Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unplugged, condemned, checked out

The end of the road is right here.

This blog is now cooked.



Thanks for all those who consistently read this space. It was for you that I spent the time digging, thinking and writing.

I had hoped to begin chasing interviews again in the next few weeks on Colorado college and pro sports teams but I am silencing myself, for an indefinite period of time. It is highly unlikely, although I will never say never, that this space will be revived.

Personal and business issues are the variables that led me to the decision.

Thanks again for being the readership I respected and hoped to please with something different and interesting.

Please proceed to the exits in an orderly fashion and drive home safely.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Buffs absorb hit; Graham unknown

Colorado Warrior

P.T. Gates, CU's hope for an electric breakaway back, is, as expected docked for the season due to academic deficiencies. The junior college star won't be lining up in the Buffs backfield because he lacks the progress necessary to be eligible. Gates is saying that he is firm on CU, thanks to the relationship he has with the coaches and his love of Boulder but he's young and who knows what might happen down the road. Losing Gates takes away the Buffs hope of added punch to its' offense, making it more dynamic. While there are other talented backs on the roster, Gates was expected to be an immediate impact player. His absence will be felt in games and truly, helping recruit other players. If he would have been successful, it would have stoked the interest of recruits for the next class. Coach Dan Hawkins had to take a chance on Gates. It didn't pay off, at least not yet, if ever, but it was a calculated gamble worth investing in.

Jesse Nading (pictured) doesn't believe the return of injured running back Kyle Bell to the team is the key to CSU reversing its' fortunes. The touted defensive end thinks the Rams have sufficient talent to win without Bell. Truth is Nading was not disparaging the rugged Bell with his remarks as much as he was avoiding excuses for any sub-par results this season but maybe he should have asked offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt and quarterback Caleb Hanie what they thought about his statement on Bell first. Guessing that trio may have agreed to disagree because the reality is the Rams might be talented without Bell but they are better with him over the course of 11 games.

Daniel Graham, the former CU All-American tight end, and New England ex-patriot who is now a Bronco, is getting a lot of media stroking because he's a story of a local boy done good who came home. The given is that Graham will be the blocker Denver has lacked in the running game at the position, and a player who has winning intangibles but what is unknown is whether Graham can be the pass catcher at the NFL level that he was in Boulder. With Tony Scheffler being banged up, this is Graham's time to show his best to the coaches. That tandem potentially might be the best the franchise has fielded. The guess here is that Graham is capable of 50-600-6. His talent will only help a young Scheffler on many levels, from playing the game to learning how to be a pro.

Stephen Franklin, CSU's talented basketball recruit and an Aurora Central graduate has not turned himself in on charges of identity theft. It is difficult to imagine that this is going to turn out well and Franklin is going to have a long and memorable career in a Rams uniform. This is going to likely be a short story. Look for Franklin to end up at Backwoods U. once the dust settles and this is all ironed out, legally.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bronco breakouts; Nelson surging

Colorado Warrior on Pig

Three Broncos are predicted to bust out and big this season, according to the crystal ball of Dennis Dillon of the Sporting News. The names named are quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and guard Chris Kuper. Cutler is an easy choice, as was Marshall for how he ended his season a year ago but Kuper's selection takes some stones. Only the insiders know of his quality college resume even if he didn't play at a school anyone knows much about (North Dakota). Matter of fact, the Broncos offensive line could be ready to start turning over with Kuper and 2007 draft selection Ryan Harris to blend with the aging center Tom Nalen and left tackle Matt Lepsis, coming off of injury.

First-round draft choice Jarvis Moss is visualizing and speaking Defensive Rookie of the Year to himself. The poor guy has no idea that he won't be playing Vanderbilt or Mississippi State in 2007. And maybe he should focus on building and keeping his body strong to prove his case. Point blank, the best rusher on this team is Elvis Dumervil. If Moss can mirror ED then the Broncos might have something goin'.

Early shots in the dark -- CSU signal caller Caleb Hanie and Air Force counterpart Shaun Carney are going to lay down impressive seasons in 2007. Both are experienced, more than capable athletically and driven to succeed. Hanie could even lead the Rams to a bowl game.

Wonder why schools like USC stack prep All Americans several deep at many positions while other quality programs struggle to get one all star to commit to their school? Outside of the prestige of saying you're a Trojan, Gator, Longhorn or Wolverine there is Memphis basketball coach John Calipari's approach to selling the deal. If a recruit hesitates on him due to the logjam of talent in the Tiger's program, Calipari questions if what he's doing talking with the kid, adding that good players don't worry about who else is in the program (Sporting News).

Rockies Rap

Aaron Cook again showed he is capable of being a shutdown arm with his performance Tuesday against Florida. What Cook, however, is not, but has been often written to be, is an ace. While he can flash like one at times, he is also quite undependable in that role. That is not beating down the man because what he is is still of great importance. Cook is a quality no. 3 pitcher on a staff, which is no slight and he's a top-level no. 3. Teammate Jeff Francis, who pitches like an ace frequently, is a rock solid no. 2 guy in a rotation. What this franchise needs is a no-doubt no. 1 or another Francis to take the next step towards being a playoff team.

Don't look now but the Rockies first-round draft choice in 2004 and development-slow poke Chris Nelson is becoming an exciting player. At Single-A Modesto, Nelson is controlling the strike zone, and producing extra base hits. His average might be a disappointing .280 but he has banged out 28 doubles, six triples and 14 homers while driving in 74 runs. The shortstop also has 21 steals. What this all says is exactly what the Rockies organization preaches, which is patience. If Nelson can duplicate his numbers next season at Double-A Tulsa, he might the future impact stick in the middle of the infield the parent club is desperate for, adding a feature that the lineup truly needs.

Rodrigo Lopez down with an injury, Jason Hirsh comes back from the Springs to replace him. Hirsh started fast then fell apart. He needs to be the quality pitcher he's capable of being for the Rockies to balance the rotation.

A pitching surprise so far from the 2007 draft class is Bruce Billings, a 30th-round selection from San Diego State, who has proven to be difficult to hit (28 knocks in 38 innings) and with excellent stuff (48 strikeouts and only five base on balls). Now, that is what you call scouting.

On the other hand, outfielder David Christensen, a second round pick a year ago, is still struggling mightily, hitting but .219 with three walks and 46 strikeouts at Casper in a rookie league, a sickly and similar repeat to last season. The question now has to be can he play at all?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Raiders back to basics; Celtics win and lose

Daunte Culpepper and the Raiders is an excellent match. Culpepper, remember this, is the best fit as Oakland QB the team has had since Rich Gannon. Culpepper is big and strong, talented, productive and loves throwing the downfield ball. The only question for him is health. If he has it, his mind will be right. If the top overall draft pick in April, JaMarcus Russell, holds out for an extended period of time, he very well might become the next Philip Rivers, the San Diego Chargers QB, sidelining it for the first season of his career.

Just so you know -- Minnesota won the trade with Boston that sent "The Big Ticket" Kevin Garnett to the Celtics for five players and two draft picks. Garnett is a player of great skill, passion and pride, a Hall of Famer, but the word here is that Al Jefferson is becoming one of the better young forwards in the game, Ryan Gomes is underrated, Gerald Green has high-scoring ability, and then the Wolves also get two first-round draft selections. Especially considering Garnett wanted out, this was a treasure chest of booty for Minnesota. Boston, though, is not crying. Garnett will help them win more games and create more buzz for the team. Win-Win.

Rockies nap; Buff gets break; Outlaws

Colorado Warrior

The trading deadline came and the Rockies took a nap. Maybe that's not a bad thing. If a quality deal was not available then why make a move just to say you did? This isn't Colorado's year anyway. The time to improve will be this offseason. Mark Teixeira was a name of interest that could have infused some explosives to the lineup but there is no way Todd Helton can be moved anymore. His value is minimal and his contract is an albatross.

Former CU star guard Jay Humphries is back stateside after the Suns brought him back to Phoenix as an assistant coach. The ex-Buff played with the Suns for three of his 11 NBA seasons. He's been coaching overseas for the last six seasons. Many CU fans wanted Humphries on new coach Jeff Bzdelik's staff but working under Mike D'Antoni in the desert will be a higher profile position to aid his future dreams.

CSU reserve defensive lineman Devin McWilliams is trying to get kicked off the team and out of school, in essence packing his own bags for a return home to his family's home in Los Angeles. McWilliams can give thanks that he was only arrested for disorderly conduct after bringing a pellet gun to a large house party. Now what would the dude need that for at a party. Nothing good could come out of such a decision. Rams coach Sonny Lubick has to be scratching his head wondering what to say to someone so dense. How do you reason with a player who is so obviously foolish. Like you would trust that cat to do the right thing on or off the field?

And Lubick isn't alone with his grief as basketball coach Tim Miles has to handle the negative publicity and talent hit he's going to take with incoming freshman Stephen Franklin having an arrest warrant with his name on it for identity theft, according to a report by KCNC-Channel 4. You earn a scholarship to get an education and play your favorite sport and then you go do something to risk it all and go to jail. Franklin isn't smart enough to go to college and isn't good enough to be a part of Miles' program. Maybe the long road will refine Franklin's arrogance and character.

Local writers are gushing over Rockies reliever Manny Corpas as if he's the answer as the team's closer. He's not. Corpas is a an intriguing talent with high-level potential, as an eighth-inning guy. He's been shutdown this season but his numbers haven't yet shown the ability to dominate. Remember, a year ago it was Ramon Ramirez who looked like like all that. This season, he got rocked early and ended up back in Colorado Springs until a recent call-up. That said, Corpas is indeed a key piece to the Rockies puzzzle to create a winner.

As Kyle Ringo of the Daily Camera reports, CU is getting that much needed makeover to its' sickly facilities, which will help the program now and become a point to sell not hide for future recruits. AD Mike Bohn is doing his job with positive tangible results to show doubters. With an improved product on the field in the next few seasons, the Buffs could have the rebirth they desire in the Big 12.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Walsh falls; Quinn losing; Bower a loser

Bill Walsh (pictured with Joe Paterno), dead at 75. Leukemia wins, as it often does. Walsh was every bit the champion that Vince Lombardi or Chuck Noll was and as a trailblazer and one that transferred his greatness to coaches and players he was a diamond.

Speaking of Paterno, he had his chances to coach the pro game but said "no." In the right city, say Pittsburgh or Philly, with a quality general manager and talent procurer, Paterno would have stacked wins.

Browns rookie quarterback Brady Quinn holding out is dumb. Here's a guy who dropped like an anchor in the NFL draft to a city who is eager to love him and now he's going to wait around to sign a contract, thus risking the possibility of falling behind learning the system? Look, if you're a top 5 pick and you want to hold out, maybe it's tolerable but not when you are a selection in the later part of the draft and when the job is all yours if you just show up and play like you are capable. Guess a Notre Dame education isn't what it used to be.

Jeff Bower
, Southern Mississippi football coach and Hall-of-Fame loser. Check the track record and decide for yourself. Bringing in player after player that mega-powers reject due to serious criminal charges says it all -- sell your soul at the crossroads to eat the leftovers off the master's table. Disgusting.

The Braves score and score big getting Mark Teixeira from the Rangers. If, and that's a big IF, Atlanta can re-sign agent Scott Boras, um, I mean Teixeira, the the Braves will have pulled off a trade that will keep their lineup loaded with power and production. The Rangers had to make the deal but in the end, truly, they got fleeced. Some value, just not enough. And way too much projection on the part of young players to get excited down Arlington way. Another example of why Texas is always Texas and Atlanta keeps winning.

Kevin Garnett will juice the crowd in Boston but with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen also wanting the ball, who becomes the no. 1 option, then no. 2 and 3? None of these guys seem likely to step into the shadows, do they? Some are already predicting the Celtics to be an Eastern power. Guess what? Don't see it. Give me team play, ala the Spurs, with one star and several quality players around him.

Look in the mirror, mom and dad

Look next to you in the stands for fanatical parents.

Check out this little tennis phenom, Jan Kristian Silva, and you can predict where he's going to go.

Being a Tiger Woods-type success or Andre Agassi-like talent is the longest of longshots. Todd Marinovich might be more like it.

What is most humorous is how delusional the parents are that they are doing it all for their child.

They sense a potential gravy train when they see one, don't they?

They gave up their home and two cars to move to France for their 5-year old. Think about that. That's not necessarily love. That's being blinded by selfishness and the hopes of future riches.

Garnett moving; Pro's pros; TD no go

Could Kevin Garnett become a Celtic after rumors past that KG wants no part of Boston? Yes, says a report which says Al Jefferson and likely draft picks being the Celtics booty going to the Wolves. Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen make Boston a player out East (if defense doesn't matter to you) but only if the team can pass chemistry class (ask the Nuggets). Minnesota getting Jefferson and picks makes this a shrewd move on their part. Jefferson is younger, highly skilled and marketable if he doesn't work out in Minny. Getting picks sets them up for the future.

Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn
...Hall of Famers. Rare talents, even better professionals. Both were and are perfect ambassadors to the game, as they were committed to their craft and carried themselves with pride. The warm fuzzies for all inductees is not the same. Neither Ripken nor Gwynn are Ty Cobb, Pete Rose or other like chumps that are on the assistant principal's after-school detention roll call.

Ripken was the all-time grinder who mixed that resolve with talent to create the predecessor to the big and offensively-productive shortstop.

Gwynn never tried to be anything more than God made him, which was a premier base-hit machine. No attempts to go muscle bound and try to hit 30, 40 homers. Knowing who you are and being the best at that you can is success in of itself.

Word from the Sporting News is that Mark McGwire belongs in the Hall too. The publication asked 25 players their opinion and a whopping 23 said Big Mac did too much on the field and for the game off it and for too long to be ignored as honors worthy. Hey, the man was an unbelievable sight as a power bat, no argument here, but if he was in that gray area in getting an unfair advantage with his body then there have to be consequences, don't there? What kind of message do we send aspiring athletes ifMcGwire and eventually Sammy Sosa, Raffy Palmeiro and Big Head Bonds get enshrined despite their unsavory methods?

A reporter asked Bonds if there was a better hitter than himself in his high school lineup. Can you wrap that? Bonds, and no wonder he hates the media, said no one outhit him at Serra High School in Southern California and no one has been better than him at any level. How would you like to be the writer who asked that rookie-caliber question in front of your peers? Could you ever live it down? It's like the guy in office meetings who tries to hard to show off. Know that guy?

Jose Canseco says he has some goods on Alex Rodriguez. While Canseco is the ultimate stool pigeon he has shared truth before so A-Rod might want to be a little worried right now as Canseco doesn't mind selling out anyone and everyone.


Former OU star Adrian Peterson now has his contract, for $ 40.5 million, from the Vikings. That's the easy part of the equation. Him staying healthy enough to earn that money love is the challenge. With is history, the odds are against that happening.

Oklahoma and Notre Dame are talking about getting tangled up on the football field in a home-and-home series beginning in 2012. Progressive idea on behalf of the schools if it goes down. Those are the games fans want to see. Make it reality.

Other series the WSN would like to see would be Michigan and/or Ohio State against Texas and/or Oklahoma; Colorado against Penn State and/or Iowa; a rebirth of Colorado against both Oregon and Washington and a new series with Cal; Colorado State against second-tier or lower tier Pac 10 schools Oregon State, Arizona and Stanford. The Buffs finding an SEC dancing partner or two would also be attractive while hooking up the Rams with mid-to-low-level Big 10 schools, if agreeable, would be a good move.

One more series -- Notre Dame and it's network and money power against any NFL team. If you're going to act like a pro team, you might as well play one.

Tim Couch
, back in the NFL, signing with Jacksonville. A flop as a number one overall pick of the Browns but capable if healthy and in the right offense. Is Jacksonville that place? Maybe. Couch is not Ryan Leaf-type arrogant or lazy so the WSN is in his corner hoping he can stick on the roster.


Washington State did what it had to do -- reward excellence. It coughed up $ 800,000 a year to basketball coach Tony Bennett after he led the Cougars to a 26-8 record last season. WSU just doesn't have seasons like that and when Bennett made it happen he became a hot national commodity. Now, as good as Bennett is, he is going to be hard pressed to live up to that deal and make big things happen again. Recruiting to Pullman is not easy. If he can get enough athletes there and just get to the NCAA Tournament a couple more times, he'll be gone for a much more high profile program in say, three seasons. See Jeff Bzdelik, Air Force, for your evidence.

Colorado Warrior

Kiszla off the mark -- Terrell Davis is NFL Hall of Fame worthy, the columnist writes. We see it differently. Davis' dominance in his career was undeniable but too short-lived, both for Broncos fans and Hall of Fame consideration. If he would have been healthy and as amazing for 2-4 more seasons, then "yes," he would have been deserving and a lock to be inducted. Think of T.D. and you think of rugged, slashing, big plays and durability; a champion. He was the prototypical back and the standard for Broncos runners. Clinton Portis was more flashy, explosive and could have been a superstar had he kept his ego and money hunger in check here but he has not proven to be as mentally tough or as productive as Davis. Davis won't be elected as an all-time great but here in Denver he was and will always be remembered as such. It's a shame the Hall is not in the cards but injuries make this decision easy, even if painful.

The Broncos are giddy right now with hope of playoff success in 2007 and they should hold on to those good feelings. The reasons for the optimism start with Jay Cutler, work their way through the skill talent on offense, the return of Matt Lepsis at tackle and the recently stocked pond on the defensive front for new defensive coordinator Jim Bates, who is coach Mike Shanahan's latest roll of the dice to get an advantage on that side of the ball. Denver has big time potential to score and prevent scoring but too much has to go right for the Broncos to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl and the likelihood of all that lining up in some Cinderella story is nothing more than fantasy.

Denver needs help at wide receiver and Randy Moss was available at draft time. The powerful Patriots, of all teams, snagged him. The Broncos, however, did the smart thing. Terrell Owens was supposed to be a good soldier when he landed in Philly with Donovan McNabb and coach Andy Reid. Owens played well but was a cancer. Moss isn't Owens as a person but he's not a true professional either. Never was and never will be. The Broncos were wise in not upsetting team chemistry with the former Vikings superstar.

Former Broncos running back Tatum Bell is talking up his talent in Detroit, saying it doesn't matter when Kevin Jones returns, that the starter's job is his, not Jones. Bell is no longer a Bronco for a reason -- he couldn't stay healthy or prove himself the man beyond the shadow of a doubt. What makes him think things will be different in Detroit?

Boulder Fairview graduated quarterback T.C. McCartney going to LSU just doesn't seem right until you hear the Les Miles connection and the fact that the Tigers' talent base allows for a walk-on of McCartney's risky potential, while at CU, Dan Hawkins just can't take as many chances because his margin for error on the field is so much smaller.

As written here before, Forsberg ain't Forsberg anymore. The Avalanche might be interested in bringing back Pete but now word on the street is that the Red Wings, of all franchises, might be a destination for Forsberg. That might be too much to stomach for die-hard Avs fans. Of course, all this is worthless talk if Forsberg is not healthy. That said, him in Detroit is distasteful.

Former Rockies pitcher Jason Jennings is not marketing himself well for a big free agent payday by giving up 11 runs in two-thirds of an inning, as he did Sunday against San Diego. Maybe he should try fake being hurt, so as to not expose his shoddy work.

Last year I heard someone refer to Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba as Horrealba. Wonder if they know the guy, over the course of two seasons, has hit 12 homers and driven in 73 runs as a catcher in just 132 games? How many backstops have hit as well in a Colorado uniform?

Jeff Francis is living up to his contract, a rarity for a Rockies pitcher.

Ubaldo Jimenez, who the WSN is predicting to bomb out because of control and command issues, is embarrassing me right now with his highly competitive pitching. He's tough to hit, keeping the ball in the park and his strikeouts are overcoming the walks he issues. It's a good start. He has scoreboard on us for now.

Final Salvo

Clint Hurdle turns 50 years old today and Arnold Scharzenegger is 60.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gulbis finally wins a golf tournament

Natalie Gulbis can now be known for more than just her face and body. Winning means she is now more than just a desirable piece of cake in the minds of many.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday getaway

Marcus Allen scored touchdowns with great regularity. That made him special. He was, however, not a great back. He, however, was loved for his, um, gifts by former O.J. Simpson honey and now corpse Nicole Brown Simpson (til' death do us part). Allen still believes he's got All Pro game but maybe he should realize his behavior he doesn't and he has some similarities to his former friend, the Juice.

More strange for you -- can't help myself, Kim Kardashian (pictured) is just wonderfully sexy but she ruins it all by also being SAD (stupid, arrogant and dangerous). I thought only men were so clueless about etiquette and judgment. This action deserved a Cat fight-tough woman-all-out brawl with profanity. To show up some place so inappropriately should be worthy of getting whacked or at least, getting your ass whupped!

Wonder if new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell knew he would be part administrator, part warden when he succeeded Paul Tagliabue. Yet, still it seems as if he is scaring anyone straight by tossing them into the hole. Maybe the deviants are too dumb to be frightened.

Colorado Warrior

Keep up, will you! Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla asks if Broncos pass catcher Rod Smith is done. We've been over this, haven't we? Smith is toast, cooked, over. That body is wrecked. Great production, strong leader, respected, tremendous success story but the final lines of the final chapter are being written as we speak.

CU defensive back Terrence Wheatley has been named to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation's best defensive back (see Deon Figures and Chris Hudson). Wheatley won't win it because the guys in front of him aren't good enough to make him look brilliant but T-Wheat is about character, resolve and playmaking. He's someone to respect and admire for sticking it out and overcoming injury to excel. He's not as big as Figures or as talented as Hudson but at OU or UT he would be a future high draft pick. As a Buff, he will be good, just not an award winner.


Former Nugget Mack Calvin is 59, former Bronco Haven Moses turns 61 and former Rockies outfielder Tom Goodwin is 39.

Final Salvo

No Saturday or Sunday post this weekend. Look for a Monday shot.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bonus Thursday Post

Let's be honest with one another, o.k.? Michael Vick, for all his poor choices, is not going to jail. He will be suspended, eventually, for say, half a season and maybe more depending on how his court case goes but Vick is too famous, too rich, too much of an entertainer to go to the joint.

Skip Prosser's death while jogging a tough pill to take for Wake Forest and its' basketball program. The Demon Deacons will be an emotional mess this season because its' coach was reportedly well respected and liked.

The Army, like the police, protects its' own at all costs, morals and values be damned. So news that a retired three-star general might get demoted for issuing misleading information, aka a lie, in the death of former Arizona Cardinals player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman is jaw dropping shocking. This shows what a story that gets outed, picks up momentum in the media and turns into a forest fire can produce, on occasion -- justice.

Broadcaster Bob Costas takes the high road in response to Barry Bonds calling him a "midget man" while also questioning his knowledge of baseball. Costas only further shamed Bonds with that classy move. Of course, the question that should be asked is can you shame the shameless?

Mike Piazza was hit in the head with a half-full water bottle on an accurate throw from a fan. That fan was either smart or lucky that he didn't hit someone like Elijah Dukes or Kenny Rogers or a villain from the past -- Albert Belle. Piazza merely plans to file charges. Those other dudes would have literally killed the perpetrator.

A Villanova co-ed has declined to press charges against three incoming football players she says raped her. Take from that what you will but the strong probability is that this demands a hard investigation regarding intimidation or fear of the legal system shredding the girl's soul.

That said, the former prosecutor in the famed Duke rape scandal has admitted more in the event that rocked the school, community and earned national attention. Mike Nifong says there was no credible evidence against the three lacrosse players who's lives where turned upside down, inside out and trashed. Said it before -- Nifong deserves the prison sentence the players would have received if convicted. Contrary to popular belief, the justice system does have an element of being corrupt and abusing its' power and all parties exposed in it should be punished as any other liar and arrogant, Felonious Frank.

Schilling throwing rocks; Backs in the news

Curt Schilling ain't never been shy. That's refreshing to see a player not afraid of speaking the truth. His latest rip job is on baseball cheaters and it is a masterpiece. Far better than just Schilling's Greatest Hits. In it, the Red Sox pitcher accurately says that if a cheater isn't denying then he's lying (about the truth) and that is an admittance of guilt. Barry Bonds is the prime, but not the only, target of Schilling's rampage and it is revealing yet again to hear Bonds rip broadcaster Bob Costas as "a midget" who is clueless about baseball. Classy as usual and inaccurate to boot but then again no one ever complimented the Giants slugger on being intelligent outside of identifying a pitch in his wheelhouse. Maybe we should have a test and see who knows more about baseball (Bonds or Schilling and Costas) and then also see if the future home run king can walk the walk over his mouth and apologize sincerely. Let's see the file, please -- Bonds -- cheater, liar, punk ass.

Priest Holmes
is coming to Chiefs camp. Nice. A lot of fans will be there too. Neither Holmes or the people in shorts will end up on the roster come late August. Once the former Pro Bowl running back starts getting hit again, his body will scream "no mas" and he'll turn in his cleats and go home.

Nice to see the good people of Idaho representing themselves so well by racially threatening Boise State star running back Ian Johnson over his desire and plans to marry cheerleader Chrissy Popadics. Johnson is black, Popadics is white and I guess there is a law against such unions in some people's minds. Of course, that state is also known for racial and anti-governmental radicals, aka loose screws, so such a story is not much of a surprise. Maybe Idaho is the new ignorant, backwoods South.

I want to give Terry Frei of the Denver Post a big ol' hug after he called Michael Vick "a scumbag." Why? Because the more heat the NFL receives from the media and public the more it will not be able to avoid crushing Vick under its' power for his stupidity and inhumane involvement in dog fighting. People who hurt animals, as in torture, have issues, as that's where, we hear, serial killers get started often. Not calling Vick a future killer but his actions are not defensible if you live in or wish to live in a civilized world.

This season is one of the most memorable in baseball history. Not so much for what the teams are doing but for all the career milestones being approached or achieved by pitchers and hitters. The two latest -- Tom Glavine, win no. 299 and red-hot Alex Rodriguez, home run numero 499. The key point to all this goodness is the number of media chunks that theorized that with the money in sports these days players would not be motivated to stick around long enough, be hungry long enough to achieve hallowed numbers. Yet, there are old or old and hurt players still grinding and making history. Yeah, they love the money and attention but they also are passionate about the game and their place in it.

A UCLA assistant football coach -- Eric Scott -- has been arrested on burglary charges. Maybe he was just checking up on a recruit. Or forgot where he lived.

Steve Spurrier is back talkin' smack. The South Carolina football coach believes the Gamecocks now have "the groceries" to be top cock in the SEC. He is still facing the odds against the perennial powerhouses of the conference but with Spurrier nothing is impossible. Him fielding a top-10 team again could well happen. A national title contender might be too much to expect.

So, tell me if you will -- who cares one bit about the Tour de France? Most of us hardly noticed even when Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong owned the race. Now that they tired of winning so much it becomes the same as the annual hot dog eating contest back East -- a novelty worth a blurb in the news.

Colorado Warrior

CSU AD Paul Kowalczyk is going to make CSU special. Count on it. The man just gets it. He thinks outside the box. He has a track record of success and he is bold.

Rams coach Sonny Lubick is speaking confidently these days about his team. Not loud and proud but self assured. You get the feeling he sees signs he's seen in the past when he had quality seasons.

"Realistic is what you tell your mind is realistic," CU coach Dan Hawkins said in a B.G. Brooks story in the Rocky Mountain News. If we were talking about anything but Hawkins' bowl game expectations for 2007 I'd think that was a great line. The reality is this though -- being significantly deficient in talent to most Big 12 schools is not something you can hide with philosophy.

Hawkins wants to find and name a starting quarterback as soon as possible. Look across the dinner table, coach.

Take a bow, P.T. Gates -- you're the only Buffs recruit who didn't cut it in the classroom. Learn the lesson. But to be fair -- I, um, had some "issues" at one time with acceptable academic standards too so we're brothers on that front. Hey, want to go play Madden?

The Broncos just signed rookie offensive lineman Ryan Harris, the dude who will be the best draftee from the 2007 class.

Aaron Cook was masterful in beating the Padres. It was a fluke. As was just written here, Cook has trade value and the Rockies should use it. Dealing him for the sake of dealing him would be foolish but to get help at the all-to-many holes the team has would be Warrior smart.

Word on the streets is Boston might again be kicking the tires on Todd Helton, considering a trade for the Rockies has-been. O.K., let's try to believe this ridiculous rumor for a moment while we sit on the throne and are a captive audience. Maybe the Red Sox are thinking Helton might be a fall-back guy for them if they can't make the big score on the trade market but come on, realistically, because of Helton's increasing appetite for money and decreased desire to actually earn it, neither Boston or anyone else is going to seriously want to date him and in the end, this is just worthless drivel to ponder. is all over two Rockies prospects -- outfielder Seth Smith and pitcher Franklin Morales -- as hotties. Smith started slowly in 2007 but is scorching right now, showing his ability as a potential high-average stick. Morales is, as written here before, nothin' but a tease. Big arm but no star. At least as the starter he is now. As a reliever he could become a hammer if he can learn those two little things called control and command.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stern humbled; NASCAR dope; Local dirt

Maybe it's just me but it was nice, very nice, to see the pompous David Stern humbled as NBA commissioner with the outing of referee Tim Donaghy as a gambling addicted and also possibly doctoring on-court calls. Stern has worked hard to make the Association successful but his schoolmaster conceit over most matters rubs more than some fans the wrong way. He is heavy-handed and uncompromising and you have to wonder if he doesn't deserve the humiliation coming his way right now. Stern learned the hard way (join the club, brother) that he doesn't know it all, doesn't have total control and that a weasel as small as Donaghy can shoot a big giant hole in the side of the luxury liner known as the NBA.

Guaranteed all other sports are now taking a stronger look at how to even more closely monitor the officials and players who bet on and jack with their games. How this happened to the NBA is still a mystery. Doesn't the code require other officials to rat out co-workers who violate it, aren't there signs to those who gamble? Doesn't the league review game tapes, don't they see patterns, don't they wonder out loud at marginal calls?

The next revelation we need is to find which athletes are doing the same thing Donaghy is doing. How you prove that is a little more difficult but much more interesting and shocking. And is the relative lower-paid scrub with meaningful minutes or the star more likely to be on the take?

How much money is the NBA making if most officials are making six figures, as in as much as $ 300,000? Since when did that become a career in which you can live the life? Guess you can be a ref, get rich and be just as sleazy as a being a politician. That's a tough call for young bucks, isn't it?

NASCAR just might have to toughen up those drug testing rules after Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike was charged with heroin possession. Not alcohol, not pot, not cocaine. Heroin. Wow, that's the new "in drug" of the NASCAR crowd? Nothing like drivers going real fast while real high or playing with some fun that is real illegal. Fike has to be banned for life. Any pro racer should be kicked out of the sport for one offense, even if off the track, simply for poor discretion and poor public relations for a driving sport. How can you spin any impairment offense at the public and more importantly, children?

Poor David Beckham. The leading man of soccer is reportedly wetting panties of Hollywood starlets everywhere, including our favorite drunk easy, Lindsay Lohan, so much so that Lohan and her buddies have a big-money bet she can bend it like Beckham on David, taking him away, if only for a night, from his wife. What, Robert Downey Jr. wasn't available? What about Dennis Rodman? If Lohan survives another year of Girls Gone Wild it will be a miracle. She seemingly wants to kill herself with either an overdose or a car crash. She's crying for help. Where is her posse?

So, after Barry Bonds breaks Hank Aaron's all-time record for home runs will he retain the same drive to pile on that number until he reaches 800 or more or will he concede to his aching body and slack off, desiring more to ride off into the sunset than remain a major player in the long-drive contest?

Alex Rodriguez is Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime, before the injuries.

Griffey will surprise and remain moderately healthy the rest of his career and pass Willie Mays on the all-time homer list.

Brad Hawpe will not.

You don't think college coaches earn their money? Iowa State star guard Mike Taylor, who averaged 16 points and 4.5 assists per game last season, has been deleted from the team by coach Greg McDermott for the trifecta of stupidity -- stealing cough medicine, a vehicle registration violation and vandalism. Now, I feel for a guy who can't afford medicine but the other two brain cramps get no mercy. Losing Taylor is huge for the Cyclones and the coach shouldn't be punished for the on-the-court result unless Taylor came to town with a prior rap sheet.

Colorado Warrior

Bad news when Allen Iverson is trying to be the voice of reason. Yet there he is crying about athletes being picked on while defending Michael Vick to some degree. Yo, A.I., you don't get taken down for being rich and famous. You get chased for immature idiocy or felonious deeds. You learned the hard way and Vick is traveling that same rocky road now. You and Emmitt Smith should really steer clear of Vick. Yeah, he's a brother and all but he makes you two look Stephen Hawking smart.

Matt Holliday has stopped hitting, Kaz Matsui has done the same, Garrett Atkins has leveled off after a hot run and the Rockies offense is in first gear again. Ramon Ramirez, just called back up from the minors, apparently can no longer get big league hitters out. Colorado is a dysfunctional family right now.

The WSN has loved Matsui since he got to town but his lack of run production makes him a target for replacement. Aaron Cook could be moved out of town in a year when the used pitchers are mostly lemons. Cook has as much value as a lot of those stiffs. Pitcher Josh Fogg could be another surprise departure due to his moderate effectiveness.

If this space gets to play Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd, here are the pieces it is trying to move before the trade deadline.
  • Aaron Cook
  • Brad Hawpe
  • Josh Fogg
  • Rodrigo Lopez
  • Kaz Matsui
  • Seth Smith, if necessary
  • Joe Koshansky
  • Todd Helton (please!)
The no-trade list (names that could be brought up).
  1. Matt Holliday
  2. Garrett Atkins
  3. Brian Fuentes
Despite many moves the Broncos didn't do enough in the offseason to be a playoff force. Denver will not be a pushover but this is no powerhouse team capable of winter wonderment.

Veteran safety Sam Brandon is going to be at the bus stop soon after the Broncos cut him due to his physical unavailability this season. Brandon never became the big-time popper the team hoped he would become after being drafted out of Vegas but he was a solid backup. If healed he could make a run at a comeback but the severity of his wrecked knee could spell T-H-E E-N-D.

Air Force will have a losing season under first year coach Troy Calhoun but in three years he will have the Falcons dirt tough and winning again.

CSU has a strong shot at going to a minor bowl game. Sufficient talent is there, coach Sonny Lubick is reportedly re-energized and there are potential playmakers on both sides of the ball. As said here before, good health and defense will be the key.

CU will be more rugged and successful this fall but will still get run over frequently. If the Buffs can still sell the dream on the recruiting trail with any sort of magic then next season could be the breakout the program needs to return to a bowl game.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Throw Bonds from the train; cancer victory

Kimberly Bell (pictured), the former mistress of Barry Bonds, scored the biggest hit of her life with a Playboy interview and pictorial. She bashes Bonds in it, which is such a sweetheart thing to do, even if he is rogue, to someone she'd be nothing without. She wasn't complaining about him when he was with her for 10 years but now, after all that special attention and gifts, he is worthy, in her mind, as is typical in breakups for women, an all-out assault. For athletes and rich, powerful men, every woman should come with a Surgeon General's warning label. Not all of them prove cancerous but everyone of them has that potential of being financial and emotional dynamite.

Jon Lester, Boston's young left-hander is better known for being a cancer survivor but his rebounding to return to the major leagues and pitch and pitch well Monday is more than inspiring, it is amazing that he could look so good so early after returning to the game. Stories like Lester or Lance Armstrong are ones that get a national stage and hopefully show all of us that cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. Yes, the wealthy can get superior care and don't have to worry about going bankrupt but victory over death is the point.

Michael Vick gets kicked out of training camp by the NFL while it does some digging on his dog fighting involvement exploits. This is not, um, how do we say this, going to end well. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback has to be made an example of by the league or risk a revolt when other players go loco. Vick will be hammered shortly. The players' union will protest. The league will win.

It's Wednesday. Do you know where Lindsay Lohan is? Adult or not, her parents need to leash that girl before she ends up dead or before she kills someone else. Lohan needs to learn the party doesn't always have to start with her.

Roger Clemens, victory no. 351. Funny, how all I heard was that The Rocket was just a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher at age 44. Dude is not invincible but he is not just another guy on the street corner either. He is still a quality arm, a no. 2 pitcher at worst who is capable of dominating a game any day. Forget calling him The Rocket. He's The Legend.

Greg Maddux lost an opportunity for victory no. 341 but 350 will be achieved and that, for a smallish, control pitcher is something else. He has to be one of the smartest, most aloof pitchers of all time.

Spotted: Sergio Garcia and Tim Donaghy having drinks, discussing going into hiding for a few weeks.

Colorado Warrior

CSU linebacker Ricky Brewer has been forecast to be the Mountain West Conference freshman of the year. Maybe Brewer is the next big thing on defense in Fort Collins. The Rams need another star to develop on that side of the ball. Brewer was a big pickup in recruiting for coach Sonny Lubick and if the hitter is focused and healthy he could prove to be as good as advertised.

Lubick also is hot for senior defensive end Jessie Nading and honestly, Lubick does need to be pumping him up as CSU could change their season dramatically with a little defense. The coaching staff is beggin' Nading to be special. Health and defense will be the biggest factor for this team in 2007.

Rams safety Zach Donaldson, son of the former Buff, Jeff, is impressing and with Klint Kubiak hurting, could see the field early. Donaldson is similar to Brewer in that he was a top-level CSU recruit, even if a lower-level everyone else recruit, who could pop big in Fort Collins.

Carmelo Anthony is professing "no more drama" in a Marc Spears interview in the Denver Post. Let's just say, as much as we love Melo that we're taking a wait and wait and wait and see attitude on that one. The Nuggets have talent, no doubt amigos, but the injury curse on that franchise and questionable chemistry are potential land mines.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

WSN Big Bang Sunday Truth

Sergio Garcia has the setup but can he keep his cool and ride it to victory at the British Open. History says it's a tossup with him. Yes, he's played at a high level at Carnoustie and has a three-shot lead over Steve Stricker and yes, Tiger Woods is far back in the rear-view mirror but there is this undercurrent that this famed tournament is not over, that Garcia will be challenged. That said, not only does he hold the lead he has been the most consistent player through three rounds. The question will be can he handle Stricker, Woods or another rushing him hard on Sunday?

Should Michael Vick be suspended for his Big Daddy dog-fighting involvement? PETA and others certainly see precedent for doing just that after the Pac Man Jones soap NFL jailing for conduct unbecoming a pro football player in commissioner Roger Goodell's kingdom. If a player's union couldn't stop Jones from getting pinched, Vick could also get detention. Jones was a stellar player but the Falcons marketing centerpiece going down would be even more huge, getting players' attention in every city, more so for the position he plays than his mega-watt name. Does the NFL have the guts to do the right thing? The WSN believes the league is thinking about it seriously. It just doesn't want the public telling it what to do. The NFL wants it to be its' own idea so it can look like it is running the asylum of bad actors in its' game.

Pity Virginia Tech. Hasn't that school suffered enough? The killing field that school became after the mass execution by some disenfranchised freak without an off button, Vick's association with the football program and his brother, Marcus' equally atrocious behavior while on campus. Proud family, those Vick's. The Hokies paid the price for recruiting those wonderful talents.

Lance Armstrong is widely respected, not only for being a dominant bicycling champion but for his victory over cancer. The man could live in the light of celebrity for the rest of his life and do nothing but collect paychecks but he has instead decided to take the clout he carries to government, asking, selling, pleading with presidential candidates that cancer research becomes as big a priority in this country as "war or terror or taxes." You don't do what he has done in life without being bold and determined. He will be taken more seriously than entertainers because of his story that people can relate to.

NBA referees playing with point spreads? How does that happen? Really, how does that happen? Wouldn't his co-workers or the Association see a pattern of highly deviant calls that would have an official called into the league office, and quickly, and likely reprimanded harshly? That it has taken this long to unearth or prove is shocking, embarrassing and inexcusable. Some heads at the top are going to be roll, in time, over this one. Hey, why don't we just let the players call their own fouls?

There it is, plain to see, for all, a chink in the armor of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. With left tackle Tarik Glenn's abrupt retirement decision, the Colts have a big hole in the ship. You don't replace a talented, proven player like Glenn at a premium position and not feel the effects. It's not like you can go to Lowes or Home Depot and just slap down the credit card for a quality tackle. Peyton Manning and all the Colts players and officials will be stalking Glenn, trying to get him to reconsider, you can take it to the bank.

Steroids in the mail

A letter from Dan who comments on the WSN assertion that golfers are not using steroids, at least not in great number.
"Now it is time for quick correction. One of my closest friends was an Olympic caliber shot putter that was put on a steroid program by the US Olympic Training Program in the early '80s. He has taught me much about steroids as have other athletes over the years.

"You media types are making a big mistake when assuming that only the "big" guys use steroids. I have a friend that was prescribed low doses for depression and another that uses low doses to recover more quickly from triathalon workouts. Ever try golfing 6 rounds per week, 40 weeks per year? I'm 100% certain that many golfers are looking for that extra edge in order to hit the ball a bit farther and recover a bit faster from soreness.

"Call your physician and tell him that you'd like to be prescribed a low or medium dose of anabolic steroidal creme. Wait a few weeks to experience the results and then tell me that golfers aren't using steroids.

"My neighbor is the founder/president of KiloSports, a supplement company. He opened my eyes with his discussion of testosterone a few years ago.

"Low-grade supplements reduce estrogen counts in a man and stimulate testosterone. Low levels of anabolics do the same. He believes that low levels of testosterone cause: depression, decreased sex drive, weight gain, inflammation, mood swings, and joint pain. Small doses of anabolic steroids could stimulate testosterone levels and simply take an older guy with naturally low levels back to his levels in his 20's.

"Nothing illegal from a dosage standpoint, simply a small boost. Are golfers using low levels of steroids? Absolutely. Are they abusing them and achieving testosterone levels that would be illegal in a testing environment? I doubt it.

"I am absolutely stunned how poorly informed the media and general public are when it comes to steroids."
WSN: Dan, consider me corrected that steroids could help heal but the golfing demographic does not seem, at least to these eyes, the type to take steroids with the stigma attached to them and if they are doing so I would assume they are doing so very rarely.

Colorado Warrior

Piggin' out

Lendale White, aka Rashaan Salaam, is likely more Ron Dayne than a Larry Johnson tackle buster and elite back. White played behind a dominating line at USC with other great skill players which allowed his talent to look more pro caliber than it is. White also has the same off-the-field type, um, how do we say this -- career crippling issues that the former CU Heisman Trophy winner had. Maybe LC is not Up in Smoke as Salaam but his attitude, which goes all the way back to his prep days, is red-light flashing "questionable."

Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is going to win games if the key pieces he needs (offensive line, running back) are put around him and if he can remain healthy. Read Mike Klis' story on Cutler in the Denver Post today and see that Cutler has the family support system behind him to be successful. Rod Smith reminds Broncos fans that Cutler is going to look horrible on some days, that all players endure that, even Saint Elway and he's right but Cutler should eventually iron out those lows. And the guess here is that the Santa Claus, Ind. (an outpost like Kiln, Miss.) native won't be caught with his pants down running a dogfighting ring on his way to success.
Why Cutler should eventually succeed

1. He has the necessary size, strength and arm
2. He is smart and composed
3. He has shown, at Vanderbilt, toughness, confidence and daring
4. He is a competitor
Bernard Jackson, deposed CU quarterback, has to have an award named after him at CU. The man, despite the doubts on his ability to master a position often being questioned, is one of the best acts of being a teammate I've heard of. All last season through today he is constantly showing himself malleable and eager to please and contribute in any way. His talent has never been questioned. The perfect fit has. Now, B-Jack is offering to go play defense. The Black and Gold Truth is this -- Jackson would make a great safety but it's too late to expect much out of him at that position now. If he would have played that spot last year, then sometime this season he would have put it all together and become an NFL-caliber playmaker.

Former CSU standout Joey Porter just got tagged for a $ 141,176 fine by the NFL for fighting another pro player at a casino in Vegas. At that price he should have put on gloves and marketed his talent for a bout. Porter is a blockhead but he still has gas left in his tank as a playwrecker of NFL offenses.

Porter's college coach, Sonny Lubick, is 70 and hearing the catcalls -- he's old and should retire. "Garbage," thinks school athletic director Paul Kowalczyk, who sees more run in his coach. Lubick has not forgot how to teach. His recruiting needs to prove itself more, though, for him to roll out another stout team.

Chad Hennings (Air Force) and Bobby Anderson (CU) both new members of the College Football Hall of Fame. Going in with Emmit Smith, Bruce Smith, Bobby Bowden, Mike Rozier and Charlie Ward amongst others is one special party. Hennings was a fluke talent at the Academy, he was so good. Anderson's name is still revered in Boulder.


Anyone thinking the Rockies are going to be much more than a flaky summer companion worth anymore than some good times here and there is inexperienced. This team has some interesting pieces but still is trying to crash a party without the necessary goods to get in. Smoke and mirrors pitching and an offense that strangely takes days off at times make the Rockies a bad date.

Look for Colorado to actively pursue deals at the winter meetings due to a solid roster of positional players and quality minor league prospects. More pop is needed in the lineup and more pitching is needed like this country needs alternative fuel sources.
Trade chips

Seth Smith, OF, Colorado Springs
Joe Koshansky, 1B, Colorado Springs
Christian Colonel, 3B, Tulsa
Future LoDo stars

Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Springs

President Bush, fresh out of his colonoscopy. Man, I can hardly wait for that party invitation. There's got to be a better way to save yourself than that, doesn't there? One day, maybe. Think the doctor's office should buy one a drink before that procedure.

Final Salvo

Minka Kelly, WSN cheap use of an attractive face and eyes for the day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Records; British set-up; Pig previews

Legitimacy, soul brothers and lack of appreciation...

Barry Bonds
, well, any drop in to this site knows how the homering honcho is viewed here but with his two blasts Thursday, even I was juiced at the inevitable breaking of Hank Aaron's career mark for powdered baseballs. Regardless of the man's legitimacy as a record breaker, he is going to do it, and regardless of his pitiful attitude off the field, he is one of the most amazing talents ever in any sport. History is upon us and soon to change.

The most talked about challenger to Bonds' mark will be another fantastic player not universally loved -- Alex Rodriguez. His feats are almost taken for granted. It will be a story on how excited people are when he approaches Bonds' soon-to-be record.

Bonds feels hounded, disrespected and hurt. He wonders why his hard work and rare ability to see, hit and destroy pitches is being overlooked and why additives to his training are getting all the news, especially when they were not declared illegal at the time of use. Bonds' personality has always been disgraceful but his focus has always been on playing at the highest level; he's been committed to his craft and excelled. He's earned every penny of his paychecks. It says here that his greatest sin is not the doping questions but how he's conducted himself towards others. If he took steroids, then he's wrong and should be Hall of Fame voters. If he merely took questionable supplements, he is owed one big, nationwide apology.

Garcia grabs positioning at Carnoustie

Sergio Garcia has first glory at the British Open after posting a sparkling 66 in the tournament's opening round.

Tiger Woods is four shots back and where he can still be dangerous.

The scores may not remain so low but a good initial showing has given the top of the field confidence on a notoriously difficult course and with confidence, comes daring play and potential for great moments.


Stephon Marbury is talking Italy when his contract with the Knicks ends, supposedly because his wife loved the country on a visit they took. Now why would an inner city guy all about flash want to leave the country to play, other than the facts that the Italians wouldn't require him to play defense or be unselfish with the ball either? Marbury is just letting his mouth run without a leash. Maybe he sees himself as the American Beckham.

Do Yi Jianlian's handlers know they are killing him in the press. Before the draft, fans were intrigued by his talent, wondering if he would be as successful as countryman Yao Ming. Now, once he finally hits the court, for Milwaukee or any other outpost, he is going to be seen as selfish and arrogant and the Chinese will be wondering, "why are youhatin' on our boy?" Smart? Shortsighted? Dumb? Instead of cheers he will be met by boos. Nice diplomacy.

Culpepper in Tampa

Daunte Culpepper, a Florida boy just curbed by the Dolphins, met with the Buccaneers to talk money and opportunity. The WSN mentioned KC and Detroit as good spots for the jumbo-sized quarterback but Tampa Bay would also be a good fit. He can still be a starter, and a good one, in the NFL.

Loco for local

On the courts

Louis Amundson, a former Colorado prep, who balled collegiately at UNLV is playing some aggressive, productive basketball in the summer league and showing strong signs he could stick in the NBA as an end-of-the bench energy player.

Jason Smith is playing with zest and displaying his athleticism and scoring talents but on the boards, he is looking overmatched, as a 7-footer. Maybe no one told him he's not in Fort Collins anymore. Now word that he has an ankle sprain. In time, Smith has the looks of a player who will become someone but he is not ready made. He has a lot to learn and his confidence and work ethic will be key to his future.

CU's Richard Roby's stock is dead. From one-time first-round potential his name is now not seen on the 2008 forecast by That will change. Roby doesn't lack ability or skills and new coach Jeff Bzdelik will make the swing man tougher and more determined and that combination will have Roby in the first round next June.

CU is going to play Denver, Air Force, Wyoming and CSU and it doesn't matter one bit what the records of those schools might be, this is the way it should be, annually. It's great for local basketball and the games the fans can relate to.

More Buffs...CU gets a commitment from 6-foot-9 Trey Eckloff from Cherry Creek, who has underwhelming numbers despite overwhelming size for the prep level, but apparently the guy can hit the perimeter shot consistently and the Buffs see potential and their style of player in the Bruin.

Want to know how to make the Nuggets better without making a trade? Find a new coach. George Karl is a proven winner who has done good things in Denver but his approach to defense is minimal and he can be pushed around by the players. Find a Pat Riley, Greg Popovich-type of disciplinarian for this group a mile high and watch the Nuggets, health permitting, win 55 games and a playoff series or two. Book it.

General manager wanna-be Chauncey Billups lauds the Nuggets for picking up his amigo, guard Chucky Atkins, and letting Steve Blake split for Portland. While the WSN disagrees with that move entirely, Billups says Atkins is the gamer and shooter Blake, well, ain't.

Courage anyone

Who would have guessed Colorado would be playing competitive baseball this late into July. You? Me? Anyone? Despite the poor start the Rockies have proven to be a decent club. Not great, not good, but decent. The question is does general manager Dan O'Dowd do nothing and hope next season the team becomes a playoff contender or does he make a move, costing him minor league jewels? Difficult decision to consider but the move should be to always grab proven talent if health, pricing and attitude line up on the object of your desire.

That bullpen needs first-round pick Casey Weathers to develop and pronto. It is too often prone to breakdown, despite Brian Fuentes' resume and Manny Corpas' talent.

Buff won't ride off into sunset yet

Former CU star 'backer Chad Brown says "no" to retirement, signing a contract with the Patriots. His game is in the past, and he'll have difficulty making the team but if he does, what he provides, experience and leadership, is what makes good teams better. If he can see adequate playing time, Brown will even make a few big plays, like all smart veterans do.

Big 12 Preview

Texas is still the cream of the crop in the Big 12 but Missouri will be the North division kingpin according to The College Football News.

The Tigers have the quarterback in Chase Daniel and multiple offensive weapons. The talent level, no doubt, is up. But the question for MU is this -- will they play defense? Make the pick here Nebraska to win the North.

Colorado is picked to be better but still not a winner, which was already written here (4-8 prediction).

CFN picked Oklahoma State as the team to watch and surprise and the WSN can't agree more. The Cowboys are overflowing with power on offense -- fast, skilled players everywhere, and defensively are coming around. The Pokes will not only excel in conference play but if they don't trip over themselves they will make a real push up the rankings.

Three Buffs earned preseason attention from the publication -- linebacker Jordan Dizon, DB Terrence Wheatley and defensive tackle George Hypolite.

The Black and Gold Truth is this -- Dizon is a grinder that coaches love, knowing he is all about working, producing and winning. Wheatley, if healthy, and supported by any sort of pass rush up front is a quality collegiate corner who can make plays. Hypolite, book it, can become the highest drafted CU defensive lineman since one-year wonder Tyler Brayton. And once he gets to the NFL, he can have an impact.

CSU gets little respect, expected to be a punching bag by CFN. Could happen as the program has fallen but the WSN is picking the Rams to rebound and have a winning record and be in the mix for a bowl game. It won't come easy but it should happen if running back Kyle Bell is healthy and the defense proves itself moderately capable.

Bell, tight end Kory Sperry, defensive back Klint Kubiak and defensive lineman Blake Smith get noticed by the publication. Bell, if his body is sound, needs no explanation. He is high impact. Sperry will make money on Sundays one day, Kubiak is smart, as you expect him to be, and makes plays and Smith gives the Rams some size and potential up front on "D."

Air Force is expected to start slow and finish fast but still have a losing record. Coach Troy Calhoun even told me in the past he has a lot of work to do with the Falcons.

Linebacker Drew Fowler and quarterback Shaun Carney were selected as some of the top players in the conference by CFN. Fowler, the program's most valuable player in 2006, is just a defender that the Academy doesn't generate often (think Chris Gizzi). He's a machine. Carney is the key to Calhoun's offense this season. He's a capable talent who should put up quality numbers.

Toughman competition, unsanctioned

CU defensive lineman Taj Kaynor and Chris Perri will get taken to the woodshed for fighting. On a team with so little margin for error, this was foolish, no matter the college culture and their youth. Perri is considered a potential pass rusher of influence and Kaynor is a developing talent with size who needs to show the goods on the field, not off of it.