Here are a few of my top thoughts on this Wednesday morning:
Would Jon Gruden (pictured above on the far right) really leave the booth to get back into coaching at the U?
–Will Derek Jeter wake up and return to the Yankees?
I honestly believe that Derek Jeter and his agent will come to their senses. The 3 year, 45 million dollar offer is a more than fair deal for the Yankee Captain. I know it is hard for anyone to take a pay cut, but in the MLB, players age. Derek is aging, which was demonstrated threw his .270 batting average this past season (34 points below his career average) and his career lows in On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage. But the Yankee shortstop does not feel that he is done yet. Besides, he will still be the highest paid shortstop in all of baseball (Hanley Ramirez next highest paid shortstop at 11 million). Also, do you really think another team will offer him more than 15 million dollars a year?
So I do think Derek Jeter will be wearing the Pinstripes come next April..
–Will James Harrison need to alter the way he plays?
Coach Tomlin has mentioned that Harrison may need to alter some elements of his style of play. But lets be entirely honest. James Harrison is going to be James Harrison. He has made a living off of his aggressive play. Do you really think a guy like Harrison is going to bow down to the man?
Coach Tomlin was quoted as saying, “Man life isn’t fair. I’m not concerned about fairness. I’m really not. I’m concerned about preparing for the Baltimore Ravens.”
Harrison is also concerned about preparing for Baltimore. But you better believe his style will not be altered when two of the League’s most physical teams go head to head for AFC North supremacy. Football can be a brutal game.
–Can the Lakers return to dominance even in the midst of a tough 3 game slide?
So the Lakers have dropped 3 games in a row. Do you really think Kobe, Phil, and the LakeShow are panicking? Give me a break. Even with the recent skid, they still sit atop the Pacific Division by 4.5 games. This team has won the Western Conference 3 consecutive years and is looking for a 3rd straight NBA Championship. Great teams know when they have to get it together.
Also realize that the Lakers now go on a 4 game stretch where they play the Rockets, the Kings, the Wizards, and the Clippers. Realize that none of these teams have won more than 5 games thus far. The 4 bottom feeders have a total of 17 wins between them on the season.
Look for the Lakers to reel off 4 straight wins and hush the critics.
You better believe that this Laker team is still the best team in the League.
–Is the Big Ten now the supreme conference in College Basketball?
After being dominated by the ACC for over a decade, the Big Ten finally won the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge last season. They are currently ahead 4 to 2 this year, and look to be bringing home the hardware again. Currently, the mighty Big Ten has 5 teams ranked in the top 25. Two of these squads are in the top 10.
The perennial top basketball conference, the Big East, has 6 teams in the AP top 25. With 3 in the top 10. I will admit that preseason I had the Big Ten as the top conference and the Big East as a very close number 2. I still stand by this pick even with the Big East currently sporting 1 more top 25 team.
The difference is at the top. I do not think the Big East’s top teams are as strong as the Big Ten’s top squads. Do you really think that Pittsburgh, Nova, or UConn for that matter are better than Ohio State or Michigan State? It is still early though.
A lot of this depends on what you define as the criteria for the best conference though. Most Final Four Contenders? Most overall tournament teams? Most overall depth? The best teams at the top?
But please note that the Big Ten has only 11 teams, while the Big East has 16. I give the nod to the Big Ten at this time, but barely.
–Will Lebron survive his visit to Cleveland on Thursday?
The NBA has provided heightened security for the Miami Heat wherever they have traveled all season. They better up the ante in Cleveland big time though. People in Northern Ohio are still extremely bitter towards their former “King.” They will do all in the power to make sure that LBJ has a horrible stay in his former home state.
I do not see anything tragic happening. But do expect this game to sport a playoff atmosphere. The Cleveland team will play inspired basketball and do all in their power to please the crowd in probably the biggest game of the season for this Cavs team. Miami on the other hand will also come out and play with a tenacity that we have not seen yet. Lebron wants this game. He left Cleveland to win titles. You better believe that he will be highly disappointed if he gets beaten by his former squad.
–Is Jon Gruden actually considering going to Coach at the U?
Gruden claims he loves his job as a Monday Night Football Analyst. And can you really blame the guy? He has every man’s dream job. Sure the Head Coaching job at the University of Miami is one of the most sought after positions in College Football. Yet they have not made a BCS Bowl Game since 2004. And, over the years, high-profile coaches moving from the NFL to College and vice versa has not been the most successful business venture.
I do admit that I think Gruden has a hint of interest. But at this time, I do not see him leaving.
So there is my food for thought on the days hottest topics in sports. Let me hear your thoughts.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.