Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just Who Is This Sarah Heath, Anyway...???

Actually, a lot of you know her these days as John McCain's running mate...
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin...

Here, as a sports anchor in a past life at KTUU-TV in Anchorage, she talks about Melvin McCants, Basil McRae, Brian Holton, and a relaxed Tommy Lasorda...

Enjoy...we'll keep posting until its removed permanently...
Pardon the extra monitors...
((HT: the youtube))

UnACCeptable Saturday

If week one is any indication, it’s going to be a long year for ACC football fans. Clemson and Virginia Tech, the pre-season favorites to win their divisions, didn’t live up to the hype.

First the Hokies lose to East Carolina 27-22 and do they have issues. Quarterback is one of them. Sean Glennon got the starting job and his performance has fans questioning not only that decision by Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer, but the decision to red shirt Tyrod Taylor. With little support from the receivers and none from the running backs, Sean Glennon couldn’t make plays. You wanna bet the red shirt is coming off of Taylor because he can make plays on his own.

Clemson fans, your worst fears were realized. With all the expectations and the pressure of saving face for the ACC, the Tigers wet the bed. The Alabama Crimson Tide rolled 34-10 and beat the heck out of Clemson.

“We got whipped about every way you can get whipped. We haven't been physically beaten that bad in 3 years.” Clemson Head Coach Tommy Bowden said.
“The responsibility of getting the team prepared is mine and I didn't do that.

Who were the ACC teams that did look worthy? Well Wake Forest man handled a weak Baylor team in Waco and Georgia Tech look impressive against Jacksonville State. Yes I know JSU is a football championship subdivision team (got to be politically correct) but the Yellow Jackets seemed to have a grasp on Paul Johnson’s offense. Heck, even Duke got a double digit win over James Madison.

If this keeps up, the BCS might want to trade the ACC for the Mountain West. Utah marched into the Big House in Ann Arbor and beat Michigan giving the Wolverines their second season opening home loss in a row. Michigan fans, that hasn’t happened since the early 1950’s.

BYU looked impressive in their win over Northern Iowa. Get your tickets for the BYU-Utah game in November, the winner of the Holy War should go to the BCS.

TCU put a beat down on New Mexico so watch out for the Horned Frogs. TCU has Stanford on its schedule and Oklahoma. Beating the Sooners in Norman would be a tall order but the Frogs had hopped over OU before.

The Mountain West Conference is zooming, the ACC, well there’s time to restore your pride.

Virginia Tech/East Carolina Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
Clemson Photo Courtesy: AJC

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And so it begins...

College football season is here, and we've had our first victim.

The Wannstedt and Pittsburgh goes down to Bowling Green on Pitt's home field 27-17...(read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column and the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune column...good stuff...)

Here is the end of the game audio, thanks to Learfield Communications and the BGSU Falcons Radio Network.

I have a funny story about Bowling Green, as I was chased off the field by an assistant coach by in 2003.

Ask Nelly about it...I was on the phone with him while I was pulling a Peter Graves/Mission Impossible stunt...

Funny stuff.


Friday, August 29, 2008

So Much For That One Paragraph...

Multiple sources north of the OSG border, including TSN and, are letting us all know that Andrej Meszaros ((Pictured, thanks Getty Images)) is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Meszaros signs a multi-year deal averaging US$4-million per year over the next six seasons. Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard head to Ottawa along with a draft-pick.

"It got to a point where the money was too much for what we wanted to pay," Senators' GM Bryan Murray told the Canadian Press. "We thought we had made a considerable offer, but when there was the threat of an offer sheet at such an exaggerated (dollar amount) it really led us to believe that making a deal was an easier way, and would give us the return that we needed for this player."

The Senators now only have Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov as their normal, every day defensemen. Bryan Murray has lost Joe Corvo, Mike Commodore, Wade Redden, and Luke Richardson since the mid-point of last season.

The principals of the Kopitar-Khabibulin deal are still in place and in play with the Kings and Blackhawks. The Sens may now have to bow out as a dance partner.

Kuba is slated to make US$3-million in the last year of his current deal. He becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 08-09 season. Picard is still working under his entry-level contract. It will give him $750,000 this season and $850,000 next season.

The Sens are just under US$52-million and have a little less than US$5-million to play with for the upcoming season. The Lightning are at close to US$53-and-a-half million if the Meszaros number is averaged in. That leaves them with US$4-million or so to give Barry Melrose an entirely new sandbox at the Forum.

Here's a profile of Meszaros ((thanks to the youtube, the Sens, and Rogers 22 in Ottawa, Ontario...))

Tear Down The Bulin Wall...???

Darren Dreger of TSN in Canada is reporting that the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to move goalie Nikolai Khabibulin- and fast.

As of right now, the Blackhawks are two-and-a-half million dollars over the newly minted US$56.6-million number and need to move some freight. Dreger maintains, and those of us at OSG HQ have agreed for a while now, that the LA Kings is the likely destination. Khabibulin ((pictured, thanks is set to make US$6.75-million in the last year of his current deal, and has told anyone willing to listen that he wants to play the lion's share of the games for whatever team he plays for in 2008-2009.

With Cristobal Huet:
A)Also in net,
B)Making a million dollars less and,
C)Under contract for three more seasons

That ain't happening...

With Khabibulin in Los Angeles, the Kings get:
A) A Number One goaltender, which Jason LaBarbera is not...
B) Closer to US$32-million which is STILL seven million dollars short of the NHL-imposed floor-level number for salary cap purposes...

((Ed. Note- Seems like an Atlanta/Nashville move trying to underspend, but we digress))

But, then who do the Kings move to Chicago...?

The Hawks need a winger that can stay with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The answer, to the chagrin of Kings fans ((if there are any left)) would be Young Star Anze Kopitar. Kings fans would, then, disappear if Kopitar left the building. The level of "care" Kings' owner AEG would have is, probably, slight.

Kopitar is still under his entry-level deal where, with bonus money thrown in, he will make close to US$900,000. He is set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the 08-09 season.

Salary figures in LA also lean toward a Raitas Ivanans or a Matt Ellis, but neither has the pop a Kopitar does.

Six weeks ago, the Toronto Sun reported on the possibility of a three-way dance among the Kings, Hawks, and Senators. Kopitar goes to Chicago. Andrej Meszaros and Martin Gerber go to Los Angeles. The Sens get Khabibulin and either Brent Seabrook or Cam Barker. Meszaros, however, may have thrown a monkey in that wrench by signing an offer sheet with an undisclosed franchise Thursday for US$5-million per season. The Sens, acknowledging a contract negotiation impasse, could match and then pull a sign-and-trade if the Sun's info was anywhere close to correct to keep this paragraph accurate.

Choose your dance partner and start the carnival music...
Here's a sample of what someone could be getting very soon...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Dirty Dozen and More Bottom 5

The Dirty Dozen Returns...(sounds like a movie sequel)

As much as I hate preseason polls I guess we are obligated to do one. So here goes.

1. Southern Cal (Bet you thought I was gonna say something else there)
2. Ohio State (They still can't beat the best of the SEC, but they can start here)
3. Georgia (Really good, really deep, really tough schedule)
4. Oklahoma (Very good, easy schedule, don't need to say much else)
5. Florida (Not sure they will stay here, but good on paper)
6. LSU (Again QB questions, but they won't slip up against App. State)
7. Missouri (They play in the 12, which means they'll have a good record, but)
8. Texas (Surprise. Someone different? Better than you think and in the 12)
9. Clemson (As long as they can beat 'Bama, they'll be fine, the ACC sucks this year)
10. Auburn (They are always good, rebuilding a bit, but if it clicks, look out)
11. Texas Tech (At least until they play someone with a good "D")
12. Georgia Southern (Because the alma mater needs love before facing UGA)

If anyone cares, I don't buy in to West Virginia and I'm not so sure Kansas would qualify here either. Brother Jon and Brother Wilkie need to stop dreaming about App State. They aren't going to do what they did last with it.

Bottom 5

5. Syracuse. Can you say bye-bye Greg Robinson? At least he won't have to deal with the winters anymore.
4. USL-Lafayette. I just want to see if the wife is reading the blog.
3. Dukie. Good luck David Cutcliffe, you are going to need it. You will turn these guys around eventually, just not this year.
2. Minnesota. Just because they play in the 10 (There is no "Big" in the 10 right now)
1. Notre Dame. Because they are. If Karma really works, then this year will be worse than last year.

There you have it. Undoubtedly this will change, but since we have to do a preseason, then here is a preseason.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Catching Up With Big Frank

Okay... those of us here at OSG HQ have family spread to the four winds all across this hemisphere...

And one of those members has been part of a cult-series: "Making News-Savannah Style"

You can catch up on TV Guide Channel, but we've decided to give you a look back at the proceedings with the "Big Guy"- Frank Sulkowski...and the former "Hairy Dawg" ((Yes, that "Hairy Dawg")) and weekend anchor, Allen Kinzly.

There's even an autographed poster of Frank in our studio...
For Brother Phil's better-half... of course...

Enjoy Episode Ten where there's talk of contracts, naked babies in the Sports Department, and what happens when we're asked to give public speeches...

I Mauk You A Second Time...Or A Fourth... Or A Fifth...

Quarterback Ben Mauk ((pictured, thanks Cincinnati Enquirer and has one last chance to retain his position with the University of Cincinnati for the 2008 season. It's an appointment with the NCAA Reinstatement Committee under the format of a direct appeal.

Mauk's legal machinations have been reported before here at OSG HQ, and he will talk to the committee Thursday afternoon in the hopes of a decision before the Bearcats' season opener against Eastern Kentucky that night. A decision is hoped for either late Thursday or Friday.

“We were hoping they would find in our favor, but I think it’s the reinstatement committee that we really need to talk to,”
said Kevin Murphy, who is Mauk’s lawyer. “The staff pretty much did what it has done in the past in this case, but the reinstatement committee has the authority to make its own decision. So that’s where our hope lies.”

Mauk had been turned down on three previous attempts, but filed suit in an Ohio court for a temporary restraining order. The NCAA decided to think it over- again. They still came up with the same answer.

Bill Koch's blog on the Bearcats for the Cincinnati Enquirer lies within

On Second Thought, I'm Not Feely-ing It...

Jay Feely's ((pictured, thanks AP)) tenure as a Kansas City Chiefs kicker lasted all of, oh, one day.

Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star lets us in on just how long a one-year contract can last- 364 days short of the number...

Nick Novak and Connor Barth are back to the front of the line.

Here's the reason why... in a two-day kicking competition, here are the numbers:
Barth- 28 of 30
Novak- 27 of 30
Feely- 23 of 30

“We’re shocked, baffled, disappointed,” said his agent, Glenn Schwartzman. “It was not our understanding that they were just going to give the job to Jay. We in no way thought that. We knew he would have to win the job.

“While no one promised him the job, we were under the impression he would be given a better opportunity to win it. If they’re going to base it off two days of kicking, they probably shouldn’t have signed him. It makes no sense to make a decision about Jay without letting him kick in the preseason game.

“Had we known he wasn’t even going to get that chance, we never would have signed with the Chiefs.”

Um... yeah...

Feely had hit 21 of his 23 kicks last year with the Miami Dolphins, who released him during training camp.

An explanation from the Chiefs on Feely's cameo has yet to come to us media types...

College Football Week 1

I love it. College football kicks off this week so break out your game jerseys and your new hat of your favorite school, grab a bag of tortilla chips and salsa dip and sit on your throne. You won’t be moving for the next 5 days.

Best Game Of The Week (Gold Medal) – Illinois vs. Missouri

Sorry, I’m still in the Olympic spirit thanks to the Chinese food I had for lunch. This is a braggin’ rights border war to kick off the season plus, both teams are ranked. Kind of rare for week 1. This game features 2 great QB’s, Mizzou’s Chase Daniel & the Illini’s Juice Williams. This game should be entertaining with both teams scoring 30 points.

Best Game Of The Week (Silver Medal) – Alabama vs Clemson

You would think all the pressure would be on Clemson with all the expectations heaped on the Tigers for this season, but Alabama is feeling some to since this is suppose to be the breakout season under Jolly Ole St. Nick Saban. I initially thought Clemson might come in tight but the more I think about, the Crimson Tide might be a little anxious. Clemson will also want to put on a good showing for the ACC as well. This will be a good game however, a Clemson beat down might happen as well.

Best Game Of The Week (Bronze Medal) – Utah at Michigan

Wolverine fans still have nightmares over last years opening week loss to Appy State. This year for Michigan, new coach, new offense, you get the picture. Utah’s got some talent and can sneak up on an uncertain Michigan team. Get ready for more close ups of Michigan fans in denial. Go Utes.

Repeat for Appy State?

Can it be Upset Shocker 2 for Appalachian State? Appy State opens at LSU’s Death Valley. I give Appy State a shot because it’s a 4pm CST kickoff so the game will be played in the day light. But with over 70,000 LSU fans full of the Tiger Spirit (translation: drunk as hell) and an ultra talented Tiger team, it won’t happen.

Go Watch High School Football

Friday Nights college football offerings, Temple at Army and SMU at Rice. Both games are on TV. Do yourself a favor, go watch a high school football game, it will be a better game.

Game Note Of The Week

The winner is this little nugget I received from the sports information office at Clemson:

Todd McShay of ESPN named his top 15 seniors by position this week and Clemson has the top senior
in the country at two positions according to his fi ndings. Cullen Harper (Alpharetta, Ga.) is ranked as
the number-one senior quarterback and James Davis (Atlanta, Ga.) is ranked as the number-one senior
running back.. Aaron Kelly (Marietta, Ga.) was listed fi fth among senior wide receivers and Michael
Hamlin (Timmonsville, SC) was listed sixth among defensive backs, second among safeties.

1st the 4-letter word conquers the SEC now one of their minions tells us who the best seniors are in the nation. How many times will Brent Musburger bring this up during ESPN on ABC’s game broadcast? You could make that a drinking game.

Enjoy your college football

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's Back - The Dirty Dozen & The Bottom 5

College football fans it’s time to tee it up. The games begin this weekend so we bring back an OSG staple, The Dirty Dozen and the Bottom 5. The envelope please, let’s reveal the Week 1 Dirty Dozen.

1 Georgia – Top Dogs for now
2 Ohio State – Buckeyes open vs. Youngstown State
3 USC – Travels 3,000 miles to whoop on Virginia
4 Oklahoma – How many will they score vs. UT-Chatt.
5 Mizzou – Tigers battle Illinois in STL in the Busch Braggin’ Rights Game.
6 Florida – Next SEC team to beat up on Hawaii
7 Clemson – Must win game right off the bat vs. Alabama
8 LSU – Opens the season hosting Appalachian State. That didn’t work out
so well for Michigan last year and umm, Les Miles is a Michigan man....
9 West Virginia – Mountaineers take on Villanova to open the Bill Stewart era.
10 Texas Tach – Eastern Washington won’t know what hit them in Lubbock.
11 Texas – Horns will have a tough time hooking Florida Atlantic
12 BYU – Cougars begin march to BCS vs. Northern Iowa.

Nelson Notes: USC, Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Mizzou, LSU, Clemson, Texas Tech, Texas, BYU, and Appalachian State...

The Bottom 5:

5 - Notre Dame – Irish, you have to prove you are not worthy
4 - SMU – Can June Jones pony up the Mustang futures?
3 - Florida International – Will they win a game?
2 - Duke – See Notre Dame
1 – Army – Not much firepower in the arsenal.

Nelson Notes: Irish, Temple, Duke, Army, and FIU...

There you go, let the debate begin.
((Nelson Notes: Debate That..))

Worst Idea Ever...

At least this early in the college football season...

No further explanation necessary...

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Big Deal: SEC & ESPN

The SEC and ESPN have become a marriage worth in the billions of dollars. The 4-letter word paid a staggering $2.25 billion to the SEC for the conference’s TV content not taken by CBS for the next 15 years, about $150 million per year.

“This agreement makes the SEC the most widely distributed conference in the country.” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said.

“We’re thrilled too with the historic nature of this deal.” John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President for Content said. “15 years is the longest deal we have ever done.”

So everyone is happy. ESPN gets programming from arguably the best league in college sports and can distribute that content to its numerous platforms while the SEC’s can deposit 9 figure checks for the next 15 years.

Here’s a break down of what ESPN gets:

ESPN has televised the SEC since 1982. All national programming will fall under the branding “SEC on ESPN.” As part of the agreement:

ESPN and ESPN2 will continue to offer premier SEC games, including Saturday night and two primetime Thursday football games, triple the basketball offerings with three nights (two new) of men’s basketball and present SEC Championships in women’s basketball, baseball, softball and gymnastics.

ESPN Regional Television will become the new over-the-air syndication home for SEC football and basketball games. In addition, ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages (including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships) of SEC content for regional cable syndication.

ESPNU will now offer exclusive SEC telecasts, including football and basketball and selected conference championships. In addition, the network will present a weekly, hour-long program on SEC sports throughout the academic year as well as sport-by-sport previews, reviews and specials.

The semifinals and championship of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament will be televised nationally for the first time on ESPN on ABC.

All SEC championship games except football will be aired on either ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPNU or ESPN Classic.

The agreement will also showcase the academic successes of SEC student-athletes by including twice-annual programs dedicated to academic accomplishments of SEC student-athletes; an annual Campus Connection (students take part in the production) telecast at each SEC institution; a weekly segment on an SEC show featuring academics; and an online SEC Academic Network utilizing technology.

Extensive coverage of women’s basketball and Olympic sports will be offered nationally through ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and regionally through ESPN Regional Television, including both regular-season and conference championships.

Comprehensive multimedia rights are also an integral part of the agreement as live SEC action, including football and basketball, will be offered via simulcasts on and ESPN Mobile TV and extensive content rights have been granted to
ESPN International, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN FULL COURT, ESPN Classic and ESPN Deportes will also feature the SEC.

Each SEC institution retains the right to continue a local multi-media rights package.

“The SEC delivers tremendous quality and depth and a devoted, widespread fan base,” Bodenheimer said. “This historic deal will offer fans more SEC access than ever before through every form of media that exists today or may be developed during the life of this long-term arrangement. We applaud the leadership of the conference as well as these great academic and athletic institutions for supporting this groundbreaking collaboration.”

Slive said, “The Southeastern Conference has embodied excellence for 75 years and during the last 26 years, ESPN has carried the stories of our 12 member institutions throughout the nation and the world. With this landmark agreement, ESPN and its platforms will continue to showcase the SEC with more games and original SEC-dedicated content than ever before. The SEC is looking forward to continuing its relationship with ESPN as we move into our next 75 years.”

“The Southeastern Conference is pleased to extend its relationship with ESPN and its wide-ranging outlets in this milestone agreement,” said Dr. Lee Todd, President of the University of Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference. “This contract represents an innovative and revolutionary direction for the SEC that will showcase our conference in a variety of means both academically and athletically.”

Following are the key details of the new agreement:

Football ESPN has acquired rights to every SEC home football game (excluding those on the network broadcast package) and will serve as the exclusive national cable home and the syndication rightsholder for the conference.

ESPN and ESPN2: The networks will increase coverage by combining to televise a minimum of 20 SEC games annually, including Saturday night and two primetime Thursday matchups.

ESPNU: The 24-hour college sports network, which launched in March 2005, will present a package of SEC football for the first time, with a Saturday game-of-the-week (generally in primetime and a minimum of 13 games annually).

ESPN Regional Television (ERT): The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, becomes the official over-the-air syndication home for the SEC and will feature a game-of-the-week package (generally at 12:30 p.m. ET), with a minimum of 13 games each season throughout the SEC footprint and beyond. In addition, ERT will produce and distribute a studio show. Simulcasts of SEC game telecasts will be offered on the broadband network.

ESPN Mobile TV: Live games will be simulcast on mobile phones. ESPN International: The agreement includes global rights to present live games and encore presentations. ESPN Deportes: ESPN has acquired domestic Spanish-language rights for SEC football on the 24-hour, U.S.-based network.
ESPN GamePlan: The out-of-market college football pay-per-view service, will offer SEC action. ESPN Classic: The network may telecast select SEC live games as well as historic and immediate encore presentations. Extensive SEC content, including highlights, will be presented online.

Men’s Basketball: As the exclusive national cable home and syndication rightsholder, an ESPN outlet will offer every SEC intra-conference game (excluding those on the network broadcast package) and numerous inter-conference matchups.

ESPN and ESPN2: The networks will triple the offerings by featuring SEC action three nights per week through a minimum of 24 intra-conference games plus an additional six inter-conference matchups involving the SEC each season. Highlighting the increased schedule will be the return of the SEC to ESPN’s Super Tuesday and the addition of SEC slots on Thursday and Saturday (ESPN or ESPN2). The SEC will also continue to participate in an annual inter-conference basketball challenge event (e.g. – SEC/Big East Challenge).

ESPNU: The network will televise exclusively a minimum of seven intra-conference and five non-conference games. ESPN on ABC: A minimum of two regular-season games each season plus the addition of a national telecast of the SEC Tournament Semifinals and Championship Game, giving ABC its first entry into the annual Championship Week.

ESPN Regional Television (ERT): Similar to football, ERT takes over the rights to SEC syndication and will produce and syndicate a minimum of 37 intra-conference games each season throughout SEC territories and beyond. Highlights will include weekly doubleheaders on Saturdays, Wednesday night games, a studio show and the first two rounds of the SEC Tournament. Simulcasts of SEC game telecasts will be offered on the broadband network.

ESPN Mobile TV: Live games will be simulcast on mobile phones. ESPN International: The agreement includes global rights to present live games and encore presentations. ESPN Deportes: ESPN has acquired domestic Spanish-language rights for SEC basketball on the 24-hour, U.S.-based network.

ESPN FULL COURT: The out-of-market college basketball pay-per-view service, will offer SEC action. ESPN Classic: The network may telecast select SEC live games as well as historic and immediate encore presentations. Extensive SEC content, including highlights, will be presented online.

Women’s Basketball:

ESPN and ESPN2: SEC teams will make a minimum of 16 appearances on ESPN or ESPN2 and one of the networks will also televise the conference tournament championship game.

ESPNU: The network will also feature a minimum of 16 appearances by SEC teams, in addition to the women’s conference tournament semifinals.

ESPN Regional Television: ERT will syndicate a game-of-the-week during the regular season as well as the early rounds of the women’s conference tournament.

Olympic Sports:

ESPN and ESPN2: A minimum of three regular-season baseball or softball games will be offered on ESPN or ESPN2 as well as three regular-season gymnastics matches. In addition, the conference championships in gymnastics, softball and baseball will be televised.

ESPNU: A minimum of 25 regular-season events annually will be televised, including baseball, softball, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field and others.

ESPNU will cover all SEC Conference events not on ESPN or ESPN2, including swimming and diving, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and women’s soccer.

The big loser in this is Raycom Sports who has had the SEC syndication package since 1986. This agreement with ESPN ends the SEC’s relationship with Raycom starting in the 2009-10 academic year.

As for the regional sports networks there is still a ray of hope.

“..we expect to have very significant regional cable packages, and ESPN and the SEC will work together to offer multi-sport packages, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, Olympic sports and conference championships with SEC contact for regional cable syndication.” Slive said.

In other words, regional sports networks like FSN South or CSS can buy what the 4-letter word doesn’t want. The SEC expects one or more regional cable package to be sold and coupled with the CBS and ESPN agreements would make the league the most widely distributed conference in the country.

As far as an SEC Channel, that won’t happen for at least 15 years but SEC Commissioner Mike Slive had very strong feelings about starting that network.

“I think I started out with the mind to do the (SEC) channel.” Slive said. “I think I was there about a year.”

But ESPN was able to persuade commissioner Slive that the worldwide leader in sports shared the same vision and goals as the SEC, plus had the cash on hand to pay for it.

“Every time we told them the channel allows us to do this, and they came back with an answer to do that.” Slive said. “Then slowly, but surely, it began to happen.”

The SEC’s goals throughout this process was to make a lot of money which they have, take care of their member institutions which they have and not screw their fans. Check yes to that one to. Now an SEC fans from Albuquerque to Walla Walla can view their favorite SEC school on the numerous platforms available.

August was a good and profitable month in the SEC.

Big Money Deal

It's Official...

The last piece of the SEC's television package has now been put in place and boy is it a doozy. According to Sports Buisness Journal and and a 3pm Monday teleconference, the SEC and ESPN are expected to announce an agreement of epic proportions.

Big Money, Real Big Money...

According to the SBJ and also a story on the Atlanta Journal Constitution the deal is for get this...15 years and is worth $2.25 Billion dollars! Or for those of you counting about $150 million per year.

This is on top of the recently announced deal with CBS which will pay the league over $50 million per year. For those of us with math skills, that is close to $200 million a year, for College Sports.

Granted the four-letter word (ESPN) has mulitple media platforms for the league (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN Classic, ESPN 36o and of course, just to name a few; but when you add in CBS, CBS College Sports and CBS Sportsline, you have a pretty large media footprint.

Left Out...

Left out in all of this appears to be long-time SEC Broadcaster Raycom. Known throughout the region for their Saturday game of the week, they now have been shut out. Again, according to the SBJ, ESPN, through their regional syndication network will handle selling the games to local affiliates.

In a way, that kind of sucks, if only for the tradition. Raycom has done the SEC games as long as I can remember and long before CBS jumped on board. They apparently didn't have the money to keep up with the big boys.

What it means...

To the casual fan, it probably doesn't mean much. Again, according to the SBJ, ESPN is working on the one problem that they have with distribution by getting ESPNU a better agreement with Comcast Cable. If they can work that out, then I suspect that most SEC fans will not miss any of the games. The one thing said by just about everyone covering the league is; whatever they do, they need to make sure that the games will still be seen in their markets, the SEC and its broadcasters want no part of an enraged Alabama fan or Tennessee fan who can't see their team play.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well, Ain't That a Kick In The Head...

The guy in the gee is not, repeat NOT, fighting the guy in street clothes...
And this is not, repeat NOT, an example of white-collar crime...

The sport is taekwondo and the gentleman on the left is Angel Valodia Matos((pictured, thanks AFP/Getty Images/Jung Yeon-Je)) of Cuba.
The referee is the gentleman on the right and he is receiving, what Hall of Fame announcer Gordon Solie would refer to as a front kick, to his front.

The referee, Chakir Chelbat of Sweden, decided that Matos was taking his own sweet time during an injury treatment. Matos was disqualified giving his opponent, Kazakhstan's Arman Chilmanov, the bronze medal.

The Cuban federation has intimated that the Swedish official was on the take for the match. In return, the World Taekwondo Federation has started the process of banning both Matos and his coach for life.

OSG outsiders, reading over our shoulders as we type and submit the story from the road, suggest that Chelbat would have one hell of a lawsuit. Those of us at OSG concur, but wish the exchange rate from Cuban peso to a not-so-worthless currency was better than two chickens to the penny.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What Happened To The Head Ball Coach

Is it me or is the Head Ball Coach toning down his act? Steve Spurrier hasn’t really been his brash self since taking over at South Carolina. Maybe a few years working for Daniel Snyder with the Washington Redskins and then going to South Carolina, great fan base, lousy football program, will take some of the smart aleck out of you.

I remember when Spurrier was the head coach at Florida in 1996 and brought his top ranked Gators into Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas and put a whipping on the Hogs. After the game with a camera on my shoulder, I had a great shot of the head ball coach running toward the locker room in the south end zone. A group of Hog fans were screaming obscenities at Spurrier and he raised his index finger and said, “Yea but we are #1.” I had to admit, that was a great comeback.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the brash Steve Spurrier return but this South Carolina team won’t be that much to brag about.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel shares the same feeling as I do.
(Photo Courtesy: AP)

SEC+Four-Letter= More $$$$$$$


A note from Mister College Football, aka Tony Barnhart, on intrigues us here at OSG HQ...
To wit...

There are talks, and this is what they are right now, just "talks" that the Southeastern Conference and the Four-Letter Network may be in cahoots for a 15-year deal of their own...

The middle paragraph...with a preview...

"...Under this deal ESPN would purchase all of the remaining television rights that CBS does not own.

Why would ESPN do this? Simple. If ESPN owned the remaining rights, it could put several SEC games on its various platforms (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN360) and then, whatever rights it had left and did not want, it could sell back to a group like Raycom or even Comcast. Distribution, however, could be an issue because a lot of cable systems do not carry ESPNU or 360 on their basic package. And those distribution issues could ultimately complicate the deal. Some of those distribution issues could be addressed by video streaming on the Internet, which is going to be a big part of these future TV deals."

Barnhart also points out that the new deal with CBS brings in a little over $50-million a year. Those numbers would explode if the folks in Bristol get involved.

More as it becomes available...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

IOC To Investigate Gymnasts Ages... Finally...

After rumbling and grumbling from a few different fronts, the International Olympic Committee is finally going to ask gymnastic muckety mucks to investigate the reported ages of the gold-medal winning Chinese squad.

Multiple sources have found documentation from inside China itself that the ages of three of the women/girls are in doubt. He Kexin ((pictured, thanks How Hwee Young/EPA/Times of London)) Jiang Yuyuan and Jang Yilin may be as young as 14. An article from the government-run Xinhua News Agency from early November even goes as far as declaring He is only 14.

((More on the "Stryde Hax" website below))

"We've asked the gymnastics federation to look into it further," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Friday. "If there is a question mark and we have a concern, which we do, we ask the governing body of any sport to look into it."

The allowable age for gymnasts to participate in the games is 16.

The International Federation for Gymnastics ((FIG)) has always maintained that a valid passport is evidence enough for verifying a competitor's age. FIG has not questioned the Chinese to this point.

"We are not in a position to say `It's good, it's not good.' It's a government document," FIG president Bruno Grandi said earlier this week in an interview with The Associated Press.

The Chinese are doing their best Roger Clemens-on-Capitol Hill impression to date. He was asked in a press conference after the gymnastics competition about her age:

"I was born in 1992 and I'm 16 years old now," He said Monday. "The FIG has proved that. If I'm under 16, I couldn't have been competing here."

Whaddya wanna bet that the Bruno Grandi quote will be the basis of any and every investigation that FIG and the IOC conduct from this point forward...?

Just axin'...

SI's coverage is hyah

The Times of London has a boatload of coverage hyah

Jane Macartney's coverage on "Stryde Hax" is hyah

The "Stryde Hax" website is hyah.
Follow the chain of documents, it's tremendous- even if it's a long read...

Randi Kaye's story from CNN is below...
Thanks to CNN and the youtube...

Gene Upshaw ((1945-2008))

Gene Upshaw, a Hall of Fame Offensive Lineman for the Oakland Raiders and a lightning rod for both sides in the union-management struggle in the National Football League died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer. He had just turned 63 on August 15th.

Upshaw ((picture, thanks had only been diagnosed this past weekend and his condition deteriorated rapidly.

After 15 seasons as a guard for the Silver and Black, he became the head of the NFLPA in 1983. His decisions, including decertifying the player's union in the late 1980's, drew criticism from players, alumni, and front offices, but they helped shape the strength of the union and the collective bargaining process as we know it today.

Upshaw also drew fire in recent years for his stance on medical issues and care regarding the league's earlier ((read, pre-1965)) talent pool. This included an outburst from ex-NFL'er Joe DeLamielleure, whose thoughts on the issue at the time centered on the catch phrase: "Screw Upshaw."

Upshaw's impact on the game could, very easily, be considered the equivalent of what Marvin Miller did for the sport of baseball a decade or so before Upshaw had his chance.

Gary Peterson's column from the Oakland Tribune is here

Nancy Gay's work from the San Francisco Chronicle can be found here

Here's a look back at the 1976 Raiders for your viewing pleasure...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vick Losing $12,000 A Month In Prison

Chris Vivlamore, in a piece from, is detailing Michael Vick's ((pictured from his playing days, thanks lack of funds while serving time on his felony dog fighting charges. Vick's monthly income is computed to be just under $280-per month.

Vick's Schedule of Assets and Liabilities list monthly expenses at $12,225. His monthly wages are from a pension plan and the 12-cents per hour he gets from work performed at the Leavenworth prison facility in Kansas. He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. He lists $10-million in assets and $19-million in liabilities, but his property and the ownership of same is in question on multiple levels.

Vick's finances are said to be in such disarray that a judge was asked to appoint a trustee over his estate. The actual ownership of property, insurance policies, and balances in multiple bank accounts are in question.

Two trustees, David Talbot and Mary Wong, are listed in the court papers asking for the trustee change as "not acting in Vick's personal interest." Vick is asking for Wong to account for over half-a-million dollars he gave her when she was hired to be a business manager.

According to Vivlamore's investigation, Vick's papers are far from complete.
Background on Talbot from WAVY-TV is hyah
Read the bankruptcy application hyah
The list of those who may be affected by Vick's finances are hyah
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's work from July, with D. Orlando Ledbetter and Steve Wyche is hyah
Their complete Vick coverage is hyah

Let the debates begin anew... remember the good ole' days...?
Thanks, FoxNews, Johnny Dollar's Place, and the youtube...

Glavine News Better Than Expected

Usually the three worst words a pitcher can hear are either:

"Tommy John Surgery" or "Doctor James Andrews"

After visiting the second three in Birmingham earlier today, Atlanta Braves starter Tom Glavine ((pictured, thanks will not have to hear the first three words in a subsequent sentence.

Tests reveal Glavine's left elbow has no current ligament damage, but he does have a partial tear in his flexor tendon as previously thought. The ligament is intact. Glavine will have surgery on the tendon tomorrow and is expected to be on the shelf for four or five months.

Had the damage been more extensive, Glavine intimated he would retire instead of rehabilitate the elbow.

Carroll Rogers' work from is hyah

Putting The Medal To The Pedal Is A Bad Idea

Busy day in NASCAR... Bad day for Joe Gibbs Racing...
He is pictured ((thanks, and he is not a happy man...

The short version- Both Tony Stewart and Joey Logano's Nationwide Series cars were found to have magnets on the bottom of the gas pedals of both cars to mess with the dyno test procedures during testing at Michigan International Speedway. They're both out 150 points. Gibbs is out 150 owners points.

JD Gibbs has suspended both crew chiefs, Dave Rogers and Jason Ratcliff respectively, for the remainder of the 2008 season, and seven crew members have been indefinitely suspended.

From Joe Gibbs, ahem... quote...

"We had come to the conclusion that we would add to any NASCAR imposed penalties with the minimum being suspension for the remainder of the season for those involved, including our two Nationwide Series crew chiefs. There will also be an additional monetary fine beyond the amount announced by NASCAR earlier today, which will be the responsibility of those involved."

The gory details are hyah

And that's not all...

Just as Ganassi Racing is trying to re-sign Reed Sorenson to the #41 car for another contract, his crew chief Donnie Wingo has been fined $25,000 for "actions detrimental to NASCAR." Apparently, Wingo "improperly attached a weight" at Michigan as well.

Whoops... wasn't that why NASCAR brought in Robin Pemberton as their Competition Director in the first place...? To detect these kinds of things...

Remember... it's the pedal on the right...
And some cars were made to do things others were not...

The 4-Letter Word Wants The Five Rings

ESPN is interested in acquiring the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics. It would seem a perfect fit. The Olympic Games have become the ultimate marketing tool for athletes and ESPN is great at exploiting that and creating stars from sports nobody gives a damn about yet they think we should.

((Imagine five of those geometric figures interlocking over on the right... we really can't show the real logo, remember...??? That whole copyright-infringement thing...))))

Can you see it now, Sportscenter at the Olympics. PTI from badminton or Outside The Lines from the Olympic drug testing facility. The possibilities are endless.

ESPN might be careful what they wish for and watch the dollars. The 2014 Winter Games will take place in Sochi, Russia and with the current political climate in that country, could become a repeat of the 1980 Summer Olympics is Moscow. That year the U.S. and most of its allies boycotted the games. I know, no body boycotts the Winter Olympics. It’s a quiet get together.

You can read more from Richard Sandomir’s column in the New York Times

Your Sun Belt Conference Preview

All you need to know can be found below...

Who knew a falsetto Willie Nelson could sell for The Schnellenberger like that...?

And who knew that the entire history of FAU football could be put into a 5:00-plus song with a very ((insert secretive national or international security agency of choice here)) selective memory when it comes to their losses or copyright issues...?

If there's no video, then it obviously didn't happen...
Right??? Right!!!

The dream lives on...
But, seriously, pay attention to QB Rusty Smith. He's only a Junior...

Our money's on FAU... otherwise Coach would do something unmentionable to us...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New Division I-AA Poll- Preseason 2008

((Yes, we know, we said 'poll...'We know there is no love for Wilkie's Missouri State alma mater at all anywhere on the page. And we also know that we're calling it the Division I-AA poll. This whole FBS/FCS stuff is silly...))

According to the folks at The Sports Network... this is their handiwork...
We'll keep reminding you of that all season long...

1. Appalachian State (97) 13-2 2,546 1

2. North Dakota State (1) 10-1 2,275 9

3. Northern Iowa 12-1 2,204 4

4. Richmond 11-3 2,162 5

5. Massachusetts 10-3 2,148 7

6. James Madison (3) 8-4 2,078 12

7. Eastern Washington 9-4 1,951 8

8. Montana 11-1 1,848 10

9. Delaware 11-4 1,747 2

10. McNeese State 11-1 1,687 11

11. Southern Illinois 12-2 1,286 3

12. Youngstown State 7-4 1,228 16

13. Wofford 9-4 1,158 6

14. Cal Poly 7-4 1,081 24

15. Elon 7-4 1,028 23

16. New Hampshire 7-5 760 14

17. Georgia Southern 7-4 656 17

18. Eastern Illinois 8-4 622 18

19. South Dakota State 7-4 547 19

20. Eastern Kentucky 9-3 487 13

21. Villanova 7-4 396 NR

22. Central Arkansas 6-5 374 NR

23. The Citadel 7-4 317 NR

24. Harvard 8-2 316 21

25. Western Illinois 6-5 299 NR

Others receiving votes: Northern Arizona 249, Fordham 212, Delaware State 198, Jacksonville State 195, Yale 170, Sam Houston State 166, Montana State 146, Furman 120, Liberty 115, Jackson State 79, South Carolina State 76, Holy Cross 74, Hofstra 61, Colgate 56, Grambling 55, Norfolk State 48, Coastal Carolina 44, Hampton 41, Southern 32, Northwestern State 30, Tennessee-Martin 30, UC Davis 22, Weber State 17, Lafayette 16, Alabama A&M 10, Texas Southern 9, Brown 9, Nicholls State 9, Dayton 6, Tennessee State 5, San Diego 4, Albany 4, Maine 1, Prairie View 1.

The Professor Heads To Planet Man-Ram

Multiple media outlets are confirming that future Hall-of-Fame pitcher Greg Maddux ((pictured, thanks San Diego Union Tribune)) is heading up Interstate 5 to play, once again, for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti officially rescues Maddux from one of the worst teams in the majors- again. Two years ago, Maddux was acquired for a stretch run in Dodger Blue- going 6-3, 3.30 as the team made the playoffs.

Maddux, who has 353 career wins and a 6-9, 3.99 ERA this season in San Diego, cleared waivers earlier in the month and would only allow himself be traded to the Dodgers.

With Brad Penny going on the Disabled List earlier in the week, this is the move that Colletti and Manager Joe Torre hope get them to the playoffs in the National League West since Penny could be gone for the year. It is reported that the Padres will receive two minor-leaguers to be named later.

Jon Heyman's work with is hyah

Dylan Hernandez's work with the LA Times is hyah

Tony Jackson's work from the LA Daily News is hyah

Chuck Scott's Padres' blog from the San Diego Union-Tribune is hyah

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Beast

The SEC East (the tough one)...

Before all of you folks in other parts of the country (and world) start screaming, over-rated and that I'm full of a certain bodily function, think a little bit about what we are saying. I know you can say "Big Ten" or "Pac Ten" or any of the other power conferences, but when "push" comes to "shove" (or some other reasonable cliche'), there really isn't any argument about what is the toughest conference. And within that conference lies the most difficult division out there.


Georgia Bulldogs- Yeah, that is right, we'll go ahead and say it here. Yes, I do cover them with some frequency. I know that the schedule is pretty tough. If you look at this team, from top to bottom, it is the deepest team, this year in the NCAA ((UGA pictured, thanks

Offense- The offense pretty much starts and stops with QB Matthew Stafford. Yes, I know that Knowshon Moreno is getting all of the love right now, and to some extent he deserves it. But, if the Dawgs lost Moreno, they still may survive, losing Stafford would be the end of the season for them. Stafford was quoted already this season as saying "This is my team, I'm going to lead them".

The loss of OT Trinton Sturdivant will hurt, but there is a lot of depth on the line to replace him. Expect either Kiante Tripp or Josh Davis to step right in.

The receivers were already going to be pretty good, adding Freshman Phenoms A.J Green and Tavarres King makes them even deeper.

Defense- Again, depth rules for this bunch. As good as the "O" should be, the "D" will carry these guys. With Tackle Jeff Owens leading the way, the Dawgs expect to rotate 8-9 D-Lineman through each game. That kind of depth will wear many opponents out.

LB's Dannell Ellerbee and Rennie Curran and CB Asher Allen lead an experienced and fast group of backs that at least at the corner spot go 6 deep.

Outlook- These guys will be good. Really good. It will be tough living up to the preseason hype, but they have the depth to do it. Don't expect them to be perfect with the schedule they play however. (Prediction: 11-1 overall, 1st in the SEC East)

Florida Gators- As always, this will be a very good and very dangerous team. They had a tough 2007 campaign, but they will be better this year. They should be a little better rounded and that should translate to more success. Don't buy into the SEC Media Days poll however, they aren't "that" good.

Offense- The "O" is all about the Tebow ((Pictured, thanks, everything is. However for these guys to be successful, someone else needs to step up. Percy Harvin is good, but injury prone and several reports have surfaced saying some things are starting to go to his head. With the speed of a Chris Rainey and running of Emmanuel Moody, this "should" be a more diverse offense in 2008. In order to live up to expectations, they will have to be. Last years beating that Tebow took, exposed the one weekness the Gators have.

Defense- The Gator "D" took a lot of heat last season, and well, it should have. They gave up a lot of points to a lot of teams. Yes, they were young last season and yes, they will improve. The question is "how much?". The other SEC teams are pretty damn good on "D" and can win if there "O" is not playing well. I'm not so sure about Florida.

Outlook- These guys will always be dangerous. They will contend for the SEC East title and they more than likely will be in a New Years Day Bowl...or better. Losing Cornelius Ingram will not help, but there are players capable of taking over his role. The Gators seem already focused on Georgia, they need worry about the games before that one.(Prediction: 10-2, 2nd in the SEC East)

Tennessee Volunteers- These guys are always very hard to predict. On the surface they should take a step back with a new offensive coordinator, Dave Clawson, a new QB Jonathan Crompton and several new faces on defense. But don't be surprised if the Fulmer keeps them competitive. The key game for these guys comes early, a date in September with Florida.

Offense- We should find out early how well the Vowels adapt to Clawson's offense. With former coordinator David Cutcliffe, you had a pretty good idea of what you were going to get, but like several teams in the SEC, the Vowels are going to a form of the spread ((the new tight end is pictured, thanks

Crompton has some experience as Eric Ainge's backup the past 2 seasons. When called upon he has performed pretty well, don't expect a huge dropoff here. Arian Foster has experience and talent and the O-Line is always strong with these guys.

Defense- The Vol "D" is spearheaded by perhaps the best athlete and possibly the best player in all the land, Eric Berry. Berry plays safety, but expect to see him all over the field this season. Returning punts and occasionally on Offense, this is someone to keep your eyes on in 2008.

Jerrod Mayo is gone and the linebackers are somewhat inexperienced, the question mark this year will be how good the defense is.

Outlook- These guys will be competitive, they always are. Expect them to struggle a bit early and get stronger as the year goes. There is too much talent here for a down season, but they are stuck in a division with Georgia and Florida. (Prediction 9-3, 3rd in the SEC East)

South Carolina Gamecocks- I'm not sold on these guys, though many say they will be the surprise team in the SEC. I don't buy it. They are lacking in several areas and as much as they'd like to be one of the big boys, they are South Carolina and there is a reason they haven't won the SEC in several decades.

Offense- The first question mark is who is going to be the QB. Tommy Beecher appears to have won the battle, for now, but there isn't much behind him. Yes, I know that the Ball Coach is allegedly a QB genius, but even a genius needs some talent to work with. You can get the most out of a Danny Wuerrfel when you have a deep Florida team around him, The Cocks (i said cock), well, they don't have that as an option. Possibly the most talented QB, Stephen Garcia, spent more time in trouble with the law than practicing this offseason and may never play ((pictured is Mike Davis, thanks to

Defense- The Cocks (i said cock, again), will be a strong defensive team. Any team with a Linebacker like Jasper Brinkley should be. Brinkley is a beast. He is talented and athletic and has a bit of a mean streak. He alone makes this a stout unit and will keep S.C in most games.

Outlook- After last years collapse from 6-1 and in the Top 10 to 6-6 and no bowl, one can draw the conclusion that this team is just plain cursed. I don't totally believe that, but as usual they play in a conference where you just can't be decent, you've got to be great every week. They may make a bowl game, but it will be in December. (Prediction 7-5, 4th in the SEC East)

Kentucky Wildcats- Another team that should be better than they will be. Last season was a bit of an abberation, don't expect them to do that this year. Not because of talent or coaching, but they are very, very young.

Offense- Despite losing Andre Woodson, they should still be a very good offensive team. Rafael Little is back along with most of the receiving corps. The line didn't suffer many losses, though they could stand getting a little stronger, Woodson got killed last season. The unit will make some plays and be a tough out, but with big question marks at QB, don't expect them to be as scary as 2007 ((UK's new QB is pictured, thanks

Defense- This is where we get young. So young in fact, I'm not really sure who to talk about here. This was not a "Strong Suit" of last years team and it probably will not be this year either. Coach Rich Brooks is a Defensive guy so don't expect them to be embarrassingly bad, but don't expect them to carry things either. They will live and die with the "O".

Outlook- A rebuilding year in Lexington. Unfortunately, this is not a traditional power and the 'Cats are not able to be strong on a consistent basis. Down years generally follow good ones and 2007 wasn't bad. Don't look for 2008 to be a repeat. (Prediction 5-7, 5th in the SEC East)

Vanderbilt Commodores- You really want the 'Dores to be a force one year, just once to see them in Atlanta in December, what a great story that would be. That being said, don't expect it any time soon. This team is always competitive thanks to a very talented coach, Bobby Johnson. But they don't have the horses to run with everyone else over the course of a season ((the O-Line is pictured, thanks the

Offense- On "O" the 'Dores aren't bad. Mackenzie Adams and Chris Nickson were a QB tandem last season, both good QB's and usually one was good when the other wasn't. There is some hope there. After that, the loss of Earl Bennett hurts the WR corps and there isn't much experience or depth on the "O" line.

Defense- Vandy has traditionally turned out quite a few Linebackers to the NFL, however I don't know if that tradition will continue. They are lacking again in experience, the roster dotted with Freshmen and Sophomores. The good thing is in another year or 2, they will be very good, this year however they will be very young. Don't expect much.

Outlook- Don't expect much here, they will struggle. Coach Johnson will keep them competitive but they don't have the horses to run with the other guys in the conference. Looking at the roster, the future is bright, but the future will not be 2008. (Prediction 3-9, 6th in the SEC East)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

College Football: My Big East Predictions

Big East Conference

West Virginia

2007 record 11-2 (Defeated Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl)

Had West Virginia defeated hated rival Pittsburgh in the season finale, the Mountaineers would have played in the BCS Championship Game.

Things To Like About West Virginia:

Pat White: He’s the greatest Mountaineer to wear the WV on the side of his helmet. A great player who will have a great season and be in the thick of the Heisman race.

Offensive Line: 5 starters return and will be one of the best O-Lines in the country.

Things Not To Like About West Virginia:
Defense: Only 4 starters return from 2007 so it’s a rebuilding year in Morgantown. It may put pressure on the offense to out score opponents.

Take Me Home Country Roads: Bill Stewart takes the reigns at West Virginia and he wants to prove that the win over Oklahoma wasn’t a one hit wonder. Stewart has pressure to keep the momentum going as West Virginia that has been on the brink of a national title the last few years. There is still lots of talent for the Mountaineers and the recruiting class remained intact. West Virginia should win the Big East title.

South Florida Bulls

2007 record 9-4 (Lost to Oregon 56-21 in the Sun Bowl)

At mid-season, South Florida was the #2 team in the country but the Bulls had peaked too soon and lost 3 straight. It was still a milestone year for the Bulls.

Things To Like About South Florida:

Matt Grothe: He is a dynamic talent who lead the Bulls in rushing last year. If it wasn’t for Tim Tebow playing in the same state, Grothe would get more attention as a dual threat. Grothe has become the identity of the South Florida football program.

Defensive Line: They are underappreciated and have been the cornerstone of the rise of the Bulls program. Quarterbacks beware with All-American George Selvie coming off the end. Selvie is a great talent.

Things Not To Like About South Florida:

Secondary: Big losses at cornerback where Mike Jenkins and Trea Williams have moved on. They could cover any one and that aspect will be missed.

Find a running back: Matt Grothe can’t keep leading the team in rushing or he might end up in the hospital. Mike Ford emerged at the end of the season and will need to shoulder the rushing load.

Know Bull: One thing about South Florida, their defense will be fast and fundamentally sound. USF will challenge for the Big East title but to win it, they will have to beat West Virginia in Morgantown on December 6th. A Florida team playing up north in December is never a good thing. A BCS bowl is possible for the Bulls.

Pittsburgh Panthers

2007 record 5-7

Pitt’s win over West Virginia at the end of the 2007 season provided to perfect momentum heading into 2008.

Things To Like About Pitt:

Running game: LaSean McCoy and LaRod Stephens – Howling are La Good. They provide a nice 1-2 punch for the Panthers.

Defensive Line: Active group that will create havoc in the opponents backfield. Might become the best in the Big East

Things Not To Like About Pitt:

Offensive Line: Pitt lost its starting offensive tackles from 2007. This group must develop to protect the quarterback and open holes for Pitt’s talented running backs.

Quarterback: Pitt must decide on 3 QB’s, Bill Stull, Pat Bostick or JUCO transfer Greg Cross. That decision will determine what kind of season Pitt will have.

Pitt Stop: It’s up to the offense as to if Pitt turns the corner this year. The defense is damn good. Dave Wannstedt has had 2 great recruiting classes and has Pitt poised to becoming the class of the Big East.

Cincinnati Bearcats

2007 record 10-3 (Defeated Southern Miss 31-21 in the Papa John’ Bowl)

First 10 win season for Cincinnati since 1951.

Things To Like About Cincinnati:

Shutdown corners on defense: Cornerbacks Mike Mickens and DeAngelo Smith are that good. This pair can be left on an island in one-on-one coverage while the rest of the Cincinnati defense pressures the QB. Mickens and Smith combined for 14 interceptions last year.

Marcus Bennett: The type of stretch the field wide receiver that can bring the opposition to its knees.

Things Not To Like About Cincinnati:

Quarterbacks: Ben Mauk lost his appeal on a 6th year from the NCAA but received a temporary injunction from an Ohio judge. Mauk could suit up and practice with the Bearcats while his lawsuit is being heard but should he lose in court, in might cost Cincinnati the season and revenue. Therefore UC will have to rely on inexperience QB’s. One is Demetrius Jones who started in the season opener last year for Notre Dame against Georgia Tech, then transferred to Cincinnati.

Running Backs: Cincinnati did not have much of a ground attack last season. The backs they had last year are gone. Junior Jacob Ramsey will have the pressure to produce out of the backfield.

It Ain’t the Bengals, It’s the Bearcats: Brian Kelly is a winner and he’s working his magic in the Queen City. Cincinnati might take some steps back this year with the uncertainty of the offense but in the big picture, Coach Kelly has this program moving forward.

Louisville Cardinals

2007 record 6-6

Louisville thought the had the horses for a national title but then lost to Kentucky then SYRACUSE in September of 07 killing any hopes. Then the Cardinals flew in the wrong direction and didn’t go bowling.

Things To Like About Louisville:

Offense: Hunter Cantwell takes over at quarterback for the departed Brian Brohm and the production won’t fall off that much. He’s got some receivers to throw to, in particular Scott Long. Brock Bolen and Bilal Powell will handle things running the ball. The offense should be fine.

Schedule: It sets up perfect for a program looking to bounce back. The Cardinals only have 4 games on the road this season and 2 are at Memphis and at Syracuse. There are some tough road games but Louisville should thank their schedule maker for a job well done.

Things Not To Like About Louisville:

Defense: To quote Bill Walton, they were horrible. Louisville ranked near the bottom of every defensive category last season. After that performance the defensive coaching staff was shown the door. Enter new defensive coordinator Ron English who built defenses at Michigan. English has his work cut out for him with this unit.

Redbird Report: Steve Kragthrope had a miserable debut season at Louisville. His honeymoon ended when Louisville lost to Syracuse in September. If the defense stops somebody, Louisville might win some games and go to a good bowl. It will be a tough year but not an embarrassment this year.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2007 8-5 (Defeated Ball State 52-30 in the International Bowl)

Things To Like About Rutgers:

Defense Attack!!!: Rutgers’ defense could be downright scary this season. They might be young up front but they will attack and attack and attack and will be creating chaos in the opposition’s backfield.

Great defensive backfield: Last season the Scarlet Knights were the nation’s 5th best pass defense and were lead by the McCourty twins, Jason and Devin, who are great playing the corner. The star of the Rutgers “D” is safety Courtney Green, who led Rutgers with 101 tackles last season. He can intimidate receivers, cover the pass, fill lanes and deliver the wood on run defense. Green could have gone to the NFL but instead returned to New Jersey to scare the hell out of the Big East.

Things Not To Like About Rutgers:

Who can replace Ray Rice: Rutgers can’t, Rice carried the offense last year. Not QB Mike Teel will be asked to serve that role. Kordell Young will be carrying the rock out of the backfield for the Scarlet Knights.

Offensive Line: Rutgers lost 3 starters from the O-line.

Knight Side: Greg Schiano has raised expectations at Rutgers that an 8 win season is considered a disappointment. Rutgers might not flirt with a BCS bowl this year but look out on down the line. Remember, Coach Schiano is stockpiling talent in New Jersey plus, he won’t let this team take steps back, or you’re going for a ride.

Connecticut Huskies

2007 record 9-4 (Lost to Wake Forest 24-10 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl)

Things To Like About Connecticut:

Great Running Backs: Andre Dixon and Donald Brown are the best running back duo in the Big East. Last year each gained over 800 yards and should improve on those numbers this year.

A Husky Defense: They are fundamentally sound. Head Coach Randy Edsell is obsessed with making his defense faster. Some moves this year may have accomplished that.

Things Not To Like About Connecticut:

Offensive Firepower: Can the offense make a big play when needed. Connecticut’s receivers are just OK and has no one that can stretch the defense. Thus UConn might be facing a lot of 8 man fronts.

Huskie Hotline: The Defense looks solid and can make plays. While the offense has a great running game, unless Tyler Lorenzen and his receiving corps can hook up on some big plays, Dixon and Brown might be running into walls. Getting to a bowl game will be a great accomplishment this year at UConn.

Syracuse Orange

2007 record 2-10

Things To Like About Syracuse:

Running Backs: If Curtis Brinkley and Delonte Carter can stay off of crutches and stay on their 2 legs this year, then the Orange have a pair of backs that will elevate the offense. Brinkley and Carter must carry the ‘Cuse offense.

Things Not To Like About Syracuse:

In the trenches: The offensive line lacks talent and depth and so does the defensive line.

Losing Mike Williams: He was a stud receiver but he didn’t go to class which is a requirement in school so his tardiness has cost the team his talents. The Orange receiver corps will struggle plus loses a big weapon.

Orange Crushed: It will be a long year again at Syracuse. Greg Robinson might want to update his resume.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Toledo Athletics Gambling Charges Related

The charges brought on former University of Toledo basketball player Sammy Villegas ((pictured, thanks have now been linked to the investigation of former football player Harvey "Scooter" McDougle, Junior, according to the FBI.

The McDougle investigation, highlighted on OSG Sports Radio last season, has now expanded according to an article by Joe Vardon in the Toledo Blade newspaper.

It had long been thought that the McDougle investigation was the only one occurring surrounding the Athletic Department.

Now, not so much...

Villegas is accused of taking bribes in order to shave points in his junior and senior season at UT- the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. The indictment also alludes to another unnamed player Villegas recruited for the same purpose, and to an incident where it alleged Villegas missed two free throws in a contest against Central Michigan.

In March of 2007, McDougle was charged with betting on a Toledo football game and recruiting fellow athletes for the purpose of shaving points. Those charges were dropped the following month, but both sides in the investigation admitted the investigation itself had not been concluded.

It is still believed that McDougle will not face any further charges.

WTVG-TV has coverage hyah
WNWO-TV has coverage hyah
((NB- Kristi Branam has her story in the video section))

What's Wrong With This Picture...???

What is it they say...?
One could be a mistake. Two is a coincidence. Three is a trend...

The Spanish delegation- not just men's basketball, but women's hoops, AND the tennis teams all decide to pull the same immature stunt through photography. There is a thought, from the Spanish perspective, that they were just being visually joke-ish:

"Hey, we're in China. So, we'll act as the Chinese do."

Wasn't this something we've done as fourth or fifth graders, and then we got it out of our collective systems...?

In this current day and age of over-the-top political correctness, people should be dropping the hammer on an entire athletic delegation. But, where is the outrage, or even the questioning of all this particular silliness...?

Apparently, outside of the United States, it doesn't exist.

And, actually, the traditional media here in the States ((remember them..?)) has glossed right over this, too. So much for offending other countries who will be more than happy to slam us at every chance through paper, print, or protest.

“It was supposed to be a picture that inspired the Olympic spirit,” Pau Gasol said.

Uh, sure...

Jorge Garbajosa and the Gasols are on this squad. Two of the three are, as of this writing, still on active NBA rosters. Garbajosa went home. So, what do we do as Americans about this...?

Laugh at their elementary silliness... and be sure to remind them at every opportunity. If you're David Stern, how do you handle this...? It's a bigger problem. If one of the red, white, and blue athletes did the same thing, Jason Kidd has the right idea as to how it was handled:

“We would’ve been already thrown out of the Olympics,” he told Yahoo! Sports in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski. “At least, we wouldn’t have been able to come back to the U.S. …There would be suspensions.”

And for his European peers, well, Kidd suggested, “They won’t do anything to them. It’s a double standard.”

Sad to say, what really can be done...? FIBA won't do anything. Commissioner Stern may have a few words, but there won't be any time-out for the Spaniards when they return to active duty.

It's painfully obvious, when you're the greatest country in the world, that jealousy reigns more than common sense. If the Americans had pulled one, two, or three of those lovely pictures that we would have been roasted in the world spotlight.

Spain...? Oh, they're just being funny...
The United States...? Oh, they're the "evil United States"- they should know better.
They're picking on the little guy...
Why are they joking about the Chinese like that...?

Actually, we do know better...
And we have to show by example...
Everyone else just gets to get away with it until further notice...

Walk tall. Walk proud.
If we have to be Number One, let's just act like it.
And stick it to everyone else that way...
No pictures needed...

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Mauk The NCAA

University of Cincinnati quarterback Ben Mauk is throwing a hail mary for one more year of eligibility. Mauk, who had multiple injury issues when he quarterbacked at Wake Forest, is trying to get a 6th year of eligibility with the Bearcats. The NCAA Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee denied Mauk’s final appeal last Friday.

Now Mauk has taken the next step, the legal process. Mauk has sued the NCAA and Judge William D. Hart in Hardin County (Ohio) Common Pleas court granted a restraining order saying the NCAA cannot prevent Mauk from practicing with the University of Cincinnati.

There is a catch though. Should Mauk play and the NCAA prevails in court, then the Bearcats would forfeit games and have to return bowl money should Cincinnati go to the post season.

You can read more from the Cincinnati Enquirer here

(Photo Courtesy: US Presswire)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

So Much For The Fens...ACC Looking Elsewhere...

The Atlantic Coast Conference was supposed to hold the 2009 Baseball Championships at Fenway Park in Boston ((pictured, thanks getty images))... that would have been cool.

But now, not so much...

From the ACC directly... ahem... quote...

"Fenway Sports Group announced today that due to an in-house scheduling error, it will be unable to host the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship.

"We sincerely apologize for the error that resulted in Fenway Park being unavailable to host the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship," said Mike Dee, President of Fenway Sports Group. "The Atlantic Coast Conference and its baseball championship are very important to us and we are truly sorry for this situation."

In the immediate future, the ACC will look to secure a new venue to host the 2009 championship. Further information on the 2009 event will be released directly by the conference office as soon as it's available.

"It's disappointing that this scheduling error has resulted in the upcoming championship not being played at Fenway Park, but we look forward to being at Fenway in 2010," said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. "In terms of this year's event, we are moving swiftly to find a quality venue to host one of our premier conference championships."

Although the originally-scheduled 2009 championship is not able to be played in Fenway, the ACC and FSG have agreed to terms to bring the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship to Boston and Fenway Park.

"We look forward to bringing ACC baseball to Fenway and will do everything possible to make 2010 a great success," said Dee.

What do you want to bet:

A) Davis Whitfield, the ACC's Grand-Exalted-Poobah-of-Championships will not be getting any rest any time in the near future...

B) Re-read the Swofford quote... heads will roll over this...
"Heads will roll, I tell you..."

C) What do you wanna guess that the Olympic Center in Cary, North Carolina becomes the emergency-default location for 2009...?

This had been decided after the 2006 championships, for those of you who had lost touch on these proceedings... and it took the Fenway Group until NOW ((???!!!)) to realize there was a scheduling conflict...???

Nine months beforehand...???

Makes perfect sense...
What...??? Did Jack Roush schedule a party or something...???