Monday, March 30, 2009

Tony Bennet Croons in Pullman, No More

Wazzu Men's Basketball Coach Tony Bennet has been confirmed as the new head coach at the University of Virginia. This comes as a blow to a 'Zu program that had been on the rise the past few years, making it to the NCAA tourney Bennet's first two years and falling just short after going on a late season run this year.

There was a hard-nosed, blue-collar, slow-down defensive style cultivated in Pullman that was a stark contrast to the up-tempo pace of their western counterparts. This boring methodical style may be on the outs now with Bennet's departure. A new coach means installing a new system and getting current players to buy into said system.

Even with quality young players like Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto, the retooling of the program will take time. At a time that the Dawgs strong core of young players are preparing for another year in Romar's system and are being bolstered by a strong recruiting class, the Cougs will be playing catch-up.

I could go on about how this move weakens the division; that it is better to have 3 good teams in state not just 2; that a healthy rivalry with WSU can only help the Dawgs. But I will spare you these banal truisms and merely say this: BAHAHAHAHA! Suck it Cougs!!!! That's what you get for blocking funding for Husky Stadium renovation you mouth-breathing, in-bred, Eastern Washington fucks!!! *ahem* I mean to say: Sorry, Cougs. Buck up, the sun will shine on you again.

The timing of this move proves a little questionable for Bennet. Last year at this time he had offers for the head coaching position at both LSU and Indiana. To take Virginia's offering now is just baffling. Which-HAHAHAHAHA! Oh shit, you guys are screwed! HAHAHAHAHA!- must make this move all the more puzzling for Coug fans.

On a more serious note, let this be a lesson to sports fans everywhere. Don't believe the head coach of your favorite sports team when he assures the media and the fans that he'll stick around to build a solid program there. That statement is about as true as the stripper that claims she doesn't do house-calls. Flash enough money and they get amnesia, quick.

Please sweet baby Jesús, don't ever let Romar leave us!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Brutal Youth

Lest Seattle sports fans get to optimistic about the M's chances for Contention '09 the Sports Gods dealt out two harsh tokes today. Faster than you can say "Bill Bavasi" two pillars that the M's had hoped would be part of the core of youth the they would build around for the future were removed from the picture.

First supposed slugging catcher of the future, Jeff Clement, was sent back down to AAA Tacoma. This is no good at all. Clement has already destroyed AAA pitching in his two stints down in Tacoma. Yeah, he didn't exactly pull a Sasha Grey and light the world on fire in his limited time up in the bigs last year. And sure he displayed the grace and footwork of a drunken David Hasselhoff behind the plate this Spring Training when he was fighting for his job. So he's made it hard on himself.

That said, AAA is not the place for him. He has shown he can destroy AAA pitching and and work to his defense can be done at the major league level as a back up. This move destroys his value on two fronts. First if he is no longer considered a catcher by the M's and they hope to move him to a 1B/DH role then his uniqueness as a slugging catcher evaporates. 1B/DH prospects that can mash are a dime a dozen. Second is if other teams know that the M's don't view him as a part of the future then why should they be that interested in giving up much for him? Overall I don't understand this move, which is the first time I've said that in Zduriencik's short tenure.

The next bit of fecal matter to float up in Mariners fans' cereal is the news that Brandon Morrow wants to come out of the bullpen. Brandon Morrow has the stuff to be a solid #2/#3 pitcher. A mid-90's heater, a mean curve and a decent change-up. The fact that he WANTS to come out of the bullpen is pretty damn terrible news. In fact it strikes me a lot like the news that Sunrise Adam's was going to work strictly for Vivid Entertainment. In both instances I am dismayed at the lack of potential filled.

This is not a move I hold against the organization at all. Both Zduriencik and Wakamatsu have sated their desire to have Morrow in the rotation, where his value would be maximized. In the end it was Morrow's decision. Sure they could have held an AK to Morrow's head and made him pitch while screaming "Didi mao!" but I'm not sure how effective that would be. Morrow might slip in to Cutlerfucker levels of sulk and pitch ineffectively just to force their hand.

Morrow gave three reasons for his short-sighted decision to regress to a reliever. The first was he feels his die-uh-beetus would be easier to control coming out of the bullpen and not working as a starter. Though the aforementioned Culterfucker and NBA first round bust Adam Morrison seem to do just fine with it, it's Brandon's call and I gotta respect that.

The second reason offered up was that he feels his arm and body are better suited towards relief. Morrow came down with tightness in his arm during spring training so I feel what he's saying with this reason too. But the last reason really makes my circuits sizzle.

Morrow claims that he feels more comfortable and excited coming out of the pen. Understandable, having some bad-ass metal blaring for entrance music when you enter the game has too be pretty exciting. So too would knowing that the opposing batters have just loosed their bowels in fear of you. Being a closer allows you to throw high 90's heat as often as you want and chicks fucking cream over the heater.

What upsets me is that Brandon should never have been allowed to know that level of arousal. In another instance in which Bill Bavasi's bald headed ghost appears and chuckles, Morrow's tenure in the bullpen was the former GM's idea. Had Morrow been groomed as a starter from day one the M's are not in this predicament.

Now it's not all bad as the shaky M's bullpen gained stability with Morrow penciled in at closer. Recently signed John Fields, last years 1st round draft pick, joins him in the pen. Throw in a bunch of live arms Zduriencik acquired in the off-season and you have a solid group of relievers. It just hurts to have to former 1sr rounders rotting in their. Fuck you, Bavasi.

All in all these two bits of news are not the way fans wanted to start off the season. Hopefully the M's will be able to overcome these set-backs and stay competitive this year. If not it'll be another loooong inebriated summer.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Ichiro and the Autobot Matrix of Leadership

Too often the American public and the sports media become infatuated with this romanticized ideal of leadership. They clamor for a gruff and weathered player to lead the way. They ache to portray a player as a gritty vet, a John Wayne type who will help the younger players through the trials of a rigorous 162 game season. They want a General Patton type of rousing and epic speech, words that'll get the troops ready to kill. The same type of speeches Ichiro satirizes in his yearly address to the AL All-Star team. There is an expectation on loquacious speeches and wild gesticulations that goes unmet and is unsettling to some.

Ichiro is quite the opposite of the gung-ho leader. He is stoic in his regimented dedication to baseball. There is a singular focus to Ichiro and that is to work to become the best player he can be. The need to to tell Yuniesky Betancourt to go easy on the ho-ho's is absurd to him. In his mind all should be as dedicated to bettering themselves as he is. After all they are all professionals being paid a shit ton of money to play a game. So if Carlos Silva feels like ingesting the entire lunch buffet, table and all, it is not Ichiro's job to tell make sure he gets in the proper cardio to burn of his snack.

When Ichiro seeks to lead by example through his hard work and dedication to his task it is puzzling to those looking for a "win one for the gipper!" speech. "Where is Ichiro's Autobot matrix of leadership", they ask. "And in our darkest hour of the 2008 season why did he not pull it from his chest and light the way to a division title?" They fail to realize, games are won on talent, not leadership.

The 2008 season of The Seattle Mariners was a 50 car pile up, a spectacle so gruesome that I could not tear my eyes away from it. Dreams of competing for the AL West were crushed under the foot of cold reality as The M's were 20 games out by the All-Star break. From the pile-up of the lost season one bloody and battered horse of a topic emerged from the carnage, staggered, collapsed and died in plain view. This was the horse of team chemistry. It was then jumped on and flogged until the end of the season.

As the season decayed in the summer heat, more and more complaints and shots were aimed at the teams best player, Ichiro. He was called a selfish primadonna who cared only about achieving his hallowed stats, team be damned. He was accused of not giving enough effort to win games, not diving for balls, not changing his approach at the plate in key situations to drive in runs and other such bullshit. Essentially he was being called a shitty leader for not somehow magically granting washed-up Richie Sexson access to the fountain of youth. He was chastised because he couldn't lessen the gravitational pull of team fat asses Carlos Silva and Yunieksy Betancourt.

So, imagine the shock when the Japanese team, ostensibly led by Ichiro, went on to win the WBC again. How could this selfish prick, who cared only for himself and was a terrible leader, will his team to victory on a world stage? This was one of the many questions asked to him by, enemy of the blog, Geoff Baker.

Baker was the reporter most responsible for beating the shit out of the dead of horse of team chemistry and stoking the anti-Ichiro fires. It was he who provided anonymous quotes at the end of last season divulging the news about certain players threatening physical harm to Ichiro. And he was the asshole who thought that he could pull that rotting and putrid dead horse and ride it for one last furlong and "allow Ichiro to respond to his detractors".

Ichiro was rather surprised about Bakers line of questioning but answered the queries anyway. Ichiro told Baker that a team leader is not important. Per the WBC team
"I did not think or feel that I wanted to be a leader for the Japan WBC team,'' he said. "And at the end, I was not a leader for the Japan WBC team. And something I'd felt, this thought of mine, became even stronger after playing with this Japanese WBC team, is that to have a leader -- who is a leader? -- that's not important.

"What is, is to try to group together a group of individuals who want to improve themselves for what they do. We're baseball players, so, who want to improve themselves as baseball players and also want to improve themselves as human beings. That's what's important. Although, trying to get a team together and pointing out a leader and saying 'Everybody follow this leader' sounds very easy and like a simple thing to do, if you go with this style, there are manholes.''
With the M's Ichiro told Baker:
"This is major league baseball,'' he said. "We're all professionals here. Is it really at a level where I have to explain to other people what the reasons are that I do some things? We're all professionals. It makes me feel like..that's like the level of a Mom telling a child 'This is why I do things."
These comments agree with my view that leadership in baseball is rather meaningless. A team leader yelling at his teammates to get them pumped up won't allow them to hit the ball any better, or if they do make contact not have it be caught. It won't somehow allow a pitcher to pitch better or really anything else necessary to to win the game. Leadership and chemistry are immaterial bullshit that beat writer feeds readers to justify and outcome e.g. "He showed his leadership by coming through with a clutch hit because he didn't want to let his team down." which sounds better than "His BABIP(batting average for balls in play" had been extremely low lately combined with his career success against lefties meant he was due to get a hit."

The reason the 2008 M's were so terrible was because they were a poorly constructed team without a lot of talent. A portion of the talent that team did possess got old quick and became useless.

The reason, I believe, the 2009 M's will win is because Jack Zduriencik has accrued a good amount of talent not because of intangibles like leadership and team chemistry.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Huskies Lose To Purdue: Seattle Sports Fan Suicide Watch Back In Effect

The NCAA tournament is a cruel mistress and this time she kicked the Dawgs out of bed with their baby arm still at full mast. Which is to say, the Dawgs were bounced before they were ready.

After a dominant performance against a streaking Mississippi State team in the first round of the tournament The Huskies were looking like the team I thought could have a solid tournament run. In their second round opponent, Purdue, UW was poised to answer the question of which conference was worse, The Big 10 or the Pac-10. The results would move Seattle sports fans a step closer to the edge.

Here's the thing about the match-up against Purdue, they were not your typical #5 seed. A top 20 team most of the season, The Boilermakers slipped down the stretch due to back to back losses stemming from the back injury of their star forward Robbie Hummel. When Hummel finally came back and was healthy the Boilermakers plowed through the Big 10 tournament like Dante Stallworth's Bentley through pedestrians.

While Gonzaga was playing the likes of Akron and Western Kentucky, The Huskies faced their second winner of a conference tournament. Like I said in an earlier post, fuck you very much, NCAA selection committee.

Perhaps I should have added a third key to UW's post-season success which would be "start the game strong". In the near loss to Stanford and aborted comeback attempt vs Arizona State in the Pac-10 tourney the Dawgs came out slow. They managed to pull out a win against Stanford. Against ASU they weren't so lucky.

Facing Purdue to the right to play UConn in the next round, The Huskies came out flatter than Anne Coulter but played with none of the balls she posesses. UW's normally fast up and down pace turned frantic as players threw up shots with a hurried futility. The defense wasn't much better. The few times a Purdue player shot with a hand in their face they cooly knocked it down. All this lead to The Huskies being lucky to be down only 11 at the break. In the end, this deficit was too much to overcome.

The second half dangled the promise of a win so tantalizingly close to Dawg fans' faces we could practically taste it. John Brockman, dormant in the first half, blew up like Mt. St.Helens. He used to his bulk and low post prowess to become an unstoppable force. Isaiah Thomas realized that Purdue didn't have a defender that could hope to guard him on the perimeter and drove to the basket at will. Their combined efforts pulled The Dawgs back within two with seconds left but a couple blocked shots and a missed lay-in later the Huskies hopes were left beaten down like Rihanna on Grammy night. The long and crazy ride of the season had stopped and the fans were left wondering, what's next?

After a pounding a few drinks to numb the pain of the loss I tried to rationalize my feelings. "Well," I told my friends "at the start of this season who woulda thought we woulda made it this far? Cheers to that!" We clinked our plastic cups as we stood on the emptying floor of the casino's viewing area and gulped down our drinks. But the words, despite their truth, rang hollow at that moment. Our team just took us on an emotionally draining journey and we were now coming down from that basketball high. With nothing to pick up our spirits for weeks or maybe even months we could feel ourselves slipping back into Seattle Sports Malaise, dreaming of what could have been. Someone call 911, I think I'm gonna jump.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ichiro Destroys Korea

Ichiro, the new secretary of partying down

Watching Japan destroy Korea's hopes at world baseball dominance in the final round of the World baseball classic I realized something. Ichiro put the Japapnese team on his back and carried them to victory over their hated rivals, despite an less than stellar showing over the course of the WBC. In fact, on this night, Ichiro did more to sully the image of Korea more than Kim Jong Il and Chan-Wook Park's revenge epic, Oldboy, could ever hope to. That's right, Ichiro did more damage to Korea's image than either a megalomaniac dictator and a hyper-violent revenge flick that ended in ignorant incest.

In his final nine pitch at-bat I could see the determination in Ichiro's eyes. He was not about to let his team fuck away a 2 run lead in the determining game of the WBC. Pitch after pitch that the Koreans tried to feed him was in vain. Hoping Ichiro's agressive, swing-at-anything style would cause Ichiro to get himself self out, the Korean team attempted to serve him pitches all over the strike zone but to no avail. In the end, after many fouled pitches, Ichiro finally connected with a pitch he found suitable and drove it up the middle for the go-ahead runs.

Ichiro, being the selfish prick that he is, decided that a two run lead was not enough, he needed more adulation. Almost immediately after arriving at first Ichiro stole second with speed that'd leave Wally West flat-footed. This surely was done to pad his stats, not because he wanted another run as insurance. The stolen base was definitely was not a result of of Ichiro's desire to win. Ok, maybe it was after all.

I'm not a huge believer in "clutch" hits or other such nonsense, for the most part. But it was hard not to feel that Ichiro didn't focus his strength and determination through his bat, like Hal Jordan, to will his team to victory.

In a WBC where Ichiro's off-the-field antics have fueled more headlines than his on-field performance the stats would argue he was due. This isn't an untrue statement, though it feels like it is incomplete. Watching him chip away at the opponent's confidence with each fouled-off pitch, one could sense the grim determination focusing Ichiro's energy in his bat, wielding it without thought, like an extension of his being and know that determinism is real, you can't escape fate.

When Ichiro came through with that seemingly inevitable hit, Korea's fate was sealed. Again, their stellar baseball team would be second to Japan. Ichiro's single locked them into second place.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fuck You Very Much, NCAA Selection Committee

Perhaps I was rash in my evaluation I posted the other day of UW's chances in the NCAA tournament. I'll admit, I was a bit high off of the Dawgs winning the Pac-10 title outright and figured their momentum would lead them to win the Pac-10 tourney and grab a #2 seed. I was wrong.

The Dawgs struggled versus Standford but managed to pull out the win against a weaker opponent. They were not so lucky when it came to their next opponent, ASU. Perhaps The Dawgs were over-confident from having beat the Sun Devils twice in the regular season or maybe they, too, were high from the events of the week before. Either way UW played a terrible first half and were lucky to end up down only 17 at the break. Despite a big second half run that netted The Dawgs the lead, The Huskies ended up losing by 10.

Maybe the tournament selection committee viewed this as a weakness; perhaps they didn't like UW's pretentious fancy Northwest book learnin' ways; maybe they have a grudge against The Huskies because the girl at work they never have the courage to talk to ended up spurning their weak advances for a UW alum. Who knows? All I know is the NCAA tournament selection committee, for whatever reason, decided to give us a #4 seed in the tourney.

I'm fine with being a #4, The Dawgs had some big losses that ended up hurting them. Getting destroyed against Kansas early on in the season was no good, nor was losing to feeble West Coast conference member University of Portland, and losing to Cal(twice!!!!) didn't help either. What makes me get angry and Hulk out is the bracket we were placed in.

Yes, it's nice being close to home, being able to play in Portland, but having to play a hot Mississippi State team in the opening round is shittay. If UW advances past the Bulldogs, which is no guarantee as they are lean, long and athletic, allowing them to match up with The Dawgs fairly well, they will most likely face Purdue, another streaking team. Provided UW advances past the first two rounds, it looks like our opponent would be our hated rivals, The Evil Huskies of Connecticut aka the team that has bounced us out of the last two Sweet Sixteens.

As much as I would like to take revenge on them by knocking them out of the tourney for once, I don't see that happening. The Match-up of 6'7" John Brockman battling 7'4" monster Hasheem Thabeet for rebounds causes my testicles to retract into my abdomen like a 12 year old boy. I'm not sure my fragile mental state could handle another crushing loss at the hands of our Bizzarro counterparts.

Meanwhile, cross-state douchebags, Gonzaga have a super easy road to the Sweet Sixteen and get to play in Boise. Also über-lucky winners of the fetus weak Big-10, Michigan State get a #2 seed and they, too, have a cake walk to the 16.

So, in closing, I would like to eloquently express my displeasure to the fine sirs of the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.

Dear Gentleman, I know you catch no end of flack for your decisions regarding the seeding and placement of teams for the NCAA tournament. I would just like to take this moment and express my EAT SHIT YOU KNOW-NOTHING KNOW-IT-ALLS! I HOPE YOU DIE FROM GETTING YOUR COLONS PERFORATED BY A GIANT HORSECOCK!!!!! That is all,

Kind Regards,

Willie Mays Haze

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Don't You Ever For Ever For A Second Get To Thinking You're Irreplaceable: Julian Peterson Traded to Detroit

So long muscly arms. We will miss you!

Let this be a lesson to other Seahawks who are asked to take a pay cut some time in the future. If you refuse to rework your contract you'll end up with a fate worse than Hell, being traded to Detroit. After all that's what just happened to Julian Peterson.

After the 'Hawks signed Hoshemazode(Championship!) and Colin Cole(ugh!) they found themselves a little up against the salary cap. They asked JP to restructure his contract and he was unwilling. Tim Ruskell then decided the the best course of action was to trade Julian to the Lions for Corey Redding and a 5th round pick.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this deal yet. I loved JP as a Seahawk. He was one of the most versatile players on our defense. A player that could cover pretty well and could rush the passer like Rosie O'Donnel rushed the buffet line. In his three short years in Seattle Peterson racked up 25 sacks, 9 forced fumbles and 2 ints. Those are some pretty damn impressive numbers.

I'm of the mind set that a great line backing corps, like Seattle had, is a great thing. Thing is, even the best linebackers in the league require their D-line to allow them to eat up blockers make plays. To put it in language that our readers can understand let me equate it to porno. The D-line is like the drugs male porn stars take to go longer. The viewer is amazed at the how long furious the ball-slapping pace has been kept but don't realize that with the mean coke-dick the male lead is sporting 3 hours of solid pounding is nothing to him. It's exactly the same as when viewers are wowed by a linebackers incredible play but pay no attention to the d-lineman taking on double teams like Monica Sweetheart.

Another factor that justifies this move it the fact that Peterson just hit 31. Now, that's not exceptionally old but it is on the down slope of most NFL careers. While Peterson may be a physical freak it is safe to question how many productive seasons he has ahead of him. Leroy Hill, his sensible replacement, while lacking the pure pass rush instincts off Peterson, is still damn good and only 26.

In the trade the Seahawks acquired Corey Redding, a dominant interior defensive lineman. In 2006 Redding, notched up 8 sacks, a healthy number for an interior lineman. He had another solid year in 2007 before sitting out 2008 with injuries. Paired with man-beast Mebane, Redding should help form a formidable wall in the middle of the d-line.

Tim Ruskell's alter ego.

Finally, this move may start massive speculation about the possibility or even need for the 'Hawks to draft LB Aaron Curry out of Wake Forest with our #4 overall pick. I don't think this will be the case.I think there are areas that'd be impacted a lot more with #4 overall talent than linebacker. Another thing to keep in mid is that this years draft is very deep at linebacker and lb is one of the areas Tim Ruskell has shown a Randy West-eqsue eye for up and cumming coming linebacking talent. Hill himself was a fourth rounder and the defensive heart, Lofa Tatupu was drafted in the second. So there is hope that Ruskell would be able to draft a solid linebacker with a later pick and make this trade look even better.

In all I think this was a solid trade, as much as it hurts me to lose such a unique talent in Julian Peterson. The 'Hawks gain cap space and get a solid package return on the out going talent. It will be interesting to see what shape the Seahawks defense rounds into next season.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Seattle Sports Slurry aka I <3 alliteration

A lot has happened in the Seattle Sports Scene in the months that have passed without regular posting. To catch up I'm gonna rundown the various storylines that have cropped up and provide some of my own thoughts as well as links to complement said thoughts. After this I hope to get back to posting regularly on one subject providing my usual ample amounts of snark, porn and drug references mixed in a bit of occasional commentary and attempts at analysis. Enough with the formalities, let's blog!

I think the major occurrence that happened while I was busy neglecting my baby like I was Karl Malone was the return of The Kid. You would be hard pressed to find a fan in Marinerdom that wasn't excited about the return of Ken Griffey Junior to the Mariners, even if he isn't the Junior of old. Many people, including Junior himself are hoping that he will spend a significant amount of time out in the field. Dave over at the always insightful USSM lays out a hell of an argument as to why Junior should see as little time in the field as possible. Basically it comes down the fact that compared to Junior, Raul's terrible defense over the past few years looks gold glove worthy (take that as you will). My hope is that Griffey sees the outfield minimally and platoons at DH the rest of the time. The one downside to Griffey coming back is that the M's front office is no longer forced to find an interesting way of selling this team of relatively unknown, albeit solid, players.

That brings me to my next point, Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners new GM, has done a very solid job of acquiring cheap talent. Many Mariner fans would look at the guys one the 2009 roster and automatically assume we are in for another 100+ loss season. I have to disagree with that idea if for no other reason than defensively we are light years ahead of last years defensively inept team. To the uninformed defense is the third and least important aspect winning baseball games. Hell to some it may be even a distant fourth behind the all-important yet ever so unquantifiable chemistry factor.

To know just how much defense matters I present two examples. The first is the offensive juggernaut that was the 2005 New York Yankees. Despite having an incredibly impressive offense and high-powered pitching staff the Yankees fell short in the playoffs. The reason? That team possessed one of the worst defenses to ever make the playoffs. In the playoffs, when the importance of every out is magnified and runs scored are at a premium a poor defense can be the spark the destroys the Hindenburg.

Conversely, the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, much like the 2001 Mariners relied on their defensive prowess to advance all the way to the World Series. An already solid young pitching staff was augmented by a defense that could convert balls in play into outs, balls that the 2005 Yankees would only be able to make nominal attempts to catch.

With the defensive upgrades and the possibility of a decent amount of production from the DH platoon and first base this team will be better than people think. The AL West is east-coast-pot weak and in the only 4 team division in baseball some people think the M's have a decent shot at winning it. I, for one, am holding out hope.

The Seahawks have the #4 pick in the Draft. Too bad it's a pretty weak draft. There has been a lot of speculation on who The 'Hawks will draft. I have no real idea about what Tim Ruskell is going to do with the #4 overall pick. He moves in mysterious ways. But I would like the Seahawks to get some O-Line depth and find someone that can replace Brian Russel. Because despite the apologists out there that try to cover-up B-Russ' suckitude like holocaust deniers, there is no religious body to destroy the massive amounts of video evidence that display Russel's pure suck.

The Seahawks signed Colin Cole to be paired with man-beast and possible Werewolf by Night, Brandon Mebane at DT. Ostensibly this move will allow Mebane to move to the more disruptive 3-technique tackle where his quickness off the ball and ability to use his leverage to break through blocks will allow him to rush the passer.

Sadly, I don't see this being the case. Not because I don't think Mebane has the skills but because I don't think Cole has the skills. Cole was a back-up on a terrible Packers run defense last season and, when given playing time, was ineffective. That is the football equivalent of being the guitarist for Limp Bizkit after Wes Borland left and being fired. It wasn't as if there is some high standard being set by the person being replaced. So if the replacement performs below the artificially low level set by their predecessor they must really be terrible.

Cole, despite being a seemingly stout 6'1" and 330lbs, fails to hold the point of attack against a double team which was the specific duty he was brought in for. If Cole is blown off the ball easily and fails to command a double team then Brandon Mebane won't have the luxury of seeing one on one match-up to get to the quarterback. If this is the case, it slows Mebane's pass rush considerably and could well be the difference between a hurried and incomplete pass and a complete pass. Let us hope that Red Bryant steps up big time this year and takes over Cole's job.

Steve Sarkesian, former offensive coordinator at perenial powerhouse USC, was hired to turn the UW Football team around. Coming in late to the recruiting process, due to the exit of Tyrone Willingham, Sarkesian managed to put together a respectable recuiting class, despite losing out on a few quality recruits at the last minute.

In his short tenure at Montlake so far Sarkesian has managed to impress. He brings a much needed vitality to the program that was sorely missing under the dour business like approach of Willingham. I wanted Willingham to suceed but by the end it was clear he was not the right man for the job. Already Sarkesian is making a big push for the 2010 recruiting class. Even going so far as to simulate coming out of the tunnel at Husky Stadium complete with smoke and effects. And while technically this is a recruiting violation I enjoy seeing the coach go to such lengths to get kids excited about playing at Montlake again.

While Dawg fans might see more kids leave the program than huge dividends early on, down the road the intensity and results will be there. Already, there is talk of possibly getting Jake Heaps, considered one of the best prospects in the nation to commit early to UW. IF this happens, and that is a big if considering the offers he has in front of him, it would be a huge gain for the Huskies who could use his commitment as a recruiting tool to try and draw in more talent with the lure of playing with Heaps. After enduring the worst season in Husky football history, a strong draft class, especially one highlighted by Heaps, would do a lot to give Dawg fans hope for the future.

That bout does it for my Seattle Sports Slurry. Hopefully you will enjoy my efforts to give you interesting bits of food for thought on the recent major local story lines. I would update you on Sounders FC news but we all know Nobody Likes Soccer.

What Is This Emotion I Am Feeling? Huh-ope-uh, Is That Right? Hope?

Faithful readers, it has been too long since anyone has taken the time out of their busy lives to pay attention to this looker of a blog, as such it has fallen into disrepair. I aim to make that right and get to posting back on here again on a somewhat regular basis. Now, onto the post!

The UW Mens Husky Basketball team won the fuggin Pac-10 outright!!! Take another look at that last sentence and savor it. The team that was predicted to carry on the established 2008 continuity of mediocrity and finish 5th at best in the weakened Pac-10 won the title for the first time since 1953! In a sports year that has left many Seattle sports fans on the ledge ready to jump the UW mens Basketball team has been a comforting voice telling us to step back in the window, things aren't really that bad.

With a number 2 seed within easy reach should the team win the Pac-10 tourney The Dawgs are looking like the real deal. This would almost assure The Dawgs a spot in the sweet 16 and from there only 3 wins removed from the National Championship game. I believe with the deep and balanced squad The Dawgs have this year they have a decent shot at the Final Four, if not beyond.

There are two major things that need to happen for us to go as far as I believe we can. The first is the Dawgs need to knock down their outside shots. Justin Dentmon hit on 43% of his attempts from beyond the arc this season and is going to need to get his groove back after going 5 for his last 25 from deep. If The Dawgs are knocking down their outside shots it makes them an almost impossible team to guard. Their already potent drive and dish game is augmented by the threat of the outside shot and can result in teams biting hard on the pump fake making easy driving lanes.

The second key is dealing with the refs. The Huskies up-tempo fast-breaking style of play starts with a Kyle Gass and Jack Black style Tenacious D. The massive amounts of pressure Washington puts on opposing ball handlers leads to forced shots, long rebounds and turnovers. All are major components in UW's Leonard Little-esque drives to the hoop that often result in trips to the line with the Darryl Strawberry like frequency. But the consistancy of that component of the game was in part due to the often iffy reffing of Pac-10 officials. If the officials in the tourney decide to call a tighter game and stall our agressive advances like the fat friend of the hot girl at the bar the wins necesary to advance to basketball Canaan aka Detroit-WTF?! Who thought it would be a good idea to host the Final Four in a "city" where this happens?-will be much harder to come by.

If the Huskies can have these two factors fall in their favor I think there is a real shot at they will be Detroit bound-again how odd is to want more than anything to punch your ticket going TO Detroit aka the nation's anus?

After a terribly disapointing 2008 sports-wise a deep run into the NCAA tournament for The Dawgs would be a dose of Zoloft the city of Seattle desperately needs.