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). 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 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 &
> 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.