Monday, February 27, 2006

Sports: Mid-major items over at

Whelliston breaks down the first of the post-season tournaments in the mid-majors.

Vitale praises the new NIT post-season tournament:
The committee has already made some positive changes. If a school wins its league regular-season title but loses in its conference tournament, it will automatically be invited to the NIT. That is a big deal for a low-major left out of the Big Dance despite winning the conference regular-season crown.
He also reports that the 40 teams will be seeded:
The field will be seeded from No. 1 to No. 40, with the higher seeds getting the home-court advantage. That is also a positive move. The committee will take the 40 best available teams after the NCAA picks its 34 at-large bids.
I take it the RPI will be a big factor in their seeding process. I also wonder if data that the NCAA uses to determine the field of 65 will be handed off to the NIT selection committee.

Culture: Februrary 28 - National Pancake Day

Did you know tomorrow is National Pancake Day?

Does it sound more healthy than Fat Tuesday?

Anyway, my latest post over at is up.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sports: NIT Bracketology

UPDATE: Here is 2007 NIT Bracketology.

UPDATE: Welcome Rutger fans! This post was the second of three "NIT Bracketology" posts. My most current 2006 NIT Bracketology is my third edition and I have Rutgers in the NIT. In my initial two posts on the topic, I was still in the mode of hunting for mid-major programs the NIT might want but upon reflection I think the NIT will bring in a lot more power conference teams because they have better RPIs and will make the NCAA (now owns the NIT) more dollars.

Okay, it is that time again for NIT Bracketology (and a mighty roar came up from the crowd) or how teams are playing themselves off the NCAA bubble into the NIT!

1. Virginia
2. Miami
3. Maryland
Big East
4. Seton Hall
5. Providence
6. Louisville
Big Ten
7. Indiana
8. Penn State
9. Minnesota
Big 12
10. Texas A&M
11. Nebraska
12. Texas Tech
13. Stanford
14. USC
15. Vanderbilt
16. Georgia
17. Charlotte
18. St. Louis
19. La Salle
Atlantic Sun
20. Libscomb/Belmont
Big Sky
21. Northern Arizona/Montana
Big South
22. Birmingham Southern/Winthrop
Big West
23. Pacific/UC Irvine
24. Hofstra
25. Old Dominion
26. UAB
27. UTEP
28. Wisc Milwaukee/Butler
Metro Atlantic
29. Iona/Manhattan
30. IUPUI/Oral Roberts
31. Kent State/Akron
Missouri Valley
32. Bradley
Mountain West
33. BYU
34. Fairleigh Dickinson/Central Conn
Ohio Valley
35. Murray State/Samford
36. Lehigh
37. Georgia Southern/Davidson
Sun Belt
38. W. Kentucky/S. Alabama
West Coast
39. San Diego
40. Utah State


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sports: Anteaters take care of Aggies

UC Irvine Anteaters beat UC Davis Aggies 82-68.

Anteaters dominated in every aspect of the game: shooting percentage 53% to 40%, rebounding 32-21, assists 19 to 11 and in free throws where UCI went 21 for 21 compared to 11-14 for UC Davis.

One game left in the regular season.

The Eaters are in the semi-finals of the post-season tournament.

Will this be the year they make it to the NCAA?

I've bought my tickets to the Big West Tournament!

Here's hoping the Anteaters have 4 more games this season!

Culture: Is is moral to sell organs for transplantation?

The other day, I heard an NPR news report about the growing concern over the black market for organ donations.

The reality is that there are far more people who need life saving transplants than there are organs for them.

If no family or friend is an immunological match (or willing to be a donor), then the patient must wait for someone who dies who has indicated their desire to be an organ donor and who is an immunologically compatible donor. While on these waiting lists some will die.

The news item said that there is a growing black market for organs and the discussion is beginning about making the whole process legal and fully transparent.

Being an organ donor is not a simple thing. As good as medical technology is, it is not risk free for the donor. In estimating how much a donor would be paid, the report said the following factors need to be considered: How much medical care the donor will need in making the donation and in possible future medical expenses? How much in lost wages will the donor incur for participating? How much additional money should be provided for them to do the donation since they are not "giving" the organ to a family member or friend?

One of the persons being interviewed said this, right now, if I wanted to, I could go out and sell my eggs to a couple who want children. I could also "rent" out my womb because I've had children in the past and my womb "works." This is completely legal in America. People can debate whether it is moral but it is totally legal. So why not make the selling of organs legal?

My gut reaction to listening to this news story is revulsion. There just seems to me something viscerally wrong with auctioning eggs and renting out wombs and selling organs.

We allow people to sell their blood for making medically important products.

For instance, there is Rh hemolytic disease when the baby inside mom is Rh+ and mom is Rh-. The mom could develop antibodies to the baby's Rh+ blood which in turn destroys the baby's blood and causes the baby problems.

To counter act this, an Rh- mom can receive a small amount of antibodies to Rh+ collected from donor blood which is bought in the free market to manufacture these products. These exogenous Rh+ antibodies destroy the small number of the baby's Rh+ blood that has mixed with mom thus preventing the mom from mounting a full scale immunological attack on the Rh+ blood from baby.

This seems to me to be completely legal and moral.

But what is the moral difference between selling blood and buying organs, renting out a womb or putting a woman's eggs on the free market for childless couples?

And now, there is the embryonic stem cells research issue. Advocates say, there are all these frozen embryos left over from in vitro fertilization, why not use them for research? They are going to either decay in storage or be thrown out. Why not use them for research?

Most people think, okay, makes sense. But, my guts are wobbling. It doesn't sit right with me.

Let's say the research proves moderately successful. Let's say the collection of left over embryos are running out. Researchers then are in the position of having to say, well, we need more, we are THIS CLOSE to a breakthrough, we need more embryos. At that point, we will be faced with people deliberately going to IVF clinics to generate embryos to donate them to be consumed by research or paying people to donate sperm and eggs to make embryos to destroy them for the progress of research.

My gut reaction to this scenario is revulsion.

Is there or is there not a moral difference between:
1) paying for blood for medical products
2) paying for organs for transplantation
3) paying for eggs for childless couples
4) paying for a womb for a childless couple who can't carry their own to term
5) paying for embryos for research?

Currently 1, 3 and 4 are legal.

Some people will say all 5 should be legal and consider all 5 moral.

Some will say all 5 should be legal but may consider some immoral and acknowledge that not all legal things are moral.

My "guts" send a steady "red light" with 4 and 5. My "guts" have a "yellow light" with 2 and 3. And my "guts" give me a "green light" on 1.

Am I wrong?

And why are my "guts" telling me different things while others are giving a green light to all 5 things?

UPDATE: Dr. Sally Satel is a resident scholar at AEI and she is getting a kidney from her friend, Virginia Postrel, a blogger I read fairly regularly. Surgery is scheduled for Saturday, March 4. All the best to both of them!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sports: Web site devoted to mid-major basketball

Kyle Whelliston has a web page devoted to mid-major basketball called

From mousing around his site, it looks like he started as a blogger and now has been called up to the MSM = main stream media as an contributor.

I ran a search on Big West to see if he had written anything about the Anteaters.

Unfortunately, at that moment, the server site of "Mid-Majority, truth, justice and college basketball" came to a grinding halt. It managed to load an archive list of older posts but that was that as the site froze up.

There was an entry on Darren Fells, the 6-7, 250 pound power forward/center for UCI. I saw him in the Cal Poly game. He did get some points down low where his size and mobility made him hard to stop. He snagged the most rebounds for the Eaters. Alas, he also fumbled a few passes and being big means the refs are more likely to call a foul on contact. I am curious what he has to say about Fells, so I'll have to visit the site again.

There was also a game summary on Pacific's victory over UCI which I'll want to check. Pacific showed they were the top team in the Big West by easily defeating the Anteaters that night. I kept up with that game via Yahoo! Sports and streaming audio. The Anteaters had lots of turnovers and the senior guard tandem of Fitzgerald and Schraeder had an off night.

The Big West is headed toward being a one-bid conference this year as it is in most years. Pacific hasn't had as dominating a season as last year when they got an at-large bid (and advanced to round 2) making the Big West a two-bid conference, a very rare occurrence.

In any case, Rip 'Em 'Eaters, Zot, Zot, Zot!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sports: Joey Cheek Donates Bonuses to Charity

Here's a heartwarming story. Excerpt:
TURIN, Italy -- Joey Cheek's gold and silver medals give him the largest hardware haul of any U.S. speedskater and make him America's first multiple medalist of these Winter Games.

But his breakout has been lost amid the soap opera involving teammates Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick.
What Cheek is really excited about is donating another $15,000 to Right To Play, a charity that helps children in Sudan. Cheek signed over the $25,000 U.S. Olympic Committee bonus he got for Monday's gold medal in the 500 to the group; he'll do the same with the silver medal check he earned Saturday.

"I think we've had eight or nine companies or individuals match my original $25,000, and it looks like we're over a quarter of a million dollars donated -- and more keeps coming in," he said. "I'm much more proud of that than winning a gold medal."
Check out the Right To Play web page for their humanitarian work around the world.

Sports: Do the math - 0.06 seconds separate first from third

A close contest in Women's 1000m Speed Skating.

Marianne Timmer from the Netherlands edged out Canadian Cindy Klassen by 0.04 seconds and Anni Friesinger of Germany finished third 0.06 seconds behind.

The winning time was 1 minute 16.05 seconds.

1000 meters in 76.05 seconds = 13.15 meters/second.

13.15 meters/second x 0.04 seconds = 0.53 meters.

0.53 meters x 39.37 inches/meter = 21 inches.

Depending on the size of your foot, the difference between first and second is less than the length of two skate boots!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sports: Bracket Busters

This weekend was the ESPN Bracket Buster for mid-major teams.

The Big West had 4 teams go on the road and 4 stay at home for this showcase event.

How did the Big West do?

They went 5-3!

Long Beach topped Manhatten.

Cal State Fullerton beat Eastern Washington.

UC Riverside defeated Southeast Missouri State.

UC Santa Barbara was victorious over San Jose State.

Cal Poly lost to St. Mary's.

Cal State Northridge fell to Boise State.

Pacific succumbed in overtime to New Mexico State.

UC Irvine held off Drake.

Sagarin rates the Big West as 19th of the 32 Division I men's basketball conferences.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sports: Tough day to be a US female Olympic athlete

Lindsey Kildow who had crashed on the Alpine downhill earlier in the week and was hospitalized crashed again today. Excerpt:
Kildow's tough Olympics took another nasty turn when she lost her balance midway through the run and fell on her backside. Although the wipeout was nothing compared to her free-falling crash in training for the downhill -- a crash that required an airlift to a Torino hospital -- Kildow lay there for a moment, then worked her way to the sideline.

"I couldn't go five gates without having to sob and recuperate because my back hurt so bad," Kildow said. "I just can't ski the way I want, so it's really frustrating, but I'm happy to be here."

She called her fall a potential "blessing in disguise" because, instead of racing Saturday, she'd be able to rest and for Sunday's super-G.
Kildow is truly a competitor. No one would have blamed her if she decided to take some time to recover. Instead, she went out there to compete knowing she wasn't at her best and would not win. She nonetheless finished eighth in the downhill. Americans love winners but we also love fighters who go out there and push the envelope giving it their best no matter what.

The USA Women's curling team finished second last year in the world championships raising expectations. The past week has been a hard lesson on competing on the world stage. They suffered two previous losses by just one point each in the extra end. Today's loss was another one point extra end heartbreaker. Rooting for the "Curlgirls" to keep at it in their three remaining games and keep up the competitive spirit.

Both USA and Canada's women's ice hockey teams knew the footsteps of the other nations were getting closer. Team USA didn't plan on it overtaking them today when Sweden defeated them in the shootout after going to a 2-2 tie.

I had previously posted a profile on Chanda Gunn the USA goalie. With a shootout where the cameras would be on the goalie, I could picture in my mind that Chanda would take the loss very hard. And indeed, in this story, we find that she felt that burden deeply yet found it within herself to lead her team in the ceremonial handshake and to express her loyalty to her teammates. Excerpt:
Gunn had been the hero of last spring's World Championships, when the Americans defeated Canada in a shootout to win their first gold medal at that tournament. This time, she raced to the bench as the Swedes spilled onto the ice and flung down her gloves and mask.

She appeared headed for the dressing room when coach Smith stopped her, and she returned to the ice for the ceremonial handshake, actually leading her teammates before disappearing quickly into the changing area.

"I was the only person who could have won or lost the shootout for my team, and we didn't win, so I wasn't feeling great," Gunn said later, her voice cracking, eyes red. "The first thing I wanted to do was get off the ice. The last place I wanted to be was hanging around the celebrating."

Asked what her teammates had said to console her, Gunn sobbed. "My teammates. I wouldn't choose 19 other people in the world to play beside," she said. "They're all very supportive of me."
I'm sure her coach and her teammates told her, you didn't lose this one. We have won as a team and today we lost as a team. Chanda, you are one of the reasons we got this far. Have yourself a good cry, we all will. Do what you need to do to unwind. Get some sleep. We'll be back to take on the Finns and we'll need you and we will do it together.

But the athlete feeling the heat from the critics (and I would imagine she is her own worst critic) the most has to be Lindsey Jacobellis who on her way to a gold medal crashed in snowboard cross finishing second for the silver.

Her gaffe is joining the list of unfortunate events ripe for criticism and mocking.

Initially, she gamely tried to stick to the "cover story" that she was trying to get more stability while in the air. But in the end, she had to fess up and be a stand up girl and own up to her blunder. Excerpt:
In the moments after the race, Jacobellis insisted it was pretty much standard operating procedure and that she did it only to "create stability."

A few hours later, in a conference call, she held to that point, but also conceded there might have been some showboating going on.

"I was having fun," she said. "Snowboarding is fun. I was ahead. I wanted to share my enthusiasm with the crowd. I messed up. Oh well, it happens."
I would imagine that Lindsey's friends and family are telling her: Here is a big bear hug. There are enough people beating you like a pinata and you are beating yourself up over it. You'll be the punch line of a lot pithy sports headlines and the video of today's event is going to live on for decades in blooper shows. In time, the hurt will go away. But for now, no doubt about it, some people will judge you on this one thing alone and be quite harsh about it. Those people aren't your friends. You know who you are and that your life isn't this one thing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sports: If it weren't for USA snowboarders ...

At this moment, US medal winners total nine.

It should be noted that five of them are from snowboarders.

Having seen brief interview clips of our snowboarders ... what can you say ... they are typical of what people like and don't like about Americans ... outgoing and happy and a little goofy!

UPDATE: Came across this item about USA snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis. Excerpt:
Unlike so many snowboarders who subscribe to grunge-inspired, alternative fashions, she's a "girlie girl" with an affection for high-heeled shoes. And she's a nervous drama queen in the hours leading up to a race. But once she finds the will to launch herself into the course, she becomes a fierce, rugged competitor with the confidence and cunning to pull out passes in parts of courses where no one would have expected it.
She's handled her newfound fame with sensitivity, recognizing how young snowboarders in grocery stores spend time building up the courage to ask for an autograph. She smiles self-effacingly as she describes how many of them simply say, "Cool," and dart away after she has complied.
The event she is in is called snowboard cross where 4 people snowboard down a course and they can collide!

Jacobellis is the current world champion in the event. If you didn't know her and only knew how the event looks like, you might guess she is a big and burly girl. Well, she isn't. She's 5'5" 120 pounds and 20 years old. But inside this small package is a fierce competitor. To read more about her go here. Excerpts:
The bank turns in SBX are her favorite because she can pick up speed. Jacobellis admits that she feels nauseous and is full of adrenaline in the starting gate before an SBX event, but that as soon as the gate opens her instincts take over and she's in control.
Though not easily noticed under her skiing helmet, Jacobellis' curly blonde hair has healing power. In support of a neighbor with cancer, she once donated 10 inches of it to Locks of Love, an organization that makes wigs for kids who have lost hair due to chemotherapy or alopecia.
Competition for Women's Snowboard Cross runs all day Friday 17 Februrary.


Image source:

UPDATE: Argh! Lindsey finished second. Excerpt:
Women's Snowboard Cross Lindsey Jacobellis had the Olympic women's snowboard cross won, and then -- incredibly, inexcusably -- she made one last move on the next-to-last jump and fell.

She lost.

Coasting to what should have been an easy victory, the American grabbed her board on the way to the finish line. It caused her to fall and while she scrambled to her feet, Switzerland's Tanja Frieden sped past and became the first champion in the strange and wild sport of Olympic women's snowboard cross Friday.

Jacobellis won silver, but should have had the gold. She was well, well ahead of Frieden, and the other two women in the four-rider final had fallen long before.
She is taking quite a bit of criticism for the defeat. Talk about "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat!" Especially tough when the defeat was the result of an apparent error on her part.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sports: Anteaters clinch at least second place

UCI romps over UC Riverside. With the victory, UCI advances to 10-3 in conference with only one conference game to go. Even with a loss they would still finish second. The #1 and #2 seeds get automatic berths in the semi-finals of the Big West post-season tournament. From that spot, it is two wins to the NCAAs.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sports: UCI Homecoming, Anteaters vs. Mustangs

The fearsome anteater in front of the Bren Center!

Peter the Anteater was working the crowd and posing for pictures.

Aside from taking pictures of the passing scene, I did wind up watching the basketball game.

UCI lost a close one to Cal Poly SLO on Saturday 61-58.

It has been several years since I last made the trek down to the Bren to see a game. The last time I was down there was to see a game during Jerry Green's final season with the Eaters. The teams with the star guard had the best shot at the NCAAs in the history of the basketball program at Irvine. But the Big West is a usually a one-bid conference and the Eaters stumbled in the post-season tournament leaving them NIT bound.

With the homecoming crowd of students and alums, the attendance was 4500. As I watched the game, it started to remind me of the game I heard on Thursday via streaming audio. It was a close game and UCI had some turnovers on key possessions. They couldn't get rebounds on some late possessions which allowed the other team second and third shots and buckets. And in the case of Cal Poly, they weren't able to keep up with the speedy water bug of a guard in Trae Clark.

The students in the yellow shirts are part of the CIA = completely insane anteaters. They stood the whole game and made a racket! Probably not as much as the Cameron Crazies (the Duke Blue Devil fans).

With the loss, the Anteaters slip to 2nd place in the Big West. They have 2 games left in conference (against UC Riverside and "the Beach" a.k.a. Long Beach State) and 2 non-conference games (UC Davis and Drake as part of the ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday) before the Big West Tournament.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sports: NIT Bracketology

UPDATE: Due to "popular" demand, NIT Bracketology 2007 is up. Please note that this is NIT Bracketology for 2006.

UPDATE: Welcome LSU Tiger Fans! Sorry, but this blog post is from 2006. For an up-to-date NIT Bracketology, go here to 2007 NITology. We aim to please TTC readers devoted and accidental! 8-)

UPDATE: Welcome RUTGERS fans!!! This post was the first of 3 of "2006 NIT Bracketology" and my most current 2006 NIT Bracketology is up. In my first two editions, I was working on finding mid-major teams that the NIT might want to bring in. But upon reflection, I think the NIT will go with a lot more from the power conferences because they have better RPIs and since the NCAA (now owns NIT) will want more fans in the stands. Thus, I think Rutgers is in for the NIT.

Lunardi does the NCAA 65 bracket on Mondays and Fridays.

Nobody does NIT 40 selection speculations!

Well, here you go for all 3 people in the world who might care!

In no particular order, my forcast for the NIT field:

1. Florida State
2. Virginia
3. Lipscomb/E. Tenn St.
4. Charlotte
5. St. Louis
6. Cinncinnati
7. Syracuse
8. Providence
9. Montana/Northern Arizona
10. Winthrop/Birmingham So.
11. Northwestern
12. Penn St.
13. Colorado
14. Nebraska
15. Kansas St.
16. UC Irvine/Pacific
17. Louisville
18. Old Dominion
19. UAB
20. Houston
21. Butler/Wis. Milwaukee
22. North Dakota St.
23. Manhatten/Iona
24. Marist
25. Kent State
26. Akron/N. Illinois
27. Oral Roberts
28. Missouri State
29. UNLV
30. Air Force
31. BYU
32. Monmouth
33. Samford
34. Tennessee Tech
35. USC
36. Utah State
37. Georgia
38. Arkanasas
39. Davidson
40. Southern Alabama

Will update in a couple of weeks!

UPDATE: The NIT announced two new features in their selection process. Teams that win the regular season conference title but miss out on the NCAA due to losing in post-season tournaments will get an automatic bid to the NIT. Also, teams do not have to have better than a .500 record in order to be invited.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Culture: Controversial Cartoons Muslim

I ran the Google search: "controversial cartoons muslim."

Here is one hit with reproductions of the cartoons.

And over in Wikipedia under the entry: Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

So what do you think?

I can't help but think of the upcoming film, "Da Vinci Code."

The film based on the book has the premise that Christianity and in particular Catholicism is a conspiracy to hide the true identity of Jesus and that Jesus had a child with Mary.

To read a response to the Da vinci Code, go here.

To my knowledge, there have been no riots regarding the book or the film and Dan Brown is probably working on his next novel.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Sports: Anteaters face the Gauchos

UCI (13-9, 9-1) have a home game against UCSB (8-11, 1-6).

Will liveblog until the server outage later this evening.

UPDATE: UCI is in a dogfight tonight! UCSB is shooting well and has gotten to the foul line. Tied up at 27!

UPDATE: UCI is out of synch tonight. Fouls, turnovers, not responding to the press. UCSB is the last place team in the Big West but are giving the 'Eaters fits tonight. UCSB leads 29-28 with less than a minute to go in the half.

UPDATE: About 1/2 way through the 2nd half, its a close game, UCI leads 43-42. Fitzgerald has 3 fouls but Coach Douglass is keeping his senior guard in the game.

UPDATE: Douglas has now taken Fitzgerald out. Anteaters are working the 1/2 court offense and draws a play-control foul from the Gauchos. Price who is in for Fitzgerald hits both free-throws. 45-42, Anteaters lead.

UPDATE: UCI turns the ball over again. UCSB doesn't score. UCI working the 1/2 court game but again fail to score. UCSB hits the three to take the lead 49-46. 5:46 left.

UPDATE: 51-48. UCI taking the ball up. They missed the shot. UCSB working down some time. They miss but get the offensive rebound with a bit over 3 minutes left. They hit the three. 54-48.

UPDATE: 3:10 left, UCI hits a three making it 54-51 and UCSB calls a time out.

UPDATE: UCI force a turnover and are now running the offense. Fitzgerald draws the foul and goes to the line for a one-and-one. 2:49 left. He hits them both. 54-53. UCI down by one.

UPDATE: UCSB runs down the clock and hits the shot! 56-53. TO by UCSB.

UPDATE: 2:13 left and UCI running their half-court offense. Fitzgerald draws the foul and goes to the line. 56-55, down by one.

UPDATE: UCSB running down the clock against UCI's 2-3 zone. UCI gets the ball and they score. 57-56! One minute to go!

UPDATE: UCSB scores on a tough shot to retake the lead! They got 3 shots on that possession. UCI call a timeout down 58-57. 39 seconds left.

UPDATE: UCI took the shot fast but miss. UCSB gets the rebound and UCI must foul and do.

UPDATE: UCSB misses the free throw but get the rebound and put it in. UCI quickly runs down the floor and score. UCI is still down 60-59. UCSB calls timeout. UCI will set up to press and if they don't get the steal, they will foul. 12.7 seconds left.

UPDATE: UCSB miss the free throw. UCI rebounds but UCI fails to score. Irvine lose 60-59. They fall to 9-2.

News: Los Angeles terror target plan foiled

Today's news about a terrorist plot to hit downtown Los Angeles was not surprising. We always figured that it was a target but it has now been officially acknowledged by the Bush administration.

Here is a photo of the US Bank Tower formerly known as the Library Tower.

image source:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sports: Post-Super Bowl on the Post-Gazette

On "the Herd" this morning on ESPNradio, Colin mentioned that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is running a poll about the officiating in the Super Bowl game and it is about 50-50% that the game was "fairly officiated." He said that if Steeler fans who have a rooting interest can see that the refs didn't do a good job then it is really time for the NFL to do something to improve that part of the game.

Preliminary ratings are in on the Super Bowl. This year's game was watched by an estimated 90.7 million which exceeded last year's audience and was only exceeded by the Cowboys versus Steelers in the 1996 Super Bowl.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sports: Following the Ant(eater) Trail

Lunardi (ESPN's bracketologist) has the Big West/UC Irvine as a 14 seed.

The Mid-Major Poll has UCI at 23rd. Pacific moved up to 20th.

UCI bounced back from the loss to Pacific with a win over Northridge.

The next four games are at home. The Anteaters take on UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, UC Riverside and then Drake as part of the ESPN Bracket Buster.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sports: Fire the refs?

Congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers for winning Super Bowl XL.

But having said that we have to acknowledge the officiating was poor. One of the guys on ESPN radio said in post-game analysis, at the very least you have to say the refs did the Seahawks no favors.

A quick check on Google News found this item by Jason Whitlock where he throws the flag at the refs. Excerpt:
But make no mistake about Super Bowl XL, the performance of referee Bill Leavy and his crew overshadowed Pittsburgh's heroics and Seattle's blunders.

Paul Tagliabue's league has an officiating crisis. Bogus, inconsistent flag-throwing and rule-interpreting is making the national pastime difficult to take seriously. So far, only Joey Porter has demonstrated the necessary courage to address what we all see.

Many of these part-time, 50-year-old referees don't know what they're doing and can't keep up with the action.
As Super Bowls go, tonight's game would be in the middle third of games. There are games in the top 1/3rd where the game comes down to the final possession or two and the drama is high. The bottom 1/3rd are the blowout games. Steelers won with a bend but not break defense and an offense that came up with 2 big plays that made the difference.

Sports: Its finally super bowl Sunday

Being on the west coast in LA, it seems that there are more Seattle Seahawk fans.

I wonder if people in NY or DC are rooting for the Steelers?

I wonder which team are people in the mid-west like Chicago and Kansas City rooting for?

Anyway, the first quarter is over and so far the Steeler offense has been 3 and out 3 times. The Seattle offense is moving the ball but penalties have hurt them. Both teams are starting off a little tight especially Pittsburgh.

Let's see what the 2nd quarter brings.

UPDATE: Steelers finally were moving the ball but they got too cocky airing it out long and the underthrown pass was intercepted. Look for the Steeler defense to blitz to deliever the knock out punch.

UPDATE: Steeler fans breath a sigh of relief as their defense forces a 3 and out.

UPDATE: The Steeler TD is being reviewed. It isn't going to be overturned. It is too close to call. I have to say though if the ref had called it NOT a TD, upon review, his call would be upheld as well! I also have to say that the offensive interference call earlier against Seattle was a ticky-tack call. I think right now Seahawk fans are going to start conspiracy theories!

UPDATE: The Steelers jump to a 14-3 lead. Is the expected blow-out about to happen? If the Seahawks go 3 and out, it could be over. Look for the blitz by the Steelers to deliver the knock out punch!

UPDATE: Seahawks are able to run still... hmmm... maybe they aren't dead yet.

UPDATE: Big third and 5 call here for the Seahawks.

UPDATE: You gotta question the Seahawks going long down field on that call. A running play or short pass gets you the first down and if you are short, the field goal wouldn't be so long. Look for the Steelers to grind up clock and shorten the game. If the Seahawk defense gets too aggressive, they will get burned on a play-action. Key defensive series. If Steelers score, its over.

UPDATE: Oh, my. The Seahawks have just risen from the ashes like the Phoenix. They MUST score on this INT.

UPDATE: And they do score making it 14-10. The defense has also stepped up forcing a 3 and out on the Steelers.

UPDATE: The Steelers return the favor and force a 3 and out.

UPDATE: Seahawks force a 3 and out. I am really surprised at how well the Seahawk defense is doing. I figured that the only way they would still be in this game would have been for their offense to do a lot of damage. Steeler's special teams have just pinned the Seahawks deep. A three and out here will give the Steelers great field position.

UPDATE: The Seahawks started from their own 2 yard line. Their O-line is pushing effectively.

UPDATE: Just when I type how good the Seahawk O-line is doing, they give up a sack!

UPDATE: INT by Pittsburgh, the momentum has shifted again. Al Michaels is explaining yet another bad call against Seattle. The refs called a low block by Hasselbeck but Michaels and Madden think it was a bad call.

UPDATE: Flea-flicker for the TD. Steelers up 21-10. Its over. Seahawks need 2 TDs to win and that isn't going to happen against the Steeler defense with 8 minutes left. The Seahawks haven't shown the ability to get into the endzone.

UPDATE: The fumble by Hasselbeck has finished them off. They are calling for a review but that isn't going to be overturned unless somebody feels guilty about all the bad calls against Seatlle. Its over. Its in the refrigerator. Cowher gets his first Super Bowl ring.

UPDATE: Oh, my, I didn't see the contact. It was hardly anything but Seattle remains alive ... barely.

UPDATE: They keep pulling the trigger on the long ball one-on-one against the CBs but it hasn't paid off ... yet.

UPDATE: There is the blitz and they get the sack. They need a 3 and out or what little life still in the nearly dead body of the Seahawks will drain away.

UPDATE: 2 crucial first downs. The lights are off and the eggs are cooling.

UPDATE: Punt. Seahawks have too little time.

UPDATE: Its a final, Pittsburgh 21-10.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sports: Super Bowl XL - blowout or to be a classic?

As I see it, if the Steelers win, it will probably be a blowout because their defense has powered their way through the playoffs. So between forcing turnovers and running there fairly competent offense they could win big.

I don't see any scenario where it is the Seattle defense being the story-line. Now, if it turns into a close shootout then the Seahawk's West Coast Offense could lead them to a narrow victory.

People can talk about all the big stars on both sides (though it seems that Pittsburgh has more star power and story lines) but in the end it will come down to this: Seattle's Offensive Line versus Pittsburgh's Blitz Packages.

If the blitz combos disrupt the west coast offense then it will be a blowout.

If Hasselbeck gets hassled with sacks, knock downs and hurries, an INT or two will be inevitable and it will be a blowout.

If the Steelers get the lead because of their defense, they will run more on offense and blitz more on defense and in this scenario, it will be over by the half with the Steelers going into the locker room with a 21-3 and winning in the end 35-13!

*BUT* the last team to beat Pittsburgh was a healthy Carson Palmer and the Bungles errr Bengals! So if the experienced pro-bowl laden line of Seatlle gives Hasselback time to throw and Holmgren and company can run their West Coast Offense, we can have an Instant ESPN Classic. In this scenario I can imagine a shootout that could go down to the final possession where Seatlle could pull off the upset of the millenium with a 27-24 win.

I'll have to go with the underdog!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Sports: Fight! Tigers versus Anteaters

If I remember correctly, last year, the UOP Tigers got to round two in the NCAAs. This is a road game for the Anteaters against the number two team in the Big West standings.

The Anteaters got a big target on their back sporting an 8-0 record in conference.

It is now half-time and the 'Eaters are down 33-28. Unfortunately, there are no stats in the Yahoo! Sports link for the game.

Winning the game isn't essential since the Big West is only going to get one team into the NCAA via the post-season tournament. But having said that, there is still incentive to position one's self for the post-season tournament as the Big West rewards teams for finishing higher in conference by giving them byes in the tournament.

Play solid and give it a good effort win or lose. Of course, winning is always nice!

UPDATE: Went to KUCI for streaming audio. UCI isn't hitting its threes and is turning the ball over. They never got within single digits while I was listening. They are going down to defeat.

UPDATE: Its a final: UOP 64 UCI 52.