Thursday, November 30, 2006

Carmelo Anthony is freaking AWESOME!!

What a pleasure it's been to witness the maturing of Carmelo Anthony. He may very well be the best scorer in the NBA right now, and he's starting to "get it". It refreshing because I think he can finally lose the "next Glen Robinson" moniker , and prove to the rest of the NBA fans what kind of player he can be. As it stands now, he's the second leading scorer in the NBA, averaging 31.5 points per game. He's been getting his teammates more involved this season averaging 4.3 dimes a game, which is 1.5 assist higher than he's had in any other season. One thing I would like to see Melo do a little more of is hit the glass a little harder, he's too strong to only get 5 boards per game. I have a feeling athe best is yet to come and us Nugget fans are going to be treated to years of exciting play from Melo.

PS. I'd like to take the time to thank Joe Dumars for drafting Darko Milicic ahead of Carmelo, if not for this gaffe, the Nuggets would have drafted Darko and be mired in the basement of NBA still. Mad props Joe!!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jay Cutler era begins

So the next "Golden Boy" QB for the Denver Broncos is set to start his NFL career on National TV against a division leading NFC team at Invesco Field. Hope the kid likes bright lights. The deterioration of former starter, Jake Plummer's, play has accelerated the need to get the #11 pick, Jay Cutler, into the broncos line up. Head coach Mike Shanahan has benched other starters this year in search of a spark, but this is more like a lightening strike, rather than a spark. It remains to be seen what Cutler is capable of, but his potential was briefly seen during the preseason and it was good. Cutler has a rocket arm and because of that, he's not afraid to throw the ball into tight spaces. This is both good and bad, especially since he's not going to be seeing those vanilla defenses he did in the preseason. I expect plenty of mistakes from the rookie but I also plan to have my jaw drop from seeing a QB that's not noodle armed making throws for the predominantly orange and blue. My expectations for Jay Cutler are tempered, mainly because he's a rookie and has not seen a single snap in a live bullets NFL game yet. That being said, I'm also excited to see the "new toy" on display and see what he's really made of. Maybe he can jolt this team and wake them up from the funk they've been in. I'm not sure what has happened these last couple of weeks, but Jake Plummer was not the only reason the Broncos have lost two games in a row. The defense has been unable to stop the run, the offense has not been able to getting the running game going and the special teams has been special alright, in a short bus, special kind of way. If the Broncos can go 3-2 over the next 5 games, they should be a wild card team and maybe, just maybe, they can catch lightening in a bottle and make some noise in the playoffs.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Randy Gradishar for the NFL Hall of Fame

One of the best players to ever done the Orange and Blue has continually been snubbed for the NFL Hall of Fame. Recently Randy Gradishar was named a semifinalist for the 2007 NFL Hall of Fame induction class. If nominated, he'd be just the second Bronco to get into the Hall.
The Broncos finally got their first inductee to hall in in 2004 when all time great John Elway was inducted. I have no problem with John Elway being in the Hall of Fame, what I have a problem with is he's the ONLY Denver Bronco in the HOF. No, Tony Dorsett and Willie Brown do not count. The Broncos have been to 6 super bowls, and have one player in the HOF. This is a travesty, namely because there have been other Broncos deserving of the HOF. The glaring omission at this point in time is Randy Gradishar. Gradishar was the heart and soul of the famed Orange Crush defenses of the late 70s and early 80s. Grads, as he was affectionately referred to, was a standout linebacker at Ohio State before anchoring the broncos defense for nearly a decade. Gradishar was a 7 time pro bowler, in ten seasons, with the likes of Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Ted Hendricks who all happen to be Hall of Famers. Playing in what is sometimes perceived as a "cow town" has certainly hurt Gradishar and his chances. He was a better LB than the recently inducted Harry Carson, but Gradishar did not play in the media capital of the world, and as such does not have guys like Sports Illustrated's Peter King schilling for him. Here's to hoping that the HOF voters finally pull their head out and get Randy Gradishar into the HOF.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rutgers turns the BCS upside down

On October 30th I wrote the following (normally I'm not one to toot my own horn, but this was too good not to):

The teams that benefited most from this loss? That would be the two undefeated Big East teams West Virginia and Louisville who face each other on Saturday. The winner of this game will then need to get by undefeated Rutgers (Yes, you read that right, undefeated Rutgers) to insure a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Rutgers could easily throw a monkey wrench into either Louisville or West Virginia's plans to get to Glendale. If some very strange scenarios develop, Rutgers could be knocking on the BCS Championship Game door if they win the Big East and are undefeated. So who's rooting for Rutgers? That would be the numerous 1 loss teams such as #4 Florida, #6 Auburn, #7 Texas, #8 USC, #9 Notre Dame, #10 Cal, #11 Tennessee and #13 Arkansas. Should Louisville or West Virginia both stumble and have 1 loss apiece, I'd put my money on the winner of the SEC going to face the winner of the OSU vs. Michigan showdown for the BCS Championship. Isn't college football great?

Yes, college football is great. Last night Rutger's was able to pull off the biggest win in school history and is in the drivers seat to win the Big East title. It will be interesting to see what happens this weekend in the remainder of the games, but for Rutgers to have a shot a MNC (Mythical National Championship) they need help. Those one loss teams that I mentioned last week have to be thrilled with Louisville losing. One again the door has swung wide open for a handful of teams to have a shot at the MNC. Which team will walk through that threshold?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Green Feet (Forwarded to me by a blog reader)

I love this kind of stuff. So a friend of mine that I had not spoke with in a while forwarded this to me, and asked that I put it up on the blog. Very cool story. Thanks Jen! Her husband flies HH-60s, the AF version of the Blackhawk and their primary mission is combat search and rescue. Green Feet is a nickname for the AF search and rescue community and the 6 toes is for the squadron (The 66th). Both the AFA and Notre Dame will be wearing these emblems on their helmets for this weekends game at Falcon Stadium. The story below spells out the meaning in more detail.

Subject: Green Feet

Since you are the only one I had contact with in the 66th RQS and
since you were so helpful in me tracking down the green feet logo, I
thought I would email you back to let you know what came of my project.
My brother, Gregg Lewis, was a member of the 66th and was killed in the
September 3rd crash outside of Nellis in 1998. Eleven other airmen
died in that crash. My father, Bill Lewis, is the assistant head
football coach at the University of Notre Dame, who travels to the Air
Force Academy on November 11th for a game between the two teams. As a
way to honor the men who were lost in that crash both teams have agreed
to wear the 6-toe green feet logo on the back of their helmets for that
game. I was hoping you could pass this information along to other
members of the 66th squadron. The helmet decal is meant to honor all
members of the 66th - those that continue to serve and those that have
died "so others may live."
The game
is scheduled to be televised by a local Colorado station - maybe you
guys will get the broadcast. Thank you again for your help.

Cool Article on the Polynesian pipeline to CU

Great read, no matter what team you cheer for.


Monday, November 06, 2006

I love tailgating

The smell of meat being charred on the numerous grills fills the air.
The ever so satisfying cracking sound of a beer being opened.
The fans clad in their respective teams colors from head to toe.

Whether it's a sight, sound or smell tailgating evokes many emotions. It depends on where you are but the tailgate sets the scene and tone for football. In no other sport do you have the dedication to perfecting a bratwurst or hamburger. I have learned over the years that people take their tailgating seriously, almost to the point of being over the top. Or maybe it's just passion. A friend of mine has that passion, he created the ultimate tailgating machine from a New Jersey Transit System Greyhound bus and turned it into Orange Force One.

While I'm no where near that level, I do take pride in getting the grill fired up and having all sorts of friends enjoying the cold beer, autumn air, some great grilled food while getting amped for the upcoming kickoff. I was exposed to tailgating at a very early age by my Grandfather and Grandmother. I used to join them when I was a little dude in the dirt and grass parking lot that surrounds Falcon Stadium, home of the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons. I can vividly recall watching my grandfather pull the chairs, tables coolers and food out of the trunk of their Buick. Typically we enjoyed sandwiches, soda, chips and cookies. What more can you need? (As I found out much later in life, a grill is about the only thing and adult beverages) They had friends that they tailgated with who would park along side of them. I can remember tossing the football with my Grandfather and his friends, many times while I was still in my youth football uniform from that mornings game. Of course at this age I don't know if I had a true appreciation for what they instilled upon me. I guess every start to something has humbling beginnings, and mine date back to the early and mid eighties in the dusty parking lot at Falcon Stadium. I've found that I do the exact same things now that I did when I was 10 years old, except for the beer drinking part now. I drank scotch back then.

The time in between now and those days in Colorado Springs saw "pre-partying" in Boulder, a case of beer and a pathfinder with two buddies in San Diego, a Winnebago with every amenity in Tempe, AZ, reconnecting and actual tailgating in Boulder and going large in the parking lot at Invesco Field at Mile High. I have been lucky enough to have a bunch of great friends that love tailgating, not to mention a wonderful women who not only puts up with this affliction, but rather enjoys it herself!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Looking to Rebound (from a disastrous finish to last season) and Run (up and down the court)

Last season the Nuggets had about everything go wrong that could between injuries, internal strife and inconsistent play on the court. Despite these issues, the Nuggets still managed to win the Northwest division and Carmelo Anthony was able to take his game to another level. The season ended about as disastrous as it could with the Nuggets getting bounced again in 5 games by the Clippers and Forward Kenyon Martin getting into a dispute with Coach George Karl and subsequently getting suspended for the final 3 games of the series. The relationship between Karl and Martin appears to be at least amicable to start the 2006-2007 season. On top of that Martin appears to be healthy, something he has not been since being acquired from the Nets two summers ago. A healthy Martin is a must for this team to have a chance at getting another division title and advancing past the first round for the first time since 1994. Stud SF Carmelo Anthony redefined not only his image but his game over the summer playing with the USA National team and being named a team captain along with fellow draft classmates Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. In addition to being named captain, Melo led the bronze medal winning US team in scoring and steals. Coach George Karl could not be happier; since Karl arrival he's been harping on Carmelo to play better defense and become a team leader. Melo was able to do both with the national team, question is can he do the same with the franchise that gave him an 80 million dollar extension over the summer?

The Nuggets biggest off season need? A shooting guard. The Nuggets got a shooting guard on the cheap, acquiring 21 year old JR Smith from the Chicago Bulls for some gym socks, a ball rack and Howard Eisley. If Smith can live up to his potential he would be the other scoring threat the Nuggets desperately need. It's imperative that Smith plays smart and knows when to shoot and when to find a teammate. The biggest knock on Smith those far in his young career is that he's never seen a shot he did not like. That's a good and bad thing for a shooting guard. It's good that he's not afraid to take shots, but he needs to known when it's appropriate. The Nuggets front line is one of the best in the NBA, when healthy, with C Marcus Camby, F/C Nene, F Kenyon Martin, F Reggie Evans, F/C Joe Smith and F Eduardo Najera. This front court depth will be vital should the starters get injured for a sustained amount of time or need to make a trade down the road. Marcus Camby needs to play in at least 65 games for the Nuggets to be an elite Western Conference team. When Camby is on the court, the Nuggets have someone that can control the paint by blocking shots and grabbing rebounds. Camby led the league in blocks last year and was in the top ten in rebounding. Hopefully a healthy Kenyon Martin will return to the all-star player he was for the New Jersey Nets. The new up tempo offense that coach Karl wants to run is perfect for Martin's energetic and high flying style. Martin is best when he's running the court or getting easy looks around the basket. His energy is infectious, whether that's making a key block that leads to a fast break, or brooding on the sidelines. If Martin can show not only the Nuggets that he's healthy, but the rest of the league as well, there a decent chance he be shipped off if the JR Smith experience is lackluster. Nene, the beastly Brazilian, played in only one game last year, actually is was more like one quarter after tearing up his knee in the season opener. The Nuggets welcome the highly talented F/C back and he's said to be nearly 100% back physically from the knee injury. Nene was awarded a huge contract in the off season and it's time he proves that he's worth it. Frankly, the Nuggets took a huge gamble by signing Nene to that huge contract after major knee surgery and when his most productive season has been 11.8 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Nene make look like Tarzan but so far in his brief career he's played more like Jane. Carmelo should see the bulk of the minutes at the SF spot, being spelled by second year man Linas Kleiza. Kleiza played very well in preseason and should get 10-12 minutes a night. While his style is not flashy or all that exciting, Kleiza is the the type of lunch pail worker that Karl loves.

The Nuggets back court is led by iron man Andre Miller. Miller is a solid yet unspectacular PG. One of the biggest questions is if Miller can be the floor general for a team that has promised to run like the Fat Lever led Nuggets of the 80s did. Is it a good thing when your 5-5 back up point guard has never me t a shot he doesn't like? While the average fan seems to love Lil' Earl Boykins, the die hards are driven mad by his George Constanza like "chucker" tendencies. Some nights when Boykins is on he's a great spark for the team, but the all too frequent nights of pounding the ball into the hardwood only to launch an awful shot as the 24 second clock is winding down are hopefully over. Coach Karl has promised an uptempo pace and that he wants shot up with 8 seconds. Yes you read that right, 8 seconds. I think we'll see a lot less of Boykins hurling up awful shots the season. AS was mentioned above, the SG spot is being manned by JR Smith. The job is his to lose. DerMarr Johnson was re-signed a few weeks into training camp and will have to fight to wrestle minutes away from JR Smith and Kleiza. Karl likes undrafted rookie G/F Yakhouba Diawara as a defensive stopper of the oppositions 2s and 3s. He does not provide much of an offensive threat, but if he is playing tenacious defense he'll get his minutes.

Overall, the out look for the Nuggets is bright. A couple of key things to watch are:
1. The relationship of George Karl and Kenyon Martin. If these two can get along and Martin stays happy, it will be a great benefit to the Nuggets and eliminate an elephant sized distraction.
2. The health of the front line. The top three players in the C/PF rotation all battled injuries last season. AS mentioned above, the Health of Marcus Camby is vital to the success of this team. The Nuggets proved they can play with out Martin and Nene to a certain degree, but they are also integral to the Nuggets winning the division and moving on past the first round.

Enjoy the season folks, see you at the Can!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!! Hoops starts tonight! Cont'd....

Now on to the Western Conference

Southwest Division
1.Dallas Mavericks- You know how Happy Gilmore finally learned how to putt? Well the Mavs finally learned how to play some D last season. Oh, and they still know how to score too, thanks in large part to the big German and MVP candidate, Dirk Nowitzki. He a complete offensive player and has started to pick up his defensive game, however that's not hard to do when he did not play any to begin with. Josh Howard and Devin Harris have really stepped up their games and are a huge reason why the Mavs were finally able to get over the Spurs hump. Jerry Stackhouse provides instant offense off the bench and is one of the best 6th men in the league. Avery Johnson has provided a toughness to this team that was badly needed and the Mavs should continue to be one of the West's top team.
2. San Antonio Spurs- Perhaps the most boring team in the league. In the fun and gun Western Conference, the Spurs play more like a rough and tumble Eastern Conference team. Tim Duncan was not himself last year after being bothered by some nagging injuries. Duncan is not getting any younger but is healthy and ready to prove himself once again as one of the elite players in the NBA. PG Tony Parker (Lucky bastard, dating Eva Longoria. I hate 'em) and Shooting Flopper, I mean Guard, Manu Ginobili help make the Spurs in to a dangerous from any spot on the floor. Bench guys like Micheal Finley and Brent Barry can come in and push the pace for the plodding Spurs. It's going to be nip and tuck with the Mavs all year for the race to win this division and most likely the #1 seed in the West.
3.Houston Rockets- Not to sound like a broken record, but the key here is health. Tracy McGrady and Yao HAVE to be healthy for the Rockets to have any success this year. This team could either be a surprise contender or an absolute mess. Bonzi Wells is the wild card here, he has to be happy with his role or he can be the dynamite that blows up the locker room. This team is not deep and any sustained injuries would likely submarine any playoff hopes. Rockets should be a lower seed playoff team.
4.New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets- Defending rookie of the year Chris Paul made his impact on the NBA felt immediately last season and dramatically improved the play of the guys around him (David West was the biggest benefactor). The Hornets brought in a talented under achiever in C Tyson Chandler and aging dead eye shooter Peja Stojakovic to help Paul out. If Chandler can become a force in the middle and show more than just glimpses of being a special player, the Hornets stand a good chance of making the playoffs, but that's about the ceiling for this squad.
5. Memphis Grizzlies- No Pau Gasol to start the season is a bad thing. So are all the other nagging injuries that this group has. Mike Miller is better suited coming off the bench but will be pressed into starting duty due to Gasol's broken foot. The back court (SG Eddie Jones and PG Damon Stoudamire) is getting up there in age are not the stars they once were. If, big IF, the Grizzlies can hold it together in Gasol's absence, they can contend for the 8th seed. If not, a 50 loss season is not out of the question.

Midwest Division
1. Denver Nuggets- Last year the Nuggets pretty much won the division by default and stole a #3 seed from Dallas. This year the Nuggs will have to earn not only the division, but home court for any part of the playoffs. Carmelo Anthony is coming off of a breakout season and phenomenal play with Team USA at the World Championships in Japan. Melo relished his leadership role on the team and led the US in scoring. Now if he can be the glue that holds not only Coach George Karl and combustible Kenyon Martin together, but the whole team, the Nuggs might be able to get out of the first round. Maybe he can glue Marcus Camby together after he breaks down at some point this season too. This team should win the division and make a run at 50 wins.
2. Utah Jazz- The Jerry Sloan led Jazz team has the makings of a scary good squad, but keeping the high flying Andre Kirilienko for getting hurt is a top priority. PG Derron Williams is coming into his own and Carlos Boozer is a beast when he wants to be; if he wants to be for 82 games, look out. This team sets picks about as well as any team in the league and is not afraid to play tough, teetering on dirty. If Derek Fisher can get healthy he provides a huge shooting spark of the bench and has alway been a clutch player. The Jazz could very easily win this division or they could finish right around .500 again. They could very well do both.
3.Seattle Supersonics- Can the Sonics play any defense? They were dead last in points allowed last season. Late last season addition Chris Wilcox did add some toughness to this team to go along with arguably the best pure shooter in the game, Ray Allen and all star forward Rashard Lewis. This team has to get some production from someone not named Allen or Lewis to be a threat to make the playoffs. Scary to think that this team won 60 games just two years ago. Making the playoffs is a success for this team.
4.Minnesota Timberwolves- Will he stay or will he go now? Rumors have circulated the last year or so about Kevin Garnett wanting out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Will the additions of PG Mike James and rookie Randy Foye help him stay? This team looks as explosive, and I don't mean that in a good way, as any team in the league. It's almost if they have become the home of the head cases (Not quite, Portland still hold a firm grasp on that beloved title). Ricky Davis is an all-star caliber player when wants to be, but he's also a colossal pain the ass. Kevin Garnett is still one of the top players in the league but he's no longer a pup. Will his drive to win it all force a trade to a contender? Stay tuned, this is going to be a story this season.
5.Portland Trailblazers- Yikes. They still have the market cornered on loony toon players. Zach Randolph being the leader of the pack. Million dollar body with a ten cent head is the term, I believe. Hopefully rookie guard, and likely rookie of the year winner, Brandon Roy can avoid the inherent poisoning that comes with being a Trailblazer and help this team out of the cellar of the Western Conference. Darius Miles has never lived up to his potential and is the match to Randolph's gasoline. This team finishing anywhere close to .500 would be a gigantic success.

Pacific Division
1.Phoenix Suns- This team plays like they were shot out of a canon, due to the up tempo pace the two time MVP Steve Nash plays at. The Suns proved they can win, at least in the regular season, with out big man Amare Stoudimire last season. To make a run at the Spurs and Mavs they need a healthy Amare. The Suns run teams ragged and simply try to outscore the opposition, bur come playoff time that becomes a tougher task. The trio of Nash, Stoudimire and swingman Shawn Marion is about as exciting as it gets. Marion is one of the best rebounders in the league despite being 6'7". The Suns should run, run, run, runaway with the Division title and be a threat to win the West.
2.Los Angeles Clippers- Finally the best team in the Staples Center. This team is hard nosed and smart, led by the wily vet Sam Cassell. Cassell seems to be getting better with age and has helped the Clips get over the hump. Elton Brand may be the most underrated player in the league and now that he's on a winning team he is starting to finally get his due. He's a constant 20-10 player and is nearly impossible to guard one-on-one. C Chris "Captain Caveman!!" Kaman is the best center no one has heard of. He's a ferocious rebounder and has nice touch around the rim, nicer than Reggie Evans touch, that's for sure. The Clippers will challenge the Suns for the division title and should be some where around 50 wins.
3-5 Again, throw these team into a hat and pick. Between the Kobe led Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors none of them present a threat in the West. The Warriors have great talents, but they are a seemingly cursed franchise. Phil and Kobe miss Shaq more than either will ever admit to, but at least Kwame Brown is playing better right? The Kings had a great push after acquiring NBA crazy man Ron Artest. When Artest is on, or not recording an disastrous rap album, he's damn near unstoppable. He's got a great offensive game and might be the best defensive player in the league. Problem is he's crazy. Like mental hospitable crazy. He was on his best behavior last year, but much like Terrell Owens, it's only going to last so long before he blows up. Any of these teams making the playoffs is a success for the season. They then get the ever so fun task of playing the Mavs, Spurs or Suns in the first round. Ouch.

Happy Halloween!! Hoops starts tonight!

Pumpkin or basketball? If you asked a handful of NBA superstars, like Shaq, Iverson and Melo, they are more likely to tell you the thing pictured left is a pumpkin or at least feels like one. I've not yet had the chance to get my hands on one of these new NBA balls, but the reviews thus far are something less than complementary. Players have said it feels like the rubber outdoor balls that we all used to use in grade school and that it's much lighter than the previous all leather ball. I wondering if P.E.T.A. somehow got in David Sterns ear about how using a leather ball was inhumane and cruel and he decided to be a trend setter. One is left to wonder....

Lets get on to more important things shall we? The NBA season is upon us and tips off tonight with the Bulls vs. Heat at 6pm MST and the Suns vs. Lakers at 8:30 MST. The Bulls-Heat match-up has some interesting story lines. For the Heat fans, the ring ceremony and raising of the 2006 World Championship banner are greatly anticipated, not to mention seeing basically their entire roster come back to defend their title. The Bulls meanwhile, have added star C Ben Wallace, a free agent this off season, for defensive and rebounding help and some needed interior toughness. While Wallace may not be able to hit the broad side of a barn from the charity stripe he's a tenacious rebounder and one of the best defenders in the NBA. The Heat feature NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade and the ultimate (and aging) big man in the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal. Bolstered by long time NBA vets and former all-stars, Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning, the Heat are the favorites to win their division and should be a favorite to win the Eastern conference.

Suns -Lakers should be a wide open game with lots of offense and pretty much no defense. Kobe and Steve Nash in prime time is a dream match up for most NBA fans. The Lakers finished last season on a roll and hope to build off that momentum this season, problem is both the Suns and Staples Center co-tenant Clippers are better teams than the Lakers and are in the same division. Someone other than Kobe Bryant is going to have to step up for the Lakers to have a chance at being anything more than a 7th or 8th seed in the playoffs. The Suns, assuming Amare Stoudemire is healthy, should be a top seed in the Western Conference come playoff time but they still need to figure out how to play defense and get by the Spurs and Mavs.

Now on to the division breakdowns

Division Previews
Atlantic Division
1. New Jersey Nets- Assuming the trio of Kidd, Carter and Jefferson can stay healthy, they should dominate this weak division. The continued growth of C Nenad Krstic is a bonus to this team. Another 3rd seed in the playoffs is pretty much a guarantee.
2-5 Mix em up and throw them in a hat and pick. The rest of this division is terrible. Maybe the Celtics can step up and actually play to their talents level this year. Perhaps Isiah Thomas can get over the disaster that was the Larry Brown hiring and prove that he's worthy of being an NBA GM. Isiah spends money like a drunken sailor in a Singapore whore house and has the highest paid and most under achieving roster in the NBA. Hey, at least they dumped Jalen Rose's near 17 million dollar salary. The Philadelphia Allen Iverson's should be the same one man gang we've seen over the last few seasons. Lot of AI and not much else. The real story here will be to see if Iverson makes it past the trade deadline in a 76ers uniform. Oh yeah, there's this team in Toronto that has one of the best young players in the league in post player Chris Bosch. Bosch is a 20-10 type player but gets no attention playing north of the border. It's a damn shame too because kid has crazy game.

Central Division
1. Detroit Pistons- Led by star PG Chauncey Billups the Pistons will have to fight off challenges from the young Bulls and the Lebron James lead Cavaliers. The Pistons are known for their defense, but how much will they miss Big Ben Wallace? Nazr Mohammed is half the player that Wallace is but the Pistons still have the other Wallace, Rasheed and super sub Forward Antonio McDyess. This team should be contending for the Eastern Conference crown once again.
2.Cleveland Cavaliers- One word: Lebron. Lebron James is THE NBA superstar right now. The scary part is he's only going to get better and may already be the best all around player in the NBA. Scary thought for someone that's just 21 years old. If Larry Hughes can stay healthy, this team can be a threat to Detroit and win the division.
3. Chicago Bulls- Da Bulls are one of the chic picks this year because of the new addition mentioned above, Ben Wallace. The Bulls have a bunch of young talent with Ben Gordon, the John Stockton-esque Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni. Rookie Tyrus Thomas will provide some highlight reel plays throughout the season and will be one of the more exciting first year guys in the league. If .everything comes together for this team they could threaten to win the division crown, but are probably another year away
4. Milwaukee Bucks- Jack Sikma, Sidney Moncrief and Terry Cummings lead the bad, 80s flashback. Second year C Andrew Bogut and sharp shooter Micheal Redd lead this team and the off season aquisition of F Charlie Villanueva should bolster the front court. The Bucks biggest problem is they play in the ultra competitive and talented Central division and the teams above them are just plain better.
5. Indiana Pacers- Shootem Up, shootem up!! And I'm not talking about taking shots behind the arc either. The Pacers continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Stephen Jackson was involved in an early morning shootout outside of a, ahem, gentlemen's club in Indianapolis last month. Aside from F Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers don't have a superstar on the roster but do have some good veterans and a great coach in Rick CarlislekeK. If O'Neal can avoid the injury bug that's plagued his career the Pacers should be competing for a playoff spot. A division championship seems to be a reach for this team.

Southeast Division
1. Miami Heat- The defending champs are primed to not only repeat as the division and Eastern Conference
champs, but quite possibly as NBA champs. The Heat centerpieces are D-Wade and Shaq, with a great supporting cast of veterans such as Antoine Walker, Jason Williams,Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, and James Posey. The only way this team stumbles is if D-Wade has a lengthy injury that keeps him out of 20+ games. This team can score and play nasty defense. The coach aint too shabby either...some dude named Riley.
2.Orlando Magic-Are these guys the Arizona Cardinals of the NBA? A young stud team that the pundits are high on that falls on their face or a team that's ready for prime time? I say the latter. Dwight "Don't call me Schrute" Howard is a budding superstar and rapidly becoming a dominant inside force. Howard should get some good support from former superstar and oft injured SG Grant Hill. The former all-star and Duke studis said to be healthy and in great shape (where have we seen that before?) and is joined by fellow Dookie, rookie sharpshooter JJ Reddick.
3. Washington Wizards- Too bad gmaes are not played on paper, because this is a pretty talented and loves to run. Gilbert Arenas is a flat out stud, Caron Butler can fill it up and Antawn Jamison is still one of the top PF in the East. This team is just good enough to challenge for one of the last playoff spots and that's about it.
4-5 Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks- Both teams are young and not very good. The Bobcats have talents, but that talent spend more time on a training table than on the court. Adam Morrison should be a contender for the ROY award. The Bobcats have an over abundance of bigs and not much help for the 2 and 3 positions. Maybe they can move a big for a 2 guard? The Hawks don't seem to have any direction what so ever. They whiffed in last years draft by not drafting Chris Paul and getting yet another tweener in Marvin Williams. Williams had his momments last year, but still seems like he a ways from reaching his potential. Joe Johnson can fill it up from anywhere on the court but will need scoring help from Willimas and PF Josh Smith. Speedy Claxton is not the answer at PG for this team. Maybe once management is done squabbling and figures out what direction they want to take this team, other than into the ground, we will see the Hawks rise and become a good young team. Don't hold your breath.

Next up, the Western Conference

Monday, October 30, 2006

BCS Shake ups and Shaking itself out??

This past week of college football helped a handful of team realize their goal of appearing in the BCS Championship game was still in reach. Ohio State continued to dominate and appears to be the best team in the country. Michigan played a sloppy game against Northwestern but still remained undefeated. The match up between these two hated rivals on November 18th will determine at least one of the two teams that will play in the BCS Championship Game in Glendale, Arizona, January 8th. USC's loss to an average Oregon State team you could see coming from a mile away, or in my case about 1,200 miles away. The Trojans had struggled in their previous three games to put their opponents away and now have the daunting task of playing #22 Oregon, #10 Cal and #9 Notre Dame, all at home before their last game against crosstown rival UCLA. There's quite possibly another loss in those four games for the Trojans somewhere, effectively elimanating them should they lose one more time.

The teams that benefited most from this loss? That would be the two undefeated Big East teams West Virginia and Louisville who face each other on Thursday. The winner of this game will then need to get by undefeated Rutgers (Yes, you read that right, undefeated Rutgers) to insure a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Rutgers could easily throw a monkey wrench into either Louisville or West Virginia's plans to get to Glendale. If some very strange scenarios develop, Rutgers could be knocking on the BCS Championship Game door if they win the Big East and are undefeated.

So who's rooting for Rutgers?

That would be the numerous 1 loss teams such as #4 Florida, #6 Auburn, #7 Texas, #8 USC, #9 Notre Dame, #10 Cal, #11 Tennessee and #13 Arkansas. Should Louisville or West Virginia both stumble and have 1 loss apiece, I'd put my money on the winner of the SEC going to face the winner of the OSU vs. Michigan showdown for the BCS Championship.

Isn't college football great?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Can an 18 year old change the direction of a program?

The folks that run the various CU recruiting sites have been keeping close tabs on the Centennial state's top prospect among the 2007 Colorado High School seniors. Gigantic offensive tackle (6'8" 280 pound) Ryan Miller, who's unanimously the state top prospect and only 5 star rated player, has apparently given his verbal commitment to the Golden Buffaloes. The Buffs beat out such national powers as Notre Dame, Southern Cal, Nebraska, Florida, Miami (FL), Florida State for his services. For what ever reason, CU has not been able to land a 5 star high schooler, in state or out of state since 2001. The verbal commitment of Miller is huge for a program and it's fans who have suffered through a 1-7 start to the 2006 season. Congratulations to Coach Hawkins and staff for landing a true crown jewel to this recruiting class.

So what can an 18 year old do for the direction of a program? Many things. For one, it makes other top recruits stand up and take notice. Many recruits can't see past the abysmal 1-7 record and see what coach Hawkins is building and what Colorado has to offer, but when one of the best players in the country gives his pledge to go to the top state university, these kids do notice. Another positive is that skill players, i.e. QBs, WRs and RBs want to play behind talented offensive linemen, whether that's protecting the QBs blind side, opening up a hole and pancaking a defender for a RB or giving the QB time to find the WR, it all starts upfront with offensive linemen. Ryan Miller is a big building block in getting the University of Colorado back to national prominence.

Glad to have you aboard Ryan Miller, the buff family welcomes you with open arms!

Please click here to get a glimpse of Ryan Miller

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lights Out!!!!!

So is the "Lights Out" nick name given to recently suspended roid boy Shawn Merriman in reference to what he does to opponents or the lights being off upstairs? In this day and age of competition and short lived careers in pro sports it's not surprising that players are looking for any edge they can get. Sadly, taking the short cut hardly ever works out, see Bosworth, Brian. So is Shawn Merriman an all-pro Lawrence Taylor wannabe (hey, at least Merriman's not playing whiled coked up, he's got that going for him which is nice) or someone that had the talent elevated by illegal substances? Time will tell, but it's a shame that someone that looked to be the next dominant defensive player will for ever have a shadow of doubt cast over him due to his complete lack of judgment. Should have called Greg Anderson, he'd have taken the fall for him for a small fee.

(I'm thinking he must have been off the juice when Todd Heap dragged him on his way to a TD in the Chargers loss to the Ratbirds earlier this month, pictured above)

Turn out the lights, the party's least for the next four weeks for Shawn Merriman


How good are these guys? Pretty Damn good, but will anyone outside of Bronco nation ever acknowledge it?

Assuming that my beleaguered Colorado Buffaloes offense did not steal the Browns offense's uniforms, the Broncos stifled another NFL offense on Sunday. Yes, that was the 31st ranked O in the league that the defense shutdown, but man, did they completely dominate yesterday. If not for Jake Plummer treating the pigskin like beads being tossed down to topless women on Bourbon Street, the defense would have pitched their first shutout since week 11 last year. Dammit Jake. The defense is not thumping their chest too much though because of who the upcoming opponent is; the 6-0 Indianapolis Colts lead by their fearless pitchman, er, QB Pay-me-a-ton Manning. We'll get to that match up shortly. The game in ever so lovely Cleveland got off to an auspicious start, with former Brown Gerrard Warren getting hurt (the piggie that went to market was sprained) on the first defensive snap. Fortunately that was not indicative of the rest of the blustery afternoon on the shores of Lake Erie. The defense came out and punched the Browns in the mouth, with the key play being a sack of QB Charlie Frye on fourth and 1 early in the 1st quarter. The Broncos mounted a 10-0 halftime lead and for all intents and purposes, the game was over. The Broncos were able to pin their ears back and really get after Charlie Frye, sacking him 5 times led by rookie DE Elvis Dumervil who had 3 sacks. (Dumervil in 2 games has 5 sacks, besting the team leaders from last year who shared the team lead with 4.) Champ Bailey was his same dominating self, getting yet another endzone/goaline interception. Al Wilson, DJ Williams and Ian (or Ion as Dick Enberg kept calling him) Gold stuffed former Bronco, TB Rueben Droughns all day, limiting him to 33 yards on 12 carries. Wilson had a strip of the football from Droughns that made me shout out, in my best Deebo from Friday voice, "That's my ball, punk!"

Hopefully, that's where the Deebo references stop, as most of us will remember that Deebo ended up getting "Knocked the f*$k out". This D has to raise it's game to another level as the high octane Colts come to Denver in the ever so cliche match up of "Irresistible force" and "Immovable Object" . The Colts come in with the best offense, statistically, in the AFC. This cast of characters has embarrassed the Broncos in back to back playoff games in Indy during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Things have changed since then, as the Broncos no longer have to start undrafted special teamers like Roc Alexander to cover Reggie Wayne. The 2005 draft was centered around 3 cornerbacks who have each proved worthy of their draft status, led by 5'8" mighty mite Darrent Williams, who will now have the task of guarding the aforementioned Wayne. Now put Champ Bailey on the other side on perennial ALL-Pro Marvin Harrison and this should not be the lopsided mismatch from disasters past. The key is going to be getting pressure on Manning and knocking him around some. Maybe the super rook Dumervil can continue his sack barrage and put Manning on his back side a few times. So, is this D one for the ages, or just another decent D under defensive coordinator Larry Coyer? I think we'll know the answer to that questions come 5:15MST or so Sunday evening.

Go Broncos!

A side note.....If any one has a good nick name for this defense please let me know. At this point I've not been able to come up with anything good.

5-1.....but how good are the Broncos with Jake Plummer?

What a bizarre day yesterday.

First, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the Broncos are prepared to yank Jake Plummer in favor of Jay Cutler if Plummer falters against Cleveland. Then as the game starts, the Broncos are chucking the ball over over the field despite 25+ mph swirling winds coming off Lake Erie. It was as if Coach Shanahan was going to let actually open up the play book and try to score more than 13 points, not that they need more than that with the way the defense has been playing. It seemed like it was a "make or break" type game for Jake Plummer. Bronco fans know what a lightening rod Jake Plummer is; from flipping of the fans to flipping a left handed interception to having an outstanding winning percentage (37-12 as a Broncos starter) it's hard to get a gauge on this guy. Despite his great regular season winning percentage, critics like to point to the QB's 1-3 record in the playoffs, and sub-par stat line in those games. Not all of that 1-3 record can be pinned on Plummer however, as the defense in the three losses was lit up like Ted Kennedy on a two hour “power lunch”. Back to yesterday, Plummer started 3-9 with an INT, then proceeds to make all the throws and help the Broncos to a 10-0 halftime lead. Game over right? Seemingly so, yes, it's over with a defense that's only allowing 7.3 points a game. After taking the opening kickoff of the second half and driving all the way down the field, capped by a rookie WR Brandon Marshall touchdown reception and making the score 17-0, Plummer reverted back to his "Bad Jake" ways and gift wrapped an interception to the Browns. This gave the Browns the ball at the Denver 18 yard line and just three plays later the Browns had scored on a 6 yard TD pass from Charlie Frye to WR Joe Jurevicius. The shutout was over, thanks in part to Jake Plummer. Despite two more near INTs from Plummer, the Broncos salted away the clock in the 4th quarter and walked out of Cleveland with a nice road win. So what to do with Jake Plummer? Can you bench a guy that's 5-1 and is a proven winner in Denver? I've defended Plummer since his signing in 2003, but even I'm getting restless watching him scare the ever living crap out of me game in and game out. I have feeling that Jake Plummer has two more games to prove himself to Coach Shanahan and his teammates. These next two games against the high powered and undefeated (6-0) Indianapolis Colts in Denver and the defending World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh will be a true measure of where this team is with Jake Plummer at the helm. There's way too much talent on this offense to be averaging just over 13 points per game. Arguably, the Broncos have the best receiving core in team history in Rod Smith and Javon Walker, or at least on par with the back to back Super Bowl teams featuring a young Rod Smith and Ed McCaffry. Tatum Bell has proved that he can carry the load and is on pace for 1,600 yards. While Jay Cutler had a titillating preseason, the thought of rookie QB leading this team down the stretch and potentially into the playoffs is one that makes this fan uneasy. Unfortunately, I have a similar feeling with the current starting QB as well.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Go Buffs!!!

It's been a rough season for this buff fan. Hell, the last year has been tough *cough*70-3*cough* and losing to a freaking 1-AA team was like a swift kick to the nether region. All that being said, the Buffs seem to have found a guy in Dan Hawkins that can lead this team and be an ambassador for Buff football, especially in the ever bizarro fantasy land called Boulder. I'll save that rant for another time. Coming into this season, I felt like a 7 win season was not only realistic but a certainty. I could have never predicted what has happened to this point. Losing to the Bobcats of Montana State felt like I was being featured on Punk'd. Seriously, where's Ashton? To compound matters, I had plans to travel to Athens GA and Columbia, MO to see CU on the road and it was seeming like a not so good idea. (I try to get to at least one away game a year and a game in Athens was a must.) CU damn neared pulled of the stunning upset of the then ranked #9 UGA Dawgs and then was overwhelmed in Columbia. However, in these two losses you could see the entire CU team getting better, finally culminating in a 30-6 victory of the Texas tech Red Raiders last Saturday. Sad to say, but I had almost forgot what a Buff win felt like. They feel really good by the way. I have tempered my expectations this season, but expect the Buffs to play more like they did against Texas Tech than they did against Montana State. This weekend provides the Buffs with a chance to have a statement win this season. Playing in Norman, OK is never easy and since Bob Stoops took over the program, the Sooners have lost 2, that's right 2 home games for a 45-2 home record in his tenure. The absence of All American and future top five NFL pick Adrian "All Day" Peterson is going to be telling. The Sooners will miss Peterson's production, accounting for nearly 50% of their total offense, not to mention his leadership and swagger. Will Sooner QB turned WR turned QB Paul Thompson be able to lead the Sooner O down the field against a CU D that befuddled the explosive "Air Raid" offense just a week ago? We'll find out tomorrow.

So here are the keys to the game (Standard Color Analyst stating the obvious style):
1. Score more points than the opposition
2. Don't commit turnovers
3. Run the ball with success
4. Win the field position battle

Don't you hate it when you see these "experts" spouting off this crap? Thanks Captain Obvious, I was not sure if scoring more points would help in winning the game.

Okay, so the keys to the game.
1. Cold beer in hand at least 5 minutes prior to kick off.
2. Food within an arm length. You are wasting valuable energy if it's not.
3. Make sure the Tivo is set to record. That way you can pause and frame by frame watch the call that the Big 12 officials completely whiffed on and bitch about it for the next 15 minutes.

Now your set!

Go Buffs, beat the Sooners!

Hello my name is Tre and I have a sports problem

Welcome to Colorado Sports blog. I've alway wanted to "write" about one of my greatest passions, sports. While most of what you'll see posted here will pertain to the various sports teams that call the great state of Colorado home, I'll also be talking about the national and world sports scene when appropriate. I'm a Colorado native that was born bleeding Orange and Blue and seemingly raised at Falcon Stadium (thanks Dad!) and later indoctrinated into the wonderful world of the Silver and Gold of the University of Colorado Golden Buffaloes. Along the way I hope you take the time to get to know my style; it's sometimes precocious, sometimes gregarious, sometimes outrageous but always passionate (not in a soccer hooligan kind of way though). I'm what I like to call an objective homer. Somewhat contradictory you say? Well, yes and no. I understand the flaws of my sports teams and will acknowledge them when needed, but I have also been blessed to follow some of the best sports franchises/programs in the country, at least in my opinion. So sit back, crack a brew and let me attempt to entertain and amuse you.