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Archive for August, 2008

NCAA College Football Parity

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 31, 2008

*** All draft pick numbers are total, historical picks ***

There is more parity in college football because the good players can go to more schools and still make it to the NFL.

college footbal nfl draft parity

For years, top high school football recruits would insist on only attending Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, USC, Penn State, Ohio State, and a few other big-time football schools. Why?

Because they hoped to be drafted and end up in the NFL. Back then you needed to go to this group of schools to be noticed by the NFL scouts and coaches. Now you can be drafted and make the NFL after playing for virtually any school.

Technology has allowed scouts to find that left guard from Albany State (16 draft picks), the nose tackle from St. Ambrose (7 draft picks), or the running back from Willamette (7 draft picks).

Now an agent, school administrator, parent, friend, or anyone has the means of creating a video, posting it on YouTube, and sending an email to the NFL. Or better yet, this person can pass it around the school and friends, and create an on-line buzz for that person. If that player truly has any of the professional caliber characteristics, he can count on getting at least come consideration.

Let’s not forget ESPN and the other sports cable networks. There are cameras and videos everywhere in our society. (A great example is how often you see a great or bizarre High School Sports play ending up in the SportCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day.)

Obviously there are many other factors involved such as the quality of the competition. But if that Division III lineman (for example) is 6′ 3″, 280 lbs, and can bench 225 lbs 25 times, some team(s) will take a peek at him.

A good example was Wayne Chrebet. Wayne was this little possession receiver from Hoftstra. Hofstra Wayne Chrebet NY Jets Hofstrawas this insignificant school on the collegiate football scene. He was discovered, and went on to have a solid professional career with the NJ Jets.

Take a peek at this chart of the history of NFL draft. Two things to notice: (1) There are over 100 schools with over 50 draft picks, and (2) Scroll to the bottom of the list and notice some of the schools…  ELON, Lamar, Howard Payne…. (Of course that chart does not tell us how many of them “made it”. It does show you can be found anywhere.)

So let’s hear it for last year’s Appalachian State and many more going forward.

*** I was reading Ivan Maisel’s book, The Maisel Report. It spurred a lot of thought and this post on college football. It’s a great book for the college football fan. Ivan, a Senior Writer for ESPN, shows he has “big balls” the way he pulls no punches talking about coaches and players who he will have to interview in the coming weeks. I recommend picking up the book. (I have no financial stake in this book. Ivan is a friend of a friend.)***


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LSU’s Best and Most Dominant Athlete

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 30, 2008

A few months ago I was chatting with a junior business student at LSU on the phone. I asked him LSU Tigers Basketball Pete Maravichwho was the best athlete of all time at LSU. I told him not to say Shaquille O’Neill. Not Bob Pettit. Not Kevin Faulk.  Not Jamarcus Russell. He didn’t answer.

I asked the student, who is your gym named after?

The best, most dominant athlete to play at LSU was “Pistol: Pete Maravich. He dominated collegiate basketball like no one else. He has the record of averaging 44 points per game for his career (3 years. Back then freshmen were not allowed on varsity teams.) He was a show-man and flashy. He changed the game.

Many of his scoring records will never be broken.

Here are just a sampling of some of this collegiate records:

  • Holds NCAA career record for highest points per game average (44.2 ppg)
  • Led the NCAA Division I in scoring with 43.8 ppg (1968); 44.2 (1969) and 44.5 ppg (1970)
  • Averaged 43.6 ppg on the LSU freshman team (1967)
  • Three-time AP and UPI First-Team All-America (1968, 1969, 1970)

He was unbelievable. Take a look at this video.


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Paris Hilton and The Serfs in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 23, 2008

If you were playing a word association game, you would never say “Intelligent” after the clue “Paris Hilton”.

If you haven’t seen this must-see video, immediately take a look. Paris Hilton is great, intelligent, and well-spoken. Pretty funny.  She has a great position on energy. (It immediately made me think of a scene in another movie.)

Paris’ “well-spokenness” took me back and was great (funny).

I immediately thought of the “repressing” scene of the serfs in Monty Python and The Holy Grail. In this scene the unexpected intelligence and political “savvy-ness” of the serfs was hilarious.

I would love to see a video with the serfs discussing the solution to the War In Iraq and Terrorism… It couldn’t hurt.

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Why Aren’t (Weren’t) There Major Protests Against The War In Iraq

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 19, 2008

** This post originated after a conversation with a professor from a major university. **

The Vietnam War.  The War In Iraq.  Similar military actions?  Many say so.vietnam war protest war in iraq

During the 1960s and 1970s there were protests regularly all over the country. Students regularly, fanatically, and emotionally protested on college campuses.  People of all ages participated in demonstrations.

Mothers. Fathers. Sisters. Brothers, Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. You name the relation, they were involved.

Everyone took action and let it known they were against The Vietnam War. They took action because they were stakeholders. People take action when they personally have something at stake.

And why did people have something at stake during the Vietnam era, but not during the War In Iraq era?

The Draft.

Our current military is 100% volunteer. Anyone who is in the military (or reserves) enlisted. They theoretically knew that they had a good chance of seeing combat. Their wives, girlfriends, parents, and children were aware their jobs were to protect the United States’ interests. What few Iraq-related protests that got media coverage consisted of, for the most part, loved ones of our military personnel.

The government was able to initiate military action in Iraq with little protest from the American public.

Can you imagine if we had a draft and the government decided to attack Iraq?

Every person 18 – 25 years old, every college student, every parent, uncle, aunt… of a person who was eligible for the draft, would be “up in arms” protesting. Universities would be turned upside down.

Whether you like it or not, the draft keeps our government honest when it comes to military actions. They know they cannot “go to war” without a strong reason. The country would step up, and go berserk because more of us would be stakeholders.

Think about it.


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Olympics Sports – What is the criteria?

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 16, 2008

What is the criteria for being an Olympic Sport?beijing olympics 2008 sports

Current Olympic sports:
Archery , Athletics (decathlon), Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Boxing, Canoe/Kayak Flatwater, Canoe/Kayak Slalom, Cycling BMX, Cycling Mountain Bike, Cycling Road, Cycling Track, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Football, Gymnastics Artistic, Gymnastics Rhythmic, Trampoline, (European) Handball, (field) Hockey, Judo, Modern Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Softball, Swimming, Synchronized, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting, Wrestling…

I know some events are missing such as synchronized diving…badminton olympic sport

Some observations…
• Why are there 4 bicycling-related events?
• Why is there Trampoline? Who cares? Need I say more?
• Why is Softball being excluded from the next Olympics?
• Why have Judo and Taekwondo but not Karate or Jiu-Jitsu? How about getting rid of all of them and have a big MMA tournament?
• Why is tennis an Olympic sport? There are tennis tournaments, with international participants, every weekend? We need to have another tournament with Federer and Nadal?
• If tennis is an Olympic Sport, why not golf? Why not a NASCAR-type event? Motorcycle racing?
• I enjoy the gymnastics which can be exciting from a national and athletic perspective. Who is interested in Rhythmic Gymnastics? … Less athletic gymnastics running around with ribbon?
• Sailing? How many countries have serious sailing programs?

What is the logic? How do they select Olympic Sports? Why is softball being removed?

Is it simply a good opportunity to show the world sports that do not necessary get exposure?

(European) Handball is an interesting sport. We happened to played it for one year in elementary school and loved it. I am surprised that it has not caught on in the U.S. It is exciting sport that is a combination of basketball and water polo played on feet.

That’s all for now. One last comment.

I imagine some of you must enjoy watching badminton. I will NEVER watch badminton. I would rather watch a rerun of Hannah Montana!

(photo ,

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Brett Favre’s First Practice with the Jets

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 9, 2008

We were there today at Brett Favre’s First Practice with the Jets. The place was packed.  We usually make to at least one training camp practice per year at Hofstra. Normally it is easy to get around. Today there were probably 10 times the number of people… Go Jets!

Number 4 jerseys were selling like hotcakes!

More Brett Favre NY Jets videos at

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NBA Basketball – Proposed Rule Change

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 7, 2008

It’s great watching a team come back during the the 4th quarter of an NBA game. Exciting. That’s 3 point jump shot NBAwhat sports is all about.

If a player gets fouled during the act of shooting, and the shot is good, he has the opportunity to take a free throw and make a three-point play. He has the opportunity of increasing the point total of the play by 50% (Increasing from 2 to 3 points).

If a player if fouled when shooting a “three pointer”, and the shot is good, he has the opportunity to take a free throw and make a four-point play.

To keep games exciting in the fourth quarter, here is a new NBA rule proposal:

  • During the final 4 minutes of the fourth quarter, and for the final 4 minutes of all subsequent overtime periods, a player successfully hitting a “three pointer” while being  fouled in the act of shooting, will get 2 free throws. (The player, will in affect, have the opportunity of a five-point play.)

This would allow more teams to comeback late in games and add to the excitement for the fans. The NBA (and advertisers) will also benefit because more fans will watch games later into the games because of the potential of an exciting comeback.


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Favorite Sports Videos

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 6, 2008

This is still one of my favorite sports videos. Randy Johnson, major league pitcher, throws a 95 mph fastball that hits a seagull crossing in front of home plate. I believe the batter is the NY Mets’ Robin Ventura.

The seagull disintegrates – Nothing but feathers! (Talk about timing is everything… Dave Winfield eat your heart out!)

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Red Sox Baseball Stats Man and Reality

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 3, 2008

Great CBS 60 Fenway Park Green Monster Boston Red Sox Left FieldMinutes rerun on Bill James (The Red Sox Stats Man) 8.3.08
It was a good story and Bill James has an interesting perspective on baseball statistics. I agree with him but think he is getting way too much credit.

He spoke of many items…

I agree on is angle that strikeout-to-walk ratio is important in judging a pitcher. Besides a a pitcher throwing a strike and a ball, every other event relies on a teammate. ERA is a better stat to judge a pitcher than wins and losses but that also involves the fielding of teammates. Exceptional fielders with better range can help a pitcher decrease his ERA. Or the fielder with exceptional range but then commits errors, can also affect the ERA.

Interesting. Yes. Has no one else brought this up?

Bill James’ take and statistics on baseball is definitely something to consider, but not taken as gospel.

There are many examples in his numbers where the “old time” thinking of baseball affect the numbers and theories he presents.

A perfect example is righties and lefties hitters in Fenway Park with the Green Monster. On the 60 Minutes show it was stated that while the general thought is righties hit better at Fenway because of the short left field fence, lefties actually hit batter at Fenway. James’ statistics are probably true because visiting teams choose to pitch righties at Fenway (because of the Green Monster). Nothing earth shattering here for the average baseball fan.

Again, interesting work by Bill James but it was not created in a in a vacuum. No Nobel Prize here.


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The Montauk Monster

Posted by TopOfTheThread on August 2, 2008

Everyone is talking about it. Here is a picture of the montauk monter (Montauk, Long Island, NY).  No one

montauk monster real or hoax

seems to know where it is? Real or hoax?

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