Saturday, October 20, 2007
I try not to be too much of a homer on this blog (it doesn't always work), but i don't think i talk about iowa too much. This entry will be about iowa, iowa football to be specific. So if that doesn't interest you, move on. No hard feelings...
Why, when you are known as a power running team, known for being physical and playing smash mouth football, when you had success just last week against a ranked team running the ball, when your top 6 receivers to start the year are all out, when your quarterback is a sophomore first-year starter, when your two running backs are both seniors, WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU PASS 70% OF YOUR DOWNS ON THE ROAD AGAINST A GOOD TEAM?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
I do not understand Iowa's play-calling or coaching anymore, nor have i really the last two years. We have gone away from our identity, and consequently have lost too many games in the last two years. Head Coach Kirk Ferentz has done enough over the years to make me trust him, but i am on the brink of starting to question him. For now, i seriously question the Offensive Coordinator, Ken O'Keefe. I know he has been there all along and he is one of Ferentz's guys, but he has to go. He has to go. He has made some terrible, terrible play-calling decisions, not the least of which cost the Hawkeye's in the Alamo Bowl last year (Behind by two, 4 minutes to go, in Texas territory, running the ball down their throats, and we try a trick play that is stuffed for an 11 yard loss. I will never get over this call).
I love iowa football, and i love Kirk Ferentz. But it may be time for a shake-up with some of his coaching staff...
Friday, October 19, 2007
Time to get after it again. I've been struggling all year long, and need to buckle down this week. Overall record is 14-15. Here we go:
Notre Dame +18 over USC
Don't get me wrong: I still hate ND, and i don't think they're winning this game. But i think they will keep it close. USC's sophomore qb Sanchez is starting again, they have no receivers, and their flight into South Bend was a bit, shall we say, harrowing. Plus, USC never plays well at Notre Dame.
Michigan St. +19 over Ohio St.
Yeah, it's in the Horseshoe in Columbus, but i just don't see Ohio St. blowing the Spartans out. Again, i think the Buckeye's win, but i think Michigan St. covers.
Florida -7 over Kentucky
Kentucky had their big win last week over LSU, and Florida is looking for some redemption on the season. Has all the makings of a let-down game for the Wildcats.
Colorado +4 over Kansas
Call me the king of the underdogs this week, but maybe i'm just coming around. Kansas has no business being 6-0, and Colorado has been frisky at home (beating Oklahoma).
Michigan -1 over Illinois (ED. note: I changed this pick saturday morning...) (Ed. note: Mike Hart was a scratch. All bets are off...)
Illinois is returning home after a disappointing loss to Iowa, and Michigan comes in on a roll. But Michigan has had all it's problems this year against spread offenses, which is exactly what Illinois employs. However, i still think the Wolverines get it done on the road.
UConn +3.5 over Louisville (Friday Night)
UConn has a better record and is at home, but is getting 3.5 points? Plus, has any defense in the country looked as bad as Louisville's?
Arkansas -5.5 over Mississippi
Mississippi screwed me last week by losing but covering. Thanks a lot. This week i think they lose and don't cover. I hope.
Well, that's all i got. May be back later with a line on the Cal-UCLA game, but so far there is no line on it...
He's back! Been pretty quiet on the Beckham front as of late, mostly because he hasn't played in about 6 weeks. But Beckham is back, coming on as a sub in the 68th minute of the Galaxy's 1-1 draw with New York.
I don't have a whole lot to say about this game, as I didn't get a chance to see most of it. I do know that my boy, Jozy Altidore, scored the goal for New York off a header. He also had a couple of chances late that would have given them the win, but just missed wide on one and over the crossbar on another.
I keep saying this, but i'm not hearing from a lot of other places on the web. Altidore is going to be good. He is not afraid to shoot, he is good in the box, and he is good at getting into positions to make plays. The US MNT has been looking for a true striker for years. Altidore is as close as it gets for anyone in their player pool. And yet, he is not playing on the senior team. Next year, in the Olympics, Jozy better be playing and he better be starting. He will shine if given the chance.
Thank you, thank you, no you're too kind...
Yes, that is right my friends, I predicted the South Florida upset last night against Rutgers. Unfortunately, because i didn't have the rest of my College picks ready, i didn't include it. No worries, i won't need it (right?).
Look for my complete College Football picks post later today...
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I have purposefully avoiding writing about the Diamondbacks season ending a few days ago so I could step back and take a rational look at the entire season, not just a knee-jerk reaction to one series (like my post about CoJack following Game 4 - Sorry about that...). Yeah, the way the season ended hurt. The Dbacks played bad and batted worse. The Rockies were a runaway freight train, and unfortunately the Dbacks couldn't stop them. Here's hoping the Rockies continue the run and bring the trophy to an NL West team.
After all of that, I am now able to make an honest and thoughtful look at the 2007 Diamondback season. In a phrase, i'll sum it up best by saying this:
It rocked! Can anyone honestly tell me this season wasn't awesome to watch? This was a team that was too young, too inexperienced, and lacking enough talent to win anything in the NL. This was a division that two years ago was being called the NL Worst. The Dbacks were supposed to do nothing this season, finish in the bottom of the NL, and get some experience for our young guys so they might make an impact 2 or 3 seasons from now.
Apparently, the Dbacks didn't get the memo. From their opening day win in Colorado, to Brandon Webb's 42 consecutive scoreless innings; from the teams 22 wins in 26 games streak to their race for the West crown; and from the emergence of young guys such as Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, and Justin Upton to their NLDS sweep of the Cubs, the 2007 Diamondbacks season has rocked.
This team had a penchant for winning tight games (32-20 in 1-run games) and getting blown out the next night (they allowed double-digit runs in losses 13 times, including 14-0, 14-5, 11-0, 10-1 to name a few). They got great starts from rookie Micah Owings, on the mound and from the plate, and got shelled with BK Kim not lasting more than 17 pitches in one outing. If nothing else, you can say this season was an up and down ride.
But, oh what a fun one.
Make no mistake about it, this Dbacks team is good. They are raw, and they are inexperienced, but they are good. Stephen Drew is in his second year. Miguel Montero and Carlos Quentin were in their 2nd year. Owings was a rookie. CY was a rookie. Mark Reynolds started the year in AA. Upton started the year in A. And this team was talented enough to get to the NLCS.
They have a word for a team like this. It's called upside. And this team has a TON of it. The Dbacks, through scouting, the draft, and player development, have built themselves a contender for many years to come. This is just the beginning...
Now for the bad. For all the pluses about this team, there are some things they need to work on and address. The first is starting pitching. Livan Hernandez will be gone next year, and they need to find someone to replace him, as well as get another starter. They have situations in the outfield and at first base that are brewing and will need to be handled. The outfield is set, with Eric Byrnes in left, CY in center and Upton in right. Where does that leave Carlos Quentin, who came up the farm system as the solution in right but struggled mightily at the plate? And what about Carlos Gonzalez, the stud outfielder currently with their AAA club in Tucson? Where does that leave him?
At first base you have another situation entirely. Who's going to play there? CoJack improved at the plate through the year, but as he showed in the NLCS is a liability on defense. You could move Chad Tracy there, as his position (third base) was overtaken by Reynolds, who came up as a 2nd baseman. But Tracy isn't all that good on defense at first base either, and he wasn't that good at the plate either.
And then you have the Orlando Hudson situation. His contract is up at the end of next year, but he wants a new deal in place by the start of 2008, and he wants to get paid. After watching his buddy on the team, Byrnes, get a three-year, $30mil extension, Hudson will be looking for the same type of money. The Dbacks have repeatedly stated they don't want to pay that kind of money to Hudson, but with their unexpected success in the postseason, the Dbacks are reportedly upping their payroll next season as a result. Whether that money goes to re-signing Hudson or going after a starting pitcher remains to be seen.
Whatever happens, the 2007 Dbacks season was a fun one. It gave us thrills, it give us spills, and it gave us heart attacks.
But it certainly rocked...
I'm not including this game in my College Football picks because I haven't hammered those out yet, but South Florida better watch out tonight at Rutgers. Rutgers, despite struggling this year, still has a potent running attack and can put points on the board. And any team with a running attack can keep an opposing offense off the field.
Factor in all the love and respect USF is being shown in the media, and you have a potential trap game. I have much respect for USF head coach Jim Leavitt (he is an Iowa guy, mentored by Hayden Fry and Bill Snyder - read story here), but this could be a firestorm they are walking into tonight...
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The US Men's National Team (US MNT) got a much-needed and much-deserved win today, beating Switzerland 1-0. It was a rare win on European soil for the Americans, something which they traditionally struggle at. Being as it rained the entire match, the game wasn't particularly pretty, but the Americans found a way to win. And that's all that matters.
The MNT are getting ready to gear up for World Cup 2010 Qualifying, which begins next year. They went with a mostly European based line-up, and introduced several young guys into the mix today, including some members of the US U-20 team that played so well over the summer. Freddy Adu came on late and played well, as did Danny Szetela.
While just a friendly, and with the US missing some of its best players (LanDo, Tim Howard, Pablo Mastroeni, etc.), the US came away with the win. And indoctrinated some of its young guys, who will play an important part in World Cup Qualifying, and the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. If nothing else, it was a good sign...
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Alright, this week was pretty much completely a wash. In College i went 5-5. In the NFL i went 3-3-1. Not terrible, but not good either. Either way, it puts my season records at 12-10-3 for the NFL, and 14-15 in college...
Monday, October 15, 2007
I won't for a second blame this entire series on one person. The entire Dbacks roster pulled a 'Cubs', not hitting with runners in scoring position, not pitching well, and not fielding well. They struggled and had bad luck in every possible way, from killing balls to short for outs to watching texas leaguers fall in against them. It was a buzzsaw, with the Rockies getting every call, every break, and all the luck.
With that said: For Christ's sake Conor Jackson. Make one GD play and that inning is over. I know we don't pay you for your defense, but come on. That was fucking pathetic. It's a fucking ground ball for fuck's sake, how the fuck do you boot that? Just catch the fucking ball and toss it to Micah covering first. That's ALL YOU HAVE TO FUCKING DO AND THE INNING IS OVER. Fuck you. Asshole.
20 carries for 224 yards. 4 kick returns for 128 yards. TD runs of 35, 67, and 73 yards. Adrian Peterson is a MAN
KSK hath proclaimed it, and it was good. He shall now be referred to as Purple Jesus.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Had a rough week last week (1-4-1), which puts me at 9-7-2 on the year. Time to return to my winning ways this week. Let's get to it!
Cleveland -4.5 over Miami
Isn't this the same Miami team that is 0-5 and without their starting qb? And this is in Cleveland?
Oakland +10 over San Diego
Oakland is not as terrible as most people think. And one week does not convince me that San Diego isn't flawed still. And by flawed i mean 'has a terrible coach'.
Seattle -6 over New Orleans
Last year i rode New Orleans like a horse, but they are missing their magic this year. And even though i still think Seattle sucks (last week's crapfest against Pittsburgh was exhibit a), they should be able to take the struggling Saints.
Green Bay -3 over Washington
Everyone and their dog is taking Washington in this game. Know what that means? Go the other way. I like Green Bay to continue winning, even though i can't stand it.
New York Football Giants -4 over Atlanta
I just like the Giants running game and ball control offense. And the Giants defense against Joey Harrington.
Cincinnati -3 over Kansas City
Kansas City is the definition of a struggling team this year. And Damon Huard at qb doesn't exactly strike fear in the heart...
New England -6.5 over Dallas
Please, are you kidding me? Especially after Dallas coach Wade Phillips claimed the Patriot's Super Bowl's were tainted due to the whole cameragate thing? It's over. Over! The Patriots (and Bill Belichick) have proven over the years, and particularly this year, that they enjoy nothing more than sending messages to teams, players, and members of the media and league that slight them. And that message is a giant finger to the face. Patriots win big this week.