Sunday, November 30, 2008


The Patriots are 7-5, they were just embarrassed by the Steelers, and the situation somehow isn't that grim when you really think about it.

I know, I'm trying to be as positive as I can here. But to be fair to the Patriots, they haven't played a defense in the same league as Pittsburgh's and won't again for the rest of the regular season.

And let's be honest, the Patriots defense is mediocre at best. They can't tackle, the pressure on the QB is either absent or horribly inconsistent. Tedy Bruschi is a ghost on the field these days. And there's no pressure from the outside.

Matt Cassel obviously has the skill set and the God given ability to be a premier quarterback in this League. But he's lacking consistency. After two impressive weeks that had the town idiots throughout Greater Boston proposing scenarios to keep Cassel, maybe all of us will remember that he's just started on the road to being a high calibre player, and he might not reach that destination until he's wearing different laundry.

But this team has the capacity to do some damage if they get their shit together. They just have a lot of shit to get together. The Jets and Bills lost, so the division is still within reach. And besides Tennessee and Pittsburgh, who poses a significant threat in the AFC?

The Pats have Seattle on the road next Sunday in a rare December scrimmage.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Friday, November 28, 2008


The Bruins might want to use their new alternate jerseys more often after beating the Islanders 7-2 Friday afternoon. Michael Ryder wouldn't object to that.

The Islanders were actually the better team to start. Manny Fernandez showed a bit of rust and positioned himself poorly to stop a wrist shot, giving New York a 1-0 lead. They outshot the Bruins 9-7 in the 1st period, and had the better offensive opportunities.

But the B's turned the tables in the 2nd, creating numerous opportunities, and finally breaking through with 2 goals to take a lead.

The 3rd saw a complete meltdown in New York's offense, which gave the Bruins chance after chance after chance. And the Men in Black didn't miss.

Michael Ryder needed a breakout game. Or rather, the Bruins needed him to have a breakout game. And they got it. He was acquired for his ability to finish plays with a goal. But he hadn't been accurate, or very opportunistic. Until Friday afternoon. Both his goals were sniped into the net from distance.

Matt Hunwick extended his point streak to 6 games with 2 assists. Blake Wheeler, David Krejci, and Phil Kessel each tallied a goal and an assist. Manny Fernandez is now 6-1-1, and the Bruins are averaging 4.6 goals per game in his starts this season. They've also scored 20 in his last 3 starts (6.7 per game).

The Bruins have won 8 straight at home, but that streak will be put to the test Saturday night as the Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings come to town.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Lisa Poole

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Bruins did something they haven't done in over a month: lose in regulation. Surprisingly, it came against a Buffalo Sabre team that had lost 5 straight.

A sloppy first period of play allowed Buffalo to take a 2-0 lead. Their first goal came thanks to a David Krejci giveaway right in front of the net. Derek Roy slipped away with the puck and snuck it into the net. In all honesty, I can't remember the last time Krejci gave up possession like that. I don't think it's ever happened.

The Bruins got on the board thanks to rookie defenseman Matt Hunwick, who's replaced the injured Andrew Ference, and done a brilliant job. He's scored a point in 5 straight games, with 3 goals, and 3 assists in that stretch. Not too shabby from the blue-line. Although this latest goal came from crashing the net.

But 0:30 later, the Sabres reclaimed their 2 goal lead. Shorthanded, Germany's Jochen Hecht made a move on Chara, got past him, and flew up the ice. For some reason, Patrice Bergeron gave him room and played the middle of the ice as if it were a 2-on-1 breakaway. It wasn't. It was 1-on-1, with Chara rushing in for support. Thomas probably should have saved the wrist shot, but it got by his glove and into the net.

Phil Kessel made the last 10 minutes interesting, but the Bruins couldn't tie it up.

The B's return home to face the Islanders Friday at noon.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Don Heupel


It's a simple question. Why haven't the Red Sox made a move on the best free agent pitcher out there?

Are they worried they can't afford him? Probably not. They have all that Manny Ramirez money freed up. They traded Coco Crisp's $5 million per season for Ramon Ramirez's $400,000. Maybe they're worried that low cost players like Youkilis, Papelbon, Pedroia, and Lester will be free agents down the line, and money will be needed to pay for them. But by then, wouldn't the hefty contracts of JD Drew, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, and Julio Lugo have expired?

And how good is CC Sabathia? We know him best from his dismal postseason outings. But those always come after he's been abused and overworked in the regular season. He's pitched 494 innings the last two years. But the Red Sox would probably keep him to 200 innings a season, allowing him to save something for the playoffs.

In the last three seasons, he's 48-28, with a 3.03 ERA, 632 strikeouts, and a 1.14 WHIP. He's 28 and in the prime of his career.

Could you imagine the rotation the Sox would possess if they signed this guy? Sabathia, Lester, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield. That's unstoppable, particularly in the postseason.

If the Sox spend big money on a free agent this off-season, it should be Sabathia. I know the offense was frustratingly inconsistent, but with better pitching that problem doesn't matter. Furthermore, better starters mean fewer innings for subpar relievers, which was a major downfall of the 2008 bullpen.

At the very least, they should try to get him.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


It's still not official, but every sign points to Junichi Tazawa choosing to sign with the Red Sox. The offer the Sox made is said to be worth $6 million, and was not the biggest offer he received. But he's apparently a big Matsuzaka fan, and the Sox are perennial contenders, of course.

Now before everyone gets all excited about a new #5 starter, simmer down, have some sake, and remember that he's 22. He's at the same developmental stage as a kid drafted out of college. He'll probably start in AA Portland, and might make it to the big leagues for September call-ups.

But adding depth to the already heavy list of pitching prospects under Red Sox control is a very nice thing to see.

Extra Bases

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Who else got sick of hearing the "W" word this past week? Hell, the entire season since week 3? I did. Not only did the Pats handle the Wildcat, they outlasted the Fish, rattled them at the end, and took home a 48-28 victory.

Matt Cassel has become a quality NFL quarterback. He's poised in the pocket, accurate, deceptive with his eyes, fast with his progressions, and smart when moving with the ball. He's the first Patriot QB to throw for 400+ yards in back-to-back games. Brady didn't do it, Bledsoe didn't do it, Grogan didn't do it. If not for a Randy Moss tip and a freakish interception, his day would have been statistically flawless.

Randy Moss and Wes Welker were genetically engineered. There's no other way to explain it. They're just too good at what they do to be naturally born.

The defense didn't impress me at all, however. The Pats have got to be the worst tackling team with a winning record in the NFL. Deltha O'Neal couldn't cover an anthill with a paper towel. Tedy Bruschi has become a non-presence on the field. And the secondary seems to lose receivers whenever they're in goal line situations.

But a win is a win. The Pats have a good QB again, and a top-flight offense. Will that be enough? At the very least, finding out will be exciting.

The only late game drama was when Channing Crowder and Matt Light came to blows on a PAT. Light was pissed about something Crowder did, ripped the linebacker's helmet off, grabbed a dreadlock and pounded on Crowder's head. Once other Dolphins came to Crowder's aid, he ran away like a little girl running from a spider. Both players were ejected, and both will likely face harsh disciplinary action from Der Kommissar von der Nationale Fußballliga Roger Goodell.

The Pats host the Steelers next week at 4:15.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Saturday, November 22, 2008


On Patrick Roy night, as the Habs retired #33 for their legendary former goaltender, the Bruins played the role of spoiler, sending 20,000 Quebecois home unhappy, and very very quiet.

Fittingly, the game ended as Bruins' goalie Tim Thomas stopped Saku Koivu's shootout bid. The night 33 went up to the rafters, Thomas stopped 33 shots.

Not surprisingly, the Canadiens were helped by the men in striped shirts. They got away with interference away from the puck about a dozen times in the 1st period, particularly Georges Laraque on Milan Lucic. A hand pass in the offensive end was ignored. Andrei Kostitsyn clearly dove on a Marc Savard hooking penalty, but it wasn't called. And in overtime, they had 5 skaters on the ice instead of the allowed 4.

Surprisingly, the Canadiens played a very physical game in the 1st, while maintaining their up tempo and fast-paced style of hockey. The Bruins never looked comfortable until Montreal seemed to get tired playing both super-physical and super-fast. Which is funny because it was the Bruins who played Friday night, not the Habs.

Milan Lucic was the prime target of boos from the Montreal fans, which made his 2nd period equalizer that much sweeter. He received fewer boos after that.

Lucic's goal was the result of two things: Phil Kessel's blazing hot speed, and Milan's ice cold veins. Georges Laraque had been fucking with him all night trying to pick a fight. But a player like Lucic doesn't fight in 0-0 games. He's too smart to put himself in the box for 5 minutes, or get an extra 2 minute instigator penalty. Lucic kept his cool, scored a goal, and didn't fight Laraque. Which is good news for Georges, because Michael Komisarek is still out 5 more weeks due to Lucic's fists.

The B's are 2-1-1 against Montreal this season, and sit alone atop the Eastern Conference with 32 points.

The Bruins play the Sabres in Buffalo Wednesday night.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz


Then again, most big games in the ACC this season have been monstrously hideous. Both teams struggled on offense. Three of the game's 5 touchdowns were scored by the defenses (and one was set up by a blocked punt and return to the 1). Wake Forest was 2 for 14 on 3rd downs, BC went 10 straight 3rd downs without a conversion. The teams combined for a mere 2.2 yards per carry on the ground, and only 236 total passing yards.

But BC survived. And considering they played most of the game with redshirt freshman and backup Dominique Davis under center, and the refs blew the review of a punted ball hitting a Wake Forest player on the 22 yard line, the win wasn't all that ugly.

BC controls its own destiny, and can win the ACC Atlantic for the 2nd time by beating Maryland next Saturday afternoon in Chestnut Hill.


Friday, November 21, 2008


The Boston Bruins are tied for the most points in the Eastern Conference after beating the Florida Panthers 4-2 last night. It was the 7th consecutive home win for the Bruins who have yet to lose a game in regulation in November.

Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron provided most of the firepower, each finishing the night with a goal and assist. Savard is now tied for the 2nd most points in the NHL with 27.

For the second time this month, the Bruins have a game against the Canadiens immediately after another game. The last time this happened, Boston beat the Habs 6-1. But that was in the Garden. The B's face Montreal in Quebec Saturday night.

When was the last time both the Celtics and Bruins had the best record in their conferences?


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa


42 points off the bench, 18 points and 8 assists from Rondo, 10 boards from Perkins, and 50% 3 point shooting propelled the Celtics to a 98-80 win over Detroit. Iverson, Hamilton, and Wallace inflicted some damage, but the Celtics limited every other Piston to minimal offensive production.

It was a battle of attrition and the Celtics gradually wore the Pistons away until they led by 20 going into the 4th and the game was all but over.

The C's have defeated Detroit twice this season and 6 of the last 9 times they've played. Can we even consider this a rivalry this season? Cleveland might end up being the Central Division winners, Detroit hasn't played well on the road, and they might just be the 4th best team in the East, not the 2nd anymore.

Celtics take on the Timberwolves in Minnesota tonight. The Bruins also host the Florida Panthers. When was the last late November night that we here in Boston had to choose between two first place teams to watch?


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The Red Sox and Royals announced earlier today that outfielder Coco Crisp will be traded for righty Ramon Ramirez. This finally brings an end to the question "When will Coco be traded?" which had been asked for the last 13 months.

Ramirez pitched 71.2 innings last season as a set-up man for closer Joakim Soria. He had 21 holds, 1 save, and 4 blown saves. He struck out 70 batters and walked 31. He had a tidy 2.64 ERA and an unremarkable 1.23 WHIP. My favorite stat is that he only allowed 2 homeruns. Opponents hit .222 off him, and he only allowed 12 of 52 inherited runners to score. Righties hit .153 against him.

But all his good numbers are from one year. His previous two seasons were spent in Colorado, where things didn't go so well. However, he should add some depth to the bullpen, and do what we all expected/hoped Manny Delcarmen would have in done in 2008.

At the same time, this move exposes Jacoby Ellsbury. There's been NO criticism of Ellsbury for the Sox post-season exit, or for their occasional offensive struggles. Ellsbury's .336 OBP is not good enough for a leadoff hitter. His stolen bases are nice, but he strikes out twice as often as he walks. He's got no power, which would be fine only if he got on base more often.

This move also exposes the Sox when JD Drew's annual injuries come along. Coco Crisp played in 118 games last year, with 361 at-bats. If Ellsbury struggles, or someone gets hurt, the Sox won't have as good of an answer to the problem now that Coco's gone.

That being said, Crisp never flourished as the kind of player the Sox had hoped. Last year, as 4th outfielder, was his best year. Like Ellsbury, he had stolen bases and fielded well, but had struggled as a leadoff hitter to get on base.

Overrall I think it's a good move that had to be done considering the shallowness of the Sox bullpen, but now a solid 4th outfielder needs to be found.

The Kansas City Star


As you've all no doubt heard by now, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia won AL MVP. He's the first Red Sox player to win the award since 1995. It's the 10th time a Red Sox has won the MVP. However, Pedro Martinez should have won it in 1999 and/or 2000.

Believe it or not, one of the voters left Pedroia completely off their ballot. Each writer picks 10 players (1st thru 10th), and apparently Dustin wasn't good enough to be even the 10th most valuable player in the League.

Pedroia didn't put up typical "MVP" numbers. He's not a power hitter with 17 HRs and a .493 slugging percentage. But he had a very good OBP of .376, contended for the batting title before finishing 2nd, won the Silver Slugger, the Gold Glove, and his red hot performance down the stretch pushed the Red Sox into the playoffs.

In his short career, Pedroia's amassed a generous amount of hardware. He won Rookie of the Year last year, as well as the World Series. He started the All-Star Game this year, won Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and the MVP.

Pedroia's become the answer to what was once a very questionable position for the Red Sox. The Sox haven't had the same starting second baseman for more than 3 seasons since Marty Barrett in the 80's.

For anyone who thinks Pedroia didn't deserve this Award, my only question to them is: so who did?

Justin Morneau finished 2nd. He had 20 HRs, pretty much the same OPS, 0 stolen bases, and the Twins didn't make the playoffs but contended.

Kevin Youkilis put up impressive numbers for the Sox, and was consistent all year round. He would have been a good MVP with his numbers (.959 OPS), .312 average, 29 HRs. I actually think Youkilis should have won the AL MVP.

Joe Mauer edged Pedroia for the batting title, but he's even less of a power hitter with 9 homeruns.

Carlos Quentin had the homeruns, and that's about it.

Francisco Rodriguez set a save record, but saves are one of the most misinterpreted stats in baseball. He was given lots of opportunities, and blew his fair share of them.

Josh Hamilton and Alex Rodriguez were on losing teams. Carlos Pena hit .247. Everybody else that received MVP votes had good seasons, but nowhere near great.

So a nice bit of good off-season news.

Extra bases

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It wasn't pretty, but the Bruins escaped Toronto with a 3-2 win against the teetering Maple Leafs. The Bruins haven't lost in regulation this month, and have won 9 of their last 11 contests.

I've said it before, but it deserves reemphasizing. A major reason behind the B's recent success has been the penalty kill. Toronto was 0 for 5 last night with a man advantage. The Bruins have killed 14 straight penalties, 37 of their last 38 (97.3%), and 44 of their last 47 (93.6%). There's only one word for that: godlike (lower case "g"). Before this stretch of hockey, the Bruins penalty kill percentage was 28th in the NHL, now it's 19th and steadily rising.

The best penalty killer on the team is Tim Thomas. Once again, he was brilliant, stopping 28 of 30 shots. He had some help from the posts, but he made both the athletic saves and the smart positioning saves. For my money, he's the best goalie in the NHL right now, if not the best player. He has the best GAA and Save Percentage in the League.

The Bruins host the Sabres Wednesday night. The Bruins haven't lost at home since October 23rd (5 straight wins). And I'm going, but not before I stop at Bru Fest.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ron Poling

Monday, November 17, 2008


The NHL All-Star Game has Chicago rules for its voting. There's no limit to how many ballots you can cast. Not surprisingly, the fuckwads up North in Quebec are voting for their favorite femme fatales. "Guys" like Saku Koivu, Michael "Lucic is mon papa" Komisarek, and Alexei "водолаз" Kovalev (that's Russian for "the diver") are the leading vote-getters. In fact, all 6 starting positions are Canadiens.

Let's help prevent travesty. I'm encouraging Bruins fans everywhere to put aside their team loyalty in the interest of unity and hatred. Vote for guys like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Also, Zdeno Chara is #4 in defenseman voting, so stuff the ballot box for him. He deserves to be there.

And write-in Tim Thomas. The retards at the NHL didn't put him on the ballot (only 10 goalies per each 15 team conference, makes sense right?). But all you have to do is write "Tim" in the write-in box and the site will do the rest.

Vote at

Or text the player's last name to 81812

Sunday, November 16, 2008


ESPN seems to be blaming the suspension of 5 Seminole receivers for their 27-17 loss to Boston College. There's no doubt that their absence was a detriment to Bobby Bowden's squad, and the incident was a distraction to their teammates. However, that's what happens when you recruit players based on athleticism alone.

Boston College seems to have found their ground game. Jacksonville native and true freshman Montel Harris ran for 121 yards and a score against the team he wanted to play for growing up. He's averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season, and the future looks bright for him and for the Eagles.

Believe it or not, BC still controls their own destiny. They travel to Winston-Salem and play Wake Forest next Saturday. If they win there, and beat Maryland at home on the 29th, they go to the ACC Championship Game.

At the very least, their victory over Florida State has saved the Eagles from a bowl game in Boise.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Phil Coale


A shootout loss on the road to the team with the 2nd best record in the NHL isn't a bad result. Unless, of course, you were up 2-0 with 6 minutes left in the 3rd.

Then again, the last 6 minutes of the 3rd was the first stretch of bad hockey the Bruins have played in over a week. And if Patrice Bergeron's post-hitting shot in round 4 of the shooutout had gone in, the B's may have left MSG with maximum points.

Not surprisingly, the New York media selected three Rangers for the three stars of the game. And who can blame them, they're still high from the Jets' Super Bowl victory Thursday night.

Wait a minute...

Bruins start a homestand against the Maple Leafs Monday night.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II (sweet name)

Friday, November 14, 2008


It's a shame to waste such a valiant comeback. It's a shame to be forced to comeback so valiantly against a team like the Jets. It's a shame that all the football talk until Sunday will involve Brett The Swashbuckling Gunslinging Ninja River Boat Gambler Pirate Favre, and Eric Mangenius.

It's a shame that Mike Vrabel was flagged for defensive holding, on a call that would have made Bill Polian say "THAT was holding!?!" It's a shame that the Jets won the coin toss. It's a shame the Pats couldn't stop them on 3rd and 15. It's a shame that kickoff return coverage has sucked the past few games. It's a shame the Jets were 9 of 16 on 3rd downs and the Pats were 4 of 14. It's a shame Matt Cassel led the team in rushing. It's a shame Ben Watson put the ball on the ground.

It's NOT a shame that the Pats rallied from 18 down and tied it, despite the efforts of the officials. It isn't a shame that Matt Cassel was 30/51 for 400 yards, 3 scores, and rushed for 62 yards. It's not a shame that Wes Welker had 10 grabs. It's not a shame that Watson and Jabbar Gaffney had their best games of the season. It's not a shame that Jerod Mayo had 20 tackles (16 solo), and Pierre Woods looked good filling in for Adalius.

This loss hurt like the Colts loss, but the Pats were just one play here or there away from victory. And that defensive holding call on Vrabel shouldn't be forgotten. That gave the Jets 3 downs which they used to put up 7, instead of kicking a field goal. The Pats also used up 2 timeouts on plays following the penalty.

A completely bullshit call.

Pats go down to Miami for a game on the 23rd. I remember a certain team from New England having an historical game in Miami on a November 23rd a few years ago. It's also my birthday. And Jonathan Papelbon's.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia


The Bruins' 6-1 pounding of the Canadiens made the Patrtiots' loss a little more bearable.

The B's hadn't beaten Montreal in 12 straight regular season meetings. The Bruins arrived in Boston at 3:00 AM Thursday after a hard fought 2-1 shootout win in Chicago. The Bruins didn't have much of an advantage coming into the game.

But that didn't matter. The 4th line of Shawn Thornton, Stephan Yelle, and Chuck Kobasew combined for 3 goals and 7 points. Manny Fernandez stopped 27 of 28 shots. Marco Sturm broke out with 2 goals. Patrice Bergeron had an assist and pancaked Saku Koivu in the open ice. Milan Lucic fell an assist shy of a Gordie How hat trick by scoring a goal and beating the crap out of Mike Komisarek.

Last year as a fan, I'd dread games against Montreal because the Bruins would find some way to mess it up. They'd get too emotional, fall behind early, and lose 5-1. Or they'd play too physical, rack up penalties, and give up shorthanded goals. Or they wouldn't be physical enough and the Habs would outlast them. But this season, the Bruins have handled Montreal as if they were any other team.

The Bruins are in 1st place and on pace for 118 points. They've won 5 straight and 8 of 9. They've beaten good teams like Chicago, Buffalo, and Montreal in this streak. The goaltending has been outstanding from Thomas and Fernandez. They're scoring goals in abundance. They're playing smart and physical hockey.

It's what we've been waiting for, Bruins fans.

They face another challenge Saturday night as they go down to Manhattan to face the 1st place Rangers.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


The Blackhawks came into this game riding a 4 game win streak. The Bruins had won 3 straight and 6 of 7. Not surprisingly, it was a close contest that wasn't decided until the 3rd round of a shootout.

Tim Thomas and Nikolai Khabibulin were beyond amazing. In a game that saw 13 power plays, 71 total shots, and a penalty shot; only 2 pucks crossed the goal line. Both Thomas and Khabibulin made highlight reel saves. Thomas stopped a penalty shot in OT, and Khabibulin was a wall during an overtime penalty kill, robbing Marc Savard and Phil Kessel.

The surprise of the night was PJ Axelsson. Coach Claude Julien selected him to be 3rd in the shootout. Axelsson is 0 for 3 lifetime in shootouts, and hasn't scored a goal all season. Then he beats Khabibulin by faking a wrist shot, forcing the big Russian to commit, then lifts the puck along the side of the net and in for a Bruins victory.

The TV gods seem to hate the Bruins. They were up against a 103-102 Celtics/Hawks game tonight, and will be up against the Pats/Jets Thursday night.

But I suggest you flip back and forth, because Montreal is in town.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh


I'm bored, so here are some scenarios for top ranked teams to get to the National Championship. Basically, what has to happen for teams in the hunt to make it to the big game.

1. Alabama

This is pretty simple: win = in. If Bama beats Mississippi State, Auburn, and #4 Florida, they're in the title game. If they lose to MSU or Auburn, they can still make it in by beating Florida. However, losing to Florida might knock them out, as it would probably put Florida into the title game. Unless, of course, Florida loses one of its remaining regular season games beforehand. So maybe it isn't so simple. Alabama is one of the few teams that controls its destiny. It's also one of the few teams that can lose and still make the title game.

2. Texas Tech
Same deal as Bama, win = in. But they also have a tough game ahead. Oklahoma hasn't lost in Norman since September 3, 2005. That's good for a 23 game home winning streak. But if Tech beats them (and Baylor), they might be able to lose the Big XII Championship Game and still make the National Championship. Of course, if they win their conference title game, they're shoe-ins for a title shot. If they lose to Oklahoma, things get complicated. BCS rankings would be used to break the three-way tie in the Big XII South, which would probably give Texas or Oklahoma the edge. They'd likely go on to play in the conference title game, and barring disaster, the national title game, as well.

3. Texas

Texas needs some help. They need Texas Tech to lose. The computers have Texas #3, but the USA Today has them at #5. If Texas Tech loses, Oklahoma would likely leapfrog Texas in every poll. Then again, the computers might push Texas forward. It's unlikely the BCS would choose two teams from the same conference for the National Championship Game, so the help Texas needs would have to come from within the Big XII. Texas loses in tie to Texas Tech, so they need the Red Raiders to lose twice OR for there to be a three way tie in the Big XII South so the BCS can be used as a tie-breaker.

4. Florida

The Gators will probably get in if they win out. It won't be easy with #25 South Carolina, #19 FSU, and #1 Alabama left on their schedule. But if they win the SEC with 1 loss, they'll be in the title game. Then again, the BCS might select a pair of Big XII teams. Florida cannot get into the big game if they lose.

5. Oklahoma
The Sooners might be in better shape than their #5 ranking would suggest. In fact, they might not need any help at all. If they beat Texas Tech, then Oklahoma State, they'd likely force a three way tie in the Big XII South. The BCS would be utilized as a tie-breaker, and with those quality wins, they'd likely receive the divisional title. A win over the Big XII North winner would make them Champions of the toughest conference in football, and the most likely selection for the National Championship Game. They also have one major advantage of Texas and TTU (should they beat TTU, of course): their loss came earliest. The pollsters have had more time to forget their defeat.

6. USC

The Trojans need a great deal of help. They need Oregon State to lose in order to claim the Pac-10 title. Then they need Alabama to lose twice AND Florida to lose. Or, they need all three of the top Big XII teams to finish the season with 2 losses. Even then, they might not get in. The computer ranks them 8th, their 35-3 win over OSU is a distant memory, they lack numerous big wins over top teams, they lost to Oregon State.

7. Utah

The Utes have next to no chance. All the BCS conference teams ahead of them would have to finish with 3 losses, as would Penn State. Then again, the computer has them ranked 4th.

8. Penn State

The Nittany Lions choked, plain and simple. You can blame the wind, but it was a choke. Teams like Penn State are talented enough to beat teams like Iowa on the moon with no oxygen. How does PSU get to the title game? Like Utah, they'd need everyone to lose 2 or 3 times. Technically, they still have a chance, but not much of one.

Prediction: Oklahoma and Alabama win out, meet each other in the title game. OU wins 20-17.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Just when things are looking really good...

It's been reported that Adalius Thomas broke his left forearm in Sunday's win over Buffalo. This injury would likely end his season.

Thomas was tied for the team lead in sacks with 5. And although he hasn't quite met the lofty expectations many had for him in New England, losing him is a major blow to the Patriots' defense. He'll likely be replaced by Pierre "I fucked up that fumble recovery in the Super Bowl" Woods. In a 4-3 scheme, Jerod Mayo can fill-in for Thomas.

It's unfortunate we won't get to see a play like this Thursday night:



After the disappointing loss to Indy last week, which featured numerous mistakes, miscues, and misplays; the Patriots played one of their most solid games of the season. They didn't put up tons of points, but they moved the ball, dominated time of possession, won the battle for field position, and didn't make mistakes. On the other side of the ball, the defense didn't allow big plays, stopped the Bills 6 out of 11 times on 3rd down, helped win the battle for field position, came up with two vital sacks, and picked Edwards off twice.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis had his first career 100 yard game, rushing for 105 on 26 carries and a score. As a team the Pats rushed for 144 yards, all without Morris and Jordan. This success on the ground was why the Pats held the ball for 37:40.

Cassel's strung together a streak of solid games. He was 23 of 34 for 234 yards. He also rushed for 22 yards and a touchdown. He's not a Pro Bowler, or a fantasy QB, but he seems to have developed into a consistently solid and winning player.

Wes Welker can help make a QB look like that. He had 10 catches for 107 yards. He's the first player in NFL history with 6+ catches in all of the first 9 games of a season. He's on pace for 117 receptions, which would break the franchise record of 112 he set in '07.

The defense made the big plays when necessary. As mentioned above, they were solid on 3rd downs. Seymour's sack on the first drive of the game prevented a 3rd and 3 conversion. Ellis Hobbs' interception set up a field goal. The Bills were driving up the field when Deltha O'Neal grabbed his pick. Ty Warren's sack ended a Buffalo drive in Patriot territory, and also shoved the Bills out of field goal range.

The only mishap was the 84 yard kickoff return with less than 2 minutes left. Apart from that, the Bills didn't have anything. The Patriots had twice as many yards, nearly twice as much possession, and should have won 20-3.

Short turn around for the Jets Thursday night. If the Pats win that, they're in the AFC East driver's seat.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
AP Photo/Elise Amendola


The Bruins' 3-1 victory Saturday night over Buffalo propelled them into 1st place in the Northeastern Division. Chuck Kobasew returned to action from a broken ankle with a goal and an assist. Apparent backup goalie Manny Fernandez stopped 32 of 33 shots despite not playing the past two weeks. Milan Lucic distributed 8 Hits.

The Bruins have won 3 straight by a combined score of 13-3. They've won 6 of the last 7 and are currently tied for the 4th best record in the NHL.

This year's Bruins have grown into a very entertaining team to watch. They've got more offensive firepower than they had last season with guys like Blake Wheeler and Patrice Bergeron making their presence known. Milan Lucic is one of the top hitters in the game. Tim Thomas has been playing out of his mind. It's a crime that he's not even on the All-Star ballot.

Bruins @ Chicago Wednesday night. I hate these 3 and 4 day stretches without a game.


Sunday, November 09, 2008


For the 6th time in a row, the BC Eagles handled the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. This time, much less was at stake. However, a win for either team would have clinched bowl eligibility.

BC was 3 for 14 converting on 3rd down, was outgained 292 yards to 246, only had 79 yards passing, was penalized 9 times for 90 yards, BUT Notre Dame turned the ball over 5 times, including 4 picks from Jimmy Clausen. Not a dominating win for BC, and not much of a quality opponent, but exposing Notre Dame as mediocre is always fun.

This was the 18th meeting between the only Catholic schools in Division I-A. BC's win has tied the series at 9-9. The two teams have agreed to play each other until at least 2011.

Next Saturday BC goes to Tallahassee to face the #22 Florida State Seminoles. FSU sits atop the Atlantic Division, and a win would help BC move up the Bowl Ladder.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Friday, November 07, 2008


Blake Wheeler changed his number from 42 to 26 before last night's game. I think he's gonna stick with 26 for awhile, as he scored 3 goals in the Bruins' 5-2 victory over Toronto.

The last time these teams played, the B's jumped to a 2-0 lead, then blew it, losing in regulation. But this time they kept the pressure on after taking the lead. The 5-2 score doesn't do justice for how dominant the Bruins were. The Bruins kept the puck in Toronto's zone for long stretches of time.

One thing the Bruins have done very well as of late is kill penalties. Toronto was 0 for 4 on the power play last night, including more than a minute of 5 on 3. In the last 5 games, the Bruins have killed 18 of 20 penalties. And yes, that's 90%.

Another major reason why the Bruins have won 5 of their last 6 has been Tim Thomas. He's emerged as the clear #1 goalie on the team. He's allowed 6 goals in the last 5 games, and has stopped 162 of the last 168 shots he's seen (.964).

But the story last night was Blake Wheeler. It wasn't the most amazing hat trick in the world. It was a great deal like Lucic's a few weeks ago. Wheeler was in the right place at the right time and knocked in some nice passes from his teammates. and of course, the empty netter at the end was a designed play to set him up for the hat trick.

The Bruins host 1st place Buffalo Saturday night in an important divisional clash.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Jorge Posada was signed to a 4 year, $52.4 million deal. And now Scott Boras is trying to get the same kind of deal for his client in Boston, Jason Varitek. That's $13.1 million a year, just in case you don't have a calculator handy.

Since when do .220 hitters deserve a $2.1 million raise? And since when is Jorge Posada the same as Jason Varitek?

Jason Varitek is a .238 hitter the past 3 seasons. Jorge Posada's hit .303 in that stretch. Posada was the Silver Slugger in 2007, he still has 20+ HR power.

Most importantly, THE YANKEES OVERPAID TO KEEP HIM. This is a team that signed Jason Giambi. This is a team that pays Derek Jeter $21.6 million to slug .408, and pays A-Rod to choke. This is the team that paid Roger Clemens an ungodly pro-rated salary to suck.

And before we start Boras bashing (as fun as it is), remember that Scott Boras is Jason Varitek's employee. Varitek is the boss of Boras. This is what Varitek wants.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


He is a 22 year old Japanese baseball player, who asked (demanded) the 12 pro teams in Japan not to draft him so he could sign with a Major League club. They didn't draft him, and now he'll be a free agent.

He plays for Eneos, a semi-pro team in Japan's corporate league. Believe it or not, getting stats from this unaffiliated Japanese minor league has proved somewhat difficult for me. But I do know Tazawa was the MVP of the Annual National Intercity Nonpro Baseball Championship, throwing 28.1 innings in 5 games (3 starts, 2 relief appearances), with 36 Ks, 3 walks, and a 1.28 ERA.

He has a decent fastball (88 to 93), with "so-so" command. He's got a nice arsenal of breaking pitches, namely a fork and a curve, which he uses to get hitters out.

Here's a good video of two innings in which he dominates his opponents. Again, these are semi-pro Japanese hitters he's up against, but it does look like he has quality stuff. Underneath the video are some metric conversions for the pitch speeds.

120 km/h = 75 mph
125 hm/h = 78 mph
130 km/h = 81 mph
135 km/h = 84 mph
140 km/h = 87 mph
145 km/h = 90 mph
150 km/h = 93 mph

The guy's still a prospect. He's not going to come over here and start games in the Majors right away. The Sox are one of many teams reportedly interested in him. The others include San Francisco, Seattle, the Yankees, the Cubs, Atlanta, Florida, and Detroit.

There are claims that the Red Sox are the frontrunners to sign Tazawa. In which case, he might get a Major League deal, but start in AA Portland, or AAA Pawtucket. Again, he's essentially the same as a prospect graduating college.

In the big picture, Tazawa refusing to be drafted is a major change in the way things work in Japanese baseball. The status-quo had been that Japanese players were all drafted by Japanese teams. They could then move on to the Majors via free agency, or after an MLB team paid a posting fee to their Japanese club (like the Sox did with Daisuke).

But skipping over the Japanese league altogether might become a new trend with top prospects. That could have dramatic repercussions on the landscape of the sport in Asia.

Boston herald
Japanese Baseball
Some message board on MPH to KPH converter

Monday, November 03, 2008


I love politics, and I love sports. I love steak, and I love chocolate. That doesn't mean any of these things should be mixed.

Sports are relaxing, made for eating junk, drinking beer, and chilling with your buddies. Politics are serious, stressful, important, and meaningful.

When you argue about sports, it's always something silly and, in the end, completely irrelevant. Who's better: Brady or Peyton? Who should be the #1 college football team? What should the Sox do about Varitek? Et cetera.

Political arguments are much heavier, with harsh consequences. Should the US attack Iran? What if North Korea launches a nuclear missile at Japan? What the hell should be done about the lack of credit in the economy? Abortion legal: yes/no?

A sports opinion is an opinion. A political opinion is a stance.

Sports are diversion, entertainment, fun for the family. Politics are dull, dreary, engrossing, involved.

So fuck you, Monday Night Football, for allowing our two potential leaders to invade the once secure sanctuary of sports. What's next? Hilary Clinton on WWE Raw?

Wait a minute...


We're not used to seeing this kind of stuff from the Patriots. Dumb penalties, poor play-calling, horrible timeout management, and all the other little things we've been accustomed to seeing from a Bill Belichick coached team.=

The play everyone will be talking about all week is David Thomas' personal foul for a late hit. It was stupid, but there have been far worse personal fouls this season. It's a shame that a late shove may have altered the outcome of a game.

Jabbar Gaffney's dropped ball was horrendous. He got both hands, and most of his fingers on pigskin and couldn't haul it in. No excuses.

My primary concern with the play calling was the inconsistency. Sometimes the offense would be very aggressive, with gadget plays and high risk/high reward passes. Then it would lean toward the more conservative side, with safe decisions and almost weak plays.

It's just weird to me that the Pats went for 2 with 7:00 left in the 3rd, then they don't go for it on 4th and inches in the red zone. Kevin Faulk throws a pass on 2nd and 10 from the Indy 20, then the next play is a 3rd and 12 draw.

Mixing aggression and conservation doesn't work. You never want to be too aggressive or too conservative, but it doesn't make sense to have Faulk throw the ball, then play for a field goal on the next play.

The challenge of 12 men on the field was the biggest brain fart. It was a challenge for 5 yards. The dumb part, however, was not realizing that Indy's 11th man was trying to run off the field, not the 12th man. The Pats coaches upstairs simply saw a Colt desperately trying to get off the field, and assumed he was the 12th guy out there.

On the bright side, the Pats went into Indy with their 1st string, 2nd string, and 3rd string RBs gone, their backup QB starting, their safety gone; and if not for one or two plays, they would've won.

This was the first time the Pats lost DESPITE Matt Cassel. He had a great game, was solid under pressure, got rid of the ball (wasn't sacked once), and was SCRAMBLING not SCURRYING.

The running game was a pleasant surprise. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk combined for 117 yards on 25 carries. And as a team, the Pats ran for 140 yards.

So let Peyton and the Unicorns celebrate reaching .500. Let the haters out there point out the irony of the NFL's least penalized team losing because of a personal foul. Let them talk about Adam Vinatieri kicking the game winning points. But the Pats are far from dead. They're tied for 1st place with the Bills and the Jets. Their quarterback looks better every week. BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs like we all wanted Maroney to run.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Michael Conroy
AP Photo/Darron Cummings