Thursday, July 24, 2008

WNBA Fight Not A Big Deal

Ok so I am not gonna lie to you guys. I didn't watch the game nor did I have any interest to. That is how it is for many sports fans when you are talking about women's basketball. But as pity and childish as the fight that went on Tuesday night might have actually put this sport on the map. Look I have heard this fight being called everything from a brawl to a throwdown and so many other things to make me think this fight was an epic 9 round boxing match. But if you honestly look at the highlights, to me anyway, it looks like any other high school cat fight that goes on in the halls during passing periods. Honestly if we weren't in the middle of baseball season that fight wouldn't of been a top story on Sportscenter. Ok that maybe a little bit harsh but seriously this fight is being blown way out of proportions.

Don't Compare To 2004 Brawl

Another thing that is making me mad about this issue is that most analysts are comparing it to the fight that happened in the same arena four years ago. If you don't remember the Pacers/Pistons got into a huge scuffle in November which ended in Stephen Jackson punching Piston fans. What happened on Tuesday wasn't what happened four years ago. Its not like the Spark players were going into the stands and beating the crap out of the Shock fans. This fight doesn't even deserve to be said in the same breath as the brawl of 2004. All this fight did was make this rivalry between these two teams interesting. The fight of 2004 made David Stern change his entire thought process about the game. Yes there maybe a little bit tighter security but not as much as after the brawl.

College Basketball Minute
News about my Missouri Tigers in this edition of college basketball minute. Former Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart is recovering from open-heart surgery.University officials said the 73-year-old Stewart had an aortic valve replacement on Friday. He is recuperating at Boone Hospital Center and is expected to be released later this week.Stewart spent 32 years as coach at Missouri, his alma mater. He earned 731 career wins in his 38-year coaching career and is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. I wish you a very speedy recovery Norm.
Anyway this weeks team rounds out the top five in my preseason top 25 poll and for the second straight time the team hails from the Big East conference. The UConn Huskies have the best team they have had since being stunned by George Mason in the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA tournament. Hasheem Thabeet the 7'3 center said no to the NBA draft and has everyone talking about the Huskies. If A.J Price can come back from his ACL injury and be as productive as he was UConn has a good shot at cutting down the nets in April of 2009.

Gonners View Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins
4) Louisville Cardinals
5) Connecticut Huskies

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is College Footbal Here Yet?

Psh I wish. I am sorry for die hard baseball fans but after the trade deadline I really start loosing interest in baseball until it gets to be the playoffs. So I am gonna talk about a sport I am seriously excited for every single fall. One reason I am excited is because my two teams (Missouri Tigers and Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (Division II)) should be very competitive this season. Yes I am very sad for my Bearcats cause they lost Xavier Omon and will be down compared to years past, but I do expect them to stay competitive. As for Missouri Chase Daniel is the man plain and simple. Missouri should be in the National Championship hunt the entire season if they don't let the hype get to their head. Here is a look at my preseason top 10 for college football season.

Gonners View Top 10 Best College Football Teams

1) Georgia Bulldogs-Offense has fire power with Stafford and Moerno (both should be Heisman Canidates) however off season problems have plagued the Bulldogs this season as Possible starting defensive end Jeremy Lomax and offensive lineman Clint Boling have pending legal problems; Lomax was arrested on concealed weapons charges and Boling was charged with DUI. This team has a hard toad to the National Championship but in my opinion has the best team in the nation to start the season.

2) Oklahoma Sooners-Sam Bradford is one of my early picks to win the Heisman. If he can be more consistent especially away from Norman the Sooners will roll over everyone in the Big 12 and be playing in the National Championship

3) Florida Gators- They have Tim Tebow and a slew of offensive weapons. I am interested to see how Emmanuel Moody comes in as the Gators relied more on Tebow for their running attack. Don't expect Tebow to get over 20 rushing TD's this season but Florida will be in the mix for the National Championship. Write this date down November 1st. Thats when they play Georgia.

4) Ohio State Buckeyes- They still have a great running attack in Chris "Beanie" Wells and Todd Boeckman back as quarterback. And they still have James Laurinaitis on defense (seems like he has been in college for over five years now). Should be heavily favored to win the Big 10 this year.

5) West Virginia Mountaineers- They still have Pat White at quarterback and after seeing how they torched Oklahoma in the Feista Bowl they make me believe they can play for a national championship. As we have seen in years past expect a let down to a less than par football team. My guess it will happen November 22nd at Louisville.

6) USC Trojans- Mark Sanchez finally gets his chance to take the reigns for the Trojans and with the great recruiting class they get year in and year out at Southern Cal you always have to expect them to compete.

7) Missouri Tigers-Yes I may be tooting my teams horn a little bit too much but I really believe the Tigers can do some special things this year. They return 1o defensive starters which vastly improved throughout the season and with Chase Daniel at the helm the Tigers should be in every game this season and should win the Big 12 North for the second consecutive year.

8) Clemson Tigers-Is this the Tigers year to shine in the ACC? Cullen Harper is a senior and is trying to be better than his 27 touchdown and 6 interception season last season. This is another team with major off season problems as they will be without starting middle linebacker Cortney Vincent, who was dismissed from the team in May. Vincent started 12 of 13 games and had 68 tackles and seven tackles for loss.
9) Texas Tech Red Raiders-The Red Raiders have one of the best offenses in all of college football. Michael Crabtree will have one hell of a season and with Graham Harrell at the helm he should have a 15+ touchdown reception season. The real question is will the defense be able to stop anyone on defense?

10) LSU Tigers-The national champs will be down a little bit with a lot of loss on not only the offense and defensive side of the ball but also in personnel. Still they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to compete. The big question will be at the quarterback position since Ryan Perrilloux was dismissed.
Others to consider: Auburn Tigers, Texas Longhorns, Arizona State Sun Devils, Wisconsin Badgers.

College Basketball Minute
Well Texas apparently loved Kevin Durrant's time at the school so much they don't want anyone to wear his jersey ever again. He is one of nine longhorn athletes to have his number retired which also includes former quarterback Vince Young. Now I have a problem with this. Honestly yes Durrant is one hell of a player but does he really deserve to have his number retired? He was their one year. His team did better in the NCAA tournament without him this year than they did the year he was on the team. Unfortunately I see this happening more and more around basketball. I wouldn't be surprised to see K-State retire Michael Beasley's number or USC retire O.J Mayo's number. Anyway on to my new team in the top 25 this week is Louisville. Yes they lose David Padgette but they still have Edgar Sosa, Earl Clark and Terrence Williams. The ACC might have the best team but the best conference race this year will be in the Big East.

Gonners View Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins
4) Louisville Cardinals

Monday, July 14, 2008

Home Run Derby Preview

I don't know how many people actually look forward to the Home run Derby but it is something I look forward to every year. True this years contest doesn't have the marquee names as it did in the past but it has a lot of young up and coming players that are quickly becoming All-Stars in Major League Baseball. Here is a look at the contenders.

American League Contenders

Justin Morneau 1B Minnesota Twins-2nd Home Run Derby contest. (Finished 5th place out of 8 in 2007). Morneau was the last competitor named to the home run derby. He has 14 HR and 68 RBI's in the first half of the 2008 season. Morneau is one of the only two competitors who actually have home run derby experience and is one of my picks to surprise in tonights competition.

Evan Longoria 3B Tampa Baby Rays-First Home Run Derby Contest. Longoria has 16 HR and 53 RBIs in the 2008 so far. Longoria is one of the many surprises to come out of the sunshine state this season as the Rays are a half game behind the Red Soxs for first place in the AL East. However I don't think Longoria will get out of the first round because nerves will get to the young guy.

Grady Sizemore CF Cleveland Indians-First Home Run Derby Contest. Sizemore has 23 HR and 54 RBI's in 2008 so far. Sizemore is one of the only bright spot for the Indians this season as he is the AL leader in home runs at the All-Star break. Should be one of the favorites to win the competition but I see him fading after round one. Expect to see him in this competition for years to come.

Josh Hamilton RF Texas Rangers-First Home Run Contest. Hamilton has 21 HR and 95 RBI's in 2008 first half. The best single player story of the first half is definitely Hamilton after his battle with drug addiction. It would be absolutely amazing to see him win the competition. Expect Hamilton, who is the MLB RBI leader at the All-Star break, to stay around for a while.

National League Contenders

Dan Uggla 2B Florida Marlins-First Home Run Contest. Uggla has 23 HR and 59 RBI's in 2008 so far. Uggla has probably the best home run swing of any of the competitors. However with this being his first time will he let the pressure get to him. That is something to watch out for. If he can brush the pressure off, Uggla has a real chance to win this competition.

Chase Utley 2B Philadelphia Phillies-First Home Run Contest. Utley has 25 HR and 69 RBI's in 2008 so far. Utley was one of the hottest hitters in first few months of the season. However his last few months he has been overshadowed by teammate Ryan Howard, who leads the National League in home runs with 28. I see Utley being a first round casualty but he will have a huge second half for the Phillies.

Lance Berkman 1B Houston Astros- Fourth Home Run Contest (Best Finish- 2nd in 2004 contest). Berkman has 22 HR and 73 RBI's in 2008 so far. Berkman is my pick to win the contest for a few reasons. One he has been here before and should be the most loose of all the competitors and two he has a swing that can get him deep in this competition. However his home run history is somewhat of a concern. Berkman has been a first round exit in two home run contests he competed in including only having 1 home run in the 2002 contest so anything can happen.

Ryan Braun LF Milwaukee Brewers- First Home Run Contest. Braun has 23 HR and 66 RBI's in the 2008 so far. Braun has been the hottest hitter down the stretch as Milwaukee is closing in on the Cubs in the NL Central race. I think Braun will be a first round exit, I just seeing nerves getting him in the way of any success in this contest.

College Basketball Minute
The three point line is officially moving back in 2008. The three point line, which was 19 feet 9 inches, is moving back one foot and is getting closer to the NBA 3 point range (23 feet 9 inches). I think it is a very good move for college basketball because it seemed like three pointers were easy to come by in 2007 especially for some post players who have some range on their shot. The true three point shooters shouldn't be affected by the new rule but it should be interesting to see come November how much a foot will actually affect the game. Also #3 team in my poll despite losing a lot players the UCLA Bruins have yet another good team ready to make a run in March. They are fine in the guard position with Collison and Shipp but need some young guys to come up and take the place of Love and Mbah a Moute on the interior.
Gonners View Preseason Top 25 Poll
1) North Carolina Tar Heels
2) Pittsburgh Panthers
3) UCLA Bruins

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Letter To Brett Favre

So if you are like me you are pretty sick and tired of ESPN reporting every little text message Brett Favre sends to the entire world regarding his thoughts of coming back to the NFL for the 17th billion time. Yes when Brett Favre made his decision to retire in early March I honored the great NFL quarterback. But now instead of taking the Joe Montana or John Elway road into retirement he is taking more the Vinny Testaverde or Warren Moon approach to it (basically hanging on until no team wants him anymore). I personally think Favre has nothing left to prove to us. So I have decided to write a note to Brett to hopefully set him straight.

Dear Mr Brett Favre,

I know you could give a rats ass about a 20 year old kid from Iowa's opinion on your return to the NFL saga but I am gonna give it to you anyway. Its simple....don't come back. I mean seriously Brett you have played for 17 seasons you own every good (and some bad) NFL records and the biggest thing every player in the National Football player is after and thats a Super Bowl ring. Yes it will be weird not seeing you take the huddle with the Green Bay Packers next season but its time to hang up the jersey. I mean I dunno what your feelings towards Aaron Rodgers are but seriously the young guy has more pressure on him than probably any quarterback having to replace a legend ever has. Its been nice seeing you play and we will see you in Canton in 2012.


Nate Gonner

College Basketball Minute
The UConn Huskies, one of the teams that will eventually make their way into my Preseason Top 25, have released their Big East schedule for the 2008-2009 season. That include two games against Notre Dame, Seton Hall, and Pittsburgh. UConn’s BIG EAST regular season home games will be against Georgetown, Providence, Rutgers, USF, Syracuse and Villanova. UConn’s road BIG EAST games will be at Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, St. John's and West Virginia. Speaking of Pittsburgh they are my #2 team on my Preseason top 25. If they can stay healthy this team has the depth, led by DeJuan Blair, Levance Fields, and Sam Young, to cut down the nets in April.
Gonners View Preaseason Top 25
1) North Carolina
2) Pittsburgh