Thursday, July 17, 2014

LeBron James is the only superstar the Cleveland Cavaliers need to win the 2015 NBA championship

You heard it here first: The Cleveland Cavaliers will win the 2015 NBA championship, with or without Kevin Love.

That’s right. This season. Book it.

Full disclosure here, I’m a Cleveland fan. Shocker right? I’m also not blinded by the logical fallacies people, particularly the national media, want you to believe. That the magic number is three, as in three stars are needed to win a title.

Quite the opposite: You only need one. And the Cavs have the biggest one of all. But that’s not to say LeBron James can do it all by himself. No player, not Michael Jordan, not Bill Russell, can do it alone. Jordan, for all his greatness, never won a thing without Scottie Pippen.

But this notion that the Cavs need to sell the bank for another star in order to contend is ludicrous. No, it’s asinine and insane. If Minnesota won’t settle for less than Wiggins, Cleveland should move on without Love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm Baaaack!!!

Hello fans, I have returned. Or at least attempting a return. My writing career has evolved over the last few years and now more than ever I do more writing professionally. Sadly, the blog has been neglected. This year, however, I am going to attempt to re-launch it. Bring it back on a weekly basis — okay, okay, I may miss a week here or there. But I hope not many. Anyway, hope you enjoy and come back every Thursday for a new post.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

NFL Preview 2013: Playoff Predictions

The second of my two-part team-by-team NFL preview.

Yesterday I broke down the bottom 16 teams. Today it’s all about the contenders. There are usually around 16 teams in the playoff mix come year’s end, and while I predicted one of the bottom 16 would make the playoffs, the true contenders fall in this grouping.

Now, shall we continue?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

NFL Preview 2013: The Battle For Jadeveon Clowney

The first of my two-part team-by-team NFL preview.

The NFL kicks off tomorrow with the Broncos hosting the Ravens in a rematch of a thrilling AFC Divisional playoff game from 2012. But before that game officially starts the race to New York — and a Super Bowl in the cold — there are 32 teams that all think they’re contenders. But play it out logically, and the list dwindles to about 16. Here are the ones you can feel confident in writing off.

Now, shall we begin?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peyton Manning Must Take The Fall For Denver’s Loss

I want to clear up two things: I’m a Tom Brady fan and I hold Peyton Manning to the same standards as I do Brady — or any other quarterback for that matter.

Don’t believe me? Just look at what I said after Brady lost the Patriots last year’s Super Bowl. I focus on the Giants for most of the post (feel free to ignore all the hype I gave Peyton’s brother Eli, hindsight can be cruel...), but if you scroll down to “The Patriots Lost When,” you’ll see I don’t make any excuses for Brady.

When Brady grossly overthrew Wes Welker on second down what would have been a first down to preserve a critical drive to milk most of the clock in last year’s Super Bowl, I laid the blame at Brady’s feet. Yes the throw hit Welker in the hands, but only after he jumped as high as his 5-foot-9 body would allow him to. Brady had enough space to hit him in stride for a first down, instead the throw sailed high over Welker’s head. The Patriots failed to convert third down, then punted and the Giants drove the dagger into their hearts. Brady had to take the fall for that loss (not to mention his opening throw, intentional grounding in the end zone that resulted in a safety).

Brady is my guy, but he should have a fourth (and arguably fifth) ring by now (though he did not lose the 2007 Super Bowl the way he did 2011).

Here’s my biggest problem with Manning supporters, and it’s not just fans. It’s media pundits, columnists, you know, people who should be able to evaluate without bias the sports they watch. Most of them are so quick to give Manning ALL the credit and marginalize his supporting cast in victory, but the second he falls short of a title they instantly make excuses and lay the blame on the team around him.

And the people that make excuses for Manning’s latest playoff failure are not only shortsighted, they’re downright wrong. He is not solely at fault, nobody ever is solely to blame in such a team sport, but he certainly deserves the most blame. Just as he deserves the most credit in his team’s successes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Browns Need to Solve Quarterback Problem

Rob Chudzinski is already an improvement from Pat Shurmur.

Since Chud hasn’t coached a single NFL game yet that shows how bad Shurmur was. There is no doubt in my mind that, especially if Norv Turner signs on as offensive coordinator, the Browns will improve in 2013.

But the Cleveland’s ceiling will always be limited by its quarterback play.

Friday, September 21, 2012

NFL Quarterbacks Off to Slow Starts

Plus: The Power 10 has a new No. 1 and two new additions.

If you play fantasy football I am sure that Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees were the first three quarterbacks taken, in that order. Furthermore, I’m willing to bet that Matthew Stafford was a probable fourth.

Stafford has four interceptions to two touchdown passes, Brees’ Saints are 0-2. Brady didn’t put up big numbers against the Titans and struggled against the Cardinals while the 49ers made Rodgers look downright silly. And in all honesty, the Bears defense did too, it’s just Chicago’s offense was even more inept than Green Bay’s.

What gives? ESPN hailed last season the year of the quarterback and many are clamoring for defenses to go the way of Arena Football and play for one stop. Clearly these theories are overblown.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Browns Trent Richardson is The Key to Continued Offensive Success

The Browns looked much better against Cincinnati on Sunday. In fact one may even go so far to say Cleveland’s offense looked respectable. And it all starts with Trent Richardson.

The third overall pick was beastly against the Bengals. His 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts — combined with four catches for 36 yards and another score — immediately shows immense improvement from his 39 yards on 19 attempts and just five yards receiving on one catch with no touchdowns from Week 1.

But if you watched the game, the box score doesn’t do Richardson’s performance justice.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Don’t Overreact to NFL Week 1

Plus: Week 1 shook up my Power 10 with two debuts and a new No. 1.

Theme of the week: Relax.

It’s just Week 1, these things happen all the time. Teams pull big upsets, come out of nowhere and have eye-popping performances. Then by Week 7, the cream rises to the crop. So here are a few things not to overreact to based on one game, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cleveland Browns First Game Couldn’t Be Any Worse

Now that it’s Wednesday and that disastrous “football game” involving the Browns is three days past, Cleveland fans can take a step back and think rationally about it.

That doesn’t mean rational thinking is far off from the extreme overreaction day-of. Bottom line is the Browns looked just as bad as they did in 1999, when they were an expansion team. Quite frankly, Cleveland is still trying to get off the ground and it must dishearten fans to see other expansion franchises — Houston — build more than just a one-hit wonder with a team that looks ready to contend for a playoff spot for the next few years.

But back to the Browns.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pac-12 Better Than The SEC?

Plus: A BCS Buster emerges.

Talk about a conference flexing its muscle — three unranked teams knocking off top 20 teams at home. I don’t care if the Big Ten has a dismal record on the west coast, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oklahoma State all should have won each of their respective games against mid-tier Pac-12 teams.

But they didn’t, and now the Pac-12 — combined with a bad weekend for the SEC — has some ammunition in the greatest conference debate.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cincinnati Reds: A Team Nobody’s Talking About

Plus: A new addition to the Power 10 and THREE series of the week.

Cincinnati fans probably don’t like me right now, and for good reason. I’ve spent the last month or so telling them how the Bengals weren’t even a top 20 team and how they’d fail to win seven games this season.

Tonight will go a long way towards finding out what the Bengals are made of.

But that doesn’t mean I have a personal vendetta against Cincinnati. In fact some of my good friends are from/still live there. And if I could redo my World Series pick today, the Reds are it.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

NFL Kickoff: 10 Bold Predictions

The season begins today, here are 10 bold predictions.

Go big or go home.

I understand that more than a few of these predictions may seem a little…crazy. But that’s the point. Anyone and their mom can pick Tom Brady and the Patriots as their Super Bowl pick (and I have too), but it takes some guts to pick against the curve. The NFL always has some surprises and these next 10 predictions attempt to see a few before the year begins.

I’ll revisit these throughout the year — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Cleveland Browns Preview 2012

Why this season is all about Mike Holmgren.

Mike Holmgren is on the clock.

Jimmy Haslam is ushering in a new era. Maybe not this season, but I am sure the new owner is not happy with the current state of the product he just bought for $1 billion Furthermore, from year one of the Holmgren era to year two, the Browns regressed from 5-11 to 4-12. The only way Holmgren comes back in 2013 is if Cleveland somehow manages to top five wins.

Good luck with that, but I guess it’s what he deserves after making a series of poor decisions compounded by the fact that he did not account for the lockout. And at the end of the day, the decision to keep Eric Mangini for an extra season will ultimately cost him.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

NFL Preview 2012 Edition

This is the fourth and final part in my NFL preview series. I reveal the preseason Power 10, playoff predictions and Super Bowl pick.

Tonight the NFL season kicks off with the Cowboys traveling to the Giants in a rematch of a Week 17 game that decided the NFC East. It should be a fun one, that is unless the replacement officials make a giant screw up.

The story that should have gone away weeks ago and now fans are stuck with sub-par officials for at least Week 1. The NFL must tread carefully here and resolve the lockout with the NFLRA as soon as possible (as in, by Week 2 the real referees need to return). If this lockout drags on it will put a serious tarnish on what looks to be a very promising season. I have a suspicion that a team is going to lose a game on a very bad call this weekend and there will be uproar.

But this post isn’t going to rant against the officiating, it’s about revealing the Power 10 and my preseason predictions. The last three weeks I gave you teams 11-32 so with a little guesswork you can figure out who is in my initial Power 10. But the order is another issue. No more waiting, here is the list.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Virginia Tech Survives, Others Struggle

A look back at what teams impressed during college football’s opening weekend.

Monday Night (College) Football delivered a big game against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. The two promptly showed why they were picked to close off opening weekend with an overtime thriller in Blacksburg Virginia.

For the last seven years, the winner of this game won the ACC Coastal Division (Virginia Tech has five division titles to Georgia Tech’s two). And in Week 1, the Hokies take the inside track on the road to the ACC Championship Game.

Did Virginia Tech’s offense struggle? Certainly, so did Michigan State’s at home against Boise State. Neither should be punished in the polls because they were forced to play a big Week 1 opponent. The Spartans moved into the top 10 while the Hokies flat lined outside of the top 15.

Without a tune-up game — and that’s what most of Week 1 is, a money grab tune-up for the rest of the season — both won however they could. And both are rewarded in my rankings.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Detroit Tigers Finally Catch Chicago White Sox

Plus: My Power 10 has a new number one.

All season long most MLB fans and experts have been waiting for Detroit to play to its potential. And all season long the Tigers showed flashes, yet always seemed to take a step back at the wrong time.

Last night’s win against Chris Sale to cap a three-game sweep of the White Sox sent a message to the rest of the league: Game on. Justin Verlander elevated his game as he always does in September and forced a tie on top of the AL Central.

I believe this is the launching pad into the playoffs.

Friday, August 31, 2012

NFL Preseason Power Rankings: Teams 18-11

This is the third of a four part NFL preview series ranking all 32 NFL teams.

Fourteen teams down, 18 to go with eight more coming your way today. I’ve already touched upon the two Rookie of the Year frontrunners and a playoff team from 2011. This week I get to a division stocked full of elite quarterbacks…if this were 2007. Oh, and my sleeper of the year is revealed today. I’ll give you a hint: They play in the AFC.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

College Football Preview 2012

Plus: My BCS Bowl projections and preseason Power 10.

Rejoice! College football returns tonight. I broke down the Big Ten on Tuesday, now its time to preview the rest of the college football landscape. I’m not wasting time with clever introductions, let’s get right to the picks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ohio State Buckeyes Will Bounce Back In 2012

Urban Meyer will have the Buckeyes back in the BCS by 2013, but this season will cap out at a victory over Michigan — if that. Ohio State is still relatively young and Braxton Miller enters what is essentially his first year. Yes he is a sophomore with experience, but that experience came with Luke Fickell at the helm of a sinking ship.

Yes, the Buckeyes will struggle in 2012, but it won’t always be obvious with such an easy schedule. I expect the Buckeyes to open with an easy four wins. California is the biggest challenge and don’t sleep on Central Florida, but Ohio State doesn’t leave the Horseshoe for any of these easy matchups. Anything less than 4-0 is a failure.

But then things get tricky.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Ten Football Preview 2012

Let’s start at the top — Michigan. Or at least, the perceived flagship program for the Big Ten in 2012. That’s all going to change after Saturday’s painful thrashing at the hands of Alabama.

I’m a Buckeyes fan, more importantly a Big Ten fan. I want Michigan to go 12-1 every season with its only loss to Ohio State. I hate fans that don’t understand how important it is for the Wolverines to win every other game, it enhances the greatest rivalry in college football.

But that’s not happening this year because the Wolverines are not a top 10 program. Their 11-2 record in 2011 came on a cake schedule with some good fortune. Take nothing away from what they did last season, but realize that repeating — or improving off of it — will not happen in 2012.

I hope I’m wrong, though.

Friday, August 24, 2012

NFL Preseason Power Rankings: Teams 25-19

This is the second of a four part NFL preview series ranking all 32 NFL teams.

Last week I started off the countdown with teams 26 through 32. This week I reveal seven more, including the first playoff team from last year. Yeah, that’s right, I have one team falling hard and I know more than a few of my friends may not like it.

Also in this part is reigning Rookie of the Year Cam Newton along with future candidates Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but which team do I see having a better season? Enough suspense already, here are the rankings:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Predicting The 2012 BCS Busters

Previewing all the non-BCS conferences and my preseason BCS Buster rankings.

Say goodbye to TCU, the Horned Frogs are no longer BCS Busters. But there are others out there this year, though they are a bit harder to find. Sadly this could be the last year we see anyone relevant out of a non-BCS conference as all the schools that benefited from the BCS Buster bid are moving to BCS conferences.

So enjoy one last year of madness, then maybe a small school will win enough to make it into the playoffs in 2014. Here is the rundown.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Browns Must Trade or Cut Colt McCoy

First, let me explain that I supported Colt McCoy and was against the pick of Brandon Weeden in April. And yes, McCoy is the second-best quarterback on this team and was the starter last season. He is the one most capable of playing well should Brandon Weeden suffer a setback.

That’s also precisely why he needs to get traded or cut, immediately, as I said shortly after the draft. If that seems contradictory to my first paragraph, just take a stroll down memory lane.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Conference Realignment Recap: Reminding You of The Changes Effective 2012 And Beyond

Did all this conference realignment nonsense confuse you? Me too, well you’re in luck because you stumbled onto the one spot that will (attempt) to set the record straight for 2012.

Did the Big East become Manifest Destiny? What about the ACC’s 14-team superconference? Nope, both stay (mostly) as they are for another year. Here are the changes you need to know about, and a few others that really won’t matter.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Melky Cabrera’s Attempted Website Scam Will Only Make His Suspension Worse

Plus: Some shake ups in the Power 10, did Washington hold onto No. 1?

Another active MVP tests positive for steroids, Melky Cabrera — the 2012 All-Star Game’s most valuable player — was hit with a 50 game suspension that could drag into the postseason should the Giants qualify. He will at least mist the final 45 of the 2012 season.

But that’s not the worst part. Cabrera had one of his people build a fake website to help justify the reasoning for taking the banned substance. Once MLB caught onto his scam, he dropped his appeal of the charges.

…Really?

Friday, August 17, 2012

NFL Preseason Power Rankings: Teams 26-32

This is the first of a four part NFL preview series ranking all 32 NFL teams.

Finally, we’re less than a month away from the NFL returning and what better way to pass the next four weeks by than with a countdown of the NFL teams in rank order?

Starting today and continuing every Friday until kickoff, I will rank all 32 NFL teams culminating with the preseason Power 10 on Wednesday, September 5 (NFL kickoff featuring the Giants and Cowboys). So without further adieu, here we go:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Stephen Strasburg Shutdown Looms, Right Call?

Plus: The National League still dominates the top three, but a new team takes the No. 1 spot.

Stephen Strasburg will be shut down, as many prominent baseball beatwriters note — including ESPN’s Jayson Stark. No ifs, no maybes, the Nationals prized young arm will be under wraps sometime in September. And once Washington makes the call, it can’t go back. He will not come back in October for a Game 7 or in the World Series.

Fans are, naturally, not happy with this because the Nationals are a year ahead of the curve. I noted in my 2012 preview that Washington was the team with the brightest future, but I never thought it would be a legitimate title contender this season.

Many had the Nationals just outside the playoffs or even the fifth Wild Card, nobody outside of D.C. had them ahead of the Braves and Phillies in the NL East this season.

And that’s exactly why the Nationals need to abandon shutting down one of their aces.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Cleveland Sports Snapshot: The Indians Whiffed at Making Trades And Now Pay The Price

Sometimes the best move is the move not made, that’s not true in this case. The Indians should have made a move before the 2012 trade deadline to improve this team.

Hindsight says that Kevin Youkilis’ .233 average with Boston was not a product of an aging icon, but a product of a frustrated one. A change of scenery cured his ailment and whether or not Cleveland offered the same prescription as Chicago is a hypothetical we’ll never know the answer to.

Yes, Cleveland should have paid the small price for Youkilis. The fact that Brent Lillibridge — one of the two prospects Chicago dealt to Boston for Yook — is now on the Indians shows you how little the White Sox gave up for such an impact player.

I don’t agree that Francisco Liriano would cure the rotation woes. He is a middling pitcher with decent upside on a solid three-month run. Better than anything Cleveland had? Yes, but not good enough to cure the inconsistency problems that have plagued the rotation all season.

But the fact that Cleveland didn’t make a significant trade doesn’t surprise me. I knew they could not swing a deal to significantly improve this team after they failed to secure Youkilis at such a low price. What angers me as that the Indians have eroded away the last four seasons and is much closer to completely bottoming out than reaching the postseason.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

MLB Recap: Other Than Zack Greinke, 2012 Trade Deadline Disappoints

Plus: National League teams take over the top three in the latest Power 10, which one is the new No. 1? Cleveland Sports Snapshot returns tomorrow.

What a snoozer.

This year there was promise of big time moves being made before July 31 and now that 4 p.m. came and went there was only one: The Angels grabbing Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke will no doubt bolster an already formidable Los Angeles rotation — consisting of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and C.J. Wilson. Combined, before Greinke, the Angels rotation posted a 3.94 ERA for 10th in the majors and fourth in the American League. With Mike Trout lighting it up on offense and Ernesto Frieri solidifying the bullpen, it’s hard to find a weakness on the Angels now.

But the Rangers made a move too.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cleveland Sports Snapshot: The Indians Need a Pitcher, But They Have to Sweep Detroit

Last night’s win over Detroit was a good first step, but the Indians are not out of the thick yet. The Tribe has to beat Detroit. And by beat, I mean sweep because anything less is unacceptable.

Yes, it’s July, yes there are still two months of baseball left including nine games against the Tigers and just the final three against the White Sox. But this is a critical series as losing the next two puts Cleveland four games out of the division. The Indians already botched a chance to cut into the wild card lead when they dropped three out of four games to Baltimore.

If the front office is going to be convinced that now is the time to buy — and buy big — the Indians need to sweep Detroit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

MLB Recap: Previewing The Second Half

Not just a Power 10, a complete rundown of the second half outlook for all 30 teams in baseball and assessing their status as buyer or seller.

The second wild card is heating things up, but it is also creating more buyers than sellers in a very competitive trade market. Entering Monday, eight teams in the American League are within four games of the two wild card spots. Six teams in the National League are within five.

That doesn’t count division leaders Washington, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Texas, N.Y. Yankees or Detroit. Three teams sitting in second are 1.5 games out of first while Atlanta is 3.5 behind Washington. Texas and the Yankees lead by five or more, but the Angles and Athletics are surging.

A grand total of 20 teams are angling for 10 playoff spots, but not all 20 of them are true contenders. A critical element of the trade deadline is establishing which teams are the contenders, the sellers and — most importantly — the pretenders.

Sounds like a good time to evaluate each franchise.