Posted on: January 9, 2009 2:43 pm
Edited on: January 9, 2009 2:46 pm
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My Notes From the BCS National Championship Game

1st Quarter

Jeffrey Demps runs a 10.01 100 meter?! One word: "WOW!"....Tebow runs for a first down like a bull in a China shop. Man is this kid tough....What I've learned after 10 minutes of football: Every Big 12 D-coordinator should be fired tomorrow (except at Oklahoma).

2nd Quarter

Florida WR Murphy stretches for a TD. The SEC just has a whole different type of athletes....That OK offensive line is HUGE....and Stoops sure knows how to recruit running backs....Bradford throws a TD to make it 7-7. Very nice 'Answer'.....OK DT McCoy throws RB for a lot. Gerald McCoy is really BIG. More important, he's really quick. He's going to be BIG TIME at the next level....Tebow throws pick to - who else - Gerald McCoy dropping into coverage. I don't like Tebow's 'delivery' for the NFL. Sorry Gator fans but Teboes got "Heath Shuler" written all over him if they let him play QB in the NFL....Gator's stop on 4th and goal is huge. What were those calls inside the 5 Stoops. Florida D shows massive heart with a stop after a turnover...Dear Mr. Stoops: You should have taken the points.....Harvin runs for 45. One more rediculously gifted athlete on the Florida roster. Drive stalls....Bradford shows he can make all the throws: Skinny post for 20, quick out, deep curl, nice touch in the flat. He's the top QB in the draft if he comes out....uh-oh, INT on the goal line. Should have been caught upon further review....7-7 at the half: who would have thought?....Florida should feel really good, they should be down 3-14 points.

3rd Quarter

Bradford throws a beautiful long-ball....dropped....Sooners lineup to punt: timeout OK, Motion penalty OK, timeout Flor, Roughing the Punter penalty Flor. That's plain bad football.....OK doesn't take advantage....Tebow runs for 1st down and get up yelling. Tebow = Tyler Hansbrough of College Football (love him or hate him)....Another Tebow run for 1st down. Hey OK coaches: Somebody spy this guy!...3rd and long and yet another Tebow run for a 1st down. Is somebody in the OK coaches box watching right now?....TD Florida. That one's on you D-Coordinator....14-7.....Bradford marches them right back but Gators stiffen on 3rd and short....Blocked FG! Momentum building for Gators....Sooners better get a stand if they want to stay in this game....Players from both sides are cramping. Whers the GATORaide? Someone call Kieth Jackson (not the former OK TE)....big stop for OK and Flor punts.

4th Quarter

OK RB Chris Brown's got skills....unsportsmanlike conduct against Flor. Bad penalty. This one's getting chippy....Brown makes them pay with a big gainer....3rd and long. Bradford now 7 for 8 on third down....TD to TE Gresham. Huge drive for OK! 14-14...Harvin answers with 52, then 12 yard run. This guy can flat-out fly!....Finally OK keeps Tebow in the pocket and Gators settle for a FG....This is a Prize Fight.....Ahmad Black 'steals' INT from OK wideout. Fantastic play at the perfect time....Shovel pass on triple option. Cool play. Urban Meyer is a hell of a football coach in case no one noticed....2 nice throws be Tebow. Let's give credit where credit is due....Shovel pass the other way for 1st down to the TE. You're getting plain out-coached Stoops....Jump pass TD. GAME OVER! 24-14....Tebow might not make it in the NFL; but Jesus! What a great college football player....No Tebow! Don't do that! Unsportsmanlike Conduct call proving my earlier 'Hansbrough' comment correct....Florida wins. Congradulations Gators...2 in 3 years....What an accomplishment!

Recap

Florida shows Oklahoma what an SEC defense looks like....Stoops loses moniker "Big Time Bob"....Bradford can hold his head up high as can a number of OK players who are going to be earning a paycheck on Sundays soon....Tebow goes down as one of the greatest college football players of all time....Harvin is more than just a supporting player in this victory....Florida is LOADED with athletes on both sides of the ball....Urban Meyer can grab the mantle as the best college football coach in America.

 

Posted on: December 4, 2008 2:00 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 2:04 pm
 

Enjoy it Cavs fans

Let's forget all the hand-wringing and paranoia over whether Lebron is going to leave Cleveland in 2 years. Let's just sit back and enjoy the ride right now. Carpe Diem! Because if you insist on letting yourself be swept away by the pundits, you can't possibly enjoy what is happening right before your very eyes: This is a really good basketball team!

Here in Cleveland, we have had our hearts broken on so many occasions that we can recite them all at the drop of a hat - 'Red Right 88', "The Fumble", "The Drive", "The Shot", "The Mesa meltdown", "Through the legs of Tony Fernandez." And if you're older, you remember Herb Score's tragic ball back to the mound, Jim Chones' broken leg, and Ernie Davis' Leukemia. We're "close but not quite,"  the ultimate in "wait until next year" fans. So much so, that we have a hard time enjoying it if/or when we have a sports team that gives us something to cheer about.

But I am telling you to give in to the temptation of getting excited about this Cavs team. I'm not telling you that they are a dead-bang, sure-fire champion. They are clearly not the favorites...that honor goes to the Celtics and Lakers (just like old times). But this team is really, really good.

In the recent past, the Cavs were prone to letting bad teams off the hook and playing down to their level. That has cost them home court in the playoffs, where it matters most. They are not only beating teams they should beat, but they are humiliating them. The starters have barely had to get off the bench for the second half in the last 15 games. In fact, this team is so deep that they are actually building leads when the starters take a rest. There are matchup problems all over the place as coach Brown finally has some players he can rely on besides James and Z.

Moe Williams has proved to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of getting some flow in the offense and not forcing us to watch the "Lebron pound the ball at the top of the key for 20 seconds" offense of last year. Ben Wallace, Z, Gibson, Szcerbiak, West, and Verejao have all figured out their roles; and Hickson and Pavolovic look better each night. And...oh yeah...Lebron is a pretty good player too.

This one is going down to the wire. If you're still gun-shy, maybe you should close your eyes. But I think you'll be missing a pretty good ride.

Posted on: November 7, 2008 4:26 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2008 7:13 pm
 

Thank God For Basketball Season Cleveland Fans

I just watched that travesty we call a "football team" here in Cleveland....and I've finally reached that worst of all ailments that any fan can have. It's not anger, heartache, or frustration....it's "apathy."

My brother, God forgive him, is a Notre Dame fan and he called in the third quarter of yesterday's Browns game to tell me how "Quinn is the savior." I quickly reminded him that it was the third quarter, and although Brady looks great, the Browns will find a way to lose this game. I asked him to call me after the game. He never did.

And while most Browns' fans tossed and turned all night thinking about how angry that they were over yet another in a string of games where they let the opposition off the hook...I slept peacefully. It's not that I won't watch them play (I don't think I've missed a game since I was 13 years old), it's just that I have no expectations AT ALL.  I have a list of reasons why this season has turned into a disaster, but I won't go into detail because it might ruin my calm "apathy" about this team. I will chear them on and hope they win....but I will never trust them enough to have an emotional investment.

The Browns' season is officially over. Time to find out who can play and who must go (including the coaching staff).

LET'S GO CAVS!

Posted on: October 29, 2008 12:59 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2008 2:03 pm
 

Cavs Show Encouraging Signs in Loss

A loss is a loss, so it is hard to get too excited about the way the Cavs started the season. However, there were some encouraging signs that this could turn out to be a special season. Keep in mind Cavs fans, starting the season playing the defending champion Celtics on the road is no simple task...so take the loss in stride because it is a loooooooooooong season.

What is encouraging is that they took the Celtics down to the wire in their own building despite a somewhat off night from Lebron. And although the team had a short stint in the third period where their offense got bogged down....for the most part, the Cavs moved the ball well and had very good floor spacing - which was a major reason for some of their struggles last year. Moe Williams looks like he will be a very good compliment to Lebron and Big Z...stroking a couple open jumpers and having the ability to break down defenders with his ball-handling. The fact that he is able to handle the ball (as opposed to last years point guards Boobie Gibson and Eric Snow) will enable the Cavs to drop Lebron down in the post on occasion where his size and speed create a tough matchup for any team. That is something the Cavs did very little of last year and looks to be an added component of their half-court offense this year. This will be especially important come playoff time when games slow to a snails pace.

The other noticable difference to this team is the added depth. Right now, based upon matchups, they can play Pavlovic, Szczerbiak, Delonte West or Gibson at the 2-guard, and Williams, Gibson or West at the point. Wallace, Ilgauskas, Verejao, Hickson and Lorenzan Wright make a nice rotation at the 4-5 and when they go small, add Lebron to the list. Last years' mid-(late)season trades and holdouts gave the Cavs very little time to grow acclimated to one another. Having training camp together, along with the addition of Williams, will go a long way towards not only having a higher playoff seed (and potentially home court advantage), but may put put them over the top in the East.

The bottem line is Mike Browns' teams always play defense, so they will be in every game to the end. Lebron is usually there to save them in close games. But this team shows the ability to run away from some teams on some nights, which has not been the case in past years. I don't think they will get "trapped" by some lower echelon teams like they did last year, which led to a lower playoff seed and a more difficult road in the playoffs.

Its early....but I'm excited this year.

Posted on: April 13, 2008 5:20 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2008 7:41 pm
 

Young National League Teams On the Rise

I am a northeastern Ohioian, so my allegiance follows the Cleveland Indians and I follow mostly American League baseball teams. But a year ago, I entered a National League only fantasy baseball league; so I started to follow the NL more closely. This year, I have noticed a growing trend in the NL....there are some super-talented, young NL teams that are poised to make a run, if not this year, but in the years to come.

The Cincinnati Reds look like they have finally figured it out. With some good young pitchers like Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez, and Homer Bailey (AAA) to go along with Adam Harang (still only 29), they are building a solid starting rotation. Add super second baseman Brandon Phillips (26), 1B Joey Votto (24), 3B Ed Encarnacion (25), OF Adam Dunn (28), and future star OF Jay Bruce (AAA), the Reds could be making some noise in the future.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have long been a laughing stock, but they may be on to something with a young, talented pitching staff. Matt Capps is a 24 year old who has the makings of a top-notch closer. The starting staff of Duke, Gorzelanny, Maholm, Snell and Dumatrait averages only 25.  They are going to have to develop some young infielders, but the outfield has potential, especially when you throw in super-prospect Andrew McCutchen.

The Milwaukee Brewers started to show signs of life last year, with star first baseman Prince Fielder (23) leading the way. But Fielder isn't the only talented young player on their roster. The middle infield combo of JJ Hardy and Ricky Weeks are only 25. Although Bryan Braun (24) had his troubles fielding at third base, the move to the outfield will enable him to concentrate on what he does best...crush a baseball! OF Corey Hart (26) also is a key component to the Brewers re-emergence. The bull-pen is pretty old, but there are some solid up and coming starters in Manny Parra (25) and Yovanni Gallardo (22) on the roster. Ben Sheets is a solid number 1 starter and only turned 29 this year.

The Florida Marlins continue to tear down and build up with young talent as well as any team in baseball. They have a bevy of talented young pitchers in Andrew Miller (22), Scott Olsen (24), Anibel Sanchez (24), Josh Johnson (24), Ricky Nolasco (25), Ranyel Pinto (25) and Taylor Tankersley (25)...even if some of them can't stay healthy or out of trouble (Olsen). They have arguably the best young SS in the league in Hanley Ramirez and star in the making outfielder Jeremy Hermidia to go with some good young veterans in Jorge Cantu, Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla. Depite Uggla's young age, there has even been talk of moving his solid bat to make room for 2B prospect Chris Coghlin. All that with potential 40-40 outfielder Cameron Maybin in AAA.

The Colorado Rockies may have made a run at the World Series last year, but they are built for the long haul as well. Stud outfielders Matt Holiday and Brad Hawpe are only 28, rookie of the year SS Troy Tulowitski is only 23, and break-out pitcher Jeff Francis is only 27. The Rockies also have some great young arms in Ubaldo Jimenez (24) and Franklyn Morales (22) along with closer Manny Corpus (25). The best maybe yet to come in AAA third baseman Ian Stewart, whom they have contemplated moving to 2B if Todd Helton or Garrett Atkins aren't moved.

 Last, but certainly not least, are the Arizona Diamondbacks. They might possess some of the best young talent in the major leagues in 1B Conor Jackson, 3B Mark Reynolds, SS Stephen Drew, C Miguel Montero, and outfielders Chris Young, Alex Romero and 20-year old Justin Upton. Upton may be one of those "once in a lifetime" type players who has been described by teammate Orlando Hudson as a "ten-tool player."Keep in mind that all-star pitchers Brandon Webb and newly acquired Dan Haren are only 28 and 27 respectively and  Micah Owings is starting to show why he was the overall number one pick. They also have a still-developing arm available in Yusmeiro Petit (only 23). The future looks real bright for the Diamondbacks.

In fact, despite not mentioning a couple of other National League teams, just about every team in the NL has a young star or future star. David Wright of the Mets, Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley (AAA) of the PadresHunter Pence of the Astros, Yunel Escobar of the Braves (along with a number of top minor league prospects), Lastings Milledge of the Nationals, ...I could go on and on. The fact is, the national league is really going to be fun to watch for years to come.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com