Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You're Welcome! 2009 Edition

For this week's You're Welcome, I will change it up a little bit and do a 2009 edition. I can't believe its almost 2010, but the new year will certainly bring some great stories. Here are the best of the year!

1. Pittsburgh Penguins: This one is tough to write. But the Penguins came into the Stanley Cup finals, without home ice against an opponent who beat you last season. And guess what? You're best player last year is in red. But you converted to a more physical style of play and had your interim coach lead you to victory. Sure the "Golden Boy" got his cup and Commish got his wish. Malkin was the best player in the finals and deserved the Conn Smythe. It was brutal to watch and I took a while to get over it but the Pens deserve credit.

2. Arizona Cardinals: You were perpetual losers and nobody cared about you guys moving to the desert. Finally you got a beautiful new stadium and started to attract some fans. Kurt Warner finally led you to a division title and the playoffs after being on the brink for a decade. Larry Fitzgerald went off and dominated the playoffs and you guys were seconds from a Super Bowl victory. You're in good shape to go to the Super Bowl again led by the best wide receiver in the NFL. Its inspiring to other teams to see a team make the Super Bowl that no one saw coming.

3. Kobe Bryant: You won a title without Shaq. Enough said in that line. But Kobe had an MVP year and led the Lakers to the NBA title. By now everybody is over your court case for a crime you didn't commit (he did commit transgressions) and all your sponsors are coming back. Sure it would have been nice to play Lebron in the finals but a great win anyway. Kobe is finally coming into his own and is one of the top five players in the league. It was nice to see him finally get that monkey off his back and bring the hardware back to LA.

Happy New Year everybody! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Contenders Losing At Worst Possible Time

Losing brings out the worst in players and coaches in sports. If Kansas went 9-3 this season, nobody would have heard about anything bad Mangino did. But they were losing and people were looking for a way out. Now that the Colt's run at an undefeated season is over, everyone in the ESPN talk machine will question the rookie Head Coach's decision.

The ESPN talk machine is brutal. It makes everything the Yankees or Cowboys or Notre Dame do seem life or death. It made the Dontrelle Willis trade and signing the biggest story in baseball, and now he isn't even a solid Single A player. We know where Brett Favre is at every second. Sometimes its very tough to watch, and you always have to take it with a grain of salt. But casual fans watch it and believe its the gospel, and that is where you run into problems (if your friend ever says "hes a just a competitor" or "he knows how to win" they are victims of this.) I love ESPN but you have to think for yourself. Mel Kiper is a moron. Don't let anyone fool you.

Now that I had my rant, back to the NFL. The Saint have lost two in a row to the red hot (yeah I know!) Dallas Cowboys after seeming unbeatable. The Vikings have lost 3 of 4 (including losses to the Panthers and Bears) and the Colts lost to the Jets. The second best team in the AFC has to be the Chargers (who could be the first, since the have the Colt's number.) The Bengals are battling a lot off the field and may not have the offense to win a game. The wildcards in the AFC seem weak. I wouldn't be afraid to play the Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Steelers etc. So with all the teams losing at the top, the bottom feeders in the AFC should look forward to having a chance of winning a game.

In the NFC, my preseason Super Bowl Champ (Green Bay) is really turning it on. They have a good young defense with a lock down corner. Their offense is explosive. Sometimes issues like the Steelers game (500+ yards of offense) and o line troubles (50+ Sacks allowed) could be killer in one game scenarios. The Saints and Vikings seem stronger, even with recent struggles. The Cardinals look like contenders again. The Cowboys and Eagles look very good going into the playoffs. If the Cowboys can win Sunday, they will be in amazing shape and on a great roll heading into crunch time. Now if they can win a playoff game. The NFC looks very very deep this year, when NFL parity has been attacked ruthlessly.

I stick by my San Diego vs. Green Bay Super Bowl. Favorites rarely win the Super Bowl and their is too much talent at the bottom for their not to be any upsets. This disappointing season could lead to an excellent round of playoffs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

NFL Picks Week 16

Hope everybody had a good holiday! The Chargers thrashed the Titans so I am 1-0 so far this week. I will continue to pick during the playoffs as well, but won't have an upset special. On my upset picks for the season I am 8-7, hitting my one last week. Now here is the rest of the picks for the week.

Falcons over Bills
Bengals over Chiefs
Raiders over Browns
Packers over Seahawks
Patriots over Jaguars
Saints over Buccaneers
Giants over Panthers
Ravens over Steelers
Cardinals over Rams
49ers over Lions
Colts over Jets

*Upset Special* Texans over Dolphins

Sunday Night Football: Cowboys over Redskins

Monday Night Football: Vikings over Bears

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You're Welcome! Happy Holidays!

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, the combination of finals week, going home, a nasty cold and the holidays have limited my time. I will post my NFL picks for this weekend, but probably take some time off until Monday. Then I will post on a more consistent basis for the rest of the time. For the Christmas day NFL game, I pick the Chargers over Titans. Now here is this week's You're Welcome!

1. University Of Texas Athletics: Longhorn football is one win away from winning another National Title. They have been on a roll since Vince Young beat USC in one of the best college football games ever. On top of that, your Basketball team is number 2 in the nation and beat a top ten team handily. This could be like a few years ago when Florida Basketball and Football were the top programs in America, we could be seeing a resurgence of a dominant program in both major sports.

2. Peyton Manning: You're probably going to win a record 4th MVP award. Your team continues to win in exciting fashion to improve your record to 14-0. You want to continue playing to keep winning and to keep your momentum in the playoffs. You will break every record imaginable before you retire. Do we really appreciate how good Manning is? We are seeing the best QB play in NFL history right now, and he is the best in the business.

3. Louis Delmas: The Lion's second round pick has been the best player on defense by far. He hits hard and causes more turnovers than the rest of the team combined. He had his first touchdown of his career in an 101 yard interception return against the Cardinals. The Lions finally have found a safety that hits hard and can make plays. If the Lions were better he would be in talks for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He is something we can build around and make a defense that could be NFL-caliber. Oh, and where did he play in college?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NFL Picks Week 15

Patriots over Bills
Cardinals over Lions
Titans over Dolphins
Browns over Chiefs
Texans over Rams
Jets over Falcons
Broncos over Raiders
Chargers over Bengals
Eagles over 49ers
Packers over Steelers
Ravens over Bears

*Upset Special* Buccaneers over Seahawks

Sunday Night Football: Vikings over Panthers
Monday Night Football: Redskins over Giants

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You're Welcome!

Thanks to everyone who voted on my latest poll. Due to the support from you guys, and my own interest in doing a video blog/podcast (I am not sure what to do yet, my new laptop can support both ideas) I will unveil the STWWC's own video blog/podcast sometime after I return for the new semester. I'll think about how I want to lay out and set up the format and whatnot. My pick for Thursday Night Football is Colts over Jaguars and Saturday Night Football I got the Saints over the Cowboys. Now here is this week's You're Welcome!

1. Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints: You won lucky 13 last week and have a cupcake schedule the rest of the way. Sure, everything is locked up and you can rest everybody and still not gain or lose any ground on anybody. But for goodness sake, play for the undefeated season and chance at 19-0. The Patriots were 2 minutes away from doing it, and there is no reason the Saints or Colts can't do it, and maybe even face each other in the Super Bowl (Goodell would cry). Teams who win the Super Bowl usually are still playing everybody late in the year. Sure the Saints are winning close, but that can only help as the playoffs are just around the corner. Lets get those old Dolphins to stop celebrating every year and see a legendary team this year.

2. Detroit Pistons: Let us look at this franchise. Your hometown is struggling bad financially and sports wise. Your beloved owner died last spring. You are on your 3rd Head Coach in the last 3 years, and the second rookie Head Coach as well. You had maybe the best player you have had in 15 years get traded and see him go to the Western Conference finals. Your two best remaining players are injured. After all of that you are still floating around .500 and in the playoffs. Kuester should in contention for coach of the year. Stuckey can be a great SG and you may have something in Jerebko. Sure I miss Billups too, but maybe the final reloading needs to take place and ship Rip and Tayshaun for picks or players. Otherwise, decent season so far.

3. Cleveland Browns: I thought you were one of the worst teams in NFL history, but the Bills let you off the hook with a win and you knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs (all but mathematically) at home in a Thursday Night Football game. I said you don't deserve two Prime Time games (you still don't) but at least you A) picked a game on NFL Network and nobody would see it and B) beat your rivals who have stomped you since returning to Cleveland. Nice win, and you guys may get Mike Holmgrem to rebuild the franchise. I think he will keep Mangini, but will he pull a Pat Riley and take over the team for himself?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top Five Reasons The NFL Is Better Than College Football

I often have this discussion with my friends about what is better, College or Pro football? I am a professional football fan first but I have thought about this a lot. Here are my Top Five reasons to watch the NFL over the NCAA.

5. Both make money, but at least the pro players make money (legally). Texas made 120 million dollars on football last year, and all the players got was free college. As a college student, I know how important college funds can be, but don't the players deserve a piece of the pie? The school gets money for selling number 15 Florida jerseys, but Tebow won't ever see a dime. Ohio State gets a cut of the video game profits but Pryor won't ever get a check. The players put in a lot of time (some more than others, Michigan), and deserve more than what they get. The NFL may overpay their players, but at least they make money.

4. Every game truly matters in the NFL. Yeah, every game of college football matters, but how many boring games are there a week. I don't want to see Michigan play Eastern Michigan, Michigan State play Montana State or Florida play the Florida International. We barely see meaningful non conference games anymore so that makes almost a third of the season worthless. The BCS doesn't factor in strength of schedule so who cares? Conference schedules are usually pretty good, but they don't make up for the start of the season. In the NFL, every week is usually competitive (this season is a fluke with so many good and bad teams) and the playoffs are usually settled on the last game of the year.

3. The talent level is much more equal. Even in these recent years where college football is evening out a little bit, the top teams are far superior to weaker teams. Look at conferences even, whats the difference Oregon and Arizona State? Alabama and Vanderbilt? Texas and Kansas State? The difference is too much to balance anything out. You can almost pick with certainty who will win conferences at the beginning of the year. The NFL sees almost 50% turnover in division winners and playoff teams every year. The Dolphins and Falcons went to the playoffs after awful seasons. I'd bet a ton of money that Vanderbilt doesn't win the SEC next season.

2. Its better football. Who doesn't want to see tons of vertical passing and quick running backs blowing past defenders? The spread is based on short passing and running. The spread is making its way into the NFL but still its just more entertaining to see NFL football. Their are usually less blowouts and higher scoring by both teams. You are watching the best athletes playing the best football with the best coaches. Its going to produce good football.

1. There are playoffs. We know far and away who is the champion of pro football. There isn't any doubt who the number 1 team in the league is. 12 out of 32 teams make the playoffs and all 12 teams have a shot at winning it all (a 6 seed has won the Super Bowl before) and usually many teams are gunning for a few spots in the regular season. By about Thanksgiving the NFL really heats up and becomes even better. Sunday and Monday Night Football use flex scheduling to get the best games on prime time. College sees such a difference in conferences that some teams need to win their cupcake schedule (example: Texas 2009) and they have their ticket to the championship game. Playoffs in college football would be ideal, but the same stupid excuses are used now that were in 1999 and will be used in 2019.

The NFL will be better than college football for some time, until college football can even out the talent levels on teams and conferences and make a legitimate playoff system to serve the entire league the best. I love both college and pro football, but I would rather watch the NFL any day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL Picks Picks Week 14

I can't hit a Thursday Night Football game at all. I am 0-1 at this point. I did consider picking the Browns but they are the Browns? Here are the rest of the picks for this week.

Saints over Falcons
Packers over Bears
Colts over Broncos
Bills over Chiefs
Bengals over Vikings
Patriots over Panthers
Jets over Buccaneers
Jaguars over Dolphins
Ravens over Lions
Texans over Seahawks
Titans over Rams
Raiders over Redskins
Chargers over Cowboys

Sunday Night Football: Giants over Eagles
Monday Night Football: *Upset Special* 49ers over Cardinals

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How I Would Fix The NHL

In my How I Would Fix Series (beginning with the Red Wings, you'll see Cubs and Lions soon and you won't see a Tiger Woods edition, I'm not Oprah) I take a look at the NHL. First I will give the facts that we know. Commissioner Darth Bettman is totally committed to the death to keep a team in Phoenix. It looks like next week they will approve the team being sold to a group that will keep them in Arizona. So the cash black hole that are the Coyotes will continue. I doubt this team can be good enough and generate enough buzz to become profitable. But at least the NHL won't be owning a team anymore. The salary cap should go down in the loss of revenue due to the poor economy. I would also bet that no team will relocate because the NHL is a charity in that way. So that is what we know.

In my first preview I told the Wings to go sign Marion Gaborik. Go look up how he is playing and tell me I'm wrong. So this is the Corbitt Recovery Plan:

Get a team in Southern Ontario. Yeah the Maple Leafs will be upset, but the franchise is worth the most in the NHL, so I doubt they will be hurt too bad. The NHL can get support from at least one more Canadian team and the extra revenue can help the league. Take your pick of teams to relocate (please no more expansion), Nashville, Florida, Tampa Bay, etc.

Move a team back to Winnipeg. Don't think I am Canada supporter. I am an increased revenue supporter. Winnipeg has a beautiful new arena and a good fan base. They will be able to support a team and should be given another shot. Outside of these two moves, no more relocating. Kansas City doesn't need a team, Ohio doesn't need another team Quebec City doesn't need another team either. The NHL will probably have to bail out the Islanders in a few years but they should. The Islanders can be a solid franchise. They just need a new arena and better ownership. No need to leave that market.

Create an Original Six series. In December, have all the Original Six teams play each other. The team with the best record can get an award. Now, it would be awesome to have a tournament in the regular season but I doubt that will happen. So here is my plan. Have all teams play each other and get some of the tradition back in the NHL. I don't care that the Red Wings play Nashville 34 times a season. Most of these teams don't play each other often enough. Its no secret that these teams have a very strong fan bases and would be supportive of this idea. It would also get a lot of buzz. Look how much the Winter Classic has done for the game? I love the Classic and watch it every year. This series would only help the NHL.

Continue to market young players and new rivalries. Ovechkin vs Crosby is always a great game and has helped the game. You have to carry the momentum gained by all these young stars and last year's playoffs into the future.

Bring back the Hockey World Cup to center stage. Look how many new soccer fans the World Cup brings to the game. Some people only care about the World Cup. Do the same with Hockey. Let NHLers play and have it every two years alternating with the Olympics (for example Olympics in 2010, World Cup in 2012). True, you would only get two All-Star games every four years, but you have to make sacrifices. Opening in foreign countries is a cool idea and now it is time to take it a step further. Lets see how popular Olympic hockey is this year (should be huge) and then we can put this idea into serious contention.

Keep fighting in the game, and get no touch icing. It seems like polar opposites but fighting is the safe alternate in the NHL. First of all, fighting is fun and great. Nothing gets people out of their seats and pumped like fighting does. Don't discourage players from dropping the gloves. No touch icing is necessary to get rid of unnecessary injuries in the NHL. It works well in College Hockey and takes away a part of the game no one wants to see. Past rule changes have worked really well and I think these two will help the game grow.

That's how I would fix the NHL. I am sure after the economy recovers so will the NHL. There isn't too much broken in the league. Popularity has been increasing since the Lockout. The NHL just has to continue the momentum.

Friday, December 11, 2009

WMU Bronco Hockey: A Program That Can Go As Far As It Wants

Upon transferring to Western Michigan University I found out how passionate the fans are. I never really followed college hockey before my time here at WMU. I'm sure more of my fellow students are the same way. Most of the people here rooted for Michigan or Michigan State in basketball and football but for the Bronco Hockey they usually are the first team any of us root for.

Bronco Hockey has long been frustrating for many fans. Especially since larger schools so close experience a great deal of success. Whats even worse is seeing smaller schools succeed like Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Lake Superior State University. We have the potential to be great, but never act upon it. Plus our uniforms are usually black and white. Really? That's not even trying. Now we have some nicer, more classic ones with our actual school colors on them. Why can't this university realize what our school colors really are?

Now that the background has been set, we look at the program now. They are very talented and young, and if these players stick around, this team could be good. Last year the Broncos hosted and won a playoff series against Lake State. So things must be looking up right?

The Broncos are held back by pitiful special teams and offense. Since we have the talent, coaching has to come into question. Jim Culhane has long been under the microscope. He played his college hockey here and played a few years for the Hartford Whalers. He then came back and took over the program with zero head coaching experience. He is an inexpensive coach and some rumors say he will take over as Athletic Director when Kathy Beauregard steps downs. That being said, he has a winning percentage that would get most coaches fired and has never been under the hot seat. He just signed a three year extension last year. Why does he keep getting second chances?

Culhane can recruit. We get players (multiple NHL Draft Picks play here) that WMU has no business having. He convinces these kids to come to a program with little coverage and virtually zero postseason success. Sure, we don't steal recruits from the big boys in the state, but we get our share of talented players. He also puts together an upset or two every year. He gets decent support from the community and is probably a good enough guy. But is that enough to keep a coach around? Then again, it may not be his fault. The program is poorly supported in cash. Its expensive to have a hockey program, but even still. It seems like basketball and football get far more support than the hockey program. A new arena has been proposed (it would also house the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings and WMU Bronco Basketball, payment would be through the K-Wings owner and a 1% increase in restaurant taxes) and it would be built downtown. It would be an obvious boost to downtown businesses and restaurants, and maybe some of the families who left because of the loud and vulgar student section would come back. They pay good money for the tickets, and students don't. Should students be charged for tickets? They are at Ferris and people still show up. I can't see why having a small season ticket charge for students would be such a bad thing. Attendance would go down but the money could be useful and if the product is better more people would show up. Also, please get a small band to come and play at some of the games (if not all). The support would be nice and having a real band there would be fun. It could only add to the college hockey experience. Miami of Ohio built new facilities and made it to the National Championship game (which they should have won), so why can't we duplicate that in Kalamazoo? Parking would be an issue, but I'm sure WMU can come up with something. The interest and support for the Broncos would be immense and can give the town something to be proud of.

So can Bronco hockey be a big time program? Sure it could. With a new arena and the revenue from it, the increased recruiting and interest from the town, there is no reason that this team could not be very competitive with the established powers in the state.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Notre Dame got the coach they wanted. Unlike the last coach, who's name will not be mentioned, Kelly has what most schools are looking for in a Head Coach: up and comer, winner in college, college coaching experience, midwest recruiting ties, (hes Irish), and hes willing to start right away. He is leaving Cincinnati and not coaching them in their bowl against Florida (almost guaranteeing a slaughter) and will start by trying to save a number of ND recruits.

Kelly separated himself from Randy Edsell by his ability to build up programs (some of his Bearcats are Dantonio recruits) and win on a big stage. UConn never really were a contender in the Big East, and Kelly seemed to have more support from the alumni. His personality is perfect for the job and outside of Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops, he had to been the favorite.

What does this mean for Notre Dame? They will have another tough year next year losing most of their great players and switching to more of a spread offense that Kelly prefers. They will start to land some bigger recruits and it will take 3 or 4 more years before they start winning again. Notre Dame may learn from past mistakes. Maybe they will give him 6 years, and not sign him to a 10 year extension after his first sign of success. Kelly can turn Notre Dame into a consistent winner (not a consistent National Title contender) and be a solid hire. With so much salary being eaten, don't expect to see Kelly going anywhere for a while.

In Cincinnati, they may hire Butch Jones, the man who replaced Kelly in Central Michigan. Jones has 2 MAC titles and a trip to the GMAC Bowl ranked 25th in the nation. But with Mr. Everything Lefevour graduating, now could be a good time to get another, higher paying, higher profile job. He is also interested in the Marshall job, but Marshall will lack the BCS conference power and probably some of the money. Marshall did finish with 2.5 million dollars in profit so they can invest in facilities and attract better recruits and coaches, like Jones. He could go and try to dominate Conference USA and land a better job down the road. We should see plenty more coaches move around as the season draws to a close.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You're Welcome: College Football Shines

Before this week's You're Welcome, I will do a mock Heisman Ballot (because I don't get a real vote...yet). This is what it would look like:

1. Ndamukong Suh, DT Nebraska
2. Mark Ingram, RB Alabama
3. Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford
4. Colt McCoy, QB Texas
5. Tim Tebow, QB Florida

This may be the deepest 1-5 in the Heisman ballot that I can remember. Tebow may have gotten there because of Florida's success and past triumphs. Still a very solid group of talented football players.

My pick for this week's Thursday Night Football game is Steelers over Browns. Now for You're Welcome!

1. Cincinnati Bearcats: Down by 21, on the road against a stellar defense and outstanding opponent in Pittsburgh, you jumped on Marty Gilyard's shoulders and he carried you to Big East promise land. Tony Pike shook off an awful game to deliver in crunch time. Sure, your coach was lying and was jumping to go to Notre Dame but still you hung in tough. Dion Lewis touched the ball over 50 times and you were able to slow him down in the end. The whole game I was sure Pitt would hold on for the win and take the Big East Crown and automatic BCS birth. But the resilience of Cinncy was too much and now they get the privilege to play Florida on the national stage.

2. Ndamukong Suh: You completely dominated Colt McCoy and his offensive line. Suh propelled himself into the Heisman race and at least is a top ten pick in the next April's NFL Draft. I sure hope he is wearing Honolulu Blue and Silver next season. His performance reminds me of Reggie Bush's thrashing of Fresno State that shot him to the Heisman. If he dominates his bowl and works out well, he can easily be the first pick taken. He has all the talent in the world and its great he can display it to everyone.

3. Mark Ingram: In another Heisman audition game, Ingram completely dominated the best, veteran defense in the nation with 3 touchdowns and over 100 very tough well earned yards. He came up with highlight reel plays just when Alabama needed it and put away the Gators for good in the second half. I bet he will win the Heisman, with the offensive bias, and may leave for the NFL draft (not as likely). But I hope the Flint native sticks around so we can see him run over defenders all over the field.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tigers Cut Talent, Money But Only For Now?

The Tigers have started their "Everything Must Go!" sale today with dealing Edwin Jackson and fan favorite Curtis Granderson for prospects from the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. This trade is designed for the team to get a cheaper payroll and get some young position players in there for valuable playing time.

Curtis Granderson is everybody's Tiger (despite my Cubbie bear loyalties, I root for and watch a lot of Tigers games. I root for them over 28 other teams in the MLB, my Tiger is Brandon Inge.) and Edwin Jackson is a young up and coming pitcher. Both player's salaries are more than their new counterparts. Daniel Schlereth (father is Mark) is a good pitching prospect in the D-Backs system. They get Jackson, in their hopes they get the player who was lights out before the All-Star break. A move to the National League always helps. The D-Backs also cut ties with Max Scherzer, a relief pitcher (got to believe he is Brandon Lyon's replacement) who has potential. The player with the most hype is the Yankee's former top prospect Austin Jackson. He is a Center Fielder who can hit .300 in the bigs. He strikes out a lot and doesn't field too well yet. Phil Coke is a solid lefty out of the pen. Can't have enough of those. And most important to the man pictured (a WMU grad by the way) above is the Tigers shed about 11 million dollars in payroll.

At first, you see this deal and are outraged. A proven vet that everyone loves and a young pitcher who could be a solid second option for the Tigers. But, besides the obvious monetary reason this trade was made, this deal makes sense. Austin Jackson has more upside than Granderson and may hit for a higher average. Schlereth could be a solid young pitcher given time. Edwin Jackson could just have had a good half of the year, teams got film on him and then he started his decline. He didn't get run support but who did on the Tiger's staff? Edwin is a bit of a wild card, and they might have traded him at the peak of his value. The Tigers didn't give up any prospects and filled everything they traded away. The two relievers they received should be solid additions to a weaker bullpen. The Yankees got a 4th outfielder and upgraded their depth, and the D-Backs got a pitcher to start right away. The winner has to be the Tigers right now, and in a few years they could be big winners.

Don't start with me about fire Dombrowksi or whatever. He did overpay some players (all seemed like a good thing at the time right?) but he has drafted well and should have a chance to clean up his own mess. The only mistake he truly made was signing Dontrelle Willis to a 3 year 29 million dollar extension before he ever pitched for the Tigers (luckily its expiring soon). He has rebuilt the Marlins before and he can do it again here. He has to be more frugal in the future but he is one of the better General Managers in the MLB. Give it time, Tigers fans, it will be worth it in the long run. Next year could be brutal though.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The BCS Works

The National Title game is set, and if your not a fan of the BCS Busting Three Amigos, you have a lot of people to convince that they should be there over Texas or Alabama. The Big 12 is better than the WAC, Mountain West and Big East. They played a better schedule and I believe that they could beat all three at a neutral site. That being said, Texas barely beat the Nebraska Ndamukong Suhs (Cornhuskers) and are up there because they were ranked higher than the other three were. I'll make my opinion known now, my vote for Heisman would go to Suh, and I want the Lions to take him with their first pick. He has been a beast and could vastly improve any defense he would be on. How many defensive tackles can get so much penetration and be a force? Mark Ingram will probably win the Heisman with his domination of the vaunted Florida defense and he could be a very solid pro, but Suh is something special.

Enough about the Heisman, lets get to the Bowls:

Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech vs Iowa: The Triple Option vs Good Ol' Midwest corn fed defense! How fun! This should be a dark horse for bowl game of the season. The Big Ten needs a win, but the ACC is 1-8 in BCS Bowl games, yet we never hear how bad that conference is. A lot of talent will be on display this game, and QB Ricky Stanzi should be back for the Hawkeyes. Nesbitt and Dwyer should be running all day. Prediction 28-21 Iowa

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Oregon: This has a shot to be a great game, and an equal shot to be a blowout. Oregon's defense is nothing special but their offense can control the game. Ohio State and Sweatervest need to get their act together and not embarrass the Big Ten anymore. OSU has an elite defense that no one seems to talk about, but the offense is the key. Pryor and his running backs (all with cute nicknames) need to put up points and take home the Rose Bowl trophy. Prediction: OSU 35 Oregon 34

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs Cincinnati: No way does Florida lose this game. Tebow and all those seniors want to go out with a win, and unlike Alabama last year who lost to Utah, they will be motivated and have something to prove. Florida is far more talented than Cincinnati. The Bearcat offense is too inconsistent with Pike at the helm, and if they run into a world class defense they'll have problems. They're defense is nothing special and Tebow could pick them apart. You better believe Tebow will play hard after the struggles on Saturday. Prediction: Florida 35 Cincinnati 14

Fiesta Bowl: TCU vs Boise State: In the Consolation Bowl, the two best BCS Busters square off. Boise has been here before and TCU is very balanced. This should be a very fun, hard fought game. Both teams have solid offense and TCU's defense is top 5 in the nation. Both fan bases will travel well and this game will be a good one. I wish they would have split these teams up (one play Georgia Tech, one play Iowa) so they can prove themselves against the big boys. Watch for a tough battle with both teams giving all they got. Prediction: TCU 21 Boise State 17

BCS National Title Game: Alabama vs Texas: In the Rose Bowl, Part 2, we see the Crimson Tide come in red hot after their playoff victory over Florida. Texas barely got past Nebraska (underrated) basically at home. Colt McCoy almost blew the whole season by not throwing the ball out of bounds earlier (Awareness: 75). Bama has a great defense and underrated offense with Ingram and Jones leading the way. McElroy is a solid QB in the mold of a game manager. This will be a better game then some people think, but Alabama will come out on top. Prediction: Alabama 28 Texas 17

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NFL Picks Week 13

As I incorrectly picked on Wednesday, the Jets beat the Bills. On the season I am 122-55 with a 6-6 Upset Special record. Here are the week's picks.

Eagles over Falcons
Bears over Rams
Bengals over Lions
Colts over Titans
Broncos over Chiefs
Patriots over Dolphins
Steelers over Raiders
Saints over Redskins
Panthers over Buccaneers
Chargers over Browns
Cowboys over Giants
49ers over Seahawks

*Upset Special* Texans over Jaguars

Sunday Night Football: Vikings over Arizona
Monday Night Football: Packers over Ravens

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You're Welcome: I'm Thankful For Football

I'll start this week by picking the NFL Thursday Night game with the Bills over the Jets. Now here is the weekly You're Welcome post!

1. Vince Young: This one could probably be chalked up for the entire Titan team, and even the owner who kicked this off by asking for Young to replace aging vet Kerry Collins. Young is now playing a style of football that suits him more, with option plays and shotgun passing systems like the ones in Texas. He recently set a career high in passing yards. He also led a 99 yard game winning TD drive against the Cardinals at home. I hate announcers that say "he just wins" or "hes a competitor" but he has taken steps to show he is maturing and could be the QB of the future for the Titans or possibly another team.

2. New Orleans Saints: Putting away doubts about if you're the real deal is always tough when your a team that has been pitiful for the majority of their existence. By beating the Patriots by 21 on Monday Night Football will do the trick most of the time. Maybe the Pats have slipped a bit and aren't the team we are all used to but they are still a top 10 team in the NFL. The Saints now have a lot to play for at the end of the year, trying to distance themselves from the Vikings for home field advantage. They have a surprisingly potent defense and a legendary offense that could score on about anyone. They have only a few losable games before the playoffs when they are going to be the favorites. We could certainly see a New Orleans Super Bowl appearance.

3. BCS Busters: TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati all have taken care of business (the Bearcats still have Pitt to take care of to get the Big East title) and avoided upsets that would have left them in a bowl that they are more accustomed to. The only way a playoff system will ever be implemented is if we see a Cinncy vs Boise State National Title game. I know it is unrealistic that we will ever see a playoff system (since the SEC title game is a playoff) and the money tied up in the Bowl games. Its always fun to root for the underdog and see how far they can go with none of the perks big programs enjoy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Best Sports Bars In Kalamazoo

This article I will go a little off topic and talk about restaurants and sports bars around the Kalamazoo area. I have no formal training in rating restaurants (except for a few classes in the honorable Professor Howard Dooley’s History classes) but I do think I know my way around a sports bar. I will rank the bars with four stars in the topics of Food, Atmosphere, Sports viewing and Prices.


Food: Three and a half stars

Atmosphere: Three stars

Sports Viewing: Two stars

Prices: Three stars

Burdick’s is one of the hot spots in Kalamazoo for the half off students Wednesday nights and Sundays. The food is very good but the half off menu is slightly limited. The drinks are all half price too. If you can catch a TV it is great to watch a game but otherwise the viewing isn’t the best. The place really isn’t designed to be a sports bar, but a bar and restaurant that has sports. I like going here but for the prices and food, not the sports. If you are going to catch a game, you can do better.

Wayside West

Food: Three and a half stars

Atmosphere: Three and a half stars

Sports Viewing: Three and a half stars

Prices: Two and a half stars

Wayside West is huge and has some of the biggest TVs (projectors) around. It has really good food and service but the deals are almost drink only. I always go to one of these places to eat, so if you’re like me it could be counted as a strike. The place is electric on game day be it college (I go there to watch Big Ten games on Big Ten Network since my cable doesn’t carry it) and plenty of fans go. You can’t go wrong with this place, especially if money is not an issue.


Food: Three stars

Atmosphere: Three stars

Sports Viewing: Two stars

Prices: Three and a half stars

One of the bars I have been to a lot to catch Sunday Night Football games with my friends, I know this place pretty well. The food is good and the prices are good, the best bet is half off appetizers on Mondays. It is a bit of a drive down I-94 but it’s a solid choice. They probably have the best dessert out of all the restaurants if that is big for you. The atmosphere is more bar than sports bar but I enjoy going here.

The Grotto At Capone’s

Food: Three stars

Atmosphere: Three stars

Sports Viewing: Three stars

Prices: Three stars

The Grotto has pretty good prices on food and good specials on everything. They have a cleaner atmosphere in case you are not into smokier places. The big screen HD TVs flanks the walls and the food is solid. The place isn’t bad but isn’t outstanding. If you want to go to a place with great pizza or want a break from something this is a good place. This is more of a bar than a place to watch a game. It is a cool place to shoot pool though. Solid choice.

Big Deal’s

Food: Four stars

Atmosphere: Three and a half stars

Sports Viewing: Four stars

Prices: Three and a half stars

I have only been here a few times but for all the hype it had it lived up to it. They have 32 big screen TVs and artificial turf floors really add to the experience. They will turn it on any sport you will like, and if you have more than one at a time (like me with the MLS Cup, Sunday Night Football, Pistons Basketball and highlights from the NFL action of the day) they will set that up for you too. The food is very good and at a good price especially if you use the student packet coupons. They have every sports package as well, but that should be standard for any bar. This place is just opening and still finding its footing but is starting off well. It had a lot of people in it when I stopped in. The menu is your basic sports bar cuisine without desserts (not cool) and limited drink selection. All around the best sports venue in Kalamazoo right now. A few changes can be made but this should be the standard for everyone else to strive towards.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The State Of Football In Michigan

As we look at the state of football in Michigan, I will examine the college and professional ranks and compare it to other times. At its peak in the 1950’s, MSU was winning national titles and the Lions NFL championships. At its worse, Michigan and Eastern Michigan were awful and the Lions went winless.


University Of Michigan: This is a program that is in transition, maybe transitioning again. They have missed a bowl two years in a row which robs teams of extra practice time, revenue and recruiting. They have some promising youngsters but their defense is losing a lot in graduation and the NFL. I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with Tate Forcier as I do if he wasn’t a stuck up whiny arrogant jerk. I never treated Chad Henne the way I treat Forcier. And don’t say “he’s just a freshman”, you crowned him a savior, so deal with it. This is a program that needs to make up its mind if RichRod is the next Bo or your John L. Smith. Your AD is gone. I think that RichRod will have to go at least 8-4 to keep his job. That being said, you don’t want to turn into Notre Dame and fire a coach every three years.

Michigan State: Man, where do I begin. I love Dantonio. I believe he is the right man for the job. I am in no way calling for his job, or even Narduzzi’s. But there were some serious coaching mistakes this year. I’ll make my stance very clear. I would have in no way allowed Glenn Winston back on the team this year. I would have redshirted him, allowed him to come back to school and the team and practiced to stay in shape and see what he can do if he was on his best behavior the whole year. I don’t care how talented he is. He was our best kick returner (until Keyshawn Martin came around) and the toughest power runner. Now he is kicked off the team. Now he is an embarrassment to the entire program, along with Jenrette. He should have never been given a second chance, and I have been saying that since he was reinstated. The QB situation was horribly mishandled and cost the Spartans at least the Central game. Putting Nichol in after Cousins made a highlight play is stupid. They shuttled in with little or no reasoning behind it. After Cousins separated himself from Nichol it got a little better but not much. The secondary was atrocious all year with that being Dantonio’s specialty that’s upsetting. The team had many boneheaded penalties and too many penalties as well. That’s not supposed to happen to a disciplined team like MSU wants to be. At least we made a bowl and made it three in a row. At least we beat Michigan and most of the teams we should, and we have a young core of very good talent to build around. But this year was disappointing.

Western Michigan: Talk about disappointment. We went from 9-3 with a great team led by a veteran QB and RB to a 5-7 team that couldn’t beat anybody decent. We did win some close games and play well at home but lost two games we should have won that would have lifted us to a bowl. The Indiana game was tough because we were so close to winning. The rest of our losses were brutal and you could tell how young our team was. Now next year will prove difficult with a road trip to Notre Dame and Hiller and West graduating. Maybe some of Cubit’s recruits can come through and get this team back to a bowl game.

Eastern Michigan: You guys were awful before and are still awful now. Maybe Ron English can turn this around and win more than 3 games a year. I don’t know what this team has to do besides get better recruits, but if they are going to strike, now is the time, with the rest of the MAC West taking a step back.

Central Michigan: State Champs by far. They beat every team in the state besides Michigan, and I have confidence they would win even in Ann Arbor. The upset MSU with a thrilling come from behind field goal after a miraculous onside kick recovery. They took care of business against the pathetic Eagles and on the road against arch rival WMU. This season will turn out to be what many people thought, a trip to the MAC Championship game against Ohio and a chance a better bowl than the Pizza Pizza! Bowl has them contracted to. But this season was one lost, as Dan Lefevour should have produced more. There is no reason this team couldn’t be like Ball State last year and go into this game undefeated and make a very solid bowl. Still a great season for a program that has really become the best in the MAC.

Professional: The Rampage folded with the rest of the Arena Football league and Michigan was not given another franchise in the new launch league. The Kalamazoo Xplosion, the most successful professional team in Michigan, folded. Now we are left with just the Lions.

Detroit Lions: The season is not over technically, but we have found out a lot about the Lions. They are more talented and are better coached. They have a good GM that drafts well (so far, finding gems Levy and Brown) and will pull off moves trading and waiver wire to make this team better. Stafford and Pettigrew have looked very good at times, battling through injuries, and Delmas looks like a future Pro-Bowler. This team just needs more playing time for its young players and more talent overall. A few more drafts and this could be a playoff team. I haven’t believed in a QB, Head Coach and GM in oh, forever in Detroit. It could be a couple more tough seasons but we should see more and more progress until this team is winning.

Overall: The state is on the way up. Central needs to keep winning and Eastern, Western and Michigan need to consistently win and get better. MSU needs to string together more successful seasons or it will be no more a threat in the Big Ten then Northwestern. Do we really need an Arena team? In a word, no. The Lions need a lot more work but seem to be heading in the right direction. The state of football is much better than last year and should improve next year as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NFL Picks Week 12

Already missed my upset special and have gone 1-2 so far this week, 6-6 in Upset Specials overall. Here is the rest of the picks for the week.

Falcons over Buccaneers
Dolphins over Bills
Bengals over Browns
Seahawks over Rams
Jets over Panthers
Eagles over Redskins
Colts over Texans
Chargers over Chiefs
49ers over Jaguars
Cardinals over Titans
Vikings over Bears

Sunday Night Football: Ravens over Steelers
Monday Night Football: Saints over Patriots

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You're Welcome: Football and Fùtbol

This week's You're Welcome comes with a bonus 3 picks for the Thanksgiving day pigskin lineup. I am a big fan of carrying three games on the holiday, with the prime time game being added. I should be watching a lot of football and eating amazing food all weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thanksgiving Football:
Packers over Lions
*Upset Special* Raiders over Cowboys
Giants over Broncos

1. Matt Stafford: I have been singing his praises all week with an impressive gutsy win over the Browns. I know it was over an awful team and it doesn't matter and no one cares and blah blah blah but he impressed me enough to change my mind about drafting him. I wanted to take Aaron Curry so bad or Jason Smith or even considered Mark Sanchez to be a solid option. But after seeing 10 games of football, I realized I am very wrong. His mobility and arm strength are good enough to be an elite NFL player. His accuracy is improving and his grit and leadership are showing a team and a city with a culture of losing that he will do all he can physically to take them to victories. Once the talent level around him improves, we could see a special player. And we can all say we saw it start in a meaningless game in late November.

2. Real Salt Lake: I am a Galaxy fan since they have my favorite player Landon Donovan (because of his work for the US National team) plays for them. I watched the entire MLS Cup match (Eagles vs Bears? yawn) and saw an early goal by LA set the tone for the game. RSL went into the playoffs with a sub .500 record and play their way into the final, defeating league juggernauts LA and Columbus. They have certainly earned this title and earned the win. But it is hard to overlook how LA blew their chance to be champs. They have the two best players in the league (Beckham and Donovan) and were red hot in the second half once Beckham committed to the team. After scoring first, they gave up a tough goal, lost their goalkeeper and took the game into penalty kicks. Donovan whiffed on a shot and RSL buried a shot to get the Cup. The MLS is as entertaining as ever, and RSL is its perfect champ, a tough comeback kid reaching their goal.

3. Chris Johnson: Probably the best Running Back in the league has been tearing the league up in Tennessee's 4 game winning streak. He is on pace to beat Eric Dickerson's rushing title and tear up defenses the rest of the way with Vince Young leading an offensive attack better than the aging Kerry Collins was. Young's running of the option only will only help Johnson put up huge numbers. He has track speed and can start and stop on a dime. He definitely has some Barry Sanders moves and I would take him over AD because he fumbles less and has more home run power. Plus Peterson has an all world O-line and more balanced attack. Plus he plays the Lions and Bears 4 times. Johnson won't beat Dickerson's record but he will keep churning out huge yardage.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gutsy Win Over Cleveland, Weston Corbitt, Spark Staffordmania

After a super gutsy win in Detroit, Matthew Stafford has been getting some respect around the league. Countless TV shows, a YouTube video (I highly suggest) have been put out to show the manliness of number 9. I am sure we will see some Matt Stafford facts soon too. Like Matthew Stafford can throw a football through a brick wall, Matthew Stafford can drink a keg in an hour and it only makes him blink, Matthew Stafford can lead a horse to water, and have him drink and lead the Lions to a victory. Its cool to be excited about a young QB. Maybe we are on to something here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Detroit Lions Have Turned The Corner

The Lions probably won't win another game all year. They beat an awful Cleveland Browns team by one point, at home. They almost got blown out and almost lost after retaking the lead. They played fairly bad the whole second half. We have won a game already this season. That was an end of an era. This is the turning point for the franchise. Other Lions teams would have folded and been all right losing in a blow out. You came out and honored past greats, won a game this year, so who cares?

Down 24-3 late in first quarter and the offense looking lost, the team could have been stupid with the football and throw all over the place. But Stafford looked calm and poised and delivered the ball with arm strength and accuracy. He threw 2 ugly interceptions into coverage but threw 5 TD passes (a rookie record) and put the team on his back. He took shots all game and scrambled for precious extra yards. He was injured when he threw the game winning touchdown pass to Brandon Pettigrew. Pettigrew grew up just as much as when he took pass after pass and ran for tough yardage. His hands looked great. The young core of talent is really starting to take shape for Detroit. Give Schwartz and Mayhew time and some more drafts and this team will win. Period.

I was wrong with Stafford. I know he threw 5 TDs against the Browns, but his toughness, leadership, guts and mobility were all on display today. His accuracy and understanding of the NFL is evident. We will go as far as he does. He has rare arm strength. Aaron Curry can't lead a team to a win. Jason Smith can't inspire a team to a win. Stafford has the right mindset and all the talent in the world. Hopefully the city of Detroit will look past his 41.7 million dollar guaranteed contract and see the tough leader he is with so much potential. He is what the city of Detroit must do. Battered and beat, with the world on top of you and all the pressure in the world you need to make a comeback and battle through and take the win no matter how tough it is. You need to sacrifice even more than you have now and take what is yours. This is an epic win for the Lions, and something to build on. Enjoy this win, but expect more losses. But the Lions are battling their way back to the top, one game at a time.

NFL Picks Week 11

I have clawed my way back to .500 in my Upset Special picks. I started the year with 4 straight losses. My overall record is 98-46 after a solid 12 win weekend. Here are the picks for the week.

Panthers over Dolphins (I made this pick, incorrectly, on Twitter on Thursday)
Cowboys over Redskins
Lions over Browns
Packers over 49ers
Steelers over Chiefs
Vikings over Seahawks
Giants over Falcons
Saints over Buccaneers
Jaguars over Bills
Colts over Ravens
Cardinals over Rams
Broncos over Chargers
Bengals over Raiders
Patriots over Jets

Sunday Night Football: Eagles over Bears

Monday Night Football: *Upset Special* Titans over Texans

Friday, November 20, 2009

You're Welcome: The Saga Continues

Sorry for the delay in this week's You're Welcome. College and waiting on a new laptop set me back a few days. Also, I hope you are following my Twitter page to get links to my blog and other updates, such as picking Thursday Night Football games (I took the Panthers last night, oops). Anyway, here is my new blog.

1. Brett Swenson: You're team needed you more than ever in a game that would lock up a bowl bid. I have little confidence in the Spartans winning at home against Penn State. So in a playoff game against giant killer Purdue you hit 4 out of 4 field goals including two 50+ yarders. Swenson is the best kicker in the nation and would love him on my pro team. He has shown how clutch he is and how strong his leg is. The Spartans would have lost more than a few games without him in his four years in Green and White.

2. Stanford Cardinals: Stanford is legit. They have a very realistic shot at winning the Pac-10, the first team to win it other than USC since 1947. I love how Harbaugh ran up the score against the Trojans and kicked a team when they are very down. The magic is over for USC. Sure, they'll be back but a Frosh starting QB and losing 8 defensive players to the NFL would decimate any college team. The Cards have a very talented freshman QB in Andrew Luck and if Harbaugh sticks around (I'm sure he will) they could be a very solid program.

3. Indianapolis Colts: You beat your rival (AGAIN) and stole a game from Captain Cut Off when he made a call many have discussed all week. It was a good call but even a better effort by the Colts. Manning had a pretty normal game until the fourth quarter when he went Tom Brady on the Pats. Manning is the best QB in the league right now. If you need a comeback win, a blowout, a perfect pass, a fantasy QB, hes your guy. Now, your in the driver seat and can win home field and make everybody come through Indy. Not bad for a rookie HC and the loss of so much, like a Hall of Fame wide receiver.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Belicheck Right On With Call, Other NFL News

I agree with Bill Belicheck. I am not going crazy, trust me. I never thought I would say this, or Tater Tot for Heisman or Brett Favre has integrity or Megan Fox is an average looking young lady. But sometimes you just got to support a guy when he makes a gutsy call. He knew if he gave Manning the ball anywhere on the field that he would lose. It didn't matter if it was the Colts 30 or the Pats 30. The only way he could guarantee that the Colts wouldn't get the ball back was converting a short 4th down conversion with his excellent offense. He almost made it if Kevin Faulk could make a catch he usually does. Then we would all be praising the call that Belicheck made. I don't think we should always judge a play call or anything like that on result. Go back to Michigan vs Michigan State in 2008 at Michigan Stadium. MSU had a chance to seal the win in Wolverine territory instead of playing it safe. But Dantonio was going for the jugular and trying to beat a team that had won countless times in a row against MSU, mostly in dramatic fashion. He smelled blood and went for the win. Lets say Javon Ringer got stuffed on that 4th down. I would have still loved the call because of all it stood for and all the confidence behind it. I know the talk show circuit will blow up with this all day but he made the right decision.

Other NFL thoughts:

I hate picking football games involving the Jets or Panthers. Jacksonville is playing decent and flying under the radar. They need a big win to get some attention. Sims-Walker is the best WR they have. If you saw Denver losing to the Redskins without Clinton Portis yesterday, go play the lotto. The Lions played well and especially Stafford considering he was banged up and his knee doesn't look right. He has better mobility than I thought and seemed to learn from his mistakes after throwing 5 picks. Pettigrew needs to put it together and not lead the league in drops. I thought he went to Oklahoma State, not Michigan State. Go Ravens tonight to cap off a 12-3 week picking games, including another upset special (5-5, 5-1 in the last 6) with the Packers beating the red hot Cowboys.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NFL Pick Week 10

I had a brutal week outside of hitting another upset special. If I hit my upset special this week I go to .500 on the season after starting with 4 straight losses. My overall record is 87-43. Now for some picks!

Niners over Bears (check my Yahoo Fantasy page if you don't believe me, I got this right, I'll make any Thursday Night Football posts earlier next time)

Titans over Bills
Saints over Rams
Dolphins over Buccaneers
Vikings over Lions
Jets over Jaguars
Bengals over Steelers
Broncos over Redskins
Falcons over Panthers
Chiefs over Raiders
Cardinals over Seahawks
Chargers over Eagles

*Upset Special* Packers over Cowboys

Sunday Night Football: Colts over Patriots
Monday Night Football: Ravens over Browns

Friday, November 13, 2009

Around The Sports World

Steve Yzerman has recently gone on record saying he regrets coming back to the NHL after the lockout. I know it sounds selfish, but I think Yzerman made the right call coming back and giving the fans of the Red Wings something to hope for in seeing one of the greatest hockey players win one more Cup. I never knew the super scoring sweet skating young Yzerman many remember from the Dead Things era. I only remember a man who went out and played in great pain most nights leading a team to victory. The warrior he was and always will be was something to be proud of in Hockeytown. He was so relatable to so many people in Motown by his work ethic and unselfishness towards his organization, his gritty determination and how humble he was. The rebirth of a city and hockey team came under his leadership after so many years of losing. I am glad he walked away from the game when he wanted and was around for me to enjoy him play all those years. I will always be grateful for him coming back after the lockout ruined an entire winter for so many fans.

Tate Forcier may transfer out of Michigan. RichRod may leave. It is all rumors now, but lets look at the state of this program. They are asking for patience from the fans. When is that ever a good thing? When does that ever end well? How the mighty have fallen. Forcier can transfer. It is obvious he isn't the same player who can shred MAC teams we saw earlier this year. Boy he looks killer against Indiana. Yeah he probably will win the Heisman and be the next Tim Tebow. I've got to be wrong. He has an awesome website to "help future recruits" and talk about how humble he is. People sure weren't over reacting after his second career start. Have Devan Gardner start next year. He committed (and recommitted after reports came out about how he decommitted) and said he would enroll in the spring to get extra work. Losing Forcier's stupid fumbles and poor play wouldn't hurt this team. Their offense has to be even better since their defense could be all time bad next year. Sure, let RichRod recruit little fast guys for his defense. Keep telling yourself it will work Michigan fans. Keep believing Bill Martin that Rodriguez is the guy. He was your third choice but that's ok. I mean its not like you passed over Brian Kelly who is winning in Cinncinati. Having Lloyd Carr was so much worse than this.

Jay Cutler isn't that bad. You have to remember he is playing on a team with his top receiver is a converted Cornerback and kick returner. Give him time, he is a gunslinger on an awfully over hyped team. Their defense is very old and injured. This is a team that will be rebuilding over the next few years. I think Lovie Smith should be fired. He went to one Super Bowl (I know I am making that sound small since I would love a playoff appearance from Schwartz.) and hasn't done much else since. His defense has been awful most of the time. It is going to be worse. Hire Shanahan, a Chicago native who has a good relationship with Jay Cutler. Give it a few years and see what happens. You're better off with Cutler than without him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You're Welcome!: Veteran's Days Edition

I would like to start this post with a few things unrelated to sports. Not often do I go beyond the realm of sports in my writings, but today is a special occasion.

I would like to thank Michigan State University for a very pleasant weekend in East Lansing. MSU fans were very gracious and eager to chat during the game about both teams. They made us feel welcome. They expected to win more games this year than they did, but in my opinion they acted like real champions. I cannot speak so highly of the Wolverine fans. More time seemed to be spent harassing guests of your school than watching the game. Of course it wasn't everyone but it was enough that I'm not sure I'll want to spend my hard earned money on another unpleasant afternoon next time. Until next year Spartans. Pride comes before the fall Michigan.

Not only today, Veteran's day but every day, I'd like to thank the men and women of the military for the great job they do. Having known a few servicemen in my time, I would like to thank them all. Jeff Sr. and Jeff Jr., father and brother of one of my good friends. Steve, a paratrooper, there at the opening campaign. Derrick, helicopter parts, came under attack during a downtime football game. And James, multiple deployments- 3 purple hearts. Lost friends and time with his family. Any gifts we sent, letters, food, toiletries meant so much to them and they appreciate everything. We've grown so close to him, his wife and 2 young children that we've declared ourselves Family. He is now a recruiter, helping to guide our future soldiers. And to everyone serving our country, thank you and stay safe until you all come home.

Now for some sports!

You're Welcome!

1. Navy Midshipman: Just two years ago you ended the longest and toughest losing streak any rival has ever endured. It was one of the best games I have ever seen, with an amazing flying sack by Ram Vella and the Overtime clincher of Navy stuffing ND short on a 2 point conversion. Sure, the Fighting Dames of Notre are much more talented now, but Navy still finds a way. I love watching the triple option, it won't win you National Championships but it is very hard to prepare for and gives Navy a "decisive schematic advantage" (take that Charlie!). Navy usually makes a bowl game and has a nice upset or two while playing a independent schedule. They held on to win by two but it was not that close. I love seeing military academies win and Notre Dame lose. How perfect!

2. Purdue Boilermakers: This weekend you came back and defeated Michigan making it the first time you have beaten Michigan twice in a row and at Ann Arbor since 1966 (Bob Griese Rose Bowl days, then his son went to Michigan, ironic) and defeated Ohio State and Michigan in the same season since 2000 with Drew Brees. In a season you were left for dead with a new coach, somehow you kept fighting lost a couple close games (Notre Dame being a painful memory for Purdue) and have an outside shot for a bowl. After having a tough few campaigns, this program could be moving back in the right direction. I love teams who show great effort and drive in the face of adversity with everything on the line.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Half of me wanted the Bucs to win a game this season (not against my Super Bowl pick Green Bay Packers of course), and not go 0-16 and feel the pain and frustration I felt. But half of me wanted to be let off the hook and have someone else be labeled the worst team ever. There were a lot of candidates this year (My Lions) Bucs, Rams, Browns and Chiefs. The Browns are awful and look to go in another direction again. They don't play for their coach and are one of the worst offensive teams ever. The Bucs, in their creamsicle uniforms, first start for a rookie QB and a winless rookie coach pulled out a win over the very disappointing Packers. Now, you're off the hook. Enjoy it now, because in a few weeks, when you drop some more games you'll feel as bad as you did before. Trust me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NFL Picks Week 9

I hit another upset special in the Titans winning a game against Jacksonville. I am 3-5 in my upset specials, but 3-1 since starting 0-4. My overall record is 79-36 on the year. Now time for some picks.

Falcons over Redskins
Bears over Cardinals
Ravens over Bengals
Colts over Texans
Patriots over Dolphins
Packers over Buccaneers
Jaguars over Chiefs
Saints over Panthers
Seahawks over Lions
Giants over Chargers
49ers over Titans

Sunday Night Football *Upset Special*: Cowboys over Eagles

Monday Night Football: Broncos over Steelers

Friday, November 6, 2009

WMU vs MSU: Who Wants (Needs) It More?

This weekend Western squares off with a Michigan State team still trying to claw its way back to winning. Western was beaten in Kent State in a must win game. MSU was beaten in Minnesota in a tough loss. Both teams need to win out to have a bowl game locked. This game was supposed to be played in Ford Field (like the game last year where WMU was victorious over Illinois) but was switched to East Lansing last summer.

Western has beaten two Big Ten teams trying to get to a bowl the last two years. Iowa (in Iowa, always a tough place to play) and Illinois at Ford Field. They are having an up and down season, playing a lot of close games and missing out on a win in Indiana. They are getting healthier and late season non conference games are always a good way to re-focus.

MSU has come off two very tough losses but come back home in a game they should win. They are playing better than their record indicates. They seem to have figure out (somewhat) their offensive identity and QB situation.

How WMU can win: Get ahead early, and make this a shootout. Your defense has not played well all year, but your offense is good enough to score a ton of points on the questionable MSU secondary. The Broncos will have to avoid penalties and turnovers, as MSU will make you pay more than Buffalo or Indiana. Running the ball shouldn't be too effective with LBs Eric Gordon and Greg Jones their to stop you. You'll have to make big plays and make MSU settle for field goals. The weather should be nice and won't be a factor.

How WMU can lose: Play sloppy, get behind early and have Tim Hiller throw 45+ times. Their has to be balance but obviously passing is more important. Having the young wideouts WMU does, MSU could take advantage of that. You'll have to protect Hiller from pressure since he isn't very mobile. The defense could get torched by Cousins or put in bad situations from Nichol.

How MSU can win: Pound the ball all day with your talented freshman RB Baker and Caper. Have Cousins make big plays in the passing attack and bring out some trick plays to confuse the young Bronco defense. You have the best special teams in the Big Ten, so use them. Play solid bend but don't break defense and force Hiller to beat you. Win a game your supposed to.

How MSU can lose: Play sloppy, put in Nichol at wrong times and try to pass your way to a win. If your defense is getting torched, move out of the base 4-3. Not bringing pressure to an immobile QB is ridiculous. Just play solid.

Verdict: I want to pick WMU, as history is on their side in playing Big Ten teams in November in the Cubit era. The Broncos have beaten a big name program almost every year Cubit has been coach. Both teams have a lot to play for in so far disappointing seasons. I think MSU gets the best of their MAC opponent. I may have picked the Broncos if it was at Ford Field or MSU was rolling along and looking past this game.

Final: MSU 37 WMU 21