Wednesday, August 29, 2007
So who did we sign? How many 5- Star prospects did we get? What are our recruits ranked nationally? Those are the question we as as fans of our favorite school. We ask these questions from our bars tools during the long off season that is in between the conclusion of the national championship, and kick off in September. If our school was lucky enough to land those highly touted recruits, we raise our beer in cheers to the season that is to come. If you are a student, alumni, or simply a fan, you may have raised a glass in anticipation to the signing of these top recruits. begining their college football careers this season.
All of these recruits are rated as 5-Star Prospects by Scout.com, the numerical rankings nationally were published by Athlon Sports magazine, in their preseason preview:
USC - The Trojans recruit Running Back, Joe McNight, comes to Southern California as the #2 rated recruit in the nation.
Florida - The Gators landed the 16th rated recruit in the nation, in Defensive Tackle, Torrey Davis.
Ohio State - The Buckeyes signed the 25th ranked player nationally when they signed Eugene Clifford, Safety.
Illinois - Ron Zook is brining the 26th best player, Martez Wilson, Defensive End, to Champagne this season.
Florida- the defending national champs also signed the 40th rated player overall, when they signed Line Backer, Lorenzo Edwards.
So this means these guys are going to be All Americans, right? To land a four star recruit is a big deal, but a 5-Star guy, well he’s a slam dunk right? And numbers wise, signing a guy off the top 100 list is the measure of a great recruit, so the Top-40, well that has to be the cream of the crop doesnt it?
Don’t get all teary eyed in your beer just yet, and tell your buddy to stop singing we are the champions on his bar stool next to you. Here is a list of the players, in 2002, ranked at the same spots as these highly touted prep players, as Scout.com 5-Star Players, and numerically by Athlon Sports.
2002 - Prep All America, 5-Stars that were:
Prep Ranking #2 Overall
Ryan Moore, WR - University of Miami, Hurricanes.
Ryan Moore was rated by many analysts as the #2 recruit overall in the entire nation, behind only Vince Young. While Vince Young filled the #1 ranking better than anyone else in the class possibly could have, Moore did anything but live up to expectations. He caught 16 balls a year for his final three seasons, and was suspended by the University for the first 8 games of his senior campaign. He was not drafted in the 2007 draft.
Prep Ranking #16 Overall
Brandon Jeffries, OL - University of Tennessee
Brandon Jeffries spent two years as a Volunteer, but never played in one game. He was never eligible there, transfered to NC State, but could not become eligible there as well. He played for a season at a community college in North Carolina, and finished up his career starting 11 games for the Division II Newbury college Indians, at right guard. He is currently out of football.
Prep Ranking #25 Overall
Dishon Platt, WR - Florida State University
Platt did not play one down in college football anywhere. He failed to gain admission to FSU, transferred to South Florida, but failed to gain eligibility there, and dropped out of school
Prep Ranking #28 Overall
Marquis Johnson, WR - University of Texas
Johnson failed to qualify academically at Texas, and then spent a year at a community college in Kansas. Transferred to Texas Tech with three yeas left, and played only two there. He played in one game in 2004, and in ‘05 caught 13 balls for 74 yards, and 1 TD.
Prep Ranking #40 Overall
Justin Zwick, QB - Ohio State University
Zwick chose to stay home, and attend OSU, where the Buckeye faithful had him pegged to be the second coming of Johnny Unitas. He didn’t quit live up to the hype. He was beaten out by a player recruited as an ‘athlete’ named Troy Smith, who went on to win the Heisman. He was a career back-up at QB.
Don't Believe The Hype, Anything Can Happen
There is not one guy who actually sees all of the high school players play, and ranks him based on what he sees. These rankings are driven by hype, and don’t get too excited about them. Also, out of the 2002 Athlon top 40 recruits list, only two players went on to become 1st round NFL Draft Picks, the aforementioned Young, and Oregon’s Haloti Ngata, ranked 12th as a prepster.
So throw those recruiting lists out this Saturday, come to the bar with your teams colors on, and expect anything. Some guy from Cleveland named Smith, who no one was talking about, could dethrone that next best thing, and one day win the Heisman. Thats why we they play the games.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Just Our Thoughts...
According to the Plain Dealer Sports Section on August 22, the Cleveland Browns are reporting that there were 7 Arrests of Fans, in the stands, at the Browns second preseason game at Cleveland Browns stadium against the Detroit Lions. This number is down from 8 Fan Arrests in the opening preseason game. It was also noted, that in addition to these arrests, there were 86 other, additional, fan ejections in week 1. There were 74 additional Fan Ejections in Week 2.
The Browns are publishing these statistics all season, in attempt to improve fan behavior at games. They should be more focused on the offense.
We here at the Nosebleeds, will be following these statistics as the year goes on to see one thing...
We want to see if the Browns Offense can outscore the amount of Fan Arrests on a per game basis during the regular season.
Its gonna be close, and the Las Vegas money is indicating the 'Arrests per Game' currently has a slight edge over the point production of the Browns Offense.
The Preseason numbers look like this...
Week 1 - Kansas City
Browns Offense: 9 Points scored (Barclay's Special Teams TD gave them 16)
Fan Arrests Week 1: 8
*The Browns Offense edged out a week 1 win over the Fan Arrests by the skin of their teeth. If the beer guy in the upper deck of the Dawg Pound would have served one more beer before last call, the Fan Arrests surely could have turned 2 or 3 of the 86 people ejected, into a Fan that got Arrested, and given the Fan Arrests a win.
Week 2 - Detroit
Browns Offense: 20
Fan Arrest: 7
*The Fan Arrests seemed to have this contest won, until Brady Quinn entered the game for the first time with 9:20 left in the 4th. With the Arrests clinging to a 7-6 lead over the Browns offense, Brady Quinn was able to rally the Browns for 2 TD's against Detroits 3rd string defense.
The regular season...
Not too many people Tail Gate for Preseason football. They will when the regular season begins, and with the excitement of the real game and Tail Gating at its zenith, expect the arrest numbers to increase in the regular season. If the number of Fan Arrests increases to 15 or 16, expect the Browns offense to be in trouble. The Browns offense put up 14.9 points per game last season
Can The Browns Offense Out Rush the Fan Ejections?
Another stat we will be tracking is if the Browns Running Game is able to 'Out Rush' the number of fan ejections in a given game. The Browns rushed for 83.4 yards a game last season. There were 86 Fan Ejections in week 1 of the Preseason, and 74 Fan Ejections in week 2. Its gonna be close.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Just Our Thoughts: Brady Quinn Was Over-exposed, Will Be a Solid Pro
Brady Quinn looked real good last night in his NFL debut for the Cleveland Browns. He entered the game with 9:20 on the 4th quarter clock for the first time since South Bend, and led the team down the field in a commanding fashion. He threw for 155 yards, on 13-20 passing, and connected on 2 touchdown passes of 6 yards each. His final drive began with 1:52 left on the clock and he took the Browns 92 yards for the score. His reads were quick, and right, and he was the best thing the Dawg Pound has seen behind center since Bernie Kosar was in the prime of his career. (My apologies to Ty Detmer, Spergeon Winn, and Don Strock)
Now the fact of the matter is Quinn did do his damage against the Detroit Lions 3rd and 4th string. And it is true, if you can’t play defense for the Lions, you cant play defense in the NFL. In addition to that, it is also true that the Lions were playing what looked to be a ‘prevent the prevent’ defense, almost 30 yards off the ball at times. But nevertheless, Quinn was also playing with the Browns 3rd and 4th string offensive players. And it is safe to say that, over the last few years, if you cant play offense for the Browns than you cant play offense in the NFL. It is also true that 4 of Quinn’s incompletions were intentional spikes (making him 13-16, 2 TD’s). The kid looked good, and the kid looked NFL ready, just like he told us he was.
Quinn’s performance is an example of something that is becoming common in sports today. He is an example of an athlete who was over-exposed on the collegiate ranks, and unfairly criticized. We have seen every game Quinn has ever played in college. Every game at Notre Dame is on national television. We have seen his good days, and we have seen his bad days. We watched him grow, than flourish, and then forced to live up to ridiculous hype as a senior.
We have seen Brady Quinn praised when he won, and criticized when he lost - 41-40. Did Alex Smith have to live up to that at Utah? Had the common fan heard of him until his senior year? He was the first pick overall in the draft. Did Jay Cutler have to live up to that level of scrutiny at Vanderbilt? Are there the same amount of sports fans in this country that hate Utah as much as they hate Notre Dame? How about all of those Vandy haters? People didn’t know who these guys were, and gave them the benefit of the doubt. Everyone knew Brady, and saw him loose to USC, and Ohio State, and said he wasn’t good in the big game. Brady didn't cover Dwayne Jarret, and Ted Ginn though.
I think Brady slipped on draft day the way he did because he was over exposed as a collegiate athlete. It is the same reason behind why certain foreign basketball players get drafted over American collegiate stars. It is my opinion that their will be 21 NFL teams that will wish they picked Brady Quinn in last years draft when it is all said and done. And last night’s Preseason debut is just a glimpse of what’s to come. But what do I know, I’m just a guy from the Nosebleeds.
Friday, August 17, 2007
The Tim Donaghy case has led me to one conclusion. Ronnie Nunn is the worst referee, umpire, official, line judge, or back judge to ever officiate over a sporting event.
That volunteer dad that umped his kid’s 11-12 year old mighty mite game last night to a chorus of boos from the soccer mom’s turned baseball fans is better than Nunn.
And that sophomore in highschool that referreed your kids CYO game last winter, yeah the one that forgot to call any fouls - on either team - during third quarter, and only stopped play to go grab the ball off the stage - that kid was actually a little better than Nunn as well.
Nunn wouldn’t know officiating if it slapped him in the face with a whistle. Why? No, not because he is blind, failed an eye exam, forgot his glasses, fell asleep during the game, or is an obvious alumnus of the opposing team.
(above is a picture of Nunn as a ref, now in the league office as the NBA's Director of Officiating)
And it has nothing to do with the 19 years he spent patrolling the NBA hardwood either as an average ref (according to Ric Bucher's ESPN the mag report).
It has to do with his rating system for the NBA refs. Ronnie Nunn is the Director of NBA Officials. He oversees, and reviews, and rates the performance of the NBA’s refs.
He has, for the past four years, rated Tim Donaghy as a ‘Top Tier’ NBA official. During those last four years, according to court documents made public this week, Donaghy has been fixing the games he’s reffed.
But Ronnie Nunn thinks he’s doing a great job of reffing. Huh?
To be clear, I am not saying that he should have known Donaghy was fixing games, betting on games, or in bed with the Gambino crime family, as is alleged in court documents published on AOL.com, and newspapers everywhere, earlier this week. I give him a pass on that.
But I am asking WHY wasnt Donaghy, AT LEAST, rated as a POOR PERFORMER, under the Ronnie Nunn officiating handbook, and guidelines. Can’t a guy that is deliberately fixing games, at least earn a ‘lower tier ranking', or even a ‘middle tier ranking’? How about average? Maybe even barely meets standards? But no, he is a Top Tier guy. Does a guy fixing games really have to be rated as one of the best refs? Also, refs are REWARDED with their good performance by being assigned to playoff games at the years end. Donaghy has worked the playoffs each of the last four years. Wow.
It was reported through court documents on August 15th that Tim Donaghy plead guilty to “conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.” It was said that “he started making NBA bets four years ago, and he didnt hesitate to wager on games he worked “
Despite the fact that he “did not hesitate to wager on games he worked” David Stern said that “Donaghy was rated in the top tier of officials, and there was nothing suspicious about the frequency of his foul calls.”
A game between the Celtics and the 76ers was cited in court documents. Donaghy worked the game. The point spread moved 2 points before the game went off the board - thats a lot to non-gamblers. Boston went from a 1.5 point favorite, to a 3.5 point favorite. Boston won by 20. The next day it was reported that Donaghy met with gamblers in PA, and received a cash payment.
This was a regular season game. Ronnie Nunn decided that Tim Donaghy work the playoffs as reward for being a Top Tier Ref.
He was assigned to work in the second round of the playoffs, Phoenix - San Antonio, Western Conference Finals game. Robert Horry split Nash’s nose open, and went on to win the series, and the NBA title. The city of Phoenix is reportedly looking into filing additonal charges against Donaghy for his work during that game.
It wouldn't be so bad if Nunn at least determined that Donaghy wasn't good enough to work the playoffs one of the four years he was rigging games. But other refs stayed at home, as Nunn assigned that 'pros pro' Donaghy to go work the NBA Playoff Games. To conclude, I do have to say that I am not a referee of any kind, but I gotta think that Joey Crawford, Dick Bavetta, Bennet Salvatore, and about every other ref in the league could do about a thousand time better job rating refs than Ronnie Nunn's done. But what do I know, I’m just a guy from the Nosebleeds.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Reviewing the USA Today Preseason Polls for 2006
Comparing to the Year End Polls of 2006
A College Football Discussion
USA Today Preaseaon Polls 2007 - What this all Means
Let me be the first to say that September 1st represents all that is good with the world of sports. For on this day, the 2007 college football season kicks off, and is underway. Along with that is the pagentry, the excitement, the 4th quarter finishes, and the hopes of championship glory being played out every Saturday afternoon before our eyes. In order to look out into next season, this edition of Analyze the Analyst first looks back to this date in history, the preseason of 2006.
We will examine the USA Today 2006 preseason rankings, who was in, who was out, and who had to loose 5 and 6 times in a row before they were forced to leave the top 25. We will also take a look at what teams had to be near perfect to enter the top twenty five. We will also ask a couple of questions...are preseason college football rankings fair, why do certain teams seem to get every opportunity possible to succeed under this formula, and who are teams likely to fall out, and fall into this years rankings when the year comes to a close.
Last years 2006 preseason rankings - USA Today
1. Ohio State
3. (tie) Notre Dame
3. (tie) Southern California
7. West Virginia
10. Florida State **
11. Miami (Fla.) **
14. Georgia **
16. Virginia Tech
17. Iowa **
18. Clemson **
19. Penn State
20. Oregon **
22. Nebraska **
24. Alabama **
25. Texas Tech **
In the Final top Twenty Five Poll, 9 Were Not Ranked Anymore...who was out?
Without geting into the specifics of who finished where in the top twenty five, and things like the actual national champ, Florida, was ranked 8th with 7 teams ahead of them in the preseason, and the fact that Notre Dame, preseason 3rd actually finished 19th, or the fact that the teams such as Wisconsin and Boise State, who actually finished the season ranked 5th and 6th respectively, were actually not preseason ranked at all, we want to first look at the who is 'in', and who is 'out', as far as preseason rankings go. There were nine teams that were ranked in the USA Today Top Twenty Five in the preseason, that did not finish in the top twenty five at the years end (after the bowl games/BCS).
The teams that did not finish in the final USA Today Top Twenty Five are indicated with (**) next to their name in the rankings above.
Those Teams, Their Record, Year in Review are as Follows:
Iowa - (6-7) After Iowa beat Purdue on Oct. 7th, they were 5-1 and their preseason ranking did not look all that bad. Their only loss at that point was to OSU. However, they went on to loose 6 of their next 7,losing too Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes only win in that span was against Northern Illinois. However, they had a legitimate bowl match up, unlike Miami and FSU, loosing to Texas by 2, 26-24.
Alabama - (6-7) Their losses were to good teams at least, but three of their six wins included Louisiana Monroe, Duke, and Florida International. They lost their bowl game to Oregon State by 3, and lost their coach, Mike Shula, in the process.
FSU - (7-6) Finished the regular season with a 6-6 overall record. Finished 3-5 in the ACC, saving a winning season with an Emerald Bowl win over UCLA. After loosing to Maryland on Oct-28, they were 4-4 overall, 2-4 in the league, and officially out of contention. They beat Miami in week 1, in one of the worst displays of offense by both teams. They also beat Rice, Troy, and Duke, Virginia, and Western Michigan, to get to 6-6, before winning the Emerald Bowl. Coach Bobby Bowden had to fire his own kid as offensive coordinator at years end.
Miami - (7-6) 6-6 in the regular season. Earned 7th win, and winning season by beating Nevada 21-20 in the Boise Idaho Bowl Game, on December 31st. Larry Coker was fired. They beat Duke, Florida International, Florida A&M, North Carolina, and Houston for five of their 7 wins. Boston College was their 6th and best win, 17-14. They also had the brawl of the season verse FIU, no points for that however.
Oregon - (7-6) They lost to BYU by 30 in their bowl game. They were 7-2 on Nov., 4, then finished the season loosing 4 straight, including a loss to Arizona.
Clemson - (8-5) They had an up and down year, but ended the season down losing to Kentucky in bowl game 28-20. Looked good early, then fell apart, tough losing to Kentucky.
Nebraska, Georgia, Texas Tech - these three teams did experience some disappointments in 2006. Finished the season unranked, but were noted in the ‘Others Receiving Votes’ section of the Top Twenty Five, so...not too bad.
The USA Today, Year End 2006 Top Twenty Five
1. FLORIDA (13-1)
2. OHIO ST (12-1)
3. LSU (11-2)
4. USC (11-2)
5. WISCONSIN (12-1) *
6. BOISE ST (13-0) *
7. LOUISVILLE (12-1)
8. AUBURN (11-2)
9. MICHIGAN (11-2)
10. WEST VIRGINIA (11-2)
11. OKLAHOMA (11-3)
12. RUTGERS (11-2) *
13. TEXAS (10-3)
14. CALIFORNIA (10-3)
15. BYU (11-2) *
16. ARKANSAS (10-4) *
17. WAKE FOREST (11-3) *
18. VIRGINIA TECH (10-3)
19. NOTRE DAME (10-3)
20. BOSTON COLLEGE (10-3) *
21. TCU (11-2)
22. OREGON ST (10-4) *
23. TENNESSEE (9-4)
24. HAWAII (11-3) *
25. PENN ST (9-4)
9 teams that finished in the USA Today Final Top Twenty Five, were not ranked at all in the preseason.
Of the nine teams that finished the season ranked, only to be unranked in August, three of those teams were not from a power conference. Boise State, Hawaii, and BYU.
Boise had to go a perfect 13-0, and beat Oklahoma to get in. Other surprise teams included Wisconsin, Arkansas, Boston college, Wake Forest, Rutgers, and Oregon State
The nine teams that were not ranked in the preseason USA Today Poll, but finished that were are indicated with a single (*) next to their name.
The highest ranked of those teams, Boise State, had to go 13-0 to get there, including a Bowl Game win over Oklahoma, preseason ranked 5th, and ended the season after that loss ranked 11th. Hawaii had to go 11-3 to sneak in, and BYU had to go 11-2 to sneak into the top 15. Wisconsin came out of nowhere to finish fifth, Rutgers shocked the country, BC, Arkansas, Oregon State, and Wake also played their way into the top twenty five.
Preseason Rankings are unfair
We, here at News From the Nosebleeds, believe that the preseason rankings are unfair. We believe this for two reasons.
The first is because is because unlike any other sport’s preseason rankings, MLB, NFL, NCAABB, these rankings impacts tremendously where a team can and will finish at the end of the year without even snapping the first football, in the first game of the year. These preseason rankings automatically give the teams that earn these rankings in the offseason a head start over teams that did not get the votes necessary to put them in the preseason polls. In pro sports, the preseason rankings are more for fun discussion, verbal sparring, and give sports fans something to talk about while play is postponed for the offseason. You have Playoffs in the NFL, and MLB, and entrance to these playoffs are based solely on a teams record. That is fair, and gives every team, even the Browns, Raiders, Devil Rays, and Royals, as fair a chance of theoretically winning the Super Bowl or World Series as the Patriots, Colts, Yankees and Red Sox. In NCAA BB, preseason rankings do somewhat impact a teams chances to make the NCAA tournament, but they also play 30 games in a given season. That is enough time, and games to allow the rankings to adjust, and develop during the course of the year, and obviously they do have a 65 team tournament at the end of the year that does decide the champion, and even the top twenty five in a more legitimate fashion. But in football, they only play about twelve games, and a team with a preseason ranking of say -10 - for example can loose their first two games and still hang around in the top twenty five for a while. And without a playoff in NCAA FB, a team like Boise State can beat everyone that will agree to play them, sneak into the BCS with an ‘At Large’ berth, beat a team ranked as a preseason top five team, ranked in the top ten at the time in Oklahoma, and still not sniff an opportunity to play for the title, that is unfair.
The second reason that preseason rankings are unfair is because they are done too early. While they do give teams with a ranking an unfair advantage, they do not give a fair enough indication of how the team will perform ‘this year.’ Just because the University of Miami has won National titles in the past, and just because they had running backs named Edgerrin James, wideouts named Irvin, QB’s named Dorsey, and tight ends named Winslow, doesnt mean they have those players this year, or will win this year with the players they have. Giving Miami a preseason ranking of 11 in August, looks ridiculous at the years end. And I know, it is tough to pick everything exactly correct in the beginning of the year, I understand that. But if College Football waited until say - October - after a month of the season has transpired to come out with their first polls, or first rankings, I think that they would be a little closer to the truth. The advantage given to teams arbitrarily at the begginning of the year would resemble the actual season a little more acurately.
The example of Miami - Preseason Ranked #11 - Unfair Advantage
For example, in Miami’s case, after watching the nationally televised first game of the year, we all would have realized that their offense couldnt score on anyone not named Florida A&M. They beat A&M 51-10 in week 2, but only scored 14 against Houston on September 30th, beating them 14-13 for their two wins in September. They lost to FSU (preseason ranked 10th, but finished 7-6) in the opener 13-10, and got buried by Louisville 31-7 in week 3. On October 1st Miami was 2-2, with 0 quality wins.
But sadly, the reason that College FB will not do this - wait until October 1st to come out with their first rankings of the year - is because of television and the ratings that a #10-#11 match-up results in. We all thought, according to the polls, that in week one we were watching a match-up of two of the top eleven teams in the country when Miami played Florida State, but looking back, we were actually watching two regular season 6-6 teams go head to head.
What is even worse about that, is at the time FSU earned what appears to be a Quality Win by edging out Miami.
Flip Side - Wisconsin, A Disadvantage
Wisconsin did not do anything in August to lose a football game. Yeah they had a knew coach, but they should be penalized for this by not being ranked? They played the same schedule as OSU - the two did not meet in the Big Ten - if not better. What if Wisconsin was starting the season ranked say...12th, or 8th, or 20th. They would not have had as much ground to cover, coming from the land of the unranks to 5th, and maybe they sneak into the national championship game...who knows. Instead they get as high as 5th.
A Playoff Would Cure All Ills
What would rectify this situation is a playoff. Now people will counter my arguement about the Coaches Poll and the AP poll coming out too early by saying that it is the BCS that indicates the real champion, and the BCS doesnt come out until mid season. However, the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll are major, major, indicators of how a team earns points under the BCS system. They fairest way to do this is to use these polls to dictate a playoff. Take the top 32, 24, or 16 teams as it stands in the BCS at years end and let those teams play it out.
Give Wisconsin, a team that had to come from being unranked to 5th a chance to play for the National Title. Give Bosie State, a team that just beat Oklahoma, a chance to play for it all. Give BYU, a team that had to go 11-2 to get into the top 15 a chance to see how they match-up against LSU, or USC. They would get killed you say, right. Because they cant compete against those teams. You probably also would have told me at the beginnig of last year that Iowa, and Alabama, who both finished 6-7 would have been at least .500. And you also would have told me that that same team, BYU, who wasn’t ranked at the beginning of the year would lose in a bowl match-up with preseason ranked #20 Oregon - but you would have been wrong on both accounts.
In fact, BYU beat Oregon on Thursday December 21st, in the Pioneer Pure Vision Las Vegas Bowl, 38-8. Oregon tacked on 8 in the 4th quarter, while trailing 38-0. Did anyone think Rutgers was going to be good? Well they were, lets see if they can take the #12 ranking they earned and run the table in the post season - who knows what would happen.
A Look Ahead - 2007 USA Today Preseason Rankings
6. West Virginia
9. Virginia Tech
10. Ohio State
18. Penn State
21. Florida State
23. Boise State
25. Texas A&M
A Note for the Non-BCS Support
The first of the three non-BCS schools appears on this preseason rankings list at #22. The TCU Horned Frogs earn the most respect of the non BCS schools, followed by Boise State at 23, and Hawaii at 24.
In 2006's preseason top twenty five the non Power Conference schools to earn a ranking were TCU, this time ranked 21st, as the highest ranked of the Non-BCS schools, followed by and joined with, no other Non BCS school in the preseason top twenty five. They were the only one.
At 2006's years end, Boise State went undefeated to finish 6th, BYU 11-2 to finish #15, and Hawaii, who went 11-3 to finish #24. TCU ironically enough, finished in the exact spot they were projected to be, finishing the 2006 season ranked #21.
Even with its faults, college football is still the best. Every Saturday during the season is like a repetition of holidays as far as we here at News From the Nosebleeds are concerned and we are looking forward to it. We are looking to seen how Darren McFadden fairs at Arkansas, Jimmy Clausen at Notre Dame, how Tebow looks as the main QB with Chris Leak gone, and rooting for as many non BCS schools as possible to blow up the top twenty five.
Stay tuned to News From the Nosebleeds for an October 1st 2007 review of how the preseason rankings look with a month of season under our respective football belts.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
With the NFL season about to kick off, an interesting question you thought may never be asked, has to be asked. Who knows more about the NFL, Playboy or Sports Illustrated? A no-contest right? Are you serious? While Playboy may be an institution in America, with good reason, for its blondes, bombshells, and centerfolds, it clearly deals with sports as an afterthought...doesn't it? Almost a gimmick in a way. I mean, 'I read Playboy for the articles,' is about the oldest joke there is...who believes that? How about, 'I read Playboy for the NFL insight.' How would that fly with your wife or girlfriend. Well, maybe not too well, and you might be in the doghouse for a little while, but you also might be telling the truth - sort of.
In order to gauge who was a better prognosticator of the pigskin, our News From the Nosebleeds staff researched the picks by both publications by first diving deep into the Nosebleeds Library, and then devising a scoring system to compare the accuracy of the 2006 NFL predictions, by both the Sports Illustrated analysts and the Playboy bunnies...I mean analysts.
Correctly identifying the actual Super Bowl Champion = 20 points.
Correctly identifying the actual Conference Champions (AFC/NFC) =10 points.
Correctly identifying the actual Divisional Champs (i.e. AFC north, NFC east, etc.) = 6 points
Correctly identifying the actual Wild Card teams = 3 points (for each of 4 teams)
If you correctly identified a ‘playoff team’ (but incorrectly identified them as either the Divisional Champ, or Wild Card qualifier) = 2 points.
Under this scoring system Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Magazine, beat Peter King’s NFL Preview by a score of 37-26. Playboy correctly picked 7 of the 12 actual playoff teams versus Sports Illustrated’s 5 of 12. Playboy also correctly picked 1 of the 2 conference champions (the AFC’s Indianapolis Colts who actually won the Superbowl) versus Sports Illustrated’s 0. Neither magazine correctly identified the actual Superbowl Champ, both magazines selecting the Carolina Panthers.
How they Scored
Sports Illustrated earned 12 points with their AFC selections picking the Colts and Patriots to win their division (6 points per pick). They misfired by selecting the Steelers and Broncos as the other Divisional Champs, and missed on both Wild Card by selecting the Bengals, and Jaguars.
In the NFC Sports Illustrated scored 14 points by selecting the Bears and Seahawks as Divisional Winners. (6 points each) They misfired by selecting the Panthers to win their division, and earned partial credit (2 points) by selecting the NY Giants to win their division (they got in as a Wild Card). SI earned nothing by selecting Redskins and the Falcons as Wild Card teams.
SI earned nothing as well the rest of the way out by pitting the Broncos verse Panthers in the Super Bowl.
Total: 26 points
Playboy earned 10 points in the AFC. Six came by selecting New England to win the AFC East (6 points). Four came by selecting the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC West (they were a Wild Card = 2 points) and Indianapolis to earn a Wild Card berth (they were a Divisional Winner = 2 points). In the AFC Playboy picked and missed scoring opportunities with Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Miami.
In the NFC Playboy scored 17 points. They nailed Chicago, and Seattle down as Division winners (6 each) and earned 3 points by selecting the New York Giants accurately as a Wild Card representative. They also earned 2 points by identifying Dallas as a Division Winner (actually were the other Wild Card Representative).
Playboy would go on to add 10 points by accurately prognosticating that Indianapolis would represent the AFC in the Superbowl. They earned nothing for their selection of Carolina as the NFC rep, and no additional points for the fact that Indy actually did win the game. Playboy selected Carolina as the Superbowl champ.
Total Score: 37
Further Scoring Breakdown
With only the scoring the Playoff Qualifiers, Playboy beat Sports Illustrated by a score of 27-26. However, Playboy would go on to seal the deal, by adding 10 points with the selection of Indianapolis to represent the AFC. Indy did, and Playboy wins. Playboy 37 - Sports Illustrated 26. Who would have thought that...maybe Pamela Anderson does know her football after all.
Friday, August 3, 2007
For the longest time, as a sports fan and baseball purist, I would say that I didn't much care for Barry Bonds. He appeared in the media to be an egotistical, selfish, mean person, who carried with him a substantial amount evidence that would point towards use of an illegal substance, possibly steroids. All of this is still possibly true, and lets say for a second that hey, maybe he did do steroids. And for the sake of this argument, lets just go ahead and say that he does. With that said, I don't think an asterisk is called for, or even warranted, next to the Home Run Record that Barry Bonds will inevitably hold in the coming days, unless you want to put an asterisk next to Babe Ruth too.
Babe Ruth, the home run king, the legend, the father of modern baseball, he has 714 home runs to his credit. Has anyone in the sports media, any baseball analyst ever suggested that Babe Ruth deserves an asterisk by his name in the record books? What, Babe Ruth, why, he is the 'sultan of swat', he is the 'greatest of all time', why on earth would he deserve an asterisk?? Why, I will tell you why. Not because he put up his numbers on 'hot dogs and beer' as they say, but because he did not play against the best players of his era. He was the best baseball player in the major leagues, while he played. True. But the major leagues at that time included only half of America's population. When Babe Ruth played African American players were banned from the majors! There were no Latin players, there were no Asian player,s and more importantly there were certain players from New York, Chicago, and anywhere else in the USA that were not allowed to compete against the Babe because of their skin color. Would Babe Ruth have hit all those home runs if he had to bat against a Satchell Paige during his prime, four times in a given game? Might a Willie Mays type player have robbed Mr. Ruth of a homer or four during his playing days? Most likely yes. But you don't hear this argument for an asterisk in this case, Ruth's mark is considered hallowed. Should it be?
If you still don't want to give Babe Ruth an asterisk on his mark, than you shouldn't give one to Barry either. Why? Because. While in Babe's day there was a league rule banning people of color from being allowed to play in the majors, during Barry's there was no league rule that banned steroids from baseball. Is Barry the only player to do steroids during this era? No way, that is why they call it the 'steroid era.' They don't call the era of baseball that Rollie Fingers played in the 'handle bar mustache era', because one guy, Fingers, had a 'handle bar mustache.' And they don't call this the steroid era because one guy, Barry Bonds, did steroids. I don't think we will ever know how many guys were on the juice, but it wasn't just the so called stars. While we know guys like Conseco and Palmeiro took 'roids, it can be argued that Sosa and McGwire did as well. While we don't know for sure that Sosa or McGwire did, we do know for sure that McGwire's congress testimony about 'refusing to talk about the past' and 'being here today before congress to talk about the future' is the most hilarious testimony I have ever heard. And on that day as well, the once often quoted Sosa, forgot how to speak English - convenient. But while these stars are associated with steroids, there are also some bums that have been busted. Neifi Perez being the latest, the 34 year old was busted again coming off a 25 game suspension, for 80 games. Perez's numbers however, are not too hot, even with 'roids. He hit .172 in 64 at bats this year. Which is an example of my point, Bonds is not the only player in his time to use steroids, he just happens to be the best player of an era - the steroid era. And oh yeah, what if it turns out he hit the majority of his homers off pitchers...who where on the juice as well! The Indians had a reliever that was suspended a couple of years ago, and he's so unimportant of a player I cant even remember his name.
The Discussion - Chris Rock
The discussion here about Bonds is part of a larger issue, that we will dive into in further analyze the analyst columns, but ask me this before I conclude. Did I come up with this point about Babe Ruth myself, or did I hear it somewhere? I heard it somewhere, but not from Buster Olney or Peter Gammons, or Tim Kurkian, or Steve Philips, or Ken Rosenthal. I heard it from Chris Rock. The comedian Chris Rock was on Bob Costas' HBO show recently, and he made the point about Babe Ruth, and Barry Bonds. I was amazed by the comment. Amazed in part at my own ignorance. I had never put two and two together before. Of all that I have heard, seen, and read about Ruth, I had never heard that point made. Obviously, I should have figured it out before, pretty blatant that Ruth played in an all white majors, but I just never thought of that before. And I wonder, how many of us really have? But don't blame Babe, he was just the best baseball player of an era. And so is Barry Bonds.
Bonds would go on to hit 755 this past weekend. He hit it off San Diego Padres pitcher Clay Hensley, in front of the San Diego fans.
Two things that are interesting about this. Despite what analysts, including ESPN's Steve Phillips, thought would happen in the stands, the Padre fans cheered the homerun. Whether they cheered Barry, cheered the feat, or cheered the fact that they were there to witness history, may never be known. But we did here cheers from the fans, and I think that was good.
The second thing that was, we will say ironic, was in regards to who Barry hit number 755 off of. Clay Hensley. Never heard of him, you say. I didn't either, and I suppose this will be the most significant thing he ever does in the major leagues as a pitcher. However, what is ironic is that Clay Hensley, when pitching in Triple-A, tested positive for...steriods. True story.