Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Terrific Game

Sherron Collins drives for the game winning basket. (KC Star)
Wonderful tense basketball game with no lead greater than 8 points by either team.

Great players step up and make great plays.

If you missed experiencing this game, you missed something.

More later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Olathe Northwest's Coach Has His 15 Minutes...

This is pretty good stuff here. The student body of Olathe Northwest got together for a pep rally. They wanted to do a joke on their coach, have him attempt a half court basketball shot blindfolded for NCAA tickets. Only thing was the tix didn't exist. The joke struck me as kind of lame, but hey, it's high school. Part of the joke was they would cheer wildly whether or not the shot went in. (Here is link to initial Kansas City Star article)

Well, the joke was on them. Behold the video:

A longer version, that includes the joke set up, is available at this link from the Kansas City Star.

Well, the thing went viral. Lots of YouTube views, some is an article from the Kansas City Star concerning the after effects. Some fun on a midwinter's day...but we are not done yet because...

Fox 4's Rob Low went out to Olathe to report on the shot and the media coverage, and he decided he would just flip a basketball over his head during his "stand up" for the report...and this happened:



Cole Aldrich continues his good play with seven blocked shots to go along with 12 points, 16 rebounds and 2 assists for the game. (Kansas City Star photo)
Missouri just got pounded by Kansas 84-65 at Allen Field House last night. Could not shoot, rushing and taking fast shots, KU was just too big and too good for the Tigers. Best to just forget this one, Missouri fans and look forward to the rest of the conference season and KU's visit to Columbia in March.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New Orleans Wins in Classic Game

This game was just a classic, a wonderful game with ups and downs and all kinds of turns and twists. I arrived at the bar/restaurant just in time for the second half kick off. I noted that the score was tied 14-14. In review, I see that the first three series by each team resulted in long drives that ended in touchdowns. The second half is set up. Both teams come out and score on their first second half possessions, leaving the game tied 21-21 with about 71/2 minutes left in the third quarter. The game has baseball like intensity, with each possession so meaningful; two powerful offenses needing to score each time, lots of pressure. At this point the defenses both step up, but in different ways. The New Orleans defense is physical, knocking Favre down every chance they get, and knocking the Vikings around. The Vikings just stop New Orleans a number of times, with several series ending in punts. The Vikes move the ball better against the Saints then the Saints move it against the Vikes. The difference? Turnovers. Minnesota fumbles five times in the second half, losing two of them. Favre throws two interceptions. New Orleans does put the ball on the carpet several times also, but loses none of them in the second half, and Drew Brees throws no interceptions. The game ends at a 28-28 tie.

Favre was pounded early, late, and often (
New Orleans gets the football first in the OT. It is not an easy route down the field, requiring many good catches and one forth down conversion. Finally it comes down to a field goal attempt from the 30 yard line--a 40 yard attempt. The kick is true, and the Saints are going to the Super Bowl. The radio call is wonderful: "It's good! It's good! It's goo-goo--hood! Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl!"

Adrian Peterson and that slippery pigskin...(

Breathless, I am completely breathless after this game.

The Super Bowl is going to have to work some to be this good.

Colts Through to Super Bowl

Here's the deal with NFL football sometimes: I have to miss some of it to go to church. While football is important to me, so is church. At this time, church is very important to me. So I was able to enjoy the first half of the Jets-Colts game--and a smige of the second half--and the way that second half started made this Jets fan very nervous. The Jets received the kick off and made their way down the field, stalling at the Colts' 34 yard line with a forth down and 7 yards to go. They attempt a 50 yard field goal. It is no good. The Colts take over with their best initial field position of the day...and I have arrived at church. I turn off the radio, disturbed at this turn of events. A team likes to make a statement at the beginning of a half. A missed FG is not a good statement.

One of the best ever? Payton Manning at the line. (
The Colts go on to score a touchdown with that offensive series and 17 unanswered points for the rest of the game. The Jets have no answer for Payton Manning--blitzes just don't faze him. The secondary holds Reggie Wayne, but Pierre Garcon gets 151 yards and one TD and Austin Collie has 123 yards and one TD. Meanwhile the Jets have no more offensive success. They can't run the ball, and their second half offensive series end punt, punt, interception, end of game. Colts win. It was a nice run for the Jets, but they just weren't quite good enough. However, they do declare themselves to be right in the fight in the eastern division of the AFC. Mark Sanchez looks like the real deal, too. Congratulations to the Colts, they are going to the Super Bowl.

Pierre Garcon, a Haiti native, drapes the trophy stand with the Haitian flag during the post-game celebration. He has had good news from some relatives in Haiti but has not heard from all his family yet. (

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hoops, Hoops, Hoops

All my body English at home could not send this shot in the hoop. (KC Star)
Just a quick update on the hoop action of the day this Saturday night. Missouri and Kansas were easy winners over Iowa State and Nebraska today. Kansas tried to look distracted, but eventually just put their foot on the Cyclones' neck. Big men Cole Aldrich and Jeff Withey were the center of KU action. Missouri was only ahead of Nebraska 28-26 at half, and it was the usual Nebraska slog, until Miguel Paul caught fire and pulled Mizzou ahead to coast to a 70-53 win. Kansas State was the lone loser. Unable to shake Oklahoma State, the game, in the 30s at half, was a back and forth defense affair. It came down to one last shot. Jacob Pullen was able to drive down the court and put up a lay up attempt, but it just slithered off the rim. Oklahoma State made two last foul shots and the game was out of reach. K State could not shoot over the Cowboy's zone D. James Anderson, the Okie State point guard, scored 30 against the Wildcats. Everyone was very disappointed by the loss at home.

Texas got blown out by UConn. Poor guard play. Not no. 1 any more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

UVM quick update

Lady Catamounts just took their first loss against undefeated Boston University Monday night. There are two undefeated in conference play teams in American East, Hartford and Boston U., each 5-0, with UVM right behind at 4-1.

The UVM men are undefeated in conference play with a record of 4-0. They are playing Hartford tonight--leading by 9 at the half. (Oh, the wonders of the interwebs!)

UVM women's hockey is laboring along at 6-16-1 over all.

UVM men's hockey is 11-7-2 overall and in the top 20.

You may think this is a waste of time, but the basketball men are always hanging around the top of the America East standings and a threat to dance in March, the basketball women are ranked right now, and men's hockey was in the Frozen Four last year, losing in the championship game.

K State Beats No. 1 Texas

A nice win for Kansas State. Usually guard focused, the Kansas State front line came through with both offense and defense. Also, the Wildcats responded to a spurt by the Longhorns with a spurt of their own that came about due to tough defense, and Texas turnovers. Frankly, I was watching the game and thinking, "Texas is the best college basketball team in the land right now?"

Would someone clue me in also as to why big time college basketball players, including play makers (I'm looking at you Denis Clemente) cannot make foul shots any more? Texas--9/22 Kansas State--20/32 from the charity stripe.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Royals Fan Fest

The third annual Royals Fan Fest was held this past Friday and Saturday at the Overland Park Convention Center. The featured attractions were the 1985 World Series team on Friday night and Zack Greinke throughout. There were autograph sessions, stage time for the position groups, games for kids and adults, the stores, and contests on the main stage. This is a fun time, especially for kids, and a time to hear from some of the Royals' players and the manager and GM.
The 1985 team appeared Friday night. It was amazing how many of the guys were there. Hal McCrae was there, but only his legs appear in this shot (oops).

They were very well received. I was impressed by the interaction within the group. Chemistry is an important part of winning, and it appears that this team had remarkable chemistry. Dan Quisenberry was missed by all, and mentioned by several, both for his contribution athletically and to the clubhouse. Maybe it is time to retire the #29 uniform.

Zack Greinke was everywhere, including at the store.

The kids are still the athlete's biggest fans. Team allegiances that never die are made at this age. You never forget what your first favorite team was, and who your favorite players were.

I would say that the general feeling at the Fan Fest was enthusiasm but realism. I think most fans realize that the Royals do not have a lot of really good players. For the Royals to surprise, many players are going to have to have outlier type years, they are going to have to play better then they ever had. In addition, players like Greinke and Butler are going to have to continue to excel. There also has to be very few injuries, as the minor leagues are still somewhat depleted at the upper level. Could the Royals win 82 games--play .500 baseball? That would be nice. More realistic is probably 75 games. Improvements in fundamentals and baseball smarts from last year will make that possible. Anyway, it was a nice break from winter to think about baseball for two days.

New York Jets: Traveling the Same Road to the Super Bowl as the Giants?

Do we dare to dream? (Jets fans in San Diego Sunday, photo AP via

The wild card Jets have now won two playoff games and are now poised to take on the Colts in Indianapolis...Is it possible that the Jets can win in Indy and end up doing the same "Wild card Walk" to the Super Bowl that the Giants took in 2007?

NFL Conference Divisional Playoffs or "SemiFinals" If You Will

Tony Romo gets sacked by the Vikings defense and fumbles. (

I can't believe I managed to be busy during NFL playoff season, but I did. I only caught scraps of each game, although enough of each to catch a flavor of the games as they progressed. Frankly, I was surprised by the routs.

Perhaps I should not have been surprised that the Cardinal's defense could not do a blessed thing with the New Orleans Saints' offense, but I was. This might have been Kurt Warner's last game; if so, he will be greatly missed, and I think he is a HOFer.

Minnesota blasted the Dallas Cowboys. Their defense was outstanding and got into Tony Romo's head big time. 6 sacks will do that to you. It was a rare Dallas pass play that Romo wasn't hassled, touched, hit or yelled at and it showed. This Giants fan is sssooo sad for the Cowboys--not!

Baltimore will need more offensive power if they expect to progress further in the playoffs. Their defense was credible against Payton Manning, but Joe Flacco and his receiving corps just were not up to the standard of second round playoff football. There is the possibility floated by Peter King that the Ravens' outstanding safety Ed Reed may have to retire due to health issues. The only people happy about that will be NFL quarterbacks. Reed deeked Payton Manning twice (at least) during this game.

The surprise of the bunch? The Jets winning over the San Diego Chargers. I thought the Chargers might be in trouble when the halftime score was just 7-0 Chargers. The Jets are a tough pesky team that must be demoralized and put away early. When the Jets get behind, they must rely on Mark Sanchez more, and cannot emphasize their defense and running game. Since they were still hanging around, the Chargers, who were making bad sloppy mistakes all game, were vulnerable. The Jets scored 17 points in the second half, and battered the Chargers with the run, and then held on at the end. Phillip Rivers had to have had the most meaningless 298 yard passing day in the history of the NFL. Could Norv Turner be in trouble in San Diego?

Reggie Bush runs from the punter during his return-for-TD against Arizona. (

Conference championship games: New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints. Hmmm....

Monday, January 11, 2010

Oh, My Friend, I Do Know How You Feel...

Sorry, no matter how many times non sports fans try to tell me that it "doesn't matter"--it STILL sucks when your team loses, especially in the playoffs. (ESPN)

College Basketball: KU Loses, Catfight in Columbia Starts Conference Sked

Bill Self after the 76-68 loss to Tennessee at Knoxville: "Winning camouflages your weaknesses. A loss exposes you. Now maybe we can get better, because we've been exposed." Kansas needs to rediscover that big guy in the middle...some guy named Cole. I hear he is pretty good.

56 fouls were called during the MU-KSU game on Saturday. The homestanding Mizzou Tigers upset the then 11th ranked K-State Wildcats 74-68 with a great comeback in the second half after being down most of the first half. Here is a link to Jason Whitlock's take on the game. I have thought all season that Missouri was the most battle tested of all the local teams, and a win in a knock-down drag-out like this game is the proof of that testing.

As a result of the losses, Kansas fell to no. 3, and Kansas State to no. 12. Missouri did not quite crack the top 25 yet. Texas was voted no. 1 with Kentucky no. 2. Baylor moved into the top 25 at no. 22. To me, the polls are not that important, other then a very fuzzy way of comparing the teams.

Now, on to the heart of the conference schedule. What will make a difference, both in the conference and come NCAA seeding time: Who can win a conference road game against a tough opponent? (Pics from the Kansas City Star)

NFL Wildcard Weekend Round Up

Well, did you enjoy your Wild Card football? Some unexpected things happened during Wild Card Weekend, thus showing why football is so much fun.

Jets-Bengals--final score 24-14 Jets: I really thought that the Jets had had their fun, at the expense of teams who rested starters and just really weren't all that into winning, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Jets performance Saturday. Mark Sanchez was solid, and the defense just would not let the Bengals back in the game. Cincinnati did not do themselves any favors either, with missed field goals and other mistakes. The Jets will go on to face San Diego, a terrific match up for old AFL fans.

Ravens-Patriots final score 33-14 Ravens: Ravens Run, Brady Looks Mortal would be my headline for this game. Once Baltimore got ahead in this game, it was only a matter of the Raven's defense torturing the Patriot offense, coupled with the Raven's running game shortening the game and keeping the ball away from Brady and co. The game was won in the first quarter--the Pats could never catch up. Peep these Ray Rice highlights, including the Ravens' first offensive play from scrimmage. He had 159 yards total. Joe Flacco will have to do better than 4/10 for 34 yards and one interception for the Ravens to move past the Indianapolis Colts, plus the Ravens D will have to be up to stopping Payton Manning.

Eagles-Cowboys final score 34-14 Cowboys: This game had the makings of a good competitive game. The absolute critical play was the review and reversal of the interception attempt (check it out for yourself here) by the Eagles at the 13:13 mark of the second quarter. Dallas then took the ball and continued down the field to score a TD, taking 4 minutes to do it. Not long after, after Dallas added a field goal, at the 3:31 mark, Michael Vick and his running back flub a handoff and Dallas recovers the ensuing loose ball. This was followed by Leonard Weaver's fumble after a catch of a McNabb pass at 1:01 of the second quarter. Both fumbles were followed by Dallas scores, making the score at halftime, 24-7 Cowboys. After that, the Dallas defense choked the Eagles, lots of three-and-outs. Next up for the Cowpokes? The Vikings, in Minnesota--just like in the 70s, except for no cold, and no Bud Grant. Remember the orange that was thrown at Drew Pearson in one of those games? (Yikes, I am old.) Should be a good one.

Cardinals-Packers final score 51-45 Cards in OT: Another game when one team blasted out ahead with a dynamic offensive play and turn overs from the other team--Arizona looked like they were on their way to a rout. However, Aaron Rodgers played a great game, and the Arizona defense could not put the clamps on the Packers. The Pack came all the way back, withstood a last second field goal attempt by Arizona, and the game went into OT. Green Bay won the toss, and most were expecting, thus the game, since neither defense had exhibited any ability to stop the other team, but Arizona successfully blitzed Rodgers, who fumbled. The football took the quirky sort of bounce that only a football can take, ending up in the arms of LB Carlos Dansby who ran it 17 yards for a TD. QB stats? Curt Warner 29/33 for 379 yards, 5 TDs and no INTs. Aaron Rodgers 28/42 422 yards, 4 TDs, one INT. This one is one for the ages, check out this highlight package from Next up for the Cards: the Saints. Funny I see footballs flying all over the Super Dome. Or do I? Just because football is what is it, we'll probably end up with a defensive game, won on rushing and turnovers!

Aaron Rodgers fumbles during a sack in OT. His right leg is about to come up and kick the ball up, and into the waiting arms of Carlos Dansby. Ain't football a funny game? Ah, could that be a face mask penalty? (Matt York photo; KC Star source)

Friday, January 8, 2010

NFL Predictions: Well, How'd I Do?

Back when sports was still over on, I made some fearless predictions for the NFL season. Let's take a look, shall we?

Okay, fearless prognostications forthcoming--well seasoned in case I have to eat them.
NFC East: Giants
NFC North: Vikings
NFC South: Saints
NFC West: 49'

Wild Cards: Packers, Falcons

NFC Champion: Saints

AFC East: Jets
AFC North: Ravens
AFC South: Colts
AFC West: Chargers

Wild Cards:
Steelers, Texans

AFC Champion: Ravens

Super Bowl: Saints

Yikes! Missed almost everything in the AFC. New England managed to pull themselves back together (remember how bad they looked at the beginning of the season?) and win the East. The Jets fell back to earth and backed into the wild card. The Ravens fell to the wild card too. The Bengals were a complete surprise, beating all the teams in their division twice, and looking really good. Indy was Indy, no surprise there. And just as I expected, the Broncos seriously lost their mojo when they had to play better teams and in the end, collapsed completely. The Texans still have never made the playoffs in their history. And defending champ Pittsburgh really missed Troy you-know-who and lost a couple games in the forth quarter with poor defense. San Diego was an easy pick, clearly the class of the AFC West.

The NFC is maybe a little better, except the Giants collapse means that the Eagles and Cowboys go out of the East, with those annoying Cowboys the division champs. Vikings won the North with Green Bay the wild card. However, the rumors of the death of the Arizona Cardinals were premature, as were the rumors of a 49'ers resurgence so Arid-zona returns to the playoffs as the West division champ. Despite their late season swoon, the New Orleans Saints won the south. Atlanta? Well, oops. I thought they would be much better than they were.

Out of this debris, what do we have? Well, I still think your NFC Super Bowl rep are your New Orleans Saints. Dallas is playing well right now, with a strong defense, not so dependent on the erratic Tony Romo. Vikings are good offensively, but is the D stout enough? But, hey, go Saints! The AFC? One of three teams: New England, Indianapolis, and San Diego. San Diego is my somewhat sentimental pick. Either way, the AFC championship game has the potential to be awesome!

Super Bowl: New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers.

Saints win! Saints win!

(I'm probably going to be wrong because I'm picking with my heart as well as my head. Oh, and the first set of predictions definitely still needed some BBQ sauce--they weren't very tasty.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Kansas Escapes Cornell

Sherrod Collins drives for one of his important baskets. (Kansas City Star)
Bill Self kept saying it: Cornell is very good, we can't take them lightly. Many dismissed this as coach speak, to keep fans interested and players motivated. Surprise, surprise. Cornell is pretty good and they gave KU all they could handle before running out of gas and losing 71-66. Sherron Collins had 33 points and made all kinds of clutch shots and free throws. The rest of the team? Generally brutal, and also, more concerning, drooped a little under pressure.

We missed a good one, my friend and I. We did fret about the score and game a little bit at the beginning of the second half, then retreated back to the TV. Big sighs of relief followed the game.

Backdrop here shows clearly that lots of fans mushed through the snow, although radio man Bob Davis noted the crowd was "a little late arriving" (Kansas City Star)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bummer, Man!

Me and a friend were scheduled to motor over to Lawrence and take in tonight's KU-Cornell game and I was going to report back on the game, and Allen Field House and all the rest, but we have decided to postpone. My friend's mom lives in Eudora, KS, not far from Lawrence and she told my friend that all the school's cancelled and it was already snowing at 1130 there. Our plan now is to try and make it for the Kansas State game. Now, that ought to be fun!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lady Cats Lose Big to Nebraska

Ah, the difference between the University of Vermont and a really BIG school like Nebraska.

Lady Cats took it on the chin when the Lady Cornhuskers came calling and lost 94-50.

You have to understand: Schools like Nebraska have ENROLLMENTS THE SIZE OF BURLINGTON, VT'S POPULATION. So, yes, if you sign up to play these schools, you might just get crushed. But if you don't, you never really know how good you are.

Nice of Nebraska to go to Burlington to play. You never would see that on the men's side. May that never change...

Your Josh Freeman Update

Freeman lets one fly against Atlanta. Nerdy UniWatch note: After starting out not wearing any padding below the waist, Josh is wearing thigh and knee pads now. (
Tampa Bay lost 20-10 to Atlanta in a grinding game played in 40 degree rainy weather in Tampa. Atlanta stuffed Cadillac Williams, holding him to 40 yards on the day. As stated earlier, a good running game makes a QB better and Josh did not have a running game this day to help him. Freeman threw two interceptions in the forth quarter, leading to 10 Atlanta points. One ball he threw was to a receiver with four defenders around him. To the Buc's credit, they stayed in the game for the majority of the day, scoring first with a field goal, and catching up to tie at 10-10 early in the forth quarter, but the turnovers did them in.

Josh will need to cut down on the number of INTs he throws He needs to figure out if it's mental (not reading the defense right for example) or a matter of physical execution, not being accurate with throws. If I were a Bucs fan, I would be concerned, but optimistic about the QB position. In many ways, the Bucs are ahead of the Chiefs. They have a stout defense that can hold the opposition, and they have some runners and pass catchers. The team is very young and needs to mature. They also need to settle any uncertainty about their coaching situation--rumors have been flying about first year coach Raheem Morris. All in all a promising start for the Grandview High grad, but he must continue to mature, and he must work this off season to be better.

It's been fun. We'll be back to watch next year.

Giants Lose--Heads Already Rolling

Brett Favre worked over the Giants. (
Giants mail it in for a second consecutive week, get pasted by Minnesota 44-7. The defense is especially suck-y, giving up 316 yards and 4 touchdowns to Bret Favre. This quote from the Giants co-owner John Mara about sums it up:
“The status quo is not acceptable,” Mara said. “When you lose that many games where you get blown out, there’s something wrong.” Mara said the 8-8 record felt more like 2-14.
So heads have already rolled, mainly the head of Bill Sheridan, the first year Defensive Coordinator. He had been promoted from Linebackers' Coach after Steve Spagnolo left for the St. Louis Rams. More heads will probably roll, including some players, maybe some pretty high profile guys.

It's going to be an interesting off season, in a totally different way than the Kansas City Chief's off season will be interesting.

Chiefs Win--I Like It!

A little slow to post today. I think my brain is frozen.

Hey the Chiefs won by 20 points over the Denver Broncos! 44-24 was the final score. Denver fans must be fit to be tied by their team's complete collapse during the second half of the season. It really was a defensive failure by the Broncos, allowing Jamaal Charles to run for a team record 259 yards. Matt Cassel also was able to show some passing game flashes, with long passes to Terrance Copper and Chris Chambers. It's clear a good running game makes the QB better. In addition Derrick Johnson had to be let out of the dog house due to injuries to starters and he made the most of his opportunities, returning not one, but two interceptions back for TDs.
Hey, here's Jamaal's back up! Derrick Johnson returns an INT for a TD (Kansas City Star)

I am officially a member of the Jamaal Charles fan club! (Kansas City Star)

I like this win. I like this win against a team that had to win, that had something to play for. I like this follow up to the strong performance against the Bengals. I like that this team did not lay down and die like the Giants. I am not going to get all snarky about Clark Hunt selling season tickets, or the pay roll, or taxes or Arrowhead or any of that. I am not going to repeat criticism of the defense, or of Todd Haley that I have written before. You can get that stuff off of any of a dozen or two blogs and comment sections. I am going to enjoy a good solid win over a rival at their place. I am going to look forward to the 2010 draft. I am going to look forward to the 2010 season because I am a fan and an optimist and what else are you going to do, suck sour persimmons for the rest of your life? Take that all you snarky skeptics. Enjoy this win!

Oh, the rumor is that the Defensive Coordinator will be replaced, perhaps by Romeo Crennel, who is pretty good. Now, we just go get ourselves some better players and an Offensive Coordinator and we might rise up in 2010 and really bite someone.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

UVM Lady Catamounts Off to Good Start

The University of Vermont's women's basketball team is off to a good start this year with a 10-2 record. The losses were to UConn and Oklahoma St. On January 4th, Nebraska of the Big 12 will visit Patrick Gym in Burlington. We will keep you informed of the progress of the Lady Cats.

Enjoy some highlights from their win over Rhode Island January 2.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Missouri Defense Fails Against Unusal Navy Offense

A Navy runner escapes Mizzou's grasp (KC Star)
The Navy-Missouri game looked promising with a quick TD strike, but it was all Navy after that. Running and passing their way to over 500 yards of total offense, the Naval Academy beat MU soundly 35-13. Blaine Gabbert was sacked three times and threw two INTs. A real clunker. Gary Pinkel noted that the Tigers could not keep up and tackled very poorly. Kinda takes the shine off the season, no?

So far the Big 12 is 3-2 in bowl games, with games involving Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and the national championship game with Texas yet to go. There have been some fun and close games including today's tilts between LSU and Penn State, and Northwestern and Auburn. Bobby Bowden won his last game and Ohio St. didn't choke in the Rose Bowl. Still plenty of bowl fun to go!