Who I hate today: Top 25 polls

We’re reactionary people.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Top 25 polls.

Teams slide way too far after a big loss (see Clemson, Ohio State), rise too fast after a big win (Alabama) and somehow rise and fall despite not even playing a game. Just because Clemson and Ohio State got exposed doesn’t mean they aren’t top 10 teams and they probably will be at the end of the season.

But pre-season rankings are the lifeblood of college football. Countless magazines drive interest in the sport during the off-season. Unfortunately those rankings are a detriment to the teams because of the role they play in determining the national championship.

In 2004 Auburn, because they were ranked lower in the polls to begin the season, was unable to leapfrog Oklahoma or USC. As a result they were left out of the national championship game and weren’t even given a share of the national title despite finishing the season with an unblemished record.

The previous year USC was given a share of the title by the AP poll while Auburn was not afforded that luxury after going through the toughest conference in the country undefeated. They got screwed because of the pollsters (and the BCS, but that’s a discussion for another day).

It’s not the pollsters fault, there’s a system in place, they’re just cogs in the system.

But if we want to eliminate injustices in the polls we have to get rid of pre-season rankings altogether.

OK maybe not altogether, I don’t know how I would survive without them during the off-season, as long as there isn’t an “official” AP or coaches poll until week 4 of the season the polls will look much better and won’t be as big of a problem for the NCAA.

Waiting until week four gets most of the non-conference schedule out of the way and gives pollsters an idea of where teams should be slotted.

Upsets will happen and teams will collapse but the first few weeks of the polls are always useless anyways, so why not just wait until some things have been sorted out and go from there?

Arsenal football tickets

US Basketball Team Set

Blah Blah Blah we all know who’s on the team and we can sit here and talk about what bubble player should of made it, especially since there wasn’t even a try-out.

It really doesn’t matter when you have Kobe, BronBron, Melo and the Fundamental Bore that are gonna rack up at least 35 minutes if any game gets close.

But I’ve been fighting with myself about how this team will do.

Part of me thinks, hey it’s the dream team, how can they lose. But we obviously saw the embarassment in Athens where a bunch of millionaires thought they could roll over the world as one man shows.

That’s the other part of me. It’s a team of 12 superstars that is just waiting to collapse in a tight game when they go into Kobe-mode and need to get it done themselves.

But what I like about this team is that it actually has a couple of play-making point guards, unlike the Iversons and Stefan Marbury’s of the past.

No, it looks like it could be different this time around, as the starting point guard is looking like it’s going to be MVP candidate Chris Paul.

And Paul better be up to spreading the ball around, just like Rajon Rondo was able to do in Bean Town this year, or we could see one more clash of egos.

And as we all know, that clash of ego’s is just going to result in USA losing, and Kobe pulling a D3 Varsity Warriors move and throwing Tayshaun Prince’s clothes in the shower because he didn’t do a good enough job shining Kobe’s MVP trophy.

The last issue I have with this team is the coach. What? Just listen.

Yes I know Coach K is the legend. But what I always worry about with coaches jumping to the show is the difference of managing their players.

Coming from college to an NBA team means managing a bunch of hot shot kids, over to trying to tell full grown men that they need to work harder in practice when they would rather spend time with their families, or substitute wives, as they call them.

And that’s just to an NBA squad. This is the 12 biggest stars that the heartland has to offer.

Who knows, maybe I shouldn’t worry about it. After all it is the dream team.

I’ll just have stop being jealous and cheer for Samuel Dalembert. Go Canada Go.

Forsberg a Bust

The Colorado Avalanche  were knocked out of the playoffs last night at the hands of Johan Franzen and the Detroit Red Wings and, surprise surprise, Peter Forsberg was no where in sight.

He was injured.  Again.  In a series against the most lethal offence in the league, Forsberg was in the press box with a back injury.  He was plagued with a groin injury and a back injury in the playoffs, and as a result, missed almost the entire series against Detroit.

Now, having him in the line up wouldn’t have made much of a difference.  The Wings were going to win.  They have a more potent attack, they control the puck in every area of the rink and their defence are by far the best team in the NHL when it comes to making that first pass out of the zone.  Their goaltending is better too.  And yes, Chris Osgood is better than Dominik Hasek.

What is most troublesome about this whole situation with Forsberg is that the Avs put all their eggs in one basket.  They signed a guy with a long history of injuries that keep him in and out of the line up every three or four days, something that disrupts the evenflow of a team.

What was Avs general manager Francois Giguere thinking when he signed Forsberg for $1 million to play the last third of the regular season and only seven of 10 playoff games.  Why sign a guy who is the furthest thing from durable for that kind of money?

Was the fact that he spent almost 10 months in his home country of Sweden while nursing a foot injury not a sign that his time as an NHL player has passed by?

Simply put, Forsberg was a bust.  His acquisition was stupid in the first place.  It was ill-advised, and there are more players out there who could’ve come into the Avalanche for less money and no one would have to worry about their durability.  Forsberg, in 16 total games with the Avs this year, racked up 19 points.  That’s not bad, but no one remembers how many points you get when you’re in and out of the press box because your constantly injured and aren’t in the line up when it matters the most.

Canucks former general manager Dave Nonis was canned for his lack of signing Peter Forsberg just days before the trade deadline and his lack of trading Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Alex Edler and a first, second and third round draft pick in this year’s draft.  He got fired for sticking to his guns and not relying on a plan that has as much chance to blow up in your face as it does to succeed.  Giguere should get canned today for his taking a risk on a player that can’t get into the elevator to go to the press box without tweaking a groin or hurting his back.

Bringing Forsberg back was the stupidest decision made this year by a general manager.  It was pointless.  It was a waste of money and a roster spot that could’ve been better spent.

New Canucks general manager Mike Gillis.  Don’t sign Forsberg.

Rush and Iceman Prevail To End 2007 With a Bang

On a night where there were basically two main events, UFC 79: Nemesis did not disappoint.

Canada’s own George ‘Rush’ St. Pierre dominated highly touted Matt Hughes to move a step closer in retaining his welterweight championship title. On the other hand, Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell went toe-to-toe for three rounds with Wanderlei ‘The Axe Murderer’ Silva before claiming victory by a unanimous decision.

GSP came out motivated and focused to beat one of the greatest welterweights of the sport, Hughes. From the get-go, the Montreal native attacked Hughes as he took the 34-year-old down two minutes in. The first round saw GSP on top, not allowing much offense from the two-time 170-pound division champion. Then in the second, GSP, who was sporting a fleur-de-lis on his blue trunks, took Hughes down with a slick judo throw and applied the armbar. Thus, causing Hughes (43-6) to verbally submit.

“I think Georges St. Pierre has the potential to be the greatest 170-pounder ever,”said trainer Greg Jackson. “He’s just phenomenal. The scary thing is he keeps getting better.”

GSP will now face Matt Serra to determine the title holder for real in Montreal on April 19 at the Bell Centre. Serra, who was slated to fight Hughes in defense of his gold, injured his back during practice. Therefore, St. Pierre and Hughes fought for contendership. The last time Serra and St. Pierre met, “The Terror” upsetted the 26-year-old to capture his first welterweight championship.

St. Pierre (15-2) made Canada proud, as chants of GSP could be heard throughout Mandalay Bay Events Centre, and even at the Shark Club in downtown Vancouver.Not bad for the most recognized UFC fighter north of the border, and I’m sure he’ll be pumped to be able to fight for the gold in his hometown.

 

The other high profile battle on the fight card ended as a bloodbath. Yes, Silva was sent to the hospital after the match for a CAT scan.

It was no surprise as the match saw both crazed-maniacs throw punch after punch at each other, yet failing to knockout the opponent. The match lasted for three rounds, with the result decided by the judges. The UFC president had three words to describe the brawl.

“A great fight,” said Dana White, who spent six years trying to make the matchup of these two former UFC and Pride champions.

The Liddell-Silva fight basically stole the show. Even light-heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and middleweight title holder Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva were on their feets cheering the duo on. Both of these men came in having lost their last two matches, but the in-media trash talking drew up the hype for this light-heavyweight fight.

Both men had chances to finish their opponents off, as Liddell (21-5) fell twice, once due to slipping and the other punch related. Silva failed to capitalize on those opportunities, as the Brazilian usually would have taken advantage in those situation. On the other hand, a bloodied Silva was cornered against the cage a few times, yet the fast-fist-flying 38-year-old failed to end the fight and put ‘The Axe Murderer’ out.

When asked why later, Liddell said, “Because he’s a tough man.”

That was indeed a true statement as Silva absorbed punch after punch, and threw some counter jabs of his own. It was indeed a match to remember, as the excitement and entertainment level was intense.

The other winners of the night included the undefeated Brazilian Lyoto Machida (12-0), who submitted the highly praised light-heavyweight Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (4-2) in the second round with an arm triangle hold. The worst part for the Cameroon fighter was that it was his UFC debut.

It was a night that started with bitterness, as Rich Clementi forced hated rival Melvin Guillard to tap out from a rear naked choke in the first round. ‘The Young Assassin’ tried to charge ‘No Love’, who taunted him after the match, but had to be refrained by security.

In the end, fans went home satisfied as the UFC ended the year with entertainment and bloodshed not matched by any other sport. It was definitely not for the faint of heart.