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BCS: The Last Supper






The stage is set for this season’s BCS bowl games. This will hopefully be the last year of snubbing and BCS controversy, as the NCAA heads to its first playoff system next year. Although there was less controversy compared to recent years, I’m sure a few teams feel just a bit slighted they didn’t punch their BCS ticket. However this year features a clearer and decisive #1 and 2 then we’ve seen in years past. The so called runner-up bowls feature some usual suspects and a couple unlikely survivors, nonetheless some marquee matchups indeed.
 
  Leading the best team in the nation to the promise land is the undisputed best player in the nation, Jameis Winston. Winston, a freshman, was named the Heisman trophy winner and the youngest to do so. He shattered the numbers of last year’s freshman Heisman winner, Johnny Manzell, on the way to the crown. Jameis and the Noles will meet Heisman runner-up Tre Mason and Auburn Tigers for the BCS title in Pasadena. Mason like Winston, has anchored his team and been their go to guy all year on his way to becoming a Heisman finalist. Auburn is a gritty, well coached bunch with a never give up attitude. It will be interesting to see how that stacks up against a Seminole team with explosive speed and power on both sides of the ball. Jameis promised he and the Noles were bringing the swag back to FSU football, let’s see if he can add a trophy to the along with the swag.

   Squaring off in the city every young man loves to play in, Miami, Clemson versus Ohio State. Both these teams were knocking on the door of a BCS title bid at one point this season, now they face off in the Orange Bowl, not a bad consolation prize. Clemson led by their veteran QB Taj Boyd, would love to send Taj to the NFL with a nice piece of hardware. Veteran is not usually a word you use to describe a college quarterback, but it definitely fits the bill and Boyd’s credentials over the last four years. In just two years Ohio State’s QB Braxton Miller, has worked himself to a pretty impressive resume as well. Had it not been for a bowl ban last year and last game bump in the road this year, Miller could very well have been playing for 2 National Championships. Urban Meyer is not one for “shoulda’, woulda’, couldas’” so I’m sure he intends to make good on his first bowl appearance as a Buckeye head coach.
 
  Right next door in New Orleans isn’t exactly where Nick Saban thought he’d be this bowl season, but here he is. Saban and the Tide take on Oklahoma in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. Weeks ago in the Iron Bowl the crimson tides BCS title hopes were crushed when Auburn’s Chris Davis returned “the field goal from hell” over a 100 yards for a touchdown and the win. For that reason Auburn plays for the title and Bama gets Oklahoma, and how lucky are we for this matchup. 2 coaching wizards and undoubtedly hall famers Nick Saban and Bob Stoops will put their Jedi coaching tricks to the test. Stoops hasn’t had the quality program we’ve been accustomed to seeing but this year he and the Sooners found a way in the Orange Bowl. Saban is just a wee-bit disappointed about where his team sits but that’s all the more reason he will prepare the Tide to destroy the Sooners to prove that Bama’s lost was a fluke and that they deserve to be in Pasadena.
 
  Playing in Arizona this year for the Fiesta Bowl are 2 teams who aren’t regulars to the BCS scene, but both Baylor and UCF fought like hell to get here. The Baylor Bears have been one of the highest scoring offenses this season, scoring 60 or more on 7 of their victories. They’ve nearly ran through almost all division foes including Texas Tech, Oklahoma, TCU, and the Longhorns. The Knights haven’t been slouches at all in their division either, winning the American Athletic Conference out right with their lone lost coming at the hands of South Carolina by a field goal in Orlando. After that lost the Knights ran the gauntlet on the rest of the schedule which included knocking off Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater from Heisman contention. This has been best season ever in the long coaching career of Coach O’leary and Central Florida as well; the icing on the cake would be this BCS victory.
 
  The first showdown in Pasadena before the title game will be Michigan State and Stanford. Stanford was another university that once was knocking on the door of a possible BCS title opportunity. They were able to upset the Ducks but slips ups to Utah and USC proved to be costly, however a Rose bowl invite is a hell of a consolation prize for the PAC-12 Champs. At the beginning of the season nobody saw the Spartans sitting in the Rose bowl picture but with just 1 loss, and defeating rivalry foes Michigan and Ohio State at seasons end, certainly warrant their appearance in the Pasadena shrine.





Functuay’s BOWL PREDICTIONS

  • Florida State over Auburn
  • Clemson over Ohio State
  • Alabama over Oklahoma
  • UCF over Baylor
  • Michigan State over Stanford
Written by Functuay
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Brooklyn Nets: Identity Crisis

 
 
 
 
 
 
After publicly criticizing Ray Allen and calling for his head on a stick after his so called betrayal, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett defected from Boston this past offseason. The duo captured one championship ring after spending six seasons together before joining an unlikely foe in the name of the Brooklyn Nets. A trade that included guard, Jason Terry and shipped out Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans and a few draft picks. Since their accommodation, there has been a lot of hype and expectations especially with the tandem joining an already impressive bunch of all-stars like Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and premier center Brook Lopez. So far the only impressive thing coming out of Brooklyn has been the trash talk fueled by both Pierce and Garnett. The two re-lit a rivalry with Miami and gained a new one once Pierce let it be known there is hatred for the Knicks and that the Nets will be the best team in New York. Across the bridge, reigning 6th man of the year J.R Smith entertained the talk by Pierce with a few choice words of his own a nice way of saying “bring it on”. Smith and guard Raymond Felton says the Knicks welcome the beef and think the competition will be good for the state of New York but with all the talk the neither team has lived up to the drama, especially a Nets team who has initiated several angles of hype this offseason.

On paper the move by the Nets adds depth but more importantly toughness to a talented team just missing a few pieces to contend for a title. The paper theory has clearly not panned out on the court. The new guys on the block have looked old and sluggish and have done what seems like more resting than playing. Pierce and Garnett’s struggles have hit rock bottom as of late, together they recently posted the worse outing they’ve ever had as teammates with just a total of 3 field goals made and a host of misses. Compiled with the lack of production from those two, insult to injury was added when center Brook Lopez went out for the season with a broken foot. Just a quarter of the way through the season and the Nets are really in pits of the standings. A team who was thought to be a challenge for Miami and Indiana in the playoffs is 9-18 and would currently miss the playoffs all together. Luckily this has also been a horrible season for the rest of the Atlantic division. Leading the division and 4 games under .500 is the Raptors at 11-15 and joining the Nets at the bottom of the list is that other team in New York; the Knicks who are currently tied at 9-18. Maybe in the offseason what Pierce meant to say in his trash talk was we’ll see who exactly the worst team in New York is because both are clearly D-League material at the moment.
 
Just how bad of a move was this acquisition by the Nets this offseason? Everybody praised the efforts of general manager Billy King, but it’s obvious the move was motivated with the “win now, worry later” mind set. Prior to this season there was a clear decline in both Pierce and Garnett’s numbers but more importantly the playing time and quality minute production. 37year old KG hasn’t played a full season since his stint as a young wolf in Minnesota and this season features more resting, fewer minutes and only a 6 point, 7 rebound average. Pierce has been bit more valuable averaging 12 points, 5 rebounds but like Garnett the 36year olds numbers have taking a hit in several categories. Coming over we all knew the former Celtics would average less especially being worked into an offense that revolves around Lopez, Johnson and filtrated by Williams.
 
Since finally coming to Brooklyn, the Nets collectively have had a series of identity crisis on their hands and this season is no different. 4 seasons ago I could say without a doubt Deron Williams beat out Chris Paul as the top point guard in the NBA, but since then inconsistency along with injury has plagued he and the Nets. His questionable leadership and inability to carry the Nets in the important moments has certainly contributed to the lack of success in Brooklyn. Sharing the blame as well has been the overpaid Joe Johnson. After the Hawks gave Johnson an ungodly $120 million contract , the Nets soon traded for the all-star but since acquiring him they’ve gotten anything but their money’s worth. Until the Lakers tacked on to Kobe’s contract, Johnson was the highest paid player in the NBA but only averaging less than 17 a game. A 17 point average in this league is not bad but Johnson is set to make over $20 mil for the next 3 years and $25 mil in the last year. Those amounts are usually parallel with the player’s performance and usually warrant a scoring title, MVP, or at least 25 point a game production. Johnson isn’t even leading his team in anything, let alone the NBA and just like Williams he has pulled some disappearing acts at pivotal times in the last few seasons. Maybe the Nets can do some contract restructuring that extracts money from both Williams and Johnson and adds to Brook Lopez’s contract. Before going out with the foot injury, Lopez has been the most consistent Net since they moved to Brooklyn.
   
 
 If the playoffs started today or even soon the Nets would certainly be on the outside looking in. Had the offseason acquisition worked out like everyone raved about, realistically the Nets would still only be the 3rd best team in the eastern conference possibly 4th. With their current standing making up ground is definitely possible in that lack luster division but for a legitimate chance in the playoffs changes will have to be made. First step in fixing the identity crisis will be for point guard Deron Williams to solidify himself as not only the leader but that this Nets team is his. Joe Johnson has to reinsert himself among the elite players in the NBA and get those averages up. With the loss of Brook Lopez, center Andray Blatche and forward Reggie Evans will need to work more at becoming formidable presences in the post. If I’m GM Billy King, I’d closely monitor the production of veterans Pierce and Garnett, they will need to contribute more quality minutes but both contributions start with their health.. King’s loyalty to Pierce and Garnett maybe put to the test around the trade deadline if the Nets are fighting for a playoff spot and King may very well be fighting for his job. There’s 50+ games left to find out exactly who the Nets are, but right now they’re jerseys might as well be nameless.
 
 
 
Written by Functuay
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