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Category: Racing

Welcome to this weekes edition of Special K's FEARLESS TOP 10 PREDICTIONS. This week the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series are at the California Motor Speedway. It is the 5th race of the season for the Sprint Cup series. Yesterday Kyle Busch dominmated the Nationwide race and won his 3rd straight race. Joe Gibbs Racing picked up the 7th straight win at California. JUuan Problem Montoya won the pole and Regan Smith was 4th as one-lap-wonders were again in the Top 10. This track is the sister track to the Michigan International Speedway and has multiple racing grooves and passing is difficult. There are usually very few cautions and you can find yourself down a lap very quicky in the early going. Last week yours truly had 7 drivers finsih in the Top 10 and 2 others in the Top 20. I also picked up my first "win" of the season with Kyle Busch getting the weekend sweep. Here are this weeks picks.

1.---Denny Hamlin was caught up last week in someone else's problems and wound up 33rd. This week my favorite driver has been fast in practice and starts 2nd. Look for a solid finish.

2.---Jimmie Johnson is a 5-time winner here and should be up front all day.

3.---Kyle Busch will trying for his 2nd consecutive sweep of the weekend races.

4.---Tony Stewart is struggling with a horrible crew chief and needs a solid finish this week.

5.---Joey Lagano has been fast all weekend and needs a solid finish to jump start his season.

6.---Klassless Kevin Harvick starts in the middle of the pack as usual but has been fast in practice.

7.---Matt Kenseth is a 3-time winner here and should be up front all day.

8.---Mark Martin had a solid run last week and needs another good finish this week.

9.---Carl Edwards has been fast sof far in 2011, and should have another solid finish.

10.--David Crash Reutimann is probably in his final season at MWR and needs a good finish this week. He is my surprise pick this week.

Paul Menard had another solid finish last week for RCR. I still think he is a mediocre driver at best I don't think he will bea ble to stay in the Top 10 in points. Regan Smith is also medicocre at best and has already began his slide.

Have a great day everybody.

Special K

And the next commissioner should be...
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: Gretzky NHL Bettman Lemieux

Last week, Wayne Gretzky came out and mentioned quite a few key points.  First off, Gretzky addressed the issue of the appearance of a lack of respect in the league.  Wayne said that in the early days with the Oilers, they would regularly practice without their helmets on.  To him, that taught the players to keep their sticks down, keep their elbows down, and keep the shots from the point low.  Makes sense to me, but you have to factor in the size difference of the players from then until now and also factor in the difference in equipment.  But Wayne suggested one thing that really made me think.  He hinted around the suggestion that the league isn't doing their part to ensure that the players respect each other, so Wayne recommended removing the instigator rule for one season.  That's it, just one season, kind of on a trial basis.  Now that is a movement I can get behind.  I have always been a big advocator against the removal of the instigator rule.  The thought of physical violence may do more for a player on the edge than a phone call with Colin Campbell.  I am pretty sure that some players wouldn't lay out as many questionable hits if they looked over at the other teams bench and saw a Semenko or a Probert staring back at them.  The instigator rule simply protects the gutless weasels of the NHL.  Wayne, unlike Mario, says things useful once in awhile.  Sure, you can argue that he wasn't the best coach in the league, but his ability stands alone.  Does that mean he would make a good commissioner?  Who knows, but I would be more interested in watching his press conferences if he brought his leggy wife with him.  Bettman, I would pay you money so that I wouldn't have to look at the person that is willing to sleep with a little midget troll.

It's about time.  Cooke is done for the rest of the season and the first round of the playoffs.  Great timing for this one, isn't it Mario?  Prior to the suspension, Mario suggested a new rule that the team is fined by the league everytime one of their players gets suspended by the league.  Mario was going at this one pretty strong, but he stated that he is going to try to get some momentum behind it at the next Board of Governors meeting in June. really dodged a bullet there Mario.  According to the rule and the standards to which you would like it applied, this recent suspension of Matt Cooke would have resulted in a fine to the Penguins in the neighbourhood of $600,000.  Now Mario, this is your chance to prove you aren't the douchebag we have come to despise these last few months.  Push for the new rule to go through and then prove you are serious about the "sanctity of the game" by putting Cooke on waivers.  Cut your losses Mario.  This bum can't be taught to play by the rules.  If you decide to keep him on, he is going to cost you more money than he is worth and you deserve every little ounce of discomfort this weasel can bring you.

Times have been very busy for Hotchnuts.  Let me take a few minutes and get some of you caught up on some things.  To say that this past year has been utterly ridiculous would be an understatement.  As Ricky off of Trailer Park Boys would say, I've had to swallow my prize.

This weekend, my oldest boy is in the last hockey tournament of the season.  One thing that pisses me off, and I have mentioned this before, are the parents that are overexuberant at games.  We are dealing with 7-9 year olds in this league, and it is a fun league.  There was actually 2 adults sitting in the row behind me, making comments about what that number 4 is doing?  Well, you know what sizzlechin, number 4 is my son.  I turned and the one adult recognized me because I worked with him a few years ago.  We exchanged pleasantries, and he asked if my son was playing today.  I simply said "Yup...he's number 4" and left it at that.  Now, I have never like this douchebag.  I remember we were working at the same school a few years ago, and he decided he would be the hero and go onto the roof and throw all the balls down that have accumulated over the past few weeks while I was on yard duty.  Well, as he was throwing them down, I was grabbing them and kicking them back onto another part of the roof.  Yup...I can be a dick if I want to.  But fuck him...he's lucky he didn't lose any of the good teeth left in his mouth after his performance.  And to think...this prick is going to be my oldest boys grade 3 teacher next year.  Not if I have anything to say about that...

So now, as a result of an extremely busy weekend, I had an early game today with Holten, and now I am on my way back to the rink.  I apologize for the lacklustre entry, but there are times in life that take priority, and this weekend is one of them.


Michael Haley vs Daniel Carcillo.  I am slowly becoming a big Haley fan.  I've mentioned his name a few entries ago, and this kid continues to impress.

LNAH entry of the week...

Tidbal vs Duplain.  Duplain gets the right moving early and often in this one.

Thanks for stopping by.


Woo Pig Sooie
Category: FEATURED
Tags: Arkansas Mike Anderson

Thoughts from Island Girl


Wooooo Pig Sooie!!!    Kind of an odd chant to be sure and in a way,  unsophisticated and I guess,  part of the allure.    Calling the hogs seems almost surreal.    Fans are talking about pigs. lol.    For a long time football had dominated at that school and they even won a National Championship back in the 1960s.    Then about the mid-70s,   Eddie Sutton changed all that.    Basketball was an event of epic proportions. 




  Past stars like Sidney Moncrief,  Marvin Delph and Ron Brewer (father of current star on Ronnie Brewer) whetted the apetitie of Razorback fans.   Arkansas then hired a black coach named Nolan Richardson,  who is a legend albeit a controversial one.  leading the Razorbacks to the Promised Land in 1994 ,beating Duke led,  Grant Hill to win the National Championship.  


   As the years progressed Nolan Richardson had stirred emotions with charges of racism against the school and there is even some merit according to some,  when certain officials were dropping the N-bomb in board meetings.    But that was a long time ago and the school and Richardson have basically reconciled their differences.     But with that said,   Arkansas and it's basketball program have fallen into disrepair.    Only football is bringing in the fans.    That is, until last week.   Last week,  Mike Anderson was hired away from Missouri,  after a respectable showing with the Tigers.   But Anderson was a long time assistant with Nolan Richardson and Arkansas fans are expectant,  that those days are right around the corner,  once again.    Coach Anderson and former hogs under Richardson and Anderson's tutelage and trying to preserve one of Arkanas's best recruiting classes ever.   And he is trying to get the players back from last year who had issues with now former coach John Pelphrey.    And it looks good and even for 2012,  when Arkansas has two premier players showing initial interest and that has a lot to do with Anderson himself.   


That is the shot that made Arkansas history and Coach Mike Anderson will bring that back.   Momentum is building and Anderson was just the first salvo fired in regenerating enthusiam in the Arkansas Basketball program.


Woooooo Pie Sooooie

United Football League : Time To Burn Out Or Fade Away
Category: FEATURED
Tags: UFL WFL USFL AAFC AFL NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame American Football League National Football League United Football League United States

The United Football League started operations in 2009, becoming America's first alternative to the National Football League since 1987. While the UFL has no connections to the NFL. some in the media thought that it would eventually serve as a developmental league.


Others speculated the UFL was born at the time it was to swoop in when the NFL and their players would lock out after the 2010 season. Now that this has happened, the UFL is on the cusp of doing something only one other league has done before. Competing against the NFL has been more a losing proposition.


There have been many leagues formed to oppose the NFL. The first was the American Football League in 1926, created by Hall of Famer Red Grange and his agent after Chicago Bears owner George Halas reneged on monies owed to Grange.


The AFL tried to capitalize on a messy 1925 season for the NFL. Commissioner Joe Carr had just stolen the Championship Trophy from the Pottsville Maroons and handed it to the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals owner, NFL co-founder Chris O'Brien, refused the trophy, but the Bidwell family bought the Cardinals in 1933 and have claimed the trophy since.


Grange started the New York Yankees Football Club. A charter NFL team, the Rock Island Independents, joined the AFL and the league played one game in Canada that year. One team, the Brooklyn Horsemen, merged with the Detroit Lions.


This AFL folded after just one season due to financial issues. The second AFL formed in 1936, lasting two years before folding. This league had a team, the Los Angeles Bulldogs, that was the first professional team to play home games on the West Coast. The league had a team called the Cincinnati Bengals, who Hall of Famer Paul Brown named his 1967 expansion team after.


The lasting legacy of the second AFL was the Cleveland Rams, who are now known as the Saint Louis Rams in the NFL. The Rams had a rookie by the name of Sid Gillman on their 1936 team. Gillman is a Hall of Famer known as the "Father of the Modern Day NFL Offense". A second Yankees team was founded as well, and starred Hall of Fame running back Ken Strong.


Though the Los Angeles team drew fans, the rest of the league only garnered local interests in their respective areas. The financial strains of trying to compete against the NFL caused them to fold after 1937, but the dream of competition lived on.


The third AFL formed in 1940. They had a third version of the Yankees, a team that has lineage tied to the Indianapolis Colts, and Bengals. The Yankees called themselves the Americans in 1941, creating a coup by signing 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon over the Chicago Bears. The league folded after just two years because World War II emptied most of their rosters.


The All-American Football Conference was born after the war. The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and San Francisco 49ers were teams born from the AAFC that would later join the NFL, though this Colts team has no ties to the current version. The Browns dominated the league, once going a record 29 games without defeat.


The AAFC is most remembered for breaking the color line professional sports employed in that era. The Browns signed Bill Willis and Marion Motley, two men who would later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The AAFC drew well at first, and helped the NFL get more viewers as well.


The increasing popularity of pro football led to salary increases for the players. Only two NFL teams had profits in 1946. The AAFC instilled the use of the face mask, refining pass route running, shuttling players with plays called from the sideline, a year-round coaching staff, and classroom sessions that broke down games on a chalkboard and film.


The league folded when the Browns, Colts, and 49ers merged with the NFL. A fourth AAFC team, the Buffalo Bills, had their large fan base unsuccessfully campaigned for their teams inclusion but failed. Ralph Wilson, then a part-owner of the Detroit Lions saw this rabid fan base and would reward them a decade later.


The fourth American Football League was founded in 1960. Owners like Wilson, Bud Adams, and Lemar Hunt made the league work even despite their initial struggles. The AFL took an aggressive approach. They did not only line their rosters with ex-NFL players, but they held their own annual drafts and offered college kids more money than the NFL.


They made a few huge signings, starting with 1959 Heisman winner Billy Cannon. Adams recruited him in the end zone of his final collegiate game. Cannon would help lead the Houston Oilers to the first two championship wins in AFL history.


Others soon followed Cannon to the AFL. Hall of Famers like Joe Namath, Lance Alworth, Ron Mix, and Johnny Robinson were all first-round draft picks of the NFL who opted for the AFL. All are inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame except Robinson, who should be as well. The AFL put 31 men in the Hall of Fame, so far, and should have more.


The AFL brought an exciting brand of big play football without castrating the defenses. The offenses were exciting, as opposed to the grind-it-out style of the NFL then. Despite their fun play, the NFL considered them inferior and called them a "Mickey Mouse League."


When the AFL beat the NFL in the third Super Bowl, opinions changed. Secret meetings between Hunt and NFL owners in 1966, that were held without the knowledge of league commissioners Pete Rozelle and Al Davis, bred a merger that was agreed upon in 1970.


The AFL won the Super Bowl one more time in 1969 before it happened. Most of the AFC teams of today started in the AFL and no AFL team is in the NFC.


Since then, the World Football League, United States Football League, and XFL tried to compete with the NFL. The WFL signed several NFL stars and even took a few out of college.


Hall of Famers Larry Csonka and Paul Warfield were joined by Pat Haden, Danny White, Alfred Jenkins, Greg Latta, Jim Fassell, and Vince Papale, along with coaches like Jack Pardee, Marty Shottenheimer, Lindy Infante, and John McVay, to play two years with the WFL until it folded.


The XFL lasted one year before folding. They tried to bring in old school fans by allowing the bump and run defense, except they let defenders hit the receiver at any time. After four weeks, they adopted the NFL's five-yard chuck rule to increase scoring. They only allowed the two-point conversion after touchdowns, which the WFL also had, and they did not flip a coin to begin games to determine possession. They had a player from each team run 20 yards to gain possession of the ball laying on the 50-yard line.


The XFL put 33 players in the NFL and seven played in Super Bowls. Five won Super Bowl rings and Tommy Maddox, Bobby Singh, and Rob Carpenter won both an XFL and NFL championship.


The USFL had some successes in their three years of play. The league has six men in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and several others who later became stars in the NFL. They were aggressive in bidding for NFL free agents and college stars. Some of their biggest signing were Hall of Famers Jim Kelly and Steve Young out of college, as well as 1982 Heisman winner Hershel Walker, 1983 winner Mike Rozier, and 1984 winner Doug Flutie.


The USFL also attained the services of Hall of Famers Reggie White and Gary Zimmerman by offering them more money. Despite all of this, they could not keep up financially and teams began folding before they suspended play after 1985 and took the NFL to court. After losing their lawsuit, the USFL folded in 1987.


The UFL has all of this history to learn from. To see what works and what is a risk for failure. They are struggling some already, having their New York team move to Connecticut and Florida team move to Virginia and become owned by the league.


The league has just five teams right now and plans to play on Sundays starting in August. If they receive an influx of NFL players, there is a possibility of a sixth team. The UFL allows celebrations by players and have a "No Tuck Rule".


Several NFL coaches are in the UFL. Jim Fassel, Marty Shottenheimer, Jerry Glanville and Dennis Green lead teams. Joe Moglia, the Ameritrade CEO who was an unpaid assistant at Nebraska University, will coach the other team. The UFL has had 27 of their players go on and play in the NFL.


The UFL appears to be restricted financially. They borrowed $5 million from Mark Cuban last year and now have been taken to court by Cuban for failure to re-pay him on time. Cuban was once rumored to be interested in owning a UFL team and broadcasted their games on his HDnet network the first two years of their existence.


With the NFL appearing a long time away from solving their differences, the UFL could benefit. There is also a chance the lock out can hurt them. NFL players are trying to convince college players to skip the draft, so owners have been said to consider using replacement players like they did in 1987 during a players strike. The UFL could see most of their players in NFL uniforms.


Getting NFL players to join them could take time, as many may prefer to sit back and observe the negotiations. The UFL also does not appear to have the maverick leadership the AFL in the 1960's enjoyed. But it could work.


If an influx of bored NFL players decides to go to the UFL to collect a paycheck, their popularity could increase. It may increase already, considering they are the only game in town right now. In this tenuous situation, the next few months can define the legacy of the United Football League.

A Wild Weekend
Category: Daily Blog 2.0
Tags: NCAA Basketball MLB NCAA Football NFL

Just watching March Madness is producing an extremely “wild weekend”.  What a great NCAA Basketball Tournament we are enjoying this year!  To add even more titillation to the weekend, I participated in the first of two Baseball Fantasy drafts earlier this evening, and I am pleased with my selections.  It is always hard for me to pick players that are not on my favorite team, but if I pick too many Arizona players, I am sure to have a bad fantasy season.  I singled out four players from the Diamondbacks, and I made sure I did not over-reach with any of my picks.  My basic strategy was to pick the “best player” available when it was my turn to pick.  This is a 12-team league, and I was slotted to pick my first player with the 6th pick of the draft.  For my first pick, I selected Robinson Cano, 2nd baseman of the New York Yankees.  With the 13th pick, I selected centerfielder Josh Hamilton.  I also selected the four best players on Arizona’s roster, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Stephen Drew, and Miguel Montero. All in all, I think I had a very good draft, we will see when the season unfolds.  My second draft will be tomorrow at 2 P.M. Phoenix time.  I would be satisfied with getting the very same team (it will not happen).

For about nine months I have been going to Bill Johnson’s Big Apple for breakfast every Saturday morning with my roommate Diesel and my great friend Ed, the guy in the Notre Dame hat.  This morning, we are going to try out a new restaurant, The Black Bear.   Sometimes change is a good thing, and in this case, I think we are doing the right thing to tryout a new place to eat.  I have nothing but good things to say about The Big Apple and its employees, but it was definitely time for us to move on.  Hopefully The Black Bear will become our Saturday morning breakfast home for the next few months. 


My favorite college football team, the Arizona State Sun Devils, is participating right now in spring practice.  I believe that this next season will be a very successful one for the Sun Devils, who most probably will be favored to win the new Southern Division of the new PAC-12 football line-up.  The teams in this division are Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Colorado, and Utah.  The new PAC-12 North Division will include Oregon, Oregon State, California, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State.  The two Division winners will meet for the PAC-12 title.  It all sounds delightful to me.


Thinking about college football helps to keep my mind off of the current fiasco that is going on in the NFL right now.  That is the players’ lock-out that threatens to cancel the 2011 Football season.   Things are dragging along right now at the pace of a sea slug, so do not expect any positive news on that front in the next few months.  I still am promoting a fan boycott of the league should next year’s schedule be reduced or cancelled.  It would be very easy to boycott them (with a little help from my friends), just do not go to any games (if the owners and the players ever settle their dispute) or even watch the games on the television.  After the revenues pummel, maybe they will get the hint that they need us much more than we need them.

The annual NFL Draft is going to go off right on schedule on April 28, a provision was included that would allow the draft if a new collective bargaining agreement was not reached.  Of course there will be no trades allowed during the draft, so basically there will be a draft with no surprises, every team will draft in their slotted order.  The next hurdle to pass after the draft will be signing the drafted players, which will not happen until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.  The NFL has really screwed up, and it is time that we fans helped turn the screws even tighter.  I can handle a season or so without the NFL, perhaps we all should agree to attend to other matters just to show them our extreme displeasure.  In the meantime, we have March Madness, Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL playoffs, auto racing, professional golf and tennis, and next season’s NCAA football (among other sports) to appease our sporting appetites.

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