Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Six: the week in review

Another week in the books, more sports to be discussed. This week there were some repeating stories, but also one story that shook up the entire make-up of the National League.

1. Adam Wainwright to have season ending Tommy John Surgery:
My full story here; but since that time the rumors that have swirled have been all over the place. The most important may be the discussion that the Cardinals may be forced to trade Albert Pujols. I want to put an end to that, because I think there is no way on earth the Cardinals could do such a thing.

Pujols is the best player in baseball and in my opinion, the most dominant in all of sports. Trading him would be the worst PR move the Cardinals could ever make, even if they know they had no chance to re-sign him, and were able to get a great package for him, it still would be an awful move. He is the face of the team, fans love him, and the money he brings in likely out-weighs his cost.

Back to Wainwright and what it means... His absence makes the Cardinals rotation go from one of the best in the NL to probably the second worst in their own division. There aren't any pitchers worth going after in the free agent market, trading for one also would be tough, so they are left with what they have. Someone may step up and pitch out of their mind, but replacing Wainwright is going to be impossible.

2. Arizona is falling apart, giving hope to UCLA and Washington:
A week ago, the Arizona Wildcats had beaten the Washington Huskies, which gave them a firm hold on the Pac-10 championship. With 4 games remaining they had a solid lead, all they had to do was win a few more games and they were golden.

That's when they headed to Los Angeles to play USC and UCLA. They dropped both games, including a 22 point loss yesterday to the second place UCLA Bruins. With the losses, they have fallen into a tie with UCLA, and are just a game and a half ahead of Washington.

Lucky for Arizona, they have the easiest schedule left of the three teams. They face Oregon State and Oregon this week, both games at home, where they haven't lost this season. They did lose to Oregon State on the road earlier this season, but that was a one point game, and was their second conference game of the year. If they win both games, they will clinch at least share of the title.

The UCLA Bruins have a tough week ahead of them as they head to Washington for their two final games. First, this Thursday they play Washington, which is going to be a huge test. Both teams are fighting for not only the conference title, but an easier first round game in the conference tournament. If UCLA wins both games, they will share the title, no need for any help by the Oregon schools. Saturday they head to Pullman to face the Cougars, which will be a test as well. The Cougars will be trying to play spoilers, plus they play well most of the time at home, that game is anyones.

The Washington Huskies have three games left, all at home, but all against good basketball teams. Even if they do win all three games, they could end up in second place in the Pac10, which they will take, but it isn't a championship. The Huskies are a team that can come out and beat anyone on any night, but if they aren't hitting their shots, they will lose. At home, they win, end of story, but this week will not be easy for the Huskies.

Any of the three could end up on top, but in the end I expect all to be in the NCAA tournament, and also surprise the nation. March can't come soon enough.

3. NFL Draft preview/Combine:
I plan to write a more complete story this week about the NFL draft and talking about the combine. But it has been a major part of the last week, and I couldn't leave it out.

The whole process seems weird to me, it is like parading around show-dogs and teams pick the winners. Measurables in my opinion are very overrated. I think watching a kid play football and seeing their game-film is the most important thing. Even though GM's don't go only on how fast or strong someone is, I think the overall process is too much pomp and circumstance.

4. The NBA trade deadline:
As I have said, the NBA is not my thing, it is drawn out, and overall just seems boring. Nonetheless, the trade deadline came and went, and there were plenty of moves that happened, some were a long-time coming and others were out of left field.

The first, and most notable trade was Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups going to the New York Knicks. Obviously, there was more to it, but Carmelo has been on the outs in Denver for quite some time. It was inevitable that he would be moved, and then he finally was. He has played good for the Knicks so far, the question of how Amare Stoudemire would react has been asked. So far so good, but both guys want to score, and at some point that may become an issue.

The Boston Celtics upset their fans when they sent away Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson in return for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic plus some draft picks as well. The trade does not appear to make them better at this point, but the fans are just wondering why they made the deal. It looked like they would be able to stand pat and be good enough to make a run again in the playoffs. The Celtics didn't think so, but it may be a while before we know if they made a good move.

NBA trades are mostly just moving money and salaries around, so in the end judging these trades is impossible to do without looking deeper into the numbers. That is something I won't do, because I dislike the NBA, but thats probably already clear.

5. Who's number one?
Last week the tops teams in NCAA basketball all seemed to fall. In fact the top 4 all did lose, which gave Duke the free pass to the number one ranking. They did not make the most of that opportunity by losing last night to Virginia Tech. It was a close game, but at this point, that loss is going to drop them a few spots indefinably, but who will be number one?

My bet is on Ohio State, who won both of their games last week. But so did Kansas, so it could be either one. They will be number 1 and 2, but based on the voters selections last week, I assume Kansas will not leap-frog the Buckeyes.

After those two, it is again cloudy. the next 3 teams all lost this week, Pittsburgh, Texas and San Diego State had opportunities to move into the top 3, but they weren't able to win twice last week.

BYU, the 7th ranked team may move all the way up to number 3 in the nation. Thanks to Jimmer Freddette, they went into San Diego State and won in convincing fashion. Duke could hold on to their top 3 ranking, but I think BYU deserves to be ahead of them after winning a huge conference game, on the road, against the 6th ranked team in the nation.

6. NFL Labor Dispute:
I wrote an earlier story here, and really not all that much has changed. But what has happened is the deadline has come closer, when it comes, something must happen. That deadline is Thursday at 11:59 P.M., which is when the CBA expires, but it could be moved by the owners if they decide to give the players more time.

If it comes and goes with no agreement, the players will be locked out. I think the deadline will be extended and eventually a deal will be worked out. It would be a major loss for both the players and owners to take a season off. Both sides know this, but one has to budge.

I think the players will be the ones needing to budge to make the deal work. They need the years salary more than the owners do, they also have a shelf life before they will be retiring, meaning they need to make the money now. I am on the players side of things, but the owners hold more cards than the players do, and usually the one with the better cards ends up on top.

My hope as a fan is that we see football next Fall, a year without NFL games would be a tough pill to swallow.


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