Tuesday, July 31, 2007

TSF's Top College Football Analysts (Current)

Well yesterday I gave you my top current college football announcers. Today I am going to give you my top analysts. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me about your favorites.

Best of the Best: Analysts

1. Kirk Herbstreit

Seems like he is far ahead of the other College Football analysts on ESPN. His analysis is always very insightful and seems to always know what he is talking about. He is always prepared no matter which team he is covering, and when it comes to debates on College Gameday or SportsCenter, he always gets his point across, and is usually the one giving the shots, whether it be Lee Corso or Mark May taking them.

2. Trev Alberts
Alberts is now an analyst with CSTV and is very similar to Herbstreit. I was very disappointed after ESPN let him go. I always thought he deserved to be part of the College Gameday Crew, which he always stated during halftime reports or whenever himself. He always gets straight to the point with his provocative analysis and pithy comments.

3. Gary Danielson
The CBS Analyst calls many games with Verne Lunquist doing the play-by-play. Knows a lot about the SEC and his in-depth analysis is very intriguing and incisive. I would like to thank Danielson for this comment he made during the SEC Championship game last season: "Let's face it, Michigan is a second place team". This is the SEC. We don't call that".

4. Todd Blackledge
I love his analysis and always gets to the point. His words are very insightful and complex. He helps call games along my top play-by-play announcer Ron Franklin. He is always well-prepared and makes the games that much better.

5. Bruce Feldman
Mainly just a Sr. Writer for ESPN, but I really enjoy his take on things. He has a certain point of view that is very interesting and his analysis is so down to earth. He never seems radical in his opinion and always gives intelligent remarks. He doesn't ramble like some other analysts. Let's just say he definitely knows what he is talking about.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

TSF's Top College Football Announcers (Current)

Well, it's still July, one of the most boring months of the year when it comes to sports. As you can see, I really love college football. There are some great and entertaining college football announcers out there and I would like to share with you some of my favorites. Also, feel free to drop a comment and leave some insight on some of your favorites.

Best of the Best: Play-By-Play Announcers

1. Ron Franklin
Just listening to him call a game on ESPN Saturday nights sends chills down my spine! He has that voice, with just the touch of accent to make him real and not put-on. Just watch for yourself.

2. Brent Musberger
A lot of people like this guy and a lot of people don't. I think he has a very entertaining voice, plus he really gives some great insight and analysis as well. I have really enjoyed him calling games on ABC ever since I started watching college football back when I was just an infant. Just listening to this call...

3. Brad Nessler

Very entertaining voice as well and gives great analysis too. Always knows what to say and he gets you excited for the big game with his phrases. He usually sticks to the action, which is a very good thing. If you know what I mean it's like him and the big games just click.

4. Mike Patrick
Just a great entertaining voice, I love his calls and quirks. He is always smooth and crisp with his play calling and keeps you entertained with his comments as well.

I hate to play this video, but it was the best one I could find of Mike Patrick. Listen in...

5. Keith Jackson

Just a great voice, he's been around for many years and has called more big games than just about anybody else. His voice just fits in well with the atmosphere of a championship game.

Who are your favorites? I will be back with another post tomorrow on TSF's "Top College Football Analysts".

Friday, July 27, 2007

R.I.P. Skip Prosser

Skip Prosser, who led Wake Forest to its first basketball No. 1 ranking three seasons ago, died Thursday afternoon of an apparent heart attack. He was 56.

Prosser was found slumped on his office couch and unresponsive by director of basketball operations Mike Muse shortly after returning from his noon jog, athletics director Ron Wellman said. Medical personnel performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Prosser, who was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and pronounced dead at 1:41 p.m.

This is a sad, sad day not only for College Basketball fans, but for sports fans in general. Skip Prosser was not only one of the best coaches in the ACC, but in the nation as well. He was a great teacher of the game.

Skip coached many great players throughout his tenure at Wake Forest, from to Chris Paul to Josh Howard to Justin Gray; Prosser has developed great young players through the years. He had a career record of 291-146 as a head coach, including 126-68 with Wake. He is the only coach to take three schools to the NCAA tournament in his first season.

Many coaches have strongly proclaimed how great of a man and coach Skip was, he was a great family man and always offered advice to help others. I hope others will realize how big of an impact Skip had on College Basketball.

Skip Prosser, you will be missed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Problem Solving Skills

Right now most bloggers are chiming in on various atrocities in sports right now. In NBA you have betting refs and fixed games. The NFL has dogfighting and MLB has Balco and Bonds' Chase. I'm gunna make it easy for the respective commissioners and (try and) solve their problems as best as I can.

David Stern and the NBA
I start with you because you have it the worst. I felt bad for you watching the press conference the other day. You're in a tough position that (obviously nobody wants to be in), but you can save your sport. The NBA is on the downslide (in my opinion) and this fiasco could be the dagger unless if something is done. You can't undo what has been done but there must be the maximum penalty to make an example of Tim Donaghy. This whole thing shows how vulnerable not only the NBA is but all sports really are to something like this. Also, from here on out in the future I think that the NBA needs to befriend the casinos. The Casinos are not the enemy here...Donaghy is. Think about it. Casinos don't like fixed games. Casinos HATE fixed games because casinos like to win money rather than lose money. It's pretty simple. So, befriend the casinos and have each other's backs. They would be able to see if a line jumps maybe 3 nights in a row in the NBA and they could notify the league and then maybe they could notice that all were refed by the same guy! Here's another though: Maybe institute instant replay? This is all just a start for this whole ordeal though.

Roger Goodell and the NFL
You don't have it half as bad as Stern does. The whole dogfighting this is really ugly, but you can make the best of the situation. You came off a little weak to me by not ruling Vick out from camp sooner but better now than never I guess. I think that you need to continue to push for him to take a leave of absence for this season and go from there. You have to show you're serious about this by keeping the same iron fist that you used to rule on Pacman and Chris Henry. Keep it consistent and don't be afraid to do what you have to do once this all shakes out. Especially if that means Vick not seeing the field ever again.

Bud Selig and MLB
Bud your answer is the simplest here of all 3. Be there for 756! It's that simple! If you didn't want to be there to watch some roided out star break Aaron's record then you should have done something about the situation in the 90's when you ignored it. You knew it was happening and chose to let it go. Now you have to lie in the bed that you made. This is going to look bad no matter what, so just show up at the games and be there, because it's your fault that players went unchecked and untested at the birth and height of the steroid era.

That was easy....kind of. What are you solutions to today's problems in sports?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

2007 AFC Impact Rookies

You've already heard my NFC Impact Rookies....so now enjoy the AFC version.

RB Marshawn Lynch - Buffalo Bills
I really wanted the Packers to get him but the Bills snatched him up early. I think he's a great pick and he'll split carries with Anthony Thomas for most of the year and I predict will win the starting job by the end of the season....this kid's for real.

WR Anthony Gonzalez - Indianapolis Colts
He will probably be the starting 3 receiver and we all know the Colts love to throw and I think you can look for him to catch a lot of balls with Harrison and Wayne drawing constant doubleteams.

WR Dwayne Bowe - Kansas City Chiefs
I think other than Calvin Johnson he will have the best season of any WRs taken in this year's draft.

WR Ted Ginn - Miami Dolphins
If he's healthy look for him to make his mark both catching balls and especially in the return game. He was a bad pick for them in the draft but he'll make an impact.

QB JaMarcus Russell - Oakland Raiders
I think regardless if people think he is ready or not I think he'll eventually beat out Walter and McCown for the starting job. From there he'll make an obvious impact to the team with his legs and rocket arm.

WR Jacoby Jones - Houston Texans
Here is my sleeper in the AFC. This kid is a former D-II standout who should get some playing time in certain receiver packages and will probably wind up being the team's return specialist.

FS Reggie Nelson - Jacksonville Jaguars
Should be ballhawking out in centerfield come opening day.

MLB Paul Posluszny - Buffalo Bills
Love the game this kid has. He should make an immediate impact starting at MLB and barring any health problems should have a huge season.

CB Leon Hall - Cincinatti Bengals
He will most likely start the season as the No. 3 CB on the team. However, he'll probably be starting opposite of Jonathan Joseph sooner rather than later (As long as he doesn't get in with the wrong crowd out in Cinci -COUGH-Chris Henry-COUGH-).

CB Darelle Revis - New York Jets
They're really counting on him to go out and win a starting spot in camp. Also look for him to return punts for the Jets most of the season.

DT Marcus Thomas - Denver Broncos
The Broncos have a ton of young rookite talent on the DLine with Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder at DE. However, if Thomas can stay healthy I think he makes the biggest impact at DT.

Monday, July 23, 2007

2007 NFC Impact Rookies

Training camp is upon us and before this year's noobiess hit the playing field I'm going to tell you who I think will be the biggest difference makers for their respective teams. I like the NFC so it's first and the AFC Impact rookies will come later in the week.

TE Greg Olson - Chicago Bears
He's a huge upgrade over Desmond Clark and will give Rex Grossman a great vertical threat on offense. His success is largely contingent upon the ever-so inconsistently bad Rex Grossman but I think he'll make a big splash in the NFL Central.

WR Calvin Johnson - Detroit Lions
Will be the offensive ROY in the NFC and Mike Martz will but him to great use.

RB Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings
He will be part of a great tandem with Chester Taylor. The Vikings will rely heavily on their 2-back combo with the inexperienced and highly unproven Tarvaris Jackson behind Center. Look for him to get more and more carries as the game progresses and they'll look for him to close out games with big runs in the 4th quarter.

RB Brandon Jackson - Green Bay Packers
He is my sleeper here. I thought he was a great pick in the 2nd round, although he poses some injury risk I think if he can stay healthy (which i predict he will) he will win the starting job from Vernand Morency and have a good year.

WR Steve Smith - New York Giants
I think he fits their system well and will wind up as a go-to-guy from Eli by the end of the season. I think he will come out and surprise a lot of people with a great rookie season.

WR Courtney Taylor - Seattle Seahawks
He will contribute and I think he'll surprise a lot of people.

LB Jon Beason - Carolina Panthers
Rumor has it he will start at WLB and he is a good insurance policy for the oft-injured Dan Morgan. I think he makes a big impact and gets a lot of playing time.

DL Adam Carriker - St. Louis Rams
He has apparently been moved to the inside already and the Rams think he will start there. However, if something happens he can always shift out to DE where he had a great career in college. Watched a lot of him in college and I think he is going to be a great pro player. He's got the body and the skill-set to dominate in the NFL.

LB Patrick Willis - San Francisco 49ers
He is going to be a franchise player. He'll start this year and look for him to have a great year much to the likes of AJ Hawk's rookies season with the Pack last year.

LB Stewart Bradley - Philadelphia Eagles
I think he will likely start on the strong side over Chris Gocong who is recovering from a neck injury. I think he will be heavily relied on and will make the biggest impact of any of Philly's draft choices.

S LaRon Landy - Washington Redskins
Will be a great bookend opposite Sean Taylor. I think you're probably looking at the 2007 Defensive ROY.

DE Gaines Adams - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs were 2nd worst in sacks last season with only 25. Look for Adams to start and make a big impact.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

ESPN's "Who's Now"?... Who Cares

So ever since SportsCenter started a segment a few weeks ago called "Who's Now", I've been wondering what even is the point? I don't care if Dwayne Wade is more "now" than Shaun White or if Ladainian Tomlinson is more marketable than David Beckham. But, does anyone even know exactly what "now" means anyways?

How can you really truly prove who is more "now"? What if Tiger won the British Open this past weekend? Would that have made him the most "now" athlete? When Bonds hits number 756 will that make him more "now" when the day comes? This is all just a waste of time, they should have thought of something more worth while like "The Best Damn Sports Show" did last year: http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/5422270

Also, it doesn't make it any better when you have Keyshawn Johnson making himself look like an idiot trying to say something important. And I mean come on, what does Jessica Biel know about sports anyways? This is ESPN, not E! - Entertainment News.

This is what ESPN is coming to; now one of the best and one of my favorite sports shows is becoming a joke too. I miss the old days of SportsCenter, you know, when they actually talked about sports.

Story: As its empire grows, has ESPN become the worldwide cheerleader in sports?

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's Been A While Since We Did This

It's getting a little late and I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow with work, softball, and the Harry Potter final release at midnight. Therefore I'm going to hit you with what I read today and hopefully you read it to.....then I'm going to bed.

-The March to 756 Continues - [All On The Field]
-Who's the Best GM in the MLB? - [Complete Sports]
-Introducing College Football Bowl Predictions - [Green Bay Railbird Central]
-Vick Has Support of NFL Until Jersey Sales Slow Down - [Insomniac's Lounge]
-A Very Funny Video - [Just Call Me Juice]
-Some Summer Vacation Hopes and Dreams - [Point 23]
-Piss Away, Gentlemen - [Signal 2Noise]
-Check out the College Football Interviews! - [Stiles Points]
-All-Around Great Stuff - [The Hater Nation]
-Underclassmen for the 2008 NFL Draft - [NFL Draft Site Blog]
-Dogfighting Isn't the Only Story - [Thumbs Up for Kurt Warner]

There, that's what I read today....enjoy it. Also, just wondering, how many other HP fans there are out there?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Freshman of 07'

With a fabulous class of freshmen coming into the 2007 College Football season, I will now give you a few of my freshman to keep an eye on.

Everson Griffin, DE- USC
Griffin is one of the top recruits coming into the 2007 season and the best Defensive linemen. Even with USC's experience coming back on the defensive front, expect him to get a lot of playing time and maybe even compete for the 4th spot on the line.

Joe McKnight, ATH- USC
The highly touted McKnight should see the field right away even with an already deep rushing attack at USC. He is a superb back and can make a dazzling play at any point. His style of play is often compared to NFL star, Heisman Trophy winner, and USC Alum Reggie Bush.

Jimmy Clausen, QB- Notre Dame
One of the top QB recruits in recent years is in a three way battle for the ND starting job between junior Evan Sharpley and sophomore Demetrius Jones. Don't expect Clausen to start the season opener on September 1 vs. Georgia Tech because of surgery on his right wrist but expect him to be starting somewhere down the season.

Eric Berry, CB- Tennessee
With only one returning starter in the Vols secondary back expect Berry to start from day one. He is the best cover corner in this years class and could easily be one of the top DB's in the SEC by the end of the season. You heard it at "The Sports Flow" first.

Terrence Toliver, WR- LSU
After losing WR's Craig Davis and Dwayne Bowe, Toliver will have a great shot at one of the other two starting WR spots. Toliver is very athletic and was one of the top (if not the top) WR's in the class of 2007. Matt Flynn is a good enough QB to give Toliver respectable numbers. He should be a great compliment to Early Doucet.

Noel Devine, RB- West Virginia
Even with Heisman Candidate Steve Slaton ahead of him, Devine will see plenty of action in the backfield. The speedster from Florida should fit well in the spread-option offense. WVA fans must have prayed hard for his eligibility.

Torrey Davis, DT- Florida
With the major losses Florida took on the defensive line Torrey Davis should no doubt win one of the interior starting positions. He has a great first step and one of his strengths is his ability to get into the backfield quickly. Davis should help fill one of the voids for who the Gators lost in Jarvis Moss, Marcus Thomas, Joe Cohen, and Ray McDonald.

Chad Jones, S- LSU

Jones is a big piece of the puzzle to LSU's deflated secondary. The Tigers lost 4 year starters in LaRon Landry and Jessie Daniels. Many experts are saying Jones won't start this season but I believe he will crack the starting lineup sometime in the season; maybe not right away but somewhere along the line. He is a great talent, with great speed and a great nose for the ball.

Arrelious Benn, WR- Illinois
Benn is one of the top WR recruits and is already better than the current Illini Wr's. With his amazing talent and athletic ability look for the Benn to be Juice Williams' go-to WR.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find Out What It Takes For Me

Find out what it takes for me to respect Barry Bonds. I think our blog is really unique to the topic in such that Ming is such a huge Bonds fan and I am quite the strong opposite. I've taken my fair share of scruff for being so anti-Bonds on TSF. So, I got thinking about what it would take for Bonds to earn my respect. I'm going to share....

This is going to sound crazy but for Bonds to earn my respect he would need to lay down the bat. Now, I am much opposed to quitters and I am a huge fan of hard workers with set goals. However, Bonds cheated and that makes it different. He knows he did and basically everyone in the sports world knows he cheated. Therefore, I think it would be most noble for him to stop chasing the record.

Bonds is a HOFer. He was a hall-of-famer before the steroid talk and way before he started really chasing Aaron. He should let the real record stand and take his place as the 2nd bets HR-hitter in MLB history and a member of the MLB HOF. He is doing more harm than good to the team, his body, his legacy, his family, and the game. He is getting old and crabby (as recent quotes prove). He seems like he is playing - and claims to want to play next season- purely for the purpose of personal records.

Lay down the bat, quit yelling at reporters, become more of a family man, and graciously accept the asterisk that should (and maybe someday will) be displayed next to his name on the HR-list.
Whether you like Bonds or not most fans don't respect the man and the player who is Barry Bonds. What would it take for Bonds to earn your respect as a player and as a person?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Money Talk$

The last week has rendered some of the biggest and possibly most outlandish contract deals in my recent memory. I want to take just a little bit of time to address the situations and the money that went down in the last week and tell you what I think it meant and what it means for the future.

We'll start in football. The Lions gave Cory Redding a seven-year, $49 million contract that included $16 million in guarantees, including $13 million in signing bonus and roster guarantees just today. Last season Cory had 48 tackles (39 solo), 8 sacks, and 2 FF. He's a great young player and I think that was a great move for the Lions to make. It's important for the team to commit some $$ to the defensive side of the ball and that they certainly did. Hopefully (for the Lions' sake) the kid continues to get better and can prove he's worth all that money - which probably means racking up more than 8 sacks next season.

Let's stay in football and on the defensive side of the ball (you all know where this is going). Dwight Freeney signed a whopping six-year, $72 million contract on Friday that includes a $30 million signing bonus. The contract made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He's young and he's great there is no doubt about that but I think that the $ might have been a little overboard. Freeney only had 29 tackles (26 solo) and 6 sacks with 4 FF last season. Those are above average numbers especially considering he helped lead the team to a Superbowl Victory. However, to make him the highest paid defensive player ever I think was a mistake that GMs all around the league are hating right now. Knowing what Freeney just received I am curious to see what the likes of Julius Peppers, Richard Seymour, Aaron Kampman, and Co. will be getting sooner than later. If this is an omen of what I think it is be prepared to see some serious green thrown at some of the leagues best (with much better numbers than Freeney) defenders.

On to baseball....Ichiro cashed in big-time with a 5-year extension worth $20 Million a year. At 32 what were the M's thinking of signing him through 2012? Ichiro is great but is he really worth that? Now Scott Boras wants $30 Million a year for Arod's upcoming new extension. Being as Arod is 2 years younger than Ichiro, probably more valuable to his team, arguably the best player in the league, and likely to be historically great and chase Bond's for the all-time HR record someday I think he would be deserving. If Ichiro really is worth $20 Million a year to the M's than Arod would easily be worth at least $30 Million a year from the Yankees.

I'll finish the post with a quote from the President of the Florida Marlins:

"I would say it's the end of the world as we know it. If Ichiro is worth $20 million a year ... I am speechless by that contract. I'm hoping that report is false, because there's no chance a top-of-the-lineup guy -- forget that, anybody -- is worth that much. And Ichiro, who's led his team to zero, nothing?... It's unbelievable. You know what, everybody gets what they deserve, and I guess that will be more luxury tax money, more revenue-sharing money they'll have to give. I'm sure it can't be true. There's no way they gave $20 million a year to Ichiro, at his age for five years. There's no way.... Literally, it will take the sport down, that contract. We're right back to the ridiculous contracts. It can't be." -Marlin's Prez David Samson-

What do you think about the contracts done and the money that's been thrown around to these star players over the last week? Who's overpaid, who's underpaid? ...You tell me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Who's Hot, Who's Not

It's Hot or Not time on The Sports Flow. We started this segment two Sunday's ago and we'll try to do it every Sunday. And to help us out you can suggest some athletes or teams, for that matter, of your own who have been on a hot streak. Leave your suggestions here if you'd like for future reference: thesportsflow@hotmail.com

Gary Sheffield
The "Sheff" has 17 hits in his last 10 games along with 4 HR and 10 RBI. He's making the Yanks look like fools for giving him up and he's helping the Tigers stay ahead in the AL Central while New York remains 9 back from Boston.

USA U-19 Basketball
The U.S. team improved to 3-0 after a win over Serbia and advances to the second round and will face Lithuania on July 16 before playing Brazil (July 17) and France (July 18). In group action the US went 3-0 by defeating Mali 118-56, China 103-77, and Serbia 82-78. Michael Beasley (KSU), Matt Bouldin (Gonzaga), David Lighty (OSU), and Tajuan Porter (Oregon) are a few notable players on the team.

USA Softball
The USA Softball team has cruised through round robin play going 5-0 with wins over Venezuela 9-1, China 8-0, Dominican Republic 9-0, Japan 4-1, and Canada 7-0. They will now play in the finals on Monday starting at 7:00 pm CDT.

Fred Thompson
For a change of pace here's some politics; TSF supports Fred, so why not put him on? While he has yet to join the 10-man Republican race, he has soared in polls, taken in at least several million dollars, assembled a staff and visited early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina and has now overtaken Rudy Giuliani as the Republican front-runner in North Carolina.

Vicente Padilla
Has a 3-8 record with a 6.69 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, and .326 BAA in 15 games and 80.2 innings. What a waste of a $34 million contract.

Lebanon U-19 Basketball
Although playing in a tough group, Lebanon was pounded in all of it's games at the U-19 World Basketball Championships losing to Brazil 83-67, Lithuania 105-69, and France 100-58.

Dominican Republic Softball
DR is 0-4 thus far in the KFC World Cup of Softball. While scoring only 2 runs in the tournament so far they were one-hit by the always good looking Jennie Finch, lost 3-0 to Canada, 3-2 vs. Venezuela, and 8-0 to Japan.

John Edwards
The Democratic Presidential Candidate has lost the lead in his home state, a new poll shows. Edwards, from North Carolina, got support from 26 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in a state survey conducted by Public Policy Polling. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both the Democratic front-runners at 27% each.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bend It Like Who?

So with the sports world a bit dormant in the wake of the MLB All-Star Game it seemed like all the talk was about David Beckham coming to Hollywood to save the MLS. First off, I just can't believe that there's about to be back-to-back soccer-related posts on TSF!

Now, in relation to the topic, Beckham was introduced to the hometown fans (about 5,000 of them) today. I didn't see the press conference live, but I was able to see some bits and pieces afterwards. I don't doubt that he is a great player and will be great for the Galaxy but he will not save the MLS. He will sell a few more tickets (mostly foreigners, hardcore fans, and women) but I don't see any drastic boom coming. He is 32 years old and on the definite downslide of his European career.

To be truthful everyone should know that he came here for the money. He's getting $32.5 million in salary in addition to what should be endless endorsement deals. Plus, you just know that him and his wife are sure to have some kind of a reality show or something. So, he's here for the money but that's not all. To be realistic I think he's here to try and rejuvenate his career also. The MLS just isn't European soccer... let's be honest with ourselves. So, as he gets older whey not come over here and play for ridiculous cash and try to clean up on some worse competition and prolong his greatness?

I don't fault him for any of that because I think anybody else in their right mind (myself included) would do the same. However I just don't see him saving the MLS. He isn't going to make more kids like or play soccer. Hell, virtually ever single kid in America plays soccer at some point. It doesn't matter how athletic you are or whatever parents can put kids on the field and let them run and frolic and try and kick the ball. The problem is, is that when they go home they don't turn on the MLS. They hurry home to watch the NFL, NBA, or MLB. He can't possibly make kids play much more soccer. He might convert a few but by no means can he save the MLS.

While Ming points out that US National Soccer is on the rise I couldn't agree more. US national soccer has a very bright and exciting future in front of it, however I think the MLS is not much better off with Beckham than they were without him. Look for Beckham to do well and look for a little more buzz and airtime for the MLS but nothing drastic. However I can't see him being the league's savior.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The future of US Soccer is here (hopefully)

The U-20 Soccer World Cup is taking place as we speak in Canada. The US team has looked very impressive thus far, and after a Round 16 win today over Uruguay, they now advance to the quarterfinals vs. Austria on July 14.

After winning their group with wins over Poland and top dog Brazil, and a saddening tie vs. Poland, the US team is making a serious World Cup title run.

I wouldn't consider myself a huge soccer fan, but when it comes to USA Soccer and World Cups, I love watching soccer. After the big time national team won the Gold Cup and the U-20 team looking pretty impressive at the U-20 World Cup, I am very excited about the future of US Soccer.

With young stars in Freddy Adu, Josmer Altidore, and Michael Bradley, US Soccer has a bright future. Granted Adu has struggled in the Pros, I do really feel this is Adu's coming out party. From here on out, especially when it comes to national competition, he's going to be a big star. The funny thing about it is that Adu may not even be the best of the three I just mentioned. Josmer Altidore is a great player as well and has been very solid in the U-20 World Cup, especially scoring two goals in the upset of Brazil.

The U-20's next match up is this Saturday vs. Austria. I feel they'll pull off another win here and advance to the semi's vs. another heavy favorite, Spain (We'll just have to wait before I make a prediction on this game). When I see this U-20 team winning and Adu and Altidore dominating, it just gets me excited about the future of US soccer.

Now to talk about the 2010 World Cup, only three summers away. I am really stoked for the 10' World Cup to begin in South Africa, by that time Adu and Altidore should be huge stars on the team. I really feel Bob Bradley can get this team in the right direction and get these young players some valuable experience for the next 2-3 years.

Freddy Adu and Josmer Altidore truly are the future of US soccer, the US team just needs to take advantage of their great young talent. They should have one of the best US teams in recent memory and if they can't get it done again it may be decades before the USA can be a real contender.

But come the World Cup, Italy, France, Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and Germany better watch out, because the US may just have the next best thing...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Buy or Sell: The MLB All-Star Game Deciding Home-Field Advantage in the World Series

So after the 7-7 tie in Miller Park in 2002 MLB and Commish Bud Selig needed to do something to make sure that the game didn't become irrelevant. It needed to be steered clear of sliding down the road that the NBA All-Star Game crossed years ago. It needed to count. I want to look at the decision to make it count for home-field advantage in the World Series.

Truly, I don't mind the rule all that much. In my opinion it's a hell of a lot better than alternating leagues like they used to decide home-field advantage. However, for the game to count I think there were a few other essential changes that were missed by the commish.

I agree with Complete Sports halfheartedly on the issue. I do agree that it has to be one or the other here...either it counts or you have fan voting. It doesn't seem right to have it count if the fans are going to vote in their favorite but second-tier players from big market teams over the guys who truly deserve it. I want the game to be about the fans but if it means home-field advantage on the line I don't think the two should coexist. Put the votes in the hands of the players, managers, and team-assigned beat writers.

But to make an issue of that then why not pick at the rule of having at least 1 player from all 30 teams? It leaves rosters compromised in terms of having the best players on the field just as the fan vote does in a sense.

Look, you could sit here and butt heads on the issue all day. It really is a Catch-22. For now I'm buying the All-Star Game Counting. No method is perfect. Even to give it to the team with the best record is a bit flawed because it is still a very small percentage of interleague games played.

Nothing is perfect here and I think that the rule is less of an attempt at fairness as it is an apology for the tie in 2002. I'm fine with the rule right now just because I don't think any other alternatives -other than just making sure the best players start and play- are any better. I just feel like while it makes it more fun to watch it is just too much responsibility in the hands of the fans in this current format.

What do you think? Do you have any possible solutions? Enjoy the game tomorrow and go NL!

Monday, July 9, 2007

2007 HR Derby Predictions

I would like to quickly offer you my predictions for tonight's State Farm Home Run Derby before I head off to Ming's to watch. Obviously I'll be cheering for Prince hardcore tonight but he's not my pick to win it. I know there are a lot of really great lefties (Prince included) who are going to be making a few splashes out towards right. However, I'm going to go against my heart, and against the grain and go with a gut shot in saying that I think Albert Pujols will win the Derby this year.

My number two guy would have to be Howard just because he won last year, is a lefty, and doesn't have to do any of the ASB festivities being as he isn't an all-star. He can just show up and hit the ball. My third pick can be Prince just for good measure.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go iron my Brewers jersey.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

TSF's 2007 MLB Midseason Awards

Here are my midseason awards. I reserve the right to change these by the end of the season.

AL: Alex Rodriguez - NYY
Magglio Ordonez is the next best choice but it should be a no-brainer. Without Arod the Yankees would be utterly pathetic. He had arguably the best April in baseball history and has driven in about 20% of the Yankees' runs.
NL: Prince Fielder - MIL
I might be a Brewers fan and I might be a homer but I think Fielder makes a great case for NL MVP thus far. The Brewers are winning and he's carrying them and holding them up in first place. Matt Holliday is a guy a lot of other bloggers might go with but I think because of what the Brewers have done in comparison to the Rockies I gotta go with Prince. PS -can't wait to get me one of these

AL: Daisuke Matsuzaka - BOS
Doesn't seem fair that he is so much older and experienced than other rookies but he meets the definition of rookie by the rulebook and therefore he has definitely been the AL ROY thus far I would say
NL: Ryan Braun - MIL
Call me a homer again but Braun came up and bat 3rd in the 1st place Brewers' lineup almost immediately and has done wonderful. The next best bet would be Hunter Pence of Houston but I give Braun the edge because he has more BBs & SBs, equal HRs, only 10 less RBIs, and an average of .350 with 100 less ABs than Pence. Not to mention that the Astros are bad and the Brewers are a first place team (right now).

AL: Mike Scioscia - LAA
Our AL Manager of the Year to this year would have been Mike Hargrove for his job with the M's, but being he has resigned, will give it to perennial contender, Mike Scioscia for the great job he's done with the Angels
NL: Ned Yost - MIL
He's been the one leading the way of the turnaround in Milwaukee over the past few years and now I think it is time he gets the recognitions. He's done a great job with all the young players and I really think he deserves this one....even if some sites can be overly critical of him at times!

LVP (Least Valuable Player)
AL: Julio Lugo - BOS
Lugo is trying to make history this season. He has a legit shot at being the first Red Sox Player ever to bat below .200 and have an OBP and SLG both of under .300. He's got a shot...
NL: Pat Burrell - PHI
I'm guessing when they formulated the contract they were expecting Burrell to be a star being as he is getting paid $13 Mil this season to fight for a starting spot. And to think that I wasted a middle pick on him in my fantasy draft!

AL: Carlos Pena - TB
He's hitting .287 with 20 HRs, 52 RBIs, .395 OBP, .609 SLG. Can't say I saw that coming at all!
NL: J.J. Hardy - MIL
He's rebounded tremendously after the gruesome ankle injury he sustained last season which required surgery. I looked for the play-at-the-plate on YouTube but couldn't find it.

AL: Dan Haren - OAK
There a lot of great choices for this award (think Sabathia, Beckett, Lackey, Santana, and others) but I'm giving it to Haren. Haren has been lights out with a 10-2 record and a 2.20 ERA. He has been a nightmare for opposing hitters and if the A's were without Haren, they would be behind the cellar dwelling Rangers.
NL: Jake Peavey - SD
This is a pretty easy pick in my opinion I love to watch him pitch and I think this one is relatively indisputable.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

2007 College Football Games of the Year

The 2007 College Football season schedules officially came out earlier this week, so now we'll take a look at the best of the best of all the games.

September 1
Tennessee at California
This game should be at least better than last years game with the Vols drubbing the Golden Bears. Both teams are heavy contenders to win their own conferences and are legitimate contenders for a BCS Bowl game as well.
Early Prediction: California

September 3
Florida St. at Clemson
Bowden Bowl IX will take place on Labor Day Weekend. Tommy has handled his dad pretty well recently winning the last two and three of eight overall. This is a huge early game to get a jump start in the ACC and FSU cannot afford a loss here with their tough schedule as it is.
Early Prediction: Clemson

September 8
Virginia Tech at LSU
Two of the countries top defenses will meet at one of the most hostile environments on CBS. Both teams return a lot of talent; this should be a great game with players such as Matt Flynn, Jacob Hester, Early Doucet, Ali Highsmith of LSU and Sean Glennon, Branden Ore, Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi of V-Tech clashing on the field.
Early Prediction: LSU

September 15
Tennessee at Florida
This is definitely one of the greatest rivalries in College Football. It seems like the winner usually comes out as the SEC East Champ. I love the QB matchup here with Tim Tebow vs. Erik Ainge. The big thing for Florida is their inexperienced defense being able to handle the Vols' big WR's; the good thing for the Gators is that their playing in their backyard.
Early Prediction: Florida

USC at Nebraska
This will be a little closer game than last year, I believe Nebraska will win the Big 12 North again and have a decent shot at a BCS Bowl bid. The Cornhuskers will be improved but USC is the pre-season national champion favorite. USC returns a lot and will have one of the best defenses in the country.
Early Prediction: USC

October 6
Florida at LSU
This will be one of the biggest games of the year and definitely the biggest in the SEC. Look for these two teams to both be ranked in the top 5 coming into this game. LSU looks to get revenge after the Gators embarrassed them last season at the Swamp.
Early Prediction: LSU

Texas vs. Oklahoma
The Red River Shootout is always an intense and fierce game. Texas has won the last two over the Sooners; expect this to be one of the best of the last few seasons.
Early Prediction: Too close to call right now

October 20
USC at Notre Dame
Remember the Bush push two years ago? This game should be similar to last years game in So. Cal, USC scoring at will and ND sucking it up and looking overrated. With Jimmy Clausen at QB the experienced USC D will tear him up. Even if this is a blowout it is still one of the biggest games of the year.
Early Prediction: USC

October 25
Boston College at V-Tech
These two teams always have great games against one another and don't be surprised to see these two teams in the ACC Championship either on Dec. 1.
Early Prediction: V-Tech

October 27
Florida vs. Georgia
The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party should be a good one again. The two super sophomore QB's Tim Tebow and Matthew Stafford will be clashing again. Expect Florida to continue their dominance of this rivalry.
Early Prediction: Florida

November 3
Wisconsin at Ohio St.
Two early Big 10 favorites will meet at the Horseshoe as OSU tries to get back to the national title game. OSU won't be near the team they were last year but will be one of the top teams in the Big 10. In my opinion, Wisconsin is the Big 10 favorite and if both teams are undefeated come this date, this will be one of biggest games of the year.
Early Prediction: Ohio St.

November 8
Louisville at West Virginia
Both teams should be undefeated by this game and the winner could be in that BCS National Title Game. The best backfield in the nation will take on a very good L'Ville defense. I encourage you to mark this date on your calendar.
Early Prediction: West Virginia

November 10
Michigan at Wisconsin
From my stand point, these two will be the top two teams in the Big 10. This is no doubt the Big 10 Game of the Year. The winner will play in the Rose Bowl and possibly the BCS National Championship Game.
Early Prediction: Wisconsin

USC at California
Early Prediction: USC

November 17
Ohio St. at Michigan
Well, it won't be as big as last seasons game, but this is arguably the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
Early Prediction: Michigan

November 23
Arkansas at LSU
The winner of this game will be heading to the SEC Title Game.
Early Prediction: LSU

November 24
Rivalry Week
State rivalry day. Alabama vs. Auburn. Virginia vs. Virginia Tech. Georgia vs. Georgia Tech. Florida vs. Florida State. Washington vs. Washington State. Clemson vs. South Carolina.
Early Predictions: Auburn, V-Tech, Georgia, Florida, Washington St., and Clemson.

December 1
This game will be huge because of last years game; could we possibly have the same scenario as last season?
Early Prediction: USC

What games are you looking forward to? Any big games I missed?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

TSF interviews Jon Reed aka twins15

Jon Reed, better known as twins15 in these parts has been and will continue to be a sports blogging insspiration to The Sports Flow. Blogs where his writing is found are: Sports Videos, Random Facts of Goodness, Thank You Brian Sabean, and most importantly: Complete Sports. We loved Complete Sports back when we were merely readers and it was our inspiration to start up The Sports Flow. Jon's a great blogger, friend, and softball teammate and I hope you enjoy the interview.

Q1.When and how did you first get involved in the sports blogging world?
1. If my memory serves me right, I first started blogging in January of 2006, and have been going since then. Really, if you would have told me then that I'd still be going now, I'm not sure I would have believed you. I just basically jumped into it without any real idea of what I was doing, and hoped for the best. So there was no real how... I didn't really read any sports blogs at that time, and hadn't even heard of Deadspin(!), just decided to start it one day. And I'm glad I did.

Q2. What is your favorite sport to watch and which is your favorite to blog on and why?
2. My favorite is definitely basketball, which has been my favorite sport for my whole life. I probably prefer college basketball to the NBA, but really I love them both. So that is my favorite to blog about as well... not only is it my favorite sport, but I personally feel like I know it better than the other sports and therefore write more interesting stuff involving basketball. So the writing comes easier when I'm writing about basketball, and I think it's higher quality.

Q3. What do the Yankees need to do to turn things around and try and make a run at catching the Red Sox?
3. I'm not sure there's too much else they can do right now. They are a lot better than their record would indicate, but they've had some awful luck in 1-run games, which tends to even out in the long-run. Other than that, there's not much else to do. Wait for Clemens to settle into a groove, hope for Phillip Hughes to make a quick recovery, hope to get a good Jason Giambi back, etc. Sure, they could try and go out and try to make a deal for a guy like Mark Teixeira, but I'm not sure he's going to make the difference between winning and losing the division.

Q4 What do you think is going to happen with the Kobe situation?
4. Well supposedly Kobe won't play there under any circumstances, though it looks like Jerry Buss is going to call his bluff on that. I think eventually the Lakers panic and make a deal for another big-time player to try and make Kobe happy, and eventually Kobe stays. I also partially think this just because Kobe reportedly wants to only go to 3 teams: Chicago, Phoenix, and Dallas. There's no chance the Lakers will trade him to Phoenix or Dallas, and Chicago doesn't seem to have a lot of interest right now. That kinda narrows things down.

Q5 Where do you think KG is going to end up and how will it happen?
5. I kind of think the Lakers will panic and offer something like Odom/Bynum/first rounder for him... it's become increasingly apparent that KG should be traded, and as I mentioned the Lakers need to do something. That would certainly be an interesting combo.

Q6 Do you regret betting me $5 that the Cubs would win the NL Central and not the Brewers yet?
6. I wouldn't say I regret it, though I had hoped the Cubs would be a little bit closer. I still think the Cubs are as good of a team as the Brewers, but I'm not sure they'll be able to climb out of this hole. The Cubs have been awful in 1-run games and extra inning games, which leaves their pythagorean record almost identical to Milwaukee's, which makes me optimistic. So I don't regret making the deal, but I don't exactly feel comfortable at the moment.

Q7 How do you see the NFC North shaking down this season (specifically in regards to your Vikings and my Packers)?
7. Well the Bears still look like the very heavy favorites, even with Rex Grossman still at QB. As for the rest of the division... I think I can look at almost everything in sports objectively except for one thing... the Vikings. What do I honestly think about it? Well, I think Tarvaris Jackson is going to be excellent, and the Vikings will challenge for the Wild Card spot while the Packers continue to set back their development by continuing to throw Brett Favre out there (not like they really have a choice). But I full admit that's biased. There's just no other way for me to look at the Vikings except through purple-colored glasses.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My American League All-Stars

I realize I waited too late in the week to make predictions so even though the real starting rosters are out I'm going to give you my AL starters and you can tell me if you agree or not and see how they compare to how the fans voted.

TSF's Pick: Victor Martinez - CLE
Posada isn't a bad choice but Martinez has him in HRs and RBIs Hs, ABs. He strikes out considerably less and and his AVG is only .13 lower than Posada's. His numbers are better overall and who needs to see another Yankee in an all-star game? Martinez is my pick over Posada and I don't agree with the fans' picking Ivan Rodriguez.

1st Base
TSF's Pick: Justin Morneau - MIN
With no seperate DH spot on the roster David Ortiz obviously took it home. Morneau really deserves it though if the vote was for a pure AL firstbaseman.

2nd Base
TSF's Pick: BJ Upton - TB
Theres really no weaker race than that of the AL 2nd basemen. Upton certainly doesn't help with his inconsistent defense and his minor quadricepts injury. Polanco and Cano were neck and neck for a long time based on fan popularity but I find Upton most deserving. Plus, the DRays gotta have someone to represent them so why not Upton and in starting fashion!

3rd Base
TSF's Pick: Alex Rodriguez - NYY
Needs no explanation.

Short Stop
TSF's Pick: Orlando Cabrera - LAA
Of course Jeter is going to win the fan vote but consider this... Orlando beats Derek in: H, 2B, RBI, Ks, SB and has the same amount of R, HR, and TB as Jeter. His AVG is only .001 lower than Jeters and SLG and OBP aren't far off. I feel like Cabrera has been the best all-around SS in the AL this season and deserves to start over Jeter.

OF Picks
TSF's Pick: Ichiro Suzuki - SEA
Torii Hunter and Curtis Granderson are both great picks here too and both deserve to go to the game but due to his drastically lower K's, more BBs, more Hs, and higher AVG you can't really not start Ichiro.

TSF's Pick: Magglio Ordonez - DET
His hair is awful but this is a fairly obvious pick. Not as obvious as Arod but almost.

TSF's Pick: Vladimir Guerrero - LAA
Can't argue with the fans too much on this one either.

Starting Pitcher
TSF's Pick: Dan Haren - OAK
This is a good year for pitchers, especially in the American League. There is a lot of semiautomatic choices: Johan Santana, Justin Verlander, John Lackey, C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett, along with the possibility that Erik Bedard is probably going to be the only Oriole and James Shields could be the lone Devil Ray (not if I was incharge because I'd vote for BJ Upton at 2B!). This will make it very difficult to even get Daisuke Matsuzaka onto the team, no matter how badly MLB and its sponsors want him. Due to all the big names I'm willing to bet Haren gets overlooked but he shouldn't.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Who's Hot, Who's Not

The Sports Flow has added a new topic to it's blog, titled: "Hot or Not". I (Stefan or even Joe) will be giving you a "Hot or Not" list once a week; and to help us out you can suggest some athletes or teams, for that matter, of your own who have been on a hot streak. Leave your suggestions here if you'd like for future reference: thesportsflow@hotmail.com

Seattle Mariners
The M's have won 10 of their last 11 games and are currently on an 8 game winning streak. Seattle is catching up and starting to give the Angels a run for their money in the AL West. Also, how about sweeping the majors best Boston Red Sox to go along with the streak.

Chone Figgins
Figgins had at least one hit in 24 of 25 games in the month of June, 51 altogether; not bad at all...

Dario Franchilli
Franchilli has 8 straight top finishes to go with his 3 victories. The reigning Indy 500 champ was dominant for the second week in a row, leading all but eight laps Saturday night - a series record - to win at Richmond International Raceway.

Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers made a wise choice with their number one pick selecting Greg Oden and also got late round steals in Rudy Fernandez and Petteri Koponen. Josh McRoberts is a good pick in the 2nd round as well. Even with trading Zach Randolph, they saved about an estimated $30 million in salaries.

Tampa Bay Devils Rays
The D-Rays have lost 14 of their last 18 and are currently on a season high 7 game losing skid. Tampa Bay hasn't helped their pitchers cause with the lack of run support. Plus, it doesn't help at all with B.J. Upton being banged up.

Morgan Ensberg
In the month of June Ensberg was 7 for 47 and recorded a hit in only 6 of 18 games. Ensberg has seen less and less playing time after the recent quality play of Mike Lamb.

Aric Amirola
After leading the Busch series race last Saturday (and technically winning) Amirola was pulled after teammate Denny Hamlin showed up late and took the checkered flag. Almirola drove the car in practice and qualified it on the pole, but was never supposed to drive it.

Charlotte Bobcats
I completely agree with Stephen A. Smith and incompletely agree with Complete Sports on the Bobcats draft. This team is trying to rebuild, and they send a stud versatile forward in Brandan Wright to Golden St. for Jason Richardson? Wright may be a few years away, but he has great upside, he played just up the road at Chapel Hill under Roy Williams and once his weight catches up to him, he'll be a great player. In my eyes, Wright is a great talent to build around. J-Rich is an overplayed player and wasn't even the best player on the Warriors. He played for himself and was pretty inconsistent at times; he is not a franchise player. This move will cost Charlotte a ton of money and will pay for it.