Wednesday, September 9, 2009

BYU Should Be No. 1, Period

If the people voting in the coaches poll were interested in rewarding performance on the football field, their rankings would look much different than they do.

As I’ve written before – and, like it or not, will write again – the coaches poll – one-third of the formula used to determine who gets to play for the BCS championship – is hopelessly tainted by preseason polls.

Each subsequent poll, beginning with the one released Tuesday after the first weekend of play, is merely a tweaking of worthless preseason expectations rather than a fair-minded evaluation of performance and performance only.

If voters had watched the first weekend of games with an open mind, their rankings would look something like this:

(Continue to More From Les)

Best Sports Movie? It's "The Natural"

The seeds for “The Natural” were Bernard Malamud's, planted in his 1952 novel of the same name. The essence of Barry Levinson's film version is, however, pure Robert Redford.

Levinson's version of “The Natural” turns 25 this year, but it seems like, oh, maybe a decade ago when the movie made its premier at theaters everywhere. The film has been a timeless tale of baseball, the sort of warm, bucolic story that reminds us of how tied to our emotions the sport is.

But “The Natural” is more than a baseball tale, much in the way that “Field of Dreams,” a 1989 film littered with literary illusions to real characters, is more than a baseball tale. If any two movies can be said to define sports movies, these do.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

Pittsburgh with a Philly Chaser

After clearing the joint last night, our bartenders knocked back the good hooch and set about putting together our inaugural NFL 100-PROOF RANKINGS.

Why bartenders, you ask? Because in all of your life, and all the people you've ever known, have any of them, even once, made more sense than a bartender?


  • 1) Pittsburgh (100 proof) The Grill Room subscribes to the thinking that the champ is the champ until proven otherwise. Plus, Pittsburgh runs the best organization in football.
  • 2) Philadelphia (94 proof) This is a nasty team, and the controversial Vick signing signals that they are all-in this year for a title. Better be, because the window's closing fast.
(Continue to The Grill Room)

Classy Cilic Overpowers Murray

When Andy Murray hit the last forehand long ending his misery, Marin Cilic realized that he probably has completed his personal puzzle, found his missing piece and started filling his standards.

The Croat, thought by many as a future and bright star, had failed in big appointments (though recently he did defeat James Blake in a dramatic Davis Cup five-setter). But today he was simply perfect, enjoyable, powerful and precise. This was the best performance of his career. He gained his first Grand Slam quarterfinal and the crowd could rub their hands thinking to the clash between the two big-bombers of this decade: Marin Cilic and Juan Martin Del Potro.

(Continue to ATP Tennis 360)

Two-Man Horse Race for FedEx?

Barring an amazing back-to-back win performance over the next two weeks, the chase for the FedEx Cup has pretty much become a two-man race between Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. Based on their play over the past two weeks, Stricker goes into this weeks' BMW Championship outside of Chicago with the advantage.

Stricker's win on Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship put him in first place by 909 points over Woods. While Woods usually does well at Cog hill, the simple fact is he is struggling with his game, Monday's 8-under, 63 notwithstanding. Woods' balky putter either runs red-hot or ice-cold and it not only cost him a chance to put the FedEx Cup out of reach, it has opened the door for Stricker to cruise right on by.

(Continue to Par for the Course)

Violence on Ice? See You in Court

Should violent behavior on the ice result in prosecution in court?

It's a question that's been debated for years.

Legal wrangling is ongoing in the wake of the much-publicized 2004 on-ice attack by then-Vancouver Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi against then-Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore.

Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts and still suffers from post-concussion syndrome. He never played another game after the incident and his hockey career is over.

(Continue to Through the 5 Hole)

Goalies and 4,000-Minute Barrier

Was perusing stats from last year and noticed that only four NHL goaltenders logged more than 4,000 minutes of playing time: Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff, Marty Turco of Dallas, Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, and Minnesota's Niklas Backstrom.

My hunch is that Kiprusoff---barring injury---may be the only one of that group to exceed 4,000 minutes this season, at least as far as NHL action is concerned.

The reasons for this vary depending upon the goalie in question.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Phillies Closer Experiment: Success

What Charlie Manuel did tonight with the Phillies bullpen is probably going to be the best solution to the closer crisis.

It is a term that scares many people but the Phillies might have a closer by committee. I am not sure on how many World Series winning teams employed such a strategy and I know how reassuring a feeling it can be as a fan to know that the 9th inning is taken care of (Brad Lidge last season), but this looks like a good move.

(Continue to Philadelphia Sports Scene)

Pressure on Cowboys, Not Bucs

Come Sunday at 1 p.m., the pressure's on the Dallas Cowboys.

No pressure on the Buccaneers.

High expectations for Cowboys, low expectations for the Buccaneers.

Looming over Dallas is that 600-pound gorilla of an owner -- Jerry Jones. He expects more out of quarterback Tony Romo, he expects more out of head coach Wade Phillips, he expects a Super Bowl.

Not too much pressure.

(Continue to Buccaneer Bow Shots)

Cricket Academy Eyes November Launch

The ICC Global Cricket Academy at Dubai Sports City, positioning itself as an east-meets-west focal point for international cricketing excellence, is targeting a November launch.

The floodlights are up, HawkEye and video cameras are currently being installed and gym equipment will be moved in next week.

There's no debate about the use of technology in cricket here, with an integrated technology suite featuring digital data capture, and video and digital analysis providing real-time playback, and a new dimension for reviewing technique for players and officials alike.

(Continue to Crick Down the Legside)
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