Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Detroit City is Garbage

I made sure to get all my shit done today in the cesspool that is Detroit so I could pick up some beers, load 'em up with ice and put them in the sink, and watch the Tigers vs. Twins nightcap.  Then I get to my room, and guess what?  This gay hotel doesn't carry Fox Sports Detroit, which means no dice on the game.  They have ESPN on here twice, but no FS.  Sweet.  Luckily the hotel bar does, and that's where I am right now, drinking $5.50 16oz Miller Lites, which I luckily don't have to pay for.  They also claim they have wireless down here, but I can't seem to figure out how to connect.

-  We are in the bottom of the third right now, and it's 1-0 Tigers which has already been rubbed in my face by my waitress.  I must have been staring rather intently at the one tv the game is on down here, because she was asked if I was rooting for Detroit or Minnesota.  After it was 1-0, she came over and said, "My team is winning, my team is winning" and then asked, "whoever wins this game plays the Yankees this weekend, right?"  Jesus lady.  Braggy fans are bad enough, but at least try to have a clue.  Tip amount......dropping.

-  Ok, I now figured it out and I'm logged in, although I'm not sure how much good that does me.  I now just need to figure out an outlet.  My computer has been on since I left Minnesota, on account of I can't turn it off because when we were trying to watch True Blood Season 2 online I somehow downloaded like 20 viruses, most of which I've eliminated but one pesky one keeps hanging on and makes me have to reboot about 10 times to get my computer to restart.  It's pretty awesome. 

-  Now 3-0.  Maybe I won't have to worry about power after all.  Looking like a short night.  Thanks Dunce-ing.  Ha.  I just made that up.

-  Seriously, 3-0?  And Verlander looks as sharp as I've seen him, which of course, I predicted early.

-  Kubel with a hit, of course.  Now if Cuddyer can just stay hot and not look like the fool that he did in his last at bat.  Seriously, the need to get a run here soon. 

-  Nope, and we're scoreless through four.  Well, I mean the Twins are, obviously not the Tigers who are treating Duesning like Liriano.  Verlander is at 55 pitches (40 strikes, jesus) so he should peter out just in time for Fernando Rodney to shut the door.  Awesome.

-  In non-related news, Chuckie Knoblauch is in trouble for choking his common-law wife, which seems about right for a hick.  Tough break for her.  If he had just tried throwing things at her head she would have been golden. 

-  Dear lord is this guy next to me a loud eater.  Take a break tubby, the food will still be waiting for you in a few minutes. 

-  Duensing gives up a double and a single that inning, but manages to pitch his way out of it and thank god since Gardy had Keppel warming up.  They're still playing with fire here, need to get something going.  I'd also like to mention that the squeeze play in Game 1 might have been one of the worst decisions of all time.  I didn't get to see it or anything, since I was on a god damn plane, but I stand by my opinion.  Between that and taking Kubel out for a pinch runner, sometimes I think he tries to lose. 

-  Verlander with another dominant inning, including two strikeouts on some of the best pitching I've seen since Santana was in town.  Just filthy.  This guy needs a nickname.  Let me think on it.  Of course, my little waitress friend had to point out it was still three nothing.  And she keeps doing this thing where she rubs her shoulder on mine while kind of moving up and down.  It's very weird.  I wouldn't mind if she wasn't like, 70.  I'm going to start pretending she's hot.  Otherwise she's going to start noticing that I shudder every time she comes near me.

-  Duensing with a leadoff walk to Raburn, who moves up to third on a couple of outs and then they intentionally walk Cabrera, which probably ranks as the first smart strategic decision Gardy has ever made.  No we have Thames, and I'm pretty sure this is either going to be a home run or a strikeout.  I'm rooting for the strikeout.

-  Ok, a walk.  No problem, nothing hurt.  Inge is up, and he sucks.  Oh crap.  Nevermind, Gardy is going with Keppel.  I think my heart just broke.

-  First pitch, 2-run single.  Let's go ahead and put this one in the books folks.  I'd recommend Gardy just leave Keppel out there for the rest of the game, save the bullpen for the next two games.  Pavano vs. Bodine and Baker vs. Robertson.  Twins have the advantage in both games.  This was the game the Twins were most likely to lose, so I'm not going to quite wave the white flag on the season just yet.  Win the next two and it's tied, with the Twinks facing the Royals and the Tigers going against the Sox.  Yes, the Royals are pitching Greinke in a game, but I just read that Ozzie shuffled the rotation and now Peavy will pitch one of the games against Detroit.  He gave some stupid reason, but you know he's trying to spoiler, and god bless you for that Ozzie Guillen.  God bless you.  I'm sorry I called you gay.

-  Wow, a hit.  And a double even.  Denard Span breaks the streak of I think 34 consecutive outs by Verlander (29 Ks).  Don't worry, this won't go anywhere.  Verlander is still looking like a curve ball pitcher while the Twins look like Jesus Christ.

-  Cabrera knocks him in, but I'm still not excited.  Also just because he's played well these two games that's no reason to sign him for three years at $5 million per.  Settle down, Dawger and PA.

-  Mauer doubles, runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out and the best hitter in the AL up.  Still not confident. 

-  Kubel hit it well, but not well enough.  Gets a run home on a sac fly, still a runner on for Cuddy.  If they can get it to 5-3 going into the bottom of the sixth I'll feel pretty good.  Also Gardy can take Keppel out at any time.  Verlander up to 95 pitches. 

-  Cuddy swings right through a fastball, after changing his apparently irrestible candy of a down and away breaking pitch.  That puts Verlander at 100 pitches.  I'll feel much better if they get to the pen, but of course, Keppel has to hold the lead at three - not bloody likely.

-  Great catch by Mauer in foul ground, or in the stands, actually.  Looks like a fan got a piece of it, but they called the out.  I'm not 100% sure on the rule there, but I don't think that should be an out.  I'll take it though.  The Detroit fans at the table next to me (chubs left, probably to go order room service and porn) are livid right now.  Dudes.  Chill.  You're winning.  Spaz out tomorrow after Pavano tosses a no-no.

-  You're probably wondering what I had for dinner tonight.  Well, it was pretty non-descript.  We were in the air through lunch so had an early dinner at 4:30 at Buffalo Wild Wings.  I went with the Desert Heat, their new dry rub.  It's excellent.  I love a good dry rubbed wing.  Usually most places with a rub offer cajun, which 80% of the time just means "really salty" - although Sensor's has excellent cajun wings and so does Boston's - but this is a really unique spice.  It's got a hint of sweet and then a good chile pepper taste.  Highly recommended.  Keppel has gotten two outs and given up two hits.  Now we are getting Mahay.  Clearly Gardy has punted this game.

-  Mahay gets out of it.  Time to shine boys, time to shine.  *cue Eminem*

-  Or just go down as the easiest inning of all-time.  Brutal when Gomez has the best at-bat of the inning.

-  Snacks just texted me, "If Mauer is a 1B and Cabrera is a catcher, Cabrera is the MVP, right?"  So let's look because it's difficult to watch Crain pitch. 

Mauer:  .368/.442/.598 with 28 homers and 92 rbi
Cabrera:  .329/.399/.550 with 32 homers and 100 rbi

Jesus Snacks, I thought you were smarter than this.  Mauer's numbers kick the hell out of Cabrera's.  Also he leads the league in average, on-base, and slugging.  HE LEADS THE LEAGUE IN AVERAGE, ON-BASE, and SLUGGING.  Mauer could play DH and Cabrera could be Ozzie Smith at short and this still should go to Mauer.  Wow.  This is pretty embarrassing.  Kind of wish I hadn't started this blog entry right now.

-  Crain gives up no runs despite throwing more balls than strikes.  Good work. 

-  According to baseball reference, where we sponsor the Mo Sanford page, Joe Mauer's OPS+ this year is 181, while Cabrera is at 145.  That's the same as Barry Bonds career vs. Vladimir Guerrero.  Think about it.

-  Back to back singles with one out by Span and Cabrera, Mauer up and Verlander still in at 122 pitches.  This is quite the showdown right here.

-  RBI ground out.  Pretty anti-climactic.  Gets them to within a Kubel swing of a tie game though.

-  Big RBI double by the best hitter in baseball.  There is now a permanent ban on Kubel-bashing on this blog.  You dumb people keep trying to tear him down, and he keeps showing how he's the next Lou Gehrig.  Tying run on second with two outs and the Twin Cities' latest hero in Cuddybear up at the plate.  Still not excited.

-  Cuddy grounds out like a girl, reaching for yet another breaking pitch outside the zone.  5-4 as we head to the bottom of the 8th.  The good news is that Fernando Rodney is maybe the worst 35 save pitcher in history.  Just keep it to one run.

-  Guerrier gives up a leadoff homer in the 8th to Granderson.  Great. Waitress comes over to tell me she just loves Granderson because he has such a cute face.  Tip = 0%.

-  Down 2, heading to the top of the ninth with suckface Rodney coming on.  *cue Eminem again*

-  This city is really weird by the way.  I'm not going to bash it - yet - but I'll spend a lot more time down here tomorrow so I'm sure that's to come.  So far, it's looking very much like a have/have not situation, with a lot of really seedy, run down looking bars right next to pretty high end looking restaurants.  I don't think it knows what it's identity is.  And the cars are weird too.  For being mo-town, like the motor city, there are an inordinate amount of crappy cars and cars with damage that are still tooling around.  I'm not a car guy by any means, you pretty much have to be driving the ferrari from Ferris Bueller's Day Off for me to notice, but even I picked up on the multitude of shitty cars here.  Weird.  It's like if nobody here could play hockey.

-  Delmon lead off infield hit.  He's just so fleet of foot.  Willie Mays Hayes like, you could say.

-  Morales strikes out on a pitch at his eyes, and we're left with Tolbert and Punto.  Confidence is high.

-  Punto with a double over Granderson's head?  I have no idea how that happens.  Must have been a great pitch.  That was like when Katie Holmes took her shirt off in The Gift, completely unexpected and completely awesome.  All up to Span here.  Please, just please.  Come on. 

-   Nope, lazy fly out.  Like I said, that's ok.  This was the game they couldn't really expect to win.  Now they need to get the next two, no way around it.  I'll be in attendance tomorrow, so hopefully I have something to cheer about and get beat down by Detroitians who are angry at life because of the cities crappy economy. 

70 year old super hot waitress just came over and said, "well they still have the doubleheader tomorrow."  Ugh.  Seems like a good way to end the night.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Review - 9/28/2009

Obviously I survived our little cookout yesterday with Dawger, Super Sioux Fan, and Baby Dawger, and I had a shockingly good time.  Super Sioux Fan didn't try to kill me (to my knowledge), we ate some good food, watched a hell of a win by the Vikes and a predictable loss by the Twins, I beat Dawger in HORSE, and learned that Vodka & Tab is actually pretty damn good.  The day ended with hugs for all and by all, and I don't know which was scarier, when SSF hugged me, or when she hugged WonderbabyTM.  Luckily, she decided not to kill either of us this time.  Narrowly averted death, or grossly overestimated SSF craziness?  I'll let you decide.  Anyway, on to the stupid crap.


1.  Jacob Edward Peavy.  Great googily-moogily, how much does it suck that this guy is going to be in the AL Central until like, 2012 or something?  In just his second start back from injury (since June 8th) he came out and completely shut down the Tigers Friday night, going seven scoreless innings allowing just six hits and striking out eight.  The Sox (well, more accurately the Twins) needed him to throw that well too, since the White Sox bats weren't working against Tigers' starter Eddie Bonine who nobody has ever heard of.  Bonine no-hit the Sox until their were 2 outs in the sixth, which is when Brandon "0 homers in the derby" Inge kicked away a routine groundball, letting Alex Rios reach.  The next batter was David Beckham, who went yahtzee for the Sox first hit and gave them the 2-0 lead - which would also be the final margin.  Anyway, this really sucks that Peavy is on the White Sox.  AL pitchers are supposed to go over to the NL and dominate, not the other way around.  It's going to be frustrating watching the Twins flail away against him.

2.  Phil Mickelson.  Well this was pretty unexpected.  I thought Mickelson was essentially done for the year after the whole double cancer issue, and his play was showing it, but he came up huge and won the Tour Championship this weekend.  He didn't have a finish in the top-25 in the five tournaments since the US Open, and started slowly this weekend with a 73 (+3) on Thursday, but he got better each day, closing it out 67-66-65, good enough for nine under par and a three shot win over a Tiger, not to mention an extra $1.35 million in the bank.  Tiger ended up the winner of the $10 mil and the Fed Ex Cup, but this is a good win for Phil not only to build on, but to remind everybody that he's still the second best golfer in the world.  I'm thinking 2010 might end up being a big year for him.  

3.  South Florida.  Huge win over #18 Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee, fueled by two major parts - QB B.J. Daniels and their defense, particularly the defensive line.  The Bulls defense held the Seminoles to just 7 points and 16 rushing yards in their 17-7 upset, while sacking FSU QB Christian Ponder five times, forcing (and recovering) four fumbles, and putting so much pressure on the QB that FSU had to abandon anything down field.  Daniels is an even better story - making his first career start, replacing four-year starter Matt Grothe who is now out for the season with an injury.  Not only that, the Seminoles recruited Daniels but told him they wanted him as a WR, not as a QB, but he certainly showed them, tossing for 215 yards and 2 scores while rushing for 124 yards.  It was the first time since 1986 FSU as allowed an opposing QB to run for over 100 yards, and is the first win over Florida's big three schools for the Bulls.  I have a feeling they had a good time that night.

4.  Zack Greinke.  Seeing as the Twins' were fortunate enough to miss Mr. Greinke all season long, I never really got to see him pitch.  Now that I have, holy dear god.  This guy is ridiculous.  His fastball is in the upper mid-nineties and tails about a foot, his curve falls off a cliff, and his change had guys lunging like Cuddyer after a slider in the dirt, but I'm talkiing good hitters like Kubel and Span.  He shut down the Twins Sunday, and his season numbers are now a 16-8 record, a 2.06 ERA, and a 1.07 WHIP, and he's either first or second in every meaningful pitching category.  Honestly, him losing the Cy Young might be a bigger travesty than Mauer losing the MVP.  This one is a true test of how stupid award voters are, which makes me very nervous for Greinke.  Here's hoping they make the right choice.  Oh, and just for kicks, his ERA in September is 0.35.  No lie.

5.  Greg Lewis.  That catch was sick.  Absolutely gorgeous.  I'll admit, when the Vikes picked up Lewis my reaction was to make a dismissive wanking motion, but it turns out I was dead wrong.  Favre is the hero here, no doubt, for a great play on that finale as well as for leading the team on the game winning drive - one which T-Jax couldn't have pulled off - but if Lewis doesn't make that ridiculous catch that's the ball game, the Vikes are 2-1, and everybody is freaking out and wondering if the team sucks now.  And speaking of sucks, it really sucks that Frank Gore is hurt.  Not just because he is on my fantasy team either.  Ok just kidding.  That's pretty much the whole reason.

Here is Lewis's catch.  If you haven't seen it, you need to watch it.  If you have, are you telling me you don't want to see it again?


1.  Ole Miss.  I had no idea Ole Miss was ranked #4 in football.  I thought the only time they were good was when Eli Manning was slinging the pill all those years back and that they had faded back into mediocrity.  Apparently not so, but they may be heading that way after laying an absolute egg and losing 16-10 to the unranked Gamecocks of South Carolina on Thursday.  After looking into it, it turns out that this is the highest ranking the Rebels have had since 1970, and also that their QB, Jevan Snead is thought of as one of the best QBs in college football.  He certainly didn't play like it, putting up a Jake Delhomme of a day, completing just 7 of 21 passes for the game and leading the Rebs on a drive of more than 49 yards just once.  Oh well, another top 5 teams bites it.  Maybe this will help get a non-BCS team like Boise into the championship game.  Plus, I finally get to post this picture of Ole Miss chicks I've been holding onto.

2.  Cal.  Yikers, there isn't a font big enough to post this OOF, an embarrassing, emasculating, and disembowling loss 42-3 against the terrible Oregon Ducks.  The Bears scored first, going up 3-0, but the the Ducks reeled of 42 unanswered on their way to gaining more than double the yards of Cal.  Jahvid Best, who you probably remember shredding the Gophers, gained just 65 yards.  What's weird is that Cal didn't really even turn the ball over - just one fumble - they just couldn't do anything.  They had the ball 14 times and couldn't muster a single drive over 50 yards; the only reason they even scored was because Oregon fumbled the opening kickoff.  Just wow.  Just a horrid performance on both sides of the ball.      

3.  Tampa Bay.  Guess how many yards Tampa Bay gained Sunday against the Giants.  Nevermind, it's impossible to even guess - it's 86.  86 yards.  Eighty-six.  And that's the entire game, mind you, not just a half or a quarter or a drive.  Byron Leftwich, Tampa's QB and the guy I just picked up to be my backup QB, completed just seven of 16 attemps, for a huge total of 22 yards and a pick before being pulled for Josh Johnson who I have never heard of.  Johnson was much more effective, completing four of ten for 36 yards, and also rushing once for a gain of 15.  Funny thing about that 15 yard gain is that it made Johnson the leading rusher for the Bucs on the day.  That vaunted three-headed monster at RB of Earnest Graham, Cadillac Williams, and Derrick Ward racked up a grand total of 13 yards, with Caddy leading the way with eight.  Needless to say, they scored 0 points and are starting to look like they're going to give the Rams, Browns, and Raiders a run for that first overall pick in 2010, or as I like to call it, "The Sam Bradford Sweepstakes."  

4.  Jamarcus Russell.  Remember when the Raiders took Russell first overall in the 2007 draft and everybody was like "Dude, what?  This guy isn't a first overall type.  There's way better guys like, oh, say Adrian Peterson available.  If you really need a QB, trade down and take Brady Quinn at least.  Good god, you're not really going to take J-Russ first are you?"  Well, it keeps looking more and more like everybody was right.  Russell laid his latest bomb on Sunday, completing 12-21 passes for a grand total of 61 yards (and 2 picks).  That's five yards per completion.  Five.  I don't even know how that is possible.  I wish I would have watched this game.  Was it a series of shovel passes?  Failed screen after failed screen?  I'm stumped.  That gave him a QB rating of 22.6, which will really drag down his season rating of 46.6 coming into the game.  The best part?  He's making north of $16 million this year.  Awesome.   

5.  Francisco Liriano.  Let's just go ahead and shut it down guys, it's over for Franky.  In case you missed it, he decided he didn't even want to get out of the second inning against KC on Sunday, mainly because he once again refused to throw strikes and when he did people like frickin' Yuniesky Betancourt hit it eight billion miles.  He needs to work his ass off this winter and figure something out, because his career is about thisclose to being over right now.  Assuming he doesn't pitch again this season (please god), his final numbers are 5-13 with an ERA of 5.88 and a WHIP of 1.56.  I don't have the time or inclination right now to get further into his numbers (Sidler, you still alive?), but things really aren't good.  He's like the Jamarcus Russell of pitchers. 

So that'll do it.  Honorable mention for sucking to Terrell Owens, who didn't have a catch yesterday because he's gay.

I am off to the Detroit City tomorrow, and will be spending two nights in the toilet bowl of america - including one night when I'll be at Comerica Park to no doubt watch the Twins lose.  For now I leave you with this awesome picture of Baby Dawger and WonderbabyTM.


Friday, September 25, 2009

NCAA Basketball Preview: Atlantic 10

Just a fascinating conference, which always seems to have one elite team (Xavier for while, St. Joe's before them, GW before them), a handful of decent teams, and some serious dead weight at the bottom.  The problem is that the good teams always beat up on each other while the bottom dwellers drag the overall conference profile down, and the A-10 never gets as many bids as it probably should.

1.  DAYTON.  It looks like it's time for a change at the top, with Xavier taking a step back and the Flyers moving on up.  They have everybody back from the team that beat West Virginia in the first round of the NCAAs last year, which I remember vividly because I had to sit and watch that game in a Dayton bar in Chicago that was packed to the rafters with hippy Dayton fans who were worse than Gopher fans when it comes to the constant ref cheating conspiracy theories and are basically complete hipster doofus morons.  Anyway, they're fortunate because Chris Wright is back and is probably the best player in the A-10 as well as being an absolute beast inside, along with something like 95% of the team's scoring from last year.  If they improve their outside shooting (11th in 3 pt. FG % in the A-10, which has 14 teams) they could make some national noise.

2.  LASALLE.  If Chris Wright isn't the best player in the A-10, it might be LaSalle slasher Rodney Green, who is the second highest returning scorer in the conference at 17.8 ppg last season.  Green isn't a great outside shooter, but he's been remarkably consistent, improving both his three-point shooting as well as his scoring average all three seasons in his career.  He's also not one to disapper in games, as he scored in double-digits in the Explorer's last 26 games in 2008-2009.  He'll be helped by not only three other returning starters, but also by the top ranked incoming recruit in the conference in 6-10 center Aaric Murray, who is #35 on the Rivals Top 150 and the top ranked recruit to play for a non-BCS school this season.  That signing, and a good chance at an NCAA bid this year, mean LaSalle might be relevant for the first time since Lionel Simmons.

3.  RICHMOND.  It seems like Richmond has been the pesky A-10 team for the last couple of years, but not the good kind of pesky because they have nothing but two invitations to the CBI to show for it.  This year things are set up for a run at an NCAA bid.  Their top three scorers are back, including the entire starting backcourt, but more importantly center Dan Geriot returns from a knee injury that caused him to miss all last season.  Geriot led the spiders in both scoring and rebounding two years ago when he was all Atlantic 10.  If he's fully recovered, and with a very tough non-conference schedule, Richmond is set up well for a postseason berth. 

4.  XAVIER.   A new coach and losing boatloads of talent - including over 50% of last year's scoring - means that this will be the toughest year for the Musketeers in a while.  They still have talent coming back.  Guards Terrell Holloway and Mark Lyons and center Kenny Frease were all top 150 recruits when they came out last year, and they add Indiana transfer Jordan Crawford (and if you aren't already sick of the "Crawford dunked on Lebron" story, expect it to get much worse during college basketball season.  They're still talented, but their step back combined with other teams improving means they'll have work to do to win another A-10 crown.

5.  UMASS.  The Minutemen are hurt by departing talent, including A-10 defensive player of the year Tony Gaffney and starting point guard and last year's A-10 second leading assist man Chris Lowe, but the combination of talent returning and new talent should keep them competitive.  The returning talent includes bring back shooting guard Ricky Harris, the leading returning scorer in the conference at 18.2 ppg, as well as fellow double-digit scorer Anthony Gurley, who was originally the #79 recruit on Rivals 150 for 2006 when he comitted to Wake Forest before transferring back.  Joining them is a class universally praised as the best of the Atlantic 10 this season, highlighted by combo forward Terrell Vinson, the #90 prospect this year, as well as four other three-star players.

6.  DUQUENSE.   It's tough to know what to make of the Dukes this season.  On the one hand, they made a run to the A-10 title game last year, finished with a winning conference record for the first time since 1991, made the postseason (NIT) for the first time since 1993, and have everyone coming back with the exception of one guy.  On the other hand, that one guy was guard Aaron Jackson, who led the team in scoring and assists and was second in rebounding and steals.  They were a very efficient offensive team last year (tops in the A-10), and have four guys returning who averaged 9.8 points per game or better, but must get better on defense (13th in the A-10) if they want to gain their first NCAA bid in 33 years.

7. CHARLOTTE.  The 49ers are another team hit hard by graduation, losing top player Lamont Mack among others, but have a very nice influx of talent joining up this year.  Start with dead-eye shooter Shamarr Bowden, an original commit of Virgina Tech who led Charlotte in scoring last offseason during through Canada before getting injured and being forced to redshirt last season.  He'll be back and looking to play off little 5-9 point guard DiJuan Harris who led the conference in assists last season.  Also incoming are #83 prospect PF Chris Braswell and transfer from B.C. Shamari Spears.  Adding these guys to a solid group of returnees means the 49ers could make a little noise this season.

8.  RHODE ISLAND.  Yet another team hit by graduation, the Rams lose their top two scorers from last season, and while they don't have the incoming talent of Charlotte, they do have a good group coming back.  Keith Cothran can't shoot like the departing Jimmy Baron, but he can score in bunches, and Delroy James has similar size, similar numbers, and a similar game to Kahiem Seawright.  Point guard should be fine in the hands of either returning starter Marquis Jones or incoming frosh Akeem Richmond, and if somebody can step up and become the third scorer the Rams will be in good shape.

9.  TEMPLE.  I've seen some previews that have Temple as a league champion contender, but I'm just not seeing it.  They are losing three players, including superstar Dionte Christmas, who led the A-10 in scoring three consecutive seasons and was probably the A-10 player of the year but for the love of god I can't find this information anywhere to confirm or deny.  With no major freshmen influx of talent, they will need somebody to become the go to guy with Christmas gone.  Forward Lavoy Allen seems most likely.  He's their leading returning scorer and was a top 150 talent when he comitted to the Owls. 

10.  ST BONNIE'S.  The Bonnies were in a complete shambles not all that long ago but are starting to get near respectability, going 15-15 last season, their first time with double-digit victories since 2002-2003.  This year could be even more of an improvement, with three double-figure scorers back including last year's A-10 Rookie of the Year in 6-9 Andrew Nicholson.  The Bonnies were one of the fastest teams last season (#22 Tempo), but played scattershot, ending up as one of the least efficient offensive teams (#238) due to poor shooting (#285 in 3pt pct) and horrendous ball control (#305 in turnovers).  If they are going to keep improving, that needs to be addressed.

11.  ST LOUIS.  This Rick Majerus turn-around is taking longer than expected, and might not get started quite yet again this year with the Billikens losing their starting backcourt, Tommie Liddell and Kevin Lisch, who both averaged double-figures in scoring for four straight years and have been the top-2 Billiken scorers for the last three.  Majerus has been stockpiling some talent, at least, including two players from Australia this season which I think is a good sign - foreign players were a hallmark of his excellent teams at Utah, who will join last year's class of four 4-star players.  Notable from that class are PG Kwamain Mitchell, the team's only returning double-figure scorer and leading assist man, and center Brett Thompson, who was ranked #107 by Rivals two years ago but must step up [ED. NOTE:  Fine, I get it.  I'm an idiot.  He's not on SLU any more]

12.  SAINT JOE'S.  Free fall.  The Hawks lose their top two players, Ahmad Nivens and Tasheed Carr, who accounted for nearly half of the teams points and rebounds a third of their assists, and there ain't much in the hopper.  Shooting guard Darrin Govens is the leading returning scorer and he's a chucker extraordinaire, flinging up 208 three-point attempts (6th in the A-10, first on the team by nearly 100) despite hitting under 35%.  With no other scorers on the team, we could reach Robert Vaden levels of chuckitude.  Help is on the way, however, with the Hawks having already gained comittments from two top 120 recruits for 2010.

13.  GEORGE WASHINGTON.  It was just four seasons ago the Colonials were loaded and finished the season 27-3, but they have fallen hard and it might be tough to duplicate even last season's 4-12 conference record.  GW loses three of it's top four scorers, and is going to be leaning heavily on it's six newcomers, none of whom are real standouts.  Senior forward Damian Hollis will be the main man and did score 20-plus in two of the team's last four games, but he's no Pops Mensah-Bonsu, that's for sure. 

14.  FORDHAM.  There isn't an OOF big enough to describe what is going on at Fordham.  For starters, they were just 3-25 last year (NOTE:  not a typo), and last in the conference in essentially every statistical category.  Secondly, three of their top four players either transferred or graduated.  Finally, and most bizarre, their best player and former Rivals 150 guy Jio Fontan attempted to transfer, but in something that I can't recall every hearing happen, the school refused to give him his release so now he's stuck.  I have no idea how that is even possible or legal, but apparently it is, so Jio is stuck with an even worse team than last year.  I'm sure he will give his top effort all season long and not become a locker room problem at all. 

Other Previews:
Conference USA

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two Down, One to Go for 2010

Tubby Smith secured his second committment for the class of 2010 with shooting guard Austin Hollins choosing Minnesota over the likes of Arkansas, Memphis, and Oregon State.

Hollins doesn't have any stars on Rivals, which doesn't necessarily mean he's terrible or anything, it just means they haven't evaluated him - which is really weird.  Scout.com gives him 3 stars and ranks him the #34 shooting guard in the country for his class.  Scouting reports I can find say he's an excellent shooter with good range, but is not the most athletic or strongest player.  One big key I saw on the Scout report is they say a strength of his is his upside/potential.  Has Tubby grabbed a diamond in the rough?

Pairing him with Eliason (with one scholarship still available) is a rather underwhelming class, but might be necessary.  With two consecutive classes ranked in the top 25 nationally, and large classes at that, grabbing some role players and high upside guys makes some sense, and I still have full and complete trust in Tubby so I'm not worried about it. 

I would still love to get a top flight PG like Joseph or McCallum, but those are starting to feel less and less likely to me.  Even if Tubby ends up with another player rated similarly to the two already aboard, this is by no means a step backwards, just a holding pattern.  Hopefully he can grab someone like Shannon Scott in 2011, the Georgia PG who is #12 on the Rivals 150 and already holds an offer from Minnesota, and bring in another top rated class.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twins v. Gay Sox

Hey folks, with the Twins making a run at the stupid little Tigers, I figured I might as well tackle doing a blog of tonight's tilt against the hated White Sox.  Of course, it's a little difficult because Mrs. W is actually in control of the remote on Tuesday nights on account of The Biggest Loser about fat people crying a lot, I think.  So what am I to do?  I'm streaming the game using Stream Torrent.  What's Stream Torrent?  I have no idea, but it means I can watch the game.  I might be downloading several different viruses which are stealing my identity as we speak, but dammit I can watch the game.

-  Span out tonight with a mild concussion, which sucks but is probably a best case scenario after getting hit by a projectile moving 90 mph in the melon.  Gomez in and, is Gardy's style, plugged right into the spot of the guy he's replacing.  He hasn't been playing much lately, but the improvement he's shown this year gives me hope.

-  And right off the bat he shows why I'm starting to have faith in him, drawing a walk.  I'd be willing to bet Gardy goes with a bunt here with Cabrera.

- Nevermind, Cabrera unloads on one for a 2-run home run in what must be just his second or so homer since joining the Twins.  That moron PA spent an entire segment this morning discussing if the Twins should re-sign Cabrera after this season.  No, of course they shouldn't.  He'll be 35 next season, and will probably get at least $3 million a year to give you the exact same skills you are already getting from Brendan Harris, only more ethnic.  And you could resign Harris for half or a third what you'd need to get Cabrera.  You'd probably like that, racist. 

-  Yet another Kubel double (that guy is better than Jesus at hitting, FYI), a Cuddy single, and a sac fly by Delmon and it's 3-0 Twins already.  I just checked and the Tigers are winning 1-0 in the fourth.  Come on Cleveland.

-  A lead off walk to Podsednik, one of the worst hitters in baseball history and a notorious hacker who never walks.  This is a less than inspiring start for Mr. Manship.  Although I was expecting the Twins to need about six runs tonight anyway, so my world hasn't been exactly rocked.

-  Sure enough, pillow-biter Pods steals second, moves up to third on a grounder and scores on a grounder.  I wish I had sound right now, because I'd be willing to bet that the Hawk is extolling the virtues of small ball right now and holding up the Twins as the ideal of that philosophy, despite the fact that they rank 13th in the majors in homers, 19th in steals, and 20th in sac bunts.  Note:  that's not small ball.  Note2:  small ball is for girls and queers.

-  Just having Matt Tolbert in the lineup makes me physically ill.  It must be terrifying for Danks to get to the end of the lineup and have to face that Harris/Tolbert/Punto bottom of the lineup (Harris is DHing for some reaosn that I can't come up with).  It's like the old Yankee teams, who were forced to trot out Tony Lazzeri, Joe Sewell, and Bill Dickey at the end of their order. 

-  A nice 1-2-3 second inning for Manship with no balls particularly hit hard.  I literally can't remember if I've been impressed by Manship or not.  Like, seriously, somehow I can't remember watching him pitch, even though I know I've seen him multiple times.  Odd.

-  I just found out Placido Polanco (Det still up 1-0, now in the seventh) is a free agent after this year and the Tigers might not sign him.  How good would he look in a Twins uniform?  Based on his last contract (4 years, $4.6 million per year), his age (34), his production (declining), and the economy (toilet), I'd be they could get him for 2 years, $8 million.  Think about it.

-  Alex Rios just parked one about 10,000 feet to make it a 3-2 game.  There is no way 3 runs are going to hold up with Manship pitching.  And now Scottie Podsednik just got on base - again.  I'd be willing to bet he hasn't been on base twice in the same game more than three times this year.

-  Two run home run for David Beckham.  4-3 White Sox.  Is Manship really all we have as an option here for a pennant drive?  I'd rather toss Liriano out there.  Incidentally, just how far has Liriano fallen that I have to explain I'm not kidding that I'd rather have him than Man "look at how far that ball goes the other way" ship.

-  Two more singles, and I get my wish, here comes Liriano.  Actually, my wish was that somebody could pitch decently tonight.  That's also a lie, my real wish is that Sarah Michelle Gellar would show up on my doorstep in a babydoll nightie with a bottle of champagne vodka, feathered handcuffs, some sort of edible body lotion, and a bucket of chicken wings.

-  While I was typing that Liriano got out of the inning.  Now Cuddyer, the next Morneau, leads off the inning with a double.  They need to get him home to tie it up.  Delmoney, Harris, and Tolbert don't fill me with confidence.

-  Delmoney with an infield hit on a Baltimore chop-style hit, which reminds me in a lot of ways getting rid of the metrodome is going to suck.  Not just because the Twins are more comfortable there than any other team, what with the roof and the baggie and all the other intricacies, but because of the mental advantage they have over the Sox and the Tigers.  Players don't say much, but Ozzie Guillen, the Sox announcers, and the fans on both sides are all convinced they can't win in the dome, and the records bear that out.  Make no mistake, the Twins will be giving up a significant home field advantage next season and beyond.  They should be able to make up that difference, however, by spending more on free agents.  Ha ha.  I'm kididng of course.  Their won't be any additional monies spent to bring in talent.

-  Harris gets the run home by grounding into a double play.  So it's tied at 4-4, but that wasn't exactly awe-inspiring.  Also, Jason Bartlett probably goes yard there.  Just saying.

-  Mrs. W made Caramel-Apple Banana Bread tonight, and it's becoming increasingly clear to me that she's not all that bright (hi honey) because she is complaining that all she can taste is the banana.  There are clearly strong apple and caramel flavors, and the banana taste is actually quite minor.  I guess not everyone can be the kind of banana bread connoisseur I am.  I could be a banana bread sommelier, no joke.  Oh, you're having the filet mignon au poivre tonight?  Let me recommend the banana bread with either walnuts or macadamia nuts.  Grilled Salmon with Asparagus?  You'd probably have a good time with the cream cheese banana bread.  Although everyone knows banana bread with chocolate chips is the best, right?

-  In case you're wondering, suddenly my internet feed isn't working.  According to the always exciting yahoo gametracker, the Twins managed to take the lead after a Cabrera walk and a Mauer double.  By the way, it seems the national media is ALL on board with Mauer definitely being the MVP.  We'll see.  I trust the national media less than I trust The Todd around a burrito.

-  Also I want to mention here that it appears Dawger and Super Sioux Fan (and baby Dawger) will be coming over to the W casa on Sunday for a little Vikings/Twins/food day.  And also probably my murder.  If SSF does kill me, somebody throw out the shoe box under my side of the bed.  Don't open it.  Just throw it out.  

-  Liriano walks Beckham with one out (internet feed is back).  This guy is still so afraid to throw a strike.  It sucks, and this is the exact same thing that happened to my dad in the early 70s.  Hot shot prospect gets hurt, career never the same - or in his case, over.  If the pattern repeats itself Liriano will one day be a math teacher with one child who is a lawyer and another who is a drunken blogger.  Geez, dad.  Sorry.

-  I think I see why he hates throwing strikes, because he just threw one and Konerko Konorked it about 400 feet.  Luckily the wall is at 401 so it's just a double, but it's still 5-5 and both Liriano and my self-esteem are in the toilet.

-  The TV claims Liriano just hit 95 on the radar gun.  I call so much bullshit, like Zack Morris talking to Belding levels here.

-  Jessie Crain on his way to the mound.  That's always the answer.

-  Ok, he got the last out.  Also that necklace is fabulous.

-  Cuddyer with ANOTHER home run.  Talk about rising to the occasion.  This is incredible.  Looking at home runs only.  Which as we all know are the most impressive thing about baseball.

-  I think my internet feed is messed up.  It looks like Matt Tolbert just went yard.  That can't be, can it?  Weird how this feed is still running fine, but made somebody else look like a weiner with giant nostrils.  Never really seen that before.

-  Cabrera just made a play going to his right and doing that gay Jeter jump throw.  That better be on sportscenter as a great play, and then replayed for years.  We also should start calling Cabrera "the Captain" and a "True Twin", as well as maybe consider giving him an MVP as like a lifetime achievement award.

-  1-2-3 inning for Crain as we roll to the 7th.  Think about that.  What are the odds?

-  Tiggers won.  Can't afford to give this one away.

-  Mijares out to throw the seventh.  I assume this means we'll see either Rauch or Guerrier in the 8th.  I also want to use this space to admit that Matt Guerrier has had an awesome year and I didn't realize it.  WHIP of 0.91, ERA 2.18, and 70 innings in the books?  That's Paul Quantrill like, man.  I mean that is straight up awesome.  And I wrote this right before he is probably going to pitch an important 8th.  Good on me.

-  Shocker!  Fatties are crying on The Biggest Loser.  Fatties.  Are.  Crying.


-  We're going with Guerrier here.  Hopefully the DWG jinx is no longer in affect.

-  First batter is Konerko.  He konorks one over the fence.  DWG jinx looking strong.  Still 8-6 Twins.

-  Mrs. W just told me Sarah Michelle Gellar had a baby today.  Freddie Prinze's baby.  For both of these reasons, let's substittue Christina Aguilera in my dream scenario above.

-  Guerrier gets it done.  Either get a couple more or let's just hope the suddenly mortal Nathan doesn't F this up.

-  No runs in the 9th for the Twins.  Nathan in.  61 innings this year, 81 strikeouts, 39 hits.  Holy god.

-  That was deceptively easy.  Twins win again.  With the Tigers win, they remain 2.5 back.  The one big thing on the Twins side?  The Tigers are on the cover of SI.  I don't believe in curses (other than the Curse of King Tut, the Curse of the Billy Goat, and throwing salt over your shoulder if you spill it), but I think it's pretty obvious the Tigers are screwed.  Just keep winning twinkies, just keep winning.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Review - 9/21/2009


1.  Jahvid Best.  Best running back in college football?  I haven't watched enough to say for certain, but the guy looked damn good.  It's been a long time since I've watched a college running back live with that kind of speed, that kind of shiftiness, and that kind of vision.  He ended up going for 132 yards and a school record five TDs, and honestly it probably could have been worse.  For some reason the Cal coach kept taking him out on third down, even though he showed early that he has excellent hands.  Whatever.

Overall you have to be pretty pleased with the Gophers.  They hung right with a top 10 team until the last ten minutes or so, and if not for a false start penalty on Cal that nullified a drive ending sack, who knows what could have been?  After the last two games, I'm very impressed with the Gopher defense.  Obviously Cal's 417 total yards don't look good, but in the second half the team really tightened up and played well enough for the Gophers to pull off the upset - they just fell a bit short.

What's going to help more in the long run, this loss or a fifty-point win over LA-Monroe?  Yep, this was an excellent loss, if there is such a thing.  And Eric Decker is a full-grown stud.  Great game by the Gophers, and if they play this way throughout the Big Ten season they can pull off a top 3 or 4 finish.

2.  Mike Cuddyer.   Ok, so he only had two hits in the Detroit series, and losing the third game kind of kills the vibe just a bit, but the Twins did what they had to - win at least two over Detroit - and Cuddyer was a big reason in both games.  His home run in the first game gave the Twins the lead, and his homer in the second game took it from a close nail-biter to a big Twins win.  Going into the weekend, Cuddy had gone 8-16 with two homers and 8 rbi since Morneau went down, and played the slugger this weekend as well.  He's not Mauer, Morneau, or Kubel, but if he can keep hitting like this he gives the Twins another big bat that they sorely need, especially with Morrneau on the shelf.  Yes, his mastery of the strikezone rivals Delmoney's and he strikes out like Adam Dunn without all the walks, but the Twins need him and he has so far risen to the occassion.  Keep it up friendo, keep it up.

3.  Landry Jones.  Sam Bradford who?  Sure, it's Tulsa, but nevertheless it's a school record 6 TD passes for Jones, to go along with the 336 yards he tossed for in the Sooners' 45-0 victory.  In total, the Sooners have beaten their last two opponents 109-0 with Landry at the helm, tossing 9 TDs against just 1 pick.  It will be more than a little illuminating when Oklahoma takes on Miami next week, since they are a bit better than Idaho State and Tulsa.  Is Landry like, really freaking good, or is he just able to destroy shitty teams?  We should learn a bit next week.  Also, nice name.

4.  Frank Gore.  Gore, a superstud like I told you, went off for over 200 in just over a half of football yesterday against the Seahawks, helped by both a 79 yard TD run and an 80 yard TD run.  He inexplicably didn't get much after that, finishing with just 207 yards for the game, but he didn't need to.  The 49ers coasted to a 23-10 win, with Seneca Wallace even coming in for an injured Hasselbeck, as they continued their march to the NFC West Division Title - as I predicted.  Gore also led the team with 5 catches and 39 receiving yards, but that's mostly because Shaun Hill has an Adam Weber-like Noodle arm and didn't complete anything longer than 17 yards (that one went to the "next great TE" Vernon Davis - how's that one working out?)

5.  Andre Johnson.  I've talked him up here before (not solely because he's on my keeper fantasy team), but he had another monster week, catching 10 balls for 149 yards and two touchdowns, including a hell of a catch that involved tipping the ball to himself and a tightrope act on the sideline.  He's basically the AP of receivers, fast enough to run by you, strong enough to overpower you, and with maybe the best hands in the league.  You can go ahead and have your Larry Fitz or your Randy Moss, I'd take Johnson in a heartbeat.  Chris Johnson was also big in that game for the losing Titans and could be here for his almost 300 total yards and 3 scores, but I don't really care about him.


1.  USC.  When you are the juggernaut of the west coast, I think it would be prudent to recruit a quarterback or two.  Instead, the Trojans - loaded everywhere else - have had to rely on freshman Eric Barkley, who has been outstanding.  But he was hurt this weekend and couldn't play, and USC was kind of screwed.  They turned to sophomore Aaron Corp, who made his first career start and did, well, nothing.  He ended up 13-22 for just 110 yards and a pick, and couldn't lead the Trojans to anything other than a field goal after the first quarter.  I've read some reviews of Corp's play, and it seems he was the Jake Delhomme of college QBs.  Washington chipped away at the 10-0 a little at a time, and finally ended up winning on a 22-yard field goal with 3 seconds left.  Which is awesome, because USC is just a bunch of homos.

2.  Michigan QBs.  You probably think it's a bit weird to put anything Michigan related here since they beat the feared Eastern Michigan Somethings (Eagles?  Maybe.  I don't know.)  And maybe it is, since the Wolverines rushed for 380 total yards whilst stomping the crap out of the maybe-Eagles, but - and I didn't exactly watch the game - I'd be pretty nervous about this kind of QB performance.  Michigan goes with a two-headed QB approach, Tate Forcier the white passer, Denard Robinson the black runner, but it seems neither one of them can pass for shit.  Forcier was just 7-13 for just 68 yards, while Robinson was 0-4 with 2 picks (and 60 yards rushing.)  Look, they won 45-17, so there's really not much to complain about, but I'm going to go ahead and do it for them.  I'm good at that kind of thing.

3.  Green Bay Packers.  I have no idea why I picked these jerks this week for our Survivor pool.  I mean, I know why, I just really wish I hadn't.  There were three pretty obvious picks this week:  Green Bay at home against Cincy, Washington at home against the Rams, and the Vikes on the road against Detroit.  I won't pick a road team, especially against a division foe, so the Vikings were out.  And how could I possibly pick a team led by Jason Campbell, even against a crappy St. Louis team?  Green Bay was the obvious pick, even though I had said before the season started that the Bengals would be pretty good this year.  I thought the Packers were supposed to be super good and all that?  No?  I'm such an idiot.  Out of survivor in the second week.  Ugh.

4.  Milton Bradley.  Suspended for the season by the Cubs after telling a reporter "It's easy to see why they haven't won here in 100 years" and that the Cubs and Chicago were not a "positive environment."  This shouldn't really be shocking, the guy is insane.  The Cubs took a chance by giving a known head-case a 3 year, $30 million contract this off-season, but it now looks like they are going to have to find somebody willing to take him off their hands after a season full of meltdowns, including being sent home during a game after going after manager Lou Piniella.  Of course, this is the same guy who tried to be like Ron Artest and go after a fan in the stands when he was a Dodger.  It's too bad, the guy is an excellent lead-off hitter when he's not hurt or suspended, and even this year when he can't hit much he's still sporting a .378 OBP (and led the league last year at .436).  Nice job basketcase.  I think he should retire and join up with Carl Everett to have their own talk show.  I'd watch.

5.  Texas Rangers.  This is mostly just rumors at this point, but the Rangers should probably get a spot here just for suddenly being 8 games back of the Wild Card when they were right in the thick of it most of the year.  Kevin Millwood has a $12 million option for next year, that automatically kicks in if he gets to 180 innings pitched.  He would probably only get about $5-$6 a year as a free agent, so obviously this would be big for him and crappy for the Rangers.  He is sitting at 175.2 ips this year right now, and pitches tonight - or does he?

The Rangers are broke.  They had to borrow $15 million from MLB this year just to cover expenses.  According to fan accounts, they have stopped watering the field because they can't afford the water bills.  They also don't have any more Ranger mini-helmets for those ice cream sundaes.  They have Astros, Brewers, and other teams, but they ran out of Ranger helmets and won't order more.  Nolan Ryan is drawing a paycheck month by month, and has said he expects not to be paid after October.  I'm sure there are more stories like this if you look around.  The rumor now is that the Rangers may sit Millwood the rest of the year in order to avoid paying him the option, which would surely cause the player's union to file a greivance (I think his agent is Scott Boras, of all people) and cause some serious issues.  Even worse, rumors are that since their financial situation is so dire, MLB and Bud Selig may be the ones ordering Millwood shut down, and I can't imagine what kind of shit storm that is going to set off, especially with the Labor Agreement needing to be renewed soon (I can't remember exactly when).

The team executives and manager all say that they aren't going to shut Millwood down, and I would say it's pretty unlikely that they do, but this financial mess is going to cause major issues at some point.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Cuddyer goes yard to give the Twins a 2-0 advantage over the Tigers in the fourth (following a Kubel hit, of course).  Is it time to consider the fact that our very own I Hate Cuddyer Guy is kind of an idiot?  Yes, yes I think it is.

Couple studs right there.

EDIT:  Apparently Joe Mauer's brother just bought a used car dealership using Joe's money (rumor).  You know how they usually charge something like $18,999 for a car?  At the Mauer dealership it will be $18,643.  Get it, 6-4-3?  It's funny because he just grounded into his one millionth double play this year.  You'd think nobody would bitch about Mauer this season, but here we are.

EDIT:  Thank god Bogart taught me the trick of putting a lime (or lime juice) into Cranberry Vodkas.  I ran out of lime juice about a week ago and had to drink them without, and they were so sweet it was like drinking a pixie stick.  I would have burned out on them long ago without his tip and then I'd be sitting here sober like a sucker.  So thanks Bogart, and thanks Jason Kubel for that leadoff double.  Nobody realizes this, but losing you would have been way worse than losing Morneau-for-4 (that's two jokes stolen from the Common Man tonight).

EDIT:  Delmoney!!

EDIT:  I'm so glad Tolbert is in the lineup.  Confidence is high.  Also, DAMMIT!  I wasn't planning on blogging tonight.  Stupid Twins.  and booze.  but not the booze, I'm sorry booze.  I love you.

EDIT:  Duesning out, Mijares in.  Great job by my new boyfriend Brian Duensing, future stud.

EDIT:  Wow, that lady had a shiny shirt.

EDIT:  So seriously, was this Orlando Cabrera worth anything?  I'm starting to think morale, and that's about it.  Also Detroit is walking Mauer to face Kubel.  It appears nobody even bothers looking at stats.  Kubel is one of the best hitters in the entire AL this year.  Thanks for putting another runner on for him.

EDIT:  nm

EDIT:  Dick claims that "Pavano has emerged as the Twins' ace this season."  Shut up.  Just stop it.  How many pitchers have they said that about already this season?   Perkins, Blackburn, Baker, and now Pavano by my count.  Please, please, please don't say it about my guy Duensing.  Please.

EDIT:  Time to trade Joe Nathan.  Like right now, in the middle of this at bat.

EDIT:  Ok, nevermind.  He got the last out, but did a GREAT job of making it difficult.  Please try not to fuck this up now, Twinks.  I'm going to watch the Vampire Diaries now.  See you tomorrow [note:  Mrs. W just told me "Ali Larter is hot as hell......you can't write that in the blog."  Sure thing, honey.  I'm going to see where this goes.]


Calipari is gone, taking most of an incredible recruiting class with him, and Memphis lost enough talent to be a top 10 team all on their own, meanwhile three other C-USA teams are geared up for a run at the title.  What this means is that looking at this conference is not as simple as penciling in Memphis for the first time in a whole lot of years.  It's wide open.

1. MEMPHIS.  It was very tempting to pick one of the other schools that look poised to knock off the Tigers, but don't forget the guys they have coming back were still signed by Calipari when he could get nearly anyone he wanted, you just don't remember because they were behind so much other talent.  Wes Witherspoon is a 6-8 combo guard/forward play anywhere do anything type guy, and he was #34 on the Rivals 150 when he came out.  Junior guards Willie Kemp and Doneal Mack were #s 53 and 47 when they came out, and forward Pierre Niles was #117.  And don't forget Elliot Williams who transferred from Duke - he was #16.  So yeah, there's plenty gone, but there's still plenty around.   

2.  TULSA.  If you were going to put up a blueprint for a mid-major to make some noise in a season, the Golden Hurricane would be it.  Senior point guard who can score and control a game?  Check, Ben Uzoh.  Monster center who dominates the paint, offensively and defensively?  Check, Jerome Jordan.  A bunch of juniors and seniors who are quality role players and know their responsibilites?  Yep, all over the place.  They have gotten a little press already (I think Katz or somebody had them on their early Top 25), and it's worth noting that the C-USA tournament is in Tulsa this year.

3.  UTEP.  I almost had the Miners in first (which explains why I had a UTEP photo at the ready), but then I remembered that I was mostly putting them there because I have an irrational love of Derrick Caracter, the fat discipline problem who got booted from Louisville - yes, he's at UTEP now.  If he has it together, they will be very tough on the front line, and also return Randy Culpepper, a 17.5 point per game scorer who, although being very Robet Vaden-like, really seemed to hit his stride in the Miners' run to the CBI championship game.

4.  HOUSTON.  I'm not a huge fan of the Cougs this year, but any time a team returns two 18+ ppg senior guards you at least have to pay attention.  Of course, they also lose all the size they had without much coming back to replace it, but you know Penders can coach, you know they're going to play up tempo, and you know they will probably give a few teams fits this year.  Houston is playing in the Great Alaskan Shootout this year, which will be a good litmus test to see where they stand.

5.  MARSHALL.  Randy Moss U returns four starters from last season's 6th place team, although they do lose their top scorer.  The Thundering Herd's strength lies in the backcourt, where they get most of their scoring including Chris Lutz who scored 37 against Tulane and recently won a roster spot on the Phillipines' National Team (note:  I have no idea how impressive this is or isn't.)  Marshall also brings in the best recruit in C-USA not going to Memphis in center Hassan Whiteside (#87 rivals 150), a 6-11 center who should compliment the perimeter guys, although it sounds like his academics might not be in order.

6.  TULANE.  At this point it's now a total crapshoot, as the remaining teams are all pretty much bottom of the barrel.  The Green Wave get the nod at the top of the scrap heap simply because they are the best defensive team of the bunch, and they return a three-year do everything starter at point guard in Kevin Sims.  They also add Juco transfer wing Aaron Holmes, who was ranked #117 on Rivals list coming out of high school in 2006.

7.  SOUTHERN METHODIST.   Slightly better than the rest due to a returning backcourt of Paul McCoy and Derek Williams, who averaged over 25 points between the two of them last year and both of whom had positive assist-to-turnover ratios, a rarity amongst the guards in the bottom tier of this conference.  They also return power forward and former transfer from Georgia Tech Mouhammad Faye, who closed out last season with four straight games scoring in double figures and played for Senegal in the FIBA Africa Championships, averaging 17 points per game.  Oh, and if you were expecting Matt Doherty to turn SMU around through recruiting, it ain't happening thus far.

8.  SOUTHERN MISS.  Partyboy Larry Eustachy seemed to have the Golden Eagles moving in the right direction, but then 3-time All C-USA guard Jeremy Wise decided to jump into the NBA draft (note:  he wasn't drafted) and that knocks the team back down a peg.  With three other starters gone, the new talent Eustachy is bringing in has to help immediately.  Minneapolis boy Angelo Johnson will likely start at the point right away, and there are three new JuCo players who are all ranked in the top 60 by Juco Junction, with Gary Flowers ranked #1 in the country.  As with all Jucos, you never know what you're gonna get.

9.  CENTRAL FLORIDA.  UCF loses Jermaine Taylor, last year's C-USA scoring leader at 26.2 ppg and returns not much outside of 3-point specialist Isaac Sosa, who shot 45% behind the line last year to lead the conference.  The Knights do bring in a nice class, including a trio of 3-star players who collectively had offers from teams such as South Carolina, Alabama, Providence, Iowa, Stanford, and Butler.  One of the newcomers will bring increased media attention - Michael Jordan's son Marcus.  At least until he quits like his quitter brother.

10.  RICE.  Do you know who Rice's coach is?  It's Ben Braun.  The same Ben Braun who had a good amount of success with Cal not that long ago.  It's going to be quite a task to turn the Owls around (they were 10-22 last year, Braun's first season), but he's already starting to make inroads.  He signed a couple of three-stars this year (no small feat for Rice) in PG Tamir Jackson, who also had an offer from UAB, and power forward and likely terrorist Arsalan Kazemi from Iran, who had offers from Cincinnati and Maryland and may or may not be related to the lion from Narnia.  It's still a long road ahead, but looking to get better.

10.  UAB.  Everything was aligned for UAB to make a run at Memphis last year, and at least make the NCAA tournament.  Oops.  And now everybody is gone, with the Blazers losing more than 75% of their scoring from last season and 90% of their shots with Robert Vaden finally graduating.  The recruiting class fell apart as well.  UAB had a verbal from both Rivals #2 DeMarcus Cousins and were thought to be in the lead for hometown PG and #23 prospect Eric Bledsoe, but both ending up signing with Kentucky, as Mike Davis still can't beat Calipari.  After losing out on almost every other recruiting battle, the cupboard is pretty bare.  Transfer Elijah Milsap, who I think is Paul's brother, transferred in from LA-Lafayette and will pretty much instantly become the Blazers' best player.

12.  EAST CAROLINA.  One of the worst defensive teams in all of college basketball last year (ranking 336/344 in defensive efficiency) did very little to address that, at least in terms of signing anybody of relevance.  They also lost their two best players to graduation, with not much behind them to step up.  The bright side is they have junior point guard Brock Young who was second in the country in assists last season with 7.6 per game - the only problem is there is nobody left to score.

So there you have it.  Will C-USA be a multi-bid league this year?  Will Memphis finally be dethroned or can Josh Pastner pick up right where Calipari left off?  Has Derrick Caracter finally grown up?  With coaches like Tom Penders, Ben Braun, Matt Doherty, and Larry Eustachy in the conference, when will it's national profile start to rise?  Will Arsalan Kazemi blow up a stadium?

It's going to be an interesting year in C-USA.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BREAKING: Elliott Eliason commits to the Gophers

According to Rivals.com, 6-11 center Elliott Eliason out of Nebraska has verbally comitted to Tubby and the U for the 2010-2011 season.  It had essentially come down to home-town Creighton, snooty Stanford, or the U for his services.  It couldn't have hurt that he was allegedly in attendance for the opening of TCF stadium, assuming, that is, he didn't want any food.

Academics were a big factor in his decision, as well as the Big Ten conference, some relatives in Minnesota, and what sounds like an excellent job by Blake Hoffarber showing Eliason around, and for some odd reason they brought him to a Twins game as well, which luckily didn't turn him off. 

He doesn't crack the Rivals Top 150, and only rates three stars, but he's been improving according to reports and is starting to get on some more radar screens.  Other teams after him were Washington State, Colorado State, and Nebraska.

From the reports I have read, even though he was the Nebraska Player of the Year last season, he is not exactly an offensive weapon, but is a good rebounder and defender, and excellent passer with a good head for the game (3.75 GPA and 27 ACT speak to his intelligence) and is becoming comfortable in the high post.

I am not overly impressed with this signing, but I am intrigued.  A good, 7-foot center who can not only score but also pass well out of the high post is a rarity, and I'm always interested in smart players since I get really tired of watching athletic idiots run around at times.  Overall, I still have complete faith in Tubby Smith, so I'm sure this kid will be a nice surprise.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oh, Timmy (*slowly shaking head*)

I don't want to get into a whole thing here, but in case you missed it the coach with the highest arrogance/accomplishment ratio on the planet ratcheted it up a few more notches, sending a memo into KFAN studios that he would no longer allow players or coaches to be interviewed by the station because he doesn't like how the station has treated the program (although allegedly fences have been mended, egos have been consoled, and everything has been patched up now - which I'm guessing is when the PR guys got involved and told Brewster to get his shit together).  I have three major issues with this:

1.  Thin skinned much?  This is how you want to turn the University of Minnesota football program into a major power, by shutting down when there's a little criticism?  And trust me here folks, I listen to a lot of KFAN at work, and they are extremely mild in their critiques.  Sure, Barreiro won't hesitate to go after the non-conference schedule if it's weak, but he's been extremely complimentary about it this year.  The one and only thing I've heard him say this year is that fans should expect more from a program that is now supposed to be big-time than to be thrilled with an overtime win over Syracuse.  First of all, he's right.  Second of all, if you're the coach don't you want your fans to expect big things?  Do you want your fans to think, "sweet, we beat Syracuse" or do you want them to think, "Wow, we got lucky, we are a way better team and program than that"?  I know which way I would go.  But if Brewster can't handle a little bit of mild criticism, especially in one of the softest media markets for negative press around, he's got a lot of growing up to do.

2.  Cutting off 25% of your exposure.  Wasn't one of Brewster's big platforms keeping kids in state?  When you have four main media channels (TV, Radio, Print, and Internet) to spread the word about your program, how arrogant do you have to be to cut one of them out and expect to still accomplish your goals?  That's 25% less of an opportunity for recruits to hear you or your coaches talk and walk away impressed.  That's 25% less of an opportunity for recruits to hear your players talk about how awesome playing for the U is, or how rewarding it has been staying home to play in front of your hometown fans instead of going out of state to play.  If you have four outlets to get word out, you need to use all four, or you aren't really trying.  I mean really, are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really the turtles without Rafael? Would you want a deck of cards without the diamonds? Would Sex and the City have been the same without Charlotte?

3.  How would this help?  What is the upside here?  Do you know what happens when you take a sarcastic, somewhat dickish person with access to radio waves and try to show them up?  You get destroyed.  I'm not saying any of the KFAN personalities would have intentionally gone out of their way to sabotage the program, but anything negative wouldn't have escaped notice.  And I can't imagine anyone other than the biggest Gopher homer or Brewster fan siding with him on this one, particularly if they spend any time listening to the station.  More than anything, I keep coming back to "what was the upside?" and I got nothing.  The only thing I can come up with is this was a power play by Brewster, but, boy did it backfire.

This is now seemingly all pretty irrelevant, since according to everyone involved all parties have kissed and made up, but I know for some fans it's certainly changed perceptions of the coach.  I always figured he was kind of an arrogant blowhard, but you need a measure of those qualities in order to succeed as a college football coach and I thought he was probably mostly harmless.  Now?  It looks like he thinks he's far bigger than he is, thinks he's accomplished far more than he actually has, and he's let two wins and a new stadium go to his head.  It's a shame, too.  This should be the most exciting time for Gopher football fans in a long while, but now, for me at least, it's left a sour feeling.  

Incidentally, if you search "Tim Brewster" + arrogant on the google there are 23,600 entries.  For comparison sake, if you search "Urban Meyer" + arrogant you only get 8,620.  Kanye West gets 160,000. 

-  As far as site news, I know what you're thinking, "Hey WWWWWW, when are we going to get some college basketball previews?"  Since in past years I've bitten off a bit more than I can chew and end up getting burned out, I'm going to take one conference a weak, and give a very simple, easy, high-level breakdown of the teams.  This should keep me interested, and make sure they aren't too heavy on the blah-blah talk.  I plan to put one up every Friday until the season starts, following this schedule (with apologies to the other conferences):
  •  September 18th - Conference USA
  •  September 25th - Atlantic 10
  •  October 2nd - Mountain West
  •  October 9th - ACC
  •  October 16th - Big 12
  •  October 23rd - Big East
  •  October 30th - Pac 10
  •  November 6th - SEC
  •  November 13th - Big 10
What's that?  You don't care?  How about you go F yourself?

- Finally, I want to throw a shout out to my good buddy Klingler.  This superstar, besides making more money than an astronaut, also completed the Ironman event in Madison this past weekend, a simply incredible feat.  I know you're reading good buddy, and I want you to know I'm so hot for you right now I can barely keep my pants on.  Congrats.

Fire Joe Morgan Is Back (Kind of)

The Sidler just sent me some excellent news, and I figure most of you people reading this are like me and are always looking for ways to kill time at work other than doing actually work, so I'm letting you know.

Fire Joe Morgan is back!  Well, not really.  But the guys from over there are guest editing deadspin today.  I don't really ever check deadspin, so I wouldn't have known this without the email and because I'm so kind-hearted I'm paying it forward to you, loyal reader, just like that weird kid in that movie with the guy from Hudson Hawk. 

It's hilarious and awesome, and it makes me mad at them all over again for shutting down the original site.  Head on over.

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

Who knew Patrick Swayze would rate his own post?  I wouldn't have guessed myself, but after his death today I couldn't help but give him his own space.  Also it's a hell of a lot harder to come up with five good Swayze movie roles than I would have thought, but for your sake I went ahead and plowed through.

Top 5 Patrick Swayze Movie Roles:.  
5.  Sam Wheat, Ghost.   Does this make me kind of gay?  Yeah, probably, but I'm ok with it.  It came out right as I was starting to notice girls for the first time, and if that pottery wheel scene didn't make your peenie say "huh?" then you were too young, too old, or too gay.  For years afterwards "unchained melody" by sent my heart all a twitter.  This is starting to get gayer and gayer so I'm just going to stop.  Also Whoopie Goldberg sucked, even back in this.  How did she ever get famous?

"I'm Henery the 8th I am!!  Henery the 8th I am, I am!!

4. Derek, Youngblood.  I don't really like hockey, like not even a little bit, but this was a pretty good movie, although I haven't seen it in quite some time.  The final confrontation between Youngblood and Racki is pretty chill-inducing, even though in real life fighting in hockey is pretty freaking stupid.  And I know that has nothing to do with Swayze but come on, tell me he's not the perfect mentor in this (other than Crash Davis).

"Thank god there is a sport for middle sized white guys."

3.  Jed, Red Dawn.  This is a movie I really, really need to re-watch.  It's been a long time, but I remember it being super awesome.  Maybe it's better left in the past?  I don't know.  All I know is that Jed kicks ass


2.  Bodhi, Point Break.  Thsi would be the #1 role of all-time for 99% of actors today, and is only #2 because the #1 pick is so freaking strong.  If you haven't seen this movie you need to go rent it right now.  Swayze, Keanu, Gary Busey, and Dr. Cox from Scrubs?  Toss in a suprisingly attractive Lori Petty and a plot that entertwines bank robbing and surfing and you have an all-time classic.  The way Swayze plays Bodhi totally playing Johnny Utah was oscar-worthy.  If only he could have played cancer the same way.  *sad head shake*

"I am an F....B...I....Agent!" 

1.  Dalton, Roadhouse.  If you disagree with this you're a pussy.  No joke.  I don't really like to use bad language like that, but there's really no way around it.  This movie was epic in so many ways.  From the gratuitous nudity (thank you very much both Kelly Lynch and Julie Michaels - who ended up becoming a stunt double, no lie), the awesome fight at the end between Dalton and the whole Wesley gang, especially the part where he rips out that dudes throat, to the full helpings of cheesiness.  Simply awesome.  I wish I owned it on DVD so I could watch it right now.

"You take the biggest guy in the world and shatter his knee cap, he'll drop like a stone." 

Words to live by.

That'll do it.  I really only love two of these roles but once you commit to doing a top five you can't just puss out at four, so I had to do what I had to do.  I also just learned they made a Roadhouse 2 and Jake Busey is in it.  Might be worth checking out.

Weekend Review - 9/14/2009

This was a really good weekend.  Gopher football, NFL season starts, Twins are still playing, and the golf tournaments still matter and aren't the weird World Series of Golf crap and other made for TV events.  Other than college basketball season and specifically March Madness this might be my favorite time of the year.  If only we could get some nice, crisp fall weather instead of this sweltering heat.  Anyway, let's get on with it.


1.  Michigan Football.  It's nice to have a chance to write something positive about a Big Ten team, and Notre Dame is full of a bunch of queers, so it's great to see Michigan knock of the Irish 38-34 to break into the top 25.  There wasn't a whole lot of defense in the game, and it would have been a lot of fun to watch if the stupid people at the stupid bar would have been able to figure out how to change their satellite to a local channel.  Seriously, I thought all that local channels business was straightened out in like, 1999.  I know that everyone I know with satellite has their local channels as part of their regular package, so there is no complicated switching of satellite feeds or anything.  And they didn't even know how to do it.  Yet they advertised drink specials during Vikings' games, which are on local television stations.  I should have gone back during the Vikes game to see if they had that crap figured out yet.  Arg.  Oh, and your friend Micheal Floyd caught 7 balls for 131 yards and a score.  It seems he's pretty good.  Like the opposite of that stupid bar.

2.  Adrian Peterson.  It is just sick how good this guy is.  Just another how hum day at the office, compiling 180 rushing yards and 3 scores.  It's just so fun to watch him.  He has the power to barrel right through people, the quickness to make them miss, and the speed to run away from them.  Favre and Harvin both looked good yesterday too.  Harvin is going to be a handful, running and catching.  He has a world of talent (second only to Hakeem Nicks of the receivers in ths class).  It's clear that Favre's lack of practice has had an effect on his chemistry with the wideouts, since a couple times he threw to an empty area because the receiver went somewhere else, but that can still happen even with a full practice schedule (see Brady Quinn's interception) and should get better with time.  If Favre can contain himself and play just like that all year, there's no reason this isn't a Super Bowl team. 

3.  Drew Brees.  Talk about having your way with someone, Brees violated the Lions yesterday, basically whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, finishing the game with 356 yards and 6, yes 6, touchdowns.  One of those TDs went to Robert Meachem, who I told you was going to break out this year.  Also Mike Bell had 28 carries for 143 yards (a 5.1 ypc average) while Reggie Bush rushed 7 times for just 14 yards.  Seriously you guys, Reggie Bush is a terrible running back.

4.  Brian Duensing.  I am totally falling in love with this guy.  Another start, and another gem, he pitched 7 shut-out innings on Sunday to help the Twins miraculously actually win a game.  This runs his totals as a starter (5 games) to an ERA of  with a WHIP of .  Just incredible.  He's the Francisco Liriano we thought we had but didn't but now do again because of Duensing.  It's tough to find a gem in this lost season of perpetual disappointment.  Seriously, how many Twins are you happy with this year?  Mauer, Morales, Duensing, Nathan, Span, Kubel, and Mijares?  Tough to put Morneau or Cuddyer in there despite their good numbers.  Their dueling late season slumps haven't exactly left a nice impression.  Anyway, Duensing is a stud, and is now 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP as a starter.  A quick check of BABIP, K/BB, and GB% tell me this probably isn't a fluke.  If the Sidler was still alive, I'd ask him to do some nerd analysis on this kid, because he looks like the real deal to me. 

5.  TCF Bank Stadium.  The team won, and put out a very good defensive effort against Air Force, a team that runs an offense that can be hard to stop, but I was more impressed by the new stadium.  There were a few issues, such as lines of 30 minutes + for concessions (and longer at halftime), souvenir stands running out of t-shirts, and both Dino's Gyros and Subway stations running out of food, but overall it was a fantastic experience.  It was the first major sporting event I have ever seen in Minnesota out doors, and that's truly how sports should be.  Our seats were in the first row of the upper deck, visitor's side, on the 35 yard line, so we had a great view but it looked like the seating was laid out perfectly, and you would have a great view no matter where you were sitting.  I'd like to write more about it, but really you just have to experience it yourself.  The best way I can sum it up is that it finally felt like watching a real college football game.  If you can snag a ticket, I highly recommend it.

Of course, the real highlight of the night was listening to some 70-year old man say if he ever saw Joel Maturi he would punch him in the face. . It seems he's had season tickets for 56 years, and lost his spot on the 50 yard line and is now on the 15, as we learned on the bus ride from a local establishment to the game.  He was not very happy about it.


1.  Michgan State Football.  I don't live in Michigan, but even I know that when you are Michigan or Michigan State, you don't lose to a directional school - yet that's what Sparty did on Saturday, falling 29-27 to the Chippewas of Central Michigan (aka Chris Kamen U).  The Spartans certainly did everything they could to lose.  CMU scored with just 32 seconds left in the game to bring the score to 27-26, then elected to go for the win and the 2 point conversion.  They failed.  Michigan State then botched the recovery of the onside kick, giving the Chippewas another chance.  They quickly drove into position for a 47 yard game winning field goal - which was missed.  But wait.  Sparty was offsides.  Given another chance, the CMU kicker drilled the 42 yarder for the upset and the embarrassment.  Seriously, this conference is awful.  There's no reason the Gophers can't finish in the top 4.  Other than the fact that they aren't very good either.   

2.  Terrelle Pryor.  Good god is this guy terrible.  The numbers are awful (11-25 for 177 and a pick passing, 10 carries for 36 yards rushing), but they don't even tell the whole story.  Ohio State had every chance to win that game and get the "can't beat the good teams" monkey off both their and the Big Ten Conference's back, but Pryor just couldn't make a play when they needed him to.  He's not a very good passer, is a tentative runner, and is a deer in headlights against a good, fast defense.  Luckily for him, there aren't many of those in the Big Ten so I expect he and the Buckeyes will have a good year once again, and then get destroyed in whatever bowl game they end up in.  I also want to admit here that I have no idea why people use "in a minute" as slang to mean "a long time."  Like as in, "I haven't seen you in a minute" would mean I haven't seen you in a long time.  That makes no sense.  A minute is actually a very short unit of time.  I think it's the stupidest slang I've seen since saying "hella-" before everything.  If you do this, stop. 

3.  Oklahoma State Football.  Remember last week when everybody was all like, wow Oklahoma State what a huge win over Georgia they must be really good lets rank them fifth and put them into the conversation for National Champion contenders?  Well they flushed all that right down the toilet by inexplicably losing to Houston.  The Cowboys came out flat, falling behind 24-7 at halftime.  As good teams tend to do, they came roaring back with three unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-24 lead.  Then, as good teams usually don't do, they pissed it all right away, letting Houston score three times in the fourth quarter including an INT returned for a touchdown when OSU was trying to drive for a winning socre to seal the deal and the 45-35 Cougar win.  So we don't have to worry about them winning a National Championship anymore.  And Dez Bryant is still a superstud.

4.  Cincinnati Bengals.  Remember how I predicted the Bengals would be a playoff team this year?  Nevermind.  They couldn't even beat the shitty Broncos at home, and not even after taking the lead on a Cedric Benson TD run with just 38 seconds left in the game.  Then, knowing full well that the Broncos were basically going to have to chuck the ball deep, they somehow managed to let Brandon Stokely catch a deflected pass and run 87 yards to win the game.  Seriously I have no idea how somebody could let that happen, but then again, it's the Bengals.  Really not a shock. 

5.  Jake Delhomme.  Yuck.  Wasn't this guy actually pretty good a few short years ago?  And now he's an absolute trainwreck, as shown by yesterday's outing - possibly the worst game by a QB in the history of football.  Jake went 7/17 for just 73 yards and threw four picks, and was so bad that not only did the Panthers bring in Luke McCown, they also brought in Matt Moore (who?).  I really wish I would have watched the game, just to see what that kind of performance looks like.  You can go ahead and scratch the Panthers off your Super Bowl contenders list - which I already told you to do.  God I'm brilliant.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Predictions, 2009

You asked, and thus you shall recieve.  NFL predictions, team-by-team.  As always, you can expect this to be incredibly accurate.


1.  Patriots.  Brady's back, and I'm pretty sure he's all the way back, which means big seasons for him, Moss, and Welker.  The defense might be an issue this season, and the RB situation is confusing (way to go Maroney) but will probably end up with three or four guys splitting the yards and TDs, but they're certainly good enough to win the division and maybe the whole thing.

2.  Dolphins.  The preeminant Wildcat running team adds Pat White, perhaps the best dual threat QB in college football since Major Harris or Rickey Foggie?  This is going to be spectacular, whether for good or ill.  I'm betting good, and wouldn't be shocked to see the Dolphins make the playoffs and White become responsible for getting Teebo drafted in round 1 rather than round 3.

3.  Jets.  Mark Sanchez will be a good QB.  Mark Sanchez will not be a good QB this year.  Thomas Jones is 100 years old.

4.  Bills.  See, the thing is, you need a quarterback to win.  Trent Edwards is not a real quarterback.  Even worse is that the trade of Jason Peter means the Bills will have five brand new starters on the O-Line this year, and they didn't exactly sign a gang of Steve Hutchinsons.  How long do you think T.O. is going to stay well-behaved in this situation?  Honestly, this might be the most likely team to go 0-16 out of the whole bunch.


1.  Steelers.  They make almost no changes, and why should they?  The only position I see them falling off in is at RB, where Willie Parker is about to fall off a cliff into Shaun Alexander-land, they have a high quality replacement waiting in the wings in Rashard Mendenhall. 

2.  Bengals.   This is the team that I think will surprise.  Carson is back, and coming with him will be Ochocinco who is "revitalized" which really just means he's a bitchy little whiner who wouldn't try last year because they sucked and now everyone thinks they will be good again so he will be good again - and I agree.  Plus the defense isn't half bad, actually, at least not as bad as you think.  Playoffs, baby.  Believe.

3.  Ravens.  Mark Clayton still hasn't developed and Derrick Mason is hanging around, but Ray Rice should develop into a star this year.  What happened to McGahee anyway?

4.  Browns.  Ok, maybe this is the team with the best chance to go 0-16, unless Brady Quinn has a magic arm.  My sources say no.  Expect James Davis to take Jamal's job by week 8.


1.  Colts.  Dropping Marvin Harrison is actually going to help the team, trying to shoehorn an old, broken down murderer into game plans hurt both Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez.  Need proof?  In the game Marvin missed last season, Peyton Manning threw for 364 yards and 3 TDs, completing 29 of 34 pass attempts.  After 2004 it's hard to predict Peyton to "have his best year" ever again, but this could be the season.

2.  Texans.  Is this finally the year?  It will be as long as Schaub stays healthy.  These guys are pretty much solid all around, with the best receiver in football in Andre Johnson and a good offense and defense all the way around.  If Matty can play all 16, they'll make the playoffs for the first time.

3.  Titans.  Once again, I refuse to believe in Tennessee.  Collins isn't very good and has nobody to throw to, and when he gets hurt and/or falls off the wagon Vince Young is worse than T-Jax.  LenDale White lost weight which means he's now slow and has no power instead of being slow with power, and Chris Johnson might be the most overrated running back in the league.  The defense is good though.

4.  Jags.  Tough to put them fourth, but this is a very good division this year.  MJD was going to be a star this year, but now he's banged up and will probably suck.  Way to pick him in the top 3, everybody in America.


1.  Chargers.  The demise of Ladainian Tomlinson has been greatly exaggerated.  He was hampered big time by injuries last season, and still managed to put up decent numbers.  This year Sproles should cut into his touches a bit, but assuming he's healthy he should return to an elite level in a big way.  Plus, this division is absolute garbage after San Diego and they should win it without any problem.

2.  Chiefs.  Second place my default, there isn't a single other decent team in this division.  The Chiefs get the nod because they have a decent QB with a good target to throw to in Bowe, but really anybody could get second here - and likely with a losing record.

3.  Raiders.  I flip flopped the Raiders and the Broncos in this spot a bunch of times, but in the end I'm giving the Raiders the edge. Both teams have god awful defenses, ok O-Lines and questions at QB, but while Tom Cable seemingly has the Raiders showing a new dedication and a positive attitude, the Broncos seem like a complete mess right now (of course, one Raider coach punching out another has them not too far behind).  Either McFadden or Michael Bush will blow up this year, I'm just not sure which one.

4.  Broncos.  See above.  Outside of Champ Bailey and Eddie Royal, everybody on this team sucks.


1.  Giants.  An already good team with an excellent running game and defense took steps to shore up it's receiving core by taking Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden in the draft.  Nicks has all the tools, and once he's up to speed on the mental game he should take over the #1 reciever role and remind people of Anquan Boldin. 

2.  Eagles. A very good defense needs help from the offense, and it looks like they will get it.  Pick ups of Jeremy Maclin (the second best rookie WR after Nicks) and LaSean McCoy will pay off, with McCoy able to fill in and maybe even outplay Brian Westbrook, who will inevitably get hurt at some point.

3.  Cowboys.  Who exactly is Tony Homo going to throw the ball too outside of Jason Witten?  The Cowboy receiving corps is terrible.  Patrick Crayton?  Miles Austin?  These guys are garbage, and their "#1 reciever" Roy Williams is nothing more than a highly touted mediocre player mascarading as the go-to-guy (much like Nick Blackburn).  Expect to see Felix Jones cut deeply in Marion Barber's carries, if not outright take the job away.  Then Barber and Maroney can call each other to cry.

4.  Redskins.  Another awesome defense (holy crap this division is loaded on D) gets better with Albert Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo joining the d-line - this might seriously be the best defense in the league, but it doesn't matter.  For the 10th year in a row the passing game is in the hands of Jason Campbell, Santana Moss, and Antwaan Randle-El.  That hasn't work before, and it's not going to magically click now.


1.  Vikings.  Fine, I'm in.  You got me.  I believe.  The defense is the best in history, Favre has another magic year in his arm, AP could run for 2,000+, and Percy Harvin will make everybody forget how good Randy Moss was as a rookie.  I've been sucked in.  And I hate myself for it.

2.  Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks like the real deal and Charles Woodson is apparently ageless.  However Ryan Grant sucks and the Packers switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense without bothering to change any of there personnel.  Sounds like a rebuilding year.

3.  Bears.  There's a lot of chatter about the Bears being good, but just as their offense is improving, their defense is declining (16th in points allowed last year) and aren't getting any younger.  Cutler might have a good year, but with no actual receivers on the team the offensive improvement won't offset the now craptastic defense.

4.  Lions.  Rookie coach, rookie QB, and almost a completely new defensive squad doesn't add up to a very good year.  The good news is, the Lions will be improved.  The bad news is, it would be impossible not to be.  Stafford to Megatron could end up a pretty solid connection (where else is he going to throw it?)


1.  Falcons.  Everybody is in love with Atlanta this year, and you can count me in.  Matt Ryan, Mike Turner, and Roddy White are the next Manning, Edge, and Harrison, and adding in Tony Gonzalez is going to make this one of the best offenses in the league.  If the defense is any good they could be super bowl contenders.

2.  Saints.  Break out season for Robert Meachem.  You heard it here first.

3.  Panthers.  These guys were 12-4 last season?  Must have been a huge fluke, because other than Julius Peppers, Steve Smith and DeAngelo there's nobody good here.  The defense is terrible and not improving, and Delhomme has been pretending to be an actual QB for years.  This is a crash and burn season.

4.  Bucs.  Byron Leftwich at QB?  Derrick Ward/Cadillac Williams/Earnest Graham as your RBs?  A terrible O-Line?  I have no idea what's going on here.  It's like they're tanking to get a better draft pick.  Dawger, your thoughts?


1.  49ers.  Tough call in this division, but a commitment to running the ball down everybody's throat with Frank Gore sounds pretty good to me - guy is a stud. The defense is pretty decent too.  I see Shaun Hill having a caretaker Trent Dilfer-like season, which should be good enough to get San Fran into the playoffs.

2.  Seahawks.  I've written about Hasselbeck here before, no need to do it again.  I also expect Edge to give Seattle a running threat they haven't had since Shaun Alexander turned 80 - no, not to that level or even a high level, but more like a respectful level.

3.  Cardinals.  Warner gets hurt by week six and Leinart sucks - and so does their defense.

4.  Rams.  Yet another team who could threaten the 0-16 season.  It's entirely possible Steve Jackson could account for 90% of the yards gained by the Rams this year.  Don't buy into the Donnie Avery hype.

Wild Card:  Steelers over Texans, Colts over Bengals, Falcons over Eagles, Saints over 49ers.

Divisional:  Colts over Chargers, Patriots over Steelers, Vikings over Falcons,  Giants over Saints.

Championship Round:  Colts over Pats, Vikings over Giants

Super Bowl:  Colts over Vikings.

I would also just like to add here that I burned my hand two days ago with boiling water making Cup O' Noodles for lunch, so keep that in mind when reviewing these predictions.