Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:57 pm

Unsportsmanlike conduct needs to be abolished

The reason I do believe unsportsmanlike conduct needs to be abolished is not because the penalty is to prevent players from having absurd celebrations, but because it's so inconsistently enforced in both the NCAA and NFL. Last night in the Pinstripe Bowl, a K-State player was flag for unsportsmanlike conduct for saluting towards the stands. However, I've have seen numerous times in the college football players pointing towards the stands, or holding the number 1 sign towards the stands, and rarely there is a penalty thrown for that. Is there any major difference in terms of celebrating by either pointing or saluting towards the stands? No. 

The NFL is just as bad. During a Rams game earlier during the season, a Rams player twisted the ball out of his hands on the sideline after making a catch. He wasn't even doing it on purpose in terms of celebrating. He was just twisting out of his hands on his way back to the huddle. But the NFL refs at the game flag him for unsportsmanlike conduct and literally canceled out the play. While during the season we see numerous spikes in the end-zone, or Michael Vick dunking the ball through the goal post. No flags are thrown for that. That shows how inconsistent these refs have become with this rule. How is Vick dunking the ball through the goal post in Dallas not unsportsmanlike conduct? The penalty has become a joke as the NFL refs randomly call it just to remind people it exists.

These are a few examples of the refs in both leagues being so inconsistent with the rule. That's why it should be abolish. Each ref seems to have it's own definition of what's unsportsmanlike conduct. I don't see anything wrong with players celebrating when they make a touchdown with a spike or a dance. The only time I support this rule is when it way over the top and literally delaying the game. For example, Chad Ocho getting on the camera stand after a touchdown and filming the stands is delaying the game and he should be flag for that. That was so uncalled for, and he is literally holding things up for his shenanigans. Otherwise, this rule is so pointless as it is inconsistent and players should have a right to have a little celebration once a while that both the NCAA and NFL should abolish it. 
Posted on: December 24, 2010 12:11 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 12:17 am

Missouri vs Illinois, a rivalry renewed

This is just a quick thought, but as a Mizzou Tigers fan, I am glad to see the Busch Braggin Rights game has been renewed as a top 25 inter-conference rivalry. The score from last nights game may look like a little lopsided with Mizzou winning by 11, but until the last minute of gameplay, the game was a constant back and forth battle. Mizzou got a call in their favor that gave them the basket, two free throws, and then the ball back. Along with the intentional foul, they call a technical on Illinois. This last minute with the foul and technical was the game deciding moment. It will be argued among fans about the intentional foul was the right call, but the fact to the matter is Mizzou gained the lead when Laurence Bowers made the basket, and most likely would of gotten one free throw as most likely there would of been a free throw given for the push. 

Now that the explanation how a 11 point win was actually a good game, lets get back to why this rivalry is back. For the last decade, Illinois dominated this rivalry. Illinois won 9 straight games until last year when Mizzou won 81-68 when Illinois was in a down year. Now in 2007 and 2008 both games were close with Illinois winning by 3 in 06 and by a point in 07, but both teams weren't that good. Mizzou was still in the rebuilding phase during those years, and Illinois fallen off the map from their high point back in the early and mid 2000s. 

Until last night, the last time both teams were rank in the top 25 was back in 2003 when #21 Illinois beat #11 Mizzou by a point. That #11 ranking was flawed as the 2003 season for the Tigers ended up being a bust and they ended up losing in the first round of the NIT with the 2003 and 2004 season. To be fair, lets say 2002, #12 Illinois vs #11 Mizzou, was the last time that two actual top 25 caliber teams faced each other. In the early 2000s there were some good top 25 match ups, and in the late 80s was the peak for the rivalry when there were back to back top 10 match ups. Now the Mizzou program is back on track, and Illinois looks like they are coming out of their funk after a couple of disappointing seasons. I know they lost to Illinois-Chicago, but most teams encounter an upset here and there. But overall, it looks like the old school rivarly in which games  are back in forth contests with two of the best teams in the nation is back. 

This is exiting not just for fans of either school, but basketball in general. There aren’t a lot of long and traditional out of conference rivalries in basketball. Duke vs Michigan State has been exciting in the last couple of years, but that hasn’t been a long and traditional rivalry. The Busch Braggin Rights game has been played on neutral ground for 30 years, and the rivalry dates back to the 40s. That’s impressive, and considering how neither team has never been in the same conference makes it a more impressive feat. People can call me a fan boy for glorifying this rivalry, but no one can deny that last nights game was exciting, and it was a re-visit to the glory days when both teams were good and fought hard to the end. 

Overall this rivalry has it's up and downs as both teams aren't the most consistent powerhouses. It isn't a Duke vs UNC game, but to see a good rivalry outside of their conferences is a treat we all should enjoy. Yesterday was a good example of what a rivalry should be: game has been a constant back and forth battle, both sides are into it, one side is covered in yellow (Mizzou), and the other in orange (Illinois). Now that is a rivalry, and probably one of the best rivalries in basketball.
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