5 at 10: Jim Tressel, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the NBA finals

5 at 10: Jim Tressel, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the NBA finals

May 31st, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports

Here's hoping you had a great Memorial Day. Let's get to it. From the "7-Up Stinks Studios" here we go.

Jim Tressel, right, watches Wednesday, May 25, 2005 as Anthony Schlegel, John Conroy and Robbie Smith talk to the members of the media about recent legal and disciplinary problems involving other members of the team, during a discussion in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Jim Tressel, right, watches Wednesday, May 25, 2005...

What's next in Columbus

THE Ohio State will have an interim football coach this fall after Jim Tressel resigned amid controversy. Tressel was sacked for violating the NCAA's Golden Rule. In the rulebook it is NCAA rule 10.2.1 and called "the unethical conduct" rule; in real life it's called "Don't lie to the NCAA and expect to keep your coaching job, you moron" rule.

The scandal of OSU players selling for cash and trading for tattoos Buckeyes gear appears to be getting worse - there are reports that it started as far back as 2002 during Tressel's second season with Ohio State. Plus, the NCAA and the school have launched investigations into the actions of quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has been suspended for the first five games of this season and has reportedly gotten some "wink, wink," pretty good deals "smile, smile, nod, nod," at some Columbus-area car dealerships.

In short, the future is uncertain at best for THE Ohio State University. This will leave a lasting mark on THE program that take years from which to recover. The penalties will be at least at the USC level, which lost 30 scholarships over a three-period, had two years of bowl bans and was hampered by the NCAA allowing upperclassmen to transfer without sitting out.

Here are five quick predictions (yes, it's a 5-in-10 by the 5-at-10, but we're still waiting on the copyright paperwork) about the future for THE Ohio State University football program:

- Pryor is done: Quarterback likely has played his final game for OSU

- Luke Fickell will make a run: The interim coach has pieces for better-than-expected 2011

- NCAA date in August looks bleak: OSU should expect sanctions at least at USC level

- Who's next: Meyer has been hot name, but watch for Bo Pelini

- Tressel's career legacy reshaped: He was known as the Senator; he exited like Nixon

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany makes an off-balanced shot over Oklahoma City Thunder's Nick Collison, right, in the second half of Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals basketball series Monday, May 23, 2011, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany...

NBA FInals: Who you got?

Well. we're finally here. The NBA FInals.

After six months of the regular season and what seems like six years of of the postseason - seriously, the last two series felt like playoff game-two off days-travel day-playoff game - we're at the FInals. Finally.

OK, who you got in the rematch between Dallas and Miami?

Give us the Heat in six and we can see it playing out like this:

LeBron, who has been a monster in these playoffs, will guard Dirk Nowitzki at crunch time. Yes, Dirk will be able to shoot over LeBron. But James is quick enough and strong enough to challenge Dirk physically. Plus - and this is huge - one of the big keys of having superstars guard superstars is it really limits the referee bailout. When Dirk was in trouble against the Thunder or even the Grizzlies, the refs had zero problem calling fouls on Serge Ibaka or Zach Randolph or whomever those team sent at Dirk. Dirk's a superstar, and superstars get those calls in the playoffs.

They don't get those calls against other superstars, though.

And if Dirk can't get to the line - where he is 130-of-140 (93 percent) in these playoffs - then that's big trouble for the Mavs.

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) during Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals basketball series against the Chicago Bulls in Miami, Sunday, May 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) during Game 3...

NBA Finals: The difference

Dallas has Shawn Marion, who athletically can at least challenge LeBron. Dallas has Dirk, who can outscore his power forward counterpart Chris Bosh. If center is a push - neither team expects too much from the guys in the middle - that leave the backcourt.

Unless the Mavs get 50 a night from their bench - which is a possibility - the series largely will be decided by who has more success, D-Wade or the Mavs trying to stop D-Wade.

One final Finals tidbit: The difference between approaches - Dallas building a team that is 10-deep (remember Caron Butler will be in street clothes after wrecking his knee earlier this season) with one big-time star; Miami building a team that is 3.5-deep with three big-time stars - between these finalists could shape how franchises are built in the years to come.

That said, this has the chance to be a great series. And the Heat's presence means it has the attention of casual fans. Giddy-up.

Dale Earnhardt jr (88) leads Jeff Gordon (24) in Turn 4 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup series Coca-Cola 600 auto race in Concord, N.C., Sunday, May 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

Dale Earnhardt jr (88) leads Jeff Gordon (24)...

Motorsports moment in the spotlight

From JR Hildebrand's rookie miscue on the final turn on the final lap of the Indy 500 to Dale Jr. running out of gas on the final lap of the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, it was an awesome Sunday of racing.


Hildebrand made one of those all-time gaffes that will go on the list with the likes of Van de Velde and Norman and Novotna of players who made career-defining mistakes at the all-time great venues of their sport. Here's hoping this is not the last we've heard of Hildebrand.

As for the more famous racing JR., his showing at Charlotte ended like each of his previous 104 starts - without a win. But this one seemed different, you know?

From his driving to his post-race interviews, this one seemed more like Jr. was unlucky not to win rather than lucky to be in contention - which has been the case more times than not in his current winless streak.

Something tells us that for the first time in a longtime, Dale Jr. is back to being a contender week-in, week-out in NASCAR.

He had control - of his car and his emotions - and it was obvious he made a calculated decision to race for the win and missed it by half a lap rather than go to the pit and finish 13th. Now tell us, that sounds exactly like what his daddy would've done.

Atlanta Thrashers fan Derborah Petersen shows her opposition to the possible sale and move of the NHL hockey team, during a rally in a parking lot in front of Philips Arena, where the team plays, Saturday, May 21, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Atlanta Thrashers fan Derborah Petersen shows her opposition...

This and That

- Bye-bye Thrashers. There is a noon news conference scheduled to announce the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to a group that appears intent on moving the team to Winnipeg. That's in Canada.

- Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel that he plans to stay with the Magic: "I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else's path." Somebody get this guy some help. And if they do, can we call them the "Wolf Path?"

- Raise your hand if you thought the Braves' offense would be better than this. Like by a pretty sizable margin. Or as longtime Braves fan and friend of the show JT said recently, "I thought I was supposed to like Dan Uggla now that he was a Brave." Ouch.

- Wow, did you see Bartolo Colon - at the tender-age of 38 - return and throw a shutout this weekend? Great story for a guy that battled injuries and that was out of baseball for the last handful of years. Side note: What size hat does that guy wear? Buckets, what a melon. His hat size has to be at least 8 1/2, easy.

Until tomorrow.