Monday, December 30, 2013

Was Andrew Bynum sleeping with a coach's wife?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a mess this season and now the situation involving Andrew Bynum could make it into a disaster, as a report has come out that the suspended center was given paid leave after having sex with one of the members of the coaching staff's wife and the news comes from Media Take Out and will need to be confirmed, but if true, that's a mess.

According to the report from Media Take Out, Bynum, who was first suspended for conduct detrimental to the team and then given paid leave after his unpaid suspension ended, supposedly had "relations" with the wife of one of the members of the Cavs coaching staff and while the name has been redacted, it is not Mike Brown the head coach, but another coach on the staff. The news from Media Take Out came from a source that claims she is a "girlfriend" of one of the Cleveland Cavaliers players and that's how she could confirm the details.

The report goes on to say that Bynum had sex with someone's wife and that is what led to him getting suspended and now it appears that the team will be trading him and teams like the Heat, Lakers, Knicks and the Bulls and the source said that the team should bring him back since it has nothing to do with basketball. The team has been frustrated by Bynum's play this season and he has now been "excused from basketball duties" and it's likely he has played his final game with the team. reported on the situation and wrote that Bynum was initially suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" and lost a game check and the report also says that it followed an "incident" at practice last week and then he was suspended before the home game against the Golden State Warriors and this apparently was a "culmination" of events that have been going on and now the Cavs are in a tough situation, as he has only the first part of his salary guaranteed and the rest of the $12.25 million will kick in January 7 and the team could trade him by then.

This season Bynum has played in 24 games and started 19 and has averaged 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game and now if the reports are true, he is likely done in Cleveland and on top of that, his attitude has been subpar. This is just the latest issue for the Cavs, who have not been very good this season and are just 10-20 and the team has had problems with Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving, who has been called a ball hog by other players and now Waiters and Bynum may be on their way out.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

LeBron James says Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins is an All-Star

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has put up good offensive numbers in his young career but he's never been named an All-Star. With a little luck and a significant cosign, Cousins might be on his way to represent the Western Conference in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

After the Miami Heat dropped a game to the Kings Friday night, LeBron James endorsed Cousins as an All-Star.

Chris Palmer ‏@ChrisPalmerNBA 28 Dec
LeBron on DeMarcus Cousins: "Big Cous is an All-Star, I believe."

A major stamp of approval from the King himself. Will this endorsement propel Cousins to a spot on the All-Star team? If you go on pure numbers it should. Cousins has averaged 22.7 points and 11.1 rebounds a game. It just hasn't translated to many wins for the Kings. Also throw in the questions about his attitude and league politics, Cousins will likely be watching the league's best in New Orleans from his couch.

In the latest release of fan voting, James was on top of the balloting with 854,105. Cousins had 99,903 votes. The frontcourt leader in the Western Conference, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, had 850,728. Between Durant and Cousins are Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Love, San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, Aldridge, New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and Rockets forward Chandler Parsons.

Cousins, who ranks twelfth overall in frontcourt voting isn’t likely to make the event via the fan vote. He could make the team as a reserve but as I mentioned before league politics will likely play a role in Cousins not making the team.

Is the Josh Smith-Maurice Cheeks relationship on thin ice?

The Detroit Pistons caught a 106-82 beatdown at the hands of the Washington Wizards last night. The team as a whole didn't play well. As a result coach Maurice Cheeks benched rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and big money acquisition Josh Smith.

While the benching of Caldwell-Pope may have gone unnoticed, the benching of Smith made a lot of noise. This was the second time this season that Cheeks has sent Smith to the sidelines for a perceived lack of effort.

Cheeks benched three of the starting five after halftime of last night's game. Cheeks admitted that he would've benched the entire stating five.

He admitted he would have liked to bench the entire starting five to begin the second half.”If I could have, yeah,” Cheeks said, when asked that question.  “The way the first half went, yeah.  But the way the first half went, I really couldn't.”

“I just felt I wanted to make a change and stay with the guys I went with,” Cheeks said. “It wasn’t just those two, they had bigs on the floor, so I had to stay with Greg (Monroe) and Andre (Drummond).”

Caldwell-Pope took the benching in stride, but was that a ploy to make it look like Cheeks wasn't singling Smith out? No one knows except the players and coaches in the locker room, but Smith didn't like the fact he was sent to the bench once again.

“I live to play this basketball game,” Smith said in the Verizon Center visitor’s locker room. “It’s an honor for me to play it. When anybody challenges or anything about the fact about me not wanting to play I take real offense to it.

“Whatever decision that somebody makes beyond my control I can’t control it. It’s a question you have to ask somebody that has that power.”  

“I mean it’s unfair because as I told you before I play this game hard each and every day,” Smith said. “When I younger I would play this game for free year round. This is what I love to do so why wouldn’t I want to come out here and try to put my best foot forward every time I step out on the court.”

Cheeks won't admit to saying that he wasn't pleased with Smith's performance but that's what it looked like if you ask me. Smith scored four points, shooting 2-7 from the field and grabbed four rebounds. Not what you want out of a player you signed to a $54 million contract.

Cheeks is right, this game wasn't about Josh Smith. This was a total team effort. But the rift between Smith and Cheeks bears watching. If Smith is in one of his floating, "I don't give a damn" moods like we've seen when he played in Atlanta, this could sink a season in which the Pistons can gain a little ground in a hobbled Eastern Conference.

This isn't a consistent team and if Cheeks is looking for consistency maybe he should stick with his big guns a little longer. If they can't get the job done it's his job to find the right combination. He shouldn't try to make an example out of one or two players. Caldwell-Pope maybe, Smith I'm about 50/50 because I've seen his act in Atlanta.

Smith says he doesn't hold grudges but we'll have to see how he comes out and plays in Monday's rematch against the Wizards.

“I don’t know. To me it’s over with, but some people hold grudges longer than others. I’m not saying he does,” Smith said. “I’m not the type of person that really likes to go into the coach’s office and have sit-downs. I’m more of a team-morale guy, what we can do as far as teammates are concerned to make ourselves better.”

If Smith decides to be a bigger man then he'll come out and have a performance like the one he had against the Indiana Pacers. If not then the season could be on the verge of blowing up.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Michigan's McGary elects to have surgery; Wolverines must move on without him

Michigan center Mitch McGary has elected to have surgery to correct a "lower back problem", pretty much ending the season for the sophomore center.

"I’ve done research and stuff, but it’s kind of personal and whatnot. I really don’t know the timetable (for a return to the court)," McGary said, later adding, "I just have a lower back condition. That’s about as much as I can say right now. It’s kind of personal."

McGary said the surgery will occur "next week, sometime."

This isn't what Wolverines fans envisioned once the season started. The team was ranked No.7 and was expected to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. Instead the team has stumbled to a 7-4 start and is still searching for someone to fill the go to void left by Trey Burke.

With McGary out it's time for Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III to turn it up a notch. Stauskas has shown signs but teams have started to hone in on him defensively. I believe Stauskas will take it upon himself to put the team on his back. Robinson will have to really kick it into high gear. He's a better athlete than his father but doesn't possess the will to take over a game like the Big Dog did at Purdue. GR III's time is now and he must realize that for the Wolverines to salvage their season he must play like the Big Dog.

Role players have to step up as well. Jordan Morgan (who's seemingly been there forever) and Jon Horford have to play better defense, rebound and make the hustle plays. Spike Albrecht has looks like he's picked up where he left off last season. Derrick Walton Jr. must take advantage of the open looks he's going to get wit teams trying to take away Robinson and Stauskas.

The loss of McGary is a big one, but that doesn't mean the Wolverines have to go in the tank. More than likely McGary will be back for next season and if the team stays together the Wolverines could have what it takes to make another run to the Final Four.    

Reggie Bush says lack of chemistry hurt Lions

The Detroit Lions are just a few plays from being in the hunt for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Then again if my aunt had a package, she'd be my uncle. It's not good being close, you have to find a way to get over the hump and the Lions couldn't do it.

The team was hurt by it's inability to get crucial third down stops on defense and untimely turnovers on offense. The Lions couldn't find a way to overcome the avalanche of bad luck that caught up to them.

Lions running back Reggie Bush seems to have an idea what went wrong for a team that had such a promising start to missing the playoffs.

"There were certain games where maybe the offense was playing well and the defense struggled," he said, per the Detroit Free Press. "Then there's games where defense played well and offense struggled. Or there's games -- I'm thinking of the Philadelphia game -- where special teams just played lights out and offense and defense couldn't really get it together.

"I just think that maybe our chemistry as a team definitely struggled and lacked a little bit -- and obviously the turnovers and big plays, making more plays when needed."

Bush is probably the only Lion in the locker room with the credibility to be a team leader. He's won national championships at USC and was on a Super Bowl winning team in New Orleans as a member of the Saints.

 “As a team, when you have kind of have that mentality that no matter what the situation is, you can always overcome it and come out with a win. That type of chemistry. ... And you’re feeding off each other, too. When offense scores a big touchdown and defense goes out there and gets a big stop or defense gets a turnover, offense goes out there and kind of answers with a touchdown. Something kind of like that.” 

When Bush and Nate Burleson talked about having a team meeting to get things right after losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Matthew Stafford shot down the idea.

I'm not saying that would've made a difference, but maybe things might've changed and the team might've shown more of a sense of urgency instead of just talking about it. I think Bush might have been alluding o that moment.

"It begins in the offseason," Bush said. "It's not something that happens overnight. From my experience, it's something that builds. It's a culture, a mentality that's built from the offseason and not in Week 1 or Week 2."

The Lions need to make a few changes and do some soul searching during the offseason. This was a golden opportunity and the Lions blew it. They have to come back next season and play like a team on a mission, not one hoping for a few lucky breaks that they didn't capitalize on this season.

Matthew Stafford says no to working with a quarterback guru

The Detroit Lions were primed to win the NFC North and get a home playoff game this season. Even talking head Skip Bayless thought the Lions could go on the road and beat the Seattle Seahawks if they met in the playoffs.

In true Lions fashion the team imploded over the last six games after a 6-3 start and will struggle to finish .500. Many point the finger at head coach Jim Schwartz. Others point at the statistical nosedive and erratic play of quarterback Matthew Stafford.

At times Stafford looks like he's ready to break into the elite of NFL quarterbacks. Then he has moments like he has over the past five games. He has passed for 28 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. But his interceptions come at the most inopportune moments. Since week 11 Stafford has thrown 12 interceptions and has lost a few fumbles along the way. Stafford's mechanics and sometimes sidearm throwing motion has been questioned and many figure that Stafford should work with a quarterback coach in the offseason (Steve Clarkson, George Whitfield). some say if the Lions fire Schwartz that a quarterback friendly coach could help Stafford. As far as going to a quarterback guru in the offseason Stafford nixed the idea.

"Probably not," Stafford said. "It's not something that I feel would be my style or beneficial to me."

Throwing the ball to the other team isn't beneficial to his game either. I'm not suggesting he's a bust but he needs to get some help to keep him from making dreadful, game changing decisions.

Plenty of NFL quarterbacks -- including Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Nick Foles -- have worked with Clarkson or Whitfield, but Stafford said he's never looked into the possibility.

If the Lions are smart they will hire a head coach or coordinator that can help Stafford before he turns into another Jim Everett. Stafford also would be wise to seek out a little help and to work harder in the offseason.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Nnamdi Asomugha to retire as a Raider

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha enjoyed his best days in the silver and black of the Oakland Raiders. Even though he departed the team for greener pastures ( five-year, $60 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles), Asomugha will sign a one day contract with the Raiders and retire a Raider.

Asomugha also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, but only appeared in three games before being released by the team in November.

Asomugha was once the premier cover corner in the NFL during his days with the Raiders. After signing his big money deal with the Eagles, Asomugha struggled in a different scheme and eventually slowed enough where he couldn't keep up with the league's elite receivers.

 He earned three Pro Bowl selections in eight seasons in Oakland and was a first-team All-Pro in 2008 and 2010. Asomugha finishes his career with 407 tackles, 15 interceptions, 72 passes defended, two sacks, two forced fumbles and one touchdown.

He will be joined at Friday's press conference by Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson and former Raiders defensive backs Willie Brown and Lester Hayes.

UMass fires football coach Charley Molnar

What a Christmas present Charley Molnar received.

A day after Christmas the UMass (Massachusetts) Minutemen decided to fire the head football coach, Molnar. The firing came after two seasons, as the team struggled to a 2-22 record after moving to the FBS ranks just two years ago from the FCS division.

The Minutemen posted consecutive 1-11 records in their first two seasons under Molnar in the Football Bowl Subdivision as members of the Mid-American Conference. 

The university will owe Molnar the $836,000 for the remaining three years on his original contract.

“We want to thank Charley Molnar for his service and the extraordinary time and energy he devoted to coaching the Minutemen as we entered competition in the Football Bowl Subdivision,” athletic director John McCutcheon said. “It has become clear, however, that we must improve our performance in several areas and move in a new direction to ensure success in the FBS. Going forward, we must build a strong foundation to win on the field and stimulate enthusiasm and support for the program throughout the university community.”

McCutcheon stated that the decision to fire Molnar had to do with the "perception of the program" more than wins and losses.

Reached today by phone by the Boston Herald, Molnar would not comment when asked if the dismissal was fair.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” Molnar said. “I’m just now reaching out to my players and coaches, and I’m not ready to speak with the media.”

The university will owe Molnar the $836,000 for the remaining three years on his original contract.

If you ask me, Molnar didn't stand a chance. The team moved up to the big boy table and expected results. I'm no football expert but when was the last time a team that moved up to the FBS division made an immediate impact? Exactly.

I have to believe there is more to the story since Molnar only lasted two years. It's just too fast to pull the plug on someone especially when the program just moved to a higher level of football. You can't build a foundation that way.

"It Girl" of the week: Leah Dizon

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Leah Dizon.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Former Knicks John Starks and Anthony Mason open a pizzeria in Harlem

Former New York Knicks stars, Anthony Mason and John Starks are teaming up once again. The two fan favorites of some of the 90s Knicks teams are opening a pizza eatery together.

The pair has partnered on a New York outpost of Washington, DC, chain Custom Fuel Pizza, which allows customers to “design” their own pies by picking the crust and sauce as well as any toppings. The Big Apple location's scheduled to open in late January on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 123rd Street. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim are also investors in the eatery.

Starks and Mason aren't the only ex-Knicks players who have opened businesses in New York City. Walt "Clyde" Frazier owns a sports bar on the far west side of midtown Manhattan. Frazier was the point guard of the 1973 championship team.

The bar, which opened in March of 2012, is called Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine.

It's nice to know that all former athletes don't squander their money and make bad investments.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Notre Dame's Jerian Grant dismissed from the basketball team for an academic issue

The Notre Dame basketball team’s chances of making an impact in its first ACC season have taken a severe hit with news that star guard Jerian Grant will miss the rest of the season for academic reasons.

Grant, a preseason All-ACC selection who is averaging 19.2 points and 6.2 assists, announced his own suspension with a statement posted on the Irish’s official web site.

“It is with regret and sorrow that I inform you that I am no longer enrolled at the University of Notre Dame due to an academic matter that I did not handle properly,” Grant said in the statement. “As a result, I am no longer part of the basketball program and will not be on the court competing with my teammates for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. I take full responsibility for my lack of good judgment and the poor decision that I made.”

The 6-foot-5 junior indicated in his statement that he intends return to Notre Dame next year and earn his degree. Because he already redshirted as a freshman, he will only have one season of eligibility remaining.

"It is my full intention to return to Notre Dame as soon as possible following the 2014 spring semester. I intend to do whatever it takes to earn my degree and finish out my college basketball career here. I understand that there is a process that I must go through in order to come back to school and I will be patient with that process."

Grant is the second high-profile player to be lost for the season by a top ACC team because of an off-the-court issue. On Friday, North Carolina announced it would not seek reinstatement for its top returning scorer from last year, P.J. Hairston, because of NCAA eligibility issues.

Texas A&M dismisses point guard J-Mychal Reese

 The Texas A&M men’s basketball program announced Saturday that sophomore guard J-Mychal Reese has been dismissed from the team following a violation of athletics department rules and regulations.

Reese had been one of A&M’s most heralded recruits in recent seasons, but had only occasionally shown flashes of becoming an adept Southeastern Conference guard. His father, John Reese, is an A&M assistant under coach Billy Kennedy, and neither son or father traveled to Houston for the 8-3 Aggies’ 64-52 nonconference loss to Oklahoma in the Toyota Center on Saturday evening.

The 6-foot-1 guard played in 39 games during his time as an Aggie, including six this season, averaging 6.3 points per contest for his A&M career. Multiple insiders say Reese's issues are linked to drug use.

Baylor's Art Briles reportedly open to coaching the Redskins

Many say that Baylor head football coach would not leave the school under any circumstances. That would include reuniting with his former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III, since it's being widely speculated that the Washington Redskins might part ways with current coach Mike Shanahan.

Would Briles be open to Redskins owner Daniel Snyder making a lucrative offer to coach the team. League sources are whispering that it could be possible that Briles could make the jump to the NFL.

Briles, who is currently focused on recruiting at the school, would have interest in the Redskins' job under certain circumstances, sources said, and some believe he could put together an NFL-caliber staff as well, without having to overly rely on his contemporaries at Baylor. Snyder is widely expected to fire coach Mike Shanahan at the end of the season, with his team again at the bottom of the NFL East standings and Shanahan's relations with RG3 in tatters and issues with his staff, and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in particular, no secret at Redskins Park.

Briles lacks an NFL pedigree, but Griffin and his parents are big fans of Briles. On the other hand Snyder is probably looking for a coach with NFL experience, which is always hard for him because of his reputation as a meddling owner.

I don't know why Briles would have any interest in any NFL job, especially the Redskins job. He built that program from scratch the way he wanted to. In the NFL he doesn't have a whole lot of say on which players he gets. He's in total control, not having to play a hand he's dealt. At Baylor he's king of Waco as long as he keeps winning. I don't think Briles wants to give that up anytime soon. Besides, he just signed a 10 year extension.

Briles has said he hasn't had any contact with the Redskins and plans to remain at Baylor.

Five college basketball programs that should be better

It's hard to explain cycles in college basketball. One day your a national power and in the blink of an eye a program can fall on hard times. I came up with a list of college basketball programs that should be doing a lot better than what they're current national standing is. I know that facilities and donors play a role, but I look at it from a pure wins and losses standpoint along with location and a little tradition. These five programs should have a better national standing than being afterthoughts.

1. DePaul Blue Demons- The Blue Demons were an Independent power in the 1970s and 80s under legendary coach Ray Meyer. The names Mark Aguirre, Skip Dillard, Dallas Comegys, Terry Cummings and Tyrone Corbin are glorious names from the past. The train kept rolling under his son Joey but you could tell that things were getting a little shaky under his leadership. With the emergence of Illinois in the mid 80s the program took a hit lot of good Chicago players heading to Champaign. Which leads me to this...How can you not be a good program with all the Chicago talent? The last coach to really tap into the wealth of Chicago talent was Pat Kennedy when he lured Bobby Simmons, Lance Williams, Quentin Richardson to Depaul.

No coach has had any sustained success since the Meyer's roamed the sidelines. Current coach Oliver Purnell is slowly getting things headed in the right direction and with a Big East that has less teams in the conference the Blue Demons might be competitive. Losses to Southern Miss, Arizona State, Texas and Wichita State show that the Demons still are pretty far from sitting at the big boy table. Losses to ASU, Texas and Wichita State were double digit losses.

There is no excuse for DePaul to be so noncompetitive and not get the top talent in the city. Purnell needs to straighten things out before the fans and administration figure that they've seen enough and fire him. They have lost five straight NCAA Tournament games and have won only two NCAA Tournament games since 1987.

2. Seton Hall Pirates- In the late 80s P.J. Carlesimo turned Seton Hall into a tough minded winning crew. He led the Pirates to the 1989 national title game and six NCAA tournament appearances, with a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 thrown in. Along the way he started reeling in top recruits to South Orange, New Jersey, not the easiest place to get a player to come to. Then after the 1994 season Carlesimo left for the NBA and things haven't been the same since.

Assistant George Blaney took over at the helm and he managed one NIT appearance. Enter Tommy Amaker who led the team to three NIT berths and a Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. He brought in some top flight talent but the team never meshed well. He ended up leaving for Michigan. Louis Orr or Bobby Gonzalez couldn't bring the Pirates enough consistency in the win column to justify keeping them on board.

Kevin Willard now has he task of trying to make the Seton Hall nationally relevant again. He has a current record of 49-49 entering this season. Not the kind of consistency Pirates brass was looking for.

I know times are different but why won't the top New Jersey/New York high school players consider Seton Hall. The Pirates do have a strong class next season headlined by shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead. Whether that will be enough to change the programs or Willard's fortunes remains to be seen. But the program has seen recent success in spurts so that's why they land on this list.

3. USC Trojans- When you think of USC you think of football and Tailback U. Basketball has become an afterthought a USC, until you start losing with regularity, which gets you fired. Why this program has never had any sustained success in beyond me. Never having their own arena and playing in the dark L.A. Sports Arena didn't help.

They're in sunny Southern California (Los Angeles), play in a major media market and have an abundance of top flight basketball talent. Talent that seemingly winds up across town at UCLA. Why can't the same talent wind up at USC?  Not being a consistent winner doesn't help your cause when the school across town is racking up national titles and playing in high profile games.

The Trojans have made the big dance,most recently 2007-2009,  and have had NBA caliber players (Taj Gibson, O.J. Mayo, Gabe Pruitt, DeMar DeRozan) on their roster before, but it's always been a one or two year run for this team before it heads back to the bottom of the Pac-12 standings.

New coach Andy Enfield was a splash hire and won the press conference with UCLA (hired Steve Alford), and Enfield hired super recruiters Tony Bland and Jason Hart to mine L.A.'s best talent.

Enfield prefers an uptempo attack and that will catch a player's eye. Whether he gets the talent and wins big is a different story. Things might be looking up for the Trojans but not this year.

4. Arizona State Sun Devils- Long hailed as a "sleeping giant" this program has never been awoke long enough to be a consistent winner. When you go down the line of coaches that have been in Tempe, you realize that the program has won games, but not enough to become a threat to in state rival Arizona. 

Back in 1989 many thought "stealing" Bill Frieder from Michigan would finally get the program on its feet. he won games and attracted talent, just not enough to be a big winner like Lute Olson. They've had NBA talent like James Harden, they have a beautiful campus and some lovely coeds. That hasn't been enough to get players to the valley of the sun. The Sun Devils best moments came in the early 80s with Byron Scott, Fat Lever and Alton Lister playing and Ned Wulk stalking the sidelines.

Current coach Herb Sendek is on the hot seat and probably needs to get the Devils back to the NCAA Tournament to save his job. With point guard Jahii Carson on board, Sendek has scrapped his slow pace and went uptempo, realizing this is probably his best chance to get back to the tournament . So far the results this season have been good with the Sun Devils off to a 10-2 start. Sendek needs to be a tournament regular at the very least if he wants to stick around.

5. Houston Cougars- Does anyone have an answer for a program that was a tournament regular from 1970-1984, made five Final Fours and two national title game appearances go from those high points to scuffling to make the CBI? The team that produced Otis Birdsong, Clyde Drexler, Don Chaney, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon and brought us perhaps the most entertaining team of all time "Phi Slamma Jamma" is now trying to capture past glory. The Cougs only have one NCAA appearance since 1992. That hasn't been a good run for the program. There are several theories: the end of the Southwest Conference, the lack of stability in the program after Guy Lewis’s retirement, a failure to recruit in the city limits and playing at a 44-year-old arena.

The Cougars were at one point "the program" along with Arkansas in the Southwest and are now competing to be the best program in their own state. Since 1992 the Cougars have been surpassed by Texas, Baylor, and recently SMU.

The glory years of coach Guy Lewis are long gone, but having a good program shouldn't be. The Cougars shouldn't have to leave the city to recruit high level players or stray outside the state borders. The team has tradition and history on its side but that doesn't seem to matter to high school players theses days.  

“In the grand scheme of things we stopped recruiting Houston-area athletes,” Vern Lewis a guard on his father’s first two Final Four teams at Houston, in 1967 and 1968. said. “If you recruit within a 50-mile radius of the city, you’ll win the national title.”

Greater Houston basketball has produced the likes of T.J Ford, Daniel Gibson, Emeka Okafor, Rashard Lewis, Stephen Jackson, Kendrick Perkins and DeAndre Jordan. They all should have looked hard, if not signed, with UH. None did. That's a shame that the program has sunk so low.

Coach James Dickey looks like he might have the program going in the right directions as he has recruited the city and state of Texas. Getting Danuel House and Danrad "Chicken" Knowles was a start. If Dickey can keep the local kids around and convince them that going to Houston is the way to go he might be the one to bring the program back to respectability. 

Honorable Mention

 Georgia Tech- It seems s long ago since that national title game appearance. They haven't built off that success.

Alabama- This team hasn't done much since Wimp Sanderson left town.

Tulane- They probably wish Perry Clark was back on the sidelines. Too much homegrown talent leaves their backyard.

St. John's- They don't keep the elite NYC talent at home.

Georgia- This program should aspire to be something greater. Mired in mediocrity for a very long time.

Detroit- This team should be able to win with the local talent.

Auburn- The ghost of Sonny Smith couldn't win with the hand the current staff has been dealt. The basketball needs some of the 'prayers from Jordan-Hare' to be successful.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon will return for his junior season

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon announced that he will bypass the NFL Draft and return for his junior season.

Going into next season Gordon will be on many Heisman watch lists after rushing for 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns in a timeshare backfield with James White.

“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I have decided to come back next year,” Gordon said. “I love the University of Wisconsin and feel that there is still a lot of room for growth. Academically, another year in school will help me get closer to completing my degree and on the field I hope to help my team get back the Big Ten championship.”

“With this decision out of the way I can now focus on helping my team prepare for the Capital One Bowl and a great opponent in South Carolina.”

Badgers coach Gary Andersen is happy that Gordon will be back to lead the vaunted Badgers rushign attack in 2014.

“Melvin is a great player and a great kid and we are very happy with his decision. We tried to be very supportive throughout the decision-making process and relayed all the information he needed to make an informed decision. I’m glad he can now focus on the bowl game and prepare for a great 2014.”

Gordon was a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back and rushed for at least 140 yards in seven of Wisconsin’s 12 games. Only Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams of Boston College and Washington’s Bishop Sankey had more games of 140-plus rushing yards among Football Bowl Subdivision players this season, with eight apiece.

Tony Dungy not interested in coaching the Lions or anyone else

With the Detroit Lions reeling and fighting for a playoff spot that seemed a near certainty a month ago, many are predicting doom and gloom for head coach Jim Schwartz.

If Schwartz is indeed fired, you can cross NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Tony Dungy's name off the list of potential replacements.

Someone on Twitter asked Dungy if he would come back to coach the Lions if the job were available and Dungy replied "No I am done with coaching!"

Dungy was one of the most successful coaches in the NFL.

In 13 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts, he compiled a 139-69 mark. He went to the playoffs 11 times, leading the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007.

Even though Dungy is a Michigan native, he seems like he's comfortable sitting next to Bob Costas and Rodney Harrison. If Schwartz is gone at season's end the Lions will have to look elsewhere for a coach. Dungy will not coach in Detroit or anywhere else.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pitchers' helmets might be optional in MLB by 2014

Could we see pitchers wear protective head gear in Major League Baseball as early as next summer?

Speaking to Fox Sports Wednesday, Arizona Diamondbacks hurler Brandon McCarthy said the league is moving towards legislation that would allow non-mandatory head gear.

"They're coming," McCarthy said. "From everything I know (the head gear will) be available this year. I don't believe they're going to be mandatory. Actually, I'm almost certain they won't be mandatory."

A spokesperson for Major League Baseball told the TV station that "one product that has passed the testing standards should be available to players for next season."

The league is in talks with the players' association about the optional piece of equipment, while continuing to evaluate several products, the spokesperson added.

McCarthy is particularly interested in the matter because he took a line drive to the head in 2012 when he was pitching for the Oakland Athletics. He suffered a skull fracture.

As for the potential look of the head gear, McCarthy didn't exactly give a rave review. "It looks ridiculous and we get so used to the way things look," he said.

It may look ridiculous but maybe it can reduce the danger of having an incident like Toronto Blue jays pitcher J.A. Happ had last season when he was hit in the head by a line drive.

Jim Kelly says Bills fans should take it easy on EJ Manuel

It's not easy being a rookie quarterback in the NFL. Especially when you're a high draft pick and have so many expectations placed upon you by fans that are hungry to see a struggling franchise have some success.

Buffalo Bills fans are probably spoiled by the run of success the team had in the early 90's when Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly commandeered the Bills' high octane offense and led them to four straight Super Bowls. Bills fans have been longing for the glory years for quite a while now.

When the Bills took quarterback EJ Manuel with the 16th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, there were whispers about Buffalo taking a risk by making Manuel the draft's first quarterback to come off the board. At 6-4 and 237 pounds and possessing a strong arm with mobility, the Bills figured Manuel was too good to pass up.

Bills coach Doug Marrone named Manuel his starter and hitched the Bills future to his first round quarterback. A few fluky knee injuries has taken Manuel away from the field and now Bills fans are already growing impatient with the rookie. Manuel has shown flashes of being the man to lead the Bills but he does  make a few head scratching mistakes.

In a phone interview, Kelly said that bills fans shouldn't rush to judgement on Manuel and that injuries have hurt his development.

 "There are so many things a young quarterback has to learn, and there's only one way to do it -- by being out there," Kelly said. "You can't learn by standing on the sidelines and just staring."

“You know what? Training camp for a rookie quarterback is so, so essential,” Kelly said. “It’s where they learn. It’s where they can make their mistakes. It’s where they really get to know their receivers, their running backs, and their system. He missed half of that.

“The mental approach at quarterback is so key. And for a young guy coming in trying to master a playbook that’s five times thicker than a college playbook, and the defences with all the ways they disguise — it’s a tough transition even if he never gets hurt.”

Manuel missed the last half of training camp in August after suffering an injury to his left knee which was revealed to be a meniscus tear. Manuel had corrective surgery on the knee.

Manuel later sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. He missed four games. The Bills were 2-2 at that point in the season. This past Sunday he sprained his knee in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars but completed the game.

“I definitely think EJ is doing a good job,” Kelly said. “There are times, yeah, where you think, ‘What’s he doing?’ or ‘That mistake shouldn’t happen.’ But I think he’ll get better, and when he gets another year under his belt, he’ll be all right.”

Manuel didn't have the luxury of sitting behind an established veteran and learning the system like an Aaron Rodgers or Philip Rivers. He was brought in to be a savior.

"The quarterback gets too much of the blame and too much of the praise. I know that's an old cliche, but that's just the way it is now -- moreso even than it was 20 years ago."

Whether Manuel likes it or not, the fans want him to perform and will call for his head when he doesn't. it may not be fair, but that's the nature of the business.

Grizzlies' Tony Allen auctioning off shoe that kicked Clippers' Chris Paul

Michael Jordan's flu-game shoes have been sold for more than $140,000. If you envy the winner of the auction for owning such precious shoes, there's another pairs of live game kicks you can bid for.

Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies is auctioning his pair of shoes. Allen may not be as big of a star like Jordan but the kicks he's selling carries a story that is of the same weight as the Flu Game shoes, sort of.

The 31-year old shooting guard has decided to put the shoes he used to unintentionally kick Clippers' Chris Paul to support a charity.

As posted in eBay advert:

"The shoe that Tony Allen wore when he inadvertently kicked Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul in the face on Nov. 18 will be auctioned online to benefit Youth Villages. Allen, who was ejected from that game and suspended, donated the shoe to the national nonprofit organization headquartered in Memphis. Youth Villages is auctioning the shoe online as part of an effort to raise $15,000 to buy presents for children receiving help on its residential campuses and group homes. The shoe is autographed by Allen and is mounted in a custom Memphis Grizzlies display case. The eBay auction runs through Sunday. All proceeds generated from the sale of the shoe will be matched by an anonymous donor up to $10,000."

Proceeds will be used to ensure that kids who are not with their families experience the joy of the Christmas season.

Youth Villages is home to more than 1,000 vulnerable children and families. Most of these children are served through in-home and community based efforts.

Starting bid prize for the shoe is $750, with the auction expected to end Sunday. Sources also revealed that an anonymous donor will match the final price of the shoe once it is sold.

Allen served a one game suspension for the incident but hopes that the shoe can create Christmas memories for Memphis area kids.

“I’m glad that the shoe will be creating something special for kids in Memphis. Everyone deserves to have a Christmas to remember. I’m glad I can be a part of their memories,” Allen said.

Notre Dame will play Boston College at Fenway Park in 2015

Notre Dame will begin playing five games per season against ACC opponents beginning next season due to their agreement that permits the Irish to play in the league in other sports. That won't keep the Fighting Irish from having a high profile national schedule like they always do.

The Irish have scheduled a "home" game against ACC member Boston College to be played at the home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park.  The game will be part of the Shamrock Series. The Irish will also begin a home and home series with the Texas Longhorns and will not play a Big Ten opponent for the first time in more than 100 years. With a college football playoff on the horizon Notre Dame is looking to boost it's strength of schedule.

"Our schedules the next three seasons, combined with our 2012 and 2013 schedules, truly exhibit Notre Dame's intention to celebrate our independence," says Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. "We will be playing in virtually every corner of the country and will have a strength of schedule that will serve us well in the new College Football Playoff format."

“We play coast to coast. Jesse Harper made that decision a hundred years ago. It changed the trajectory of the football program and the university, and we’re not going to stray from it,” Swarbrick said.

Here's a look at Notre Dame's schedules from 2014-2016.


Aug. 30, RICE


Sept. 13, vs. Purdue (at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis)

Sept. 27, vs. Syracuse (at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)



Oct. 18, at Florida State

Nov. 1, vs. Navy (at FedEx Field, Landover, Md.)

Nov. 8, at Arizona State



Nov. 29, at USC


Sept. 5, TEXAS

Sept. 12, at Virginia



Oct. 3, at Clemson

Oct. 10, NAVY

Oct. 17, USC

Oct. 31, vs. Temple (at Lincoln Financial Services Field)

Nov. 7, at Pittsburgh


Nov. 21, vs. Boston College (at Fenway Park, Boston)

Nov. 28, at Stanford


Sept. 3, at Texas

Sept. 10, NEVADA


Sept. 24, DUKE

Oct. 1, vs. Syracuse (at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)

Oct. 8, at North Carolina State


Oct. 29, MIAMI

Nov. 5, vs. Navy (site TBD)

Nov. 12, vs. Army (at Alamodome, San Antonio)


Nov. 26, at USC

While it's true that Notre Dame will get a boost from a national schedule, the Irish should leave the patsies like UMass, Nevada, Army and Rice off the schedule. I guess you have to fit in some wins somewhere.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tampa Bay Rays' Luke Scott signs with Korean baseball team

The SK Wyverns announced Thursday they've signed Major League Baseball veteran Luke Scott to a one-year contract.

The Incheon-based Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) team said they inked the 35-year-old veteran for US$250,000, along with a signing bonus of $50,000.

Scott made his big league debut with the Houston Astros in 2005 and most recently played with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013.

He batted .241 with nine home runs and 40 RBIs in 91 games. For his nine-year career, Scott has hit 135 homers with a .258 batting average in 889 games.

He hit more than 20 homers in three straight seasons starting in 2008, all with the Baltimore Orioles.

Scott is the first foreign player to join the KBO with more than 100 career MLB home runs.

The Wyverns said Scott, along with extra-base power, has a good eye at the plate and has the ability to get on base. He has a career on-base percentage of .340.

Scott has played all three outfield positions and first base over his career.

Last week, the KBO decided to add an extra roster spot for foreign players on each team. Teams can now acquire up to three players from overseas, with two of them able to play at the same time. The two expansion teams, the NC Dinos and the KT Wiz, can have a maximum of four foreign players on their active rosters for their first two KBO seasons.

The Wyverns have now filled up their quota of three foreign players. They've retained left-handed starter Jo-Jo Reyes from last season and signed right-hander Ross Wolf to replace the departing southpaw Chris Seddon.

Lions players support coach Jim Schwartz

After seemingly having the NFC North division title firmly in their grasp the Detroit Lions are seeing their season slip away.

After being in control of the division with a 6-3 record with a sweep of the Chicago Bears, the Lions have dropped three of four and now sit in third place in the division at 7-7. The slump has put pressure on head coach Jim Schwartz to right the ship and get the Lions to the playoffs or risk being fired. Despite the Schwartz fielding questions about his job security the Lions players have came out and voiced support for the embattled coach.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was vocal about how he felt about Schwartz and the team.

 “Am I playing for Jim’s job? I think that’s a part of it,” Suh said today. “I’m sure everybody wants to win — the owners expect winning — but most importantly, you’ve got to play for winning, play to have a hunger to want to be a winner, and that’s what I play for.

“Obviously, I don’t want that coach to go anywhere. I love his scheme, love the way things go, but I don’t think that has to do with anything right now. What we need to do is focus on getting these next two wins and, most importantly, we got to go and take care of business at home against the New York Giants.”

Maybe he doesn't want Schwartz to go because he never disciplines him when he does anything wrong. Maybe a coach that would come in and be hard on him and make him accountable is something he might not like.

Nate Burleson knows that it's the players that ultimately decide games but coaches always pay the price.

“You look at all the losses we’ve had, it’s came down to plays we didn’t make,” receiver Nate Burleson said. “It seems like there’s always a point in the game where we have a chance to extend the lead or put ourselves in position to control the rest of the game, and we don’t do that, so we can’t look further than the guys wearing the jerseys.

“Maybe it’s just older guys talking; we want to shoulder the responsibility anyway. I think that’s the best way to look at it anyway. The coward’s way out is trying to point the finger in other directions. So if anybody wants to give criticism, give it to the players, not the coaches. They don’t suit up. They make the calls that put us in the position to be successful, and we’ve got to capitalize and make those plays happen.”

Correct Nate, but when it's third and short Schwartz shouldn't be cosigning play calla that have an empty backfield and shotgun formations. That's why fans and media always jump on the coach.

The Lions have a chance to stop the bleeding as they will face the reeling New York Giants on Sunday. the way things are going for the Lions this game won't be a gimme. They'll be favored but with both teams struggling something will have to give. The Lions still have a shot at the division crown but will need help by the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers and they'll have to take care of business themsleves.  

 “We let go of an opportunity to put these other teams away,” Suh said. “We opened the door back for them. We still have an opportunity to take care of business, and it’s most important that we do our part, or none of it matters. And that’s what we’ve yet to do, to this point, is do our part and close the door. So now we’ve let a bunch of ants in the house and now you’ve got to go get an exterminator to get them out.”

Time for the Lions to put up or shut up.

"It Girl" of the week: Katherine Barbery

The Just Sports & Just Us "It Girl" of the week is Katherine Barbery.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rutgers lands ex-Georgetown player Greg Whittington

If you ask me Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan will need all the help he can get as he navigates the Scarlet Knights into the Big Ten next season.

While Jordan has done respectable on the recruiting trail he's going to need to lure some upper echelon talent to compete with the Ohio State's, Wisconsin's, and Indiana's of the world. Today Jordan landed a high major talent that can help his program.

Ex-Georgetown Hoya Greg Whittington announced that he would be transferring to Rutgers.

Whittington was dismissed from the Georgetown program over the Thanksgiving weekend. Last season Whittington missed the final 13 games of the season due to academic trouble. During the summer he tore his ACL and had no return scheduled.

Whittington had been recruited by Memphis, Nebraska, South Carolina and Oregon as he was a highly sought after transefer. If he is healthy, he can be an impact player for the Scarlet Knights.  He averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds during the 2012-2013 season.

Rockets might have "deal in place" for Omer Asik

When the Houston Rockets signed Dwight Howard I'm pretty sure Rockets coach Kevin McHale envisioned a twin towers lineup when he wanted to play big.

It was only a dream because Omer Asik begged to be traded and general manager Daryl Morey has been trying to find a place for him ever since.

Morey has taken his time to find the right deal and now it seems like the might have one in place.

USA Today's Sam Amick has reported that there may be a trade on the horizon involving the Philadelphia 76ers and the Rockets that could go down by next Thursday.

Asik might be the player involved on the Houston side but the speculation on the Philly side might be that Thaddeus Young or Spencer Hawes could be moved to Houston. Amick says that Morey is holding off on pulling the trigger to see if he can get a better.

Right now this is just all speculation but where there's smoke, there's fire and Morey is never afraid to deal if he can find a good partner.

Los Angeles Lakers show interest in Knicks' Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler

With Pau Gasol struggling again and their backcourt hit by the injury bug, the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly called the New York Knicks about possible reinforcements.

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the Lakers have inquired about Knicks guard Iman Shumpert and center Tyson Chandler.

Shumpert has been getting the cold shoulder from the Knicks after enjoying a solid season last year. With the Lakers short on point guards and Kobe Bryant playing with the ball in his hands a little more, the Lakers are looking to Shumpert to help hold the fort until Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake, or Steve Nash comes back.  

The Denver Nuggets and Tornto raptors have also been discussed as possible trade partners for Shumpert.

As far as Chandler goes, the Knicks say they aren't willing to move him but anything is possible, especially of they find a sweetheart of a deal. Why the Lakers would want to take on Chandler's contract and his health concerns are beyond me, unless they would take on Gasol.

Report: Kyle Shanahan to leave Redskins, split from his dad

It's always a a nice, warm story when a father and son team up as coaches and try to make it to the mountaintop. That's how some might have thought when Kyle Shanahan became the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins and join his dad Mike on the sidelines.

Apparently the arrangement will be coming to an end.

The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Shanahan has “decided it is no longer worth it to work with his father” and will attempt to blaze his own trail after four years with the Redskins.Shanahan spent two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans before joining the Redskins in 2010.

This latest look into Washington’s implosion came shortly after CBS’ Jason La Canfora reported that many within the organization actually pin much of the blame for this 3-10 season on Kyle Shanahan’s relationships with Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III.

Conversations with several people within the organization have revealed a similar perception of Kyle Shanahan as someone who was empowered and enabled by his father, spending an abundance of time in his father's office, given a wide swath of power, and rubbing many people -- players, fellow coaches and members of football operations -- the wrong way. At the same time, Kyle Shanahan has been the most heavily rewarded of the team's assistant coaches, as team sources said the two-year extension Shanahan earned following the playoff run in 2012 will pay him $1.5M in 2014 alone. That's money he's almost certain to collect away from the team, with this regime widely expected to be fired after this season.

“Kyle is the head coach, it's just that no one knows he is,” said one member of the organization. “He gets whatever he wants. And he has no relationship at all with (quarterback Robert Griffin II). So how could it work?”

Although this is a surprise, Kyle wasn't pleased when starting quarterback, Robert Griffin III, was shutdown for the last three games of the season in favor of Kirk Cousins.

Kyle had a decent run in Houston so it's possible that he could co elsewhere and succeed, but he'll have to do it without any of his father's connections (Gary Kubiak in Houston).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rays' Tim Beckham to miss most of 2014 season with as torn ACL

Tampa Bay Rays infielder Tim Beckham will miss a significant portion of the 2014 season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, the Times has learned.

Beckham, the top pick in the 2008 draft, made his major-league debut in September, and has earned praise from manager Joe Maddon.

Though Beckham, 23, would have been a longshot to make the opening day roster, he was likely to see action during the season if the Rays needed depth or had an injury to a middle infielder.

Beckham was promoted after a solid season at Triple-A Durham, hitting .276 with four homers, 51 RBIs and a .342 on-base percentage. He was chosen by the Rays ahead of Pedro Alvarez, Eric Hosmer and Buster Posey, among other present-day major-league stars.

The knee injury is the latest setback in Beckham's career, as he has progress has been slowed by inconsistent play and a drug-related suspension. Beckham was believed to have been hurt working out, but no details were available.

Hak-Ju Lee, the Rays other top middle infield prospect, is recovering well from knee surgery after being injured last season, but his status for the start of the 2014 season is uncertain.

Former North Carolina basketball player Will Graves, faces drug charges after drugs found in house rented from Roy Williams

Former UNC basketball player Will Graves is facing drug charges in Chapel Hill after an arrest at a property owned by UNC basketball coach Roy Williams.

According to an arrest report, Graves was charged with one count of possession of marijuana and one count of drug paraphernalia.

Police say Graves consented to a search of the home on Pinehurst Drive on Dec. 6. Officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the home including marijuana "seeds," "three blunts," and "two burnt blunts," according to the police report.

A UNC spokesperson says Will Graves was finishing his degree at UNC and working as a part-time video coordinator for the basketball team this semester.

UNC says Coach Williams rented the house to Graves, and Graves paid for it.

Roy Williams is aware of the arrest and is "disappointed about it", according to UNC.  Graves has been in trouble before, being kicked off the team in 2010 for violating team rules.

Omar Infante signs four year deal with the Kansas City Royals

Omar Infante is officially once again an ex-Detroit Tiger. The second baseman reportedly will sign with the AL Central rival Kansas City Royals.

Reports say the contract is for four years and around $30 million.

The Tigers went in a different direction at second base when they traded first baseman Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler.

The New York Yankees were thought to be the leader for Infante's services and reportedly offered three years for $24 million but Infante wanted four years, so he signed with Kansas City instead. It's a good pickup for Kansas City as they filled their hole at second base for good value.

Infante batted  .318 with 10 home runs, 51 RBIs and a .795 OPS in 118 games for the Tigers in 2013. Infante has a .279 career average and a .721 career OPS.

Even though he won't be a Tiger, they'll see a lot of him within the division.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Steve Spurrier has some fun at Florida's expense; also jabs Florida State

Steve Spurrier loves to zing other football programs when he has an opportunity to do so. Remember the one about Tennessee ( you can't spell Citrus without UT) and Florida State (FSU=Free Shoes University).

This time Spurrier took a shot at his old school Florida. The former Heisman Trophy winner and national championship winning coaching legend had a one liner directed at the Gators.

"Somebody told me the Gators are going to be home for the holidays," zinged Spurrier. "Maybe we can get a bunch of Gators who'll come to our ballgame, fill up the stands … and root for the Gamecocks."

Spurrier also took the time to sneak in a jab at Florida State (again), when the questioned about Jadeveon Clowney's speeding ticket.

“I didn't know Jadeveon's car that could go that fast. He doesn't have a pretty car like those FSU guys used to drive.”

Spurrier turned the Capital One Bowl press conference into his own little laugh fest.

Even though Spurrier  has aged and mellowed, he still hasn't lost his touch for a good one liner.

Santana Moss says Kirk Cousins 'being set up for failure'

In a difficult football season the most popular player is always the backup quarterback.

I guess that means Kirk Cousins is the most popular guy in the eyes of Washington Redskins fans. With Robert Griffin III struggling with coming back from a knee injury that he suffered last season, the Redskins have plummeted to last place in the NFC East with a 3-10 record.

Coach Mike Shanahan has shut down Griffin with three games to play and has turned to Cousins to provide a spark and some momentum to carry over into next season.

Redskins receiver Santana Moss thinks that Cousins has been put in an unenviable situation and says that he thinks Cousins is "being set up to fail". Not exactly words you want to hear from someone on your own team.

“It’s kind of tough to put him into this situation right now and hope for him to be excellent,” Moss said at Redskins Park. “It’s almost like setting a guy up for failure. But you just want him to go out there and be at ease and just take his time, be as efficient as he can because it’s one of those situations that’s like, you know, Catch[-22]. He don’t play as well, then you’re gonna say, ‘Well, should he have been in there?’ But you can’t do that to him because he hasn’t had all this season to go out there and jell with us. But he has been ready enough to go out there and be able to run this offense. So we’re just hoping for the best.”  

As a backup you always have to be ready no matter what, but if Shanahan is looking for something positive to come from this he might be in trouble. Even though Cousins filled in admirably for Griffin last season, he might be a bit rusty for all the sitting he's done this season.

The silver lining in all of this is that the Redskins play the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, and Dallas Cowboys the last three weeks of the season. Not exactly defenses that have performed well. So Cousins could possibly thrive which would ignite a quarterback controversy if Shanahan sticks around for next season.