Friday, December 03, 2004

Sports News

Usually, I try and refrain from posting a lot about sports. Sure, I do my weekly NFL picks and recaps, but I keep other miscellaneous entries to a minimum. However, there's a lot of big news this week that I wanted to comment on. Instead of writing a few little entries, I've combined my thoughts into a single post.

Barry Bonds/Jason Giambi - Jason Giambi, a day ago in the spotlight, has taken a back seat to the allegations against Barry Bonds. Coming as a surprise to few, Bonds admitted that he used a steroid cream during the 2003 season. Frankly, I don't believe for a minute that Bonds "unknowingly" used the steroid. At the very best, Bonds is guilty of gross negligence. It's implausible that Bonds, an admitted health junkie, would be unaware of substances he put into his body. I see two scenarios. One, Bonds was aware of what trainer Greg Anderson gave him and is lying about it. Or secondly, he knew something was fishy but never inquired about it. He may have been trying to allow himself plausible deniability were this ever to be revealed. My take is that Bonds, while a tremendous athlete, knowingly gave himself an unfair advantage. I consider him a con of the worst kind and should retire in disgrace. Because of his disregard for the game, the whole 1994-2004 Era will be looked at as suspect. Finally, it's a shame that Bonds faces no penalty from baseball even if he knowingly took steroids. It takes five positive tests to even get suspended for a year. It goes something like 2 positive tests - 15 day suspension + fine, 3 positive tests - 30 days. Reprehensible.

Urban Meyer - This is a big coup for UF. Meyer spurned Notre Dame, which was considered his dream job, to come coach in Gainesville. For those who don't know who Urban Meyer is, he's the coach who's led the University of Utah to a perfect 2004 regular season and a likely appearance in the Fiesta Bowl. It won't be easy for Meyer in Florida. Coming in, the expectation is that he'll immediately contend for the SEC Championship. The Gators, with a returning Chris Leak at QB, have the talent to compete with Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, and Auburn in the SEC. I have no clue how good this guy will actually be. I have read up on him a little bit in the past month. It became clear that new University President Machen, the man who hired Meyer when President at Utah, would go after Meyer to replace Ron Zook. I can't wait for next November to see Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks take on Meyer's Gator team.

College Football weekend - Last weekend of the regular season. It looks likely that one undefeated team may not make the Orange Bowl (this year's BCS title game). If USC beats 6-4 UCLA, they are guaranteed one of two spots in the title game. #2 Oklahoma has a relatively easy Big XII title game against 7-4 Colorado. If they beat Colorado, it would take a lot for them NOT to make the title game. However, remember that a favored Oklahoma got blown out 35-7 by Kansas State in last year's game. #3 Auburn has much ground to be made up. They take on Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. Their problem is that a win won't be enough. If Oklahoma wins, Auburn's ONLY chance is to win by a ton of points and hope Oklahoma barely squeaks by. Even if all of that takes place, Auburn still has only a slim hope of getting to #2. My prediction is that all of this is rendered moot when Tennessee beats Auburn and both Oklahoma and USC are victorious. That sets up a USC vs. Oklahoma title game in early January. Another good game is Miami vs. Virginia Tech. I'm hoping that Virginia Tech wins and goes to a BCS bowl game. If Miami loses, they would likely go to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta and face the University of Florida. It would be great for Zook to have a chance to go out with wins over both FSU and Miami.

NFL - Two great games this weekend. Green Bay at Philadelphia is a rematch of last year's NFC Divisional playoff game which Philly won in OT. I'm picking Philadelphia but wouldn't be surprised to see a GB win. Whatever happens in this game, Green Bay has the best chance to win in Philadelphia come playoff time. I like how Green Bay is used to the cold weather. I could see them meeting again in January. Pittsburgh at Jacksonville is also a good game. The Jaguars are very desperate, needing a win to save their season. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, I don't think they're good enough. The team that stops the other one's rushing game will be the one to take this game. Personally, I like Jerome Bettis/Duce Staley over Fred Taylor.

I hope I covered all the big news. I like that there are three positive stories to compete with the sad state of the MLB.


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