Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Weekend in Review

Browns/Bengals: The family was visiting my uncle out in Parma (yes, as in "Moon Over Parma"), so I listened to this one on the radio. Well, I'll tell you what, that Lee Suggs kid is pretty good. The D played solid, and I'm hopeful for next year - as long as the right moves are made.
Green Bay/Denver: The Cleveland market was lucky enough to see this game the same time as
Minnesota/Arizona: ..and what a finish! I couldn't believe it myself. The Anquan Boldin 1st down was questionable, but I'll take it. I only have one question: if you give your kid a stupid first name that isn't really a name, is FSU required to give the kid a football scholarship. Anyways, that was the finish of the year. I like Mike Tice, but if he isn't careful, he'll slip into Matt Daugherty "great motivator, solid players' man, mediocre coach" territory.
Steve Spurrier: He can't change his system to fit in the NFL, so what does he do? Change it? No, he gives up. I personally don't think he's a good fit for ND. The Oline is still young, and Spurrier makes no effort to protect his QB. For the sake of Brady Quinn, let's not hire Spurrier. Maybe he can go to Nebraska so we don't have to hear statements like "Jamaal Lord passed for a career high 160 yards in the win."

College Bowls
MiamiU/Louisville: Ben Roethlisberger practically pulls a Chris Thomas and declares for the NFL draft during a TV timeout, and the Redhawks roll. Ben didn't get a chance to play in Sun Devil Stadium this year (maybe they deserved a shot?), but he may get to in the near future...
TCU/Boise St: OK, I don't remember too much from this game, but I was definitely dissapointed that for all the shots of the band, I still wasn't able to see Cronk's Sister.
Texas Tech/USNA: Leading 31-14, Tech passes for a TD with 4 minutes left, then does that "the ball's a bomb and we all fall down" thing... against the NAVAL ACADEMY! Classy.
Oh yeah, USuCk still doesn't deserve the national championship, so shut up everyone. That is all.

ND Basketball
Since we last joined the men at the end of their 3 game losing streak, they've rattled off 4 straight victories, including a solid showing against DePaul. Big East play starts on the 7th - let's see what these boys have.
Since the womens' loss to Washington, they've beat Dayton and USC handily, as they should, and topped Colorado State in a close contest. The CSU game is one the team probably would have lost last year, so let's hope this is a sign of good things to come. Congrats go to Jackie Batteast for her Big East POW honors.

OK, that was incredibly short, but I'll see if I can figure out a way to make up for it the rest of the week. Feel free to post your memories of 2003 on the message board, including the top moments, top performers, and even moments you may wish to forget.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Yeah, so I have this blog here, so I might as well try the whole "writing stuff for it" thing. Let's ease ourselves into it.

The Cavs
Why should we trade Ricky Davis?! Oh. Yes, Davis was finally trying to do more than just "get buckets," but Paul Silas proved that veteran leadership was an important piece of the puzzle ("veteran," in the NBA, of course means "someone born in the 70s"). Eric Williams has been solid, and Tony Battie provides a body at center when defense is needed late in the game. Kedrick Brown was also a nice throw in. Silas is showing a no-nonsense attitude with his players, first with the Davis deal, then by sitting Zydrunas Ilgauskas for large spells, especially at the end of games. Silas wants Big Z playing big D, and until he gets it, Big Z sits on his big... well.... Sure, it will (and has already) cost the Cavs a few tight losses, but on a team that isn't exactly playoff bound, learning what to do is better than a few cheap wins the wrong way. I hope.

Transaction Wire
A-Rod not for Manny: So Rodriguez wanted to restructure his contract, but his side said no? Good good. I stick up for the massive amount of money players make by saying the owners make even more for doing even less, then the Players Union has to do something like this. C'mon, let's leave baseball to the baseball players, please?
Nomah not for Magglio Ordonez: It's a great trade. Jose Valentin can't play shortstop forever on the South Side, and Mags is a solid player that fits into the Theo Epstein/Bill James mold. Plus he'll stay healthy and play solid D. Every team would have won (except the Rangers, who would have traded a disgruntled overpaid star for someone on the verge of becoming a clubhouse cancer), but alas, it's not to be.
Omar Vizquel not for Carlos Guillen: This deal was foiled by Omar's failed physical. Seattle would have won with this deal, if Omar stays healthy the whole year. The Tribe would have done alright, too, offensively getting a younger version of Omar (I haven't seen him too much defensively to comment, but I'm guessing he's no Omar) that would have filled a gap in the middle infield nicely until Brandon Phillips and Jhonny "That's not a typo" Peralta are everyday players.
Red Sox sign Kieth Foulke: When the ChiSox traded him straight up for Billy Koch last season, they probably figured they were getting the better end of the deal. However, Billy Bean (or is that Billy Beane?) knew better, and now Theo Epstein helps solidify the back end of his bullpen with a solid closer.
Mets sign Mike Cameron: A solid ballplayer who will do well in Shea's big outfield, although that may hurt his offensive numbers. He'll be a solid 6 hitter, and hey, at least he's not Roger Cedeno. Also sign John Franco. Very nice.
Devil Rays sign Jose Cruz Jr.: Not a huge deal, except that it shows Lou Pinella is actually willing to win a few games. I just thought it was funny that Cruz's Gold Glove brought about a Heisman-like curse that caused Cruz to misjudge fly balls on consecutive days, leading to 2 Marlin wins in the first round of the playoffs.
Cubs get Michael Barrett from the Expos via the A's: Mike, don't worry. This is a solid young NL catcher, and he'll do fine unless Dusty decides to go with a rotation of Joe Girardi, Jim Leyritz, and Pat Borders at catcher this year.
Yankees sign Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton. Hey, at least they didn't get Vlad Gurerro. The Yankmees finally will have two corner outfield spots solidified at the same time, but even playing Lofton and Bernie Williams at the same time in center won't get the job done.
Marlins sign Armando Benitez, and everyone worried about a repeat breathes a huge sigh of relief.
Orioles sign Javy Lopez and Miguel Tehada: hey, why don't we try winning this year?
Indians can't get Todd Walker, so they end up with Ron Belliard. If I had known that second base was this wide open, I would've gone to open tryouts. Geez.

Of course, many more Gammonsesque names at the link above. I'll try to have a Weekend in Review tomorrow, and maybe even play with a Year in Review as the week goes on. Plus, there's still that book report...

Monday, December 22, 2003

I apologize for my prolonged absence (both from here and from a few emails), but there is much going on in the Kanka family these days. I'm going to continue my sabbatical until after Christmas, but I should return next week. Also, I'll be hanging around the message board as much as possible until then.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

We're going to go on the installment plan again this week, for too many reasons to mention.

Browns/Broncos: Got to see The Drive twice that day. Good, because they forgot to include it in that MNF "Cleveland Sucks" montage last week. Well, at least the team's playing with some heart now. If they would've started the season playing like they are now, they might be somewhere.
Steelers/Jets: Nice. Always wanted to see a game like this in person. Reminds me of another game (see below).
Bengals/49ers: Dear NFL, Now that my cousin has been cut, I can now be the most annoying idiot in the family. - Chad Johnson
Giants/Saints: Well, the Giants obviously lost because Luke didn't play. About that whole cell phone thing (and I'm not just doing this because cell phones are evil): Amazingly, Kanka doesn't think that Joe Horn was even the biggest idiot in the whole Joe Horn cell phone Joe Horn thing. First, there's Jim Hasslett, who thought the league should have fined Joe Horn for Joe Horn's actions. Of course, it's not like Joe Horn's head coach could have done anything about the situation. Wait... penalize the guy as long as it doesn't hurt your chances of winning, coach? Way to go. Then, there's Joe Horn's agent, who compared the fine to a penalty for capital murder. Obviously, since we all know that people who really do commit capital murder get a fine that amounts to roughly a week's pay (Joe Horn's fine was 1.5% of his total salary). Shoot, I'll even spend a week's salary at one time, so it can't be that huge. One more thing about the Joe Horn situation: spectators who run out on the field during football games, or baseball games, or soccer games, are looking for a stupid and easy way to get publicity, right? And that's why the TV networks refuse to show them. Well, football players who create signs or pull out cell phones or dance like an idiot do it as a stupid and easy way to get publicity (I'm excluding celebrations that involve the fans, such as leaping into the stands, because that's good celebration - you're happy for the team, and so are the fans). So, why don't the TV networks stop showing these stupid celebrations over and over? Just a suggestion. I also like what Mike Tice did at a Minnesota practice: he let everyone - receivers, kickers, OLine, DLine - catch a TD at practice, then do their craziest TD celebration. Then, everyone made fun of it. By showing how stupid and funny these dances are, Tice is hopefully cutting down on these stupid displays during games.

OK, my rant is over. Major transactions tomorrow - Ricky Davis, Omar Vizquel, and of course many more Gammons-eque names. Plus, eventually, a Shake Down the Thunder review.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

No post tonight (well, no Weekend in Review at least) due to the National Slovak Society meeting, but I'll have plenty of time tomorrow to discuss the NFL, Joe Horn, the Transaction Wire, Ricky Davis, and then some.

I do have one major announcement, though. I'm about to be published regularly in a national magazine! Well, ok, the national magazine is the aforementioned NSS's monthly newsletter, and the regular "column" will be a two paragraph report on Assembly 160 (Lorain, OH)'s upcoming activities, but hey. Today I was officially elected Activities Chairman of Assembly 160, after my Grandpa (from my dad's side, not the one you guys have met) decided to step down after 20+ years and strongly recommend me for the position. So yes, now I'm more or less the poor man's Pete McCall of the Lorain chapter of the NSS. Good time stuff.

(Please note now that the Message Board links are linked to the new message board and not a random porn site. Sorry if this disappoints anyone.)

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Irish POYs. Shouldn't be too much controversy here, unless I fell asleep and put someone at the wrong position.

QB: Brady Quinn. He's the future, and he showed he can be calm under pressure. Finally the Irish have a reliable passing attack. Runner up: Carlyle Holiday. Took the demotion with class, and tried to help the team any way he could.
HB: Monogram Club MVP Julius Jones. Duh. With strength and speed, he finally lived up to his potential and made the OLine better by giving them confidence.
FB: Knute Rockne Scholar-Athlete Josh Schmidt. In true Rockne style, went from interhall to the varsity, and showed the greatest hands out of the backfield. Runner Up: Rashon Powers-Neal. Started making catches towards the end of the season. Now all he needs to do is convince the coaching staff to run him up the middle on 3rd and 2, instead of going to the shotgun.
OL: Had a tough time with this one, and I wanted to give 1 award per OLine position, but instead I'll just go with these three guys (and feel free to ream me out on this one; unfortunately OLine guys normally go unnoticed unless they screw up or they're Jeff Faine): Ryan Harris of MTV and frosh All-America fame, Bob Morton who stepped up and stole the center job from Zach Giles, and Jim Molinaro, who must have done something right to have been named a captain.
TE: Antony Fasano. Looks like this award was going to Jared Clark, but Fasano actually finished ahead of Clark in catches. Another piece of the puzzle for this offense's future.
WR: Rhema McKnight. He can break the big one or go over the middle for a 3rd down conversion. A nice weapon for Quinn to have. Runner up: Captain Omar Jenkins. I considered giving this to Jeff Samardzija, since he'll probably be Quinn's go-to guy someday, but then I looked at the numbers and realized that Jenkins once had another Omar Jenkins season, quiet but great.
DT: In the shocking upset of this column, the award goes to the Moose Krause Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the Hall of Fame Lineman of the Year Cedric Hilliard. He blocked Mike's first ever Bookstore shot, and he also improved his fitness greatly, staying in the game longer and being able to move more to get to the ball. Close Runner Up: Captain Darrell Campbell, because I know him, and he's very large. Had another solid season, and did have to fight double teams most of the time. I'm not worried at all about his future, and I'm sure he'll take the Nick Pietrosante award (see article linked above) over a Kanka POY award any day. Both of these guys will do just fine in the NFL. Can't wait til draft day so I can order my Darrell custom NFL jersey.
DE: Justin Tuck. Wait, what? I actually like the guy now? He had a great year. Third on the team in tackles, and first in TFL, he's finally lived up to all the praise everyone's been throwing at him over the years. Keep up the good work. Runner Up: Westwood One/State Farm Student-Athlete of the Year Kyle Budinscak. Had a solid season cut short my injury, but he'll be back.
ILB: Senator Courtney Watson. Had another great year, although has he lost a step (the Syracuse interception)? He'll catch on somewhere in the NFL, even if he is "undersized."
OLB: Brandon Hoyte. You might not recognize him as a dominating linebacker by meeting him without pads on, but this run-stopper finished second to only Watson in tackles this year. Runner Up: Paul Green's freshman roommate Derek Curry was 4th on the team in tackles, and had 2 picks and 2 forced fumbles.
CB: Captain Vontez Duff. An off year for Vontez, but he proved he can shut down some good receivers.
S: Glenn Earl. Even though he missed half a season, he was still the best guy the secondary had, and still finished second in tackles by a DB to Quentin Burrell. He'll do well in the NFL, as he'll probably start off at special teams, where he can once again block and return every single kick and punt that comes his way. Runners Up: Burrell and Garron Bible. Both struggled, but finally got it together by the end of the year. The story of the season for the whole team.
K: Well, I'll give you a hint - it's someone Ellen LOOOVES. And no, it's not Chad, Toby, or me. It's DJ Fitzpatrick. For a walk on, he did a great job in his double-duty role. Sure, he wasn't hitting 50 yard punts, but this guy is a walk on - Nick Setta wasn't supposed to get hurt. DJ did a fine job, considering at most schools a backup kicker would be 2/15 in FGs with a 25 yard punt average. Runner Up: Setta. We were spoiled by the Setta/Joey Hildbold years. Let's hope this freshman punter can do enough that we don't have to miss those two too much.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

MNF: I think this game summed up my entire life as a Cleveland sports fan. Watching the pregame and Kelly Ripa's little thing, I was starting to wonder if the Browns were even playing in this game, because they never mentioned them. I was very fired up about that couple getting married in the Dawg Pound, but as I was watching the kiss, I couldn't help but think, "are they allowed to show this on a network owned by Disney?" The game started off on the right foot. The D was shutting the Rams down, and the offense had momentum. I was getting really fired up. Then, things were starting to slip away. The D was playing bend but don't break, but the offense wasn't helping. Then, Aeneas Williams happened, and I went into the half wearing the Pete Carroll face. I was mad at Holcomb - my dad muttered something in disgust about the defense playing their hearts out - but after I saw Kelly was also wearing the Pete Carroll face, I knew he felt the same way I did. After cursing out the halftime segment where the Rams coach for yelling at their practice squad QB because Kelly Holcomb doesn't look off receivers, it was time for LeBron. He was dressed in a Jim Brown throwback, a white fur coat, and a brown and orange Nike hat. It's a good thing, too, because in a pregame interview, he mentioned that "they ain't given me nothin' yet." Now it's time for the 3rd quarter; this could get ugly. Now it's time for the "Cleveland hasn't had a championship since..." montage... again. The Fumble, Willie's catch, Tony Fernandez doing his Bill Buckner, and the Shot. Thank you. This is what prompted the trivia question. Mike, I owe you a beer. Heck, Dave, Ellen, I owe you a beer. Cronk, if you're reading this... I'm still not buying you a Mike's Hard, even if the Cranberry is pretty good. (yeah I said it. It had to be said.) But wait - Bulger still isn't doing squat, and Jamel White and Tim Couch are giving us a competent offense. The Brownies are in this game! Then, the Browns are down 6, and the Rams are lining up for a chip shot. While I'm starting to think about how everyone will be criticizing Butch for going for 2 early, the kicker misses the field goal! This can't be happening! The Browns have to punt on their next possession, but the D is huge again and forces the 3 and out! There's a good return on the punt, and no flags! This could be it! No, not today... This is Cleveland, though. Our teams play their hearts out, and win or lose, we're proud of them.

ND Basketball
Men: Two lackluster performances in the past couple games. Francis has been huge, and Thomas is putting up good numbers (except for FG%), but we just need one more scorer (we also need to play hard against the CMUs of the world). It doesn't have to be an outside shot, althought I think Falls can be that guy some day (in a good sense). Maybe another down low scorer to take some attention from Francis. As far as Quinn, he's never going to be a 5 3's per game sharpshooter, but he'll get good numbers and be solid with a few shots from behind the line. OK guys, you know you need to step up, let's do it.
Women: For some reason, whenever there's nothing better to show (not even Best Damn), Fox Sports Ohio likes to show random PAC 10 womens' sporting events (thank you, Jenny Finch). So, I got to see our womens' team take on Washington. Washinton was lead by Giuliana Mendiola (not to be confused with Gioconda Mendiola, who is hot but doesn't have as much talent) and a good game by freshman Cameo Hicks. Jackie Batteast played a solid game, but she just couldn't take it over. Our post players are getting there, but it's not there yet. This is still a relatively young team. The seniors are Severe, Joyce, and Hernandez, and Severe's the only one to see good PT over the past couple years. The triangle offense will work for this team, but they still may be a year away from once again becoming a great team.

Transaction Wire
Mets: Sign Kaz Matsui. Nice. And by "nice," I mean "thank God the Yankees didn't get him." Looks like he'll be a solid ballplayer, and he's unselfish enough that the Reyes situation will work itself out.
Angels: Signed Bart Colon. And they're going for Nomar? The championship the other year made them believe they can contend with this team, and if they can land Nomar (in exchange for Adam Kennedy, moving David Eckstein to his natural 2B) and another power bat, they'll contend in the ALWest.
Rangers: Sign 1B/DH Brad Fullmer.
Twins: Resign Shannon Stewart.
Good, good. Both these teams just added a guy to an already overstocked position. Maybe the Rangers can play 9 guys at first and the Twins 9 in right field.
Astros: Now that Andy Pettitte is off the Yankees, I can maybe finally admit that he's halfway decent. Too bad he looks like Diana Taurasi.
Yankees/Dodgers: Trade Jeff Weaver and prospects for Kevin Brown. I think the Dodgers win this one actually, if Weaver can get back on track. And, as Rick Ankiel proved, that's not as easy as it should be. Weaver is a good pitcher when he allows himself to be a wildman. Once he joined the Yankees, he tried to be calm and clean-cut, and that was the end of him. Dodger Stadium is a pitcher's park like Comerica, and if someone talks sense into him, he'll regain his mini-dominance. Plus, the Dodgers get prospects (the Yankees still have minor leaguers? I thought it was just Drew Henson and Luis Sojo playing catch in Columbus, with Jose Contreras occassionally joining so they can play pepper.) and the Yankees get a good if (big IF) he's healthy old man. Oh yeah, the Yankees suck.
As always, more Gammons-esque transactions at the link above - Vinny Castilla, Daryle Ward, Fernando Vina, Brent (no relation to Brett) Butler, Benito "even Kanka's dad thinks I'm old" Santiago, Everyday Eddie Guardado, Scott Sullivan, Lenny Harris, and about 40 former Indians and Devil Rays, including a Jason "why did Mike Hargrove keep putting me in when I sucked" Grimsley sighting.

Tomorrow: ND football POYs (yes, there were a few)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Maryland/Florida are in overtime. Let's see if we can get the college football part out of the way.

ND/Syracuse: I guess I'm not too surprised that a good RB on turf ran all over a young, disorganized D. We have multiple weapons on offense now, why not use them when it's obvious they have Julius scouted? Oh well, it's over.
MiamiU/BGSU: Bowling Green is not a state, and it also didn't have an answer for Ben Rothelisberger. They're still a solid team, and this was a great game to watch with two solid QBs.
Central Florida: By George, things will be even more MAC-tastic next year (yes, CFU is in the MAC) when George O'Leary becomes the head coach. Yes, I am officially an Ohio-MAC school cheerleader. Live with it. Oh yeah, I still have that shirt, too.
OU/KState: Guess who forgot to show up. Way to go. As good as the Sooners are, I really don't think they deserve the title now, nor does anyone really. You have to show up week in, week out, and prove you want it. It also would be nice if you're the head coach and you show up for the BCS selection special. And I was just starting to like Bob Stoops.
LSU/Georgia: Well, if anyone deserves the title, I guess it's LSU. They're not a great team, but they play hard and don't take a game off. A note of trivia: Nick Saban, then a Browns coordinator, was tabbed to be a then-unliked Bill Belichick's replacement in Cleveland. But Saban darted for MSU and the rest is history.
USC/O....S....U....: Hey, killing the Beavers didn't do anything. If you show up against Cal, none of this is an issue, so stop whining. As it is, you'll still claim the AP title, whether you deserve to or not. You want comedy? Cheerleader Pete Carroll's "I'm so depressed I want to puke" face during the BCS selection special was priceless. Should we have a playoff? No, you idiots, because then we'd just be whining over which 8 (or 16 or whatever) teams deserve to be in, instead of which 2 make a title game. So stop your whining, everyone.

OK, that's it for today. Join us tomorrow for the NFL, college basketball, and the MLB transaction wire.
OK, I lied about the post, but there will be a huge one tomorrow. I'm off to watch the men's game, but be sure to check out my trivia question on the message board.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Just lost the post. Good good. Hopefully will be up tomorrow. Baseball Primer

Thursday, December 04, 2003

This is how it ends.

Syracuse comes in with a 5-6 record, and it looks like they've had an up and down year, too - losing to the good Big East teams and beating up on the crappy ones (with a few exceptions. Really, there's no consistency. They'll blow out a Toledo or a BC, hang in there against Miami, or get trampled by VPI or Rutgers. Nobody knows which Syracuse team will show up on Saturday.
Syracuse's offense relies on their rushing attack. The main man is Walter Reyes at 105 YPG, but QB RJ Anderson and a decent supporting cast bring the team total up to 184 YPG. Reyes will get his yards, but the key will be for Tuck, Watson, and Hoyte to keep him at bay, and to keep Anderson in the pocket.
Anderson has also made every pass attempt this year (but don't rule out a trick play in this game) and has a respectable 177 YPG. His leading receiver is Johnny "I'm not Alaskan, but I did have a nice TD catch against WVU" Morant with 63 YPG. Anderson spreads the ball out fairly well, I suppose. Reyes is second in YPG, so look for quite a few short passes and dumpoffs, especially on what will be a fast turf. Don't be surprised to see our secondary make a few mistakes speedwise on the turf, too. Syracuse is averaging just over 1 sack given up per game, and our Dline's knees might have problems with the turf, too. So, our DBs will have to step it up for this one.
When the Irish have the ball, power football should be key. Syracuse gives up 145 YPG on the ground. Julius's speed and power are perfect. He needs 223 yards to tie Vagas Ferguson's single-season mark of 1437, but I'd be happy if he only got 123 (hoo hoo!). Just keep pounding the football.
Syracuse gives up 224 YPG in the air, but they have played some decent passing teams. Still, I think Quinn has put it together, and he and his receivers should do alright.
Nothing out of the ordinary in the special teams department. Play heads up and everything will be fine.

Look for a big game from: the Seniors, BHoyte, Quentin Burrell, Matt Shelton, and Ty.

ND 30, Syracuse 20. Nothing wrong with a conservative bet.

Time to go play Leprechaun vs. OrangeMan in NCAA 2004.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

I apologize for the message board being down. Feel free to email at my normal account, or to my other account through the link above.

ND/Stanford: 57 points? I haven't seen that in a while. It was as if a bitter NDNation poster took out his frustrations on Monk's aspirational peerdom by setting NCAA 2004 to ubereasy. A solid game by all. Ryan Grant had the easy job by benefiting from all of Julius's hard work. The D was aggressive. Quinn continues to show flashes of brilliance, and the receivers are finally putting it together. What? We only have one game left this season? Dah. On a personal note, I was actually able to see this game, thanks to the now infamous Cleveland Dave and Buster's subscription to ESPN Game Plan. There also was a tribe of ND students watching the game there, but I must be getting old because I didn't recognize a single one.
FSU/Florida: Bobby Bowden again proves his idiocy, this time by letting his players stomp and dance on the Florida "F" after their win. If any Florida players are punished for trying to stop those idiots, I'll be greatly disappointed. Also, I can't wait to see what Bobby does to his players, as he plans on "review[ing] the situation... [to] see if any action needs to be taken." Good good.
BGSU/Toledo: In a game that had major implications for 10s and 10s of people I know from high school, Bowling Green (not a state) was lead by a Steve McNair-esque Josh Harris to a victory that puts them in the conference championship against Miami U this Thursday in Bowling Green.
Miami/Pitt: Got to watch this at the same time as the ND game and the Cavs double overtime choke (dah). Pittsburgh has no defense, Larry Fitzgerald once again emulates his idol Randy Moss, and Miami rolls.

Browns/Seahawks: Ugh. Next.
Lions/Packers: In a move that surely delighted the Hatton household, the Packers simply forgot to show up, and the Lions were able to hold on for an 8 point win. Still, I was just waiting for the Pack to run back an INT for the tying score as the annoucers were going on and on about their lack of enthousiasm. In case you were wondering, those were the Packer throwback uniforms. Their facemask color, sleeve stripe pattern, pants stripe pattern, and socks were different. Hey, I'm a Browns fan. That's more than what's changed on the Browns unforms since the dawn of time (except for the great orange pants of the Kardiac Kid days and the awful orange jerseys of the current Brownies).
Jets/Titans: The introductions were somewhat bland this week, and I missed most of the action due to the ND game (more later). My only question: did Ellen's dad introduce Dave to John Madden?

NCAA Men's Basketball:
ND/Marquette: Just like last year's team, the men started slow, came back, but didn't have enough. The shooting was off. Quinn had a bad night, but that will happen. Thomas needs to settle down. His shooting percentage has been terrible in each game this season. Cornette still has Ryan Humphrey Small Forward Syndrome. Marquette is still a good team. Novak (Steve, not Kelly) and Merritt once again put up big numbers against ND. This year's Irish Men will have their ups and downs, but it's still early.
CSU/UNC: Cleveland is not a state, but Cleveland State is the Alma Mater of Mr. Kanka. He wasn't at this near-upset, but I was, with Matt of BYU-weekend fame. In his homecoming, UNC's Jawad Williams was supposed to be the star. His whole family sat front row in powder blue #21 jerseys. Unfortunately, there were no "That's My Baby" signs, and none of the jerseys read "Jawad's Mom." There were, however, many locals posing as bandwagon UNC fans. Jordan left 20 years ago - you can put his jersey away. I'd like to interject here and say that "Jawad" and "Craphonso" have officially replaced "Dick" and "Gaylord" as the top "I want my kid beat up in school" names. Moving on. UNC got of to a quick lead behind swarming defense. But, as soon as they backed off, CSU came back. UNC wide body Shawn May was neutralized by CSU wider body (and fan favorite) Pete Ritzema. 7-2, 280? There had to have been at least one MAC O-Line coach knocking on his door. CSU doesn't have their own football program, but it might be time to start one. Once again, back to the game. CSU star Omari Westley and juco transfer Amadou Koundoul were everywhere, and CSU had the lead at the half. Whenever UNC threatened, Percell Coles answered with a 3. Over time, the bandwagoners who started the game by saying "I can't believe were watching North Carolina" and proceeded to refer to the Tarheels as "us" and "we," were soon pleading the crowd to "represent Cleveland." The game was reffed fairly. The calls went in spurts, but they evened themselves out. RoyBoy (Williams) wasn't able to intimidate the refs, as I had originally feared. Unfortunately, with 1:27 left and down 1, UNC misses the back half of a 1-and-1 (the bonus!), and the rebound gets kicked out to hometown Jawad, who hits the go ahead three right in front of his mom. UNC never looks back, and only then did the bandwagoners start cheering and chanting for their tarheels.
Some other game notes:
Since I'm sure you're concerned, Mike, the band was wearing green Hawaiian shirts with white floral print, and foam Viking hats (the Vikings are CSU's mascot; they used to use Hagar the Horrible's likeness, but now their mascot is a weird, green-headed guy in viking horns). Their song selection was not massive, but I was very fired up that they played the sackbut cheer after every player introduction and key play.
The student section was very small, only about 30 people, and it consisted mainly of a few overly-drunk frat kids and many of the basketball players' posse members.

Obscure College Scores
All obscure PA colleges we follow are done for the year. I'll let you know if local favorites Mount Union or John Carroll do anything special in the playoffs.

The Trading Block
Richie Sexson to Arizona for 6 players and a kitchen sink to be named later. Arizona gets rid of some guys who didn't work out, or who they were going to get rid of anyways. Milwaukee at least takes a stab at rebuilding. Not a bad trade, but this doesn't make Arizona an overnight contender, unless Brandon Webb et al. can prove me wrong.
Bruce Chen, who has been with almost every single NL Central team, has now signed with the Blue Jays. Baseball Primer (link above) says this is his 8th team, and he's still under the age of 27. Also by clicking on the link above, you can see other transactions involving many Gammons-esque names.
Other rumors:
The Schilling deal did go down, obviously.
Scanning NDNation's Back Room, I see Manny for A-Rod and Jeff Weaver for Kevin Brown.
The Manny trade would be bad for Texas. If you're going to have an overpriced player on a bad team, it might as well be the one that isn't a clubhouse cancer. John Hart once again proves that you can look smart without actually being smart. (Schilling! Pedro! We could have had them both! Dah!)

This site has begun to show up on web searches, and thanks to Blogger being owned by Google, this page often shows up high on the list. Things people have searched for that have lead to this page:
Sportscenter NFL Love Song (it helped that I mentioned "I Love the 70s" in the same paragraph here)
"Schilling Saga" (I called it the same exact thing last week)
"Never Scared" + "Football"
nd vs stanford 11/29/2003
"Kathleen Eich" (mentioned in the BYU weekend article; judging by the computer name, Kathleen was searching for herself)
Greg Bosl (ND basketball transfer, mentioned in the preview)
but the winner is... "Elizabeth Hasselbeck", generating at least 8 hits so far. I'll assume you've come looking for pictures, so here they are, running a Google Image Search on her maiden name, Elisabeth Filarski.

"What I'm Reading" Update
Shake Down the Thunder is a very long, very wordy book. I'll have a review as soon as I finish it, which should be before Christmas, hopefully.

Kanka Nation
The message board has been completely down the past couple days. I'll look at a few new ones tomorrow and hopefully have a new one up soon if this one doesn't come back.
Until then,

Go Irish, Eat Leftovers!

Friday, November 28, 2003

Insert your own "aspirational peer" joke here.

To start, I won't be watching this game tomorrow, or listening on the radio. Why? ABC will have Miami/Pitt for most of the country, while our local Westwood One affiliate also carries Cavs games. Looks like I'll be glued to my computer monitor.
This is a PAC 10 team, so let's start with their passing offense. 182 YPG isn't great for a team in that conference, and it looks like they have a little QB controversy on their hands (or it could have been an injury; I haven't really looked into it). Chris Lewis is the "better" of the 2 QBs, with an efficiency near 100, but with only 126 yards passing per game. Trent Edwards, the other guy, is a little worse with an efficiency of 80 and 93 YPG. Niether is anything to be worried about, but that's no reason to get caught napping in the secondary. There's no true #1 receiver here, with Luke Powell and Mark Bradford each averaging 45 or so YPG. Teyo Johnson is obviously missed. If the Stanford passing offense was a baseball team, they'd be known for their bloop singles and Baltimore chops (look it up). Their run game is also two-headed, once again with their top 2 guys each having about 45 YPG. Niether QB is a threat to run. The front 7 should be able to shut these boys down for most of the game, and pick up a few sacks in the process.
Stanford gives up almost 307 YPG in the air. Remember, this is mostly against top PAC 10 teams, so the coaches should ignore this stat and instead focus on the 119 YPG Stanford gives up on the ground. Julius, now the center of attention, should have a big game, and I'll tell you now that he'll have his 1,000 yards by the 3rd play from scrimmage (he's 4 yards shy). Quinn will continue to mature and show his poise, but he'll only pass when he needs to, and even then it won't be in impossible situations.
Stanford's kickoff team is nothing to be taken lightly. They'rre gaining a respectable 21 yards per on returns, while giving up only 13.8. Their punter has a good average of 43 per, and they've managed to shut down the punt return game. Of course, they also haven't done too much on punt returns.
Stanford doesn't look like a good team. Still, this is their senior day against their former coach. They'll be up for this one. But, the Irish will be up for it too.

Look for a big game from: Julius, Frosh All-American Ryan Harris, Quinn, DC (still have that picture from last year), Ced, Tuck, BHoyte, Senator Watson.

ND 24, Stanford 14. (Julius for 2, and Vontez finds the endzone somehow)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for an aspirational beer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Looking for repeat business...

Cronk's Sister's University/Southern Miss: Almost. Almost. As stated before, the BCS is all about ratings. Cronk's Sister alone would have gotten her University the ratings to deserve a BCS bowl. Unfortunately, as stated by many, TCU simply does not have the football team to deserve a BCS bid.
tOSU/scUM: Hey, tOSU's offense finally showed up. Too bad scUM's O was too much for tOSU's defense. This was a weird one. It wasn't quite a traditional "natural disaster game" for me (where my response to "who do you want to win?" is "I hope a natural disaster comes and takes out both teams). I guess it was more of a "who do I want to lose game?", where my reply was, "tOSU shouldn't be in the title game." One point, thought. tOSU's SOS is decent, as they've knocked off many highly-rated Big 11 teams. Maybe their conference as a whole is overrated, causing tOSU's high BCS marks. Who knows.
BC/VPI: Hey, an upset! Oh wait... we can officially delete my "The Irish and the bowls" post now.

Browns/Steelers: I think I made most of my feelings known on the Bone Listserv. Good Lord. Reading TMQ today, their were two teams that went with 4 straight runs up the gut on goal-to-go situations; both succeeded. Good good. In other Browns news, Jeff Faine was forced to go on the IR for the rest of the season (I say forced because he didn't even want to leave the game) with a sprained ankle. A sprained ankle? Is Butch giving up on the season and preparing for the future? Those Florida school coaches, I'll tell ya... (then again, here's the teams the Brownies have left to play: Ravens, Bengals, Broncos, Seahawks, Rams. Ouch.)
Bears/Broncos: After the Browns debacle, I was seriously regretting even suggesting to Sarah that we place a bet on the upcoming Browns/Broncos game. Then, watching her Broncos play the Bears, I had newfound hope (no offense, Mike). I noticed it, and TMQ confirmed it: a cold coach is a winning coach. UnderArmor and a sweatshirt for Dick Jauron vs. polar gear for Mike Shanahan. How long have you been in Denver Shanahan? And it's only November!
Washington/Miami: I turned this game on, and I honestly thought the Patriots were wearing their throwbacks. That's how dark the orange jerseys looked on my TV. The only other comment I have on this game is that ESPN did not do its God-given duty of creating excuses to show Mrs. Tim Hasselbeck, Elizabeth from Survivor, at every moment possible.
Giants/Bucs: I'm a little disappointed that the player introductions at the beginning of the game didn't include "Luke Petitgout. Ellen loves me." Maybe next time. I won't comment too much on the outcome, but I would like to know who Tampa Bay's receivers coach is (oh, I could look it up, but I'm lazy). Every single receiver (except of course for Joe Jurevicius, from Lake Catholic HS in Mentor, OH) carries the ball like a loaf of bread! I couldn't believe it.

ND Men vs NIU
I've read that the women are experimenting with the trapezoidal key and deeper 3 point arc during preseason/beginning of the season tourneys. I've also noticed that many of the men's games played so far have had the same lines on the floor, so I'll assume they're using them too to some extent. Does anyone know if that was the case for this game? If so, Francis's 24 looks all the more impressive. 19 is also a very nice number in the rebound category. No, this game wasn't supposed to be a cakewalk; remember NIU made a run in the tourney a few years back. No, wait, maybe I'm thinking of Southern Illinois. Nevermind. Quinn shot the lights out, which makes up for Thomas's "I'm already in the NBA"-like 5-17 performance. I don't think either of them will do the same every night, but it is nice to see that Quinn really is a decent player. That, and Thomas's 7-2 assist-turnover ratio is very easy on the eyes. The only stat that concerns me is "Cornette 3 PT FG-FGA 2-6." Yes, you made your first one, but that isn't an excuse to shoot 5 more. Don't go Ryan Humprey on us (even if Ellen loves him). Other stats of note: Falls 0-4 FG, 0-3 3PT. Tough debut, but it's nice to see another face in the rotation. He'll be alright. Quinn 6 steals. Rick Cornett 3 rebounds in 4 minutes played.

Obscure College Scores
IUP 42, Bloomsburg 40. IUP finishes the season at 5-1 in the PSAC West, and 10-1 overall. However, as their football site bitterly states, "Despite the win and a 10-1 record, IUP has been denied a spot in the NCAA Division II playoffs"
CUP, also in the PSAC West (2-4), finished their season 4-7 with a 35-0 loss to Shippensburg on Nov 15.
Edinboro of Pennsylvania 9, Saginaw Valley State (Saginaw Valley isn't a state) 33, in the first round of the DII playoffs. Edinboro, also in the (you're not going to believe this) PSAC West, finishes 5-1 in the conference and 9-3 overall.
TMQ's new dream job: athletic director of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Why I didn't do my column last night
Went with the whole family to see The Cat in the Hat. Despite poor reviews, this was, as a certain Alaskan would put it, a "good show." I enjoyed it. Some highlights:
- much much funnier than I expected
- Paris Hilton has a cameo as a dancer in a night club/rave scene. Given the timing of the release of her "other" film, I found this to be incredibly funny.
- It's a running joke that the Cat keeps getting the children's names wrong. At one point, he calls the boy (Conrad) "Klondike," to which my whole family responds, "Klondike?! Ha ha ha ha ha!" Ah, the Alaskan...

Old Job/New Job
OK, so at my old job I sat around and read NDNation all day. At my new job... well... I'm helping to stop the funding of terrorists and other anti-US organizations. You decide which is the cooler job.

Trade Talk
A's picked up Bobby Kielty earlier, then picked up Mark Kotsay for Ramon Hernandez and Terrrence Long. OK, Long needed to get out of there. And I do like Kielty and Kotsay. But in many ways, those two arjust like Eric Byrnes (who they already have), so why the addition. Billy Beane (the straight GM, not the gay former outfielder) knows what he's doing, so I'm sure these interchangeable 3 position OFs will work for him. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Billy Beane is the current A's GM. Billy Bean (no E) was an OF for the A's in the 80s or 90s who is famous for coming out as a gay baseball player after his retirement.
Cubs: Derrek Lee is a great pickup. Wow, Dusty must really not like Hee Seop Choi, huh? One day, he's the future. Then Dusty comes along and carries 10 other 1B only guys on the roster. Then he just gets rid of him. There goes that.
The Schilling Saga: Theo Epstein (no relation to Petey) is showing that he really wants to win. But is he giving up too much for it? Casey Fossum is Theo's favorite pitcher of the future, and Brandon Lyons was Grady Little's... oh, right. Nevermind on that second part. Theo's starting to play into the "beat the Yankees now" philosophy, and hopefully that won't ruin him. Of course, this is all moot if Schilling enacts his no-trade clause.
Ricky Davis: Everybody's favorite Lorain youth basketball camp sponsor is rumored to be on the block. I don't like this move per se. He's starting to show maturity, playing basketball this year (passing and playing D) instead of just "getting buckets" like last year (in case you haven't heard, he wears/wore a wristband that reads "Get Buckets"). Unless he's a locker room cancer, the Cavs should keep him. He and LeBron are the two to build this team around. That, and taking away one of our few scorers makes a mediocre team even worse - and puts more pressure on LeBron, who's already working almost 41 minutes a night.

Well, I'm out of material. Join me Friday for a preview of the Stanford game. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

KankaNation-related things I'm thankful for:
-people who read what I have to think, and tell me what they have to think, and hang out at the Backer and Corby's with me
-Gin and Tonic, Bud Light, Coors Light, "Gin 'n' Juice", and Coors Light commercials
-people who LOOOVE me
-the pride of 4 years and a degree from Our Lady's University
-family and friends. I love you guys. (maybe that'll make up for the 1.2 billion "I hate you guys"es I've muttered over the last few years)

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Basketball Preview

ND Men
Gone: Matt Carroll (now with Portland, more later), Dan Miller, Dan "AAARRRDDD OOOOOOVE" Lustig, and Jere "Kanka is really getting sick of the whole 'new coach's boys' crap" Macura.
Returning: Seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans; Juniors Jordan Cornette and Chris Thomas; Sophomores Rick Cornett, Torin Francis, and Chris Quinn.
New Faces: Walk on junior guard Greg Bosl, Arizona junior transfer Dennis Latimore (forward), and freshmen Russell Carter (G), Colin Falls (G), and Omari Isreal (F).

The loss of Carroll and Miller changes the way the Irish will approach scoring this year. I have faith in the two-headed point guard system, but it will probably mean more minutes for both Thomas and Quinn. Torrian Jones adds an Erika Haney-esque slasher dimension to the starting lineup, but I think he's a much better finisher than Haney. His athleticism will also help out on defense. Torin Francis will make his name known nationally in the post this year. Timmy! will not only be a fan favorite, but he'll earn his starting stripes this season. On offense, we'll have to establish Francis down low, and allow Thomas and Jones to penetrate. Then, when needed, we can kick it out to Quinn or Thomas for a deep ball.
On defense, I'm not worried at all (except for boxing out, which I've never seen from a Brey team). Thomas is NBA-ready, and Quinn has nothing to worry about. The best guard Quinn will have to face this year is probably the one he sees in practice every day. Torrian's athleticism and hustle will also work out well on defense. Down low, I don't think we have to much to worry about (besides boxing out of course). Francis, Timmermans, and Cornette (Jordan) can hold their own in the paint, and in Cornett (Rick), Isreal, and Latimore, we have more than enough wide bodies coming of the bench.
Some notes on the new guys, not that I know much about them. Latimore saw little playing time at UofA, but he looks to be a decent shooter from the field (if not from the charity stripe), and at 6'8 253, there's no reason he shouldn't be a force down low. Omari Isreal is a little thinner and coming off an ACL injury (right knee). und.com says he might not play because of that injury, and I can't tell you if he has yet or not. Look for him to be a Jordan Cornette type when he comes back.
Russell Carter is an athletic guard who can flat out score - 30 ppg in high school. Colin Falls is expected to fill Matt Carroll's shoes, and I'm told he can shoot from range, ballhandle, and hold his own on D. Bosl is a great practice player with the court vision to be a great distributor. Maybe he's a case of "we need this guy's passing sense in Thomas's body," but that remains to be seen. Oh, he also went to St. Dominic HS.

ND Women
Gone: Alicia Ratay and Karen Swanson, giving Sax Section Leader Emeritus Nick Scarpino and Mothball little reason to attend this year.
Returning: Seniors Mo Hernandez (back from a 1 year absence), Jeneka Joyce (likewise), Le'Tania Severe, and former JuCo Anne Weese; Juniors Jackie Batteast, Terese Borton, and Katy Flecky; Sophomores Megan Duffy and Courtney LaVere.
New Faces: Forward Crystal Erwin and guards Breona Gray and Susie Powers.

Last year was tumultous for the Lady Irish, as many players left the team for personal reasons. Still, a late run landed a Sweet 16 trip. This team should do alright - they're a year older and wiser, and, as much as I hate to admit it, the Ratay loss isn't as huge as one might think, as she wasn't as effective as during the days when she was Ruth's kickout option. A year further into the triangle offense is also a major plus. Leadership will come from the seniors, and the return of Mo and Jeneka is huge, especially with Joyce's outside shooting ability and upbeat demeanor. The Women's team will also go with a two-headed point guard; Megan Duffy proved she can start, and she'll share the roll with Sever, who stepped it up as a scorer who can drive to the hole and draw a foul. Jackie Batteast's sheer talent and the deep PF/C position (even with Teresa Borton currently on the shelf) help round out this team.
Remember how I always said that Mandy Barksdale had great athletic ability and just had to learn the nuances of how to play basketball? Well, it looks like Crystal Erwin is that finished product. A 6'2 forward, she's athletic and looks to be rather polished as a basketball player. Breona Gray is an athletic guard who will see a lot of time as a defensive stopper, but supposedly also has a decent outside shot. Susie Powers has good size (5'11) for a guard, and is a great ballhandler with a solid scoring intuition.
Oh, and in case you're curious, my new favorite player is Megan Duffy. Why? She's small, but her hustle, determination, and desire, make her a great player.

Irish in the NBA
Matt Carroll: recently signed with Portland as an outside threat due to their injury bug. A major misfit when you consider that roster, but at least he finally gets to play with Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje.
Pat Garrity: The '98 grad is currently on Orlando's injured list.
Ryan Humphrey: Currently on Memphis's injured list. Ellen loves him.
Troy Murphy: A starter for Golden State (Golden isn't a state), he's currently on the injured list. I'm starting to notice a pattern here.
Monty Williams: The Whodat? award goes to this '94 grad, currently on the 76ers injured list.

NBA Preview
OK, this isn't going to be too good. I haven't followed the NBA too much recently. Up until a certain point last year, I just didn't care about the Cavs any more. It's not that I'm a bandwagon fan, but, if the players don't care, why should I? Let's look at a few select teams.
New Jersey: Should be just as good as last year. Zo isn't going to last very long, as always, but this is still one of the best teams in the East.
New York: I see some improvement in this team. Even with Dikembe's age, he's still better than what most teams have at "center." Plus, he's much more unintentionally funny. Add Sweetney and McDyess (I believe he was out all last year) down low, and they should be alright in the post. Plus, I've always belived VanHorn is a better player than everyone said he is, but that might just be from his NCAA Tourney days at Utah.
Pacers/Pistons: Along with the Nets, still the teams to beat in the East. Plus, the Pacers now have the Blue Nailed Samurai Scott Pollard in the front court.
Bulls: You've got to think that this whole "NCAA Tourney All-Stars" thing will pay off some day, especially with senior leadership from Scottie Pippen and Corie "Don't I Belong on Portland?" Bount.
Cavs: Yep, they're still the Cavs. This is not a bad team, they just need some hustle and unselfish play. Carlos Boozer is supplying the hustle, and LeBron is starting to spread the unselfish play. Plus, with a slightly deeper team, guys like Ricky Davis, Darius Miles, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas are starting to do things other than just shoot bricks. It'll take time, but this team could be decent.
Dallas: OK, repeat after me: Dirk couldn't guard a small forward in the post, he's not the answer at center to Duncan and Shaq.
Houston/Minnesota: Do they have the pieces for a playoff run? Houston might, but Minnesota might be one mid-season trade away (think center again).
San Antonio: Tim Duncan is great, but losing 6 players won't get you a repeat.
Kings: Hey, weren't they the team in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? Dah.
Lakers: I still don't like 'em, for too many reasons to list.

In honor of Mark Price's mention in SI, I'm going outside to shoot free throws, just like I did 12 years ago. Weekend in review Tuesday night; Stanford preview Thursday.

Friday, November 21, 2003

The Irish and the Bowls

First of all, the Irish need to beat Stanford. Then they have to beat Syracuse. Let's take this one game at a time.

Let's assume they finish 6-6. Due to conference tie ins, a bid is a possibility. However, Notre Dame has traditionally turned down bids on off years (and by off years, I traditionally mean 8-4 or worse).

Let's look at the guys in charge. Kevin White hired George O'Leary because he wanted a guy who "got" Notre Dame. Unfortunately, I don't think Kevin White "gets" Notre Dame. Football in a conference? Supposed deemphisis of the program? Kevin, your tie is great, but it doesn't make up for your lack of a sense of Notre Dame's history and tradition.

Ty, I'm afraid, is in the same boat. He's used to a winning record meaning a successful season. Plus, I'm sure he believes his "young men" deserve it.

Do they deserve it? I'm going to say yes. They've been through a lot - one if not two bad coaches (three if you count O'Leary). This team does have talent. I know my opinion comes from knowing or having met most of the seniors. This season has already been forgettable, let's allow the boys to be the crap out of North Texas (or whoever) and end on a high note. Then, we can forget this season, and the acceptance of this bowl bid, ever happened.

I've been reading too much NDNation. I have to go.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The weekend in review
Our players:
Mike - the infamous cousin
Todd - overly fired up subway alum
Matt - quiet Purdue alum with great one-liners

We'll start at the Elkhart Steak 'n' Shake (after a trip that involved my cousin rocking out to the band's version of "Love Shack"). After the obligatory hitting on the waitress (and offering to stick up for her after she got chewed out by her boss). Then it was off to Corby's [the bar from Rudy!] It was a solid Corby's trip. Fortunately, we convinced Todd not to bring a camera.
The next morning, we took off for the White Field, which is so far north of campus it might actually be in Michigan. We made the trek around campus that included Moreau Seminary [Rudy's dorm], but we couldn't find the bench Rudy cried on. There were stops to rub the rock in the Grotto and Rock's nose. Then it was Fisher [Regis's dorm from tv - apparently he'd even climbed up to the top bunk in the show), brats on south quad, and a stop inside O'Shag, complete with Todd getting a picture drinking water from D-Bob's fountain. Then, the dome, the crypt, the obligatory Touchdown Jesus picture, etc. We had a few more brats while waiting for the team to leave mass (they were a bit late). Darrell is the man, and according to Todd, Carlyle's guns are huge. Then it was concert on the steps, complete with Todd's brother listening over a cell phone. I heard drunk singing, and turned around to see an incredibly non-sober Antonio, Angelo, Goat, Animal, and Mothball. Good good. We walked along with marchout towards our seats.
After finding an old cardboard box to cover our seats, we sat down next to a early 30s subway alum and his neighbor, a man in his 60's he called Coach. Coach was so much like Dave it was scary (screaming when the students started the wave at the beginning of the 3rd quarter). Coach was very fired up about smashmouth football, and he wasn't afraid to tell you. It was great.
On to halftime: I've shown you the Mario Twins video, right? Well, after playing "Pinball Wizard", the band went into a Mario medley that copied closely that terrific piece of flash animation. There was Mario chasing a goomba, followed by fish for the underwater theme, stars and bouncing for the star theme, and a castle for the final theme. Then, the flag was raised on the castle and streamer "fireworks" went off. Rather gimmicky, but great. And no American flag. In Pete Godlewski's words, somewhere, Cronk weeps at missing this opportunity.
The game was great, especially since it was finally a relaxing win. At least 2 of the 3 TDs were on our end. After the game, we watched with the ushers as the seniors chanted "charge the field." But noone did. Finally, they made the announcement for everyone to leave the stadium, as the gates were being locked.
We had dinner at Sbarro's after the end of Purdue-tOSU DAH! (my cousin has left by then), then back to the bookstore for the 2nd of 3 trips (the one made before the game wasn't too successful).
After the game, we stopped by Lewis to pick up Sarah to celebrate her recent 21st. Kathleen Eich of all people is now AR of Lewis. She looks and me and says, "did you hear Antonio got arrested?! At inspection?!" You can't make this up.
The Backer was great, and a good time was had by all. Oddly enough, I saw no managers there. Fortunately, I think we've got Sarah hooked. They weren't playing very Backer-esque songs, but as we were about to leave, they made up for it with Badlands, Gin 'n' Juice, and Up in Here. I think Dave would have peed his pants had he heard these back to back.
Sunday morning was mass at the Basilica. We got there late, so we stood in back. No problem, as I was randomly chosen to be an usher at the last minute (for the collection). Of course, as I forsaw, this was the one 10am Basilica mass that my dad didn't watch on the Hallmark channel. Oh well. After one more trip to the bookstore (Todd now has a program, 2 media guides (now $5 - I picked one up myself), the Shirt, a new hat, and a souvenir cup. He couldn't find a sweatshirt he liked), we headed out. We stopped at Burger King, I rang up $3.37, and we listened to a great Browns win on the way home. That's my trip the end.

Obscure College of the Week
No score this week, but I would like to point out that my sister recently got an information pamplet from Edinborough of Pennsylvania. Add it to the list.

Today's Moral:
If you ever want to appreciate going to Notre Dame, visit it with three people who didn't.

No recaps, sorry, I missed most action due to the trip, but come Thursday, I will have a bye week special look at the bowl picture (maybe).

To finish, in the words of Matt:
"Well guys, like a fat girl in dodgeball, I'm out."

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ismail! Detmer! It's the 1990 Heisman Trophy Race! Wait, no, no...

BYU's from the pass-wacky MWAC. Hey, their starting QB is injured! Great! Not really. QB Matt Berry is averaging 200 ypg, 100 ypg more than teammate John Beck. Both have been injured this year, but according to John Vannie of NDNation, Berry was the starter at the beginning of the year. Quarterback returning from an injury you say? It was a hand injury (I'm not sure which), but the line needs to put pressure on him to keep him from getting his rhythm back. BYU spreads the ball out fairly well, with 10 players having double digit receiving yards per game. The major threat is Toby Christensen, he of PS2 NCAA 2004 fame. He averages 49 ypg, but that's nothing "number 34" can't handle. Also look out for Chris Hale, a posession guy, and Daniel Coats the TE. The secondary gained some confidence last week, and with that, plus talent, they'll give up some yards but play well as a group.
On the other side of the ball, BYU gives up 180 ypg passing. Judging by Quinn's game last week, he should be just fine in this game. The WRs will out-athlete and the TEs will out-size BYU.
BYU is not a terrible rushing team. They gain 100 ypg on the ground, with former second-stringer Ray Brathwaite gaining 80 of those 100 yards. He's not to be taken lightly. BYU also gives up 126 ypg on the ground. Julius. Julius Julius. Julius. Then again, Grant would (or should) have a good game against this team.
On special teams, BYU appears to have a good return game, at least on kickoffs. Everyone they've put out there has a decent return average, which tells me that the blocking is good. Keep your heads in the game there, guys. On punt returns, they're not so good. No one that has multiple punt returns this year has higher than an 8 yrd average.
On special teams coverage, BYU has been not-so-good, at least according to their coach. He's using starters on coverage teams this week. Vontez and Matt Shelton and everyone else should take advantage of this. Yes, the starters are theoretically better, but they've only been practicing special teams for 2 weeks (they had a bye last week).
BYU is not a good team. Hopefully ND will play as well as they can, and not play just well enough to win.

Look for a big game from: Julius, Brady Quinn, Clark and/or Fasano, Rhema, Big Ced and Darrell throwing their weight around, last week's defensive MVP trio of Tuck BHoyte and Sapp, and Vontez the returner.

ND 34, BYU 20

I'll be "reporting live from the game," so if catch a BYU player or fan off the field, I'll be sure to interview them about Mormon Bachelor Parties.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

If you come at me, I'll come right back at you...

ND/Navy: Julius is the man. Does someone want to tell this to the coaches? Hey, a win's a win. Navy's always played us tough, so I have no problem with this one going down to the wire. Ellen loves DJ, and I'm sure quite a few more people do too after that one. I had full faith in DJ, he's done a decent job as Setta's backup. Most of his FG misses (if not all) have been from 40+. He shanks a punt or so, but most are over 35 yards. That's not bad for a walk on, is it? Quinn finally got to play a soft team, and he proved that he'll be a fine QB in the future. Rhema proved that not only is he a playmaker, but he'll be a good replacement for Omar as a go-to-guy. Again proving that the future is bright, Tuck went wild with 14 tackles. Garron Bible also stepped it up. After blowing his assignment on the long TD run, he was "right place, right time" for several key stops. Our future is safe, but this year isn't over just yet.
Miami/Tennessee: I think I'm a little late to join the ragging on Winslow (although it wouldn't be the first time here), I did have this one thought I'd like to pass along: I'd pay money to watch Jessica Lynch kick Kellen Winslow squar in the nyuts. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see this game because it was on the same time as...
tOSU/MSU: Maurice Clarett is in trouble because he's failing African American Studies and Physical Education. Let's think about that... (on the other hand, I'm sure these classes are much tougher than Music Appreciation, AIDS Awareness, and Coaching Golf)
BGSU/MiamiU: 33-10. Wow, that MAC is WIDE open.
TCU/Louisville: No, TCU does not belong in a BCS bowl, their SOS is terrible and they'd get killed. Then again, the bowls are all about ratings, and Cronk's sister would definitely help...
Oklahoma/TAMU: I didn't see this one, so unlike the certain TV pundits, I won't draw conclusions on the final score.
FSU/Clemson: The best part of the game had to be seeing a very pro-FSU Mrs. Bowden very upset that "we" lost to her son's team.

Obscure College Scores:
IUP 27, Slippery Rock 14. IUP is now 5-1 in the PSAC West and 9-1 overall.
CUP 3, Edinboro 34. CUP drops to 2-3 in their conference and 4-6 overall.

Browns/Chiefs: Stop Dante Hall? Check. Stop Priest Holmes? Check. Stop Trent Green? Dah. Cleveland is struggling this year, and those "Cleveland fans should be the ones whining about a championship" graphics are getting a little old. Solution? Cut Kevin Johnson, your most consistent receiver since the "new" Browns came about. He just couldn't get along with the new coaching staff. I was actually shocked that he responded to last week's benching by pulling out a stat sheet and reciting his numbers to the press. Not the best reaction, KJ. Between him and Willie Green, it's a good idea I don't buy jerseys. Well, maybe I'll see a "FAINE 50" some day, but the fans around here don't seem to notice his heart and hustle.
NYG/Atlanta: Um, maybe Ellen will let me skip this one this week...
San Diego/Minnesota: Doug Flutie. I'm convinced now (and I'm probably wrong again) that defenses over-prepare for an opposing QB. This game is an example, as is every game Kelly Holcomb has played in. As a backup, he's a savior, but as a starter, he just can't win.
Philadelphia/Green Bay: I went to bed around halftime, so I guess I missed about all of this one. I did think I heard one player (not the "French" Darren Sharperrrr) state his college as "You Already Know." It would've been better to go with, "Oh you didn't know?"

Cavs Update:
The first game I got to see was the home opener. Five minutes into the game, I said to myself, "yep, these are still the Cavs."
Flash forward to Friday night vs the Pacers. Cavs go up 2 with 26 seconds left; Pacers call a timeout. I turn to my buddy Matt and say, "watch either Darius Miles or Ricky Davis pick up the 'and 1' foul." Sure enough, Miles blows coverage as his man drives the lane, Davis fouls him trying to pick him up, and the Cavs lose 91-90.
LeBron has played better than I expected so far - 16.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 6.3 apg. I expected about 8 ppg with the other numbers close to where they are now. Keep it up; it looks like the team is starting to get it together for some wins.
One last thought: I was watching the Cavs/Knicks game last night. I won't go into the outcome for Dave and Ellen's sake, but I did have this one thought. Charlie Ward of FSU (2 National Titles! 2 Heisman Trophy Winners!) has been on the Knicks forever and has put up mediocre to ok numbers. Is it possible to be a journeyman if you've only played for one team your entire life?

I don't want to create an "Attack Jason Lloyd" segment (Lloyd being the tOSU kiss-up in the local paper), but today's article deserved a mention. Bitter about the possibility of tOSU being shut out of the title game and a chance to "defend their national championship," Lloyd proceeds to create a rather nice "why a playoff is necessary" argument. (to quote Jim Mora, "Playoffs?! You want to talk about the playoffs?!") He suggests an 8 team playoff, with the 5 major conference winners and 3 at larges, including at least one from a non-BCS conference. THe quarterfinals would be the Cotton, Citrus, and Gator (or other similar ones). The 4 BCS bowls would rotate, so one would be the title game, two would be the semis, and one would be a quarterfinal. He says that yes, the bowls would no longer be week-long events, but in the end it would be worth it. No. Bowls are bowls because they are week-long events. The communities and their people look forward to the parades, and the events, and the hospital visits (that is, teams visiting the sick, not meaning income from injured players). You can't take that away or the bowls would just be boring. That, and you can't put that much more pressure on the young players' bodies. There's also the "we deserved" argument. Look - if you're going to have arguments over which two teams make the title game, you're also going to have arguments over which 8 or 3 or however many teams make the playoffs. Playoffs don't address that problem. The BCS isn't perfect, but with SOS and other checks and balances, it is a good system.

We'll end with baseball. Angel Berroa picks up AL ROY honors, and also wins the Hines Ward Memorial "Sports Pundits Sound Smart by Talking About Me" award. Berroa had decent numbers, but there's no way he beats out the competition. Also, there are certain people grumbling about the two sportswriters who left Matsui off their ballots. Hey, if you don't want to vote for a guy, there's nothing against that. And if they disagree with his rookie status, so what? It's their choice. If you want to raise a stink, why not blast everyone for not voting for Jody Gerut? His stats were better than Berroa's too. My thoughts:
1. Gerut, Cleveland OF. The complete package. Meant more to his team than Matsui. He just didn't get any press.
2. Matsui. Yeah, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for his stats, but only to a certain extent. There is the argument that the award is named after Jackie Robinson, and he was in a similar situation to Matsui (playing in a league arguably as competitive as the majors first), but I still don't totally agree. As an aside, I also think that the Negro Leagues were as good as, if not better than, the majors, but I don't think the Japanese leagues are quite there. Once again, they can prove me wrong.
3. Mark Teixeira, Texas IF. He had the numbers, and the press. I'm surprised he came in 5th.
4. Rocco Baldelli, Tampa Bay OF. He had all the hype coming into this season, and put up good numbers. He'll be a solid player, and hopefully he, Aubrey Huff, and Lou can put a little life into the Rays.
5. Berroa, KC SS. He was alright, and the KC run early on helped his stock rise, but I don't think he's any better than the 4 guys ahead of him.

Alright, time to sign off. I have a 600 page book to read (see the right sidebar).

Thursday, November 06, 2003

ND/Navy analysis from a guy who's been woken up to "Anchors Aweigh" every August morning for the past 22 years:

This is going to be a disciplined football team. Craig Candeto joins Jared Lorenzen as the only D-IA players with 9th year senior status. The leading rusher is fullback Kyle Eckel. I've heard that Navy has instituted a bit of a spread offense, so I'm assuming most of Eckel's carries come between tackles out of shotgun and flexbone sets. I'm confident Ced, Darrell, and the other tackles will have a decent game against him. They'll give up a few yards but overall get it done. The defensive ends need to get in the backfield to disrupt the option, even if it means just pushing your guy backwards. Kyle B will be missed. As witnessed in last year's Air Force game, the strong safety will have to be huge. Can Bolen do it? Will Bible, or even Freddie Parrish, be able to help? Derek Curry is often seen out in coverage, can he help? Candeto throws for about 100 yards a game, so the corners can't be caught napping. Navy likes to score early, outscoring opponents 81-16 in the first quarter, then playing fairly evenly the rest of the way. Against the option, all of last week's gang tackling (that this column lauded last week) might hurt this week. Know your man, cover your man, tackle your man.
On the other side of the ball, establish the run. If we don't get behind early, we can stay on the ground and bully the Midshipmen. Navy only gives up 150 yards passing a game, but they haven't faced a real threat yet. They do, however, have 12 picks. This game will be won on the ground with a few big "gamebreaker" passes. Our offense, in theory at least, is bigger, stronger, and faster. Now, act like it.
On special teams, Navy has neither gained or given up a high amount of return yards. Once again, discipline is key. They've employed two fairly accurate kickers, and have had 3 kicks blocked.

Look for a big game from: Darrell (a la Pittsburgh), Ced, Landry and/or Pauly, VA, Freddie Parrish, Vontez as a returner, the O-Line, Julius (the bruiser), Omar, and Quinn as a leader.

ND 31, Navy 21. These are never easy.

Now I'm signing off to look up the correct spelling of "discipline" in the dictionary.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Aw, there it went...

ND/FSU: Unfortunately for Ty, TMQ isn't around any more. A run on 2nd after an incompletion on 1st? Stuffed. Running backwards 5 yards on a 3rd and 1? "When it's 3rd down and so many yards..." Well, you know the rest. The turning point was obviously the 12 men on the field penalty. But, then again, don't blame the coaches too much, because it's not like Ty can suit up and play cornerback. I'm honestly surprised Bobby B didn't try to go deep every play. On a positive note, it looks like the D was practicing gang tackling during warmups, and it appeared to help. FSU's only attack was the deep pass in man coverage. Other than that, FSU wasn't too effective.
Halftime: This started to remind me of the USC halftime show - the crowd was fired up and it was time for a big comeback. But then - the flag. Dye, you were doing well! Now, you turned into Gerry Faust, pulling out the green jerseys at halftime with a 27-0 lead over USC.
Miami/VPI: I'm convinced that coaches at big talent laden schools really can't coach, especially when behind. Case in point, Bobby Bowden last year vs ND, or Larry Coker Saturday night. I thought Coker would be ok after the Florida game, but he panicked. You can't win on talent alone all the time.
Arkansas/Kentucky: Wow. These guys outscored at least 3 NBA teams. The overtime sequences were amazing, until Kentucky decided they were NCState in the tOSU game. I can't wait to see this on ESPNClassic... oh wait, it now costs more money for us to get ESPNClassic at home. Dah. This game reminded me of that 200 World Series extra inning game, where I said I'd join the St Clairesville hotel party "as soon as the game is over." Yeah, I never made that party...
'Bama: They have the #2 SOS after ND. No wonder this team's 3-6.

Speaking of SOS, there's this young (mid/late 20s) guy, Jason Lloyd, working as a sportswriter for the local paper. Basically, his job is to kiss up to tOSU. Well, his last article was basically paraphrasing the latest post on collegerpi.com. Gee, I could do that.

Obscure College Scores:
Indiana of Pennsylvania 18, Shippensburg 7. IUP is now 4-1 in the PSAC West and 8-1 overall.
California of Pennsylvania 13, Clarion 7. CUP is now 4-5 overall.

Jets/Giants: Once again, a great game from the New York teams. Once again, not shown in the Cleveland market. "Oh, the Browns aren't playing this week, so we don't need to show any 1pm game at all!" Ellen, if you would like to become the special Giants reporter (since you demand Giants converage), go for it.
Washington/Dallas: Wait, we want Spurrier to be our coach?
TB/NO: Well, at least Ty's not the only 2nd year coach sucking - thanks John Gruden and Bill Callahan. On another note, Randy Moss has ruined the hook and lateral for the next couple years. Cheers to smart DBs who now stand there, let the receiver catch the ball, wait for the flip, then tackle that guy.
Atlanta/Philadelphia: Rapper Bonecrusher was accused of using profanity while performing "Never Scared" at halftime of this game. He has a version of this that he wrote for Madden 2004 (It's football time...)... that doesn't have profanity.... and it's about FOOTBALL! Why didn't he just use that version? (IT'S A HAIL MARY PASS IT'S FOOTBALL TIME!)
NE/Denver: If I ever were on MNF, my player intro would definitely be, "John Katricak, Our Lady's University." There were about 5 BC starters on the two teams, compared to 1 from ND (Bert Berry). I believe the expression the paranoid skeptics like to use is "talent gap." Hmm. The ending of this game reminded of last trip to Wrigley for a Cubs/Cards game. Every time TOny LaRussa would make a move or be mentioned, Dave (should I be calling you "my buddy Dave"?) would look at me and proclaim, "Tony LaRussa is a baseball genious!" Well, after this game, I think it's fair that all references to Bill Belichick should require "Bill Belichick is a football genious!"

Well, I ended this column last night by running off sick after someone said of Bob Davie, "well, that's why he's a great coach." I don't know how to end this one, except maybe "Go LeBron!"
To keep you satisfied, here are my notes for this week. If I have time tonight, I'll make sense of them in column form.

> Ty not listening to TMQ (now gone) - run on 2nd after pass on
1st, running backwards 5 yards on 3rd & 1
> When it's 3rd down and so many yards...
> 12 men was turning point, but Ty can't play CB
> Miami/VPI: big coaches can't handle losing - panic and give up
> Ark/Kent: wow, outscored how many NBA teams. "we'll go
after it's done" - similar to me & 2001 WS in St Clairsville
> NYJ/NYG: ???
> NE/Denver: Bellichick football LaRussa. "Tony LaRussa is a
baseball genious!" (Dave - perhaps to many Wrigley bud lights)
> also, about 5 BC starters on these 2 teams ... talent gap!!!
> IN of PA:IUP 18, Shippensburg 7, Overall: 8-1, PSAC West: 4-1
> CA of PA:CUP 13, Clarion 7, Overall: 4-5
> Jason Lloyd & collegerpi.com
> Bama #2 SOS
> Wash/Dallas: good job, Spurrier
> me on MNF: "Our Lady's University"
> hook & ladder - after Moss, DBs just stand there, wait for flip
& tackle that guy
> TB/NO: 2nd year coaches sucking: Gruden, Callahan, Ty
> at least starting to practice gang tackling
ATL/PHI: Never Scared - why not Madden remix?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Sorry to disappoint, but apparently I know nothing about computers. Yep, lost the post I made tonight. Good, good. Well, you might as well check out the link to Sports Pickle on the right, and I'll try to recontruct what I had tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Aw, here goes.

Some of the most memorable games in Rock's house over the past few years: Nebraska. Michigan. USC. Which will this resemble? This could be the game where we turn it around.
Let's start with the run game. Greg Jones only averages 54.7 a game, but this team can still get it gone on the ground. Craphonso Thorpe is up for the Biletnikoff. When I first saw his name, I thought it was a NDNation joke of "Alphonso" or something. From now on I'll just call this guy "Crappy." The good news is, Vontez has done a decent job this year. The bad news is, PK Sam can now wreak havoc on the rest of our secondary. The line will have to get to Rix early and remind him how much he sucks.
On the other side of the ball, FSU's run D has not been overly impressive. ND's run game doesn't look well statistically, but that's because we have a passing QB and play from behind so much. We need to establish the run early. And we're not gonna pass until their secondary comes up to close!
On special teams, tackling and blocking are key. Maybe we should have Setta and DJ out there at the same time so our coverage improves. We'll also need a return or two.
Time for a huge win for Our Lady's University.

Look for a big game from: Julius, Quinn, Rhema (the word "playmaker" is overused already, so might as well use it again), Tuck & Va (passrushers), Vontez (he's on his own), and Courtney (he's been great all year - time to step it up even more - sacks and takeaways)

Let's see... 31-24, 34-24. I'll take 27-24. Quinn to Rhema, DJ, Julius, Courtney.

And don't forget men - today's the day we're going to win!

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

ND/BC: I know of three people who didn't know that Darrell didn't play in the second half. My excuse was that I could only listen on the radio; I don't know what excuse the other two have... Well, let's see, our kicker was our defensive MVP, and a cornerback was our special teams MVP. Stupid question that maybe a real expert could answer: the dropped passes - is there any way that could be the QB's fault - weird spin, etc? Quinn is great, and he's the future, but you have to wonder when every receiver gets the dropsies (the Browns have this same problem). I don't but any fauly on the 2pt conversion decisions. There's no way of knowing how things are going to turn out. Um... I don't want to criticize or make excuses any more, so let's move on.
VPI/WVU: "Virginia Polytechnic Institute" didn't show up when they finally had something close to competition - are they another KState? I think they'll do alright against Miami, though. WVU is doing alright. They're what a "bad" ND team should be - maybe not beating all the big teams, but at least giving them a scare (whereas a "good" ND team would just beat everyone).
GaTech/Maryland: Not much happened, plus the World Series was on. I did like the part where the receiver did the DDP Diamondcutter move (the hand signal at least, not the actual top rope move) after scoring the game's lone TD.

Browns/Pats: Ugh... well, without an O-Line and with a starting RB out because a shoulder injury worsens his fumbilitis. SAT test:
James Jackson (RB the Browns kept over Autrey Denson) : Butch Davis ::
a) Danny Wuerffel : Steve Spurrier
b) Clifford Jefferson : Bob Davie
c) me as a starting shortstop : me as a player/coach on a church league softball team
d) all of the above
Denver/Baltimore: They should have started Jarious. At least then the game would've gone down to the wire instead of losing by 20. Memo to Brian Billick: do us a favor. Look "class" up in a dictionary, write a 500 word essay on it, then forward it to Shaq (and Kobe), Warren Sapp (and Keyshawn), and Kellen Winslow II.
SF/Arizona: I finally figured out why Terrell Owens wants the ball thrown to him more. He leads the league in drops, so he needs more tosses his way to get his number up near Marvin Harrison's.
Miami/San Diego: Saw a sign that read "Ricky for Governor," and I'm thinking, "governor where?" I mean, he's from California, he plays in Florida, and the game is in Arizona. "I'm confused!"

Game 7 of the 2001 World Series was on last night, same time as MNF. Watching it, it was great. How did the Yankees lose? Up 2-1 in the 8th, with Rivera in, Johnson in but running on fumes, and neither offense doing anything. Plus, the announcers (for some reason an ESPN crew) were practically pulling a "Dewey defeats Truman!" Almost brought a tear to my eye.

There was a little blurb on SportsCenter this morning that said Bobby Knight declined to attend a basketball coaches ethics conference. To brutally paraphrase, "most of those guys have no right to teach ethics. I do my own thing, and that's all that matters." And the anchor (Kevin?) gave him a "right on!" How much you want to bet that ESPN, who absolutely hates Bobby Knight because he makes them look stupid, has the anchor fired by the end of the week?

Post of the day on NDNation. The whole thread was great.

I was looking into the George Steinbrenner/Lorain connection, and came across this article. Also found this interesting one on Ed DeBartolo, Sr. The name may sound familiar. Some notes: Amship operations were moved from Lorain to Tampa completely around 1982. That area is now being remodled as a park/pavilion area. The Lorain Sports Hall of Fame, of which Georgie was formerly a big fan, has my dad as a treasurer and past president. The Jacobs of "Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs Company," I'm assuming, is the same Jacobs of "Jacob's Field." I believe Eddie also built the good ol' UP mall. Interesting to note that both almost owned the Indians.

I was flipping through the digital cable on screen guide, and noticed it listed pay-per-view/InDemand channels offered, even if you don't receive them. The sports "season pass" channels are listed as espn1 through espn7. However, espn6 is conspicuously missing. Mayber they're planning it after all?

Speaking of ESPN, Playmakers hasn't been on yet, but I swear the girl in the promos is Stephanie McMahon. Could be...

Alright, I leave you with a LeBron prediction for tomorrow night: 12 pts, 5-15, 0-2 3pt, 7 asst, 8 reb, 5 TO

Thursday, October 23, 2003

"If he is right in front of me, as soon as game time goes down and you see all of these guys passing who gave you that kind of disrespect, blood is going to boil a little bit. So if you have the opportunity to take it to a guy, you have to take it to a guy." - Darrell Campbell

Darrell and Ty took some heat on NDNation for Darrell's comment that Ty preaches forgetting about last year. The NDNation guys used it as fuel to the "this team has no fire" argument. Nope. You focus on fundamentals over revenge, because revenge leads to anger, which leads to stupid mistakes.

One out of four. That's how many times BC lost while the class of '03 was in school. This should be a lopsided rivalry, but it's quickly becoming close.

BC has had an ok season. You could argue that for the most part, they've beaten the teams they should have (PSU, UCONN, the Fighting Ball State Fighting Football Fighting Football Cardinals, Temple), and lost to the teams they should have (Wake, Miami, Syracuse?). They do it with their run game. Derrick Knight is leading the country in YPG, and ND's had trouble with BC running backs in the past. The linebackers have to play big, and our SS will have to prove he can play there (Bible this week). At first, I thought their passing game was nothing to be worried about (no receiver over 40 YPG), but it looks like they spread the ball out rather well (9 guys with 10+ YPG). Time for the secondary to step it up, especially with Glenn Earl allegedly out for the season. Duff gets a break by not facing a big #1 this week, but that doesn't mean he should slack off. He should step it up even more, and get a few picks. He's got to be the guy in the secondary on Saturday. Our D Line also needs to show up this week, but since they're banged up, the backups will have to step up, especially as run stoppers. The artificial turf isn't going to help the starters on the line.
Their D isn't great. 129.7 rushing yards per game should mean a big day for Julius and Grant once again. 200 passing YPG should mean a decent day for Quinn, if he remembers to stick to the advice Joe Montana gave him.
On special teams, BC has been pretty bad on punt converage. Meanwhile, our return team is finally starting to straighten things out. Vontez may not reach the end zone, but he will see one or two big runs.
BC plays ND tough every time. The boys from Our Lady's University need to be ready, and they need to know that if they're up for the game, they'll win.

Look for a big game from: the coaching staff, Julius & Grant, Fasano, Clark, Omar, Rhema (3 "posession" receivers, and a clutch performer), Big Ced and Darrell (they have to stay healthy), Kyle B, the Senator, BHoyte, Vontez

ND 24, BC 20

Gimmicks don't pull the train, power pulls the train

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Just remembered I promised Ellen to mention the Giants/Eagles game that she and Dave went to. Well, since Cleveland only got to see 2 NFL games on Sunday (Fox refuses to show a game during the Browns game ever, and apparently CBS decided to make up for it by not showing a 4 o'clock game), I obviously missed it. It looks like it was a close one, and I'm glad Ellen got to stalk everyone after the game. Hopefully she wasn't on her cell phone too much. Dah.
Nothing happened in sports this past week! Everyone was on vacation!

ND/USC: Rudy was on TNT the night before. I thought that was a good sign. Nope. No pressure on the QB. No secondary. This was like a Miami vs Big East game - they hung in for a while, then remembered the other team was supposed to be better than them and gave up. I don't want to talk about it any more.
ND/BC: Time to tune the radio. Hoorah, Iowa vs Penn St! Go Big 11 country!

Cleveland/SD: I haven't seen anyone, or any group, drop the ball so much since Cedar Point last October. Dah. San Diego tried to lose this game many times, but the Browns didn't let them.
Pittsburgh: Want to sound smart without thinking? Say Hines Ward is the best receiver in the league because he blocks. Guess what? He's not the only receiver who blocks. Give me someone who's not a prick and who doesn't head for the locker room early when his team is down 30-13.
KC/Oakland: Finally, a block in the back call on a Dante Hall return. Also, I'm sure everyone realized that Tim Brown had to leave the end zone to avoid an interception. If only he had run his route 2 yards deeper, maybe... How old are the Raiders? They don't have mouthguards attached to their facemasks, they have dentures! Ha! Thank you, I'm here all the week. Wait, what's that? Dick Vermeil always does well in his 3rd year? Does ND have it's next coach? (No, don't panic, I'm still behind Ty all the way.)
Denver/Minnesota: So, Denver resigned Jarious Jackson? I would've just told them to screw it after what they pulled. On a positive note, thanks for a great career, Steve Beuerlien.

With the Walker trade, Dirk will be playing more at center for the Mavs. Great. This guy isn't physical enough to play D at small forward.

Congrats to Indian Jody Gerut (pronounced similar to "Garrett," not "Ja-roo" as ESPN seemed to think). The way the big press hyped everyone else, I didn't expect him to finish higher than 5th in any rookie voting (Matsui, Texiera, Baldelli, Angel Berroa, and that's just the hitters). He was in the top 5 in almost every offensive category among rookies. And have you seen him play defense? Diving and completely laying out to cut off a one hopper in the gap... and he's an outfielder! Trust me, he's fun to watch. (This is the guy my dad confused for Carlos Baerga, if you're still not convinced of his greatness.)

So, I've started to watch WWE little by little again. Lance Storm's new gimmick is still as a lifeless stiff, only one trying painfully to act like he's cool and fun-loving. He even calls himself "Mr. Entertainment." His entrance involves incredibly white dancing that rivals that of one Mr. Cronk.

Tough luck with TMQ (I refuse to discuss politics on this page, so I will not reveal my opinion on this subject). However, one of the national directors of the National Slovak Society, Mr. Joseph Stefka Jr., would make him proud. He graduated from Indiana of Pennsylvania, then went on to California of Pennsylvania. You can look it up.

Indiana U's football team is being investigated in a long distance scandal. How much you want to bet Miles Brand tries to blame this on Bobby Knight?

Speaking of Knight, Mike Krzyzewski was recently lauded because he's going to be teaching a Business Ethics class next semester. So? Bobby's been teaching an English class since he started coaching. He's always believed a coach should be a teacher as well.

So, I open up to the sports section of the Lorain Morning Jounal yesterday, and there's a huge picture of a Lorain Catholic (my official alma mater) soccer player (boy's soccer is our only good team right now) giving the ol' "excessive celebration"! Bobby Brown would be proud.

And finally, I was reading the Back Room of NDNation (yep, I jumped the shark once again). They were having a discussion about "Legends" (I can't put enough quotes around that name), and one person posted a link to the beer selection. There are quite a few beers to choose from, but no Four Horseman? C'mon, you'd think that would be an obvious choice! Oh well, one less reason for me to go there after my token "I wonder how bad they ruined this place" visit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

It's the 3rd Tuesday of the month, so that means I get to put off the analysis for a day to be fired up about being Slovak (NSS meeting - this will be a regular thing for every 3rd Tuesday of the month). Here are some links to keep you satisfied.


I'd also recommend you check out the Sports Guy's mailbag, although this will probably be the last time I use this space to blatantly plug someone else's column.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Well, to start, the ND basketball season kicks of this Saturday at midnight for the men, with the women holding a Sunday afternoon session. That's a good thing, since I really have no desire to watch baseball any more this year (and this is me).

On to the game:
We'll have to see another first half like FSU last year. Our defense needs to capitalize. The D should be confident after Pitt last week, but can't slack off at all, especially in the secondary. Once again, the big play receiver will cause everyone to step it up. They've got a two-headed running game - neither back is impressive and if the front 7 steps it up like last week, we may see 1 big run but that will be about it. This looks like the type of game where another receiver (Keary Colbert?) has a big game because of all the attention on the #1 guy.
On offense, the USC run D has numbers just a little worse than MSU/Purdue. But, they've only played one team that runs the ball worth a darn, and that was Auburn before they decided to start playing. Look for good but not great games from Grant and Julius (60 yds a piece, maybe?) One surprising stat is that USC gives up more passing yards (270/game) than it produces (260/game). Time for the receivers to be key. I think that Quinn is the type of guy who can win a game throwing 50 passes if he needs to. Whether he's ready to do that now, or it's something for the future remains to be seen. I'd prefer if he didn't have to prove it tomorrow. A game in Rock's house against a team that has played well but not impressively. It'll be tough, but it's entirely winnable.

Look for a big game from: the Oline, Omar, Rhema (with a solid performance by the TE's, both catching and blocking, and a big play or two from Stovall), Senator Butkus Watson, Darrell (and solid play from Landri/Pauly), Tuck (he's finally arrived), Kyle B (again), Glenn Earl (channelling the spirits of Walton & Sapp), and DJ Fitzpatrick

Final: ND 25, USC 24 (with inspired dancing by Mr. Pete McCall)

I leave you with the only Viewpoint letter I've ever seen that's worth the ink it's printed with: