Ben's SportsBlog

Ben is an expert on sports. He may be 12, but he can tell you about things that happened way before he was born. ESPN better be watching out for this guy...

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Salvation: How RichRod became a Michigan Man Part I: Roundtree outruns the avalanche

Note: The following is a work of alternative sports  history. Everything before October 31, 2009 happens the same. This is a work of fiction using a combination of real and fake people and events. 

October 31, 2009 
Memorial Stadium, Champaign

The Michigan Wolverines were in the midst of a tough game against the Illini of Illinois. The Wolverines were 5-3 at the start of play and were needing one win to be bowl eligible despite some tough losses at Iowa and to Michigan State. 2nd year coach Rich Rodriguez has been under fire from the alums and from the NCAA because of his subpar record so far and allegations that he exceeded limits on mandatory hours and was facing an NCAA investigation. Despite this, his team was playing well for the most part, and a nice win would mean his team would be going to a bowl game and that might by him some time to save himself and his team. Tate Forcier had shown flashes of greatness, but was either hit or miss and looked like a promising future for Michigan if he could play well. Illinois was in the midst of a tough season and was 1-5. Michigan had jumped out in front early, but Illinois had cut the lead to 13-7 at the halftime

Third and 7 in the 3rd Quarter
Forcier recives the snap and takes a three step drop. He is calm and confident, which is either a good thing or a bad thing. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Roy Roundtree and fires. The ball is on target and Roundtree is in full stride, just as Rodriguez and his staff drew it up. Roundtree cuts to the middle and he is off to the races and he can run. The Michigan sideline eurpts knowing it is going to be a huge play and it could be a dagger. On the Illini side there is a look of horror. They sense the knockout punch may be happening right now and there could be no way to come back. Ron Zook was wondering if Juice Williams should be benched in favor of his young freshman quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and he figured that it would have to happen in order to give his team a chance. Roundtree kept running and most of the Illini defenders had given up because it looked like nobody had a shot to get him. But Terry Hawthorne wasn't. As any player would, he was running after Roundtree because he wanted to play hard and figured that there was a chance. At the 5, they were even and Hawthorne reached out to try and strip the ball. But he tripped and Roundtree looked back and then hustled the rest of the way in.

Touchdown, Michigan. They had a 20-7 lead and looked like they were going to have an excellent chance to go to a bowl game. Rodriguez was looking like a happy man on the sideline. He then thought that this team could get it done and land the knockout punch that was needed and that the process was working out. The offense came back to the sidelines and Forcier was pumped. He gave Roundtree a chest bump and said "That's how we do it baby! Nice route and way to execute." Roundtree looked back and said "Nice throw Tate. You really put it on the money and had the vision to see me." Rod Smith came over and then said "Tate that was just like what we practiced and your footwork was nice. If you keep doing it all day long, we have a chance." Rodriguez then smiled and said "all right defense lets do it right now. No more points and we will win this game."

Illinois sideline

Ron Zook had no reason to be happy. His team had just stood and watched while Michigan had made them look bad. He was screaming at his defense "C'mon we have to do better! Don't stand and watch! React dammit!" Hawthorne came off looking mad. He knew that he had played very hard to have a chance to get Roundtree and he didn't. He sat down on the bench and resolved that he would get a chance next time and would make them pay. Zook huddled with his assistants and said, "We need to make a change. Juice has not shown us anything and we need to see if the freshman can give us something." The offensive coordinator looks at Zook and asks "are you crazy? Scheelhaase is the future and why strip him of his redshirt!?" Zook then glares at him and says "we need to see if the kid has anything."

Press Box

The Detroit Free Press had been a critic of Rodriguez and his team, because they were the ones who had published the article alleging the violation of practice limits. Some said that they had an agenda against Rodriguez. But  Michael Rosenburg and Drew Synder were standing by their story and would not back down from it. But today it looked like they were the ones who had been surprised. Rosenburg was writing his notes for his piece in the next day's paper when Roundtree scored. He was shaking his head and turned to Snyder and said, "Maybe Rodriguez is not the wrong choice. Maybe this team doesn't need to break rules." Snyder then said, "you know what Mike? Maybe you are right, but he still broke the rules and we were able to trick those freshmen into telling us the dirt. I stand by the story unless proven wrong."

Brian Barnhart couldn't believe his eyes after the kickoff as he told his listeners "And Scheelhaase is coming on in place of Juice Williams. Kurt, I can't understand this move down only 13." His partner Kurt Kittner said, "You might as well try it. Williams hasn't given a whole lot and a QB change here could work because our season and pride is on the line." Barnhart then said "well I guess we'll see how Nate does here."


But the quarterback change would not be much help on this day. Scheelhaase was able to move the ball somewhat, but could only add 10 points in mostly garbage time. Forcier added another run of his own and Denard Robinson was able to take a reverse in to make the final 34-13. Illinois had another season go down the drain by the looks of it, and Michigan had a big win on the road.

Visitors Locker Room

Rodriguez was jubilant in the locker room and then said "This team has been questioned to no end and we have been called names. But what can they say now? Nothing, because the record speaks for itself. And let's make sure we have a good week in practice men and then beat Purdue and go to a better place!" The players were excited beyond belief and knew that they could just play now.

So the Point of Divergence from reality is that Roy Roundtree scores instead of fumbling. Scheelhaase has no more redshirt left and Michigan is bowling. But will it be enough to save Rodriguez? Or will something else happen?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

David Stern and the 2002 Western Conference finals

As I was browsing around the web recently, I happened to find a series of videos saying that the 2002 Western Conference finals (WCF) were fixed in favor of the Lakers. Who accused the NBA of such wrongdoing? It was Tim Donaghy, the ref who is most famous for being convicted of fixing games that he worked. Stern has refered to Donaghy as a "felon" and despite the fact that Donaghy alleges that Game 6 of the 2002 WCF was fixed to get a Game 7, David Stern has done nothing for 3 years. Donaghy alleges that 2 refs working that series conspired to rig Game 6 in order to force a Game 7 because it was in "the best intrest of the leauge" and to call bogus fouls on team B in order for team A to win and force a game 7. First, a bit of background on the Kings and Lakers.

The Kings didn't really do a whole lot untill 1998-1999, when they made the playoffs as a 6 and took the Jazz to limit befoe losing. The next year, the Lakers were taken to the limit by the Kings. Then the Lakers swept the Kings in the second round. That Kings team in 2002 featured Mike Bibby, who (as now) could shoot and was tough as nails, Peja Stojakovic, who could shoot 3's all day, Bobby Jackson coming off the bench, and Vlad Divac, the wily old center. Most of all, the reason those Kings were good was because they had Chris Webber, who was a great passer at the 4. The Kings were a 1, and had home court in the WCF

The Lakers were the 2-time defending champions in 2002. The Lakers were coached by the now retired Phil Jackson, who may be the greatest coach of all time. The Lakers that year were a 3 seed. The Lakers were led by Shaq and Kobe, who were at the height of thier powers and had Rob "Big Shot Bob" Horry, the most clutch player of my generation, and Rick Fox and Derek Fisher.

Why would the NBA want to rig an important series? The answer is very simple. At that time, the NBA was looking for a replacement to Jordan, and he needed to be playing in a large market. Ever notice that people like to compare Kobe to Mike? That's because the league needed a star and someone to be the sidekick. Apply this to the 2001-2002 season, the only team this would work for would be the Lakers, with the Big Aristotle (Shaq) and Kobe, which were a cash cow to the league. Why not hype Sacramento? They had good players, like Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, and guys that had certain roles, like Peja Stojackovic, who could shoot threes, and Scot Pollard who could defend Shaq pretty well. Remember what I just told you about Scot Pollard, it will come back soon.

That year the Nets made the Finals. The Nets aren't a large market, so the NBA needed to get a large market team in to make some money. Sacramento had a population of 407,018 in 2000, according to the census data. That's not a large market team, so in a Nets-Kings series, the pot would be less. LA had a population of 3,694,820 according to the same census. As we can all agree, LA is a large market and they love the Lakers and would have more supporters watching and buying gear. Stern realized that the NBA would make a killing with a Lakers-Nets final, so he and/or the refs rigged the series in the Lakers favor.

Now to the series itself. The Lakers win game 1 on the road, but the Kings win the next two. Game 4 the Lakers storm back from 24 points down and Rob Horry hits the game winning shot. Game 5 the Kings get a game winner right back with a three by Mike Bibby.

Game 6 is the proof you need to see that the game and the series was rigged. Click on the link to see for yourself what I'm transcribing. At 1:26, Kings center Scot Pollard entered the game with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter to give Vlade a rest, because Vlade has 4 fouls at this point. Pollard was known for his hair and his great defense. At 2:04, Pollard gets called for a foul on Kobe? I didn't see any foul, and the announcers said "where's that foul?". At 2:34-2:38, Pollard picks up his 5th foul on an illegal screen. I've played basketball in the past and have set screens. Pollard did not move his feet, so I don't see anything illegal about that. At 2:33, Pollard fouls out. I don't see anything wrong, maybe too soon with the hands. Pollard, who is known for his defense, fouls out in ten minutes? When I played, I took a lot of pride in my defense, and I did not let my man score a lot. Good defense is knownig not to foul. Pollard, who was a great defender would have to know this, should not have fouled out to soon. Now Vlade has to come back in with 4 fouls and he has to be careful. At 4:24, Phil Jackson is quoted as saying he will keep feeding Shaq down low. That's a smart strategy because the refs will make sure there is a game 7. At 4:32, Vlade gets his 5th foul? In basketball, you can not touch the shooter's hand in the act of shooting. The ball is clearly out of Shaq's hand, and Vlade only has a pinky on the arm of the Big Aristotle. That is not a foul! At 4:57-5:00, Webber picks up his 5th foul on an offensive foul? Webber had him all the way, that also was a flop by Horry, who is a flopper. That bit of acting won the Lakers the ball, the Academy has decided, and is worthy of something that soccer players do all the time. Vlade fouls out, so the Kings have to send out Lawrence Funderburke to deal with Shaq. It's perfectly clear that the refs were trying to foul out the Kings centers, because Shaq could and would quite often go to town down low, meaning that the Lakers would win. At 6:08, notice how Shaq is a 53% free throw shooter. He goes 13-17 that game. Using his percentage, an average Shaq would have made 9 foul shots. Now, Shaq would not have made 9 every time, because sometimes you shoot better than others. Was Shaq having a good day from the line, or was there something else. Also notice that Shaq steps over the line before the ball was in the basket or hit the rim/backboard. That's not playing by the rules. In fact, he does it every time he goes to the line. In basketball, the closer the shot, the more probable the ball's going in if the shot isn't contested. Free throws are not contested, therefore because Shaq steps closer, he will make more shots. At 7:10, Shaq takes down Lawrence Funderburke hard. A flagrant would have given the Kings the ball after the foul shots, giving the Kings a great chance to take the lead, and put the Lakers in trouble of going to the golf courses. No hard foul for the Kings. At 7:57, it looks like Mike Bibby and Kobe are hugging! No, Kobe than tackles Bibby to the ground and no foul is called with the Kings down 1 and 12 seconds left. Lakers win and go on to win game 7 and win the title.

That title never should be the Lakers. Through a conspiracy between the refs with the blessing of David Stern, the Kings got robbed of a title and have never recovered. That team got screwed because David Stern wanted more money in his big series. David Stern doesn't fear me, he will say I'm wrong, and thinks he's above the scandal. I may be called Bob Woodward, or an idoit. You may think I'm wrong, you may think I'm right. I don't care. I want you to understand that 9 years ago, a team got screwed because the NBA wanted more money. Ben out!

Friday, March 05, 2010

I live for this!

Hey, it's baseball season! I'm ready to talk 'bout some thoughts on some things to keep an eye out for. I think that the Twins are going to do some good things this year, after they added Orlando ( Keith Smart) Hudson at 2nd and J.J ( Dean Garret) Hardy. Joe Mauer might do his best Bobby Thompson act which will cause a Russ Hodges moment. One thing that I want to harp on is the issue of drugs. Mr D. wants to reduce the numbers by 20-30 percent. I have a different idea, though. I advocate wiping all rigged homers dropped from the record books. Barry Bonds may have a head the size of a bowling ball, but he is not the greatest slugger of all time. That title belongs to Babe Ruth. I can hear Hank Aaron coming to get me now. I don't think that the New York Mongols will repeat. The champs this year will be the Bo-Sox over the Phils in 6.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Back,Back,Back Here!

Hey guys, I'm back after a self -imposed break to get my stuff in order. I am here to talk about some non-sports stuff today. As you know people are donating money to help Haiti clean up after the big earthquake. Go to the hyperlink and help donate money. On a lighter side I've been into a fun little show called Liberty's Kids. It is an animated show about the founding of our nation. Some of the charaters are not real, but there is a lot of truth. I'll pull a couple episodes that I like and let's see where it goes. The first one is in NYC where Washington manages to escape a Redcoat trap. Next, the year is 1777 and Messers Gates and Bourgoyne battle at Saratoga and Bendict (Brett Farve) Arnold school the Brunswickers (inside joke). Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rodgers v. Fav-ray: Who is better?

I'm here today to underscore some comparisons between Aaron "A-Rodg" Rodgers and Brett "Brent" Fav-ray since Week 1 of 2008. I am a Packer fan and I think that Fav-ray was the best player I saw on a regular basis. A-Rodg is a solid Quarterback who can be very good. Here are some stats I retrived from about '08.

Rodgers completed 63.6% of his passes for 4,038 yards and threw for 28 touchdowns and rushed for 4 extra scores, and was picked 13 times. These are good numbers,as anyone can see.

Farve completed 65.7% of his passes for 3,472 yards and scored 23 total times and was picked 22 times. Not bad,but high pick numbers as you can see.

The differnce is not very much, but Rodgers has a slight edge. Let's show the records for the season.

Jets: 9-7
Packers: 6-10

Okay, so what happened here? Rodgers has the slight edge but there was a 4 game swing? Let's compare games in 08 and we might get somewhere. that will come in the next part of the comparuisn

Monday, January 26, 2009


The picture is an SI cover from 1989 when Oklahoma had a lawless football program. That person is Charles Thompson, Oklahoma quarterback. Thompson was a redshirt freshman when he was handed the O for Game of the Century 2 in 1987. (It was between Oklahoma and Texas). Thompson was told by Barry Switzer that "you will shock the world." He did and had a normal 1988 season. In 1989 when Thompson sold cocaine to an undercover FBI agent.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It takes two

You know that individual glory is the norm today. Sorry T.O. go have a Big Mac or Quarter pounder. I present the Team awards.

Funniest Basketball Paring: Marvin and Fly

made the Spirits of St. Louis a wild ride. Hey where's my car.

Best Football Pairings

Chester Taylor and Adrian Peterson are as scary as 9/11.

Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison Are like beasts

stay tuned for more