Friday, December 30, 2011



Yes, playoffs are the talk of the day yet again. Jim Mora may have made the word famous in a post game rant during his days as the Indianapolis Colts Head Coach, but today it’s college football fans screaming for a playoff.

But while BCS haters unite in a call for a unified playoff, other pundits insist the current bowl system must remain intact. My question is, why can’t we have both?

So here it is, in the highly anticipated return of Galvinized Sports, my solution to the NCAA football post-season madness.


Lets start with the newest trend in college football. Conferences are realigning left and right, and to simplify the system, we should cut a few of the dead weight conferences. My proposal calls for the elimination of the Sun Belt and WAC, instead merging them into one conference. I don’t know what to call that conference, and frankly I don’t care, but I do know I would split it into and East and West division alignment. The Independents would also have to commit to a conference, and yes that includes you Notre Dame. Why in the world you get special privileges when your team hasn’t been relevant in two decades I don’t know, but if anyone has deserved those privileges over the last six years, its Boise St.


That leaves us with 10 conferences. My plan calls for the conference champion to earn automatic births in a 16-team playoff. The final six teams must finish at least second in their conference, and will be determined by a panel of 25 media members. Nobody with any conference ties, nobody with any money to gain or lose (yes, I’m calling you out Sugar Bowl). The panel will be randomly selected from a pool of 50 media members each year, and that panel will be selected 10 days prior to the conference championship games. Also, a maximum of 3 media members per conference will be permitted, preventing the SEC or Big Ten from loading up.

The 10 conference champions must be the top 10 seeds, but the panel will determine seeding. Also, no rematches from regular season games are allowed in the first round. Games will start the weekend before Christmas, and will be played each Saturday thereafter until the semi-finals. Those games will be played on Monday (since the NFL would be in the first round of their playoffs, and play on both Saturday and Sunday), and the National Championship game would then be on the Tuesday after. Also, a third-place game would be played the Monday before the Championship game.

There would be 15 games in a 16-team playoff. Each of those games would be a bowl game. We would eliminate the current National Championship game and go back to having four BCS bowls be the major games, rotating between hosting semi-final matchups, the third-place game, and the National Championship game each year. With the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls covered in the final two rounds, the next tier of bowls would cover the second and first-round games. Games like the Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Gator Bowl, Outback Bowl and others of higher stature would earn playoff games, and thus would be more likely to get big name schools as they are now.


The remaining bowl games, including the Insight Bowl, Hawaii Bowl, and Pinstripe Bowl, among others, would then be played as usual, before and after the first two rounds of the playoffs. We can even leave the International Bowl to be played the Thursday before the National Championship game, just to keep everyone happy. The only new rule would be that each bowl eligible team now must win more than 50% of their games.

That’s right, no more 6-6 teams with a win against a sub-division school playing in bowls.

With some teams playing in three of four bowls because of the playoffs, we have to eliminate 16 bowl teams. If there were not enough teams who are at least 7-5, then strength of schedule would apply to the 6-6 teams, determining who would get the last bowl births. That should eliminate teams loading up on the Youngstown St. and UC Davis’s of the world.

We can’t eliminate bowls. There is absolutely too much tradition in them, and besides, did anyone else watch Baylor and Washington outscore half of college basketball on Thursday night? Games like that one, the Notre Dame vs. Florida St. game before it, and even the Air Force vs. Toledo game were all must see television for football fans. Honestly, I can’t think of one bowl that has not been enjoyable so far. Even the Boise St. dismantling of Arizona St. was fun to watch, because it was our last chance to see the winnings QB in NCAA history, Kellen Moore, one last time, as well as a chance to watch future NFL players like Vontaze Burfict, Doug Martin and Gerell Robinson one last time.

But a playoff is needed. As much as I do enjoy the drama that goes along with the BCS, I simply can’t stand another year of teams loading up on soft non-conference schedules just to squeeze into bigger money games. Speaking of the BCS, check back early next week, when I delve into the horrific National Championship game, and why Stanford should be outraged beyond belief over not getting a crack at LSU. Until then, thoughts?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Insert Glove in Mouth

Oh, Bernard Hopkins. Maybe you should give up boxing, or at least take a break, to recover from the over-active jaw-running syndrome you displayed this week. Hopkins, one of the greatest middleweight champions ever to grace the ring, might have just executed his public image, and the pubic image of his race for years to come.

This is the problem with society today. Black Americans think that white Americans are still overwhelmingly racist; they just show it differently now than they did 50 years ago. And often times, black Americans respond to this by being “hard.” But did Hopkins ever stop and think that, perhaps the reason that rich white Americans take issue with black Americans still is because of the image they put forth?

Confused? Don’t be. Hopkins just proved my point when he called-out Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb for not being “black enough.” Really? How is that not racist? Hopkins wants McNabb to act tougher, and holds his upbringing against him, saying McNabb didn’t speak the language, whatever that means. If by not speaking the language, Hopkins means McNabb doesn’t go around tossing out racial slurs at his friends like its somehow socially acceptable for the people who the slur is targeted at to use it as if it’s a positive, than Hopkins in right, McNabb doesn’t speak the language.

McNabb did have a better upbringing than most black NFL players. He also attended a top-flight university at Syracuse. But I don’t think that makes McNabb “suntanned” as Hopkins put it. If anything, Hopkins should be proud that McNabb has managed to avoid the stereotypes that often turn out to be true of black NFL stars.

Hopkins other shot was at the Philadelphia Eagles organization, saying they miss-led McNabb by making him feel like he was one of “theirs”, but in the end just dumped him. Hopkins said McNabb “thought he was one of them.”

But its time for Bernard Hopkins to realize something. First, the Eagles dumped McNabb for a quarterback (Michael Vick) who A.) is black, and B.) fits every stereotype ever put forth on a black athlete. He went to jail, is a convicted felon, has acted like a thug on the football field, is from a poor neighborhood and upbringing, etc…

Clearly the Eagles hadn’t dumped McNabb for the honky-tonk white boy (Kevin Kolb) who is now being shopped as trade bait. So why then is Hopkins siding with guys like Terrell Owens over McNabb?

It’s the one thing I’ve never understood about Eagles fans. No matter what he did, Donovan McNabb was never going to be good enough. He carried a broken team to a Super Bowl, yet Owens got all of the recognition because he came back from a horrific leg injury to play. McNabb took his team to the playoffs year after year, and won games in the playoffs. Yet McNabb is considered an underachiever and Eagles fans were thrilled when he was traded.

But Vick really didn’t do much more than McNabb. In fact, Vick couldn’t even win a home game in the Wild Card round last season. And I don’t care that the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl, the fact remains that the Eagles were he run away favorites to win that game, and Vick blew it.

It’s sad, really. Donovan McNabb never got enough credit in Philadelphia. He got traded to a horrendous team, and was blamed for everything even though he had nothing to work with. (Because, last time I checked, the quarterback also blocks, catches passes, runs the ball, and plays defense, all things the Redskins failed to do last year. Plus, McNabb clearly gave ridiculous contracts out left and right to anyone who would sign them, right?)

So take notice, Bernard Hopkins. The person you want Donovan McNabb to be is the same person that got players like Sean Taylor, Chris Henry, Adam “Pac-Man” Jones, and Plaxico Burress in trouble time after time. Maybe, just maybe, you should take a few tips from McNabb, and go about your business like a professional human.

And then again, maybe you shouldn’t, look where it got McNabb.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Seeing Stars in Dallas

If I ever ran into Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle at dinner, I’d ask him if he had any left. And if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s the magic powder he put in his Gatorade before telling ESPN that Dirk Nowitzki is one of the 10 best players in NBA history.

No, seriously, he said that. Pick yourself up from the floor now, clean up the coffee, and hit play on the TiVo. Carlisle, the same coach who just led his team to a shocking, yet brilliant dismantling of the two-time defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the same coach who played with the likes of Larry Bird and Patrick Ewing in his younger years, should probably be checked for PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, because clearly, defeating Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant took its toll.

Before we even go into my list of the 10 greatest players in NBA history, we should investigate whether or not Nowitzki, a 10-time All-Star and the 2007 league MVP, is even in the top 10 today. Granted, he is now 32, but he looked great last week against L.A. So, here is my list, in order, of the 10 best players currently suiting up in the NBA:

Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Nowitzki, Steve Nash, and Paul Pierce.

Everyone should agree that the first eight players are in the top 10, regardless of order, but then it gets debatable, and I’m not here to debate that. But the fact is, the 7-foot, 3-point shooting German big is not better than those first seven guys. So, what in the world makes Carlisle think Dirk is a top 10 player ever?

He isn’t in the top 20 in career points, points-per-game, rebounds, or shooting percentage. He is 13th in free throw percentage in his career. I’m sorry, but no Rick, he isn’t that good. I certainly believe Dirk is a very good player, who might be considered great if he had some jewelry to show off, but I can probably name 20 guys, without thinking about the order, who are better all-time. In fact, lets try that. Here we go (remember, no particular order here):

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Tim Duncan, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Julius Erving.

Again, that’s just 20 that came to mind. I can keep going, but what’s the point? Well, there is a point, and that point is Carlisle should be focused less on NBA history, and more on scouting Oklahoma City and Memphis, because both teams are plenty capable of knocking out the Mavericks.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The End of an Era?

It might be time to face it Laker fans. The glorious run of the last 10 years could be over in the next 10 days.

It’s an idea that horrifies the Purple and Gold faithful. Jack Nicholson would rather return to the Overlook Hotel than think about the idea. But with every Phil Jackson mistake and Derek Fisher miss, the Lakers are moving closer and closer to the end of one of the greatest runs in NBA history.

Face the facts; Kobe Bryant is not Kobe Bryant anymore. No, he was not abducted by aliens and taken to Moron Mountain to battle the Mon-Stars (that fine distinction belongs to the likes of Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, and the other co-stars of Space Jam), but Kobe, as talented as he is, can’t carry this team every night. And the saddest part, his teammates don’t seem to care.

Pau Gasol, a man with so many post moves, and a sweet 15-foot jumper, actually makes me believe that a Space Jam sequel is in the works, and he is the star. Ron Artest, while still a good defender, has never found his scoring groove in Hollywood, and has lost a step (or three). Speaking of losing steps, Fisher would get beat by Diana Taurasi if he dared try and guard the WNBA star. Andrew Bynum simply doesn’t have enough time as the go-to guy to know what to do, and offensively is still limited outside the post. And Lamar Odom, the one guy who physically could have dominated the NBA for the last decade, just doesn’t want to. He’d much rather let everyone else take the glory (See: Khloe & Lamar for more examples).

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think the Lakers are done. Not yet, at least. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks eliminate the Lakers. Even if the Lakers manage to recover and win their third straight NBA Championship (and 6th in the last decade), the run is nearing an end. And that should scare the Lakers faithful more than they know.

The Lakers have no backup plan. If Kobe hits a major decline anytime soon, and Pau and Odom follow, the team is Andrew Bynum and a bunch of reserves. Nowhere is there a future star on the roster, outside of the nimble Bynum. Take a look at what has happened to teams in the last 20 years (the prominent years of free agency and expansion) when major stars get old and can’t dominate anymore, eventually retiring, and the team refuses to rebuild:

Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson lost a step, and never found a jumper, and after a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001, fell into limbo, where they remained until Jrue Holliday saved the day. The 76ers refused to trade AI when they could have, and ended up overspending for Elton Brand in a desperate move to get back into contention. The draft has let them down, and until the lottery delivered Holliday and Evan Turner, the future was bleak. Still, even on the road to recovery, this team is a long way from a return trip to the Finals.

Boston Celtics: The Celtics are actually in a similar situation as the Lakers, and they can tell you all about limbo. After the glory years of Bird, McHale and Parrish, the team disappeared in the early 90’s before Paul Pierce dropped into their lap (thank you Philly for drafting Larry Hughes). Even with Pierce and Antoine Walker, the team never got over the hump until Danny Ainge stole Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. And now, three years later, the Celtics are down 2-0 to a much more athletic Miami Heat team, and the future is cloudy outside Rajon Rondo.

Atlanta Hawks: After years of finishing runner-up to the Celtics and Detroit Pistons in the Dominique Wilkins era, the Hawks went through a stretch where nothing went right. The Phoenix Suns bailed them out when they offered up Joe Johnson, and the Al Horford pick was brilliant. But still, for a good stretch of the 90’s and early 21st century, I often forgot Atlanta had an NBA team.

Detroit Pistons: Let’s examine their most recent run of success. After building the best defensive team in NBA history, the Pistons proceeded to let both Rasheed and Ben Wallace leave without replacements, then handed Rip Hamilton a horrid contract, and then watched as every player taken after Darko Milicic seemingly made an All-Star team. Oh, and Kwame Brown didn’t work either. Joe Dumars, feeling pressure, signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to huge deals, instead of being patient, and now the Pistons PA Announcer spends more time yelling (Insert Visiting Teams Name) BASKETBALL.

Phoenix Suns: Just ask Steve Nash how much he misses Amar’e…Yes, Channing Frye is nice. No, he isn’t Amar’e. The Shaq hail marry failed, and the Suns never replaced Joe Johnson, Leandro Barbosa, or some really good player named Shawn Marion with anyone close to their talent level. And now Nash is old, and no heir apparent is waiting.

Sure there are other examples, but you get the point by now. And one last glaring note; the Lakers easily could have been on this list, and never would have won 5 Championships in the last decade, if not for two league-altering transactions post Showtime; Trading Vlade Divac for a 17-year-old high school kid whose NBA dad was more famous for his nickname than his playing skill, and singing the most dominant post player since Wilt (Apologies again, Kwame Brown).

And guess what, unless those same things happen again, the future could be foggy in the land of glitz and glamour. But the Lakers do have one thing going for them…At least they aren’t the Clippers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A 'un-American' Hypocrite

Survey time! When I say "un-American," you think?

Names that should pop into every "American" mind should include Timothy McVeigh, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the D.C. Snipers. Now, raise your hand if Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig came to mind?

That's what I thought. But "un-American" is exactly the term used today to describe MLB's leader by bewildered Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt when discussing last weeks takeover by Selig. According to several media outlets, McCourt claimed the Selig and his big bully friends are unlawfully seizing one mans property. Ironic, isn't it?

Here is a solution for McCourt. Take a good, long look in the mirror, and go back to Boston. Frank McCourt is hypocrisy at it's worst, and this is just another fine example. If anyone has indeed been "un-American" it has been McCourt himself. Stealing money from the team to fund soon-to-be ex-wife and current co-owner Jamie's lavish lifestyle is certainly a start. And while I personally have no issue with a business owner increasing his own salary to help cover extra play-time on the side, McCourt took it about 18,000 steps too far.

Paying his children millions to party with their friends, taking money from Dodger charities that existed far before McCourt even dreamed of living it up with Alyssa Milano, and flat lying to the people who helped fund those wrong-doings (aka the fans) is certainly a little "un-American", don't you think?

McCourt has personified "un-American" and soon enough the walls will come crashing down on McCourt's fairytale kingdom. While every baseball fan in the City of Angels (another ironic name, considering the Los Angeles Angels success over the last 10 years)is praising MLB, McCourt is crying foul. He strongly hinted at taking legal action against Selig, but that's on hold while McCourt find's someone else to borrow $30 million from, this time to pay the legal fees that it would indeed take to battle the execs at the MLB offices in New York.

If MLB's seizure of the Dodgers was indeed illegal and "un-American" than why is the FBI investigating McCourt and his family? Shouldn't they be investigating Selig? This is the part where I defer to the legal experts, and those experts don't appear to have any issue with Selig's decision last week.

The only illegal thing Frank McCourt knows about is stealing money from the fans, the paying customers, and every advertiser at Dodger Stadium. He's promised to reinvest all of the extra revenue gained from increased ads and ticket prices, yet the teams payroll continues to plummet below the baseball Mendoza line ($100 million). And even with the decreased payroll, the team had to borrow $30 million just earlier this month just to pay Juan Uribe and Tony Gwynn, Jr.

So let's review. An "un-American" is someone who:

Steals money from charities to fund personal houses? Yes.

Someone who promises investors (fans) a return on their investment (wins, superstars, World Series appearances, safety) and then delivers the exact opposite? Sounds right.

Someone who fails to defend himself when criticized, and instead attacks others so his ridiculous practices fly under the radar? Sure.

Someone (Selig) who has the power to, and exercises his right to save the aforementioned investments before the investment (the Dodgers) become irrelevant permanently? Uh, no.

So tell me, now when you think of "un-American", who do you think of? The man who (along with his wife and children) stole money from 3-million fans per year for close to a decade, or the man who is giving those fans hope?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's Another Billion?

What’s another billion dollars?

It's the reason every sports journalist in the good ole U.S. of A. is talking about the NFL right now.

And no, it's not the total sum that will inevitably be ridiculously paid out to a bunch of early-twenty something kids who have never played an NFL game after this weekends draft. A billion dollars is the reason for the lockout, lawsuits, mediation, injunctions, and appeals. And it's a horrific reason.

Let's be clear about something here; this is a lockout. So those of you who own your own business and are crying about the players greed, it's time for a reality check. The players want to work. This is not a strike. The only strike is that of U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson's gavel every time she and her judicial partners rule in favor of the players. And they should.

This is a paraphrased conversation that presumably happened between the NFL and NFLPA legal teams in the weeks leading up to the lockout.

NFL Lawyer: "We would like an extra billion dollars taken off the top every year."

NFLPA Lawyer: "Sure thing, just let us see each teams financial records, and if you are all as broke as you claim, we would be willing to discuss that."

NFL Lawyer: "Enjoy college football. It's the only professional football anyone will see in 2011."

And so began the lockout. The owners want more money. The players just want to know why. If you were risking your lives at your job (and if you don't think your livelihood is on the line in the NFL, talk to Korey Stringer, Mike Webster, Andre Waters, etc...) and your boss asked for another billion dollars in shared revenue up front, before a day of work had been completed, you would want to know why too. So why won't the NFL owners let the players look at their books? If Al Davis, Robert Kraft, and Dan Rooney are hurting for money that bad, they certainly would let the players see their financial records, wouldn't they? After all, the owners make more money when football is played, so it's to their advantage to make sure 2011 features two professional football organizations. The other being BCS conference football.

So if you find yourselves asking 'why?', look no further than the top story out of Major League Baseball last week. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig seized the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of baseballs three most popular and successful teams ever, from professional scam artist Frank McCourt and his soon to be ex-wife and fellow professional thief, Jamie. Why would you look at the Dodgers when considering why the lockout has not been resolved? It's simple. The McCourt's have been "borrowing" money from the team for personal expenses since day one. If they didn't, each of them would have had to live in the clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. The McCourt's also put their family, mainly their children, on payroll to do...wait for it...paint the foul lines...oh, wait; they didn't even do that...their children got paid millions to do nothing.

Hello, Mr. Selig. Hello, IRS. And Hello, FBI. Selig knocked the door down; the other two are going to clean house. Just sit back and watch Dodger fans.

And sit back and watch NFL fans. If you can sit at your computer and convince yourself that no NFL owner does this, maybe your next move should be calling Dr. Phil. NFL owners might as well have a money tree growing in their back yards. First, unlike baseball, the NFL has a salary cap. So even if Arthur Blank wanted to spend $300 million on his Atlanta Falcons, he can't. It's a hard cap, and one of the best rules in sports. But it also gives owners heavy pockets, oozing with pictures of dead presidents on little green paper, and each owner is eager to spend that money. It's a habit that rich people with huge egos have. And if you own an NFL team, you qualify.

So where to spend the money? Where do you think? I'd bet if someone really dug deep, they'd find those 12 week European vacations on the private jet and yacht, or the Harvard education for the kid with a 2.2 GPA in high school, are probably being funded by something other than Macaroni and Cheese, or Ketchup, or even Hammers.

And that is why the NFL won't let their players see the books. Do I blame them? No. Do I think they are completely idiotic for thinking they could outsmart the players? Yes. In this economy, Americans favor the working-man. And while making millions of dollars doesn't make me cry for NFL players at night, making billions causes me to feel far less sorry for the owners.

Roger Goodell has done an admirable job as commish to this point, but no matter what he does from here on, he will forever be a failure if the Oregon/LSU game is the first professional game of 2011.