Tagged: NCAA

Whats Next?

What is next for the Atlanta Braves? That is the question of the day. They let a fan favorite in John Smoltz pack up and head to Boston. They lost out on Jake Peavy, A.J. Burnett and finally Rafael Furcal.

Kenshin KawakumiNow they are after Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami. Here is the scouting report for everyone. His fastball tops out in the low 90’s and he mixes in a slow curve with a cutter. I haven’t heard of any crazy sounding pitches like the gyro ball that Daisuke Matsuzaka has. He sounds like a normal pitcher to me. He doesn’t have the typical deceptive delivery that is normally seen from Japanese pitchers, this guy just relies on his natural stuff. That could be good, then again, it could be bad.

Heard of that Kei Igawa guy? That turned out great didn’t it? (Laughs to self)

Japanese players can be really good like Matsuzaka, or they can be a complete bust like Igawa. I’m hoping he isn’t the later if he signs with the Braves. Baltimore however is also interested so don’t get your hopes up Braves fans. The Orioles have already signed Koji Uehara who is also a Japanese pitcher. Playing with another Japanese player may sway Kawakami’s decision to the Orioles. The Braves are apparently really close, but it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.

Derek LoweThe other pitcher Atlanta is going hard after is that Derek Lowe guy. I hear he isn’t bad either. That’s just what I heard though. Atlanta is apparently getting ready to propose an offer, but how do we know Lowe won’t turn around and use that as leverage for the Mets? (cough, cough Rafael Furcal, cough.)

Signing Lowe would be HUGE for the Braves. They would fill a need while stealing him away from those darn Metropolitans. They have made major changes, especially in the bullpen. They are already making me sweat with J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez in the 8th and 9th innings.

The Braves can also have that luxury in the bullpen with Mike Gonzalez, Peter Moylan, and Rafael Soriano. If that darn Soriano would just stop having mysterious injuries that won’t allow him to pitch but are invisible to MRI’s. He has been leaving the team doctors puzzled and the Braves’ fans pissed. Oh so convenient that right after you sign an extension you “get hurt.” Prove it bud and you can sit all you want. Ask Mike Hampton, he did it.
Confused doctor

This off season the Braves have been all talk and no action. They talk of great things, but get nothing. As a fan, I am hurt by this. It really hurts when your team does nothing to make the team better. Sure, they signed Javier Vazquez. That is nice and all but it isn’t what they really need. Now I know what the Nationals, Marlins, Blue Jays, Padres, and Twins feel like. Every year they sign a whole bunch of nothing and their fans have to watch that bunch of nothing try and compete in a league stocked with talent. That talent is just stacked in a handful of places, not everywhere like it should be.

Maybe Atlanta can pull some strings and pry Xavier Nady away from the Yankees for less than they want. Fill a team need and make the Yankees worse, sounds like a deal to me. I doubt the Braves will get him as I have heard New York wants some top of the line prospects for him. Every Braves fan already knows Frank Wren won’t dare trade a prospect that may or may not suck. We learned the hard way in the Jake Peavy deal.

By the way, congratulations to Florida on winning the BCS National championship game and being voted the #1 team this year. Utah deserved both of those and got neither but whatever. That’s sports politics for ya.

Have a nice day,

~Ben

MVP and the Heisman Trophy

Ben RoethlisbergerI have pretty much given up all hope for Ben Roethlisberger
winning the NFL MVP. He started out great, then just tailed off after
that Philadelphia game. It isn’t really all his fault as it is pretty
hard to throw from your back. He has been sacked 33 times already this
year. That is unacceptable.

The offensive line as not played
the way they should and they all know it. There is all the talk about
them having to “gel” together but I’m not buying it. It comes down to
the fact that they are getting beat by the D-line every Sunday for most
of the game. The offensive line should be the first need addressed in
the upcoming NFL draft.

Speaking of the NFL draft. Looks
like we may have quite the group of quarterbacks. You have 3 Heisman
candidates in the Big 12 alone. Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, and Sam Bradford
are all good picks. But who will win? My pick at this point is Sam
Bradford. Check out his stats, they are ridiculous. McCoy does have a
big advantage in the completion percentage but I will address that
next.

Heisman TrophyEveryone
goes crazy about McCoy’s amazing completion percentage. It is great and
all but he is only throwing 5-10 yard passes. He dumps the ball off
over the middle and his receivers run. Every once in a while he takes a
shot down field but not often. If Bradford and Harrell took those short
passes they would be just as good if not better.

Graham
Harrell is by far the best “passer” of the three. While McCoy is the
best runner and Bradford has the best combination of both. So this year
Bradford is going to walk away with the hardware.

So, has anyone been watching that whole Big 12 Championship debacle? Oklahoma got the bid to go in and smash Missouri in the championship. I am by no means a Texas
fan, but they got screwed. Oklahoma got the bid despite Texas beating
them straight up on a neutral site. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Sure,
Oklahoma smashed Texas Tech
but lost to Texas which is what really counts. I also think it is
hilarious that Mike Leach thinks the bid should go to the school with
the highest graduation rate in the conference (Texas Tech is 1, with
Texas at 11 and Oklahoma at 12). Nice try Mike, but it ain’t happening.

I suppose I could get back to baseball. It is so hard sense not
much has been happening. I know the winter meetings are coming up but
there is just so much excitement around football. I’m still waiting
around for Kevin Towers to come crawling back with Jake Peavy. I still believe that Yunel Escobar, Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, Blaine Boyer, and Jeff Locke is more than enough. It fills every need the Padres have and it is just pure greed on Towers’ part.

Escobar, Morton, and Hernandez were all hand picked by the Padres.
Escobar is a young superstar in the making that has tremendous talent.
Boyer is a major league ready reliever who just had to much on his
plate last year. He is also pretty young. Locke is a young pitcher who
has great potential. The Padres are getting the best of the deal here
so I don’t know why they haven’t done anything. To be honest it is just
plain stupidity on their part.

Will A.J. Burnett sign with the Braves?
If they trade for Peavy then yes. If they don’t then it seems unlikely.
Adding Peavy would give Burnett added motivation to come to Atlanta. He
wouldn’t even have to be the ace if he didn’t want to. A Peavy,
Burnett, Jurrjens, then later Hudson rotation would be dominant. Maybe
the best in baseball.

Yunel EscobarIf the Braves trade Escobar then I see them turning around and instantly signing Rafael Furcal.
He wants to come back to Atlanta so welcome him with open arms. It
would also give them a lead off hitter with speed that the Braves have
lacked since Furcal left. It just makes sense. If the Braves don’t sign
Burnett and trade for Peavy I see them going hard for Jermaine Dye and Javier Vazquez. Dye would provide the power bat in the outfield while Vazquez would be a veteran, middle of the rotation pitcher.

If all else fails I would think Atlanta would turn to signing Jon Garland or Ben Sheets.
Garland would just plain eat innings while Sheets could end up being an
ace type pitcher. Garland doesn’t have great stats but he eats up
innings and keeps his team in the game. Ben Sheets can be lights out or
he can be on the bench with an injury. Sheets can either be a big game
pitcher or a monster bust. I’m afraid to find out.

Over and out,

~Ben  

Busy Times

It sure is a busy time in the sporting world. It is crunch time for several of my favorite teams this week. This is a time to give shout outs to the other sports besides baseball. I think it is appropriate anyway since none of the teams are doing anything in the MLB anyway.

SteelersThis week my Pittsburgh Steelers will be taking on the New England Patriots. Usually this would be an amazing game, Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger. New England’s offense going up against Pittsburgh’s defense. That would be a great game. But as we all know Mr. Brady hurt his little knee and is out of the season so Matt Cassel has to step up against the #1 defense in the league. Pittsburgh is #1 in the NFL in passing defense, rushing defense, and total defense. Yes, the Triple Crown in defense. It is going to be hard for Cassel to throw to Randy Moss from his back.

As for my Penn State Nittany Lions, they are already in the Rose Bowl. They smashed Michigan St. to end the season and get the Rose Bowl bid. Now all that has to be decided is who they play. The winner of the Pac-10 plays the winner of the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl. So, it is either Oregon St. or USC. If you happen to be a Penn State fan you are already aware that Penn State embarrassed Oregon St. already this year. I don’t want to watch that again. So I have actually found myself rooting for USC. Although it isn’t like they need my help against Notre Dame. What I do need to root for is for Oregon to beat Oregon St. That would make USC the Pac-10 champion and give them a bid to the Rose Bowl.

Oregon DucksNever thought I would say this but, GO DUCKS!

Basically it comes down to the fact that I would rather see Penn State play USC and possibly get beat then beat down or even lose to Oregon St. I think it would just be a flat out better game. I have been wanting to see Penn State play USC for a while now anyway. There is no doubt in my mind that USC will easily embarrass Notre Dame, having Oregon upset Oregon St. is what the challenge will be. But, you never know, anything can happen. Any team can beat any other team on any given day. That is just the way it is.

Tyler HansbroughAny college basketball fans out there? If so I take it you watched the Maui Invitational. All I have to say is damn, UNC is good. Hansbrough isn’t even healthy yet and he is still yammin on people. That kid is ridiculous. 

He is going to win Player of the Year again. I am still a little shocked that scouts said he would be a late first round pick in the NBA draft last year. Are you kidding me? He is the freakin NCAA Player of the Year and he is a late first round pick? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

The rest of his team does need props though. Danny Green can knock down a 3 from anywhere over anyone. He is just obnoxiously athletic. Ty Lawson is ridiculously fast. He was running past Notre Dame defenders that were already down court.

As for the Atlanta Braves, they have still done absolutely nothing. They have so much money and are clearly waiting around for San Diego to come back. It is disappointing that there was so much hype for the off season and a whole bunch of nothing has happened. Oh well.

Till next time,

~Ben

Rose Bowl

Rose BowlEarlier this evening my Penn State Nittany Lions defeated the Michigan State Spartans to clinch a spot in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. They had BCS title hopes but those were crushed by Iowa two weeks ago. Eh, they are making the best of what they can. I still think it’s a little messed up that even though they own the tie breaker with Ohio State, Penn State and Ohio State share the Big Ten title. Sounds stupid doesn’t it? Either way they would have gotten screwed out of the BCS championship game anyway.

Penn State had a great year with just that one costly slip up in Iowa. Daryll Clark had a great year despite having some accuracy issues at times. Clark got all the press but there was one player that flew under the radar, Navarro Bowman.

Navarro BowmanAaron Maybin got all the press and hype on defense with his standout season, but Navarro Bowman was the MVP of the defense. This guy is the best linebacker I have ever seen play college football. The last few years I got to see Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, and Sean Lee play. This guy is better than all of them. Bowman led the team with 98 tackles, the next highest was 66 by Josh Hull. Bowman is so fast it isn’t fair. Terrel Pryor found out the hard way that he isn’t faster than Bowman.

The season was in a way a failure, as they had BCS title hopes. A Rose Bowl isn’t bad but it isn’t what I was aiming for. It could have been the perfect ending to Joe Paterno’s career and put Penn State back into the truly “elite” group of football schools. I just hope they don’t have to play Oregon State in the Rose Bowl. Penn State already smashed them earlier this year so I don’t want to watch that again.

By the way, right now Oklahoma is completely annihilating Texas Tech.

Till next time,

~Ben