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Westsider Rider

Friday, December 29, 2006

It's almost here

Just 3 days until next year and the last game of the college football season for Michigan. I can't describe how much this season has meant to me considering all that we went through last season. Sure it hurts to not get a chance to play for a NC because I thought this team was capable of it but get the W against USC on Monday and this season is still very successful. It would also lay the foundation for a run in 07 with all the returners we have.

News from the USC camp is Thomas Williams has been moved back to LB from FB due to the injuries to starters Dallas Sartz and Brian Cushing who have been unable to practice. Both Sartz and Cushing are expected to play but it could have an impact during the game. Also, Steve Smith believes the secondary is vulnerable where Morgan Trent lines up. Yes it is true that the WR on Trent will have more of an advantage than when on Leon Hall but much like the UCLA game I expect Booty to be on the ground more often than not due to the pressure of our front 4.

Can't wait to head out to Pasadena, if any of you are heading out and see a SUV with M BLUE 1 license plate of California, that's me, feel free to stop by.

Let's Go Blue!!!

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Battle of the Blogs is up

My response is featured for the Michigan side today in the Rose Bowl Battle of the Blogs. The question today is "Who wins USC O or Michigan D?" You can check it out here. Can't believe the game is creeping up on us so soon, just 4 days to go.

Also, jersey list is updated post Christmas since I was given two more jerseys, now bringing the total to 65. First I got a sweet Mike Hart #20 Rose Bowl Jersey and I was also given an Andrew Bynum Replica jersey.

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I thought the team had slimmed down this year

The Michigan total from the Beef Bowl last night was 612 pounds. That's a ridicuulous amount, especially considering its 100+ pounds more than the team ate two years ago and this team had slimmed down this season so I was expecting a lower number than before. The article states that Garrett Rivas had 4 cuts two years ago but only 2 this time. I've had one of those cuts before and it's no joke, I couldn't even imagine taking down 2, much less 4.

I'm heading there tomorrow for my own Beef Bowl with my friends from USC. If you're in town for a Rose Bowl and have a chance you should definitely go check it out. Food is a bit pricey but very good, IMO and there's a display when you walk in with pennants of the previous 3 Rose Bowl participants as well as signed footballs from both teams of the most recent Rose Bowl. I'll post some pictures if I can get them tomorrow.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Most Valuable College Football Teams

Forbes.com has posted an interesting article on the value of College Football teams. In the article they rank the top 15 most valuable teams based on how much the program contributes in four categories: to their own university, their athletic department, their conference and the surrounding community. Notre Dame is #1 thanks to their exclusive NBC deal. Surprisingly, USC is not on the list because "the team’s profits were too low to contribute as much to their schools as did our 15 finalists." Because the list is shown through a pop-up with pictures I'm posting the list below.

Most Valuable College Football Teams

1. Notre Dame - $97 million
2. Texas - $88 million
3. Georgia - $84 million
4. Michigan - $81 million
5. Florida - $76 million
6. Ohio State - $71 million
7. Alabama - $70 million
8. Tennessee - $69 million
9. Oklahoma - $67 million
10. LSU - $66 million
10. Auburn - $66 million
12. Penn State - $63 million
13. South Carolina - $57 million
14. Texas A&M - $53 million
15. Wisconsin - $51 million


R.I.P. President Gerald Ford

Another great Michigan Man is gone, Gerald Ford has passed away at the age of 93. . My condolences to the Ford Family.

Battle of the Blogs is back

This time for the Rose Bowl, I'm handling "Who wins USC O or Michigan D?" It's supposed to run tomorrow so keep an eye out for it.

More updates from USC camp, Troy Van Blarcom their kickoff specialist has been dismissed from the university after failing to make grades. He had problems qualifying out of high school so this has been a problem for him throughout his career. This could be a big break for Michigan as he more often than not kicked the ball into the end zone, Steve Breaston should be able to break a return or two as we remember him doing last time at the Rose Bowl.

Terrell Thomas, the CB who dislocated his shoulder last week is back to practicing. When he was initially injured it was said he would play in the game and I don't doubt that but shoulder separations, once they happen, can come back at any time so this will be something to keep an eye on.

Just 5 days to go, LET'S GO BLUE!!!

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone, I'm heading out of town to Vegas with the family. Back on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

USC's top CB injured

The big news out of the USC camp yesterday was the injury to CB Terrell Thomas. He was carted off the practice field and it is being reported he dislocated his shoulder but regardless of the injury he has vowed to play in the Rose Bowl. Just a heads up both links are from the LA Times which requires registration. He is their starting CB and was matched up against DeSean Jackson and Jeff Samardjiza so if he is unable to go he would be a big loss. I was talking with one of my USC friends and he said he expected Thomas to cover Manningham so this is definitely something to stay tuned to. But Kevin Thomas, who Michigan fans may remember as we recruited him out of HS, is back and practicing from his broken foot he suffered earlier this season.

Also as I mentioned before I thought this group of seniors would be extra motivated for this game since they began their careers with a loss to USC in the Rose Bowl and Leon Hall is looking at it the same way:

"I'm definitely planning on winning this game and not looking for the same outcome as my freshman year."

Only 11 days to go. Let's Go Blue!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Less than two weeks to go

Over the weekend the talks really started heating up between myself and my USC friends. I got so fired up I was hoping the game would be played tomorrow. For myself, this game means so much more than what's already on the line a win at the Rose Bowl, a strong finish to the season and a springboard into the 2007 campaign. For me its about respect, or lack thereof any team besides USC gets out here. Granted this doesn't apply to their real fans but real USC fans are few and far between. A better example in describing them to the Michigan fans who don't deal with USC that often it's like the arrogance of Notre Dame fans combined with the obnoxiousness of Ohio State fans (although not quite as much).

I've had conversations with numerous USC fans this year that have no idea what goes on in other parts of the country besides USC. I even had one ask me if Michigan was going to a bowl game. It's so infuriating when I have to deal with these type of people. This is the game I've wanted since the 04 Rose Bowl because I wanted another shot at USC. My dislike for them has dropped somewhat since they lost to Texas and and some of the people jumped off the bandwagon but it's still there. A while back I said I would give my brother a guest blog post and here it is, sort of. This is his writing about why he hates USC, it might have been either right before or after last year's Rose Bowl vs. Texas.

My Top 5 Reasons for Hating USC Fans

5. Bandwagon Fans. This is low on my list, because I know that there will always be bandwagon fans in any sport at many places in America. But for some reason, it just seems that there are a lot more bandwagon fans here in Southern California. The Anaheim Angels, the Anaheim Ducks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. You don't see bandwagon fans for the Boston Red Sox who never won a championship until very recently. They'd still pack the stands. And you don't see many bandwagon fans for Alabama. Even before there good year this year, you'd still see them go to the games. It's just annoying to be into a sport, and all of a sudden some other fan being like, "I've been a fan forever." When they never said anything before.

4. Media on their Nuts. I give the USC team a lot of respect for the run they've been on. I dont' hate the players too much, because all they do is go out and win ball games. However, it is because the USC team wins that there are so many god awful fans. Therefore, what has happened within the last year is that the American Media has been all over USC's nuts. For instance, the whole "Greatest of all time". You've got to be kidding me. They had this 2005 USC football team (that I don't think is as good as the 2003 and 2004 teams.) completely destroying past national championship teams: 1991 Washington, 1994 Penn State, , 1995 Nebraska, 1999 Florida State, 2001 Miami, 2002 Ohio State, and my beloved 1997 Michigan Wolverines. I'm sure that this USC team may have beaten some of these teams, but come on, "the best ever". The Media needs to get off its knees and clean its shins off after being on the ground that long.

3. Lack of Knowledge. Time and time again, I've tried to talk to USC fans about other teams in college football and other college football players, and they have no idea about anything. All they know is Reggie Bush, Lendale White, and Matt Leinart. Seems like many of em don't even know that Marcus Allen and Keyshawn Johnson went to USC too. And if you're lucky, they might know a little bit about the Pac-10 like Maurice Drew, or if the person is an average fan, someone like Haloti Ngata. They never talk about the SEC, ACC, Big XII, Big Ten, or Big East. It would be quite a day to talk to a USC fan about Greg Jennings from Western Michigan, or someone like Jared Zabransky from Boise St. who are big name players from small conferences. You're not a fan of a sport if you only know your own team or conference, it's about knowing the entire sport as well.

2. Arrogance. This was a hard choice because I was really thinking about putting this first. However, I put arrogance at number 2. You may believe that arrogance and respect are the same, but I find it to be different. I find arrogance to have too much confidence internally on one's team, but in regards to respect, it is disrespect externally towards other teams. For the last few years all you can hear is, "We have Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, nobody can touch us." It's as if people here believed that the USC team was college football. No player, coach, or team is bigger than college football no matter how good. And it seems that people forget how terrible USC was prior to the 2002-2003 season. They were awful missing out on bowl games and having subpar to terrible records. And yet, all you see now is the present where USC fans only see their own team and nobody else, as if USC's supposed to win. Nobody's supposed to win, you're supposed to earn it.

1. Respect My number one reason for hating USC fans is respect. This is different, because it isn't USC fans having too much respect for their team, it's having no respect for other teams. They disrespect every other team, it just makes me sick. "Texas sucks, they only have Vince Young, they're gonna get their asses whooped." I remember hearing that a number of times. Or "who else do they have than Vince Young, nobody." Or random people talking shit on Michigan football or other teams from other conferences. Michigan had a down year last year, but I do believe Michigan has had a winning record for over 20 years. And still going to bowl games too. Most real college football fans remember USC pre-Pete Carroll. Yes, they were that bad. Damn did it feel good to watch that game, and watch it over and over again on TiVo. It seems that nobody believes that any other team has a chance, as if every other team is mediocre even if they have good records and very good players. As a Michigan fan, but also a college football fan as well, every week I have respect for every team we face. I had respect for Northern Illinois with Garrett Wolfe and Sam Hurd. I had respect for Notre Dame with Brady Quinn and Darius Walker. I have respect for every team that we face because I know that on any given Saturday, an upset occurs, which is what makes college football so great. Respect, I guess it's a word they don't teach to USC fans. All they teach them is not to have any.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Michigan Roundtable from Conquest Chronicles

I've seen this roundtable floating around on various other Michigan blogs and thought I'd reply as well since I believe I'm the only Michigan blogger that's originally from and am now back on the West Coast, so I am force fed a lot of USC coverage out here. So on with the questions from the Conquest Chronicles.

1. Have you recovered from Michigan's exclusion from the National Championship Game? We've heard the "experts" give us their opinion on why Michigan dropped from 2nd to 3rd without snapping the ball. What do you think really happened here?

Yeah, I've definitely recovered from it, I was actually bracing for this possibility as soon as the UCLA-USC game ended. My brother came up with this exact scenario when he came home for Thanksgiving break so the seeds were planted then. Because of this I wasn't really as upset as most Michigan fans when the announcement came down. The night that the Bruins came through with the victory I met up with my friends, some of who are alums, some who are just fans and they did not believe me when I said I was concerned that Florida was going to jump us.

What really happened? Pretty much the same media that was pushing for a rematch the day after it occurred changed their minds two weeks later after not seeing Michigan. Maybe if there was another game afterwards and we came out and dominated our opposition then the voters would have been reminded of how good this team really is. The voters did not want to see a rematch and voted accordingly, no matter how wrong it was, they did it and we just have to move on. All this complaining means nothing if Michigan goes out and lays an egg at the Rose Bowl.

2. We admire Lloyd Carr for having enough dignity to refrain from campaigning for BCS positioning. Pete Carroll has the same approach. Still, it was nice to hear Carr call out Urban Meyer for his whiny Tuberville impression. What's your take on the "southern inferiority complex?" What do you think about this season's conventional wisdom, which is that the Big 10 is weak...despite having arguably the two best teams in the country?

I have no idea about this "southern inferiority complex" maybe it has something to do with the Civil War and the South versus the North? I love watching SEC Football as there is always a great matchup on any given week. But at the same time there are a lot of bad teams at the bottom, as is the case with every conference, but it is overlooked because it is the SEC.

I've had to answer this question a lot this year, especially out here since people know I'm the Michigan guy and want to hear my defense for why Michigan deserves to be #2. The main problem is people only watch the quick highlights on SportsCenter as opposed to going deeper and studying teams. I point to a 17-10 win at Penn State and people blow it off like that's nothing not realizing that we dominated that game pretty much the whole way through minus the long TD by Tony Hunt. I say look at the win over Wisconsin by 14, a team who's only lost to Michigan, then I hear, well who did they play? In most years the Big Ten is considered a great conference because there are so many good teams that they end up beating up on each other. In those seasons the media points to how the Big Ten is good but not great because there are no unbeaten teams. Then this year when the two best teams in the nation are in the Big Ten the media asks well who else in the Big Ten is good? They fail to realize how many very good teams there are when Michigan and Ohio State end up beating them both because they are head and shoulders above the competition. It's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

3. After losing to Ohio State and now seeing Michigan's remaining hopes dashed while other teams made their case on the field, what is your assessment of the Wolverines' psyche going into preparations for the Rose Bowl? How will Carr get them ready?

There is always a chance that Michigan could come out flat after the diappointment to end the season but I don't believe that will be the case for a number of reasons. First is this team is still hungry from the disappointment from last season and also now the Ohio State loss. Lamarr Woodley and Leon Hall have made statements that demonstrate how this team will react. Next, I believe they know what is on the line still. With a win, they can finish #2 in the country, with even a slight outside shot at #1, albeit highly unlikely in the AP, if Florida somehow pulls off the upset. Finally, this senior class will not allow this team to go into this game unprepared. Remember this group of seniors started their freshman year with a trip to the Rose Bowl and loss to USC. They know that, and will use that as motivation as well to end up on top this time around avenging the loss and going out with a bowl win, something Michigan has not done since the 2003 Outback Bowl.

Lloyd Carr will have this team ready, especially facing a team he lost to the last time around. If you look at last year's season Michigan was able to avenge 4 of their 5 losses and this is the case the majority of the time. If you beat Michigan once, you're usually not going to do it 2-3 times in a row. I'm sure the bowl losing streak weighs on him as well

4. What is the general impression of Tressel abstaining from his poll vote, his vote for UM would have surely put you guys in the title game. Some have commended him for staying neutral others have hammered him for not having the guts to take a stand. How do you feel?

I don't think it was that big of a deal, probably partially because I was already resigned to the fact that we were going to get jumped. His one vote wouldn't have made the difference between the Rose Bowl or the National Championship game. On the other hand as a voter he has a responsibility to vote in the poll. There are only 60 votes, or around there, out there and there are others that probably would like a vote but don't have one so he did not live up to his responsibilities.

I'm already getting trash talk from numerous people out here, I cannot wait for this game to take place. I get so fired up just thinking about it, the game cannot get here soon enough. I am ready for the Maize and Blue to come out on January 1st and send this group of seniors with a victory.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Let's see what you're made of Lakers

Been busy the past few days as I had a deadline approaching hence the lack of updates. We'll start with the Lakers as they had a big W over San Antonio on Sunday which ended their stretch of 16 home games out of 20 to start the season, 17 if you count the Clippers "road" game. They head to Texas today for a back to back set at Houston and Dallas. I'm realistic, I'll gladly take a split and then take the two home games against Houston and Washington.

This Lakers team is playing much better than I expected, as I especially love seeing Kwame Brown finally starting to play like we all know he is capable of. He is fighting for rebounds and taking the ball up strong to the hoop and slamming it home as opposed to just trying to lay it in like he used to. The aggressiveness is really paying off and if he keeps developing like this with Kobe and Lamar this team could really make some noise, this year. Yes I said it, the way the Lakers are playing I truly believe they are a contender this season.

Onto Michigan basketball after the disappointing loss to N.C. State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge the team has continued to win games they should and currently stand at 10-1 after a 70-43 win over Delaware State on Saturday. This week brings another game that should be chalked up as a W against Northern Illinois before heading out on Dec 23rd to UCLA. Under normal circumstances I would be at the game without question but this year my parents have decided to make our family trip that weekend, but luckily it's in Vegas so that's good. UCLA is the #1 team in the country and there is no way I see us winning that game. I'd gladly take a single digit loss to them, although I don't even know if that is asking too much. Following the Bruins are Army and then Georgetown, which is a game IMO that we must win. It is at home and would go down as a quality win and considering the non-conference portion of our schedule we must have this one.

I've seen a roundtable for Michigan fans posted on other sites by the Conquest Chronicles which I'll get to hopefully later today.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Kobe is a machine

Was planning to post yesterday about the recent ESPN.com article about Fantasy Football but didn't get around to it, that'll probably be up tomorrow. Will also post more about the Rose Bowl as our focus will now turn towards USC and not the BCS.

But first it has been confirmed Michigan will be the home team and wearing Blue at this years Rose Bowl. I love the way our blue uni's look but am somewhat concerned since the last two Rose Bowl's we wore Blue and lost, hopefully third time's a charm. I hope Nike continues to make the Bowl Game jerseys with patches as well. Also Michigan will be participating in the Beef Bowl on 12/27. All the talk about Lawry's has got me ready to go there as well. My SC friends wanted to get a trip together there before the game and I'm definitely gonna go. It is somewhat expensive but well worth it, we'll probably end up having our own Beef Bowl, me and my brother against the USC fans that I'm going with.

Brian at MGoBlog also has a great post up which I completely agree with.

Just as I was about to write about the Lakers on a roll, they go out and lay an egg against New Orleans/Oklahoma City and lose at home. This is the same type of thing that has always happened to the Lakers in the past. They will get up for the big games but play down to the level of their opponents in games they should win, see Milwaukee last week and the Hornets last night. Even with Kobe playing, when he wasn't supposed to they lost. This team cannot afford to blow games like this like the previous Lakers squads used to because every game will matter for playoff seeding.

Speaking of Kobe for those that didn't watch Monday, Kobe rolled his ankle and he admitted later it was pretty bad. But to prevent it from stiffening up on him, he didn't sleep. That's right, he said he didn't sleep:

Bryant said he had shunned sleep since spraining his ankle, instead standing and drawing the letters of the alphabet in the air with his right foot to "keep the motion going" in his ankle.

That is just amazing, at the start of the regular season for him to do something like that. Sure I could see it during the playoffs but during the regular season before they Lakers play the Hornets and Hawks Kobe is not sleeping? That is why he is my favorite player and just shows the dedication to the game that he has. He won't allow anything to stop him, it's only a matter of time before he brings that trophy back to LA.

Ned Coletti is doing a hell of a job as the Dodger GM. He is not afraid to make moves and I know I'm not the only Dodger fan that likes it. After signing Juan Pierre earlier in the offseason he made some big moves in the past couple days, starting with the signing of Jason Schmidt for 3 years and $47 million. Sure I think it's a bit high but it's only a 3 year deal so we're not locked in and screwed if something happens like with Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort. He adds another great arm to this rotation and makes an extra pitcher or two expendable if Coletti wants to deal for a big bat.

To aid in the offensive portion of the team the Dodgers signed Luis Gonzalez to a one year deal. Sure he's not the big name that people wanted but I'm willing to take a one year flier on him, especially since it will give the young studs like Matt Kemp some extra time to develop in AAA.
I'd definitely have to say I am happy with the way this offseason is turning out. If Coletti can move Penny and some prospects for a bat it'll definitely be a great offseason. With what he's shown us so far I think he'll get it done.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Week 15 Top 25

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


Monday, December 04, 2006

The highs and the lows

Growing up in So Cal unlike many people out here, I chose my sides when I was young and I stuck with them. Unlike a lot of people out here who will jump bandwagons as soon as they turn I picked my side and still live with that side to this day. I took my sides when I was young and so I still live to this day with Michigan first and foremost but for all the local teams I live with the Lakers, Dodgers, Raiders, Kings and UCLA. So even without the Michigan implications I would have been rooting like hell for UCLA on Saturday.

Unfortunately for me I had a work related golf outing that I could not miss so I had to miss the game. When I started off playing poorly I thought to myself fuck this I need to find out about the game, so for pretty much the back 9 I was on the phone with my brother going back and forth about the game. As I finish our last hole I get a call from my brother. UCLA had intercepted the ball with 1:10 to play. I couldn't believe it, it was actually going to happen. So I had gotten the proverbial two birds killed with one stone. USC had lost not only losing to UCLA, which made me extremely happy as it was, but then the road was paved for Michigan to get to the NC game. But I still had some worries about Florida so I made sure to root like hell for Arkansas. But the Hogs couldn't get it done so I had to sit and wait with the rest of the Michigan faithful.

My USC friends were saying there was no way we wouldn't get there, but I had my doubts. As I celebrated the night away but with some concern I woke up Sunday morning hungover and rushing to the computer to see what had happened. Then I read the bad news, we had gotten jumped in the coaches poll, the computers looked like they would be deadlocked and it would come down to the Harris Poll. At that point I knew it was done. So I had braced for it the whole time so I'm not as down as some fans, doesn't mean that I'm not hurting still but since it was somewhat expected. We're not the first to get screwed by the system and since it is in place until 2010 or 11 or whatever we won't be the last. Auburn, USC, Oregon among others have all been screwed by it so we will have to just take what happened and roll with it.

Looking at the bright side we're in the Rose Bowl! On top of that we are playing a team that I can't stand in USC so I am fired up about this matchup. Sure I'm worried about Jarrett, Smith and Turner, but if the UCLA front 4/7 got that much pressure on Booty, I am very confident our team will be able to match that production if not exceed it. Remember, this group of seniors came in as freshmen and played against USC in the Rose Bowl which we lost. Sure there should be some disappointment among them but I'm sure they will be ready to go on January 1st to try to avenge that loss and go out on top. So I encourage all the Maize and Blue faithful to make it out to Pasadena if possible. I know a lot of people planning on Arizona are now backing out because it's Pasadena but this team needs you. There will be plenty of cardinal and gold in the house for USC, we need to fill the Rose Bowl with as much Maize and Blue as possible.

Let's Go Blue! Beat the Trojans!


Friday, December 01, 2006

I guess the legs are back

The same day that ESPN put up articles wondering if Kobe would be the same after knee surgery and the day after Coach Jackson said the same thing Kobe goes out and puts on another show. 52 points in 3 quarters, 30 in the 3rd quarter alone. Games like this are why I try to watch every single Lakers game on because you never know when it's going to happen. In the third quarter Kobe hit anything and everything, he went 9-9 from the field, 2-2 from behind the arc, as well as 10-10 from the line. Perfect all the way across.

Ric Bucher in the Daily Dime echoes my thoughts exactly. People hate him so they refuse to give him his due. They want to discredit everything he does, opponents claim he doesn't pass enough, he's selfish, and the list goes on and on. But Bucher says it best in the following quote:

How many times must Kobe demonstrate that no one in the league -- and I mean no one -- has his combination of skill, tenacity, understanding of time and score, killer instinct and ability to control the game at the both ends? And how many times must I be the one taking the flag and waving it?

Trust me, if you're sick of me sticking up for Kobe, I'm equally sick of having to do it. It shouldn't be this difficult to have the man recognized as the league's all-around best player. OK, so you don't like him. I'm good with that. But not respect him? Not give him his due? Anoint anyone who hasn't accomplished half of what he has as The King or The One or The Whatever? Ignore what every player in the league will tell you, even those who consider him arrogant and a little bit evil, that he's the best?
Hate him all you want but you cannot deny his greatness. Kobe has definitely been sharing the ball more this season, looking more for his teammates and not taking over at all times. He is maturing as a player and looking to his teammates for help. He's more likely to do so now since his teammates are stepping up and hitting shots when needed. On last years team there were times when no one but Kobe could get the job done. This year from Odom to Bynum to Farmar to Walton, everyone is contributing. Which is why my preseason goals are still intact, make it to the 2nd round, anything less will be a disappointment. This team is good enough to get it done.


Picks of the Week

Last installment of Picks of the Week for College Football this year hoping to finish strong after a terrible 1-3 week last week bringing the season total to 33-25. Not many games to choose from this week so I'm only going with 3, hope to finish the on a high note.

Rutgers +10.5 @ West Virginia - Not many people are giving Rutgers a chance in this game, just like they weren't given a chance against Louisville a few weeks back. West Virginia is banged up as Steve Slaton and Pat White are dealing with some injuries not to mention all the speculation surrounding Rich Rodriguez's possible departure to Alabama. Rutgers getting 10.5 points is too many and I'll take the points. Rutgers has a trip to a BCS bowl game as well as the Big East Championship on the line and although they might not win it they're not going to lay over without a fight.

Oklahoma -3.5 vs. Nebraska - I've said it before and I'll say it again Bob Stoops has done an unbelievable job coaching the Sooners this year. No one would have believed they would be in this position after Bomar got booted off the team as well as AP's injury but they are. I'm still not completely sold on the Cornhuskers as well so it makes this pick a bit easier IMO. Sooners to the Fiesta Bowl to take on Boise State.

Arkansas +3 vs. Florida - Arkansas is coming off a tough loss to LSU but Darren McFadden was still able to run wild. I expect more of that this time around and I'm gonna ride Arkansas again this time taking the 3 points. Urban Meyer ran his mouth about Florida deserving to play in the NC game and every time that's happened in the SEC the team has gone out and lost see Tommy Tuberville and Auburn earlier this year, I expect that jinx to continue and the Razorbacks to get to the Sugar Bowl where they would absolutely destroy Notre Dame.