Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'd Like to See It, But I Hope I Don't

I've heard this more than once: if the Michigan/Ohio State game is a classic, then it should be played again for the national championship.

The logic goes that if the game is very close, with, say Michigan winning on a field goal as time expires or Ted Gynn Jr. for Ohio State catching a TD pass with 2 seconds left, then the two teams should line up again and play it for the national title six or seven weeks later.

As much as I'd like to see Michigan play Ohio State ten times this season, this idea is stupid. Say Michigan goes into the 'Shoe and knocks of Ohio State. Fine. Now say they play eachother again in the National Title game and Ohio State redeems themselves and beats Michigan.

The two teams each won one game against the other. Both Michigan and Ohio State are 1-1 head-to-head. But Ohio State is your national champion becuase they won the second time around. How does that make any sense at all?

Why should the team who loses the first game get a second crack at the national title? Didn't they already have their shot to beat the best team in the nation? Are they that much better than every other one-loss team in the country? And what about the other schools who actually do finish the season undefeated? They are less worthy that Michigan or Ohio State with one loss?

This line of thought just makes no sense to me. The national championship shouldn't be double-elimination.

I understand that the national championship should pit the top two teams in the country, and those two teams are probably Ohio State and Michigan. But we will already know who is better between those two teams once they play. Playing it again is redundant.

Now, I'm not saying it a Michigan/Ohio State rematch wouldn't draw higher ratings; that match up would probably be the ideal national championship, ratings-wise. But does it make sense when crowning your national champion? I think not.

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Shawne Merriman Did Not Take Steriods, But Will Be Suspended, Anyways.

Shawne Merriman finally got around to dropping his appeal and will begin serving his four-game suspension for taking steriods. It was actually a smart move, because now he can play Denver at least once. If he would have held out longer, he would have missed both games against Denver because there was no way on God's green earth he was beating the suspension. And there is no one more important than Denver.

The whole thing raises a few questions, though:

1) Why does it take the NFL - or any sport, for that matter - so frickin' long to get around to hearing these appeals? Honestly, two weeks until his appeal is heard? I would think they could get this thing taken care of the next day, UPS-style. What exactly are they doing over there? Is NFL Legal so swamped with pressing issues that they couldn't possibly squeeze in the appeal of the league's sack leader on a steriods suspension? This should take precedence, no? I'm no expert, but I can't think of any other pending legal issues the NFL has to attend to. Nope. Not one.

I think the NFL is lazy. There's really no other explanation.

2) It's kinda crazy that one of the best player in football gets busted for 'roids and no one even cares. If, oh say...Albert Pooholes was found to be injecting a needle in his ass, people would be flipping out. What's the difference? I think this is American saying "We like football, not so much the baseball."

3)Merriman's reaction is bullshit and it makes me think he's 100% guilty. If you were accused of something you didn't do - I mean, anything - would you rationally just throw your hands up in the air and trot out the same old, tired reasons for your behavior? Or would you maybe be a little angry? If Merriman genuinely didn't take steriods, I'd imagine his press conference would include lots of swear words and exclamation points:

"This is bullshit! Bullshit! I didn't take anything! I mean, yea, I have the Romonowski-esque tackle box with about 112 pills per day in it, but who doesn't? Besides, they're all legal! Seriously, someone has to be messin' with me...I did not take steriods! The whole system is [expletive deleted] up! [Expletive deleted] this [expletive deleted]! This is a [expletive deleted] tragedy is what it is! Someone needs to be fired! Please believe me! Please! Please believe me! [Expletive deleted]!"
When you just causually say "Oh yea, well, ya know...I guess my supplements were tainted" you are basically just saying "Ya got me." So why not just 'fess up? Not that I care either way, I just don't like being lied to. I'm picky like that. And if you do have to lie, at least be creative. Gimme something to work with. That's just lazy.

(At least we know what Mr. Lights Out will be doing with his off time; scroll to the bottom.)

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Tonight in the Association

Let's try something a little ambitious, shall we? Like, oh say...picking every NBA game for the rest of the season. Sounds like something fun. Sounds like something I'll never be able to keep up. But hey, if I was scared of starting things that would ultimately end in failure, I wouldn't have attended college now would I?

We have two games on tap tonight in The Association. Let's get to it.

San Antonio at Dallas (-3.0)
Man, the NBA is smart, scheduling all these match ups for last season's post season. That said, I think we have a little revenge on our hands here. I'll take the Spurs and the points, thank you very much.

Denver at Los Angeles Clippers (-3.0)
Sam Cassell is the only player in the league smart enough to post up Earl Boykins. That said, Melo seems super-determined this season, doesn't he? I think he gets the Nugs off to a good start this season. Nugs by 5 on the road.

EDIT: If anyone wants to get in on this with me, let me know in the comments. Week by week winner, a season long winner, first one to 21, whatever. Wanna throw a little cash down - whatever makes you nervous - I'm in. Just let me know.

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Around the L

The posting of late has been sporadic at best (and that's being generous), and that's to be expected for about the next month or so. My apologies to all nine of you (yes, I feel comfortable going with nine; I think we're up from the previous high of four). But after that, it's on for serious. Just so you know.

That said, I had to talk a little bit about days one and two of the NBA season. I have never been this excited for the L to get underway. Ever. So let's get to it.

Play of the Year, So Far. Dwight Howard v. Ben Wallace. Howard had Wallace on the left side, took one hard dribble to the right, quickly spun back to the left - completely losing Wallace in the process, by the way - and then did a two-handed chin up on the rim. Just vicious, vicious stuff. Duncan, Yao, KG, Brand...Howard. And by the end of the season, that order could change. I really have no idea how high his ceiling is, but I can't see it from where I'm standing. He really makes the term "monster" seem insignificant.

Who Needs Kobe? Certainly not the Lakers or Lamar. If Lamer can keep this up - and I really think he can - the Lakers are virtually impossible to defend on the perimeter at the 2-3 spots. If Farmer and Bynum are competent - not even good; just don't suck like Kwame and Smush - the Lakers are suddenly incredibly tough to beat. Throw in the cerebral Luke Walton (again, code for "doesn't suck" and "knows how to get Kobe the ball") the Lake Show is downright scary. I'm scared. Are you scared? Well, you should be.

The biggest question with LA this season though is this: Are they going to make their stands all dark and foreboding again? Was that only for opening night? Personally, I think they should keep them like that. It made the court look like a stage and it was pretty bad-ass. If this catches on, I won't be against it.

Cavs Pick Up Where They Left Off. Clearly, the Cavs go as far as LeBron will carry them, but if Larry Hughes continues to ball like this - looking smooth, knocking down J's, getting to the rim - Cleveland has a bona fide second weapon to compliment LeBron, which they haven't had (If you were about to say anything resembling Ilgaukus, save yourself the effort and shutup right now). And his lefty dunk after cutting down the paint was particularly nasty. Consider me excited.

So who's the most important Second Fiddle in the NBA, Larry Hughes or Lamar Odom? So far, Lamar's been the best, but Hughes could put the Cavs in the Finals. So: we'll see.

As for the Wiz: well, Gilbert has me scared. I'm worried than when The Chosen 1 laid hands on him, he ruined him for life. Kind of a modern-day Nick Anderson. But I don't think Gilbert's mind works that way; I don't think he even really understands "pressure" in the traditional sense. Actually, I have no idea how his mind works, but I hope he just had a bad game. Because of Gilbert goes in the tank, that's not going to be good for anyone: not the NBA, not the Wizards, not the fans, not even the Cavs.

I also decided that Deshawn Stevenson is the worst starter in the NBA. I don't know about worst player overall - probably someone buried on Golden State's bench - but Stevenson is awful.

The Knickerbockers are on pace to go 82-0 and play 246 overtimes. Holy hell, the Knicks are undefeated. I don't know why, but this is disappointing. I think its because I like to see greatness, and the Knicks are in line to accomplish said greatness, and they go and blow it with a triple-OT win. Damnit.

Here's my question though: at the end of regulation, the Knicks gave Jamal Crawford the ball at the top of the key and told him to win the game. He failed. At the end of the first OT, same play, same result. Second overtime? Ditto. Three times in a row they gave Jamal the ball, three times in a row he messed it up. How does that happen? And more importantly, how does Stephon feel about this? Actually, as long as the Knicks won, I'm sure Starbury (Can we just call him Starburst? Every time I hear that name, I want one. Watermelon, for some reason.) is happy. If Starbury is about anything, its about wins.

As for the Grizzles, Mike Miller pissed at Charlie Villaneuva? If he isn't, then why is he gunning for his spot as captain of the All Ugly Team? What the hell was that hair cut? He looked like an strung out, ungroomed Pug.

Chicago to the Finals! Chicago Sucks! So which one is it? Well, probably somewhere in between.

They beat the hell out of a Miami team that really could have cared less, minus D Wade. (That whole "gather a bunch of vets dying to get a ring" thing really only works when those vets don't have a ring, right? I thought Miami could win their division just because it was pretty weak, but man...they really don't give a shit. They are the Randy Moss's of the L.) Then they lost to an upstart Magic team. They are still solid, though. They aren't going to the Finals - probably not even the conference finals - but they'll still be a tough out.

I just really don't see how the Ben Wallace signing makes them better. They were already great at defense. It would be like the Colts signing another wide receiver. Once you reach a certain point, you kinda can't get better. How are they going to score? When they play Wallace and Duhon at the same time, they have two guys who aren't a threat to score. That makes them relatively easier to guard, yes? I don't know...I just see them as the same team as last year, only scoring less points. That doesn't seem good, at least to me. We'll see.

I Jumped Into a Pool and Got Wet. In a related story, Rasheed Wallace go thrown out of the first game of the year. We get it, 'Sheed. You don't like the new rules. What a freakin' moron. God, I can't wait to see the Pistons implode this year. One down, 81 to go.

Better Late Than Never. RIP, Red Auerbach. To be honest, I don't know too much about Red, except that he coached a bunch of champions and then put together a bunch more as the Celt's GM. I've heard him described as the most important non-player in NBA history and the greatest winner ever, which are both things you can brag about in heaven. Seems like he lived hs life how he wanted. Doesn't seem like the kind of guy who had too many regrets. Admirable, I'd say.

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