Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How exactly are the Raiders the favorites to land McNabb?

Adam Schefter's latest ESPN Insider report in which he says nothing of substance has the Raiders as the lead dog in the race to acquire Donovan McNabb.

In his reports for SportsCenter and NFL Live, Schefter cites the rumor that the Eagles want a pick better than 42nd overall and the Raiders have the 39th pick in this April's NFL Draft. Somehow that, coupled with Al Davis' desire for high-profile players, makes Oakland the "clear-cut favorites" to land McNabb.

I'm sure there's more to this report but from what Schefter has divulged, it seems like complete speculation. That's not to say I doubt that the Raiders want McNabb. I mean, this is the Raiders.

Until we know more, like if the Raiders have even contacted the Eagles, we should be a little suspicious of this rumor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Butler upsets Syracuse to advance to the Elite Eight

(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Butler continued the streak of upsets in the 2010 NCAA Tournament by beating Syracuse, 63-59, Thursday night.

Syracuse played their worst game of the year at the worst time. Throughout the game they forced shots, couldn't handle the ball and made terrible decisions. The Orange trailed by 10 points at the half but came back to take a four point lead late in the second half. Then it all fell apart.

The absence of Arinze Onuaku was clearly a factor in the game but Syracuse was still in position to win down the stretch. It was the bad decision making and rushing of three point shots that did them in. Rick Jackson's inability to hold on to the basketball also was a big factor.

What makes the tournament so great is that you never know who can win on any given night. Sadly for Syracuse fans, games like this have almost become the norm for the Orange in late March. It is a disappointing end to a great season, to say the least.

Dropping Links: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Some links from around the web for you to check out during commercials of the NCAA Tournament:

- Bob Mantz tells us that WFAN's ratings are at the lowest they have been in a year.

- According to PastaPadre, UFC 2010 will feature online leagues as well as a bunch of other improvements.

- The Scores Report continues their 2010 MLB preview with a look at the NL East. I'll have my preview up sometime next week.

- The NFLPA has purchased the domain NFLLockout.com. No Guts, No Glory has the story.

- The Hall of Very Good continues the milestone preview series, today looking at the AL Central.

- Club Seat Sports gives us the five most annoying players in the NBA.

Obligatory Donovan McNabb trade rumor post

It's time for the seemingly bi-weekly Donovan McNabb trade rumors to make their way around the internet. We've heard this so many times that pretty much every rumor should be dismissed immediately. It's a "boy who cried wolf" sort of thing.

But since this is a blog and I can freely speculate (as many of the so-called experts do, anyway) we might as well discuss some of the potential landing spots for the Eagles' quarterback.

The Rams were first reported to have discussed a deal with Philly but that rumor has since been squashed. Now the Raiders are emerging as a trade partner, according to some of the aforementioned free-speculators.

But what about another California team, the San Francisco 49ers?

The 'Niners have a solid defense and a decent receiving corps, headlined by Michael Crabtree. San Fran's running game of Frank Gore and Glen Coffee is formidable and adding McNabb would certainly make them contenders, at least for the NFC West title, and maybe more.

If I had to bet, though, I think McNabb stays in Philly and, like every other year, this all turns out to be something for us to write and talk about and nothing else.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The brackets have officially been busted

(Photo courtesy Ronald Martinez of Getty Images)
In a first week that already had a lot of big upsets, Northern Iowa stunned the world and knocked off the overall number one team, Kansas, Saturday. It's safe to assume that everyone's bracket, as if it wasn't already a mess, is now destroyed.

Aside from the gambling implications of the Kansas loss, the field has now opened up considerably.

Villanova also fell victim to the upset bug, losing to St. Mary's earlier this afternoon. That one, though, wasn't as much of a shocker. It was 'Nova, after all, that had to go to overtime with Robert Morris before escaping to the second round. They also played horribly down the stretch of the regular season.

We're only three days in and already the 2010 NCAA Tournament is one of the most exciting in a long time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dropping Links: Friday, March 19, 2010

Some links from around the web as you prepare for the second day of March Madness.

- Bob Mantz breaks down Lance Armstrong's anger over Tony Kornheiser's sarcastic rant about bicyclists. It's getting hard to be funny these days with so many critical people out there.

- South Park took a few shots at Tiger Woods on Wednesday's episode and PastaPadre has the clips. Ben Roethlisberger was also mentioned.

- In its first year of broadcasting, MLB Network grabbed a dozen Sports Emmy nominations.

- Club Seat Sports previews the AL East as we approach the 2010 Major League Baseball season. The Hall of Very Good also has a milestone preview for the division.

- Mark Jackson could be a head coaching candidate for the Clippers and Nets, according to Ken Berger.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday was a forgettable day for the Big East

The Big East, which sent eight teams to the NCAA Tournament, can't be happy with the results of Thursday's games.

First Notre Dame was eliminated by Old Dominion. Georgetown was basically embarrassed by Ohio, losing 97-83. Marquette couldn't hang on against Washington, falling 80-78. Villanova was the only team to sneak out with a win, doing so in overtime against 15-seed Robert Morris.

A 1-3 day could have easily gone 0-4 for the Big East.

The knock on the conference is that there are so many teams and they all beat each other up, making many wonder if the teams are as good as we think come tournament time. Thursday's performance certainly gives the doubters some extra ammo.

Tomorrow Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville and West Virginia take the court. If today's action is any indication, Friday could be another rough day for the Big East.

March Madness is off to a stunning start

We're only in the first day of March Madness and already there have been some big surprises and upsets. Murray State knocked off Vanderbilt at the buzzer. Villanova went to OT with Robert Morris before finally pulling off the win. Notre Dame fell to Old Dominion. St. Mary's took down Richmond.

Notre Dame's loss may have been the least surprising occurrence. Though the Irish had been playing better with Luke Harangody back, many people (I among them) thought a six seed was incredibly generous and picked Notre Dame to lose in the first round.

Villanova struggled down the stretch of the regular season and it was a bit shocking to see the Wildcats get a two seed. After barely beating Robert Morris, the doubters have one more piece of evidence in the argument that 'Nova isn't as good as their seeding would imply.

There could be more upsets to come. At this moment, Georgetown is trailing Ohio by 19 points in the second half.

Has your bracket been busted yet?

(Image courtesy US Presswire)

Video: Murray State beats Vanderbilt at the buzzer

13-seed Murray State took down fourth-seed Vanderbilt earlier today with this buzzer beater. There's a reason they call this "March Madness," folks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Brady Quinn and LaDainian Tomlinson find new homes

LaDainian Tomlinson has agreed to a two-year deal with the New York Jets, after also negotiating with the Minnesota Vikings.

With the Jets, Tomlinson will likely see more carries than he would have with the Vikings. Adrian Peterson is the number one guy in Minnesota, while the Jets' running back situation is a little more of an open competition. Rookie Shonn Greene had a nice season last year, but LT will probably still get 10-15 carries per game and catch some passes in New York.

Brady Quinn was dealt to the Denver Broncos for fullback Peyton Hillis and two draft picks. It's a good pickup for the Broncos, where Quinn will compete with Kyle Orton for the starting job. There should also be some familiarity with the offense in Denver, since coach Josh McDaniels comes from the same school of thought as Quinn's Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weiss.

Video: Things get chippy between Sampras and Agassi at charity tennis event

During a charity tennis event featuring a doubles matchup of Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal v. Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, things got a little awkward. Sampras started by imitating Agassi's pigeon-toed walk, so Agassi retorted with a comment about Sampras' poor tipping, which he talked about in his recent book.

You can tell Sampras was pretty upset but if he wanted to come back strong he should have just said something about Agassi's meth use. Talk about awkward then.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dropping Links: Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A quick look around the web on this Tuesday night:

- Robert De Niro has been chosen to play Vince Lombardi in an upcoming biopic being produced by ESPN Films and the NFL.

- Former New York Jet Thomas Jones has agreed to a two-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he will share time with Jamaal Charles. It's a good fit for Jones and should help Charles overcome the oft-occurring sophomore jinx.

- Joe Johnson says he would sacrifice financially to play alongside LeBron James in New York. Of course by sacrifice, he means he would only make five or six million dollars. Wow, what a sacrifice.

- The upcoming patch for MLB 10: The Show, which will address a lot of Franchise Mode issues, is weeks away, which isn't good news for the hardcore gamers out there.

- Twins closer Joe Nathan is probably out for the season, but is his career also over?

- The ratings for TNA and WWE are both in following last night's renewed "Monday Night Wars" and it isn't pretty for TNA.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Boldin, Dansby, Rolle find new homes as NFL free agency's first day ends

It was a wild first day of the NFL's free agency period.

In the afternoon, Julius Peppers ended up in Chicago along with Chester Taylor. Then came word that the Ravens had finalized a trade to acquire Anquan Boldin from the Cardinals. Not to be outdone, the Dolphins signed Karlos Dansby to a contract making him the NFL's highest paid inside linebacker. The night ended with the Giants coming to terms with safety Antrel Rolle, making him the highest paid safety in the history of the league.

Notice a theme here?

Dansby, Rolle and Boldin are all now former Cardinals. A team that was in the Super Bowl two seasons ago and had a very good 2009 will likely not even be playoff caliber in 2010. Then again, they play in the NFC West so anything can happen.

The Ravens are looking like the AFC North favorites after the addition of Boldin, and with uncertainty about Ben Roethlisberger's playing status now that he's involved in yet another legal situation.

Dansby and Rolle were likely overpaid but will also be valuable additions and big upgrades to their new teams. Rolle, especially, will help a depleted Giants secondary and a defense that was basically embarrassed throughout the 2009 season.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bears, Lions making moves early in free agency

The NFC North seems to be where all the action is in the early stages of NFL free agency.

The Lions have already signed WR Nate Burleson and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, and traded a fifth-round pick to Cleveland for DT Corey Williams. Burleson will be a nice complement to Calvin Johnson, while Vanden Bosch and Williams will help shore up the Detroit defense.

As nice as those moves are, the Lions have absolutely nothing on the Bears.

Chicago has already announced the signings of TE Brandon Manumaleuna and RB Chester Taylor, and it's a done deal with DE Julius Peppers, according to sources.

Manumaleuna will provide some blocking help and allow incumbent TE Greg Olsen to be more of a pass-catching weapon. Taylor will be a great fit with Matt Forte in the Chicago backfield. Both are very good receiving running backs and that will be a necessary skill under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz.

Adding Peppers to a defense that already consists of Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs might help invoke some memories of the old 1985 Bears in Chicago.

The two sides of the Antonio Cromartie acquisition

The Jets made a bold move late Thursday night, acquiring cornerback Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers for a conditional 2011 third-round draft pick, which can escalate to a second-rounder based on Cromartie’s performance with New York.

From an on-field perspective, this is a good deal. While Cromartie certainly isn’t the same player he was in 2007, he won’t have to be. Being paired with Darrelle Revis and playing in Rex Ryan’s system will allow him to play more match-up man schemes. He’ll also be covering the opposition’s number two receiver, which will make a difference.

Off the field are where most of the issues come up. Cromartie has seven children with six different women in five different states, according to Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He also has a history of misbehaving in the locker room and some minor legal transgressions.

While he wouldn’t be the first player in the NFL to have multiple children and owe lots of child support, the Chargers have been shopping him for over a year, which makes you wonder. His decline in production has a lot to do with it but his attitude has undoubtedly played a big part.

If Cromartie plays well, it will cost the Jets a second-round pick and some big money to re-sign him, since he’s in the last year of his contract. If not, they’ll lose a third-rounder, which is a steep price for a guy that may only play one year.

If he can stay in line with the Jets, though, and realize that he will be asked to be Robin to Revis’ Batman, things will work out fine for Gang Green.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

World Cup 2010, Volume 4: 100 Day Countdown - “Who Can Beat Ze Germans?”

Our old friend and tonyblogs.net Senior Soccer Analyst Josh Garcia is back with the fourth of his continuing series examining the 2010 World Cup.

That’s right, 99 glorious days until the World Cup. We’ll focus this volume on Group D. It’s a group consisting of Ghana, Serbia, Australia, and Germany.

Germany is a favorite of mine to reach the finals for what would be a record setting feat. No team has reached the finals 8 times. (Bastian Schweinsteiger?!?!, I mean come on!) The Germans have a will that is not matched plus I love saying some of their names (Bastian Schweinsteiger?!?!, I mean come on!). They have power, speed, finesse, heart, and no surrender. They have as much history as Brazil and the only times they haven’t been in the World Cup, were the times which they chose not to enter. There are no teams that are better in the air than the Germans and Miroslav Klose might have the best positioning skill in all of football. Nobody is better at putting them self in a right place right time than Klose, who is third all time for Germany scorers and will only be adding to his legend in South Africa. Look for the Germans to win this group.

Who will be 2nd team to make it out of Group D? Ghana, Australia or Serbia?

Chelsea’s Michael Essien, who is one of the strongest possession midfielders in the world, leads Ghana into South Africa. The Black Stars heavily rely on their defense and are very young. Ghana is playing on their home continent and are looking to improve upon their 2006 showing in Germany where they were the only African team to reach the knockout stage but fell to Brazil.

Australia is an intriguing team who also rely on their stout defense and just like any other sport, a hot goalkeeper can take you deep in the playoffs/tournament. Fulham’s Mark Schwarzer is a huge reason why the Socceroos only conceded 4 goals in 14 games along the way to earning a place in South Africa. Schwarzer also set a national record with 7 clean sheets in a row. He is a big sturdy veteran and between the pipes is the most forgiving place for a 37 year old. This is the first time that Australia has qualified in consecutive World Cups, and is looking to advance again to the final 16.

Manchester United’s top defender Nemanja Vidic leads Serbia who in my opinion is the most interesting team out of this group. They are a very talented team and could be the surprise of the group. Milan Jovanovic will be their man up top. He was recently signed to Liverpool and will join them in the summer transfer window. Which means he’ll go up against Vidic when rivals Manchester United play Liverpool next year but until then they will be fighting for Serbia to advance. This will be Serbia first time appearing in the World Cup independently.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dropping Links: Monday, March 1, 2010

Some links for you to peruse from around the web:

- Bob Mantz tells us that Chad Ochocinco may or may not be on "Dancing with the Stars" this season.

- The Scores Report details how the Rams' second-round draft pick could be very valuable in April.

- PastaPadre has the full rules regarding MLB 2K10's million dollar perfect game contest, and there are a lot of rules.

- The 2010 Winter Olympics were the second most watched winter games in history, according to Fang's Bites.

The Knicks are a really, extremely, incredibly bad team

Clever title, huh? There's really no other way to say it.

While watching the Knicks continue their putrid play against the Cavaliers tonight, I can't help but think the team might not win another game this season. Sure, Cleveland is the best team in the Eastern conference but this Knicks team is so bad right now that I don't know if they could beat the Liberty.

There is no defense. There is no rebounding. There is no hustle.

Remember in December when the Knicks were only a few games out of the playoff hunt? It seems like such a long time ago. Right now, New York has 20 wins. They have no shot of making the playoffs and haven't for some time now.

The bigger issue is that they've put all of their eggs in one basket. The Knicks have to sign some big free agents next year or else they will continue to be awful for years to come. And if you're LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or anyone else, why would you want to come to New York?

They have young players in Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler who will still be around but beyond that it's anyone's guess. The teams seems to consistently quit on the coach, and that's not a good sign for Mike D'Antoni, who has come under fire several times this season for his strange use of the rotation.

As a Knicks fan, all you can do is hope that in July things will start to look up. At this point, they can't get much worse.