It has been a whirlwind few weeks in the sports world and I’ll do my best to hit a number of things in this post. Let’s lead off with:
The BCS: The Big Con Series has once again proven that it is absolutely bogus. First of all, as stated in a Yahoo! Sports article, nobody even really knows what the BCS formulas are, how they’re used, and if the algorithm owners even input the data correctly. Former President Bush needs to call them out for this “fuzzy math”. As I’ve previously posted, I expected the LSU/Bama rematch, even if I think Oklahoma State’s 44-10 thrashing of archrival Oklahoma in the Bedlam game did warrant some attention and that is the game I would have preferred to see. The big question lies in…
The Sugar Bowl Teams: Michigan against Virginia Tech. Really? No Boise State here? No TCU? No Michigan State? No, none of these teams. Instead you have a Michigan team that lost to a Michigan State team that took Wisconsin (the Big Ten Rose Bowl representative in what should be a hell of a game against Oregon) to the wire in the inaugural Big Ten title game. Then, you have Virginia Tech, who’s nonconference schedule consisted of local peewee squads and just got absolutely run off by Clemson (for the second time this season) in the ACC title game. Yes, the same Clemson team that had come in losing 3 of its last 4, including back to back blowout losses to NC State (WHAT?) and South Carolina. Listen, I could argue for the pick of Michigan. They are an electric team, a massive fan base, and really did have a fantastic first season under Brady Hoke. There is no excuse for taking Virginia Tech. Send Tech to Las Vegas and bring Boise State in here. Boise against either of the Michigan squads would have made a far better choice than this nonsense.
Tim Tebow: The guy actually threw some good balls on Sunday, but I (and most logical people, including John Elway) still can’t see him as a franchise QB. If it is close in the fourth, this guy has some clutch gene that is going to allow his team to win, that I cannot argue. But the defense simply cannot continue to keep them within three points every week (see: Lions game). Tebow is the only player who can make Byron Leftwich look like he has a lightning release, and while he is a strong runner, there are running backs for that. The wing option gimmick will wear out soon, probably in the first round of the playoffs. And while we’re at it, can we please start giving Willis McGahee the credit he deserves in this Bronco win streak. Yes, Tebow is under center, but McGahee has consistently been a monster on the ground, allowing Tebow to go 2 for 8 in a win. Tebow fever has simply not struck this guy.
AFC Favorites: The Packers are the NFC favorites, so I have no need to discuss that, but the AFC is far more interesting. I think you have 4 teams with a legitimate chance of A) representing the AFC in the Super Bowl and B) Derailing the Pack Attack freight train. Those four teams are the Steelers, the Ravens, the Texans, and the Patriots. And in the Zinman power rankings, they fall in that order, reason being, that would be the descending order of the defensive excellence of the particular team. The Steelers and Ravens defenses wash each other out, so I went to the QB tiebreaker, and as much of a Joe Flacco fan boy that I am, Roethlisberger is always the way to go come playoff time. As for the Ravens over the Texans, the Ravens have the much stronger defense and a Schaubless Texans offense isn’t exactly making anyone shake in their boots (although kudos on the 17-10 win over the Falcons Mr. Yates). The Patriots still have Brady which is always a huge x-factor, but their defense is more porous than Spongebob. So there you have it, I’m thinking there is a huge chance we see a rematch of last years Super Bowl.
Icing the kicker: We have all seen it, the opposing coach calling a time out to make the kicker think about it, get wound up, and miss the kick. For the first time yesterday, I saw a coach ice his own kicker. When Jason Garrett called a time out just before Dan Bailey’s kick sailed through the uprights, you had to know he was going to miss the real try. What in the world was Garrett doing here? This was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen as a fan. The Cowboys would go on to lose in overtime, as the defense folded like an origami swan. The NFC East race got that much more interesting thanks to one of the stupidest decisions I’ve seen in a long time.
Jose Reyes: Switching gears, lets hit this monstrous baseball note. The first major free agent domino fell, with Jose Reyes being poached from the Mets by the Marlins. You are indeed reading that correctly, as the perennial minnows have now given big time deals to Heath Bell (3 yrs, $27 million) and Reyes (6 years, $102 million). The key in the Reyes deal is can the guy avoid injury. As a Mets fan, I have repeatedly watched his hamstring go bad and needless to say the Marlins know this, but it was not enough to scare them away. Now they have to deal with what is sure to be a disgruntled Hanley Ramirez, the team’s star shortstop, who has openly stated he isn’t feeling a move to third base. Reyes is definitely not playing third base, so something here has got to give. In other news, Albert Pujols is still on the market. Will Epstein net him for the Cubbies?
12-0-1: That would be the Boston Bruins record for the month of November (and they haven’t slowed since December began). They started off in a brutal slump, but that’s because they were trying to “B” something they are not. Now the Bruins have embraced the fact that they are a hard hitting, tough team who is going to grind opposition down en route to victory after victory. The Lucic trucking of Ryan Miller exemplifies the hard nosed style this team employs, and needs to continue employing, if they are to repeat their hoisting of Lord Stanley’s cup. Frankly, watching this team buzz around the ice is scary, and with Tim Thomas backstopping to the tune of a 93.6 save percentage and a 1.93 GAA, this run of dominance is unlikely to end anytime in the near future.
NHL Realignment: Now that it seems the realignment in College Football has calmed down for the moment, the debate rages in the NHL. Detroit, Columbus, and Nashville all want to join the East, Winnipeg needs to go to the West, and travel needs to be better thought out. The NHL’s latest proposal is spot on. Essentially, the league is shifting to a “four conference” system. Winnipeg would be the only team shifting conferences, but a guaranteed home and home with everyone outside of your division alleviates team’s travel concerns. In the East, you have the old Northeast division with the addition of Florida and Tampa Bay and the old Atlantic, with the addition of Carolina and Washington. As a Devils fan, this arrangement particularly excites me, as we keep all of our old rivalries, and get to further groom the one that has brewed over recent years with the Canes. Bringing the Caps into the fold with a number of teams that dislike them (Pens, Rangers, Flyers) will also make for some great “in-conference” action. In the West, Minnesota, Winnipeg and Dallas join the former members of the Central division, while the remaining four members of the Pacific and Northwest join together to form the fourth and final conference. This proposed system dynamically changes the hockey landscape, and the first round “divisional” playoffs within your own conference will spark bitter rivalries. All in all, I couldn’t be happier. I feel like a pig in slop.
NBA Lockout ends: Oh how riveting. The bickering millionaires finally settled their differences (kind of) and we won’t be without an NBA season. It just continues to amaze me how these professional sports leagues just can’t get their act together at the bargaining table (credit to baseball for quietly making a new deal through 2016). This lockout was embarrassing and unnecessary, and frankly, while I already cared little about the NBA, I now somehow care even less. I’ll know what’s going on, because that’s what a responsible sports fan like myself does (why else would I know Tony Stewart let his crew chief go following his Sprint Cup Series Championship), but it really won’t matter to me. I found out the Knicks home opener is on Christmas. Thanks, but I’ll be watching football.