Thursday, June 9, 2011

OSU Followup and Current Events

At the urging of one Ms. Kinsey Brock, I will share my thoughts on the OSU/Pryor fallout and maybe throw a few other current sports things in there too.

"Which car should I drive home after the game, Coach?"
It's hitting the fan. And it's hitting our friends in Columbus hard.  Now that Tressel is gone and the NCAA investigators have crawled around OSU, take about what the expected punishment will be.  Some say that it will lessened now that Tressel is gone, especially if he was the sole source of all the problems.  However, the real crime at OSU wasn't that players were getting cars and selling memorabilia. It's that Tressel and the OSU AD covered those dealings up and continuously lied, even after things were brought to the surface.  OSU's punishment must be at least what USC received (loss of scholarships, 2 year bowl ban) and truthfully deserves more.  This won't truly cripple the program, but will be a nice black mark that all faithful Michigan fans can look back on with fondness.

Shortly after head coach Jim Tressel stepped down, news broke that QB Terrelle Pryor was going to skip his senior season.  This was probably to be expected, especially since a story about him selling $40K in autographs came out as his attorney told the media that Pryor was done at OSU.  It would have been real interesting had Pryor stayed, especially when he returned from his suspension. I'm sure a majority of tUoOSU fans blame him for running golden boy Tressel out of town and the mix of boos and cheers raining down from the Horseshoe would have been pretty fun to hear. This is more good news for Michigan, but Pryor never really tore Michigan up.  Of course his stats were pretty padded against the Wolverines, but he just happened to be the Buckeye QB when Michigan had its worst defense in history.  An eye test during the 2009 showed Pryor being shut down at times by a truly porous defense.

Leaving OSU before his senior season but after the NFL could prove killer for Pryor. 2 guys in recent memory did this - Maurice Clarett from OSU and Mike Williams from USC. Clarett petitioned for early entry into the NFL after he was suspended for his sophomore year. He was rejected by the NFL, sat out 2 full seasons and was taken in the middle rounds the next year. He never came close to succeeding and is now rotting in jail somewhere after multiple arrests (edit: Apparently he is playing in the highly regarded UFL). Mike Williams petitioned alongside Clarett and was also rejected. He didn't have near the behavioral issues Clarett did and was inexplicably taken 10th overall by the Lions during their overdrafting WR phase. Williams never lived up to his promise and left the league, but is now playing for the Seattle Seahawks after a nice 2010 season. I think Pryor will fall somewhere in between these guys. He doesn't have the issues with the law Clarett did, but definitely has some prima donna attitudes. He held a LeBron-style press conference to announce his college decision and has said some peculiar things (Remember his, "I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever," when asked about Michael Vick?) He never really had really successful season, even last year. His crowning game was the 2010 Rose Bowl vs. Oregon, but never really dominated the way many expected him to. He doesn't have the talent of similar mobile QB's like Vick or Vince Young, and taking a year off to try to play what is probably the most difficult position in sports doesn't help. He has the athleticism, but doesn't have the intangibles, like football smarts or leadership Pryor would actually benefit greatly if the NFL lockouts its whole season. No doubt some team will take a flyer on him, but I don't see success in Pryor's future.

MLB at the 1/3 point. Well, my preseason predictions for the 2011 MLB season started off looking really bad, but they are now proving to be pretty accurate.  Here are a few storylines at this point of the season:

-The AL Central was completely backwards through April and most of May.  The Cleveland Indians rode superb pitching and timely hitting to the best record in baseball for a good chunk of the early season, and the Royals weren't far behind.  Meanwhile, the Twins pitching couldn't beat anyone and injuries ravaged the offense.  The White Sox hitting struggled badly after an opening day outburst and the bullpen was blowing a game every other day. The Indians are now fading and the Tigers are rising to the top. I'm still predicting a close finish, but it most certainly won't include Minnesota.

- The Pirates are playing .500 baseball, which has given Pittsburgh hope that they can finally have a non losing season for the first time in 18 years.  The Pirates have had inexplicably good pitching, led by Kevin Correia and Charlie Morton (who retooled his motion after Roy Halladay).  The NL Central is pretty bad this season, as the 2 worst NL teams, the Cubs and the Astros, reside in the Central's cellar.  The Cardinals have once again shown that they can win no matter what, riding Kyle Loshe and Jamie Garcia to the NL Central lead, even with Pujols "struggling" against any team that's not the Cubs.

-The Red Sox are who we thought they were. Even Dennis Green was concerned with the way Boston started the season.  Their marquee hitters couldn't hit, namely Carl Crawford, and their pitching was underperformingSox are leading the AL East have have been dominating the Yankees, especially in Yankee Stadium, where they are 5-0.  They remain a serious threat to take the AL pennant and could put up huge numbers in the second half.

And BIG NEWS! The Cubs still blow. Mike Quade has proven that he is pretty much in over his head, making a number of questionable in-game decisions and puzzling lineup cards.  I thought he would be perfect for the Cubs as a career minor league coach, improving fundamentals and growing the Cubs young talent.  While Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney have been bright spots, the Cubs are near the bottom of the league in home runs, walks, and stolen bases.  The have given up 36 unearned runs and are on pace for over 100, which goes along with the lowest fielding percentage in the NL.  The bullpen has been pitiful and injuries killed the back end of the rotation. The most frustrating is the batting average with runners in scoring position. The Cubs are hitting .268 (second best in the NL), but with men in scoring position their average plummets to .213 (second worst in the NL). This will should be Jim Hendry's last season on the North Side, so hopefully he can trade away some of the Cubs' older higher performing players, like Kosuke Fukudome, by the trade deadline.