March Is Here - You Know What That Means
MARCH IS HERE AND SO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS
WE'RE TALKIN' SOME NFL DRAFT AND MLB WILD CARD IN TODAY'S JIM SEZ (OKAY, SO WE'LL WEIGH IN WITH SOME COLLEGE HOOPS TOO!)
By Jim Hurley:
It's Thursday, March 1st and this is what Jim Sez is thinking right about now ...
Hey, there's 31 days/nights this month to chit-chat about the world of College Basketball and all the mini-tournament and NCAA Tourney action and you better believe that's front-and-center on our docket but we'll kick off this month with a little football as the NFL Combine in Indianapolis has just wound down and the talk regarding three quarterbacks has really heated up:
Okay, so you know that the Indianapolis Colts with the first pick in next month's NFL Draft will be tabbing Stanford QB Andrew Luck - there's really no ands, ifs or buts about it despite some smokescreen stuff that is going around and so the draft will really be about two quarterbacks - and one of whom already has won four of the league's Most Valuable Player awards.
Folks, if you want to know where this year's Heisman Trophy-winning QB Robert Griffin III - a/k/a RB3 - is going than, trust us, you'll first need to know where Peyton Manning winds up.
And here's our quick-hitter advice to both Manning and Griffin: Just make sure you don't wind up in Washington!
The Redskins - who have not won a playoff game since 1995 (see Washington 17, Tampa Bay 10 in an NFC Wild Card Game) - have gone 5-11, 6-10 and 3-12 SU (straight-up), respectively, the past three years and going to this NFC East team is like heading to the graveyard prematurely.
Manning has a choice - maybe not as many choices as he would like now that Indy's shut the door in his face - but he sure should do everything in his and his agent's power to steer clear of the nation's capital and the one "perfect fit" the way we see it is Miami although first-year Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin likely doesn't want much of his club's payroll locked into one 36-year-old slinger who may or may not be able to throw it beyond 25 yards anymore.
As for Griffin, well, the former Baylor mega-star doesn't necessarily have a "choice" - of course - but might he be wise to pull a page from the book of two-time Super Bowl-winning and two-time SB MVP Eli Manning's book and strongly suggest the 'Skins don't trade up from the #6 spot to take him?
If we had a long-range look at how the first few picks will go in the 2012 NFL Draft than this is what makes sense to us (not to say it'll happen)
Luck goes to the Indianapolis Colts with the #1 overall pick;
St. Louis deals that highly coveted #2 overall pick to Cleveland. The Browns - picking at #4 - flip-flop the Rams pick and send off a future second-rounder and maybe a warm body too and Cleveland nabs Griffin here;
Minnesota has the #3 choice and the Vikings go for LSU cornerback Morris "Mo" Claiborne;
Than St. Loo has that aforementioned fourth pick and takes USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil (generally considered the second-best player behind Luck in this draft);
And Tampa Bay at #5 grabs Boston College LB Luke Kuechly who happens to be the best sideline-to-sideline tackler in this draft.
Okay, so will everyone be happy with this - it sounds good to us!
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The big-wigs at Major-League Baseball had it "leaked" that there will indeed be a second wild card team added to both the National and American Leagues beginning in this upcoming 2012 season and we meet this news with mixed reviews:
True, now the two wild card teams in each league will have that one-game playoff just to get into the best-of-five divisional round and we applaud the fact that the regular-season division winners get "rewarded" more than in years past but here's the down side (or, at least, one of the down sides):
It's possible that the second wild card team could be as many as seven or eight wins behind the first wild card entrant and any number of factors could play into their favor for that one-game playoff such as having its ace on the hill. So, it's still possible that a .500-type team could win a wild card game and then zoom through the post-season - in other words, Baseball would be back at that same old problem trying to explain why a 98-game winning team isn't still standing at the World Series while a .500-type team that just snuck in with a newfangled playoff system made it all the way to the Fall Classic.
Finally, let's get around to some College Basketball talk and here's some of the chatter making the rounds this week (and much of it coming from the hucksters at ESPN):
There seems to be a growing sentiment that the Connecticut Huskies - now 17-12 overall and 7-10 in Big East play following Tuesday's humbling/bumbling 72-70 loss at 5-point dog Providence - still deserves a shot in this year's NCAA Tournament while Butler (19-13, 11-7 in the Horizon League) does not.
Hey, nobody needs to tell us the quality of competition in these two leagues is not on an even keel (although the Big East has dipped plenty this season) but the fact is UConn now has lost nine of its last 12 games overall since mid-January and the Huskies don't even resemble a good team right now - so why a reward for them?
If Connecticut can beat visiting Pittsburgh this Saturday and than make it to - at least - next Friday's Big East Tourney semifinal round than we could feel a bit better about UConn making it back to the NCAAs to defend its championship while Butler has won six of its last seven games overall and the "body of work" includes non-league wins against Purdue and Stanford.
So why is Butler being giving "back of the hand" treatment here while Connecticut's getting some sort of pass?
Count us among the folks who don't like it - don't like it at all.
NOTE: Get more College Basketball Updates in the next Jim Sez.
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