Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Big Ten > ACC

For the second year in a row, the Big Ten topped the ACC in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It's got to be so bad that the ACC has grabbed ringers in Pitt and Syracuse for years going forward. Sure, we added Nebraska, but honestly, like that makes a difference.
The only teams that lost were the tremendously awful Big Ten teams, like Iowa and Nebraska, or teams that had tough road matchups, like Wisconsin and Michigan. Everyone else won. 8-4 over the vaunted ACC. Does this mean the Big Ten is strong this year? I would say yes, but I bet most college basketball announcers and analysts will insist the ACC is having a down year.
A couple teams particularly impressed me. The first was Penn State, who is traditionally not... good. They took their show on the road and won at Boston College. The next was Minnesota, who took out a tough Virginia Tech squad in a defensive struggle, even without Trevor Mbakwe. Last was Ohio State, who laid waste to Duke.
Oh, and as always, I'm impressed by everything Purdue does, just like a proud father.

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Links of the Day 11/30/11

How's it going? I have a day with absolutely no reason to leave the house. You have no idea how awesome that is.

TJ Yates is going to lead a Super Bowl contender in the playoffs. The most important thing to note is that Yates is better than any QB on the Colts' active roster right now.

Jerome Simpson's flop may actually have been Emmy worthy.

When this guy gets to the major leagues, watch out, baseball.

Carling Cup
Cardiff City 2, Blackburn 0 - The Rovers are eliminated from the Carling Cup, an English competition by a team neither in the Premier League nor in England.
Purdue 76, Miami 65 - Purdue was part of a good day for the Big Ten against the ACC. Could they win another round of the Challenge?


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 12

Feels like those Thanksgiving Games were a long time ago doesn't it? It turns out some of the most significant games of Week 12 were on Thanksgiving day. The Packers improved to 11-0 and remained as the #1 ranked team this week, but the 49ers had their 8 game winning streak ended in Baltimore right around the time everyone was in a turkey coma. This loss by the 49ers caused them to drop to #3, while the Ravens moved up a spot to #4. Replacing the 49ers at #2? Why the TJ Yates led Houston Texans of course! This is turning into a very odd situation. Matt Leinart taking over a 7-3 team was bizarre enough, but a 5th round draft pick rookie taking over an 8-3 team? This is either going to end horribly or Yates will go on to win the Super Bowl a la Tom Brady in 2001 and Matt Schaub will be playing somewhere else next year. The former #3 Bears got beat in Oakland without Jay Cutler and fell out of the top 5, replaced by always lurking Patriots....

On the bottom side, the Panthers and Redskins got wins this week, which was good enough to move them out of the bottom 5. The Buccaneers and Chargers continued their slide but switched positions. Replacing the Panthers and Redskins were the Rams and Chiefs. At least Missouri can look forward to SEC football next year. The Chiefs have had an interesting run. They managed to climb to the middle of the pack a few weeks ago and are again pretty much the laughing stock they were in September.

The biggest gainer this week were the Redskins, who finally got a win and jumped some sliding teams. The Raiders and Cardinals also moved up 4 spots. The biggest losers were the Giants, who got destroyed by the Saints and fell out of the playoff picture, and the above mentioned Chiefs.

Playoff Projections:
1st Round Byes: #2 Texans, #4 Ravens
#12 Bengals @ #5 Patriots
#10 Steelers @ #13 Raiders
Top 5 Out: #14 Broncos, #15 Titans, #16 Jets, #17 Dolphins, #21 Browns

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #3 49ers
#9 Lions @ #6 Cowboys
#7 Bears @ #8 Saints
Top 5 Out: #11 Falcons, #18 Giants, #19 Seahawks, #20 Cardinals, #24 Eagles

Full Ranks:

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Links of the Day 11/29/11

Hello, I hope your morning is well.

A look at some bowl projections. Purdue to the Ticket City Bowl, Wyoming to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Classics.

Denver Post writer Adrian Dater flipped out on the Colorado Avalanche.

Rough week for hockey coaches.

Minnesota 3, Tampa Bay 1 - Pretty much all hockey here in the links. As it turns out, the Wild were able to win one on national television.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The tragedy of a wasted name

This is Vanderlei Luxemburgo da Silva. That's the name of a nobleman or adventurer. Instead, I came across his name in a story about Ronaldinho masturbating in a shower. Somewhat less noble. Vanderlei Luxemburgo da Silva is the coach for Ronaldinho's Brazilian club team Flamengo, so his name got dragged into the whole icky affair.
We need to find the appropriate venue for this appellation. Below are a few ideas.
- Archduke
- Viceroy
- Diamond trader
- Diamond smuggler
- Discoverer of a new world.
- Conqueror of a new world.
- Bond villain
- Private zoo owner
- Exotic art collector.
- Country club member

Definitely not someone who should be tied to a masturbating she-male.


Links of the Day 11/28/11

Back to work for you all. Have fun with all THAT.

Deadspin has named Tommy Craggs their new editor. Congrats to him, but you can be assured that Deadspin is no longer in my Google Reader.

Nature called San Diego Chargers' kicker Nick Novak during the middle of his game with the Broncos.

In case you were wondering, the answer to Ken Rosenthal was "no"

Calgary 5, Minnesota 2 - Not a very good game for the Wild, who have dropped two games to teams from Alberta in a row.
Dayton 86, Minnesota 70 - Trevor Mbakwe went down for the season early in this game. I am not ready to write off the season for the Gophers, but they need to organize themselves quickly for future games.


Sunday, November 27, 2011


Purdue beat Indiana yesterday. Purdue has 6 wins on the season. They won the Old Oaken Bucket. They will have one more game this season. That game might be the Ticket City Bowl against Iowa State, but dammit, it's another game. A Bowl game. I thought Purdue was a complete disaster at the beginning of the year, and frankly, they were. But they actually sort of turned it around.Well, not really. They never went on a really good stretch. But they never went on a really awful stretch either. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to think. I'm happy.


Links of the Day 11/27/11

Happy football Sunday, everyone. Well, that is, unless you are a fan of the Vikings or Colts.

The Lockout is over. This is what we will miss.

Perhaps they were aiming to show Wisconsin in profile?

Tarvaris Jackson cooked for Thanksgiving. Just informing you.

Minnesota 27, Illinois 7 - The Gophers season ends with a win over the complete disaster that was Illinois.
Purdue 33, Indiana 25 - BOWL ELIGIBLE
North Dakota State 78, Fresno State 65 - Wow, NDSU can even beat teams from the WAC now.
Rosenborg 3, Viking 2 - With this win and a Brann loss, RBK ends up in third for the season in the Tippeligaen. Not bad considering the start, and entry in the Europa League is assured.
Carolina 27, Indianapolis 19 - I don't think the Colts are going to make the playoffs.
Atlanta 24, Minnesota 14 - This game was much closer than it should have been, without a doubt.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

So... What's great about this again?

I don't know if you remember this, but a few years back, the Great Alaska shootout was a really big deal. I remember Purdue started to make some noise, defeating Duke in the shootout in 2003. Those are big gets! In the years since, major conferences sent in quality teams to compete in the event. IT was one of the premier preseason tourneys, right up there with Maui and the preseason NIT.
This year, tonight's Championship game features Murray State and Southern Mississippi. I would like to say both teams have made impressive runs to get to this point. Murray State defeated Alaska-Anchorage and San Francsico. Southern Miss knocked off perennial stalwarts UC Irvine and New Mexico State. They couldn't even get the good team from New Mexico.
So what happened? It likely has something to do with a crush of tournaments that tend to have better sponsors and locations. If you had the choice of Puerto Rico or Anchorage in late November, what would you pick? But still, it's a nice little get for Murray State or Southern Miss if they win tonight.
I guess.

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Links of the Day 11/26/11

The NBA is coming back. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Another Canadian city wants an NHL team. Well, every Canadian city wants an NHL team.

The Twins minor league all stars could almost certainly defeat the major league team.

Jerry Seinfeld named his dog Jose Reyes.

Stoke City 3, Blackburn 1 - And the Rovers are back to being bad again. So at least there's that.
Purdue 78, Coppin State 57 - Apparently the refs didn't show up to this game on time. Oops! Also, Purdue didn't show up until the 2nd half.
Boise State 36, Wyoming 14 - Actually, I think the Cowboys should be pleased with this result.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: Carnitas

Oh, you better believe I brought this home for Thanksgiving. Sure it's pork and sure it's actually Mexican, but dammit, it took me several hours to make, and it's GOOD. The recipe I used called for 3 pounds of pork shoulder. I used 5, and I kept the other measurements (except the chicken broth) the same, to cut down on the heat for my old, generally Scandinavian family, to much success. It still maintained flavor, and some heat, so it made them feel they were eating some Mexican food, but without the unpleasant side effects. So that was good.
I cooked the pork in a braising liquid that was filled with about 5 different chili powders or peppers and a good deal of citrus, and then finished it off in the oven to brown it up a bit more. I had some the night before as part of a taco. Here it is in its taco glory. Check out the flatware!


Links of the Day 11/25/11

I hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving. Only one month until Christmas!

In my opinion, this should be embarrassing for Florida Atlantic students.

The Timberwolves are, and probably always will be, a white hot disaster.

Great. Something else to worry about.

South Dakota State 74, Mercer 61 - Mercer goes 2-1 in their little tournament. Or whatever they called it.
Purdue 80, Western Michigan 37 - Purdue is wiping the floor with the MAC this year. Should have no problem with Nebraska.
Duke 68, Kansas 61 - Come one. Like you didn't anticipate this. Duke is really, really good this year. So good they bore me. That good.
Minnesota 3, Nashville 2 - The Wild came back to win this one, like they have done so many times this year.
Minnesota 86, DePaul 85 - I would say Minnesota did really well in this game, but they looked really disorganized, and DePaul is terrible
Baltimore 16, San Francisco 6 - I heard some people call this the "Har-bowl". I called it the "Thanksgiving game nobody watched because they don't get NFL Network".
Minnesota 76, Indiana State 69 - The Sycamores were actually in the tournament last year. A much better result
Edmonton 5, Minnesota 2 - I have nothing good to say about the Wild losing to Edmonton. Nothing.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 11

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought I'd squeeze in the computerized power rankings for Week 11 before the games start today.

The Packers and 49ers continue their roll and are still the top 2 teams. Not a bad Thanksgiving for the NFL, with their top 2 teams both playing. #3 Bears and #4 Texans are in an interesting predicament. Since they each last played, they lost their starting QBs for the don't expect them to stay there long. The Ravens moved up to #5 after beating the Bengals

On the bottom, the Panthers, Redskins, and Colts are still the most pathetic. The Rams managed to escape the bottom 5, but not because they won or anything. The Buccaneers, who have been extremely bad ever since getting crushed in San Francisco, managed to drop all the way to #29. The Chargers lost yet again.

The biggest gainers this week were the Dolphins and Seahawks, who are getting their seasons back on track waaaay too late. They jumped 6 spots. The biggest losers were the Bengals, who fell all the way to #12 after back to back losses to Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Playoff Projections (we'll see how this plays out with all the QB injuries
1st Round Byes: #4 Texans, #5 Ravens
#12 Bengals @ #7 Patriots
#9 Steelers @ #16 Broncos
Top 5 Out: #14 Titans, #15 Jets, #17 Raiders, #18 Dolphins, #19 Bills

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#6 Lions @#8 Cowboys
#3 Bears @ #10 Saints
Top 5 Out: #11 Falcons, #13 Giants, #20 Eagles, #21 Seahawks, #24 Cardinals

Full Ranks:

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Enjoy Thanksgiving, because stuff like this happens on Christmas

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (H/t KARE 11... video is of a helicopter crashing while erecting a Christmas Tree)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Poor, poor Minnesota.

On the plus side at least Minnesota sports fans are getting their crappy seasons out of the way at the same time. Note that we have seen these two headlines in the same calendar year.

Twins Notes: Worst season ever? - Aaron Gleeman

Is this the worst Vikings team ever? - Star Tribune

Oh, and this one is just a couple years old

Worst Timberwolves team ever? - Twolvesblog.

At least we KNOW the Gophers can get so, so much worse, right?

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Links of the Day 11/23/11

Hi, everyone, I hope you have suspended your eating for the day in preparation for gorging tomorrow.

What did I say yesterday? WHAT DID I FKING SAY?!

If you enjoy this touchdown celebration as much as I did, you ALSO watch too much TV.

In an awful situation, the news from State College PA gets more and more unbearable.

Mercer 74, Niagara 55 - Mercer is involved in some sort of preseason tournament and absolutely demolishing the competition.
North Dakota State 96, Nebraska-Omaha 65 - Speaking of demolishing the competition.
Kansas 72, UCLA 56 - Kansas is in the finals of the Maui Classic, or whatever they call it. UCLA wasn't very good,. Their opponent on Monday, Georgetown, was probably a truer testament to Kansas' quality.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The bullpen just got hilarious

As you may be aware, the Twins just saw long time closer Joe Nathan sign with the Texas Rangers. This leaves the Twins in a bit of a lurch, since now the bullpen is Glen Perkins and, well, nobody. Obviously, this is not a great situation for the team to be in, a crappy bullpen, only made worse this year. But it can get worse. Here are a few possibilities.
1) The Twins overvalue the closer position and spend a lot of money on a free agent
  1a) That free agent is Matt Capps
2) The Twins overvalue the closer position and move Glen Perkins to the closer role
 2a) To fill the gap in the bullpen, the Twins move Francisco Liriano to long relief
3) More Jose Mijares.
 3a) More Jim Hoey
 3b) More Phil Dumatrait
 3c) More Alex Burnett

So, yes, it's bad. But just wait.

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Links of the Day 11/22/11

Hey, it's my dad's birthday! Happy birthday, dad! You're old!

Someone broke into White Sox GM Kenny Williams' house. And, well, he did some strange stuff.

A member of the Seattle Mariners, Greg Halman, was brutally murdered, allegedly by his brother, in Holland.

Um... come on Vikings. The wave? Not good in the best of times.

Mercer 60, Sam Houston State 38 - This goes to prove that "Bears" are better than "Bearkats"
Minnesota 85, Mount St. Mary's 56 - The Gophers really let up in the second half.
Kansas 67, Georgetown 63 - The Jayhawks win in their first round match of the Maui Invitational. I bet they also win today, and then lose to Duke. Predictions!


Monday, November 21, 2011

It's disconcerting that Oregon has started a trend

I will admit that as a 28 year old, I am not really up to date on the trends of the world, or what is fashionable with the kids. I expressed my outrage with the Oregon Ducks and their stupid uniforms several times, starting in 2007, much to the ire of the Oregon Ducks faithful. I commented on their addition of wings to their stupid uniforms, and that opened the floodgates.
Well, now everyone is doing the "new uniform for every game" thing, and a lot of them, to me, look really, really bad. Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Minnesota and Maryland are teams that come to mind with the whole uniform change up thing. Even the Wyoming Cowboys uniform is a mystery from game to game. So, I was wrong, Oregon's changing uniform thing caught on, and now everyone's doing it.
What I do know, however, is that I was right on one thing. My hits go up by the hundreds every Saturday because people come to my site after searching for "Oregon" and "Annoying". People agree that they are annoying! It's probably the wings, and that other teams generally keep to the teams' original colors when they change up the uniforms. And the other teams actually match when their uniforms are changed. So, yeah, the Ducks are still annoying, and other teams did the changing uniform thing much, much better than Oregon. (But Oregon is still better than Maryland!)
But what do you expect from a university that produces fans that leave comments on blogs like this
"While I disagree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it (Family Guy)." 
What do they teach at Oregon, if it's not fashion, history or theology?

(In case you were wondering, this post is because they site traffic went up almost 1000% when Oregon played USC on Saturday. Awesome)


Links of the Day 11/21/11

I actually won in my pay fantasy league this week. My opponent was playing Colt McCoy. Small victories!

Jay Cutler broke his thumb. Bad news for the Bears.

The Ex-Twins team. I think it's probably better than the current Twins team.

The Los Angeles Galaxy won the MLS Cup yesterday. Linking to this because you sure as hell didn't watch.

Detroit 49, Carolina 35 - The Lions get out of their funk and score a lot of points. Poor Panthers. Poor Cam Newton. I suspect Carolina drafts someone to play defense.
Oakland 27, Minnesota 21 - Adrian Peterson injured his ankle. You have to believe that seriously hurts their playoff chances.
San Francisco 23, Arizona 7 - Remember when people thought the Cardinals were an obvious playoff team? The 49ers defense is pretty stellar.
Alabama 65, Purdue 56 - The Crimson Tide scored the first 11 points of the game, so if you ignore THAT, the Boilermakers won by 2.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

This really isn't the best anti-BCS year

Before I get started, I just want to point out that I also endorse the idea of a college football playoff, so don't read this post into a debate against that. What I am going to assert is that if you are going to say that a college football playoff is the way to go, this is not the season to pick that battle.
You see, this year, it seems as though LSU is the best team in the country. The next closest teams are Alabama and Arkansas. Alabama has already lost to LSU and LSU has the chance to (and in my opinion probably will) beat Arkansas on Saturday. They beat Oregon, who beat Stanford, who is one of the top teams from other conferences. Oklahoma State lost to a miserable Iowa State team. Virginia Tech might be the highest remaining team that is in the top 10 who hasn't had a shot at LSU, or lost to a team that did. And nobody really thinks Virginia Tech is the 2nd best team in the nation, do they?
So yes, you can talk about the confusion in the polls and the mire behind the Tigers, but really, this season is one that could have been satisfactorily been solved using the old method, before even the BCS came to be. Everyone knows the LSU Tigers are the best team in the country. Instead of wasting energy on complaining about this season, how about trying to think of a thorough, fair solution that will work for every season going forward?

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Links of the Day 11/20/11

Hello, my name is Ryan, and I will be posting your links today.

Here is a cat in a helmet.

I have LeGarrett Blount on my bench today.

There have been a lot of good NFL Rookies this year.

Northwestern 28, Minnesota 13 - Hey, a competitive game in the Big Ten for Minnesota. Still lost, but hey, moral victory!
Iowa 31, Purdue 21 - Purdue loses to most hated rival Iowa, at home, and now need to thrash Indiana to get to be bowl eligible.
North Dakota State 37, Western Illinois 21 - The Bison come back and win after their stunning loss last week.
Wyoming 31, New Mexico 10 - The Cowboys were really nice, not to run up the score on a terrible team.
Minnesota 3 (SO) St. Louis 2 - The Wild come back from 2 down again. Moxie!
Tromso 3, Rosenborg 1 - Tromso is the furthest north, top division professional sports team in the world. RBK was cold.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Ryan Doumit signing

First off, there is something vastly unsettling about Doumit's face. Is it the steely black eyes? The change in skin tone around said eyes? I feel like there must be better pictures of Doumit, far less unsettling pictures out there.
Nope.  Still no. Yeah, I don't think there are.

Anyways, some thoughts on signing Doumit.
1) I like the idea of a low cost switch hitting bat. He will probably see more playing time (assuming he is healthy) than he ever did in Pittsburgh, and if he hits from the right side, could certainly get up to 20 home runs. Assuming again, he gets in the lineup.
2) If the Twins are bad this year, Doumit will be traded at some point this season. Even though it's a stopgap solution, Doumit IS a component for the future.
3) It is really frightening and more than a little sad how excited the fans have been about signing a back up catcher. How far has the team fallen, that Ryan Doumit is a big deal? And I have seen a lot of people expressing their excitement because this may mean the demise of Drew Butera. I would be willing to bet 14 dollars that Butera breaks camp with the team. He is a defensive catcher, and Doumit is a liability. And Doumit and Joe Mauer are both injury prone. The team will go with three catchers. Especially since Doumit will DH.
4) The team must be absolutely devoid of prospects for Terry Ryan to hit the free agency market this early and this often. I have decreasing faith that the team will have much come up from the minor leagues in the next couple of years.
5) The Twins still have, like, a ton of holes.

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Links of the Day 11/19/11

If the snow keeps coming down like this, it might, at some point, cover the ground.

The Toronto Blue Jays have a new uniform. They actually look like the Blue Jays again!

Of the minor leaguers the Twins signed, I personally like Jared Burton the most. If he can get healthy.

I often make fun of Oregon, but in this instance, Oregon has left themselves to do the funmaking.

Purdue 85, Temple 77 - And with that, Purdue is in the Puerto Rico Tip Off Championship Game with Alabama
Blackburn 3, Wigan 3 - The Rovers scored an added time, man down equalizer to extract a needed point.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome to the AL, Houston

I love that the Astros are in the American League now. I think it's good for the superficial reasons: it balances the leagues, I like the idea of playing more interleague, but there are a couple of things that I like that are a little less obvious than those things.
I think this will mean that picking a team with the best record going into the World Series to have home field advantage is a more legitimate option, because there is so much crossover in opponents. Additionally, the idea of the Twins opening on the road at some unique. National League city (for the birthday game) is tremendously appealing. All in all, I really like the move by MLB.
What I DON'T like is the added playoff teams. One game playoffs? Bye rounds? It just doesn't seem right. It waters down the playoffs. People already don't like the length of the season, and it just drags things on further. Not my favorite thing.
But I'm really hoping the Twins start the 2013 season in Miami.


Links of the Day 11/18/11

Less than a week until Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.

Oklahoma State beset by tragedy, as their women's basketball coach is killed in a plane crash.

There is now a scandal at Syracuse now as well, but it seems more like they are actually handling it correctly.

The penalty box is doing nothing for hockey as a society.

Mercer 66, Furman 46 - I always knew that my life would come to posting scores of the Mercer-Furman game.
Minnesota 67, Fairfield 57 - The Gophers may end up facing Fairfield again in the Old Spice Classic. It could happen.
Minnesota 1, Colorado 0 - The Wild keep on winning, despite not ever scoring.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cooking with Ryan; Naan with Raita

Be honest. You have no idea what I just said. Naan is an Indian flat bread, with a yogurt base. The idea is to bake it hot so the outside crisps up and the inside remains pliant and mushy (in a good way). Mission accomplished! It turned out like a flattened croissant, actually. Well, it did in flavor, anyways, if not entirely in texture. Before it baked, it seemed more like pizza dough, but really sticky. Also, I have a rolling pin, and was able to use it. You know, so that's cool.
The raita was basically cucumbers in yogurt, and is typically used as a palate cleanser with spicier food. I meant to get some curry or something, but forgot. Oh well. The raita, for me, was less successful. There was mint in it, and that got to be a little overpowering. Still, the naan was the real test of skill, and I pulled that off rather successfully.


Links of the Day 11/17/11

Good afternoon! Working this morning at Real Job Inc, so you get late links. And posts.

Are these the first glasses in baseball history? They might be!

A case for Josh Willingham coming to the Twins.

Phil Dumatrait was re-signed by the Twins. I'm sure that was the bullpen arm everyone was waiting to hear from.

North Dakota State 65, Wisconsin Green Bay 61 - It is very strange that Green Bay's nickname is the Phoenix.
Purdue 91, Iona 91 - Purdue was awful from the line, and from short. Their 3 point % was higher than their overall shooting percentage.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tubby Smith is a good coach

I was stunned.... STUNNED to see the reaction on Twitter the other day after the Gophers had the audacity to ONLY defeat South Dakota State by 16. People calling for Tubby Smith's head, like he is some sort of failure. Seriously?
All right, let me spell something out. As a native Minnesotan, and a Gophers fan from my youth, I have to say that Minnesota is not an elite program. It is not the type of place that will attract talent because of it's history. The Twin Cities are not the type of place young people with a choice will ever voluntarily choose to live, unless they are from here originally. This is the type of team that needs a big name coach, and Tubby Smith has been that coach.
Oh, you disagree? Never minding his reputation from Kentucky, where after winning a title, the team went kaput, look at what happened when Smith took over for Dan Monson. In 7 years as the Gophers coach, Monson took the team to 1 NCAA tournament, which occurred in the same year that they won over 20 games... the only year they won that many. Almost immediately, Smith turned the Gophers around. Last year was the first under his purview that the team DIDN'T finish with 20+ wins, and was only the 2nd time he didn't reach the NCAA Tournament,. Most of this was due to some devastating injuries, particularly to point guard Al Nolen.
And don't say the improvement is because anyone is better than Monson, or something like that. Monson turned Gonzaga into a household name, taking them to the Elite 8 in 1999, and since he left the Gophers, he has turned Long Beach State around in 4 years. The Gopher program needs Tubby Smith, and you are mistaken if you feel otherwise.

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Links of the Day 11/16/11

I am not having a good day. I hope you are in a better mood than I.

Ole Miss is trying to hire Peyton Manning (among others) as head couch.

This is just breaking now, but after a tornado hit Tuscaloosa earlier this year, another has struck Auburn today. Reports are still rolling in.

The Orioles may not have been much, but at least they used to be ornithologically accurate... until now!

Minnesota 4, Columbus 2 - The Wild were down 2-0 and scored the tying goals in about 14 seconds. This team is growing on me.
Kentucky 75, Kansas 65 - Kansas shouldn't be losing neutral court games to young teams like Kentucky. Must be a down year for the Jayhawks.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 10

Thanks to some top teams going down and 4 of the bottom 5 winning, along with a fair share of blowouts, we finally got a lot of movement in the power rankings this week. No, the Broncos aren't ranked #1 now, but somehow, someway Tim Tebow managed to climb the Broncos to the top ranked AFC West team in just a few short weeks.

With wins again this week, the top 2 teams, the Packers and 49ers are still in place, but the Bengals loss to the Steelers dropped them down to #5 and the Ravens shocking loss to Seattle dropped them to #6. The Lions got destroyed by the Bears, bumping them down to #10, while the Bears jumped up to #4. Also, with another win this week, the Texans broke into the top 5, moving up to #3. We'll see how they do with Matt Leinart now...

The Colts suck more than just about any team could suck. Now that that's out of the way, we had a ton of movement on the bottom, with all 3 NFC West teams that were in the bottom 5 last week winning, and the Dolphins getting their 2nd win of the year over Washington. The Rams remained in the bottom 5, but moved up to #28, but the other 3 teams moved up and were replaced by some interesting teams. The Chargers, who have now lost 4 in a row and a nice lead in the AFC West, are now #29. The Panthers dropped back to #30 after a blowout by the Titans, and the Redskins, who were #5 after week 2, are now all the way down to #31.

The biggest gainers this week were the Cowboys, who jumped 8 spots to #7, followed by the above mentioned Broncos. The Vikings, who ran into the Green Bay buzzsaw on Monday Night, fell 8 spots to #26. The fading Chargers and Bills dropped 8 spots

Playoff Projections
1st Round Byes: #3 Texans, #5 Bengals
#12 Steelers @ #9 Patriots
#6 Ravens @ #17 Broncos
Top 5 Out: #13 Jets, #15 Titans, #16 Bills, #18 Raiders, #19 Jaguars

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#8 Giants @ #7 Cowboys
#4 Bears @ #11 Saints
Top 5 Out: #10 Lions, #14 Falcons, #20 Eagles, #23 Cardinals, #25 Buccaneers

Full Ranks:

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Links of the Day 11/15/11

Good morning, I hope you are enjoying the basketball being shown all day on ESPN. Either that or at work fixing the economy. Me? Basketball.

The Twins may be the only team that will take a look at Matt Capps. That's fine, if he is paid less than last year.

If I ever see you with one of these, I will burn down your house. Fair warning.

The NBA lockout continues. 

Purdue 67, High Point 65 - The Boilermakers had a bit more of a test for High Point than Northern Illinois. I suspect the Boilers were a wee bit overconfident
Missouri 81, Mercer 63 - Mercer was put away early by Missouri, but were much more competitive in the 2nd half.
Minnesota 71, South Dakota State 55 - The Gophers won by 16, and yet, somehow, Minnesota fans are calling for Tubby Smith's head. Unreal.
Green Bay 45, Minnesota 7 - Now see, this is the way to get thumped and then call for changes to the coaching staff.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Delmon Young strikes again

The Twins, undoubtedly, need a ton of work this offseason. There was some rumbling that the Atlanta Braves might have been interested in moving Martin Prado, a do everything player that, if maintained could potentially become another Michael Cuddyer. He was a disaster for the Braves last year, but had three years in which had an OPS+ well over a hundred, with an average over .300, all while playing 2nd, or 3rd or corner outfield spots. All of these are positions that need a ton of help at, and given Prado's off year in 2011, the Twins would be buying low.
/record scratches
But WAIT! The Tigers are going to make a move on Prado! According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, the Tigers are willing to part with Delmon Young if it means they get Prado in return. So, the Twins gave up on Young, have a pressing need, well, everywhere, a player that could help, well, anywhere, is available, and there is the chance that the player they gave up on to screw them out of a player they need. And then they will see him play in their division for all eternity. That. Is. Marvelous.
Let's say it goes through. The Twins then traded Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett for Young (I don't know why, but now seems like a good time to remind everyone that Garza and Bartlett were traded because, in part, they didn't get along with Gardenhire). Then, they traded Young for Spanish Jim Hoey. And now Young might be traded for Martin Prado. The Twins are awful. This is JJ Hardy all over again.

(My previous parenthetical aside, I think, is a forgotten element. The Twins couldn't convince Garza to pitch their way. The Twins couldn't convince Bartlett to play their way. How come Bill Smith takes the blame for trading them, and not Gardenhire or the staff for never getting through to them? Ooh, angry afternoon for me)


Links of the Day 11/14/11

Welcome back to the workweek, everyone. Have fun at your "jobs"

The Vikings are stepping up their efforts to promote screwing the state of Minnesota over.

Looks like the NBA lockout will continue, which is a joyous occasion for me.

In case you haven't seen the Miami Marlins uniforms, here they are. Better than teal!

North Dakota State 70, Northern Arizona 58 - I absolutely love that North Dakota State is so good at seemingly everything since their move to D-1
San Francisco 27, New York Giants 20 - And the 49ers, somehow, are moving towards a first round playoff bye.
Minnesota 3, Anaheim 2 - The Wild came through and acted like an entirely different team on game two in the LA area.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Allow me some schadenfreude

Every single year, people jump on Big Ten teams for their soft non conference schedule, and complains when a Big Ten team goes undefeated and ends up in the national title game. It happens every time. On the opposite end of the spectrum, people complain about Boise State going undefeated and not making it in. I understand that it has something to do with people and their desire for a playoff, because everyone has a poorly thought out plan that they would love to see enacted.
I'm not here to write about the desire for a playoff, I think that's a universal goal. What I am writing about is the double standard. Someone complains about generic Big Ten team going undefeated (they played a weak non conference schedule!) when they play in one of the top 4-5 conferences in the country, even in their worst years. People laud Boise State's accomplishments when they go undefeated, and they play in one of the worst conferences in the country. Well, I suppose they tried to get into a better conference this year. The plaudits will be somewhat less annoying this year when they roll through the Mountain West. Wait. What's that?

HA! Screw you, Boise State!


Links of the Day 11/13/11

It's my best friend from my childhood's birthday today. In case you were wondering.

Oh Wyoming, I'm glad I went to the college game in the urban center of Laramie instead of out in the sticks where things like this happen.

FC Lane had baseball statistics all figured out long before the rest of the world.

Interesting thoughts here... A) Trevor Plouffe to the outfield B) Jamey Carroll deal is still not official! Come on Cardinals, make a better offer!

Tennessee 30, Carolina 3 - Maybe teams are beginning to figure out Cam Newton?
Jacksonville 17, Indianapolis 3 - This was it... this was the chance for a win. The Colts are inconceivably bad.


Um... Bowl eligible?

For the second time in a row, Purdue beat Ohio State at home. That seems incredible. Do you know what else is incredible? Purdue has 5 wins. They lost to flipping RICE, otherwise they would be bowl eligible already. And now, they have two more games on their schedule, a home game against Iowa, and a game on the road against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington. Iowa has been bad. Indiana has been average for Indian (bad). It would seem that the Boilers almost HAVE to win one of those games, right? Right? Holy crap. I'm so amazed. 

For the record... as of this week, the USA Today didn't even think they would be eligible at seasons end.


Links of the Day 11/12/11

What are you crazy cats still doing up?

Wilson Ramos was rescued safely in Venezuela. Thank God. 

Future Mrs. Jason Pridie. What?! I mean... WHAT?!

John Daly lost his mind on the course the other day. I mean, again.

Purdue 26, Ohio State 23 - Oh... wow. I barely believe this.
Wyoming 25, Air Force 17 - Wyoming is going to a bowl game! For kids from Wyoming, any bowl, anywhere is going to be a real treat.
Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 13 - I wonder why the Badgers eased off on the gas?
Youngstown State 27, North Dakota State 24 - The Bison suffer a backbreaking loss. Ouch. First of the year.
Mercer 66, Emory 57 - The team I will be following, and generally know nothing about won their season opener against a tiny, but somehow division one school.
North Dakota State 78, Louisiana Lafayette 58 - The Bison are playing in some sort of tournament in San Francisco, I found out. The more you know.
Los Angeles 5, Minnesota 2 - The Kings looked like a real NHL team. The Wild looked like a disaster


Jamey Carroll is an older, crappier Nick Punto

Hold on, let me see if I can't drum up a little optimism
/surfs internet
Aw hell

Well, Christina Kahrl doesn't pull punches. The winter in Minnesota is bleak, and Jamey Carroll doesn't help. That's stupendous.
But what about Jamey Carroll SHOULD excite me? The Twins signed freaking Methuselah to play short, while maintaining a training staff Jack Kevorkian would be proud of, a guy who doesn't hit for power at all (12 CAREER home runs, and non since 2009, despite being, more or less, an every day player)  Oh, and as Kahrl points out, hes not much of a shortstop either, and suggests moving him to 2nd, and going with a God awful trio of Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe and Alexi Casilla at short. But, actually, Carroll is supposed to be the short stop.
You know the saving grace that people claim when talking about Carroll? He hit .290 last season! Great! He has no power, isn't a great fielder, he's old, he looks like an alien and he's making way too much money, but hey! He almost hit .300 hundred last year!
Every loss, every single loss this season, I will blame on Jamey Carroll. He may not provide the critical error, or a crucial out, but in the back of my mind, I will know that we could have used the money on something that the team could have actually used, like a big right handed bat, a starting pitcher, a relief pitcher, a back up catcher, a designated hitter, a second baseman, a better third baseman, a left fielder, a right fielder, a close, trees for center field, or, of course, a short stop.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Links of the Day 11/11/11


The top 15 prospects in the Minnesota Twins farm system. Many are saying Brian Dozier is the SS of the future... he is not on the list.

Awwww armadillo playing football.

The worst bunts of the season. Just barely missing the cut were "all the other bunts"

San Jose 3, Minnesota 1 - So, why couldn't the Wild beat the Sharks, until the Sharks became the Wild and vice versa?
Purdue 96, Northern Illinois 34 - HOLY CRAP COLLEGE BASKETBALL! Did anyone tell Northern Illinois?
Kansas 100, Towson 54 - At least Towson didn't get doubled up.
Minnesota 70, Bucknell 58 - Good week for all the Victoria Times Teams.
North Dakota State 73, San Francisco 65 - Clean sweep!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 9

[I am republishing the power ranks because I forgot they had been posted, and covered them with my own crappy posts earlier in the week. - Ryan]

Week 9 was an interesting week in that the early games were very uninteresting yesterday, and the late games all had exciting finishes. From my experience from NFL Sunday Ticket over the past 6 seasons, this usually isn't the case.

The Top 5 teams remained exactly the same this week. With the top 4 (Packers, 49ers, Bengals, Ravens) all winning and Detroit on a bye. Aaron Rodgers gets his picture here yet again this week.

In the bottom 5, the Broncos win over the Raiders moved them up and out of the bottom 5 (and shockingly only 1 game out of first place) and they have been replaced by yet another NFC West team, the Seahawks, who are now #30. The NFC West might be the most lopsided division ever this year. The 49ers are ranked #2 while the Cardinals, Seahawks, and Rams are all at least 5 games out of first and ranked #29, #30, and #31, respectively. The 49ers could mathematically clinch the division after week 11. Just crazy. The Dolphins first win moved them all the way up to #28! Oh, should I even mention the Colts at #32?

The biggest gainers this week were the Cowboys, who managed to jump 8 spots over a bunch of other mediocre teams. The biggest losers were the Chargers, who have now lost 3 in a row and fell back to .500. Does anyone want to win the AFC West?

Playoff Projections
1st Round Byes: #3 Bengals, #6 Texans
#10 Bills @ #8 Jets
#4 Ravens @ #16 Chiefs
Top 5 Out: #12 Steelers, #13 Patriots, #19 Titans, #20 Raiders, #22 Browns

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#7 Bears @ #9 Giants
#5 Lions @ #11 Falcons
Top 5 Out: #14 Saints, #15 Cowboys, #17 Eagles, #18 Vikings, #21 Buccaneers

Full Ranks:

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Links of the Day 11/10/11

It snowed last night. That sucks.

Don't know if you heard, but Joe Paterno was fired for covering up the sexual abuse of a child, and Penn State students thought that was a bit harsh, and rioted. Again, because they thought Paterno, who covered up the sexual abuse of children, was treated unfairly.

Wilson Ramos has been freaking kidnapped.

Let's at least take this moment to laugh at how stupid Notre Dame's helmet.



Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thoughts on Penn State

This is not a post I want to write. This is not a subject I want to discuss. And that's the problem.
There is no question that the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky are reprehensible. The idea that anyone could ever sexually abuse a child is not a thought that anyone even wants to have pass through their mind. It's a haunting, horrifying thought. What then, would our reactions be if we were confronted with evidence that someone we knew or respected was guilty of such a heinous act? Mike McQueary, who caught Sandusky in the act, reported what he saw to the only men he respected more, his father and the head coach. Joe Paterno, who had known Sandusky for decades, reported it to his superiors after being informed by McQueary. I haven't even lived as long as Paterno knew Sandusky.
A natural, human reaction from the outside is to be disgusted by what happened. Another, natural reaction if you were close to the offender would unquestionably be disbelief. How many would be in denial? How many would try to sweep it under the rug and try to forget this ever happened, or pretend hat it wasn't still happening? How many wouldn't even want to discuss it? It would be far more than you would hope, I think. It takes a certain bit of resolve to address such a frightful issue, especially when it involves someone close to you.
Joe Paterno did address the issue to his superiors, which is better than many would have done, and I believe he is still a good man. Still, he had an added responsibility as a leader of young men and venerated member of the community to do the morally correct thing. He started to, but in the end, failed.
He had a good idea of what had transpired. That isn't up for debate. He told the grand jury as much (which is why Sandusky was arrested, the grand jury investigation, not necessarily Paterno's testimony). If you had reported what may be the worst crime known to humanity, child abuse, wouldn't you want to make sure that those you had reported it to followed through? Shouldn't Paterno have been perturbed that there was no police investigation at all? By moving quickly on from the incident, he allowed Sandusky to continue without punishment, seeing Sandusky continue to work with children, Paterno is culpable of something, certainly. The fact that he even addressed the issue initially at all is an indication that he knew something was wrong, and yet he failed to see justice or even preventative action all the way through.
Paterno was a victim of circumstance, but over a dozen young boys were victims of so much worse.

Links of the Day 11/9/11

Happy Wednesday. I hope you are all doing wonderfully.

Jiu-Jitsu is a sport! And it was used to foil a robbery.

I'm glad my father is not an international soccer coach. Also, that I have no intention of ever getting married.

The best bunts of the year. I should note that all of these include an error.

Minnesota 3, Calgary 0 - As much as a startling dearth of offense concerns me, I have to say the goaltending is a revelation. Hoping we can keep that up.


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

An update on Juan Berenguer

Juan Berenguer won a World series as a relief pitcher with the Twins in 1987. In 1991, he had gone to Atlanta, and ended up on the team playing the Twins in the World Series, though Berenguer didn't play. Needless to say, Senor Smoke as they called him, was a major influence during the Twins glory days.
As luck would have it, I ran into him yesterday. I was in the market for a new automobile, and the second stop was at a Ford dealership. I pulled into the lot, and a heavily accented man came bounding down an embankment to greet me. He tried to put me into a Ford Fusion. I had a test drive with the man, and generally liked the vehicle. We laughed and joked about cars. We went back to the dealership and he ran some paperwork for me. While sitting alone in the office I noticed a team picture of the 1987 Twins. There was a baseball, another placque. I turned, and sure enough, the name on the door was "Juan Berenguer". Juan Berenguer was trying to sell me a Ford Fusion.
 When it came to financing, however, it turned out they weren't really interested in giving me market value for my car, so I eventually went in a different direction. Still, Juan gave me a cal and left a message on my voicemail  asking if I was going to be interested in the Fusion. Only time a World Series champ has ever called me.
So anyways, Juan Berenguer sells used cars.


Links of the Day 11/8/11

Yesterday in Minnesota, the big story was Terry Ryan taking the reins again. The rest of the world is completely disgusted by Penn State.

The legendary Joe Frazier passed away.

It seems that the rest of the baseball world is much higher on Terry Ryan's return than I.

The government has officially stated.... there are no aliens.

Nothing last night


Monday, November 07, 2011

So much for that active offseason

The Twins have made their first, and probably last move of the offseason. Yes, last season was a train wreck, but so is the continued Twins decision making process. Today, the team let go of Bill Smith and renamed Terry Ryan to the role. Fan-freakin-tastic.
I will be the first ti admit, I LOVED the first year of Bill Smith. He actually did something. I was happy to see Terry Ryan go, after years of utter refusal to go for it, trading prospects for skill players that definitely would have helped. But really, it's a good thing the team held on to Kevin Slowey. Bill Smith in his later years as the GM was almost entirely the opposite. This year, when long time Twins absolutely should have been moved. Smith refused to give in. 
Terry Ryan's philosophy probably worked best when the team was becoming a threat in the American League again. Smith put together the best Twins team (in my opinion) in almost 20 years in 2010 because he was so aggressive in "going for it". Both have their strengths. Both have their frustrating, glaring weaknesses. Neither are good fits for this iteration of the Twins.
The real winner is the Timberwolves, because now baseball fans in Minnesota will have almost no news to keep abreast of and can watch all the NBA they want.

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Links of the Day 11/7/11

Good morning. It snowed west of here, but may never snow in the Twin Cities. I am ok with that.

Darren Pang is one of the best color guys in sports, and he gets into a Twitter debate with enforcer Georges Laraque over Wayne Gretzky. Twitter!

A comprehensive look at taxes and how they relate to athletes. More interesting than it sounds.

The College basketball season begins tonight. I am legitimately excited for the Gophers. They do not make this preseason bracketology.

Nothing since yesterday


Kirk Herbstreit is terrified

Kirk Herbstreit was in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Saturday night for a game between Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Everything was going fine until.....
He pooped his pants There was an earthquake. He was in the middle of a live shot, talking with the studio about the future polls. I have to say he handled himself very well, despite appearances.

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Links of the Day 11/6/11

Good evening. I hope you enjoyed football today.

Penn State is in a lot of trouble. 

Hey, my high school won the state soccer tournament. Go Red Knights!

Here are your latest Michael Cuddyer rumors.

Chelsea 1, Blackburn 0 - The Rovers faithful actually flew a plane with a banner demanding the ouster of manager Steve Kean. That's moxie.
Michigan State 31, Minnesota 24 - Instead of playing up the inevitable Sparty implosion, let's just call this Minnesota being scrappy.
TCU 31, Wyoming 20 - Along that same thread, Wyoming was also scrappy.
NDSU 27, Indiana State 16 - So, so scrappy.
Wisconsing 62, Purdue 17 - Not scrappy in the least. David Eckstein would catch pneumonia if he came near Purdue.
Minnesota 2, St. Louis 1 - The Blues fired their coach after this one. So, there's that.
Atlanta 31, Indianapolis 7 - The real joke is that I benched Julio Jones in my fantasy league.
San Francsico 19, Washington 11 - This is a real score?


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Cuddyer is probably not coming back

The Twins may not have relief pitcher Michael Cuddyer next season. Jim Thome has signed with the Phillies, and there are some that are speculating that Thome might be instrumental in convincing Cuddyer to head to Philadelphia, since the two are buddies. It also helps that the Phillies are actually good, and can offer Cuddyer a tremendous amount of money.
Also, Darren Wolfson has been tweeting all morning that the Red Sox were prepared to part with Jed Lowrie and more for Cuddyer. Obviously, this means Boston will be in deep on Cuddyer. I have to believe this prices the Twins out of contention for Cuddy to return.
Also, why in the fk didn't they trade him in July, like I pleaded with them to do?

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Links of the Day 11/5/11

Who is ready for some weekend?

2012 World Series odds. Sure! I will take 35/1 for the Twins at this point.

A meteorologist wrote about Target Field. No way I CAN'T link to this, right?

Halloween Dugout, y'all.

Nothing today. Won't you check back in tomorrow?


Friday, November 04, 2011

The Victoria Times has made it

Do you know how you know if you have made it on the internet?  When people ask you to endorse stuff for free! Let me tell you... I HAVE MADE IT!
Last night, I received an e-mail from the APP company, asking me to review one of their apps. Honest to goodness, they sent me a press release! Screen captures! They invited me to download their app! They would be happy to set up interviews with the experts at Accuscore (the app in question), senior staff at the APP Company.Very accommodating! So anyways, here it is, the review for the Accuscore app.

It doesn't work on Android phones. I have a Droid.

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Links of the Day 11/4/11

It's Friday! I hope you all have big plans this weekend. Vikings bye week! YES.

Here are a few baby Halloween costumes, which I need to link to, as mandated by blogging law.

Jim Caldwell... maybe not the best coach.

"Mmm, kayak", said the whale.

Minnesota 5, Vancouver 1 - Excellent offensive output by the Wild. About time.


Thursday, November 03, 2011

So, free agency

The thing with having an array of bad teams to follow (the Twins, the Colts, the Purdue football team, Blackburn Rovers, the Gophers everything teams et al) is that one can always look to the future and hope. This winter, having no teams (besides Purdue basketball! Go Boilers! And the Wild, who might barely make the playoffs!) to really be enthusiastic about, I can spend the baseball offseason in eager anticipation. What might happen? What might not? Anything that happens is all opinion, rather that wins or losses or other things that can be taken as fact. Even if the Twins make signings or trades I'm not a fan of, they might still work out! It's all about optimism!
Now, I linked to a post from MLBTR earlier that had a look at the potential free agent signings, so I thought I would comment specifically on the players that Tim Dierkes thought would sign with the Twins and what, specifically, I thought of those individual players and their fits with the Twins. And the best part? If I don't like them, I could be WRONG!
Michael Cuddyer - With two right fielders on their way to free agency, obviously the better choice is to keep the righty when the team is chalk full of lefties. THAT SAID, I think the Twins are missing an opportunity if they simply offered Cuddy arbitration and signed Josh Willingham, who is a similar player, but without the disadvantage of being put in situations where he won't be any good, like playing 2b or something. If this trade off is made, there is a slight dip in batting average (unless Willingham reverts to offensive form, which means a closer to comparable average with Cuddy), but two draft picks come to the team as well. Still and all, I guess I wouldn't really feel anything if Cuddyer re-signed.
Hisashi Iwakuma - I know nothing about Iwakuma, except that he is a reliever, which isn't so bad. I found this video of Iwakuma in action, and I learned a few things. He can through 145km/h, which is pretty good, I think. He throws red pitches 50% of the time, and grey only 3%. Also, according to the description, he gets a lot of ground ball outs, which sounds good until you look at the Twins infield.
Clint Barmes - Look at him! He just looks afraid at the plate! And this is BP!
Yes, he will do nicely in Minnesota.
Joe Nathan - Eh. He's popular, I suppose, and the Twins need to fill out the bullpen. I'm not really confident that he will ever be the same again. If he is though, watch out! The games the bullpen doesn't blow before the 9th inning, he will shut. Them. Down.

But hey, four of the top 50 free agents! I suspect that this will be, if nothing else, a fun offseason.

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Links of the Day 11/3/11

Happy Thursday. It snowed in Kansas last night, but I still see grass in Minneapolis.

The question I have, is why do so many fans in eastern European sports venues have flares?

So, what was the best Halloween costume? I think it was the Jack'O'Lantern playing for the Chargers.

It is now free agent season. Here is an MLBTradeRumors look at where they think everyone will sign.

Nothing today, but hey, we have basketball back in the scoreboard on the 11th.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

If the season ended today

I think if Steve can do NFL playoff projections, there is no reason for me not to have some Victoria Times College Football simulation projections. All I am doing is taking the highest ranked teams in the BCS standings from each Victoria Times conference and plotting them in the prospective tournament. This won't be a recurring feature, just something to post when I don't have anything else I feel like writing about.
The top 12 teams, if things go according to the rankings, would be:
2 Alabama
3 Oklahoma State
4 Stanford
5 Boise State
6 Virginia Tech
7 Michigan
8 Penn State
9 Wisconsin
10 Southern Mississippi
11North Carolina (receiving votes in one poll)
12 Texas Tech (Most recently ranked team)

This would set up first round matchups between:
Boise State and Texas Tech, winner to face Stanford
Virginia Tech and North Carolina, winner to face Oklahoma State
Michigan and Southern Miss, winner to face Alabama
Penn State and Wisconsin, winner to face LSU.

There are a lot of top heavy conferences out there this year, and there are definitely some dregs, including the "Florida" conference, which has traditionally been a stalwart, but this year may end up putting Southern Mississippi into the post season.


Links of the Day 11/2/11

No more messing around, we're two days into November now.

Say, how's the Twins offseason going thus far?

Things aren't going well for the Blackburn Rovers. How can I tell?

Here are a few real rumors about the Twins and their offseason plans.

Minnesota 2 (OT) Detroit 1 - Thank goodness the Wild defense has been so good, because their offense remains positively abysmal.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Cooking with Ryan: bacon cups and sweet potato hash

This might be the most popular dish I have ever created, just because of the word "bacon". The bacon cups were just that. Cups made of bacon. I made them out of pancetta, actually, which is sort of a circle cut bacon, though with different overall spices. Still, it cooked the same. The cups were made by baking the slices in between two muffin trays, so they would hold that cup shape. Unfortunately, my muffin pans weren't bought at the same time, and as luck would have it, only a few of the cups actually turned into fully formed cups. Oops.
As for the hash, bacon played a huge role here as well. I first fried up a few strips of bacon, and cooked the hash, a simple blend of sweet potato, celery and onions, as well as a few bits of seasoning, like paprika, red pepper and garlic salt, in the bacon fat. It was so unhealthy, but so delicious. The most important thing I learned is how hard it is to cut through a sweet potato. That is some thick starch, brother. Also, it is nearly impossible to find pancetta. I ended up finding an Italian deli near my house and was mostly surprised that they have Italians in Minnesota. I thought Nick Punto was the last one, and now it was back to all Norwegians and Germans. Silly me.


Links of the Day 11/1/11

I hope everyone got lots of candy yesterday. And by that, I mean I hope you all stole from children.

I laugh at Notre Dame's foibles. 

In honor of Tony Larussa retiring, here the man is looking... dimwitted... at the Rams game on Sunday.

I will not make any comment about this sign seen at ESPN's College Football Gameday.



NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 8

I see that Ryan didn't write a full-blown post today, so I'll treat you to 2 consecutive days of computerized power ranks! Yes, unlike last week, while waiting to answer the door for some trick-or-treaters I decided to be ultra diligent and create the ranks for this week while the Monday Night game was still being played.

Speaking of Halloween, who better would it be to post a picture of this week than Andy Dalton, leader of the 5-2 Orange and Black Cincinnati Bengals? No, you don't need to adjust the color on your screen...his hair matches the uniform perfectly. With their 4th win in a row this week, the Bengals have climbed all the way up to #3. So like I asked about the 49ers a few weeks ago, are they are for real? I think its a little less clear cut. 4 of their 5 wins are against awful teams (Browns, Jaguars, Colts, Seahawks) and their 5th win is against another surprise team this year, the Bills. Their 2 losses are to the above mentioned 49ers and the terrible Broncos, so they are hard to predict. Both of their losses were narrow, so they could realistically be 7-0 right now. I think they have some bigger tests coming up soon, especially over the next 3 weeks where they play the Titans on the road followed by the Steelers and then Ravens. If they struggle in those games, I think it will be a rough 2nd half.

As for the other 5 teams, the Packers and 49ers stayed 1-2. The Ravens narrow comeback win over Arizona pushed them back to #4, and the Lions remained at #5. The Patriots fell out of the top 5 after losing to the Steelers.

The bottom 5 remained the same but shuffled. The Rams got their first win to climb up to #29, pushing back the Cardinals and Dolphins. The Broncos and Colts stayed put.

The biggest gainers were the Chiefs, who went from laughing stock to tied for 1st place in the AFC West in 4 short weeks. The biggest losers were the Saints and Cowboys, who had embarrassing losses, the Saints to their opponent, and the Cowboys on the scoreboard. They dropped 7 spots each.

Playoff Projections (I think they are waaaay off this week. No way Bengals get home field or probably even make the playoffs or the Patriots miss the playoffs)
1st Round Byes: #3 Bengals, #6 Bills
#7 Steelers @ #11 Texans
#4 Ravens @ #14 Chiefs
Top 5 Out: #8 Patriots, #13 Jets, #16 Titans, #17 Chargers, #18 Raiders

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
#9 Bears @ #10 Giants
#5 Lions @ #12 Falcons
Top 5 Out: #15 Saints, #19 Buccaneers, #20 Eagles, #21 Vikings, #23 Cowboys

Full Ranks:

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