Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ruminate with Iggins!

Sometimes I see sports stories that need to be commented on, for whatever reason, be it their bearing on Chicago sports, my Hawkeyes, a random interest, or how badly the story sucks. Gathered here are my private thoughts on these things. WARNING: Code Red can attest that looking into my mind can sometimes be like falling into a Lovecraftian dimension. You have been warned.

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-Tracy McGrady, who you will remember was rejected by the Bulls, recently said that Lebron James should have signed with Chicago because LBJ and Dwayne Wade refuse to play nice together and instead just stand motionless while the other has the ball. T-Mac is 100% correct, but the better question is if the Bulls would be better with LBJ (Because we all know the Bulls with Lebron would be better than the current Heat). The Bulls, to sign James with Boozer, would have had to trade Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, and James Johnson. They would have also lacked the money to resign Noah like they did, not to mention they wouldn't have had the money to sign Brewer, Korver, Bogans, or C.J Watson, leaving the Bulls to scrape the barrel like the Heat did for guys like Jerry Stackhouse. Is that a better team? When Boozer gets back the Bulls, in my mind, are very close to being the best team in the East. Derrick Rose has emerged as a premier scorer and distributor, and he has made Deng, Gibson, and Noah much better, to the point where I don't think having a Lebron James is worth losing all the rest of these players (especially considering Lebron would get along with Rose in much the same way as he gets along with Wade on the court). When the dust settles the winners of last summer's free agency may actually be the Bulls.

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-Speaking of the Bulls, doesn't it feel like Ronnie Brewer should be starting over Keith Bogans? In two fewer minutes played per game he has more points, rebounds, and steals per game, not to mention his fg percentage is 50.8% while Bogans' fg percentage is a painful 36.2%, the lowest on the team! Ronnie even appears to play better defense and he has much more energy on the floor than Bogans. Thibs is doing a fantastic job with the team this year, and I understand a desire for continuity in the starting lineup, but maybe when Boozer comes back we move Brewer into the starting SG spot? He's earned it.

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-There are two camps of belief about the Hawkeye's season. The first says that their 7-5 record is indicative of them being overhyped and a mediocre team. The second says that the Hawkeyes had no leadership or... jesus... "heart" and that is why they lost 5 games in exactly the same way (have the lead in the 4th quarter, give it away late, start a drive with around 2 minutes left, fail to do anything). I don't have a concrete answer for the shit I watched (Though I don't think either of those two possibilities are right), but I can definitely say that if something happens 3 times it is no longer a coincidence. Code Red blames Old Testament God. I think Ricky Stanzi sold wins and his testicles for good stats (to Satan of course). Sounds reasonable to me.

-also, tune in tonight to see the worst college basketball game played by two BCS conference schools all year! Iowa @ Wake Forest is on ESPNU in 20 minutes... you have been warned.

NFL Roundup, Week 12

Patriots 45, Lions 24
As my one concession to the deep-seated beast of superstition that lurks even in the hearts of the most rational sports fan, I generally don't trash the opposition on the week that the Bears will play them. Were I to do so, however, I would point out that secondary in Detroit is abominable. Also, I still like the matchup for the Bears at home against New England next week. That Patriots defense still has issues, and I think the Bears can get pressure on Brady.

Saints 30, Lions 27
As I watched Roy Williams hilariously fumble away a huge upset for the Cowboys, I tried to remember why exactly I bear so much ire against a guy who has generally been a marginal player on marginal or awful teams. Then loyal reader Apex put it thus:

"He was the ringleader and a standout in a long line of turds who made famous that whole Detroit Lions thing - where they dance around after every tackle and first down reception in the first half of any game and spend the entire second half forlornly explaining away turnovers and overall fuckups with a towel on their heads."

And then I remembered his guranteeing victory over the Bears back in 2006 before Chicago went out and swept Detroit by a combined 60-28 margin. Shit. I'm not trashing them. Swearsies.

Jets 26, Bengals 10
It really, really sucks to watch Carson Palmer right now. You people have no idea how much time and energy I invest in rooting for quarterbacks that I love solely based upon their magnificent ARMCOCKS. Or maybe you do. Either way, the sad deterioration of a man who was once the damn near Platonic Ideal of a quarterback just hurts. Rotator cuffs, folks. Check them, and check them often.

Falcons 20, Packers 17
Man. Nobody loses with more excuses than the god damn Green Bay Packers. Despite the fact that this is now the 4th loss they've suffered thanks to terrible penalties, a complete and utter inability to run the ball, and crippling turnovers at inopportune times, no one is willing to see those rather consistent markers indicative of a talented but perhaps undisciplined and (God forbid) flawed football team. I gather that Aaron Rodgers is an amazing quarterback, and that the Packers rack up a lot of yards and have an impressive point differential that's entirely inflated from three blowout wins over the Bills, Cowboys, and Vikings (9-24 combined with an average ranking of 25th in scoring defense), but when you lose four games for the same reasons it shouldn't be dismissed as a fluke or an easily correctable glitch. Also, I'm sorry for saying you were overrated, Atlanta. You're an impresisvely balanced team, but that defense seems to milquetoast to survive a long postseason run. They can't rush the passer with their front four. Hard to win a Superbowl like that.

Texans 20, Titans 0
I hate Vince Young. I really do. But if he could actually have played, rather than being forced into a season-ending surgery to open the door for Rusty Smith, and Fisher actually took carries away from Chris Johnson to show off Rusty Smith as a potential QB (QB rating of 25 through two games. Todd Collins is dying of envy, everyone else not so much), as some have rumored, then Fisher is the dumbest sonofabitch in the NFL.

Vikings 17, Redskins 13
That's good. The Vikings will now almost certainly keep Favre in long enough for his turnovers to hand a game in the Metrodome to the Bears.

Giants 24, Jaguars 20
Even after this game, I get the lurching feeling that the Jaguars may somehow win the AFC South. Then they'll have the most improbably postseason run of all time, and I will weep.

Steelers 19, Bills 16
Stevie Johnson blamed God for his five drops. I find that interesting, and, as a spiritual person, I must at least consider whether, perhaps, God truly does influence dropped passes. In that case, I truly wonder what horrible, horrible sins Rashied Davis has committed to bring on the unceasing fury of the Almighty.

Browns 24, Panthers 23
Jake Delhomme gave the Panthers every opportunity to win, but they came up just short. Hilarious, as Jake Delhomme is no longer a Panther. In fact, since I'll never forgive Jake Delhomme for the 2005 playoffs (JUST FUCKING DOUBLE COVER STEVE SMITH), here is his stat line since his 5 interception meltdown against Arizona in the 2008 playoffs:

15 games, 5-10 record, 252/450 (56.0%), 2789 YDs (6.2 YPA), 10 TDs, 29 INTs, 55.1 rating.

Perhaps I should start comparing people to an Old Jake Delhome rather than a Young Jake Plummer. Maybe quarterbacks named Jake are just doomed to mediocre career arcs that start or plummet into complete and total oblivion and inspire everyone to ask the question "How the f*&k is he still starting in the NFL?"

Chiefs 42, Seahawks 24
It's truly fitting that the AFC and NFC West are matched up this year in order to allow the eventual division champion of each to scrape to the 7-9 wins that will allow them to reach their first round playoff exit.

Dolphins 33, Raiders 17
Oh thank God. The Raiders still suck.

Baltimore 17, Tampa Bay 10
It may seem hypocritical to criticize Tampa Bay for being 7-0 against losing teams and 0-4 against winning teams when I've ranted against people using the Bears easy schedule against them, but the difference is that Chicago is now 2-1 against teams with winning records (although the fact that Seattle and Washington both have losing records makes those losses More embarrassing) but have been competitive and have at least been consistent defensively in every one of their games as the average score of their three losses is 19-12. Tampa Bay is clearly a mirage, however, when you look at the average score of their four losses: 28-13. They've actually been outscored on the season, and every one of their unit rankings, both offensive and defensive, is fairly mediocre outside of their 9th ranked scoring defense. They've really only been competitive in one of their losses this year. They got one TD in garbage time against the Ravens after trailing 17-3 and being virtually nonexistent on offense for most of the afternoon. The outcome was never in doubt.

Rams 36, Broncos 33
Sam Bradford and the Rams actually Bronco'd the Broncos to death, as Bradford has almost exclusively worked in the short passing game this year and is actually dead last in yards per completion, but he still worked his way to 300+ yards and a win over a terrible Broncos team in every respect. F*&k you, McWannstedt.

Chargers 36, Colts 14
Well, it's nice to see that the media will throw out every excuse for a Peyton 4 pick game that they bluntly dismissed in defense of Jay Cutler a few weeks ago. What's that? Manning has a subpar offensive line, an inconsistent running game, and young receivers? No quarterback could possibly be blamed for a four interception game with all that!

49ers 27, Cardinals 6
Derek Anderson followed up a very Old/Young Delplummer performance with an absolutely outstanding apeshit press conference:


For what it's worth, I don't really blame him. God knows we've all laughed at a funeral. The same thing happened to Erik Kramer during a loss back in 1997 or 1998, but I maintain that it's okay for Erik Kramer to laugh at being pulled for Rick Mirer or Steve Stenstrom.