Shutting down Strasburg is. . .STUPID

Stepehen Strasburg

Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg has certainly lived up to all the hype surrounding him when he became the #1 pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. Despite his elbow injury during his rookie season, which required Tommy John surgery, Strasburg has bounced back to nearly 100% health and strength. But a lot has been made on the Nationals decision to shut Strasburg down, no matter what, when he reaches 160-165 innings this season. With a legitimate shot to go all the way, is this really smart by the Nationals?

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Michigan State versus Illinois Preview, Predictions

By Jeff Ghiringhelli, feat. the two Pauls

Photo’s courtesy of Illinois Loyalty.com (be sure to check out that awesome website!)

There always seems to be an added excitement around campus when College Gameday comes to town. Even those that do not follow sports very closely know that there must be a big game. Tonight’s clash pitting Michigan State against Illinois is no exception.

All of a sudden, it appears as though a Big Ten title being delivered to East Lansing is no longer a foregone conclusion. An 18-point loss at Wisconsin was bad enough, but to make matters worse Spartan team leader and point guard Kalin Lucas went down in the second half with a sprained ankle.

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Memo to Ohio State: End This Matt Barkley for Heisman Nonsense

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This comes to us from our friend Jerod Morris, at Midwest Sports Fans.com

I go to ESPN.com this afternoon looking for sound sports analysis (always a mistake) and right smack dab in their headlines is a reference to Matt Barkley’s Heisman hopes in ’09. After one game. Against a shitty team.

And his cocky bravado without winning anything makes it even worse.

Here’s hoping the Buckeyes lay the smack down on him Saturday (although after that performance against Navy, we should all be worried…)

ESPN Finally Gives Gameday Love to the Illini

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By Paul M. Banks

For some bizarre reason, the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network ignored the University of Illinois when it came to finding a locale to host their popular “College Gameday” pre-game show. The show has been running for six seasons, and during that period of time, the Fighting Illini were 6th in the nation in total wins! They’ve been a NCAA Tournament regular and they’re tied with Duke for the most number of 25+ win seasons this decade. A 2006 USA Today poll stated that Illinois was the 5th most recognizable college basketball program among 14 year old males, who comprise a huge demographic within ESPN’s pregame show audience. Yet despite all these facts, the Eastern biased conglomerate and empire brand NEVER made a single trip to showcase the Orange Crush at Illinois’ Assembly Hall. That all changed today.

Please read this press release sent straight from Champaign-Urbana this afternoon:
Champaign, Ill.-ESPN College Basketball GameDay driven by State Farm will make its first appearance at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall on Feb. 6, 2010, when the Fighting Illini host Big Ten rival Michigan State.

The popular network show will feature a pair of one-hour telecasts, at 10 a.m. CT and 7 p.m., followed by the 8 p.m. tip-off of the Illini and Spartans in ESPN’s Saturday Primetime Game of the Week.

“We are thrilled to have College GameDay coming to the Assembly Hall,” head coach Bruce Weber said. “We have watched the show at various college sites the past few seasons and have been anticipating the opportunity to host it on our campus. There are so many factors that make this a perfect fit. We enjoy a tremendous relationship with both ESPN and State Farm, we have high expectations for the upcoming season, and we are facing an outstanding opponent in Michigan State. I’m sure the Orange Krush and Illini Nation will be out in full force as we showcase our program to a national audience that day, and for what should be an incredible game-time atmosphere that evening.”

The complete ESPN Gameday schedule is as follows:

Jan. 16 – Notre Dame at Connecticut (women’s); Jan. 23 – Duke at Clemson; Jan. 30 – Kansas at Kansas State; Feb. 6 – Michigan State at Illinois; Feb. 13 – Tennessee at Kentucky; Feb. 20 – UCLA at Washington; Feb. 27 – Villanova at Syracuse; March 6 – North Carolina at Duke.

“We obviously feel the choice of Illinois men’s basketball and Assembly Hall, which is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s great home court atmospheres, create a great match with the College GameDay brand,” said Chris Hanna, Illinois Assistant Athletics Director for Sales and Marketing.  “We take great pride in our ongoing relationships with State Farm, the sponsor of College GameDay and a long-time Illinois corporate partner, and ESPN through our Big Ten Conference television agreement. We will approach this event with the intention of establishing a new attendance record for College GameDay in addition to filling Assembly Hall with 16,618 orange-clad fans for the Illinois-Michigan State game.”

Jay Bilas Exclusive

Paul M. Banks interviews the former Duke star and current college basketball analyst for ESPN and CBS

Jay Bilas served as master of ceremonies when the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Foundation held its inaugural “Court of Honor Gala” at Chicago’s Union Station. The Tuesday evening Gala celebrated the achievements and contributions of Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and managing director of the USA Basketball senior national team from 2005-2008.

Sports Illustrated called Bilas the best analyst in college basketball. In both 2007 and 2008, Bilas was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Studio Analyst. Bilas joined ESPN in 1995 as a college basketball analyst, serving as co-host of ESPN’s studio broadcasts since 2000, including College GameNight and College GameDay. Bilas makes frequent appearances on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio, and is a featured basketball writer on ESPN.com. “The Bilastrator” is also featured during halftime segments of some games.

In 2003, Bilas joined CBS as a game analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, being paired with Dick Enberg. A member of the Screen Actors’ Guild since 1987, Bilas has appeared in national television commercials and the feature-length movie “I Come in Peace.”

Bilas received his law degree from Duke University School of Law (while also serving as an assistant coach under Coach K.) in 1992. He is currently Of Counsel to the Charlotte office of Moore & Van Allen, where he maintains a litigation practice. Bilas most notably worked on the case Lyons Partnership v. Morris Costumes, Inc., where he successfully defended the costume business against trademark and copyright claims brought by owners of the popular children’s television character, Barney the Dinosaur.

I had an exclusive with Bilas at the NABC’s ESPN Zone mixer on Monday night.

Paul M. Banks: The word student is listed first in the term student-athlete for a reason, talk about the role of academics in the world of big-time college basketball

Jay Bilas: There’s a duality to it, I’ve always found it kind of funny that after a press conference after a NCAA tournament game they call them student-athletes, that’s when it’s ok to call them players. When they’re in class they’re students, when you’re playing you’re a player, so I believe in the term even though I think it gives a lot of the guys a short trip. In the educational foundation I have in Charlotte, we believe in education not just for athletes, but for everybody. It starts at the very beginning when kids are in pre-k, kindergarten, at the earliest stage, getting them into reading, getting them into learning, and learning for learning sake. It’s a lifelong pursuit, and part of what the NABC is doing with their Ticket to Reading Rewards program and something that’s really worth while”

 

PMB: I just actually flew in from Charlotte this morning, great city by the way, tell me more about your foundation there

JB: I work with Dell Curry, the former NBA star whose son Stephen is the Davidson star that electrified the NCAA tournament last year. We have a foundation called Athletes United for Youth. Although athletes headline it, it’s an educational foundation for underserved youth in the Charlotte area and we run after-school programs and computer learning centers and summer camps that give kids that maybe haven’t had a chance the tools they need to be successful. While Athletics may play a part in their lives, it’s a small part, and we want to make academics the primary part and something they gravitate towards instead of shying away from.

 

PMB: The institution within which you did both your undergrad and graduate work, Duke has quite the prestigious reputation, do you have a relationship with the school today, and to what extent?

JB: I grew up in Los Angeles, neither one of my parents went to college, so college wasn’t necessarily an expectation for me when I grew up and through basketball I got recruited by some schools that I probably would not have looked at outside of my want to play basketball and having gone to Duke was a really fortunate turn for me. I still stay in close contact with the school.

I’m a contributor and go back as often as I can. Any college is about people and I have good relationships with the people there. The reason I contribute money to where I went to school, both high school and college, is not for some philanthropic cause, it’s because you want the next person’s experience to be better than yours and I was really lucky- my experience was really good. There are so many good colleges and universities around the country that have good people and do great things, I was lucky I went to one of them, but they’re all over the place. I know people feel the same way about where they went to school as I do about where I went to school, so we’re all brothers in that regard.

PMB: You must be especially proud that an icon of Duke helped restore the prestige and reputation of Team USA basketball?

JB: Coach K. is the reason I went to Duke, I’d like to say that I had some other higher goal in mind: that I went to Duke for its own sake, but I went there to play for him and if he would have been somewhere else I would have gone somewhere else. I played USA Basketball on the lower level- I played for Gene Keady on the U.S. National Select Team one year. I’m really proud of that.

PMB: You must be pretty excited about your MC duties tomorrow night?

JB: I’m really excited. It’s going to be one of those rooms where’ its going to be really humbling to be in it. With all the people who have been great doers in the game of college basketball. Maybe we {media members} look at ourselves as talkers more than doers, but to be in that room with so many people that have accomplished so much in the game, I’m honored to be a part of it”

PMB: Tell me about how USA basketball turned around under Jerry Colangelo

JB: I think the biggest development we’ve had over the last 30 years in USA basketball is when Jerry Colangelo took over as Executive Director and formed a real program that we can now build on. We’ve had so many great coaches and players over the years in USA basketball, but we haven’t had the structure to give them the tools they need to be as successful as they can be.

I think now the program put in place by Jerry Colangelo, working with Coach K and everybody at USA basketball- that was a big home run they hit in Beijing, but it was also over a three-year period. What they did the three years before was perhaps more important: with the structure, organization, how they choose the team, the commitment that all the players made, it wasn’t just a commitment for that summer in ’08 in Beijing, it was a three-year commitment, and it sounds like some of them want to keep committing.

 

PMB: Finally what are your thoughts on Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid and their chances?

JB: I don’t know much about the process, but I can tell you it would be great if it was here. Anyone who’s been in Chicago in the springtime and the summertime knows that this would be a heck of a place to have the Olympics and have the world come to Chicago would be pretty extraordinary.

DoucheBracket David K. Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.
This is the bracket compiled by site Vice President David K.

1. Brett Favre as a Jet- This is not a shot at Favre himself, more a stab at how the entire Favre-Packers saga went down last summer.  This past year NEEDS to be permanently erased from my mind.

vs.

16. Cubs fans who blame Steve Bartman-
How about blaming Alex Gonzalez for his crucial error that allowed the flood gates to open instead of some poor guy who happened to try and catch a foul ball that was coming straight at him, just like the twenty people sitting around him?
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8. “Acronym Signs”- Especially with TV Station Acronyms like ESPN, ABC, FOX.  Here’s one for you “Everyone Sucks and is Penned uNoriginal”  It especially chaps my ass when one of the letters is in the middle of the word like I have the ‘n.’

Vs.

9. “Priceless Signs”- This piece of cardboard? 75 cents.  My friend’s face paint? $3  Never having to see one of these overdone signs ever again? Priceless

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4. Around the Horn- Jay Mariotti… Woody Paige… Jackie MacMullen… screaming, yelling, talking over each other, not being funny, not having relative arguments… Tell me when to stop….

Vs.

13. National Signing Day- Maybe it’s just because I am not a college football guy, but didn’t we know this guy was signing with our team when he verbally committed nine months ago?

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5. Luke Harangody- Awkward, Doofus, Frankenstein, Baby are all words that come to mind when I think of Harangody.

Vs.

12. Luke Harandgody’s fadeaway jump shot- As a person who appreciates the pure aspects of college basketball, Harandgody’s jump shot is the worst thing I have seen since Manute Bol.
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3. Rachel Nichols- “After the game, Brett Favre told me… “  No he didn’t you short, non-blinking, over-acting, I only have this job because Diane Sawyer is my mother-in-law pathetic excuse for a sportscaster.  He told all of us during the press conference, not just you.

Vs.

14. Mel Kiper Jr.- It is about more than just the ridiculous hair.  Has Mel ever admitted to being wrong about something?  No.  I would love to see Todd McShay pimp slap him sometime.

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6. Fans who don’t take their hats off/are disrespectful during the National Anthem- It definitely is more annoying when it’s an adult, but shut your trap, put your cell phone away, take your hat off, and stand still for two minutes before the game begins.  It’s really not asking that much.

Vs.

11. Fans who yell, “GET IN THE HOLE” after a drive or long iron shot- Hey, that was hilarious buddy… 15 years ago when the 7,429th guy did it.
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7. T-Shirts under Basketball Jerseys- Why?  Seriously?  What are you, eight years old?  Don’t even get me started on the tight-fitting muscle tee’s under the jersey.

Vs.

10. The Amount of Charges in College Basketball– I’ll allow my friend Quentin to speak on the matter: “Referees seem to have fallen so in love with the emphatic offensive foul call (buoyed by rambunctious home crowds that respond joyously to it) that whenever they see a defensive player flying backwards, the call is automatic to the point where I no longer even know what is or is not a true foul. The most egregious: two players are running side-by-side 30-feet from the basket, the defensive guy steps in front of the offensive player a half-step early, what gives him anymore right to that space than the man with the ball?”

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2. “That Guy” in Fantasy Football- You know “That Guy”.  “That guy” who wants to tell you about how each of his player’s on his four teams did Monday morning at work.  “That guy” who has nothing else to talk to you about from the months of August-December other than fantasy football.  “That guy” who asks you every Friday who he should start.  I despise “That Guy.”

Vs.

15. The two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl- Is it really necessary to add an extra week of hype to already the most over-hyped event of every year?  As if I need any more reasons NOT to watch SportsCenter.

Douchebracket Banks Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.

This is the bracket compiled by site founder Paul M. Banks

1. Bobby Knight-
Where do you start with this asshole? My heart goes out to his players and his children. Pat Knight is both, so he must have the highest pain tolerance of any human being alive.

2. Roger Clemens-
Quite possibly the worst liar in all history, Clemens’ used artificially enhanced brute strength to dumb down and destroy the intellectual element of strategy and finesse essential to the art of pitching. Great role model for kids too!

3. Notre Dame fans w/ no connection to the school-
Imagine if your school had the power to recruit fans based on ethnicity and religion. Then whenever you attended a game/alumni event featuring your alma mater, you could be surrounded by ignorant front-runner bandwagon jumping douchebags.

4. Over-commercialization & self-promotion of Sportscenter-
Remember when you were 14 and you stayed home from school and watched the replay of SC over and over again in the morning? It was easy to do then because the show was actually about stats, highlights and numbers- not promoting a cultural product of Disney or a crappy domestic beer

5. Eric “Basketball Judas” Gordon-
Indiana’s pathetic season has helped drop his seed down, but he still stabbed Illination in the back, just so he could ally himself with the biggest scumbag of college basketball

6. People who think Chris Berman is funny-
Unless you’re 9 years old or a huge fan of 70s rock, how can you find this bloated bloviating Bristol blowhole amusing? Are Bachman-Turner-Overdrive jokes about Eagles fullbacks that important in your life?

7. Peyton Manning’s incessant commercials-
He really does have a face for radio. Some of his ads are well-written, but they lose all their humor after the 4th or 5th showing. After the 3,456th showing, someone needs to be shot.

8. Pro-Chief Illiniwek zealots-
In a world with a climate crisis, an employment crisis, economic crisis, a healthcare crisis, the U.S. stuck in two unwinnable wars and whole host of other pressing issues, your pet cause is gonna be…perceived oppression by the p.c. police against a frat boy dancing for 5 minutes at halftime? GET A LIFE!

9. Anti-Chief Illiniwek zealots-
It’s not like there’s a shortage of causes in the world. With all our problems, we need grassroots involvement to show our corporate and government (perhaps I’m being redundant there) leaders that the people want to see results in things that matter. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

10. People who think Barry Bonds didn’t use ‘roids-
There are tons of people who think Saddam was responsible for 9/11, there are people who think Bush, Cheney et al did not deliberately lie us into the Iraq war. Likewise there are millions of idiots who think Barry is being oppressed by a racist witch hunt. I’d don’t want to sound old and crotchety, but in my day we believed in simple facts. Basic truths are not optional to believe in.

11. ESPN’s Tim Tebow coverage-
That’s wonderful that he embraces his faith so openly; and goes on service missions that exhibit/fulfill his devotion. But you know what? I don’t give a shit! I don’t care what this overrated athlete does in his spare time away from the limelight- which will stop shinning on him after next football season. I can’t wait until he plays in a low level arena league, and there’s no more sycophantic coverage of this dbag.

12. Chase Daniel-
Would have been a bubble selection or NIT until the Alamo Bowl, when ESPN felt the need to show close-ups of the 5’9” QB’s family for the final 20 minutes! Outside of the Daniel family, WHO CARES!!?

13. U of Michigan grads, fans-
There’s a reason Wolverine fans are despised by fans of EVERY other school in the Big Ten. Yes, your school has some great graduate programs, but you didn’t go to medical school there! Yes, when the auto industry was rich and powerful, so was this school, but today Detroit is ready to entirely collapse, UM is a safety school for our nation’s smartest kids and you probably live in a Ypsilanti double-wide. And yes, your football team has a lot of proud moments- they all occurred decades before you were born.


14. Tyler Hansbrough-
Not even the best player on his team, let along the conference or the nation. But don’t tell that to Dickie V. and the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network.

15. Illini fans who incessantly bitch about bad calls- They’ll probably blame Dr. Chester Frazier’s injury on the refs too

16. Drunken, baseball illiterate Cub fans edges out Indiana ‘s circus clown warm-up pants in the play-in game.

I don’t hate the Cubs or their fans. I’m also totally fine with the fact that the local media slurps Cubbie Blue and gives much less attention to the White Sox. What I cannot tolerate though, are the LP Trixies and Trixymales that drink themselves retarded (ok, they’re more than halfway there sober), think Mark Grace is still on the team, and puke on the sidewalks in my neighborhood.

Bubble Burst

-The chick in the Progressive Insurance advertisements

-Former Iowa coaches (Bruce Pearl, Steve Alford etc.)

-The sight of Charlie Weiss