Monthly Archives: November 2009

“College Football Photo Finish”

Heading into the last weekend of regular season play, there are still many question marks remaining on how this college football season will finish.  One thing is certain though.  The winner of the Florida/Alabama heavyweight SEC title game will be punching a ticket into the National Championship game.  Texas, who looked vulnerable against A&M, will punch a ticket into the National Title Game as well if they defeat Nebraska in the Big 12 Title game.  This is the most likely scenario of what will happen.

But what if Texas loses?  Does a one loss Texas team get into the National Title game over an undefeated TCU or Cincinnati?  This is a very tough call.  Most fingers would point towards Texas still getting in over TCU or Cincinnati, but is it right?  Especially to the Bearcats of Cincinnati, who are in a BCS conference and would deserve a shot if they went undefeated.  Not to mention TCU has looked extremely impressive down the stretch and I do not think anybody wants to play them.  TCU is a team that is playing their best football at this time and could knock off anyone.

Now Cincinnati still has one major game remaining against Big East Rival Pittsburgh.  This will be a great game that decides the Big East Champion.  So what if UC loses this game and Pittsburgh wins the Big East?  Does Cincinnati still deserve a BCS Bowl bid?  I would say that they definitely do, but I know that the NCAA will be hesitant to give 2 BCS bids to the basketball heavy Big East.

So I have not really answered any questions in this edition because it is all going to depend on the results of next weekends’ games.  But what are your predictions?

Does Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh?  Who wins the Florida-Bama game?  Does Texas play well enough to beat Nebraska?  Who do you think should be in the National Title Game? We should never really be having these arguments and there should just be a playoff.  But you have to admit it is quite entertaining and should be a photo finish.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.



“AFC North Race Tightens”

All 4 teams in the AFC North will square off in tomorrow’s NFL action.  The division leading Bengals will take on the bottom feeding Browns, while the Steelers and Ravens clash for the first time since last year’s AFC Championship Game. 

On paper, the Bengals should lay an old-fashioned whooping in the friendly confines of Paul Brown Stadium tomorrow.  But lets not forget that the Browns had many chances to beat the Bengals earlier this season in a heartbreaking overtime loss in Cleveland.  But, it is very likely that the Bengals will move to 8 and 3 after tomorrow, completing a 6 and 0 season against the rugged AFC North.

The other matchup though.  Which has produced some of the best, most physical matchups in the League over the past couple of years has lost much of its luster.  The Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is very unlikely to play.  Not to mention the backup Charlie Batch was hurt in last week’s game.  Therefore the Steelers will be starting little known third string QB Dennis Dixon against Ray Lewis and the killer Ravens.  How would you like for your first NFL start to be against Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and that vaunted Raven’s defense?

Now I know that the Steelers have an outstanding defense, but I do not think it will be enough in this one.  Though the Raven’s offense has been very up and down at times this year, the Steelers have become extremely reliant on the pass this year and will not be able to amount enough offense against the Raven’s D to be in this game.  These are not the Steelers of old who could run the ball against anybody and everybody.  The Ravens will be 6 and 5 after tomorrow, and tied with the Steelers for 2nd in the AFC North.  Beware Bengals because these are both very strong teams that are better than their 6 and 5 records.

The beautiful thing for the Bengals though is that they hold the head to head tie breaker on both of these division foes and do not have to play either of them again.  Should be very interesting to see how the AFC North race plays out after tomorrow’s games.  Things should definitely start heating up for that 2nd spot in the division.  Dennis Dixon, just imagine playing against those USC defenses in college.  But imagine a defense that is 100 times better and scarier than that.  That should prepare you for tomorrow.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Sportskraze.


Edition 68 “Keep the Dream Alive”

So this edition of Sportskraze is a bit different from a normal issue of Sportskraze.  It is long overdue, but what better time to do it than edition 68.  Yes, this blog is about the former Bengal warrior, and Saint’s defensive back, Kevin Kaesviharn (number 34 on the Bengals).

Kaesviharn was picked up by the Tennessee Titans on September 30th and now sports the number 26.  It is still the same old, hard-working KK.  Kaesviharn played for the Bengals for 6 seasons before going to the New Orlean Saints for 2.  He has never really been a full-time starter during the course of his career except when starters were hurt in front of him.  But, boy you got to love this guy.

He comes up with big plays whenever he gets the opportunity to play.  He just has an uncanny knack to come up clutch in key situations as he exhibited in his tenure with the Bengals.  And though he is not the most talented, his raw effort and determination has kept him in the league for years.  He is truly living the dream. 

Kaesviharn played college football at a little known Division 2 school called Augustana College, but now has been in the league for over 8 years.  He is getting the most out of his abilities and is the consummate team player.

Kaesviharn is what every NFL player should be.  He goes about his business on the field every day with 100% effort and focus.  Then off the field, he keeps his noise clean, is highly active in the community, and is a great family man.  Not to mention he graduated from college with a real degree that he can use. Kaesviharn is the type of professional athlete that kids should be looking up to.  Yes, kids will obviously gravitate to worshipping the superstars in the League, but Kevin is just an all around great role model.

Though, he is in a very reserved role with the Titans right now, he is continuing to bust his butt every day and live the dream.  Well for Mr. Kaesviharn, I just want to say, “Keep the Dream Alive.”

Stay tuned for edition 69.


Edition 67 “Return of the Gasol”

All I have to say is..Western Conference beware.  The “Gasol” has returned.  If anyone got to tune in last night, the Lakers are that much better with Pau Gasol.  Yes, Kobe Bryant is their star and what makes the engine go, but Gasol is like having another pilot on the Lake Show, hovering in the post.

Gasol amazes me more and more each time I watch him with his amazing skill.  The man, has such soft hands, and such a soft touch.  He can score in every way.  Yet many label him as soft.  He did not look too soft in the playoffs last year down the stretch as he really dominated the Magic’s Dwight Howard.  Not to mention this man has definitely gained some extra toughness in guest appearing on one of television’s best shows, CSI: Miami.  Maybe the show and working with the police have made him that much tougher.

But if the Lakers remain healthy, do not be surprised if this team really starts to dominate and march towards winning 66 to 68 games.  This is a team that has arguably the League’s best coach, best player, and most skilled post player.  Beware, because the Gasol has returned in a big way.

Stay tuned for Edition 68 knuckleheads.


Edition 66 “Is Technology Always a Good Thing”

Last evening France eliminated Ireland from World Cup qualifying on an extremely controversial play by their star Thierry Henry.  Henry stopped the ball with his hand in the box, not once, but two times, then passed it to his teammate for the equalizer in extra time.

So Henry admits to the handball.  Anybody who has seen the replay can see how blatant it was.  Now I am not going to point the figure at Henry.  He looked to make a desperation play for his team and was lucky this time to get away with a handball.  But lately, it seems that the refs have been missing calls all over the place.

The baseball playoffs really highlighted some horrible officiating all the way through.  Not to mention SEC officials in College Football have gotten reamed by coaches every week this year.  So has officiating gotten worse?  Or is it the technology that has made us realize just how many wrong or controversial calls officials make in every sporting event?

In my opinion, it is the technology.  I do not see how the officiating in pro and college sports could have just gotten worse. These refs all go through the same training as the officials of the past.  Generally, these trainings are more strenuous and in-depth than the ones used in past years, as they continue to pick up best practices every year to improve their training methodologies. The use of the replay, and all the angles cameras can take on plays has really highlighted mishaps by officials over the past couple of years. 

So my question for you all today is a two parter.  Is the amazing technology a good thing for sports and should a replay rule be added in all sports at the college and pro levels (we will save high school for a later day)?

Stay tuned for Edition 67.


Edition 65 “Go Home Charlie”

So once again the talk is stirring about the future of Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis.  This seems to have been a reoccurring theme for the past 2 years. To be frankly honest, I wish the discussion would come to an end.  The man is 6 and 4 with a team that has arguably the best offensive talent in the country.

In my opinion, he has the best QB, receiver, and tight end in the country.  Yet he is only 6 and 4 with a pretty powder puff schedule by Notre Dame Irish standards.  Not to mention he lost to Navy this year.  Most people expected this team to win 10 or 11 games and be in the BCS Bowl talk.  Weis overall has done a horrific job and has the same winning percentage as his predecessor Ty Willingham at .583 (Willingham was fired).

Notre Dame has the funding and boosters who care enough to buy this guy out.  So buy him out for the many millions that it will cost and get your big name coach to take his place.  Unfortunately, the big name guy coming in will have to do some massive rebuilding without the services of the “Golden One,” Golden Tate, and arguably the most pro ready QB in college football Jimmy Claussen.  I would be shocked if either of these guys were back next season.

Weis had his strongest years with guys that were left over from the Willingham era.  He has had more than enough time to rebuild this program and has miserably failed.  The great thing for Weis though, by getting fired he will get 9 or 10 million and get to eat all the cheeseburgers his heart desires.

Best of luck to Charlie and I hope to see the Notre Dame program get back on track with its storied past.  Please do not eat too much while on your leave and clog your arteries Charlie..

I guess not all of Belichick’s former employees are winners..

Stay tuned for Edition 66.


Edition 64 “LJ to Cincy?”

So the Bengals appear to be signing former Cheif’s running back Larry Johnson.  Many sources are saying that this is an awful move by the Bengals and a step backwards for the franchise.  Do I agree with this sentiment?  NO WAY!

Larry Johnson a couple of years ago was widely considered the best running back in the game.  The Bengals starter, Cedric Benson is hurt, though nobody has really confirmed the actual severity of the injury.  But let’s be real.  Bernard Scott did a fantastic job in the second half last game and Brian Leonard is a great 3rd down back who has come up big time and time again for the Who Deys.  But why not sign a guy with the ability of Larry Johnson?  Scott is still not ready to take on 20 carries a game and carry the load.  He was reeling at the end of the Steelers game, but his endurance will build up in time.

So Johnson may of had some attitude problems in the past.  These attitude problems generally come out when a team is losing.  Well the Bengals are winning right now.  LJ is booking himself a ticket to the playoffs with this deal.  And the most beautiful thing of all for the Bengals.   Say LJ is a distraction or causes problems off the field, then they cut him immediately.  No questions asked.  This is a win win situation for the Bengals who can get rid of this guy at any time.

But what if LJ starts playing really well like the player of old?  Then you have one of the most lethal running back combos in the game heading into the home stretch of the season.  Not to mention LJ’s legs will be fresher than most backs in the league at this point in the season.

Normally I am the first one to get upset when the Bengals pick up players with character issues.  But they took a risk on Cedric Benson last year.  How did that work out?  If it wouldn’t have worked, then they could of cut him.  The same goes for LJ.  And this time, we are not in dire need of a running back like we were last year.

I respect this move and fully believe that Marvin in the Bengals were looking into doing this even before Cedric got dinged up on Sunday.  The Who Deys appear to be  getting stronger each day for that big playoff push..

Stay tuned for Edition 65.


Edition 63 “Rookie Pandemonium”

The Bengals are 7 and 2 and have swept both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens!!  They are 5 and 0 in the AFC North and have a definite inside track to their first AFC North title since 2005.  5 straight road wins for the first time in franchise history.  Not a bad day at all in Who Dey Nation.

The real story in my eyes today other than the Bengals defense playing exceptional.  How about the play of Bengals’ rookies Michael Johnson and Bernard Scott?!  Scott came up huge with the lone TD of the game on a 96 yard kick return and rushed for a very hard-fought 33 yards against a great Steelers defense.  Johnson consistently pressured Ben Roethlisberger and was in on numerous big defensive plays stepping in for Keith Rivers.  Both of these guys definitely deserve some love and really showed signs of maturity on this afternoon.

Remember who the number 1 draft pick was this year?  The big man out of Bama, Andre Smith, who is riding the pine while other draftees Bernard Scott and Michael Johnson are making things happen.  Who would have thought that the Bengals could win this game without the services of the amazing Cedric Benson for the entire 2nd half?  Now granted the Steelers lost their best defensive player in Troy Polamalu, but nonetheless this was the biggest win the Bengals have had in years.  This is only the 2nd time the Bengals have swept the season series with the Steelers since 1991 (congrats Mike Brown).

So many great things went on in this AFC North battle, but all led to a victory for the Bengals.  Hats off to Shayne Graham for making kicks in a tough environment and to the entire Bengals defense.  The defense really pressured Big Ben all day and did not let him beat them on broken plays.  Mike Zimmer will be hotly sought by many teams to join their coaching staffs or take over as a head coach come February.  Just a phenomenal victory.

I have two big questions for you though.  Can the Bengals continue to win without the services of Cedric Benson depending on his injury?  Secondly, is this team a real contender that is capable of playing deep into the playoffs?

Stay tuned for Edition 64.


Edition 62 “Get the Guy a Real Jersey!”

So the Ohio State Buckeyes have won an astonishing 5th straight Big Ten Championship.  Today’s game against Iowa was definitely an intense and hard fought game.  So now the Buckeyes wait to play their hated rival Michigan, already knowing that they will be heading to the Rose Bowl on New Years.  Not too bad of a life, but you better believe that the Michigan game is still a must win for the Buckeyes.

So Iowa nearly pulled out the win in the Horseshoe with a freshman quarterback in James Vandenberg.  The kid had guts, but he looked awful in the one OT possession.  The lack of experience really showed and the loss of their starting quarterback last week probably cost them the game, and a Big Ten Championship.  A lot of people who were unable to watch this game are probably thinking that this was a great slug fest in the Big Ten.  And yes, this game was a slugfest, but what was the deal with both team’s last possessions in regulation?

  I feel both coaches should be ashamed.  They both play not to lose football.  This in no way is a rip on these players.  Both of those teams are solid with talented players, but their coaches both play conservative, boring football.  Iowa has been playing in close games all year and coming up big every week.  Why play conservative and not to lose this week?  Your telling me that you really want to just run out the clock and take your chances on the road in OT against the all-powerful Buckeyes?!  Not to mention both teams had all 3 of their timeouts heading into their final possessions.  Give me a break.  I wonder why the Big Ten has been labeled as boring.

And as for the tactics of the man who has won 81 percent of his games as the Buckeye coach, Jim Tressel; I think 99 percent of America could of guessed that you would have 3 draws right up the middle in overtime and leave the game on the foot of your walk on kicker.  You looked good today because the kicker made the kick, but what if he doesn’t?  I mean he is just a walk on playing in his second career game.  You probably run 3 draws on your next possession and do the same thing.  

But what I have the biggest issue with in this circa Big Ten Championship game is the lack of a real jersey for the OSU walk on kicker.  Barclay, who by the way has a phenomenal story, came up huge making the game winning field goal to seal the deal in overtime.  In the midst of this celebration, the name came off the back of his jersey..

Ohio State has perhaps the wealthiest athletic budget in the country.  They are the only school that fields an NCAA team in every Men’s and Women’s sport, yet they cannot get their walk on kicker a real jersey?  Barclay, go out and celebrate because you came up remarkably clutch and showed ice in your veins.  Maybe the athletic department can get you a real jersey before the Michigan game, or at least before Pasadena..

Stay tuned for Edition 63.


Edition 61 “Buckeyes Primetime 2010-2011”

Recruits all over the country inked their commitments for College hoops earlier this week.  One school really seemed to stick out on this signing day though.  They reside in Columbus, Ohio.  Though Buckeye football has apparently taken a back seat in Ohio to Bearcat football this season, basketball this year will be solid, but next year, it will be phenomenal. 

Currently the Buckeyes have what is ranked as the number 1 recruiting  class in the country for 2010 and these kids are the real deal.  A good few of these players are off a local AAU team called All Ohio Red.  This team has won National Titles each of the past 3 summers and is widely regarded as one of the most talented AAU teams this country has seen in the past 10 years.  This team has stuck together and 4 of them are going to college together to take their games to the next level.

Thad has struck gold with this class.  And with a program that already features talented players such as Diebler, Buford, Lauderdale, and Lighty, who will all be experienced juniors and seniors next season, the potential for this team appears to be endless.  Ohio State this year will probably end up in the top 25 and go to the NCAA tourney.  With the arrival of the All Ohio Red juggernaut, this team will instantly be a top 10 team and possibly a final four contender.

So lets take a real look at this class Matta is bringing in.  The centerpiece of the class has to be last year’s Mr. Basketball in the state of Ohio, Jared Sullinger.  According to any rankings of players in this class, Sullinger is in the top 5 and truly is a player with limitless potential.  He is the brother of former Buckeye AJ Sullinger and has a very fundamentally sound and mature game for an 18-year-old.  This kid will be dominating in the post from day 1 in Columbus.  Sullinger’s high school and AAU teammate, JD Weatherspoon will be joining Jared in Columbus next year.  JD decommitted from Xavier with the departure of former Coach Sean Miller and was a great pick up for Thad.  This kid, though only ranked around the bottom half of the 150 in most polls is a gem.  He is a high riser that could provide a game changing dunk on any play.  Not to mention he has played with 3 of these incoming recruits for years and has a great feel for how to play along side these fellow stud players.  The third guy in my opinion is the best steal for Thad.  His name  is Jordan Sibert.  Sibert is a shooting guard for the defending Ohio Division 1 runner-up Princeton Vikings.  Sibert is ranked in the top 40 in most polls and was ranked in the top 20 before  breaking his leg last March.  Sibert also plays on the same All Ohio Red team as Sullinger and Weatherspoon.  This kid’s game can be described simply by one word.  “SMOOTH.”  His game is just a pleasure to watch with his beautiful pull up jumper and amazing ability to get to the rim.  Not to mention he has a very long wingspan and can play some lock down defense.   If this kid does not break his leg, he could easily be in the top 10 in his class and all recruiters agree that this kid’s best playing days are ahead of him. Lastly, from All Ohio Red, highly touted point guard Aaron Craft joins his AAU teammates.  Then lets not forget Thad has secured 2 other top recruits in DeShaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith to this blue chip class.

So next years team for the Buckeyes will consist of mainly freshman and seniors.  It should be a great mix of talent, experience, and leadership. In today’s college basketball game, lots of teams lack the mix of experience and talent.  They either have one or the other, but not both. Ohio State will have a plethora of both. Do not sleep on any of these freshman.  4 of them have played on a 3 time defending National Champion AAU team and have taken on and dismantled all the other blue chip recruits in their class.   Next year’s Buckeyes should have an amazing chemistry and swagger, playing a very exciting brand of Buckeye basketball.

So you heard it here first.  Ohio State Buckeye basketball 2010-2011 will be dancing to the Final Four.

Stay tuned for Edition 62.