Monday, November 29, 2010

The Big East Doesn't Deserve BCS Recognition

AP Photo

Let's face it folks, the Big East conference is weak. Weak with a capital W. Their credibility as a power conference is fading and fading fast. Of the Power 6 conferences, the Big East ranks, by far, dead last. No question about it.

And the sad part about it is they get an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game. An undeserved automatic bid.

Now why should they?

In my opinion, the WAC conference (which is the home of Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State) and the Mountain West conference (home of TCU, Utah and Air Force) are much more deserving.

So far this season the Big East has had one team in the Top 25-- the West Virginia Mountaineers. Well, two if you count the Pitt Panthers who were the preseason No. 15, but after their week one loss were ousted from the polls and have never returned. The Mountaineers themselves have been in and out of the Top 25 and have never been ranked higher than No. 20. That's correct, #20.

Is this a power conference?

West Virginia has spent a total of 7 weeks in the Top 25 and most of it was early in the season when they got off to a 3-0 start. As soon as they lost their first game they were ousted from all major polls and only made sporadic returns. Currently they are No. 24 after a 5 week hiatus.

As for the WAC and Mountain West, both conferences have had 3 teams apiece in the Top 25 and two teams have been in the national title hunt.

The TCU Horned Frogs are ranked No. 3 and still have a shot at the national title game. The Boise State Broncos had been in the Top 5 and in the national title picture all year long until this week when they lost to the Nevada Wolf Pack in overtime. Nevada, themselves, have been consistently in the Top 25 all season long.

The Utah Utes have also been in the Top 25 all season long and have been ranked as high as No. 5.

So why are the automatic bids etched in stone? Why must an undeserving conference get one no matter what?

Why the Big East?

They haven't had any credibility for a few years. I mean, even when the Cincinnati Bearcats were having their run nobody thought much of them. Case in point was last year when they were sent to the Sugar Bowl (much to the reluctance of the Sugar Bowl I'm sure) and got their butts kicked by the Florida Gators, 51-24.

AP Photo

And teams from the WAC and Mountain West actually do very well when given a chance in BCS bowl games. Here's their record so far:

2004 Fiesta Bowl: Utah 35 - Pittsburgh 7
2006 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 43 - Oklahoma 42
2007 Sugar Bowl: Georgia 41 - Hawaii 10
2008 Sugar Bowl: Utah 31 - Alabama 17
2009 Fiesta Bowl: Boise State 17 - TCU 10

As we can see, teams from the WAC and Mountain West are 4-2 in BCS bowl games and if we exclude last year's Fiesta Bowl where Boise State and TCU were paired off to play each other, only Hawaii has lost it's BCS bowl game to a Power 6 conference team.

So is the system unfair. You betcha!

I say, run the Big East out of town. Their days are over.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

TCU Waits!

Getty Images

The TCU Horned Frogs ended their regular season unbeaten, untied, un-everything.

So now the Horned Frogs can only wait.

There are only two likely scenarios (or so there should be) for TCU. They'll either play in the BCS championship game or in the Rose Bowl against the Big 10 champion, the Wisconsin Badgers (11-1).

The No. 1 Oregon Ducks (11-0) and the No. 2 Auburn Tigers (12-0) have the upper hand on the title game. If they win out, these two powerhouses will most definitely clash for the national championship and TCU (12-0) will (or should) play in the Rose Bowl.

But if one of them (or both) should falter, then TCU may end up playing in the title game. But from the looks of things it's going to be Oregon vs. Auburn for the national title, unless their final opponents (Oregon State and South Carolina) have other ideas.

Getty Images

AP Photo

As for the LSU Tigers, their BCS hopes came crashing down with a tough loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The win put Arkansas (10-2) in a lovely position for a BCS bowl and they'll most likely play in the Sugar Bowl. For their great season, LSU (10-2) will most likely be rewarded with a trip to the best of the non-BCS bowls, the Cotton Bowl.

The big loser (as usual) are the Boise State Broncos. Their heartbreaking overtime loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack eliminated them from the BCS picture and sent them into oblivion. It's a shame because, at 10-1, they should still be in the BCS conversation, but as we all know, it doesn't work that way for mid-majors. In the "second-class citizen" world of the mid-majors, you're either perfect or you end up in an unknown neighborhood bowl. Boise State knows this all too well.

Elsewhere, kudos to the Virginia Tech Hokies. After an 0-2 start and getting written off by everyone, including myself, the Hokies (10-2) have gone on a 10-game winning streak, a trip to the ACC title game and a chance at a BCS bowl game-- most likely the Orange Bowl. If the Hokies defeat Florida State in the ACC title game and go on to win the Orange Bowl, they may end up in the final Top 5 after everyone left them for dead earlier on. Not bad.

As for automatic bids, personally I think the lame Big East conference should be stripped of their automatic BCS bid and it should be given to the WAC conference. I'll put my money on Boise State, Nevada and Hawaii against any team in the Big East any day of the week. So I look for Virginia Tech to crush the Big East champion in the Orange Bowl.

No doubt about it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nevada Wolf Pack: The New Sheriff In Town

AP Photos

And then there were three.

We can now scratch the Boise State Broncos from the BCS title picture as the Broncos were stunned by the Nevada Wolf Pack 34-31 in overtime.

And so Nevada's dream season continues.

The Wolf Pack (11-1) not only won the game but did so in dramatic fashion. They trailed 24-7 at half time but went on to outscore Boise State 27-7 in the second half and beyond.

The loss ended Boise State's 24-game winning streak and pretty much crushed their BCS hopes.

Getty Images

So now only the Oregon Ducks (11-0), the Auburn Tigers (12-0) and the TCU Horned Frogs (11-0) remain in the fraternity of the unbeaten. The No. 1 Ducks and the No. 2 Tigers are no doubt in the driver's seat and marching toward the BCS title game. Both the Ducks and the Tigers eliminated their biggest remaining foes yesterday (Arizona and Alabama, respectively) and now it's only a matter of winning out for their trips to the title game. Only the Oregon State Beavers and the South Carolina Gamecocks stand in their way.

As for No. 4 TCU, they're still in the picture but as we all know they (fairly or unfairly) suffer from the "mid-major flu". They would need either Oregon or Auburn to falter and then hope the BCS is in the Christmas spirit because even going unbeaten doesn't guarantee them anything, as far as the title game is concerned.

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As for the other title game contender--

An interesting scenario has unfolded for the No. 5 LSU Tigers (10-1). If they win at No. 12 Arkansas AND Oregon loses to Oregon State AND Auburn loses to South Carolina in the SEC championship game then LSU could sneak in and steal a BCS title berth. They would do so without having to play in the conference championship game and having lost to Auburn. This scenario is not too far-fetched so no doubt the Tigers are still in the conversation.

And knowing the BCS, it wouldn't surprise me if an 11-1 LSU leapfrogs a 12-0 TCU or at best it'll be TCU vs. LSU for the national title. Of course, assuming both Oregon and Auburn lose.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Josh Hamilton & Joey Votto: Most Valuable Persons

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Josh Hamilton: .359 BA, .633 SLG, 32 HR, 100 RBI
Joey Votto: .324 BA, .600 SLG, 37 HR, 113 RBI

CONGRATULATIONS to Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton and Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto on winning the AL & NL MVP Awards. Both Hamilton and Votto were relatively runaway winners and deservedly so. Hamilton got 22 of 28 first-place votes and Votto got 31 of 32 first-place votes, so clearly, there was no debating their selection.

And the beauty of these two winners is that both Hamilton and Votto's triumphs go way beyond baseball. Both stories are truly inspiring.

Hamilton overcame years of drug and alcohol addiction to put together one of the most mammoth comebacks in the history of sports. A few years ago, after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Rays, his career came crashing down and was out of baseball and into the dark life of alcohol and cocaine addiction. But thru family intervention and strong religious beliefs, Hamilton overcame his disease and worked his way back to the majors. Today he is one of the most feared hitters in the game.

Votto, himself, overcame adversity although not as steep as Hamilton's situation. But nonetheless, it was a torturous time for him. After the death of his father in 2009, Votto was devastated and began suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. He simply just didn't know how to handle the tragedy and became extremely disoriented. At different points during the season he had to be placed on the disable list because of the overwhelming stress. Like Hamilton, he overcame his adversity and became one of the most feared hitters in the game.

Kudos to them both.

They are living proof that even though sometimes we are dealt a bad hand we have to maintain a positive attitude, strive to be the best we can be and soldier on.

As Hamilton said, “I do reflect. If I didn’t reflect, ‘I’ might start sneaking in there, a little ego might start sneaking in there, and that’s one thing I don’t want to happen. So I do reflect and I think about where I was at my lowest time.”

You are no longer there, my friend. Your story is a story for the ages.

No doubt!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Will Neftali Feliz Join Tom Terrific?

AP & Getty Images

Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz had the honor (and deservedly so) of winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award. Feliz had a monster year setting a major league-rookie record with 40 saves. Not a bad way to start a career.

Or is it?

In winning the ROY award Feliz became the 33rd pitcher to do so since it's inception in 1947.

But oddly enough, of the prior 32 winners only the great Tom Seaver (1967 NL winner) has gone on to have a Hall of Fame career. Yes that's correct, only 1 pitcher has been named ROY and is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. His name is Tom "Terrific" Seaver.

And if anyone is wondering if there's a prior winner waiting in the wings for Hall of Fame induction-- the answer is NO. Of all the prior winners the only one who seems to be heading toward a Hall of Fame-caliber career is the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander, the 2006 AL winner. Verlander is 83-52 with a 3.81 ERA in 5 full seasons so far but his career has (for the most part) just begun, so he has a long way to go.

Quite frankly, it's up to Verlander, last year's AL winner Andrew Bailey and Feliz to be the next ROY-pitcher to make the Hall of Fame because none of the other 29 are going in. That's for sure.

So for the foreseeable future it looks like Tom Terrific will continue to stand alone.

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As for NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey--

Posey became the 9th catcher to win the award and contrary to pitchers, 2 of the prior 8 are in the Hall of Fame and one is waiting in the wings. Not bad for ROY-catchers, soon 3 of 8 will be Hall of Famers as opposed to 1 of 32 for pitchers.

The 2 ROY-catchers in the Hall of Fame are Johnny Bench (1968 NL winner) and Carlton Fisk (1972 AL winner) and waiting in the wings is Mike Piazza, the 1993 NL winner. Piazza becomes eligible for induction in 2013 and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

NY Daily News

So will Posey someday be the 4th ROY-catcher to make the Hall of Fame? Things look very promising for the young kid. That's for sure.

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"King" Felix Deserved The Prize

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CONGRATS to "King" Felix Hernandez and Roy "Doc" Halladay on winning the AL and NL Cy Young Awards.

Halladay was pretty much a no-brainer. He went 21-10, 2.44 ERA, 219 K and led the majors with 250.2 IP, 4 shutouts and 9 complete games. His 21 wins led the NL and tied CC Sabathia for the major league lead.

"King" Felix, on the other hand, (for some) was more debatable. He went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA and 232 Strikeouts. He led the majors in ERA and was second to Halladay in IP with 249.2. Had the Mariners not shut him down in his last regular season start, he would have passed Halladay for the major league-lead in IP and Jered Weaver for the AL-lead in strikeouts. Weaver (233 K) finished with one more strikeout than Hernandez.
Getty Images

Many would argue that because of his 13-12 record he did not deserve the Cy Young Award. I say, that's hogwash. The Mariners, with a measly 513 runs scored, were the worst run-scoring team in the majors and in 10 of Hernandez' starts they either scored 1 run or were shut out. In his 34 starts, the Mariners scored a total of 104 runs for an anemic 3.05 runs per game.

In a nutshell, the run support the Mariners gave Hernandez was PATHETIC.

On the other hand, second-place finisher David Price (19 wins), third-place finisher CC Sabathia (21 wins) and fourth-place finisher Jon Lester (19 wins) got great run support from their respective teams. The Yankees were first in the major leagues with 859 runs scored, the Red Sox were second with 818 and the Rays were third with 802. The pathetic Mariners were dead-last, behind the Bad News Bears and my nephew's little league team.

Had "King" Felix (who had a major league-leading 30 Quality Starts) pitched for an 800-run scoring team, he probably would have easily won 25 games.

So to say that he didn't deserve the Cy Young Award because of his low win total is purely bs. The voters got it 100% right.

The Agony Of Greg Oden (Again)

AP Photo

The Portland Trail Blazers Greg Oden is DONE for the season!

Again. And again. And again. And again.

Oden (who was the No. 1 overall pick) in the 2007 draft (ahead of Kevin Durant) will have season-ending knee surgery for the 4th consecutive year. He has played in a grand total of 82 games since being selected No. 1 overall 4 seasons ago. In other words, the equivalent of one season in a four season span.

Here's a breakdown of Oden's career games played:

2007-2008 - 0 games (had surgery in his right knee; missed entire season)
2008-2009 - 61 games (had season-ending knee surgery)
2009-2010 - 21 games (had season ending knee surgery)
2010-2011 - 0 games (will undergo season-ending knee surgery; miss entire season)

I guess for Oden we can say, "It's deja vu all over again" in the most negative of ways.

It's spooky because as I prepared to write this post, I remembered the post I wrote on Oden last year when his season came crashing down, The Agony Of Greg Oden, and how eerily similar his bad luck has been.

So I said to myself, why rewrite the same thoughts? Just post a link to last year's post because the story is exactly the same. Talk about spooky.

There is no question Oden's saga is the EPITOME of Deja Vu.

I guess sometimes facts are stranger than fiction. Amazing!

My post on December 9, 2009: The Agony Of Greg Oden

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BCS Championship Game: TCU vs. Boise State?

AP Photos

The BCS Top 5:

1) Oregon (10-0)
2) Auburn (11-0)
3) TCU (11-0)
4) Boise State (9-0)
5) LSU (9-1)

If the season ended today, the No. 1 Oregon Ducks would play the No. 2 Auburn Tigers in the national title game, BUT-- the season doesn't end today.

There is a pretty decent chance that the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs and the No. 4 Boise State Broncos may sneak in and play for the big prize. This, of course, much to the CHAGRIN of the BCS hierarchy. In sure they are keeping their fingers crossed and hoping Oregon and Auburn run the table so no mid-major plays in the big game. That would be blasphemy.

Oregon's road is definitely doable. Their last two games are against No. 22 Arizona and at Oregon State (the annual Civil War game). Both games are very winnable for the Ducks and if they win out, they'll play in the national title game, no questions asked.

But what if Oregon loses one or both games?

Auburn, on the other hand, has a much tougher road. They have to go to Tuscaloosa and play the No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-2) and then they finish the season with a home game against the pesky No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks (7-3). They need to win both those games in order to eliminate the No. 4 LSU Tigers who are breathing down their necks.

If Auburn can somehow win those two games then they'll face South Carolina (again) in the SEC Championship Game. Again, they would have to win that game also or they'll fall in the rankings. If they do win out, then their is no debating their trip to the national title game.

Getty Images

But that is a LONG road for Auburn. What if they stumble along the way?

As for TCU, they have a very winnable game left at New Mexico. It is almost certain TCU will end up 12-0.

Boise State has a little bumpier road to finish unbeaten. They still have games against Fresno State, at No. 18 Nevada and Utah State. The Nevada game is by far their toughest. The Wolf Pack (9-1) are having probably the best season in school history and they may just ruin Boise State's championship hopes.

But if the Broncos manage to run the table and finish 12-0 and TCU finishes 12-0 (which they most likely will) AND Oregon and Auburn stumble-- I wonder what the BCS is going to do?

Will they bum rush a potential one-loss SEC champion (Auburn or LSU) OR a potential one-loss Big 12 champion (Nebraska or Oklahoma State) OR a potential one-loss Big 10 champion (Ohio State or Wisconsin) into the title game?

It wouldn't surprise me if they do.

But this is the one year where the road is crystal clear. If Oregon and Auburn stumble, then (clearly) it should be TCU vs. Boise State (if both end up unbeaten) in the national title game. No question about it.

I just wonder if the BCS knows that?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Michael Vick For President!

Getty Images

Michael Vick is on a tear!

Last night, the Philadelphia Eagles put a hurtin' on Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins, 59-28. After a while it even seemed like they were running up the score on purpose and telling the 'Skins, "take that!" for the ruckus they caused before the game.

For the Eagles, the electrifying Vick was (once again) at the helm steering the ship. Vick had a monster game (20-28, 333 yards, 4 TD, 80 rush yards, 2 rush TD). As ESPN's Stuart Scott said, "Vick's numbers were just RIDICULOUS!"

After the game, Vick said, “I’ve had some great games in my day. But I don’t think I’ve had one quite like this one.”
AP Photo

Hey Mike! Guess what?

You've never had one quite like this and neither has anybody else. In fact, Vick became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game. Talk about a "one man gang".

For the season, Vick leads the NFL with a 115.1 QB Rating and has 11 TD with 0 interceptions.

The Eagles are now 6-3 and looking mighty good. Poor Kevin Kolb must be wondering will he ever get the starting gig the Eagles were "grooming" him for? Um, I don't think so. Right now it seems highly unlikely.

Not only is Vick putting up astronomical numbers but he's doing it with flash. When the "human highlight show" is doing his thing ratings go thru the roof and I'm sure the Eagles know that. So sorry Kevin , I think the rest of this season belongs to Mike.

At the end of the day, people can judge Mike Vick however they want. To me (as a fan) his troubled past is ancient history. Forgive and forget is my motto. Based on his demeanor and work ethics it's obvious he wants to put it behind him and better himself as a person. What more can be asked?

All I know is, right now Vick is "da man" on the football field and one thing that has always been certain in the world of pro football-- winning cures everything.

And right now, Mike Vick is a winner.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Love Bites!

AP Photos

Kudos to Minnesota Timberwolves center Kevin Love for puttin' on a clinic against the New York Knicks in the T-Wolves 112-103 victory the other night.

Love had a monster game scoring 31 points and grabbing a ridiculous 31 rebounds. In doing so, he became the first NBA player in 28 years to have a 30-30 game. Not since the great Moses Malone had a 32-38 game on Feb. 11, 1982 had anyone accomplished the feat.

In fact, 30-30 games had become an endangered species in the NBA. Not since the era of the great rebounders were they somewhat-regularly accomplished.

Here's a look at the last 5 occurrences:

1) Kevin Love - Nov. 12, 2010 (31 points - 31 rebounds)
2) Moses Malone - Feb. 11, 1982 (32 points - 38 rebounds)
3) Robert Parish - March 30, 1979 (32 points - 30 rebounds)
4) Moses Malone - Feb. 9, 1979 (37 points - 33 rebounds)
5) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Feb. 3, 1978 (30 points - 37 rebounds)

I'm sure Love must have pinched himself when told he was on the list with those mega-giants.

I know I would have.

Stats courtesy of cbssports.com
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Attention: City of Cleveland

In 20 days....

nikebasketball.com

On December 2, 2010

Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers

That night-- WE WILL ALL BE WITNESSES!

Can't wait!

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Miami Heat: Doldrums in the Valley of the Kings

So Let It Be Written.... So Let It Be Done....

Getty Images

The Miami Heat with their "Three Kings" are off to a disappointing (WITH A CAPITAL D) start to what was supposed to be an 80-2 (or something close to it) season. The Heat are a woeful 5-4 and many who jumped on the Dwyane Wade-LeBron James-Chris Bosh bandwagon are asking, "WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON?!"

The answer: The Boston Celtics

Of the Heat's 4 losses, 2 have come against the Celtics, who will no doubt be their worst nightmare come playoff time.

Plus, the Celtics with the original Big 3 (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) have a score to settle with Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, so I highly doubt they are worried about this concoction Pat Riley has put together down in Miami. Losing the NBA Finals (4-3) to the arch-rival Lakers was a tough pill for them to swallow, so they will no doubt stop at nothing for a rematch.

In 6 words, the Celtics are on a mission!

As soon as the now-infamous "decision" by "King" James and Bosh to join forces with Wade was concocted last summer and so many immediately anointed them NBA champions, I immediately said, "I still got my money on the Celtics in the Eastern Conference". See it here and here and here. And I still do.

Anyway--

When asked about the disappointing start after last nights 112-107 home-loss to the Celtics, team leader Dwyane Wade said, “Of course (outside) people are smiling and feeling good about our 5-4 start and as well as they should be. The Heat haters, that’s fine. But as long as we continue to get our support from our fans and in here, we’ll be fine.”

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Yes you will be Dwyane. But unfortunately, you will have to eventually play the Celtics in the playoffs. And that my friend isn't going to be a walk in the park.

So Let It Be Written.... So Let It Be Done....

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Did You Miss the Moss Mess in Mass. and Minn.?

Drew Litton

If you've been away from the NFL this season, yes, Randy Moss is no longer a member of the New England Patriots. Or the Minnesota Vikings for that matter.

In a nutshell (no pun intended)--

Moss started talking garbage about the Patriots and the Patriots (got fed up) and gave him the BOOT. Then Moss was picked up by his old team the Vikings. Moss, as Moss has to do, started talking garbage about the Vikings (and they too got fed up) and gave him the BOOT.

AFP/Getty Images

Now Moss is a member of the Tennessee Titans and we're all wondering when will they give him the BOOT?

Titans head coach Jeff Fisher expects him to, at least, play the remainder of this season and is not worrying about what happens after this season.

Said Fisher, "I don't have a ring. He doesn't have a ring, so we're going to try."

Hmmm? I wonder if the word "try" is in Moss' dictionary?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The BCS Top 25: Now And Then

Getty Images

Here's a look at the current BCS Top 25 and where each team stood in the preseason AP rankings (the coaches' preseason rankings are in parenthesis):

No. 1 Oregon - preseason # 11 (11)
No. 2 Auburn - preseason # 22 (23)
No. 3 TCU - preseason # 6 (7)
No. 4 Boise State - preseason # 3 (5)
No. 5 LSU - preseason # 21 (16)
No. 6 Stanford - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 7 Wisconsin - preseason # 12 (12)
No. 8 Nebraska - preseason # 8 (9)
No. 9 Ohio State - preseason #2 (2)
No. 10 Oklahoma State - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 11 Michigan State - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 12 Alabama - preseason # 1 (1)
No. 13 Iowa - preseason # 9 (10)
No. 14 Utah - preseason unranked in AP Poll (#24 in Coaches)
No. 15 Arkansas - preseason # 17 (19)
No. 16 Oklahoma - preseason # 7 (8)
No. 17 Missouri - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 18 Arizona - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 19 Mississippi State - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 20 Virginia Tech - preseason # 10 (6)
No. 21 Nevada - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 22 Florida - preseason # 4 (3)
No. 23 South Carolina - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 24 Kansas State - preseason unranked in both polls
No. 25 Texas A&M - preseason unranked  in both polls

I guess, for the most part, the pollsters did a decent job in the preseason polls. The biggest bust, BY FAR, is Texas. The Longhorns, who are now unranked, were preseason No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll. We can safely say, they were a bust and a half.

Other semi-disappointments include: Preseason - No. 13 Miami (Fl) and No. 15 Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes (6-3) and the Panthers (5-3) are currently unranked and many expected them to have much better seasons. Along with Texas, they are the only preseason Top 15 teams not currently ranked.

Anyway--

If the season ended today, it would be the Oregon Ducks and the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game. Not bad, considering both weren't even in the Top 10 in the preseason polls.

But, as the old adage says, that's why we play the games.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Immortal Joe Pa

AP Photo

CONGRATULATIONS to Joe Paterno!

He became the first coach in FBS (Division 1-A) history to win 400 games.

And one thing is certain, NOBODY, ABSOLUTELY NOBODY, will come close to equalling the legendary Paterno's milestone in Division 1-A football, any time soon.

Paterno, who has been coaching the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-3) since 1966, is the 3rd overall coach to win 400 games. Here's a list of coaches who have won over 320 games at all levels of college football:

1) John Gagliardi - 476 (Division III) [active]
2) Eddie Robinson - 408 (Division II-FCS)
3) Joe Paterno - 400 [active]
4) Bobby Bowden - 377
5) Bear Bryant - 323

If Paterno (who is 83) hangs around for one more season, he will most likely pass the legendary Eddie Robinson and move into 2nd place, but catching all-time leader (John Gagliardi) is an unlikely scenario. Amazingly enough, Gagliardi is still coaching, so chances are his record will be around for centuries to come.

But Gagliardi and Robinson were Division III and Division II (FCS) coaches. In Division I-A (FBS), Paterno is in a class by himself.

Jim Tressel (237), Frank Beamer (235) and Mack Brown (218) are the closest in the rear view mirror, but not all their wins came in Division 1-A. So Paterno's record will be around for a while-- that's for sure.

CONGRATS to Joe Pa.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

R.I.P. Sparky Anderson

AP Photo

1934-2010

Major League manager for 26 seasons (Cincinnati Reds-9, Detroit Tigers-17)

With the Reds: 863-586 - 4 Pennants (1970, 1972, 1975, 1976) and 2 World Series titles (1975, 1976).
With the Tigers: 1331-1248 - 1 Pennant (1984) and 1 World Series title (1984).

First manager in major league history to win World Series titles in both leagues.

Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Why The Texas Rangers Lost....

Getty Images

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what went wrong for the Texas Rangers, who were ousted from their first-ever World Series, 4-1, by the San Francisco Giants.

Just looking at the numbers put up by their starting lineup says it all:

1) Elvis Andrus: 3-17, .176 BA
2) Mike Young: 5-20, .250 BA
3) Josh Hamilton: 2-20, .100 BA
4) Vlad Guerrero: 1-14, .071 BA
5) Nelson Cruz: 4-20 .200 BA
6) Ian Kinsler: 3-16, .188 BA
7) Jeff Francoeur: 0-6, 0.00 BA
7A) David Murphy: 1-7, .143 BA
8) Benjie Molina: 2-11, .182 BA
9) Mitch Moreland: 6-13, .462 BA

Team Batting Average: .190

Only the No. 9 hitter, Mitch Moreland, was able to figure out the Giants deadly pitching staff.

With those kinda numbers from such a potent lineup, the Rangers should be happy they weren't swept.

The Giants pitchers were NO JOKE! That's for sure.


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Edgar Renteria, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig

AP Photos & SI
 
As Yogi Berra would say, "It's Deja Vu All Over Again!"

For World Series MVP Edgar Renteria, it truly is.

His 3-run home run was the clincher in Game 5 for the San Francisco Giants, who won their first championship in 55 years against the Texas Rangers. Renteria also drove in the winning run in the 1997 Game 7-clincher for the Florida Marlins against the Cleveland Indians. Thus Renteria became only the 4th player ever to drive in the winning run in 2 World Series-clinching games. He joined the immortals Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra in this exclusive club.

Also, according to the Elias Sports Bureau--

Renteria, whose 11th-inning single won the 1997 World Series for the Marlins, is the first player with a game-winning RBI in the 7th inning or later in two World Series-clinching games.

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Renteria, who hit .412 (7 for 17) with six RBIs against the Rangers, is thinking about retiring and if he does, he will no doubt go out as one of the most heralded World Series heroes of all-time.

How sweet it is!

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World Series: They Might Be Giants! Yes They Are!

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World Series
Game 5: San Francisco Giants 3 - Texas Rangers 1
Giants win series, 4-1

The Giants FINALLY do it!

They win their first World Series title since 1954 and first since moving to San Francisco in 1958. While in San Francisco, the Giants had been 0-3 in the World Series (1962, 1989, 2002).

This is the 6th overall title for the franchise which began as the New York Gothams in 1883. Their prior 5 championships (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954) were won as the New York Baseball Giants.

The Giants amazing 2010 postseason run was truly incredible and historical and they did it with PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING.

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In fact, according to ESPN and the Elias Sports Bureau--

1) The 2010 Giants are only the second team in the last 30 years to win three World Series games in which they held their opponent to one run or less. The other was the 1985 Royals, who rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in seven games, while limiting St. Louis to no more than one run in all four victories.

2) Texas, which led the major leagues with a .276 team batting average during the regular season, batted only .190 during the World Series. Among the 31 teams to play in the World Series after leading the majors in batting average that season, the only others that batted under .200 in the Fall Classic were the 1948 Indians (.199) and the 1995 Indians (.179).

3) The Rangers had an 18-inning scoreless streak spanning Game Three to Game Five, after their longest such drought during the regular season was 15 innings. From 1969 through 1972 three teams had longer scoring droughts in the World Series than they had during that entire regular season: the 1969 Orioles, 1971 Orioles and 1972 Athletics. But since 1973 the only other team to do that was the 2001 Yankees.

Elias further says--

4) Giants batters did not draw a walk and produced only one extra-base hit (Edgar Renteria's three-run homer) in Game Five. The only other teams that combined for no more than one extra-base hit or walk in a World-Series clinching game were the 1926 Cardinals, who had none of each in a Game Seven win at Yankee Stadium, and the 1913 Athletics, who had one walk and no extra-base hits in a Game Five victory against the Giants at the Polo Grounds.

5) The Giants won both of the Tim Lincecum vs. Cliff Lee matchups in the 2010 World Series, taking Game One in San Francisco and Game Five in Arlington. The last nine times that the same starting pitchers opposed each other for a second time in a World Series, the team that won the first meeting also won the second.

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CONGRATS to the Giants and the city of San Francisco.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

1954-The Giants Are World Champions-2010

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
2010 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS

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1905 - 1921 - 1922 - 1933 - 1954 - 2010

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Cliff Lee: The Savior?

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Game 5: San Francisco Giants at Texas Rangers
Giants lead series, 3-1

The fate of an entire franchise and an entire state are on the shoulders of ONE man.

50 years.

2 cities.

2 names.

First-ever World Series appearance.

The LONG WAIT could come to a bitter end....

But--

Will Cliff Lee be the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers savior?

The Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey Show

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Game 4: San Francisco Giants 4 - Texas Rangers 0
Giants lead series, 3-1

It was an all-rookie Halloween nightmare for the Texas Rangers.

Rookies Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey put on a performance for the ages.

Bumgarner: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
Posey: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Posey, who became the first rookie catcher ever to bat in the cleanup spot in a World Series game, hit a clutch home run in the 8th inning and called a masterful game for Bumgarner behind the plate.

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In fact, the Bumgarner-Posey rookie-combo was the stuff for the record books.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau--

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were the first all-rookie starting battery in a World Series game since Spec Shea and Yogi Berra started for the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1947 World Series. Shea defeated Ralph Branca and the Brooklyn Dodgers on that day in the first of Berra's major league-record 75 World Series games.

Also--

Bumgarner pitched eight innings in the Giants' 4-0 victory over the Rangers. He was the first rookie to start a World Series game and not allow a run since Les Straker of the Twins went six innings without earning a decision against the Cardinals in 1987. The last rookie starter not to allow a run while winning a World Series game was Gary Gentry for the Mets in 1969. And the last to pitch at least eight innings in doing so was Gene Bearden of the Indians in 1948 (a five-hit shutout of the Brooklyn Dodgers).

Posey became only the fourth rookie catcher ever to hit a home run in a World Series game. The others were Wally Schang (1913 Philadelphia A's), Bill DeLancey (1934 Cardinals), and Rod Barajas (2001 Diamondbacks).

I guess we can say, "THE KIDS DID ALRIGHT!"

Great stuff.

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