A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Texas

Thumbs up for meritocracy in the 2011 World Series and MLB playoffs

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Albert Pujols

Image via Wikipedia

I’m generally not a MLB guy, but this has been a good year for the sport. Not only did they get an all-time regular season final day, but the playoffs have been enjoyably close with lots of “moments” like the Chris Carpenter-Roy Halladay Game 5 duel, Nelson Cruz’s big home runs and the Albert Pujols 3 HR game – with the World Series being all around outstanding. But the real reason I like the way thing have turned out, regardless of the winner, is it all feels deserved.

Last year, despite how much I like the San Francisco Giants franchise, the result of their World Series win was wholly unsatisfying. As with most people I felt like the 2010 Philadelphia Phillies’ roster was clearly better – matching the Giants pitching but adding star hitting. But the Giants got hot at the right time and beat them and then dispatched the Rangers much faster than they should have.

This year on the other hand, everything has made sense with the rosters each team put on the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by jr.

October 25, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Reflecting on Cam Newton; Remembering Barry Sanders

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As you might imagine with my insistence on talking about Player of the Year instead of MVP when looking at the NBA, I don’t like to take stock on what athletes accomplish until season’s end.  So I held off really evaluating Cam Newton‘s accomplishments until after the National Championship.  That game came and went, and I started putting Newton up against the guy who I consider college football’s gold standard in recent years, Vince Young.

Cam Newton vs Vince Young

Briefly, Newton’s got the bigger stats over all, but part of that is simply a decision by Auburn to focus more around Newton than Texas did with Young.  This increased focus around one running quarterback is part of a general trend, and why I’ve previously said it’s unreasonable to expect a typical star running back to match the impact of someone like Newton.  If you go back and look at the numbers for the Tommie Fraziers and Michael Vicks of the world, it’s amusing to look at how small they are compared to the Newtons, Youngs, and Tim Tebows.

Auburn was more reliant on Newton than Texas on Young, but Texas’ dominance was significantly greater.  Auburn was really quite lucky to go undefeated, Texas was not.  Given that, and Young’s two amazing bowl performances, I still lean toward Young as the more accomplished college player.

What these comparisons really got me thinking about though was Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State.  Hopefully those who saw my previous rant about the relative impotence of running backs in college football knew that Sanders is in his own category.  Still, the more I think about Sanders, the more his superiority over EVERYONE, quarterbacks included, is glaring.

Barry Sanders, Greatest of All Time Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

January 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm