Friday, February 25, 2011

Dimes and dunks

- If you haven't checked out the Tim Floyd rant, you need to find it on YouTube. Floyd, the current coach at UTEP and former coach at USC and Iowa State, absolutely went ballistic at officials earlier this week during the game the Miners lost to East Carolina. He has since been reprimanded by Conference USA officials for his antics, which ultimately required a police officer to help assist Floyd off of the court.

- Two former Cinderella teams from recent Final Fours are getting hot at the right time. George Mason notched their 14th consecutive victory last night in a win over Northeastern. Butler, national championship loser last year, has won six in a row and is now 20-9 heading into its season finale Saturday against Loyola (Ill.)

- Congratulations to University of Kansas senior guard, Tyrel Reed, who was named an Academic All-American. It's the 15th time a Jayhawk has been named as Academic AA in basketball, the most of any Division 1 school.

- If you're the Boston Celtics, do you really want to make wholesale changes to your roster at this point in what has thus been a very successful season? The Celtics' dealing of Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson could disrupt team chemistry and is a gamble given Perkins' consistent defense. Jeff Green, acquired from Oklahoma City in the trade, provides versatility but Boston now has a very thin frontcourt.

- The Miami Heat are 19-2 when LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh combine for 75 or more points.

- Game of the week in the Big 12--Missouri at Kansas State on Saturday. A Kansas State win puts the Wildcats and Tigers tied for fourth at 8-6 in the league with two games to play. Missouri finishes at Nebraska and at home against Kansas; Kansas State has to travel to Texas followed by a home game with Iowa State. If MU wins in Manhattan, then they are comfortably positioned in the top four heading into the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mini-rant: Announcer-speak

Dr. James Naismith invented the wonderful game of basketball with 13 original rules. Rule number eight stated, "A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket." The former physical education professor must be rolling in his grave in Lawrence, KS, then, given the number of announcers and hoops talk pundits who insist on using the phrase "score the basketball."

Seriously, the only way one scores is with the basketball, with said ball going through the basket. Unless I'm missing something, there is no other way to get a point registered on the scoreboard.

C'mon, announcer people--can't you just say "(name of player) is a scorer," or "he scores well?" Just as there is an emphasis to clean up the game on the court, let's clean it up on air as well--less, in this case, is much, much more.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stats of the day

0. Zero--that's the number of undefeated teams in conference play across the country. Both Texas, which had been undefeated in Big 12 play, and Princeton, undefeated in the Ivy, lost yesterday.

1. Missouri picked up conference road win one yesterday after having lost its prior five league games away from Mizzou Arena. The Tigers are now 7-5 in the Big 12.

3. Jordan Hamilton of Texas scored 18 in Texas' lost to Nebraska, but only had three made shots from the field. Hamilton went 3 of 16 and 9 for 11 from the free throw stripe.

4. The four primary contenders for number one seeds in the NCAA Tournament--Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Texas--all lost this week.

21. Missouri State star Kyle Weems needed 21 shots to get his 17 points as the Bears lost a BracketBuster game to Valparaiso.

26. It was a tale of two games for Markieff Morris of Kansas. After scoring three points with no rebounds on Monday against Kansas State, Morris had 26 points and 15 rebounds against Colorado yesterday.

65. Do you think Jacob Pullen will be voted player of the week in the Big 12? The Kansas State guard has scored 65 points in two victories for the Wildcats--38 against Kansas on Monday and 27 against Oklahoma on Saturday.

Finally, our quote of the day from yesterday has to be Mario Chalmers, who was one of four ex-Jayhawks who spoke to this year's Kansas squad after the Colorado game. Said Chalmers to the 2010-2011 team: "Yeah, you're fun to watch, but you don't guard anybody." Hmm--think Coach Bill Self didn't provide Chalmers some talking points prior to the post-game appearance?

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Let's go racin', boys!"

The Great American Race, the Daytona 500, is this Sunday, thus completing the two biggest sporting events in the U.S. within a two-week timeframe.

Yes, the 500 is NASCAR's Super Bowl and the sport of Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Cale Yarbrough, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip has settled in very firmly as the second most popular sport in our country. NASCAR, though, is a sport in transition--moving from the rapid growth of the late 1990's into the middle of the new century and is now battling faltering television ratings and declining attendance.

There are several theories as to the slow fallback experienced by the sport--the economic crisis and the resulting fallout on sponsor involvement; races which start at different times each week, thus impacting television ratings; and less discretionary spending by today's consumer of sports and entertainment. Some also point to the five consecutive Sprint Cup Series championships won by Jimmy Johnson as a sign of a boring sport coupled with a points system which even the most veteran racing observer will term as complicated.

It'll all rev up again this weekend when NASCAR hosts its version of the Super Bowl--200 laps around Daytona's re-paved 2.5 mile track. What can we expect this season?

- Jimmy Johnson. The 48 car goes for title number six and there is no reason to think that it can't happen. Johnson has proven himself as the best driver in NASCAR and one of the best ever. And, don't forget Chad Knaus--the best crew chief in the business.

- Carl Edwards. If Johnson falters, who'll be the guy best positioned to be the new champion? Edwards and his team finished 2010 with tons of momentum...and confidence. Don't look for Edwards to start strong--he has historically struggled at Daytona and Talladega in restrictor plate races.

- Kevin Harvick. Harvick finished third last season and Richard Childress Racing seems poised to win a Cup championship.

- Clint Bowyer. 150 points--that's the penalty which Bowyer incurred when his New Hampshire Chase race-winning ride failed inspection. If not for that, what type of noise might Bowyer have created in the Chase for the Cup?

- Little E. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is NASCAR's most popular driver, and he's still trying to drive out of the shadow of his father. With a winless streak of 93 races, Junior's performance on the track has been disappointing and 2011 did not start auspiciously--he won the pole for Daytona then wrecked his car in practice, thus pushing him to the back of the pack for the start on Sunday.

- A.J. Allmendinger. Richard Petty Motorsports has finally got its financial situation straightened out and appears to have some stability in the garage. How about on the track? Allmendinger will fly the famous #43 colors this season.

Who do I think will win it all? It's really hard to bet against Johnson, but my money is on Harvick.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How Kansas State beat Kansas

How does a team struggling to make the NCAA Tournament, fresh off of an emotional loss at Colorado, beat the newly crowned #1 team in the country? How does Kansas State win against Kansas last night by 16 after having been blown away, by KU, by 24 last month?

Let's break it down:

- Jacob Pullen. No surprise, the first reason listed has to be the 38 points posted by Pullen, the emotional leader of Kansas State and the guy who's had the up-and-down season, both on and off the court. Pullen played like the fearless kid from Chicago who had a coming out party nationally during last year's NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight. He played like the guy many expected to contend for first-team All-American honors this year.

- Frank Martin. Martin's been taking shots all season for these under-achieving Wildcats. Last night, Martin had his kids ready to play--not an easy task on the heels of the gut-wrenching loss to Colorado and the drama surrounding Curtis "is he on or off the team" Kelly. Martin got his team to take control early, be aggressive, and throw the first punch--figuratively, of course. KU looked stunned and never recovered.

- Jordan Henriquez-Roberts. The kid who had no points in Lawrence had the following line: 5 of 7 from the field in 22 minutes, coupled with 5 rebounds and a blocked shot.

- Immaturity. Kansas has struggled all season with immaturity--the bonehead play, the intentional foul, the technical for woofing, coupled with a dangerous penchant for turning the ball over. All the signs of this immaturity were on full display last night.

- Toughness. A team who has had few games where they played tough reverted back to the 2009-2010 version of toughness. Last night's Wildcats again resembled last year's version--they outrebounded Kansas 29-23 and forced the nation's best shooting team into a 44% performance from the field. On January 29, when these teams last played, KU outrebounded the 'Cats 37-31 and forced K-State into 33.8% shooting while making 61.8% of their own shots.

- Thomas Robinson. Robinson is Kansas' energy guy. Unfortunately for KU, he was sitting in street clothes on the bench due to his knee injury.

These are the reasons Kansas State beat Kansas. Yeah, the crowd was juiced but, guess what--it's been juiced for every other Kansas game in Bramlage Coliseum and this is only the second time the Wildcats have salvaged a win. No, this loss was about Kansas regressing back to the form they displayed too often in the non-conference season and forgetting what had delivered six straight conference wins by an average margin of 18.3 points. The Jayhawks lost their poise, they didn't move the ball crisply, they didn't value every possession and they weren't tough. Unfortunately, they ran into an opponent who played to the potential expected of them, and who decided, at least on this one night, to play the brand of basketball which Frank Martin expects.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dimes and dunks - Big 12 edition

- Maybe Kansas State and Colorado were simply being nostalgic for their former conference--the 58-56 Colorado victory was reminiscent of a score from the old Big Eight. Yesterday was the last time that the two former Big Eight foes will face each other in the regular season, at least as conference opponents.

- Speaking of KSU-CU, the ending of last night's game meant far more than just a win for Colorado. The long three-point shot by Rodney McGruder, with 1.1 second remaining, seemingly lifted the Wildcats to another late win, and Colorado to another late, three-point shot loss. The overturned on-court decision (the ball clearly was still in McGruder's hands as time expired) meant that Colorado improved to 16-10 and 5-6 in the league, thus staying in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth. It also meant that Kansas State is now seated very firmly on the tournament bubble with 16-9 and 4-6 records. The remaining schedule isn't easy for KSU--Monday against Kansas at home, followed by Oklahoma, at Nebraska, Missouri, at Texas, and Iowa State. If the Cats go 3-3 during that stretch, then win a game in the Big 12 tournament, they should eke into the tourney. Colorado goes to Kansas on Saturday, followed by games at Texas Tech, Texas at home, at Iowa State, and then Nebraska in the final home game. The key games for the Buffs are the two road games, then holding serve against NU at home.

- Injuries are plaguing the Kansas Jayhawks but in the past two games various members of the bench have stepped up and provided quality minutes. Against Missouri, Travis Releford and Mario Little played key roles. Against Iowa State, little-used Jeff Withey played nine minutes and went 3-3 from the field, 2-2 from the free throw line, grabbed two rebounds and had two blocked shots.

- Baylor plays an odd non-conference game on Tuesday night--Wayland Baptist travels to Waco for the unusually scheduled non-league contest.

- Four teams are fighting it out for the final two spots in the conference's top four which ensures a first round bye in the Big 12 postseason tournament. After Texas and Kansas, Texas A&m sits with a 6-4 record followed by Baylor, 6-5; Missouri, 5-5; and Colorado, 5-6.

- Who, if anyone, will beat Texas? The best remaining options, if you are a Kansas fan, are on Saturday when the Longhorns travel to Nebraska, or the final game of the season, on March 5, when Texas travels to Baylor.

- Tad Boyle deserves conference coach-of-the-year recognition at Colorado. The Buffs figured to be better, what with the return of Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, but few thought they'd be contending for a Big 12 postseason tourney bye, much less the NCAA Tournament.

- The latest RPI update for conference contenders: Kansas, #1; Texas, #8; Missouri, #29; Texas A&M, #30; Kansas State, #34; Oklahoma State, #44; Baylor, #68; Nebraska, #93; and Colorado, #97. What's hurting the Buffs are two non-conference games which aren't counting, given the lower division foes, and a strength-of-schedule which is ranked 83rd. Kansas State, on the other hand, has a S-O-S ranked 16th. Baylor's S-O-S is 77th.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Stats of the day

1. Kentucky has only won one conference road game this season. They lost today at Vanderbilt.

5. Missouri has won every one of their five conference home games. And, they've lost every one of their five conference road games.

7. Louisville has now won seven straight against Syracuse. The Cardinals honored the 25th anniversary of their 1986 national championship today and used the emotion to beat Syracuse, who has now lost six of their last eight games.

11. LaceDarius Dunn only needs 11 points to become the all-time leading scorer at Baylor. Dunn scored 26 points today in trying to rally Baylor back in their game at Texas, but the Longhorns held on for a 69-60 win.

15-0. A 15-0 run by Wisconsin allowed the Badgers to overtake Ohio State and hand the Buckeyes their first defeat of the season.

20. Harrison Barnes is starting to play to the level of pre-season hype for North Carolina's star freshman. Barnes had 20 points today in helping UNC hold on for a two-point win over Clemson.

100%. Iowa State shot 100% from the free throw line against Kansas. The problem is that they only took two free throw attempts given their reliance on outside shots, i.e., 32 attempts from behind the arc.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"25 Coolest Athletes"

GQ, that bastion of sports journalism, has published its list of "The 25 Coolest Athletes of All Time" in its February edition. The list was made up of those "who played the game with an expression of who they were and taught us how to be big-time with grace, style and swagger. They're the guys we never got tired of watching."

Here's the list, which isn't in any sort of rank order:

Joe Namath
Mario Andretti
Allen Iverson
Bjorn Borg
Arthur Ashe
Walt Frazier
Evel Knievel
Jean-Claude Killy
Pete Maravich
Tom Brady
Muhammad Ali
Julius Erving
Bob Gibson
Bo Jackson
Arnold Palmer
George Best
Tim Lincecum
Derek Sanderson
Kenny Stabler
Michael Jordan
Gary Player
Ted Turner
Jim Brown
Kelly Slater

It's a good list although I take some exception to Knievel, a guy who was more daredevil than athlete, and Turner, listed for his sailing accomplishments yet a sport which few of us could actually view. Slater--the surfer--seems a bit of a stretch as well.

The rest of the list does truly include guys who were cool and, in most cases, re-defined their sport in some way. The list also does a good job of representing across all sports--baseball, football, hockey, soccer, basketball, skiing, golf and auto racing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More stats of the day--Kansas' offensive efficiency

The following information appeared on today's website, further illustrating the incredibly efficient Kansas offense against Missouri on Monday night.

The 1.45 points per possession versus MU was the Jayhawks' highest total of the season against any team. And, it was the most points per possession scored against a Missouri team in the past 15 years. The only team during that time period to top 1.40 points per possession against Missouri was the 2001-2001 Kansas team, which featured future NBA players Drew Gooden, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison, and had guys like Wayne Simien and Keith Langford off of the bench.

In the second half of Monday's game, KU scored 1.67 PPP off of 34 possessions. No Division 1 team has scored 1.67 PPP in a game all season--not even against an opponent from a lower division.

Efficient? I'd say so.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stats of the day

- Kansas scored 103 points in their 17 point victory over Missouri last night. Rather incredibly, only four of those were on fast-break points.

- Super Bowl XLV set a record as the most-watched TV show ever with 111 million viewers. It was not the highest rated Super Bowl ever--that honor goes to the 1996 game between Dallas and Pittsburgh. But, 46% of U.S. households watched the Packers-Steelers game on Sunday.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fumbles and penalty flags - Super Bowl edition

- What was up with the FOX crew using hand-held microphones? The guys looked awkward all afternoon and evening with this throwback approach to audio.

- FOX's pre-game show was one shameless promo after another. If it wasn't Jennifer Anniston and Adam Sandler promoting their new movie, it was an actor or actress who happened to be on a FOX program.

- Lea Michele (surprise--another actress from a FOX show) did an amazing job on America the Beautiful. Grade: A-.

- I'm in the minority, but I thought Christina Aguilera did a good job with the national anthem. I missed what apparently were her botched lyrics. Grade: B.

- The NFL made a good choice in putting the Black Eyed Peas on at halftime. But, the "cameo" by Slash was odd and Usher's bit broke up the show's flow. Grade: B-.

- Joe Buck and Troy Aikman: B+.

Dimes and dunks

- We have a new #1 in the RPI race--BYU has taken over the top spot. Helping the Cougars is their #11 Strength of Schedule. The top ten in the RPI are: BYU, Kansas, Ohio State, San Diego State, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Texas, Duke, Notre Dame and Purdue.

- RPI rankings for Big 12 contenders for the NCAA Tournament: Kansas, #2; Texas, #7; Missouri, #30; Kansas State, #31; Texas A&M, #32; Oklahoma State, #46; Baylor, #76; Colorado, #87; and Nebraska, #91. If Baylor ends up as a 10 or 11 seed, they are going to be a hard first round matchup for a 6 or 7 seed.

- Buy, sell or hold? Here you go: Buy - Texas, Kansas; hold - Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Oklahoma; sell - Texas A&M, Colorado, Nebraska. Underwater - Iowa State, Texas Tech.

Breaking down Kansas versus Missouri on Big Monday:

Kansas: 8th in PPG, 29th in RPG, 4th in APG, and 1st in FG%.
Players to watch: How effective will Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Tyshawn Taylor and Elijah Johnson be at breaking Missouri's press? Don't expect to see Josh Selby on the floor given the stress reaction in his foot.

Missouri: 6th in PPG, 62nd in RPG, 11th in APG, and 48th in FG%.
Players to watch: Missouri's "bigs" versus the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson--can Ratliffe, Bowers and crew keep KU off of the offensive board?

Fun facts:
- Last year, in the two KU-MU matchups, Kansas out-rebounded Missouri 101-56.
- The last time Missouri beat Kansas in Lawrence was 1999.
- The most points scored by a Missouri Tiger against Kansas was 43 by Anthony Peeler in 1992. Interestingly, that high point total came in Lawrence.
- Kansas is 18-6 in the series since 2000.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stats of the day

1. Iowa State lost at home by one to Kansas State today after failing to hold on to a five point lead with less than a minute to play. ISU runs out of gas late in games given their short bench--of their recent eight losses, two occurred in overtime, two were one point losses, and one was a five point defeat.

3. Washington has lost three straight and the preseason pick to win the Pac-10 is now in third place, trailing Arizona and UCLA.

19. Brady Morningstar led all Kansas scorers today with a career high 19 points against Nebraska. That's the same number of points his father, Roger, had on this date in 1975 when the Jayhawks beat--yep--Nebraska.

23. Colorado suffered 23 turnovers against Missouri's relentless defense tonight. Alec Burks finished with 21 points for CU but was forced into 5 of 15 shooting. Mizzou beat Colorado, 89-73.

27. Perry Jones is truly becoming a star for Baylor. The freshman finished with 27 points in the Bears' overtime win at Texas A&M.

71%. Kansas swept the regular season series against Nebraska--again--and now owns a 170-71 all-time record against the Huskers, who join the Big Ten next season. That equates to an overall winning percentage of 71%. Since the formation of the Big 12, the Kansas dominance has been even more pronounced--31-3 in conference action and 26 wins in 27 games since 1999.

78%. Nebraska football owns a 91-23-3 overall (78%) record against Kansas. Is there a long-time conference series which has been so lopsided between two schools in these two sports?

2,194. Jimmer Fredette became the Mountain West's all-time leading scorer today. The BYU star now has 2,194 total points.

Super Bowl pop quiz

Here's a little quiz to use as a warm-up for tomorrow's big game. And, feel free to pull any of this Super Bowl trivia out at your party tomorrow in order to impress your friends. (The answers are below, after the quiz.)

- Thanksgiving Day is the number one day for food consumption in the United States. Number two on that list is _______________________.

- True/false. More televisions are sold in the week leading up to Super Bowl than any other week of the year.

- The man who is credited with naming the Super Bowl is ___________________.

- Tickets for this game did not begin using the term "Super Bowl" until (a) 1968, (b) 1970, (c) 1972, or (d) 1976?

- True/false. More antacid is consumed on the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year.

- The winning team receives the _____________________ trophy.

- The Super Bowl has been broadcast the most on (a) CBS, (b) NBC or (c) ABC.

- The metropolitan area which has hosted the Super Bowl more than any other is (a) New Orleans, (b) Miami, (c) Los Angeles or (d) San Diego.

- The Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphin/Sun Life Stadium have all hosted the Super Bowl six times apiece. This stadium has hosted the game seven times: _______________

- Next year's Super Bowl will be played in Indianapolis. The following year, the game will be played in New Orleans. In 2014, the Super Bowl will be played in __________________________.

- Noticeably absent at tomorrow's game will be ___________________.

Answers: Super Bowl Sunday, True, Lamar Hunt, b, generally considered to be "true," Vince Lombardi, a-CBS, b-Miami, Louisiana Superdome, New Jersey/New York, cheerleaders (neither Green Bay or Pittsburgh have cheerleading squads.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stats of the day

- Much was made of the departure of Kansas starters, and future NBA players, Sherron Collins, Xavier Henry and Cole Aldrich after last season. That trio averaged a combined 40.2 points per game--a major loss for any team. But, KU has recovered this year by spreading that scoring deficit across 10 different guys: Josh Selby (+12/game - freshman), Thomas Robinson (+6), Mario Little (+6 - redshirt in 2009-10), Markieff Morris (+6), Travis Releford (+5 - redshirt in 2009-10), Marcus Morris (+4), Tyrel Reed (+4), Tyshawn Taylor (+1.3), Elijah Johnson (+1.3) and Brady Morningstar (+1.2.)

- In comparison, Kansas State's two returning veterans, Jacob Pullen and Curtis Kelly, have delivered numbers below their averages from a year ago. Pullen, through 20 games, is averaging 1.2 points per game less and his shooting percentage has declined, year over year. Kelly, who has only appeared in 14 games overall, is down in points per game (-1.4), rebounds per game (-1.3), and blocks per game (-0.7), and is committing more turnovers.

- Missouri's turnover margin increases dramatically at home. In games played in Columbia, MU's turnover ratio is +6 per game in conference play. On the road, the turnover margin is 0. Mizzou has forced an average of 11.25 turnovers per game on the road in Big 12 action and 19 TO's per game at home in the conference.

Big 12 mid-season update

We're just about at the midway point of the Big 12 mens hoops season and what have we learned?

- It's a two-horse race between Texas, 7-0, and Kansas, 6-1. Texas is really, really good and has shut down teams (see Texas A&M) defensively.

- This isn't your typical Kansas team defensively but the Jayhawks have lots of ways to score. KU is extremely efficient on offense, both in sharing the ball as well as the quality of shots they get...and make.

- Kansas State recovered from life support by handily beating Nebraska at home last night. Has Curtis Kelly finally received the message from Frank Martin? Kelly scored 16 points, pulled down four rebounds, had a blocked shot and two steals against the Huskers. KSU needs to begin its surge as the Wildcats are firmly on the NCAA bubble at 15-8 and 3-5 in conference.

- Missouri wins at home. When the Tigers travel, they have issues. Mizzou's four losses in Big 12 play have all come on the road.

- Don't look now but Oklahoma is 4-3 in conference play and 12-9 overall after starting 0-3 and 8-9.

- Pat Knight won't be back next year at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are 11-12 and 3-5. And, judging by the red seats masquerading as fans on Tuesday night, interest in Tech hoops has waned as well.

- Baylor continues to disappoint, even with their three future NBA players, one of whom (Perry Jones) is projected as a possible number one pick.

- The Mayor, head coach Fred Hoiberg, was "the man" in Ames, Iowa earlier in the season but the good times ended for Iowas State once conference play began--the Cyclones are 1-7 and now 14-9 overall.

- The mid-season pick for Coach of the Year has to be Rick Barnes of Texas with a shout-out to Bill Self, given the talent lost from last year's conference championship team at Kansas. Player of the Year candidates are Marcus Morris of Kansas, Tristan Thompson of Texas, Alec Burks of Colorado and Marcus Denmon of Missouri. The nod at this point has to go to Morris.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The most talked-about sports franchises

Forbes magazine annually runs a story about the most valuable sports franchises, taking into account revenue, operating income and stadium deals. The report doesn't measure profitability--simply the value of each professional sports team.

Does that value ranking translate into interest, as measured by the discussions going on among consumers about these franchises? Not necessarily.

The Keller Fay Group recently conducted a study which tracked the most talked about franchises. And, not surprisingly, the majority of those franchises resided in the National Football League.

Here's the list (with their Forbes value ranking in parentheses):

1. New York Jets (6)
2. Dallas Cowboys (1)
3. Indianapolis Colts (16)
4. Chicago Bears (10)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (38)
6. New England Patriots (4)
7. Green Bay Packers (18)
8. Minnesota Vikings (34)
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (17)
10. New Orleans Saints (23)
11. Philadelphia Eagles (8)
12. Baltimore Ravens (12)
13. New York Yankees (2)
14. Cleveland Cavaliers (n/a)
15. San Diego Chargers (25)
16. Boston Celtics (n/a)
17. Boston Red Sox (29)
18. New York Giants (5)
19. Arizona Cardinals (24)
20. Seattle Seahawks (21)

Why are the Jets in the number one spot? Well, they are located in the biggest market in the U.S., they have a loyal fan base, they were the subject of the HBO series Hard Knocks, and they have players on their team who are deemed "talk worthy." So, while the Jets don't have the top spot for value, their combination of being the most talked-about team coupled with their top ten value ranking translates into a very valuable sports brand.

In Keller Fay's top 20, there are 15 NFL teams, proving once again the power and consumer appeal of professional football, which will be on full display this Super Bowl lSunday.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sporting News

Quick, name the oldest sports magazine in the U.S. Sports Illustrated? Nope, that publication began in August 1954. Sport? No, that magazine is long dead even though it launched prior to Sports Illustrated.

The correct answer to the question is Sporting News (formerly The Sporting News) which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year.

SN was established in 1886 and became the dominant American publication reporting on baseball. In fact, the publication eventually came to be known as "the Bible of baseball."

Founded by Alfred H. Spink, a director for the St. Louis Browns and a former writer for the Missouri Republican newspaper, SN originally sold for five cents. The original version of the publication was decidedly non-glamorous--a black-and-white newsprint with underwhelming graphics. It was a weekly pub and would print a box score and short blurb for every baseball game played in the major leagues, and numerous minor leagues, across the U.S.

As a boy growing up--and a kid in love with the St. Louis Cardinals--The Sporting News was my source for poring over the stats of Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Julian Javier, Orlando Cepeda and Bill White. It was the place where I would compare the success of my Cardinals with my buddy's favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, TSN covered other sports but baseball was the focus--for many, it was the source to stay in touch with what was going on with teams across the country versus local coverage which, at that time, was very focused on the local team of interest.

TSN evolved--it had to--and became a publication which spent more time covering the NFL, NHL and NBA. It also began focusing more attention on college football and college basketball and, ultimately, actually devoted space to NASCAR.

In an age where magazines are dropping like flies and consumer behavior has shifted to the web for all things news, let's give it up for Sporting News--125 years young and still going strong.