Friday, November 10, 2006

Rumors and Headlines

Louisville's national title hopes? Rutgers put those to rest, pulling off the biggest victory in school history as the 15th-ranked Knights beat the No. 3 Cardinals 28-25 to stay undefeated at 9-0.

Most of the experts have Carlos Lee headed to Houston because he has a ranch there, but sources close to Lee insist the Cubs are his preferred destination because of his numbers in Wrigley Field and a chance to show up the White Sox.
Chicago Tribune

Lee and Soriano are expected to sign two of the off-season's richest contracts. And, since owner Mike Ilitch likely will authorize a payroll near $90 million, the Tigers might have the financial capability to sign one or the other.
Detroit Free Press

Early candidates to replace Josh Barfield at second base in San Diego are free agents Craig Counsell and Nomar Garciaparra and the Braves' Marcus Giles.
San Diego Union-Tribune

Two different major-league officials believed Yankees OF Gary Sheffield will end up with the Cubs or Athletics. The Padres are also in the mix, but the Astros aren't.
New York Post

LeBron James grew particularly close with Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul on Team USA this summer, though there were some incidents with others who resented the star treatment James seemed to expect. There was an incident early in Team USA's training camp when Spurs veteran Bruce Bowen took exception to a brusque exchange with James and suggested quite loudly that "a please or a thank-you would be nice on occasion."
Chicago Tribune

Larry Brown confidants say he will coach again, possibly for his buddy Michael Jordan in Charlotte.
New York Post

This past summer, Kenyon Martin was on the trade block and both the Nets and Knicks discussed trade scenarios for Martin, who declined to comment if he had requested a trade. He did spend a lot of time around the Nets during last spring's playoffs. Jason Kidd makes it no secret that he'd love to have Martin back.

Seattle has been all but mathematically eliminated as a long-term home for the Sonics, meaning the future of professional basketball in the area is down to two options -- the suburbs or so long. By overwhelmingly approving Initiative 91 on Tuesday, Seattle voters effectively ended any notion that the NBA and the team would remain in its namesake city.
Seattle Times

In an attempt to recapture his trademark accuracy, which didn't make the trip to Cleveland 11 days ago, Chad Pennington has been instructed to stick with his basic reads and stop trying to outfox the defense by scanning the entire field.
New York Daily News

When Damon Huard returns Sunday to South Florida with the NFL's second-best passer rating as the Chiefs' quarterback, it will serve as yet another painful reminder of the Dolphins' dreadful search for Dan Marino's successor. And considering former coach Dave Wannstedt chose Jay Fiedler as the starter in 2000 despite Marino's persistent lobbying for Huard to serve as his successor, it certainly could be argued that the team moved in the wrong direction.
Miami Herald

Chelsea and Manchester United have both been linked with a move for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon cost Juventus a total of £32m when he moved from Parma in 2001.
Talking Soccer

Freddy Adu has been granted permission by D.C. United and MLS to join renowned English club Manchester United for two weeks of offseason training beginning Nov. 18, the first step in what might lead to a permanent move to Europe next year.
Washington Post

Deportivo de La Coruña's Portuguese international center-back Jorge Andrade has shown himself to be open to approaches from Barcelona or Valencia. The defender let the confession slip in an interview with Portuguese daily O Jogo.

Italian giant Juventus is considering bringing Fabrizio Miccoli back to Turin. The idea is to reinforce the Vecchia Signora's attack in a potential return to Serie A given the sharp performances that the number 30 has been putting on in Portugal -- when he's not injured.

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Closer Look at Group B

As promised, we will be taking a closer look at all of the teams participating in this year’s World Cup. Today we will preview Group B. Group B is composed of England, Paraguay, Sweden, and Trinidad & Tobago.

England: England is a potential winner on paper, but as the old saying goes “the game isn’t played on paper”. England is a star studded team, and the popularity of the EPL will no doubt make even their fringe players recognizable names. England now boasts a superb goalkeeper in Paul Robinson. Gone are the blunder prone hands of David James, and no one is beckoning David Seaman to come out of retirement. The England back four are very solid. John Terry is as good as they come. Terry even scores his fair share of goals. Rio Ferdinand should pair him in central defense. While having a recovered Sol Campbell on the subs bench will be an added boost, England's greatest asset in the back line will be Ashley Cole. Cole’s overlapping runs, and his ability to cross the ball when he comes forward is a tremendous asset to this England squad. The England midfield is stacked to the rafters with world class players with the likes of Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and David Beckham, but if England is to have any success Joe Cole needs to be on the pitch. He will serve as the link between defense and front line. He might even need to act as the front line in the absence of Wayne Rooney. His pace, trickery, and ability to create something out of nothing to score crucial goals make him the man to watch for the Three Lions. The absence of Wayne Rooney is the major downfall of this team. We witnessed the implosion of the England team in Euro 2004, when Rooney left the pitch against Portugal with a foot injury. Michael Owen has not played a great deal this year, as he is returning from a serious injury himself. He might be a bit rusty. A lot was said about Peter Crouch this season. Unfortunately most of it had to do with his inability to score his first goal as a Liverpool player. Theo Walcott, at the tender age of 17 is not the player you look to solve your goalscoring needs. This is the biggest stage in world sports, and he might not be ready for this just yet. He is yet to make an appearance at senior level, for any team. The lack of firepower will prove to be a deciding factor for England. As things stand right now, they will have Wayne Rooney fit, and ready to go for the second round. The question is: Will England make it to the second round?

Paraguay: Were it not for their red and white kits, reminiscent of Atletico Madrid’s uniform, people could very well confuse the Paraguayan team, for Italian teams of years past. The Paraguayans are stingy in defense. Captain Carlos Gamarra is the epitome of the Guarani team. Gamarra is a tough tackling veteran with impeccable timing. Roberto Acuna and Carlos Paredes are also a strong tackling duo in the Paraguayan midfield. Both have been longtime servants for the Albiroja. Paraguay’s man to watch will be Nelson Valdez. The youngster from Werder Bremen can score goals. He scored a couple of goals in last season’s Champions League, and his good displays left many top European sides phoning to inquire about his services despite being used mostly as a substitute. Germany 2006 can prove to be a springboard in his career. Based on their previous World Cup performances, and their ability to grind out results look for Paraguay to make it to the second round, and depending on who they face, look for them to go even further.

Sweden: The Swedes will rely heavily on their potent attack. Sweden possesses one of the most lethal attacks in this year’s World Cup. Juventus striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has everything you ask for in a striker. He is big, he is strong, he has great technique, and he is a deadly striker of the ball. That equation only has one answer and it is goals, goals, and more goals. His strike partner is none other than Henrik Larsson. Some might see him as being over the hill, but he is as lively as when he sprung on the scene as a dreadlocked youngster in USA 94. Since then he has scored goals, upon goals, and proved that even now he is capable of competing and scoring in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe. The front two will look to Freddie Ljungberg to feed them with the passes they need to score goals. Ljungberg has fallen off considerably at Arsenal, but at only 28 years of age he still has a lot to offer. He can still fly down the wings and provide the pass, or take it upon himself to score fabulous goals. A solid defense, that is excellent in the air due to the height and strength of their defenders, will be troublesome to their opposition. Sweden is sure to progress to the next round, and progress in style they will.

Trinidad & Tobago: Making it to their first ever World Cup the Soca Warriors are already winners. They are not here to win the trophy, but rather to bask in the glory of participating in the world’s most prestigious sporting event. This tournament also provides some aged stars the opportunity to participate in an event that had eluded them their entire careers. Trinidad’s man to watch, Dwight Yorke, had until now been denied the privilege of duplicating his club team success at national team level. The deadly striker nearly finished his career without participating in a World Cup. A sad fact for many soccer legends who were not lucky enough to be born in Brazil, or Italy. T&T are not here to solely make up the numbers. Since their ambition is not to win the tournament, the pressure is minimal for them. This will allow them to play the spoilers. Winning a single game would constitute a major victory for them. Trinidad & Tobago's unsung hero is Christopher Birchall. The Port Vale attacking midfielder is responsible for the goal that has the Soca Warriors in the tournament, and he can repeat his heroics by scoring another goal this summer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fantasy Football Week 5 Preview

Believe it or not but David Carr is actually a decent starting option week to week, due to his running ability. Joey Galloway is for real, and he's the new #1 in Tampa Bay, ahead of Michael Clayton. Vinny Testaverde has been named the Jets starting quarterback, thus making Laveranues Coles relevant again this week. Najeh Davenport is pushing Ahman Green for carries, not to mention that Green is suffering from a bum knee and hamstring. Consider picking up Davenport as insurance for Green. Willie Parker is a risky start this week with Duce Staley set to get more carries and with Jerome Bettis returning. Mark my words, this is the week that Andre Johnson breaks out. Look for the Texans in general to have a big day against the Titans. For the second week in a row J.P. Losman threw for 75 yards, don't be surprised to see Kelly Holcomb quarterbacking the Bills soon. And finally, you do not want to be the Atlanta Falcons this week hosting the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who are coming off an embarrassing loss at home to the Chargers.

1. Najeh Davenport RB/GB vs. NO
2. Josh McCown QB/AZ vs. CAR
3. Chris Henry WR/CIN at JAC
4. Kelly Holcomb QB/BUF vs. MIA
5. Michael Pittman RB/TB at NYJ

1. Laveranues Coles WR/NYJ vs. TB
2. Andre Johnson WR/HOU vs. TEN
3. David Carr QB/HOU vs. TEN
4. Thomas Jones RB/CHI at CLE
5. Reggie Wayne WR/IND at SF

1. Willie Parker RB/PIT at SD
2. Ahman Green RB/GB vs NO
3. Steelers DST/PIT at SD
4. Cadillac Williams RB/TB at NYJ
5. Ruben Droughns RB/CLE vs CHI