Special Teams- Will the Raiders be able to stop speedy return man Leon Washington Will Shane Lechler pin them inside their own ten yard line Will Higgins take one to the house. MY PREDICTION RAIDER 17-JETS 13 The Jets come into a deadly black hole after a 18-13 defeat from the Bills. The Raiders will be able to run decently and throw even better then the pass with the Return of Schilens and the deadliness of Zach Miller and Gary Russel out of the backfield.. ) Theres an adage that comes to mind when we hear that SMU head coach June Jones, with help from the Pickens family, has put into motion plans to alter the mascot traditions of SMU A good team can make a mascot look greatbut a great mascot cant help a poor team play better. SMU is fortunate to have a coach of Joness caliber and SMU loyalists are excited that this may be the first step in creating a football program that achieves a higher level of on-field success while maintaining exceptional academic standards. But SMU is equally fortunate to have as its mascot a series of Shetland ponies, consecutively named Peruna, that have been the lead and the pride of SMU activities and athletics for decades. Jones attempts to toy with the traditions of SMUs current mascot, Peruna VIII, by introducing an actual mustang as a co-mascot seem only to telegraph his desire to do away with 75 years of beloved and iconic traditions. Some would rather see Jones spend his time working with his quarterback. What Jones really should do with Peruna is make him look cool by associating him with a more successful football program! Sure, Rome wasnt built in a day and recreating a winning tradition for a college football team does take timeBut many college programs take great pride in their interesting mascots and do so because of uniqueness, tradition, time, and some history of success. Want some examples Just look at Ohio States mascot Brutus Buckeye or the Duck of Oregon. How about the Hoosiers of Indiana Maybe a handful of people know what a Hoosier is but Bobby Knight and his basketball program made whatever those things are the envy of hoops fans everywhere. Even Nebraska made a Cornhusker look very intimidating just as Maryland, sometimes anyway, made a turtle look tough. So, heres hoping that coach Jones sees the value in SMUs Peruna traditions and rethinks his strategy to alter the perception of Mustang athletics by putting this Shetland out to pasture.. ) All reports out of Oregon practices are that QB Jeremiah Masoli looks great and the Ducks are ready for the up coming game.Doubts about Masoli have been surfacing all week around campus, but just recently they have been dying down and a sense of relief has risen amongst students.Having Masoli available makes all the difference in the world for the Washington game. Without Masoli, the consensus believes Oregon would have a tough time running the offense well enough to beat UW.The Ducks cannot survive another road game putting up ten points on offense and having to lean on the defense and special teams for another fourteen. I dont expect to see many of those however.If you want to enjoy the festivities here in Eugene, make sure to check out one of the following Duck stomping grounds.Taylors Right across the street from campus.
If you can handle the barrage of twenty-somethings hooting and hollering from every angle, then this is the place for you. Expect lots of drunken debauchery.Rennies Landing Also right across the street from campus, Rennies is a great place to simply enjoy the game. You can think of it as replacing the tailgate when the Ducks are on the road.It doesnt much matter where you watch the game from as long as you watch it. I really do believe that it is going to be one of the classics in this long, heated rivalry.Enjoy the game from wherever you may be, andGO DUCKS!!! . Last week's announcement by Quebec mayor Regis Lebeaume that a feasibility study will be undertaken about a proposed new $400 million, 18,000 seat arena was another step on the path to return the Nordiques to Quebec.The mayor has recently held discussions with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman who gave his unofficial blessing to the project.There have been many steps already taken along this route. First, there was a petition signed by 80,000 fans asking for the return of the team and a new arena built. Then the Provincial Government has pledged some money (though not the sum Lebeaume wants) to the project. Lebeaume has pledged some municipal funds. Next, a main investor, Quebecor, has vowed to be the main bidder for a returned franchise and has been seeking other corporate partners. Then the meeting with Bettman and the announcement.It may be a political ploy to get Lebeaume re-elected, but no mayor would make an announcement like that unless something was cooking.And to make it look like the arena pledge was not merely pandering to rich investors, the NHL, and Nordique hockey fans, the mayor said building it was necessary for Quebec to make a Winter Olympics bid, probably two decades from now.All these steps are following a logical path to get NHL hockey back in Quebec.The most ticklish issue will be getting government taxpayer money for the arena. Lebeaume wants the Federal and Provincial governments to contribute $175 million each to the project. That's wishful thinking especially at the federal level.Though most Canadians want more NHL teams in Canada, there will be lots of opposition to using taxpayer money for sports facilities.Besides the "moral" opposition who don't want any taxpayer money going to "bread and circuses", cities like Hamilton and Winnipeg would be saying "how about us"So it's in the interest of everyone concerned to get as much private financing as possible. Probably there have been unreported phone calls and negotiations between Quebecor, the mayor, the senior two governments, and other investors. A lot of behind-the-scenes activity is probably going on.Similarly, there probably have been unreported negotiations and phone calls with Bettman. Quebec wants a smooth return entry to the NHL, not a Balsillie adventure.As for Bettman, he would have to be an utter cad to encourage such spending and then not pledge a returned team.If we are to take him at his word that the opposition to Balsillie was about trying to break the NHL's constitutional rules and not about opposition to putting new teams in Canada, then we should expect a returned Nordiques as payment for the new arena with no opposition and legal tricks.If all the red tape and investor negotiations could be cleared away by the end of the current NHL season, and an arena definitely set to be constructed, I wouldn't be surprised if the NHL sells the Phoenix Coyotes to Quebecor. They have made it plain they don't want to operate a money loser indefinitely, and if they can't find an owner to keep the team there, selling the team to Quebecor would make the most sense, so long as it was legitimate within the NHL's transfer rules. The only problem would be realigning a western team with the east. One way of doing it would be to transfer both Phoenix and Detroit to the east and then announce two western expansion teams.A returned Nordiques would then play at the old arena until the new one was built. But Quebec must have that arena commitment before the NHL would make any move.Other possible scenarios would be moving the New York Islanders who were disappointed with Kansas City's exhibition game attendance and need a new arena, one of the other money-losers like Atlanta, Florida, and Nashville, or an expansion team.A new arena clearly puts Quebec into the driver's seat as far as expansion to Canada goes. The NHL would prefer to go back to a city were they had some success before economic conditions derailed the team, this time with a proper arena to get them through tough times. There are no territorial issues like Hamilton, and the new arena would be NHL-size unlike the arena in Winnipeg.Usually I'm not a bettor, but if the new arena is pledged to be built and financed, "makeitseven" will be Quebec and I think that's a safe bet to make..
We have all heard and read the comments. 48 team.Let it be said you can rant and rave, but Johnson wont be listening. Because instead hes focused on doing the best he can, and on the history he and his Lowes team are trying to make.He occasionally catches wind of a comment or three, but it doesnt stay on his mind.If I worry about what other people think then Im not worrying about my racecar, Johnson said.Like water off the back of a duck, he lets everything but his driving roll off. He ditches it all, not watching media coverage or reading any articles to stay in the zone. 48 team as it headed to a track it's dominated in the past and got to work doing it again. To those who may be wondering about Martinsville qualifying, Johnson isnt worried. Race trim was really, really good in practice," he said "We didnt spend a lot of time in qualifying trim.