The Music Issue
extraPoint DEC, 13 2011
All I want for Christmas is Megatron
Run and tell all of the angels I’m not sure how this happened. This issue marks my last as Editor-in-Chief of EP. It’s hard not to get sentimental as you prepare to leave college and move on to the professional world. It’s even harder when you have to leave something you helped create in the process. At least Scott and I got to blow up our last issue with music. My hope for EP is that it continues to be lighthearted and irreverent. We never wanted to be just like any other publication. We always sought to shake things up, which meant writing and designing differently than anyone. In this issue, we chose to give some shout outs to some of our favorite bands throughout (like Foo Fighters and Destiny’s Child). I’d be remiss if I didn’t use my last letter to give some shout outs to the people I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Pete, you and I have been through this whole thing together. From the first pitch to those hungover Friday mornings when we had to plan the organization and attend meetings. Not to mention the podcasts. We survived somehow--despite people telling us we wouldn’t. Next semester, you finally take the reins away from me. Scott, you are freaking hilarious. You bring such a creative mind to the table. I’m not entirely sure how we scooped you up before any other publication got to you, but I am so grateful we did. The publication which hires you will be adding a bluechipper to their staff. Alex, we rag on you a lot. A lot. Like a ton. But it’s because we care. I appreciate your eagerness. You bring your best everyday. You offer so much to the table and have turned a position with little responsibilities into a crucial part of this staff in spite of our constant ridicule. Professor Lloyd, you took a chance on a couple of kids hopped on too much Wild Cherry soda pop. We needed someone to guide us and be there to advise us. You never steered us wrong. Thank you all for reading and thank you for your constant support of us.
Hey editors,what ‘s your go-to Christmas song? Editor-in-Chief/Co-Founder
“‘All I Want For Christmas’ by Mariah Carey. I used that as a pickup line on my last lady friend. I am now single.”
Creative Director/Co-Founder Pete Gegick “Lonely Island singing ‘Dick in a Box.’ That’s how you show that someone special they’re that special someone.” Senior Editor
“Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly re-enacting the most awkward Christmas music video ever. We were literally in tears in the office.”
“‘Last Christmas’ by Wham. I don’t want to talk about it. Give me my flask. Merry Christmas to all and to all let’s drink.”
Advisor Robert Lloyd Special Thanks To Ann Hettinger, Harriet Brown, Melissa Chessher, the Magazine Department of Newhouse, David Baer, Meredith Popolo, and Boyz II Men Follow us @EPSportsMag
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the holiday season is rapidly approaching and we have your back with the first winter blowout by Ep staff
Chris Paul (Flickr/Eric Kilby) , Miller (Flickr/s.yume), C. Johnson (Wikimedia/Dave Hogg), Getzlaf (Wikimedia/ Resolute), Kareem (Wikimedia/Steve Lipofsky)
Weâ€™re not gonna take it
walk the line
follow how the recent scandal surrounding bernie fine unfolded By SCott Simone
24 the boy is mine gear up for that playoff push with some tips for your fantasy team by alex onushco
We rank the top cases of college mascots run wild and give some love to keggy By Pete Gegick
25 Unbreak my heart the nhlâ€™s biggest disappointments thus far in 2011 by bryan rubin
Who can it be now
who are the dopplegangangers of some noteworthy athletes? By Matt Rose
November madness tourneys kick the college basketball season off right By Trevor Hass
op-ed: the hook the smartest move in basketball is also the most forgotten by Jeff Laboon
KickoFF It’s the END of the YEAR ... and I
There Goes my hero As fast as it began, the semester has winded down and has officially ended. For some, it’s the end of the beginning, half way through the first year of college. For some, it’s truly the end of the road and time to move on to “bigger” and “better” things. For those of us at the end of the road, we thought our lives were complete. Then, we found Keggy, the magical, amazingly amazing, unofficial mascot of Dartmouth. This work of pure art puts a big-cheese grin on our faces every time we so much as glance at it. This guy has become our new hero. No matter how bad things may be going, Keggy will always be there, tapped and with a huge grin upon his metallic face. For those of us going off into the real world, faced to make real decisions and find things to do, like jobs, we will need Keggy more than ever. Because we may not have jobs, we may not have money, we may not have an ounce of dignity or happiness left in our post-grad selves, but we will have Keggy there to make us smile, if only for a fleeting second. He’ll remind us of the things that truly matter in this life, like a tapped keg. And let’s be real here, nothing else captures the magic that is college sports more than a keg. So as you embark on new beginnings, just tap that keg, but remember to always keep it clean.
Our strike-zone of the biggest hits and misses in the world of sports
Chris Paul Trade
Cincy vs. Xavier Brawl
First he was traded to the Lakers. Then the trade was blocked by the comissioner. Then it was resubmitted. But then the teams didn’t agree on the trade
A blowout win for Xavier turned into an all-out brawl, with Yancy Gates splitting open Kenny Frease’s face. All the brawl was missing was Chris Tucker standing over Frease screaming, “You got knocked the f*$% out!”
The New England Patriot’s tight end set the record for most touchdown catches in a season by a tight end, raising his total to 15 this past Sunday
One of the game’s greatest hitters, Pujols signed a deal with the Angels worth $254 million and changed the odds of the team winning the World Series next year from 22-to-1 to 12-1 on the betting website Bodog.com
Tiger Woods Woods won the Chevron World Challenge, beating Zach Johnson by one stroke and snapping a two-year, 26-tournament, 749-day winless streak
Roy Jones Jr.
The NFL may suspend and fine Harrison for an inadvertent helmet-to-helmet hit against Colt McCoy
The 42-year-old Jones won a 10-round unanimous decision against Max Alexander on Saturday night, snapping a three-match losing streak
The NL MVP in 2011 tested positive for a performanceenhancing drug and faces a 50-day suspension if the finding is upheld
Rick Schofield The Syracuse Crunch’s newest addition on growing up in Canada, his route to the pros, and the hardest part of being a pro. By Oritt Blum
rowing up in Pickering, Canada, it was pretty obvious what Rick Schofield’s future would be: hockey. After taking the path less traveled and opting for four years in college instead of the usual two-year junior college route, the 24-year-old center has become one of the newest members of the Syracuse Crunch. He now looks to continue his strong college campaign at Lake Superior State - which included being named Most-Valuable Player and Most-Valuable Forward after leading the Lakers in goals scored - in the pros and hopefully get the nod to play in the NHL. On Growing Up and Childhood Heroes:
Growing up where I come from Pickering, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, you kind of grow up with it in your blood. You play in your backyard. I had a backyard rink growing up so it was like the only thing to do in the winter. So it was a no-brainer. Being in Toronto, Doug Gilmour was one of my favorites. I had like four hockey jerseys with his name on the back. I just loved the way he played. Especially being a Toronto guy, it was someone to cheer for and someone to look up to.
On Hockey in the States: I went
to school in Michigan, and we actually had a lot of support from our community and our students. I think being in the States, hockey isn’t the number one sport, usually; you get pushed out by basketball and football. It’s cool, though. It’s different, but in a good way. There’s not so much pressure like in Toronto, where if you have a bad practice, it’s on the news. It’s kind of like football here.
On His Route to the Pros:
Obviously I took a different route than most guys. I’m 24, had four years of college, and now I’m making my pro debut. I don’t think it’s harder [four years of college]. It’s kind of the same as most guys. Now that we’re here, we’re all equals. We all have a shot.
On Guys Getting the Call Up: Guys that were with me in the
lineup here, they go up and you come to the rink one day and their stuff is gone. And you’re like, Oh good for them. You didn’t get a chance to see them but they’re gone as quick as that.
On the Hardest Part of the Job: The bus trips. Just being on the
bus so many hours. It’s hard on the back. Hard on the muscles. I think the farthest we go on the bus is a little over five hours. It’s not too bad. This year we’ve been pretty good. We play a lot in like Binghamton and Rochester, so it’s a couple hours here and there, which isn’t bad.
On His Most Prized Poessession when Traveling: I have this
thing, it’s called the T-Mat, it’s an acupressure mat. You can lie on it, stand on it. I lay on it for like 20 minutes. It relaxes your feet, your back. So that’s something I definitely bring with me all the time.
On What He Misses Most About Home: Home cooking. It’s
tough being on your own and having to cook your own meals. After practice that’s the last thing you want to do. So I’ve been eating out a lot. Trying to cook on my own but it’s a bit difficult.
On Music in the Locker Room: You know, it really doesn’t matter
to me what music we listen to. If someone’s got the iPod in there, I just go along with it. So I don’t know who’s actually in charge of it but I wouldn’t mind being in charge one day. [I listen to] everything; from rock to country to rap.
On Pre-Game Rituals: A lot of the guys
were playing, it’s called Super Ball, to try to keep up with a soccer ball, but that kind of died down. Guys kind of just relax. We’ll watch a bit of TV and then basically just get into our routine of stretching, warming up, and go over video. That’s about it.
On What Team and Players He’d Want to Play with in the NHL: The
Ducks for sure. Hopefully, some day. It would be one of the greatest places to play in southern California. And they got a great organization. So hopefully soon. [For players] I think it would have to be Sidney Crosby, because I could just stand there and he could get me points. And probably Henrik Zetterberg. They can take control of the game.
On Where He’d Be if not for Hockey: I enjoy health and
fitness. I think, I know a lot of guys say they’d be a personal trainer, but I kind of like the nutrition aspect of it. Maybe get into that. But I also have an interest in finance and economics. That was actually my major in school. So I’d be in the financial sector I guess. Or if not, travel I guess. I haven’t done a lot of that yet. EP
FINE line Bernie Fine’s Long Road to Ruin Compiled By Scott Simone
Fine graduates from Syracuse University, where he was the basketball team manager for four years
Fine is promoted to associate head coach.
Fine coaches the team for three games while Boeheim is treated for prostate cancer.
Fine is inducted into SU’s 1999 Letter Winners of Distinction class.
Syracuse men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim hires Fine as assistant coach.
Led by Gerry McNamrra, Carmelo Anthony, and Hakim Warrick, Syracuse wins the NCAA men’s basketball championship with an 81-78 victory over Kansas.
SU conducts an internal investigation into Davis’ allegations of sexual abuse by Fine, in which SU finds no wrongdoing by Fine.
Davis contacts Syracuse police to report he had been abused by Fine from the mid-1980s all the way to September 2000.
Nov. 27, 2011
SU plays in Final Four in New Orleans, where Bobby Davis, a former team ball boy, claims he stayed in Fine’s hotel room and Fine abused him.
Davis contacts The PostStandard to report Fine’s sexual abuse After a six-month investigation, The PostStandard does not publish the reports because it could not corroborate the claims made by Davis.
Nov. 17, 2011
ESPN airs a story in which Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, accuse Fine of molesting them as children. Syracuse police launch investigation into sex abuse allegations against Fine. SU puts Fine on administrative leave.
The Post-Standard publishes a story in which a third victim, Zach Tomaselli, accuses Bernie Fine of molesting him. ESPN airs Davis’ taped conversation with Laurie Fine, in which she says she thinks Bernie molested Davis. Nancy Cantor announces Bernie Fine’s firing
Kickoff Have I Been Away Too Long?
An Ode to the Lockout
By Harrison Highland With no NBA, the sports world is a mess NHL, PGA, NFL, BCS There’s nothing to care for without the league that’s the best Instead I’m left watching Say Yes to the Dress With no NBA, sports are boring as hell I’d rather burn in flames than watch the NFL Few things interest me less than the game of football Big boring burly barbarians bashing brains, beginning brawls With no NBA, we’re stuck with stupid sports “Shut your mouth, hoser!” Canada retorts Hockey is lame, the goals far too rare Plus the players all wear really dumb facial hair With no NBA, there’s still NCAA But it’s just not as fun as watching pros play Too much zone defense, too many players are scrubs No LeBron to hate on, no Meta to love When the NBA comes back, all will be right Beautiful basketball broadcast every night But until Christmas day, absent is that delight Sports in the fall are dark without the NBA’s light
Best Mascot Related Incidents The EP Staff loves mascots; just look at our love
toward Keggy. But there are a few mascots who toe the line between “funny” and “that’s illegal.” Here are five collegiate mascots that have caused an uproar on their campuses. By Pete Gegick
The Stanford Tree
The Stanford Tree has been ejected from women’s basketball games and brawled with rival mascots in front of fans. It wins, though, for having one of its members blow a .15 during a game, receiving a public intoxication citation.
2 Sebastian the Ibis
During the 2001 Sugar Bowl, he received a taunting penalty for running onto the field after a University of Miami (FL) touchdown. He was also restrained by five police officers after attempting to use a fire extinguisher to douse the Florida State Seminoles’ flaming spear.
The University of Cincinnati’s mascot made the police blotter in 2010 after a snowball fight with fans during a loss to Pittsburgh. Police arrested Bearcat after he failed to stop and pushed a security guard.
4 Rufus Bobcat
During one game in 2010, Rufus tackled Brutus Buckeye from behind as Brutus ran towards the end zone. The man playing Rufus later stated that he had been waiting for the opportunity for over a year, and that the opportunity to tackle Brutus was why he had tried out.
5 Willie the Wildcat
This one has more to do with off-the-field activities than the mascot itself. In 2006, Willie was suspended after it was found that former students who had played the role staged a fake kidnapping of new candidates.
TWeet of the week This week’s Tweet Gem brought to you by: Paul bissonnette
This page is not Hall and Oates approved
GOOD Football Everyday Over Winter Break
When you’re off for a month with nothing to do, there’s nothing better than parking on the couch, cracking open a nice cold one, and watching football until your eyes bleed.
BAD Too Many Teams Get Bowl Games
With so many bowl games, mediocre teams get bid into the post-season. Should 6-6 Pitt be in the post season? No, they shouldn’t.
UGLY Bank Account
So why can’t we print an issue you ask. We here at EP never back down from a bet. Our bookie depletes our bank account every bowl season.
To celebrate the music issue right, this EP Quiz relates to sports music.
Which of these musicians did not appear on the soundtrack for the movie Space Jam? a.) R. Kelly
d.) Salt N’ Peppa “I may be-I may be wrong, but-but I doubt it”
a.) Raising of the 1994 Stanley Cup banner b.) Debut of the “Statue of Liberty” jerseys
c.) First game since 2004-05 lockout d.) First game with Wayne Gretzky
Who composes the famous production music used in documentaries by NFL Films and parody commercials by Burger King? a.) John Williams
b.) Allyson Bellink
c.) Jim Johnston
d.) Sam Spence
Which country music star once tried his hand at minor league baseball? a.) Toby Keith
c.) Garth Brooks
b.) Jason Aldean
d.) Trace Atkins
The New England Patriots released a song of their own in 1985 to counter the attention of the Super Bowl Shuffle. a.) True b.) False
Answer Key: 1. B, 2. A, 3. D, 4. C, 5. A
The New York Rangers have one of the most iconic goal songs in the NHL. This song debuted in concurrence with a memorable moment in franchise history, which was...
Looking at the manin the Mirror A look at famous athletes and their fictional counterparts
By Matt Rose
The Ends Always Justify the Means Jack Bauer crossed the line in the first episode of 24. From that episode, Jack went on to be the most unpredictable television personality for the next eight seasons. He bent and ignored every rule in the book to accomplish his goal, often infuriating his superiors. He is a ruthless killer, but loyal to a fault to America. No athlete epitomizes Jack’s personality and methods more than Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Like Jack, the four time Pro-Bowler and 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year will stop at no cost to accomplish his goal: to win. Harrison’s savage tackling techniques often result in unhappy phone calls from Commissioner Roger Goodell and hefty fines. Regardless, Harrison refuses to change, and like Jack, he only cares about one thing: getting results.
James Harrison is Jack Bauer
Saving the World with Their Webs For decades, your friendly neighborhood Spiderman has been keeping the streets of America safe. One of the most storied and popular superheroes of all time was notorious for his “Spidy-Senses” tingling, alerting him to danger. Just when it seemed the villains would prevail, Spiderman would swing in on his web and quickly dissipate the situation, saving the day. While Spiderman keeps the streets of America safe, Ryan Miller protects the goal for the Buffalo Sabers and US National Team. Miller has consistently been the premier goalie in the NHL, and the National Team rode his “web” (glove hand) all the way to the finals of the 2010 Olympics. Miller’s performance was so impressive that he won Tournament MVP, despite a 3-2 overtime defeat to Canada in the Finals. In his first game back in the US, Miller received a standing ovation in rival city Pittsburgh, proving that he captured that hearts of America, much like Spiderman has done for decades.
Ryan Miller is Spiderman
How Quickly They Can Fall Remember the Titans is one of the most powerful sports movies of the generation, as it demonstrates football’s influence during the times of segregation. One of the stars of the movie, based on a true story, is Gary Bertier, who’s a force on the field, winning the Area Defensive Player of the Year. Just when things finally seem to start to go right, Bertier is paralyzed in a car crash, taking him from his peak to rock bottom in the blink of an eye. Brandon Roy is the Gary Bertier of the NBA. Roy entered the NBA in 2006 as a soft-spoken guard with a lot of talent. He immediately exceeded expectations, winning the 2007 Rookie of the Year and being selected to three straight All Star games from 2008-2010. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Roy’s knees, which ailed him since his college days, became a major concern. He had multiple surgeries and has been limited in minutes since. Now Roy will not continue playing after announcing his retirement and shared a fall from stardom with Gary Bertier.
Brandon Roy is Gary Bertier
Money, Money, Money, Monaaay A look into each NBA franchiseâ€™s payroll and their efficiency with money Compiled By Alex Onushco and Scott Simone
Designed By Scott Simone
New York Knicks
San Antonio Spurs
$404 Oklahoma City Thunder
$54 $452 $330 Philadelphia 76ers
Total Net Worth of Franchise As of 2010-2011 Total Payroll As of 2010-2011
$2.8 $1.4 $1.3 $.58
$11 $53 $411
$28 $316 Denver Nuggets
Golden State Warriors
Portland Trail Blazers
$312 Orlando Magic
New Jersey Nets
New Orleans Hornets
* All Figures in Millions
Highest Paid Player For 2011-2012 Season Win Per Dollar Spent In 2010-2011
We prepare for the holidays with a compilation of the best the next month has to offer. We welcome the triumphant return of the NBA season, pick the best college defenses, and offer some gift advice. So go in your back yard and cut down a tree, make some egg nog, and relax because thatâ€™s just a sample of our holiday cooking. BY EP Staff
Welcome to the Jungle
There’s been a flurry of activity since the NBA season was announced, making it one of the craziest off-seasons in league history. BY Scott Simone
arvin Gaye’s What’s Going On may be the perfect soundtrack to today’s NBA. First the league was locked out, with owners and players digging their heals into the ground, unwilling to budge and agree on anything. Then the lockout ended, and while you were blasting the Pointer Sisters and dancing to I’m So Excited, you may have missed a few things. At this point, the NBA now resembles the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan: pure mayhem and confusion, with bodies dropping left and right. First, there was word that the Knicks would sign Tyson Chandler, the perfect addition to the undersized, defensively deficient team. Though the team was second in the league in scoring, they were 20th and 28th in rebounds per game and points allowed. With the addition of Chandler, who averaged nearly 10 rebounds a game last season and is one of the best defensive centers in the league, the Knicks would be able to challenge the Heat for the Eastern Conference crown. Chandler won a NBA title last season with the Mavericks, completely rebooting the team’s defense and leading them to a championship. Unfortunately, the Knicks continued their longstanding “Keystone Kops” policy, by bumbling through another awkward move. Further word came that if the team landed Chandler, they’d part ways with Amar’e Stoudemire to land Chris Paul in a trade. Trading Amar’e for Paul, who is among the best point guards in the league, would be a slap to Amar’e’s face. He signed with the Knicks before it was the cool thing to do, digging the team out of the abysmal grave it was lying in for more than a decade
and finally bringing excitement and respect back to the Garden. Additionally, the Knicks may have to drop Chauncey Billups, the veteran, championship-winning guard, to free up some cap-space if they sign Chandler. An apparently “pissed off ” Billups hinted that if dropped by the Knicks, he would retire if he were picked up by an undesirable team. It may be time to say farewell to Mr. Big Shot, as it looks like Chandler will be a member of the Knicks. Shortly after the word broke about Chandler going to the Knicks and a possible future trade with A’mare and Paul, it was announced the Lakers were going to land Paul in a trade. The proposed three-team trade would have sent Paul to the Lakers, Pau Gasol to the Rockets, and Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic, and a 2012 firstround draft pick to the Hornets. The Hornets would have received four very good players to make up for the loss of Paul, whose contract expires after this season. Paul, like Carmelo last season, has made it clear that he has no plans to sign an extension and stay with the Hornets. Instead of the Hornets getting four new players to help rebuild the franchise, they’re stuck with a handful of what-ifs. The Lakers, on the other hand, would have picked up Paul, who is one of the best point guards in the league. The team also would have freed up nearly $20 million dollars of cap-space while still holding on to Andrew Bynum. This would have allowed the Lakers to try and nab Dwight Howard, another All-Star who has expressed that he
wants nothing to do with his current team after his current contract runs out after the season. Everything looked to be set up for the teams involved. But, like Hall and Oates, the NBA and David Stern were singing I Can’t Go for That, and blocked the trade. The owners of the other 27 franchises didn’t want the deal to go through, so NBA commissioner David Stern stepped in and nixed the deal. League officials tried to defer the blame, saying, “The deal was never discussed at the Board of Governors meeting and the league office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons.” It’s pretty clear, however, that the veto wasn’t for basketball reasons. If all teams involved in the trade felt that they were bettering their team in some way, it was obviously a good basketball move. It seems that the league wanted to prove it’s new collective bargaining agreement worked, and thus, the players don’t have as much leverage as they did in past season. In an email from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to Stern, Gilbert stated, “I just don’t see how we can allow this trade to happen. I know the vast majority of owners feel the same way that I do. When will we just change the name of 25 of the 30 teams to the Washington Generals?” Gilbert feared another NBA super-team with three superstars, like the Miami Heat. Apparently, Gilbert didn’t watch any games last season, because the Miami Heat didn’t win a championship after spending most of the year trying to improve the team’s chemistry. There’s no proof that a PaulKobe backcourt would even thrive. Everyone who’s watched basketball in the last decade knows Kobe needs the ball in his hand for at least 47 minutes a game, and refuses to share the spotlight with other stars–just look at how well he got along with Shaq. There’s no certainty the Lakers would even get Howard in the future. It seems that the NBA nixed the deal solely on conjecture, not for “basketball reasons.” Plus, the nixed deal left the players involved shell-shocked. Lamar Odom tweeted, “When a team trades u and it doesn’t go down? Now what?” He went further in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, saying, “You don’t want to go to no place you’re
not wanted. I’ll try to give them what they want as much as possible.” It remains to be seen how this balked deal effects the players and teams involved, as Odom is already singing Human League’s, Don’t You Want Me? That’s not where the absurdness ended, though. Not to be outdone in the offseason, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King met with Dwight Howard in Miami. The meeting breaks the NBA’s tampering rules, as the Magic did not know about the meeting and did not give the Nets permission to meet with Dwight. ESPN reported that sources close to the issue said the meeting was about Howard being traded to the Nets, and that Dwight would ask for a trade to the Nets after the meeting. But as news broke of the illegal meeting, Dwight denied that the meeting ever occurred. As the Magic possibly file charges against the Nets, it will be interesting to see how the chasm between the two teams grows, especially if Howard is traded. Another shocker in this NBA whirlwind is the news that Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers will retire. While it may sound simple on the surface, it should be noted that Roy has only been in the league since 2007 and team officials expected Roy to report to training camp. Roy has conceded that his ongoing knee problems will not allow him to continue playing, as he has no cartilage in either knee, meaning there’s no cushion between the joints. Last January, Roy had arthroscopic surgery on both knees, and after returning, averaged a career low 12.2 points per game in limited minutes off the bench. While it’s a shock that such a young, talented player is throwing in the towel, it’s commendable. Reportedly, Roy feels such a close connection to the Portland community that he didn’t want to risk being dropped and playing for another team. It’s also praiseworthy in that he feels he can no longer help his team, so rather than collect millions of dollars, he’s taking himself out of the equation and helping the Trailblazers free up salary space. It will be very interesting to see how Portland will respond now that their leader is calling it quits. All this NBA madness is definitely spinning people’s heads around and will make this upcoming, shortened season something to keep a close eye on. EP
Maneater(s) Thirteen defenses sure to put fear into opposing quarterbacks and running backs this holiday season. BY Jeff Laboon
Be afraid. Be very afraid. With bowl season looming, we sifted through hours of game film and boxes upon boxes of donut holes to find the 12 most complete defensive units in the country. We all know defenses win championships, so expect these 12 to put up a serious fight in December and January. Honorable mention: UCF (5-6, 3-5 Conference USA), Defensive Coordinator: Fired! The Knights lost six one-score games this season, eliminating them from bowl eligibility. Sadly, defensive coordinator John Skladany suffered the brunt of the disappointment, getting the axe at the end of the season. 12. Vanderbilt (6-6, 2-6 SEC), Coordinator: Bob Shoop Don’t let the record deceive you, as Vandy fields one of the best defensive units in the country. The Commodores picked off 17 passes in the regular season, tied for 12th-best in FBS. Cornerback Casey Hayward leads the charge with five interceptions in his senior season. Opponent scouting report: “ I mean, they have kept them fighting in the games. No one can ever pull away from them.” - Derek Dooley, head coach of Tennessee, courtesy of UTSports. com on November 14. 11. BYU (9-3), Coordinator: Fired last October! Brandon Ogletree, a junior linebacker, leads the defense with 67 total tackles on the season, but the 10 tackles for a loss from sophomore linebacker Kyle Van Noy are nothing to overlook. With such defensive pressure coming from the linebacker corps, it’s no surprise the Cougars made short work of a fairly weak schedule. Opponent scouting report: “But you’re not going to get any easy yards against these guys. They will hit you.” - Mack Brown, head coach of Texas, courtesy of TexasSports.com on September 5. 10. Virginia Tech (11-2, 7-2 ACC), Coordinator: Bud Foster Though the rush defense receives most of the attention in Blacksburg, Virginia, only Miami and Clemson were able to top 400 total yards of offense against the Hokies. Sophomore cornerback Kyle Fuller leads the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and also has 64 total tackles, four and a half sacks, and one interception this season. Opponent scouting report: “One thing that jumps out at you is the speed of the defense. You watch their defensive line and how well they run…Bud Foster has done a tremendous job with that defense and continuing to bring people in. They get lined up in the right place and they play hard.” - Doc Holliday, head coach of Marshall, courtesy of Herdzone.com on September 21. 9. Temple (8-4, 5-3 MAC), Coordinator: Chuck Heater
Yes, Temple. The program that got kicked out of the Big East managed to place ahead of that enitre league with their defensive performance in 2011. The Owls held the opposition to an average of 13.8 points per game, third best in the nation. Watch for linebacker Stephen Johnson, a 6’1”, 230 lb. senior with 113 tackles this season. Opponent scouting report: “If anybody in our conference has a dominating defense, it’s Temple.” - Dave Clawson, head coach of Bowling Green, courtesy of BGSUFalcons.com on October 19. 8. Texas (7-5, 4-5 Big 12), Coordinator: Manny Diaz A pair of defensive ends, Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat, propelled the Longhorns to one of the best rush defenses in the country in defensive coordinator Manny Diaz’s first season on the job. Okafor and Jeffcoat recorded 14 and 17 tackles for loss this season.. Opponent scouting report: “The nuances you see on tape that you might not see just watching a ballgame up here, so there is a lot of things that you have to be prepared for. They are fast, they run extremely well, they are athletic. They have some powerful people up front, and they have good range.” - Bill Snyder, head coach of Kansas State, courtesy of KStatesports. cstv.com on November 15. 7. Penn State (9-3, 6-2 Big Ten), Coordinator: Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden Their pitiful performance against Wisconsin aside, Penn State’s defense carried the team in 2011. Not surprisingly, much of the team’s success should be attributed to another in a long line of dominant linebackers: Gerald Hodges. The junior missed most of the 2010 season with a hairline fracture in his leg, but returned in 2011 with a vengeance, leading the team with 97 tackles. Opponent scouting report: “Their front’s basically the same, you know, they don’t do a whole lot of things. They run `over-2,’ mostly, and when they get into `under,’ they’re probably going to blitz.” - Ron Zook, former head coach of Illinois and generally awesome dude, courtesy of FightingIllini.com on October 25. 6. Florida State (8-4, 5-3 ACC), Coordinator: Mark Stoops In a state filled with shutdown defenses like Florida and UCF, the Seminoles reigned supreme. Florida State allowed only Josh Harris of Wake Forest to rush for more than 100 yards this season. Senior linebacker Nigel Bradham leads the corps as the only returning
3. Michigan State (10-3, 7-2 Big Ten), Defensive Coordinator: Pat Narduzzi
Sophomore safety Isaiah Lewis anchors a secondary ranked 11th in the nation in passing yards allowed. The safety from Indianapolis, Indiana picked off four passes this season, returning two back for touchdowns. Lewis and fellow safety Trenton Robinson sit tied atop the Big Ten in interceptions with four each. Opponent scouting report: “Michigan State is probably as good up front as we’ve seen. They’re going to definitely get on your guys outside. They’re going to put pressure on you, whether it’s four, five, six men.” - Luke Fickell, head coach of Ohio State, courtesy of OhioStateBuckeyes.com on September 27. starting LB from 2010. Opponent scouting report: “They don’t do a whole lot of blitzing. They say, ‘Here we are, we’re attacking you, now block us.’ They have a lot of speed and athleticism; they just play sound, fundamental defense. “ - Mike London, head coach of Virginia, courtesy of Virginiasports. com on November 14. 5. Illinois (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten), Coordinator: Vic Koenning Don’t blame the defense for the Fighting Illini’s six-game losing streak. Vic Koenning’s crew kept the team close against Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Defensive lineman Whitney Mercilus, a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, set a Big Ten record with nine forced fumbles and leads the nation in sacks with 14.5. Opponent scouting report: “They’re very athletic and move well and do a lot. They’ve got a lot of coverage, a lot of different fronts, a lot of different zone blitzes or man blitzes.” - Brady Hoke, head coach of Michigan, courtesy of MGoBlue.com on November 8. 4. Georgia (10-3, 7-2 SEC), Coordinator: Todd Grantham We swear that EP does not have a man crush on Mark Richt or the SEC. The Bulldogs followed a 0-2 start with 10 consecutive wins, due in large part to their defensive aptitude. Georgia held both the Tennessee and Florida rushing game to negative yardage. The combination of the nation’s ninth-best rush defense and seventhbest pass defense is enough to make the late Larry Munson proud. Opponent scouting report: “It’s hard to play against a defense that is as good as Georgia. This is one of the best defenses in the conference. We’ve seen Georgia
hold some good teams to just a few points. - Joker Phillips, head coach of Kentucky, courtesy of GeorgiaDogs. com on November 19. 2. LSU (13-0, 9-0 SEC), Coordinator: John Chavis The Tigers sport the nation’s third and eighth best running and passing defenses. Sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu leads the SEC with six forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. The team cruised through its conference schedule, holding its opposition to 17 points at most. Despite such a dominant defense, the Tigers have not recorded a shutout this season. Opponent scouting report: “They are wherever the ball is. They get there really fast, and they’re pretty impressive once they get there.” - Dana Holgorsen, head coach of West Virginia, courtesy of MSNSportsnet.com on September 20. 1. Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC), Coordinator: Kirby Smart It feels ludicrous not having the Tigers at number one, but you can’t deny the Crimson Tide’s defensive prowess this season. The unit leads the nation in both rushing and passing yards allowed. Senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw, a finalist for the Lombardi Award, leads the defense with eight and a half sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Only Georgia Southern has managed to break the 20-point mark against the Bama D. Opponent scouting report: “You’re not No. 1 in the SEC in virtually every category without having really good players and a lot of them and being coached really well. They’re physical, they get off blocks, they love to play the game, and they play really hard. Big challenge. Huge challenge.” - Gene Chizik, head coach of Auburn, courtesy of AuburnTigers. com on November 22. EP
The Kids are alright Paul Goldschmidt 1B, Arizona DBacks (2011 Salary: N/A) In only 48 major league games, Goldschmidt launched eight home runs (including a 450-foot bomb) and contributed to the Diamondbacks division title. He and Stanton should be atop the NL home run leaderboards for years. Drew Storen RP, Washington Nationals ($418,000) Storen is used to being overshadowed. The 10th overall draft pick, he was the Nationals second pick in 2009 (behind some guy named Strasburg). In 2011, Braves closer Craig Kimbrel was the poster boy for young closers with 46 saves. Not many seemed to notice Storen, who broke out by posting 43 saves and a 2.75 ERA. Trevor Cahill SP, Arizona DBacks ($440,000)
Matt Wieters C, Baltimore Orioles ($452,250) Despite his team’s consistent failure, Wieters isn’t to blame. In his two and a half pro seasons, he earned a spot in the middle of the lineup, represented the O’s in the All-Star Game and finished with 22 home runs and 68 RBIs in 2011. He also won his first Gold Glove, leading the AL by nailing 37 percent of would-be base stealers. Mat Latos SP, San Diego Padres ($460,700) Latos’ 27-29 career record isn’t indicative of his talent; it’s more indicative of the Padres’ weak lineup. He’s averaged 187 strikeouts over the past two years, and could be a consistent Cy Young candidate with a better group of batters supporting him. Andrew McCutchen CF, Pittsburgh Pirates ($452,500)
Even with all of the Moneyball attention toward Billy Beane, not many paid attention to his team and its best young pitcher. Cahill had a down year compared to 2010, when he went 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA, but the 23-year-old should be headed for bigger things, with a five-year $30.5 million extension as he heads to the desert.
Here’s an example of a small-market team cashing in on a five-tool player. McCutchen represents the Pirates (can anyone name another player from Pittsburgh?), and his all-around skills kept the team in the playoff hunt until the end of the summer.
Mike Stanton RF, Florida Marlins ($416,000)
Desmond Jennings LF, Tampa Bay Rays (414,000)
In his first full season, the 22-year-old made a big statement and cemented his spot among the best power hitters in the league with 34 homers and an .893 OPS. He’ll be one of the faces of the new Miami Marlins.
Many saw Jennings spark the Rays to their miracle wild-card run, and he earned a spot at the top of the order. He undoubtedly has the raw talent to be a perennial All-Star.
Carlos Santana C, Cleveland Indians ($416,600) Santana showed flashes of potential after his 2010 rookie year but never quite put it all together after an incredible 2010. He did have 27 home runs and 35 doubles, so he’s got pop. Plus, he’s so smooth.
Want to know which baseball players are close to breaking out? We have a list of the best smallmarket studs to study this MLB off-season. BY Jason Krakower
Eric Hosmer 1B, Kansas City Royals (N/A) Hosmer had a great all-around rookie year, with 19 home runs, 78 RBIs and a .293 batting average. The Royals had the lowest payroll in the league during 2011, but Hosmer and other young talent may help turn the team around. EP
Wieters (Flickr/Keith Allison)
You’ve got Another Thing Coming Use the time stuck inside because of cold weather to your advantage and prepare for March Madness by checking out these upset-minded teams. BY Sam Knehans The NCAA basketball playoff system, which gives 68 teams the opportunity to compete for the national championship, regularly produces some media darlings. Often, these are mid-major teams that upset national title contenders from the six major conferences. Some mid-major teams, such as Memphis, Gonzaga and Xavier, have established themselves as annual competitors and thus no longer fit the stereotypical mid-major role. However, here are five other mid-majors with the potential to become upset specialists in NCAA Tournament. UNLV The Rebels have become the talk of the early season after taking down top-ranked North Carolina to capture the Las Vegas Invitational. First-year coach Dave Rice inherited a team ready to compete for the Mountain West title. His starting lineup includes two returning Third-Team All-Mountain West selections in small forward Chace Stanback and point guard Oscar Bellfield. They are joined by UCLA transfer Mike Moser, who is averaging a doubledouble and leads the team in rebounds per game. With these three leading the way, look for UNLV to compete for the Mountain West title and remain in the national picture for much of this season. Creighton The Bluejays play in the competitive Missouri Valley Conference, a group of teams that often produces one Cinderella come March. Creighton has participated in a basketball postseason tournament in every season since 1998, including seven NCAA tournaments appearances. This Creighton team is led by sophomore forward Doug McDermott, son of the team’s head coach, Greg McDermott. The younger McDermott leads the team in points per game, with 24.0, and rebounds per game, averaging 9.1. With the McDermotts at the helm, look for Creighton to challenge for the Missouri Valley Conference title this season. Harvard This year’s Crimson are not your average Ivy League team. They started off the campaign 8-0 for the first time since the 1984-85 season, and return key pieces from the team that established several program records, including wins (23), conference victories (12) and home wins (14), last season. Paramount among these returning players is senior forward Keith Wright, who was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 Watch List and was also honored as a Preseason All-Ivy League selection. Wright leads the team with 6.8 rebounds per game and is second with 10.8 points per game. Look for Wright to lead Harvard to the Ivy League title and push for the school’s second NCAA tournament appearance and first ever NCAA tournament win. Belmont Belmont has developed its basketball program over the past five years. The Bruins reached their first NCAA Tournament in 2006 and returned in 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2008, the Bruins nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, coming up one point shy against the No. 2 seeded Duke Blue Devils in the first round. The 2011 season was arguably the best in school history, as the Bruins captured both the Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship and the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament crown before losing to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament. Look for the Bruins to continue to develop their program and possibly compete for the school’s first NCAA Tournament win this season.
Saint Louis University
The Billikens captured a significant amount of media attention after defeating Boston College, Villanova, and Oklahoma, each by at least 10 points, on their way to the 76 Classic title. Head coach Rick Majerus, who has never had a losing season in 23 years at the collegiate level, leads SLU. The Billikens have guard Kwamain Mitchell, who led the team two seasons ago with 15.9 points per game, and forward Brian Conklin, who leads the team with 16.0 points per game this season. With Majerus at the helm, look for the Billikens to be a factor into the Atlantic 10 and to become a bracket buster when March Madness begins.
Winter classic, January 2
The New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers descend upon Citizens Bank Park in the fifth annual Winter Classic. Only 93 miles separate the Atlantic Division foes, making for a heated outdoor game. Watch how the Flyers defense handles star Ranger Brad Richards, considering captain Chris Pronger’s concussion. Hey at worst, both teams will be rocking some beautiful feauxback uniforms highlighted by Philly’s use of a keystone for the captain’s “C.” Don’t forget to watch 24/7 on HBO in the weeks leading up to the game.
EP EP12/13/11 11/1/11
It came down to the last race, but Tony Stewart became the first man not named Johnson to win a Sprint Cup Championship in recent memory. BY Carly Signor
ain forced the Chase to start on a Monday at Chicagoland Speedway. Tony Stewart claimed his first victory of the season after saying that his team was merely wasting a spot in the Chase because they were not going to be competitive enough to succeed. He was proved wrong again the following weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with another win. This race came down to fuel mileage, as Stewart passed leader Clint Bowyer when the latter ran out of gas in the closing laps of the race. The third race of the Chase visited Dover International Speedway. Last year’s champion and five-time consecutive champion, Jimmie Johnson, held the lead for most of the race. But a late race restart gave Kurt Busch the lead and the resulting win. Johnson did not stay behind long, as he’d claim his second win of the season the next week at Kansas Speedway. The victory sent a message that Johnson would once again be a contender in the Chase. The only Saturday night race of the
Chase was held at Charlotte Motor Speedway, marking the halfway point in the Chase. The race had some prior cautions, but it was not until lap 293 that the first accident happened. In the next 20 laps, there would be two more accident-related cautions, but Matt Kenseth managed to stay out front and pick up the victory. To many drivers, Talladega is considered a wildcard due to its extremely fast speeds and unique drafting patterns. At this track, every driver just wants to come out of the weekend in one piece. Clint Bowyer and his teammate, Jeff Burton, paired up into the two-car draft and pulled away on the last lap. In the last turn, Bowyer pulled around Burton to pass him for the win. Bowyer became the first non-Chase driver to win in the Chase this year. NASCAR went from its largest track in Talladega, to its smallest in Martinsville Speedway and it showed. The race looked a lot like a demolition derby, with 18 cautions, including scuffles between Kenseth and Brian Vickers that would start a feud between the two drivers. Stewart survived the day to claim his third victory of the Chase and went on to win again the following weekend at Texas to score his second back to back win during the championship. Phoenix International Speedway hosted the second to last race of the season. The Kenseth/Vickers feud came to the surface again, as Kasey Kahne drove on to snap an 81 race winless streak. Kahne, who is leaving his Red Bull team for a ride at Hendrick Motorsports, became the second non-Chaser to win this year. The last race of the season at Homestead-Miami set up a two man battle for the Championship. Carl Edwards came into the race leading by just three points, meaning that whoever won the race would win the championship. Stewart flexed his muscles once more, pulling off an impressive fifth win of the Chase, with Edwards finishing in a close second. It’s Stewart’s third Sprint Cup Championship of his career. EP
Tony Stewart car (Raceconn)
Start me up It’s time to start preparing for one of the hottest sports in the country, lacrosse. We’ve got what teams to watch for and who could be this year’s NCAA Champion covered. BY Sydney McMinn 1. Virginia Cavaliers Coming off a national championship, Virginia will be looking to maintain their high standing, and keep their NCAA title. The Cavs will have to find ways to make up for a couple blows to their roster: as they are down two attackmen (one transfer, one suspension) and lost a defensive middie for the year due to a torn Achilles tendon. Luckily for fans of the Cavaliers, Virginia is known for always bringing in a strong recruiting class, and will return seniors Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet, both imposing threats on the field. 2. Duke Blue Devils The Blue Devils have reloaded their arsenal. They’ve brought in tons of fresh talent on the offensive end, and their midfield could be a prominent force this year. They’re going to strike fast and hard this season. With forces like theirs, the Blue Devils could easily make it to the Final Four. 3. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays The Blue Jays have always been great defensively, but they tend to have problems scoring. If the team can address its issues in the midfield with transitions to offense, scoring opportunities will come. One potential playmaker to keep an eye on is Wells Stanwick, who will likely follow in the legacy of the 2011 Tewaaraton winner, older brother Steele. 4. Syracuse Orange The Orange have a lot of work ahead of them this year. Having lost several powerhouse seniors, including Jovan Miller and Joel White, Syracuse better hope that their new talent can fill the void. The team now has several high school All-Americans and redshirts itching to see the field. If the youth can find their place quickly, the season will be a success. 5. Cornell Big Red This will be Cornell’s second year under head coach Ben DeLuca. Last year, there
were some issues with communication between DeLuca and the team, and the misunderstandings kept the team from being as strong as it could be. The talent and potential for greatness is definitely present here, especially with an offense led by Rob Pannell, and AJ Fiore heading up the defense. The key to Big Red’s season will be the adjustments made by the coaching staff and the team to improve communication. 6. North Carolina Tar Heels The Tar Heels will be a force to reckon with this year. The team is loaded with pure athleticism, as well as a strong defense. The offense is mostly underclassmen, including talented sophomore T.J. Kemp. Bundling all that promise under an inspiring coach could send this team deep into the NCAA tournament. 7. Denver Pioneers No one saw this pick coming. Denver is a teams that has managed to be strong, but fly under the radar for a while now. This year may be their breakout season. They’ve been assembling an arsenal on offense, both on attack and in the midfield. Head coach Bill Tierney has experience in making the team improve every season. The biggest challenge the Pioneers will have to overcome is a shaky defense that other teams may try to exploit. 8. Maryland Terrapins The Terrapins came up just a little short in the fight for the national title last year. Some argue that their success was more luck than skill or talent. Last year’s team was not very athletic and couldn’t keep pace against the teams they played. That being said, they always bring in top quality recruits, especially Kevin Forster and David Solomon (both favorites to help guide the Maryland offense). Overall, Maryland’s success this year will depend on how well the team adjusts to the need for speed and agility on top of the necessary skill sets.
Players to Watch Steele Stanwick (Virginia, A)—2011 Tewaaraton Trophy winner. He cleaned up with four Inside Lacrosse Laxie awards (IL Player of the year, Men’s DI Player of the Year). He has consistently been one of the best players in the league. With Virginia’s desire to maintain the No. 1 position and his little brother now playing for rival Johns Hopkins, expect his play to be kicked into a higher gear. Rob Pannell (Cornell, A)—2011 Tewaaraton Finalist, 2011 ESPY Best Male Collegiate Athlete Finalist. Pannell has been a powerhouse player on the Cornell offense since his freshman year. He will be looking to set an example for the classes coming behind him and hoping to polish off his legacy with style. Brian Megill (Syracuse, D) With Joel White gone, someone is going to have to step up and fill his shoes. That someone may just be Megill. Last year, he led the team in turnovers and played extensively with White, hopefully picking up a secret or two. This year could be his year to step into the spotlight. Tyler Fiorito (Princeton, G) This goalie averaged over 10 saves per game in the 2011 season, even against some of the toughest teams on the Tigers’ schedule. He is solid in the cage, and has a good sense of the game, making him a strong leader for the Tigers’ defense. EP
Here comes santa clause Don’t know what to get that special someone over the holidays? We have some gift ideas for the sports fan in your house. BY Harrison Highland Shake Weight, $20, shakeweight.com
It’s easy to overlook fitness during the holidays. All that gingerbread, eggnog and holiday ham can go straight to the thighs. That is why it’s so important to remember to stay in shape during the Christmas season, unless you want to be known as “thunder thighs.” There are countless exercise videos, routines and equipment on the market, but the Shake Weight seems most effective. I mean, have you seen the commercials? The ladies are toned and the guys are shredded! The ads strongly imply that by using the Shake Weight, everyone can get yoked, and who questions the unproven implications of such a splendidly crafted daytime infomercial? If the commercials are true, Shake Weight will have you looking like a ‘roided-out Arnold circa 1975, and all you need to do is pretend to milk a cow. Get a Shake Weight, get jacked. Simple.
Cookie Cutters, $10, worldwidefred.com NFL Protoast Toasters, $40-60, pangeabrands.com Ninja Real ninjas can’t bake Got a toaster? Love football? Hate money? If you answered no, yes, yes, you might want to consider this gift after seriously reexamining your life. Buying this toaster means that your worth as a human being is less than the $40-60 that this tacky piece of crap costs. Also, what the hell does Protoast mean?
cookies because if they gorged on sugar, they would eventually crash, giving their enemies an opportunity to strike. If real ninjas did eat sugary foods, though, they would certainly use these cookie cutters. Make your cookies the most lethal ones at the bake sale this holiday.
MLB New York Mets Mr. Potato Head, $16, shop.mlb.com Get this one for the kids. The best indoctrination starts early, so to make sure your little nephew or cousin doesn’t end up supporting the wrong team, give him a toy with a subliminal message. He’ll love playing with it, but more importantly, he’ll develop a positive association with whatever team you choose. To quote Whitney Houston, I believe the children are our future. We can’t take any chances, and the right toy could go a long way in influencing a youngster’s development. After all, what could be worse than having a little brat who is a Phillies or Yankees fan? That’s a sickening thought.
Fathead, average $100, fathead.com
Do you ever feel lonely? Longing for a companion? Well, at fathead.com, there’s a friend waiting. Fatheads are life-size wall stickers of athletes. Let’s say you want to be best buddies with everyone’s favorite basketball superstar, LeBron James. But wait, you don’t personally know him, you’ve never met him, and you probably never will. Finally, there’s a solution to the obstacle of actually having human contact with your favorite superstars. With just a Fathead and a dream, you can become best friends with King James! All you need to do is buy a Fathead, slap it on that boring old wall, and watch that bad boy come to life! Granted, he won’t move or talk to you, but that’s what imagination is for. With Fathead, you can become best friends with your favorite athlete. But wait, there’s more! Fatheads are also customizable, so you can make one out of any person you want. Missing a loved one? Turn them into a Fathead. Do you need two of yourself to sustain your massive ego? Make a Fathead clone. Do you have enemies? Create them as Fatheads, and you can seek voodoo vengeance on their two-dimensional doppelganger. Fathead is a great gift for that “friend” who you secretly don’t like. Just get them a Fathead of yourself, and they’ll stop bugging you to come over and watch bowling or whatever they show on ESPN 3. Fathead is the perfect gift for that friend you don’t want to see, but wants to see you. Hey, just ask the people at Fathead how they feel about their product. “Your friends will stare at it and wish they had one. You will be a true hero to your children.”—Fathead.com Sold.
New York Yankees Toilet Paper, $12, piehole.com Now, you can literally wipe your ass with the evil empire. You can also read some humorous insults written on the toilet paper (“New York YankThese” and “They haven’t been getting the runs lately”…too funny). On the downside, it might not be a good idea to have a mortal enemy this close.
The Phoenix Coyotes, $150 million
Interested in owning an NHL franchise with a fairly new arena and talented roster (oh and a lack of a fan base)? Well, we have the answer for you. The perpetually for sale Phoenix Coyotes can be yours for the low price of $150 million (based on the team’s value according to Forbes. com). Watch as studs like Keith Yandle, Shane Doan, and Martin Hanzal try to give the southwest a serious case of hockey fever. If all else fails, move the team to Quebec City and count the Canadian dollars all the way to the bank.
Space Jam Blu-Ray, $15, bestbuy.com JockJams, Volume 1, $15, bestbuy.com This might be the most powerful motivational force on earth. Ambition, lust, greed, hunger, fear… none of them will drive a man to action more than the pump-up songs featured on this album. When “Pump Up The Jam” commands the listener to do as it commands, you had better believe that jams will be pumped up. When Tag Team exclaims “whoomp there it is” everyone listening to that song has their full attention focused on finding “it” even if they have no clue at all where and what “it” is (probably either a pizza or a cheeseburger). The point is, these songs are motivators. They make you want to do something. Get this gift for someone slothful and ideally into early ‘90s techno.
Everyone knows this is the best basketball film ever made. Heck, it’s the best sports movie ever. Sure, you’ve seen it a million times, but have you ever seen it in crystal clear 1080i? With the special commentary featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and director Joe Pytka? Their insight into the making of the film is fascinating. As it turns out, there was some real tension on the set between Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes. According to Bugs, he and Jordan came to blows on just the third day of shooting, after Bugs caught MJ and Lola Bunny in her trailer getting frisky. Jordan has never confirmed or denied this rumor, but it’s a good story. Apparently, there was also some conflict over the ending, since Jordan was supposed to miss and spend the rest of his days in disgrace on Moron Mountain, instead of hitting the game-winning shot. The studio felt the ending was a bit too dark for the younger audience, so they changed it. Daffy Duck wasn’t happy, because he thought it was important to teach kids a life lesson about learning to lose. Regardless, the commentary is pretty interesting, and the movie is a classic. Also, a special feature called “Production Notes” is also included on the DVD. How exciting!
PUNT AND GRUNT
IN THIS ISSUE
NFL: FANTASY PLAYOFFS NHL: DISAPPOINTING FRANCHISES CBB: TOURNAMENTS OP-ED: ODE TO HOOK SHOTS
(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
WHAT’S YO FAN-TA-TA-SY BY: ALEX ONUSHCO
Congratulations, your fantasy football team made it to the playoffs. What comes next is two weeks of nail-biting, hair-pulling pandemonium as you and the rest of your league fight for pride and money. Make sure to have the following players starting on all your teams, as they all have favorable matchups heading into the final weeks of the season.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions -OAK, SD, GB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons -JAC, NO, TB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills -MIA, DEN, NE
Both the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons are vying for a wildcard spot, which means you can be sure that both of their quarterbacks will be playing at a high level. It doesn’t hurt that they have perhaps the softest schedules down the stretch of any quarterback.
RUNNING BACKS Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens -SD, CLE, CIN DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys -TB, PHI, NYG Arian Foster, Houston Texans -CAR, IND, TEN
Ray Rice and Arian Foster have been on fire as of late, and fantasy owners can expect that trend to continue. DeMarco Murray has slowed down after a hot start, but he now has his starting fullback back from injury and he is facing a trio of weak defenses.
WIDE RECEIVERS Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions -OAK, SD, GB Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys -TB, PHI, NYG Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills -MIA, DEN, NE
Megatron has been in beast mode all season and now has a chance to finish strong against defenses that have secondary woes. Dez Bryant will be the most reliable Cowboys’ receiver entering the last few weeks of the season.
Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints have been the best tight ends in football -MIN, ATL, CAR Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots this year, and it isn’t even close. Look for them to close the season in their typical, -DEN, MIA, BUF beast-like selves. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys -TB, PHI, NYG
DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART BY: BRYAN RUBIN (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
News flash to those underperforming teams in the NHL: December is historically the month where the playoff contenders start to separate themselves from the playoff pretenders. Will the following teams please listen up:
WASHINGTON CAPITALS The team that recently fired fifth-year coach Bruce Boudreau is in need of a serious wake-up call. Firing Boudreau – a coach that transformed Washington into an elite contender when he became the head man back in 2007 – is a bold move. Although he has been on the hot seat in Washington for a while, he still brought energy and passion to the bench every night. His players did not reciprocate that sentiment. Their lack of ability to win close games along with their ability to get blown out has led to their downfall. Only once this season has the team scored less than three goals in a game and still won. However, the offense will likely come around for the Caps as it always does. The same cannot be said of the defense. In their fourteen November games, they allowed three or more goals eleven times, resulting in a 5-8-1 record. Statistic majors would pounce on that positive correlation. Poor Washington. They are stuck with the Redskins, Wizards and Nationals. For the love of sports humanity, Capitals don’t join the club.
ANAHEIM DUCKS The Ducks are usually the blue-collared, hard-hitting team in the West that no team likes to play against. However, this season there is nothing to fear. With a mere 18 points, Anaheim sits in 29th place in the NHL. With budding Bobby Ryan trade rumors and the firing of head coach Randy Carlyle, the Ducks are surrounded by distractions. Oh, and they just hired Bruce Boudreau as their new coach. On the bright side, Boudreau inherits a talented team led by Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan and defenseman Cam Fowler. If the new guy in town is going to right the ship for Anaheim, he is going to have to spark an offense that scores just 2.21 goals per game (29th in NHL) and struggles during five-on-five play. Unless the Ducks figure out how to find the back of the net, they will have to figure out what channel Versus is on their living room cable box come April.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS Sing along: No one wants to be apart of it, New York New York. It’s December and your team is in last place – what’s new? The goaltending is a disaster, Kyle Okposo has six points in 16 games, and no one goes to the games. New York’s goaltending version of “Sanchise,” Rick DiPietro, has a GAA of 3.44. He can’t save pucks, and the team gives up over 31 shots per game. Interesting strategy. Every year Isles’ fans hope that the team’s “young talent” will step up and lead them (sort of like in Edmonton this year). But Tavares has no help and until he gets some, the Islanders will continue to play poorly.
GONNA MAKE YOU SWEAT BY: TREVOR HASS
Early season tournaments this year have featured many teams and players poised for big time seasons. Three tourneys in particular continued their rich history of excellence this year.
MAUI INVITATIONAL Against Tennessee, Duke forward Ryan Kelly scored 17 points and helped advance his team in the Maui Invitational. In the semi-finals, Kelly pulled a Bill Murray from Groundhog Day and dropped 17 again. Kansas was next. Mr. Kelly, the tournament MVP, scored 17 points yet again. With a jump shot almost as beautiful as a Maui sunset, Duke reserve Tyler Thornton hit a clutch three from the corner to extend Duke’s lead with under a minute remaining. From there the quill and ink were drawn and the result was scribed into the record books, marking the fourth time the Blue Devils had taken home the hardware.
NIT SEASON TIP OFF The Syracuse Orange won the NIT Season Tip Off by knocking off Virginia Tech and Stanford in the semi-finals and finals. Despite trailing heading into halftime in both games, the Orange (currently ranked #1 in the nation) utilized the strong play of Kris Joseph and Brandon Triche to come back and win the tourney. Syracuse closed the game on a 15-3 run against Stanford after playing a sloppy game with a ball that seemed to be made of Flubber for the first 30+ minutes. Jim Boeheim’s squad also won the tournament in 1988 and 2001 behind the strong play of Sherman Douglas and DeShaun Williams.
CBE CLASSIC Don’t look now, but Missouri is averaging 86 points per game and has yet to lose a game. The first step in their pursuit of a run deep into the NCAA tournament came with a bing and a bang in the CBE Classic finale, where they essentially put a flabbergasted, previously undefeated Cal team into a blender and crushed them like a frozen strawberry. What many anticipated to be a highly competitive game turned out to be more lopsided than Missouri’s win over Southeastern Missouri State. Mizzou had six players score in double figures, including guard Kim English, who had 19.
HOOKED ON A FEELING BY: JEFF LABOON
In our fourth issue, we preview the winter break. We also talk about fantasy football playoffs, we occupy the NBA, and show some love to our...