so much for that
Well, tonight's it. Bill Walton is busy proclaiming the Pistons to be the worst NBA team since the inception of the league. The knives have come out for Rasheed Wallace. People are seriously talking about Robert Horry in the Hall of Fame.
And I wasn't going to post on the thing again until I thought up the title. Anyway.
Rasheed is not the devil again. He screwed up. Real bad. And his offensive numbers this series have not been spectacular, but I think people are going a little overboard. Yes, very, very dumb. But Rasheed is very important to the team and his defense has been great... save for that. Game 5 was a bad game. If Game 6 is another and the Pistons bow out, I really hope the town doesn't turn on him--Rasheed, being Rasheed, is very easy to turn on--because we've seen that song before in Portland, and that ended ugly. Rasheed is Rasheed.
Brown? Carcajou suggested that maybe the three-time DPOY should have been on Horry instead of Rasheed and that he was getting a free pass here. Maybe. But it should have been a simple matter of saying "Sheed, do not leave Horry or I will castrate you." Rasheed is an adult. He is not retarded. When you tell a not retarded adult to do something simple and they don't do it, that's on the tellee, not the teller.
What of Hamilton? Lost in the Sheedaclysm is the fact that Hamilton is getting P3WNED by Bruce Bowen. That's partially because Bowen should be fouling out in about six minutes a game, but there's no excuse for letting him blow by you for easy layups. Hamilton can't do anything about the fact that he's getting fouled every ten seconds but if he plays a little better defense on one of the worst offensive players in the league, Horry's three is a noble but futile effort.
Drinky. mgoblog will be at Leopold's tonight for beer and game. Feel free to drop by and introduce yourself if you feel inspired. I will be the guy with the long flowing locks and glasses who is swearing like Courtney Love at the officials. Just don't get creepy about it.
Update 6/21: Added FL OT Daron Rose. Linked Pat Devlin Scout article and Antwine Perez Scout article. Sounds like USC is the current leader for Perez but he has nice things to say about Michigan. Extrapolated from article title and Dorin Dickerson profile that he's down to Michigan and Pitt (probably). His coach is the father of Pitt QB Tyler Palko and he lives in Pittsburgh--it will be close. Also linked to Travis Goethel Scout article.
Editorial opinion: Good on Dickerson. I don't know if he's leaning either way, but I bet his mom is pulling for Pitt. Bad mom!
I just noticed this excellent article on Football Outsiders that discusses the differences between the 4-3 and 3-4, a topic of great interest to both NFL and Michigan fans. Lions fans (and other NFC North acolytes) would also do well to examine FO's camp battles for the division this year.
And, hell, while were in "link to everything on the Internet" mode, the Wall Street Journal has an article about the fines professional athletes pay. Or, rather, don't pay. Check this out:
"NBA guard Latrell Sprewell ... actually made money on a $25,000 penalty, because a corporate sponsor stepped in to pay it and the fine was later dropped by his team."
Well, of course he did. He's got 35,000 kids to feed!
And Dr. Z's single-wing Vick fantasy refers to a "Michigan-style spinning fullback" (ironically slotted for this position is former Spartan TJ Duckett). Can someone inform me of the significance of this term? I am not nearly as old as Z. Heck, even noted geezer Dan Reeves didn't even know what a spinning fullback was when Z asked him about it. Enlighten me, readers!
Update: Ask, and ye shall receive. Examine the comments for my answer.
So I got an email today from a prospective BlogPoll site, Bruins Nation. I noticed that BN is part of the "SB Nation" network of sites. Exploration of same indicated that this mysterious network is run by Kos. Yeah, that Kos. Holy divisiveness, Batman! mgoblog's political leanings are well hidden for a reason: they're fundamentally irrelevant to a sports site and anyone who disagrees with me will be put off. mgoblog official blog-world policy on politics is "I agree with you, no matter what you think. Yes, even the thing about the Freemasons." To the credit of the current SB Nation sites (all baseball save for BN), they seem to focus exclusively on their topic material. But the whole thing is totally weird. Who knew a guy like Kos had time for anything except being extraordinarily political?
He's trying to built an huge network of sports sites that, like, pay their authors. Will it work? Dunno. But I sure as hell haven't been in Wired. Kos 1 mgoblog 0.
This is totally outside of the purview of this blog but I find FIFA's World Youth Championships to be interesting. The US has managed to plow through the tournament's "Group of Death" by defeating Egypt and Argentina 1-0 and playing a scoreless draw with Germany. Next they take on an offensively-challenged Italy squad that managed to qualify for the second round despite placing third in its group.
Yes, Freddy Adu is on the team, but the breakout stars are a pair of defenders, ManU's Jonathan Spector and UCLA freshman Marvell Wynne. They've helped the US to their three clean sheets in the group play stage--only the third time that's been done in the history of the WYC-- despite some questionable goaltending. Now the US is picking up neutral support and, by winning the group of death, finds itself across the bracket from the real power teams like Brazil and Spain. A run to the final is not out of the question. You can catch the action on Fox Soccer Channel, except it's a subscription channel and you're an American, so you don't get it. Alas.
College Football Resource plays caveman to my tinfoil spacesuit in his latest post about the BCS. His post is an excellent argument against a playoff, but one that I can't agree with. He presents two separate arguments which I'll attempt to summarize. Argument one: college football is at least half about the weirdness that composes it, the obsessions, the traditions, the incomprehensible cheers, the old guy who juggles knives and comes back every homecoming. The bowls are a large hunk of this tradition.
That rings very true for me. That's the divide between college in the pros--the chintz of college football has, over the years, morphed itself into something wonderful and genuine. The loudspeaker roar played over the PA systems at is the same at Nittany Lions and Detroit Lions games, but somehow the former doesn't seem contrived. But the assertion that the bowls are a unique and wonderful tradition of college football I only wish I could agree with. I'm as crusty and traditional as your typical Michigan fan. I tend to go on about championships won when trilobites were still wandering the oceans and can regale you with a tale about how the 27 million BC Rose Bowl would have been a triumphant Wolverine victory if not for a meteor craftily sent by Woody Hayes.
But the sight of Ashlee Simpson butchering her way through some song about dressing up like a French maid at the "Fedex" Orange Bowl on January fourth... well, wherever the platonic bowl ideal is a precious tradition of college football, it's clear that we don't live there any more. Insight.com! Poulan Weedeater! Half-time shows with the less talented Simpson sister! How on earth did we get here? The Cotton and Gator bowls are meaningless, January 1 is no longer the Christmas of college football, and for what? A system that is wrong, wrong, wrong more often than not? A system that has left a worthy challenger in the cold, often championshipless, almost every single year that it's been around? A system that fears common sense? CFR says he prefers the "ante-bellum" days of CFB (bonus points for totally awesome word use), and I agree.
The situation reminds me much of the old... well, it's not really a joke, but, you know, the canard where a man asks a woman if he would have sex with him for a million dollars and she says "yeah, I guess." The man then asks her if she would do the same for five dollars and she asks, "what do you think I am?" to which the man replies: "We've already established what you are, now we're just haggling over the price." The BCS and the bowls have already established what they are. Now we're just haggling over the number of teams.
CFR's second argument is one that is also well made and deeply relevant: it would be impossible for a playoff to not lessen the frantic urgency every team feels during every game of the season. In college football, if you lose even once you are depending on other teams to screw up. Every loss is Armageddon. But I believe that the college football season is too focused on not losing. Witness the yearly matchups between national powers and schools you couldn't find on a map. For God's sake, there's no reason for Auburn to play the Citadel. A playoff that let the major conferences' champions in would drastically lessen the pressure on teams to schedule cupcakes and would allow us to see more titanic intersectional matchups like this year's Ohio State-Texas game.
My proposal is eight teams: the champions of the B12, B10, SEC, ACC, and Pac10, plus three teams selected by a committee. One slot would go to a champion of the Big East, WAC, etc. The other two would be at large berths. First and second rounds are at the home field of the higher ranked team. The final is January 1st at the Rose Bowl. The sun sets in the third quarter. Two teams battle for an undisputed national championship.
The bands play at halftime.
Also! Every Day Should Be Saturday has an excellent rumination on the divergent fates of UCLA and Texas since the Bears waxed the Longhorns 66-3 and ran John Mackovic out of Texas.
And Blue-Gray Sky has an interesting post up on Charlie Weis' attendance at a Texas football camp. They highlight this passage:
"He said it would be "wrong for him to go into a recruiting pitch to lure Texas' NCAA Division I football players to South Bend, the Mecca of the universe", as he called it."
Violation! Violation! All right. It's just funny. Dangit.