This whole Detroit-Free-Press-started, ESPN-fueled scandal about possible NCAA violations at Michigan is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever seen. The basic story is that a couple of journalists (or should I say ‘journalists’) at the DFP talked to several current and former Michigan players and allegedly discovered that the players were practicing far more than they are allowed to NCAA rules. Instead of applying a little bit of rational thought and a bit of investigative journalism, the writers ran with it for all it is worth. Unfortunately for them, there are several reasons why their story is thoroughly ridiculous:
Sports Betting Section
MADDUX'S WINNING PICKS
MADDUX'S LIVE ODDS
I’m deeply impressed by the Giants. They needed to come through in a big way this weekend to avoid letting the Rockies run away and hide in the wild card race, and they did that in a big way. They were three games back in the wild card race heading into this series, and now thanks to a sweep of Colorado at home they are tied. The Giants showed what kind of grit they have as well – they were down 4-1 to the Rockies on Sunday, but they fought back to win 9-5. There are still 31 games to play so anything could happen, but this race starts from scratch today, and I would certainly bet on the Giants to be the ones to go to the playoffs in the end. The Rockies have been flying higher than they should be lately, so I fully expect them to fall back to earth – they peaked too soon.
UFC 102 takes place in Portland tonight. It is one of the least inspiring main events they have put together in a long while in my eyes. Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would have been a great fight five years ago, but now both guys are past their prime, coming off decisive losses, and the whole thing just reeks of desperation. I think Couture will win it, but I have no faith left in either guy – either one could lay a massive egg and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. The most intriguing match on the card in my mind is Keith Jardine and Thiago Silva. Up until January Silva was undefeated in 13 career fights and was seen as a future megastar in the sport, but then he was ripped to shreds by Lyoto Machida . Now he has to bounce back from that boondoggle, and he has to do it against of the most under-appreciated and dangerous fighters there is. My gut says that Silva is in trouble again, but I am very interesting to see if Silva has what it takes to wipe away the memories of that humiliating loss and start over.
– The whole Michael Vick debut last night was much ado about not very much, wasn’t it? He played early as promised, but he threw a total of four passes, barely ran, and otherwise only served as an unconvincing decoy. It was less than I expected to see by a fair bit, but nothing he did was concerning, either. It really shouldn’t be surprising that he was such an afterthought – he can’t play until week seven, so the Eagles have little incentive to spend a lot of time now working on him. All in all, the coverage of the lead up to this game was all smoke and no fire. There was another conclusion to come out of this game as well – the third preseason game is supposed to be the one where the top players are at their best and play the most, but this was a dull, lousy game that was not at all worth watching. If this isn’t an argument for why we don’t need fur preseason games then I don’t know what is.
The sports world is always good at producing news that makes you go ‘huh?!?’. There is lots to choose from that fits into that category today:
– Jay Cutler has spent a fairly long interview finding all sorts of ways to tell the world how much be respects Josh McDaniel. Among the head scratching quotes: “Just the brief amount of time I was able to spend with him, he’s impressive. He knows a lot about offenses, he knows a lot about getting guys open and scoring points, as everyone’s seen when he was in New England”. Remind me again why Cutler fought so hard and like such a baby to get away from the team? By the sounds of that quote t sounds like the right thing to do would have been to suck it up and be a part of things there. It’s not like he landed in a significantly better place offensively in Chicago. Bizarre.
– Tennessee has a starting quarterback now – senior Jonathan Crompton. When Lane Kiffin’s choice had to be between him and junior Nick Stephens then you know that Kiffin is in for a long year because neither guy is very good. Both of them looked very spotty last year – and that’s being kind. I am undecided on what Kiffin’s long term future holds, but in the short term it won’t be pretty.
– Interesting story out of St. Louis today. Apparently the Cardinals watched John Smoltz pitch in the bullpen on Thursday, recognized right away that he was tipping his pitches, got him to make a small change, and he went out in his debut and was almost unhittable. You have to wonder how St. Louis could see that so quickly but Boston never noticed. It’s not like Smoltz had the time to become a whole new pitcher in the time between the two cities, and he didn’t even have time to get healthy or anything. It reminds me of horse racing – you’ll often see a horse perform badly for one trainer, get moved to another trainer, and immediately win his next race. The new trainer just sees something that the old trainer was blind to, and it makes all the difference.
– Sports betting was dealt a significant blow today. A federal court of appeal was supposed to rule on the sports leagues’ attempts to get an injunction to stop Delaware from starting sports betting on September 1. They decided not to stop there, though – they went all the way and ruled that the whole thing broke the law. Delaware can still appeal to the Supreme Court, or even ask the court of appeals to reconsider, but the chances of success seem bleak. The NFL has admitted that the state is allowed to take multi-game bets – parlays and the like – but they can’t do single game bets. It’s the single game bets that were going to be the most attractive, so the state may not even bother going forward with their plans now. Very disappointing.
As you probably know if you have read this blog much I am a diehard Michigan fan – the kind that bleeds maize and blue.Given that you’ll have a sense of how much I have enjoyed the last year or two of football, and the last decade of basketball. I’m optimistic now, though – In Rod I trust. The being said, the press conference by coach Rich Rodriguez today pretty much terrified me.
1. The Florida Gators have been voted as the most overwhelming preseason number one in college football history. I don’t see it. I could see the team going undefeated and adding a third title in four years, but I could just as easily see them lose a couple of games. They aren’t dominant enough to justify this kind of attention.