Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Mom's First Year In Fantasy Football: A Housewife's Guide

I asked my mom to play in my fantasy football league this year, for the fun mother-son bonding experience.  And since it was her first year, I gave her some of my best magazines and told her to have fun.  Now here is some of her advice to give us all to think about next year.

  I have as much skill in picking winners in football games as I do for driving the big rig in Alaska. But Weston asked, so here goes.

   1.  Pick teams you like. You probably will be irritated if you pick a team you really don't like and they go on to win the super bowl. At least if your team loses you can always say that they will be better next year. Like- This is the Lion's rebuilding millennium.

   2.  Pick teams that have major players with names the same as your best friend, brothers or maybe your pet. Unless your dog is named Fluffy or Princess.

   3.  Don't be a fair weather fan. If you disliked the Cowboys in the beginning of the year don't start saying how you were sure they could pull it out at the end of the year. (Editor's note: my mom hates the Cowboys)

   4. Your Mom's favorite team is your favorite team. Especially if she gives you money or bakes you cookies. (Editor's note:  my mom makes the best everything.)

   5. Unless you have a girlfriend. Then her favorite team is your favorite team. But tell your Mom you still think she is right. Just quietly.

   6.  Don't take it so seriously. Unless it's your job or you are trying to make it your job. Have fun. Does it really matter if you pick the winner? (Editor's note: Yes.)

   7.  And if your going to have a party, clean your apartment.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Improvement Is Real

I worship Mike Valenti.  Hes almost always right, especially about college football.  And when I said the Lions were improving earlier this season, losing by less than a touchdown every week instead of being blown out every week.  He said the Lions were just good enough to lose, and that isn't good enough.

But he was right, not only were we just good enough to lose, but they were still behind almost the whole league in every statistical category, and losing games in dumb ways.  Sure, they lost close games, but they should have won many of them.  And good teams don't do that.

At the same time, Valenti pointed out how great Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez looked, and how hurt Stafford was all the time.  He had some points, Stafford was hurt constantly and Sanchez was playing well.  Sanchez was handed a Super Bowl team, and when he plays  above average teams, he tends to struggle.  Bradford is more impressive to me.  Despite having no receivers, he puts up solid numbers and is going to lead his team to the playoffs, in the worst division of all time.  I'm still hoping Stafford just re injured his shoulder twice, after coming back too soon to play against the Redskins.  Its a possibility, and may mean he isn't injury prone, but it is still a concern.

But the Lions have proved everybody wrong by getting hot down the stretch and beating good teams to show with no doubt they are improving.  Wins over two teams struggling to make the playings, and one over a team that just can't win at home.  And they are winning without many of their starters.  This much is clear, Schwartz and Mayhew have found some good depth, found some difference making starters, and are changing the culture in Detroit.  We have seen many teams finish a season well and go on to bigger or better things.  For example, the 2008 Packers built a foundation for making the playoffs the next year.  The Lions are going to attract better free agents, and with another good draft, and a little luck the playoffs aren't out of the realm of possibility.

I do not want to play the what if game, because its a complete fan thing to do, but with Stafford healthy all year, and if the refs got the call right in Week 1, the Lions would be battling for a playoff spot right now with the Giants and Packers, not battling the Vikings for 3rd place in the division.  A healthy Stafford is key, and improving the offensive line is vital.  Backus and Peterman must go.  Backus has let up too many kill shot sacks, getting all three QBs hurt, and Peterman has had one dumb penalty after another.  I like Sims, Raiola is still solid, and Hilliard is filling in very nicely at Right Tackle with Cherilus out with injury.  Next year I propose a why the heck not plan.  Let Cherilus and Backus try to win their jobs, but take an OT early, then a new RG soon after that.  Let Cherilus save his job anyway possible.  Try him at RG, LT, whatever.  Then, if he can't play, or Backus can't be moved cut them.  That is why we have Hilliard, and why we drafted Jake Fox.  They aren't working, so make them work or else.

After hitting rock bottom, the Lions are climbing their way back to the top of the standings, improving in every area and winning with backups.  The fan base is believing again, and the course is set.  Now we just have to hit on a few more draft picks, sign some more players and keep playing winning football.  The rest will take care of itself.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Awful Politics of The BCS

My finals are all done, and my computer has been fixed to optimum blogging efficiency.  Now with some time off, let the ranting begin!

Bowl season is supposed to separate great teams from the good, give us a national champion, and continue the wonderful pageantry of college football.  Now, more than ever, college football is big business and some of their actions would make the NFL say enough.  Sadly, college football has ruined most of what made college football great, all for a few dollars more (great Clint Eastwood reference by me).

Remember when the Rose Bowl was the biggest bowl game, and it was always the Pac-10 champ vs the Big Ten champ?  It was still like that when I was a kid.  Now it has been made into a money making glorified exhibition.  TCU is playing in it this season.  Sure, Oregon, the Pac-10 champions, are playing for the National title, but Stanford is a more than worthy candidate.  But as a consolation prize for another fraud mid major, Big Ten fans (who are constantly beat up) has to watch another Rose Bowl with a dumb match up.  Ruin the Fiesta Bowl, don't touch the sacred games.

I don't want to come off as an old fashioned fan who doesn't know how things work.  I know money is key, and these match ups are over who will sell tickets and spend money in the area.  But why is a 8-4 Temple team, who beat the BCS Bound UConn Huskies (another joke, the Big East getting a automatic bid and now with TCU joining, that joke will only get worse) not going bowling, but more than one less deserving 6-6 team get to go?  There are far too many bowls.  35 games, 70 teams and this year 72 teams were eligible.  One of those were my Broncos.  You don't even have to beat half of the Division I teams you play anymore.  All you have to do is front load your schedule with cupcakes and you're in.  You are rewarded for being mediocre. and given cash to celebrate you being average.

I know they will never eliminate Bowl games.  It happens rarely, and they are usually replaced by some other .com sponsored event.  Some new ideas are interesting, for example the bowl in Yankee Stadium, and I am a fan of having a separate national title game.  But the bowls are well set up for a playoff.  We won't get a playoff, not until enough people are upset, or we see an embarrassing title game, for example Boise State and TCU squaring off in the What else is on TV Bowl.  Until then we will have to suffer.  I would love college football even more if they had a playoff.  Every other sport does it, but because of dumb rules and cash college football is

Monday, November 29, 2010

You're Welcome! Big Ten Champs!

1. Steve Stamkos:  One of the best young players in the NHL is finally getting the recognition he deserves.  Barry Melrose didn't play him because he thought he wasn't NHL ready, then he gets the most goals in the league.  Now that clown Melrose is on ESPN's pitiful hockey coverage and Stamkos is making every shot imaginable for the Lightning.  Hes only 20 and hes improving and Steve could be the new face of the league for many fans, not the unlikable Crosby.  

2. MSU Spartan football:  In a roller coaster season, the Spartans won an Overtime game in a I-guess-they-aren't-so-bad Notre Dame team, only to lose their coach for a few weeks with a heart attack.  Then the Spartans upset Wisconsin with Don "The Tread" Treadwell.  Then they steamrolled lesser teams with Dantonio returning (including a third straight against the Wolverines, twice in their house) to finish the season with the most wins since 1999.  It looks like the Capital One Bowl again (oh darn) against the SEC (my pick, South Carolina)  in a return to playing on New Year's Day.  The only thing that could be sweeter is if the Spartans snapped their streak and won a bowl, over a quality opponent, to shut up the critics who said the Spartans only beat bad teams.  A Cinderella year that was huge for everyone involved.  Remember when everybody said Dantonio had to win this year to prove he can be a difference maker?  That seems ages ago.  The talented young Spartans should be challenging for the Big Ten title next year, when we don't have to share it with anybody. 

3. Chicago Bears:  Don't get to excited.  Sure, the Bears look improved, and many things are going right.  But this is a typical Bears playoff season.  Their defense improves to the point of respectability.  Their special teams steals a few games for them, and their offense puts together a few good weeks to make people think they are something special.  They got a win week 1 from the refs, and they beat the pitiful Panthers with Todd Collins throwing for about 30 yards and a pick.  They get all the bounces and the coach (this time its Smith, last time it was Smith, before that it was Jauron) looks like a genius.  Even Marinelli and Martz, the worst two hires of the decade, will get credit for the new resurgence.  Here, I'll look into my crystal ball to tell you how this ends up.  They will probably make the playoffs, I think Wild Card, vs a team like Seattle.  They win that game, beating maybe the worst playoff team in the past five years.  Then they meet the Falcons in the playoffs.  Cutler gets killed and turns the ball over 5 times against a mediocre Falcon D, and the defense and special teams can't bail them out.  They lose 35-14, Turner runs for 150 yards, and the Bears look forward to next year, when not everything falls into play and they go 5-11.  Write it down. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Scientific Study: A Look Into the Evolution of a Michigan Fan

Today we will take a look at a Michigan Fan, who has evolved faster than Caterpie (Gotta Catch em all!) in the last decade.  Lets look at the stages, shall we?

The Unbearable A-Hole:  (Michiganus Buttholeus): This breed of Michigan fan won't ever die out, but was more relevant around 1995-2007.  They talked mostly about stuff that happened before they were born, and put a lot of faith in running game and defense, which has gone the way of the Dodo.  A half a national title increased their numbers, with the hiring of a spread coach hurting their population.

The Trying To Be Educated Fan: (Michiganus Dontknownothingus)  Their calls include "Denard should win the Heisman, but he is a sophomore and won't" or "the Spread is the future of football"  or "the defense needs more players."  They try to sound smart and objective, but in the end rely on dumb websites and stupid sports writers to formulate seemingly unorthodox opinions which in fact, sound good, but are dumb.

The Infamous Wal-Mart Wolverine:  (Michiganus Bandwagonus Walmartus)  This is the most prevalent breed, these Wolverines never went to the University, or any university for that matter.  This species is highly concentrated in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Saginaw, and most rural communities with their watering hole, Wal-Mart.  They talk a big game, with little or no stats to back them up besides National Titles won before the forward pass.  They differ from the Spartans fans who do not attend MSU by obviously nobody would enjoy Spartan football for the past decade.  They do not root for a university because it is easy, or fun, but for the love of the game.  The Wal-Mart Wolverine are rumored to be able to survive a Nuclear War, making life miserable for the cockroaches.

The Respectable Level Headed Smart Wolverine: (Michiganus Unicornus)  They are rumored to exist, but not have been seen.  May have been around at some point, but were cannibalized by other fans.

The New Breed Wolverine (Michiganus Eightandfourisgoodenoughus) These Wolverines exploded in population since the hiring of Rodriguez.  After being told putting in a system will take time but pay off, they devolved due to lack of success.  Things that would have caused illness in 1998 were now accepted into everyday life.  High scoring games, little or no defense, a crappy running game, no vertical passing, scandals for the head coach, no bowl games were all forbidden until sacrifices were made to try and improve for the future.  Winning 7 or 8 games used to be not good enough, and led to the firing of Lloyd Carr, is now reason for excitement.  Not making a bowl or beating a team that is any good is now an acceptable way of life.  Michigan State has become a large rival, and beating OSU isn't high on their priorities.  Now, going to the Pizza Pizza! Bowl is reason for excitement.  They could cross breed with Wal-Mart Wolverines to create the worse fans in the world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You're Welcome: Sunday Morning Edition

Before I watch the excellence in journalism of the Ford Lion's Report, I will relaunch You're Welcome with a vengeance.  I want to give out my NFL Mid season Awards too, because I can. 

MVP:  Philip Rivers, San Diego
Comeback Player Of the Year:  Michael Vick, Philadelphia
Offensive Rookie Of The Year:  Sam Bradford, St Louis
Defensive Rookie Of  The Year: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit
Coach Of The Year:  Tom Coughlin, New York

1. New Orleans Hornets:  They have a better record than the Mega Heat, and CP3 and company are looking very good right now.  In a wide open Western Conference, the Hornets could find themselves winning a series or two in a reloading year.  They need to keep this momentum up, or the Ultra Knicks could rise in the next few years. 

2. Oakland Raiders: Watch out, but the Raiders are in first place in the AFC West.  Sure, the Chargers are going to keep climbing the standings with Philip Rivers having a season  Coryell and Fouts would cry over.  But Oakland, purely by running the ball and getting a play here or there from their defense and specials teams, are looking to make the playoffs for the first time since Rich Gannon was QB.  It is nice to see a terrible franchise turn it around like this, after a terrible slew of draft picks and a bust first overall pick.  Hmmmmmmm.

3. Buffalo Bills:  In a yearly ritual, the Bills got bailed out by the Lions to ensure nobody will touch the holy record of 0-16.  Honestly, the Bills should have lost all 16, and I would bet money that they will lose 15 this season.  The team is awful.  They have a 3rd stringer playing QB, their first round pick has done nothing for them, their defense is a mess and their best player is a punter.  That being said, they did whoop the Lions, who looked uninspired for the afternoon.  Chan Gailey will be fired this year, and maybe they can talk Bill Cowher into cleaning up this once proud franchise.  In the mean time, they can celebrate beating us like the Rams in 2009.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lions Are Improving, I Guess

As tough as it may be to hear, the Lions are a better football team that last year or the year before that.  The talent level is starting to increase and Detroit could be close to breaking out.  Sadly, they have been close to breaking out for about each year in the late 90's, and we all saw how that went.  Let's look at the state of the team while I give you some Blue Kool Aid.

The team is competitive: Something we couldn't say for the last few years is that the team is competitive.  Every game the Lions have a chance to win or tie at the end of the game.  With this team in year two of a rebuilding project, we are seeing a transition.  Remember when the Brown or Texans came into the league?  The first season they were awful and beat some crappy teams to set up another high draft pick. The second year they competed, won around 3-5 games and were competitive in all but two or three games.  In the third year, they compete for the playoffs.  So, this is a satisfactory season if we look at it from this angle.  It's frustrating, but I believe we have to stay the course.  Being able to compete every weekend is pretty big. 

The talent level is rising:  The defensive line is stacked top to bottom, and the offense is full of weapons.  Remember when it was a rookie Cliff Avril, Dwayne White with Corey Redding (who has been traded twice and doesn't play much anymore) and Chuck Darby were the starting defensive line?  What a difference.  Our wide receivers were Megatron, John Standeford, and Adam Jennings.  Our secondary had nobody at all.  Ernie Sims was our best player, maybe on the team.  There hasn't been this amount of talent for Detroit since 1999.  Now we have to fill more of our holes and get some depth.  That can take years, not two offseasons.

Schwartz is a rookie too:  He has had made some terrible calls, and can't manage the clock and the team is penalized more than any other Lions team in history.  The penalties are on him.  That being said, he is (hopefully) learning on the job.  Belichick didn't just walk into the NFL and start winning and making excellent decisions.  Dungy needed time too.  Schwartz is probably not in that class of coach, but it is too early to give up on him. 

Injuries:  Not an excuse.  I just wanted to point out how sick I am of hearing this.  Its the NFL, everyone is hurt.  Sure, not having depth hurts us more than other teams, but its not a get out of jail free card.

For the rest of this season to be a success, the Lions need to break their road losing streak and win 3-4 more games.  I thought 5-6 wins wasn't asking much at the beginning of the season, and now it looks unattainable.  Plenty of teams get hot to end the season and then play well at the beginning of next year.  I can only hope we can do something similar.  This season will be hard to watch to the end, but the team has to improve with more games under their belt, not get worse.  Next year has to be a march to the playoffs, or we can officially declare this team stuck in neutral. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Hurts Worse, Stafford's Shoulder, Or My Soul?

I am really sorry for the extreme lack of posting lately.  My Senior year of college, work, midterms and squeezing in time to watch sports has taken up a lot of my writing time.  Splitting duties a little has helped, but its no excuse.  I am not retiring from this blog.  I think I did need a break to keep my mind working.  I will make an effort to post more regularly and keep things more entertaining.  Thanks for sticking with STWWC, those who stay will be at least above average sports fans. 

Well, my soul was destroyed this weekend in football.  My WMU Broncos couldn't win a close game against the top rivals CMU, in the annual Lose A Close Game And Ruin The Season Bowl Presented By Ro-Tel.  Cubit is a good coach, and in no way am I calling for his job, but something has to change.  The team is young and talented, but before they were experienced and talented, and before that they were promising and talented.  Eventually they have to start winning big games and going to bowls, basically becoming CMU.

Michigan beat Illinois at home this weekend, saving RichRod's job and assuring MSU will win next year in the Game That Doesn't Matter To U of M Except It Really Does (or the Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy) and that Michigan will have a defense that works against crappy teams but struggles against Big Ten talent.  Remember when giving up 65 points and winning 7 games was intolerable in Ann Arbor? 

MSU won a scrimmage before their bye week.  I think they played East Lansing High School dressed as Minnesota.  Please hire Leach, Minnesota. 

And here we go.  The Lions season was, in 5 minutes, was completely turned around.  It went from joy, realizing the dream of beating a good team and winning back to back games, with our best players playing amazing, with Stafford finally commanding the offense and looking like a Pro Bowl caliber signal caller.  Sure, Megatron was shut down, and Hanson got hurt, but those are just speed bumps for what looked like a trip to .500 (road games against the Bills and Cowboys) and a shot at the NFC North title by Thanksgiving.  It was going great.  I was even playing the what if game, as in what if the NFL didn't make up interpretations of rules in Chicago.

But of course, things had to go awful really fast.  Stafford hurt his shoulder again, in a routine fall, and I bet he will be either perfectly fine or out for the season and go into next year with a ton of question marks.  Then, they blew a lead and lost in overtime to the most arrogant stupid team in the NFL.  I'm sure Rex Ryan made a ton of jokes over his post game snack quadruple whopper, but I don't want to hear any of his dumb remarks.  Now the Lions are 2-6, the season is over, and they play an improving Bills team on the road.  Then they go to the strangely talented but awful Cowboys before taking on the (why NFL, why?) Patriots on Thanksgiving, where we will be blown out terribly, and people won't want us to have a Thanksgiving game (these people are called idiots) and I'll be kicked in the gut multiple times.  I knew we were not making the playoffs, but I though we would win a few games here and there and our Franchise savior QB would play more than five minutes at a time.  I now believe he is injury prone and we could be looking at 5 years of not knowing who is starting week to week. 

This was the roughest loss I have ever endured.  With the fan base starting to believe, with more Lions fans than ever on campus and ticket sales going up, I thought the Lions had a win in the bag that would help the team come together and build on what they had started earlier.  But, I guess I will have to hope and wait for next year, again.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBA PLAYOFFS Predictions

Just before the first round of games on opening night, here’s my postseason predictions!

Divisional Round
1. Miami over 8. New Jersey
2. Boston over 7. New York
3. Chicago over 6. Milwaukee
4. Orlando over 5. Atlanta

Orlando over Miami
Boston over Chicago

Conference Final
Boston over Orlando

Divisional Round
1. Dallas over 8. Phoenix
2. Los Angeles Lakers over 7. Houston
3. Oklahoma City over 6. Denver
4. Utah over 5. San Antonio

Los Angeles over Oklahoma City
Utah over Dallas

Conference Final
Los Angeles over Utah

(the NBA, where rematches happen…)

Los Angeles over Boston in another epic struggle. Boston has the big bodies to compete, but Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant will prove to be just a bit better. Jackson gets his last three-peat and retires in peace.

Make sure you check out Boston vs. Miami tonight and enjoy the season!

Monday, October 25, 2010

NBA Preview - Part 2

and the preview continues…

Western Conference


Denver Nuggets: Swirling around the Nuggets is the status of Carmelo Anthony. Chances are that he will be traded by the deadline this year as he has made it clear that he will not sign Denver’s offered extension. This is really going to hurt the Nuggets this year and keep them from a successful season. Up front for the Nuggets you’ll find the usual suspects in Nene, Kenyon Martin, and Chris “Birdman” Andersen. Joining the Nuggets this year is swing forward Al Harrington. He’s hurt to start the year but when he becomes available he’ll provide some much needed extra scoring as the strength of the Nuggets’ bigs is primarily defense and rebounding. Division Finish: 3rd

Minnesota Timberwolves: This is the team that drafted two point guards in the first round two years ago. This is the team that gift-wrapped star Al Jefferson for the Utah Jazz. This is the team that spent valuable cap room on the likes of Darko Milicic, the human victory cigar. This is a team that is going nowhere (Do look for a nice season from Kevin Love and Martell Webster if and when he gets healthy). This could be the worst team in the league this year. Division Finish: 5th

Oklahoma City Thunder (ex Seattle Supersonics): As much as I love Rumble its still tough to take one the NBA’s great franchises and make them disappear. Seattle still hasn’t recovered. Alright, enough whining, this is a fantastic team. Kevin “DURANTULA” Durant is arguably the best player in the NBA today and he’s got help. Guard Russell Westbrook and forward Jeff Green are great players for a team that gave the Lakers their toughest playoff test in the Western Conference. Look for even more improvement in a team that won 50 games last season. Carefully constructed almost entirely through the draft, the Thunder are a model of a well-run organization that has a bright future. Look for this team to do some damage in the playoffs this year. Division Finish: 1st

Portland Trailblazers: For all the talent they have assembled, the Blazers seem to find a way to screw it up every year. The Blazers struggled with injuries to star Brandon Roy. The center position, manned by Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla was also decimated, leading to the trade for Marcus Camby mid year. The signing of Wesley Mathews over the summer was questionable as he plays the same position as Roy and disgruntled player Rudy Fernandez. If this team can stay injury-free, they have a chance to win a postseason series but not much more than that. Division Finish: 4th

Utah Jazz: Old reliable. That’s coach Jerry Sloan for you, a class act who just finds a way to win. The Jazz shouldn’t miss a beat with the exchange of Carlos Boozer (lost in free agency) for Al Jefferson. Deron Williams makes a strong case for being the best point guard in the NBA (yes, I’m talking to you Chris Paul). The pick-and-roll offense has been working since the days of John Stockton and Karl Malone and shows no signs of slowing down. The Jazz are capable of winning this division if they can stay healthy, and, with the addition of Al Jefferson, could pose some size and matchup problems for the Lakers should they meet in the postseason. Division Finish: 2nd


Dallas Mavericks: The nucleus of the Mavericks has been putting together 50+ win seasons together for some time now. Forward Dirk Nowitzki is still a force to be reckoned with. Jason Kidd is older than the hills but he has some youth backing him up in the form of Rodrigue Beaubois and Jose Juan Barea. The addition of Tyson Chandler up front should help defensively, but can he stay healthy for a full year? The Mavs should have a great season and get to the second round of the playoffs. A trip to the Conference Finals depends on their health up front. Division Finish: 1st

Houston Rockets: The success of the Rockets hangs on the shoulders of a large Oriental man by the name of Yao Ming. His return from injury could ignite a deep group that features guards Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks. This group plays hard and together and will compete on a nightly basis. If Yao can stay healthy, this group will be in the postseason. If not, playing in arguably the best division in basketball might be too much to overcome. Division Finish: 3rd

Memphis Grizzlies: Another team on the rise, the historically bad Grizzlies have the pieces in place to compete. Marc Gasol is continuing to improve up front and makes a very nice combo with temperamental forward Zach Randolph. Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo are as talented a pair of wings as you will find. The key is point guard Mike Conley. If he can deliver consistently and keep the team playing together, the Grizzlies have a shot at the postseason. A big question mark to be sure. They’re competitive now, but in this division, that might not be enough. Division Finish: 5th

New Orleans Hornets: The Chris Paul show is given one more chance in New Orleans. After rumors of a trade, it looks like the guard is here to stay, which means the Hornets will be good this year. It all starts with Paul who needs to stay healthy unlike last year. New addition Marco Bellineli should benefit from the passing of Paul and record a career high in 3-pointers made. Up front, David West and Emeka Okafor are decent, one scoring and the other getting the rebounds to get Paul out on the break. It’ll be a dogfight with Houston and San Antonio for the second spot in the division. Division Finish: 4th

San Antonio Spurs: How long can Duncan do it? We saw the first visible decline in the Spurs dynasty last year. My preseason prediction of a title for San Antonio went over like a lead balloon, and I see no reason to repeat that statement. Duncan is aging, Tony Parker is slowing, Manu Ginobli is balding. New addition Tiago Splitter should inject some new life, and George Hill is a nice young player. Still age is catching up with the Spurs. They’ll push the Mavs this year but will fall short again in the postseason. I put them at second out of respect, but don’t look for this team to go too far. Division Finish: 2nd


Golden State Warriors: No more NellieBall? Whats an NBA fan to do? The team famous for 4-guard lineups just added power forward David Lee to its lineup of shoot-first-ask-questions-later guards. Lee will have all the rebounding opportunities in the world, but hopefully the Warriors will remember to feed him in the post. He’s pretty good. Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis will lead the way for Golden State. They’ll still be fun to watch, just don’t look for them in the postseason. Division Finish: 4th

Los Angeles Clippers: The biggest enigma in the league this year. Will Blake Griffin be healthy? If he is and is all that he’s cracked up to be, look out. Guard Baron Davis is getting old, but he is a gamer when the situation arises. Eric Gordon is coming off a great performance in the World Championships over the summer and could be waiting to break out this year. But can they break the vaunted Clipper curse this year? Not in this conference. Division Finish: 3rd

Los Angeles Lakers: While everybody was watching the Miami SUPERHeat this summer, the Lakers quietly made their roster even better. New addition Steve Blake is the perfect back-up point guard who is capable of starting for an aging Derek Fisher. The addition of Matt Barnes gives the Lakers another lock-down perimeter defender to go with Ron Artest and Kobe Bryant. We all know about Kobe. He’ll be ready and hungry for another title. The perennial question with the Lakers is the health of Andrew Bynum, who should be back on the court by December. I see the Lakers winning it all one more time, giving coach Phil Jackson his third three-peat in 20 years, right before he rides into the sunset of his Montana home. Division Finish: 1st

Phoenix Suns: One of these days Steve Nash will get old, right? Grant Hill too. No Amare Stoudamire makes that a distinct possibility this year. The Suns brought in a motley crew of small forwards (Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu) for just a bit less than they would have had to pay Stoudamire. Worth it? I think we’ll see otherwise. However, Steve Nash has a way of proving doubters wrong, and he should make good use of his new toys on the offensive end. Look for the Suns to run up and down the court all year and then crash and burn in the first round. Division Finish: 2nd

Sacramento Kings: Another of last years contenders for the worst team in the NBA, the Kings are on their way back up. I thought DeMarcus Cousins was a great pick for the Kings and he impressed in workouts and the summer league. Forward Carl Landry is as steady as they come up front. Second year Tyreke Evans will have to build on an excellent rookie campaign if this team is to improve. The Kings have some nice young pieces in place, but are still a few years away from contention. Division Finish: 5th

whew... playoff predictions tomorrow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NBA Preview!!! - Part 1

The 2010-11 NBA season is almost upon us and I for one am pumped about the new year!

I will do a mini preview on each team and predict where they will end up in their division. At the end I’ll pick my playoff winners and the 2011 NBA Champion (see Lakers, Los Angeles).

Sunday: Eastern Conference
Monday: Western Conference
Tuesday: Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: The Celtics are coming off an NBA Finals appearance where they very nearly won the title. A bitter Game 7 loss will keep this group hungry and motivated. They add fresh (old) faces up front in Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal. These two relics will provide some beef up front to offset the size problems Boston encountered last year against the Lakers when Kendrick Perkins went down. Rajon Rondo has become one of the best point guards in the NBA and will lead the charge as the threesome of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen are another year older. The window is closing fast for this group; this is their last chance at another title. Division Finish: 1st

New Jersey Nets: Ah yes, the new era of the NBA, where Russian billionaires happen. New Jersey spent a lot of time and effort to create cap space for the 2010 free agency bonanza and wound up with Jordan Farmar and Travis Outlaw. Nothing says excitement like a new backup point guard and a serviceable small forward. On the positive side, the Nets still have a couple of nice players in Devin Harris and Brook Lopez to build around. I loved rookie Derrick Favors at Georgia Tech and he could develop into a star. The Nets also made a nice trade to bring in hometown hero Troy Murphy. This team will be much improved over last year, which isn’t a lot to ask for. There’s nowhere to go but up. Division Finish: 3th

New York Knickerbockers: Another touted loser in the Lebron James sweepstakes at least got a nice consolation prize in Amare Stoudamire. The Knicks made some other nice acquisitions in Kelenna Azubuike, Raymond Felton and super-sleeper Anthony Randolph. These players should fit well in Coach Mike D’Antoni up-tempo offense. Look for a team that’s fun to watch sneak into the postseason and then get destroyed. Division Finish: 2nd

Philadelphia 76ers: Philly is still trying to recover the magic of the Allen Iverson era. New coach Doug Collins find a team with a lot of young talent that just can’t seem to perform together. Andre Iguodala will lead the way as usual, but he is not the type of player you can build a championship around. Elton Brand is a stud when healthy, but he can’t stay on the court for enough of the season to make an impact. Rookie Evan Turner hasn’t looked all that impressive in preseason and will have some difficulty getting meaningful playing time as he plays the same position as Iggy. Division Finish: 5th

Toronto Raptors: Ah yes, the NBA’s lone team based in Canada. The Raptors took a big hit in the departure of Chris Bosh to join the SUPERHeat. In his wake we find Andrea Bargnani and little else. The Raptors big offseason signing was Amir Johnson, a player all good Detroit fans will remember quite well. I’m more interested in the acquisition of Linas Kleiza, an underrated small forward who played in Europe last year. He should produce at a high level for the Raptors, getting an opportunity to contribute that he didn’t have when he played for the Nuggets behind Carmelo Anthony. Look for the Raptors to be competitive, but there just isn’t enough talent here for a postseason appearance. Division Finish: 4th

Central Division

Chicago Bulls: My favorite team for as long as I’ve cared about basketball (aka: since I’ve been functioning as a cognitive entity), the Bulls are poised for a fantastic season. The team has been reworked around star guard Derek Rose and center Joakim Noah. Carlos Boozer was the big offseason signing for the Bulls and should fill the void at power forward that has existed since the Bulls traded away Elton Brand in 2001. Other acquisitions such as Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer filled shooting and defensive needs on the team. Some of the excitement has been dampened due to Boozer’s hand injury but he should be back within a few weeks. Look for the Bulls to start a little slow and round into form with the return of Boozer. I see a division title and a deep run into the postseason for this group. Division Finish: 1st

Cleveland Cavaliers: Will the team formerly known as the LeBronettes please stand up? What a mess. The Cavs have been building around LeBron James for several years now and since he took his talents to South Beach they are looking pretty sorry. Mo Williams and an aging Antawn Jamison will have to rally the troops for the Cavs to amount to anything this year. New coach Byron Scott is capable and young forward J.J. Hickson has some upside. Cleveland will spend most of the year adjusting to the post-LeBron hangover and struggle to win 30 games. Division Finish: 5th

Detroit Pistons: Of course, everyone wants to know about the local team. The Pistons feel like they’re stuck in the twilight zone. We still see some holdovers from the ’04 championship team in Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Ben Wallace. General Manager overpaid last summer for guard Ben Gordon and forward Charlie Villenueva, both of whom are now in and out of the starting lineup. The Pistons won’t be going anywhere near the postseason until they get some more balance on their roster. No team with an arsenal of small forwards (i.e. Prince, Villenueva, Jerebko, Summers, Daye, and now McGrady) and four barely serviceable big men will ever succeed in the NBA. Drafting Greg Monroe this summer was a step in the right direction, but the Pistons have a long ways to go. Division Finish: 4th

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have been quietly developing some exciting young talent. Forward Danny Granger is one of the best in the NBA if he can stay healthy. New guard Darren Colison will provide an immediate upgrade in the backcourt for the Pacers who haven’t had a good facilitator since the playing days of Mark Jackson. Center Roy Hibbert has looked very good in the preseason. Mike Dunleavy Jr. is finally healthy and should be an asset for the Pacers. If this team can stay healthy it could sneak into the postseason as first round cannon fodder for the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics. Division Finish 3rd

Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks are very underrated. They have the best center in the NBA that nobody knows about in Andrew Bogut. They’ve made some nice additions in Drew Gooden and Corey Maggette. This is a scrappy group that reflects the mentality of their coach Scott Skiles. Second year point guard Brandon Jennings will continue to improve off of a great rookie campaign and could create something of a rivalry with Derrick Rose in Chicago. We know this, the Bucks will come to play every night and compete with better teams. They should push the Bulls for the division crown. Division Finish: 2nd

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks: A new coach, a vaunted new motion offense, what can we expect for the Hawks this year? The core of last year’s team remains intact with the re-signing of Joe Johnson. Look for Al Horford and Josh Smith to improve down low this year as more of the offense runs through them. Guard Mike Bibby is beginning to show signs of slowing down. Johnson has his max contract now, which will cast some doubt on his motivation going forward. His ability to be “THE MAN” has not been proven and he will have to show that he is worth the money. This team got destroyed in the second round of the playoffs last year and they show no signs of being able to do much better this year, especially with the improvement of teams like Miami and Chicago. The same personnel will most often yield the same result. Division Finish: 3rd

Charlotte Bobcats: The greatest player in NBA history, Michael Jordan, is officially running his own show in Charlotte now. He doesn’t have the best track record as a decision maker in the NBA though, a quality highlighted byAnd the cupboard is looking kinda bare. The Bobcats lose Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton from a team that got swept in the first round last year. This year isn’t looking much better. Gerald Wallace will continue to lead the way for the Bobcats as a physical if undersized presence up front. Point guard DJ Augustin will get his chance to run the show with Felton gone. The only reason I won’t completely discount this team from a playoff appearance is coach Larry Brown. He has a way of putting things together. But don’t kid yourselves Charlotte, its gonna be a long year. Division Finish: 5th

Miami Heat: Ah yes, the SUPERHeat. The arrival of Lebron James and Chris Bosh has triggered a firestorm of opinion to say the least. This team has the absolute best lineup in the league at shooting guard, small forward, and power forward. Can’t be beat. However, basketball is a game that requires five players on the court at a time. Your 2010-2011 Miami Heat point guards: Mario Chalmers and Carlos Arroyo. You haven’t heard of them for a reason. At the center postion they are trotting out Joel Anthony and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. This won’t do against the size of the Lakers and Celtics, not to mention Dwight Howard in Orlando. During the regular season this team should be running up and down the court at will and will probably enter the playoffs with a bunch of wins and maybe a #1 overall seed. Just expect their lack of size to catch up with them deep in the playoffs. Division Finish: 1st

Orlando Magic: The Orlando Magic begin and end with Dwight Howard. Period. He is capable of singlehandedly destroying the SUPERHeat. He is the most physically gifted athlete in the NBA. He’s also a big, fun-loving goofball. The knock on Howard has always been his ability to focus and be more aggressive. He worked out with Hakeem Olajawon over the summer to develop his post game. Perhaps we’ll see him step it up this year. The Magic surround Howard with good players in Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter. If Howard comes through, this team will still be playing come June. Division Finish: 2nd

Washington Wizards: The Wizards are making some great strides in spite of the Gilbert Arenas debacle last year. I love their size with Andray Blatche providing the scoring and JaVale McGee getting blocks and rebounds. John Wall will start right away as a rookie and will emerge as a star in this league. The wild card will be Arenas as nobody knows how he will react to a subsidiary role this year. Felv favorite Kirk Hinrich is a Wizard now and should provide good minutes of the bench. The Wizards have some great pieces to build with but they are not ready to compete yet. Looks like another trip to the draft lottery. Division Finish: 4th

Tomorrow I'll have the Western Conference Preview!

Friday, October 22, 2010

You're Welcome!

1. Hatin' on the Super Heat:  Dwyane Wade (did anybody else notice his name is spelt wrong and nobody else notice but me until now?) is hurt, Mike Miller is hurt longer, and a preseason game got canceled because the court was slippery.  ESPN has their own page for the Heat this season (Heat Index, I won't link them, out of spite) and the Heat are more hated than the Cowboys, Lakers and Yankees put together.  Its going to be a fun season. 

2. Giants Defense:  Say what you will, or if it is wrong or not, due to some new rules, but the Giants kick some butt on defense.  They have knocked out QBs, rushed the passer like crazy and are playing very well right now, 7th in pass defense and 12th in rush defense.  Not bad for a unit rebuilding under a new coordinator.  The G-Men might be frauds, but the defense is looking nice.

3. Cliff Lee:  The ultimate playoff pitcher, he just keeps winning in October/November.  He mows down whatever team he is facing, no matter how many Hall of Famers he has to face.  With Halladay, Lincecum, Sabathia showing off this post season, Lee has impressed me the most, more than a no hitter against the Reds.  That is because he takes a team and elevates them whenever he pitches, putting a city who has never tasted success to the brink of beating the mighty Yankees. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Look Around the NFL

I have a ton of thoughts on the NFL right now, more than just about the Lions.  So lets dedicate a blog to nothing but my opinions.  You can now copy them for your own use.  Every time you use one of my opinions, just send me a nickel.

The Lions:  In an ultimate let see if he has anything move, the Lions signed Bobby Carpenter, who just sucks at football.  He has played for Dallas, St. Louis and Miami and now Detroit in less than one year.  Detroit needs linebackers, and bad, especially with all our injuries.  But he has nothing to offer besides cannon fodder.  The rest of the year should be spent winning games we shouldn't, especially on the road, because that shows real progress.  Winning against Buffalo and Tampa Bay shows nothing.  Stafford needs to come back and be excellent to make me feel better about this whole rebuilding thing.  And he just can not get hurt.  I am excited for Best and Suh, and many other young players, but Stafford is the entire team. 

Bret Favre:  The NFL or Bret Favre won't say anything from their meeting, but after taking in account Jenn Sterger's silence and the Favres dodging of questions, this should be over soon.  No suspensions or fines should happen.  As long as the Vikings win, all will be right in the world. 

Concussion Rule:  I am OK with this move.  These people complaining about this rule probably complained about the face mask rule in the 1960's or wearing helmets or playing with a football instead of a live pig.  Most of the time, the defender is hurt worse than the guy he is hitting, so the defenders complaining doesn't make sense to me.  They need to protect their players from long term injuries, which are more terrible than we even think. 

Frauds:  Bears, Seahawks, Chiefs, Giants, Rams

Just plain suck:  Niners, Raiders, Jaguars, Browns

Super Bowl pick for right now:  Falcons vs Steelers

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You're Welcome!

1.  MSU Spartan Football Players Not Named Chris L Rucker:  MSU went into the big house and beat their biggest rivals again, and did so to make me actually believe they can beat most teams in the Big Ten (if the other team's name doesn't rhyme with  Smohio Smate).  But not Rucker, who played a great game but was dumb and drove drunk Sunday morning while on probation.  Spartan athletes having trouble with the law is nothing new, sadly, and Rucker must be kicked off the team now, and hopefully doesn't distract MSU going into a home match vs Illinois. 

2. Mike Modano:  Modano, who has been in the league since the Stanley Cup had one ring, scored a goal for the Wings right off the bat.  I am looking for Modano to play smart, tough old guy on the Red Wings hockey, and bring his wife Willa Ford to the Joe every once and a while.  But to see him score is pretty cool, despite him playing for so long with the Stars (not a rival, because the Wings consistently beat them).  The local boy is looking to end his career with another Cup.  Fun fact, his first NHL goal was against former WMU Bronco Glenn Healy.  So much Michigan, so little blog.

3.  People who don't like Bret Favre: Favre, who has struggled on the field this season (besides the second half this Monday) has elbow troubles and troubles with Roger Goodell.  Favre who was very naughty texting model/journalist(?!) Jenn Sterger (who looks like a younger Deanna Favre) could be in trouble and not be suspended by the hypocritical Goodell, who will kick out Roethlisberger for his actions for four games, but not even talk to Favre.  And I know it is between two adults, but it is bringing bad press to the league, which was part of the Goodell doctrine.  And if the Vikings lose this weekend,  the playoffs won't be in a problem for Favre either.  Favre should download the app on the iphone to prevent his sort of texting. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Punched In The Face

No excuses, just reality!

I'm just going to say it, Michigan got punched in the face. Not once, not twice but multiple times. Michigan State dominated in every category. I was not happy with the out come in any means, but cloud nine basically sunk into reality. We all know now that Denard Robinson isn't invisible, especially with his arm. Robinson threw three interceptions in the game, all of which could have helped the Wolverines due to the locations of the miscues. The Spartans looked well balanced from the offensive side of the ball with Kirk Cousins leading the charge. Look for both the Wolverines and the Spartans to push forward through this week. Michigan State takes on a decent looking Illinois team who gave the Buckeyes trouble and the Wolverines host the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown all season but I see Robinson's talent breaking that streak. Look for Michigan to bounce back against the Hawkeyes and prove that they can continue to compete with the best in the Big 10.

The Florida Gators are sitting in hot water. After losing back to back games against top ranked teams, Alabama and LSU, the Gators need to rally off some wins if they hope to make it into a respectable bowl game. The deficit could be due to the lack of experience at quarterback after Tim Tebow graduated.

Two great things happened for me (as a fan) this week in college football.. also involving being punched in the face.

First: The South Carolina Gamecocks put a stomping on the nation's top ranked team, Alabama. The Gamecocks were able to put up five touchdowns against the Tide and controlled most of the game. Alabama tried to make a push back but fell short after going for it on fourth down and failing. This brings new excitement to me because this means Alabama moved out of the top spot and someone new has moved in.

Second: The Florida State Seminoles went into Coral Gables and not only beat the Miami Hurricanes but put a stomping down. The Seminole/Hurricane rivalry has always headed with the Noles stumbling as of late. With Bobby Bowden retired and out of the way, this is Florida State's head coach Jimbo Fishers biggest win at the helm. This is huge for the Seminoles as they look forward to their rough schedule a head, including NC State, Clemson and Florida.

Looking a head to this week, there are a few good games to keep an eye on regarding upcoming BCS and AP standings:

Texas at #5 Nebraska : Texas still isn't a no body. They can still do damage. Look for Martinez to lead the Huskers to victroy with his arm and his legs.

#12 Arkansas at #7 Auburn : The Razorbacks lost a key game to Alabama two weeks ago but bounced back last weekend at Texas A&M. I'm picking an upset alert here, Go Razorbacks led by quarterback Ryan Mallett.

#1 Ohio State at #18 Wisconsin : The Buckeyes will look to remain number one as they visit a very hostile environment in Madison, Wisc. Camp Randall Stadium will be rocking underneath the lights as the Badgers look to get back on track.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

See Their Team Is Weakening

MSU won this weekend for the third straight season over their top rivals Michigan.  It was a turning point for Michigan State, who has closed the gap and are approaching a level to Michigan in football.  No not historically, or prestige, or even popularity.  But talent wise, and current program wise, MSU is right there with Michigan.  MSU plays classic Michigan football, where sound defense, running the ball and grit is favored over speed and finesse.  MSU grew up as a team these last two weeks, and Dantonio as a coach and a man, who showed how tough he is coaching this game after having health problems this season.

What we learned is that Michigan has trouble winning at home, and the Big House magic of even 5 years ago is gone.  RichRod may never be able to consistently beat good Big Ten teams, or good teams regardless.  Denard was shut down (he still had a ton of yards, but 3 interceptions and 3.3 yards per carry and only 1 touchdown is not good)  and his longest run was 16 yards, far less than his huge gains he had the first 5 weeks.  The Michigan defense is awful and can't tackle.  They are just terrible.  Michigan's special teams look better and even made a field goal.  They are still bad, but looked like improvement is a possibility.  Michigan will make a bowl, but a 7-5 or 8-4 season is likely.  That is fading down the stretch against the Big Ten again, and I am sure Ohio State will beat Michigan again.  RichRod could be the next unemployed person in Michigan very soon.

For MSU, we learned the Spartans have an incredible young balanced offense and could have a top rushing attack for years.  Cousins was really impressive, making big throws and not forcing a pass all day.  The MSU defense shut down the week 1-5 Heisman champ.  They stopped the attempt by Michigan to spread the ball to the running backs more, and got crucial turnovers.  They looked very very good on the road against a rival.

MSU outplayed UofM, and the excuses about dropped passes or redzone turnovers just don't cover up the fact that Denard played poorly and the whole team suffered.  MSU is moving in the right direction, and Michigan can't say the same thing.  The only thing is, if MSU doesn't keep moving forward and working hard and winning, this will be for nothing. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Making Pitching Sexy

At the beginning of the height of Steroids-induced Home Run Proliferation in Baseball, Nike took advantage of a weekend series in 1999 between the Braves and the Cardinals to shoot a commerical starring underappreciated pitching greats Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, overappreciated hitting great Mark MacGwire, and an always-appreciated starlet Heather Locklear in which their conclusion became a tagline that marked an era -- "Chicks Dig the Long Ball".

Why? Because home runs are sexy.

The Home Run is majestic in scale. As the ball is pitched back and forth at 60-feet,6-inches, it all of sudden launches 300 to 400 to 500 feet away... bringing the scope of the whole ballpark into view. In less than a few seconds, something significant has happened. The power. The sheer power. Boom! Over the wall! In the bleachers! Gone!

But now in this "Year of the Pitcher", a resurregence has occured in what happens in the toss between the mound and home. And, no more is this true than what's happened in this first round of the 2010 baseball playoffs.

Roy Halladay throws the first postseason no-hitter since Don Larsen's 1956 perfect game (no-hits, no-walks) in the World Series. Tim Lincecum throws a Complete Game Shut-Out with only 3 hits. Derek Lowe and Andy Petitte throw gems - and we've only played two games thus far. The reason is obvious - without hitters having a huge power advantage due to steroids, the pitchers are able to produce more swings and misses. Also, the pitchers aren't afraid to go after hitters -- the percentage of first-pitch strikes is way up. This puts the batter at a disadvantage throughout the rest of the at-bat. Advantage: Pitcher. Pitchers are no longer afraid to work-out and build their core and arm muscles - knowing that the steroid experiment produced stronger pitchers less prone to injury. So, the playing field is "level" again between pitchers and batters.

So, what's the problem with better pitching?

Pitching is not sexy.

To make the analogy for fans of other sports... pitching is like watching the Offensive Line in football. It's the key to the game, but nobody yells "That was an awesome hole" unless you know how to look for it. Pitching is like watching the movement without the ball in basketball. Pitching is like watching the passing in soccer. Pitching is like watching the traps in the center of the ice in hockey. Pitching is like watching the opening moves in chess. It's not the touchdown pass, the soccer goal, or lighting the lamp. It's not checkmate.

To baseball insiders, pitching is sublime. Each pitch is a guessing game between pitcher and batter. No major league hitter can simply "react" to any pitch. A batter has to think through a ton of scenarios... his ability to hit certain pitches, the pitcher's ability to throw certain pitches, the situation in the game, the situation on the basepaths, the number of outs, the count, the pitchers throw previously, the pitcher vs batter's previous match-ups and results, the fatigue of the pitcher - all of these factors come into play. A pitcher has a limited number of options. He has 2-3 standard pitches he can throw, and can locate them in about 6 different locations. The batter has to guess what type of pitch, and where it'll be. He can adjust somewhat.

It's a guessing game... or is it?

Pitching is strategy to the n-th degree. Deciding on pitches and executing those pitches is worthy of military generals at war on a battlefield. But it happens on such a small scale -- across a 17-inch by 2-footish Strike Zone. It's too small to be majestic. It's too small to be sexy.

But power isn't the only route to sexiness. Mystery also creates desire. Instead of MLB teams promoting pitchers as denizens of power, perhaps they need to create a mystique about them.

That pitchers are different.
That pitchers are from another world.
That pitchers are mentally insane.
That pitchers are crazy.
That pitchers are wild.

Wild thing you make my heart sing!

Now that's exciting to watch.

But will that even compare to the Long Ball? Probably not, but in this "Postseason of the Pitcher" I find there's no alternative.

Prediction For The Battle For the Paul Bunyan Trophy

This is an exciting time for MSU and U of M fans, because for the first time in a long time, this game has big implications for both teams.  Last year both teams entered with good records, but this year has so much more.  The winner of this game is vaulted to the top 15 in the polls, and has a chance at winning the Big Ten.  If MSU wins, a 10-2 or better season is very attainable, they beat their rivals for the 3rd time in a row (twice on the road) and are closing the gap against them.  RichRod could lose his job for struggling to beat anybody but Indiana in the Big Ten.  For Michigan, winning the game means they can beat a legit team and that the program may be on the right track, and a bowl game is locked up for the first time in 2 years. 

For MSU to win:  MSU  can outscore Michigan, because of superior special teams and defense.  MSU has a more balanced offense, with weapons across the board.  Bell and Baker and both incredible young backs, and Kirk Cousins has played better the last few weeks.  Hes already a vet who keeps the ball safe.  The Wolverine's defense doesn't scare me at all.  Cousins should be safe and the team should move the ball at will. 

The defense, although not great, is good and has one of the best players in the nation with Greg Jones.  The pass rush should be solid, but with Robinson, you should hang back and watch his running.  Rushing him won't really help, since most of the passes are out in under 3 seconds.  Shutting down everybody but him won't help either, as he has shown he can do it all himself.  Playing solid, creating turnovers and trying to slow down Robinson's running should be top priorities. 

I have a ton of confidence in MSU's special teams, even though Conroy is very young.  Bates is a good punter, and occasional dramatic touchdown thrower, and Keshawn Martin is a dynamic returner.  They could steal a game.

For Michigan to win:  They have to find some sort of defense to slow the balanced Spartans.  They have to cause turnovers, because turnovers can cover up poor play.  Getting to Cousins has to be big too, since he will shred you if given time to throw.  If the defense keeps MSU to under 30, it will be a monumental effort.

The offense is key.  If they can put up enough points, they can win.  I know it sounds stupid, but scoring more points could be the only way to win.  The weather should be great, so both teams will be playing in prime conditions.  Robinson has to show he can play against a tough defense, by far the best he has seen this season.  If he spreads the ball around (like he does well) and completes short passes to keep off the pass rush and linebackers, he could see some running lanes.  Michigan has to score and not let the game come down to special teams, because they are just as poor as the defense.  I can't understand why Michigan hasn't found a decent kicker since Hayden Epstein in the late 90's.  MSU churns out NFL kickers (Edinger, Swenson, Rayner) and Michigan can't even find someone serviceable.  But it is at home, and the crowd will be pumped.  They have to play like it.

Prediction:  Dantonio is back and the Spartans will be even more pumped for this game.  That only lasts for so long though.  They will have to play hard and fast against a team that is hungry to win.  I doubt being on the road will hurt them much, but it could be the difference since both teams are good and ready to play.  Michigan needs to find a defense and play their best game on offense.  Robinson has to play well to win and become a serious Heisman contender.  This game should be an instant classic, with no lead being safe.  I have to go with the more complete and battle tested Spartans in this game.  On a side note, MSU has not lost to Michigan in football or basketball since my blog was created.  Think about it.  GO GREEN!

MSU 38 Michigan 30

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Michigan State's Season in Review

It’s that time of year again when U of M and MSU face off for the Paul Bunyan Trophy (yeah, I don’t really care about the trophy either, but the winner gets the trophy, so by the transitive property, I do care). As most Michigan fans will tell you, this is not M’s biggest rivalry, but as most will also tell you, gosh golly we need to win this game really bad. Job security for Rich Rodriguez is not the only thing at stake here, though. Denard Robinson has a chance to really put himself ahead of the pack for the semi-early Heisman Trophy list (which is a trophy I care about).

As Weston mentioned in his charming Michigan review article, I will be taking a look at how the first part of Michigan State’s season has been going, and then give a prediction on the rest of their season.

MSU started of the first game of the season playing Western Michigan, which, as the last few games have proven, is not all that great this year. From there, they played Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Northern Colorado, and Wisconsin. All of these have been home games except for the Florida Atlantic game which was played at the very neutral location of Ford Field in the far, far away city of Detroit, Michigan. After watching the first half of the Western game, I really thought that the Broncos could pull off an upset or at least a respectable loss. But, as the Spartans have continued to do the rest of the season, they improved in the second half and showed some progress. That has been the big thing that I have taken from the first five games of MSU’s season: progression. After that first half, I would have bet that all the offseason hype for Kirk Cousins, the running game, and Greg Jones was blown out of proportion, but since then, I would have to say that MSU has really turned it on. This may also be blown out of proportion considering the only real quality win on their schedule so far came against Wisconsin, and that they have not been tested on the road in front of 113,000+ fans, but for now, we’ll say that they look pretty good.

One of the best and brightest units for the Spartans has been that of running back, or running backs (plural) I should say. Everyone knew Edwin Baker would have a pretty good season, maybe even a season worthy of Heisman consideration, but bursting onto the scene somewhat in the spring and completely here in the fall was freshman Le'Veon Bell out of Ohio. Baker is the feature back, but Bell leads the team in yards per carry and touchdowns. If not for Bell, Baker would probably be getting more Heisman attention. Bell has established himself as the Big 10 freshman of the year frontrunner.

Also on the offense, Kirk Cousins has shown progression from that first half as well. He now has over eleven hundred yards with nine touchdowns. He has four interceptions, which is not the greatest, but he’s been making plays and putting his team in a position to win. Plus, he attended Holland Christian High School (Dutch pride!).

Like Michigan, though, MSU has some questions on defense. Greg Jones has been lighting it up, especially with his first and second career interceptions against Northern Colorado a couple weeks ago, but the rest of the defense at times has seemed a little off. They’ve played pretty well, but I get the sense that they’re overachieving, and when faced with an offense that isn’t Northern Colorado or Florida Atlantic, some cracks might start to show. For now, we’ll say that they have played well, and until otherwise, we’ll continue saying that.

Season Prediction: MSU has looked pretty good so far, and with the schedule they have (no Ohio State), competing for the Big 10 title isn’t out of the question. Regardless of what people say, they will face a test on the road for the first time this week with Michigan and Denard Robinson, and they do have to go to Kinnick Stadium to play Iowa and Happy Valley to battle with Penn St., but even if MSU loses those three games, you’re still looking at 9-3 because the other remaining games include Illinois, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Purdue, all very winnable games. I’ll give them Penn St. for sure, and then a too close to call for Michigan and Iowa, so 10-2 or 11-1. If the Spartans can finish 11-1, they could be looking at a BCS bowl because Ohio State or Iowa could go undefeated and play for a national championship. It wouldn’t be the Rose Bowl necessarily, but a BCS bowl is still a BCS bowl. At the very least, look for them to be in the Outback Bowl or Capital One Bowl. This is all assuming they don’t have one of their famous start-out-strong-but-then-collapse-for-no-apparent-reason seasons.

You're Welcome! Michigan State vs Michigan Edition

In no particular order, I thought we would look at three big performers from recent battles for the Paul Bunyan trophy. 

1. Charles Woodson: The Heisman winner from 1997, Woodson went off against MSU, hauling in an incredible interception thrown by Todd Schultz (he is the answer to some trivia question, like most knee surgeries) on the beautiful painted cement in Spartan Stadium.  Woodson used that game to show off his athleticism and along with a win over Ohio State, and playing wide receiver and winning the Rose Bowl, led to a Heisman and half a National Title.  Woodson had a great game for the Wolverines and is still elite for Green Bay.   Also, another fake field goal happened that day with Sedrick Irvin catching a pass when no one covered him.  After playing 3rd string running back for the Lions, he is probably the most successful MSU/Detroit Lion in the last 15 years. 

2. Plaxico Burress:  Before becoming a Super Bowl hero and shooting himself in the leg, Burress shredded Michigan's secondary for 10 catches and 255 yards.  In only two years, he set MSU receiving records and was absolutely dominant against everybody.  In 1999 MSU was robbed of a BCS bid and Nick Saban left the program and left it in the very unsure hands of Bobby Williams, but Burress and Duckett were bright spots during the season. 

3. Javon Ringer: During his incredible breakout season, where Ringer put MSU on his back and carried a mediocre (although NFL QB), a mediocre offensive line, and ran over Michigan in a huge game in Ann Arbor.  When he ran over about everybody on his way to converting that fourth down, he started a two year run that has, maybe, quite possibly, dare I say, closed the gap with U of M.  He was a tough back and meant more than a lot of people think. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Welcome to Hockeytown!

I have a very good feeling that something extraordinary is about to happen in downtown Detroit. Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Redwings is in the process of buying the Detroit Pistons. This seems to be unheard of! How could a man spread his wealth so far and cover all three of these professional teams in a downward economy??

In my opinion Mr. Ilitch is making one of the best moves of his career. Not only will be able to bring new development to downtown Detroit but he will be bringing all four professional sports teams to downtown, in turn helping out the sunken economy.

Here are my thoughts on why this is a genius idea:
Mr. Ilitch will create a brand new sports arena to house both the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Redwings. Lets face it, "The Joe" is old, rundown and out dated. There is a perfect piece of land next to and around the Fox Theater which would be a perfect location for this Arena. Not only would Ilitch have three of his sports teams within a stones throw from each other, he'd hold 80% plus of Detroit's entertainment. Think about it, where would a concert in Detroit be held? Commerica Park and this new arena. Mr. Ilitch has connections with the city of Detroit so I don't believe that zoning coordinates would become a factor. He would be producing multiple jobs for the city as well. Where is the Detroit Auto Show held every year? Cobo Hall, which Ilitch also has his fingers intertwined in. Not only would Mr. Ilitch be bringing money to Detroit with his sports teams and their facilities, utilizing a basketball/hockey arena but also he'd be bringing in money and jobs to Detroit through the entertainment.

I feel this is a great move for the Pistons. Ilitch wants to win, he will fork out the cash in order to win. We've seen it with the Tigers! I feel this could be the blossoming to a brilliant near future for downtown and surrounding Detroit.

Michigan's Season In Review

This is one of the biggest sports weeks of the year for me, Michigan vs Michigan State.  Despite what Wolverine fans say after the game, this is a big game to them and a big rivalry. Not the biggest, but still.  I hate how they make MSU seem on the level as Indiana or Purdue.

Mike will take a look at MSU's season, and we will both make a prediction on the game.  This should be an awesome week of football coverage, with a special You're Welcome tomorrow.

U of M has played a schedule almost the same as the one the played last year.  It looked much better to start the year, but UConn has proven to be frauds, Bowling Green is a crappy MAC team, UMass is D-1AA no matter how you slice it.  Indiana is one of the worst teams in the Big Ten, and Notre Dame is a 5-7 team at best.  Last year,  they beat WMU and EMU, who won 5 games combined (WMU had 5) beat a 6-6 (they were worse than that) Notre Dame team and barely pulled out a win against a terrible Indiana team.  All games were at home.  After losing to MSU in OT, Michigan beat a D-1AA team and then went winless.  Look familiar?    The only difference is Michigan is ranked now and at the time, the schedule looked decent. 

So is Michigan better than last year?  Yes, without a doubt.  They are a better team, but by how much?  The defense is 120 out of 120 in the nation in stopping the pass.  And that was against UConn's now benched starter for a game, a game against Bowling Green's backup, a second half against Joe Montana's kid, a guy who plays for a D-1AA team, and "Pistol" Ben Chappell, who is about fifth team Big Ten.  So, against terrible competition, Michigan has been all time bad.  They couldn't stop East Lansing High School right now.  They have some good players, Mike Martin and Obi Ezeh, but no secondary and the rest of the team doesn't have a ton of playing time/talent.  Plus they switch between a 4-3, 3-4 and a 3-3-5.  All three formations aren't effective, and nothing can be done to fix the defense this year.  Greg Robinson should be fired, and never hired in the first place.  

So the defense is terrible, and Michigan can't play special teams at all.  Hopefully they were watching Monday Night Football or MSU will kill them in special teams.  Special teams and defense help win close games.  Rivalry games are almost always close.  So if you suck in that field, it'll affect your chances of winning games like this.  Especially when MSU has such good special teams.

So the defense and special teams are terrible, like Sun Belt terrible.  The offense is a bright spot.  Mostly Denard Robinson.  He has put up incredible stats, but the team around him isn't terrible.  The WRs and RBs haven't stepped up this season consistently, and the offensive line hasn't been too good.  They have to block for about 2 seconds, then Denard throws or runs and they are good to go downfield.  Robinson is very quick, and has improved passing as well.  He must be contained for any team to stop this offense and win a game. 

Season prediction:  For the rest of the way, I see Michigan winning 7 or 8 games and finishing the year in a decent bowl and ranked.  Michigan isn't as good as you think now, but they aren't as bad as last year.  They will not beat OSU, and if RichRod doesn't beat them and/or MSU, he will be coaching somewhere else next year. 

Wow, did you see that?!?

A recap from week six in NCAA D1 football:

1.) I was extremely disappointed with Florida's effort against Alabama. First of all, how can you get blow out again by the Crimson Tide? Coming into the game, the Gators were ranked seventh in the nation and they looked like they should have been outside the top 25. This conference used to be pretty equal across the board with Florida, Alabama and LSU. Now it has come down to LSU and Alabama remaining undefeated with Florida looking wiery and Auburn still running strong. The Gators have dominated the SEC, except for Alabama and Auburn and I feel the Florida flame is slowly fading away from Coach Urban Meyer.

2.) Wow, how did the Ducks not jump the Buckeyes? I mean, really, how did a numer two ranked Ohio State team travel to Illinois and barely pull it out?? I understand it wasn't as close as the score but I was very happy with what I saw. Oregon whipped the tail off of a very good Stanford team. Stanford jumped out to a 21-3 lead early, but the Ducks offense is scoring at record pace. I'm not sure there is a defense in the nation that can stop this high flying offense. I expect big things out of Oregon.

3.) I was very impressed with how Michigan State handled Wisconsin. The Badgers had multiple chances to close the gap and pull a head but the Spartans defense and well balanced offense drove the Badgers right out of town.

4.) Coach Rodriguez's job is still on the line in my opinion and Denard Robinson is helping his cause. Robinson's late drive set the Wolverines up for the victory and Rich Rod's season changing game coming up this week vs MSU. I think with a victory here, he can take a deep breath but with a loss, he see early signs of packing luggage.

5.) Good bye Texas. The Longhorns were kicked out of the top 25 by Oklahoma on Saturday in the Red River showdown. This is very odd and unusual for one of the BCS powerhouses but I like what I see in other schools getting the opportunities to jump into the top 25.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midweek Michigan Update

- For everyone out there who thinks Michigan’s offense would die without Denard Robinson, here are a few stats to make you second-guess yourself:

1.) In the game against Bowling Green last week, Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier went a combined 19/22 for nearly 200 yards and a TD apiece. Neither of them would have the same effect as Robinson, but it’s nice to know that Forcier is still committed to the team.

2.) While he has much fewer yards than Robinson, running back Michael Shaw has 44 carries on the year for 245 yards and 5 TD’s. He’s not as dynamic as Robinson, but he’s averaging over 5 yards per carry.

3.) Michigan’s receivers have also been coming up big this year so far. Three of the receivers, Darryl Stonum, Roy Roundtree, and Martavious Odoms, all have over ten catches and are averaging over ten yards per catch. Robinson, Forcier, and Gardner have also been spreading the ball around well with five different players responsible for the six receiving TD’s.

Yes, the Michigan offense would take quite a hit if Robinson went down, and I want him to be leading the team more than any other player, but I think that Michigan would be able to get by without him. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out, though.

- Links to Michigan stuff:

1.) Adam Rittenberg thinks that the Michigan-Indiana game this Saturday will be a shootout . I'd have a hard time disagreeing, although Indiana's coach Bill Lynch said that it might be a "defensive shootout", which makes no sense at all.

2.) Brian Cook for MGoBlog reviews the offense from the Bowling Green game. Pretty in depth with pictures, videos, and analysis.

3.) Brian Cook also has a preview of Michigan's hockey team for the upcoming season.

4.) Great article written about offensive lineman Taylor Lewan for the Detroit News. Angelique Chengelis writes about how he approaches his role on the team, what others think of him, and what is tattooed on the side of his finger and how it acts as an icebreaker.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You're Welcome!!

1. Kansas City Chiefs:  The Chiefs have started the season 3-0 behind their new coordinators and new weapons for Matt Cassel.  The team looks completely different, and even though one win was against the Niners, they could make the playoffs because the Broncos and Raiders don't look very good and the Chargers always start very slow.  For me though, they have to win their division, because the AFC South and East will probably snatch up both Wild Card spots.  That seems like asking a lot, but maybe Patriots West can keep it up.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers:  They have gone through 3 starting QBs and still keep winning ugly Steelers games.  The defense looks better and they could be deadly when Big Ben comes back.  He is far more valuable to that team then people think.  It was nice to see Charlie Batch do well, since I rooted for him back in grade school.  The Steelers will be battling the Ravens all year, so they need to keep winning ugly games until Ben gets his game back to mid season form.

3.  Michael Vick:  Being a big advocate for Vick getting a second chance (I still reserve the rights to make jokes whenever I want.  Pretty sure he reads this blog) its nice to see him do so well no being the starter for the Eagles.  He is running and passing better than he did with the Falcons so far, and he could play himself into a starting roll somewhere.  Bills, Cardinals, Jaguars, Browns, you better be taking notes.  He probably has more years left due to his not taking a beating for three years.  Or could he stay in Philly?  Only time and more amazing performances will tell.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lions Making More Mistakes, Looking Worse Than Before

After watching the Lions game yesterday, I have come up with some thoughts on the team.  Three games against good competition is a good place to judge the team, although injuries have started to take a toll.

Mistakes and lack of adjustments are the biggest reason the Lions are 0-3.  A lot of people may say, isn't that true of every team?  I wouldn't think so.  Sometimes its poor offense, lack of talent, poor defense.  I do not think the Lions are talented enough to win consistently.  But the last three games, I have seen some scary stuff that reminds me of two years ago. 

Yesterday, the Lions had about 20 turnovers called back because of penalties.  And a couple really solid offensive plays were erased, in an offense who just can't make dumb plays.  The defense played better, and our defensive line is pretty incredible.  Suh especially.   But dumb penalties and dumb plays can make anything look bad.  It was just incredibly frustrating to see a good play and expect a flag to be thrown.  And not all of it is the refs hating the Lions.  And its not because of dumb rules.  Smart players make smart plays. 

The offense is pitiful, and having Best miss any length of time will just about end any chance we have of scoring more than 14 points a game.  Sure we were in the redzone twice and Hill got picked it off twice, but the offense was bad.  Wasn't Hill supposed to not turn over the ball?  Wasn't he supposed to not make mistakes and provide a steady hand?  I haven't seen it yet.  The only touchdown scored was when the Lions had the ball on the 11, and I still didn't have confidence they would score there.  Megatron was a little more involved, and finally Tony Scheffler was thrown too.  But mostly I did not feel good about our offense.  Hopefully Best is OK and Kevin Smith can come back from directing movies/his knee injury and give us 3 yards a pop he excels at. 

Going forward, the Lions have another 3 weeks with Green Bay, St Louis and the New York Giants.  The Lions won't win in Green Bay, they haven't since December 15th, 1991.  St Louis is very winnable, especially if Steven Jackson is hurt.  Even the Giants, who are worse than people think, is partially winnable.  Then after the bye, if the Lions get healthy, its time to make a push for .500

On a side not, nobody likes crazy Uncle Jared and his dumb antics.  Saying how he hates Detroit is one thing, but to blame it all on Lions players is just dumb.  And nice job Shaun Hill for going back in the ring and stand up for himself.  I don't like Jared Allen, and I hope the Lions shut him out for the rest of his career so we don't hear him say something stupid and hillbilly-ish. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

NCAA Week 4- The Advantage

The Boise State University Broncos (BSU) have one of the most unique advantages in college football, let alone all of sports. The Broncos blue turf is the only venue in Division 1 college football that doesn't have grass or green turf. "We were watching the game on television and it was hard to see," said Joe Kramer. "An Oregon State player would be running with the ball and then he'd go down. We couldn't really see the BSU players due to their full blue uniforms."

Football teams, both college and pro, pump loud noise into their practice facility when traveling to noisy opponent stadiums. Not only did the Oregon State Beavers do this but they did something also very unique; they painted their practice field blue. The Beavers used 70 gallons of white line paint and 280 gallons of watered down blue paint, privately donated, as they proceed to get their eyes and mind used to the unfamiliar territory.

The (24) Beavers kept the game close but got shut out in the fourth quarter as the (3) Broncos extended their home record to 55-2 since 1999 winning 37-24.

I was pretty pumped up to see College Game Day in Boise, Idaho last night. I jumped onto the Boise State bandwagon when the Broncos "upset" the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. To the day, I can still picture that last drive, Adrian Peterson's touchdown, Boise State's halfback pass touchdown and the Statue of Liberty two point conversion. When I watch the highlights on youtube, I still get goosebumps.

I also like watching the Broncos because in my mind they are still a "Cinderella team." Until they get the opportunity to play for the National Championship, they'll still have a lot to prove in the nations' eyes.

Around the rest of the college football scene, I was impressed and disappointed. I was impressed with (University of California, Los Angeles) UCLA's performance as they knocked off Texas. The Longhorns are always ranked high and performing well but I was glad to see the Bruins knock them off. UCLA didn't get a fluke win either, they earned the victory and gained respect in the Pac-10.

I am a bit disappointed with the NCAA due to scheduling. I like to watch competitive football games. I understand teams need victories and one loss could end a school's run at a National Championship but I hate watching and hearing about blow out games when you knew the other team didn't have a change. I bleed Michigan true and through but come on, I knew they were going to blow out Bowling Green. Bowling Green doesn't have nearly the talent that the Wolverines carry. Also, Ohio State putting up over 70 points on Eastern Michigan. Really?? Do you need to put an imprint into their helmets or something? I heard all this glamorous talk about Terrelle Pryor's day, but for real, he beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles!
I received my facts from

Loud and Out of Control!

G'afternoon everyone,

I've loved sports for as long as I can remember. I enjoy watching sports, talking sports and most of all, expressing my opinion on sports. I am Ben Kramer and I hope to bring to you my thoughts and opinions on NCAA college football throughout the season. I have two years of experience writing Ferris State University football, hockey and softball and hope to use that experience in writing for Season Tickets. Thank you and enjoy. Cheers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This Weekend In Football

Just have some thoughts in the world of football this weekend.

I have some personal crusades.  I hate Boise State, I love pointing out how ESPN does stupid stuff constantly, I think the Situation should win Dancing With The Stars, and talking about how the Jets are just a slightly above average team.  And I love pointing out crappier NFL teams and college football facts.  Mark this all down.

The Vikings and Bears are overrated and have frauds written all over them.  The Vikings are 0-2 and look old and sluggish.  I don't expect them just to turn it on.  Too many people are picking the Lions this weekend, but the Vikings are going to be chasing the Packers.  The Bears (didn't) beat the Lions and then beat the 0-2 Cowboys.  The offense isn't going to not turn the ball over or keep Cutler safe for long.  They will start to lose in bunches.

The Lions will struggle to win more than 3 games this year, mostly because of Stafford being out.  Even with Jahvid Best being able to carry the offense, the Lions defense showed they have a long way to go.  Stafford was the key this season, and with him gone I don't like our chances in many games.

I feel less confident about the Bengals every week.  Even when they win, Palmer will never be the same.

Kansas City and Tampa Bay are the top teams in the basement.  Both 2-0, but it doesn't matter.  KC will end up with 7 wins and Tampa Bay less than that.  They are going to be hurting come December.

 The Miami Dolphins are very good, like Wild Card good. 

Alabama is the best team in the nation.

Jake Locker has pulled a Brian Brohm and turned down huge money to be drafted later in the year.

Ro-Tel and Velveeta is the best combination in the world.  

The Big Ten is the second best conference in the nation, and the gap between them and the SEC is pretty close. 

USC keeps winning and will keep winning.  Thanks, Pete. 

Nebraska will win the Big 12 (10) and has an amazing chance to win the Big 10 (12) next season.

So enjoy this weekend of football!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Midweek Michigan Update

- Last week, Michigan won their game to remain undefeated. Unfortunately, they only won 42-37 against FCS Massachusetts. Several things jumped out at me during this game:

1.) The woes that have plagued the defensive secondary are now starting to infect the linebackers and linemen. There were several missed tackles, and UMass drove down the field numerous times as a result. The run defense was very poor, and if Michigan wants to continue winning, they must have at least one phase of the defense playing better.

2.) It seems as though all the Big 10 teams are struggling with special teams, and Michigan would be considered one of those teams. Brendan Gibbons and Seth Broekhuizen, the kickers, are a combined one for five this season, which is really quite bad. This game, however, also showed that Michigan is lacking in punting, kicking off, and is not very dynamic in punt and kick returns. All I want as a Michigan fan is to have a kicker who can make some field goals on a regular basis, and another Steve Breaston.

3.) If Michigan wants to keep up the winning streak, the offense is going to be the key. I would have been even more upset with this game if Michigan had only won 14-10 or something like that, but if their defense is going to be bad, at least they have an offense that can put up points. I know it was against UMass, but Denard Robinson still looked really good connecting on some deeper passes while reducing his running attempts slightly.

4.) Michigan really needs to work at scheduling FCS schools that are not good at football. Instead of top 25 teams, try Dartmouth, Cornell, or Howard.

- Here are several links to stuff related to Michigan football:

1.) Awesome Video that makes fun of the trailer for the M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Happening, that implies that Denard Robinson is the Happening. Also includes some pretty awesome shots of Notre Dame's head coach Brian Kelly.

2.) The University of Michigan tells several companies and businesses that they have to stop printing T-shirts and other apparel with Michigan football players' names or likenesses on them. Most of these have been for Denard Robinson, but there are some other players that this concerns as well, one of which was Tate Forcier - no complaints with that.

3.) Brian Cook for Mgoblog provides a very in depth review of the defense against UMass. Included is a breakdown of plays, formations, and several videos and photos.

4.) Rich Rodriguez will look everywhere for a kicker. Even random students have a chance.

5.) A pie chart of Michigan's offense according to Spencer Hall of Everyday Should be Saturday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You're Welcome!

This weekend saw some pretty excellent football action, with some gutsy calls and great performances from the guys who get paid to play and the NFL. 

1. Mark Dantonio and the MSU Spartans:  Dantonio made the gutsiest call of his career, and it paid off.  If you haven't seen "Little Giants" yet there you go.  State should have lost, and played much worse than I thought they would versus an average ND team.  But they did have an ultra dramatic win in OT at home (much like against Michigan last season) and they are ranked with an FCS opponent coming to town.  Dantonio will probably miss the Northern Colorado with his heart attack, but should recover and provide a big boost down the stretch.  He will make a full recovery, luckily, and be making more big calls on the sidelines soon.

2. Jahvid Best:  We saw the coming out party for Jahvid Best yesterday, with his 200+ yard effort and 3 TDs, to go with his 2 TDs in Week 1.  Hes explosive, dangerously fast and has great vision.  The only thing I am worried about is him getting hurt, but like I think of Stafford now, I believe his injuries in college were all of the freak variety.  Only time will tell, and the Lions have their most explosive and exciting player since Barry Sanders.

3. Cincinnati Reds: I have finally accepted that the Reds will make the playoffs.  I know they locked it up months ago, but still, its the Reds.  All that young talent they assembled finally came together, and Votto is having an MVP year.  It is a great year for baseball, as small market low budget teams will win the NL West, East and Central and Wild Card, the AL West, AL Wild Card, and AL Central.  Small teams are starting to assert themselves, as the Cubs, Red Sox and the Tigers have all faltered this year.