Baseball Toaster The Juice Blog
Monthly archives: September 2007


Football Picks Look to Bounce Back
2007-09-28 13:34
by Scott Long

My choices last week were dismal. A big 0-4 with a push, leaves me with a 5-9 record in the Pros. My college selections were 2-3, which has me 11-8 for 2007. Changes I tell you, are in our future. First a few thoughts on NFL stories in the news.

  • Rex Grossman has done the worst impression of a quarterback since I saw Keanu Reeves in The Replacements.
  • If Michael Vick goes to jail he"s going to switch from playing the quarterback position to the doggie position.
  • Considering how often Pac Man Jones was seen in a strip club, you would think the Titans were paying him in one-dollar bills. Pac Man should change his name to something more appropriate, like Vice City Jones.
  • Just to give you an idea of Tank Johnson's bad judgement, he recently hired Paris Hilton to be his designated driver.
  • Donovan McNabb says that he is faces more scrutiny because he is black. Let me tell you, Eagles fans would have a ticker tape parade for Idi Amin, if he quarterbacked them to their first Super Bowl win.


Baltimore (-4) Cleveland

Minnesota (+1.5) Green Bay

Buffalo (+3.5) NY Jets

Arizona (+6) Pittsburgh (4 star)

Seattle (-1.5) San Fran



West Virginia (-6.5) South Florida

Georgia Tech (+3.5) Clemson

Auburn (+18) Florida

Iowa State (+22) Nebraska

California (+6) Oregon

Kansas St. (+14.5) Texas

(note on the 4-star game. The Card coaches were Steeler assistants who were passed over to replace Cowher. They know the team and the schemes, plus it is supposed to be 96 degerees in Tempe on Saturday.)


Is Even Relevant Anymore?
2007-09-26 21:42
by Scott Long

A popular game among sports bloggers is to rip ESPN. While I've had my problems with elements of the world-wide leader, I have given props to the things the network does very well.

  • The network presents college football beautifully, as Chris Fowler is the best pre-game show host in sports. Most of their annoiuncers in the sport are top-notch.
  • College basketball is done almost as well at ESPN.
  • The ascension of Ron Jaworski has really helped the Monday Night Football telecasts, though I'm still not sure what Tony Kornheiser brings to the festivities.
  • And while we can all agree that Baseball Tonight is pretty awful, when the network has Dan Shulman, Orel Hershiser and (yes) Steve Phillips in the booth together, ESPN has the best TV crew working the sport.

On the radio side, sure Colin Cowherd knows nothing about baseball, but he is pretty brilliant at hosting a radio show. Mike and Mike is solid, Doug Gottlieb is a rising star, and Mike Tirico was a decent choice to replace Dan Patrick. (I do think they should have given the job to the dynamic Brian Kenney, though.) Now the Stephen A. Hole hour is a huge mistake, but hey I guess I can understand them hiring...wait a minute, I can't even pretend I understand this one. What the hell are you thinking, ESPN?

The main focus of my piece here is how is almost worthless now. Beginning with the very busy screen and the videos pop-ups, the site is complete overload. I can't remember the last time I went there to check a score, as I hit Yahoo Sports for my updates. What used to be the big reason to go to, Page 2, now has very little quality left, outside of Bill Simmons. The one thing that could get readers to go to the site are insights by experts like Peter Gammons, Rob Neyer, and Andy Katz, but they are behind the pay wall mainly hidden with Insider status.

With the hiring of Jason Whitlock at, this site is becoming more and more of a daily check. Already the site had the premier baseball writer around, Ken Rosenthal, plus other top writers like Mark Kriegel, Jay Glazer, Dayn Perry, and now adding Whitlock's no one is too big to take on talents, it is time to declare Fox Sports has become superior to I like the video stuff that Jay Mohr is doing at the site, as well, especially considering his wife Nikki Cox makes guest appearances in them that are worth fast-forwarding to, even if you aren't interested in what her husband has to offer.

Between,, and, ESPN is becoming kind of irrelevant. Maybe it is time for to join The New York Times and wave the white flag on keeping most of its best columnists behind the pay curtain.

Please Explan: Keanu Reeves
2007-09-24 18:48
by Scott Long

At the beginning of Keanu Reeves' career, I understood what he had to offer, as he was the quintessential stoner dude. He played these teen roles solidly, as he demonstrated in River's Edge and Permanent Record. Then came the wild success of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which cemented his natural instincts of playing a somewhat dim-witted dude. Nothing wrong with beginning your career playing this type of character, as both Sean Penn and Nicholas Cage broke onto the scene doing the same type of bro. The difference between these actors is that Penn and Cage (not so much lately, though) are capable of bringing many different shades to their movie roles, while Reeves, as much he might try, is still Theodore Logan.

When Reeves has been successful in a film, he has been given a role that allows him not to stretch from this type of character. During the first few years of his career, Reeves was cast well, playing surfer dude types in Point Break and My Own Private Idaho. Then came 1992, when Francis Ford Coppola made Dracula. With a cast featuring Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins, it would have seemed to be a slam dunk movie classic... except that Coppola made a casting mistake almost as tragic as when he hired his daughter Sofia for Godfather 3, by choosing Reeves in one of the major roles. Having Keanu Reeves share a scene with Hopkins and Oldman is on par with Jimi Hendrix and Ginger Baker starting a super group, only to have it fronted by Yoko Ono.

Here is the major question I have about Reeves' career. How is that with so many superior choices available has Reeves continued to get major parts in roles that he is woefully ill-equipped to succeed in? He has played a quarterback in The Replacements, a lawyer in The Devil's Advocate, and a doctor in Something's Gotta Give. In these pictures, he was paired with acting giants Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson, respectively. The talents of these actors and some other fine supporting performances made each of these movies watchable, but the laughable casting of Reeves made each scene he was in seem implausible.

Not only is Reeves incapable of playing a character with a job which takes even a modicum of intelligence, but he is just as dismal in a love story. I recently caught on cable, a recent movie he did with Sandra Bullock titled Lake House. In the convoluted romance, Reeves plays an architect. No, this is not a misprint. There is no way I would live in a house, be defended in a court case, have my tonsils taken out or even root for a team that was quarterbacked by Keanu Reeves, but someone in Hollywood continues to cast him in these type of roles. I realize that the 1994 blockbuster Speed made Sandra Bullock a superstar, but thinking that the chemistry between her and Reeves needed to be explored again was misguided at best. The elements that made Speed great was the script, the directing, and the charismatic performances of Bullock and Dennis Hopper. Reeves didn't have to show much more emotion than he had to as Neo in The Matrix.

The Matrix was another movie where the script, special effects, and supporting characters drove the movie along. The Wachowski Brothers did use Reeves' talents perfectly in the first of The Matrix trilogy, though, as the science fiction Blade Runner-like world the film took place in didn't need a lead actor who offered much acting range. The Neo character was robot-like in his presence. Reeves' angular good looks and shock of black hair was an important piece in the gorgeous production design. This is the only adult role I can think of that Reeves' acting moves the story along.

I realize that part of Keannu Reeves' continuing career has to do with him being seen as a bankable star, domestically and foreign. I would argue that few of the successful films he has been in have had much to do with him. I know he wrecks a movie for me, almost every time he appears on-screen. I understood the casting of him as the teen-aged, dim-wit, but I just don't understand how major studios and major directors continue to want to cast him playing characters who would need to be able to portray a modicum of intelligence. PLEASE EXPLAIN Keannu Reeves.

Football Picks for this Week
2007-09-21 22:57
by Scott Long

Last week picks were basically a reverse mirror image of each other, as the colleges went 4-1 (9-5 for the year), while the NFL choices went 1-4 (5-5 for the year).  I've been in the Northwest this week, driving way too much, so I haven't had much time to produce much for the site.  I will be more active next week, as I'm in one of the best cities in America, Madison, Wisconsin. (Thursday through Saturday at the State Street Comedy Club)  Here are my selections for this week.

Colleges (All 3-star picks)

Oregon State (+12) Arizona State

Iowa State (-3.5) Toledo

Stanford (+17) Oregon

UCLA (-6) Washington

Oklahoma State (+5.5) Texas Tech


Indy (-6) Houston

Oakland (-3) Cleveland

San Francisco (+9) Pittsburgh

St. Louis (+3.5) Tampa Bay

Chicago/Dallas (under 41)


Please Explain: Reggie Bush
2007-09-20 08:41
by Scott Long

Much was discussed about how the Houston Texans made a collossal mistake when they passed up Reggie Bush with the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. While I agreed that they messed up by not taking hometown hero, Vince Young, I've never thought Bush was anywhere close to the hype thrown his way.

Now, let me begin by writing that Bush is an explosive talent. What he is not is an every down running back. At USC, he ran behind a world-class offensive line and had the ball delivered to him by a Heisman Trophy QB (Matt Leinhart). With all these advantages, the guy who led the team in carries was teammate LenDale White. The same thing has gone on in New Orleans, with Deuce McAllister the focal point of majority of the Saints offensive plays. If you don't have a strong back to pair with Bush, who can run between the tackles, your team is just not going to be very successful.

On a personal level, Bush is kind of a mixed bag. He is somewhat personable, but he also is the same person who taunted Brian Urlacher while scoring a touchdown in the NFC Championship game. He has done some great charity work, especially for the city of New Orleans, but when he was at USC, he was receiving plenty of illegal charity work by Trojan boosters, which could result in sanctions against the school. Look, it's not like Bush has a rap sheet like Pac Man Jones, but his track record is a lot spottier than Peyton Manning.

Now very frew want to be held to the Peyton Manning standard, as the Colts signalcaller is funny, likeable, and has been at the top of the list of athletes who give back to their communities, but considering how many different corporate clients Bush is connected with, the Manning standard has to be used. So here we go.

  • Manning is the best player in the game, while Bush isn't even one of the best 2 players on his team.
  • Manning has some acting chops, with excellent comic timing. Bush, uh not so much.
  • Manning has a squeaky clean image, while Bush's personal behavior has some defects.

Since Manning finally won a Super Bowl last season, the biggest complaint that can be delivered at him is that he is overexposed. What I can't understand is why Reggie Bush is put in the same ads with Manning. On the talent and actual accomplishment scale, it is almost like having a commercial with Peyton and Eli...

I saw Bush's Men Fitness cover, so I understand the guy has sex appeal. I also realize he is a flashy player, who was fortunate enough to play in the Hollywood spotlight which is USC. These things have definitely played a big part in his high profile. I just can't get past that the guy is a vastly ovverated NFL talent. He is not one of the 50 best players in the league, but he has been exalted like he is one of the Top 5. He is the ultimate example of style over substance. What am I missing here? Please Explain Reggie Bush.

Football Picks Are On Fire!
2007-09-13 16:37
by Scott Long

Kicked off the NFL season with 4 wins, 1 loss, and a push. The colleges I won my 2 best bets, but lost my other 3 selections, leaving me 5-4 this year on NCAA choices. I am posting the picks tonight, as I like one Thursday college game. Also, if you didn't get chance to catch the first NFL on Fox comedy sketch, here is the link. It has gotten a lot of good press, especially because of the suprise guest who joined Frank.


Maryland (+16) West Virginia

Louisiana Tech (+33.5) California

Cincinnati (-9) Miami (OH)

Kentucky (+6.5) Louisville

Ohio St (-3.5) Washington

All these college games are 3 star. Kentucky would be my best bet of the week, as I suspect they will win outright.


Dallas (-3.5) Miami

Jacksonville (-10) Atlanta

San Diego (+4) New England

Buffalo (+9.5) Pittsburgh

(4 star) St. Louis (-3) San Francisco

All the NFL selections are 3 stars, except my first 4 star on the season taking the Rams.


Why I'm Rooting for the Yankees and Cubs to Make the Playoffs
2007-09-12 21:51
by Scott Long

There has been an absence of baseball posts here. While the complete meltdown of the Chicago White Sox hasn't helped, the 2007 season has been pretty anti-climatic since the middle of August. The only divisional race that has any intrigue is in the NL Central, where staying above .500 seems to be all that is needed to make the playoffs. The Wild Card races don't have the drama that seemed so promising in July.

So here is my dilemma. I have 2 teams that I consistently root against. The Cubs and Yankees. I love baseball and want it to have compelling storylines in October. Since it doesn't appear that there will be much positive momentum going into the playoffs, I think the non-baseball junkie is going to need the Cubs and Yankees to really get connected to the game.

Let me note that as soon as the playoffs start, I will be in a full-blown mode throwing down my biggest hate vibes at these teams. Oh to see the Cubs fans fall short again, it is almost orgasmic. Watching the Yankees continue to play the role of the biggest bully on the block (Matt Dillon) getting it handed to them by the Chris Makespeace's of the world is a sport all into it self. So bring on the Cubs and Yankees. I'm willing to risk them winning it all, as the 2007 playoffs need the boost.

God Bless America?
2007-09-11 23:16
by Scott Long

Before I began writing this blog, I used to have a couple thousand people that had signed up to read a weekly column I would email to them. These columns eventually formed a book that I put out titled Dysfunctional Thoughts of a 21st Century Man. Below is one of those columns.

The column was written on September 16, 2001. It is amazing how much you can forget about how different the world seemed at the time. It was a period of uncertainity for the United States, on a level that we have never experienced. The column I wrote discussing my thoughts on 9/11 and its aftermath has some things that I now, looking back, feel were a bit naive. I still think, though, it might bring some interesting memories about how you felt at the time and how your views might have changed.

One other thing I will mention is that when I wrote this, I receieved one email from someone who had it passed on to them that said they would shoot me in the head, if they were ever in the same room with me. A fellow comic, who I was fairly friendly with, sent me an email saying that he thought I was despicable for what I wrote and that he would do everything in his power to destroy my comedy career. I wrote this column the day before Bill Maher made his comments on his ABC version of Politically Incorrect, so after the hate mail I received, I wasn't too shocked at the shit storm he faced.


Now I know this is never a popular declaration, especially now after the terrorist hijacking last Tuesday, but I am not a patriotic. Outside of every couple of years, when the Olympics take place, I’m not generally filled with patriotic fervor. You might say that if I would have known someone involved in the destruction, I might feel differently. Well, let me say that my best friend since High School worked at the Pentagon and I didn’t know if he was alive or dead until late in that afternoon. (He was fine, narrowly missing being one of the deceased.)

I’m no stranger to this type of catastrophe, as my Mom lives in the Oklahoma City area. At the time of the Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, my Mom was working close by.

You see, I consider myself a member of the human race, first and foremost. I am not someone who automatically falls in line with what the government tells me. If I had been of the drafting age during the Vietnam War, I would have emulated great patriots like George W. Bush or Bill Clinton by trying to get into the National Guard. Translation: This war was not worth me dying for.

Having said this, the hijacking in New York and Washington DC, last week, was an action against freedom and freedom is something I would put my life on the line for. Our rights in the U.S. to say and do, for the most part, what we want are what I love most about this country. I believe this personal freedom is why we are the most powerful nation on the planet. The Muslim extremists that perpetuated and celebrated these actions are filled with hatred and fear of what freedom stands for. They are not alone in their views, though. Look at most every major conflict in the world and you will see religion at the center of it. (Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) I am not saying that religion is inherently wrong, but when it is involved in the hierarchy of the government, it leads to conflict. Hopefully, we can learn from these other countries’ examples.

What troubles me about our President is the religious overtones used in almost every speech he has given since the attack. When the President spoke to the nation on September 11, he quoted Psalms 23.


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I hear no evil, for You are with me. I am not arguing that Psalm 23 isn’t beautiful scripture, but I feel it is inappropriate for the President of the United States to be reciting it in such a situation.


I am for people mourning the catastrophe any way they choose, be it prayer, meditation, or something else, but our government should not be using religious rhetoric when discussing the topic. President Bush, during one of the Republican primary debates of 2000 said the man he most admires is Jesus Christ. Well what would Jesus do (WWJD) in this situation? This is not an option for our country, though, and that is why President Bush needs to quit with the quoting of the Bible verses and speak in straightforward terms. He needs to leave the public prayer to the various Holy Men across the nation, as bringing up God and eradicating the enemy in the same sentence is confusing and in my way of thinking, sacrilegious.

The President isn’t the only one guilty of crossing the boundaries between church and state. Many were deeply moved by the unified Congress singing the God Bless America, but don’t count me as one of them. This song reminds me of the athlete who thanks the Lord for helping his team win the game. I’m sure that many radical Muslims were singing a version of God Bless America in their own countries. Remember that these suicide bombers were committed to their God on a level most of us would never consider.

This is why when I hear the terrorists called cowards; I disagree, as these men were willing to give up their lives for their terribly misguided cause. A coward to me is someone like Timothy McVeigh, who blows up a building and then drives away, unharmed. This is the interesting paradox that the words brave and coward can have, as in both cases; these men were responsible for some of the worst tragedies ever committed.

Did you know that there are 7 million Muslims living in the United States today? How would you like to be one of them? These Muslims probably will be seen under suspicious eyes the rest of their lives. I’m sure the next time I’m on a plane and see someone of Middle Eastern descent, I’ll have a heightened sense of awareness the whole flight. What horrible life they have to look forward to because of no doing of their own.

Keep this in mind, the next time you stereotype all Muslims as the same. Consider the analogy of the Ku Klux Klan, who since the beginning of their organization used Protestant religious tenets to back up their horrible actions. Does the fact that many KKK members were Protestant make all other Protestants guilty by association? Of course not. Well, then same goes for Muslims in this country and many others across the world.

Hearing the statements of Reverend Jerry Falwell who stated that gay and abortion right activists are partially to blame for our nation being bombed, further magnifies the reason why religion and politics should be kept as separately as possible. Falwell’s comments were made on the 700 Club, a program hosted by former Presidential candidate, Reverend Pat Robertson, a man that has significant power in the Republican Party. Robertson never refuted any of Falwell’s dangerous statements, which makes one wonder about the label Men of God that these two proclaim themselves to be. If either one of them were ever elected President, would they set in motion their own version of the Spanish Inquisition? Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe most religious leaders think the way these two do, but then I don’t think that most Arab leaders are happy over the actions of 9/11.

On different talk radio shows over the past week, I have heard various callers say we should just nuke Afghanistan. Well, besides the environmental implications these weapons would leave in their wake and the political fall-out it would bring to the Middle East; consider the plight of the average Afghan. These people are among the most destitute people on the planet and are controlled by such a vicious secret police that they are often afraid to breathe, in case their government leaders see it as a slight to Allah. The Taliban government that controls the country has performed public hangings of its citizens for crimes such as adultery. Girls are taught in underground schools, as the Taliban forbids public education of females. Does this sound like a country that we should nuke?

What we should do is take out the terrorist groups who threaten our safety and the governments who protect them. I realize that I’m recommending a few restrictions in our retaliatory actions against the perpetrators, but I feel the United States needs to go about things in a calculated way, or we’ll fall into behaving in some of the same ways as nutcases who started this war. It is inevitable that some innocent people will die, but if we want to keep this from escalating into a large-scale holy war, we need to error on the path of aggressive caution. We need to be patient, as a nation, in our pursuit of these rogue leaders, as it will not be a quick process in trying to eliminate these terrorists. If you think getting Osama Bin-Laden will be easy, just consider the case of Eric Rudolph.

If you have forgotten about whom he is, Rudolph was the man accused of the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. On top of this crime, he has been charged with three abortion clinic bombings. As you might guess, actions like these would make you a pretty high priority for the FBI. Initially, after being charged, the FBI put over 200 of their people on the case of finding Rudolph, whom they believed was hiding in the hills of North Carolina. Sadly, over 5 years since the Olympic Park bombing and 2 years since he was put on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, Eric Rudolph is still at large. Now investigators think Rudolph probably died in the Carolina mountains, but my point is that we have no luck finding a high profile terrorist in our own country, how much more luck are going to have finding a well-guarded, well-funded Bin Laden, in a land we know little about. Just something to consider when your anger grows over the elusive Bin Laden. As many experts on terrorism have stated, this will not be an overnight capture.

As we enter a new age of terrorism, which is driven by evangelical zeal, we should be prepared for many more heinous events. Hopefully, we will strike a balance between safety and freedom, as if democratic nations like US go overboard on the former, the terrorists will have accomplished another major victory. To rid ourselves of terrorism, we are going to have to ally with some unlikely partners such as Pakistan, China, and Iran. If you didn’t know, these countries aren’t filled with White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. It will be very interesting to see how these alliances hold together. Maybe our refrain should be God Bless the Planet. We are going to need it.


NFL Pre-Season Power Rankings
2007-09-08 23:59
by Scott Long

I lost all the work I did on these rankings when some malfunction sent them floating in the cyberspace netherworld. (NOT HAPPY) I will try to find some time to post them again, with my reasons. Below are just the rankings.

  1. Colts
  2. Chargers
  3. Patriots
  4. Ravens
  5. Cowboys
  6. Broncos
  7. Bears
  8. Rams
  9. Seahawks
  10. Bengals
  11. Jaguars
  12. Saints
  13. Eagles
  14. Vikings
  15. Panthers
  16. Titans
  17. Jets
  18. Steelers
  19. Redskins
  20. Giants
  21. Packers
  22. 49ers
  23. Chiefs
  24. Bills
  25. Texans
  26. Lions
  27. Cardinals
  28. Browns
  29. Dolphins
  30. Bucs
  31. Raiders
  32. Falcons
NFL Pre-Season Power Rankings
2007-09-08 22:59
by Scott Long
College and Pro Picks for the Week
2007-09-07 20:43
by Scott Long

So far, so good...Scotty the Sleek is playing with the house's money after starting the Colleges at 3-1 versus the spread. This week I add the Pro's.

Note: I plan on having my NFL preview up sometime before the games on Sunday.

  • 3 star Iowa (-22) Syracuse
  • 3 star Oklahoma (-10) Miami
  • 3 star TCU (+9) Texas
  • 2 star Notre Dame (+17.5) Penn St.
  • 2 star Colorado (+14.5) Arizona St.

Iowa has won their last 6 home openers by average of 38 points. The Cuse head coach is a Please Explain entry waiting to happen, as Greg Robinson has been a failure in every job I can remember him having.

There are 3 teams that I think can win the National Title this year and the Sooners are 1 of them. Miami still has a lot to prove to me.

TCU players dream of going to Texas, but don't get recruited to play at Austin, so this is their dream match-up. Horned Frogs coach Patterson is the most underrated coach in America. They might not win, but their defense will keep the game within a TD.

After last week, it's hard to imagine going with the Irish, but I suspect Weis will out-coach Paterno enough to keep it under the number.

The Buffs squeezed out an OT win last week. Coach Hawkins was the one who built Bise State. I think the Buffs end up the surprise team in the Big 12 in 2007.

  • 3 star Tennessee (+7) Jacksonville
  • 3 star Minnesota (-3) Atlanta
  • 3 star Detroit (+2.5) Oakland
  • 3 star Oakland/Detroit (Under 39.5)
  • 2 star San Diego (-6) Chicago
  • 2 star Washington (-3) Miami

Put Vince Young on the Jags and they might be the best team in the NFL. While the Titans have less talent, I will take the team with the superior coaching and signalcalling.

The Vikings are a talented team which if they had a veteran QB like Trent Green...well, I still like them over the Falcons that are playing their first game with a new coach.

How are the Raiders favored over anyone at this point of the year? The Lions are improved. The best bet on this game might just be the under, as the Raiders defense under DC Ryan is really good, while their offense is dismal. Lots of under games in Oakland.

There are 3 great teams in NFL and they are all in the AFC. Bad opening match-up for Rex Grossman, as the Chargers put a lot of pressure on the QB.

If the Redskins can't win this game at home, they have little chance of being competitive under Gibbs this season. Should be low-scoring, with the Skins winning by a least a TD.


The Juice Blog's College Football Top 25
2007-09-03 21:22
by Scott Long

I've been sitting on this Top 25 list for a couple weeks, planning on putting in detailed reasons behind my selections. I haven't found the time to do this, so here is an abbreviated version of my Top 25. A little background on how I come up with these rankings. This is not just based on power rankings, but how I actually see these teams winding up in the BCS. No sport has as big of a home field advantage as college football. Coaching is also a bigger element in the college game versus the professional ranks. Most NFL coaches know what they are doing, but there are some college head coaches where the game has passed them by. (See Bowden, Carr, Paterno, etc.)

  1. USC
  2. Oklahoma
  3. LSU
  4. West Virginia
  5. Florida
  6. Virginia Tech
  7. Ohio State
  8. UCLA
  9. Louisville
  10. TCU
  11. Texas
  12. Georgia
  13. Hawaii
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Penn State
  16. California
  17. Iowa
  18. Michigan
  19. Nebraska
  20. South Carolina
  21. Texas A&M
  22. Auburn
  23. Arkansas
  24. Georgia Tech
  25. Boise St.

Hard to see how USC will lose this year. If the Raiders would have taken OC Sarksian, this might have been enough to give them a loss, but Kiffin wasn't as big of a loss.

Oklahoma was incredibly unlucky last season and despite losing all-world runner Adrian Petersen, I think they will be undefeated going into the National Championship game.

LSU is as talented as SoCal, but their schedule and head coaching questions make me leary of putting them in the BCS championship.

West Virginia has an incredible offense, but I do think their defense is shaky enough that they are just below the Top 3.

Urban Meyer is a brilliant coach and even though they lost a lot of starters, the talent level is a case of reloading. I think Leak was underrated and I have a feeling QB Tebow will cost them one game.

Other Notes

The SEC and Pac-10 are the 2 best conferences. The best team in the Big 10 might wind up with 2 losses. There are more non BCS schools which have quality teams than any year I can remember. TCU has as good of a defense as there is in college football, while Hawaii's offense would put at least 4 TD's on any opponent there is.

I Should Mention

Some might question the validity of my list, considering I'm not putting it out until today. Understand that I always rate Michigan lower than pre-season expectations because I think Carr is the worst coach of any major university in America, with only Phil Fulmer close to as lousy. The Wolverines look to be worse than I even thought they would be, but don't be surprised if they win a 38-37 type game against Oregon this weekend.

The Big Problem with Sports Leagues Owning Their Own Networks
2007-09-02 21:44
by Scott Long

Many seem to spend too much of their focus on critiquing ESPN just because they are currently the big boys on the block. Sure they have their fair share of Around the Horn douches who give the concept of journalism a horrible name, but ESPN is F-ing 60 Minutes compared to what goes on at the NFL Network. I don't know if the network has a deal with the NFL players union, but the channel is littered with ex-jocks who shouldn't be allowed to give any opinion besides where is the best Big and Tall men's shoppe to buy a pin-striped suit. The NFL Network is like the Love Boat for retired players, giving the washed-up an opportunity to be seen again. There are a few exceptions to this rule, (Rich Eisen, first and foremost), but nowhere is there a Cris Collingsworth, Ron Jaworski, or Howie Long to actually give an opinion with some depth to it.

I know the NFL Network would state, otherwise, but it is bankrolled by the league, so what do you think the odds are that someone is really going to go after the owner of the Lions or Cardinals? The Ford's and Bidwell's have continually put dismal products on the field, but there will be no serious documentary of this at the NFL Network. While ESPN might drop a show like Playmakers because the NFL doesn't like it, most of their broadcasters won't shy away from tough topics. The NFL Films stuff is great, but for game analysis, I wait for HBO's Inside the NFL.

The Big 10 Network is the newest model in the cable sports transition, as it is 24-hour programming of just one conference. If you think the NFL Network is limited in the scope it will offer up, think about how neutered a college sports network owned by a conference will be. Sure the movie PCU might have been a bit over-the-top (though Jeremy Piven was at his Bill Murray best in this underrated film), there is no place ruled by special interests groups more than our state universities. Considering the problems universities have with binge drinking I'm not surprised that the Big 10 Network is refusing beer sponsorship, but wait until some Feminist T.A.* starts an angry letter campaign over accepting commercials.
*T.A. stands for Teaching Assistant, not for what you probably first thought.

Here's a quick review on the Big 10 Network, since I'm one of the few who watched it during it first weekend. Former ESPN anchor Dave Revsine was a good hire for the face of the network, as he is articulate and witty. He also has a good chemistry with one of his partners at the desk, Gerry DiNardo. The third man on the set, former Illinios RB Howard Griffith is pretty stiff, however. The channel will be similar to the NFL Network in that it will succeed when it has original programming (like the historic Michigan upset), but will suffer the other times because it doesn't have anyone willing to have an edgier opinion.

It is amazing how many college football games are on television now. ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, Fox Sports, TBS, CSTV, and other regional sports networks are all covering the sport. Now do you think there are enough quality analysts to cover this many games? Not even close. The lack of depth in college football color analysts is similar to major league starting pitching, as expansion has killed both professions. This lack of talent just makes it more puzzling of why Trev Alberts is stuck broadcasting to hundreds at a time at CSTV, when he is one of the 10 best analysts in sports television.

ESPN is at its peak right now. My guess is it will begin a slow decline, as major sports leagues create channels to keep more and more of its own product. MLB begins its own channel in 2009. How many of you think that it will be any better than what the other sports leagues networks have shown so far? The potential for the channel is great, just because it would have so much live programming (162 game schedule), but the hiring of Harold Reynolds tells me a lot about the direction it will go.

The 3 things I would recommend to MLB is:

  1. Hire someone from NFL Films to start putting together some quality documentaries.
  2. Hire away Ken Rosenthal from Fox or Peter Gammons from ESPN, as they are the 2 writers who bring automatic credibility to any show they are part of.
  3. Create a show that features contributing writers from Baseball Prospectus.

My guess is that these things won't happen, as MLB has not exactly been innovative in its marketing of the game. Why do I think that most of the future hosts of MLB's channel will be company men, with voices like they went to the Chet Waterhouse School of broadcasting? So the next time you watch Baseball Tonight and get frustrated at something John Kruk or Steve Phillips says, keep in mind that the MLB channel is coming and I'm predicting it will be more like the Eric Young or Tino Martinez hour.

High definition sure is great, but the future of sports television looks to be on the path to decline, at least in the broadcast booth.


Societal Critic at Large: Scott Long
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