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Westsider Rider

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Damn Right I'm All In

When I first heard this year's slogan it didn't do much for me. I didn't really like it, didn't really hate it, it was just whatever. After the events of the past few days though it couldn't be more fitting for this team and our program. Like the saying goes, it's easy to kick someone when they're down and that's exactly what's going on now. These attacks are coming from all angles and these are the times we need to band together the most. I know not everyone was on board with the Rich Rodriguez hire, but this is our team and our program and it must be supported. No matter what, the team comes first and even if you don't like Coach Rodriguez after last years showing, or didn't want him in the first place he is still the coach at Michigan. He is part of our team, and this team needs us to stand behind them now.

It's upsetting to hear these reports come out because these reporters and newspapers have their own agendas. I mean when other coaches and players across the country are saying this report is nothing it shows how ridiculous it is. Even the Buckeyes are coming to our defense with Kirk Herbstreit talking about how it's a witch hunt and a joke. How ludicrous is it when you're getting fairer treatment from Ohio State than your own local paper?

But it's time to put it behind us and concentrate on the task at hand, the upcoming season. Players and coaches will always change over time, but Michigan never will. The Winged Helmet, the Go Blue Banner, the Big House and all the things that are known as Michigan will always stay the same. So you either need to get in or get out because I know I'm All In and always will be, are you?

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Picks of the Week

Last week was a winning one starting off 3-2, only 4 picks this week:

Northwestern -6.5 @ Duke - Northwestern pulled away from Syracuse last week and should continue their winning ways as I expect them to pull a couple of big wins in the Big Ten this season. Duke is still Duke and will not be able to keep up with the Wildcats.

California -13.5 @ Washington State - The Bears come off their win over Michigan State, which should have been more of a blowout had Coach Tedford not put Nate Longshore in the game who attributed to a 14 point swing when he threw an interception in the end zone while Cal was driving and also threw a pick six. The Cougars got beat up in Seattle by Oklahoma State and look like they are going through their growing pains with the coaching change.

West Virginia @ East Carolina Over 49 - Still not sure if East Carolina will be able to keep the momentum of the win over Virginia Tech, but I do know that West Virginia puts up points in bunches and East Carolina should be able to score as well. 49 seems too low for a West Virginia game.

Texas Tech @ Nevada Over 68 - This game features two teams with explosive offenses and it will likely be one of those games that is determined by whatever team has the ball last. Mike Leach's spread vs. Chris Ault's Pistol offense, should be great for those that love scoring.


Top 25

Travelling on vacation this week so haven't had a chance to update, better late than never.

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. Missouri
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. USC
7. LSU
8. West Virginia
9. Texas
10. Auburn
11. Kansas
12. BYU
13. Fresno State
14. Alabama
15. South Florida
16. Wisconsin
17. Wake Forest
18. Oregon
19. Arizona State
20. Penn State
21. East Carolina
22. Utah
23. California
24. UCLA
25. Boston College

I believe the media is giving too much credit to USC for their win over Virginia. Virginia was a terrible team that had no chance of staying close to USC and the travel factor is being played up too much. I couldn't believe Clemson just rolled over like that, I should have known better than to buy into their hype. Same goes with Pittsburgh, they're still a Dave Wannstedt coached team so choking should be expected.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Picks of the Week

Picks of the Week is back for its 3rd year, let's hope to continue the success:

Florida Atlantic +24 @ Texas – Rusty Smith is one of 10 returning offensive starters for the Owls who will face an inexperienced secondary for Texas which will allow the Owls to stay in this game.

Clemson -4.5 vs. Alabama – James Davis comes home to Atlanta to take on the Crimson Tide and he will not disappoint. Expect the dynamic duo of Spiller and Davis to have a big day and throw that in with the fact that the Tide are 2-8 ATS in their non-conference games in the last 3 years I like the Tigers to take it.

California -4.5 vs. Michigan State – The Bears ended a disappointing season with a come from behind win in the Armed Forces Bowl and look to bounce back to the form that led to them to the #2 ranking in the country. Kevin Riley is now at the helm taking over for Nate Longshore and Jahvid Best now gets to step in for Justin Forsett. Michigan State’s D won’t be able to keep up with the Cal O and I see the Bears rolling on.

Northwestern -11.5 vs. Syracuse – There haven’t been many teams in the country that have been worse than Syracuse in the past few years and it doesn’t look like it’s getting better when you have recruits decommitting from your program to go to Central Michigan. C.J. Bacher and Tyrell Sutton are back and that should be plenty to get the Wildcats over the Orange.

USC -19.5 @ Virginia – Those of you that know me semi-well know the severe dislike I have for USC and that’s probably understating it. But it’s mostly for the most ignorant and arrogant fanbase I have ever encountered. At the same time I cannot deny the great teams they have been fielding year in and year out and this year is no exception. Although the O isn’t as strong as it has been in the past, the D is exceptional and will be able to shut down anything and everything UVA throws at them. With the loss of Chris Long to the NFL and Jameel Sewell gone for academics I don’t see how the Hoos have any chance, USC wins big.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Preseason Top 25

1. Georgia
2. Ohio State
3. Missouri
4. Oklahoma
5. Florida
6. USC
7. LSU
8. West Virginia
9. Clemson
10. Auburn
11. Texas
12. Kansas
13. BYU
14. South Florida
15. Virginia Tech
16. Texas Tech
17. Wisconsin
18. Tennessee
19. Wake Forest
20. Arizona State
21. Illinois
22. Pittsburgh
23. Fresno State
24. Penn State
25. California


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm

For all my loyal readers, all 3 of you, I am not dead, I've just kept myself from getting worked up too soon over college football season, that and the Lakers loss just took too much out of me to write about it. Thankfully the Olympics provided a much needed distraction from the upcoming season and here we are only 2 days away from the first kickoff when we get to watch Vanderbilt take on Miami of Ohio, among other games that I shouldn't, but you know I will be watching. There's a lot of different things I want to touch on so this post will seem very unorganized and jumbled together but here goes:

  • I don't think it will officially hit me that Rich Rodriguez is our head coach until I see him on the sidelines on Saturday. For all the years that I've followed Michigan football I have only known one coach and to see a new man at the helm will be kind of weird.
  • With that said, I can't wait to see this new offense. For years we have been running the same shit over and over, as all Michigan fans know we used to be able to call our plays with frightening accuracy. We are finally going to be on a level playing field as other programs around the country were passing us by with new techniques and schemes that we were unwilling to adopt.
  • I really don't like our new road jerseys, call me old school but I just don't like all the piping and the additional maize on it. Although they're not nearly as bad as the changes that Cal made to their jerseys this season.
  • I believe this will be my most enjoyable season to watch as a fan. With the coaching change I am not putting any expectations on this team. Sure I expect the team to keep the bowl streak in tact but aside from that I am just going to sit back and enjoy the ride this season. Moreso than any other season opener, the excitement isn't just about this season but the change in our program as a whole and I know there will be some bumps along the way this season. Sure we'll probably lose a game we shouldn't but we should probably win a game we shouldn't as well. I could continue on about it but Brian at MGoBlog has already summed it up the best:

And you know what? This seems like great fun. Michigan’s going to run out on the field and play like they’re one of those teams trying to make inferior talent work. They’re going to line up in the shotgun without a huddle. When whichever quarterback happens to be that play’s piñata raises his leg, the team will glance to the sideline and get the new play in. On average, this will be a run that goes for six yards.

At no point will they assume physical or mental superiority over their opponent. Their plan is to raid the endzone as best they can, which may be “not very well at all,” but by God they’re going to try on every snap.

It’s going to be a fiasco. It’s going to be ugly and tantalizing and dispiriting and awesome. I can’t wait.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"OK, This smells familiar for us"

It's been 4 long years since the Lakers have won a playoff series, 6 years since a sweep and damn does it feel good. The Nuggets finally showed up for a game and looked like they were on the verge of winning it until Kobe stepped up and reminded everyone why he is considered the best closer in the league finishing with 14 points over the last 5 1/2 minute to send the Nuggets to vacation and the Lakers waiting for a 2nd round opponent.

The first half went very well looking like the Lakers were ready to just take the W without getting much of a fight from Denver. Turns out the Nuggets did have some fight in them as they fought back in the third and kept it close for the rest of the game. But Kobe did what he needed to do to get the W. The turnaround jumper over K-Mart as the shot clock expired was ridiculous as was the stretch when he made the 3, then got an and 1 on JR Smith. Only concern is with his Free Throw shooting which has been troublesome at times, but when it comes down to it he makes them when he needs to but it has been enough of a problem for me to mention it.
Luckily for the Lakers, Denver is a team that is not very mentally tough. They gave up at times throughout the series making it easy for the Lakers to go on some runs and put games out of reach. That will not be the case as we wait for Utah or Houston, most likely Utah. But the Lakers have had success against the Jazz this season and I am confident we can get the job done in the next round. The good news is the extra time off will help Trevor Ariza get some work in and it sounds like he could make a contribution in the next round. Still no positive news from the Bynum camp but I am not worried about it, if he's ready great bring him along slowly, but there's no need to rush with the long-term future to think about. For now I'm going to enjoy this series win since it's been so long and worry about all that stuff once we officially get the 2nd round set.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What a difference a year makes

The following is a post I started writing halfway through the series but never was able to finish up. Full update a little bit later.

I had planned to write about the Michigan hockey team prior to the Frozen Four but considering the run we were on I didn't want to jinx it and I guess it didn't matter since either way. That said the NBA playoffs began this past weekend and it's just amazing to think how different the Lakers situation is in just one year. From Kobe and no help and a 7 seed to a real team that isn't solely dependent on Kobe and the #1 seed. Considering Kobe's comments during the offseason and then Bynum's injury, I don't think any Lakers fan even the most optimistic ones, could have seen this team winning the West this season. I came into this season thinking that getting to Round 2 would be good enough in conjunction with the development of Bynum but with the addition of Gasol and his seamless integration into the offense the expectations have changed.
With that, the Lakers opened the 2008 playoffs with high expectations of bringing home another banner. Although I can dream of that as a fan, I know this years Western Conference playoffs will be extremely difficult, even as a #1 seed considering the gap between teams 1 and 6 was only 3 games.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

March Madness Picks

Now that the quarter is over I've finally got some time to update and what better time than March Madness. I had started catching the fever as UCI made its run through the Big West Tournament, but it was not to be as they lost in the Big West finals to a very dangerous Cal State Fullerton team that wouldn't be shocking to make some noise in the tournament. Heading to Vegas tomorrow for the opening weekend of the madness as I've done the past 3 years and for those that haven't gone yet during this time, I highly recommend it as a sports fan, there's nothing like it. So here are my picks, to save space in the first two rounds just calling the upsets, everything else I'm taking the favorite:

East-First Round: Saint Josephs over Oklahoma
Second Round: Butler over Tennessee
Sweet Sixteen: UNC over Washington State, Louisville over Butler
Regional Champ: North Carolina

Midwest-First Round: Kansas State over USC, Davidson over Gonzaga, Cal State Fullerton over Wisconsin
Second Round: None
Sweet Sixteen: Kansas over Vanderbilt, Georgetown over Kansas State
Regional Champ: Georgetown

South-First Round: St. Mary's over Miami
Second Round: None
Sweet Sixteen: Texas over Stanford, Memphis over Pittsburgh
Regional Champ: Texas

West-First Round: Baylor over Purdue, Arizona over West Virginia
Second Round: Drake over Connecticut
Sweet Sixteen: UCLA over Drake, Duke over Xavier
Regional Champ: UCLA

Final Four: North Carolina over Georgetown, UCLA over Texas

National Champion: UCLA