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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

USA's Olympic Ladies Figure Skating


You would think it would be disconcerting to the USA's Olympic Ladies Figure Skating contingent to be counted out as medal contenders, but their lack of "cred" doesn't seem to bother them much.

USA's 16-year-old Mirai Nagasu, who jokingly threatened to "bust out a quad," acknowledged, "We're 16 and 17, which has its advantages and disadvantages." Referring to gold medal favorite South Korea's Kim Yu-Na, she added, " (Kim) does have more international experience and she has more
experience in her skating because she's been skating longer. Because we don't know what she knows yet, we can just go in there with a blank mind and attack out there and have fun." Nagasu says, "I didn't come to the Olympics to be nervous and have the nerves overtake me. I came here to have fun, and that's what I'm doing."

USA"s 17-year-old Rachel Flatt, the newly-crowned US Champion, thinks coming in as an underdog helps."Mirai and I are both incredibly excited to go out there and kick some butt." Flatt is considered the most athletic skater the US has had since Tara Lipinski. Flatt performed seven triple jumps at nationals, most of them in combination. But she's heard the criticisms that "Flatt's program is flat." She concedes that she needs to work on her artistry. Flatt is a consistent skater, however, and has a good chance for a medal, especially if any of the leaders falter.
Reigning Olympic silver medallist Sasha Cohen, whose heartbreaking falls in her Romeo and Juliet program in Torino cost her the gold, told People Magazine, "The U.S. girls are young and haven't competed as much internationally, so they're kind of hit or miss. They're good skaters, they're just not at the same level as the international girls." Sasha, who could have been our best hope for a medal but can't seem to stay on her feet, didn't even qualify for the Olympics this year, so she might not want to speak out of school, especially after she predicted Evan Lysacek would only take bronze.

Even though these girls are being given short shrift, when you're counted out, and just go out there to do your best, your best just might end up being "the best." Odds are, however, this could be an Asian sweep. Favorites South Korea's Kim Yu-Na, and Japan's Mao Asada and
Miki Ando have all won the last three world titles.
South Korea's Kim Yu-Na and Japan's Mao Asada have a sizzling rivalry between them. Nineteen-year-old Kim is the reigning world champion, taking the title away from Asada. Kim has only lost twice in two years, both times to Asada. A gold for her would give South Korea its first Olympic figure skating gold.

Nineteen-year-old Mao Asada, the Japanese national champion, has been the only one to outskate Kim, twice in the past two seasons. She's had a rough couple of years, not qualifying for last year's Grand Prix final. But she does have those two wins against Kim, and all eyes will be on her. Asado's teammate, 22-year-old Miki Ando, is best known for her jumps, landing a quad in competition at age 14. Last year she won the Cup of Russia and NHK Trophy, and took bronze in the 2009 Worlds. She is definitely a contender. Japan's Akiko Suzuki, who won the Cup of China and placed second at nationals and third at the Grand Prix final, is also not counting herself out for a medal.

Twenty-two year old Canadian Joannie Rochette, six-time national champion, is Canada's best chance for a medal since Elizabeth Manley won the silver medal in 1988. Tragically, her mother has died in Vancouver over the weekend of a heart attack at age 55. Rochette is determined to compete, appearing on the practice rink the next morning, wiping tears away, but landing her jumps consistently.

The Ladies Short Program will be skated on Tuesday, February 23rd, the Long Program on Thursday, February 26th.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NFL Mock Draft 2010 (Running Backs)

Thanks for checking out my running back rankings for the 2010 NFL draft. If you are interested in my quarterback rankings for the 2010 NFL draft, then click this link. And for my latest 2010 NFL mock draft
click this link. But on to my running back rankings for the 2010 NFL draft. This is actually the top 10 running backs in the 2010 NFL draft because those are the ones most likely to be drafted.

1 C.J. Spiller- Clemson

C.J. Spiller is the best all around running back in the 2010 NFL draft. Spiller can run the ball and catch it as well as being a fine returner. C.J. Spiller may slip into the top ten if he runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash at the NFL scouting combine.

2 Jonathan Dwyer-Georgia Tech

I have Dwyer ranked 2nd in the top ten running backs in the 2010 NFL draft due to his size over Best. Dwyer is fast enough and has decent size at 6ft and well over 200 pounds. Georgia Tech's rather weird offense may drop him like a rock however; as he may struggle to learn pass protection.

3 Jahvid Best-California

Best is just too small to take a constant pounding in the National Football League at 5ft 10 and around 195 pounds. He will probably struggle at picking up the blitz but is a good receiver coming out of the backfield. I think the Chargers may draft him at some point to replace Darren Sproles.

4 Joe McKnight-USC

Reggie Bush made over but this may hurt McKnight in the 2010 NFL draft. Bush has barely missed the bust label. McKnight may be able to impress enough people to make it in the NFL, and maybe not.

5 Toby Gerhart-Stanford
Toby Gerhard rounds out the top 5 running backs in the 2010 NFL draft. Mike Alstott comes to mind when I watch Gerhart play. He could be an awesome goal line back for some team (would love to see him with the Steelers) if he plays football instead of baseball.

6 Ryan Matthews-Fresno State

Has a chance to be a starter in the NFL if he can overcome the injury bug that struck him early in his college career.

7 Anthony Dixon-Mississippi State

Dixon is a load at 6ft 1 and close to 240 pounds and he could be a force on the right team. Dixon has to have a place on the top 10 running backs in the 2010 NFL draft list.

8 Montario Hardesty-Tennessee
Montario Hardesty can catch the football and is big enough to block as called on. He is a decent runner and had a good season on an average (at best) Tennessee team under Lane Kiffin.

9 LeGarrette Blount-Oregon

If some team cough Bengals cough can ignore his character problems Blount could be the steal of the 2010 NFL draft class of running backs. He has plenty of talent
if he can keep from punching people.

10 Ben Tate-Auburn

Tate had a great average per attempt in the rugged SEC and has decent weight on his 5ft 11 frame. Tate could be a special teams player and spot runner on some NFL team and he rounds out my list of the top ten running backs in the 2010 NFL draft.

Thanks for reading my 2010 running back rankings for the NFL draft. Please feel free to heap praise or insults on me in the comments below.And you can read this article to see my 2009 running back rankings for that draft.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Latest NBA Trade Rumor 2010..Amare Stoudemire or Jamison to Cleveland?

Will the big trade in the NBA this year be Tracy McGrady to New York, or will Cleveland help Lebron James by picking up Amar'e Stoudemire or Antawan Jamison? As the NBA trade deadline approaches this Thursday, rumors are swirling around the basketball world. Every year there are trade rumors in the NBA that never materialize. This year will not be any different. In this article I am going to try to attempt to sort through which trades I think are likely to happen, and which NBA trades will never materialize into anything.

Houston's Tracy McGrady to the New York Knicks for draft picks:

The Knicks and Rockets are considering a deal that would involve New York's Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, and either Al Harrington or Larry Hughes for McGrady and scraps.

For the Knicks it will dump some big contracts and free them up for a major signing in the offseason. The Rockets will pick up Jordan Hill, the player that the Knicks selected with their 8th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, and draft picks.

This deal makes sense for both teams. The Knicks want to be players in the Lebron James sweepstakes over the offseason. Lebron James will be pushed by incentives in his Nike contract to leave Cleveland and sign with a major city. The New Jersey Nets are one of the possible destinations for Lebron James. If the New York Knicks want to counter any big signing by the Nets, then the Knicks need to free up money. The addition of Tracy McGrady's expiring contract will give the Knicks a lot of flexibility that they currently do not have. The Knicks will get the opportunity to audition Tracy McGrady with their team for the rest of the season and see if he would be a good fit for them. If they determine that he is not, then they will free up a lot of money to pursue a very talented class of free agents.

For Houston they will get a lot of young players in return for Tracy McGrady. Houston does not have a lot of attachment to Tracy McGrady even though he is considered a superstar in the NBA. He is injured, and their team isn't going to compete for the NBA championship. If they pull off this trade, the Rockets would instantly become one of the NBA's up and coming teams. Any rebuilding process would be sped up by at least three years. Reports say that the deal is 50-50. The desperation of the Knicks to dump salary, and their history of bad deals leads me to believe that this deal will get done.

Amar'e Stoudemire Trade:

Amar'e Stoudemire is the biggest name floating around in NBA trade rumors. These rumors have Amare Stoudemire going to the Cleveland Cavs, the Philadelphia 76ers, or the Miami Heat.

The latest rumor have Amar'e Stoudemire headed to Cleveland for J.J Hickson (the 19th pick of the 2008 draft), Cleveland's 2010 first round pick, and a player like Zydrunas Ilgauskas who has an expiring contract. Phoenix would save some money and get two young players in return. J.J Hickson is a young power forward who is averaging 7.4 pts and 4.4 rebounds per game this year. Phoenix would gain him and Cleveland's first round pick that will be late in the first round. The players drafted in that range of the NBA draft usually are not impact players.

Phoenix has been floating Stoudemire around for a couple of years now, and nothing has materialized. I think that this latest round of trade rumors will be more of the same. If we want to know the value of a player like Stoudemire, then we can see what the Lakers gave up for Pau Gasol. That package included two first round picks and three role players from the Lakers to the Grizzles. The compensation that Cleveland is offering for Stoudemire is comparable to the Gasol trade. Cleveland would love to land Stoudemire so that they can give Lebron James a chance to win a championship in Cleveland. The Cavs believe that making a move for Stoudemire will entice Lebron James to resign with Cleveland.

Everything looks like it should work with this trade, but I don't think that it will happen. The Suns have been shopping Stoudemire for over a year now, and they cannot get anything done. Having Stoudemire play alongside Shaq didn't work Phoenix, so why would Amar'e Stoudemire agree to try it again? To add to the complications in this deal, the Phoenix Suns are still a playoff team. Trading Stoudemire will alienate their fan base and anger their players. I don't see him leaving Phoenix before the NBA trade deadline.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NBA 2010 Trade Rumors

With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching on Thursday February 18 at 3pm EDT, there are a bunch of deals that are circulating. This year there may even be more activity than normal as team's try to get themselves further and further under the cap in preparation for the Summer 2010 free agent class. It should be a wild week so let's start our analysis. I've ranked the rumors in likeliness that they will actually happen.

Rumor # 1(allegedly close to being finalized) - Amare Stoudemire is traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers

This one has been making the rounds over the last 48 hours. The latest iteration has the Phoenix Suns sending Stoudemire and his chronically sensitive knee to the Cavs for power forward J.J. Hickson and veteran center Zyrdunas Ilgauskas (my gosh, he's still playing?) . The word is that the Suns would immediately waive Ilgauskas so that the Cavs could pick him back up. Phoenix would get younger with the acquisition of Hickson and the Cavs feel that bringing Stoudemire in would guarantee that LeBron James would re-sign with them this summer.

Chance of happening: Very Good

Rumor # 2 - Stoudemire is traded to the Miami Heat for Michael Beasley and others

When an athletic power forward is put on the market, you know Pat Riley is going to be interested. This deal has Miami sending forward Beasley and Dorell Wright along with Quentin Richardson and Jermaine O'Neal to to Phoenix for Stoudemire. More likely that the Cleveland deal gets done, but keep your eyes on this one.

Rumor # 3 (added 2/15) - Stoudemire is traded to Phialdelphia for Andre Iguodala
ESPN.com has reported that since word leaked out that the Cavaliers and Suns were getting close to locking into a deal other teams have now stepped up their offers. A 1-for-1 deal has been proposed that would send Iguodala to the Suns for Stoudemire however the Sixers are somewhat reticent to get this done because Iguodala is their best player and they want Stoudemire teamed with talent.

Rumor # 4 - Tracy McGrady is traded from Houston with Aaron Brooks to the Knicks for Nate Robinson and Al Harrington
An interesting combination of players but will this really help either team? Robinson seems to only be able to win slam dunk contests, Harrington has passed his prime, and McGrady hasn't played competitive basketball in eons.If Houston can pull this off, they immediately receive cap relief as they get out from under McGrady's contract.

Rumor #5 - Philadelphia sends Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert to the Clippers for a bunch of expiring contracts.
The names that I saw coming from the Clippers in this deal include Marcus Camby, Rasual Butler, Mardy Collins and Ricky Davis, Al Thornton and DeAndre Jordan. Jordan and Thornton would provide young, inexpensive assets for the 76ers, while the rest simply take the form of expiring contracts. Dalmebert and Iquodala would provide a compelling core to play alongside Chris Kaman, Baron Davis and a healthy Blake Griffin.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2010 Super Bowl Ads and CBS

2010 Super Bowl commercials are being shared by CBS.com in order to create super excitement. CBS has 2010 Super Bowl commercials on their web site right now to give a quick sneak peek into what will be aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday. These aren't all of the 2010 Super Bowl commercials, but it gives a look at a few on them from companies like E-Trade and Audi.

The E-Trade one is a very familiar line of commercials where they use a baby to talk about what is going on with stocks in the market. They have tapped that well a couple of times, and are looking for fans to stick with them for another year during the Super Bowl.

One of the other 2010 Super Bowl commercials that are being given the sneak preview treatment is from Audi, as they show how they are focusing on improving the environment through the production of their cars. It's a good green advertisement for the car company, but it is only revealed in parts rather than showing the full commercial.

There is also a fun commercial from a new web site that will be renting homes rather than hotel rooms for people taking vacations. A nice placement by Chevy Chase in the commercial could indeed draw a few extra laughs from fans that enjoyed Chase in all of the National Lampoon's movies.

Don't get overly excited about the commercials that are being made available early, because CBS isn't revealing everything just yet. We linked the video where advertising critic Barbara Lippet and Harry Smith talk about some of them, but they don't reveal all that many in the segment.

CBS also created a show for the best Super Bowl advertisements of all time, and have linked some of them in order to drum up interest. This is in addition to the show that CBS was airing on Wednesday night to try and promote their ideas of the greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time.

There will still be quite a few commercials kept under wraps until the Super Bowl on Sunday, and we will have to wait until then to find out which ones are going to be talked about the most on Monday.