Sunday, September 30, 2007

Is a technicality the only way we'll beat Michigan?

Not that we deserved this win or anything, but it looks like Michigan's 14-9 victory over Penn State is suddenly under review. It looks like Michigan may have used an ineligible player.

Turbulent Weekend Ends on High Note

What started amazing on Friday (Phillies won, Mets lost, take over 1st in NL East; West Virginia loses to South Florida) turned terrible on Saturday (Phillies lose, Mets win, tied for 1st in East with 1 game left; Penn State loses to Illinois, dropping to 3-2 and out of the Top 25). But Sunday was better. Even though the Dolphins lost to a bad Raiders team (35-17) and Culpepper had a hand in all 5 Raiders TDs (2 passing, 3 rushing - I questioned why we gave up on him, so glad we did!), that couldn't even ruin my day. Sunday was great. Why? The Phillies beat the Nationals 6-1 and the Mets lost to the Marlins 8-1, which means...THE PHILLIES ARE THE 2007 NL EAST CHAMPIONS and in the playoffs for only the 2nd time in my lifetime and for the 10th time in franchise history. It is an amazing feeling, especially since they come just short in 2005 and 2006. Jimmy Rollins said this would be our year; we were the team to beat in the East. And he was right. As crazy as it sounded when the Phils started 4-11 and when they were 7 back of the Mets with 17 to play. This is a rare but wonderful feeling. Now it's time to take care of San Diego or Colorado, whoever takes the Wild Card.



LET'S GO PHILLIES!!!



A bad weekend gets worse

The Jets just lost to the Bills. Yes, the Bills that are 0-3, have lost about 90823094 starters due to injury, have the worst ranked offense in the NFL and start a rookie QB and RB, the QB starting his first career game in the NFL. At least the Browns are in the process of embarrassing the Ravens.

My take on the Morelli issue

I don't really want to talk specifics of the game (such as, why didn't we throw like we did today in the first half when we were playing Michigan?), because let's face it, Penn State didn't deserve a W. Not with 5 turnovers and critical red-zone mistakes. But if I may, I'll weigh in on the Morelli issue...

First of all, I'm not gonna even talk about the possibility of him being benched, because if you think JoePa's benching Morelli, you're dreaming. Anthony Morelli will start on Saturday against Iowa. However, I admit that I agree with my colleagues that it might behoove Paterno to take the route that, so far, has worked well for Frank Beamer and Steve Spurrier. Both have switched their starting QBs in favor of younger players, and it seems to have worked well in their favor. I know Smelley has only started this once for the Gamecocks, but we'll see how he does down the road.

The difference between JoePa and Beamer/Spurrier is that the latter coaches made the switch before their conference (ACC for VT) or division (SEC East for South Carolina) titles were out of reach. I like the idea of starting a new QB to gain momentum for a 2008 campaign, especially because certainly our MNC and probably our Big Ten hopes are gone. But if you think Devlin's starting, you're raving mad. If anyone is replacing Morelli this year, it's Darryl Clark, and I think that's the right decision. Why? Well, in a year that the O-line is struggling (doesn't that seem like every year?), we need a mobile QB who can respond when the line collapses and make a good play with his legs. That's why Michael Robinson was so successful in the 2005 campaign. The O-line was probably just as bad as it's been for the last five years, but Mills and Morelli aren't mobile QBs. (At least, they never played Mills as one.) As far as I know, Devlin can't do that and wouldn't be a good fit right now. As the O-line matures, it may become a better match. Just not right now.

But as much as I've written about it, it's not worth wasting our time debating. Morelli is going to be our starter through the rest of this season and in our appearance in the Alamo Bowl, and Joe is perfectly okay with that.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Something to cheer you up

I know some of us need cheering up today and reading this (courtesy of the guys from www.firejoemorgan.com) did just the thing for me. I'll just copy and paste the brief article for you here:

Red Sox Clubhouse Celebration Or Gay Porno?

Our dear friend Ronny Dubs points us to this disturbing recap from the Boston Globe.

"So much for wearing these clothes home," Francona cracked, the beer-and-champagne mix dripping down his bald head, into his eyes, past his chin, and onto the red underclothes that he still wore.

But that was nothing compared to the double dose of champagne Theo Epstein took from Schilling and Papelbon, an explosion of the sticky liquid sending him shooting across the clubhouse floor, with Schilling whispering a warning to reporters standing close to watch out.

I second that

I absolutely second J Mays' calling to bench Morelli. Leaving him in at this juncture is pointless. You're supposed to start the quarterback that gives you the best chance to win. Honestly, I feel like any quarterback on this roster gives us an equal chance to win. All Morelli has proven this season is that he's a guy with a rocket arm that makes absolutely horrendous decisions (and can't hold on to the ball). I understand that Illinois is a pretty decent football team but turning the ball over 4 times is unacceptable, no matter who you are playing. The play calling today was much, much better than it has been in the past few games and the Lions just couldn't capitalize. They pieced together a few impressive drives but the wheels would just come off by the end. Killer #1 was Morelli's terrible INT at the Illinois 1 yard line. It was just a terrible throw that thwarted an impressive late game drive. Killer #2 was Morelli's fumble after getting the first down on 4th and long with less than a minute to go in the game. Kudos for having the courage to run that but if you're going to run it HOLD ON TO THE FOOTBALL. I agree that Devlin should get the nod, at least for a game or two. Let's see what he can do. Leaving in Morelli would be like the Giants re-signing Barry Bonds after this year. Sure, he can do some things for you, but getting cutting ties is for the good of the club. PSU isn't winning a national title and a Big Ten title is a long shot at this point. For the future...

Morelli Must Be Benched

As the Nittany Lions lose for the 2nd straight week, it has become glaring that changes are needed at QB. Anthony Morelli must be benched. He should be relegated to 4th string behind Clark, Devlin, and Cianciolo. Not just because of his horrendous game today. But because of his horrendous career. In the 18 games Morelli has started, Penn State is 12-6. Mediocre considering 6 of those wins are against cupcakes (Akron, Yougnstown State, Temple, FIU, Notre Dame (2007), and Buffalo). In those 6 wins hes thrown for 12 TDs and 2 INTs. Not bad. Except that the statistic most important to any QB is his rating. Morelli has topped 100 in those 12 games ONLY 3 times (Akron 2006, FIU 2007, Buffalo 2007). Even against inferior opponents he's statistically terrible. In important, meaningful games he's 6-6 and has had a QB rating under 70 in 6 of those 12 contests. Also in those 12 games he has thrown just 8 TDs versus 9 INTs. Wow. He is not a good QB. He has shown no signs of improvement. He can't beat good teams. He makes terrible decisions. He can't hold onto the ball. He MUST be removed. If he can't lead this team someone else must get a chance. Personally I think it should be Pat Devlin, the prize recruit of the 2005 class who rescinded on his verbal commitment to Miami to sign with Penn State. Devlin redshirted last year. He must start and the staff has to evaluate his raw skills and determine if he is the QB for the rest of this year and 2008, 2009, and 2010. He would gain massive amounts of experience this year and be poised for a steady campaign in 2008. The Penn State team this year is not devoid of talent (excluding the offensive line). Devlin wouldn't be playing on a bad team (like Jimmy Clausen). It would build his game management skills and he would gain live action experience, the most important component to building a successful QB. Devlin must get the start Saturday versus Iowa in Happy Valley.

South Fucking Florida!

In 1996, the University of South Florida did not have a football team. They started the program in 1997 and joined Division I-FBS-A in 2001. As recently as 2005, they were one of PSU's scheduled cupcakes at the beginning of the season, and we were upset to only beat them by two touchdowns. In 2007, they are one of the best teams in the country. This was proven tonight when they beat the #5 ranked West Virginia Mountain Mama's 21-13 at the Buccaneers' stadium in Tampa. Which brings up the first curious question about South Florida:

Why are they located in Tampa? Tampa appears to be more in Central Florida than South. But then again, Central Florida was already taken, so I guess they just hoped no one would notice. But still, that's kinda like having 11 teams in the Big Ten. Oh wait...

But seriously, how can you explain the rise of this team? They have gone from being a catchy sign at a basketball game (USF Football: undefeated) and ten years later, literally having a chance to go undefeated in the Big East, and maybe even crash the BCS? I thought about this a lot this Friday evening (because that's what an awesome life I have), and there can be only one explanation:

Once upon a time, South Florida was recruiting a very talented, but dumb player. After some courtship, they came to realize that the recruit thought he was being recruited by Southern Cal. Rather than tell him the truth, they didn't deny it because that obviously made them look better. So they employed a "don't ask dont tell" policy about whether they were USC or not, and it turned out a lot of talented players heard the words "South warm state" and were sold. Deceitful bastards.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Phillies in 1st

Yep, that's right! The Phillies have taken over 1st place in the NL East with a dominating 6-0 win over the visiting Nationals. Cole Hamels struck out 13 in 8 innings and Ryan Howard hit his 45th HR of the season in the 7th. The win, coupled with a Mets loss to Florida (7-4), left Philadelphia alone atop pf the East for the first time this season. They haven't lead a division this late in a season since, yep, you guessed it, 1993.

If the Phillies win tomorrow evening, they guarantee themselves a chance for at least a 1 game playoff with the Mets for the NL East title. Of course, if the Mets lose and the Phils win, HELLO PLAYOFFS! HELLO NL EAST CHAMPS!

I'm getting ahead of myself. First we have to survive Adam Eaton pitching tomorrow. Yikes.


LET'S GO PHILLIES!

I <3 Funny/Good/Awesome Quotes

Please note that these are rough quotes (ie, how I remember them). I might not get them exactly but they're pretty close. The sports community was blessed with great quotes this past week and I feel that it's fitting to share them unless you missed them.

We'll start with the PSU alum, Larry Johnson: "Football isn't a game of chess. It's more like checkers....People keep trying to make it like..trigonometry."

-Sure Larry. At PSU it was like checkers because you had a stellar O-line. At KC it used to be checkers because you used to have a stellar O-line. Now you don't. Now you have to be a little more crafty in your play calling and try to make up for that gap in talent. Good luck this year Larry.

Hope Solo's (USA Womens Goalie) rant on not playing and how poorly her replacement did play, including lines such as "There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves."

-Don't get me wrong, I do agree with Hope here. The coach was an absolutely moron for benching her and she probably would have stopped some of those goals that went in. However, you don't say those sorts of things when you're on a team. You just don't. Yes, Hope, you're right, but shut up.

Joe Torre upon hearing his players were hailing him as the reason the team stayed together and made the playoffs: "Now you guys are gonna make me cry."

-Awwwwwwwwwww. Now that that's out of the way, Joe can be very emotional at times. I've seen it plenty of times being a Yankee fan. In that case, he has every right to cry. These guys were buried by absolutely everyone (except me) and they came back with force to grab a playoff bid. Not many managers could keep a team on the same page after what they went through and he deserves all the praise he gets.

Mike Gundy had a lot of quotes in his tirade but the main point was this: He was furious about a reporter who wrote a crappy story (it was, I read it) about how one of his players is basically a chicken. The funniest quote in all this was probably right at the beginning: "This (article) was brought to me by a mother...(pause)...of children."

-Gundy had every right to be pissed off. The article basically called the Oklahoma State QB a sissy by using 'rumors' and 'rumblings'. That's just stupid. Have solid facts before you charge a kid with being weak mentally, don't just go by what you 'hear'. That writer deserved the slamming she got.

Pick 12

So I like predicting college football games whether you care or not. Each week I'll pick 12 of the more interesting games of the week, just as I did last week. Previously I went 9-3...not bad considering I picked Iowa over Wisconsin (choked) and Arkansas over Kentucky (choked). Not that I'm making excuses or anything...

(winners in bold)

#5 WVU @ #18 USF

What will likely end up being one of the biggest Big East matchups of the year. Incredibly difficult game to pick with both teams being hot, and very good. WVU has the duo of White and Slayton and they're sure to give USF fits on defense. However, I just feel like USF is primed for another upset over WVU this year. They've already proven they can win the big game by going into Auburn a few weeks ago and defeating them. They would have won that game a little more easily too had it not been for their kicker. USF by a FG.

#6 Cal @ #11 Oregon

Again, another incredibly tough game to predict. Both teams have incredible offenses and questionable Ds. However, Oregon's defense has played a little bit better than Cal's this year, plus they're at home. I'll go with the Ducks. Ducks by 6.

Louisville @ NC State

Can Louisville rebound from back-to-back crushing losses? That's the question many are asking, even though they're going up against the lowly Wolf Pack. Louisville has a stellar offense, no doubt about it but their D is worse than pathetic. While the teams will be engaged in an entertaining shootout, I see Brohm pulling the Cards of the Pack by at least 3 TDs.

Michigan State @ #9 Wisconsin

I really want to pick the Spartans here but I just can't. They gave up two TDs to Notre Dame last week. PJ Hill will run all over MSU, carrying the Badgers to (unfortunate) victory. Badgers by 4.

Michigan @ Northwestern

The Wolverines finally leave the friendly confines of the Big House and travel to Evanston. They won't find much other than a bruised and battered Wildcats team that played defense at a level comparable to Louisville last week, yielding over 50 points to the Buckeyes. UM by 20.

Kansas State @ #7 Texas

Last year, Kansas State pulled off the shocker by beating the Longhorns in Manhattan. This year, the game moves to Austin. While I believe Texas is one of the more overrated teams in college football, I don't see Kansas State pulling off the upset road win. Texas by 13.

#19 Penn State @ Illinois

A part of me honestly wants to pick Illinois. I have no faith in our offense. This is honestly looking like 2004 all over again: A superb defense, and an offense that needs teams to hand them points (ie 6-4 loss to Iowa in '04). The defense will have its hands full with Juice but I feel that Morelli will rebound and actually play a decent game. Lions by 14.

Appalachian State @ Elon

How will the Mountaineers respond to their first loss of the season (and snapping their long winning streak)? With another loss against their cross state rivals at Elon. Hey, Elon didn't play that poorly against USF in the season opener. Phoenix by 3.

#22 Alabama @ Florida State

Alabama couldn't pull off the big win at home against Georgia last week. Things don't get any easier this week as they have to travel to Tallahassee to take on the Seminoles. I see Weatherford having a big game and beating the Crimson pretty easily. FSU by 11.

Hawaii @ Idaho

I bet everyone is looking forward to this premier WAC matchup. I just like the fact that its the Rainbow Warriors v. Vandals. Interesting matchup...And yes, they're still the Rainbow Warriors, I don't care what you say. Brennan throws 5 (if he plays). Hawaii by 38.

UCLA @ Oregon State

I usually like the Beavers in an upset. Plus, they've been pretty decent at home this year. However, they've been miserable on the road (then again, so has UCLA...). Despite that, Ben Olsen should have a triumphant return to the lineup, beating the home team with relative ease. Bruins by 9.

Ohio State @ Minnesota

STOP NATIONALLY TELEVISING MINNESOTA GAMES....Ohio State by 2380974982736.

I await eagerly to see whether its May or Holtz that will pick the Illini over the Lions tomorrow. While it could happen, my bet is their reasoning is "the Lions' defense is overrated, they have up all those ground yards to Hart." Ahem, yards pile up when you run the ball over 40 times and when you spend 10 more minutes on the field than the other defense. Anyways, I'm betting some crazy upset will happen this week too. My guess (lucky pick 13) is Auburn over the Gators. Happy viewing this weekend everyone.

The Worldwide Leader in Undeserved Hype

This is a hilarious site about the undeserved hype that Notre Dame gets year in and year out. It mimics the ESPN site EXACTLY. Don't believe me? Check it out.


The arrow points to Jimmy Clausen...
from Wake Me Up When It's Saturday


Jimmy Was Right: PHILLIES IN 1st ... sort of

Jimmy Rollins - soon to be 2007 NL MVP (hopefully) - said it back in January: the Phillies are the team to beat in the NL East. Well today, after they played their 159th game of the season, the Phillies are in 1st place. Well, a tie for one. Will what Jimmy said over 7 months ago hold true come Sunday evening? The next 3 days will tell us. The Phillies stay in the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park to host the Washington Nationals who hope to play the spoilers role. The Mets also remain at home to face off versus another NL East foe, the Marlins. To say these last 3 games are critical is an understatement and, frankly, the last 20 games have been. The Phillies were 7 games back of the Mets in the NL East on September 12, and 2 games behind the Padres for the Wild Card.

Here are a few things that could happen this weekend, one that may be the most exciting of all of 2007:

1. The Phillies & Mets win the same amount of games - this leads to a 1 game playoff on Monday in Philadelphia to determine the NL East champion
2. Fist team to 2 wins...or loses - that is, if the Phillies win 2 and the Mets lose 2, the Phils are in (and vice versa)
3. Keep an eye on San Diego and Colorado...the Wild Card is such a mess! There is no way of explaining the possible scenarios here cause there over about 5,239,451,763 different scenarios (see this)

And what happens if the Phillies fall short? Well then Philadelphia is deprived of post season experience for the 14th consecutive year. And I will die a little inside. After all, the Phillies have made the playoffs ONCE in my lifetime. And let us never speak of that experience (the hero, the zero).


"I think we are the team to beat in the NL East -- finally"
Jimmy Rollins
January 22nd, 2007


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Buy or Sell

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the college football swap meet. We have some traditional powers and early season surprises lined up for you, and our job is to tell you whether you should buy or sell. Keep in mind that the Sagarin ratings include Division 1-A and 1-AA teams. And that the schedule rank is only to date.

Texas Longhorns (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
9
Wins over Arkansas State (92), TCU (48), Central Florida (60), and Rice (174)
Schedule Rank: 109th out of 242
What do you do? Sell. And sell quickly, if you can. Texas's most impressive victory came against sputtering Rice, while follies against ASU and UCF have not padded the Longhorns' resume. And with K-State rolling into town and the Red River Rivalry shortly after, this is going to be a long two weeks for Mack Brown.

Arizona State (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
11
Wins over San Jose State (126), Colorado (58), San Diego State (78), and Oregon State (39)
Schedule Rank: 87th out of 242
What do you do? Buy. This is the 4th team that Dennis Erickson has taken into the top 25 in his career. Think he knows a thing or two about coaching? The Sun Devils have looked impressive, and with Stanford, Wazzu, and Washington next on the roster, we could be looking at a 7-0 Arizona State team in the top 15. And they'll need all the momentum they can get for their next four -- Cal, Oregon, UCLA, and USC. At least the Bears and the Trojans come to Tempe.

Clemson (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
12
Wins over Florida State (25), Louisiana-Monroe (136), Furman (146), and NC State (67)
Schedule Rank: 101st out of 242
What do you do? Sell. Just look at the next two -- Georgia Tech at home, followed by a road trip to Blacksburg. Uh oh. Clemson barely held on by a thread at home in the Bowden Bowl, and their storied end-of-the-season meltdowns fall short to only those by Michigan State. The middle of the schedule doesn't seem so bad, before wrapping up against BC and at South Carolina. Look for BC to edge out the Tigers for the Atlantic Division.

Kentucky (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
13
Wins over Eastern Kentucky (131), Kent State (97), Louisville (63), and Arkansas (33)
Schedule Rank: 86th out of 242
What do you do? Buy. Well, at least for this week, as the Wildcats will roll over Florida Atlantic (who, at 3-1, are a surprise in their own right). Then comes a winnable game at South Carolina, followed by home dates with LSU and Florida. Andre Woodson is a fine senior quarterback, and anyone who can out duel Brian Brohm deserves some props. They surprised many by beating McFadden and company in the Nutt House, including yours truly. Mark it down: Florida at Kentucky will be the game that determines the outcome of the SEC East.

Cincinnati (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
14
Wins over Southeast Missouri State (208), Oregon State (39), Miami-OH (102), and Marshall (134)
Schedule Rank: 149th out of 242
What do you do? Sell. There's room for only one Cinderella in the Big East. The Bearcats played 3 out of their first 4 at home, with the lone road trip to Miami-OH. And the opponents have been less than impressive. The trouncing of the Beavers proved to be clutch, but watch out when Big East action starts in Piscataway. Yikes! Cincy later has to travel to Tampa to wrestle with the Bulls and then West Virginia will come calling.

Wisconsin (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
16
Wins over Washington State (40), UNLV (75), The Citadel (133), and Iowa (43)
Schedule Rank: 77th out of 242
What do you do? Sell. The Badgers apparently like to keep it close. Really close if they're on the road -- say, against UNLV. Even with a primetime win over Iowa under their belt, the Badgers still haven't answered a lot of questions. One question that's sure to be answered after away games at Penn State and at Ohio State and a home date with Michigan is, "Why were these guys in the preseason top 10?"

Missouri (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
19
Wins over Illinois (42), Ole Miss (74), Western Michigan (122), and Illinois State (145)
Schedule Rank: 108th out of 242
What do you do? Buy. The Big 12 North is still up for grabs, and even though Nebraska could still be the front-runner after the USC thumping, there's nothing that says Missouri or K-State still can't snatch it up. The Tigers are idle this week, and they're gonna need their rest -- after the Huskers come to town, Chase Daniel and the gang head out to Norman to face some little team named Oklahoma. The Missouri-Nebraska showdown will determine the early direction of the division.

South Florida (3-0)
Sagarin Rating:
22
Wins over Elon (141), Auburn (38), and North Carolina (84)
Schedule Rank: 93rd out of 242
What do you do? Buy. College football has found its Cinderella this season, and she lives in Tampa. There have been whispers going back to even 2005 about the talent of this South Florida team. We saw a glimpse last season when the Bulls upended West Virginia in Morgantown. Now the Mountaineers travel to Tampa tomorrow to begin conference play, and this one's going to be a doozy. If they pull off another shocker, two of the conference's other three best teams -- Louisville and Cincinnati -- both are at home, but Grothe, et al. will have to face Rutgers on the road. Beating Auburn on the road isn't so easy, you know. South Florida is the new Rutgers.

Purdue (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
23
Wins over Toledo (115), Eastern Illinois (164), Central Michigan (113), and Minnesota (77)
Schedule Rank: 132nd out of 242
What do you do? Sell. Yeah, the Irish are in town this week, but the Buckeyes' impending visit is sure to be a headache for Curtis Painter. I know the Boilermakers keep bringing back the offensive firepower, but the defense is always suspect. How did Minnesota put up 31 on these guys? Plus, Joe Tiller has a history of failing to living up to expectations. Road games in Ann Arbor and Happy Valley loom, too.

Kansas (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
26
Wins over Central Michigan (113), Southeastern Louisiana (190), Toledo (115), and Florida International (160)
Schedule Rank: 177th out of 242 (Eep!)
What do you do? Sell! Please sell! Kinda looks like Purdue's schedule, doesn't it? At least Purdue beat somebody in the top 100... on the road. Kansas hasn't left home, but will do so in two weeks, when they visit Manhattan after a completely undeserved respite. Sure, the Jayhawks will go bowling -- games with Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State could ensure at least .500 -- but even the North division title could be too lofty of a goal.

Connecticut (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
31
Wins over Duke (104), Maine (156), Temple (161) and Pittsburgh (62)
Schedule Rank: 137th out of 242
What do you do? Well, first of all, you giggle because Maine is ranked higher than Temple. Then, you sell the Huskies. Do you think Akron thought UConn would be 4-0 back when they scheduled them? Beating Pitt at Heinz Field is somewhat of an accomplishment, and at least a split isn't unrealistic against Akron and at Virginia, so they could be 5-1 when they resume Big East play. The last six of the year is nothing anybody wants to be put through -- Louisville, South Florida, Rutgers, Cincy, Syracuse, and West Virginia. Eep! At least basketball season starts soon.

Michigan State (4-0)
Sagarin Rating:
34
Wins over UAB (124), Bowling Green (69), Pittsburgh (62), and Notre Dame (114)
What do you do? After you laugh that ND is out of the top 100 (and ranked lower than Bowling Green), you buy the Spartans. Mark Dantonio built a nice little foundation over in Cincinnati, and now he has a chance to make some big changes in a town where John L. Smith messed everything up. A trip to Madison will tell a lot about this Spartan team, but mark my word that they will be at least 6-1 before rolling into Columbus. Michigan and Penn State have to travel to East Lansing. Expect the end-of-the-season slumps to end and a surprising upset to go down.

Pirates Improving!*

*Slowly.

Tonight, the Battlin Buccos defeated the playoff contending Diamondbacks 5-1 for their 68th win of the season. This ensures that they will finish with a better record than the 67-95 mark they have had each of the past two seasons. If they keep improving at this rate (assuming they lose their final 4), they will reach .500 by the year 2020 and be in playoff contention somewhere around the 2030-2040 range.

"So you're telling me there's a chance..."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

NFL Mock Draft 2008, Version 1

Because I love college football, the NFL, and the draft (which may be the best day of the year...seriously), I've decided to do a mock draft. I will try to update it monthly until April when it will then be weekly up until the weekend of the draft (April 26 & 27, 2008 in NYC). It is really early to evaluate college talent and where the NFL teams will finish so bear with me. I think it is a decent representation. And it will change. A lot.


Pick

Team

Player (Position, College)

1

Atlanta Falcons

Brian Brohm (QB, Louisville)

2

Buffalo Bills

Glenn Dorsey (DT, LSU)

3

Kansas City Chiefs

Jake Long (OT, Michigan)

4

Oakland Raiders

Darren McFadden (RB, Arkansas)

5

Cleveland Browns (to Dallas)

DeSean Jackson (WR, Cal)

6

Miami Dolphins

Calais Campbell (DE, Miami)

7

New York Giants

Dan Connor (LB, Penn State)

8

New Orleans Saints

Aqib Talib (CB, Kansas)

9

Minnesota Vikings

Andre Woodson (QB, Kentucky)

10

St. Louis Rams

Limas Sweed (WR, Texas)

11

Arizona Cardinals

Chris Long (DE, Virginia)

12

Detroit Lions

Mike Hart (RB, Michigan)

13

New York Jets

Derrick Harvey (DE/LB, Florida)

14

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Matt Ryan (QB, Boston College)

15

Chicago Bears

Kenny Phillips (S, Miami)

16

Cincinnati Bengals

Sedrick Ellis (DT, USC)

17

Carolina Panthers

Tyson Jackson (DE, LSU)

18

Washington Redskins

Early Docuet (WR, LSU)

19

San Francisco 49ers (to New England)

James Laurinaitis (LB, OSU)

20

Seattle Seahawks

Frank Okam (DT, Texas)

21

San Diego Chargers

Ray Maualuga (LB, USC)

22

Jacksonville Jaguars

Colt Brennan (QB, Hawaii)

23

Baltimore Ravens

Quentin Groves (DE/LB, Auburn)

24

Philadelphia Eagles

Philip Wheeler (LB, Georgia Tech)

25

Tennessee Titans

Sam Baker (OT, USC)

26

Houston Texans

Gosder Cherilus (OT, Boston College)

27

Denver Broncos

Ali Highsmith (OLB, LSU)

28

Green Bay Packers

Mike Jenkins (CB, South Florida)

29

Pittsburgh Steelers

Xavier Adibi (LB, Virginia Tech)

30

Indianapolis Colts (to San Francisco)

DeMario Pressley (DT, N.C. State)

31

Dallas Cowboys

Terrell Thomas (CB, USC)

32

New England Patriots (forfeited)

----------

Why him?

I don't care if Jamie Moyer was tagged for the loss. This is Geoff Geary's fault. Many of the bullpen failures are associated with him. He is awful. He was sent down to the minors in the middle of the year because he was pitching so poorly. He comes back up due to injuries and is still blowing games. Why put him out there? Ever? He is terrible. I'm not saying the Phillies definitely would have won last night if he hadn't pitched. But it makes me wonder every time he blows a lead. Last night Geary pitched 0.2 innings and gave up 2 runs. He had been pitching better but every single time he is put in the game I wince. You feel like he is going to blow it. Last night he delivered. Thank you, Geoff Geary, for blowing the game and quite possibly our chances at the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Don't bother pitching in the next 5 games. We want a chance to win.

GO PHILLIES


Pirates name new GM

And his name is Neal Huntingdon. His prior experience is assistant GM/scout extraordinaire for the Cleveland Indians. I wonder how that's working out for them...


Pretty well, I say. The few Pirates fans left are hoping he can bring that kind of scene to the Pittsburgh clubhouse in the near future. Good luck.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New Top 25 and Hot 12 to be released shortly

Sorry for the delay. Waiting for some voters and I just got Halo 3...so between that and work I haven't done much else all day. Stay tuned.

Ohio State QB in hot water

No, it's not Todd Boeckman having problems with the law, but I have to admit I still chuckled a bit when I read this gem of a story about the Buckeyes' third-string QB, Antonio Henton.

There are hookers in Columbus? I thought they just called them "sorority sisters" there.

Week 5 Pac-10 breakdown

If you're looking for some excitement in college football this weekend, look no further than the Pac-10, which has four -- count 'em, four -- games of interest as we approach Week 5 of the season.

Cal at Oregon
Why it's important:
Both teams are looking to start the season 5-0. Most people thought the Bears would roll into this game 4-0, but not many expected the Ducks to be undefeated. The winning team could square off with USC undefeated (Oregon has the easiest path, not to mention fewer games between now and then) and be a legitimate challenger for the Pac-10 title. DeSean Jackson hopes to make those Heisman whispers a little louder.
Important Stat: Cal has given up 24.5 ppg, while Oregon has given up 21.5 ppg. None of their eight combined opponents are currently ranked (Tennessee was ranked when they played Cal). We've seen great triumphs (Cal over Tennessee 45-31, Oregon over Michigan 39-7) and a few low points (Cal escapes from Colorado State, Stanford puts up 28 points on Oregon in the 2nd quarter). The defenses might be suspect, but these high-powered offenses are not. Maybe you've heard of DeSean Jackson and Dennis Dixon.
The Edge: I think Cal comes home 5-0 after a shootout. I think we saw a few kinks in Oregon's armor during the Stanford game. Make no mistake, though -- Cal's not perfect. You saw their last away game.

UCLA at Oregon State
Why it's important:
It's a match in Corvallis of two teams struggling to find consistency. By now, you probably heard of these teams stinking up the joint on the road. Both would like some added confidence before embarking upon a gauntlet-like second half of the season.
Important Stat: Oregon State beat Utah 24-7. UCLA got trounced by Utah 44-6. Any questions?
The Edge: Yeah, it's in Corvallis, but UCLA rolls in riding high after regrouping against Ty Willingham and Washington and will return home with a 2-0 record in the conference before taking a non-conference break against Notre Shame.

USC at Washington
Why it's important:
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to hear Brent Musburger gush over and over again about the Trojans ... again. But didn't this matchup sound more intriguing back when the Huskies were 2-0? Since then, losses to Ohio State and UCLA have brought the Willingham fans and Weis-haters back to Earth. Will Washington have enough left in the tank to make this game competitive?
Important Stat: Washington lost both of its last two games in the second half. They went into the locker room against Ohio State up 7-3, only to lose 33-14. They went into halftime at the Rose Bowl tied 10-10 with UCLA, then let UCLA score two touchdowns in the third to pull away and eventually win 44-31.
The Edge: Jake Locker is a great player, but the Huskies have taken too many hits for this to go their way. USC rolls out of Seattle with another win, probably with another Husky collapse in the latter half (if it's still close by then).

Arizona State at Stanford
Why it's important:
The Sun Devils are back in the Top 25, making it four ranked teams for coach Dennis Erickson in his career. They look to go 5-0 when they play Stanford, which is looking for a win over an opponent more impressive than San Jose State.
Important Stat: Stanford is already 0-2 against ranked conference opponents this year, losing to UCLA and Oregon by a combined 100-48. However, ASU nearly edges out Stanford in yards per game this season, with 466 ypg to Stanford's 460.3 ypg.
The Edge: The Sun Devils will run away from the Cardinal in this one, quite possibly leading up to a 7-0 start before Cal comes calling to Tempe.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Uni Obsession

Another uniform related post (thankfully Tom commented on the disgusting Eagles jersey's already...like I need another reason to hate them). There is a wonderful site out there called Uni Watch. It was started by Paul Lukas, a sports uniform die-hard. He has a weekly column on ESPN.com and also this site. It is quite amazing. If you are nut about sports uniforms - particularly jerseys - the site is definitely worth checking out. Stuff the people comment on and catch during broadcasts is amazing...such as LaDainian Tomlinson is the only NFL player not to wear an American flag on his helmet. Or that Clinton Portis wore white cleats this week. They also are one of the first sites to have pictures of new uniform designs, like when every NHL team debuted the new RBK EDGE jerseys over the course of this summer.

If you are a real freak about sports aesthetics, you can become a member. Like most 'fan clubs' there are various levels you may choose from:

Level One — Wool Flannel ($25): Benefits are as follows:
• Official Uni Watch membership card
• Uni Watch fridge magnet
• Three bonus entries in all Uni Watch raffles
• Your name featured on the Uni Watch “Active Roster” membership listing

Level Two — Vertically Arched ($60): All of the benefits listed above, plus a special members-only Uni Watch T-shirt, this year’s version of which is available in your choice of a blue ringer, red ringer, black ringer, orange on navy, or blue on gray. A new T-shirt design will be made available to new or renewing members each year on May 17th, the anniversary of this blog.

Level Three — Chain-Stitched ($100): All the benefits listed above, plus a CD containing the digital art files for three rare, hard-to-find uniform style guides: NFL 1972, XFL 2001, and MLB’s 1999 “Turn Ahead the Clock” series.

Level Four — Leather Helmet ($250): All the benefits listed above, plus Uni Watch design director Scott M.X. Turner will create a logo for your team, fantasy league, company, civic association, church group, or just for you.

Level Five — Satin Piping ($500): All the benefits listed above, plus I will conduct a “Uni Watch Profiles” interview with you, a transcript of which will be posted on the blog. During the interview we will discuss your favorite uniforms, your uni-related pet peeves, your cap collection, or anything else uni-related that you want to talk about. You will be uni-king for a day!

Level Six — Striped Stirrups ($1000): All of the benefits listed above, plus I will fly to your town (or to the nearest city with an airport) and host a Uni Watch party at the local venue of your choosing. Probably your best chance at attending a Uni Watch party if you live in, say, Wichita. Continental U.S. only. If you live within a 100-mile radius of New York City, I will take you and a guest out to dinner either before or after the party. If you and some friends pool your resources to come up with the fee, you will all receive membership cards.

Level Seven — Silver Medal: Because gold is for suckers. Available only to Uni Watch staff.

Honorary: Reserved for special friends of Uni Watch.


I am indeed a paying member and you can see my membership card below.


There's a reason why they retired those

Since people seem to have an aversion about talking about the Eagles around here (hey, at least I don't berate the Steelers), let's get some Philly talk in here. But it's not all well and good in the City of Brotherly Love. In fact, it's downright ugly.


"AHH! My eyes! I'm blind!"

Yes, the Eagles kicked around the Lions yesterday at the Linc, but they did so wearing these -- throwback uniforms from the teams first season in 1933. Now, I don't want to say they're hideous, but I'm sure these things even made Oregon football players say, "My God, those things are ugly!"

These get-ups caused such a stir that Keith Olbermann went on to declare the person(s) that decided to dress the Eagles in these Dayglo nightmares the "Worst Person(s) in the NFL" this week during halftime of the Cowboys-Bears Sunday Night Football game on NBC. Now, I tend to disagree with Olbermann's politics, but I found it hard not to chuckle a bit watching his halftime segment in which he calls the uniforms "a canary mating with a bluebird".

Photo credit goes to the Philadelphia Eagles official site.

Pennsylvania Sports Roundup: Week 3

Penn State is a terrible offensive team. The Steelers are amazing. The Eagles scored a bunch of points against a bad defense. Pitt got blown out at the Pete by Jim Calhoun and UConn. Yep, that's about it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Penn State's woes

I don't think I need to remind everyone of the travesty that occurred yesterday in Michigan Stadium, but here are three suggestions that Penn State might want to consider if they want to win the big games, especially those on the road:

1. Teach the kids the basics. How is it that year in and year out our offense literally can't hold onto the ball? Morelli and Scott keep coughing it up at their earliest convenience. This has been the one problem that has been plaguing us for seasons now -- turnovers. Tony Hunt fell victim to this a few times last season too, with a monster fumble early in the game in South Bend. I've never been a football player myself, but I would have to think that you learn how to properly hold the ball fairly early on. Why can't we hold the ball the correct way and protect it, especially on our opponent's 10-yard line?! Rodney Kinlaw better be the starting RB next week vs. the Illini or else things are really screwed up.

2. Make some sort of adjustment in the QB coaching. JayPa got off the hot seat after the 2005 season, but don't you think it's starting to warm up again slightly? I mean, think about it, when was the last time Penn State had a sensational quarterback? Our last few have been "okay" at best. Not even the best quarterback we've had in the new century -- Michael Robinson -- was great. He only succeeded because he was mobile and could do great things with his legs. Morelli seems like Zack Mills, version 2.0. From what I've heard, Matt Seneca wasn't all that good, either. Our lack of success at the QB position could be attributed to some other things, like our woes along the O-line or JoePa's conservative nature. But I still think it comes down to the QB staff, who needs to teach these guys to make smarter decisions even if the O-line is crap.

3. Hide Joe's glasses and flush the playbook. When will we learn that this is no longer 1966 and that offenses have changed since then? Our playcalling is predictable and even if a 5th grader was Michigan's defensive coordinator, he'd be able to stop our running game. I said it before -- and you can look it up -- that Scott and Kinlaw up the middle wouldn't win the game. And it didn't. So when you hide Joe's glasses and bring him to the stadium, just tell him that you handed off to Scott when you really threw a bomb to Deon Butler. And don't answer him when he keeps asking why the crowd's going crazy.

We face a stiff challenge next week against a hungry bunch of Illini. I think our gameplan could still work against them, but I don't know what to think when the Badgers and Buckeyes come calling.

Week 4 College Football Synopsis

Here we go again. A bunch of shake-ups happening in the middle-lower end of the pack this week. Doesn't really matter though as the top 10 stayed the same...minus that team that was at #10.

Anyway, I'll get the boring stuff out of the way first and talk about the ACC. Cupcakes Duke and UNC lost to Navy and USF, respectively. Duke could have had their 2nd win of the year if they didn't choke their game away. BC beat another military academy and WF needed OT to put down the Terps. Miami restored just a little bit of cred to the ACC in beating the ranked Aggies of TAMU.

With that, we'll transition into TAMU's conference, the Big 12. OK weekend I suppose. OU, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and Mizzou beat the crap out of their opponents. Nebraska barely edged out Ball State somehow though Ball State likes the spoiler roll...remember when they almost beat UM last year? Iowa State, where do I begin. The usual losing to terrible teams continued this week as they fell to a previously winless team from Toledo by fumbling the ball late in their own endzone. I think it's safe to say Iowa State only cares when they're playing the Hawkeyes.

Big East was pretty quiet this weekend. We learned that Louisiville might as well put a Pee-Wee team 's defense out on the field. They'd do just as good, if not better, than what they have right now. UConn went out to Pittsburgh and embarrassed the Panthers on their home turf. Same old, same old with Cincy, USF and WVU rolling as RU had the weekend off.

Pac-10 yielded no surprises as well. The teams that were supposed to win did as USC, UCLA, ASU, OU and Cal all winning with limited difficulty. Unfortunately, nothing really to make fun of there.

Same can pretty much be said about the SEC. Florida did have some trouble but finally won a game in Mississippi by edging out Ole Miss. South Carolina gave LSU a fight, but not enough of one as LSU won one in Death Valley. Kentucky proved that they're legit by sticking it to the Hogs at Arkansas, outscoring them 28-9 in the second half. Georgia pulled off a semi-upset by defeating the higher ranked Tide in Tuscaloosa. It took overtime but at least the Bulldogs knocked Saban off his pedestal.

And last but probably not least (at least with the ACC around), the Big Ten. OSU beat the living daylights out of Northwestern...then again NW did lose to Duke last week. Illinois is looking pretty good after defeating the Hoosiers in Bloomington by a couple scores. Notre Dame continued their futility by falling at home to Michigan State while Purdue handled Minnesota with ease. Wisconsin was lucky to squeeze by Iowa, continuing to prove that they're probably overrated quite a bit. And now, the game that I don't even want to talk about...PSU v. UM. I'd have to say, that was more PSU losing than Michigan winning. PSU looked like garbage. Play calling was garbage, red zone offense was garbage, Morelli was garbage, Austin Scott was garbage, etc. etc. Regardless, Michigan has a quality football team. Or at least they have a quality running back in Mike Hart. They can probably just ride him to victory in most of their games this year. He's that good.

Anyway, enough rambling about PSU frustrations. You get that enough on this site. Until someone in the top 5-6 loses this year, things will be relatively quiet. Don't be surprised to see that happen soon as conference play starts to get in full swing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

MICH-PSU Recap

Michigan basically owns Penn State. I know Lions fans (including most of the other writers on this blog) are going to hate hearing that, but after winning 9 straight, I think we just may have earned the right to make that claim.

After this game, everyone’s left to answer whether Penn State was just overrated to begin with or if Michigan has turned it around with a much improved defense. I personally think it’s a little bit of both.

Game Analysis:
Offense:
Mike Hart was solid with 44 carries, cementing Lloyd Carr’s traditional philosophy of managing the clock well (Michigan’s TOP was 34:52). Hart’s on pace to break the 2000 yard mark this season. The offensive zone blocking scheme seemed to work quite well against Penn State's defensive line. Ryan Mallett also managed the game well. I was very impressed with the poise that he showed on 3rd down situations when Penn State brought the blitz. We’re not very used to seeing that composure from Chad Henne. Also, Mallett showed once again that he’s got nasty zip on his passes. If he works on his accuracy and decision-making, he’s going to be fun to watch in the post-Henne era at Michigan. Manningham and Arrington both contributed well on the receiving end with a combined 12 receptions for 131 yards.

Defense:
Defensively, the pass rush was excellent. Credit here goes to Brandon Graham and Tim Jamison. Like last year, Morelli couldn’t seem to handle pressure from the linebackers. Freshman Donovan Warren did a very good job of shutting down Derrick Williams for the most part. Overall, the defensive performances from the past two games close the door on those awful showings against Appy State and Oregon.

The Big Picture:
We beat a good Penn State team today. Two weeks ago, the sky seemed to be falling in Ann Arbor; but now, Wolverine faithful are finally getting a taste of what was expected of their team in the preseason. This win should hopefully silence some critics and restore some credibility to Michigan. The schedule ahead looks really favorable until we play Wisconsin and Ohio State to end the season. I think we’ll be in good position to compete for the Big Ten Championship and play in Pasadena again in January.

Unfortunately, I was right...

A few days ago, I said this little quip on the PSU-UM game:

-It pains me to pick this but I don't think Morelli will be able to cut it and I think Hart could just have a field day against our D-Line. Regardless, it should be very close.

Well, Morelli didn't cut it. No picks, thank God, but there was a costly fumble and a completion % under 50%. Half the time he looked lost out there but from what I could see, some of that had to do with a shaky O-Line and receivers not running crisp routes. Regardless, he did make some stupid throws.

Hart did have a field day. Just when you thought he was gonna get stopped by the line, he kept going...and going...and going. He's the main reason Michigan won this one.

It was close, lucky for PSU. The D kept them in this one. I felt bad for them because the O didn't help them out at all. Michigan had the ball for 10 more minutes than PSU and that's just unacceptable.

Either way, I have no idea what happened to UM in the first two games but they're not that bad of a football team. They have just as good a shot as anyone in the Big Ten this year and I'm just glad PSU got their toughest road game off the schedule already.

Also, if Austin Scott starts one more game for the Blue and White......

Penn State-Michigan 2nd Half Observations

This team is dead. Penn State is going to self-destruct after this. The team showed absolutely no heart on offense what-so-ever. On the final offensive series, the first 2 plays Morelli was rushed. Where was the damn blocking? This loss feels worse than the loss on the last play in 2005. Did I actually expect PSU to play for the National Championship? No. Did expect them to win the Big Ten even? No (I predicted Michigan like everyone else, followed by Wisconsin, then Penn State). But what I did expect was a team that would fight; show some passion and heart. They didn't leave anything on the field today. Yeah, the D looked dominating at times but Mike hart had over 40 carries and racked up over 13o yards. And this may demonstrate the performance best: Michigan was 10-18 on 3rd down and Penn State couldn't stop their passes when they needed it the most.

No running game. An immobile QB that makes dumb decisions. An offensive line that is filled with 3rd stringers. Penn State is done.


On a separate note, how pitiful was ABCs coverage today? The camera views and the returns to the action were atrocious. We, as TV viewers, missed at least 2 plays because they didn't come back to the game in time. Paul Maguire is a terrible commentator (nice blue and maize tie, Paul). He says things that are completely irrelevant to the action and immediately decides what happened on a play before even viewing replays. He said that Norwood's fumble on Penn State's 3rd series was a fumble before a replay was ever shown (it wasn't a fumble). He did the same on Austin Scott's fumble in the 3rd (it was called a fumble). Bob Griese was a decent commentator but he stutters a lot. Really terrible coverage all around. It was a terrible game to watch for more than one reason.

Prediction after today's pathetic play: Penn State loses at least 2 more games. This team is doomed. PATHETIC.

Penn State-Michigan 1st Half Observations

Penn State is not a Top 10 team. Maybe 15th, probably closer to 20th. When you have an ABYSMAL offense (no line, no QB, no RBs) you aren't going to win anything. The only reason PSU enters the half down only 4 (7-3, Michigan) is because the defense has been playing decent. Not great. Luckily the Michigan offense can only feed Mike Hart and everyone know who is getting the ball. But even the defense has looked shaky. For every stop for no gain or loss there has been a run or pass for 8+ yards. I realize the defense has only given up 7 points (and it was because UM started at the 10 due to Morelli's fumble) but they need to step it up - just like the offense - if PSU is going to come back and win. Connor is the only person making plays.

Maybe I'm being a little too harsh. But they are losing. To Michigan. A team that lost to a D-1AA team and got crushed by Oregon. I realize it's at 'The Big House'. BUT COME ON! Look alive! Wake up. Please.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Notre Dame's season gets a little more embarassing

By now, I'm sure you've all heard of former starting ND quarterback Demetrius Jones' decision to transfer from the school. His reasoning seemed legit: Weis duped him into thinking he was his guy. Heck, I would too if I started the opener and my head coach said the team would be stupid if they didn't know who the team's starting QB during the off-season. However, right now, the team is refusing to let him transfer to his school of choice, Northern Illinois University. Notre Dame is holding him hostage because (if I understand this correctly), they can refuse to release him from their scholarship, preventing him from obtaining one at another school. In a nutshell, the Irish can decide where he goes. They're saying that they will 'assist' him in finding another school and will not let him go somewhere that is going to play the Irish in the near future. That's what really gets me.

Wow Notre Dame...you're sooooo scared of Demetrius Jones that you bench him and refuse to let him play you in the future. That's really low. You basically turn your back on this guy and then try to control where he goes to school. If you're that paranoid, then why'd you bench him in the first place?! The sheer irony in all of this is that I can't find Northern Illinois anywhere on future ND schedules. This kid just wants to go home. He's from Chicago, roughly an hour drive from the NIU campus.

Charlie Weis' ego is bigger than his waistline. There is no reason to refuse Jones' request to transfer, especially with Clausen seemingly entrenched at QB for the next 4 years. Notre Dame should do the right thing and just let him go home. C'mon, they're good Catholics up at South Bend, right? I guess they just can't play any football or use common sense.

Read the story on ESPN about this by clicking on the blog title above

Lou Holtz cont.

Wow, I so wish I saw that clip. I think I'm going to watch ESPNU and all other ESPN affiliates until I catch that.

$100 Holtz used that line when he coached the Jets. $500 that's the reason he didn't last for more than a season.

Lou Holtz is the Greatest Motivational Speaker of All Time

During half time of the Miami-TAMU game, ESPN gave Lou Holtz air time to provide a motivational speech for Penn State before they play in Ann Arbor on Saturday. To close his spirited and moving sermon, he said the following:

"Those Michigan guys are an arrogant bunch. They probably do crossword puzzles with pens because they think that they'll never make a mistake. They'll realize that scheduling us was a huge mistake."

Yes Lou, it's unfortunate, but we are just that arrogant. I can't tell you how much we look up to Notre Dame to understand what modesty is all about.

Quarterback Debate

Ever wondering who is the greatest quarterback of all-time? Unitas? Montana? Elway? Tarkenton? Marino? Young? Manning? Brady? Well an impressive article was written on ArmchairGM by user Davis21wylie. Using a QB formula, he calculated the Top 100 QBs of all-time. It is a lengthy article but a must read for NFL fans. Check it out here: The 100 Greatest Quarterbacks of the Modern Era, Version 1.0

Deja Vu?

Hey everyone. Just wanted to post this again. You can join this great sports community site called ArmchairGM. Just click "Deja Vu" above or here. You can publish your own opinions, read others, vote on various athletes, events, stadiums, etc., and participate in user games such as pick 'ems and predictions. It is a fun and entertaining site so I urge you to check it out (this means you, Tom).

ABC's Saturday Night Mediocrity/Upset Alert

In the past few weeks, Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, and ABC have brought you some pretty good primetime matchups from the college football world. Tennessee at Cal, Virginia Tech at LSU, USC at Nebraska.

Now everyone hold your breath when I say that ABC is splitting Saturday Night Football between Washington State at USC and Iowa at Wisconsin. Cue disappointment.

I mean, these aren't horrible matchups. Speaking of horrible, just think of the intrigue of Saturday's primetime game in two weeks -- Notre Dame at UCLA. Think the bigwigs at ABC are regretting that hasty preseason commitment?

If USC was on the road again, I'd maybe understand. But c'mon, this is being played in SoCal, and Washington State is just okay. They did keep competitive with Wisconsin for the first half. Then again, so did The Citadel. But they haven't been tested since. USC manhandled Nebraska, and I expect this one to have a similar outcome. Plus, am I the only one sick of seeing USC in the marquee games? Looks like Washington at USC is another 8:00pm ET kickoff next week. I don't think I can handle three weeks in a row of Brent Musburger getting off to the Trojans. (If Musburger will be in SoCal next week, I expect ABC will put him in Madison this week. I hope.)

Iowa-Wisconsin lost a ton of luster when Iowa fell flat against a pretty crappy 0-2 Iowa State squad. The Cyclones didn't even need to score a touchdown to beat Kirk Ferentz's crew. Not that the matchup had a whole lot of luster in the first place. Wisconsin allowed Wazzu and The Citadel to play a 21-21 game up until halftime. They struggled to put away UNLV until the final minutes on the road. The foundation of both teams is shaky, at best. This is where I tend to disagree with EEW, here. I think Wisconsin unsurprisingly allows the Hawkeyes to keep it competitive for the first 30 minutes before pulling away in the second half. This is a primetime matchup in Madison, after all.

Quick upset alert, and I need to write it today since they're playing in the Orange Bowl tonight. Watch out, Texas A&M. I know the Miami Hurricanes haven't looked overly impressive in the first three weeks of the season, but neither have the Aggies. Don't think for a minute that Randy Shannon won't have this team pumped and ready for this one. This would be a statement win for Miami, and while it may not be one for A&M, it might be a win that proves they deserve their ranking.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This week in the SEC

EEW briefly touched on these with his picks, but let's talk some SEC.

South Carolina at LSU
Why it's important:
A Steve Spurrier win in Death Valley would solidify the Gamecock renaissance that the Ol' Ball Coach has been talking up since he landed at South Carolina -- not to mention Lee Corso would be eating a big, steaming bowl of crow. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. They're still playing the #2 ranked team in the country on the road, and without their marching band! (Apparently travel expenses are too high.)
Important Stat: In total, LSU's defense has allowed 7 points to be scored in three games against very decent teams -- Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, and Middle Tennessee. LSU's offense has been stepping all over opposing defenses. The Gamecock defense is no joke, though. Remember that they held Matthew Stafford and company to 12 points at Georgia.
The Edge: Clearly, it's LSU. Matt Flynn and the high-powered LSU offense might not steamroll over the Gamecocks, but their out-of-this-world defense will ensure that the Tigers retain a comfortable lead throughout.

Georgia at Alabama
Why it's important:
Alabama makes a huge jump into the ratings following a nearly disastrous 3-point victory over Arkansas ... because they're Alabama. Nick Saban can silence the last of the naysayers by going 5-0 and defeating his second consecutive ranked conference opponent. The jury's out on Matthew Stafford and the Bulldogs. They came in with great expectations this year, only to be thwarted at home by South Carolina. They may be looking to prove they can still play ball.
Important Stat: 31-10. That's the score Alabama led over Arkansas before watching it slip through their hands like sand by the fourth quarter. The Razorbacks scored 28 unanswered to make it 38-31, but Nick Saban's squad scored 10 more in the last eight minutes -- including a touchdown with eight seconds left -- to notch the victory.
The Edge: This could go either way, really. Alabama's finishing ability is questionable, but the Georgia offense hasn't been impressive against a decent opponent yet. The advantage goes to the Tide, since this game's in Tuscaloosa.

Kentucky at Arkansas
Why it's important:
Kentucky's back in the top 25 after everyone and their brother knew they'd rip up the Louisville D. Now it's onto conference play, where they must travel to the Nutt House and find a way to stop Heisman hopeful Darren McFadden in his tracks. Their D really, really needs to step it up if they want to be competitive in this game.
Important Stat: Darren McFadden rushed for 195 yards in the loss against Alabama this week. Need I say more?
The Edge: Arkansas gets this game at home, where they'll be anxious to jump back into the poll. Darren McFadden is probably a little bit too quick for the Kentucky D, and is sure to have another Heisman resume padding day. Look for Arkansas to win this one.

Week 4 College Football Outlook

Lou Holtz and Mark May seem to have tons of fun predicting games, so I figure I'll give it a shot. Winners in bold.

#12 South Carolina @ #2 LSU
-LSU is just too good for the Gamecocks

#10 Penn State @ Michigan
-It pains me to pick this but I don't think Morelli will be able to cut it and I think Hart could just have a field day against our D-Line. Regardless, it should be very close.

#22 Georgia @ #16 Alabama
-Despite choking away a 21 point lead, Alabama got propelled from unranked to #16. Georgia brings them back to Earth, winning by a TD.

Michigan State @ Notre Dame
-Until Notre Dame shows me anything, I'd pick Appalachian State over them.

#21 Kentucky @ Arkansas
-Kentucky is good but they just fully exposed a porous Louisville D last Saturday. McFadden carries the Hogs to victory.

Illinois @ Indiana
-Indiana has shown fewer flaws so far and plays at home, giving them the edge.

Purdue @ Minnesota
-And this is a nationally televised prime-time game because...?

Northwestern @ #8 Ohio State
-Northwestern lost to Duke last week...at home. What more do you need to know?

North Carolina @ #23 USF
-It will be intriguing to see if USF lets the ranking get to their head but I think they just have too much talent to lose to this ACC cupcake.

Iowa @ #9 Wisconsin
-Ok, so this is basically a hunch but keep in mind that despite the fact Iowa lost to pitiful Iowa State last week, they're still the only team not to give up a TD in all of I-A.

Washington @ UCLA
-I'd give UCLA the edge, mainly because they have the most to be afraid of if they lose again after falling to Utah 44-6.

Washington State @ #1 USC
-ABC has either this or Iowa v. Wisconsin to choose from. Here's to hoping its the Big Ten matchup.

0-2

Miami Dolphins. Football is the best.

Eliminated

Pittsburgh Pirates



P.S. - I love baseball.

12.5

I hate baseball.

1.5

That's how many games the Phillies are behind in the NL East AND the Wild Card...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

2.5

That's how close the Yankees currently are to the top of the AL East. Just thought I'd share.

NFL Hot 12 - After Week 2

Check out the new rankings in the right panel below the College Football Top 25. The AFC continues to dominate and the Patriots take over 1st place after their convincing win over the Chargers, without CHEATING! I didn't think Belichick had it in him...

This weekend's prime Big Ten matchups

Time to look ahead to this weekend because, let's face it, it's never too early to start thinking about college football.

Let's take a quick look at three intriguing matchups involving Big Ten teams. Later this week we'll take a look at some big SEC matches and the mediocrity of this weekend's Saturday Night Football split telecast (it's why Iowa/Wisconsin is not included here).

Illinois at Indiana
Why it's important: The Big Ten's perennial bottom-feeders square off in each team's conference opener. Both are off to a decent start -- a combined 5-1 record between them -- with the only loss between the two coming when Missouri beat Illinois in a tense 40-34 game in St. Louis. One will be one step closer to a long-awaited bowl game, the other will head back to the basement. Ron Zook is out to prove he's more than just a glorified recruiter, and Indiana still looks to honor the memory of Terry Hoeppner.
Important Stat: Illinois and Indiana have combined for a 13-67 conference record since 2002. The best performance put up by either team over the last five seasons was a 4-4 finish by Illinois in 2002. Indiana went 3-5 last year. Over that same span, Indiana was 1-7 four times and Illinois went 0-8 twice.
The Edge: Of the two Memorial Stadiums, this one's being played at Indiana's, so I think the home field advantage gives it to the Hoosiers.

Penn State at Michigan
Why it's important:
The winner in Ann Arbor Saturday gets the inside track at the Big Ten title. I know that sounds odd, with Michigan's 0-2 start, but c'mon, it's Michigan. They're bound to bounce back somehow. Both get Ohio State and Purdue at home and Penn State gets to play Wisconsin in Beaver Stadium. Anthony Morelli is making smarter passing decisions, but still needs to work on his overall play. (In other words, let's not scramble with 14 seconds left in the half, cut away from the sideline and cough up the ball.) It should be interesting to see if the Wolverine's D has improved or whether the Notre Dame O-line was just that awful. Lloyd Carr may also be pulling a Charlie Weis and we may never know if Chad Henne or Ryan Mallet will be the starting QB for Michigan until the 3:30pm kickoff.
Important Stat: The last time Penn State beat Michigan was 1996. In other words, Lloyd Carr owns Joe Paterno. Luckily for Nittany Lions fans, most Wolverine fans only remember that Jim Tressel owns Lloyd Carr.
The Edge: Penn State, but only if Joe Paterno releases Anthony Morelli and Galen Hall from his chokehold and lets them exploit the Michigan secondary. Austin Scott or Rodney Kinlaw up the middle is not going to win this football game.

Michigan State at Notre Dame
Why it's important:
Notre Dame has never started 0-4. I think this is only the second time they've started 0-3 -- something Ty Willingham never did -- but surely the first 0-3 squad never looked this bad. Just the other day, I saw an ESPN report about Notre Dame students' reaction to the 0-3 start. One sophomore said, "Well, as long as we keep the winning streak against Navy alive, I think we'll call it a successful season." Charlie Weis will be looking to right the ship at home. Mark Dantonio will be looking to avoid that typical, disappointing slump that annually started about this time of the season in the John L. Smith era. Sparty might be handing the Irish a historic loss if they can't get their act together quickly.
Important Stat: Notre Dame leads the nation in most sacks allowed this season thus far, at 23. (Hey, at least they lead in one category.) Michigan State is tied for the most sacks against their opponents, at (I believe) 17. Yikes. Jimmy Clausen better bring a lot of ActivOn and IcyHot to the stadium Saturday.
The Edge: Michigan State. If Michigan can put up 38 points and devour Notre Dame fresh off a 39-7 embarrassment against Oregon (and some other travesty that Michigan fans no longer speak of), then Sparty's got a damn good shot.