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SRG’s Blog | The Sports Report Girl - Part 4

2-3-2… May The NBA Finals Format Be With You!

A long time ago in an NBA galaxy far far away … David Stern listened to a suggestion by Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach.

The cigar smoking old timer, a Yoda type in NBA circles, said the travel in the NBA finals was too difficult since the East Coast-West Coast trips logged a bunch of miles, especially in games five, six and seven. This was a time to think logically, Darth Stern.

Instead, the NBA’s Sith Lord decided to accept this ludicrous suggestion. In 1985 the NBA finals changed the home-game format to the dreaded 2-3-2 we have today. What does that mean?

The NBA playoffs have a 2-2-1-1-1 format, which means the team with homecourt advantage hosts games one, two, five and seven. Seems fair, right?

Imagine a tough playoff series in which homecourt advantage holds and it’s tied at two games apiece going into game five. Well, that team with homecourt advantage has the luxury to go home, rest up and take that series edge in its own building. With a win, the home club has two chances to win the series: either game six on the road or a do-or-die game seven at home.

This fair format undergoes a wild change when the NBA finals begin. The team with homecourt advantage is punished by having to run the gauntlet in three straight games. No game five comfort at home. Thank you, random 2-3-2 format.

How much sense does this make? Why the sudden change? Do Jedi suddenly crave adventure and excitement?

If Darth Stern was so concerned with long airplane rides, just make sure there are two days between travel games instead of one. The NBA does make the schedule, duh.

Home teams in the middle gauntlet, however, can’t always take advantage of their newfound good fortune. Only two home teams have won the three middle games — the 2004 Detroit Pistons and the 2006 Miami Heat.

Detroit in 2004 took advantage of a Los Angeles Lakers team in complete disarray. The Lakers had these distractions: Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s feud, Karl Malone’s injury, Phil Jackson’s lame duck contract situation, Bryant’s questionable shot selection and not passing the ball to Shaq (the Diesel totally ate up Ben Wallace, he only shot about 60 percent from the field that year).

That was the beginning of Kobe’s transition from a promising Anakin Skywalker to the nefarious Darth Vader. But like Vader, Kobe has brought balance to the Force as he has recreated himself as the face of the championship Lakers and the face of the league. The donation of Pau Gasol helped in that championship run too.

The Heat probably wouldn’t have won the title in ’06. The Dallas Mavericks took the first two at home then dropped all three in Miami providing the Heat with enough momentum to snatch the championship in game six on the road.

The middle games bring tremendous pressure for both squads. In the case of the Lakers, they split the first two games and now face the reality that they could watch the Celtics celebrate another championship at home.

“We ain’t coming back to L.A.,” Celtics forward Paul Pierce said in the closing seconds of game two.

History says you probably will, Paul.

Does anyone honestly think the Lakers will drop four games in a row? They’re not the ’91 Lakers with injuries to James Worthy and Byron Scott or the ’01 76ers who were squashed by the juggernaut Lakers. The ’91 Lakers and ’01 76ers both won game one of the NBA finals and didn’t sniff victory after that.

Boston, if it doesn’t win all three games, must win another playoff game in Los Angeles to take the trophy.

Under the 2-2-1-1-1 format the Celtics could return home for a game six to win. Sorry, Boston.

Get rid of the asinine 2-3-2 format. Why fix what isn’t broken? The playoffs work fine in the first three rounds. There is no debate at all about 2-2-1-1-1.

What’s next, Jar Jar Binks receiving the title of Jedi Master and wielding two lightsabers against his foes? That makes about as much sense as playing three home games in a row in the NBA finals.

Boston Pushes Back, Evens Series

The Boston Celtics played ugly. So did the Los Angeles Lakers.

But Ray Allen’s three-point shot was pretty as was Rajon Rondo’s all-around game, which is why Boston took the homecourt advantage from the Lakers in game two of the NBA finals.

Allen hit an NBA finals record eight three pointers on his way to 32 points. Rondo had another triple double (19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) and made all the plays down the stretch to preserve the Celtics’ win.

Game two was tough for both teams and neither side could be pleased with officiating. Like game one, there were 58 foul calls. Boston’s entire frontline — the bench included — had foul trouble the whole game. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom also played with foul trouble, severely limiting their minutes.

Bryant played just 34 minutes and Odom 15. Celtics forward Kevin Garnett logged 24 minutes and for the second consecutive game played subpar. He scored six points and grabbed four rebounds, but he dished six assists. Odom also struggled in his second straight game with three points and five rebounds.

The Lakers played tough again, going to the free throw line 41 times. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum had their way with the Celtics. The two combined for 46 points and 14 rebounds. Bynum blocked seven shots and Gasol had six. Los Angeles had an NBA finals record 14 blocked shots.

“Our big guys played great,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We didn’t get the ball often enough to them, or in a good enough position many times, and a lot of our outside shooting was not that (good). … In a sequence like this, there’s no doubt it’s a blow to us to lose the homecourt, but we anticipated this might happen, and we’re just going to have to go pick it up.”

Bryant simply didn’t play enough minutes to find a rhythm and close the game out. He had a balanced game — 21 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. But in a tight contest such as this he would play more than 40 minutes. Two of his foul calls were extremely questionable, especially a phantom one in which Rondo stole the ball and lost his balance out of bounds.

The Celtics also had some tough whistles go against them. Their big men stuffed some Lakers drives to the basket, but more often than not a foul was called. Boston’s forwards and centers were in such foul trouble seldom-used backup Sheldon Williams played four minutes.

Los Angeles’ loss was the first of the playoffs at home. When the Lakers played the Celtics in 2008, Boston won a game in Los Angeles; that loss was also the Lakers’ first at home in the playoffs.

Rondo did damage in the fourth quarter with 10 points. He also blocked a shot by Derek Fisher to ignite a fastbreak. Rondo’s play combined with Allen’s deadly three-point shooting were enough to avoid a 2-0 NBA final deficit. Boston now has the next three games at home.

Preseason College Football Top 25: #18 Florida State

Why They’re Here: Eh heh heh hee, Bobby’s gone. Apparently, in his absence new coach Jimbo Fisher has been putting in work. The Noles had the 10th best recruiting class according to Rivals and Scout.com and number six, according to ESPN. They lost a lot of talent on defense last year, including LB Dekoda Watson and DBs Myron Rolle and first-round pick Patrick Robinson. I know I said no one from Florida State’s 2009 team deserved to be picked in the first round, but for a Seminole he wasn’t bad.

The Good: As hard as it is to say anything good about Florida State, this is their year. If the Seminoles are ever going to end their six-game losing streak to Florida, this is the time. Christian Ponder looks like a solid quarterback and their offense returns all 11 starters. Last year Gary Danielson remarked at one point during the UF-FSU game, “It’s the varsity versus the JV out there,” and he was completely right. Since Florida beat Florida State in the Chris Leak sweepstakes, the Noles haven’t even been competitive (outside of that 2003 game we won’t speak of). But with the loss of Tim Tebow and almost the entire 2011 senior class to the NFL draft, Florida State is in great position. They’ve also got probably the best offense in the ACC this side of Virginia Tech.

The Bad: It’s hard to replace guys like Watson, Rolle, Robinson, Kendrick Stewart, Kevin McNeil and Korey Mangum. The Florida State defense is probably going to have to start some of the freshmen from its stellar class this year and whether or not they’re ready to make the leap to the college level will determine how far the Noles will go this season.

The Last Word: The ACC is back and Florida State is one of the teams leading the way. If Christian Ponder can play like the conference’s MVP, this is a team that can go places. This season is on his shoulders. He’ll have his whole offense from last year back, but everyone will be looking to him to lead. From what I’ve seen, I don’t know that he’s up to it, but we’ll see.

Final Record: 11-3

Lakers Play Role of Bullies in Game One

Remember when Kevin Arnold used to get punked by older brother Wayne in “The Wonder Years”? Eventually, Kevin got older — and bigger — than his older bro and that dominance was gone.

The Los Angeles Lakers grew up like Kevin and hammered the Boston Celtics in game one. No longer was Wayne able to headlock Kevin at will or tease him about girlfriends while on the phone. The scoreboard didn’t reflect the beatdown the Celtics received. But the points in the paint, rebounding and second-chance points did.

The Lakers scored 48 points in the paint while the Celtics had 30. Boston was also outrebounded by the Lakers, 42-31. Of those rebounds Los Angeles grabbed 12 offensive boards and the Celtics were held to eight.

Those are not staggering stats, but this next one is: the Lakers had 16 second-chance points. The Celtics had none. No accidental tip-ins. No offensive rebounds for dunks. No long rebounds that led to three pointers. Every Celtics possession that ended in a missed shot meant no points. At all. Usually someone gets a garbage bucket at least. No trash delivery in game one.

Boston, which prides itself on its toughness, was out-toughed. The game was actually played at the Celtics’ tempo. Slow, a lot of foul calls (54 whistles between both teams), no real rhythm to the contest. Boston actually shot more free throws than Los Angeles, 36 to the Lakers’ 31.

“Well, it wasn’t the prettiest basketball game I’ve ever watched in my life,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

All the muscle in game one was flexed by the Lakers’ starting frontline. Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Gasol’s 14 rebounds equaled the rebounding effort of Boston’s bigs. Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis snatched 14 rebounds combined.

“On Kevin’s part, he’s also lost some explosiveness,” Gasol said. “He’s more of a jump shooter now you could say, comes off the lane. Before he had a really, really quick first step and was getting to the lane and he was more aggressive then. Time passes and we all suffer it one way or another, but he’s still a terrific player, a terrific competitor, and he’s going to bring everything he’s got. You can count on that.”

Center Andrew Bynum, who didn’t play in the 2008 NBA finals, chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds, not spectacular numbers by any means. But he doesn’t have to put up huge numbers. Bynum’s size clogs the lane for the Celtics and provides the Lakers with the luxury of bringing Lamar Odom off the bench.

Finally, there was Ron Artest, Thug No. 1, the guy you want on your team, but you don’t want to play against. How tough was he? Only 27 seconds into the game he got into a wrestling match that Stone Cold Steve Austin would have been proud of with Paul Pierce. Both players went to the ground and were called for double technical fouls.

Although the Lakers played Godzilla to the Celtics’ King Kong, Boston should have a better effort in game two. After suffering their own smackdown they are almost certain to come out more aggressive in the next game. Ray Allen didn’t play many minutes because of foul trouble and Rajon Rondo got stuffed every time he ventured near the basket.

Boston hit one three pointer. If some more of those go down, it will be a close game.

The Celtics may feel like Wayne Arnold, overshadowed at his sudden inability to punk little bro, but they must flex their own muscle if they want to make this a series. It’s no secret that the Lakers have star players at almost every position, but it was the Celtics rugged defense that got them back to the finals.

Wayne Arnold must stand up to the challenge of Kevin Arnold. Kevin may be bigger now. So what, Wayne must say. Wayne, er, Celtics, show that you’re tough too.

Opps… MLB Did It Again!

June 3, 2010 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Baseball, MLB, SRG's Blog

There is one case where tie does not go to the runner. It is when the pitcher of record is working on a perfect game and it is the ninth inning. That being said Jim Joyce missed an obvious call to rob Armando Gallaraga of a a perfect game. Don’t believe me? Check here.

Basically in the ninth inning of a perfect game, all players are secretly telling themselves, “please don’t hit it to me, please don’t hit it to me.” Now Joyce has given us, “Please hit a fly ball, Please hit a fly ball.”

I just checked and “My Bad” does not sufficiently cover it for apologies.

2010 NBA Finals

June 3, 2010 by Gabe Zaldivar  
Filed under Basketball, NBA Basketball, SRG's Blog

ESPN re-aired Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals. Being a Laker fan, I appreciated this memorial as much as remembering when I shit my pants in kindergarten…OK, first grade.

I came to a revelation. The Lakers were grossly over matched in 2008. I just didn’t see it then. Let’s start with Paul Pierce in the first game. If you recall he broke his knee. So much so that he had to be carted off with a look of despair and pain. He grimaced like he had been shot in the leg. But then as if a brilliant ploy, of which I am sure there was none, he comes out of the locker room skipping. Pierce basically came out like Daniel Laruso in Karate Kid. Although please recall Laruso was limping after. Pierce was not. So the Lakers lose the match up between athletic trainer Gary Vitti and whatever magical potions and/or small Japanese janitors they have behind their locker rooms in Boston.

We also lacked depth. Ronny Turiaff was in the game with the Lakers down six in the fourth quarter in game 1. That is my only argument.

I also realized that the finals are quite over before they even start. To prove this all one has to do is witness the glory and splendor that is NBA officiating. Its the only sport that it’s audience brazenly declares that you get “calls” at home. Where in any sport is this so prevalent. A foul is a foul and it is only less of a foul if you are a home team in the NBA. The Lakers have four games at home this series.

So who wins? With questions on one side about injuries and the other about age, this series will come down to who has to go deep into their bench early and often. If Brian Scalabrine gets more minutes in the series than Adam Morrison then the Lakers are looking good. Here is to hoping Morrison keeps on those warm-ups.

A Hardcore Lakers Fan Wish Comes True

June 3, 2010 by Mike Cervantes  
Filed under Basketball, NBA Basketball, SRG's Blog

For the last two years I have been haunted by the Boston Celtics. It was bad enough that the Celtics captured championship No. 17. But it happened against the Lakers — in embarrassing fashion.

June 17, 2008, final score, Celtics 131, Lakers 92. Not even the Memorial Day Massacre in 1985 was this bad — at least the Lakers won that series against Big. No, that disgusting 2008 score solidified Boston’s completion of a defensive masterpiece, a return to glory and another black eye for their West Coast rivals.

In that series two years ago the Lakers were on the verge of tying the series. They had an 18-point halftime lead (at home) and led by as many as 24 points. The Celtics, however, clamped down on defense, holding the Lakers to only 33 points in the second half.

That was the series. Los Angeles won a meaningless game five, but it was only a matter of time until Boston closed it out.

Since that victory I have dreamed of this rematch. When the Lakers won the title last year I wasn’t satisfied. Who cares about beating Dwight Howard and a bunch of also-ran NBA players? The only way for a championship run to be complete would be to defeat the Celtics in the NBA finals.

It didn’t seem as if the Celtics had the hunger to make it back to the championship round. Some experts had them losing in the first round. But they hit the switch and D’d up in the playoffs.

I say good. Bring it, Boston. I knew with a healthy Andrew Bynum the Lakers could match the Celtics’ physicality. It was no coincidence the Lakers vs. Celtics game on Christmas 2008 was one of the most hotly contested regular season games in recent years. With a healthy lineup the Lakers won, snapping the Celtics’ franchise-record 19-game winning streak.

Now that these teams are finally matched up I am relieved. I don’t take the Celtics lightly. They are a veteran team that will muck up the scoreboard and keep games close with their defense. I am relieved because the Lakers have the chance to defeat these guys in the finals.

Beating Cleveland or Orlando just wouldn’t matter.

For the Lakers, this will be about redemption. Very few times do teams get a chance such as this. As a hardcore Lakers fan I cherish championships and mourn missed opportunities.

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone won’t have a chance to play the Detroit Pistons, a team I think was the worst to ever win the championship.

The 1998 team with its four All-Stars of Shaq, Kobe, Eddie Jones and Nick Van Exel can’t play the Utah Jazz with the John Stockton-to-Malone connection.

Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, sorry guys, you don’t get a do-over for game seven at home against the Celtics. That loss hurt badly; it was the only time the Lakers have lost a seven-game series when holding a 2-0 lead. The Lakers’ owner, Jack Kent Cooke, was so confident his team would win the 1969 finals he planned an elaborate postgame celebration with thousands of balloons in the rafters and even a marching band.

The Celtics won that game, the only time a road team has won game seven in the NBA finals. Had I been alive for that loss I might have been borderline suicidal.

For two years I have told anyone who would listen the only way to make a Lakers’ championship complete would be to defeat Boston in the finals. I never thought it would happen. Sure, the Lakers would take care of business, but the Celtics … this was very unlikely. Now that it’s here I’m giddy.

I hope this is a tough series. Although a four-game sweep would please me, I know it is unlikely. No, the best revenge would be one in which the Celtics think they have a shot then they get their hearts ripped out by a Kobe jumpshot or a series of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum dunks.

Boston, to quote Ric Flair, to be the man, you gotta beat the man. Right now the Lakers are that man, they have the championship belt that you guys covet so much. This year, I don’t see the Larry O’Brien Trophy shipping off to Boston.

Preseason College Football Top 25: #19 Auburn

Why They’re Here: Former Gator and 6’6 250 lb QB Cam “Lootin” Newton. Not only is he a physical monster, he’s got 4.5 speed. Just imagine for a second a 6’6 250 lb quarterback running at you with that kind of velocity. I call him “Lootin” Newton because he got kicked out of Florida for stealing another student’s laptop and then throwing it out a window when police came to ask him about it. Obviously, the young man is a mental juggernaut as well.

The Good: If you don’t know about “Lootin” Newton, check this video out (http://bit.ly/8vb6Q8). He single-handedly makes Auburn a threat this year. I have my doubts about coach Gene Chizik, but getting Newton, a player a lot of people (myself included) thought was a lock to Tennessee, is quite a coup. The Tigers also had the number four recruiting class in the country, according to Rivals and ESPN, which is huge. I may have to rethink my stance on Chizik. Also, they got rid of Chris Todd who was a bonafide scrub. AND WHEN YOU GET RID OF NOTHING AND YOU GET SOMETHING, YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP TOO MUCH!! Sorry, I was channeling Steven A. Smith again. The Tigers also get to play Georgia and LSU, their two toughest games not called The Iron Bowl, at home this season

The Bad: Ben Tate is a big loss for the running game. Mario Fannin will step in, but I don’t see the Tigers running game being on par with where it was last year. Also, the Tigers are attempting to run the spread offense with Kodi Burns listed as their number two receiver. Not that Burns is a terrible player, but he’s a quarterback. He was recruited as a quarterback and stepped in behind the center when Todd wasn’t capable of rolling five steps to his right to make a pass. A big, fast QB will take you a long way, but without the speed and talent around him to pull it off, the spread ain’t happenin. Also, there’s that Iron Bowl game at Alabama.

The Last Word: With a quarterback like “Lootin” Newton there’s always the potential that he’ll get caught trying to rob a convenience store (because he didn’t wear a mask and didn’t realize no one is going to miss the football team’s 6’6 250 lb quarterback on tape) and get kicked off the team. Newton is like LeGarrette Blount; he’s a hoe and you can’t make a hoe a housewife. If Newton can keep his nose clean and in his playbook, however, he could be one of the biggest names in college football. If he can’t, the Tigers season may be hinged on Kodi Burns…no, seriously.

Final Record: 8-5

Lakers Seek Revenge Over Celtics

2010 NBA FinalsWestern conference champions Los Angeles Lakers vs. Eastern conference champions Boston Celtics

Lakers regular season record: 57-25
Celtics regular season record: 50-32

Season series tied 1-1
Jan. 31 Lakers 90, Celtics 89
Feb. 18 Celtics 87, Lakers 86

Road to the Finals

Quarterfinals
Lakers defeat Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-2
Celtics defeat Miami Heat, 4-1

Semifinals
Lakers defeat Utah Jazz, 4-0
Celtics defeat Cleveland Cavaliers, 4-2

Conference finals
Lakers defeat Phoenix Suns, 4-2
Celtics defeat Orlando Magic, 4-2

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics renew their rivalry as the NBA finals tip off on Thursday. These teams have won the last two NBA titles with the Celtics hoisting the trophy in 2008 while the Lakers are the defending champions.

Although the Lakers are the team to beat they have a lot to prove after dropping the 2008 series. Their toughness was questioned, but they rallied to win the title. But it didn’t come through Boston, the Lakers’ nemesis who has denied them championship glory so many times.

This will be the 12th time the Lakers and Celtics play for the title; Boston has won nine times.

Why should it be any different this year?

Los Angeles has too much championship experience. This is its third straight appearance in the finals. Boston is on its last leg. The Celtics were a little long in the tooth when they won in 2008. Now, they are two years older and a slight step slower.

But the overwhelming difference will be Kobe Bryant. If he wasn’t considered an all-time great before this year, a fifth championship should solidify a spot.

Bryant torched the Suns in the Western conference finals. He should do the same to the Celtics, who don’t have the athletic James Posey to guard him.

Of course, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher will help. Ron Artest will harass Paul Pierce as best as he can.

The Celtics will try to win with defense, rebounding and nastiness in the paint. They banged the Lakers around in 2008 and have bullied their way past the other East contenders this year.

Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace will be the big men who will try to impose their will against the Lakers’ frontcourt.

Rajon Rondo will run the show for Boston. He’s no longer just another guy on the team. Rondo has matured into the type of player who can dominate games, filling up the stat sheet with rebounds and assists. His scoring has improved, but his outside shooting can still be suspect.

Ray Allen must knock down jumpers to give the Celtics a chance. Pierce must do the same. His effort in the 2008 finals earned him MVP of the series.

This time, however, the Lakers will counter with more muscle. Andrew Bynum sat out the entire playoffs when the Celtics won. Los Angeles probably could have used a 7 foot starting center against the physical Celtics.

And Artest is too strong a defensive player to let Pierce have his way. Pierce will still get his, but he’ll work hard to score.

The Lakers added toughness and the determination of Bryant will be the difference in this series. Expect dirty, low scoring games with Bryant finishing off games in the clutch.

Lakers in six games.

Floyd Landis: A Liar I Can Believe!

May 25, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

http://thesportsreportgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Floyd-Landis.jpg

I know theres absolutely no reason in the world to believe a word Floyd Landis has to say. After all, hes an admitted liar and cheat and has become a pariah in the dirtiest of sports. All that aside, I tend to believe the guy. I know lance Armstrong never failed any drug tests, but I find it just a bit too much to believe that hes one of the only ones in that sport to play by the rules.

The Blackhawks Are Back In The Stanley Cup Finals

May 25, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Hockey, NHL, SRG's Blog

The People of Chicago are going crazy because of one man Dustin Byfuglien! Big Buff, as he is known, single-handedly beat the San Jose Sharks by scoring three game winning goals, and thereby sending the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 18 years. The kid sure has delivered after being promoted to Chicagos top line.

Preseason College Football Top 25: #20 Penn State

Why They’re Here: Evan Royster is back, Joe Pa is still there and, well, they’re Penn State. All of those things could be either good or a bad. Royster is a stud and should be a first round draft pick next year, but putting too much of the burden on his shoulders could make Penn State one dimensional and against Big (11, maybe 12 next year) Ten defenses, that’s not going to cut it.

The Good: I love Evan Royster. He’s been one of my favorite running backs in college football for the past three years. Now that Jahvid Best and Toby “White Power” Gerhart are playing on Sundays, he’s probably my favorite. He’s got a big, powerful, Big (11, maybe 12 next year) Ten O-line to run behind and should be a force in the conference, and the nation, this year. They lost a lot of talent on defense, but I can’t imagine Linebacker U not reloading on linebackers, can you? Hopefully Joe Pa won’t have to answer questions every week about if and when he’ll retire, which should ease his role as a figurehead/marketing gimmick masquerading as a coach. Reporters should really just accept that Paterno is going to coach until he dies. Literally. His performance over the past few seasons has pretty much earned him a lifetime contract, so don’t be surprised if Paterno dies midseason in 2013.

The Bad: I don’t think Joe Pa has actually done any coaching in about 10 years. In that time they’ve played for a couple conference championships, made the BCS and were even in competition for the national championship game two years ago. So whoever’s actually been coaching the team is doing a pretty solid job. The Nittany Lions’ greatest challenge will be at QB. Judging from their spring game, they don’t have a guy who will make Penn Staters forget Daryll Clark anytime soon. The receiving corps is also a question mark. Last year, Clark would make plays for the offense in spite of his receivers. This year, there’s nobody that’s going to step up and do that for them.

The Last Word: If the Lions have to start giving Royster the ball 35 times a game, they’re in trouble. With Ohio State, Iowa and a resurgent Michigan looming, Penn State cannot afford to be subpar at quarterback. There’s no sign that they’ll be anything but. However, if their defense can bounce back and the running game can open up enough holes in the secondary, this team could be pretty good. I’ve got 50 bucks on them losing to Alabama in the second game of the season. That game will be their measuring stick, in the conference and in the nation. If they get destroyed, they’re basically done – Iowa and Ohio State are too good – but if they can keep it close or even cost me 50 green backs, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Final Record: 8-5

Where Will Lebron Land?

May 25, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Basketball, NBA Basketball, SRG's Blog

Ever since the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs, ESPN and their talking heads have been chiming away non stop as to where they think King James will play ball next season. For several years the Knicks have been preparing for this opportunity, but a dark horse has emerged as the leading contender to win the Lebron Sweepstakes the Chicago Bulls. Will the Annointd One be able to live in the shadow of Michael Jordan? Or will he be the one to step out of that shadow and lead the Bulls back to the Promised Land?

Champions League Final Preview!

May 22, 2010 by Sebastian Dumitru  
Filed under Other Sports, SRG's Blog

The last match of the European football season will be the most anticipated one: FC Bayern Munich will face off with Internazionale Milan in this year’s Champions League Final, played on Saturday at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain. Both squads have won the most prestigious trophy in club competition multiple times (Bayern in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 2001, Inter in 1964 and 1965) and have enjoyed a season of terrific domestic success.

Inter, led by controversial manager Jose Mourinho, won their fifth consecutive Series A crown and 18th overall, finishing atop the table with 82 points. In addition, the Nerrazurri also claimed the ‘Coppa Italia’, the annual cup competition in Italy. In Champions League play, Inter boast the tournament’s best defense, having ceded only 3 goals against in their last 7 meetings. It was in the knockout stages where Inter truly began to flourish, frustrating Chelsea and CSKA Moscow before stifling Barcelona’s brilliant attacking unit in the semifinals.

Bayern, on the other hand, has had an improbable run after a rough start to the season. Managed by first-year Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, the team eventually bought into their new boss’ strategy and gradually improved. They secured yet another Bundesliga title (their 22nd overall) along with a ‘DFB-Pokal’, the German cup. Reinforced by new acquisition Arjen Robben, FCB also put their stamp on Champions League play, advancing past Fiorentina and Manchester United while beating the latter in an epic battle. It was Robben’s spectacular volley goal late in the second leg of the quarterfinal that allowed Bayern to advance on aggregate. Lyon was no match then for Munich’s potent attack in the semifinals.

The table is nicely set in Madrid, not only for a spectacular matchup between these two titanic clubs, but for history to be re-written. The winner will be assured their first ‘Triple’ in club history. No german or italian team has ever won the coveted combination of two national titles along with the Champions League. Either Mourinho or van Gaal will also join the elite club of coaches who have guided two different teams to ultimate glory in the most illustrious of club competitions.

Amir Khan: Boxing’s Next Superstar?

May 21, 2010 by SRG  
Filed under Boxing/MMA, SRG's Blog

It sure seemed like the mainstream sports media made a really big deal out of Amir Khan last weekend when he dominated Paulie Malignaggi. Maybe it was because the fight marked his US boxing debut, or maybe it was the fact he now has superstar trainer Freddie Roach in his corner. Either way, the powers that be seem to be looking forward to a day when the biggest names in boxing are no longer Mayweather or Pacquiao.

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