Philly March Madness: (5) Pete Rose vs. (12) Peter Zezel

Philly March Madness: (5) Pete Rose vs. (12) Peter Zezel

Over the next few weeks at The700Level, we'll be posting poll matchups as part of our Philly March Madness competition. Examine the cases of the two fine Philadelphia athletes below, and cast your vote at the bottom as to which you think should advance to the next round. And as always, feel free to explain your selection and/or debate the choices in the comments section.


(5) Pete Rose

In the late 1970’s the Phillies lost three consecutive National League Championship Series. In ’76 they lost to Cincinnati and the Big Red Machine. In ’77 and ’78 they lost to the Dodgers. Despite winning 101, 101, and 90 games they were unable to get over the hump and reach the World Series. Enter Peter Edward Rose aka Charlie Hustle. In December 1978 Rose joined the Phillies as a 38 year old free agent, singing a four year deal worth $3.2 million. They finished in fourth place (84-78) in his first season with the Phils. Despite the Phillies struggles as a team Rose finished the season second in the NL in batting average (.331), first in on base percentage (.418), and third in hits (208). As you no doubt know the Phillies finally got over that hump the following season. Although Rose’s regular season numbers were down a bit (slash-line of .282/.352/.354) his playoff experience and general unwavering belief in himself and his team were credited with helping to push the Phillies to their first World Series title. The signature play of Rose’s Phillies career took place not at the plate, but in the field. With the Phillies just two outs away from capturing their first World Series Frank White lofted a pop foul between home and first. Both Bob Boone and Rose drifted towards foul territory, but no one took charge and called it. Boone reached out to catch the ball only to see it glance off the edge of his glove. Rose, who followed the play the entire way, reached down and snared the ball before it hit the ground. Rose famously spiked the ball on the Veterans Stadium turf as he hustled the ball back to Tug McGraw. The Tugger then got Willie Wilson on strikes and the rest was history. Rose went on to play three more seasons in Philadelphia. In 2,841 at-bats with the Phillies Rose collected 826 hits (.291) and struck out just 151 times. In his five seasons he helped the Phillies to two World Series appearances. His combination of hustle, winning pedigree, and contributions toward the first World Series win in team history cemented his legacy as an all-time Philadelphia favorite. -Rev


(12) Peter Zezel

Peter Zezel left quite a legacy for a player who spent just five seasons in Philadelphia. He joined the Flyers as a 19 year old rookie posting 61 points (15 goals, 46 assists) in just 65 games. Zezel contributed 9 points (1 goal and 9 assists) during his playoff debut as the Orange and Black advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup finals, ultimately losing to the Oilers in five games. His best year in Philly came in 1986-87 when he scored 33 goals (the only time in his career he scored more than 25) and added 39 assists. He was a solid two-way center known for his ability in the faceoff circle. He was the de facto face of a seemingly endless number of 24 year old and younger mulleted Flyers. Zezel, along with Rick Tocchet, Derrick Smith, Rich and Ron Sutter, Lindsay Carson, and Murray Craven, were all young energetic forwards who thrived under the hard-driving Mike Keenan. It’d be an understatement to say that female Flyers fans took a particular liking to Zezel. His mid-80’s hockey teen heartthrob looks didn’t go unnoticed by Hollywood.  He landed a small supporting role alongside Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, and Keanu Reaves in Youngblood.  Ultimately, he played 310 games in a Flyers uniform, accumulating 261 points (91 goals, 170 assists). In 1988 he was traded to St. Louis in exchange for Mike Bullard. After leaving the Flyers he went on to play for six other NHL clubs (St. Louis, Washington, Toronto, Dallas, New Jersey, Vancouver), finally retiring after the 1998-99 season. In 2001 he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called hemolytic anemia. He lived with the disorder for eight years before it finally claimed his life. Zezel passed away on May 26, 2009. He was just 44 years old. -Rev

Who should advance to the next round?customer surveys

Results So Far:

East Bracket:

(1) Julius Erving (91.8%) over (16) Von Hayes (8.2%)
(8) Simon Gagne (77.9%) over (9) Seth Joyner (22.1%)
(5) Eric Lindros (70.3%) over (12) Eric Allen (29.7%)
(4) Randall Cunningham (77.6%) over (13) Shane Victorino (23.4%)
(11) Cole Hamels (82.1%) over (6) Mark Recchi (17.9%)
(14) Tug McGraw (51.1%) over (3) Moses Malone (48.9%)
(7) Darren Daulton (74.0%) over (10) Andrew Toney (26.0%)
(2) Chase Utley (93.5%) over (15) Andre Waters (6.5%)

Midwest Bracket:

(1) Mark Howe (60.2%) over (16) David Akers (39.8%)
(9) Rod Brind'Amour (73.6%) over (8) Rick Tocchet (26.4%)
(5) Brian Westbrook (93.3%) over (12) Jayson Werth (6.7%)
(4) Mike Richards (85.1%) over (13) Trent Cole (14.9%)
(6) John LeClair (89.2%) over (11) Clyde Simmons (10.8%)
(3) Jimmy Rollins (75.8%) over (14) John Kruk (24.2%)
(7) Lenny Dykstra (51.9%) over (10) Dave Poulin (48.1%)
(2) Allen Iverson (83.1%) over (15) Jeremiah Trotter (16.9%)

West Bracket:

(1) Mike Schmidt (96.9%) over (16) Keith Byars (3.1%)
(9) Wilbert Montgomery (59.4%) over (8) Jeff Carter (40.6%)
(5) Ron Jaworski (83.5%) over (12) Bobby Abreu (16.5%)
(4) Ron Hextall (94.1%) over (13) Andre Iguodala (5.9%)
(6) Mike Quick (59.8%) over (11) Hugh Douglas (40.2%)
(3) Brian Dawkins (98.3%) over (14) Scott Rolen (1.7%)
(7) Maurice Cheeks (51.9%) over (10) Eric Desjardins (48.1%)
(15) Carlos Ruiz (58.9%) over (2) Tim Kerr (41.1%)

South Bracket:

(1) Reggie White (97.1%) over (16) Hersey Hawkins (2.9%)

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

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USA Today Images

Penn State uses dominant second half to top No. 6 Wisconsin for Big Ten title

INDIANAPOLIS — Penn State’s offense rewrote the Big Ten Championship’s offensive record book Saturday night but its 38-31 victory over Wisconsin wasn’t secure until the final minute.

And Linebacker U. got the game-saving play from the secondary.

Wisconsin, armed with a pair of timeouts and lining up for a fourth-and-1 play from the Nittany Lions’ 24, called on Corey Clement. Clement, who’d already racked up 166 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, got the ball but never got close to the marker.

Grant Haley made sure of it.

The junior cornerback wrapped up Clement’s legs and safety Marcus Allen kept Clement from leaning forward and the game was over. Penn State (11-2) has the 2016 Big Ten title and, at worst, will play in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2009.

“They ran [a counter] early in the game and split it for a touchdown,” Haley said of the final play. “I saw them set the edge, so I got triggered really well and Marcus finished off the play.”

Haley and company watched the Badgers run wild in the first half; 164 yards and three touchdowns, including Clement’s 67-yard scamper. Wisconsin, one of the conference’s best rushing teams this season, managed less than half that total (77) in the second half.

“They really weren’t running that many plays,” Haley added. “We just came out in the second half and had a jolt. 

“We just had the energy going into the second half.”

Wisconsin got the ball twice in the fourth quarter but managed only 65 yards - 51 of which came on its final drive.

“Give credit to Penn State for coming out in the second half and making those adjustments and allowing those big plays to happen,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. 

Give plenty of credit, too, to the Nittany Lions’ offense. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was named the game’s most valuable player after completing 17 of his 25 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns - both championship game records. He helped Penn State complete the biggest comeback in the game’s six year history after his team fell behind 28-7 in the first half and also finished the regular season with 3,360 yards and 25 touchdown passes, both school records.

Saeed Blacknall had six catches for a Big Ten Championship-record 155 yards and two touchdowns and DaeShean Hamilton finished with 118 yards on eight grabs.

Tailback Saquon Barkley, injured in last weekend’s victory over Michigan State, returned with 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught an 18-yard scoring pass from McSorley early in the fourth quarter to put the Nittany Lions ahead for good.

Penn State, in its first-ever trip to this game, is coming home from it with just its second outright Big Ten title. It’s on a nine-game winning streak that has seen it average 40 points per contest.

It also could present the College Football Playoff selection committee with a bit of quandary. The Nittany Lions, who were ranked seventh by the committee last week, topped the No. 6 Badgers and claimed a conference championship, something likely playoff teams Alabama, Clemson and Washington all boast.

On the flip side, Penn State’s last defeat was a lopsided 49-10 loss at Michigan, which sits at No. 5 in the rankings and likely won’t move into the top four after losing last week to No. 2 Ohio State.

Penn State coach James Franklin stated his team’s case after Saturday night’s win, but also made it clear he and his team won’t be moping their way to Pasadena, Calif., where the conference champion is slotted if it is not chosen for the playoff.

“We’ve got great options in front of us,” he said. “I hear people on TV talking about they feel like maybe the playoff has taken away from the bowls. 

“Are you kidding me? The Rose Bowl? It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.”

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Report: Jordan Matthews (ankle) not expected to play vs. Bengals

Jordan Matthews will not play Sunday against the Bengals after missing practice all week with an ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Matthews is the Eagles' leading receiver with 57 catches for 686 yards and three touchdowns. The team has called him a game-time decision.

Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor will reportedly be inserted back into the lineup. If Matthews doesn't play the Eagles will have only four healthy receivers active on Sunday: Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham and undrafted rookies Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner.