Sports Buffet for 05/04/10

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SptsBuf

The Sports Buffet will be a regular feature of FPS.

NFL

UFA S FS Darren Sharper (NO) is reported to have had microfracture knee surgery during the off season according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Sharper was a key part of the Saints D and their playoff run. The typical recovery time for that procedure is 18-24 months. That would also explain why he had such a delay in getting a contract offer. He has signed back with the Saints on a 1 year deal for 1.5M.

The Jones formerly known as “Pacman” is still shopping his services around the league. He went to Detroit last week and visited the Bengals recently. There was no interest by the Lions but the Bengals are at least considering an offer.

The 49ers signed LB Patrick Willis to a new 5 year deal worth 50M with 29M guaranteed.

With the draft of QB Tim Tebow, QB Brady Quinn could be on the move again. The Jags are reported to be interested in obtaining the former Browns 1st round pick.

NBA

There is a very fine line between a veteran team and just an “over the hill” team. Teams can go from one side of that line to the other in a single playoff series. The problem is that there is no way back except to blow the roster up and rebuild. After building a 11 point lead in game 1 vs. the Cavs, the Celts looked like they crossed the line at half time by losing the game by 8. However, they came back in game 2 and now have stolen home court advantage. The most interesting part of that game was that the “old” Celts outscored the Cavs 31-12 in the 3rd quarter. There is an old adage, in the NBA it isn’t a series until a home team loses a game. Now that the Celts have smacked the Cavs up side the head, it will be interesting to see if the Cavs can recover.

MLB

It is still VERY early in the season but there are a couple of things we can see now. The Red Sox are reeling. At 12-14 they are digging themselves a hole that will be very hard to crawl out of. They look old and done. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has gotten off to a really good start. It is hard to see them challenging the Yanks all year but they are playing well now. My two favorite teams are looking forward to high picks in this year’s draft–The Cubs and Indians.

NHL

The Columbus Blue Jackets are looking for a new coach AGAIN! Is there anyone out there that can turn what seems to be a team with a couple of very good players into a winner. If not, the city of Columbus will let the team leave. Central Ohio will not support a loser and that is all the CBJ have done. In their history they have had just 1 sniff of the playoff coffee beans.

College Football

The new NCAA rule changes include the right of a ref to take a TD off the board if the player “showboats” on his way to the endzone. Having spent some time in zebra stripes myself, I must give the officials some advice. Be VERY careful how and when you make that call. If it were made against the home team at Ohio State, Texas, Notre Dame or any number of CFB hotbeds, it might result in a tumult that would make the Hundred Years War seem like a minor disagreement between two 3 year old girls at a church picnic.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,NFL Draft,Saints,Bengals,Lions,Sharper,Jones,Tebow,NBA,Celtics,Cavilers,NBA Championship,NBA Playoffs,MLB,Tampa Bay,Red Sox,Indians,Cubs,NHL,College Football,NCAA,RULES
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The DOE complains about graduation rates in College Basketball

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This week US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that the NCAA should ban teams from the NCAA Tournament that do not maintain a minimum graduation rate for their players. WHAT?????

Don’t forget that this pinhead is the guy that was so effective as the CEO of the Chicago Public School System he was named to his current post by Obama. Forget the fact that the Chicago public schools are at the very bottom of the heap nationwide in graduation rates and standardized test scores. What it does rank at the top of the nation in is in-school violence, teen age pregnancy and dropouts. I guess he is just another “do as I say not as I do” guy in Washington.

But beyond the fact that the speaker is totally incompetent to say anything about graduation rates, there are other factors over which the NCAA and individual colleges have little or no control.

Prior to the NBA requiring that a player be 1 year out of school before applying for the NBA draft, those players (often between 20 and 40 a year) would go from high school directly into the pros. Now, those players go to college for 1 year and then on to the pros. They have little or no interest in college. It is a means to an end–to get a pro contract. We all know that the vast majority of these players will go to a basketball factory like Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas, etc. The result is that the best programs have the worst graduation rates. DAH!!!!

In college football 5 guys that leave early have very little impact. There are 80+ on the team. However, if you have 2 guys that leave early out of a basketball roster, statistically it has much more impact.

I do not believe that players should have to play 1 year in college before getting a chance to go pro. No one would complain about a brilliant chemist that leaves Podunk U for a multimillion dollar contract. Why put legal restraints on basketball players most of whom come from very poor backgrounds and are minority. I hope someone will challenge the rule.

Is a year of college bad for a kid? Not necessarily. In a single year, the far left professors can give a non-political kid enough liberal babble that it should last him for a lifetime. But the people that are looking for intelligent life on other planets should try to find some in Washington DC first. Based on what I have seen coming out of there lately, there is very little intelligence and no common sense.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Your fantasy football doesn’t have to be over. Run a pro football franchise all year long for free at . Tell them Coach Smith sent you.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: US Secretary of Education,Arne Duncan,ncaa basketball,minimum graduation rate,NBA,NBA Draft,NBA Prospect
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What to look for in the BcS Championship game.

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#1 Alabama

This is the year that Bama needs to win it all. They have 14 senior player that will be given serious consideration in the 2010 NFL draft 9 of whom should be drafted. They have as always some nice underclass talent but with that many guys leaving, a number of the key juniors will likely declare for the draft as well. They can not replace that many front line guys without taking a step back next season. This is their best chance to win the big prize.

Bama O

Bama can throw the ball but make no mistake about it—They need to run the ball to win. RB Ingram (So.) won the Heisman trophy and is outstanding. He has great vision and a very quick first step. He has decent speed and very seldom goes down at first contact. He is patent and uses blocks as well as any back in college. Those qualities are not developed. You either have them or you don’t. He is a good receiver and gets to the edge on screens often. He has 30 catches this year for an average of 10.2 yards which is a lot higher than most RBs.

QB McElroy has a passer rating of 142 but that is a little misleading. He has taken advantage of Ds that played 46 guys at the line of scrimmage to stop the run. He has thrown 17 TDs and has had just 4 picks. He throws a catchable ball with accuracy. He does not throw well under pressure and that could be a problem against Texas.

The Tide has good but not excellent receivers. Soph WRs Jones and Maze are the stars. Jones (6-4) is the big guy over the middle and has 42 catches and 4 TDs. Maze (5-10) is the speed guy with 30 catches for a 17 yard average and 2 TDs. TE Peek (3rd round) is a combo end with the ability to catch and block for the run. He has 26 catches and 3 TDs.

The O line is outstanding. It is led by All American Johnson (2nd) and Davis (6th). The team run blocks as well as any O line in recent years. They pass block well but were recruited to block the run.

Bama D

The D that stopped Florida is led by 2 All Americans (AA)—Butkus winner LB McClain (Jr.) and S Arenas (2nd). Arenas and SS Woodall (3rd) give the Tide the best pair of safeties in college. McClain was suffering from stomach problems but he is fine now. DT Cody (top 20 1st round) anchors the D line. He is the 4th rated DT in the draft. He fights through double teams to create havoc in the O backfield.

The D stuffs the run and lets the back line make up for any mistakes covering receivers. Given the quality of the back line, that has worked well. But against Texas, they are going to have to be more concerned about getting pressure on the QB and stopping the pass.

Texas

Texas will go as far as AA QB McCoy (1st) takes them. The team has depended more on his arm than on the run and the D put together.

Texas O

McCoy came back this year to win a championship. Texas was 18th in passing but 55th in rushing on O. McCoy has thrown for 3512 yards with 27 TDs and 12 picks. Because the running game has under produced, this year McCoy has taken more chances throwing the ball into coverage than he did last year. That accounted for more picks this year.

McCoy had more rushing attempts than leading RB Newton. Newton averaged 5 yards per carry on 102 attempts. AA second team WR Shipley (late 1 early 2) is by far the leading receiver with 106 catches and 11 TDs. The next highest is WR Williams (So.) with 38.

The O line is led by AA C Hall (4th), OT Ulatoski (3rd) and late round prospect G Tanner. The line pass blocks very well. They have not been as successful run blocking. This year the running game has not been up to usual Texas standards. When they have had a close game, they have struggled to close out the game by running.

Texas D

The Texas D may be the most under rated part of this game. The D held Oklahoma to 13, and T exas Tech to 24. They also saved the year for the Horns by keeping Nebraska to 12 points when the O struggled big time. The key to the team on D is the line. DT Houston (2nd) is the key along with DEs Jones and Acho who are both juniors. Houston keeps at least 2 OL guys busy and that frees up the LBs to attack the ball. OB Kindle (1st) is a force rushing the passer or stopping the run. He is also dangerous in pass coverage. His running mates Norton (late or FA) and Muckelroy (2nd) are returning starters and are under appreciated.

The D backfield is good but not great. CB Beasley (FA) is the bell cow but all 4 starters returned this year.

Prediction

I expect a low scoring game. I don’t see either team exploding offensively. The over/under is 45 and the under is the best bet. The line is Bama by 4. I expect them to win but it may be closer than that.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: BCS Championship game,BCS,National Championship,NFL Draft,Alabama,Texas,McCoy,Ingram,Heisman trophy,McElroy,point spreads
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What did we learn from this week in college football?

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football

Goodbye Notre Dame? Not so fast my friend.

The fans are ready to move on to a new coach. It even looks like the team is ready for a new leader but neither of them matter. The only people that matter are in the administration of the school.

Far too often pinhead administrators want to prove to the fans who is the boss. The Ohio State Athletic Director was hearing demands for Coach John Cooper to be fired in part because he was beaten like a nail by hammer Michigan. Instead, he gave Cooper a significant extension. The following year both the AD and Cooper were history. But the Buckeyes still had to pay off the contract. It was the gift that keeps on giving.

Don’t bet the house that coach Weis is gone. ND doesn’t like paying ex-coaches. There is no question that the team needs a new direction and that needs to be more than just a change in the coaching staff.

The two previous ND coaches won 58% of their games. Prior to the loss Saturday, Weiss had a winning percentage of 58. That can not be a coincidence. Based on the Sporting News top 25 recruits ND has a commitment from 1 and shot at 3 others. That will help but not much. ND is not going to be a BcS candidate for the big game any time soon.

The problem is a fan base that has the expectation of a national championship run every year for a team that will at best be moderately reliant a couple of times a decade. There are other teams in the north that are now in the second tier of college powers. Unless Global Warming makes the deep south unbearable, colleges north of the Mason-Dixon line will be second class citizens for the foreseeable future.

Michigan not Rodriguez friendly. Rodriguez is not very Michigan friendly either.

Coach Rich Rodriguez has not made many friends at Michigan. He got off on the wrong foot by not committing the Blue history to memory. He further irritated Blue fans by turning his back on Michigan stars of the past. He also brought a new system that 2007 QB of the future Ryan Mallett wanted no part of. As a result, Mallett left the team for new digs in Arkansas.

If you are winning Big 10 titles and BcS bowl games you can get away with more than a little arrogance. When you struggling to win enough games to get an invitation to the Tidy Bowl in Michawalka Minnesota you had better be sucking up to the power brokers.

Rodriguez faced an extra challenge bringing his wide open O and 3-3-5 D to the ultra conservative Michigan program. He needed a run and shoot type QB similar to White that he had in WV. He also needed lighter more athletic O and D linemen. The cupboard was bare when he got there and there wasn’t any of the things that fit his system. But again due to arrogance, he refused to change his system and implemented it with what he had. When the Michigan HC is advertising for walk-ons it is not going to be a good year.

After a 3-9 result in 2008 a 5-7 2009 is not good enough. The fans are screaming for his firing. But for the fans there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the AD has said that Rodriguez will be back next year. The good news is that the AD will not be around then because he is retiring.

I doubt that he will be fired this off season. But with a new AD coming in, it is not out of the question. He has tried to smooth things over with the key donors to the program but kissing up to contributors is not his style. He may last another year but will be gone for sure after that and may not be part of a trip to OSU next November.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Notre Dame,NCAA Football,BCS,BCS CHAmpionship,BCS Bowl,Weis,Rodriguez,Michigan,Ohio State,Cooper
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  • Author:
  • Published: Sep 4th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on With Hasselbeck healthy, the question for the Seahawks is the running game.

With Hasselbeck healthy, the question for the Seahawks is the running game.

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Seattle is not a very good football team. That’s OK because they are in a division that is not very good. If the majority of ifs fall in the Seahawks’ favor, they could contend for the NFC West title.

QB Matt Hasselbeck is the keystone of the offense. With the running game probably struggling, he will be called on to generate a great percentage of the yards and scoring. He is crafty and very capable if he can stay healthy. That is a big if given the O line problems and has been a problem for him and the team. He missed more than half of last year to injury. Seneca Wallace started the last 8 games of 08 and did fine with a 87.0 passer rating and 11 TDs with only 3 interceptions.

The starter is Julius Jones but he gained only 698 yards in starting 10 games last year. The Seahawks use RB by committee. The new addition to the group is ex-Colt and Cardinal Edgerrin James. James figures to be the short yardage guy but the team usually passes near the goal line. Neither of these two are good bets for Fantasy. Owen Schmitt and Justin Griffith are still competing for the open FB spot.

The receiver group got better in the off season. The team signed Bengal pro bowl WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh. He will be the cornerstone of the passing offense. The remainder of the WR group is weak at best. Nate Burleson and Deion Branch both were felled with knee injuries. Both were excellent but have yet to show their speed so far this year. Deon Butler has had some outstanding catches but lacks consistency. TE John Carlson is a young and talented player with John Owens coming in when 2 TEs are used.

The O line has been a problem. That problem got a lot worse when perennial all pro LT Walter Jones went down last year. He is expected back about game 8 but don’t bet on it. He has had arthroscopic surgery on his surgically repaired left knee that he had microfracture surgery on last December. LG Mike Wahle is also coming back from an injury. He looks OK. RG Rob Sims is learning but has a long way to go. Starting C Chris Spencer suffered a torn quad and may miss the entire season. The rest are below average and there is very little depth.

There is no D in Seattle or at least there hasn’t been for a while. The best player on the D line is DE Patrick Kerney but he has been hurt each of the last 2 years. UFA RDT Colin Cole looks like a good fit. DT Brandon Mebane has the tools but not experience. The book remains open on him. Cory Redding starts at the other end and is OL. Darryl Tapp is the designated pass rusher. Rookie DE/DT Lawrence Jackson is coming along nicely.

The linebacking is the strength of the D. Rookie Aaron Curry was handed the SLB spot and has shown no indication he will give it up any time soon. He has proven to be a good blitzer and handles the run well. MLB Lofa Tatupu is outstanding particularly against the run. WLB Leroy Hill is adequate. Reserve D.D. Lewis has starting experience and is good enough to play either outside spot.

The DBs are the weakest area of the D. LCB Marcus Trufant is very good but the rest of the group had a rough time last season. At this point in his career RCB Ken Lucas is more reputation than production. With the loss of Kerney last year the team blitzed more. FS Brian Russell and SS Deon Grant were not up to the challenge. Russell is not capable of tight coverage. Grant is too inconsistent to be effective. C.J. Wallace and Jamar Adams have experience as reserve safeties.

OVERALL: Despite a lot of question marks, this team is capable of challenging for the title. Most likely, it will be 2nd in the division and on the bubble for a wild card.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy football,Seahawks,Hasselbeck,Jones,James,Houshmandzadeh,Burleson,Branch,Walter Jones,Carlson,Wahle,Kerney,Trufant,Lucas,Grant,Russell,Adams
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The 49ers need be more like their coach.

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Head coach Mike Singletary was known for 3 things—his love of the game, his intensity, and his knowledge of the game and everyone of his opponents. His team needs those qualities in order to change the culture of the team. The 49ers were once the team of the decade. But in the last few years it has become the team of decline.

One of the last things that the previous administration did was to use its 1st pick on QB Alex Smith. Smith has a history of injury and inconsistency that drove the previous coach mad and then into the unemployment line. Singletary allowed Smith to compete with Shaun Hill for the starting job. Hill won the job and Smith has had his last shot at winning over the team in SF. Hill has a below average arm but is more accurate and less injury prone than Smith. Singletary is a coach that will fit the system to the players that he has. The 49ers use a version of the West Coast offense that relies on timing of short and medium passes and a strong running game.

The running game is very strong with Frank Gore being the leading character in the offense. Gore is able to squirt through tiny holes and break long gains with a combination of great vision and quick feet. The knew that Gore has been overused in the last few seasons and drafted Alabama rookie Glen Coffee to carry some of the load. Both Gore and Coffee hit the hole quickly and are North South backs. Former Penn State QB Michael Robinson is also in the mix and has been used as a short yardage back and on 3rd downs.

The team has not given either QB much in terms of a reliable group of WRs and that has hurt their development. This year the team drafted WR Michael Crabtree from Texas Tech. But the combination of a broken bone in the foot and an extended holdout have reduced the chance he will be a factor this year. Isaac Bruce was the team’s leading receiver last year despite his age. Three younger players are contesting for playing time. Josh Morgan has the best shot to start. Brandon Jones and Jason Hill are right at his heals. The winner will be the one that produces yards after the catch and holds onto the ball the best. TE Vernon Davis has been inconsistent catching the ball as well but has speed and is a better blocker than people give him credit for supporting the running game.

The O line has been a problem for years. Things didn’t get better when former all pro Marvel Smith retired unexpectedly. They hope LT Joe Staley will prove his big new deal is money well spent. C Eric Heitmann is the best of the group. Journeyman Barry Sims has beaten out Adam Snyder to start at RT. That is not a good sign. LG David Baas has started at G and C but has not proven himself at either position. RG Chilo Rachal,a 2nd round pick as was Baas, looked better at USC than he has in SF. Both have to get it done this year to be around in 2010. There is quantity but not quality on the bench.

When Singletary took over, he changed the team to a 3-4. That improved their overall performance. RE Justin Smith plays the run and pass very well. The team does not have a true NT. Aubrayo Franklin does his best but gets washed out of the play too often. He is much more of a 1 gap player. LE Isaac Sopoaga is barely adequate at E and less than that at NT. Rookie Demetric Evans and vet Kentwan Balmer are in the rotation. This group needs to be better at keeping the LBs free to run to the ball.

The linebackers will be LOLB Manny Lawson, LILB Takeo Spikes, RILB Patrick Willis, ROLB Parys Haralson. Lawson was drafted to be the rush linebacker but has not produced yet. Willis is a pro bowl IB but Spikes starts because there just isn’t anyone else. He does help with leadership and keeping the D focused. Haralson is below average.

The only part of the D backfield that Singletary can count on is CB Nate Clements. The team signed well traveled Dre’ Bly to compete with Tarell Brown for the other CB spot. The competition is too close to call since Brown returned from a toe injury. The loser will become the nickel back and Shawntae Spencer will be the dime. The safety spots are in worse shape. SS Michael Lewis is solid against the run but can’t cover a grandmother with a walker. FS Dashon Goldson is the next in line to prove he can play the position. Former FS Mark Roman has proved he can’t. CB Marcus Hudson has had a few good moments but not enough to assure his inclusion in the 53 man roster.

OVERALL: The 49ers have to be better in the draft because Singletary will get the maximum out of the players he has. He deserves a better roster than he was given. The team should be better than the Rams and but has a way to go before they can challenge either the Cards or the Seahawks.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Alex Smith,Hill,Singletary,NFL,NFL Draft,Fantasy Football,Crabtree,Gore,Coffee,Alabama,Texas Tech,Bruce,Marvel Smith,Staley,Baas,Heitmann,Franklin,Justin Smith,Spikes,Lawson,Clements,Bly,Brown,Rams,Cardinals,Seahawks
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