Friday, October 2, 2009

KU Fight Runs Deeper Than Hip-Hop

No reason to dwell on a fight last week, because it serves nobody's interest to relive what the black football and black basketball players at the University of Kansas did in acting like street toughs. Their fistfight doesn’t augur well for these men or for the college they represent; after all, thuggish misconduct never finds a welcome mat at an institution of higher learning.

What this fighting means in a larger context isn’t simple to discern.

Yet that fact didn’t stop Jason Whitlock, a Kansas City sports columnist, from playing pop psychologist. As he's prone to do, Whitlock positioned himself as the final voice, as the social critic who can dissect the minds and judge the behavior of blacks.

(Continue to Justice Is Served)

NHL Eastern Conference Preview

Goaltender Ray Emery (photo left) just might be the wildest of wild cards heading into the 2009-10 NHL season, what with his eratic background which led to a one-year stint playing in Russia last season.

But a focused on-point Emery just might be talented enough to backstop a deep Philadelphia Flyers team past Eastern Conference favorites like Washington, Boston, and the defending champs in Pittsburgh, this year.

So here's a look at how I see the East breaking down this season (with all teams listed in alphabetical order):

Playoff Locks (4): Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington.

(Continue to Jim Cerny's Rink Rap)

Deadlines Loom for Islanders

Tomorrow is the deadline for Charles Wang's Lighthouse project - which just so happens to be the opening game of the 2009-10 season for the Islanders. It's day that could possibly live in infamy for Isles fans. Only time will tell.

A day after a lease was announced that will keep the Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum until 2030, Islanders fans and Long Island enthusiasts are anxious to see what will happen by tomorrow. Will the Town of Hempstead wake up and come to an agreement with Wang? Will Wang become angered and do something drastic if Kate Murray says the Town is not interested in the Lighthouse?

(Continue to Thin Ice)

In God We Trust

Well, what can we tell ya, folks?

We're pretty proud we can call God a regular at the Grill Room. He's well-behaved, a good tipper, drinks only the best stuff, keeps the clientele buzzing with some mind-boggling card tricks, and is patient answering the questions our bartenders often tire of.

Last week, when we asked Him why He hated Michigan, The Big Guy took offense and then pity. Why, he not only saw to it that the Lions ended their 19-game losing streak, but also made sure the most corrupt city in the world was punished for its evil ways.

By sending Washington's team to ingloriously fall at the feet of the lousy Lions, He illustrated with a master's stroke that sometimes punishment can reap rewards.

So, with God at our side, we are looking for more answers around here as Week 4 of the NFL season gets set to unfold.

(Continue to The Grill Room)

Jets Need to Show Saints Something

New York is What-Have-You-Done-Lately town, and that will certainly be evidenced by the New York Jets in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

The Jets have shown in three games thus far that these are not the Same Old’ Jets.

Things have a way turning around quickly in this town, however, which is why Sunday’s game at New Orleans is critical for Gang Green.

(Continue to New York Minute)

Coaches Poll Irregularities

It's been a big story this week - the Coaches and Harris polls have a bunch of teams ranked ahead of teams that beat them. Penn State ahead of Iowa, Oklahoma State ahead of Houston, etc. I think most everyone agrees that these polls have major, serious flaws that cut right to the heart of the credibility of the BCS. But there's more to this story and these numbers, as usual. Let's add some context cake to the rage-flavored frosting, shall we? (The statistics that follow all track the Coaches rankings of Week 4 in each of the BCS seasons. So basically through September.)

98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
# of undefeated Top 25 teams 16 17 17 20 17 20 19 15 14 20 18 12
# of one-loss Top 25 teams 9 8 8 5 8 5 6 10 11 6 7 13

No team with two losses has ever been ranked in the Top 25 in week 4 in the BCS era. And this year, there are more one-loss teams in the poll at this time than ever. What's important about this is that it means that there's more opportunities for teams to be ranked ahead of teams that beat them. But just because something is available doesn't mean it has to be taken, right? Right. The Coaches aren't forced to rank teams that lost higher. But the next important thing to realize is that this isn't the first time they've done so: this has happened every single year of the BCS (except 2007).

(Continue to The National Championship Issue)

Blount's Return: The Right Move?


Oregon's LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended for the season by coach Chip Kelly after a postgame tirade Sept. 3 at Boise State, could be reinstated before the end of the season.

Oregon issued a release Thursday night that hinted at Kelly's plan, which "could include Blount's potential reinstatement prior to the conclusion of the 2009 season.'' Kelly will discuss Blount's status Friday.

(Continue to The Wiz of Odds)

USF Heads for October Slugfest

We've seen it before and now we have another fast start for the University of South Florida football team. Four straight wins, four and oh-my, now it's time for the Big East.

The month of October will make or break this 2009 edition of the Bulls. The next 30 or so days will determine their fate, determine if they are contenders or pretenders for the Big East title and the BCS bowl berth that accompanies it.

Good new is they get somewhat of a warm up on Saturday. A warm up, perhaps. Syracuse is in the process of re-inventing itself, led by born-again quarterback Greg Paulus, the former Dukie, the former point guard for Coach K.

(Continue to Running with the Bulls)

MLS Weekend Preview

With the regular season rapidly winding down, several teams head into the weekend with opportunities to clinch playoff spots. FC Dallas got things started off on Wednesday, as it kept its slim playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 win over New England.

Two of the teams that have a chance to clinch playoff berths face off at the Home Depot Center on Friday night, as the Los Angeles Galaxy host the Chicago Fire on ESPN2. The winner of the match will have the pleasure of rooting for Chivas USA to defeat DC United the following day to cement their playoff spots.

(Continue to Soccer 24-7)
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