Monthly Archives: December 2009

“NBA Joke or Fun”

So I am currently in New Orleans to cheer on my Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl against the Tim Tebow led Florida Gators.  Upon arriving yesterday, the group of guys that I came down here with decided to go the Hornets vs Heat game.  Tickets were only $12!  Little did I know the entertainment that was in store.

So first of all we decided to walk the 7 blocks to the arena.  This was a horrible decision in that it was pouring outside.  So upon arriving at the arena, I was soaked.  While walking to the arena, one of my buddies asked what the name of the Hornets arena was.  I said that I was not sure and figured that it was named after some company like most arenas across the country. 

The name of the Hornets arena is “New Orleans Arena.”  How creative right?  So when we got there, it is about 25 minutes before game time and 75% of the seats were still open in the arena.  I will note that we did get a free T-shirt about using a designated driver with the Hornet’s logo upon walking in to the arena.  So we go to our seats and realize that we want to move up closer.  So we do because we can.  I thought this was supposed to be an NBA team that featured arguably the best point guard in the world in CP3?

After we moved up to better seats I went to go get something to eat.  Ball game arenas never disappoint in prices.  I got a tiny $6 hot dog that did not even taste good.  Of course you had to spend $3.50 on water which you could only get in the bottled form.  Maybe I like tap water better?  So finally it is game time.

There was a really cool intro when introducing the Hornets starters with a neat light show and all that jazz which was impressive.  Then the game got going.  The Hornets jumped out to an early lead and continued to expand it as the game progressed.  This was a typical NBA game.  Filled with high-flying dunks, fancy passes, and a lackadaisical effort on defense.  Watching Dwayne Wade soar to the rim though is still amazing to see in person.  I will never understand why music plays during actual game action though.  This has become the norm across all NBA arenas.  As the game progresses, I feel like I am at a Minor League Baseball game.  I have never seen so many promotions and hoopla in my entire life.  Every single stoppage in play there is a dumb promotional campaign going on.  I thought this was the NBA, where this nonsense did not need to happen?  I will make note that at halftime we got to see the Amazing Chris do his Michael Jackson impression.  This was a very funny halftime show where a guy danced while holding up 4 dummies who were dancing in line with him.  Try looking this up on Google if you ever get a chance.

So eventually the Hornets expanded the lead to 17.  The game appeared to be all but over.  But in the NBA, no game is ever over.  As the 4th quarter progressed, there were many sketchy calls, amazing drives by Dwayne Wade, and all the sudden the Heat were down by 1!  In the end the Hornets prevailed and it was just another night in the League.

On a final note, I would like to state that my group got on the Jumbo Tron dancing to the song “Jump On It” during a stoppage in play with 8 seconds left in the 4th Quarter.  This was the first time that I have ever gotten on the Jumbo Tron at a game which was pretty cool.

So just another night in the League in New Orleans.  Did I get my money’s worth?  I do know that Bourbon Street after the game was one of the neatest things that I have ever experienced.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Monday Night Football Madness”

Last night, the lowly Chicago Bears knocked off the Minnesota Vikings and cost Favre and the boys home field in the playoffs.  Also this game could possibly even cost the Vikings a bye week in the postseason.  The Vikings move to 11 and 4 overall while the Bears are now 6 and 9.

Favre made a valiant effort to bring his team back, but in the end it was not enough.  The Vikings made too many mistakes and Jay Cutler made too many beautiful deep throws.  Yes, Jay Cutler.  The man who has thrown 26 interceptions this season.  Jay played a whale of a game last night and threw for 4 Touchdowns.  But what sports fans should have really gotten from last night’s game.  Anything can happen on Monday Night Football. 

Generally, other than last week’s game between the Giants and Redskins, these Monday Night games have been supremely entertaining and fun regardless if you are a fan of either of the teams.  The storyline in my eyes of last night’s game though, Favre once again taking control.

Brett did play a great game last night.  But you know what, he is not a good teammate.  He has taken the spotlight away from his team and put it on him.  Even with the best running back in the game, the spotlight is on Brett and the passing game.  Not on the freak, AP.  Brett constantly disobeys coaches and changes plays at the line.  He feels he has a better knowledge of the offense than his coaches.

So he has become the coach and star player in one.  Way to go Brett.  Your numbers are not tailing as much down the stretch as they have the past few years, but your team has lost 3 of its last 4 games.  The Vikings have blown a golden opportunity at home field.

In my opinion the NFC is the much weaker conference than the AFC this year.  It is a wide open race.  I feel that the Eagles have to be the front-runner at this point to come out of the NFC with the Saints and Vikings both struggling.  This is not to say that either of these teams could not get it together and make a run at the Super Bowl in the end. 

So my question for you today.  Can Brett and the Vikings get it together and make a run at the Super Bowl?  Or has Brett ruined Minnesota’s chances?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“A Monumental Colt Mistake?”

Yesterday the Colt’s quest for a perfect season ended.  They were defeated by an upstart New York Jets team 29 to 15.  The Colt’s coach, Jim Caldwell, pulled most of his starters towards the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  Many of his players looked visibly upset on the sidelines as they watched their team take the L.

The Colts had been on a 23 game regular season winning streak.  This team has not lost too much the past couple of years and you can tell that losing is not something that they enjoy.  So did Caldwell make the right decision?  We will not know this until we see who is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the Super Bowl.  I will tell you this much though. 

I do not agree with his decision yesterday..

By resting his starters, Caldwell will most likely end up resting his starters for the majority if not the whole game next week.  By doing this, the Colt’s could very well head into the playoffs on a two game losing streak.  Not to mention that they will have a bye in the first round of the postseason.  That means the Colts will be going a month without a victory.  They will have the taste of losses for a month straight.  Is that how you want to head into playoff football where all the teams are hungry and talented?

Lets not forget that the year the Colts did win the Super Bowl, they did not have to rest their starters at the end of the year.  Their starters got to play out the season and this resulted in a Super Bowl title.  Many would say that you want your stars to remain healthy for the playoffs.  Injuries can happen on any play in the NFL.  It is an injury riddled League.  Play to win.  Injuries are going to happen.  If you are a Super Bowl team, you should be able to handle most injuries and still win.

All teams are playing guys by playoff time that were reserves when the year started.  Yes, an injury to Peyton Manning would cost the Colts any prayer of winning a Super Bowl.  But Peyton could get hurt on any play.  Peyton is going to go 100% on every play of every game.  Just let the guy play.  He has done pretty well for himself throughout his career in staying injury free for the most part. 

I feel like the Colts are no longer the favorite to win the Super Bowl or even come out of the AFC.  I think the Chargers now have to be the favorite to represent the AFC as the Colts are going to come into the playoffs rusty and not having played a real game in nearly a month.  The Chargers are hot and just keep getting better.

Hats off to Peyton Manning for showing class and not scrutinizing his coach to the media.  Peyton is classy and obeys his coach.  He realizes that though he is having an MVP type season and is a phenomenal player, he is not bigger than the team.  Maybe a guy in Minnesota should take some notes..

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“AFC North Supremacy?”

The Who Deys from Cincinnati clinched their first AFC North title since 2005 today on a frigid and snowy day at Paul Brown Stadium.  Though it was not pretty, the Bengals did what they had to do to win this one.  A win is a win.  The Cincinnati fans will take their second winning season since 1990 and a birth in the postseason.

Once again it was a lackluster effort for Carson Palmer as he threw for a meager 139 yards.  With most of those passing yards coming on the Bengal’s final scoring drive in the 4th.  The Bengals have turned into an old school type of football team.  Whether you like it or not,  just call the Bengals the new Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC.  They are a run first team that rides their workhorse running back Cedric Benson.  And they have a very strong defense which week after week saves their offense. 

Now is this such a bad thing?  I mean the Steelers did win a Super Bowl just last year.  It is ironic that the Steelers have become a pass first team this year.  Go figure they are struggling to just get into the playoffs.  Many people are questioning the Bengal’s style of play.  And I am included in this group of people.  I feel that with a QB that has the passing ability of Carson Palmers and receivers like Chad OchoCinco, Laverneus Coles, and Andre Caldwell, this team should have a much more wide open type of offense.  The Bengal’s offense tends to be very dull and predictable all game until late in the 4th quarter.  Maybe this is what is making it easy for the Bengals to move the ball on their final drives?

I cannot complain with the results in that the Who Deys are 10 and 5 and heading to the playoffs.  So maybe Bratkowski has some logic behind his madness?  I am still quite skeptical, but I will take the results for now.  Hats off to this Bengal’s team for fighting through adversity time and time again this year.  Not many teams would have the resilience that this team has demonstrated with the loss of Coach Zimmer’s wife and their teammate Chris Henry.  Not easy events to deal with.  But sometimes life throws curveballs at you.  It is all about how you deal with these hardships.  This team has not only dealt with this adversity, but they have thrived in it.

Now people do not realize just how strong this division is.  If the Broncos are to lose to the Eagles today, the AFC North could get 3 teams into the playoffs.  The Ravens will need to win at Oakland next week and the Steelers will need to win in Miami next week.  These are all very probably events.  So we could be looking at the North putting 3 teams into the playoffs.  Not to mention the Browns are finally starting to look like an NFL team as they ride a 3 game winning streak.

This all could spell trouble for the Bengals in that they would have to play either the Ravens or Steelers in the first round of the playoffs.  Though the Bengals have beaten both of these teams twice, it is a very tall order to beat a strong team 3 times in one season.  The Steelers were able to accomplish this last year against the Ravens, but it is definitely no easy task.

In a year which opened with great exposure for the team on HBO’s Hard Knocks, which was very fun for the team and the city as a whole.  People really got to delve into what NFL Training Camp is like and see what goes on behind the scenes within an NFL franchise.  Then the season opened with a horrible heartbreaking loss to the Broncos.  Fans seemed real down in the dumps. Then all the sudden the team started racking up wins.  Now the Bengals are a contender and are in the playoffs.  Hats off to the resiliency of this team.  I hope they can play deep into the postseason.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Beginning of Big East Statement”

College football bowl games really start to heat up a little today.  It is a great day to be a College Football fan with a tripleheader of bowl games.  Two of the games are matchups between big time programs while the other game should still be an entertaining game to watch between Marshall and Ohio.  Do not sleep on the speed of those pesky Bobcats.

In my eyes, the Meineke Car Care Bowl game is a statement game for the Big East.  Pittsburgh is a team that was within a minute of winning a Big East Championship.  If it wasn’t for a miraculous comeback by that high-powered UC Bearcat offensive attack, Pittsburgh would be playing in a BCS Bowl Game.  So what does Pittsburgh get in return for losing a last second thriller to the 3rd ranked Bearcats?  A birth in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Now there is nothing wrong with this bowl game.  But let’s be real.  Pittsburgh was a team that had a great season and is worthy of a more prestigious game.  Many see the Big East as a great basketball conference and the weakest of the BCS conferences in football.  This was not the case this season.  The Big East for most of the season had 4 of its 8 teams ranked in the top 25 in the country.  This was no thanks to the preseason polls which ranked no Big East teams in the top 25.  They also are led at the top by a Bearcat team that is 12 and 0 and came one second short of appearing in the National Title Game.

Pittsburgh is a team that is led by arguably one of the top running backs in the nation in Dion Lewis.  The great thing about Lewis.  He is just a freshman!  Many are comparing him to a former Pittsburgh great by the name of Tony Dorsett already.  This is pretty good company.  Also do not sleep on the great defensive line of the Pittsburgh Panthers.  It is a shame that Pittsburgh was not matched up against a team from one of the so-called BCS power conferences like the SEC or Big 12.  But beggers can’t be choosers and today Pittsburgh will show that Big East football is not so bad.

Look for Pittsburgh to win convincingly against a tough North Carolina team as the Big East will once again look to have another strong bowl season.  This is the beginning of the statement the Big East will need to make to gain some respect. 

The key game though is the date between the Bearcats and Gators on New Years in the Superdome.  This should be a very entertaining matchup between two teams that can put up some points.  If the Bearcats can take this game, maybe people will start to think of the Big East as not just a strong basketball conference, but a strong basketball and football conference.  A little respect might get the Big East teams into some more prestigious bowl games in future years.

What are your thoughts on Big East football this season?  Does the statement start today with Pittsburgh?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“All I Want for Christmas..”

I feel let down.  I feel betrayed.  The prime time game of the day which I had really been looking forward to was mediocre at best.  The Lakers decided to take a holiday and are now 4 and 7 the last 11 years on Christmas.  I watched a good piece of the Knicks/Heat game and the Celtics/Magic games prior to the big time matchup at the Staples Center.  Neither of these games were too entertaining.  But I sat down and was very excited to tune in and watch the Kobe vs Lebron show.

The two best players in the League, with two of the top teams in the League doing battle under the bright lights in LA.  I mean what could really be a better matchup for the NBA or the fans?  You really could not ask for much more in the main game of the day on Christmas.  Even all the stars were court side for this one.

 Unfortunately, Ron Artest was guarding Lebron, while Anthony Parker was guarding Kobe.  So neither of the stars were really even matched up.  Not to mention the game was somewhat of a landslide.  The Cavs took command midway through the first quarter and minus a small hiccup at the end of the first half, were in control of this one.

This was not the Lake show that fans have been accustomed to watching all year.  The bench was nonexistent in their efforts and Kobe was basically a one man team.  The twin towers of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum did not come to play today and it showed.  Kobe cannot will the Lakers to victories against talented teams like the Cavaliers without help from his frontcourt.  I mean Kobe cannot really do much more than he did today.  Though he put up too many shots,  he still had 35 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.  Also take note that he was 12 of 12 from the free throw line.

Lebron, had more of a quite performance than usual.  But he still had 26 points, 4 rebounds, and 9 assists.  The man who really came up big for the Cavs was  Mo Williams.  He consistently hit big time shots that kept Cleveland ahead comfortably when the Lakers were making runs. Mo was 3 of 3 from long-range and 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.

So yes it was nice to see both stars on the same floor.  But we really did not get a chance to see them go mono y mono, or see what they were capable of in a close game against each other.  Kobe and Lebron were together more today on commercials than they were in isolation situations on the court.  This was just a shame for all the fans that really wanted to see the two stars matched up.

I hope the next time these two teams face off, the Lakers will come ready to play and show why they have the best record in the NBA.  I mean when both of these teams are clicking on all cylinders, they are two of the best in the League.  I am just very disappointed that I did not get to see Kobe and Lebron go at it in a down to the wire battle.

Big win for the Cavaliers today.  They really showed that they are capable of going on the road and beating the League’s best in prime time. 

Though Kobe scored more points today, Lebron’s team got the job done.  So Lebron moves to 7 and 5 all time against Mr. Bryant.  Should be very interesting when these teams face off in Cleveland later this season.

Though I do not celebrate Christmas, I did not get what I wanted on this day..

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“A Dull Day in the Sporting World”

The big day is almost upon us.  Yes, Christmas Eve is here.  So for those of us who do not celebrate Christmas, what is there to do?  I will tell you what.  There is not too much to watch within the sporting realm.  It is a very rough schedule full of nothing.  Now I realize this is partly because most people are celebrating the wonderful holiday with their families, but this is just awful. 

There is one game on during primetime tonight though.

This is a game that will be capturing an immense audience across the country.  You got it, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.  7 and 5 SMU takes on the high-flying attack of Nevada.  I mean it is neat that it is SMU’s first bowl game in 25 years.  Most people do not realize that SMU had a dreadful 1-11 season just a year ago.  So this is a huge deal for SMU.  Also,  Nevada does have an offense that had 3 guys rush for over a 1000 yards.  But I mean is this really a game that you want to watch in primetime?  A primetime game is normally the highlight of my night.  And on Christmas Eve, where I do not have much else to do, it is definitely the highlight of my night.  This game, not so much.

I guess the best alternative is to find a good movie on HBO to watch and call it a night.  Personally, I would much rather watch an entertaining ball game during the primetime viewing hours, but tonight a good movie is looking to be the better option over the Sheraton Bowl.

At least tomorrow, the NBA provides some great entertainment for the sporting world.  There are a total of 5 games on tv.  But the two big games are the Celtics vs Magic and of course Kobe vs Lebron (Lakers vs Cavaliers).  Arguably the 4 best teams in the league are playing and it should be an awesome day to watch some pro ball.  It is a shame that Paul Pierce will be sidelined for tomorrow’s action, but nonetheless, they will be exciting games to view.  I will provide more on these games tomorrow.

So everyone please enjoy your Christmas Eve.  For those of us who do not partake in the Christmas festivities, find a good movie to watch.  Because the sporting world is taking a day off too.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“The NFL Trojans”

The USC Trojans will be participating in the Emerald Bowl on Saturday against Boston College.  This should be an entertaining bowl game, but definitely a different atmosphere from what Trojan Nation is accustomed to this time of year.  Since Pete Carroll has taken over at USC, the team has participated in a BCS Bowl game almost every year and is normally looked at as a team that could compete with weaker NFL squads.

The Trojans recently are the team that tanks a game every year.  This off week prevents them from making it to the National Title game due to the great BCS system that governs College Football.  That has been the Trojan story for some time now.  This year appeared to be the same way until the Trojans started losing multiple games.  Many just assumed USC would be a national title contender like they are every year.  A very young team led by a freshman quarterback made it inevitable that this team would have some struggles this season. After a couple of losses USC seemed to have given up on their season and ended the season 8 and 4.  This was their worst season since 2001.

USC has been making headlines all week with players being ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game and now their star running back looks to be unable to participate in the game.   Many think that McKnight broke rules by using an SUV that was given to him by a local businessman.  Would you expect any different in Trojan central?  Remember Reggie Bush and his family receiving a home?  Remember OJ Mayo making headlines a couple of years ago for breaking NCAA rules at USC?

What type of practice are they running in Trojanville?  I mean obviously the football program has produced some great NFL players in recent memory.  They have put out some outstanding teams and many people are fans of the Trojans.  Pete Carroll is a great coach who is always giving back to the community.  But give me a break Pete.  Take control of what is going on between your boosters and players. 

I realize that the area surrounding USC is a pro town.  So scandals will occur.  But with all the good that Pete Carroll does in the community, he should be able to take control of his players.  So my question for you is what are your thoughts on what Pete Carroll can do to protect his players from the riches of boosters and paparazzi?  What can he do to protect his program from the limelight of the pro city?

Can Pete Carroll keep the Trojans clean or will these scandals continue on for years to come?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“The Woeful Washington Redskins”

Monday Night Football hosted perhaps it’s worst game of the season last evening.  In a matchup of two bitter NFC East Rivals, the game looked like a Pro team taking on a high school team.  This may even be an understatement of the disparity in the level of these two teams.  I am not sure if the Redskins forgot how to play the game.  Either way, they looked like a team running around with their heads cut off.  The Giants meanwhile looked like a Super Bowl contender, even though they are a team that is struggling to even make the playoffs.

It was just a horrible evening to be a Redskin fan in general.  First of all it was very difficult for fans to even get to the stadium due to heavy snowfall and bitter cold.  So the fans struggled, but they eventually got there.  Then the Giants just came out and played a near perfect first half dominating the Skins.  Jason Campbell, the Redskins QB was hit early and often and even sprained his shoulder.  Campbell was sacked a total of 5 times.  At the end of the half, the Redskins pulled out a trick play rather than try a field goal.  This trick play was unsuccessful and looked like it had been drawn up by a pee wee team.  I am still unsure of what the trickery was in this play and how it would ever work against any team in the NFL.  The boos from the home fans were very loud following this botched attempt at trickery. At the end of the half, the Giants had 16 first downs to the Redskins 2, and were up 24 to 0.

So the game was all but over.  In the second half, the Giants continued to pummel the Skins.  And you know things were going bad for Washington with the events that transpired at the beginning of the 4th quarter.  Eli Manning got wrapped up by Redskins defenders and flipped the ball to running back Brandon Jacobs.  The play was whistled dead and Redskin’s corner Deangelo Hall still gave Brandon a little love tap.  Jacobs grabbed Hall by the facemask and there was a little tussle that ensued.  Jacobs ended up throwing some punches and Albert Haynesworth of the Skins came over and threw in a couple of haymakers of his own.  When the madness all ended, the Redskins were flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness while the Giants received no penalties.  Two plays later, Eli Manning hit former Michigan star Mario Manningham for an easy 25 yard TD pass.  It was just that kind of night for Washington.

How did Brandon Jacob’s not even get a penalty? He squared up and threw blatant punches.  In addition, why do NFL players punch at guys facemasks and helmets?  Wouldn’t this hurt their hands more than it would hurt the other guy?

So the final score was 45 to 12.  It could have been worse.  So Redskins fans got to sit in horrible traffic while trying to leave the stadium following this embarrassment.  It was just a woeful night to be in Washington.

So my question for you all is are the Giants really that good?  Or are the Redskins that bad?  And finally do the Giants sneak into the playoffs?

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze

“Far From Bigger than the Game Favre”

The Minnesota Vikings put on their worst performance of the season yesterday and were defeated handily by the Carolina Panthers 26 to 7.  So the Vikings fall to 11 and 3 and are still in great position for a deep playoff run.  They even clinched the division title yesterday due to the Steelers thrilling victory over the Packers.

So the real story of the game yesterday.  Coach Childress tried to protect his QB Favre and rest him during the 4th quarter.  Favre was getting hit early and often by the Panthers D-Line.  Julius Peppers got a good piece of the veteran on numerous occasions.  The Vikings had clinched the division going into the game due to the Packers losing to the Steelers.  Favre referred to the sideline discussion with Childress as a “heated discussion” in press conferences following the game while Childress really downplayed the situation.  So who is wearing the pants in this relationship?

Generally you would think the Coach would be in charge.  But in this case, Favre is running the show.  ESPN today has brought up reports of an instance earlier in the season against the Packers where Favre changed the play at the line of scrimmage.  This audible was deliberately going against what Childress and the Vikings offensive coordinator wanted Favre to do in the situation. Childress wanted to sit Favre again in this situation and Favre won out in the argument.  Most, including myself were unaware of this earlier encounter.  In both instances, Favre won the battle against Childress and showed who was the boss.  Favre loves doing commercials for Wrangler Jeans and apparently loves wearing the pants in relationships with his coaches.  Childress should take some pointers from Mike Holmgren on how to handle Mr. Favre.

Childress really needs to man up and take control of “his” team.  Favre always falls off at the end of the year.  This year is proving no different.  In each of the last 5 years, Favre has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in the last 5 games of the season.  This year is shaping up the same way.  Childress probably believes the solution is getting Favre a little rest before the playoffs in that the team has already clinched.  The Vikings have done so well that they have the luxury to rest their superstar quarterback.  I completely agree with Childress.  Favre is far from a young gun these days and needs some rest.  If he does not get any rest, the Viking’s chances of making the Super Bowl will be severely minimized.

Now Favre is having a great season on the whole.  The Vikings are an outstanding team that has the potential to go to the Super Bowl this year.  So is Favre bigger than the team?  Will this encounter have any affect on how the Vikings perform down the stretch?  And do you think Childress needs to man up and take control?

The past couple of years Favre has received more media attention than any player in the League.  Maybe he is bigger than the game.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.

-Kraze