In defense of the Gators

I'll just get it out of the way, I still think Florida should be the favorites to win the NCAA Championship.

Everyone and their mother are dogging the Gators right now because they've lost 3 out of their last 4 games, and if you've seen any of these games you would to be dogging them to. The Gators came out expecting their opponent to roll over, and then looked confused when their opponents refused to roll over. Still, I think the Gators are a lock to get to the Final Four.

(They ARE the Champs)
It's a double edged sword wearing the crown. Sure, you're the king of the hill, but at the same time every peon out there wants a piece of you. Every SEC away game for Florida this year has been the biggest game for their opponent all season. Just look at the Tennessee game, the Vols second biggest alum (behind Larry the Cable Guy) Peyton Manning was at the game and fem fatale coach Pat Summit tried her best to fulfill my fantasy. Nobody could have beat the Vols the way they were playing last night. The Vols shot a .580 field goal percentage and went 21-34 from the 3 point line. NBA team don't shoot that well.

(But it is No Big Ten) The SEC is better this year than most people realize. Just looking at the RPI rankings they are the second best conference behind the ACC, which is even more amazing considering there is only one legit contender in the conference. It was just a few years ago that Kentucky ruled what was essentially a football conference. But times have changed since the SEC was the worst basketball conference and now there is not a bad team in the SEC. Vandy, LSU and Tennessee are all better teams than people give them credit for.

(They Still have Talent)
Come Tournament time all that matters, unless your name is George Mason, is how much talent you have. Only two teams can rival Florida's talent (Kansas and UNC). The next week will be the biggest test of Billy Donovan's career seeing as how he has to pick up his team and motivate them to play their best starting. But fortunately, Billy has plenty of talent to work with starting with Al Horford. Horford, not Noah or Brewer, is the backbone and best player on the Gators. Over the past few weeks when the shit hit the fan, it was Horford that stepped up his game. Green may score the most points and Noah may get the most attention but it is Horford that does all the little things such as guarding the opposing team's best player. Next you watch the Gators pay attention to Horford, the rest of the team thrives off what he does.

Anyway, consider me firmly on the Gators bandwagon come March. I think they are the best team in the country. But hey, if I'm talking crazy tell me I'm crazy.


You Should Have Picked Tails

Bucs lose coin flip, pick fourth.

This shouldn't really change the draft all that much since most mocks have the Browns picking Adrian Peterson. Which means Calvin Johnson is still on the Bucs radar, although don't expect Gruden to tip his hand. Although even with Bruce Allen trying to rig the flip the Bucs couldn't win.

Allen actually supplied the only necessary equipment, a special commemorative coin presented to him on behalf of the commander of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. A beautiful, multi-colored coin emblazoned with a motto that always inspires Allen – “Mission First. People Always. America Forever.” – it is almost always in his possession. MacDill representatives gave it to Allen before a game last season to recognize the outstanding relationship the team and the military have long enjoyed.


Around the Ebays

(Here Come the 'One Last Stop' Cliches) A bit of good news to lead off the post, the A-Train has declared his intention to return for next season. Since Gruden has already said he would welcome Alstott back all that remains is for the two sides to work out a contract for one more year. The St Pete Times reports the deal would be in the $1.5 million range.

(Is 'Thrashers' the Worst Nickname in the NHL?) The Bolts finish up their two week stretch of division games tonight against Atlanta. Winner of the game takes the division lead. Normally I would point you in the direction of BoltsMag but John has apparently decided to take this game off.

(When are They Bringing Back the Hit Show?)
One of this sites favorites blogs, Rays Index is back and bringing the big stick. With the start of spring training, The Professor, is all over the Devil Rays and which pitcher bears a striking resemblance to Bruce Sutter.

(Sign Andre Wadsworth!) Scott continues to make the argument for keeping Simeon Rice, and I'm starting to buy what he's selling. What with the dearth of free agents and the ass load of cash teams have from the new CBA/TV deals I get the feeling we are about a month away from seeing some baseball style exorbitant contracts. By comparison Rice's contract may not seem so painfully high.


i know it's not football but...

It's almost March when means the second best time of the year (or maybe the best if baseball and football in October is not your thing) is just around the corner. Despite Florida's loss I still think they have to be the favorites to win the Tournament, mostly because they have the exact same team which won last year. Every team Florida has played has been gunning for the Gators, much the same way every team looks forward to playing the Super Bowl Champions.

Florida has been playing much closer games than most people have realized, and were actually down by 11 to Alabama at half time last week. Billy Donovan's team have not been playing with a great deal of fire, while Vanderbilt undoubtedly considered Saturday's matchup their most important game all year. Not that I blame either team. The closest Vandy will come to the National Championship is beating Florida, while Donovan has to prepare his team for another month and a half of basketball.

Which leads me to my second point, I think the Gators stand a better chance of winning the National Championship if they lose in the SEC tournament. Everyone knows the Gators have the talent to win it all, it simple comes down to whether they want it enough. Getting handed a loss in their conference tourney would give the Gators that chip on their shoulder to motivate them come NCAA Tournament time. After all it worked last year.

Finally, be sure to check out my sunshine state roundball update at the Sticks, this and every Monday until the NCAA Tournament.

Oh yeah, Vandy's coach is a dick.


Consider this neither here nor there

Every couple has their list (or at least they should). Number One with a bullet on mine has been Christina Ricci. Which is why I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I saw this.

I don't know if it's the chains or Christina running around in her skimpies in the preview, but I want to let my future wife know (because I'm sure she reads this) that she is welcome to join me here in Northern Virginia.

Provided she brings the chains.


It's that damn Lecavalier, he's so hot now

Did you know Vinny Lecavalier is the leading scorer in the league right? I had no idea until Oiler of the Sportsfrog and Breakaway Beach clued me in this morning. It seems the Bolts have been on bit of run the past few weeks....
Overshadowed a bit by the Pittsburgh Penguins recent 11-0-2 run, the second hottest team in the NHL right now has to be the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After dusting off the Coyotes 5-3 last night, the Lightning have won 13 of their last 16 games and have moved just 3 points out of the Southeast Division leading - and currently slumping - Atlanta Thrashers. Tampa Bay also has played two less games than Atlanta has, entering Wednesday's action.

Martin St. Louis is tied for third in total goals scored, and both of the Bolts stars are behind only one player in total points (Sidney Crosby). Their goal play and defense has still been dreadful compared to their Stanley Cup run, but the Bolts have four straight division games on their schedule coming up and a chance to move into first in the division.

(HT to Oiler)


This Post Contains Nothing About the Bucs

Bit of catching up to do....

(A Very Well Trained Monkey) First, as you can tell from the right hand side, I have been fired from AOL's Buccaneer Fanhouse. Citing something about downsizing/outsourcing/globalization I have been handed my pink slip. Quite frankly it was painful to get cut, mainly because the Fanhouse is a unique collection of some of the best bloggers on these here intertubes and ebays (minus yours truly now) but such is business. I believe either someone from India or possibly a well trained monkey will be taking over the Buccaneer Fanhouse. Still I recommend checking it out if you have not done so.

(Something about Closing Doors and Opening Windows) If you are starting to get the ski withdrawal shakes, which is a common affliction affecting Northern Virginia's 20-something female population, you can find me at the Sticks of Fire. If you are not familiar with the Sticks it is the best (and only) collection of Tampa Bay bloggers you can find. I am already writing on local college basketball over there and you can expect to find more draft goodness as April closes.

(So I Lied) This post does contain something about the Bucs. Be sure to catch Scott's position review at The Official Tampa Tribune Buccaneer Blog BucShots. If I could ever find the motivation to do something like this it would not be half as good.

...and my new first round pick for the Bucs is now Amobi Okoye. Check later as I change my prediction on a lunar cycle basis.

One of these two is now writing the Buc Fanhouse


repeat after me. i am. sofa king. retarded.

For those paying attention at home I was 0 for 4 on my Super Bowl predictions, and was wildly off on my prediction of a Bears Super Bowl win, and thus owe BucStats a solid dose of my own humiliation. Check it.

Just for the record Scott, I'm a rebel and I will damn well seperate points with a number, period, parenthesis, semicolon and question mark if I feel like it. Thats just the kind of education you receive from The Streets U.

As for the draft, it's on like Donkey Kong. I think the Bucks will take Al Hordford with their first pick, which would be a steal since I believe Big Al is the most talented player on the Gators. Noah gets all the love cause he's so damn quirky, but Horford is the backbone of the number one team in the country. (Seriously, I'll take Calvin for your double or nothing.)

Random side note on the Bolts, what the hell happened to this team? Was losing the Buhlin Wall that big of a loss to the team? They looked primed for a one of those 5 or 6 year dominating runs, then the strike hits, and the Bolts can't find a decent goalie. John?


And your Super Bowl winner will be......

Before I get to my Super Bowl pick, I would like to mention that I correctly picked da Bears to make it to the Super Bowl before the season started. Suck it Nostradamus AND Miss Cleo. My prognosticating powers are only rivaled by the Sex Cannon's sexual prowess. (We'll just conveniently ignore that I also picked the Bengals to make the Super Bowl.)

Anyway, my pick for el Bowl del Super are the Chicago Bears. And here's why...

(Piss Poor Excuse for Game Analysis) Call me misguided but I have faith in the Sex Cannon. Grossman does have a history of sucking but the games he shat the bed have been unimportant. Take the Bears last season game against the Packers, in which Sexy Rexy went 2-12 for 33 yards passing and three interceptions. That game was meaningless to the Bears, they had already locked up homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

On the flip side, Peyton Manning has a history of shitting the bed when there is any kind of pressure on him to succeed. This year's AFC Championship is the lone exception to Peyton's long history of choking. Peyton never beat the Gators or won a National Championship when he was at Tennessee. At Indy, Peyton pads his stats against piss poor teams, and then struggles against quality teams. Has everyone forgotten the crime against humanity that was the Colts-Ravens kickfest from just a few weeks ago? Adam Vinatieri is the only reason the Colts beat the Ravens, who are a much better team than the Pats.

My key to the game is a player who nobody has talked about all week, Cedric Benson. In the interest of full disclosure, Benson killed two of my fantasy teams when I made the mistake of actually believing he would be the starting runningback for the Bears. That aside the Tampa Two defense both teams deploy has always been susceptible to a power running game. The Tampa Two relies on speedy under-sized defenders who can be pushed off the line more easily. Of all the four featured runningbacks in today's game, Benson is the only true power back. Even before I saw there was a forecast for rain in Miami today I believed Benson would be the difference in the game.

(Lame Attempt at Comedy) As I did last year, I have a Super Bowl wager with the purveyor of Buc Stats AND Buc Shots. I have the Bears, Scott's taking the Colts. Loser has to supplicate themself before the winner. If my prognosticating skills hold true to form check back in a week to see my humiliation.

Anyway, have a good time at your assorted Super Bowl parties and remember to enjoy what truly matters tonight....the commercials.


Covering Super Bowl Coverage: What Super Bowl?

The two week buildup to the GREATEST SPORTING EVENT EVER is probably slightly uneccessary. In fact, I am absolutely sure it is uneccessary, seeing as how (gamblers take note) the starting defensive end for the Bears has been out drinking in Miami at least twice this week. But has the 2 week delay had a negative effect on the Super Bowl?

The Chicago Tribune actually ran a story today entitled, "Super Bowl hype: Had your fill yet?" Not surprisingly most of the comments on the story ranged from "of course not!" to "da Bears" to "I like Polish sausage." Not that I blame da Bears fans (kilbasa is delicious), 'cause there just hasn't been that much hype. GC at the Sports Frog ran with this story earlier in the week but the hype isn't what I've come to expect from el Bowl del Super.

And ticket buyers, or lack thereof, would tend to agree with me. For the low, low price of $1500 you can buy your self a ticket to the game. Ticket prices have dropped by as much as a grand, mostly because ticket brokers overspeculated on demand and now the hype hasn't lived up to the hype. Even Miami hotels have had to drop room prices so they are only charging twice their normal rates.

So don't come crying to me about how your life life sucks, these poor ticket brokers and hotel owners have had a pretty shitty week.

RANDOM SIDE NOTE: How great woudl it be to be a fly on the wall in Miami? I'm not talking about the Playboy parties, night clubs, or watching Michael Irvan snort coke off a hookers ying-yangs. I'm talking about watching the pasty mid-westerners interact with the denizons of Miami. If my buddy Plugs from Cincinnatti has taught me anything, the midwest does not mix well with South Florida (or Mons Venus).