surprise (and disappointment) if the Scarlett and Grey don't win the last real Big 10 Title.

2. Wisconsin - If there is one team that can challenge the Buckeyes for the Big 10 title, I'm predicting it is the Badgers. Bucky Badger returns the leagues most efficient QB, a pounding running game, and 10 returning starters on offense. However in the biggest games, the Badgers offense pulled in duds and gaping holes at DT I think will ultimately hold back the Badgers from winning the title.

3. Iowa - I'm going on record (and out on a limb) and saying Iowa will disappoint. There's two ways to look at Iowa's comeback cardiac wins last year. Either Rick Stanzi is a cold blooded 4rth Quarter ace and Iowa is a turnover creating machine or.....they were really lucky last year. Statistics tell us ON AVERAGE turnovers tend to regress to the mean next year, losing experienced o-linemen is tough, and counting on continually winning close games is a fools' game. I think the law of averages catches up to Iowa.

3. Penn State - Penn State I think could struggle. Yes, they will have a great defense (like they always do). Yes 8th year starter Evan Royster can run. But all signs point to swirling uncertainty at QB. Opening week of college football is one week away and it's still a 3 way race between a once heralded recruit that isn't performing, a walk on that knows the offense, and a true freshman. None of those possibilities should give Penn State tons of confidence.

5. Michigan State - The pass has come to define Michigan State. Nobody can stop their passing attack led by Kirk Cousins and they can't stop the pass. Will this year be any different? I doubt it. I'm expecting crazy high scoring games for Sparty. That said, they avoid tOSU and have an easy non-conference so a bowl game is probable.

6. Michigan - This is make or break time for RichRod. Another horrific season to match the previous two and even the normally patient Michigan AD will have to throw the axe. My prediction is that Denard Robinson (He of No Shoelaces) will become the starting QB and he will power the Michigan offense to 30 points a game. However it's the Michigan D that has been and will continue to be problematic. The rush D was awful (second to last in Big 10) and should suffer without Brandon Graham. The pass D stunk ( last) and lost 4 potential starters between recruiting mishaps, early trips to the NFL, and freak injuries. They will be better than last year but I'm not sure if they hit 6 wins.

7. Purdue - Their starting RB has one of the most awesome names ever....Al-Terek McBurse. Is he Arab? Irish? Is McBurse just the name he uses when running around LBs? In any event no PSU, No Iowa, and a bounce back from lots of close losses. I think Purdue is Bowl bound and could be the Big 10s Big Surprise on Upside.

8. Northwestern - Little known fact Northwestern has been the 6th best Big 10 over the past 7 years. They're solidly entrenched in the Big 10 mid-tier. However losing QB Kafka will prevent me from making Metamorphosis jokes so I say they'll perform below average this year.

9. Minnesota

10. Illinois

11. Indiana

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rumors of OSU v. Michigan, Not Cool People

Scouring the interwebs, there has been a sharp uptick in rumors about on the shape of things to come for the Big 10s bellweather hate fest known as OSU v. Michigan. As being reported in the Plain Dealer, MGoBlog (the #1 Michigan sports blog), and others there is a growing consensus that the Big 10 will not only place Michigan and OSU is separate divisions but that the Game will be moved to October. Now playing a game early in the season (i.e., it removes the build up to the spoiler, elimination, winner take all format that's existed for the past 75 odd years) is by design with the hopes that somehow OSU and Michigan will play each other in the Big 10 championship game. In other words it's hurting the sure thing, for the promise of some super payoff of a Michigan v. OSU Big 1o Championship game.

Frankly, I think that is stupid. If the divisions had been the way they are expected to be OSU and Michigan would have played for the conference championship 4 times in the past 16 years. The changing demographics of the Midwest and College Football should only exacerbate things. The Big 10 has the chance to keep the OSU-Michigan rivalry like Auburn-Alabama , hell even Oklahoma-Texas by either keeping the game at the end of the year or keeping the teams in the same division. Instead it's sounding more and more likely that the dumbest of potential outcomes is coming to pass. Perhaps hate can survive this lamer version, perhaps OSU and Michigan will re-enact the 1970s and dominate everyone else, but it's not something that I'd bet on....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Better Know a Conference: The Pac 10

Nearing the end of the journey...the Mighty Mike preview express hits the Pac 10

Burning Question: The King is Dead, long live the king? USC, the tyrant of the Pac 10, met a grisly end last year as several Pac 10 teams humiliated the former Goliath. Couple that with USC's bowl ban/scholarship restriction and its unclear what's next for the Pac 10. The pattern elsewhere across the college landscape is for one or two alpha dogs to control a conference. Will someone replace USC then as sole owner of the Pac 10? Will the conference become a free for all as it did last year? Will Lane Kiffin start crying on the sidelines?

Biggest Non-Conference Games Oregon State @ Boise State, UCLA @ Texas, Oregon @ Tennessee, Nebraska @ Washington

Mighty's Predictions
1. Oregon - I can't particularly remember a time when the #4 team in the country has no QB which I suppose says something about Oregon and probably something about preseason polls. Oregon's offense has been unstoppable under Chip Kelly. While Masoli is gone, people forget he was like 4rth on the depth charts. So assuming one of Oregon's QBs is serviceable Oregon should well roll on....

1. USC - This is really the only ranking USC might get as its banned from the Coach's poll this year. Matt Barkley should be improved and the D should be up to snuff. But I'm not sold on Kiffin as a coach (as opposed to a recruiter). USC should still do well but I'm doubting their dominance.

3. Oregon State - They have the best running back in the conference (Rodgers) and the best d-line against the run. They are breaking in a new QB tho and their pass rush was non-existent. So as long as the forward pass is made illegal Oregon State should be in great shape.

4. California - Shane Vareen (RB) is a future star in the Pac 10 and will get a chance to shine . Oddly Cal had one of the best recruiting classes of 2010 so look for lots of young stars to play. Of course young stars are inconsistent. So Cal could be anywhere between 2nd and last in the Pac. I'm compromising and picking 4rth.

5. Washington - Put up or Shut Up time for UberHyped Future First Round Pick Jake Locker.

5. Stanford - I'm expecting some growing pains but at the end of the year I'm predicting Andrew Luck (seen above) will be the best QB in the Pac 10.

7. Arizona


9. Arizona State

10. Washington State

2010 NBA Off-Season Champion

Now that the most anticipated Off-season in NBA history is practically over, it’s time for me to hand out some awards. Please note, that while in 2007 and 2009 I gave out Offseason Championships, this year, that award obviously goes to the Miami Heat. The focus of this article is on the other teams in the league, since most teams went through dramatic makeovers as a result of everyone trying to cash-in on the bonanza of all the 2010 free agents.

Runner-up 2010 Offseason Champion


Gained: Boozer, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, Kurt Thomas

Lost: Kirk Hinrich, Hakim Warrick, Brad Miller

Adding 3 players from Utah (Brewer was on Utah for the 1st half of last season) was a major coup for the Bulls. Brewer is more athletic than Hinrich at this point, and Boozer should be more effective than Warrick or Miller was, plus Korver provides a 3-point weapon that was desperately needed on last year’s team. This should be one of the tougher teams next year, so long as Derrick Rose plays unselfishly.

Sneaky transactions to help playoff powers


Gained: Tyson Chandler for the corpse of Erick Dampier!

Plus, they re-signed Brendan Haywood! That’s the best defensive center duo in the league, no doubt! If they can make it to the conference Finals to play the Lakers, they actually have the size to play them fairly even.


Gained: Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Theo Ratliff

Lost: Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell

Basically… the Lakers upgraded at PG (Blake over Farmar), upgraded their wing defender (Barnes over Shannon Brown, who still re-signed w/ the Lakers), and they upgraded their center depth (Ratliff over Powell). Fantastic off-season, and they didn’t overspend on anyone.


Gained: C. Maggette, Drew Gooden, Salmons (re-signed), J. Brockman

Lost: L. Ridnour, K. Thomas, C. Bell

I really like this off-season for the Bucks. Adding Maggette, another scorer, is a great addition for their young PG, Brandon Jennings. Plus, they were able to get Salmons to re-sign. I can’t actually endorse the long-term deal of Drew Gooden, but big-men were in high demand this offseason so sadly, they paid what was 2010 market value (5 years, $30 million).

I have no idea how this will turn out, but I do know someone got swindled

Golden State

Gained: PF David Lee, PG Jannero Pargo, Undrafted Jeremy Lin from Harvard, and Charlie Bell and Gadzuric from Milwaukee

Lost: Maggette, Azubuike, A. Morrow, A. Randolph, R. Turiaf, CJ Watson

The sign-and-trade of David Lee for Anthony Randolph, Azubuike, AND Ronny Turiaf is just ridiculous. I haven’t seen someone give up so much in a sign-and-trade since the Suns swindled the Hawks for three 1st round draft picks and Boris Diaw in exchange for Joe Johnson. Anthony Randolph was injured most of last year, but is still considered a possible future superstar… but I don’t understand why Golden State had to also throw-in Azubuike and Turiaf. I don’t know how this will play out or if the Warriors were just desperate to put David Lee in there along with Monta Ellis and Curry, or what the goals are for this team, or whether Don Nelson is still just trying to get fired… but we will soon find out I guess. On the bright side, the team has new owners, so I’d imagine by this time next year they will have a new GM, a new coach, and an actual gameplan.

Big spender, questionable results?

New Jersey

Gained: PF T. Murphy, SF T. Outlaw, SG A. Morrow, PG J. Farmar, C J. Petro, C/PF Sean May

Lost: C/PF Tony Battie, SG C. Lee

I guess their starting lineup is:

PG D. Harris

SG A. Morrow

C B. Lopez

SF T. Outlaw

PF T. Murphy / D. Favors (#3 pick)

I actually really like this lineup, assuming Devin Harris is healthy this year and back in All-Star form. That’s a huge “if.” Harris can’t shoot 3s, but Morrow, Outlaw, and Murphy provide proper spacing and 3-point shooting for this team. They will be horrible defensively though, but this should be a decent team, assuming Brook Lopez can recover from his mono this fall (he was unable to go to Europe for the World Championships this August).

Big spender, questionable results, Part Deux

New York

Gained: Consultant Isiah Thomas, PF/C Amare Stoudemire, PG Felton, PF A. Randolph, SG K. Azubuike, SG R. Mason, PF R. Turiaf

Lost: Consultant Isiah Thomas, PF, D. Lee, PG Duhon, SF A. Harrington, SG E. House, PG S. Rodriguez

I guess their starting lineup is:

PG R. Felton

SG K. Azubuike

C ? / Turiaf?

SF D. Gallinari

PF A. Stoudemire

or maybe… Stoudemire at Center with Anthony Randolph at PF? I’m not sure. I’m irrationally still more in love with the Nets lineup because of the strength of their PG and traditional center (Brook Lopez). The Knicks are still coached by D’Antoni, so this team certainly is bred to run up and down the floor, but I think the lack of a true center (and of any players who enjoy rebounding), will doom this team. Shawn Marion was a very important cog to those Suns teams because he was able to gobble up tons of rebounds if need be. I don’t think any of these players can do that. A mid-season trade would do wonders for them and would change my outlook for this team, as would a trade for Carmelo of course, depending on what they give up.

Biggest losers (This is a “loser by choice” category… whereas Cleveland and Toronto didn’t choose to lose their superstars)


Gained: Shaun Livingston (the post-injury one), and Erick Dampier (who they plan on waiving and/or not playing)

Retained: Tyrus Thomas (re-signed)

Lost: PG Felton, C Tyson Chandler

After finally making the playoffs, they already are in cost-cutting mode. Very nice, I’m sure the fans appreciate it. I also don’t have much faith in DJ Augustin as the starting PG.


Gained: Darko, Luke Ridnour, M. Beasley, S. Telfair (again!)

Lost: Al Jefferson, R. Sessions, R. Hollins

Seriously? Al Jefferson in a salary dump? He still has value, I know he’s not as good as he was before the ACL injury, but he still is a center getting 17 ppg and 10 rebs. You could have at least tried to get something else.

Most interesting off-season


Gained: Turkoglu, J. Childress, H. Warrick

Retained: Channing Frye (re-signed)

Lost: Amare, Barbosa

Everyone is up-in-arms about the loss of Amare. I don’t think Amare is that important to this team. Just to provide one fact in favor of that argument, is that according to the data file you can download from, Amare Stoudemire actually was the 289th-best player last year based on adjusted plus-minus, below the “average” rating of the 140th-best player, and was outperformed on his own team by Steve Nash, Dragic, Frye, Dudley, Richardson, and even Barbosa. This team is still all about Steve Nash being a facilitator and having 3-point shooters and big-men that can run. That’s still in place. I think this team is still a solid playoff team, and Turkoglu will fit in well in this insane offensive team.

Best Trade that Could Help Catapult a Team from 25 wins to the Playoffs

Sacramento Kings

I still can’t believe they were able to acquire Dalembert, one of the best defensive centers in the league, for the LONG-TERM contract of Nocioni (2 more years at $6.5) and Spencer Hawes (a throw-in below-average big-man).

The Kings should be serious playoff contenders this fall with the continued maturation of Tyreke Evans and his young, athletic supporting cast (O. Casspi, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Donte Greene, and rookie Demarcus Cousins).

Best Trade that Could Help Catapult a Team from 32 wins to the Playoffs

Indiana Pacers

Getting rid of the expiring contract of Troy Murphy in exchange for a young, fast, starting PG in Darren Collison was a magnificent trade. I have no idea who’s playing PF now (Tyler Hansbrough? Solomon Jones?), but it should be a more traditional player with better defensive skills. If Collison improves at PG and Hibbert improves at Center, this team could indeed make the playoffs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson, 1923-2010

Many casual fans have never heard of Bobby Thomson. In his time, he was a good-but-not-great outfielder for 15 seasons between 1946 and 1960, with 264 career home runs and three All-Star appearances.

But Bobby Thomson is an unmistakable and unforgettable part of baseball history. It was his three-run home run in the bottom of the 9th, in the final of a best-of-3 playoff series in 1951 - "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" - that gave the New York Giants the pennant over the Brooklyn Dodgers.

There have been many dramatic homers in baseball history, but what sets Thomson's bash apart is the famous radio call by Russ Hodges. Hodges' account of this great moment still gives me goosebumps, every single time I hear it. It is arguably the greatest piece of sports broadcasting in history; and if not the greatest, it is certainly among the first and most important sports broadcasting moments.

Here's the call, overlaying the television feed. Enjoy it - and Bobby, rest in peace, and thanks for giving us a sliver of history that we'll always cherish.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cheers and Jeers: Old Crusty Edition

It's been awhile but it's time to get back to some old fashion cheers and jeers. There's just some traditional values and mores (like being married by a giant fish) that should never change. Cheering and Jeering is one of them. So without further ado.....

Jeers: To Chris Bosh. In the contest between stupidity and malice I think Bosh consistently picks stupidity. In various interviews over the past month Bosh has admitted that the talent express to South Beach had been in the works for months. Last week Bosh admitted that he put out mix messages intentionally (read lies) to fans for "entertainment". Maybe I'm old fashioned but I'm unclear how admitting that you lie to people and turn ingthe NBA into professional wrestling improves well anything?

Jeers: To Ben Rothlisberger. Rothlisberger got some deserved heat from his hometown for his recent behavior. In response Rothlisberger removed the name of his hometown (Findley, Ohio) from his Pittsburgh bio and put a fictitious one in it's place. Theoretically it's the name of his school but he ended up misspelling it. There's two actions I can not cheer: spite and poor spelling.

Jeers: To the PGA for ruling out Dustin Johnson. There are rules and then there are guidelines. My long standing mantra in all sports is don't let the refs decide a game and the PGA assuredly failed that test.

Cheers: To 17 days until football starts up again. Hooray.

And our C&J gal of the week.....random Oktoberfest Girl

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Better Know a Conference: Mid-Majors

Continuing on Mighty's preseason tour of the college football realm...we end up with the mid-majors or pseudo mid-majors. Yes, there's still the great dividing line on automatic bids, revenues, and recruiting abilities. But I'd argue the bias against mid-majors is at an all-time low. Boise State and TCU are both ranked in the top 10 of the preseason poll with Utah also in the top 25. Not to say that bias has vanished, but the mid-majors have as good of chance as ever to get a spot in the national championship this year. So who are the Big Buster Contenders?

Boise State: 122 wins in the past 11 years...not too shabby. But the hype for Boise surrounds their #4 finish in the polls last year and returning 21 of 22 starters this year. They have a great o-line (they only gave up 5 sacks last year) and a QB that doesn't make mistakes (39 TDs v. 3 INTs). Boise State has the challenge of winning on the field against V-Tech (in DC) and home against Oregon State. It also has the challenge of living up to the hype. Last time (2005) Boise was thought so highly it pooped the bed v Georgia (48-13).

TCU Seems to have at least hype wise moved pretty high up the list. They earned an at large BCS bid and are ranked top 10 despite losing 6 all conference starters. However this team is different from last year's . Last year defense was the driver. This year TCU is hyping their QB (Andy Dalton) for a Heisman trophy. The big road blocks for TCU are against Oregon State (in Dallas) and at Utah.

Utah - If there is team to trip up TCU it will probably be Utah. Jordan Wynn started as freshman last year and is on the cusp of being a star this year. However the defense loses 3 linebackers, 2 safeties, and 1 corner. Typically this far more attrition than a mid-major can handle but as I've tried to argue...that line is blurring. That line is especially blurring at Utah leaves for the soon to be Pac-12 next year. 2 tough non-conference from them are at Pittsburgh and at Notre Dame (Mormons v. Catholics.oh)


Houston - Runs the air-raid attack first employed at Texas-Tech. While C-USA has lost its luster Houston is by far the cream of the crop. Coach Kevin Sumlin is probably the hottest coaching prospect out there so look for his name to emerge at the end of the year .

Middle Tennessee - Surprisingly good offense. Check. Easy conference schedule. check. Big name BCS team to bust . Georgia Tech..Double Check. I won't hold my breathe on the expected Sun Belt Champion but if you want a school to really be dark horse BCS's Middle Tennessee.

- Yep Temple has a Division I football team. I'm shocked too. That said the unanamous favorite to win the MAC might surprise a few people and go undefeated

BYU - They're in the toughest mid-major conference so a few upset wins (TCU and Utah) and everyone will be aboard the caffeine free express.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Trade Value of Darren Collison and Hypothetical Trade Scenarios

So I ended up having an interesting discussion with Mighty Mike about the insane four-team NBA trade earlier today. The main point of the discussion is this:
were there really any other suitors out there willing to part with a SG/SF AND needing Darren Collision? If so, what could the Hornets have gotten instead?

I decided to first poke around the Internet to see if anyone else had tried to assess Collison's trade value before today. I found that on June 12 (before the draft), Hornets247 .com identified the Pacers as a likely target and proposed two trades but both involved lottery picks and all sorts of extra players, making it unrealistic in my opinion.

Another website,, goes through a Grizzlies analysis. I'm not reprinting it, because it is completely flawed in my opinion in that it assumes that the Grizzlies would move Marc Gasol to open up a spot for Thabeet. Thabeet is nowhere near ready, while Marc Gasol is already one of the best big men in my opinion. Their 2nd trade scenario is even more preposterous... a straight up trade of Collison and Okafor for Granger. That makes no sense whatsoever from a position standpoint, let alone the lack of value the Pacers are getting for Granger, an All-Star.

The best analysis I found was on, where it used win-shares to keep things very analytical, and came to perhaps the best conclusion I'd seen:

Unless Danny Granger is involved, it doesn't make much sense for New Orleans to move Collison to Indiana. And it doesn't make much sense for Indiana to move Granger anywhere really, considering that Granger is essentially their (much better) version of Collison."

With the analysis of these other websites in mind, listed below are the six deals I came up with, to assess what other realistic options could have been available for Collison. It's subjective, but I went through all the teams while looking for wing-help for the Hornets, and looking for teams that would be willing to play a PG like Collison heavy minutes. Of course, Posey would be added to most of these deals for salary cap purposes.

1) Andre Igoudala (and 4 more years and $60 mill) for Collison - This assumes the Sixers give up on Louis Williams. Probably unlikely.
Verdict: Better Trade for the Hornets, but Unrealistic

2) Caron Butler for Collison -
This assumes Dallas would bench Kidd. Not sure who plays SF then. Plus, Dallas has Beaubois waiting. Very Unlikely.
Verdict: Better Trade for the Hornets, but Unrealistic

3) Rudy Fernandez and/or Batum for Collison -
I think getting Batum actually makes more sense and is less of a financial burden. He missed half of last season, but has been a great defender and above-average player, even by using the Win-Share per minute. Batum is not a household name though, whereas Ariza is, but I think this is the player I'd rather have if I were the Hornets, because he does not financially constrain you. It's possible the Blazers would throw in Rudy Fernandez either way also. I think this is the only trade out of the six that I envision that is more likely to be realistic AND seems to help the Hornets win.
Verdict: This is the trade the Hornets should have pursued! The Blazers would have been ecstatic too to have a core of Collison, Brandon Roy, Aldridge, and Greg Oden (if healthy).

4) Boris Diaw for Collison -
Diaw's an average player, but combining him with Paul would remind some of when Diaw was a great passer alongside Steve Nash.
Verdict: Ariza trade is probably better.

5) J. Thompson OR Donte Greene and F. Garcia for Collison -
This allows Tyreke Evans to play SG. Thompson/Greene are two young 6'11" skinny guys with a lot of potential. Not sure if this is even desirable for the Hornets since they are convincing Chris Paul they can win NOW.
Verdict: Ariza trade is clearly better

6) Tayshaun Prince for Collison.
Prince is older and missed a lot of games last year and already is 29.
Verdict: Ariza trade is clearly better.

Final conclusion:
Clearly, as Mighty Mike pointed out, the Hornets are at a disadvantage at the bargaining table because everyone knows they desperately are trying to keep Chris Paul happy. I have tried my best to gauge what else is out there, and sadly, without engineering insane-multi-player and multi-team trades, the best transaction I can come up with is acquiring Nicolas Batum. This probably won't sell any tickets.

However, it may win games! If you go to Basketball, you will see that Ariza posted only a 0.058 Win-share per 48 minutes last year, whereas Batum posted an above average 0.181 win-share per 48 minutes. Moreover, I even looked up adjusted plus/minus... and sadly Ariza, according to, only had a -.70 rating, whereas Batum had a 2.54 rating (to keep things in perspective, only 142 players had positive ratings, with the top 15 players having ratings between 7.0 and 18.0).

NBA Absurd Four-Way Trade: Instantaneous Analysis

ESPN is reporting an absurd 4-Team trade. The Trade is not yet finalized, but I attempted wrapping my head around the trade over email, and it ended up being so long, I decided it would be best if I just publish my initial thoughts.

I can't believe a trade like this is happening, as it's not a bunch of minor players, and it does not involve the shifting of a bunch of old players (like this insane Patrick Ewing, Glen Rice, Horace Grant, Luc Longley trade in the year 2000).

Here is what I believe is going on as of 3:30PM EST on 8/11/2010:

1) Rockets saves money - they dump out Ariza for C. Lee
This is good, because Kevin Martin needs to be taking more shots than whoever plays the other SF/SG position. Plus, I still really like C. Lee because he's a great defender, as witnessed during his run with Orlando his rookie year. It doesn't get much better than this, especially when I don't think it's a secret that the Rockets were looking to dump Trevor Ariza.
Grade: A

2) Hornets - giving up Collison and Posey for Ariza.
This is dumb. Outrageously dumb. Collison's value is much greater than this and I'm frankly shocked and chagrined that they couldn't do better (or avoid settling for Ariza). The ESPN article hints that Ariza "shows Chris Paul that the Hornets are committed to winning." Um... Ariza's a horribly inefficient player with a long contract. I think it shows a willingness to panic. Yes, Collison is a backup to Paul and acquiring a SG/SF is what the Hornets should do, but not for Ariza.
Grade: D+

3) Pacers - give up Troy Murphy for Collison and Posey.
Amazing. They not only got rid of $11 million in Murphy's expiring, but only took on 2 years of Posey at $7, and got a STARTING PG, and end up saving almost $4 million in payroll?!? Looks like the Pacers did a fantastic job.
Grade: A+

4) Nets - give up Courtney Lee for PF Troy Murphy.
This is actually a situation where the Nets had a plethora of SG/SF (C. Lee, A. Morrow, T. Williams, SF T. Outlaw, and rookie Damion James) but no PF (rookie D. Favors is not ready... K. Humphries?). So, not only does Murphy fill a need, it prevents them from playing Favors too much, plus it adds another 3-point shooter. Suddenly, the Nets have three (3-pt) shooters to surround D. Harris and B. Lopez with in their starting lineup:
PG Devin Harris
SG A. Morrow
C B. Lopez
SF T. Outlaw
PF T. Murphy

The Nets may not play defense (i.e. Morrow, Murphy), but they sure will score a lot this year! They should be very competitive and fun to watch in most games. As also pointed out on, the Nets could also benefit by turning-around and trading Murphy's expiring contract in February.
Grade: A-

Amazingly, I have three teams as doing very well in this trade, and only one team losing. I hope for New Orleans' sake that Trevor Ariza plays better than I expect him to...

Monday, August 09, 2010

Indy It Is and Other Stories

A little late on the weekend apologies. Anyway a few random stories

Indy Gets the Big 10 Championship....At least for 2011, Indianapolis will host the the first ever Big 10 Championship. My hope is that in the future the Big 10 championship will rotate between Chicago, Detroit, Indy, and Cleveland so as to ensure some cold weather gets to play a role in the ball least until global warming really kicks into high gear.

UCF Locker Room is Where the Fun least if you are the camera. University of Central Florida football team's locker room(which isn't in central florida..discuss) hosted a playmate photoshoot recently. I really have nothing to add other than how did that happen? And why wasn't I invited?

Steriod symptoms Caused by Overtraining... Or something to that effect. Houston's Brian Cushing's defense to testing positive to steriods was...overtraining. Points for creativity....but not much behind that.

HBO Executives...must be doing backflips over Darrel Revis' ongoing holdout. The drama. The clashes. The ratings. Personally I think the story if overblown. Both sides will come to agreement before the season starts and I doubt Revis will be lost out there without a training camp so frankly its much ado about nothing in my eyes.

Did I miss anything?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Isiah Thomas Gains Position with Knicks

I am just flabbergasted. Isiah Thomas is back with the Knicks, as a consultant to help make "decisions on draft picks, trades, and personnel."

I'm not a Knicks fan, but I'm still scared. I wanted to look back at his transactions, and hoopshype now keeps track of all of the transactions for GMs. Take a look at Isiah's transactions. Obviously, the most infamous transaction while on the Knicks was acquiring Eddy Curry in exchange for Tim Thomas, two 1st round picks, and two 2nd round picks.

Anyways, for those who can't remember, I did a fictional Q&A with Isiah Thomas back in 2005 when he was starting to shape the Knicks into a complete disaster, where I chronicled Isiah's resume since he stopped being a player. I also wrote an article upon his unbelievable hiring as a college coach in 2009. For those who can't remember he has held the following positions:
1) GM of the Raptors - and failed miserably
2) President and Owner of the CBA - and the league folded within 18 months
3) Coach of the Pacers - and fired by Larry Bird
4) Coach and GM of the Knicks - and failed miserably.
5) Coach of FIU since 2009 - TBD in terms of failure

In Isiah's defense, as a talent evaluator, he has been able to select some gems later in the draft (e.g. David Lee, 30th pick; Trevor Ariza , 43rd pick). However, he has also underperformed in terms of selecting (Channing Frye, 8th pick; Renaldo Balkman, 20th pick; Mardy Collins, 29th pick).

One can only hope that the Knicks have brought in Isiah because whatever he chooses to do... the Knicks should do the opposite!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Meet Your 2010 NFL Rookie Coaching Class

Nothing is more informative (and fun) than looking at the new head coaches in the NFL! The 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 editions of the NFL Rookie Coaching Classes are also fun reads, if you are curious. My favorites from past editions are still Coach Mangina (Eric Mangini, class of 2006), The Whizzenator, aka nobody beats the Whizz (Ken Whisenhunt, class of 2007), and the Todd (Todd Haley, class of 2009).

After 2009's ridiculously large class of 7 freshman coaches, this year's class has ZERO coaches with no experience. Neither Chan Gailey (Buffalo), Pete Carroll (Seattle), or Mike Shanahan (Washington) are technically freshman coaches who are new to the NFL, so I feel it would be an injustice to Mangina to give them derogatory rookie nicknames. Nonetheless, I will still go through some interesting facts on these three new coaches.

1) Buffalo brought back a coach, Chan Gailey, who had coached 2 prior seasons with Dallas, losing in the first playoff game in each season. Chan Gailey always struck me as wildly underperforming, because these were the 1998 and 1999 Cowboy teams, so there still was a lot of talent remaining. The 1998 Cowboy team is pretty infamous for underperforming, as they are the ones that lost to the Cardinals at home. It's fun reading the article about the game, as Aeneas Williams had 2 INTs of Troy Aikman, Jamir Miller had 2 sacks and 12 tackles, and RB Adrian Murrell had a 74 yard run! While Gailey was out of the NFL, he ended up being the head coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-2007, but was never able to beat the big rival, the Georgia Bulldogs.

I found a fun video from March where Chan Gailey ends up basically saying that playing either Trent Edwards or Ryan Fitzpatrick is "like biting a bullet." Nice!

2) Seattle brought back Pete Carroll. Pete Carroll was a classic NFL coach who didn't find much success, but then was fantastic at the college level (assuming we look past the "lack of institutional control", and all the silly things that went on at USC off the field.) It's funny, because I always thought of Pete Carroll as a loser in the NFL, but he actually went to the playoffs twice with New England and even won a playoff game once, as his 1997 Patriots and Drew Bledsoe beat a hapless Dolphins team (with Karim Abdul Jabar at RB and OJ McDuffie at WR, but they still had old-man Dan Marino).
Pete Caroll has gotten involved in some interesting things. I found this one video where Pete Carroll tries to recruit Will Ferrell for Twitter.

Even better than that video, is this bizarre celebrity endorsement... for Pete Carroll's virtual world for kids called Camp Pete. I'm not making this up. Check out the link.

3) Washington brought back Mike Shanahan. If you look at the link, you will see Shanahan's incredible statistics... and also see that he's hardly won any playoff games outside of the back-to-back championships (going 1-5 in the playoffs in the other years). Shanahan's endless PR campaign against overweight DE Albert Haynesworth has been entertaining. I'm really curious though how McNabb will perform under Shanahan.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Better Know a Conference: The Big 12

Onward to part III of Mighty's 2010 Better know a conference. Up next the Big 12

Burning Question: End of the line for Texas v. Nebraska so who will win their last grudge match? The Big 12 was built on unstable foundations. Nebraska was supposed to balance Texas and it never materialized. Instead Texas and OU dominated the conference for the past decade and while there are material reasons for the ending of the Big 12 as we know it the Nebraska-Texas rivalry was part and parcel of the end. So who will get the last laugh?

Biggest Non-Conference Games: FSU v. Oklahoma, Texas A&M v. Arkansas, Nebraska v. Washington, UCLA v. Texas

Mighty's Predictions

1. Nebraska -
While Nebraska's d loses Suh, they have have another star in the making Prince Amukamara - possibly the nation's best CB and definitely the nation's best named CB. The only question is QB. Senior QB Zach Lee is back but I'm not sure if anybody is thrilled. He showed off some skills in Nebraska's Bowl win but he has yet to be named starter which probably hints that the coaches aren't sold yet

2. Missouri
Missouri has one of the better returning QBs (Blaine Gabbert) in the Big 12 as well as 15 other returning starters. So there's every reason to think they'll be competitive. However they have to play Nebraska on the road so I'm giving Nebraska the edge.

3. Kansas
New Coach, New QB, no chance

4. K State

I still don't have a clue where K-State is located. Far side of Endor?

5. Colorado

Last year for The Buffalos in the Big 12...unclear if anybody notices/cares
6. Iowa State

1. Oklahoma
For those that don't follow the college magazine preview business (and there's no reason you should) Oklahoma is the darling. A number of magazines have tabbed OU as not a national championship contender but the predicted national champion. Close call losses, abnormal number of injuries, green QB, meant OU did less than it should have (think pythag in baseball terms). In essence a reversion to the mean for OU should make it sky rocket past last year's 8 win season. While I'm not picking that I am expecting RB Ryan to have a break out year and OU to win the Big 12.

2. Texas
Garret Gilbert got the surprise of a lifetime last year when he played his first real game in the national championship. In hindsight I think Hitman was right and it'll serve in his development. That said he only has 1 game of experience and Texas lost a lot talent up front. While they have an outstanding secondary I'm not sure if that will be enough v. OU's ground game.

3. Texas A&M
A&M used to be a respectable team. Occasionally they'd even challenge and beat Texas. They are getting the big payoffs for the New Big 12 next year (only Texas, OU, and A&M get the elevated payouts) so perhaps it is time A&M show that it's a legitimate team. Oddly enough Mike Sherman leads a potent passing attack so it's possible. Not likely. But possible.

4. T-Tech

Tommy Tubberville takes over for Mike Leach. I really have nothing more to say about them

5. Ok State

Complete rebuilding job here. Ok State has the fewest returning starters really of any school in the BCS. Look for Ok State to fall and fall hard this year.

6. Baylor

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Waste of Time

Does anyone else think this Albert Hanynesworth story is so worthless? I really couldn't care less. And now we are on day 7 of this story.
I would write a long article, but that kind of hypocrisy could just not stand.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

HBO's Hard Knocks: Is There a Curse?

In Mighty's Monday article, there was a question raised as to whether HBO's Hard Knocks creates a curse for the team it follows. This year's team is the NY Jets.

Personally, I've never watched the show, but I used the internet to look back through the years of Hard Knocks:

2001: Baltimore (coming off Super Bowl season) - cursed? team performed below expectations; swept by Browns; finished 10-6 and lost in the divisional round.

Conclusion: Cursed!

2002: Dallas (coming off 5-11 season). Finished 5-11 again. No curse, this team just sucked. This was a Dave Campo year.

Conclusion: Cursed? No, just sad.

2007: Kansas City (coming off 9-7 and 1st round exit); KC fell to 4-12. They traded Trent Green and were supposed to be bad.

Conclusion: Cursed? No, just rebuilding.

2008: Dallas (coming off 13-3 season and disappointing opening playoff loss at home); ended up going 9-7 and missing playoffs by losing to Philly 44-6 in the last game.

Conclusion: Cursed!

2009: Cincinnati (coming off 4-11-1 season). The Bungals ended up miraculously winning the division! Carson Palmer even played 16 games!

Conclusion: Reverse-jinx / Anti-curse!

Final numbers:

5 years, 2 curses, 1 anti-curse, and 2 sad stories!

Results: No clear trends.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday: Odds and Ends, NFL Exhibition

Unbelievable but the NFL preseason has started. The soon to be defunct 4 game exhibition season. The profit machine that is having kids watch grown men catch balls ejected at them by jugs machines. camp. So here are the 6 things I'm following for this training no particular order

1. The TO and Chad Ocho Cinco Show - Well partly I'm wondering if there massive ego's colliding will cause a fault line to open up but on the field production is where my eyes are. Everyone (including me) forgets that the Bengals were the division champ last year and an improved passing attack could turn the Bengals into a Super Bowl darkhorse.

2. Mark Dirty Sanchez Year 2 - Sanchez, who was putrid for most of the season, played his best ball in the playoffs. Will that continue? Will the dreaded sophomore slump hit Sanchez? Will the HBO Curse strike the Jets? Is there a HBO curse?

3. Cutler and Mad Martz - This appears to be an all in move by the Bears. I mean you have to be a little desperate to bring in the mercurial Martz as assistant. Cutler's strong arm seems to be a good fit for Martz but the Greatest Show on Turf is a long time gone. Will this experiment work?

4. Kolb v. Mcnabb - Actually this might be my most intriguing storyline of the season. Kolb and Andy Reid versus Mcnabb and Shannahan. Reid made the ballsy move to ship McNabb out to an in-division rival. Will both do well? Will one do demonstrably better than the other? Who?

5. The Jake Delhome Reclamation Project - For those unaware Jake is 35 and was dumped by the Panthers. He is in Cleveland to provide the veteran leadership and to be a tackling dummy for the next 2 years until the quarterback of the future. That said Holmgren/Heckert theoretically picked Delhomme over alternatives so Delhomme is expected to avoid 6 INTs a game. Will he?

6. New England Reunion - Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel have joined Scott Pioli to get the band back together. The Chiefs have only to go but up however Cassel with Weis need to show a lot more this year to justify his status as legitimate NFL starter.

What did I miss?