Wednesday, May 21, 2008

That Mythical Extra Scholarship

So if you like Wisconsin men's basketball a lot (as I do), and thus have read too much recruiting baloney this off-season (as I've done), you may have heard something about how Wisconsin is still recruiting players for the 2010 or the 2009 class, despite scholarship charts showing that every paid place on the team is already accounted for. Then, the other day, there was this Rivals article where this power forward recruit related that UW coaches had said a player might be leaving the team. Now, selfishly, this kind of news also makes you hope that it's not a player that you like and feel has potential. For instance, I would be terrifically upset if Pop Hughes or Jon Leuer decided to transfer.

The recent record of transfers from UW indicated (hopefully) that won't be the case, however. The guys who have left under Coach Ryan have either (A) got into serious trouble and blew their second chance (Boo Wade, sadly) or (B) redshirted, and then realized, even after redshirting, that they weren't going to play much (DeAaron Williams, Mickey Perry). For example, Perry was stuck behind Kam, Flowers, and Ray Nixon his first season, and then got jumped in the depth chart his second year when Bohannon and Hughes arrived. Transferring is pretty understandable in that situation. (Thankfully, it looks like his story had a happy ending, since Perry successfully transferred to Dayton, where he contributed to a very solid A-10 team.) Given that record and since no one on the squad (knock on wood) appears to be in trouble, if there are any defections, you'd expect them to come from a player who hasn't seen much time on the floor.

Personally, I'd prefer not to lose anyone from what appears to be a great bunch of young men. You only had to glance at the sideline celebrations during the home Penn State game (when UW clinched a share of the Big Ten title) to know that the Badgers were a wonderfully supportive and cohesive team last season. The four departed seniors will already leave a big hole, and another loss could further weaken the squad's unique esprit de corps. But if someone leaves, I wish that young man the best, whoever he is and wherever he goes. Once a Badger, always a Badger.

Moving Toward An NFL Rookie Salary Structure?

Concern over runaway top of the draft salaries is one of the reasons behind the NFL owners' decision to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement. Specifically, in the NFL's statement explaining why the owners opted out early, it said--"Also irrational is that in the current system some rookies are able to secure contracts that pay them more than top proven veterans."

Sadly, it was one of the minor points, listed toward the end of the statement. The owners' main concern seems to be that under the current agreement the players are getting too large a percentage of the league's revenue. So, the owners want more money. What else is new? They should blame themselves for agreeing to raise the salary cap so high. Maybe they projected that revenue would continue going up, and didn't forecast a downturn in the economy. (For instance, I'm sure that high gas prices will lead to fewer people traveling long distances to attend games.) Anyhoo, the whole statement is here, on Greg Bedard's blog.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Funny Tidbit

Normally, I find Steve Rosenbloom's attempts to channel a sports-page Larry King (published every few days on the back of the Chicago Tribune Sports section) to be asinine and stupid, but today, he threw in a bit I appreciated. It helped that it made fun of the Patriots, Notre Dame, and Charlie Weis, an unholy triumvirate of football arrogance. T'was:

"[T]he more you read how the Patriots stole defensive signals for so long and were so slimy in this whole thing, the more you conclude that Charlie Weis isn't such a genius when he doesn't have people cheating for him. Or you could just watch his Notre Dame teams."

Ha! Here's the link itself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I will miss Koren recklessly swerving through defenders at high speeds after catching passes from Brett Favre. Alas, I am not writing to lament the dearly departed, but only to respond to Mr. Man, who wanted any other ideas as to why we would release him. Here it is: Maybe Brett was the main proponent of Koren. Maybe 2 years ago when we were thinner at WR, Brett wanted to take a flier on Koren.  To appease Brett, and with little downside, the Brass acquiesced on the condition that he met the leagues conditions and stayed clean. I recall Brett being a staunch Koren defender in the media during his appeals/reinstatement process, repeatedly, in several outlets. Brett stands by Koren, and Koren gets through it. Koren has a roster spot so they all make the best of it. Koren makes contributions to the team in 2007. Now that Brett is gone, the Brass probably gets to move on with their program and their guys. Goodbye Koren. But, it all worked out.  Brett was enlivened by the fact that the Brass were listening to him and trying to get talent, Koren stayed clean and played pretty well, and the Packers have had success on the field and done a genuine service (if he stays clean) in giving Koren an entryway back into the league. So there it is. An idea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Bears Remain Moronic

The Chicago Bears. In addition to their inability to evaluate offensive talent, the Bears are well known for their stinginess. Examples abound, from tricking the Chicago Park District into renovating Soldier Field to hiring bargain basement coaches. Sometimes thriftiness is the right thing to do-- for example, the Bears were right to let the vastly overrated Bernard Berrian walk in free agency. But then they do supremely silly things, like, I don't know, making Robbie Gould the highest paid kicker in the NFL! Seriously, what? Gould is a pretty good kicker, but no superstar. It's true he's made the Pro Bowl during the Bears recent Super Bowl year, but that was largely because the Bears' offense stunk and he made a lot of short field goals. And his kickoffs have never been spectacular-- only 15 touchbacks on 228 career kickoffs. And the most damming statistic-- Gould has never made a field goal of more than 50 yards (an elite NFL kicker should nail 50+ yarders pretty often). Ouch. Gould is an NFL kicker, no doubt. But the highest paid kicker in the league? What a joke. Five bucks says Taylor Mehlhaff is outperforming Gould by the fall of '09.

Monday, May 12, 2008

K-Rob No Longer in Da Haus

As reported last week, the Packers released receiver Koren Robinson. I guess this move wasn't super-surprising, given that the Packers drafted Jordy Nelson and Brett Swain, and signed several more rookie wideouts to free agent contracts, and Robinson didn't do much as a receiver last season (21 catches for 241 yards and one touch), and has a balky knee. His one seriously exciting play last season was a 67 yard kickoff return where he made some nice cuts and ran away from a bunch of different guys.

What I wonder is why cut Robinson instead of Ruvell Martin? Martin's two years younger, taller, probably a better blocker, and caught more touches last season, but it seems clear that Robinson was faster and had more talent overall, plus he caught more passes last year in fewer games, bumped Martin on the depth chart, and was a return threat. I'm guessing that Robinson's knee is more messed up than previously revealed. Maybe Ted just likes Koren and want to give him a better chance to catch on with another team? (A better chance than if he was cut during training camp.) Any other theories about why Robinson didn't make it and Martin did?


Right. So I find baseball somewhat amusing-- for example, I like the idea that Brewers closer Eric Gagne first began wearing ginormous uniforms, growing ridiculous hair, and wearing silly goggles in effort to distract fans from the effect that performance-enhancing drugs were having on his body. That is a pretty funny theory. But I just don't care enough about the Brewers or the Cubs or any other major league baseball team to write up posts on baseball, not even ones dealing with subjects that are that amusing. So since it's mid-May, spring football and the NFL draft have come and gone, and UW's basketball recruiting is wrapped up until I become a sexagenarian, the postings here will become far less frequent. At least until training camp starts for the Badgers and Packers. Stay classy, folks.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Getting 'Em Locked Up Early-- The Deuce

Riiiiight, so it looks like the UW men's basketball team has its personnel set for the next half decade. That is, they have five young men coming in this summer (high school class of '08), two young men set to come in next summer (taking Krabby and Landry's scholarships), and now two more gentlemen set to become Badgers in the summer of 2010. There's the 15 year-old Madison Memorial sophomore Vander Blue (who committed early last week) and now there's fellow sophomore Evan Anderson from Eau Claire. Since that wraps up all the foreseeable scholarships from now until 2011, it looks like Bo and the staff can take a bit of a break on the recruiting front.What's also note worthy about Anderson's decision, is that even though the young man is from Eau Claire, he could have gone anywhere. He's 6'11", two and a half bills, and had schollies from Kansas, K-Tuck, us, Marquette, BC, and was drawing heavy interest from UCLA and North Carolina. When you're a sophomore, the recruiting services have really short ranking lists-- usually only about ten kids per list. Anderson is on both Rivals' and Scout's lists, fifth and tenth respectively. According to Rivals, he's the top rated center in the country for the '10 class-- at this point. Who knows what this young man will turn into and how he'll perform as a Badger, but UW wanted him badly-- he was apparently their number one priority for that class. Good stuff. This also makes UW two for two on scholarship offers for sophs. Batting a thousand!

Time for Badger basketball fans to relax and enjoy the off-season. The future is looking solid.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Potted Plants and Campus Police!

Yes, these are the results of former Marquette huckster Tom Crean taking over a storied but troubled program. That is, a redshirt freshman center came into Crean's office, started shouting, a potted plant hit the floor, and Campus Security was called. After smashing potted plants and getting the cops called on him, that kid, a center named Eli Homan, will apparently not be on Indiana's basketball team next season, leaving the Hoosiers with only 5 returning scholarship players, if Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis aren't allowed back. Hilarious. If you too are in the mood to point and laugh at a rival who's down, the story is here.

Uh oh. After further review, the news is even worse-- Indiana is now down to four returning starters. Bassett and Ellis are not going to be allowed back on the team, and DeAndre Thomas, the round mound of lay-up, is also not returning. This article from the Worldwide Leader outlines the damage.