Revenge of the Smurfs and Land-o-Links for 1/3/2007


2007 has picked up right where 2006 left off with me going 0 for 3 so far with my BCS bowl picks. The Rose Bowl, which I thought would be the most interesting game with the involvement of Michigan and USC, ended up with only one memorable image while Wake Forest screwed me after looking good for 3 1/2 quarters in last night’s Orange Bowl. Still, I’ve got to hand it to Boise State for taking it straight to Oklahoma’s juggular in the Fiesta Bowl. For all of the attention paid to the hook-and-lateral and Statue of Liberty plays at the end of that game, what impressed me the most was that the Broncos beat up on the Sooners for the first 58 minutes without a hint of trickery – Boise State simply ran the ball with impunity and played great defense. I apologize for doubting the Smurfs (TK, to his credit, was a believer). On to today’s links:

(1) Illini Not Meeting Weber’s Standard (Chicago Tribune) – The Big Ten basketball season for Illinois gets underway tonight with a meeting in Ann Arbor against Muck Fichigan. Here’s to hoping that Rich McBride wakes up from his two-month long nap and Brian Randle finally gets healthy.

(2) Can 2007 be a Repeat of 2005? (Big Ten Wonk) – Speaking of the Big Ten conference season, John Gasaway has posted a generally upbeat assessment of the league. By the way, while toggling between the Bulls-Suns and Indiana-Ohio State games last night, there’s no clearer statement of Greg Oden’s mad baller skills than when he sinks 9 out of 10 free throws using his non-shooting left hand (since he has ligament damage on his right hand). I think it’s time for Ben Wallace to try shooting free throws left handed.

(3) This Ben Gordon Thing is Starting to Irk Me (Blog-a-Bull) – As we segue into a Bulls discussion, I was just mentioning to my wife last night something along the lines of what Blog-a-Bull is referring to here, where it’s perplexing that Ben Gordon puts up All-Star scoring numbers when he comes off of the bench (including a career-high 41 points last night against the Suns) yet goes into a funk everytime that he’s in the starting lineup. What is Scott Skiles supposed to do when Gordon has overwhelming numbers that would point to an obvious starting role but time and time again has underachieved in that position? On a side note, I will have the privilege of being able to witness Ben Wallace’s first game against his old Pistons squad at the United Center on Saturday night, so I’m ready for a resuscitation of the bad blood between Chicago and Detroit.

(4) Goodbye 2006! Hello 2007! (Fleece the Pig, Flog the Pony) – A rundown of the top moments in Chicago sports over the past year.

(5) Kenny Williams: A Beane or a Krause? – Part 1 (Chi-Sox Blog) – Great analysis by Jeeves on whether the White Sox GM is heading down the path of Jerry Krause (one of the most loathed figures in Chicago sports history whether it’s fair or not) or Billy Beane (ironic in the sense that Williams came off as being not-so-bright in “Moneyball”).

(6) Where Have You Gone, Thomas Edison? (Slate) – Just in case you aren’t able to waste enough time on blogs, YouTube, MySpace, and Wikipedia, the Google Patent Search should be able to take up the rest of the day.

(7) Lock the Library! Rowdy Students Are Taking Over (New York Times) – I’m telling you, when I worked in the Homewood Public Library in high school, it was always a non-stop party.

And finally…

(8) Playoff Bound, But Questions Remain (Windy City Gridiron) – Spending New Years Eve with the Bears should have made for a wonderful evening. Instead, all we have are questions about our quarterback situation with Sexy Rexy and whether Brett Favre is going to retire and whether Sunday was his last game and whether he wants to go out on a high note and when he’s going to make an announcement about next season and REDRUM REDRUM REDRUM.

(Image from