Posted inSports

Great Sports

Check out this amazing story on about a college softball game that will be remembered for a long time because of the athletes, not the athletics…

Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her career. Central Washington senior Mallory Holtman was already her school’s career leader in them. But when a twist of fate and a torn knee ligament brought them face to face with each other and face to face with the end of their playing days, they combined on a home run trot that celebrated the collective human spirit far more than individual athletic achievement.

That’s what it’s all about.

Posted inSports / Television

Slow Sports Day

I was just channel-flipping desperately looking for something interesting to watch and noticed that ESPN2 is currently featuring… women’s college bowling. College bowling?!? Isn’t there a nice game of Australian Rules Football that we could be watching instead? ;-)

Posted inSports / WTF?

Fighting Illini – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

University of Illinois Fighting IlliniThe Good

After a very shaky start to the Big Ten season, the Illinois men’s basketball team has put together a decent 5-2 run in the past seven games, marginally improving their outlook to make the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. Of course, how well they play in the final five Big Ten games will determine their fate.

I will continue to do my part, though… I’m not the only one who has noticed that the Illini play better when I don’t or can’t actively watch the games. As soon as I turn on the game, they commit a turnover or do something else stupid. It’s all my fault. ;-)

The Bad

For the past 22 years, any true fan who has ever attended a University of Illinois basketball or football game has thrilled to hear public announcer Jim Sheppard rally the fans with spirited calls like “It’s a Threeeee!!!” or “First Down ILLINI!!!” in his signature booming voice.

However, on December 7, 2006, the University’s Division of Intercollegiate Athletics informed Sheppard that they will “go in a different direction” after next year’s football season and Sheppard’s 22-year run will end.

WTF?!? I can’t believe the U of I would basically fire Sheppard without any better reason than “a different direction.” This Daily Illini article discusses the situation and I think echoes my opinion that Illinois is way off the ball here.

The Ugly

Coach Ron Zook and the Illinois football program should be celebrating a tremendously successful recruiting season, earning what experts are calling a top 15 recruiting class nationwide. Unfortunately, that very success is causing some losers, uh, I mean some coaches who lost recruiting battles, to bitch and moan privately, and not so privately. The New York Times published a literary masterpiece earlier this week titled “Illinois Has Rivals Fuming About Its Recruiting Coup”, which seems to have ignited this controversy with its less-than-balanced coverage of the story. For a more news-worthy study of the situation, I suggest reading this Chicago Sun-Times article instead.

Now don’t get me wrong… If there’s proof that Illinois did something illegal in recruiting these kids, punishment should be swift and appropriate, and then we’ll all move on to the next scandal. But I haven’t heard anything so far that even remotely resembles a shred of proof. If this turns out to just be sour grapes, it’ll give me even more reason to dislike a certain holier-than-thou midwestern university that has been named as the driving force behind these vague accusations. After all, having your very own national television deal isn’t enough of a competitive recruiting edge, is it? No Doubt about it. :|

Posted inGames / Sports

Red Zone Wrap-Up (2006 Season Final)

Springfield Bullhawks LogoHappy New Year! Especially happy right now are the Springfield Bullhawks (#1 seed) who are the 2006 ESPN Fantasy Football Red Zone League Champions, after defeating the Houston Inferno (#3 seed) by an ever-so-close score of 192-191. LaDainian Tomlinson had only 7 points for the ‘Hawks this week, but Steven Jackson made up the difference with a 43 point performance. However, the difference in the game was not points scored, but in missing points. Inferno RB Ron Dayne aggravated an ankle injury during pre-game warmups Sunday and did not play, resulting in a crushing 0 for the Inferno. Despite that, this was a terrific game between the two best teams in the league this year. Congratulations to Alan and Jeff for a great season!

Third place goes to my Spooky Boogeymen (#4 seed) with a 186-162 win over the P’burg PrairiePride (#2 seed). Despite a 5 point lead in this week’s match-up, the ‘Pride were unable to overcome the 29 point lead resulting from last week’s game. Congratulations to Bob (and me!) on a great season.

The Kentucky Mad Max (#7 seed), last season’s league champs, won fifth place this year with a 150-113 defeat of the Shelbyville Outkasts (#5 seed). Congratulations to Bret and Jack for a great season!

The Peoria OrangeCrush (#9 seed) crushed the Batavia Bulldogs (#6 seed) by a score of 210-116 for seventh place in the league. Congratulations to Charlie and Mike on a great season!

The Foreign Bodies (#10 seed) rallied this week to come back and beat the Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (#8 seed) by a total score of 169-136. So, the ‘Puffs will (probably) receive the coveted first pick in next year’s draft. Congratulations to Ben and Elizabeth on a great season!

So, here are the final winners for the Red Zone 2006…

We’re Going to Disney World Award 1st Place Springfield Bullhawks
The First Loser Award 2nd Place Houston Inferno
There’s Always Next Year Award 3rd Place Spooky Boogeymen
The Break Even Award 4th Place P’burg PrairiePride
Teamwork Award Highest team game score Springfield Bullhawks (157 points in Week 10)
Top Gun Award Highest player game score Foreign Bodies (51 points for RB Tiki Barber in Week 17)
Smackdown Award Highest team win margin Peoria OrangeCrush (81 point win in Week 16)

And finally now that it’s all over with, I’ll try to get back to a more regular blogging schedule about life, the universe, and everything (except for fantasy football ;-)).

Posted inGames / Sports

Red Zone Wrap-Up (Playoffs Round 1 1/2)

Only one more week to go… The Springfield Bullhawks (#1 seed) have taken a narrow early 104-99 lead over the Houston Inferno (#3 seed). LaDainian Tomlinson had an off week (only 14 points) for the ‘Hawks, but Steven Jackson picked up the slack with a 39 point performance. Will the Inferno come back with one more big week, or will LT lead the ‘Hawks to a league championship?

My Spooky Boogeymen (#4 seed) are leading the P’burg PrairiePride (#2 seed) by a score of 101-72. Both teams left big time points on the bench this week… 65 for me and 87 for the ‘Pride.

The Kentucky Mad Max (#7 seed) took a 78-67 lead this week over the Shelbyville Outkasts (#5 seed). Ladell Betts’ 26 point performance made the difference for the Max despite five double-digit scorers on the Outkasts.

Peoria OrangeCrush (#9 seed) had a big week and built a nearly unsurmountable lead over the Batavia Bulldogs (#6 seed) with a 132-51 score. I have a feeling the ‘Dogs got distracted by the holidays and neglected to update their lineup, with two players listed as “Out” and four total zeros.

The Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (#8 seed) took a narrow lead over the Foreign Bodies (#10 seed) with a 67-62 score. Although the Bodies left 53 points on the bench, they only need to deal with a five-point deficit next week.

Good luck to everyone next week… Especially Jeff! ;-)

Posted inGames / Sports

Red Zone Wrap-Up (Playoffs Round 1)

The Springfield Bullhawks (#1 seed) defeated my Spooky Boogeymen (#4 seed) by a final score of 205-158. LaDainian Tomlinson lead the ‘Hawks to a 98-92 win in this week’s game, which was the second half of Round 1 in the Champions bracket.

The Houston Inferno (#3 seed) beat the P’burg PrairiePride (#2 seed) with a total 187-147 score. The Inferno won the second half game 84-69. The Inferno will meet the Bullhawks starting next week to decide the 2006 Red Zone Fantasy Football League Championship.

The Shelbyville Outkasts (#5 seed) defeated the Batavia Bulldogs (#6 seed) 202-177 total. The ‘Dogs actually won the second half this week 86-81, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Outkasts large first-half lead.

The Kentucky Mad Max (#7 seed) won 179-140 over the Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (#8 seed). The Max got a big game from Michael Vick in an 85-48 second half win this week, while the ‘Puffs only managed one scorer in double-digits.

The Peoria OrangeCrush (#9 seed) climbed out of the cellar with a convincing 192-127 victory over the Foreign Bodies (#10 seed). The ‘Crush got a big game out of Peyton Manning winning this week 96-61.

So, in two short weeks the FFL crown will be awarded. Here are the final round match-ups…

Championship Game
#1 Springfield Bullhawks vs. #3 Houston Inferno

Everybody Else
#2 P’burg PrairiePride vs. #4 Spooky Boogeyman
#5 Shelbyville Outkasts vs. #7 Kentucky Mad Max
#6 Batavia Bulldogs vs. #9 Peoria OrangeCrush
#8 PowerPuff Girls vs. #10 Foreign Bodies

Good luck everybody!

Posted inGames / Sports

Red Zone Wrap-Up (Playoffs Round 1/2)

This week was the first half of the Red Zone playoff round 1. The Springfield Bullhawks (#1 seed) took an early 107-66 lead over my Sucky, uh, Spooky Boogeymen (#4 seed). The running backs scored big for the ‘Hawks as LaDainian Tomlinson and former Boogeyman Steven Jackson earned 29 and 25 points respectively. Yeah, that was a good trade. :|

In the other half of the Champions Bracket, the Houston Inferno (#3 seed) are on top of the P’burg PrairiePride (#2 seed) with a 103-77 score. The Inferno got double-digit scoring from six of their players.

The Shelbyville Outkasts (#5 seed) are ahead of the Batavia Bulldogs (#6 seed) 121-91. Drew Brees had a record-setting week for the Outkasts with a 50 point score. Theoretically speaking, if there were money awarded to the team with the leading single game scorer, I’d say that the Outkasts would be in good shape. So far, anyway… ;-)

In the only close game this week, the Kentucky Mad Max (#7 seed) hold a slight two-point lead over the Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (#8 seed) with a 94-92 score. Even the bench scoring was close so far in this game with a 55-51 edge to the ‘Puffs.

And finally, in the effort to avoid the league cellar, the Peoria OrangeCrush (#9 seed) hold the lead over the Foreign Bodies (#10 seed) 96-66. Rookie running back Maurice Jones-Drew lead the way with 38 points for the ‘Crush.

p.s. Sorry for the late post… Busy week. :-P

Posted inGames / Sports

Red Zone Wrap-Up (Week 13)

Red ZoneThe Springfield Bullhawks (10-3) managed to steal the Norris Division title from the Houston Inferno (10-3) with a 112-52 win. The Inferno only had one player in double-digits this week. I assume the Inferno players just decided to coast the week before the FFL playoffs start. The ‘Hawks enter the playoffs next week as the #1 seed, while the Inferno have to settle for #3.

The P’burg PrairiePride (7-6) wrapped up the Long Division title with a 80-68 victory over the Peoria OrangeCrush (4-9). Reggie Bush had the first monster game of his career with a 41 point performance. Unfortunately, Reggie sat the ‘Crush bench this week. The ‘Pride go into next week’s playoffs as the #2 seed.

My Spooky Boogeymen (7-6) decided to wake up just in time for an important win over the Kentucky Mad Max (5-8). Marvin Harrison and Tony Gonzalez came up with big performances for the Boogeymen. With the win (and a loss by the Outkasts), the Boogeymen have somehow managed to qualify for the playoffs as the #4 seed.

The Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (7-6) knocked the Shelbyville Outkasts (7-6) out of the playoffs with a 95-70 defeat. The PowerPuffs got even scoring throughout their lineup, with the Steelers Defense leading the way with 20 points. The Outkasts held their fate in their hands, as a victory this week would have put them into the playoffs. With the loss, the Outkasts end up with the same record as my Spooky Boogeymen. However, a 3-point win in week 6 gives the Boogeymen the head-to-head edge and a pass into the playoffs. Sorry Jack! ;-)

The Batavia Bulldogs (6-7) defeated the Foreign Bodies (4-9) by a score of 66-48. The Bodies could have used some of the 46 points that were left on the bench this week. However if that were legal, the Bulldogs could have fought back with 81 bench points of their own.

Here are the final regular season standings…

Springfield Bullhawks (10-3)
Houston Inferno (10-3)
Spooky Boogeymen (7-6)
Shelbyville Outkasts (7-6)
Batavia Bulldogs (6-7)
P’burg PrairiePride (7-6)
Kentucky Mad Max (5-8)
Petersburg PowerPuff Girls (5-8)
Peoria OrangeCrush (4-9)
Foreign Bodies (4-9)

As I might have mentioned once or twice above, the playoffs start next week. Unlike the regular season, each playoff game is two weeks long and there are two playoff games (for a total of four weeks). Here are the brackets…

Winner’s Bracket
#1 Springfield Bullhawks vs. #4 Spooky Boogeyman
#2 P’burg PrairiePride vs. #3 Houston Inferno

Consolation Ladder
#5 Shelbyville Outkasts vs. #6 Batavia Bulldogs
#7 Kentucky Mad Max vs. #8 PowerPuff Girls
#9 Peoria OrangeCrush vs. #10 Foreign Bodies

Good luck!