1. Alabama Crimson Tide
2. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Boise State Broncos
4. TCU Horned Frogs
5. Texas Longhorns
6. Florida Gators
7. Virginia Tech Hokies
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
9. Oregon Ducks
10. Iowa Hawkeyes
11. Miami Hurricanes
12. Wisconsin Badgers
13. Oklahoma Sooners
14. Pittsburgh Panthers
15. Arkansas Razorbacks
16. USC Trojans
17. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
18. Florida State Seminoles
19. LSU Tigers
20. North Carolina Tar Heels
21. West Virginia Mountaineers
22. Oregon State Beavers
23. Penn State Nittany Lions
24. Georgia Bulldogs
25. Utah Utes
Texas A&M Aggies
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders
All things considered, this seems like a really good trade for the Phillies. While maybe a little overrated, Roy Oswalt is still an elite pitcher in this league, and Ruben Amaro really got the best of this trade. The Phillies do not have to pick up the club option in the 3rd year of Oswalt's deal, which means his deal will only go through next season, and the Astros are paying $11 million of Oswalt's $23 million that he is owed through the next 2 seasons.
Oswalt initially seemed hesitant to want to come play in Philly for the next couple years because he is from the south, but I guess when some other teams, mainly the Cardinals, backed off the deal, Oswalt seemed like he would rather have a chance at contending with the Phillies than staying in Houston.
The Phillies not only now have 3 very good pitchers, they also didn't have to give up on their best hitting prospect, Jonathan Singleton, who is in Single A. J.A. Happ is a good pitcher, but he isn't anything special.
Ruben Amaro seems like he actually got this deal right. Unfortunately, it wouldn't even have needed to be done if Amaro got rid of Cliff Lee in the offseason for a few crappy prospects. Without Amaro saying it, this deal kind of admits that he made a mistake getting rid of Cliff Lee, which the fans have been saying since that deal was done. It still hurts not having Cliff Lee on the team, but Roy Oswalt should slide into the #3 spot in the rotation nicely. Oswalt is 6-12 with a 3.42 ERA this season.
Unfortunately, this probably means that the Phillies can't re-sign Jayson Werth unless they greatly increase their payroll next season, or they are able to trade Raul Ibanez or Shane Victorino. Getting a trade done for Raul Ibanez would be optimal, but it probably won't be able to be done. Another horrible move by Amaro was giving Ibanez a 3 year deal. I would have no problem trading Victorino this offseason if it means keeping Werth and sliding him to center field, and playing Domonic Brown in right field.
Either way, this was a very good trade, and it definitely makes the Phillies a much better team than before the trade, and they didn't seem like they had to give up much to do it.
Poteat took over the running back position vacated at Bishop McDevitt high school in Harrisburg from Shady McCoy after McCoy went to Pitt, and now it looks like Poteat will follow in McCoy's footsteps again to the Pitt Panthers. According to various recruiting sites, Poteat is ranked anywhere from 18th to top 10 among running backs in the 2011 class. Poteat had offers from many other schools, and this is a great get for Pitt, as if Poteat lives up to his potential, it looks like Pitt will continue to have strong play from the running back position.
Much like the rest of this postseason, the Flyers did everything they could to win this game, and left it all out on the ice; but in the end, it wasn’t enough. The Flyers were outplayed from the start of the game early, and Michael Leighton had to keep the Flyers in the game early. The end of the first period saw a 1-1 score. The Flyers got on the board first in the 2nd period, when Danny Briere continued his great postseason and roofed a shot over Niemi. However, the Blackhawks responded with 2 in the period to take a 3-2 2nd period intermission lead.
This version of the Broad Street Bullies enters the Stanley Cup playing their best hockey all season. They defeated the Canadiens, who were playing great hockey coming into the series, 4-2, to eliminate Montreal. The Flyers advanced, and will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals, who swept the #1 seeded San Jose Sharks.
Eliminating the Canadiens in Game 5 is exactly what the Flyers needed to do. You didn’t want to have to go back to Montreal for a Game 6, or give them any momentum. The game didn’t start out exactly as planned, as Montreal scored 59 seconds into the game. They then went on the power play, and had an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the game.
They didn’t, and that particular Canadiens power play was the start of the Mike Richards show for the night. Richards plowed through a Canadiens player at the point setting up a shorthanded odd man rush that resulted in a good scoring chance for Braydon Coburn. About 30 seconds later, Claude Giroux cleared the puck out of the Flyers zone, and Richards chased after it. The puck slid into the Montreal zone, and Richards was in a race with Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik to be the first to the puck. Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak then decided he wanted to be first to the puck and skated after it. What resulted was a 3 person sliding collision which sent Richards, the puck, and Halak’s goalie stick towards the net. Richards got up, avoided Halak’s stick, and put the puck into the back of the net.
This was just the beginning of Mike Richards playing the “I’m not going to let this team lose this game” role. That is what a captain should do in a big game like this, and Richards was up to the task. The Flyers added 2 goals in the 2nd, one on a nice pass by Matt Carle, which left Arron Asham in front of the net by himself. He made a nice move, and beat Halak. Just over a minute later, the Flyers showed great puck movement, including an unreal behind the net pass from Richards to Jeff Carter, who put a shot over Halak’s shoulder.
Of course the game had to be nerve racking though, as Montreal scored just 7 minutes into the 3rd period, and the Flyers had to hold off a desperate Canadiens team for most of the rest of the game. They did just that, as the defense played well, and Michael Leighton played well down the stretch, and another fabulous Mike Richards play led to a Jeff Carter empty net goal. Mike Richards played his best game in a while, and it was especially important for him to do this in such a big game. Richards is the captain of the team, and the leader, and he showed why on Monday. He was not going to let the Flyers lose that game, and was a beast on almost every shift of his.
Richards had a solid game, Arron Asham had a number of chances, and the defense and Leighton was solid. The first goal was a little bit of lazy defense, but also a goal that Michael Leighton could have saved. After this point though, Leighton was solid. The fans were amazing as always, as Philadelphia fans always are, and were rewarded with getting to watch the Flyers celebrate a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. If the Flyers can win this Stanley Cup, it would be one of the more memorable seasons in Philadelphia sports history, and one of the best coaching performances by Peter Laviolette in these playoffs.
This was a great win, but the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, so there is still plenty of work to be done. As good as the Flyers are playing right now, which they are, the Blackhawks have been a great team wire to wire. They were the #2 seed in the Western Conference, which is a stronger conference than the East, and could have easily been the #1 seed. Instead, they took it to the #1 seeded Sharks in the Western Conference Finals. The Blackhawks feature 3 solid lines, come at you in waves, have star players on offense and defense, and also have a hot goaltender, much like the Flyers. It will not be easy, but it should be a very good Stanley Cup Finals.