Sunday, January 30, 2011

MMBSD: Super Bowl Week

Well one more week of football for possibly a long time. So might as well as enjoy it while you can.

Random Superbowl Thoughts:
1) I'll give my prediction later in the week but a player I think might end up making a big difference that people aren't talking about it Heath Miller - Steelers TE. The Packers have had trouble covering TEs this year and Miller is among the best in the league.

2) Don't underestimate the loss of Pouncey to the Steelers. The Packers' D is similar to Pittsburgh of having a variety of looks and blitz schemes and it had been the Pro Bowler's duties to make the o-line calls .

3) There are rumors floating that Heinz Ward will retire after the Super Bowl.

Random NFL Thoughts
1) Someone has to say it so I will Bud Adams, owner of the Titans is a crazy old man. Maybe not Al Davis crazy but certainly get off my lawn crazy. I'm not criticizing getting rid of Jeff Fisher. Well maybe a little. but how in the world is the timing defensible? It's just not...

Random NCAA Basketball Thoughts

1) What to make of St. John's win over Duke? Well at a fundamental level it helps the Big East get extra bids for the tourney and hurts the ACC (although at this point its kind of at the margins). Duke has already been exposed to be vulnerable without their star freshman PG. Which leaves a big question mark on how the win (now #3 over ranked opponents for Steve Lavin) influences St. John's potential return to Big East powerhouse? Not sure but we'll see pretty quickly how it affects recruiting.

2) The only other team beside Duke in the ACC that might make some tournament waves is UNC. UNC is slowly improving led by two freshmen who have not lived up their billings...yet. While the headliner is Harold Barnes...the PG Marshall will be equally important to how far they can go.

3) tOSU still undefeated. At this stage it's pretty easy to say this is the best offensive team that Thad Matta has put together.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big 12 - Facts, Stats, and Attempted Analysis 2010

This is the odd week off before the Super Bow. So... I'm going to finally start posting info on some of the NCAA-worthy teams from the Big 12 this week, then in the coming weeks I'll tackle the Big East, Big Ten, and then a Pot-Luck focusing on A-10, SEC, PAC-10, and the Mountain West, and some randoms.

Sag #2, kenpom offense #13, kenpom defense #4, 2nd in conference at 4-1, 19-1
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: UCLA, Arizona, Memphis, USC (surprisingly, pretty weak!, plus a lot of close wins over Michigan and Nebraska)
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Texas
3P% - 37.3%, Reb. Margin = +7.3, FT 67.1% (that's low!), FG 51.4%, Opp. FG 38.5% –
Led by Marcus Morris (6'9" junior 17ppg, 6.8 rebs, 59.7% FG%) and twin brother Markief Morris (6'10" junior, 12.6ppg, 8.6 rebs, 55.9% FG%). Freshman Josh Selby has only played in 11 games so far, with mixed results (11.8 ppg, 3 assts, 2.9 turnovers, 40% 3pt). This team has been #1 and is highly regarded, but I'm not sold on them... we will have to see what they do when they start facing the rest of the big 12.

Texas, Sag #6, kenpom offense #26, kenpom defense #1, 1st in conference at 4-0, 16-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Illinois, UNC, Mich St, Texas A&M, Kansas
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Pitt, USC, UConn
3P% - 37.9%, Reb. Margin = +7.4, FT 66.1% (that's awful!), FG 46.0%, Opp. FG 37.0% –
Jordan Hamilton leads the team (6'7" junior, 19.5ppg, 7.2 rebs, 41.7% 3pt, 47% FG%). Two other forwards lead the team (T. Thompson 6'8" freshman, 13.1ppg, 7.6 rebs, and Gary Johnson 6'6" senior, 11.8 ppg, 6.9 rebs). They played a killer schedule and already won in Kansas. I like this team... except they have a freshman PG (Cory Joseph) and they may be deferring to Jordan Hamilton a little too much. Being ranked #1 in defense by ken-pom is certainly a great attribute (and surprising too).

Texas A&M, Sag #19, kenpom offense #34, kenpom defense #46, 2nd in conference at 4-1, 17-2
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Temple, Washington (by 1), Missouri
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Boston College, Texas
3P% - 35.7%, Reb. Margin = +10.5, FT 72.4%, FG 45.1%, Opp. FG 39.9% –
A balanced scoring attack, led by only one player, Krhis Middleton (6'7" sophomore, 15.9 ppg, 4.8 rebs, 40% 3p%, 49% FG%). What's bizzare about this team? No one over 6'8" plays many minutes... but they are a great rebounding team. Can't tell if it's the schedule, or what's going on. A team to check back with as the season progresses.

Missouri, Sag #20, kenpom offense #27, kenpom defense #29, 4th in conference at 3-2, 17-3
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Vanderbilt, Illinois, Old Dominion,
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Georgetown, Colorado, Texas A&M
3P% - 38.2%, Reb. Margin = +1.6, FT 71.1%, FG 47.5%, Opp. FG 40.9% –
They have yet to play Texas or Kansas (twice), so we will soon see how tough they really are. I always love the Missouri coach, who plays the "40 minutes of hell" style as a disciple of Nolan Richardson. He used to be the coach at UAB (and was the coach when they shocked #1 Kentucky in the 2nd round). The team is led by Marcus Denmon (6'3" jr, 17.2ppg, 4 reb, 49.1% 3pointers!), and two bigs in Ricardo Ratliffe (6'8" junior, 11.8 ppg, 7 rebs, 1.6 blocks) and Laurence Bowers (6'8" junior, 11.4 ppg, 6.2 rebs, 2.2 blocks). The ppg is Michael Dixson (6'1" sophomore, 4.6 assists, 2 turnovers, 19.9 ppg, 38% 3p%). We will have to see how they do in conference play. 40 minutes of hell works with the right players, no doubt.

Kansas State, Sag #41, kenpom offense #87, kenpom defense #33, 10th in conference at 2-4, 14-7
Non-conference wins & key conference wins: Va. Tech, Gonzaga, Baylor?
Non-conference losses & key conference losses: Duke, Florida, UNLV, Ok St, Colorado, Missouri, Texas A&M
3P% - 36.6%, Reb. Margin = +8.8, FT 60.6% (really!), FG 43.8%, Opp. FG 40.5% –
This team has annoyed me. I enjoyed their run to the Elite 8 last year... but they lost one of the two major backcourt players behind that push. They've been a mess and have dug a deep hole for themselves... especially considering the expectations that they were in the top-3 in the conference. Jacob Pullen has been shooting awful this year (6'0" senior, 17.9 ppg, 2.8 turnovers, 3.5 assists, 32% 3pointeers, 41% 3p%). Rodney McGruder is their next best contributor (6'4" sophomore, 11.2 ppg, 6.7 rebs, 40.5% 3pt). He should shoot more, especially with Pullen screwing things up. Alot of players log minutes, resulting in a big rebounding advantage. Two 6'8 guys, a 6'9 guy, and a 6'10" guy. They have depth... but the offense is still a mess with Pullen shooting way too much.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Way too Early Look at the Big 10 For 2011

Last week I noted that really none of the Big 10 teams have a great chance at a national championship run. I stand by that but here's a little food for thought on why that might be the case.

Nebraska - Nebraska returns a powerful defense led by the D line. However the offense loses 6 starters (including 3 o-linemen), faces real defenses (as opposed to the Big 12 versions), and has a QB and a coach at odds with one another. Factor in probably the toughest Big 10 schedule and it's hard to imagine an undefeated season.

Ohio State - The Buckeyes also lose a lot. Even ignoring the 5 starters sitting for the first 4-5 games, tOSU will have to replace 7 starters on D. The biggest question is who will be the starter while TP sits. The Buckeyes have to face @Miami and MSU while they have the suspended players sit.

Wisconsin - Wisconsin will have to replace the heart of their offense in they lose their QB, RB, and best 3 o-linemen. However Wisconsin seems to never miss a beat running the ball so the question is will they have any kind of threat passing.

Michigan State - MSU took a huge step forward during the regular season before being embaressed by Alabama. The biggest loss is all everything Greg Jones who led the team in tackles the past 4 years. Beyond that a lot of losses on the o-line. Can anyone really predict what the Spartans will do next year?

Hokemania - No Big 10 returns as many starters as TTUN. 9 starters on offense (including Shoelaces) and 7 on defense (including best d-linemen in the league next year Mike Martin). However the Wolverines have a long way to go to reach contender status and sometimes players take awhile to adjust to a new coaching staff/schemes.

Iowa - Iowa really get's gutted. They lose first rounder Clayborn, their QB, their RB, both WRs, and a slew of defensive players. And now 12 players were hospitalized for exertional rhabdomyolysis and yes there will be an investigation over that one.

Penn State - Had a disappointing 7-5 season and loses their best 3 o-lineman. The biggest question is the QB position will it be the former walk-on McGloin or the uber-heralded Boldin at QB. And will either actually be good?

So in summary can you pick out the favorite? I can't.....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

And then there were 2

There's going to be a common theme here in the two games were two teams get out to large leads and then hold on


Pittsburgh over the Jets - Yes eventually it was a game but anytime you fall behind by 24 points your really tempting the fates. The Jets did everything wrong in the first half and the Steelers nearly everything right. The tables turned in the 2nd half although the Jets clock management and odd need to run up the middle (or at least attempt) in short yardage seemed to have hamstrung them. Hidden away at the end of the game was Mendenhall's first half heroics. I think it was hard running (or bad tackling) that probably was the difference.

Packers over Bears - Similar to the late game the Packers could do no wrong at the beginning - got out to a big lead and then hung on. It's hard to evaluate when the injuries to Chicago's QBs meant in the grand scheme of things. Possibly because its unclear if there were injuries. In any event 3rd string Caleb Hanie got the Bears back into the game but also made some crucial mistakes (like throwing the ball to someone over 3 tons) . Besides that Rodgers looked great for 1 quarter but bad the final 3. I really couldn't give a firm explanation way. Where's Jaws and his film room when you need him?

NCAA Basketball
KU's almost 60 game home win streak was snapped by UT. KU went beyond cold in the 2nd half to allow the Longhorns to pull off the upset. That said KU should still be regarded as one of the best teams in the country given their depth, outside shooting, and inside defense. The Buckeyes will eventually lose given their murder row schedule and KU will immediately go back to being considered a potential #1.

The biggest game this week will probably be between undefeated #6 San Diego State and the one loss #9 BYU. BYU has player of the year candidate Jimmer Fredette (that's not a typo his first name is really Jimmer) who is averaging over 26 points and 4 assists a game. Unfortunately the game is on CBS College Sports which can only be seen by George Smith in Tuscon, Arizona.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NFL's Final Four

Here we are... an unexpected final 4 for the NFL!

Jets @ Pitt - These are two of my least favorite teams. However, despite my personal hatred, these two teams have been among the best all season long (along with the Ravens and the Patriots who lost last week). I think one of the more interesting things about this matchup is how the Steelers dealt WR Santonio Holmes away due to his behavior problems... but he's on the Jets now. I think Santonio Holmes is destined to have a superb game against his old team. However, in the end, I unfortunately believe that the Steelers homefield advantage will be too much to overcome, resulting in the Steelers going to yet another Super Bowl. Gag me.
Pick: Pitt

Packers @ Bears - Well, the Bears keep marching on. Here they are, amongst the final 4, due to a stunning turn of events (i.e. the Eagles losing to the Vikings at the end of the season, giving the Bears homefield, then the 7-9 Seahawks beating the Saints and going to Chicago to get pummeled). I haven't taken the Bears seriously all season. It's like I have a mental block. So... this week, we will compare stats to see if I'm in any way justified for not taking them seriously.
Packers: 9th in yards per game (358.1 ypg)
Bears: 30th in yards per game (289.4 ypg)
Packers: 5th in yards per game allowed (309.1 ypg)
Bears: 9th in yards per game allowed (314.3 ypg)

Packers: +10
Bears: +4

Punt Returns:
Bears: 1st (17.1 avg - Hester)
Packers: 20th (7.9 avg)

KO Returns:
Bears: 2nd (26.5 avg)
Packers: 25th (20.1 avg)

So... the Bears are awesome in special teams... and suck in most everything else.

Pick: Packers

Looking Ahead to 2011 College Football

With looming NFL and NBA lock outs it may well be that the only sport to follow this Fall will be college football. Preseason/first week rankings are a silly silly excercise but a little crystal ball viewing of potential contenders to the Mythical Championship game well that's just the kind of stupidity I can embrace:

Potential Contenders

At this point right or wrong the SEC with it's structural advantages (cheating cough cough) basically has a lock on one of the two spots in the championship game. Which brings us to link Saban and Saban's ex-squad. Both have good defenses that return just about everyone. Both have questions at QB. Can LSU's Jefferson become more consistent? Can the hyped AJ McCarron replace the departing senior McElroy? That said the SEC East is weak so that leaves LSU/Alabama to claim the South's automatic bid.

The Teflon
Both Oregon and Oklahoma have been frankly awful in big bowl games. Yes OU snapped it's 5 game losing streak by beating UConn but does that really count? Oregon now has a 2 game losing streak in big bowls. Both though return all of their key offensive players, should be highly ranked and frankly don't have more than 2 tough games.

The Coupled
TCU/Boise State

It's odd to think that these two programs are so linked that you almost can't say one without the other. This is the last year we can do that as TCU moves on to the Big East next year. However for one year the perennial super powered non-BCS will face each other in the regular season. Boise also has it's BIG NON-Conference Game. This time against Georgia.

Odds and Ends

Stanford loses it's coach and a ton of offensive lineman but Andrew Luck should keep them in the spotlight. FSU loses Christian Ponder but Jimbo Fisher seems to have them pointed in the right direction. With the ACC and Florida on the fritz FSU could use the moment of weakness to leap back into the national contender spotlight.

You'll note I didn't include any Big 10 team. Looking like a down year for the Big 10 overall. I'll spotlight the Big 10 next week....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Northern Hair Club for Men

Well it seems that the Michigan Wolverines have rounded out their coordinators. There is still talk about whether they will bring in an QB coach and they still need a DL and DB coach. Here are two guys.

Al Borges

He was at SDSU with Hoke the past couple of years and before that was the O-Coordinator at Auburn during the Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown, Jason Campbell Era. He runs a West Coast (or Gulf Coast) offense that should be interesting to see how Denard Robinson fares in it. My guess is that Denard is going to spend all of his off time throwing the ball and working on his accuracy. I am happy that Denard is sticking around because he seems like a good kid who loves the University. I would imagine that if he was hoping to play QB in the NFL then he is going to need to fine tune his passing ability and be a scrambling QB ala Michael Vick, Steve Young, Jeff Garcia etc. He is about the same size as all three of those guys. Hopefully Borges can work with him and use their trough of RB more often in the offense to make him less injury prone.

Greg Mattison

Another Greg, or as many UM's have said, Gurg. All of us AEPiers know a far more famous Gurg but that is beside the point . I think this is one of the more important UM hires, since he was taken from the much hated Baltimore Ravens. This guy was at UM from 1995-1996, coached under Jack Harbaugh at Western Michigan along with Hoke and the other Harbaughs. He left for Notre Dame, which caused a major rift at Michigan but supposedly he went there so that his kids could get a free education (it being a private school). I wouldn't blame him for leaving to coach at a school where your kids can get free schooling. He was the D-Coordinator at Florida during their National Championship, so he has beaten OSU more than any of the previous coaches. He went to coach the linebackers at Baltimore (who I hear are pretty good) and then became D Coordinator after Rex Ryan went to the Jets. My guess is he is going to bring in a very tough, don't put up with anything, knock the crap out of you style of play that Michigan has lacked for a while. He might actually coach the defense how to tackle. Not sure if he will bring in a 3-4 D, especially since UM doesn't have have strong linebackers.

I like both of these picks, especially Mattison. Both guys are in their early 60s and have been coordinators most of their life so they probably won't be flight risks to other schools for head coaching jobs. I have a feeling that they will stay with UM for their careers. I think that Mattison will help with recruiting, especially linebackers. He can say, I helped coach one of the best linebackers in the history of football (I cringe to say it, but it is true) and you can be the next Ray Lewis.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MMBSD: Divisional Playoffs

Well the group of 4 by in large lived up to the billings. We asked who were the best teams in the league and by weekends end the answer was pretty clear. Or at least theoretically

1) Green Bay Dominated Atlanta - Aaron Rogers, who once upon the time dropped like a rock in the draft, sliced and diced Atlanta's D while Mattie Ice looked pedestrian at best. I'm not entirely sure where Atlanta goes after a loss like that. Green Bay was hyped as a Super Bowl contender at the start of the year and they are rounding into shape.

2) Chicago steamrolled Seattle - Ignore the final score...this game wasn't that close. By the the time Seattle woke up the game was out of reach. It will go down as either one of the great mysteries or disappointments how New Orleans lost to this Seattle team. Just perplexed.

3) Jets beat the Pats - Fatty McFatster waddled his Jets to victory. The Patriots couldn't get their offense rolling until later. I think a bigger thing is that the Patriots made a ton of uncharacteristic mistakes. 66 yards of penalties, a Brady INT, dropped passes, Belichek pooped on the sideline. Not sure if the week off hurt the Patriots, the Jets got in their head, the position of Mars/Jupiter but this was a very sloppy Pats team.

4) Roethlisberger Defeats Karma- You'd think at some point Karma would catch up to Roethlisberger. My head still hurts when people say Ben led the Steelers to two super bowls. Theoretically that's correct but I don't think I've ever seen as bad of QBing on a winning team by Roethsliberger in a Super Bowl ever. Nonetheless Roethslisberger has the Ravens and Karma's number and he's moving on.

At the end of the day we have 2 very physical games awaiting us for the Championship. And if your me you hate both of the teams in the AFC.
College Basketball
As MMBSD pivots to college basketball season it's time to check in with the new #1 team in the country. Ohio State...better known around these parts as the Mattavests. Yes Jared Sullinger is that good. I dare anyone to remember a better Freshman low post player in the past decade, As important but under the radar is Freshman PG Aaron Craft. He's outside shooting, playmaking and defense are actually just as important as Sullinger's command of the low post.

The other major conference undefeated team is Kansas. For those unaware Kansas has won 69 straight games at home (that's not a joke btw but yes I giggled at that fact). KU is also led by the Morris twin brothers (Marcus and Markieff). The 6'9 forwards are scoring and rebounding machines. Keep on an eye on these two as they may be headed to the March Madness Finals....

Random MMBSD Gal o' Week: Melissa Satta

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NFL Playoffs - 2010 Divisional Round of Rematches

It's time for the divisional round... and they are all rematches... let's see what we've got:


Jets @ Pats - The Jets won in NY at the beginning of the season, and the Pats went into Cobra Kai mode and showed no mercy in beating the Jets 45-3 near the end of the season. These rubber matches where the teams have split are complete crapshoots... but I like the Patriots and the homefield advantage.
Pick: Pats

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh - These teams also split... the difference here is that these players and fans hate each other so much that they literally maim and injure each other every time they play. As a Browns fan, I despise both teams so much I can't even watch this game. I will be curious to see who wins, but the winner will probably suffer from a "winning the battle, losing the war" problem as they will be missing key players for next week. Interestingly, the Steelers beat the Ravens in 2008 and 2001 in the playoffs. Does this mean, it's the "third time is the charm?" Your guess is as good as mine.
Pick: Pittsburgh


Seahawks @ Bears - The Seahawks are going for .500! Honestly, I still don't respect the Seahawks to do anything. Yes, they beat the Saints last week, but a big key is that crazy homefield advantage they have in Seattle. They don't have that any more (short of the insane scenario of a Seahawks win and a Packers win). The Bears fans have to be loving this draw. Thank the Eagles for blowing that game against Minnesota at the end of the season.
Pick: Bears

Green Bay @ Falcons - This is the game of the week. A game that I've been drooling over. Great offenses, great defenses, teams that both deserve to go far. The Falcons edged out Green Bay during the season by a field goal, and anything is possible in the dome (which should also benefit the speed of Greg Jennings). Soon, we shall see if that Green Bay running game is for real... I still like the Falcons to hold serve in this one.
Pick: Falcons

Last week: 2-2 (missed the Seahawks epic win, and missed the Packers over the Eagles)

An Open Letter to the New York Jets

Dear New York Jets,

Please shut the F up. Do you know how hard it is to get the rest of the country to cheer for New England? And yet you're making it very easy for us to root for Brady & Co. to stomp you like they did in your last meeting.

So shut your pieholes and focus on getting ready for the game. Your jobs are to play football, not to run your mouths.


NFL Fans Everywhere

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When It Comes Crashing Down and It Hurts Inside

Gotta Take A Stand And It Don't Help to Hide,

Well you Hurt My Friends and You Hurt My Pride

I Gotta Be a Man, I Can't Let It Slide...

Hoke-A-Mania is going to run wild on you.

I can just see the next OSU/UM game before the game Hoke runs down the Big House steps to the Vest has Denard Robinson give Tressel the Irish Whip to the big boot by Hoke and then runs and gives the big leg drop. Then Hoke runs to the end zone, puts his hand to his ear, then runs to the next end zone and puts his hand to his ear.

This would make recruits come to UM in a heartbeat.

Say Hello To the New Boss,

Same as the old one. Another year another Mythical championship goes to the SEC. At this point even the most partisian non-SEC have to admit that the combination of demographics, resources, institutional advantages (over-signing, lower admission standards, medical hardship usage to free up roster spots,) gives the SEC an advantage that allows it to lord over the rest of College Football. Perhaps following the 2nd Northern migration things will change but until then all hail the next Southern denizen champion, Auburn.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

MMBSD: NFL Playoffs in Full Swing

Well in the first week of the playoffs we witnessed a series of close and sometimes surprising results. The one boring by the book game was the Ravens brutalizing the Chiefs who skated into the playoffs with the easiest schedule this side of Seattle.

Most Surprising
Goes to the Seahawks victory over the Saints. I think underplayed in all of this is how crucial the loss of Malcom Jenkins was to the Saints. The middle of the field was open all day and Hasselbeck exploited the Saints to know end. That said I'll be even more surprised if the Seahawks can win on the road

Goes to the Jets victory over Indy. Normally I hate playing the what if game and saying why one team won and another lost but the Colts usage of the timeout and decision to repeatedly run rather than pass in the red zone makes one wonder...what if the Colts went for the jugular or had decent time management.

Most Significant
In single elimination formats its always tricky (and unwise) to say something is actually significant. However the Packers usage of Starks and therefore discovery of a running game might be fairly significant. The Packers' offense has lacked a consistent ground game for a while. If the Packers are able to marry its quick strike offense with a way to manage the clock the Packers will surely be a formidable opponent for the Falcons.

College Football
Just a quick note on That Team Up North's search. Without trolling too much I'm a little surprised at the interest in Les Miles. Miles' credentials aside...the man is 57. How much longer can he coach (don't answer that JoePa) and is it a good idea bringing in a head coach that might well retire in 5-6 years (knowing that recruiting is done with a 4 year window in mind)?

Not to be conspiratorial or anything but the latest Melo to New Jersey rumors involve including Detroit in it. Why Detroit? Well Melo's agent (Leon Rose/Worldwide Wes) also represents Rip Hamilton who is rumored to be included in the New Jersey deal. Not to say the deal will happen but it seems like Worldwide Wes is making the NBA go round this days. I can't imagine David Stern is too thrilled about that.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Welcome to the 2010 NFL Playoffs!

It's finally time for the NFL Playoffs!

Just for a refresher, I have a lot of bizarre NFL situations that I keep track of... let's see what applies this year:

4-KC vs 5-Baltimore - I don't consider KC to be a threat at all.
Pick: Baltimore

3-Indy vs. 6-Jets - I've been going back and forth on this for a while... but I think the Jets are going to push through only because the Colts defense is very suspect and the Colts are missing a lot of WRs.
Pick: Jets

4-Seattle vs. 5-New Orleans - Honestly, the Seahawks are a terrible team... but the homefield advantage is immense, and the Saints are without some RBs. However, I'm still picking the Saints, even though the Saints did win their one matchup during the season.
Pick: New Orleans

3-Philly vs. 6-Green Bay - This is the game that could easily be the NFC Championship game, but instead it's an opening round game! Green Bay beat Philly in week 1 by knocking out Kolb... then barely survived a Vick comeback. While this is a must-see game where anything can happen, I think Vick and the Eagels will find a way in this showdown. Plus, the Packers coach just inherently sucks in close games.
Pick: Philly

Now I’m going to pick the whole playoff tree, but I’ll be back each week to pick the matchups. So, it’s time to get to what I’m seeing in my crystal ball (which never actually happens)…

1-New England vs. 6-Jets - They split during the season, each winning at home. I just don't think the Jets have the firepower to keep pace.
Pick: New England

2-Pittsburgh vs. 5-Baltimore - Each team won on the road this year, splitting the series. The Steelers won the last game. I have no idea how you decide between these teams, but this is the year of the Harbaugh I think...
Pick: Baltimore

1-New England vs. 5-Baltimore - New England won during the season, but got destroyed last year in the playoffs. Can magic happen twice? I'm not sure.
Pick: New England

1-ATL vs. 5-New Orleans - Each team won on the road during the season. I'm not sure what's going to happen this time around. I have to think the Falcons find a way this time, especially with the Saints having injury problems at the RB position.
Pick: ATL

2-Chicago vs 3-Philly - Philly will win. I still haven't respected the Bears all season. Philly lost during the season, so it's time for some redemption!
Pick: Philly

1-ATL vs. 3-Philly - The game we've all been waiting for... Vick's magical return to ATL! In the playoffs no less! There will be a lot of fanfare with this game. I think the Eagles are best when Vick is on his game, and I think Vick will be very determined in this game to stick it to his old team.
Pick: Philly

Super Bowl
NE vs. Philly - I think the Eagles are going to shock everyone and make the Pats lose in the Super Bowl, just like in 2007.
Pick: Philly

Last Week: 13-3
Season: 159-97 (corrected for some errors)
Manwich: 10-8 (seahawks beat the rams to finish 7-9 and make the playoffs, though that's not what I picked)
Upset of the Week: 9-9 (the raiders did it! beat the chiefs to finish 6-0 in the division, and just 8-8 overall, and not qualify for the playoffs!)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Congrats To Bert Blyleven

The suffering and the waiting are over! Bert Blyleven has finally made it into Cooperstown, thanks in large part to a greater awareness of sabermetrics and the internet movement to push for his enshrinement.

In honor of this happy news, I'd like to share a fantastic photo of the newest Hall of Fame righty.

All I can say is: so do I, Bert. So do I.

Ding Dong Rich is Dead

So finally there has been a press conference and Rich Rod is no longer the coach of the Michigan Wolverines. I have to say that I was slightly hopefully that he would be able to come into Ann Arbor and bring his style of play to beat up on the other teams in the Big 10 and retain prominence in the Big 10. I unfortunately was incorrect, this was a cluster from the beginning. Rich Rod lead this team from ranking in the top of defense to a bottom dweller. Hopefully the new coach will be able to instill that smashmouth defensive oriented football back into the winningness football team. I don't care if it is Hoke who I actually tend to like. Not just because he looks like a combination of Bluto from Animal House and Mike Golic.

Maybe they will ask Tom Brady to come back from the Pats and be a player/coach just like Pete Rose did in 1986 or they will look to see if Gary Moeller is still available. Maybe they go to Lez Miles and throw money at him. I really just hope that they find someone that knows the Michigan tradition, wins without breaking the rules, doesn't allow players to drive around in "loaner" cars from the local car dealerships, and can beat the crap out of OSU in November. I think those are the most important characteristics for UM in the future and beyond.

On a side note, I am still waiting for the call Mr. Brandon...I will bring back Touchdown Tim Biakabatuka.

OSU Defeats Pigs, Defends Big 10

In a night of emotional highs and lows, Ohio State ended up the victor over Arkansas. After probably the darkest New Year's day in the history of the Big 10, it was down to the Buckeyes. I'll be honest after the punt block I blacked out but when I came to the Buckeyes had won, Pryor was Sugar Bowl MVP, and the SEC a least for a night had to shut up about Big 10 speed. Also as a semi-follower of Kosher Laws I feel its important that people who dress like pigs should never be happy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Virginia Tech Returns From Whence It Came

Virginia Tech started the season failing on a national stage before collapsing soon after. Last night they returned to those origins of sucking when the spotlight was brightest. As bad as the ACC was , it's still hard to believe Virginia Tech went undefeated in conference play. How did they do this? I suppose ultimately it doesn't matter as V-Tech still can't beat a decent team and they will be remembered this season as the last Harbaugh's Stanford win.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Stability I Can Believe In

Despite beating the Washington Redskins 17-14 and earning their 10th win of the season, the Giants still missed the playoffs after Green Bay defeated Chicago to clinch the final Wild Card berth. And as much as missing the playoffs was a self-inflicted wound for the Giants – after all, those losses to the Eagles and Packers in Weeks 15 and 16 were practically unforgivable – the Giants did what they almost always do: they decided to stay the course. Team owner John Mara’s comments:

“I’m proud of how the players battled through the injuries,” said Mara. “I think that is a testament to the coach. In this society, everybody wants to fire the coach all the time. The Yankees get knocked off in the playoffs, everybody wants to fire the manager.

“Well, we don’t do that here. He’s going to be our coach. Because I believe in the guy, I believe in stability, you can’t build anything if you are constantly making changes and firing people. That is not our culture and it is just not what we believe in. We know this guy is a good coach and we want him to lead us into next season.”

There are a lot of things wrong with the Giants. Their secondary has been a weak spot for nearly 20 consecutive seasons. They haven’t drafted an impact linebacker since unearthing Jessie Armstead in the 8th round of the 1993 draft. The offensive line has shown considerable age and attrition since reaching their high-water mark midway through the 2008 season. And, most notably, their quarterback is owed $97.5M over the next six years despite being overrated, turnover-prone and perennially disappointing. Yet, despite it all, the Giants get one thing right: they generally make smart coaching hires and they stick with coaches that do a good job.

I’m not the passionate Giants fan I was when I was a little boy but I truly appreciate that my team has smart and thoughtful owners. When I look around the NFL, very few organizations are as stable as the Giants. I can be proud of that.

MMBSD: Respawned Meme

Big 10 Fail

Yes the ACC went undefeated before the SEC and the Big 10 dominated the Big 12 but the headlines everywhere the day after new years is Big 10 got destroyed. And they did. 0-5 on New Year's day. They got outscored by the SEC 138-45. The slow , over-rated, awful Big 10 meme is back. There's really not much to say about it other than every Big 10 team will have a ridiculously hard time now getting to the BCS Championship game...and will until they can win in January.....And there's really not much to say beyond that.

Eyes on Harbaugh
The hottest name in the coaching circuit could be Jim Harbaugh. The rumors are unless a NFL can woo him , Harbaugh is heading to that Team Up North (it would seem only fitting if RichRod would end up in Pittsburgh). Now I imagine if Luck returns it's possible Harbaugh would stay but I wouldn't count on it. So as soon as the Orange Bowl is finished watch the rumors and stories to fly.....

NFL Playoffs
Honestly the first round playoff matchups are yawners save for the Eagles - Packers game. The high powered offenses coupled with the inconsistent output makes the game intriguing and unpredictable. But beyond that bring on the next round of the playoffs already...

Quote of the Week
"(Ben Roethlisberger) is just as dangerous as Vick, but from a different standpoint." -- Dan Fouts, 9:48 of 3rd qtr."

Random Hottie of the Week

Umm her ... who's hanging out near my car....