Friday, April 28, 2006


So they just unveiled a statue of Karl Malone in Salt Lake City. Somebody clever has clipped that statue and grouped it with another very familiar one to create the picture seen here which some might argue is a more appropriate tribute. Ouch.

It's Game Night!

1) Going to the Cavs-Wizards Game 3 tonight, hopefully it's a good one. LeBron can't play as bad as he did the other night. He was atrocious at times. And yet the Wizards still didn't win easily. I'm still thinking a split in these two games in Washington. Tonight is now a sell-out, but Sunday night still isn't. And the DC area is supposed to be a hotbed for basketball. Of course top row seats for $45 plus service charges might have something to do with it.

2) The Indians are back to 2 1/2 behind the White Sox. They are still hitting up a storm, but the pitching isn't living up to expectations. I think help in the pen is on the way with the return of Fernando Cabrera from the DL this weekend. He got off to a very rough start, then got injured. But he's been lights out in his rehab, and I think he should be back to his old form that leads fans to believe he's the closer of the future. If he can be dominating in the 7th-8th innings leading to the Wick, that will help a lot.

3) I'm no fan of the Danny, but now he's affecting my actual life. Going to a Redskins game is a beyond terrible experience, but those I can avoid if I need to. This I can't. Among his recent business ventures has been to become the majority shareholder of Six Flags, and setting up his own radio venture in the DC area. He is planning on launching his own sports talk station, where the Redskins games will be broadcast. But my problem is that he bought the rights to air ESPN radio on his stations. This has caused a huge shakeup in the sports radio I listen to every afternoon on my drive home. The show I enjoy listening to, the Sports Reporters, currently goes from 5-7. It's a local show with Andy Pollin (from Kornheiser's show) and Steve Czaban (has a national morning show on Fox Sports Radio). This show is now being moved to the 9-12 spot in the morning which is being vacated by Tony who moves to MNF in the fall. Then from 12-3 ex-Redskins player Brian Mitchell is having his own show (taking ESPN's Dan Patrick's place), which may be decent. However, Coach John Thompson's show is now being extended from 3-5 to 3-7. The Coach is a fine guy, but I really don't enjoy his show at all. So now no sports radio on my drive home that I want to listen to. It may not be all the Danny's fault, but I'm going to blame him anyway.

4) Oh yes, the NFL draft. I've tried to block out most reporting on it in the last few days. Just seems like it's being hyped even more then usual this year. Maybe because of the names at the top. I'll watch it tomorrow to see the Ravens and Browns players, and where the PSU guys go, but I'd just like them to actually start picking instead of talking about it. I love a mock as much as anybody, but it just seems like it's getting ridiculous this year.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Is there a Draft in Here?

What? The NFL draft is this weekend? No way!

I will be at a wedding Saturday afternoon so, unfortunately, I will probably miss from the second half of the first round all the way into the third round. The real bummer (aside from having the goober pictured here on my keeper league team) is that this is where most of the excitement will occur for me with all the fantasy-eligible, skill position people (RB's, WR's).

Here are some draft nuggets for the masses:'s SportsNation mock draft's interactive mock draft w/ Pasquerelli/Clayton
Various Sportsline Mocks
Draft Pick Value Chart ("Dallas Chart")
Penn Staters potentially ready to be drafted
Hilarious DJ Gallo mock of the draft (for the record I love the Minnesota pick - he busts on all the right people in one shot!)
Page 2's 100 "Worst Draft Picks Ever" list

I'm starting the: "Javon Walker and #5 to New Orleans for #2" rumor. You heard it here first.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Warm Fuzzies

Now you're not going to find a lot of love for Jim Tressel on this site. And you're actually not going to find a whole lot in this particular blog, either. But I wanted to comment on this story that probably won't receive much attention otherwise.

A lot of college football fans have heard of former Penn State CB Adam Taliaferro. He broke his neck and was paralyzed making a tackle against Ohio State on September 23, 2000. He walked out of a hospital four months later and I was in the stands when he led the Lions out of tunnel against Miami to start the season the next fall. I gotta tell you, it brought tears to my eyes. It was one of the most memorable moments from a season where we finished 5-6. Really, the whole Taliaferro story is one of the highlights over the 1999-2004 seasons.

But I watched the game in which Taliaferro got injured. The play on which he was injured was a 30-yard bomb by OSU with about 1:30 left in the fourth quarter - a game which they were already leading 45-6. So I always took this as a really jerky move by Tressel's predecessor. Now that I fault anyone in particular for a freak injury - just that such things should not have to happen when you're up by so much and should be running the clock out. This was just a jerky move that led to added risk to everyone involved. But to the credit of the OSU staff, everyone lent a hand when needed.

But I send a nod to Tressel when he called Taliaferro recently when one of his own players suffered a similar injury. This was a classy move to help his player by getting advice an encouragment from someone who had been there before and it was good of Tressel to make the contact for him. Kudos to Tressel. You'll likely never hear me say that again.

Also, of note, if you read into the article a little bit - is that OSU is trying out their punter at WR. Missing Santonio Holmes already, huh? :-)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Dare I Say ......

Morelli for Heisman??? Wow, what an impressive game, in the wind and rain no less. He had zip, touch, smart decisions, the whole package. Definitely the highlight of the game. If you haven't seen any stats, the Blue (most of the starters) beat the White (17-0). The Blue was also stopped twice near the goaline on the first two possessions of the game, so it was a pretty dominating performance as would be expected. Morelli finished 13-16 for 191 yards. He did take two sacks though, where he didn't show a lot of speed running from the pressure, but we already knew he was no MRob (which isn't a bad thing). Let's go through the rest of the team. The receivers looked excellent as always. It was nice to see Williams back on the field. Williams actually lined up at QB twice, and threw both times. One for a 6 yard completion on an out, and the next play he threw a nice bomb probably 30-40 yards downfield, but there was good coverage and it was incomplete. Norwood was the leading receiver, 8 for 154. One interesting receiver note, Mark Rubin (redshirted by injury last year) now looks to be playing safety. He's still wearing the number 80 though. I guess too many good young receivers now.

The running game was a little bit of a disappointment. Not very much running at all, and no really good runs. Kinlaw had one decent one were he showed good explosion through the hole. Hunt ran a few times. Hahn ran the most, but never got more then a few yards. Oh, there's now talk Scott might not be hurt too bad, so I guess that's still up in the air.

Backup QBs were hit and miss. The best was probably Kevin Suhey, who had some decent throws. Paul Cianciolo looked terrible at first, throwing up lame ducks. Then he made a couple good throws in the middle of the game, but reverted back to poor throwing late. Once again, our backup kicker looked absolutely horrendous (same as last year's BW game). He doesn't look like he could even kick for a high school team. Williams was back as PR at the beginning, though they didn't actually return anything, just fair caught.

I'd say the defense looked pretty decent. There were no blitzes, so you couldn't really tell about pressure on the QB. Jim Shaw played really well at DE, which is a spot we'll need. The safeties and CBs made some good plays when Morelli wasn't threading the needle. Our LBs may be the deepest we've had in years, so no problem there.

So what do I think? If Hunt is fully healthy, I think the offense is going to be lethal. We might not have the running game of last year with Robinson, but our passing game should be tough to stop. With Brown and Shipley on the O Line, as long as the others are servicable we'll have a high scoring team. I have faith in the defense. We might be burned in the secondary early on (especially facing Akron and ND in the first two games), but I think they'll come together. If the D Line can get some pressure going, we should be fine there. I think we're taking Quinn down in the second week of September. The Ohio State game is going to be huge, and will likely decide the Big 10 title I think. Will it also decide one of the BCS championship teams? Quite possibly.

Friday, April 21, 2006

For the record....

I'd just like to point out that in his NBA playoff predictions article,'s Bill Simmons matches my picks exactly except for picking the Heat over the Nets in the East-semis.

New theory - Bill Simmons is an avid read and closet Three Hamiltons fan!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

And The Winner Is ......

The playoff seedings have now been set, so let's get to the prognosticating.

First Round:
Milwaukee vs. Detroit-The Bucks are a young team on the rise, but not this year. Detroit in 4.
Sacramento vs. San Antonio-I'm not going to call the upset here, but should be one of the better first round series. San Antonio in 7.
Chicago vs. Miami-Chicago couldn't get past the first round last year, and they weren't playing a team the caliber of the Heat, so another early exit. Miami in 6.
LA Lakers vs. Phoenix-Kobe can do a lot, but he can't do it all against the Suns. The Black Mamba goes down in 6.
Washington vs. Cleveland-I don't remember a season in my basketball fan lifetime where both my teams were in the playoffs, and now they end up playing each other in the first round. The regular season games were not a true indicator I don't think. The Wizards can't close games, Haywood may be the biggest baby I know, and the King is ready for the spotlight. Cavs in 5.
Memphis vs. Dallas-I like the Mavs, and the Grizz can't even lose a game they need to lose. How are they going to win a game they need to win? Dallas in 5.
Indiana vs. New Jersey-NJ has the inside and outside games working. Indiana is still shellshocked from the Artest era. New Jersey in 6.
Denver vs. LA Clippers-This may be the biggest joke in sports. By losing the game to the Griz the other night, the Clips get homecourt advantage in the first round. How exactly do you play a game in which it's to your advantage to lose? What's the point of winning a division and getting 3rd seed, if you have to go on the road against the 6th seed? The commish needs to do some serious restructuring here. Clips in 7.

Second Round:
Cleveland vs. Detroit-The regular season series was a good indicator in this case. The Pistons defense can slow down LeBron, and Hughes can't quite pick up the slack. Detroit in 5.
Dallas vs. San Antonio-I will call the upset here, as Duncan just isn't healthy enough to carry the Spurs this year. Dallas finally does something in the playoffs now that Nelson has left the building. Dallas in 6.
New Jersey vs. Miami-Should be a pretty good series with fairly similar teams. Who will dominate, Kidd, Carter, Wade, Shaq, my boy Nenad? I'm giving the edge to the home Heat, Miami in 7.
LA Clippers vs. Phoenix-Even without That's Amare I like the Suns. The Clips will run with them, but not quite keep up. This will be a nice experience year for the Clips though. Phoenix in 6.

Conference Finals:
Miami vs. Detroit-It didn't work out for Miami last year, and it won't this year either. The Pistons are just tough. Detroit in 7.
Phoenix vs. Dallas-I'm agreeing with Dan, that's scary. Let's go Mavs! Dallas in 6.

NBA Finals:
Dallas vs. Detroit-They were denied last year, but not so in 2006. Larry Brown cries in NY as the Pistons win again, this time in 6 games.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Let's Get it Started

Well we now know the Sweet 16 NBA playoff teams so we can begin the saga that drags on through mid-June. What we do not know at this time are some of the seedings. My first thought was to wait until we knew that before proceeding with a preview/predictions article. But on second glance, in the East, the #5-8 seeds are completely unimpressive and I can’t imagine any making it out of the first round so they are all largely irrelevant. And in the West, we have the potential Clips/Grizz swap and the potential but less likely Lakers/Kings swap (and, of course, the extremely unlikely Mavs/Spurs swap). So I’m going to roll the dice and assume the playoff matches will be what we have as of today. This of course means that this will be the first and trendsetting piece among NBA playoff predictor posts and articles! Leave it to The Three Hamiltons to pave the way….

Round 1 –

Detroit (1) vs. Chicago (8) – As nice as it was to see Chicago claw their way past Philly to get here, their reward for missing the lottery will be a brief, four-game shellacking courtesy of a very dominating Pistons team. I’m guessing last year against the Wizards will be the best “playoff experience” this young Bulls team will have seen. This year won’t be much of an “experience”. They’ll be back next year, however, with the addition of the Knicks' ping-pong ball. (Thanks, Isiah!)

San Antonio (1) vs. Sacramento (8) – Artest has brought an entire new dimension to the Kings during the latter half of the season. However that doesn’t mean he can guard Duncan and San Antonio is just too good and too deep – they win 4-1 and give Duncan some much needed time to nurse his feet. (Note – if the Lakers fall to #8, no real change here)

Miami (2) vs. Milwaukee (7) – Flash will be motivated to put this series behind him and get the Diesel some rest before getting to the real meat of the playoffs. Miami advances 4-1.

Phoenix (2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7) – Now this is an intriguing series. LA dominates at home yesterday but with Nash and Bell on the bench. Phoenix wins the previous three meetings this year but has been on a slide the past few weeks. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want any part of Kobe Bryant right now (excellent MVP article from Bill Simmons, btw). He’s clearly elevated his game above that of his peers and I’m not sure anyone on Phoenix can really guard him, much less for seven games. Phoenix has been better for longer than I thought they would be without Amare, but I see them folding here. Lakers with the upset in six. (Note – if the Kings make the #7 seed, PHX runs away with this series).

New Jersey (3) vs. Indiana (6) – Much like I don’t want any piece of Kobe Bryant right now, I don’t want any piece of the Nets right now, either. I’m still kicking myself for forgetting to pick up that 35:1 future on them when I was in Vegas a few weeks ago when they hadn’t adjusted the odds yet. Carter and the Nets are playing very well right now and the Pacers are fumbling like all the rest of the East playoff bottom feeders. NJ, 4-0.

Denver (3) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (6) – The Clippers in the playoffs??!! Where are Danny Manning and Terry Dehere? Very intriguing matchup here. Hollinger points to Carmelo as one of the more clutch players in the league. If he can elevate his game and lead his team in the playoffs it will make his potential that much greater. Those whacky NBA playoff rules have them as a three seed against a six seed with a better record that’s beaten them 3-1 this season. KMart’s health is a question mark and Brand has elevated his game this year as much as anyone in the league not named Kobe. I think Sam Cassell’s leadership and experience are the difference-makers between two young teams here. Nugs take the Clips to seven games but lose. (Note – I like Denver here if they end up playing the Grizzlies)

Cleveland (4) vs. Washington (5) – You know, about two weeks ago, I would have said this had the makings of a very good and evenly matched playoff series. But then the Wizards imploded and LeBron became unstoppable. I don’t think this series is close anymore. I can’t even give the Wizards as much as two games here. Cleveland advances 4-1.

Dallas (4) vs. Memphis (5) – It’s sad that a 60-win Dallas team is a #4 seed and ends up playing Memphis. However if they were #2, they’dve had the Lakers and I’ll refer you to my earlier Kobe Bryant statements. So instead of running the risk of an embarrassing first round upset, the Mavs host the Grizzlies who unfortunately, are overmatched playing the real #2 seed in the West. Dallas in 5. (Note – I still like Dallas if they end up with the Clippers, too)

Round 2 –

Detroit (1) vs. Cleveland (4) – It’s a good thing LeBron can get that valued “playoff experience” winning a series against the Wizards because while a better matchup than the Bulls, the Cavs still don’t stand a chance against the Pistons. A one-dimensional team won’t be able to get around Detroit’s defense. Not that the Cavs are one-dimensional, really, but Detroit would have the ability to limit its other non-James players such that he’d be the only difference maker…and even then he'd be in limited capacity vs. underrated, long-armed Tayshaun Prince. Detroit in 5.

Miami (2) vs. New Jersey (3) – Shaq is older and poorly conditioned. Zo may be a no-go for the whole playoffs. Miami is missing the ‘inside’ of it’s inside-outside game. With the limited minutes Shaq can put out anymore, they have to have Zo backing him up to run with the big boys. I think we’ll enjoy the Carter/Wade duel, though. But I think New Jersey takes this one in six. They’re still playing at a very high level and I don’t see whoever they play in the first round having the ability to slow that down.

San Antonio (1) vs. Dallas (4) – This is the matchup you think you should see in the Western Conference finals, right? Darn shame, huh? As good as the Spurs have been all season, Duncan still isn’t quite himself. And he’ll have to be a lot quicker on his feet than he has been to keep up with Nowitzki. (Excellent Mark Cuban post repping Dirk for MVP) And as much as Eva has helped Tony Parker pick up his game this year, it’s not enough to make up the difference in Duncan’s decline. This may be one of the better matchups of the playoffs, but I think this is the year San Antonio bows out early. Mavs in six.

Los Angeles Lakers (7) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (6) – Is every game a home game? How does this work? Why aren’t more people talking about this potential convergence on the Staples Center? And really, does anyone want either of these two teams in the conference finals? I don’t think the Clips have the answer for Bryant (does anyone?) and I don’t think the Lakers have the answer for Brand and/or Cassell. Smush and Kwame (or Odom) aren’t holding it down here. If the entire series is in LA, then the real home court advantage is with the Lakers. They’re always the trendier team and you just don’t see rabid Clippers fans. Additional edge goes to Phil Jackson – Lakers advance 4-2.

Conference Finals – Round 3 –

Detroit (1) vs. New Jersey (3) – If anything can slow down the streaking Nets, it’s the Pistons defense. After covering LeBron for a week, Prince should find Carter a little easier – in that he only has to worry about playing one end of the floor. And Vince is gonna wish he had his legs as of five years ago for those moments when he gets past Prince and has to contend with the Wallaces. And even though I kick myself for not taking that Nets future, I still can’t see them getting past the Pistons. They’re just too good and too deep – but they’ll at least give them a run – Pistons in 6.

Dalls (4) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (7) – Well if getting the #4 seed instead of the #2 avoided the Lakers in the first round, Dallas still gets them here. While the Clips have been a good and solid team this year and the Suns have been dominant at times and have a better roster on paper, the Mavs have far more weapons than either team the Lakers would have seen up to this point. This Mavs team would give a good run to the best combined roster of the Clips/Suns (that’s assuming Stoudemire is still sidelined). Behind Kobe, the Lakers are just too thin. And the Mavs can run point-for-point with anyone – they don’t care if they can’t guard Kobe. And, actually, the reason they’ve been so good this year is that they’re finally playing decent team defense. Kobe can’t make up for all of that by himself….for an entire series. Mavs in 5.

NBA Finals –

Detroit (1) vs. Dalls (4) – Detroit’s historic stifling defense but notched up offense now that they’re out of LB’s shadow vs. Dallas historic run-and-gun offense but notched up defense. This could also be an amazing series. I look inside and I see Nowitzki and Howard vs. Wallace and Wallace plus a little help from Prince on the wing – I might give a slight edge to Dallas. Jason Terry has been pretty good, but the edge at the point definitely goes to Detroit as Billups is a deserving MVP candidate. Here’s the difference – who’s going to stop Richard Hamilton? Stackhouse? Griffin? Daniels? Please. Seriously, Rip makes the difference here. And I like Detroit’s bench (previously mentioned in this forum) over Dallas’s and I’ll take Flip for an edge, too. I think Detroit wins this in six games. Another Hamilton, another champion. Any questions?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Wrap Up

Bored at work because everyone in the country took off today except me.

1) The rumored report on Austin Scott is a torn MCL, which will likely redshirt him this year. Yeah it hurts if Hunt is out for an extended period of time, but I'm not too worried about it. If he really has a good year in him, it would be a shame to waste another behind Hunt. I think Kinlaw and Hahn will be fine as the backups, and then Scott can come back healthy (hopefully) for a good senior year with him and Morelli.

2) Anybody else sick of this Duke story? It's really not that much of a sports story, I mean do you ever hear about lacrosse if it's not the final four? Everything is back and forth stories, very few clear facts have come out. Just have your trial, figure out what happened, and stop having a front page story about it every day. Oh by the way, I like most of America don't like Duke.

3) Close to home, this Sean Taylor trial gets funnier every week. The trial has now been postponed 6 times since the actual incident last summer. The latest was because the prosecuting attorney was putting news links about the trial on his personal website that advertises his night job, Miami club DJ. Suprisingly, the attorney has since left the case. What a joke this thing is. Oh the other funny thing, of the 4 men accusing Taylor of threatening them with a gun, I believe 3 have been arrested in seperate incidents since last summer. You gotta love the "U". Don't forget to buy your season tickets to Hurricanes football, since they apparently have to beg with radio commercials in order to sell out the place.

4) So where does Lendale go now that it's out he has a torn hamstring and that's been affecting his workouts?

5) Barry, what an idiot. I hope he goes to jail. And I'm saying this even though he was instrumental in winning my first baseball computer league championship last year.

6) How mediocre is the NBA Eastern Conference? There are now only 4 teams above .500 and quite the fight between sub .500 teams for the last 4 spots. The Wizards looked like a sure thing a couple weeks ago, and now there's the real possibility they could be out of the picture if they don't win a few of these last few games. With my Cavs in the 4th spot, and the Wizards in the 5th, I was kind of looking forward to seeing my two favorites battle it out in the first round. I don't think either has a shot against the Pistons, but it's nice just to have teams in the playoffs again. Please please please Lebron, don't put any pressure on that ankle for the next week.

7) How about Brad Hawpe and the Rockies?? I know, nobody cares or even knows what I'm talking about.

That's all the blabbering I can think of at the moment, enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lefty and Arnie...sounds about "right"

As a passionate fan of everything western Pennsylvania, I grew up a huge admirer and fan of the great Arnold Palmer, native of Latrobe, PA (i.e. homeland of Rolling Rock beer and Steelers' training camp). Even though Arnie's player career was long over before I could even pick up a putter, the man casts a shadow over the region that lives on to this day. I thought about Arnie as Philly Mick (as I like to refer to him...much to the humorous delight of my wife) strolled through Amen Corner at Augusta last weekend, firmly in control of his game and his destiny. Being two years removed from shaking the ridiculous "greatest player to have never won a major" title, he just seemed so at ease and peace as the people's champion, a crown Arnie so proudly wore for many years. See, and my father can definitely attest to this, I latched onto to Phil Mickelson as "my guy" from the day he stepped onto the tour in 1992, right around the time I caught that unshakable golf bug that lives in me to this day. I had seem him play as an amateur and read about him in Sports Illustrated, and just decided, as many 14 year olds do, he was going to be my guy. If had known the roller coaster ride ahead, I may have thought twice. Between the dominant tour wins (I witnessed live the Greater Hartford Open record 61 in 2001) and the disappointing major losses (All of the Sunday Masters collapses, the US Open losses to Payne Stewart at Pinehurst in 1999 and Tiger at Bethpage Black in 2002 ), it really started to feel as if it wasn't meant to be. When that putt dropped in 2004 on #18 at Augusta, it was as if a cloud was lifted, and it was at that point that it really sunk it that an entire legion of PGA fans had joined me as part of something bigger. Yeah, we can clearly never be Arnie's Army, but Phil's Platoon isn't too shabby either (albeit cheesy). And, as I was watching him in complete control of his game on Sunday, it felt good to say that I had been through thick and thin with this guy. It wa the first time, truly, that golf felt like a team sport, sticking by your team through all the ups and downs. He was a man on a mission. Of the probably hundreds of rounds I have watch him play, I have never seen him so in control of his driver, hitting what seemed like every fairway, and his putter, draining pressure putt after pressure putt. I can honestly say I never thought I would see the day when Lefty would have a throw-away bogey putt on #18 in a major to win by 2 strokes, as calm as can be. It's funny, there were a lot of typically overzealous writers that jumped on the bandwagon after the 2004 Masters win, claiming that Phil was only scratching the surface and could go on to win 6-7 majors. I thought they were nuts and doing their stereotypical flip-flop on a guy that they had loved to bury in the past. Now, after watching him win 3 of the last 9 majors, those guys do not seem as crazy. Either way, it has been a great ride, and I am sure glad I was on the bus early.

Monday, April 10, 2006

With the 32nd pick in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft...

As the 2006 NFL draft draws near, I felt it was time to do a quick 4 round wishlist for my beloved Super Bowl XL Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Please note: no Ravens were harmed in the making of this draft board:

1st round: Nick Mangold (C - Ohio State), Darnell Bing (S - USC) or Bobby Carpenter (LB - Ohio State)

Comment: I still believe Pittsburgh would snag LenDale White if, in light of his recent escapades, he keeps falling, but there are doubts that he fits the type of "team friendly" attitude they embrace. I felt for weeks that, with 3 4th round picks, they were in good position to trade up in the first round (ala 2003 when they traded the 27th pick, a 3rd rounder and a 6th rounder to move up 11 spots to #16 to draft current Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu). I cannot see them doing anything like that in light of White's recent actions. A more likely selection, Mangold would be able to come in and learn under Jeff Hartings for a year, before taking over in 2007. As for Carpenter, he would provide some much needed youth/depth at ILB, but he has worked out very well, and teams like the Pats and NYG need LB help and are picking in front of the World Champs. Bing could potentially learn for a year behind newly-acquired Ryan Clark, before joining fellow Trojan Polamalu in 2007.

2nd round: Calvin Lowry (S - Penn State) or Greg Eslinger (C - Minnesota)

Comments: Bing will likely be gone when the Steelers pick at #64, but they clearly need safety depth. I felt that last season Lowry really established himself as the type of intelligent/athletic DB that would fit in well at FS with SS Polamalu and young CBs Ike Taylor, Ricardo Coclough, and Bryant McFadden. He was a very productive player on last year's dominant 11-1 Orange Bowl winning defense, and he had pro day in State College a few weeks back. Eslinger could be a solid fall back pick if Mangold does not pan out at #32.

3rd round: Gerald Riggs, Jr. (RB - University of Tennessee)

Comments: Injuries really hurt his college productivity, but he is a bigger back with good instincts/genes. You have to figure that after the 5 top RBs are off the board (Bush, White, Maroney, Williams, and Addai), there will be few teams left with glaring RB issues, considering most jobs are solidified at this point. Plus, the Steelers are one of the few teams looking for those bigger backs, which I would classify Riggs as at 235 lbs. They definitely need a younger big back as insurance for the ever-shaky health of Duce Staley.

4th round (a): Paul Pinegar (QB - Fresno State) or Bruce Gradkowski (QB - Toledo)

Comments: After watching Tommy Maddox nearly submarine the Super Bowl season with his performance against Jacksonville, it is clearly time to take the role of Big Ben's caddy seriously (I will say, I am a Batch backer. He's a solid veteran). Neither of these QBs really strike me as starting NFL QB material, but I would be thrilled to have either groomed as a long-term back-up to the godsend. I prefer Gradkowski because he was very productive in the MAC, he is a Pittsburgh native, and he is a tough competitor. A perfect Steeler QB.

4th round (b): Martin Nance (WR - U of Miami OH), Jonathan Orr (WR - Wisconsin), or Domenik Hixon (WR - Akron)

Comments: Due to the presence of Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward and future Pro Bowl TE Heath Miller, I do not see WR as such as huge need as some Steelers fans, but they could definitely use some depth. I was never a huge Randle El fan, as he was a glorified #3 WR and did not really bring much outside of the 3-4 trick plays a year...well worth $27M, right? All three of these WRs should be available here, barring any draft day assentions. Some experts probably would think the 4th round is too high even, at least for Nance and Hixon. Nance had an extremely productive sophomore year with Roethlisberger at QB, and he is the big, strong bodied WR they are currently lacking. I saw Hixon just abuse Memphis (point noted, it was Memphis) in the MAC championship last fall, and he is another physically gifted, bigger WR. Orr was another in a recent string of productive UW WRs who is fast and fairly big.

4th round (c): Michael Robinson (QB/WR/RB - Penn State), Brad Smith (QB/WR/RB - Missouri), Marques Hagans (QB/WR - Virginia), or Reggie McNeal (QB/WR - Texas A&M)

Comments: With so many college QBs in this draft attempting make the transition to WR, you just know the Steelers are taking one at some point. They love these types of guys. There is a chance that McNeal and Robinson could be gone by the 4th round, but there is a chance all 4 could be available. I prefer Robinson, given his leadership ability and versatility, but I also am most familiar with him. Smith was an extremely productive multi-dimensional threat at Mizzou for four years, but he has not worked out well at WR.

Well, there are my thoughts. It should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Game 6

Okay, I'm not the baseball fan Scott is - at least anymore. I grew up a Mets fan, but have become relatively disinterested in the sport over the years. But this harkens back to when I was a Mets fan. In fact, this is about as early as I recall being a baseball fan. This link is courtesy of Joe (two props in one day!). But at any rate - this is hilarious, and really quite impressive....

Game 6

Practice Practice Practice....

As if playing one on one for an entire summer with Joe wasn't enough, here's what I really's taller...just not quite so mobile... Be sure to push the button!!!

Big Ben

Jack Is Back

Kiefer Sutherland signed a 3 year contract with 24 that will make him the highest paid actor in a drama series. I guess we don't have to worry about him dying anytime soon. What do you think, Jack as president by the end of the 3 years?

A Tribe Called Cleveland Is On A Quest

As the resident baseball expert, I figured the blog needed at least some mention of baseball on it. So I'll start it off with a little love for my Indians. Granted, while watching them get clobbered on opening night in a Las Vegas airport wasn't such a great start, they are now 5-0 in games I don't bet on them. I was a little worried coming into the year, having lost Millwood and replaced him with the immortal Jason Johnson. But things are working out so far, with Millwood looking terrible. But with another year of maturity for the hitters, and the bullpen still shutting things down (besides that first game), things are looking good in Cleveland. The minors are loaded with talent, so if something is needed come the trade deadline, it shouldn't be a problem. Back to the playoffs in 2006.

Murray gave me his annual preseason email about this being the Bucos year. And as I always do, I tell him why that makes no sense. However I could at least see some optimism this year as opposed to past years. But yuck, what a start.

Never too early....

Ahhhh...this is the stuff that keeps me going through spring and early summer when there's no football. I needed to hear that Morelli looks sharp. I need to hear that Poz is recovering nicely and D-Will is playing again. I need to hear all this to know that last season was no fluke and we're poised to be strong again. While looking at futures in Vegas, Scott pointed out that the two favorites to win the National Championship (ND and OSU) are two of our first four games and both on the road. We'll know early on how next year will look for Penn State football.

And JoePa answers one of our bigger questions last year - how, if at all, does the offense change when going from M-Rob to Morelli to utilize each player's skillsets?

Daily Collegian spring practice update
JoePa's comments on spring practice from

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Lazy Sunday

So I'm sitting at home this afternoon taking in the Pistons/Pacers game with my wife before Master's coverage starts. She's from Indiana and thusly a Pacers fan. Myself, I've always been a Wizards fan...and still am. But a three years ago, I put some money on the Pistons to win the championship and followed and cheered for them in depth throughout the playoffs when they went on to eventually beat the Lakers for the championship. So my motivations were a little selfish, but I learned to really like this team.

So the Pistons, with six games left and with an 11 game lead over the Heat have already comfortably earned home court advantage for the playoffs. The Pacers, meanwhile are in a struggle for 7th place meaning they're looking at at the Nets if they finish strong, the Heat if they finish mediocre, or even worse, these same Pistons. (Ignoring the potential Heat/Nets swap at the top).

We all know about the Pistons starters - about how there was debate that at least three and mabye four or even five deserved all star honors this year. But what about that bench? In their current position, they can easily rest their starters and I'm noticing that they're doing just that today. And through much of the game, I never see more than one Pistons starter on the floor until the last two minutes of the game. Good to see Flip making sure they close strong.

So I'm looking at the guys on the floor and we've got Antonio McDyess, Tony Delk, Lindsay Hunter, Maurice Evans. Still on the bench you've got Dale Davis and Kelvin Cato. I mean, not All Stars by any means, and most of whom are in the twilight of their NBA careers....but a very serviceable collection of formerly decent to good NBA players and some All Stars (Davis, Dice). And they're dominating the Pacers. The Bench. First with Ben on the floor, then Sheed, then Prince. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that the Pistons bench could earn the #8 seed in the East.

Okay, maybe if these guys had to play 40mpg over 82 games, McDyess' knee would blow out, and all their lungs' would explode...but still....impressive. And last year, they did it with Dice and Arroyo. The year before, Campbell and Memo were key off the bench. And let's not forget Darko! I think it's cool to see that they've kept their starting five intact for three years, rotated key guys off the bench and are still a dominant force in the league. Kudos to Joe D for running this show and to Flip for keeping it going after LB's departure. Now if only all former Pistons champion guards got this whole GM thing right....

Friday, April 07, 2006


Since we're on the subject of Penn State quarterbacks, it's good to see Michael Robinson debunk the rumor that says he's going into the draft wanting to only be a QB. I'm a big fan, he's quite the athlete and a heckuva leader but I don't see him having near the arm strength or the accuracy to compete as a QB at the professional level. Unless you count Barcelona as "professional."

See Len Pasquarelli's ESPN article

NFL Schedule

Now that the schedule is out, we can start doing some predicting. Looking over the Ravens schedule I'm going to go with the following.

@TB-L (It will take a week for Kerry Collins to get settled in as the Ravens QB)
Oak-W (Please, this is the Raiders we're talking about)
@Cle-L (Browns should be tough at home)
SD-W (Counting on Rivers not cutting it yet)
@Den-L (It's hard to win in Denver, unless it's the playoffs)
Car-L (Delhomme on the road is an iffy, but they've got the better team)
@NO-W (Even Brees won't be able to save them this year)
Cin-W (Gut feeling here)
@Ten-W (Please please have "aIR" McNair still be in Tennessee)
Atl-W (Maybe Adalius Thomas will break Vick's leg again)
Pit-L (I'll give this one to you Boyer, even though they always play them tough at home)
@Cin-L (Can't sweep them)
@KC-L (You can't stop LJ, you can only hope to contain him)
Cle-W (Maybe the game for both team's wild card hopes)
@Pit-L (Is Maddox going to be able to play??)
Buf-W (Does it even matter who wins that QB battle)

So 8-8, not a very exciting year. Of course if Billick gets fired halfway through the season, then it's an 8 game winning streak and the Super Bowl!

News Of The Day

How about this one, our favorite son of the Final Four George Mason Patriots, Jai "Jamal's Brother" Lewis was scouted during the tourney by none other then Boyer's Steelers. They are looking at him as either a TE or a DE. Well I know he's not going to cut it as an NBA player, so he may as well give this a shot. I don't think his hands are good enough to be a TE though. We shall see.

If anybody is interested, the George Mason celebration parade happens at 11:30 in the rain in Fairfax.

Cognitive Dissonance

My pastor has spoken a number of times on the subject of cognitive dissonance or acting yourself into a way of thinking or feeling. The primary context in which he has used it has been in describing how to love people. Let's be honest, there are a lot of people out there who are hard to love. And even with those who shouldn't be or aren't necessarily hard to love (our spouses, our families), there are circumstances (rough day, bad mood, someone has done something stupid or wronged you) where we can still find relatively loveable people very hard to love.

This is somewhat of an awkward way to start a sports blog, but this is where I am with the Washington Redskins. I grew up through the 80's and early 90's as a die-hard Redskins fan. I started watching football with my dad and he was a Skins fan and I caught it from him. There were some great, memorable and loveable Redskins teams in those years.

But then the collective bargaining agreement happened and I went off to college, right at the same time. The team I grew up with that had remained relatively the same for years, was dismantled. My favorite player (Art Monk) was now a Jet. Then an Eagle! The Hogs were gone, Gibbs was gone. It was Darrell Green and a bunch of guys I didn't care about. To make matters worse, I went off to college in PA where I was sandwiched between Eagles and Steelers coverage. And keep in mind this was before the internet, so I couldn't follow my team on my own. And Penn State football more than kept me occupied in the fall. All of a sudden, "Hail to the Redskins" became "Hail to the Lion".

So I kinda gave up. I gave up on the Skins. I gave up on the NFL. And that's where I was until about three years ago when a buddy of mine convinced me to get into his fantasy football keeper league. So I began to enjoy the NFL again, but I've only been rooting for the players on my fantasy teams, not any particular NFL team. If I happened to be watching a game that didn't impact my fantasy leagues, I might root a little for the Redskins, more for nostalgia than anything else. I wouldn't consider myself a fan. And to be honest, over the past three years, Dan Snyder really hasn't done much to endear himself to me. He's got a track record of overpaying for aging, mediocre talent, none of which gels well. What's to like here?

But this year is going to be different. I'm tired of not having a team to root for. I'm tired of not being able to engage in the 'my team's better' banter with friends. I mean, I get in there and mix it up, but when you're not invested into it, it doesn't matter. So starting this year, I'm going to make myself be a Redskins fan again. I'm going to act myself into a way of thinking/feeling, even if I'm struggling to find something loveable. I don't care if they just dropped $11.5 mil. on a guy who'll basically return kicks. I'll be the one at Buffalo Wild Wings in my throwback Ricky Ervins jersey cheering when Brandon Lloyd goes deep, baby! (Okay - he's on my fantasy team, maybe that's a little biased). But I'm going to do it. I'm going to become a fan again. I've hashed this out in email to my co-contributors here, but now I'm sharing with the entire world wide web (although this early in the blog, they'll probably still be the only ones reading) and now you all can hold me accountable to it.