Monday, February 28, 2011

Roster management ON SPEED

Today is the NHL trade deadline, which is at 2pm CT. I absolutely adore the trade deadline in the NHL. The other notable deadline, the MLB deadline is so often an exercise in futility, where the day's excitement is either sapped by deals coming a couple days before the deadline, or it never manifests period and it's all talk. Frustrating.
Not the NHL. Every year, they say that they think it's going to be a quiet deadline in the NHL, and every year, there are about 50 players moved. The mentality in the NHL through the season is that lines can get stale and need to be shaken up. This is the last chance for teams to shake things up and they take advantage in spades.
Except Minnesota. Doug Risebrough was the worst. He never bought when they needed to buy and they never sold when they needed to sell. I'm still pissed about Gaborik. Last year, at least Chuck Fletcher, the Chuckster, as it were, went ahead and traded Eric Belanger for a draft pick, so he at least pays attention.
Still, with 150 minutes to go, there is a depressingly low number of deals so far, for all teams. Only 2! Come on!


Links of the Day 2/28/11

The calendar turns to March tomorrow. One more month until real baseball.

On the Twins and the whole Francisco Liriano situation. It doesn't look good.

Steven Paea is strong.

If you go to games, you are very likely to hear these songs.

Purdue 67, Michigan State 47 - Monster road win. Almost certainly a 2 seed, if they win the Big Ten Tournament.... 1 Seed?
Boston U 66, Vermont 64 - Vermont might be coasting because they have the America East conference all locked up.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

It is time for hte NFL Combine

I really, truly have nothing to add about the combine. I am not a scout, nor do I ever intend to be. To me, it's just like going to the gym and watching people workout. I can do that at Lifetime, and the people I watch work out are much better looking than Terrence Cody.
Speaking of Terrence Cody, here he is running wind sprints during his pro day last year. Thank me for not showing him shirtless.

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Links of the Day 2/27/11

What?! This isn't a holiday weekend?! Balderdash.

The formula for getting a link into the daily links has been met. Sports meets old school video games.

Tim Floyd, UTEP coach was so cheesed off against East Carolina the other day that he was escorted out of the arena by the police. (Here is the video)

Former Twins prospect Loek Van Mil is in Angels camp this year.

Kansas 82, Colorado 70 - The Jayhawks are pretty much a lock now for a top seed as Duke, Texas, San Diego State and Arizona all lost yesterday.
Michigan 70, Minnesota 63 - *sigh*


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Ham and tomato quesadillas

I was terrified of this quesadilla. Oh, don't worry this was a pretty easy to make quesadilla. Brown some ham, throw some pepper jack cheese on there, mix up a spread with ranch, tomatoes, cilantro and jalepenos, throw it in the oven and voila, you have yourself a quesadilla.
But wait, jalapenos? Pepper Jack? This mofo is going to be spicy! And it was, it was a little zesty, but the tortilla, of all things, really tempered everything so it was palatable for a Norwegian like me. And yes, it really is hard to take a picture of a quesadilla and have it look any different from other quesadillas I may or may not have made in the past.


Links of the day 2/26/11

It's almost March and it's barely above 0. Unacceptable.

Wayne Gretzky played air hockey against a 14 year old Ellen Page. Surreal.

Lenny Dykstra and Charlie Sheen... pals.

Yes, this is clever.

North Dakota State 84, South Dakota State 61 - Proving once and for all who the best Dakota State is.
Minnesota 3, Anaheim 2 - Pierre Marc Bouchard won this one in OT. It might have been a hell of a finish, but I was fast asleep when this one ended.
Aston Villa 4, Blackburn 1 - Good grief, the Rovers can't do a damn thing against Villa


Friday, February 25, 2011

Victoria Times Bracketology

As is my custom when Tournament time approaches, I have put together a bit of bracketology. Keep in mind, I don't use even close to the same formula the actual bracket pickers use, and I'm no Joe Lunardi (I put this together in an hour and a half, he is paid handsomely to make this his life). The added 4 teams to this tournament led to a few alterations to the seeding. The 11 teams from the Big East also are a pain. Anyways, here are the seeds. Overall #1 is Kansas, then Ohio State, Duke and BYU.
Southwest (San Antonio) - 1 Kansas vs 16 (Florida Atlantic vs Bethune Cookman), 8 Illinois vs 9 Temple, 5 Utah State vs 12 Georgia, 4 Louisville vs 13 Harvard, 3 Georgetown vs 14 Long Beach State, 6 Missouri vs 11 UCLA, 7 West Virginia vs 10 St. Mary's, 2 Purdue vs 15 Coastal Carolina.
East (Newark) - 1 Ohio State vs 16 (McNeese St. vs Texas Southern) 8 Kansas State vs 9 Belmont, 5 Florida vs 12 Memphis, 4 Syracuse vs 13 Missouri State, 3 Wisconsin vs 14 Fairfield, 6 St. John's vs 11 Florida State, 7 Washington vs 10 UAB, 2 San Diego State vs 15 Kent State
Southeast (New Orleans) - 1 Duke vs 16 Murray State, 8 Texas A&M vs 9 Michigan State, 5 Villanova vs 12 (Clemson vs Butler) 4 Kentucky vs 13 Oakland, 3 North Carolina vs 14 Vermont, 6 Connecticut vs 11 Minnesota, 7 UNLV vs 10 Marquette, 2 Texas vs 15 Montana
West (Anaheim) 1 BYU vs 16 Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 8 Cincinnati vs 9 Old Dominion, 5 Vanderbilt vs 12 (Penn State vs Maryland) 4 Notre Dame vs 13 Charleston, 3 Arizona 14 Bucknell, 6 George Mason vs 11 Virginia Tech, 7 Xavier vs 11 Tennessee, 2 Pittsburgh vs 15 Long Island

Kind of a weird tournament. Three teams from Wisconsin? And right now, many are saying the Big Ten might get 5, but using my formula, they get seven. Interesting what happens when people take objective looks at the data, isn't it?

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Links of the Day 2/25/11

Friday morning. Hopefully the day only gets better.

So the Angels... they aren't into statistics?

Good for Jed Lowrie, but for a team that gets so much flak for being generic white guys, it makes sense that one of their generic white guys went to a white guy school like Stanford.

Cricket is freaking insane.

Los Angeles 4, Minnesota 2 - The Wild started this game in a tie for 5th place with 4 teams. They may make up their ground tonight against the Ducks.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Training: A Vignette

Alexi Casilla: Yoshi, que se supone que la segunda jugada en la actualidad. Vamos a ser el mayor tándem doble matanza en la historia!

Tsuyoshi Nishioka: スペイン語背の低い男を理解していない

 Rod Carew: Oh God...

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Links of the Day 2/24/11

I went to a driving range yesterday. I am SO ready for golf.

Nick Punto has injured himself. The Cardinals will really, really, really miss him early in the season.

Also, Joe Mauer's knee? Totally cool.

The Baseball America Top 100 prospects are out. The Twins have 4 cracking the top 100, but my goodness are the Royals going to be frightening.

Purdue 73, Indiana 61 - The Boilers are coasting now, let's hope they don't get complacent.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Minnesota Timberwolves and the 2003 draft

The Timberwolves, for all intents and purposes, did a horrendous job with the 2003 draft. I am no NBA fan, but I know this to be true. They drafted Ndudi Ebi and Rick Rickert. It doesn't get much worse than that. This was also the draft before the Wolves made it to the Western Conference finals, so that's pretty good, and it didn't seem like it phased the Wolves too much.
Of course, 2003 was probably one of the best drafts in NBA history, so it definitely looks bad in retrospect. Perhaps that is why the Wolves have their hand constantly dipping back in the 2003 draft. After the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Wolves have now had a stake in the career of the top 5 picks in the 2003 draft.

 - The #2 pick, Darko Milicic is currently on the Wolves roster.

 - The Wolves were involved in the three team deal that saw Carmelo Anthony, the #3 pick, get dealt to New York. They acquired Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry, cash and a draft pick.

- The Wolves were a vital component in the assembly of the super team involving #1 Lebron James, #4 Chris Bosh and #5 Dwyane Wade. They accepted Michael Beasley as the Heat cleared cap space for a couple of 2nd rounders.

 Chris Kaman? You're next.

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Links of the Day 2/23/11

I am going to the driving range this afternoon. I don't care what you think.

A special, serious message for athletes. You can get hurt, so go to school.

The Twins have added someone named "Darfi" to their minor league system.

Cal Tech ended a 27 year losing streak. Anything is possible! Hell, the Twins might one day beat the Yankees!

Minnesota 4, Edmonton 1 - The Wild absolutely own the Oilers at home. 15 wins in a row against them.
Michigan State 53, Minnesota 48 - This probably knocks the Gophers out of the tournament.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Something or other about fog

This is screen cap from the Star Tribune last night. It's either about Justin Morneau's concussion, or the editor has a concussion. Either way, there was probably a head injury involved. At least this was quickly seen and corrected. Or... wait, second most viewed.

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Links of the Day 2/22/11

Good Morning, Times readers. Unless you are on the East Coast, then good afternoon.

Best Bobblehead ever.

The all big win tournament. I like Jacksonville's chances!

The attack of the Zamboni.


Kansas 92, Oklahoma State 65 - It was 52-28 at the half.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Less than 6 weeks until baseball season

The good news is, according to Dave St. Peter, Twins President, the Target Field grounds crew isn't worried about the field!

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Links of the Day 2/21/11

I hope everybody made it through the blizzard just fine. Too bad today would have been a day off anyway.

According to Joe Lunardi, Purdue is now a 2 seed.

What happened to Scott Kazmir?

Justice in the Southeast is ridiculous.

Detroit 2, Wild 1 - But Minnesota still gets the point for sending this one to OT.
Purdue 76, Ohio State 63 - E'Twaun Moore hangs 38 on Ohio State in a HUGE win. This is why they were bumped to the 2 seed in Bracketology.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Today is the Daytona 500

The 4 years I spent in Indiana made me something of a NASCAR fan. I know, and I like it, but it's not necessarily my favorite competition out there. For example, I am spending my snowy Sunday toggling between the Purdue-Ohio State game and the Wild-Red Wings.
That said, knowing what I know about stock car racing, I would be remiss if I didn't note the importance of today. 10 years ago, Dale Earnhardt was killed at the end of the Daytona 500 that his friend Michael Waltrip won, and his son Dale Jr. finished second in. It's not a stretch to say that no single incident has affected another sport, both in the way that the game is played and in the long term emotional impact like Earnhardt's death affected NASCAR, and it's hard to imagine that another sport will see such a traumatic event on such a large stage.
So, mock NASCAR all you want, that's your perrogative, but remember that today is a very special day for race fans, and it has almost nothing to do with the race in Florida.

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Links of the Day 2/20/11

BLIZZARD! If there is any reason to watch the Daytona 500 today, it's to imagine that you are there.

The truth is, you can't be a clever (even though perhaps foulmouthed) writer unless you are a talented writer to begin with.Drew Magary is an impressive writer that he can change pace to write like that.

This guy killed some trees at Auburn. Zing!

I can't believe the Dugout is going away.

Kansas 89, Colorado 63 - Colorado got Buffaloed. GET IT?!
IPFW 73, North Dakota State 61 - NDSU scored 19 points in the first half. That isn't good.
Charleston 85, Vermont 70 - This should probably go a long way to demonstrating how weak the America East conference (including Vermont) actually is.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

The best show on hypothetical television

Oney Guillen is the crazy ass son of Ozzie Guillen, for those who don't know. He is renowned for his Twitter warfare with the White Sox and Chicago journalists. Tonight, however, he came up with a brilliant idea for a TV show. Ozzie Guillen and Charles Barkley. This needs to happen. Just think, one of them would be the sane one.

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Links of the Day 2/19/11

I'm really happy that it's going to snow again. Really, so, so happy.

Baby gymnastics, not as adorable as it sounds.

Sometimes it's possible to waste a good baserunner by putting them at the top of the order. Did I just blow your mind?

Baseball is going to be almost entirely on cable this year for Twins fans. No more ads for Everybody Loves Raymond, at least.

Minnesota 5, Anaheim 1 - I'm sure the Ducks are glad they traded for a defenseman now.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Why does this happen every year?

At the beginning of the season, after the Big Ten teams won the ACC challenge and looked like a solid 6 bid conference, I noted that it would just be a matter of time before the media started crapping all over the Big Ten. Well, it's happened. now that Big Ten teams have started playing some real opponents (read, themselves) and have proven themselves to be generally competitive, it's a sign of weakness.
There were 6 quality teams, and since Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin have started to separate themselves from the pack, that means every other team must be inferior? I don't understand the logic. What makes this increasingly frustrating is the look out east at the Big East. They apparently have 7 locks for the tournament. Why doesn't losing conference games affect them?
Of course, the tournament committee usually does an admirable job placing the teams without biases, so hopefully this bizarre media infatuation with crapping all over the Big Ten (I think it's actually painted inside Seth Davis' toilet) doesn't matter. And the Big Ten always comes to play come tournament time. At least we will prove it on the court.


Links of the Day 2/18/11

Good, everything is frozen outside again. Let me warm you with some links.

These are some unusually small balls.

The Colts have rid themselves of Bob Sanders. I wasn't even aware that he was still alive.

Joba?  More like Jabba! Amirite?!

Penn State 66, Minnesota 63 - This underscores why it's important to have a point guard, this Gophers collapse. Perhaps they could borrow one from the Timberwolves.
Oakland 71, North Dakota State 69 - Just not a good day all around for the Upper Midwest


Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Purdue basketball recruiting news...

The Purdue Boilermakers have added another player to their future basketball squad. I don't often talk about high school recruiting, so obviously, this is sort of a different situation. The player they added won't graduate for 2 more years, so a lot can change, but even for his class, he is a top 30 recruit.
Oh, also, he has an awesome name:
BASIL SMOTHERMAN JR. Awesome. Sounds like an extra in True Grit.

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Links of the Day 2/17/11

Good morning, I hope the gloomy weather isn't getting you down. After all, it is above freezing and in mid-February.

Fictional Lebron James is right, still an asshole.

Cameron Maybin has a problem with ownership. A gastrointestinal problem with ownership.

I am never ordering a large beverage at a game again.

Purdue 70, Wisconsin 62 - Finally, a truly excellent win for Purdue. My faith is somewhat restored.
Vermont 73, Maine 57 - A dominant win at Maine, and I think Vermont has the America East all but locked down.
Blackhawks 3, Wild 1 - Suddently the Wild forgot how to score goals. This hasn't been a good week.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Joe Mauer was on TV!

Joe Mauer was on Jimmy Fallon last night, promoting MLB 2k11, the game in which he has been on the cover the past two seasons. Jimmy said that he loves Joe Mauer, which is high praise, because Jimmy Fallon is a hard guy to earn praise from.


Links of the Day 2/16/11

How is everybody this morning? Having a good time? Great.

Hey, Delmon Young signed a deal.

A season's worth of MLB on Fox.

IDYFT appears to have made their bed in the whole NFL Labor negotiation issue.

Vancouver 4, Minnesota 1 - This was a big loss for the Wild. Need to beat the teams on top of the conference.


Ice fishing is dumb

I don't care for ice fishing. My dad took us when I was young and didn't let us warm up in the car or in ice houses. He had us sit on buckets in the middle of Lake Minnetonka, watching out line. I don't remember ever catching a fish (though if I did, no thank you. I don't care for freshwater fish). All I remember was being cold and miserable.
I can't imagine, then, these people. 2000 people on a lake for 3 hours, and not a single damn person catches a fish. That sounds like the most ice fishing thing I have ever heard. The good news is, organizers donated all the money to local charities since nobody won the damn thing.
I would say better luck next year, but I believe that "better luck" would mean a move to a warmer climate, not increased success standing on a frozen lake, exposed to the elements just waiting for something to happen.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Links of the Day 2/15/11

Hi, sorry I'm late with the posts today. I had a busy day. Anywho, here are the links.

Breaking down the Twins and the Yankees.

Peyton Manning is staying in Indianapolis, whether he likes it or not.

A scary, bizarre story from Lakeville.

Kansas State 84, Kansas 68 - Kansas was the number 1 team in the land... briefly.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Why is Jim Souhan such a dickbag?

I had to use that term, as my friend used it several times in conversation today. But really, what IS Jim Souhan's problem? Since baseball season hasn't started yet, he hasn't had an opportunity to mention how much he hates Delmon Young, so he has, instead, turned his attention to Tubby Smith and the Gophers.
In yesterday's paper, he drafted this work of journalistic brilliance: Uh, Kentucky, y'all were right about Tubby.
He spent the first 5 paragraphs calling Kentucky fans racist idiots (the gall!) before turning his attention to Tubby, labeling him a disappointment in his 4 seasons in Minnesota. In one season, the Gophers went from 8 wins to 20 under Smith, and haven't dipped below 20 wins since. He also alleged that Tubby has done a poor job of recruiting and doesn't have a discernable offense.
Well, the Gophers are being rebuilt from the scandalous years at the turn of the decade, and he managed to bring in a top 25 recruiting class in 2007-08. The issue was, with the increased light on the academic responsibilities of the team, his fuse was shorter and players were held to a higher standard, leading to the departure of some players like Devoe Joseph. Then Al Nolen gets hurt a couple of times, and a pair of elite prospects, both point guards, are done, taking away the offense that he would otherwise have. And the Gophers STILL have 17 wins, on pace for another 20.
Sure, he hasn't won in the postseason, but when has Souhan ever spoke ill of Ron Gardenhire, who has had more chances and a longer postseason drought? The rest of the article was a petty jab at a lot of Tubby's unspoken motivation. He is just in it for the money, he is a whiner, and he doesn't get along with his players.
If I didn't know any better, that sounds more like Jim Souhan than Tubby Smith.

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Links of the Day 2/14/11

Oh yay, it's Valentine's day! Isn't everybody so damn happy! Lets get to the links.

Pitchers and catchers are reporting across the league. Here is a baseball link: Nishioka on KARE.

This is excellent news, speaking of baseball.

And once again, speaking of baseball, here is some analysis on what the Twins might get for Francisco Liriano.

Purdue 81, Illinois 70 - This was only Purdue's 3rd RPI top 50 win. Hopefully this starts a trend.
Vermont 60, Binghamton 51 - With Maine losing over the weekend, it looks like Vermont's conference to lose. They are at least going to the NIT!
Minnesota 62, Iowa 45 - A good confidence builder.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Sunday, here's a baby giraffe.


Links of the Day 2/13/11

It's the first Sunday since August without football. I am watching Animal Planet.

If we were going to import anything from European soccer, I wish it was relegation. This will probably be what we get though.

The ACC has a lot of talent, not so good coaching.

Ross Ohlendorf is a good pitcher on a bad team. Hence a 1-11 record. Enough already.

Blackburn 0, Newcastle United 0 - Newcastle suddenly can't score without Andy Carroll. Funny that.
Kansas 89, Iowa State 66 - Kansas is better than Iowa State
IUPUI 76, North Dakota State 72 - The Jaguars are among the top teams in the Summit, but still, home losses hurt.
Wild 3, Blues 1 - The Wild sweep the home and home series from St. Louis. A playoff team, probably, at this point. Maybe this one can win a game in the post season!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Final

Another NFL season is in the books, and unfortunately my randomly picking dog got the outcome of the Super Bowl right, and the power ranks got it wrong. However, the power rank formula at least worked well enough to put the Packers on top to end the season, while the Steelers moved back to #3 and the Patriots got bumped up to #2. Everyone from #4 down stayed put.

There isn't much else to discuss with this season's final power ranks (other than if I will need to change my formula to adjust for a lockout next year) so let's take a closer look at the end of this NFL season. I think there were some bizarre things that happened over the past few weeks and playoffs...

First, I think these 2 scenarios have been brought up other places, but it is interesting to think about 2 seemingly random games that could have had an impact on the Super Bowl matchup. First, remember when Steve Johnson dropped that game winning pass in OT and then blamed God for it? That was against the Steelers. If he catches that pass, the Steelers would have been the 6 seed playing on the road in Indy and the Ravens would have had the bye. Let's assume the Steelers beat the Colts and the Jets beat the Chiefs. The Jets would have gone to Baltimore instead of New England and the Steelers would have gone to New England. The other key to the Super Bowl matchup was the Lions. Yes, the Lions. In Week 15, they won their first road game since October 2007 as part of an impressive 4 game win streak to end the season. In that game, they beat Tampa. If Tampa just would have beaten the Lions at home, they would have been the final wild card and the Packers would have been out of the playoffs.

Now, let's look at some odd playoff scenarios. Of course, we had the 7-9 Seahawks beat the defending Super Bowl Champs in the first round, but that has been discussed to death. An interesting side note to this is at that point, it was pretty much inevitable that the Packers would beat the Eagles, allowing the Bears to play Seattle in the 2nd round. The Bears seemed like one of the most undeserving #2 seeds in NFL history, mostly because of Cutler's moping, the Packers' injuries, and their very unimpressive way of winning games all season. It just seemed to make sense that they only needed to beat a 7-9 team at home in the snow to get to the NFC Championship game. Another interesting thing that happened this year is that both #1 seeds were ousted in the first round by the #6 seed that they beat earlier in the season. For the Falcons, they barely got past the Packers in Atlanta and the Packers answered by destroying them. For the Patriots, they absolutely embarrassed the Jets late in the season (the Jets beat them early on), the Jets spent all week trash talking, and somehow, someway, they go into Foxboro and knock out the clear favorite to win the Super Bowl heading into the playoffs.

Now, let's talk a little more about the Super Bowl Champs. The Packers had a very odd journey this year, plagued by injuries and disappointing losses. They were an early season Super Bowl favorite (Ryan and I both picked them to at least make it there), but they trailed the Bears in the NFC North almost all season. They also had 3 losses over the last 6 weeks (to #1 seeds Atlanta and New England and an awful Aaron Rodgers-less loss to the Lions) but won when it counted, beating the Giants and Bears to get into the playoffs with a 10-6 record. Since they were a preseason darling and won those last 2 clutch games, the Packers were given the "sleeper" benefit-of-the-doubt tag heading into the playoffs. Their matchup with Philly was seen as being able to go either way, partly because they beat the Eagles (with Kevin Kolb) in week 1. Heading into Atlanta, I think the Falcons' history was working against them and again, the Packers were perceived as having a mediocre to good chance at winning. I think the general consensus was with the Pack heading into the NFC Championship as well, because of all that was said about the Bears above. So incredibly (at least to me) the Packers were the favorite heading into the Super Bowl, despite being a 6 seed playing a 2 seed, having a 10-6 record, loaded with injuries, playing a team with 2 recent Super Bowl wins, and getting there by beating a bunch of NFC teams that laid down and died for them. And guess what? They won. And with that win, they tied the record for worst W-L record to win the Super Bowl, with the 1988 49ers, who also had a lot of injuries early in the season but got healthy late.

Speaking of those 1988 49ers, I found it pretty funny how undramatic the final drive by the Steelers in the Super Bowl was. If you can remember all the way back to Super Bowl XXIII, Joe Montana led the Niners on a 92 yard TD drive (when he only needed a field goal) with 34 seconds left to win the game. Ben Roethlisberger is no Montana, but the feeling in the stadium and by the announcers seemed pretty hopeless when the Steelers got the ball, needing a TD to win with 2 minutes to go. Sure, he had less time than Montana did, but even though I just said he is no Montana, just 2 years ago he led the Steelers to a win in Super Bowl XLIII with a game winning TD drive. Big Ben didn't disappoint the announcers or fans though, and before you knew it, Rodgers was taking his knee.

Here are the final power ranks:
1. Packers - 79.87
2. Patriots - 78.53
3. Steelers - 73.15
4. Ravens - 70.83
5. Jets - 69.93
6. Falcons - 69.71
7. Buccaneers - 64.42
8. Chargers - 61.31
9. Bears - 59.91
10. Lions - 58.82
11. Colts - 58.27
12. Giants - 54.90
13. Chiefs - 54.33
14. Eagles - 53.20
15. Saints - 52.46
16. Raiders - 51.67
17. Cowboys - 45.06
18. 49ers - 42.65
19. Rams - 42.01
20. Titans - 40.13
21. Texans - 39.63
22. Seahawks - 38.72
23. Dolphins - 37.15
24. Bengals - 36.25
25. Jaguars - 35.93
26. Redskins - 35.60
27. Vikings - 33.76
28. Cardinals - 33.09
29. Browns - 32.52
30. Bills - 32.05
31. Broncos - 27.69
32. Panthers - 24.58

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Links of the Day 2/12/11

It's Hockey Day in Minnesota! Go watch some hockey today, gang.

Yes, these mascots all make me think of.. sports. And Russia.

If I knew how to read, this might be one I would read.

Fascinating stuff, as per usual from Fangraphs. Rethinking the standings and how they are displayed.

Minnesota 5, St. Louis 4 - The Wild defeat the Blues in 9 rounds of the shootout in the first game of their home and home


Friday, February 11, 2011

The most overwrought rivalries in the media

Oh yes, we are doing a list with this mofo, and not a slide show, because they are annoying. The rules: these are the most overwrought as I, a Minnesotan with basic cable, sees them.

5.  Michigan-Ohio State - Michigan hasn't been good for a while, and the Big Ten has been a less than superior conference for even longer. Still, this is a traditional powerhouse, and Michigan and OSU are the two most nationally marketable teams out there. So, a two team conference in the world's eye, the plays in the eastern/central time zone... yeah, this one gets way too much play.

4. The entire NFC East - It's the Redskins-Cowboys! It's the Eagles Giants! It's the Giants Cowboys! It's the Eagles Redskins! et al. Somehow, they are all enormous rivalries.

3. Patriots - Jets - Hey, Belichick used to be on the Jets' staff! Bill Parcells! Rex Ryan talks a lot! This rivalry started to get going around 2000, and I think it will continue to plague the NFL fan for the rest of eternity.

2. Duke - North Carolina - Two words: Dick Vitale. It's almost as if the rest of the college basketball world has to stop to honor these two games every year. I can't think of another college basketball game that gets a full week of hype before it is even played.

1. Red Sox - Yankees - There are very logical reasons that this rivalry gets so much attention. It features New York vs Boston (see #3). There are 19 games of these played a season. They are the best two teams in the game, typically. But still. Enough. There are other teams too.

You'll note that the NHL and NBA don't have any rivalries on here. Why? I don't know. I think it's because any both leagues are spread across basic cable networks, rather than making their presence felt only on ESPN, or Fox or what have you (sure, they are on NBC and ABC respectively, but come on) and second, historic rivalries are often pushed aside in those leagues, because they tend to be more player driven. Sid vs Ovie in the NHL, Lebron vs Kobe in the NBA. But what do you think? Thoughts in the comments.


Links of the Day 2/11/11

It's almost time for the weekend. Almost there. Aaaaalmost there.

Lionel Messi can even juke a guy out of his pants at the airport.

This is kind of a fun little Twitter war. Well, battle, I suppose.

This is a good, thorough look at arbitration and what it means.

North Dakota State 68, Western Illinois 48 - Western Illinois is perhaps the right up there with Eastern Illinois as the worst Illinois basketball school.
Illinois 71, Minnesota 62 - At least that's what the Gophers are telling themselves.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just the news I wanted to hear heading into Spring Training

Joe Christenson of the Star Tribune is starting a bit of an internet kerfuffle with a recent article he drew up for today's paper. In it, he states that the Twins are open to trading Francisco Liriano. Obviously, this has many fans apoplectic. But you know what? There is a silver lining.
The Twins weren't about to go long term with Liriano, especially at 9 mil a year more than they ended up going in arbitration. Liriano has 2 years left under team control, and if there is not intention from the Twins to retain him, then isn't it in the best interest for the team to get maximum value?
The Twins should have learned their lesson from Johan Santana, who held the team over a barrel and got his deal out of town for players that have mostly been garbage. If Liriano is traded now, the Twins can count on, perhaps, getting some players that could be used NOW as well as in the future. The team will need a big right handed bat after this season, depending on what Cuddyer can still do and if Delmon Young will be back. The team could use some good ground ball pitchers in their rotation (especially if Liriano is dealt). The team has holes that need patching, and losing Liriano is worth fixing some of those holes. Especially if he continues to be an injury threat.
But what worries me the most is the reluctance to retain players long term. What does this mean for Delmon Young? If the team struggles this year, especially without Liriano, are the Twins going to sell and blow up the team this year? Did the Twins just get their stadium, and are they now going to blow it up?

Whew, sorry. Had a panic attack there for a second.

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Links of the Day 2/10/11

One horrible side effect of the green bean salad from yesterday's mean? I had the rest of it last night after work, and now have horrible onion breath.

Do you think stuff like this happens in too many places outside of North Dakota?

This guy is PUMPED for some Buffalo Sabres hockey!

In case you hadn't heard, Peter Forsberg is trying to get back in the NHL.

Vermont 80, UMBC 67 - Right now, Joe Lunardi has the Catamounts as a 15 seed, so even thought they keep winning, I don't think they will make much noise in March.
Wild 3, Colorado 2 - If Minnesota can keep playing the Avs, they will be in the throes of the playoff hunt!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: orange glazed chicken

That's a pretty solid look at the state of my kitchen, is it not? Well, if you couldn't tell, that's a chicken breast, glazed in an orange marmalade sauce (you can see the orange marmalade in the background!) laid on some rice with a green bean/vegetable salad. This is the first recipe that I can say that the problem was with the recipe, and not with me (thouhh the chicken was a little overcooked. Oops).
The problem was that it was way too, I don't know, similar. It was a full meal recipe, so the green bean salad was designed to go with the chicken. The chicken was orange glazed, like I said, which meant citrus. The vegetables were also covered in an orange and lime juice sauce, which was more citrus. And then the red onions are a strong flavor, that doesn't exactly run counter to citrus. There was rice, sure, but overall, it could have done well with something a little salty, I think.
Listen to me, all food critic and what not.


Links of the Day 2/9/11

I am very ready for baseball season. It doesn't help that the Wild have been off for about 9 days now.

Here is Gilbert Arenas actually getting served.

Milwaukee might have a sausage problem.

This is so passive aggressive, I'm surprised it didn't happen in Minnesota.

Purdue 67, Indiana 53 - It always feels awesome to beat Indiana. Right now, Bracketology has Purdue as a 3!


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Does this mean he is going to die soon?

So there is a new Bieber movie coming, apparently his life story. Kid is 16. This should mean only one of three things. 1) Bieber has been through a lot in his life, and is truly a heartwarming story. 2) Bieber is very old and widely revered. 3) He is dead.
First off, here is the trailer. I'm sorry in advance.

In response to the three conditions, 1) Biebs came from southern Ontario. That's hardly adversity. And he has turned into a arrogant douchey teenager. 2) He is 16 and, well, this. 3) Hmm. Perhaps he knows something.
Sadly, it's 4), which is that teenage girls are stupid.

Also, remember, Justin Morneau is in the Biebs' wolfpack.


Links of the Day 2/8/11

Went to the dentist this morning. One of my fillings is chipped, and I need it refilled :(

The reason the Packers pulled off the Super Bowl win was, of course, Lil Wayne.

In case you missed this, the Twins are all set with Francisco Liriano. Now if we can just get that ruffian Delmon Young locked up.

A recent Iowa inferno was sponsored by Geico.

Kansas 103, Missouri 86 - Kansas shot 105% from the field in this one.


Monday, February 07, 2011

Turnovers are, like, a big deal

Let's take a look at some of the stats from the Super Bowl yesterday:
Total Yards: Pittsburgh 387, Green Bay 338

Yards per carry: Pittsburgh 5.5, Green Bay 3.8

Time of Possession: Pittsburgh 33:25, Green Bay 26:35

With all of those stats, one thing is very clear. Pittsburgh dominated the game. If they keep running the ball, they will keep it out of Aaron Rodgers' hands and likely keep driving the field for more points.

Of course, there were these two stats that ran counter to that conclusion

Rushes: Pittsburgh 23, Green Bay 13

Turnovers: Pittsburgh 3, Green Bay 0

I'm not claiming to be a smart guy when it comes to football, but it seems pretty apparent that the Steelers would have been well served to keep the ball on the ground, especially as two of those 3 turnovers were interceptions. Either way, however, there is no doubt that the turnovers were the main issue in the game. While the Packers ended up the victors in north Texas this year, at least I will always know that they were physically beaten by the Steelers. Can I count that as my being right? No?
Oh well, congrats to Green Bay.

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Links of the Day 2/7/11

The Super Bowl is over. And now we wait til pitchers and catchers

A Minnesota legislator would like the Mayo Clinic to review Lou Gehrig's medical records for concussion research.

This should have been a good sign that the Gophers didn't really have a chance yesterday.

Apparently this is a thing that happened. Phil Simms is a jackass.

Vermont 65, Stony Brook 42 - Vermont wins the rematch of this years first feature game, this one in Vermont.
Ohio State 82, Minnesota 69 - This was the game Ohio State was supposed to lose, but really, when has a team from Minnesota ever won a big game in the past 20 years?


Sunday, February 06, 2011

Any of these will be better than the Black Eyed Peas

I do not care for the Black Eyed Peas. But hey, Super Bowl!


Links of the Day 2/6/11


In case you didn't know, airing porn over the airwaves IS grossly illegal. Especially during the Super Bowl.

The Jaguars are going to the Super Bowl!

And of course, your Super Bowl reminder that Roger Goodell is devious.

Wgan 4 Blackburn 3. I think Blackburn has peaked. Back to the middle of the table for the Rovers
Copa Del Sol
Shakhtar Donetsk 4, Rosenborg 1 - Ouch. RBK is good, but obviously they aren't among Europe's elite yet.
Kansas 86, Nebraska 66 - I bet Nebraska will be happy they won't have to play Kansas anymore.
Oral Roberts 81, North Dakota State 73 - The Bison were up 10 at the half, but then the old adage in the Summit League -- "nothing beats Oral" -- rang true once again.
Coyotes 1, Wild 0 -With the trade deadline fast approaching, I think the Wild might be looking for a scorer


Saturday, February 05, 2011

Finally, the Super Bowl

I really don't have much to add from my prediction post last week, which is part of the problem for media members, I'm sure. Two whole weeks to fill sportscasts, ramping up to biggest sporting event in the American sports year, and the biggest stories are that the Packers had some logistical issues with the team photo, Hines Ward wore a cowboy hat and Ben Roethlisberger took his O-Line out to dinner. But all that said, I feel with the big game tomorrow, I must comment on it at least in brief.
- People are aking WAY too big a deal out of Maurkice Pouncey's injury. This is a team that went 3-1 with out their QB, kept winning without the defensive player of the year, and we are worried about a rookie center? I am not changing my pick. The Steelers are simply a better team than the Packers, and that will not change because Pouncey is out.
- I don't know when it happened, but at some point, the most annoying habit in sports coverage went from the media's obsession Brett Favre to the media's obsession with the media's obsession with Brett Favre. I mean, every time I see a Super Bowl article or prop bet or anything, there is always a "how many times will they mention Brett Favre?" reference. OK, we get it, the media is obsessed with Brett Favre. You can stop obsessing about the obsession. I think I just blew your mind, didn't I?
- I think Brett Keisel could get a gig promoting Gnomeo and Juliet. Never has a long flowing beard been less manly than when an animated movie comes out about little bearded men in a Shakespeare influenced movie.

Obligatory Super Bowl post OVER

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Links of the Day 2/5/11

Sorry for not posting yesterday. It was an internet holiday for me. And whatever, I didn't see you post anything.

Sure, he can win a Cy Young, but let me know when he can grow a mustache.

Checking in on Sid Hartman is like visiting your grandma at the retirement home. A little uncomfortable, but worthwhile in the end.

Getting served during a game is a delightful new wrinkle on things.

All of these games are from Thursday night. No games yesterday!
Vermont 61, Hartford 47 - Ooh boy, the Catamounts are on a roll. They area half game ahead of Maine for first in the A-East.
North Dakota State 83, Centenary 63 - NDSU isn't doing as well in the Summit league, but they beat the Gentlemen last night. No really, Centenary is the Gentlemen.
Wild 4, Avalanche 3 - The Wild, with that win, move into 7th in the West, a playoff spot that nobody really saw coming.


Friday, February 04, 2011

The final straw for the Vikings

I foresee the Timberwolves getting their 150 million dollar gift to refurbish the Target Center at some point, and I see it happening a lot sooner than I see the state footing the bill for a new Vikings stadium. Why? Here are a few salient points.
- At a maximum, the state will spend a LOT less, guaranteed, on the Target Center than the Vikings stadium.
- The Target Center would is used a lot more than a football stadium would be. And it would be used by the city of Minneapolis regularly, as it is the largest indoor facility in the city for concerts, conventions, etc. Saint Paul got the Republican convention with the X and Minneapolis didn't get the Democrats with the Target Center for a reason (this also goes to the state spending less, especially if the city chips in a massive amount)
- The Timberwolves are owned by Minnesota businesspeople, so the money isn't leaving the state, whereas almost none of the profit the Vikings makes stays in Minnesota

   Even without the Timberwolves, the Target Center is a viable venue. Hell, it could be used for Gopher games if The Barn needs to be renovated. I mentioned that I barely remember that the Timberwolves are still in town, but the Target Center is still going to be an important venue for the city. I guess that's what it comes down to. The Target Center will get renovated regardless. It helps that the state isn't being held hostage, but the Wolves are almost secondary to this. Don't be surprised if the Vikings see things differently.

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Links of the Day 2/3/11

Only a few more days until the Super Bowl, are you excited?

This is an excellent picture. Will Smith and MJ look exactly the same 20 years later.

The Timberwolves would like an update to the Target Center. Hey, did you remember the Timberwolves are still in town.

I just hope they can catch whoever sent these death threats.

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Blackburn 0 -Tottenham is a lot better than  Blackburn, so 1-0 is respectable!
Indiana 60, Minnesota 57 - Good grief, this is a terrible loss for the Gophers


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I cheer for Oompa Loompas

For those that don't know, the Rosenborg to which I refer in the Scoreboard is Rosenborg Ballklub, the soccer team from Trondheim, Norway, the town from which my grandmother hails. RBK is the most successful team in Norway, and has made appearances deep in the major European tournaments. It's something to be proud of, with my Norwegian heritage and all that, that there is a team that makes an impact on an international stage from such a small town. Everyday, I like them a little bit more.
Also, midfielder Gjermund Asen looks like an Oompa Loompa.

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Links of the Day 2/2/11

It's Groundhogs Day. I will not rest until the Ferret has it's own, widely observed holiday.

As a meteorologist and sports blogger, it is my duty to inform you that a snow storm damaged the press box at Wrigley Field.

Look out for a new batch of Shaquilles. That sounds like beer.

The NHL needs to work on finding better skaters.

Wisconsin 66, Purdue 59 - Purdue has still only managed to defeat one team that is currently ranked. They aren't bad, but I don't think they are as elite as I had expected.
Kansas 88, Texas Tech 66 - At least someone has a winning team to cheer for.
Minnesota 0 - Los Angeles 0 (Minnesota wins on a shootout) - Niklas Backstrom gets a shutout the hard way, with no goals allowed in overtime or the shootout either. And check out this save


NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Conference Championships

The computerized power ranks saved face in the conference championship games, picking both the Steelers and Packers correctly. It also just so happened to elevate the Steelers above both New England and Green Bay for the #1 spot heading into Super Bowl XLV. The Packers remained at #2, while the previous #1 Patriots managed to fall back to #3. The Jets, who lost the AFC Championship game, swapped places with the eliminated Ravens, falling back to #5, and the Bears dropped to #9 for losing the NFC title game, pushing Tampa and San Diego up 1 spot each.

Something just dawned on me about the Bears NFC Title Game loss. Take a look at what is happening to the city of Chicago right now. Also, remember the news from Chicago last week? I can only draw one conclusion from this: Jay Cutler is apparently the chosen one and God is punishing the city of Chicago for burning his jersey in effigy after getting injured in the NFC Title game. I guess that could qualify as miracle #1. If Cutler wins the Super Bowl and actually cracks a smile while doing it some day (and if he happens to be Catholic) he can qualify to be a Saint some day....and I'm not talking about the kind from New Orleans.

So, observations from last week aside, the power ranks (6-4) are picking the Steelers to edge out the Packers in the Super Bowl. On the flip side, my 2 year-old Golden Retriever (also 6-4) has picked the Packers. So this Super Bowl is for all the marbles: Super Bowl Champion, #1 finish in the Power Ranks, and probably most important of all, can a randomly picking dog make better playoff picks than my power ranking calculation. We'll find out this Sunday.

Here are the full ranks. Like last week, every team from #10 down remained even this week so I won't bother to mark the change.
1. Steelers - 80.05 - +2
2. Packers - 78.87 - Even
3. Patriots - 78.54 - -2
4. Ravens - 71.03 - +1
5. Jets - 69.97 - -1
6. Falcons - 69.72 - Even
7. Buccaneers - 64.45 - +1
8. Chargers - 61.31 - +1
9. Bears - 59.78 - -2
10. Lions - 58.70
11. Colts - 58.27
12. Giants - 54.89
13. Chiefs - 54.33
14. Eagles - 53.18
15. Saints - 52.49
16. Raiders - 51.69
17. Cowboys - 45.05
18. 49ers - 42.64
19. Rams - 42.01
20. Titans - 40.16
21. Texans - 39.63
22. Seahawks - 38.72
23. Dolphins - 37.17
24. Bengals - 36.43
25. Jaguars - 35.93
26. Redskins - 35.59
27. Vikings - 33.64
28. Cardinals - 33.09
29. Browns - 32.70
30. Bills - 32.07
31. Broncos - 27.69
32. Panthers - 24.60

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Links of the Day 2/1/11

Good morning. Awfully chilly here in Minneapolis.

This doesn't really look all as bad as TBL or Channing Frye made it out to look. Was Garnett this hated when he was in Minnesota?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Except embezzlement.

Hard to believe that these are real options for TV.

Vermont 63, New Hampshire 48 - Let's remember twhen Vermont makes it to the tournament this year that they play some really awful teams.
Copa Del Sol
Rosenborg 4 Spartak Moscow 0 - I was worried that RBK would have an even tougher time scoring with striker Steffen Iverson off to Crystal Palace. My worries were for naught.


Cooking with Ryan: Chicken noodle dinner

I have had some people tell me that they wouldn't eat most of the stuff I cook, mostly because of the way it looks when I take a picture of it. I have to admit, the whole taking pictures of food thing is a lot harder than it looks. I mean, look at this one. Why is it blurry? Was it moving? Was the broccoli moving at a high rate of speed? Did the noodles have some place to go? Seriously.
But the takeaway point is this: don't judge my culinary creations based solely on the picture, because it's impossible to take pictures of food without having it looked like someone barfed all over the plate. It's true!
As for this dinner, I learned one cooking related tip. If you are having noodles and there is a sauce, try to avoid cornstarch with the sauce. It will make the noodles slimy. Not that the whole thing doesn't already look slimy and weird anyways.