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Friday, January 20, 2006

Poll: Pick the Superbowl

Who'll win this weekend? Who'll win in Detroit on Feb. 5? Make your picks here!

NFC Championship: Seattle 27, Carolina 17. I had Jake Delhomme on my fantasy team this year. He's not that good. Yeah, he's a competitor and gets the job done, especially in the playoffs. But he turns the ball over and has a limited number of weapons. I like the Seahawks at home, offense firing on all cylinders after a warm-up against Washington.

AFC Championship: Pittsburgh 23, Denver 21. This is going to be a great football game. John Lynch, sledgehammer, Denver, and Troy Polamalu, battering ram, Pittsburgh, provide tons of entertainment by knocking opponents' teeth out like chicklets. The offenses are both effective. Pittsburgh just looks stronger to me right now.

Superbowl: Pittsburgh 27, Seattle 24. Two very good, very different football teams meet in Detroit. Pittsburgh's edge? Cowher. He's got more up his sleeve than Holmgren. I think a key trick play or two will be the difference at Ford Field. That and Lofa Tatupu is undersized and will have his hands full with the Bus. (That said, I hope I'm wrong on this one.)

Post your prediction here!
Zoom on...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Why USC Lost

Vince Young was unbelievable. And when it came down to it, Texas made the plays that won what turned out to be a marvelous football game. But the Trojans only have themselves to blame for giving the 'Horns a chance.

For starters, SC was arrogant. Hubris caused the Trojans to go for it on 4th and 2 with 2:09 left to play and a 5 point lead. Why not punt the ball and make Vince Young take his team the length of the field? Why not give the worn-out Trojan defense as much help as possible? Because Pete Carroll and USC thought they were unbeatable. They took an unnecessary gamble and it cost them big-time.

But that's only the beginning. Reggie Bush only had 13 carries. That's right--Mr. All World, the Heisman trophy winner, the man drawing comparisons to Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, and just about any other great back who's ever worn cleats and shoulder pads, had 13 rushes. That's silly. I don't care how well LenDale White was playing. It doesn't matter. You've got to get the ball in the hands of your stud, especially at the end of the game. The Trojans failed to do that. (In fairness, Bush did have 6 receptions and 5 kickoff returns for a total of 24 touches. But that's not enough touches for a guy who averaged 8.9 yards per carry, especially in a game of this magnitude.)

Lastly, why on earth did USC burn its last timeout when Texas lined up to go for two with 19 seconds to play? I'll tell you why. The arrogant Trojans were shell-shocked. They weren't expecting VY and Co. to overcome a 12 point deficit with a little more than 6 minutes left to play. It wasn't even a possibility. They thought they were invincible.

And so it goes. Vince Young often looked like a man among boys on Wednesday night. But crucial mistakes by the Trojans gave him the chance to lead the Longhorns to the national championship.
Zoom on...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Crystal Ball

Sports stories to watch for in 2006.

JANUARY 30...Martell Webster comes home to Seattle and pours in 39 points as the Portland TrailBlazers hammer the Seattle SuperSonics 115 - 89. With a starting lineup of Flip Murray, Rashard Lewis, Danny Fortson, Robert Swift, and Mateen Cleaves, coach Bob Weiss is speechless about what's wrong with his team's defense in a postgame interview.

FEBRUARY 5...The Seattle Seahawks defeat the Indianapolis Colts 38 - 35 in Superbowl XL (40 for the non-Greek speakers) at Ford Field. After the game, people riot and loot in both Seattle and Detroit, because, after all, we're talking about Seattle and Detroit.

MARCH 20...Jason Bay drills a home run off Bartolo Colon to give darkhorse Canada a victory over the Dominican Republic in the first ever World Baseball Classic. Six days later, owners of the Florida Marlins announce the team will be moving to Calgary, where federal funds will be used to build a 100,000 seat indoor baseball super arena complete with Labatt Blue tap handles at every chair. An ecstatic Calgary spokesperson is overheard saying something about getting back at the United States for "stealing all our hockey teams."

APRIL 1...In a press conference, the University of Oregon announces it will be filing a lawsuit against the BCS for not being selected for a BCS game. At a second press conference 3 hours later, athletic director Bill Moos and football coach Mike Belotti look at reporters and scream, "April Fools!!!"

JUNE 27...With starters mustering only 14 wins (8 for Felix Hernandez) the Mariners are mathematically eliminated from post-season play.

JULY 9...A stunned crowd looks on in Berlin as DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donavan each score to give the United States a 2-1 win over Germany in the World Cup Final.

JULY 12...The Seattle Seahawks announce a 5-year, $50 million contract with superstar running back Shaun Alexander. Asked why Alexander was given such a long-term deal, Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell said, "Did you see him play last year? He's really good!"

JULY 13...Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson sustain knee injuries in a charity jello-wrestling contest. Both are declared out for the coming season.

AUGUST 14...P.R. Watson returns to Zoomstick. The article is about how the Rangers, Angels, and A's should all be disqualified from the 2006 campaign for rampant steroid use and that technically, the Mariners should be A.L. West champs.

SEPTEMBER 18...After dropping its first 3 games to San Jose State, Oklahoma, and Fresno State, Washington football coach Ty Willingham promotes freshman Jake Locker to starting quarterback and J.R. Hasty as the team's first-string tailback.

OCTOBER 1...The Mariners finish the season with 90 losses (compared to 99 in 2004 and 93 in 2005). In an interview following their final game against Texas, Bill Bavasi proudly exclaims to reporters, "See, I told you we'd be better."

OCTOBER 2...The Tampa Bay Devil Rays announce they will be moving the club to Portland. "It's not quite Canada," owner Stuart Sternberg says, "but it's getting close."

NOVEMBER 18...The Huskies destroy Washington State in the Apple Cup 42-14, finishing undefeated in conference play and bowl-bound. Jake Locker throws for 3 TD (2 to Isaiah Stanbeck) and rushes for another while J.R. Hasty carries for 175 yards and a TD.

NOVEMBER 20...On a snowy night in the Meadowlands, the Seahawks stay in the playoff hunt by beating the New York Giants 8-7 on Monday night. Mack Strong starts at left tackle and leads Shaun Alexander into the end zone for the game winning conversion at the end of regulation. Following the game, an enraged Eli Manning pegs Mike Holmgren in the head with a snowball as the teams head to their locker rooms. After coming to his senses, Holmgren rolls to his feet, chases Manning down, and does a flying judo kick to the quarterback's sternum. Neither sustain serious injuries.

DECEMBER 12...George Steinbrenner declares that no Yankee player will ever be allowed to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Fed up with the decision, center fielder Johnny Damon demands to be traded to the Seattle Mariners. Days later, Damon goes to Seattle for Jarrod Washburn, the lefty Steinbrenner wanted "all along..."

DECEMBER 15...The Calgary Cold Ones (Marlins) trade Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Portland Greenies (Devil Rays) for prospects and a few cases of Bridgeport IPA. The future of baseball in the pacific northwest never looked brighter.
Zoom on...