Archive | September 2009

Refs decline league’s offer, replacements on the way.

Regardless of whether you’ve been keeping up with the NBA’s referee lockout, you’re going to be hearing all about it soon. After the latest proposal by the NBA was voted down 43-14 by the refs, the NBA sent a memo out to all the teams telling them that the season will start with replacement referees. With the 09-10 season starting in a month, the NBA has “no expectation of concluding a timely labor contract.” Here’s the details on the latest proposal:

The league agreed to cut the number of game assignments given to D-League and WNBA referees from 75 to 50 (it had previously asked for 100), and it made changes to its severance proposal that would have allowed six current referees to retire over the next two seasons with severance checks of $575,000 rather than the $350,000 previously proposed.

Also, referees with fewer than 10 years of service who chose to retire during the proposed two-year labor agreement would be eligible for severance payments from $50,000 to $100,000. The NBA’s earlier offers on severance payments excluded that group.

To be honest, I’m not that torn up about these replacement refs because, frankly, the current refs are horrible. They make really bad calls, games are decided by their whistles and not the players, and they’ve helped make games look more like European soccer with the way they call flops and things like that. I, for one, won’t miss the likes of Joey Crawford. I’m not going to be saddened when I watch a game and Bennett Salvatore or Steve Javie aren’t officiating. And why did we have to wait for a lockout to get rid of the whole bunch? Shouldn’t they have been fired for being bad at their jobs?

Fans don’t seem to be really torn up about the replacement refs, if the comment sections on the two stories I read while writing this are any indication. But there is concern within the league. Consider what Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown has to say about the situation:

“It’s a very difficult thing for me, personally. I’ve been with a lot of those guys my whole career. I’ve watched them get better and I’m hopeful that they thought I’ve gotten better. Now if we’re going to have young guys come in, I don’t know if they’re ready, just like our young kids.”

I can understand the concern by people within the league that the replacements will be even less competent than the current ones, but I don’t think it’s possible. I think the current refs have done a lot to harm the way fans view the league with the way they officiate games. It’s too easy to believe the conspiracy theories about the league deciding beforehand who wins games. It’s also no fun to watch a game when the whistle is blown on nearly every play, especially when they’re calling ticky-tack fouls. So will the replacement refs be any different? I actually think there’s a possibility of them doing better. I mean, they can’t do any worse can they? And it’s not like they’re just random people off the street. The replacements are coming from the D-League, the WNBA, and there’s even a fired NBA ref on the list as well. I hope they do well.

Replacement refs to start season. (ESPN)
NBA to teams: We’re going with replacement refs. (Yahoo! Sports)

This post can also be found on Celtics 17 on MNV.com. To get there, click the link on the right side of the page.

The weekend’s two big stories (in college football)

The Top 10 had another rough week. #4 Ole Miss lost to South Carolina 16-10, #5 Penn State lost to Iowa 21-10, and #6 California got blown out by Oregon 42-3. All three losses were to unranked teams from their respective conferences and all three were previously undefeated; Penn State lost at home while the other two were road losses.

So here’s my question, Is any one of these losses worse than the other? Yes, all of them are bad losses, but by what I’m hearing from the pundits Ole Miss had the worse loss. While they were having trouble with South Carolina and then after they lost on Thursday, the analysts from ESPN who were covering the game were adament that the Rebels didn’t belong in the Top 5. They said they were overrated and unproven thus far . And I knew that Ole Miss would take a big hit in the rankings.

But when Oregon and Penn State fell on Saturday, I started thinking- Were they any more deserving of their high rankings? I don’t think so. Ole Miss had blowout wins over Memphis-a team they had trouble with early on-and Southeastern Louisiana. Yeah, I can see why that’s not impressive. In Penn State’s first three games, they only allowed 20 combined points but they were playing Akron, Syracuse, and Temple. Similarly unimpressive when compared to Mississippi’s opponents. Oregon posted double digit wins over Maryland, Eastern Washington, and Minnesota. Again, not exactly a “who’s who” of college football powerhouses.

That’s why I think all three of these teams were undeserving of their high rankings, but people are only saying that about Ole Miss. They fell to #21 in the rankings, while Penn State dropped to #15 and California is now #24. No one has said that Penn State or California didn’t belong in the Top 10 because they were unproven, but that’s the general consensus about Ole Miss and Penn State is still considered to be in the national title hunt.

What do you think?

There was another big story from the weekend- Tim Tebow’s consussion. In the third quarter and with a 31-7 lead against Kentucky, Tebow got sacked by an unblocked Taylor Wyndham then hit his head on a teammates leg before bouncing it on the ground; he appeared to lose consiousness when he hit the ground.

And here’s the question that’s been asked hundreds of times since Saturday: Why in the world was Tebow still in? With a little over a quarter left in the game, what is the likelihood that Kentucky runs off more than 24 points to take the lead? Like, none? And yet there he was, still leading the offense. Now I think there are a few possibilities here. Either Florida was trying to run up the score to look good to the voters, or they were making a statement after not blowing out Tennessee, or Urban Meyer isn’t all that smart. I think it’s a combination of the three.

Florida coach thinks Tebow will be ready for LSU (Yahoo! Sports)

This post can also be found on The College Sports Roundup on the Most Valuable Network by following the link on the right side of the page.

Michael Crabtree and UT vs. Florida

That’s what NFL draft “guru” Mel Kiper Jr. seems to think. Of course, I’m a bit skeptical of such a claim, otherwise I wouldn’t be taking the time to write about it. To begin with, Crabtree was drafted #10 overall the first time around, so there’s just not a whole lot higher he can go. It’s simple math. But there are also two other reasons why he won’t go as high next year, the biggest of which is him sitting out an entire year. Now, I know that athletes have no shortage of ways to stay in shape, what with unlimited access to trainers and upscale equipment, but there’s no substitute for actually suiting up and playing in games. He could play in the UFL or CFL, but what’s the use? He’d be getting way less than he was offered by the San Francisco 49ers, and their offer was less than he was asking. Which brings us to the second point- who would want to draft someone that was so disgruntled with the contract he was offered that he sat out a year of football? A team would have to be very desperate for a wide receiver to take that kind of risk. Either that, or they would have to be the Oakland Raiders or Dallas Cowboys. Of course, you could justly argue that Crabtree would have little choice to sign with his new team since another holdout would almost certainly doom his shot at the NFL. Still, I wouldn’t be willing to risk it.

Executives against concept of pick protection (Yahoo! Sports)
Kiper and McShay on Crabtree (ESPN)

Since the Mel Kiper Jr. video from ESPN includes a look at the Florida vs. UT game, I’ll take a moment to talk about it as well. Now for those who don’t know me, I live in Tennessee and keep a close eye on all the SEC action and spend a lot of time discussing it with my friends (I’m an Auburn fan). Personally, I don’t think Tennessee stands a chance. They’re playing the #1 team in the country on the road without a good offense. Their defense-anchored by Eric Berry-has been really good, but they haven’t played anyone with an offense like Florida yet. And I know what you’re going to say, Florida hasn’t played anyone like Tennessee. Now what’s that supposed to mean? The way I see it, the only difference between Tennessee, Charleston Southern,and Troy is that Tennessee has a better defense and they talk a lot of smack. Other than that, will it be a huge deal to Florida? I don’t think so. But Florida really needs to make sure that they focus, execute their gameplan, and not mess around, because the UT players will be as amped as they are.

This post can also be found on The Football Wire on MVN.com. To get there, click the link on the right side of the page.

College football bursts back on the scene.

In case you haven’t heard, college football is back!

Last night, ESPN had an opening night double-header, with South Carolina and NC State playing the first game of the season followed by #16 Oregon and #14 Boise State playing the first BIG game of the season. Not surprisingly, nobody is talking about the South Carolina’s 7-3 win over State, thanks in no small part to the post-game shenanigans in Boise. Read More…

No Rubio in Minnesota for a couple years.

Ricky Rubio will be staying with his Spanish team, DKV Jovenut, until 2011. I would guess that makes the Timberwolves look less crazy after taking four point guards in this year’s draft, right? This also means we’ll have to postpone all the “Will Ricky Rubio be able to play with Jonny Flynn?” drama. Now what?

“Sources: Wolves can’t work buyout” (ESPN)