Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the Year

I have friends debating about whether this ends a decade or not. Since, by definition, a decade is simply a ten-year period, I have no qualms against anyone calling the years 2000-2009 a decade. It’s like calling June “Summer” or September “Fall”, even those their respective seasons don’t start until the ends of the months.

I actually have a couple of things I’d like to write about, but I think I’ll save them for the new year. (Sorry I didn’t write the last two weeks. I was sick, and then it was Christmas. I fully did intend to write Christmas morning, but nature gave those of us here in Minnesota a Christmas gift of six inches of snow, so instead I went out to shovel my driveway.)

Let’s review Minnesota sports.

The Swarm had a mediocre season, not even reaching the playoffs. Not much more can be said about their season, because, frankly, that was a long time ago, and I’ve forgotten it.

This year ended a disappointing season for the Wild, who missed the playoffs. They also lost, at various times, many members of their team were out with injury (which sounds familiar of the current season, actually, except with less concussions then). They got a new owner last year, and rid themselves of their previous general manager and head coach. They started out the year slowly, but in December have tied their franchise record of wins in a month (10, with one left to play), despite facing great adversity. Not only is the schedule tighter this year because of the Olympics, but the Wild had an equipment truck fire wherein half the team lost some to all of their gear.

The Timberwolves apparently played basketball. I say apparently, because their record seems to indicate that they didn’t, really. In their off-season, they unloaded their general manager (to be fair, they did that last December, when they made McHale their head coach), and their head coach. Their season this year started out marginally better than the past, but that’s really not much of a compliment.

The Vikings are playing in typical fashion, and choking as they get close to playoffs. They also traded for a new quarterback in the off-season, but the guy wasn’t that well known, and it didn’t make many headlines at all. In fact, I’m sure if pressed most people couldn’t even name the guy these days. No one really cared about it, and it certainly didn’t interrupt television scheduling to follow his plane as it landed in Minnesota. The guy’s name is Brent or Brett or Britt or something. Write in if you can tell us. We here at Victoria Times headquarters want to know!

The Twins, after everyone expected a mediocre year (again), and a very poor start, managed to have an amazing September. Down 7 games on September 7, and down 3 games with four left to play, they still managed to pull it out in the end, forcing Detroit to Game 163, which is considered quite the classic game—and, as should be expected when two teams play 162 games and come out tied, it was a tense game between two equal teams. For the second year in a row, Adam Everett was on the losing team of Game 163. And Bobby Keppel got his first major league win in that game.

Timberwolves update: They have a 4-7 record since I last reported. For the Timberwolves, that’s a winning record. They’re now at 7-26, or a 21.2% winning percentage—they’ve broke the 20% mark!. The have the worst record in the West, but New Jersey has the worst record, finally getting a couple of wins to compose three win in 32 games!

Wild Update: The Wild have won six games since we last checked in with them (and lost four) and have a 20-17-3 record, for a 50.0% winning percentage. Also, the Wild have three players out with concussions, but Petr Sykora is said to be close to returning; Brent Burns and Pierre-Marc Bouchard are further away from returning.

Labels: , , , , ,

Links of the Day 12/31/09

Freddy Adu... maybe not as good as advertised.

I know you will be drinking tonight, but perhaps you could do the same tomorrow as well.

Some people think that IU should get their grubby little hands on Mike Leach.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NFL Power Ranks: Week 16

Well, that guy over on the right side of this page almost broke the Colts' streak at the #1 spot this week. One thing to keep in mind with these rankings is that they are completely done using a mathematical formula, and do not care if a team benches all of it's starters to rest up for the playoffs. A loss is a loss, and a team that goes that route pays for it.

However, the Colts were so far ahead that they maintained the #1 ranking by 0.04 points over the Chargers, who move up to #2 after another dominating win over the sorta-hot Titans. The Eagles fall back to #3 after their narrow win over Denver, while the Packers and Patriots fill out #4 and #5, capitalizing on losses by the Saints and Ravens.

If you still want to read about the bottom 5, the Rams, Lions, and Chiefs stayed put while the shocking 3rd consecutive win by the Browns and even more shocking upset of the Saints by the Bucs move those 2 teams out of the bottom. Replacing them are the Seahawks, who have packed it in since their win over the Niners a few weeks back, and Redskins, who are just awful.

There was a lot of movement in the ranks this week, as some teams have caught fire while others have gone ice cold. The biggest gainer this week was the Panthers, who got their 2nd blowout win in a row over a NFC playoff contender, moving them to their highest spot all year at #14. The Cardinals also moved up 6 spots and are actually in a position to end up with a first round bye if a few things go their way on Sunday.

There were a lot of big losers this week. The Titans, who were right in the playoff hunt, played themselves right out of it on Christmas and dropped 7 spots. The Vikings dropped another 6 spots to #13 after losing yet again. The Brett Favre annual breakdown is upon us. Also, the Broncos dropped 6 spots after basically completely blowing their easy ticket to the playoffs.

So what happens this Sunday? Well, we can use the ranks as a guide to predict some winners. The ranks are predicting the crazy AFC picture gets settled easily, as the Jets are ranked higher than the Bengals and the Ravens are higher than the Raiders. With those 2 winning (and the Bengals losing) the playoff projections would be the Colts and Chargers with byes, and the Jets visiting the Bengals and the Ravens visiting the Patriots in the wild card round.

In the NFC, the Eagles are ranked higher than Dallas, the Vikings are ranked higher than the Giants, and the Packers are ranked higher than the Cardinals. In this scenario, the Saints and Eagles would get the first round byes, while the Packers would visit the Cardinals and the Cowboys would visit the Vikings in the wild card round.

Here are the full ranks:
1. Colts - 78.34 - Even
2. Chargers - 78.30 - +1
3. Eagles - 76.69 - -1
4. Packers - 70.37 - +1
5. Patriots - 70.27 - +3
6. Saints - 69.02 - -2
7. Cowboys - 61.92 - +2
8. Ravens - 61.82 - -2
9. Jets - 60.51 - +2
10. Cardinals - 59.84 - +6
11. Texans - 59.51 - +3
12. Bengals - 59.34 - -2
13. Vikings - 57.34 - -2
14. Panthers - 56.31 - +7
15. Falcons - 54.60 - +3
16. 49ers - 53.88 - +1
17. Steelers - 51.93 - +5
18. Broncos - 51.31 - -6
19. Giants - 49.34 - -4
20. Titans - 47.23 - -7
21. Dolphins - 44.23 - -2
22. Jaguars - 42.67 - -2
23. Bears - 40.60 - +3
24. Browns - 37.58 - +4
25. Bills - 34.89 - -2
26. Raiders - 34.19 - -1
27. Buccaneers - 32.33 - +2
28. Redskins - 31.65 - -1
29. Seahawks - 29.04 - -5
30. Chiefs - 23.74 - Even
31. Lions - 15.59 - Even
32. Rams - 11.09 - Even

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/30/09

Only a couple more days left this year, my friends. Are you ready for 2010?

Indy councilmen are restless and look to have fake names.

Mike Leach and his crazy coaching techniques are finally getting him in trouble.

I notice a dearth of Minnesota franchises on this list.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I would like to write a song

At work the other night, we were listening to the radio when that song "Fireflies" or whatever by Owl City, who happens to be from Owatonna, just down the road. This guy made a stupid song on his stupid keyboard about insomnia. I could write a song or two as well, I bet. I got some great ideas for an entire album, based solely on my hypoglycemia.

Track 1: Juice. A song about how I need sugar or I am going to pass out.
Track 2: Bread, please. Delves into my need for complex carbohydrates.
Track 3: Vertigo. A song about what it's like to get the spins. Uno! Dos! Tres! Catorce! I need to sit down!
Track 4: Adrenaline. A nice diddy about how my damaged adrenal glands lead to a proclivity for panic attacks.

I was thinking about maybe throwing in a few songs about my other medical maladies on the B side of the album.
Track 5: Astygmatism. A ballad dedicated to my terrible vision.
Track 6: Under Pressure. High blood pressure that is!
Track 7: A man my age should not feel pain like this. A song about heartbreak... after finding out you have arthritis at 21.
Track 8: Out of My Hands. A song about how everything falls out of my grasp. Because I have ridiculously undersized hands. It's a nightmare, really.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/29/09

Pretty cool look at Blackhawks Jonathan Toews and his sweet condo.

Pam? Pam! We're live! PAM!

Technology man. It'll get ya.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Week 17 AFC Playoff Scenarios - Wild Card

Today's games made the AFC playoff picture even muddier than we could ever imagine, but I think I have the playoff scenarios figured out (As of posting, I couldn't find them clearly written anywhere online). The fascinating part of this year's wild card race in the AFC is that the two teams that control their own destiny, the Jets and Ravens, can't back into the playoffs in any scenario. They either win and are in, or lose and are out. Here is each team's scenario for Week 17 and what help (if any) they need to make the playoffs (Like I said, I did this myself so this is what I think....). Also, I'm assuming no ties occur next week.

Jets vs. Bengals
If the Jets win:
- They are in the playoffs
If the Jets lose:
- They are out of the playoffs

Ravens at Raiders
If the Ravens win:
- They are in the playoffs
If the Ravens lose:
- They are out of the playoffs

Broncos vs. Chiefs
If the Broncos win:
- If New York and Baltimore win, it doesn't matter, they are out.
- If only 1 of the 2 (New York and Baltimore) win, Denver is in the playoffs as long either Houston wins or Pittsburgh loses. If Pittsburgh wins and Houston loses, Denver is out
- If both New York and Baltimore lose, Denver is in the playoffs
If the Broncos lose:
- If New York and Baltimore win, it doesn't matter, they are out.
- If only 1 of the 2 (New York and Baltimore) win, Denver is in the playoffs if everyone else in the hunt loses (Houston, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville)
- If both New York and Baltimore lose, Denver is in the playoffs if at least 2 out of the 3 of Houston, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville lose.

Texans vs. Patriots
If the Texans win:
- If at least 2 out of the 3 of New York, Baltimore, and Denver win, they are out.
- If New York, Baltimore, and Denver lose, or if only 1 of them wins, Houston is in the playoffs
If the Texans lose:
- They are out of the playoffs

Steelers at Dolphins
If the Steelers win:
- If New York and Baltimore win, it doesn't matter, they are out.
- If only 1 of the 2 (New York and Baltimore) win, Pittsburgh is in the playoffs if Houston loses.
- If both New York and Baltimore lose, Pittsburgh is in the playoffs if Denver loses, or if Denver wins and Houston loses. If Denver and Houston both win, they are out.
If the Steelers lose:
- They are out of the playoffs

Jaguars at Browns
If the Jaguars win:
- If at least 2 of the 5 of New York, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, and Pittsburgh win, they are out.
- If all 5 of those teams lose, or if only 1 wins, Jacksonville is in the playoffs.
If the Jaguars lose:
- The are out of the playoffs

Dolphins vs. Steelers
If the Dolphins win:
- If New York, Baltimore, Houston, or Jacksonville wins, they are out
- If only Denver wins and the 4 teams above lose, of if all 5 teams lose, Miami is in the playoffs
If the Dolphins lose:
- They are out of the playoffs

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/28/09

Check out what this handsome devil's post on just how far the Twins have come in 10 years.

Can this be right? The Redskins? This can't be right.

What, exactly, is a Pete Carroll game? Pretty much every Colts game this season, actually.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Yaaaaaay Purdue football

I think this article pretty much says it all. But, you know what? I don't care. 14-1 doesn't really make a difference.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/27/09

Urban Meyer has decided to retire. Or step down. Still somewhat murky, I guess.

My buddy Schultz has a list of some of Don Cherry's finest sartorial work.

A woman reffed the Marshall/Ohio game. So there's that.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Marshall would like you to come to their school

Marshall certainly gets points for having a unique commercial (as seen during the "Pizza Bowl") It's a nice change of pace to see a commercial that doesn't talk about their research programs as a flag fades to the student union. Wait, does Marshall do research? Or have a student union?

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/26/09

Here's hoping you had a Merry Christmas. I got a blender.

I need to link to this, because the Timberwolves actually won a game.

How did NORAD start their Santa tracking? It's all Sears' fault. And the Russians.

Did you watch any Donald Duck cartoons this Christmas? If you did, you were probably in Sweden.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Times!

On behalf of Steve and Beth, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and hope that you stay safe and get what you want. (This is one of the first few images that shows up when you type in "Victoria Times Christmas" in Google. Oh Google.)


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Links of the Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. Here's hoping you aren't snowed in.

Planning on getting anything good for Christmas?

Landon Evanson takes a look at some of the baseball Cinderellas that were not to be.

Remember former Wild goalie Dwayne Roloson? Yeah....


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Akron-UIC.... the rundown

Last night I streamed the Illinois-Chicago versus Akron basketball game right here to my location in Minneapolis. Given the weather that I would have had to contend with on the way back, I'm rather glad I wasn't able to make it down there. Next time I head out east, though, I will stop in Akron.
Anyways, the web stream was odd, in that it was a live video feed with the only audio the stadium announcer and the Akron band. It was very odd. Anyways, the game was a closer than expected battle. That sounds cliche, but I don't mean that based on the pregame scouting report. I mean the score ended up being closer than I would have though having watched the game.
The Zips were the clearly bigger and more athletic team, and played relatively mistake free ball, all the while dominating the turnover battle. Somehow, the Flames only lost by two and kept the game close until there were about 5 minutes to go.
Still, while watching the game, even when the game was close, me and my friend knew that eventually the Zips would wear the Flames down. It didn't happen as quickly as we thought, but when it did, it made you realize who the best athletes were on the court, as there was a lot of good inside passing, fastbreaks and just quality inside scoring.
Brett McKnight of the Zips looked to be the best player on the court, cleaning up a lot of rebounds and leading all scorers with 16 points. He was also recognizable because he looked like he was 38 years old and/or Dmitri Young. Humpty Hitchens and Steve Mcnees were the point guards for the Zips and did a good job distributing to the 4 players who ended up with double digits in points for the Zips. Jimmy Conyers had a whopping 19 rebounds.
The Flames saw 5 players score in double figures, however their bench wasn't as deep. Only 6 players really had much time on the floor, with the other 4 coming in when the game was all but over. For what it's worth, Zavion Neely led the Flames in scoring, but only played 24 minutes.
You can read more about the game at ESPN.

A few other notes
- During every free throw, they would post a commercial for either the Barley House or Donjoy, whatever they are.
- The arena actually had a few people in it. Pretty good attendence for a non conference game 3 days before Christmas.
- The half time show was a troupe of jump ropers. Like, kids and their parents with jump ropes. Only in Akron.
- There was a blimp give away in the second half.
- Akron's student body is nt much for dancing.

Well, only one more month until my next trip, to Capre Girardeau, Missouri. Hopefully I can actually go!

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/23/09

Two days before Christmas... 5 days before Minnesotans can celebrate it, what with the snow storm

Last night, the power went out here, and this is why. Not written here but reported on the local news "Police responded to a man on fire".

Chicago sure has some bad coaches, don't they?

Worst Christmas gift ever


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NFL Power Ranks: Week 15

Another very crazy week in the NFL is in the books. The Colts remained unbeaten on Thursday night and stay comfortably atop these computerized rankings for the 9th week in a row, but some interesting things happened below them. Dallas pulled off the impossible on the road (especially for them in December) and bet undefeated New Orleans. Even though they are still 13-1, the Saints have now dropped to 4th in the power rankings, falling behind the red hot Eagles, who jump 4 spots all the way to #2 and Chargers, who stay put at #3. Sure, their records aren't as good, but they are solid both offensively and defensively and have had some dominating wins over the past few weeks, compared to New Orleans' fading D and somewhat shaky play. We'll see how things end up. Both the Packers and Vikings lost this week. The Pack managed to hang onto the #5 spot after their last second loss to Pittsburgh, while the Vikings dropped to #7 after being inexplicably killed by Carolina. Uh oh, I think Favre's clock might be up...

On the bottom side of things, the Browns and Chiefs played maybe the game of the year, a 41-34 shootout where Jerome Harrison nearly broke the single game rushing record and Josh Cribbs broke the career kickoff return record. Crazy game for 2 teams that had 5 combined wins going into the game. The Browns' win moved them up to #28, while the Chiefs fell to #30. The Bucs also won their 2nd game, over Seattle, to move to #29. Detroit got pushed back to #31 and the Rams almost got a win but lost yet again.

Not too many big moves this late in the season. The Texans jumped 5 spots to stay in the playoff hunt and I already mentioned the Eagles. The teams that fell the hardest this week were both from Florida, the Dolphins and Jaguars, who hurt their playoff chances by losing to the Titans and Colts, respectively.

So how do things look heading into the playoffs? Let's start with the AFC. The Colts and Chargers appear to be on a collision course in the AFC Championship game but the last few weeks will be interesting in the AFC North, where Baltimore sits only 1 game back of Cincinnati, and the insane wild card race. Right now, the ranks are predicting that Baltimore catches Cincinnati but in reality all the Bengals need to do is beat Kansas City this week to clinch the division. That said, the highest non-likely division winners are the Ravens at #6 and Jets at #11. However, the ranks don't know the Jets last 2 games, which are against Indy and Cincy. There is a chance Cincy will have nothing to play for in Week 17, but if they win this week they will likely be playing for the #3 seed to delay playing the Colts for a week in the playoffs. Because of this, I think the Jets are done. The Broncos are next. They have the edge with an 8-6 record but have to play in Philly this week.

In a totally non-ranking based prediction by looking at schedules I predict the final records of the bunched up teams will be:
Ravens 10-6
Broncos 9-7
Dolphins 9-7
Titans 8-8
Jaguars 8-8
Jets 7-9
Steelers 7-9
Texans 7-9

I think the Steelers' win this week didn't solve all of their problems, and I can easily see them losing to Baltimore at home and at Miami, but they can really shake things up and win the last 2 games. I'm just looking forward to sitting back and watching.

In the NFC, things are a lot more hammered down, with only the Giants still alive on the outside looking in. The Eagles appear to be the hottest team right now, and can possibly even steal a bye from the Vikings while eliminating the Cowboys from the playoffs in week 17. How ideal would that be? The Saints are going to do their thing in the playoffs, and I think the Packers could be a strong sleeper. The Cardinals are kings of the crap pile known as the NFC West and will probably make a nice victim for the Pack in the first round.

The Full Ranks:
1. Colts - 88.49 - Even
2. Eagles - 77.07 - +4
3. Chargers - 76.57 - Even
4. Saints - 75.69 - -2
5. Packers - 68.30 - -1
6. Ravens - 68.23 - +3
7. Vikings - 66.94 - -2
8. Patriots - 64.70 - -1
9. Cowboys - 61.14 - +2
10. Bengals - 59.11 - Even
11. Jets - 57.96 - -3
12. Broncos - 57.58 - Even
13. Titans - 55.55 - +2
14. Texans - 53.89 - +5
15. Giants - 53.44 - +3
16. Cardinals - 52.42 - +1
17. 49ers - 50.68 - -3
18. Falcons - 49.87 - +3
19. Dolphins - 46.21 - -6
20. Jaguars - 46.11 - -4
21. Panthers - 45.65 - +4
22. Steelers - 45.26 - +1
23. Bills - 43.74 - -3
24. Seahawks - 37.67 - -2
25. Raiders - 34.97 - +2
26. Bears - 33.40 - -2
27. Redskins - 31.20 - -1
28. Browns - 28.27 - +1
29. Buccaneers - 24.80 - +2
30. Chiefs - 24.03 - -2
31. Lions - 16.57 - -1
32. Rams - 12.12 - Even

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/22/09

Peter Gammons on Twitter is enigmatic, a little angry.

Brett Favre's ego may be getting in the way of the Vikings. No way.

Myron Rolle may have damaged his NFL career. Because he went to Med School at Oxford.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Illinois-Chicago - Akron.... TOMORROW

So, as I said, I wasn't able to get to the beautiful city of Akron to watch the Flames take on the Zips tomorrow. With buying a new house and all the unpacking and what not that comes along with that, it seemed unlikely. With a massive winter sleetfest on its way north as I'm trying to return home, and a dog who recently developed a case of the runs (gross), it became impossible. Anyways, I ordered a streaming telecast of the game from the Akron athletic department, and will still be WATCHING the game, which is always the back up plan if I am unable to attend the game I want.
That said, how about a preview! First, let's take a look at the team that was drawn for this adventure, the Illinois-Chicago Flames.
The Flames got off to a tough start, losing to 6 straight opponents after winning their season opener at home against Illinois-Springfield. Five of those 6 games were on the road, however, save for one game against Illinois State. The past two games have taken place in Chicago, however, and the Flames won both, including a win against Pac 10 foe Oregon State and a trouncing of Northern Illinois. The awesomely named Robo Krebs has been the star, scoring in double digits in 6 games, and getting shut down in some of the losses. No doubt, his three point shooting is key for UIC. Zavion Neeley is the other big scorer for UIC, while Jeremy Buttrell leads the team in rebounds and Spencer Stewart, the point guard, is skilled at dishing the rock. That said, the Flames are terribly undersized and probably rely too much on outside shooting. Fun fact: Indian American Dipanjot Singh plays guard as a junior for the team. Not many south Asians playing in the league. Dipanjot isn't fighting all stereotypes. He is a pre-med.

The Zips have a 7-3 record, recent history in the NCAA Tournament and a female kangaroo as a mascot. The Zips have won the games they were supposed to and perhaps lost the games they weren't, save for one, a tough home lost to Austin Peay who is not as good as they usually are. The other two losses came to North Carolina State on a neutral court and in College Station against 19th ranked Texas A&M. Of the teams involved in a Victoria Times Game of the Year, they are probably the second best, following Temple in 2007. They do a better job of playing a team game, with Anthony "Humpty" Hitchens (again, awesome), Brett McKnight, Darryll Roberts and Steve McNees leading the way. They also excel on the defensive side, something that may be less of an advantage with an outside shooting team staring them down. McNees may be a secret weapon, as he has scored his points mostly off the bench, though after recently being put in a starting role, he has averaged 13 a game. If you were wondering, the player photos for Akron make the team seem positively delightful. I have never seen a photo set where everyone seems to be smiling. Charming. Anyways, they are a bigger, more athletic, more experienced team, and I expect them to come away with the home victory against Illinois Chicago.

Perhaps Wednesday, I will come through with a game review. In the mean time, I'll leave you with this. A friend has stated that he "guarantees" that one of the players from this game will one day play in the NBA. So there's that. I will keep you posted!

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/21/09

Jimmie Johnson is the AP's athlete of the year. Odd to let a FOX NFL TV commentator win such a prestigious award.

Good grief, don't people wear mouth guards?

For some reason, it would be hard to picture this story if it was Bob Casey. Very sad though.


Congrats to MTSU

One of my pet teams for the year, the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders made it to the New Orleans Bowl and stormed past Southern Mississippi. Or I should say, Dwight Dasher stormed past Southern Mississippi, throwing a pair of touchdowns and running for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not bad, and a good way to showcase themselves to America (if the game weren't on Sunday night).

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Links of the Day 12/20/09

Cruel but fair.

Uh, wow. This is something I promise you will not see during the games today.

It seemed like nobody ever could get Tony Oliva out.... of the bathroom.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

A brief bit of gambling advice

Uh..... take the Ravens over the Bears. Cutler can't pass anyways, let alone in a foot of snow. And that's if the Bears can even make it to Baltimore.


Links of the Day 12/19/09

All of the Wild's equipment... up in smoke. I blame the Flames.

The Bowl Season gets underway today, beginning with..... The New Mexico Bowl!

The real reason the Puritans came to America.


The Vikings are jerks, and this is why I hate them

Since I moved to the new place, I started getting the daily paper. I love it. I always have something to read when nature calls, AND I can keep up with current events. Today's paper, the first I received, provided the first gem. It discussed the Metro Sports Commission's unveiling of a new stadium plan for the Vikings.
Guess what? The Wilfs, miffed that the Commission had the AUDACITY to ask the Vikings to extend their lease at the Metrodome, declined to attend or endorse this project. The stadium proposal, the most expensive version of two proposals, was 84 million dollars less expensive for the taxpayers of Minnesota than the one the Wilfs have proposed already. The Commission had an idea that would be more likely to be approved (because it's cheaper) and the Wilfs and the Vikings didn't bother to show up. What arrogant pricks.
This tells me one of three possible things.
A) The Vikings are dedicated to moving the team out of the state
B) The Vikings are dedicated to fleecing Minnesotans, even if they don't directly see the money
C) The ownership is petulant, arrogant and can't get over themselves enough to do what is best in any situation.
Frankly, I would like the Vikings a lot more if the Wilfs were not in charge. It's too bad, in away, that Minnesotans blindly love the Vikings as much as they do, because with all the warning signs of disingenuous owners, they still won't see it coming when the Vikings ship sails to another town.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Links of the Day 12/18/09

Former Twin Carlos Silva is on the move... traded for Milton Bradley.

Randy Moss is lazy.

Keith who?


Thursday, December 17, 2009




Links of the Day 12/17/09

Horrible news from Cincinnati, as troubled wide receiver Chris Henry died in what sounds like a domestic disturbance.

Been reading the 7th Inning Stache yet? Now that I am moved into the new place, I will be doing a better job with real posts, so you should go over.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There is a reason the White Sox make moves

By Minnesota standard, Bill Smith has an itchy trigger finger. He pulled off two hefty trades early in his Twins tenure, the infamous Johan Santana and Delmon Young trades. He also added Mike Lamb and Adam Everett that same offseason. There was a lull for a while, with a few pieces being pushed around that were really not terribly important. Since the end of the last season, however, Smith stove has started to warm once again. He traded for Jon Rauch, Ron Mahay, Orlando Cabrera and Carl Pavano as the season expired, and then sent Carlos Gomez to Milwaukee for JJ Hardy at the end of the year.
Even so, Kenny Williams makes Smith look like he is napping with all the moves he makes. Bloggin' buddy Landon Evanson makes that point to in his latest post. But the thing is, the Twins do it our way for a reason, and the White Sox frantically make acquisitions for a reason too.
Kenny Williams went and nabbed Juan Pierre to lead off and play the outfield, while also grabbing the streaky and sometimes moody Andruw Jones. Why haven't the Twins done anything like this? Because they already have Denard Span to lead off and play the outfield and the streaky and sometimes moody Delmon Young.
They have also signed JJ Putz to set up Bobby Jenks. The Twins worked on patching their bullpen at the end of last season and will keep Jon Rauch through next season. The Sox bolstered their infield by adding Mark Teahen and Omar Vizquel. The Twins picked up Hardy, who could very well be better than Teahen, and already have Nick Punto, who is also overrated in the field and can't hit.
If anything, the White Sox are building the same team the Twins already have, but since their farm system is depleted, thanks to trades like the one that brought Jake Peavey to town, they have to go out and acquire overpaid veterans. the Twins still have flexibility. If gunslinger Bill Smith wants to make a splash, there shouldn't be anything holding him back.
Even if Kenny Williams is out making moves and Bill Smith has done nothing

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/16/09

Found on a Hoosiers blog via Dan Shanoff. Perhaps 2 wrongs do make a right. Anyways, I like West Virginia here.

The Panthers announcer has a new video on Youtube.

Let's have a quick World Cup preview. Only 6 months away!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NFL Power Ranks: Week 14

There hasn't been all that much parity in the NFL this year. You have the really good teams, which always seem to find a way to win, and the really bad teams, which always seem to find a way to lose. This week, the top 6 teams from last week, the Colts, Saints, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, and Eagles, all won again, some clinching playoff spots. All 6 remain exactly the same rank. You may have noticed last week that the Packers slipped by the Vikings, and this week, they are still ahead by 0.01 points. How can this be? Since these ranks are a mixture of how good a team has been all season and how good a team has been recently, the Packers 5 game win streak helps to overcome the Vikings' better record. Also, the Packers have had a slightly tougher schedule and both teams are almost identical in the 3 main rankings used (Offense, Defense, and turnovers).

On the bottom side of the things, the Browns' win over the Steelers projected them out of last all the way to 29th, dropping the Lions, Bucs, and Rams down a spot. The Redskins' win over the Raiders leapfrogged Oakland in the ranks, but Kansas City's loss dropped them back into the bottom 5.

This week, the big gainer was the Jets, who jumped 8 spots all the way to #8 and are now quietly back in the playoff race again. The big losers were the Cardinals, who got absolutely embarrassed in San Francisco last night, dropping 9 spots. Luckily for the Cards, it is almost impossible for them to not win the NFC West at this point, despite the Niners being ranked 3 spots above them now in the ranks. In fact, the biggest reason why the 49ers are ahead of the Cardinals in these ranks is exactly what cost the Cardinals the game, a huge disparity in turnover ratio. The Niners have been good at holding onto the ball and getting turnovers this year, and the Cardinals have been extremely bad, and that's why San Francisco has been a bad matchup for them.

So this late in the season, and with some recent developments, the projected playoff matchups don't make much sense to post anymore. At this point of the season, the win/loss record actually becomes less important to these ranks as clearer trends are defined through momentum in recent games, strength of schedule, an ability to score and not be scored on, and turnovers define who a team is more heading into the playoffs. The power ranks really define who should probably win a game between any 2 teams, and I'm looking forward to the playoffs to see how accurate they are.

Here are the full ranks:
1. Colts - 88.89 - Even
2. Saints - 82.92 - Even
3. Chargers - 76.13 - Even
4. Packers - 75.71 - Even
5. Vikings - 75.70 - Even
6. Eagles - 74.78 - Even
7. Patriots - 63.75 - +4
8. Jets - 61.98 - +8
9. Ravens - 59.80 - +3
10. Bengals - 59.54 - -3
11. Cowboys - 58.99 - -1
12. Broncos - 58.53 - -3
13. Dolphins - 53.40 - +2
14. 49ers - 52.62 - +3
15. Titans - 52.32 - +3
16. Jaguars - 51.38 - -3
17. Cardinals - 51.01 - -9
18. Giants - 49.38 - -4
19. Texans - 48.30 - +3
20. Bills - 45.74 - +4
21. Falcons - 42.81 - -2
22. Seahawks - 42.10 - -2
23. Steelers - 37.31 - Even
24. Bears - 36.76 - +1
25. Panthers - 36.48 - -4
26. Redskins - 34.64 - +2
27. Raiders - 33.44 - Even
28. Chiefs - 29.94 - -2
29. Browns - 22.41 - +3
30. Lions - 22.31 - -1
31. Buccaneers - 15.42 - -1
32. Rams - 11.96 - -1

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/15/09

So, this is a little late, but its still Tuesday the 15th right now in my time zone....

I stumbled upon this on ESPN tonight. How many hour long sports specials have been filmed at your high school? I'm up to one. Go Bulldogs!

The White Sox acquire Juan Pierre. I'm looking forward to them adding a little more balance to their team instead of having just a bunch of slow guys always trying to mash home runs. Not bad.

San Francisco. I've always liked their football team, but they're pretty bad at electing people...


Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm packing up

Going through and packing all my stuff is somewhat nostalgic. I thought it might be interesting to reveal some of the things that I have been taking down and packing up, just laying around the old place:
- Peyton Manning jersey, Colts shirt, Colts Hat
- Minnesota Gophers shirt
- Purdue hat, sweatshirts, t-shirts, game towel (like a Homer Hankie, but a towel), hardhat, megaphone
- Twins hats, t-shirt, 2 homer hankies, calendar
- Marian Gaborik authentic jersey (may be time to update that one), Wild parking sign, Wild vs Stars game towel, hat
- Alabama State T-shirt, Arkansas State sweatshirt
- Tickets: last game at the Metrodome, Alabama State-Jackson State, Denver-Louisiana Monroe, North Texas-Arkansas State and the program to the Middle Tennessee State-Arkansas State game.
Long story short, I like sports. And they are making the move tougher. Back to packing


Links of the Day 12/14/09

So, I had to push back my move by a day. No guest bloggers today. Bad for you, good for them. Now lets get to some links, which will undoubtedly be old news to everyone.

Purdue is # 4 in the land, according to the AP.

A couple of records were broken in the Denver/Indy game yesterday.

Fun NBA minutiae: Chuck Hayes is the shortest center in history.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

NFL Power Ranks: Week 13 & Beer Pong

So, I was on vacation all of last week. But, I was able to squeeze in the Week 13 power ranks before the Week 14 games (well most of them) started. Yep, I burned my last week of vacation for the year by visiting San Francisco and, of course, Vegas on the way home. As a life-long Niners fan, I made the pilgrimage to Candlestick Park, and even walked for a bit on the Candlestick Point trail. But more importantly, I drank...a lot. Whether it was our trip to wine country on Wednesday or our 2 nights in Vegas on Thursday and Friday, that was pretty much what my vacation revolved around. But it didn't stop there. Tonight (Saturday) one of my co-workers held his annual Christmas party, which involved beer pong. Needless to say, I kind of honed my skills in college at this fine sport, but it has been a while since I last played (about 2 years). Now that I am pushing 27 (crap, what happened?) I wasn't sure how I would fare. In my first 2 games, while I was relatively sober, I was terrible. I lost my first game, and only made a cup during the "rebuttal", and in the 2nd game, I didn't hit one cup all game and was the "gargoyle" for the next game. Yep, I had to sit under the table.

I needed redemption. Redemption is what I got. Especially since I live in Arizona. I needed to prove once and for all Big Ten dominance over a bunch of PAC-10 alums. Teaming with some dude I didn't know, and playing about 2 hours later with a lot more alcohol in my system, I caught fire, hitting 5 of the 6 cups in both of my next 2 games to cruise to easy wins. In the 3rd game, I hit 2 more, but lost to a player that was even hotter than me (5 cups in 7 shots!). Yes, I went from Gargoyle to MVP, and I'm damn proud of it.

As far as the ranks go, I don't feel like posting them all for the week, especially since the Steelers are about to plummet even more. So instead I'll just post the graphic. The Vikings dropped 2 spots to 5th after losing to the Cardinals, and the Packers moved up to 4th, while the Chargers took 3rd. The Raiders win finally got them out of the bottom 5, and they were replaced by the Redskins. The Steelers are now #23. Ouch.

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/13/09

Mark Ingram wins the Heisman. His dad is a former Giants receiver who went to Michigan State and is now in prison, if you didn't know. Um, not Plaxico Burress.

I didn't think Green Bay was THAT cold. Apparently it's abominable.

Think Jay-Z is talking about basketball? Nah, just cocaine.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Now what do I do?

For weeks, I was able to wake up on Saturday morning and watch some college football, starting at 11 in the morning local time. Now? There is one or two games of college basketball. I love college basketball, but 2 games?! Are you kidding? There stands a very good chance that those games turn into a blow out. What am I supposed to do now? I suppose I could go outside.
Ugh, it's December. I'm not going outside until April. Winter sucks.


Links fo the Day 12/12/09

Peter Gammons is leaving ESPN. I don't even know how to respond to that.

Redskins and Saints... you knew there would be guns involved.

If you needed some help figuring out which bowls to catch.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh look, another douche at Notre Dame

Leaving his team before the biggest game in school history all for a chance to coach at a mediocre Midwestern school? Yep. Douche.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/11/09

Baseball in Australia? The Pirates' season would go down the toilet in the opposite direction!

Bryant Gumbel announced he has lung cancer. Here's hoping he can beat it.

He'll be all right. He's a hockey player.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Something I never understood was why Boof Bonser changed his name from John to Boof. Legally. Plenty of player don’t go by their first name. (For example, Timothy Baker, Robert Blackburn, and Keiunta Span all play for the Twins, but those names are unfamiliar to fans. They know Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, and Denard Span. And, shockingly, J.J. Hardy does more than initials for his first and middle name.) But he seemed like quite the individual.

Early this week when Carl Pavano decided to accept arbitration from the Twins. The Twins already had 40 men on their 40-man roster without him, so someone had to go. Boof was taken off the major league roster (literally as I write this, Twitter is telling me that he was traded to the Red Sox…surprising, because he would’ve been a free agent on Saturday; the Twins will get the ever-popular Player to be Named Later. That guy gets traded a lot!). This made no sense to me. Why were the Twins letting Boof go, while keeping Bobby Keppel on the roster? Keppel did win game 163 last year, but quite frankly we were all surprised. It was his first major league record. He’s not a horrible pitcher, but he pretty much has summed up the definition of long reliever—a man brought in when the starting pitcher doesn’t pitch long—either due to poor performance or injury (and occasionally weather/rain delays). They’re guys who just don’t have the stuff (or stamina) to hold onto close games late or be starters. They’re better than the average man off the street, but the fans are all happier when they don’t see him on the mound—unless it’s late in the game with a blow-out lead. In other words, they’re not a hot commodity. It simply made no sense to keep Keppel but drop Boof.

However, later I learned that the Twins had offered Boof a contract earlier in the off-season—one which he rejected. True, it was for a smaller salary than someone of his tenure probably should expect to make, but considering his surgery and non-dominating performance, it’s clear the Twins were trying to transition him to a reliever role. He’d get a shot to try out for the final starter role (with Brian Duensing, Francisco Liriano, Anthony Swarzak, and possibly Glen Perkins—oft-mentioned in trades), but it was pretty well assumed Boof would be in the bullpen. Still, why did Boof refuse the contract?

Well, Mariano Rivera is oft considered one of the best relievers in the game. Playing for the Yankees, he gets paid very well to be a reliever. In his career, he has made an estimated $114,530,125. That’s a lot of money, but he’s been pitching a long time. On the other hand, in January of 2008, Johan Santana signed a
guaranteeing him $137,500,000 and could be worth up to $151,000,000. This does not include any money he made with the Twins prior to signing with the Mets. That’s quite a difference in money. Since we’re projecting into the future, it stands possible that Rivera could make more money than Santana (e.g., another couple of good contracts for Rivera, none for Santana). However, it’s a pretty good bet that through a lifetime, a starting pitcher will make more than a reliever. It stands to reason since the starting pitcher pitches more innings than a reliever.

Boof, it seems, wanted to be let go. With the Twins, he’d be fighting for a spot in the starting rotation, and looking at the Twins traditionally having an excess of starting pitching, it’s quite likely he would’ve been constantly fighting for a spot on the starting rotation. By going elsewhere, he could have a better chance of choosing a team where he had a good chance of being a starting pitcher.

Beyond that, many pitchers prefer to be starting pitchers. I heard a year ago a man who seemed very entrenched in his team’s bullpen mention that he still wanted to be a starter. I think many pitcher feel like the bullpen is the dumping grounds for guys not good enough to be starters (not so, in my opinion. Each position requires unique characteristics. Learning the traits required to be a successful bullpen pitcher is impressive).

Turning down a guaranteed $550,000 seems preposterous to me, but Boof wasn’t looking at the money he’d make today. He was looking at his future, and trying to decide where he wanted to be.

Apparently, he’s going to be with the Red Sox, although I’m not sure that’s where he would’ve chosen, he probably isn’t complaining, either. The other things guys want is to win. And the Red Sox have been pretty good at that lately.

Timberwolves update: They won another game! They’re now at 3-19, or a 13.6% winning percentage. The have the worst record in the West, but New Jersey has the worst record, finally getting a couple of wins to compose two win in 22 games!

Wild Update: The Wild have won three games since we last checked in with them (and lost one), but are back to having the worst record in the Northwest, and have a 14-13-3 record, for a 46.7% winning percentage. Also, the Wild have four players out with concussions.

Labels: , ,

Links of the Day 12/10/09

Ah yes, the end of the year always brings year end retrospectives. Of course, this year it brings about decade ending retrospectives.

Speaking of retrospectives, how about a look back on the first day of the winter meetings?

Perhaps the Ravens will be able to turn things around this week.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Good news and bad news

Good news! I am getting a house! I am taking advantage of the faltering economy and my steady employment! I move next week!
Bad news! I will likely have to forgo my intended trip to Akron to watch Illinois-Chicago take on the Zips. This means I will not get to go on a date with my kangaroo girlfriend, as I had hoped.

Anyways, that's a bummer. But there is more good news! During my whole ugly moving process on Monday, me dear friends from Barry Melrose Rocks will stop by and grace you with coherent posts. For once.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/9/09

I woke up this morning to the sound of a car digging out of a snow drift. I quickly realized that the snow drift was in front of the entrance to my apartment complex. Today will be a long day.

Jimmy Clausen will no longer grace the South Bend area, deciding to go pro.

Speaking of college football, here is a look at the Heisman candidates.

I have never been to Minnisota. I think I live close though.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So long, Boof

You have a goofy name and were above average for one season. Then you started to suck and got hurt. Now you are gone. So.... bye.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/8/09

Carl Pavano has accepted arbitration because he "likes [the Twins'] chances". That's awesome to hear.

Would Charlie Weis fit in Chicago? Hell, he can't even fit in his pants.

The Blues are rather nerdy, apparently.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Regarding the BCS

Dear bloggers,
Do you not like the BCS? Can you find numerous examples of how life would be better if there was a playoff? Do you have an example of how a playoff would work? Really?!
Keep it to yourself. Everyone else has already expressed their displeasure for the BCS, you are providing nothing new. I am sick of reading about people and their issues with end of the season in college football. You know what? There is a contract with the NCAA for the next several years. There is no playoff coming, no matter how many hackneyed whiny posts you write this or next season. Maybe you can bring it up again when the contract expires, but you know what? So will every single columnist at every newspaper, every blogger and anyone with a pulse. So maybe you should save it.
The only reason I think you should write about college football from this point on is if A) you want to provie some analysis for the games that are already scheduled. Hey, they will be good games! B) You want to summarize events that have already transpired. C)You have an innovative solution to problems that aren't usually addressed. For example, that even with a playoff the chances of getting in are weighted towards major conferences, or that polls still play too much of a role in the process.
In summary, if you want to talk college football, please think twice before you write the same stupid piece that I have already read dozens of times before. Thank you.
- Ryan

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/7/09

Horror stars if they were in the MLB. Or vice versa. Something like that.

Note from the winter meetings: Looks like Carl Pavano will be sticking around.

The end of the year bowls are finally scheduled. The Gophers will be playing Iowa State in the Insight Bowl. I think this is their third year in a row in this particular bowl...


Sunday, December 06, 2009

I find it hard to hate Tim Tebow

Much has been made of Tim Tebow weeping on the sidelines as his Florida Gators lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Most of it is schadenfruede, people enjoying the fact that a man so esteemed has come tumbling back to earth. The attribution could be that he is a sore loser, but I had the opposite analysis.
I was most impressed by Tebow's grace during his post game interview. His eyes still red from crying, he didn't back down from the interview, and he didn't get short with the interviewer. Part of the reason we look down upon some of the other premier athletes and coaches is because of the way they respond in there press conferences. They are testy or solemn and difficult to deal with when they lose, and sometimes even when they win. Tebow sees dealing with the media as part of his job, and he does it enthusiastically and respectfully.
Not only was his willingness to address the media refreshing, it was what he said. Instead of even over-analyzing the game or talking about the failings he and his team experienced. He instead talked about how proud he was of the way Alabama performed, what a great team, program and univeristy it was, and how happy he was for their fans. Not even the Mormons at BYU can be that gracious in defeat.
Tebow was obviously upset about the way the game ended, to be sure, but I think most of the distress he was feeling was that it was the way his college career is ending. Isn't this what we want out of our college athletes? To enjoy the college experience, to stay the full four years, and to keep out of trouble? If you hate him, you do so simply because Florida is better than your team. Don't fault the media for getting giddy over someone who is actually a joy to cover.

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/6/09

Vikings players have places to be.

Texas narrowly defeats Nebraska and will be going to play in the national title game.

The Twins now officially have prospect Miguel Angel Sano signed and ready to go.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Somewhere in France...

There is at least one Jay Mariotti fan.


Links of the Day 12/5/09

The US lucked out with their World Cup draw.

I had to look at this headline twice.

Speaking of the hockey, the Wild had a nifty win last night and produced this moving tribute. To their mustaches.


Friday, December 04, 2009

Yes, Kirk Herbstreit, why?

Last week, after Charlie Weis was canned, Kirk Herbstreit asked the pertinent question: "Why do we still talk about Notre Dame like they are a relevant program?" I'm paraphrasing. But he couldn't figure why the media covered the Irish like they continued to be a national powerhouse, even though they have been mediocre at best for about two decades now. I think it's a question that is easily answered if Kirk looks around the office.
Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame football coach, current college football analyst.
Bob Davie, Holtz's successor at Notre Dame, and now a color guy for college football.
Oh, but it doesn't stop at college football. No no no. Check out the college basketball.
Digger Phelps was a former Irish basketball coach and is now a college basketball analyst.
Former Irish great Laphonso Ellis is also an analyst for the Worldwide leader now too.
Of course, there is Sportscenter anchor Hannah Storm, who takes any opportunity to remind all of us that she too went to Notre Dame.
So Kirk, that's why people at ESPN still talk about Notre Dame because they are relevant. Almost everyone there spent some time in South Bend.

Labels: ,

RIP The Big Picture

A quick word... One of our blogging friends over the past few years, the Big Picture and creator Zach Landres-Schnur has called it quits. I just wanted to take a moment to thank him for all the help and enjoyment he has given me over the years. So, um, thanks.


Links of the Day 12/4/09

Famously round coach Mark Mangino is done at Kansas.

I think people outside of Minnesota don't realize just how fast 109 is. Thats probably 60mph than most people around here have ever driven. 80 faster than anyone has ever gone on Crosstown.

If you like CBS' How I Met Your Mother, you will like this.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Is Cheerleading a Sport?

Recently, I listened to a discussion on whether or not cheerleading should be considered a sport. (I also found out the first cheerleaders were at the University of Minnesota. Interesting.)

I happen to think that cheerleading is not a sport. Cheerleading, but definition, is leading a cheer. It is definitely an activity, but the competitions are not cheerleading. They’re competitions of dance/gymnastics more than they are of leading cheers.

I do think cheerleaders definitely work as hard as athletes, but so do the debate and mock trial teams, and no one will consider them a sport. Cheerleading has the intense physical demands, however, which places them closer to sports. But some marching bands put in a lot of physical work, too (did you ever try to carry a base drum down the street, wearing a long-sleeve polyester uniform in 100 degree heat?), and they’re certainly not considered sports. Some musicals have dances that require a lot of intense physical work, but they’re not sports either (nor are they competitions, which takes them out of the equation, I suppose).

An unattributed column (Jason is the only name associated) published by an organization at the University of Cincinnati debated the question of cheerleading being a sport and came up with this thought: what does cheerleading do? Since its main goal is to lead cheers, what are we cheering for?

Cheerleading is an athletic activity, but I think it’s out of the realm of sports. When cheerleaders start competing, they’re moving out of the realm of cheerleading (by definition) and into the realm of a dance/choreographed competition.

The problem is, people have this pre-conceived notion that it must qualify as a sport in order to gain respect. I’m not sure why that is. People go to the ballet without arguing that the ballet is a sport and they appreciate the hard work and athleticism of the performers (although they appreciate the art more—which is precisely what’s admired in cheerleading competitions—and arguably figure skating and the floor routine in gymnastics…). There is nothing underrated about being an activity that’s not a sport.

Again, I’m not taking away anything from cheerleaders and the incredible amount of work they put into their art. It’s just that, well, I don’t think what they do is a sport.

Then again, I don’t really consider fishing and poker sports (hey, poker is in ESPN!), and I’m on the fence about billiards/pool and bowling.

Timberwolves update: They won another game! They’re now at 2-16, or a 11.1% winning percentage. The have the worst record in the West, but New Jersey still has yet to record a win in 18 games.

Wild Update: The Wild have won three games since we last checked in with them (I attended one of them—and saw Chuck Kobesaw’s hat trick! Woo!), no longer have the worst record in the Northwest, and have a 11-12-3 record, for a 42.3% winning percentage.


Links of the Day 12/3/09

Hey! The Big Ten won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, despite Minnesota! UNBELIEVABLE!!

Oooh, the World Cup pots are out. Draw is on Friday. My arbitrary prediction? The US will be drawn with Argentina, Denmark and Nigeria.

Oh Ron Artest. If I cared about the NBA, this story would be even funnier.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

NFL Power Ranks: Week 12

The big story of week 12 was the Saints' crushing defeat of New England on Monday Night Football. I never thought I would see the day where the Saints started a season 11-0. The Patriots' loss knocked them back 4 spots to #8, allowing the Chargers to move up to #4, while the quietly hot Packers moved up 3 spots to #5. Yep, the Pack have won 3 games in a row to improve to 7-4, and they've been doing it with a lot of offense and are excellent at hanging on to the ball (#1 in the NFL in turnover ratio).

The Bottom 5 did what they usually do, lost, and stayed put. In an interesting side note, the Bears, who I picked to win the NFC this year, are just barely outside the bottom 5 now.

The big gainers this week were the Falcons, who broke free of mediocrity on the winning side, despite some big injuries that will probably affect them in the coming weeks, and the 49ers, who got a huge win over the Jaguars and are still alive in the NFC Playoff picture. The big losers this week were the Dolphins, who basically let Terrell Owens knock them out of the playoffs.

I'm not sure if anyone out there noticed the NFL's interesting scheduling quirk in Weeks 10 and 11, and I forgot to mention it in last week's post. In a one-week span from Monday, November 16 to Monday, November 23, each of the 4 teams that moved away only to have a new team replace them in that city in the past 25 years played in their old city, and the team that moved won all 4 games. On the 16th, the Ravens beat the Browns in Cleveland. On the 22nd, the Colts beat the Ravens in Baltimore, and the Cardinals beat the Rams in St. Louis. On the 23rd, the Titans beat the Texans in Houston. There is always a lot of emotion when a team that moves comes back as a road team, so its interesting that the NFL packed all 4 games into a single week.

Projected Playoff Matchups
First Round Byes: #2 Saints, #3 Vikings
#9 Eagles @ #7 Cowboys
#5 Packers @ #11 Cardinals
Top 3 Out: #12 Falcons, #16 49ers, #18 Giants

First Round Byes: #1 Colts, #4 Chargers
#10 Ravens @ #8 Patriots
#13 Jaguars @ #6 Bengals
Top 3 Out: #14 Titans, #15 Broncos, #17 Texans

Full Ranks:
1. Colts - 87.68 - Even
2. Saints - 84.13 - Even
3. Vikings - 82.51 - Even
4. Chargers - 74.93 - +1
5. Packers - 68.61 - +3
6. Bengals - 67.96 - Even
7. Cowboys - 66.70 - Even
8. Patriots - 65.61 - -4
9. Eagles - 61.48 - Even
10. Ravens - 59.96 - +1
11. Cardinals - 58.62 - -1
12. Falcons - 55.19 - +6
13. Jaguars - 54.45 - -1
14. Titans - 54.16 - +1
15. Broncos - 52.38 - +4
16. 49ers - 50.37 - +6
17. Texans - 48.44 - -4
18. Giants - 48.13 - -1
19. Steelers - 47.85 - -3
20. Dolphins - 46.29 - -6
21. Jets - 44.18 - -1
22. Seahawks - 41.51 - +5
23. Bills - 39.59 - +3
24. Chiefs - 36.47 - -3
25. Panthers - 32.89 - -1
26. Redskins - 32.50 - -1
27. Bears - 30.21 - -4
28. Raiders - 27.29 - Even
29. Lions - 23.71 - Even
30. Buccaneers - 23.51 - Even
31. Rams - 20.60 - Even
32. Browns - 15.19 - Even

Labels: ,

Links of the Day 12/2/09

The Who, playing half time at the Super Bowl. If they can make it that long.

Oh, so THAT'S what happened with the whole Tiger Woods thing.

The ACC Big Ten Shootout is underway, and Purdue managed to get a win.


Talk about turnover

In the baseball season, Beth had noted how few of the players on the roster actually spent the entire season on the roster. Well, I thought I would take it one step further, but look at the Wild. I thought I would look at their last game and see who was there at the end of the season last year.

Kim Johnsson - On the roster
Greg Zanon - Signed in the offseason
Mikko Koivu - On the roster
Owen Nolan - On the roster
Chuck Kobasew - Acquired in October
Andrew Brunette - On the roster
Andrew Ebbett - Acquired this week
Kyle Brodziak - Acquired in the offseason
Cal Clutterbuck - On the roster
Derek Boogaard - On the roster
Eric Belanger - On the roster
Jamie Sifers - Signed in the offseason
Shane Hnidy - Signed in the offseason
John Scott - On the roster
Robbie Earl - Acquired last year, never added to the roster until this season
Guillame Latendresse - Acquired this week
James Sheppard - On the roster
Nick Schultz - On the roster

That would by 9/18 players that were not on the roster at the end of the season last year. That's some serious turnover! Perhaps the Wild will come to gether when they get a little chemistry...


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Links of the Day 12/1/09

Former Gopher Keith Ballard is frustrated, and will take it out on everyone around him.

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge is underway again.

With Bobby Bowden retiring, perhaps all the DUIs need to find a new school.