.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Westsider Rider

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Interesting note I heard this morning

Just remembered something I heard on the radio this morning regarding USC and Coach Pete Carroll. I know a lot of Michigan fans have always complained about the supposed focus on the Big Ten and getting to the Rose Bowl only and not thinking about bigger goals. Well one of the writers who covers USC was on the radio this morning saying that Coach Carroll does the same thing, his main goal is to get to the Rose Bowl and everything else will take care of itself. Not sure which side of the fence I completely side on with this topic but it was very interesting to hear as I know for years many Michigan fans have complained about the same goals that Michigan has and how there is a need to shoot for bigger goals.

It's interesting this year since most likely the loser of the Michigan-Ohio State game will be at the Rose Bowl. If you had told me before the year at worst we would be at the Rose Bowl what fan wouldn't have agreed to that? Still two more games to go before it though, hope Mario can get some reps in this week to shake some rust off and then let him play most of the IU game. I know this team is capable of getting the job done and pulling off an upset that most people out there don't believe is possible, just a few weeks left. Go Blue!

The return of the Lake Show

The Lakers return tonight with the season opener against the Phoenix Suns. There's a lot of speculation going on right now if Kobe will play or not. I heard him earlier this morning on Power 106 saying he would play, but then I just checked his website and he wrote a statement that makes it seem like he won't play. Who knows, I would love to see him on the court tonight but at the same time I'd rather not risk further injury and havin him sit out a week or so before coming back full strength. For those that haven't seen his new website it's pretty dope, KB24. Man seeing that still looks and sounds weird, it'll take me a while to get used to it.

Jones on the NBA has a good Lakers preview up, I'd say it's pretty much on point. I really believe that Andrew Bynum will step up these next few weeks with Kwame and Mihm out. He's really starting to show why the Lakers spent the #10 overall pick on him and passed on someone who could have more immediately contributed to the team like Danny Granger.

Really excited to head to Staples tonight, the energy at season openers is great and only surpassed by playoff games. As I've said before the Lakers are the only team that comes close to matching my loyalty to Michigan so I'm really pumped right now. Hopefully they'll give us something cool like the mini flashlight keychains they did last year. It's also supposed to be the introduction of the new Lights Out campaign that the Lakers have been promoting on their website. The lighting will be changed this year at Staples for Lakers games so more lights are focused on the court and less on the crowd which I love to hear. It will put more focus on the game and not the celebrities and all that stuff off the court. Also will hopefully put an end to those annoying people who have great seats but don't care about the game and call people to wave at the TV camera in the middle of the game.

My expectations are a little bit higher than they were last year. I think Jordan Farmar will give us a lot of good minutes to spell Smush and I love the pickup of Maurice Evans. Bynum will hold the fort down until Kwame and Mihm come back and I expect Bynum to start showing the rest of the league the potential he's shown us this preseason. I definitely expect the Lakers to make the playoffs and I would be disappointed if we did not make it out of the first round. Some may think I'm asking too much with this but with #8, I mean #24, it's gonna take a long time getting used to writing that, on our side, anything is possible.

Week 10 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. Tennessee
5. California
6. Florida
7. Texas
8. Louisville
9. Auburn
10. USC
11. Arkansas
12. Wisconsin
13. Rutgers
14. LSU
15. Notre Dame
16. Clemson
17. Boston College
18. Boise State
19. Oklahoma
20. Georgia Tech
21. Texas A&M
22. Wake Forest
23. Virginia Tech
24. Washington State
25. Tulsa

Still think 3-12 or so is a complete mess. Figured that USC was bound to lose a game or two down the stretch after their recent struggles, just didn't factor Oregon State into that equation.

Very interested in seeing the West Virginia - Louisville game on Thursday, I think West Virginia will win but believe that Louisville poses more of a problem to the traditional power conference teams because of their balance on offense. The Mountaineers have gotten by on their rushing ability, which would be slowed/shut down if they played an Ohio State/ Michigan/ Florida/ Auburn, etc. and I don't think Pat White could get it done against those defenses I mentioned above.

LSU-Tennessee will also be an interesting matchup. The Tigers have so much talent but have yet to win on the road with the losses at Auburn and Florida.

Oklahoma travels to Texas A&M, we'll see if the Aggies are for real as they finally play a real team.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What more could you ask for?

Michigan took care of business with the 17-3 win over Northwestern on Saturday to improve to 9-0 on the year and continue the collision course with Ohio State on November 18th. Sure it wasn't pretty and it does have me concerned but there is no need for all the "there's no way we can win" talk that is going around. I'm sure part of it has to do with the disappointment of last year so people are trying to soften the blow if we cannot take care of business in Columbus but considering where this team was last year I think we, as fans need to enjoy it a lot more than many are doing.

I've stated before last year's team caused me to become the pessimistic, glass half-empty type fan as the pain from all the losses mounted last season. I am not saying that this team does not have its problems, I admit there are some things I would like to see changed, namely the predictability on offense and I'm not ready to make the excuse that it was all about the weather or playing it safe with constant running to the left side. I'm somewhere in between the spectrum but more towards the glass half full side.

We have seen this earlier this season when the team used a very vanilla offense to get through Vandy and Central Michigan to unleash the fury on Notre Dame. Part of me is with the group that thinks that this is the case again, while the other part of me is with the group that says there's nothing to hide at this point in the season and the team should be going all out.

Anyone that thinks Michigan has no chance on November 18th because we are just getting by with wins while Ohio State is rolling through their opponents is mistaken. Sure I would love to see the team just demolish opponents every week but with the injury situation and the need to rest some guys I know that will not happen and I'm fine with that. There's no need to panic, this team has done much more than any Michigan fan has expected this year and I know that come November 18th the team will play it's best game of the year and show everyone what this team is all about.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Picks of the Week

Last week was ok going 2-1, was hoping to get all 3 but I forgot how bad of a team Oregon is away from home when they don't get all the calls. That brings the season total to 25-15, for the first time this week I'm throwing in an NFL game as well.

Texas -10.5 @ Texas Tech - The Longhorns coming off the thrilling 2 point win over Nebraska last week, will be too much for the Red Raiders to handle. I expect Texas to roll easy.

Northern Illinois +16 @ Iowa - Iowa will be without starting QB Drew Tate who underwent thumb surgery this week. The Hawkeyes looked awful last time they had to count on their backup QB when they struggled to an OT win over Syracuse, Garrett Wolfe and the Huskies should make a game of it.

Wake Forest -8.5 @ North Carolina - Wake Forest has been one of the surprises of the year as they are only a couple of plays away from being undefeated after dominating Clemson for a large portion of their game. The Tar Heels on the other hand are one of the worst teams in Division I-A. They have one win on the year and that is against Division I-AA Furman and that win was only by 3 points. John Bunting has been fired so the team could come out fired up but I doubt it.

Arkansas State - 7 @ Florida Atlantic - I don't know why I picked this game, I had a couple of Arkansas State RB's on my college fantasy team last year, and I know Florida Atlantic is pretty bad so I just went with it. Probably not highly recommended but I did hit a parlay earlier this year in which the other ASU was a part of.

New England -2 @ Minnesota - normally I don't bet NFL games, but I just like this one for some reason. I wouldn't bet against Tom Brady and the Pats, especially at -2. Without fantasy football or betting I probably wouldn't watch the NFL so it'll give me a reason to watch Monday Night.

We take a break from our normally scheduled programming

to bring you some notes for basketball, college and pro.

Let's start out with college as the first polls are out and to no surprise the defending National Champion Florida Gators are the preseason #1 team. What is surprising, IMO, is the fact that the runner up UCLA Bruins are at #6. At worst I saw them being #3 behind North Carolina but it doesn't matter too much since it is only the preseason rankings. I expect the Bruins to be there at the end this year with the only losses being Ryan Hollins and Jordan Farmar. Darren Collison is a very good PG who should get the job done, Arron Afflalo returns and Josh Shipp will be back from injury. Throw in the Cameroon Crazies, Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and I don't see many teams better than the Bruins, much less 5.

Also interesting note on the poll, Michigan got more votes than Michigan State.

The public will get a first view of the Michigan basketball team this weekend with the Maize and Blue scrimmage after the football game. Ekpe Udoh has been impressive according to early reports and I am definitely excited to see this team in action. I've been saying this year is our year to return every year since 2000 but damn it, it really has to be this time. I expect a return to the NCAA's and nothing less this year.

Onto the NBA where the Lakers have finished 4-4 in the preseason and the worse news is that Kobe Bryant may not be ready to go for the season opener as initially expected. On the radio this morning I heard he was "questionable to doubtful" which would really suck since I am going to the season opener next Tuesday against the Suns. But there's no need to rush him back early and have him mess up his knee again because without him, well you know what the Lakers are without Kobe.

A very pleasant surprise has been the recent play of Andrew Bynum who turns 19 today. Bynum finished with 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting along with 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. This comes off his 16 point, 9 rebound performance on Sunday against Phoenix so it looks like Bynum will be a solid contributor this season, I hope. He will have to be at the beginning at least since Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm will not be ready to go. I've picked him up in all my fantasy leagues and you should too if he's available at least for the first few weeks because he will put up some numbers while the other Lakers centers are out.

Now we can officially welcome Toney Clemons

WR Toney Clemons, cousin of Steve Breaston, from PA held his press conference today and announced he would be attending Michigan. It was pretty much known that he would be committing considering there were a lot of rumors stating that he did so on his official visit combined with the fact that he cancelled his other official visits and set up his press conference not too long after his visit. I summarized his rankings in a previous post after his visit here. Clemons becomes the latest weapon at Ryan Mallett's disposal and with Marques Simas pretty much dropping us from consideration I think that is probably it for WR's in this class.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Week 9 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. USC
5. Texas
6. Auburn
7. Florida
8. Clemson
9. Tennessee
10. Louisville
11. California
12. Arkansas
13. Wisconsin
14. Rutgers
15. LSU
16. Notre Dame
17. Boston College
18. Boise State
19. Texas A&M
20. Missouri
21. Georgia Tech
22. Nebraska
23. Wake Forest
24. Oklahoma
25. Tulsa

After the top two each team has its arguments for and against, it should sort itself out in the next few weeks.

USC moves up by default because all the teams ahead of them were pretty much terrible or unimpressive this past week. I was of the school that thought USC could lose anywhere from 1-3 games to close the season, now that number has shrunk to possibly 1. Oregon is awful on the road without their home cookin officiating and was completely dismissed from my top 25. Cal struggled against Washington, having to go to OT, and fell a few spots, but they are still IMO the best shot to knock the Trojans off. Notre Dame drops a couple notches due to their pathetic performance against UCLA which they should have lost and if UCLA can have success in the air with them there's no way that USC won't. UCLA was more impressive than expected but unless they play the game of their lives I don't see them beating USC either.

Clemson moves into the top 10 after the impressive performance at home against Georgia Tech. James Davis and C.J. Spiller are just insane. I think I know who my new team to use in NCAA Rushing attack is. Spiller had two great TD's, the first one which just showed how fast he is and the 2nd one showing the elusiveness as well as he used the R1, L1 double juke and just took it to the house. I will now watch every Clemson game on TV because of him.

Wisconsin and Rutgers continue to quietly move up the charts, probably the most disrespected one loss and undefeated teams in the country. If Ray Rice continues like this he deserves a trip to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

Memo to Chan Gailey: Get Calvin Johnson the ball!

Nebraska impressed me with their performance against Texas, I expected the Longhorns to win somewhat easily but that was not the case. Bill Callahan has got the Huskers turning the corner.

Let the Countdown Begin:

Wallpaper is from Michigan Against The World, they've got many more over there that are pretty dope, check it out.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Gauntlet Completed

As this season unfolded following the Notre Dame game, low expectations started getting higher. Although I always thought this team could make some noise this year, I was very concerned with the schedule and how we would hold up considering there was no break at any point from weeks 4-8. I had been adamant with my friends in not discussing the potential for the game of the millenium on November 18th until this week was completed. Now it's done.

The defense has been stifling throughout while the offense has gotten the job done without Super Mario and Michigan is now 8-0. I know a lot of fans had already written this game off as an easy W considering our previous performances and I was partially on that side of the fence. However I knew that Iowa would come out and play a good game and try to knock us off. For some reason though while watching the game I never really thought this game was in doubt. I've had feelings like this on occasion but this is the first time it's happened during a Michigan football game. The last time I remember this type of confidence was when I was at Game 7 of the Lakers-Blazers 2000 Western Conference Finals. Even though the Lakers were down 15 going into the 4th quarter for some reason I just knew we weren't going to lose that game and fortunately I was correct. Hopefully I'll have this same feeling for a couple of games later in the season.

I also want to note the performance of Greg Mathews. With rumors swirling about Adrian Arrington's possible suspension late on Friday I pointed to Mathews as one of the guys that would need to step up if it was true. Thankfully it wasn't but Mathews still did make a couple plays and I can't wait to see him develop down the line. He only caught 3 balls but 2 of them were on 3rd down for key 1st downs. Especially the one that he bobbled but kept his concentration long enough to catch the ball and get the first down. Justin Boren also did a great job filling in on the line when Rueben Riley went down. It shows why the coaches thought it was necessary to burn his redshirt during the Michigan State game and he will definitely be a big part of this OL the next few years.

Standing in the way of the Game of the Millenium are Northwestern, Ball State and Indiana. Normally one would be worried about looking too far ahead but we know Mike Hart won't allow the players to do so and the remaining schedule should allow us fans to look forward to November 18th. I booked my flight for that weekend, now I just need a ticket to the game, I'm willing to pay a lot but I don't know if I can handle these prices on Ebay which are currently over $1600 per pair but if push comes to shove I'll probably have to. Anyone got any extras?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Picks of the Week

Once again a 3-2 week bringing the season total to 23-14. I only found 3 games I really like this week so there's only 3 this time around.

Wisconsin -6.5 @ Purdue - Wisconsin has been on a tear after their only loss of the year to Michigan. PJ Hill is putting numbers up like crazy and the Badgers continue to roll. They were part of my picks last week and with this line they are one of my favorite bets this week.

Oregon -3.5 @ Washington State - some are calling this a trap game but I think Oregon is too good to fall for it. The Ducks come off a 10 point home victory over UCLA that wasn't as close as the final score indicates as the Bruins scored late. The Cougars have been playing teams tight throughout the year but have yet to come through with a win and I don't think they will this week either.

Rutgers +6.5 @ Pittsburgh - The Scarlet Knights are one of 7 teams left in Division I-A that are undefeated. Many are calling for the upset here as Pitt has gotten their act together after a loss to Michigan State. I can see why some think that way since Tyler Palko is still around and a very good QB but whenever I think of positives for Pitt I keep coming back to the fact that they lost at home to Michigan State. I think Ray Rice will show the nation what he's made of this week and the Scarlet Knights will stay unbeaten for at least one more week.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The New Big House?

MLive has pictures of the proposed renovations to the new Big House which will include private suites and club seats and I must say it does look sweet. All the pictures below are from the MLive site, you should definitely check out the rest of them.

Plans to be presented to the University of Michigan Board of Regents on Friday envision a remodeled Michigan Stadium heavily influenced by the brick face and large, rounded-at-the-top windows of the school’s intramural sports building.

I know there is some opposition out there but I am not amongst them. I believe these changes are necessary and will be good for our program as well. This is a completely untapped revenue stream for the athletic department and if we are going to continue the ban on advertisements in the Big House then this is one of the ways those funds will have to be made up. Football revenues allow other sports at the school to function so these opportunities must be taken advantage of otherwise the non-revenue sports would have to be scrapped.

In addition I think it would help the crowd noise issue considering a lot of the old folks that don't want to deal with the weather, people standing and cheering would be willing to fork over the money to sit in enclosed areas with other people like them who don't like to make a lot of noise. At the same time it would give more access to tickets and that is always a good thing because there is a great deal of pride knowing that Michigan has the largest stadium in the country.

BlogPoll Roundtable from My Opinion on Sports

This weeks BlogPoll Roundtable is brought to us by My Opinion on Sports:

1. Which coaches are clearly on the hot seat at this point? Who is surprisingly not?

Definitely after last week's embarassing incident, more on that later today, Larry Coker is at the top of the hot seat list. Another name would be John L. Smith at Michigan State. Sure we expected a typical Michigan State meltdown, but I never saw something like this coming. Dirk Koetter over at Arizona State has lost control of his team as well and punting the ball back to USC with such little time is just so stupid he should be fired just on the grounds of that. Especially with the new clock rules a coach should know that he has to go for it there, especially with only 2 timeouts. John Bunting has been terrible at North Carolina and will probably be gone as well, which could hurt considering they are starting to turn it around on the recruiting trail already securing a commitment from Mike Paulus and making Greg Little's final 2. Also you've got to wonder how much longer Stanford will take it under Walt Harris, they are probably the worst team in Div I-A right now.

Not sure who qualifies as who is surprisingly not on the hot seat right now. Dennis Franchione had some heat on him but with A&M off to a 6-1 start that seat could be cooling, dependent upon how they finish the rest of the season.

2. Pick three of the undefeated teams and state your case as to why they won’t run the table.

First one would be USC as I have stated before I am not impressed with them at all. They are squeaking by inferior opponents and one, if not three of the end of season gauntlet against Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame will defeat the Trojans, even though the games are at home.

Next is Rutgers, I have them ranked pretty high but I do not seeing them beat Louisville and West Virginia. I do think they will take care of business this week against Pittsburgh though.

Lastly, I'm not touching the Michigan-Ohio State or Louisville-West Virginia situations so I'll go with Boise State. Sure they have an easy schedule but the teams they will face still have some talent and for them Boise State is by far the biggest game left on their schedule. Whenever a non-BCS conference team is undefeated and starts to talk about how they should be included in the BCS if they go undefeated, that team always seems to lose a game somewhere along the way, I remember it happened to Fresno State a few years back and I think TCU as well.

3. Which conference is playing the best football right now?

When you take into account the conference as a whole I'd have to say the SEC. Week to week anything can happen because there are so many good teams, you can even look at Vandy's upset at Georgia last weekend that there are a lot of tough teams in the SEC.

4. Which team is playing above and beyond your expectations this season?

There are a number of teams that come to mind which include Rutgers, Clemson, Arkansas and Tennessee. We knew Rutgers was improved but not to this extent, although their schedule has played a big part of it. Wake Forest no one knew about, especially considering their starting QB and RB were lost for the season early on.

Arkansas has a lot of talent especially with Bryant McFadden and Marcus Monk but I don't think anyone expected the Razorbacks to make this type of noise especially if Mitch Mustain was to be handed the reigns to the offense.

I had Tennessee as my preseason #24 team, I did not think they would rebound this year the way they did as I expected them to start the season with a loss to Cal and be a good but not as good as they have shown themselves to be at this point.

5. Which team is crashing and burning in regards to your expectations?

I've got a number of teams who I had highly ranked in the preseason and have made me look like an idiot. We can start off near the top with LSU who I had as the #3 in the country preseason. I expected them to lose to Auburn but pretty much run the table the rest of the way, if they still run the table it will be a pretty good year for them. Next 3 are my I'm a complete moron picks which include FSU who I had at 6, Georgia at 12, Miami at 16 and TCU at 18, all now unranked and not looking very good in any way.

6. Is your pre-season BCS championship game prediction still alive?

Technically yes, but it would take a lot of upsets, upsets I don't want to happen, as I predicted Auburn and Texas to battle for the crystal football this year. Auburn is in very good shape if any of the other teams ahead of them falter, 2 of which will, so they could still make half of my preseason prediction come true.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Week 8 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. California
5. Texas
6. Tennessee
7. Auburn
8. Florida
9. USC
10. Louisville
11. Clemson
12. Oregon
13. Notre Dame
14. LSU
15. Rutgers
16. Georgia Tech
17. Wisconsin
18. Arkansas
19. Boise State
20. Nebraska
21. Boston College
22. Texas A&M
23. Wake Forest
24. Oklahoma
25. Iowa

Starting up at the top Florida becomes the latest #2 to go down as they fell at Auburn. The Tigers got the job done despite not scoring an offensive touchdown. This once again shows how difficult it is for a team to get out of the SEC unbeaten as there are so many good teams that end up just knocking each other off. I would love to see a Florida-Auburn rematch in the SEC championship game, in a season like this one with numerous one loss teams still alive, it could determine a national championship game berth.

USC continues to play poorly and I just can't justify their high ranking anymore. Sure they are getting W's but that is because they are playing some pretty bad teams and barely squeaking by. I honestly believe it would be an upset if USC beats Cal, and I think that Oregon and or Notre Dame have a great shot at beating them.

Wisconsin is quietly having a very good season, they could end up with only one loss as their remaining schedule is not too difficult.

Texas A&M, Wake Forest and Oklahoma are new entries this week into the top 25. A&M had a big win at home over previously unbeaten Missouri, while Wake Forest came back from a disappointing loss to Clemson by defeating NC State on the road. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State but lost Adrian Peterson in the process. In all likelihood we have witnessed the last game by Adrian Peterson in college. It was sad to hear that he broke his collarbone considering his dad was watching him live for the first time since he was 12 years old as he was recently released from prison.

Missouri is out after their loss at A&M, they got their record by playing a bunch of cupcakes and then lost to an A&M team that had also built their record on cupcakes. That doesn't make A&M's entry very strong but at the bottom end of the top 25 there aren't many other options. I wanted to drop Iowa out of the top 25 after their loss to Indiana but I just couldn't find any team I thought was deserving at that spot.

Washington is out as well after their disappointing loss at home to Oregon State. But that wasn't the worst part of the story as starting QB Isaiah Stanbeck is now out for the year. The Huskies were one of the big surprises of the college football season and now sit only 2 wins away from bowl eligibility, something no one predicted before this season. They will have a chance to pick up that bowl berth with essentially one win, only one because they still have to play Stanford which can be chalked up as a W. The remaining schedule aside from the Cardinal is Cal, Arizona State, Oregon, and Washington State.

Georgia seems like a poor man's version of USC in the fact that they were supposed to be a highly ranked team but kept squeaking by against inferior competition. Then the wheels fell off against Tennessee and this past weekend against Vanderbilt.

Speaking of the Commodores, they deserve special mention after this upset win as they hadn't beaten a ranked team in 20 some odd years, and I was looking for the article, but I couldn't find it, but IIRC it stated that it was Vandy's first road win over a ranked team in over 50 years. They are only 3 wins away from bowl eligibility, they haven't been to a bowl in 20 some odd years as well and with games against Kentucky and Duke, which should be W's, they would just need one win against South Carolina, Florida or Tennessee, their best opportunity comes against the Gamecocks this week.

A couple of very intriguing matchups this week with Texas-Nebraska, Clemson-Georgia Tech as well as the last leg of the five week gauntlet for Michigan against Iowa. The beauty of football season is the week seems to go so fast beacuse I'm always looking forward to Saturday.

Monday, October 16, 2006

That's what I'm talkin about

Coming off the disappointing 7-5 season last year and looking at this year's schedule I know I wasn't the only Michigan fan that was expecting a few losses along the way. Most notably what stood out were the 3 road games at Notre Dame, at Penn State and at Ohio State. I didn't make preseason predictions for the entire schedule like I did last year because, well look at the type of year we had and I didn't want to be part of the cause for a repeat, yes I know I am overly superstitious. But had I done so I probably would have put all 3 games as potential losses, I was so wrong and I can't be happier about it. Take care of business against Iowa this week and then I can start thinking about what body parts I would need to sell to be in Columbus on Nov. 18th.

What more is there to say about the Michigan defense last night than DAMN!!! The final score was not indicative of how the game played out. I was extremely worried about this game coming in because it was on the road and at night making it that much tougher as the crowd would be louder and crazier than normal since they would have all day and night to get liquored up. After watching the Ohio State-Penn State game last year that is what I expected and was definitely concerned with how our team would deal with the hostile crowd. In the first couple of drives you could see that the crowd did have some effect on the offense, but eventually they settled down.

I always want to defer so we can get the ball back at the start of the 2nd half so I was happy to see us kick off to begin the game. Then after allowing a big return giving the pumped up crowd even more to get excited about, the defense set the tone for the game by holding Penn State to a missed FG. I believe that was the key of the game, by not giving the crowd any more ammunition it allowed our team to eventually take the crowd out of the game. I've read from various message boards that the crowd was taken out of it once we took the 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.

I don't know what else to say that hasn't been said already. The D is dominant, Arrington and Breaston stepped up when they needed to and Mike Hart was Mike Hart. I couldn't be more proud of this team and this program right now the way last year played out and how we have come back this year. If you haven't already you should head over and read MGoBlog and RBUAS, who both have posted a great picture and because it pretty much sums up the game so I have to post it as well.

Yeah, that says it all. Go Blue!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Picks of the Week

Back again to Picks of the Week, last week was ok going 3-2 putting my season record at 20-12.

Wisconsin -8 vs Minnesota - the Badgers, after opening up Big Ten play with a loss at Michigan, have rolled to two big wins, albeit over Indiana and Northwestern. They are at home this week playing a Minnesota team coming off of a missed XP loss in OT to Penn State which also included a questionable pass interference call on 4th down that would have ended the game. Minnesota will not be able to stop P.J. Hill which will also set up some opportunities for John Stocco and the Badgers roll.

Ohio State -14 @ Michigan State - the Buckeyes return to conference play after their break against Bowling Green last week. Ohio State has too much for the Spartans who are in the middle of their usual collapse after a devastating loss, this year to Notre Dame, and I don't see them recovering.

Arizona -3.5 @ Stanford - Arizona isn't a great team but Stanford may be the worst team in America, I don't understand why since they do have some decent players with Trent Edwards and Mark Bradford but they are one of the few winless teams in America and I expect it to stay that way.

Missouri -2 @ Texas A&M - The Tigers are 6-0 for the first time in forever with Chase Daniel leading the way. Coming off a win in Lubbock at Texas Tech, Missouri looks to continue their streak against the Aggies. A&M is coming off a close win at Kansas after a loss at home to Texas Tech. The Tigers just beat the Red Raiders at their place while the Aggies lost to the Red Raiders at home. I know in sports just because A>B and B>C that A>C but in this case I believe it is and I like Missouri to win.

Fresno State +155 vs. Hawaii - after starting the season strong with a win against Nevada followed by close losses to Oregon and Washington, the wheels have come off for Pat Hill's Bulldogs. But I like home underdogs and I know Fresno State is better than they are playing so I'm taking the Bulldogs SU with the money line. I think the odds are too good to pass up. Whenever a team play Hawaii there's always discussion about adjusting to Hawaii, well you could say the same thing about Hawaii when they have to come over to the mainland. You could play it safe by taking the 4 points but I expect Fresno State to get back on track so I'm taking them outright.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Week 7 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. USC
5. West Virginia
6. California
7. Texas
8. Louisville
9. Tennessee
10. Clemson
11. LSU
12. Oregon
13. Auburn
14. Notre Dame
15. Rutgers
16. Georgia Tech
17. Missouri
18. Arkansas
19. Iowa
20. Boise State
21. Georgia
22. Wisconsin
23. Nebraska
24. Boston College
25. Washington

I covered most of this yesterday in my weekend recap so there won't be as many comments as usual. Florida becomes the new number 2 after beating LSU and now have two impressive wins on their resume at Tennessee and now against LSU, if they get it done again this week at Auburn and next week at Georgia I doubt I can be able to keep them out of the #1 spot.

USC continues to struggle against bad teams, this time at home so they fall. While California makes week 1 versus Tennessee look like a completely different team and we all know how much I think of the Golden Bears so take a jump up.

Arkansas is a completely different team than the one that USC thrashed opening weekend, wonder how they would fare now with Mustain and McFadden, probably a much better game.

Clemson wins a game it probably shouldn't have, shows that it's that kind of year for them they should do some big things.

Washington did lose to USC but they have been impressive in recent weeks and their other loss to Oklahoma was pretty close, they should be able to get to 7-8 wins this year which would be far ahead of what was projected for the Huskies.

Missouri with a big win at Texas Tech, looks like they are the frontrunners in the Big XII North. We'll find out how for real they are in a couple weeks when they take on Oklahoma and Nebraska back to back.

And to close Calvin. Johnson. Is. The. Man.

Now we can exhale

The Free Press as well as Rivals are reporting that the surgery has been done and Coach Carr is quoted as saying "we got great news as far as the injury." So it looks like he will be good to go for Ohio State, if not sooner, more at MGoBlog.

I'm sure many have said it, but it was the first thing I thought to myself if Mario isn't good to go in a week there's no need to rush him back and the soonest he should play would be against Indiana on 11/11 just to get him back up to game speed and then unleash him again in Columbus.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I feel sick

A lot of rumors flying around about Super Mario's knee, been told from a friend he was seen on crutches and MGoBlog reports that as well. We'll have to wait for Coach Carr's presser but I don't feel good about this at all.

Update: Reports now coming from a couple of places online and from a source that the injury is a torn meniscus. Considering what we feared this morning this would be good news, still speculation but I feel much better than I did earlier today.

Welcome to Michigan Zion Babb and Toney Clemons?

After the big recruiting weekend where good reports have returned for all recruits that visited it looks like there is one, possibly two commitments from the weekend. First there is the official commitment which has come from Zion Babb a DB/WR from Alhambra, CA. Rated a 3 star by Rivals, 4 star by Scout. It's been reported he is coming in as a WR but some feel he is better suited for DB, we will have to wait and see. But it is a good pickup nonetheless, as he had other offers from Cal, Nebraska and Oregon. I've said it before but I love getting CA kids out to Michigan and here's another one added to the list. I'll have to check out his school's schedule and if he's got any games close by I'll try to get out there and watch one.

The other rumored commitment is Toney Clemons, the WR from PA, cousin of Steve Breaston. Rated a 4 star by both Rivals and Scout and while he is graded on Scouts Inc as a 78. There is a large range on his position ranking though as Scout has him as the #8 WR, Rivals at #20 and Scouts Inc at #36. Pretty much Clemons is a silent commitment but will continue to take a couple trips while he can. We have gotten burned with silent commitments before, I'm looking at you Cameron Colvin and Nic Harris, but considering the reports of how much he loved the trip, as did his mom, and the ties he already has to the program he will be part of this class. After picking up only Mathews last year, throw in Hemingway with Clemons and wherever Maze and Babb line up, this WR class will be good.

The week that was College Football

The Wolverines took care of business with their 31-13 victory of MSU, I wasn't too worried about the game and I was proven right, thankfully, but now I'm very worried for these next two weeks which will determine the course of the rest of our season. Reports are that Super Mario is hurt, to what extent we don't know but latest reports are much more encouraging than the early word that it was an ACL tear and gone for the year. If he needs 2-3 weeks I'd rather just rest him up for Indiana to get some rust off of him and then let him go full speed for the Game. We will have to wait and see.

The upset of the season came at Jordan Hare Stadium as Arkansas came into town and upset #2 Auburn 27-10 which puts the Hogs as the frontrunner in the SEC West. I had pegged Auburn as my national championship pick this preseason and now I look like the idiot. Auburn couldn't get it done at home against a true freshman QB, but I expect them to bounce back and beat Florida this week, that's just the nature of the SEC.

The biggest matchup of the SEC week was Florida hosting LSU but it wasn't nearly the game that people expected as LSU imploded with 5 turnovers which is not going to help you win any game much less on the road to a team like Florida. One of the funkiest plays I've ever seen with Tebow and his fake run/jump pass for a TD.

Another key SEC matchup featured Georgia and Tennessee, with the Bulldogs taking the early lead then letting the Volunteers storm back and hang 51 on them, which is shocking considering Georgia was the #1 scoring D in the country coming into the game. It looks like having one QB in Ainge is definitely helping the Vols as is the return of David Cutcliffe as OC.

Speaking of which, Tennessee's win over Cal looks that much more impressive considering the run the Bears are on right now. Coming out with new jerseys, I thought it was Oregon at first when I turned on the game, Cal took it to the Ducks and won going away 45-24 to move themselves up as the #1 contender for USC in the Pac-10. I really think if Cal and Tennessee played again the outcome would be very different right now. The Ducks were unable to get the job done as they have done the previous few weeks but I still believe they are a threat to beat USC as well.

The Trojans have not looked that great the past two weeks squeaking out wins against the Washington schools. They look much more beatable this year than they have in years past and it looks like their competition at the top of the Pac-10 (Cal and Oregon) have gotten stronger. Needing to pull out a fake FG as well as the fast clock against Washington doesn't seem to bode well for the Trojans.

Texas took care of business in the Red River shootout downing the Sooners 28-10. It was a telling sight when Aaron Ross, unlike Adrian Peterson, played until the whistle blew and picked up the backwards pass for a TD while AP just stood there like it was incomplete. Much like Lamont Jordan did for the Raiders yesterday, things like that should not happen, the players should realize those types of plays are close enough that you must jump on the ball just in case the officials don't see it the way that you do.

Clemson came back with a fury against Wake Forest as they entered the 4th quarter down by 14 but then ended up scoring 24 in the 4th to defeat previously unbeaten Wake Forest 27-17. The blocked kick return for a TD by Gaines Adams was very impressive considering his size. Who would've thought we could possibly see a Georgia Tech/Clemson ACC Championship game this year? That's what I'm projecting.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Picks of the Week

Well after my last post on internet gambling it hasn't affected the site that I use for my bets so I'm going to play again this week and we'll see what happens, since there is supposed to be a 270 day grace period and the site has not shut down service to US customers as others have. If you followed my picks last week you made out great with a 6-1 record, which brings the season total to 17-10. So here goes nothing:

Wisconsin -20.5 vs. Northwestern: The Badgers came out firing on all cylinders as they ruined Terry Hoeppner's return from brain surgery last week and rolled all over Indiana. I expect a similar type performance this time at home against the Wildcats who have struggled all year long.

Illinois -8 vs. Indiana: The Fighting Illini come off their first conference win in over a year and I expect them to keep it rolling with true freshman QB Juice Williams at the helm over an Indiana team that has not looked good at all this season. The Juice will be loose and running all over the Hoosiers.

Washington State -3.5 @ Oregon State: Wazzou is coming off a tough, close loss to USC at home 28-22. They get to take their frustrations out on the Beavers who were annihilated at home by California and I expect them to suffer another blowout loss.

West Virginia -21 @ Mississippi State: The Mountaineers coming off of a bye and a lackluster performance against East Carolina travel to Starkville to take on the struggling Bulldogs. Steve Slaton should get back on track and have a huge game and West Virginia should win going away.

Iowa State +240 vs. Nebraska: This is the gamble of the week, Iowa State gets 6.5 points which you could take but since I don't know how much longer I will have to gamble I'm gonna take the money line and pick the Cyclones straight up. The Cornhuskers have not looked good at all this year, especially in allowing Kansas to come back in Lincoln and take them to OT. Iowa State will be fired up for the night home game and I'm picking ISU in the upset.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

BlogPoll Roundtable

The latest BlogPoll Roundtable comes from CrossCyed:

1. We're about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team's chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?

Definitely and it's much better than expected. After watching this team through 5 weeks I expect Michigan to be there in the end for the conference title, if we do not win at worst we should finish in 2nd place. Coming into the year I was not as hopeful as many because last year's team took its toll on me. Ever since my freshman year in 99, the last time we were 5-0, I had always been the optimistic fan always believing that this year was the year. But in those 7 years Michigan had only made it out of September undefeated 0 times. Because I take losses extremely hard I started to take the negative mentality of expecting to lose so when we have our usual slip up game that happens every year it wouldn't affect me as badly. But fortunately, the old me is coming back as now I expect to win and anything else would be devastating, Johnny at RBUAS has a great post that I completely related to.

2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?

I really don't like the way the conference schedules are set up in the Big Ten but there's no way around it since the conference has 11 teams. I doubt that the league would ever agree to a 10 game conference schedule so I guess the system in place now is how it will go on until one day a 12th team is added and a conference championship game put into place. The rotating schedule does not work as evidenced by 2002 when Ohio State and Iowa finished 8-0 in conference and never played each other, there are also the years when the conference championship is split but one team goes to the Rose Bowl over the year because they finished with a better non-conference record or they had not gone to the Rose Bowl in the longest time, pointless tie-breakers which should not determine the Rose Bowl berth.

Michigan has caught breaks before such as the two years we did not play Wisconsin and Penn State but because Ohio State is one of our locked games we will never catch the breaks that some other schools do, such as Purdue who has not and will not play Michigan and Ohio State last year and this year. I do have to give credit to the Pac-10 for their schedule as they only approved the 12th game on the condition that it be a conference game so now all Pac-10 teams will play each other so a true conference champion will be determined.

3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?

I'll watch any college football game that's on pretty much, I even used to watch the HBCU games on BET, although that was more for the bands than for the game itself. Most college football fans out in the East, South, Midwest don't pay too much attention to West Coast football but since I went to Michigan but was born and raised on the West Coast I've always watched plenty of Pac-10 football in addition to all the other big conferences across the country. I still say the quality of football is better in the Big Ten and SEC but I'll watch any football played at any time.

4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?

Not much, I can't really think of anything I would change as Michigan gets plenty of exposure. Sure I would like to see more national coverage of the Maize and Blue since I don't get the local coverage anymore but our highlights are always shown so I can't complain.

5. During last Saturday's game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don't Stop Believing" are not to be considered.

This reminds me of the time the Michigan Marching Band played a cartoon halftime show, I think South Park was involved but I do remember the band playing songs from the Simpsons and Family Guy which was good enough for me. When I read this question I had two songs immediately pop into my head "4 Alarm Blaze" by M.O.P. featuring Jay-Z and "Take It To Da House" by Trick Daddy. Although Take it to Da House does make sense in football terms and fits Michigan considering we've had plenty of slow starts and then needed to immediately take it to da house to come back (Minnesota 03, Michigan State 04, just to name a few). But not many songs get me pumped up like 4 Alarm Blaze does. It uses the theme song from Rocky as its base and then you get Lil Fame and Billy Danze just screaming at you, it hypes me up everytime I hear it. Add in the Hova to the mix and you got yourself a great rally song.

Update: As I was watching the great clip up on YouTube of Super Mario Highlights I also thought of another song that could be added to the list. That song would be "Super Brooklyn" by the Cocoa Brovaz. The beat is from the Super Mario Bros. game, it never was released officially because the sample didn't get cleared but it should be easily found online.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just as I'm starting to heat up

I went 6-1 in my picks last week that I posted so I was thinking that I'm ready to hit my hot streak, but then word spread on Monday that the the bill banning online gambling passed through the weekend and will come into effect as soon as President Bush signs it, which he already may have. The bill was attached to a completely unrelated bill for port security and no one will vote against port security in this day in age with elections coming up. Granted I do understand the harms that come from people that can't control their online gambling/poker playing but this doesn't cure everything as the Republicans think it will. Sure some people will just give it up because of the difficulty but people who are a little bit deeper than that will now turn to the underground to get their action which could become even more dangerous.

Luckily for me I live close to the poker capital of the world, Los Angeles, where there are numerous card clubs to turn to if I want to get my fix of poker, but for those elsewhere in the country this could mean going to the underground clubs of NY or wherever they can find a game. Some people who are sports bettors, like myself, could try to go and find a bookie where it could get even worse than just betting a few bucks on the internet. That's just my opinion though, as I'm sure a lot of people will side with the government on this one. I actually just cashed out all my money just to be safe but it may be a good thing as none of this weekend's games look that appealing. I'm sure there will be a way around it, somebody will find a way.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Week 6 Top 25

1. Ohio State
2. Auburn
3. USC
4. Michigan
5. Florida
6. LSU
7. Oregon
8. West Virginia
9. Texas
10. Louisville
11. California
12. Tennessee
13. Clemson
14. Georgia
15. Rutgers
16. Notre Dame
17. Georgia Tech
18. Oklahoma
19. Missouri
20. Iowa
21. Virginia Tech
22. Boise State
23. Florida State
24. Wake Forest
25. Nebraska

Not much movement up top this week but that should change with this weekends big games which include Oregon-Cal, LSU-Florida, Georgia-Tennessee and Texas-Oklahoma.

Oregon moves up to 7 on the strength of their dismantling of Arizona State at Tempe. Cal has been impressive since their season opening loss at Tennessee so much so that I believe that Cal would beat the Volunteers if they played again right now. Longshore has settled down and been the QB that everyone expected him to be and the Golden Bears have a great shot at winning out this year. Not many people pay attention to the Pac-10 outside of USC but this weekends Oregon-Cal game will be a must watch.

Georgia struggled through again with an inferior opponent so they fall, not sure if Tereshinski possibly returning will be the answer but the Bulldogs just do not look good at all.

Georgia Tech had the most impressive win of the week IMO as they went to Blacksburg and beat a solid Virginia Tech team. Calvin Johnson is the man, he has my Heisman vote because without him I don't see Georgia Tech anywhere near the top 25.

Plenty of intriguing matchups this weekend I can't wait, Saturday is only a few days away.