Monday, January 25, 2010

A mea culpa on my mea culpa on Favre

I knew it.  I knew it was going to happen.  There was no way, even in this most unlikely of seasons in all of Favre's career, that he wouldn't ultimately do it.  He was going to hurt Minnesota with an incredibly stupid, an ridiculously braindead, a selfishly egotistical, and typically Favreian INTERCEPTION.

This one finally happened one play before what would have been the game-winning FG that would have propelled the Vikings into the Superbowl.  Just unbelievable.  Any high school QB knows that you should never throw across your body back across the field when you are at the right sideline.  You should never, ever, EVER do that.  But Favre couldn't help himself.  Just couldn't resist trying to make one last shot at glory when he should've just played it safe.

His last throw with the Packers was also an interception in overtime of the NFC Championship game vs the Giants.  Here's hoping that this one was the last pass of his Vikings career.  Yeah, I know.  Fat chance.  Well, I'm hoping he puts the Vikings through the Favreian indecisiveness that he subjected the Packers to.

As for the game, the Vikings had an astounding 5 turnovers (including 2 picks and a fumble by Brett) but they still went to overtime.  They should have won this game by a couple touchdowns.  It should have been easy.  And I think they would've been the favorites to win vs the Colts as well.  With the pressure that their front four can apply to quarterbacks, their linebackers are free to drop into coverage.  Drew Brees did have 3 touchdowns but he did not have a great game by any means.  The Saints really had a hard time moving the ball and only put up the points they did in the 2nd half as a result of Viking turnovers.  Though the Vikings do have an excellent defensive line, Favre was the one getting hit mercilessly all game.

The Jets were also able to hit Peyton a few times early on but somehow Manning figured out their blitz schemes and made the proper adjustments.  Starting with that long bomb that somehow dropped into Collie's arms just out of reach of that Jets' safeties fingers late in the 2nd quarter, the Colts began to dominate the game.  The vaunted Jets defense were powerless to stop Peyton as the Colts scored 24 unanswered to punch their ticket to Miami.

I can't wait for ESPN's NFL Matchup show because I really want to know what adjustments Peyton made to handle those Jets blitzes.

I realize that the city of New Orleans could use a Superbowl victory but I'd really rather see Peyton win it.  A Superbowl berth should be good enough for them to celebrate.  Peyton needs a second championship so that experts can recognize his legacy among the greatest of all time.  For someone who has played the position of QB better than it has ever been played (besides by Montana of course), he deserves it.  At the very least, everyone can finally agree that he is better than Favre.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fresh start for UCLA Bball

Last week's blowout loss to usc was definitely the low point of this horrendous season.  Truth is, it was exactly the kind of team that we would have big time trouble with.  Athleticism.  In a way, I felt bad for sc's team since they looked like they were perhaps good enough to make a run at the Pac-10 now that we know that the conference is terrible.  Looking at the standings, we've actually beat the top 2 teams, ASU and Cal already somehow, and our two latest victims, UW and WSU are good teams with 14 and 12 win seasons, respectively.

Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to go to the sc debacle but I was able to witness both the UW thriller and the solid defensive effort vs WSU.


The best thing about this victory was the fact that our senior scorers Dragovic and Roll did not have especially good games but we were still in position to win.  Now, how Keefe manages to play 17 minutes and not score a point or even grab a single rebound is simply astounding for a 5th year senior.  But the emergence of his freshmen counterpart, Reeves Nelson (a solid game with 16 points, 6 boards) and Tyler Honeycutt (10 points,8 boards,4 assists) has Bruin nation excited for the future.  Paired with Malcolm Lee, this trio forms the core of our championship run next season.  We have to think of this season as a prolonged preseason for next year...

Mustafa Abdul-Hamid was the target of my wrath early on in the season when Jerime Anderson was hurt as he just seemed completely incapable of fitting in on a Div 1 basketball court.  And yes, he was responsible for not stopping UW's Overton from driving the length of the court for that easy layup - a layup that I thought Nelson could've blocked had he not hesitated.  But Roll made an excellent decision not to inbound the ball to Malcolm who was right in from of him and instead passed it to Mustafa at half court.

Now I knew Mustafa could shoot (which had partially eased my seething anger at him already), but I didn't know he was so clutch (Concordia winner aside).  He quickly dribbled to the top of the key, pump faked Overton into the air and calmly sank a long jumper.  It looked good the whole way.  Its been awhile since I've seen Pauley explode like that.

I only wish that the students didn't try to rush the court.  We're freakin UCLA.  We just went to the final four a couple years ago.  Contain yourselves.  But I realize that its been a painful season and Bruin fans are just looking for something to be excited about.


I feel like we've really turned a corner this game.  For the 2nd game in a row, our 2-3 zone has really made it difficult for other teams to score.  With all the injuries we had at the beginning of the season, we probably should've been playing at the level we are know about 10 games ago.  But at least we've showed massive improvement on the defensive end.  With Dragovic on the floor, we can only do so much, but I take comfort in the fact that he'll be gone in another month and with him, hopefully mediocrity.

Our 2-3 zone forced WSU to take 28 3-pointers on Saturday.  They only made 10.  In comparison, we only took 13 and we made half (6).  Not bad.  We played a very balanced game where every starter gave an solid effort.  I know Keefe started but I consider Nelson the true starter.  While Keefe managed 3 blocks, 2 rebounds to go along with 0 points, an improvement over his 0-0 from last game, Nelson scored a team high 19 points.  I'm truly excited about Nelson.  At 6'7 or 6'8, he is probably not going to leave for the NBA early.  We will have this kind of production and energy for all 4 years.  I've already forgotten about Gordon.

Tyler Honeycutt actually seems to be our team's best passer.  He sees the court extremely well and can make entry passes down low with ease.  Now that he's gotten his legs back, we see that he can be a great rebounder and defender.  His jump shot looks good as well (in comparison with Malcolm's especially).  Hopefully he'll put on some muscle this offseason and be ready for a big role next year.  With Honeycutt and Nelson in there, we've become a much better interior defensive team.

We've got the Oregon schools next.  Though they currently reside in the Pac-10 basement, we know that it doesn't mean anything.  Experts are projecting that the Pac-10 could only have 1, maybe 2 teams in the tourney this year.  Amazing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mea culpa on Favre, sort of

Back on August 18th, 2009, I posted my thoughts on Favre and his comeback in this blog.  I thought signing with the Vikings was the wrong decision in terms of his Packers legacy and I also thought that he wouldn't be able to produce the way he and Coach Childress thought he would.  I still don't respect the fact that he flip-flops every offseason and selfishly causes multiple organizations to be unable to make good decisions.  But, I was wrong:

- I thought that Favre shouldn't have been handed the starting job without being in camp.  With Rosenfels and last season's starter, Jackson, having already slaved through training camp, I thought Brett should've been forced to earned it.  I figured that Favre at his advanced age would be, at best, marginally better than those two.  oops.

- I argued that Favre shouldn't be considered one of the top 10 greatest of all time and used the fact that his TD to INT ratio was far subpar compared to true QB greats.  Then Favre goes this season and throws 33 TDs to 7 INTs for a ratio of 4.7.  Its his highest ratio of his career, in which he averaged a ratio of 1.5.  While I don't know how he should rank all time until the season is over, I must now concede that he's in the top 10 somewhere.

- Let me stress this: he's thrown 7 interceptions this year.  SEVEN.  Favre has never thrown less than 13 except in his rookie year, when he only played 2 games.  Before this season, he had averaged 18.5 per year and managed to throw as many as 29 in 2005.  Just last year he threw 22.  This year, 7.  shocking.  This was the biggest knock I've had against Favre and he utterly deprived me of the joy of watching him repeatedly throw boneheaded interceptions this year.

- I estimated that Favre would have 22 TDs this year at most, in an Adrian Peterson centered offense.  Even halfway through the season, I was thinking that Favre couldn't keep up this level of production.  Letting the offense center around his 40 year old arm would backfire against the Vikings.  Nope.  The last time Favre threw for more TDs was back in the 1995-97 seasons when he won 3 MVPs awards.  In fact, 33 TDs is tied for 4th most in his career.  On Sunday in the Conf semis, he threw for another 4.

Other noteworthy stats: Favre threw for 4202 yards this season, which is his 3rd highest of his career.  His completion percentage was 68.4%, easily the highest of his career.  His QB rating this season was 107.2, by far his best (2nd highest was 99.5 in 1995).  And its not like he just aired it out all season by his standards.  In fact, he's attempted more passes in 11 other seasons in his career, however he's only completed more passes once (in 2005).

So I was wrong.  Favre went out and proved that he wasn't washed up by having the single greatest season of his entire career.  Unbelievable.  Sticking the dagger in Packer fans everywhere, he also managed to win both contests against his old team, showing almost no remorse for his decision.

That said, I rooted against him all season and I'm rooting against him now.  I thought his decision to throw for a 4th TD against the Cowboys when the game was completely over was utterly bushleague.  It was trojan-like.  It was Belicheatesque.  I hope Brees wipes the floor with him this Sunday.  I do not want to see this man win another Superbowl.

Saints - Cardinals

Watching Kurt get hit like that was physically painful to watch.  Seriously.  I think my back started aching while I watched that replay.  The Saints defense, bolstered by the return of healthy defensive backs, showed what a real contender looks like on Sat.  The Cards' defense gave up 45 points in successive playoff games and completely disqualified themselves from contention.  The worst part of this?  Watching Reggie Bushleague go off like that.  It was the first Reggie sighting since what, the 2006 playoffs?  He's good for another appearance in 2014...

Colts - Ravens

The Ravens knew Peyton would have to throw and he still beat them soundly.  I've never seen so many completed passes to receivers who were clearly covered.  I'm a little worried that they can't keep this up.  The big story is what I've read about Marvin Harrison the past week or so.  For someone so quiet and hardworking, its hard to imagine that he's the violent murderer that GQ has said he is.  But it certainly appears that way, doesn't it?

Vikings - Cowboys

The Cowboys couldn't protect Tony Romo at all and that was the game.

Jets - Chargers

The Chargers looked just shocked that everything was going so wrong in the 2nd half.  Rivers was throwing ridiculous interceptions.  Eric Weddle couldn't tackle Shonn Greene on that backbreaking TD.  Their kicker missed an easy FG. And the Chargers squandered their best chance to reach a Superbowl in years.  Its amazing that the 2 hottest teams coming into the playoffs, the Chargers and the Cowboys were both unceremoniously dumped in the conf semis.

Looking forward, it will be a great Superbowl as long as the Colts get past the Jets.  Does anyone want to see a rookie QB in the SB when you could have Peyton, Favre or Brees?  With Warner out, here's hoping Peyton wins it all again.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Norm Chow stays at UCLA

For once, usc doesn't get everything it wants.  For once, score one for the good guys.

- Pete Carroll high-tailed it out of town after finding out that usc football was facing possible sanctions in the near future.  Apparently usc was notified 90 days before their scheduled February meeting, which accounts for why Carroll would surprise everyone and take a NFL job.  Still, its really not that surprising since we all knew that Carroll's ego would not allow him to go his entire career without trying to prove that he's not a failure at the pro level.  Also, with his dominance over the Pac-10 slipping from his grasp along with the possible sanctions about to hammer his program, he figured he might as well bail now.  Anyway you look at it, its a good thing for UCLA.

- Unable to get Mike Riley (whom I was most afraid of), Jeff Fisher, Jack Del Rio, or Boise St's Peterson, usc AD Mike Garrett (who doesn't look like he's very good at his job and doesn't care very much either) settled for .... Lane Kiffin.  Unbelievable.  This guy is the only person I can think of who was absolutely mediocre at his first 2 head coach jobs and managed to land one of the biggest jobs in college football.  I realize that it was a package move for Orgeron and Monte but it still comes down to Lane.  Had Al Davis not gone braindead and hired an absolute nobody, Kiffin should probably be at San Jose St or some small school like that cutting his teeth and earning his way.  Instead, now Lane thinks he's on top of the world at sc before paying his dues.

I have a huge problem with Kiffin bailing after ONE YEAR.  The Tennessee AD took a big chance and hired a young brash coach when nobody else wanted him.  Lane then deserted UT and left the program in a horrible position - in the middle of recruiting season without any good head coach options.  It shows a lack of responsibility, a lack of respect, a lack of maturity, and a lack of integrity.  And the fact that usc was willing to hire him tells you what you need to know about them.  And again, the funny thing is, he's not even a proven coach like Petrino or Saban.

Then, in the face of possible sanctions, Lane Kiffin proclaims at his press conference that his priority is to run a clean program.  That's of course right after Orgeron controversially tries to poach Tennessee recruits to usc, a highly unethical move in college football.  I think its clear that Kiffin is an agressive, self-serving, egomaniac who will stop at nothing to succeed.  Having said all this, I think he has a great chance to succeed at usc.  They are indeed made for each other, aren't they?  Now whether or not he can win championships is a whole other deal.  Plus, I don't believe that the NCAA will ultimately really do anything to usc football other than a weak slap on the hand.

UCLA's victories this week?  Perhaps its Pete Carroll leaving.  Maybe its Lane Kiffin coming.  But for sure, its the fact that Norm Chow is staying.  They can't buy everything they want.  At least not this year.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mark McGwire WAS the steroid era

As a kid growing up in Norcal, I remember watching the bash brothers in their heydey.  Seeing MwGwire and Canseco absolutely crush baseballs was as exciting as that sport has ever been for me.  In fact, the only thing that's come close is when McGwire, Sosa and later Bonds went for the HR record.  That and when guys like Josh Hamilton go nuts at the HR derby.  As much as I appreciate great pitching from guys like Maddux or Lincecum now, I would say that baseball's only truly redeeming element is the home run.

By now, in 2010, we are smart enough to understand how PEDs affected the game.  Yes, it helps people recover faster, but it undoubtedly helps hitters hit HRs.  There is no doubt, there is no question.  Look at most of the top HR hitters in our era - Bonds,  A-Rod,  Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire, Manny, Ortiz, Sheffield, Giambi, etc.  They are all linked to PEDs for a reason. (I'm giving guys like Griffey and Pujols a pass, but who the heck knows anymore?)  Who is stupid enough to believe that PEDs doesn't help a good hitter become a great HR hitter?

Yet, Mark McGwire expects us to believe his tearful confession that he only used it to help him recover faster from injury and it didn't improve his hitting.  Aside from his point, recovering faster IS improving your numbers and your performance.  It is cheating.  It shouldn't be seen as a more sympathetic or understandable usage of illegal drugs.  Secondly, Mark McGwire was freakin John Bunyan back then.  Use your eyes.  He expects us to believe that he used it to recover and not to bulk up?  Uh-uh.  I don't think so.  Canseco is again the only one telling the truth.

Additionally, if he truly believed that it didn't help him hit HRs, especially in the infamous 98 season, why did he feel the need to call the Maris family and apologize?  I just don't think he can have it both ways.  Either it was cheating and PEDs helped him break Roger Maris' record, or it didn't.

Don't get me wrong.  I like Mark McGwire.  Okay, aside from the fact that he lied about PEDs for years and went to usc, I still have a small soft spot in my heart for those Oakland A's days.  And yes, I did enjoy his 98 HR record chase, as illegitimate as we know it to be know.  I felt so bad for him a few years ago as he sat in front of Congress trying not to lie but unable to tell the truth.  At least he didn't go the way of Palmeiro.  Now we know it was because he couldn't acquire immunity, otherwise we may have heard the truth then.

I remember thinking at the time that he made the worst possible decision.  Palmeiro pointed at the committee and vehemently denied usage.  Others ducked the questions.  But McGwire repeatedly said that he wasn't there to talk about the past but wanted to help change the future.  I thought he should've admitted it publicly it then or denied it completely.  Either way, the public probably would've believed him, at least for a little while.  But to ride the fence made him look weak, ashamed and guilty.

Looking back, we've learned that even a vague admission of wrongdoing almost immediately earns you public forgiveness.  Basically, the story goes away after a few days.  Giambi apologized without saying what he did and the public outcry died down.  A-Rod lied repeatedly during his confessions less than a year ago and was roundly cheered after winning the World Series.  McGwire will now feel the heat for what, a week, and then he'll be cheered in St. Louis as their hitting coach for the rest of the season.

I laughed when McGwire stated in his admission that he regretted playing during the steroid era.  Umm, Mark, you are the steroid era.  You and Canseco made roids famous with your success with it in the early 90s.  Your physique makes you the poster child of the 90s for MLB usage.  Your and Sammy's national success in 1998 drove Barry Bonds to such extreme jealousy that he wanted to prove what a truly great hitter can do if he used PEDs.  More importantly, the 98 run essentially singlehandedly saved baseball and returned it to financial glory, which caused so many involved people to turn a blind eye to PEDs.  When it comes to players, there is no one as influential as you in the proliferation of performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball.  No one.  Okay, maybe Canseco.

As for Bonds and Clemens, they should learn from McGwire.  They should learn that even though everyone knew that McGwire did it, no one would ever get over it until he admitted it.  Barry and Roger don't even have to admit every detail.  Guys, just admit that you used something or other.  Then shed a tear or two and apologize every 2 minutes of your Costas interview.  Then finally baseball can move on.

As for the Hall of Fame, I think McGwire should be in.  So should Bonds and Clemens and Canseco.  They put up the numbers and you can never determine which ones were legitimate and which weren't.  (Okay, maybe not Canseco.)  Its just too bad, baseball purists.  Too late.  You turned a blind eye, now you should be forced to do so again.

McGwire might have been one of the 3 biggest users in our era, but I still hold baseball leadership responsible.  I've said this before but I'll say it again.  The players are 100% responsible - no doubt, but 100% responsibility lies with Selig on down as well.  They did not protect their game.  They did not protect baseball history.  They did not protect the records.  They did not protect the innocent players.  They failed miserably and that will forever be their legacy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The legend of Kurt Warner grows

29 for 33.  87.9 % completion rate.  379 yards.  5 touchdowns.  QB rate 154.1.  In the playoffs.  Against the 2nd best defense in the league.  He had more touchdowns (5) than he had incompletions (4).  He showed complete mastery of the QB position.  If this is his last season, I'm glad he put his ability on display for a playoff victory.

SI's Don Banks brought this to light and I thought it was so interesting.  10 years ago in Warner's first playoff game ever during the most improbable season in NFL history, he posted eerily simliar numbers vs the Vikings.  Check it out:  27 for 33.  81.8% completion rate.  391 yards.  5 Touchdowns.  QB rating of 143.0.  He did throw 1 INT.  Wow, 10 years apart.  A 5 TD performance at the beginning and at the end of his storied career.  amazing.

Back to Sunday's game, up 31-10 in the 3rd quarter, I thought that Warner had secured a victory.  But Aaron Rodgers, who has clearly proved that the Packers made the correct decision in jettisoning Favre, scored TDs on 5 straight possessions.  It was frustrating to see how inept Rodgers made the Cardinals defense seem.  There were missed tackles just about every other play.  Anyway, while most QBs would've folded when their opponents mount such a stunning comeback to tie the game, Warner drove the Cards down twice to score and regain momentum.

Then, to make things worse, Neil Rackers shanks an easy 34 yard FG that would have won the game and Packers won the OT toss.  I thought it was game over at that point.  I thought that the defense had again let Warner down, especially after last year's Superbowl heartbreak.  I don't care if its Joe Montana, how do you let an offense march downfield 5 straight times for TDs?  Unbelievable.

What a fluke ending to the game.  A couple plays before, Rodgers airmailed a 1st down bomb that a wide open Jennings would've taken to the house.  I'm just glad Warner's career didn't end like that.  After a brilliant performance of the ages, the least he deserved was to win.

(I'm pasting what I posted in another blog about Warner here:)

Facts about Kurt:

- Kurt didn't play at the Univ of Northern Iowa until his senior year, when he was named the Gateway Conference offensive player of the year.

- He was undrafted but signed by Green Bay in 1994 to training camp alongside Brett Favre and Mark Brunell. Cut before the regular season, he was told by offensive coordinator Steve Mariucci that he had the ability to play in the NFL, but wasn't ready yet.

- He then famously worked for $5.50 / hour at a grocery store in Cedar Falls.

- He joined the Arena League and was named to the First Team All Arena League in both 1996 and 1997. He also led the Iowa Barnstormers to the Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons.

- In 1998, he signed with the Rams and went to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals where he led the league in touchdowns and passing yards.  This guy is a success wherever he goes.

- In 1999, Kurt became the backup to Trent Green. When Trent went down with knee injury in the preseason, the Rams handed the reigns to Kurt, who proceeded to have one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. He threw for 4,353 yards and 41 TDs with a completion rate of 61.5%. He also led the Rams to a Superbowl victory and was only the 6th player in history to win both the league MVP and the Superbowl MVP trophy in the same year.

- In 2001, Kurt was again named the league MVP and only lost the Superbowl to the Patriots because Belicheat had cheated by using illegal video equipment in Rams' practices in the weeks leading up to the game.

- In 2004, Kurt signed with the NY Giants and had a record of 5-4 when he was replaced by rookie Eli Manning. Eli went 1-6 the rest of the season.

- In 2005, Kurt signed with the Cardinals and initially struggled with securing the starting job. Eventually, he won out over Matt Leinart and in 2008, led the Cardinals to their first division title since 1975. Kurt was also a starter in the 2008 Pro Bowl.

- In 2009, Kurt led the Cardinals to the Superbowl, only losing to Big Ben's miraculous TD throw to Santonio Holmes.

- He's a 4 time Pro-Bowler and a 2 time First Team All -Pro.

- Kurt tied Dan Marino as the fastest player to pass for 30,000 in 114 games.

- He ranks 5th all time in career passing rating at a 93.7 (ranking above Montana and Brady).

- Kurt ranks second all time in completion percentage at 65.4%. (And its not like he dinks and dunks it down the field.)

Kurt Warner is now the 2nd player ever to throw 100 TD passes with two teams. Quite an achievement, if you think about it.  Here's hoping he caps off a Hall of Fame career with another Superbowl this year.

Patriots go down

Wow, it is surprising to see them get destroyed like that at home, in the playoffs no less.  I had predicted a Baltimore upset, but not a beatdown.  Still, I couldn't be happier to see Brady and Belicheat go down embarrassingly in round 1 like that.  However, with Belicheat dumping Richard Seymour right before Week 1, its clear Belicheat didn't think he'd be competing for it all this year.

How bout them Cowboys?

Cowherd said this morning that the Eagles hadn't beaten a winning team all season (minus the Matt Ryan-less Falcons).  That makes the Cowboys victory a little less stunning, but not much.  Obviously, no coach or QB was under more pressure to win coming into the playoffs and Romo showed up for the biggest game of his career.  While some experts are now fully on the bandwagon, proclaiming them the best team in football, I have to see an away win vs the Vikings to believe it.  The NFC sure is wide open this year, isn't it?

Jets Jets Jets, who cares

In the trojan QB bowl, Sanchez gets the best of Palmer.  Big deal, there's no way they get past the Chargers.  I did think Sanchez' dig at Carroll was hilarious when he said that Pete was making the wrong decision and that the statistics were against him.  Funny.  And he's right.  The track record for college coaches in the NFL is beyond horrendous.

Pete is leaving town cause he knows NCAA could sanction sc.  And he knows that his program isn't running as well as it used to be.  So he's bailing.  I wish him all the failure in the world.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Landon Donovan starts in the EPL

We've all wondered about Landon.. how is it possible that the leading scorer in the history of US Soccer could possibly be a failure in Europe (3 failed ventures in Deutschland)?  We see the other US players including Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and now even Clint Dempsey excel to the point of being the leading scorer, or elected captain or voted the fan's favorite player (McBride even has Fulham's official sports bar renamed after him).  So if Landon is the leading scorer of all time and is likely to be the greatest US player in history when its all said and done, why don't his skills translate to Europe?  Could it really be that he's just comfortable at dominating in the niche that he's carved out for himself in Concacaf and the MLS?

You could say that he's merely the leading scorer in the still young US soccer history because he's available to play on so many of the international dates due to the non Fifa aligned MLS schedule.  Also, he plays domestically here so he has the advantage of proximity over European stationed players.  Of course, we cannot discount the fact that as captain, he's often given the responsibility of penalty kicks, from which he's scored many of his goals.  But is he the US' best field player?

I understand that he is slight in stature and also that he's only effective when he has space to make use of his speed and open field abilities.  It can be argued that he is in fact a finesse player and did not and would not do so well in the rough and tumble world of German or English soccer.  (I have always wanted to see how he would do in the beautiful flowing style of Spanish soccer.)  I'm not too happy that he signed a 3 year deal with the MLS again - I would like to see him in the prime of his career, excel like McBride did in England or elsewhere.

Having said all of that, it is unquestionable that he is our most dangerous player on the field.  Our attack essentially hinges on Landon and while I don't see him necessarily as our best goal scorer, he is best at setting up goals.  He's our playmaker.  Maybe not in the way a Zidane is, but Landon is phenomenal at forcing defenses onto its heels, making them uncomfortable, and creating scoring opportunities for teammates.

So back to the question of whether or not the US' best player in history is good enough to play in the world's most famous league?  Landon was immediately given the chance to prove himself last weekend when he was handed the start for Everton at RM against big four club Arsenal.  The results were ... encouraging.

Landon was very effective in Everton's attack, torturing Arsenal's backup LB Traore all game.  He was also surprisingly given the responsibility of taking set pieces, which is strange especially since there was a chance he wasn't even going to play in this match.  However, his corner yielded Everton's first goal.  After 70 minutes of positive contribution, he was taken out.

It was a promising start to what may be one of his last chances to prove himself to the international world of soccer, to US fans and to himself.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pac 10 opener

Well, I could've gone to either the ASU game on New Year's Eve or the UofA game on Jan 2nd.  I picked the opener, which turned out to be the right decision.


Dragovic dropped 5 straight 3 pointers to hopefully get back on track.  Of course, next game he forgot how to shoot completely.  Come to think of it, he was terrible in the 2nd half of the ASU game too.

Jerime Anderson played his best game as a Bruin with 10 points, 6 boards and 6 assists.


We almost lost a 17 point lead in the 2nd half and a 7 point lead with a minute to go and we only won by 2.

Wait, that's a positive especially this year, isn't it?