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Murdoc’s BCS Predictions

The BCS bowl games kick off today and I have made my picks:

Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs. Virginia Tech

I have already gone on record about my thoughts on this game. I am going to stick to my Big Ten bias and go with Michigan, but I will not be watching the game to see the end result.

Orange Bowl: West Virginia vs. Clemson

I like the Mountaineers here.

Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Oklahoma St.

This game is one I will be watching. My prediction is Andrew Luck will come out after not taking home the Heisman and show the world one last time why he deserves to be the #1 draft pick. My big question mark is will OSU come out motivated or flat after being snubbed out of the National Championship game? Either way, I think Luck and the Cardinals will be taking home all the Tostitos.

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oregon

For this game, my hatred of every Wisconsin team and their recent successes (see: Packers) outweighs my Big Ten bias. As a result, I am reluctantly going with Oregon, who traditionally has not fared well in bowl games due to the competition having amble time to prepare for their high octane offense. Still, I think Chip Kelly has learned this lesson and will have some nice surprises for Bucky.

BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. LSU

I like LSU here. They have the classic trait of all great teams where they cannot be stopped for the whole 60 minutes and thus somehow find a way to win.

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Murdoc’s Sports (News) Corp: BCS without the C

The NCAA has selected the teams who will participate in its five BCS bowl games and I am calling it like I see it: this is BCS.

The NCAA has touted its BCS system as the best method for selecting teams into bowl games since its inception in 1998. This year the BCS ignored 4 of the top 10 teams its omniscient system spit out, deciding to handpick 4 teams out of the top 25 for no other reason than they wanted to see more dollar signs$$$$$$$. Let me break down the Sugar Bowl as my example:

Matchup: #11 Virgina Tech vs. #13 Michigan

My first reaction after seeing this match up was, MICHIGAN IS IN A BCS BOWL? How Michigan made it into the BCS bowl is shocking for 2 reasons:

1. The BCS system placed Michigan ahead of Michigan State after Michigan State beat Michigan during the regular season, won the Legends division, and went to the Big Ten Championship. Sure Michigan State had one more loss than Michigan, but that is due to playing in and losing the Big Ten Championship game, of which Michigan was not deemed worthy to play in. Based on the results of the Big Ten and SEC Championship games this year, I would recommend a team finish third in the conference and miss the championship game because they can sit home eating bon bons without a care because a BCS game, let alone the National Championship game is not out of reach. In fact, the NCAA decided the two teams that lost their respective conference championship games (Michigan State and Georgia) should play each other in the prestigious Outback Bowl, which in my humble opinion makes more sense as the Sugar Bowl matchup.

2. Traditionally, the SEC champion plays in the Sugar Bowl, but since we have a SEC showdown in the Super Dome already and with Georgia and Michigan State being shipped down under, the NCAA decided the top ACC team and the third (arguably) Big Ten team should be selected for this bowl. Why does this make sense? It’s all about the money.

Michigan has not been to a BCS bowl since 2007 which has created an itchy fan base that are not so patiently waiting to pull their pocket books out for a trip to New Orleans (I should note that Michigan State has not been to a BCS bowl since 1988). On the other side, Virginia Tech has been in 5 BCS bowls in the last 6 years, which is enough data points for the NCAA to see that their fans travel well, so they should continue to be thrown into BCS bowls. One more thing to note, Virgina Tech has lost 18 games in the last five years while #7 Boise State has lost 6, yet Boise State continues to be shoved out of the BCS despite having a perfect record in BCS bowl games.

I can’t take it anymore, I am sick of this BCS. Bring on Mark Cuban!

Hollywood’s Sequel: Stern Strikes Back

Well, NBA Commissioner David Stern managed to completely refute the debut edition of “Hollywood’s Blockbuster” in one swift move.

That’s right–Thursday night, Stern vetoed a three-way trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Lamar Odom to the Hornets, in addition to other moves. Superteam denied. To say that the whole situation is a tad shady would be a gigantic understatement. Stern’s reason for the veto? The trade wasn’t “in the best interests of the league.” The real question here is what “league” Stern is referring to–the league that includes 29 other teams, 2 of which were also involved in the trade which had been agreed upon by every GM involved, or the league that owns the New Orleans Hornets. Certainly if the trade didn’t involve the league-owned Hornets, Stern’s initiative for parity would be much more convincing. However, under these circumstances, it seems that Stern simply didn’t want to give up the only cash cow the Big Easy’s NBA franchise has left. The three teams involved in the trade are reportedly appealing to the league, and analysts across the country are calling for Stern’s head.

The one thing Stern can celebrate from all of this? He has officially taken the title of World’s Craziest Commissioner from Vince McMahon.

–Hollywood

Hollywood’s Blockbuster: The Age of Superteams

It’s fitting that the debut edition of Hollywood’s Blockbuster centers around the city that inspired both my pen name and the name of my column: Los Angeles.

In our podcast this week, Murdoc and I briefly touched on the reports surrounding Chris Paul’s inevitable departure from the New Orleans Hornets. Paul has two years left on his current contract with the city that proudly chants “Bee-fense!”, and rumors started swirling last week that the New York Knicks were looking to acquire him. A trade to the Knicks would certainly boost a roster that already has superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, but that wasn’t the only possible landing spot that turned heads. Earlier this week, it was reported that the Los Angeles Lakers may also be entering the Chris Paul sweepstakes. Although Andrew Bynum will presumably be traded at some point in the near future, Paul would be joining the likes of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and of course, Kobe Bryant. LA’s motivation for the move is said to be that of a “win now” mentality–interesting for a team that has already “won enough” recently, and for that matter, has retained most of its key players from its last championship, excluding Phil Jackson.

The truth of the matter is that the NBA has entered the Age of Superteams. While phrases like “The Big 3” are hardly anything new, the league is seeing players maneuvering around rosters more than ever before. Last summer, in unprecedented moves, Chris Bosh and LeBron James skipped out on Toronto and Cleveland, respectively, and joined their buddy Dwyane Wade in South Beach. Later that week, at the “Yes We Did!” Miami Heat fan rally, LeBron infamously “not counted” the number of rings this newly established superteam would win. During the season, Carmelo Anthony was shipped to the Knicks, pairing him up with Amare Stoudemire. The move was instantly received by analysts and sports reporters as one that would make the Knicks a contender again, an instrumental step in ridding the franchise of Isaiah Thomas’ lasting stench. Now, with the lockout over and Chris Paul, New Jersey’s Deron Williams, and Orlando’s Dwight Howard all potentially on the move, it seems that last year was only the beginning.

Critics of the idea of “superteams” contend that the new NBA collective bargaining agreement includes incentives for players to re-sign with their current teams, and encourages them to do so. This contention is inherently flawed. Whether purposely or not, the new CBA incentives were drafted in order to sustain parity within the league and discourage players from jumping ship to play with their buddies or chase maximum contracts, a goal that is in essence unattainable. Although maximum salaries are now instituted later in a player’s contract under the new CBA, and extend-and-trade contracts are designed to be shorter, players are still able to reject extensions from their current teams and seek greater contracts elsewhere. In fact, several sports journalists contend that in order for Paul, Williams, and Howard to get the money they want from the team that they want to play for, each of them has to seek a trade now. The motivating factors, in Chris Paul’s case at least: all of the common factors that lead to the formation of a superteam. Kobe wants to play with him. Chris wants to play with his buddies in New York. And, ultimately, Paul wants as much money as possible. Any of these wishes have to come true before the league starts come Christmas.

Who knows? Perhaps Santa will be bringing Kobe exactly what he wants this year.

–Hollywood

We’re Back…For Real This Time

Murdoc and Hollywood here, happy to announce that we have officially returned. After a long hiatus (for reasons even we don’t know), we’re coming back, roughly one year after our blog made the transition to sports.

Check out our brand new podcast below, which covers the B1G Championship, Tebowmania, Minnesota hockey, and more. We left out Tiger Woods’ win and Gopher basketball, but we’ll cover those in upcoming posts/podcasts.

Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Twitter, and comment here and to our Gmail address. Thanks again for listening–keep coming back; we’ll keep posting.

–Murdoc and Hollywood

We’re Back, and Bringing Back a Classic

To hype our return, here’s the newly remastered version of “Maroon and Yellow.” Enjoy.

 

Look for brand new posts later on in the week.

“Ponder” This

Well, I can legitimately say that I called the Vikings’ selection of Florida State QB Christian Ponder…Kinda. In my Draft Spectacular post, I said that Ponder seemed like the most logical option at QB for the Vikes–in the second round. I, like most Vikings fans, remain puzzled by the team’s choice to go with Ponder at #12.

But while I agree that Ponder was a pretty big reach, I couldn’t be more excited about the Vikings’ potential with him under center. Ponder is mobile, accurate, and has great awareness in the pocket. Plus, he played in a pro-style offensive system that will be very similar to the Vikings’ system under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. Ponder doesn’t have the strongest arm, but his skill set is a great match for Minnesota’s style: quick, short- to mid-range passes, with an occasional deep ball and, of course, regular hand-offs to the best RB in the game, Adrian Peterson.

Sure, the Vikings probably could have traded down and still gotten their man at QB. Sure, Ponder may not have been the absolute best QB available when the Vikes were on the clock. But they filled a need, and they found a solid leader whose skills match their gameplan. I think Ponder has a lot of upside, and I’m excited about his future in Minnesota.

One thing’s for sure: Christian Ponder’s jersey will soon be replacing Brett Favre’s in Hollywood’s closet.

–Hollywood