The Dubsism 2012-2013 College Football Bowl Predictions

30 08 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: This list is being completed based on who has been ruled ineligible for post-season play as of today’s date.

Having said that, there are some noteworthy points concerning this bowl season. From CollegeFootballPoll.com:

BCS Selection Order: The order of selection for this year’s BCS games is Fiesta, Sugar, Orange. However, the bowls that lose host conference champions to the BCS title game get to replace those teams before other selections are made.  See the complete BCS Selection Procedures here.

Notre Dame is eligible for all bowls in which the Big East has a commitment, as well as the BCS.  It also serves as the backup for the Big 12 in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Navy will be invited to the Kraft Hunger Bowl if it qualifies for selection. If Navy is ineligible, the #9 team from the ACC is next in-line to be invited. Navy has secured a similar deal with the Armed Forces Bowl in 2013 and 2016.

Army will be invited to the Military Bowl if it qualifies for selection. Army has secured a similar deal with the Poinsettia Bowl in 2013, and the Armed Forces Bowl for 2014 and 2017.

BYU will be invited to the Poinsettia Bowl if it qualifies for selection. The Cougars have secured a similar deal with the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in 2013.

Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl gets the first pick of MAC teams in 2012. The GoDaddy.com Bowl gets the second pick in 2012, and the first selection in 2013.

The MAC has secondary bowl agreements in 2012 with the New Mexico, Beef O’Brady’s, BBVA Compass, Ticket City and Poinsettia Bowls.

Hawaii is automatically invited to the Hawaii Bowl if it has at least 7 wins.  Otherwise, the MWC sends its 3rd-place team.

Payouts: Amounts shown do not necessarily reflect what each school receives. The conferences have different methods by which bowl money is divided among its membership. Some bowl agreements call for higher payouts to one conference than the other, depending on such factors as which is the “host” conference. Most of the above payouts are based on actual figures from the Football Bowl Association for the 2010-2011 season, while others are published estimates of anticipated payouts for the current year.

There has also been a change in eligibility requirements because it is very possible the NCAA will not produce enough eligible teams at the prior 6-win mark. Those changes beyond the 6-wins are as follows.

1. First consideration goes to 6-6 teams with one win against Football Championship Subdivision teams, regardless of whether that FCS school meets NCAA scholarship requirements. Until now, an FCS win only counted if that opponent met the scholarship requirements.

2. Next up for consideration are 6-6 teams with two wins over FCS schools. It’s really rare for an FBS school to schedule two FCS opponents in a single year.

3. Teams that finish 6-7 and lose in the conference championship game are next. Call this the UCLA rule. The Bruins, staring at a 6-6 record before the Pac-12 Championship Game last season, got a waiver from the NCAA to be bowl-eligible even if they lost, which they did. UCLA then lost in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl to finish 6-8.

4. Then come 6-7 teams that normally play a 13-team schedule, such as Hawaii and its home opponents.

5. Up next are FCS teams making the transition to the FBS, if they have at least a 6-6 record. Big winners under that rule: South Alabama, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass, who are all in the process of reclassifying from FCS to FBS. Suddenly and bizarrely, South Alabama’s Aug. 30 opener against Texas-San Antonio in Mobile carries some potential bowl significance.

6. Finally, the nod would go to 5-7 teams that have a top-5 Academic Progress Rate score. So there’s new hope for Duke, which hasn’t gone to a bowl since 1995.
This process was created as the bowl system faces significant pressure to fill every postseason game in 2012. Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina and Central Florida face bowl bans this season, although UCF is appealing and may still be eligible in 2012. Also, there are unresolved NCAA cases involving Oregon and Miami, which self-imposed a bowl ban in 2011.

This is being done because last season, college football had only 72 eligible teams for 70 bowl slots.

Taking all of that into consideration, here are the Dubsism 2012-2013 Bowl Predictions.

Bowl Championship Series:

BCS Championship:

  • Jan. 7
  • BCS #1 vs. BCS #2
  • Payout: $18,000,000
  • USC (Pac-12 #1) vs. LSU (SEC #1)

Fiesta Bowl:

  • Jan. 3
  • Big 12 vs. At-large
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Oklahoma (Big 12 #1) vs. Michigan (Big Ten #2)

Sugar Bowl:

  • Jan. 2
  • SEC vs. At-large
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Alabama (SEC #2) vs. Clemson (ACC #2)

Orange Bowl:

  • Jan. 1
  • ACC vs. At-large
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Florida State (ACC#1) vs. West Virginia (Big 12 #2)

Rose Bowl:

  • Jan. 1
  • Big Ten vs. Pac-12
  • Payout: $17,000,000
  • Wisconsin (Big Ten #1) vs. Oregon (Pac-12 #2)

Other:

Capital One Bowl:

  • Jan. 1
  • Big Ten #2 vs. SEC #2
  • Payout: $4,550,000
  • Michigan State (Big Ten #3) vs. Georgia (SEC #3)

Chick-fil-A Bowl:  

  • Dec. 31
  • ACC # 2 vs. SEC # 5
  • Payout: $3,967,500 ACC; $2,932,500 SEC
  • Virginia Tech (ACC #3) vs. Vanderbilt (SEC #5)

Cotton Bowl:

  • Jan. 4
  • Big 12 #2 vs. SEC #3/4
  • Payout: $3,625,000
  • Kansas State (Big 12 #3) vs. Arkansas (SEC #6)

Gator Bowl :

  • Jan. 1
  • Big Ten #4/5 vs. SEC #6
  • Payout: $3,500,000
  • Iowa (Big Ten #6) vs. Auburn (SEC #7)

Outback Bowl:

  • Jan. 1
  • Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #3/4
  • Payout: $3,500,000
  • Nebraska (Big Ten #4) vs. South Carolina (SEC #4)

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly the Insight Bowl):

  • Dec. 29
  • Big 10 #4/5 vs. Big 12 #4
  • Payout: $3,350,000
  • Purdue (Big Ten #7) vs. TCU (Big 12 #5)

Alamo Bowl:

  • Dec. 29
  • Big 12 #3 vs. Pac-12 #2
  • Payout: $3,175,000
  • Oklahoma State (Big 12 #4) vs. Utah (Pac-12 #3)

Russell Athletic Bowl (formerly the Champs Sports Bowl):

  • Dec. 28
  • Big East #2 vs. ACC #3
  • Payout: $2,275,000
  • Louisville (Big East #1) vs. Georgia Tech (ACC #5)

Holiday Bowl:

  • Dec. 27
  • Pac-12 #3 vs. Big 12 #5
  • Payout: $2,075,000
  • Stanford (Pac-12 #4) vs. Baylor (Big 12 #6)

Sun Bowl:

  • Dec. 31
  • ACC #4 vs. Pac-12 #4
  • Payout: $2,000,000
  • Virginia (ACC #6) vs. Washington (Pac-12 #5)

Music City Bowl:

  • Dec. 31
  • ACC#6 vs. SEC #7
  • Payout: $1,837,500
  • North Carolina State (ACC #7) vs. Florida (SEC #8)

Pinstripe Bowl:

  • Dec. 29
  • Big East #4 vs. Big 12 #7
  • Payout: $1,800,000
  • Rutgers (Big East #3) vs. Notre Dame

Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl:

  • Dec. 28
  • Big 12 #6 vs. Big Ten # 6
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • Texas (Big 12 #7) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten #9)

Belk Bowl:

  • Dec. 27
  • Big East #3 vs. ACC #5
  • Payout: $1,700,000
  • South Florida (Big East #2) vs. Miami (Fla.) (ACC #8)

Liberty Bowl:

  • Dec. 31
  • C-USA #1 vs. Big East/SEC # 8/9
  • Payout: $1,437,500
  • Houston (C-USA #1) vs. Mississippi State (SEC #9)

Independence Bowl:

  • Dec. 28
  • SEC #10 vs. ACC#7
  • Payout: $1,150,000
  • Texas A&M (SEC #10) vs. Wake Forest (ACC #9)

Maaco Las Vegas Bowl:

  • Dec. 22
  • MWC #1 vs. Pac-12 #5
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Boise State (MWC #1) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 #7)

TicketCity Bowl:

  • Jan. 1
  • Big Ten #7 vs. C-USA
  • Payout: $1,100,000
  • Arizona (Pac-12 #8) Southern Methodist (C-USA #6)

BBVA Compass:

  • Jan. 5
  • SEC #8/9 vs. Big East #5
  • Payout: $1,000,025 SEC; $900,000 Big East
  • Missouri (SEC #11) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East #4)

Military Bowl:

  • Dec. 27
  • ACC #9 vs. Army/C-USA
  • Payout: $1,000,000
  • Army vs. East Carolina (C-USA #5)

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl:

  • Dec. 29
  • Pac-12 #6 vs. Navy/ACC #9
  • Payout: $837,500
  • California (Pac-12 #7) vs. Navy

GoDaddy.com Bowl:

  • Jan. 6, Mobile, Alabama
  • MAC #2 vs. Sun Belt #2
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Northern Illinois (MAC #2) vs. Florida International (Sun Belt #2)

Armed Forces Bowl:

  • Dec. 29
  • C-USA #3 vs. MWC #4/5
  • Payout: $600,000
  • Tulsa (C-USA #3) vs. Fresno State (MWC #4)

Little Caesars Bowl:

  • Dec. 26
  • MAC #1 vs. Big Ten # 8
  • Payout: $750,000
  • Western Michigan (MAC #1) vs. Arkansas State (Sun Belt #3)

Hawaii Bowl:

  • Dec. 24
  • C-USA #2 vs. Hawaii/MWC#3
  • Payout: $650,000
  • Southern Mississippi (C-USA #2) vs. Wyoming (MWC #3)

Beef O’Brady’s Bowl:  

  • Dec. 21
  • Big East #6 vs. C-USA #4
  • Payout: $537,500
  • Cincinnati (Big East #5) vs. Ohio (MAC #4)

New Orleans Bowl:

  • Dec.22
  • Sun Belt #1 vs. C-USA #5
  • Payout:$500,000
  • Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt #1) vs. Louisiana Tech (WAC #2)

Poinsettia Bowl:

  • Dec. 20
  • MWC #2 vs. BYU/WAC
  • Payout: $500,000
  • Nevada (MWC #2) vs. Brigham Young

New Mexico Bowl:

  • Dec. 15
  • MWC #4/5 vs. Pac-12 #7/WAC
  • Payout: $456,250
  • San Diego State (MWC #5) vs. Bowling Green (MAC #6)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:

  • Dec. 15
  • WAC #1/2 vs. MAC #3
  • Payout: $325,000
  • San Jose State (WAC #1) vs. Toledo (MAC #3)




By Putting Joe Mauer on Waivers, The Minnesota Twins Prove They Are Completely Clueless

29 08 2012

In the world of baseball, August is that time when guys get put on waivers for purposes of either being traded or to gauge if there is any trade interest on a big-contract player.  But to make this tactic work, you must understand the concept of timing.

The Minnesota Twins clearly do not understand this.

In case you didn’t notice, the Twins have put all-star catcher and former MVP Joe Mauer on the waiver wire, according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Don’t get me wrong, I get why they did it. Let’s be honest; the Twins have plummeted to baseball’s basement, and Mauer’s has now become a millstone around Minnesota’s neck.  Yeah, I get that he is performing; his “slash numbers” are .309/.403/.425 with eight homers.  But the idea that he likely will never reproduce his  power numbers of his MVP year of 2009 combined with the fact he has roughly $142.5 million left on his contract means he is a likely candidate for a Red Sox-style salary dump.

The problem is the Twins are too late. Just look at the likely takers to eat such a big contract…

The Red Sox just unloaded a quarter-billion in salaries in Adrian Gonzalez , Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford. They are not going to pick most of that back up in one fell swoop.

The Dodgers just ate Boston’s $250 million.

The Yankees really need pitchers more than yet another lefty bat.

The Cubs are still trying to get out from under Alfonso Soriano’s gorgon-like deal; not to mention they just ankled themselves to Starlin Castro for far too long and far too much, and rumor has it they are ready to piss away a giant pile of cash on professional under-achiever Jeff Samardzija.

The Angels blew their allowance on C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols, not to mention what they still owe Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, and what they will end up giving to Zach Grienke or any of those other pitchers.

The Rangers spent big for Yu Darvish and still have the Josh Hamilton situation to resolve.

Given all that, just where does the Twins’ front office think Mauer is going? You know he’s not going to be part of one of those “you take him but we will pay a big chunk of his salary” deals.  So what are they hoping to accomplish here?

Oh, and here’s the big problem…not only does Mauer’s contract guarantee him $23 million annually through the 2018 season, it also has full “no-trade” protection.  In other words, even if he is claimed, Mauer would have to approve any deal.

All that means that Joe Mauer changing team in the next few days is as likely as a Twins’ World Series Championship this year.  It just isn’t going to happen.  But it does make one wonder just what are the Twins thinking?





The 2012 Dubsism Pre-Season College Football Rankings

29 08 2012

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.

* – denotes bowl ineligible teams (as of this writing)

Independents:

Frankly, nobody in this group will likely matter in terms of a Top 25, Navy and Notre Dame are the best shots to make bowl games, and even Army has a contactually-obligated shot if they make eligibility. Notre Dame has a brtual schedule, and what talent they do have is being suspended at an alarming pace.

  1. Notre Dame
  2. Navy
  3. Army
  4. Brigham Young
  5. Georgia State

11) WAC

This year, this conference might as well be the “Leftovers Conference.”  By this time next year, the WAC will officially no longer exist. Two years ago, the WAC had a marquee program in Boise State which bolted for the Mountain West Conference, and after last year year,  consistent bowl programs Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii, made the same move.  The bottom line is this conference is really irrelevant. 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. San Jose State
  2. Louisiana Tech
  3. Utah State
  4. Idaho
  5. New Mexico State
  6. Texas-San Antonio
  7. Texas State-San Marcos

10) Sun Belt Conference

The second trimester is denoted by a road win over a BCS conference team.

In the world that is conference realignment, the Sun Belt had remained untouched until Conference USA began raiding its ranks for members to replace the teams it will be losing to the Big East in 2013.

The Sun Belt adds South Alabama from the FCS this season, and next year will add Georgia State and first-year WAC member Texas State.  This is to offset the losses  FIU and North Texas to Conference USA to help that league with its losses of Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the Big East. In other words, this is still an FBS conference in its fetal stages.

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

9) Conference USA

This conference reminds me of an NBA All-Star game. Everybody can score and nobody plays defense.  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. UCF*
  3. Southern Mississippi
  4. Tulsa
  5. East Carolina
  6. Southern Methodist
  7. Marshall
  8. Texas-El Paso
  9. UAB
  10. Memphis
  11. Tulane
  12. Rice

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

7) Mountain West

The Mountain West Conference is another league which had been hurt by the rash of realignment. Not long ago, the MWC was on the verge of gaining acceptance as the “7th BCS conference,” now it is essentially becoming what the dying WAC was three years ago.

The MWC is now much more akin to other small conferences like the MAC rather than even the weakest BCS auto qualifying conference like the Big East.  Just look at how this conference did in bowl games last season.  TCU (now gone) downed Louisiana Tech 31-24 in the Poinsettia Bowl and Boise State (now gone) trashed Arizona State 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.  The three losses are far more telling; Wyoming lost to Temple (then in the MAC), Air Force lost  to Toledo (MAC) and San Diego State lost to Louisiana-Lafayette (Sun Belt).

As alluded to, the conference loses TCU to the Big 12 ,  adding to the defections of BYU and Utah a season ago.  Worse yet, it is scheduled to lose Boise State and San Diego State to the Big East next year.  Cementing the transition to being the new WAC is the fact that former WAC members Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada joined the league  for 2012, and next year, the Mountain West is scheduled to add two more WAC teams in San Jose State and Utah State.

  1. Boise State
  2. Nevada
  3. Wyoming
  4. Fresno State
  5. San Diego State
  6. Colorado State
  7. Air Force
  8. Hawaii
  9. UNLV
  10. New Mexico

6) Big East

Here’s another conference in transition.  This year, West Virginia left and Temple re-joined.  Next year, Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State, SMU and UCF will join. 2014 will see the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and 2015 will see the addition of Navy.  But for 2012, you can expect one bit of consistency…This conference hasn’t produced a team with fewer than 3 losses in three of the last four seasons.  Even when Cincinnati emerged with a 12-1 record in 2009, the Bearcats were routed by Florida in the Sugar Bowl after head coach Brian Kelly had already left for Notre Dame. In other words, nobody in this conference will legitimately be in the Top 20 in December.

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

5) Pac-12

Ironically, it is the weakness of this conference which will make it appear to be so strong. USC, Oregon, Utah, and Stanford could all finish the regular season 11-1, thanks to the lack of depth in this league. This is also the reason why USC will be under-rated, despite that if healthy, they likely will be the best team in the country, and certainly the team not in the SEC.

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

4) ACC

In what proves to be a tradition, the ACC is incredibly over-rated. There are a lot of people out there who think Florida State, Clemson, and/or Virginia Tech are BCS Championship quality teams. They aren’t.  While all three of these teams are legitimate big-bowl contenders, they are not championship teams. The ACC is one of the big reasons why there is a perception of “East Coast Bias” in the sports media; every year we get told one of these teams will win it all, and they never do.

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

3) Big 12

The Big 12 has six legitimate football teams, a wildcard in Texas, and three schools who pad everybody else’s schedules.  The Big 12 will once again operate as 10-team league as it continues to explore options to expand back to 12 teams.  This means the league will play a round-robin regular season schedule, which will make this league interesting for several reasons, not the least of which is its own strength.

The strength of this conference is a far cry from where it appeared the Big 12 would be just two years ago.   It wasn’t that long ago that this league looked ready for extinction in the uncertainty after the defections of Nebraska and Colorado in 2010.   Now, even after losing Texas A&M and Missouri, the Big 12 traded up by getting TCU and West Virginia; both of those schools are among the six that figure to compete for the conference title.

  1. Oklahoma
  2. West Virginia
  3. Kansas State
  4. Oklahoma State
  5. TCU
  6. Baylor
  7. Texas
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

2) Big Ten

For the real story in the Big Ten, just look toward Columbus. The dawn of the Urban Meyer era at Ohio State may just do the same for the leviathan known at the  Big Ten as it did for the SEC. In other words, perhaps Meyer’ball will turn Big Ten offenses into something watchable rather than the plodding leviathans of the Paterno era.

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

1) SEC

Pope Urban I has moved the Vatican of College Football from Gainesville to Columbus.

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 six BCS titles. Everything 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 a serious contender to win a seventh BCS title.

  1. LSU
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. South Carolina
  5. Vanderbilt
  6. Arkansas
  7. Auburn
  8. Florida
  9. Mississippi State
  10. Texas A&M
  11. Missouri
  12. Tennessee
  13. Mississippi
  14. Kentucky

Overall Rankings

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




The Dubsism 2012 Pre-Season NFL Power Rankings

22 08 2012

As we find ourselves on the verge of another NFL season, it is time for the degenerate gambler in me to preview the carnage.  Let’s face it, the NFL is comprised of three classes: Really Good, Mediocre, and Lousy. This means NFL predictions are pretty easy to get reasonably correct.  For example, the online sports book experts find it easy to predict the AFC East standings each year.  As long as quarterback Tom Brady is healthy and playing for a non-senile head coach Bill Belichick in New England, that will be your division favorite.  Another point that should be obvious is that if you are reading this article and expecting anything more clever than a sports book expert, maybe you shouldn’t be gambling in the first place.

Having said that, here’s how we see these teams come January (playoff teams noted in green).

Rankings by Division

AFC East:

The Patriots looked invincible last season until the New York Jets and Giants found their Achilles’ heel yet again.  The Jets beat the Patriots twice and the Giants won the Super Bowl based on one dirty little secret about the Patriots.  Once you take away their running game, their offense suddenly can’t create plays.

The Brady/Belichick offense needs at least the threat of a running game to keep the opposing safeties honest. Once the defensive secondary can cheat back into pass coverage, a lot of the “easy” passing lanes Brady depends on slam shut like a steel bear trap.

The Jets got worse, the Bills got better, but neither did enough to really make a difference. The Jets get the second spot in the AFC East by default; the Bills and Dolphins are both in that “Lousy” category. The Jets season hinges on two things: the defense has to live up to expectations by being the dominant unit it should be, and Mark Sanchez has to not suck.  Frankly, it is time for Sanchez to prove he is worthy of the star status he has been accorded.  If he finally shows us he is the “San-chise,” another deep play-off run is possible.  But it isn’t likely…get ready for Tebow-Mania – The New York Edition.

  1. New England Patriots
  2. New York Jets
  3. Buffalo Bills
  4. Miami Dolphins

AFC North:

The Ravens defense used to be radioactive to offenses, but like all radioactive elements, eventually they pass their half-life and the decay becomes noticeable. This may not be the year that happens, but it is getting more likely with time.  Not to mention, the Ravens are no longer offensively-challenged. Now that Ray Rice is locked up, expect this to be the year Joe Flacco shows that he is a Top 5 quarterback in this league.

Flacco isn’t flashy, but he’s never thrown more than 12 interceptions in a single season. Quarterbacks that don’t give the ball away are infinitely more valuable than those who toss 20+ interceptions. This is also the year the Bengals force a changing of the guard in this division.  At the same, Cincinnati is young and full of talent and the Steelers are old and already hurt.  The constant will be the Browns, who will prove yet again to be a non-factor.

  1. Baltimore Ravens
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers
  4. Cleveland Browns

AFC South:

Once again, here’s another division winner by default. This division goes to the Texans largely because the Titans are depending on an unproven rookie Tebow-esque quarterback in Jake Locker, a now-unreliable Chris Johnson by default, and Kenny Britt is a variable nobody needs.  Jacksonville is just plain bad, and I don’t even want to picture that team without Maurice Jones-Drew.  Lastly, while it may be the dawn of the Luck era in Indianapolis,  the offensive line still looks weaker than no-alcohol beer and the defense acts more like the express lane at the toll-booth.

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC West:

Welcome to the AFC “7-9 Division,” or as I like to call it, the “Somebody’s got to win it” Division. Here’s another default situation which drives me nuts.  Every year,  I get sucked in by the Chargers, only to watch them underperform. Those days are over, because I will never say a kind thing about the Chargers ever again as long as that organization doesn’t realize that Norv Turner is to football coaches as Benito Mussolini is to successful fascist dictators.

As I said before about the AFC West, nobody is really good enough to win this division. The Chiefs look the best on paper, but they have so many question marks nobody can tab them for sure.  We already know the Chargers won’t be a factor, thanks to Norv the Numbskull.  The Raiders have the usual Raider drama, and I refuse to annoit the Denver Mannings because I am not convinced that Peyton’s neck won’t explode at some point during the season., although they will likely be a play-off team.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. San Diego Chargers
  4. Oakland Raiders

NFC East:

Granted, the Giants are once again the defending Super Bowl Champions, which is less a function of their talent level and more a product of the fact Patriots are the league’s new big-game choke artists.

However, the Giants are still the class of this division.

As a life-long Eagles’ fan, I hate Michael Vick as my quarterback because he excels at getting the crap beaten out of him, which helps explain why he gets progressively worse as the season progresses.  Not to mention he is age-wise already north of 30, and I don’t know of too many athletes that aged like wine; running quarterbacks age like milk.

Then there’s the Cowboys. To buy this team, I need to do two things that make me nervous. First, I have to buy Tony Romo as a quarterback who can win a game that means something; here’s a guy who is also past 30 who I keep hearing “needs to live up to his potential.” Isn’t there a point where you realize this is what you get, there is nothing in terms of “potential” left to live up to?

The only thing for sure about this division is that the Redskins will be a vortex of inter-galactic suckittude; the kind that generates such a gravitational pull it threatens to collapse under its own mass. Robert Griffin III has no chance to solve all the problems this team has; his best chance might be if he shot Mike Shanahan in the back of the head.

  1. New York Giants
  2. Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC North:

When healthy, the Packers are amongst the best team in the league.  But since the advent of the salary cap era, there have been very few truly complete teams, and Green Bay is no exception to that rule. They are really a green and yellow version of the Patriots; they have a big-time quarterback, an offense built around that quarterback, and they both like to lose to the Giants.

Meanwhile, three hours to the south lies the enigma known as the Chicago Bears. How can a team have so many ex-head coaches on its staff (Mike Martz, Rod Marinelli, and Mike Tice) and not know that a key to a successful offense is not letting the other team turn their quarterback into lawn mulch? It is easy to beat on Jay Cutler, but’s let’s be fair, he could sue his offensive line for non-support.

If there’s a guy in Chicago who should be getting called out, it’ s Lovie Smith. He’s done the least with the most talent of nearly any coach in this league, and yet his job never seems to be in danger. One can make an argument that a coach who didn’t have his head up his ass could have won two Super Bowls with the Bears during the Lovie regime, but nobody ever seems to mention that…

I don’t care what anybody says, I don’t buy the Lions. Sure, Calvin Johnson is a freak show, but I’m convinced that Matthew Stafford is a one-trick pony and Jim Schwartz is one of the worst coaches in the league.  The Lions have no discipline and they play really stupid football far too often.

This will be the second year of the post-Favre debacle in Minnesota; an era that will continue to be marked by 5-win seasons and a continued failure to understand the value of the quarterback position and the talent required to make a winner. Oh, and Adrian Peterson will never be the same. Get used to it.

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Chicago Bears
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Minnesota Vikings

NFC South:

This division is an exercise in the process of elimination. The Saints are a question mark after having been nuked by Kommissar Goodell. Drew Brees still captains one of the most potent offenses in the league, but nobody has noticed the offensive line isn’t what it used to be.  The Panthers are like a race-car engine; will its’ main Cam-shaft hold up?  Cam Newton isn’t going to surprise anybody this season; NFL defenses are going to be geared to stop him as he really represents the motor that drives the Panther offense. Then, there’s the sad state of affairs in Tampa. The Buccaneers might use their pirate ship to sail for Cuba to plead for asylum.

  1. Atlanta Falcons
  2. New Orleans Saints
  3. Carolina Panthers
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West:

Remember a few years ago when  we had to live through all the belly-aching that went on about how a team with a losing record shouldn’t be in the playoffs? Yeah, the 7-9 record of the SeaHacks won fair and square, the SeaHacks won under the architecture provided, and the people who bitched the loudest about the NFL playoff system are the same ones who beat on college football for not having a playoff.

That won’t be a problem this year, since the 49ers may very well be the best team in the league. They are certainly the most complete.  They have a solid offensive line, a great defense, and a coach who has been a winner at every level he’s competed.  The million dollar question is this: Can Alex Smith repeat last season’s performance in which he finally looked like a legitimate NFL quarterback?  The rest of this division can be summed up by the Mettalica classic…Nothing Else Matters.

  1. San Francisco 49′ers
  2. Arizona Cardinals
  3. St. Louis Rams
  4. Seattle Seahawks

Overall Rankings

  1. San Francisco 49′ers
  2. New England Patriots
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. New York Giants
  6. Chicago Bears
  7. Atlanta Falcons
  8. Cincinnati Bengals
  9. Houston Texans
  10. Philadelphia Eagles
  11. Pittsburgh Steelers
  12. Detroit Lions
  13. Kansas City Chiefs
  14. Dallas Cowboys
  15. Denver Broncos
  16. New Orleans Saints
  17. New York Jets
  18. Arizona Cardinals
  19. Tennessee Titans
  20. San Diego Chargers
  21. Oakland Raiders
  22. Buffalo Bills
  23. Carolina Panthers
  24. St. Louis Rams
  25. Miami Dolphins
  26. Washington Redskins
  27. Seattle Seahawks
  28. Minnesota Vikings
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  30. Cleveland Browns
  31. Indianapolis Colts
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars




Penn State Football 2012: The Rebuilding Begins

20 08 2012

This will be the first Penn State post I’ve written in months which is solely about football.  I’ve got plenty of other posts in which I discuss the obvious problem we’ve just dealt with.  There are a bunch of kids who showed the one thing Paterno always preached: loyalty.  Now its time to talk about them and the game they play; there’ s plenty of other places to discuss the ugliness of the past nine months.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel a bit strange to be writing about a Nittany Lion football team which now finds itself without the man who built the program.  Not only is this team entering the post-Paterno era, but its also one that has some immediate needs on the field.

The dawn of the Bill O’Brien era in State College is going to face some immediate challenges. Contrary to what people may think, this isn’t the year Penn State football is going over the cliff due to the sanctions NCAA imposed. With the exception of the bowl ban, those penalties won’t start to show their effects until 2013.

So, let’s talk about the upcoming season.  Don’t let PSU’s nine-win season in 2011 get in the way of the truth.  The Nittany Lions have many personnel issues to address, and even without the obvious distractions, they were at best a fringe Top-25 team going into 2012.  They can forget about that now.  A breakdown of the 2011 season illustrates why.

Penn State’s 2011 wins over Temple, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, and Ohio State (by a combined total of 33 points) kept the Big Blue’s faithful hopes alive that the Nittany Lions were a team of destiny in the Big Ten; they had the inside rail to the inaugural Big Ten championship game.  But those dreams ended on the turf in Camp Randall Stadium in Madison when Wisconsin used 22 starting Big Blue Nittany Lions jerseys as floor mops.  Wisconsin provided a physical mismatch along the lines of what Alabama did to Penn State at Beaver Stadium in early September.

Both were telling losses.

In both the cases of Alabama and Wisconsin, Penn State’s offense went nowhere against a competent defense.

In both cases, the hallmark blue bulldozer offensive line of a Paterno team proved to be only adequate at best.

In both cases, the Nittany Lions proved they lacked a difference-maker at quarterback.  Penn State’s sole touchdown against Alabama came in garbage time; it was clear the Big Blue offense had no shot at finding the end zone against the Crimson Tide when it mattered. The drubbing at Wisconsin was even worse.  If there was a silver lining in the last few dreadful months, it was that Penn State is finally rid of alleged quarterback Rob Bolden with his transfer to LSU.  Now, the team is all Matt McGloin’s; which should be an improvement simply because there will be no more of this two-quarterback nonsense.

Any honest Penn State fan has no choice but to admit the issues along the offensive front and at quarterback.  McGloin helps to solve the problem under center, but the front five doesn’t look to be getting better anytime soon.  But there’s another big problem nobody is really discussing.  A Paterno team with a bad offensive line is shocking enough, but Penn State has a HUGE weakness on defense: they can’t stop the passing game.

Even with All-American Devon Still on the defensive line, Penn State throughout 2011 lacked the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks.  It didn’t get any better going further back; the defensive secondary was the Nittany Lions’ hidden weakness.  Paterno’s trademark defensive style depended on a brutal defensive line and linebackers who treated opposing offenses like the Vikings treated the villages they invaded. Without that sort of pillaging power, Penn State’s 2011 defense relied far too much on a second-rate secondary in an era when the Big Tweleveten is no longer a conference based on “three yards and a cloud of dust.”  Today, as we speak, you can beat the shit out of Penn State all day long throwing the football because their soft zone defense just doesn’t cut it in a league that transformed with the Joe Tiller/Drew Brees approach.

It didn’t get any better in the low-rent bowl game where Penn State’s defense got humiliated by Case Keenum of Houston and the offense couldn’t muster more than two touchdowns against a glorified FCS team.

Having said all that, Bill O’Brien has three major on-field challenges.  By the way, don’t be that guy who is going to comment with the obvious when it comes to sanctions, recruiting issues, and the like.  We all already know that…save your breath and try thinking outside of the box.  Now, back to the on-field challenges facing Bill O’Brien.

The Silver Lining: getting rid of Rob Bolden means the quarterback job is all Matt McGloin’s.

1) The Offensive Line:

Ironically, it will be how O’Brien tackles the blocking issue which will determine how deep the recesses of NCAA sanction-land are going to be. It’s a football fundamental.  If you can’t block, you can’t win.  If Penn State can’t at least get guys off the line of scrimmage, the ghost of Joe Paterno will go to the undisclosed location where they are hiding his dismounted statue and chop it up himself.

2) The Defensive Line:

As he has said throughout his time at Penn State, O’Brien said on Thursday that the defensive front seven would the strength of the 2012 Nittany Lions.  This may very well be an improved unit as Jordan Hill, Da’Quan Jones, Pete Massaro, and Sean Stanley are on track to start up front, but this unit will be deep. The same is true for the linebacker corps with Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti,  and Glenn Carson in starting spots, but there are several players capable of providing significant playing time.

3) The Secondary:

The secondary has a number of good returning players like Stephon Morris, Malcolm Willis, Adrian Amos, and Stephen Obeng; but there are also some youngsters who have a chance to help improve this unit, such as Da’Quan Davis and Jordan Lucas.

The Bottom Line:

There were three times last year when the Nittany Lions were clearly over-matched. They couldn’t handle the speed of Alabama, Wisconsin’ s dual-threat quarterback Russell Wilson gave them fits, and Houston’s pure-passer in Case Keenum did little more than expose the Penn State secondary. Even though this marks the beginning of a new era in Penn State football, the solutions to these problems have roots in the past. For Penn State to have a winning season, they must control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  They also must improve on pass defense; the Big Twelevten is now full of offenses which love to throw the ball.

The Schedule:

September 1st – Ohio

Ohio is a good MAC team, but they are still a MAC team traveling to Happy Valley. Three years from now, Penn State may be Purdue’s homecoming bitch, but even Purdue can beat MAC teams.

September 8th – at Virginia

Here’s the first road test, and the first chance to see how brutal road fans are going to be.  Both Virginia and Penn State figure to be middle-of-the-pack team in their respective conferences.

September 15th – Navy 

See the synopsis of the Ohio game and replace the term “MAC” with “Service Academy.”

September 22nd – Temple

Temple never once beat a Joe Paterno team. This is isn’t a Joe Paterno team anymore, but this also isn’t the year this streak ends.

September  29th – at Illinois

Penn State opens conference play on the road, and Big Blue doesn’t have a very good record in conference openers away from Happy Valley.  Both these teams had disastrous ends to their seasons last year, and this will be a question of who made the right moves to right their respective ships.

October 6th – Northwestern 

The last time these two teams met in Pennsylvania, Northwestern rocketed out to a three-touchdown lead before Matt  McGloin led the Nittany Lions on a 2nd half comeback.  Neither team will be as good as they were two years ago.

October 20th – at Iowa 

Even good Penn State teams have been snake-bit against the Hawkeyes in the last decade, and that streak doesn’t look likely to end this season, especially not in Kinnick Stadium.

October 27 th  - Ohio St. 

I really hope this is the beginning of a great rivalry between Bill O’Brien and Pope Urban I.  Since both teams are bowl-ineligible, this could prove to be a slug-fest for bragging rights in one of the hotbeds of football in America.

November 3rd – at Purdue

Here’s the bitter rivalry game, not for what happens on the field, but because this represents a division in the Dubsism house.  As previously mentioned, J-Dub is a Penn State alum and Mr.s Dubsism graduated from Purdue.  Either way, the local police will surely be at the Dubsism house; it’s just a question of who is leaving in handcuffs.

November 10th – at Nebraska

Once again, Penn State has some of its toughest games late in the season. This likely will be a long day for the Nittany Lions.

November  17th –  Indiana

Indiana never once beat a Joe Paterno team in conference play. This is isn’t a Joe Paterno team anymore, but this also isn’t the year this streak ends.

November 24th –  Wisconsin

I’m not going to be a fan of this game at the end of the schedule, considering for at least the next four years this will mean my last view of Nittany Lion football will be a 30-point drubbing at the hands of the Badgers.

Wins: 

Ohio, at Virginia, Navy, Temple, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana

Losses:

at Illinois, at Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin.

The Results:

If it weren’t for the ineligibility, Penn State would likely find itself in another low-rent bowl for the second-division Big Tweleveten. But, since that won’t be the case, the Nittany Lions will have to settle for a seven-win season and continue to focus on the future.





Tebow-Mania, Part II: Five More Questions About Tim Tebow

16 08 2012

Back in January, Drew Magary from Deadspin posed five hypothetical questions about Tim Tebow.  These questions were so interesting they required a Dubsism response.  Now that Tebow continues to be an NFL version of a lighting rod in cleats, perhaps it is time to ask a few more questions that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

1) Why is Tim Tebow the biggest star in the NFL?

First of all, make no mistake that he is the biggest star in the league. That doesn’t mean he is the best player; as it stands now, he’s far from it.  In America we have created a rule of celebrity I’m dubbing the Tebow/Kardashian Postulate. This rule states that one no longers needs merit or talent anymore to achieve mind-numbing levels of fame in this country.  Celebrity can be created entirely on the whims of the media, and this is exactly what happened with Tebow.

Face the facts.  Tebow became the biggest star in the league without having done a single thing in the NFL other than answer the phone call from the Broncos the day they made him a first-round draft pick.  ESPN was at the Tebow house, cameras at the ready.  But do you remember how everybody in that house had a Broncos cap on within 30 second of the announcement of the pick?  That didn’t happen by accident; I’ll bet you a big amount of dough that the truck which carried all that Bronco gear had the letters “ESPN” on the side of it.

 

Tebow led the league in jersey sales before he ever set foot on an NFL field.  Tebow gets entire hour-long special editions of SportsCenter dedicated strictly to him.  ESPN treats his birthday like it is a national holiday.

So, why is that? My best guess is two-fold.

  1. He’s likable guy who plays football like we would if given the chance.  None of us are “prototypical” quarterbacks either, but we can easily look like a great backyard football quarterback, especially if that game is happening after all the participants have blasted well into their second six-pack.  People love stuff with which they can identify, and more people feel they have more in common with Tim Tebow than Tom Brady.
  2. He’s polarizing. There’s is only one person I know who has no opinion on Tebow (see Question #5). Other than that, the mere mention of the name “Tebow” draws responses; people love him or they hate him. That also means he makes the ratings needle jump.

I would love to hear alternate theories; that’s why after he made Tim Tebow, God made the Comments section.

2) Why do former quarterbacks hate him so much?

Old quarterbacks are the prima donnas of the NFL;  Tebow threatens their entire belief system.  It is the John Elways and the Boomer Esiasons who helped create the “fuck it and chuck it” NFL.  It is what defnes them, and it is that model of the NFL that keeps them in fat jobs as commentators and general managers. Anybody who has even the remotest shot at success by doing anything other than filling the skies with football is a not only a religious heretic who must be burned at the stake, but he is screwing with how these gymnasts in shoulder pads collect paychecks.

Neither John Elway or McKayla Maroney are amused.

3) What happens if Tim Tebow suddenly doesn’t suck?

Here’s where you have to pry your brain out of the box…look past what you see now and ask what if Tebow just hasn’t found his coaching muse yet. Tom Brady was destined to be a career bench-jockey until he found his way onto the field for Bill Belichick.  Hall-of-Famers like Len Dawson, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Farve all got dumped by their first teams, then blossomed in a new system.  Even guys like Terry Bradshaw and John Elway looked like complete boobs in their first few seasons.

Don’t worry, I’m not saying that muse is going to be Rex Ryan. But the question remains: What happens if Tebow finds his muse; what happens if Tebow winds up in a place willing to build an offense around him and (gasp) it succeeds?

If we are ever able legitimately to call Tebow a Super Bowl winning quarterback, several things will happen by the time he gets to Disney World.

There will be an earthquake caused by the weight of a big chunk of the Tebow-haters flip-flopping, and couch their waffles in a lot of “what I really meant to say” bullshit.  Professional microphone infecters like Colin Cowherd will be the first to spew about when they saw the first signs of Tebow’s potential after they’ve spent years calling him cat-shit in cleats.

The Tebow-haters who don’t flip will become the Taliban of NFL fans; they will become even more fervent and maniacal. Their wives will be forced to wear burkas made of old Boomer Esiason jerseys  and any mention of Tebow will result in being strapped to a tree and lashed with an extension cord.

If you think Tebow is a media darling now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The minute Tebow touches the Lombardi Trophy, his media stock will get higher than Lindsey Lohan at a Snoop Dogg house party.  The Tebow-gasm will hit epic proportions; for three solid months there will be a Tebow tsunami which will overwhelm us with personal appearances and an advertising blitz unlike anything we’ve ever seen.  Forget about Wheaties boxes; Tebow’s face will be on everything from sneakers to shotguns, and there will be no stopping it. .

If the resultant Tebow-gasm doesn’t explode the skulls of the remaining haters, the fact that a Super Bowl winning Tebow-centric offensive approach will undoubtedly spawn an explosion of imitators.  The Tebow-haters will be so close to their bulged-out eyes in Tebow-wannabes they may in fact start lining those Esiason burkas with TNT.  Not to mention, can you imagine what happens to the Brady/Manning knob-slobbing fantasy football geeks when a wave of Triple-Option/Single-Wing/Leather Helmet offenses washes across the NFL?

4) How long can Tebow stay in the NFL as a side-show attraction?

How many times have you heard “Tebow is just not an NFL quarterback?” It would be more correct to say that as it stands now, he isn’t a good NFL quarterback.  But that is also a measure of the “right here, right now” version of the NFL. This makes the question this: How long can the media hype last if Tebow stops being a play-off quarterback? The Chicago Cubs can be terrible and keep fans; NFL quarterbacks are not accorded the same luxury.  Right now, Curtis Painter doesn’t get hand jobs form ESPN for his birthday…how long can Tebow keep getting them with a 46% completion percentage?

5) Why does Mrs. Dubsism not give a shit about Tim Tebow?

It’s true…Mrs. Dubsism is the one football fan in America who couldn’t care less about Tebow.  In bullet point form, here’s why she will change the channel at the first mention of “Timmy Rah-Rah.”

  • Other than the fact he is charismatic, what’s he ever done in the NFL to deserve the attention?

Yeah, she’s pretty much hitting the newly-dubbed Tebow/Kardashian rule. According to her, while he may have gotten the Broncos into the play-offs, and he may have even gotten them a miracle win against Pittsburgh, those were team accomplishments, not individual ones.  It was the Bronco defense that kept that team close enough for the last-minute Timmy miracle. Look what happened when that play-off run died a horrible death in New England.

  • He doesn’t play for her team.

If Tebow were a New Orleans Saint, I’d probably have to take out a contract on him. Mrs. Dubsism loves the Saints, which is why if I ever said anything bad about Drew Brees (oh, and she’s also a Purdue alum..) there would be a bounty out on my ass faster than you could send Sean Payton to the ATM.  If you were to replace Brees with Saint Tebow, I’d probably need to have him killed because I couldn’t stand hearing about him anymore.

  • Tim Tebow is the photo-negative of J-Dub.
  1. He’s super-white
  2. He’s uber-religious
  3. He’s a quarterback
  4. He never has profanity-filled tirades

To be fair, she also says that I have one thing in common with Tebow.  Mrs. Dubsism thinks we both may be megalomaniacs, albeit in a different sense.  She thinks Tebow may have a bit of a “God” complex, whereas she believes my mania is more of a “Bryant Gumbel meets Hitler” thing.

The Bottom Line:

Here’s the truth as it exists right now.  Rex Ryan needs to take a shot at being Tebow’s muse.  Tim Tebow is the best shot the New York Jets have to win, not so much because of Tebow, but because Mark Sanchez is irrelevant. If you doubt that, consider the fact that the Jets got to the AFC championship game in each of Sanchez’s first two years. During that time, he had a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 19 to 33. In his third season, Sanchez improved to a respectable 26 touchdowns to 18 picks and the Jets didn’t get into the playoffs.

This means the Jets’ fortunes revolve around the defense and running game. The Jets wouldn’t win with a “prototypical” quarterback, the team isn’t built for that.  A Rex Ryan-era  Jets quarterback needs to a) keep the defense off the field when needed, b) usually be moving the chains by whichever means necessary, and c) don’t give the ball away.

While neither Tebow or Sanchez are likely to become that “prototypical NFL quarterback;” Tebow because he throws like a Special Olympian chucking a wet Nerf Ball, and Sanchez because we’ve seen what he’s got, and it isn’t anything past mediocre, it is Tebow’s skill set that fits the Jets better than anything Sanchez has to offer.

No matter what, the Jets’ offense is as likely to be as underwhelming in 2012 as it was in 2011.  As odd as it may sound, that’s exactly why Tebow is the better fit.  Regardless of whether or not he ever learns that throwing a football does not require the same motion as heaving a shot put, he will likely always be unconventional, always be limited as a passer, and always be someone who needs to have a team tailored to him.

As much as I love Rex Ryan, there’s really no denying he is also Rex Ryan is also unconventional, limited as an offensive coach, and need to tailor his teams around his style.  He’s also out of time; he needs to win in New York now.  Like it or not, Tebow is his best shot.





What We’ve Learned: The 2012 London Olympics

15 08 2012

Now that the 30th Olympiad is in the books, it is time for us here at Dubsism to bring you a rundown of all the things important to remember about the London games; more than just those American-centric things brought to you by the American media.

We really can’t bash on NBC too much since, to be honest, we are doing the exact same thing they are: trying to keep an Olympic-related ratings boost alive by stringing this out as long as possible. If you doubt that, just check the program schedule for the NBC Sports Network.

Things of Note From Selected Events:

Badminton:

So, we are all supposed to be shocked to find out there’s nefarious activity going on in an Olympic sport? Harumph.

Basketball:

Time to face facts, America…your days of crushing, “Dream Team” level dominance are over.  There are plenty of NBA players for many other teams; Lithuania outscored the U.S.  for the last three-quarters of their game, and the U.S.  could have easily lost to Spain in the final.  You can’t give up 100 points and say you had no chance to lose.

Beach Volleyball:

I can’t really improve on this description of the sport as offered by Slate:

Beach volleyball has only been an Olympic event since 1996, and one could argue that, as this article puts it, the sport “has slipped into the Olympics by a back door marked ‘Sex.’ ” According to a 2008 article in Australia’s Sunday Age, “Beach volleyball successfully pushed for the 1996 Atlanta Games in part by treating IOC members to first-class return flights to a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, putting them up in luxury seaside rooms, and building a walkway from their hotel to the beach to save them from crossing the road.”

The IOC members liked what they saw from their walkway, adding the sport in lieu of non-jiggly pastimes—squash, roller hockey, etc.—that have long sought entrance to the Olympics. Beach volleyball is a surefire ratings booster, a not-so-thinly veiled excuse for men to ogle tall, tanned women running around, diving, and bending over in tight swimsuits. As London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote in a piece listing 20 reasons to be excited about the Olympics, “[T]here are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade. … They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers.”

Is there anything that piece missed short of just calling “hot asses on parade?”

Field Hockey:

They did this on an outdoor field in Britain. Did nobody tell them it rains every goddamn day there? Every time somebody hit the ball, it left a rooster-tail of water behind it.  They either needed a roof or a squeegee?

Team Handball:

This is a sport in which I clearly underestimated the level of violence. You can’t even get away with that sort of full-on choke in Judo.

Judo:

Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison has no worries about her future.  According to our good friend The SportsChump, she has a standing offer to do security at his bar anytime.

Modern Pentathlon:

You have to love when this sport suddenly turns into a rodeo.

Soccer:

You may be sensing a theme here.  Not only did Alex Morgan score the gold-medal winning goal, she also took out New Zealand’s goalie in a preliminary match.

Water Polo:

Here’s another sport that is just far more violent than I ever expected. That’s a full-on chop to the face.

Weightlifting:

This sport is eventually going to kill somebody. There’s no way that doesn’t happen.

Wrestling:

Here’s s sport where I actually expect some mayhem, and the wrestlers didn’t disappoint.

The Olympic Look-Alikes:

1) Bob Costas and Harry Potter

2) Rebecca Adlington and ODO from Deep Space 9

3) Meghan Markle and  Lolo Jones

4) LOL Face Meme and Kurtis Roberts

The Olympic Look-Alikes – The Michael Phelps Edition

In honor of arguably the greatest Olympian since Zeus, here’s a look-alike bit dedicated specifically to the 20-plus medaled bong hitter.

1) Michael Phelps and H.P. Lovecraft

2) Michael Phelps and Charles Lamb

3) Swimming Michael Phelps and a Skate

4) Stretching Michael Phelps and an uncooked turkey

The Olympic Athlete Who Looked The Most Like J-Dub

Reese Hoffa  - U.S. Track and Field

Jordan Jovtchev - The Jamie Moyer of the Olympics

Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev won a silver in the still rings at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He won bronze in the same event in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Jovtchev turned 39 in February and is the only gymnast to qualify to six Olympic Games.  He is a four-time Olympic medalist, with a silver on rings (Athens 2004) and three bronze medals (floor and rings in Sydney 2000 ; floor in Athens 2004).  His most recent medal is a bronze medal on rings at the Birmingham European Championships in 2010, the same medal he won at 2009 World Championships and European Championships.

The Serious Discussion:  The Bullshit About Being First

Be warned: The following segment is likely going to get me called a racist and a sexist….because I’m about to commit what has become a crime in America today: telling the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel.

One of the stories the western media loved to fawn over was that of two Saudi Arabian female athletes were the first women to represent that country in the Olympic Games.  If you aren’t familiar, Saudi Arabia is essentially a theocratic state which is largely run by Muslim law. This means Saudi culture by nature is misogynistic and exists about 600 years behind the rest of the world.

From Yahoo Sports:

The two historic athletes who became the first women to ever represent Saudi Arabia in the Olympic Games have been snubbed by their nation’s media and subjected to a campaign of hate.  Sarah Attar ran the 800 meters on the Olympic Stadium track and Wojdan Shaherkani competed in judo earlier in the Games after the Saudi government eased its strict stance on women competing following international pressure.

This opening paragraph is a shining example of why the rest of the world hates the West.  The way women are treated in most Muslim countries is barbaric, anti-human, and none of our business.  Westerners love to run around wringing their hands about human rights and think they get to meddle in other cultures because of some sort of perceived moral high ground.

“Liberal” westerners are the biggest hypocrites when it comes to crap like this, and this is just another example.  The hypocrisy stems from the fact the westerners are all about symbolism which makes them feel better, even if it accomplishes nothing. Attar and Shaherkani are merely symbols for a bunch of westerners to get all self-congratulatory over.  If you doubt that, consider the following facts:

1) They weren’t legitimate contenders

“Attar finished last in her heat and Shaherkani lost her opening bout…”

It isn’t that they lost…they never had a chance to win in the first place, because they didn’t belong their – NOT because of their gender or situation, but because they simply weren’t amongst the best, which is what the Olympics is supposed to be all about.

2) They were only there because the western-dominated International Olympic Committee forced the Saudis into it

Attar and Shaherkani were late additions to the Saudi team and did not qualify but were admitted into their events in London under an International Olympic Committee regulation that seeks to encourage less established sporting nations…

…However, there is skepticism about the true motives of the decision to allow Attar, a Saudi-American who studies at Pepperdine University, and Shaherkani to compete.

“They allowed them to compete for only one reason,” [Khaled] Al-Maeena [editor of the English-language publication Saudi Gazette] said. “If you don’t send women, then in the future your country will not be allowed to participate [in the Olympics]. It was a wonderful thing to see the girls participate, and it made many people proud, but there was also a motive for it.

3) These women got subjected to a lot of crap, and the people who made it happen don’t care. 

A sinister Twitter campaign with the hashtag “prostitutes of the Olympics” originated in Saudi Arabia and was used to aim sexist vitriol at the competitors.
The father of judoka Shaherkani was so incensed that he contacted the country’s interior minister to demand action against those who had insulted his daughter. Under Saudi law, punishment for insulting a woman’s honor and integrity can be up to 100 lashes…

…Even though the women were forced to walk behind their male counterparts at the Opening Ceremony, their presence was seen as a step in the right direction for women’s rights in a country where females are still denied many of what would be considered basic human rights in other nations.

Westerners see this as a step in the right direction; back in Saudi Arabia, people get killed over shit like this.  This is the real problem with meddling in other cultures; it may make you feel better, that you are making a difference. Meanwhile, you are putting somebody else’s ass on the line.

Think about it.

Imagine how pissed off people in this country would get if all of a sudden a bunch of foreign self-appointed “our ways are best” started meddling with American culture. Can you imagine the back-lash if the tables were turned; if the Muslims ran the IOC and told America their women athletes had to stay home? We’d start a war over that.  But, westerners have no problem with such “butt-in-ski-ism” as long as it is their will being imposed.

4) Political Correctness Is Anathema to Merit.

This example is uniquely American, but it is the perfect one. For some reason, we have become enamored with being the “first.” It all started with Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson’s ascent to the majors was exactly the reverse of these Saudi women. Robinson was a tremendously gifted athlete who was far beyond competitive with other Major Leaguers, and it was his ability which meant he belonged in baseball.

However, with these Saudi women, it was not their ability that got them to London. Rather, it was this messed-up western sense of “fairness,” which usually means some sort of quota enforced by some sort of reverse discrimination.  These women didn’t get to the Olympics based on WHO they were, but on WHAT they were. Martin Luther King’s “dream” was a day when people would be judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.  Racism and sexism, despite the “best of intentions,” are still racism and sexism.

More Babes You Didn’t Hear About

Let’s face it…I’m a dirty old man, and the Olympics are chock full of women who make me seriously consider calling my doctor about that Viagra prescription.  In the original Dubsism post on the 30th Summer Games, we made mention of Vanessa Ferrari.  But there were so many more over the course of the past two weeks, and now it it is time they get their due.

Gemma Gibbons – Great Britain, Judo

This is the woman who got man-handled (pun really not intended) by U.S. gold medalist Kayla Harrison in the 78-kg final match. However, as I am an officianado of the “gentle way,” whenever Gemma wants a rematch against a Yank, I’d be more than happy to come down to her weight class.

Ivet Lalova – Bulgaria, Track and Field

I think a big part of the appeal here is in the name. Just say “Ivet Lalova” a few times to yourself, and you instantly hear the musical properties. think of the songs you could go all “Weird Al” on by using her name…Lola, My Sharona, Come on Come Over…feel free to add your own to the list.

Catalina Ponor – Romania, Gymnastics

The is the woman who took the screw-job handed out by the judges over some bullshit appeal.  More importantly, Ponor is not your average Olympic gymnast, meaning she isn’t 15 years old and 4 feet tall.

Julie Zetlin – U.S., Rhythmic Gymnastics

Zetlin only made the team based on a Olympic rule that each continent must have a representative. In other words, here’s another case where she didn’t make the team on her gymnastic merits, but it doesn’t take long to realize the two main reason she made this list.

Clearly The Coolest Thing We Saw: Remote-Control Mini-Coopers

In a word, these things were awesome. They were used to return the thrown objects (discus, shot, hammer, and javelin) back to throwing area in the track and field events.





A Dubsism Breakdown of SportsChump’s Ten Perfectly Valid Reasons To Hate The Los Angeles Lakers

13 08 2012

Naturally, this all stems from the Dwight Howard trade. For purposes of full disclosure, SportsChump is one of the few bloggers we here at Dubsism have any respect for; in fact J-Dub been interviewed on his site, and has appeared on SportsChump’s podcast.

Having said all that, the Chump saw fit to launch a Scud Missile directly into the heart of Downtown Dubsylvania with his rantings on the Los Angeles Lakers; he came up with what he considers ten perfectly valid reasons to hate the Los Angeles Lakers.  Since SportsChump lives in the greater Central Florida area and therefore has allegiances to the Orlando Magic, he owns a tremendous level of butt-hurt over the trade that sent “Superman” to the shadow of the Sunset Strip.

Despite his personal stake in all of this, he still manages to make some valid points; yet points that nevertheless need a patented Dubsism breakdown.

10)  Their team is better than yours at pretty much everything.

Well, what can I say? The Lakers don’t suck and the Magic do.  That’s not the Lakers’ fault. I know it’s fashionable in this country now to play this “working class hero” game and cry about how the big guy got big by screwing the little guy, but nothing could be further from the truth, especially in sports.

First of all, the only reason anybody gives a dribbling fuck about the NBA is because of teams like the Lakers.  Face it, the NBA is a league which is literally carried by about 5 or 6 “big” franchises. You can bitch about salary caps and the like all you want, but at the end of the day, it is those “big” franchises that pay the freight for this league.  If you think that is a problem now, wait 20 or so years when the NBA has legitimate overseas competition. Wait until guys are bolting for Spain, Italy, or China as well as Los Angeles.

Here’s what it comes down to…Jerry Buss didn’t force Orlando to hire a knucklehead like Otis Smith or any other microencephalic the Magic have had in the front office.  Maybe if thew Magic had hired Ron Jeremy instead of his look-alike, they might now how to screw somebody.

9) Courtside tickets to home games cost more than you make in a month.

So, now all of sudden the Laker Haters want elbow-rubbing seats with Jack Nicholson? Puh-leeze. This is but one of many ways how the Lakers pay the electric bill for the league bottom-feeders.

8 ) Ron Artest still plays for them under perhaps the most, inappropriate pseudonym ever.

Completely, undeniably valid.  I can’t stand Ron Artest; I would personally pay for his ticket our of town if the Lakers could find a taker for this ass-loaf.  Furthermore, I refuse to use that stupid name he conjured up for himself.

7 ) Jack and Dyan

This one is pretty valid too, and not just because we’ve all grown really weary of the “celebrity in the seats” routine which Fox morphed into one of the most obnoxious cross-promotional tools ever.  Realistically, I couldn’t care less who is in the crowd, so long as they actually understand just what the hell they are watching.

However, I think this is on the Chump’s radar because  because nobody of any real importance ever lived in Orlando. If you were to put the three biggest Orlando celebrities in the crowd, get ready for Wayne Brady, Carrot Top, and Casey Anthony.

By the way, this point is only made worse by the fact that I hate John Mellencamp nearly as much as I hate Ron Artest. To top it off, I now live in Indiana, where I have to hear that fucking “Jack and Diane” song about 200 times a day, and each time it gives me hemmorhoidal flare-up so bad the veins in my ass throb like Neil Peart’s kick-drums.

6) Over the past forty years, they are the most successful team in terms of overall winning percentage in professional sports. It’s true, do the math.

Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful. 

5 ) They got Mark Madsen and Isaiah Rider a ring but couldn’t get one for Gary Payton and Karl Malone.

This one is also undeniably true, but to be fair, Karl Malone really belongs on the list of guys all true Lakers fans should really hate. On another note, on behalf of Lakers fans everywhere, I apologize for unleashing the “Madsen Dance” on the world.

4) Steve Nash will reach 10,000 career assists in a Lakers uniform this season and then pass Magic Johnson for fourth all-time a few weeks after that. One of those assists will be to either Kobe or Dwight. He’ll celebrate by placing his bangs behind his ears.

Another utterly true statement. It’s also true that assist won’t be to Hedo Fucking Turkoglu. However, it is also true that by the time he gets to make that assist, Nash may be honestly mistaken for grayed-out punk rock icon Iggy Pop.

3) Laker fans have never, not for one minute, known an ounce of suffering. (Sorry, Bleed, Dub and JM, but you know it’s true.)

That’s not true. While it may be true that Laker fans have not known very much suffering, we have see some horrors, as evidenced in the following photo:

Yes, that is the one and only Don Nelson in his days as a Laker.  Many people forget about Don Nelson and his role in defeating  several Laker teams, especially the ones he played on from 1963-1965, which is hard to imagine considering he a) also played for the Celtics and b) coached every single team in the NBA except  the Lakers, and at least 40 or 50 in Europe. This, of course, led to a rule here at Dubsism: “If Don Nelson is the answer, I don’t want to know the question.”

2) Players from those 1980s championship teams STILL don’t have to buy a drink in that town.

Well, of course they don’t.  One of them now owns the Dodgers and another became one of the only guys to be in one of the greatest comedies of all time and fight Bruce Lee on screen.

1)  Oh yeah…. Dwight friggin’ Howard.

Ok, I’ll take another “rich get richer” shot, but be honest, it’s not like Howard wasn’t leaving anyway.  Face it, Orlando…you were just Howard’s high-school girlfriend. You may have had some tender moments in the back seat of his car, but once he hit the big-time, handjobs with Bon Jovi on the radio just weren’t going to cut it anymore.

That’s not your fault, Orlando; it really isn’t anybody’s fault. It’s just the way it is.





The Official Dubsism Breakdown of the Dwight Howard Trade

11 08 2012

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, you know that Dwight Howard is a now a Los Angeles Laker thanks to a monstrous, four team deal involving both players and draft picks. This was such a complex deal which obviously took so much time to construct that we here at Dubsism took some time to deconstruct it so you can try to make some sense of this tectonic shift in the basketball world.

The Teams Involved:

  • Denver Nuggets
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Orlando Magic
  • Philadelphia 76ers

The Basics of the Trade: (from Yahoo! Sports)

  • The Denver Nuggets got G/F Andre Iguodala from the 76ers. They gave up SG Arron Afflalo,  PF Al Harrington, and a 2013 second-round pick and the lower of their two 2014 first-round picks (extra pick via New York Knicks).
  • The Los Angeles Lakers got C Dwight Howard,  SG Chris Duhon, and SF Earl Clark from the Magic. They gave up C Andrew Bynum, F/C Josh McRoberts,  SF Christian Eyenga, a conditional 2013 first-round pick, a conditional 2015 second-round pick, and a protected first-round pick in 2017.
  • The Orlando Magic got SG Arron Afflalo,  PF Al Harrington, a 2013 second-round pick, and the lower of two 2014 first-round picks from the Nuggets; F/C Josh McRoberts,  SF Christian Eyenga, a conditional 2013 first-round pick, a conditional 2015 second-round pick, and a protected first-round pick in 2017 from the Lakers; C Nicola Vucevic, SF Moe Harkless, and a protected 2013 first-round pick from the 76ers.  They gave up  C Dwight Howard,  SG Chris Duhon, SG Jason Richardson, and SF Earl Clark.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers got C Andrew Bynum from the Lakers and SG Jason Richardson from the Magic. They gave up G/F Andre Iguodala, C Nicola Vucevic, SF Moe Harkless, and a protected 2013 first-round pick.

A Team-By-Team Breakdown Of The Trade:

Denver Nuggets:

The Nuggets clearly got better, but did they get good enough? The addition of 6’6″ swingman Iguodala adds a lot of flexibility which Danilo Gallinari does not.  Despite being 6’10″, Gallinari’s game really isn’t suited to fill in for the departed Al Harrington at the the power forward spot, and Igoudala’s best position is small forward. The Nuggets’ back court is pre-loaded with the likes of Andre Miller and Ty Lawson, so it seems the 3-spot is the best fit for Igoudala. This very well could mean the big-price Gallinari could be on his way to the bench or on next the train out of town.

At the smaller end of that swing, Igoudala is a clear upgrade over Arron Afflalo, but as I’ve already mentioned, Denver has plenty of talent in the back-court.  At the end of the day, the Nuggets improved, but probably not enough to move up significantly in the Western Conference food-chain.

Los Angeles Lakers:

If you are a Laker fan (like me), there are thing you have to love about this trade:

  • You got one of the best centers in the league (duh)
  • You got rid of Andrew Bynum in the process
  • You didn’t have to give up Pau Gasol in this deal (Yeah, it’s been really fashionable to beat on him ever since the Mavericks series in 2011, but even after this trade he is still a crucial cog in the Laker machine)
  • You got out from under the stupid contracts of Josh McRoberts and Christian Eyenga
  • You didn’t have to take any of those Magic scrubs you know they wanted to unload (Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu, I’m looking at you…)

Then, there’s the things you don’t like:

  • This deal still leaves the Lakers with a thin bench, especially when it comes to the front court
  • Howard may not be ready for the start of the season – nobody seems to be worried about his surgically-repaired back.  Howard’s back may be the NBA equivalent of Peyton Manning’s neck.

Finally, there’s the stuff nobody’s really taking about yet:

  • How this will affect Kobe “The Sacred Cow” Bryant?

A big (but likely not the only) reason Pau Gasol didn’t end up as part of this deal is that Kobe Bryant made it clear he did not want Gasol to be traded. It is a bit curious why he waited until after Gasol had in fact been traded once and rumored to be on the block. Perhaps it is because he thinks that a Gasol-Steve Nash pairing could be a foreign-born Stockton/Malone-type tandem; meaning that for the Lakers to score Kobe doesn’t have to take 50 shots a night anymore.

Consider this for a moment.  Remember when Bryant made that comment about “if Howard were a Laker, he’d be the third scoring option?” Last season, Andrew Bynum averaged just 13.3 field-goal attempts per game while Howard only averaged 13.4. Granted, some of that has to do with the quality of the supporting cast, but don’t forget these numbers came as result of Howard being Orlando’s first scoring option, while Bynum was the third offensive option for the Lakers.

  • Could Kobe and Howard power the Lakers with (gasp) defense?

Let’s be honest. With the exception of the Dennis Rodman years, traditional Laker basketball has been about guards, dominant offensive centers, and the occasional fast-break. While that could easily be the case with this incarnation, it is quite possible the Lakers employ a more defense-centered approach.

Bryant is usually a lock to make the NBA All-Defensive first or second team on a yearly basis.  Now patrolling the yellow paint at the Staples center will be Howard, who just happens to be a three-time Defensive Player of the Year.  Does this mean Kobe will more more inclined to get in the face of jump-shooters knowing that even if he gets roasted off the dribble, Howard will be waiting behind him to digest anybody foolish enough to drive the lane? Does this mean Kobe will take more chances for steals for exactly the same reason?

The one thing that is not in question is that Dwight Howard is a tremendous upgrade in defense as compared to Andrew Bynum.  Even with his back issues,  he’s far more mobile and athletic, he’s a far better glass cleaner, and rejects more shots.

  • I’m still not sure what to think about the Lakers point guard situation.

I know Steve Nash is a big improvement offensively, but in the immortal words of Bart Scott,  Steve Nash couldn’t stop a nosebleed. That’s not even my big concern; that’s reserved for the fact Nash is another geriatric case who will need plenty of rest during the season, and the back-up for him is now Chris Duhon. To put it bluntly, to me Duhon is yet another one of those Duke players with a ton of potential we never seem to see realized.

  • The Million Dollar Question:

Did Pau Gasol escape being part of this trade because of Kobe’s demand or because there were no takers?  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Orlando Magic:

I almost don’t know where to start with this…

Let’s start with the positives…uhhh….hmmmm…

Ok, well at least the “Dwightmare” is over.  Now Magic fans can finally move on. To where is entirely another matter.

Here’s the bottom line. The Orlando Magic are a train wreck; they were before this trade and they are still after this trade.

Perhaps the strategy here is to build for the future.  C Nicola Vucevic certainly has potential to be come a force at the center position someday, and who knows what forward Moe Harkless could become.  They also scored a ton of draft picks in this deal.

The problem is still the present.  Not only did they not unload headaches like Jameer Nelson and Hedo Turkoglu, they took on a bunch of role-players with disproportionate contracts. All figures from Basketball-Reference.com.

Arron Afflalo:  Career Averages – 8.8 points per game, 0.8 assists per game, .466 field goal percentage, .800 free throw percentage, 2.7 rebounds per game

Signed December 19, 2011 for an assumed $36,750,000 plus incentives for 5 years.  2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 each include $437,500 in likely incentives. 2015-16 is a Player Option.

Year-by-year salary breakdown:

  • 2012-13 $7,750,000
  • 2013-14 $7,750,000
  • 2014-15 $7,750,000
  • 2015-16  $7,937,500

Christian Eyenga: Career Averages – 6.3 points per game, 1.5 assists per game, .411 field goal percentage, .611 free throw percentage, 2.7 rebounds per game

Signed July 23, 2010. Team Option for 2012-13 was picked up on June 29, 2011.

Year-by-year salary breakdown:

  • 2012-13 $1,174,080
  • 2013-14  $2,119,214

Moe Harkless:  Rookie with no NBA history

Signed to a rookie contract with fully-guaranteed salary amounts.  The Magic hold team options  for 2014-15 at $1,887,840 and  2015-16 at $2,894,059.

Year-by-year salary breakdown:

  • 2012-13 $1,731,960
  • 2013-14 $1,809,840

Al Harrington: Career Averages – 13.8 points per game, 1.7 assists per game, .446 field goal percentage, .727 free throw percentage, 5.7 rebounds per game

Signed July 15, 2010 for an assumed $33,437,000 for 5 years. 2013-14 and 2014-15 are only 50% guaranteed.

Year-by-year salary breakdown:

  • 2012-13 $6,687,400
  • 2013-14 $7,148,600
  • 2014-15 $7,609,800

Josh McRoberts: Career Averages – 4.6 points per game, 1.3 assists per game, .517 field goal percentage, .680 free throw percentage, 3.7 rebounds per game

Signed December 13, 2011 for an assumed $6,135,000 for 2 years.

Year-by-year salary breakdown:

  • 2012-13 $3,135,000

Give or take, that’s $20.5 million for a lot of mediocre.

Philadelphia 76ers:

Clearly, the Sixers are willing to take the gamble that the Lakers aren’t; Andrew Bynum may yet be that dominant center around which you can build a franchise. Only time will tell.





A Few Thoughts On Canadian Women’s Soccer and American Women’s Gymnastics

10 08 2012

I’ll try to keep this simple.  Let’s start with the basic facts.

Tuesday’s Olympic women’s soccer semifinal between the U.S. and Canada was one of the most dramatic games you’ll ever see.  It also had some of the shittiest officiating you’ll see this side of Major League Baseball.

Tuesday’s Olympic individual event finals in women’s gymnastics had some of the most dramatic moments you’ll see in the London Games.  It also had some of the shittiest officiating you’ll see this side of Major League Baseball.

It’s just easier to spot a bad call in soccer than it is in gymnastics.

In the soccer match, Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod got called for holding the ball too long.  For you Americans who don’t know, in soccer there is a rarely enforced six-second violation for goalies holding on to the ball. This is to prevent to soccer equivalent of the basketball “four-corner offense” which is all about running out the clock.  The referee awarded the U.S. a free kick, which the same referee deemed to have been been struck with the hand of a Canadian player. That ruling resulted in a penalty kick, which to U.S. converted into a match-tying goal with about ten minute to go in regulation time.  40 minutes later, the U.S. scored the game-winning goal at the end of extra time.

In the gymnastics, American Aly Raisman’s routine on the balance beam was given an initial score of 14.966, which prompted American coach Bela Karolyi to go apeshit from the stands urging Raisman’s personal coach to file an appeal of the scoring.  Mihai Brestyan followed the screams of the Hungarian Yosemite Sam of gymnastics, filed the appeal and voilá, Raisman’s  score was elevated to a 15.066, which left her tied for third-place with Romanian Catalina Ponor.  And in another bit of scoring gymnastics, while Raisman’s and Ponor’s difficulty scores were identical at 6.300, Raisman’s execution score was higher, which gave her the bronze medal.

So, now that we’ve outlined the basic scenarios, let’s breakdown some cold hard facts which illustrate a crucial point.

Cold Hard Fact #1:  Complaining about the officials usually forgets an important point.

This is where I have to point out that if you execute and don’t make a shitload of mistakes, the referees really are limited in taking victory away from you.  This whole “bounty-gate” situation with the New Orleans Saints let Minnesota Vikings’ fans have another crack at their bullshit whining about how the officials screwed them in the 2010 NFC Championship game.  Naturally, this argument ignores the five turnovers the Vikes committed.

In the case of the Canadians, they may very have a legitimate argument that the referee gave it to them prison-style, and that had that not happened, they would have won 3-2. The trouble is that that also forces the “what if” game to take a turn in the Canadian favor; it forces them to assume that the Americans would not have scored anyway in the last ten minutes of regulation time. While that might normally be a safe assumption, it isn’t in this case because the Canadians gave up far too many scoring opportunities throughout the second half to say with the same level of certainty they have on the “ref dicked us” angle that they Americans would not have scored.  In other words, it is equally as possible that what happened at the end of regulation could have just as easily happened at the end of regulation time.

As far as Raisman is concerned, her bronze medal on the balance beam is a direct result of Brestyan convincing the judges that Raisman’s routine had been scored incorrectly.  Scoring in gymnastics is completely subjective, so who the hell knows what is correct and what isn’t?

Having said all that, complaining about officiating when done in the wrong way can have a serious boomerang effect. Somebody on the Canadian women’s team crossed the line; you can criticize, but you can’t make allegations that games a re being fixed. Every sports organization takes an exceptionally dim view of such allegations, and FIFA (despite the fact it is an incredibly corrupt organization) is no exception.

Cold Hard Fact #2: Canada and Catalina Ponor likely were legitimately screwed, but it doesn’t matter. 

The six-second rule is a bit hackneyed, it’s soccer’s completely subjective, called-at-will rule like holding in the NFL, traveling in the NBA, or an umpire in baseball deciding the batter hit by the pitch didn’t make a sufficient attempt to get out of the way of the ball.  The point is it matters little if the rule is rarely enforced; its still a rule.  It would be weak to get a speeding ticket for going two miles an hour over the limit, but you were still speeding.

This get a bit tougher to nail down in gymnastics, where the whole thing comes down to what a bunch of  judges think.  But you know it is entirely possible that the appeal discussion went something like “Uhhh, the Americans are the star power and they bring the TV money, so maybe we’d better give her the medal.”

Cold Hard Fact #3:  If you are going to play the “What If?” game in your favor, you have to play it to your detriment as well.

See the earlier reference to the 2010 Minnesota Vikings. To maintain any semblance of legitimacy, you have to be willing when asking “What if the referees hadn’t screwed us?” you must also be willing to ask “What if we didn’t commit those five turnovers?”

This means if you are the Canadian women’s soccer team, you have to ask “What if we didn’t blow three leads in the second half?” This means if you are Aly Raisman, you have to ask yourself “What if I hadn’t made that one stumble on the balance beam?”

Don’t misunderstand the point here. It is the God-given right of every sports fan to bitch about officiating. All I’m saying is with rights come responsibilities, meaning you have to understand that complaining as a fan never changes the result; complaining as a competitor is almost as equally pointless. But having said that, as a fan you must never let anyone tell you can’t scream over the inherent unfairness of sports until your voice-box sues for divorce.

But as a competitor, you also have to remember that you actually have the power to eliminate the argument in the first place; nobody ever bitches about the referees in a 30-point blowout. That’s exactly why blaming the officials is so easy; it means you don’t have to own your piece of the loss.

The Crucial Point: When it comes to sports, Americans are complete hypocrites…and the Canadians are just like them. 

Face it, America, there’s really no denying this. The very same people who attacked a Tweep of mine for saying the Americans played cry-baby in the gymnastics scenario are the same ones high-fiving each other over the result of Tuesday’s soccer game.  Americans love the “What if?” game when it works for them.  If you doubt that, imagine what the headlines Wednesday morning would have looked like if Catalina Ponor were an American?

To be honest, this is the true beauty of sport; it reflects life.  Life isn’t fair, and neither are sports. They aren’t supposed to be.  Fairness is a fantasy dreamed up by those same assholes who believe everybody should get a trophy for competing.  Sports is supposed to teach you important lessons about life, and ironically one of the tools for success in life taught by sports is how to lose graciously.

Canada and Catalina Ponor both got screwed.  Granted, the Canadians eventually ended up with the bronze, and Ponor won the silver medal on the floor exercise. They didn’t go home empty handed, but they left with less than they should have.  I know, by all rights the glory, the medals, and the trappings should have been theirs, but guess what? It’s called “sports,” not “should haves.” It isn’t fair, but that the way it is.  No matter how much hand-wringing you want to do over it,  you can’t change it.  Trying to make everything fair just takes us that much closer to making Harrison Bergeron a reality.

Through bad officiating, they both lost a medal.  Not because the games were fixed, but because officials are human, which means they are going to fuck up; sometimes so horribly and so perfectly timed as to offer the definition of soul-crushing defeat. That’s why the true winners learn how to handle such defeat.  After all, the world hates an inglorious winner as much as it does a sore loser.

And there lies the heart of American sports hypocrisy.  The same American soccer mom who thinks everybody should be a winner is also the one who screams the loudest when the “fairness” doesn’t go her way.  The same Americans who are calling the Canadians “crybabies” are the very same who would have wanted to declare war had the tables been turned.

Ponor handled her defeat with just such grace, you didn’t hear her stomping around making allegation of fraud.  Too bad I can’t say the same about the Canadians.  For all the sniffing, elitist bullshit I get to listen to out of Canadians about how their frozen, socialist utopia is so much better than their bulging, evil neighbor to the south, I was amazed at how American-like they acted when confronted with the soul-crushing defeat.  My amazement ended when a Canadian friend (who we will refer to only as “Gordy”) explained it to me.

Ponor refused to show her emotions.

According to “Gordy,” the best way to describe Canada is that it is essentially what a bastard child between America and Europe would be.  To that end, he says there are only two types of European-descended Canadians; those who are pissed because they wish their country was more like Europe, and those who are pissed because they wish they country was more like America.  To me, it doesn’t really matter; they are all Canadians and can feel however they want about their heritage. But no matter what, they can’t bitch about Americans then act just like them just because they lost to them.

At the end of the day, the Canadians shouldn’t be worried about how they lost that soccer game. They should be more concerned about how one Romanian female gymnast took an equally-crushing loss more like a man than their entire nation did.








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