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:

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Tons of material - let's go.

ND/Pitt: Nice. Very nice. ND's so good after bye weeks, they should join the NBA, where an 82 game season lasts about 165 days, averaging an open date per game. Let's start from the beginning. I wish I had a running diary for this one with all the Bob Davie comments I had. It started when the play by play guy saying: "Notre Dame is 1-3." I was waiting for him to say, "...for the first time since your last year, Bob." Was it just me, or did the Pitt cheerleaders look like they were dressed for Heartland? Setta was on Davie's team for 3 years wearing #13 - why didn' t Bob notice when DJ went in? Great job by DJ, though. Won the game for us. Now, if I were cool enough for a cell phone, I probably would have called Ellen to see what was wrong as soon as Setta went out. Dave, you said you felt all your predictions came through. Imagine how I felt when VA, Tuck, and Darrell all had sacks in the first half, and Kyle B again had a great showing. The secondary did give up some catches in the first half, but did a great job adjusting at the half. With all due respect, though, Pitt receiver Brockenbaugh was the secondary's MVP. Bob called Vontez an "NFL caliber" corner. Of course, he also thought highly of Clifford. I will, in all seriousness, give Bob some respect for wanting Cliff to succeed because he thought he was a good guy. Unfortunately, there isn't a place for that when you're contending for a NC. On to the offense. Did Quinn have a bad game? No. He's a freshman, he's not going to have a 183 passer rating. And he didn't need to carry the load the way the run game was going. He did make a key play to keep the last drive alive, with Omar on the other end just doing his job. The run game was amazing. 385 yards. Grant had 84! Question on the oline: does all that pulling and trapping (in addition to the counters) make things easier on an inexperienced line? Mike, Dave, you're the experts here. I liked the use of the HBack as well (TE lined up as fullback). Julius was amazing. I've long waited for a power runner where "being stopped" on a play means he's only getting 3, much as TJ Duckett often did to the Irish. Maybe it was Ray Zellars on the sidlines. The press seems to think that ND finally "decided" to run. No. They established the run, like every team tries to do, and it worked so well there was no reason to stop using it. Also of note: Julius also passed Tim Brown's return record in this game. A note on our 1-3: everyone uses their first few games to work out the kinks - ours just happened to be against top 25 teams. So, fans of other schools have no right to rub our record in our faces. But we've got it together, so it's time to move on. That last drive was similar to me playing NCAA 2004 - the same couple run plays over and over and over again. What a game. The last 3 minutes were great, or so I was told by my dad via cell phone from Mercyhurst College in PA. Why? The end of the game was preempted by...
Wisconsin/tOSU: I told you tOSU wasn't any good. Question, though: when the tOSU LB choked Sorgi, why didn't Barry Alvarez, a former Lou assistant, demonstrate the choke on the ref?
Miami/FSU: I don't think Miami's a good #2, but FSU's certainly not a #5. Rix is just not good. Whoever drafts him better have a good O-Line, and a dome. Bobby Bowden didn't prepare for bad weather? What kind of an excuse is that? Speaking of idiots from Florida, the more I see those locker room interview "no I in team" commercials, the more that guy reminds me of Kellen Winslow.
OU/Texas: OU is the clear #1 - but there's no apparent #2, or number 3...
Tangent: Someone tried to argue the USC deserved to be in the title game last year because they were a better team than tOSU. Yes, they were a better team, but the title shot went to the team that had the better season. Quit mailing in 2 early season losses a year and we'll talk.
Tangent #2: 'Bama. How long are they on probation? Will they ever get off probation? What's going on?
Bob Morton quote: “In a football game, there are two
times you get tired. There’s one time when you are getting physically dominated and you don’t want to go out there for another play. Then there’s another time when Julius Jones breaks a 60-yard run and you’ve got to go catch up to him. In some way, shape or form, you
find a way to get up to him.�

Browns/Raiders: Very nice "Just Sue Baby" in the stands. When it came down to that booth review on the Rice non-catch (note: announcers are idiots), all I could think was, "oh great, this is the ref that made that 'leaping' call last week." Note on the Browns radio announcers: the color guy loves to make fun of the play by play guy's tendency to get too excited. After the go ahead touchdown in the Niners game, the p-b-p guy kept repeating "What a great catch!", to which the color guy replied, "so Jim, what did you think of that catch?" And, mimmicking the p-b-p guy's famous "Run William Run!" call of Willie Green's go ahead TD in the final week against Atlanta last year, the color guy called a fake field goal run by our kicker in this game by exclaiming, "Run Phil Run!"
Carolina/Indy: Every week when making my picks, I think, "there's no way Carolina can go [so many wins] and 0," and every week they prove me wrong.
KC/Green Bay: How many times will KC NOT be called for blocks in the back on returns?
Tampa Bay/Washington: Reason #337 why Monk has nightmares about Gruden being ND's coach: Jon carries a Hooter's VIP card.
Tenn/Houston: 421 yards from McNair. Insert your own Rush Limbaugh comment here.
Denver/Pittsburgh: How old is Jason Elam? I used to have an old Apple IIc version of Madden, before it was licensed by the NFL or the player's union. So, I decided to make my own team out of players available in that year's draft. My kicker? Jason Elam.
Seahawks/Niners: Wow. Nice call on Alexander lead blocking the FB on that TD.
Atlanta/St Louis: Al Michaels was on a roll last night; his best comment was suggesting using the "SAP" button to translate what school the player says he went to to where he really went to college. I'm beginning to believe that all you need in the NFL is a coach with a good system and an average-skilled QB with good decision-making skills. Mark Bulger, Brad Johnson, AJ Feeley (or do I mean Jay Feeley? Sorry, Stacy Pressman). On another note, I was looking for the BoSox/Yanks game on the radio last night, when I discovered that the commentators for MNF radio are Marv Alberts and Boomer Esaison. You can't make this up. (and Dave, I apologize, I know you actually like Boomer) Atlanta is terrible on 3rd down? They have a 255 pound running back in TJ Duckett! I was thinking this same thing when Warrick Dunn was stopped FOUR TIMES on the Cleveland 1 against the Browns last year.
Monday Night Countdown: Ron Jaworski's analysis is just amazing. I have nothing else to say on that. Thumbs down to the "Jacked Up" (or whatever) segment, showing off the top 10 hits. Way to teach kids that it's a good thing to go helmet-to-helmet, elbow-to-chest to make a "tackle" like Ray Lewis likes to do.

HS Football:
Lorain Catholic 34, Toledo Cardinal Stritch 0: Took mini-Kanka to the Homecoming game, where he officially became the band's good luck charm. Now, he's fired up and wants to go to every LC game. Too bad there's only one left. In other Homecoming news, apparently I'm the only LC grad NOT teaching right now. I'll look into that.

BoSox/Yanks: Is Chris Myers a "sidline reporter"... or would that be a "foul territory reporter"? I just missed both of the big fights, but here's analysis anyways. Don Zimmer is a coach. He went after a guy. Pedro is a jerk. Draw your own conclusions on that one. As for the Nelson/Karim "Jailbird" Garcia incident. I caught it just as the annoucers were suggesting that if Garcia had been injured, someone else could take his place until he was better. So, I thought Garcia had fallen into the bullpen making a catch. Upon learning that he went there out of his own will to get in a fight, well, that just reaffirmed McCarver's stupidity. As for ESPN giving all the blame for the BoSox's last win to Soriano: yes, he does suck. Can't play D, stupid on the bases, strikes out too much. But, you're making something out of nothing. Hey, the knucksie doesn't put too much strain on a guy - any chance Wakefield can pitch game 6? (and 7?)

Non-sports stuff:
You've got to check out the Funkmaster Flex car show on Spike. Cribs on wheels.
Speaking of TV, here's one of the best non-Snoop MTV quotes, courtesy of "Fraternity Life": "Those 2 need to stop acting like little girls. This isn't 'Sorority Life'."
Gotta love FedEx's new "but I have an MBA" commercial, especially as a CPEG. Even my dad (an MBA himself) loves it.
Is it just me, or is Playmakers gearing up for only lasting one season? They've got to be running out of plot lines, since they're using about 5 a night.
Watched parts of Raw for the first time in a while. Stone Cold is great - he never takes it seriously.
I think the "and twins" song finally has jumped the shark. First, the Scary Movie 3 tie in, now there's a SportsCenter NFL weekend in review tie in.
Speaking of jumping the shark, VH1's "I Love the 70's" actually shows and discusses the original Fonzie jumping the shark scene. Eyyyyy,
And, last but not least, in honor of our dear friend Matt Slafka:

Friday, October 10, 2003

No, this isn't going to be an every day thing, but I did have a few more comments to make.

I thought I was going to get a good post from "Gipper" on NDNation concerning pet peeves about other fans. Unfortunately, it went terribly downhill after mentioning cell phones first. Fortunately, NDBone94, < a href="">"One hell of a Nacho eating, ref heckling, student imitating, up and downer SOB you will ever find at an ND game!"

Item! Did you ever notice how much SBT columnist Jason Kelley resembles The Onion's "Outside Scoop" writer Jackie Harvey?

The more I hear Bob Davie trying to downplay tomorrow's game, the more I think of the line from Rudy. Just another game? "You just summed up your entire pathetic career here!"

Quality quote from the Division Series: from my dad, when Jesse Orosco enters the game: "Jesse Orosco?! He's like 50 years old!"

Correction on yesterday's TMQ item: the "Walsh" mentioned was not nearby (to me) Walsh Jesuit, because Walsh Jesuit is a high school. I regret this error.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

So, I've finally decided to jump the shark (yet again), both in the sports world (by putting my ramblings online), and in the geek world (by finally jumping on the "blog" bandwagon). Here goes...

We'll start with the "weekly analysis addendum":
The TMQ "Obscure College Score" hits home again, this time mentioning Walsh, which around here is known as Walsh Jesuit. I know that I know someone who goes there/had gone there, but I can't think of who right now.
This week at mini-Kanka's school, the 8th graders, and therefore 2 of his teachers, are on a field trip in DC. Therefore, he and the other 7th graders get a few hours of fun activities each day this week. Monday was arts & crafts day, and how fired up was I when I came home and he handed me a Fighting Irish Leprechaun made of sheets of foam. It's hanging up on my monitor at work.
OK, so is Teri the Picc the new Bone section leader, because I've definitely seen more emails from her on the bone listserv than from Pat lately.
Speaking of work (as I did earlier), big news came last Thursday. Starting in November, corporate HQ (hereby known as "The Corporation") has decided to move our operations to Cincinnati. I like the job, but not enough to move to Cincinnati for it. So, I'm looking for work again, but it looks like good ol' First Federal Savings of Lorain will be soon looking for a database guy for their new customer verification policies and web site.'s uniform thing:
Gimmicks don't pull the train, power pulls the train.
Plus, everyone loves the San Diego powder blues.
Baseball analysis:
The Yankees suck! Thaaa Yankees suck! I had that feeling that with a knuckleballer going against a dominating pitcher, the unusual was of course going to happen and the Sox would win. I like the comment in the Daily Quickie today comparing this series to the Lakers-Spurs. As the Spurs did, the Sox won game 1 and said to themselves, "hey, this is a winable series." Nice to see Theo Epstein in and the old management out, too. The old Sox brass wanted to be "just as good as the Yankees," and that really pissed me off. "If you reach for great, you'll acheive good...." Not only that, but putting the Yankees on a pedestal like that only makes them more unbeatable. By the way, is the Todd Walker HR finally going to make everyone shut up about Jeffrey Maier? Of course, Walker's was a HR all the way, but who knows with the media.

Mark Prior is putting himself on the map this postseason, mark my word. Not a bold prediction, I know, but at least those who don't watch baseball regularly will start hearing about him. The Cubs are the better team in this series, but if they're not careful, look out, because the Marlins don't give up easily.

Pitt Preview:
Larry Fitzgerald.
OK, got that obligation out of the way, here goes:
The MAC is a solid conference, but Pitt has still given up quite a few yards against the teams they've played. This is the game to get the run game back on track. With the QB deal settled, things should start going better. The line will want to step it up to make their young QB look good. With Stovall's performance against Purdue two weeks ago, look for the WRs to start playing hard in a little friendly "anything you can do I can do better" competition.
The D-Line will need to get pressure on the Pitt QB. Like Darrell said about Charles Rogers, having a good WR makes you step it up a notch. The run game is nothing to scoff, with Brandon Miree averaging 82 a game. Yes, that's against the MAC, but Purdue and MSU's run defense stats translated to our game too.

Look for a big game from: Ryan Grant (going out on a limb here. Julius is running side-to-side too much. Ryan won't do great, but he will break a few big ones), Rhema (he won't want Stovall to show him up), Glenn Earl (a few big pops on Larry Boy), Darrell (break out game like Stanford last year), Tuck & VA (pass rushers, Tuck is starting to turn it up), and Kyle B (quietly solid all year).

Final: ND 27, Pitt 24. Nick finally gets another chance to win it.