Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Fightins Have Advanced

I know you FARN readers. You may only give me about 100 hits per day, but you are the best 100 readers I guy could ever have. I mean that. I know you guys. You took my endorsement last night to heart and you voted for The Fightins from as many different IP Addresses as possible. The Fightins won, all thanks to you. You guys are awesome. Here are the official results from The Phield.

The 700 Level – 1,406
The Fightins -1,621

Beerleaguer – 1,495
The Zo Zone – 1,297

Snark vs smart. The Fightins vs. Beerleaguer.

Voting begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, ends 8 p.m. Friday.
Who will have their One Shining Moment in the Phield? All answers will be revealed Friday night.

Now For A Whole Post Dedicated To Donovan McNabb

When it comes to these McNabb trades, I think I have a tendency to throw around nuts and bolts of things without giving you all the necessary background information on the deal. Seeing as the seemingly impending McNabb deal as so many nooks and crannies to it, I figured I would put up an article on here that explains everything really well as to what McNabb's contract is like, why the Raiders are the current front-runners, and why a deal may not get done until after this year's draft. From the National Football Post.

Why would the Eagles trade Donovan McNabb?

Although this is a major organizational decision to move on from the team’s signature player for the past decade, it appears to be more about Kevin Kolb than McNabb.

The Eagles, like the Packers two years ago with Aaron Rodgers, have identified their future at the position and are prepared to move on with that player. Kolb has the confidence of the coaches and management that he’s ready to assume the role of leading the team.

Like the Packers two years ago, the team would not be prepared to move on from their longtime fixture at quarterback if there was not a strong option. It’s not like the Packers or the Eagles would have to resort to a stopgap veteran while they looked for a successor. The successors were/are already in the building.

Teams evolve, and it’s hard to know the right time to make a change. The Eagles have apparently decided the time is now.

Why is McNabb’s contract a big part of any trade negotiations?

For the Eagles to consummate a trade, there will be two negotiations in play simultaneously. As with the Jason Peters negotiations mentioned on Monday, there are two parts to the deal.

First will be the negotiations between the Eagles and the acquiring club over the compensation for McNabb. Related to that, however, is the financial compensation for McNabb beyond 2010. Were a team to acquire him without a contract extension, it would, in effect, be renting him for the season while preparing another player for the future.

Acquiring McNabb without an accompanying contract extension would (or should) merit far less in trade compensation to the Eagles than acquiring him with an extension, thereby securing McNabb as a long-term solution at quarterback. That is, of course, unless the acquiring team is the Raiders.

Why would the Raiders acquire McNabb without a contract extension?

As we know, the Raiders tend to do things a bit differently, perhaps for that reason alone. Prior to last season, they acquired defensive end Richard Seymour from the Patriots in the last year of his contract and did not secure, or even attempt to secure, a contract extension. Rather, they placed an exclusive franchise tag on Seymour for 2010 and now have Seymour’s services for at least two years – 2009 and 2010 – and about $16 million in exchange for the 2011 first-round pick they surrendered. Using that as a guide, the Raiders might be the one team that would trade for McNabb without an extension.

With JaMarcus Russell due $9.45M this year and McNabb due $11.2M, the Raiders would have $20.65M in cash expense to two quarterbacks, along with the second-round tender signed by Bruce Gradkowski of $1.76M. If they decide to part ways with Russell, they would be on the hook for $3M of his contract, the amount guaranteed for this year, after having paid Russell $36.35M since he arrived in 2007. There may never have been so much paid for so little in the history of the NFL.

Why is McNabb’s roster bonus the defining date for any trade from the Eagles?

As part of a renegotiation last year, the Eagles gave McNabb significant raises from what was due for 2009 and 2010 without any additional years added. Here are some particulars from McNabb’s contract adjustment (it was not an extension) in June of last year:

• McNabb’s 2009 salary of $9.2M was guaranteed, and $3.5M of his 2010 salary of $5M was guaranteed.

• $500,000 ($31,250 per game) of 45-man active roster bonuses were added for both 2009 and 2010.

• $1M ($500,000 per season) of potential Super Bowl incentives were added.

• A $2.8M roster bonus in 2009 was added.

• A $6.2M roster bonus in 2010 was added.

Unlike many large roster bonuses, which are due on or around the first day of the new league year – usually in early March – McNabb’s bonus is due on an express date two months after the start of the 2010 league year, May 5. Obviously, this date was put in to allow the Eagles to evaluate their options and situation after the 2010 draft. Simply, the later the date for the earning of the roster bonus, the more options they may have, or so they would think.

The quid pro quo of the June adjustment was that McNabb was able to have raises in both years with no strings attached in terms of commitment beyond 2010, while the Eagles have maintained the flexibility of paying-as-they-go to McNabb, keeping options open for a future where all of their quarterbacks have expiring contracts.

The May date – as opposed to early March, as in the Michael Vick contract -- was a benefit for the team, allowing the flashpoint timing of the draft to sort out their situation. The issue will take on greater meaning if the draft passes with May 5 hot on its heels. Writing a check for $6.2M raises the stakes, and that must happen if McNabb is still an Eagle on Cinco de Mayo.

Again, we will see, with a date now certain by which McNabb’s home team for the upcoming season will be known.
I hope that clears up a lot of questions that you may have had regarding this situation. It's like I said before, in years before this I did not think there was a chance in hell that the Eagles would ever trade McNabb, even as recently as last off-season. Now I think they are at a point where there is no turning back. Kolb is untouchable. Teams saw Michael Vick throw this off-season. The Eagles can't enter training camp with 3 QBs in the last year of their contract. In years past, I would have been shocked if the Eagles did trade McNabb. This year, I'll be beyond shocked and stunned if they don't.

Eagles 2010 Pre-Season Schedule

Fresh off the presses! Just announced! It is the 2010 Philadelphia Eagles pre-season schedule. Want to know who the Eagles will in meaningless football games? See below!

Week 1: August 13: vs. Jacksonville 7:30 (ETN)
Week 2: August 20: @ Cincinnati 8:00 (Fox)
Week 3: August 27: @ Kansas City 8:00 (ETN)
Week 4: September 2: vs. New York Jets 7:30 (ETN)

Now as far who the starting QB will be in those games remains a mystery right now. As I tweeted last night, there have been almost daily rumors about Donovan McNabb getting traded. If this was all bullshit and if there really were no plans to trade McNabb, the rumors would have been shot down by now. The Eagles organization would have said something. As of now, the only thing they said on the matter were listening to offers. And as far as the crazy notion goes that this is all somehow disrespectful to Donovan McNabb? Dan Levy as you covered with the rebuttal. Basically (and I agree whole-heartedly with his assessment) none of this is at all disrespectful for McNabb. Read this write-up and listen to his 30-minute podcast on the deal as it is quite refreshing to hear someone intelligent discuss McNabb in Philly.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Phinal Phour Is Upon Us!

It started with 65 blogs. It is down to 4. Yes, I am talking about the now locally famous Phield. In the beginning, every Phillies blog known to man was put in a field of 65 similar to the NCAA Tournament and the people voted for the winner. From the beat writers, to newspaper columnists, to purely fan generated blogs, both Phillies related and multi-sport blogs whose coverage includes the Phillies (my blog is not baseball-y enough to have gotten consideration in The Phield as a multi-sport blog), the Phield has seen them all and has seen 61 of them fall by the wayside.

The 4 remaining blogs are the blogs that you might consider the usual suspects (if blogger's real name is publicly known this time but also go by an alias, the alias is in parentheses). The 700 Level written by Enrico Campitelli, Jr., Matt P., Kulp, and Andrew Unterberger. The Fightins written by Mike Meech (, Dash Treyhorn, Chamomiles Davis, Howdy S. Thompson (How Do You Spell Retard?), Tug Haines, Chris Jones, and Patrick Fisher (fuckthemets). Beerleaguer written by Jason Weitzel. The Zo Zone written by Todd Zolecki.

There are no Cinderellas in this Phinal Phour which means the potential for epic showdowns is extremely high. Without a doubt, these are the 4 biggest names in the Phillies blogosphere and all four of them are great in their own special and unique way. But there can only be one champion, and that is where you come in. Voting has begun in the Phinal Phour and The 700 Level is taking on The Fightins (click here for a preview) and Beerleaguer is taking on The Zo Zone (click here for a preview) with the winner to meet for the championship in a few days.

Before I give you the link to vote and my official endorsement of The Phield (I bet you are on pins and needles right now), here is the last and final impassioned plea of all 4 voters trying to win over the Phillie Phaithful.

The Fightins
The Zo Zone
The 700 Level

And now the moment you have all been waiting for. Don't get me wrong, all four are fantastic blogs and are worthy of being in the Phinal Phour. After hours and hours of thinking and all 4 blogs on their hands and knees begging me to endorse them I have officially decided to endorse The Fightins in the Phinal Phour. VOTE FIGHTINS IN THE PHINAL PHOUR! You have until 8:00 PM ET Wednesday to do so. So don't just sit around on your arse and do nothing, vote! All you have to do is click here and VOTE VOTE VOTE! for The Fightins

For updates, follow @ThePhield on Twitter. I will post here The Phield's announcement of the winners tomorrow night as well as the subsequent Phield Championship Match as well as my latest endorsement shall The Fightins falter against The 700 Level.

Dan Carcillo Suspended Two Games For Being A Repeat Offender Who Wears Orange

I can rant about this all day long and you will roll your eyes and think of me as nothing but a stereotypical tin-foil hatty whiny Flyers fan. Instead, I will just show you the video and the rule that says Dan Carcillo should not have been suspended for what happened in this video.

Rule 60.4 Match Penalty: "When, in the opinion of the Referee, a player attempts to or deliberately injures an opponent while carrying or holding any part of his stick above the shoulders of the opponent, the Referee shall assess a match penalty to the offending player."

Dan Carcillo apologized intensely to Clarkson immediately after the high stick. Not 5 minutes after, but immediately after as the two were still dancing on the ice. It was an accident. As the rule states above, you can only get a match penalty if there is a deliberate attempt to injure someone. As you can clearly see with the video and as evidenced by the immediate apology, Carbomb had absolutely 0 intent to injure in that sequence. Now the refs did not know that during the game so I can't fault them that much for sending him off during the game, but really, when you are ruling it a suspension for a deliberate attempt to injure, should not you take into consideration the fact that there was an immediate apology??? This is not a suspension for a high stick in the face. This is a suspension for being a repeat offender in orange. Sigh. Colin Campbell's incompetency strikes again.

RIP Jayson Werth's Beard

We are gathered here today to mourn the death of a legend and an icon. Jayson Werth has shaved. The beard is gone. It's over. Rest in peace Jayson Werth's Beard. We will miss you.

Today is a sad day for the Phillies. We mourn thee, JWerth's Beard and who knows, maybe on some random summer day, you shall rise up from the ashes like the phoenix and live freely, forever and for always.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Mistake Of The Tournament: 11.2 Seconds

Frankly, I am surprised that this mistake has not gotten more coverage in the press today, as after all, this dumb mistake is the reason why the Tennessee Volunteers lost to the Michigan State Spartans. Tennessee made one grave and avoidable mistake in their elite 8 game against the Spartans, and yet, it cost them the whole game. Check out the video below, and before you get intimidated by the 9-minute length, I have set it up so that it begins at the relevant part of the video.

Seeing as CBS and/or the NCAA will likely take it down in a few hours, here is what happened. With the shot clock off and Tennessee with the ball and 28 seconds left, they had the perfect opportunity to win the game. But then Scotty Hopson made one mistake that ensured that his team would not go to the Final Four.....

He shot the ball. With 11.2 seconds left. Thus I ask the rather obvious question, WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU SHOOTING THE BALL WITH 11.2 SECONDS LEFT???? What sense does that make? In this game? Against this team? How dumb can you get?

All you have to do is ask a Maryland fan what happens when you attempt a game winning shot with too much time left on the clock. And the Terps only left Sparty with 6.6 seconds in that ill-fated 2nd round game of 8 days ago. Why are you giving Michigan State 11.2 seconds to work with? Again I ask, how dumb can you get?

I don't care if it was the best look in the world, you wait until at least the clock says 5 seconds before shooting that ball, that way if you miss on the initial shot, you have a chance for a rebound or a tip in. It's a 1-point lead, Sparty is not going to foul you in that situation, you hold to ensure that either you have the last shot or you force them to outdo Christian Laettner on the 18th anniversary of his game-winning shot at the Spectrum. But under no circumstances do you give Michigan State a whole 11.2 seconds to work with. If they buried a team in 6.6 seconds, what on earth made Scotty Hopson think their defense could hold Michigan State for 11.2 seconds?

But Hopson is not the only one to blame for this grave mistake. Tennessee had timeouts left (emphasis on the plural), why on earth did Bruce Pearl not call a timeout there? Make sure everyone on the team is 100% aware of the situation. You have to make sure there are room for no errors there. You can't just trust that all your players know the situation. Let them know, no matter what, you have to hold the ball for the final shot of the game. And if it's not the final shot of the game, ensure that the last shot of the game is nothing but at least a half court heave or an attempt at a miracle catch and shoot. Under no circumstances do you give a tournament tested team with the best tournament coach of our time 11.2 seconds with which to work and get his team to the Final Four. And for all those people claiming that this is just hindsight, let me ask you this, after Hopson let that ball go with 11.2 left, was there anyone in the country that felt like Tennessee was going to win that game? Or was it a foregone conclusion that Michigan State would drain the last shot of the game, even if it had to be from the free throw line like it turned out to be? I knew instantly Sparty was winning at that point.

And lastly, as evil as it would seem for me to be to call out one of my favorite analysts in any sports, I have to call out Bill Raftery for this one. Maybe he was in NBA mindset for a minute where he was thinking that common strategy would be each team trying to score as quickly as possible and did not say anything because Sparty would make the same mistake that Hopson made and leave Tennesse with more than 1.7 seconds to score again, but how did he not mention that error at all? And even if was the strategy of each team wanting to score as quickly as possible, why wait a whole 17 seconds before shooting with 11.2 seconds left? Here's the link to the MMOD video of the game. Fast forward to the end and this moment and see if there is ever a moment where Raft talks about Hopson's grave error. I can save you the time and tell you there is no mention of it. But if you think I am stupid, you can click on the link, jump it to the end, and see for yourself that in the near 10 minutes from the time of Hopson's mistake to the end of the broadcast, there is no talk of Verne or Raft of that mistake. You are one of the best analysts in the do you not bring that up????

And it's not just Raft. Hardly anyone mainstream is talking about that mistake, and yet, it is something that everyone should be talking about. If not for Hopson shooting too soon, the refs never have a chance to call a questionable foul on Prince sending Sparty to the line and the win. You never give Michigan State another chance to do what they did to Maryland. You control your own fate and destiny in this crazy mixed up world. The Vols had that chance. Scotty Hopson and Bruce Pearl choked. Majorly. Tennessee fans can cry foul to the refs all day long for calling that questionable foul, but it's like I said, why even give that chance? Better yet, why are you giving a team skilled in buzzer beaters a whole 11.2 seconds to score one???? Tennessee did it. Question that foul all day long, it does not matter, Hold the ball longer. Take that last shot with less than 5 seconds left. Hope it's a buzzer beater or Evan Turner did not transfer to Michigan State overnight. If it's a miss, fight for the rebound or the tip in. You have timeouts, use them! Bottom line: Tennessee deserved to lose that game. They made the fatal mistake, the biggest mistake thus far in the tournament. They gave Michigan State too much time. You never do that. Never. Just ask Greivis Vasquez about what they can do in 6.6 seconds. And you can now add Scotty Hopson to that list. Only he will tell you about 11.2 seconds.

Monday Morning Links

Sure it's the afternoon by now, but what better way to get through this slow Monday than with some random sports links, am I right?

OMG Opening Day is exactly a week away and all these cool things will happen then! (I Want To Go To The Zoo With Roy Halladay)

Aspeaking of Opening Day, President Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch in Washington for the Phils opener. (

Why we hate Duke, why Tom Izzo is a great tournament coach, why outside of Bob Huggins, this West Virginia does not represent the state of West Virginia, and why this so called "home-court advantage" for Butler is not as big as the media are making it out to be. (On The DL Podcast)

Meet the Flyers new back up goalie. He can't make it to games on Wednesdays because he has a class he must attend. (SB Nation)

Bad officiating is something not exclusive to the NHL as the Michigan Wolverines found out last night (SB Nation)

Who will join The Fightins and The 700 Level in the Phinal Phour? It's Beerleaguer vs. Crashburn Alley and The Zo Zone vs. Balls, Sticks, and Stuff in the last 2 Elite 8 matches. Vote now! (The Phield)

Great article on why Vancouver Canucks fans hate the Calgary Flames (Nucks Misconduct)

Could it be? The Flyers actually want a young goalie to build around? Are you kidding me? (Broad Street Hockey)

Thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers, the Washington Capitals are now assured home ice advantage in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. (

A look at the Phillies rotation for the first couple weeks of the season (High Cheese)

A recap of WrestleMania XXVI (Keith's Sports Journal)

Coming up later today at FARN, a look at the biggest mistake in this year's NCAA Tournament and Bill Raftery's inability to pick up on it.

DeMarcus Cousins Got All Ball On This Foul

I direct your attention to this hilarious moment from Saturday's Elite 8 game featuring West Virginia and Kentucky.

How on earth is that a foul? DeMarcus Cousins got all ball!

My favorite part was the facial reactions of Da'Sean Butler a). when he first got hit and b). as he tried to walk it off. You can tell he was a man hurting and a man worrying about future kids.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Your NCAA Final Four Schedule And My Thoughts On Each Team

In case you missed it, forget it, or want to see it again, here is the schedule and tip times for the 2010 Final Four to take place on Saturday, April 3, 2010 in Indianapolis.

Butler vs. Michigan State 6:07 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, SR: Tracy Wolfson)
Duke vs. West Virginia Approx. 8:47 (CBS - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg, SR: Tracy Wolfson)

We've got six days now until another meaningful college basketball game is played. My thoughts on the teams are this, one very likable team, 2 meh teams, and 1 utterly detestable team.

Butler is the underdog and frankly, how can you not like them. Sure their games are not the best, but you can't deny that Mack and Hayward and the rest of the Butler Bulldogs are fun to watch. Plus, their college is 8 miles away from Lucas Oil Stadium (if you are wondering about Sparty and last year, East Lansing is some 80 miles from Detroit and Ford Field). If ever a team had home court advantage on a supposed neutral court, it is Butler in the 2010 Final Four. Chance of a championship per the mind of JFein: 10%

Then there is their opponent, Michigan State. Sure they are not the most exciting basketball team on earth either, but you can't help but to respect the job that Tom Izzo does year in and year out on getting his teams through the regionals and into the Final Four. This is Sparty's 6th final four in the last 12 years and it is by no coincidence that that is so. They may be injured, but if there is one coach and one team you can bank on giving it their all in the NCAA Tournament, it is Michigan State. They are always counted out in the beginning of the tournament, and every year they prove all their haters wrong with no silencing being more powerful then the one this year. With all their injuries, no one gave them a chance in hell of making the Final Four, but here they are. Chance of a championship per the mind of JFein: 20%

West Fucking Virginia. At this point, how are they not the odds on favorite to win this whole thing? They won the Big East Tournament and frankly, they have been the most solid team of the bunch in this tournament. Again, another team that may not be the most exciting to watch (that's a recurring theme in this year's Final Four), but they are a good basketball team. We may all hate on Bob Huggins, but at this stage, my favorite player remaining in the tournament has to be Da'Sean Butler. You gotta respect a god clutch player and Da'Sean Butler is exactly that. The only downside of things if West Virginia wins (aside from the whole Bob Huggins is a champion bit) is several couches will be burned in the Mountain State. Chance of a championship per the mind of JFein: 40%

Duke. Oh boy. What is a Final Four if not for Duke? Every year Duke is always detestable and yet this year, it seems like they are even more detestable than normal. What is it about Scheyer, Singler, the Plumlees and the rest of the Dookies that we don't like this year. I guess their overall snobbiness for a start but even though they are probably the last team remaining most willing to open things up, they are still not a fun team to watch. Now does anyone actually believe that Duke can win this? Well look at who they have beaten thus far in the tournament. Arkansas Pine Bluff, California, a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue team, and Baylor. The only real overall solid team on that list is Baylor and they underperformed in today's game. Their biggest test of the tournament will be West Virginia and even though it is my philosophy that you never should go against Tom Izzo in a basketball game, the winner of the West Virginia-Duke Final Four game will be the national champion. Even if that winner somehow just happens to be Duke. Chance of a championship per the mind of JFein: 30%

4 teams.
3 games.
2 days.
1 champion.

The 2010 Final Four is upon us. Are you ready?

A P.S. To Yesterday's Rant

Normally I would just add this as an update to yesterday's rant, but because I don't want to take away from the last paragraph, I will make a brief post on this because not only did the NHL Officials completely flub up the rules in yesterday's Flyers-Penguins game in their process of getting to the call (another screw up in that department was they looked at the jumbotron, something they can't do), but they screwed up the call. Here is photographic evidence that Marc-Andre Fleury was indeed out of the crease at the point of contact and photographic evidence that Ville Leino did his best to avoid contact.

From these pictures, you can see Ville Leino did his best to stop and avoid contact with Fleury (though the refs did rule incidental contact they did not enforce the play as such) by putting on his brakes and Marc-Andre Fleury was at least a foot out of his crease as you can clearly see from the overhead, thus Leino cannot be faulted for said incidental contact.

(Hat tip to Pro Hockey Talk and Broad Street Hockey)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The NHL Is A Fucking Joke

When a YouTube video comes up, I'll use that instead, but for now, fast forward to the 2:30 mark in this video. Just watch.

Now let me direct you to Rule 69.1 clearly stating the following: "Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

Isn't that what just happened? Ville Leino's contact with Marc-Andre Fleury was incidental (i.e. he did not intentionally plow into him) and Fleury was OUT OF THE CREASE when it happened. Simon Gagne then scored the goal, THE REFEREE RULED IT A GOAL, and then reversed it, citing incidental contact. INCIDENTAL CONTACT!!! HE CITED INCIDENTAL CONTACT!!! DID YOU HEAR ME? INCIDENTAL CONTACT!!!! INCIDENTAL CONTACT!!!!

What does rule 69.1 say about incidental contact, again?

"Incidental contact with a goalkeeper will be permitted, and resulting goals allowed, when such contact is initiated outside of the goal crease, provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such contact."

Keep in mind, the initial rule was a goal and they overturned it citing incidental contact with a goalie, when that goalie was clearly outside of the crease when that happened. INCIDENTAL CONTACT!!!!!!!!

After that, it was all hopeless. The Flyers lost all their momentum. Backlund was taken out after the 2nd period for a groin injury, thus forcing Laviolette to play Boucher again. But this is not about whether or not the Flyers will or will not win. Do I believe the Flyers are a Stanley Cup contender this year? No. Do I think we are capable of winning a playoff series this year? No. Would I rather see us lose games ourselves rather than the refs losing them for us? Yeah, because at least that way I can honestly assess the Flyers and the opposition and say they were better. When the refs make the rules up as they go along, it affects the game, it affects momentum, it affects morale, and the game ceases to be a game and becomes a joke. 5-year olds playing a pick up game with no actual referee would call a better game than what these refs did today. As if this was a cake that really needed icing, it is illegal to disallow a goal like that if there are no penalties.

Do I expect perfection from the referees? No. Do I expect them to know and apply the basic rules of the league inside and out when it comes to judging whether or not a goal is a goal? Yes, I do. Is that a crazy expectation? Fuck no it's not. It's like I said a million times in the past few days. Do I think the Flyers are going to win it all? No. Do I think they are good enough to win it all, or even a playoff series? No. Do I think they at least deserve a fair shake from the refs and the league? Yes. Do I think that is asking too much? Apparently it is

And to think this does not even begin to touch upon the other atrocities in this hockey game joke. This does not even begin to touch upon a phantom penalty on Scott Hartnell for touching Sidney Crosby. No. Really. He touched him and got a penalty. This does not even begin to touch upon Matt Cooke's holding the stick of Ryan Parent going uncalled. A non-call that DIRECTLY LED to the Penguins getting their 3rd goal of the game, a goal that would further break the backs of the Flyers in this game.

But you know what, for all the rule citing, none of it matters. Take your copy of the NHL Rulebook and throw it away. Rip it up, tear it to shreds, take a bottle of gasoline, pour it on the remaining shreds of the rule book, and light it on fire. Throw the damn thing away and light set it ablaze in flames. You won't be the first one to have done it. That honor belongs to the NHL.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Your NCAA Elite Eight Schedule

Well that was a fun Sweet 16! We may have lost St. Mary's, Washington, Cornell, and Northern Iowa, but we still have a 6 seed and a pair of 5 seeds and 4 good looking basketball games to look forward to tomorrow. Are you ready for the Elite 8? (all times eastern)

Saturday, March 27, Window 1
#5 Butler vs. #2 Kansas State 4:30 (Salt Lake City - Gus Johnson and Len Elmore)

Saturday, March 27, Window 2
#2 West Virgina vs. #1 Kentucky 7:05 (Syracuse - Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas

Sunday, March 28, Window 1
#6 Tennessee vs. #5 Michigan State 2:20 (St. Louis - Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)

Sunday, March 28, Window 2
#3 Baylor vs. #1 Duke 5:05 (Houston - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)


Oh, Gus, we really did miss you and your awesome screaming in the NCAA Tournament! What a night he had. For all the bad luck he has had in the past few years, he can now say that in what has been a wild and incredible tournament, he called the Game of the Tournament. But before we go there, let's get to this little thing called Butler upsetting Syracuse in a close game, shall we?


Priceless Gus Johnson. It is worthy to note that before that Gus did have his moments of complete freakout in that game, although aside from the highlight videos that everything out, I can't seem to find anything.

And that maybe because the game he called after that one trumped it by a wide margin. Here are your late 2nd half and overtime game and Gus Johnson highlights of what was undoubtedly the game of the tournament, quite possibly the game of the college basketball season thus far, and maybe even an overall game of the year candidate. I present to you this highlight video starring Kansas State, Xavier, Karl Hess, and Gus Johnson.

"Let's it go AND BURIES IT!" - GuJo on a K-State 3 to put them up 3 with 23.6 to go.
"Here comes Holloway with the screen, OH HE'S FOULED ON THE SHOT!" - GuJo on the shooting foul behind the arc.
"WE'RE HEADING TO OVERTIME!" - GuJo. Self explanatory.
"Holloway, turns, fires OH HE MADE IT AGAIN! - GuJo on a Holloway 3 that tied the game with 46 seconds left.
"Holloway, he's shown a flare for the dramatic. Holloway! 11 to go! Holloway! Holloway gets it out. Crawford! 8! Crawford's gotta HURRY! UP..OOOHHHH!!!!!!!! HE'S TIED IT! CLEMENTE! CLEMENTE FIRES....AND WE'RE HEADING TO DOUBLE OVERTIME!! WHAT A GAME! INSTANT CLASSIC ON THE CORNER OF JOHN STOCKTON AND KARL MALONE DRIVE!" - Gus Johnson calling the final seconds of the first overtime.(Len Elmore's screaming drowns out the "OH!" but if you listen closely you can still make it out.)
"Redford a 3. Off the glass and no good and that's it! Kansas State advances to the Elite 8 with a double overtime win over Xavier! 101-96!" - Gus at the end of the game.

Now for some talk about the game. Yes, Karl Hess did mess up that call at the end of regulation. Yes there was a foul before the shot before the foul in the act of shooting behind the arc was called. Yes, Karl Hess was given a get out of jail free call by Kansas State holding off Xavier and winning one of the most thrilling and exciting NCAA Tournament games we've seen in quite some time.

Now back to Gus. If you think that we are the only ones that talk about Gus Johnson, think again.

Check this out:

As the seconds were winding down in double overtime, Gus Johnson was the #1 Worldwide Trending Topic on Twitter. How cool is that.

And yes, I was at first disappointed that Gus got the West region. I figured that out of his three possible destinations (Houston is the excluded destination for the obvious reasons; Nantz's hometown and Duke), SLC was the least attractive of the bunch. Boy was I wrong. We are yet to see what takes place in St. Louis but last night Salt Lake City saw a close and exciting upset, even if at times it was not the most beautiful basketball game ever played, and that was followed by the Kansas State-Xavier thriller that was without a doubt the game of a tournament filled with great games. On the other hand, the games in Syracuse set basketball back a few decades.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Your NCAA Sweet Sixteen Announcing Schedule (UPDATED WITH SOME MORE MAPS)

The schedule is already up and CBS has sent out a press release regarding the announcing assignments so without further ado, let's do it to it. Here is your schedule for the games next Thursday and Friday and I must say, I am very surprised with what CBS has decided to do. (all times eastern; games I get are in bold)

Thursday, March 25, Window 1 (Click here for coverage map)
#5 Butler vs. #1 Syracuse 7:07 (Salt Lake City - Gus Johnson and Len Elmore)
#11 Washington vs. #2 West Virginia 7:27 (Syracuse - Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas)

Thursday, March 25, Window 2 (Click here for coverage map)
#6 Xavier vs. #2 Kansas State Approx. 9:37 (Salt Lake City - Gus Johnson and Len Elmore)
#12 Cornell vs. #1 Kentucky Approx. 9:57 (Syracuse - Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas)

Friday, March 26, Window 1 (Click here for coverage map)
#6 Tennessee vs. #2 Ohio State 7:07 (St. Louis - Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)
#10 St. Mary's vs. #3 Baylor 7:27 (Houston - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)

Friday, March 26, Window 2 (Click here for coverage map)
#9 Northern Iowa vs. #5 Michigan State Approx. 9:37 (St. Louis - Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)
#4 Purdue vs. #1 Duke Approx. 9:57 (Houston - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)

Yeah. You're not the only one that is surprised. Why on earth would you not put GuJo in Syracuse or St. Louis where he could call some potentially dramatic upsets? Better yet, why on earth are they sending Grandpa Dick all the way out east to get the big potential upsets? I love Enberg and I admit I have not heard a lot of him this tourney, but does he really still have it in him to handle the moment when an Ivy League team beats a #1 seed to advance to the Elite 8? I'll repost this later in the week when I find out what games I am getting, but here are my best guesses (which while not always published, have been all correct for every Window except Sunday's 2nd Window).

Tennessee/Ohio State

(Update: 4 for 4, bitches. 4 for 4.)

Boy I hope that last one is wrong and I get NIU-Sparty instead of Purdue-Duke but I can't recall a time in the NCAA Tournament where KYW and WYOU did not show a Duke game as our main feed. MMOD, here I come!

(Hat tip to Fang's Bites for the Press Release)

The Most Frivolous Sports Lawsuit Ever

When I first heard of this story earlier this week, I did not want to touch it with a ten foot pole, due to, well, quite frankly, you never know who is reading or what mess you can get yourself in by posting something you feel is harmless fun. It all started when porn star Samantha Ryan posted this video for, entitled Top 5 Reasons Being A KU Fan is Better Than Being A Kentucky Fan (note: this was before the loss to NIU). I am not going to name the reasons here, but you can click on the link and watch the brief PG-video involving a porn star for yourself. It really is nothing more than a standard trash talk from a KU fan (Samantha Ryan) to Kentucky fans. There are some decent zingers but nothing over the top or outlandish, although it should be mentioned that she proudly declared she was in the movie Girls Kissing Girls.

Anyway, out of good-natured fun, Kentucky Sports Radio (which, believe it or not, is nothing more than a sports blog) decided to post a reply/parody to Samantha Ryan.

What followed a few days later was a letter from Samantha Ryan's attornety threatening to sue KSR for defamation of character. Seriously. In the following blockquote from Kentucky Sports Radio is the letter from Samantha Ryan's attorney to KSR and KSR's reply to the letter.

Dear Mr. Jones,

We are attorneys for Samantha Ryan. We have been alerted to the following article (enclosed) currently posted on your website

Top 5 reasons being a UK fan is better than being Samantha Ryan

(1.) We are content with the fact that most of our guys could be “one and done.” Samantha Ryan can’t stomach the thought

(2.) Kentucky can take six highly touted recruits, combine them with seven hungry players, and make the best team in the nation. Samantha Ryan can take 13 guys, at once, and make her father disappointed.

(3.) A great day to UK fans includes bourbon and horses. A great day to Samantha Ryan includes bourbon and… well… horses.

(4.) UK fans erupt after watching the Wildcats’ good penetration, going back door, and slamming it in. On second thought, Samantha does, too.

(5.) Earlier this season, Ben Roethlisberger came in Rupp Arena…Hmmm we’re not so different after all.

Are you sure you’re not a Kentucky fan, Samantha?

The above statements are false and defamatory. We have also been informed of similar defamatory statements and statements that portray our client in a false light made on the air. These statements constitute actionable defamation and false light. Further, there is an unauthorized photograph of our client on the site.

We hereby demand that you immediately remove the article from your website. We also demand that in its place, you post a correction stating that the statements made were untrue. We also demand that you correct on air the fact that the statements made about our client on your broadcast were untrue.

Please provide proof of correction to us immediately. If we do not hear from you, we will seek an injunction and damages.



There goes my peaceful Sunday afternoon. When I first read the email, I must admit that I assumed it had to be a prank. Because the KSR legal staff (right now me…but feel free to apply) has been working extra hours recently dealing with whiny complaints from entities near and far, my assumption was that one of my friends had tried to think of the most ridiculous lawsuit possible and then sent the letter. “Hey I got it…what would be the most bizarre thing we could do Hubby? I got it, lets act like we are lawyers and say that KSR defamed a porn star…Matt will love it.” But then I inspected the email, looked online, and sure enough….Michael and the letter were real.

Now one could quickly ask two question. First, who in their right mind would think that Drew’s article was serious? Samantha Ryan had written an article entitled “Top 5 Reasons Being a KU Fan is Better Than Being a Kentucky Fan.” , and Drew responded with what is so obviously a PARODY that no one in their right mind could think it was true. Look at that list again…really Michael? You guys think THAT was supposed to be fact based? And then step 2, does anyone really believe that even if that list were true and not a parody, that it would be possible to defame her with it? One quick internet search provided by the Turkey Hunter showcased a slew of “movies” Ryan had been in with titles that were more risque than anything ever even fathomed to be put on KSR. And Drew’s blog post ruined her reputation? Child please!

So I decided, it was time to call Michael and try to work this out. What followed was a 30 minute phone conversation so surreal that I am not even sure it really took place. Michael went one by one through Drew’s list of five and said why each of them were (a) not true and (b) needed to be removed. Good taste prevents me from recounting that conversation in detail, but lets just say that the Turkey Hunter was in the background and I am not sure I have ever seen him laughing harder at anything. At one point Michael even said, “you also suggest she drinks bourbon…she does not drink bourbon!” I responded, “you are telling me that a famous porn star believes she was defamed because we said she drinks bourbon???? You cannot be serious!” Michael said he indeed was and that he was taking this matter very seriously. I suggested to him that it couldnt be all that seriously since he was alleging we said things “on the air”, when we dont even have a show in which to say something on the air and he then responded, “well it may have been on Twitter or something like that.” Yeah maybe.

So I then asked Michael what he wanted. He demanded a retraction and the post be removed. I then went into full “lawdog” mode and said this: “Look, the post is off the front page now, and no one will ever see it again. BUT if you want it removed, I will. However when I do it, I will post a NEW post about this story and it will only make things worse by bringing it up again. Your client really can’t want that, can she.” I was assured that yes, that was what Samantha wanted. I then asked well, what if I dont do it. He said that he would then look to all legal remedies, including a potential case against KSR and Drew Franklin individually. I then lost is for a second and said this:

“This is beyond ridiculous and seriously must be a dream. You mean to tell me that you are going to sue us for a silly blog post that is clearly in jest when your client is a PORN STAR! And sue us for what? What could possibly be her damages? She does pornography for a living and you think somehow we have somehow sullied her reputation? Are you serious? And sue Drew individually? Do you understand that Drew does not currently have a job and wears velcro shoes? What exactly are you suing him for, his hair gel?”

Michael however would not budge and demanded a correction. Even though we did nothing wrong and Drew (god love him) did not defame anyone, I agreed to give one. But as I promised him, the retraction would be done KSR-style. So here we go. If anyone out there believed that Drew was serious and that Samantha Ryan did not like “one and dones”, knows Ben Roethlisberger, drinks bourbon or did any of the other things Drew jokingly suggested, then let me say, KSR was parodying the situation and was not saying it has any knowledge of any of it being truthful. Further, if any of you thought that was true, seriously get out of the house and try to understand what is parody and what is not. To whatever extent anyone could have even fathomed that Drew was doing anything but writing his normal, insulting nonsense, KSR apologizes. We know nothing about Samantha Ryan beyond her movie career titles and wish her nothing but the best. KSR would never sully the reputation of anyone intentionally and certainly not someone like Samantha. Drew, along with the fans of Northern Iowa, would like us all to move past this.
So let me get this straight, a porn star is suing a website because the website made porn star jokes after she put herself out there to be made fun of by having filmed such a video? I see. In that case, Andy Reid should sue me for everything because in the mind of this delusional attorney, he would win. Posting light-hearted jokes about someone in a parody of something that someone posted first is not defamation of character. Somebody should give these fellows a lesson in free speech real darn fast because frankly, this is beyond frivolous and just reading about this whole situation makes me laugh my ass off. I mean really? Threatening to sue someone over the above quoted blog post. Are we sure this lawyer did not get his degree at Whatsamatter U?. Oh, shit. I just made a sarcastic joke about someone whom I don't know. I guess I receive a letter in the mail threatening a lawsuit in a few days.

The Carnival Is Back In Town

Isn't this time of year the best? Seriously. There have been countless rumors going around that Team X and Team Y are interested in Donovan McNabb and then there is the standard the denial that no offer is on the table and so on and so forth. But a curious set of statements today followed by the most concrete rumor we've ever heard on the matter makes it seem like the Donovan McNabb error may really be coming to an end.

The day started with a statement from Andy Reid.

``I’m listening (to offers) out there,’’ Reid said at the NFC coaches media breakfast. ``I’m not saying I’m doing anything. But we’re keeping our ears open.’’
This is the first time that Andy Reid has ever wavered from his position of "sod off and die, we are not trading McNabb". It was reported about a month of so ago that the Eagles FO wanted to trade McNabb but Andy Reid was playing the role of the holdfast. Now that it seems Reid is letting up on what has always been a firm stance of the Eagles are not trading McNabb, perhaps something is imminent.

But, that was just the start of what was a wild day for the Eagles. Later on in the early afternoon, Donovan McNabb had a few words on the situation himself via his blog.

I was asked to respond to statements made at the NFL owners meetings that the Eagles would entertain offers to trade any of their three QBs. Here is my response:

"My position hasn't changed. I've said all along that I would like to win a Super Bowl and finish my career in Philadelphia.

"I understand the situation well and just hope whichever direction the Eagles decide to go in, they do it quickly. I think that would be best for me, Kevin, Michael, the Eagles, and any other teams involved. No matter what happens, I've already begun preparing to have an outstanding season in 2010."
He says he wants to stay and finish his career in Philly, but does that last paragraph really sound like he is optimistic that he is returning next season?

But the bombshell of the day was dropped earlier this evening by Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane.

The Eagles have an offer on the table that would give them St. Louis' second-round draft pick (33d overall) in exchange for McNabb, according to a league source. The deal, however, is "not yet completed," and the Eagles have other offers, the source said.

The Eagles had no comment. Rams general manager Billy Devaney told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he has not "talked to Philadelphia about any of their players."

Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe could also be involved in the deal, according to speculation. Atogwe is a restricted free agent that has yet to sign his tender. He couldn't be traded until he signed his tender, which was at the lowest level.

McNabb would be willing to go to the Rams if he was given a contract extension, according to a source close to the situation. He would not be willing to play for Buffalo or Oakland, two moribund franchises that might be willing to take McNabb without an extension.
That rumor pretty much shook the foundation of Eagles fandom. The 33rd overall pick for Donovan McNabb? Immediately my thought was, if this offer is on the table, and the Eagles were to turn it down, then for Andy Reid an eternity with Beelzebub and all of his hellish fiends would be nothing short of a picnic in paradise in comparison to what I would do to him if I ever got him alone in a dark room for 5 minutes with a sharp, pointy pencil in my grasp.

Sadly, a couple of hours after that story broke, the Rams issued what may have been the most vehement denial in the history of denials.

Per Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rams G.M. Billy Devaney says that report of a trade is "[a]bsolutely false" and "utterly ridiculous."

Howard Eskin of WIP echoes that report, citing an unnamed high-ranking Rams official who said that the Rams have never even spoken to the Eagles about McNabb.
Well then. So much for that one.

So after all that, what are we left with? Well, reports have been floated and around and substantiated that there is not a single person in the NFL that would touch Vick with a 10 foot pole, let alone sign him on their team. Cross him off the trading list. The Eagles value Kolb more than anything and unless some team has concocted a plan to give us 8 first round draft picks for him, then Kolb will be an Eagle next year. Cross him off the trading list. It is also highly doubtful that the Eagles want to keep all 3 QBs again next year, so at this point, the odd man out is Donovan McNabb. We've known for awhile that teams are interested in him and it is becoming more and more clear that the Eagles are willing to listen to other team's offers. More specifically according to Jay Glazer, the Bills and the Raiders as well as two other unnamed teams have interest in trading for the Pro Bowl Eagles starting QB. I will go out on a limb and say that those unnamed teams are some combination of St. Louis, Minnesota, Arizona, and Seattle.

If you are looking at what would be a solid deal if you are talking a straight up trade for McNabb, look for a 2nd round draft pick at best and at worst a 3rd round draft pick. And another thing here is that the Eagles are the same team that traded for Jason Peters and signed Michael Vick behind everybody's back. No one rumors were ever out beforehand and no one knew until the deal was done.

Just like it was last July and December when the Phillies were trying to get Roy Halladay, the carnival is back in town. Strap yourselves in, it's going to be a wild ride.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Can Toronto Possibly Call This No Goal? And Other Officiating Atrocities From Tonight's Flyers Game

Click for larger. The puck is at least 1/8 an inch over the line! It should be clear from this picture and everyone that is not blind that this is a goal. The puck was knocked into the net by Kimmo Timonen for the Flyers goal to bring them within 1 in the 3rd period of what was before a 2-0 hockey game. Yet after looking at it for over 5 minutes, the league concluded that the puck was not over the line. Click for larger and clearer if you must.

Though that was not the only crime by NHL referees against the Flyers. Consider this incident, while ignoring the idiotic commentary of from Garry Galley who would not know textbook boarding if right above the boarding there was a huge neon sign saying "THIS IS WHAT BOARDING LOOKS LIKE, RECOGNIZE IT YOU DUMB TWIT"

Is there any intelligent hockey fan that can tell you that that was not boarding. And to Galley's point that you can't trust a guy not to hit you, well, you can't trust that, but you should be able to trust that someone is not going to send you flying 4 feet headfirst into the boards, that's for sure. And for the ignorant dingbats who think that Gagne may have embellished.......this is a man that has had 3 concussions in his career. Why would he send himself flying head first into the boards like that???

All in all, that was not called, but 5 minutes for fighting in Gagne were. Oh, and 2 minutes for Gagne for instigating. And another 2 for something about instigating with a face shield. And a 10-minute misconduct. What did Volchenkov get? 2 minutes for roughing for that scrum. And I am not even going to blame Gagne. The refs missed a blatant elbow call earlier in the game by Volchenkov on Carcillo. It had become quite clear that the referees were in no business to call penalties on dirty plays by Senators and seeing as they were not going to stand up for him, Gagne had no choice but to stand up for himself. And I don't even care that he got penalized, he absolutely did the right thing by going after Volchenkov. It resulted in a 7-minute PP for Ottawa (which Philly killed all of, by the way) but I could not be happier for him. It's about time someone on this team stuck up for themselves and it's about damn time we saw some damned emotion out of a team lacking it. They did not convert it, they did not win the game, but if the NHL and the referees are not going to stand up for Simon Gagne, then he had every right to go after Volchenkov like that. And I applaud him for it.

You can call me a whiny Flyers fan all day long and delusionaly discredit everything I am saying because of that, but does any of that change what is so painfully obvious? Can you see for yourselves that the puck was across the line in that picture? Can you see for yourselves the textbook boarding job that Volchenkov did on Gagne? And look, I am not even saying the Flyers would have won that game if not for the refs. They played an inconsistent game and failed to convert on the PP opportunities they did have, but were they given a fair shake in this game? Absolutely not. Do hockey fans in general deserve better than this? Yes they do.

In his game recap at Broad Street Hockey, Geoff Detwiler summed it up the best.

Any casual fan watching this game must have been left asking what is wrong with the NHL. The answer is that games like this are all too common. Before getting all "The NHL hates Philadelphia", know that these sorts of things happen everywhere. Detroit has had some of the most ridiculous calls go against them, and they've surely lost count. Matt Cooke goes unsuspended. Hell, Mike Richards didn't get suspended. Alex Ovechkin is constantly in the middle of these debates. It isn't anything against Philadelphia. It's the NHL.

Update: If you want to watch the highlights of the game which include what the waved off Timonen goal looked like, you can watch the highlights here. That play starts at the 6 minute and 48 second mark. For you curiousity seekers who want to know how Jim Jackson, Bill Clement, and Steve Coates reacted to the Gagne hit, fast forward go to the 4 minute, 25 second mark.

Eagles Sure Up Their Backfield, Sign Free Agent Running Back Mike Bell

I may have something up tonight or tomorrow on what was nothing more of an abortion of a hockey game today, but I will start out my next pair of posts on a more positive note with the Eagles. The Saints had their week to match the deal the Eagles were giving Mike Bell and they have decided not to match it. Thus, the Eagles now have that veteran running back they needed behind LeSean McCoy and perhaps a 3rd back to make for a McCoy-Weaver-Bell 3-headed monster coming out of the backfield. That is, assuming that Andy Reid decided to actually run the ball.

It's a 1-year offer for Bell and while I see some potential problems for him if the Eagles do not improve their offensive line, I think this is a good move for them. Bell averaged 3.8 yards per carry last season with one of the best offensive lines in the league. I am a tad worried about what he will do with an offensive line in Philly that is nowhere near as good as the one he had in New Orleans. I know it may seem contradictory, but the Eagles needed a veteran running back and he is probably one of the top remaining backs that fit that category. Besides, I can now breath easy knowing that LaDainian Tomlinson won't be coming here.

That's all I have on this, as frankly, the NHL has me too pissed off right now. I'll have something up on that soon.

This Is Just Awesome

Study the above bracket for a second. Click on it to see a clearer, enlarged version of it.

I love this kind of shit. And this is just flat-out awesome.

Given the number of upsets we had in this tourney, surely you would think no one had a perfect bracket. None of the 4.78 million who entered their bracket on ESPN did. But as you can see above, one bracket was perfect. This is the pre-tournament filled out by 17-year old Alex Herrmann. Up to this point, there is not a single mistake on it.

Now I know what you are thinking at this point. Surely this is a joke, right? Surely this was just some goofball kid who entered this as a joke or some hardcore UNI hardcore UNI bandwagon fan who does not know shit about college basketball outside his own team, right? After all, how could you possibly seriously have UNI and Cornell in the Sweet 16 AND on top of all that to have upsets of Ohio beating Georgetown and to go against the grain and not pick the upset of Siena over Purdue, something every upset-minded person thought would happen? Whatever it is you think, you are probably wrong. Unless of course you guessed that Alex Herrmann is a teenager with autism and this bracket is a 100% serious attempt by Herrmann who has memorized stats like, frankly, only autistic savants can. NBC Chicago has more about this and more about Alex.

he picked every game through the first two rounds correctly. The odds of anybody doing that? One in 13,460,000, according to It's easier to win the lottery. Twice.

"I'm good at math," Alex, a Glenbrook South High School student, said. "I'm kind of good at math and at stats I see on TV during the game."

Alex entered the bracket on's bracket challenge. His 24-year-old brother Andrew, who helped him enter his picks into CBS' bracket manager, also entered the contest -- and ranks behind 500,000 other people.

“My bracket is totally shot,” hist 24-year-old brother Andrew said. “So is everyone else I know."

ESPN estimates around 4.78 million played in their bracket challenge, but no one picked all the games correctly. The leader at ESPN’s bracket has already missed four games.

But Alex Hermann's miraculous bracket is still a picture of perfection.

Andrew is still shocked --- after looking it over for the umpteenth time, he told his mother to alert the media.

"I checked his bracket and it was off the chart," Andrew said. "I thought it was big deal."

Alex doesn't get anything for perfection. He entered one of three bracket games offered by CBS -- the only one without a prize attached.

Alex’s basketball knowledge could have been worth a fortune. One of the other CBS games offers a prize of $5,000 per round. Other sites offer even more money -- Yahoo offers $1 million for a perfect bracket; offers $13 million.

“If he would have won any money he would have just saved it,” his mother Diane said. "He's a big saver."

Of course, everyone wants to know Alex’s secret. He says there's none.

"I watched each team this year and saw the size of the player and looked at the stats," Alex said.

There are still four rounds remaining, so it could fall apart -- the odds of a perfect wire to wire bracket is about 1 in 35,360,000 by some measures or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000 by others.

Alex picked Purdue to win the whole thing. That just happens to be his brother’s alma mater.

“They’re his favorite for that reason, Diane said. Or maybe he knows something no one else does.

CBS did not return several phone calls to confirm Alex's entry -- and the software does allow changes after the tournament begins. But the Hermann's insisted that they filled out their brackets as a family before the tournament started, and haven't touched the picks since.
How amazing is that?

Right now I am thinking that every Purdue fan alive that has learned about this are instantly going to Las Vegas to bet their life savings on the Boilermakers.

And just like that this tournament has an added layer of drama now that we've got a perfect bracket through the first two rounds. I'll be sure to keep an extra eye on it as we go through the rest of this tournament and I will try to alert you if any team were to upset young Alex Herrmann's perfection.

So You're In The Mood For Promos From 1987

It's amazing some of the random things you find through Twitter. Someone with no life of their own today decided to put together a 9-minute compilation of WTAF-TV 29 promos on YouTube. Trust me, it is a good thing that I was not around to critique these back then. Some are decent, but the guy in a Detroit Tigers hat promoting kids shows scares the poop out of me. Enjoy Philly Fox 29 from 22 years ago!

That Phillies promo was one of the coolest things I've seen from the olden days. And wait a minute? Scooby Doo? Wasn't this around the time when that worthless show was finally jumping the shark? Wait? What? The show had already been running 19 years at that point? Sheesh. It must have been doing hurdles over the shark in 1987, and to think I have not gotten over the point that it is still on today.

The other thing that amazes me are all of the lameass cartoons Fox aired back then. Really? Ducktales? You mean to say that people actually watched that? Then again, I guess people did think that dressing like that make them look presentable, so I guess it is feasible. That creep in the Detroit Tigers cap is going to give me nightmares. I just know it.

Is it safe to conclude that the only redeemable television show that came out that year was Blackadder the Third?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Grading The Announcers: 2010 NCAA Tournament 1st And 2nd Round Edition

If I remember correctly, I am pretty sure I put something up last year grading the announcers for the NCAA Tournament in the first couple rounds. Well guess what? I am doing it again, bitches. And in fairness to keep my judgment of the teams to what they did this year, I have not looked at what I wrote about them last year (although if I ever find the post again, it would be pretty neat to compare the two from year to year). Now when doing this, I am not ranking them in any particular order, but rather analyzing the body of work, and giving them a grade based on that. If you want to interpret the different grades as a means of ranking, then go right ahead, but for the sake of ease, I am doing them in reverse order from the depth chart. So here ya go!

8. Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel - Maybe they were the product of low expectations, but I will tell you what, I feared the worst when Spero Dedes replaced Craig Bolerjack, the only thing remotely positive about this crew. No review of Dedes' work I had read before this had ever been positive. Most said he was unenthusiastic, bland, and boring. From what I heard this tournament, that could not have been further from the truth. He was into the game and while he is no Gus Johnson, he did deliver solid buzzer-beating calls when he got the opportunity and overall sounded very into the games. Was he perfect? No, as Mookie pointed out in the live blogs, he made several mistakes during U-Dub's game with New Mexico. But for a 30-year old calling his first NCAA Tourney with freakin' Bob Wenzel, I do not think there was more that you could ask out of Dedes. Aspeaking of Wenzel, he drags the grade down half a letter grade just for being Bob Wenzel. Giggling and speaking in fragments all game is not quality broadcasting. It is the kind of stuff I would expect to hear from a high school kid working a high school game, not a professional working the Big Dance. Overall grade: B-.

7. Tim Brando and Mike Gminski: "The iron unkind!" "It may be spring, but it's Summertime today!" "Hot time Summers in the city" "Meet me in Saint Louie". I know what people think. I want Tim Brando fired. Acutally, that could not be further from the truth. I hope CBS keeps the NCAA Tournament and Brando decides to pull a Jim Nantz on the Masters and work 50 more in his lifetime. I can never get tired at laughing at his cliche and over-the-top puns and in turn, reading other people's hilarious critiques of said puns. It has become a staple of the NCAA Tournament on CBS that I will miss greatly if ESPN takes the reins next year. Somethings are so bad that they are good. Brando's announcing is one of them. That being said, that in no way makes him a quality basketball announcer. The constant puns and wordplay are enough for an F, but Mike Gminski's quality analysis saves this team from that. Overall grade: D.

6. Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel: Does Ian Eagle have cheesy phrases like Brando? Yes. Is he a much better announcer? You betcha. Maybe I am biased in this regard because I have listened and watched Eagle do interviews and seems to be one helluva an awesome person, but the guy is animanted, excited, and enthusiastic, without being too over the top. Jim Spanarkel is never going to wow me, but at the same time, he is not a hopeless case in the booth. Overall grade: B.

5. Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner: There were factors beyond Harlan's control that are contributing to this review. Firstly, the egregious error of saying that NIU was the first MVC team in the Sweet 16 since Larry Bird was probably the fault of someone in the crew giving him misinformation. Secondly, he was not the one that placed himself in Oklahoma City where his alma mater was playing. Thirdly, it was not expected for his alma mater to lose. That being said, you have to be conscious of the situation that you put yourself in and call the game without biases and without favoring one team over the other. Harlan was perfectly fine for the first 58 minutes. But in the last 2 minutes when it mattered the most, Harlan failed. Miserably. You could tell he was not happy seeing his Jayhawks losing. Complete that with the most non-enthusiastic and nonsensical call at the buzzer ("It's the first day of spring, but number one has fallen") that very Brando-esque, and Harlan more than just underwhelmed. This is not a local broadcast. This is a national broadcast of the NCAA Tournament. I don't expect every announcer to yell like Gus Johnson, but I do expect announcer's feelings for one school to not infiltrate the broadcast and it was becoming painfully obvious that Harland could not do it. Complete silence after the Koch dunk (I don't mind silence but I don't think he even acknowledged the dunk afterward), only saying "OHH!!!!!" after the Farokhmanesh three and calling the subsequent offensive foul on Kansas immediately afterwards as if it was just routine and not the foul that ensured the biggest NCAA Tournament upset since George Mason beat UConn and the first time a #1 seed lost in the 2nd round since Kentucky lost to UAB in 2004. That soapbox out of the way, I am enhancing the grade for an overall relatively solid body of work throughout the first couple of rounds and Dan Bonner's performance, who is always one of the best in the tournament. His enthusiasm during those final moments of the NIU-Kansas game was off the charts fun to listen to. Spero Dedes is an inexperienced newcomer. His mistakes are forgivable. Kevin Harlan is a seasoned vet. His poor performance during the upset of the tournament is much more unforgivable. Yes, this is supposed to be the overall body of work, but when that overall body includes the biggest announcer blow job of the tournament, the grade is going to take a beating. Overall Grade: A very generous C+.

4. Gus Johnson and Len Elmore. In a tournament of upsets, Gus and Len once again ended up with clunkers. However, unlike last year, I did not think that Gus was trying too hard to make a big call when there just was not anything there to be made. The distractions from last year were gone (GuJo with the PUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNCH!!!!) and while he did not get the big upset this year, he toned it down a bit for the blowouts and it worked well. Len Elmore works well with Gus as he is much more soft spoken and will not yell over top of Gus. Len is a bore when he has to say a lot. Gus prevents that which optimizes the effectiveness of Len Elmore's analysis. Gus did not have the screaming upset, but that should not detract away from a solid comeback year after the debacle last year. Overall grade: A-.

3. Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas. I will admit, I heard the least of Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas this tournament, so if there is one grade that is poorly skewed or possibly inaccurate, it is this one. I love Enberg, but he just cannot do college basketball anymore. He is a great announcer, but the game is too fast for him. What can I say about Jay Bilas. As of now, he has been right on the money. He said Cornell would go to the Elite 8 and they are one win away from doing so. Cornell dominated both of their games and it was never even close. Bilas works best when he is with McDonough and Raft to lighten the mood. Him and Enberg is not a great pairing for him as Enberg forces him to come off as the know-it-all persona he takes in the ESPN studio. It's nothing against Enberg, he just is not Sean McDonough or Bill Raftery. Overall grade: B.

2. Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. The gold standard of the tournament. For as bad as Verne may be doing football, he is just as good, if not great, doing basketball. Raftery is the perfect partner for him. Everything about them is flawless. Some want Raft to work with Gus Johnson should Enberg retire for good from college basketball and CBS keeps the tournament. I say keep it as it is. Why mess with perfection? Overall grade: A+.

1. Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg. Last year Clark Kellogg was a disaster. This year, I think he has improved in leaps and bounds. Last year Jim Nantz was married. This year he is divorced and free. Kellogg toned it down a lot this year from his constant screaming analysis last year and Nantz is not the dull bore he was when he was married. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like since the divorce he has been much more excitable in the booth. That being said, Nantz can still be too boring and and Kellogg's analysis can still be over the top. They have not reached the Verne/Raft level of perfection, but it is a work in progress and a solid improvement from last year. Overall grade: B+.

Do realize that this is just one man's opinion and not some permanent mark on their resume or something. However, I put a lot of thought into this and in the end, I think everyone was giving their fair shake, even in the case of Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner. If I had nothing but those last two minutes to focus on, he would at best be given a D. I looked at the body of work and gave him a C+. I still feel that is being overly kind on my part, but Bonner deserves better than a C or a C-. I know bashing Harlan is never the most popular thing to do, but I will leave you with this thought. If you were an NIU student/alum/fan and assuming there was no radio broadcast and the only broadcast and call you had to remember this game by was what Kevin Harlan gave you at the end of this game, Harlan's KU background aside, knowing what Harlan has done in the past and what he is capable of, is that a call that you would remember? Or better yet, is "on the first day of spring, number one has fallen" something that you would want to remember? All I'll say is if someone showed me that quote and said it was announcer during the NCAA Tournament, my first question would be "why are you showing me a quote from Tim Brando?"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

And You Thought Ali Farokhmanesh Had The Shot Of The Tourney

Sadly, I don't think that honor is his anymore. What he did took a lot of balls, but I don't think there can be anything more dramatic than what Kore Lucious did to Maryland earlier today. It appeared that Greivis Vasquez had given Maryland the win and the win by hitting a basket with 6.6 left to make it a 1-point game, but thanks to some shotty Twerps defense, Michigan State was able to get the ball to a wide open Kore Lucious and who had an open look from beyond the arc. The rest is history that can be seen in this video.

Wow. What a shot by Lucious and what a win for Sparty.

But Michigan State still has problems. Kalin Lucas injured his Achilles and his unlikely to play on Friday against Ali Farokhmanesh and Northern Iowa. But if there is one thing I can tell you about Tom Izzo and Michigan State it is this: they are never an easy out. Even when half of their starters are out they are still tough to beat and UNI will face quite the challenge in the Sweet 16. I can't wait for March Madness to resume again as this weekend was just an incredible week of hoops.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ninth Seeded Northern Iowa Stuns Kansas

Unbelievable. Ali Farokhmanesh is a real man. In a situation and a time where you should hold on to the ball and kill the clock at all costs, Farokhmanesh took an open 3-pointer that would have had him labeled the dumbest man in college basketball if he missed. He didn't miss.

The final was 69-67 Northern Iowa in the biggest NCAA Tournament upset since George Mason stunned UConn in the Elite 8. For some perspective on this, this was only the 13th time a 1 seed lost in the second round since expansion to 65, making it the 3rd rarest upset kind of upset you could see in the first couple of rounds in the NCAA Tournament, behind only the obvious two of a 15 beating a 2 in the second round (it happened 4 times) and a 16 beating a 1 (never happened). Yes, believe it or not, more frequently (though not by much) as a 3 seed lost to a 14 seed than a 1 seed has lost to an 8 seed or a 9 seed. The last time it happened before today was 2004 when Kentucky (also #1 overall) lost to UAB.

Aspeaking of a 14 beating a 3 seed, here's a little interesting fact that was brought up in the live blog. Before Ohio beat Georgetown, the last time a 14 seed beat a 3 seed was in 2005 when Kansas lost to Bucknell. The arena where they played that 5 years ago? Ford Center in Oklahoma City. The arena where Kansas lost to Northern Iowa today? Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Somehow, I think the Kansas Jayhawks will be better off if they never play in that building again.

Your NCAA Second Round Announcing Schedule

Well we had one thrilling day of tourney hoops and one average day. What will happen in the 2nd round? It all kicks off tomorrow at 12:00 ET with Greg Gumbel, Greg Anthony, and Seth Davis with The Road To The Final Four pre-game show and afterwards at 1:00, the whole nation will be sent to Providence, Rhode Island to see my Villanova Wildcats take on Keith's St. Mary Gaels. And now, without further ado, here is your complete 2nd round schedule for the NCAA Tournament! (all times eastern; games I get are in bold; maps will be up as they become available)

Saturday, March 20, Window 1 (Full national broadcast)
#10 St. Mary's vs. #2 Villanova 1:00 (Providence - Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)

Saturday, March 20, Window 2 (Click here for coverage map)
#13 Murray State vs. #5 Butler 3:20 (San Jose - Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel)
#14 Ohio vs. #6 Tennessee Approx. 3:35 (Providence - Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery)

Saturday, March 20, Window 3 (Click here for coverage map)
#9 Northern Iowa vs. #1 Kansas 5:40 (Oklahoma City - Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner)
#11 Old Dominion vs. #3 Baylor 5:45 (New Orleans - Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas)
#11 Washington vs. #3 New Mexico Approx. 5:50 (San Jose - Spero Dedes and Bob Wenzel)

Saturday, March 20, Window 4 (Click here for coverage map)
#7 BYU vs. #2 Kansas State Approx. 8:10 (Oklahoma City - Kevin Harlan and Dan Bonner)
#9 Wake Forest vs. #1 Kentucky Approx. 8:15 (New Orleans - Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas)

Sunday, March 21, Window 1 (Full national broadcast)
#8 Gonzaga vs. #1 Syracuse 12:10 (Buffalo - Gus Johnson and Len Elmore)

Sunday, March 21, Window 2
#10 Georgia Tech vs. #2 Ohio State 2:20 (Milwaukee - Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel)
#5 Michigan State vs. #4 Maryland 2:30 (Spokane - Tim Brando and Mike Gminski)
#10 Missouri vs. #2 West Virgina Approx. 2:40 (Buffalo - Gus Johnson and Len Elmore)
#12 Cornell vs. #4 Wisconsin 2:50 (Jacksonville - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)

Sunday, March 22, Window 3
#6 Xavier vs. #3 Pittsburgh Approx. 4:50 (Milwaukee - Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel)
#5 Texas A&M vs. #4 Purdue Approx. 5:00 (Spokane - Tim Brando and Mike Gminski)
#8 California vs. #1 Duke Approx. 5:20 (Jacksonville - Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg)

Enjoy the second round of the NCAA Tournament and be sure to check in at Keith's Sports Journal for all of the live blogging fun!

Happy Heartbreak Anniversary To Me

March 20......sigh....

I'll have the full 2nd round schedules up as Sunday's games are made official. And if you're wondering where I've been over the past couple of days, I've been live blogging the NCAA Tourney with 49er16 and the rest of the gang at Keith's Sports Journal. You should join us there.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Villanova Survives!

What a day of hoops. And I right this completely drained of everything I have left.

2-seeded Villanova went to overtime with a 15-seed in Robert Morris and nearly lost. They only won by 3. My heart still has not recovered from watching that game. Somehow I don't think the palpitations will ever stop.

Now Villanova plays the Gaels of St. Mary's (Cal). Samhan and co. could potentially give Nova fits if the team that showed up against Robert Morris. Yarou stepped up big time for Nova today and if Nova wants to beat St. Mary's, he is going to have to have another great game. Scottie Reynolds got a total of 20 points today, but 15 of those were from the charity stripe. He has to step it up as the competition is only going to get tougher from here on out. As overrated as Duke may be, at least they can say they are a better team than Robert Morris.

Join us again tomorrow for the live blogs at Keith's Sports Journal, as the Temple Owls battle Cornell and Gus Johnson takes his turn at this wild NCAA Tournament. And yes, I am aware that Saturday's schedule has been announced. Here is the link to Fang's Bites and I will probably post an entire second round schedule after the games on Fridays.

I love March.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Bracket Finally Revealed And Some March Madness Links

(Editor's Note: Apologies for the dearth of posts during this week but when I have not been simulating games for Stupid Sideline Reporters, I have been swamped with work and trying to get it all done before the tourney begins. You can rest easy knowing that I have not gone AA on you. The schedule post has been updated to include the games I am getting on Friday. I successfully guessed all 8 games correctly. See the end of this post for another editor's note.)

Are you ready? Here you go! Earlier this week I gave you all a sneak preview on Twitter by naming my Final and now I am going to reveal my whole bracket to you. Listed below are my projected matchups for the 2nd round, Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final 4, and National Championship with my Nat'l championship winner listed at the end. And now, the moment you've all been waiting are my brackets.

Midwest Region

2nd Round
Kansas vs. Northern Iowa
New Mexico State vs. Maryland
Tennessee vs. Georgetown
Oklahoma State vs. Ohio State

Sweet 16
Kansas vs. Maryland
Georgetown vs. Ohio State

Elite 8
Kansas vs. Georgetown

Midwest Region winner: Kansas

East Region

2nd Round
Kentucky vs. Wake Forest
Temple vs. Wisconsin
Washington vs. New Mexico
Clemson vs. West Virginia

Sweet 16
Kentucky vs. Temple
Washington vs. West Virginia

Elite 8
Kentucky vs. West Virginia

East Region winner: West Virginia

South Region

2nd Round
Duke vs. Louisville
Utah State vs. Siena
Notre Dame vs. Baylor
St. Mary's vs. Villanova

Sweet 16
Duke vs. Siena
Baylor vs. Villanova

Elite 8
Duke vs. Villanova

South Region winner: Villanova

West Region

2nd Round
Syracuse vs. Gonzaga
UTEP vs. Murray State
Xavier vs. Pittsburgh
BYU vs. Kansas State

Sweet 16
Gonzaga vs. Murray State
Pittsburgh vs. Kansas State

Elite 8
Gonzaga vs. Pittsburgh

West Region winner: Pittsburgh

Final Four
Kansas vs. Pittsburgh
West Virginia vs. Villanova

National Championship Game
Kansas vs. West Virginia

National Champion: Kansas

Kansas may not be as good as the 2008 team (or any other 2008 #1 seed, for that matter), but they will be able to survive and win this tournament, though it will by no means be a dominating performance. This is an experienced team that always finds a way to pull out a win in the end. Last year was a chalk year, this year is shaping up to be an upset year, but even through the upsets, Kansas will prevail this year. And now it's time for some March Madness links!

Don't like my picks? Get advice from a true expert in this field: Dan Levy's 3-year old daughter! (On The DL Podcast)

Or you can ask the Predictalator, which simulated the tournament 50,000 times and came up with these results. (Prediction Machine)

Check out the job Mookie and I did at simulating the tournament with the help of WhatIfSports! East Region, Midwest Region, South Region, West Region, Final Four (Stupid Sideline Reporters)

The first round schedule has been edited to include all of the maps for Friday's games as well. (Fire Andy Reid Now!)

Villanova and Robert Morris are already very familiar with each other (The Nova Blog)

Think Cornell is going to upset Temple? Before you lock it in your bracket, consider Fran Dunphy's record against his former assistants (Soft Pretzel Logic)

A breakdown of every game in the first round: Thursday Afternoon, Thursday Evening, Friday afternoon, Friday evening (Rush the Court)

A breakdown of every region: South Region, West Region, East Region, Midwest Region (Keith's Sports Journal)

65 Phillies Blogs square off in a single elimination tournament to determine the best of the best (The Phield)

Still have not had enough March Madness and brackets? Check out Mammal Madness! (I Want To Go To The Zoo With Roy Halladay)

(Editor's Note: Thanks to my fine professor of my 12:30 PM ET Tuesday-Thursday Literature class that I was originally going to skip to watch the Nova game for moving the midterm up at the last minute from next Tuesday to tomorrow. Now I will sadly have to miss the start of the game as there is no skipping the midterm. He showed us the exam in class yesterday and I am reasonably hopeful that I can finish it in 35-40 minutes, thus meaning I will probably be tuning into Nova and joining you guys at the live blog sometime at Keith's Sports Journal sometime around the back end of the first half, at which point the game will either be a boring blowout or at a Nova Panic stage, neither of which have me giddy with anticipation right now.)