Saturday, December 02, 2006

U$C 9; UCLA 13

I've got the crow cooking in the oven and I'm ready for my meal. WHAT. A. GAME!! DeWayne Walker ought to be enshrined in the UCLA hall of fame right now.

Incredible performance by the Bruins defense. The sack numbers aren't indicative, but they pressured Booty all night, they completely shut down the run, and they were remarkably effective on the corners. I was very worried about Rodney Van versus whoever they planned to run out against him, but the defense held firm. The stopped the criminals on numerous third and short and fourth and short attempts. And the play of the game, Eric McNeal, a tip and interception with 1:10 to go, was absolutely amazing. On defense, it was a total team effort. The front four held their ground, and the other seven, especially Dennis Keyes, who made a lot of big tackles, did their part. Shout out to the linebacker corps as well, as they were supposed to be the weak link this season with the graduations of Justin London and Spencer Havner. They were stout. And Trey Brown, I hardly heard his name mentioned, and if you're a cornerback, that's not a bad thing.

On the offensive side, I wasn't completely wrong. I didn't think UCLA would score enough points with Cowan at the helm, but that was before I knew the defense would play out of their minds. But credit to Cowan, who did all the leg work, literally, on the only drive that led to a touchdown. And he popped back up from a major shot to the head by Ray Malalaualsdfhga, which really isn't a fair fight, since Ray has had all of that prison time to work on his cheating skills. And speaking of blatant penalties that weren't called, here's my post from Bruins Nation:
It's been that way all season. They opened the season by becoming the laughing stocks of college football in the Oregon-Oklahoma game. They further embarrassed themselves in the UCLA-Arizona game when Ben Olson was knocked out with a late hit, and Tuitama was knocked out with a helmet to helmet hit (hey, I call 'em like I see 'em)

Fast forward to tonight.

1. I thought the late hit on U$C when Cowan ran for the first down was a bad call. But the helmet to helmet hit by Maladjusted on Cowan was so blatant and so obvious that my six year old niece could have called it. Should have kept that drive alive.
2. In the last minute on the third down play, U$C calls a time-out that they don't have. This wasn't surprising, as most U$C players can neither read nor count. Yet still, the clock stopped for at least ten seconds worth of time that should have come off the clock.
3. With the new rules in college football, the clock is supposed to start after punts when the ball is ready for play. Apparently there's a caveat to that rule that says the ball isn't ready for play until U$C says it is, as the refs stood over the ball for about 20 seconds, and I think Booty was on 2 before they finally ran the clock.

Great win. Awesome performance by the defense. Pathetic display by the women of troy. And flat out embarrassing work by Pac 10 officials.

And I stand by that. the officiating was awful.

But hat's off to Karl Dorrell. Hat's off to all of the Bruins. Hats off to TJ Simers, who has called this victory for the Bruins all week.

As we speak, Arkansas and Florida both seem to be figuring out new ways to lose, so who knows for sure whether Michigan might be in the national championship game, or WILL be in the national championship game. Speaking of Arkansas, their punt returner just fucked up a play inside his own five yard line that led to a Florida touchdown. What is it about Arkansas? 8 years ago, Clint Stoerner basically handed the ball to Tennessee in game that the hogs should have won, and Tennessee ended up winning the national championship. Stupid Arkansas.

Tremendous win for the Bruins. Tremendous win for the program. They stood up to bullies and punched them in the face. Anyway, that's all I can of for now. Just an awesome win. It's been a long time.

Congratulations, Arizona

You beat an unranked team, playing without their two best players, essentially at home, and you still needed the refs to give Carter and Pruitt their fourth fouls with about 18 minutes to play. As a UCLA fan, let me just say that I'm glad this piece of shit team is in the Pac 10, because Arizona is incredibly overrated. Oh, and Cat fan, in case you forgot:

Suck on it.

What a messed up day

UCLA-U$C, Kings-Ducks, and Illinois-Arizona all on at the same time. Brutal. Worse yet, all three teams I'll be rooting for figure to lose. Ugh.

Friday, December 01, 2006

So, Tomorrow's the Big Game

Well, not THAT Big Game, but a big game nonetheless. UCLA will be getting a great deal of support from somewhat unusual locations like Ann Arbor and Gainesville, while U$C will be getting its typical support from the legions of front-runners that scoop up all that gear when the women of troy are good in football. What does that all mean? Nothing.

But anyway, as predictions go, there's no logical case that can be made for UCLA pulling off the upset in this one. The only way they win is if the score stays low, which isn't altogether impossible, just highly improbable. The big problems, as I see them:
  1. UCLA has one good cornerback, while U$C has two really good receivers, along with a good running game. One and a half if you count Al Verner. But when Rodney Van is in the game, he's going to get torched. He hasn't stopped a good receiver all season, and these are the best receivers he's going to face. They can't match Trey Brown up on one without getting burned by the other, and
  2. If the Bruins get behind early, the don't have the offense to come back. They'll certainly hold up their end of the bargain on the low scoring, but I just can't see them scoring enough points to win.
I think the game will play out one of two ways. Either U$C gets up big and keeps building, or the Bruin defense holds it tight and U$C pulls away in the last ten minutes. Of course, the wild card is always turnovers. And interception returned for a score here, a couple of fumbles there, and UCLA could end up taking the game if they get a lot of breaks. That's tough to predict, though, and I'm not going to do it here.

In the end, I'll say the final will be U$C 27; UCLA 13. It's going to be 17-13 with about ten minutes to go, at which point U$C will kick a field goal, get a stop, and score a touchdown to cap the scoring. Right now I'd take U$C and give the points. I hope to hell that doesn't happen, but that's what I feel in my gut.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Updates on the stuff I care about


The basketball team will be #1 in both polls next week following Ohio State's loss to North Carolina last night in what was actually a pretty exciting game. Both teams look pretty damn good, and I wouldn't be shocked if they met in Atlanta in April, unless of course the final four isn't in Atlanta, but I'm not going to look it up, so you can figure out what I mean. Anyway, as noted before, this just means it will be that much more shocking when the UCR Highlanders shock the world on Sunday.

On the gridiron, the coaching staff announced today that Pat Cowan would remain the starter going into the game with the women of troy this weekend. I'm not happy about this. Nothing against Pat Cowan, but I see the team with two identities. They're either a) the pretty mediocre team with Cowan at the helm, or b) the mediocre team with Ben Olson behind center who may actually be really good at times. In other words, Cowan is more of a known quantity, and while Olson coming off an injury may be worse than Cowan, he may be better, and the known quantity that is Cowan will not be enough to beat $C. It's a gamble, but one worth taking. Though quite frankly, the play calling figures to be so conservative with either one that I can't see the Bruins scoring more than 21 points at best. That's probably not going to be enough.


The rumored supposedly done deal that shall remain nameless looks less and less like a done deal. The HH crew have been commenting on reports that a) Kenny Williams says he hasn't approached anyone about Crede, and b) Scioscia told Figgins he's the third baseman next year. Well, as a wise man once said, well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet. First, Williams never said that no one else approached him. Yeah, I'm parsing, but that's the way these guys work. Second, who cares what Scioscia told Figgins? Nothing is settled until those guys take the field next year. Of course, either Stoneman or Williams could make some sort of unequivocal statement that no deal will be done involving those players, but they won't because they're GMs, and GMs hedge. It's part of the job.

A reader pointed me to another take over here earlier today. I agree with this part:
If the Figgins-Santana for Crede-Garcia trade goes through, and Matthews, Crede, and Garcia all play up to their ability, Stoneman just might make a few friends in the OC.
I disagree with pretty much everything else. Sure, if Garcia, Crede, and Matthews all play at their best, like say, Crede and Matthews repeating last year while Garcia repeats his 2001 season (that was five years ago, folks), it would look like a great deal next year, and I'm sure a lot of people behind the Orange Curtain would be very happy. It would still look awful three years down the line when Santana is a top 10 starter, Crede is hurt, and Garcia is either back to sucking, or pitching for another team for HUGE dollars. Look, there is risk in every deal, and even deals apparently lopsided against you can work out in your favor if everything breaks right, but show me a GM who expects everything to break in his favor every time, and I'll say "I didn't know you were buddies with Allard Baird and David Littlefield".

There is really no one the White Sox would consider trading who could a) help the Angels this year, and b) equal the value of Ervin Santana. It's just not possible. Pitchers who have completed two seasons by age 23 with his stuff and numbers don't come around very often, and trading him now in exchange for mediocrity is such a dumb idea that I can't even believe I'm addressing it. But, that's pretty much my take. Stoneman has already burdened the team with one albatross this off-season (at least the fourth in a continuing series - see also: Erstad, Anderson, and Finley), and if he does any more damage, it may take the franchise a few years to recover. Fortunately for me, were he to make that deal, I'd be rooting for another team, and the Angels lack of success wouldn't bother me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Night Before


Ugh. What a tough game to watch. Stagnant offense, poor shooting, out of control play at times. Rich McBride just looked completely lost, not a good sign for a senior. Jamar Smith is clearly still recovering from his ankle sprain. He was a step slow all night. And this was some of the worst defense I've seen from a Bruce Weber team in a while. Lots of open looks for the Terrapins, and outside of some excellent offensive rebounding, the Illini were not a good team last night. Good effort from the Illinois big men, though. Warren Carter pulled down a ton of boards in the first half, and made the only three pointer before the break. Sean Pruitt finished with nice numbers, but I'd like to see him take it to the basket a little stronger. Brian Carlwell provided a nice spark. He's got a lot of work to do, but he's going to be a good one. But boy, this team really needs Brian Randle back. I thought Calvin Brock played a good game as well. 11 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes. Not sure why he didn't get more time. He's their most athletic player with Randle on the bench.


Not on TV, but it was nice to see the real leaders getting it done on the offensive end. They combined for 44 points, with the point guards adding another 21. LRMAM hit the boards in the second half, but it looks like he was the only one. The Bruins were killed on the glass by 41-22 margin. That's unacceptable, but having not seen the game, it's tough to see what contributed to that. On the plus side, the Bruins created 23 turn overs, while only guilty of 10 themselves. And 13 of 22 from beyond the arc is going to get it done most of the time. Nice night from Russel Westbrook, including 11 points on 3-3 from three point land. The 0 assists and 2 turnovers aren't much to write home about, though. Of course, this means the Bruins will still be undefeated when UC Riverside shocks the world on Sunday!

On the football front, the Bruins have agreed to meet Florida State in the Emerald Bowl on December 27th. Look, I can't get excited about these games either, and about eight or nine years ago, this would have been a great matchup, but the fact is that going to a bowl game means another full month of practice, and that's too valuable to turn down at the college level.

They still have yet to name a starter for Saturday's game with the women of troy, but after the way the offense operated last game under Cowan, they'd be crazy not to go with Ben Olson. On paper, this is going to be another in a long line of beatdowns. But it's a rivalry game, and stranger things have happened. With their defense, I actually think they have a better chance going into this year's game than they did last year. But I'm not getting my hopes up.


Still no announcement of the potentially worst trade in franchise history, though people in the comments both here and at Halos Heaven are reporting it's a done deal. Don't know what they could be waiting for. For now I'll still hold out hope that this is not going to go down.

Looking at his BBRef page, Santana's closest comps through age 23 are Ben Sheets and Mark Mulder. How did those two fare in their next two seasons? Sheets had an average age 23 season, going 11-13 with a 4.45 ERA, but exploded the year after that, posting a 2.70 ERA while striking out 264. He's struggled with injuries since. Mulder went 34-16 over his next two seasons, posting era+s of 134 and 136. Of course, he had already established himself as an ace at 23, so he's not as good a comp as Sheets. Regardless, there's no reason to think that Santana won't progress, and trading him before he establishes himself for such dreck as Freddie Garcia is mind-bogglingly insane. Not to mention, Santana has destroyed the A's in his first two seasons, going 6-1 with a 1.55 ERA while allowing fewer than a baserunner per inning. Might want to keep a guy around who simply owns your arch-rival.

Like I said, officially, this deal hasn't gone down yet, so I'm still an Angels fan. For now.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I have never been a Bill Stoneman basher. 2002 goes a long way in my opinion of most of the people in current Angels management, but if the rumors are true, someone needs to steal the keys from this madman as soon as humanly possible. The L.A. Times is reporting that the Angels are discussing a trade of Figgins for Crede. That's the good news. The bad news is that the trade would also include Ervin Santana for Freddie Garcia. That's lunacy.

The difference between the relative values of Crede and Figgins is much lower than the difference between Garcia and Santana when salaries are added in. It's the type of difference that could easily be filled by a Steven Shell, or some other such minor league arm that isn't among the cream of the Angels pitching crop. Why Stoneman would even consider a deal in which he would add a pitcher who has declined each of the last two seasons, and is owed in the neighborhood of $10MM is beyond me. Santana, on the other hand, was at least Garcia's equal last year, will only be 24 years old, and is club controlled for the next four seasons.

I've been an advocate of a Figgins for Crede deal, but not at this price. This is just fucking nuts.