Monthly Archives: August, 2011

The 2011 Dubsism Pre-Season College Football Rankings

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. There is a rule in the blogosphere that says if you tag more than three posts with “college football,” you are required to do a pre-season ranking. Failure to do so will get your nose flayed and your genitals set on fire.

With that…teams are rated within their conference, and the conferences are ranked in order of overall strength.

Plus, since here at Dubsism we are believers in the yin and yang of things, we felt it necessary not only to do the obligatory Top 25 list, but a comprehensive list as well. Why? Because for every team that should be admired for its prowess, there is one that should be pitied for its ineptitude.

Independents:

Unfortunately for BYU, she's talking about winning.

This used to be that special category for Army, Navy, and that school in Indiana that used to mean something.  But this year finds a new addition, Mormon Notre Dame Brigham Young.  One thing the folks at BYU are going to discover is that unless you are Notre Dame, it’s going to be hard scheduling favorably. This is why BYU could find itself starting 0-4 and may find itself with only four wins total.

Making the move to being an independent may spell doom for BYU football. Aside from the scheduling issue, the TV network they have started in essentially unwatchable unless you are considering actually becoming a Mormon. But more importantly, they wll never get invited to a good bowl game because nobody can make any money off BYU fans. They don’t travel well, and when they do, they don’t spend money.

A few years back Penn State was selected for a bowl game appearance over BYU despite the fact BYU had a better record. When confronted by angry BYU officials the bowl’s representative allegedly replied “Penn State fans come early, stay late, and have a good time. BYU fans show up with two things: a $50 bill and the Ten Commandments, and at the end of the day, they haven’t broken either one.”

Now let’s talk about things that haven’t changed. Every year, Notre Dame gets more attention than they deserve; a phenomenon that continues up to that point when the Irish get such a crushing loss that every the most ardent Notre Dame fan has no choice but to admit they simply aren’t very good. Even though the Irish have their typically soft schedule, the hype really should be over by the third quarter of the USC game.

  1. Navy
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Army
  4. Brigham Young

11) Sun Belt Conference

Let’s face it… somebody’s got to be the “little brother.” Welcome to the Sun Belt. If you  are a major power looking to pad its non-conferennce schedule, the Sun Belt has so many cupcakes is should be called the “Bakery” conference.

But don’t laugh. Even if they are the last car in the train, the Sun Belt is still a Football Bowl Subdivision participant, which is prestigious relative to the majority of other college football programs in America. Let’s be honest, members of the Sun Belt feast on that status; an all-you-can-eat buffet of major conference transfers, “big money” road dates against big-conference schools looking for the aforementioned “cupcakes,” which leads to modest but relatively large football budget.

The Troy Trojans have been the head cupcake, capturing five straight Sun Belt titles while participating in three straight bowl games including last year’s drubbing 48-21 of Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl. However, parity remains a theme in this conference since no Sun Belt school had less than two conference losses last year.

But this looks to be the season in which a new head cupcake emerges. Florida International looks to take the top spot in a season finding three schools with new coaches — Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, and Arkansas State.

  1. Florida International
  2. Troy
  3. Arkansas State
  4. Louisiana-Monroe
  5. Middle Tennessee
  6. North Texas
  7. Western Kentucky
  8. Florida Atlantic
  9. Louisiana-Lafayette

10) WAC

Properly stored, even dishes subject to quick spoilage like Utah State can be kept fresh for months.

By this time next year, the WAC may officially change its name to the “Leftovers Conference. The marquee program (Boise State) has already departed in favor of the Mountain West Conference, and next year, Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii, will make the same move. I really don’t know what else to say about a conference that is on the road to irrelevance. This conference will put a couple of teams into a couple low-end bowl games; unless you are a hard-core college football junkie, there’s no real reason to pay attention to this league.

  1. Fresno State
  2. Hawaii
  3. Idaho
  4. Louisiana Tech
  5. Nevada
  6. New Mexico State
  7. San Jose State
  8. Utah State

9) Conference USA

This conference reminds me of an NBA All-Star game. Everybody can score and nobody plays defense.  Houston and Tulsa have the ability to hang 60 points on on any given Saturday. Last season, C-USA had at least three teams in the Top 20 for touchdowns scored, total yards, rushing yards, passing yards,  and points scored. The top six teams in C-USA averaged 35.5 points per game last year.

Naturally, it can be said that a conference with such offensive output would have some seriously weak defenses…and it would be correct to say that. Most of the defenses in this league “couldn’t stop a nosebleed” and are perfectly represented by East Carolina. The Pirates were at the bottom in nearly every defensive statistic and were joined by three other C-USA members in the bottom 20.

In other words, expect a lot of 50-45, four-and-a-half hour conference games, and don’t expect anybody below Southern Methodist to be on your radar in November.

  1. Houston
  2. Tulsa
  3. Southern Mississippi
  4. Central Florida
  5. Alabama-Birmingham
  6. Southern Methodist
  7. East Carolina
  8. Rice
  9. Marshall
  10. Tulane
  11. Memphis
  12. Texas-El Paso

8 ) MAC

How many other College Football Previews will give you a Charles Nelson Reilly reference?

This season, the MAC might as well be renamed “meh.” Their will be its usual creative play-calling, but don’t expect any teams from this league to make a miracle run to the top 25.

  1. Toledo
  2. Northern Illinois
  3. Temple
  4. Miami (OH)
  5. Ohio
  6. Western Michigan
  7. Central Michigan
  8. Kent State
  9. Akron
  10. Bowling Green
  11. Ball State
  12. Buffalo
  13. Eastern Michigan

7) Big East

Let’s be honest. This is a basketball conference. Only three programs flirted with the pre-season rankings last year, and none were found there at the end when it matters. That won’t change this season. Pittsburgh and West Virginia underperformed, which allowed a team with a serious “meh” factor (Connecticut) to get into the BCS. Pittsburgh and West Virginia both had coaching changes with some serious drama. Rutgers imploded after Eric LeGrand was paralyzed.

That is exactly why the Big East wants to look forward. This league is in serious need of a credibility infusion and the hope is that comes in the form of  new league member (starting in 2012) TCU, and second-year coaches Skip Holtz at South Florida and Charlie Strong at Louisville.

  1. West Virginia
  2. South Florida
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Connecticut
  5. Cincinnati
  6. Louisville
  7. Rutgers
  8. Syracuse

6) Mountain West Conference

For one year, the MWC has Boise State and TCU in the same league, giving it two national powers for 2011.  Air Force might be the best of the service academies and is coming off a bowl win against Georgia Tech. This conference will have far better quality football than the Big East, and will make a better showing in the BCS if given another opportunity.

  1. Boise State
  2. TCU
  3. Air Force
  4. San Diego State
  5. Colorado State
  6. Wyoming
  7. Nevada -Las Vegas
  8. New Mexico

5) ACC

This conference is a bit of a train wreck. Florida State and Virginia Tech are the two best programs, but then after that you have the who-knows-what Miami Hurricanes, a North Carolina team deep in the NCAA’s doghouse, and Georgia Tech on probation.

Only one ACC team has won a BCS game in the last dozen years, and an early Florida State test against Oklahoma should tell us a lot about either side.

  1. Florida State
  2. Virginia Tech
  3. Miami (FL)
  4. North Carolina
  5. Maryland
  6. Clemson
  7. Boston College
  8. North Carolina State
  9. Georgia Tech
  10. Virginia
  11. Wake Forest
  12. Duke

4) Big 12

This is soon to be another “leftovers” conference,” what’s left of the conference exists only to bask in the reflected glory of Texas and Oklahoma. Nebraska and Colorado are already gone, Texas A&M is as good as gone, and Oklahoma passed on the opportunity to join the Pac-12 last year. This conference may be a memory soon, but we should have at least one more opportunity to watch Oklahoma choke.

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Oklahoma State
  3. Texas A&M
  4. Missouri
  5. Texas
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Kansas State
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

3) Pac-12

With Colorado and Utah, the newly-formed conference sports six teams which at one point were  ranked in the top 25.

There are a few major storylines that will be constant throughout the season but the Heisman race sits at the forefront. Last year’s Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck and third place finisher LaMichael James return for the 2011 season as prohibitive favorites for the trophy.

James had a monster season in 2010 and led Oregon to a berth in the BCS National Championship game. Not only was he third in the Heisman voting, he was awarded the Doak Walker trophy as best running back in the nation. In 2011 the Ducks return plenty on offense and could make a repeat appearance in New Orleans. Oregon’s offensive scheme is tailored for James and with a successful campaign he could become just the third running back to win the Heisman since 1999.

  1. Oregon
  2. Stanford
  3. USC
  4. Arizona State
  5. Utah
  6. Arizona
  7. Oregon State
  8. Washington
  9. UCLA
  10. California
  11. Colorado
  12. Washington State

2) Big 10

Forget about Nebraska, the real story in the Big Ten just may be that the three traditional powers in Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State could all have a dropoff.  Ohio State is in the middle of its NCAA drama, Michigan has a new coach for the second time in four years, and Penn State has some major question marks on offense. There’s no telling how all those situations may shake out. For sure one of those three will take a step backward, and possibly all three. It matter little in terms of who will be at the top in the end; this seems to be Wisconsin’s league to lose.

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Nebraska
  3. Ohio State
  4. Michigan State
  5. Penn State
  6. Iowa
  7. Michigan
  8. Northwestern
  9. Illinois
  10. Purdue
  11. Indiana
  12. Minnesota

1) SEC

The Post-Urban Meyer SEC is the best conference in college football. From the day Pope Urban I landed in Gainsville, the SEC transformed into a juggernaut which has won the last five BCS titles. changed when Urban Meyer took his coaching talents to Gainesville.

It’s almost heresy now in college football to point out the days when nobody, and I mean NOBODY thought the spread offense would thrive in the SEC.  But it didn’t take long for Pope Urban I to win a host of apostles. Within a couple of years, the SEC was no longer a league of jurassic, knuckle-walker offenses and defenses which came with their own coroner.

In 2006, only one team in the league averaged more than 30 points per game. Four years later, that number had increased to seven, and ten averaged 29 or better.  It happened because those teams all used some sort of spread offense. Even the cro-magnon leather helmets in Tuscaloosa dabbled in something other than a tailback-based attack.

This is the bottom line. The SEC has more talent and more good coaches, it’s that combination that makes this league likely to win a sixth BCS title.

  1. Alabama
  2. LSU
  3. South Carolina
  4. Arkansas
  5. Auburn
  6. Mississippi State
  7. Georgia
  8. Florida
  9. Tennessee
  10. Kentucky
  11. Mississippi
  12. Vanderbilt

Overall Rankings

  1. Alabama
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Oregon
  4. Wisconsin
  5. LSU
  6. Nebraska
  7. Florida State
  8. Boise State
  9. Stanford
  10. Oklahoma State
  11. South Carolina
  12. Texas A&M
  13. Virginia Tech
  14. Arkansas
  15. TCU
  16. USC
  17. Ohio State
  18. Michigan State
  19. Auburn
  20. Mississippi State
  21. Missouri
  22. Georgia
  23. Florida
  24. Penn State
  25. Arizona State
  26. Iowa
  27. West Virginia
  28. Utah
  29. Air Force
  30. Miami (FL)
  31. South Florida
  32. Pittsburgh
  33. Navy
  34. North Carolina
  35. Toledo
  36. Tennessee
  37. Notre Dame
  38. Michigan
  39. Arizona
  40. Maryland
  41. Northern Illinois
  42. Northwestern
  43. Fresno State
  44. Houston
  45. Texas
  46. Oregon State
  47. Temple
  48. Florida International
  49. Southern Mississippi
  50. Washington
  51. Central Florida
  52. Baylor
  53. San Diego State
  54. Kentucky
  55. Illinois
  56. Texas Tech
  57. Miami (OH)
  58. Hawaii
  59. Cincinnati
  60. Clemson
  61. Mississippi
  62. Purdue
  63. UCLA
  64. Boston College
  65. Ohio
  66. Troy
  67. California
  68. Army
  69. North Carolina State
  70. Colorado State
  71. Louisville
  72. Colorado
  73. Western Michigan
  74. Arkansas State
  75. Idaho
  76. Central Michigan
  77. Alabama-Birmingham
  78. Georgia Tech
  79. Vanderbilt
  80. Louisiana Tech
  81. Southern Methodist
  82. Rutgers
  83. Wyoming
  84. Indiana
  85. Brigham Young
  86. Kansas State
  87. Kent State
  88. Virginia
  89. Tulsa
  90. Wake Forest
  91. Syracuse
  92. Akron
  93. East Carolina
  94. Nevada
  95. Rice
  96. Louisiana-Monroe
  97. Minnesota
  98. Iowa State
  99. Bowling Green
  100. Bowling Green
  101. Marshall
  102. Kansas
  103. Duke
  104. Washington State
  105. Nevada -Las Vegas
  106. Ball State
  107. Tulane
  108. New Mexico State
  109. Middle Tennessee
  110. Connecticut
  111. Buffalo
  112. North Texas
  113. San Jose State
  114. Memphis
  115. Western Kentucky
  116. Texas-El Paso
  117. Florida Atlantic
  118. Utah State
  119. Louisiana-Lafayette
  120. Eastern Michigan

Great Moments in Joe Paterno History: JoePa Curses On Live Television

As part of the run-up to the greatest twelve Saturdays of the year, Dubsism will be bringing you a series dedicated to memorable moments in the history of the greatest coach in college football. With that, we give you the first installment…

It’s 1995 in the Meadowlands.  Rutgers head coach Doug Graber and his coaching staff have taken offense to what they perceive as Penn State running up the score. This comes to a head during the post-game hand shake. The rest is history.

Ask The Geico Guy: Is It Time To Pay College Athletes?

This is one of those questions that has been asked so many times, yet so many people keep getting the answer wrong. It happened with USC. It happened with Ohio State.  Now it’s happening with Miami, and it has happened dozens of time before that. With each breaking scandal, the call that it is time to play college athletes resurfaces. Honestly, I’ve never understood the logic behind this. To me, this sounds like the typical, knee-jerk, ham-handed reaction Americans love to have about sports (for another example, see my rant on instant replay).

In a word, the answer is NO. It has a common flaw with instant replay; it won’t solve the problem.

If the idea is that by paying players, the temptation to break the rules will disappear. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One argument from the “pay the players” crowd states that since college sports is a big business, the players should get paid beyond what they already do because so much money is being made from their labor. Let’s dissect that.

First of all, the players already get paid; it’s called a scholarship. It isn’t the player’s collective fault they don’t understand the value of a scholarship, because the NCAA and/or the individual only pay “lip service” to the whole concept of the “student-athlete.” If the argument is that a scholarship and an education does not provide value, then it is time to strip all the pretenses and simply start a developmental league run by the NFL to replace college football. If we don’t care about the “student-athlete” anymore, then why waste time with colleges and the NCAA and all the B.S. they add to the equation?

There’s a reason why it is called “college football.” Every day, college students go through internships in which they don’t get paid. Whether you are playing football or preparing for medical school, you are in college for the learning experience to be applied to your chosen profession. Letting somebody have access to that experience on a scholarship is a HUGE value.

Then, there’s a suicidal aspect in all of this for college sports. Big businesses all have a layer of employees at the bottom of the pyramid who on an individual basis make the least amount of money. There’s a reason why McBurgerQueen franchises don’t bid each others employees, if they did a hamburger would cost $20. If you want to see the model of bidding each other’s employee’s in action, look at (insert professional sports league here).

Once you have money, you will have agents, and once you have agents there will be the whole issue of some players are going to get paid more than others. Bidding wars will start over how much some players will get paid and by whom, and who determine who gets paid and in what amounts. In other words, injecting payroll money for the players into college sports would simply turn it into a mirror of those professional leagues which are all bubbling around some sort of money/labor relations issues.

Another argument from the “pay the players” perspective says that paying players would eliminate the “cheating.” There’s such a large amount of money involved that to make that model work, players salaries would have to be substantial. Add that to the aforementioned “agent” issue, and you can see right away this has some serious practical issues. Besides, the players aren’t the only ones cheating. This problem goes from the top of the pyramid all the way down.

Look at USC. How much salary did athletic director Mike Garrett and head coach Pete Carroll make? It didn’t stop them from cheating. Look at Ohio State.  Jim Tressel made over $20 million in a decade in Columbus, and that didn’t stop him from cheating. Athletic directors, coaches, and even university presidents all make big dough, and they want more.

The cliche is money is the root of all evil, and the current way in which college sports is run exemplifies that.  Spreading more money to the bottom layer of the pyramid simply will spread the corruption.  Stopping the corruption in college sports by paying players is like extinguishing a forest fire with a jet-tanker full of gasoline. The key lies in holding people accountable for wrong-doing.

University of Miami president Donna Shalala being presented a check by Nevin Shapiro.

For example, check out how dirty University of Miami Donna Shalala looks in all of this. First of all, there’s the picture of her getting handed a check by Miami booster-turned-rat Nevin Shapiro. Then’s there’s her “non-denial” denial.

To the University Community:

Since its founding more than 85 years ago, the University of Miami has stood for excellence in higher education in every endeavor, every degree, and every student. Our more than 15,000 students, on three campuses in 11 schools and colleges, and over 150,000 alumni expect our core values to remain steadfast and true in times of extraordinary achievement as well as those rare times when those values are called into question.

As a member of the University family, I am upset, disheartened, and saddened by the recent allegations leveled against some current and past student-athletes and members of our Athletic Department. Make no mistake—I regard these allegations with the utmost of seriousness and understand the concern of so many of you. We will vigorously pursue the truth, wherever that path may lead, and I have insisted upon complete, honest, and transparent cooperation with the NCAA from our staff and students. Our counsel is working jointly with the NCAA Enforcement Division in a thorough and meticulous investigation, which will require our patience.

I am in daily communication with our Board of Trustees, Executive Committee, Director of Athletics, and counsel, and will continue to work closely with the leaders of our University.

To our students, parents, faculty, alumni, and supporters—I encourage you to have patience as the process progresses; to have confidence in knowing that we are doing everything possible to discover the truth; to have faith in the many outstanding student-athletes and coaches who represent the University; and to have pride in what our University has accomplished and aspires to be.

What a pant-load. It is crucial to notice that she never once mentions a single specific item for which she is “disheartened and saddended.” Why does Shalala only speak in vagueries and B.S.? Probably because there is a picture of her getting a check form the guy who is ratting out everybody.  In short, she’s a part of the problem.

There is a way to solve this problem, but the NCAA won’t do it.  As broken as the system is, it still is a gigantic money pump. This is why all the NCAA punishment go through Olympic-level gyrations to avoid touching anything that involves money. They’ll take away scholarships, they’ll vacate record books, they’ll rule people ineligible, but they never hand out fines that are anywhere near commensurate to the cash one can generate by breaking the rules.

For example, last month the NCAA put Georgia Tech on four years of probation, fined the school $100,000 and stripped its ACC football title game win from the 2009 football season for violations that also included problems in the men’s basketball program. So, as a punishment, Georgia Tech still gets to be on television, can still participate in post-season activities, and has a page in a record book erased for a game for which they already got paid. As far as the $100,000 fine is concerned, that is a pittance compared to what the average “big conference” program generates in a season. If you believe the numbers in this linked article from CNN Money, the average football program from one the BCS automatic qualifying conferences averaged a profit of $15.8 million. Frankly, I think those numbers are grossly understimated, but even if we accept them for the sake of argument, this means Georgia Tech’s fine equaled less than one-tenth of what they make for one game. That’s not exactly a deterrent.

Obviously, fines need to have a pain level with them. But individuals need to feel the pain as well. It takes nothing to put clauses in contracts signed by players, coaches, athletic directors, presidents, and anybody involved with college sports which says the NCAA can seek civil redress against anybody found guilty of misconduct according to NCAA rules. Once the people responsible for creating this problem understand that a civil lawsuit can hit their pocketbooks even years after they’ve ditched the college ranks, this problem will disappear faster a bag of cash on an Auburn recruiting trip.

But it will never happen because as it exists now, the NCAA is simply a collection of university presidents, just like the one shown above being handed a check.  As long as the fox is guarding the henhouse, any talk of paying players just means the chickens are going to be eaten faster.

Is Texas A&M Getting Ready To Leave It’s Wife For The “Hot Chick?”

This blog really has its genesis in my response to a post over at TheSportsKraze (he’s done a great job with that blog, and you should read it…after you are done reading Dubsism, of course).  His premise is that Texas A&M was “rejected” by the SEC, and as much as I like his work, I couldn’t disagree with him more.

It was a done deal. The SEC vote was simply a formality. Texas A&M was ready to leave the mighty Big 12, get out from the shadow of the Longhorns, and head to the best football conference in America. Think again.

A&M got rejected. And for the time being, the Aggies program as a whole must be embarrassed by recent events. I am not sure if any of you have seen the movie “She’s Out of My League.” But this recent chain of events is reminiscent of a scene in that movie. During the movie, the protagonist is on an airplane with his family. Realizing that he no longer wants to go on the family vacation and wants to go after his old (very hot) girl, he lets his family have it. He scolds them in front of all the passengers on the airplane. After the dramatic speech, he gets up to leave; only he can’t leave. The plane is ready for takeoff.  So the protagonist puts his head down and sits down right next to his family that he just reamed.

A&M didn’t get rejected; this relationship is going to be consummated at some point. To understand why, let’s flip TheSportsKraze’s model; let’s make Texas A&M the “hot chick” being pursued by the SEC.

Make no mistake; Texas A&M is undeniably a “hot chick” in the eyes of the SEC. Make no mistake again, all this recent conference re-alignment is about TV markets. The Big Ten has its own network, the SEC has its own network, and schools are all looking for the Big 12′s emergency exits because Texas is getting their own. Getting your network carried on the cable/satellite providers in a major market is bigger than JaMarcus Russell’s plate at Golden Corral, and the fact that A&M would bring a presence in two Top-10 TV markets (DallasFort Worth, 5th and Houston, 10th) gives the SEC folks a hard-on you could cut diamonds with.

Just look at a map while keeping conference alignments in mind. The Pac-10 grabbed Denver and Salt Lake City.  Admittedly, those may not be the biggest markets (18th and 33rd respectively), but they are the two best available options which make geographic sense for the conference.  The Big East now has a presence in Dallas/Fort Worth, and the fact that others are looking to get their tentacles into Texas is precisely why the members of the Big 12 who aren’t Texas are getting a wandering eye.

Look at that map again, this time focusing on Big 12 territory. Look at how many major TV markets there are outside of Texas…now that Denver is a Pac-10 market, the only other “major” market left is Kansas City (#31st).

This is exactly why Nebraska jumped quick to the Big Ten…they are a “money program” without a major market and they knew their value plummets if they are in a conference that is merely the Big 12′s leftovers.  Once one of the major markets (Denver) left, the Big 12 became a slow-mo version of Musical Chairs; Texas has its own chair and the scramble is on for everybody else.

This is also why the SEC would love to get schools from one of two other “target states,” Virginia or North Carolina; in other words, states which would offer the exposure to a major TV market where they currently do not have a presence. Of course, if that were to happen, that would mean a major change to the ACC, which in turn would start another cascade of conference-jumping.

But much like the above picture of the Texas A&M girls, the SEC is having that “two hot chicks” fantasy. There is a very practical reason for this; an odd-number of teams makes scheduling virtually impossible. This is why breaking the ice will take two; A&M needs a partner to fulfill the SEC’s three-way desires. So, let’s look at the other “hot chicks” the SEC is eyeing.

1) Virginia Tech

Upside: VT offers the 9th largest TV market (Washington D.C.), makes geographic sense, and brings a perennial Top-25 football program to the table.

Downside: May actually lower the SEC’s “redneck” factor (if that’s even possible).

2) North Carolina

Upside: Comes with the 24th (Charlotte) and 27th (Raleigh-Durham) largest TV markets, makes even more geographic sense than VT, and they are already used to being investigated.

Downside: SEC basketball programs would have another team to worry about besides Kentucky.

3) Missouri

Upside: This is another school which would bring two TV markets (St. Louis #21, and Kansas City #31), there would be less entanglement to queer the deal (unlike the ACC schools; the Big 12 is already imploding), and the ever-present “makes geographic sense.”

Downside: Missouri isn’t exactly a “big-time” program in anything.

4) Oklahoma

Upside: Oklahoma is a storied program in football, does basketball well, and has an athletic department plumbed with hot and cold running money.

Downside: Doesn’t bring a Top-40 TV market with it.

5) Duke

Upside: Like North Carolina, Duke would bring the same TV markets and a basketball power, plus, somebody’s gotta worry about grade point averages, right?

Downside: Duke sucks in football, and SEC fans like Mississippi State as their pigskin “whipping boy.”

Whenever there is a pursuit of “hot chicks,” there’s the girls left in the bar at closing time. In this case, those would be Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Miami. The SEC might pick one these if it must, but they don’t offer anything since they are all in states in which the SEC is well-established; therefore there is no growth potential for the SEC TV network.

However it shakes out remains to be seen, but make no mistake, what happened this past week was not a rejection. The detail that is delaying this consumation is the SEC is in the midst of a “two chicks” fantasy, and as hot as Texas A&M is, she’s still only one.

The 15 Worst Sports Owners Not Named McCourt or Wilpon

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.

Lately, all the attention for bad ownership has been focused on that shithead who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and the horse-thief who owns the New York Mets. But the fires created by these two douche-nozzles are sucking the oxygen out of a room full of bad owners; these are guys who really should not be slipping under anybody’s radar.

There’s really three main types of owners who are bad for sports. There’s the “only in it for the money” guy, there’s the “I’m the owner so I know everything about this sport” guy, and there’s the “Incompetent and/or Insane” guy. Peruse the following list and remember, some owners may represent more than one type.

15) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins

This pick may be hard to understand considering the Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, and a great deal of you don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. However, that recent victory still doesn’t hide the fact that for most of his nearly 40 years of ownership, the Bruins have had one of the lowest payrolls in the league despite the fact Boston is a Top 10 market. This would be like buying the best strip club in town and filling it with chicks who look like Tim Tebow.

It also helps to remember that before 2009, the Bruins went for a decade without winning a playoff series, largely because even when Jacobs had stars like Ray Bourque or Cam Neely, he never put enough of a supporting cast around them to make the team a winner.  In other words, Jacobs is the first on this list of what will prove to be a long line of cheapskate assholes.

14) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Fucking Jones…where do we start?  The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, and we’ve all had  that “America’s Team” bullshit rammed so far down our throats that little brown drops of it land in our shorts every time we sneeze.

We are convinced that at least half of all currently worshipped deities hate the Cowboys because the Gods keep fucking with them. You know they were sitting around in some big “God” club drinking whatever “God” type dudes drink laughing their collective “God” asses off when Tony Romo fumble-dicked that extra point hold against the Seahawks a few years back. The best part was that was a year where the NFC was weaker than no-alcohol beer as hell and the Cowboys were flying down the E-Z Pass lane toward the Super Bowl until Romo slammed the bus into the toll booth.

Even though they have tons of moments like that in their history, nobody ever seems to remember the Cowboys haven’t won shit in 15 years. That’s pretty much Jerry’s fault. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones has a long track record of making some of the stupidest decisions (Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips for openers…) because he IS the front office. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones is a megalomaniac who has a thirst for power rivaled only by Kim Kardashian’s thirst for B-grade jock spooge.

That amnesia on Jerry Jones completely escapes me since sports fans hate him more than groin kicks and flat beer combined. He’s the perfect guy for blue-collar America to hate because blue-collar America loves to blame all its problems on big money businessman, especially if they are obnoxious Texans who own sports teams.  Its like he’s a drunker, louder version of George W. Bush.

Bush gets blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to the terribly high lesbian ratio in the LPGA, yet Jones gets a free pass for screwing up the Super Bowl by selling tickets to seats that were not usable.  Plus, it’s a nuclear-powered level of hilarious that he worked his spotted, flabby ass off to get the Super Bowl in his very own building only to watch his team leave their season floating in the locker room shitter.  Hey, if they’re America’s Team, and America loves to hate, l then we’re just being patriotic.

13) Charles Wang, New York Islanders

It’s time to play a little game-show we like to call “Stereotype.”  You would think that an Asian guy who got rich building his own computer company would be good at math, right? Sorry, but if you were to assume that about Wang, you would be hearing a loud buzzer right about now and finding out about our lovely consolation prizes.

It takes a special kind of idiot to buy a sports franchise in an era of explosive growth and actually find a way to lower the value of the franchise, and Wang is that special kind of idiot.  Wang bought the Islanders in 2000, and since has found a way to wang himself out of millions through some seriously stupid decisions.

First, the fact he employed Mike Milbury speaks for itself. His nickname “Mad Mike” doesn’t really lend creedence to what a terrible general manager he was; were he in the NFL, he would have made Matt Millen look like a fucking genius. Hockey fans remember monstrous Milbury moves like inking an underachieving Alexei Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million deal, trading away star goaltender Roberto Luongo for a case of urinal cakes, and taking Rick DiPietro with the first pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft ahead of future stars Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.  To top it all off, it was Milbury’s idea to sign DiPietro to a franchise-risking 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension which at the time it was signed was the biggest sports contract in history.

Sadder still is the fact the atrocities committed by Milbury with Wang’s blessing aren’t even the worst.  My favorite Wang jerk-off move happens to be when he hired Neil Smith as general manager in 2006, only to fire him 40 days later and replace him with the backup goalie.

Things have gone so bad there is talk of this franchise leaving New York for Kansas Fucking City. Seriously, what could Kansas City offer over New York? More corn? Fatter chicks? A night life as exciting as spending an evening with your face buried in George Brett’s ass crack?

Not to mention, the NHL already failed in Kansas City. To find the old “Kansas City Scouts,” you have to look under “New Jersey Devils.”

12) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles

Peter Angelos is Greek, and according to the Urban Dictionary, “greek” is a euphemism for anal sex. This is fitting, because nobody has butt-fucked Baltimore baseball more than Angelos has.

Before Angelos, the O’s were one of the most storied franchises in baseball; they had been to the World Series six times in the 25 years prior to Angelos. The O’s won three World Series Championships in that time.  Now in the nearly two decades of Angelos’ ownership, the Orioles have made only two post-season appearances.

The contract that exemplifies Angelos’ extreme dumb-assery was the deal he inked with Albert Belle. This gargantuan bank-buster made Belle the highest paid player in baseball. Despite the fact Belle’s career would be in the shitter two years later, due to the terms of the contract he had to remain on the Orioles’ roster for the final three years of the deal.

But the biggest “peter” Angelos has wedged into the collective anus of Balitmorians everywhere is the fact there are a ton of Hall-of-Famers who have no role within the Orioles’ organization simply because Angelos’ values his pride more than his franchise.

First off, I stand by the story. Every single word.

Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. have taken turns denying parts of my report from last Friday, the gist of which was that Angelos recently declined to hire Ripken to help his wonderful team.Both declined opportunities to comment before I went with the story, and that’s fine.

Both dispute that Angelos told Ripken he didn’t want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence — a detail confirmed by three sources — and that’s fine, too. But now that both are in such talking moods, I have a few more questions, mostly for Angelos.

  • Why isn’t Ripken already working for the Orioles?
  • Why isn’t Brooks Robinson involved with the team?
  • Why isn’t Frank Robinson?
  • Why is a franchise with such a glorious history not taking better advantage of someof the greatest natural resources the game has to offer?

Funny, I don’t think it’s because the Orioles have all the answers.

A number of former Orioles — including Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray —serve the club as paid broadcasters, but the O’s need to draw from their tradition inways that go beyond Boog Powell cooking ribs on Eutaw Street. It’s damning — and a direct reflection on Angelos’ tone-deaf ownership — that Hall ofFamers Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are nowhere to be found at Camden Yards.

What else can you say? Angelos is that kind of guy as described by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket – “He’s the kind of person who would fuck somebody in the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give them a reach-around.”

11) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors

Granted, The Warriors have been a doormat of the NBA for two generations now, and granted, they just bought the team from Chris Cohan, a douchebag worthy of this list in his own right because under Cohan, they missed the playoffs every year from 1994 to 2007. That’s the longest drought in NBA history. The single shining moment of non-suckititude came in 2007 when they upset the #1 playoff seed Dallas Mavericks.

Lacob and Guber get on this list for being David Stern’s poster-children in his attempt to cut the balls off the NBA player’s union. Something stinks about the way these two fuckwads got into the ownership ranks. The “sale” was rigged; it included $150 million in league loans to get it done and the league forced multiple small percentage owners to raise the cash for the “sale” after the supposed bid was completed in July 2010. The whole reason these two exist are to be more of Stern’s stormtroopers against the union.

10) William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions

You’ll notice a theme developing here; one of a franchise having success until it was purchased by a hemmorhoid with a big wallet. Picture a time when the Lions weren’t a dingleberry on the anus of the NFL. You’ll have to set the Wayback Machine for the 1950′s, when Lions arguably were the most successful team in the league. They appeared in four NFL Championship Games, winning three.

Then, in 1964 William Clay Ford purchased the Lions and they have not been in a championship game since. In the 47 years Ford has owned the Lions, they have a single playoff win. Even the Bengals and Cardinals have more than that. That’s fucking pathetic.

Right now, the Lions fins themselves digging out of a hole dug by the steam-shovel of suck known as Matt Millen. Lets’ make one thing clear; we don’t have an issue with Millen as a broadcaster.  He was simply the prototypical shitty general manager.  He took a franchise that was already in the shitter and kept inventing ways to keep shitting on it. By the time he was done, the Lions’ franchise was like the Matterhorn of shit.

Watching Millen manage was like watching a retard masturbate. His eight-year jack-off-to-nowhere spree as head of the franchise led to the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97 / .319), yet it took Ford until a month into the 2008 season to fire his ass.  Billboards were actually being erected in Detroit, some which simply said “Fire Millen.” Others had a picture of what the Lions’ Super Bowl ring would have looked like, captioned with  “Not this MILLENium.” Not like it mattered, English has been spoken only as third language in Detroit ever since they burned the city to the ground in the 60s.

Plus, the only time people read billboards is when they are on their way to work. Since nobody in Detroit has a goddamn job (because Ford also sucks at running a car company) the only people that noticed were the national media.

9) Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins

It’s no fucking wonder that a guy who is the chairman of the board and majority owner of a chain of amusement parks would make watching the Redskins a roller-coaster of nausea. Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, and since then its been far more down than up on the Redskin roller-coaster.

In fact, there’s been no up; 1999 was the best season the Redskins had since their last Super Bowl win in 1991.  It’s no accident 1999 also happens to be the best season they have had during Snyder’s tenure. Snyder loves to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but he also gets drunken results.  He’s replaced a Pro Bowl quarterback (Brad Johnson) with an aging head case (Jeff George).  He pumped a Potomac River of money into a washed-up Bruce Smith and a way past primetime Deion Sanders.  He thought Richie Pettibone, Norv Turner, Jim Zorn, and Steve “ol’ Ball Coach” Spurrier were NFL head coaches.

If you have any question as to how football-clueless Snyder is, just  look at the last eighteen months.  In that period, he signed Donovan McNabb (only to trade him to the Vikings for a ham sandwich, a move made much more hilarious by the fact Snyder is Jewish), made virtually no improvement in quite possibly the most active offseason free agency period in the history of the NFL.  Of course, there is no need to improve on a team that in a single game elevated Michael Vick’s status in white America from “degenerate dog killer” to “allowed to doggie-fuck my daughter.”

Now Washington should actually be a good team, not one that needs a minor miracle to beat a shitheap franchise like Detroit. The franchise has a prime location (there’s a lot of money in DC), they have a huge, new stadium, and they have a ton of history. Not even the liberal cry-babys who bitch about everything don’t give a fuck about this team, otherwise you’d be hearing their bitching about that “racist” nickname somewhere other than Rachel Maddow’s penis.

The really messed-up part is that Snyder has done incredibly well with the Redskins from a business standpoint; the Redskins are the second-most valuable franchise in the league. Of course that success doesn’t keep him off this list as he has stooped to such extreme ass-hattery like suing his very own season ticket holders to ensure that the Redskins remain profitable.

8 ) Al Davis, Oakland Raiders

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL.  In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

But somewhere along the line; somewhere right around 1992, it all went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

Since 1992, the Raiders have had just five winning seasons. Their 2002 Super Bowl crushing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a stretch of seven straight season in which the Raiders never won more than 5 games, and they have yet to have a winning season since then.

How can this happen? Simple. Davis is destroying that which he built. You could call it “suicide by head coach and draft pick.”

Rather than list the rash of terrible draft picks the Raiders have made in the last decade, let’s focus on the most telling.

“JaMarcus Russell is a good quarterback” – Al Davis

Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007, and he got glowing reviews from a lot sports “experts” at the time, despite the fact there were some warning signs he would become “fat and lazy.”

JaMarcus Russell, moments before the fire department had to use the "jaws of life" to get Mylie Cyrus out of his throat.

Other NFL scouts literally shattered bones in their haste to jump off the Russell bandwagon once they heard him talk about how much he was going to “relax and eat” after the draft.

Not Al.

Other teams thought it was sheer insanity to pay roughly the gross domestic product of Australia to a completely unproven rookie.

Not Al.

Most other owners would have seen their big-money rookie fatting up like a Christmas goose, especially since that rookie holdout made him miss all of training camp and several weeks of the regular season.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize that when his big-money rookie has cheeseburgered his way into being JaMarcus the Hutt, that’s nobody but the big-money rookie’s fault.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize when the head coach says the big-money rookie sucks, he probably sucks.

Not Al.

When Lane Kiffin dared tell Al that JaMarcus Russell was as much an NFL quarterback as Jayne Russell, Al told Kiffin that Russell didn’t suck…he did.

“He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field. That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team.”

Then he did Kiffin the best favor he possibly could by firing him.

The beauty was that off-season proved to be a delicious one, Russell showed up at camp so fat he exerted his own gravitational pull. He was putting Shake N’ Bake in his Gatorade. When he wasn’t gasping for air or sweating bacon grease, he was showing his “commitment to excellence” by snoozing through team meetings, or just skipping them to go on a bling-gasm in Las Vegas.

Finally, even Al had to see his big-money rookie was just big.  Four sets of  “back-titties” big.  Before being released, rumors were that Russell was well over 300 pounds, far above the 255 he weighed in his prime just 3 years prior. It takes a lot of prime rib to get that far away from your prime in only 3 fucking years.

But the Kiffin thing takes us back to Al’s relationships with his head coaches in the past 20 years.

Al hired Bill Callahan, a head coach who inspired so much trust in his players they accused him of ” sabotaging the season.” To regain their trust, Callahan said the Raiders were “the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game.” We must admit we really don’t understand that motivational technique, but it worked since Callahan was the last coach to post a winning record in Oakland and the last to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Then it starts to get scary. Let’s look at the lowlights…Al hired Norv Turner as coach; the Raiders went a combined 9-23 in his two seasons. Al hired Art Shell twice, the first time went OK;  the second brought a franchise-worst 2-14 record.

Then, Al hired Lane Kiffin, threatened to fire him on a weekly basis, and when he finally did, it was a great moment in “Crotchety Old Man” history; Al held a press conference during which he put his “Kiffin Bitch List” on an overhead projector! You read that right, it was the dawn of the 21st century, and in the shadow of Silicon Valley,  and Al is using the same technology as your Dad’s 5th-grade teacher.

Then, Al  hired Tom Cable, a man who most famously broke the jaw of his assistant coach with a sucker punch, then threatened to kill him.

The thing all of us can see that Al can’t is the Raiders have massive trust issues. Al doesn’t trust his coaches to make good draft selections, Al’s players don’t trust his coaches, the fans don’t trust Al’s “commitment to excellence” enough to purchase season tickets, and even those of us who don’t give a fuck about the Raiders don’t trust their franchise not to suck.

What this all comes down to is Al Davis is old and he’s lost it.  Nobody like hearing that because it reminds us all our time is coming; it’s disturbing to know someday we will all no longer be able to control when we do and do not shit ourselves.  Most people who are lucky enough to live that long don’t run their own professional sports team.  Even though Al Davis is now the kind of boss that walks into your office and gives you the choice of lancing a boil on his back or letting him drop his band-aid into your coffee (and you MUST drink it), he’s still just an old man who needs to retire so we don’t have to keep watching him shit his pants.

7) Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs

Tom Ricketts is the CEO of of Incapital LLC, a Chicago, an investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors.  He’s also the son of the guy who founded Ameritrade, so if you the typical blue-collar American who gets off on o hating people who are born into money, this is a good place to start.

The Cubs suffer from a lack of real direction, and this is partially Ricketts’ fault.  He took over the Cubs in the beginning of 2009, inheriting the Alfonso Soriano contract, which might be considered a good deal if the entire planet’s economy ran off of how much money we could all light on fire all at once.  Since then, the Cubs have grown one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and have one of the worst records.  They’re in a market that is extremely critical of all of their sports teams, and radio is brutal even when your winning.  Just ask the last season’s Chicago Bears.

Since Meehan is a regular guest on a Chicago Cubs internet radio (insert shameless plug for ivyenvy.com here) you might expect him to have more of an opinion on Ricketts. But the truth is, unless the Cubs go on a five game winning streak, the guy’s a fucking ghost.  (Editor’s note:  The Cubs didn’t win five in a row this season until last week.)  To be quite honest with you, if Meehan’s producer hadn’t attended a press conference with Ricketts a few weeks back http://ivyenvy.com/?p=6034, he might fall into that same level of “does he exist” along with Sasquatch and Oprah Winfrey’s heterosexuality.

Let’s just put it this way, Ricketts and his family believed in 2009 the Cubs were worth 900 million dollars with a relic of a stadium that’s falling apart and countless personnel and financial issues, and he hasn’t done much to change it.

6) Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Sometimes taking over the family business isn’t as easy as it looks. But when you get handed the keys to an organization built by a legend and you fuck it up beyond belief…that’s how you end up one of the most hated owners in sports.

Welcome to the world of Mike Brown. When the legendary Paul Brown passed away in 1991, Mike Brown assumed control of the Bengals. Since then, the Bengals’ record is a cesspool-worthy 124-211-1, with a single playoff appearance.

If the cavalcade of losing wasn’t enough to make fans want to piss in his hollowed-out skull, Brown continues to give the Bengal faithful all the reason they would need to want to drag his lifeless corpse around Paul Brown Stadium.

For some reason ESPN has continued to report on the Cincinnati Bengals situation.  For the longest time, it was a complete fucking mystery why the World Wide Leader gives a tire-squished shit about the Queen City Kitties. But we finally figured it out.

ESPN is betting on curiosity…curiosity as to what will finally kill the Cats’ owner.

Will it be his ability to pinch a penny so hard he can make Abe Lincoln fart? Brown is notorious as cheapskate asshole. The Bungles have the most understaffed scouting departments in the league and he simply does not spend money on free-agents.

Perhaps, it will be his colossal stubborn streak. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, it’s that Mike Brown is one of the most stubborn owners in professional sports, and that also makes him exceptionally stupid. He steadfastly refuses to hire a general manager, which may explain this team’s terrible record.

He refused to grant Carson Palmer a trade, thus forcing Palmer to call Brown’s bluff and retire, thus forcing Brown to eat his value and not reap any of the benefits of such a trade.  Granted, Palmer is also a total dick; he made it no secret that he thought Ohio sports fans were weak and simple since Day One.  But when you consider all of the bullshit he had to put up with during his tenure with the Bengals, one can clearly see Brown is a dick of a higher order.

Not to mention Brown was the one who kept letting Chad Johnson act like a jackass, all the while believing that Chris Henry was going to turn his life around only to see him die by falling out of the back of a truck.

These issues are just the tip of the Brown-hating iceberg. Anyway you slice it, Bengals’ fans strive to ensure Brown knows they hate him, ranging from boycotts to erecting billboards to an anti-Brown website, fans in the Queen City have been nothing short of creative in their efforts.

What it comes down to is that Brown isn’t really a big dick; he’s actually a tiny, little dick who can’t get out from under the shadow of Daddy. Brown has been for years trying to prove to the sports media and the fans that on his watch the Bengals won’t take any shit from anybody and that you’d better do what he tells you if you know what’s good for you.

Typical pathetic little raisin-sac bullshit.

But in the end, it’s obvious nobody thinks Brown matters so nobody pays any attention to his false pride largely because nobody gave a fuck to begin with. After all, if you know you can’t finish higher than 3rd in your division for the next decade, then what the fuck difference does your pride make?

5) David Glass, Kansas City Royals

Glass may have been a great business executive, but he’s a shitty owner. In ten seasons as owner of the Royals, his team has finished and in that time – they have finished with a record above .500 just once, have lost 100 games or more four times, and have averaged nearly 95 losses for every season of the Glass regime.

Prior to his purchase of the Royals, Glass was the CEO of Wal-Mart. This is where he earned the reputation as one of the nation’s premier executives. In business, the Glass model was rather successful; reasonable products at dirt-cheap prices. That’s the same approach Glass has used with the Royals, and while the team’s revenue has increased every year, on the field performance and the player salaries have not.

This makes Glass the perfect representative of the parasitic effect silly things like “luxury taxes” in baseball have. They actually make it possible to be profitable and terrible at the same time, which is a cancer on the world of sport, not just baseball.

4) Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins

Very few people have shown the ability to drive a franchise over the brink, and this turdpipe has done it twice. Of course, what should we expect from a guy who made his money as an “art dealer?” I bet it isn’t even “real” art, I bet it is that “Elvis on black velvet” crap you see being sold at abandoned gas stations hanging on a chain-link fence.

There’s no coincidence in the fact that he owned two teams long rumored to be on the contraction block. His refusal to put any money in the Montreal Expos guaranteed their sale to MLB so they could be reborn as the Nationals and so he could buy the Marlins. His dismal leadership immediately placed the Marlins in a “build a new stadium or face the consequences” dilemma; and Miami knuckled under…the new ball park opens next season.

3) Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals

The Bidwill family has owned the Cardinals for close to 50 years.  In that time, have one exactly four playoff games. Three of those came a few years back when the Cards made that miracle run to the Super Bowl.  Just the fact he is holding an NFC Championship trophy is proof a blind squirrel can occasional find a nut.

A common comparison is that the Cardinals are the Clippers of the NFL; it would be more accurate to say the Clippers who are the Cardinals of the NBA. The Cards have been the model were the model of dysfunctionality  in the sports when the Clippers franchise were still the Buffalo Braves. The comparison stems largely from the fact these are both franchises that have had to move twice because of horrid ownership decisions.

2) James Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers

James Dolan’s reign as the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers has been an exercise in following the Steinbrenner model with the Yankees of the 80s; money does not cure bad decisions.  Since 1999 when Dolan took control of both franchises, fans of both teams would be well within their rights to join the paper bag squad.

Dolan has pumped a river of money into the Rangers; they have the highest average salary  in the NHL, yet they have only made the playoffs four times and have not once been past the semifinals.  There’s a school of thought which believes the blame should fall on general manager Glen Sather, but the people who think that rode to that school on the short bus.

First of all, Dolan refuses to fire Sather despite his blatant incompetence. Second of all, Sather doesn’t control the Knicks, who have exactly the same problems, which makes Dolan the common thread.  Dolan has overseen the Knicks through nearly a decade full of seasons of fewer than 40 wins, to go along with just two playoff appearance, despite having one of the top payrolls in the NBA.

Then’s there whole Isiah Thomas fiasco. Insert your own rant on that mess here.

1) Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

Sterling is possibly the best example of a guy being both a genius businessman and a complete shit-stain in the Fruit of the Looms of the sports world.  There’s so many ways to look at the sporting idiocy that is Donald Sterling. There’s the numbers:

  • 31 – Number of seasons he has owned the Clippers
  • 2 – Number of seasons they have finished with a winning record
  • .341 – Team winning percentage in those seasons
The problem is that the Clippers and Sterling are like a really bad marriage of really bad people; they deserve each other. As mentioned earlier, this franchise began its trail of tears in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. By 1981, the team had already failed in Buffalo and moved to San Diego where they were also failing. This is where Sterling comes along and buys the team for a pittance.
The Clippers spend the next two seasons in San Diego struggling to draw 4,500 fans.  In 1984, Sterling makes the one good decision he ever made with the Clippers; naturally, it was a business decision. He moves the team to Los Angeles, which is the sole move that allowed the value of the Clippers to rise from$12.5 million back in the summer of 1981 to an estimated $350 million today.

That is Donald Sterling’s sports resume in  nutshell; great for the bankbook, lousy for on-the-court performance. The team has been a  joke for over three decades, but Sterling keeps laughing all the way to the bank.   Sterling has faithfully followed the model of keeping the payroll at “paying in recyclable cans” levels of cheap to maximize profit while never once giving a damn about the won-loss column. The Clippers have finished in the Draft Lottery so many times they’ve seen more balls than an Ava Devine gang-bang.

What do porn stars and the Clippers have in common? They both dribble before they shoot.

I know it won’t come as a shock to read that a miser like Sterling might also be just a bad human being. What kind of guy heckles his own players?  We can’t imagine this would be productive under any circumstance, but of all of the sports where this would be a bad idea, basketball would have to be the worst.  To top it off, of the all players not to piss off,  you might think Baron Davis would be in the top five.   For that matter, how sweet would it have been if Rasheed Wallace had ever played for the Clippers?  He would have killed Sterling.  Just picture ‘Sheed “keeping it real” by yanking Donnie Boy’s bow-tied ass out of his seat and dribbling his head off the scorer’s table for about five minutes.

I’m not sure there is a more telling commentary of Sterling complete level of tone-deafness than this:

It is actually fitting to use Blake Griffin in this ad. He is only half black, and this attempt by Sterling to reach out to the black community was completely half-assed, if for no other reason that Black History Month is in February.

But of all the stories, allegations, accusations and observations, this is my favorite:

“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”

There you have it, fifteen owners who haven’t been getting the attention they deserve. Like we’ve said, just because the world is fixated on the antics of the Frank McCourts and Fred Wilpons of the world, these guys still need to have the light shone on them; there’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

Stay tuned to Dubsism and East End Philadelphia for more up to the minute advice on how to be undeniably awesome.

-J-Dub and Meehan

Dubsism on Cubsism

First, let me define the concept of Cubsism. Named for the Chicago Cubs, Cubsism is an ideaology that permeates a sports franchise. It is characterized by the ability to be essentially viable while remaining an exercise in futulity on the field.  It is named for the Cubs because no other franchise in sports embodies it nearly as much as the Chicago North Siders do.

A microcosm of most recent century of  futility of this franchise lies in the last eighteen months. Look at what has happened before and after the sudden retirement of Lou Piniella last summer.

Usually, when a team makes a change at manager, the idea is to change the culture of the clubhouse by changing the leadership. Sometimes, when you make a change, the team doesn’t respond. That’s what happened last year at this time. Why? Because Lou Piniella was a respected “baseball guy.”

Just a few weeks ago, the rumors began circulating that new manager Mike Quade and general manager Jim Hendry will return next season in their respective positions. The logic is that Hendry is the guy who made the decision to hire Quade, knowing that  Quade was never intended to be a long-term solution. The thought was Quade would be a bridge until the Cubs found an established manager when the team is ready to  contend.

The problem is Quade should have never been the Cubs manager in the first place.  There’s so many reasons why, and they all illustrate the concept of Cubsism.

Go back to the day Piniella pulled the plug. Not the day he walked for good; rather go back to the day he said he was leaving at the end of the year. While every sports writer rejoiced at the thought of not having to write another “fire Lou Piniella” column, they all missed the main point.

Why let a manager appoint himself into a “lame-duck” status? To that point, the team was certainly going nowhere; they were lifeless and unmotivated, and now they are playing for a manager who has decided to fall on his own sword. There was nothing left to inspire the team to play hard; to not look they rolled over and died. What is to be gained by that?

The answer is absolutely nothing.  There’s one thing the Cubs have seemingly forgotten about their fans is that they live on hope. They have little other option; the Cubs have given them nothing else in over a century.

Flash forward one year, and the Cubs find themselves in essentially the same position. The Cubs collapsed early, fingers were pointed, and it looks like another change is coming somewhere in the leadership chain of the Cubs.

I don’t know how much hope that inspires in Cub fans, because I don’t know what the changes are going to be. Suffice it to say the Cubs are likely to make what I call a “Cubs-Type Decision (CTD).”

CTDs are the heart of Cubsism, and Cubsism is caused by four contributing factors, all of which have a long association with the  Cubs.

1) Leadership and a fan base that doesn’t understand the difference between “good” and “great.”

This point is exemplified by Quade. He was a terrible hire not because he is a terrible manager, rather there was a much better and completely obvious hire, and he was already in your organization.

Face it, Chicago. Mike Quade was the “good” hire; Ryne Sandberg was the “great” hire.  He was perfect for the job; let’s review why.

Sandberg became a Cub hero in the 1980′s being the best second baseman of that decade and arguably one of the top five at that position ever.  Sandberg became the Wrigley fixture Cub fans latched onto as a transition in to the Harry Caray-less days after 1998.  Sandberg was one of the smartest players in the game, and few played the truly complete game he did. Not only that, but Sandberg is not some Hall-of-Fame guy who thinks he should be able to blow into town and get the manager’s job on his name alone. Whether in his playing days or in his managerial career in the bus leagues, Sandberg has never been a guy to trade on marquee value, although he clearly could.

But instead of waltzing into the Cubs front office and saying “The fans that you need to keep want me in the dugout; I will be by before the Winter Meetings to pick the keys to my office,” Sandberg had spent the past four seasons prior to last year managing in the Cubs’ farm system. In fact, few managers in the minor leagues have built the reputation Sandberg has, and due to his humility, most of that has happened well beneath the radar. Sandberg has clearly “paid his dues” all while showing himself to be a cerebral skipper who can get his players to think before they act (Carlos Zambrano, I’m looking at you…)

In other words, he was the perfect man for the Cubs’ managerial job. How could the Cubs possibly entertain the idea of doing anything other than hiring the perfect candidate to end all perfect candidates? Because they are the Cubs, and they make Cubs-Type Decisions.

2) Terrible player/personnel decisions

In case you need a refresher, let’s review a few of my favorite CTDs:

  • Trading Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (future Hall-of-Famer for washed-up pitcher)
  • Trading Rafael Palmeiro to Texas for Mitch Williams (3,000 hit/500 home run guy for a relief pitcher whose stay in Chicago wasn’t as long as some people who change planes at O’Hare Airport)
  • Drafting Josh Hamilton as a Rule 5 player, then promptly trading him to Cincinnati for a small amount of cash (3-time All-Star and reigning American League MVP for a few dollars when the Cubs were one of the richest teams in the league)
  • Trading Sergio Mitre and Ricky Nolasco for Juan Pierre (one serviceable starting pitcher and one on the verge of becoming an ace for a “legitimate leadoff hitter” for a guy who in his ONE season as a Cub got caught stealing 20 times in 78 attempts).
  • Letting Greg Maddox go to free agency (deciding a guy who would go on to win 355 games and 4 Cy Young awards wasn’t “the kind of pitcher who could help us long-term”)
  • Trading Dennis Eckersley for three minor-leaguers (Once in Oakland, Eckersley becomes the dominant closer of his era)
  • Trading Bill Madlock for Bobby Murcer (a solid defensive third-baseman who also would win four batting titles for a slugging outfielder whose career decline began immediately after this trade)
  • Trading Bruce Sutter for Leon Durham and Ken Reitz (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Lee Smith for Calvin Schraldi and Al Nipper (another dominant closer for two “bags of magic beans”)
  • Trading Manny Trillo for Barry Foote and Ted Sizemore (a second baseman who still holds the record for most consecutive chances without an error for one of the great mustaches of all-time )

3) Belief in the “quick fix” for decades of problems

The Fukudome era...only slightly racist while being completely futile.

Just in the past dozen or so years, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (insert new phenom and/or big free-agent signing) will change the fortunes of Cub nation…Kerry Wood, Todd Hundley, LaTroy Hawkins (even if he was only supposed to save the bullpen, I still can’t believe I just wrote that), Mark Prior, Nomar Garciaparra, Alfonso Soriano,   Kosuke Fukudome, Milton Bradley, blah, blah, blah…Look at the knob-slobbing happening for Tyler Colvin, Darwin Barney, and Starlin Castro. How much you want to bet at least two of those names are on this list in five years? Doubt that? Just look back at what Cubs fans were bleating about Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot…

This is the same reason Cubs’ fans always love deals like Carlos Silva for Milton Bradley. Remember, they loved Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock, too…

4) A fan base ignorant of the fundamentals of the game

Picture it…Chicago, sometime in the late 90′s. I’m at Wrigley taking in a summer afternoon affair against the Dodgers. It’s the top of the ninth inning, the score is tied and the Dodgers have a runner on third with one out. The Dodgers hit a long fly ball into left field, and the family seated in front me (resplendent in their Cubs gear) is wildly cheering the out, completely unaware the Dodgers had just scored what would prove to be the  winning run on the sacrifice.

That family is the Cubs fanbase in a nutshell.

Having said all that, the next time you are looking to explain a franchise’s long term dysfunction, refer back to the four points of Cubsism. It runs rampant in professional sports; it takes little to see it.

Now for the fun part – here are ten franchises we have identified as having a very high Cubsism rating. Remember that Cubsism is not a short-term affliction; to be on this list a franchise must have shown a track record of futility for decades or have a generally dismal record with only the fleetingest glimpses of non-suck.

Guest Column: Joe McGrath on Which NFL Teams Are Most Likely To Move To Los Angeles

Editor’s Note: Mr. McGrath has long and storied history in the management of professional sports franchises, most notably as the general manager of the Charlestown Chiefs of the now-defunct Federal League. Oh, and this is probably a good time to mention that Mr. McGrath’s views are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of Dubsism, our staff, or anybody else whose house you might want to burn to the ground.

I will keep this simple. The NFL has been without a franchise in Los Angeles for close to two decades.  One the primary stumbling blocks to putting a team in the Southland has been the lack of a suitable venue. However, now that Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously to approve a stadium proposal, the question is this: which team or teams will move to the City of Angels.

I say “teams” because the rumor is that the new model being kicked around as a cost-savings measure may be to emulate the sharing arrangement the Jets and Giants have used in New York.  It is important to keep that in mind as we move through this discussion where I will rate the teams in contention to make the move based on their likelihood to do so.

1) San Diego Chargers – Odds To Move: Almost Certain

The minute the shovel breaks ground in Los Angeles, the boxes will start being loaded on the trucks in San Diego. They won’t do it in the fly-by-night manner like the Irsays took the Colts out of Baltimore, but relocating this team 120 miles north has been an open secret for a while. Current owner Art Spanos in nearly 90, in failing health, and has been looking to sell at least a minority stake in the team. It doesn’t take a giant leap of faith to see the word “minority” turn into “majority” or “complete” in this case. Even if it doesn’t, the group looking to build the Los Angeles stadium would settle for a 30 percent ownership stake if there’s a commitment to move by May 2012 (upon completion of a stadium). Couple that with the fact the Chargers only need to make a $24 million payment to escape their lease at Qualcomm Stadium, and the fact San Diego has a flaky fan base, and you can start printing the Los Angeles Chargers T-shirts now.

2) Minnesota Vikings – Odds To Move: Pretty Damn Good

Take a good look at that picture. This is the one team that doesn’t want a new stadium; it desperately needs one.  The Vikings’ lease at the Metrodome expires after this season, and if Minnesota makes a commitment to build a new stadium before the end of that lease (the Governor may call a special legislative session in the fall to hammer out a deal), the Vikings stay.  Keep in mind that Vikes’ owner Zygi Wilf isn’t looking to sell the team, but he has met with the President and CEO of the Los Angeles stadium group, and the Vikings’ vice president of public affairs Lester Bagley has said the Vikings are solely focused on staying in Minnesota. That means two things – first, there has been a serious discussion about moving this franchise, and secondly Bagley knows he needs to say that to keep any hopes of a Minnesota stadium deal alive.  In other words, if a stadium deal doesn’t get done in Minnesota, look for the Vikings to announce their departure.

3) St. Louis Rams – Odds To Move: Better than 50-50

Again, here’s a team in a crappy dome, the team has a lease which expires right around a feasible completion date for a Los Angeles stadium (after the 2014 season). The only way to improve the Edward Jones Dome is to raze it and build a new stadium, which isn’t likely to happen since the city of St. Louis is still paying for the construction of the dome. That makes the infusion of public money on a stadium project not very likely.

Go back to that “two teams in Los Angeles” thoery. There’s a key in this which sweetens this deal for the Rams, but also makes the Vikings and our surprise “dark horse” very viable options as they all share similar characteristics. According to ESPN Los Angeles, there’s a set of criteria involved in the consideration of a franchise on this list.

The St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission has until Feb. 1 to give the Rams a preliminary proposal for how it plans to give the Dome “top-tier” status. The Rams can either agree to the offer a month later or reject it and make a counter-offer by May 1, which is the most likely scenario. The commission can then either agree to the counter-offer by June 1 or reject it and go to arbitration. If such a scenario unfolds, the lease could be voided and the Rams could rent the Dome on a year-to-year basis or choose to move elsewhere…

…It seems the chances of the Rams getting a new stadium in St. Louis are as remote as they are for the Chargers in San Diego. Having the Chargers and the Rams relocate to Los Angeles would be the most ideal scenario for the league, which would like to see one AFC West team and one NFC West team move to Los Angeles (preferably with Los Angeles ties) so the geography of the current divisions still work and each of the conference’s television broadcasters (currently CBS and FOX) will get a team in the country’s second-biggest media market.

Like I said before, keep this model in mind…

4) San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders – Odds to Move: Not Very Good

This is another example where the “two team” model comes into play. If the Chargers move as expected, the league and the networks won’t want two division-rivals in the same stadium. Not to mention the stadium owners would lose two dates worth of parking and concessions under such an arrangement. If the Raiders don’t move, it makes it much easier for the 49ers and Raiders to get a shared-venue proposal. Both teams need a new stadium, and the 49ers proposal on a Santa Clara site has been gaining momentum. A partnership with the Raider could push that deal across the goal line.

5) Buffalo Bills – Odds To Move: Drawing to an Inside Straight

Let me be clear – this team is moving, but it isn’t going to California. Considering this team has agreed to play eight home games in Toronto over the next five seasons, once 93-year old Ralph Wilson is gone, this team will move north of the border.

6) Jacksonville Jaguars – Odds to Move:  Slim and None, and Slim Just Left Town

Seven words: Owner Wayne Weaver and an honerous lease. It’s Weaver’s team, he wants it in Jacksonville, and he structured the lease on EverBank Field to be nearly impossible to escape until 2029.

Surprise “Dark Horse”) New Orleans Saints – Odds to Move: Much Better Than You Think

Actually, the Saints can check many of the same boxes on the “moving” criteria list as the Vikings and Rams, which is why the “dirty little secret” is the Saints are as good a candidate to move.

1) They are in an old, crappy dome that is falling apart.

While there is an $85 million dollar plan on the table to upgrade the Superdome, the fact remains this is a stop-gap fix. Within the next few years, there will be no covering the fact the Superdome is obsolete.

2) There’s a state money entanglement.

Right after Katrina, there were concerns Saints’ owner Tom Benson was ready to move to San Antonio. To head that off, the state of Louisiana pays the Saints $6 million per year in direct funding. That’s already a tacit admission that post-Katrina New Orleans is simply no longer a major-league city. The aforementioned stadium upgrade is also an admission that there is no chance of a completely new facility anytime in the near future.

3) They make the most sense.

According to the “two team theory,” the league wants one team from each conference, and making such a move without making massive re-alignments would be preferable. Los Angeles like will have either the Chargers or Raiders from the AFC, and that means they other teams likely to load up and head west are from the NFC. The Saints could easily be “traded” to the NFC West of the St. Louis Rams, just as the Rams could be swapped to the NFC North for the Vikings.

In any event, somebody is  moving to Los Angeles . Who will get into this Southern California NFL version of “‘musical chairs?”

The Real Problem With The Lawsuit Against the NFL About Concussions

Lost in the media-gasm going on about the return of football, there is a story that has quietly been emerging, and it’s a story that shouldn’t be lost. The National Football League is being sued over concussions.

Mark Duper, Ottis Anderson and 73 other former players sued the National Football League, claiming it concealed information about the danger of concussions for decades. The negligence, fraud and liability suit was filed [July 19th] in Los Angeles Superior Court. Many players’ wives also are plaintiffs.

The suit alleges the NFL knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions but concealed them from coaches, trainers, players and the public until June 2010. It also names helmet-maker Riddell, the NFL’s official helmet supplier. It seeks unspecified damages.

“We have not seen the complaint but would vigorously contest any claims of this kind,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

Riddell spokeswoman Laura Moore said the company had not yet reviewed the complaint and its policy was to not comment on pending litigation.

The contention from the former players is that repeated concussions from the rough-and-tumble nature of the NFL caused brain damage. They cite a laundry list of symptoms allegedly caused by these injuries such as headaches, memory loss, blurred vision, sleeplessness,  and Tinnitus (ringing in the ears).  Some of the plaintiffs go as far to say the injuries caused depression, anxiety, “explosive mood changes,” poor judgment, and substance abuse.

It doesn’t really matter which side you find yourself on; there’s the “NFL is responsible for the well-being of its players” camp, and there’s the “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it” camp. The fact is this case is likely to get some legs, if for no other reason the plaintiffs have hired a big-time lawyer who specializes in getting big out-of-court settlements.  His name is Thomas Girardi, and he is best known as the lawyer who went after Pacific Gas & Electric in the “Erin Brockovich” case.

The plaintiffs allege the NFL knew that multiple blows to the head can cause long-term brain injury.  The plaintiffs also allege the NFL only warned active players in June 2010 of the risks associated with multiple concussions; their suit goes on to claim Riddell failed to warn active players until around the same time. Also according to the suit, neither the NFL or Riddell ever warned former players.

The key to the whole thing lies in the following paragraph.

The Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee was established by the NFL in 1994 to study the risk of long-term brain injury to players. The suit contends that the committee published “false, distorted and deceiving” findings that the risk was minimal in order to deceive Congress, players and the public.

That means the whole thing is going to boil down to a “he said, she said” situation. Some jury is either going to have to believe the NFL actively practiced deception, or that the allegations are without merit.

But the fact that Girardi is involved likely means this case never sees a jury.

Just like in the Erin Brockovich case, Girardi is likely going to shoot for a big out-of-court settlement. The NFL has deep pockets, and this guy knows how to turn deep pockets into big checks.

There’s two problems here. First, the injection of the big-time lawyer means no matter what happens, the “best-case” scenario (meaning the one that actually addresses the plight of the former players) isn’t going to happen. This is going to be all about money.

Secondly, that will expose this lawsuit was always about money. Hark back to the days of the NFL Lockout. Remember how one of the key points of contention was carving out a few bucks for the care needed by the retired players?  Did you ever wonder why that seemed to slip under the radar?

Think about this possibility…the NFL Player’s Association dropped that demand as a bargaining tool knowing they could use a lawsuit as a back-door means of getting that money out of the league.

Once the high-priced lawyer got involved, that became my primary suspicion. If I’m right, it means two things. First, it means the interests of the retired players were never a primary concern. Second, it means this was more about money than anything else. Despite the fact this new collective bargaining agreement is in effect for ten years, you had better believe if the league gets skinned for big money on this lawsuit, the concussion issue will be a headache again in a decade.

Great Moments in the History of Groin Injuries

Whether you like it or not, nut shots are never not funny…especially when it is a mascot encouraging a bat-boy to punt the ying-yings of an opposing mascot. It’s all for your viewing pleasure here

Frank McCourt Death Watch: Dodgers Strike Deal With MLB To Stay Alive For $150 Million More

The Frank McCourt Saga in Los Angeles is like the psycho-killer in one of those “Slasher” movies who just won’t die. In the latest development, the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement to accept as much as $150 million in loans from Major League Baseball to keep the team afloat as it works its way through bankruptcy.

The deal announced in court papers Friday, does contain language that would not allow the default on this loan to give MLB the right to take control of the team.

Blah, blah, blah…

While the parties submitted their proposed agreement to Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, the question remains: How long until MLB gets rid of Frank McCourt?

First, the legal aspects…

The proposal (the case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010) was the result of negotiations ordered by Gross after the Dodgers initially tried to accept a loan from a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co instead of the league.  Gross said it was “unclear” how the Dodgers expected to operate “within the framework of baseball” if they were unwilling to cooperate with MLB, adding that the league’s deal would save the team $14 million.

Attorneys for the Dodgers said their hesitation was rooted in covenants included in the deal that could allow MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to seize the team. The Dodgers agreed to negotiate with the league after the league promised to remove the that language.

Now for the business end…

This $150 million has to be used for two things – 1) keep the team operating 2) buy time until the Dodgers can sell TV rights, which should put it on a sound financial footing. However, who knows what will actually happen as long as McCourt and his team of lawyers are in the picture?

Well, guess what? There’s all sorts of other ways Selig can flush the Dodger toilet so the turd known as McCourt. Selig’s hand is around the Dodger throat as long as a federal judge says financing can only come from MLB. Oh, and there’s that whole divorce issue yet to deal with as well.

The bottom line…It is time for McCourt to go. Let’s make it happen.

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