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Monday, May 2, 2016

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Western Kentucky Coach Ken McDonald Reimburses Fans for Blowout Road Loss

Western Kentucky is 5-7 on the season and has lost six of its last eight games, including a 114-82 blowout home loss Wednesday night against Louisville. Nobody is satisfied with the team’s play, especially coach Ken McDonald, who has taken actions to personally apologize to fans.

According to Rick Bozich, McDonald sent an apology letter to about 20 fans who were sitting behind the Western Kentucky bench for their road game at Vanderbilt a few weeks ago. The team lost the game 82-62 and committed 21 turnovers, a performance so poor it motivated McDonald to go out of his way to make a move.

He sent each fan $60 to compensate their mileage costs for driving to Nashville for the game. Apparently the fans have as good character as the coach and none have cashed the checks, saying they know teams can have bad games.

It’s certainly a nice gesture by coach McDonald (though it has nothing on this guy) and probably one he learned from Chip Kelly, but it’s nonetheless pretty cool. Can you just imagine if all teams enacted a similar policy? It would build up some goodwill with the fans but in the case of teams like the Clippers it could bankrupt the coach. Where’s Chris Marcus and Courtney Lee when you need them?

Mike Shanahan Would Take Donovan McNabb As a Backup Next Season

Make no mistake about it — Donovan McNabb is not going to be a Washington Redskin next season.  That does not, however, mean the offer isn’t on the table.  McNabb has been openly frustrated about Mike Shanahan’s decision to bench him in favor of Rex Grossman, but Shanahan told The Washington Post he would welcome McNabb back next season — as a backup.

That would be the day.  To backtrack a bit, the Redskins have gone from offering McNabb a massive contract extension which was comparable to Tom Brady’s, to offering him a role on the bench next season.  Donovan may not be in the best shape of his career nor in his prime, but he is still a very capable NFL starter if utilized the right way.

Shanahan acknowledge that he doubts McNabb staying on board as a backup quarterback is a possibility, but I don’t think there was any need to say it in the first place.  For one thing, it’s insulting to a guy who has been one of the better quarterbacks in the league this decade and has led teams to a number of significant playoff victories. On the other hand, it limits McNabb’s trade value. 

The Redskins gave up draft picks to acquire McNabb in what appeared to be a franchise-altering deal.  Now, Shanahan is openly informing other teams that he has no place on the team next year, effectively forfeiting any leverage he may have had on the trade market.

Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State Players Not Suspended for Sugar Bowl?

The hypocrisy of the NCAA is at it again. Not much longer after they inexplicably allowed Cam Newton to remain eligible at Auburn though his father shopped him to at least one school, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for the first five games of the 2011 season.

The players were suspended for receiving some benefits ordinary people wouldn’t have (free tattoos!), and for selling some of their swag — game jerseys and the 2008 Big Ten championship ring. That makes complete sense given the NCAA’s stance on preserving amateurism and preventing players from using their status to gain monetary advantages. But what doesn’t make sense is the punishment.

The NCAA deemed the actions of Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron, DeVier Posey, Mike Adams, and Solomon Thomas bad enough to suspend them the first five games of next season (standard suspension is four, but they got an additional game for not immediately revealing their violations). If their actions were bad enough to result in a five-game suspension, then how can the NCAA justify allowing the players to be active for the Sugar Bowl? There is no answer.

The NCAA says the players were not suspended for the bowl game because they believe the players were not properly educated about violations prior to committing their actions. Who actually buys that defense? Oh I’m sorry officer, I didn’t know the speed limit in the neighborhood was only 25mph, not 60. Like players don’t know it’s against NCAA rules to sell their jerseys and rings?

The NCAA’s reasoning on the matter is inexplicable. They’ve now ruled on two high-profile cases by heavily weighting the “knowledge of the players” factor and they’re rewarding perceived innocence. It’s odd decisions like this one that leaves critics wondering how the NCAA can seemingly dole out penalties on an arbitrary “this is what we feel like doing” basis.

Roddy White Warns Saints on Twitter: They Think They’re Hot S***

With a huge Monday night game ahead between the Saints and Falcons, it’s good to know Atlanta star Roddy White is avoiding all the distractions of trash talk and focusing solely on the game. Maybe not. White, the NFL’s leading receiver, took issue with a Trent Dilfer prediction on ESPN that the Saints would beat the Falcons at the Georgia Dome, and then beat them in the playoffs too. White disagreed on his twitter account, and that apparently angered several fans.

Roddy went off after that:

“The grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn fall apart now and now they think they hot #!@%*# in my chad voice child please

The first time we played them their coach gone say after we won the game thts a good win for yall like the saints are the colts …

The saints win one championship and want to go crazy well yall ass aint winning this year we gone make sure tht doesn’t happen”

If Sean Payton didn’t give the Falcons much credit for the win the first time, maybe it’s because he was pissed kicker Garrett Hartley missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime that would have won the game for New Orleans. At any rate, the Falcons can take control of the situation by proving to the Saints who the top team in the division is. The Saints have earned the reputation by winning the Super Bowl and it’s on Atlanta to defeat the defending champs. White later got upset with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, but it’s hard to figure out why.

The bottom line: for those of you in the business of picking NFL games, it’s been confirmed the Falcons will bring their best effort on Monday night.

Patriots, Falcons, Eagles, Steelers Biggest Super Bowl Favorites

Heading into week 16 of the NFL season, the question amongst fans and analysts has become more prevalent: who’s headed to the Super Bowl? The easy answer is the teams with the best records — the Patriots and Falcons. In addition to those two powerhouse teams, there are six other squads that have double digit win totals. But of those six, which ones have the best odds of making the Super Bowl? For the answer, let’s take a look at the Super Bowl Picks found at BetUS.

The 12-2 New England Patriots are the current favorite with odds of making the Super Bowl at 5:2. The 12-2 Atlanta Falcons are next up at 5:1. Now comes the interesting part: the Steelers, Ravens, Jets, Eagles, Saints, and Bears are all 10-4, but their odds vary greatly.

Unsurprisingly, the Eagles behind the spectacular Mike Vick are just behind the Falcons with 6:1 odds, making our Power Rankings look good. The Steelers are 17:2, while the Saints and Ravens are next up at 12:1. The Jets and Bears are receiving the least amount of respect amongst 10-4 teams — they’re both 20:1.

Of all teams still eligible for the playoffs, the Buccaneers (250:1) and Raiders (200:1) have the longest odds. Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis are all listed as 150:1 shots to make it to the Super Bowl, indicating the homefield advantage helps tremendously.

And how about this? The 8-6 Chargers are a 14:1 shot, while the 8-6 Colts are 16:1 — both ahead of the Bears and Jets who have superior records. Supporting San Diego’s strong odds are the NFL stats that show they have the second-highest point differential in the league, behind only the Patriots.

As long as both teams clinch homefield throughout the playoffs, I see no reason why the Pats and Falcons should not reach the Super Bowl. After all, that was my pick last year — better a year late then never.

Rex Ryan and Michelle Ryan Foot Fetish Coverage Shows Change in Media

The good ol boys over at Deadspin have done it again. Two months after blowing the foreskin off the Brett Favre schlong pics, they revealed the story of Michelle Ryan’s foot videos. Ryan, the wife of outspoken Jets coach Rex Ryan, appears to have been featured in several YouTube videos under the name “ihaveprettyfeet.” In one video, the voice of the person running the camera sounds exactly like Rex. The videos disappeared around the time Rex took over as head coach of the Jets, but as we all well know internet foibles die hard.

As if the foot fetish videos reappearing weren’t already enough, there is an “ihaveprettyfeet” profile on a Foot Lovers Dating site whose information matches up with Michelle Ryan’s. Still not horrified? Get this, an alt.com profile (a site for BDSM & Alternative Lifestyle Personals) advertises a couple whose information also matches up with that of the Ryans.

Ready for the dirty? Check out these bullet points from their alt profile:

    > Sexual Orientation: Bi-curious
    > I think about ALT lifestyle: Sometimes
    > Role: Submissive
    > Level of Experience: I am new at this

Honestly, we’ve moved from Beyond Creepy Ave. to Deviant Way along the superhighway of ICantEffingBelieveThis. How is it possible for such a high profile person to have such a lack of common sense? Did he not think any of this would be discovered? I guess he went two years without any references, so maybe, but holy shnikees.

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Brett Favre Tells Julius Peppers to ‘Go Beat the Packers’

If Brett Favre tries to pull the “no hard feelings” card when talking about the Packers a few years down the road, don’t believe him. There are times when it seems the guy wants Green Bay to lose as badly as he wants to win. After all, he did make it a point to join their biggest rival after he retired several times.

Now, Favre is wishing Packers opponents well.  After a game in which he left with a concussion and watched his Vikings get demolished by the Bears, Old Man Brett talked to Julius Peppers.  Among the things he told the defensive end was, “go beat the Packers in a couple weeks.”  They also exchanged compliments in case it turns out to be Brett’s last game and all that boring stuff, but talk about sour grapes.

When they beat Minnesota, the Bears clinched the NFC North title.  The Vikings are completely out of the playoff race now with a 5-9 record, but the Packers remain on the bubble at 8-6.  It would be one thing if a Green Bay loss benefited the Vikings in some way, but that isn’t the case at all.  Favre simply wants the town that showed him 16 years of unconditioned commitment to suffer at all cost.

Kevin Love Could Join Exclusive 20-15 Club

Only eight players in NBA history have averaged at least 20 points and 15 rebounds per game in a season and all of them are in the Hall of Fame: Wilt Chamberlain (13), Bob Pettit (8), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4), Elgin Baylor (4), Walt Bellamy (4), Elvin Hayes (4), Moses Malone (2) and Bob McAdoo (1). If he can keep up his current pace, Kevin Love will be next on that list. Love is currently averaging 20.8 points per game and 15.5 rebounds per game — the highest average since Dennis Rodman’s 16.05 per game in 1996-97.

Love was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008, but was immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for fellow 2008 draft pick O.J. Mayo. The Timberwolves definitely got the better end of this deal; Mayo’s first three years have produced a healthy 17.2 points per game, but that’s really it. He’s probably never going to be as famous for his play as he is for his one-year stint at USC.

Love, on the other hand, has seen his production rise incrementally each season — from 11 points and nine rebounds to 14 points and 11 rebounds to the historic pace he’s on this year. He’s got as many single-digit rebound games this season (5) as he does games with at least 20 boards. In what was probably his best game this season, on Nov. 12 against the Knicks, Love put up 31 points and brought down 31 rebounds — talk about glass cleaning.

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MLB Free Agent Contracts Have Gotten Completely Out of Hand

It almost feels like Christmas in December. It’s baseball’s annual right of passage, winter free agent signings that net sums of money so ghastly even hedge fund managers are blushing. At this rate, the good folks at Major League Baseball may have to change the name to World $eries. The holidays are upon us, but don’t be confused. That slightly rotund fellow wearing red ain’t Santy Claus, it’s Lance Berkman, who last season ho-ho-hummed his way to a .248 batting average yet still Madoff with eight million dollars from the Cardinals. Nope, there’s no jolly old Saint Nick Punto or Johnson (they haven’t been signed yet).

What’s a Jayson worth you ask? Well, aside from the gross misspelling (someone should let him know already), how about a tidy $126 million over seven years. Forget a spruce, the Nats’ new addition may now hang his ornaments on a sequoia. I thought the folks in Washington DC were trying to rein in wasteful spending. He’d better do well in the nation’s capital or else someone in the Nationals’ front office made a huge Boehner. Ostensibly, there were no three wise men behind that deal.

Each year, baseball’s general managers descend on Florida like so many aging retirees who sport various shades of vibrantly-colored plaid pants. Both come in search of early bird specials. The only difference is that Dave Dombrowski is more likely to splurge on an overcooked piece of meat than, say, Uncle Mort. One can only imagine the reaction of Joaquin Benoit, a 33-year-old right-hander signed by the Tigers for $16.5 million despite the fact he has a career ERA approaching the Michigan state sales tax and a less-than-stellar 31-28 career record. He may be dashing through the snow in the Motor City, but can probably now afford more than one horse to pull that open sleigh (though convertibles are not really trendy in the D in the middle of winter).

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LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 16

1. New England Patriots (12-2, –)

New England has a tendency to make young quarterbacks look like Joe Montana, and that’s what they did with Matt Flynn on Sunday. It’s possible the Packers would have won if Rodgers played, but it’s also possible the Patriots underestimated Flynn. We’re going with the latter.

2. Atlanta Falcons (12-2, –)

Winning in Seattle is no easy task, but the Falcons made it look like one. Atlanta hasn’t really stumbled since week six, and if you believe in teams wearing themselves out that should be your only concern with this team as we head into the postseason.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4, +2)

A mistake from Matt Dodge helped, but the Eagles completed the greatest comeback of the season against the Giants.  We knew Philadelphia had the talent, but now we know they have the fight needed to win a championship.  Michael Vick is a legitimate leader for the first time in his career.

4. Baltimore Ravens (10-4, +3)

After their defense looked pretty soft against the Texans last week, the Ravens were able to hold off arguably the best offense in the NFC with a potent rushing attack. Ray Rice’s return to form will be crucial in determining how far they go in the postseason.

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