Zinpacts Back back back back again-gain-gain

February 6, 2013 by

Its time to resume writing and talking about what I really care about following a 13 month hiatus: Sports, sports, and some more sports, with a sprinkling of miscellany on occasion.

UFC

Lets dive right back into it: Uriah Hall put up a ridiculous KO on TUF last night. For those of you that didn’t see it last night, check it out: Just watch the video. No words I can provide will do this justice. And for people moaning on Dana White’s FB and twitter about him spoiling it, well, suppose its time to move to the beast coast. Just sayin.

NHL

A few short weeks prior to this return post, the NHL finally settled all of its nonsensical bickering and the teams have returned to their respective frozen ponds. Early returns for the defending Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils have been quite good, posting 13 of a possible 18 points, but still looking up at the Penguins with a game in hand. In a delicious twist, the Islanders sit in 3rd in the Atlantic, while the Rangers and Flyers languish in the two basement spots. I know there’s still plenty of hockey left, but lets not forget that every game is nearly twice as important in any other year. I still think the Rangers will make the playoffs, but they could face some tough sledding.

Here in DC, I seem to be seeing a lot less red (aside from my Devils memorabilia) as the Capitals have slumped out of the gates under new head man Adam Oates. Honestly, I am surprised. I thought Oates was a solid hire, particularly after watching what he did with the Devils Power Play last season, but nothing is going right for Washington. Ovechkin seems to have diminished to the level of “good, not great” and there’s little to no positives going on, illustrated by their 24th place ranking in goals per game (2.3) and 27th is goals against per game (3.6). I don’t know if all the water can get bailed out of that sinking ship in time.

Around the rest of the league, the Blackhawks remain the only team without a regulation loss, sporting an 8-0-2 record, good for 18 of a possible 20 points. Extremely impressive stuff coming from a team dismissed by the Coyotes in 6 games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last year. It would seem the team has now fully recovered from the shipping off of half the 2010 Stanley Cup winning roster.

Lastly: NHL Scheduling sucks. I simply do not understand why they could not have implemented one interconference home and home set for each team. I suppose it will add some value to the Stanley Cup, a la the World Series pre interleague play, but I still would have loved to see the Devils have a home and home with the Kings, Habs/Canucks, Pens/Jackets etc. etc. or any other of a myriad of good matchups. Instead, we are treated to 19 division games (5/5/4/4) and then 29 intraconference games. Could have been better. That’s all I’m saying.

NCAAF

Just wanted to give props to Hugh Freeze and the beast of a recruiting class he has put together at Ole Miss, including Robert Nkemdiche, the top recruit in the nation. Ole Miss is clearly ready to make the transition and play with the SEC big boys and from everything that has come out about Freeze, be it as the Ole Miss head coach or as Michael Oher‘s high school coach, this kind of success will become the standard in Oxford, which should make for some entertaining Egg Bowls as Dan Mullen has begun assembling a nice program in Starkville as well.

Its great to be back. Look forward to a lot more good stuff coming.

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Quick Hitters: There’s a lot going on

December 5, 2011 by

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.

Chris Johnson for Vincent Jackson

December 4, 2011 by

I made this trade I think 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I’ve had two huge performances from Jackson paired with his duds. Meanwhile, Johnson has over the last 2 weeks found the guy I drafted with the second overall pick and put up 27.7 points in my ESPN league. By the way Johnson plays for my brother. Who is currently ahead by 27 points. Karma is a bitch.

I still stand behind my decision.

Carlyle out, Boudreau in?

December 1, 2011 by

Got to be honest here, I do not love this hire for Anaheim. They fired Carlyle because “he had lost the ear of his talented team.” Funny, two days ago a team in Washington was saying the same thing about a coach that they let go.

By the way, that’s who the Ducks hired.

I just don’t see Boudreau being the man to take the Ducks to the promised land. His system has proven itself to be gangbusters in the regular season and an absolute egg in the postseason, from getting Halak’d in the first round one year to being swept away by the division rival Lightning the next, the team just could not keep it together come the postseason.

Usually, I’d be the last guy to fully adhere to a player or coach’s past as he moves on to new and greener pastures, but there’s something about Boudreau that doesn’t strike me as a winner, and it’s not just his Cherubic appearance. His offensive gameplan is very appealing to watch and results in plenty of goals on the board. The problem is, the lack of defensive responsibility leads to the other team lighting the lamp frequently as well. Once Boudreau finally tried to implement some semblance of defense into the system, he quickly lost superstar Alex Ovechkin’s ear. Don’t think for a second Anaheim players didn’t observe this from across the country. If Randy Carlyle lost this team’s ear, why the hell do the Ducks think Boudreau can find them?

In fact, of the two Southeast division coaching casualties, I think Paul Maurice would have been a better fit in Anaheim. While his team in Carolina, may have felt he misused them, I feel like Maurice would have a better go of it in Anaheim, effectively using guys like Getzlaf and Perry and jumpstarting them. These are the fun and gun guys Boudreau had in Washington. 

I hope Boudreau proves me wrong, because he is a genuinely good guy, and a true hockey guy. And humble.

Unfortunately, color me skeptical on this one.

Did Saban script this weekend?

November 20, 2011 by

#2 Oklahoma State- upset by 5-5 Iowa State for the biggest win in Cyclone program history.

#4 Oregon- Upset by a USC team that is ineligible to play in any postseason games.

#5 Oklahoma- Loses to Baylor for the first time in program history.

#3 Alabama-Beat FCS program Georgia Southern and should cruise right back to #2 in the BCS standings.

Barring an LSU loss to Arkansas or to Georgia in the SEC title game, we are likely looking at a rematch of the Tigers and the Tide in the National Title Game.

I for one, am not thrilled at this prospect. LSU already went into Tuscaloosa and won a slugfest with the Tide. I understand that it was by 3 points and no one scored a touchdown, but the point is we have seen this game. Its a shame that the Cowboys went down amidst the tragedy that has occurred at Oklahoma State, as a shot at the first national title in the football program’s history would have been a fantastic rallying point.

Oregon already lost to LSU on a neutral field, and would have done the same thing should they have met again, so I was hoping the Trojans would douse that fire and they did. Give Kiffin credit, as much of a negative character the guy is, he wins football games.

Oklahoma is an enigma to me. How they lost to Tech remains baffling and while Baylor is solid with RG3 at the Q, they really didn’t have any business losing that game either. What happened to the Oklahoma defense from early this season? 17 points given up to teams like Texas and K-State, but 45 to Baylor and 41 to Tech? Mind-boggling. This would have been an entertaining matchup against LSU if good Oklahoma showed up.

But alas, be prepared for another mudslinging grindfest in the National Title Game. SEC West vs SEC West for all the marbles.

At least make it interesting and throw Houston in there against LSU. Case Keenum against the vaunted LSU D. It would probably turn out much like Colt Brennan against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl a few years back, but hey, at least we haven’t already seen it.

I’ll be watching LSU Bama for the national title, but as I’ve already stated I’m not thrilled, and nor should anyone be. This is further proof that we need to implode the BCS.

Playoffs? 

Fantasy Football musing

November 18, 2011 by

In my ESPN league, Tim Tebow put up 17 points this week(not for my team), a vast majority of which came on the game winning drive. Then, my friend comes to me for fantasy advice, saying he has been offered Tebow + a mid level RB for Vick + Blount.

I find it astounding that this offer was even made. I admire the attempt to capitalize on Tebow’s week and the rib situation with Vick, but how deep into the hype must this guy think other fantasy players are? Michael Vick is Tim Tebow with the ability to actually throw the ball, surrounded by a ton of weapons. Were it not for an inexplicable lack of contain by the Jets defense, Tebow likely puts up another 10 burger from the QB spot, which is simply not what you’re looking for.

When it comes to winning, I cannot question what Tebow has managed to do, putting up a 4-1 record (the 1 being an embarrassing blowout at the hands of Detroit), despite passing numbers that my 76 year old Grandmother could rival o the field. Like in college, the guy just finds ways to win.

But trying to spin that into dealing him for Vick in fantasyland? That’s an absolute joke.

Admittedly however, I now regret having declined an offer made to me of Tim Tebow for Ahmad Bradshaw, as my QB trio of Kolb/Smith/Dalton isn’t exactly the fantasy juggernaut I prefer to field.

#EndTebowTalk

Copy of my comment on Tom Gulitti’s Fire and Ice blog

November 18, 2011 by

I really don’t think Myers intent was to hit Zubie in the head, he just doesn’t strike me as that kind of player. The issue with hits to the head continues to be an ill ability to clearly define what is legal/illegal, as DeBoer alluded to. The problem lies in that it is eternally going to be subjective, regardless of what the rule says. If Shanny thinks its a fineable/suspendable offense, then it is. If he doesn’t, it isn’t. Thats the bottom line.
Here’s the post in question.

Quick Weigh-in on proposed four “conference” NHL Realignment

October 31, 2011 by

I am absolutely fine with the idea on principle, including the “divisional” first round playoffs. It also matters not to the whether the Wings or Jackets end up in the East (or Nashville for that matter).

My major problem with the current proposed “conferences” if the separation of the Penguins from all four of their current division rivals. Not only that, but it essentially beaches the Pens from their non division rivals as well, most notably the Capitals.

Penguins Flyers is one of the most, if not the most, heated rivalries in the game. To be limited to a simple home and home series every year as would be the case here is absolutely ludicrous. Ditto for their rivalry with the Rangers. The idea is just stupid, plain and simple. Toss the Lightning or Canes in with all the former Northeast division teams and put the Pens where they belong, mixing it up with their true rivals.

Is that Thales Leites?

July 2, 2011 by

Im sitting here watching the Haye Klitschko fight and sadly only memories of Leites consistently flopping against Anderson Silva is coming to mind. Haye is throwing no punches, going in and flopping to the ground as Klitschko seems well on his way to grinding out yet another routine unanimous decision. In fact, the ref just called a knockdown as Haye flopped yet again.

This is embarrassing, and its sad. Haye is exactly the kind of heavyweight champ boxing needs right now. He’s outspoken and charismatic, unlike the stoic Klitschkos who in spite of their great skill in the ring, have the personality of a boulder. And that’s being generous.

I was really really hoping that Haye would show us something special out there, instead I’m likely leaving with a sour taste in my mouth and looking forward to Khan-Judah and Mayweather-Ortiz.

Weak Mr. Haye. At least you rocked that new England away kit right?

Exciting Gold Cup Final results in terrible loss for US

June 26, 2011 by

Elation. That is the best way I can describe my feeling following Landon Donovan’s 21st minute goal which put the US up 2-0 against Mexico in the Gold Cup finals. That would be the peak. Starting with a Barrera strike in the 27th minute, Mexico would become a roaring tide, sweeping the US aside with 4 unanswered goals.

Mexico showcased the fact that it has the best talent in the CONCACAF region and ran the US “defense”, if thats what you’d call it, but of far more concern was the USA’s seeming complete inability to adapt as Mexico’s attack took form. You would think some adjustments would be made at halftime, but the US stuck to the same plan and allowed 2 more on the other side of the half.

The US fans desire for a foreign coach will grow loud yet again following this loss, and I think Gulati will finally hear them. When a team cannot adapt, it comes down on the coach’s ability to gameplan. In what will be the biggest match for the US until the 2014 World Cup, he failed miserably. Had Mexico decided to really press, it could easily have been 6-2.  Think about what the team could have done with someone like Hiddink or Klinsmann at the helm. I truly think we would have seen some kind of creative adaptation to at least attempt to slow the fierce Mexican attack.

 

And to leave this post on a bright note, it was great to see Freddy Adu in the starting lineup and playing a role in each of the US goals, showcasing the talent and skill American fans hope to see for years to come. The Adu/Dempsey/Donovan trio has a huge deal of potential if Adu finally sees significant time at the club level. Here’s to hoping.