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Westsider Rider

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Week 13 Poll

Coming into the last week of the season we've now just got the conference championship games left and then we'll be determining bowl bids. Here's the way I've got it going into, unfortunately, the last Saturday of college football we'll be seeing in 10 months.

1. Texas - did consider dropping them after their subpar showing versus Texas A&M but it is a rivalry game, they did put up 40 points and Vince didn't do very well. Colorado get the honor of being whooped again by Texas, although that is what we thought a few years ago when Colorado beat Texas in the Big XII Championship game.

2. USC - still haven't been beaten, but there are chinks in the armor, as much as I would love to see a Bruin upset, I doubt it. There was some hope with Lendale White's supposed injury but it's nothing more than a bruise, the condoms should roll easily, just hopefully not so easily that they cover the 21.5 point spread.

3. Virginia Tech - back to #3 where they would be even if they were still undefeated, maybe it wasn't that bad to lose to Miami after all they won't be as upset when they can't play in the National Championship game, same goes for...

4. LSU - who I dropped because they couldn't close out Arkansas and was alive until the last drive.

5. Penn State - yes they only have one loss and are currently in the polls as the outside ready to slide in, in case USC or Texas stumbles but I just don't see them as beating either Va Tech or LSU if they played. They lost to the worst Michigan team we've seen in years, this was the year to end their streak.

6. Auburn - best playing two loss team of the bunch. After the season opening loss to Georgia Tech they've got one other loss and that's to LSU when their kicker could have won the game had he not gone 1 out of 6. Definitely not a team that I would want to play in the bowl game.

7. Ohio State - the sweatervest owns us, I need to go to the corner and cry again.

8. Georgia - playing in Atlanta for a chance to play in Atlanta, or possibly Atlanta, I'm sure they'd prefer the Sugar over the Peach though.

9. Miami - maybe they need to record another rap song.

10. Notre Dame - could've been the double bonus for the Pac-1o had Stanford beaten them, I still don't think ND is that good this year, they definitely don't deserve a BCS bid over Ohio State, Auburn, or Oregon but unfairly they will get one and hoard all the money to themselves, those greedy bastards.

11. UCLA - Bruins have had 3 weeks off to get ready for the battle of Los Angeles, I expect they'll be able to put up the points just like Fresno State did but can anyone stop Reggie Bush?

12. Oregon - still not impressed, yes they have one loss to USC but they haven't played anyone either that shows me that they're that great. They beat Fresno by 3 and Cal because Ayoob decided to become the worst QB ever, without Clemens they are that much worse.

13. Alabama - gettin ready for a New Years Day Bowl after all the stuff they had to deal with the past few years, I'm sure the Tide faithful will settle for that this year.

14. West Virginia - definitely the least impressive of the one loss teams, they play in the Big East so they have to go out and earn their respect. Pat White and Steve Slaton are as good a set of freshmen there are in the country, they'll take a big jump up if they can defeat the SEC champion they'll face in the Sugar Bowl.

15. Louisville - all that hype coming into the season and they didn't get it done. Brian Brohm is out for the year but he's be a junior next year ready to lead the Cardinal into the big time.

16. Florida - impressive win over the Seminoles, we'll see what happens with the SEC bowl mess.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Great Weekend of 3 hours

Tried to fit as much of a weekend I could into the few hours I had on Saturday for James' party at his place. Got off work at 9 and finally hitched a ride over there close to 11 pm. Definitely a great time with the keg and a much bigger turnout than I expected. Since I wasn't there for that long don't have that much to report but highlights included James hitting the beer bong but not twice like he said and the one time he hit it, he hit it like a bitch, real slow. Earl became my bitch since he wanted to wear my Michigan jacket, but props on the Everybody loves Randy shirt. It was also great to hang out and see people I hadn't seen in a while since I'm always working. The best part of the night though had to be after Andy convinced me to finally hit the beer bong and everyone started chanting my name. So as I'm getting ready to hit the beer bong everyone is outside chanting Chung Min Kyu and I'm not gonna lie it was pretty awesome. Now I know what it's like to be a superstar athlete and the crowd cheering for you. It was just as crazy after I finished it and everyone went crazy, so that's what Robert Horry felt like after hitting the game winning 3 versus the Queens a few years back. Wish I could've stayed but had to be up for work at 8am on Sunday as well so I had to call it a night early, can't wait for the next one, especially when I don't have to work the next morning.

Terrible Sports Weekend

Let's start from the top, I had to work the entire weekend so there's bad news as it is and then it didn't start off good when Texas-Texas A&M which I got in at 69.5 over, ended at 69. From there it went down hill regarding sports for the weekend. At least the basketball team picked up a win versus Butler but Daniel Horton had to bail the team out again. He's playing very well right now but he can't keep it up the whole season, some other guys have to step up. Got two big ones coming up with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge against Miami on Tuesday then the Saturday game at Notre Dame, we'll see what this team is made out of starting then.

Hockey continued its curse of #1 as they got swept by Minnesota and Wisconsin, now these are good teams as they came into the weekend ranked #7 and #2 respectively, but we are supposed to be the #1 team in the nation but get swept at home. Just like the football team cannot win when they reach #3, the same holds true for the hockey team when they get to #1. The squad will try to rebound as they head to Oxford to take on Miami of Ohio for the weekend so they should get back on track.

Notre Dame came extremely close to losing at Stanford which would've been a double bonus for the Pac-10 as it would have pretty much guaranteed an at-large BCS berth for Oregon and gotten Stanford Bowl Eligible but it was not to be. Notre Dame is a good team, that's played very well at times this year but it does not deserve a BCS bid. Ohio State, Auburn and Oregon are all ahead of the Irish in my book and in many other people's as well. But it is a business and ND will bring in the most money so they are a lock for the Fiesta Bowl, where most are projecting them to face Ohio State. Damn I don't know what to do in that one, my worst nightmare of a game.

To close it off the Lakers played a tight one at home against the Nets and ended up blowing it in overtime. Kobe scored his season high 46 but the Lakers still lost as they could not find a bucket to save their life in OT. First two trips down Brian Cook, who tied the game at the end of regulation, got points for the Lakers but after that Kobe kept passing it off to someone who would end up taking a bad shot or committing a turnover. The Lakers are still under 500 on the year and had a losing 5 game homestand which is not good. 8 of the next 10 are on the road and I'd gladly take 500 there for now. The offense still isn't there as only 10 points were scored in the first quarter by the Lakers. It's taking a long time for this team to grasp the triangle and they gotta get it soon since the season is now almost a month old. Hope they can get something rolling on this next stretch, otherwise we could be looking at the lottery again, actually no lottery the pick belongs to Boston this year, shit, at least we have Miami's pick.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Was Kobe the right choice?

I had this article saved on my links last week but it was lost amid all the excitement of The Game and now since Michigan football is off until the bowl game I'll have more time now for basketball and hockey. But this deals with my other favorite squad the Los Angeles Lakers. When Dr. Buss made the choice of Kobe over Shaq, a lot of people said it was a stupid move. As much as I loved Shaq when he was here I definitely do not feel that way now and I am on the same page as Phil Taylor who says the Lakers probably made the right choice as well.

First I'll go into why I used to love Shaq and now I could care less about his fat ass. I have people ask me, how can you feel that way about him, he brought you 3 championships. Yes that is true and I definitely appreciate what he did for the Lakers during his time here but there are a lot of things that made me turn sour on him. First was his constant showing up to training camp out of shape and overweight. Shaq would consistently show up in bad shape and spend the first quarter of the season getting back into shape. I knew that he wanted the big extension and as soon as he received it he would go back to being the lazy ass that he is. See last year he worked out, lost weight and was in great shape, this year he gets the extension and now he is out of shape again. Another reason was the way he badmouthed Los Angeles after he left, it's one thing to have his feud with Kobe, I understand that, but to talk shit on the city that loved him and appreciated him so much was bullshit. Shaq is a big baby and all he wants is all the attention on him, him, him. It happened with Penny in Orlando, with Kobe in LA and pretty soon it will happen in Miami with D Wade.

A major reason why I agreed with trading the most dominant force in the league at the time was because he still had large value and we could get something in return and not have to break the bank for his future extension. Miami is on the hook now for Shaq's $100 million extension and they are going to wish they didn't have to pay it in a year or two, hell it could be this year if he doesn't come back and play as well as he is used to playing. He is getting up there in age and for big men that is huge, the majority of big men their playing time/stats decrease dramatically after they turn 30. Shaq is now starting the twilight of his career and will not be the same force he used to be.

Kobe is the much better move long term both on and off the court for the Lakers. He is still relatively young at 27 and he still fills the seats and sells the jerseys for the Lake Show. Sure he's not as popular as he was across the country but in LA most people still love him. The Lakers had to make the move for the good of the franchise's future and I completely agree with it. As Taylor writes:

One aspect of the Kobe-over-Shaq decision that Lakers owner Jerry Buss made was the financial demand that O'Neal was making. It wasn't all about personalities. Shaq was asking for a megabucks extension, and Buss was right to hesitate given the cracks in Shaq's armor that were beginning to show. O'Neal went to Miami and made the Lakers look bad in the short term by leading the Heat to the conference finals, but soon, very soon, the Lakers' investment in Kobe might look like a much wiser move.

I couldn't have said it any better myself. The Heat only have a small window with Shaq to try to win that title, especially considering the other veteran talent they brought on board this year, while the Lakers window is much bigger for the future, assuming Bynum and Brown develop into what the Lakers believe they can. The other thing is due to moving Shaq the financial flexibility is there to bring in a FA or two in the next few years and can help add pieces to the puzzle for the Lakers. Phil Jackson did not come back to just coach a loser, he knows this team can win and he is out to win that 10th championship that eludes him so he can stick it to Red Auerbach. I know I believe in the Lakers and there are some others out there that do as well. All I can say is the title that the Lakers win with Kobe leading the team will be the sweetest one because no one thinks we can do this but I know we can.

Picks of the Week Update

I have to vent regarding this one, I got the Texas-Texas A&M over in at 69.5 after it opened at 70. I showed up to work early today and saw the line had moved again down to 68.5. For you sports gamblers you know where this one is heading. The game ended at 69, 40-29. Just ridiculous. Texas A&M went for two on two different occasions along with Texas having one missed extra point as well as a 33 yard FG. Damn it!

At least Arizona easily covered the +10 as they only lose 23-20. Since I didn't watch the game I saw that Willie Tuitama got hurt and I'd be willing to say that the Wildcats probably would've pulled that game out if he didn't get hurt. Arizona State is now bowl eligible with the win and should fill up some garbage Pac-10 bowl slot.

LSU almost got upset by Arkansas, I just don't get this team, my boy Marcus thinks they are extremely overrated but on the other hand I just see so much talent on this squad and I don't understand what is wrong with them at times. We shall see how good they really are when they will probably take on Georgia in the SEC Championship game next week.

Slow Day

Friday after Thanksgiving and I'm at work but there's not much to do. Everyone gets 4 day weekends I get 1 day this weekend and I'm thankful for that, how sad is that? Hope everyone enjoys your 4 day weekend, bastards. I definitely needed a day off after all the work and traveling I did the past few weeks to recharge for this upcoming week since I will be at work all day on Saturday and Sunday and the rest of next week since the end of the month is here.

Spent Thanksgiving Day at my aunt's house and did the usual Thanksgiving meal there. The only difference is this year my cousin recently adopted a baby girl from China so there was an addition to the family. Me and my brother pretty much watched her as we were also watching the Backyard Brawl, Pittsburgh vs West Virginia on the side. The crazy part was she had so many toys, it was ridiculous. I don't remember having that many toys period while growing up and these were all pretty high tech, granted times have changed. My parents know I like taking care of little kids so, my mom especially, when they see me playing with kids always bring up the when are you getting married and then you can have your own kids. This has been getting louder and louder over the past year or so cause my mom probably wants something else to do besides play golf. Then my brother has a good time rubbing it in as well but that's definitely the last thing on my mind at this time. Hell I don't even have any prospects at this moment so there's no use in even bringing it up at this point. There is something behind this though, a few weeks ago my family went out to eat dinner at a restaurant where we are frequent customers. My mom started talking with the waitress who we have known for a while and then they get to talking about their kids and then the waitress' daughter is around my age so my mom gets all excited and starts talking about setting us up, which is definitely the last thing I would ever agree to. Anyways they keep talking and then my mom says "I heard she's really pretty" and I just shook my head in disapproval since I thought how many times do you think mom's have tried to pull that line on their sons? Of course, it's not like a mom will call their daughter or a friend's daughter ugly when describing them to someone else. Damn, I'm really bored to have brought that story out.

Anyways, working late again this weekend but I do have something to look forward to tomorrow. KEGGER!!! I'll probably have something else to write later but if not here's to showing up to work hungover on Sunday and enjoy the rest of your weekends, all you that have 4 day weekends, you bastards.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Picks of the Week

Once again it's time for Picks of the Week, being the last regular season weekend of college football, and it's not even a full slate, here are the picks. Last week went 3 out of 5 again to keep my above 500 mark.

Texas vs Texas A&M Over 69.5

Texas has been on fire this year, covering the spread and the over in pretty much every game, minus that Oklahoma State game I believe. There will be a lot of points put up in this one as Mack Brown will probably keep Vince Young in a little longer than normal so he can get some more stats for his Heisman campaign. Although Reggie Bush had the ridiculous performance last week, some feel that due to the time difference and a lot of voters not seeing that game a big game by Vince here and in the Big XII Championship game could still earn him the Heisman.

Arizona +9.5 @ Arizona State

These are two teams that are going in opposite directions. Ever since Willie Tuitama took over a few weeks ago this is a different team than the one that started the year. The Wildcats will be looking to end the season strong giving them momentum for next year. I think the 9.5 is a lot of points to be laying so I'm taking the Cats.

UAB -5 @ East Carolina

Darnell Hackney is a stud, he proved that last week by beating one of my picks last week and this week they play a pretty bad East Carolina team. I expect the Blazers to take this one easily.

South Florida -8 @ Connecticut

USF is playing great ball lately and they will continue to do so as they still control their own destiny and could earn the Big East's BCS berth by winning out. UConn has been on a downward trend this season and I don't see that stopping yet.

NC State -3 vs. Maryland

This is an elimination game as the winner will become bowl eligible and the loser will stay home for the holidays. NC State has won 3 of their last 4 while Maryland has lost 3 of their last 4. I'll take the Wolfpack and the homefield in this matchup as NC State just has more talent than Maryland and they should pack their bags to go bowling this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Week 12 Poll

Since I was at The Game, wasn't able to watch any of the early games and only some of the late afternoon games. Watched the beginning and end of Georgia Tech-Miami and all of the Fresno State - USC game, after Fox Sports Detroit finished showing the Pistons getting blown out.

1. Texas - They were off this week but I still think they have played the best football this season, some may keep USC up top because they haven't been beaten yet but each poll is supposed to be based upon how they are playing up to this point in the season, in my book anyways and last year or the year before doesn't count.

2. USC - Fresno State gave them all they could handle, except no one can handle Reggie Bush, as much as I hate USC and cannot stand their "fans" the one exception I have is Reggie Bush, he is just unbelievable.

3. LSU - handled Ole Miss as they should have, they have got to be kicking themselves for blowing that game to a Tennessee squad that is not even going bowling. I still think they are the best one-loss team in America and I think I'm in the minority but I would love to see a Texas-LSU matchup.

4. Virginia Tech - given a second chance thanks to the Miami choke job, they will play in the ACC Championship game with a shot at the automatic BCS berth that comes with it.

5. Penn State - handled Sparty as they should have, a very good team but I still think a notch below LSU and VT.

6. Auburn - best two-loss team in the country, just killed Bama and they are on a roll. If not for Jon Vaughn's 1-6 game against LSU they could have been knocking on the Rose Bowl door.

7. Ohio State - Tressel owns Carr, if not for special teams they should have just ran us out of our own house.

8. Notre Dame - functional DNP versus Syracuse.

9. Georgia - game against the Yellow Jackets looks tougher than it did last week.

10. Miami - offense did not show up again and the D did as much as they could.

11. UCLA - DNP

12. Oregon - whooped on the Beavers in the fog, for some reason I just don't think they are all that great.

13. Fresno State - it's very difficult for a team to lose and move up in the rankings but the Bulldogs earn that distinction this week. Gutsy performance at SC, if only Pinegar didn't force that throw on first down. Would have loved to see OT in that game, although it probably would've just been a continuation of the Reggie Bush Show.

14. Alabama - is it all due to the lack of Prothro? The D definitely wasn't up to par on Saturday.

15. West Virginia - one loss so I guess that counts for something but they play in the Big East which is probably the reason they only have one loss.

16. Louisville - a disappointment this year as they had aspirations for a BCS bowl but have gotten things back on track. Can still put up points in bunches and remember Brian Brohm is only a sophomore while the other Bush, Michael is a junior.

Monday, November 21, 2005

To think it couldn't get any worse

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and you can definitely see it in this one. The whole week I was getting myself hyped up and excited for this game but for some reason I just didn't feel right. I don't know what it is, the years of Llloyd ball, or the expectations that are never met but I just had a bad feeling about this game as much as I tried to cover it up and get myself ready. The first drive when Troy Smith just let them down the field didn't help that one bit. Even the missed extra point didn't help. I knew it was something that happens in a Michigan-Ohio State game, something that would come back to haunt one of the teams, and I had a bad feeling it would be us, I was right when Ohio State was on their last drive down 2. I just had this feeling that Huston, what kind of kicker needs 6 years of eligibility?, would come back and hit a GW FG. Well I got half of it right as we were to lose the game regardless. My brother tells me after the game he saw it happen, he saw that he knew the Buckeyes were going to score a TD to take the lead and not win with a FG. Sort of like the feeling I had last year at the Rose Bowl as we were waiting for the kick, I just knew that we were going to get a piece of the kick but it would still somehow make it through the uprights.

For some reason we've allowed opening scoring drives all through the past two years, I believe the O-Zone went into that in detail in their preview and once again it happened. Then we settled down and held them to 2 FG's for the rest of the half, we made a great play on the defensive end to get a TD back and considering how awful our running game was in the first half I was thrilled to only be down 5 at the half.

I knew we would not be able to run successfully on the OSU D, not many have and I definitely didn't expect us to do so, and I knew any chance we had at being successful ended when Mike Hart got hurt again and sat out the rest of the game. Considering our lack of success running the ball I was definitely pleased with our playcalling minus a few calls that definitely stand out. One was running Henne on a QB draw on third down while we were up 6. That play made no sense whatsoever and I cannot believe that it actually happened. The other was the 4th and 4 pooch punt which has been discussed by many others already but everyone in that stadium knew when Rivas came out for the 51 yarder into the wind it was a pooch punt. My problem with that is, Gutierrez is the backup QB, it is The Game, our D was playing a terrible soft zone the entire game and would eventually get scored upon, why do you know at the very least run a fake FG there, anyone else disagree with me there?

The constant quick passes, screens, etc were great and was exactly what we needed to do to negate the LB's of Ohio State as much as possible. There were some plays that I hadn't seen, or don't remember seeing, that I liked such as the fake right, pass left play that we used a couple times. I think the O played as well as it could have without a running game and the QB draw on 3rd down just makes no sense to me and never will until the day I die.

The D started out ok but I definitely didn't like what I was watching. Zone, zone, zone, zone and more zone. I understand the need to play some zone due to the not wanting Holmes or Ginn to burn you but would it have killed anyone to play some of those guys a little bit tigher, maybe not run a zone once every few plays to keep them guessing? Granted I didn't watch the replay and will not, because as much as I've gotten better at accepting losses in the past few years I am definitely not at the point where I can watch video of a loss again, as much as people said the Rose Bowl was so great I never watched that again because it would cause too much pain and make me cry again.

With the performance that the D was showing I know I wasn't the only one uneasy at the fact of only having a 9 point lead. Have to give it to special teams, or is it Ted Ginn? For keeping us in the game with the extra field position we were able to get on his two muffed punts, if only we could've gotten one of them.

I've had this discussion with many of my friends and we all agree that we achieve the less with the most in the country. This distinction used to belong to Mack Brown and Texas but I think we have taken it over. Many people had ridiculously high expectations for this year, I thought our preseason ranking of 4 was too high and we definitely have proven that right again this year. The only thing keeping Michigan from being the biggest disappointment of 2005 is thanks to the choke job of Fat Phil and those criminals down at Tennessee, speaking of which did anyone else see this? From RJYH. Congrats to Vandy for beating Tennessee, it was awesome and helped make my day better.

Now where do we go from here? Big Recruiting weekend and of all the big names that showed up I thought none would come, and probably even less of a chance following that performance. We did receive one commitment from WR Greg Mathews from Orlando. A tall WR who can go up and get it, the Braylon Edwards portion of the offense that we were lacking this year. There are questions about his speed as he was clocked at 4.72 but I'm not too concerned about that, we have the burners that we need in Bass, Breaston and Manningham so he'll add another dimention to the offense that we definitely need back.

After Miami's loss to Georgia Tech I think that opens up another BCS berth to Ohio State which would then jump Wisconsin into the Capital One Bowl and us to the Outback Bowl. Although even if Ohio State somehow does not get an at-large berth I still think we end up in the Outback Bowl since Ohio State would take the Capital One berth and Wisconsin already played in the Outback last year. That scares me considering this team is not very good and to tell me we would have to play the loser of the SEC championship game, or Auburn or Alabama in a bowl game does not appeal to me.

In closing I think the biggest problem I have with our coaching is the complete predictability it has at all times. Ian from Sexy Results says it best on his latest entry:

- I can't say why, but there are probably more Michigan football blogs than any other kind. And I have to give them credit; I've never really followed them all that much before this year, but thanks to your blogging in 2005, I knew exactly how they were going to blow the Ohio State game."

Whenever I get asked by my friends out here what is so wrong with your program, you just went to back to back Rose Bowls, everyone has down years, that is my main problem. Any one of the Michigan bloggers who are big fans but obviously do other things with their life outside of football can tell how what plays we are going to run and when and see that they get stuffed by the opposing defense. Now tell me an opposing defensive coordinator who gets paid to do this for a living and spends hours upon hours studying film won't be able to pick up on it as well? Something must be done, some changes must be made and soon, otherwise we could be heading down the wrong path.

Everything but the game, why is that the theme this year?

So for the second time this year I took the red eye from LAX and headed out to DTW to watch my beloved Wolverines take on one of their rivals. Once again I came back having a great time with my friends but disappointed due to our unsuccessful performance on the year. I'll have my thoughts on the game later as I'm still trying to gather all my thoughts on it.

Flying in on Saturday morning was met by the guys at 610 all wide awake and watching the 100th Game on DVD. Quite impressive considering it was still 6 am. Just hung out with everyone around there while still trying to get some rest and eventually headed out towards the game. Went to Revelli to watch the drumline perform before the game but I am never doing it again. It is dope and all but I am now 0-2 when I do so, never watched it while I was in school and I lived right there on S. Division so I'm convinced that's what cost us both losses this year.

Post Game went to BW3's to catch the Penn State-Michigan State game and have a couple beers. Steven was so tired at this point, he barely slept on the plane and didn't sleep at all before the game, he just hit the wall and shut down. Went back to the house to change and head to Rick's but he just crashed. Got early to Rick's so we wouldn't have to deal with the big crowd and just started drinkin and watching football. Eventually everyone else started showing up and drank more, pretty much the story of the night. Until out of nowhere Steven showed up. For those of y'all that know my brother, he is a rock when he sleeps and will not get up for anything but he miraculously woke up and somehow found Rick's, and considering he's never been to Ann Arbor, I couldn't believe it. Because of this we had to drink more and it was all good. Watched the end of the Miami-Georgia Tech game and then caught the USC-Fresno State game, as much as I hate USC, as anyone that knows me does, and as much as I wanted them to lose, it was just unbelievable to watch Reggie Bush singlehandedly win the game. The other news of the night at Rick's was that Derek Jeter showed up for the 2nd night in a row. Granted whenever I see an athlete or other celebrity, even if I don't like them that much, I will go up and say hi or try to get an autograph because I collect way too much random memorabilia. But I was so into the USC-Fresno State game that I really didn't care and just sat there and watched the whole game, while Lovi went to go say hi to him. After the game ended took Steven to Backroom for pizza and went and crashed.

Sunday morning woke up and headed again to BW3's to watch NFL for the early games. Steven, who for some unknown reason decided to become a Lions fan, was pumped to see the Lions and I was ready to watch the Raiders take on the Skins. At least the Raiders won and then said bye to all the guys we were watching the games with and headed to do some souvenir shopping, like I need anymore Michigan clothing but I did. Finally found what I was looking for and got it, the Tom Brady 2000 Michigan Orange Bowl Jersey with the patches and everything. I told myself I'm cutting down on jersey shopping but damn that shit looked so sweet I had to cop it.

So a great time for the weekend, minus the football and I need to get Steven to a win, he's now 0-3 at Michigan games, although those are the last two Rose Bowls and Saturday's game. Probably won't be getting out to AA again until next football season, if that, so I enjoyed the weekend as much as I could despite the play on the field.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Here we go

Less than 24 hours to kickoff, actually 24 hours from now I will be ecstatic or depressed depending on the outcome of The Game. I don't know much else to say about it, it is the greatest rivalry in all of sports and I am fortunate enough for tomorrow to be my 7th consecutive time I will be attending the game. I have been thinking about this the entire week and now the time has almost come. I am exhausted from this week of work and its only going to get worse but it will be all worth it. I'll probably end up sick next week because of this but it will be all good. Once we hit the ground at DTW tomorrow the adrenaline will start flowing and I'll be all ready to go.

There's another new good Michigan site out there The M Zone, with a group of guys that contribute to the site. Right now they've got discussion going on their favorite Michigan-Ohio State games here and here.

Lost in amid all the talk and hype of The Game is the opening of the Michigan Basketball season tonight against Central Michigan along with the HUGE commitment of Class of 2007 SG Alex Legion. This is another big time commitment Coach Amaker has gotten within the state and its great to see the in-state kids wanting to stay and play for the Maize and Blue again. This year should be the year we start getting back to where we were on the hardwood and that will only attract more talent to Ann Arbor.

In addition to being a huge weekend on the field, it is off the field as well as numerous top recruits are coming into town this weekend for the game. Although our recruiting hasn't been up to par so far this year, we can try to make up for it with a great showing this week. Some of these guys are longshots but at least they're coming for a visit and giving us a shot. Top 100 players including Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow, Greg Banks, Jai Eugene, Jim Barrie, Micah Johnson and Carlos Brown are all expected to be in town as well as some just outside the top 100, Thaddeus Gibson, Toryan Smith and Greg Mathews.

To finish off, this is from Collegefootballnews.com but posted on Foxsports.com regarding Michigan-Ohio State, which they name the #1 rivalry in college football:

Alabama-Auburn is meaner and Florida State-Miami has meant more, but no rivalry has a better combination of history, animosity and championship implications than Michigan vs. Ohio State.

How dominant have these two teams been in Big Ten play? Since 1913, the two teams have combined for all or part of 70 Big Ten titles and the have finished 1-2 in the standings 15 times since 1968. Everyone else, including the University of Chicago, has combined for 81 Big Ten titles. Michigan's all-time Big Ten winning percentage (not counting 2004) is .730; Ohio State's is .716. Number three? Illinois at .462. In other words, the showdown between these two has meant everything to the Big Ten race for almost a century.

After all the anticipation of this week, it's finally time. It's time for the team to put its mark on this season and bring it into the memory of the Michigan faithful. Sure we thought we would be playing for a Rose Bowl this year but it didn't happen but after all the shit that this team has gone through with the injuries and how we started this season we can make this one a memorable one. This team could have folded and gone down the drain, hell you can read my posts from earlier in the year, I had serious doubts if this team could make a bowl game this year but they have not stopped playing and for that I am proud. A lot of other teams in college football would have let this season go down the drain but we have not. To close the year with a 5 game winning streak and go into a pretty good bowl game would be a great stepping stone for next season. 60 minutes, 60 minutes on Saturday will help determine where this team can go down in the history of Michigan teams. It can be known as the team that was completely overrated and did not come close to meeting any expectations or it can be known as the season that almost slipped away but came fighting back and never gave up in beating Michigan State and Ohio State as underdogs. Some may say I'm overdoing it, which I probably am because of the emotion I'm feeling right now but I know if we beat Ohio State tomorrow this would be the furthest place I thought we would be when we fell to 3-3 and losing at home to Minnesota.

60 minutes, one mind, one heart, one team, just execute. Let's do it Boys! Go Blue!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Getting closer...

We're now less than 48 hours until kickoff and work is just killin me. There's so much shit to do it's insane but all I can think about is this game. I could go on and on about matchups and scenarios and whatnot but it would be no use, this is The Game and all that is thrown out the window. The O-Zone, although they are Buckeyes do a great job of analysis here, hopefully they are right on their prediction.

Considering how much I live and breathe sports, people always ask me for predictions but I never give them out. Reason being I am not very good at calling these things correctly and also because whenever I have given a prediction out my team has lost. This has happened a couple times with the Lakers so I try not to jinx it with Michigan. Speaking of jinxes, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer has a great thread going on people taking the blame for the Tide's loss last week to LSU, it also includes a great story about a Texas fan who ended up breaking up with his girlfriend because he realized she was the reason they were losing games.

One more day of work and back to Ann Arbor. Go Blue!

Picks of the Week

Well you knew it was bound to happen sooner or later went 2 out of 5 for my first under 500 week but it brings my season to 18 out of 30 for 60%. So here we go:

Eastern Michigan -6.5 @ Buffalo

Eastern is coming off of 3 tough losses in a row with two of the three losses coming by one point. They will be fired up and ready to go as they take on one of the worst teams in college football in Buffalo who miraculously picked up a win last week despite only 204 yards total offense. Eastern has a solid WR in Eric Deslauriers and I think they'll take this game on the road.

Nevada -9.5 @ Utah State

Nevada covered easily last week over a bad New Mexico State team and Utah State isn't that far behind them. Nevada is 5-1 in conference and still fighting for a possible share of the conference title as they control their own destiny with Fresno State looming the week after. I expect the Wolfpack to keep scoring as they have all year averaging almost 33 points per game and keep their hope alive for a WAC Championship.

Virginia Tech -7 @ Virginia

Virginia Tech got clobbered by Miami their last time out but they are still a great team. They are also still in the running for a BCS at large berth with only one loss and are out to prove that they are one of the elite teams in the nation that we thought they were before the Miami game. Look for Marcus Vick to get back on track as the Hokies will take care of business in Charlottesville.

UTEP -7.5 vs. UAB

Mike Price's squad can clinch the West Division of Conference USA with a win against UAB. Jordan Palmer, Carson's younger brother, has done a good job this season with over 2600 yards passing and 23 TD's. His main target is Johnnie Lee Higgins who is also having a solid year and combine that with former UCLA RB Tyler Ebell, you've got a potent offense that is currently 12th in the nation in avg points per game at 35.2. Darnell Hackney will try to bring the Blazers back to 500 on the year but look for the Miners who are unbeaten at home this year to stay that way.

Kansas State -2.5 vs. Missouri

Kansas State will not be bowl eligible for the 2nd straight year but they have plenty to play for as Coach Bill Snyder who made a program out of nothing at Manhattan, Kansas will be coaching his last game for the Wildcats. They have been a disappointment the past few years as they were national championship contenders only a few years prior. Although the all-time NCAA leader in rushing for QB's Brad Smith leads the Tigers into town I think the Wildcats will send out Coach Snyder with a win in his last game.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This is Rivalry...

Extremely busy at work lately so not much time to post but for now I'll post this passage which was originally from ESPN.com when they had Sportscentury back in 2000 about the best Sports Rivalries and they named Michigan-Ohio State as the #1 Rivalry in all of sports. This pretty much sums it up:

"When Ohio Stadium opened in 1922, Michigan spoiled the party with a 22-0 victory. The rivalry was heated in the early days as both have been long-time college football powers. But it got even hotter in 1969, when Bo Schembechler took over as Michigan's coach and upset Woody Hayes' No. 1-ranked, undefeated Buckeyes. Four times in the next six years, both teams were ranked in the top five when they met. In 1970 and 1973, both were undefeated (they tied 10-10 in '73). From 1970 through 1975, Michigan entered without a loss every year. The Wolverines won just once. Ohio State was 9-0-1 in 1993, 11-0 in 1995 and 10-0 in 1996. The Buckeyes lost each time. That is rivalry."

Only 3 days left, Let's Go Blue!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Week 12 Poll

Getting caught up in Michigan-Ohio State week, I can't wait for the game but here's my Power 16 for this week:

1. USC - just another walk in the park since Ayoob is terrible, have two decent tests in front of them in Fresno State and UCLA and I can hope they'll lose but they won't.

2. Texas - just rippin it still, looks like they'll be joining SC at the Rose Bowl and make it back to back trips to Pasadena, too bad we couldn't hold up our end of the bargain.

3. Miami - Wake fought with them for a while but probably the post Va Tech hangover, is ready to jump in case a miracle happens up top.

4. LSU - the Bayou Bengals pull out the win in Tuscaloosa, really kicking themselves for blowing that game against Tennessee.

5. Virginia Tech - still have a shot at a BCS bid with a good showing against UVA.

6. Penn State - one win to the BCS, who would've that that coming into the season.

7. Alabama - although the loss hurt, most likely they weren't going to the Rose Bowl, can still have an argument for the BCS with a win in the Iron Bowl.

8. Notre Dame - pretty much a lock for the BCS which is a shame, if Va Tech and Alabama win out one of them will get screwed.

9. Ohio State - Buckeyes are rolling putting up points never seen before in the Tressel era, hopefully we'll put a stop to that this week.

10. Auburn - impressive win between the hedges, didn't think they could do it but they continue to surprise and Kenny Irons is a beast.

11. Georgia - a rough one to lose on Saturday night, maybe Paul Oliver should have just let him score to give Shockley a chance.

12. UCLA - bounced back after the ridiculous beating they took. Drew Olson is playing unbelievable football and my boy Marcedes Lewis is the man.

13. West Virginia - can't see anyone else to put here, haven't had a chance to see them and it is the Big East but I guess we'll wait to see them against South Florida in the game that could determine the Big East BCS bid.

14. Oregon - still not very impressed with this team, yes they only have one loss to USC but when I see them I just don't see what's so great about them, especially in going down to the wire against Wazzu, gotta give them credit though for hanging tough after losing Clemens.

15. Fresno State - the first step in between SC and the Rose Bowl, Pat Hill has wanted this game for years, he'll get it finally and we'll see if he's right about this team being one of his best ever.

16. Michigan - yeah it might be a homer pick, but I really can't justify putting TCU over us or any other school. We've rebounded after the horrible start and with two weeks off for Mike Hart hopefully he can lead us to a win over the Buckeyes. If by some miracle Sparty knocks off Penn State, The Game will determine the Big Ten BCS bid and after starting 3-3 that was the last thing on my mind.

The countdown begins...

Continuing on with the Ohio State theme, Brian from MGoBlog has posted his horror story which is just unbelievable to think that some people are capable of such things. From his comments also there is a story from Michael Taylor, former Michigan quarterback who is originally from Ohio and also can't stand the Bucknuts. To think what those people did to our team last year making them wait outside their locker as dogs searched their bags and calling it standard procedure is ridiculous. I don't even know where to start so I'll just end it with a quote from our own Super Mario Manningham, another Ohio native:

"I don't like Ohio State … I'm not going to lie. I don't like them at all. I went down to their camp, and they don't keep it real. I feel like I'm at home when I'm in Ann Arbor."

Only 4 days left...Go Blue!

Monday, November 14, 2005

It's that time of year again...

Once again it is late November, time for the 102nd meeting between Michigan and Ohio State. In what was called by ESPN as the best rivalry of the century the two rivals will meet in Ann Arbor on Saturday with a possible share of the Big Ten Title on the line. If by some miracle Sparty can beat Penn State on Saturday then the winner of The Game will have the Big Ten BCS berth.

People around here, California, have no idea as to the importance of this rivalry. The things that I've been a part of and heard about are insane and people out here have no clue that sports can make people so crazy since everyone here is just a bandwagon jumper. Here's some of the highlights if you want to call them that from me or people I know about this game and rivalry:

  • Going into Columbus for the first time my sophomore year at Michigan we stop to get food at a Bob Evans and just like it is in movies the place quiets down and everyone stares at us as 4 Michigan fans are seated at this restaurant in Ohio.
  • Same trip on the way back from Ohio, we won that year so we could stay in the state for a little while longer, we stop to get food at Ponderosa Steakhouse, as we walk in a father is eating dinner with his daughter, no older than 9-10 years old and says to her "Look it's Michigan people." Like we have some sort of disease or something.
  • A friend of mine on the way to the game gets flipped the bird by a little kid, meaning like 8 years old and his dad pats him on the head and says "Good Job"
  • This past year in Vegas during the summer I'm walking into the Mirage as I walk in head to toe in Michigan gear, my good luck gambling gear, an old grandma easily 60+ yells at me "Fuck Michigan!"
  • The one that trips people out is the year Ohio State won the National Championship you can see their crowd in Tempe and read lips as they pan the crowd following the game people are yelling "Fuck Michigan!" Like we have any relevance at that point, that's how much they care about us.
  • On that national championship ring it does not have the score of the Miami National Championship game but it has the score of the Michigan game.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, I am scheduled to go to the game again this year for the 7th consecutive year. As terrible as a place that Columbus is I have been there 3 times and will go as long as I can get tickets because this game means so much. Last year I was not planning on going to the game because I would not wish anyone to have to go to Columbus voluntarily but my boy Daly had an extra ticket and he caught me at the right time. I had just finished reading The 100 Year War which detailed the rivalry and the history behind it. It got me so pumped up, even though I told myself I would never go to Columbus again I had to do it. So I booked my red-eye flight from LA to Detroit, got picked up in Detroit and drove down to Columbus in time for the game. This rivalry means that much and there have not been as many sports moments that come close to my sophomore year in 2000 when we went down to the Horseshoe and beat Ohio State. Running down those stairs with all my fellow Wolverines chanting "It's Great to Be a Michigan Wolverine" is one of my greatest sports memories ever and I hope to have that feeling again.

Two years ago was the 100th game with a Rose Bowl Berth on the line and when we won that game we rushed the field. There are not many opportunities to rush the field at Michigan because we are expected to win most of our games, which is what makes our constant early season losses more frustrating but back to the point, and we did that for the 100th game as we beat Ohio State and went to the Rose Bowl. Just like it should the Game determined the Big Ten Championship as it does most years and possibly could this year. When I first saw this picture published it just made me smile as I knew I had been a part of history.

My brother is going with me for his first game at the Big House, when we were younger it was always a constant struggle for the TV on Saturday morning as my parents slept. I wanted to watch Michigan football, he wanted to watch the same Power Rangers re-run that had been played 20 times and it would inevitably turn into a shouting match then my mom would wake up and my brother would storm out of the room. Now on Saturday mornings we still have the same shouting matches and wake my mom up, except now we do it because we're watching the game together as I have turned him into a Michigan fan. It may be celebration yelling, complaining about the playcalling or even disagreements between he and I over personnel but at least we're on the same page as to what's important to watch on Saturday mornings now. Hopefully we can pull it out and he can truly feel the greatness that I know and love that is Michigan Football. It's Great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

Now only two remain...

For the people like me who can't stand the BCS and want there to be change in college football Saturday was the end, for this season at least, barring a collapse by either one of the top two teams coming into the season. Chances are it could happen considering never in the history of the BCS have the top 2 teams gone wire to wire but this year seems like the year the streak will end. I can still hope that either Fresno State or UCLA will knock off USC, but I doubt it will happen. Maybe Texas A&M could upset Texas to cause a frenzy among the 1 loss teams but can't expect that either. I don't know where I'm going with this but all I know is I want a playoff within the structure of the bowl system but I doubt I'll ever see that in my lifetime.

Great weekend of games as usual as the SEC was upset city with the lower ranking team winning a lot of those games in that conference. Steve Spurrier was able to defeat his old squad and LSU knocked Alabama from the rank of the unbeatens. The best game was the Auburn-Georgia game though, for those that did not watch it you missed out. An unbelievable game, made that much better by being broadcast in HD, the one good thing about the CBS SEC game is that it is always broadcast in HD, if only ABC would start doing it as well.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What the hell is a Hoosier?

The Indiana Hoosiers come into town tomorrow with 4 wins and needing two out of two to make a bowl in Terry Hoeppner's first season in Bloomington. The Hoosiers best chance comes in the form of James Hardy a big WR who could cause some problems but due to his injuries I doubt he'll make much of an impact. Although Michigan could come slow out the gate due to the bye week I don't think it will be a problem since the team should know we are still fighting for a Big Ten Title. I bet most of the week has focused on Ohio State which it should and I don't expect this game to be that close. Barring some sort of meltdown, which would cause me to experience a similar meltdown, I can't imagine this game being that close. Indiana probably will cover but not by much since the spread is now at 24.5. The Hoosiers did keep it close for a while against Ohio State and I expect a similar situation as IU will hang around for a quarter and a half or so until we pull away.

I'm not gonna get too far ahead of myself for fear of jinxing us, although some may say I already have, but the main thing is Lamarr Woodley and Mike Hart haven't played the past two games and I don't think they should play much if at all this week either. I understand the philosophy of wanting to get them some game action to get back into it but I do not believe there should be any extended playing time for these two for fear of reaggravating whatever was bothering them in the first place. We will definitely need those two when the Bucknuts come to town and there's no need to risk them this week. Give Grady, Jackson and Martin some more carries and give Mike maybe 5-10 carries at most, and I don't even want to do that.

Step 1 of the most unlikely Michigan BCS team ever takes place on Saturday, beat the Hoosiers, step 2 we need the Hawkeyes to beat the Badgers in Madison, on Alvarez's last home game, doubtful but I can hope and we're halfway there, as always Go Blue!

Picks of the Week

Here's what everyone's been waiting for my five picks for this week, once again went 3 out of 5 so that brings the season total to 16 out of 25 which is great considering my sports gambling history, let's hope I can keep it up.

NC State +4.5 @ Boston College

NC State gave Virginia Tech a tough match to open the season and made people keep an eye on them once the ACC season came around. Unfortunately they didn't do much that is until last week when they went into Tallahassee and defeated the Seminoles, a game I picked that covered easily. Since Marcus Stone has taken over for Jay Davis the Wolfpack hasn't lost, although that is only two games, and Andre Brown has emerged as a big time threat at RB. BC is coming off a tough loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill and they will be fired up but I think NC State is hitting its peak now and they do need 2 of the next 3 to become bowl eligible. In my gambling days I would say take the +170 ML and run with it but to play it safe I'll say take the points. Remember Chuck Amato is still undefeated ATS as a road underdog and that's what he is tomorrow.

Northwestern +19 @ Ohio State

Northwestern is one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten and have just recently been slowed down in the past two weeks. I think getting 19 is way too much and will take the Wildcats and the points down in Columbus. Super freshman Tyrell Sutton is coming back to his home state where he was Mr. Football last year but the Buckeyes did not recruit him so he should come into this game with a chip on his shoulder. The Wildcats still hold outside hope of sharing the Big Ten title since they only have two conference losses and will give it a good fight. The Buckeyes demolished the Illini last week but as much as this game is important to them we all know they're looking ahead to next week at the Big House, Ohio State is 3-8-1 ATS in the past 12 years the week before Michigan and I don't expect that trend to change with a good Northwestern team coming into town.

Nevada -10 @ New Mexico State

Hal Mumme came to New Mexico State with thoughts of bringing back his high octane offense and it hasn't happened. NMSU has yet to win a game and aside from a 1 point loss to 2-6 Idaho, no other game has been closer than 17 points which happened twice. Their average margin of loss is 24.7 points per game and that shouldn't change with Jeff Rowe and Nichiren Flowers coming in. The same Idaho team that beat NMSU by 1, Nevada beat by 48. This one shouldn't be close.

Lousiana Tech -9 @ Idaho

Speaking of Idaho they are 9 point dogs to Louisiana Tech at home and I don't know much about either squad this year since Ryan Moats decided to go to the NFL early but we do know Idaho is awful. They let Washington beat them so it shouldn't be a problem for Louisiana Tech as well. Tech needs one more win to become bowl eligible and with Boise State and Fresno State on the schedule after this week they should come out ready to play since this is their best shot at getting that necessary 6th win.

Kansas @ Texas Over 55.5

Texas could easily cover the 33.5 point spread but they could also come out flat like they did against Oklahoma State. The thing we do know though is regardless Texas can put up the points and if Kansas some how gets an early lead we know that the Longhorns will come back firing like they did a few weeks ago in Stillwater. Vince Young and Co. should continue to rack up the points as they are now going for style points in Young's quest for the Heisman.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Week 11 Poll

A big weekend in college football as the number of unbeatens dropped from 5 to 3 and now USC and Texas are the big leaders heading down the stretch.

1. USC - just dominated Stanford from start to finish. As much as I hate them it is very impressive what they are doing.

2. Texas - another impressive showing although it was against Baylor, still think they will give USC a hell of a game.

3. Miami - yes they do have one loss but that was very early in the year but that D is so nasty and there aren't many teams I would pick against them right now.

4. Alabama - their D is stifiling but still have questions about their O, they can answer those in the next two weeks with LSU and Auburn, man I love watching SEC football.

5. Georgia - still think if Shockley was healthy they would be undefeated, a very good team on both sides and with him back I don't think they lose again this year although Auburn will try to have a say in that this week.

6. Virginia Tech - did not think Miami could just dominate like that but I still believe they are better than any other team not in my top 5.

7. LSU - that blown game to Tennessee is coming back to haunt them right now, can make a big statement by winning at Alabama.

8. Notre Dame - good win even though Tennessee is really bad this year, as much as I hate to admit it, Zbikowski is a stud.

9. Penn State - dominated Wisconsin as expected, I highly doubt they will lose to Sparty next week but I can hope.

10. Ohio State - have a tough road to close with Northwestern and the Big One but they are capable of doing it.

11. Florida State - just a sick D, too bad Drew Weatherford did one of the best Chris Rix impersonations ever.

12. Auburn - rolling since the early loss to Georgia Tech, Kenny Irons is very underrated.

13. Florida - Vandy? I repeat, Vandy?

14. UCLA - I figured those slow starts would come back to haunt them but not in that way, if they're not careful it could be another late season Bruin collapse.

15. Oregon - still not impressed with them, I give more credit to Ayoob for getting them the win.

16. Fresno State - had one close loss to Oregon and are playing very well. Two huge weeks for Pat Hill and Co as Boise State comes to town and then he gets his shot at the big boys of USC.

Keepin it Gangsta

People that know me know that I can't stand U$C and their "fans" but this is awesome. I have to give them credit for this. From Crazy Trojan via EDSBS.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Here we go

Michigan had its bye week so there's not much to report from the football front. It came at a good time as we have a lot of players dinged up and the week of rest was probably very good. I am in the camp that says we should not risk any additional injury and should rest Lamarr Woodley and Mike Hart for Ohio State. Some may not agree with me but I'd bet that most would. We definitely need those guys to take on the stupid fucknuts and I can't wait for that game coming up in two weeks.

Basketball had an exhibition against Grand Valley State, had a huge let, let it almost slip away and won only by 8 points. It was very sloppy as there were over 20 turnovers but since it's the first game it's to be expected. Even though I've been saying this for years, my roommate from Michigan James could tell you that I have said it every year since he has known me but this is the year we make it back. I will be absolutely crushed if we do not. The talent is in place and these guys are now experienced I expect to not only make the tourney this year but at least win a game if not two. This team is talented enough to make the Sweet 16 hopefully someone at Michigan can overachieve for once.

The hockey team swept Notre Dame as they should have and are holding tight as the #3 team in the country. Expectations for Michigan Hockey are always very high and it doesn't matter if Montoya and Tambellini left early, every Michigan Hockey team should always be in the hunt for the National Championship and maybe we can bring home another one this year.

To close, there are two weekends left in the Big Ten and there are 5 teams still in the mix. Penn State has the edge with its throttling of Wisconsin followed by Ohio State who also only has one loss in conference play. Then there's Wisconsin, Michigan and Northwestern with two losses. As much as people say we don't deserve to play in a BCS game this year or we would get killed by another BCS team I want to play in one regardless every year so for all the Michigan fans who probably already know the scenarios needed to get to the BCS here it is anyways.

1. Michigan must win out their last two games (obviously)

2. Wisconsin must lose their game to Iowa this week.

3. Penn State must lose to Michigan State next week.

And there you have it the 3 step plan to Michigan's bid to the BCS. Sure it's not very likely but I will hold on to any hope I can cling to at this point of this disappointing season.

Huge games on tap this week in the SEC with Alabama taking on LSU and Georgia playing Auburn, only in the SEC can you have games like this week in and week out, it is awesome as a college football fan to watch these games. I want to eventually at some point of my life take a road trip to the big time SEC stadiums to watch games, especially the Cocktail party and the Iron Bowl. Saturday is just a few days away, time for the stretch run and Michigan to hopefully get at least a piece of their 3rd straight Big Ten Title.

Gettin Crunk

Great weekend, my first whole weekend off in three weeks and it was awesome. I unfortunately woke up early on Saturday on Michigan's bye week and couldn't go back to sleep so I watched the Iowa-Northwestern game, which ended up being a pretty good game. After this I was going to the store to pick up as much booze as possible. Then watched Penn State destroy Wisconsin, as I expected and watched in shock as UCLA was getting housed like no other. I thought their close games could come back to haunt them but definitely didn't expect anything like that. Headed over to get the keg afterwards and watched the rest of the Miami-Virginia Tech game, definitely didn't expect that and started boozing it up.

Then as people started showing up I started drinking more and the rest of the night is really hazy which was the goal. Had a great time, got fucked up and don't remember much else. Thanks for all that came by and celebrated, a few days early, my birthday, I was hoping not to pass out as early as I did but when taking shots of vodka in dixie cups it will hit you at the end.
There are some pictures on Andy's site.

Sunday consisted of doing laundry and nothing else. Watched football had some Portillo's and watched the Lakers game while drinking some more. Chris Mihm, welcome back could you do that once every 3 games? That's all we ask of you, hell even once every 4 games, stop teasing us with these double doubles only to fall off the face of the earth for the next month following. Smush Parker is the shit, I might have to go buy a Parker jersey. Finally Kobe Bryant is a stud, just unbelievable, that is all.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Where is the Defense??

It seems like a recurrent theme in all my favorite teams, Michigan, the Raiders and now the Lakers. Yesterday I was fortunate to have tickets to the home opener against the Suns so I took off for Staples Center excited after watching the season opener on Wednesday. But of course the same problems that we were fortunate to overcome on Wednesday, we were not so fortunate yesterday. The Lakers have no Defense to speak of. There is no interior presence and until someone steps up, I'm looking directly at you Kwame Brown, these teams are going to shit on us like Denver did with Dre Miller to Marcus Camby or like Steve Nash did throwing up oops to The Matrix all fucking night long. It is almost painful to watch. You just have to screen and roll and the screener will be left wide open in the middle of the paint for an easy lay in or a dunk.

The Lakers tried to just outscore the Phoenix Suns and that's not going to happen, especially on a night when 7 Suns scored in double figures, including all 5 starters, along with shooting over 50% from the floor and 43.5% from behind the arc. It just will not happen. Any time you score 112 points you should be able to win a game but no, the Lakers lack of defense allowed the Suns to put up 122 and send the Staples Center crowd home disappointed.

While on the topic of the Staples Center crowd, I have to say it's fucking pathetic. This is the reason I can't stand USC and the Angels and makes me ashamed to be known from the Los Angeles area. There are very few fans in LA, 99.9999999% of them are "fans." Yes that is in parenthesis, because they are just front running, bandwagon hopping shit heads. After the Lakers cut the deficit to 3 and then James Jones came down and popped a 3 to make it back up to 6 some people started to leave, once the Lakers came down and missed the subsequent 3 pointer after that over half of the crowd just got up and started to leave. That's the kind of shit I'm talking about, LA does not deserve sports like we have. A team like USC that is on the verge of possibly winning its 2nd and a half consecutive national championship cannot sell out games on a consistent basis. Before Carson Palmer led the team to an Orange Bowl 4 years ago no one gave two shits about USC around here. Now every other car has a USC sticker, license plate holder, flag and what not. People start talking shit about a program they know nothing about. Most people probably couldn't tell you a single defensive starter on this team minus Frostee Rucker since he's got a cool name. Because they're winning they get away with everything sexual assaults, battery, beating up teammates because of video games, it's ridiculous.

Back to the topic at hand, the lack of defense by the Lakers, it's extremely frustrating as this play can be seen from a mile away, the lack of rotation on the defense is just inexcusable. It's one thing to happen the first or second time, but to happen consistently through the game is unacceptable. We had been reading about how defense was being preached throughout the preseason and training camp yet we saw none of it on the floor last night. It's still early in the year but after seeing it for two straight games I hope something can be done. It doesn't help when your front line is Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm and the backups who have to give the starters a few minutes so they can rest include Stanislav "the Black Hole" Medvedenko and Brian Cook. Ronny Turiaf could have been a big help to this squad this year, hope he can have a good speedy recovery and we can contribute to next years squad.

I may sound extremely angry and bitter right now and that's because I am, since the middle of October there have been 19 days up until today and I have worked full days on 18 of them. I had one Sunday off on October 23rd and have worked every other day for at least 10-11 hours a day. This weekend, the weekend right before my 24th birthday, yes I know I'm getting old and that's another depressing topic but, I am going to get shit faced like no other this weekend and I can't wait. Plan for this weekend includes drinking, watching Penn State-Wisconsin, drinking, watching Virginia Tech-Miami, drinking, drinking and drinking. I know it may sound like an alcoholic but damn it I deserve it after these three weeks. Hopefully there'll be some funny shit to write about on Monday or I'll have no recollection of what happened but either way it should be good.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ndubi Ebi, proving the NBA right about the age limit

Normally I am a proponent of preps to pros as most of my favorite basketball players did so, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James but Ndubi Ebi shows why some kids just need to go to school to mature. You can read all the funny stuff that Ndubi Ebi, first round pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves straight out of High School said in an interview on Monday after he got released by the Wolves. For those that don't remember Ebi was a consensus top 5 player in his class and was committed to go play for Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats.

This guy goes on the list of True Fans as well

From Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, damn this guy goes up on the list with the 33 year prison sentence because of Larry Bird.

Picks of the Week

Well what do you know I started posting these picks after I lost a couple hundred online betting in September and in October when I just made picks but did not bet I ended up hitting 13 out of 20 for a remarkable 65% winning percentage. All the more impressive considering I am a terrible sports gambler so here are this week's picks so I'm sure it'll be time for me to start missing a lot but hopefully the good picks can continue.

Western Michigan -3 vs. Eastern Michigan @ Ford Field

Western has been on a tear as of late and they have the best WR in the country that no one knows about in Greg Jennings. Western demolished Ball St last week after they easily took care of a Omar Jacob-less Bowling Green squad so they are on a roll. Eastern Michigan is just really bad and at only 3 I think Western is going to take this one easy.

Oregon State -3.5 @ Washington

Oregon State is coming off a disappointing loss at home to Arizona which doesn't make me that confident about this pick. What does make me confident is the emergence of Yvenson Bernard who is only 10 yards short of 1000 yards rushing on the year and Matt Moore has been pretty good as well along with the fact that they are playing Washington one of the worst teams in the country who only has one win over the mighty Vandals of Idaho.

NC State +13.5 @ Florida State

Florida State's D is nasty but their O hasn't been that great this year, they are having problems running the ball and NC State has a pretty good D as well that gave Virginia Tech their toughest challenge of the year to date. The main reason I've got this is because Chuck Amato is 11-0 or something like that ATS as a road dog. All that matters is that 0, he has yet to lose a game ATS on the road and NC State always seems to play FSU tight so I definitely like this play here.

Central Michigan (+120) vs. Northern Illinois

CMU is on a roll winning 4 in a row while Northern Illinois is without AJ Harris as well as losing to lowly Ball State last week. Another interesting fact is CMU has yet to allow a second half TD in 5 games only giving up 18 points in the 2nd half total in those games. With this being a home game for the Chippewas I think it's better to forget the points and take the ML.

Iowa @ Northwestern Over 60.5

Northwestern is one of the top scoring offenses in the country, although Michigan surprisingly shut them down. A big part of this was the pressure that the front 4 of Michigan was able to get on Northwestern. Iowa has a very small front 4, their defense's strength lies in the LB corp which includes two probable first round NFL picks in Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge. Northwestern averages just under 35 points per game while Iowa averages just under 30 points per game. Add the averages up that's almost 65 and considering how deep it is into this season I'll take that bet. Both Brett Basanez and Drew Tate could go off at any moment and lead their teams to a bunch of points, hopefully both of them do.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Damn right Scoop

Scoop Jackson has written a piece regarding the dress code and Phil Jackson's recent comments about how NBA players are dressing in relation to this dress code. Now I love Phil Jackson for what he can do on the court as a coach and a teacher for the Lakers but these statements that he made just aren't right. I definitely don't look at Coach Jackson the same anymore after these comments. Part of this discussion has been brought on by one we're having on one of my Fantasy Basketball leagues message boards about what Coach Jackson said and about the dress code. This forthcoming rant ties into what I think of the NBA dress code that David Stern is trying to implement. I understand why they're trying to do it but I don't think it's necessary and I believe it is just going to hurt them in the long run. The NBA is trying to turn it's back on the younger kids and the "Hip-Hop Generation" by implementing these changes. The league has been embracing this style and the culture into the league and now they're trying to change it because the corporate crowd is afraid of the players. If not for this hip hop crowd they've been catering to the past few years do you think the NBA would sell as much merchandise as it does today? No way and the league is turning its back on the future consumers of their product. I grew up a huge Lakers fan but I didn't have as much access to games/tickets because my parents were working too much and tickets were a lot and I didn't want to ask my parents for that kind of money. But now I'm grown up still a huge sports fan and I spend most of my disposable income on sports related goods whether it be tickets, apparel, merchandise, etc. Sure the corporate dollar is necessary but losing out on a large portion of kids who will be their future consumers is even worse. Without the people wanting to watch the product there will be no corporate dollar because they are only there to capitalize on all the people that watch the games. The fans are where everything begins and they must not forget that.

When I was growing up jerseys were not that popular and not as readily available as they are today. But as I went through high school and college jerseys became more popular and me being the extreme sports fan that I am went on a jersey rampage. I now own over 50 jerseys and try to wear them whenever I can. The main problem I have with it is they make it seem that people who wear jerseys and chains and what not are going to end up in jail, especially with Coach Jackson's "prison garb" statement. He also attacks hip-hop saying that the players don't have long attention spans due to hip-hop. I take offense to this as I own many jerseys and I wear them out as much as I can listening to hip-hop. Because I dress that way is it more likely to make me commit a crime?

I take a lot of offense to this because this "prison garb" and way these "criminals" dress is the way I prefer to dress. Sure you can see from my head shot I'm wearing a jersey and got my hat cocked to the side. Because of this, only in certain necessary circumstances, go to places with dress codes. If a place will not let me in because I'm wearing a jersey I will not go there. If they believe my "image" is not welcome I will not go to that establishment. Like Allen Iverson in a TV interview said "They're targeting my generation -- the hip-hop generation." He added, "You can put a murderer in a suit and he's still a murderer." The article which is from the Washington Post continues and agrees with my point on lost money from this change:
"For players such as Iverson, who like many stars has a
successful clothing line that melds basketball and hip-hop, the dress-code edict
could cost money in missed marketing opportunities."

Scoop also points out in his article, echoing the sentiments of Iverson:
"Would you rather us be like Karl Rove or Tom DeLay or Lewis Libby, Phil? Would you rather your Lakers players and the rest of the ballers in the NBA present themselves more like Enron's Kenneth Lay or Jeff Skilling? Arthur Andersen's Joe Berardino? Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski? WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers?
Maybe you'd rather them dress like Catholic priests.

Define prison garb, yo.

Or maybe in your next comment about "us" will you single out Lil' Kim, use her as an example of the jail mentality that comes with hip-hop's influence, but conveniently fail to mention Martha Stewart?"

David Stern thinks that by making a dress code all the image problems of the league will go away and it won't. It's pointless to make it a dress code, instead make harsher penalties for off the court problems. You think making Qyntel Woods dress up in a sport coat is going to stop him from smoking weed? Joey from Straight Bangin echoes my thoughts exactly as he says :

"but does anyone here actually think that Darius Miles is going to stop getting blunted because the scent is going to ruin his new Brooks Brothers suit? Is a player going to drive slower or go home earlier or desert the Gold Club or stay off the Fred Smoot Floating House of Assignation just because he's rocking gators and Armani? Fine someone some serious money for getting arrested, getting a DUI, and terrorizing a girlfriend."

Some people ask why I care so much about this dress code it's because I can see myself in this situation at times as people will judge me by how I dress. Just because I like to wear throwbacks and jeans with my T-Mac II All Star Colorways and you want to judge me differently then Fuck You. The NBA players will be the same regardless of the way they dress, and forcing them to dress differently won't change that, just as white collar criminals dress more formally but that doesn't change the fact that they're criminals. I dress the way I do but I'm not out there committing crimes, I've ended up pretty good, graduated the best university in all the land, once again that's the University of Michigan for those that don't know, despite my "prison garb" since I decided to wear a different jersey to class every day at one point my senior year and went over a month. So I will always fight for my right to dress how I feel like it and for those of you that don't like that then fuck y'all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Zen Master Part II Begins

The NBA kicks off today but the Lakers will begin the season tomorrow at Denver followed by the home opener on Thursday versus Phoenix, which I will be attending. I have yet to go to a season opener so I'm definitely gettin excited for it. The Lakers waived Corie Blount today trimming their roster down to the limit of 15. With this last move it means that Laron Profit and Devin Green have both made the team which I am glad to hear. So tomorrow the Lakers starting lineup will probably look like this:

C- Chris Mihm
PF - Kwame Brown
SF - Lamar Odom
SG - Kobe Bryant
PG - Smush Parker

or at least that's what I hope it looks like. As only 12 can make the active roster there must be 3 inactive / NBDL players and with Luke Walton's hamstring injury there's one and probably Sasha Vujacic and Von Wafer will be sent down to the NBDL, hopefully. I'm very excited with Lamar Odom playing some point forward this year allowing him to handle the ball more and I am can't wait to get this season started and shut all the haters up. I expect Kwame to prove his worth with this change of scenery and hopefully we will not hit the injury bug like we did last year. I am excited for the future of this team and this franchise but I am not expecting that much this year. I expect 45 wins or so and a playoff berth in the lower end of the Western Conference. Depending on who we meet I would say we will probably get knocked out of the first round but could get lucky. Right now off the top of my head there are two main things I think will be necessary for success this year and beyond. First is Kwame Brown to show the skills that made him the #1 overall pick in the draft and second is the development of Andrew Bynum. I know a lot of Lakers fans are upset with the pick considering he's very raw and won't contribute for a couple years but I think it was the right pick for the franchise. Yes Kobe's window is closing soon but I believe that we will be ok with Odom and with the cap room that will be opening up in 2007 it will allow us to bring someone else in or take on a big contract to make the team better. I was among those that wanted an NBA ready player such as a Danny Granger for this team but that is just short sighted. As much as people bag on Mitch Kupchak I will give him a chance to see what he can do and hope he won't let me and the rest of Los Angeles down.

Week 10 Poll

Here's my Power 16 for week 10, decided to move USC back up and Texas down based on their respective performances. Although Texas struggled I still think they are better than Virginia Tech who handled BC pretty easily maybe it was the nasty ass jerseys? Hey it worked for Florida as well. But I'll go on the jersey rant later. Here it is:

1. USC - a dominant performance to put them back up top, you think Snoop agrees with me? Fo shizzle.

2. Texas - I guess they started reading all their press clippings, should get it back together they get Baylor this week.

3. Virginia Tech - Marcus Vick what can I say except for those jerseys are ugly as hell. Still look impressive we shall see how they look after the Hurricanes come to town.

4. Alabama - it was Utah St. and they did not feature Harold "The Show" Arceneaux, whatever happened to him? Heading to Starkville shouldn't be a problem.

5. UCLA - and I thought Michigan was going to give me a heart attack but damn the Bruins keep getting it done. Talk all you want about close games against shitty teams but they're still winning.

6. Miami - had a tough first half versus the Tar Heels but just killed em at the end, definitely the best one loss team in the country and can make a big statement by getting a W against the castrated Turkeys.

7. LSU - North Texas and Appalachian State?? You couldn't schedule the junior high school down the road or something? At least there's Alabama coming up in two weeks.

8. Georgia - I know most will have them slide farther but they almost won without DJ Shockley and they are that good with him in, with the bye coming up they should be ready with him down the stretch run, I expect them to win the SEC.

9. Notre Dame - DNP, Fat Phil and the convicts come to town, get the W say hello to the BCS.

10. Florida State - struggled with Maryland and they barely escaped with a W, Chuck Amato comes to town who knows what will happen.

11. Penn State - Bucky comes in with the winner having the inside track to the Big Ten's BCS bid, I think the Lions will take them down.

12. Ohio State - Bucknuts decide to to start playing in the 2nd half, holy shit I forgot how Fast Ted Ginn was.

13. Florida - was it the weekend of the crazy jerseys getting it done?

14. Oregon - the Ducks are quietly moving on up, just wait until they get their ridiculous looking jerseys in a game and no I am not talking about their highlighter jerseys which are already bad enough.

15. Wisconsin - Brian Calhoun, you're ready to go to the NFL, no need to spend an additional year in the Big Ten.

16. Auburn - time to get revenge on Kentucky for all those brutal beatings on the hardwood.