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Best of the Web: The Top 20 Links of the Week

Hungry for links? This virtual buffet has you covered, with news on Raven cheap shot allegations, the explanation of the Steelers' dominance in "Toxic Differential", the amazing story of Kris Letang's All-Star voting, Pirate hot stove rumors, and lots (and I mean LOTS) of Pitt and Wanny-related links. So don't fill up on bread, and get your spot in that buffet line as soon as possible. Just remember to use the sneeze guard if you have the urge. To the links!

A number of Steelers believe that Ravens OL Chris Chester tried to take out James Harrison on a deliberate cheap shot during a Baltimore extra-point attempt on Sunday night.

The Ravens playing dirty? I'm shocked! [PG]

Speaking of shocked, that would describe Ravens coach John Harbaugh's reaction to Jameel McClain's $40,000 fine stemming from his helmet-to-helmet hit of Heath Miller on Sunday.

"I was shocked," Harbaugh said on his weekly radio program. "He's a first-time offender. Jameel,there was nothing he can do. I think the league understands that. I can't imagine why they fined him so much."

Just imagine how shocked he'd be if he were James Harrison's coach. [National Football Post]

Speaking of the Sunday night game, what exactly were the refs watching when Big Ben and Heath Miller were getting knocked into next week? [PB&G]

"Toxic Differential" is the measure of how many big plays (20-plus yards) teams create minus how many they give up. It also includes turnovers forced versus those given up. It was invented by Brian Billick during his offensive genius days in 1998 at Minnesota, and has become quite the accurate indicator of success in the NFL.

The good news? The Steelers rank #1 in the league in the stat in 2010...and in the entire NFL since 2000. The bad news? I hate giving Brian Billick credit for anything that makes him feel even smarter than he already feels. []

It's never too early to look ahead to the 2011 NFL draft, but history says the Steelers won't be taking an offensive tackle, which they haven't taken in the first round this decade. Knowing them, they'll probably draft another linebacker. [Steelers Lounge]

I know we're all fans of Steeler kicker Shaun Suisham, so just wait until you take a glimpse of this video:

Legend of Shaun Suisham by dcprod2 on YouTube

Kris Letang is the #1 vote-getter for the All-Star game among all defensemen thus far. But here's the neat thing: he's not even on the ballot. Way to know your players, NHL. []

Sidney Crosby > Alex Ovechkin, says an author who must've missed all the playoff and Olympic success enjoyed by #87 over the previous five seasons. [The Globe and Mail]

Here's a look back at the last time the Penguins had a 10-game winning streak, back in 1999. Peter Skudra played a major role? That's a blast from the past. [The Pensblog]

Ryan Doumit could soon be a future Pirate if it were up to his bosses, really pushing to trade him according to the PG's Dejan Kovacevic. Hey, you won't get any arguments out of me on that one. I'm amazed he's still here in the first place. [PG+]

The 2011 Pirates rotation is shaping up like this: James McDonald, Paul Maholm, and Ross Ohlendorf are locks; the other two spots will probably be filled by Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Brad Lincoln, and Charlie "9 Lives" Morton, among others. At least they won't have to worry about comparisons of their staff to Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz. [PG]

But before we fill out that starting five, how about this for a rumor: the 40-pounds-lighter Bartolo Colon coming to the Burgh? [Rum Bunter]

Not surprisingly, Pitt players are unhappy at the dismissal of head football coach Dave Wannstedt this week. They do realize that their massively disappointing play over the years got him fired, don't they? [PSR]

2010 was a rather forgettable year for the Penn State coaching staff, says this article in The Scranton Times-Tribune. You mean a team led by a soon-to-be 84-year-old figurehead coach isn't incredibly organized and efficient?

Good news for you Pitt-haters out there: at least some of their 16 recruits from the Class of 2011 are having second thoughts. Say what you want about his Xs and Os, but that mustached man was quite the recruiter. [Trib]

And here are three reasons why the Wannstache Era was ultimately a failure. Who was standing guard at that wall Dave was going to build around the WPIAL? That's who should be fired. [Beaver County Times]

What's next for Pitt? Chris Dokish released his list of head coaching candidates, and sadly, neither Bill Cowher nor Mike Ditka did not make the cut.  I say this only because Pittsburghers have actually suggested these names with straight faces in the last week. [Big East Report]

ESPN blogger Heather Dinich thinks Virginia Tech assistant Bud Foster is the man for the job. I can't say until I can get a good look at the amount of hair on his upper lip, which I believe is a prerequisite for the job. [ESPN College Football Nation Blog]

USA Today published a list of college football coaches' salaries, and Dave Wannstedt ranked 6th in the Big East at just over $1 million. For supposedly being such a national player, Pitt better dig a little deeper this time around. [USA Today]

Pitt placed four players on's All Big East first-team, including Jabaal Sheard, Jon Baldwin, Jason Pinkston, and Dan Hutchins. I dare you to show me someone who predicted before the season that this honorary squad would be without Dion Lewis or Noel Devine. [ESPN Big East Blog]

Don Spagnolo is the founder of the Pittsburgh sports and entertainment blog Mondesi's House.

Send your links via email at or on Twitter @mondesishouse
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