Oh, let's rip on Lloyd Carr for a while

Lloyd, you've got the best running back in the nation in your backfield. He won the Doak Walker Award. You've got a killer offensive line that's got one glaring weakness: speed. USC is a faster team, so use your strength advantage and pound the ball. It's boring, but three yards and a cloud of dust was the way to go. Particularly once it was apparent Edwards couldn't catch a cold last night.

So what did Michigan do? They threw the ball 55 times and ran it 29. Yes, I know Michigan was losing through most of the game, but the only time they had to run an air-it-out-to-catch-up offense was with three and half minutes left. And they threw the ball nearly twice as much as they ran it. Just an awful gameplan.

How did this guy win a national title?

posted by Poseur 1/02/2004 09:23:00 AM

USC wins share of national title

OK, not official yet, but we all know it's coming. USC will win the AP title, OU or LSU will win the coaches poll (I still call it the UPI). And given the current situation, that's the correct decision. I make no secret that I am an LSU alum. I love my Tigers and if they win on Sunday, you can forget about rational analysis. We'll be #1 and everyone else can just shut the hell up. But until then, I can still function.

Do I think LSU would beat USC on a neutral field? Yes. But I'm biased. But since we won't ever see that game, it only makes sense to give each of them a share. Anyone who writes a column saying OU, USC, or LSU is clearly the #1 team is talking out of their ass. (Most recent perpetrator: Christine Brennan on USC). We simply don't know. This is the fault of the NCAA's lousy system and the fans of two teams should be able to lift one finger in the air at the end of the season.

No, not that finger.

USC is the national champ. So is the winner of the Sugar Bowl. It's a stupid system, but it's the right decision.

posted by Poseur 1/02/2004 09:16:00 AM



Over the last week you've probably seen tons of lists of the best & worst things from the last year. The truth is, none of them are as good as ours. Check it out.

LOSERS (group)

10. Portland Trailblazers. I think they need to have their games at county lock-up until enough players make parole.

9. Detroit Tigers. No list of losers would be complete without them. They were sooooo close to setting a new record for losses.

8. St. Bonaventure. The basketball team, not the Saint. Following the shining examples of their coaches and university administrators, the team decided to quit in the last week of the season.

7.The NHL: It took me half a day to remember who won the Stanley Cup. I barely remember anything about last season, and I haven’t noticed anything about this one. I’m not the only one not paying attention. This is all the Devils’ fault. The neutral zone trap has rendered the
game practically unwatchable, and their ridiculous salary structure for a sport getting lower ratings than soccer has priced averaged fans out of the game.

6. WUSA. The women’s soccer league folded before most knew it existed. They say it will be back, but they said the same thing about rollerderby.

5. Oklahoma Sooners. But wait, they are on the winners list too. Lest you forget, they didn’t belong on the same field as KSU in the Big XII Championship.

4. Oakland Raiders. The Super Bowl was the beginning of the end. Now they are just aged, injured, suspended, and losing. Oh, Romo’s on roids. What were the odds?

3. US Track & Field/IAAF/BALCO. BALCO for making the drugs and the IAAF for looking the other way until the doping scandals erupted. In the time it took you to read this, another US Track & Field athlete tested positive for steroids. And let’s not limit ourselves to just the US organization, which does get a special mention for its hypocritical no-tolerance stance so long as the athlete is from another country. The IAAF is complicit in the cheating, as is the entire Olympic organization. I’m stunned the Olympics are corrupt. Illusions are shattered.

2. The BCS. I mean the Bowl Championship Series, not BartCopSports. The BCS botched college football again. Maybe we should let monkeys pick the semifinalists instead. But of course, we can’t have a playoff because we care so much about these players’ educations
(insert laughter).

1. US Baseball. The defending Olympic champions failed to qualify for Athens 2004. Now, that’s sad! Yes, it was a stupid qualifying system, the US team finished with only one loss, but it’s the one that matters. It’s not just that we send college kids and minor leaguers, we don’t even send the best college kids and minor leaguers.

LOSERS (individual)

10. Rick Neuhisel. He’s got scandal written on his forehead. He lost his job because he was gambling on college athletics. It was just an NCAA Tourney pool–the least of his crimes. When you’re as well behaved as this coach, you’re bound to lose your job for breaking the rules.

9. Michael Jordan: Not for failing to get the Wizards into the playoffs, but for being such a bad executive that the Wizards axed him. Let’s remember his lasting stamp on this franchise–how many points per game is Rick Hamilton averaging for Detroit?

8. Bud Selig. A fixture on this list.

7. Matt Doherty. UNC was excited to get him as head coach, but the team was absolutely miserable under him. Now that he’s gone happy days are here again for the Heels.

6. Keyshawn Johnson: Loud-mouthed braggart who was never as good as he said got the axe from Coach Gruden in response to a season-long slump. And no one cares that he’s the goat

5. Rush Limbaugh: Let’s just say his stint at ESPN wasn’t as successful as his radio career. He created a firestorm for ESPN and resigned amid complaints of racism. Also, the NFL Countdown crew got suddenly brave in criticizing Limbaugh’s comments AFTER he got canned. Nobody called him on being a racist blowhard until they safely had the cover of ESPN’s corporate bosses.

4. Maurice Clarett. OK, he started the year winning a national championship. After that it’s all been downhill. He fibbed about items stolen from his car, got involved in a grades scandal, and was told he couldn’t play for OSU. Now he’s begging the NFL to let him in, which they won’t, and to add insult to injury, will probably allow Larry Fitzgerald in.

3. Jim Harrick. The Georgia Bulldogs were on their way to the Big Dance until it was revealed that among other things, the coaches were arranging class credits through magical correspondence courses for their athletes. Once again, we’re shocked that there is cheating in college basketball.

2. Kobe Bryant. He was crushed when he was eliminated from the playoffs. Then it got worse. Now he’s playing under the specter of a pending trial; next year he could be in jail for rape. We are shocked that NBA players have sex with women who aren’t their wives.

1. Dave Bliss. Scumbag Dave Bliss is in a class by himself. The previous people on this list don’t deserve the insult of being in the same group as Bliss. Bliss fails on a basic human level. Let’s review. He accused a slain player of doing drugs to protect his program from scrutiny. He also sold another one of his players down the river, and he’s on trial for murder. He not only cheated, but he defamed a dead player and tried to subvert a criminal investigation. Kind of puts going to a party with 20-year old co-eds in perspective, don’t it?

WINNERS (individual)

10. Jason White. Coming back after rehab of two torn ACLs, White put up staggering numbers in the Sooners’ march to the BCS title game. Plus he picked up the O’Brien award and the Heisman.

9. Pat Summitt. When you win your 800th game, you get a spot on the list.

8. Andy Roddick. ESPN named him the most overrated athlete in the nation. He responded by winning the US Open and rising to #1 in the world (briefly). Yeah, he just sucks, doesn’t he?

7. Justine Henin-Hardenne. Her name may be irritating, but get used to it. She started the year as “the other Belgian woman tennis player” Then she won the French and US Open titles in addition to overcoming the Williams sisters. Not only that, but she did it not with the power game, but with placement, finesse, and grit. She was in a minor scandal involving her national team and Adidas sponsorship, but we finally have a worthy counterweight to the Williamses. Two sisters and two Belgians (Kim Clijsters, people).

6. Jean-Sebastien Giguire. The Ducks weren’t a great team. But Giguire had an insanely great post-season. Without him they wouldn’t have won more than two first round games. He took them to the brink of the Cup.

5. Diana Taurasi. After all those starters graduated, Taurasi was left to lead the Huskies basketball team. And she was clearly the best player in the country, almost single-handedly carrying UCONN to a national championship.

4. Martin Brodeur. Yeah, the Devils have plenty of talent, but this guy is the key to their team. Without a doubt he’s the best goalie in hockey. If you don’t believe me then you’ve forgotten he’s started in 3 of the last 4 Stanley Cup Finals.

3.Pudge Rodriguez. Speaking of a single player carrying a team to a championship...his stats in the playoffs were just staggering. Actually, Cabrera and Beckett deserve credit too, but Pudge was off the charts huge in the clutch.

2. LeBron James. The hype has been astronomical, and he’s rising to the occasion. Rookie of the year, All-Star, hell, he’s in contention for league MVP. It would be wrong to mention LeBron without Carmello Anthony. This is the new Bird & Magic. Anthony led Syracuse to the NCAA title as a freshman, and he’s making the Nuggets a credible team in the NBA. The next decade of the NBA will be about these two.

1. Tim Duncan. SI got it right by naming him Sportsman of the Year, though he shouldn’t have to share it with David Robinson. It’s pretty clear why the Spurs won the NBA title–Duncan played better than anyone in the league. (ed note- most of these are done together, Jason and I agreed on the language and we speak in one voice, but David Robinson is the classiest player in the NBA in a long time. He can share the honor just for being such a good human being).

WINNERS (team)

10. New Jersey Devils. Champions again. That’s two Cups in 4 years.

9. San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs finally ended the reign of the Lakers. They were the quiet giant of the NBA–consistent and methodical like their leader Tim Duncan.

8. England Rugby. The British are notorious losers at the sports they spread all over the world. Not this time. The Brits were the class of the rugby world cup.

7. Tampa Bay Bucs. What they did in January makes up for their crappy play this autumn. Hell froze over when the Lombardi trophy entered Tampa

6. New England Patriots. Tons of injuries, no stud running back, so what. The Patriots just keep winning–12 in a row. Last year, not the Super Bowl year, was the aberration. What makes them so good? Depth. In the era of free agency, this team goes two-deep at almost every position. They are the quintessential “team.”

5. LSU/Oklahoma/USC. We don’t yet know who’s going to be the national champion(s), so they’ll split the honor for now. OU looked invincible until getting ambushed by Kansas St. USC has blown away almost everyone they’ve faced. LSU’s defense is relentless and their offense is loaded. These three are head and shoulders above the rest of college football.

4. Syracuse Orangemen. A bunch of talented underclassmen, led by freshman Carmello Anthony, just kept winning again and again to deliver Jim Boeheim his first national championship after several trips to the Final Four. For all of the bad boys getting headlines. It’s nice for a class coach to finally get a big win.

3. USPS. What are the biggest races in cycling? The Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a Espana. The Posties won two of the three–Lance Armstrong in the Tour and Roberto Heras in the Vuelta. They didn’t even ride the Giro. The Tour showed us just how strong this team is. Armstrong relied heavily on his mates, and they won the team time trial.

2. Florida Marlins. In the middle of the season they were way back in the standings. They picked up a new manager and everything turned around. Pudge went wild in the playoffs as they knocked off the heavily favored Giants, came back from 3-1 down against the Cubs, and then out-lasted the Yankees for the World Series.

1. UCONN Huskies. That’s the women’s basketball team. All they do is win. OK, they lost a game last season–only one game. They still won the national championship, and they are the most dominant team in any sport in America.


10. Brett Hull’s 500th goal. Enough said.

9. Saints at Jaguars. The Saints used a few laterals to make their own version of the Stanford-Cal play. Seventy-five yards later Jerome Pathon jumped into the end zone after a block from his QB. But the Saints lost the game when reliable John Carney missed the PAT. Yet another saga in the tortured history of Saints football.

8. MLS Cup: Landon Donovan scored twice and Damarcus Beasley once as the San Jose Earthquakes extinguished the Chicago Fire for the league championship. The best American players shone in the league’s biggest game. American soccer is in good shape.

7. Chris Perry. In the game vs. OSU Perry was the workhorse. He got his usual great stat line, but the stats didn’t tell the complete story. In between plays he looked like he would collapse, but he’d just get the ball again, lower his head, and run over Buckeyes.

6. Tyler Hamilton. Tour de France Stage 16 win. Hamilton got dropped on the first mountain, then caught the field on the second mountain, passed them, and outraced them on the last 70 miles on the flat roads. Amazing. Did I mention he did it with a broken collar bone? Oh, he finished 4th overall. Toughest performance of the year.

5.Week 17, Vikings at Cardinals. The Cardinals ended the playoff hopes of the once 6-0 Vikings with two late touchdowns. After a successful onside kick, Arizona overcame a sack and a fumble in the closing minute before scoring on the final play of the game.

4. The LCS. We can’t choose which one. Grady Little’s mental breakdown? Bartman grabbing the ball? The two loveable losers both snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But neither were choke jobs, because the Marlins and Yankees played some awesome ball in their
own. The Marlins came out nowhere to win a World Series in the best baseball playoffs since 1986. Even without the Sox and Cubs in the Series, it was still satisfying.

3. Jamal Lewis. On Sunday, September 2nd, Lewis ran for a single game rushing record of 295 yards against the Cleveland Browns. He averaged nearly 10 yards per carry and scored twice. He would have had more but for a 60 yard TD run called back by penalty. And he called his shot a few days before. He finished with over 2000 yards on the season, just 20 shy of the record, because Billick kept throwing the ball in the fourth quarter. No one knows why.

2. Lance Armstrong. Tour de France Stage 15 win. With his back against the wall, with a lead of just a few seconds, with Jan Ullrich attacking on the penultimate climb, Armstrong seized control of the race and attacked his rivals. Moments later, he was knocked to the ground by a spectator and busted his bike. So he caught the group, attacked again, and dropped his competitors by a minute to seal his 5th consecutive Tour.

1. Miami vs. Ohio St. Two undefeated teams met in the BCS championship, and the game was better than anyone could have expected. Scrappy OSU managed to keep pace, forcing an overtime, and eventually winning by stopping Miami’s last chance of the game.

posted by uberschuck 12/31/2003 01:33:00 PM


The Axe-man commeth

With the regular season ending yesterday, the pink slips are coming in for select NFL coaches. The Falcons and Giants jumped the gun by canning Dan Reeves and Jim Fassel before the season ended. Today the Bears gave Dick Jauron his walking papers; the Cardinals showed the door to Dave McGinnis, and the Bills sent Greg Williams packing. Rumors have it that Calahan is on his way out in Oakland. The Dolphins have extened Dave Wannstedt's contract; the Browns have fired three assistants to Butch Davis; Spurrier will be back in Washington. No word yet on Jim Haslett in New Orleans or Marty Shottenheimer in San Diego. Dennis Erickson of San Francisco and Bill Cowher of Pittsburgh might be losing a little sleep. One at a time...

Dan Reeves: It's time to retire. Dan Reeves has meant a lot to football, but a couple decades of coaching have made it clear that he's an adequate head coach, not an elite one. Congrats on a lengthy career with quite a few highlights.

Jim Fassel: He says he wants to coach again next year. On the one hand, I can see giving him another chance because he brought a crappy team to the Super Bowl. On the other hand, I think he's a crappy coach too.

Dick Jauron: If you didn't see this coming, you're living in a cave. The Bears wanted to get rid of him two years ago, but they couldn't because they won a lot of close games and went 13-3. It was only a matter of time. The funny thing is that this team started to come together in the latter half of the season, finishing a respectable 7-9.

Dave McGinnis: Great win yesterday, now get out. I have sympathy for McGinnis because Arizona sucks bad. A 16-32 record is bad, but he deserved a chance with a team that isn't carried by a rookie wide reciever.

Greg Williams: Confession--I didn't even know he was Buffalo's coach. The Bills made great off-season acquisitions, but played like crap the last 16 weeks of the season. Someone's got to take the blame, and it ain't Drew Bledsoe. Williams showed a glimmer last season, but lost it all this year.

Bill Calahan: The Raiders will probably dump him, but it's not his fault the Raiders only sign players born in the 1800s. He might slide to another head coaching job, but if not he'll continue as a coordinator before getting another shot in the near future.

Dave Wannstedt: Ok, 10 wins is nice, but Wannstedt should be taking all that talent into January. Annual underachiever.

Butch Davis: Last year the Browns overachieved. This year they underachieved. Dumping assistants is probably the right move. Don't can Davis yet.

Steve Spurrier: Daniel Snyder is probably the least patient owner in football, and Spurrier is one of the biggest perfectionists. If he doesn't have a winning record next year, he's gone.

Jim Haslett: After bringing the Saints their first playoff win ever, Haslett's team has squandered their offensive talent and barely missed the playoffs each of the last three years. Why can't a former linebacker assemble a competent defense to put on the field? The Saints aren't missing the playoffs because of John Carney's missed PAT, but because the defense can't tackle anyone. Next year Haslett will definitely be on the hot seat, but rumors have it he's being lured to Buffalo now.

Marty Shottenheimer: Marty is a fixture on the sidelines, but how long can a team tolerate any coach when they've got LaDananian Tomlinson, but can't even get close to 0.500?

Denis Erickson: Things are about to get ugly for the 49ers. Owens is going to leave; Garcia's losing his touch. Hiring Erickson was a mistake. They won't fire him because it's only been a year, but things will get worse before they get better. The 49ers should can him now before they find themselves in a dismal situation and have to beg Mariucci to return.

Bill Cowher: A really bad season for a coach who has been around a long time. The Steelers won't get rid of him because of this season, nor should they, but let's not forget that this isn't the first dismal season he's had with this team. Can he bring them back to life again?
posted by uberschuck 12/29/2003 11:02:00 PM

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