Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2011 Round 1 #14 St. Louis Rams DE Robert Quinn says-

Quinn did not play a down in 2010, but he has the potential to be a premier pass rusher at the next level. He has an excellent first step and the burst to consistently get around the edge. He is a relentless pass rusher that will only improve once he develops an array of counter moves. He lacks the bulk to hold stout against the running game and can get overwhelmed by bigger blockers. Quinn has no recent tape, but he has the rare skill set to be a double-digit sack artist in the NFL and will likely be a first-round pick.


2010 NCAA Women’s Tournament Bracket

Here it is-

2010 Women's bracket

Like with the Men’s tournament, I’ll take a shot at making some guesses predictions in the women’s also.


No return- Georgia Tech beats North Carolina 62-58

Just two more days before the brackets come out. From Media General-

Start fast, stumble to the finish. The preceding sentence perfectly summed up both North Carolina’s basketball season and its 62-58 first-round ACC tournament loss to Georgia Tech on Thursday evening.NC-GA Tech

The Tar Heels led by 10 at halftime. (The Tar Heels started the season 8-2 and were ranked as high as No. 6 in the Associated Press poll.) Carolina couldn’t handle that success, and hit an early-second half swoon, allowing Georgia Tech to score the first seven points after halftime. (Just past the midway point of the season, Carolina lost eight of 10 games, sending the Heels’ season into a spiral.)

See the trend here?

Down the stretch Thursday, just as it has been all season, Carolina was plagued with ball handling issues and poor shooting, and the Yellow Jackets took advantage. They outscored the Heels 38-24 after halftime. In the last 5:13, Carolina missed all eight of its field-goal attempts and turned it over twice, and Georgia Tech pulled away for a win that likely seals an NCAA tournament berth for the Yellow Jackets (20-11).

“It’s extremely disappointing, to say the least,” UNC coach Roy Williams said.

Disappointing don’t do justice to North Carolina’s 2009-10 basketball season. Only a year ago they were National Champions, now they are hoping the NIT throws them a scrap bone tournament invitation. Should a team that finished 16-16 be playing in the post season?


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.


Sweet 600- North Carolina beats Nevada 80-73

For the second consecutive day, some NCAA Basketball coaching history was made. From AP-

Roy Williams’ milestone victories are starting to blend together for North Carolina

The Tar Heels gave their Hall of Fame coach his 600th career win Sunday night, an 80-73 triumph over pesky Nevada behind a career-high 23 points from Deon Thompson.

Ed Davis added 16 points, a personal-best 15 rebounds and a pair of momentum-changing blocked shots late for the Tar Heels (6-1).

Williams became the 33rd coach to reach this milestone, and the 3rd quickest. As I noted yesterday, the ever lengthening College Basketball season is the root cause of this.


NFL Draft 2009 Round 1 #29- NY Giants- WR Hakeem Nicks

A good receiver for a team with a need at the position.

ESPN writes- Nicks gained 14 pounds between the combine and his pro day and that is reason for concern. However, we still believe he has the ability to make an immediate contribution. He doesn’t have great initial quickness, but he shows good footwork getting in and out of his breaks, and he isn’t going to get pushed around by corners. Nicks also flashes fly-trap hands and the ability to make spectacular catches. His catch during the Meineke Car Care Bowl was one of the year’s most impressive.


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 #29 – San Francisco 49ers – NT Kentwan Balmer

NFL Draft 2008 Logo The 49ers didn’t let much time tick off before grabbing North Carolina nose tackle Kentwan Balmer.

The ESPN guys are apoplectic but it’s a great value pick.

Scouts, Inc.: 20th

Strengths: Is tall with adequate bulk and room to get even bigger if necessary. When he plays hard he can be flat-out dominant. Gets good forward lean in stance and displays outstanding initial quickness. Has experience playing DT and NT. Takes sound angles to the ball and makes plays in pursuit. Is playing with a better motor as a senior. He can take on blocks when he stays low. Generally wraps up upon contact and is an adequate open field tackler. Athletic, flashes the ability to redirect inside after setting blockers up to the outside and is a relentless pass rusher. Moves well laterally and runs line stunts well. Shows adequate awareness, times jumps well and he gets hands up when isn’t going to get to the quarterback. Blocked two kicks in 2006 and can contribute on special teams.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent effort earlier in career. Is he a one-year wonder? Plays too high at times and will lose his power when he does. Not disciplined enough. Gets sucked inside and upfield too often. Needs to do a more consistent job with his hands and can take too long to shed blocks.

Overall: In his first three seasons at North Carolina (2004-’06), Balmer appeared in 30 games (11 starts) at defensive end and defensive tackle, recording 34 tackles (7.5 for losses) and 3.5 sacks. As a senior in 2007, he started all 12 games and delivered 59 tackles (9.5 for losses) and 3.5 sacks. He had right knee surgery following the 2005 season and missed two games in ’06 after suffering an ankle sprain. Balmer could play DE in a three-man front but we think he’s better suited to play DT or NT in a 4-3 scheme in the NFL. Regardless, he is tall and strong with adequate bulk and outstanding quickness. Balmer can take on blocks, disrupt plays in the backfield and collapse the pocket  but only when he wants to. While he finally displayed first-round ability as a senior, NFL teams must be concerned about this one-year wonder. Prior to 2007 we viewed Balmer as a talented underachiever and the question is whether the light has finally come on or if he will revert to old, lazy habits following his big NFL payday.

Rick Gosselin: 24

Mel Kiper: 25

For a team making the move to a 3-4, this move makes perfect sense.


Phil Jackson and Roy Williams Elected to Hall of Fame

Phil Jackson, Roy Williams, and some people I’ve never heard of have been elected to the basketball Hall of Fame.

Phil Jackson can add Hall of Famer to his resume Monday as the current Los Angeles Lakers coach was named to the 2007 basketball Hall of Fame class that will be inducted this September.

Joining Jackson in Springfield, Mass., will be North Carolina coach Roy Williams, WNBA coach Van Chancellor, the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team, referee Mendy Rudolph as well as international coaches Fedro Ferrandiz and Mirko Novosel. Jackson and the Texas Western squad earned the honor in their first year of consideration. To gain election, each finalist needs at least 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee.

Jackson’s coaching accomplishments include six NBA titles with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls as well as three more titles with the Lakers. He is also the fastest coach to reach 900 wins.

There’s no question Jackson and Williams deserve the honor. I’ve never heard of the other coaches. While, frankly, I’m dubious that someone coaching in the WNBA could possibly qualify, Chancellor’s credentials are solid:

He spent 19 successful seasons as the head coach of the University of Mississippi Lady Rebels. Under his guidance, the Lady Rebels posted a winning percentage of .740 (439-154), made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances. As a collegiate coach, Chancellor ranks 14th in all-time winning percentage amongst women’s basketball coaches.

He has been the Comets’ only head coach, the longest tenured in the WNBA. His team won the first four WNBA championships, from 1997 to 2000.

Still, it’s women’s basketball and being 14th best is hardly that big a deal. And the WNBA isn’t exactly the most competitive league in all of sports.


Jason Ray, Tarheel Mascott, Dies from Injuries

UNC’s mascott was struck by a car and killed.

Jason Ray, a North Carolina student who performed as a mascot for the school’s basketball team, died three days after being struck by a car hours before an NCAA Tournament game. He was 21.

Ray died Monday morning, said Steve Kirschner, the university’s associate athletic director for communications.

An NCAA official told that the men’s basketball tournament selection committee is discussing with the four Final Four teams to determine how they will memoralize Ray’s death prior to Saturday’s national semifinals.

Ray had been in critical condition at Hackensack University Medical Center since the accident Friday afternoon. He was hit from behind while walking on a highway shoulder near his Fort Lee hotel after going to a nearby convenience store.

Ray performed as UNC’s ram mascot, Rameses. He was scheduled to graduate in May with a major in business administration and a minor in religion. He was in New Jersey for the men’s game between North Carolina and Southern California.

Emmitt Ray said his son “absolutely loved” dressing up as Rameses, despite the costume’s bulk.

“It was his way of supporting the team,” the father told The Star-Ledger of Newark. “There are things you just can’t explain. He wasn’t doing anything he wasn’t supposed to be doing. He was 200 yards from the hotel.”

No charges have been filed against the driver of the sport utility vehicle. Police said the driver stopped immediately to try to help Ray and called 911. Police also said the driver had a valid driver’s license and did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sad news.


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.