Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Five Running Backs who would cause a Waiver Storm...

My friend Elvi has always had a mad on against fantasy sports. And I was nice enough, that because we were a team, I would go easy on the Fantasy talk. But you know what? There's no reason to stop myself now.

So I will start with a list of five running backs and one situation. This is a watch list for you, it's not a list of the Jerious Norwood/Ahmad Bradshaw sleeper list, and all of you who are reading my blog get a nice list.

The have the motive, they have the means. All they need is the opportunity.

Bernard Scott
Now you know that many people were making fun of the Bengals for making the pick. And the NFL existence may be a short one. That being said? He is the most talented runner on the Cincinnati depth chart. He has vision, agility, and good power. He was ultra-dominant in college, and all he has to do is beat out Cedric Benson.

Danny Ware
Here's a little known fact. When the Giants had Earth, Wind, and Fire running last season? They actually kept a 4th running back on the roster. His name is Danny Ware. A tough inside runner who can do the whole one cut and go thing. But he's never had the full chance to make magic. With Brandon Jacobs health and Ahmad Bradshaw's character issues, you should need to keep him in mind.

Arian Foster
The Texans need a thumper. Chris Brown cannot take any punishment, and every other runner they have on the roster? Slaton sized. And while Slaton is good and just early 2nd round pick, he just does not generate a push. Enter Arian Foster. He does have a motor. And even if he does not start? The vulture potential of Foster may be worth a stash pick as the Pre-season goes on.

Gartrell Johnson
There needs to be a certain train of events that would have to happen for the G-Train to leave the station. LaDainian has to break down earlier. And Darren Sproles has to keep his touches under 20 a game. Because in a world of thunder and lightning? Gartrell has a shot at greatness on his thunder alone.

Kregg Lumpkin
Apparently, if Georgia wants you to be a running back? You've made it. Kregg had 4 touches last season. The shame of it, he was looking good before he tore his hamstring. While he is not nearly as physically gifted as a guy like DeShawn Wynn? He runs angry and he runs mean. And in a one cut and go scenario? It can be all you need.

The Jaguar Backfield
You don't know who's going to be the back-up. Right now it could be Chauncey Washington. It could be Greg Jones. It could be Rashad Jennings. All three runners can make their way to the forefront. Why? Because MJD is undersized and he's lost his YPC average for the past three seasons. But with an offensive line infusion, doing homework here is good value.

Here you go. The six possibilities to electrify fantasy nation. I will peep you to names to know when the time comes. But until you reach that point? Just remember these names, okay.

Bradenton's going to bust out in excitement!

I've given you another 300 words in regards to an aspect of Minor League Baseball. This time? It's a brief update on Minor League Baseball's Indian prospects. Rinku and Dinesh. They're ready to start organized baseball.

And you're ready to win a purloined Simpsons quote.

Read it!

Joe Dumars has lost the plate.

Remember when Joe Dumars was well regarded as a general manager? It wasn't that long ago. Even after he decided he was going to draft Darko over Carmelo. People still liked him.

I mean, Michael Curry was a highly regarded hire when he came to Detroit. But then, the wheels came off. I saw it coming. I mean pre-twitter and lesser NBA fan me saw it coming. And if I could see that it was bad idea jeans, you know you're losing the plate.

But to scapegoat Michael Curry after one season? It's ridiculous. You take what was at best calculated gamble that broke badly to get a player whose killed a coach or two in his past. And it doesn't go well.

But you let the coach go after the draft and after the season because of it? That's Isiah level-petty. Michael Curry did what he could with what he had. And he had an old team with mismatched parts.

And whose fault was that?

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bucks decided to let Villanueva go free...

What the fuck was that? Huh? You go off and you start to a plan. You try to change the future of the team. Get flexible. Become leaner and meaner.

And I was there for every step of the way. I got blocked off of Bill Simmons' Twitter account because of it. Yi and Bobby Simmons becoming Amir Johnson and two old Spurs? I understood.

Because there was one thing the Bucks needed to do this offseason. They could have reached on Jrue Holiday. They could have traded Michael Redd for two bad contracts. I would have understood. Because there was one goal.

Keep CV31 and Sessions.

Well that's not going to happen. Odds are we're going to see Alopecia Pete have the same sort of success as Mo Williams did on the same team. So that's awesome. They made the wrong decision if it came down between him and Skiles. But I am going to leave it be for right now.

Just, on the infinitesimal chance Amir Johnson is listening? Get your shine on. If the Bucks are goin gto be good, you need to fill the shoes.

NBA in Brief...

So long as he doesn't play at being a lead guard? I have little problem with what happened with Brandon Jennings. I mean for those of you who don't know, he got into a swear-filled conversation with Joe Budden. And because it got on the Youtubes? There was a mini-controversy.

Outside of the naievte of someone who did not know that this was going to go out on the internet? The point guard is a lot like a quarterback. You want a point guard with swagger. You want a point guard who's not afraid to make the big play. I hope that Skiles doesn't break him. I really do.

And Yao's foot? It's not healing. Which is disaster for Houston, as well as the league. Houston's now in a holding pattern as Yao degenerates into the Chinese Peter Stormare. And the league loses an international icon.

I may have more posting to come. I may not. Back's killing me and I have things to do.

Man, I never thought I would be morose about a web video series ending...

But the gentlemanly Mister Banks and Lil' SAS made me laugh and cry. This is unlike any other SAS video. In a good way.



Please do enjoy. I did.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Jamario Moon All-Stars 2K9

I pre-drafted this for last season, and it turns out I had a guy return to college and a guy get drafted. Stupid Daryl Morey reading my blog*! Anyway, considering I've developed a certain poor mans Bill Simmons quality about myself. I've decided I'm going to make with the gimmicks.

And as the rules go, I will make with the seven best undrafted free agents and tell you why they were passed up and why you need to keep your eyes forward on these guys.

Now seeing as Lee Cummard went back to school? He doesn't make it.

Ready?

Ready.

PG Aaron Jackson Duqusene
Why did he get passed on? You have to knock peoples socks off to be drafted as a mid-major or lower. You cannot be just be good.
Why is he someone to watch? It's as I've said, he's got the size to defend and great offensive creativity as well as body control.

SG Jerel McNeal Marquette
Why did he get passed on?
A mixture of a seeming lack of upside and a real lack of size. He's a 6'3" senior and NBA GM's are idiots.
Why is he someone to watch? He has no weaknesses. He locks people down, generates steals, and can create his own shot. Clearly, he's no Christian Eyenga.

SF Diamon Simpson St. Mary's
Why did he get passed on? Because he's undersized at a smaller school.
Why is he someone to watch? You know why.

PF Alade Aminu Georgia Tech
Why did he get passed on? Because his basketball IQ is weaksauce.
Why is he someone to watch? But he's dominant in a pick and roll system. Great athleticism, and ability to run and jump. I mean, you have a four who can slash? It's a marketable skill.

C Tony Gaffney UMass
Why did he get passed on? He's 24, and built like a small forward.
Why is he someone to watch? But like Simpson, he creates defensive chaos. Lots of rebounds, lots of blocked shots. And he can lock it down on the perimeter.

Dionte Christmas SG Temple
Why did he get passed on? Because he can't create his own shot.
Why is he someone to watch? Because I disqualified Lee Cummard, and every team needs a bomber off the bench.

Josh Heyvelt C Gonzaga
Why did he get passed on? Psychotropic substances.
Why is he someone to watch? He can finish around the basket, rebound and hit the occasional 3. So he's got a marketable skill.

Now, like last year, I'm sure these names will be a majority of Euro stars. But you know what? This will be a reader participation. If you have someone who you thinks going to come out of nowhere.

Bring the comments.

You will have a good day tomorrow.

Listen, I know this is merely a Youtube video...

And a wrestling youtube video at that. But this is something that deserves a wider audience. I will give you three reasons.

1) The first minute of the match has a Super Mario World Theme.

2) The inexplicable baby walking in the background at about the 2:20 mark.

3) The fact that this is a play in five acts, ending inexplicably at a construction site.

Watch and enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hey America?

I feel like people are subconciously forgiving Michael Jackson for his sins.

It's a theory that disappoints me. Give credit to Dave Lozo for it. Everyone gets awesome after death even if they sucked in life. And I feel like the majority of you are doing it for Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson likely isn't sleeping with the angels tonight.

You can decide to feel bad because he created Thriller, and that's the musical equivalent of the great works of art. And if you're delineating the artist from the man. Then...

It's something else entirely. But the fact is, what we know about Michael Jackson the man can be explained like this.

While Michael wasn't exactly convicted of child molestation, the ways he beat the rap came down to this. The case in the early 1990's was settled out of court for the sum of 20 million dollars, and the case in the middle of this decade is between the mixture of a bulldog defense attorney, someone secondary to the case having a crippling character flaw and the endemic flaw of juries in the state of California deciding that the protection of the celebrity is more important than the facts of a case.

So while he technically didn't, circumstances lean wildly in the other direction. You can see how some of us would get angry by this. No amount of brilliance can overcome a sin like that, and hearing people ask me to pray for him grates on my nerves.

So, I'll ask you this. If you don't appear on one of the million cameras that are going to be covering this travesty? I won't wish for the Basij to bash your brain means out of your skull.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cake Rocks The Liveblog

Trust me. I will bring the thunder.

Orlando just screwed up...

Vince Carter is not so much of a cancer. But he's happier being the man on a 30 win team. Orlando is in no way shape or form a 30 win team. But is this as bad as the last time the Nets traded a video game cover sort of superstar? No.

Three reasons why.

1) Rafer Alston is the sort of player who needs to start to be effective.

He's not going to oust Devin Harris from the starting role. And he will not be happy by this turn of events. Skip to my Lou needs run to be happy.

2) Courtney Lee is not as good as Vince Carter.

Not to say that Lee isn't going to be good. But Devin Harris was already safely better than Kidd. Lee will merely have to wait a couple of years.

3) Ryan Anderson can shoot the three.

And he's 6'10", even if Hedo does his work somewhere else? There is a chance that Ryan Anderson can bring a B-grade amount of replacement to the Turk. Honestly, there's a decent regard for Anderson and he will do some things.

But Vince Carter doesn't play hero. He doesn't play final piece. The chemistry's going to smash into a wall.

Rod Thorn, man. Freaking stealthy.

The Can't Sleep Clowns Will Eat Me NBA Ramble...

As I sit and wonder if we can't get Matt Harpring's unguaranteed contract for Ridnour and a future consideration. (Answer? Yes.) I look and see all sorts of possibilites for the draft.

Shaquille O' Neal is a Cavalier. And if the Cavaliers follow the Phoenix playbook in terms of keeping him healthy? It's a good gamble to make. But there is a real chance that this is Hakeem in Toronto or Ewing in Seattle.

But good for Stephen A. to break this story! Redemption is only two scoops away!

If 1-3 turns out to be Griffin, Thabeet, Rubio? Jonny Flynn will be playing the part of Russell Westbrook in this morality play.

Adrian Wojanarski is saying that Scott Skiles is lobbying the Bucks to draft Brandon Jennings at 10. Remarkably smart by Skiles, but could Jennings play at Stevie Franchise and Starbury and clown the team that for which that drafts them.

And if Flynn, Jennings, or Hill doesn't make the pick at 10? A potential deal down into Maynor land and a future pick would be nice. Okay, enough about the Bucks. Because clearly, nobody on a blog can talk up the Bucks. Nice work Shoals, 20 minutes of gutpunch was nice to promote.

Fast risers: Jonny Flynn, Omri Casspi.

Like I said before, Jrue Holiday is going to be a mistake draft choice.

Over under on trades made? 7.5

Brandon Jennings is 17th in Draft Express' latest mock draft. Wow.

I will say this now, if Jack McClinton gets selected by the Suns? He will have a great career.

But Jerel McNeal is being looked at too low.

Meh. I shouldn't listen to the DOC if I want my momentum stopped. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You know what?

Bill Simmons is an idiot.
 
Now that I've let that sink in? Let me tell you why. Because I may not have a book deal, but I have to tell you, this is the first time I've actually seen the Bucks work with a logical plan to do something beyond finishing 7th in the Eastern Conference. Did they get worse for 2009-2010? Maybe. But here's what they did.
 
1. They got a free Amir Johnson
 
By Bill Simmons' logic, you can use the transitive property to turn the #6 pick into three expiring contracts. And that's fine. But he's telling a half-truth here. You see, the Bucks also got rid of one of the worst contracts in the Larry Harris era in Bobby Simmons. And he got Amir Johnson for free. Let me just say that again. A 22 year old power forward whose got a skill set that will bring the thunder to the good land, becomes a Buck for a guy who the Pistons decided to buy out.
 
Simmons reads FreeDarko, he should have known better. But why in the hell should he let anything stand in the way of a bad joke? He has Seth Meyers on speed-dial. He knows about bad jokes.
 
2. Small Markets build from within.
 
Among the 19 interesting free agents I've listed, in the NBA the Bucks had two. And they had a Sophies choice to make. The 23 year old point guard who has had a history of big games, or the 24 year old forward who is merely opportunity away from 20 and 10. The Bucks can now keep them both. And they can consider making a free agent move for 2010 if they really want to.
 
But no move is better than making one. And Willie Warren in 2010 would be a better fit than Tyson Chandler.
 
3. Fans can handle losing...with a plan. 
 
If the Bucks go out and lose 50 games? It's not good, but you know what? It's probably Scott Skiles fault. He has a short shelf life. 
 
Anyway, the Bucks haven't exactly had much smarts in developing a plan using the senators money. Until now. Three key pieces under 25. A shot at glory with a point guard to force Ridnour out. A general manager who's not worried about a short term loss for a long term gain. There is no reason for the Bucks to make pay a lot for a small leap forward.
 
So maybe you consolidate for 2009. But Amir Johnson now has an opening. And he's the sort of guy who will kill himself to make magic on the court. Skiles is going to love him. And you know they aren't going to be as injury snakebit as they were last season. 
 
But you and I know that Bill Simmons has a desire to be the retarded Paul Podesta. And if a team seemingly as morbuind as your Milwaukee Bucks or the Timberwolves have no desire to have him run the team? You know he faces long odds to get the job he so desperately wants. So he's getting cranky. 
 
But a logical man knows better. The process has more than one step. This allows the Bucks to consolidate. And this would be Bill James has no intelligence about that.
 
It's either tank or win for ol' BS.        
 
 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

UPDATE: HEIR TO BEEF JERKY FORTUNE FLIPPED FOR JARVIS VANARDO CLONE!

It's a small deal, but it's a deal you have to like. Fabricio Oberto is a 34 year-old Argentinean Back-Up Center. Amir Johnson is a 4 who makes big bold plays. His frame and game remind me of the delightful Mississippi State low-post presence that is Jarvis Vanardo. And the Bucks got that for nothing.

Awesome. Simply awesome.

The Bucks now have the Heir to a beef jerky fortune.



Okay, the Argentinean back-up center isn't really a part of the frito-lay family. And in terms of direct value? This is about 30 cents on the dollar for RJ. I mean, Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio?

Outside of crippling the Spurs frontcourt depth? They win the deal. Great value for a cheap price. They can get a Chuck Hayes 4 in the draft and refill other picks that way.

But as for the Bucks? This is likely step one. They can make other moves. (Redd/Ridnour for T-Mac?) But if this move allows the Bucks to keep Ramon and Villy? Then it's a win. It doesn't matter if the Bucks go 21-61. They can't keep trying to be a seven seed.

That doesn't help anybody. You need a plan. You can't exist as a seven seed.

Oh look, an NBA mock draft...

Now these have a tendency to be like darts. I mean, I can see good things out of this years class even if no one else can. But I'm not claiming expertise at least not here. Last year I knew a dude who worked for the Nets. This year? Nothing.

1. Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin PF Oklahoma

Now he's the best mixture of polish and potential on a team that will be two deep at the 4 and the 5. But that's okay, he'll be arrested for murdering Alex Acker in a hazing incident gone wrong. Only? Acker's not dead. And he's coming for Chris Kaman and Z-Bo. It's Clip Joint. Rated R.

2. Memphis Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans PG/SG Memphis

Thabeet and Rubio do not want this. Blake Griffin is gone. Jordan Hill is a pick that inspires nothing. James Harden is a better choice, but come on. This will be a naked attempt to sell tickets. The Grizz have problems. And going local will only exacerbate it.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder: James Harden SG Arizona State

He has the highest floor of anybody in this draft. There's already a lot to like with his game. And unlike Thabeet, he'll fit into what's trying to be built here. In fact? If not for the circumstances of their trip to Oklahoma City? This would be a good team to bandwagon.

4. Sacramento Kings: Ricky Rubio PG DKV Joventut

They never thought Tha Beet would be available to them, but after some discussion, they decide to go after the potentially transcendant talent...

5. Washington Wizards: Hasheem Thabeet C UConn

Which gives the Wizards a passable core...if Gilbert Arenas stays healthy.

6. Minnesota Timberwolves: Stephen Curry SG Davidson

They're going to follow the same school as last year. Kevin Love was far from a sure thing going in, and he worked out, right? Right. So there you go.

7. Golden State Warriors: Jrue Holiday PG UCLA

Not just for the transcendant athleticism. Golden State wish Monta Ellis would simply drop dead. But someobody has to have the balls to make a pick for a player that doesn't want to be there. Hi. Meet the new Jrue.

8. New York Knicks: Brandon Jennings PG Italy

They only way a team can screw it up here at this point? Draft Jrue Holiday. I'm not saying he's going to be a bad player. I'm just saying that Brandon Jennings has that potential to be special. He doesn't have to start this season either. But if D'Antoni gets to work with Jennings? Wow.

9. Toronto Raptors: Demar DeRozan SG USC

He may not want to be there, but he is the Spinner that the Toronto Raptors DeGrassi needs. They need a creative wing with good length. It doesn't get better than this No Limit Soldier.

10. Milwaukee Bucks: Jordan Hill PF Arizona

Because. I'm drafting here.

11. New Jersey Nets: Terrence Williams SG/SF Louisville

There's a lot to like with a wing of his caliber. Defensive toughness, can hit the three. Athleticism that will allow him to make the sexy action sports news team highlight show. You put him at the three and good things happen.

12. Charlotte Bobcats: Gerald Henderson SG Duke

Jordan woke up, saw the best 2-guard available on draft express and said? Done.

13. Indiana Pacers: Jonny Flynn SG Syracuse

Every year, you see a great talent fall toward the end of the lottery. My guess, it's going to be Jonny Flynn. The Pacers get a Grangeresque steal.

14. Phoenix Suns: James Johnson SF/PF Wake Forest

An active defender who can create his own shot and play both the three and the four? He won't be Shawn Marion, but he will make a matrix move or two. And when the team goes small? There can be a direct-to-video sequel of Seven Seconds or less.

15. Detroit Pistons: Austin Daye PF Gonzaga

My gut says they get the Israeli wing Omri Casspi, but then I thought, they could get a starter worthy point at the early parts of round 2. And this is a team that loves the Anthony Randolph-sized 3. And they could get a point and more low post tough with their early 2's.

16. Chicago Bulls: DeJuan Blair PF Pittsburgh

The knees blunt his position. But in the world of the John Hollinger? Blair is the greatest prospect ever. Boards and efficient offense. It's what the Bulls need down low.

17. Philadelphia 76ers: Ty Lawson PG UNC

And we start the run on the proverbial second tier with the point guard who won UNC the national title. They can't afford Andre Miller, so they rebuild it here.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves: Earl Clark PF Louisville
(from Miami)

Worst case scenario, he's a rotational Hakim Warrick. Or a Corey Brewer who can put points on the board. Either or. If a team wants to deal down, the T-Wolves will be willing to listen.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Eric Maynor PG VCU

Never mind the Bibby, here comes a Maynor upgrade at the point. They don't need to live in the shadow of Mike Bibby anymore. He may not be the player who puts them over the top. But he is made of leadership. He will make them better.

20. Utah Jazz: Tyler Hansbrough PF UNC

Both for the fact they'll need an energy power forward and won't expect him to be spectacular, as well as the fact that it's a white guy in Utah. That's just hilarious.

21. New Orleans Hornets: Jeff Teague PG Wake Forest

Hear me out. The Hornets strength was Jannero Pargo in 2008. They need a back-up to keep CP3 from dying, and while B.J. Mullens has strong upside potential. Jeff Teague is a stealthy protectionate for CP3. And if you want to start the next rebuild you do it here.

22. Dallas Mavericks: B.J. Mullens C Ohio State

Re-up Kidd and get a potential low-post scorer. Why? Because Erick Dampier is crap. And Kidd knows that he isn't going to be around long term. He'll play hard at least for this season. Darren Collison would be strong here, but B.J. Mullens has end of lottery upside.

23. Sacramento Kings: Sam Young SF/PF Pittsburgh
(from Houston)

The Kings could use some real low-post help. Sam Young is more of a Posey 4 than a Chuck Hayes 4. But you know James Posey 4's have good value. Affable, with a hint of cedar. And they can get the low post 4 at 31.

24. Portland Trail Blazers: Derrick Brown PF Xavier

A small forward with good offensive skills? Yes!

25. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jonas Jerebeko SF/PF Italy
(from San Antonio)

The Swedish Varejao deepens the low post rotational skills and will make Scott Brooks happy with his intangibles. So yeah.

26. Chicago Bulls Chase Budinger SG/SF Arizona
(from Denver through Oklahoma City)

The Bulls need a scoring wing. And so long as it's a kick-out or a pick and roll? Budinger makes Chicago happy. Except for the Jewish community. Dan Filowitz will be outraged. Or not. He doesn't care about the drafts.

27. Memphis Grizzlies Jon Brockman PF Washington
(from Orlando)

They will regret the availibility of Darren Collison. As they cannot use Tyreke Evans at the three. They will find an undersized four who can win the putback race.

28. Minnesota Timberwolves Darren Collison PG UCLA
(from Boston)

This is a win for the Timberwolves. They get Collison as a one, they can move Curry into the myth of the Dwyane Wade 2. And the team gets an A+. Bill Simmons will piss on this draft.

29. Los Angeles Lakers: Omri Casspi SF Tel Aviv

Considering what they need? Casspi allows for them not to have to overpay for Ariza. Not that Ariza is a bad player? Just that the savvy play is to take Casspi. Or not. It's 4:15 A.M. I shouldn't be doing this.

30. Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Thornton SG LSU

You have a guy who took the offense of a second round NCAA Tournament team on his back. All he has to do is be the third option here. He can do that.

And I am spent. Why did I do this. Because I love you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Free Chikara Promotion...

This is what you will see if you buy Chikara's latest DVD Beytound The 8 Ball...



They call it human beatboxing...because that's what will defeat the monster.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Three thoughts on Movies...

Like most of us on the internet, we think we can be Roger Ebert. And you know what? We are in a way. We don't get the perks to lie about reviews, so we'll just be honest, and give it to you straight. I have seen three movies, you may have seen them, you may not have.

But I'll level with you.

drag me to hell
Drag Me To Hell: It does hit the right notes that remind you that Sam Raimi was the man who revolutionized cinema with Evil Dead 2. And for the first 80 minutes, it was worth your time. But the ending was Bullshit. You have personal stakes that high? You make for gosh damn sure you bring the right thing to the innermost cave. The ending costs 15% off the story. C-

Up
Up: To be honest, I haven't seen a whole lot of Pixar. I know the movies are going to be consistently good, so I don't go after them. But this one? The first ten minutes alone are worth the journey. Carl and Ellie warm your heart and break it. But that's the appetizer. The main event is just as good. A.

Hangover
The Hangover: You'll have a good time with this story. Zach Galifinakis finally gets himself a role that jets him into a name that people other than Comedy afficianadoes will love. Ed Helms becomes the male Tina Fey. And Bradley Cooper is now going to get all the roles Josh Lucas was offered. Because America still doesn't have an American comedy star. B+.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dear Joe Buck...

There are many people who don't like you. Lots of reasons as to why. Some legitimate, some not so much. But hey, you're the one who's the face of Fox Broadcasting. We cannot begrudge you that.

But you need to stop the extracirriculars. You're nowhere near the class nor brio of Bob Costas. One, you don't exude charisma. It may be good for broadcasting. You may exude neutrality. But if you're doing a comedy sketch, you need presence. Quite frankly, when it comes to comedy, you can't even muster the modicum of presence that Steve Forbes generated when he hosted SNL.

And Joe, I know you went into the family business. But for crap sake, if you wanted to do a talk show involving sports, you have to like sports. Call this an ad homenem attack if you must, but if Artie Lange hurt you that much? Maybe you need to interview Audrina and LC about lazy eyes and whatever it is LC does.

And that's another thing. The producers told Artie to come out swinging. They could tell light applause from real quality work. Show 2's going to be milquetoast, and then show three they are going to give you the comedy stylings of Norm McDonald. All talk shows from a new source suck early. If you're gonna get better, you're gonna need to wear a helmet.

I mean, I'm no Tom Shales, but I'm still in the audience that this gets marketed to. Get tough, get an identity, or at the very least get rid of the laaaaaaaaaaaame telescope segments.

Because the path you're on does not lead you away from McCarver...and that's what you really want, right?

May the next failure be less epic,

The Grand National Championships

Friday, June 19, 2009

Never mind the bollocks...

I have things to do. I will announce that I will be live blogging the NBA Draft on the 25th. But as for today? You will get nothing and like it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I bet you thought I couldn't write 300 words on the Reds 22nd prospect?

Even if you didn't? I know you would have. For you have no idea about the sheer pulse-pounding magic that is Chris Heisey. He is the next Nelson Cruz, after all.

Or failing that? Eric Byrnes.

Feel the magic.

Stetter!

A lefty sidearmer is not storming the nation with his maniacal skills. And he's broken the record for most consecutive strikeouts. Okay, I don't know if he's got the record. But Mitch Stetter deserves respect. Mitch Stetter deserves your love.

I mean, 11 consecutive strikeouts even over five games is a rich tapestry of quality. Think about it. Nolan never struck out 11 in a row. Tom Seaver never struck out 11 in a row. Roger Clemens can't say that.

But you know what? Mitch Stetter can. And even in only three paragraphs? Mitch Stetter deserves a shout-out. And I am going to give it to him.


HEY!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NBA Draft Dumpster Diving...The Fours.

Chuck HayesImage by jeffbalke via Flickr

To complete my sleeper hunt series in the NBA draft, I will take a look at the fours. In which I will break the walls down and show you the four archetypes of the potential sleeper power forward, and fit most of them in the box. There's a couple of dudes who break the frames. They will be broken down further.

1) The Chuck Hayes.

The Chuck Hayes is the man who provides undersized boards and blocks and a grit and determination that will lead old school people who hate sports to think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. But since Chuck Hayes didn't lead the Rockets to beat the Lakers? Not so much.

Potential Chuck Hayes?
Jeff Adrien UConn
Diamon Simpson St. Mary's

Tony Gaffney UMass

Variant Cover: Chuck Hayes
Chris Johnson LSU
(Because while he does have the required height to be a 4, dude's positively Keith Closs in terms of frame.)
Jon Brockman Washington (He can make a living off of the second chance basket for all of the rebounds that he can generate.)

Personally, some team somewhere is going to find a lot of use for Simpson. His strength is in generating defensive chaos. And if a seemingly out there pick like Luc Mbah a Moute can have success based on the Chuck Hayes ethic? I can see Simpson surprising someone as a relatively high draft choice.

2) The Tyrus Thomas

You have seen moments of the explosive with a player like this, but they live in the phylum of "run and jump energy guy." They have all the upside in the world, but one in a hundred scratch the surface of their tools. But if they are European and you have a late second round pick? It may be worth paying the cost.

Potential Tyrus Thomas?
Vitor Faverani Brazil
Alade Aminu Georgia Tech
Henk Norel Spain

The slight variants to Tyrus Thomas lead to a whole new archetype. The last two sentences of this archetpe preclude me from talking to you about the Euro-Brazilians. (Though Faverani could roll up and be great when he's ready to hit stateside.) But Alade? Alade was in a system that criminally miused his talents. He's a guy who can murder you in a pick and roll system. Paul Hewitt didn't use the system by any stretch.

3) The Drew Gooden

The variant to the Tyrus Thomas is the Drew Gooden. Why? Because while Tyrus Thomas has the greatness in moments, Gooden will show off with the great games. He will also have the games of the 4 points and 5 rebound set. Inconsistency is the watchword with a Drew Gooden type. The spirit song for their coaches? Something from REO Speedwagon. Riding the Storm Out is too on the nose.

Potential Drew Goodens?
Leo Lyons Missouri

The Variant Cover Drew Goodens
Brandon Costner N.C. State
Nemanja Aleksandrov Russia

The variant cover is for the player who had a sustained fit of brilliance, but with either circumstance (Costner) or injury (Aleksandrov) making what they once were something that may never some back again. You likely are never going to see these two make the league. But a baseball principle still applies here. Once a player shows a skill, it does not disappear.

4) The Kurt Thomas

The jack of all trades and master of none. These guys bring a little of a lot to the table. Their love of How Stella Got Her Groove Back may vary, but their massive array of solid does not wax or wane. The upside? They'll be solid starters for six seasons, and character bench guys for a decade thereafter.

Potential Kurt Thomas?
Kevin Rogers Baylor
Gary Wilkinson Utah State
Ahmad Nivins St. Joesph's
Dante Cunningham Villanova
Taj Gibson USC
Jeff Pendergraph Arizona State

Obviously, this list is in order from least likely to most likely. Not to say that I don't like Kevin Rogers. I mean, he was Jeff Pendergraph as Jeff Pendergraph was being Jeff Pendergraph, I'm merely saying that Rogers or Ahmad Nivins won't get the shot that a Taj Gibson would. And that's kind of malaise inducing. Kind of.

Anyway, this leaves a couple of prospects who have enough of a potential interest that they fit into a different sort of archetype. Or may be able to graduate from it.

We start with...

Derrick Brown Xavier
6'7" 225

He's got a skill set more along the lines of a Michael Redd when he graduated from Ohio State than your average power forward. After all, you're looking at a man who really does not have a defesive position right now. His strength is in his length and atleticism. And why I'm comparing him to Michael Redd is because his offense isn't there yet, but it's developing. I mean, he did hit 43% of all his threes. If he keeps practicing he will make the above-average occasional All-Star tier on a bad team and become overpaid.

DeMarre Carroll Missouri
6'8" 225

He probably belongs in the Tyrus Thomas phylum. Moments of brilliance in a high energy package. But you know what? You have a very active defender. He used his system to be as chaotic as a Gerald Wallace/Josh Smith bringer of chaos. But he also takes good care of the ball and can hit a jumper. This may just be my gut instinct. The whole hear me now and believe me later sort of a deal. But I think he will bring swagger. I think people will sing hosannas about his skills.

This is a draft class that's going to surprise you. I can see sleepers for miles and miles. I went a little different here because it's all good. The circle of sleeper hunt is complete.

Please read me.
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Free Antwan Jamison to a good home...

Antawn JamisonImage via Wikipedia

Jonathan Givony is reporting that the Wizards are shopping Antwan Jamison. And they do not want much in return. This is interesting because the Cavaliers have the expiring contracts to make such a deal worthwhile for both sides. Givony says that a package of Ben Wallace (who's now best known as a sketch character on the Disciples of Clyde Podcast) and Sasha Pavlovic (who defends like he's a zombie on rollerskates), can be a great match for a deal (if the Wizards throw in Mike James) And I'm sure that there would be a pick at 30 or 45 involved, to get the Wizards a little more.

Here's why the deal is so great for the Cavs. In a world where the undersized four that can hit the three was a linchpin of NBA Finals runs for both the Magic as well as the Lakers? Even a past-30 Antwan can bring a lot to the table. He's not too far removed from being a 20 and 10 player. A LeBron-Mo-Antwan triad has some definite value.

And the Wizards can use the extra pick at 30 to use their pick at five for Jordan Hill. Why? Because Patty Mills can be theirs if they want to trade up, or maybe even if they stay at 30. That means they can get their shit together as the Gilbert Arenas albatross keeps rearing its ugly head.

Sorry. Cheap shot. I will move on.

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Listen...

The most sporty thing I can think of right now is just how I cannot accept Kobe Bryant as a Basketball Saint. It's not a balls to the wall thing. He has said fuck it to the Lakers on four seperate occasions. And I honestly don't know that it's because the Lakers are my 3rd least favorite basketball team.

So, I'll level with you. I'm watching Iran. This will not be a fast solution, but there is revolution here. And not just in social media marketing, either. It's the heart that you would wish your team would have.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

On Parra...

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 29:  Relief pitcher Manny...Image by Getty Images via Daylife


I always worry about Brewer pitching prospects. The history of fail has been something of a Homeric epic. From Narciso Elvira to Nick Neugebauer? There's only been two Brewer prospects that have been somebody.

The dude on your right had a chance to make it three for three. I mean, Manny Parra has three pitches of professional quality and he's had skills to pay the bills for the longest time. The issue? He's never been healthy.

Which brings us to today, yeah? Another bad effort for the man who would be king. He struggled to get out of the second inning as the White Sox game today. His command has been shaky for the duration of the season. And unless it's yet another injury? He's the quiet Chien Ming-Wang.

I mean, he has stuggled with his command for most of his big-league career, and when you have one of those scenarios? You break bad and it goes nuclear. But then again? He's a Brewer. He has to be hiding an injury right?

If he isn't? Then AAA is a dangerous thing. If he does not touch the plate in AAA? His career may be over fast.

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Wow. Just wow.



This is what went on in Iran today. After one of the most naked cases of fraud at the polls in recent memory, the Iranian people are trying to change the game. The rumor is that Mousavi beat Ahmenidijad by 12 million votes. (He finished 3rd.) And this could be the beginning of somthing special.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I present the YouTube series of Badittude...

Attitude as well as Dadittude...

Are you a bad enough dude to watch Canadians make video game based comedy? Find out...

Here's Part the One!



And here's Part the Two!

The Milwaukee Bucks on draft day...

They have a very interesting decision to make here. Really, I know most of the people in America could not give a crap about this team. But this is a team that has the potential to look a lot different. You could see a fading superstar moving on. You may have a lady or the tiger decision made with some young talent.

And you have two picks in a weak draft for overall depth. So, there's a lot of reasons to watch what the Bucks are planning on doing.

1) The inevitable Michael Redd trade rumors.

The package is not going to wow the Bucks fan. Not anymore. Maybe they can get a fading superstar in Kirilenko, but it's more likely they get an expiring contract or two in the Etan Thomas and Boobie Gibson phylum. (Redd to NYC for Harrington and Jared Jeffries? Could happen. I don't think the Bucks are going to take a year over the luxury tax, but Redd may be able to be had for less than you think.

2) Who do the Bucks keep?

You have a 24 year old power forward who has been solidly successful in the pros, who has not his athletic prime yet. You also have a 23 year old point guard whose had some massive games in his professional career with a scoring upside. Now, Villanueva is a restricted free agent. Sessions is restricted (as well). The draft class at forward is not that deep. (If Jordan Hill doesn't fall to 10? You aren't going to see them draft B.J. Mullens or Earl Clark.) And Luke Ridnour can be a one-year stopgap if necessary...

3) So who's the point guard?

Suffice it to say, I hope that Jeff Teague goes back to school. He has great skills, but he doesn't have the polish to handle the Scott Skiles experience. I like Eric Maynor and Ty Lawson, but I just don't see them being on an equal level with Sessions. So, if the Bucks choose between Brandon Jennings or Jonny Flynn? I don't see them making a mistake.

4) Or do they try to get in at the end of the round?

Because the third tier of point guards? Darren Collison, Patty Mills, Rodrique Beaubois. Like I said. Deep point guard class.

5) And finally?

Notes to John Hammond: Jerel McNeal in round 2. Or Jack McClinton (as the MONGA in training). Your call.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hey, did you know that the NBA Referees just screwed over another non-Laker team?

It's true! I'll give you a second to process that.

Okay, now this wasn't as egregious as previous situations (2002 Western Conference Finals, 2006 NBA Finals.) The Magic hit their free throws? It would be a 2-2 series. But they didn't. So the game went to overtime.

But, when you have a superstar like Kobe Bryant who...shall we say, has a bit of Bruce Bowen in him?



The referees allow that to happen. He aims his elbow in the general direction of other peoples head and does not get called for it. And tonight? It allowed for a dagger to be plunged into the heart of the Magic. Jameer has to get new dental work. Pietrus will get some form of punishment, the Lakers get a tainted win.

And that's the shame. This was a classic. At least it was until the referees stuck their head in it.

Bah. Bah I say.

The 19 Interesting NBA Free Agents...

I know better know. Basketball rankings in terms of NBA Hoop is just something I cannot do. So you know what? There's going to be 19 players I'm going to list. No particular order. Why? Because I'm starting with Mike Bibby. He's not #1 at anything.

Mike Bibby: (Bibby is the sort of guy who can fall through the tracks. His last contract was back when he was a stellar lead guard. Now? He's a better than average starter. Who may not have a team in August.)
Zaza Pachulia: (You want a stealth energy guy to get you 8 boards a game on the low post who will be cheaper than Marcin Gortat? You go get Magilla Gorilla here.)
Ben Gordon: (He's going to have to go to a team that doesn't know what it's doing. Why? Because he's Vinnie Johnson skilled, with a starters mentality.)
Jason Kidd: (Because he is at once a great teammate and a horrible person.)
Allen Iverson: (It's decision time. Do you want to be the man or do you want to win the title? Because you're going to have to be a 6th man to do it.)
Rasheed Wallace: (His presence reenforces the culture of a team. A team with good intangibles gets better with Sheed. But if the culutre breaks bad? So will he.)
Ron Artest: (Come on. We know why.)
Lamar Odom: The jack of all trades with the most childlike of all vices. If he ever gets off Vitamin S? He's gonna be more than a rich man's Tim Thomas.)
Ramon Sessions: (How often do you get a 23 year old starter with excellent distributorial skills who will likely hit the market?)
Charlie Villanueva: (He's 24 and already threatening 17-8. You get the next contract, and you have a shot at a nice run of 20-10.)
Hedo Turkugolu: (He was always a very nice point forward. But with his performance in this playoffs? He's going to make bank. Some team's gonna love him. Unless he keeps with the Turkish Nick Anderson.)
Andre Miller: (Sure, he's past 30. But he's an excellent distributor and he's an iron man. He saved Philly last season.)
Drew Gooden: (Frontcourt Bibby.)
Shawn Marion: (The most underrated 15 million dollar man in hoops. Still gets many boards. Still defends like an ace. Sill can score 15-20 in a game.)
Mehmet Okur: (He's a great shooter. In fact? Let's call him low post Turkogulu.)
Carlos Boozer: (Because he's injury prone. And kind of lazy. He's going to Elton Brand the team that signs him.)
Paul Millsap: (He is the brawny Paper towel guy. He's what DeJuan Blair wishes he would be.)
Anderson Varejao: (Not to belabor the point? But 6 million dollars was left on the table. He's not even going to come close. He's losing millions.)
Kobe Bryant: (With Andrew Bynum becoming an albatross, and 52 million being spent on 3 guys, plus either Ariza or Odom going if he stays? There is a better than you think chance he may opt out. He's still a dick, we've just kind of accepted it.)

Yes. More on Game 4. Which I hate the NBA for making me miss part of Norm McDonald and Jim Gaffigan.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In regards to Raul Ibanez...

He has an absolute right to be angry. PED is the scarlet acronym of baseball. And just because he went from a strong pitchers park on a crappy team to a bandbox on a great team doesn't mean he did anything untoward to get there.

But it doesn't mean it doesn't. Especially in this day and age. You cannot implicitly trust that a superstar is not or has not cheated to win. It seems silly, but even hot starts have been tied to a new steroid cycle. Remember, Brian Roberts was named in the Mitchell Report.

And it's not as if the Mainstream media hasn't participated in the idle speculation game either. The mere existence of Barry Bonds would touch off a 5 minute debate on steroids on the Worldwide Leader. Hell, Outside the Lines during 2006-2007 had 75% of its episodes be about steroids in Baseball.

But that's where our story really begins. For it seems, there are blogs that exist that I don't write for. And Jerod Morris, one of the folks behind Midwest Sports Fan decided he wanted to try and prove Raul Ibanez's innocence. And like me, and many people, he said that the speculation was premature. But there was a definite problem. And it was major league baseball's fault.

And Jerod Morris unfairly gets blamed for the culture that people like John Gonzalez and Ken Rosenthal helped to perpetuate.

Moving on...More later, or tomorrow.

I really should rectify a situation...

Earlier this year, I told you about this conclave of wrestling and whimsy that is Chikara Pro. And you delighted in it. But thanks to a twitter tip from frenemy of blog Doug Scheckler. I will show you another reason why Chikara is greatness.



YAY!

I have said that Paul Westphal is the Lou Brown hire...

And that is something that I firmly believe. Let me explain the logic. Lou Brown was the Manager in Major League. He was supposed to lead the Indians to Miami. But behind the power pitching of Ricky Vaughn and the Ecksteinish intangibles of Jake Taylor. Lou Brown brought home a division title.

But that just doesn't happen in real life. Especially in the NBA, where there's a precedent for this sort of hire. There was a West Coast basketball team that had fallen on hard times. But it had skilled pieces as well as a reasonably loyal fanbase. A good coach could have started a rebuilding process. However, they hired...



P.J. Carlesimo. A man who parlayed one shining head coaching moment at Seton Hall into two decades of mediocrity ending with an Epic Fail. (One word: Spreewell). He was hired to destroy the Sonics, and he did his job with aplomb, as you can see by where the Sonics stand now. But compare him to Westphal.

A man who had one shining head coaching moment at Phoenix, parlaying that into 15 years of mediocrity ending with an Epic Fail. (7-25 at Pepperdine. Yeah, Pepperdine.) And we have a rumor that the Kings is ready to leave.

I'm not going to say that this will be the catalyst for the team moving to Anaheim or Kansas City, but if step one is an Arena battle, and step two is a horrible retread coaching hire? Some team may be surprised to find that Kevin Martin will be available for less than you think.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Eric Arnett

Let me just say this. This is today. It's between three months and forever until these guys make the bigs. And for the Brewers, there's a bad history at the position they drafted. I may be the last one who's still not over Nick Neugebauer not making it.
 
But I say this to you tonight. As value bets go? If Eric Arnett's arm is skilled enough to stay healthy, the Brewers made a great one. He has two professional pitches to his name (And that's the exact prototypical closers repitoire if his change-up doesn't develop). He has decent command, and if he keeps in shape? The 96 MPH fastball will make it to the bigs.
 
It was not some docuhey pick for signability. It was an awesome pick for awesome.
 
Yay!

Three Movie Pitches for your NBA Finals...

Now like most people in America? I wish to be a screenwriter. The problem is like many. I can give you excellent paragraphs, but it loses something in the 110 pages. Alas, if you wheel.

But this means I can on my would be expertise to you the reader. And in five forms, I will give you a start on a sports movie screenplay.

-------------------------------------
In a world where J.J. Redick gets crunch time play, the Orlando Magic are getting desperate.

stan van gundy
These two can save the day!

But a name from the past may be the only way to even the odds.

LIL\' PENNY
I'm getting to old for this--

Lil' Penny asks, Do You Believe in Magic? Rated PG-13.

------------------------------
The Los Angeles Lakers can take the sunlight, sprinkle it with dew. Cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two.

Lamar Odom
HE TOOK MY TWIX!

Lamar Odom IS The Candyman, coming next Friday.

Lamar Odom
TWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWIIIIIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!

--------------------------
*Cue Braveheart Music*

In a world where energy off the bench is lacking, one man looks to change the world.

Marcin Gortat
I DUNK FOR FREEDOM!

Jerzy Stuhr and introducing Marcin Gortat in Hammer: The Marcin Gortat Story. Rated R.
-----------

I don't care. Jerzy Stuhr refrences make me happy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's time to start loving College Football again...

That's right. This is one of the two things I bring when I bring the awesome. I list football teams. And I tell you why you should love them. This year becomes a challenge. I will try and bring you different reasons to love teams. You can find last years list. Google Eugene Jarvis. It may help.

Anyway...

Air Force: WATERGATE BLOODLINES ALERT! #1 receiver on the Depth Chart Kyle Halderman is a distant nephew of Nixon Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman. See? His family added the R to fool people into thinking that he doesn't have the taint of Watergate on him. But I know better.
Akron: Chris Jacquemain has a chance to be somebody after three years of being somebody's fool. He now gets to be taught by Walt Harris. Walt has coached 14 quarterbacks to an NFL career. And he could make Chris his 15th if the light turns on. If not? I'm sure the 4 starters at receiver would love to be taught by the guy who helped get Terry Glenn, Antonio Bryant, and Larry Fitzgerald to the pros.
Alabama: Requisite Saban hate aside, there are two names that you have to like. Terence Cody makes B.J. Raji look positively svelte with his monstrous manning midway through the trenches. And Javier Arenas is on Step 1 of the Tebow scale, but after people find out he's been blogging about how he cheats at Halo and steals jokes from comedians? Heh. Heh. Heh. Seriously, Arenas is shifty at returns and will be a Day 2 bargain.

javier arenas
I am Agent Zero 2.8!

Arizona: The Zendejas name is to kicking as the name Jeff Robinson is to early-90's mediocrity on the pitchers mound. Arizona has the latest if not the greatest in Alex. He may not be able to launch it from way downtown. But he's deadly from inside 40. There needs to be a reality show about this family.
Arizona State: The only thing that you really need to like about Arizona State is the fact that their overaged baseball prospect has entirely too much juevos to play a skill position. His name is Mike Nixon. And he is made of heart.
Arkansas: They're not going to bring the BCS power this year, the skill position guys are either tiny and injury-prone (Michael Smith-RB), inexperienced (every receiver not named London Crawford), or just flat out young. Add to that a defense that struggles to stop the run and an inexperienced backfield? And they are the wino eating grapes of the greatest confluence of talent since the New World Order. That means dude, you have to wait.
Arkansas State: With a team in the middle of Arkansas that resides in the bottom quarter of all esteem in 1-A football, you need to find the class where you can get it. For the Red Wolves, their touch of class comes from Alex Carrington. He is the Mid-Major rush end for the Trump set. THE MOST LUXURIOUS RUSH END MONEY COULD EVER BY!
Army: It would be easy to say that Army is hopeless. They've been averaging a coach every two seasons. And they all have been fail since 1997. But new hire Rich Ellerson brought winning to the magnificent vista of San Luis Obispo. He also confounded Wisconsin and really should have taken them down in Madison. I'm not saying he'll bring glory straight away. But they may go into Navy with four or five wins. Baby steps.
Auburn: Let's try this again, shall we? Can a system that allowed Todd Graham to become something more than a weirdo raper guy work in the big time? Auburn hired Gus Malzahn to find out. It kind of worked at Arkansas, but what happens when all the offensive players failed at this once already? That’s just intrigue.
Ball State: As MiQuale goes? So too the Cardinals. He's not exactly Robotron, but MiQuale Lewis is a tiny running back who kept Ball State afloat after Dante Love's career-ending injury last year. It's his team now, and the Sproles-Jones Drew diaspora gets decided here. Tanner Justice can only administer his orange retribution via clipboard, it belongs to MiQuale.
Baylor: Here's an obvious choice. Robert Griffin is awesome. He will carry this team upon his back and take Waco to football glory. You all never thought that happened, didn't you? Didn't you!

I know I didn't...
Boise State: Kellen Moore came out of nowhere last year and nearly (should have) led the Broncos to the Bowl Championship Series. And if the line gells quickly, Kellen Moore has the weapons (Austin Pettis and Titus Young) and the schedule (if they beat Oregon week one, they'll run the table) to get them back into the BCS.
Boston College: There was some beef in the middle of the defensive line last season. B.J. Raji and Ron Brace were 670 pounds of Ravioli in the middle. They're professionals now. One of the replacements? Either Kaleb Ramsey or Brandon Deska. They're linebacker-sized. In fact, Deska is 241 pounds. It amuses me. I love it.
Bowling Green: The 115th ranked total offense last season? Tennessee. The offensive coordinator/culprit? Dave Clawson. Bowling Green's new coach? Dave Clawson. The schadenfreude from an inexplicable coaching higher can keep you warm at night. But Tyler Sheehan? He is better than what Tennessee has at quarterback.
Buffalo: They won't fall off much. A healthy season from James Starks is worth a lot. Naaman Roosevelt has professional talent. It will allow Zach Maynard to grow into the job. But the reason to love them? Alex Pierre! He's the special teams ace who will kill himself to get the experienced defense in position.
BYU: The skill positional weapons are very much the same as last year. Max Hall is still the quarterback, Harvey Unga is the thumper at running back, Dennis Pitta is the master of Y control. If a receiver (McKay Jacobson?) emerges, they could crash the BCS. It vibes like TCU's schedule last year. Lose to Oklahoma in week one, and possibly run the table the rest of the way. (Granted, Florida State isn't exactly a guaranteed win, but...)
California: Forget the awesomeness of Jahvid Best. You and know he's most likely to roll-up on the Heisman like boo motherfucker, darkhorse style. I want to talk about the back-up quarterback Brock Mansion. HE'S NAMED AFTER A BUILDING! Or...Brock Sampson. Either way you know you love it.
Central Michigan: We all know about Dan LeFevour. He's going to be somewhere in the draft next year. We get that. But you need to get hip to the hop about Antonio Brown. The world is falling back in love with the shifty and the versatile receiver. And he's already drawing comparisons to Greg Jennings. You have to love that.
Cincinnati: I love a good sort of pass-catching combination. I'll mention at least one more down the road. But you know who's going to be the Montana to Rice of this season's 1-A football? It's going to be Tony Pike to Mardy Gilyard. And that will keep them near the level of prestige that they were accustomed to.
Clemson: Not to crack wise on the most beloved back-up quarterback in the Dabo Swinney era (Willy Korn), but there is still lightning and the hopes and dreams of a good offense with the skill positional talent. "Lightning" a.k.a. C.J. Spiller and "How the hell did Cullen Harper overthrow me again?" a.k.a. Jacoby Ford are still there. And two good triplets can lift up the third.
Colorado: The last chance to make it work is always something interesting. This is year four of the Dan Hawkins administration. And outside of a classic rant "GO PLAY INTRAMURALS!" and a loss to Nick Saban in the Independence Bowl? There has been little to celebrate. The last chance for Dan Hawkins redemption comes this season.

Dan Hawkins
Or he is going to be the happiest Offensive Coordinator ever.

Colorado State: Well, any two deep that allows me to drop the line "East-Man! He comes from the east to do battle with the Amazing Rando!" is enjoyable. Thanks to Juco transfer Jon Eastman, there. But I'm here to talk professionalism. And Rashaun Greer? He is going to go the way of Gartrell Johnson.
Connecticut: There's been a tradition of strong defense and special teams in Randy Edsall football, and this season's linebacking corp will be the linchpin of whatever success the Huskies have. And while Greg Lloyd will be the face of the defense, Scott Lutrus was the most productive part of it.
Duke: David Cutcliffe is a man whose made of quarterback success. It's not just because he got to teach both Mannings how to quarterback. He coordinated a national championship with Tee Martin for Pete's sake. This means good news for Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. I know they have an awesome defensive tackle, but you know what? I don't want to spell it. So Thaddeus wins.
Eastern Michigan: It's rare that you can actually find an interesting quarterback on a team with such low expectations. But I mentioned Andy Schmitt last season, yeah? And players like the four returning starters on the line, intriguing big back Terrence Blevins, and possession receiver Jacory Stone mean this is an offense that can threaten to put up forty points on anybody. And that's just fun.
ECU: The Pirates have Patrick Pinkney back to be the triggerman for a passing game that looks pretty solid. But the thing that allowed people to engage in ESPN logic about a BCS party crasher is back and its deep. The defense is strong. 8 returning starters, and great speed. They have another chance to make the media go all exuberant.
FIU: The Fighting Neds have an Action Jackson sort of consonance under center. Paul McCall took a team that was supposed to be blatantly awful, and got them five wins. For a sequel? He has five home games. And the inspirational leader that is A'Mod Ned has graduated. Can Paul McCall keep Mario Cristobal enthralled? He has the returning experience to do it.
Florida: You know what? The internet is bored with Superman too. Truth, Justice, and the American Way is hack. But enough about Tebow. Their defense is spectacular (with all 11 starters returning!) and will carry them through to their one conceivable challenge, October 10th, a road game (off a bye week) at LSU. Look for some New England Patriot styled boring dominance.

tim tebow
Meh.

Florida Atlantic: Rusty Smith is probably the most underrated quarterback going into 2009. He's 6'5" with a laser, rocket arm. He has skill position talent coming back. If he doesn't get killed in the first weeks of the season? The Boy Adventurer is going to be great.
Florida State: The hopes and fears of Florida State are always tied to the core competency of their quarterback. The problem? Not since the days from Peter Tom Willis to Danny Kanell have they actually had a quarterback that has been able to bring something to the table. Christian Ponder is the latest in the line of tantalizing prospects. Kid does not have much help at wide receiver, but if somebody emerges? Ponder has the gifts to restore the chant, so to speak.
Fresno State: Bloodlines are what make the Valley intriguing. The interesting contender to start at quarterback a Freshman named Derek Carr. His brother was the former #1 pick. And apologies for not hyping you to Bear Pascoe last season. But at the very least? I'm giving you brother Vince. Last year he was the lead blocker to the rush'n' attack. This year? He's looking to make a "y" dynasty.
Georgia: They like Cox to lead them. The fans will utter let's go Cox from Between the Hedges. Get it? Okay, putative new starting quarterback Joe Cox is a lot more David Greene than Matt Stafford. But since he has A.J. Green? He will be a very solid quarterback with a name that makes the 12 year old in me laugh my ass off.
Georgia Tech: Yes, we all know and love the option. And Jonathan Dwyer is a man who brings lightning and thunder all at once as the Flexbone fullback. But you know what? There's a whisper. You don't want to make this comparison lightly. But with a receiver of such size and physical skills in Demaryius Thomas? There's whispers that he could develop into Megatron. He's professional.
Hawaii: I could talk about the inherent evil of someone who holds the surname Funaki. But lacking a Michinoku, Hawaii missed a real opportunity. But there's redemption at linebacker. The immortal Blaze Soares still resides in Honolulu. He will be good again.
Houston: Case Keenum is a gunslinger like no other. He has Bryce Beall running the ball and Tyron Carrier as the leader of a coterie of talent at receiver. And you know the fun part? None of them are seniors. 2009 may be good (and I can see them going 12-1), but 2010 is where the rubber meets the road.
Idaho: I mentioned Deonte Jackson last year. He's back, but not nearly as interesting as a junior strong safety on the other side of the field. His is a game that makes Shelby Foote get up from his grave and applaud. America? Meet Shiloh Keo.
Illinois: Jeff Cumberland was a microcosm for the way the Illini broke last season. A physically gifted but underperforming team that was unwilling to change its ways even after shit got real and Jeff Cumberland broke a dude's jaw. But he's a 255-pound wideout. How can the Zooker bench him? Juice needs weapons, baby.
Indiana: Do you like pass-rushing? I like pass-rushing. Indiana can generate the sack attack. Jammie Kirlew finished strong last season. Greg Middleton was an All-American in 2007. When their powers combine? Indiana may coalesce enough wins to get to a bowl game. Baby steps.
Iowa: Their defense always amuses me. From the undersized defensive tackles to the lamest superhero ever manning the middle, (Pat Angerer: He likes it when you're angry) the black heart and gold pants is always a delight when they don't have the ball. And with potential parody of a Raffi song in offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga? They will be arrested for another crime. Stealing the heart of a nation.
Iowa State: I know Iowa State's history. It's not very pretty. But Paul Rhoads has an ample opportunity for a quick turnaround. He has a good passing game in Austen Aurnaud, he's going to throw it to Sedrick Johnson and Darius Darks. And they have two years to build this team back to the bowl level. Why? They don't have to face Oklahoma or Texas. A Kansas run may be a bridge too far, but eight wins by 2010 isn't.
Kansas: Now I actually have an excuse to break out my most favorite photo of all time. No, it's not a photo of Dezmon Briscoe, who while the second best Dez in the Big 12 does have a professional quality about him as a 6'3" dude with passable wheels. It's not Jonathan Wilson, who's also tall and rangy and a returning starter. Back-up quarterback Kerry Meier developed into Todd Reesing's Wayne Chrebet. He's tall, he has the eye of Reesing on third down, and he has the greatest picture of all-time.


YAY!

Kansas State: A part of the history of Bill Snyder is the adorably tiny weapon. You've seen Darren Sproles, you've forgotten about David Allen. But as Bill Snyder returns to try and restore some semblance of the roar, there's a new mini cooper. He is Brandon Banks. 5'7" 150 pounds of heart and speed. Gotta love it.
Kent State: Okay, I'll make with the Eugene Jarvis love again. One, you can give him the nickname Robotron. I would love to be called Robotron. Two, he's positively Sprolesian in terms of weaponized offense in a tiny package. And three? He plays his home games in Dix Stadium. See what I did there? Classy.
Kentucky: There isn't likely to be quarterback wizardry this year from Big Blue, as if Randall Cobb is your quarterback, there is most definitely a problem. That being said, what returns on defense is really special. Micah Johnson is a solid thumper in the middle, and Trevard Lindley is going to be a 1st round pick next season. If they fill holes? Intrigue!
Louisiana Tech: Ruston's going to get a major school record broken this season. With 1,123 yards? Daniel Porter becomes a record breaker. And with five returning starters and good health? Porter will get this done. They'll go to a bowl game.
Louisiana-Lafayette: Orkeys Auriene is a name that is the most ragin' of the Ragin' Cajuns. Undrea Sails is the least Ragin'. Both need to bring it with a sickness if they are to maintain their .500 season. Fenroy and Desormeaux are gone. Consolidation is a good goal.
Louisiana-Monroe: Do you like wordplay? I don't. But if I pretended I did, I would have to say this. ATTACK A CARDIA! It's in praise of Cardia Jackson. He's a returning all-conference linebacker who looks to explode in a New Mexico styled defense where the linebackers are set loose to attack. Preview for 2010? The Warhawks could have a Shaq Attack in the secondary!
Louisville: There's a certain uncertainty toward Louisville this season. They have four quarterbacks and no one has emerged to take the job. They have 8 starters returning from a pretty bad defense. If it wasn't for Victor Anderson at running back? They would be in a worse position then they are now.
LSU: You want to know who may electrify the NFL for a year? Trindon Holliday. Kid's a burner and a half. He's already with two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. And he will bring more quicksilver magic this season. I could talk Brandon LeFell, but Bayou Bengals receivers aren't generally made of senior success.
Marshall: The Thundering Herd have found themselves with 200th generation bloodline powers. Starting tight end Jack Slate is a part of the Mr. Slate fortune. Really. I mean, what, you're going to tell me that the Flintstones isn't a documentary? Please. That's just you being goofy, hypothetical reader.
Maryland: Paul Pinegar could never give up football. After he nearly took down the 2005 USC Trojans? He knew he wanted another chance at success. But he washed out of the pros as a quarterback. So he decided he wanted another chance at college success. He gained 45 pounds and now starts at left tackle for the Terps. What?
Memphis: I mentioned the height of the receivers last year. I mentioned the villainously named Arkelon Hall last year. But this year? It's the run game that also earns love. One, the starter is named Curtis Steele. He came in and won newcomer of the year. But if the back-up can keep his head straight and fly right? Then Lance Smith may supplant him. He was a Badger, and he was better than what we had starting last year.
Miami: People named Ray Ray always bring that certain Je Nais Se Quoi. I mean, you can be a one-star prospect from Pocatello, Idaho and somebody would want to bring that home to the two-deep. But if he's 6'4" 220 and he's downright rangy? You have to love that. Ray Ray Armstrong, America wants you to be the next great Miami safety. No pressure.
Miami (OH): It's not as if any team can just roll up and be Buffalo. You have a bad year? Next year you're not going to be great. But there does seem to be hope on the horizon. Peter Vaas has run successful offenses from Holy Cross to introducing America to Brady Quinn. Bull Reese is someone who brings the best 11 on defense to the field and had success at LSU and Texas. The Redhawks act patient? They'll be back.
Michigan: When is a punter the best part of a team? When your punter is named Zoltan. I mean, come on.

Zoltan
Zoltan!

Michigan State: Dude, you're getting a Dell! That's what Rick Reilly would say if he took on what to love about Michigan State. Because while they are a team that's not exactly expected to make magic on offense this year, they do have a guy who can remind some of Devin Thomas with his ability to make with the go route in Mark Dell.
Middle Tennessee: There's a vaguely intriguing shot at redemption in terms of playcalling. Disgraced former Auburn Offensive Coordinator Tony Franklin comes back to the conference that allowed him such an opportunity to hit the epic fail. He has a quarterback who sounds like he would be awesome at the spread option (Dwight Dasher) and residence of the best city name in Division 1 (Murfeesboro). Tony Franklin's redemption song's going to be fun to watch.
Minnesota: Now seeing as my homeristic tendencies do not allow me to get too amped for the glories of a rival, I will keep this as dispassionate as possible. Adam Weber to Eric Decker is this years most underrated hook-up combination. I fear they may take the axe.
Mississippi State: Like Ed Orgeron, Dan Mullen's coming off a national championship and bringing a strong recruiting class to Starkville. Year one is the building. Year two is the consolidation. Year three? ??? Year 4? Profit. I know, I know. 2012 as your year may be a sad story, but hey, you're in the greatest confederation of talent since Ocean's 11. No quick turnnarounds here.
Missouri: I know what you're thinking right? Without Chase Daniel and the Marshall Faulk lookalike Jeremy Maclin, this team can't be as good as they were last year. But you know what? Blaine Gabbert has better physical tools than Chase Daniel, and if Derrick Washington stays healthy, the offense will still make motion down the field. And that may be enough to get them back near the level thyey were accustomed to.
Navy: He thought that his home was his castle, with no one scrutinizing he. No pigs, no lyin' bitch, no hassle. Y'all are brutalizing-- Wait, Ricky Dobbs? Sorry. I'm supposed to talk about Ricky Dobbs being the most hyped option triggerman in the service academies since the days of Beau Morgan. No brutalizing him, okay?
NC State: As you've seen, I've gone a little esoteric with my ACC love. But you know what? The Wolfpack love will be obvious. Russell Wilson is a dynamic force at quarterback who may have a more successful season than Phillip Rivers in his future. Or he'll play second base in Appleton, Wisconsin. One of the two.
Nebraska: Look. I know there are recruits coming in that are awesome. I know that there are awesomely named professionally talented defensive tackles who are forces of nature. I don't care. Their starting running back is Roy Helu Jr. And that's a name that strikes more fear when it's uttered like a dandy fop. That's what I love about Nebraska.
Nevada: I don't normally like to repeat myself on these things. But Colin Kapernick is just that good. I know a part of the Nevada mythos is the Pistol offense. But Kapernick is Tim Tebow without any hype. Get him a photo with a comely lass and he blows Dan LeFevour out of the water.
New Mexico: Injury based redemption is the name of the game here. Donovan Porterie is the man who got them their last bowl game win with 3000 yeards passing and a name that goes great with andouille. But he tore his ACL last season. It turned them into a 4-8 team and turned Rocky Long into a defensive coordinator. Now he's back. And he will get redemption.
New Mexico State: I was thinking of mentioning Timm Rosenbach. Really. Apparently the draft bust from the Arizona Cardinals has found second life as a quarterback whisperer. And he's well-regarded. But you know what? No. Their strength is in their linebackers. New coach DeWayne Walker is a defensive superstar. Nick Paden was a tackling machine last season. Walker makes him all-conference.
North Carolina: You know what? If you're going to be a quarterback on a top-20 caliber team, what the hell are you doing playing Ultimate Frisbee. You could go Robert Evans with a school that brings out some very attractive coeds. But you know what? That's for my reasons to hate every team post. Never mind.
North Texas: You want a small school sleeper team? Go see the Fighting Von Erich's. Five returning starters on the offensive line with surprising depth for a mid-major. Cam Montgomery is a hard-charging runner. And the coach has his kid running the offense. If the defense can go from zombified to merely bad? They'll get to a bowl game.
Northern Illinois: Nobody can hate a dude named Chandler Harnish. One? His name is Chandler Harnish, it's going to be the name of the guy who steals Zac Efron's girlfriend in the remake of Better off Dead. Two? The game brings a touch Colt McCoy to DeKalb.
Northwestern: The Corey Wooton clan is not anything to fuck with. A big and fast pass-rusher who is going to cause trouble for anybody who would cross his path. And with a defensive that was pretty good last year and returning back seven experience? You may not have as much fun watching this team, but they might actually be better.
Notre Dame: Charlie Weis has a fun and easy new nickname. Fail Whale.

fail whale
And watch me get sued by Twitter...

Ohio: How do you know an offensive revolution has turned hack? When a luddite like Frank Solich has turned to it. Yep. Ohio has gone to the spread based option attack. Not to say that Theo Scott and Boo Jackson's going to simulate Pat White, and Chris Garrett is a potential Noel Devine simalcrum. They'll be fine on offense. Just trying to warn you about the spread backlash.
Ohio State: You know something? Terrelle Pryor didn't suck last year. But that's not the thing that intrigues me. Brandon Saine is. In a spread option offense, you can find success with a smaller back like Steve Slaton or the aforementioned Michael Smith. But Brandon Saine is 217 pounds of fire and fury. He has a chance to turn pro off of his success this season.
Oklahoma: You know about the offensive weapons. But what you need to get hip to is Gerald McCoy. There is a history of talent that made Jim Ross exclaim one of his trademark catchphrases from the defensive side of the ball. The next Tommie Harris is here, and his name is Gerald McCoy. But he totally looks like a Jermaine.
Oklahoma State: You know what? This one's going to be as obvious as a fanboy's drool after seeing the Star Wars MMO trailer at E3. Zac Robinson? Back. His bodyguard, Russell Okung? Back. Kendall Hunter? Back! Dez Bryant? Back! The sickest balance in pro sports? Back! I'm a man, I'm 40? Back! They'll be the most fun 10-2 team you'll see all year.
Ole Miss: You're a school that lost two first round draft picks in the trenches, you're going to have a sophomore start at left tackle in the single greatest collection of elements that ever existed since the Founding Fathers. But yet? Expectations are high. It's a testament to the Jevan Snead magic. But I like the next Mike Thomas in Dexter McCluster. 5'8" 165, shifty. Look for his name to be uttered by the football cognoscenti this next offseason.
Oregon: It's not often when you can administer praise and scorn in equal measure in one sentence or less. But LeGarette Blount is about to get the most backhanded complement ever. Why? Because if he keeps on the road that he's on? He's the next Onterrio Smith.
Oregon State: Corvallis has the greatest brothers since the Mario's. Quizz and James Rodgers are two baby sized men with grown assed talent. They missed the last two games when the Beavers broke badly, but you know what? They are back and better than ever!
Penn State: Navorro Bowman is another of the too good to sit character issues that have seemed to permeate through Happy Valley in recent years, I mean he racks up the tackles. Sean Lee was great in 2007. He's looking for some injury redemption. Josh Hull rounds out the linebacker corps with general solidity in the middle. It's as if this team should have a nickname or something.
Pittsburgh: Greg Romeus and Jabaal Sheard are a very nice tag team of defensive ends. In fact, I will bestow upon them a nickname that is at once beautiful in its simplicity. I shall call them the Midnight Express. Also? Jonathan Baldwin is on the journey to becoming the next great Pittsburgh wide receiver. And that's nice.
Purdue: While some looked at the spread offense as the Boilermaker's stock in trade, they have had 8 rush end-types make play in the NFL in recent seasons. And considering the inexperienced state of affairs that Purdue has running through their offensive skill positions? Love needs to be brought to Ryan Kerrigan. He's the man that would be nine.
Rice: With Clement, Casey, and Dillard off to the great beyond, there will be some dropoff. John Thomas Shepherd may not be the Clement, and nobody's going to replace Casey. But Toren Dixon is going to give you 90% of Jarrett Dillard. And most of the team will be back for 2010. Patience. The Owls shall return.
Rutgers: The skill talent is untested. But you know what? With a line like the Scarlet Knights have, they will manage to cull a good offense. Anthony Davis has got the athleticism of a tight end and the road grading skills of a road grader. And Tim Brown is a tiny receiver with Heisman trophy same name, and you know that's just plain good.
San Diego State: San Diego State has been in the weeds for entirely too long. I mean, 15 years of mediocre to bad just seems unacceptable right? But Brady Hoke is coming out from Ball State as the new savior. I mean, he worked magic in Muncie. And he does have a promising quarterback in Ryan Lindley. A fast turnaround won't happen, but hiring Hoke was a coup.
San Jose State: It is time to celebrate the return of the White Shadow, Kevin Jurovich. Yay! Kyle Reed and the Spartans were merely average without him. But wait, there's more. The defense may have lost three draft picks to the NFL, but there are brothers. Carl and Duke. They care not for your worries of losing Jarron Gilbert. For they are Ihenachos. And Ihenachos leave it all on the field.
SMU: They say people with three names are either beauty queens or serial killers. That means there's danger to playing in Dallas, for Bo Levi Mitchell is someone who brings the pain. June Jones is breaking out a run and shoot with a pistol formation. There will be shootous. Glorious shootouts.

smoke
South Carolina: The mercurial Stephen Garcia finally has the reins of the Gamecocks. And that's good and all. But I'm here for a weapons check. If he stays healthy and sees the field? Jarvis Giles is going to be Colbert country's answer to Jahvid Best.
South Florida: I know you know about George Selvie, and he will be drafted on day one. I know you know about Matt Groethe. He is still a good quarterback. That being said? Good bloodlines are always fun, and if you're wondering if Jessie Hester is the junior of the former Colts receiver? Answer. Yes. Yes he is. And that's just fun as well.
Southern Miss: The Hat has the offense that he's always wanted. DeAndre Brown lived up to the hype and more as a Freshman. He will catch passes from record-breaking freshman Austin Davis (that means I think Favre lost some records). And add that to Daimon Fletcher's solid run game? You know what you get. Magic. Hattiesburg magic.
Stanford: Toby Gerhart is a measty powerback. But you know what? He may not be there by draft day, let alone opening day. But with a line led by Chris Marinelli, if baseball calls Toby Gerhart, you will find that there won't be much of a dropoff if Jeremy Stweart has to take the reins.
Syracuse: You know what? The team that generated three wins on little more than grit and spit is actually going to have a playmaker or two on offense. Delone Carter and Mike Williams missed last season. And with Cameron Dantley, the Cuse actually have a Big East talent level of triplets. It's not enough yet, but it's a start. Or not. Gary Marrone is an absolute madman!
TCU: Gary Patterson always comes up with a good defense. He has professional talent returning on three levels. Jerry Hughes is a pass-rusher extraordinaire. Rafael Priest is a shutdown cornerback. And Daryl Washington? He's a man whose built on running and hitting. They'll be able to reload on defnse.
Temple: I'm calling a shot here. Temple breaks through. They have 17 starters returning (6 of 7 on the defensive side of the ball), the variances of luck on their side (2 overtime losses, 3 losses by 4 or less in regulation), and a schedule that's built to start well (5-1 is not out of the question--it took a Hail Mary for Buffalo to win last season). And no matter who wins the quarterback job, both have fun names. I'm going to make you find out for yourself. Google it. You'll be glad you did.
Tennessee: Eric Berry is the top prospect. Lane Kiffin is the mad genius of recuiting. The weighing of mad and genius is debatable. But hey. Me, I want Montario Hardesty to win the starting job over Bruce Berry. One, for the name. It's infinitely better. And two, because the recruiting process was not so flawed for Hardesty. And the name. Montario Hardesty. COME ON! Soak in that awesomeness.
Texas: You know reasons to love Texas. But I'm going to give you something different. I have an affinity for tank-sized running backs, see. And looking at your running back depth chart, I see that the Burnt Orange has one. Cody Johnson is 5'11" and 255 pounds. That's downright burly.
Texas A&M: As a Packer fan, I do have to take a little joy in the failure of Mike Sherman: Season 1. But he does have hope coming in. The offense could throw last year despite that their run game was the suck. That may change and quickly. Beaumont had a running back with a fabulous game decide he wanted to stay close to home. His name is Christine Michael. He's got an opening to win the job. Now if you could just Oregeron Sherman, we'd be perfect.

Taylor Potts
Texas Tech: Is this a team destined to be the #2 team in the nation? No. Is this a team that could get gashed on defense? Yes. But Mike Leach simply reloads on offense. Taylor Potts will be statistically great. And put it this way, good offenses are simply fun to watch. And T-squared will get this done.
Toledo: Barry Church was voted most likely to be the next Larry English in Last years MAC notebook. He's a big rangy safety who loves to administer the killshot. Lowered expectations in Toledo will give him ample opportunity to make people pay for catching that nine yard slant.
Troy: Their defense is what I like. More specifically the likebackers. I smell sitcom in Troy's 4-2-5. Don't believe me? The depth chart for Troy has Boris Lee and Bear Woods as the starters. Boris and the Bear. Yeah, I want to see what kind of wacky hijinx that these two get into every week.
Tulane: From the people who brought you Matt Forte, it's Andre Anderson. Andre Anderson, who averaged 142 yards rushing per game before his severe injury last season, looks to return healthy this season. And if Matt Forte was an indication? Anderson could be a professional sleeper. Watch him if you get a chance.
Tulsa: Like many children of the 1980's, I loved the WWF. And the Reverend Slick, the Doctor of Style was always a fun guy to root against. And considering the evil nature of Todd Graham, doesn't it seem appropriate that they have their own Slick in Slick Shelley? They are kind of like the mid-card heels of Division 1-A after all.
UAB: Do you want to know another strong mid-major candidate to go all Buffalo? Look to the Blazers. Joe Webb is a scary dual-threat quarterback. Rashaud Slaughter is another tiny running back that can work some magic. Frantrell Forest is a pass-catcher with good skills. And if the defense becomes merely bad? This team has a chance at the division championship.
UCF: Everybody loves the Cosby Show. I know I do. But enough about the Defense Coordinator (and Theo's third cousin) Dave Huxtable. UCF is showing skill in the spread offense. And why is that? Because Rob Calabrese looks like another legit C-USA quarterback. If the rest of the offense comes together, and the secondary doesn't get gashed? It's a return to bowling for the Knights.
UCLA: I love a good lockdown corner. You can cut the field in half, or only two thirds. Anyway, math aside. The Bruins have a great shutdown corner who will make magic with the press coverage. Alterraun Verner. He's aggressive, and he can make with the shutting down.
UNLV: I don't want to wish failure on a player. It's not nice to do. But the deadly deep threat that is Ryan Wolfe is someone with a professional future. Good size, great speed, solid hands. He's going to be the next Bernard Berrian. But Chris Berman is going to drop the "Hungry Like The Wolfe" nickname next season like he never got to do with Garrett. And that's no good. You know that it's no good.

taylor mays
USC: You cannot hate a good KTFO shot. And the men of Troy have had plenty in its history. From Ronnie Lott through Darnell Bing, you have found peril if you traveled over the middle. There hasn't been a good giant safety since the unfortunate demise of Sean Taylor. At least until Taylor Mays made his bones.
Utah: Is running the table again a bridge too far? Probably, TCU's in Fort Worth and a game at Oregon is always a tough test. But you know what? If the skill positions jell, this is a team that just might go 11-1. They have a very good defense to their name. I mean, your defensive leader has two last names. You have to trust that. You have to trust Stevenson Sylvester.
Utah State:Dave Baldwin was the OC for New Mexico last season, this year? He's in Logan. It's going to make Diondre Borel a lot more interesting to watch than last year. If he did the Tecmo celebration after throwing for a touchdown? He would be the greatest quarterback ever.
UTEP: Trevor Vittatoe has a comedically spelled last name. But he has a arm that is as big as Texas. He is not a maybe. He will be good. But in this trend of tiny weapon running backs El Paso has someone who could electrify. Vernon Frazier is 5'7" and 165 pounds of speed and agility. Mike Price will have a running game that will make the offense complete.
Vanderbilt: You're coming off a bowl victory and you return 19 starters. Considering the distance between football success are more chasm than blip, that's a lot to hang your hat on. You also have all five offensive linemen returning. That means offense. If Casey Heyward can replicate enough of what D.J. Moore did last year? It's another bowl game for the Commodores.
Virginia: Do you want to talk about Marc Verica? I'm going to say you don't. Cedric Peerman was the one who performed the mearicle. But there's going to be some Cavalier Wildcattery. Vic Hall nearly shocked the Hokies with his option wildstyle. The world comes this year.
Virginia Tech: I could talk about Tyrod Taylor or Darren Evans. I've mentioned an enjoyment of big safeties, so Kam Chancellor would be an appropriate choice. But there's Joesph Clayton out of Hermitage High School. He's not so much of a scrambler as other Virginia based quarterback, but his skills are real. And you know what? His nickname is golden. Ju-Ju Clayton. He'll do it right.
Wake Forest: Brandon Pendergrass is not anywhere nearly as cool as Teddy, but you know what? Along with Josh Adams and four returning starters. Jim grobe is going to have a good run game. And that is just going to make Riley Skinner just look that much better.
Washington: Don't worry Jake Locker. We understand that the Nintendo Fun Club hasn't put enough in the slush fund to get you help. But Steve Sarkisian is made to develop a passing game. D'Andre Goodwin emerged in the mess that was last season. This season? They bring hope for next season.
Washington State: Put it this way, to love Washington State is like finding a scruffy dog on the street. They kind of smell bad, and they have weird bumps, but if they have someone whose willing to take them in? Good things can happen. James Montgomery, a Cal transfer and Johnny Forzani, fresh off the Calgary Stampeders? That's step one.
West Virginia: Noel Devine is another part of the trend of the small running back that has seemed to emerge. And like your Jacquizz Rodgers, Devine had success last year. But you know what? In the same way I became a huge fan of Iowa hoopster Cyrus Tate, I find myself a fan of Selvish Capers. Why? He has the name of a Three Stooges Episode!
Western Michigan: There are always two or three quarterbacks that have some level of professional interest from the Mid-American Conference. The Broncos have Tim Hiller. 228 pounds of twist and steel and laser rocket arm appeal. He advanced as a junior, and if he maintains himself? Westen Michigan goes bowling, and some NFL team has an interesting third rounder.
Western Kentucky: The Red Drank are a team without much love coming to them for 2009. They have a team that did not beat any 1-A opponent last season. It had an anemic pass attack and no quarterback experience returning. But lo, the best non-Badger mascot in the world looked out amongst his charges and said? You have four offensive linemen returning and chances to win some games last season. You may be last on paper, but you will get some wins on the field.
Wisconsin: The adamantine nature of the Badgers is at once its strength and its weakness. John Clay is a name evocative of the three yards and a cloud of dust days, and he will run with the power that P.J. Hill always seemed to lack. But this is a team that can bring an aerial attack. You have four receivers who have playing experience last season (and David Gilreath had shown that ol' all-purpose magic last year.) Add in Gerrit Graham's solid all-around tight end play and you have a team that can make a quarterback better than what it really is.
Wyoming: Dave Christensen is the man who brought the world Missouri as the black and gold fighting Chromeos. Not to say that it means instant success? He is working with a veteran offense that's made of struggle. Dax Crum needs to straighten up and fly right if this team is to have any success.

Yes. This blog is old enough that there are now gimmicks. Well, they'd be gimmicks if I was more successful. But this isn't and I'm not.

But you know what? That's okay. It just means all you all are going to discover this magic for the first time. Sense of discovery.

Enjoy it.