Monday, January 31, 2011
Today I have an edition of Bosco's Top 10. This top 10 will run weekly through selection Sunday and be posted on Monday afternoons from today on. This Edition of Top 10 will be who I believe has the BEST shot to get to Final Four weekend and win the NCAA Tournament. I will rank the teams 1-10 with a little note about each one and their previous rank. (This is different from years past where I have posted my own Top 25 weekly rankings, which normally didn't differ much from the coaches or AP polls.) The other big difference will be that I won't be using rankings to make my decisions, it will be based upon records, rpi, and the good old "eye test", since I do watch A LOT of college ball.
1. Ohio St Buckeyes
- The only undefeated team remaining in the country, and with "Super-Frosh" Jared Sullinger getting better by the game, they are scary good. The Buckeyes have as good of a shot as anyone to win it all, and not having a loss puts them ahead of the rest.
2. Texas Longhorns
- The Longhorns are arguably the hottest team in the country. But the key is can they maintain this play all the way through March? As of right now, you have to say yes and think they have a legit shot to get to the Final Four and win it all. That is because of the play of Jordan Hamilton and Tristan Thompson. Both youngsters, as Hamilton is a sophomore and Thompson a freshman, but both are playing like they are ready to be helping NBA teams out next year. And they might be, but I'm sure they would like to win a NCAA title first.
3. Kansas Jayhawks
- Another Big 12 school? Yes, and one of the best teams in the country. Yes, I realize that they had their 69 game winning streak at home snapped last week. But that loss was to Texas! This team can jump on the backs of the Morris twins and ride to the Final Four. They will need freshman Josh Selby to continue to grow to win it all though due to the lack of depth at the guard position.
4. Duke Blue Devils- As a huge Duke fan, I will be the first to tell you that I don't think they can repeat without Kyrie Irving making his way back into the lineup. But I also can tell you that I wouldn't doubt them being able to get back to the Final Four. They will have to rely on seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler to step their games up like they did last year even if Kyrie Irving were to make a miraculous return. The Plumlee brothers will also need to toughen up as Brian Zoubek did last year from right around this point in the season, and carry it through the "Big Dance".
5. Pittsburgh Panthers- Pitt is having another great defensive season, which will keep them in most games. The problem is if Ashton Gibbs has a really off game they might struggle to keep up with some of the potent offenses they will see come tourney time. I do think that they can battle with any team on the glass which could be huge as well.
6. San Diego St Aztecs- SD St is having an amazing season so far. Lead by former "Fab 5" coach Steve Fisher and double double phenom Kawhi Leonard, this team can make a run from national obscurity to everyone's Cinderella story. I understand that they will most likely be a 2 or 3 seed for the Tournament but Butler was considered a Cinderella story last year, so can SD St.
7. Uconn Huskies- Uconn is having a surprising season so far based on preseason predictions by most of the analysts. Kemba Walker has been the best player in the country and has been able to lead his team to huge wins all year. And anytime you have a coach as experienced as Jim Calhoun combined with a National Player of the Year candidate like Walker, the results could be dangerous.
8. Villanova Wildcats
- Nova has been a consistent squad for years now. And I think most would say that is because Jay Wright is one heck of a recruiter. Especially at the guard position, I like to call them "Guard U". They have the two senior Corey's (Fisher and Stokes) who average 15 points a game, who both have 3 prior tournaments of experience to rely on. Since Nova isn't high on everyone's radar, I wouldn't be surprised if this is the year they make it back to the Final Four.
9. BYU Cougars
- Jimmer Fredette is all I have to say. If you don't know who this guy is, you sure will come March. He can score with the best of them, and I mean the BEST of them. Even the best scorer in the NBA, Kevin Durant tweeted last week that Fredette was the best scorer in the world! He is averaging a cool 27 points per game, but also has a lot of help, from the rest of his talented team including Jackson Emery who can also score! They have a classic March Madness game against the Kansas St. Wildcats last year to look back on, and try to make a deep run to the second weekend and beyond.
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Yes, Notre Dame is now as much of a basketball school as a football school. Especially lately, including this season. They are currently ranked in the top 10, while playing in the best conference in the nation (Big East). I just have a funny feeling that they will ride the coat tails of Ben Hansbrough, just as UNC did two years ago with his brother Tyler. Ben seems to have that same "IT" factor as a player, and wants the ball when the games on the line. He proved that last week in Pittsburgh when he hit every big basket he could to end the Panthers extended home winnings streak.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The Yanks were unwilling to give up a first-round pick for a relief pitcher, which I completely agree with. Great, young pitching staffs are built through the draft.
But on the positive side, Joakim Soria has expressed interest in being traded to Yanks:
The 2010 Yankees won 95 games
In large part, this is the same Yankees team that won 95 games and finished with the 3rd best regular season record in all of baseball. The vast majority of the 2010 team is back in 2011. Players that the Yankees are not bringing back include Javier Vazquez, Austin Kearns, Lance Berkman, Marcus Thames, and Kerry Wood. The second coming of Vazquez ended pretty much like the first one, in major disappointment and utter frustration with his inability to perform in New York. The Yankees got nothing out of Vazquez in 2010, so it is not a major loss. Berkman and Kearns were disappointing mid-season acquisitions and will not be missed in 2011. I still believe the Yankees will re-sign Marcus Thames as a 4th outfielder. Thames did have some huge Home Runs for the Yankees in 2010 and was directly responsible for at least a few of the team’s wins. However, Thames is NOT a critical part of the Yankee roster. Kerry Wood is the biggest departure, but he simply did not want to be a Yankee, turning down millions to return to the Cubs. The major question mark for 2011 is whether Andy Pettite returns. His return is critical and will dictate whether the 2011 Yankees are a clear World Series contender or not.
The core Yankees are all back in 2011; Jeter, A-rod, Cano, Texiera, Granderson, Sabathia, Hughes, Swisher, and Mo. Look for Jeter and Granderson to have bounce-back years in 2011. For the first time in his career, Jeter is working on his swing the entire offseason with hitting coach Kevin Long. I truly believe that Jeter was embarrassed by his 2010 stats and will be more motivated than ever to rebound. Yankees fans only got a small taste of Curtis Granderson’s potential in 2010; he struggled early on and after making a late-season adjustment to his swing, was on fire for the remainder of the regular season and postseason. Mark my words, Granderson will hit over 30 home runs in 2011 and will be the top Yankees outfielder. Another Yankee due for a bounce back is AJ Burnett. Burnett is truly the key to the Yankees success and I expect him to win at least 15 games this year. The Yankees brought in a new pitching coach to work specifically with Burnett. While he did have an awful and inconsistent year in 2010, Burnett still has an elite pitching arsenal and will get back to being one of the game’s best in 2011. If Burnett performs up to expectations, there is no reason to believe that the Yankees rotation can’t improve this year.
Don’t forget that the 2010 Yankees scored the most runs in baseball, scoring over 40 runs more than the team behind them. The Yankees also hit the third most Home Runs in the league. With basically the same offensive team intact, the Yankees will most certainly be in the top 5 in the league in runs scored and Home Runs, and those type of numbers win games.
The AL East is a Weaker Division in 2011
There is no doubt that the Red Sox are stronger in 2011, than they were in 2010. However, they are NOT a better team than the Yankees. Yes, the Red Sox picked up Crawford and Gonzalez, which will undoubtedly make their offense better. What the national media fails to mention is that the Red Sox lost Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez. Beltre had a monster season in 2010, smashing 28 home runs and batting .321 with 102 RBIs. Victor Martinez is among the league’s elite catchers. Basically, the Red Sox replaced two great players with two great players.
For the past several seasons, the Tampa Bay Rays have been an even greater nemesis than the Red Sox. In 2011, the Rays will finish behind the Blue Jays in the AL East. There is no way they can rebound from their horrific offseason, losing Matt Garza, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Rafael Soriano among others.
Cliff Lee is in the National League
Need I say more, the Yankees road to the World Series is that much easier. Lee has been a Yankee killer and it is great news that he is out of the American League.
Exciting New Prospects
For the first time since 1998, the Yankees will have a new full-time catcher, with Jorge Posada being moved to DH. While the Yankees did sign Russell Martin to compete for the job, I fully expect Jesus Montero, one of the highest-rated prospects in all of baseball (ranked 4th overall by Baseball America), to take over the full-time job by the All-Star break. One of the major reasons I was vehemently opposed to the Yankees efforts in 2010 to trade for Cliff Lee was that Montero would have to be part of the deal. Montero is the Yankees future and has been compared to Mike Piazza by many baseball scouts. Montero has the potential to be an elite hitting force for the Yankees as he hit 21 Home Runs and 75 RBIs for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate in only 123 games. Over a 162 game season, Montero has the ability to hit over 30 home runs and drive in over 100 RBIs. The Yankees became a dynasty in the late ‘90s and early 2000s by building through their farm system, brining up home grown talent like Mo, Jeter, Pettite, and Posada. I have a strong belief that Montero will have a similar impact for the Yankees in 2011, as Derek Jeter had in 1996.
Another elite prospect to look out for is Manuel Banuelos, a left-handed pitcher that is only 19 years old and sky-rocketed up the Yankees farm system in 2010. Banuelos started the season in the Yankees Rookie League, one level below Single A. He simply dominated at each level in the minor league system and ended the season with the Trenton Thunder. The Yankees plan to bring Banuelos up in the bullpen in 2011 and he will have a similar impact for the Yankees that Joba Chamberlain had in his rookie season.
Cashman Is Not Done Yet
Although the Yankees have been strangely quiet this offseason, I do not expect it to continue. Just like the Granderson trade in 2010 that literally came out of nowhere, and the Swisher trade the year before that, expect the Yankees to use their excellent farm system to trade for a Starting Pitcher or another outfielder. I also think the Yankees will sign Rafael Soriano to be Mariano Rivera’s setup man for 2011, and eventual heir to the closer role.
The Evil Empire No More
I was one of the few Yankee fans to be excited that they did not get Cliff Lee this offseason. For the first time in recent memory, the Yankees payroll has decreased and they can no longer be accused of buying a title. Both the Red Sox and Phillies have equivalent payrolls to the Yankees for 2011 (approx. $170 million), and it can no longer be claimed that the Yankees spend to win. The Yankees are no longer a $200+ million dollar team like they have
While there are certainly many questions surrounding the 2011 Yankees, I am confident that they will return to the postseason and win their 28th World Series ring. The powerful 2010 offense is back in full force. AJ Burnett will have a bounce back year and the pitching rotation will improve on their 2010 numbers. If Andy Pettite returns, the Yankees will be in even better shape. If not, young prospects will step up like they did in 1996 and Cashman will add depth to the rotation before the trade deadline. Breath easy Yankees fans, the Yankees will continue to win in 2011.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
I tend to have a very common argument with fans of the “Big Blue”. The argument is, of course, about former Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning. Although he is an extremely talented QB, coming from an even more talented gene pool, my argument is that he is given far too much credit and has a tendency to be worshipped by those of the “Blue Bloods”. This year’s argument was that the majority of his interceptions were off of his receiver’s hands. I’ll admit, I’ve only watched maybe 4 or 5 Giants games this year. I’m an Oakland Raider fan who likes to torture himself on Sundays by watching the worst run team in all of sports show how much potential they have and then blow it due to horrific managerial calls and 60’s style defense. However, that’s a story for another day.
Seeing as I did not watch every Giants game, I decided to go back and watch the highlights/lowlights of all of the interceptions thrown my Peyton’s’ brother and Archie’s’ son. Here’s the results:
(1) Intended for Ramses Barden (Although extremely overthrown) it deflected off of Barden's hands and into the Panthers arms. ELI 0 -WR’s 1
(2) This was a perfectly thrown ball to Ahmad Bradshaw but he bobbled it directly to the Panthers defender. ELI 0- WR’s 2
(3) This throw was off of Nicks’ hands into the Panthers arms. Not a good throw, kind of left Nicks out to dry, but off of his hands regardless. ELI 0- WR’s 3
(1) Bad throw intended for Smith. Underthrown into triple coverage. This one is on Eli. (ELI 1-WR’s 3)
(1) The world famous left handed throw to Boss! No more to go any further into this one. (ELI 2-WR’s 3)
(2) I’m really starting to think differently about Hakeem Nicks. Another one directly through his hands. (ELI 2- WR’s 4)
NO INTERCEPTIONS THROWN
(1) This one was intended for Manningham, nobody told him though.
(ELI 3- WR’s 4)
(2) We have a tie! Horrible throw by Eli. (ELI 4- WR’s 4)
NO INTERCEPTIONS THROWN
(1) Terrible throw to Pascoe. Easy call. (ELI 5- WR’s 4)
(2) These are the one’s that are tough to call. It’s a horribly thrown ball that Smith has to go way out of his way for. However, it did hit his hand. I have to go against Eli on this one. Not a good throw and you know that in the locker room, he got the blame for this one and not Smith.
(ELI 6- WR’s 4)
(3) Awesome effort by Nicks. Horrific throw by Manning. It hit his hands but Jerry Rice wouldn’t have caught this one. (ELI 7- WR’s 4)
NO INTERCEPTIONS THROWN
(1) Easy call. Picked off by Ball. I think it was meant for Manningham but Ball barely had to move. (ELI 8- WR’s 4)
(2) TD Dallas. Manning was looking left for Nicks and it was was easily picked by McCann. (ELI 9- WR’s 4)
(1) Yet again, an easy INT. Bradley (The Eagles MLB) was covering Hagan an Eli threw up a jump ball. (Eli 10- WR’s 4)
(2) Asante Samuel read this one perfectly (as he so often does). Another one for Eli. (ELI 11- WR’s 4)
(3) There’s a 3rd interception in this game. I’m not able to find the video for it. Seeing as Eli also fumbled twice in this game, I’ll give the wr’s a point for it. However it should be noted that Manning was responsible for 5 turnovers in this game. Way to step up against a rival team.
NO INTERCEPTIONS THROWN
(1) This was a pass thrown to the triple covered Kevin Boss. London Fletcher comes down with it untouched. (Eli 12-WR’s 5)
(1) This is getting ridiculous. How it can be said that all of Eli’s interceptions are off of his WR’s hands, well, it’s beyond me. Routine interception by Allen, intended for Manningham. (Eli 13- WR’s 5)
(2) Intended for Nicks, jumped by Walker. Easy interception. (Eli 14- WR’s 5)
(1) This throw was deflected by Tapp and picked by Mikell. Although some will say that this was not Eli’s fault, the point of this article is to either blame Eli or the WR. Seeing as it was deflected by a defensive lineman and picked by a safety, it has to go on Eli. The only reason that I even know whom it was intended for (Hagan) is because NFL network was kind enough to tell me. (Eli 15- WR’s 5)
(1) This one is funny. Eli threw a completion to AJ Hawk. He tried to escape the sack and threw it directly to AJ Hawk. (Eli 16-WR’s 5)
(2) Interception intended for Hagan. Picked off about 4 to 5 feet in front of him by Sam Shields. (ELI 17-WR’s 5)
(3) Nick Collins intercepted this one, as Manningham was double covered. It looked like pass interference by Shields but it would have been picked regardless. (ELI 18-WR’s 5)
(4) This was intended for Nicks. Williams looked like he was getting a punt return. Easy interception, yet again. (ELI 19- WR’s 5)
(1) This ball should’ve been easily caught. Manningham bobbled a perfectly thrown ball. Picked off by former 1st round pick and Al Davis Hall of Famer, Philip Buchanon. (Eli 19-WR’s 6)
As you can see, Eli manning had thrown 25 interceptions this year. After watching the replay of every single interception, it is absolutely insane to say that the receivers were at fault for more than half of them. Even if I go in favor of Eli for the 2 controversial interceptions (mentioned above), he would still be fully responsible for 17 of them. Let’s also not forget about the interception that I blamed the wr’s for against Philly, only because I couldn’t find the video for it on NFL.com. Is it possible that the receivers ran the wrong route? Yes, it is possible. Is it also possible that the Giants receivers could have made more of an effort to get the ball on the ground? Yes, that too is possible. However, facts are facts. Sorry Giants fans, its time to admit that your holy QB is flawed.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Eagles over Packers
Saints over Seahawks
Eagles over Bears
Falcons over Saints
Eagles over Falcons
Baltimore over Kansas City
Jets over Colts
Ravens over Patriots
Steelers over Jets
Ravens over Steelers
Super Bowl MVP
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Don’t worry folks. You’re not going to have to tune into ESPN to see Vince Young sitting on a stool ready to make the “Big Announcement”. He won’t have the privilege of appointing an interviewer (One less time we all have to see Jim Gray) and he won’t be “Taking (his) talents to South Beach”. Well actually, maybe he will. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though.
Going into to the offseason, there have been many headlines to keep us “Online Athletes” happy, some being huge, some, not so much. However, one topic that has been quite interesting is that out of Tennessee. The ball was put in the Titans’ court. They had to choose between veteran head coach, Jeff Fisher and the shoulder pad throwing college football legend, Vince Young. Numerous spats had forced the two to grow apart and the results had shown it on the field. Jeff Fisher, for the most part, has been a very successful head coach under owner Bud Adams. He’s done so, despite the streaky play of Young. The decision had been made. Young would no longer be on the team.
So, what is next for “Vincanity” (wait wrong Vince). So what is next for Vince Young? His style of play has proven that he cannot be that “Pocket Passer” that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are. He has however, shown that he can be effective outside of the pocket. This means that in order for him to be at his best, he has to have a line that can give him some time to maneuver.
Option numero uno (That means “number one” in Spanish, for all of you high school French majors): the Arizona Cardinals. I know what some of you are thinking, “The Cardinals just got rid of one 2006 draft bust. Why would they get another?” Well to be honest, the Cardinals could stray away here. However, the truth of the matter is that Coach Ken Whistenhunt loves some creativity in his offense. With Youngs’ athletic ability, it will allow Whistenhunt to run a very detailed offense. Does Young have the brain capacity to run this type of offense? That is another question.
Option number two: the Seattle Seahawks. This one is easy to justify. Their Quarterback situation was horrendous this year, and you know that Pete Carroll would absolutely love to be the one who “Rejuvenated Vince Young”. Give the guy some credit; he deserves to do something right in the NFL. Don’t get me wrong, the Seahawks made the playoffs, but there were 2 CFL teams that could beat them like they were playing with Bo Jackson in “Tecmo Super bowl”.
The 3rd and final option that I will be discussing today is… the Miami Dolphins! YES! Maybe he will “Take his talents to South Beach”! Think about it. The Dolphins can run the ball. This would allow the “Fins” to use Young in a productive manner. They’ll be able to continue to play the smash mouth style of football that they love to play. When rolling outside of the pocket, he may cause enough of a distraction to let Brandon Marshall free up in the passing game. Hey, we’ve seen stranger things happen in this league so anything is possible. Not to mention, if all else fails with the Dolphins, Young is 20 times better than anyone the Heat have on their bench. Yeah, I said it.
Jets over Colts - 23-20
Ravens over Chiefs - 24-13
Patriots over Jets
Ravens over Steelers
Ravens over Patriots
Packers over Eagles - 34-30
Saints over Seahawks - 24-23
Packers over Falcons
Bears over Saints
Packers over Bears
SUPER BOWL XLV
Packers over Ravens
MVP- Aaron Rodgers
... Well sorry to all Packers & Ravens fans because I just jinxed you. HAHA
My Preseason NFC/AFC Championship game losers have now moved into my SB prediction. Enjoy the playoffs everyone!
Here are my awards for the 2010 NFL Season (My preseason predictions of these awards were obviously slighty off but that's why they are called predictions)
MVP- Tom Brady, QB, Patriots (3900 Yds, 36 TDs to 4 Ints, 65.9 Cmp % & #1 seed with a 14-2 record)
O.P.Y- Arian Foster, RB, Texans (1616 Yds Rushing, 16 Rushing TDs, 4.9 YPC, 604 Yds Receiving, 2 Receiving TDs, 2220 Total Yards from Scrimmage)
D.P.Y- Troy Polamalu, LB, Packers (63 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble, 7 Interceptions, 1 Def TD)
O.R.Y- Sam Bradford, QB, Rams (3512 Yds, 18 TDs to 15 Ints, 60 Cmp % & living up to #1 Draft Pick expectations)
D.R.Y- Ndamukong Suh, DT, Lions (66 Tackles, 10 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 1 Interception)
Coach- Mike Smith, Falcons (13-3 Record overall, 5-1 in NFC South & #1 Seed in NFC)