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Showing posts from September, 2011

Craziest night ever in MLB? Rays win; Red Sox collapse

I've never seen a more exciting night in baseball than Wednesday when the Braves completed their collapse and the Red Sox finished their epic fall, allowing the Cardinals and Rays to earn berths in the playoffs.

The whole night was an instant classic.

Within minutes, the Red Sox blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning. They were just one out away from forcing a playoff for the American League wild card. Instead, closer Jonathan Papelbon gave up a double, another double and a single to blow it.

Papelbon doesn't get all the blame. Outfielder Carl Crawford couldn't come up with a diving attempt at a single to left field, which drove in the winning run.

Three or four minutes later, the Rays capped their rally from seven runs down to beat the Yankees. Evan Longoria smashed his second home run of the game, setting off one heck of a celebration in Tampa Bay. Longoria's homer hugged the foul pole and just cleared the fence.

It was amazing switching from game to game, watching …

Steelers' win over Colts feels like a loss

When you get down to it, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-1 after Sunday night's uninspiring 23-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

But, man, it feels like the Steelers are 1-2 and the season could be in jeopardy.

Rashard Mendenhall had no room to run, Ben Roethlisberger committed crucial turnovers and the defense let a third-string quarterback drive his team for the tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.

When it mattered, however, Roethlisberger put the Steelers in position to win the game.

So it was, in fact, a win. So that should be enough to celebrate.

Maybe the injuries and the performance of the offensive line are putting me in such a sour mood.

At some point in the fourth quarter, I'm pretty sure Flozell Adams got a phone call in the middle of his 100-chicken-wing snack and beer. The Steelers need some help on the line.

Fast.

I know the O-line has been criticized endlessly the last couple years, but that weakness is about to catch up with them.

They created enough room f…

Steelers' fall in the division didn't last very long

The Pittsburgh Steelers' fall from the top of the AFC North didn't last very long. Sunday's win over the Seattle Seahawks proved just how fickle life in the NFL can be.

A week after the Steelers were left for dead after getting beat up by the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh has new life.

The Steelers took out their frustrations on the Seahawks, shutting them out 24-0.

The Ravens, on the other hand, the new favorite in the division, lost to the Tennessee Titans 26-13.

That's quite a turnaround in seven short days.

But that's how things work in the NFL these days.

One day, you can be the best player or team ever. The next, you're washed up.

I thought after the Week 1 loss to the Ravens that the Steelers weren't that bad and Baltimore wasn't as good as one might think.

The Steelers simply caught the wrong team at the wrong time.

The Seahawks, however, aren't a very good team, so it was good to see the defense have its way.

As we enter Week 3, all the team…

Pitt to the ACC? I like the idea

The landscape of college athletics could be in for another change if a New York Times report plays out.

Pitt and Syracuse, according to the Times, are taking to the Atlantic Coast Conference about membership.

The second graph of the story was interesting:
No one from Pittsburgh, Syracuse or the A.C.C. denied the conversations were taking place. Officials from all three entities declined to comment on the matter. Maybe it'll happen. Maybe it won't.

I will say this, however, if the Big East can't get Notre Dame or final other colleges to expand, having Pitt jump to the ACC is a good move.

I love the Big East for basketball. I think it's the best conference out there. But for football? As much as I'd like to see Pitt succeed in the Big East, I have to wonder about the future of football playing in the Big East.

The Big East gets no respect when it comes to football. Even when it had Miami and Virginia Tech, the conference didn't get a whole lot of respec…

It's not too soon for Pitt to switch QBs

It's clear that it's going to take a while for the Pitt Panthers to adept and learn Todd Graham's offense.

A much-closer-than-expected game against Maine last Saturday proved as much.

But three things were evident against lowly Maine: Ray Graham really can play, the Pitt defense needs to get better and quarterback Tino Sunseri just isn't getting it done.

The high-octane offense that's supposed to be a trademark of Todd Graham was simply the Ray Graham show, which isn't a bad thing.

But if you can barely beat Maine 35-29, then there's a problem. And if your quarterback goes 21-of-35 for 224 yards and two interceptions against Maine, then there's a problem.

I'd like to see the switch to freshman Trey Anderson.

Now. As in this week's game against Iowa.

I've seen enough of Sunseri. Graham's offense needs someone to make quick decisions, and I don't see Sunseri as one who can perform at a high level.

I'd like to see Anderson, the offe…

Congrats to the Pirates!

A couple months ago, I was sitting at work basking in the Pirates' first-place standing in the NL Central.

"They'll collapse. They always do," a co-worker said.

I knew it was true, but I wanted to enjoy the moment. How often can you celebrate something with the Pirates?

Since that day, the Pirates have erased anything good from those fun months of the summer.

Since that day, the Bucs have utterly collapsed, shamelessly raised ticket prices and inexplicably extended general manager Neal Huntington's contract.

Talk about promoting goodwill. But, hey, that's how these Pirates operate.

Yet on the heels of all that good news, the Pirates continued their track record by extending their own mark of failure on Wednesday.

The Battling Buccos clinched their 19th straight losing season.

It's been well documented, but just typing those two numbers is unbelievable.

19.

I had to type it again just to get used to that number, because you know we'll see it a whole l…

Picking the divisions in the NFL

Before the season begins, here's my quick take on the league:

AFC NORTH
Pittsburgh
Baltimore
Cleveland
Cincinnati

AFC EAST
New England
New York
Miami
Buffalo

AFC SOUTH
Houston
Indianapolis
Tennessee
Jacksonville

AFC WEST
San Diego
Kansas City
Oakland
Denver

NFC NORTH
Green Bay
Detroit
Chicago
Minnesota

NFC EAST
Philly
Dallas
Washington
New York

NFC SOUTH
Atlanta
New Orleans
Tampa
Carolina

NFC WEST
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Arizona
(QUICK EDIT: Seattle should be in last place here instead of Arizona.)

Playoffs: AFC Wild Card: Baltimore over Houston, Pittsburgh over New York.
AFC Division: San Diego over Baltimore, New England over Pittsburgh
AFC Championship: San Diego over New England

NFC Wild Card: New Orleans over St. Louis, Atlanta over Tampa
NFC Division: Philly over New Orleans, Green Bay over Atlanta
NFC Championship: Green Bay over Philly

Super Bowl: Green Bay over San Diego

Quick thoughts: Yeah, I know, I have the Patriots beating the Steelers. I just don't like …

We need more dogs. What about cow bell instead?

There have been some good coaching meltdowns in the past. Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Dennis Green of the Cardinals quickly come to mind.

But check this out by David Bennett of Coastal Carolina. This one is just plain crazy.

Huntington extension? Oh, no!

I was caught up in the football frenzy yesterday and missed this on SI.com.

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Pirates are considering extending GM Neal Huntington.

I'd really like to see a real GM in Pittsburgh. I guess that might happen when they get a real team.

I've been thoroughly unimpressed by Huntington's evaluation of major league players.

But, when you're a cheap franchise, you get what you pay for.

Saints really messed up on fourth down

First, let's start off by saying that was one heck of a game between the Packers and Saints.

It sure had the makings of a rout, but it turned into an entertaining opener to the NFL season, with the Packers stopping the Saints at the goal line to preserve a 42-34 victory.

But let's look at the final play.

The Saints, loaded on offense with weapons at wide receiver, tight end and with a pass-catching running back, decided to take the ball out of Drew Brees' hand (and arm) and give it to rookie running back Mark Ingram with the game on the line.

One yard to go. Ingram didn't make it.

Not surprised, because earlier on fourth-and-short the Saints failed.

I know the Steelers get criticized for their play-calling, but the Saints need to be looked at for those two calls.

Maybe it was a case of trying to catch the other team off guard.

Whatever the reason, I'm left with the feeling of an exciting game and some questionable calls.

Now, on to Sunday's games.