Monday, January 5, 2009

Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!

Here's a new gimmick. I like to call it "Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down". Pretty self-explanatory if you ask me so let's have at it.

Thumbs Up! for the Patriots applying the franchise tag to Matt Cassell. Yes it makes trading him harder but conversely it provides built in protection for them that they will get a good return on the deal. Plus, while you never want to have almost $30 million (I think that is where the number will be) committed to one position on your roster, the Patriots really did not have a choice. Look for some big names to hit the chopping block next year around camp time on account of it. Could we have seen the last of Richard Seymour in a Pats uniform?

A begrudging Thumbs Up! to a Stephon Marbury acquisition. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes to me, especially considering that scoring has all of a sudden become a problem for this squad. A creator who can shoot coming off the bench, really would be a nice asset. Plus, it's not like what Steph does would really cut into what Eddie House or Leon Powe does either because there will always be garbage for Powe to clean up and there will always be open threes for House to take. While a versatile 2/3 or 4/5 is probably a more pressing need right now, the bench does need help and Stephon Marbury could provide that.

Thumbs Down! to the Red Sox for not approaching Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell about a super-sub, 450 at-bat role where they would play some first base. Oakland and Tampa Bay are apparently the front-runner to grab the services of those two guys, but if wild card entry Jason Giambi gets snatched up by one of those two teams, that leaves somebody out in the cold without a team. At that point, the Sox make their move. What, you are conviced that you will get 150 games a piece from Mike Lowell, David Ortiz, and JD Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury will prove that he is more first half of 2008 Jacoby than second half? I'm just saying, good teams with deep pockets need to insure themselves and the Sox really seem hesitant to do this.

Thumbs Up! to BC for knocking off North Carolina. It's not so much that I care about this, but with the upset it did allow me to revisit two of the most exciting sports moments of my earlier years; BC's upset in South Bend back in 1993 and their upset of UNC in the Tournament in 1994. Great memories right there. Now if only I could somehow find a DVD from UMass' early season upset of Kentucky in 1995.

Thumbs Up! to the Utah-Alabama Bowl Game the other night for exposing yet again what a joke the BCS System is. That game highlighted the system's two biggest weaknesses perfectly. First off, an undefeated team from a conference not anointed as a "BCS Conference" who just handily defeated a team ranked first in the nation prior to their previous game has no shot at winning or playing for a national title. Second, because Alabama's season in essence ended against Florida in the SEC Championship Game, they had no real reason to show up against Utah. Maybe Utah was that much better than Alabama or maybe they caught them playing in a game they did not care about. Who knows. What I do know though is that there would be no question of Alabama's motivation if there was more on the line than maybe finishing 5th or 6th in the final polls. With that being said, I do believe the teams were probably pretty even heading in and that if anything tipped the scales decisively to Utah it was the fact that the game would be their biggest of the year while for Alabama it was more or less meaningless.


(Do you think that Nick Saban recruits guys with the promise of finishing third or fourth in the polls? Of course not. Once a team like Alabama loses their shot at the National Championship after coming so close to getting there, the motivation to play in a glorified exhibition game has to be minimal. And before you say anything about pride and blah, blah, blah, there is reason there is no third place game in the NCAA basketball tournament and the AFC and NFC Championship Game losers don't play a game the week before the Super Bowl.)

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