Saturday, December 11, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: December 9 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for December 9:
--The Denver Broncos' coaching position comes available, and the usual suspects get consideration. Also, an unusual suspect is rumored to seek rehab for Tebow withdrawal.
--Los Guys deliberate on who should be the MVP, and Scott has a surprising dark-horse candidate, especially considering his feelings on the player's team.
--Scott gives respect to Bobby's Raiders and other teams that will decide division races other than their own.
--The guys also check in on Grampa and the Vikings, wondering if anything short of death will end The Streak.
--The Boxing Hall of Fame inductees get a look, from the dominant fighters like Tyson, Chavez, and Balboa to...wait, Balboa?
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby piles on a local icon and Scott piles on a national plague. You know, the usual.

Excised music: "Standing on the Verge of Getting It On" by Funkadelic.

4 Quarters Radio: December 9 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for December 9:
--Scott unveils the NBA's most overpaid players, as well as the ones who deliver the most for the money. Some interesting names dot both lists. The guys also manage to come up with what should be a new Charlie Daniels song.
--Bobby attempts to clinch himself some free wings with his UFC 124 picks. (Hint: he likes GSP.) As an added bonus, a fighter literally tells some fans to kill themselves.

Excised music: "Act of God" by Prince. (Find it on for a listen)

4 Quarters Radio: December 9 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for December 9:
--The guys stumble across some comedic goodness on Twitter, and share some wholly inappropriate names for horses and yachts.
--The guys check out some of the other bowl matchups, trying to find some good games to watch not involving Auburn and/or Oregon.
--Bobby's interested in the Outback Bowl, wondering how Urban "Leaving Again and This Time I Mean It" Meyer's team will respond going against Joe "I Handed Off to Methuselah" Paterno and Penn State.
--Scott and Bobby discuss whether or not the moral high-horse minority will be able to keep Cam Newton from winning the Heisman.
--The Florida coaching opening is drawing some interesting candidates. Scott ponders a few.
--Bobby shares a video game that he's playing more than he's studying, and delivers his highest recommendation.
--After minor technical glitches, Whodaman honors are handed out. Bobby sticks with a man who's killed one of his fantasy teams, while Scott decides to show mascot love once more, to a bird that you would not want to honk off.

Excised music: "40 Cups of Coffee" by Ella Mae Morse.

4 Quarters Radio: December 9 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for December 9:
--Scott and Bobby are joined by MTSU beat writer Adam Sparks for discussion of the Blue Raiders' Bowl matchup against Miami of Ohio.
--The 2010 team's legacy gets a premature examination, as does quarterback Dwight Dasher's.
--The Blue Raider basketball team is making adjustments, and the results thereof get looked at after two games.
--Many MTSU athletes get postseason love in football, soccer, and volleyball, so they get a little on-air recognition.

Excised music: "Steam" by Peter Gabriel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The NBA: Where Rivalries (Used To) Happen

LeBronageddon has come and gone. A Cleveland fan base that had spurred the Cavaliers to a surprising second place in NBA attendance has to feel like they’ve been sold out yet again. This time, though, instead of a player taking his talents to South Beach, the fans got the shaft from the players who’ll keep flaunting a lack of talent on the shore of Lake Erie.
I grew up a child of the 1980’s, cutting my basketball teeth on the NBA Finals battles between the Lakers and Celtics. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird shared a perceptible mutual respect, but each would rather set the other on fire than crack jokes or discuss what club they were headed to after the game. For that matter, the two teams didn’t get along all that well on the whole.

As an Indiana kid in the 1990’s, I was able to enjoy the long-bombing, swashbuckling, trash-talking style of Reggie Miller. Anyone who was watching basketball in 1994, or anyone who’s watched ESPN’s entire “30 for 30” series, has seen how much Reggie was able to tick off the entire city of New York. Miller talked noise so the rest of the Indiana Pacers could do their jobs in peace.

That brings me to Thursday night. The fans were heated up, ready to welcome LeBron with barely bridled rage and hostility. Security was heightened in fear of anyone making a move on the court after having too much liquid courage and not enough brains.

And as for the players? Anderson Varejao walked up and gave LeBron a pre-game hug. At that moment, the Miami Heat clinched victory.

For all the countless hype about their mediocre start to the NBA season and their ridiculously top-heavy roster, the Miami Heat still have a lot more talent than the Cleveland Cavaliers. The only hope for the Cavs to win that game was to establish a psychological edge, especially over LeBron.

Freeze him out during pre-game introductions. Leave him hanging if he goes for a high five or a handshake. Hammer him McHale-style when he drives to the basket. Do anything but shake his hand, hug him, and make him feel at home.

When he feels at home, he does things like score 24 points in a quarter and 38 for the game. The Cleveland players knew that, since they’d borne witness to it plenty of times over the years. They chose instead to laugh, slap fives, and do everything but pose for the pregame air pictures, just like the old days months ago.

The Cavs needed LeBron to shoot something like 2-for-17 from the floor. To do that, they needed to rattle him and remind him that Quicken Loans Arena is no longer his comfort zone. They did none of that, therefore they never had much chance to win.

NBA Commissioner David Stern won’t want to read this, but here goes. Reason number 311 that the NBA is losing visibility is that the rivalries are gone. Lakers/Celtics, Pistons/Bulls, Pacers/Knicks: those were the reasons the NBA got hot to begin with in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Now, free agency and salary-dumping trades mean that everyone will play with everyone else at some point, so there’s little to gain from on-court hostility.

Miami/Cleveland had a little potential to be the next huge basketball battle, but the players chose instead to embrace the enemy. Winning a game is your job, and the opponent’s goal is to stop you from doing said job. Varejao embracing LeBron was like a guy sending flowers to a girl who stole his wallet after a one-night stand. The fans were ready to be angry, but the players sold them out again.

Consolation for Cleveland fans: there’s always the Indians and Browns. (Wait...does Akron hate them by now, too?)

Friday, December 3, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: December 2 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for December 2:
--Stevie Johnson's Hail Mary drop and his damning tweet get examined, and one of the hosts is actually somewhat refreshed.
--Derek Anderson's chuckling on the sideline draws a little discussion from Scott, Bobby, and special guest star Magic Johnson.
--Even the show's Colts fan in residence displays little surprise about Peyton's struggles against the San Diego Chargers.
--Scott and Bobby discuss some NFL teams' December prospects, calling the segment Rank or Tank.
--Bobby's UFC 123 results get announced, and he's so close to free wings that he can almost taste it.
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby makes fun of a guy named Rusty. He'll admit that he likes shooting fish in a barrel. Scott has to marvel at how bad a particular college hoop tournament's invitees played.

Excised music: "I Don't Feel" by Aeroplane.

4 Quarters Radio: December 2 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for December 2:
--LeBronageddon 2010 gets examined, with both Scott and Bobby harboring great expectations. (Never mind that the Cavs decided to remind everyone how badly they suck.) The game gets compared to a NASCAR race, in fact, and Scott shares some of the proposed chants that were planned.
--The Lakers' four-game losing streak gets analyzed, and the fellas wonder if Memphis and Indiana are actually legit, or if it's just the Lakers sleepwalking.
--Andre Johnson's highly respectable punch stats would have won him a match on Fight Night, but it didn't help him much in a football game. The lack of suspensions for him and Cortland Finnegan get examined, with Scott even comparing Finnegan to a particular breed of dog.

Excised music: "So Cool" by Chrisette Michele.

4 Quarters Radio: December 2 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for December 2:
--Scott confesses something that's gotten him into a bit of hot water with the MTSU message-board denizens.
--Examinations of the final hurdle for the Auburn Tigers and the Score-Again Ducks, and Scott shares who he think may slip up. In the end, it may not matter anyway.
--Mike Leach's friends in high places may help him get a job.
--A noteworthy coach is on record as supporting a playoff...kinda.
--Scott has a moment of empathy for an embattled kicker. Maybe he's mellowing in his old age?
--An annual college hoop fixture is applauded as something college football needs to adopt.

Excised music: "Turn Around (5,4,3,2,1)" by Flo Rida.

4 Quarters Radio: December 2 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for December 2:
--All alone in the studio, Scott is free to wax rhapsodic about the MTSU football team's two-game winning streak.
--A look ahead to the season finale v. FIU reveals a surprising amount of Golden Panther talent for MTSU to deal with.
--The story of TCU moving to the Big East gets put under the microscope, and truly, it's an easier time for the Horned Frogs there than in the Mountain West. Scott examines why.
--The NCAA sets a dangerous precedent by letting Cam Newton skate in the face of proven misconduct by his dad. The Prof wonders how much cash fathers will be demanding for their five-star sons in the near future.

Excised music: "We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thing" by Heaven 17.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: November 18 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for November 18:
--The situations in Dallas, Minnesota, and Washington get scrutinized to determine whose is the most dysfunctional in the NFL. The "Mike Shanahan = racist" theory gets checked for holes, as well.
--Scott, Bobby, and Dylan weigh in on whether they would have extended Donovan McNabb's contract...especially for five years.
--Scott shares the official all-time ranking of Michael Vick's spit-roasting of the Redskins.
--After an unfortunate false alarm, the 4Q crew actually DOES get its first-ever listener call-in. The caller also has a comment about McNabb's past and future.
--In the Epic Fails, Dylan gets on Chiefs coach Todd Haley for leaving Josh McDaniels hanging post-game, and Bobby gets on a defensive back having the worst possible luck on a deflection. Scott's Epic Fail goes to the kicker of the Pittsburgh Steelers...well, okay, the ex-kicker of the Steelers. Also, an international soccer striker keeps the receipt and returns a gift.

Excised music: "Paris (Ooh La La) by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

4 Quarters Radio: November 18 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for November 18:
--Bobby mans up and admits that college sports hurt his mind. This while Scott is continuing to discuss the College Hoops Marathon.
--Bobby gets the verdict from his UFC 122 picks, including a fighter feigning illness rather than go in and try to prove the MMA Authority wrong. He then delivers the new round of choices for UFC 123.
--The guys offer guesses (well, two of the three are guessing) on which NBA players are playing surprisingly well this season.
--The 2006 NBA Draft gets put under a microscope for ; just how terrible a group was selected that season.

Excised music: "Hoeing Weeds, Sowing Seeds" by the Russian Futurists.

4 Quarters Radio: November 18 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for November 18:
--Scott and Logan discuss their definitions of excessive blowouts. (Hint: Wisconsin 83, Indiana 20 doesn't qualify.) The bigger question is why college football's system encourages blowouts.
--For a bonus, the granddaddy of all blowouts gets a mention.
--The College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon gets analyzed, and winners/losers get called out.
--The Sun Belt conference gives some postseason respect to the MTSU volleyball team, including Logan's girl Izabela. Logan offers congratulations in his own distinctive way.
--In Whodaman, Logan gives mad love to Mike Vick, and Scott suggests mad security for his Canton-bound jersey. Scott's Whodaman nominees include a QB fighting through the firing of his dad and a former NFL offensive lineman not letting paralysis stand in the way of his wedding.

Excised music: "Maneater" by Nelly Furtado.

Friday, November 19, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: November 18 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for November 18:
--Scott and Logan are joined by MTSU beat writer Adam Sparks of the Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)
--After brief mention of the new MTSU drinking game, Scott asks Adam about how the defense thinks they're going to stop Western Kentucky RB Bobby Rainey.
--The MTSU offense gets compared to the hero of a Meat Loaf song. You'll have to listen to find out.
--MTSU's basketball team gets a once-over after their loss to UAB.
--A pair of baseball stadiums figure out that they may not be completely fit for football. Even an Ernest P. Worrell reference gets dropped.

Excised music: "This is the House That Doubt Built" by A Day to Remember.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: November 11 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for November 11:
--Scott and Logan speak with North Texas beat writer Brett Vito of the Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Tex.) regarding the MTSU-North Texas football game.
--Brett tells the guys about the status of UNT's new coach, and how the son of the old coach is operating since his dad's firing.
--Logan's unshakeable optimism leads him to seriously ask if North Texas would overlook MTSU.
--For all MT's injury problems, UNT has them trumped, and Brett runs down the litany of aches and pains.
--Moving into basketball, Scott asks Brett to put UNT under the magnifying glass and spell out some factors that might slow the Mean Green's roll to another NCAA Tournament.
--North Texas's upcoming recruiting class gets a look, and from the sound of things, the rest of the Sun Belt should be afraid. Very afraid.
--In scoreline predictions, no one has any faith in their own teams, as Brett picks MT, and Scott and Logan pick UNT. One of the three picks an absolute blowout, no points for guessing who.

Excised music: "Light You Up" by Shawn Mullins.

4 Quarters Radio: November 11 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for November 11:
--Scott and Logan take another call-in interview, this one with MTSU soccer coach Aston Rhoden. The coach checks in from Tallahassee, Florida, site of MT's first-ever NCAA Tournament match.
--Coach Rhoden discusses the future of Sun Belt soccer once Denver leaves the league in 2012.
--Various factors involved in the Florida State match are discussed, including whether FSU being without their head coach would be any sort of factor.
--Scott puts the coach on the spot regarding a player who could be a big factor against FSU, and Rhoden nutmegs the question beautifully.
--Scott can't resist poking Logan a little bit regarding Tennessee basketball losing to the University of Indianapolis.
--Logan gives the biggest Whodaman of all time in honor of Veterans' Day, while Scott's the party-pooper who keeps it sports-related.

Excised music: "Smoke a Little Smoke" by Eric Church.

4 Quarters Radio: November 11 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for November 11:
--Scott and Bobby talk a little NBA, wondering if the Lakers or Hornets will be the last unbeaten team standing.
--In college football, the Cam Newton story continues to grow more tentacles, and Scott breaks out a Top 5 list of even more shocking things that we've learned from Cam's records leaking.
--Scott also pauses from the Newton issues to give love to another player who's stuffing boxscores at a mad pace.

Excised music: "Little Lion Man" by Mumford and Sons.

4 Quarters Radio: November 11 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for November 11:
--The NFL conversation has to start in Dallas, with the Cowboys' first-ever midseason coaching change. Questions remain on whether the Cowboys are too far gone already and whether or not Jerry Jones is the problem. Los Guys also ponder which of the potential candidates they would hire if they were Jerry.
--Chad Ochocinco's issues are discussed, and the question is raised regarding whether or not Chad should be moved along.
--Another game of Medal Stand kicks off, and the topic for the week is which quarterbacks are doing the best jobs this season. Along the way, Scott explains why his picks are not rampant homerism, and also explains his uncanny ability to make players huge by NOT adding them to his fantasy team.
--An NFL linebacker displays a complete lack of historical knowledge, but a stunning grasp of Kevin Smith's film catalog.
--UFC 122 picks come from the MMA Authority. He doesn't flip a coin, but he may as well.
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby and Scott both throw more dirt on coaches' corpses, the difference being that Scott pulls out somebody new. Also, the Cowboys' website team falls asleep at the wheel.

Excised music: "Home" by Marc Broussard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: November 4 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for November 4:
--Former co-host Joseph Anthony checks in from Knoxville with a rant locked and loaded regarding his Memphis Grizzlies lavishly extending the contract of Mike Conley.
--Joseph stays and aids Scott and Bobby in a comparison of three high-profile rookies in the NBA this season, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Blake Griffin.
--Finally, the guys get to play David Stern and indulge in a little contraction-style team-killing.
--4 Quarters steps a little out of its comfort zone after the 10-minute warning, covering some horse racing. Specifically, race horse names. Some test the bounds of taste and some are just mildly disturbing.
--Bobby poses a little knowledge on the UFC's two new divisions, wondering if any of the little fellas have any stopping power.
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby once again rails on one of the more misguided coaching decisions in recent memory. Meanwhile, Scott shakes his head at one of the biggest game companies in the world dropping the ball, so to speak.

Excised music: "1979" by Good Charlotte.

4 Quarters Radio: November 4 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for November 4:
--Temporarily alone in the studio, Scott pontificates on where the responsibility lies in the Randy Moss-Minnesota Vikings divorce.
--Once Bobby arrives, he unloads with both barrels on Moss, giving a frank appraisal of what he'll do for the Titans. (Hint: not much.) The guys then ponder his motivation to be a good soldier or a pain in the ass for the rest of this year.
--Scott breaks out the Olympic theme and the guys play a rousing game of Medal Stand, ranking the NFL coaches most likely to be canned this season. Bobby even throws out a write-in candidate.
--The crack 4Q research staff comes up with a Top 5 list in honor of the reasons Mike Shanahan really benched Donovan McNabb. Baked goods are involved.

Excised music: "Hot-N-Fun" by N.E.R.D. feat. Nelly Furtado.

4 Quarters Radio: November 4 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for November 4:
--Other MTSU sporting notes get covered, including the weekly check-in with Logan's new favorite sport. In other news, Logan in exchange for lessons from the MTSU lady golfers and also tries to pick a fight with a soccer player.
--Scott gets into college football and dances on the graves of Notre Lame, Georgia, and Texas. Los Guys handicap which ones are most likely to miss bowl games.
--The availability of the CBS College Sports Network is bemoaned, as Scott's not totally sure that he's got that channel on DirecTV. The TCU/Utah game is there, and he's expecting it to be worth watching. (He did and it wasn't, but still.)
--Election Day comes and goes, and some sports figures are involved. Some won and some lost, but according to Scott, one was the victim of an elaborate conspiracy.
--Logan once again goes to a familiar spot for his Whoda(wo)man choice, while Scott honors a basketball player who's more into giving than receiving.

Excised music: "Turning Up the Radio" by Weezer.

4 Quarters Radio: November 4 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for November 4:
--Scott gives Logan the floor to comment on the Randy Moss waiver claim and how the Titans will look going forward. Logan immediately takes back every nasty thing he's ever said.
--For his part, the Professor's not exactly sold on Randy and what he'll do for the Titan offense. The immediate question of "Can Fisher control Randy?" is pondered.
--The MTSU football team's debacle against Arkansas State gets a once-over, and it's just as ugly a couple of days later. Scott does, however, express some great appreciation for ASU's beautiful Wildcat work.
--The guys move on to MTSU soccer, and once they figure out exactly where the team's playing, they give respect for an opening win in the Sun Belt Tournament.

Excised music: "National Ransom" by Elvis Costello.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: October 28 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Among NFL quarterbacks, the guys divide them into old, crippled and stupid.
--The Old: Brett Favre continues to flex his supreme authority in Minnesota, and the crew ponders whether Brad Childress has the balls to take it away from him.
--The Crippled: The fellas decide if the Cowboys will win any games with Jon Kitna as quarterback.
--The Stupid: Jay Cutler decides that four interceptions wasn't enough to throw to DeAngelo Hall. Even Scott's patience seems to wear thin with Cutler's retarded stubbornness.
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby has to make fun of a dancing white man...albeit a very large dancing white man. Dylan's not a fan of the new LeBron James commercial, while Logan's not a fan of old, crippled douchenozzle quarterbacks. Scott, for his part, wonders how some people get hired as ESPN announcers when he can't.

Excised music: "Let's Ride" by Wayman Tisdale.

4 Quarters Radio: October 28 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Scott bemoans baseball not vacating the stage in a timely manner, but still has his choice for the World Series winner.
--Post-World Series, will Cliff Lee's wife want any part of New York? For an extra $50 million, why not?
--Bobby's in a hurry to explain his first losing effort at a UFC pay-per-view, even if some of the picks surprised everyone. Bobby admires Brock's fancy dancing, while Scott ponders if perhaps his pro wrestling days may have contributed to the Grand Canyon that opened on his face.
--The full-strength crew (Scott, Bobby, Logan, and Dylan) take a look at the debut of nWo Miami and decide if anyone should slit their wrists just yet.
(Hint: someone says yes, and if you listened a few weeks ago, you can guess who.)
--Los Guys make their NBA Finals predictions, and three of them stay in lockstep.
--Steve Nash's predictions are weighed, and the guys decide if they like the honesty or dislike the pessimism.

Excised music: "Ride" by Prefab Sprout.

4 Quarters Radio: October 28 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Finally, some good news for MTSU football fans, as the guys analyze the Homecoming win over Louisiana-Monroe.
--A look ahead to Arkansas State, and Scott questions whether exotic blitz packages will rattle Ryan Aplin and whether the running game will gain ground against the Wolves' strong D-line.
--The BCS's stated purpose is trotted out and contrasted with coaches like Oklahoma's Bob Stoops punting with poll voters in mind rather than trying to win.
--Scott puts Logan on the spot and demands to know the games where Auburn and Oregon will get tripped up on their road to the national title game.
--Logan once again gives love to someone who helped his fantasy team in Whodaman, while also indulging his slightly disturbing obsession with a MTSU volleyball player. Scott gives props to another NBA scrub for scoring a phenomenally hot celebrity fiancee, and also pays tribute to sport's greatest prognosticator.

Excised music: "I Got Your Number" by Cock Sparrer.

4 Quarters Radio: October 28 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for October 28:
--Scott and Logan interview Sporting News college basketball columnist Mike DeCourcy as the season draws ever closer.
--Of course, Scott has to start with Purdue and their prospects post-Hummel. Included is a stern judgment on the concept of having JaJuan Johnson explore playing further from the basket.
--DeCourcy discusses that cases like Kentucky's Enes Kanter are not without precedent. Kentucky's prospects if Kanter's found ineligible may be somewhat...un-Kentucky-like.
--Once Logan gets his mic turned on (sorry, Logan), he gets to ask Mike about the Bruce Pearl situation at Tennessee. DeCourcy's a little bit more optimistic than most, it seems.
--Mike gets heavily fired up when Scott turns the discussion toward the Sun Belt's new scheduling mandate. This is probably the most passionate you'll hear anyone about Sun Belt hoops all season, folks.
--MTSU's prospects get a cursory glance, as Mike wonders if they'll be able to beat the conference's "heavyweights."
--Mike ponders the commitment of Isiah Thomas at FIU as Scott wonders if Isiah's bosses should pull the want ads out of his morning paper.
--Scott throws out a Final Four of questions, some one-liners about UConn, Boston College, Memphis, and Florida before letting Mike roll.

Excised music: "Fuguefat" by The Octopus Project.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sun Belt Basketball: Can the New Rules Stay Out of Their Own Way?

The Sun Belt Conference wants its members to schedule better, thinking that it will raise the league's national profile and get some teams into NCAA Tournament at-large spots. More likely, it'll send all the teams into conference play packing .500 records, but it's good for the league office to have a dream.

Everyone is expected to assemble non-conference itineraries consisting of teams with combined three-year RPI averages of 150 or better. Coaches don't like the idea.

As I've written in MTSU Sidelines, this requirement is not an impossible one, but it might be somewhat unreasonable.

Three of the Belt's basketball-playing members managed to actually schedule strongly enough this season to satisfy the league mandate. Most of the rest came fairly close, and the other two just didn't seem to care.

For the full numbers, click here. If you're the patient sort, read on.

All rankings courtesy of Teams scheduled to compete in early-season tournaments have only their currently-confirmed first-round opponents included in their averages.

2010-11 Sun Belt RPI Averages:
1. Western Kentucky -- 129.91
2. Troy -- 133.61
3. Florida Atlantic -- 141.28
4. Arkansas-Little Rock -- 156.09
5. FIU -- 160.56
6. Louisiana-Monroe -- 162.61
7. Denver -- 167.23
8. Louisiana-Lafayette -- 170.04
9. Arkansas State -- 172.5
10. South Alabama -- 173.52
11. MTSU -- 186.25
12. North Texas -- 190.73

Each team has a few "money games," which are denoted in green on the spreadsheet linked above. Those are games against teams with a Top-100 average over the past three seasons.

Teams also have "bottom-feeder" games, shown in red. Those games are against teams whose averages are lower than #250.

Let's analyze a little deeper.

1. Western Kentucky -- 129.91
Money games: Louisville (3-year RPI average: 17), Memphis (21), Vanderbilt (45), Minnesota (67), South Carolina (96)
Bottom-feeders: Florida Gulf Coast (308), Alabama A&M (321)
--Western is a team that won three Tournament games between 2008 and 2009, so they're interested in seeing if they can punch in the heavyweight classes. Not included in the money games: the always-dangerous Murray State, who ranked #57 last season in the RPI and stunned Vanderbilt in the first round.

2. Troy -- 133.61
Money games: Utah State (43), UAB (47), Mississippi State (51)
Bottom-feeders: Georgia State (255), Idaho State (256)
--Three SBC schools put UAB on the schedules this season, offering the best kind of boost: a winnable game. Of course, UAB looked vulnerable last season, too, and all they did was go 25-9. Utah State was a hip upset pick going into last year's Tournament, but got done pretty convincingly by Texas A&M. Most Sun Belt teams would get beaten even worse by A&M. Mississippi State is beatable without Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney.

3. Florida Atlantic -- 141.28
Money games:  Siena (38), Mississippi State (51), Florida (55), George Mason (90)
Bottom-feeders: UC Davis (271)
--Mike Jarvis scheduled a lot of games against East Coast schools, and didn't try to prey on weak sisters, either. UC-Davis and Manhattan are the only two opponents with three-year averages outside the top 200. Two SEC opponents bring in a little cash. Siena has a recent reputation as a potential Tournament upset special (even if Purdue did shut them down, thankyaverymuch), but lost key pieces this season, including coach Fran McCaffery.

4. Arkansas-Little Rock -- 156.09
Money games:  Illinois State (53), Ole Miss (61), Tulsa (72), Akron (89)
Bottom-feeders: Stetson (269), Rice (278)
--Not quite under the 150 average, but this is the kind of schedule a Sun Belt team should try to assemble: one big-conference team stuck in the middle of several well-respected mid-majors. What did them in was sneaking in one just under the "bottom-feeder" wire, that being SMU and their 247 average. UALR is one of two teams whose opponents were better last season than either of the previous two.

5. FIU -- 160.56
Money games: Louisville (17), Florida State (39)
Bottom-feeders: Utah Valley (275), Florida A&M (292)
--Florida State actually comes to Miami for their game. Isiah Thomas got a couple of heavy hitters lined up, and there are also a couple of decent low-major games, with both Marshall and Sam Houston State ranking in last year's top 70.

6. Louisiana-Monroe -- 162.61
Money games: Illinois State (53), Kent State (70), UTEP (79), Texas Tech (87), Stephen F. Austin (97)
Bottom-feeders: Centenary (297), Jacksonville State (300)
--Monroe was the other team (with UALR) whose opponents' combined average last season was their best of the last three. Monroe was also the only team other than Western Kentucky to schedule five money games. So why the lower average? They've scheduled a team in only their second season in Division I (South Dakota, ranked #216 last year), a Big Ten team who's trying to redefine futility (Iowa, 173 average including #210 last year), and a pair of teams near #300. Louisiana Tech's 193 average didn't help, but imagine where it'd be without last season's #78 (24-11 record).

7. Denver -- 167.23
Money games: Utah State (43), St. Mary's (43)
Bottom-feeders: Alcorn State (341)
--Seriously, any other SWAC team would have helped the average. Alcorn's been one of the bottom ten teams in the nation for the last three years. Meanwhile, St. Mary's is still tough, despite the loss of bulldozer Omar Samhan. Otherwise, Denver scheduled quite strongly. Only Alcorn, Northern Colorado (223), and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (247) even carry averages outside the top 200.

8. Louisiana-Lafayette -- 170.04
Money games: Creighton (68), Houston (92), Cleveland State (94), New Mexico State (99)
Bottom-feeders: McNeese State (281), Centenary (297)
--The money games here are a bit deceiving. Of the four, New Mexico State is the only one that was in last season's top 100. Creighton had won 20+ games for 11 straight years before last season's 18-16 slump. Cleveland State's #165 rank last year was 100 spots lower than where they were either of the previous two. Also, two middle of the road games didn't help the average. Tulane's 209 average includes last year's #282. Lamar averages 219, but was #292 last season. The Cajuns' opponents averaged an RPI of 204 last year, by far the worst single-season figure of any SBC team's schedule.

9. Arkansas State -- 172.5
Money games: Memphis (21), Ole Miss (61)
Bottom-feeders: Savannah State (274), SE Missouri (314)
--ASU could help the average immensely with a good showing at the NIT Season Tip-Off, where a win over Missouri State (141 average) could lead to a game against either Belmont (112) or the big dog, Tennessee (13). But let's not get ahead of ourselves. John Brady is the most vocal against the return of the "150 rule," and a schedule like this makes it easy to see why. Memphis and Ole Miss don't quite pay for the likes of Savannah State, SEMO, Alabama State (218), and Lamar (219). Good news: they do have a Georgia team showing signs of improvement over the squad that bumbled their way to a SEC Tournament title and an embarrassing-for-the-SEC #14 seed in 2008. Bad news: there are THREE non-Division I games on the schedule, and those will have to go away next season. No wonder Brady's pissed.

10. South Alabama -- 173.52
Money games: Louisville (17), UAB (47)
Bottom-feeders: Houston Baptist (320), Alcorn State (341)
--There's Alcorn again. If the Belt teams are going to pull 150 averages, they need to be looking in the Big Ten basement (like ULM did) and the SEC basement (like WKU did), not the SWAC basement. They'd also be well-advised to avoid the Great West altogether. Meanwhile, Rick Pitino and Mike Davis are gladly paying for wins. Ronnie Arrow's team will be facing a pair of SEC teams, Alabama (107) and LSU (144). Let's not pat him on the back too hard, though: LSU sandwiched a 27-win season between a pair of campaigns that totaled 24. The 27 seems to be much more the exception.

11. MTSU -- 186.25
Money games: Tennessee (13), Vanderbilt (45), UAB (47)
Botton-feeders: Campbell (250), Samford (251), Furman (304), Houston Baptist (320), SIU-Edwardsville (322)
--Only two Sun Belt teams scheduled more than two bottom-feeder games. Guess where the other one ranked? MTSU beat writer/friend of 4 Quarters Radio Adam Sparks claims here that "MTSU has touted one of the league's strongest non-conference schedules for years." Apparently, this is MTSU taking a year off? Okay, great, Tennessee, Vandy, UAB, and Auburn (123) are lined up, with UAB and Vandy even coming to Murphy Center. For that matter, even Belmont (112) is a decent game and a potential local rivalry. All that said, it's night and day with the Blue Raider schedule. Aside from the five stinkers above, there's also two games against Evansville (199) and one with Tennessee State (just under the wire at 248). Some are fond of the phrase "don't piss on my head and tell me it's raining." In this case, it's "don't schedule the dregs of the Southern Conference and tell me it's a strong slate." Making the rounds of Tennessee and Alabama aren't quite enough lipstick to put on this pig.

12. North Texas -- 190.73
Money games: Kansas (5), Texas Tech (87)
Bottom-feeders: Texas State (254), Rice (278), Texas Southern (290), Grambling State (336)
--Kansas is by far the biggest gun anyone's attempting to face in the Belt this season. But even the Jayhawks don't balance the Little Sisters of the Poor tour that the Mean Green are taking around Texas this season. Only two of UNT's opponents outside of KU and Tech have had a season ranked inside the top 140 over the past three: Sam Houston State (#100 in 2008 and #70 in 2010) and LSU (the aforementioned 2009 campaign, where they ranked #37). Even Jackson State, expected to run the SWAC this season, only sports a 217 average. Could be worse, though. At least it's not Alcorn.

On last week's episode of 4 Quarters (podcast here), Sporting News college hoops columnist Mike DeCourcy got all kinds of fired up about these new guidelines. His key assertion was that Rule #1 of having a good RPI was "WIN GAMES!" With some of the non-conference schedules that have been put together this season, Sun Belt teams shouldn't have a ton of trouble doing that.

But next season, when the "150 rule" makes its highly dreaded return, will the SBC be able to satisfy the guidelines and still win games? And what happens when they don't? Going 6-8 because you had to schedule Top 25 heavyweights to pay for the occasional CAA or OVC opponent isn't exactly a great recipe for multiple NCAA spots.

We'll see how the results look this season, and then Sun Belt observers (not to mention athletic directors and coaches) will probably need to get good and drunk.

4 Quarters Radio: October 21 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--The NBA's season is about to kick off, and apparently the Association's on the lookout for
--LeBron finally grows a pair and starts calling out specific people for their alleged "race" comments, even if it is just some scrubs on Twitter. Plus, the comparison between LeBron and Hulk Hogan.
--Big weeks for both Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow, and the guys analyze who's got more big weeks ahead.
--The post-Moss Patriots go under the microscope, and what seems like a ridiculous question gets a serious analysis.
--Someone had a little fun with A.J. Smith's Wikipedia page, and Scott has a little fun talking about it.
--Bobby's annoyed at a fighter for costing him a point in the Wing Wager, so he gives the ultimate penalty: an Epic Fail. Dylan doesn't get why Dunta Robinson got fined for knocking himself out, and Scott shakes his head at another Colts "liquored-up idiot kicker."
--Finally, June Cleaver speaking jive one last time.

Excised music: "Poison" by Martina Topley Bird.

4 Quarters Radio: October 21 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--Scott asks Dylan about his perspective on the NFL's new stance on heavy hitting. Bobby wanders in just in time to offer his, as well. The possible hypocrisy of the NFL's motives gets called into question, as well as potential conspiracy theories.
--The MMA Authority has to answer for one set of UFC PPV picks and make a new set in the same week. Cheick Kongo gets a shout-out for developing a new fighting style, Brazilian pants-jitsu.
--UFC 121 picks come down, and the biggest surprise may be that Tito Ortiz made rude comments about someone.

Excised music: "The Face" by Kings of Leon.

4 Quarters Radio: October 21 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--College basketball is about to get started, and Scott's normally excited at this time of year. He shares why this is not so much the case this season.
--Some teams' preseason rankings come in for questioning. It primarily seems to come from the SEC, for some reason. Logan also flings some more interesting accusations.
--Once he's done inflaming every other SEC school, Logan gets down to actually bigging up his Tennessee Vols.
--MTSU's women get some preseason respect, as well. The men don't get quite that much love, but they could get up to big things.
--The Cubs' managerial choice gets alternately run down and defended. Guess who does which. (Hint: someone coins the term "The Bill Russell Postulate.")
--Logan brings in special guest Mike Singletary for Whodaman. Unfortunately, he does it while Scott's trying to give some love to a college football record breaker.

Excised music: "Toll Road" by Zach Hill.

4 Quarters Radio: October 21 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for October 21:
--Scott and Logan discuss what the Professor appropriately terms a "postmortem": the aftermath of the MTSU-Georgia Tech game. What went wrong (hint: a lot) and what went right (hint: not much). A little psychoanalysis of MTSU quarterback Dwight Dasher is attempted.
--Los Guys put the Tech game in the rear-view and look ahead to Louisiana-Monroe. Scott shares the reason why this game could possibly set football back 20 years.
--The first BCS standings get a look, and some teams get outed as needing to show and prove. Meanwhile, Logan goes all John Connor.
--Alabama's chances to puke and rally get examined, and Logan makes some grave accusations against Nick Satan, er, Saban.

Excised music: "Indecision" by Steven Page.

Monday, November 1, 2010

4 Quarters Radio: October 14 4th Quarter

The fourth-quarter curriculum for October 14:
--Scott continues the line of discussion on Brett Favre's penis, wondering if any women would really respond positively to receiving texted pics of a man's junk.
--Following that, who is the biggest idiot in sports: Roger Clemens, Brett Favre, or Tiger Woods?
--Finally, the Lil' Brett discussion ends with the question of whether Scott or Bobby would lay the hammer down and suspend Big Brett.
--Back on the field and out of people's pants, the guys try to sift through the rubble of the NFC and figure out which teams are actually threats to win the Super Bowl. (Hint: not many.)
--Bobby loves the AFC South right now, and the guys try to decide who pulls away and falls off in that division.
--In the Epic Fails, Bobby reminds one of his fantasy players to get the hell off of Twitter, while Scott unleashes both barrels on a god-awful quarterback and a guy who just doesn't learn that fast cars can be somewhat dangerous.

Excised music: "Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back" by Meat Loaf.

4 Quarters Radio: October 14 3rd Quarter

The third-quarter curriculum for October 14:
--Scott bums out for a moment regarding the Braves' elimination from the playoffs, even though he did predict it as such. He continues with his previous choices of the Rangers and Phillies in the Fall Classic.
--Bobby throws down his latest round of picks for the UFC's English pay-per-view. "The MMA Authority" even lets fate decide, even resorting to a coin toss on one pick. Kinda renders the name ironic, dunnit?
--Scott registers his annoyance with Bobby for a tremendous comeback win in the 4Q fantasy league. Malcom Floyd gets a big raised middle finger.
--The guys offer their predictions for which Toilet Bowl participant (Dallas/Minnesota) is more likely done with a loss. Scott also advances the theory that Grampa Favre is done already.

Excised music: "One Nation Under a Groove" by Funkadelic. (Epic Fail for Amazon for not having the original available for download.)

4 Quarters Radio: October 14 2nd Quarter

The second-quarter curriculum for October 14:
--Scott and Logan talk to Nate Thurston, bass player for Nashville-area power-pop band Darling Parade. Starting off, Nate struggles to try and describe the band's sound, so that line of questioning gets altered quickly.
--Scott plays Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, tying the band's name back to Prince. Since, after all, everything in music can find its way back to Prince eventually.
--Logan can't wait to start hammering on the Cowboys, and Nate's at as much of a loss as anyone. As hardcore as he is, he even admits to missing an upcoming show to see a game live.
--Scott tees it up for Nate to plug a Halloween show at Rocketown. The band is forced to ponder a group costume, and Scott throws out an idea. No word yet on whether they followed the suggestion.
--Logan's all about giving props to the NFL in Whodaman, showing love to one of Scott's teams. Scott throws out a triple Whodaman, giving respect to a retiring legend, a new member of the Tough SOB Club, and a woman with the patience of Job.

Excised music: "Kiss" by Tom Jones w/ Art of Noise.

4 Quarters Radio: October 14 1st Quarter

The first-quarter curriculum for October 14:
--Scott compares MTSU's forthcoming game with Georgia Tech to an uncomfortable trip to the doctor. The predictions are dire, except for one possible thing that MTSU can do to keep things close. (Hint: they did the exact opposite.)
--Scott and Logan move on to another game that no one though would end the way it did: South Carolina springing one on Bama.
--The other one that Scott was flipping over to during Bama's loss, Michigan/Michigan State, gets examined, including its effect on Denard Robinson's flagging Heisman hopes.
--Taking Robinson's place are a couple of other speed-demon QB's, and one in particular gets about 250 pounds' worth of love. (That sounded wrong.)
--Scott and Logan also offer their respective Top 5's at that particular moment in time. Subject to change, of course.

Excised music: "Take This City" by Darling Parade.