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Archive for October, 2009

Chad Ochocinco Does Letterman

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The most visible star of the surprising Cincinnati Bengals — 5-2?!?!?! — made the media rounds yesterday thanks to the luxury of a well-placed bye week. After doing stints on First Take and Cowherd’s show, Chad Ochocinco made his way over to the Ed Sullivan Theater and did David Letterman’s Top 10.

After an ugly fall from grace in 2008, Ochocinco is very much back in the public’s good graces. A booming Twitter account, a new book that Skip Bayless doesn’t hate, pictures with Tom Hanks… Apparently winning does cure all ills.

It helps when you produce, too.

H/t to Kirk for the find.

No Whining About SEC Officiating

SEC Officials

In what feels like a preemptive strike aimed at Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs (and Lane Kiffin, of course), SEC Commissioner Mike Slive informed the AP that any coaches who complain about the quality of SEC referees would face a fine and possible suspension. No longer will Slive admonish his coaches for complaints — even if they are legitimate apparently.

It’s straight punishment for those who bitch.

Is this a preemptive strike for the The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party Georgia/Florida game? Considering how both teams have either benefited or been hurt by some horrible calls, I think the answer is pretty clear. If you complain, Slive will bring the fine/suspension hammer down on your head.

“We fully expect and anticipate that we will have the full cooperation of our coaches from this day forward,” he said.

Perhaps if Slive was as committed to quality officiating as he was keeping his coaches in line and quiet, there wouldn’t be any complaining. I mean, why on earth would Mark Richt be mad at this:

That’s a perfectly reasonable way to decide a football game, no?

The Reason the Yankees Won? Jay Z.

I missed last night’s pregame performance — I blame the NBA. In other news, damn, Alicia Keys look really, really good. — but apparently, Jay Z’s and Alicia’s performance of “Empire State of Mind” was so incredibly moving, it inspired the New York Yankees to even the game with Philadelphia Phillies. And here I was thinking a just-as-good-as-Cliff-Lee’s-performance A.J. Burnett was the reason.

Silly me.

Hell, if I’m getting this right, Hideki Matsui’s “go down and get it” home run — giving the Yankees the lead for the first time this World Series — wasn’t anywhere near as crucial as Jigga Man’s inspiring performance.

You know, I’d be more inclined to believe that Alicia looked so good, her natural beauty and talent touched something inside of Burnett that caused him to throw perhaps his best game as a Big Leaguer than I am the “Jay Z leads the Yankees to victory” thing. Sure the performance was fine — especially Alicia — but yeah, it wasn’t THAT great. Besides, if that’s what it takes to motivate the Yankees, I’m not sure what’s going to happen when they play in Philly.

It’s not like The Roots are going to serenade them.

Kansas Jayhawks Top Preseason Polls


The preseason basketball polls hit the streets today — both AP and the ESPN Coaches’ Poll — and the Kansas Jayhawks are your consensus number one team in the land heading into the 2009/10 season. With good reason, too: Bill Self’s team is loaded with talent and experience. Expectations are obviously high in Lawrence, especially after last year’s unexpected success — Kansas finished one win away from returning to the Final Four. If they can stop fighting with the football team long enough to mesh as a team, the Jayhawks will be in a position for a great season.

Rounding out the ESPN’s top 10 are the following:

1. Kansas (27)
2. Michigan State (3)
3. Texas
4. North Carolina (1)
5. Kentucky
6. Villanova
7. Purdue
8. Duke
9. West Virginia
10. Butler

The AP’s top ten doesn’t look much different from ESPN’s

2.Michigan St
6.North Carolina
8.West Virginia

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Duke and West Virginia, although, there’s plenty of time to sort this mess out. And hey, having an actual tournament to decide who is the best in the land — a novel idea, I know — means these rankings aren’t the end all/be all, unlike, say, college football.

John Calipari Expects John Wall To Play

John Wall

Kentucky’s basketball team held their annual Blue-White scrimmage last night, and by all accounts the product, while still needing work, looks as good as advertised, especially concerning one John Wall. While the defense isn’t what the Wildcats will see as the season progresses, Wall still put on a show as he went for 25 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds.

The questions surrounding Wall, however, have nothing to do with his talent level. Instead, the burning thought has to do with whether or not Wall will be eligible when the Cats take the court for real on November 13 against Morehead State. By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the issues related to Wall’s AAU coach, Brian Clifton. Not only was Clifton one of Wall’s advisors, at the time he was coaching Wall, he was also a certified agent. The questions about Wall’s eligibility have to do with whether or not Clifton helped Wall pay for any unofficial visits he took. ESPN has more details:

If Clifton helped pay for Wall’s visits, that would constitute Wall accepting illegal benefits from an agent under NCAA rules. If the benefits are more than $101, an athlete has to repay the value of the benefits and be subject to suspension for at least 10 percent of the team’s regular-season games.

After the scrimmage, John Calipari was asked about Wall’s pending eligibility issues, and according to Calipari, he expects Wall to be available when Kentucky begins their season.

Asked if he expected Wall to play in UK’s regular-season opener against Morehead State Nov. 13, Calipari said, “Yeah, I do.”

I’m guessing that means if Kentucky hasn’t heard anything definitive from the NCAA by that date, Wall will play. Does that mean Wall is in the clear? Um, no. Until the NCAA makes their findings and rulings known, there’s no telling how this is going to play out. I wouldn’t be amazed if they decided to make an example out of Wall, ala Dez Bryant.

As of today, however, Wall’s coach expects him to play when the season starts. Is that enough to calm Kentucky fans? Until the NCAA actually releases their findings, I’m going to have to say no.

Cliff Lee’s “I’m So Much Cooler Than You” Catch

Cliff Lee was flat-out awesome last night (BABY!!! Sorry, getting in the college basketball mood.). For all we know, he might be part, if not whole, ninja assassin. How good was his performance in Game 1 of the World Series? Dan Shanoff is calling him immortal because of it. The New York Post called him dazzling and masterful. The Times compared Lee’s surgical-like precision to a master chef. was so impressed, they used Lee’s full name — Clifton Phifer Lee — while describing his work.

Listen to Tim McCarver react to the catch. He’s as giddy as a school girl. Speaking of, in case the video gets pulled — almost a certainty — SbB gives an animated gif, a keepsake that you can take with you everywhere you go, provided you have enough gadget savvy to move it to other devices. Because it’s over a megabyte in size, it’ll be after the jump.

The jump >>

Carmelo Anthony Crushes Paul Millsap

If you can’t tell, I’m so happy the NBA is back. Plays like these only confirm the love. Oh, and I wasn’t aware Carmelo could get up like that. While it’s mega, MEGA early, there are some trends already starting to develop — or continue from where they left off last season. One of those being the effectiveness of the Denver Nuggets offense. Granted, I don’t think they are quite ready to dethrone Kobe and the Lakers, but as of today, they do look like the second best team in the West, although, San Antonio might take issue with that declaration.

My issue with San Antonio has more to do with durability than it does talent.

All things being equal, I’d expect both Denver and the Spurs to battle for the second seed in the West. And hey, you never know, if the Lakers falter, both teams will be right there to take their spot.

Dez Bryant Suspended For Lying?

Posts about the NCAA are precarious ledges for the simple fact it doesn’t take much to turn them into a rant, which is what I’m fighting right now. With that in mind, why, exactly was Dez Bryant suspended for the remainder of the 2010 season? Lying. Not for the infamous meeting with Deion Sanders itself, but for not being forthcoming about it.

First of all, way to watch out for college students, Deion. What in the world were you thinking? Leave them the hell alone until they declare for the draft. The fact is, your desire to meet him put Bryant in a position where he felt lying was an option. Granted, Bryant didn’t have to lie, but the fact remains, if a college football stud gets a call from someone of Sanders’ status, it’s doubtful they are going to have the wherewithal to say no.

And Deion should know that and leave well enough alone.

Moving on. The NCAA comes off like a sanctimonious ass here. Yes, I get it. They were “shown up” by Bryant’s denial, and so, they have to act like a jilted lover to get a measure of satisfaction. What a load of crap. Excuse me, but how, exactly, did Bryant “jeopardize” his amateur status by trying to cover his behind? No, his cover-up wasn’t exactly necessary, but then again, I’d say a lot of college athletes are “scared” of the NCAA, much like a growing child is scared of a parent when they get in trouble. While that doesn’t excuse Bryant’s choice, it certainly doesn’t justify the NCAA’s typical overreaction either. What, exactly, have they gained from suspending Bryant for the remainder of the year?

They made a point. Big deal.

Meanwhile, college football fans everywhere, not just OSU fans, are cheated because the NCAA felt justified in strong-arming yet another student athlete. Don’t get me wrong, Bryant deserved punishment, just not the extreme levels handed down by the NCAA. In other news, the Reggie Bush/USC situation seems to have gone away. I get the feeling that if the NCAA was a judicial entity, a lot of citizens would be put to death for parking tickets, while the John Wayne Gacys would be slapped on the wrist, if not swept underneath a rug altogether.

In light of the NCAA’s overreaction, Bryant should be allowed to join an NFL team as a free agent. This season.