2012 Fantasy Football Preview: D/ST

Football fans, you’re Christmas is right around the corner. Preseason games have already started and the regular season is right around the corner. Nearly as important, the fantasy football season is finally here! In the coming weeks, we will prepare you ready for the upcoming fantasy season by breaking every position. First up, we’ll rank the top the top defense & special team units.

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Indiana Pacers Dominate Detroit Pistons in Season Opener

The Indiana Pacers entered this shortened 2011-12 season expected to make noise in the Eastern Conference — very much unlike the Pacers teams of the last four years.

Apparently aware of such expectations, Indiana opened its slate with a bang.

The Pacers’ three top big men, center Roy Hibbert, forward Tyler Hansbrough and the newly signed forward David West, each recorded a double-double Monday in Indiana’s 91-79 dismantling of the Detroit Pistons at Bankers Life (formerly Conseco) Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Pacers (1-0) led the entire game.

Granted, the Pistons (0-1) project as one of the NBA’s lesser teams this season, but it was a fine start for a Pacers squad that looks to build on last year’s breakthrough playoff appearance with an even higher standing in the East.

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Fantasy Football Studs, Duds & Sleepers: AFC South

chris johnson

With the NFL lockout finally behind us, football fans can finally turn our attention from the courtrooms and onto the field, where it belongs. In the final edition of his preseason fantasy rankings, I rank the fantasy studs, duds and sleepers in the AFC South.

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Indiana Hoosiers Open Kevin Wilson Era with Loss

I’m not quite sure that was the way the Indiana University football team wanted to begin its new era.

Playing their first game of the 2011 season and under new coach Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers looked pretty much like, well, the Hoosiers — the IU teams of the last three seasons under Bill Lynch and the IU teams throughout the program’s history — in a 27-20 loss to in-state foe Ball State on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Granted, it’s still early, and let’s be honest: we’re kidding ourselves if we couldn’t see this coming from IU. Even so, it’s clear this team is still a work in progress.

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Indianapolis Colts Preseason Hot/Not — Week 1

As many of you might agree, the NFL preseason tends to drag along, so I’ve been sitting around brainstorming these past few days trying to come up with some interesting ways to hold us over until the games actually count.

Guys are going to be coming and going in the 3 1/2 weeks leading up to the Indianapolis Colts’ season opener in Houston, so it makes sense to gauge who’s in danger of losing his spot on the roster and who’s looking at a good chance to don the horseshoe in September. Also, we know some Colts will be on the roster no matter what, so we’ll also look at who of those guys just plain looked good or bad.

I owe my Yahoo! buddy Geoffrey Miller for this idea.

Without further ado, the first installment of Colts Hot/Not.

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Indiana Pacers Finally Hire Frank Vogel; Now What?

The Indiana Pacers finally made the long-expected hire of Frank Vogel as head coach official Wednesday.

Vogel and Pacers President Larry Bird addressed the media, each saying he felt good about the direction of the franchise going forward.

While I tend to agree — especially knowing that revered NBA assistant coach Brian Shaw will come aboard as Vogel’s associate head coach — I can’t help but question Bird’s motives in waiting this long, not to mention wonder what further complications the NBA lockout will beckon for this young Pacers team.

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Indiana Pacers Make Draft-Night Trade for Hometown Product George Hill

The Indiana Pacers made a huge splash for their organization and for their city’s fan base Thursday at the NBA Draft.

The Pacers traded the rights to the No. 15 pick, which turned out to be San Diego State’s Kawhi Leonard, as well as the rights to the No. 42 pick (Davis Bertans) and 2005 pick Erazem Lorbek, to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Indianapolis native George Hill, a Broad Ripple High School and IUPUI product.

Needless to say, Indiana and its local fans are thrilled about this pick, and they should be.

By Drew Allen

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Bob Sanders’ Legacy with Indianapolis Colts

I now have had a few days to think about how Bob Sanders, who on Friday was released by the Indianapolis Colts after seven seasons with the team, will be remembered by those invested in the Indianapolis-based franchise.

The safety had numerous moments of brilliance during those seven years, including a dynamic run to victory in Super Bowl XLI and being named the Associated Press’ Defensive Player of the Year for the 2007 season.

Unfortunately for Sanders and the Colts, however, those brilliant moments were few and far between.

By Drew Allen

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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

Big Ten Tournament Preview and Predictions

By Paul M. Banks

When the 12th Annual Big Ten Men’s basketball tournament tips off Thursday morning it will feature one of the deepest fields in recent years. If a couple of the bubble teams make a strong showing at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, as many as nine teams could have a case to be in the big dance occurring the following week. One thing I can’t figure out though is why Chicago, the city where the league is headquartered, and home to the conference’s largest media market and alumni population by miles, doesn’t host it every single year? I guess the “city” of Indianapolis ought to have something going for it.

Michigan State (25-5, 15-3) claimed the No. 1 seed after capturing the Big Ten title for the fifth time under Tom Izzo. Illinois (23-8, 11-7) earned the No. 2 seed, while Purdue (22-9, 11-7) clinched the No. 3 spot. Wisconsin (19-11, 10-8) claimed the No. 4 seed and Ohio State (20-9, 10-8) earned the No. 5 seed. Each of the top five teams receives a first-round bye and will start tournament play on Friday the 13th. Feel the chills!

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Thursday #8 Minnesota (21-9, 9-9) takes on #9 Northwestern (17-12, 8-10) at 11AM. Look for our hometown Wildcats to tie the school record for single season wins at the expense of “Tubby Time.”

The tournament’s second game at 1:30 features #7 Michigan (19-12, 9-9) against #10 Iowa (15-16, 5-13). I’m calling another mild upset here as Iowa’s Jake Kelly, a Carmel, IN native with two Big Ten Player of the Week awards this past month, will come to play in front of the hometown fans.

#6 Penn State (21-10, 10-8) and #11 Indiana (6-24, 1-17) square off at 4. Watch the Penn State fans act Bush League again and storm the court to celebrate winning another game they were supposed to win.

Remember, brackets never appear in nature composed of 11 teams, so the irregular format unfortunately needs explanation every year. For your convenience, I linked the bracket for you to look at here.

Day two begins at 11AM with top-seeded Michigan State facing the game one winner. The Spartans are the No. 1 seed for the third time in tournament history (’98, ’99) and seek to become the first squad in Big Ten Tournament history to win three tourney crowns.

Izzo is too good a coach to be caught off guard by the Princeton Offense of Northwestern again. Sparty won’t get back-doored like they did in East Lansing this past January. State advances while NU goes on to host and win an NIT game next week therefore breaking the school record for victories in a season!

However, nothing is guaranteed in this tourney as the No. 1 seed has won the tournament only four times (Wisconsin last year, Ohio State 2007, Illinois 2005 and Michigan State 1999).

The day’s second game at 1:30 is between the last two tournament champions: Wisconsin and Ohio State. I’m predicting Chicago St. Joseph product Evan Turner, arguably the conference’s best player, leads his Bucks forward.

Nobody has a better record in this tournament than Illinois (21-9), the #2 seed, who will likely end Iowa’s season slowly and painfully in yet another low-scoring game. This contest will tip off at 5:30. The Illini will remain one of just four schools (Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan State are the others) to have advanced to at least the quarterfinals in every year of the event. Another thing the orange and blue have going for them, which is nice, is this fact: the #2 seed remains the event’s leader in championships. No. 2 seeds are 15-5 and have won four titles, been to the finals five times and in the semifinals on six occasions.

And by the time all the heavy drinking has started Friday night, #3 Purdue faces the winner of Penn State-Indiana. Since Purdue is 0-4 in Indy for some reason -so much for homecourt advantage- look for Penn State to upset the Boilers.
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The Big Ten Tournament semifinals and championship takes place during the weekend when most of you will be busy getting sloshed at St. Patty’s Day parades.  On Saturday at 12:40 p.m. MSU will begin their conquest of OSU. This contest features two of the league’s best players (and sophomores, so get use to these guys) in the Buckeyes’ Turner and Sparty’s Kalin Lucas. When it’s over, State will declare “THIS…IS…SPARTA!”

They say it’s difficult to beat a team three times in one year, and Penn State will learn that the hard way when Bruce Weber and the Illini finally figure out a way to beat the pesky Lions in the late afternoon game. Star sophomore guard with a porn star name Talor Battle can rest easy though, as Penn State has already punched their ticket to the big dance.

And after all the upsets I’ve picked, I still find myself with a #1 vs. #2 final game. Which is usually what happens in March Madness anyway- all the upsets occur in the first couple rounds, and it’s almost always high seeds within the final stages of your brackets. This is the final game airing before the Selection Show, and really won’t end up meaning much because 1.) Both these teams are already in 2.) Seeding and placement has mostly been determined by the time the clock turns to zero. It is hard to defeat a team three times in one season, but Michigan State gets it done beating the Illini, who will finish second for the fifth time in tourney history.