Category: NCAA

[Business Day One] Agony and Truth

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“So how was your weekend,” they would ask.
“I stood in the rain and watched my team die,” I would answer.

I hated to sound so morose, but there was nothing else I could say. Watching Boston College lose to Florida State on Saturday was the worst moment of my entire year, without a close second. I’m Handsome Matt Ryanlucky to be able to say that. I have my health, I get a paycheck and my family loves me. It is wonderful to think that my lowlight of the past 10 months is a game played by teenagers. Still, it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

The men that represented my beloved alma mater were outplayed by men representing another alma mater. Their receivers were so much taller than our cornerbacks. Their defensive ends were faster than our offensive line could handle. Their secondary took away Matt Ryan‘s options. We couldn’t beat them that night. And it stung to see it. Watching a game like this is like spending three hours being dumped by your girlfriend. She is breaking up with you for all the right reasons and there’s nothing you can do but sit there and feel wrong.

Anyway, it’s two days later and my heart is on the mend. Read More

[The Knights of Ncaa’sia] Chapter 1 – Knights Assemble!

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It is a dark time in Ncaa’sia. A mysterious evil has caused crops to wither, demons to spring forth from cracks in the earth and the dead themselves to rise and attack! The Mighty King, from his Orange Throne, put out a call for the greatest heroes to step forward and combat the darkness. He called for His Knights!

And without fail, they assembled and prepared for combat!

The Scarlet Knight – Though the group’s youngest member, he a warrior of great skill and daring. His family was lost in a goblin raid when he was but a boy, and he vowed as he watched his village burn that he would fight to make sure no such thing happened again. Armed with the Shield of Righteous Vengeance, a gift from Wizards of South Bend, he began a life of adventure and never looked back. Any village in peril, any maiden in need of rescue, any fort under seige, fear not! The Scarlet Knight is on his way!

KnightroKnightro – They say that no man has ever seen his face and lived. They say that he lived a life of evil and decadence in the Swamp Kingdom of Florida before hearing the divine call to become a paladin. They say that within his golden armor beats the heart of a tormented monster, yearning for salvation. But mostly, they just fall before his sword or fall to their knees in prayer.

Knightro is the group’s spiritual leader. Though eerily quiet and unwaveringly secretive, he can always be relied on for prayer and counsel in even the most grim of times. But his skill with a broadsword suggests a life not always dedicated to the Gods of Sport. No one will ever really know the true story of his past, but if he is seeking salvation for past evils, he’s doing it with a passion inspired from on high. Read More

[Business Day One] The Royal Sampler

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I went into Boston’s Chinatown Sunday afternoon and feasted upon Dim Sum.  If you’re not familiar with this magnificent tradition, you’re missing out.  It’s a buffet that comes to you, delighting your senses and satisfying your hunger with a savory variety of dumplings, rolls, and buns.  Like football, it is best enjoyed on the weekend and in a pair of stretchy sweatpants.  Inspired by this glorious meal, I am presenting to you Business Day One Dim Sum – a sampling of news from across the entirety of the sports world.  And like Dim Sum, it should satisfy everybody.

Shrimp Dumpling: The New York Mets are not going to the playoffs.  Their season ended with Tom Glavine allowing seven runs in a third of an inning, while one state over the Phillies put the finishing touches on a playoff clinching win.  Mets Manager Willie Randolph is not going to get fired, nor should he.  He’s a quality manager with a lot of experience that can handle the scathing New York media.  There are going to be some off-seasons changes, to be sure, and the team taking the field next year will be markedly different.  There’s a lot of great young talent on that team, but I think this year was their big shot and they slowly bled it out. Read More

TVlog: 5 Minutes of ESPN Firsttake

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Since Jonathan Lee Riches decided to give me a day off by suing Martha Stewart for the benefit of Rachael Ray, I had to come up with a new subject. So, in a first for NerdsOnSports, I’m going to write running commentary on what I’m watching on TV. At 11 AM. I don’t have a job to go to until Monday. So I watch things like “Firsttake” (f/k/a “Cold Pizza”) on TV. It really is this bad.

All times EDT.

11:00: OK, They’re talking about Steve Spurrier’s history vis-a-vis LSU. Interesting, perhaps, but I tuned in right in the middle, so I’m really not sure what the operative thesis is here. I think it’s something about how Spurrier’s had a great coaching career and has performed well against LSU, or hasn’t, either way he’s a football coach. Read More

[Business Day One] Priorities

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Bottom of the ninth inning and David Ortiz stood in against Mariano Rivera.  The bases were loaded, there were two outs and the Red Sox were down by 1 against the Yankees.  Fenway was shaking with energy, with waves of noise cascading down from the Faithful on to the field as their Hero cocked his bat against the fireballer.  Could Papi do it again?  Or would the Best Closer In Baseball notch another save in the most enemy of enemy territories?  A Sox win would extend out their lead in the East to five and a half.  A Yankees win would keep the pressue on Boston down a grueling final stretch.  Ramifications of a single at bat, a singular moment in time as watched by millions of fans.  If a scientist were to distill an entire season to get the extract of pure Sport, he would get this.  Mariano winds and delivers…

But alas, I wasn’t watching it.  A diehard Yankee fan in front of a television on a Sunday night five miles from Fenway, and I wasn’t watching it.  In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about it.  I was awake, and in my right mind, but had no interest in the outcome of the game at that moment.  It was only this morning that I realized I don’t know how the game ended.  I turned it off when Pedroia was batting, and so had to check the final score on my cell phone at 8:30 this morning.  It was a stark realization on this windy day.  The team I grew up rooting for was not my biggest sports priority.

It was a pretty jarring thought, and one that I wanted to make my peace with as soon as possible.  Thank goodness I write for a sports blog, eh?  On my commute to my office, I counted all of the sports-related concerns that were on my mind last night that took precedence over my Sox/Yankees interest.  I shuddered when I realized that this relatively important baseball game barely cracked the Top Five.  For sake of healing, I am putting my Top Five here:

1.  Patriots/Chargers Sunday Night Football – Read More

[Business Day One] Kickoff

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There’s a moment during any good tailgate that really makes the event special. It usually takes place sometime during the second helping of pulled pork, or in the middle of a hastily organized 7-on-5 (someone clearly miscounted) Ultimate Frisbee match. It is the moment that you remember that you’re there to see a football game. At good tailgates, you somehow forget that for a few minutes. You’re sitting in a foldable camp chair, eating more food in three hours than you have during the previous 48 and opining on how a team can take down the West Coast Offense and you just get so wrapped up in the experience that you somehow forget why you’re there. You never lose sight of the fact that you’re in a field, surrounded by friends of yours wearing the same colors and within earshot of the marching band tuning up. But the “I’m here to watch a game” thought kind of seeps out of your head for a bit, replaced with hasty plans to shotgun a beer and visit your friend Matty’s party. And then you remember the reason for the season, and are made glad. It’s like finding $20 in your pocket – it was always there, and it was always yours, but you didn’t remember you had it until just that moment.

College Football (and College Football tailgating) season has begun. And it began in spectacular fashion. Fans packed the stadiums and the parking lots across the country for grilling and sports. Facepaint and hibachi sales were, I assume, through the roof. The tailgate in my own little corner of the world, Lower Campus at Boston College, was excellent. The game was good too. This off-season has taught me a lot about how alums and boosters deal with college football coaching changes, and this first week taught me what happens when lofty expectations are met.

As much as I would like to talk more about Boston College taking down Wake Forest, that’s not the biggest news. While I was walking into Alumni Stadium, a friend of mine checked his phone and noted that Appalachian State was up by a couple of scores against Michigan (at Michigan). I immediately thought that it was only a matter of time before the Wolverines got themselves together and took advantage of the undersized linemen and unpolished route runners of any Division I-AA school. But it turns out they never did. In the stands in Section A at Alumni, I was both cheering wildly for my team and constantly checking the score from App St/Mich. It made me feel like I wasn’t just part of the BC football family at that point, but a greater national community of fans. There must’ve been millions of people hitting the refresh button on their cell phone to get the minute-by-minute score update. In the end, wouldn’t you know it, the Mountaineers demolished the Big House. There seemed to be an entire nation of football fans cheering at that moment. Well, all except for the hundred or so thousand in Ann Arbor. That is college sports. Underdogs baffling the nation and the entire sports community celebrating together, even if their stadiums are thousands of miles apart. And they’re doing it on a full stomach.

Some other quick notes about Week 1 of College Football:

-The honeymoon with Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis is over. The offensive and defensive sides of the ball were overwhelmed by Georgia Tech, and the Nittany Lions will be no easier next Saturday. They’re getting recruiting classes together just fine out there, but coherent game plans against top flight competition just aren’t coming taking shape.

-Rutgers hype doesn’t seem to be going away. They’ll easily walk to at least 8 wins this season, thanks to a good running back and a schedule made up mostly of intramural teams. The New York market has needed big name college football, and Rutgers is as close as they’re going to get.

-We all need to get used to the fact that our favorite team is most likely capable of beating Florida State in football.

Oklahoma’s 2005 Season Erased; Time/Space Continuum In Peril

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NCAA erases Oklahoma’s 2005 Season

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma must erase its wins from the 2005 season and will lose two scholarships for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, the NCAA said Wednesday.

The penalties stem from a case involving two players, including the Sooners’ starting quarterback, who were kicked off the team last August for being paid for work they had not performed at a Norman car dealership. The NCAA said Oklahoma was guilty of a “failure to monitor” the employment of the players.

The Sooners went 8-4 and beat Oregon in the Holiday Bowl to end the 2005 season. Records from that season involving quarterback Rhett Bomar and offensive lineman J.D. Quinn must be erased, the NCAA said, and coach Bob Stoops’ career record will be amended to reflect the erased wins, dropping it from 86-19 in eight seasons to 78-19.

NCAA Commissioner Myles Brand declared the sanctions in a press conference on Wednesday, standing in front of the NCAA’s TimeScrambler 2000, which he used to go back in time and rewrite the face of history.

“The evidence seems clear,” Brand said, yelling to be heard over the time machine’s buzzing and whirring. “This level of corruption could only have succeeded with the support of the university’s athletics department.”

Commissioner Brand then entered the appropriate spatio-temporal coordinates into the TimeScrambler, pausing only to don lead-lined goggles.

Budweiser stock (symbol: BUD) gained 4.8 points on the day, as the undoing of Oklahoma’s 2005 wins resulted in 741,500 gallons of beer going unconsumed. Nine maimings resulting from postgame brawls were instantly healed, forty-one vandalized cars restored to their pre-victory condition, and three children born to Oklahoma co-eds winked out of existence.

“You see this after most major disciplinary actions,” said Dr. Anton Parallax, NCAA director of temporal anomalies. “It’s not as devastating as you’d think, because there’s no actual harm done. The affected parties never existed.”

Parallax cited the 1988 censure of St. Meinrad University for a decades-long conspiracy to inflate the grades of their student athletes. The NCAA erased thirty-two years of wins, resulting in a temporal flux so severe that St. Meinrad became a Benedictine abbey instead of a Division I technical school and their division rival, the previously unheralded University of Notre Dame, became a storied powerhouse. Few fans have complained about or even noticed this revision of history, even though, as Parallax says, Notre Dame “really isn’t that good.”

The Three Gentlemen from Durham

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Duke DA Disbarred

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A judge said he would suspend District Attorney Mike Nifong on Tuesday after learning that the prosecutor disbarred for his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case intended to stay in office for another month.

Earlier in the day, Duke University announced it had reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the three former lacrosse players falsely accused of rape last year.

Nifong, who was disbarred Saturday for breaking more than two dozen rules of professional conduct in his handling of the case, said in a letter released Monday that he would leave office July 13. His departure date wasn’t soon enough for Hudson, who decided to suspend Nifong from office.

Mike Nifong, ex-attorneyIt’s been clear to anyone who’s been following the case of the three Duke lacrosse players accused of rape – Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans – that the case has been mishandled from the beginning. Even if the case against the three students was airtight, it’s improper for a District Attorney to go on a national news program and call the defendants “a bunch of hooligans [whose] daddies could buy them expensive lawyers”.

But as more information came out, the hollowness of Nifong’s case became more obvious. The accuser told vastly different stories to hospital personnel and to police. She picked her assailants not out of a lineup but out of a stack of photos of the entire lacrosse team – a process guaranteed to nab a white defendant, but not the guilty party. There was little to no medical evidence of rape, and no DNA evidence connecting any of the three men. And on 60 Minutes, the other dancer who’d been performing with the accuser that night, Kim Roberts, said she hadn’t left the accuser alone long enough for an assault to have occurred.

Duke Blue Devil(To be fair, Ed Bradley’s interview with Roberts suggests that the boys were hardly gentlemen – they were drunk, rowdy, and grew irate when they felt the women stopped dancing too early. Other witnesses claimed to hear the boys yelling racial epithets at the women after they left. But none of this lends credence to a rape charge)

Now, more than a year later, all charges have been dropped and the Attorney General of North Carolina has declared the three boys “innocent.” Mike Nifong has stepped down as D.A. and, as of Tuesday morning, has been more or less fired.

So has justice finally been done? Not quite.
Read More

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