Archive for March, 2009

Tiger receives the trophy from golf icon and host Arnold Palmer

Tiger Receives the Trophy from Golf Legend and Tournament Host Arnold Palmer

The world’s most dominant athlete (as voted by ESPN Viewers) has officially returned.

Sure, most people take a little while to recover and return from an ACL injury.  Sure, most people even catch a little slack from fans and critics alike once they finally do make it back.  Heck, a few have even been known to use it as an excuse or justification, but not if your name is Tiger Woods.

Down 5 strokes to start the final day, Tiger came out roaring in typical Sunday fashion to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It helps that the mere sight of “Woods” on the leaderboard causes his competitors’ stomachs to get queasy.   A 16-foot dagger to the heart of Sean O’Hair on the 18th green at Bay Hill solidified Tiger’s fifth overall win at the event held by the legendary Arnold Palmer.  Tiger’s birdie on 18 to win was the 3rd time he’s won the event in such a fashion and the gracious host, Arnie himself, said it best “There wasn’t any question about it, was there?”

No Arnie, indeed there was not.  While some began to question Tiger’s killer instinct and inner strength after not winning his first tournament back from knee surgery, he went a long way toward’s silencing that crowd on Sunday.  Now 1 for 2 on his return, an even more impressive statistic shows that after Tiger missed the cut at the 2006 U.S. Open, an error which some believed would prove he was human after all, Tiger has won a ridiculous 18 of 32 events.  While there is no mathmatical equation to put that into comparable numbers in other sports (winning 4 of 6 super bowls, 6 of 8 NBA championships, etc.) one thing remains unchanged.  No face in sports today is more recognizable around the world than the one of Tiger Woods.

And to Eldrick: welcome back, you were missed.


My apologies to Les Miles.

(and also to our most loyal follower Will Reno for allowing golf to be published before soccer as well, I promise futbol will have it’s day in the sun)

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I hope Chevrolet is happy with their current ad campaign. You know, the one that features Howie Long being a jerk to nearly everyone he comes in contact with.

Here is what I love about this commercial:

  1. This commercial makes it seem as if using a step-down ladder makes you weak – I am an active 23 year old guy, and if I had to choose between jumping off a truck and using a ladder I’d have to think about it. I’ve busted a knee or landed awkwardly jumping out of a truck several times. Just because most men on earth weren’t built to play in the NFL doesn’t mean they’re lesser men.
  2. Howie Long doesn’t know the owner of the Ford truck – You’re telling me instead of saying “Hey man, you left your step down,” Howie Long opted to let the guy know in the biggest jackass fashion available. Howie pretty much said, “Hey man, you left that step down on your truck. You know, the one that you use because you’re not enough of a man to get out of your truck without it. You suck.”
  3. The commercial asks the viewer whether they would rather have a “man step” or a warranty – Yeah, because those two items are obviously connected… I propose this question: why not ask for both? I will take the Ford F-150 with the man-step and a good warranty. The fact that this commercial hinges on a connection between a step and a warranty makes me hope someone in marketing got fired.

What I hate the most about this ad campaign is that Howie Long is taking out his apparent hate for Ford Motors on anyone who drives one. He stops people in parking lots, points and laughs when they drop stuff out of their trunk, and makes fun of a guy’s truck for its gas mileage (now that is manly).

Let’s be honest, if Howie Long stopped you and made fun of your “man step,” would you just get embarrassed and walk away? I think not. Here is how this conversation would have gone in real life:

Howie: Hey, buddy, you left your little “man step” down.
Guy: My “man step?”
Howie: Yeah, that thing on the back of your truck.
Guy: I’m not done using it yet, I still have to load a few things in.
Howie: Well just be a man and put them in there without the step.
Guy: Why would I put them in without the step? It comes standard on the new F-150.

"Convenience if for Girly Men!"

"Convenience is for Girly Men!"

Howie: I know it does,  but I think it’s stupid.
Guy: Oh, well I guess you’re entitled to that opinion.
Howie: I mean, don’t you just feel like a girl every time you use it?
Guy: Not really. I have chronic back pains and my doctor told me I couldn’t keep stepping up and down out of my old truck.
Howie: Chronic back pain?
Guy: Yeah, I’m 43 and still working my farm. This thing helps me do that.
Howie: So you can’t work your farm without it?
Guy: Nope.
Howie: I bet you could if you drove a Chevy.
Guy: What? How does that even make sense?
Howie: Chevy offers a great warranty.
Guy: Yeah, but in my current physical condition I can’t make it in and out of the truck bed twenty times a day anymore.
Howie: Well that man step just makes it worse.
Guy: How? It helps me get into the truck bed.
Howie: You wouldn’t need it if you drove a Chevy.
Guy: I thought we already had this conversation.
Howie: We did, and I’m saying it again. Little steps are for girls.
Guy: I’m not really sure where you’re going with this so I’m just gonna leave.
Howie: Ok, well good talk.
Guy: Not really, Howie. (gets into car)
Howie: Seriously though, that step sucks.
Guy: (out the window while driving away) Screw off, Howie Long!

I think that’s a little more realistic. For now, I will have to settle for watching Howie Long talk down to innocent Ford-Owners for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.

More to come on other terrible ad campaigns…


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It’s Hockey Night at Remember the Sonics! Yes, the one sport that you thought you’d never see on RTS has made its first appearance.

Earlier this week Tuukka Rask, a goalie for the AHL’s Providence Bruins, threw the equivalent of a temper tantrum on ice following a shootout loss. You can see the footage below:

My favorite moment comes around 0:18, where Rask tries to pound his goalie stick into the wall and partially slips, resulting in an awkward fall/swing which made Happy Gilmore’s skating skills look pristine.

I think the most awkward interactions in this video are between Rask and his teammates. his teammates are stuck in between the following thoughts: “I wonder if he’s ok,” and “Jesus, I hope he doesn’t swing at me next.” The result? A lot of stares, some nervous glances, and everyone shuffling out of his way to make an aisle off the ice.

I would like to once again welcome hockey to Remember the Sonics!

It was a good run, hockey, we’ll see you again 2010.


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After the first weekend of March (the greatest sports month in my opinion), the NCAA Tournament field has been trimmed in half and there are 16 teams left standing.  Not so surprisingly, there haven’t been many upsets. Because of this, all those brackets that gambled on a few major upsets are now wadded up in the corner like mine.  Seriously, I’m tied for last in my family league… which my mom is winning… (sigh).

Pittsburgh C Dajuan Blair

Pittsburgh C Dajuan Blair

In all honesty, I expected this. I just didn’t want to believe it. All four No.1 seeds, No.2 seeds, and No.3 seeds have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Joining them are two No.4 seeds, a No.5 seed, and Arizona as the outcast No.12 seed, the lone “bracket buster” to make it through the first weekend.

Despite my Elite Eight losing only one team in Arizona State (don’t ask), the weekend wasn’t all that grand. Story lines focused on the “what could have been” teams over the “can you believe that!” teams,  Blake Griffin and Dajuan Blair were allowed to maul people (and get away with it) because of their star power, and instead of focusing on Cinderalla-caliber teams, the media didn’t shut up about some kids parents in the stands  (if you don’t believe the frenzy watch the Oklahoma v. Syracuse game and count the number of times you see the ugly mugs of the Griffin parents— I’ll give you great odds that it’s over 20).

All things considered it was an incredible weekend of basketball with great games played by some upset-minded teams, but if one thing was evident to me this weekend, it is the need for new officiating crews and announcing teams.

Despite these problems, March Madness is still the best time of year for any one sport. However, instead of the better teams getting help from officials and praise from announcers, we  need a little more madness.  Look for it as best you can this next weekend, but don’t be surprised when the top seeds keep rolling and we’re left with No.1’s and No.2’s across the board for the Elite Eight.


Oh, and I almost forgot… my apologies to Les Miles.

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This just in: the Oklahoma Sooners have put out a hit on Morgan State freshman Ameer Ali.

Let me preface this by saying that when the following event took place, Oklahoma was up around 20-30 points, meaning that the game was signed, sealed, and delivered to Oklahoma’s doorstep.

In the second half of Thursday’s NCAA Tournament game between Oklahoma and Morgan State, Ali and Griffin were fighting for a rebound when the matter got out of hand.

Ali and Griffin went up for a rebound, came down with their arms interlocked, and then both tried to pull themselves free of eachother. Ali apparently felt like he was being harassed by Griffin, because he grabbed Griffin’s arm and dragged the National Player of the Year (by the shoulder) over his body. Griffin did a complete flip before landing on the ground (nearly landing on the back of his neck) and Ameer Ali was ejected immediately.

When I first saw this incident here is what I thought:

  1. Horace Grant's Illegitimate Son Plays for Morgan State

    Horace Grant's Illegitimate Son Plays for Morgan State

    What was Blake Griffin still doing in the game?

  2. Who let Horace Grant play for Morgan State?
  3. Thank god he did not land on his neck.
  4. Oh ****! My bracket!
  5. How can Ameer Ali be stupid enough to literally body slam an opponent directly in front of a referee?
  6. Is Ali crazy? If he hurts Blake Griffin in any way Sooner fans nation-wide will hunt him down and kill him. Why? Because everyone knows that if Blake Griffin goes down, so do the Sooners title hopes.

It’s a shame when a team is getting blown out and doesn’t know how to handle it. No one likes to lose, but with this act Ameer Ali brought losing to a new low. Greg Gumbel called it “easily the bush league play of the tournament so far,” and had Griffin been hurt Ali would have faced some serious repercussions.

It is said that in order to be a great player one must know how to win, but also how to lose. Ameer Ali missed the memo on this life lesson.

Any athlete knows there are times when you just want to beat the hell out of your opponent. Unfortunately, you can’t do it with your fists. If you want to prove a point, do it on the court. If you can’t do it on the court (as Ali couldn’t) then just buck it up, go home, and wait for your next chance.


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The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee announced its 65-team field on Sunday night. While a number of no-brainer decisions were made (e.g. Louisville as a #1 Seed), there were a number of controversial calls.

With the seedings determined and matchups made, it’s time to review who won and lost the most on Selection Sunday.


There’s not much to point out here except for the media/experts complete obsession with both of these conferences. I agree that these are the two best conferences in NCAA Basketball, and they were rewarded accordingly, each receiving a Tournament-Best 7 bids. The most astonishing feat by either conference is not how many bids they received, however, but what seeds their teams were given. Here is a team from each conference that was given major leniency:

Dajuan Blair and Pitt Have Found It Easy to Remain On Top

Dajuan Blair and Pitt Have Found It Easy to Remain On Top

North Carolina (ACC) – Entering the postseason, UNC was the consensus #1 team in basketball. UNC’s postseason, however, was nothing short of miserable. The Tarheels squeaked by an NIT-caliber Virginia Tech team then fell to Florida State in the ACC semi-finals. Their punishment for this? A #1 seed and two straight games in Greensboro, NC.
— Pittsburgh (Big East) – Pitt finished the regular season with wins over #13 Marquette and #1 UConn, vaulting them to the consensus #2 team in America. They responded by going one-and-done in the Big East tournament (losing by 14 points at home to West Virginia). Pitt then sat and watched other teams play basketball. The NCAA Tournament’s decision? Leave them right where they were: the #2 overall seed. This gives Pitt a #1 seed and two games within 500 miles of home.


Nothing quite says “We think you’re terrible!” like giving a conference two at-large bids, reluctantly giving conference tourney champ Mississippi State a 13-seed (yes, that is behind the mighty Northern Iowa Panthers), and giving your regular season champions an 8-seed. The Selection Committee proverbially flipped the SEC the bird this year, failing to reward a season mired in mediocrity.

No one doubts that the SEC had a down year, but consider this: 1) the Atlantic-10 received as many bids to the NCAA Tournament as the SEC, 2) the Mountain West Conference received two bids, both of which are equal to or higher any SEC bid, and 3) The SEC’s automatic-bid (Mississippi State) was ranked equal to or lower than the following powerhouse conference auto-bids: Missouri Valley Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Horizon League, Sun Belt Conference, and Big Sky Conference… yikes.

This was a down year in the SEC, and the Selection Committee responded how they saw fit.


Sure they lost twice to the arch-rival UNC Tarheels, but Duke was the only ACC team from North Carolina who finished the season on a winning note. Duke won their conference tourney, a feat which few other top10 teams can claim, and can now use that momentum to make a push for the Final Four. Yes, they had a case for a #1 seed, but give Duke the option of a #1 seed in the West or a #2 seed in the East, they would probably take the latter. Why? Because their ticket to the Sweet Sixteen can be punched by winning two games in Greensboro, NC. Not too shabby…


In the most recent rankings, Memphis was ranked #4 by the AP.  Here are the teams Memphis sat behind: #1 UNC, #2 Pitt, and #3 UConn. In conference tournament play, Memphis sat back and watched all three teams ahead of them implode. UNC was knocked out in the ACC semi-final, Pitt went out in their first conference tournament game, and UConn lost in a marathon game to Syracuse. Meanwhile, Memphis breezed through the C-USA tournament, winning their third straight C-USA Championship and extending their NCAA-Best win streak to 25 games.

"They All Lost and We're Still a #2 Seed?!"

"They Lost and We're Still a #2 Seed?!"

Let’s break down Memphis’ mindset before the NCAA Tourney field was released: First, the only teams ahead of Memphis all lost in their conference tournaments, meaning that if Memphis goes anywhere it should be up. Worse-case scenario Memphis could remain at #4 and accept one of the four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Additionally, the NCAA Selection Committee caters to #1 seeds, and if Memphis earns the #1 seed in the South bracket, they can play Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games at home in Memphis, TN.

The stars virtually aligned for Memphis to take the #1 seed in the South bracket. Instead, Memphis was given a #2 seed in the West. Who received the #1 seeds ahead of Memphis? You guessed it. North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and UConn were all given #1 seeds. The fourth #1 seed went not to Memphis, but to the team that was ranked behind Memphis in last week’s rankings— Louisville.

This is not to say that Memphis can’t win in this tournament. It’s just to say that everything seemed to come together for them during Championship Week then fall apart on Selection Sunday.


The Ever-Self-Promoting-Network actually lived up to their own billing on Selection Sunday. At 5:00pm CST I was tuned into CBS to watch Greg Gumbel (yuck) and the CBS All-Stars announce the tournament seeds. Approximately three-and-a-half seconds after Greg Gumbel announced the last team, my television flipped to ESPN. In several regards ESPN might not be great, but it’s certainly better than CBS.

On Selection Sunday, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis provided excellent opinions on each team, and the Bilas-Vitale bout was one for the ages. Dicky V finally conceded, saying that it’s pointless to argue because it’s not going to change (translation: if I keep arguing everyone might find out that I’m wrong). Not to mention that Bob Knight, despite being a crazy person, adds excellent perspectives on anything regarding college basketball.

ESPN’s football analysts are still god-awful. I will never forgive a network that puts Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter behind the same desk. Their college basketball crew, however, was thoroughly entertaining on Selection Sunday. Now if I could only find a way to keep Digger Phelps away for more than one night…


Only four teams from mid-major conferences received at-large bids to the 2009 NCAA Basketball Tournament. This number has steadily decreased over the last three years, dropping from eight in 2006 to only four this year. Many people attribute this drop-off to surprise conference tournament victories (e.g. Mississippi State, USC, etc.) since these unpredictable auto-bids deny several bubble teams a tourney invite. This year, however, the lack of mid-major teams might not have been due to a limited number of bids.

The Duke-Binghamton Game Should Look Something Like This

The Duke-Binghamton Game Should Look Something Like This

Here is a list of teams that one web site projected to fight for the last few NCAA Tournament bids: Arizona, Creighton, Minnesota, San Diego State, St. Marys, and Wisconsin. Of that list, only Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin play in power-conferences, while Creighton, San Diego State, and St. Mary’s play in mid-majors. Despite the three mid-majors having noticeably better records, the NCAA opted to include Arizona, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as three of the last teams into the tournament. This raises the question of whether or not the NCAA Tournament has turned pro-power conference.

Of the 34 at-large bids up for grabs on Selection Sunday, 30 went to power-conference teams. Regardless of whether or not this trend might continue, mid-majors took a hit Selection Sunday.


That’s just a quick list of who I think both won and lost on Selection Sunday. Feel free to comment on who you think I wrongfully included, rightfully excluded, or anything else you feel like talking about.


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The Cleveland State Vikings upset No.16 Butler tonight to earn an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. Yes, those Cleveland State Vikings.

Sure, Cleveland State finished the season with with 25 wins, including an upset of (then) No.13 Syracuse, but their tournament chances were done if it weren’t for Tuesday’s Horizon League Championship Game victory.

Everyone Is Looking for This Year's George Mason

Everyone Is Looking for This Year's George Mason

The fans loved Cleveland State’s title game victory. A mid-major team with minimal Tournament hopes earned an NCAA Tournament bid, a Conference Championship upset made the ESPN highlight reel, and another potential Cinderella team joined the NCAA Tournament pool. However, Cleveland State’s victory had one commonly overlooked consequence: another team’s NCAA Tournament bubble has popped.

Rivals’ most recent 65-Team Prediction has the following four teams as the last four out: San Diego State, St. Mary’s, Florida, and Creighton. All four teams have a better resume and more potential for tournament success than Cleveland State, but any of the four could end up watching the NCAA Tournament on television. Even worse, they could end up in the NIT…

The bottom line is that automatic bids rob the NCAA Tournament of hosting the most talented teams and the fiercest competition.

Here are the two main arguments in support of automatic NCAA bids and why each one is flawed.

1) If conference tournament champions weren’t given automatic NCAA Tournament bids, small-conference teams would have nothing to play for -This might be true, but it comes with playing in a less prestigious conference.  Gonzaga (WCC), Butler (Horizon), Xavier (Atlantic 10), and BYU (MWC) are all small-conference teams who cracked last week’s top 25. If no automatic bids were given, these four teams would undoubtedly go dancing. Even if automatic tourney bids were taken away there are ways for small-conference teams to garner national attention (and consequently earn respect from the NCAA Selection Committee). In order to earn national attention, small-conference teams have to play power-conference teams in their non-conference schedule, beat at least some of these power-conference teams, and win all the games they’re supposed to. Taking away automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament would make it difficult for small-conference teams to make the tournament, but not impossible.

Davidson Played Cinderella Despite Being Well-Known

Davidson Played Cinderella Despite Being Well-Known

2) If conference tournament champions weren’t given automatic NCAA Tournament bids, the Tournament might not have any more “Cinderella” teams – Not true. In 1998, the Gonzaga Bulldogs lost the WCC conference championship game, and subsequently settled for an NIT Tournament appearance. In 1999, Gonzaga scheduled a number of high-profile teams (e.g. No.8 Kansas, No.15 Purdue, No.22 Washington), beat at least one of those teams (No.22 Washington), and built upon their previous season to earn national attention. They received a No.10 Seed in the NCAA Tournament, which showed that they were not considered a typical small-conference champion, and had they not won the WCC conference tournament it was assumed that an at-large bid was on its way. A team doesn’t have to be a nobody to be a “Cinderella,” all you have to be is an underdog. Davidson went to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2007, but in 2008 (their third straight appearance) they turned into a “Cinderella” team. The bottom line is that if a potential “Cinderella” team gains national attention through consistent success, they will earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament through their own merit (not through a hot streak of games which robs another deserving team of an NCAA Tourney appearance). From there, it’s up to small-conference teams to play their way to glory.

The bottom line is that automatic bids to NCAA Tournament give undeserving teams a chance at a National Championship while robbing teams who could otherwise compete. Chattanooga (Southern Conference) and Cleveland State (Horizon League) are two teams who have stolen NCAA bids away from more deserving teams so far this year.

Automatic bids provide underdog stories that fans enjoy, but make a tournament comprised of the most talented teams in the country an impossibility; and that is something that the NCAA needs to fix.


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