Sunday, January 31, 2010

Australian Open

I'm throwin' some shrimp on the barbie, mates because we're heading down under for the Australian Open.

Here's what you can chat up:
> Serena Williams captured the women's single's title. It's the first of the grand slams that she played since a meltdown at the U.S. Open, when she screamed at a line judge. Her tirade landed her on probation.
> She had to battle it out to win, going 3 sets. FYI - in women's tennis, the victor takes the best of 3 sets. In men's, it's the best of 5 sets.
> It's her 5th Australian Open title.

On the men's side:
> Roger Federer won the men's single's title.
> This is his 16th career grand slam, more than any man in history.
> How many more will he win in his career? He's 28 and has at least another few in him.
> His closest rival, Rafael Nadal, suffered an early defeat in the Open so, psychologically Federer has the edge.

Enjoy watching these two tremendous athletes. They're worth appreciating.

Chat it up!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kurt Warner Retires

Hello my friends,

Today's news is from the NFL, where Kurt Warner, the QB of the Arizona Cardinals, announced his retirement. Here's what you can talk about:
> Will he make it into the Hall of Fame?
> There are arguments on both sides. He won 1 Super Bowl, 2 MVP awards, went to the Pro Bowl 4 times, is the fastest player to reach 10,000 passing yards, ended with more than 30,000 passing yards and completed 65%+ of his passes.
> Between 2002 and 2007, he had injuries, was dropped by the Los Angeles Rams, traded to the Giants where he was replaced by Eli Manning. Those years, for some, are reasons for him NOT to be in the hall.
> He spent 12 years in the league but has one of the most unlikely (and true) stories in all of sports. He played in the Arena Football League, in NFL Europe and, in between, worked as a stock boy at a Hyvee grocery store before actually playing in the NFL.

Finally, and this doesn't count on a HOF ballot, he's been a man of character. And that's, perhaps, one of the things that I've like best about him.

So, farewell Kurt. You've earned being chatted up today.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Andrew Dawson HOF Hat

Alright, Cubs fans. This hot tidbit fresh off the grill is for you.

Andre Dawson was elected into the Hall of Fame (HOF) and told the committee that he wanted to go in as a Cub, not an Expo. What does that mean?
> On his HOF plaque, his image is in bronze and includes a hat.
> Dawson wants it to be a Cubs hat and told the committee. The committee decided that he'd go in as a Montreal Expo.
> Dawson played 10 years for the Expos, 6 years for the Cubs.
> It was at the Cubs that, Dawson (nicknamed the Hawk) won the MVP award.
> Should his input carry more weight? (I say yes.)

In the end, I think it's a doggone shame and I'm on a slow broil over it.

Talk it up and enjoy!

Kentucky Falls

Hi Everyone,

It's tough at the top in college basketball. The unbeaten Kentucky Wildcats lost to South Carolina last night. Here's what you can chat up:
> How does this impact their season? In other words, can they shake off this loss and regain their footing in the conference and the upcoming NCAA tournament? (Be prepared for an emphatic, "No!")
> This may not be a big deal because it was a buzzer-beater.
> What's buzzer-beater you say? It's a last second shot that goes in the basket as time expires.
> How's they do it? Harassing defense that limited Kentucky's look at the basket and the 'Cats didn't help themselves by shooting only 38% from three point land.

Talk it up and enjoy!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Super Bowl Match up: Saints vs. Colts

Here's what you can chat up about this:
> how important it is to limit turnovers. The Vikings turned the ball over against the Saints 5 times and were driving in the final two minutes of regulation when Brett Favre was picked off.
> that set up overtime and the Saints won the toss and got the ball, drove the field and kicked a field goal to win the game.
> ask whether Brett Favre will come back and play again for the Vikings next season.
> talk about the importance of the kicking position. In the playoffs so far, we've seen steady kickers miss 3 consecutive times in crucial moments when they haven't missed 3 times in their career (hello, Nate Kaeding.)

Much more over the coming days on this. Super Bowl Sunday is February 7th. Stay tuned to the KQ Sports BBQ for all the relevant questions and information.


Vikings vs. Saints, We're Going to Overtime!

What a game! In the NFC Championship game, the Saints and Vikings end the game tied at 28 each so they go to overtime = sudden death. First team to score wins. (For more, see earlier posting this month for the difference between OT in college and pro football.)

This game has had its share of turnovers, which are never good but Brett Favre was picked off (intercepted) with just 2 minutes to go in the game and the Vikings were marching toward a score.

Now the Saints are on the move and face a crucial 4th and inches.

Whoever wins this game will take on the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.

Stay tuned and enjoy!

Kentucky Stays Perfect, Big Game Sunday

Good morning,

The University of Kentucky stayed perfect in their basketball season but Texas fell to UConn, which was without Coach Jim Calhoun who is out by doctor's orders. Watch the rankings this week. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.

Next up, today's NFC and AFC championship games. Many pundits are picking the Vikings to beat the Saints and the Colts to beat the Jets. Talk about the potential upsets here. If the Jets upset the Colts, that will be HUGE! The Jets just squeaked into the playoffs but they have an outstanding defense and a very defensive minded coach. If they shut down the Colts passing game, it's going to be a tough game for the Colts to win b/c Indy doesn't have a strong running game.

It's going to be a great day. Chat it up and enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

AFC and NFC Championships, College Basketball

Good morning!

Two things to chat about today: NFL football and college basketball.

NFL is up first:
> The New Orleans Saints take on the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams have outstanding offenses and can score well. New Orleans QB Drew Brees is considered a hero in The Big Easy but he's taking on Vikings QB Brett Favre (Farve), who grew up 50 miles away in Mississippi. This one comes down to defense: who can shut down these two QB's and their running games.

> The Indianapolis Colts take on the NY Jets. The Jets nearly didn't make the playoffs but they have a rookie QB, Mark Sanchez, who is playing like he was at the beginning of the season, meaning he's knockin' their socks off! The key here is also defense. Can the Jets shut down Colts QB Peyton Manning (te first 4 time winner of NFL player of the year) and his passing game? The Colts don't have much of a running game so they're only using the run to set up the pass. And the Jets have the best run defense in the league.

Now to college basketball, which has a new team at number one.
> The Kentucky Wildcats are undefeated at 18 and 0. They replace Texas, which lost for the first time this week. The Wildcats are coached by the controversial John Calipari. And they're lead by a freshman, John Wall. Wall is so smooth, so poised, so well versed that he looks like he could play in the NBA tomorrow and not miss a beat. Kentucky plays Arkansas this weekend. Look for Big Blue to pull another one off.

> Kansas is ranked number 2 and is the only unbeaten team in the Big 12. They play their next 3 on the road so look for whether Kansas can hang tough during this stretch.


Chat it up!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Steve Nash - NBA Star, Philanthropist, Man of the World

Today the BBQ serves up a sizzler - NBA superstar Steve Nash. Now normally, I don't do feature pieces but I've been following Nash for a few years now and this article shows how, over the years, he's made an effort to build a life beyond basketball.

Read a bit of this article while I whip up a post on college basketball. A follower's been ribbing me (rightly so) that I've ignored college basketball so that's next up on the BBQ!

How'd that happen?

Wow, the BBQ was shut for awhile. Perhaps it's best to categorize the time that I wasn't blogging in this way:
> stocking the shelves
> smoking meat
> cleaning the grill
> scraping the rust

What I'm trying to say is that the BBQ is undergoing some changes in terms of its look but I can't allow that to get in the way of posting good material.

So, thanks for your patience. New post coming shortly and stay tuned for the new look!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tiffin Leaves Vols for USC

Good morning,

Hot tips off the grill this morning:
> Tennessee Volunteers football coach Lane Kiffin is the new head coach at USC.
> This is a BOLD and BIG move for USC. Why?
> USC is already under scrutiny from the NCAA.
> Lane Kiffin has been at Tennessee only 1 year...1 football season...and he won only 7 games. He also committed a number violations, none of which earned serious punishment from the NCAA.
> USC made big news by hiring Kiffin but what have they given up in return?
> Kiffin was an assistant coach at USC from 2001 - 2005.
> What happens to the Volunteers? They're out a coach after signing someone who they hoped would stay for a long time.
> What about the high schoolers that Kiffin (and Pete Carroll for that matter) recruited? What happens to them?

This'll keep you and your co-workers talkin' around the water cooler for awhile today.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Mac Comes Clean, Carroll Leaves USC

Good evening,

It's been a busy day on the grill and I'm plating some goodies tonight!

First up, Major League Baseball and what you can chat up:
> Former St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire admitted that he took steroids during his career including the 1998 season when he hit 70 home runs in a single season to break Roger Maris' record.
> Why did he announce it now? McGwire has had plenty of opportunities to admit his steroid use? He refused to address it when called before Congress in 2005.
> Is it only because he's taken the job as hitting coach with the Cardinals and it's time to straighten up?
> Given this admission, can McGwire be considered a legitimate MLB coach?

Next up, college football:
> USC's head football coach, Pete Carroll, is leaving USC for the pros. (You may remember I talked about him a few months ago and why he's a great college coach.) He's decided that he wants the challenge of the NFL.
> This is not his first trip to the pros. Why is he going now?
> Be prepared for the answer: that he's running to Seattle because the NCAA is investigating USC for infractions.
> Will Carroll be successful? He wasn't his first time around in the pros. There's talk that Carroll is being given more control over football operations, which means he gets more credit -- and more blame -- with the team's outcome.
> Be ready for people who say Carroll is bolting when the team needs him the most. For the first time in 7 or 8 years, the team is facing an uphill battle. Carroll won 2 national championships and 7 conference titles while at USC but his team fell down this year and didn't win the league and didn't go to the Rose Bowl.

Talk it up and enjoy!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sudden Death vs. Overtime

Welcome back to the BBQ.

In light of today's NFL overtime game between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals, I thought it might be helpful to define the difference between overtime in college football and the pros.

> In college football, when teams are tied at the end of regulation play, each team is given a chance to score. The ball is put on the opponent's 25 yard line and, just like regular play, they have four downs in order get 10 yards and a first down or to score. Each team has an equal number of chances to score. The one that outlasts the other wins.

> In the NFL, teams tied at the end of regulation go to sudden death, meaning whoever scores first wins. That's why the team that wins the coin toss at the end of regulation is in the BEST position to control their fate. Score and go home.

That's it today. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

NFL playoffs - The Wild Card


It's NFL playoff time. Today it's the NY Jets vs. The Cincinnati Bengals and the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. Here's what you can chat up:
> The Bengals haven't won a playoff game in 19 years and only played 2 playoff games in that time. It's the longest drought in the league. This franchise fell on very hard times and is starting to come back.
> The Bengals QB Carson Palmer has a bad left thumb. He's not even handing off with that hand so will he be able play well enough for the Bengals to win?
> Will the Jet's rookie QB Mark Sanchez be able to handle the pressure of an NFL playoff game?

With the Cowboys / Eagles game:
> The Cowboys shellacked the Eagles just a week ago. How will they bounce back?
> Will Eagles coach Andy Reid go with a more balanced attack, meaning mixing up a running and passing game, in order to keep the Cowboys defense guessing.
> The Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has to direct this team. He's the go to guy. He needs to corral his team, take charge and be the one who will rally them.
> The Cowboy's wide receiver Miles Austin has been a really great surprise this season. If he has a break out game, the Cowboys could seal this game early.
> That would be good because the Cowboys have spent more than a decade without a win in the playoffs.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Alabama vs. Texas, Baseball HOF, BBQ Round Up

Good afternoon,

Well, if you haven't heard me mention is often enough, tonight is college football's championship game. It's the BCS title game. BCS = Bowl Championship Series.

Here's what you can chat up (in addition to what I've posted previously):
> Alabama's head coach, Nick Saban (SAY-bin), has coached in the NFL so he's familiar with throwing different looks at teams. He'll do his best to rattle Texas and its quarterback, Colt McCoy.
> Both teams have had close calls this season but they've managed to enter this game undefeated.
> Talk about what Texas has to do to win this game. Hint: they're the underdog so I believe they're going to have to come out and score on Alabama right away to make a statement. If they can limit their own turnovers while creating some, they'll stand a chance against the Tide.

Yesterday, the Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed Andre Dawson (finally!) of the Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos, Manager Whitey Herzog and Umpire Doug Harvey. Here's what you chat up:
> Who didn't in: Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris and Edgar Martinez.
> In my opinion, Alomar should have made it. He hit .300 over 17 seasons, was a 10-time Gold Glove winner and was an MVP. In his first time on the ballot, however, he fell just 8 votes short. Some suspect that there are some who harbor hard feelings from 1996 when Alomar spit in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. It was an ugly incident but Hirschbeck forgave Alomar.
> Talk about when Alomar and the others might make it in, including Bert Blyleven, who needs just 5 more votes.

A few hot treats off the BBQ:
> In the NBA, the Commissioner has indefinitely suspended without pay Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards for pulling a gun on a teammate inside the Wizards' locker room. (No tip needed here. You can fill in what to talk about !)
> In the NFL, the Bears are keeping coach Lovie Smith but fired 6 of his coaches. A bit east of there in Cleveland, Eric Mangini is keeping his job with the Cleveland Browns after a disastrous season.

Have fun watching the BCS game tonight.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mike Shanahan and the Redskins, BCS Title Game

Good afternoon (non) sports fans!

Here a smattering of hot dishes to chew on this morning:
> Mike Shanahan is the new head coach and VP of the Washington Redskins. Chat about whether this well-known coach is going to be able to turn around a proud but battered franchise. Ask what he's got to do: better evaluation of talent, better scouting, acquisition of free agents, better offensive and/or defensive schemes?

> In BCS news, the Boise State vs. TCU game wasn't the showcase that I had hoped for. Though Boise State won, the consensus is that neither team played up to or beyond their potential.

> So, that means that tomorrow night's national title game between Alabama and Texas is for all the marbles. Chat about what Florida has to do to beat Alabama: contain Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and QB Greg McElroy? What does Alabama have to do: shut down the Colt McCoy to Jordan Shipley connection?

Talk it up and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Orange Bowl

Good evening!

Tonight is the Orange Bowl with Iowa taking on Georgia Tech. Here's what to chat up:
> Iowa's got a very strong offense. If Georgia Tech cannot contain it, it's going to be a long night for the GT Yellow Jackets.

> Georgia Tech has a great running game, averaging more than 307 rushing yards.

The BCS championship game, however, is Thursday night. We'll be serving up some hot tips in the coming days.


NFL Team Apologizes To Fans

Good morning,

I'm serving hot newsprint this morning!

One thing you can chat up this morning is how the Chicago Bears took out a full page ad to apologize to their fans after a lackluster 7 - 9 season:

>What's really behind this?
> Notice that they didn't mention the coaching staff.
> Sources say that the Bears will keep head coach Lovie Smith so does this really mean anything OR is it an acknowledgement that the fans really are important and essential to a team?

Chat it up. More later.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Black Monday - Slang Monday

It's a twin spin today from the Sports BBQ with a special edition of Slang Monday.

> In the National Football League, this is called "Black Monday" because this is the day after the end of the regular season, when teams often fire coaches.
> Today, the Washington Redskins fired head coach Jim Zorn.
> To be clear, this was NOT a surprise. Zorn was stripped of play calling duties just six games into the season and the Redskins had a woeful season.
> On top of that, Washington has had a revolving door of coaches. Possibly next up on the coaching carousel? Mike Shanahan.
> The Buffalo Bills fired its entire coaching staff and this is after they fired coach Dick Jauron BEFORE the end of the season. (Wow.)
> Other teams will likely make announcements i.e. changes in the coming days but Black Monday remains among the most anticipated days at the end of the regular season but before the playoffs begin.

More tomorrow.


Battle of the Undefeateds

Happy New Year!

Here's what you can chat up today with college football:
> Tonight's Fiesta Bowl features the battle of the unbeatens: Boise State and Texas Christian University.
> Notice that NEITHER team was invited to the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) title game.
> That's because their conferences aren't part of the BCS championship equation. So, they don't get to play for the championship.
> Talk about why it's time for a true national championship, that includes a playoff.
> This game tonight is not just about who finishes the season with an unblemished record. For sportswriters who are itching for a "real" champion, they could vote for Boise State or TCU if the Texas vs. Alabama game is a stinker with neither team establishing dominance. (For the record, that's unlikely to happen.)
> So, even if the planets don't align, this could be an amazing game. These are exciting teams.

Chat. It. Up.


Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day Bowl Games!

Good Morning and Happy New Year!

College Football Bowl Games dominate the grill today. I'm not going to list all of them but here are some key match ups:

> The Outback Bowl: Northwestern vs. Auburn. Two tough teams who are fighters to the end.

> Gator Bowl: Florida St. vs. West Virginia. This is Bobby Bowden's last game at Florida State. Look for an emotional response from the FSU team.

> Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs. LSU. The surface at the stadium in Orlando is in question. Two traditionally great football teams square off. Get the remote ready!

> Valero Energy Alamo Bowl: Michigan State vs. Texas Tech. Tech is without their head coach, Mike Leach, who was fired a few days ago. Could be a game changer.

>The Rose Bowl: The Granddaddy of them all. Ohio State vs. Oregon. Must see game b/c of two unbelievably athletic QB's - Terrelle Pryor and Jeremiah Masoli.

> The Allstate Sugar Bowl: The undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats who's head coach headed to Notre Dame, get a chance to prove they are among college football's elite. They take on the Florida Gators, who suffered one loss this year. This will be a telling game for both teams.

Sit back today and enjoy!