Monday, December 31, 2012

Patriots Don't Let Opportunity Pass Them Bye

For the Miami Dolphins this was the last week of an already finished season. It was a cold Gillette Stadium evening, with an assaulting wind. The Dolphins didn't want to be there. Who would?

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots had a chance to advance a round in the playoffs before the playoffs even started. They did their job and earned a week off. They wanted a win and they took it.

It's good to see Rob Gronkowski back. The Patriots' Red Zone offense is simple and deadly when he's on the field. And between the 20s and he causes so many matchup problems, and helps guys like Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez take advantage of the attention he draws. And he can block.

It's also great to get a week off so dinged up players can be fresh for the Divisional Round. Which will be Sunday the 13th at 4:30pm. If Houston wins, it will be against the Texans. If Houston loses, it'll be against the winner of the Indy/Baltimore game.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Patriots-Dolphins Drinking Game

It's the last week of the regular season. 'Tis the season for seeding. Here's a drinking game to play during the Pats/Dolphins game:

Anytime a commentator says...
"New Year's" = 1 drink from a beer
"To you and yours" = 1 drink from your beer, 1 drink from the beers of those sitting next to you
"Playoff picture" = 1 drink
"Control their own destiny" = 1 drink
"Seed" = 1 drink
"Bye" = 1 drink
"Home-field" = 1 drink
"Snow" = 1 drink
"Nor'Easter" = 1 drink
"Cold" = 1 drink
"Brrrrrr" = 10 drinks

Anytime this is on screen...
Thermometer = 1 drink for every degree below 32 it is
Playoff scenarios = 1 drink
Graphic with Patriots/Belichick's record in December games = 1 drink
Most consecutive game with TD pass graphic = drink from beer for 48 seconds if it's before Brady gets #49, 49 seconds if after
Things encrusted in snow/ice = 1 drink
Steam coming off someone's head = 1 drink
Steam coming off Vince Wilfork's head = drink for 7.5 seconds
People ice-skating = 1 drink
People skating at Patriot Place = 5 drinks
Anyone wearing New Year's attire = 1 drink
That Mark Henderson guy plowing snow off the field in the 1982 Pats/Dolphins game = drink for 30 seconds
Rob Gronkowski = finish drink, then spike the can/bottle
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking to someone = drink beer the entire time he's talking

Anytime this happens...
Snowballs tossed jubilantly = drink the entire time they're being tossed
Brady yells "Alpha Milk" = 1 drink (bonus points for White Russians)
Brady points out the "Mike" = 1 drink (bonus points but extra drinks for Mike's Hard Lemonade)
Patriots get a 1st down = 1 drink
Patriots go no-huddle = 1 drink each snap
Patriots allow 15+ yard pass play = 1 drink
Patriots force a turnover = 1 shot
Vince Wilfork forces or recovers a turnover = 1 whole beer, 1 shot
Wilfork returns a turnover for a TD = 1 whole beer, 1 shot, 1 pound of seafood
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink during the entire return

Get lubed up responsibly.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Minnesota Loves Giving Gifts to Boston

It's the time of year for giving, and that's what the Minnesota Vikings did for the New England Patriots on Sunday. Minnesota's 23-6 thumping of the Houston Texans made it so if the Patriots win next week, they can secure a first-round bye if Houston loses or if Denver loses. Essentially, the Vikings more than doubled the chances of the Patriots receiving a bye, considering the Texans face the Colts, while the Broncos face the Chiefs. Houston is more likely to fall to Indy than the Broncos are to fall to KC.

This isn't the first time that Minnesota has given Boston a tremendous sports gift. Old friend Kevin McHale shipped Kevin Garnett to the Celtics as an early Christmas present in 2007. That worked out pretty well.

The Twins released David Ortiz just before Christmas 2002, and he was signed by the Red Sox the following January. Ortiz has hit 343 homeruns and knocked in 1,088 RBI for the Sox since then.

It's nice that there's such generosity between Minnesota and Massachusetts. It wasn't always so heartfelt and nice.

Merry Christmas, Minnesota. And thank you.

Patriots Don't Try, Still Win

The Patriots have scored 294 more points than the Jaguars this season. Yet when they played yesterday, the Patriots only managed to score 7 more points than the Jags.

The Patriots played poorly. There's no getting around that. This was a hangover game. Last Sunday was a long, tough game. And it's hard to bring the energy down to Jacksonville after two nationally televised games against elite opponents. I'm not worried about the problems the Patriots had in this game reappearing in the playoffs.

I am actually pleased, in some ways. All year I've heard sports-radio callers and some pundits complaining that this team's defense hasn't won a game without the support of the offense. People have been clamoring for games to end with a Patriots defensive stop. They finally got it.

The D stopped the Jaguars near the goal line at the end of the game. Granted, the Jags have an abysmal offense. But stops are stops. The defense finally won a game.

The Patriots host the Dolphins next week and a first-round bye is still possible. If the Pats win, and either the Broncos or Texans lose, then the Pats will receive a bye.

The Texans are at Indy at 1:00pm. The Broncos host the Chiefs at 4:25, and the Pats also play at 4:25.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ignorant College Bowl Picks: Saturday's Games

I finished the season 79-81-1, which isn't a horrible record. I'm somewhat proud of it. Here are my picks for Saturday's bowl games...

Gildan New Mexico Bowl - Albuqueruqe, NM
Nevada +9.5 vs. Arizona
I gotta go with the Wolfpack in this one. Don't know why. But here's a picture of an Arizona girl.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl - Boise, ID
Utah State -10.5 vs. Toledo
USU went 10-2 and the game will be played in the Rocky Mountains. Advantage Aggies.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

All I Want for Christmas Is the NHL... To Die

More talking between owners and players, still the same lack of resolution. And I'm realizing that even if the NHL returns in the early months of 2013, the underlying problems with the League will go unaddressed and unresolved. It's a great sport played by great athletes who compete in a horrible, moronic, short-sighted League. The best thing for hockey is for the NHL to die, and a new League to replace it.

This new League should have a similar number of teams but in places where people actually care about hockey. Having 2 teams in Florida and only 1 in Quebec makes no sense. Having a team in Arizona and none in Wisconsin makes no sense.

This League should allow its players to play in the Russian Winter Olympics. Olympic hockey is the best free advertisement for the game, and it reaches a global audience.

This League should widen the ice to allow for a less cramped, better flowing game. The players are much bigger (and faster) than they were in 1924, the ice surface should also be bigger.

This League would have a luxury tax system along with a cap, so big market teams could spend a little more, but they'd have to pay the small market teams in order to do so.

This League wouldn't allow work stoppages every 5 years. Its owners and players would care more about the long-term success and prosperity of the League than short-term profits. There would be a commissioner independent of the owners, like Kenesaw Mountain Landis was when MLB appointed him Commissioner in 1920 after the White Sox threw the World Series. And that commissioner's sole interest would be the good of the game, not the wealth of the owners or players.

The NHL is an old, overgrown, decaying tree. It needs to be cut down and turned into mulch to clear the way for a vibrant new tree to grow.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Patriots-Texans Drinking Game: Monday Night Football Edition

Have a case of the Mondays? Then have a case on Monday. Here's a drinking game for tonight's Pats/Texans game...

Anytime a commentator says...
"Christmas" or "Holidays" = 1 drink from a beer
"Season's greetings" = drink beer for 10 seconds
"This guy" = 1 drink
"Here's a guy" = 1 drink
"Look" = 1 drink
"He's a football player" = 1 drink
"Potent" = 1 drink
"Balanced" = 1 drink
"High-percentage" = 1 drink
"Control their own destiny" = 1 drink
"Milkman" = 1 whole beer

Anytime this is on the screen...
Playoff scenarios = 1 drink
Graphic with Patriots/Belichick's record in December games = 1 drink
Most consecutive games with TD pass graphic = 1 drink
People shopping = 1 drink
Quincy Market = 5 drinks (because "Quincy" comes from the Latin word for 5, fun fact)
Santa = 1 drink
Christmas lights = 1 drink
Blinking Christmas lights = 1 drink per blink
People ice-skating = 1 drink
People ice-skating at Patriot Place = drink whole beer
People singing carols = 1 glass of wassail, or cider, or eggnog
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking to someone = drink beer the entire time he's talking

Anytime this happens...
Jon Gruden makes Mike Tirico giggle = 1 drink
Jon Gruden laughs at himself = 1 drink
Jon Gruden praises a body part of a player = 1 drink
Jon Gruden repeatedly gushes on and on about one player = drink every time he's mentioned, and drink for as long as Gruden rants
Jon Gruden refers to someone by a nickname you've never heard before
Tom Brady yells "Aplha Milk" = 1 drink of eggnog or a White Russian
Brady points out the "Mike" = 1 drink (or 3 drinks from Mike's Hard Lemonade for bonus points)
Patriots get a 1st down = 1 drink
Patriots go no-huddle = 1 drink per snap
Patriots allow 10+ yard run play = 1 drink
Patriots force a turnover = 1 shot
Vince Wilfork forces or recovers a turnover = 1 whole beer, 1 shot
Wilfork returns a turnover for a TD = 1 whole beer, 1 shot, 1 pound of Texas beef
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink during the entire return

Get lubed up responsibly.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Dodgers Sign Zack Greinke

I wanted the Red Sox to sign Zack Greinke. Not just because he'd improve the team now, but down the road he would be a very good #2 pitcher if the Sox can acquire or develop an Ace in the next few years.

The Dodgers crushed that idea, by committing $147 million over 6 years to Greinke. And that's simply too much money. $24.5 million per season is Ace money, and Greinke is no Ace. This is the second largest contract given to a pitcher, behind only the $161 million deal C.C. Sabathia and the Yankees agreed to.

Zack Greinke was the best free agent pitcher on the market, by far. But it was not a very good market. Greinke was the least unattractive girl on a Tuesday night at Applebee's, not the hottest girl in a downtown club on a Saturday night. That's what the Dodgers paid for.

Then again, they are clearly not afraid to spend money (they're the reason the Red Sox are able to spend money this off-season). The Dodgers had around $190 million in 2013 salary commitments before this signing. Now they're well over $200 million.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Jeremy Jacobs Is the Anti-Robert Kraft

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is frequently credited as being instrumental to bringing the NFL owners and NFLPA together last year during the NFL lockout. This year, Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs seems to be playing the opposite role. While Kraft assumed the role of mediator and conciliator, Jacobs has acted as the opposite. Jacobs has been divisive, uncompromising, and argumentative. He is the wedge that has driven the owners and players apart.

It's almost as if Jeremy Jacobs didn't want there to be a 2012-13 NHL season.

Jeremy "Scrooge" Jacobs continued his avaricious agenda by getting into a shouting match with Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller.

Can you imagine an owner of any other team in any other sport getting "heated" with an individual player? Can you envision Robert Kraft or John Henry getting into a shouting match with Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter? Only the most absurdly hardline owner could lower themselves to argue heatedly with labor.

But that's what Jacobs is. He's hardline. Which doesn't make sense because he makes most of his money elsewhere. The Bruins are just a small part of the Delaware North empire which he commands. Delaware North pulls in $2.6 billion in revenues, so why is Mr. Jacobs so adamant about a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue?

Well, I think he's just an asshole. He's always been an asshole. We forgave and forgot him being an asshole when the Bruins won the Cup, but tigers can't shed their stripes. He is a bona fide, world-class asshole.

He doesn't care about the game. He doesn't even care about money. He cares about pride and spite. He is an embodiment of the Seven Deadly Sins, specifically Pride. And he, more than any other person on the planet, is killing the game of hockey.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Army Unveils Special Uniform for Army/Navy Game

When Oregon or Maryland seemingly use kaleidoscopes to design uniforms, I cringe. Most college football special edition uniforms are disgusting and/or obnoxious. However, the kit that Army will be wearing in the Army/Navy game is, and there is no other word for it, cool.

The uniform is a tribute to 1944, which was a good year for the Army. The football team won a national title and the U.S. Army won the Battle of the Bulge. A map of the Ardennes region (where the Battle of the Bulge was fought) is imprinted in this jersey's numbers, sleeves, stripes, and gloves.

That along with Army's already badass black and gold color scheme, plus subtle touches like the "A" logo on the gloves, and a helmet decal paying tribute to the 101st Airborne Division (which held on to Bastogne while surrounded by Germans in the Battle of the Bulge), add to the utter coolness of this jersey.

I'm a history buff, a football fan, and a lover of well-designed aesthetics. And these uniforms impress me in all three aspects. It's a great football uniform, it looks sick instead of making me sick, and it honors our history.

This is the best college football uniform out there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Harvard Wins Basketball Beanpot

Ten years ago, if you'd proposed a Beanpot style tournament for the college basketball teams in Boston, the idea would be dismissed because BC would be the undoubted favorite. How things have changed.

Harvard beat BC 79-63 last night. It was the Crimson's 5th straight victory over the Eagles.

What's really unfortunate for BC is that Harvard wasn't supposed to be that good this year. Harvard lost co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry before the season due to a cheating scandal. The Crimson were 3-3 coming into this game. One of their wins was over MIT (the Engineers compete in Division III). Another win was against the Manhattan College Jaspers.

BC was actually favored to win last night's game, and it was close at halftime, with Harvard clinging to a 31-29 lead. Then the Crimson started the 2nd half with a 7-0 run and kept their foot on the gas. BC simply could not stop them. Harvard went on an 11-0 run after the first media timeout. The game was effectively over with 12 minutes left to play.

Sivani Chambers scored 21 points for Harvard. Wesley Saunders added 18. Jonah Travis scored 14. For BC, Ryan Anderson stood out, scoring 23 very hard points, mostly down low. No other Eagle scored more than 15, and only two others scored more than 10.

Harvard won the physical battles. They got some key offensive rebounds and had 9 team steals compared to BC's 2. They also got to the line more often, and shot better with their 3-pointers.

Ten years ago BC was a perennial NCAA tournament team, the undisputed best college basketball team in Boston, and behind UConn the second best team in New England. Now, there's no other way to put it, BC is Harvard's bitch.

Photo Credit:
Boston Globe

Patriots Lose Edelman, Sign Donte Stallworth

The Patriots placed Julian Edelman on Injured Reserve, ending the wide receiver's 2012 season. The team signed former Patriot Donte Stallworth. However, Edelman's contributions in multiple phases of the game will be tough to replace.

Edelman scored 5 touchdowns this season: 3 were caught, 1 was a punt return, 1 was a fumble recovery on a kickoff. He averaged 15.5 yards per punt return, the 2nd best in the NFL. He was a key contributor on offense and special teams.

While Patriot fans revel in the team's 6 game win-streak and divisional title, what's not spoken much about is how riddled with injury this team is. Chandler Jones, Logan Mankins, Dan Connolly, Rob Gronkowski. One more injury to a receiver, such as Wes Welker or Aaron Hernandez, and this team could be in trouble.

This is why securing a first-round bye is so vital.

BC Football Names Steve Addazio Head Coach

It didn't take long for BC to find a replacement for Frank Spaziani. Yesterday afternoon Steve Addazio was announced as the new head coach for the beleaguered program. Addazio has been the head coach at Temple the past two seasons. He had a 13-11 record with the Owls.

Before that he was the offensive coordinator at Florida for 2 years, the same time Tim Tebow was there. Perhaps Addazio will bring some of that option stuff to Chestnut Hill, where offensive creativity has been sorely lacking for years. He was part of Florida's coaching staff from 2005 to 2010.

Addazio's two BCS titles as an assistant coach, as well as his experience in Gainesville, should buy him some credibility when recruiting and coaching offensive players.

The 53 year old Connecticut native has also been an assistant coach at Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Indiana. He coached high school football in Connecticut from 1988 to 1994.

Addazio brings some new blood to a program that desperately needs it. In the last 8 years he's been moving up through the ranks of Florida's coaching staff. He went from an offensive-line and tight-end coach, to becoming the assistant head coach, to offensive coordinator, and then head coach at Temple. BC needed a coach who is making steps forward in their career, not one who is standing still, or taking steps back.

Addazio's background as an offensive-line coach also fits with BC's reputation as a program that produces NFL caliber talent in those positions. Addazio played on the offensive and defensive lines when he played at Central Connecticut State.

BC and Addazio agreed to a 6 year deal. Hopefully by then Addazio has done so well that he's fielding job offers from the SEC and NFL.

Red Sox Sign Shane Victorino... Why?

The Red Sox continue to spend money, this time signing Shane Victorino to a 3 year deal worth $39 million. $13 million per season seems like a lot for a 32 year old who has never hit 20 homeruns in a season and had an OBP of .321 last year, and slugged .383.

He's a decent fielder, but who cares? He steals bases, and again, who cares? He doesn't hit for power, he doesn't get on base, and he'll be paid $13 million next year. Why? It just baffles me.

For 2013 the Sox have committed $31 million to Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, and Shane Victorino. That's a significant chunk of cash for a backup outfielder, a decent first-baseman, and a glorified Carl Crawford.

It seems weird to give Shane Victorino so much money yet be so stingy with Cody Ross.

Do these seem like wise spending decisions? Thankfully, all of these deals are short-term.

Here's what I think the Red Sox are trying to do: They want the 2013 and 2014 Red Sox to finish above .500, and at least seem close to contending during the summer. That will keep fans interested, keep Fenway's seats full (at least keep tickets "distributed"), and create the illusion of improvement.

To actually fix the problems with this team will take 3 or 4 years. I think the Sox know this. What they're doing is overpaying for marginal temporary improvements while the long-term solutions are being addressed. It's like overpaying for a condo while your house is being built. Because the alternative is being left out in the rain.

Once again, PR and ticket sales seem to be steering this team's decision-making.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

How Short Is Too Short for an NHL Season?

The NHL has canceled all games until December 14th, along with the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game. For the Boston Bruins, that leaves 53 games on the schedule. And that's enough for a legitimate regular season. But what is the bare minimum number of games for a season?

I put the number at 31. Each team could play 16 divisional games (4 per opponent), then 10 games in the conference (1 per opponent), then 5 games against the other conference (each division in the Eastern Conference would face another division in the Western Conference, so for example the Northeast Division could play the Pacific Division). 31 total games. Just enough to determine divisional winners, and the top 8 from each conference.

The Bruins would have 31 games left on their schedule on February 6th.

Another possible answer is a 36 game schedule, with 16 divisional games and 20 conference games (2 against each opponent). There'd be no interconference games.

If it's determined that a 40+ game schedule is required, then the deadline for that would be around January 15th. Not to mention the time needed for training, practice, cuts, et cetera. I think 40 is what the NHL might consider a minimum.

I'd guess that the deadline for getting a deal done is the end of this month. If the NHL and NHLPA can't come to terms by New Year's Day, then there will be no hockey until next winter. We are approaching the Zero Hour.

If There Were a College Football Playoff This Season

We're getting a 4 team playoff system next year, but let's fantasize about what that would look like for the 2012 season...

#1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Oregon
#2 Alabama vs. #3 Florida

Notre Dame's defense against Oregon's offense would be fun to watch. And even though Bama and Florida are both in the SEC, this would be the first time they've played this season.

Here's what a 6 team playoff would look like...

First round byes:
#1 Notre Dame
#2 Alabama

#3 Florida vs. #6 Stanford
#4 Oregon vs. #5 Kansas State

It's hard to argue that Stanford and K-State don't deserve title shots. And who wouldn't want to see the Oregon and K-State game?

Here's what a basic 8 team playoff would look like...

#1 Notre Dame vs. #8 LSU
#2 Alabama vs. #7 Georgia
#3 Florida vs. #6 Stanford
#4 Oregon vs. #5 Kansas State

I don't like this. It's too SEC heavy, it has a rematch, and a basic top-8 playoff would diminish the importance of winning conference titles. So let's have an 8 team playoff with the winners of the six BCS conferences given automatic births.

#1 Notre Dame vs. #8 Wisconsin
#2 Alabama vs. #7 Louisville
#3 Florida vs. #6 Florida State
#4 Stanford vs. #5 Kansas State

That's better, but not better enough. Let's only give automatic births to the top 4 BCS conference champions, then give 4 at-large spots based on BCS rankings.

#1 Notre Dame vs. #8 Florida State
#2 Alabama vs. #7 Georgia
#3 Florida vs. #6 Stanford
#4 Oregon vs. #5 Kansas State

So there's still lots of SEC teams, still a rematch, but it does reward winning conferences. What if we expand to a 12 team playoff, give each of the 6 BCS conference winners a spot, and 6 at-large spots. And let's give first round byes to Notre Dame and the top 3 conference winners.

First round byes:
#1 Notre Dame
#2 Alabama
#3 Kansas State
#4 Stanford

#5 Florida vs. #12 Wisconsin
#6 Oregon vs. #11 Louisville
#7 Georgia vs. #10 Florida State
#8 LSU vs. #9 Texas A&M

It's a bit complex, and maybe it's too big. But it gets conference winners involved, and has space for at-large teams to get in. There's also the possibility of upsets. We loves those in the basketball tournament and football's regular season. They'd be even better in a football playoff.

Anyway, all of these systems provide better games than watching Northern Illinois play Florida State. And the potential quantity of good football is much higher. The stakes are also higher, which can only add to the entertainment value. How much more interesting would Louisville/Florida be if there were a chance to advance in the playoffs? How many more people would watch on TV? How many more would travel across the country to see the game?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Red Sox Signing Mike Napoli

According to sources, the Red Sox and Mike Napoli have agreed to a 3 year deal worth $39 million. Napoli would primarily play first-base for the Sox.

I'm not a huge fan of Mike Napoli. A few weeks ago when the Sox were rumored to be pursuing Napoli I wrote about the price of the deal being everything. Napoli isn't worth big money, nor is he worth a long-term deal.

I can live with a 3 year contract at $39 million. That's less money per year than David Ortiz gets. And Napoli can play the field (at multiple positions), and probably won't take 20 weeks to recover from minor injuries. He turned 31 this past October, so he has at least 3 years left in the tank, especially if he plays mostly first-base.

Napoli has a career SLG of .507 and a career OBP of .356. He's shown the capability of being a .600 SLG and .400 OBP kind of guy. But his seasonal performances fluctuate significantly.

He does hit well at Fenway Park. He's slugged .710 in his career at Fenway, and hits a homerun every 10.4 plate appearances. Hopefully that's due to the ballpark more than it's due to the pitchers he's been facing.

This acquisition doesn't propel the Red Sox into World Series contention, but it does fill the gap at first-base, and gives the Sox some flexibility at the catcher position. And it does so without committing a large amount of money for a long time. This is a decent contract for a decent player. One thing the Sox lacked in 2011 and 2012 was decency, on the field and off it.

This isn't a tremendous leap forward, but it's a step in the right direction. Here's what the potential Sox lineup looks like right now.

1. CF Ellsbury
2. 2B Pedroia
3. 1B Napoli
4. DH Ortiz
5. 3B Middlebrooks
6. C Saltalamacchia
7. RF Nava
8. LF Gomes
9. SS Iglesias

It's getting better. Imagine how much Josh Hamilton would beef up the middle of that order. And how Cody Ross would anchor the bottom.

BC Splits Weekend Series With BU

BC coach Jerry York could have tied and broken the all-time wins record for college hockey coaches this weekend. It would have required beating BU twice, and beating BU coach Jack Parker, who is #3 on the all-time wins list. That's a tall order.

BC lost 4-2 on BU's ice Friday night in a chippy, physical game. Saturday night at BC, the Eagles won 5-2 and made sure their coach was able to at least celebrate tying Ron Mason's win record on home ice.

Boston College won thanks to their Power Play. They scored 4 times with a man advantage, and amassed a 4-1 lead after 2 periods. Their 5th goal was the only goal of the game by either team to be scored even-strengthed.

BC's leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau didn't have a point in the 5-2 win. His teammates had to step up on offense and they did. Bill Arnold scored twice. Kevin Whitney had 3 assists. Defensemen Michael Matheson and Teddy Doherty each scored Power Play goals.

Johnny Gaudreau has been driving BC's success this season. But they need offense from other sources to step up when he and his line cool off.

Jerry York will likely break the wins record on the road. The Eagles are in Providence Friday night, then play a tournament in Minnesota.

And despite being 9-2-0 in Hockey East, BC is only 1 point ahead of UNH. And UNH has a game in hand. Those teams meet on January 11th.

Rich Gagnon

Patriots Win Game, Hats, and T-Shirts

The Patriots have now won 10 AFC East titles with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. This franchise won 5 divisional titles before Belichick and Brady. The team's total has tripled to 15 since then. What was once exceptional and rare, has become expected and routine.

It's just a step, though. They don't award rings or throw parades for divisional titles.

One positive to take from this win is that the Patriots can rush the ball. Maybe not at will. But when the opportunity to move the ball on the ground is there, they're capable of capitalizing. Steven Ridley's 19 carries for 71 yards put him past the 1,000 mark on the season. He accumulated a good chunk of those yards on a clock killing drive in the 4th. That drive secured the victory.

Another positive is that despite injuries in every department, this team is able to find ways to win. As not-pretty as this win was, it was without a Pro Bowl tight-end, two offensive linemen, a talented rookie defensive end, another good defensive end, and so on.

Some negatives include Stephen Gostkowski. He's missed 3 of his last 7 field goal attempts. He's 80.1% on the year which is 21st in the NFL. All 5 of his misses have been between 30 and 49 yards, so these are kicks that an NFL kicker should make.

And don't forget that the Pats are a 42 yard Gostkowski miss from being 10-2 instead of 9-3.

Speaking of inconsistency, the offense that spoiled us with 40+ point games struggled to move the ball at times yesterday. Give significant credit to Miami's pass rush for that.

For this team to be successful, everyone needs to do their job. The field goal kicker needs to kick field goals. The wide receiver needs to catch the ball. The defensive players need to prevent points.

When everyone does their job this is the best team in the NFL. From this point on, it's all a question of execution.

Pats host the Texans next Monday night.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo/John Bazemore

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ignorant College Football Picks*

My picks were 14-9 last week, which brings my season record to a very even 77-75-1. Here are my picks for this weekend's games. Be forewarned, that this post includes pictures of scantily clad females showing school pride.

Stanford -8 vs. UCLA
Stanford did it once, they'll do it again.

Oklahoma State -4.5 @ Baylor
Baylor without RG3 is like Baylor again.

Oklahoma -6 @ TCU
Sooners win these types of games.

UConn +5 vs. Cincinnati
One last time picking the Huskies.

Georgia +8.5 vs. Alabama (Atlanta, GA)
Bama has a good chance of winning this game, I just think it will be tight.

Florida State -14 vs. Georgia Tech (Charlotte, NC)
FSU is really good. GT is only in the ACC title game because UNC and Miami can't be.

Texas +10.5 @ Kansas State
Texas could surprise people.

Nebraska -3 vs. Wisconsin (Indianapolis, IN)
Wisconsin is only in the Big Ten title game because OSU and PSU can't be.

Red Sox Interested in Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster is old (turns 36 in May), struggled in the AL last year, and has an astonishingly meiocre career record of 124-124. So is he worth signing? He would add depth to the Red Sox rotation, but would also add salary. Perhaps too much salary. And in his one foray into AL baseball, with Texas last season, he struggled.

The Red Sox are reportedly in talks with him. But Dempster is the type of guy who you add to a rotation that is already good at the top. He's a guy that completes an already good rotation, not a guy who turns around a bad rotation.

The top of the Red Sox rotation is not good. It's got more question marks than The Riddler's wardrobe. Dempster is a decent pitcher, but the price he seems to be commanding on the open market is too high.

The Red Sox are like a fishing boat with plenty of bait, but few fish biting. They shouldn't waste their bait to get medium-sized fish. They should save it for the big ones that will be available in the years to come.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why Bonds, Clemens, and Even Sosa Should Be Inducted Into the Hall of Fame

I don't like Sammy Sosa, I hate Barry Bonds, and I will laugh the day Roger Clemens dies. But all three of these PED assisted freaks should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Because baseball can't pretend that the steroid era didn't exist, nor can it act morally superior to something that it participated in and benefited from.

The Hall of Fame is baseball's last bastion of the illusion that it is, or ever was, a pure game. That's why some are so adamantly against admitting the likes of Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa.

These so-called purists aren't defending the game, or the Hall. They're defending their own delusions. They're in denial. They think that impurity is something new to the game.

The game has always had dirty aspects to it. It was white-only until 1947. Players didn't have basic labor rights until free agency. Cocaine and amphetamines were an everyday part of the sport in the 1970s.

And the Hall of Fame has already been infiltrated by filth. Ty Cobb is in the Hall, despite the fact that he was a bigot, once beat up a crippled man, probably fixed games, and probably killed at least one person. White Sox owner Charles Comiskey is in the Hall of Fame and he was so cheap that he made his players pay to launder their uniforms. Those players eventually threw the 1919 World Series. Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey is in the Hall of Fame despite running a racist organization that was offered and declined a chance to sign Negro Leaguer Willie Mays. The Red Sox didn't integrate until 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.

Baseball cannot move forward from the steroid era until it acknowledges that it occurred and is a part of the game's history. The purists who don't want to see Barry Bonds's HGH swollen head on a bronze plaque are desperate to avoid admitting that their sacred game isn't as chaste and innocent as they proclaim it to be.

And these BBWA purists were the same sportswriters who failed to unearth and expose the wide-scale cheating they are now so vehemently against. These writers saw Barry Bonds's skull grow, they saw Sosa and Mark McGwire's inhuman biceps that were as big as most men's thighs, and all these writers could do was applaud. They buzzed with excitement during the homerun race between Sosa and McGwire. They marveled at the shape Roger Clemens was in despite his age. They theorized about Alex Rodriguez hitting 800 homeruns. They even explained the explosion in offense with juiced balls and smaller ballparks.

Now they're rallying against the same players whose PED aided deeds they filled their sports pages with. These hypocrites shouldn't be the ones who know prevent Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa from being inducted.

So let the freaks in. There are segregationist owners in the Hall so why not PED assisted players?

Rajon Rondo Acts Like a Moron in Celtics/Nets "Brawl"

If someone tells you there was a "brawl" at a Bruins game, you'd imagine a 5 on 5, haymaker throwing, bloody rumble. When someone tells you there was a "brawl" at a basketball game, you imagine lots of verbal threats, posturing, and some shoving. Then you imagine basketball fans talking about toughness and physicality. Then, as a hockey fan, you watch some PJ Stock videos and weep, because you miss the game.

This Rondo/Humphies incident wasn't a "brawl." It was s scrap, a tussle, an altercation, and maybe even a fight. It was a semi-fight. Hardly a "brawl." It was nothing more than shoving, and it was nothing short of moronic. Rajon Rondo didn't defend his teammates, he abandoned them.

I like Rondo. I've frequently defended him when he's criticized, or when his name is bandied about in trade rumors. But this was simply childish. It was a hard foul on Kevin Garnett, but are a few shoves of vengeance worth being ejected and possibly suspended for?

One legitimate criticism of Rondo has been that his maturity level hasn't increased as much as his skill and talent have. The scrap last night is a great example of this. He let his emotions dictate his decisions, and it cost the Celtics his services for the remainder of the game. He hurt his teammates more than Kris Humphries hurt Garnett with that foul.

Photo Credit:
The Associated Press

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nick Swisher Doesn't Excite Me, and Maybe That's a Good Thing

The Red Sox are reportedly working on a deal to bring Nick Swisher to Boston, as well as deals to bring in Mike Napoli and keep Cody Ross here.

Nick Swisher is not a great player. Last year he was paid $10.25 million to hit 24 homeruns, with a .272 average, .364 OBP, and .473 SLG. He's good, not great. So if the Sox sign him I won't be overjoyed.

And perhaps that's a good thing. So long as the price is right, Swisher can be a solid acquisition that doesn't tie down lots of money. And that money can be used to acquire pitchers, which is what this team really needs.

He also seems like a douchebag, which usually means he's good at baseball.

But I can't emphasize enough how important price is in this decision. Swisher isn't worth a big contract. And if the Sox sign him to one, I can't help but think they're trying to fill up their payroll so Larry Lucchino can boast about how much the team is trying to win.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jon Lester for Wil Myers?

I doubt this deal will happen or is even being seriously discussed by the Red Sox and Royals. Nevertheless, it's a cold and wet Tuesday with little else happening, so let's discuss the potential deal.

Firstly, both these players annoy me with how they spell their names. Wil Myers's full name is William Myers. What did he do with that extra 'L?' And do his friends call him "Bil" or "Wily?" I find his name to be sily.

If this move exists, which it doesn't, the Sox should do it. Jon Lester is what he is. He's at best a 2/3 type of starter. He never took that step forward to being an Ace, and instead took several steps backward last season. His greatest strength, before last season, was his dependability. And now that's gone.

How important is Jon Lester to the long-term (next 5 years) success of this team? I don't think he's exceptionally valuable. I also think replacing him (even upgrading from him) isn't difficult.

Wil Myers is a prospect with tremendous upside and great minor league numbers (he hit 37 HRs in AA and AAA last year, with a .304 AAA average, .378 OBP, and .554 SLG). He has no Major League experience, and prospects are never guaranteed, but he's got the potential.

He could be an All-Star caliber player for 15 years to come. He can play the outfield and third base so it's easy for him to make his way into a lineup.

And perhaps most importantly, he could help the Red Sox acquire the Ace they covet. With Myers, the Red Sox can offer a trade package much more tantalizing to bad teams that have great pitchers.

So the Sox should pull the trigger on this nonexistent gun.

The deal doesn't make much sense for KC, though. They'd get Lester for one year and pay him $13 million. Then he'd hit free agency. Why would a small market team give up a blue chip prospect to rent a mediocre pitcher?

Jermaine Cunningham Suspended for PEDs

The Patriots will lose the services of Jermaine Cunningham for 4 games. He was suspended by the NFL for an unspecified violation of banned substance policies blah blah blah. He took something illegal, got caught, now he's got 4 weeks off.

This was part of a wave of PED suspensions announced by the League. Many of them for adderall. I'm glad Ithaca College didn't make their students take piss tests because I wouldn't have passed Modern Western Civilization without adderall.

Maybe they'll put an asterisk on my transcript.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Boston College Fires Frank Spaziani

Recently hired athletic director Brad Bates recently fired football coach Frank Spaziani. The move was entirely expected and a necessary decision.

It's an unfortunate end to Spaz's tenure at BC. He's been with the program since 1997, first as a runningback coach, then as the defensive coordinator for 10 years. He was promoted to head coach in 2009.

The BC football program wanted a guy whose ultimate career goal was to be the head coach of BC football. That was not a wise philosophy. Almost all programs in the country are stepping-stone programs for coaches aspiring to raise themselves to the NFL level or to the mega programs like Alabama and Texas. There's no shame in being a coach's resumé builder, so long as the program is successful.

Some candidates to replace Spaz include Harvard coach Tim Murhpy. The Crimson finished the year 8-2. Miami coach Al Golden is another possibility. So is Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.

Whoever the new coach is, they inherit a program that needs a major overhaul. I'd like to see BC implement a more modern offensive style. Not only would it be entertaining, it would attract skill position players who would be drawn by the idea of more chances to get the ball and more chances to make plays.

BC also needs a coach who can recruit from top to bottom. BC is never going to attract the elite blue chip prospects, so they must get depth, and find talented players that are overlooked by other programs.

It was only a few years ago that BC was ranked as high as #2 in the country, and annually contended for the ACC title. It's possible to return to those days, it will just take time.

Why Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te'o Should Win the Heisman

Let me preface this argument by saying that I don't like Notre Dame. I hate Notre Dame. I do get goosebumps while watching Rudy but apart from that I'm vehemently against anything that glorifies or promotes or helps Notre Dame in any way shape or form.

That being said, I think Manti Te'o, a linebacker for the Fighting Irish, should win the Heisman.

Maybe it's because I want to see a defensive player win the Heisman. Maybe it's because he's Hawaiian but his last name backwards looks semi-Irish (O'et). His name backwards also looks like the name of a mythical Druidic warrior from some ancient Irish saga.

Anyway, my argument for Manti Te'o to win the Heisman is two-pronged. Firstly, there is no clear-cut offensive candidate to win the Heisman. Secondly, Te'o does something that is a rare accomplishment for defensive players.

There is no RG3 this season. There are some fine Heisman candidates with impressive stats. Although few of them are on teams contending for a national title. And none of them are especially outstanding. Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M has had a fine year, but he's not amazing. Collin Klein of Kansas State is a dual threat QB, but that's nothing new. Marquise Lee is a ridiculously talented wide receiver who probably deserves it more than any QB, but he's still a receiver dependent on a talented passer to deliver the ball to him.

So there's no outright offensive player who has a strong claim to the Heisman.

Here is why Manti Te'o should therefore win it: He controls the game on defense. That is exceedingly difficult to do. It's easier for a quarterback, who handles the ball almost every down, to control the game. But for a defensive player to exert as much influence on the game as Manti Te'o does is simply extraordinary.

Te'o would be the first defensive player since Charles Woodson in 1997 to win the Heisman. The award is almost never given to a strictly defensive player. Even Woodson returned punts and played a few snaps as a wide receiver.

But considering there's no clear offensive candidate, and that Te'o is the best player on a #1 team, and that he controls the game as much as any defensive player could, I think he deserves the trophy.

Red Sox Sign Mediocre Jonny Gomes

When the very first thing people say about an athlete is something about their character, you know that said athlete probably isn't a particularly talented player. That's the case with Jonny Gomes. John Tomase of the Boston Herald wrote about Jonny Gomes's character giving the Red Sox a "face-lift."'s Extra Bases said Gomes "has some personality."

Meanwhile, says Jonny Gomes is a .244 hitter who averages 25 homeruns every 162 games he plays, but has only played more than 120 games once in his career.

The Red Sox signed Gomes to a two year deal worth $10 million. He's a platoon player and the Sox threw $5 million a season at him. Why not?

It's not a horrific move. And $10 million over 2 years hardly handcuffs this team's finances. I just enjoy certain members of the Boston Sports Media sucking up to the Red Sox and praising Jonny Gomes's character.

Character and clubhouse chemistry are products of winning on the field. And pitching determines success on the field. You could put Mother Theresa and Rudy Reuttiger in the 2011 Red Sox clubhouse and they'd still collapse.

But I'm sure signing Jonny Gomes to a $5 million salary has nothing to do with Ben Cherington's weird promise that the Sox will have a big payroll. I'm sure it was strictly a baseball move.

BC Hockey Grinds Out Win Over Dartmouth

There was an unofficial ECAC/Hockey East challenge over the weekend. Merrimack and Colgate tied 1-1, St. Lawrence beat Northeastern 5-2 then lost to BU 4-0, Quinnipiac and UMass tied 2-2, UMass-Lowell beat Princeton 3-1, Providence crushed Brown 7-0 in the Mayor's Cup, and BC outlasted Dartmouth 6-3. So Hockey East won this interconference challenge 4-1-2.

Boston College and Dartmouth (who were ranked 11th coming into the weekend) played a tight, very physical game. The 6-3 final score doesn't do justice for how close of a contest it was.

It was 3-3 going into the final period. For the first 40 minutes the puck spent most of its time near the boards as BC and Dartmouth jousted for possession. There were a few breakaways, but few clean offensive opportunities. Stringing together more than two passes in the middle of the ice was next to impossible.

BC's firepower won out in the 3rd. Pat Mullane scored his 2nd goal of the game 18 seconds into the period. Then Steven Whitney scored his 7th of the season for insurance. Johnny Gaudreau added an empty-netter. He finished the game with 2 goals and 3 assists.

In 11 games this season Gaudreau has 9 goals, 10 assists, and is +15. He's the biggest reason the Eagles are 10-1-0 and #1 in the country.

The victory was Jerry York's 923rd career win. He is now 1 shy of tying the all-time record for college hockey wins, held by Ron Mason. BC plays at BU on Friday, then hosts BU Saturday night. Both games will be televised nationally on NBC Sports.

Photo Credit:
BC Athletics

Patriots Feast on Jets

I was thankful for many things on Thanksgiving. Friends, family, food. And I was thankful for a stress-free fourth quarter in a Patriots game. Because the game was over by halftime. 35 points scored in the 2nd quarter, 21 of which were scored in less than a minute. I've never laughed harder in my life.

The Jets are an awful team. So beating up on them is sort of like Oregon beating Idaho State. It's a good win, but the caliber of opponent isn't very high. The Jets are not a measuring-stick team.

Nevertheless, it's hard not to be very pleased as a Patriots fan right now. They're beating the teams they should beat. They're squeezing out tough wins. And they're taking care of business in the division. They've averaged 46.5 points per game in their last four games. And they're only allowing 20.3 points per game in that span.

Now they have a few extra days off before a trip to Miami, where they can clinch the AFC East title with a win. Potential hat and t-shirt game Sunday at 1.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bruins Ruined My Birthday

I turn 28 on Friday. And before the Lockout I'd been hoping to attend the annual Bruins Black Friday matinee at the Garden. It would have been a fun treat. It was not to be.

I'll get over it, of course. But I can't help but think about the younger boys and girls who would have had their birthday celebrations at the Garden this season, watching the Bruins play.

Across the continent, thousands, even millions of children are not attending NHL hockey games. These are the potential future fans of the League and the game. And instead of going to games or watching them on TV, they'll find something else to do. There's no shortage of entertainment choices out there.

How many young people, in desperate confusion, will pick up the nasty habit of playing lacrosse? How many average height and short kids will play basketball, think their fundamentals and ball handling will make up for their lack of height, only to lose a spot on a Division III team to a 7 footer from Belarus who's never even seen a basketball?

How many young Shawn Thorntons are out there with no positive forums for their anger and strength? How many young Zdeno Charas are working at libraries stocking very tall shelves instead of skating in rinks?

The NHL, led by Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, are determined to make it as difficult as possible to be a hockey fan. Kids, whose attention spans are at an all-time low, can't become fans of a game that isn't being played. They'll find something else to entertain them.

The NHL and the Bruins didn't actually ruin my birthday. But they are ruining themselves by alienating an entire generation of young hockey fans.

Ignorant College Football Picks*

It's a good weekend for rivalries. I didn't make any picks last week. Sorry. So far on the season I'm 63-66-1, and pleasantly surprised to not be doing worse. Here are my picks for Thanksgiving weekend:

Texas -7 vs. TCU
Weird not seeing UT play A&M on Thanksgiving.

Syracuse -7.5 @ Temple
I hate picking Syracuse.

Iowa +15 vs. Nebraska
Iowa at home, Nebraska might be thinking past them. Could be close.

LSU -12 @ Arkansas
The Razorbacks are not good at all.

Central Michigan -10.5 @ UMass
Always pick against the Minutemen.

West Virginia -1.5 @ Iowa State
Why not.

Rutgers +2 @ Pitt
Future Big Ten vs. future ACC.

Virginia +10 @ Virginia Tech
Horrible year for football in VA.

Northwestern -19 vs. Illinois
Smart school prevails.

Michigan +3.5 @ Ohio State
Don't know why.

Georgia -13 vs. Georgia Tech
Tune up for Bama.

Louisville -11.5 vs. UConn

Texas Tech +2.5 vs. Baylor
Game is in Lubbock, go with Red Raiders.

Maryland +24.5 @ North Carolina
Big spread.

Boston College +14.5 @ NC State
BC has played their last games very close.

Oregon -9.5 @ Oregon State
Angry ducks pound Beavers.

Florida +7 vs. Florida State

Oklahoma -7 vs. Oklahoma State
Bedlam in Norman.

Penn State -2.5 vs. Wisconsin
Good season for PSU.

Alabama -31 vs. Auburn
The Tide have truly rolled.

Stanford -2 @ UCLA
Trees continue to grow.

South Carolina +4 @ Clemson

USC +7 vs. Notre Dame
Hopeful pick.

Patriots-Jets Drinking Game: Thanksgiving Edition

Thanksgiving, a time for football and goddamned snacks. And after dealing with your family for a few hours, you might want to drink heavily.

Anytime a commentator says...
"Thanksgiving" = 1 drink from a beer
"Happy" = 1 drink
"Turkey" = 1 drink
"Gobble" = 1 shot of Wild Turkey
"Snack" = 1 drink
"Trimmings" = 1 drink
"Potatoes" = 1 shot of vodka
"Cranberry" = 1 cup of vodka and cranberry
"Stuffing" = 1 drink
"Yams" = drink beer for 10 seconds
"Gravy" = drink a gravy boat full of beer
"Feast" = 1 drink

Anytime this is on the screen:
A member of the broadcast crew greeting their family = 1 drink
A turkey (living, cooked, or cartoon) = 1 drink
Rex Ryan smiling = 1 drink
Bill Belichick scowling = 1 drink
Bill Parcells = 1 drink
Eric Mangini = 1 drink
Curtis Martin = drink for 28 seconds
A player or coach wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving = 1 drink
Pilgrims = 1 drink
Plymouth Rock = drink as much as you can for 16 minutes and 20 seconds (16:20)
Bob Kraft = 1 drink
Bob Kraft talking = drink as long as he talks

Anytime this happens:
The broadcasters thank you for welcoming them into your home = drink for 15 seconds
Tom Brady yells "Alpha Milk" = 1 drink
Brady points out the "Mike" = 1 drink
Patriots get a 1st down = 1 drink
Patriots go no-huddle = 1 drink per snap
Patriots allow 15+ yard pass play = 1 drink
Mark Sanchez makes a dumb throw = 1 drink
Sanchez throws a pass that's tipped = 1 drink
Patriots force a turnover = 1 drink
Vince Wilfork forces or recovers a turnover = 1 drink
Wilfork returns a turnover for a TD = 1 whole beer, 1 shot, 1 pumpkin pie
Kickoff touchback = 1 drink
Kickoff return = drink during the entire return

Please get lubed up responsibly and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bill Belichick Causes Freak Injury

Rob Gronkowski got hurt and I'm angry! And it's Bill Belichick's fault!

Why was Gronk in there? It was a meaningless PAT in a meaningless part of the game and it resulted in a very meaningful injury. Belichick should have taken him out. He should have gone up to him before the PAT, said "Rob, you're more important than your teammates, stay on the sidelines where it's safe."

I know PATs usually aren't dangerous, but why take any risk at all? Gronk is an important part of the team, more important than his teammates, and the best thing for the team was for Belichick to point out to the team that Gronkowski is separate from and above teammates.

I know Belichick has won some Super Bowls here, and he drafted guys like Tom Brady, and Gronkowski, and so on and so forth. He's a good coach. But I'm getting tired of all the "In Bill We Trust" people who blindly support everything he does. I'm allowed to question and even criticize him. I'm tired of me, the sports media, and thousands of fans being silenced. All we have to voice our opinions are newspapers, blogs, sports radio, Twitter, and Facebook. Somehow, we will be heard!

Look, I obviously don't want Belichick to be fired. I just want him to change what he does and how he does it. It clearly doesn't work, because if it did, Gronkowski wouldn't be injured right now.

What Belichick should have done, for the good of the team, is to tell an individual player that he was more important than his teammates. That he was precious, and must be preserved and protected. Then after the game, give a speech to the team about how important Rob Gronkowski's health is, and how dangerous PATs are.

Nothing builds a team mentality better than putting individual players on a pedestal, and dividing the team into two groups: important stars, and expendable laborers. That, along with an intense fear of injury, are how winning teams are built.

End Sarcasm.

Monday, November 19, 2012

BC Hockey Comes Back Against Merrimack

#1 ranked Boston College continued to roll, beating Merrimack 4-3 Friday night. The Eagles fell behind by 3 goals in the 2nd period, but erased that deficit in less than 5 minutes, also in the 2nd period. Then in the 3rd, Steven Whitney's 6th goal of the season gave the Eagles their 8th win, and coach Jerry York's 922nd career victory (the record is 924).

After Merrimack went up 3-0, Whitney started the scoring for BC in the 2nd. So far this season the senior from Reading, Mass. has been BC's secret weapon behind Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau assisted both Whitney's scores. Patrick Wey and Danny Linell scored BC's other goals.

The Eagles shot the puck 42 times, and barely missed on a few scoring opportunities in the 1st period. BC didn't figure out Merrimack goalie Sam Marotta until the 2nd.

BC hosts Dartmouth on Saturday in a non-conference game, then it's the annual home-and-home against BU on the 30th and December 1st. Jerry York can tie and break the all-time record for college hockey coaching wins in those rivalry games, which would be quite fitting.

Maryland and Rutgers to Big Ten

When the SEC went to 14 teams, the other BCS conferences watched to see if it would work. It did work, and now the Big Ten is expanding. They're reportedly going to add Maryland, as well as Rutgers, taking them from the ACC and Big East, respectively.

Both teams would add an East Coast presence for the Midwestern conference. And Rutgers would help the Big Ten infiltrate the New York media market. The Big Ten already has a juicy TV contract with ESPN, as well as their own network, so adding teams in general only increases the content they can provide.

I'm getting a little tired of this musical chairs in college sports. I want it over with.

In 10 years or so, it will all be sorted out. There will be three major conferences, with 16 or 18 teams each: The Big Ten, the Pac-16, and the SEC. The ACC and Big East will combine as a 12 team league just below the Big Three.

And in Webster's Dictionary, the Big Ten will pay for the meaning of the word "ten" to be changed to "any number between nine and twenty." "Ten" will become an approximating word like "several."

BCS Mess

Both Kansas State and Oregon lost, catapulting Notre Dame to #1, and bringing Alabama back to the BCS title game as #2 after only a 1 week absence.

However, there's no way that Notre Dame is the best team in the country. If they do play Alabama, who would you bet on? If they played Oregon, who would you bet on? And how razor thin was their margin of victory over Stanford? They are just waiting to lose.

When Notre Dame lose to USC, which they will, there will be a BCS mess for the #2 team in the country. Alabama will rightfully assume the #1 spot, then there will be Georgia, Florida, Oregon, Notre Dame, Kansas State, Florida State, Clemson, et cetera.

In other words, it's good that we'll have a playoff next year. But are 4 teams enough? I think 6 or 8 would be best. But progress is progress.

Patriots Tame Colts

I like Andrew Luck. I liked him at Stanford. And as much as I also liked RG3, I felt like Luck was a better NFL QB because he was a better decision maker. And maybe someday that decision making ability will come to fruition. But not yesterday. Yesterday, Mr. Luck was a walking turnover.

The much-maligned Patriots defense turned this game around in the 2nd quarter. They forced a 3 and out which led to Julian Edelman's punt return TD. Then Vince Wilfork's pressure influenced Andrew Luck to thrown an INT, which Aqib Talib returned for another TD.

In the 3rd quarter, the Patriots offense stepped up. Right after half-time they flawlessly drove downfield and scored. Then after Rob Ninkovich forced an Andrew Luck fumble, Brady hit Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. And the game was essentially over.

Alfonzo Dennard's pick 6 was icing on the cake, and the Patriots won the 4th quarter 21-7. He and Talib are actually legit CBs, and that's nice to have once again.

But already I can hear the armchair coaches out there. "Why was Gronk still in there?" "Why were we still scoring?" "Why do we have star players on PAT?"

Folks, it's a 60 minute game. And injuries are always a risk. You play 60 minutes, even with a big lead, so when you need to play 60 tough minutes you're accustomed to it. Please leave your amateur coaching strategies where they belong, inside your brain, along with your theories about traffic on 128 and how you can do a better job than your boss.

Some people are already complaining about this 5 score victory. This Yahoo recap moaned about the Patriots defense being "suspect" and allowing 448 yards. Um, the defense also scored twice, forced 4 turnovers, that's a good day for a defense. Regardless of how many yards they allowed.

Let us be cheerful. The Pats have a 3 game lead over every AFC East team. They're playing the Jets on Thanksgiving, and it's an opportunity to all but eliminate the NYJ from the divisional race.

Photo Credit:
AP Photo