Wednesday, March 28, 2007

USA in our little town

Sam’s Army rolls into Frisco tonight, and I will be there. I am still a bit disappointed by the butt-kicking our US National Team received last summer at the World Cup, but the boys are moving on and I am trying to join them.

Bruce Arena is the past, and Bob Bradley, although still interim coach, could be the future for the National team. Tonight, we have the rare treat of having a full national team (many times for friendly matches the European employed player stay in Europe) to match up against a pretty hapless Guatemala side.

Sunday, Landon Donovan dominated Ecuador for 3 goals, so big things are expected tonight in Frisco. I hope the ticket sales are going well, but I fear a sea of seats.

According to DuNord these 4 players will not be with the US tonight:

Carlos Bocanegra - Fulham
Brian Carroll - DC United
Tim Howard - Everton
Oguchi Onyewu - Newcastle

Let’s hope that means we will see Green Bay’s Jay DeMerit and Dallas’ Kenny Cooper

Kenny Cooper is enjoying a homecoming of sorts.

The FC Dallas forward is staying at a North Dallas hotel a few minutes from his parents' house and a couple of miles from his alma mater, Jesuit.

Cooper is joined by his teammates on the U.S. men's national team, which is preparing for tonight's match against Guatemala at Pizza Hut Park.

"To be involved with the national team here is very special," said Cooper, 22. "Growing up here, going to high school here, there have been so many people in Dallas who have been so influential in my soccer career. I'm excited."

Whether Cooper will get playing time against Guatemala and his FC Dallas teammate, striker Carlos Ruiz, is not yet clear. He remained on the bench during the U.S.'s 3-1 exhibition win over Ecuador last Sunday in Tampa, Fla.

U.S. manager Bob Bradley, however, is intent on giving other players opportunities tonight and may even start a new lineup.

One thing is for sure: Cooper will have a large contingent of family and friends cheering him on at Pizza Hut Park. The group includes 20 family members, ex-Jesuit classmates and teammates from his days with Solar SC, an area select soccer club.



What: International soccer friendly
Where/when: 8 p.m. today, Pizza Hut Park, Frisco,
Tickets: $18-$125 (214-373-8000)
TV: ESPN2; Galavision in Spanish

About the U.S. F Landon Donovan scored three goals last Sunday against Ecuador, becoming the 10th player in national team history to notch a hat trick. Donovan is tied with Brian McBride for second all-time in U.S. goals; he needs four to catch Eric Wynalda. ... The U.S. is 6-1-4 in matches played in Dallas-Fort Worth. ... Manager Bob Bradley is the first in U.S. history to win his first three matches. Bradley has victories over Ecuador, Denmark and Mexico.

About Guatemala: The Central American team is coming of a 0-0 draw against Barbados. ... Guatemala is 4-9-4 vs. the U.S. All four wins came before 1989. ... The teams will also meet in this summer's Gold Cup in the U.S. ... The national team is 0-2-4 since Hernan Gomez took over as manager last April. The team has scored six goals and allowed nine in that span.

All Quiet on the Gillispie front

A day after feverish speculation that Texas A&M basketball coach Billy Gillispie would bolt for Arkansas, several people in the A&M athletic department, including associate sports information director Colin Killian, said Gillispie spent the day in his office preparing for spring recruiting.

A&M athletic director Bill Byrne and Gillispie offered no public comment for the second day in a row, which continued to fuel the Arkansas speculation.

Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles announced through the school's sports information department that he is beginning a national search to replace Stan Heath, who was fired Monday after back-to-back 20-win seasons that ended in the NCAA Tournament.

Gillispie's name also has been mentioned in regard to the vacancy at Kentucky. The Wildcats appear to be zeroing in on Florida's Billy Donovan, but Gillispie could be next in line. John Calipari was effectively removed from the Kentucky mix when he agreed Monday to an extension with Memphis.

Meanwhile, I have had some time to consider and reconsider my views on Arkansas. I obviously got carried away on the show yesterday by claiming they may not be in my top 30 for college basketball jobs. That is just silly. But, I do stand behind my claim that they do not belong in my top 10 which is what many Razorbacks claim (who seem pretty mad at me).

All I was talking about were jobs that are “no-brainers” when it comes to leaving A&M. I just don’t think the Arkansas job is a job Gillispie has no choice but to accept.

We all know UNC, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and UCLA are the top 5 by any standards. Then to me, Indiana, UConn, Syracuse, Maryland, Arizona, Michigan, Michigan St, LSU, Texas, Ohio St, NC State, Georgia Tech, and Louisville are all jobs that are better, too. (Edit, 9:50am - in running through the ACC, I mixed Wake Forest with Georgia Tech in the first apologies)

So, I have Arkansas is the top 20, but barely.

Street and Smith’s did the historical rankings in 2005, based on many factors that I did not really weigh in mine (like anything accomplished during the peach basket era), but Here is their Top 20

1 University of Kentucky
2 University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
3 University of North Carolina
4 University of Kansas
5 Duke University
6 Indiana University
7 University of Louisville
8 Universtiy of Arkansas
9 Universtiy of Connecticut (UConn)
10 Universtiy of Cincinnati

11 University of Utah
12 Ohio State University
13 Oklahoma State University
14 University of Arizona
15 Syracuse University
16 University of Pennsylvania
17 North Carolina State University
18 St. John's University
19 Princeton University
20 Temple University

So, anyway, Arkansas obviously has a rich tradition and a lot of nice accomplishments. I just don’t think it is a job that if you refuse you will take it to your grave.

How about a 6-0 Roadtrip???
The Mavs crush the Hornets ..

The Mavericks put an exclamation point on the 10-day, 6-0 trek by pounding the playoff-hopeful Hornets 105-89 on Tuesday night at the Ford Center.

The seventh consecutive win pulled the Mavs (59-11) within a victory of the third 60-win season in team history. They face Milwaukee at American Airlines Center tonight.
The Hornets (32-39) took a 39-38 lead in the second quarter with an 11-0 run, prompting a couple of timeouts from Mavs coach Avery Johnson. After the second stoppage, he made several defensive adjustments.

"We had to take two guys out of there who weren't competing defensively," Johnson said. "Once we got some new guys in there, we picked it back up."

Stackhouse, Jason Terry and DeSagana Diop subbed in for Devean George, Erick Dampier and an ill Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs responded with an 11-0 run.

The Mavs' lead would grow back to 12 at the half (56-44) before reaching 25 in the third quarter and 31 in the fourth.

Josh Howard led the Mavs' attack with 25 points, most coming on smooth jumpers.

Speaking of 6-0, the Stars roll up 6 against the Coyotes

At 46-24-6 (98 points), the Stars are two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific. They have a potential tiebreaker edge with two more wins than the Ducks.

With the return of Steve Ott from ankle surgery, the Stars were so annoying, the Coyotes drew two 10-minute misconduct penalties and a game misconduct.

"Otter, I think, really got us going," said center Mike Ribeiro, who had two goals and an assist. "After he got in a few scraps, the game really picked up."
And now, the Stars have two challenging games against the conference's top two teams. They play at Detroit on Friday and at Nashville on Saturday.

"This is exactly where we want to be," Ott said. "We have to play every game like it's a playoff game, because the points are that valuable. We have a chance to accomplish a lot of things before the playoffs start."

Dallas appears to be getting close to where it needs to be. While the two victories over Phoenix (Dallas beat the Coyotes, 4-3, in a shootout Saturday) have been uneven at times, the Stars have found ways to win.

Mix that with a 3-2 overtime loss to Anaheim on Friday that was played with postseason intensity, and Dallas is reaching playoff gear.

"You just feel like the team is playing better," Ribeiro said.
The Stars also are getting healthy. The return of Ott and Brenden Morrow has provided a more physical edge and given coach Dave Tippett options for juggling lines.

And Dallas is starting to score goals (16 in the last four games) while getting continued strong goaltending (eight goals allowed in the last four games).

John Tavares is good ….

John Tavares hasn't yet gotten around to getting his drivers license. That's hardly normal behavior for a typical 16-year old.

Then again, it's not the typical 16-year-old who erases Wayne Gretzky's name from the record books, either.

When Tavares scored his 71st goal on Saturday for the Ontario Hockey League's Oshawa Generals, he passed the remarkable standard of 70 set in 1978 by the 16-year-old soon-to-be Great One. On Sunday, the season's closing night in the OHL, Tavares added a goal and three assists, driving his totals to 72-62-134 in 62 games, good for second place in the league scoring race behind London's Patrick Kane (62-83-145).
Another Gretzky in the making? You can tap the brakes. But Tavares has used this amazing season to establish himself as a potential NHL tentpole in the mold of Sidney Crosby.

By way of comparison, the 16-year-old Crosby went 54-81-135 for Rimouski in the run 'n' gun Quebec league. Tavares' 72 goals are the most anyone of any age has scored in the OHL since 19-year-old Ray Sheppard netted 81 for the Cornwall Royals in 1985-86.

Jet Blue seems pretty cool

Television screens at each seat with live satellite broadcasts are a feature that has changed the in-flight experience for sports fans and nonfans alike, virtually creating a sports bar in the sky. Fans can follow the action, but they do not always do it discreetly.

“I can always tell when something exciting has happened, good or bad,” said Natalie Ordakowski, a flight attendant for Frontier Airlines. “Everyone lets out a huge roar. They throw their hands up in the air or tease one another. We definitely sell a lot more liquor when games are on.”

Joan Vincenz, the managing director for product marketing at Delta Air Lines, said, “We have people whooping or crying when their team is winning or losing.”
Major sporting events like the N.C.A.A. tournament or the World Cup stir fans’ passions, and some of those fans find themselves on airplanes during their teams’ games.

“This is the reason I travel with JetBlue,” said Adams, who watched Ohio State prevail in the Round of 8. “It’s better than whatever foolish movie they usually have on planes.”

A spokesman for JetBlue, which offers 36 channels of DirecTV, said that ESPN consistently ranked among the three most-watched channels. A spokesman for Frontier, where customers pay $5 to use a 24-channel system, said ESPN was the most-watched station by far.

JetBlue was the first airline to offer live satellite television; when the airline
started in 2000, all of its planes had small, seatback screens. In 2002, it acquired LiveTV, which installs seatback televisions and equips planes with satellite systems. Frontier purchased its systems from LiveTV, and as of 2005, all its airplanes were equipped with televisions. On Delta, Dish Network satellite television is available only on cross-country flights from Kennedy.

Airlines must negotiate the specific set of satellite TV channels they want to carry. Sometimes sporting events are not included among the channels, so the airline can try to work out a special arrangement. Frontier has done this for several years to allow passengers to watch the Super Bowl.

“On that one day a year, we negotiate with DirecTV and LiveTV to basically replace a channel with the station broadcasting the Super Bowl,” said Joe Hodas, a spokesman for Frontier, which has not made such an arrangement for the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament or the World Series.

JetBlue regularly carries CBS, so sports fans can watch the N.C.A.A. tournament and the Super Bowl, among other events.

CJ Wilson offers this comedy

Monkey-ed Dumb and Dumber

Braveheart Monkeyed


Jake said...

Hmmm...BCG not leaving after all???

Could be wrong about this but don't mail him in as left.

I don't know if I would have offered Wake on that list Bob minus Timmy Duncan.

Clinton-Oprah for President

Brad said...

Sports bar in the sky? Sounds like good times.

The Stars game last night was better times. Ribiero is awesome. How many F bombs per game does Gretzky drop on the bench over there while yelling at the zebras?

Go Mamricks.


CFB123 said...

Yep, BCG is staying because A&M came up with the BIG bucks, more than what Arkansas could do. I'll admit I'm shocked they were willing to pay $2 million per year for a basketball coach, but good for them. At least he actually earns and deserves the big bucks unlike the football coach there...

artfromtex said...

your blog is part of my daily rituals.

but, dude, waaaayyyy too much soccer today, Bob.


cracker1743 said...

Jet Blue's good if you like watching sports while nosediving into the Everglades. Thanks, but no.

TheDude said...

Ah, that's ValuJet, not JetBlue. Although a lot of people are claiming JetBlue was anti-'Mercan because they use AirBus (i.e., a French company) airliners.

Kam Loe is getting screwed.

C'mon BCG, sign the papers already. You got what you wanted, now stay here in Texas. You have all your teeth and don't belong in Arkansas.

Poncenomics said...

Bob, Bob, Bob...

You've got to be kidding me. You're showing massive Big 10 bias by listing Michigan, Michigan St., and Ohio St. ahead of Arkansas on your list of top college b-ball jobs. But at least they've got SOME semblance of history.

But Georgia Tech? LSU? Texas? Those schools have a combined...ONE National Championship. ONE, LSU in 1935!!! What, do you think Shaq and Maravich make it a storied program? You think TJ Ford and Kevin Durant make Texas that great? And GEORGIA TECH? Are you crazy? What, are we supposed to be impressed by their 2 Final Four appearances? Their title game appearance in '04? Are the mention of John Salley and Mark Price are supposed to make me "ooh" and aah?" Give me a freaking break.

Just admit it, if BCG moved from A&M to Arkansas, it would be a definite step up. Just like Arkansas to A&M would be a step up for a football coach.

Georgia Tech...still can't believe it.

cracker1743 said...

Thanks for the correction, Dude. I was wondering where all the outrage was when JetBlue started advertising. Imagine my embarrasment if I'd actually picketed their front desk. Guess I'd better toss those "You killed Walter Hyatt, you bastards!" signs.

(FYI -- Walter Hyatt was an amazing Texas singer/songwriter who died in the ValuJet crash. I still miss him.)

ChazHelms said...

Thanks for the info on the US National soccer team game. It's always good to hear about a home-town boy making it on the big stage of his chosen sport! Go Kenny Cooper!

I know some folks can't handle any soccer in their diet - but it is actually a very intense sport - growing up on Football and Saturday Night lights in Texas didn't really prepare for understanding the sport when I was first introduced to it - but now? I am sold. Especially when it is something as elite as the national team - The Dream Team if you will, of the very best soccer athletes from the USA all in one place - kind of like the Olympics.

And the tailgate parties are awesome!

Back to March Madness...