These are the picks for the Bowls Games leading up to the big one on Thursday. We'll have the preview for that one on Thursday morning.
Monday 1/4 - 8:00PM - Fox
Fiesta Bowl - Glendale, AZ
#6 Boise State Broncos vs. #4 TCU Horned Frogs
The BCS, a.k.a. the Bullshit Conspiracy Shenanigans. Instead of testing the WAC and Mountain West Champions against a worthy opponent like Florida, instead of risking the embarrassment of a WAC or MWC team crushing the Big East or ACC Champion, these two teams get to play each other, and the BCS gets to save itself while simultaneously being applauded for its apparent inclusiveness. One of these teams will have a loss after this game. The other won't be applauded like Boise State was when they beat Oklahoma, or like Utah was when they beat Bama. After all, it's just another win over a non-BCS team. Who cares?
TCU is the real deal, and is probably the 3rd or 2nd best team in the country. It'll be a good show, but TCU prevails.
Tuesday 1/5 - 8:00PM - Fox
Orange Bowl - Miami, FL
#10 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. #9 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The BCS wanted to save these teams. Nothing against them, but TCU and probably Boise State too, would have vanquished them with ease. Particularly Iowa, who might be the worst #10 team in history. Georgia Tech will run circles (about 300 yards worth of circles) around Iowa and win a big one for the ACC.
Wednesday 1/6 - 7:00PM
GMAC Bowl - Mobile, AL
Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Troy Trojans
Before you decide not to watch this game, realize this: both teams went undefeated in their conference. Overall, CMU was 11-2 and Troy was 9-3. These are solid "mid-major" teams here. CMU lost to Arizona and BC, both on the road. CMU is also the best team in Michigan (they beat MSU 29-27 in East Lansing). I don't know much about Troy, so I'll go with the Chippewas.
National Championship Game preview and pick tomorrow morning.
Monday, January 04, 2010
6 Bruins were named to Olympic squads, and will be participating in the 2010 Games starting February 22nd in Vancouver.
Tim Thomas was famously announced to the US team, and will be vying with Ryan Malone of the Sabres and Jonathan Quick of the Kings for playing time. This is Thomas' first Olympics.
Marco Sturm will be one of 6 NHLers on the German squad. This will be his 3rd time representing Deutschland in the Olympics.
Patrice Bergeron was graciously added to the Canadian roster, which is one of the biggest honors for players from the North. This is the first time Bergeron's been an Olympian.
David Krejci was named to the Czech team. Krejci had never represented his country in any competition such as this, although he was named to the Czech World Championship squad in '08.
And rounding out the list, Zdeno Chara and newly acquired Miroslav Satan will be on the Slovakian team. Chara's father was an Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler. This will be the second time he's been an Olympian. This will be Satan's 4th trip to the Games.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The Pats lost 34-27 to the Texans, which would normally be a cause for concern, were it not for the safely stowed AFC East crown in the Pats' pockets. Also, it's difficult to worry about a 2nd rate effort falling short when a Pro Bowl receiver, and team MVP candidate goes down with a knee injury.
I'll preempt Belichick's second-guessers out there. Had this injury occurred in the 4th quarter, you'd have a case. Maybe even the 3rd quarter too. But this was the first drive of the 1st quarter that saw Welker go down. I don't recall any sane person out there putting forth the argument that guys like Welker shouldn't even dress for this Week 17 game.
Injuries happen. It's part of football. The anti-Belichick nabobs in and outside of New England can gleam with their reactionary Monday Morning QBing. But a quick scan across the NFL on Sunday saw numerous playoff bound stars play deep into games. Donovan McNabb, for instance, was in at the very end, despite the 24-0 deficit he and the Eagles were facing.
Anyway, some reports are spreading that Welker tore his ACL. In which case, well, it's bad. He may miss the rest of the playoffs. And the Patriots without Welker are a racecar with no brakes, a golfer with no wedges, Barry Bonds without steroids. Welker caught about 1/3 of the Patriots total receptions.
Edelman had a nice game filling in for Welker, but Houston's defense is hardly an adequate litmus test. And it's not the production of Welker's replacement I'm concerned with. It's the production of the other receivers on the field.
Oh, and there's also a rumor/report/leak (what's the difference these days anyway?) that Tom Brady has some broken ribs, and has had them since the second Miami game.
But Laurence Maroney and Adalius Thomas remain healthy.
Patriots vs. Ravens sometime next weekend.
The Bruins signed veteran free-agent winger Miroslav Satan to a 1 year, $700k deal Sunday. Satan had been playing in the Slovakian leagues, but earned a spot on their Olympic roster. He scored 17 goals in 65 games for Pittsburgh last season.
He's 35 years old, and this is sort of a John Smoltz kind of signing. The Bruins don't lose much, but have an opportunity to add some experience and some goal-scoring to their lineup.
The Bruins remain extremely deep at forward, but if this deal works out, that depth could be used on the trading market. Satan himself cannot be traded, but a guy like Blake Wheeler is very tradeable.
I'm not thrilled by this acquisition, but I'm not disappointed. It costs nothing but a measly $700k in cap space, and Satan has potential to add some goals. He's not the kind of player I want the Bruins to pick-up (a mucker to win battles on the boards), but he can help out in some areas.
No Pierce. No Garnett. No Rondo. Thankfully, the Northeast Division sucks, so even a JV Celtics squad took care of business against the Raptors.
The prognosis on Pierce and Rondo is positive, as they should return soon. But KG will need at least 10 more days, probably longer, before he can return.
And frankly, that's not too bad. The Celtics will win the Northeast Division with or without Garnett. Toronto is 9 games back, the Knicks 11.5 behind. Why risk KG's health winning games in January and February, when it's April and May that matter most? Is it really that important to compete for the 2 or 3 seeds in the East? Are 2 or 3 extra home games worth Garnett's knee?
I don't think so.
C's begin a 3 game road trip Wednesday in Miami.
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm