Rays; We're going to Cleveland, we're going to Cleveland! (Hey its the playoffs)
USC: Kiffin gets the boot
Stunning news out of city of angels Pat Haden, AD of USC just had about enough. After SC got ran out of the desert by Arizona State. ASU scored a school record 62 points which was symptomatic of a larger problem. Kiffin in his defense (and I donít defend him for much) took over a program that was getting hammered by sanctions. But his teams looked lost and they were getting hammered by teams that traditionally should have no business thrashing USC like Washington State. Arizona State moved the ball at will against the supposedly vaunted Trojan defense. And Kiffin had the dead man walking stare going on the sideline late and when the pics showed Haden talking on the sideline with the USC president, you knew it was all over. Kiffin was 28-15 at SC but the team struggled down the stretch last year and started 3-2. Its unlikely that the 38 year old Kiffin will get a high profile job anytime soon if at all.
MLB: A look inside the final frantic days of the wild cards
The AL wild card is still waiting to be played. The Indians in the postseason for the first time since 2007 are waiting in Cleveland to face the Rays who rode a complete game gem from David Price to win the 2nd spot but the Indians now know that they wonít face Price who has had moderate success against them., even with an extra wild card added, the last day of the regular season still had drama and the matter isnít settled. As much as you tend to knock Bud Selig, the old car salesman is looking like a genius, his push for the wild card spots which the purists hated because they felt that it would cheapen the playoff spot and pennant race made the last month of the season a lot of fun. I mean in the AL up until the final ten days, there were six teams still in the wild card hunt. Kansas City had playoff fever for the first time in generation. The aging Yanks still in the race, Baltimore led by its prodigious slugger Crash Davis. All fell off late but made the September frantic and fun. Iím in agreement with the statement that the September races are more dramatic and fun to watch than the playoffs. This week the Wild Card games are being played with the aforementioned Rays-Indians game on Wednesday and the Reds heading to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in their first postseason appearance since 1992. The Reds and the Buccos have a long postseason history playing each other 5 times in the NLCS with the Reds winning 4 of the 5 meetings. The Reds are making their 3rd trip to the postseason in the past four years but Reds skipper Dusty Baker is catching heat from the fans, after being swept out in 2010 and blowing a 2-0 lead coming home for 3 the Reds still looked to be the class of the NL Central but they dawdled along staying in the NL Central race for a good portion of the year before fading to 3rd but their 90 wins was good enough to claim that 2nd wild card. They face a Bucs team that is in heady territory not since the end of the Bonds/Bonilla era in Pittsburgh has a Pirates team been this good at 94-68. Fact all 12 teams meet what I consider a standard for playoff teams play .550 ball or better all 12 teams from the 90 win Reds to the 98 win Red Sox meet the criteria. No 82 or 88 win teams here
NFL: 0-4 and uh-oh. The G-Men and Steelers hit desperation mode.
The Steelers are in really unfamiliar territory, The last time that they started 0-4, there were 2 football leagues, Their current coach was four years awayÖFROM BEING BORN! Teams were trying to get to the AFL-NFL Championship game which was being considered being reformatted to an 8 team tourney to possibly pit 2 NFL teams together since the AFL had been getting blown out in the 1st two games. The Jets were still an up and coming team in the AFL that was 1968. The Steelers were still six years away from their first title and four away from the immaculate reception. Franco Harris was still just a freshman at Penn State under third year coach Joe Paterno. How long has it been since the Steelers have been this woeful to start out a season? Since then, the NFL has added 6 teams and seen 6 teams move Nixon was still a month away from getting elected. That was eight presidents ago and 45 years ago. The Steelers lost 34-27 to the Vikings on Sunday in the first of the two London games and the Steelers are facing something that their previous three coaches, Tomlin up til now, Cowher is his 15 years and Chuck Noll in his 23 (even with a 1-13 team in 1969 †they didnít start 0-4) The Steelers offense is showing life but the defense is abysmal and showing no signs of getting better, both teams have a bye but you are hard pressed to find a win for this squad any time soon. With the surprising Jets first out of the bye, then the Raven, they might be dogs on the road in OAKLAND! Then New England this team at best 2-6. You read it here first the Steelers-Bengals game will get flexed from its coveted Sunday Night spot in favor of Houston-Indy. The Bengals will be decent but a bad Steelers team is not what the NFL would want to showcase. Also in trouble are the G-Men who took yet another awful beating this time at Kansas City, the Giants are playing awfully small and Eli Manning is looking like the backwards baby brother as he sees his older brother light up the scoreboard. The Giants canít score consistently and their once proud defense is getting walked all over. The Giants havenít started this bad in a long time and the howls for Tom Coughlinís head are already pretty loud.
PHAT DAP/HEAD SLAP
To the crusty curmudgeon that is Kobe Bryant. During media day, he aired this thought on departed center Dwight Howard now of the Rockets
Word up! Kobe is a vet and I guess at his age, he can say what he wants. I thought it was refreshing and brutally honest.
To the schedule makers. The NFL has to take a rare backseat to the start of the ALDS, but quirk of the schedule the Aís and Tigers face off in game 2 of the ALDS but the 1p start isnít going to leave time for the O.co Coliseum crew to change the stadium over to the football configuration. As the only dual use stadium left, O.co Coliseum hosts both the Raiders and Aís but with the conflict. The Raiders Chargers game will be played Sunday Night. No not on the NBC tilt but at 11:35 EDT or 8:35 PDT in Oakland after the Sunday Night game across the bay in San Francisco, so that game will be letting out about the same time the Raiders-Chargers game (which NFL Network pounced on to broadcast) will be kicking off. The head slap is more for the bad timing and the pros only dinosaur.†
Thats the view from the Hoodwood, which will be finishing the move (only 5.5 miles away) and back better than ever next week. Picks drop later in the week. Until Next Post Fellow Sports Fans!