Wednesday, April 30, 2008

AJ Smith Enjoys Boring Other People

There is no GM in football who I personally root against with more vigor than AJ Smith (and yes, that includes Scott Pioli who I mostly just assume is Belichick's lapdog). Smith has had a pretty checkered record in San Diego, both drafting incredibly well in some areas, while royally screwing the QB position. My dislike of him essentially boils down to his shoddy treatment of Drew Brees (to whom he never really gave a chance), and his bizarre little game of making Eli stand up with the Chargers jersey, just to spite him. He's already cost the Chargers a Super Bowl by drafting Phil Rivers (who has yet to prove to anyone that he's actually good at QB). And then he made the idiot mistake of letting Brees walk without getting anything in return for him. But today he gave me one more reason to dislike him. With the draft buzzing along quickly and managing to be enjoyable for the first time ever, AJ Smith logs in as the voice of dissent:

"I don't like it," said San Diego general manager A.J. Smith, who was opposed to the idea from the beginning, "because I just want five minutes. It didn't affect anything, but I like it (the old way) because I'd have five more minutes. I don't know if I would need them, but I do know that if I did I'd have five more minutes."

Nice there A.J. So the league hits upon a way to make the draft more watchable (perhaps even leading to a lucrative prime time TV slot), and you don't like it. Why don't you like? Because you'd just like to have 5 more minutes. Ok. I see your point. Why don't we just take 20 minutes between picks? Or 30? Would you like an hour? I don't know that you'd need it it, but I do know that if you did, you have another 50 minutes! So everyone else thought they had plenty of time, and the increased revenue better ratings could bring does nothing but help the league, but we should go back to the lumbering 15 minutes format just in case you happen to maybe need 5 more minutes.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Colts sign 13 Undrafted Free Agents

Read about it from Mike Chappell here. Here is how Indy's recent additions break down by position:

WR (1 drafted, 3 undrafted)
QB (1 undrafted)
OT (1 undrafted)
OG (3 drafted)
TE (2 drafted)
RB (1 drafted, 1 undrafted)
DT (3 undrafted)
LB (1 drafted, 1 undrafted)
DE (1 drafted, 1 undrated)
DB (2 undrafted)

There have been 13 offensive additions and 9 on defense. The low number of defensive backs stands out to me. Teams obviously need a lot of DBs because there can be between 4 and 7 on the field on any given play. Polian must be temporarily satisfied with this area.

Many thought the fact that the Colts drafted only one late-round receiver implied that Marvin Harrison would be ready to go. Maybe it does, but there will definitely be a battle for the number four spot on the team.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dom Rhodes Cut Loose

Kenton Keith is having a baaad week. The Raiders have cut Super Bowl XLI hero Dom Rhodes. I'm not saying we are going to resign Dom, but I think the Colts have to at least consider bringing him in to camp. Alcohol issues make Dom an even dicier proposition than Keith (whose actual misdeeds are still very much in question and far less serious than a DUI), but then again Dom wouldn't have turned a simple dump pass into a game changing goal line pick.

It's interesting. That's all I'm saying.

Demond Sanders: If this was Edgerrin James then there would be dancing in the streets of Indianapolis tonight. Still, I think you have to at least consider picking Dom back up for another stint. He knows the offense. He protects Manning well. Is he a better player than Kenton Keith? At one point early in the 2007 season I might have said no, but looking at Keith's entire body of work I'd prefer Rhodes. Keith was a full yard per carry better during the regular season, but only grabbed 13 receptions compared to Dom's 35 catches in 2007.

The real difference is their playoff performances. Dom got much better during the Super Bowl run, once Addai became the starter. Dom has the build to punish tired defenses late in games. Keith isn't that type of player. Keith had a terrible playoff performance against the Chargers (4 carries, 7 yards) low-lighted by a dropped pass that was picked off. I hold onto hope that someday Edge will be back, but that may be a year away. For now I think you ask yourself is Rhodes better than what you currently have on the roster?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Write 'em up

Here's a list of links and grades:

Start with Phil B's breakdown of day two. Nice work again Phil.

Then head over to to listen to the Polian/Dungy press conference.

Marcus Howard makes SI's list of steals.

This writer says the Colts owned draft day in the AFC South.

The Czar gives the Colts a C. Hee hee. Silly Czar. You have no idea who you are dealing with.

Prisco doesn't grade the round 2 pick, but manages to be slightly homo-erotic.

Long but fun, FO chimes in.

Mel Kiper Jr says....B

NBC says the just a tad higher (thanks Jacob)

Prisco says B- for no real reason.

Clark Judge says Mike Hart was a winner this weekend.

EVERYONE STAND BACK! Kravitz is attempting to analyze! His brain might just explode!

Dr. Z's comments are lackadaisical and cryptic.

Yahoo Sports gives us a B

Demond Sanders: Here is a must-read from the Sporting News. Hilarious. The guys on XL 950 decided that the Colts should get credit for Tony Ugoh since it was essentially their first round pick. I tend to agree.

One of the top things to take away from this weekend is that the Colts have their own agenda and plan when it comes to the draft. They take their kind of players when and where they see fit. Hopefully most of these guys make the club. If the Horse pulls out a starter, some special teams guys, and some solid backups out of this class, then it was a success.

The Jags are mostly getting hammered, and the Pats have too in some of those same circles. Here's the thing about the Pats: they don't actually draft that well. They have a great front office and the end result is great teams, but as we've discussed before, the draft (other than the Brady pick) hasn't really been their strongest suit. They excel in a combination of areas, especially free agency. I see no reason to assume that they had a good draft just because they are the Pats. They haven't earned that courtesy based upon their draft track record.

Also, the pundits that liked the Jacksonville moves all focus in (rightly) on the Jags trying to sack Manning. It's hilarious that at a time when the Jags go all out for D-line picks, that the Colts quietly restock the entire offensive line. Oh Jacksonville, I almost feel sorry for you. They'll be lucky to go 9-7 next year.

Draft Wrap Up

Bill Polian and the Colts surprised us this weekend by not surprising us. They filled the basic need areas that fans and media had been targeting since the fall. Offensive line depth was a major issue during parts of the 2007 season and the loss of Jake Scott to Tennessee in free agency only compounded the problem. Of course we didn't know they'd take three centers, but we aren't shocked either. The other standout issues were Tight End, Running Back, and Defensive End. Check, check and check. Wide receiver depth was at times an embarrassment in 2007. Who could forget the sickening feeling you got when you looked up to see Devin Aromashodu was playing against the Falcons? Check. I gotta say I'm pretty pleased right now.

Round 2) Mike Pollak - Arizona St, G

Round 3) Philip Wheeler - Ga Tech, LB

Round 4) Jacob Tamme - Kentucky, TE

Round 5) Marcus Howard - Georgia, DE

Round 6) Tom Santi - Virginia, TE

Round 6) Steven Justice - Wake Forest, C

Round 6) Mike Hart - Michigan, RB

Round 6) Pierre Garcon - Mount Union, WR

Round 7) Jamey Richard - Buffalo, C

Here is Mike Hart running away from two Buckeyes roughly twice his size. I guess this draft pick is for all the Wolverine fans who swallow their pride and root for Anthony Gonzalez each Sunday.

When we drafted Pierre Garcon my wife immediately wanted to know if he would wear a beret on the sidelines. I googled him to see what he looked like and this is seriously what came up:

Draft Diary Day 2

  • Again, let me start off by pointing you back to our mock draft for those who missed that it was back up. I love that you all knocked our server off line looking at it the first time, but it was sort of frustrating to have it down for 24 hours.
  • Let's be clear about yesterday: I have zero doubt that Pollack was a great pick. I didn't doubt it at the time. Almost immediately we realized that Saturday was a f/a and more likely they don't trust Charlie "The Human Sieve" Johnson to protect Peyton on RG. Our less than enthusiastic comments had more to do with the anti-climatic nature of the pick than questioning the decision. We lost one starter to free agency, and just replaced him. That's a good pick.
  • Yesterday's 'lightning round' version of the draft might actually make me watch it. Doing two rounds faster than the first round last year means that much less blathering.
  • Did anyone notice the Titans AGAIN didn't take a WR in the first round? I'm telling you, they are the only ones smart enough to know that VY CAN'T THROW.
  • I hated ESPN's coverage of the two bridesmaids (Henne and Brohm). They missed both the Jags trade and pick and the Colts pick yakking about two guys who will be lucky to be Brian Griese. That's fine and all, but to do that after ALREADY spending all day on them was annoying.
  • Kravitz likes the pick. Frankly everyone does. No one is dumb enough to question Bill. As many have rightly said before, "In Bill we trust". Chappell's article has some great quotes by Bill who seems to have focused in on Pollak early.
  • The Jags still don't get it.

When the day began, the Jaguars had eight picks, including two in the third round and three in the fifth round. They had no picks in the sixth or seventh rounds. When Saturday ended, the Jaguars had just two fifth-round picks remaining for their Sunday workload.

The easy math is that Harvey and Groves cost the Jaguars half of their ’08 picks and one of their ’09 selections. Unless the Jaguars start trading players for picks, they will end this draft on Sunday with the smallest class in franchise history.

“When you look at it at the end of the day, the players we got are values at need positions, whereas the players at the back end (of the draft) may not have made the team,” personnel boss James Harris said.

There’s a deep message in those words and the message is obvious: The Jaguars have reached the point of such roster strength that having a lot of picks is a waste of time, money and resources. The even deeper message is: This team may have only had one need as it headed into this draft, and that need may have been fully and satisfactorily addressed in the trades that allowed for the selections of Harvey and Groves.

When teams don't restock their depth with young players, they pay a price down the line. San Diego has no picks till late today. The Pats cut almost their whole class last year. It's fine to say, "We're so deep we don't need rookies", and it might not matter this year. But very soon you find your roster has gotten old, and you can't recover on the fly. If San Diego and NE want to try this, that's their problem, but for the Jags to think they are a Super Bowl contender when they can't consistently win inside their division is a pipe dream. That team will regress this year, and become very weak in about two more seasons. I love it.

  • Day two picks of note: The Pats take another LB. I guess we weren't the only ones who thought their LBs looked ancient. The Titans take a TE. I'm serious, they are running the McNair offense all over again. Air McNair BARELY threw the ball at all until he had been in the league about 9-10 years.
  • Demond weeps as the player he projected for the Colts just went to the Lions who traded up to take him.
  • And we scoop up a LB (Phillip Wheeler from GA Tech) in round three. Hagler is free agent after this season, so I think we can all assume that he'll be gone. The ESPN breakdown says he's over aggressive. Hopefully that can be coached out of him. I'd say that pretty soon we'll be making that inevitable run on corners.
  • Here's an article I just found by the Football Scientist that pimps Reggie Wayne as possibly the best WR in the league based on his deep threat production.
  • Demond chimes in to let me know his wife thinks Mike Hart is the pick. Who has any idea at this point.
  • So KSquared is safe. We go TE in round four to off set the loss of Ben Utech. Jacob Tamme sounds like a project, but that's more or less to be expected when you get picked in round 4.
  • So if we look at the Colts need board, we've covered guard and TE, but we still need an upgrade at back up RB, and backup DE (unless Wheeler gets converted).
  • Round 5 pick gives us another LB/DE type. Beautiful. Marcus Howard sounds like he could be a solid backup at end. Word on the street is that he can bring the pressure.
  • Fletcher has to be sweating bullets right now as the Colts draft a second TE. I have no info on this guy at all, but I'm better he's more of a blocker.
  • The least sexy draft of all time continues for the Horse as they take another O lineman before ABSOLUTELY NAILING Mike Hart of Michigan. That's a tremendous pick for the 6th round. BAM!
  • So with just one pick remaining, the Colts have basically addressed every key issue on the team. We got rushing depth, receiving depth, O-line depth, a great RB option. In Bill We Trust. Great draft.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Colts select Mike Pollak, C, Arizona State

Yes, you waited six hours to watch the Colts draft a Center.

Disorganized, Random Draft Thoughts

  • The server is still down on We're working on it.
  • The 10 minutes between picks makes the draft about 1000% more watchable.
  • The Under Armour commercial is bizarre, but it's great to see the Zombie getting some work.
  • I think McFadden will be a beast for Oakland.
  • Did Jaworski just say that JaMarcus Russell is an embryo? I prefer my quarterbacks to have already lost their vestigial tails.
  • I know that Matt Ryan and Michael Vick couldn't be more superficially different, but I'm not sure that either one is actually any good.
  • The best part of the Chiefs getting Dorsey is that the two best players are officially off the board before NE picks. Beautiful.
  • And there it is. The unquestioned 6 best players go in the first 6 picks. This pleases me as the Pats pick 7th.
  • Why do networks feel the need to do the cheesy 'mission control' type crap? Does any think it's cool? Crossing War Games, Minority Report, and the IPhone to show teams drafting isn't cool. It's retarded.
  • Steve Young says the Patriots might be arrogant? How dare he! He'll be getting weird hate mail for months.
  • Mel Kiper kills the Jags. Hilarious. What could be more comical than the Jags trading way up to draft a guy from Florida. This move smacks of trying to sell tickets. What a hilarious franchise.
  • Demond and I IM just before and after the Jags trade is announced as two 3rds and a 4th:

    Demond: that was special stuff
    Demond (4:04:05 PM): mel kiper: C -
    DZ (4:04:15 PM): soooo sweet
    Demond (4:06:45 PM): lol
    DZ (4:06:46 PM): HOLY CRAP
    DZ (4:06:48 PM): LOL
    DZ (4:06:52 PM): oh man
    Demond (4:06:52 PM): love it
    DZ (4:06:55 PM): oh gosh
    DZ (4:06:57 PM): oh my
    DZ (4:06:59 PM): oh my
    DZ (4:07:05 PM): I love this team
    DZ (4:07:09 PM): oh lord

    Yeah, we are pretty happy. Good ol' Jholes. You can always count on them for a laugh!
  • Matt Millen finally found a way to avoid screwing up a pick. He just traded it.
  • I just found this piece on CHFF. It's a great article from the Wall Street Journal about Mr. Polian, the man who will make tomorrow a beautiful day for Colts fans. I'll be out for the rest of the night. Demond will pick up from here.
  • Wow. The first round took a mere 3 and half hours. ESPN and the NFL finally got it right. Reducing each first round pick by five minutes forced the decision-makers to move faster than normal. Most people were expecting this to shave an hour or so off the first round, but it ended up being closer to a 3 hours savings.
  • Chilo Rachal who played Guard for USC just went to San Francisco at pick 39. Mel Kiper had the Colts taking him in his last mock draft. I say this only to further illustrate the futility of projecting past the first ten picks of the first round.
  • The speedy Tracy Porter goes at pick 40 ahead of his Hoosier teammate, James Hardy. The big receiver will not last long though.
  • Told you. Hardy goes immediately after Porter at 41 to Buffalo. If this kid dedicates himself to the game of football the Bills might have gotten one of the steals of the draft.
  • This is not the best day to be a receiver. None were drafted in the first round. The second round has seen a flood of receivers.
  • I have absolutely no idea who the Colts are going to take. If I had to guess right now I'd say Quentin Groves the DE from Auburn. Although he will probably be gone by pick 59. It's kind of fun not having any clue what direction Polian will go.
  • is back up for anyone who didn't get a chance to check out our mock draft.
  • Ray Rice from Rutgers is still available as of pick 52. Wouldn't be surprised to see him go to the next team looking for a RB. Man would that be a great pick for Indy. Won't last though.
  • Jaguars traded up to take Groves, my prediction for the Colts. I'm going to stop guessing now and just wait to see what happens. Ravens take Ray Rice. Duh. That would have been too good.
  • Packers get great value taking Brian Brohm with the 57th pick. This is a kid that at one point was projected to go in the first round. Very intriguing pick.
  • Who is it going to be? TE? DE? RB? Surely one of those three positions, right?
  • The Colts take Mike Pollak, C, from Arizona State with the 59th pick of the 2008 draft.
  • Deshawn Zombie points out that Jeff Saturday is a free agent after this season. However we are guessing that Pollak will project as a guard on Indy's offensive line. He may be the only thing standing in the way of Charlie Johnson starting at guard next season.
  • As DZ says, "You wait all day for your team to draft a player that you'll never hear about even if he starts every game for the rest of his career."
  • See you tomorrow.

A look back at Indy's 2007 draft class

Here is a quick look back at who the Colts took in last year's draft. We aren't handing letter grades out yet because it is at least a year too early to judge most of these players. This should serve as a point of reference. The thing that stands out to me is how much playing time many of these guys received. The draft is crucial to the Indianapolis Colts.

Round 1) Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio St.) WR: Gonzalez had 37 catches during his rookie season. Most of these came during a solid five game stretch at the end of the season. He had 4 catches for 79 yards and a spectacular touchdown in the divisonal round loss to San Diego.

Round 2) Tony Ugoh (Arkansas) OT: The Colts surprised us when they traded their 2008 first round pick to the 49ers so they could draft Ugoh early in the second round of the 2007 draft. Tarik Glenn retired shortly thereafter and suddenly made this one of the most savvy picks in franchise history. Ugoh played very well at Left Tackle in pass protection and the Colts didn't miss a beat in the run game. Despite missing a stretch of games with a neck injury, Ugoh gained the experience necessary for a productive 2008 season.

Round 3) Dante Hughes (California) CB: Hughes played well in 10 games before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. The Colts are very thin beyond Jackson and Hayden and the team may be counting on Hughes to step in as the full-time third corner.

Round 3) Quinn Pitcock (Ohio St.) DT: Pitcock saw extensive playing time during the second half of the season. He was a crucial part of the tackle rotation along with Ed Johnson and Raheem Brock.

Round 4) Brannon Condren (Troy St.) S: Condren didn't see much playing time because of the relative good health of Bethea and Sanders in 2007.

Round 4) Clint Sessions (Pittsburgh) OLB: The Colts have unexpected depth at LB due in large part to the stellar play of Sessions and Ramon Guzman. Sessions' season was highlighted by his two acrobatic interceptions against the Chargers.

Round 5) Roy Hall (Ohio St.) WR: The team was very high on Hall's potential, but he missed almost the entire season with a shoulder injury. We still don't know whether he will play receiver or tight end.

Round 5) Michael Coe (Alabama St.) CB: Coe stepped in at the end of season after Hughes went down with an injury. He wasn't impressive, but there is not much of a sample size here.

Round 7) Keyunta Dawson (Texas Tech) DT: We weren't sure whether Dawson would play Tackle or End. He ended up at Tackle and he had his moments finishing the season with 23 tackles and a sack. He also forced a fumble and recovered two fumbles. A very solid pick.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mock Draft 2008 - AKA "Who the hell is Deshawn Zombie?"

Alright, we just couldn't let the biggest offseason week of the year go by without throwing our two cents in. Yes, I still hate the draft. No, I don't think it's vaguely possibly to have the slightest idea who the Colts will take in round two, but as a blogger it's my solemn responsibility to comment blindly on things that are impossible to know and of only passing interest to the rest of the world. And so, in honor of that sacred trust, Demond and I offer up our best advice for all the teams drafting in the first round this year.

UPDATE: As of 3 pm EST today, we've exceeded our bandwith for No telling when the site will be back online.

Also, can we get a collective sigh of relief over the headline from today's Star? Freeney is guaranteeing to play opening day, but hearing that he's only just now jogging does freak me out a bit. There is no issue that will affect the success or failure of the 2008 Colts as much as Dwight Freeney's health. Almost nothing else matters.

Check out this weird bit from I especially like any piece that mentions Tom Coverdale and politics at the same time.

I forgot to mention this earlier in the week, but now you can all see why we are waiting to induct Marcus Pollard into the Classic Colts. I'm not surprised the Patriots signed him, they've had their mitts all over him for a long time. We always wish Pollard the best, but now...ugh.

Kelvin Sampson is landing on his feet. This is a good move for him. He clearly needed out of the college game with its pesky rules and accountability.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We're #1! We're #1!

As was noted a couple of times in the comments and as the Star reported yesterday, Your Indianapolis Colts came in first in ESPN's goofy fan satisfaction survey. So there you have it. All it take to have the best franchise in sports is an exciting team, a classy coach, win a Super Bowl, have a cool owner, and build a new stadium. It's interesting that the Colts' worst category was in stadium satisfaction, because I can only assume that refers to the RCA Dome and not the new facility.

The Reds came in a middling 59th, and the Pacers were 112th out of 122, but that puzzles me. They only rated a 53 in stadium. Conseco is the single best place to watch basketball in the NBA, and one of the 20 best venues in sports. 53 seems ridiculously low.

Fair and Unfair

Unfair first: Kenton Keith has had almost all charges against him dropped. He now faces one count of misdemeanor criminal trespassing for not leaving the premises when asked. He is pleading not guilty. Still, it was nice of IPD and the Marion County prosecutor to make sure that he got written up in the paper of being guilty of a litany of other small time nonsense. Just one more bit of evidence to show how awesome it is to be young and black in Naptown. If he gets off on this charge, I doubt they'll be any big headlines proclaiming it.

Now onto the fair: the Reds fired GM Wayne Krivsky. Krivsky's job was in jeopardy from the minute Walt Jocketty came to town. Let's be 100% honest; Jocketty is a top flight GM, and the team is in better hands. If I had to guess, I'd say the match that lit the fuse was today's roster move. David Ross comes off the DL, and the Reds have to cut someone with a guaranteed contract. The candidates are Corey Patterson and Scott Hatteberg. I'd say that Krivsky's firing means that Hatteberg is out. He had a very strong year last year, and that earned him a new contract. The problem is that you can't give a contract to a left-handed hitting firstbaseman when your #1 prospect (Joey Votto who is tearing up the league) is also a left-handed hitting firstbaseman. The team also screwed up giving Patterson $3 million this year when he was sitting at home on his butt at the start of spring training. With any luck he'll be right back there.

Update: The Reds basically tabled the decision by dumping Norris Hopper onto the DL. That buys them two more weeks to deal Hatteberg.

Media reports will mention the ill-fated Nats trade of two summers ago. That is utter nonsense. That trade was great for the Reds as they dumped two useless, expensive players for some banged up bullpen arms. I've already written about that deal ad nausem, so I won't rehash it now. Krivsky didn't do everything right, but the team is WAAAAY better now than it was when he took over. The farm system actually has players in it. The roster has talent. The team has young pitching. I think the team will do better under Jocketty, but I'd give ol' Wayne a solid B for his tenure with the club, and I wish him the best of luck.

And finally in the "about freaking time" category comes this news. Great, so now we still have to wait another 2 weeks to find out what Walsh has on the Pats. I hope it's good.

Demond Sanders: I think it is bizarre that you feel sorry for a guy that was out very late, drunk in public, and helping an underage girl get into a nightclub. Just a bad decision. Cloud 9 is the same nightclub that Jamal Tinsley was partying at when he was trailed home and fired upon some months ago. The cops are no doubt under pressure to keep the club secure and the parking lot empty after hours. Having charges dropped isn't the same thing as being innocent. None of the charges are a huge deal and I wish Keith all the best. I don't think it is fair to imply that IPD officers are a bunch of racists because from the looks of it they did their job correctly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Those Stripes Soaked CleanThrough to the Brain

Apparently the Bengals have lost their minds. After the 'Skins offered 1st and 3rd (which could become a first) for Chad Johnson, the Bengals said...


Listen, that's a serious offer. Marshal Faulk only scored a second round pick. Right now at that price, I would potentially trade every player on the Colts roster for that with the following exceptions:
Manning, (duh)
Ugoh, (they basically paid a first and a second for him)
Sanders (duh)

You could argue that Chad Johnson is as good as Reggie Wayne (you'd be seriously mistaken, but you could say that), but when you throw in the fact that: 1. he doesn't want to be in Cincy 2. he's a head case and 3. you'd be trading him out of your conference, it seems like a obvious move. I think this team just got offered a motherload to take a headache off their hands and now they want to be too proud/macho to take it.

Baaad move, Bengals.

Monday, April 21, 2008

K2 in minor incident

I normally wouldn't give any room to this kind of a story because there is really nothing to it, but with the draft coming up it might have an impact.

Kenton "hands of stone" Keith was picked up outside a nightclub last night apparently for 'general assery'. Given the fact that the report seems pretty minor and the whole issue of police/black man interaction isn't exactly rosy, I think it's hard to really kill the guy for this.

That being said, the Colts hate this kind of press, and there was already a lot of speculation about the Colts possibly taking a backup RB early. Let's just say that Kenton didn't do himself any favors in the job security department with this stunt.

By the way, if you want to read some good thoughts on the Colts draft possibilities, check out Shakenbake's blog... We just don't hit the draft hard because I'm not into it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Calls at Midnight and other stuff I'm thinking about...

Waking each other up in the middle of the night has been something of a tradition with Demond and I since we were kids. He fell asleep as we waited for the Batman Movie (yes, the Adam West one) to start on the 11:30 late show. I woke him up for key at bats of the 1992 World Series. I called him to make sure he was up to see Robert Vaden drill a game winner in the tourney. Last night he called my house long after I was in bed to make sure I knew that Danica Patrick won her race.
We really love IRL.

As the Reds slide continues, I take solace in the continued strong pitching of Johnny Franchise and the bat of Joey Votto. Good times are coming, but they aren't here yet. They traded their most reliable bat (Josh "Hambone" Hamilton) in the offseason, and the offense is suffering for it. As I say here often: this team can't hit.

Kravitz's entry today was really weak. It's not just that it's stupid; it's also mean and wrong. He talks about 'a public backlash' if Crean reinstates Bassett and Ellis. Um, I'm not feeling that there, Bobby. I think everyone knows that Dakich is a hothead screw up, and mostly people couldn't figure out why they were ever let go in the first place. He claims that Crean should have supported the decision to cut the players. WHY? Did they behave badly? Maybe, but then it's hard to blame them for being a tad bitter at a school and an administration that ignored the players please to give the head job to a highly qualified black man, and instead gave it to an incompetent white guy with connections. Oh, yeah they disrespected the school. Please. If they want back in and can get their grades up, let them come back.

He also cuts loose on a really tasteless 'guilt by association' rant about Bennie Seltzer (one of Crean's assistant coaches who was on Sampson's coaching staff at Oklahoma that made more calls than a 14 year old girl). This story was talked about a couple of weeks ago. The guy is clean , as Kravitz admits. Let it go, Bobby. You're grasping at straws.

God help me, but I love Manu Ginobili. He's Argentastic!

Finally, congrats to the Little Brother. Let's all raise a glass of good wishes to the man who made this offseason so strangely enjoyable. Enjoy the honeymoon there kid. Get to work on the next generation of NFL dominance.

Danica Patrick wins at Twin Ring Motegi

See I do a post about the IRL and look what happens later that day? Danica Patrick became the first woman to win an Indy Car race tonight by passing Helio Castronoves with two laps remaining in the Firestone Indy 300 in Motegi, Japan. This is a huge moment for the Indy Car series. 19 year-old phenom Graham Rahal gets his first career win last week in St. Petersburg and the newly unified series follows it up with perhaps its finest post-split moment. Will this attract more sponsors and media coverage for the IRL ? I don't know, but Tony George seemed more than a little excited as he rushed to congratulate Patrick on her historic win.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ten reasons to watch the unified IRL

The Indy Racing League has finally merged with ChampCar. It's time to start rebuilding open wheel racing in America. Here are my current top ten reasons you should watch a race:

10. The races are shorter than most sporting events including NASCAR races, usually clocking in at under two hours.

9. The cars are (much) faster.

8. They named an entire sports league after the city of Indianapolis.

7. Unlike the IHSAA, the IRL appears to be dedicated to rebuilding its storied past.

6. They race at places with cool names like Twin Ring Montegi, Long Beach, and Surfer's Paradise. Sounds like a Mario Kart circuit.

5. The sport gets precious little media coverage, but its few writers are snarky loners who hate NASCAR.

4. The league isn't sponsored by a souless wireless carrier with unbelievably poor customer service (yet).

3. They have two and sometimes three generations of Foyts, Rahals and Andrettis involved in the sport.

2. They have teams co-owned by both Paul Newman (badass), David Letterman (badass) and Patrick Dempsey (non-badass).

1. Sometimes Mario still hops in a car and insane things happen.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Even I have my limits

My tolerance for sports commentary is not infinite. Sure, I'll randomly leave on ESPN radio in the background for hours or even check out First Take at lunch, but there are just some guys that make me turn of the dial. I'm not talking about guys who are just stupid. Stupid commentary generally makes me mad and/or drives me to post something about how stupid they were here. No, I'm talking about guys who manage to be so utterly retarded/crass/useless that I can no longer stand to hear their voice, even if they are talking about the Colts. These are the five guys who can make me flip off faster than anyone else:

1. Skip Bayless (ESPN First Take, ESPN2) - He is far and away the most useless waste of space on TV. He adds nothing to the mix except being an ahole. He picks extreme opinions (I don't know if Tiger Woods is really that great because there are no other great golfers today), presents them with little to no evidence (my sources tell me that Kelvin Sampson cheated to get Eric Gordon), acts condescending, and refuses to admit when he's wrong (after the Super Bowl he STILL was killing Tom Coughlin for playing his starters the whole game against the Pats to end the season). He's not just wrong. He's not just an ahole. He's not just shrill. He's all them. All at once. All the time.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <1 minute

2. Jay Mariotti (Chicago Sun Times, Around the Horn) - Long considered one of the single laziest major columnists in America, Mariotti has made a career out of being shrill and unfair. Marriotti's mugging for the camera and ridiculous opinions are the chief reason I can't watch Around the Horn. I'll turn it on for a minute watch the first three guys, and think, "eh, not awful." Then Mariotti will have segment and I'll cringe. Generally, by the second time through, I turn him off. He's uninformed, self-promoting, and generally wrong; but it's the twinge of cruelty that he has that really repulses me. Ozzie was right about him.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <4 minutes

3. Eddie White (Kravitz and Eddie, 1070 the Fan) - Who is this clown and how did he get a radio show? He may be the single biggest waste of airspace in the midwest. The only reason he is lower on this list than Mariotti is that he's always talking about Indy sports, so that keeps me hanging on a fraction longer. He is ignorant and very crass (fat jokes about the IU president? really? That's humor? You want to sleep with Erin Andrews? Why do I care to hear about that?). His only skill is that he is so irredeemably awful that he makes Kravitz bearable (thus keeping him off this list in miraculous fashion). I have nothing good to say about this guy at all. 1070 goes to sports and this is what they give us? Horrible.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <5 minutes

4. Jim Rome (Jim Rome Show, Rome is Burning) - Rome held the top spot down for a long time, but isn't nearly as horrible as he used to be. Now mostly it's his callers that make me turn him off. Rome is still hard for me to listen to, but I freely admit that he's often funny and entertaining as well. At his worst, he's like fingernails on the chalkboard. He's hard to listen to, but is clearly way more talented than the rest of this list.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <15 minutes

5. Colin Cowherd (The Herd ESPN Radio) - I dug Colin at first; I think most people did. He wasn't amazing like TK was, but he was ok. Then he ran out of stuff to talk about it. Cowherd's biggest problem is that he doesn't really like sports. He loves gambling and radio. Not sports. The one sport he really digs is college football, which I don't like. He also gets off on 'life commentary' which is usually boring and ignorant. He's over the top and generally clueless. He also spends waaaay too much time ripping on 'sports nerds' who 'use statistics' and can 'prove things' and have 'coherent arguments'. He does have good guests, so I'll usually turn him off for five minutes at a time, and then turn him back up when he's done being a moron.
Time it takes before I turn him off: <20 minutes

Special Lifetime Achievement Award:
Mark Patrick (1260 drive time several years ago) I don't know where he is now, and I don't care. I've never heard a sports guy I hated worse. His show was so crude and pointless that I actually wrote the station to complain (it was all the 'hanging out by White River' jokes). He wasn't funny, smart, or interesting. I literally would get spasms just passing his show on the dial. The all time, hands down, worst host ever.

Demond Sanders: Great list. You nailed 1, 2, and 3. Eddie White, you are not good at your job. The annoying thing is that Kravitz is clearly uncomfortable on the radio and uses White as a crutch, forcing him to carry the show at times. Hopefully over time Kravitz will realize that he's far more talented and White needs to take a minimal role as the show's MC. Wow, did I just type that sentence?

Cowherd is an interesting host. He insists that ESPN hired him because he is able to entertain and pander to the non-sports fan. Gee, thanks ESPN. His argument is that hard-core sports fans will listen either way, so it is his responsibility to the advertisers to bring in listeners who would rather listen to a rant about how Whole Foods is amazing or how everyone should leave the midwest and move to the southwest. He bashes on sports talk shows that "breakdown the games" and "crunch numbers." In other words everything he says is based on anecdotal evidence that he quickly threw together in the pre-show meeting.

Jim Rome is not as nearly as obnoxious as Cowherd. I would argue against his inclusion on this list. He seems to understand and actually like sports. His interviews are solid. His listeners, the clones, are huge tools, but he mocks them liberally so their impact is for the most part neutralized. I think we all still kind of hate him for his famous run-in with Jim "Chris" Everett, but the truth is Everett was forewarned that Rome would be calling him Chris to his face and agreed to do the spot.

I'm not sure if color commentators qualify for this list, but I'll throw out Dick Vitale and Ron Santo for starters.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

For Demond

It's like Ryan Parker knows him or something.

I'm practically giddy

over this announcement coming out of Los Angeles. There are only two teams that could possibly move. One is the Saints. The other?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm proud to introduce....





It'll be great! Instead of a bunch of transplants in Florida who don't care about the Jags, they'll have a bunch of transplants in California who don't care about the Jags.

Better start house hunting, Vic.

Check out this interesting piece on mock drafts. It's awesome to find out just how clutch the Freeney pick was.

Demond Sanders: It is amazing that in a league of 32 teams only 2 or possibly 3 teams (Buffalo is rumored to be considering a move to Toronto) could realistically move. Shows you how strong the NFL is as a league. I would be shocked if the Saints moved at this point. So yeah. . . it's gonna happen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Deshawn Returns to Action by Discussing a Day-old Story

In case you all thought I was just wallowing in the misery of the Reds 'ace' giving up 5 runs and losing a 'stopper' game to a hack like Ryan Dempster, the truth is that I've been sick for a couple of days. Because of that, I was utterly incapable of commenting on the release of the 2008 schedule. As a couple of astute readers already pointed out, the ebbs and flows of the league from year to year ensure that few stats are as meaningless as 'preseason' strength of schedule. This link from ESPN shows just how irrelevant the hand wringing is. The Horse has a brutal run on paper again this year, but some of those teams they play will regress. There are a couple of rules that serve to help us understand just about every Colts' season:

1. They will win at least 12 games
2. They will win the AFC South
3. They will go at least 7-1 at home (unless they have have another give up game)
4. They will win their first 6-8 games in a row.
5. All predictions are based on Freeney and Harrison being healthy.

Keeping these rules in mind is critical for spotting the potential pitfalls on the way.

Here's a game by game look at what 2008 will likely bring:

Week 1: Bears - Win (by a lot)
The first of several prime time games will invariably feature John Madden commenting that Rex Grossman fumbled because of "freakishly small hands".

Week 2: @Vikings - Win
Run D isn't the problem for the Colts that it used to be, and I trust Tavaris Jackson about as far as he can throw himself. That's an unnecessarily awkward way of saying, "He sucks, we win by 2 TDs."

Week 3: Jholes - Win
No team did less to help itself fix what was really broken than the Jags. Their defense was not good last year, and they did nothing but lose players. Their wide receiver additions are hilarious. They are heading back to 8-8, 9-7 territory

Week 4: @Texans - Win
This might be a tougher game than in years past (though they usually put up a fight at home), but I like the Colts coming off the bye week.

Week 5: Baltimore - Win
Remember when this was a scary game?

Week 6: @Packers - Win
This is one of those classic 'looks tough on paper until you remember that Brett Favre just retired' games. It seems there's one every year.

Week 7: @Titans - Win
As we've repeatedly shown, the Titans win in spite of VY. Unless he gets hurt before this game, they are going down at home on Monday night.

Week 8: Patriots - Win
I must admit that I hate playing them on a short week, but I think that a healthy Colts team is better than a healthy Pats team, so I'm picking them here.

Week 9: @Steelers - Loss
I don't think the Steelers are that good, but this game has bad weather/bad field written all over it. The '72 Dolphins rest easy.

Week 10: Texans - Win
No way the Texans win at Indy. Never happened, never will as long as #18 is upright.

Week 11: @Chargers - Win
Listen, I don't get the 'Phil Rivers has arrived' talk. He played a courageous game against NE in the playoffs...but he also sucked. He left the game at RCA with his team trailing. It was Billy Volek who won that game. So what has Phil Rivers done? He beat a mediocre Titans club and sucked at NE. . . oooh scary. I also scoff at the whole 'Chargers have the Colts number thing'. They won a game so long ago, that SD doesn't even have the same coach/QB anymore and two of the weirdest games ever last year. This team doesn't scare me at all.

Week 12- @Browns - Win
Perhaps no team will be as hilariously disappointing as Cleveland next year. All you had to do was watch them last year to see that they were frauds. Romeo Crenell got one of the least deserved and most franchise crushing contract extensions in history. This club will be in the crapper for about 3 more years.

Week 13- Bengals - Win
This team has fallen hard and fast.

Week 14- Lions - Win
Hee Hee.

Week 15- @Jholeville - Loss
I don't like the set up here. The Jags will be needing this to stay alive in the wild card hunt, and are playing at home on a short week. The Colts should have most everything sown up by this point, so this one smells.

Week 16 - Titans-???
So here's the magic question again: to rest or not to rest? The Colts and Bucs (two teams that rested starters last year) lost their first playoff games, thus renewing the moronic call to play every game all the way through. Everyone forgets that both teams came out blazingly fast in those games. I'm a believer that it doesn't much matter. In the new NFL, home playoff games are increasingly unimportant in terms of knowing who will win. If I had to guess, I'd say the Colts sit everyone down again, as the Titans eek out a narrow win that eliminates the Jags from playoff contention.

Final record 13-3.

I know. They went 13-3 last year too, so it seems like chalk. That's the thing about the Colts under Dungy. They are going to win between 12 and 14 games, so 13 seems like as good a number as any. Worst case, they go 11-5. Best case, they run the table (although ask a Pats player if they really think that is a 'best case' scenario anymore!)

Here's a list of (mostly) schedule related reading:
John Clayton talks about how tough the AFC North has it. I'm telling you, it's going to be a looong season in Cleveland.

DJ Gallo picks the top 40 games of the year. Number XI is priceless. He seems to think that Pats game is a big deal. Wonder why?

Don Banks (like everyone else) likes the Colts Pats the best, and also tries to drum up a non-existent controversy about the Colts-Browns.

FO looks back at the '02 draft. We did pretty well in that one.

Does this story scare anyone else? Other than maybe Mark Cuban when has the phrase "hands on owner" ever been a good thing?

Here's an old article that just came to me. Check out the photos too. It makes me feel sick to see the old park that way. I'll never forget seeing Billy Moore get the championship winning hit in '86 or Razor Shines play his last game. My favorite Bush memory is watching an exhibition game with the Reds. Deion Sanders led off with a walk, stole second and third and scored on a wild pitch. He was the fastest man I've ever seen. His acceleration was freakish. He was also much larger than I would have guessed. Thanks Chad, for the links (and for going to a lot of those games with me!).

Demond Sanders: I mostly agree with your picks and reasoning. Obviously it is a little dangerous making picks when we don't yet know whether two of Indy's highly compensated super stars will even take the field at 100% in 2008. However, I agree that we have to approach the season as if Harrison and Freeney will be back to normal. If that pair plays the entire season I think the Colts will finish 15-1 or 14-2. They'll fire bomb the Patriots at home if they have everyone at their disposal. I'd figure them to lose to the Steelers and maybe the Jags. I think they'll win XLIII next February.

Remember logic would dictate that this team should be much improved from 2007. They won't have as many injuries. Key players at OT, WR, CB, LB, and DT will have much more experience. If Polian can solve some minor issues at RB and DE depth this will be a team that we talk about for a long, long time. It's been tossed around many times before, but don't be surprised if we finally see the the return of Raheem Brock to Defensive End. Also, I'm starting to favor using an early-ish pick on a pass-catching back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bone crushing 2008 schedule released

Here it is. Looks ridiculous as usual. I can count only five games I know with certainty we will win. There are a lot of jump balls on there. Of course if Marvin and Freeney are healthy you might be able to find 16 wins on there. Big if. The schedule generally looks much easier about a month into the season, but right now there aren't many gimmes on there.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Frustrating Saturday

While my wife is traveling on business in Costa Rica, I'm playing daddy daycare to my kids, and have limited sports watching time. So why then did I waste what I have on last night's Pacers and Reds games? The Blue and Gold going down was obviously more significant because it all but signified their exit from the playoffs. I realize that getting our ass kicked by Boston was no one's idea of fun, but long playoff runs are built on the back of such things. The great teams of the 90s had a couple of first-round flameouts before ascending to new heights. I wanted to see them play with pride down the stretch (which they mostly had until last night), and get rewarded. Instead, the highlight of my spouseless Saturday night ended up being an Ashton Kutcher skit on SNL? Sheesh...

As for my beloved Reds, they make me want to put my head through a plate glass window. Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion are hitting back to back and if you add their batting averages together, you can maybe scrape .300. They are the 5/6 hole equivalent of the banjo hitting catcher and the pitcher's spot. My aggravation has been made worse by the fact that I also have Dunn on fantasy team for the first time since his rookie year call up. When he goes cold, he can flat KILL a club. I'm not exactly panicking on the Reds, mainly because several guys are hitting now (Votto is showing signs of life), and the pitching is still great. But it's annoying to be cursing two inexcusable 1-run losses to the Pirates (while stranding some 20 odd runners in two games) instead of celebrating a great start to the season. What's the cure for my ills?

Johnny Franchise starts today.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm no Faulkner or Eliot...

but I can still churn out the stream of consciousness when necessary.

It's hard to run a football centric blog in the offseason when you root for a team that seems to take great pride in never having anything of note happen. Maybe we'll do a piece next week on who the Horse looks to snag with those three 6th round supplemental picks! Or not.

This piece is pure revisionist history.
All I heard at the time was that the Chargers loved the chance to pick Leaf, and the Colts had just blown the biggest pick ever. The Chargers traded UP to get Leaf, the single worst pick in history. Let's not make poor Bobby B the victim here. Still the article was interesting because of the Polian quotes about the workouts with Peyton and Leaf. I had never heard that Manning worked out better than Leaf. That makes the pick look like even more of a slam dunk.

I gotta say that I realize it doesn't matter much, but the fact that the Pacers are trying to finish strong is cool. I feel like it's 1987 all over again and Stipo is driving in for a layup against the Knicks to put us in the playoffs. That came up short, and so will this, but the effort is nice to see.

When is a tough 10th inning loss still cause for celebration? Two words: Johnny Franchise. It's true, I have Cuetomania. I spent a long time last night wondering when the soonest I could drive the 4+ hours to Cincy just to see him pitch.

I am not going to change my opinion on Corey Patterson no matter how many clutch 8th and 9th inning homeruns he hits. Principally, because I'm terrified I'll jinx him and secondly, because all this proves is that he shouldn't be hitting leadoff. Note all these have been solo shots. Still, I'm not sure whether I should be rooting for or against him making me look like an ass.

I must say the words, "This team can't hit" at least 3 times a game.

Finally, a personal note to the Colts Girl. We are so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in our prayers. I'm sorry this note comes at the end of such a run of triviality.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Steve Nash anybody?

This is hilarious. Listen the whole way through. Jay Bilas owns the ever-stupid Dan Le Batard. White Canadians apparently don't count in his moronic, race-baiting argument.

Yes, in case you are wondering...

that was about as satisfying a championship game as it could possibly be. I feel bad for the kids from Memphis, because they'll have to live with that one for a long long time, but still it was a wonderful win for Kansas. I prefer to see the team who can hit free throws win it. It reminded me of 87 when Syracuse (who physically had a vastly superior team to IU) yanked several free throws down the stretch.

Update: I think the whole "Roy Williams is wearing a Kansas sticker" thing was retarded. Coach K wore an IU button in 1987 at the Final Four even though IU had eliminated his Blue Devils earlier in the tournament. It was seen as a classy show of support for his friend Bob Knight. People need to get over themselves.

And yes, everything I know about college basketball eventually brings me back to 1987.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dropping the Berraisms

It's Deja Vu all over again. Dusty Baker takes over an underachieving club with two hot young arms...

It's 2003, and a Faustian bargain has been placed in front of Dusty. A goat-hoofed man (what is it with the Cubs and goats?) approaches Dusty and says, "Do you want to be the man to break the curse? I'll give you this one season to try. In exchange, all you have to give me is the future of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Their baseball souls for immortality! Think about it Dusty! Imagine the possibilities."

Dusty is an astute guy and responds to the Lord of Flies, "Wait, wait, wait. Last time I trusted you, I got to game 7 of the World Series in exchange for Barry Bonds' baseball immortality, but you yanked the rug out from under me! What's the catch man?"

The angel of light replies silkily, "Dusty, you wound me! There are no hidden schemes with me. What you see is what you get. I tell you Dusty, it's such a sure thing that you'll win the series with this Cubs team that I promise you that only the Cub fans themselves could possibly stop you! They would have to rise from their seats and literally steal the ball from the glove of your team. Dusty, my friend! Sure I'll claim the baseball soul of those two brilliant young men, but they'll be heroes forever in Chicagoland! Shake my hand and this curse is as good as lifted..."

Well just a few years after the Devil proved it ain't over til it's over, Dusty has brought his own unique brand of baseball wisdom to Cincinnati and things are looking up. The Reds have now seen two electric starts in 4 days from young Dominican arms, as well as a pair of walkoff wins spurred on by a guy who couldn't lay down a bunt and a 38 year-old back up catcher only playing because two other guys got hurt in front of him. There's some scarey hoo-doo going on in the Queen City, and I don't know whether to start getting excited or brace myself for some epic misery. Think about it. The only real question about this Reds team is if they can hit enough. Whereas I've always been a pessimist in football, I'm a natural optimist in baseball, but weird goings on in the first week in Cincy even have me a bit skittish.

Let's just say that as the summer wears on, I'll be keeping an eye out for pitch counts north of 120 and talking snakes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

An Odd Bandwagon (aka an apology to Jeff Keppinger but NOT Corey Patterson...not now not ever)

I suppose bandwagon jumping is a tendency of most fans. I've been a die hard fan of my big four (IU, Reds, Colts, Pacers) all my life without wavering. I limit my personal betrayals to the players that play for my teams. I have been known to curse and cheer a guy within one at bat, and in general, nothing I say about any player in the aftermath of a loss can be counted as a true glimpse into my feelings about that player. My mini-rant after Monday's Reds' game is probably as good an example of that as anything. My support for players waxes and wanes, but my support for my teams is never in question.

Jeff Keppinger has now had one bad game and two good ones. When he's hot, I'll love him. When he's cold, I'll hate him. It will take a lot for a player like that to get on my permanent good side. Still, I'm sorry I buried him on Monday. His minor league numbers don't scream 'future star', but he certainly came through the last two days.

Corey Patterson will get no such apology from me despite his solo home run on Wednesday. I have zero use for leadoff men with decent power and terrible, terrible OB%. Norris Hopper at the very least and eventually Jay Bruce should be manning CF for the Reds. As it stands, we'll get treated to lots of awesome solo shots and even more 0-4 games from good ol' Corey.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Johnny Franchise

Not to be too giddy over one start, but never in my life has a Reds pitcher had so electric a debut as rookie Johnny Cueto had today. Peppering the zone with 96 mph heaters, he held the Diamondbacks to 1 hit (a home run), no walks and 10 Ks in 7 innings. No Reds pitcher has struck out 10 in his debut since 1900. The Reds haven't really developed a homegrown starter since Tom freaking Browning. This team may have serious problems, but maybe, just maybe starting pitching won't be one of them for too much longer. I was laughing out loud with glee for most of the game. The really amazing part? Dusty pulled him before he hit the 100 pitch mark.

Wonders may never cease.

Demond Sanders: Amazing performance. Dusty compared it to the way Fernando Valenzuela broke onto the scene to dominate out of nowhere. It was good enough to warrant a little hyperbole. I'm proud of Dusty for pulling him, but you know deep down he wanted to see if the kid could go the distance.

An Open letter to Coach Crean

Wow, great job yesterday at the press conference. I think we are all certainly excited for where the program will head under your guidance. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the IU family to let you know everything you need to get along in Hoosierland:

1. Don't cheat. I know some people are cynical and suggest that fans will back anyone who wins, and that may be true in places like the New England, but it doesn't fly in Hoosierland. We all want to win, but we want to follow the rules even more. Kelvin Sampson won. Ask around though and see how popular he is around these parts right now. Please, above all else: don't cheat.

2. Win the Big Ten. Not the crappy tournament that no one cares about. Win the Big Ten regular season title. That's what we care about around here. Winning Big Ten titles ensures that we can rub it in the face of Boiler, Buckeye and any other random fan we may know. Turn the Big Ten into our personal sandbox, and we'll love you for it.

3. Recruit players from Indiana, especially jump shooters. I'll be honest. Most Hoosier fans love the 2 guard over all other positions. Between Jimmy Chitwood, Steve Alford, and Reggie Miller, the smooth stroke from the three point line is what we are looking for. Get a couple of bonafide Hoosier sharp shooters, and we'll be good with that.

4. Don't ever say "Pro-style Offense" even if you run one. We won't take kindly. Also, make sure your team shoots at least 70% from the free throw line. We HATE it when a team can't shoot free throws. Say things like box out and screen a lot. We love it when coaches talk about screens and box outs.

5. Beat Purdue. Crush Notre Dame. Don't dream of losing to any of the following teams under any circumstances ever: Butler, ISU, Ball State. Don't even play IUPUI, IPFW, Valpo, or any other in-state collection of initials. Most Hoosier fans root for those teams the way someone might have a favorite minor league club. We like them, but we don't want to see the Yankees play them.

6. Plant us in the Sweet 16 regularly. Winning the tourney is a crap shoot. Don't get me wrong, you'd better a hang a banner at some point, but to keep the heat off, just get us to the second week every year, and we'll be pacified...for a while.

7. Be judicious in how you play the Knight card. If you do it too much, you'll aggravate one faction. If you don't pay him any homage, you'll never get the support of high school coaches and some ex-players that is necessary to have harmony. Good luck with that.

8. You have two seasons before we seriously expect results, but we had better start seeing improvement by the end of year two.

Do this, and you can retire as a minor deity in Indiana. Fail, and...hey, who am I kidding? You aren't going fail. You married Jim Harbaugh's sister. You're the man!

Best of luck,
Deshawn Zombie,
Member, Hoosier Nation since 1976.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Slipping it past us

Now that I'm done basking in the glow of Tom Crean's press conference (did you ever think you'd see the day when a coach of IU tried to sell his fit in the program based on his relationship to an ex-COLT?), I noticed the NFL passed some rule changes. One of the most important ones got no press at all:

Coaches can now defer a decision on the opening coin toss. This is similar to the college rule. Previously, the winner of the coin toss could only choose to receive or kick off.

This is wonderful. I always thought that winning the toss was a serious disadvantage, especially at home. In the Dome, the crowd would be amped up from the pregame stuff, but if the Colts got the ball first, they had to calm back down. It seemed to make more sense to have that energy channeled into a solid scream during a defensive possession, but the coach never had that option before. I also think that few exchanges are as devastating in a football game than the two consecutive possessions to end the first half and start the second. It will be interesting to see what Dungy elects to do when the Colts win the toss. I hope he elects to defer.

UPDATE: There's been some confusion on this rule, so here's a link to the OLD rule. Here's how it played out:
Colts win the toss to start a game. No matter what they chose (Kick, Receive, or endzone), the Patriots would get the choice to start the second half. Even if the Colts chose to kick off, the Patriots would STILL get the choice to start the second half. If a coach chose to kick first, the other team would get the ball to start the game, and then have the opportunity to chose the ball AGAIN to start the second half. There was NO ability to defer under the old rule. No NFL team ever chose to kick under the old rule (except in a couple of OT games with wind, but that wasn't a pregame choice). There was no advantage to kicking off first, because you still didn't get the ball to start the 2nd half, unless the other coach also inexplicably wanted to kick off.

New Rule: Colts win the toss. They can choose to Kick, Receive, end zone, or defer to the second half to choose. If the Colts deferred, the Patriots would then chose Kick, Receive, or end zone. NO MATTER WHAT THEY CHOOSE, the Colts now get the option to choose for the second half.

Read the original rule carefully, then read the bold italicized statement in the original post above.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Crean and Crimson

Okay, so Indiana's new coach looks like a huge dork, but he did manage to marry an aerobics instructor. And better yet she's Jim Harbaugh's sister. Yes, there is always a Colts connection.

It's Crean!

The search for the next coach of Indiana Men's Basketball may be over. Tuesday featured wide ranging coaching rumors for the Hoosiers from Brad Brownell of Wright State to an aging Lon Kruger of UNLV. It appears that Indiana's embattled AD Rick Greenspan has decided on 42 year old Tom Crean, coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East Conference.

Base on early fan reaction Crean's hiring may pull off the difficult feat of uniting a fractured fanbase in Bloomington. Crean has coached for nine seasons at Marquette, overseeing their impressive ascent from Conference USA to the Big East in 2005. In that span of time he uncovered a hidden gem in Dwyane Wade and nabbed Richmond's Dominic James. His teams have qualified for five NCAA tournaments highlighted by a Final Four appearance in 2003.

Sorry Purdue fans, it looks like your time on top will be oh so short-lived.

More on this as it develops. . .

DZ COMMENTS: Considering the Lon Krueger rumors earlier today...

I couldn't be happier.

But wait, are we sure Dakich isn't still available?

IU Hires Dakich

In a stunning move, the IU administration has reversed course and hired Dan Dakich as head basketball coach. He was signed for for 2.5 million dollars. AD Rick Greenspan said, "It's clear that as a second tier program, Dan is the best coach we can get. He'll do a great job competing for recruits with IPFW and Valparaiso. With a little luck, we'll be NIT worthy in no time. Now Indiana can boast two of the top D2 caliber coaches in the Big Ten. His excellent job in holding the IU players together during the past month is the chief reason we hired him."

Demond and I have discussed this hire at length and are genuinely pleased with it. Dakich can bring the same level of excellence to IU that he brought to Bowling Green. His first move was to boot players of the team. That's the kind of leadership we need at IU. Fewer players, more 6 AM runs.

From the "I never ever ever get tired of it" file:
The Sports Guy made my day with this note in his mailbag:
Q: I just got back from San Diego and I was with both of my brothers at the Oceanside Harbor eating lunch. My oldest brother comes back to the table and tells us we each owe him $50. He saw Junior Seau at the bar and paid the cocktail waitress to give him 18 beers and one empty shot glass. We paid him. -- Casey, Bend, Ore.
SG: (Hanging my head in shame.)

I wish I knew that guy's name so I could chip in some green too.

Also, check out this gem about the Jaguars. I swear they are the funniest team in the AFC. Troy Williamson to the rescuuuuuuue!