The Pelican Brief?

Since we now have seen the scary Pelican mascot we thought it appropriate to repost this story from last year. 

By Dave Trausneck @trausneck

New Orleans appears to enjoy a good laugh… or maybe they were too drunk to realize their NBA franchise is about to have the worst name in the history of professional sports.

PELICAN-BRIEF

Team owner Tom Benson and his wife Gayle apparently want a team name to reflect the state of Louisiana.  So when David Stern calls out “With the 5th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans select…”

95% of those watching will start laughing. 4.5% will throw their Abita beer at the television.  The other half-percent will be Anthony Davis’ unibrow furrowing in disgust and calling Adam Silver’s office demanding a three-team trade sending him to Miami in exchange for 3,000 copies of “The Pelican Brief” on VHS, cash considerations and an immediate investigation into who killed Justices Rosenberg and Jensen.

The Pelicans. Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of opposing players like a water bird with a beak like Glen Quagmire’s nose.

With an ode to the 1993 movie starring Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts, this needs a little bit of history to explain.

The Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and “Pelicans” was the former name of the city’s minor league baseball team from 1887-1959 and 1977. It’s worth noting that Benson owned the rights to the name Pelicans.

It’s normal for sports franchises to honor the history of their roots. Maybe Benson has salt left in his mouth from when the Jazz picked up and moved to Salt Lake City decades ago and kept the name.  Benson and his wife would be better off renaming the team the Hurricanes than the Pelicans.  Even the Sugarcanes sounds sweeter than the Pelicans.  The New Orleans Corruption could probably steal a few votes in a public naming contest.

But Benson might have to put in a call to White & Blazevich to settle the score.

And if all else fails… season ticket holders can look forward to posing pictures with this hanging around their kids. http://www.starcostumes.com/lgimages/MU42155.jpg

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Playoffs

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

The race for the MLS Cup kicks into high gear Wednesday night when Colorado visits Seattle. The post season is exciting when it comes to any sport or league but this years MLS Cup playoffs have a lot of big questions to answer.

In the black for the Red Bulls?

The NY Red Bulls pulled in their very first trophy in franchise history with the Supporters Shield. One would believe that this would make them an odds on favorite to take home MLS Cup. It could very well happen with the team they have but this is also a club that has continued to not live up to expectations over their tenure in MLS. Until they hoist the cup above their heads there will always be doubt.

Timber!!!!!!

Portland finished the regular season with a record setting 5 losses over 34 games. Impressive stuff considering what this team looked like last season. Can Caleb Porter and his “Porter-ball” excel in the playoff format or will their legs be too tired from the long hard road which is the MLS regular season. Their first opponent could be their arch rival Seattle. Now that is TV worth watching.

3 Peat?

Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane are a higher seed then they were entering last years playoffs however they have to square off against Real Salt Lake to start off. RSL is probably the most dangerous team in the playoffs. But LA has the experience and the expectation of winning. Three peats are hard to do, even in LA, and LA has it’s work cut out for them.

Old Timers and First Timers

Montreal is an older team. Houston is a veteran club. New England is a young team. Sporting KC is a well rounded team. Montreal v Houston and NE v SKC are two of your first three games. Anyone of these teams could get hot and runaway with the Cup however each team has some big weaknesses like Montreal’s age, Houston’s lack of success against New York, New England’s youth and SKC’s ability to not be dominate at home this season.

The playoffs are here and regardless of your loyalty this should be something worth watching.

What To Watch Thurs. 10/24-Sun. 10/27

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday October 24th

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 5:25pm NFL NETWORK: If you really, really have to watch a football game on Thursday then this is your best option. Carolina is pretty good. Tampa Bay isn’t. Judge for yourself.

St. Louis Cardinals @ Boston Red Sox-5:10pm FOX: It’s the World Series and that NFL game is probably going to get out of control in a hurry.

San Jose Sharks @ Boston Bruins – 4pm NHLN: San Jose is 8-0-1 and Boston has been in the Stanley Cup Final two of the last three years. It’s worth tuning in.

Friday October 25th

Boise St. @ BYU – 5pm ESPN:  Both these teams are good and it’s a Friday night in Provo. It should be rocking.

Saturday October 26th

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma – 12:30pm FOX:  Lot of hype around the turn around job that Kliff Kingsbury has done at Texas Tech. Oklahoma needs to regain some of the swagger. Knocking off the latest ‘next big thing’ might do the trick.

UCLA @ OREGON – 4pm ESPN: Two future NFL signal callers (UCLA’s Brett Hundley and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota) are on display. Not to mention that this is probably a preview of the PAC-12 title game.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm CBCBattle of the leaders in the east. Sidney Crosby and a Saturday night in the TO!

Stanford @ Oregon State- 7:30pm ESPN: Oregon State is number one in the country in passing and ninth in the country in points scored. Players to watch in this one are Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks (nation’s top receiver) and Stanford’s Ty Montgomery (returned two kickoff’s back for touchdowns). Big trap game for Stanford as they play Oregon next weekend at home. If they’re not careful then they may get into a shootout with an Oregon State team that can put up some big time points.

Sunday October 27th

Manchester City @ Chelsea – 9am NBCSN: Two top flight clubs on a Sunday morning.

Dallas Cowboys @ Detroit Lions-10am FOX: This could come down to who has the ball last. Not to mention a chance to see two top WR’s in Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant.

Washington Redskins @ Denver Broncos- 1:25pm FOX: RGIII vs Peyton. Both these teams can get hot and score a lot of points in a very short amount of time.

Defining “Great”

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Certain terms and phrases are thrown around in the sports hemisphere without out any structure or foundation. ‘Of all time’, ‘in history’, ‘the best’ and ‘great’ or ‘greatest’. While the term ‘great’ can be thrown out prematurely it can also be thrown out appropriately. This past weekend the term seemed to raise it’s head more than a few times.

Sunday night football and Cris Collinsworth throws out the term at towards the end of the 2nd qtr calling both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck ‘great’. He didn’t say it specifically about each QB, but he implied it. ‘Great quarterbacks’ was the exact term. Is Luck a ‘great’ NFL QB? No doubt he’s good but ‘great’? He’s not even through his second season. Manning, most would agree that he is either ‘great’ or on the cusp of being ‘great’. Most would say that there are only a few who have been ‘great’ at the position. Those would probably include Joe Montana and John Elway among others.

Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez had a very memorable fight on Saturday night at UFC 166. Some called it the ‘greatest fight’ they’ve ever seen. Others called the entire card the ‘greatest’ in UFC history. Why?
Is it the amount of finishes that were on the card (eight) or something else. Most would point to the fact that just about every fight was exciting regardless if it was a finish or not.

Almost two years ago people called the Shogun Rua vs Dan Henderson fight the ‘greatest’. A week before that was Benson Henderson vs Clay Guida.

There many ‘great’ fights just like there are many ‘great’ quarterbacks. But what makes someone or something ‘great’? Is it how many trophies they win? How many Super Bowls? How many punches they delivered vs how many they took? How long their winning streak was?

It is a combination of things boiled down to one simple point, standard. ‘Great’ can be associated to someone if they redefine they way we look at the sport, position or profession. They set the standard to which others will compare and judge.

Peyton Manning is a good example. He has the trophies to prove his worth but also set the standard at which others will be judged in how he prepares and operates on the field of play.

The Melendez vs Sanchez fight is ‘great’ because we will become the standard which other fights will be measured. The Chicago Bulls team of the 1995-1996 season and the 1989 San Francisco 49ers teams are a standard on their respective sports arenas.

‘Great’ is a term we should use. Just do not use it lightly.

What To Watch 10/18-10/20

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Friday 10/18

UCF @ Louisville-ESPN 5pm: (Probably the toughest match-up of the season for Louisville. Fortunately for them it’s at home. )

Saturday 10/19

South Carolina @ Tennessee-ESPN 9am: (Tennessee had a week off to get ready for a game they sorely need. Connor Shaw and South Carolina are one of the darkhorse teams to sneak into the SEC title game. )

Texas Tech @ West Virginia-FS1 9am: (WVU already took down one top 25 team at home this season, can they do it again? )

UCLA @ Stanford-ABC/ESPN2 12:30pm: (UCLA is the best team in the PAC-12 south but the game is on the Farm in Palo Alto. Stanford’s D has to show up against this UCLA offense. In other words, they can’t play like they have the last two weeks. )

Vancouver @ Colorado-Regional/MLS LIVE 3pm: (Vancouver is on the outside looking in and Colorado is on the inside looking out. The post-season is at stake.)

Florida State @ Clemson-ABC 5pm: (Top five match-up. Game will probably decide who goes to the BCS from the ACC. Also a chance to see a whole bunch of future pros. Death Valley will be rockin!)
UFC 166: Velasquez vs Dos Santos III – PPV 7pm: (UFC Heavyweight Title is on the line with two of the best heavyweight’s in the world.)
Saturday 10/19
Denver @ Indianapolis- NBC 5:30pm: (Peyton Manning returns to Indy. Former boss taking shots in the media. Could be interesting.)
San Jose @ LA Galaxy- ESPN 6pm: (The California Classico and the post season at stake? Oh yeah!)
 

The Saturday You Always Wanted

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Seven ranked teams lost on Saturday. Four lost to unranked teams. Five other teams were in the quintessential ‘dog fights’ but were able to pull out the victories. It’s the perfect example as to why you watch football all day.

Saturday was one of those days you hope will happen when you turned on the television that morning. Upsets, nail-biters, coast to coast action for 13 hours. Coincidentally it was also one of this days that had non normal kick off times.

A typical Saturday of college football really has four sets of start times: 9am, 12:30pm, 4:30pm, and sometimes one game at 7:30pm. This particular Saturday had some odd start times like 1pm, 2pm, 5:30pm and multiple games at 7:30pm. This provided a great overlap when games came down to the wire. So when Penn State was driving for the tying touchdown against Michigan you weren’t even missing the start the of the Texas A&M at Ole Miss game.

None of this is planned of course, it’s just a nice coincidence.

Even the networks didn’t know which games were going to be the best ones of the day. ESPN College Gameday and most of the big name college football reporters descended upon Husky Stadium in Seattle for the Oregon at Washington game. One member of Gameday didn’t even stay for the game. Kirk Herbstreit jumped on a plane after the show ended at 9am and high tailed it to Oxford, Miss (probably via Memphis,TN) for Texas A&M at Ole Miss game which kicked off at 5:30pm. Fortunately for him, this game turned into one of the best games of the day.

Texas A&M vs Ole Miss

From Missouri beating Georgia in Athens to Penn State outlasting Michigan in the fourth overtime in Happy Valley to Johnny Football leading his team in prayer as a former FC Dallas goalkeeper knocked in the winning field goal to seal the win for Texas A&M.

This is what Saturdays’ were made for. Non-stop, exciting games that go down to the wire from coast to coast. It’s why we are college football fans.

What to Watch 10/10-10/13

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday Oct. 10th

4:30pm-ESPN: Rutgers @ Louisville (An important battle in the AAC. Both teams have a  short week but Rutgers went into 3 overtimes against SMU last weekend. That could be difference. It’s also a chance to check out Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater for yourself.)

5:00pm-TBS: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A’s (Game 5 in the ALDS. Winner gets a date with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. Let’s do this!)

5:25pm-NFL Network: NY Giants @ Chicago Bears (Can the Giants get a win this season or will they go 0-6? It will be funny for everyone outside of New York if they do.)

Friday Oct. 11th

6:00pm-ESPN3: BC Lions @ Calgary (West Coast rivals meet again. Calgary RB John Cornish looks to set another league record for rushing yards in a season.)

Saturday Oct. 12th

9:00am-ESPN: Missouri @ Georgia (Georgia’s D is not very good and they are missing just about everyone on offense due to injury. Missouri is a surprising 5-0. Upset alert!)

12:30pm-CBS: Florida @ LSU (How Florida lucked out and got at daytime kick off we’ll never know. Either way it’s a must win for both teams if they want to keep their SEC & National Title hopes alive.)

1:00pm-FS1: Oregon @ Washington (The Quack Attack gets its first true test against an old rival. Can UW bounce back and contain the Ducks high-powered O? Needless to say, it’s going to be very, very loud in Husky Stadium.)

5:30pm-ESPN: Texas A&M @ Ole Miss (It will be points galore in Oxford. Big point swings are liable to occur.)

7:00pm-Regional: Montreal Canadiens @ Vancouver Canucks (East meets West for the first time this season.)

Sunday Oct. 13th

1:25pm-FOX: New Orleans Saints @ NE Patriots (5-0 Saints head to Foxboro. Can Tom Brady find some WR’s in time?)

6:00pm-ESPN: Seattle Sounders @ Portland Timbers (Cascadia Cup match between two playoff teams. Only time Seattle visits the Rose City during the regular season. This is always something awesome to see.)

Why We Go To The Game

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

There was a recent WSJ article about how the attendance of students at college football games is down. If you really look at it you can see why but if you attended the Georgia at Tennessee game this past Saturday you can’t understand why someone wouldn’t go.

Georgia ended up beating Tennessee 34-31 in overtime in what was possibly the best game of the college football weekend. While it was fairly one-sided in the first half the second half and overtime was nothing short of phenomenal.

Neyland stadium was nearly at its full 102,455 person capacity on Saturday and a the student section was in full voice. Did it make a difference? It certainly seemed like Georgia’s offense was having problems at times communicating at times especially down towards the student section. You have to imagine that the 17-25 year old demo had some effect.

While the sea of humanity, heat, lines for the bathroom, and lack of cell service are enough to get on anyone’s nerves this day and age the rollercoaster of emotions and energy from the crowd are irreplaceable. If the game was a one-sided blow out for either side these things would seem like more of a hassle. But it wasn’t. It was great game and leaves you wanting to go to another game.

The ups, downs, joy and sorrow.These are why we go. Why we spend for the hard-earned money and hours in traffic. We do this with the hope that our team will prevail and if they don’t at least it will be one hell of a ride.

 

 

What To Watch 10/3-10/6

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

Thursday October 3rd

4:30pm-ESPN: Texas @ Iowa St (It’s like a train wreck, which Texas team will show up? And you don’t just walk into Ames, IA on a Thursday night and walk away with a win.)

7pm-FS1: UCLA @ Utah (PAC-12 match up that could be at least worth watching since it is in Salt Lake City.)

7pm-Regional: Vancouver Canucks @ San Jose Sharks (Two teams that have a lot to prove this season.)

Friday October 4th

5pm-CBS Sports Network: BYU @ Utah State (Chuckie Keeton alert. If you haven’t seen this QB at Utah State play now is your chance. Last time BYU went to Logan, UT they were upset by the Aggies.)

7pm-ESPN3: Saskatchewan  @ BC (The Roughriders are looking to lock up a playoff spot and BC’s QB Travis Lullay is on the shelf another few weeks. Things are looking good for Saskatchewan. Not to mention that they get their top RB back this week.)

6:30p-TBS: Detroit Tigers @ Oakland A’s (This should be a hard-fought series and probably one of the better ones of the post season.)

Saturday October 5th

9am-ESPNU: Maryland @ Florida St. (The surprisingly undefeated Terps head down to Tallahassee. Could be closer than everyone thinks.)

9am- BTN: Illinois @ Nebraska (Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez is still not 100%. With a week off will the “Black Shirts” show up and shut down the Illini?)

12:30pm-ESPNU: Georgia Tech @ Miami (Georgia Tech can just wear you down with that triple option attack. Miami’s QB Stephen Morris has been at practice and should play but will he be effective?)

4pm- Regional: Philadelphia Flyers @ Montreal Canadiens (Two legendary NHL teams meeting for the first time in 2013. The Bell Centre will be rocking.)

4pm-FOX: TCU @ Oklahoma (OU gets better each week but TCU will let them know that they are in a fight.)

4pm-ESPNU: Ole Miss @ Auburn (Both teams need to rebound from tough losses last week. A pivotal game in the SEC West.)

5pm-FS1: West Virginia @ Baylor (They scored a combined 133 points in last years game. It may not be that high this year but 100 points is possible.)

7:30pm-ESPN: Washington @ Stanford (By far the game of the day. UW is rolling and so is Stanford. The Huskies upset the Cardinal last year and cost them a spot in the National Title game. This is going to be a football game.)

Sunday October 6th

10am-FOX: Detroit @ Green Bay (NFC North game. Two high potent offenses. Who can limit the turnovers.)

10am-CBS: Kansas City @ Tennessee (No Jake Locker for the Titans as they welcome the undefeated Chiefs into the Music City. Still should be a fun game to watch.)

1:25pm-CBS: Denver @ Dallas (Dr. Manning makes a house call at Jerry World. Watch him operate and notice how much better he is than Tony Romo.)

Will The Games Go On?

By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard

It’s turning into a busy week on several sports fronts. The latest is how the government budget impasse and subsequent shutdown has left the very realistic possibility of college football games being cancelled or at a minimum rescheduled.

Air Force is scheduled to play Navy in Annapolis, MD this Saturday on National TV. This may very well not happen due to the current government shutdown. Army’s game at Boston College is also on the ropes for the same reason. Although it may seem like a financial issue it apparently isn’t because if it was the Air Force Academy football team would be on a flight courtesy of United and BC would pick up Army’s travel tab.

All intercollegiate athletics have been shut down by the Department of Defense. The question of what funds are available and what funds are not is also brought into question. While Navy funds their athletics through ticket sales and TV rights Air Force and Army do not. This appears to be the sticking point….and that of public perception.

But public perception shouldn’t mean much here. Congress is still collecting a paycheck and the Academy’s played games during the last government shutdown in 1995.

And let’s face facts. While all college football fans, especially those who bought tickets to the sold out Air Force at Navy game, would love to see these games being played, if it was Army vs Alabama or Navy vs Texas or some other big school, the government would have passed a budget a month ago. The fans of a school the size of Bama or Notre Dame or Texas would not have let government, especially the federal government, stand in the way of a football game in the fall.

A decision on these games will be made by noon Thursday despite what Twitter says. Let’s hope that these teams get to play these games and that Congress can finally get its act together. A betting man would probably lay heavy on the games being played and Congress doing what Congress does best….nothing.