Sleep-Deprived Thoughts

I have some good news, and some bad news.

Before I give you the option to choose which one you would like first, I have an announcement to make: I am officially a Michigan State Spartan. After attending orientation, enrolling in classes and receiving my student ID card, I am officially taking my talents to East Lansing.

Say what you want about Sparty, but one thing is for sure: He is a heck of a lot cooler than a wolverine. (Image via spartan-football.com)

Speaking of orientation — among the things I learned about Michigan State University — I was reminded about three hours into the program that the body needs sleep. Looking back, running on two hours of sleep was probably a bad idea. Slap-happy Justin was in full effect.

For example, after orientation, I headed to Starbucks with my girlfriend to have a little something to eat before a late lunch. Before walking into Starbucks I initially wanted to ask my girlfriend if she wanted to share a muffin with me. Then, I thought “split a muffin” sounded better. What came out of my mouth was profane word — a combination of the two — yeah, you get the picture.

Now back to the good and bad news. And no, you still don’t get to choose which one you would like first.

The good news is, I slept the rest of the day and have fully recovered.

The bad news is, because I had to go to orientation (apparently it’s important) and was exhausted, I have multiple things to discuss in this post. It may be a bumpy ride, but bare with me.

No NFL, No NBA = No Problem

Before Sunday, detractors of the Women’s World Cup were saying “With no NFL and no NBA, sports fans are reduced to watching women’s soccer.” If you were lucky enough to tune into the USA vs Brazil quarter-final match-up you witnessed an instant classic.

After falling behind 1-0 on an own goal in the second minute, Brazil tied the game up in the 68th minute on a penalty kick clouded by controversy.

The foul called leading to the penalty kick and red card to Rachel Buehler was a questionable call at best. Maybe I’m biased because I’m an American and played center back but that was a close one. The first penalty attempt was saved by Hope Solo only to have the kick be re-taken because a U.S. player entered the box early. Marta — widely regarded as the best women’s soccer player in the world — scored to tie it up on the second attempt.

The game headed to extra time where Brazil took the lead in the 92nd minute of a fantastic finish by Marta. Replay showed the goal was offside but what was done was done. The U.S. faced the daunting task of coming back from a goal down while playing with 10 players.

Abby Wambach heads home the game-tying goal in the 122nd minute against Brazil. The United States would advance to the semi-finals with a 5-3 victory in penalty kicks. (Image via nydailynews.com/AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Abby Wambach did the unbelievable in the 122nd minute by heading home a perfect cross from Megan Rapinoe to send the game into a penalty shootout. The U.S. advanced to a semi-final meeting with France on Wednesday with a 5-3 victory in PKs.

As the number one ranked team in the world, the victory –especially the way they won — over Brazil is something to celebrate but not the ultimate goal. Hopefully the U.S. team is able to re-focus quickly as France won’t be an easy out.

Seconds after Wambach’s goal the comparisons to Landon Donovan’s goal erupted. Personally, I don’t think you can compare the two. Both were equally as impressive, memorable, and important.

The Wambach goal gave the U.S. Women’s National Team two epic moments — the other being Brandi Chastain in the 1999 Women’s World Cup — in my lifetime that will never be forgotten.

The U.S. Men’s National Team has only provided one. Yes, I am looking at you Landon Donovan, don’t let me down in 2014 or I may just have to write something about your squeaky high voice or your noticeable receding hair line. Just kidding…but really.

A Mid-Summer Joke

For a game that counts, I couldn’t think of more of a joke. In fact, I think the whole MLB All Star break is a joke. Maybe it has to do with Chris Berman and Joe Buck boring me to insanity with their announcing but I think it goes beyond that.

The Home Run Derby has to be one of the most over-glorified events in the world of sports. It’s a televised batting practice, that’s it!

I understand the kids love it, as they should. Watching their favorite major leaguers hit towering home run after home run must be exciting. I’m sure many of them dream of being in that situation when they grow up.

For the rest of us, those of us who know better, the Home Run Derby is stupid. How so many people “oooohhhh” and “aaahhhh” over the Home Run Derby is beyond me. Heck, I’d much rather watch the celebrity soft ball game or the futures game.

Also, the amount of players that have participated in the Home Run Derby and then struggled with their swing in the second half is concerning. If my team is in contention for a playoff spot, there’s no way I want my star player participating.

On the other hand, the All Star Game frustrates me. I understand the whole concept of trying to decide home-field advantage and trying to make the All Star Game mean something, but it’s time to stop trying.

The players don’t take the game seriously and quite frankly, they shouldn’t have to. The MLB season is one of the longest, most grueling seasons in sports. If I’m an MLB player, and in the All Star game, the last thing I want to be doing is busting my butt and risking injury for home-field advantage in the World Series.

If you don’t believe the players take the game as a joke then you didn’t watch Heath Bell’s entrance into the game in the 8th inning. Bell, the closer for the San Diego Padres sprinted from the bullpen and then slid feet first on the grass right before the pitcher’s mound.

Even worse, a record 84 players were announced as All Stars this year.

So you’re telling me it makes sense to make the All Star Game worth home-field advantage in the World Series even though some of the best players don’t participate in the All Star Game and those that do participate take it as a joke? Pardon me, but that just sounds idiotic.

If you don’t believe home-field advantage is worth something then keep this in mind: The team with home-field advantage has won 20 of the last 25 World Series and the last 8 World Series game sevens.

Tell me you wouldn’t tune in to see Heath Bell-like stunts, field players pitching to pitchers or field players batting on the opposite side of the plate. Those scenarios could be possible if the MLB wised up and made the All Star Game what it should be, a fun, meaningless game of baseball.

A Vacation Well Earned

Unlike Major League Baseball, when I take a vacation, I don’t have to participate in the a ridiculous All Star Game.

Before opening day, I picked my division and wild card winners. At the All Star break, I correctly picked the entire American League. In the National League, I picked three out of the four playoff teams correctly and just switched the NL East winner(Braves) and the Wild Card winner(Phillies).

With MLB being on break, the NFL and NBA still in a lockout, I couldn’t have picked a better time to take a vacation. I will be gone from Wednesday until the following Monday. If you miss me, you can follow me on twitter @JustinDacey14  where I will be tweeting sporadically about what is going in the world of sports.

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The Captain

Derek Jeter, known as “The Captain” and “Mr. November” was already a lock to be selected to Cooperstown before sending hit 3,000 into the left-field bleachers with a home run.

Jeter’s Saturday performance — 5-5 with a home run, and a single knocking in the game-winning run — will go down in history as one of the greatest moments in the history of baseball.

Jeter became the 29th player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits and became the first player in Yankee history to accomplish this feat.

Derek Jeter belts a home run into the left-field stands for hit number 3,000. Jeter became the 29th player in MLB history and the first Yankee to accomplish this feat. (Image via http://joeposnanski.si.com)

With 12 All-Star appearances, five gold gloves, and the only player in MLB history to be awarded the All-Star MVP award as well as the World Series MVP award in the same season,  Jeter’s accomplishments speak for themselves. He is one of the greatest baseball players — as well as one of the greatest winners — that we will ever see.

The Sandlot quote “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die,” describes Jeter in a nutshell.

If you think you can find a better quote to describe Derek Jeter then go right ahead, but you will only be disappointed. Jeter — like the rest of us — will eventually pass away, but he will never die, at least not to me.

Many people expect athletes to be role models and hold them to their standards only to be let down. Derek Jeter is every bit a role model as he is an athlete.

Growing up, Jeter was my favorite baseball player, my hero, and my idol. When I played little league I played on the New York Yankees. You can bet I was number two and played shortstop. You can bet I pretended to be Derek Jeter at the batting cage. You can bet I dreamed of becoming the next Jeter.

Jeter’s loyalty, team-first attitude and will to win is something everyone should strive to replicate. Jeter loves to play baseball and we love to watch him.

I wasn’t fortunate enough to watch Jeter’s 3,000th hit live, but even after watching the replay numerous times, I still get chills. This evening, SportsCenter showed the Top 10 moments of Derek Jeter’s career and I couldn’t help but reminisce on all the incredible moments I have been lucky enough to witness.

Even though this offseason was a bit tense for the Yankees and Jeter, I’m glad the two reached an agreement. Watching Jeter circle the bases for hit number 3,000 wouldn’t of been the same if he wasn’t in a Yankee uniform.

Everyday Derek Jeter laces up his cleats and trots out to shortstop — whether you’re a Yankee fan or not — is a treat for baseball fans everywhere. The day Jeter finally decides to call it quits will be a bittersweet moment, but for now, lets just enjoy the rest of Jeter’s legendary career.

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The United States Needs to Get to Work

As I mentioned in my last post, the 24-hour rule — although not always available due to time restrictions — is a great way to evaluate things with a clear head.

For example, after the United States lost to Mexico 4-2 in the Gold Cup Final I most likely would have wrote about how pathetic Jonathon Bornstein is. I probably would’ve mentioned that I would have preferred to have scarecrow at left back or that Bornstein is so bad that a baby elephant could dribble past him. Seriously, the man was trending on twitter and you would’ve been hard pressed to find anything positive said about him.

Mexico celebrates a 4-2 rout of the United States in the 2011 Gold Cup Final. After falling behind 2-0, Mexico rallied to score four unanswered goals to dispose of the Americans. (Image via Mike Nelson/EPA)

Now that the 24-hour period has elapsed, I’m still disgusted with Bornstein’s play and I can only wonder what would’ve happened had Steve Cherundolo not gone out with an injury. During those 24 hours I also realized the game wasn’t Bornstein’s fault. Granted, Bornstein played awful, but he was just the scapegoat.

The United States’ problems are much greater than anyone would like to admit.

The Defense:

Against Spain, and at the start of the Gold Cup, the United States’ defense was shaky at best. Giving up four goals to the defending World Cup Champions is understandable, but the performances throughout the Gold Cup were not.

The U.S. beat Canada 2-0, but  Tim Howard made a few huge saves that kept the clean sheet. Then, the U.S. gave up two goals to Panama and fell 2-1 in their first ever Gold Cup group stage defeat.

Many people may point to the 300+ minutes of shutout soccer but that is what we should expect when you play Guadeloupe, Jamaica and then Panama. Everyone expected the potent Mexican offense to test the U.S. back four, but a four-goal outburst was surprising.

There is no doubt that subbing Bornstein for Cherundolo did not help the American defense but it also exposed the fact that the U.S. has no depth. Once Cherundolo went out with an injury, there was no clear replacement to shore up the defense, which is bothersome because injuries and depth are a large part of sports.

I understand the 2014 World Cup is not for a few years, but it’s never too early to plug different pieces into different positions to find a group that plays well — especially when you have a defensive group as bad as the Americans.

The Coaching Staff:

Once the game had ended some people were calling for Bob Bradely to be relieved of his duties. I won’t go as far as that but I do believe that if the coaching staff had acted differently, the game could have ended in the United States’ favor.

As I just stated, I don’t fault the coaching staff for putting Bornstein in for Cherundolo. It was what happened after the substitution that bugged me.

Once it was obvious — which didn’t take very long — that Mexico was attacking Bornstein like a bunch of hungry sharks that could smell blood, another substitution needed to be made. Bob Bradley should have taken off an attacker and added another defender to try and slow down the Mexican attack.

Even if you don’t insert the extra defender until after Mexico made it a one-goal game, the United States was still leading. Adding an extra defender would have taken away the needed space for the Mexican attackers. Also, the U.S. has high-quality attackers that may have been able to put another goal away on a counter attack.

I understand that it is very difficult to defend for the majority of the game, but defending and trying to capitalize on counter attacks would have given the U.S. a better chance to win.

The Positives:

Believe it or not, there were some positives from the Gold Cup Tournament.

For one, the offense scored in every single match, and at times, looked deadly. When the ball was moved with pace, it spread apart the opposing defense and gave the U.S. gaps to play through balls in. Clint Dempsey had a very strong tournament and Juan Agudelo gained some much-needed experience.

Before Jozy Altidore was injured, he looked to be the Altidore we have all been expecting. He played physical and attacked the opposing defense while playing simple when he needed to. It may have taken longer than expected, but Altidore may have finally matured.

Although it was in a small sample size, Freddy Adu was very impressive. He made an immediate impact in the Panama semi final match-up with a perfect ball down the line for Landon Donovan who played a ball back post to Clint Dempsey for they only goal of the game.  Adu was excellent in taking opposing defenders one-on-one and recognizing when to play his support players. In the Gold Cup final, Adu demonstrated his maturity when he held off the defense and then laid the ball off to Cherundolo who was able to win a corner for the U.S.

It is quite possible that some of the issues on display in the Gold Cup could be fixed with the return of Oguchi Onyewu and Stuart Holden. Onyewu could allow Bocanegra to slide outside and give the United States a legitimate back up with Eric Lichaj coming off the bench. Holden is a solid midfielder who could only help bolster the U.S. attack.

It’s only 2011 so pressing the panic button right now might be a little bit premature but if things don’t improve, the 2014 World Cup could be a very short trip.

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NBA Draft Reflection

 

It has been said, and I believe, that every person you interact with throughout your life has an impact on you one way or another. Some will impact you and who you become in multiple ways and others may only impact you in the slightest of ways that you don’t even realize it.

One of the things I’ve learned through my multiple coaches growing up was to not make knee-jerk reactions or statements. After a heart-breaking loss or a nail-biting win, your emotions run high and you may not look at things through a non-biased perspective.

Generally, the 24-hour rule is a good way to take a step back and analyze everything clearly. Obviously, some events — like the Red Wings climbing back from a 3-0 hole only to lose to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 — may take more than 24 hours for you to recover from.

For draft night, a couple friends and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to experience to draft in an exciting atmosphere – not to mention I wanted some boneless wings. Four hours, 60 picks and one swollen tongue later, the 24-hour rule was in full affect.

Now, approximately 37 hours later, here are my 2011 NBA Draft thoughts:

Kyrie Irving holds up his Cavaliers jersey after being introduced on Friday. Irving was selected first overall by the Cavaliers. in the NBA Draft.(Image via espn.com/ Tony Dejak/ AP Photo

  1. The Cavaliers played it safe with the selection of Kyrie Irving first overall, but then rolled the dice with the fourth pick by selecting Tristan Thompson. Thompson has a ton of upside — just as most of the lottery picks do — but many people. including myself think the Cavs reach for Thompson.
  2. ESPN absolutely blew it at staying current with draft trades. I understand that there were numerous trades happening but the fact that I had to stalk twitter to find out who was going where was a bit frustrating.
  3. The Utah Jazz made the right move in trading Deron Williams. The Jazz selected Enes Kanter third overall and then selected Alec Burks 12th overall. They also received Derrick Favors from New Jersey and seem to have built a nice young core for the future. With Sloan, Williams and Boozer all gone, the Jazz seem to have started their new era off with a bang.
  4. The Detroit Pistons draft left me with mixed emotions as I exited Buffalo Wild Wings. Thirty-seven hours later, I’m still not sure what to think. I love the fact that Joe Dumars didn’t get cute and instead drafted the best player available. Nobody expected Knight to be there and he has the skills and work ethic to be great if he figures it out. I love that he comes from a Jon Calipari program which has a history of producing excellent point guards. I hate that he is another combo guard in an already crowded Pistons’ backcourt.

    On the other hand, I like the Singler pick more than most. First off, he played, won, and then won some more at Duke under Coach K. Also, the kid is long, lanky and tough — something that can’t be taught. In a hard-working city like Detroit, Singler should fit right in.

  5. The Pistons now have players with the last name of Knight and Daye. I wonder how many times that will be mentioned in broadcasts. Lets set the over/under at 5 million.
  6. I don’t understand what the Sacramento Kings were thinking during this draft and I’m not quite sure they knew what they were doing either. Forget the fact that I like the Tyler Honeycutt pick at 35 and the Isaiah Thomas pick at 60, the trade they made was bizarre. Jimmer was a special talent to watch in college but I’m not so sure he will translate to the NBA. I hope he proves me wrong because everyone loves some JIMMER!
  7. The amount of players taken from outside the United States seemed to be much more than in years’ past. After 37 hours, I’m fairly confident I couldn’t pronounce 5 of their names correctly.
  8. The fact that Ron Artest now wants to change his name to Metta World Peace is beyond puzzling to me. Someone who was known for the brawl at the Palace and his physical, tough, shutdown defense is now putting World Peace in his name. Can anyone explain this to me?
  9. Things for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats may be turning around. The Bobcats were able to steal Kemba Walker at 9 after getting Bismack Biyombo at 7 via Sacramento. Biyombo could be one of the best interior defenders next year. Walker is a winner and is a tough as nails, something the Bobcats lacked.
  10. I feel bad for Darius Morris. Morris left the University of Michigan early and most mock drafts had him as a middle-to-late first round draft pick. Instead, Morris fell all the way to the Los Angeles Lakers at 41 in the middle of the second round. Morris left a chance to play on a very good Michigan team and possibly improve his draft stock to a lottery pick if he performed well. Even as a Spartan, I hope things work out for Morris and that he becomes on of the steals of the draft.

Whether your favorite team had a good draft, bad draft, or was in the middle of the road it will all become second fiddle in a few days. The NBA is inevitably set to go into a lockout in the middle of next week. Instead of hoping that your young prospect takes the next step, let’s all just hope there is basketball for the 2011-12 season.

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There’s No Need to Fear…

Back when I was little, I absolutely loved swinging on a swing. Whether it was at a park or in my backyard, there was nothing quite like it.

Maybe I’m over-exaggerating a wee bit but I loved the feeling of it. I would pump my legs back and forth desperately trying to be able to see over my house — which I found out is impossible, go figure. Sometimes, I would get going as fast as I could and jump off on the upswing and see how far away I could land, which didn’t always end too well.

My favorite thing to do on the swing was to do “underdog.” Underdog was when my mom would push me and once I got going fast enough she would run underneath the swing on my way up.

"There's no need to fear! Underdog is here" (Image via CinemaBlend.com)

Right before my mom would run under the swing, she would yell “There’s no need to fear! Underdog is here!” At the time, I had no idea that it was from a cartoon show that my mom grew up watching but it didn’t matter — I loved swinging on the swing. And I LOVED Underdog.

In the past few weeks, sport’s fans have watched their schedules go from jam-packed to  as vacant as a desert. With the NBA and NHL seasons wrapped up and the NFL still in a lockout, some sports fans may not know what to do.

Well, I’m here to say “There’s no need to fear! Justin is here!”

Here are 10 athletes, teams, events or story lines to keep up with:

  1. The NFL Lockout- It isn’t news that the NFL is in a lockout unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months but there have been talks that the lockout is close to being resolved. Call me a cynic, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
  2. The NBA Draft- In what many have called the weakest draft class of recent years, the NBA Draft is bound to get interesting. Reports indicate that the Cavs have decided to take Kyrie Irving with the first pick but they are still weighing their options. Multiple teams are willing to trade down out of the lottery picks so tonight could get a little hectic.
  3. The Boston Red Sox- After starting the season off 2-9, the Red Sox have gone a remarkable 42-21 to take the lead in the American League East. The Sox have the best record in the American League and are proving they are as good as advertised.
  4. Justin Verlander- In his past five starts, Verlander is 5-0 and has only allowed 4 runs in 41 and 2/3 innings. Verlander has the capability to throw a no-hitter every time he takes the mound which has made him must-see TV. If the Tigers are going to make any noise in the AL Central and in the playoffs, they will need Verlander to continue to perform to his full potential.
  5. Rory McIlroy/Tiger Woods- Rory McIlroy is the future of golf whether you like it or not. His performance this past weekend at the U.S. Open was one of the best performances in a major that we will ever see. Once Tiger fully recovers from his injuries, it should be beyond entertaining to watch these two battle it out.
  6. The Ohio State University/Terrelle Pryor- Just because there hasn’t been any more news forthcoming from the investigation doesn’t mean that this scandal is going away anytime soon. Depending on what the NCAA investigation finds, expect the penalties to be the same as what USC received. The whole landscape of college football could be changed and Michigan and Michigan State are in line to benefit the most.
  7. Wimbledon- Wimbledon has just begun but it marks the return of Venus and Serena WIlliams. Both have been suffering from injuries but they are expected to make long runs considering the women’s field is wide open. On the men’s side, Nadal, Federer, Murray and Djokovic are strong favorites to reach the semifinals.
  8. Gold Cup- The CONCACAF Gold Cup Final featuring the United States vs Mexico is Saturday night at 9 ET. This rivalry may not be as strong as the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry but it should be a very emotional match. Mexico has looked great throughout the tournament but the United States looks to have finally hit their stride.
  9. American League Central- At the start of the season, the Cleveland Indians surprised everyone when they jumped out into first place. The Twins on the other hand, plummeted to last place and left everyone scratching their heads. After a 15-4 start to the month of June, the Twins are only 7 1/2 games out of first place. The Tigers sit one game behind the Indians at 40-35. Like usual, this division looks as if it will come down to the wire.
  10. Baseball Realignment- There have been multiple reports indicating that baseball is considering moving one of the six teams in the NL Central to the AL West — which currently has four teams — to balance out the divisions. The Houston Astros are the most logical choice to move considering their rivalry with Texas. If the move does happen, don’t be surprised to see the inter-league and division schedules re-adjusted.

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Loyalty Pays Off for Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks

Chalk one up for the good guys.

It was a battle of good versus evil and loyalty versus betrayal, the final score reads 4-2 in the favor of the good and loyal.

The 2011 NBA Final ended just as you would expect every fairy tale or super hero movie to end — with the good guys on top.

Sunday night, with a 105-95 victory in Game 6, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat and sent LeBron James back to South Beach to rediscover his talents.

Sweet, sweet victory! Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry celebrate beating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and becoming the 2011 NBA Champions. (Image via nydailynews.com/ AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The journey traveled by these two teams is as different as day and night and winning and losing.

This past summer, while LeBron James was betraying the city of Cleveland and teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to create the most hated team in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki remained loyal and returned to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks.

LeBron James was possibly the most courted superstar free agent in NBA history. Dirk Nowitzki was possibly the least courted superstar in NBA history. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the one and only team to reach out to Nowitzki was Dallas.

Heading into the season, everyone expected the Heat to contend and possibly win the NBA title, the Dallas Mavericks on the other hand, were an afterthought.

 

Heading into the 2011 NBA Finals, everyone expected the Heat to dominate the Mavericks and deprive Nowitzki of his one final goal: an NBA championship.

Heading into the offseason, everyone should be scratching their head and wondering what in the world just happened while the other 29 NBA teams ponder why they didn’t even put in a call to Nowitzki.

Was it his ‘soft’ reputation? Or maybe teams felt he was too old to build around? Could it have been his record of underachieving in the playoffs and his inability to win it all?

Whatever it was, Nowitzki proved everyone wrong, including me. I didn’t expect the Mavericks to make it out of the first round. When they did, I thought there was no way they were taking down the two-time defending NBA Champion Lakers. In the conference finals, I believed this was the Thunder’s year and Kevin Durant would shine.

My pick for the NBA Finals was the Heat in five. The Heat were playing too well. Wade, James and Bosh were on a mission and an old Jason Kidd, a soft Dirk Nowitzki and a streaky Jason Terry weren’t going to stand in their way.

Not only did they stand in their way, the Mavericks stopped the Heat dead in their tracks and then decided to trample over them as they raced ahead to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The Heat needed the arrogant and self-centered James that starred in “The Decision,” not the insecure and unconfident James that shows up on the big stage. Maybe the series would have ended differently had James performed the way we expected him to, but he didn’t.

Sunday night, Dirk Nowitzki finally won his first NBA championship and was awarded the Most Valuable Player award.

One day, LeBron James may achieve both of those feats, but Nowitzki also accomplished something LeBron James will never be able to do: Nowitzki promised the city of Dallas a championship, and he delivered; James promised the city of Cleveland a championship, but ended up ripping their hearts out on national television.

The summer of 2010 for LeBron James was definitely a rough one. After choking in the finals and acting ignorant, childish and senseless during the post-series press conferences, the summer of 2011 could be even worse. And, to top it all off, James gets to return to the broken-hearted state of Ohio for the offseason. Oh how sweet it is.

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Thank You Reggie

The Bowl Championship Series has been around since 1998 and June 6, 2011 is quite possibly the first time I have ever agreed with one of their decisions.

On Monday, the BCS stripped USC of its 2004 national title and decided the 2004 national champion would remain vacant.

USC celebrates a 55-19 victory over Oklahoma in the 2004 national championship game. Monday, the BCS stripped USC of their national championship and left the title vacant. (Image via Getty Images, Jamie Squire)

The BCS also removed the Trojans participation in the 2006 Rose Bowl — the 2005 national title game — in which Texas defeated USC 41-38.

The ruling from the BCS comes from the results of the NCAA investigation in which they declared Reggie Bush had received extra benefits during his time at USC therefore making him ineligible.

The Trojans 2004 national championship and their participation in the 2005 national championship game join the Trojans copy of the 2005 Heisman Trophy — won by Reggie Bush — on the list of things USC has had to forfeit.

Many believe stripping USC of their national championship is useless. Critics claim they were the best team that year, evident by their undefeated season and their spanking of Oklahoma 55-19 in the national championship game.

USC may have been head and shoulders above everyone else, but they “cheated”. As far as we know, it may have been only one player who was ruled ineligible but that shouldn’t matter.

Growing up, athletes are always taught that no matter what, you win as a team and lose as a team. It’s the teams and players that understand that concept that are the most successful. USC won a lot as team, but because of Reggie Bush, they will now lose as a team.

The vacancy of the 2004 national title won’t make us forget how dominant USC was. It won’t make us forget all the magical moments we experienced during their incredible run. Hopefully, it will do something much more than that.

Hopefully, the embarrassment and struggles USC has endured these past few years will serve as a warning to other schools.

Hopefully, this will discourage coaches like Jim Tressel from turning a blind eye and make players like Terrelle Pryor think twice before accepting improper benefits.

Hopefully, this will encourage coaches to be role models not only OFF the field, but ON the field as well. Hopefully. in the long run, this will benefit college football.

Up next to feel the wrath of the BCS is Ohio State. With each and every piece of damning information that comes forth, the BCS has to be licking their lips.

Hopefully, when Ohio State’s time comes, I will agree with two decisions made by the BCS.

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