Wednesday, March 31, 2010
1. Tom Izzo: The Spartans and Coach Izzo deserve all the credit they get from ESPN, Weston Corbitt, the Big Ten Network (presented by delicious Ro-Tel) and national newspapers. Izzo has even turned this run into a flattering "thanks but no thanks" deal from the University of Nike. Oregon offered Izzo full control and a million bajillion dollar contract. First off, 100% chance he turns this down. Secondly, he deserves whatever amount of money he wants. 6 Final Fours in 12 years is astounding. Tom Izzo is the best coach in America, hands down.
2. Kevin Kolb: In a small amount of playing time, Kevin Kolb has convinced the franchise he is the starting quarterback, and that Donovan McNabb should be traded. I am almost positive McNabb gets traded for a decent draft pick (second rounder) and that Kolb will take over, with Michael Vick in a more expanded Wildcat/Backup QB/Decoy/WR/RB/Public Relations Magnet. McNabb is obviously past his prime, and the defense isn't good enough to win with all the new weapons on offense. The team needs a new leader. Andy Reid will be fired if this experiment doesn't work out.
3. Not Stephen A. Smith: said the Eagles owe McNabb better. That may be true, but he brought up some awful points. He said the team never gave him a good running game. So what was Duce Staley and Bryant Westbrook? The team wasn't even built around running, but short throwing, even more so near the goal line, which padded McNabb's stats. He said they never gave him good targets to throw too. TO was run out of town after leading the team to a Super Bowl. Receivers were taken high (Freddie Mitchell) and eventually DeSean Jackson panned out. Westbrook and his tight ends were all above average. He also had great coaching, wonderfully mean home field advantage and an elite defense to help him win. Stephen A. Smith is sometimes good, but usually bad and I think tries to go out there to make his point. I don't hate McNabb either. When it comes down to it, all these same arguments can be used for Brett Favre as well. The difference is, Favre is a Hall Of Famer.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Chicago comes in this season with a lot of hope, but not a lot of change. Milton Bradley, one of the dumbest free agent signings ever, is gone. Why Hendry gave him 30 million dollars over the next three years is beyond me. He did just what I thought he would do, be a jerk in the clubhouse and not produce on the field. Now, he is gone. Luckily, Marlon Byrd is here to add some offensive firepower. The most important pickup for the Cubs this season is probably Rudy Jaramillo, the Rangers old hitting coach. He could get more production out of hitters like he did in Texas. The Cubs are going to need every run, as the core of players are getting older.
The Cubs had the second best team ERA last season, behind the Giants. If Lilly and Zambrano can come back healthy and strong, the Cubs could have a top pitching staff once again. Sadly, it seems Zambrano will never live up to the hype has had for the last decade. Lilly could miss the first month of the season, so he will be fresher in the dog days. I am happy the Cubs let Harden walk (and sign to the Rangers) and move on. He was an excellent pitcher. But his injury concerns were too much and him being a "five and dive" only made our bullpen work harder every fifth day.
The Bullpen is going to be weaker this year, with Angel Guzman injured (again) and Carlos Marmol walking too many batters to be a closer. He can still turn it around, but there is a reason Kevin Gregg (also gone) closed last year. Hopefully, young arms from the organization like Jeff Samardzija or Sean Marshall can step up and give solid innings. Carlos Silva could help out, but I have a feeling he is going to get shelled often. I would like to see a move or two made to help bolster the pen.
Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez are older and more brittle. They are very capable of putting together another good season or two, but don't count on it. Theriot and Fontenot are playing on borrowed time. Eventually, I bet around late June, Sterling Castro will get called up and play second or shortstop. He is a real deal prospect who will be a Cub for a long time. I doubt the Cubs will move one of those guys, but it could happen. Soto is back, trimmer and ready to rebound. He was hurt all year but is ready to take on a full season. Koyie Hill is tough guy and a solid backup, but I don't want him to start too often. The outfield will be Soriano, Fukudome and Byrd. Byrd is an upgrade in Center. Fukudome will never hit with power in America. He is still a solid player and could put a nice season together under Jamarillo. Soriano won't ever live up to the hype, but I hope to see him not be so streaky. I wish the Cubs would have resigned Reed Johnson, but Sam Fuld is a good replacement. Tyler Colvin could get a call up this year.
A lot of fans are calling for Jim Hendry's job. But he usually puts together good trades and free agent signings, and has rebuilt the Cubs minor league system. The farm system now has some actual talent and is going to start contributing to the big league club really soon. I suspect Lou Piniella is going to retire soon, and the Cubs will start the search for the new manager, who if given a few years could be Ryne Sandbergh. Its too early to tell.
The Cardinals, even with less pitching, should win this division. Matt Holliday was a huge signing for them. Pujols is still the best player in the game, and the Cardinals will be the team to beat. The Cubs will come in second, almost by default. The team's payroll is too high to expect a second place finish, but they can not out hit the Cards. The team is getting younger, and soon they will a radically different team. If they fall behind early, they could move some veterans from more prospects. Milwaukee still has a lot of talent, but they don't have the pitching to compete with the top two. They are a good young team, but need to start making some moves and signing some free agents. The Reds will be a trendy pick to make the playoffs, but they don't have the depth to win the division. They are starting to get the players they need to win, but are a year or two away from really being a threat. Chapman won't play much this season. Pittsburgh is also starting to rebuild and won't finish in last this year. But they will have another losing season. Houston is going to be awful and they have maybe the worst team in the league. They have a few good holdovers, but they could all be sold by the deadline. They are so old as a team that the future doesn't look bright either. With the NL East improving, I think only the division winner will get a playoff spot. This could be a very good division in a few years. But right now its very top heavy.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Its hard to bet against Izzo in the tournament. First, no he is not going to Oregon, the NBA or anywhere else. Secondly, he truly gets the most out of his players even the bench players who had to step in with the injuries that devastated the team in the Maryland game. Without Kalin, Korie Lucious took over the offense and turned into a scoring machine. He did have a lapse in ball handling against Tennessee, but the rest of his starting time has been productive. Raymar had an awful game against UNI but came back against Tennessee to have a great game and the winning shot. In two short weeks, Izzo took a backup Point Guard and turned him into a top talent. He took a player who can't focus and turn talent into production and made him the winning difference Sunday. The talent is obvious, its Michigan State, but Kentucky and Kansas are better teams and they lost earlier.
MSU and Duke are the favorites to win it all now. Butler is a cute hometown favorite, but MSU will beat them Saturday. Duke and West Virginia will be a slugfest.
As long as MSU is in the tournament, and Izzo is on the bench, the Spartans can win it all. This year the odds were a little worse, but you can't go against the stats. Tom Izzo wins in March.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The X factor today has to be Raymar Morgan. He has played really well from the end of the regular season to up to Friday. Then he fouled out with only 7 points. He made some big plays, but to beat Tennessee or anybody else remaining he will have to have more, and not be in foul trouble. Morgan is easy to figure out. Keep out of foul trouble and give him easy baskets to start, and his confidence matches his talent. Then he can be a real star player for us. He misses a few shots, and he locks himself down and his finishes with 2 points or something like that.
Now for Tennessee, they have beaten some very good teams (Kentucky, Kansas) and lost to some pretty bad ones (Georgia, USC). They have the talent to beat anyone in the nation, but the ability to lose to anyone, a power not many teams have. We all know Bruce Pearl is an awesome coach. They are a very deep team, and Pearl will use his bench often. They don't have a great offense, or shoot the three really well, but their defense is suffocating. Evan Turner can attest to that.
Can State win? Sure they can. They can back their way into a National Title game if they play the role of a mid major slayer next week. State should have more minutes from everyone, and Izzo will get the most out of his team. I go against Izzo too often in the tourney and he proves me wrong. He has something about him, he is too smart to fail often in March. Tennessee is a little more Cinderella now, but State can play pass this. For some reason, maybe my gut, I see MSU winning close or losing by 10+ points. I got to trust Izzo and hope the magic lasts one more game for MSU.
MSU 65 Tennessee 58
Friday, March 26, 2010
We all saw what Northern Iowa did last week. Hung around long enough with the best team in the nation, almost blew the game, then hit a gutsy three pointer to win the game. Now, Northern Iowa (notable alum, Kurt Warner) is basically a Big Ten team. They play steady offense, great defense and take timely three pointers. They have a good big man in Jordan Egselder, who at 7 foot 280 pounds, can hang with the Spartan front court. UNI is a mid major, and doesn't have the depth or the overall size MSU has. They obviously can play with anybody, although before the tournament, their non conference schedule wasn't overwhelming. They just locked up their coach Ben Jacobson for the next decade, and Ali Farokmanesh made the cover of Sports Illustrated. They are the darlings of the tourney this year.
The game will come down to this. MSU won't take the Panthers lightly. They know they are dangerous and the Spartans are vulnerable. Izzo has all week to prepare for a Big Ten style team. The Spartans have a lot to prove, and they can feed their big men and get some time from Allen, I think MSU will win. Lucious and Summers has to run the point effectively and keep the ball safe, and anything Allen can do to slow Farokmanesh will be huge. The Spartans are tough and deep, and will go to another Elite 8.
MSU 67 UNI 60
Thursday, March 25, 2010
There was only Matt and Rod
We were cursed I swear to God
Now nothin' can take you away from us
We been down that road before
But that's over now
We got Mayhew comin' back for more
Suh you're all that I want
When your destroying QBs with your arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe
We didn’t draft Dez Bryant
And defense is all that we need
And I found it there in Nebraska
It isn't too hard to see
We didn’t screw up
Oh - once in your draft you find someone
Who will turn your team around
Gets some wins when you don’t know how
Yeah - nothin' could make me not draft you
Oh there's lots that we could take
But I just won’t pick Taylor Mays
Cause our lines will light the way
Suh you're all that I want
When your destroying QBs with your arms
I'm findin' it hard to believe
We didn’t draft Dez Bryant
And defense is all that we need
And I found it there in Nebraska
It isn't too hard to see
We didn’t screw up
I've been waitin' for so long
To win more than 5 games
For a lineman worth darn
Now our dreams are comin' true
Through the good times and the bad
Ya - I'll be standin' there by you
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
2. Michigan State Spartans: With a chunk of the team injured including defending Big Ten Player of the year Kalin Lucas out for the year with a torn achilles, the Spartans displayed their coaches best qualities in a buzzer beating win over Maryland. Korie Lucious needed the confidence boost as he is a candidate to start at point for the Spartans. Other candidates are Durrell "Summer Time" Summers, Isiah "30 Seconds To Start" Dahlman. If Draymar MorGreen (my combination of production of Green and Morgan, and making fun of Brent Musberger. He can't say Draymond to save his life. He can say Deshawn Sims, Manny Harris, Brandon Graham....you get the joke) can produce, State will be all right.
3. Sam Bradford: Thanks Sam. This should be a I'm welcome. Bradford has impressed so many people with a high Wonderlic score and weight gain that he could be the Number 1 overall pick to St Louis. Then Suh will be in Blue and Silver. It seems too good to be true right? Wait Sam! It's a trap! The Rams can't possibly pass up Ndamukong Suh right? Well, to move forward, a starting QB could be really helpful and the Rams have taken Defensive players for far too long. Bradford gambled by going back to college, got hurt and will make more money. Bradford has really stepped it up in this job interview. Good for him. I hope hes the first pick this year.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Chris Allen would have to defend Greivis Vasquez, or it will be left to Kalin, who can match his speed. I don't feel confident in Lucas defending one of the best offensive talents in college basketball. I expect Vasquez to have a big game, but I still think the Spartans can win.
Draymond Green really handled the rebounding for MSU. We need more of the same from him today, and more scoring, because 70 points isn't going to cut it. Maryland won a up and down high octane match up versus Houston, and the Terps can turn this into a track meet really quick. It is up to MSU to dictate the play and run their game. Using their experience in a game like this could be the difference. Maryland didn't have any strong non conference games, so outside of Duke, MSU could be the best team Maryland has played.
I have MSU winning this game, but only if they play their game. Allen will play some, he is too tough and its the tournament. If Maryland runs the floor, MSU will use. But the physical, defensive Big Ten style of play could really throw a wrench into things.
MSU 78 Maryland 76
Friday, March 19, 2010
If you haven't heard of MSU, you either A) go to New Mexico State or B) Don't watch college basketball.
New Mexico State has beaten such powerhouses as Panhandle State, North Carolina A & T, and Alcorn State. They lost in the WAC Championship game to number 1 seed Utah State. Their star player is Jahmar Young, averaging 20.5 points per game.
For MSU to win, they need to play fast and start well. MSU has a nasty habit of starting out slow and playing from behind all game. The team is upset right now, as Chris Allen was suspended and Summers and Nix didn't see much playing time against Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament. I know that Izzo is a good enough coach to motivate the team and look past that to the tourney. Team leaders Lucas and Green will take the team over and can steal a game or two. Raymar Morgan has been playing so well lately. We need a lot of that if the Spartans want to reach the Final Four like last year. State is deep enough to beat some teams that could be called "better."
What will happen: State will come out firing, dominating with their size and strength. Lucas will play inspired to shut up Young. It will be close for a while, but State will out talent and out depth them to a fairly easy win.
Final MSU Wins: 79-65
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
1. The NHL: Suspending a super star is never easy, and its even harder in a league like the NHL who needs all the cash you can get. I think the NHL listened to Don Cherry and made up for the not suspensions they have had this season. Either clean up the game, or get more body bags, because this isn't old time hockey, its turning the league into guys taking cheap shots.
2. Rex Grossman: This is a little strange, so let me explain. Grossman has taken not very much talent, being too short and not putting up big numbers and turned it into another NFL contract. He got drafted in the first round, because the Bears can't ever have a good QB or recognize such talent. He then bounced around from being loved or hated in Chicago, lucked out by playing on the same team with da Bears D and Devin Hester and led them to the Super Bowl. Then he played awful for about another decade before getting shipped off to Houston. He completed 33% of his passes, then got cut, then got signed by the Redskins. He is now one sack (or Shanahan cut) away to being the starter for a top NFL team (by top, I mean popular and profitable). Crazy how the NFL works sometimes.
3. Evan Turner: Instantly became the top player in the nation with an awesome Big Ten tourney and that clutch game winner versus arch rival Michigan. His skills translate so well into the NBA and he could take Ohio State to the National Championship. He is very impressive to watch and is taking his game to the next level at the right time.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Toronto, who traded away their franchise changing first round pick for Phil Kessel, has reason to try. "I hate to tell these guys every night to fight hard and play well, because we should have a top 5 pick this year to raise their spirits. Now they are playing for pride. That makes me sick." Ron Wilson, coach of the Maple Leafs remarked.
Edmonton, in 31st place (out of 30 teams) is in more trouble than Toronto. Oilers management loves signing old players to try and put something together, only to lose 45 games a year. Their scouting staff is terribly under funded.
Jimmy Van Der Duke, head scout is even more clueless. When asked who will he draft with the presumably first overall pick, he answered "I don't know, that Delp kid? I don't have time to scout Junior hockey or College hockey. I got season tickets to the Flames."
Even Don Cherry feels for the fans. "This is an absolute joke. The greatest country in the world, can't produce two good hockey clubs to play on Saturday night. I am preparing a statement during Coach's Corner to try and save our beloved country from Euro players and their visor's." He added, "No touch icing."
Harper, after having paid for heart surgery in the United States, is in no shape to veto this game from CBC. He promises next week to have a game with at least one winning team. "I might be able to talk to Bettman for a Phoenix vs Montreal game." He added, "I'm sorry Canada."
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
But we just signed Nate Burleson? Doesn't that fill the need? Look past Megatron and Burleson. Bryant Johnson was better than many thought, but not an option at the slot. Dennis Northcutt will probably be cut this off season in favor of giving Derrick Williams every chance to win the job. That leaves a rookie who did not play well, Johnson, Johnson and Burleson. TO can't play the slot, but Burleson can. Burleson played in a West Coast style of offense the last few years, so the transition wouldn't be horrible. Owens won't want to be a role player, but he being older should limit his outbursts. I am an Owens supporter, and sure, he has done some stupid selfish stuff, but he isn't as bad as the press makes him seem.
What would we get with Owens? We would get an older player in great shape ready to play every game whether he is hurt or not. He can stretch a defense and take away more coverage away from Johnson. He had pretty good statistics last season (55 receptions, 829 yards and 5 TDs) with an absolutely awful QB situation. He would hold people accountable, even though he won't be everybody's friend. He would sell tickets, jerseys and maybe have a Monday Night football game for the first time since 2001. He would bring interest to the city and its NFL team.
So Mayhew, sign Owens and continue to rebuild the team. Bring interest back to the team before it is lost forever.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
2. Miikka Kiprusoff- After totally falling under the spell of the zero trapezoid, Miikka came back and won the bronze, then led his NHL team to a huge win over the Red Wings last night. With a little help, the Flames could get a 6th seed in the playoffs. With a pitiful offense and a defense losing a piece in Dion Phanuef (he was playing badly for a long time anyway) Kiprusoff has to play lights out for the Flames to have a chance to go deep in the playoffs.
3. Cornell Basketball- Its cool to see an Ivy League team make the NCAA tournament. Usually these teams have poor teams and the winner of the conference gets blown out in the first round of the NCAA. But Cornell (you ever heard of them?) could play their way to the Sweet 16 in this "weakest field ever." Cinderella teams are easy to root for, and watch out for Big Red Bear this season.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Dear Coach Schwartz,
First I would like to say I really admire the job you have done with my favorite team so far. I know you are the man to lead our team to establishing a winning tradition. You coach with such intensity and passion, something I believe will lead to wins in the near future.
I am a passionate Lions and NFL fan. I watch all the football I can and soak in the draft, combine, training camps and everything that has to do with the greatest sports league in the world. I know there is one player you have to give at least a tryout. Two years ago, in the seventh round, your predecessor selected a man and made his dream come true, but only for a moment. Caleb Campbell is an outstanding man and hero to this nation. He is a hard worker and was a captain on his Army Black Knights football team. Now he is busy serving our country fighting to keep us safe. But you could rekindle his dream to play the sport he loves with the best players in the world. I know if you give him a chance, he will give you one hundred and ten percent and do everything to the best of his ability. He will arrive early and stay late and be a great example to a team in transition. My mother watches the Lions because I love them so much. She doesn’t know many players or remembers many scores, but she remembers a young man with a passion and dream selected that April day. My family is close to the military, and we know the struggles their families go through every day. If anyone deserves this, it’s a man that serves his nation with honor and dignity.
Campbell would be a great story that people can follow and discover the organization that we are becoming. He would show the world that with a dream anybody can do anything. I think as a coach, you can appreciate his story and his drive to succeed. His impact would be felt on and off the field. All I am asking for is to give him a chance to live his dream and show why this team drafted him in the first place. Please invite him to training camp this summer to display his talent.
Thank you for all you do. If you keep working hard, I will always remain loyal to this team and believe. I know you can do it. Go Lions!
This is a real letter I am sending to Coach Schwartz in the near future. I will let you know if he responds and what he says. I would love to see Campbell in a Lions uniform next season. Lets all hope he gets a chance and voice your support. Go Lions!
Friday, March 5, 2010
Schefter hurt his thumbs while tweeting with Chad OchoCinco about Dancing With The Stars.
Schefter, who started out on the NFL Network, is one of the premier NFL insiders in the business. He is up there with Jay Glazer, Weston Corbitt, Chris Mortensen and Mike Mayock.
Tweeting on Twitter is a hot topic around sports nowadays, and now their is the first injury with it. Some NFL stars, like Terrell Owens is now hiring a professional Tweeter to help him out with his account. The 37 year old Free-Agent is looking for a new team next season. Pay starts at only minimum wage, but TO promises, "connections, friendships and popcorn."
When TO was asked about using MySpace too much, he replied with "whats that?"
Commissioner Goodell even punished some NFL players over twitter. "Players will receive a one year suspension if they tweet over 100 times a week. I know you only get 140 characters, but use that tiny URL thing."
He added, "I know its the same punishment I gave Pac-Man and Stallworth, but this is the future of our league. I didn't sign a new collective bargaining agreement to take care of the twitter issue."
Brett Favre is even thinking about getting a twitter. "I want people to know what I don't know 24/7. But I haven't made a decision yet."
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
1. Sidney Crosby- Had a great Olympics, scored the second biggest goal in Canadian hockey history and is now a national hero. His game winner past the best goaltender in the NHL showed he is a player of great talent and poise. Sadly, the Ovie vs Crosby in the Olympics was a stinker, but the gold medal game was an all time great. I still hate him.
2. Syracuse Orange(men) Basketball- Ranked first in the nation for the first time since 1990. Sure they won a National Title, but that stat shocked me. Cuse is playing as good as ever and could really make some tournament noise very soon. The Big East is top heavy this year but still the Orange should get a lot of credit for lasting this long into the season and playing that rough zone defense.
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Basketball- This isn't an early April fools. I did congratulate Notre Dame and Crosby in the same post. ND has played very well without its best player (Harangoudy) out for the last few weeks. They have forced their way into tourney talk and if they take care of business down the stretch, they could go from NIT contenders to Big Dance pretenders. Still quite an accomplishment for a team that has underachieved for the past few years.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Sydney Crosby deserves a lot of the crap he takes. I have never been a fan of Bettman's boy. But, I know he is very talented, (I put him right behind Ovechkin) and I know he has put up with a lot, rescuing a franchise and a league after a disastrous lockout. That being said, he made a superstar play at a superstar time that won his team gold. He didn't have a dominating tournament, but he made some good plays throughout the gold medal game (the breakaway, good defense, a game winning goal) and earned the love of at least one nation. He will be a hero no matter what he does now for Canada and made probably the second most clutch play in Canadian Hockey history (Paul Henderson in the Summit Series is first).
Overall, I didn't watch much Olympics outside of hockey. Why should I watch skiing once every four years? But, Canada did a good job and these were a memorable Olympics. Hopefully, the US keeps this in their thoughts and go into Russia in 2014 with gold being the only option.