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90 Seconds: Tuesday, April 12, 2011

90 Seconds Tile

One Great Season

+ Jenn Sterger, you are not an entertainer. You are little more than a hot young girl. Personality and fake boobs are not things to bullet-point on a resume; what is actually on yours? You told GMA today it was never your intention to play the role of the victim, but that's precisely how you came off in the interview you chose to grant. You claim that once this storm hit, folks called you a gold-digger and a home-wrecker. OGS buys that you're not those things, and also believes the pain you feel is very real. But if you're not either of those derogatory things, can you admit to being a slight attention-whore? From your outfits at Florida State games and Playboy shoots to being an ill-qualified television sports personality, welcome again to the world to which you so desperately sought entree.

+ Don't expect the point-shaving scandal at the University of San Diego to amount to much, unfortunately. This should be a huge story, but because it doesn't involve big-name stars or programs like Cam Newton or Ohio State, it won't get the coverage. But to me, the scumbags who step to players to ask them to fix games are dirtier than any street pimps, AAU thugs or dads named Cecil. Hundred-dollar postgame handshakes are one thing, but asking a broke-ass college athlete to influence the outcome of a game is far worse.

+ A full analysis on the Miami Heat's postseason chances is coming to the pages of OGS soon, but I have to make a quick point here. Too often we hear athletes talk about how they as individuals or their teams have overcome adversity. It's such a terrible cliche. But from the minute the Heat organized that embarrassing look-at-me circus last summer, they've grown and improved and developed some necessary chemistry. I won't be rooting for LeBron and Co., but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Heat come out of the East.


The Daily Q: Monday, April 11, 2011

The Daily Q Tile

One Great Season

I'm not a golf writer, but OGS has watched enough major championships over the years to at least pretend to sound knowledgeable about the gentleman's game. And considering there were five guys at -10 on the back nine at one point, was yesterday's final round the best Sunday at Augusta you can remember?

90 Seconds: Monday, April 11, 2011

90 Seconds Tile

One Great Season

+ Lost in the shuffle of one of the best Masters weekends in recent memory was the huge upset in Saturday's $1 million Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. That's horse racing, y'all. Uncle Mo is the Kentucky Derby favorite no mo, as the Wood's 1-9 first choice finished third behind winner Toby's Corner and Arthur's Tale. Uncle Mo's trainer, Todd Pletcher, who finally won his first Kentucky Derby with Super Saver last year, said that while he's discouraged, the loss doesn't mean he won't start Uncle Mo in the run for the roses on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

+ It's funny that when Urban Meyer announced his retirement in December, many foolishly speculated the Ohio native would take a year off from coaching, then succeed Jim Tressel, who would perhaps retire to an athletic department executive's office after Terrelle Pryor's senior season in Columbus next year. But the Senator might step down for other reasons, and perhaps sooner than the end of the 2011 season. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Meyer patrolling the sidelines at Ohio Stadium in the very near future.

+ Not sure how he kept it a secret, but OGS friend Steve Lavin was diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. Because it was detected early, doctors told the St. John's basketball coach he could put off treatment until now. The school made the announcement on Friday, and in a statement Lavin said he didn't want to be a distraction. Well, he was a distraction. He and his Red Storm were disturbing the college basketball landscape by winning big games and making Queens a destination once more. He turned the program around in fewer than 12 months and although he's losing 10 seniors, he's got a huge recruiting class coming in for the 2011-12 season. OGS wishes Lavin a speedy recovery.


90 Seconds: Friday, April 8, 2011

90 Seconds Tile

One Great Season

Welcome to "90 Seconds," where we here at OGS will riff on three quick points in the sports world each morning. We encourage feedback, debate, or even spam in the Comments section. OK, not spam.

1) If LeBron James is 26, then his mother, Gloria, must be at least, 42, right? So she's still young enough that I can't fault her for being out at 5 a.m. at a South Beach hotel nightclub, but it's funny how money changes people. Do you think she ever had a beef with the valet service in Akron 10 years ago?

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Jim Nantz: Who Said What On Twitter?

Picture Of Jim Nantz

One Great Season

America doesn't hate Jim Nantz, but Twitter does.

As long as he keeps it basic and focuses on the nuts and bolts, Nantz is an excellent play-by-play guy and anyone would love to have his job.

But when he tries to get cute, that's when his many critics grow fangs. The funny thing is, the times where he tries to go off-script are the times when he seems the most painfully rehearsed.

His "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Top Dog" and "Best In Show" lines only sounded scripted because, well, they were. And Twitter lit him up for it without hesitation. Here's a sampling:

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National Championship Game: Who Said What?

One Great Season

The OGS Twitter Recap team compiled a sampling of some of the better Tweets during and after Monday's national championship game. Enjoy!

+ @BrettmcmurphY: "If this was football, this would be the best Independence Bowl ever!"

+ @bomani_jones: "'Both of these teams are prone to droughts' = 'neither of these teams is very good.'"

Click to read more ...


The Ultimate Morganette Is ...

Picture of Morganette Kelly

One Great Season

The men's basketball champion won't be crowned for another hour or so, but the Captain Morgan BracketMaster Challenge winner has been announced.

Representing Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kelly has earned the title of the 2011 Ultimate Morganette.

OGS and our partner Morganette, Toledo Katie, extend a huge congratulations to Kelly, as well as her partner blogger, Josh Estrin, of and Celeb Buzzz.

OGS thanks once more the fine people at Captain Morgan and Taylor Strategy, as well as those who voted for the OGS-Katie team, and congratulates every Morganette and partner blogger who competed:

Jenny - Hugging Harold Reynolds
Alanna - Blogs With Balls
Niki - Ego TV
Katie D. - Gunaxin
Katie P. - One Great Season
Emily - Socially Superlative
Monica - Brahsome
Roxanne - Terez Owens
Danielle V. - BroBible
Rachel - Busted Coverage
Heather - Don Chavez
Danielle B. - Arrowhead Addict
Maya - Sports Crackle Pop
Katherine - Sports Hernia
Erin - The Rugged
Alexis - With Leather
Mary - Black Sports Online
Kelly - Examiner
Ashley - Guyism
Erica M. - Man Jr.
Tiffany - Next Round
Luiza - PlunderGuide
Brenda - The Bachelor Guy
Jeannine - Uncoached
Nicole - COED Magazine
Jacquelyn - Deuce of Davenport
Stephanie - Hoop Doctors
Natalia - Joe Sports Fan
Angie - Mankind Unplugged
Erica V. - Midwest Sports Fans
Hope - Strait Pinkie
Yeni - That Sports Babe


Predicting Jim Nantz's Horrible Call Tonight

Picture Of Jim Nantz

One Great Season

Remember when Connecticut won its last national championship in 2004? Emeka Okafor was the star of that Huskies team, and as the final seconds counted down and UConn had its win over Georgia Tech sealed, CBS play-by-play veteran Jim Nantz barked out "The mecca (see what he did there?) of college basketball is in Storrs, Connecticut."

And a few years earlier, when Mateen Cleaves and Michigan State won it all, Nantz tried a little "You can leave it to Cleaves" gag that was equally weak.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of the job, Nantz is obviously a skilled broadcaster. But when he tries to venture out and do what he surely thinks is clever, that's when he gets in trouble. Just because a pun or any kind of word play is available, it doesn't mean you have to say it out loud.

MORE: Complete NCAA Tournament Coverage

So what do you think his call will be tonight? Here are a few guesses from the OGS Fortune-Telling team:

If Butler wins:

+ "The Butler Did It"
+ "Howard's End"
+ "Mack The Knife"

+ If Connecticut wins:

+ "Walker, Texas Champion"
+ "Walker This Way"
+ "Yes, U-Conn"

Share your guess with OGS.


The 10 Best NCAA Championship Games Since 1979

One Great Season

Last year, we counted down the top 10 NCAA Championship games since 1979.

Today, we give you the list once more for easy Friday page-views (click on the game for a short summary):

  1. Michigan State over Indiana State, 1979
  2. Connecticut over Duke, 1999
  3. North Carolina over Georgetown, 1982
  4. Syracuse over Kansas, 2003
  5. Michigan over Seton Hall, 1989
  6. Kansas over Memphis, 2008
  7. Indiana over Syracuse, 1987
  8. Arizona over Kentucky, 1997
  9. Villanova over Georgetown, 1985
  10. North Carolina State over Houston, 1983

Opening Day: What's So Great About It?

What's So Great About Opening Day?

One Great Season

OGS Surveys two days in a row? Could life be any better?

Len Berman, Sports Broadcasting Legend — Winter's over. Everyone's in first place.

Mark Ennis, College Football Blogger — The best thing about Opening Day is that everyone still has a chance. That's something that doesn't last for long in baseball, so you have to enjoy it while you can.

John Fay, Cincinnati Reds Beat Writer — It's the start of summer, even though it happens in the spring, often in bad weather. In Cincinnati, it's almost like a holiday. Everyone is into it. Baseball season is so long that you know for the next month or two everyone has a chance. Opening Day is about possibilities.

>> More OGS Surveys

Jeff Garcia, San Antonio Spurs Blogger — What makes MLB Opening Day great is knowing summer is under way, fans gathering and filling in the stadium seats, and the expectations each fan carries, hoping their team is in contention for the pennant.

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Survey: What's Your Most Memorable March Madness Moment?

One Great Season

Just a few days left of the NCAA Tournament. Despite a hectic few weeks rocking the BracketMaster Challenge, the OGS Survey Team found a minute to reach out to friends and compile this collection of their most memorable March Madness moments:

Len Berman, Sports Broadcasting Legend — Two-part answer: Single game, Villanova's monumental upset of Georgetown. Single moment, Jimmy Valvano running around the court after NC State beat Houston.

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BracketMaster in Las Vegas: Who Said What?

One Great Season

We know you like our Twitter Recap editions, but this one is a little bit different. Typically on OGS, we'll compile a dozen or two strong Tweets when a big sports story is trending, but this segment is a small collection of some of the more memorable Tweets from the phones of the BracketMaster crew that just got done tearing up Las Vegas. Enjoy!

+ @Gunaxin: "Captain Morgan's job doesn't suck one bit #bracketmaster"

+ @clutch_22: "At awesome dinner w/Captain Morgan at FiAMMA. Head mixologist for @mgmgrand just brought a special Captain Morgan cocktail 2 @COEDMagazine!"

+ @cmatthews58: "Capt Morgan can throw 1 hell of a party @mikearone @BroBible @COEDMagazine @Gunaxin @egotv @clutch_22 @onegreatseason @realcinch @antdom15"

+ @COEDMagazine: "Gonna dominate Vegas tonight with @onegreatseason @BroBible @celebbuzzz @Gunaxin @egotv @clutch_22 @cmatthews58 @realcinch @AntDom15"

+ @cmatthews58: "False RT @AntDom15: @onegreatseason @cmatthews58 @BroBible and @COEDMagazine are entering an epic fail at getting it in. #imwinning"

+ @AntDom15: "It's only Friday?! Vegas is #winning."

+ @realcinch: "Learning about alcohol. Absinthe is not the devil."

+ @Gunaxin: "Back to the Mirage for bottle service at Jet. Some of these ladies need to get off the stage."

+ @onegreatseason: "I'm learning what a great dude @cmatthews58 is to hang with, but someone needs to talk to him about the straw from which he drinks."

+ @AntDom15: "6:20 am. Laying in bed thinking about what I just did the past 3 days. I have no recollection."

+ @AntDom15: "I have a suspicious feeling today is going to suck. Just a hunch. #vegaswins"

+ @AntDom15: "@mikearone @cmatthews58 @onegreatseason @brobible @gunaxin @realcinch @coedmagazine #whatssleep #callmymom #tuckmein #gotitin #yeahbuddy."

+ @mikearone: "@cmatthews58 @AntDom15 @onegreatseason @BroBible @Gunaxin @realcinch @COEDMagazine #missionaccomplished #gotitin #imsofuckingtired"

+ @Celebbuzzz: "@SPIKE_TV thnx for one hell of a #bracketmaster more legs than a bucket o chicken!!!!"


BracketMaster Weekend Reaches Epic Levels

Picture of Captain Morgan

One Great Season

What do you get when you mix some digitial influencers, 16 thoroughly sweet Morganettes and an endless supply of Captain Morgan, all in Las Vegas?

An epic weekend, of course.

That's precisely what went down in Sin City, and I'm proud to claim I survived it. Let's get to the thank-yous:

Christian Matthews is the fine young man at Taylor Strategy who got me involved in this project. I certainly owe him more than a beer if he ever makes it back to New York. His colleague at Taylor, Julie Miller, drew the unlucky assignment of serving as my main contact, gracefully fielding my whiny emails throughout the BracketMaster competition.

Also from Taylor, Jordana Bruner is a total gamer. Not only deserving of full props for all her great work, but also for not missing any game time despite battling a cold and losing her voice. Splendid effort.

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March Truly Mad In Kentucky

One Great Season

Wondering what it's like to work in news in Kentucky during the NCAA Tournament?

OGS did for a few years, and it can be tons of fun, but it's certainly not without a high level of stress. We reached out to some old Louisville friends to get their thoughts on what it's like to cover the madness of March in the hoops-mad Bluegrass.

Mike Mudd, assistant sports editor, the Louisville Courier-Journal:

I make it a point never to schedule a doctor's appointment or a health screening or anything like that during March. And with good reason: I would be scared to death to see what my blood-pressure reading is during these couple of weeks of March Madness.

During the three weeks of the NCAA Tournament and the boys' and girls' Sweet 16 high school tournaments, the atmosphere here in the office to produce and process all the sports sections is like watching the movie Apollo 13. It's like the controlled chaos of mission control at NASA. And much of the time, something is going wrong or not working out like you thought it would. Stories don't fit, breaking news happens, upsets happen, copy and photos run late or — even worse — they crash and disappear in the publishing system. It's all part of our own March Madness.

During a given evening in March, we may have both Louisville and Kentucky playing NCAA games, our local women's teams playing, high school state basketball tournament games (sometimes early in the tournament numbering four games a day), and that's not counting the rest of the tournaments and the rest of the sports world to try and fit into the paper. We start each day at about 5 p.m. and don't stop sprinting on our computers until about 1 a.m. During that time, we may have switched our plans how to play everything three or four times. Editors juggle up to seven or eight stories per night, and layout folks juggle up to six or seven pages.

To give you an indication of how much manpower it takes to produce all this, it's a long-standing tradition at the C-J that the entire month of March is blacked out for vacations. Reporters, editors, clerks, layout editors, head-honchos, you name it, no one is allowed to take time off. In fact, an average overtime total for the month of March just for the night sports desk can run upwards of 60-70 hours.

If you like the adrenaline of deadlines and the real rush of sustained stress, there's no better place to be than in a sports newsroom during March. It's all the more reason why I tell people I don't root for any single team to win; I root for all of them to lose!

Kent Taylor, Sports Director, WAVE-TV:

March Madness in Kentucky is just that — MADNESS!

You could work for 30 days in a row, doing your own laundry on the road. Or a last-second shot could send you home early. It's a magical time because there is so much hope and anticipation, which results in the highest of highs, or the lowest of lows. And it's like hitting a wall when it's over.

From the celebration after Kentucky won the 1996 national title, to the disappointment of Louisville getting manhandled by Michigan State in the 2009 Elite Eight.

As long as I've been in this business, I'll never have a year like 1996. My trip began with a five-hour drive to Memphis for the Conference USA Tournament. Then it was six hours to Milwaukee, where U of L needed overtime to beat Tulsa by two, then upset Villanova two days later. That meant a 12-hour drive to Minneapolis, sleeping on a cot with three to a room. It also meant that Tim Duncan and Wake Forest were next for the Cards. UK was waiting for the winner in the regional final, but the Cards fell, 60-59.

The Cats manhandled Wake, so it was back on the road. Back home, and then a 14-hour trip to New York. We arrived in Manhattan, maneuvered through the traffic and got to the Marriott Marquis in Midtown, only to find out, when we get to the third floor check in, that our engineer had switched our hotel to one adjacent to the Meadowlands across the river.

Fred Cowgill, Sports Director, WLKY-TV:

I've done TV sports for 30 years, and March Madness is my favorite event. Been to almost every major U.S. city but Las Vegas. I've seen Indiana and Kentucky win national titles. Worth all the bumps, dinners at 3 a.m., satellite feeds crashing, Internet feeds crashing, almost getting hit by lightning in Indianapolis. We also had a typhoon during our special the night UK won the title in NYC in 1996. And we almost froze to death during a special in Atlanta. Lots of memories. All worth it.


NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Forecast

One Great Season

I can't remember a regional that lacked sex appeal the way the Southeast does, but that doesn't mean there aren't storylines aplenty.

Who will lead Florida over BYU? Walker, Boynton, Parsons, Macklin, Tyus? Or will Cougars' scoring machine Jimmer Fredette eliminate the Gators for the second straight year? I expect Billy Donovan's group to have an interesting game plan to stop — OK, slow — Fredette. Florida will have had five days to prep for the nation's most dangerous offensive threat. If Fredette gets 30, Florida doesn't deserve to win. But he won't. Gators advance.

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