The best offseason move so far

The Bills traded Peerless Price for a 1st round pick. It sounds like a small move, but the Bills used this one transaction as a springboard to improve their team without affecting their expenses.

They don't need Price. He's a really good wideout, but his skill are similar to Moulds'. They let Price walk, promote Josh Reed to the starting lineup and the offense doesn't take too much of a hit. Instead, the Bills slapped the franchise tag on Price and then traded him to a a team desperate for receiver help, the Falcons. So instead of just losing Price's salary, they flipped it for a first round pick with impacting the offense at all.

With the savings, the Bills signed Takeo Spikes, who is the Bengals transition player. The Bengals probably won't match now that they've signed Hardy to an offer sheet. Then they picked up Charles Johnson for peanuts to be the third wide receiver. Net result?

The Bills receiving corps is still one of the best in the league, but at much less cost. The truly pitiful defense gets much-needed help from one of the best linebackers in the league. And they got a first round pick. Did I mention they are in the same financial position as they were before? A great job by GM Tom Donohoe. Take a bow.

Oh, and let's not forget the Falcons, who now get an elite wide receiver which they really, really need. Now Finneran can move over to the slot and Vick has actual targets to throw at next season. How often can first round pick pay immeidate dividends like that? So they didn't get swindled here, they also helped themselves out tremedously.

Heck, even the Bengals make out okay, getting rid of the disgruntled Spikes and replacing him with a guy only slightly less talented.
posted by Poseur 3/08/2003 11:50:00 AM

It's Madness!

A crazy day in conference tourney land. Bad things happened, so let's review and see what it all means.

Atlantic Sun
Troy State won big, but their biggest rival, Mercer, fell on their sword. Troy St has an RPI of 74, so they don't have much of a shot at an at-large bid (though it's still possible), What this does is clear the road for the #1 seed of one of the weakest conferences in the nation to get the second invitation to the Big Dance.

Big South
Radford, a 6-8 team in conference, will face 7-7 UNC-Ashville in the finals. Both teams pulled off remarkable upsets, as perrenial conference champ Wintrhop lost to UNCA on a buzzer beater. Right now, this is the standard for conference tournament excitment. The highe seeds lost early and late, and now two completely unlikely teams get a chance to go dancing. That's what makes Championship Week almost as good as the tournament itself. Really. Radford? UNC-Ashville? Their whole seasons got redeemed in two hours.

Well, the new format worked. By giving the top teams as much protection as humanly possibly, the Horizon has all four of their top seeds in the semifinals. Now Butler and UW-Milwaukee have to take advantage of the format and win. That would be put the two bubble teams in the tournament finals, and help out their at-large profiles.

Ohio Valley
Another 1-seed gets a scare, only Austin Peay survived theirs in OT. Their reward, the #2 conference team, Morhead State, lost by 17. Austin Peay now has a straight shot for the automatic bid.

Bad news. College of Charleston, #72 in the RPI, lost in the semis. While VMI and ETSU face off in the conference finals, CoC now goes into the at-large pool, further frustrating every major conference team hoping for a bid.

So, two teams who at least merit at-large consideration lost in their conference tournaments. Troy State proably won't even get an NIT bid, but CoC has a small chance. The problem is that they lost on their home floor. It's one thing to lose in the conference tournament, it's quite another to do it at home. I think the Cougars just saw their tournament hopes go down in flames. It's a shame, because they could have done some serious damage in the bracket.

posted by Poseur 3/08/2003 11:32:00 AM


Last one out, hit the lights

Plummer and Boston both took off yesterday, fleeing the NFL's answer to the Clippers. Yeah, we make fun oft he Bengals, but they've been wildly successful compared to the Cardinals. They are a bad team with little hope of getting better. Can you blame anybody for wanting to get ut of football hell as soon as possible?

Now, I can see why the Cardinals gave up on Plummer. 6.4 yards/attempt and a 90-114 TD/INT ratio should impress no one (look, it just did, the Broncos). Maybe Plummer will one day become a real NFL QB, but he certainly wasn't going to do it in Tempe. Let the Broncos trade their current headache for a different one.

But Boston? The Cardinals took a brave stand because Boston has tested positive for cocaine, marijuana, and has gotten arrested for DUI. Of course, that's what they tell us, Boston's personal problems weren't a big deal when he was pulling down 100 catches per year. but now that's he's asking for big bucks, it's a problem. Boston's no choirboy, but Arizona just figured this out?
posted by Poseur 3/06/2003 04:28:00 PM

Sharks wave white flag

San Jose's fans and media pulls no punches. Nor should they. All the Sharks can get is one prospect, a marginal NHL player, and a 1st round pick? This is Owen Nolan. Yes, the Sharks are playing terrible, but not Nolan. He's got 22 goals and 20 assists. He's scoring at the same rate as Forsberg and Roenick. How is this guy just getting so obviously dumped?

This is a bad, bad trade by the sharks. Sure, they needed to wave the white flag and build for the future, but they didn't exactly get a king's ransom.
posted by Poseur 3/06/2003 04:22:00 PM

Everybody wins

Every SEC bubble team won last night, further confusing the picture. Who goes? Who knows at this point? A lot will be determined by the LSU-Alabama game this weekend as well as the SEC tournament. Who will make a run?

posted by Poseur 3/06/2003 02:32:00 PM

Adrian Wojnarowski - St. Bonaventure class of 1991- goes off on his alma mater

We are the worst. We are bottom. We are the crud on the bottom of Tark's shoes. It will take forever to live this down. Three years ago, we were double overtime with Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. We were the best little story on the first day of the tournament, a little train of 2,000 students in the upstate New York Snowbelt going hard for college basketball royalty. Three days ago, we are a welding certificate and cautionary tale for a small school gone too far for glory, for a corrupt president conspiring with a conniving coach to burn 247 years of history to the ground...

Now, we are the worst of the worst. Now, we go down in infamy. We let a jock-sniffing president, an empty suit AD, and a mercenary coach do this to us. We let them destroy everything. We are Ed Martin passing out hundreds of thousands of dollars at Michigan. We are Richard "The Fixer" Perry lounging in the hot tub at UNLV. We are naked free throw shooting at Rutgers. We are SMU and Tulane and CCNY.

Maybe what they did was worse, but we're unforgettable. We're unprecedented. We're the welders, the quitters, the ones bowing our heads in shame when we turn the corner to find you doubled over and laughing at us.

We are St. Bonaventure.

And we want our school back.

This is the definitive take on the Bonnies. Angry, bitter, and downright perplexed. Sure, the kids just quit, but they were only follwoing the example of their "leadership." It's nt the magnitude of the Bonnies crime, it's the fact they just threw in the towel. Have you ever heard of a team simply refusing to play out the season? Even Fresno is still playing, and they actually had something taken from them. The Bulldogs thought they were going to the Dance, the Bonnies thought they were going to lose in the first round of the A-10 tourney.

We lose sight that these are just kids. I love college sports, but kids are only as good as their leadership sometimes. The Bonnies players got a first hand lesson in how to roll over and say die. and they learned the lesson well. I hope we all focus our rage on the administration and the coaching staff, not on a bunch of kids. They made a bad choice, but they were only following their guidance.

posted by Poseur 3/06/2003 12:37:00 PM


Cardinals fly out of Arizona

Former Arizona Quarterback Jake
Plummer has been signed by the Denver Broncos
for a seven year contract worth $40 million. It's no secret that Brain Griese is on his way out in Denver--two weeks ago he was granted permission to seek a trade. The common response is that Griese has lost his touch since his great 2000 season. He's become inconsistent and has thrown too many interceptions. That's bunk--well, he has thrown a lot of INTs, but less than Jake Plummer. Griese has cooled off since 2000, but then anyone would cool down after posting a 102.9 QB rating for an entire season. This is a mistake by Denver--Griese's been more productive than Plummer, he's thrown fewer interceptions, and his marquee season, 2000, is more recent than Plummer's (1998). Just look at the stats and tell me you'd replace Griese with Plummer.

YEAR TEAM G GS Att Comp Pct Yds YPA Lg TD Int Rate
1997 Arizona Cardinals 10 9 296 157 53.0 2203 7.4 70t 15 15 73.1
1998 Arizona Cardinals 16 16 547 324 59.2 3737 6.8 57 17 20 75.0
1999 Arizona Cardinals 12 11 381 201 52.8 2111 5.5 63 9 24 50.8
2000 Arizona Cardinals 14 14 475 270 56.8 2946 6.2 70t 13 21 66.0
2001 Arizona Cardinals 16 16 525 304 57.9 3653 7.0 68t 18 14 79.6
2002 Arizona Cardinals 16 16 530 284 53.6 2972 5.6 80t 18 20 65.7
TOTAL 6 NFL Seasons 84 82 2754 1540 55.9 17622 6.4 80t 90 114 69.0

YEAR TEAM G GS Att Comp Pct Yds YPA Lg TD Int Rate
1998 Denver Broncos 1 0 3 1 33.3 2 0.7 2 0 1 2.8
1999 Denver Broncos 14 13 452 261 57.7 3032 6.7 88 14 14 75.6
2000 Denver Broncos 10 10 336 216 64.3 2688 8.0 61 19 4 102.9
2001 Denver Broncos 15 15 451 275 61.0 2827 6.3 65t 23 19 78.5
2002 Denver Broncos 13 13 436 291 66.7 3214 7.4 82t 15 15 85.6
TOTAL 6 NFL Seasons 53 51 1678 1044 62.2 11763 7.0 88 71 53 84.1

Yeah, Plummer has thrown for more yards--and if Griese had no run game he'd throw 500 passes a year too. Look at the yards per attempt and the QB rating. It's not even close. Plummer has had three seasons with a rating better than 70. Griese has never had one below 70, and only two below 80! Griese is Coach Shanahan's scapegoat. Plummer's a decent player, but this is not a step up for the Broncos.

As if the Cardinals were't hurting enough by losing Plummer, they also lost David Boston to San Diego. Boston missed most of last season with an injury, but his previous season was down right nutty, leading the league with over 1500 yards. He's averaged more than 16 yards per catch each of the last three years. Drew Brees, meet David Boston, you'll be spending some time together.

posted by uberschuck 3/05/2003 11:44:00 PM

St. Bonaventure quits rest of season

By now you've heard that in response to having 6 of their games forfeitted, the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team has decided to call it a season. They refuse to play out the regular season or the Atlantic 10 conference tournament.

ESPN's Jay Bilas and Adrian Wojnarowski have already written great columns on the topic, so I'll just highlight. First Bilas.

Players make a commitment to each other, to their coaches, and to their university community. They also make a commitment to their conference and to the game itself. When a player accepts a scholarship to play at a school, that player makes a commitment to play and compete to the best of his ability -- and not just when he feels like it.

Exactly! The players on this team voted to quit their season. That is utterly shameful. They have disgraced themselves, their school, and college athletics in general. Yes, they got screwed by thier coach and administration. Quitting is not the proper response. These punks need to grow up. Put on a jersey and play for pride. Play because you love the game and your school. Play in spite of the jerks who ruined your season. These young men had an opportunity to show character, instead they're pouting.

Now Wojnarowski, an alumnus of St. Bonaventure, gets to the heart of the matter.

For goodness sakes, the president of the university usurped his compliance director and admissions department to get a junior college transfer, Jamil Terrell, into school without the mandatory Associates Degree for Division I eligibility, but rather a certificate in welding.
From the St. Bonaventure president, Robert Wickenheiser, to the basketball coach, Jan van Breda Kolff, these scoundrels are still trying to cover themselves for committing academic fraud, still selling these kids on the idea that St. Bonaventure was wronged.
If Wickenheiser and van Breda Kolff are still standing when this is over, it isn't just the rest of the season St. Bonaventure should shut down, but the school itself.

The coach and university president are the bigger scoundrels. The fact that they let the team vote on whether or not they'll play is sufficient indication that they have abdicated their authority as leaders. If that doesn't convince you, then focus on the fraud and cheating. The players have stooped low, but not as low as the coach and president.

posted by uberschuck 3/05/2003 10:59:00 PM

All right, here's what I got so far. Looking at it, I've got 60 teams in and 22 on the bubble. Of those 22, only 5 get bids. BTW- these numbers are from I feel I'm okay using his conference standings, but I'll keep his Gory Details to myself. The most fun coming down the stretch appears to be the SEC, where there are still FOUR bubble teams. They ain't all going, and they have the following schedules:

Tennessee- Miss State, at Vandy
Auburn- Arkansas, at Miss State
Bama- South Carolina, at LSU
LSU- at Ole Miss, Bama

If everything goes to form (big if, I know), UT and Auburn will finish up 8-8 in conference play. LSU and Bama will play for the shot at 8-8, the loser going 7-9 before the SEC tounrey, which aso will have a big effect on each team's chances.

tourney worksheet.wks
posted by Poseur 3/05/2003 10:33:00 AM

It's Tourney Time!

Conference tournies kicked off last night, as the Big South, Horizon, and Ohio Valley all got things underway.

Winthrop, the top team in the Big South, had a nice night. Not only did they beat down High Point, they saw the #2 and #4 teams in the conference both get upset. The road is open.

The Horizon is one of the conferences playing with their format, giving their top seeds byes to increase the chances of advancing. So Butler won't get upset in the first roaund again.

Austin Peay, the top seed in the OVC, survived a scare, but they are still on pace to meet #2 Morehead in the finals. In fact, the 3 and 4 seeds also advanced, making it a pretty dull first round.

They now take things off until Friday. The only tournament games will be the first round of the Southern Conference. Every bubble team should root for College of Charleston.
posted by Poseur 3/05/2003 10:03:00 AM

Tarkanian still has an effect

Asked whether he assumes any responsibility for the alleged academic fraud, Tarkanian said: "If it is true, certainly there is no way me or any of my coaches had any knowledge. Even the enemy [Mintz and Cebrun] has not alleged that. ... Until someone shows me evidence, I will continue to believe my players and Katie Felten, whom I have great respect for. If [Mintz] did do the papers, then both he and the players are responsible."

Ahhh.... Jerry Tarkanian, how we miss you. Has there ever been a more openly corrupt college coach in basketball history? Really, I expect 100 dollar bills to fall out of his pockets. Acadenic fraud? This is how the NCAA is finally going to get him? Come on, his team was highlighted on 60 Minutes a few years back for having such upstanding citizens.

It's a shame the new coaches have to deal with the fallout, but Fresno State can't be surprised by this. Did they honestly expect they were hiring Dudley Do-Right? This guy comes with his own NCAA investigation.

To quote They Might Be Giants, "you can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding."
posted by Poseur 3/05/2003 09:51:00 AM

Harrick can't handle Vitale's softballs

Wow, is this guy obviously lying or what? Dick vitale ain't exactly the most agressive interviewer on the planet, and watching this interview I couldn't help but think that Harrick was guilty as hell. I didn't really know until watching, but he refused to answer even the most basic questions. Vitale gave him every opportunity to put a good face forward and Harrick couldn't do it.

posted by Poseur 3/05/2003 09:41:00 AM

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