Sunday, April 29, 2007

Badger draft action

As predicted, Joe Thomas was snatched up quickly; he went as the third overall pick to the Cleveland Browns. Only JaMarcus Russell (LSU/Oakland) and Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech/Detroit) were picked before Joe. Congrats on the big-money gig, Joe, even if it means having to reside in the Mistake on the Lake.

Unfortunately, every other Badger is still on the board, and nobody really expects any of them to be drafted. Look for Mark Zalewski and John Stocco to sign free agent contracts with the team of their choosing, though. So, one guy drafted means that UW produced the same number of draft picks as UW-Whitewater; good luck to Derek Stanley in his career with the St. Louis Rams.

Speaking of the Browns, looks like Thomas will be blocking for the guy they passed over, the ostensible QB of the Future and the inevitable focus of breathless puff-pieces for years to come, Mr. Brady Quinn. He slipped all the way to #22, until finally the Browns traded up to take him off the board. Don't fall victim to the delusions that are running wild at Notre Dame blog the Blue-Gray Sky; worth a read, if only for gems like this:

The Browns got lucky, and anybody who tries to say that this was part of their "master plan" is kidding themselves. I realize Cleveland is now claiming that they were trying to get back in ahead of Miami to select Quinn, but that doesn't pass the smell test. When Miami goofed, that opened the door. Lucky for Cleveland.

They only got lucky from the standpoint that Miami appears to be the only franchise left in the NFL that believes that Joey Harrington is a great get. Of course, there are a lot of people out there that believe that Quinn has as much upside as Harrington does, hence his long wait in the Green Room on Saturday. What the Browns did was to take a calculated risk, knowing that there would be a chance to use the third pick on Thomas and pick up Quinn right around where he belonged.

That the Browns traded two picks, including their 1st rounder next year, could be significant. Brady, if he starts for the Browns, is controlling his own value -- but inversely so. The better the Browns do with Brady at the helm, the lower their first round pick next year, and the cheaper the cost of acquiring Brady in the first place. Weird.

All that says is that they're willing to give him a shot at being the franchise quarterback. And this isn't a question of finances or "cheapness" or what have you; what the Browns want to do is to win games, and if it does turn out that Quinn has the ability to lead an NFL team, that's just another hole they don't have to fill en route to, y'know, winning those games.

It was a perfect storm for Jamarcus. What other team in this draft would have taken him #1 overall? If the Raiders hadn't been picking first, Russell could have been the one "green-roomed" yesterday instead of Quinn.

I'm certain that this is based only on petty jealousy. Although, for the record, I don't see Russell doing much at the QB position in the NFL either.

Charlie's right. All Brady has to do to wash this day away is to strap it on and kick some ass. Time to walk the walk.

This is a tough thing to do even if you've walked the walk before. Considering Quinn hasn't, he might have some trouble.

Now, the genesis of this post isn't in good old-fashioned Notre Dame hating. Although I do agree with what Bret Bielema had to say about the Irish, my feelings for Notre Dame border on the tepid. It's great that they get all these pre-season accolades, that their quarterbacks are perennially overrated pretty boys, that they occasionally steal a win from Michigan but spend most of their time beating up on service acadamies and Syracuse and losing to the big boys, and that they go to a bowl game two tiers higher than they deserve and then -- never surprisingly -- they lose, and generally lose by at last two touchdowns (the Irish have lost nine straight, and only 2 losses have been by a margin of fewer than 14 points), but this is based in charitably correcting insanity.

BGS needs to loosen the faux gold helmet a little bit and breathe the same air the rest of us are. Brady Quinn doesn't win big games because he's not an outstanding quarterback.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And you thought "prime time" was supposed to be a good thing

On the surface, the Big Ten Network -- a TV station devoted wholly to Big Ten sports -- should have cable companies scrambling for the privilege of carrying it, at least in the Midwest.

But then you sit back and think about the very public battle between the NFL Network and the cable companies who refused to pay the high price (70-80 cents per subscriber). Then you think about the popularity of the Big Ten -- a single conference -- versus the popularity of the entire NFL. And the fact that the Big Ten Network wants even more money than the NFL Network did: over $1 per subscriber. The cable companies didn't buckle to the NFL, and the realization hits: this station just isn't going to be available.

The Big Ten, though, is easing into this thing. It's said that certain football games will be televised exclusively on its network. Evidently, they're trying not to step on any toes; take a look at the prime time schedule for the 2007 season:

Sept. 1 -- Indiana State at Indiana, 8 p.m. EDT
Sept. 8 -- Syracuse at Iowa, 7 p.m. CDT
Sept. 15 -- Duke at Northwestern, 7 p.m. CDT
Oct. 13 -- Indiana at Michigan State, 7 p.m. EDT
Nov. 3 -- Illinois at Minnesota, 7 p.m. CDT

Hmm. Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa, and Michigan State fans will all have to fanagle a way to see one of their team's conference games. Who doesn't?

Fans of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Purdue.

Like I said, the Big Ten isn't trying to tick anyone off initially. They've managed to keep the schools with the biggest, most rabid fanbases out of the death-hole of BTN Primetime.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

That's about right

If you're not reading Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries, you should be. This post is not why, but is still ... well, something.

Thank you, Jackie

For playing the most visible role in changing the landscape of American sports. Thanks for suffering through what you did, and doing so with grace.

A good piece about Jackie Robinson Day over at Bless You Boys, and a nice tribute illustration at BCRS.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I hear that

Nicole capably sums up the Badger basketball season.

I don't really get into spring football, and there are no collegiate spring sports that interest me (although if the Badger softball team catches fire, I'll probably pay some attention.) For now, the big deal is the NHL Playoffs; I'll have no problem rooting for the Detroit Red Wings as long as that maniac Todd Bertuzzi is out. Then there's baseball, and I'm a big fan of that, but baseball is not what this site is about, especially since UW no longer fields a varsity team.

So, I'll be around. Keep checking back. And try to forget about that stupid tournament.