Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2010 – Round 2 #42- New England(From Chicago through Tampa Bay and Oakland)- TE Rob Gronkowski

From Gronkowski made an immediate impact when he arrived at the University of Arizona and has been a standout tight end when he has been healthy enough to stay on the field. Unfortunately he has missed a total of 16 games over the past two years due to injuries or illness. He has an elite combination of size, speed and athleticism for the position and while he lacks great downfield speed he can be an effective receiver at virtually all levels of the passing tree. He is a tough, no nonsense type of blocker but still needs some work on his blocking techniques. If he can stay healthy he could provide a team with a quality starting tight end.


2010 NFL Draft to include record tying 53 non-seniors

The 2008 NFL Draft also saw the same amount of under classmen. In 2009 the total was 46. From AP-

The expected heavy influx of non-seniors applying for this year’s NFL draft did not happen despite looming labor unrest in the league.

Although a record-tying 53 players declared for early entry, that number released Tuesday by the NFL was short of most projections.

“I think that the colleges have really done a good job of telling these young men how it is to their advantage to stay in school,” said NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt, who helped build the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. “I thought there would be more and I was surprised.”

Six All-Americans did apply for the draft: defensive backs Eric Berry of Tennessee and Joe Haden of Florida; defensive end Derrick Morgan of Georgia Tech; tight end Aaron Hernandez of Florida; linebacker Rolando McClain of Alabama; and wide receiver Golden Tate of Notre Dame.

Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, also declared for April’s draft, along with Mississippi quarterback Jevan Snead; Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen; Southern California running back Joe McKnight; Cal running back Jahvid Best; Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap; and Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman.

Fresno State tailback Ryan Mathews, the nation’s leading rusher, applied. So did tackles Bryan Bulaga of Iowa and Anthony Davis of Rutgers, who are projected to go high in the draft.

I remember when Herschel Walker came out of school(U of Georgia) early and all the controversy it caused. A Herschel Walker today wouldn’t risk a potential big payday in the NFL either.

What I don’t get is how some experts expected the total of non-seniors to be around 100 or a 100% increase from last year. Maybe I’ll find an article that list the college players who stuck it out. A free college education should be valued. One day your sports playing days will end and what will you do for money then? Look at Bernie Kosar who left the University of Miami early for the NFL. Right now he is bankruptcy court.

The entire list of college underclassman declaring for this year’s NFL draft is below the fold.


Are you ready for some bowling? II

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this afternoon, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Note- I gave the shortened name version of all the upcoming games. Also I listed what broadcast network would be televising the game and what time they would be coming on the air. All times are Eastern Standard.

Dec 19

New Mexico- Fresno State vs. Wyoming 4:30 p.m. ESPN
St. Petersburg- Central Florida vs. Rutgers 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 20

R+L Carriers New Orleans- Southern Miss vs. Middle Tennessee 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 22

MAACO Las Vegas- Oregon State vs. BYU 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 23

Poinsettia- Utah vs. Cal 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 24

Sheraton Hawaii- Nevada vs. SMU 8 p.m. ESPN
Dec 26

Little Caesars- Marshall vs. Ohio 1 p.m. ESPN
Meineke- Pitt vs. North Carolina 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Emerald- Boston College vs. USC 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 27

Music City- Kentucky vs. Clemson 8:30 p.m. ESPN

Dec 28

Independence- Texas A&M vs. Georgia 5 p.m. ESPN2

Dec 29

EagleBank- UCLA vs. Temple 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Champs Sports- Miami vs. Wisconsin 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 30

Humanitarian- Bowling Green vs. Idaho 4:30 p.m. ESPN
Holiday- Arizona vs. Nebraska 8 p.m. ESPN

Dec 31

Armed Forces- Houston vs. Air Force Noon ESPN
Sun- Oklahoma vs. Stanford 2 p.m. CBS
Texas- Navy vs. Missouri 3:30 p.m. ESPN
Minnesota vs. Iowa State 6 p.m. NFL Network
Chick-fil-A- Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee 7:30 p.m. ESPN

Jan 1

Outback- Northwestern vs. Auburn 11 a.m. ESPN
Capital One- Penn State vs. LSU 1 p.m. ABC
Gator- West Virginia vs. Florida State 1 p.m. CBS
Rose Bowl- Ohio State vs. Oregon 4:30 p.m. ABC
Sugar- Cincinnati vs. Florida 8:30 p.m. FOX

Jan 2

International- South Florida vs. Northern Illinois Noon ESPN2 South Carolina vs. UConn 2 p.m. ESPN
Cotton- Oklahoma State vs. Ole Miss 2 p.m. FOX
Liberty- Arkansas vs. East Carolina 5:30 p.m. ESPN
Valero Alamo- Michigan State vs. Texas Tech 9 p.m. ESPN

Jan 4

Fiesta- Boise State vs. TCU 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 5

FedEx Orange- Iowa vs. Georgia Tech 8 p.m. FOX

Jan 6th

GMAC- Central Michigan vs. Troy 7 p.m. ESPN

Jan 7th

BCS National Championship Game- Texas vs. Alabama Jan. 7 8 p.m.

Some random notes on the above 34 games

*- 19 of the 34 games are not scheduled till Dec. 31st or later. I guess college football fanatics are expected to flip channels very quickly on those 3 days(Dec 31-Jan 2) when 15 games are being aired.
*- What a downer must it be for Oregon State players and fans. A few weeks ago they were one win from a Rose Bowl trip. Instead they lost to Oregon and are playing in a minor bowl before Christmas.
*- The NFL network televises a college football game. I guess that’s the cable sports equivalent of the Sci-Fi channel showing wrestling….
*- The bowls are now set where now certain conference finishers are locked into the same bowl games every year. I understand why the current system is done, but I prefer the day when bowl games would have greater variance from year to year. The Peach bowl would usually invite a ACC or SEC school but they could be creative, like when they invited Army and Illinois. Wouldn’t a SEC team against BYU or Wyoming be nice for a change?
*- Bobby Bowden’s farewell game is against the same school(West Virginia) that he left before coming to Florida State. I do know FSU and WV have played at least twice previously in bowls during the Bowden-Florida State era.


San Jose State Coach Dick Tomey announces his retirement

The Spartans haven’t been particularly successful since he took over in 2005, but Tomey leaves the school as its winningest coach in 20 years. From AP-

Dick Tomey created countless long-term relationships during his 29 years as a head football coach.

The Gold Room in the Simpkins Center was overflowing Monday with his latest friends, colleagues and players when Tomey announced he was retiring from coaching, effective following San Jose State’s game against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 5.

The 71-year-old coach said this was an opportunity for he and his wife, Nanci Kincaid, to “open a new chapter.”

“We have a lot of responsibilities left on the mainland, including six grandchildren to visit, but effectively we will be going back to the place we love the most and that’s Hawaii,” said Tomey, who has 182 wins during stints at Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State.

Tomey’s first college head coaching job was at Hawaii, which he built into a powerhouse when he took over in 1977. He left for Arizona in 1987 and built the Wildcats into a top 10 power before leaving after the 2000 season.

He took over at San Jose State in 2005 and found a program in turmoil. Academic penalties cost the Spartans 57 scholarships and limited spring practices during his tenure at the school.

Enjoy your retirement coach.


Are you ready for some bowling?

No I’m not talking about some middle aged man propelling a ball at some objects at the end of a lane, but the games that climax every college football season. Bowl season officially starts this Saturday, here are the matchups for all the college football fanatics out there.

Dec 20
Eaglebank Bowl- Wake Forest vs Navy
New Mexico Bowl- Colorado State vs Fresno St
MAGICJACK ST. PETERSBURG BOWL- Memphis vs. South Florida
PIONEER LAS VEGAS BOWL- Brigham Young vs Arizona
Dec 21
Dec 23
Dec 24
SHERATON HAWAII BOWL- Hawaii vs Notre Dame
Dec 26
MOTOR CITY BOWL- Florida Atlantic vs. Central Michigan
Saturday, December 27
MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL- West Virginia vs. North Carolina
Champs Sports Bowl- Wisconsin vs. Florida State
Emerald Bowl- Miami (FL) vs. California
December 28
Independence Bowl- Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech
PAPAJOHNS.COM BOWL- North Carolina State vs. Rutgers
Valero Alamo Bowl- Missouri vs. No. 23 Northwestern
Tuesday, December 30
PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL- Oklahoma State vs. No. 17 Oregon
Texas Bowl- Western Michigan vs. Rice
Wednesday, December 31
Sun Bowl- Oregon State vs. Pittsburgh
GAYLORD HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL- Boston College vs. Vanderbilt
Insight Bowl- Kansas vs. Minnesota
CHICK-FIL-A BOWL- LSU vs. Georgia Tech
Thursday, January 1
OUTBACK BOWL- South Carolina vs. Iowa
CAPITAL ONE BOWL- Georgia vs. Michigan State
Gator Bowl- Nebraska vs. Clemson
Rose Bowl- Penn State vs. USC
Fedex Orange Bowl- Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech
Friday, January 2
Cotton Bowl- Mississippi vs. Texas Tech
AUTOZONE LIBERTY BOWL- Kentucky vs. East Carolina
January 3
INTERNATIONAL BOWL- Buffalo vs. Connecticut
January 5
TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL- Ohio State vs. Texas
January 6
GMAC Bowl- Ball State vs. Tulsa*
January 8

That’s 34 games, 68 schools spread over a period of 20 days for those of you keeping score at home. An ample supply of college football for any fanatics out there.

A few notes

*- There are a few bowl games remaining without corporate names in their title. Gator, Sun, Texas, Independence. Were these games unable to find sponsors?
*- Will Oklahoma St. and Oregon combine for 70 pts or more in the Holiday Bowl? This annually has been of the most high scoring affairs.
*- Oh how has the Orange Bowl dropped. A game that featured early triumphs of Joe Paterno led Penn State, Nebraska and Oklahoma in their glory days, the first major bowl appearance of Florida State, and the all time classic 84 battle between Nebraska and Miami, has Cincinnati and Virginia Tech playing this year. I’m sure they are talented football teams, but how many people are drooling to see them play in a prime-time network slot?
*- Arizona and BYU meet in a bowl 30 years after the former left the WAC conference for the higher profile Pac Eight(Now Ten, Arizona State joined also)
*- Vanderbilt makes a rare bowl appearance. Congratulations to Commodore fans, but this is a sign of how bowls are grown way out of proportion. 6-6 college teams get bids. When I was growing up I could remember Florida State going without a bowl in 1978 even though they finished the season 8-3.

It is my humble opinion that bowl season has gotten out of hand. Someone may say what’s the big deal? If someone wants to start a bowl game and there are two schools willing to play in it, does their records matter. A good football isn’t only a contest between stars at big name schools.

All true, but how much public money is spent on these affairs? Many of the teams are state universities who get funded by taxpayers. Then there is the game itself where police have to be taken from other tasks to work the day or night of the game or paid over-time.

With the economic downturn right now, you have to wonder if there will be less bowls in the near future. That would depend on how long a deal a corporate sponsor signed on for. I wonder how many fans of some schools plan to make a bowl trip. Are there 1,000 or more FAU Owls willing to journey from Florida to Michigan in December to watch the team play? Even if I were a Owl fan and had money, I’d stay home.

Enjoy the games.


NFL Draft 2008 – Round 1 #27 – San Diego Chargers – CB Antoine Cason

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The Chargers wasted little time in grabbing cornerback Antoine Cason from Arizona.

Scouts, Inc.: 42

Strengths: A tall, somewhat lean corner with long arms (32.3) and big hands (9.2). Very instinctive and confident. Played in a blitz-heavy scheme that frequently left him on an island, but he’s better suited to play zone in the NFL. He has very good straight-line speed. Footwork is sound, plays with good balance and shows good burst coming out of cuts. Gets good knee bend in backpedal, reads routes fairly well and closes quickly. Times jumps well and is tall enough to compete for jump balls. Has quick feet and shows a second gear when tracking the ball downfield. Reads routes well, reads quarterback’s eyes and is aggressive. Locates the ball well. Displays good ball skills and flashes big-play ability after interceptions. Physical and fills hard when reads run. Active and can effectively bluff blitz. Has progressed steadily and should only continue to get better with experience. A person of high character and a hard worker on and off the field. Passionate about the game and is out to prove he’s better than people think. Very durable athlete.

Weaknesses: Though he has quick feet and good straight-line speed, he shows stiffness in his hips. Struggles to open quickly and mirror faster/quicker receivers. Press technique can improve. Hand-placement is inconsistent and he hasn’t shown great upper body strength. Will have some problems rerouting receivers at the NFL level and is more effective playing off the line than he is jamming receivers. He plays the game hard but isn’t as physical as you’d like to see, especially from a cover-2 type NFL prospect. Takes too long to shed block when gets reached and occasionally takes himself out of the play by trying to avoid blocker rather than stacking him up. Doesn’t always wrap up upon contact and is an inconsistent open field tackler that isn’t going to deliver a lot of big hits.

Overall: Cason arrived at Arizona in 2004 and went on to start all 46 games during his Wildcats career (’04-07). In his first three seasons, he compiled 182 tackles (10 for losses), three forced fumbles, 10 interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown) and 18 pass breakups. He turned in his finest season as a senior, recording 71 tackles (four for losses), two forced fumbles, five interceptions (two of which he returned for TDs) and 14 pass breakups. He had two more scores and averaged 10.0 yards on 27 punt returns last season. Cason also participated on Arizona’s track team in 2006, competing in the 200 meters and the sprint relays. His father Wendell played three seasons in the NFL and his cousins  Aveion Cason and Ken-yon Rambo  also played in the league. Aveion has played six seasons with three different teams and Ken-yon played two seasons (2001-02) for the Cowboys. Cason has some stiffness in his hips and will struggle to turn-and-run with some faster NFL receivers, which is why he’s best suited to play in a cover-2 heavy scheme. Otherwise, his combination of physical tools, mental toughness and versatility is impressive. He has the size, straight-line speed and anticipation to emerge as a solid starter in a zone-heavy NFL defense, and he also can compete for touches on punt returns. Cason should come off the board in Round 2.

Rick Gosselin: 45

Rather early to take him here, frankly, although some mock drafts had the Cowboys grabbing him with the 28th pick.


Arizona coach Lute Olson taking year off

He has been on leave since early November. From AP-

TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson said Thursday night he would extend his leave of absence through the end of this season, citing undisclosed family matters that require his attention.

In a statement released by the university, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer said he plans to return to coach the Wildcats for the 2008-09 season.

“There are personal issues within my family that need to be addressed and I must devote my full energy to that,” Olson said in the statement.

Athletic director Jim Livengood said assistant coach Kevin O’Neill will continue to serve as interim coach for the rest of this season. The 22nd-ranked Wildcats (5-2) are at Illinois on Sunday.

I hope whatever the cause of Olson’s leave isn’t too serious. God bless.


Oregon Ducks QB Dennis Dixon out with torn ACL

Dennis Dixon will have surgery on the left knee that buckled early in second-ranked Oregon’s upset loss to Arizona, spoiling his chance to win the Heisman Trophy. The quarterback tore his anterior cruciate ligament during Oregon’s Nov. 3 victory over Arizona State, according to coach Mike Bellotti, but he had rested it and felt as if he was ready to play Thursday night against the Wildcats.

Now Dixon will miss the rest of this season.


The versatile Dixon was one of the front-runners for the Heisman after he put the Ducks in line for the national title. Oregon had started the season unranked, and was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference.

Drawing comparisons to Vince Young, Dixon completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,136 yards, 20 touchdowns and four interceptions. The senior from San Leandro, Calif., also ran for 583 yards and nine scores.

Thursday night’s 34-24 loss to the unranked Wildcats knocked the Ducks (8-2, 5-2) out of the national title picture. Oregon was ranked behind LSU and ahead of Oklahoma and undefeated Kansas.

Dixon’s left knee crumbled as he tried to plant on an option carry with about 5 minutes to go in the first quarter against Arizona (5-6, 4-4).

Why should Dixon’s knee injury take him out of contention for the Heisman? It would seem rather silly if it did, for I’d be judging his credentials for the Heisman based on his play for the year, before he got hurt. That’s the way it should be.


University of Arizona’s Lute Olson taking leave of absence

The coach of 1997 NCAA Champs issued a statement today.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona coach Lute Olson is taking a leave of absence for unspecified personal reasons.

In a statement issued by his public relations firm on Sunday, the 73-year-old Hall of Famer said the matter was not health related.


Olson said he wanted to “reassure everyone that this isn’t a health scare, but rather a personal matter that needs my undivided attention.”

The specific reason was not given.

“I want to thank everyone in advance for their support and prayers and request that the media respect my family’s privacy during this time,” he said.

Assistant coach Kevin O’Neill will assume Olson’s duties in his absence.


Olson has a 780-280 record in 34 seasons as a major college coach. In 24 years at Arizona, he is 589-187 with 23 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. His Wildcats have won 11 Pac-10 championships, reached the Final Four four times and won the 1997 NCAA title.

If I were to take a guess, it is that Coash Olson or a close family of his(wife, child, grandchild) has a serious medical issue. No matter what the reason, I wish the coach well and look forward to his return.


Dallas Cowboys Draft Kicker Nick Folk

Nick Folk Arizona Kicker Photo Dallas Cowboys .com NFL Draft Logo 2007 The Dallas Cowboys have selected kicker University of Arizona kicker Nick Folk with the 4th pick in the 6th round of the 2007 NFL Draft (178th overall).


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