Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Weekend in Review

I've got your Kimo von Oelhoffen right here!

NCAA Football

Boise State 69, Hawaii 3: OK, so Boise State may be overrated at 15, but you have to give them credit for being the first to realize that other WAC teams don't have any run defense. Meanwhile, Hawaii QB Timmy Chang may have completely killed his NFL hopes with this one. Chang was already known for only being able to operate out of shotgun, and for having happy feet. Going for Ty Detmer's career passing yardage mark, Chang instead ended up with the career interception mark. So, the brute force method of passing on every down doesn't always work well, does it?

North Carolina 31, Miami 28: Well, guess who's defense didn't show up on Saturday? Once again - talent will only get you so far. Sooner or later, you're going to have to start coaching and teaching discipline, Larry Coker. Meanwhile, just because Brock Berlin put up 338 yards against UNC doesn't mean he's once again a Heisman candidate.

Maryland 20, Florida State 17: Wait, Chris Rix didn't play, and it wasn't raining. Where's the excuse for this one?

Michigan 45, Michigan State 37: Oh, this one was winnable by MSU. But, you have to capitalize when you're given the chance, or else... it's too late.

West Virginia 35, Rutgers 30: Well, Rutgers is a Big East powerhouse this year.

Northwester 13, Purdue 10: Wow, those tests Kyle Orton had must have been really tough. He hasn't recovered since, to the point of being benched in this one - including during the potential tying/winning drive at the end of the game.

Indiana 30, Minnesota 21: Wait, I watched Indiana play last week. How did they score 20 points in one quarter without Matt LoVecchio throwing to Arnaz Battle?

tOSU 21, Penn State 10: Who needs offense when you can return a punt and an interception for a TD? (And, who needs it when your opponent doesn't have any?)


Eagles 15, Ravens 10: OK, I don't really like Terrell Owens or Ray Lewis, but the highlight of this one was definitely Owens's redition of Lewis's stupid little dance.

Packers 28, Redskins 14: Well, supposedly this means that John Kerry will win the election. Too bad for George Bush that the Redskins really suck this year.

Titans 27, Bengals 20: There's nothing like seeing a young hotshot who's struggling to get by blow the game by trying to do too much. Less than 15 yards away from the tying TD with a minute and a half left, Carson Palmer started to go down to a sack, decided to try to get off a stupid pass, and completely lost the football. Good good, go kill yourself.

Steelers 34, Patriots 20: OK, you can lament New England's scant 5 yards in this one, but when you start the game down 21-3, you have to go to the air. Pittsburgh out-Belichicked Bill Bellichik in this one, forcing turnover and bumfuzzling the Patriot offense. Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger continues to make everyone say Eli who? Phil who? Carson who? I'm waiting for the day when Luke McCown can join Big Ben's ranks.

Bears 23, 49ers 13: Ugly game to watch. Well, I guess you can't complain about Ken Dorsey and Craig Krenzel too much after their performance in the Fiesta Bowl a few years ago.

Rating the AL Gold Gloves

Ivan Rodriguez, C: Always a safe choice. AL teams may not run much any more, but they definitely don't against Pudge.

Darin Erstad, 1B: A solid defensive outfielder, who has spent time at first in the past, Erstad was made a full time first baseman in 2004 due to injury problems. If you can handle center field, chances are first base isn't all that tough (especially considering the number of first basemen who struggle with routine throws to second and home).

Brett Boone, 2B: Interesting choice. Boone is definitely not as graceful as an Omar Vizquel or a Robbie Alomar, but he plays hard and gets the job done. Plus, he's considered to be one of the best AL second basemen in terms of starting and turning the double play.

Eric Chavez, 3B: In the AL, third base is a position where you're expected to hit home runs, defense be darned. But, when healthy, Chavez is the complete package at the hot corner.

Derek Jeter, SS: You're kidding, right? Jeter finished near the bottom in range factor (at least he wasn't last this year), and he actually had more errors than Omar Vizquel, who had a bad year defensively! It's surprising he had so many errors in the first place, since he never gets to the ball! And don't mention one word about the play where he ended up in the stands. Any Major League caliber defensive player knows you need to slide there to avoid the stupid thing that Jeter did. Just because he's popular doesn't mean he's a great defended (ahem, those who voted for A-Rod the past two years should listen up). (In case you're wondering, Miguel Tejada should have walked away with this one.)

Ichiro, OF: He just gets the job done. He could easily be a top center fielder in this league. Plus, you wouldn't think it, but he's got an arm that you just never should run on.

Vernon Wells, OF: Again proving he's a solid all-around star, it's good to see Wells got some credit after Toronto's miserable year.

Torii Hunter, OF: OK, he's a jerk, and he totally mailed it in after the Twins won the division, but Hunter is the best home run robber since Kenny Lofton in his prime.

Kenny Rogers, P: Some pitchers look clueless when it comes to fielding. Some ground ball pitchers realize they need to be athletes and field their position well. Kenny Rogers plays a very athletic pitcher position, and he could probably play a better second base than teammate Alfonso Soriano.

ND Men's Basketball Mini-Preview

Back Court: Well, this is again Chris Thomas's team, but he doesn't have to do it alone. Thomas may seem undisciplined at times, but he realizes his mistakes and is getting a little better with each passing year. Chris Quinn (not Colin Quinn) again joins Thomas in the starting back court. I'm looking for Quinn to bounce back from his sophomore slump, and this 1-2 punch should mean good things this year. Joining Thomas and Quinn at guard are are Colin Falls, Russell Carter, and Greg Bosl. Falls looked overwhelmed as a freshman last year, but now he has a year under his belt, I'm looking for him to develop into an Alicia Ratay-type player, with the added bonus that Falls enjoys hustling and doing the little things. Carter is described as an athletic Torrian Jones with good range. Wow, that sounds like an unstoppable player, but this is from UND.com, so they could be wrong. Either way, Carter is supposed to be used as a shutdown defended late in the game. Playing against Thomas in practice every day sure won't hurt Carter's defensive development. A second year walk on, Greg Bosl was a Big East Academic All-Star last year.

Front Court: If Torin Francis can stay healthy, he's just the inside option that the 3-loving guards need to succeed. Joining Francis in the starting lineup are Jordan Cornette and transfer Dennis Lattimore. Cornette has been a dominating rebounding and shot-blocking presence, but lately he has the Ryan Humphrey jones to hang around the three point line all day long. Lattimore is described as a physical presence, but UND.com (again, not a very reliable source) says he needs to improve his defense and rebounding. Gee, who on this team doesn't? And why can't we get a physical rebounder on this team? Maybe Francis can grow from young Shawn Kemp to old fat Shawn Kemp and dominate the boards (well, I guess old fat Shawn Kemp never dominated anything except random loose women, but htat's another story.) Anyways, tangent over, I'm still very interested to see Lattimore play. Backups for these three start with the highly underrated Rick Cornett, coming off offseason surgery. Cornett will still provide a much needed rebounding presence, if he plays. Next comes Omari Isreal, who is listed as a 6-9 small forward, but is rumored to be practicing some point guard. I won't compare him to Magic Johnson just yet, but that would be nice to see. Rob Kurz is the lone freshman on the roster, and assumedly is more a sign of the future of the program. Finishing out the roster is tight end John Carlson. Hey, once again, we need all the physical presence we can get, even if he's only 6-5.

ND Women's Basketball Mini-Preview

Back Court: Megan Duffy has already established herself as a leader by example. As a junior this year, the little hustler that could will be a strong team leader. The rest of the backcourt isn't too experienced, though. The only other guards with experience are sophomores Breona Gray and Susie Powers. Neither played much last year. Gray is a Torrian Jones-style defensive presence. Powers is more of an all-around offensive threat. She's a relatively tall guard at 5-10, with an outside shot, good ballhandling skills, and great court vision. Sounds like the type of player who won't get overwhelmed by them game. I don't know anything, but I'll look for Powers to start alongside Duffy. Joining these three in the backcourt are three freshmen - Charel Allen, Tulyah Gaines, and Amanda Tsipis. Allen is described as an athletic scorer who will probably play the 2-3. Gaines is an undersized guard who is described as a great passer and probably won't want to shoot the ball too much. She'll also be a good defensive backup when Duffy needs a breather. Tsipis is a walk on and the daughter of new assistant coach Jonathan Tsipis. I'm sure Mothball will find her to be a very satisfactory replacement for Karen Swanson and Jill Krause.

Front Court: This is Jackie Batteast's year to shine. If the Irish are going to go any where, it has to be this year, Batteast's senior season. There's no reason to worry about her, as long as her teammates can help her out of cold streaks, and her knees hold out. Starting alongside Batteast are veteran F/Cs Teresa Borton and Courtney LaVere. The combination of these two all-around players haven't made anyone forget about Ruth Riley just yet, but that doesn't mean they haven't played very well. Plus, after she turns 21 on the 18th of this month, we will no longer have to worry about one of these players sneaking into a certain Ray Aftandilians-frequented South Bend establishment. There isn't much backup for these three, but that doesn't appear to be too much of a problem. Likely 6th-woman Breona Gray was a much needed spark last year. Whenever the Irish offense was in a lull, Gray could come in and just think score-score-score. It kept ND in more than a few games. The only other front court player coming off the bench for the Irish is freshman Melissa D'Amico. At 6-5 (Ruth Riley's height), I'd imagine D'Amico is more of a work in progress, but I'm sure the future of the program is in good hands.

Other Miscellaneous Ramblings

  • Great Ricky Henderson story from a recent Peter Gammons column:
    "Ricky Henderson called the Red Sox clubhouse Thursday looking for tickets for Saturday's sixth game. Told there was no game, Henderson asked, "Why?" OK. In 1980, Ricky asked an Oakland teammate, "How long will it take me to drive to the Dominican?" Really ..."

  • Remember the "Ann Arbor is a Whore" t-shirts from the Michigan game? Why hasn't some creative Republican made up "Kerry Edwards is a Whore" shirts yet?

  • So, apparently Mets reliever John Franco is being investigated for alleged mob ties. Supposedly, in the early 90s, he gave a group of tickets to members of the Bonanno crime family. Wait, an Italian New Yorker with a pimpstache is involved with the mob? Holy Stereotypes Batman!

  • Finally, Tuesday's Get Fuzzy. Yep, sounds about right.