Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Week 4 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good week 3? My fantasy teams did, but my real team didn’t (if you know me, you know who that is). Hopefully the momentum continues this week.

Byes: TB, MIN, KC, DAL

Who to Start:

QB Bruce Gradkowski (OAK) vs. HOU: He didn’t get Oakland a win in Arizona, but he opened up the Raider offense. And against the worst pass D in the league, who will be without one of their starting safeties that will make this matchup only more enticing.

RB: Matt Forte (CHI) vs. NYG: He has only averaged 36 yards rushing this season, but due to his contribution in the passing game, he still remains a viable option to start. Against the Giants, who had trouble stopping Chris Johnson, he should continue to have success.

WR: Donald Driver (GB) vs. DET: With Aaron Rodgers being under center, and him throwing against the Lions, Driver should have a great game. Enough said.

WR: Mark Clayton (STL) vs. SEA: He is Sam Bradford’s favorite target, and due to this, he’s caught 17 passes, and 2 TD’s this year. Get him while he still is being targeted, and Steven Jackson is injured, because matchups like Seattle’s poor pass D don’t come around too often.

TE: Dustin Keller (NYJ) vs. BUF: He’s been better fantasy wise than any other Tight End in football not named Antonio Gates, and he should be licking his chops, because he’s facing Buffalo.

DEF: Indianapolis vs. JAX: Boy did the Jags O look horrid last week, with less than 100 passing yards, and allowing 7 sacks to the Eagles. Against the 2 best pass rushers in the league, this trend will continue, so start the Colts.

Who to Sit:

QB: Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. PIT: For the 1st time all year, he looked half-way decent last Sunday. But against the Steelers, who have allowed only 2 TD’s all season, avoid starting Flacco.

RB: Jerome Harrison (CLE) vs. CIN: Boy, how far he has fallen. From being a fantasy hero last season, to a bench warmer this year, he’s fallen a long way. And, with Peyton Hillis emerging as a big back, Harrison’s time will continue to dwindle.

WR: Steve Smith (CAR) vs. NO: With Jimmy Clausen under center now, Smith’s value has taken a hit. And against New Orleans, who has done a reasonably good job stopping wideouts this year, he should be on the bench, despite how good he is.

WR: Calvin Johnson (DET) vs. GB: This is more of a warning than a stern edict. Shaun Hill has struggled somewhat in his time, and with Johnson matched up against Charles Woodson, start with extreme caution.

TE: Heath Miller (PIT) vs. BAL: Despite the safety net factor for Charlie Batch, he should be avoided, because, well, it’s Baltimore.

DEF: San Francisco vs. ATL: One of the highest drafted D’s coming into the year, and now one of the most disappointing D’s around. Against the Falcons, who laid a 41 spot on Arizona 2 weeks ago at the Georgia Dome, they will continue to struggle. They have given up 62 points on the road so far.

3 Super Sleepers for Week 4:

DEF Seattle vs. STL: Because of the special teams’ factor, with Leon Washington now being Leon Washington, they are a nice sleeper if your D is on a bye. Also, facing Sam Bradford without Steven Jackson doesn’t hurt either.

WR Louis Murphy (OAK) vs. HOU: I guess once I recommend someone once, they must be recommended twice, right? Same goes for Murphy, who had a nice week with Bruce Gradkowski under center. And, against a porous Houston Pass D, the trend should continue.

WR Blair White (IND) vs. JAX: Who? The Pierre Garcon of 2010 for the Colts, and that should bode well for him. He will perform well with Garcon and Anthony Gonzalez nursing injuries. Facing Jacksonville doesn’t hurt that much either.

Good Luck in Week 4!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My 2010-2011 NHL Season Predictions

I wasn't even remotely close last year. This year will be different.

Northeast: 1) BUF 94 Pts 2) OTT 90 Pts 3) BOS 85 Pts 4) MTL 82 pts 5) TOR 79 Pts
Atlantic: 1) PIT 115 Pts 2) NJ 98 Pts 3) PHI 93 Pts 4) NYR 85 Pts 5) NYI 80 Pts
Southeast: 1) WSH 110 Pts 2) TB 89 Pts 3) ATL 84 Pts 4) CAR 78 Pts 5) FLA 75 Pts

Central: 1) DET 100 Pts 2) CHI 98 Pts 3) NSH 95 Pts 4) STL 87 Pts 5) CBJ 82 Pts
Northwest: 1) VAN 105 Pts 2) COL 95 Pts 3) CGY 89 Pts 4) MIN 87 Pts 5) EDM 81 Pts
Pacific: 1) SJ 110 Pts 2) LA 100 Pts 3) PHX 94 Pts 4) ANA 89 Pts 5) DAL 85 Pts

Playoffs: East: 1) PIT over 8) BOS
                      2) WSH over 7) TB
                      6) OTT over 3) BUF
                      5) PHI over 4) NJ

                      1) PIT over 6) OTT
                      2) WSH over 5) PHI
                      1) PIT over 2) WSH

West:  1) SJ over 8) PHX
           2) VAN over 7) COL
           6) NSH over 3) DET
           4) LA over 5) CHI

           6) NSH over 1) SJ
           2) VAN over 4) LA

           2) VAN over 6) NSH

2011 Stanley Cup Finals: 1)PIT over 2) VAN in 6 games.

Any questions, comment below.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 3 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good week 2? I won in one league, failed in the other, but here this week we have good matchups to behold. Read up, and let the controversy reign.

Note: I’m not putting any Patriots, on the list, because you’d start them anyway against BUFFALO.

Who to Start:

QB Michael Vick (PHI) vs. JAX: I would know better than a lot of people (hint), as to how bad the Jaguars pass D is, 30th in the league against the pass for example. Because of how well Vick is playing, he is an absolute must start, as with all other Eagles offensive players.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK) vs. ARZ: He has played so well in the last 2 weeks, why would the Raiders want Michael Bush back? The Cards got torched against the run against Atlanta last week, making McFadden a good option this week.

WR: Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. SEA: I know I’ve mentioned him like a broken record for the last 2 weeks, and against a pass D that had trouble against Denver last week, he will have success now that the Bolts are back on track.

WR: Santana Moss (WSH) vs. STL: He’s had a renaissance of sorts with Donovan McNabb under center, with 16 catches this year, and going against the Rams, he should continue that trend.

TE: Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) vs. DET: We have learned in the last 2 weeks that Brett Favre really trusts his Tight End, as he has 18 catches in his first 2 games. Against Detroit, who struggled last week defending the pass, he should have a great game.

DEF: San Diego vs. SEA: The Chargers forced 6 turnovers last week, and with Matt Hasselbeck being a turnover machine, the Chargers D should capitalize.

Who to Sit:

QB: Chad Henne (MIA) vs. NYJ: Logic would dictate that wouldn’t start anyone against the Jets D, and with Henne, its business as usual. The Jets have allowed only 24 points in 2 games, and the Dolphins have scored only 29. Avoid Henne.

RB: Jamaal Charles (KC) vs. SF: With Todd Haley electing to start Thomas Jones in front of a talented back in Charles, only use him as flex starter this week.

WR: Michael Crabtree (SF) vs. KC: Crabtree has been non-existent in the first 2 games, and even though he’s playing a shaky Chiefs D, he worries me, so don’t start.

WR: Bernard Berrian (MIN) vs. DET: He is nursing a sore knee, and with Brett Favre struggling to find his wide outs in the first 2 games, I would avoid starting him this week.

TE: Jeremy Shockey (NO) vs. ATL: He hasn’t scored a TD in the last 11 months, and is now an afterthought in a very good Saints O. Only start him if you’re desperate.

DEF: Denver vs. IND: The Broncos had a great week against Seattle, but to be brief, Indianapolis is no Seattle.

3 Super Sleepers:

TE Marcedes Lewis (JAX) vs. PHI: The Eagles have documented problems defending the Tight End, and with Lewis having 2 of the Jags 3 TD’s on the season, expect him to see some action on Sunday.

RB/FB Mike Tolbert (SD) vs. SEA: With Ryan Mathews out with a high ankle sprain, Tolbert will see the bulk of the carries against Seattle. He had a good week last week, without practicing with the first teamers. He is a prime sleeper this week.

WR Louis Murphy (OAK) vs. ARZ: An Oakland wide out on anything other than the sit list? What has the world come to? He has a good rapport with new starter Bruce Gradkowski, and with Arizona struggling to defend the pass, he is a good sleeper candidate this week.

Good Luck in Week 3!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He's BACK!!!!!!!

Who is he, you ask? Well, it's Michael Vick. He's now the permanent starter after Andy Reid appointed him to that position for the rest of the year. His performances in his first 2 games were electrifying, but we were left to wonder: When Kevin Kolb returns from his concussion, would Vick go back to his 5 or 6 plays a game package? We thought yes, but in a move which has become commonplace at the NovaCare complex, Andy Reid changes his mind just as soon as he said Kevin Kolb would start when he came back. Why? It really wasn't necessary to do this, maybe only for fan service, but Kevin Kolb was the starter when Donovan McNabb left. Even though he's played well, why?

His reclamation project didn't start off well last year. But this year, when his name was called upon, he's performed very well, with a 105.5 passer rating, and hasn't thrown a pick yet. The best part is, he's now standing firm in the pocket more than he has ever done before, which has impressed many an onlooker, and Eagles fan. He's even now one of the more popular Eagles in the locker room. But, his role for this year was clearly defined from the start of training camp, to be the wildcat operator. Kevin Kolb patiently waited for Donovan McNabb to be shipped out so that he could get his chance. He did tempt Eagles fans with his 2 game performance last year against New Orleans & Kansas City. He was the starter, at least until the "new" Michael Vick showed up. The decision to start had nothing to do with injuries to Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid contends, and I believe him. But, that still leaves why Vick is now starting. WHY?

This has to be one of the biggest knee-jerk reactions I have ever seen in sports. I guess Reid doesn't trust Kevin Kolb to stand firm behind a weakened offensive line. He's just be given the shaft after you got a $12 million signing bonus to be the starter, and Michael Vick was be the wild-card. Kevin Kolb was put deeply under the microscope, and now has been ripped out from under it. Reid also says that this benching helps Kolb's maturation process, but I don't believe that for a second. We've been spoon-fed things about how good Kolb can be, and we were shown his potential last year, and now, it's just been stopped because Vick may win 2 or 3 more games in the sort term. What is Donovan McNabb thinking in Washington now?

Kevin Kolb is a mature man. He is taking the correct stance on this issue, in being quiet and supporting Vick. But, he honestly, has to be thinking about being traded. Many teams with QB issues have to be interested, and the Eagles seem to be willing to give him up. I don't see why. The trade deadline is October 19th, and the Eagles have 4 games between then and when I'm writing this. He is a good QB, with plenty of potential, and why waste it, for a couple of wins in honestly a year in transition for Philly, and fan service.

I have already mentioned about the Eagles weak O-Line. They have an inexperienced center who reportedly missed many calls on Sunday. Mike Vick was sacked 6 times, and it could have been more, and that trend will continue no matter who is under center. This is truly the only reason that I could come up with for why Vick is starting. But, here remains the question that lingers over my thoughts every time I think of this: If Vick plays badly at anytime, and the Eagles get on a losing streak, are we back at square 1 again? And if we do get there, will Kevin Kolb be ready, and bigger yet, willing to start again?

This is a bad situation made worse because of good play by Mike Vick, not bad play by Kevin Kolb. The other QB switches made during the week I'm writing this, Jimmy Clausen for Carolina, Bruce Gradkowski for Oakland, Ryan Fitzpatrick for Buffalo, all were switched in because of bad play by the guy in front of them. Vince Young was also yanked for bad play. Kolb is getting the hook, because Vick is playing better than anyone could have ever predicted. Give Kolb a chance to actually play a full game before you jump the gun.

In all honesty, the Eagles aren't destined for the playoffs anyway, and to switch QB's without letting the heir apparent of which you traded the franchise QB away for, all for a couple of wins, is stupid, and will blow up in the Eagles faces. Michael Vick has done his job, and probably will be starting in some other colors next year. This is his audition. Kevin Kolb will have to do what he has done for the past 3 years, sit and wait. Even if he shouldn't be holding a clipboard in the first place.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 2 Fantasy Advice

Did you have a good week 1? My predictions were pretty good, yet my teams did horribly! I actually should follow my own advice.

Who to Start:

QB: Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. CIN: As I thought, he had a pretty poor week against the Jets. That shouldn’t been an issue against the Bengals, who got torn apart for over 250 pass yards and 3 TD’s against the Patriots.

RB: Steven Jackson (STL) vs. OAK: The only Ram you would ever want to start and that trend continues in the black hole. The Raiders got ran over by CJ2K for 142 yards, and still maintain one of the worst rush D’s from the 2009 season. Jackson should pile up big numbers here.

WR: Santana Moss (WSH) vs. HOU: Even though Donovan McNabb didn’t have a great stat week last week, and Moss is on the decline, those are irrelevant against a Texans pass D that gave up almost 450 pass yards to Peyton Manning last week and put up very little resistance.

WR: Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. JAX: I said this last week, and even though he was overshadowed by Legedu Naannee last week, I’ll say it again: He’s going up against a porous pass D (who gave up almost 300 yards to Kyle Orton of all QB’s), and may be without their starting strong safety on Sunday.

TE: Brent Celek (PHI) vs. DET: With Michael Vick starting for the Birds this Sunday, Celek will be targeted early and often. The Lions gave up 370 yards passing against Chicago last Sunday, so expect Celek to have more than 32 yards this Sunday.

DEF: Green Bay vs. BUF: The Bills offense was anemic last Sunday against an arguably worse Dolphins D, so expect the fantastic Packers D to keep the Bills O at bay (no pun intended).

Who to Sit:

QB: Carson Palmer (CIN) vs. BAL: If you saw what happened to poor Mark Sanchez on Monday, you’ll know why Carson Palmer should be benched in every single league this Sunday. No further explanation needed.

RB: C.J Spiller (BUF) vs. GB: He did nothing last Sunday (14 all purpose yards), and in a 3 back rotation where Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch got more action, he will continue to do nothing.

WR: Braylon Edwards (NYJ) vs. NE: After his bad performance on Monday, and bearing in mind his 1 game against the Pats from last season, he should be on the bench in all leagues this week.

WR: Mike Wallace (PIT) vs. TEN: His best game is in the vertical passing game, and because Dennis Dixon isn’t very good at that, he’s already at a disadvantage. And, after the Titans only allowed 58 yards to wideouts last week, he should remain on your bench this week.

TE: Jeremy Shockey (NO) vs. SF MON: He’s averaged 3 catches for 31 yards in his last 7 games, and hasn’t scored a TD since October. Not recommended to start this week by anyone.

DEF: New York Giants vs. IND: Even though the Giants D was great last week, against Eli’s brother Peyton, who set the Texans D on fire through the air, this D is not great to start this week.

3 Super Sleepers for Week 2:

QB: Michael Vick (PHI) vs. DET: He performed very well in relief duty last week, and against a Lions pass D that allowed 370 pass yards to Chicago, Vick is a very capable backup option for this week.

TE John Carlson (SEA) vs. DEN: Don’t let last week fool you, he still has the tools to be a great fantasy TE this week against a Denver D that gave up 2 TD’s to Jags TE Marcedes Lewis last week.

WR Mike Williams (TB) vs. CAR: The Panthers gave up 3 passing TD’s to the same guy last week, and because Mike Williams is the new feature target in Tampa, he should have a good game on Sunday.

Waiver Wire Pick Up of the Week:

RB Brandon Jackson (GB): With Ryan Grant out for the season, and the prospect of cold winters in northern Wisconsin, the running game will be very important to the Pack this year. That means the 2nd round pick will have to show his value, and he will, so pick him up while you still can.

Good Luck in Week 2!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A First for College Football's Biggest Award

Reggie Bush was one of the best college running backs of all time, and participated in the heyday of USC football. He was the 2nd overall pick in 2006, but hasn't done many big things in the league since then, despite winning a super bowl ring. But maybe his most shining accomplishment was his Heisman Trophy in 2005. But now, cobwebs will gather on the empty space now available in Reggie's trophy case, as he has decided to give up his Heisman from 2005. Was this the right choice, and will there be a new winner for the now forfeited trophy?

Bush's '05 season was great in every respect, All-American, Walter Camp and Doak Walker award winner, and lead the country in all purpose yards per game, at over 222 yards a game. But, now along with the rest of that season, Bush's Heisman is now forfeited by himself. This is the first time in 75 years that the award has been vacated. Bush gave up the award with humility, by saying in a statement, "For me, it was a dream come true. But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it. I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans, and the unconditional love of my family and friends." He has done everything right publicly. And, Bush was the impact player in college that year. But, with all of what he did does make me think he had to give it up. With the rest of that vacated season, I am not shocked that he decided to give it up, and he rightfully should. And honestly, this looks much better from a PR standpoint then having the Heisman trust taking the award from him. But, should Vince Young get that Heisman now vacated?

The simple answer is: NO. Vince Young got what I think, and most people think, is more important, the National Title for that year. Reggie's was vacated from '04, but he still won one before Vince. Bush had more than 700 more first place votes in that set of Heisman voting, which was the second largest margin of victory in Heisman voting history, and Bush had a much bigger impact that year. And of course, Young made one of the most ubiquitous runs in college football history in that National Title game, to give Texas the win. And, VY, think of this. The Heisman award winners in the NFL haven't had the best careers in the league, and even Paul Hornung, who dealt with similar problems as Bush when he was suspended by the league for gambling. Vince Young shouldn't get the Heisman, even though he wants it. Reggie Bush has already got a super bowl ring, and Young is mad about that. But Young has had, in my opinion a better pro career. The Heisman is an aside, and should stay vacated.

Whether you think Bush did the right thing or not right now is pushed aside by the fact that Vince Young shouldn't get it. It needs to stay un-awarded, like the 2004 AP National Champion banner that USC also gave back. Bush's move was good for himself, and his name, but the 2005 award should stay un-awarded.  The Heisman Trust still has to decide whether to re-award the trophy, but they shouldn't. Don't give the Heisman to Young, as he didn't earn it. Leave it alone, as far as I'm concerned, it's already tainted for 2005.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 1 Fantasy Advice

Something I'll do every week is give you brilliant readers fantasy football advice from the other site I write for. Enjoy, and don't make me look stupid!

Writer’s Note: This doesn’t include the Thursday Night MIN/NO game.

Who to Start:

QB: Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. DET: The Lions pass D was awful last year and despite their improvements, Cutler is still a great start here. The O-Line may be a problem, but this matchup is too good to pass up.

RB: Ryan Mathews (SD) vs. KC MON: He is one of the prime rookie of the year candidates, and for good reason after his game on Monday. The Chiefs gave up tons of points to fantasy running backs last year, making him a complete must start.

WR: Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. KC MON: Vincent Jackson is holding out, so Floyd is the new #1 in San Diego. With a great fantasy QB throwing to him; he will shine against a porous pass D.

WR: Michael Crabtree (SF) vs. SEA: The Seahawks had plenty of trouble defending wide-outs last season, and minus their starting strong safety from last year, it will continue. Alex Smith is primed for a breakout year, and Crabtree will have a great full season.

TE: Jermichael Finley (GB) vs. PHI: He is one of the biggest breakout candidates in fantasy this year, and for good reason, having one of the best QB’s throwing to him. And, the Birds had a lot of trouble defending the TE in ’09, making him a must-start this week.

DEF: Tennessee vs. OAK: The Titans will be motivated to perform well in the beginning of the year, after last year’s disaster, and it will help that Oakland’s 2 best offensive players (Jason Campbell, Michael Bush) are nursing injuries that may keep them out of the game.

Who to Sit:

QB: Joe Flacco (BAL) vs. NYJ MON: He is one of the best fantasy QB’s out there, and now has 2 great wide-outs at his disposal. But, he’s now facing the Jets, with Revis Island now above water, and that will enable the Jets to blitz, blitz, and blitz.

RB: Clinton Portis (WSH) vs. DAL: He’s only a shadow of his former self when he played under Mike Shanahan in Denver, and it doesn’t help he’s averaged 82 yards in his last 4 games against Dallas.

WR: Lee Evans (BUF) vs. MIA: With Buffalo having no receiving corps outside of Lee Evans, and sketchy QB play, Miami will try to instantly take Evans out of the game. Because of that, he’ll struggle.

WR: Hines Ward (PIT) vs. ATL: Other than the obvious QB problem in Pittsburgh, which will already limit Hines’ catches, he will be matched up against new Falcon Dunta Robinson, one of the best cover corners in the NFL.

TE: Owen Daniels (HOU) vs. IND: Gary Kubiak has stated that Daniels will see limited action against the Colts after his reconstructive surgery, and until he’s 100% healthy, that will stay the same. So, keep him out of action until he’s healthy.

DEF: Philadelphia vs. GB: The Eagles are younger and more inexperienced on defense this year, but are still a decent fantasy option through the rest of the year, but against Aaron Rodgers and the Pack, they will struggle.

3 Super Sleepers for Week 1:

1. RB Cadillac Williams (TB) vs. CLE: He’s facing one of the worse rush D’s in the league on Sunday, and without Derrick Ward in the mix, he’ll get the backfield focus. He’s a great sleeper for this week.

2. QB Derek Anderson (ARZ) vs. STL: Yes, I have picked him. The Rams struggled to stop QB’s last year, so he’s a decent option off the waiver wire for those who don’t have great QB options this week.

3. WR Brandon Lloyd (DEN) vs. JAX: Against a porous Jags secondary, with 2 new starting safeties, Kyle Orton will find Lloyd early and often this week.

Have a great week 1!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do You Believe in Boise State?

After last night, I sure do (not those uni's, but nice try Nike).

Everyone's favorite BCS buster did what it needed to do to remain in the National Title Game contention, by beating Virginia Tech at a "neutral" environment. 80,000 Hokies fans on the opposite side of the country, and Boise State quieted the crowd at many points during the game. A flying start, questionable middle, and great ending for the Broncos propelled them to victory. Kellen Moore, one of the under-the-radar candidates for the Heisman Trophy, did what he does so well, lead the Broncos on a game-winning drive with poise, and his great accuracy. They impressed me, and many other people, including 8 number 1 votes in the AP poll. They've already won 2 Fiesta Bowls, beating Oklahoma, and BCS Buster1-A TCU. But, I'm avoiding the major question here. Do they have a legit chance to make the national title game over a 1 loss SEC or other auto-qualifier conference team?

Many skeptics say no, because of the fact that they don't play a grueling schedule like the SEC or Big 12. I guess, but Boise has done what it could to move to a stronger conference, and then 2 of the best 3 in their new conference move out. The part of Boise's schedule that they can control, the out-of-conference part, they did their best to make as appealing to the silly voters, and computers. Oregon State, Virginia Tech and Wyoming isn't the best compared to other schools scheduling major opponents, but is better than what they had in 2006. The funny part of this is that Boise needs Virginia Tech to run away with the ACC and Oregon State with the PAC 10 after Boise beats them, to make Boise look even better, and sweeten their resume. But, will that be enough to spur the bucking Broncos?

The same critics make the point that Boise couldn't go to big stadiums like in Starkville to play the Mississippi State, Stillwater to play Oklahoma State, and win. But, the same teams couldn't go to Boise and win either. Put them on a neutral field, Boise will walk over them, and the Broncos could probably do that too many of the teams like Virginia Tech at a neutral site (where Boise will have fewer fans go). The WAC doesn't even compare to the MAC, or even the Big East, in terms of high quality teams. Put Boise in both of those conferences and they may run the table anyway. Put them in the SEC, Big 12, or Big Ten, they may not run the table, but they'll prove their worth. But, going undefeated in any conference is tough enough, and Boise has made its own life as tough as they themselves can make it. They try to seclude themselves from the national media, and keep a low profile, and they're doing a great job with that. Head Coach Chris Petersen said after the game, "We live in such a cocoon anyway. We'll go back and our guys will go be in class tomorrow. They'll be there by 10:00. They'll come in and watch the tape and the coaches will go recruiting and we'll go practice again." Couldn't say it any better myself, and neither could Jim Tressel, Nick Saban, Mack Brown, or any other Top 10 coach.

Do I believe that Boise should play in Glendale on January 10th, 2011 for the BCS Title? I can't say that now, ask me in November, when BCS rankings are at the forefront. But, at least now, on September 7th, they should be in the discussion. They are the #3 team in the country in both the AP and Coaches polls as of now. Boise has the best QB not in the major national spotlight every Saturday, a wide-out that can also block punts, and a bend but don't break D. This is a perfect combination to run the table in a mediocre conference. Boise has a bye on the 11th, and then plays Wyoming in Laramie on the 18th. But everyone is focusing on the 25th, on the smurf turf, when they play Oregon State. That is where everyone thinks Boise's final test on the road to Glendale lies. All they need after that is to win, and get help from the Hokies and Beavers.

Are the cemented in Glendale right now? No. But should they be one of the top candidates if they have no losses? You bet.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The NHL's Clusterchuk

Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the NHL's best players today. After being traded to New Jersey at the trade deadline this year, questions arose on where he would sign. He has said that he likes playing in southern markets, which made the LA Kings as the most likely landing spot. But, as Devils GM Lou Lamoriello was able to court him back with a 17 year, $102 million contract, the NHL stepped in, saying the contract circumvented the league's CBA. And, I can see why, as the last 7 years of the contract would pay him a combined $2.5 million. Then, the Devils fought back taking the league to arbitration saying that the contract was valid. The NHL won, and now fans of the Devils, the KHL (Russia's hockey league), and the NHLPA were waiting with baited breath for Kovalchuck's to sign with the Devs once again. But, he still hasn't, because the league is waiting to approve the contract. This has been an absolute farce for the league, who needs to keep one of their players in North America, but even worse, it shows how desperate the league is to exert its power.

Kovalchuk's new contract is relatively similar to the rejected one, but with more money at the back end of the contract, $7.25 million. Still, 90% of the contract is paid in the first 10 years, which is bad, but better than 93% in the first 10 years. But, the fact that the league can't accept the contract soon enough is hilarious, considering training camps start by mid-September, and preseason hockey starts on the 21st. They've needed extensions galore, to read 11 pages again and again, with the NHLPA agreeing. Hilarious. The day I'm writing this, fans all around hockey are still waiting to see if the contract is accepted. If it isn't, the KHL may beckon. How could the NHL lose one of their best players over trivial stuff like this? I know this contract definitely tested the CBA to its fullest extent, but, contracts to guys like Marc Savard, Roberto Luongo, and Marian Hossa were all equally bad, but left to stand. What makes this one different? The fact that Kovy would make only $357,142 a year when he will be 37-44 is irrelevant (unless he plays until he's 48 like Chris Chelios). Is the NHL looking to reject this contract by reading so in-depth that no lawyer could upstage them?

If this contract is rejected, Kovy should bolt to Russia, and I couldn't blame him. With 1 dollar valuing at about 31 rubles, he could do pretty well in the upscale metropolis that is Moscow (if it isn't covered in a layer of smog that could put LA to shame). If the NHL loses Kovy, they only have themselves to blame. Why want to reject it? Prove that they're bigger than the GM's who are inevitably smarter than the NHLPA and owners who wrote the CBA? The fact that the union let the deadline to extend the timeframe to make a decision is even more amazing, considering it helps nobody who is playing hockey. We could wait until the Winter Classic to know the decision, and it would only wet the league's palette. It pains me as a hockey fan to see this drag on so long. I could only imagine what Kovalchuk is thinking.

I only want to see this resolved, so that we may focus on actual hockey, and other rumors, like Don Fehr heading the NHLPA, Antti Niemi signing with San Jose(great signing by the way), and all other stuff that may not be that exciting, but it is better than hearing about this situation that is now flat out embarrassing the league. Even though Lamoriello is confident that the contract will be accepted, and some sources have said that it will be, the fact that it has taken so long is horrible. Let Kovy know where he will live, where he will play, and where he can support his family. Newark and Moscow are pretty far away places.

This just stinks of everything the league can't have. Why can't the NHL capitalize on the Olympic momentum, without having something stop it? NHL, it is a simple answer: yes or no. Not difficult to pick which. Say something, so we can at least move on from this "Clusterchuk".

"Help me. If they reject the contract,
KHL or NHL?"

(Credit to Eklund for the Clusterchuk title, and to In Lou We Trust on SB Nation for good info on the subject)