Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Blogpoll Roundtable: EDSBS Style

Ok, so I'm not a voting member of the Blogpoll. As usual The boys over at EDSBS decided that we all should have a say and came up with their own version of the Blogpoll Roundtable. Clever one guys!

1) Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn't exist.

Born : Los Angeles, California.

Undergraduate: Seeing that I didn't go to college my real life education was earned courtesy of the US Navy. Stops along the tour included the 1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton, CA and The National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD

Grad School: Numerous deployments overseas that include a myriad of third world countries that hate the USA. At least the Med was as beautiful as I imagined.

Universities you would attend if your alma mater didn't exist: The University of Southern California, of course. Or the the US Naval Academy. Let's just say that concentrating on my studies in High School was not a priority.

2) Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in order. For instance, your alma mater's football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater's lacrosse team.
  1. USC Football
  2. The Washington Redskins, during the first Gibbs era
  3. USC Football
  4. The Baltimore Orioles, During the Ripken era
  5. USC Football
  6. Navy Football, but only when they play Army or ND
  7. USC Baseball, well my dad played for Dedeaux
  8. The LA Lakers, during Magic's era
  9. USC Football
  10. The NY Jets, to keep the wife happy
3) Movies. List the movie you've watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don't like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or b film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer's season.

Movies I've watched the most: Wall Street, that whole Greed is Good thing.

4) Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don't like to admit. If Nickleback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

Middle School: KISS, Ok so I'm a little older than most. I still remember getting KISS Alive I for my birhday and shreading two needles on my dads Sansui turntable.

High School: 1) Rush, by then I had my first drumset and I was determined to play along on the whole first side of 2112 while never missing a beat. 2) Van Halen, I saw them at Gazzarri's on the Sunset Strip right before they put out their firrst album in 1978. I never missed a tour until David Lee Roth left the group.

This guy is still my favorite

Navy: Pretty much the same as high school

Today: Well I gone in a lot of different direstions. I still hold onto Rush as my favorite group. I haven't missed a tour since Permanent waves in 1980 and I saw them last year at Radio City Music Hall for the R30 Tour. I have gotten more into Jazz, easier on the eardrums. I've spent a lot of time at the Irridium Jazz Club in NYC seeing a lot of the greats perform. From Les Paul to the Yellowjackets to Jaco Pastorius' Big Band. I still want to see Pat Metheny.

Secret Music Love: That tends to change as life happens. The Doobie Brothers "Without You" is my current secret music love because of the recent loss of some close to me.

5) Books. Favorite book you've finished, worst book you've finished and the book you really should read but haven't gotten around to it.

Favorite: Faith of My Fathers; Sen. John McCain and My Father, My Son; Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Lt. Elmo Zumwalt Jr.

Worst: Beacuse He Could ; Dick Morris

Need to read: Fly Boys; James Bradley

6) Travel. Favorite city you've ever been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

Favorite: St. Barts, it's easy to get to and easy to disappear while you're there.

It's easy to lose yourself here

Must Visit: Cuba. I have learned a lot about my Cuban heritage form my mom in the past few years and I would like to see it with her, but when I see it I hope the people are as free as we are here. Also Germany so that my wife can reconnect with her heritage.

7) What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

It reminds me of time spent with my dad.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Baseball Update: Mosiello named assitant to Kreuter

Coach Kreuter hired Bill Mosiello from the Yankees A team in Charleston S.C. and Tim Burton former Cal Poly Pomona assistant.

Mosiello's Bio from the Charleston Riverdogs Website

2005 will be Mosiello’s third season with the Yankees organization. He began the 2004 campaign as hitting coach for Class A Battle Creek in the Midwest League, before being named manager of the team on May 11 when Mitch Seoane was reassigned to the Yankees minor league complex in Tampa, FL. Mosiello guided Battle Creek to a 58-50 record.

Mosiello, 40, graduated from Fresno State University in 1986 and began his collegiate coaching career at Cerritos Junior College in California, leading the team to three state championships. He boasts a wealth of collegiate coaching experience, including stints at Cal State Fullerton (1991-1992) where he helped win a National Championship, University of Tennessee (1993-1994), University of Mississippi (1995), Oklahoma University (1996-2000) and Arizona State University (2001).

His managerial experience includes the Alaska Summer League (where he was named manager of the year twice), the Cape Cod League and the Great Lakes League.

A look at USC in 2006: The Offense

Dwayne Jarrett 2005 Orange Bowl

So I finally picked up my first Steele CFB Review. WOW! That’s a lot of information.

The first thing that jumps out is that he has SC going 12-0 in 5 out of his 7 power rankings. Interesting.

I’m not so sure that’s realistic. As I have said in the past SC has lost too much talent on the offense. Without a lot of big game experience I’m worried about the chemistry with all these new faces. There is no doubt that Pete Carroll has the gift of landing big time recruits. And he is legendary at motivating people to perform with his “if you’re good enough, you’ll start” philosophy that has produced some exciting players to watch over the years. These are my thoughts. Note: Any references to stats are Steele’s.

Today The Offense:

  • Is JDB’s back ready to take the day in and day out pounding that he would receive as the teams #1 starter? If not there is no doubt that Mark Sanchez has the talent but he lacks the game experience as well. If Booty’s back is suspect that would move Sanchez to #1 which would mean 3rd stringer McDonald would have to get his chops up to be available to step in at a moments notice.

  • Last years Offensive line was probably the best in the country. They gave up 17 sacks (3.5%) and primed the running game with a punishing 6 yards per carry. This years offensive line has only 2 starters returning, C Ryan Kalil and LT Sam Baker. Obviously the O line will not be as dominant as last years but they should be a solid unit and will get the job done. With LG Jeff Byers returning from a hip injury he will add some game experience and help shore up the backside. RG Chilo Rachal will start on the right side and his significant playing time last year will also provide some stability. RT will either be Kyle Williams or Charles Brown. TE Fred Davis had moderate contributions last year and has some big shoes to fill with the loss of Dominque Byrd.

  • The running back situation will be the most intriguing to watch. Now that Washington is academically eligible we should finally see just how good he is. Hershel Dennis is out with an ACL tear and I feel we will never see him in a Trojan uniform again. Desmond Reed is still a question with his torn knee ligaments that he suffered in last years ND game. SR Ryan Powdrell will also see some action as will Michael Coleman. Incoming freshman RB’s Emmanuel Moody and CJ Gable will put Coach Carroll’s philosophy to the test.

  • Provided that Booty settles into Sarkisian and Kiffin’s scheme and he has the time to throw the receiving corps will be something to watch. Jarrett is the lynch pin of the receivers. His size makes him a big target and he uses his size to get the advantage on those who cover. The two plays that stand out for me were the 4th and 9 play against ND and his TD catch in the 4th qtr. of the Rose Bowl where he gets up high on 2 Longhorn defenders. He’s a special player. Steve Smith is returning for his senior season. After having a great game against OU in the 2005 Orange Bowl he lived in Jarrett’s shadow last year and had about the same year as he had in 2004. He needs to have a big year if wants to go high in next years draft. SR Chris McFoy had a better year in 2004 than he did in 2005 and will see some action. Is Patrick Turner the next Jarrett? We will find out this year, as his playing duties will increase. He has got the size and the talent and he had a decent year as a freshman but he needs to concentrate more on hanging on to the ball, he had a number of drops last year. Of the 5 incoming freshman receivers Vidal Hazelton is sure to shine provided he keeps his grades up. He too will test Carroll’s philosophy.

There is definitely some potential here to stay near the top in polls in the coming season. I don’t think they will go undefeated but I do think they will win the Pac-10. I am concerned about the first game against Arkansas. Coming off the Rose Bowl loss and team chemistry will be the challenge for the first game. Other games that concern me are Arizona on 9/23 and Cal on 11/18.

Tomorrow the Defense.

UPDATE 6/28/06: I'll work on the defense over the weekend

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top Coaches: Who would you pick?

So CFB News had this article on who would be the to 50 coaches to hire. It seems that there is a little controversy on who and where on the list they should be. Just like trying to rank who's the best conference, there are a number of factors that must be looked at.

Time with their current team
Wins and Losses
Bowl Appearances
Bowl Records

Traditional powers should be at the top of the list; they tend to play the tougher schedules, but not all of them. Having one good season is not enough and just because you’ve been around the coaching ranks for a while doesn't get you automatic high marks if you haven't won in while. It’s not enough that you head up a storied program that MAY get better that you should be on the list either, i.e. ND or UF, there is no reason that Charlie Weis or Urban Meyer should be ahead of Mack Brown or Jim Tressle, what has Weis won? Meyer is still working to implement his offensive scheme with the Gators and while he’s had some great success in the past, this is the SEC. The future looks bright at UF but Meyer has not been there long enough to make the full impact on his style of play. I actually think he will do a better job in his second year than Weis.

My top 5 in no particular order:

Pete Carroll
Mack Brown
Jim Tressel
Bob Stoops
Mark Richt
Honorable Mention: Tommy Tuberville

All these guys know how to win and recruit. All have a minimum 5-year record and all but Richt have a title under their belt.

Again, it’s tough and I am certainly no expert. What do you do with those tenured coaches who have a proven track record but who have been a little off of their game lately? Bowden, Paterno, Fulmer, Spurrier and Beamer. They certainly know how to win and can still get up for the big game but does their age hold them back? Do they still have the energy level that some of these young guns have? The recruiting schedules alone get you a lot of time on the road and over time that will take its toll. Again, I’m no expert so this just from the gut with a little homerism and a healthy dose of hating your rival, ND, thrown in.

UPDATE 6/28/06: I found this article on the website. I guess I wasn't too far off on my observation. Mandel has 4 out of 5 from my top five listed and my # 5 listed 6th. I guess even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Thursday night walk around the blogosphere

Ripken brought me back
Kyle over at Dawg Sports has great read on his issues with major league baseball and how he doesn’t want his conflicts with the sport to interfere with sharing the baseball experience with his son. There are some interesting responses from his fellow bloggers from SB Nation in his post. If you are parent this post makes you want to think about how build a lasting bond with your kids when it comes to sports. I know it has for me.

Peter over at Burnt Orange Nation is fit to be tied. It seems he is getting restless and agitated with SMQ for his delay in posting his preseason assessment of Texas. True to form Peter has called SMQ out with a petition to get the ball rolling. PB must have the Midas Touch because SMQ responded with a promise of a review within two days if gets 300 signatures. OF COURSE I SIGNED IT!

Over at Bruins Nation, Block U, the new Utah Utes blog, is not ready to concede a loss to the Bruins in their season opener. He's calling out UCLA. Well then, let the games begin!

HP has a couple of good posts today, one on the new QB at Clemson and an interesting post on which programs that should be better. For you guys that watch tape I don’t know how you do it. I wouldn't know what to look for. I will note that HP's war of words with BON has yet to slow down but both sides continue to churn out great information.

On the World Cup Front

You better run...
Brian over at MGoBlog has his take on the US loss to Ghana. Bruce Arena better slip back into the country incognito, there are a lot of POed soccer fans calling for his scalp. You know that the MLS is in trouble when one of their premier players, Freddie Ado, can't wait to go international

Over at DC Trojan, Thistle71 educates us on why our elimination is not so bad for the US. Sadly he is dead on in his views. We may not have seen the worst yet when it comes to US Soccer. Having played all through high school I can tell you that soccer is clearly a sport for the suburbs. It's sad really, the games players have a tremendous amount of talent and skill and I'm afraid our nations youth is missing out on a great sport.

Nico over at Roll'bama Roll has the scoop on The Aggies going after Yahoo and FIFA for their use of the"12th man' phrase. If aTm spent this much time on fielding a better football team maybe their game with Texas would have been a little more competetive. The whole 12th man thing is losing its luster.

Last but not least here are the updated standings for the Fulmer Cup. Man, those guys crack me up!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Slow Day at the Office?!

Another SC Bad Act: This time it's Frostee Rucker!

You gotta love these new smart phones. I have a Treo 650 and it has all the bells and whistles. I am able to check most of the CFB sites, like BON and Dawg Sports, as time permits. Most of the comment posting I do during the day is on my phone. I am even able to post on this blog using Blogger on the Go.

So imagine my surprise when I found this little gem on BON this morning. Then there was the following post over at BN. Of course today of all days was a busy day in surgery with a couple of meetings thrown in between. So I couldn’t jump into the fray until I got home and gave Linda a break and got the baby down before her late night feeding.

Now when I read the two post’s regarding Frostee Rucker my first thought of course was here we go again. I have always ignored the police blotter when it comes to pro athletes. Once a player leaves SC I wish him luck but I don’t follow them as religiously as I do when they are in school. And when they get into trouble I shake my head and shrug it of as just another rich athlete breaking the rules.

Well this one is different, this incident happened in August 2005 and it appears to have been covered up until now. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE! When will Pete Carroll finally crack down on all this bad behavior? I’m happy with all the winning and accolades that he has brought SC over the past few years, but the price is too high. Up until this point SC has run a fairly clean program. There have been very few high profile incidents associated with the program until now.

It is not enough to bring in stud players, but those stud players need to understand that character matters. I have taken heat for my stand that Sanchez should have been suspended for the fake ID and underage drinking. I’ve hammered Bush about his need to come forward and explain the whole free housing issue. And recently, over on Scott Wolf’s Inside USC Blog, I took Leinart and his dad to task for throwing SC under the bus in regards to the Jarrett rent issue and Leinart’s Hollywood image, which solicited this response:

Thanks Paragon SC for your support over the past few years. Try not to break your leg while hopping off the SC bandwagon. You've lost all respect for the greatest Trojan and college football QB of all time - nice.

I agree that I don't really think his dad was right to handle the Jarrett issue the way he did but to turn on Matt is inexcusable. So he's "Hollywood" - what does that have to do with his ability to throw TD's or lead a team?

I guess if you were the photogenic leader of the greatest sports team in Los Angeles history (and for most of Matt's years at USC - in the entire US), constantly surrounded by celebrities, in one of the largest media centric cities in the world you wouldn’t be influenced at all.

If anything I give Matt props for staying as grounded as he is - most other kids in that situation would be coked out of their minds about 90% of the time and sleeping with a different celeb/stripper every night.

Congrats to you for being better than the rest of us.

You gotta love it. That’s typical message board mentality. I’m supposed to let it all pass by and not question it. What people seem to misunderstand is that these types of infractions will end up hurting USC when the NCAA starts punishing SC with lost scholarships, lost revenue and a loss of TV time. Meanwhile the offending players are off to the NFL to make their millions leaving SC to pick up the pieces and answer for the infractions of the mess left behind.

I’m a huge SC fan but I can’t accept players whose actions disrupt team chemistry or whose selfish actions will hurt the institution that gave them the chance to make millions only to have those actions make it tougher for future teams to come. I would rather not have won all that we have only to have it taken away because of selfishness. Pete Carroll needs to take a little more of a firm grasp of the helm that he commands that is USC football. Also how would people feel it was their sister that was allegedly beaten by Rucker or allegedly assaulted by Sanchez? Would you demand some accountability then?

It’s hard to tell with all the Kool-Aid going down like beer at frat kegger.

UPDATE 11:00pm: Looks like Frostee has Lawyered up according to Scott Wolf on his Inside USC Blog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SMQ's Take on USC

I know I’m a little late on this one, but I’d thought I’d comment on SMQ’s assessment of USC for the coming season. Heck I didn't even have the blog yet when he wrote it..

The Obvious: The whole backfield is gone, as is most of the front line and a pretty good TE. There are a lot of questions here. Without actual game time I find it difficult to fathom that SC will pick up where it left off, sans Rose Bowl loss. The biggest thing for me is chemistry. I don’t care how much talent the collective team has if they can’t play together they won’t go far.

As SMQ states:
Several hundred pounds of hardware is gone en route to the NFL, most notably from the prolific backfield that got most of the attention during the team's 34-game win streak. Most teams suffer noticeably from the departure of a Heisman winner; the Trojans will be the first team ever to try to replace two, along with five other all-Americans. As usual after the kind of three-year run by Leinart, Bush and Co., this squad seems strictly partitioned from the awe-inspiring continuity of the past three, which really felt like the exact same team from year to year.

Well, if I understand him correctly SMQ feels that USC will kind of pick up where they left off. I would agree that Pete Carroll has picked up some great talent in his recruiting. But talent gets you only so far. Team chemistry is important and the only way you build true team chemistry is on the field. My concern is that with all the new faces are there enough veterans on the team to keep it together. Last years question was the defense but this years question is the offense.

SMQ’s take:
CRY ME A FUCKIN' RIVER, FAUNTLEROY: Only four starters are back on offense, but it's tough to complain when all four - receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith and linemen Sam Baker and Ryan Kalil - will be getting deserving all-America love from preseason mags, or when there are 46 career starts spread among offensive returnees officially listed as backups last year.
You gotta love the line about Fauntleroy!

With all the big game experience returning the SC defense should be able to contain some of the high powered offenses that it will see. The linebacker corps is solid and it will be interesting to see how Shareece Wright fits in at CB, though I’m still not a fan of Ting at safety, hopefully Pinkard can pick up the slack. RB/TB, well SC is definitely stocked here but there are some major questions. First, will Washington stay eligible? With Dennis out with another ACL tear who steps up? I don’t think we’ll ever see Dennis in a Trojan uniform again. We’ll see if the loss to Texas has any lasting effect. There are some guys on this team who have something to prove and a lot of new ones who have yet to fully grasp the mystical spell that only Pete Carroll can produce. Ok, maybe him and Phil Jackson (Big Chief Triangle). Maybe Scott Ware can take some time out of his busy schedule to educate the yougins’. What do you think PB?

Great historical reference here. Where does he get this stuff?
IF THIS TEAM WERE ANY POP CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, POLITICAL, LITERARY OR OTHERWISE NOTABLE FIGURE, IT WOULD BE... Clearly, Napoleon, rising from Elba: not altogether evil but dashing, formidable, aggressive and dangerously close to conquering the known world under a power-mad, authoritarian fist before a crushing defeat. Which makes Vince Young...who, class? If you said Lord Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington - or even the Furst von Wahlstatt, Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher, since SMQ is being so super generous - give yourself a gold star, and maybe try to get out a little more.

I won’t be as generous as SMQ though. I see 3 losses; Arkansas, Arizona and Cal; too many new faces, unproven team chemistry and history.

…It was a nice run, Kev.
Had to close out someday.
Nobody wins them all…

Now that I've chopped up his whole assessment, you can read the whole uninterupted post here. All in all a great bit of work.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father’s Day

We all have stories about how our fathers have influenced our lives and how their influence shaped the way we root for our teams but also how they shaped us as human beings.

My wife and I recently had a baby girl. What a joy she has been. Life changes when the stork arrives and it has been no different with us. But that doesn’t mean that life completely changes. There have been many nights when I have been doing research for, or writing for my blog when little Emma has been right here with me. It is not easy typing one handed but I always want to be with her whenever I can. Relationships between fathers and daughters are different than mothers and daughters or even fathers and sons. Daughters will always rabidly defend their dad while their relationship with their mother will always ebb and flow. They usually root for the same teams that their dad does and usually take it a little more personally when their team loses.

I thought I’d talk about my plans for my daughter as she grows up. While there is no question that I will highly encourage her to root for USC. I will also encourage her to set her own course. I will encourage her to participate in sports because it can be the great equalizer. When you win on the field no one can take that away. She will learn how to hunt and fish, she will learn how to sail and have a go at running a marathon. I’m not a big golfer but we will learn together so that she will understand what its like to have it all on you. Soccer, Basketball and Baseball; I will encourage her try them all once just to find out what sticks.

I’ve already told my wife that our daughter will be attending Rutgers. Being close by has all sorts of advantages built in. She thinks I’m nuts but she’ll come around; I got her to root for SC so she has a history of being swayed. Ultimately I want Emma to understand competition. I want her to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off, to harness that energy and turn it into girl power. To dig down deep to try and always find a way to win but to be gracious when you lose.

There are only two things that will write the epitaphs of our life; our reputation personally and professionally and how we raise our kids. Kids will make you humble. They will make you take a different tack when confronting a problem and just when you think that they don’t get what you’re trying to teach them they pull a rabbit out of the hat and completely blow you away.

I hope I am as patient with Emma as my dad was with me.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Jarrett in violation of NCAA rules; Must apply for reinstatement

According to the LA Times USC Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett was in violation of NCAA rules regarding "extra benefits". This stems from an upscale apartment that he and USC QB Matt Leinart shared. The NCAA ruled that Jarrett received improper benefits when Leinart's father paid a disproportionate amount of rent that enabled the two USC standouts to live off campus.

While this amounts to a minor infraction, it could result in Jarrett missing some games of the 2006 season. This whole situation seems a little odd to me. The university was aware that the two players were living off campus and no one had the sense to check if the arrangement would pass the smell test.

This should send a wake up call to Coach Carroll and the rest of the Athletic Department that they need to pay closer attention to detail. SC is a high profile program and the incredible run that they just ended will put them under the spot light a little more closely so they need to have their house in order.

While this is a minor infraction, its one of the few incidents that has hit SC this off season and these issues pile up they can become a distraction. It is imperative that they are more stringent in educating their players of the rules of the road.

Here's the link to the LA times article.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tyler commits to USC

Mark Tyler, son of former UCLA and NFL standout Wendell Tyler, verbally committed to USC today to play football starting in 2007.

The 6-foot, 215-pound running back will make his official announcement today at 1:05 p.m. on ESPNU.

"USC just felt right," Tyler said. "I knew for about a year that I really wanted to go there. I gave Notre Dame a look, but the only way I would leave California is for something special, and there was nothing really special out there for me." Tyler is the second player from Oaks Christian’s talented '07 class to commit to a major Division I program. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen announced in April he will attend Notre Dame.

Tyler, Five Star Rated, is rated the 2nd highest RB prospect in the country behind Noel Devine of Ft. Meyers, FL, according to While it's still too early to see how any of these recruits will turn out, Tyler's football pedigree is sound and with his dad being a former NFL Pro Bowl selection he'll have a bit of a head start in dealing with all the attention that is sure to follow.

Here's the link to the full story in the Ventura County Star

The Pac-10 vs. The SEC

I don't claim to be a college football expert. There are far more knowledgeable and smarter bloggers on the subject than I will ever be. I don't do stats and I don't do X's and O's. I just don’t have the patience to compile the data, and there is a ton of it out there.

My views are through the eyes of a fan. I've generally taken the approach that both conferences have positives and negatives; they both have up years and down years. There are endless ways to interpret the stats; strength of schedule, bowl appearances and won/loss record are just some of the ways to look at it. But in the end it’s pointless. You can extrapolate the data any way you want so that it’s in your favor.

Baseball has adopted inter-league play, and while baseball purists go into convulsions and the mere start of any discussion involving inter-league play the format has produced some great games and some interesting storylines like Piazza/Clemens. The NCAA and BCS are all about making money and having control; with their flair for the dramatic they could really put the issue to rest. I’m surprised that they have not tried looking into this type of format at all.

Why not have a two-year rotating schedule between the major conferences. Each team within each conference would be required to a play a team form the other. Rotating it for two years does a number of things:

• It would ensure a home-and-home between any two teams.

• Head to head stats could be compiled within the two year period in order to paint a more accurate picture of how the two conferences match up.

• A stronger OOC schedule would then eliminate some of the cup cake games that appear on the schedule. I realize that most teams need a tune-up game but not 2 or 3.

• Most important, the ESPN hype machine could really have a field day with some of the new match-ups.

I realize that there are a number of potential pitfalls to this proposal; I would leave that up the experts to identify them and offer some solutions as to how this format could work. One potential problem is that the Pac-10 has only 10 teams. The SEC has 12 combined between the East and West conferences. The same can be said of the Big12. I am more interested in a majority of teams participating instead of ALL teams.

My approach is the same as Kyle’s over at Dawg Sports with his idea of realigning the conferences. Try something new and see what sticks.

I invite your comments.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Net Neutrality - A Novice Bloggers View

As new blogger I thought I would weigh in on what I see in the issue of Net Neutrality.

My views are based solely on personal beliefs. I don't completely understand the issue at hand so I don't feel I can have an educated discussion/debate without knowing all of the details. So this post is from the gut.

A few years back there was a bill in congress that wanted to restrict the amount of money that contributors could give during a political campaign. That bill was McCain/Feingold. For some, the crux of the matter was free speech and how everyone should have equal access. Free speech, as I see it, gives you the right to state your case/opinion but it doesn't give you the right to be heard. Meaning you can pay for an ad in the NY Times but that doesn't mean anyone has to read it.

In our capitalistic/free market political system those who have more will be more easily heard. Another example is within the justice system. We all have right to counsel but nowhere does it say what quality of council we are entitled. That falls squarely upon us as citizens, you get what you can afford, see OJ Simpson.

I was torn over McCain/Feingold. Both sides have valid points. Speech is certainly not free as their bill demonstrates, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the word out. So how does that apply here?

For all that our country stands for, entrepreneurialism is at the core of what we believe. To me it is the great equalizer though some would disagree and there are many examples of the big guy trying squash the little guy, but at heart we just want the chance to chart our own course.

As noted in other, far more educated, detailed and informed posts on the subject a good many people are against government intrusion, nobody wants big brother watching them. But government regulation is sometimes a necessity.

To me this comes down to the freedom to access information, which is essentially freedom of speech. One of my favorite movies is Wall Street and Gordon Gekko said, "Information is the most important commodity in the world”. He's right, without information educated decisions in our lives could not be made.

Blogs have become an important part of the information landscape; see Dan Rather. So important that in Las Vegas this past weekend there was a convention of left leaning bloggers. Their goal is have a major impact in the mid-term elections in order to get control of congress. Issues make strange bedfellows but also unseen conflicts. The press has always had a left leaning tilt so the big media outlets run the risk of upsetting their supporters if this bill goes through. Also if the left leaning MSM has premium access then they, by setting their own agenda, will control the issues of the day. Stifling the competition or the little guys ability to get his word out run's afoul to all we hold faithful when it comes to free speech.

Anyway, this just my gut feeling on this issue. More educated bloggers can better discuss the intricacies of how this will impact the growing information super highway. In the end I see it as a free speech issue pure and simple.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

NCAA Track and Field Update

Updating my post from earlier in the week:

An OK day for SC

• Virginia Powell does it again, winning the womens 100m hurdles while breaking her record of 12.55 with a new record of 12.48

• Jesse Williams won the High Jump with a school record of 7-7 1/4 (2.32m)

• Adam Midles finished 7th in the Hammer throw earning two points

• Lionel Larry advanced to the 400m finals to be run on Saturday

• The womens 4 x 100m relay team finished 3rd behind Texas and LSU earning 6 points

• Carol Rodriguez placed 3rd in the 200m dash, earning her a spot in Saturday’s finals


The Women- 5th place with 16 points, 10 points behind leader Texas.

The Men- 11th place with 12 points, 16 points behind leader Arizona.

The Trackwire 25 Rankings: pre NCAA Championships

The Women #1 University of Texas 59 points
The Men #1 Florida State 68 points

Here’s the link to the USC website for all the details.

Friday, June 09, 2006

No Punishment for Sanchez

The LA Daily News reported today that USC freshman QB Mark Sanchez would receive no disciplinary action from USC student-affairs for underage drinking and using a fake ID to get into a bar on the night he was accused sexual assault. Sanchez may face some punishment from Coach Pete Carroll but he won’t be suspended from any games. The sexual assault chargers were dropped by the L.A. DA’s office Last week.

In my opinion this sends the wrong message and further gives the appearance that athletes are treated differently. I’ve taken a little heat on other boards about my stance that Sanchez should have been suspended for the year had he not been charged. Most thought that would have been way too harsh. That’s fine, but with seemingly no punishment to be doled out by the university will those who thought that my stance was too harsh stand up and cry foul for no disciplinary action? What if he had got in a car and killed someone? What if that someone is a brother or a sister is it still ok because hey, he’s just a college kid and they all do it.

Some people think its no big deal; college kids drink all the time. That’s true but where do we draw the line. Why is it ok for Sanchez to get a pass but not some kid from the engineering program, not that we here about some kid from the engineering program getting caught for underage drinking. I know the school has punished players before for bad behavior, Justice and Wright come to mind, but to not punish Sanchez at all just looks bad. I’ll throw this out there, was Sanchez not punished because we’re thin at the QB position. Were Wright and Justice suspended because we had depth at their respective positions? Call me foolish but that’s the only reason I can come up with.

Team chemistry is important and these types of acts can be a distraction for the team. My point is merely this; it is a privilege to play college athletics. With those privileges come certain perks but also a great deal of responsibility. It is selfish for any player to put his desires above the good of the team. IF Sanchez had been charged what would we say then?

I will root for my team no matter what but I can’t give players a pass when they break the rules just because they’re players for my team, to do so it just disingenuous.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Update: The 2006 NCAA Track and Field Championships

All in all it wasn’t a bad day for SC track. 8 individual Trojans and the women’s relay team advanced.

• USC’s Virginia Powell Set an NCAA record in the women’s 100m high hurdles. Powell won her semi-final heat in a record time of 12.55, breaking the collegiate record of 12.61 she had co-held with Gail Devers (1988). Candice Davis was edged out of fourth place in her heat and failed to qualify for the finals

• Adam Midles was the first Trojan to qualify for the finals when he placed sixth in the qualifying round of the men's hammer throw. The men's hammer finals will be held on June 9th.

• The men’s 4x100m relay team failed to qualify for the finals.

• The women’s 4x100m relay team did qualify for the finals with the fifth fastest qualifying time of the day.

For more info, here is the link to USC’s Official Track and Field website.

The Auburn Tigers your 2004 NCAA National Champions in Football!?

Most of you who know me from other boards know that I try to be as objective as possible in regards to USC football. I have not been afraid to point out my teams faults or missteps this season as I did here and here. Now being objective enables me, without being labeled a homer, to also praise my team when they do something right or, as in this case, to support them when they are unfairly criticized.

As I have said on other boards Auburn was more deserving than OU to play USC in the NC game in 2005. USC would have won that game but it would have been a lot closer than 55-19. As I also discussed I feel that they were the victim of unfair preseason polling that made it more difficult for them to overtake OU in the polls to get into the NC Game. I also thought that it was a shameless act by Coach Tuberville to lobby on national TV that his team deserved to be in that game. While I agreed with his position, it was where he decided to state his case that made him look foolish. The better move would have been to accept the results, humbly disagree and take the high road. It would have made him look more gracious and would have garnered more sympathy for his cause.

So why do I bring this up? Well, I saw this article earlier in the week but I did not get a chance to read it until now. It’s time for Auburn to let it go. I would be shocked if the BCS or the NCAA seriously considered giving the title to Auburn. First, it seems that the BCS doesn’t have a mechanism in place to take the title away. Second, Auburn wasn’t in the NC Game so if the game was to be forfeited OU would be first in line if the title were to be assigned to another team. That’s highly unlikely.

New BCS committee chair Mike Slive is pandering to his SEC brethren, by considering the “hypothetical” question, because the BCS screwed up in the first place. No governing body is interested in revising history, especially if there is no policy in place. The NCAA isn’t interested in this either. While they do not sanction the NC Game this would open up a whole can of worms that would become a PR nightmare. If it were found that infractions were committed the more likely scenario would be to vacate SC’s title and leave it at that. Any attempt to assign the title would be seen as cheap and without basis.

Again, I think Auburn got raw deal. While the issue has been discussed at a fever pitch lately. I have always thought that the SEC as a whole has a tougher time getting into the BCS because of the level of competition within their conference. Teams have down years but the rivalries within the SEC make for some great games. Auburn would be better served to just let it go. If SC’s title is stripped they can hold their heads high knowing that if they were playing OU in place of SC they would have won handily and most fans know it. To act any other way just makes them look like cry babies, which I don't think they are.

The BuckeyeXtra Bowl

Maybe the BCS can take some pointers from these guys

The Columbus Dispatch is going to have a little fun with what they are calling their BuckeyeXtra Bowl, starting on June 12th with what they are calling a virtual college football tournament. Votes were taken by the readers who determined 12 of the 16 teams. The other 4 teams were the tOSU Championship teams from 1942,'54, '68 and 2002. The computers will simulate the games and reports can be found at This looks fun, I'll follow up with updates as the games are called by the computers.

This is how the votes shook out:

2004 USC (13-0), 301 votes
2005 Texas (13-0), 251
2001 Miami (12-0), 240
1994 Penn State (12-0), 218
1995 Nebraska (12-0), 176
1971 Nebraska (13-0), 175
1988 Notre Dame (12-0), 162
1991 Miami (12-0), 150
1972 USC (12-0), 149
1974 Oklahoma (11-0), 136
1997 Michigan (12-0), 130
1979 Alabama (12-0), 128

Here's the link to the Columbus Dispatch page for the full story.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

CFN’s Overrated over the last 35 years

Nico over at RBR picked this up first. CFN does some pretty good research in determining who is overrated and underrated over the last 35 years. USC is at #13 while UCLA and Texas are tied at #10. The numbers don’t lie so I won’t attempt to dissect the findings. But in reviewing the criteria I see an old argument potentially raise its ugly head.

While I am not interested in opening old wounds of earlier in the year regarding the legitimacy of National Championships or dynasties the question begs to be asked are preseason polls really necessary? This year a lot of questions have yet to be answered regarding a number high profile teams.

To review:

• USC loses most of the offensive line and the whole backfield

• Texas loses Vince Young and Michael Huff to the pros and Ramonce Taylor to off-field issues

• Ohio State is returning only 3 starters on the defense

CFR has these teams listed in his top 4 “post spring, Pre-Steele team rankings”. Auburn is the other team. Now I’m not questioning CFR’s rationale for how he ranks the teams. He is far more knowledgeable in these types of reviews than I am and right now it’s not that important. But with so many unanswered questions without a single game being played with all of these new players how are we to know who's #1. If CFR's list is anything similar to what the preseason polls reveal later on this year it would say that there is more than just a little bias in how teams are seeded in the preseason poll. I would see it as outright favoritism.

Why does this matter? Well, I would point to Auburn in 2004, because of a less than stellar 2003 they were seeded lower in the 2004 poll making it more difficult for them to jump ahead OU in the polls in order to be in the NC Game which as we know didn’t happen. I have always thought that USC/Auburn would have been a better game than the 55-19 drubbing that OU took that year. Auburn did what it was supposed to do, win it’s games as did OU but I think it’s safe to say that Auburn had the tougher schedule that year and they really were more deserving of a shot at the title.

My solution, don’t rank the teams until two or three weeks into the season. This will shake out the fakers and hopefully add some credibility to the first poll once it is released. It may affect OOC scheduling in the negative, but with a number of posts across the blogoshere addressing that issue I don’t see it getting much worse. I realize that my proposal will be met with some skepticism and is probably not possible but I thought I would throw it out there. I know there would be a lot of questions about how the poll would be conducted etc. But it’s just a thought. I invinte your thoughts.

2006 MLB Amateur Draft

USC’s Kennedy goes to Yankees. Hankerd, Sharpe to D’Backs

The New York Yankees selected USC Junior pitcher Ian Kennedy with 21st pick in the 1st round. In three years as USC’s number one starter Kennedy went 24-12 with 3.09 ERA. He finished third all-time in strikeouts (380) and second all-time in strikeouts per nine innings (10.99)

Kyle Hankerd, a junior outfielder was selected in the 3rd round (87th overall). He led SC in the Triple Crown categories, batting .383 (88-for-230) with 10 home runs and 55 RBI.

Blake Sharpe, a senior infielder went in the 16th round (477th overall).

Stats taken from the USC baseball website here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

How my wife came to love USC

As posted in an earlier diary on Dawg Sports I spoke about how I came to root for USC. Kyle then followed with why he is a Georgia fan. Upon seeing Nestor’s, from Bruins Nation, comment about how his wife proposed to him in front of Royce Hall, I then asked Kyle to consider the roles that our spouses play in how we root for our team.

So here it is:

My wife, Linda, is a life long Jersey girl and has never been into college sports. She grew up a Jets and Yankees fan and her love for those teams runs very deep. I on the other hand having grown up a Dodger fan I have no love for the Yankees but over the years my love for the Dodgers waned as I moved around the country but not my love for SC.

When we started dating SC was going through the doldrums dubbed the Hackett years, a sorry level of underachievement. Ours was a long distance relationship since I had yet to move from D.C. to Long Island. Upon my arrival to Long Island I focused on two things; my work and Linda, I knew she was the one. Throughout my courtship of Linda there were many outings with her family. My family is out on the west coast so we spent a lot of free time with her family. They heard me talk about SC and they were always polite but were disinterested.

When we were married in 2001 Linda moved to Long Island and slowly the transformation started to take place. We would go to a local restaurant or bar and I would quietly get the bartender to put on the SC game, provided it was on. Linda was amused but still didn’t get into it. Then in 2002 we decided to move back to Jersey.

Side note: the power of the Mother-Daughter relationship can move mountains so this was a battle I was going to lose, so upon making the move to Jersey I was able to get some concessions built in for me.

I used to carry one of those two-way pagers that update football scores as they happened and on days when SC’s game wasn’t on the tube or because of my call schedule we couldn’t go out so I would lie in bed checking the pager every two minutes for an updated score. By now Linda thinks I need serious help and is now wondering if she lacked serious mental judgment for letting me into her life.

But the full force of my obsession for USC football hit my wife like a freight train the night SC played Auburn in 2003. The MSM thought that AU was going to stick it to SC that night.

Side note: I like to cook but my schedule during the week doesn't allow me to play mad scientist in the kitchen until the weekend. When I cook I always have a bottle of wine open for drinking and cooking.

So it was lining up to be the perfect storm: no weekend call, SC playing on national TV, the kitchen at my disposal and a bottle of wine. Now I don't drink during the week, unless I have a business dinner and then it is only one drink. I mean this is NYC and I don’t want my car to get impounded. So plan was to have dinner at halftime. I've got the kitchen looking something like Kitchen Stadium on Iron Chef, food everywhere pots on the stove etc. and this little TV in the corner to watch the game.

Side note: There’s an old military saying, I don’t care how good the plan is when first bullets fly everything turns to S**T!

Such was the case on this night. The first bullet flying that night was the kick-off. I had a nice bottle of wine opened and was in the middle of my first glass and decided that it was time for a celebration. So I put the wine away and rooted around in the kitchen cabinets until I found what I was looking for a bottle of Cuervo Gold! BIG MISTAKE! What followed can only be described as a high-octane version of beer pong. Any time SC did something good, score a TD, recover a fumble, or make a big play it was rewarded with a shot of what I will call the Golden Nectar. By this time dinner was forgotten and Linda was looking for a place to hide from all the screaming that was coming from the kitchen.

Now the big question here is throughout all that happened on that night how did Linda become an SC fan? Well that was part of the concession when we moved from Long Island. I still had to drive from Jersey to Long Island to go to work every day and weekends when I was on call which were too numerous to count, so that meant a lot of time in the car. The only thing I asked for was that during football season we go to a place where we could see SC play. She agreed and has not regretted it since. On weekends when I work, during football season, she is constantly paging me as to when I will be home so we can go watch the game. It was during this years Rose Bowl that the transformation was complete. When Reggie made that bonehead lateral you could hear her across town cursing like a sailor- something that is completely out of character for her. In the end she understood what was important to me and she accepted it as her own.

I mean, if I have to listen to that crazy nut Fireman Ed scream J--E--T--S JETS, JETS, JETS! on a regular basis. She can put up with a little Conquest and Fight On! As well as that damn horse running around the track.

Aint life great! I think so.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gillespie Retires; Kreuter named replacement

In an earlier post I discussed why head Coach Mike Gillespie was a value to the SC Baseball program and that the calls for his firing were not the answer. Well, today Coach Gillespie announced his retirement, his son-in-law Chad Kreuter will be his replacement. Coach Gillespie served SC Baseball well after taking over the helm in 1987 from the legendary Rod Dedeaux.

Gillespie's record was 763-471-2 (.618). We wish Coach Gillespie good luck as he heads into retirement. We welcome Coach Krueter to the helm of the most storied program of college baseball.

Here's the link to the USC Baseball website for the full story.

Sanchez not Charged

It was reported by the LA Times that USC Freshman QB Mark Sanchez will not be charged with Sexual Assault. Citing insufficient evidence the LA DA's Office declined to file charges. While this is good for Sanchez and SC Football in long run, short term Sanchez still faces Disciplinary action for under age drinking and using a fake ID to get into a bar near campus.

It has been my position that if not charged Sanchez should still be suspended for the year for the fake ID alone. His actions have put coach Pete Carroll and SC Football in a tough spot. If charged it would have set back SC football significantly not just at the QB position but team dynamics as well. Now that charges will not be filed not setting up some form of discipline sends the wrong message about student-athletes when they get in trouble. Of course whatever punishment the school determines is at their discretion and no second guessing should take place. I realize that is an unrealistic hope.

Whatever the punishment, SC can now focus on the upcoming season and hopefully continue their winning ways and Mark Sanchez can put the whole mess behind him. I hope he gets something out of this unfortunate incident.

Here's the link to the LA Times.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

This definitely rates about a 9.0 on my Weird-Shit-O-Meter.

OK, maybe that's a little harsh, please excuse my language. My apologies to the writers of Men in Black, but can this Bush situation get any weirder.

In my earlier post about Reggie Bush I stated the he and his family needs to come clean on the arrangements they had with the New ERA Group. Early in the week The Wizard of Odds posted
on his site a San Diego Union Tribune story about the Bush management team. Now these agents' sorted past is not a new story but when coupled with the New ERA Group some people are starting to scratch their heads about Bush's character. Is the wholesome Bush image starting to lose its luster?

Today Da Wiz is right on top of it and had the scoop again, in his post that the FBI was now involved with the "case". Now I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but something here jumps right out at me; Reggie's family has declined to meet with Pac-10 or the NCAA but now there are planning a good ole' Sopranos style sit down with the FBI. Talk about making a big splash! You're kidding me right? Do you really think that the DOJ can keep a secret? If you believe that just ask Barry Bonds. Reggie would be better served by going to the National Enquirer, at least you will make some money off of your story and get some extra tears and sympathy, a-la Oprah Winfrey, to boot. My question is why would the Bush team want them involved? Any discussions with the FBI are bound to find their way to the NCAA so why not just meet with them and get it over with.

I should note that HP brought up in his post that any involvement by the FBI would be to scrutinize New ERA and their dealings with the Bush family. Nowhere has it been reported or rumored that Reggie or his family had broken any laws. So why is the FBI allegedly involved? The Bush attorney comments have ZERO credibility. As does his accusation of extortion, the NFLPA wouldn't even touch it. Heck, at least there are rumors of the Sanchez case being weak. But what have we heard about the New ERA extortion charges? No rumors, no speculation, nothing. Its Zip, Zero, Nada.

As a new USC blogger I don't want to incite any anger with my fellow SC fans but this one just does not smell good. I just call them as I see them. While I never thought that this story would go away quietly Nestor over at BN is right; so much for this being a stale 3-week-old story.

My Take: The Reggie Bush situation

As If You Needed Another Opinion!

Since this story broke there have been a lot of posts and articles with varying opinions. Most have been of a partisan tone either from rivals or from those who simply,for whatever reason, dislike SC. That's fine, everyone has got something or someone they dislike. Others from SC apologists who can't see the potential damage that may have been done to a proud program.

It is disappointing to hear that the Bush family is dragging its feet in cooperating with the Pac 10 or the NCAA. That kind of attitude sends a lot of wrong messages. Most obvious is that they have something to hide. But more important to me is the appearance of just not caring. In their eyes why should they. Reggie's left school and will make his millions in the NFL. Leaving SC behind to deal with the fallout of what I see as a serious lapse in judgement which has now morphed into just another selfish act by an athlete. Couldn't his family have waited? Whatever the fianancial dire straights they were in they would been wiped away once Reggie signed his first contract. It has not been reported anywhere that I could find that prior to renting the house in question that Reggie's family was about to be thrown out to the curb, so why the rush.

If true, his actions have put in jeopardy one of the most impressive accomplishments in college football history. By not coming clean and cooperating with the powers at be, he gives the perception of just not caring. Reggie has continuously stated that "when the truth comes out you'll see we did nothing wrong". Uhm, one problem Reggie, by not cooperating and presenting your side of the story how will we know what the truth is. The image that Bush and his family put forth at the Heisman ceramony will always be burned in my mind which was one of love and respect. I have shared those same type of emotions with my own step father. So I get it. His family is close knit unit and have tried to the right thing in how they raised Reggie and his brother.

Like it or not when former players of their respective institutions get into trouble it does make the institution look bad. If you don't beleive me just bring up OJ. The appearences of greed, entitlement and lack of concern further injure SC's image. An image that has already taken some major hits lately. This dilema is solved by telling the truth. Society has proven time and again that it can forgive trangressions if one acts humbly and with candor. Though I'm not sure the NCAA and their rules committee lives by that same standard.

In the end I'm not sure which way it will break. But if infractions are found to have taken place SC is sure to pay and that will be a shame. I'm not so naive to think that Reggie didn't know anything; of course he did. He needs to tell the truth and tell it NOW! Reggie can go a long way to start restoring SC's image by doing just that.

More to come soon.