Clipped: Why LA is done

An organization divided

An organization divided

They stood there in defiance. A team against an owner. The basketball team with no name, but with a loud message. “We do not support our owner”!

There is no question that the LA Clippers are in the center of a storm of controversy. In the past 24 hours, Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling has been accused of making racist remarks towards African-Americans. He even went so far as saying that he didn’t want them to attend Clippers games! This isn’t even the first time this has happen. In 2006, the U.S. department of justice sued Sterling for 2.75 million dollars for not allowing blacks to rent his apartments.

The fact that this man could make these comments is revolting. Nobody, and I mean nobody should judge others based on race. Excuse me Mr. Sterling. Aren’t you a business owner? You shouldn’t care if a person is black, white, blue, purple, or clear if they pay premium money to support your team!

After this bombshell it is clear that the title hopes for the Clippers have pretty much gone out the window. Now I know that many of you will say they are still one of the most talented teams in the league with a great head coach, and I would agree. However, it’s hard enough to win with any distractions especially one of this magnitude. Besides who wants to play for this man? Would you really risk your body for a man who clearly does not feel that way about other people? Even with the team still intact and beyond the fact that the team is protesting the owner, the big question is what next?

When the playoffs are over and if Sterling is still the owner  of the franchise, I have a strong feeling that there is going to be problems within the organization. I cannot see Doc Rivers wanting to work for this organization if Sterling is still in charge. Don’t forget the players. Would Deandre Jordan and Chris Paul want to play for a racist? I can’t see it.

While the Clippers still are in the playoff race and could potentially compete for the title, the next few months will without question be trying. With a team that was smacked in game four 118-97, and who protested the game by refusing top wear the Clippers logo in warm ups, it is clear this team does not want to play for Sterling. With a distraction like this, I see no way that the Clippers will make the finals, let alone make a run in the postseason. While the fallout from this incident still remain to be seen, there is no question that there is no fun in the sun for the Los Angeles Clippers organization right now.

 

Can they be stopped? When will the Heat’s reign end?

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The Big Three now go for the three peat

The 2013-2014 NBA season has many captivating story lines. Derrick Rose’s injury, Kobe’s bout against father time, and Eastern Conference’s futility. Still, no NBA team is stirring up more controversy and headlines then a certain team from South Beach. The NBA’s evil empire, the Miami Heat.

With the opportunity to three peat as champions and join some of the league’s most storied teams, the heat is on in Miami. The question is can a David step up and topple the mighty Goliath? Can any team upset the Heat and spoil their quest of dominance? The reloaded Nets and the Bulls struggles have many doubting their ability to knock King James of his throne. Can a team from the Wild West such as the Thunder, Clippers, or Spurs be able to shock the Big Three? Without question the Heat are the lightning rod for attention in the NBA.

Whether its Lebron’s legacy, the team’s health, it’s fans, or just the animosity that no other team seems to get attention in the NBA, the Heat are the logical focal point. It’s understandable why this team is hated so much. The best player in the NBA leaves his hometown team and community to create an all-star team just to win championships. Theres the constant media attention where the top NBA story always involves Miami. It doesn’t matter if Kevin Durant drops 50 points for the Thunder because ESPN  needs to analyze James’ supporting cast for the hundredth time. Miami is despised for having the worst fans in sports, who only either care about the team when they are winning or are so spoiled because they have jumped on the best team bandwagon. Heat fans are always complaining for no good reason! Why? Now idea, they’ve won three championships in a decade so what’s the problem? However, the biggest reason the Heat are hated is because they are the best.

They have Lebron James, and your team doesn’t. Their arrogance and cockiness about being the best team drives NBA fans crazy. This team just thinks it will be a breeze to win another championship. However, I think there is another thing at play here. People still love Michael Jordan. The fact that Lebron is threatening what many claim is the NBA’s greatest legacy strikes a nerve within die-hard NBA fans. Then you hear the criticism and laundry list of reasons why Lebron James will never surpass his Airness. The points, position, competition, the list goes on and on and on. The fact that Lebron threatens one of if not the most beloved player in NBA history, and the way he has achieved his success, just riles up Jordan supporters who will try to find any flaws within James’ game. However, there is no question that right now there is no better player in the NBA.

The question shouldn’t be if Lebron James is the best player in the NBA, he is, but is there a basketball team that is constructed better than the Heat right now? Is there such a team whose sum of parts will equal a greater team then the Heat? Obviously, Lebron skews this equation by being the best player in the game, but is there a roster whose depth and overall talent can expose the Heat’s flaws of being a team built on three players? These are the questions that teams in the NBA must answer. I think there is such a team. With so much talent in the NBA and a few teams with loaded and lethal rosters, it might be when not if the Heat are eliminated from contention this year. Will Lebron hoist his third trophy, or will some other superstar begin their own Hall of Fame legacy? We await with bated breath to find out if the King will get another ring, or if his mighty empire will be failed be a worth adversary.

Why Nick Saban shouldn’t coach in the NFL again

Saban has built a dynasty in Alabama, but he shouldn't consider going back to the NFL

Saban has built a dynasty in Alabama, but he shouldn’t consider going back to the NFL

College football has been slammed by a red tidal wave for the past five years. More specifically, the Alabam Crimson Tide. As they continue to be the premier team in college football they owe their dominance to their architect and leader, Nick Saban. All great empire’s have had supreme rulers at the helm. Rome had Caesar, France had Napoleon, and the Yankees had George Steinbrenner. Nick Saban towers over the college football landscape, from his throne in Tuscaloosa. The emperor of college football, with three national championships for Alabama has concurred every mountain and obstacle college football has thrown at him. However, this doesn’t mean that Saban should abandon his kingdom  to stake his claim in the NFL.

Many feel that Saban has accomplished everything that a college coach could dream of. Multiple national championships, championships at different schools, and built a college football super power. Despite his accomplishments, Saban shouldn’t coach in the NFL, unless he is completely committed. He’s been there before, two years with the Dolphins with a sub par 15-17 record that gave him a bad reputation as the so-called “Nicktator” in Miami. NFL teams aren’t also banging down the door for Saban either, and they shouldn’t. He’s already had a chance that ended in mediocrity and scandal when Saban signed with Alabama despite still being under contract with the Dolphins. Now why would a team take a shot on Saban? He’s already proven that if it doesn’t work out, he will look to find the next best opportunity. Plus why should he leave college? He just signed an extension that will pay him over seven million dollars a year. He has a higher salary then mostNFL coaches. If anything, if Saban really wants a so-called challenge it should be at another school. Say he wants to get out of Bear Bryant’s shadow, go do something that

Why go back to mediocrity in the NFL when Saban could be the greatest college coach in history?

Why go back to mediocrity in the NFL when Saban could be the greatest college coach in history?

no coach has ever done, win a national title at three different schools. With only tepid interest from NFL team’s and Saban’s poor handling of both the media and professional athletes, why go be mediocre in the NFL when Saban could become a college legend. Heck he’s already won four and likely on his way to his fifth National Championship. Saban is in striking distance of the coaches record for most national titles, including Alabama’s Bear Bryant’s mark, which is six. If he does go to another school he will have won three National Championships at three different schools and when it’s all said and done Saban has a great opportunity to win the most National titles of any coach in history.

While on paper Saban looks like an NFL ready coach, he is not. He may churn out the top prospects and titles, but it’s not that easy in the NFL. Saban can’t recruit the best players like in college and he has to win over professional athletes. Those tirades may work on college kids, but not on NFL veterans. They know what to do, they don’t need someone screaming in their ear every five seconds. True, Saban is a great defensive mind, but his lack of a creative offense makes him a difficult hire. Don’t forget, Alabama’s talent level is head and shoulders above everybody else in college football, just look at last years championship game. In the NFL, Saban will be on a level playing even or below the playing field depending on what team hires him. He won’t have the most talented team, and most likely have one of the least talented teams if a team were to hire him. Without the talent, Saban faces a difficult challenge just to be competitive. Let’s see if I was Nick Saban do I want the best team in college football or one of the worst teams in the NFL? Look, Saban might want to prove he is an NFL coach and might go that route, but I believe that he’s tried that already and with the lack of success in the pros ultimately means that we won’t see Saban in the NFL again. As long as he is coaching, there will always be rumors of the Nicktator returning to the NFL, but that is highly unlikely. If anything, listen to the college rumors around Saban. I see Saban “Hooking them horns” long before patrolling an NFL sideline. Whether he chooses to continue to build his Alabama empire, or take on a new challenge at Texas, one thing is for certain, Saban will try to be the greatest college coach ever. Sorry NFL, the big fish is going to stay in the small pond. Do you think Saban will return to NFL? Take our poll and comment below! 

The ones who didn’t get away : SMU college football’s greatest mistake.

With the "Pony Express" of Eric Dickerson and Craig James, SMU became one of college football's greatest dynasties

With the “Pony Express” of Eric Dickerson and Craig James, SMU became one of college football’s greatest dynasties

SMU. What do these three letters mean to you? Don’t worry take a few seconds. Done? Ok good. My guess is that you have no idea what those three letters stand for. It’s ok, you can thank the NCAA for that. Back in the early 1980’s the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University, SMU, fielded one of the greatest team’s in college football history. From 1981-194 the Mustangs would be 41-5-1 with three conference championships. Not only that, but they had arguably had the greatest backfield tandem with NFL greats Eric Dickerson and Craig James. So what happened to them? Why does none know of this great football dynasty? One word: money. If I was to list all of the NCAA football programs who have made illegal payments to student athletes, it would take forever. A few do come to mind though; USC, Miami, Ohio State, Alabama, and Kentucky just to name a few. Why is SMU different? Well they were the ones that were penalized the most. What happened was that SMU boosters were actually signing players to professional contracts to come play college football. Just ask Dickerson, where the most common joke is that he took a pay cut when he came to the NFL. All of a sudden after Ron Meyer took over a struggling program in 1978, SMU soon became a recruiting juggernaut. In 1979 Eric Dickerson was the most sought after player in high school football. While originally committing to Texas A&M, which itself was shady because he somehow wound up with a gold Trans-Am, at the last-minute Dickerson decided to commit to SMU. Many coaches and fans were left wondering, how the heck is SMU getting all these players? During the eighties the team would be hit with sanction after sanction when it became apparent that SMU had been giving incentives to its players. In 1984 the program was put on probation for two seasons after it was discovered that an offensive lineman, Sean Stopperich, had been given money and a house for his family from SMU alums. After this probation the NCAA created the so-called “Death Penalty” for second time offenders to the NCAA rules. After two 6-5 seasons, SMU would find itself in the crosshairs of the NCAA. After not being

David Stanley blew the lid off the SMU program

David Stanley blew the lid off the SMU program

allowed to join the team after a drug problem, linebacker David Stanley interviewed with Dallas Channel 8 and exposed that SMU was still paying players even after the 1985 probation. The main reason SMU didn’t stop the payments is because they knew that if they stopped the payments, someone would talk. After the news broke, the NCAA decided to act. On February 25, 1987 the NCAA banned the SMU football program from playing any games or scholarships as the program was issued the “Death Penalty”. With the death of the SMU program, the lone star state lost not only lost the only major college football team in the state’s largest metropolis Dallas, but it exposed a rampant problem of illegally recruiting throughout the state of Texas. To make matters worse, the chairman of SMU who has promised to clean up the program was none other than Texas governor Bill Clements. Think about it, the governor of the state didn’t stop a cheating scandal for a college football program.  After the Death Penalty, SMU’s top players were allowed to 1smuthe University, which a vast majority of them did. It wasn’t until 1989 when the SMU football program would return to the field. However, with their reputation and a crack down on recruitment, SMU found it impossible to recruit the same talent they had before. Marred the scandal the program the Mustangs were forced to join Conference USA after the SWC dissolved. Despite the move from 1989-2009,  SMU would only have one winning season. Despite a recent resurgence in the program, including moving into the American Athletic Conference, the program still is nowhere near being a national competitor like in the early eighties. While only time will tell use how Penn State’s probation will affect the school long-term, it’s clear it will not be as severe as SMU. While many of the schools today get put on probation or might lose some scholarships or bowl appearances, it doesn’t come close to suspending the entire program for two seasons. Did SMU deserve to get slammed for its actions? Absolutely! Did it deserve the opportunity to compete for thirty years? No. After the Death Penalty was issued and the impact of the decision was realized, it’s my personal opinion that the NCAA will never issue another Death Penalty again. First there is too much money at stake, especially if they ever had to get rid of a top program for one year. Also, I believe the NCAA thought that SMU could recover, but after realizing the damage it did, the NCAA will not put another program through the same turmoil. Just look at Penn State. This was a program

The legacy of SMU still lingers, especially with all the corruption that still surrounds college football

The legacy of SMU still lingers, especially with all the corruption that still surrounds college football

that had egregious crimes, and while they did get severely penalized, they were allowed to keep their program. Of all the people who suffered the most from SMU’s penalty, it was the kids. The fans, and athletes who didn’t get money were being punished for something that they weren’t involved in. Why should a whole school, football program, and city suffer for the bad decisions of a few individuals? While Penn State fans are upset about their bowl appearances and Joe Paterno’s wins being forfeited, but they still have a competitive team to root for. SMU had to go two years without a team to cheer for and have gone almost thirty years without a team that they could dream would be in the hunt for a National title. I hope SMU can get there one day. While it is a steep climb to the top, this program has been steadily moving the right direction for the past couple of seasons. This is a team that I think a lot of fans can get behind. A team and fan base that has gone through so much finally rising from the ashes and reaching upward. Being a UCONN fan myself, I’m ecstatic the SMU Mustangs are joining the AAC. They are a team on the rise and a team that once again could make some national noise in the future. Who knows, maybe one day SMU fans the Pony Express will ride once again.