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Westsider Rider

Friday, August 31, 2007

Picks of the Week

Here we go on the eve of the first full day of College Football Picks of the Week is back. Last year's record was 35-26, nothing great but at least it was on the positive side of the scoreboard so here we go with the start of the 2007 season.

Oregon -16 vs. Houston - I like Oregon in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium, a very difficult place to play, especially for a new starting QB at Houston as Kevin Kolb and his 4 years of starting experience are off to the Philadelphia Eagles. Expect the Ducks to roll in this one.

Georgia Tech +2 @ Notre Dame - Count me among those that expect Notre Dame to struggle this year. A new QB will be unveiled, most likely Demetrius Jones according to internet rumors, but whoever it is will have to take on a nasty Jon Tenuta defense that will be all over the ND offense. Throw in Tashard Choice returning and the fact that Reggie Ball is gone and I think the Yellow Jackets will pick up a big opening week win.

California -6 vs. Tennessee - I was hesitant on this game at this line, then came the news of Erik Ainge's broken pinky and I feel much better about it. Combine that with the explosiveness of the Cal offense and I believe the Bears, who are hungry to get revenge for last season's opening week debacle in Knoxville, will be fired up and hit the Vols straight out the gate.

Texas Tech -9 @ SMU - Mike Leach offenses usually put up scores in bunches and I expect nothing less on Monday as the Red Raiders take on the Mustangs. Throw in the return of starting QB Graham Harrell it should be more of the same.

West Virginia -23.5 vs. Western Michigan - The Mountaineers open up their season against the Broncos and I believe they will come out firing on all cylinders much like another team in their conference Louisville did last night. I expect Pat White and Steve Slaton to start their Heisman campaigns in impressive fashion and make it an easy win.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Only hours away

The anticipation of a new season is here, everyone is undefeated, everyone can dream the same dreams of winning their conference and even the national championship. For those that haven't experienced it I don't know how to describe it but just thinking about it brings me to thinking about all my trips to Ann Arbor for games since I graduated. Something about landing at DTW after taking the red eye from LAX then taking that drive towards campus as you exit the 94 off of State Street and seeing the practice facility.

Then the walk down to the stadium as the thousands upon thousands of Michigan faithful get to the Stadium. Whether you get there from the Pioneer lot, the Golf Course, down Hoover or crossing Elbel Field, I'm sure all the fans who bleed Maize and Blue like me feel the same thing. The chills as you approach the Big House and anticipate what you will see inside.

I still remember my first time in the Big House like it was yesterday. It was my freshman year and we were opening with Notre Dame back in 1999. College Gameday was in town so I planned on getting down there early to be at the front of the barrier to yell and scream and maybe get a few seconds on TV. It was easier said than done considering I was living in Bursley Hall. But a few of us made our way down there and it was definitely a good experience. But it was nothing compared to what I would be experiencing a few hours later. I could feel the energy as I entered the stadium close to kickoff and I tell everyone I can the experience of my first time walking into a packed Big House. The band playing the Victors, 110,000+ strong singing and pumping along it is a moment I will never forget.

Every new season brings that energy, that memory, the anticipation back to me and here we are again with another season ready to go. I won't be able to experience it opening week this year as I am heading to Berkeley to watch Cal-Tennessee on Saturday but I am eagerly awaiting my return to Ann Arbor for the Oregon and Notre Dame games. I may not be there in person on September 1st but when I see the game on TV it will bring me back to all the emotions I had walking into Michigan Stadium for the first time back in 1999. It will give me chills up my spine and it will signal the true start to the college football season for me. It will also begin the new season of hope, hope that we can make this year, 2007 a special one.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Preseason Top 25

The last weekend of the year without football has come and gone and now the games begin starting on Thursday. That said I haven't had a chance to post my thoughts on the upcoming season so here we begin with my top 25:

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

So there it is my first take of the 2007 college football season. Nothing earth shattering, IMO at least in the initial poll. I really like LSU this year, even with the loss of Jamarcus Russell as Matt Flynn has shown in his limited PT that he can lead the Tigers. Oklahoma has questions at QB as Sam Bradford takes over but the nation must learn the name DeMarco Murray as he will be all over highlight reels this season. I like the offense at Cal as well but similar to Michigan they lost a lot on defense and that is the big question. Let's see if Franchione can finally get it going at A&M, with all the weapons he has at his disposal with McGee, Lane, Goodson and Bennett there will be no excuses in College Station this year. Hawaii should go unbeaten with their schedule and Colt Brennan will put up huge numbers all year long for him to be at least in the discussion for the Heisman. We only have 3 days left as 4 top 25 teams are in action on Thursday as LSU, Rutgers, Louisville and Boise State all kickoff. There's nothing like the anticipation of a new season, I can't wait.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Captains announced and chalk up commitment #14

The captains for the 2007 Michigan football team were announced today and they are Jake Long, Mike Hart and Shawn Crable. It's not a surprise to see this announcement as the only other two potential possibilities were Chad Henne and Jamar Adams. Maize N Brew has an article with his thoughts about Henne not being selected. Congratulations to the newly named captains and also for Jake Long who is now the 11th player in school history to be named captain two times or more.
Also another commitment is on the books as Christian Wilson has committed to Michigan today. He is a member of the Rivals 250 and the #14 LB according to Rivals. He will be brought in by Michigan as an H-Back but could eventually move over to LB depending on how the rest of this class shapes up. Regardless it's another talented player from PA who is joining the Maize and Blue and we are glad to have him. Welcome to Michigan Christian. Less than two weeks until kickoff, I'm getting more and more excited by the day.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

It's almost time

It's great to be back home after a long vacation, especially when its now only 3 weeks to go before college football season starts. There is great anticipation always as a new season approaches. I can't wait to get the bad taste of 1/1/07 out of my mouth and get the new season kicked off. Should be an exciting first month as I'll be attending 4 games in the 1st month of the season.

First up this season is a trip to Berkeley to watch Cal take on Tennessee, followed by 2 consecutive weekends in Ann Arbor for the Oregon and Notre Dame games then a week off and closing in September will be the trip to Evanston to watch a game at Northwestern, which will add another stadium to the list. Mapgameday.com has a cool feature which you can show all the stadiums you have been to and will calculate the distance from your home.

I'm still catching up on all the news around the sports world as 99% of the sports coverage I saw overseas had to do with the other football. With only 19 days to go I know I'm not the only Michigan fan that is ready to kick this season off. It'll be here before we know it.