The BCS and NFL Playoffs are becoming clear.

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Wilson Football

In college games I went 8-1 bringing the season total to 31-15.

In pro games against the spread I went 1-4 bringing the total to 20-12.

College football:

#1 Oregon 15 California 13 – The Ducks ducked a close call to continue on the road to the BcS game. They survived to play #22 Arizona at home this week and at Oregon State next.

#2 Auburn 49 Georgia 31 – Tiger QB Newton played very well accounting for 4 scores. The Auburn D is a problem particularly in a possible game against a O like Oregon’s. Auburn will play #11 Alabama next week and #17 South Carolina in the SEC Championship game.

#3 TCU 40 San Diego St. 35 – TCU lost some ground against Boise with a close game against a good SDS team. They have no chance to recover that ground with only the 1 win New Mexico State team left on the schedule.

#4 Boise St. 52 Idaho 14 – Boise is in the best shape to sneak into the Big game if one of the top 2 fall. They have 6-3 Fresno State, #18 Nevada, and 4-6 Utah State.

#5 LSU 51 La. Monroe 0 – LSU has Mississippi and #13 Arkansas on the schedule.

#6 Stanford 17 Arizona St. 13 – Stanford will face Cal and Oregon St. If they play the way they did against a 2-6 Arizona St. team they will lose at Cal next week.

Pro football:

Vick looked great against the Redskins Monday night. They will move up in the FPS Top team list.

Stick a fork in the turkey known as the Vikings. They are done. This team is self-destructing and will be totally reworked next year.

The Browns have found their QB of the present and maybe of the future in McCoy. Check out what I had to say about him in the Browns team page.

The Colts are banged up and not blowing out anyone. Even so, they have climbed back on top of the AFC South and will be a tough playoff out because they still have Manning.

The Dolphins have lost both QB Henne and Pennington. This team is done for the year but has gotten younger. They will be a force next year.

The 49ers have found their QB for the present and it is Smith–Troy Smith the FA from Baltimore not Alex Smith the 1st round pick a couple of years ago. Troy threw for 356 yards and a TD without a pick last week against the Rams.

The Redskins signed QB McNabb to a 5 year extension. This is more about keeping control of his services in 2011 than anything else. He got 10M guaranteed and 78-88M over the contract with incentives which he probably won’t be able to meet. The Redskins want to keep him because he would get a big offer in free agency next season because so many teams need QBs.

Top 5

1. Patriots – The win over the Steelers was a statement game and got them the top spot despite a loss last week against the Browns.

2. Jets – They got lucky against the Browns to win in overtime. But I still don’t think this team is as good as the Pats.

3. Steelers – The AFC North is a tough division. The Steelers lost to the Pats this week but this is still a good team. They need to shore up the O line and DBs.

4. Falcons – The Birds beat the Ravens with a great comeback. This team is on the rise and QB Ryan is outstanding.

5. Ravens – This team is still very solid and will move up soon.

Dropped out: Giants – They got crushed by the Eagles and QB Vick.

Just out of the top 5: Eagles – If Vick stays healthy and the D continues to play this well, they could make the NFC Championship game.

Bottom 5

28. Cowgirls – One win with a new coach is nice but you have to prove it over the rest of the season.

29. Broncos – The win over the Chiefs was one fraud beating another.

30. Cardinals – “QB? QB? We don’t need no stinking QB!”

31. Panthers – That is what you get for drafting a QB out of Notre Dame.

32. Bills – They finally won a game but it could be the last one for a while.

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 His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

The NFL owners meeting produces little real news.

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Fryingpan Sports

The NFL owners meeting produces little real news.

By Bill Smith

The NFL owners held their March meetings this week and very little of any real significance resulted.

Rule changes:

The changes the owners agreed upon were minor. Perhaps the most important was the change to the draft order. Beginning (and maybe ending unless the new agreement includes a draft) in 2010, the 20 non playoff teams will be ranked based on the existing formula that is based on record first then reverse of strength of schedule. The 12 playoff teams will be ranked based on how far they got in the playoffs.

The losers in the wild card round would be ranked by record and the reverse of strength of schedule. That group would be followed by the losers in the Divisional round, the losers in the conference championship games.

The second rule change is that quarterbacks will now wear pink tutus and are not allowed to be tackled. The defense will get credit for a sack by sticking a finger into the QB’s ear hole and tickling the ear. Just kidding! The defensive player will be called for a personal foul if he hits the quarterback on or below the knee unless the tackler has been blocked into the QB.

In a third change, the league decided to increase the use of “instant” replay to include if a lost ball by a QB is a pass or a fumble regardless of a whistle. This change would have allowed the right call in the Charger Bronco game and given the ball back to San Diego.

There was also a discussion about changing the pass interference rule from the spot of the foul to a 15 yard penalty. This would prevent cheap touchdowns by a QB throwing it up hoping there is a foul. However, the change was tabled.

My Analysis:

The QB tutu rule is just another example of political correctness pushing its bulbous nose into sports. Some in the NHL think that the only thing separating the league from a financial bonanza is fighting. Not the case guys. It might help if you actually had a real network deal for the season.

The NFL rule change is another attempt to protect the QB. Gone are the days of Turkey Jones picking up Terry Bradshaw, turning him over and repeatedly pounding the QB’s head into the ground. Ah, those were great memories.

Other issues discussed:

The owners discussed the possibility of extending the regular season by 1 or 2 games by eliminating a like number of preseason games. Even if the owners approved this change, it would have to be approved by the players and incorporated into the new collective bargaining agreement.

My Analysis:

This is an attempt to float a trial balloon for the players. The owners want to back off the 60% of all revenues going to the players. The only way a reduction in percentage can be approved by the NFLPA is to increase the total revenues by adding 2 games to the regular season. That would give the current players a 12.5 percent increase in pay.

The other sweetener that will be needed is the addition of players to each roster. The increase should be 2 players to a total of 55. The league will need the extra players to survive an 18 game season.

The idea of 17 games is a non-starter. No team will give up a home game to an opponent. There are not enough neutral sites to support a league wide 17th game.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: nfl,pro football,NFLPA,Owners meetings,rules,changes,housing crisis,18 game season,preseason,tutu, NFL Draft,2009 NFL DRAFT,2010 NFL DRAFT

February 28th a giant date for the NFL.

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Fryingpan Sports

February 28th a giant date for the NFL.

By Bill Smith

In one of his first public statements, the newly elected Executive Director of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) DeMorris Smith gave hope to millions of NFL fans. Smith said that he wanted to get started on negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as soon as possible. While no one should hold his breath, there is a chance that the NFLPA and the owners can come up with a system that is going to acceptable to everyone involved.

February 28th is a key date in both 2010 and 2011. If the two sides can come to agreement and the players ratify it before 2/28/10, the uncapped year could be avoided. There is enough money for everybody. The cap for 2009 was originally estimated to be around 105 million, due to the TV contracts and other increases in revenue, the new cap is now over 116 million per team. That also raises the minimum salary to nearly 99.5 million which is the amount every NFL team must spend on salaries and player bonuses.

There are a number of poison pills placed in the last year of the contract by agreement of the two sides in the last negotiations in an attempt to facilitate a new deal. As things stand now, in 2010 there is no salary cap and no minimum. A team could conceivably cut all their NFL players and hire a semi-pro team at 100K each. That would save over 94 million dollars. There is also a change in free agency. Players with 6 seasons of service by the end of the 09 season under the old agreement would have been unrestricted free agents. Since the owners opted out of the agreement, those players can not get free agency until they reach 8 seasons of service. That will cost many players millions of dollars in free agent contracts.

The owners get some poison as well. The playoff teams can only replace players lost in free agency despite the uncapped year. And even a single uncapped year could drastically change the balance of power in the league for years to come. If a small market team takes advantage of the elimination of the minimum salary, it could poison the fan base and make a move necessary.

The second February 28th that is critical is in 2011. Unless the parties get a deal before that date, there will be a lockout for sure. Let’s hope things don’t get to that point.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: nfl,lockout,pro football,NFL Players association,Owners,free agency,free agent,collective bargaining agreement,salary cap

Smith's election as Executive Director of the NFLPA is great news for NFL fans.

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Fryingpan Sports

Smith’s election as Executive Director of the NFLPA is great news for NFL fans.

By Bill Smith

The NFL Players Association announced that attorney DeMorris Smith had been elected Executive Director unanimously by the team Player Reps. This is very good news for all NFL fans. It seems that the Reps have selected a moderate in Smith over the extreme positions of the other leading candidates.

Troy Vincent and Trace Armstrong were the best known candidates to fill the very large shoes of Gene Upshaw. Both of them were campaigning on a platform of a very hard line position against the NFL. Both had reportedly promised the players that they were the candidate that could finally bring guaranteed contracts to the NFL players. That would create a long and ugly strike/lockout that could cost the NFL several seasons. If the owners folded first, it would have created a league that would make Major League Baseball look organized.

While Smith’s positions on league issues are widely unknown, he has not made any overt public statements about what concessions he would demand from the league.

The NFLPA website says the following about Smith:

Smith, 45, is a trial lawyer and litigation partner at D.C. law firm Patton Boggs. He has defended individuals in high profile criminal cases and Congressional investigations while also representing Fortune 500 companies in criminal and complex civil cases, compliance matters, and internal investigations. A former assistant U.S. attorney, Smith previously served as counsel to then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Smith graduated from Cedarville University and received his law degree from the University of Virginia. Smith, who is married with two children, will begin his term with the NFLPA immediately and will work out of the Association’s Washington D.C. office.

In his first act as ED, Smith asked former head coach of the Colts Tony Dungy to be a buffer between the union and the league. Dungy has said he is interested in the position.

My analysis: In his first day on the job, Smith has given the fans two very positive signals. First, the selection of Dungy to help broker a deal. Dungy has the respect of players and owners and has the kind of quiet demeanor that is conducive to getting things done—even things as difficult as negotiations between the NFLPA and the owners.

The second and equally important sign was in his first official statement as ED. He said that he wanted to begin negotiations with the league as soon as possible. An agreement before the end of the 2009 season would reduce the uncertainty that now exists in 2010 and beyond.

The fact that the players did not elect either Vincent or Armstrong is a very good sign that at least a number of the players have a serious interest in getting an agreement. If the union is at all reasonable, a deal will get done. The owners have way too much at stake to not be reasonable.

The fans deserve the very best and fairest deal between these parties. The game is too important to too many people not to get a deal done. A strike will only depress the millions of people that love NFL football. And with the current economic downturn, we are depressed enough.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: nfl,pro football,nflpa,contract,strike,lockout,Smith,Vincent,Upshaw,labor union Dungy,Colts,Armstrong
  • Author:
  • Published: Mar 3rd, 2009
  • Category: NBA Basketball
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NBA has to “bail out” 15 teams.

The NBA has to “bail out” 15 teams.

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Fryingpan Sports

The NBA has to “bail out” 15 teams.

By Bill Smith

The Sports Business Journal (SBJ) reported that a private placement deal to borrow 175 million dollars was arranged for the N.B.A. by JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. The charged interest rates are reported to be as high at 8.27 percent. The influx of cash will augment the 1.7 billion dollar league-wide credit facility that uses the NBA’s media contracts as collateral to secure loans for the clubs.

The money is necessary to provide cash to 15 NBA teams to cover payroll and other expenses. Those teams, unnamed by the league, have struggled with salaries, capital improvements, and to cover losses sustained over the last few years.

“In this economic environment, it’s tremendous that the league can place such a facility,” Alex Martins, chief operating officer of the Orlando Magic told the SBJ, which plans to borrow from the new debt. “It certainly helps us bridge the time period between now and when we move into our new events center in 2010. We’ve been operating at a $15 [million] to $20 million [annual] loss over the past half-dozen years, so it helps us” Martins told the SBJ.

My Analysis:

The NBA has been suffering with guaranteed contracts for years without any hard salary cap like the NFL has. The GMs have been granting maximum deals to any player that can dribble a ball. Teams have spent their way into trouble with very little regard for total team cost or making a profit in much the same way that the US Congress has. The difference is that the NBA can’t just print money.

Similar financing programs in the NFL and MLB have been terminated by banks as part of their retrenching due to the credit crisis. Although the NBA placement is rated as BBB, there is little likelihood that the 1 billion dollar credit program which is financed by short term loans rolling over annually will be extended beyond the end of this season.

All sports leagues have to realize that the era of cheap money is over. Therefore the new contracts can not require guaranteed contracts over extended periods of time. Both the NFL and the NBA are facing master contract negotiations with their respective player unions in the next couple of years. The owners must be more open with the players. The players must realize that the very existence of the league is dependent on a fair and reasonable contract with the owners.

Sports leagues generate a great deal of money. The NFL and the NBA have to get deals that are fair to the players but allows the owners to survive. Otherwise, everyone including the fans lose.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: nfl,pro football,contract,strike,lockout,NBA,MLB,Chase,JPMorgan,bailout,Sports Business Journal,Orlando,Magic

A Few Good NFL Stories of 2008 season.

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Fryingpan Sports

A Few Good NFL Stories of 2008 season.

By Bill Smith

While many of you will find this article a departure from the normal frying pan analysis, I wanted to give accolades to some of those I think deserve them.

Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals—The Cards have been the flavor of the month for several preseasons. They have the best receiver combination in the league and a potential Hall of Fame QB. The Cards wining their division was not all that surprising. The NFC West has been a weak division for a while. But to beat the Falcons and then go and drill the heavily favored Panthers in their house was a shock. Now that the Eagles knocked off the Giants, the Cards may have a shot to go to the Super Bowl. Win or not, at least they have brought some success to the fans.

The Arizona Cardinal Defense, head coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coaches—Congratulations on your stealth defense. You made all of us think you were a middle of the road defense then suckered the Falcons and Panthers into believing that before you dominated them. It was either an acting job worthy of an Oscar or your plan to go back to basics at the end of the season. The D has played outstanding football and you deserve to be in the NFC Championship.

The Miami Dolphins and head coach Tony Sparano—Turning the team around from 1-15 to 11-5 and a division championship is just short of a miracle. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Chad Pennington QB Dolphins—You got the bums rush out of New York but the bigger the insult the greater is the satisfaction of revenge. Many doubted you, including myself, but you showed all of us wrong. Your revenge was extra fine by clinching the AFC East by beating your old team and knocking them out of the playoffs.

The Atlanta Falcons, owner Arthur Blank, head coach Mike Smith and his staff—You not only pulled off an outstanding turnaround, but went a long way to restore the reputation of the franchise after the Mike Vick affair. Mr. Blank is one of the good guys in the league and deserves this success.

Donovan McNabb—When he got benched in week 12, the fans, the media, and even the organization was dumping on McNabb like he was a chuckhole in the freeway. But he was not done. He sparked the Eagles turnaround when everyone outside the locker room left the team for dead and out of the playoffs. He and the Eagles are now in the NFC Championship game.

Bill Belichick—Those of you that read this site regularly know how much this pains me to say but you have to give the devil its due. 2008 might well have been the best coaching job Belichick has ever done. He lost the best QB in the league in the first quarter of the first game. The injury list went on and on. He lost half a dozen starters on D and almost that many on O including his franchise running back and a couple of pro bowl quality corners. Even so, he used duct tape and paper clips to take the team to 11 wins. Even though the team failed to make the playoffs, it was an outstanding coaching job.

Tim Tebo—After the loss to Ole Miss, he took the team on his back and willed them to a national championship. Then he made one of his best decisions ever to stay at Florida for his senior year. Despite his leadership and grace under pressure, many draft experts are not sure he is accurate enough or has a strong enough arm to play QB in the NFL. Because of his decision, he will have another year to prove he can do the job at the next level. And by the way it also gives him another shot at a second Heisman and a third national championship in 4 years.

Anquan Boldin WR Cardinals—We all held our breath after the hit that injured you. Then we all cheered when you came back and continued to play at an all pro level. You are a warrior. You have won the respect of football fans all over the country.

Joe Flacco and the Ravens—Despite feelings about how the city got its team, I have to give the team and staff credit for not only getting into the playoffs but making it to the AFC Championship game. The victory over Miami was a nice win but the job the team did in beating Tennessee was outstanding. Flacco has played like a veteran and can become one of the best in the league.

Randy Lerner and the Browns—As you know, I have expressed some concern about the new people being brought in. However, I congratulate Mr. Lerner for cleaning house and at least giving the long suffering Browns fans some hope. Next to Bill Cowher, Eric Mangini was the best experienced coach available. He got a raw deal in NY and hopefully can do better in Cleveland. We are still holding our breath to see who Mr. Lerner brings in as GM.

Tony Dungy—May you have success and find joy in whatever you do next. You have been a great credit to the NFL and it was a joy watching you coach. We all hope you might stay for another season or two. But you have given so much to the game you deserve to do whatever makes you happy.

Willie Parker RB Steelers—Congratulations on your performance in the Divisional round of the playoffs. Those of us that drafted you in fantasy football would have preferred if you had been as successful during the season but congrats anyway.

Cedric Benson RB Bengals—By your play in the last half of the season for the Bengals, you have resurrected your career. The Bengals were in dire need of a solid running game and you have the talent to provide it. Work hard and stay away from boats and you will be fine.

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 He has also published several novels on and edits .

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