Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random thoughts about the NFL draft

I really thought long and hard about this considering I've enjoyed the information that certain experts give. The window of opportunity for some franchises closes much faster than others while other teams rarely even crack one. The evaluation of players are what steroid were to Barry Bonds. A pompous and overrated sideshow worthy of changing the channel with a click of the remote. The combine is now a spectacle for all to behold. Twenty years ago scouts from all the teams would identify players for their intangible qualities, leaning less on forty times and more on whether the prospect could actually contribute to their teams.

If money is the root of all evil then one could easily see why the development of young prospects has been reduced to buzz words. Does upside, motor, moxie or workout warrior ring a bell? It causes many teams to make decisions mostly on physical skills and not the intangibles that projects whether guys will be great football players. Matthew Stafford got a boat load of money but it wouldn't be a suprise if Rhett Bomar(taken by the Giants with the 151st pick) became a star in this league and Stafford didn't.

Late round and "unconventional" picks have a history of making draft experts look like complete idiots. Bill Walsh took a beating for taking Jerry Rice in the first round in 1985. Marques Colston was seventh round pick in 2006. His monster season made New Orleans Scouts look smart while teams that selected receivers in earlier rounds reminded you of that Snickers commercial. (Want to get away?) Santonio Holmes was a first round pick of the Steelers in the same draft. Colston made an immediate inpact while Holmes took a few seasons to develop into a reliable threat.

The quarterback position is even worse. Guys like David Carr, Joey Harrington, Vince Young, Alex Smith and Matt Leinart have been given a shorter time frame to develop. The early success of Ben Rothlisberger ushered in a new wave of expectations. Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco have inherited the mantle after exceeding expectations causing most analyst, fans, and GM's to settle for instant gratification and not the total development of a football player.

Troy Aikman the hall of fame signal caller for the Dallas Cowboys took three full years to develop. A young quarterback in today's in NFL isn't as lucky. Two of the top three picks in the 2006 draft have lost their jobs to steady veterans. Jemarcus Russell can now look over his shoulder in Oakland after the signing of Jeff Garcia. Will the same thing happen to Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford? Judging by the latest trends, I'd have to say yes.

Stafford's team is coming off a win less season. Even if he leads them to 3 wins this year it would make him look like a hero. Sanchez could either be Matt Ryan or Akili Smith. Sanchez's own coach believed that his one year starter wasn't prepared. What did Pete Carroll see that the analyst didn't? Akili Smith was drafted because of all of the physical tools he displayed at private workouts before the draft. He started only one year in college and was exposed at the next level.

Akili Smith is more the rule than the exception. Matt Cassell has added to the legend of USC being a football factory for the NFL but his heroics with the Patriots last season is an exception to the rule. This guy hadn't started since high school and could never beat out the likes of Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer. Under the tutelage of a master mind coaching staff, Cassell shook off some early season miscues and played great down the stretch. Now people expect a repeat performance in Kansas City. Not so fast.. Has anyone seen the roster?

The NFL isn't instant grits or coffee.. (Add quarterback and stir...) Kansas City will be terrible this year. Tony Gonzalez is gone. Larry Johnson is Dennis Rodman with a helmet minus the dress. They also have a first year coach. Not good. Sure Miami and Atlanta turned around after coaching changes but not necessarily because those coaches did everything right. Both teams could easily relapse into mediocrity. Stranger things have happened. The off season creates the proper anticipation for the upcoming season. Unfortunately it doesn't give us a peek into the crystal ball of which teams will stink and which team will be the leaders of the pack.

This year draft lacked the sizzle of drafts in the past but a few teams impressed me with their selections.

1. The Cincinnati Bengals.

They have stuck with Carson Palmer and Marvin Lewis. Most people believe that Lewis should've been fired long ago while Palmer has yet to return to pro bowl form after injury.
Their selection of Andre Smith raised some eyebrows but these are the bungles we're talking about. In the past they have taken some huge risk on talented and equally troubled players. In fairness Smith hasn't been arrested but it is fair to question his desire considering some of his antics in college and most recently at the "scouting combine".

2. The Philadelphia Eagles

They have committed to getting some weapons for Mcnabb for the first time since they went after T.O. It's no secret that Donovan has taken his fair share of undeserved criticism. The drafting of Jeremy Macklin at 19 and Lesean Mccoy shows that the eagles are headed in the right direction. They also made some key trades to help beef up the protection of Mcnabb with the acquisitions of Jason Peters and Stacy Andrews. Mcnabb and the eagles just became the favorites in their brutal division.

3. The Tennessee Titans

The Titans did something that they haven't done in 11 season. They selected a wide receiver in the first round. Kenny Britt completed a stellar college career as the number one receiver for Rugters. Jared Cook out of South Carolina gives the titans offense some pop with his jet like speed and ability to get valuable yards after the catch. Sen'Derrick Marks can fill the hole left by Albert Haynesworth at the Defensive tackle spot. Marks fit the mold of the tough players fisher likes to install in his defensive schemes. Overall great draft by the titans. They should be one of the leaders in the AFC south in the 2009 season.

Is it football season yet?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why the Tennessee Titans will never win the superbowl

The Titans have become a consistent franchise. Jeff Fisher is one of the most respected coaches in football. He now is the longest tenured head coach in the NFL. This fall Jeff will be entering his 16th season at the helm. Most football purist love Fisher's philosophy of smash mouth football. Eddie George, the work horse running back of the late 90's and early 2000's punished opposing defenses.

Steve Mcnair was an above average Quarterback skilled at leading his team in the clutch. The Titans defense was dominating led by guys like Blaine Bishop, Marcus Robertson and one time rookie sensation Jevon Kearse. The harsh reality is that Tennessee Titans that brought us an AFC championship in the 1999 season doesn't exemplify the same winning formula.

Here's four good reasons why the titans will not win the superbowl.

1. Two words here. JEFF FISHER

This isn't to throw Jeff under the bus. I love him as a coach but Jeff's philosophy on offense isn't enough to get the job done. In this decade only two teams that won the superbowl were defensive oriented teams. The 2000 Ravens and 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers are those two teams. The Steelers have won two superbowls this decade but their offensive personnel are more efficient than the titans. Wouldn't you rather have the recieving corp of Hines Ward, Antwan Randle El (Randle El was on 2004 squad) and Nate Washington. Isn't Heath Miller an upgrade at tight end?

Ben Rothlisberger is a better Quarterback than Vince Young, Kerry Collins, and Patrick Ramsay.
The 2007 giants weren't a offensive Juggernaut but wouldn't you take the 2007 receiving corp of Plaxico Burress, Ike Hillard, and David Tyree? Kevin Boss and Bo Scaife's great year in 2008 is pretty comparable. Eli Manning succeeded at bringing a championship to New York. He also showed the toughness it takes to win a big game. Advantage Giants.

2. The abscene of a winner at Quarterback.

Kerry Collins did a decent job but one of the biggest misnomers by most analyst and titans fans is that Collins is an accurate quarterback. The stats tell a different story. Collins for his career has completed just 55 percent of his passes. Last season he completed 58 percent of his passes for an anemic 2600 yards against 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.

Vince Young has the physical tools to be a winner but he lost his job because of his bad attitude. He completed 61 percent of his passes during his first year as full time starter. His touchdown to interception ratio helped to fuel the perception of his inaccuracy. Out of all of the superbowl winning quarterbacks of the decade only Trent Dilfer passed for under 3000 yards as the full time starter.

Patrick Ramsay has had even less success in the NFL than all the QB's on the roster. Do you trust this roster of quarterbacks to lead this team down the field in a come from behind scenario? Has the titans receiving corp shown that they can make a play with the game on the line? The 2008 ravens can answer that question.

3. Scared Money don't make none.

The titans have become gun shy with their free agent spending. The NFL is a copycat league causing teams to mimic the success of the last superbowl winner. The Patriots have been successful at signing free agent veterans at the back end of their careers. They have dared to let the likes of David Givens and Deion Branch walk when they demanded big money deals.

For the titans, letting guys like Derrick Mason and Albert Haynesworth walk hasn't always worked out in their favor. Yancy Thigpen and David Givens were colossal bust considering that Thigpen was known more for partying than catching balls. Givens suffered a career ending injury that caused the titans to wonder what might have been. Sure the titans gave Justin Gage an extension but he's no Derrick Mason.

The titans fan base screamed from the roof tops for the titans to pursue Jay Cutler. We haven't heard a peep about pursuing Anquan Boldin. Boldin would be a legit number one which would allow Nate Washington and Justin Gage to settle in at the other slots. This would force opposing defenses to prepare for an above average passing attack coupled with a punishing running attack led by Lendale White and Chris Johnson. Throw in rising star Bo Scaife and we could make a legitimate run to the superbowl.

4. The titans drafts on the offensive side of the ball have been marginal.

Chris Johnson was one of the few bright spots of this decade but guys like Tyrone Calico, Chris Henry, Courtney Roby and Roydell Williams have been huge dissappointments. Derrick Mason and Drew Bennett (Bennett was undrafted) put in the work that it took to become great recievers. Tyrone Calico preferred backseat sex to working on his route running. Lavelle Hawkins seems to be a hidden gem but he hasn't really been given the opportunity to develop in live game action.

Brandon Jones showed some promise during his rookie year which was the last year that Mcnair played for the titans. Jones made an impressive return after suffering a career threatning leg injury which slowed his development. He recently signed a free agent deal with the San Francisco 49ers. Jones may blossom under a new system that is desperate for talent at receiver.

Lendale White has turned out to be an above average find for a second round pick. He has definitely panned out to be the better pro when he's measured against his former teammate Reggie Bush. The titans are a defensive oriented team that will always use their first round picks on defense or on a running back.

I'm not expecting the titans quarterback to throw for 4000 yards but when the titans play teams that can stop the run then what else do they have to fall back on? Collins is under contract for another season. If Vince Young isn't the guy that means the titans are back in the market for another quarterback.

If that's the case that means that they're more likely to be back in the top ten drafting another quarterback. If you're a titans fan expect them to be the tease that the drunk girl at the bar is. The titans will always be competitive but competitive doesn't always produce championships. It hasn't produced one for the titans in franchise history. It hasn't produced one with Fisher at the helm for 16 seasons. Don't expect that ship to sail in the 2009 season either...

Friday, April 3, 2009

"A Home town Discount"

I recognize a home town discount when I see one because of I've given them. Penny Hardaway was one of my favorite basketball players as a youngster. I followed his every move from college to the NBA. When he acted like a prima dona, I gave him the benefit of the doubt because I was blinded by my man crush. I defended the behavior that ultimately contributed to Shaq signing with L.A.

Please save that objectivity card that the local media and Nashville fan base likes to play. It looks nothing like the coveted big joker in a game of spades. Most of us have been blinded by our hero worship of players we like. I expect for local media to go a little soft on Jay but this soft? Was it just me or did anyone else notice how the Sports zone jocks have creamed other superstars in various sports about their lack of heart or leadership skills. Sure Jay's teammates in Denver loved him at hello but I'm not so sure if his new band of merry men will embrace him as quickly. (see Brian Urlacher guarded words on

Let's breakdown this home town discount the local media and fan base in Nashville have given to Cutler.

1. This is the first time other than high school that Cutler has been a "star".

Once a player makes good on a lifelong dream to play in the NFL, no one really cares( besides your local community) about the lone championship you won in high school. It's easy to see why the early success and notoriety may have went to Cutler's head. (Insert infamous John Elway comment) At Vandy, Cutler was one of the few bright spots on a team that was hugely inconsistent. One week his Vandy team could beat Tennessee then the next week lose to the likes of Middle Tennessee State. Middle Tennessee was a team that they should have beaten everyday of the week and twice on Sunday. Very few college football fans outside of the SEC new who Cutler was.

Hardcore fans and pro scouts were aware of him but he didn't have that "street cred" that most big time college quarterbacks benefit from. He was never mentioned as a Heisman trophy candidate nor was he heavily recruited after a very productive high school career. Could this be the catalyst behind Jay's mental breakdown after the firing of his coach Mike Shanahan? There aren't many guarantees for success in the N.ot F.or League. This leaves me to believe that Cutler wasn't playing nice enough behind the scenes. Quarterbacks in most cases can be an over priced and a under evaluated commodity but they are a necessary evil. Take the 2005 selection of Alex Smith who was selected number one overall.

Smith went from looking like a promising prospect with Mike Martz as his offensive coordinator, to an ugly science project full of busted potential. Smith has never had the same coordinator two years in a row nor has he had much protection and weapons to support him. Cutler is the polar opposite in this case. He was under the same coordinator for the greater part of his development. In the NFL, this is usually a rare occurrence considering the turnover of NFL coaches.

I get why he was upset but the exchange between Cutler, Bus Cook, and the Broncos administrative staff looked like a bad marathon of Broke Back mountain on the Logo channel. It was beyond pitiful when he was attempting to save face in the media as some sort of victim. I'm not saying it wasn't mentioned on the zone but it had a different feel to it. It didn't have the same venom normally reserved for guys we deem as "bad" or spoiled. (home town discount)

2. Strong Armed Quarterbacks are a cross between a bleach blonde, a B.E.T uncut video model, and a stepford wife surgically perfected by a plastic surgeon. - They come a dime a dozen.

"Arm Strength" is widely overrated when evaluating the ability of a quarterback to play in this league. Did you know that Jeff George, Ryan Leaf, Scott Mitchell, Mike Vick and Heath Shuler were once regarded as "strong armed" quarterbacks. History is on the side of this argument. Teams that become champions discover how to look for the intangible qualities in a player.

Exibit A, Trent Dilfer is a Superbowl champ and Dan Marino, Dan Fouts and Warren Moon aren't.

The bears have had 27 different starting quarterbacks since Jim Mcmahon led them to the Superbowl. Everyone from Eric Kramer to Kordell Stewart have failed them miserably. They did get back to the Superbowl with Rex Grossman. The premise of my argument is that the "prototypical" skills that most scouts, fans, and analyst drool over doesn't automatically bring a championship to your favorite team. What it does bring is a bunch of hot air coupled with unfulfilled high expectations. Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer, Phill Simms, and Jim Plunkett are names that come to mind when I analyze how "serviceable" quarterbacks can lead teams to superbowl victories.

Intangibles can't be measured at the meat market palooza that the NFL loves to disguise as a "scouting combine". Most scouts fall in love with cleavage and pay little attention to the details that ultimately determine whether or not the pretty ladies in question can sustain a home much less a meaningful conversation. (This is actually cathartic) Did I just confess to being shallow?

3. Cutler has possibly cut his nose to spite his face in demanding a trade.

The Chicago Bears were the 26th ranked offense in the entire league. Save the Quantum leap expectations for Scott Bakula. We're talking about a team that hitched its offensive needs on converting Devin Hester to a wide receiver. Lovie Smith doesn't strike me as a coach who's going to change his offensive philosophy. Honestly, can you see him going to the pass happy offense that will feature Cutler? The 2008 Dolphins and Falcons are given Bears fans a false sense of hope considering those teams drastic improvements from last season.

Remember that those huge improvements came after coaching changes. A new regime may have to take over before the Bears make another meaningful run in the playoffs. If this reclamation project fails then look for Lovie Smith to be sent packing. This false hope is reminiscent of a bad infomercial that promises hopeless saps that they can lose 10 pounds in seven days. I caution you, read the fine print.

4. How is 3 other former Vanderbilt Players relevant to turning around the mess that the Bears are?

Earl Bennett hasn't emerged as much of a threat in his two seasons after being drafted in the third round of 2007. How does Jay Cutler's arrival suddenly make him better? This isn't the SEC ya know. Also cancel those dreams of a free agent wide receiver on the back end of his career saving the bears God awful receiving corp. Mushin Muhammed was on the first thing smoking out of Chicago when he got the chance. Look for Lovie Smith to give Matt Forte the ball at least 300 times. So where does that leave Cutler? (This is like Jay Z breaking up with Beyonce for Queen Latifah.) Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal supported Jay as much as he supported them with his on the money delivery.

When a guy has 4000 yard season please understand that most of those yards are gained after speedy receivers get tough yardage after the catch. Passing yardage and Y.A.C. (yards after the catch) go together like Peaches and Herb. Trade talk or starters looking in their rear view mirror at hungry backups and free agents is nothing new in this league. If Cutler would've adjusted and kept his mouth shut he could've possibly been in a position to stay the course of becoming a legitmate superstar. It's likely he just got himself a first class invitation to the country club of the unappreciated on a bad team.(I here this is one of the few Country Clubs that Donovan Mcnabb can join) Oh I forgot he's had that before at Vandy. Maybe he's home sick.

5. Did someone school Cutler on the rigors of playing quarterback in the NFL?

Holdouts, and trade demands go hand in hand. Quite Frankly its apart of the game. I know the Bears believe they just got better at that quarterback position (I will concede that they did) but at the expense of gold. (draft picks) It's harder to recover draft picks when a team gives up two number ones in consecutive years. What if the experiment bombs and they end up worst than they were with Orton. That means that the Broncos would be in line for a top ten pick.

Valuable early round draft picks should be used wisely. The Bears haven't minded the store here. Quarterbacks can be the cornerstone to a gradual turn around but they aren't the only way to rebuild a franchise. Drew Brees threw for 5,000 yards in 2008 and where did that get his team. Jon Kitna threw for 4,000 yards in Detroit in the 2006 but was 2-14 as a starter. The Buffalo Bills were one of the most prolific offenses in the late 80's and early 90's only to get sent home with four straight Superbowl losses.

Judging by the pass that Cutler has been given here in Nashville that means that Jason Campbell, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, David Garrad and Patrick O'Sullivan should all take a page from Cutler. What do all of these guys have in common? All of their ownership inquired about a possible trade for Cutler.

Orton may wind up being the bigger winner considering what Mcdaniels was able to do with Cassell last year. Orton's numbers weren't terrible but can be justified by some of the personnel he played with. I've heard the same defense concerning Cutler's performance. He's 17-20 as a starter. Parcells used to say that you are what your record says you are. Sure Cutler didn't have the supporting cast of a solid D but he's the guy. The guys we love to marginalize can never get that vote of confidence when we debate their performances. Certain guys need more support while the other guy just "sucks".

Rob Marinelli inherited a terrible sack of manure in Detroit but that didn't save his job. 0-16 is still 0-16. That's even if you inherit a franchise that thought recievers could block at the line of scrimmage. So why have we spared Cutler in Nashville? Because we like him... That's in spite of the criticism that we've given other players for holding out, demanding trades and missing mini camps or much worse refusing to go back into the game. What will be the reaction if Bo Scaife decides to holdout after being franchised? Judging by this situation, there should be a moratorium on the criticism of players holding out or doing anything similar to what Cutler has done. I wouldn't bet the house on that one. I can't wait to see how this pans out. I love hoops but when does the football season start?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Street Ball comes to Kentucky

Apparently Kentucky has found the coach that can revitalize their fan base. Former Memphis Coach John Calipari introduced himself to the Kentucky basketball nation. One of the most intriguing questions during the press conference was about Calipari's "dribble drive" offense that has made him such a winner at Memphis. His response was true. Kids want to play for a team where their skills can be showcased.

Before delving into all of the pros and cons of Mitch Barnhart's decison, let me say that Kentucky is getting a very complicated individual to coach its team. Calipari is very confident in his abilities as a basketball coach. His success at Umass is well documented. The recruiting scandal that made it easier for him to bolt the program for the NBA after the school's only final four appearance is very obvious to watchful eye as well.

What makes Calipari so complicated is that he appears to genuinely care about his players on and off the court. He makes no bones about doing things his way. He's the equivalent of the steady boyfriend with the wondering eye for beautiful women. N.C. State apparently couldn't get him to commit but Kentucky could. The Memphis program was improved during his nine year tenure. Graduation rates went up considerably which was something that former coaches like Dana Kirk, Larry Finch and Tic Price seemed allergic to.

He turned the Memphis program into a place where kids from all over the country would consider. How else do we explain how an east coast kid like Dejuan Wagner comes to Memphis over the likes of Louisville (his dad Milt Wagner played there) or any other storied program in the country. Oh I forgot, Milt was actually an assistant there hired by Calipari at the same time that "Juanie" was being recruited. Let's not forget how childhood pal and high school team mate Arthur Barclay came along for the ride to. Nothing illegal but classic Calipari. Back in the day, the Andre Turner's of the Memphis community stayed home to wear tiger blue.

Guys like Penny Hardaway, Billy Smith, Baskerville Holmes, Elliot Perry and William Bedford carried on a tradition of home grown talent that could compete against some of the biggest programs in the country en route to multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament. It was a love affair that came to an end after Larry Finch was fired when he failed to land local high school stars Tony Harris and Robert O'kelly.

Calipari got the job in 2000 following the stint of Tic Price that ended in a messy scandal. Calipari guided the program through the messy divorce of strictly recruiting local talent to competing nationally against the heavyweights of college basketball. Larry Finch took the Memphis program as far as he could. Calipari raised the programs profile to new heights.

Calipari's Nine year run produced an N.I.T. championship, several elite eight appearances and a final four that ended in a close shave in the 2008 national title game. Memphis basketball has become a national program visible enough to compete with any traditional power for great players. The Memphis basketball program under Calipari was among the winningest college programs in a 5 year span averaging well over thirty wins for 4 years of that 5 year span. So Calipari is no slouch by any stretch of the imgagination. (even mine) Now lets get down to some honest criticisms of Coach Cal's coaching style.

1. Does Calipari's style of coaching makes players better?

In fairness, this question maybe better suited for someone who played for him but for the sake of argument and observation I can say NO... Dejuan Wagner was a first round pick (#6 overall) in the 2002 draft but hasn't really panned out in the league after a semi impressive rookie campaign. Guys like Shawne Williams, Sean Banks, Darius Washington, Jr. Rodney Carney and Chris Douglas Roberts didn't develop a killer instinct in this junk food diet type of offense.

Who can forget D Wash missing three straight free throws to miss out on the NCAA tourney? What about the arrogance of breaking the huddle saying B.I.A.(Best in America) only to watch player after player miss costly free throws when they counted. How about the 2005 and 2006 teams that went flat offensively in the regional final championship games.

Who can forget the meltdown of the Umass team in the 1996 final four that saw Kentucky erase a ten point lead with two mintues to go. It must have been ground hogs day in last years championship game against Kansas. Another double digit lead was squandered by a team led by Cal in the 2008 championship game.

Derrick Rose is the lone exception of a player who may get better as his playing career goes on but it will not be because of Calipari's coaching. Rose has special talent that doesn't improve necessarily because of coaching. That guy does things on the court that can't be coached.

The professional environment offers a player the opportunity to get better if they commit themselves in the areas of physical fitness, a great diet and a regimented routine that improves the fundamental aspects of a players overall game. None of Coach Cal's players at the NBA level can be put into that category yet. Frankly kids aren't attracted to playing for Cal because he improves their fundamental skills.

2. Lets tell the truth about the "dribble drive offense"

Most fans live up to the abbreviated meaning of the term. Their analysis of the teams they (I have fan tendencies too.) root for can be down right wrong sometimes. In the same vein due to their (our) love and devotion for their teams, they also have some valid criticisms as well. The dribble drive offense is glorified street ball. That sentiment shouldn't minimize the success of coach Cal but it is a sweeping indictment on some of the issues of why he hasn't won a national championship playing this style of basketball.

Very few times have we seen this offense produce in a situation where absolute chaos existed. Sure there are scenarios where a player takes matters in his own hands.( i.e. Tyus Edny.) This style of play rarely produces a Tate George or Christian Laettner like moment. Sure Chris Douglas Roberts made a play against UAB on the road during their final four run that kept the Conference USA streak alive but that wasn't necessarily a bread and butter play drawn up by Cal to free up the guy to make that play.

3. How long will the Kentucky faithful put up with this style of play before getting disgruntled?

Calipari has the brass Kaones to silence any critics of his style. His demeanor in the press conference was a classic example of that. The Kentucky faithful should be prepared for Cal not recruiting some of the states home grown talent. This will be a national program. Richie Farmer and Deron Feldhaus aren't walking through those hallowed locker room doors. Patrick Sparks will never be allowed to transfer there. So check your home state passions at the door.

Calipari can be feisty when it comes to silly questions in the local media. His ego is as big as any coach who has actually won multiple national championships.(Oh forgot he hasn't won any yet) Be prepared for the possibility of several one and done prospects to filter in and out of the program. Expect some of the players that he was recruiting to Memphis not to follow him to Kentucky.

The college basketball recruiting world is a brutal place to navigate. Opposing programs are a cross between pirhana and vultures when coaches leave programs for greener pastures. Expect the recruitment of the kids who were considering Memphis to get interesting. Suddenly those who didn't have a chance are now in the running to get those players.

4. Can Calipari bring a national championship to Kentucky?

Sure he can but it will be a lot harder at UK than it would've been at Memphis. Elite eight appearances are acceptable in Memphis but the fan base in the bluegrass state will have some questions when Calipari's coaching deficiencies get exposed for the world to see. Though the SEC was down this year, one could expect the likes of Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt to be an upgrade in competition.

Don't bet on the Wildcats going undefeated in SEC play for 3 years. The tigers dominance of Conference USA gave them a boost in their seeding the last three seasons. To their credit they played a stellar non conference schedule but most top tier teams from any of the BCS conferences would like wise dominate the C-USA.

Thirty win campaigns are hard to come by in leagues like the SEC. Coach Cal will do a great job there. This was more about ego than money. Reportedly Memphis was able to pony up the money to match any offer that Kentucky made. This was certainly more about the lure and mystic of coaching at Kentucky. The renewed rival syndrome possibly came calling.(Pitino ain't that far away) John Chaney got so hot at Cal once until he was ready to choke him out UFC style at a press conference. A guy can't get a rush like that playing in the C-USA.

It also was about meeting a new challenge for a guy who seems to be driven by how others esteem him in the coaching ranks and most importantly in the media. Excellence in human endeavors makes all of us ponder the evaluation of our peers. Success can be a funny thing. It can make us blindly ambitious or it can expose what's really behind door number one.

In classic Monty Hall fashion Kentucky and John Calipari made a deal. Many fans and Kentucky haters alike are anxious to see how the 30 million dollar man pans out. A rabid fan base and unfulfilled expectations has a funny way of taking the shine off a coach. Time will definitely tell.. Kentucky just won the SEC media day championship... The circus has arrived in Lexington yet again or has it ever left?