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Monday morning headlines: Week 1

By: Michael Dunham

LenDale White will stomp on the terrible towel, but Steelers will stomp on him. Running backs score more than anyone else and it is inevitable that the Titans will get down on the goal line, put in LenDale, and he scores and stomps all over a terrible towel.  Unfortunately for LenDale, Troy Polamalu and his flowing locks won’t appreciate it very much and will stomp all over LenDale and the rest of the Titans offense.  Steelers take the opener 17-7.

Minnesota wins Favre’s Viking debut, no thanks to Favre. Minnesota will win this Sunday, but its not because Brett Favre is a spectacular quarterback, it’s because Cleveland is terrible.  All those people putting Minnesota in the great team category just because they have Favre need to realize: Its not the Favre that Minnesota lost to all the time back in the Green Bay days, he’s old, he has a torn bicep, HE DOESN’T EVEN THINK HE CAN MAKE IT THROUGH THE WHOLE SEASON. Minnesota will win its first 3 then spiral down, quickly, and for Favre, painfully.  Vikings 21 – Browns 10.

Lions loose…shocker. The Lions will be leaps and bounds better than they were last year (winning one game would be leaps and bounds better than last year) but they will still be a terrible team in the bottom 5 of the league.  Matthew Stafford will come to his own over the course of the season but he will struggle in his first NFL start.  Simply, Stafford does not have the targets or talent around him to waltz in and tear it up his first time out.  27-10 New Orleans over Detroit.

The Vick hype won’t mean anything until McNabb finds a way to lose his starting job. Just like Christmas comes every year (and the Eagle fans subsequently beat up Santa), so does that game where Donovan McNabb does not start, either because of injury or because he gets benched for a rookie quarterback out of the University of Houston.  When the inevitable happens it will be up to Vick to perform and dethrone the man responsible for him coming to Philadelphia.  Vick won’t be able to play until week 3 but even then it will only be 5-10 plays a game at most.  Carolina over Philly 27-20.

Cowboys will be 1-0 when they open their new stadium. Tampa Bay will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this year and the Cowboys will surprise some people and do better than expected.  The Cowboys, Buccaneers game will be like when teams like Florida or Texas play teams like Southeastern Missouri State.  The game will count on both teams records but for one (Dallas) it will be an extra preseason game and for the other (Tampa) it will be a chance to pull off that upset that defines their season.  Dallas 30 – Tampa -14.

Giants blow out Washington in search of becoming repeat NFC East Champions. The NFC East is by far the most talented and difficult division in the NFL.  That being said, the Giants are much better than the Redskins.  Watching Jason Campbell pull himself off of the turf will just get boring by the end of the game because he will have done it so many times.  The Giants offense won’t be as good as in previous years but will have no problem moving the ball against Washington.  Giants defeat the Skins 17-3.

Green Bay starts run to NFC North title by beating Chicago in division bout. Green Bay and Chicago will be the two best teams in the NFC North with the Vikings underachieving and the Lions going 2-14.  The game will come down to the wire but the cheeseheads will take it in a nail biter.   Packers over ‘da bears’ 21-20.

San Diego vs. Oakland get lowest Nielsen Rating in Monday Night Football history. Seriously, who is going to want to watch this game?  Two smaller market, West coast teams playing a game that does not start until 10:15 on the East coast.  Outside of the maybe 1/4 of California residents who watch this, America won’t even know that a football game is going on.  Poor game decisions like this are part of the reason Sunday Night Football is taking over what Monday Night Football used to be.  Just like Shawne Merriman’s first game back after his steroid suspension, he will go out and get an insane amount of sacks but then disappear for the rest of the season. San Diego will win 24-7 in a game that will cost ESPN thousands.

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NFL Power Rankings [Preseason]

Jerry World Revealed: All about the new Cowboys Stadium

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Categories: Football, Sports

NFL Power Rankings [Preseason]

by Michael Dunham

With the NFL preseason officially started, its time for all of you die hard football fans to get out your foam finger, drinking hat, and, of course, your favorite teams jersey.   The closer that the beginning of the season gets, the clearer each teams possible performance level becomes.  As of right now, the picture looks a bit like this:

1.  Pittsburgh Steelers – Being that they are the defending Super Bowl champs, an arguement is not really that necessary, but for those who want one, here you go.  Ben Roethlisberger is entering his sixth NFL season and already has two Super Bowl rings.  That alone is unprecedented, but what is even scarier is that he is just reaching his prime and has basically the same team that won a Super Bowl last year.  As long as Rashard Mendenhall can be a strong no. 2 back and James Harrison can be as good as he was last year the Steelers are primed to repeat.

Key addition(s): Keiwan Ratliff.

Major Loss(es): Larry Foote, Bryant McFadden, Nate Washington

2.  New York Giants – Although the Giants will definetly be without Plax this season, they will, barring another injury, have Osi Umenyiora.  The Giants had one of the best defenses in the league last year and with the addition of one of the best pass rushers in the game will be even better.  If Domenik Hixon can do what a No. 1 receiver is required to do, the Giants should be a force to be reckoned with.

Key Addition(s): Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard.

Major Loss(es): Derrick Ward, Sam Madison, James Butler, R.W. McQuarters, Plaxico Burress

3.  New England Patriots – The only reason they aren’t No. 2 is because of the questions concerning how Tom Brady will bounce back from that season ending ACL injury.  With the firepower on that offense and the standards of the Patriots defense, Tom Brady’s performance could either shoot the Pat’s to the top or could drop them severely.

Key Addition(s): Fred Taylor, Greg Lewis, Joey Galloway, Shawn Springs

Major Loss(es):  Matt Cassell, Heath Evans, Jabar Gaffney, Mike Vrabel, Roosevelt Colvin, Ellis Hobbs

4.  Indianapolis Colts – They lost Head Coach Tony Dungy as well as Marvin Harrison and Dominic Rhodes, but they still have the one thing that makes that franchise so great, Peyton Manning.  All Dwight Freeney, Gary Brackett, and Bob Sanders (if he can stay healthy) is do what they have always done: Make sure they allow less points than Peyton can score.

Key Addition(s): Adam Seward

Major Loss(es): Marvin Harrison, Dominic Rhodes, Keiwan Ratliff

5.  San Diego Chargers – If they can avoid being the biggest bust in the NFL for the second season in a row, they will no doubt be a division winner and could possibly get a first round bye.  This is not so much because of how good the Chargers are, but also because of how terrible the rest of their division is.  Having, i mean getting, to play Oakland, Denver, and Kansas City two times a piece, the Chargers should at worst go 5-1 in the division, what they do in their other 10 games will determine how good they really are.

Key Addition(s):  Kevin Burnett

Major Loss(es): Igor Olshansky

6.  Philadelphia Eagles – After losing three offensive starters over the offseason, we will see how good Donovan McNabb really is this season.  It also does not help that the Eagles lost All Pro safety Brian Dawkins and play in the toughest division in all of football.

Key Addition(s):  Leonard Weaver, Matt Wilhelm, Michael Vick

Major Loss(es):  Correll Buckhalter, L.J. Smith, Tre Thomas, Jon Runyan, Brian Dawkins, Sean Considine

7.  Atlanta Falcons – The addition of Tony Gonzalez help elevate Matt Ryan into the elite level of quarterbacks in the NFL.  The defense will need to step up over the course of the season or the Falcons can easily drop from the 7 spot.  Also, the fact that Michael Vick is no longer their problem can do nothing but help them.

Key Addition(s):  Tony Gonzalez, Mike Peterson

Major Loss(es):  Grady Jackson, Rod Coleman, Keith Brooking, Lawyer Milloy

8.  Dallas Cowboys – I think that the ‘Boys have really been underrated coming into this season after the disappointments of last season but with the releases of T.O. and “The Pacman” and the offseason for Romo and Williams to create that QB – WR chemistry, the Cowboys could come out and surprise a lot of people this season.  Plus, it cant hurt that they will be playing all there home games in their new, 100,000+ fan stadium.

Key Addition(s): Jon Kitna, Igor Olshansky, Keith Brooking

Major Loss(es):  Terrell Owens, Chris Canty, Pacman Jones, Kevin Burnett, Anthony Henry, Roy Williams, Keith Davis

9.  Tennessee Titans – The loss of defensive crazy man Albert Haynesworth really hurts the Titans defense, but this is still basically the same team that went 13-3 and obtained the best record in the NFL last year.  The battle between Tennessee and Indy for first in the AFC South should be one of the best in conference battles in the NFL this season.

Key Addition(s): Nate Washington, DeMarcus Faggins

Major loss(es): Albert Haynesworth, Brandon Jones, Justin McCareins

10.  Carolina Panthers – After an offseason where the Panthers did absolutely nothing and were handed the 2nd hardest schedule in the NFL, look for them to come a bit short of the 12-4 record they had last year.

Key Addition(s): None

Major Loss(es): D.J. Hackett, Ken Lucas

11.  Arizona Cardinals

12.  Baltimore Ravens

13.  Chicago Bears

14.  Miami Dolphins

15.  Minnesota Vikings

16.  Green Bay Packers

17.  Washington Redskins

18.  New Orleans Saints

19.  Seattle Seahawks

20.  Buffalo Bills

21.  Houston Texans

22.  Cincinnati Bengals

23.  San Francisco 49ers

24.  New York Jets

25.  Denver Broncos

26.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

27.  Jacksonville Jaguars

28.  Cleveland Browns

29.  Kansas City Chiefs

30.  St. Louis Rams

31.  Oakland Raiders

32.  Detroit Lions

Agree?  Disagree?  Post your top 10 in the comments section!

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Categories: Football, Sports

Jerry World Revealed: All about the new Cowboys Stadium

by: Michael Dunham

“The eight wonder of the world”, “Jerry World”, “Six Flags over Jerry”, “Jones Mahal”

These ridiculous nicknames have all been used to describe the new Cowboys stadium, but after actually seeing the stadium those names not only do not sound ridiculous but might even be understatements.

As you pull up to this spectacle like no other, it looks as if a massive space ship has landed in right in the middle of the city.  The giant structural beams (the largest in the world) and the two way glass that lights up at night are only fractions of some of the amazing things that make up this building.

Walking into the stadium it looks like you are walking into a five star hotel, or better yet, a palace.  You then must go through the enourmous two story Cowboy Pro Shop, that has almost everything you can fit a Cowboys logo onto in it, to get up to the main part of the stadium and the giant mezzanine concourses.

How big are these huge mezzanine concourses you ask?  9 acres, thats how big.  Big enough that owner Jerry Jones plans on selling up to 35,000 “party passes”, which allow you entrance to the game but limit you to concourse access only.  These party passes are on sale and only cost $29 for anyone who might be interested.

Once you make your way to your seat on one of the four different levels, you can sit down and feast your eyes on the massive 70 yard long HD JumboTron (The largest HDTV in the world).  Just in case you were wondering, thats 600 tons of television hanging over the field.

If you get bored of the jumbotron, which is highly unlikely to happen, you can look up at the enormous retractable roof (yet again, the biggest in the world).  If its closed and you want it open, I can call up my boy Jerry and he can have it open for you in 12 minutes, making it the fastest retractable roof in the world.

Once the game starts you might notice that their are boxed off patios right next to the field and those are in fact the field level suites.  They are actually lower than the field so your head will only be about 3-4 feet above the ground.  A field level suite ticket not only allows you access to your suite but also to the legends club where you will get to watch the players as they make their way to the field.

These suite tickets also allow access to the press conference viewing room, where fans can actually watch as all of the Stars get interviewed after the game, no pun intended.

The number of seats at each game will be dependent on how big the game is.  Each row of seats is hooked on to a single bar so that the Cowboy Stadium crew can easily slide seats closer together and add more seats to each row.  They will be able to fit up to 100,000 seats in the stadium when necessary.

For those of you who think Jerry is funding this $1.1 billion monument to everything Cowboys, your wrong.  It’s actually all you Cowboys fans, and anyone else planning to attend an event at the stadium.  How, you may ask.  First, you will have to pay for an insanely priced ticket to get in, and season ticket holders will have to pay a seat license fee of up to $50,000 per seat.  Then, if you plan on buying concessions, you can buy a pizza for $60 bucks, some nachos for $8.50, and a bottle of beer for the one time low price of $8.  Also, if your planning on driving to the game, parking will cost you at least 20 bucks and possibly more than 60.

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Categories: Football, Sports

Draft Week Frenzy

By: Michael Dunham

For a draft class that is being thought as one of the weekest in recent memory, the week leading up to the 2009 NBA Draft has been nothing short of crazy.  The 1st round of the draft was really no surprise, as everyone had Griffin first and Thabeet second but some of the trades and major names moving around has created quite the buzz.

San Antonio started the week off when they traded Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto to the Bucks for Richard Jefferson.  This makes the Spurs a lot younger and puts another All-Star caliber player on the court to work with Duncan, Ginobli, and Parker.  The negative in this trade is the Spurs bench gets a lot shorter with the departure of these three players.  The Bucks gain a large amount of cap room with this trade and sets them up with the ability to make more big moves.

The next major trade was the Timberwolves sending Guard Randy Foye and Forward Mike Miller to the Wizards for a 1st round pick and three players, including Etan Thomas and Darius Songaila.  This gave the Timberwolves the 5th, 6th, 18th, and 28th picks in the 1st round.  The Wizards benefit from the trade by getting two strong position players to help them reach their aspirations of making the playoffs and, if Gilbert Arenas can return to his play before he got hurt, maybe even a finals appearance.

The biggest, literally and figuratively, trade of the draft was the Suns sending ‘The Deisel’ Shaquille O’Neal to Lebron and the Cavaliers for former Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic.  This trade makes Cleveland the favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference by far.  It also makes it far less likely for Lebron to leave in 2010 to possibly play for a major market like a New York.  While Ben Wallace is no Shaquille O’Neal, if he can return to the defensive form he had while in Detroit, he can help the Suns a lot as he will not be neaded to score.  Also, Sasha pavlovic should be a solid bench player to come in when Steve Nash needs a rest.

From one blockbuster trade to another, Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets was traded down to Orlando for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, and Tony Battie.  This really helps the Magic even out the playing field with the Cavaliers in the battle for best in the East.  With Jameer Nelson expected to be back and 100 percent at the start of next season, the Magic had no need for Rafer Alston and traded him while he was at his maximum worth.  Vince Carter will now be the two guard in a starting line-up that includes Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwight Howard.

The last major deal before the start of the draft sent Jamal Crawford from Golden State to Atlanta for 2nd year player Acie Law and Speedy Claxton.  This trade could help the Hawks resign current free agent Mike Bibby.  For the Warriors, the trade opens cap room as Crawford was set to make $20 million in the next two years and was not in Coach Don Nelson’s plans for the teams future.

While the draft has come and gone, the trades will still continue to happen.

Major names still likely to move are Houston’s Tracy McGrady, whose injuries and poor play have forced the Rockets to shop him, and Elton Brand of the 76ers, who, in his first year as a Sixer, had a down year while making nearly 14 million dollars.  Celtics Guard Rajon Rondo will likely be traded after his dispute with GM Danny Ainge.  Other players who could possibly be traded include David Lee, Jordan Farmar, Ray Allen, Jerry Stackhouse, Travis Diener, and Ime Udoka.

The first round of the draft had no big surprises and went as follows:

1st- Blake Griffin (Clippers)

2nd- Hasheem Thabheet (Memphis)

3rd- James Harden (Oklahoma City)

4th- Tyreke Evans (Sacramento)

5th- Ricky Rubio (Minnesota)

6th- Jonny Flynn (Minnesota)

7th- Stephen Curry (Golden State)

8th- Jordan Hill (New York)

9th- DeMar DeRozan (Toronto)

10th- Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee)

11th- Terrence Williams (New Jersey)

12th-Gerald Henderson (Charlotte)

13th- Tyler Hansbrough (Indiana)

14th- Earl Clark (Phoenix)

15th- Austin Daye (Detroit)

16th- James Johnson (Chicago)

17th- Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia)

18th- Ty Lawson (Minnesota – to be traded)

19th- Jeff Teague (Atlanta)

20th- Eric Maynor (Utah)

21st- Darren Collison (New Orleans)

22nd- Victor Claver (Portland)

23rd- Omri Casspi (Sacramento)

24th- B.J. Mullens (Dallas – traded to OKC)

25th- Rodrique Beaubois (Oklahoma City – traded to Dallas)

26th- Taj Gibson (Chicago)

27th- DeMarre Carroll (Memphis)

28th- Wayne Ellington (Minnesota)

29th- Toney Douglas (Lakers)

30th- Christian Eyenga (Cleveland)

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Categories: Basketball, Sports

USA shocks Spain!

By:  Michael Dunham

When I heard that the USA was playing Spain I figured I would watch and get a good laugh at the pounding that would ensue.  The only thing is, despite my enourmous American pride, I thought I would be laughing at the pounding those dirty Spaniards would put on America.  Instead, I saw one of the greatest performances under extreme duress I have ever seen.

The game started just as I figured it would, Spain, the number one ranked team in the world, was constantly in the American third of the pitch, shooting shot after shot at goalie Tim Howard.  Every time the U.S. would attempt to move the ball to the other side of the pitch it would get stolen back and the barrage of shots would continue.

Finally, in the 27th minute, Clint Dempsey succesfully moved the ball to the Spanish third where he fed Jozy Altidore who fought off Spanish defender Capdevila’s best attempts at the ball and found the back of the net.  GOAL!  I was stunned.  Was the fourteenth ranked team in the world actually beating number one?! All of the sudden, America had a chance.

After the chaos of the goal completed and Altidore put his shirt back on after his yellow carded celebration, I realized, ‘America is still playing Spain, the number one ranked team in the world.’ I chuckled at myself for thinking that America could win and continued watching the game.

The Spainish attack continued as strong as before, but still, no goal.  The halftime whistle blew and the teams went to their locker room where I figured Bob Bradley would make some adjustments to help his defence out and put some more pressure on the Spanish side.

Instead, the opposite happened.  Spain made adjustments and their offense was even stronger than before.  I have never seen a game where a team was winning the game and their defence looked amazing, yet the commentators talked about how the United States would loose if they did not change their tactics.

When Spain’s pressure seemed to be at its peak, the US broke into the Spanish third and, just like before, found a way to make the most of a hopeful situation and score again.  After a cross by Donovan, Sergio Ramos chose to take a touch before clearing the ball and Clint Dempsey snuck in and poked the ball off Ramos’ foot and into the back of the goal.  Now the US really did have a chance!  2-0 over Spain! WOO!!  Then again, I realized they were playing Spain and there was still about 20 minutes left in the game.

The game continued as before in a fashion of:  Spain shot, Spain shot, clear, Spain shot, then it would all repeat again.  It was only made tougher when, in the 86th minute, Michael Bradley was red carded on a play that was a questionable yellow at best.  The next 10 minutes where likely the longest in the lives of most of these United States soccer players.  Think about this situation; you are playing the number one team in the world, they are on a 35 game unbeated streak, although you have a 2-0 lead, you have been outplayed in every facet of the game, if the amount of pressure being applied were to be weighed, it would make a sumo wrestler look in shape, and let me repeat THEY ARE THE NUMBER ONE TEAM IN THE WORLD!  If I were any of those players out there, I would have broken down and cried.  Luckily for America and viewers worldwide, I was watching the game on my couch like the rest of you.

87th minute: 2-0

88th minute: 2-0

89th minute: 2-0!

90th minute: 2-0?!

91st minute: 2-0!!

92nd minute: 2-0!!!!

93rd minute: 2-0!!!!!!!!

The Americans have done it!  U-S-A! U-S-A!  I think i did a backflip while celebrating.  This is the most incredible thing I have ever seen!  I am screaming like a schoolgirl who just got the latest gossip feed!  This is the best gossip I have ever heard!!  HAHA Spain in your face.

I know that anyone else who watched the whole game was doing something similar if the watched the game start to finish.

When I think about the game I can’t help but think of the similarities between this game and the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice.’  Both games were against teams ranked number one in the world while the common thought was that the Americans had no chance.  Both games were in the semi-finals of a major international tournament; granted the Olympics or the soccer equivalent World Cup is on a different level than the Confederation Cup, it is still a similarity none the less.  Most importantly, the United States won both games.

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Categories: Soccer, Sports

One game to Decide it all

By: Michael Dunham

The College World Series match-up between the first ranked University of Texas Longhorns (50-15-1) and the third ranked Louisiana State Tigers (55-17) has been nothing short of spectacular.  With LSU winning game 1 in dramatic fashion, Texas bounced back to win game 2 and force a winner take all game that is destined to be one remembered for time to come.

Game 1 was one of those games with a flair for the dramatic.  After seven innings Texas was able to gain a 6-4 lead that was only to be erased in the ninth inning by Sean Ochinko’s 2 RBI single.  In the top of the 11th LSU’s DJ LeMahieu scored from third off of a single from Mikie Mahtook and it would turn out to be the game winner.

The rain before game 2 did not damped the power of anyone’s bats.  In fact, it seemed to make them more powerful.  All 6 of the games runs came in the first three innings and then the pitchers were able to gain their footing and dominate there on out.  While Texas had a dominating lead the whole game, it seemed like LSU was just one Texas mistake away from making it a close game.  Luckily for Texas, that mistake never came and they were able to win 5-1 and in convincing fashion.

Until making it to Omaha, Russell Moldenhauer was not known for his power at all.  In fact, he did not have a single home run before he walked onto the grass at Rosenblat Stadium.  Since then he was looked like Barry Bonds on steroids (HR hitting Barry Bonds).  He has tied the CWS record for most Home Runs in Omaha with four.

Who would have thought that going into the final game of the CWS, LSU’s biggest fear is the explosiveness behind the bat of a guy who has 4 homeruns on the season?

If LSU is able to win game 3, they will be tied with Texas for second most Division I Baseball National Championships at 6.  Texas hopes to avoid this tie by gaining their 7th National Championship and becoming one closer to Southern Cal’s 12 National Championships.

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Categories: Baseball, Sports

Finals preview: Lakers vs Magic

By: Michael Dunham

Unfortunately, the Kobe-Lebron matchup we all, including the NBA, wanted to see was put off for at least another year by Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.  Instead we will get to see the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Orlando Magic in the NBA finals.  While this match-up will not generate the revenue that a Kobe-Lebron finals would have generated, it will undoubtedly be just as exciting to watch.

The Lakers defeated the Denver Nuggets in six games and a times were dynamite on the court.  The problem that could get in the way of the Lakers on their quest to get their 15th championship, and 10th in Los Angeles, is their hot and cold unpredictability.  In both the Western Conference Semi-finals and Western Conference Finals, the Lakers have been up and down.  They will go out and win by 20 or 30 then the next night they will lose by the same amount.  This rollercoaster type basketball could, and in my book will, be what costs the Lakers the championship.

The Magic have taken the role of underdog and run with it.

They have been placed under the radar all season while they quietly beat all of the “great” teams in the league.  Even though they had taken the regular season series from the Cavs 2-1 i thought the Magic wouldn’t be able to show up like that in the playoffs and they proved me wrong.  They turned a 5-5 game into a Lebron-5 while the rest of the Cavs flat out did not show up.  I think the Magic will take advantage of the fact that they will be written off as not good enough again and use it to their advantage in the series.

I am not going to make the same mistake that I made in the Eastern Conference Finals and write off the Magic and that is why I am picking them to win their first NBA championship in 6 games over the Lakers.

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Categories: Basketball, Sports