Archive for June, 2011

2011 College Football Preview: Part 2, Scheduling

Posted in College Football on June 29, 2011 by sammywestside

The college football schedule is often overlooked in determining success of a program. Many programs schedule easier schedules to rack up wins, and hopefully earn their way into a top notch bowl game. On the other hand, others believe you need to beat the best to be the best.

In actuality it’s probably better to be somewhere in between. In college football, and so many sports today, results are all that matter. Sometimes what might be good for some, ends up being unacceptable for many others. Its difficult to exactly pin point the right ways of doing it, but there are some teams that have benefited from scheduling and some that have been hurt by it.

Today I will examine what I think is the right way of scheduling : who has the easiest and toughest schedules, and who will benefit and who will get hurt by theirs this year.

I personally believe its best to schedule tough, but not too tough. You have to know your school. Often it can be good to schedule teams that you should beat, but are still considered decent. There is a lot of manipulation involved in the numbers, and it can be a huge difference in the end of season rankings (in college hoops as well). A team from a BCS conference should try to play two good games every year out of conference, and non-BCS teams should probably go three or even four if they want to be considered among the elite (uh hum Boise State).

This year lets look at how the conferences liked to schedule out of conference:

ACC: 44% BCS, 29% Non-BCS, 27% FCS

PAC 12: 41% BCS, 38% N0n-BCS, 21% FCS

Big East: 40% BCS, 40% Non-BCS, 20% FCS

Big 12: 30% BCS, 50% Non-BCS, 20% FCS

Big Ten: 29% BCS, 50% Non-BCS, 21% FCS

SEC: 25% BCS, 50% Non-BCS, 25% FCS

Pat Hill and the Fresno State Bulldogs were not afraid to schedule some tough non-conference foes in 2011

Alright how about the best Out of Conference Schedules:

1. Fresno State- vs. California, @Nebraska, Ole Miss, Boise State, North Dakota

2. East Carolina- vs. South Carolina, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, @Navy

3. Colorado- @ Ohio State, @Hawaii, California, vs. Colorado State

4. Tulsa- @ Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, @ Boise State, North Texas

5. Miami FL- Ohio State, Kansas State, @ South Florida, Bethune-Cookman

6. USC- Minnesota, Syracuse, @ Notre Dame

7. Pittsburgh- @Iowa, Notre Dame, Utah, Buffalo, Maine

8. LSU- vs. Oregon, @ West Virginia, Western Kentucky, Northwestern State

9. Florida State- Oklahoma, @ Florida, Louisiana Monroe, Charleston Southern

10. Clemson- Auburn, @ South Carolina, Troy, Wofford

11. Boise State- vs. Georgia, Tulsa, Nevada, @ Fresno State, @ Toledo

12. Georgia- vs. Boise State, @ Georgia Tech, Coastal Carolina, New Mexico State

13. UNC- @ East Carolina, Louisville, Rutgers, James Madison

14. Utah- @ BYU, @ Pittsburgh, Montana State

15. South Carolina- vs. East Carolina, Navy, The Citadel, Clemson

16. Maryland- West Virginia, vs. Notre Dame, Temple, Towson

17. Oregon State- @ Wisconsin, BYU, Sacramento State

18. UCLA- @ Houston, San Jose State, Texas

19. Boston College- Northwestern, @ UCF, @ Notre Dame, Massachusetts

20. Oregon- vs. LSU, Nevada, Missouri State

Apparently Dan Mullen and the Mississippi State Bulldogs weren't looking for the toughest non-conference schedule this season

And now those pathetic Out of Conference Schedules:

1. Mississippi State- Louisiana Tech, @UAB, @ Memphis, Tennessee-Martin

2. Connecticut- Fordham, @ Vanderbilt, Iowa State, @ Buffalo, Western Michigan

3. Kentucky- Western Kentucky, Central Michigan, Louisville, Jacksonville State

4. Tennessee- Montana, Cincinnati, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee State

5. Virginia Tech- Appalachian State, @ East Carolina, Arkansas State, @ Marshall

6. NC State- Liberty, South Alabama, @ Cincinnati, Central Michigan

7. Indiana- Ball State, Virginia, South Carolina State, @ North Texas

8. Texas Tech- Texas State, @ New Mexico, Nevada

Unfortunately for Colorado, 2011 won't be easy to navigate because of the very tough schedule

And finally who has the toughest overall schedules?

1. Colorado Buffaloes- They play 13 games in 2011 (because they travel to Hawaii), seven on the road, and one neutral site game. Of course the Pac Ten might not be the toughest conference in the country but the Buffs play all the leagues toughest teams, (including an odd non-conference bout with Cal). The toughest part might be going to Ohio State and Stanford, while hosting Oregon.

2. Oregon State- The Beavers didn’t make things easy on themselves this year as they face six road games, including trips to Wisconsin, Oregon, Cal, Utah, and Arizona State. At home they draw 5 tough games as well, including Stanford. Non-conference they get Wisconsin on the road and BYU at home, with one gimme game all year.

3. Iowa State- After the Cyclones start with D1-AA Northern Iowa its all down hill from there. They face Iowa at home, and UConn on the road non-conference before a tough conference schedule with trips to Oklahoma and Missouri, and home games with Texas and Oklahoma State.

4. LSU- A premiere match-up with Oregon to start the year, along with a trip to West Virginia non-conference before they face the gauntlet schedule of the SEC West. From the East they play Tennessee, Florida and Kentucky to top it off.

5. USC- Non-conference they get Minnesota and Syracuse at home, while they make the road trip to Notre Dame. In the Pac 12 they get road trips to Arizona State and Oregon, and a home bout with Stanford.

6. Baylor- An opening game with TCU before road trips to Texas A&M and Ok State, while they get Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri at home.

7. Washington- They get Hawaii at home and Nebraska on the road out of conference, while they have to travel to USC, Stanford, Utah, and get Oregon at home.

8. Miami- The Hurricanes get non-conference draws with Ohio State, South Florida and Kansas State. In conference they take trips to Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina, while they get Georgia Tech at home.

9. Clemson- With the toughest schedule based on opponents winning percentage in 2010, they get Auburn at home and South Carolina on the road out of conference. In conference they face road trips to Virginia Tech, NC State, Georgia Tech and Maryland, while drawing Florida State, UNC, and BC at home.

10. Boston College- Out of conference they get Notre Dame, UCF, and Northwestern, while they take road trips to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami in conference, while hosting FSU and NC State.

11.Vanderbilt

12. Auburn

13. Missouri

14. Arizona

15. Michigan

16. Oklahoma State

17. Minnesota

18. Arkansas

19. Texas A&M

20. Alabama

Another Fantastic Old Timer’s Day…Only Wish It Was More Organized

Posted in Yankees on June 26, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium is one of the greatest days during the season. Watching some of the greats from the 90’s dynasty years was awesome. With the exception of hearing John Sterling and Michael Kay, the ceremony was fantastic. Watching Bernie Williams and Joe Torre receive two minute standing ovations gave me chills. As for the game, I had some problems with the organization. Of course it was fun watching Tino go yard against Cone, but the lack of intensity was disappointing. I remember a couple of years ago, Paul O’Neill played in his first old-timers game.  Paul was the most competitive, strong-willed ballplayer I had ever watched. But on Old Timers Day he showed a lack of hustle, laughed when he popped out, and didn’t even dive for a ball down the right field line. Even though O’Neill was back in pinstripes playing ball, this wasn’t the Paul I knew back in the day. When I watch the old timers, I want them to play with the intensity they played with during their careers. In order for this to happen, there must be a substantial prize for the winning team.

What is Reggie Doing?

I know that the old timers have always worn pinstripes, but I feel that it would be better if  the separate teams wore different jerseys. Maybe one team can wear the gray road uniforms while the other wears the pinstripes. The game should be played the right way. In order to make the teams fair, they should have a draft system. Maybe the old-timers who are from the 1940’s and 1950’s could be the coaches. Then for the draft, each team has to draft the exact same amount of players from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. Just a thought.

Even though the organization wasn’t completely there, this was obviously still a special day. Even seeing the random guys like Clay Bellinger, Pat Kelly, Ramiro Mendoza, and Brian Bohringer put the pinstripes back on was great to see. Even better, in the real game the Yanks took care of business to remain on top of the AL East. Starting Tuesday, the Yankees will begin another interleague series at home against the Brewers (a former division rival).

 

Draft Week in New York

Posted in Islanders, Knicks on June 24, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

New York Knicks

17th Overall: Iman Shumpert – Guard, Georgia Tech

45th Overall: Josh Harrellson – Forward, Kentucky (traded from New Orleans)

Overall, I am pleased with both the Knicks’ draft picks. On Thursday night, the Knicks selected Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert. At first, I was very disappointed. I didn’t even know who the guy was. My mind was so set on the Knicks drafting Kenneth Fareid or Chris Singleton, I didn’t even consider them drafting any one else. But after looking up some stuff on Shumpert, I’m starting to get excited about this pick. It seems that the guy isn’t only a solid scorer, but he plays phenomenal defense. In this draft, all I wanted was for the Knicks to draft defensive players. I didn’t want a scorer. Just give me some guys who could rebound and play some physical basketball. In the second round, the Knicks made a great move trading with the Hornets for the draft rights of Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson. This guy can make an immediate impact in his rookie season.He bangs bodies and isn’t afraid to lay an elbow into someone. The Knicks need this kind of chipiness in order to have a strong front court. Harrellson reminds me of an Anthony Mason / Charles Oakley type player. If Josh matches Oakley and Mason’s intensity, the Knicks may have a chance to shut down some prime time players in the paint.

New York Islanders

5th Overall: Ryan Strome – Center,  Niagara

Once again, this is a draft pick I wasn’t expecting. As soon as Gabriel Landeskog was drafted, I believed the Isles would select either defenseman Dougie Hamilton or center Sean Couturier. But Garth Snow pulled a surprise pick with young center Ryan Strome from the Niagara Ice Dogs of the Ontario Hockey League. After reading some scouting reports and watching highlight videos, I’m officially excited about Strome heading to Long Island. This dude is a true scorer. He hasn’t even 18 years old, yet he put up 106 points this past season in the competitive OHL. Every Isles fan should be excited about this pick, especially after hearing what Strome had to say after the draft:

Strome on the Islanders

“I love the colours and I think I’ll fit in great there,” Strome said. “I couldn’t be happier right now. They’re a young team. They’ve got a ton of assets. I want to grow with the team, and I want to win a championship. I know I’m young saying that, but that’s what you want to do. You want to build from the ground up and that’s what New York’s doing, and I hope to contribute to that.”

Just an all around good week for both teams. (If you want any news about the Rangers draft pick, maybe sammywestside will write an article about that. If not, that’s unfortunate for all you Blue Shirt fans).

More Big News from Nassau

Posted in Islanders on June 21, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Wang Has Purchased the 77-Acres of Land Outside of the Coliseum

(The Sports Exchange) Moving closer to his goal of building a new arena for the New York Islanders, team owner Charles Wang has reached an agreement with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on a deal that could give Wang control of a 77-acre parcel of county-owned land surrounding Nassau Coliseum, NEWSDAY reported, citing sources.Two members of the Hub Advisory Committee, which was tasked by Mangano to “offer options for the project,” said Wang would get the site “exclusively for a new hockey arena and surface parking and no other development.” The committee added that terms of the deal “might still change because of objections to its lack of mixed-use,” though sources said that mixed-use development may be possible in the future. In exchange for use of the land, Wang would pay a percentage of Coliseum revenue to Nassau County, as well as a minimum annual payment.

Once again, huge news for the Islanders. This shows how Wang is doing everything he can to develop this new arena. Wang and Mangano have already said they are going to build an entertainment complex that would include the new Islanders arena, a new Minor League ballpark, and many new restaurants. This is the first step to begin this process. Now with Wang owning the enormous land around the Coliseum, it will be hard to have any setbacks. Plus, this is also showing us the confidence Wang has in the project of keeping the Islanders in Uniondale. Overall, just another great day for Islanders fans. Let’s hope August 1st can make this the best Isles summer since 1983.

“5 Borough Sports Television” Coming Soon!

Posted in Other on June 19, 2011 by EAST SIDE RYNO

In addition to our blog posts this summer, 5 Borough Sports will start to have weekly talk shows. These shows, which will be posted on the site, will consist of our writers discussing the latest news in New York sports. These shows will also deal with other news in sports, such as the upcoming NCAA football season and the current College World Series. So stay tuned and get ready for 5BS television!

2011 College World Series: A New Beginning at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha

Posted in College Baseball on June 18, 2011 by sammywestside

The main entrance to TD Ameritrade Park, with the Road to Omaha Statue in the foreground

It was only a few short hours after the ticket windows slid open on April 4th that the first game at TD Ameritrade Park was sold out. Long considered the Cooperstown of college baseball, Omaha has ushered in a new era, and it all started with the Creighton Bluejays.

On April 19th 2011, the Bluejays and Nebraska Cornhuskers opened the new park to a sold out crowd of 24,000 on a cold, rainy, and windy night in Omaha. The Cornhuskers took the first game 2-1, but it did not stop the Bluejays from playing well at the new park over the following six weeks. Creighton would amass a 13-4 record, including victories over Nebraska, Kansas, as well as a Missouri Valley Title. The Jays ended up earning a #2 seed in the Corvalis regional, but eventually fell as the Beavers defended their home turf.

This past semester I had the opportunity to work with Creighton as well as the folks over at TD Ameritrade Park in helping to open the new facility. Months of hard work between multiple parties paid off, and TD Ameritrade Park opened successfully. Creighton averaged 7-9,000 fans per game while playing in April and May, and the College World Series was given a great opportunity to work out the kinks of playing in the new park.

Today, the first College World Series game will be played between Vanderbilt and North Carolina.

This year’s CWS features 6 of 8 national seeds (including the top 5), and should provide us with games from some of the Nation’s very best.

Virginia and Vanderbilt have consistently been the two best teams all year, while South Carolina, Florida and North Carolina all have been outstanding as well.

I’m going to make a safe pick, and go with Vanderbilt and Virginia to play for the National Title, and pick Virginia to win it all.

When wandering the concourses of TD Ameritrade Park, it becomes immediately apparent that it is truly a cathedral of college baseball. While the College World Series will take place every season in late June, only the Jays can call the nations best college park its home.

The new revolution in baseball architecture is seen throughout the park, combining a mix of the old and new in creating a facility usually reserved for only the Major Leagues.  With wide concourses, premiere luxury suites, and a wide assortment of concessions, TD Ameritrade Park provides the players, staff, and the fans with the ultimate baseball experience.

While in Omaha I had the opportunity to explore so many parts of the park, as well as work to make it look and function the way it does. While I was out there I took some photographs, as well as adding a few taken in months since, here is a preview of the park:

View from the concourse down the third base line

From behind the first base dugout

History can be funny sometimes...

View from across the street looking towards the main entrance

Scoreboard in Right Field


View from Centerfield

View looking towards downtown

College Football Preview 2011: Part 1, Offensive Lines

Posted in College Football on June 18, 2011 by sammywestside

75 days is all that separates us from the first kickoff of the 2011 college football season. It is amazing how fast the spring has gone, and like so many, I can not wait for the beginning of the season.

This year I will be doing a series of articles about the upcoming college football season, covering a variety of topics and eventually giving you a few predictions of my own.

Today I start with an article about offensive lines in college football, and the importance of having a good and experienced one.

The most under-appreciated position in football is on the offensive line, where the true success of a running back or quarterback is written. A team with a truly great offensive line is often incredibly difficult to stop, even with mediocre skill position players. Having the ability to run through holes, or having time to throw is incredibly important to the success of an offense.

While a talented offensive line is important, even more important is experience. Playing on the offensive line as a true freshman is almost unheard of in college football. It takes often two or three years to become a starter because of the difficulty to learn the position.

Throughout the history of college football, teams with more experience historically outperform those with less experience on the offensive line.

Today lets look through the teams this year and look for those with a lot of experience, and those lacking it to see if we can perhaps pick out who might exceed expectations in 2011, and who might fall short of it. While having returning skill position players is important, if you have to rebuild the o-line, then the team could fall flat offensively from the lack of protection  up front.

Is Gene Chizik in for a rough 2011?

Teams with less than 60 offensive line starts:

Auburn- 15

Florida- 27

Arkansas- 48

Tennessee- 50

Arizona- 1

USC- 26

Oregon- 56

Stanford- 50

TCU- 36

Louisville- 25

Syracuse- 57

Pittsburgh- 53

Cincinnati- 39

Kansas State- 42

Iowa State- 52

Texas- 36

Iowa- 58

Nebraska- 39

Michigan State- 55

Penn State- 52

Georgia Tech- 38

Boston College- 49

What can learn from this? Maybe Auburn is in for a hard fall? Maybe Florida won’t be back this year? Maybe Texas is not ready to make a big leap? Maybe Nebraska won’t be great in there first year in the Big 10? Maybe Michigan State is going to return to the middle of the pack? Maybe Arizona and USC are not ready to compete for a Pac Ten title? Maybe Oregon will need more rebuilding than we thought? Maybe TCU is not BCS bound again this year?

Could Trent Richardson's Crimson Tide be in contention for a second title in three years?

Teams with 90+ Offensive Line Starts:

Alabama- 90

Oregon State- 91

Colorado- 97

Boise State- 94

BYU- 106

SMU- 158

Tulsa- 116

West Virginia- 92

Missouri- 101

Kansas- 97

Northwestern- 137

Virginia Tech- 98

Clemson- 119

Florida State- 117

What does this mean? Maybe Alabama is a legit National Title contender? Maybe Boise State can make up for the lost skill position players? Maybe SMU and Tulsa are dark horses in CUSA? Maybe West Virginia and Missouri will surprise us again this year? Maybe Virginia Tech and Florida State are BCS contenders this year from the ACC?

Now of course this isn’t an exact science, but I think its interesting to look at the teams that are pegged top ten preseason and see if they fall into one of these categories. Also see if there are any fringe top 25 teams that you might take as a sleeper.

Overall experience is also important for a team and I’m going to list some outliers on that chart as well to see if any of these teams pop up again. (Teams Ranked 1-120 in FBS)

Are Jimbo Fisher and the Noles ready to make the next step in resurecting the Florida State program?

Overall Top 25 Experience:

Mississippi State #16

UCLA #7

Colorado #23

Arizona State #24

Boise State #19

BYU #11

SMU #1

Tulsa #3

Texas A&M #8

Northwestern #2

Florida State #18

Michigan #19

Overall Bottom 30 Experience:

NC State #95

North Carolina #109

Georgia Tech #112

Wisconsin #92

Indiana #103

Iowa #119

Could Gary Patterson be looking at a bump in the road in 2011 before the Horned Frogs make the leap to the Big East?

Texas Tech #99

Iowa State #105

Kansas State #106

Louisville #119

Nevada #93

Hawaii #101

Fresno State #113

Auburn #120

Mississippi #107

Florida #98

Arizona #105

USC #102

Washington #102

California #96

TCU #116

Overall it looks like some of the same faces popped up again, just simply judging from only experience (and all the data I have on it not in the article) here are some teams that might be overrated, and who might be underrated:

Overrated?

TCU, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, Arizona, USC, California, UNC, NC State, Georgia Tech

Underrated?

Mississippi State, UCLA, Arizona State, BYU, Texas A&M, Michigan, Northwestern, Clemson, Miami, Florida State

The good news is that these stats matter, but unfortunately they are not always right. I’d be willing to bet that more of these teams end up fitting into their assigned category than not, but of course many will not, for better or for worse.

Hopefully this is just something to think about for the upcoming season, and just the beginning of us uncovering some of the teams that might be great this year, and those who might disappoint us.