Saturday, January 27, 2007

From The Penthouse To The Outhouse

The only remaining winless basketball team in Division I resides in New Rochelle, New York, as the Iona Gaels sit in the cellar of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, with an overall record of 0-20.

The Gaels, coached by former NBA player Jeff Ruland, were in last year's NCAA Tournament. They have lost all five starters from last year, and have now hit hard times. They have lost three of their last five games in overtime.

Luckily for the Gaels, four of their next five games are at home. This losing streak is bound to end.

The opportunity still exists for Iona to win four consecutive games at the end of the season in their conference tournament, and to go to the Big Dance. That is very doubtful, but still possible.

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Alternate uniforms provide so much fodder for UUOTD!

Last night, the Sacramento Kings wore these gold and purple threads in New Orleans for their game against the Hornets. These give the Wizards' gold alternate uniforms a run for their money. There are three major flaws in this jersey: the obnoxious and shiny gold, the thick vertical stripes, and the number above the team name in the upper right corner of the jersey. It was bad enough when the Kings ditched the blue, white, and red for purple, but that gold mixes with that purple like oil and water. The only redeeming feature is the script "Kings" across the front.

Since the Kings were the visiting team, and they lost, there were very few pictures in cyberspace from this game. I could not find a picture of Ron Artest's number 93. That would have added an unstable number to a putrid uniform.

Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof own The Palms casino in Las Vegas, one of the hippest and coolest places in Sin City. They should be ashamed of these things. There is nothing hip or cool about these uniforms. The Kings should go back to purple road jerseys, fast.

Friday, January 26, 2007

UUOTD-Huggy Bear Edition

Today's Ugly Uniform of the Day comes from the new home of coach Bob Huggins, the Little Apple, Manhattan, Kansas. The Kansas State Wildcats have unveiled a new set of uniforms, including a black alternate uniform. Two big no-nos stand out: the different color on the shoulder (a feature Nike likes to put on unis these days), and those wildcat stripes on the sides. Ugly!

The white and the purple uniforms look ok. They need to ship the black ones back to Beaverton, Oregon. Black is not their color. Purple and white are. That purple one actually looks good, except for those wildcat stripes. Once again, schools without black as a primary color do not need to be wearing black uniforms!

These are an improvement, though, over the uniforms I grew up watching them play in on the old Big 8 Game of the Week. You just have to love the two shades of purple and the short shorts. Not!


Both of these gentlemen are indirectly, or directly associated with sports.

Mel Kiper, Jr. has spent his adult life as ESPN's draft guru. He has become a star as the NFL has become a year-round sport, and the draft has become a cottage industry. We are entering his busiest time of the year, as college all-star games are in full swing, including Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Mel is the best-known analyst in an industry full of draft "experts".

Dan Patrick is a newly elected member of the Texas State Senate. He is also owner of and drive-time host on KSEV AM 700 in Houston, and the new KVCE AM 1160 in Dallas. He came to Houston as a television sports anchor in 1979, and eventually became a restarateur before returning to broadcasting and becoming a conservative talk radio host. In case you are wondering, this is not the same Dan Patrick that is on ESPN radio and television.

Coincidentally, both men are originally from Baltimore, Maryland. Mel Kiper still lives in Balmer.

When I first saw a picture of the Houston Dan Patrick, I immediately thought he looked like Mel Kiper, Jr.

I wonder if either of these Baltimoreans will be for the Colts in Super Bowl XLI?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

From The Archives, Part 2

In my infamous knee-jerk reaction to the Cowboys' meltdown against the Redskins in D.C. on November 5, I offered this potential head coach:

Heck, while talking about the Saints, let’s bring back Gary Gibbs. He can be the second ex-OU coach to be the head man in Dallas.

Well, it looks like Jerry Jones is going to interview Gary Gibbs, the current Saints defensive coordinator, and former OU head coach and Cowboys assistant.

Gary Gibbs is a darn good defensive coordinator. He has had good defenses everywhere he has been: OU, Georgia, LSU, the Saints (with considerably less talent than the Saints' offense). He also did a better than average job in a trying situation at OU, bringing the Sooners through probation. Though he didn't ring up Switzer-like numbers, he brought integrity to the program, and looked really good compared to his two successors: Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake. Gibbs' wheels fell off in the 1994 season, when his team quit on him in a 6-6 season.

For what Jerry is looking for, Gibbs would be as good as anyone. He is looking, for all intents and purposes, for a lead coordinator. Jason Garrett has been hired to run the offense, and Jerry is now looking for a defensive guy.

For better or for worse, Jerry is now the football czar once again. In my opinion, that is worse, as Jerry is making all personnel decisions, including players and assistant coaches. We saw where that led us before: 5-11 three years in a row. But, if Jerry is going to go back down that road, he could do a lot worse than Gary Gibbs and Jason Garrett.

The Email Read 'Round Arkansas

Due to ongoing popular demand, here is a link to the email received by Mitch Mustain, as published last week on this blog.

New Coaches?

The Dallas Cowboys yesterday interviewed former quarterback Jason Garrett for coaching positions. Not only did they discuss the position of offensive coordinator, but they also discussed the position of head coach. I wasn't surprised at all by the former, but I was shocked by the latter. I wouldn't be surprised if the Joneses actually offered him the gig. His current employer, the Miami Dolphins, have given him until today to accept a job, if offered.

Wade Phillips is the next candidate to be interviewed. In my opinion, the job is his to lose. He brings a combination of head coaching experience and expertise with the 3-4 defense. He would also allow Jerry Jones input into the selection of assistant coaches and player personnel.

I look for Wade Phillips to become the head coach, with Jason Garrett to become the offensive coordinator. Jerry is comfortable with both of them, and would once again function as football czar, as he did before the Parcells years.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

From The Archives

I can't believe I said this. This turned out to be prophetic. This was part of a kneejerk reaction to the Cowboys' loss in Washington, November 5, 2006:

This is the beginning of the end of the Big Bill era. Parcells has brought the Cowboys from the level of sucking to the level of mediocrity. However, the team does not appear to be ready to move to the level of greatness which Jerry Jones and Cowboy fans expect.


Jerry, go get us a coach!

Lovie Field

How about that for a stadium name? Jerry Jones is building a stadium in Arlington, and he has an opportunity for a name.

Lovie Smith is a native Texan. He is without a contract for 2007. His mother had a vision, over 20 years ago, that her son would one day be coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The job is open, and Lovie is in the Super Bowl with his Chicago Bears.

Smith played for one of the great dynasties in Texas high school football, starring on three consecutive Class B state championship teams at Big Sandy High School. I remember him as a player at the University of Tulsa in the late 70's.

He has more than proven himself as a coach, as last year's NFL Coach of the Year, and taking this year's Bears to the Super Bowl. He brings tons of credibility with him. I would love it if Lovie came back to Texas to fulfill his mother's vision, and to become coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Is this a pipe dream? I'm afraid it is. The Bears will work out a deal to keep Lovie, and Jerry will look elsewhere for a coach.

And I was looking forward to the Cowboys' move to Lovie Field at (sponsor's name) Stadium. Oh, well.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Arkansas Hot Links

Due to heavy demand, here are the entries for the past week on this blog, regarding the situation at the University of Arkansas:

General Hogspital - The Gus Bus to Tulsa

General Hogspital, continued - The email to Mitch Mustain

Where There's This Much Smoke, There's Got To Be Fire

Who's Going To Work For Jerry?

Who is going to become the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys? Here are some candidates, and their odds of becoming the next coach:

Wade Phillips, defensive coordinator, San Diego, 3-1. The son of legendary Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips brings a 45-35 overall record in five seasons as a head coach of the Broncos and Bills, including two playoff trips. More importantly for Jerry Jones, he is a guru of the 3-4 defense, which the players learned this season and for which team defensive personnel is tooled. He has a good reputation in coaching circles, and it doesn’t hurt that he is a native Texan.

Norv Turner, offensive coordinator, San Francisco, 5-1. Turner is no stranger to the Cowboys, having served as offensive coordinator in the glory years of the 90’s, and as Troy Aikman’s quarterback guru. He is also no stranger to difficult head coaching situations, having coached seven years in Washington (49-59-1, one playoff trip) and two years with the train wreck known as the Oakland Raiders (9-23 record). Turner is still well-respected and well-liked in these parts, and would be a trustworthy mentor for QB Tony Romo.

Bob Stoops, head coach, Oklahoma, 20-1. Stoops would be crazy to go after this job, as he is already making over $3 million per year, and could get elected governor of Oklahoma. Joe Castiglione is a better boss for him than Jerry Jones would be. But, there is a rumor that Stoops and Jones have spoken. If Stoops really wants to coach in the NFL, this would be the job for him. However, he has a good thing going at OU, and I look for him to stay in Norman.

Ron Rivera, defensive coordinator, Chicago, 20-1. The hottest assistant left out there, but is not available for an interview for another two weeks. Jerry may not want to wait that long. Plus, Jerry may want an established head coach as he moves the Cowboys into the new Arlington stadium in 2010. It wouldn’t be bad PR for the Cowboys to hire a Hispanic coach, especially in Texas.

Bill Cowher, retired, 35-1. Cowher would be an excellent choice, but is still under contract to the Steelers. Jerry would owe the Steelers at least one draft choice if he hired Cowher this year. Plus, Cowher wants to rest for at least this year. Excellent coach, bad timing.

Jeff Fisher, head coach, Tennessee, 50-1. Fisher just re-signed with the Titans, so compensation would be involved in his hiring, as well. He has been a solid coach throughout his tenure with the Oilers/Titans, and would do well in Dallas. Vince Young made him look like a genius this year. Once again, excellent coach, bad timing.

Pete Carroll, head coach, USC, 50-1. Having too much fun at the college level. Would love to have the right opportunity to repair his image in the NFL, but has too much of a good thing going at USC.

Goodbye, Big Bill

Today, Bill Parcells retired from coaching pro football for the third time. This time, it was from the Dallas Cowboys. As could be expected, it sent shockwaves through the world of the NFL.

Big Bill did not work the same magic in Dallas that he did in New York and New England. He had two playoff appearances in four years, both resulting in first-round losses. However, he took the team from sucky to mediocre. The last two seasons ended in late-season collapses, ending in 9-7 finishes. This year happened to be one in which the Cowboys backed into the playoffs. The team is in better shape than when Parcells found it, but Super Bowls are the standard in Dallas.

Jerry Jones finds himself in an improved position. He has a new stadium under construction in Arlington. The Cowboys are still a huge draw on TV. Only four Cowboy games this season were played in the early Sunday time slot at 12 PM. This means that networks wanted to show them in the late game or in prime time, when ratings are higher. Ratings went up when the Cowboys were on. Also, Jerry finds himself with a young quarterback with potential in Tony Romo. Finally, Jerry has shed some of the reputation as a meddling owner, thanks to relinquishing some control to Parcells. It remains to be seen if Jerry will allow another coach the same amount of freedom in personnel decisions. My guess is no.

Overall, the Big Bill era has been a disappointment. But, he returned expectations and a bit of excitement to Valley Ranch.

NCAA Tournament Projections

In the middle of all this football, there is a college basketball season going on. Here are this week's projected bids:

(by conference)
America East (1): Vermont
ACC (5): North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Maryland
Atlantic Sun (1): East Tennessee State
Atlantic 10 (1): UMass
Big East (8): Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Providence, Louisville, West Virginia, Marquette, Louisville
Big Sky (1): Idaho State
Big South (1): Winthrop
Big 10 (5): Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan
Big XII (5): Texas A&M, Texas, Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State
Big West (1): Cal State-Fullerton
Colonial (1): VCU
Conference USA (1): Memphis
Horizon (1): Butler
Ivy (1): Penn
MAAC (1): Marist
MAC (1): Akron
Mid-Continent (1): Oral Roberts
Mid-Eastern (1): Delaware State
Missouri Valley (3): Northern Iowa, Missouri State, Southern Illinois
Mountain West (3): Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV
Northeast (1): Sacred Heart
Ohio Valley (1): Austin Peay
Pac 10 (5): USC, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, Washington State
Patriot (1): Holy Cross
SEC (6): Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Vanderbilt
Southern (1): Davidson
Southland (1): Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
SWAC (1): Texas Southern
Sun Belt (1): Western Kentucky
West Coast (2): Gonzaga, Santa Clara
WAC (2): Nevada, New Mexico State

Seeding projections will begin in February.

Ron Mexico Update

It appears that Michael Vick/Ron Mexico was not trying to get marijuana through security at the Miami airport last week.

Two questions are begging for answers:

1) Why pay $15.00 for a water bottle with compartments, if he didn't have anything to hide?
2) Why try to get a plastic bottle through security in an airport, when you should know that they no longer allow plastic bottles?

The law was apparently not broken here. However, common sense was broken in this instance.

And this guy is quarterback of an NFL team?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I want to...

...throw up.

Peyton Manning has just thrown a Pick Six to Asante Samuel of the Patriots, and the Pats are whipping the Colts, 21-3.

I sure hope the Colts have a comeback in them. It doesn't look good right now.

Ugly Uniform of the Day

Today's UUOTD comes from the National Hockey League.

The NHL, in search for marketing dollars, has worn out the idea of a third, or alternate, jersey. Just about every team has one. Some of them are better than others. One of the worst ones was worn last night in Nashville.

The Nashville Predators are wearing this ugly shade of gold with navy blue. Their blue uniform is a lot better. Looks like this are a reason why I'm not a fan of the alternate jersey. This looks like French's horseradish mustard.

I'm still not used to the change the NHL has made, where the home team wears dark instead of white. They changed their policies in order to allow teams to wear the third jersey at home. It's taken me a while to adjust to the road team wearing white.

The Predators need to stick to the blue jerseys.