Hoop Dreams

May 29, 2008

Remember when you were a kid and you thought you were totally going to play college ball?

 

Me too.  Did you?

 

Yeah, me neither.

 

Well, not really anyway.  I played basketball in high school, and was probably good enough to make teams at either of the colleges that I spent any significant time at, but I never played.  I guess I’ve played intramurals and a lot of pick-up games, but no actual college basketball to speak of.  So far, that is.

 

You see, I am faced with an interesting decision as I head into next school year, and it is one that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  I will be graduating next year.  That means this is my last chance to be able to say for the rest of my life, “Yeah, I played a little college ball.”  I could even throw the acronym NCAA up in there, but I think I would leave out the Division III part, unless someone asked specifically.  Since next year will be my fifth year in college, I will have a slightly lighter schedule which could allow for me to try out for and potentially play on my school’s team.  Sounds like a no-brainer to all the hardcore college sports fans.

 

The problems begin in those gray areas of “slightly lighter” and “could allow. . .” and continue all the way through me keeping two jobs.  I’m still not entirely sure if the time commitment required to be on the team is going to be something that I can afford monetarily or scholastically, and I’m also somewhat worried about the potential effect on my social life, sucking time out of relationships that I would like to maintain and putting it on the hardwood.  When I was in high school, it was way easier to play ball and get by, mainly because the classes were easier and I didn’t have to work so much.  Now, I find it tough even to get to the gym a couple of nights a week, between work and school and homework and whatever else.  Plus in high school, all the girls seemed to hang out in the gym anyway, so it just made perfect sense.

 

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the whole thing but I would relish some feedback.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Make the team – me

Not end up wanting to play halfway through – half the players

Not really know what to do until it’s too late – me again

Be the super-est senior ever – still me

Do the “Eagle Cry” – Swirv


Tuning In After Dropping Out

May 29, 2008

This is a time that I loathe.

 

It’s springtime, the weather has been warm, and the girls are all running around my campus wearing skirts and wanting attention.  And as well they should.  Seems like they have been hitting the gym all winter and they are all rockin’ new outfits and showing off their hard work.  I feel them.  I’ve been putting in a little work myself, and it’s always nice to see someone else noticing the fruits of your labors.  All of this is fine and good, to a degree.

 

However, I’ve found that the springtime sun, the various other spring-oriented activities and the inherent twitterpation that goes along with all of that have served as not much more than an intimidating list of preferable distractions to my scholastic endeavors.  This is a problem for those who are trying to graduate by next spring.

 

But beyond all of those things that I would rather be doing than homework, I haven’t been able to see any interesting college sports being played since March Madness ended.  Since that fateful day when the Jayhawks cleaned up the NCAA Tournament, I haven’t had much but recruiting news and speculation to discuss.

 

While many professional sports fans have been watching the NBA playoffs and maybe even the Stanley Cup race (yawn), I have been checking ESPN’s website like there is no tomorrow, hoping that somewhere in the middle of all the less interesting things there would be updates about college football and basketball.  So far, the pickings have been slim.

 

I cannot wait until late August rolls around and suddenly college football action will be back in full swing.  I’m super stoked about what the new look Ducks will be bringing to the table, and I’m also excited to see what their basketball team will do with their No. 15 recruiting class, as ESPN puts it.  If you haven’t already figured it out, ESPN.com is my ultimate authority on everything.

 

The point is, I need more college sports in my life, because baseball and lacrosse will just not cut it.  Although lacrosse is kind of cool in a way.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Be a little bummed until August – me

Win the Stanley Cup – Detroit Red Wings

Come just shy – Sidney Crosby

Not give a rat’s behind what happens in the Stanley Cup race – me

Be the ish in the Pac-10 next year – University of Oregon


A Walk in the Parker

May 29, 2008

she got now

(DISCLAIMER: This post may not seem college sports related, but this girl is fresh off an NCAA title, so it counts…)

 

When the WNBA first started to take off, their slogan was “We Got Next.”  While that may still be true to some extent, some dramatic things are happening with the league, specifically the recent addition of some stellar athletes.

 

For example, Candace Parker, who led Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols to back to back national titles.  She got drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks and now gets to play along side Lisa Leslie all year.  Candace Parker?  She got now.

 

In her WNBA debut, she looked like an MVP candidate.  She dropped 34 points, the most ever for a league debut, and added 12 boards on top of that.  Cappie Pondexter, the go-to player for the Phoenix Sun, reigning champions and LA’s opponent in the opening contest, did her fair share to try to prevent the rookie from pulling out the game, but her 32 points weren’t quite enough to get it done.  So, in her first game in the league, Parker outscores the highest scorer on the defending championship team and leads her team to victory.  Nice story line.

 

What now?  Is she going to change the face of the league?  Perhaps a better question would be, “What does the face of the league even look like?”  Because certainly this girl is off the talent chain, but what I’m wondering is how long we will be waiting until people are actually paying enough attention to what is happening, and really, what is enough attention?  I’m still not entirely sure how interesting the majority of the games are, and I haven’t been able to see enough of the action to really make that judgment, so until then I suppose I will continue to watch the NBA playoff and catch the occasional highlight from Candace.  Either way, I feel like the WNBA may very well experience a talent surge in the next couple years that will help to bring the league to its maturation level.

 

I don’t know if it is sexist or innappropriate for me to mention this, but in case you haven’t noticed, she is also kinda cute.  In an athletic way.  Or maybe just a regular way.  Denby, just stop talking.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Still not matter for a minute – the WNBA

Be the MVP – Candace Parker

Win the title – LA Sparks

Not know about it – the majority of sports fans

Be pissed off that no one knows about it – LA Sparks


A C’Ryan Shame

May 29, 2008

Ryan Perrilloux is retarded.

 

Let me rephrase that.  This whole Ryan Perrilloux thing is retarded.

 

I guess that may still be offensive.

 

Ryan Perrilloux is stupid.  I think THAT is a relatively safe (and politically correct) thing to say at this point.  This kid could have been the starting quarterback at LSU, the defending national champs, but seemed to have a “rule/law following problem” and was kicked off the team as a result of his various violations.

 

You know what else is stupid?  How eager some of these smaller schools were to pick him up.  Isn’t that a little silly?  This kid just got kicked off a team for basically being a problem athlete, and then smaller schools battled for his signature until finally Jacksonville St. won the exclusive rights to analyze his urine, and will undoubtedly insert him at quarterback immediately.

 

This seems like a bad plan.  But why, then, would this take place with such enthusiasm?  Maybe some of these schools are just so used to problem athletes that they almost feel less fulfilled if they don’t have a few wild cards on the team to wrangle on and off the field.  Coaches must get bored of only dealing with kids in their respective playing areas, so to keep things fun and exciting, they keep bringing in a new stellar athlete with a less than stellar penal record.  Yeah, penal record.  That’s what I said.  Yet somehow I can’t imagine that reality is as near to that as my sarcasm is thick.

 

Maybe I am being too harsh.  I’ve gotten second chances.  Even third.  And I imagine sooner or later here I’m going to need a fourth or fifth.  So, I’m not sure what the tally is for Perrilloux at this juncture, but maybe this is the best thing for humanity because it helps out a human in a tight spot, and most of us being human, it is vicariously and karmically good for everyone.

 

Nah.  It’s retarded.

 

MOST LIKELY TO:

 

Not get drafted – Ryan Perriloux

Do ok in their league – Jacksonville St.

Get killed in their league – LSU

Love the fact that LSU will struggle – THIS GUY

Actually turn out to be retarded – Ryan Perrilloux

Put the Tigers in a undeserved bowl game anyway – The BCS


BCS: Better Come up with Something

May 1, 2008

Better Come up with SomethingYesterday, the BCS committee, which I’m quite sure is made up of a bunch of old-school, money-having, stuck-in-their-ways, afraid-of-change old football guys, voted to reject a proposal for a playoff system.  When I first heard the news, I thought, “that sucks, we need a playoff system.”  Then I heard what the proposal was, and I agreed with the committee.

The proposal was for a system in which the top four rated teams in the BCS poll would play a three game playoff to decide the “undisputed” national championship.  This may seem like a step in the right direction, but it is too small of a tournament to really decide beyond a doubt which team is actually the best.  There would still be too many good teams left out of that picture.  Don’t get me wrong, one of the most exciting aspects of college football is that if you lose one game, your chances of winning the national title are almost certainly over.  This makes it so that every game is exceedingly important.  However, I feel like a tournament system like this would need to include at least eight teams to really be sure we know who is the best, and possibly even 16.  Sixteen is a large number, and it may take away from the luster of many of the other bowl games, which are a valuable tradition in college football and represent a lot of revenue.  Perhaps ten teams would be perfect.  The ten best teams playing a standard single elimination bracketed tournament with the top two seeds earning first round byes and the bottom four going through a play in round could work.  That way, even if we saw games like last season’s USC-Illinois Rose Bowl or Georgia’s shellacking of Hawai’i in the Sugar Bowl, they wouldn’t be the final games of the season.  We would still get to see how teams that blow out another BCS team in the first round fair against teams that had also made it that far.  It would seem like that would increase our certainty about the championship to the umpteenfold.

I believe there is a strong desire among college football fans to have a playoff system and alleviate the confusion.  But perhaps that isn’t the point.  Yesterday I was listening to ESPN radio on my local Los Angeles affiliate, and the on-air personalities were discussing this very issue.  Listeners were calling in, voicing their ideas for the perfect system, and finally one listener had something to say that I found to be highly enlightened, kind of funny, and exceedingly poignant.

“I think the system is perfect just as it is, because if we had a playoff system, we wouldn’t be talking about college football right now.  It’s April, and we are talking about college football.”

Well put.  Perhaps the best thing for all of us sports fans, bloggers, and radio hosts is for the BCS to have disputed national champions every season.

MOST LIKELY TO –

Remain unchanged for another generation – the BCS
Give themselves more money this year since they had to hear a proposal – The BCS Committee
Miss the BCS – Ohio State (only a slightly educated guess on my part)
Take home a BCS Title – The Pac-10 or SEC
Argue incessantly about this issue – anyone who truly calls themself a fan
Write a book of spectacular insights – the listener I quoted
Never know who is the best college football team – everyone


To Put It Blountly

May 1, 2008

bustin\' a move in the spring gameBeing a fan of the Oregon Ducks, I was absolutely thrilled to read Ted Miller’s article on ESPN about our new running back, LaGarrette Blount.  I had been having concerns about how we were going to fill the shoes of the early-departed Jonathan Stewart, our stud junior tailback whose athleticism and strength are superhuman, and concerned that Jeremiah Johnson’s knee may still be feeling the ill-effects of an ACL tear that he suffered in the game against Washington State last season.  Fortunately, Ted’s article eased both of those worries, and now I am looking forward to see if we can yet again possess the best backfield in the Pac-10.

 

Blount hails from Perry, Fla., and had initially committed to Auburn out of high-school but was unable to meet academic eligibility standards, and played at East Mississippi Community College.  The buzz last season was that he was headed for Florida State, but after watching Oregon beat USC last season on national television and a recruiting trip from running back’s coach Gary Campbell, he decided to make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Nike, the holy land of track and field, and the school that has consistently had the best running game in the Pac-10 for about a decade.  Good choice, LaGarrette.

 

The scoop on this kid is that while the coaching staff thought he was solid, he showed up huge in the spring game and gained 68 yards on five carries, and is now drawing comparisons to eight-year NFL veteran Reuben Droughns, who was also an Oregon product, and was a big-time back during his college career. 

 

Ted’s article also makes many references to Oregon’s vibrant array of uniform combinations.  This is something that I’ve had an ever-evolving relationship with.  When they first started pulling out some of the yellows, those nasty gold helmets that they tried once or twice, and the all-white storm trooper get-ups, I was a little unsure.  I was so in love with the all-black and dark green “smooth criminal” look that they tend to strut for home games, and even with the “roboduck” look of the Joey Harrington/Onterrio Smith era, but eventually it all grew on me.  Now, I think of it as such: whether you love it or you hate it or you just don’t know how to feel about it, you are talking about it, and therefore, talking about Ducks Football.

 

In the words of LaGarrette Blount, “those uniforms are tight,” but hopefully not tight enough to restrict him from blowing open Pac-10 defenses and establishing himself as the future (and likely the immediate present) of the Oregon backfield.

 

MOST LIKELY TO –

 

Go pro after his junior season – LaGarrette Blount

Be the lightning to Blount’s thunder – Jeremiah Johnson

Get a pay increase – Gary Campbell

Continue to draw outstanding recruits – University of Oregon

Knock off USC again – Ducks?

Get hurt again – Rudy Carpenter

Start a conversation about the Ducks – ::pointing thumbs at self:: THIIIIS GUUUY!


J-Stew is a Beast

May 1, 2008

Oh, how we shall miss thy skills, StewIf anybody still doesn’t know about Jonathan Stewart, allow me this opportunity to open your eyes.  I’m not speaking of the host of the Daily Show on Comedy Central, but rather the second running back selected in the NFL Draft this weekend.  Still don’t know who I’m talking about?  He was a stud for the University of Oregon for the last few years, and the Carolina Panthers were wise enough to snatch up his pure athleticism and power before someone else did.  He went 13th overall and was only the third offensive player taken at that point behind Darren McFadden and Matt I-Hope-I’m-As-Good-As-People-Think-I-Am Ryan.  You may think, from the tone of my text right there, that I’m just hating on Matt Ryan, and who is to say that Jonathan Stewart will be as good as anyone (specifically me) thinks he is?  That is a valid point, but let me offer something up for your consideration.  Jonathan Stewart is an absolute beast.  He scored higher than anyone had ever scored when he took Nike’s athleticism test, and he benches as much or more than the offensive line that blocked for him (400+).  His legs are phenomenally strong, and he can break through tackles with proficiency.  But not only is this kid a ridiculous physical specimen, he has also developed into a smart running back, knowing when to let things develop, and when to turn on the jets.  He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he’s smart, and in the NFL, there is scarcely a better combination.  I can’t count the number of times I thought this guy was going to get tackled, only to jump out of my seat in awe as I saw him spin off one defender, stiff-arm another, and then jump over another guy en route to a first down or a touchdown.

I’ve never been that big of an NFL fan, because I hail from a college town (Eugene, OR) and find the passion and pageantry of college sports to be far more intoxicating than the pros, but I might just start being a Panthers fan if they are smart and give J-Stew some touches.  Hopefully they recognize that he has the athletic potential to be a big time back in the league, if not right away, in the near future.  They must, otherwise why would they have drafted him so high?  Exactly.  Go Stew, Go Panthers, Go Ducks, I’m out.

 

MOST LIKELY TO –

 

enjoy the many looks of the Full House formation at Carolina – J-Stew

be stoked that they got J-Stew – Carolina Panthers

be the next junior running back to get drafted from Oregon – LaGarrette Blount

be yet another QB flop in Atlanta – Matt Ryan

go 6-10 this year – Oakland Raiders

win next season’s intramural football championship – my team

have a majorly disappointing year – Giants fans