Archive for June, 2010

The Thundering Blurb Show – 6/28

Lots of interesting stuff on the show last night – as always, appreciated the large turnout in the chat as well as all the downloads and live listeners.

If you missed it, hit it here for the show.

First we chatted about the information surfacing that Chris Henry (the Bengals wide receiver who died last year after being flung from the bed of a pickup) had incurred chronic traumatic encephalopathy which may have contributed to his poor decision making.

I go into my opinions thoroughly in the show but a few brief thoughts here. First, we need to cut back on the gasps and ‘oooohhhh’ responses I am seeing. One study of one guy who died being flung out of a truck – likely incurring more head injuries – is not the answer.

How much can we really glean that much from studying a person who died in part due to massive trauma like Chris henry did? Shouldn’t we be studying living individuals over a period of time – from a very young age to retired players – before we draw definitive analysis?

I mean, we know repeated trauma does damage. But how, when and what the threshold for permanant damage is way too unknown to start inferring that Henry’s bad decisions were because of them.

I’m always hesistant to spin that kind of explanation anyway. People – concussed or not – do really dumb crap. All the time. As a race, humans like explanations that are simple. We want to believe that a guy like Henry – by all accounts a very nice guy – wouldn’t do the foolish and dangerous things he did on purpose. That there is some reason for it.

Maybe there is. But there’s always the chance that a guy just does dumb things until he pays for them.

I will say this – it’s ridiculous that it takes an alleged rape (Roethlisberger) and a death (Henry) to get the NFL and the NFLPA to take this seriously. I know a lot of ex-players. I have a young son who wants to play organized football.

I’d like to know that both the above parties are safe and protected. This has to be dealt with and should NOT be lumped into CBA talks. It’s above it and shouldn’t be a chess piece.

I also talk a bit about the affect of better protection and highlight reel hits on the general health of players.

Next up, I talk a bit about fantasy analysis and the difference between forging a new path and ice skating up hill – in other words ranking or being high or down on a player ‘just to go against the group’. I touch on group-think and we talk a bit about how just following the herd sometimes gets you nowhere in fantasy football.

Finally we start a new segment where tackle a topic suggested by the listeners. You can throw me an idea via thunderingblurb at gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter.

Monday afternoons I will put out the call for topics. Follow me and you can toss in your suggestions.

Last night’s topic was delivered by Joe Everrette of The Fantasy Exchange - one of the fellows I did Smashmouth Wednesdays with for the past year before the change.

Joe suggested I talk about how the injury to Willie Colon will affect the already shaky Steelers offensive line as well as the fantasy (and non-fantasy) prospects of the offense as a whole.

So I spend some time on that and following the chatroom lead (as I am wont to do) also touch on the San Francisco 49ers Oline status as well.

Good show – as always, thanks for listening and reading.

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The Thundering Blurb Show – 6/21

Hey folks – short on time again today as I have a ‘moving up ceremony’ to go to in a bit. My son is moving from pre-k to k.

It’s sort of crazy having a ceremony for that but he’s excited and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

For the show, click here and head over to BTR for the extra long episode!

Yup, we went long last night but I’ll get to why it happened in a few minutes.

We caught up on a lot of NFL talk last night, starting with the somewhat ridiculous injury to Steve Smith’s arm while – depending on who you believe – he was playing with kids or playing in an adult flag football league.;

Either way, Panthers (and fantasy owners) are likely disgruntled this morning.

I talk a little more news and then get special surprise guest Matt Waldman, fellow staff writer at Footballguys.com. If you’ve followed the show for any length of time you’ll also know his work from the Rookie Scouting Portfolio and his Weekly Gut Check column at FBGs as well.

We bat around a bunch of fantasy players, generally talking about some guys coming back from injury like Cadillac Williams, Marion Barber, Clinton Portis and Matt Forte.

Some good back and forth so check it out. i also pick Matt’s brain about some sleeper players, some deep fantasy guys and Jeremiah Masoli leaving Oregon.

After we wrap that, the show is butting up against 60 minutes but I stayed around another segment to recap the general chaos and aftermath of College Football Realignment Shuffle.

I talk about a few good articles over at ESPN on the subject which I came across. I don’t agree with all of it but there are some solid points.

Anyway, as always, thanks for coming by, thanks for listening and thanks for spreading the word. Monday has been a huge success so far and I appreciate the patience as I find the balance between the college and NFL stuff.

You can always email me comments, requests and general chitchat at thunderingblurb AT gmail.com or catch me on twitter here.

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The Thundering Blurb Show – 6/14

A big hello to new folks following, reading or stalking the show. We saw a bit of an uptick in listeners and I hope you all stick around for the duration – we’re going to have a lot to talk about before both the NFL and CFB seasons begin and we’re just a little while away from a big Blurb announcement.

So STAY TUNED! *cue ominous music*

As for this week, I welcomed InTheBleachers.Net’s own Michael Felder to catch up on some of the huge NCAA CFB news raining down upon us.

I had expected to do a lot of speculation over where Texas might end up, but they hosed me (along with the Pac Whatever and probably the other teams in the Big 12) by about facing again and deciding they would remain in the Big 12.

It’s a last second miracle and the rest of the teams who had been ready to bail on the Big 12 are staying too. Before we call Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe a genius though, let’s see what he sold out the rest of the teams for to keep Texas. We know Texas gets it’s freedom to start it’s own network as well as gain revenue from any Big 12 deal. The Big 12 gets money and a little more prestige.

As Michael and I mention, Texas also has a clear shot at a Bowl Bid and perhaps National Title contention with a week Big 12 field just about any year.

Texas is now Notre Dame, but in a conference with some solid revenue.

What does Oklahoma do? What does Nebraska mean to the Big Ten? Might there be more changes coming?

Michael and I also jump into the Pac-10 (11? 12), talk about Colorado and potentially Utah joining up and what that might mean. At the top of the show we also talk some USC Sanctions and what that will mean for the school.

We also talk about the SEC and Big Ten a bit and segue into some ACC/Big East talk. Can either conference breathe a sigh of relief? Neither of us think so.

I want to thank Michael for coming by and urge you to check out InTheBleachers.net (and it’s awesome IPhone app) for some great college football podcasts and articles.

And of course, thank you for coming by and listening in.

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USC CFB Sanctions – Here Comes The Hammer

So – and really it’s not officially official until the press conferences happen – but there are reports are that the NCAA has finally gotten it’s courage up and bringing the hammer down on USC.

As far as sanctions go, it’s not too far over the top. It’ll hurt but it’s not a killing blow.

First off, a few things. One, I went to USC and I am a Pac 10 fan. So I’m not gunning for USC and I’m no hater.  Two, I’ve been super critical about the ‘first not best’ reporting of the media for the last month. I stand by that.

Listen, either get it right or don’t print it. If people worried about getting a story right and doing it well, maybe they wouldn’t catch crap when the story is wrong because they jumped early.

Also, it’s almost depressing how quickly some of the media gets their knives out about stuff like this. I understand fans hating USC. But some national level columnists are acting like bitter kids.

As a country we both crave and hate success – and oh how we love the fall.

Media is no different. It’s already tiresome to read column after column of ’USC got away again’ because the NCAA didn’t drop nuclear missles or something.

Maybe it’s tired because  this has been dragging on for nearly five years. Which is stupid. This isn’t a FBI investigation into a crafty serial killer. It’s not an episode of CSI: Miami.

It’s an investigation into a) whether Reggie Bush took money during college and b) whether USC knew.

I’ll give you two years. On a morning where I’m in a good mood, you could talk me into three years. Four? Five? Come on.

You know what dragging your feet does NCAA? Here it is – in caps so I KNOW you can see what I’m saying:

IT LETS EVERYONE RESPONSIBLE LEAVE AND ESCAPE YOUR WRATH.

Who is getting punished by the ban? Not Pete Carroll. He bugged out as soon as investigators finally looked serious. Not Reggie Bush – he was gone before you started your investigation. 

So a bunch of students – none of which were even at school when USC screwed up – are now hosed. Just like the OJ Mayo debacle, it’s not the guilty who are punished, but those left behind.

Except Lane Kiffin, who was there for the Bush fiasco, left, then ran back in time to get sanctioned. So one out of at least three, probably more?

Nicely done NCAA.

But enough about the broader aspects of this. Let’s talk details.

Assuming this is all true – and I’m giving benefit of the doubt since reports are coming out of Los Angeles this time – here’s the nitty gritty.

According to ESPNLosAngeles:

The USC football program will receive a two-year postseason ban, a reduction in scholarships and a forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season when the NCAA releases its sanctions on Thursday, a source told ESPN’s Shelley Smith.

Let’s examine this point by point. Before I go further though, the article mentions that it is possible (I don’t know about likely) that the school could be considered a repeat offender as they were sanctioned in 2001.

If you get sanctioned again within five years of your first sanction, the NCAA can lower an even bigger hammer on your head. Now you may ask yourself ‘Self? How could a violation in 2001 cause repeat offender status in 2010?’m

Your ‘Self’ may not have an answer but I’ll point to the snail-like pace of the NCAA again where the violations happened way back in 2004 but they only just got their act together.

Clearly this is stuck in my craw, so let’s acknowledge I think it was way too long and move on.

Assuming the repeat offender thing isn’t a reality then the penalties are harsh for those still at USC, but aren’t earth-shattering.

1) The two-year postseason ban – This sucks for the kids there (and new staff not named Kiffin) but it isn’t that terrible. Also, if the Pac 10 expansion happens, I’m not sure if this applies to any BigPac Championship games (that title is Pat. Pending by the way) so USC may still have a crack at a Title of some sort.

Again, who does this hurt? The people at USC who weren’t when Bush and Carroll violated NCAA rules. This is why I think anyone calling for tougher sanctions needs their heads examined.

Matt Barkley should be punished more for something someone did when he was starting high school? Isn’t it enough he’s going to miss the post-season for two years?

For some, nope. Hate of USC trumps sense I guess.

I think many of the players will stick it out, but I can imagine some other schools are drooling over maybe stealing a few players. That could be a problem for USC, but they seem to be able to hold onto recruits far longer than you’d think.

People go to USC because it’s USC – that’s why they can have three great running backs and a host of linebackers – all of whom could start elsewhere – on the bench and recruit more of the same.

Speaking of recruiting, this will hurt a little in the short term but long term, it will be a blip. USC was able to withstand the defection of Carroll, the knowledge something was happening with the NCAA and the arrival of Kiffin just fine.

I think in the end, the brand will recruit the kids regardless. And some of these kids will barely even see the sanctions – guys recruited for 2011 and 2012 might not care. It’ll be over by the time they reach the atatus of starter.

As a whole the school could lose out on money from a major bowl (which despite the above linked article’s opinion, isn’t that far fetched for USC) and that will affect the entire conference.

But again, definitely something you can recover from.

2) A reduction in scholarships – This also isn’t a disaster although it isn’t great. I read somewhere in the last few days that USC was well under their limit of scholarships so it might sting less, but it’s never good to lose more than 20 scholarships.

Will this lose them recruits until they earn them back (I don’t even know right now how long they lose them for)? Perhaps. But USC has recruited well for years and if you think that the cream of the crop will be the ones without the full ride, you’re dreaming.

This might hurt the bench depth more than anything. And like the post-season ban, totally surmountable.

3) Forfeiture of wins from at least the 2004 season – this hurts the present team the least as – sure losing a shiny trophy sucks, but history is history. Various Pac 10 teams and Auburn will likely feel a bit smug, but they still didn’t really win a title because let’s face it – at the end of the day they lost and you can ‘what if’ it to death and nobody outside of those groups really will care.

I think it’d be nice for the players from way back when to get their rewards, but no recruit is going to go ‘Wait you lost games in 2004 due to sanctions? Let me get Michigan on the phone…’.

So again, not a crisis.

Really, as far as USC is concerned the sanctions aren’t pleasant but also not insurmountable. So long term, not horrible.

Couple that with the news that the Pac 10 is likely expanding, including perhaps Texas – and you can almost breathe a sigh of relief.

It’s over – although you can guess USC may contest the ruling which would mean more nonsense and likely 14 more years of deliberation.

But for NOW it appears to be over. Like most sanctions, everyone is probably unsatisfied. There are some who feel USC got off lightly and there are some who may think the sanctions are too much – there are some walking around blank eyed and sure that all is well *COUGHNCAACOUGH* even though it took so long to be dealt with.

In the end, USC shouldn’t have much trouble rebounding two years from now and we’ll move on and forget this happened. Could the sanctions have been tougher? Perhaps. I don’t have all the details so I don’t know what they had to judge on. 

It seems to me the length of time says they had to work awfully hard to prove anything – and so I imagine that it’s a fair amount of punishment even if there isn’t enough bloodletting for some.

Besides, Texas will remind them Vince Young beat them in the Rose Bowl in 2006 every time they see each other.

That might be painful enough.

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The Thundering Blurb Football Show – 6/2

Lots of stuff to cover last night not the least of which is the new show time.

Check out the whole episode here.

First off, the new time and day for the Blurb show will be Mondays at 9pm EST! As I’ve said before (and said on the show) it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Joe, Momo, Jared, Ray, Tony and Jim in making the Wednesday night thing work and I’m going to miss it. It’s hard to regret leaving given I love working with Footballguys, but all the same it is a great group and it was a great night to be on.

Now I can harass them in the chats when I can break free on a night though and that might be even better!

During the show we hit some NFL News and notes throughout the evening as well as touch on the Jets approaching my work to see if we wanted PSLs, the ridiculousness of the ‘USC is going to get sanctioned’ weekly refrain, CFB Tv talk (should Notre Dame join a conference? Haven’t we done this before?) and touching on the news that Wes Welker is already practicing.

Looking forward to the move – make sure you tune in next Monday – the Itunes feed will, of course, remain the same.

Thanks to everyone who has made Wednesday night a success by listening and participating. I hope you stick around for the guys when I am gone, and followme to Monday nights – College football reviews, NFL recaps and Monday Night Football – we’ll be going hard every Monday night this year!

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