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2010 NFL Forecast: Will the Ravens raise the Lombardi Trophy?

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Luke Jones

With the beginning of the 2010 NFL season only hours away, expectations have never been higher in Baltimore as the Ravens have their eyes fixed on their first Super Bowl title since the 2000 season.

Questions remain in the secondary and whether Joe Flacco can reach elite status with an abundance of new weapons in the Baltimore offense, but contenders and pretenders alike face some level of uncertainty on the eve of Week 1.

Easy schedules — and the unsophisticated attempts to predict a team’s fate week by week — in early September frequently transform into daunting slates in the unpredictable nature of the NFL. An injury to a key performer at the wrong position can derail even the strongest teams’ championship aspirations.

Inevitably, a sexy preseason contender or two will collapse under fatal flaws, and an anonymous outfit that no one is even pondering as a victor will find itself playing long into January.

We just never can tell.

And with that digression, I toss my hat into the futile, but enjoyable, pool of forecasting the 2010 season. If nothing else, predictions offer damning proof that most of us (all of us?) really don’t know what we’re talking about when the dust settles in early February.

AFC East
New England – The Jets will continue to steal the headlines, but the Patriots will happily take the division title.
New York – Rex Ryan speaks loudly and carries a big stick, but Mark Sanchez is not ready for the big stage yet.
Miami – No one is happier about Brandon Marshall’s arrival in South Beach than Chad Henne.
Buffalo – Did Chan Gailey really get another head coaching gig in the NFL?

AFC North
Baltimore – Can Joe Flacco keep three former Pro Bowl receivers happy in a potentially explosive passing game?
Cincinnati* – Coordinator Mike Zimmer and the defense will prove their No. 4 ranking in 2009 was no fluke.
Pittsburgh – An aging defense and a shaky offensive line will not be able to overcome Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension and ensuing rust.
Cleveland – It’s rarely a good thing when all people want to talk about is the new front office.

AFC South
Indianapolis – Would the NFL have tweaked the umpire’s positioning if Peyton Manning had not been the one to complain the loudest?
Houston* – After being the chic pick for a couple seasons, Gary Kubiak and the Texans finally crack the postseason.
Tennessee – Does Chris Johnson hold up long enough to touch the ball over 400 times again?
Jacksonville – Three straight losing seasons could spell the end of Jack Del Rio’s eight-year stay with the Jaguars.

AFC West
San Diego – Ryan Mathews won’t make Chargers fans forget LaDainian Tomlinson, but the rookie back is poised for a dynamic rookie campaign.
Oakland – Picking the Raiders any place other than last seems foreign, but Tom Cable has some semblance of a football team if Al Davis doesn’t meddle too much. Good luck with that.
Denver – Kyle Orton is serviceable but not enough to make a difference in the Broncos’ fate.
Kansas City – Safety Eric Berry is a future star and one of several young players giving the Chiefs hope for the future.

NFC East
Dallas – No Cowboys coach has lasted longer than four seasons since Jimmy Johnson (1989-93), so Wade Phillips (entering his fourth year) needs a big season in Big D.
New York – The Giants’ Steve Smith (107 receptions in 2009) has officially turned the Carolina wideout into the “other” one.
Philadelphia – Kevin Kolb will seal Andy Reid’s fate as a genius or mark the beginning of the end for the coach in Philadelphia.
Washington – Donovan McNabb will limp through a hapless season without enough talent surrounding him.

NFC North
Green Bay – This might be the year that Aaron Rodgers exorcises the ghost of Favre by bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown.
Minnesota* – The absence of Sidney Rice will hurt more than Brett Favre’s ankle, taking the Vikings down a small notch.
Chicago – A fortune was spent for Jay Cutler a year ago and Julius Peppers this offseason, but a small return this season will mark the end for Lovie Smith.
Detroit – Rookies Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best give Lions fans two reasons to be excited for the future.

NFC South
New Orleans – Drew Brees might be the one quarterback in the league you wouldn’t grow tired of seeing in the Super Bowl.
Atlanta* – Though he took a step back in his sophomore year, far too many people are overlooking Matt Ryan and the Falcons this season.
Carolina – Whether the Panthers surprise or wilt with Matt Moore at the helm, it looks like this is the final act in Charlotte for John Fox, whose contract expires after the season.
Tampa Bay – At least they have those “creamsicle” throwbacks to look forward to at some point this season, right?

NFC West
San Francisco – Alex Smith is no Joe Montana or Steve Young — or even Jeff Garcia — but the 49ers are the strongest team in a pedestrian division.
Arizona – Cardinals fans wish Kurt Warner would be more like Brett Favre in his retirement practices.
Seattle – As if his first two go-rounds in the NFL weren’t bad enough, the shadow of the sanctions at USC makes Pete Carroll an easy guy to root against.
St. Louis – Sam Bradford has 50 million reasons to smile while he takes a beating in his rookie season.

* = Wild-card berth

Wild-Card Round
New England over Cincinnati
Houston over San Diego
Minnesota over San Francisco
Atlanta over Dallas

Divisional Round
Indianapolis over Houston
Baltimore over New England
New Orleans over Atlanta
Green Bay over Minnesota

AFC Championship
Baltimore over Indianapolis

NFC Championship
Green Bay over New Orleans

Super Bowl XLV
Baltimore over Green Bay

MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Offensive Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson
Defensive Player of the Year: Patrick Willis
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Ryan Mathews
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ndamukong Suh
Coach of the Year: John Harbaugh

The exhilarating journey begins Thursday night.

Enjoy the ride.

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New Beginnings .....

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New Beginnings …..

Posted on 13 January 2010 by Rex Snider

Have you noticed all the high profile job openings that have been created and filled over the past couple weeks? From the revolving door in D.C. to the “late night mess” in Hollywood, recent headlines have been dominated by HIRINGS and FIRINGS.

Sure, early-January becomes a “Silly Season” of sorts for passengers on the NFL coaching carousel. However, in these first couple weeks of 2010, we’ve witnessed an usually high number of tumultuous incidents in the sports/entertainment industry – beyond the customary head coach slayings.

Just look at all the action …..

Mike Leach FIRED at Texas Tech

What does TEN bowls in as many seasons get you? Canned – if you’re gonna be less than honest with your superiors about discretionary incidents.

By now, everybody knows the roundabout details. But, if you’ve spent the past month on Gilligan’s Island or LOCKED IN AN OUTDOOR SHED, I’ll provide a quick review of the incident leading to Mike Leach’s departure from the Red Raiders program …..

Adam James is a quirky, unmotivated third stringer on the Texas Tech football team. James acquired a concussion; we’re not certain how third stringers get injured, but he did. Mike Leach evidently ordered assistants to lock James in the unofficial “Texas Tech Concussion Chamber” (aka – outdoor shed) during practice.

In turn, Adam James told his dad about Leach’s treatment. Former NFL player and current ESPN analyst, Craig James, is Adam’s dad. He made a stink about the incident. Leach was reportedly untruthful with administrators. He was ultimately fired.

Pretty low, huh?

But, guess what? I’d hire Mike Leach to replace this guy, right now !!!!

Sure, tell me it’s about the money. We all know that. But, I’ll guarantee Mike Leach can OUTCOACH Ralph Friedgen any day of the week – regardless of what Adam James and his dad say.

In fact, if Mike Leach became Maryland’s new coach, he would probably make the football team the school’s TOP sports program within three years time. But, you’ve gotta PAY for such results and leadership.

I’m pretty sure the above statement will get my name booted from Glenn Clark’s Facebook Friends List. But, it’s accurate, right?

American Idol FIRED By Simon Cowell

Okay, I’ll admit it ….. I spent last night with one eye on the Maryland vs. Wake Forest game and the other eye on the TRAINWRECK ROUND of Amercan Idol. That’s right, the most popular show in American television made it’s season debut, last night.

And, it made the splash amid some stirring controversy. NO !!!! Paula Abdul is not returning.

But, another judge is leaving.

FOX has announced Simon Cowell will be leaving ‘Idol at this season’s end. But, don’t feel badly for him – he’s starting FOX’s new reality show “X Factor,” which begins airing in the fall of 2011.

Don’t get me wrong, FOX tried to persuade Simon to do both shows – and reportedly offered him $50 million, but he turned it down. Did you hear that? $50 million, YEARLY, to be brutally honest with people. Can you imagine what $50 million, yearly, buys …..


That’s right !!!! You could pay nearly TWO A’Rod’s …..

You could pay nearly THREE Derek Jeter’s, FIVE Brian Roberts’, THREE Ryan Howard’s, FIVE Joe Mauer’s, SIX Carl Crawford’s, NINE Hanley Ramirez’s, TEN Grady Sizemore’s, FIFTEEN Ryan Zimmerman’s, FIFTY Kendry Morales’, SEVENTY FIVE Tim Lincecum’s, NINETY Josh Hamilton’s, NINETY FIVE Jay Bruce’s and ONE HUNDRED Jacoby Ellsbury’s with the yearly salary offered to Simon Cowell.


In fact, you could pay these Baltimore Ravens with Simon Cowell’s offered salary …..








And, you think pro athletes are overpaid? How in the heck can a network afford to pay a guy $50 million and still make a profit? I suppose this really serves as an example of how much money can be made from shows about normal people trying to become stars.

Hmmm ….. I wonder if Simon Cowell has any additional skills, beyond the ability to tell the truth? To quote the great Don King, “Only In America …..”

Lane Kiffin Hired At USC

There was a time when I thought Lane Kiffin was the VICTIM ….. of a bad situation with Al Davis. Now, I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m suspecting the two guys were brought together by a common trait.

And, perhaps, their divorce was more indicative of two ALIKE people not getting along with each other – you know, the “opposites attract” argument …..

In case you missed it – while we were sleeping last night, Lane Kiffin jumped at the chance to escape ‘Ole Rocky Top for the beaches of Southern California. That’s right, he accepted the job as Head Coach at USC, amid the reality he was no higher than 5th on the school’s list of prospective successors to Pete Carroll.

This sucks.

In fact, it’s probably the single most daunting thing I dislike about college sports. Many of these coaches have no allegiance beyond the value of money. There is no INTEGRITY, PRIDE or COMMITMENT. All three of these qualities are vital in sports competition – yet, the men tasked with instilling them in impressionable student athletes fail to live the LIFE.

Regardless of championships and WIN/LOSS records, the character of these coaches is quite questionable …..




Of the above coaches, Bobby Petrino and Nick Saban blurred the lines between the NFL and NCAA programs. But, they still shafted franchises for nothing more than their own selfish gain.

Where is the honor and credibility with a guy like Lane Kiffin? How can he walk into a kid’s house and make promises? The truth is HE CAN’T ….. and, if he does, it’s worth NOTHING. After all, he’s shafted the kids at Tennessee and created some friction by starting turmoil with other SEC powerhouses, like Florida and Alabama. Thanks, Lane.

I hope Glenn Clark is sitting down – IF he’s reading this …..

God bless Gary Williams. For all the jesting shots I’ve taken at Gary, he’s loyal to his kids and the University of Maryland. He could’ve undoubtedly parlayed his success following the 2001 NCAA Championship, into a bigger program. But, he didn’t.

I’ll never question Gary Williams’ integrity. And, on a day like today, he looks even better in my eyes.

IN With Jay, OUT With Conan …..

Admittedly, I like the late night shows – following my local news, of course. And, while I’m partial to David Letterman, I’ve always liked Jay Leno’s schtick.

He’s genuinely funny …..

He’s pretty modest and self-depricating …..

And, he’s a noted NASCAR fan …..

On the other hand, I’ve never really found Conan O’Brien very funny.

I’m not a fan of the dry humor or inate references requiring deep thought. If I’ve gotta figure it out – it ain’t funny. Keep it simple, stupid.

Oh yeah, and I really hate that part in Conan’s HAIR …..

That said, it does seem odd that Conan O’Brien had only seven months worth of rope to hang himself or pull up the ratings. Obviously, the latter didn’t happen. I have no concept of what’s acceptable or not as far as ratings go. When Howard Stern bolted for satellite radio, in 2006, his replacement, David Lee Roth, lasted just 3 months.

I guess networks can’t be too patient – after all, they’re paying some guys up to $50 million, per year, for being truthful and snarky. In fact, the rumor is Conan O’Brien will be leaving NBC with his $30 million salary, intact.

That’s a pretty costly mistake.

Mike Shanahan Comes To D.C. ….. And Brings His Kid With Him

Are we really surprised to see a new Head Coach for the Washington Redskins? Indeed, they’re among the most tumultuous organizations in professional sports – and they’re owned by a man with a penchant for trying to win a Super Bowl with a dimwitted Fantasy Football philosophy.

Redskins’ owner, Danny Snyder, has a proven track record of less patience than the dudes who call the shots in the “Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien” Puppet Show.

In the DECADE since purcahsing the Redskins, Snyder has spearheaded the ill-advised signings of Deion Sanders, Mark Carrier, Jeremiah Trotter, Mark Brunell, Bruce Smith, Jeff George, Adam Archuleta, Antwaan Randle El, Brandon Lloyd, and most recently, DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth.

Fantasy Football signings, right? It’s pretty fair to say Dan Snyder is enamored with “quality of name” over “quality of play” …..

It doesn’t stop there, either. Mike Shanahan is the 7th Head Coach to serve under Dan Snyder’s 10 years of ownership. That’s right, the AVERAGE Redskins Head Coaching tenure is 22 games.

To put it in perspective, John Harbaugh, has coached 10 more regular season games than the typical Redskins Head Coach – under Dan Snyder.

And, there is ANOTHER factor. Only 800 police officers in Anne Arundel County will get this – but, it’s common knowledge that SNYDERS and SHANAHANS cannot work together. It’s impossible. In fact, the prospect of putting a SNYDER and SHANHAN in the same situation, is predictably combustible …..

You know what I mean?

I can’t speak for Mike Shanahan – he coached an organization located 1523 miles from my front door. But, lets just say if the accomplishments during his coaching tenure vaguely amounted to …..

A – changing the team’s uniform colors

B – bringing in a couple inexperienced female coordinators to run the Offense and Defense


C – leaving the place a virtual mess

I wouldn’t be surprised.

In getting back to the “REAL” Mike Shanahan, he has the increased pressure of hiring his son, Kyle, as the Offensive Coordinator. I mentioned this factor in one of last week’s blogs – I cannot seriously fathom the self-imposed pressure in having to possibly FIRE one’s son.

Additionally, if the Offense struggles, will fan perception undermine the Redskins mission – and, most notably, Dan Snyder’s patience? God knows he acts like a fan and listens to their popular consensus.

I’m betting we won’t see this face on the Redskins sideline, in 2013.

Just remember ….. 22 games.


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Who will the Ravens pick this weekend? Some clues here…

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

You gotta love the NFL. The league hasn’t snapped the football in almost three months and the buzz is as strong for the draft as it is for Week 7 of the regular season. It never ends this love of American football. So much enthusiasm and energy and talk about the 26th pick on Saturday for the Ravens.

Amidst that, there are all sorts of stories and storylines:

What will happen with Anquan Boldin and are the Ravens really involved?

My gut AND my sources tell me that it’s not very likely. The notion that Ozzie Newsome would trade a No. 1 and a No. 3 and then have to back up a brink’s truck for Boldin is highly unlikely. Plus, the cap issues of taking on another superstar making a super premium salary seem daunting. If the Ravens had that kind of money, they should’ve kept Bart Scott, right?

Who are the players the Ravens really like and would select at No. 26?

It’s always a crapshoot on draft day when you pick so low. The Ravens were greatly affected by the Atlanta trade for Tony Gonzales yesterday because it’s clear that the Falcons won’t be taking tight end Brandon Pettigrew with pick No. 24. Every name that comes off the board in the first 25 spots – and every trade up or back, and we expect a few – will affect what’s left when the 26th pick hits the clock.

So, when people ask me today and all day tomorrow, “Who will the Ravens pick?” I tell them the same thing every year: “Even Ozzie Newsome has no idea who they’ll wind up getting with a pick so low.”

That said, I’ll take a low pick on draft day every year into perpetuity. The joy of a single-digit pick is far outweighed by the agony of dealing with 16 weeks of bad football during a 6-10 season. Let Cincinnati and Cleveland pick early every year from now until the end of time.

All of these weeks and months of mock drafts are just that: a mockery. One unexpected trade on draft day – and with lunatics like Al Davis, Mike Brown and Daniel Snyder running drafts there’s always somebody doing something – not to mention other legitimate trades for more picks or value, it’s more impossible to predict a mock draft correctly than filling out a perfect March Madness pool. I think you’d have a better chance of hitting the lotto tonight for $150 million.

And once one team or one player goes awry, the whole draft changes. Everyone tries to handicap it but it’s a futile effort.

But this much I know: The Ravens would LOVE to trade a few times over the weekend, which is all the more reason to be on our text service. They only have six picks. They’d rather have seven or eight.

Here are some names of guys — and some key positions of need for the Ravens — that you should keep an eye on over the weekend as the names come off the board:

Center – Alex Mack, California. The Ravens brought him into town and checked him out thoroughly. He’s a tough, smart “Raven” kinda guy. If they trade out of No. 26 to move backward (and I still think this is VERY likely because they really want more picks), Mack would be a early 2nd rounder that will help the team. The only question is whether he can help the team at guard because the team already has a two-year solution at center in Matt Birk.

Tight end – A “dream” scenario for the team would be if Brandon Pettigrew fell to them at No. 26. The Philadelphia Eagles at No. 21 would be the one team to tie them up but that’s looking less likely. Again, the Falcons deal yesterday to acquire Gonzales helps the Ravens if they indeed covet Pettigrew, who is a beast at 6-6 and could help the pass protection and provide a safety valve for Joe Flacco.

Wide receiver – While the whole universe seems to think the Ravens are desperate for a wide out, I’m not convinced they’ll take one in the first round. Perhaps they’d select Kenny Britt of Rutgers if he’s still on the board but I don’t think Hakeem Nicks will be their choice. I’ve been saying for two months that WR is not the team’s most acute need nor should they burn a first-round pick on the riskiest of all positions on draft day.

Defensive back – Vontae Davis and Darius Butler. You can never have too many cornerbacks. They’re like pitchers in baseball. If you don’t get one in the first round you’re probably not getting one you feel comfortable in calling a starter. It’s the toughest role this side of QB to fill in the NFL. Davis comes with some immaturity and a little bit of baggage, but he’s the closest thing to a poor man’s Chris McAlister in this draft.

Defensive line/LB – Rey Maualuga. He’s probably the only player in the No. 26 range that the Ravens would consider and this isn’t their greatest need. If they were to take a LB here it would tell you a lot about how highly rated this player would have to be on their overall board. Honestly, all of the USC linebackers look attractive and will almost certainly be gone by the time the Ravens get on the clock in the second round with pick No. 55.

Here’s my hope: Brandon Pettigrew

Here’s my “prediction”: Rey Maualuga

The real story of the Ravens’ drafts and their relative success since 1996 has been tied to what happens AFTER the first round. Between Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Phil Savage and their staffs, over the years the Ravens have become the best team in the league on the last weekend of April. It’s how Newsome and this department has survived so long in one place. It’s an absolute anomaly.

Think about it: What were the odds that in 1996 when Ozzie Newsome passed on Lawrence Phillips and selected Jon Ogden and then went on to take Ray Lewis instead of Leland McElroy at the No. 26 pick that he’d STILL be here in April 2009 making decisions for Baltimore’s football team?

Newsome is still here because he’s really, really great at evaluating talent. He’s got a gift. He’s not always right but he’s been right more than virtually anyone on the planet at doing this.

And most experts say this draft is NOT deep for starting talent beginning Sunday morning. For whatever reason, most scouts aren’t feeling great about finding the next Adalius Thomas or Jason Brown late in the day on Sunday.

It’s a great weekend to be a football fan. It’s a great weekend to be a draftnik. Or just a nerd, like me.

I’ll be bellied up to the bar at Padonia Station at 3 p.m. drinking $2 Michelob Ultras and watching the draft and sending texts to everyone on the text service.

We’re having a “Textathon” weekend because this is the one weekend when we know we’ll be sending you a lot of stuff.

We hope if you’re not on the service you consider joining. And, if you are, we hope you’ll forward our texts to your PSL, purple-loving friends so they know the news and know about WNST.net and our cool text service.


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Talk of the Town

Posted on 15 September 2008 by stevenlink

Wow, what a week in sports. But before I get to that, I want to first send my condolences and wishes to anyone who has family or friends in the Houston area. Also, my wishes go out to those persons affected by the horrible commuter train accident that occurred this past weekend.

And speaking of the situation with Houston, here’s, My Take about the talk of the town right now which is the Ravens-Texan’s schedule change and how it affects the Ravens:

I want to state a disclaimer beforehand that I do not know exactly what went on with the NFL’s decision about the Ravens-Texans game…all of this is pure speculation.

The last natural disaster the NFL had to deal with was that of Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans Saints. The NFL decided to move the Saints’ opener of the 2005 season to the Meadowlands in New Jersey against the New York Giants.

In comparison, what occurred this week with Ravens-Texans game and the Saints-Giants game are two completely different situations. Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005 and the home opener for the Saints was scheduled for September 18, 2005. The NFL was able to coordinate with the teams, the cities, and the networks to move the game to New York. For this situation the NFL only had 2 weeks to prepare for the game to be moved and it was not until September 10th that the path of Hurricane Ike was determined definite.

I know there are a bunch of reasons and also conspiracy theories out there as to why the game was not moved and how much of a disadvantage it is for both teams. Such as, why didn’t the NFL just move the game here to Baltimore for Monday night? It’s a good argument. The Orioles have an off day as they are about to travel to Toronto, and even if the Orioles did have a game, there would be more than enough space for the fans to park on W. Camden Street (you know, the street running perpendicular to the main Eutaw Street entrance across from Pickles). But the problems still remain about getting proper police protection, security, network personnel and equipment to Baltimore in such a short time. Preparations for our Sunday ritual are made months and months ahead of time.

Now, I am not saying that NFL was 100% correct with its decision; rather I think it did the best that it could do. The NFL tried its hardest to keep the game at Reliant Stadium for the Texans to have their home opener there. We can all agree that the last thing the NFL wanted to do was move the game to a different location. It also would have been great to see the game moved to a college campus in Texas because we know they have an abundance of them. However, again, people will have to make new arrangements that cannot be done in less than a week’s time. Plus, I especially believe the NFL does not want to have the game played at the UTEP football stadium after the…how can I put this delicately…the tainting of the hill. This is a huge lesson for the NFL and how, (like school systems prepare for snow and other inclement weather), it needs to have its own plan to prepare for situations such as this. Apparently the NFL did not think ahead after its dealings from Katrina, but hopefully it will learn from this instance. I mean come on, if Major League Baseball had a contingency plan with the Cubs-Astros game and moved that series up to Milwaukee, so why didn’t the NFL have one as well?

The Ravens and the Texans are at a huge disadvantage because of the game change. I know people did not predict the Ravens to do well this year, but what if we are doing well by the time our bye was scheduled? “Experts” are wrong all the time about their picks. The absence of our bye week will probably break our season at that point due to injuries and fatigue. Losing our bye is going to be detrimental to our season, but let’s not forget that real life and real people will always outweigh the risk and reward of a sporting event.

Your take: Do you think the loss of the Ravens’ bye depletes any chance they had at a winning season this year?

2 Minute Drill: Oh Maryland, my Maryland, why do you only show up against opponents that are favored against you? That was quite a game by the Terps upsetting Cal. Turner had a great game, as did the entire running game. Now maybe Maryland was looking ahead last week when they lost to MTSU, but that that is still no excuse. This team should be 3-0 right now and atop the ACC. If they had dominating performances against Delaware and MTSU, who knows, maybe they would be in Top 25? Okay maybe not, but they’d have a really strong case to be there, especially with a win like that over Cal. Again, I want to make the point that I want Coach Friedgen and the Terps to do well, but this win shows me that the coaching staff did not have the ears of their kids and did not motivate them enough for the previous two games. Ralph thought this was going to be the best team he ever had because of the amount of seniors he has on his roster. It should not be that difficult to motivate a team that consists of over 20 seniors. But maybe last week’s game was a wake-up call for the players and coaches?? Great win for them though, especially since not that many thought they could pull an upset like they did (including me). Let’s hope they can keep the momentum going and trounce the Eastern Michigan Eagles this coming weekend.

The Ohio State Buckeyes again got smashed on national television. The Trojans completely dominated that game on both sides of the ball. My question is why didn’t we see more of Terrell Pryor? I don’t believe having Terrell Pryor at quarterback throughout the game would have changed the overall outcome because in the second half the Trojans easily game-planned around him, but it would have made the game much more interesting. Poor Todd Boeckman was setting prey for USC’s defense whenever he went back to pass. The defense sure brought the pain for that guy. And maybe Jim Tressel finally needs to get rid of the sweater vest he sports. Maybe he should put in a special order from Bill Belichick’s hooded sweatshirt collection.

And speaking of Belichick, his new quarterback Matt Cassell did one of the best impressions of Trent Dilfer I’ve ever seen. Manage the football game and do not turn the ball over. It looks like the Patriots are going back to the game plan they had when Corey Dillon was their running back. However, it looks like, at least at this point, that Lawrence Mahroney may not be the bruising back Dillon was and instead that roll may be held for Lamont Jordan. This team is still my favorite for the AFC East until it shows signs that its wheels are finally falling off.

The ending of the Chargers-Broncos game was ridiculous. However, you have to give out some respect points to Ed Hochuli for admitting that he blew the call, literally. When he blew the whistle early it stopped the play and because it was a passing play, the ball was given back to the Broncos where the ball landed. Norv Turner and the Chargers have had the worst luck so far this season. First it was the last second touchdown by the Panthers and now this. But Mike Shanahan did give the Chargers the chance to still win the game by allowing them to stop his team’s two-point conversion and the Chargers could not and therefore they deserved to lose that game.

The Redskins did a great job of exploiting the Saints rookie cornerback Tracy Porter. The Saints’ two starting corners already were scratched for the game and the injury to Aaron Glen was the turning point of that game. As soon as they put in Porter, Santana Moss put on his professor hat and started schooling the kid about how not to cover a wide receiver in the NFL. And it was great listening to Coach Billick in the booth during the game. He did an excellent job of critiquing both teams. My favorite line he said yesterday was when he was talking about the Redskins in the first half, “Now I know I am the poster-child for this because I was the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens for 9 years, but you can’t just score field goals when you are in the redzone. You have to punch it in there.” So isn’t an exact quote, but it is pretty close to what he said and it got a good laugh out of me.

Romeo Crennel, the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, tried his best impression of rookie head coach Jim Zorn last night with horrible clock management. Crennel actually surpassed Zorn with his blunders because at least Zorn has an excuse; it’s his first time coaching a position other than a quarterback. The clock management at the end of the first half was simply horrific for the Browns. After the Browns’ quarterback Derek Anderson ran the no huddle QB sneak for a first down resulting in 8 seconds left on the clock with no timeouts, they should have just kicked the field goal to get some momentum on their side. Then he decided to use his two final timeouts at the end of the second half before the 2 minute warning which was a wasted effort that you cannot fault him entirely for. But at that point in the game, you just knew that whatever the Browns did, they were going to lose the game regardless. And why was Kellen Winslow on the sideline for the final two plays of the game? That decision had me scratching my head too. That was a winnable game by the Browns, and while I know the players could have performed better, I believe they would have won had the coaching staff also called a better game.

And finally, Towson University started off conference play with a tough loss to Richmond Saturday, losing 45-14. Towson’s quarterback Sean Schaefer had a rough game but according to Towson University’s release, Schaefer “became the sixth player in CAA history to reach the 9,000-yard mark in career passing yards. In his career, he has now completed 809 of 1,268 passes (.638) for a school record 9,145 yards and 58 touchdowns.” http://www.towsontigers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=101455&SPID=12497&DB_OEM_ID=21300&ATCLID=1581565. So a big congrats goes out to Sean and his record setting performance.

Sayonara Bmore, I’ll get back at you next time.

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USC/Ohio State (Hail, Hail the BCS!)

Posted on 12 September 2008 by Mark Mussina

Remember; when you sit down to watch the Ohio State/USC game Saturday night, along with every other red-blooded man in America, that this game would not be a big deal if it wasn’t for the BCS. LONG LIVE THE BCS! A playoff system….phoey!
I heard a national radio guy make this analogy when comparing college basketball with college football. If college basketball was a movie, it would essentially be pretty boring right up until the end. The first four months of the season are essentially meaningless, and everything is decided in the last three weeks. Football, on the other hand, has plot twists at every turn.  It’s suspenseful from start to finish, and the ending, while not being perfect, is almost always very good.
Each week, every contender  holds their national championship hopes in the balance. How about last year when Stanford beat USC? And of course Appalachian State beating Michigan. These games change the landscape of the sport for the entire season. In basketball, when Michigan State loses to Gardner Webb, or whoever the heck it was, it really doesn’t affect them at all in the long term, other than the embarrassment.
College football is the one sport remaining in America where every week matters. Last season, college basketball had a high powered, non-conference game like this. It was Memphis and Tennessee. It was a great game to watch, other than the fact that neither team could shoot that night. Fans gathered in bars, everyone watched it, but it didn’t matter. Essentially, it was nothing more than a glorified exhibition.
Saturday night in Los Angeles ain’t gonna to be no exhibition. Remember that in November when you’re whining about there being no playoff.

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Sporting Event Bucket List

Posted on 15 May 2008 by roblong

I was asked this question last week, and I’m just getting to it. Here is my “Bucket List” of sporting event.

I know, some of you are wondering where is the Orioles World Series game or the Ravens’ Super Bowl. I didn’t list that because They aren’t events that happen every year. These are sporting events that you can set your calendar to.

5. Wimbledon

4. USC/UCLA Football Game

3. The Super Bowl

2. NCAA Basketball Final Four

1. BCS Championship Game

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With the 8th pick……..

Posted on 26 April 2008 by caseywillett

My first hope would be that Matt Ryan would fall to the Ravens. I still think there is a remote chance that it could happen, but if he is not there, I would go with Branden Albert.

I think he makes sense for the Ravens, and it would be a local kid coming back home to play. Albert went to Glen Burnie Senior

The reason for that pick in my opinion is the following:
          Ogden is not coming back
          I honestly think there is a chance that Jason Brown will be the center before it is all said and done, making Marshal Yanda the other
          Jared Gaither has not drawn rave reviews from some Ravens staff members this offseason
          There is a lack of depth on the offensive line, especially at the tackle position with only Yanda, Terry, and Gaither
          Albert is said to be a offensive line coach’s dream because he can play both the tackle and guard position, but thought to be a better tackle at the NFL level
The other pick that I could see the Ravens taking would be Keith Rivers of USC. Rivers is clearly the best linebacker in this draft and would be a nice understudy to learn under Ray Lewis. Rivers wore jersey No. 55 at USC, which is not just a number they give to anyone. Chris Claiborne, Junior Seau, and Willie McGinest, are just a few of the outstanding linebackers at USC to wear that number.

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Random Thoughts

Posted on 12 March 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some just random thoughts on things in the world of sports:
          Today on the Bob Haynie Show, he set the over/under win total for Daniel Cabrera at 11. I will take the under. I honestly believe his best days (if there were any) are far past him. Daniel is a nice guy, but I think he got influenced and took some, not so good advice from guys over the last couple of years. Daniel to me seems to think of himself as a better pitcher than what he is….or ever will be
          To further that I think only one Orioles pitcher will reach 11 or more wins. I am not sure who it will be, but I don’t think that there will be more than one, and no I don’t think it will be Jeremy Guthrie. Maybe it is Steve Trachsel, if he is here long enough to make it to 10-11 wins.
          I still say barring Matt Ryan being there at the number eight position, which several people are starting to think he will be, the Ravens are going defense in the first round. I think Talib from Kansas would be a solid pick, as would Gholston(Ohio State), maybe a Merling ( Clemson), or Rivers(USC). Brandon Flowers could be a wild card thrown in there also. I still say that Joe Flacco or Brian Brohm will not be hearing the Ravens calling their name at the number eight spot in the draft ( EDIT: I know Chris is now going to send me five emails about articles saying that Brian Brohm is the sleeper in the draft….sorry I am not sold on him).
          I see my old good friend Erik “The Great” Bedard is still up to his old tricks. I have not and did not like Erik and the way he treated the media from day one. The guy is a very good pitcher and for most fans how he treats the media is ill relevant, but it is interesting to see the Seattle media is already having his lunch and they are not even out of spring training yet. I can honestly say he is one of the most difficult people I have dealt with in the media and probably always will be.
          Make sure you check out the MMA segment with Rob Long and John Rallo this Thursday from 2:30 -3 pm, as the will have Sam Sheridan who is the author of the book A Fighter’s Heart. Sam took a very interesting angle at talking about the world of mixed martial arts, including traveling the world to learn different styles. Also on the show tomorrow will be Kenny “KenFlo” Florian who will be on to talk about his upcoming main event fight on Spike TV for UFC Fight Night on April 2. With a win on April 2nd against Joe Lauzon, Kenny will be lining himself up for a title shot in the near future.
          Since Nestor mentioned Van Halen the other day in his blog, I will say that if you are a fan of KISS, you need to check out the DVD series that came out KISSology. Right now there are three volumes of DVD’s ( KISSology 1,2,&3), and they each have three DVD’s with some pretty amazing stuff on them. From concerts in foreign countries, to KISS movies, to first show without makeup, to KISS Unplugged and everything in between.

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