Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Best College Unis of the Week - Week 4

Colorful pants edition!

First up, Ohio U...



Next up, Arizona and their bright red pants...



Best look of the week goes to K-State and their purple pants, which pleasantly caught me by surprise...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Best College Unis of the Week - Week 3

Some good stuff this week, although a third look took me a little while to find.

First up, the Thursday night ESPN game. UNC bust out some navy blue pants. Working on a better picture here...



Next up, Mississippi State, from their 3-2 loss to Auburn. You read that right...



Lastly, BYU. Just like their basketball counterparts, they have a great classic uniform. The 59-0 pounding of UCLA makes them look even better.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Best College Unis of the Week - Week 2

This week must have been throwback week, with two of my entries wearing the old school uniforms. But perhaps more fitting is the orange and blue theme throughout my picks...

First up, Illinois....throwbacks look real solid!



Next, we have the Tebow-led Florida Gators. I love when they sport the blue-on-blue...



Best look of the week - my beloved Virginia Cavaliers with a tribute to the days of Shawn and Herman Moore...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Best College Unis of the Week - Week 1

This college season, I'll post what I believe to be the top 3 uniforms of the week. Without further ado...

Tennessee - love the new orange pants with the white stripes. The overall uniform may need some tweaking with the black outlining, but it's a fresh look that I liked (at least this week)




Chattanooga - the goldish jerseys looked solid and provided us with a different look. Normally, you don't see two colored jerseys in a game. Love the pants as well. Very crisp look.




Best look of the week - SMU. I believe they went back to this classic look. Looks like what the Buffalo Bills current throwbacks would look like on the road. Just a fantastic football uniform all around.


And, We're Back....With an Eagles Preview

We’ve heard a lot of chatter this off-season about the Eagles, whether it was concerning Lito’s role on the team, Shawn’s depression, our lack of receiver depth, or McNabb’s superhuman abilities. Well, all that goes out the window once again as we start another season filled with high expectations. Many questions linger about all of these things, but the questions I’m concerned about are the ones that have gone unanswered for the entire decade.

Can the Birds stop the run? You’d think with all this talk of the improved secondary, that somehow stopping the run would be a problem that has long since been resolved. But I’m not convinced. We have guys that are undersized and unproven. And didn’t a few teams in the preseason march down the field on their first possession and score at will?

Will Donovan carry us? I mean, he sort of has to, no? With receivers that resemble the accountants sitting next to me, it’s going to take a lot from number 5. People say he’s improved and healthier than a mule. Well, does this translate into less happy feet and more touch on the ball? Does it? Because above all else, it has to. When opposing defenses are putting 8 in the box, and those 8 are storming towards D-Mac’s grill, will he have the wherewithal to step up, relax, and place a nice ball into the hands of these accountants that might only be 5 yards downfield? Or, will he get happy again and zing a ball like a scud missile to a guy with no one within 7 yards of him only to either swipe his feet out from under him or miss him high by 3 yards? That remains to be seen. All I know is, judging from one such throw that sailed over Kevin Curtis pre-hernia, Donovan can use a lesson or two in breathing and relaxation. Dude had plenty of time and he still missed a throw. And this was preseason, where there’s no pressure and D-Mac presumably felt like a million dollars.

Will Andy Reid get plays in on time and manage the clock well? History has proven that these skills have eluded him. What has he done to improve on this? I can all but guarantee we see one or both of these issues surface right away against a team that we should beat by 3 touchdowns (which raises another question – Can the Eagles avoid playing down to teams they should easily defeat?). Nothing says “kill momentum” like a delay of game penalty. Nothing says “we’re unprepared” like a wasted final minute and a half in the second quarter. Nothing says “wild card chances slim” like a bunch of these mishandlings during a season.

We can all agree that these questions have been huge concerns for Eagles’ fans throughout the decade. The question is, can the Birds prove that they’ve progressed beyond these annoying peeves on their way to a successful season.

Monday, June 16, 2008

NBA Referee Scandal

Here’s my take on this NBA referee scandal:

I’m a fan of the game of basketball. I like all levels – from high school to professional. I enjoy the beauty and grace of the game, the highly competitive atmosphere, and the natural drama and suspense that comes with the sport. When it comes to referees, I lean toward what the football referees say – that a well-reffed game is one where you don’t even know they’re there. Well, in basketball, that’s a harder objective to achieve. Many plays end with a referee making a call. The ref takes center stage as all eyes waiting for the decision to be made fall on the guy in the black and white stripes. It’s a thankless job and a foregone conclusion – the ref will be scrutinized no matter what. And when the games themselves take a greater stage and come to mean that much more, the role of referee is one that I, for one, would never want to play. These refs are doomed from the start.

And so it comes down to the big games, where a call either way will bring much criticism. And to think a ref could be safe in the land of no-calldom. They’re not. In basketball, the two teams are not the only players in this game. The referees serve as the tippers of the scales of judgment. They’re a necessary evil. They have to be there.

Now, the Tim Donaghey scandal is one thing. There is evidence that he was involved in schemes to affect games beyond his occupational duties. It’s a no-brainer that this is wrong. I’m not arguing this. What I am arguing is that we leave the refs alone. Queue the Brittany guy of YouTube fame. Leave the refs alone! But, seriously – it’s extremely difficult to ref a high school game, let alone an NBA one. There are two, maybe three, refs in charge of following 10 guys at all times. It’s impossible to see everything at all times. The job of a ref is to make sure no one team is getting a distinct advantage. But a game is made of numerous plays. Numerous instances. And numerous scenarios. Refs aren’t there to see the big picture. They’re there to see what’s happening in front of them when it happens. A ref has to make a decision in a split-second’s time. And when this decision may seem wrong, it’s the only thing a ref has to go on at that time.

All refs make bad calls. And all games take on infinite paths to infinite outcomes. There are stories to be written about all of them. The NBA is one big choose-your-own-adventure. And the refs' calls, unfortunately and perhaps unfairly, help to carve out these paths.

I try to stay a fan through all of the B.S. I try not to get involved with the business of the game so I can maintain my standpoint of pure enjoyment. It’s a game, people. When outside forces like gambling take control, of course that’s wrong. But human error is a natural, inside force that must be dealt with and not made a major player. I find it hard to believe that the monopolous NBA would try to manipulate outcomes in favor of better matchups and hence more money. They may have that to lose, but no one else is gaining as a result. Certainly no other leagues out there are gaining on the NBA. Owners are making a ton of money. Merchandising will always be there. There is indeed work to be done, but there will always be challenges to this league. But it’s not a league that’s even remotely close to failing.

Yes, people are arguing that the NBA is not trying to leave this money on the table. And I think this is a ridiculous argument. So leave these refs out of it. They’re merely doing their jobs amidst an ever increasingly critical environment. It’s time to find blame elsewhere, if blame is to be found at all.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Phenomenal Phillies

Tonight the Phillies scored 20 runs in a game for the second time this season. In fact, they did it for the second time in a 17-game span, with the first time being on May 26. Throw in the 15-run game they had on May 25, and the Phillies have scored a whopping 128 runs in 18 games. That's an incredible average of 7.11 runs per game (and they've only given up 3.33 runs per game), and they've gone 14-4 in that span.

Prior to May 25, the Phils averaged 4.80 runs per game. They now average 5.41 runs per game. That's an amazing increase of .61 runs per game.

If you only take the 4 double-digit run games over this 18 game span (15, 20, 12, 20), the Phils would average 3.72 runs per game. That's still more than the 3.33 runs per game they've given up!

I'm curious to know the last time a team scored 20 or more runs twice in one season. During the telecast, they informed us the last time the Phillies performed this feat was in 1900, when they actually did it 3 times.

Truly a Friday the 13th to remember!

Friday, May 30, 2008

College World Series Predictions

My love for college sports has grown over the years, and has extended into college baseball since my alma mater's program has emerged into one of the tops in the ACC.

So, I figured I'd give this a shot and predict the College World Series bracket this year. Here goes nothing...

First Round Winners

Miami
Michigan
South Carolina
Georgia (even though they lost to Lipscomb tonight!)
Cal St. Fullerton
Pepperdine
Oklahoma St.
Florida St.

UNC
Coastal Carolina
UC Irvine
LSU
Texas
Dallas Baptist (who?)
San Diego
Arizona St.

Best-of-Three Second Round Winners

Miami
Georgia
Fullerton
Florida St.

North Carolina
UC Irvine
Texas
Arizona St.

CWS Champs

Miami


Whoa...that was difficult. Remember, I'm pretty wet behind the ears with the college baseball stuff. In the future, I'm hoping to provide some more analysis. Until then, I'm like that employee in the office pool that has no idea why they pick the teams they do and always seems to win despite that. Until we meet again...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Final Four Semis - Uni Tourni Style

So, I've gotten a chance to sleep on my uni tourni final four. And having watched the real Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games this weekend, I'm now ready to proceed with crowning my inaugural Uni Tourni Champion. First, the semi-final matchups...

First Semi-Final

(1) UNC vs. (12) Villanova

I'm now somewhat sick of the SOD. It looked good when it came out, but now it looks a little silly to me. Why? For one, there's no trim on the uniforms. And there's really no continuity. Sure, it's fresh and clean and simple, but it takes away a little bit from what a uniform should be....and while UNC still maintains that continuity with the paisley going along the sides (contradicting everything I stood for above), Villanova's unis are just a better presentation. The SOD design has a squarish (is that a word?) look. If I could compare UNC's unis from only a few years back, before the terrible shoulder horns, they'd beat this year's version. Meanwhile, Nova shows off two shades of blue, and has this neat alternate type of mesh material. It adds to the look. I think UNC took a step back in going to the SOD (like they had a choice, right?). Nova took a step forward with these. Upset city, baby!

Winner: Villanova

Second Semi-Final

(2) Texas vs. (8) BYU

Everything I said above applies to the 'Horns SOD unis. It's a solid look, but now that we're in the finals, I have to mention the burnt orange. It's unique, but I'm simply not feeling it. And I am still in love with BYU's classic design. I wish more schools would switch (back) to this. So maybe the message here for both matchups is to Nike - bring back the normal shoulder straps to these uniforms. Let the players breathe again. And the ones that still prefer to wear undershirts will now feel less ridiculous doing so.

Winner: BYU

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Here's Looking at You, NBA

Who's in need of a uniform change in the NBA? Forbesy does a quick rundown...

Can't Touch This
Boston
- Too classic. I like the St. Patty's Day version and the alternates, but there is no need to change anything.
Toronto - The look is fine for now. I think the purple shouldn't have been scrapped, but I might be in the minority on that one.
Cleveland - I'm OK with the wine and gold. It was definitely a few notches up from what they were working with in the late 90s.
Chicago - No need to change this great design. It's all about the shorts.
Indiana - Great update a year or two ago. No need to change.
Orlando - Recent tweaks have made this a solid look.
Miami - Terrible team, but nice unis.
San Antonio - Although they play a boring style, this former ABA team sports a great look. I couldn't imagine any way to improve.
Memphis - Solid update with the Stanford-ish font. Great color scheme. No need to change at all.
Utah - I actually would love to see an updated 80s uni, but the latest change of a few years ago was a huge improvement from earlier this decade. And I love the light blue alts.
Seattle - I'm glad they came back to the current unis. The Payton-Kemp era ones were a little too cartoonish.
L.A. Lakers - I like how they've updated their great look over the years. Most teams should take a few notes on this.
Golden State - These have grown on me, and I'm cool with the look. If they sprung "The City" on us or even brought back the unis from the Run TMC era, I'd be down with it. Who wouldn't?

Needs Improvement
New York
- Similar to what the Lakers have done, but I think they need to get rid of the side panels. Go back to the days of Ewing and simplify.
Detroit - Again, they're trying to bring back the old look, but the new font just kills it. It makes me nauseous. Block letter it, people.
Milwaukee - I was excited when the new red and green unis came back, but they're a little too shiny for one, and they needed to update the "Bucks" on the front. Make it all one font size. Or mix in a "Milwaukee" like in the days of Big Lew.
New Orleans - I think we need to darken up the look a little. And maybe tweak the font, as it seems a little too weak. Something's slightly off with these unis, and maybe I didn't nail it.
Denver - I prefer the alternates, but the powder blues are nice. Maybe take away the shinyness as powder blue is a striking look as it is.
Portland - I think they need to go back to the lowercase "blazers". I never liked the latest update.
Sacramento - Solid unis, but I prefer the ones from the Webber days. Or bring back the Reggie Theus, K.C. Kings ones!!!

Extreme Makeover
N.J. Nets - Well, they're moving to Brooklyn soon, so I'm expecting big things from Jay-Z and company. Just don't let Diddy design the alts. I'd take the Otis Birdsong/Micheal Ray Richardson/Buck Williams unis over these current ones any time.
Philly - Where do I begin? I worked at Modell's the year they came out with the logo that they use now (1997). Whereas the update in piping and the cut looks better than last year, these guys seriously need to "throw it back". Mo Cheeks and Moses Malone are on the bench. World B. Free is in the organization. The fans are starting to care about this current group. With Iverson gone, it's time for a new look. My wish? Bring back the 1977 look. It would be PERFECT today.
Washington - Too cartoonish. And the gold and black alts don't help one bit. I don't care that they're not called the Bullets anymore. Do you disagree that "Wizards" wouldn't work with the old Jeff Ruland/Wes Unseld unis? There were stars all over those things. It screams "Wizards" to me.
Atlanta - WTF? There's no rhyme or reason to these new unis. Everyone is insulted by them. I know your team stinks, but the one thing you do have in your corner is the Human Highlight Reel and all the nostalgia that he'll provide for the next century. Bring back the red and yellow.
Charlotte - Try a simple, classic look. I think your team is blinded by these atrocities and you can see it in the win column.
Houston - The Yao era is here to stay, but these unis are very flimsy. I like the attempt, but there's no boldness.
Dallas - Throw these back to the Derek Harper days. You can easily update this look. The piping on the current unis is terrible. Too much going on and it's not a balanced look. I actually prefer the Diddy alternates. I need to stop mentioning Diddy.
Minnesota - Terrible font. The "Wolves" look of the Laettner days works a lot better. The unis are too cartoonish and need a change. It's been way too long. And that Garnett guy is gone, so time for an update.
Phoenix - I'm very partial to the classic Suns look from the days of Majerle, KJ, Chambers and Connie Hawkins. No reason why we can't see those come out every year. I like the attempt with the current ones, but they seem too futuristic to me.
L.A. Clippers - This team needs a major shake-up. Maybe changing the unis would be a start. I'm not opposed to the cursive "Clippers" but the side panels are boring. Maybe too thick. It's like they just pasted blue and red together and thought that would be good enough. Do something, Clippers. Anything!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Helping out the State Schools

I touched on this during my uni tourni. Both Washington State and Mississippi State have such annoying clusterfucks on the front of their jerseys.

Couldn't Mississippi State have tweaked this?














And why couldn't Washington State have made this simple adjustment? (Please excuse my horrible editing skills. As a popular YouTube videographer has said, I suck at photoshop)
















It's really not that hard to make a solid uniform.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Uni Tourni! - Final Four

In a tourney filled with seed upsets, but merely a few true major upsets, we've reached the Final Four. I believe you have a great representation of today's college basketball uniform. You have the fresh, new look of the Nike S.O.D. (System-of-Dress, in case you had no idea what this meant all along!), the unique trademarks that make a school stand out, some experimentation, and a classic template that, to be honest, all schools with more than one word names should take a look at (I'm talking to you, Mississippi State and Washington State!)

Here are the matchups:

East Region Winner
(1) UNC

versus

Midwest Region Winner
(12) Villanova


South Region Winner
(2) Texas

versus

West Region Winner
(8) BYU

I'm gonna sleep on this for a day or two. Feel free to comment in the meantime.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Uni Tourni! - West Region

How the west is won...

First Round
(1) UCLA over (16) Miss. Valley St.

Pretty simple one. Hard to beat UCLA.

(8) BYU over (9) Texas A&M

BYU has a classic look. Texas A&M has way too much going on with their side panels.

(5) Drake over (12) West. Ky.

WKU a little disproportionate. Drake keeps it simple.

(4) UConn over (13) San Diego

USD may have taken this if they had stuck to one shade for most of their trim and numbers.

(6) Purdue over (11) Baylor

Baylor trying too hard to be Oregon. Purdue is classic with a modern touch.

(3) Xavier over (14) Georgia

Bulldogs look a little lost with these. And the shoulder panels!!! Ugh!!

(7) West. Va. over (10) Arizona

Shame on the Wildcats for switching to the SOD. Their old unis were fantastic.

(2) Duke over (15) Belmont

Belmont puts up a solid fight, but Duke's unis are pretty classic.

Second Round
(8) BYU over (1) UCLA

I have some explaining to do. Or maybe UCLA does. It's one thing to celebrate your school's 100 national championships. It's one thing to do it amongst your school. It's another thing to do it so passive aggressively, showing off in front of the country, and have it affect a perfectly classic uniform. The "C" doesn't necessarily ruin it, but it screams pretension. It makes me slightly irritated when I see them take the floor. Meanwhile, BYU's uniforms are fantastic. BYU in an upset!

(4) UConn over (5) Drake

Drake's name plate is a little too NBA-ish for me. UConn has a fresh look, although the lines create a maze or something.

(3) Xavier over (6) Purdue

Apparently, Xavier changed up their secondary color this year. They also changed up their uniform, but it still beats Purdue.

(2) Duke over (7) West. Va.

Duke's unis are great. They've made some tweaks over the years, and I think the font has changed for the worse, but not enough to sway me here. WVU has some solid unis. The football team can take a lesson in fonts from these.

Sweet 16
(8) BYU over (4) UConn

Here's where UConn's maze doesn't work. It's forward-thinking, but I'm not there yet, and I'm not sure many are.

(2) Duke over (3) Xavier

Last year's Xavier uni would have possibly won this, but not this year's.

Elite 8
(8) BYU over (2) Duke

Here's where the Duke unis of the 1990s would have easily won. A little luster has been taken off their unis. Meanwhile, BYU's unis have a class and balance that I love. Michael Jackson's favorite school goes to the Final Four!

West Region Winner
BYU

Close Runner-Ups
Duke, UCLA

Uni Tourni! - South Region

The dirty, dirty...

First Round
(16) UT-Arlington over (1) Memphis

Memphis has some serious imbalance going on, and their collar is awful. I know I hate shoulder panels, but UTA's overall look is better.

(9) Oregon over (8) Miss. St.

This isn't football, so the Ducks' unis are slightly more bearable. But more importantly here, MSU needs to put that number in between the "Mississippi" and "State".

(12) Temple over (5) Mich. St.

In a close call, Temple moves on. I favor Michigan State's first iteration of the "State" unis after they won it all in 2000.

(4) Pitt over (13) Oral Roberts

ORU!!! It's just too big on there. Pitt has a solid look. I think they have the same template as Temple, so we'll see how that shakes out next round.

(6) Marquette over (11) Kentucky

Marquette is on to something with those pretty side panels, although the shoulders are a little unnecessary. Kentucky had better ones in the 90s.

(14) Cornell over (3) Stanford

Bring one home for the Ivy League. Stanford gave up on a solid look a few years back.

(7) Miami over (10) St. Mary's

The goth font isn't working for me.

(2) Texas over (15) Austin Peay

Go Peay! Or just go home.

Second Round
(9) Oregon over (16) UT-Arlington

I'm in favor of a bold look with shoulder panels over just plain shoulder panels.

(4) Pitt over (12) Temple

Pitt comes with a little less clutter and a better color scheme. Sorry, Temple. Sorry, Mom.

(6) Marquette over (14) Cornell

Just prettier to look at, although the white name on white jersey might start getting to me.

(2) Texas over (7) Miami

Orange and green are tough colors to work with. Texas keeps it simple and crisp.

Sweet 16
(4) Pitt over (9) Oregon

The unevenness now works against Oregon. Pitt has more balance and is just a nicer uniform. You can't even see Oregon's names on the back of their jerseys, even though they're there!!

(2) Texas over (6) Marquette

Classic and simple beats colorful, yet odd. Take away the shoulders for Marquette and color in the team name, and it may have swung the other way. Dare I say - follow Syracuse, and Marquette would have advanced.

Elite 8
(2) Texas over (4) Pitt

I don't want to sound redundant here, but the 'Horns have a cleaner look and maintain their identity. Pitt is solid, but not solid enough to advance.

South Region Winner
Texas

Close Runner-Ups
Pitt, Marquette


Uni Tourni! - Midwest Region

We continue with the Midwest region...

First Round
(16) Portland State over (1) Kansas

16 seeds can win in this tournament. Kansas messed up a good thing, especially changing their font this year. Throw it back, Chalkers!

(9) Kent State over (8) UNLV

Golden Flashes move on. The Rebels may as well have flasing lights and a scrolling marquee on their backs.

(12) Nova over (5) Clemson

In a touchy battle, with Nova's unequal shoulder stripes and Clemson's uniform being marred by their terrible shoulder panels.

(4) Vandy over (13) Siena

Not sure what Siena is doing with lots of yellow and white, and thank goodness Vandy didn't go with the home gold's, cuz they have the shoulder panels!

(11) K-State over (6) USC

In a matchup that Nike was moist over, K-State takes the cake (say that 10 times fast) with a slightly sharper edge.

(14) Cal-State Fullerton over (3) Wisconsin

CSF with the more classic look here.

(7) Gonzaga over (10) Davidson

Zags on thin ice, though, with the thick trim.

(2) G'Town over (15) UMBC

Hoyas switching to the SOD just in time, as UMBC would have made this a tougher decision.

Second Round

(9) Kent State over (16) Portland State

In a weak matchup, Kent State's bolder look prevails. Not much more to say here!

(12) Nova over (4) Vandy

Nova's color scheme is just bolder and more pleasant to look at. Vandy's font is boring and a little small. Let's see an SOD with "Vandy" on the chest!

(11) K-State over (14) Cal-State Fullerton

Too loud with the "Fullerton". K-State a much crisper look.

(2) G'Town over (7) Gonzaga

Gonzaga's trim is too thick. They had a better shot a few years back when we were still amazed at their success. Perhaps it's gone to their heads in the uni department. G'Town's home grays and paisley are tight, and look good with the SOD unis.

Sweet 16
(12) Nova over (9) Kent State

Weak matchup - Kent State is too busy with the side panels. Nova has a crisp look and I continue to love their color scheme. I hope no one is sensing a Philly bias here.

(11) K-State over (2) G'Town

It's Nike vs. Nike. SOD vs. SOD. I think the deciding factor was how the Hoyas' unis are a little off with the side panels. Sure, the paisley is there, but it's almost too bland. K-State is simple and dynamic.

Elite 8
(12) Nova over (11) K-State

Kudos to the risky double-colored shoulder stripes for Nova. Still manages to be simple and crisp. K-State bows out here being a little too boring - there's no real distinction in their unis, and the K-State novelty has worn off.

Midwest Region Winner
Villanova

Close Runner-Ups
K-State, G'Town






Uni Tourni! - East Region

In the spirit of not making these posts humongous, I'm going to provide links in the team names. So either you can see for yourself what I'm talking about or just take my word for it. I'm going with the uniforms that the teams are actually wearing for the first round game. In later rounds, I'll get into the full repertoire. Let's get it on...

First Round
(1) UNC over (16) Mt. St. Mary's

Hard to pick against UNC's classic ditties right now.

(8) Indiana over (9) Arkansas

In a battle of the same friggin' uniform, I have to side with the more storied program.

(5) Notre Dame over (12) George Mason

You'll soon discover that I have an aversion to the silly shoulder panels. Plus, Notre Dame might bust out the sweeter "Irish" uniforms later on.

(13) Winthrop over (4) Wash. St.

Too busy up front and numbers too big on the back for Wazzou.

(6) Oklahoma over (11) St. Joe's

I might have to make a personal visit to Hawk Hill to burn these uniforms.

(3) Louisville over (14) Boise St.

Shoulder panels!!! Gotta pick one, and the Cards have a sharper look going on. Barely.

(7) Butler over (10) South Alabama

Bulldogs with a solid look. USA's font size is too tiny. Otherwise, this would have been closer.

(15) American over (2) Tennessee

Maybe it's the color scheme, but the Vol's need to go back to the basics, IMO. Or, maybe it's my allegiance to Jeff Jones! Wahoowa!

Second Round
(1) UNC over (8) Indiana

In a squeaker, the Heels move on. I love the classic look that the Hoosiers bring, and it's a shame this is only a second round matchup, but the Carolina blue and argyle combo is hard to beat.

(13) Winthrop over (5) Notre Dame

Winthrop wins with a fluid design, as the Irish just couldn't hang on with their lack of trim on those shorts. Need something there, Golden Domers.

(6) Oklahoma over (3) Louisville

Sooners benefit from the SOD with a clean, classic look. Louisville is just a little too busy.

(7) Butler over (15) American

I have a thing with multi-stripe trim, but American put up a good fight here.

Sweet 16
(1) UNC over (13) Winthrop

Not much of a fight here.

(7) Butler over (6) Oklahoma

The more classic uniform prevails, hailing from the more classic Hinkel Fieldhouse. It just all fits so nicely. Here's a template that's hard to go against.

Elite 8
(1) UNC over (7) Butler

Intense battle. UNC's color scheme and argyle are a classic combo that have withstood the tests of time and Nike's attempts to screw it up. If you played this game at Hinkel, I'd stare more at the Carolina blue roads than I would the Butler homes. I feel like I should have a loser's bracket, because Butler could easily crawl back into the mix.

East Region Winner
UNC

Close Runner-Ups
Indiana, Butler

Monday, March 17, 2008

Uni Tourni!

The 65 teams are now set in the NCAA tournament. You've seen my efforts to predict the bracket, and I plan on breaking it down for y'all at some point this week - or at least offering my picks.

In the meantime, it's time to have a little creative fun with this tourney. It's time for my inaugural "Uni Tourni."

Nevermind the seedings or the talent levels of these teams. The only thing that will determine whether they survive and advance are the clothes on their backs. So, without further ado, let's start with the play-in game.

(16) Coppin State vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's
























There's a reason why Coppin State is in the play-in game. WTF is up with that collar? I barely had to look at The Mount's uniforms to make this decision - and obviously, I didn't even consider The Mount's shorts. I don't have to. Mount St. Mary's advances. Bring on North Carolina.

Next up: (1) North Carolina vs. (16) Mount St. Mary's

Bracket Stab Stats

The tourney is ON! I'm pumped, as I hope you are, too.

Below are my stats on how well I predicted this year's field. Important to note - my last "stab" was made at approx 3am on the morning of Selection Sunday. I was out having a few cold ones and watching the championship games at a bar, so missing Georgia was something out of my control. I'm not sure who I would have dropped out with them taking another at-large away. Looking at my last four in, it would probably have been VCU or Dayton, but who really knows?! Anyways, next year I'll try to spend all of Selection Sunday at home, so I can get as close as possible.

Out of 65 teams, I correctly predicted 62. I missed Oregon, Villanova, and Georgia. Instead, I put in Dayton, VCU, and Illinois St.

Here are my seeding stats:

Exact seed: 30 out of 65 (46.2%)
1 Seed Off: 21 out of 65 (32.3%)
2 Seeds Off: 9 out of 65 (13.8%)
3 Seeds Off: 1 out of 65 (1.5%)
4 Seeds Off: 1 out of 65 (1.5%)
Missed Altogether: 3 out of 65 (4.6%)

So, I nailed 51 out of 65 within 1 seed. I can live with that. Of note, I also nailed 2 exact pairings, with the Vandy-Siena and Memphis-UTA pairings. When the brackets were announced, it was like deja vu up in this mother!

Now, let the real March Madness begin...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Bracket Stab - Selection Sunday!

It's really late in the evening or really early in the morning - depending on how you look at it - but one thing is for certain...it's Selection Sunday! It's finally here! Seriously, this day is 10 times better than Christmas.

Below are my final predictions for the tourney. After posting this, I'll get some much needed rest and then just wait and see how close I really got to nailing these. Perhaps I'll put those stats up on Monday.

Lay your eyes on these....

East Region (Charlotte)

Raleigh
(1) UNC vs. (16) Coppin St. /Miss. Vall. St. (play-in game)
(8) Texas A&M vs. (9) St. Mary's

Tampa
(4) Vandy vs. (13) Siena
(5) UConn vs. (12) Oral Roberts

Washington, D.C.
(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Cornell
(7) USC vs. (10) Temple

Omaha
(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Winthrop
(6) UNLV vs. (11) Miami, FL

West Region (Phoenix)

Anaheim
(1) UCLA vs. (16) Portland State
(8) Oklahoma vs. (9) Kent State

Washington, D.C.
(4) Pittsburgh vs. (13) Kentucky
(5) Indiana vs. (12) VCU

Birmingham
(2) Tennessee vs. (15) Mt. St. Mary's
(7) BYU vs. (10) Arizona

Tampa
(3) Xavier vs. (14) Austin Peay
(6) Marquette vs. (11) South Alabama

South Region (Houston)

Birmingham
(1) Memphis vs. (16) UT-Arlington or Northwestern St. (Southland Champ)
(8) Davidson vs. (9) Arkansas

Denver
(4) Michigan State vs. (13) George Mason
(5) Butler vs. (12) Baylor

Little Rock
(2) Texas vs. (15) UMBC
(7) Notre Dame vs. (10) West. Ky.

Anaheim
(3) Stanford vs. (14) Boise St.
(6) Clemson vs. (11) Illinois St.

Midwest Region (Detroit)

Denver
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Cal St. - Fullerton
(8) West Va. vs. (9) Miss. St.

Omaha
(4) Drake vs. (13) San Diego
(5) Washington St. vs. (12) Dayton

Raleigh
(2) Duke vs. (15) American
(7) Gonzaga vs. (10) Kansas St.

Little Rock
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Belmont
(6) Purdue vs. (11) St. Joe's

Last 4 Teams in:
Dayton
Baylor
Kentucky
VCU

First 4 Teams Out:
Oregon
Arizona St.
UMass
Villanova

Monday, March 3, 2008

Who's the Best in the Big East?

Simple question, right? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast my friend!"

Much has been said about West Virginia's "weak" Big East conference schedule, so I decided to see for myself just how weak that is compared to the other teams in the Big East. While crunching the numbers for this answer, I also went a little further and calculated the RPI for the Big East only, as if they were the only teams in Division 1. Here's what I found below...

Team W L Pct SOS
Notre Dame 12 4 0.750 0.546
Marquette 11 6 0.647 0.535
Villanova 7 9 0.438 0.520
Connecticut 12 4 0.750 0.515
Pittsburgh 9 7 0.563 0.507
St. John's 5 11 0.313 0.503
Rutgers 2 15 0.118 0.498
DePaul 5 11 0.313 0.494
Providence 5 11 0.313 0.494
Seton Hall 7 9 0.438 0.491
Syracuse 7 9 0.438 0.489
West Virginia 9 7 0.563 0.486
Louisville 14 3 0.824 0.484
Georgetown 14 3 0.824 0.484
Cincinnati 8 8 0.500 0.477
South Florida 3 13 0.188 0.452

Out of 16 teams, West Virginia has the 12th toughest schedule. So, yeah, they've played a pretty weak schedule in conference and they only have 9 wins to show for it.

So who's the best in the league? It ain't Georgetown, as most may think. Notre Dame has separated themselves as the team to beat with the highest RPI achieved against the toughest schedule. I say, look out for the Fighting Irish in the coming weeks.

Team W L Pct RPI
Notre Dame 12 4 0.750 0.586
Louisville 14 3 0.824 0.573
Georgetown 14 3 0.824 0.573
Connecticut 12 4 0.750 0.570
Marquette 11 6 0.647 0.554
Pittsburgh 9 7 0.563 0.519
West Virginia 9 7 0.563 0.510
Villanova 7 9 0.438 0.494
Cincinnati 8 8 0.500 0.481
Seton Hall 7 9 0.438 0.480
Syracuse 7 9 0.438 0.478
St. John's 5 11 0.313 0.453
DePaul 5 11 0.313 0.451
Providence 5 11 0.313 0.449
Rutgers 2 15 0.118 0.402
South Florida 3 13 0.188 0.397

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Create-a-Conference

With so much flux happening in the past 15 years or so with college conferences, I think we need some even better solutions. Some conferences have gotten way out of hand - St. Louis in the Atlantic-10? Marquette in the Big East? Just crazy to me. I think it's time to restore order in the world. I think it's time to create-a-conference.

Here are some I came up with...

  • All Saints Conference (St. Louis, St. Mary's, St. Francis(Pa), St. Francis (Ny), Mount St. Mary's, St. Joe's, St. Bonaventure, St. Peter's)

  • Wildcats Conference (Villanova, Kansas State, Arizona, Northwestern, Kentucky, Weber State, Davidson, New Hampshire)

  • The Bulldog 10 (Butler, Citadel, Mississippi St., Georgia, Fresno St., Drake, Gonzaga, Yale, Samford, UNC-Asheville)

  • The People's Conference (Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Lamar, George Mason, William & Mary)


Give it a try yourself. Could be a funny conference (e.g., the "Four Letter School Conference"...Duke, Iowa, Rice, Iona....) or a more common sensical regional conference (e.g., the "Really Big North"...Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Idaho, Canada....). Whatever floats your boat...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yankees New 3rd Baseman

Introducing Alex Rodrez. Thanks ESPN.















I mean, it's one thing to misspell his name as "Rodrigeuz" or "Rodregez" or something along those lines, but this??? How does that even happen? Here, let me try typing this out a few times...

Rodriguez
Rodrigues (oops! oh no, better edit this!)
Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Wasn't too hard. Did someone take a phone call mid-type?

"Doo, doo, doo...'Alex....Rodr'....oop, phone call...Hey mom, how are you?...I'm good...just typing out this graphic for Outside the Lines real quick....aaaaand....'ez'....there. Done...so, what's for dinner tonight, ma? I should be able to make it home in time. Hold on, let me type out something else real quick...'Derek.... Je'....what, mom? Yeah, I didn't have time to clean up my room and the rest of the basement. Thanks for doing that....'r'....ok, done that one....see you when I get home mom. I should probably get back to work or something. I'm running double duty today with graphic data entry AND editing...and I really don't know where to start with editing. Ok, bye!"

Can't wait to see the story coming up on Roger Clens.

Best State in College Basketball

The question was posed on Around the Horn yesterday which state was the best in college basketball right now. I was curious myself, so I went back to ol' Ken Pomeroy's site (www.kenpom.com) to check the current RPI and did a little math action myself. I decided to take the top 4 teams from each state that made sense to me and average their RPIs. Here's my top 6 based on this calculation (State, RPI Avg, Teams):

1. Indiana, 22.25 (Indiana, Butler, Notre Dame, Purdue)
2. California, 22.50 (UCLA, Stanford, St. Mary's, USC)
3. Tennessee, 28.50 (Tennessee, Memphis, Vandy, Belmont)
4. Ohio, 29.50 (Xavier, Dayton, Kent St., Ohio St.)
5. North Carolina, 31.00 (Duke, UNC, Davidson, Wake)
6. Texas, 33.50 (Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston)

On ATH, they were big on Tennessee and Texas, but there is a drop off after those top teams. And one would think North Carolina would be in the mix, and one would be right, but once again there is a drop off after Duke and UNC.

I'm still working on the calculation for Alaska and Hawaii. Check back for updates.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bracket Stab - February 18

I wanted to post my first stab at the brackets today. I didn't go so far as to place teams in their proper pods, but I did seed by region.

I decided to project out the rest of the season, and this bracket reflects that. I used Ken Pomeroy's site (www.kenpom.com) and his projections for the remainder of each team's schedule. Sometimes I disagreed, but for the most part, I followed his individual game projections. So, instead of saying "this is how the brackets would look if the season ended today", it's more of a "this is how I think the brackets will look on Selection Sunday". For the one-bid conferences, I simply put in the current leader of the conference, and went with my gut for any current ties.

Last teams in:
Arizona St.
Florida
Miami (Fla)
Baylor

First teams out:
UMass
UNLV
Oregon
Mississippi

South Region
(1) Memphis vs. (16) CSU-Northridge
(8) BYU vs. (9) Dayton
(4) Notre Dame vs. (13) Oral Roberts
(5) Indiana vs. (12) Miami (Fla)
(2) Texas vs. (15) American
(7) Clemson vs. (10) Syracuse
(3) Stanford vs. (14) UMBC
(6) Pitt vs. (11) St. Joe's

West Region
(1) Tennessee vs. (16) Morgan St./Alabama St.
(8) Wake Forest vs. (9) Ohio St.
(4) UConn vs. (13) Boise St.
(5) Kansas St. vs. (12) Davidson
(2) UCLA vs. (15) Belmont
(7) Maryland vs. (10) West. Va.
(3) Xavier vs. (14) Cornell
(6) Gonzaga vs. (11) Florida

East Region
(1) UNC vs. (16) Robert Morris
(8) Marquette vs. (9) Arkansas
(4) Michigan St. vs. (13) Western Ky.
(5) Butler vs. (12) Baylor
(2) Georgetown vs. (15) Rider
(7) St. Mary's vs. (10) Oklahoma
(3) Wisconsin vs. (14) Austin Peay
(6) Washington St. vs. (11) Mississippi St.

Midwest Region
(1) Kansas vs. (16) Portland St.
(8) Rhode Island vs. (9) Arizona
(4) Vanderbilt vs. (13) Kent St.
(5) Purdue vs. (12) VCU
(2) Duke vs. (15) Winthrop
(7) Texas A&M vs. (10) USC
(3) Louisville vs. (14) Stephen F. Austin
(6) Drake vs. (11) Arizona St.



Saturday, February 2, 2008

Weirdness...

I just noticed that Penn and Princeton both played their FIRST conference games last night. Last night was February 1!!!! Has that ever happened before when a team (let alone two teams) plays its first conference game in February? Just plain weird to me. I know, I know...there are only 8 teams in that conference and, well, it IS the Ivy League. But still!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2008

My Super Bowl Predictions

I'll post my predictions for a bunch of things now and then see how I faired on Monday.

Outcome
NE 38, NYG 16

First to Score
Randy Moss

Halftime Score
NE 24, NYG 6

MVP
Randy Moss

Brady's Stats
23-32, 274 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

Manning's Stats
26-43, 297 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs


Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Big East is too Big

So, why not break it up into two equal pieces, like this?...

Church
State
Georgetown 7-1 Connecticut 5-3
Notre Dame 4-2 Louisville 5-3
Marquette 5-3 Pittsburgh 5-3
Seton Hall 5-3 Cincinnati 5-4
DePaul 4-4 Syracuse 5-4
Providence 3-4 West Virginia 4-4
Villanova 3-5 Rutgers 2-7
St. John's 1-7 South Florida 1-7
Total 32-29 Total 32-35


Looks even, but the Church Division might be a little stronger. Discuss...

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Stat"urday - NHL Standings Grid - Western Conference

Following up on the weekend's first stat post, here is the Western Conference standings grid at the All-Star Break.












Here are TTA's for each Western team - looks like Detroit has troubles with Chicago, while San Jose and Dallas just need to avoid the Detroit juggernaut and they'll be okay.



RECORD TTA ADJ. RECORD
DET 37-10-4 CHI 36-7-3
CLB 25-20-6 NAS 24-17-5
NAS 25-20-5 ANA 24-17-5
STL 22-19-7 CHI 20-16-7
CHI 23-23-4 CLB 22-20-4
MIN 28-19-3 CAL 27-16-2
CAL 25-17-8 DET 25-14-8
VAN 26-19-5 SJ 26-15-5
COL 26-20-4 MIN 24-17-4
EDM 23-24-5 COL 23-21-4
SJ 27-15-7 DET 27-12-7
DAL 28-20-5 DET 28-18-5
ANA 27-20-6 DAL 26-16-6
PHX 26-21-2 MIN 26-17-2
LA 20-29-2 PHX 20-25-2

Sunday, January 27, 2008

"Stat"urday - NHL Standings Grid - Eastern Conference

One of the features on my blog will be called "Stat"urday, where I'll post a statistic (usually on a Saturday, or at least on the weekend) that I may find interesting or that I simply haven't seen anywhere else. Case in point with the latter - an NHL standings grid. Below is the one for the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Break. It's interesting to see just what teams have each other's number. One that sticks out is Montreal's ownership of Boston. Another is Ottawa's inability to handle the Capitals.












Also, I've taken each team's record and subtracted out their TTA's record ("team to avoid") to come up with an adjusted record that perhaps gives a better representation of the team's true record. Just avoid that one team, and you're golden, right? Philly, Ottawa, and Montreal look to be in good shape if they avoid their TTA's...



RECORD TTA ADJ. RECORD
PHI 27-16-5 NJ 26-11-5
NJ 28-18-3 NYI 28-14-3
PIT 27-18-4 PHI 27-14-4
NYI 24-20-6 PHI 24-17-6
NYR 24-21-6 NYI 23-18-6
OTT 31-15-4 WAS 31-11-4
MON 26-15-8 OTT 26-12-8
BUF 25-19-5 OTT 24-16-4
BOS 21-21-6 MON 21-15-6
TOR 20-23-8 BOS 19-20-8
CAR 24-24-4 TB 22-21-4
WAS 23-22-5 BUF 23-19-5
ATL 23-25-4 OTT 22-22-4
TB 22-24-5 WAS 20-21-5
FLA 20-25-5 CAR 18-22-5

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sweet NFL Artwork


The above photo is a screen shot from Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. I noticed it during a piece on drinking at NFL games. Gumbel was interviewing the NFL's VP for Security and I'm assuming walking through the NFL offices with him. I noticed the wall in the background - looks like a mozaic-type tapestry of each NFL team's jersey or pants stripe design. Very cool!

Flyers at the All-Star Break

Check this out - at the All-Star Break, the Flyers are 27-16-5 and the Devils are 28-18-3...take away their records against each other, which the Devils have beaten the Flyers 5 out of 6 this year...











Flyers - 26-11-5
















Devils - 23-17-3

The Devils have the Flyers' number (obviously). If the Flyers avoid the Devils in the playoffs, it looks like they're in good shape against the rest of the NHL. I'm just sayin'...

Majestic Athletic in pictures...

Silly me forgot to bring a real camera, so my cell phone had to suffice.

The corporate HQ are located in a very small town, and the campus is very modest. The parking lots weren't even all paved, although the visitors' lot was. The main building was very nice, as seen below from the outside and then in the lobby. The lobby was something I hope my basement looks like someday, but it was extremely modest as well. I got a warm feeling from being there. Enjoy the pics...