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Brett Favre, primadonna or…

December 23, 2009 4 comments

I’m much too biased against Brett Favre to really delve into this question, but his tiff with Vikings coach Brad Childress about whether he can call plays/ change plays at the line on a regular basis does bring up questions about how the modern NFL game is played. In the past – as in the 1960s – QBs were expected to make calls on the field, which makes sense. With some coach guidance, most of the major team sports require the on-field talent to do some, if not all, of the decision-making when one player has the ball in their hand.

Baseball, of course, has its micro-managers, but the veteran pitchers are expected to have a sense of what to call or what they can throw when pitching. In soccer and basketball, there is less of a single decision-maker, though point guards often are entrusted to see that the team gets into their sets and can call a different play, especially on the professional level.

An NFL QB’s job, though, involves them on the field with a different and limited vantage point. Should that change the level of coach’s control? Should the ability of a 40-year old Hall of Fame QB – who has, by the way, had some egregiously bad passing games in his career – come into question?

Again, I am too biased to talk about Brett Favre’s beef, but it does bring up the question of how the game is played.

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Categories: coaching, football, Sports

Bye bye, Lawrence

November 30, 2009 Comments off

I suppose after a coach goes 0-17 in the NBA, a firing is in order. But New Jersey Nets coach Lawrence Frank got screwed, and screwed hard, by a team and an ownership more concerned with clearing money for this supposed move to the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn than with putting a competitive team on the floor.

There is a little talent on the Nets. A little. There are a lot of injuries as well. And a lot of backups. Josh Boone and Rafer Alston – as much as I love the guy from my neck of Queens – shouldn’t be logging major minutes. Every trade shouldn’t be to cut space. Courtney Lee is not a starting 2-guard without some high-volume shooters around him.

And while Lawrence Frank may not have been a miracle worker, he was a good soldier, and a decent coach. A man with a lot of energy. He’ll land on his feet – take some time off, stop losing hair, sleep 8 hours in one night. Maybe he will coach college… that Rutgers job could use a tactician…

Links: College Football’s Opening Day

September 3, 2009 Comments off

Levi Johnston dishes on life with Sarah Palin and speaks ill of her marriage to Todd in a Vanity fair article – wow, kid, milk that gossip… The US Senate, with less nepotism… Brazil’s racial problems are deep… will the lobbyists for the health care status quo – like the “Million Med March” (aka “protect the doctors’ salaries above all else”) – even listen to a possible bipartisan health care plan that triggers a public option if the insurance companies can’t meet quality/ cost benchmarks? And why is that called a “compromise” as opposed to “bipartisan” in the article? Should tort reform be in the health care bill?… On lighter notes: The end of “Reading Rainbow“… the Fast Food as the Mafia (graphic, funny, non-political)… and 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.

diamond iconIn honor of the beginning of college football, two fun images. First, a billboard bought by former Notre Dame player Tom Reynolds:

Charlie Weis billboard 5th Year of Coaching Internship

diamond iconAnd if you haven’t seen this year’s Oregon Ducks uniforms, check them out when they play Boise State tonight… or look at the winged shoulders here:

Oregon Ducks uniforms

diamond iconIn what will be a hotly-followed story, Rich Rodriguez is named in a lawsuit about a Virginia condo development… he’s been connected to a banned booster… he’s accused of violating NCAA rules on how much time coaches required players to spend working out… so of course there’s a Fire Rich Rodriguez site.

diamond iconThe Quad blog from the New York Times has Florida as… #2!  So Texas is their #1…


diamond iconNebraska gets an extra basketball scholarship (14 total), based on an NCAA mix-up on eligibility standards.

diamond iconJim Larranaga’s leaving Twitter after poking fun at a silly NCAA rule about being able to give student-athletes bagels but no condiments/ spreads.

diamond iconMets third base coach Razor Shines, perhaps, doesn’t scout the throwing arms of the opposing outfielders.

diamond iconScout.com has their Top 75 basketball players in the nation (and Canada) for 2011.

diamond iconSupposedly Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner is looking to make bank by selling the Nets at a premium price and THEN wants to get the new owners to pay him a hefty fee for the right to play in the Brooklyn Barclay’s Arena… whenever it happens. He’d then get the profits of the stadium without the financial drain of owning the team.

diamond iconAnd now, the first of many St. John’s coach Norm Roberts job “may be” on the line if he doesn’t win this year. Of course, someone has to speak to why this year is so different than any other year, and what “get it done” actually means. NCAAs? NIT?

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A Few Thoughts on John Calipari

August 21, 2009 1 comment

(Pico’s note: this is by Raycroft, the head and Reverend of the Church of Bracketology.)

What a strange couple of weeks in College Hoops have just passed. I am not even going to touch the Pitino story.  We will save that for another day.

But, I do have a serious gripe with the John Calipari/Memphis situation and as the Reverend of The First Church of Bracketology, it is hard for me to just sit back and be quiet. (And, thanks to The East Coast Bias for providing me the forum.)

All I hear from people, time and time again, is how John Calipari is dirty and it is ‘only a matter of time’ before it catches up to him. It’s a simple thought because in these times of steroids and hanging chads, there is a natural skepticism from anyone when someone the other side excels to the top.

John Calipari has coached two Final Four teams and both times they have been vacated.  That’s right, Memphis too.  See, it’s happening again.  But, what is he guilty of? What has he done wrong?  What rules has he broken?

…I’m still waiting.

Exactly.  According to the NCAA, absolutely nothing.

In the case of UMass, it was Marcus Camby who took money from an agent, forcing the NCAA to retroactively declare him ineligible thus vacating their Final Four and their wins. Honestly, anyone that knows college sports knows that coaches sometimes break the rules to recruit a player – which may involve money – but a coach is never going to suggest that his player break the rules freely on his own.  If Cal knew anything about the Camby taking money from an agent beforehand, it would be to advise him against it because he knows the repercussions.  And, if he knew about it after the fact, he certainly would not blow the whistle. The argument that Cal was behind that is ridiculous Roveian spin. I have argued this many times with the Barstool Pundits I have met over time.  It goes a little something like this:

BP: Well, you know he know he was paying Camby anyway.

Me: I don’t believe that.

BP: Come on, we all know that.

Me: Really, What evidence do you have?

BP: You just know it.

Wow, so simple. We have many lawyers who are members of the Church of Bracketology, and I’m sure that none of them would even think of walking into to a court room with that as his or her case (I like to believe that my friends are a little bit intelligent.)   I have not seen any evidence to make that case, so until then I do not believe that Cal was involved with Camby’s incident.  But, I will also admit that it is possible that Cal has some violated rules to get where is. I am not going to just ‘know that’ because he seems to be very very good at his job.  I think I am the only person who ever asked the question, “Could he just be that good?”

With Memphis going down this week, the Barstool Pundits have now made their case, so they think.  Seriously, that tells you something when the same coach has another Final Four vacated for playing an ineligible player.  However, once you dig into the case, unlike the UMass case, which was pretty straight forward, you find some major problems with how the NCAA handled it. First, the NCAA Clearinghouse ruled Derrek Rose eligible to play by NCAA rules. Calipari started him. Then the NCAA says his SAT scores were ruled invalid, thus making him ineligible.  When Memphis questioned the NCAA Infractions Committee because the NCAA Clearinghouse made the error, the Infractions Committee said the Clearinghouse couldn’t be trusted to be accurate.  Really??  They are the same people!  There is so much more to the Rose case too which screams of incompetence, it is amazing that this got as far as it did without a smoking gun.  But, that is another story.

Despite what the Barstool Pundits believe, in both the UMass and Memphis situations, the NCAA did not rule that John Calipari committed any infractions.  Therefore he is not punished, so the NCAA had each school’s Final Four vacated.

The question still stands – Is he that good?  There is no doubt that he is ‘that good’ of game coach, ‘that good’ of an ambassador to the community and the media.  But, is he ‘that good’ of a recruiter to land top players at little schools.  Or, is he just ‘that good’ at hiding it all; the Ronald Reagan of college hoops, which nothing sticks to?  Since my agenda is to enjoy college hoops and not rip people down without evidence because they ‘seem shady’, I will believe the first one.

Reverend M.J. Raycroft

The First Church of Bracketology

www.churchofbracketology.com

I highly suggest reading two stories:

1. Matt Vautour’s (UMass beat writer) article about vacating Final Fours:

http://gazettenet.com/2009/08/21/ncaa-vacating039-penalties-have

2. Mike Decourcy (College Hoops correspondent to Sporting News) article about how Memphis should not get penalized:

http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/article/2009-08-20/ncaa-let-rose-play-so-why-does-memphis-have-pay

Bzdelik and the “casual talk”

July 17, 2009 Comments off

You may have heard that Colorado Buffaloes head coach Jeff Bzdelik (once the coach of the NBA Denver Nuggets), had a “casual talk” with the General Manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves while taking in an NBA summer league game. This blog thought it was curious that the Athletic Director of the University of Colorado put out a statement about the “casual talk”.

Turns out that, according to the Denver Post, the statement seems to be an effort to put the information out there and crush any rumor-milling that may come of the “unexpected”, “casual talk”. On the face of it, it’s good to make sure that, for recruiting efforts and team morale, it is very important to let the Buffalo players know that their coach isn’t going anywhere.

In fact, this bit of “news” helps reinforce Bzdelik’s bonafides – the NBA people hold him in high regard, despite the severe outclassing that Bzdelik’s Colorado tenure has been. After all, one shouldn’t lose toget blown out by Vermont and Texas Christian as a major conference team in a coach’s second year. Eyebrows, fully raised.

All of this may be blown up/ over-communicated on the web over essentially nothing. Jeff Bzdelik might be completely committed to the Buffalo basketball program. But this also might be a coach who would be happy to land on his feet after last year’s 9-22 record; or an AD who might look at his team, the unknown recruits and lack of size or competitive athleticism and think… well, if he left, would that be the worst thing?

The Buffs were simply awful last year, an uncompetitive 1-win skidmark on the Big XII schedule in basketball. They have a long way to go to make a turnaround, and their terrible rebounding highlights the struggles of a short team with one excellent talent in Cory Higgins and non-rebounding, distance shooting big men.

Faced with long odds, when does a “casual talk” become serious interest for Bzdelik?

Not with bang but a with a mewl + Sports Links

June 18, 2009 Comments off

The U.S. Men’s National Soccer team has taken their second loss in the Confederations Cup in South Africa, a 0-3 stomping that featured another red card (this time Sascha Klejstan was sent off; Ricardo Clark caught the card in the Italy game), another early goal given up on defense, and the perception that the United States can’t hang with the big boys on the pitch.

Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News put it best, comparing where the US MNT is as compared to the stated goals of 11 years ago; the U.S. felt that they were ready to emerge as a power, and Landon Donovan and DeMarcus Beasley were going to be key to that future.

There have been moments, for sure, and the team is far better than they used to be, especially in comparison to the local North/ Central American competition in the CONCACAF. And it’s not like the U.S. side is losing in basketball, a sport where the country has a long history, decided advantage, and deep fan appreciation/ identification.

But still… the results and notes from today just make it sound like a dog of a game.


After that downer, some links from this week:

emmanuelle chriqui throws out first pitch at dodgers game* Emmanuelle Chriqui threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game earlier this week. Hat tip to popoholic.

* Boise State football is looking to go on the road for some guarantee cash money from a big school (h/t Fanhouse) in 2010. This will bring in some money from the bigger schools to the smaller (budget-wise) state school; but brings up an interesting question. What team would bring in Boise State for a challenge game? They are always competitive, even if they have lost their last few guarantee games against Washington, Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.

* Florida State will have to vacate 14 wins from their football squad’s record for violations invovling academic fraud. Man, that’s tough. But now maybe coach Bobby Bowden and Penn State’s Joe Paterno can retire; one could look at them and think that while they do love football, the lure of retiring as D-1 college football’s all-time winningest coach has to help them when the job seems to stressful, when the kids are acting like fools, when the age-related injuries slow them down… it’s time for both to consider hanging it up. They are like coach emiriti these days.

* As you know, Tim Floyd resigned from the University of Southern California amidst allegations of cash to recruit OJ Mayo and a perception that serious sanctions were coming down, especially since the allegations of wrongdoing have been very public. Currently, USC is moving ahead with its coaching search and looking for coaches with pro experience. They have locked in on former Seton Hall and pro coach P.J. Carlesimo and former New Mexico State and pro coach Reggie Theus. Reggie Theus is interested. I think he’s a good call – he seemed to be a decent coach at New Mexico State, players wanted to come to play for him, and while his pro career wasn’t stellar, it wasn’t terrible (and was cut too short).  Put a pretty charming face on a couple of hard years and possible ineligibility for the Big Dance, USC!

* Some Japanese pro wrestlers are accused (and there is evidence) of some serious animal abuse with a pet monkey. Honestly, don’t read it if you’re squeamish. I thought it was some of the most juvenile, disgusting actions I have read about in a long time.

Arizona’s Plan D, E, F…

April 6, 2009 Comments off

The University of Arizona is having a hard time filling that coaching job in the Pac-10, and I have no idea why. The Wildcats have a solid name, solid tradition… though following a coaching legend – and his stormy last years – is a hard job.

But Sean Miller would rather stay with the Xavier Musketeers. It’s a good job there in Cincy, and his team has a lot of potential, but that’s a little surprising.

Who’s next on their list? Maybe Utah’s Jim Boylen (who seems like an decent hire who has spent time in the pros). More at UA Hoops Coach, I’ve been following that blog.

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