Lunch: Monday Night Football

Manchester City rejoices after breaking a scoreless tie this afternoon. Photo: Jon Super

Manchester City rejoices after breaking a scoreless tie this afternoon. Photo: Jon Super

You’re not a die-hard soccer fan, and that’s ok. Most of us aren’t die-hard college basketball fans, yet odds are good we’ll collectively tune in to watch Louisville and Michigan compete for the right to wield scissors. But everyone appreciates a good Derby, right?! And United-City is always an entertaining watch, so I present to you: TOW’s “Average American Guy Talking Soccer” Report.

Man City have struggled as reigning champions, but have also struggled to stay healthy. Manager Roberto Mancini  has responded to this adversity by publicly calling out the players who are healthy and griping he didn’t get funds to add more talent in the summer. But given the extraordinary talent/payroll already on his side, I can’t imagine anyone taking Mancini’s complaints too seriously.

It’s not pretty, but United have been grinding their way towards retaking the Premier League crown. Unlike City, United did add talent during the summer, and there’s no questioning Robin Van Persie’s impact in his first year as a Red. United have a goal differential of +38 for the season, an impressive margin for any champion.

As for today’s impact: really there isn’t much. United has a comfortable lead in the table, and City is locked into the top 4. But there is more than just 3 points at stake. City ripped out the hearts of United fans last May, and the rivalry has never been more fierce. While a United win would only pad their healthy lead, City wants this victory if only to prove a larger point: that they aren’t going anywhere, and the title, while it might be settled for this year, does not have a permanent residence at Old Trafford.

When the final whistle was blown, it was Manchester City a goal ahead and three points the better. City had excellent pace from the start, as both teams played an open game early. But as the minutes progressed, it was City who had more solid possessions, while United was held to sporadic efforts on goal.

Scoreless at the half, many wondered if this would be a fourth consecutive 1-0 result for United. But City continued to play explosive, and broke through with a cannon from James Milner six minutes in. But less than ten minutes later, United equalized in ugly fashion- which has been their style during this campaign. Phil Jones knocked a ball off Vincent Kompany for what was ruled an own goal.

This year, City had never lost a match after taking a lead. Conversely, United is the best comeback team in the League, a large factor in their lead in the standings. Something, or someone, had to give. And that someone was Sergio Aguero.

Sergio Aguero started today on the bench as he is slowly returning from injury, but he made his mark with a spectacular finish in the 79th minute. Similar to the finish that won City the crown last year; Aguero raced towards the right post around the defense, and delivered a powerful blast to the near post side.

The final ten minutes was slow and physical, but United were unable to take advantage of any chances. A corner in the 95th was snatched by Joe Hart, and City was able to snatch the win. While United will ultimately win the war, this battle proves that City still has the talent to retake the top spot, regardless of what their manager thinks. If City can stay healthy next season, there is little doubt they will contend for a championship.

Advertisements

Super Bowl Infographic

SB_Infographic

Well, at least the Jets are undefeated. I hope that 44 becomes an 88.

Most Valuable Video: #CollegeSlam Winning Dunk

In cased you missed it, Doug Anderson from University of Detroit dropped this filthy dunk last night in route to winning the College Slam competition. Not to take away from the NBA’s dunk contest (because UW’s own Terrence Ross won it this year), but this dunk would have won that competition as well.

Lets hope “Dunking Doug”, as he is suitably nicknamed, finds his way onto an NBA team in hopes of one day getting the NBA contest back to form. We all know Lebron James won’t.

Pernetti Fired as Rutgers AD

AP via sportsillustrated.com

AP via sportsillustrated.com

As Ken Harrelson would say, “He gone”.

This morning I woke up to news that yet another Rutgers official would get the axe. This time it was their now infamous Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti. All of this comes after the release of countless hours of video portraying now fired basketball coach Mike Rice abusing and degrading his student-athletes. But you already knew that.

As my alma-mater flails in the public relations shit storm that seems to somehow make its way back to the New Brunswick campus every couple of years, I can’t help but feel sorry for Pernetti. As Athletic Director, Pernetti has done many great things for Rutgers University. Unfortunately, however, he fell victim to a viral video mixed with a hint of overreaction and a dash of  irresponsibility.

I’m not defending Rice here, or saying that Pernetti was unjustly fired. My feelings are that the media caught wind of this story and forced Rutgers into a decision that would please the nation and the professors who have been up in arms for years on the finances of the athletic department. As policy makers and journalist weighed in with their opinion, the snowball continued to roll downhill.

There is no denying that Pernetti acknowledged the situation back when he was first made aware of it. Although the punishment wasn’t as severe as every talking head would have hoped, there is no precedent for Pernetti to go off of here. He did what he thought was the right move with a suspension, a fine, and getting Mike Rice some counseling. Label me biased, but that seems like a responsible move that Pernetti and others on his staff agreed upon.

Sure, in retrospect, Pernetti could have reacted more harshly and fired Rice on the spot back in November. But does he deserve to be caught up in this “scandal” because his effort was not strong enough? If this is 10 years earlier, I think Pernetti keeps his job and this video stays on the hush hush.

Pernetti has been a great AD for Rutgers, getting them out of sinking ship that is the Big East and into the Big 10, handling the departure of Greg Schiano and finding a suitable replacement in Kyle Flood, and improving the program as a whole. I hope that Rutgers can soon find an athletic director and basketball coach who will push this dark cloud out to sea.

Weigh in on the matter here or on Twitter @theorangewedge.

Lakers Botch Shaq’s Retired Jersey

nba_u_shaqraft_cr_600

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Notice Something a bit off?

It is obvious the Lakers have advanced their uniform design up in the rafters, but that is not the issue.

Can’t put your finger on what’s wrong? Well, either Shaq was so narcissistic that he wore “O’Neal” on the front where the “Lakers” logo should be, or he flaunted a v-back (a v-neck shirt in the back).

The Lakers acknowledged the mistake and have plans to fix the uniform.

Conspiracy theory: Kobe was actually responsible for this  in effort to one-up Shaq, again. Even if he didn’t do it, you can guarantee Kobe is having a good chuckle knowing that his jersey will receive finer attention to detail when his time comes. Oh yeah,  Kobe also had a triple-double on the day Shaq’s jersey was retired. Coincidence? Don’t be so naive!

Most Valuable Video: Utley Down Looking

Today’s video brings happiness deep down inside. Not only is it a nasty pitch sending a Philly strolling back to the dugout, but it is all about the velocity. 58 MPH? Sends you right back to the days in little league where one kid throwing high 40’s cheese was a death sentence. Ring em up.

Now, the gun shows I got 58 if I reach back and let one fly. This is to keeping the dream alive. 58 MPH curveball specialists are underused and undervalued.

LNS: Andy Enfield Leaves #DunkCity for USC

andy-enfield-fgcu-coach

Dunk City is heading back, back, to Cali, Cali.

Coach Andy Enfield, the mastermind behind the NCAA tournament’s most successful 15 seed, has been hired as the new head man at USC. Early reports indicate it is a six-year deal, and could earn Enfield as much as $1 million annually. Enfield’s salary at FGCU was $157,000.

Enfield is a fresh face that has burst into the national spotlight, and that plays very well in talent-rich southern California. But the task won’t be easy, as USC has been one of the Pac-12’s worst schools in recent years. Tim Floyd’s ugly exit left the program with instability and a handful of sanctions to go along with it.

But can he turn it all around? It’s not impossible. There are a few qualities that make Andy Enfield a quality coach. First, he is a skilled shooting coach. A big part of FGCU’s sudden success was attributed to Enfield and his staff working with players improving their shooting. Yes, they also practice dunking, but there’s no denying that these kids played far better than expected under Enfield’s tutelage, and that speaks towards hard work in practice.

But Andy Enfield can make the biggest difference on the recruiting trail. The top players on FGCU were the only three Enfield was able to lure there, and it probably wasn’t easy. After their win over Georgetown, Enfield told a story during the press conference where he was on the phone with potential recruit Brett Comer while his wife was giving birth. Definition of dedication, people. The guy is super competitive, has the ability to charm recruits, and has a smoking hot wife. Did you really think he was going to stay in Fort Meyers?

Is FGCU going to get over it? Probably not. But this is what college basketball has become. Heck, an even bigger heist took place a few days ago when Steve Alford dashed to UCLA. Programs that have money will spend it. We all talked about how crazy it was that FGCU’s program had X dollars and Florida had Y dollars and yet they were competing. But the same comparison that inspired the Eagles last week is today’s downfall. It’s not fair, but neither is business. And colleges are business, make no mistake about it.