Niblets for August 2010

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nib

Best comment of the month:

From Tena

I’m not a baseball fan, but this whole episode stinks to the high heavens. WHY in God’s name is congress (A group of liars if there ever was one) WASTING their valuable time on a baseball player who allegedly lied about taking drugs that may even kill him someday. The country is in the grip of a horrible mess caused by the inattention of politicians for the last 30 years. That boil is getting ready to burst,and here we have Congress trying to “look busy”. It’s really disgusting. It’s impossible for Congress to hold anyone in contempt, because that is the feeling that the entire country has -against THEM!…..

You must also become a reader of fryingpanpolitics.blog.com because I made EXACTLY the same argument. Well done.

Updates on previous columns:

LeBron, Gilbert, Miami and Cleveland LeBron came back to Cleveland for a bike fund raiser. He was roundly booed and expressed disgust that the city wanted to be paid to provide police protection for the riders. LeBron, if you though that was a bad welcome, wait till the Beach Boys come to play.

The NFL, NFLPA, and an 18 game season. If you watched any of the preseason games you saw a lot of fans wearing empty seat costumes. In most games it looked like the average attendance was around 20% of capacity. I have not found league published attendance figures but it had to be very low. That makes it even more likely that we will see the 18 game regular season in 2011 or if a lockout occurs 2012. The injuries that have continued to pile up make the players even less likely to accept 18 games without a major fight.

Fantasy Football Sleepers, handcuffs and avoids in the NFC WR Bryant DA is expected to be the 3rd WR game 1 for the Boys. Move him up on your fantasy draft lists.

As I forecast months ago, AZ QB Leinart is likely not to be the starter. I suggest you take him off your list altogether. QB Anderson might be a bye week fill in available late in the draft.

Texan RB Tate is on IR.

Bengal TE Gresham has convinced me he is the real deal. Add him to your list.

See the comment about Hawk WR Houshmandzadeh below.

Raider RB Bush hurt his thumb so badly it required surgery. He will be out 4 to 6 weeks.

Niblets fresh from the cob:

Browns RB Hardesty on IR He has a history of injury and blew out his left anterior cruciate ligament and has been put on IR. Browns fans can just hope this is not a sign he will often have injuries.

Seahawk WR Houshmandzadeh could be traded or cut. This has to be a HC Carroll issue. Wherever he goes he should be productive. The uncertainty will move him down your draft chart. Carroll wants to prove that WR Mike Williams, the former 1st round pick of the Lions and USC player, is not a bust. Look for several teams to be interested because he is a solid WR and the Hawks will have to pick up the big guarantee given to Housh by the previous administration.

Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension cut to 4 games. We predicted this weeks ago. Meanwhile, one candidate to replace him, QB Leftwtch, went down in preseason game 4. One report from the team said he will but out with a knee sprain 2 to 4 weeks. But his agent’s company said he tore his MCL and will miss the season.

That’s what I think. Tell me what 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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL Football,Fantasy Football,Fantasy draft,Fantasy draft notes,sleepers,LeBron,James,NFLPA,DeMaurice Smith,Browns,Texans,Bengals,Raiders,Cardinals,Bush,Tate,Leinart,Houshmandzadeh,Roethlisberger,steelers

Has political correctness hurt the sports reporting on ESPN?

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espnX

So much of the antique news media have climbed into bed with the Democrats that a 200 foot wide mattress had to be delivered to the White House to accommodate them all. Is the same thing happening at ESPN?

There is no doubt that the network makes a ton of money broadcasting games of the NFL, NBA, NCAA and MLB. And there is little doubt that each of those entities puts pressure on everyone around them to “protect the shield” as NFL Comm. Goodell calls it. But just like the news media, ESPN has a responsibility to the public. But fear of losing their deals has hurt their willingness to tell their listeners the whole truth.

The latest rumor floating around ESPN is that LeBron James has ordered the network to kill any stories about his Mom’s romantic involvements. He reportedly told ESPN that he would never give an interview with them again unless they killed the report. Nothing about his Mom has appeared on the radio or TV side of the network.

If a player can kill a story about his Mom, what chance do you think there is for the network to reveal a major scandal about a league executive or team owner? The answer is none at all.

The unvarnished history of the network has just been published by Mike Freeman in his new book ESPN: The Uncensored History. The book includes a lot of details about some of the darker actions about the staff and talent at the network. There have long been rumors about several of the big names at ESPN. While I have no direct knowledge about the validity of the rumors, I have gotten conformation about several less than flattering rumors that involve the personal lives of individuals at the network. Those stories will not appear on this site. I deal in analysis of sports and have no interest in trying to get readers by titillating them.

When you have as many skeletons in your closet as ESPN seems to, you are much less likely to push the envelope to get to the bottom of big stories for fear of your own dirty laundry being exposed. Their own problems hurt the fans because they are the leader but are unlikely to tell us the truth about our sports.

That is not nearly as bad as the antique media failing to report the truth about what goes on in Washington but you deserve better. Very soon I will have some news about a more reliable source for your sports news–one that is not muzzled by political correctness or fear of losing broadcast rights. It will be well worth waiting for. Until then…

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 https://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: espn,media,LeBron James,Mrs. James rumor,political correctness,Freeman,ESPN: The Uncensored History

Professional and college sports teams face tough times ahead.

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Welcome to the first season of the Los Angeles Jaguars. What about Jacksonville? The city and state cried poverty and neither government would pony up any money for a new facility or even a decent makeover. The people of the city also didn’t come to the games so the Jags left.

Thank heavens that has not happened yet but it could happen soon.

Teams in every professional sport are struggling financially. Part of that is their own fault. They spent too much on players when things were good. Now that the economy has turned down, they are still spending more than they can afford.

They are also notoriously bad marketers. Some teams got a bump in attendance by building a new facility with state and or city help. Those that did got only a temporary bump no matter how nice the new digs were. Within a year or 2 they were back to seeing a lot of empty seats at every game. But in addition to the same old attendance they had a boat load of debt. With the government borrowing so much money, eventually interest rates will have to go up. The debt load teams are carrying will sink them and for the first time even the NFL could find no takers with enough cash to bail out the teams that will go belly up.

The Columbus Blue Jackets of the NHL are a perfect example. They signed a contract when they were created to play in a privately owned arena because public money couldn’t be approved by either the city or state. Now they are facing empty seats and financial hardship because they say their rent is too high. The problem was while the CBJ was building its arena down town, the Ohio State University was also building a new multi-purpose arena on campus just a few miles away. The old OSU arena is also still in use but is empty most of time. The CBJ is asking the government to take over the building so that they can stay in Columbus and get a lower lease. Both the city and state are in much worse financial shape then they were when the building was proposed and are in no position to buy anything more costly than a box of paper clips. The owners of the building are not going to be able to sell the structure because no one is going to buy an arena where the only lessee is threatening to leave.

If things weren’t bad enough both the NFL and NBA face possible strikes/lockouts soon. The NFL will likely survive but the NBA could be devastated by a lockout. The NBA is riding a down wave of popularity and could suffer like the NHL did with a significant lockout. The NHL lost its major TV deals and is now stuck with games on the Verses Network.

Both leagues are trying to reduce the percentage of revenue dedicated to the players. The NBA is also struggling with guaranteed contracts. The NFL is trying to avoid the mistakes of the other leagues like guaranteed deals. The US financial situation is so bad that the NFLPA has come out in favor of a salary cap which just over a year ago they said they would never allow to be part of any new Collective Bargaining Agreement. They don’t like the idea of capping the amount a team can spend but desperately want to establish a minimum that a team must spend on players.

College teams are struggling as well. At Ohio State the basketball team was in a position to insure a share of the Big 10 title. And yet there were more than 1,500 empty seats hours before the tip off. Schools that have had no problem increasing the tuition 5 times the rate of inflation will drop any sports program that is not self supporting like it was a stolen knockoff Prada purse.

So what will happen?

Professional teams will go out of business. Players on those rosters will be distributed to the teams that survive. Several NBA teams will wither on the vine if they lose the key player upon which the attendance is based. The Cavs for example will be in serious trouble financially should LeBron James leave.

Even the NFL has teams that are in serious danger of disappearing. Teams like the Bills, Jaguars, Panthers, and Rams regularly fail to fill their stadiums. When the TV money goes down, as it will have to if the US economy continues to struggle, those teams will find it hard to make payroll.

There is also a down side for any business that depends on attendance at games for revenue. They will be hurt in cities that keep their teams. Where teams are gone the businesses that depend on them will be gone as well.

So what can fans do? Perhaps a better question is what should fans do? There is not much fans can do. However, I have some suggestions.

For Pro or college teams that are doing their best to compete:

If you can afford to go to games and your team is providing quality entertainment, do it. That is great. Even if you can’t afford the tickets you can call their radio and TV sponsors to thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their support of your team. Let them know that you will use their products or services because they support your team. Then call the team and the radio and TV stations that carry their games. Let them know that you called the sponsors to thank them. Thank the team for doing the right thing and the station for carrying the games. Call your sports call in programs and suggest the other fans do the same thing. It will help insure that the stations will continue to carry the games and the stations and team will continue to enjoy success.

For Pro teams that are just going through the motions or are incapable of competing due to bad management or ownership:

If you find that the team is not showing any interest in becoming competitive, call the team and let them know why you aren’t buying their tickets. Call the stations that broadcast the games and let them know that the community needs the station to put pressure on the team to get it’s act together. Call the key sponsors to ask them to ask the stations to put pressure on the team to do better. Tell sports radio call in programs what you are doing and ask the other fans to do the same.

For college teams that are not trying to compete:

Colleges react to just one thing–money. Again the stations carrying the games are a pressure point just as the pro teams above. But there is one other thing that can have an effect–Donors. Call your sports radio programs and suggest that donors contact the presidents of the college to tell them to give their sports more emphasis. That will not work often but when a donor calls a president, he or she gets attention. A few big dollar donors calling will change the attitudes of the coaching staff and the culture of the team.

Those fans that become proactive will find that things in sports can change based on public opinion. Too bad things don’t seem to work the same way in Washington D.C.

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 https://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,nhl,mlb,nba,money in sports,Cavilers,LeBron James,DeMaurice Smith,nflpa,CBA,Collective Barganing Agreement,Spors talk radio,College football,Ohio State,Colubmus Blue Jackets

LeBron could win MVP and Coach of the Year!

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Cavs

One theory of management is “the level of competence.” That theory says that an organization will promote people based on their ability to do their current job. But at some point they become no longer “promotable” because they are no longer doing an outstanding job. They are in a job one level above their level of competence. Those people should be demoted back to a job that they do well but they almost never are.

I see the Cav’s coach Brown as just such a case. From all reports Brown was a more than competent as associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers and as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. But he is in my opinion not even close to being competent as head coach.

Science tells us that nature abhors a vacuum. Because Brown is incompetent as head coach there is a power vacuum that out of necessity LeBron James has been forced to fill. As good as James is, it is very difficult to get an overview of the game from the court. He is so focused on doing his job that he is not able to see that the offensive flow of the team is sporadic at best and nonexistent at times.

The lack of competence of Brown has been highlighted by his inability to deal with the changes in the roster from the trades and returning players from injury. In a recent interview he admitted he was struggling to re-integrate Williams into the offense. He seems to have no clue how to integrate Jamison into the offense and what is worse, has not even tried to do it. Brown puts guys on the floor and lets James figure out how to use them.

Mike, here are a few things you might try to see in the tapes of recent games.

  1. The offense runs very smoothly when it goes through LeBron and a big man. It doesn’t seem to matter if that is Shaq or Jamison because both are more than capable of scoring or dishing the ball to an open player. That will also save James’ energy and make him more effective later in the game.
  2. The Brown O seems to be 4 guys watching LeBron take on the 5 opponents. Both he and Brown need to trust the other guys on the team. This is not the 04-05 team with guys like Drew Gooden, Jeff McInnis, Ira Newble and Robert Traylor around James. We have a team that has veteran starting quality scorers. Both James and Brown need to trust them particularly in the last few minutes of a game. In the 3 game losing streak the Cavs O in the last few minutes was 1 on 5 LeBron against the world.

  3. It was nice to see Jamison starting. He has to start with Varejao being the 1st off the bench at PF. Hickson is a great kid but he has to be the 3rd option at that position. It will reduce his minutes but that is the way it needs to be to have this team be competitive against the top teams in the league.

There should be no doubt that this team is the most prepared to compete for a championship that the Cavs have ever had. Mike, get your head out of your hind quarters and start coaching. If you can’t figure out how to get all these stars into the O, find someone that can and let them do it. LeBron has enough on his plate.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday morningS at 11 EST. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NBA,Cavilers,LeBron,James,Brown,Jamison,game plan,Shaquille O’Neal

  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

What to look for in New Years Day bowl games.

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football

OUTBACK BOWL Northwestern 8-4 Auburn 7-5

This game pits the Big 10 vs. SEC. NW wins over two ranked teams (Iowa and Wisconsin) in the last two games gave them hope they can break a 6 bowl losing streak. This is the first New Year’s day bowl since 97. QB Kafka has thrown for 2898 yards but only 12 TDs and 7 picks. He has to produce the majority of the O because the running game has struggled. RB Fields has averaged just 3.0 per attempt this year. The NW D is solid and is led by DE Wootton who should be a top 15 pick in the NFL Draft. The NW D will have to find a way to contain the Auburn running game or it will be a long day.

Auburn had its usual fast start 5-0 only to lose 5 of their final 7 games. QB Todd had a nice season with 2377 yards 21 TDs and just 6 picks. He was able to take advantage of opponent defenses focused on stopping the 13th best running game in Division 1. RB Tate is the key. He ran for 1254 yards at a 5.8 per attempt and scored 8 TDs. He should be a 3rd round pick in the draft.

The Tiger D is led by LB Coleman and DT Ricks both of whom are good draft prospects.

Auburn is the better team that played a better schedule and will win.

GATOR BOWL Florida St. 6-6 #16 West Virginia 9-3

This is the last game on the sideline for legendary coach Bowden. He is second in all time Div. 1 wins. Bowden’s problems in the last few years have been on D. He has not gotten the super athletes on D to be competitive at the highest level. This year’s D has 3 draftable players. CB Robinson is a 1st round prospect. OB Watson is a 3rd round prospect. I really like SS Rolle and he would be a steal in the 5th round. QB Ponder is hurt but had a good year. His replacement Manuel has thrown more picks (6) than TDs (2). The running game is capable with RB Thomas averaging 5.2 per attempt.

WV has won 4 straight bowl games. They took advantage of a below average Big East to get to 9-3. QB Brown is supposed to be 4th round prospect but don’t expect that. He has struggled this year an the team has averaged 211 per game passing which ranks a dismal 84th. On O also watch OT Capers who may be a 2nd round pick.

On D the team has been good but has no senior super stars. The FSU team will play their hearts out for Bowden and despite being the underdog, I expect a close game and maybe an FSU win.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL #12 LSU 9-3 #13 Penn St. 10-2

LSU should have at least on player taken in each of the 7 rounds of the draft. Potential 1st round pick WR LaFell is 6-3 and is the prime target in the endzone for LSU. Look for OT Black and RB Scott to be picked in 2nd and 4th round respectively. Scott is a slasher who averaged 4.7 per attempt but injuries held him to just 116 carries. He is questionable for the game. The Tiger O ranks 108th which is not good looking at a solid Penn State D. The LSU D is led by SS Coleman (3rd or 4th round) and DE Alem (4th or 5th). While the D started out well, it has struggled to get off the field in the last 4 games giving up over 380 yards a game.

PS QB Clark was the leading passer in the Big 10 but tended to throw picks at the worst times against the toughest competition. His 2009 performance has dropped him from a possible 4th round pick to undrafted Free Agent status. Junior RB Royster has yet to decide if he will enter the draft. He averaged 5.9 per attempt and would be a 2nd round pick most likely.

The strength of PS is the D which is led by DT Odrick (1st round), ILBs Lee (2nd) and Hull (5th) .

The line is PS by 3 and that looks about right. If Scott doesn’t play it could be a lot worst than that.

ROSE BOWL #7 Oregon 10-2 #8 Ohio State 10-2

OSU Coach Tressel has suspended 3 players for the game including WR Small. That won’t help an O that has struggled this year. They have only 1 draftable Senior on O—C Cordle. The O line has been bad and QB Pryor has run for his life rather than running for first downs. The Bucks have the 106th ranked passing O. Pryor has not improved in his 2nd year as starter. In fact, he has become less accurate with worse mechanics than last year. The running game ranks 19th with a gagle of backs contributing including Pryor.

The OSU D ranks 5th in rushing D. That D will be tested often by the Ducks who rank 6th in rushing. S Coleman and DT Worthington are both prospects in the last half of the 2010 Draft.

Oregon’s RB James hides in the back pocket of the Duck O line then bursts out to rip off big gains. USC never could find him let alone tackling him close to the line. James replaced RB Blount who was suspended for hitting a player after the Boise State game. QB Masoli has a passer rating of 130 and has a great target in TE Dickson (2nd or 3rd round). The Ducks are 7th in scoring and will give the Buckeye D all they want.

Big 10 teams usually lose the Rose Bowl but that has been against USC most often. But the line is Oregon by 5. It shouldn’t be that close. However the best bet here is the under at 51.

SUGAR BOWL #3 Cincinnati 12-0 #5 Florida 12-1

The big question in this game is which Bearcat team will show up? Their coach is on his way to South Bend. This is big game not only for Cincy but for the Big East. This is their chance to show the football world that they are just as good as the big boys. Cincy is ranked 6th in total O and scoring but that was not against the kind of D speed that Florida has. They will depend on QB Pike (2nd or 3rd) to WR Gilyard (top 20). The Cincy O ranked 7th in passing despite the loss of Pike for a good deal of the season. RB Pead has average 6.6 per attempt. They won’t have that success against the Gators.

On D, Cincy has been solid led by DE Daniels and SS Webster both late round prospects. The team has been good against the run but a little soft vs the pass.

Florida has coaching questions of its own. Coach Meyer announced he was leaving the sideline but a day later that it was only a leave of absence. QB Tebow has been the bell cow of the team and is the spiritual leader. No other player in the draft has as many different views of his pro potential than Tebow. Experts rank his anywhere from top 3 to the middle of the 4th round. I will have a detailed scouting report later. He has 2413 yards passing with 18 TDs and 5 picks. He added another 859 yards rushing with 13 TDs. WR Cooper (3rd or 4th) is solid. The O line has been a little shaky but has blocked enough to allow RB Demps to average 7.7 per carry.

The Florida D is led by LB Spikes (1st) DE Cunningham (3rd) and OB Stamper and Doe. Look for them to keep the pressure on Pike all day.

Florida is a 13 point favorite and it shouldn’t be that close. But Cincy has fooled teams before.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: New Year’s Day Bowls,NFL,NFL Draft,Outback,Northwestern,Auburn,Gator Bowl,Florida State,West Virginia,Capitol One Bowl,LSU,Penn State,Rose Bowl,Ohio State,Oregon,Sugar Bowl,Cincinnatim Florida

What to look for this weekend in College Football

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football

#6 Bosie St. @ Utah St. Friday night

This is not a game. It is a celebration of a 11-0 season for BS.

Watch for #1 Florida and #2 Alabama to get fat on cupcakes.

The leaders in the BcS play Florida International and Chattanooga respectively. Come on, you can’t schedule out of league teams tougher than that?

#4 TCU @ Wyoming

TCU pads its stats against a decent Wyoming team that is 5-5 overall. They try hard but are totally outclassed in this game.

#8 LSU @ Ole Miss

This is the best game in the SEC this week. Miss started the season at #4 and despite a bad season is still dangerous at home. LSU is looking to make style points to try to overtake the loser of the SEC Championship game. Rebel QB Sneed has fallen in the eyes of the scouts due to 17 TDs and 14 picks. The biggest problem he has had is the O line protection. He will be running for his life again against LSU. The Tigers win but it shouldn’t be too lopsided.

#10 Ohio State @ Michigan

This game has lost a lot of its importance because of Michigan’s problems in the last several years. Ohio State seems to have gotten better on O in the two big wins over Penn St and Iowa. It might seem like an easy win for the Bucks but the three times that OSU had clinched the Rose Bowl before the game the Blue has won.

#11 Oregon @ Arizona

The Beavers have the inside track to the Rose Bowl but have a tough game at Arizona. Arizona also has a chance but needs to beat the Ducks and get some help in other games. Oregon will win despite some key injuries. The key to the game will be the strong running game of the Ducks vs. the outstanding run D of the Wildcats. Duck RB James is just fun to watch. He is extremely elusive and has the best jump-step in the college game.

Pac10 game of the year (again) #25 Cal @ #17 Stanford.

Both Cal and Stanford have designs on the Rose Bowl but will need the Cats to stun the Ducks among other things to happen. Stanford is one of the hottest teams in the country having had back to back wins over #8 Oregon and then #9 USC. The Cardinal is much tougher at home and seem to have finally smoothed out their O. They have scored over 100 points against those two foes. Cal has lost their star running back Best. Stanford should win at home.

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 https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: Bosie St.,Utah St.,Florida,Alabama,TCU,Wyoming,LSU,Ole Miss,Ohio State,Michigan,Oregon,Arizona,California,Stanford,USC

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