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!