Wednesday, November 4, 2009


As of Wednesday, Nov. 4, the World Sports Blogs site has relocated and now has become the RCS Blog Network at RealClearSports.

Everything that's posted here during our two-plus months of existence has been safely transported to the RCS Blog Network, the same way Chiang Kai-shek packed the most treasured Chinese artifacts and shipped them to Taiwan, without a single dropped Ming vase.

So please visit us at our new home. All of our authors and blogs have moved there, and while you're there, take a look around RealClearSports, the sports page of sports pages, featuring the best columns and opinion pieces from around the nation everyday.

Thank you and we appreciate your continued support.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Latest: LeBron to L.A.?

I would give credence to speculation like this from only a handful of NBA writers. Marc Spears of Yahoo! comes to mine, so does Chris Broussard of ESPN. I can mention a few other names as well, but the list is short: shorter than the reins Kobe Bryant has on the mercurial Ron Artest to fit in with the Lakers.

But it is hard for me to ignore the speculation when Sam Smith trots out a scenario on where LeBron James will end up next season.

Probably no player in NBA history has had his future examined through a crystal ball (or tea leaves, perhaps?) the way LeBron has had his. The constant forecasting of where LeBron will sign when he becomes a free agent after this season has, at times, been tedious to read. The talk has taken away an appreciation of one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Big Ten Officials' Bad Week

Here is one of the controversial plays from Saturday's Indiana-Iowa game. Receiver Terrance Turner scores a touchdown that would have given the Hoosiers a 28-14 lead, but the score is nullified by the replay official.

The reversal helped the Hawkeyes rally for a 42-24 victory, and although Indiana coach Bill Lynch didn't raise a stink afterward, others were doing it for him.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star wondered if fans should direct their anger "at an inept group of officials who took 14 IU points off the board with bogus calls on obvious touchdown passes?"

He added: "If IU fans thought they got pick-pocketed at Michigan, this felt more like the Brinks robbery."

(Continue to The Wiz of Odds)

I Need the Bye Week

I was talking to a friend Monday...someone who didn't see the Jets game Sunday.

I was explaining to him how the Jets should have won the game, like the previous Dolphins game, which the Jets also should have won. And I started thinking and said, "So the Jets are 4-4, which they really deserve to be...but man, they could have been 5-3. And if they had beaten the Dolphins that first time, they could be 6-2." And the more I thought about it, they should have beaten the Bills in that disaster of the game...dare I say they could have been 7-1 at this point?

I know, you can 'would have, should have' any team to death - but really, the Jets are that close to having turned 3 games right around - the two Dolphins games came down to the last play and the Bills game was an overtime loss. And the Jets gave the best team in football a run for their money in the Saints.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Beleaguered Ginn Strikes Back

Dolphins wide receiver Ted Ginn responded to his benching with a historic performance, tying an NFL record with two kickoff returns for touchdowns in a single quarter to lead Miami to a 30-25 win over the rival New York Jets.

Ginn said all the right things after his history-equaling performance, stressing that he "just wanted to make plays" for a team that has had few big ones this season.

Against the Jets, with the momentum seemingly on New York's side after a pair of scoring drives engineered by Mark Sanchez, Ginn made a spectacular rebuttal.

(Continue to Dolphins Watch)

Golf's Hall Setup Is Too Easy

For a game that generally demands the highest standards and decorum, requirements for gaining entrance to the World Golf Hall of Fame have always seemed just a little too vague and a little too low to us in the Grill Room.

On Monday night, Lanny Wadkins, Jose Maria Olazabal and Christy O'Connor Sr. were inducted into golf's shrine to itself in St. Augustine, Fla.

These three gents join the likes of Tony Jacklin, Gene Littler and Larry Nelson -- to randomly pick just a few of the head-scratching members for no good reason at all -- as inductees.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Road Warrior Devils, Superstar Injuries

Off to a perfect 7-0-0 start on the road following Saturday's 2-1 shootout win in Tampa, the Devils are proving to be real Road Warriors, playing intelligent, gritty, resilient hockey.

Take Saturday for example. No Paul Martin. No Johnny Oduya. No Jay Pandolfo. (Still) no Patrick Elias.

No Problem.

Hold the Lightning to 9 shots on goal through 40 minutes of play, but allow them to tie it up on a fluky bounce in the third period.

No problem.

Pummel Antero Nittymaki with wave after wave of shots, but score only once through 65 minutes of play.

No problem.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Agassi's Great Matches, Part 1

He confessed his long blond hairs were a wig, to have used crystal meth and to have assumed, as a junior, performance-enhancing drugs given to him by his father. His revelations launched new shadows on the ATP directors: have they hided the dark secret under the carpet to avoid the toy broke itself?

Anyway, Andre invented a new way of playing, gifted tennis fans the greatest rivalry ever and one of the best matches in the history of this sport. This tribute is to the player and to his most unbelievable and remarkable matches.

(Continue to ATP Tennis 360)

I Never Went to (Any) Yankee Stadium

Back on Lakewood Avenue in Schenectady, NY, one of the neighborhood dads took some of the kids to Yankee Stadium on a yearly basis, but it always seemed to be when my family was traveling during Dad's time off. I have to believe Yankee Stadium is "all that" in its 3rd incarnation, because let's face it, you SHOULD be able to get a real palace for a billion and large change. (Congrats in advance for what I expect will be a championship in the new stadium's first year.)

While only briefly mentioning that I'll stand by my prediction of a six game Series with Jeter or A-Rod as MVP (oh my, out on a limb with those guys!) I had a little flashback about karma last night watching several batters foul pitches off. There are a couple types of fouls: those that are grounded outside the lines, some that squib into the dirt around home, long drives that drift off, pop ups, and then those hissing ones that come when the batter undercuts a fastball. I only made it to one Charlotte Knights baseball game this summer, and karma wound up looking like the lattermost foul.

(Continue to Baseline Shorks)

Monday, November 2, 2009

World Series Game 7, Guaranteed

This may be illogical, this may be naive, or this may just be a home town Phillies fan wishing his positive thinking helps his team fight back in the World Series...but I GUARANTEE a Game 7 will be played in the Bronx this Thursday.

Cliff Lee has pitched better than anyone over the last 3 months and tonight he takes the mound against an overrated A.J. Burnett. Yankee fans should be cheering for Lee to win any way so they can see their beloved bombers "win it all" (cough, won't happen) in the new Yankee Stadium on Wednesday against NYC's number one enemy, Pedro Martinez. That is the story book ending for Yankee fans ... but there is always a twist.

Pedro will win Game 6 in the Bronx on Wednesday, get the last laugh once again, and walk off the field into the sunset as a bigger legend than he already was.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Favre's Newfound Legacy

Surely you’ve heard by now: Brett Favre has beaten every NFL team in existence during his hall-of-fame career, an accomplishment only he can claim, and a feat only complete after his two acts of vengeance over the Green Bay Packers in the last five weeks.

It’s obvious now this accomplishment never should’ve happened, and things should’ve never been this way. Favre should’ve never retired/been let go/forced out/asked to leave/left/whatever Green Bay the first time he “retired” in 2007. It’s now painfully clear that when Favre was waffling with his off-season decisions and wavering at his coming commitments towards the end of his Packer career, he wasn’t doubting whether or not he could still do the damn thing or wondering if he still wanted to.

He was simply contemplating whether or not he should still be doing it in Green Bay.

(Continue to Sport Imitates Life)

Eagles' Jackson a Legit Deep Threat

Throughout the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia, the biggest complaint in Philadelphia is the lack of a game-breaker at the wide receiver position. With the exception of the 2004 season when the Eagles had volatile wideout Terrell Owen, the Eagles haven't had a game-breaking wide receiver. The Birds went to the Super Bowl that season with Owens as their starting receiver.

So far in the 2009 season all the noise about McNabb not having that big-time go-to receiver has been muted by the performance of players like second-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has become one of the most dangerous weapons in the Birds offense.

Statistically, none of the Eagles receivers are in the top 10 among the NFL's best, but McNabb does have receivers who are capable of making that game-breaking play at anytime.

(Continue to NFC 'Easter)

Bucs: No Wins, No Discipline, No Hope

They are the last winless team in the NFL. They are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 0-7 Buccaneers, the oh-so-ugly Buccaneers of coach Raheem Morris. This is a football team without victories and as talk spreads, evidently a team without discipline.

WDAE talk show host Steve Duemig brought new problems to light recently when he alleged that cornerback Aqib Talib broke curfew during the London trip, was confronted by Morris in the team's hotel lobby and promptly fired off a string of "f-bombs" at Morris.

(Continue to Buccaneer Bow Shots)

South Florida Ends Downward Spiral

Bashed by the Bearcats and pounded by the Panthers, the South Florida football team was in a downward spiral.

After its usual 5-0 start, it looked for all intents and purposes like yet another unexplained downward turn into Big East oblivion. It happened in 2007 and again in 2008 and it looked like the bad dream would resurface this season.

Then last Friday, on national television, USF quarterback B.J. Daniels picked up his team with his arm and his legs. He piled up 336 yards total offense, outdid West Virginia's team total and got his team out of the depths of a downward spiral with a 30-19 win.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

Week in Review: Europe

English Premier League

Not much changed in the Premiership standings this past weekend. Chelsea still remains atop the table with 27 points folwing a 4-0 drilling of Bolton Wanderers. Manchester United though remained close to the blues by defeating Blackburn Rovers 2-0, allowing United to remain two points back of Chelsea.

One result that did stand out over the weekend was Fulham defeating Liverpool 3-1 at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Bobby Zamora got Fulham going with a 23rd minute strike, but Fernando Torres equalized for the reds in the 42nd minute. Fulham persisted, and Erik Nevland put the home side back in front in the 73rd minute and it went downhill for Liverpool from there on, as two players were red-carded and US midfielder Clint Dempsey sealed the match for Fulham with a 87th minute goal.

(Continue to Soccer 24-7)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Revolution Was Televised ... on ABC

1453. 1644. 1917. And now, Halloween 2009.

Like the Byzantine, Ming and Romanov empires, all good things must come to an end. Such was the case for the Trojan Dynasty that has ruled the Pac-10 since 2002.

In retrospect, it was easy to see that this was a rebuilding year for USC. It lost most of its defensive stalwarts, including an entire linebacking corps that went among the first 38 picks in the NFL draft. It lost its star quarterback, who now hot dogs it for the New York Jets. It even lost its offensive coordinator to a rival Pac-10 school.

But because it's USC, it was assumed that it'd go on like business as usual ... until Saturday night, when the Oregon Ducks formally pronounced the fin de siecle with a resounding quack.

(Continue to BCS Guru)

So What's Wrong with Georgia?

And What’s with Georgia?

With a little help from our good friend Lane Kiffin, Florida is the 2009 SEC East Champion. Pencil in your trip to Atlanta.

As for the win that put us there, I’m really starting to wonder if Georgia hasn’t entered the realm of unhealthy obsession of all things Florida. How in the world does it make sense in a season that you are 4-3 to break with a hundred plus year tradition and wear black helmets for the first time? Against a team you are solid double digit underdogs, at that. I thought the black helmets looked very cool, but now they are just a further symbol of Georgia’s futility against Florida. Why not save that for a better year in a game that, you know, mattered?

(Continue to Saurian Sagacity)

Todd Bounces Back in Auburn Win

Chris Todd throws pass against Ole Miss (AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

I was wrong.

There, I said it, but don’t tell my wife.

Before Auburn played Ole Miss, I wrote that the Tigers should bench starting quarterback Chris Todd in favor of backup Neil Caudle if they stood any chance of upsetting the Rebels.

Well, Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn stood by their man and he delivered. Todd wasn’t great, but effective, completing 12-of-22 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ stirring 33-20 Southeastern Conference victory that snapped their three-game losing streak.

(Continue to Rue's Rant)

Oregon's Job Is Not Complete

Oregon dominated the Trojans 47-20. The Ducks got a Freshman QB in Matt Barkley at home, but so did Ohio State, California and Notre Dame. Oregon did what they were supposed to do and that was beat a USC team that is inexperienced and trying to find their way.

This was a very impressive win by the Ducks. Oregon’s Chip Kelly is in his first season as the head coach and he accomplished what Jim Tressel, Charlie Weis and Jeff Tedford who are coaches with much more experience could not do and that is defeat the Trojans when you have them at home. USC was ranked #5 in the BCS and this victory should result in Oregon climbing up the BCS Standings.

(Continue to Inside the Pac-10)

Cavs Welcome Back All-Purpose West

Coach Mike Brown still had to wonder how his Cavs might look when all the pieces were in place. Brown, as with almost everybody else, knew he had been blessed with a good collection of splendid talent, but how to blend that talent had been his struggle.

It didn't help Brown, a defense-minded coach, that he was forced to play without Delonte West, his hustling, all-purpose guard who had to sit out the first three games of the season with psychological problems.

His mind right now, West returned to a standing ovation Saturday night, no small matter to Brown. He was as pleased to have West in the lineup as the fans were, because West can open Brown's offense in ways not possible without him.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Another Test for Mark Sanchez

Someday soon it will be time to measure up Mark Sanchez again. Maybe the next time he plays in cold weather, which wasn't so successful two weeks ago against Buffalo. Maybe it's when he plays Buffalo next, since that's the team that picked him off five times in that game. Maybe it's the next matchup against the Patriots - in New England, instead of in front of the home crowd.

But this week the object of scrutiny is not the rookie quarterback - it's the rookie coach. The last time the Jets played the Dolphins, Sanchez was fine. It was Rex Ryan's vaunted defense that looked exposed just three short weeks ago against Miami and its wildcat formation.

That shortcoming seems a bit more magnified following the Saints' ability to neutralize the wildcat last week as they staged a monster comeback on Miami.

At the same time, the Jets' defense was showing signs of life again after a couple of 'just OK' weeks - nothing close to the way they started the season. But that performance comes with a huge asterisk, because it was against the subpar Oakland offense.

(Continue to 200 Miles From the Citi)

Last-Minute NFL Picks

The combination of Halloween in the Big Apple and the end of Daylight's Savings Time got me all messed up last night and this morning, so this is truly a last-minute posting. With that being said, and having gone 10-3 again last week (56-28 overall so far) I am just going to make my picks without any comments this time:

Houston at Buffalo

Texans 28, Bills 13

Cleveland at Chicago

Bears 31, Browns 17

(Continue to NFL Guru)

Allenby's Mouth Reaps Reward

Shortly after losing to Anthony Kim in their singles match at last month's Presidents Cup, Robert Allenby made some disparaging remarks about Kim having been out drinking late the night before.

It was a classless move by Allenby, and even though the two reportedly had met to clear the air, it seems Kim hasn't forgotten what was said.

The duo met up today during the semifinals of the World Match Play Championships in Casares, Spain, and Kim exacted some revenge on Allenby with a 5 & 4 victory to advance to the finals against Angel Cabrera.

But it wasn't the win itself that gave Kim his vengeance, it was how he went about it. During the first half of the 36-hole semifinal, Kim refused to concede any putt to Allenby, no matter how short the length. Usually in match play a short putt is concede quickly, but Kim was having none of it in the early part of the match and by the time they completed the first round Allenby was displeased.

(Continue to Par for the Course)
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