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Friday, August 31, 2007

Dbacks

Well, I just can speak words right now after giving up 14 runs in the past two nights in the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings. If I were to write a blog now it would look like this:


The Dbacks **** are **** those **** , ********. How can those***** ****** ****** this up any more. My ******* ****** grandma ***** , **** *** ** *******.


Sorry, I needed to vent!

Worthless...

Jesus, what a terrible game i went to in Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Astros. I did still manage to have some fun though so don't worry. Anyway, tomorrow is the Iowa-NIU game in Soldier Field. You all have fun now, and believe i will be watching the game unfold from the nosebleed section. On Iowa!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Preview Extravaganza!

Since i'm sitting in Sky Harbor Airport awaiting my flight to Chicago (it's delayed. Seems to be a theme with me lately...), I thought i would make my last post before the weekend an easy to use guide to the College Football Pre Season Previews i have done over the last few weeks. So, take a few minutes, read through them, and get ready for the season. It's football time!

PAC 10 Conference Preview

Big East Conference Preview

ACC Conference Preview

Big 12 Conference Preview

SEC Conference Preview

Big 10 Conference Preview

Enjoy the weekend everyone...

Pre Season Previews: Big 10 Conference

Now we're talking. I can write previews for every other conference and team in America, but until i start talking Big Ten, i don't get truly excited for football season. A born and raised Iowan, i've followed the Hawkeyes, and Big Ten football in general, my entire life. From Hayden Fry to Bo and Woody, Northwestern's improbable '95 Rose Bowl season, Wisconsin's rise to national prominence, Michigan State's continuous ability to screw things up, and the year in and year out classic that is Michigan- Ohio St., the Big Ten never fails to disappoint me. Each year there are multiple story lines, multiple surprises, and multiple great games.

Call me a homer, but i love it. You can have your flashy, high scoring offenses of the SEC and PAC 10. Give me some old fashioned, smashmouth, run the ball at will offense and i'm content. There is something fascinating about a team deciding, 'You can't stop me, i'm going to run the ball wherever i want, as much as i want, and there's nothing you can do to stop it'. Take a look at the the '04 Outback Bowl between Iowa and Florida for a perfect example of this.

As for this year? Look for more of the same. The Big Ten will never change, nor should it. Michigan and Ohio St. will be stellar once again. Wisconsin looks to have another dream season like they did last year, where they finished 12-1 and ranked 5th in the nation. Penn St. is back to its winning ways the last few seasons, after scuffling a bit at the beginning of the decade. And every year one team has a big season and contends for the title, making for an exciting season. The Big Ten is football at its best, and this year looks to be no different...

Team To Beat: Michigan
Very, very obvious and easy choice. In a word, Michigan is LOADED. With returning quarterback/running back tandem of Chad Henne and Mike Hart, Michigan will score early and often, on anyone and everyone. They only have ten returning starters, but it won't matter. As the saying goes, Michigan doesn't rebuild, they reload. Their non-conference schedule is tough, with Notre Dame and Oregon, but both games are at home. They avoid Iowa completely, who has been tough on them lately, and get Ohio St. at home to finish the regular season. Michigan should be undefeated heading into the showdown with the Buckeyes, and that game will once again determine the Big Ten champion and BCS qualifier. While Michigan has struggles against Ohio St. lately, i think they will beat them at home this year.

Surprising Team: Iowa
Yeah, it's a homer call. But it's one with a good basis. After a very disappointing 2006 season which saw the Hawkeyes finish 6-7, with a 2-6 record in the Big Ten, head coach Kirk Ferentz took a new approach to the program during bowl preparations. Iowa played perhaps its best played game of the year in their Alamo Bowl loss to Texas, and except for some more bad officiating in bowl games, Iowa may have won that game. They are breaking in a new quarterback, Jake Christensen, but return two great running backs in Albert Young and Damien Sims. They return 8 starters on defense, and 14 overall. Their defense should be stout, and the Hawkeyes will be a ball control, running team. Their schedule couldn't set up any better, they avoid Michigan and Ohio St. completely. And while i think it is a joke they don't play either of them, it will help their record. Look for the Hawkeyes to finish 9-3, and possibly upset either Penn St. or Wisconsin, both of whom they have basically owned the last 7 years.

Disappointing Team: Michigan State
(Sigh)... The Spartans kill me, every year, without fail. No other team in the Big Ten squanders talent and expectation repeatedly quite like them. Whether its blowing a 21-point lead with 8 minutes left against Notre Dame, starting the season undefeated then collapsing down the stretch, or their own announcers practically having a heart attack while flipping out about their ineptitude (Go here to listen- It's kinda long, but freaking hilarious), the Spartans never fail to entertain me. Even with a new coach, this year should be no different. Their schedule is difficult, with road games at Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Ohio St., and Iowa. Look for Michigan St. to finish with about 4-5 wins, very few of which in conference play.

League MVP: Michigan Offense
Between Henne, Hart, and returning receivers Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington, the Michigan offense will be nearly unstoppable. Hart and Henne will get all the attention, both will be invited to the Heisman ceremony, and both will compete for league MVP honors. I'm guessing Henne will probably get it, because quarterbacks get all the love, but it could easily go to Hart. Either way, the Wolverine offense in general will be the most valuable anything in the Big Ten.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Extras...

In case you were wondering where the NFL Previews were... Well, blame my brother. I was supposed to do the College Previews, he was supposed to do the NFL. Technically he's still got a week and a half yet, but we'll see. I know for sure he'll throw something together on the Vikings, as he follows them religiously. Ok, so we both do. I'll be finishing up my conference previews either tonight or in the morning before heading to Chicago. All i have left is the Big Ten (sorry smaller conferences, i just don't watch enough of you to know enough for a post), which could be interesting this year. In the meantime leave some comments! Who's going to the National Championship game this year? Which conference is going to be the best? Which team is going to surprise the nation, and which team is going to disappoint? And which player that no one has ever heard of is going to make a name for himself this season? Come on people, it's college football! It starts tomorrow! Let the discussion begin!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pre Season Previews: SEC Conference

I'm back with my on-going College Football Previews, with just two left on the docket. Today i'm taking a look at the SEC, a conference many consider to be the best in the country. And, frankly, it's hard to argue with them. The SEC is stacked, from players to coaches to stadiums to traditions. The SEC is college football, and other than my beloved Big Ten, SEC football is the conference i most enjoy watching.

While winning last year's National Championship with a full-out throttling of Ohio St., Florida returned the SEC to national glory, not that it had been far away. The SEC always puts together a title-contending team (or two), including LSU's share of the National Title in 2004. Florida looks to be loaded yet again for another run at the National Title, Georgia is always in the mix, Alabama and South Carolina can't be discounted based solely on their coaches, Arkansas should once again be good with preseason Heisman favorite Darren McFadden, and LSU might have the most talent of all of them.

On paper, this is stacking up as a venerable powerhouse conference, and looks like they could run roughshod over anyone, anytime. The SEC's problem however, as it always has been, is that precisely because it is so good, it it nearly impossible to survive the conference schedule unscathed, especially when you throw in their conference Championship game at the end of the year. Not being able to emerge undefeated at the end of the season has hurt the SEC teams in the past, when you have teams like USC and Oklahoma/Texas running through jokes of conferences like the Big 12 and the PAC 10. Sorry homers, the PAC 10 and Big 12 do not stack up against the SEC from top to bottom. By a lot.

Florida got lucky last year in that there was only one undefeated team, Ohio St. (Sorry Boise St. fans... you guys were awesome, but if you think the PAC 10 Conference is bad, well, you play in the WAC... Great year and great finish though). And due to the SEC's power, Florida got rewarded for only losing once and was given the BCS Championship slot over other 1-loss teams such as Michigan and Louisville. And by the way, a rematch of Ohio St. and Michigan in the National Championship game would have been the worst thing to happen to the BCS since it's inception, and I'm an admitted Big Ten homer...

So the SEC goes into this year with strong hopes of placing a team in the National Championship game for the second year in a row, and has the teams strong enough to do it. The question remains whether or not they can escape each other first. Without further adu...

Team To Beat: LSU
Sorry Florida fans, i know Tebow is going to be good, but you lose too many starters and have too tough a schedule, with games at LSU, at Georgia, and at South Carolina. LSU, on the other hand, returns 14 starters and has a relatively easy schedule, with only Alabama being a tough road game. LSU gets Florida, Auburn, and Arkansas all at home in Death Valley, which is a tough place to play. And while their non-conference schedule is difficult with Va. Tech, they also get them at home. It's too easy of a schedule for too good of a team not to escape with 1 loss at the most. The rest of the contenders in the conference also have a tough road game schedule, so LSU is the pick here.

Surprising Team: Alabama
While much has been made about Nick Saban returning to the SEC in Tuscaloosa, his team hasn't been given much chance to really succeed this year. But Saban is, despite his trouble in the NFL, a great college coach. And Alabama is a tradition rich school ready to return to its glory years. They do have some talent down there, returning 14 starters from last year, including returning quarterback John Parker Wilson. The Tide's schedule is as favorable as one in the SEC can be, with only road games at Florida St. and Auburn being major road hurdles. They host Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and LSU at home, and avoid Florida all together. It's still the SEC, but behind Saban and a more experienced Wilson, the Tide should surprise a few people and finish with a better record than they did last year (6-7).

Disappointing Team: Arkansas
After on off-season filled with turmoil, including the transfers of two highly-touted players and one coach, the Athletic Director announcing his retirement, attacks on coach Houston Nutt from all kinds of players parents, and allegations of Nutt's infidelity due to someone getting a hold of his cell phone records, the Razorback program enters the season under a cloud of uncertainty. Add to the mix they are returning only 10 starters from last year, and you have a team that looks on the verge of taking a step backwards from last year's 10-4 record. Then again, they have the best player in the nation in McFadden, so who knows. But with games at Alabama, at Tennessee, and at LSU, Arkansas will be hard-pressed to finish with double digit wins again. I expect them to finish with something like 7 or 8 wins. And while not a bad year, it's not 10 wins and a January bowl like last year.

League MVP: Darren McFadden
Even though i don't expect Arkansas to be quite as good as they were last year, i do expect McFadden to run wild over defenses again. The guy is electric, and lines up all over the field, from running back to receiver to quarterback. With another off-season to tinker with their wildcat package, in which McFadden lines up under center, expect even more wrinkles from Nutt. Do not be surprised if McFadden flirts with 2,000 yards rushing and 20 TD's, plus a few more TD's catching and throwing. He will be the favorite in the Heisman race all year, and unless he gets injured expect him to be hoisting the trophy in December.

Two Days!

Only two days remain until the return of every one's favorite past time, football! Football that counts! In four games, there are four Top 25 teams kicking off, including Va. Tech, Louisville, and Rutgers. For those three, the race to their conference and possible National title hopes begin. None of the four games look to be difficult for the ranked teams, but you never know. That's why i love college football so much. Screw a playoff, it's a 14 week playoff, with every game counting!

I'll be back either today or tomorrow with my final two conference previews on the SEC and Big 10. After that, i'm off to Chicago again for opening weekend of the Iowa Hawkeyes! It's Hawkeye weekend in Chicago, with Cubs game on Friday (BJ Armstrong singing Take Me Out To The Ballgame) and the Iowa-NIU game on Saturday at Soldier Field. Should be a drunken fantastic time. Catch you all later!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Big Series!

The Dbacks open a four-game series against the Padres tonight, starting a stretch of 7 games in 10 games against they closest competitor in the NL West. Entering the game 3 games clear of the Padres in the division race, this series in San Diego and the three games back at Chase field next week will go a long ways towards deciding the NL West, and most likely the NL Wildcard in turn.

Sorry about the lack of posts the last few days, been a little crazy. Will get back at it again soon. In the meantime, check out some of my favorite blogs on the right, and leave some comments!