Sunday, December 05, 2010

College Football Playoff Scenarios

Well, the college football bowl season is fast-approaching, so that means it's time for my oft-repeated look at how much better things would be with a playoff system.  Instead of the ridiculously in-depth realignment plans I've proposed in the past, I'm just going to look at what the college football postseason would look like under a few basic playoff schemes.  I will start with a look at the most realistic, the "plus-one" solution.


This is the most likely playoff to actually happen, with the top 4 BCS teams facing off and then the winners meeting in a later National Championship Game.

Sugar Bowl
1. Auburn over 4. Stanford
Rose Bowl
2. Oregon over 3. TCU
National Championship
2. Oregon over 1. Auburn

Thursday, December 02, 2010

50 Most Wanted NBA Jerseys

A few items to consider as you peruse this list:

1. I've never worn an NBA jersey in my life (the only sports jersey I've ever worn outside the field of play is a Soviet hockey jersey my dad got for me when he visited Moscow).  If I were to actually acquire these jerseys, I would just dress my (future, as-of-now-nonexistent) kid in them everyday until he or she is 18 and runs as far away from me as possible. 
2. I have no apparel lust for a.)current jerseys, and b.)star player jerseys, unless its a former star players jersey chasing money and/or a ring on a team other than the one they were a star for.  Buying a Kobe jersey or a Jordan 45 jersey is just sad; buying a Jordan Washington Wizards jersey is...well, actually, it's still pretty sad, but for completely different reasons.
3. I am fully aware that this has probably been done at least 20 other times on the Internet, with 19 of those times being superior to this one (and the other being a spam site).  This is more for me than it is for you, so just deal with it, I guess.

And now, in no particular order, I proudly present 1-10 of the Diminishing Skills 50 Most Wanted NBA Jerseys.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Man's Ideas Of How College Football Conferences Should Re-Align

If there is one thing the great conference re-alignment boon of 2010 has taught us, it is that the things we used to consider important to the integrity of a conference no longer apply.  Geography, for instance, used to be considered perhaps the most important aspect of a conference's identity.  Following the PAC-10's failed attempt at adding Texas and most of the rest of the Big 12 South, however, it is clear that geography is no longer a real consideration for how a conference is built.  With the old ideals of what makes a conference a conference going out the window, I figured it is time to shuffle the proverbial deck of college football in the hopes of creating a new landscape boasting super conferences aligned for competitive reasons, not geography.  Dive right in after the jump.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Brian Windhorst > Adrian Wojnarowski

If you haven't read Adrian Wojnarowski's piece on LeBron's departure from Cleveland, I recommend that you do so.  Most of the information in it is stuff you probably already know if you've been paying attention, and it isn't especially well-written (it almost seems as if each paragraph was copied and pasted directly from the author's notebook with little regard for how each little tidbit fits into the larger frame of the article), but it perfectly illustrates two things:  Wojnarowski hates LeBron, and Cleveland should be eternally grateful for Brian Windhorst.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Goodbye LeBron?

Apparently, LeBron James is going to use his one hour prime-time special tonight to announce he is joining Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami (which I kind of doubt, but I will get to that at the end of this little excercise).  While this is extremely disappointing for Cavs fans, I am too tired right now to properly gauge the emotional weight of this decision.  Instead, I am just going to do a grab bag list of random topics related to this stunning news.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So who do I cheer for now?

The Cavs are no longer in the playoffs, as you may have heard, but I still have a playoff beard, so I have to cheer for somebody.  So the question is, which of the four remaining teams do I cheer for?  Here's a quick countdown from "If they win, I'm slitting my wrists" to "I might have even cheered for them against the Cavs".

4 (But it might as well be 4,000,000,000,000 since I would never, EVER cheer for them). Orlando Magic  I hate Orlando and its family-friendly theme parks; I hate Stan Van Gundy and his weasel-voice; I hate Dwight Howard and his smiles and his whining and his body-type (his shoulders are a little too square for my tastes); I hate Vince Carter and his pussiness and his railroading of Toronto and his lack of balls and his inability to be what we all thought he would be after the 2000 dunk contest; I hate Rashard Lewis and his contract that will pay him 19, 21, and 22 million dollars; I actually don't mind Jameer Nelson, but he gets my scorn due to proxy.

3. Los Angeles Lakers  Cheering for Kobe Bryant is like cheering for Alex Rodriguez:  kind of lame.  Ron Artest has disappointed thus far this postseason by not completely losing his mind (there's still time, so fingers crossed!), and Pau Gasol has gone from being underrated to being vastly overrated (I have heard him described more than once as a future Hall-of-Famer, which is so ridiculous I can't even come up with a good analogy here).  Derek Fisher is terrible for 98 percent of a game, series, season, but annoyingly always hits a three that swings the most important game of the year.  Nobody likes guys like that.  Mostly, though, I am just bored with the Lakers.  Haven't we seen them enough already?

2. Boston Celtics  This may be surprising, considering what has just transpired, but I don't blame them.  The Celts played great, hard, clean basketball and beat a team that didn't really care or got scared or choked or just wasn't as good as we thought or any combination of the previous.  I don't blame the Celtics for what happened, and actually respect them for playing their asses off.  If they won the title, it would be a pretty amazing testament to how much chemistry and heart matter in basketball.

1. Phoenix Suns  As a mentioned in the intro, I almost would have cheered for them over the Cavs if the two teams were to have met Finals (which they obviously won't).  They are the anti-Magic.  Steve Nash is one of the five most likable guys in the NBA (along with Dirk, Big Z, Kevin Durant, and Joakim Noah*), and this picture is too awesome to deny.  Grant Hill is perhaps the classiest player of his generation, and has inexplicably re-invented himself as a defensive stopper.  Amare Stoudamire has done the unthinkable and curbed his offensive  aggression as needed in his contract year, while Jason Richardson is playing every playoff series like he's back in Oakland and the 2007 Mavericks were coming to town every night.  When you add in a bench that includes Jared Dudley, Leandro Barabosa, and Channing Frye (who shoots 3s like Wes Person now) and the return of goofball and defensive anchor Robin Lopez, you have a team that anyone not from Boston, LA, or Orlando can (and should) love.  The power of the playoff beard has been passed onto you, Phoenix.  I hope you enjoy the inevitable back-breaking, franchise-wrecking series loss you are about to endure.

*Of course I'm joking.  I actually am having hard time pinning down a fifth likable guy.  Leave your suggestions in the comments, if you want. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Joakim Noah REALLY needs to shut up already

What is wrong with LeBron James?

We are all Witnesses, except this postseason, instead of transcendent play by our MVP, we are witnessing the lowest point of LeBron James's professional career (which, for all intents and purposes, began when he was sophomore in high school).  You all know what has happened in the past week or so, but why has it happened?  Here are a few theories:

1. His arm is barely hanging on.  If the name "Tommy John" is uttered in connection with LeBron this off-season, then we can all admire how amazing it was he was playing at all.

2. He was due for a rough stretch.  According to LeBron following last night's game, "(He) spoil(s) a lot of people with my play. When you have 3 bad games in a 7-year career, it is easy to point that out."  The odds alone say he was due for at least one stinker after having only THREE in SEVEN YEARS!!!  It's just unfortunate that it came during the biggest game of the season.  While we're quoting LeBron's post-game comments, can we all agree that his demeanor is bizarre, if not offensive?  Why is he so nonchalant, why isn't he pissed (did you hear Kevin Garnett?  He is already fired up for Game 6, calling it the Celtics' Game 7, and still calling the Cavs the best team in the NBA when they clearly aren't.  That's called RESPECT FOR YOUR OPPONENT, LEBRON!!!), and why is he such an ass about "spoiling people?"  Maybe...

3. He's on mescaline.  "Did you say mescaline?"  "Indeed I did."   

4. He's trying to get Mike Brown fired.  I've always liked Mike Brown, and have always thought he gets a bad rap, but if LeBron wants him gone, that means he wants to stay--albeit with a new coach--and if the choice is Mike Brown or six more years of LeBron, then don't let the door hit you in the ass, Mikey.  In all seriousness, this theory actually might have something to it, considering John Calipari and the agent he shares with LeBron were sitting courtside just days after rumors circulated that Calipari is LeBron's dream coach.  I hope it's this one, because the alternative is...

5. He can't wait to get out of Cleveland.  This is the most likely scenario, and the most fitting for a sports town that is getting almost too depressing to care about anymore.  

All this said, though, I still think the Cavs win in 7*.

*And then get swept by the Magic.  

Monday, May 03, 2010

Browns sign YouTube star

From Shutdown Corner:

"Based on that video alone, the Browns gave Reinders a call and signed him as an undrafted free agent. You know who the Browns didn't call and sign as an undrafted free agent? The guy Reinders blocks in the very first highlight."

I don't know much about how an offensive tackle is supposed to look on film or what Joel Reinders's blocking assignments actually were, but it sure did seem like he missed a lot of blocks.  Maybe in three years he'll be protecting Colt McCoy's blindside, but I'm not going to count on it. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Well, at least this is finally exorcised. *

*Or not.  Fuck that guy.  And poor Craig Ehlo.  I'm still convinced Jordan kicked him in the face when they show MJ's celebration from the angle they always show it from.

Finally, the Cavs beat the Bulls in the playoffs.  That's one monkey off their backs; up next, the Boston Celtics, who the Cavs have actually beaten in the playoffs (essentially ending Larry Bird's career with a 122-104 blowout of the C's in Game 7 of the 1992 Eastern Conference semis).  Before we get to that scintillating showdown, however, I just wanted to reflect on some miscellaneous thoughts about the series that just was:

Monday, April 26, 2010

NEWS FLASH!!! When LeBron James drives, good things happen

I know what you're saying.  "No shit."  I'm sure anyone watching a Cavs game has at one point felt exasperation when LeBron holds the ball for ten seconds and then shoots a fade-away three.  We all know he can't be stopped when he decides to go to the basket, and even if he is, good things still come out of it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Oklahoma City 110 Los Angeles Lakers 89

Thank you, OKC, for reminding me how rough things could be for my beloved Cavaliers.  Sure, they lost to the Bulls by 2 on the road, but the Lakers got smoked.  That score doesn't really indicate how bad this game was. 

The starters for both teams were pulled for the fourth quarter, which is insane to see in a playoff game.  I'm sure it's happened in 1 vs. 8 blowouts before, but I seriously doubt it was the 8-seed blowing out the 1-seed in any of those other games.

Kobe Bryant, who was actually in the conversation for best player in the league at some point in his overrated career, put up a whopping 12 points and didn't play a minute in the fourth.  How does a "killer" like "Black Mamba" (which he totally ripped off from Kill Bill 2 and never credited, which is fucking low, Kobe) let this happen?  Isn't he the most competitive player in the league?

Of course, it's not like he had much help.  Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum led the Lakers with 13, but Gasol was terrible, grabbing only 4 rebounds.  The Lakers as a whole gave a pathetic effort in the rebound department (not to mention every other department of the game), as evidenced most egregiously by a series in the 3rd quarter where Russell Westbrook took and missed a poorly conceived pull-up jumper, chased down his own rebound ALL THE WAY ON THE BASELINE, AFTER IT HIT THE FLOOR (!!!), and passed to Nenad Krstic (who converted a 3-point play).

I know I lambasted the Cavs for their performance in Game 3 on Thursday night, but at least they had enough heart to fight back from a 21-point deficit in the 3rd and put themselves in position to win the game.  The Lakers just rolled over, and I can only hope that the Thunder win Game 5 in LA and really put the pressure on.  We'll see how much "heart of a champion" is left in Kobe and the gang, or if they're the soft cowards they looked like in OKC on Saturday night.      

Saturday, April 24, 2010

While perusing the results of the Browns day three draft, I found myself Googling each selection (since ESPN offers some pretty weak analysis).  I looked up safety Larry Asante on CBS Sportsline and learned he is a converted linebacker who started his career at a junior college before landing in Nebraska (the Browns certainly do seem to value run-support ability in their safeties).  Then I looked up wide receiver Carlton Mitchell out of South Florida, and the number two result was something called

I was blown away.  How awesome is it that our 6th round pick has his own website?  And that the main page of that site is a chart explaining how by the year 2021 he will be the second best receiver in the NFL (and will be the best from 2015 to 2018). 

Now I know Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert and Eric Mangini probably scouted Mitchell and did all the work necessary to make sure he was a good fit for the team, but I like to hope that they went to his website, looked at that chart, and decided they had to take the league's number one receiver (circa 2015).

Welcome to Cleveland, Carlton.  You are my new favorite rookie.


If you like made up statistics, then you hate Montario Hardesty

Over at Football Outsiders, they have a study up on the value of college running backs that involves a lot of stats and numbers that I do not understand at all.  The part that caught my eye, however, was when they translated their mumbo-jumbo stats into ratings ranging from +3 to -3 that project a running back's future success in the NFL.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A shocking development in Houston

In case you haven't been following the MLB season closely yet, the Houston Astros are pretty terrible.  They currently sit at 5-10 (which actually isn't that bad considering they started 0-8), and their 41 runs scored are 13 less than the next fewest total in the National League (Pittsburgh's 54). 

All of this was more or less expected coming into the season.  The shocking thing is that the Astros' leader in home runs and RBI is none other than former Indians fourth outfielder Jay-Mike himself, Jason Michaels! 

Michaels has the amazing line of .286 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .286 OBP (a walk is the pussy way on-base to Jay-Mike), .786 slugging, and 1.071 OPS.  Granted, he has done all of this damage in only 14 at-bats, and I'm sure his numbers are going to come down to his usual replacement-player level, but let's ride this thing while we can.  Jay-Mike for MVP!

2010 NFL Draft: Round One Thoughts

Like any draft, the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft was full of surprises, head-scratchers, and potential home runs.  Of course, it's pretty hard to evaluate how well a team has done less than six hours from when they made their selection, but I think you can judge how they did based purely on a value scale.  One thing this first round showed more than most (I assume, but that could just be the recency effect wreaking havoc on my mind) is how one team's move can affect pretty much every other selection in the round.

"No more fo fo fo fo"

That's the text I received at 9:51 Thursday night from my pal Chad while I was at work.  The dreams of an undefeated postseason were dashed; the one-seed Cavs had been defeated by the eight-seed Bulls.

As soon as I digested the weight of those words "No," "more," "fo" (although it would have been a lot cooler if Chad had written "No mo fo fo fo fo," but I digress), I was awash with a rage that surprised me, a desire to bite the brim of my filthy Ohio State hat quelled only by my intense fear of whatever germs may be crawling on it.  I wanted to scream nonsensical slurs at the Japanese executives going about their business around me, and pull the hair of my female co-worker.  I wanted to shit on the president's desk, and then wipe my ass with the picture of his daughter (I'm guessing).  Someone had to pay for this smear on the city of Cleveland and their basketball team, but my senses got the better of me and instead of essentially resigning from my job in the worst manner possible, I just punched my gut until I felt like I was going to cough up blood.  The pain soothed my rage, and I began to reason through what had transpired.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

PSA: Kevin McHale is the greatest man ever

I meant to include this in my playoff thoughts, but I forgot.  If you don't listen to Bill Simmons's podcast, he had an interview last Friday with Kevin McHale that was awesome.  (You can listen to it here, which, if you really love me, you will do RIGHT NOW.)  The Rick Mahorn story is worth it alone (although I can feel bad about laughing at Mahorn's expense considering his recent troubles), but McHale also describes Bill Laimbeer as a guy you couldn't see get hit enough, which is great.  I came away with two major lessons from the interview:  1.) McHale probably kept his job in Minnesota for so long because he is just about the nicest guy ever; and 2.) the 1980s Boston Celtics liked to drink beer and fight almost as much as they liked to play basketball.  If, after listening to the interview, you still don't believe McHale is great, then watch this:


NBA Playoffs Update: Round One Quick Thoughts

As each playoff series shifts venues, I thought it would be a good time to look back on what transpired in the first two games and to look forward to what to expect in the lower seeds' home arenas.  For those of you wondering when I'm going to get back to my Season In Review series, I can only say in good time.  With the playoffs starting and the NFL draft going down, I felt there were more pressing issues at hand.  Also, I'm growing a playoff beard for the Cavs, but it's not quite ready to be revealed to the world.  Maybe it will be after they finish off the Bulls, so look forward to that!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft

It's NFL Draft week, and while we all wait to hear the next crazy rumor out of Berea (the Browns are going to trade their entire draft for Sam Bradford; no wait, they're going to take Jimmy Clausen; no wait, they're going to trade down and take Colt McCoy in the middle of the first round; no wait, they're going to trade their number one for Big Ben; etc.), I figured I'd let you know exactly what's going to happen with the 3rd Annual (sort of) Diminishing Skills Mock Draft (you can read the first two here and here, but I must warn you, their accuracy may make your head explode).  Just as with my killer weekly NFL picks--and Starting Lineup's decision to produce the pictured product--these are 100% correct. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

NBA Playoff Preview: Western Conference

While the Eastern Conference is looking like it's going to be chalk throughout each of the first round matchups, the West projects to be a bit more interesting.  With each team winning at least 50 games during the regular season, this year's field ranks as one of the deepest in league history, and should provide tight, prolonged series across the board.

Friday, April 16, 2010

NBA Playoff Preview: Eastern Conference

With the playoff matchups finally set, I figured I would take a break from my Season in Review series and give a quick rundown on what to expect in the first round.  Today, the Eastern Conference.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

2009-10 NBA Season in Review: Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves represent a messy collection of bits and pieces of the elements from the first three teams in this series: they have a logjam of similar assets like the Pistons; they lack a focused organizational mandate like the Pacers (although I suppose it could be argued that Indiana's mandate is to collect white guys); and they have a large amount of cap space this summer that is most likely going to be squandered, like the Wizards.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

2009-10 NBA Season in Review: Washington Wizards

Welcome back for part 3 of my epic NBA season-in-review.  Today we look at the Washington Wizards, the first team in the series with cap flexibility, but with an outlook for the future just as depressing as the Pistons or Pacers.  I'm not all that happy with how the Detroit and Indiana pieces turned out, so I'm going to make the unprecedented move of changing the format of these things midstream.  Now, instead of two sections of large blocks of text that you probably don't even read, I'm going to break things down into smaller categories including pre-season expectations, reality (what actually happened during the season), and the outlook going forward.  Enjoy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2009-10 NBA Season in Review: Indiana Pacers

Welcome back to my NBA season in review.  If you missed my Detroit Pistons review, you can read it here.  Up today, the Indiana Pacers.

2009-10 NBA Season in Review: Detroit Pistons

Hey, gang!  With the NBA season winding down, I figured it was a great time to update the old sports blog and get you ready for the playoffs while also looking back at the season that was.  Since the first round match-ups aren't set in stone yet, I'm going to start off with a look at those teams that will be sitting at home this spring.  The teams are presented in order of most depressing to most hopeful, with a quick season review and look ahead into the off-season included for each squad.  Today's entry is the Detroit Pistons.  Enjoy.