Warriors

Orange Bowl tabs No. 5 Stanford, No. 12 VaTech

332753.jpg

Orange Bowl tabs No. 5 Stanford, No. 12 VaTech

Dec. 5, 2010STANFORD PAGE COLLEGE PAGE

MIAMI (AP) -- The Orange Bowl will be a matchup of turnaround teams: No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech.

Stanford earned a bid Sunday to face the Hokies in the BCS bowl on Jan. 3. The berth caps a remarkable resurgence for coach Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal, who have gone from 1-11 to 11-1 in four years.

RELATED: Auburn, Oregon set for BCS title game

Virginia Tech is on the rise, too. After stumbling at the start this season, the Hokies (11-2) have won 11 consecutive games, including a 44-33 victory Saturday over Florida State for their third Atlantic Coast Conference title in four years.

Under the BCS format, the ACC winner earns a spot in the Orange Bowl. But until Sunday night, it was uncertain where Stanford was headed. The Cardinal finished fourth in the BCS rankings, and the top four teams are assured of bids to BCS games.

RELATED: Rose Bowl features TCU, Wisconsin

Now Cardinal fans will be traveling across the country for a matchup of standout quarterbacks. Stanford's Andrew Luck is one of the top pro prospects in the country, and Tech's Tyrod Taylor is the ACC player of the year.

Luck broke the Stanford record of 27 touchdown passes in a season held by John Elway and Steve Stenstrom. The Cardinal also have a 1,000-yard rusher in Stepfan Taylor and a defense that posted three shutouts.

RELATED: Arkansas, Ohio State headed to Sugar Bowl

Tyrod Taylor, who draws comparisons to Michael Vick, threw for three touchdowns and ran for another against Florida State. Taylor has thrown 23 scoring passes, one more than Maurice DeShazo's old school record.

Tech's hopes of contending for the national title were dashed in a five-day span at the start of the season. The Hokies lost to Boise State and endured a stunning home upset against lower-tier James Madison.

They regrouped to enjoy the kind of year that has become common under coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies have won four ACC titles since joining the league in 2004, and they're the only team in the country to win 10 games each of the past seven seasons.

Stanford's improvement has been steady since coach Jim Harbaugh took over in 2007. His team won four games that year and five in 2008.

Last season the Cardinal won eight games and made it to the Sun Bowl, their first bowl since 2001.

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

durant-kevin-curry-steph-towels.jpg
AP

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

The NBA offseason ended as it began – with someone burning money for our amusement.

The San Antonio Spurs re-upped center LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom head coach Gregg Popovich had an off-season hug-it-out to repair what seemed to be a fraying relationship.

Thus, after the Golden State Warriors boatraced the field, the NBA responded by firing out $1.942 billion in free agent signings. This proves yet again that the problem with rising salaries in sports is not the fault of the players, but of the owners.

And that contreacts and player movement are an increasingly powerful turn-on in a sport that is facing an existential crisis.

Namely, how to build suspense into a season that looks foreordained for the Warriors without hoping for catastrophic injuries. Indeed, as the Warriors open with Houston tonight, there is far more national buzz around the new-look Rockets than the seemingly invulnerable Warriors.

[SHILLER: Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim]

It’s a bit like the old comic book conundrum – why was Wolverine a more compelling character than Superman?

Now this may be our fault as consumers for wanting something new to support our pathetically small attention spans. Or more intriguingly, being drawn to the flawed unknown rather than the excellent known.

But changing the American character is not an easy thing to do, as our most recent political developments have shown. We are who we are, and while we will watch the superb team every time, we will be more interested in the one that looks like it could blow itself to bits at any moment (Houston, or Cleveland, or Oklahoma City), or the long-downtrodden failure that suddenly looks like it might no longer be so downtrodden (Philadelphia, Minnesota, or maybe even Philadelphia again).

Or, weirdest of all, the team that used to be the standard, fell off the edge of the planet to the nation’s glee, and is just now showing signs of reconstruction (the Los Angeles Lakers).

Evidently what we want to say is that we like is change – violent, bizarre change, the crazier the narrative the better.

But here, we have the Golden State Warriors, who have chosen a far more conservative path – winning four of every five games, no matter what month, no matter what opponent, and winning nine of every 10 at home, no matter what month, no matter what opponent. And the measured eyeballs of media ratings say the Warriors are the bait behind which all other teams draft.

In short, the Warriors are the establishment, and the field is the barbarians at the gate. It’s just a matter how you feel about the barbarians, and the gate.

I know how the voting here would go. The rest of you are on your own, watching money getting thrown around in hope of some kind of regime change before the end of the decade.

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

ariza-trevor-draymond-green-rim.jpg
AP

Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

A couple weeks ago, Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said something about the Warriors that made headlines.

"You're not gonna stop them. It's just not gonna happen. They're not gonna stop us either. Should be fun."

On Monday, Draymond Green was asked about D'Antoni's comments.

"You should believe that. I'm turning over a new leaf," Draymond began, before giving his real thoughts. "Number 1 -- they want it to be a shootout, which is fine. But we're gonna play some defense.

"We score pretty well, but we're a damn good defensive team, too. So we're gonna play some defense."

The Rockets made some significant changes to their roster this offseason, most notably the addition of Chris Paul.

But Houston also added defensive-minded guys in P.J. Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

But as Draymond pointed out:

"I don't know how serious they take defense with that comment, but I know they added some good defensive players."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller