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Westsider Rider

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another Late Night

Since its the end of the month I've been working some crazy hours add that up with the cold I picked up on Sunday/Monday along with the horrible weekend that was and it hasn't been the best of weeks. Luckily it's almost over, the cold seems to be going away almost and I'll be ready for this weekend. I honestly don't know what to say about our collapse this year. Some people like to look at it the half full, like I used to be, and state that we are just a couple of plays away from being 4-0 and still being talked about one of the elite teams in the country. Some discuss that this has always been a problem at Michigan about September losses and how this coaching staff just can't cut it anymore. I'm somewhat in the middle but definitely more towards the half empty side. Coach Carr had one great year, 97 and those were not with players that he recruited, those are Coach Moellers players. Even with all-world Tom Brady at the helm, he had to split time with Drew Henson and we had 2 losses that year. Consider the year when we had 5 picks in the first 35 selections and we ended up losing 3 games that year, all these things are unacceptable. I'm ranting again about stuff I've already mentioned but I must say this again, part of me fears that if the way things run over in the Fort aren't changed soon we could be on our way to the decline that many of the traditional powers said they would never have, the Alabamas, Notre Dames and Penn States, even USC went through this years ago. Speaking of which a lot of people have been discussing Coach Carr's possible replacements and when that would happen. I highly doubt it happens this year although part of me wishes to suffer through one horrific year to see massive change around Schembechler Hall but that is very unlikely.

On that note I'll discuss my top three choices to take over Michigan after Coach Carr is done. We definitely need some new blood around the program and this is our chance to do it. I've seen suggestions for Glen Mason (hasn't proven he can pass the ball ever) to Randy Shannon (no HC experience) and after my initial thoughts and some other possibilities discussed here are my top three choices to take over the Maize and Blue when a change is made:

1. Jeff Tedford - he has worked wonders over at Cal, an academic institution with the same stature and prestige that Michigan carries and has done so in a short amount of time. He has shown he can play with the Big Boys (see USC games past few years) without the talent of them and has turned QB after QB into top NFL prospects, whatever happens once they get there is up to them. He knows about the academic part of the student athlete as well as having a lot of California based recruiting ties. Obviously problem one when it comes to hiring for Michigan, he has no ties to Michigan and another he has done a lot of re-tooling at Cal with JUCO talent which Michigan does not do, last one being Russell Shaw back in 96/97. However I believe that is more due to the fact that it was so tough to get kids to come to Cal when they were terrible. Now that they are doing well they've signed some very good talent including Elite 11 QB's Nathan Longshore and Kyle Reed and some game breakers at RB and WR, Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson. Another underrated aspect of Cal has been their defense, minus the Holiday Bowl last year, they have had very good defenses that has been underappreciated across the country due to the success of his offenses. Definitely #1 in my book if we were to make a change.

2. Kirk Ferentz - has turned Iowa around from another doormat into contender. This year has not been as successful as predicted during the preseason but no one gets more out of less than Coach Ferentz. Walk ons turn into draft picks (Pete McMahon 6th round pick of the Raiders) and lightly recruited players turn into stars (Robert Gallery, Chad Greenway). He has the midwest ties that the program would want and has not had any NCAA problems as well. There was more I was thinking about before but it's late and I can't think of much else right now.

3. Brian Van Gorder - after reading T. Kyle King answer the question from the BlogPoll Roundtable this week his choice makes a lot of sense and would not be someone I disagree with as a replacement. He does have Michigan ties as he is originally from Jackson, MI and in addition he would bring a lot of Southern recruiting ties as well, something we lack as we are unable to recruit as effectively in the South. The other positive is that he is a defensive coach which is what Michigan fans have been complaining about for years with Jim Herrmann. He has a great track record on the defensive side of the ball and could start building a D with his experience and bringing more southern kids into Michigan which would make the foundation for a great team for years, as they say offense wins games but defense wins championships.

Although it won't happen for years, unfortunately, unless some change happens around Michigan we are going to continually come up second for recruit after recruit which seems to be the popular thing lately. It's like all the top 100 kids say "Let's put Michigan in our top 5 and then when we narrow down to a top 3 always keep them in there and give all the fans hope. When signing day comes we'll choose another team and tell them our second choice was Michigan." It's happened time and time again and it definitely hurts when a kid like Antwine Perez who is a position of need, somewhat closely located, and has a wide open depth chart looking him in the face and says It wasn't that difficult of a choice to make. I'll stop here for now with this rambling, there are probably some other great candidates I would endorse but that's all I got for now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Surprise, Surprise

After all the talk about this offseason revamping for the Lakers not much has happened aside from the Kwame Brown trade. The rumors of KG coming , we all knew were too good to be true but it was fun dreaming about it for a while, have passed and now what? There is still the Sprewell talk, there is also discussion of possibly Jason Kapono or Michael Doleac but nothing has happened yet and Vlade's option runs out on Friday and that must be traded otherwise its a big waste. Some have talked Sprewell and Olowokandi but I highly doubt that will occur. Hopefully Bynum can contribute more than expected and Kwame is re-energized with his change of scenery but those are all wait and see answers. All I know is I have my tickets for opening night versus the Suns and I can't wait to see this new version of the Lake Show in action. It may be a disappointing year for all my sports teams, Michigan, Dodgers, Raiders but I've got hope in my Lakers and it would be great if they could get something started again.

In other news Antwine Perez has committed to USC, after hearing from many people I figured this would happen as USC is the flavor of the last 2-3 years and for some reason we have yet to win a recruiting battle with them, even in cases like this where distance is our advantage to Perez, a New Jersey kid but SC has had success there with Jarrett and Cushing the past few years. That leaves Michigan extremely thin at the secondary still, after all the talk early about not having to worry about filling the two safety spots, one was by Steve Brown but we have gotten a big goose egg on the remaining big targets, Taylor Mays, Perez both to USC and Jonas Mouton who most expect to go to Nebraska since his girlfriend has been offered a scholarship to there as well for basketball I believe. The down year we are having probably is not aiding in any of our recruiting efforts and it must be stopped now. It can be done on Saturday with a win at East Lansing but from what I have seen from this team this year I am not holding my breath. I would gladly eat crow if they proved me wrong on Saturday and I definitely hope they do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Week 5 Poll

After all the stuff that happened over the weekend here is my newest poll. Michigan, Louisville, Georgia Tech are now out and replaced by MSU, Cal and Minnesota.

1. USC - the Ducks gave me some hope for a half, then I remembered Stanford '04.

2. Texas - still hanging on due to the big win in Columbus, but could be jumped soon by...

3. Virginia Tech - another one of my sleepers coming into the year, Beamer Ball aka Special Teams in full effect and they are impressive.

4. Florida - did what they were supposed to do to inferior opponents, will you please learn from this Coach Carr?

5. Georgia - haven't looked as impressive the past two weeks but still getting W's

6. Ohio State - absolutely dominated Iowa and I am definitely afraid of them coming up.

7. Florida State - DNP

8. Arizona State - took care of business versus the Beavers, their reward the next in line to try to derail the Trojans.

9. Miami - the Buffaloes no match without their recruiting escorts, next up the surging Bulls of South Florida.

10. Tennessee - I still think they're overrated and not that good but pulled out a gutsy win against a very good LSU team, QB controversy continues...

11. LSU - just blew a game it had in the bag, thought they had a chance to get to the Rose Bowl but not anymore.

12. Michigan State - sparties blow out the Illini in a game they normally lose coming off the win versus ND, I am expecting the worst on Saturday.

13. UCLA - they are the big winner due to all the losers, nothing to be learned from this week versus Washington but we will know next week versus Cal.

14. California - Marshawn Lynch is hurt, all good, everyone say hello to Justin Forsett.

15. Notre Dame - beat Washington as they should, feel good story of the year with the pass right for the kid who ended up dying before the game.

16. Minnesota - did not fold as they have in the past in a tough game, impressive win, if we can't stop Calhoun or Walker how the hell are we going to stop Maroney and Russell in two weeks?

On the outside looking in right now Alabama ( have yet to see them play) and Boston College (haven't seen much of them yet either).

Absolutely Disgusted

What a way to ruin a weekend. I have been working late almost every day even had to go in on Saturday and then took off right before the game started and I don't know what else there is to say. All the other Michigan fans out there have probably said it five times already and I won't rehash those things but there are some points that I want to make. First what the hell was Carr doing not paying attention to the clock and kicking the FG with 9 seconds to play? Apparently on Michigan Replay he said he was not informed that the clock was being reset and made the call assuming that 6 seconds were left in the half. That is an absolute crock of shit. How the fuck does the coach not know what the hell is going on? He could have looked up at the scoreboard and seen the 9 seconds sitting there and taken one more shot at the end zone. Another thing is why the hell are the opposing teams gunners allowed a free path to Breaston during punt returns? They don't even put a hand on them and because of that Breaston has no room to make any moves. Speaking of which, Breaston has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year. He has yet to become the deep threat which he was supposed to or even the punt return specialist we have seen before. He is slightly banged up but who isn't, and luckily Mario Manningham has stepped up and made me look like I know what I'm talking about this year since he was the one I picked to become the #3 WR by the end of the season. This is an absolute disgrace what has happened this year and it's going to get worse before it gets better. The schedule doesn't help us out any starting with the trip this Saturday to East Lansing. I fully expect the sparties to blow us out and if we finished 7-4 this year I would be surprised. I don't expect this team to win in East Lansing, at Iowa or beat Ohio State which would put us at 6-5. Hopefully they will prove me wrong and make me eat crow but the way we look this season I doubt it. If Penn State or Minnesota come in and play a good game they could beat us and end our consecutive bowl streak. But nothing will change until there is a change up at the top. Coach Carr and his staff is nowhere near the elite staff that people make them out to be. Without the National Championship that Coach Moeller's players brought in he wouldn't have such a free pass. My title says it all from Saturday, I was absolutely disgusted, there is no way that game should have been even close at the end, it should have been finished in the first half. It amazes me that we cannot gain 1 yard to score a TD, the second time this year and because of such inadequacies we are the mediocre team you see before you today. I'll have my weekly top 16 poll up a little later today.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Late Pregame Thoughts against Bucky

The Wolverines travel to the land of cheese and brats this weekend as we taken on the Badgers of Wisconsin. It's pretty much been determined that Mike Hart will not be playing this week as well although there is talk that Tim Massaquoi might be back. Rumblings online have stated that Kevin Grady will be getting the start this week and not Max Martin who did a decent job stepping in for Hart last week to the tune of 117 yards and 2 TD's versus Eastern. Did Max have another bad week of practice, did Grady step it up that much? Those outside the Fort do not know but that's what's been said so I expect that to happen. I expect us to have decent success running the ball especially considering the decimation of the Badger DL. If Henne can actually start passing with some semblance of accuracy we should be fine since there is only one experienced corner for the Badgers, one Brett Bell who all Michigan fans remember the kid that we recruited heavily, he was definitely near the top of my wish list for recruits his year, but made the egregious error of trying to block Brandon Williams on a punt return only to have the oblong ball take a funny bounce and hit him on the leg and allowed Michigan to recover. I remember it well as I was watching it from the Wisconsin student section on the side closest to us. Wisconsin had taken the momentum from us and had we gone to overtime it would have been a tough road to go. Luckily the ball bounced our way and me and all my friends escaped Camp Randall with just popcorn thrown on us along with the 20-17 win.

Continuing with the game, Omar Jacobs torched the Badger secondary with ease and Matt Baker of UNC should have had 300+ yards too if some of those Tar Heel WR's could catch. So I believe we can pass on this team, although we haven't shown much success doing it this year. With the difficulty that Steve Breaston is having this season I expect, like I predicted before the season that Mario Manningham will step up into that #3 WR slot and make some plays for the Maize and Blue. Also Antonio Bass got his first playing time this year and we will see if he continues to be a part of the offense, we ran a direct snap to him at QB like we have done with Breaston in the past.

Now onto the difficult question to answer of the day, can the Michigan D contain Brian Calhoun? Calhoun, the transfer from Colorado following the scandal there, has been running all over the place this season. I watched the Bowling Green game and was amazed at how easy he was running all over the place, granted the Bowling Green defense is not the best team to measure a quality back but it was still an impressive performance nonetheless. He also put up 171 on NC last week so he must be contained because the Wisconsin passing offense awful. With Stocco at QB they are not a big threat to pass the ball. If we can contain Calhoun with the standard 4-3 it will be a long day for Wisconsin but most likely what will happen is we will need to stack 8 in the box and then it becomes another question.

Camp Randall is not an easy place to play, I've been there firsthand and can tell you that place gets loud and those kids get really drunk before the game. Add to the fact that it is a late kickoff so that means more pre-partying for everyone in Badgerville. However I think our offense will be too much for their defense in this game and we will come out victorious. Anyone that follows the Michigan program closely knows this is what will happen, Michigan will look very good this week against Wisconsin to get everyone hyped up for the rest of the year only to go blow it against Michigan State next week. Hopefully I'm proven wrong on the second point but we need to get through this one first this week and as always Go Blue!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Big Rumblings in Laker Land

You knew the Lakers couldn't go into this season with the squad they've got assembled currently, there's been talks of a couple of trades earlier this offseason that were very close to happening but fell through. With training camp approaching emplay, a well known insider on Lakersground and a writer for hoopsworld dropped this bomb on us yesterday. There have been many "done deals" or "agreed to in principle" deals that have happened this off season so I'm trying not to get too carried away in it but damn, I can't even begin to imagine the Big Ticket in Purple and Gold. We'll have to wait and see but I guess it is gaining some steam, also Vlade's option that we can trade away for some team to buy him out expires on Sep 30 so he has to be moved soon otherwise it's a big waste of extra cap filler for a trade. Whether this deal or the Curry trade goes down something must be done, some are even talking about a three way including the Bulls and Curry, all I know is I can't wait for the new Lake Show to be unveiled and Kobe to shut all the haters up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Finally the Magoofs have their title

This picture is just too funny, for those of that watched Sportscenter last night will know what I'm talking about how they said "The Maloofs finally have their championship." I heard that and couldn't stop laughing because the Magoofs have never won anything except for their dynasty of Pacific Division titles only to go choke in the playoffs. Especially the way it was said on SportsCenter made it sound like now they have their title it makes up for all the failures they had in the past. I guess Shaq was right when he said the Sacramento Queens were a good WNBA team.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Week 4 Poll

Here we go with Week 4:

1. USC - yes 70 points is impressive, no Arkansas is not a real SEC team.

2. Texas - Jamal Charles is stepping up big in place of Selvin Young, this team looks better to me by the day.

3. Georgia - bye week, might as well have been playing La-Monroe

4. Virginia Tech - back to back shutouts and now we get to see the matchup of one of the best corners in the country, Jimmy Williams, against the best WR, IMO, in the country, Calvin Johnson.

5. LSU - another bye week and now we get to see how good they really are as Tennessee comes to town.

6. Florida - the Urban Meyer offense hasn't been as good as advertised, the D has though.

7. Louisville - absolutely demolished Oregon State, playing very well right now making a push, I thought they were overrated but I don't see anyone beating them at this rate.

8. Ohio State - struggled with San Diego State as they have in the past, can't wait to see D's on the field with all the great LB's, Hawk, Greenway, Hodge that will be on the field.

9. Florida State - still getting it done in spite of their offense, it's going to bite them in the ass sooner or later, most likely later with that schedule.

10. Miami - gettin it done against a good Clemson squad, impact freshman of the year so far Kenny Phillips.

11. Arizona State - putting up video game like numbers just like that team they face in 2 weeks.

12. Tennessee - not nearly as good as the hype, now that they've settled on Ainge again should be better, although they got their work cut out for them this week @ LSU.

13. Michigan - positive shutout of a bad team like they should, negative where was this offense the week before? Also can't forget the curse of the road opener which hopefully doesn't haunt us again.

14. UCLA - good win versus Oklahoma, Drew Olson looks very impressive, very underrated IMO.

15. Georgia Tech - will see how good they match up with Va Tech and see how for real they are. Not enough people know about Calvin Johnson, best WR in the country.

16. Purdue - hasn't played anyone yet so it's tough to get a gauge at where they are at, most believe they are better than I have but I want to see them play a real team which they will three weeks in a row starting with Minnesota this week followed by Notre Dame and Iowa.

Just missed the cut, California (struggled too much with bad teams, must wait to see them against UCLA in 2 weeks), and Notre Dame (knew they were not as good as people were hyping, Michigan just played a terrible game against them, besides anyone that knows how ND works knew that after beating Michigan they would lose to the sparties the week after).

In other Michigan news Ryan Mundy is out for the year, it's a blow to our depth in the secondary, and he was one of the starters coming in this year. Rumors that the injury is Lawrence Reid type and may end his career, hopefully not true. This makes the need for another safety in this class that much bigger. With Steve Brown in the fold it was already known the coaches wanted to bring in one more but it is absolutely necessary now that Mundy's career may be over. Haven't heard how Antwine Perez liked his visit to SC this past week so we will see, hopefully he will see the chance for immediate playing time and jump aboard as well.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thoughts from the Rose Bowl

Saturday morning got up early as is customary for College Football Saturdays but for the first time in years it was not to watch Michigan. I bought tickets to the UCLA Big Game Plan which includes games against Oklahoma, Cal and USC so me and my friends took the trip up to the Rose Bowl to watch the Bruins take on the Sooners. I didn't have to worry about my Wolverines for one week, at least I hoped I didn't have to, and got to the Rose Bowl to start tailgating. After a few beers in I got the call that we were up 38-0 at halftime and I wouldn't have to worry about anything.

Headed into the Rose Bowl for the first time since the actual Rose Bowl of last season and man was it different. Considering this was supposed to be a big game it did not have the feel of it. Walking inside the stadium it sort of felt dead, mostly due to the fact that almost half the stadium was empty. If you had seen the crowd you would've thought that it was for the game against Rice the week before. One thing that I can't stand and is really stupid regarding West Coast/Pac-10 football is the people that are on the mic that tell people what cheers to make. I've been to games now at UCLA, USC and Cal and there is always someone on the mic telling people what cheer to do and when. Not sure if this occurs at the other Pac-10 schools but it shouldn't.

Now for the game itself, Oklahoma opened up with a great call on the reverse since the first time Adrian Peterson came in the game they knew everyone would be focusing on him. UCLA tried to get Maurice Drew going but there was no space to be found running the ball anytime, except for near the end of the game when Drew sealed it with his big run. So the Bruins had to go to the air and Drew Olson did a great job going 28 of 38 and hitting 9 different receivers throughout the game, IIRC. Although Justin Medlock missed his first FG attempt he does have a leg as evidenced by his 51 yarder later in the first half.

I was also very impressed with the UCLA Defense, early on when they caused AP to fumble and then in the 2nd half when they opened up with the sack and fumble which was returned for a TD. They kept AP in check and did an ok job in pass D. I read today one of the ESPN guys call Justin London and Spencer Havner the West Coast version of Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway from Iowa and I think it's a good comparison. Those two LB's for the Bruins are definitely underrated as people don't think defense is played anywhere on the west coast. Another player that deserves mention is Jarrad Page who had a good game as well.

I think Coach Dorrell is turning that corner and will be ready to take on the Trojans soon. For those of you that don't follow the rivalry, the USC-UCLA rivalry is extremely one sided for a while only to switch back to the other side. USC has won the last 6 but before that UCLA won the previous 8. I definitely liked some of his play calling especially in the 4th quarter after Oklahoma cut the deficit back to 3 with 3rd and 1 on the 19 yard line he called a play action pass and Drew Olson hit a wide open Marcedes Lewis for a TD to push it back up to 10. My brother and I commented on how Coach Carr would never make a call like that as he would call for a run up the gut which would be stuffed and then kick the FG.

When Michigan decides to open up our playbook you get games like the Minnesota game of 2003 and the 2000 Orange Bowl where the offense becomes unstoppable. There are always playmakers at Michigan that are underutilized and I'm sick and tired of it. Watching NFL highlights yesterday saw Braylon Edwards take a quick slant and take it to the house for 80 yards, we never see that play at Michigan when we could do that not only with Edwards but now with Breaston, Manningham and Bass. I don't understand all this talk in the off season about getting the ball to players in space and we have yet to do that.

Back to the game I did watch on Saturday, I am definitely impressed with what I saw and the Bruins will be making a run this year to dethrone the Trojans, I don't think they have enough yet, but who knows they almost did it last year. I am definitely excited to see the UCLA-Cal game that will be taking place in 3 weeks at the Rose Bowl as neither team will be tested again until then and we will see if Cal is for real this year or not since they have struggled early on with opponents they shouldn't be.

Weekend Update

Another weekend that was too short, stayed in Friday since I had to work late and also get up early for the UCLA-Oklahoma game. Woke up early and headed up to the game, with so few people going to the game, only 54,000 or so it was real easy to get in and out of the golf course where we parked. Game was good, UCLA won pulling away at the end and then headed home for my dad's birthday. By the time I got home a lot of people were already there. I was energized the whole way home until I got home and then I finally got real tired. Ate dinner while flipping back and forth between the Florida-Tennessee and BC-FSU games and some of my friends and Steven's friends came over and we then started drinking after the games with everyone else that was there to celebrate my dad's birthday. Drank a good amount of Johnnie Walker Black Label until I was so exhausted I just had to crash. Funny moment of the weekend goes to Paul, who after waking up on Sunday runs into me and says to me in the voice of the kid on Malcolm in the Middle who is in the wheelchair and takes a breath between every word "Let's go... have...some pho." It was just too funny to hear it that way, grabbed some pho and watched NFL for a while. Finally got to the gym, haven't gone in a while and gained some weight back, need to really watch it since month end is coming up and I'm gonna be too busy to get to work out and came back home in time to watch the Raiders. It's amazing how similar my two favorite teams the Raiders and the Michigan Wolverines are. We have an offense that at times can look so good, but at times look so bad, and then the defenses are just awful. Giving up 3rd and long conversions so easily to the other team. Not surprisingly the Raiders lost. Watched the new Fox shows afterwards, thank goodness for DVR, Family Guy was hilarious as always. Gonna be a long week and we've got the Badgers coming up in Madison. I already know what's going to happen, we're going to look extremely good against Wisconsin giving me and the rest of the Wolverine Faithful hope for the season only to go into East Lansing and blow it again like we do almost every time we play up there. Hopefully I'm wrong but I doubt it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Music Reviews for this week

Been pretty slow lately at work, but it's just the calm before the storm as the month end nears so here's some reviews. On Tuesday I was able to go grab some CD's so I went and bought the new DJ Quik - Trauma, Paul Wall - The People's Champ and Little Brother - The Minstrel Show. I've only listened to each CD once so this is just the preliminary review. I'm gonna start off with the DJ Quik, who is one of the most underrated artists out there today. He continually turns out hits but most people outside of California don't know who he is. The first single off of the album was "Fandango" which dropped a few months back featuring B-Real from Cypress Hill, although I'm not a big Cypress Hill fan this track was pretty tight as I love the beat on it. There's a track with Chingy on it that is real hot as well. I know most people think Chingy isn't all that great but on this track he drops a good verse. Overall it is a great album, one of the better ones I've listened to this year and I would definitely recommend anyone to go and get it, if you're a DJ Quik fan like I am, you're gonna love it.

Paul Wall was the next CD I listened to, as a bonus it came with 2 CD's for the price of 1. The 2nd CD being the Chopped and Screwed version of the album. So far I've listened to the album once and then listened to like 3 tracks of the Chopped and Screwed and took it out because I just don't get the appeal of Chopped and Screwed, maybe cause I'm not from Texas and I'm not sippin on the sizzurp but I just don't get it yet, not sure if I ever will. I got the album mainly because I thought "Sittin Sideways" was a decent song and on top of that Paul Wall's verse that he did on the Kanye West - Late Registration album was dope and I thought if he's got this potential he's got to show it on a few tracks on a CD. Well I was wrong, aside from the Kanye track which is on the CD, there were 1 maybe 2 songs I liked, one being "Girl" which takes some old school sample, probably the reason why I like it and some other track I can't recall at this point, probably meaning it wasn't that good to begin with. This is definitely a no buy in my book as I regret making the purchase. I'll give it another listen but I highly doubt I'll get into it. Just go download Girl and the track from the Kanye CD and that should be good.

Finally there's The Minstrel Show by Little Brother, who was strongly recommended by Straight Bangin so I decided to give it a listen since I'm always looking for new hip-hop to listen to. After my initial run through it is a very good album, I definitely recommend people give it a listen. It is also interesting to see how conscious they are of hip-hop today by naming their album the Minstrel Show, especially because I took a communications class in college and the professor related "Gangster Rap" to minstrel shows. At first I thought to myself there's no way they're related but looking deeper into I can see how the relation can be made. Many of these rappers are putting on an act so they can sell more records, having street cred is what helps sell CD's so these artists do it. The best example being Tupac, he wasn't the thug that was portrayed in the media, he had other objectives in life that he wanted to accomplish after he finished his contract at Death Row Records, he was becoming recognized as a great actor and he was ready to branch off to his own record label before his unfortunate death. I didn't get a chance to talk about it but Tuesday was the 9th anniversary of Tupac's passing and it's crazy to think that was 9 years ago. I remember I was in sophomore year in high school and I had just recently started listening to Pac. I saw "Two of Amerikaz Most Wanted" with Snoop Dogg on MTV and I loved it so I went out to buy All Eyez on Me, still one of my favorite albums of all time. Just as I was getting into his music he was shot and killed, to most people it was an afterthought but for me it was a sad day. But for his fans his legacy lives on and we will continue to remember him after his untimely death.

Still feel sick from Saturday

This just hasn't been my week, granted nothing terrible has happened and I can be thankful for that it's just all these little things are just adding up and pissing me off. I still can't believe the debacle from last Saturday and it's been bugging me ever since. I tried not to let it affect me while I was at school with all my friends but in the back of my mind it was. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining because we lost, we all have to lose sometime, it was the fact at how we lost. Once again we played a team that was lower ranked and we had so much more talent than and we lost, that is unacceptable. As much as it hurts to say there are losses I had to live with and there was nothing I could do about because we just weren't as good, Tennessee Citrus Bowl, Iowa and Notre Dame in 2002 and there are countless others I can't think of right now. The loss this past weekend, to Oregon a couple years back, the game in Washington we blew along with the one at UCLA, those are the losses that haunt me for a while. Even though we should demolish Eastern Michigan this weekend I don't think I'll feel right, if at all until the Wisconsin game on Sep 24th and that's only if we win there.

In addition to letting the loss get to me, a jersey I ordered two months ago and was on backorder finally arrived to my house last night only to see it had been tampered with and only the invoice was left in the box. Someone just jacked the jersey and took off and that really got me mad. Luckily Eastbay will replace it for me, but in one size smaller than I ordered, but it still really bugs me that this happened. To top that off I had to drop my mom's friend off at Long Beach Airport this morning and I got a "parking" ticket for stopping in a wrong zone to drop her off. At that point I just lost it as I had been trying to keep everything under control but that was the last straw, fortunately I had to go to work so I had to keep it together otherwise who knows what I would've done. All I know is this upcoming weekend has to be pretty good with the party for my dad's birthday along with the UCLA-Oklahoma game at the Rose Bowl, at least I get to go to the Rose Bowl once this year but not for the game I was hoping for.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Poll for Week 3

After all the events that happened over the weekend here is my poll for week 3:

1. USC - DNP

2. Texas - a great game vs. Ohio St., Vince has learned to pass meaning trouble for the rest of the country, if they keep this up I might just move them to #1.

3. Georgia - struggled with South Carolina but I still think they're the best of the 3-9 group which are almost all interchangeable IMO.

4. Virginia Tech - did what they were supposed to do.

5. LSU - another great game on Saturday night, didn't get to watch most of it until the end at the bar so my memory wasn't that great but they beat a very good ASU team that I expect will beat USC later this year so they get their due.

6. Florida - will see how Urban Meyer handles his big test this week.

7. Tennessee - still think they're overrated and Florida will handle them but I can't want to watch it.

8. Ohio State - the QB carousel cost them like I expected it would but the D played very well, giving many opportunities for the O to put the game away but couldn't.

9. Arizona State - should have won but didn't, Sam Keller looks very good and I really wish he didn't de-commit and go to ASU.

10. Florida State - struggling with the Citadel doesn't impress anyone, maybe Leon Washington really was intimidated by that Citadel player that talked trash on his Facebook.

11. Louisville - DNP

12. Miami - DNP

13. Notre Dame - extremely unimpressed with them, they will probably lose to MSU this week but I have to put them somewhere for beating two ranked teams on the road.

14. Georgia Tech - let down after the Auburn win just like last year except this year they didn't lose.

15. Michigan - this seems about right from the beginning I thought we were overrated, I was just in my optimistic mode which I always am in at the beginning of the season only to be crushed by a early season loss to an inferior opponent.

16. UCLA - this may seem high for some but this team has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and Coach Dorrell is getting it together out at Westwood. They haven't played the stiffest of competition but did have a strong showing at SDSU and beat Rice as they should at home. Considering how bad Oklahoma has looked this week isn't as big of a test as initially thought but the Bruins must stop the beast known as Adrian Peterson.

Just missed the cut California who struggled with Sacramento State and then with Joseph "White Michael Vick" Ayoob destroyed Washington as they should have, once they get a quality win I'll move them up.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Year, Another Early Season Loss

Considering what happened on Saturday I still had a great weekend. I flew out to Michigan on the Thursday night red eye and got there early Friday morning. Got to 610 S. Division and crashed for a few hours before getting a call from the alumni from the Church on Church that everyone was meeting up at around 11 or so. Went to Dominick’s and had a few pitchers before heading out to Charley’s for some more drinking. After that rolled with Steve Bob Tom down to the soccer field to catch the second half of the soccer game along with meeting up with the original 610 S. Division guys. Was too tired to go out drinking again and wanted to save up my strength for the game so just stayed at the house the rest of the night until Nate and Bill showed up. Crashed pretty late only to be woken up early to start tailgating for the game. Saw even more people I hadn’t seen in a while during the tailgate before we headed down to Crisler to take in some of the open practice.

After the game I was so upset had to go grab an 8 ball, a 40 oz of Olde English for those that don’t know, and pound that down and watched the S. Carolina – Georgia game. With all the line we expected at Rick’s got some Panchero’s at 8 and went down there to watch the Texas – Ohio St. game which was unbelievable. Drank plenty there and then went back to Falk and Marchena’s new place which was very nice. Just passed out there and woke up Sunday morning to hang out and watch football before I had to head to the airport. Aside from the game it was a great weekend seeing everyone, a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, I’ll be back for Ohio State so hopefully more people can make it out then.

After some time to think about it, I’ve got so many thoughts running through my head regarding this game, this team and the state of this program. I don’t even know where to begin, this post will probably just be random ramblings and it probably won’t make any sense.

Let’s start with the game, if you had told me before the game that we were only going to allow 17 points, I would’ve told you we’re covering and then some, minimum 27 points for us, probably even more except for the fact that John Navarre showed up to play QB for us and not Chad Henne. I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the tape and not sure if I can even put myself through that kind of torture but Henne had so many batted balls, locked in on a single receiver so many times, I couldn’t believe it. Breaston needs to step it up as he has not made any plays this year. Mario Manningham had a TD, maybe he needs to be out on the field more. Antonio Bass still hasn’t played, wonder if/when he will play. I put most of this game on the players, as without watching the tape I can’t think of many instances where playcalling was a problem, it was more with Henne and his execution. The only play I question is the 2nd QB sneak where we fumbled, although replay should have never been brought into question once the play was ruled 2nd down. The first sneak I understand we got the play down there maybe to catch ND off guard just sneak it in. The second one made no sense as we have the human bowling ball in Kevin Grady in the backfield and if cannot hand off the RB and get half a freakin yard we don’t deserve to win the game anyways. I was sitting in the second row on the opposite 15-20 yd line and on the goal line interception I could easily see down the other end how Henne locked in on Ecker and how Zbikowski was easily going to make that pick. I have heard that Gutierrez may be getting a chance this week but I wonder if anyone else thinks that Henne could lose his job to Gutierrez this season, not likely, but after a performance like that I think it needs to be looked at.

The Defense looked awful that first drive I thought ND would put up 40+ points and we were going to be in for a shootout. But afterwards they made some adjustments and played much better than I expected in the 2nd half. I never thought I’d say our offense cost us a game this year but they did. But it wasn’t a great performance by the D, they still missed tackles in the backfield, allowed Darius Walker to get outside more than a few times and could not put much pressure on Brady Quinn a lot of the time. Quinn had way too much time a lot of the time and all those 3rd and longs that they were able to convert are unacceptable.

This team I’m not sure what is going to happen. After the game I was extremely frustrated, as all Michigan fans were at what had transpired during the game. I was angry, sad, and everything in between as we have once again lost a non-conference game in September to an inferior opponent. It happens every fucking year and I don’t know how much longer I can take of it. With the way we look after two weeks I can easily see this as a 7-4 team although that is the worst case scenario which will probably not happen. Considering a lot of the “experts” out there call this offense the best O at Michigan in a long time, some say even ever, it is ridiculous to see us only put up 10 points on ND. We are ranked as one of the best in the nation at every offensive position breakdown from preseason previews, I used to think along the lines of some who believe we have the best collection of offensive talent outside of USC but I don’t know what to say after this pitiful performance. I still think we lose 2 games in conference, if not more and expect an 8-3 season, if that’s good enough for an Outback Bowl appearance we will keep our consecutive New Year’s Day Bowl streak alive, if not we’ll head to the Alamo Bowl or whatever Bowl that invites us.

Finally onto the state of our program, once again we have not yet finished September and have suffered a loss. Once again we have suffered a loss to a team that should have no business hanging close with us. As long as Coach Carr and this regime is in place this will happen every year. Don’t get me wrong I think Coach Carr does a great job in recruiting, running a clean program and representing our school but when it comes to coaching I do not think he is up there with the elite coaches in college football. No other program does less with more than Michigan, that title used to go to Mack Brown and Texas but it seems like they are actually starting to do something with their talent now. Maybe I’m being more harsh than it really is because I’m so upset with what happened over the weekend, if anyone has any comments on this please chime in, but this is how I see it currently. This brings us to the main question that Michigan fans ask each other when this is brought up:

Would you rather be consistent like we are year in and year out a perennial top 15 team that always hovers around the 8-4 to 10-2 type years or would you take a USC/Oklahoma type fall where they went 7-5 to 4-7 type years for a couple years only to regroup and come back to compete for the national championship for a few years?

And to this question I have no answer yet, would you rather be USC where they had those rough years during the Paul Hackett era, only to resurrect the program and become what they are now or would you continue to accept being Michigan the way they are. Ideally I would like to be where we’re at and actually make a run at the national championship every few years but I guess I can’t have it both ways.

The main point of all this is we underachieve year in and year out. If you look at all the players we have on NFL rosters and see how they perform there yet they didn’t perform that great in college it amazes me. Think back to the year we had 5 picks in the first 30 some odd picks of the NFL draft and that team only made it to the Citrus Bowl and beat Auburn. That should not happen, any other elite coach would have us in the hunt for the MNC every single year. I’m still extremely disgusted by what happened over the weekend and I don’t know when I’m going to get out of this funk, it sure as hell isn’t going to be next week when should easily beat EMU, maybe if we can beat Wisconsin I will feel better about this team but the way they have been putting up points with the emergence of Brian Calhoun, who knows what will happen that night at Camp Randall.
Considering how much talent we bring in year in and year out there is no reason for us to blow any of these games at any time.

Don’t get me wrong, no matter what happens I will love my school and my team until the end. As disgusted as I am at our performance it still brings me pride to know that I am a graduate of the finest institution of higher learning around the University of Michigan. It still brought me chills to see the Go Blue Banner go up and the team run through the tunnel to touch the banner as the band plays The Victors. It brought me back to my first game ever at Michigan the 1999 battle with Notre Dame and Michigan is just a special place as many people who have had the privilege of attending the school will say. I really hope we can fix a lot of these problems and turn this season around but no matter what happens I will proudly sing The Victors and yell Go Blue!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Thoughts from the week in Football

First I'll start with the Michigan game and then other games I watched. Jason Avant looked great, he did everything we expected and more. I knew he would have a much better showing this year considering there's a lot of extra balls to go around now but I didn't expect that great of a day. His enthusiasm and love of the game make him easily my favorite player on the team today.

Minus the fumble and being stuffed on 4th down, although there penetration got deep to trip him up, I liked what I saw in Kevin Grady, especially being his first game. It's hard not to get excited about the rushing attack with Hart showing his truck stick and speed on the screen along with the good showing from Grady. I, like many, were probably surprised to see Grady back on the field after the fumble considering Lloyd does not put you back in the game if you're young and fumble. Another surprise was Jerome Jackson getting carries ahead of Max Martin during mop up duty. There was talk that Martin was falling behind Grady but I didn't expect Jackson to be ahead of him as well.

Henne was solid, as I expected but there were some bad throws which should get better as the season goes along. It was great to see Matt Gutierrez get in there and play, even better when he completed that first down to Avant.

I'm sure it's been said by all Michigan fans but I was disappointed in the defensive performance in the game. It just seemed to lack intensity at all times and for some reason I don't know why it's us that does it a lot of the time. With all the talent we have on the team it should not be happening and I'm sick of it. Hopefully the D wakes up in time for Saturday because if not then we will be in for a long day and I'll leave it at that since it's probably been beaten to death about how disappointed everyone was in the D.

On other games I saw, Omar Jacobs is the real deal. If Bowling Green only had a defense they could've taken that game cause Omar and co. definitely played well enough except for Charles Sharon who had way too many dropped passes for someone who is considered the #1 WR in College Fantasy Football. Speaking of the BG - Wisconsin game, Brian Calhoun just destroyed the Falcons and watching him got me more worried about the Sep 24th Big Ten opener at Camp Randall. Considering how easy it was for NIU to bounce inside runs to the outside it is something that must be fixed immediately or we will be in trouble.

Georgia looked fantastic, you can probably tell I was that impressed with them considering I jumped them all the way to #3 in my top 16. That is the Shockley that everyone has been waiting for since he signed with UGA and the D just shut down a Boise State offense that hasn't been shut down much in the past 2 years. We'll get to see them against the Old Ball Coach's Cock-N-Fire offense this week and I'm excited to see that, I'm sure the Dawgs are anxious to get back at Spurrier.

I may hate USC because of the bandwagon jumping "fans" but I must admit there aren't many players in the country I'd rather watch then Reggie Bush. The TD where he dove into the end zone was sweet, and those who get the LA Times know how dope that picture looked on Sunday's Sports Page.

I thought Tennessee was overrated to begin the year and they're not doing anything to prove me wrong.

What the hell was Franchione thinking about going for the XP at that point of the game??? There goes my sleeper for the NC, but I still think they are good enough to make the Big XII a pretty good fight.

Oklahoma, what else is there to say about them. Thompson looked awful, Bomar didn't look much better and they are in trouble. The O Line was terrible and proved my NCAA 2006 theory correct. I was playing my brother and he was Oklahoma so he could use Adrian Peterson but I could consistently blitz the right side of the line and get penetration every time at that point I half jokingly said that shows why the Oklahoma O Line will be bad this year and I've been proven right so far.

Finally Miami-Florida State, I watched the beginning and end of this game, I had a fantasy football draft in the middle, but as good as the Florida State defense was sacking Kyle Wright 9 times they will not get anything done this year if their offense is that bad. Speaking of Kyle Wright, I liked what I saw in him and if I'm a Cane fan there is the silver lining. I think he is going to be a great QB down in Miami and I can see why he was the #1 QB in the country out of high school. Also can't forget Greg Olsen who did his best Jeremy Shockey / Kellen "I'm a Fuckin Soldier" Winslow imitation by being Wright's target on almost every third down and converting, especially on the 3rd and 19.

Getting extremely excited to head back to the Big House for the first time in over a year, last year the only game I went to was at Columbus so it'll be nice to get back to the friendly confines of Michigan Stadium, until then Go Blue!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Week 2 Poll

Just the usual weekend, nothin special to report, had a good time just hangin out, watchin football and drinking with the guys and my dad and without further delay here is my poll for week 2 of the College Football season. I've decided to add one more team and make it 16 because I can only dream of the day that the NCAA wakes up and we have a playoff with 16 teams, although I'll take, 8 or 4.

1. USC – Dominated as they should against inferior competition, Reggie Bush’ dive was dope.

2. Texas – have no clue what happened but they put up a lot of points.

3. Georgia – biggest gainer of the week, after their losses on D, and their DC, who I forgot to mention in my preseason poll, they looked very good as did DJ Shockley

4. Virginia Tech – got the job done against a good NC State team.

5. LSU – DNP

6. Michigan – I’m very hesitant to move them up after such an awful performance but so many other teams played so bad they’re here by default. Henne and the offense played well, defense did not, very concerned about this weeks game.

7. Ohio State – didn’t get to watch much of it but the D looked very good, will there be a controversy between Zwick and Smith again?

8. Florida State – defense was very good, offense very bad, finally kicking game mistakes went against Miami for once.

9. Iowa – dominated Ball State like they should have.

10. Tennessee – I was not very high on them to begin with and now I know why, QB controversy brewing again here as well?

11. Florida – only caught a few plays so no comment

12. Miami – defense was very good, Kyle Wright looked very good at times as well, he will be a great QB for them.

13. Louisville – only saw the score vs Kentucky, expected them to win by more than just a TD

14. Georgia Tech – impressive in win at Auburn, people will know who Calvin Johnson is by the end of the year.

15. Arizona State – demolished Temple as they should have and get a break in getting LSU to Tempe this year, with all that’s going on in Louisiana, wouldn’t surprise me to see a win by ASU this week.

16. Notre Dame – The Weis is God bandwagon will gain more supporters now, hopefully our defense can put a stop to it.

Only two days until I’m out of here, finally going back to Michigan for the game, leaving on Thursday night will get to spend the whole weekend there, gonna be great. Go Blue!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tomorrow It Begins

Tomorrow it begins. After the awful taste in my mouth leftover from Jan 1, 2005, tomorrow begins our chance at redemption. Redemption for the missed tackles against mobile QB's, redemption from the defense taking terrible angles at runners, redemption for giving up 37, 37, and 38 points in 3 of our last 4 games. After the excitement of signing a new recruiting class and then the summer of camps and a few commitments and waiting for players to report, tomorrow is the day. The Michigan Wolverines will storm the field and touch the Go Blue Banner as 110,000+, Maize and Blue faithful sing The Victors and the hopes and dreams of a new season begin.

This team has enough talent and experience on offense, it has enough talent, but is lacking the experience on defense, to make another run. 1997 is now a long ways away we cannot keep sitting on that National Championship and make excuses for why we are not a perennial threat to win the national championship. We recruit with the best of them and bring in talented players every year. The coaches must do their part and we cannot suffer inexplicable defeats, as ESPN.com pointed out, we have lost 10 games the last 5 years as a favorite, that is unacceptable. This is Michigan. We are the pioneers of college football. The all-time winningest program in college football history. The Maize and Blue and the Winged Helmet are synonymous with College Football.

Chad Henne throwing slants to Steve Breaston and Mario Manningham who will get the ball in space and make things happen this year. Jason Avant coming up with the clutch catch on 3rd down. The three headed monster of Mike Hart-Kevin Grady-Max Martin wearing down defenses in the second half, Lamarr Woodley comin in for a sack, Leon Hall with an interception, a second CB, whether Charles Stewart, Grant Mason, Darnell Hood, or whoever stepping up because the defense needs it. The plays that need to be made will be done this year. We will not stand for these unacceptable losses anymore. The players know it, the coaches know it and I know it. We will no longer be known as the underachiever as we are year in and year out. Third time's a charm and we can make a run and we can celebrate like Charles Woodson did in 1997, in Pasadena, finally we can do it...