Friday, October 30, 2009

Joe Alexander = BUST

In other news, Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has opted to NOT pick up the 2010-2011 contract of former 8th overall pick Joe Alexander. Joe Alexander becomes the highest pick and only the 3rd player to not have his option picked up. This move is a concession by Bucks upper management that they completely whiffed on this pick. As much as I hate to say it and as much as I hate stroking my own........Hey John, told ya so! It must be really embarassing for the overpaid management of the Milwaukee Bucks to continually get schooled by their lowly brat eating and Miller High Life drinking fan base. This latest disaster seems to continue what has been nearly a decade long trend of first round misses by Milwaukee general manager's. When will this madness stop? These overpaid know it alls need to stop rolling the dice on "upside" and realize that for every Kobe Bryant, there are 100+ Joe Alexanders. It's amazing! The notoriously bad teams (see Milwaukee, LA Clippers, Warriors, etc.) end up in the lottery every year and continue to gamble on young unproven players with upside. Where has it got them? The lottery. Meanwhile, teams like San Antonio (see Tony Parker, Manu, DEJUAN BLAIR!) and Detroit (Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell) sit back in the late first round/early second, watch all these idiots gamble, then select the proven players......maybe 3/4 year college or european players that may not have that superstar potential, but you know what you're gonna get with them. They play smart, know their role, and will probably be a more "coachable" kind of player.

I am just at a loss right now. Once Michael Redd is gone the cupboard will be officially bare in Milwaukee. Attendance continues to decrease at the BC everyear, so what is management going to do to change the momentum? I don't have an answer for that, but I will say that if something doesn't happen soon (ie. Brandon Jennings actually turns into a great player), I wouldn't be surprised if Milwaukee is the next vacated NBA city. That would be just sad. What would Freeway do during the long winter months in Wisconsin?

Should We Talk About It?

Maybe we should talk about it? You know, the whole Favre v. Packers II that everyone else can't seem to stop talking about.

Last these two teams met Aaron Rodgers was left picking pieces of the Metrodome turf out of his teeth, and Packer fans everywhere got their first real taste of what the rest of the division dealt with for 16 years: a general feeling of "Fucking Favre. Fuck that guy. Look at him prancing around with his arms up like a jackass. Fucking douche!" And the Packers lost a 30-23 game that wasn't really that close.

Since then the Packers got to lick their wounds on a bye week and then steamroll a couple of the league's "lesser" teams. First a shut out of the Lions, who played without Stafford (#1 overall pick) and Calvin Johnson (a guy badass enough to get nicknamed Megatron). Then there was the dumptrucking of Cleveland, a team playing without any apparent talent or sense of purpose.

Minnesota, in the interim, got their turn at whipping the St. Louis Rams. They knocked off Baltimore with aid from Brett Favre who amazed everyone used his power of flight to soar to the Metrodome roof, and then used his super breath to blow a last second FG attempt wide left. Then, a couple of late turnovers cost them a chance at another late comeback in Pittsburgh.

What can we learn from these games? Well, Minnesota is still pretty damn good. Their pass rush was able to put Ben Roethlisberger, who (like Rodgers) tends to hold the ball a long time, on the turf 4 times last week. While the Packers gave up 5 sacks against a Detroit defensive line that was so depleted, they were using offensive linemen on defense. This is going to be a problem again this week. However, we have also seen that throwing the ball to the backs can be effective against the Vikes defense. Ray Rice caught 10 balls for 117 yards in week 6. Perhaps the screen pass could be an effective tool for gaining some good chunks of yardage, while somewhat negating the Viking pass rush. Being that I'm more of a "small ball" guy, I tend to prefer the screen pass rather than always trying to throw the ball down the field. So far this season I can think of one, maybe two, screens thrown by the Packers so I'm not holding my breath. The last thing we've learned about the Vikes since Favre Bowl I, is that the Ol' Gunslinger has found a friend in Sidney Rice (though looking at his numbers from his first 2 years, maybe that's the other way around). In the past 2 games Rice has emerged as Favre's favorite target catching 16 balls for 312 yards. It should be interesting to see if they are able to get him loose versus Woodson and/or Harris.

As for the Packers, it's hard to gain too much insight from two beatdowns against the scum of the earth. We've learned that the defense can make you turn the ball over. Especially if your QB is Drew Stanton or Derek Anderson. And last week we saw that Ryan Grant can be an effective runner, as long as you give him the ball 27 times. We also saw that the Packers can punch the ball into the endzone on the ground from 3 yds out, as long as you give them 6 downs to do it. I think the turnovers are the more relevant point here. It's going to take at least one, and probably 2, Minnesota turnovers for the Packers to get it done on Sunday. It looks like it's going to be a lovely day in Green Bay, so don't expect any help from Mother Nature.

Prediciton time. One thing you do gain by pummeling the shit out of also-rans is confidence. I think the Packers are coming in a far more confident group than the one that played in Minneapolis 4 weeks ago. I think the defense especially has begun to come around. I think letting Aaron Kampan rush the passer more will help rectify the grotesque lack of pressure on Favre that we saw in the first match-up. I think the defense creates the turnovers to make the difference, and I'm picking the Packers (HOMER ALERT) 26-17. Call me crazy.... No seriously, call me crazy, taking Green Bay in this one is probably certifiably insane. Bring on your predictions, or you won't be allowed to join in on the laughing at me that will likely take place Monday morning.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Haunted Hoops, continued

With Midnight Madness already behind us and Haunted Hoops approaching at ludacris speed, I can't help but get a little fired up about the upcoming season. Tall Titan over at MUScoop posted a great thread that I thought everyone here should take a gander at. (You will need a solid 15 min's to get through all of it, but it's totally worth it)

It's a poll of Dominic James' greatest play/performance while at MU. What makes it great is that for every possible choice (total of 17), Titan has posted the video clip for you to view. This will officially get you fired up for Marquette basketball! While watching I couldn't help but be reminded of how incredible the seniors were and how they will be sorely missed. Further, while D Wade was obviously an incredible player at MU, I don't know that there is another player that has ever entertained me nearly as much as Dom did. And this is in spite of the fact that he could never lead MU to a long post season run. It's a shame he doesn't have a consistent enough jumper to make it in the Association because he would continue to give us those "holy shit, did you just see that?" moments.

So (now that I'm done crying) that James, McNeal, and Matthews are out of the picture, and the next generation is officially donning MU gear, who do we predict will be the next face of the Marquette franchise? Similar to the '05 class, there is a lot of talent in this year's class. That being said, do we foresee a 3-amigo-like effort by the likes of Maymon, Williams, Cadougan (after he recovers from the ruptured achilles' of course)? Will Maymon step up to the physicality of the Big East and stand out alone? Will Lazar have a Steve Novak-like senior season and bust out on the national level, in doing so, lead his young team to a successful Big East season? Or will we have to wait for the arrival of Vander Blue before we see our next impact player?

There are far too many uncertainties going into this next season to make anything predictable. However, one thing that I can predict with confidence, is that this next generation of players is going to be interesting, entertaining, and frustrating all at the same time. Anything resembling the '05-'06 season will be a success in my mind. Stay tuned for my next post which will include predictions for the '09-'10 season.

Haunted Hoops

Anyone want to go to Haunted Hoops on Friday? Since I missed Madness, I need to get my basketball fix, especially since my tickets arrived on Monday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

For Whatever It's Worth, And That's Probably Not Much: The Final Countdown.

(Obligatory Europe link: SHAZAM.)

Now, onto business (and sorry for the brevity; I'll provide reasons later if I've got time). Here's the Unofficial Official Buffet NL MVP vote.

In reverse order, 'cuz that's how we roll:

10) Derrek Lee,
Chicago Cubs.

9) Ryan Braun,
Milwaukee Brewers.

8) Adrian Gonzalez,
San Diego Padres.

7) Troy Tulowitzki,
Colorado Rockies.

6) Pablo Sandoval,
San Francisco Giants.

5) Ryan Howard,
Philadelphia Phillies.

4) Chase Utley,
Philadelphia Phillies.

3) Hanley Ramirez,
Florida Marlins.

2) Prince Fielder,
Milwaukee Brewers.

1) Albert Pujols,
St. Louis Cardinals.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

I've done my best to avoid writing about Tom Oates' column on Vander Blue all week; after all, it's much more fun to watch the Badger Meltdown from afar than to throw oneself into the carnage and respond to some of the more inane insinuations that have come out of Madison this week.

Then, a couple of things happened. First, everybody's favorite Llama "wrote" (and I use that term in the loosest sense possible) a response to Oates' piece. In that post, Toddles, apparently not realizing that Oates' column was a series of backhanded compliments and thinly-veiled jabs at Buzz Williams, said that Oates "puts the blame squarely on Bo Ryan himself." Um, well ... not exactly. (But we'll get to that in a second.)

Second, Oates went on the Lucas and Lupay Show -- or, as I like to call it, The Show Featuring the Mouthpieces of the Great Red Menace -- and ignored his own advice in his column.

And let's start there, with the column itself. Things got off to an innocent enough start:

When it comes to Madison Memorial's Vander Blue picking Marquette over the University of Wisconsin, it is important to remember that no one truly knows what a talented high school basketball player is thinking when he selects a college.

So while UW fans may wonder from some of Blue's comments just how much garbage the summer basketball know-nothings have pumped into his 17-year-old head, ultimately they need to accept that it's his future and, therefore, his decision.

And, so ends the briefest column in the history of sportswriting: "It's his decision, it does no good to speculate why Vander chose Marquette, so let's drop it."

Or: not. You know what's coming next, don't you?

Having said that,

Having said that, watch me disregard my own advice in the very next line, as I attempt to divine meaning from the fact that young Master Blue calls his soon-to-be coach by his nickname:

there was one quote from Blue in the many stories written about his commitment to second-year Marquette coach Buzz Williams that jumped off the page at me. Among other things, Blue said Marquette was a good fit because he has "a real good connection with Buzz."


That's right, Buzz. Not Coach Williams. Not even Coach Buzz or Coach B.

Not Mister Williams. Not Your Honor. Not His Eminence. Not Your Grace. Not His Worshipfulness. Just Buzz. Kids these days, you know?

Based on his reaction to this utterly-benign fact, I've begun compiling a list of things that probably bother Tom Oates (and let me know if you've got any others):
  • Howard Taft
  • Talkies
  • This Elvis Presley character
  • Women's suffrage -- also: pant suits
  • The lack of a good sarsaparilla around here
  • Television -- and especially that uppity Katie Couric gal
  • Earth Day
  • The fact that you can't smack your secretary on the ass, call her "toots," and down a fifth of scotch at lunch, then pass out under your desk and wake up in a puddle of your own vomit (without anybody batting an eye)
I mean, come on, Tom: Buzz Williams is a fucking basketball coach. He's not a drill sergeant. He's not a judge. He's not a priest. Is it really that big of a deal to call the man by his nickname?

Oh, I guess it is:

But that one minor but overly chummy comment is enough to make you wonder what it takes to recruit in an era when players become household names before they even get to high school.

Sigh. So much for that whole "it is important to remember that no one truly knows what a talented high school basketball player is thinking when he selects a college" and "they need to accept that it's his future and, therefore, his decision" shit, eh? You're right; this is much more fun ...

... So much fun, in fact, that the Speculation Hour continued when Oates went on the Lucas and Lupay Show yesterday. Queried Lucas (or Lupay; I don't know which one is which, and I don't much care -- all I hear is "blah blah Scott Tolzien blah blah Bo Ryan should be mentioned in the same breath as John Wooden blah blah Barry Alvarez once touched my shoulder and I felt the healin' power course through my body"):
“By the sounds of it, Vander Blue felt more comfortable with the academic environment and academic standards, if you will, at Marquette. Would you agree?”
Answered Tom:
"I don't know enough about that."
And mine heart leapt, and I said: "Oh, joy! He's remembered what he wrote about not speculating about the mind of a 17-year-old!" And I went home happy, for I knew that there was goodness and decency in this world.

Oh, wait. He said more? Dammit:
"But again, just reading from the comments, I would say that’s true."
That comment, apparently, was from Vander's grandpappy, Art Wilson, who said that Vander "had a lot of respect for a young lady who will be his academic advisor" at Marquette. The inescapable conclusion one must draw from that statement, of course, is that Vander is comfortable with the academic "standards" at Marquette -- which, of course -- OF COURSE -- are much, much, much lower than the same "standards" are at Madison.

I mean, it's not like you'd see any Madison athletes majoring in something called "human ecology - leadership studies," right? Or "human development family studies"? Or "life sciences communication"? After all, Madison's professors get wayyyyy too many research grants at their publicly-funded university for something like that to happen.

(What's that you say? One has nothing to do with the other? Hmm. That's not what I've been hearing all week. Then again: I went to Markett, so I'm not so gud at the thinkin'.)

(And, also, because I lurned how to do my ritin' at Markett, I ain't so gud at findin' a nice spot for my ritins to end. So: BYE!)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Utah Jazz Waive Two

According to their website, the Utah Jazz released two players today to trim their roster to 14. Former Marquette guard Wesley Matthews was not among those released. Instead it was Ronald Dupree and Paul Harris (boy, one more year at the Cuse probably sounds pretty decent doesn't it Paul?) who were waived by the Jazz. So it appears (for the time being anyway) that Wes stands to make the Jazz opening day roster. A year ago, if anyone had said that Wes Matthews would be the only one of the 3 amigos to make an NBA roster they probably would've been laughed out of the room. Now it looks like it's going to happen. Now I know Wes wasn't a first rounder, nor was he coached by Bo Ryan, so he probably won't be the impact rookie that Alando Tucker was. But it's still cool to see one of the guys get a real shot at playing in the league this year. Well done Wes! You've given us a reason to pay attention to the NBA this year.

Bud Selig Sets Standard For Letting You Down, Then Asking You To Open Your Wallet

I'm home sick (no H1N1 here) surfing the internets and I stumbled across a letter sent to Brewers season ticket holders after a "disappointing" 1983 season. I especially enjoyed that Selig included the "could have been" postseason tickets as a consolation prize.

The basic format is there... with some minor cutting and pasting, this could come in handy for Mark Anastasio.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wait, That's Ahman Green's Music!

Yes, like some kind of storyline out of the WWE, the Green Bay Packers today announced they have re-signed their #2 all-time rusher Ahman Green. And here he comes, running in to make the save on the Packer offense. Sure, he's not getting down to the ring quite as quick as we remember him in his prime. That limp has gotten considerably more pronounced since last we saw him. And his old, familiar ring attire is valiantly attempting to hold back the weight he's put on since he was the super-duper star that we all remember. But the crowd still roars when his music hits, and when they see him coming into the arena they just know that he is going to turn the tide in favor of their heroes.

Ah, if only it was that simple in the NFL. Unfortunately, no one is going to be falling down for Ahman in the League. And last I checked, it's still frowned upon to use a steel chair on one's enemies on the gridiron. So, what exactly does the return of Ahman mean for the Packers? One thing it most certainly means is we get to hear E$ once again tell us how right he was in saying the Packers should've traded him after the 2003 season. But besides that, is there anything that a 32 year old RB, who has only carried the ball 144 times in the last 2 seasons really brings to the table? I guess depth. Say what you want about him, but if Ryan Grant goes down tomorrow, I don't think anyone will be making the "it's ok, we've got Ahman Green" argument. Maybe he's a better blocker/receiver than the guys we currently have healthy, and can add something else to the pass game? Maybe better on screen passes? But then again, they never really run screens anymore. So, I don't know. I think it's an interesting move. But not necessarily interesting/good.

Monday, October 19, 2009

For Whatever It's Worth, And That's Probably Not Much: Act 3.

On the heels of our misguided vote in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting (who's the only blog to vote J.A. Happ No. 1? YOU BET YO' ASS THE BUFFET JUST DID THAT), let's hope for a better showing on the Cy Young voting.

In no particular order, except for the particular order they're in:

(3) Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals. And, really, there's not much separating Wainwright and Carpenter. (Luckily for us, that didn't matter in the final analysis, as you'll see below. TEASE!) Sure, Wainwright had one more win, but who gives a flip about wins? Though he posted a very impressive K/9 rate of 8.19, Wainwright had a higher ERA (2.63) and FIP (3.11) than his fellow member of the Upright Citizens Brigade in St. Lou. As Reid said: "Most years, those numbers will get you the Cy. This year, it gets you third place." Oh, and on a personal level, this guy ate the Brewers sh!t up this year: 5 G, 3-1, 1.24 ERA, 39 Ks.

(2) Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals. Count me among the Doubting Thomases who didn't see this comin' from Carpenter. After making all of four starts for the Defenders of All That Is Good and Virtuous in the Game of Baseball over the last two years, Carpenter came up with a 17-4, 2.24 ERA (2.78 FIP), 6.73 K/9 line this year. Not to be outdone, Carpenter also pwned the Brewers somethin' fierce in '09: 3 G, 2-0, 1.17 ERA, 24 Ks.

(1) Tim "Mitch" Lincecum, San Francisco Giants. I could tell you his stats (quick and dirty: 15-7, 2.48 ERA, an absurd 2.34 FIP, an even-more-absurd 10.42 K/9 out of a guy that's all of 5'3") or I could put up pictures of Mitch Kramer from Dazed and Confused. Which would you prefer? You're so easy:

This Isn't Helping.

Vander Blue Explains Why He Choose Marquette Over Wisconsin, writes the Llama.

Maybe you should pipe down for a while, Toddles. You're not helping our reputation.

Vander Blew It.

By Bob Schlitz of the Capitol Manifesto Staff

Yesterday, Vander Blue, the precocious but preposterously naïve Madison Memorial senior guard, made the biggest decision of his young (and, to this point, incredibly immature) life: declining the overtures of UCLA, Arizona, and, most importantly, UW-Madison, Blue opted for the path of least resistance and selected perennial also-ran Marquette as his next team.

But lost in the backslapping and high fives amongst the jubilant Marquette Community College faithful is an important note: Blue wasn't welcome at Madison, even if he decided to re-commit to the Badgers.

A source close to the Madison program confirmed Sunday night what many have long suspected: Blue isn't even an American citizen. And he's got a third nipple. And he's a Michael Bolton fan.

"Listen, I don't want to throw the kid under the bus; he's got the right to make up his own mind about where he wants to go to school for the next four years – assuming he lasts that long," said the source, speaking on condition that I do everything in my power to trash the seventeen-year-old. "But, let's face facts: the guy is clearly ex-Taliban, or, at the very least, ex-KGB. I mean, look at his name: 'Vander Blue'? Who has a name like that? That's unquestionably the choice of someone who lived in Afghanistan – or Soviet Russia – for 15 years, came to America, and threw out the first thing that came to mind when he went through customs: 'What's your name, young man?' 'Uhhh … Blue. Yeah, Blue. Vander. Vander Blue.'

"The other stuff, really, was just icing on the cake after that," said the source, who is not Bo Ryan. (Really, it's not. Seriously, stop laughing. It's really not Bo.) "The third nipple – I mean, who's going to want to shower with the guy when he's got a fucking supernumerary nipple on his chest? It's disgusting, and it might be contagious. That's the really scary thing; we just don't know enough about these rogue nipples. And I'll be damned if I'm going to coach a team of Trip Nips. It's unconscionable. I'm just relieved we didn't let Vander work out with the team last year. Can you imagine the perfect, lily-white body of my Aryan warrior, Herr Krabbenhoft, being defiled by a third nipple? I threw up in my mouth just thinking about it.

"And the Bolton shit was just weird. He shows up for a workout, and he's listening to his iPod – and, gee, where'd he get the money for that? – and I say, 'Hey, V-Blue, what're you rockin'?' And the kid looks at me – no shit – and says: 'Just a little 'Time Love and Tenderness.'' And he must've seen my jaw hit the floor, because he said: 'Nah, I'm just foolin'. That song's overplayed. I like 'Go the Distance.''

"You have to ask yourself," the source continued, after finishing his meal of small rodents and kitten blood (which is definitely NOT Bo Ryan's favorite meal, so don't even ask), "is that the type of person you'd want in your program? Sure, he's a tremendous talent, and, sure, he'd fill a gaping hole in our line-up, and, sure, the only local players we've been able to recruit in the last five years are stiff-as-a-board, athletically-challenged white guys, but the negatives so clearly outweigh the positives that it wasn't even close. I've just got to figure out how to get Bohannon an extra year of eligibility. That's my type of player – if I was coaching the team, which I'm definitely not. I am NOT Bo Ryan."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You're My Boy Blue!

So after a day of witnessing one of fantasy football's biggest blunders of all time, I was in some dire need of good news. Cue our good friend STG. At approximately 6:41 EST on 10/18/09, STG was kind enough to inform all of us (via text message) that there is big news coming out of Marquette University today. To quote STG, "Merry fucking xmas vander blue committed to mu!".

That's right folks! After what has been a very interesting in-state saga, and likely fierce battle between in-state rivals UW-Madison and Marquette University, Vander Blue decided that Marquette was the right choice afterall.

To give a brief synapsis of the scenario, Vander Blue is a highly skilled and highly touted guard out of Madison Memorial High School in Madison, Wisconsin. Vander committed to UW early in his sophomore season, and has since then continued to improve his overall game at the perennial power house that is Madison Memorial. So much so that he is currently a consensus top 30 overall player in the nation for the class of 2010 and has garnered interest and scholarship offers from a large number of high major programs. According to recent reports, his most recent list of finalists for schools was UW, Marquette, Arizona, Florida, and UCLA. Well, in spite of his committment to UW, there were continuous rumours of an interest in Marquette.......which intensified when his good friend and Madison-Memorial teammate Jeronne Maymone (class of 2009) decided to committ to MU in May of '08. In April/May of '09, reports were claiming that this rumor may become a reality because Vander was considering re-opening his recruitment. Well, these rumors proved to be true because this past May Vander held a press conference stating exactly this, that he has decided to re-open his recruitment. Now we can all speculate why exactly this occurred, but it definitely WAS NOT due to the local fan reaction to the news (cough, ahem, cough).

Fast forward to Marquette Madness this past Friday (10/16/09). Vander Blue was on an official visit to Marquette University to attend Marquette Madness, scrimmage with MU's current roster, and essentially get an overall feel for the team, coaching staff, and campus life. To put it mildly, the message boards were running rampant with Vander Blue Mania. Rosiak reported that Vander was dressed head to toe in MU gear. Other fans in attendance claimed they talked to him after the event and said how Vander claimed he loved his visit to MU and really had his mind set on MU as his school of choice. All of this, of course, was to be taken with a grain of salt, but at the same time it was hard not to buy into all of the hype and get a little excited. After all, basketball season was officially underway and the signing period is just around the corner, so anticipation is part of the experience. These rumors intensified when Jamail Jones (class of 2010 committment) facebook status listed, "chillin, glad we got another committment for next year". The pieces were starting to come together. Finally, after all of the rumors and anticipation, one of the Urinal Sentinel's few quality beat writers, Todd Rosiak, reported that Vander Blue had canceled his official visit to UW over Halloween weekend and given his verbal committment to attend Marquette University in the fall of 2010.

I wasn't exactly optimistic about this possibilty. While it's not exactly unusual for a highly touted recruit to withdraw his early committment from a school, its highly unusual for that player to then give his committment to the in-state rival of his previous committment. That being said, I can only imagine how intense the game between UW and MU is going to be in 2011, when Vander makes his first visit to the Kohl Center. Wes got his during his freshman season, and I'm sure Jeronne will get his this year when they venture to Madison, but this is a special circumstance. Committed to UW, climbed the national rankings as a prospect, decommitted from UW, committed to in-state rival. Unreal!

Looking ahead, this is a HUGE get for the class of 2010 for a number of reasons. First of all, after all of the recent movement within the program, Coach Williams needed to add another quality piece to the '10 class. Specifically, he needed to add another PG. Sure MU has Junior Cadougan, who is supposed to be a quality player, but 1) who knows if he will return to form quickly enough after rupturing his achilles in September and 2) after Cadougan, MU doesn't have another "true" PG. So not only does Buzz address his need for depth at the PG position, but he also added a 5-star prospect to the class. Not many MU coaches can put that on their resume. Second of all, MU once again won the battle for the best player in the state (Buzz is 2-0 in his first two years). Madison Memorial is notorious for producing the state's best players over the past 5-7 years, and MU has now claimed 3 of the last 4. Quality D1 players are few and far between in the state of Wisconsin, and it's not exactly easy to bring Big East caliber players from out of state into the Midwest. That being said, it's crucial that MU can keep it's best players in state. If MU hopes to continue its success in the nation's best college basketball conference, this is a must.

If I remember correctly, MU still has 1 scholarship available for the class of 2010. With the recent additions of Jamail Jones and now Vander Blue, Coach Williams is in great position to follow up this year's nationally ranked class with another ranked class in '10. Marquette is a finalist for a handful of top100 prospects, so an addition of any one of these would assure a nationally ranked class. With the addition of Vander, I imagine it's going to be tough to get another guard (ie. Justin Coleman, 6'5" SG). Ideally, MU could use a true power forward/center (Tariq Black), but I wouldn't be surprised if Buzz continues the trend and grabs another 6'5"-6'7" wing player. Regardless of what happens with the next commitment, I think it's safe to say that Buzz is definitely holding his own as Head Coach of a major D1 basketball school. Sure we don't have a good grasp of how he is as a teacher and game manager, but half the battle (if not more) is getting the players, and I think he's exceeding all expectations thus far.

Bring on Haunted Hoops!

Ring Out Ahoya!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bring on the Madness

Tonight, as you may have heard, is Marquette Madness. That, of course, is the artist formerly known as "Midnight Madness" until the NCAA said it was ok to move it up a couple hours. It kind of makes me chuckle and think back to my first Marquette Madness, which was pretty damn lame. First, it was held the day after the rest of the relevant basketball world held their Midnight Madness, actually at midnight. It was held in the Old Gym, and there was about as much buzz as there is for a really, really exciting chess match. Mike Bargen and Jared Lovette were our senior leaders, Brian Wardle was the next MU superstar, and everyone was excited about freshman Cordell Henry; a guard with actual quickness and athleticism (i.e. not Bart Miller). Tonight will be held in a state of the art practice facility/arena on campus, named for the patron saint of MU hoops, there will be a bevy of top flight recruits both on the floor and watching from the stands, and people will be excited to get a glimpse of a revamped team that will be expected to once again compete for a NCAA berth, while playing in the toughest basketball conference ever conceived by man. I for one am STOKED. Less because I have overly high expectations for Marquette (which I'm sure I do), but more because I just fucking love college basketball.

The real season is still a ways off, and I'm sure that in between then and now everyone will make predictions and yell at each other about what the season will hold. But for now, this is what I will be looking for at Madness:

- The obvious thing everyone wants to see is the new guys. How do they look? How are they meshing with the returning guys? As if you can actually tell anything from some drills, a dunk contest and a scrimmage. But still, it's the first look at a team full of new faces.

-Of the new faces, everybody has one that they are especially interested in. I think mine is Erik Williams. Money and I were discussing him the other day and he said that he really thinks Williams is "flying under the radar," and I totally agree. There's been a lot of focus on the JUCO guys (Buycks and DJO), especially with the injury to Cadougan and the question marks at the point. Maymon has gotten a lot of attention for the last 2 years, being a local standout and all. But Williams seems to be kind of forgotten man out of all these guys. I really think he might be the guy that everyone walks away talking about tonight.

-How much juice will there be in the arena? I hope it's packed and live as hell in The Al tonight. However, I know there's a chance that that might not be the case. MU just graduated 3 of the best, most loved, most entertaining players in its history. The general assumption is that this is a rebuilding year for the program. Those kind of things could affect the turnout, or the amount of energy in the building tonight.

-How will Terri Mitchell's squad look this year after a somewhat disappointing 17-16 season in 08-09, that culminated with a loss a heartbreaking loss to Illinois St. in the 3rd round of the WNIT?*

All I do know is that I'm pretty fired up for tonight. Sprinkle in a couple cocktails and it should be a real fun night. See you guys at Murph's for a pregame car bomb.

*Statement required by Title IX

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For Whatever It's Worth, And That's Probably Not Much: Act II.

Apparently, y'all are more interested in the NL Rookie of the Year vote than you were in the NL Manager of the Year winner; my email soliciting comment on the ROY award actually received a few responses. So, following some intensive numbers-crunchin' (and after disregarding D3's suggestions of Walt Weiss and Marty Cordova), I provide the official Buffet Rookie of the Year vote:

Honorable mention: Chris Coghlan (Florida) and Casey McGehee (Milwaukee).

(3) Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates. In case you didn't notice -- and, because he's in Pittsburgh, you probably didn't -- it looks like the Pirates might finally have a legitimate, star-quality player. (No, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez didn't count.) McCutchen went .286/.365/.471 this year, with 12 homers and 74 driven in, and 22 steals to boot. Not a bad season's work for a guy who only played in 108 games. If his defense improves even a little (he was [-0.8] UZR this year], he's gonna be a terror.

(2) Tommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves. This kid is a beast, and makes me glad that the Brewers are in the Central instead of the East. The numbers: 11-4, 2.89 ERA (with a nice 3.50 FIP), 8.18 K/9, 10 HR allowed (in 21 starts), 2.6 WAR. (As an aside: I noticed the Braves traded their hack-first-ask-questions-later right fielder this year. Any chance they're interested in another one? Hanson for Hart? Sounds nice, right? No? Yeah, I didn't think so. You want Hardy, too? We'll send his brothel with him. At least think about it.)

(1) J.A. Happ, Philadelphia Phillies. For one, he gets bonus points because his name sounds like a guy who should be pitching for the Philadelphia A's. ("Hey, did you hear who's on the bump today? Young J.A. Happ. Yes, and I heard the Federalis shut down another speakeasy last night.") Plus, he stepped into the rotation for the defending World Champs and put together a tidy 12-4 line with a 2.93 ERA (though his FIP was quite a bit higher -- 4.30) and a 6.45 K/9 rate. The three complete games and two shut-outs (compared to 0 CG and 0 SHO for Hanson) put him over the top.

Favre Pron Stash Discovered

I was helping my special lady friend with some stuff around the house last night when I discovered a secret stash of near mint condition Sports Illustrated magazines all featuring Brett Favre on the cover.

Bud Light Real Men of Genius: Hopeless Notre Dame Fan

A little old, and you probably have seen it, but given the game this weekend, I thought I would post it.

Marquette Madness

This might be old news but here are the recruits attending Marquette Madness:

Jamail Jones - 6'6 Wing from Montverde Academy via Stone Mountain, GA (Verbally committed to Marquette) (Unofficial Visit) (2010)

Tarik Black - 6'8 PF from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, TN (Official visit) (2010)

Vander Blue - 6'4 Guard from Madison Memorial in Madison, WI (Official Visit) (2010)

Branden Dawson - 6'5 Wing from Lew Wallace High School in Gary, IN - (Unofficial Visit) (2011)

Keaton Miles - 6'6 forward from Dallas Lincoln in Dallas, TX (Unofficial Visit) (2011)

Kyle Anderson - from Newark High School in Newark, IL - (Unofficial Visit) (2011)

Looks like Vander Blue will be at MM. Would be awesome if we could steal him from Madison. Is anyone going? I'm still on the fence on whether or not I can make it up there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hey, Remember Back In April ...

When Reid put together that massive, barely-legible chart that tabulated our MLB season predictions? (I know it was a long time ago -- this was before Kirby's self-imposed exile, before D3's nuptials, before Moongoose stopped commenting ... oh, wait.) Anyway, we've not reached the World Series yet, but I thought I'd give an update on where we stand going into the LCSes.

Rubie and $ pantsed the field in the AL; me and my boy E picked each division winner and the Wild Card winner correctly. D3 and Kirby picked the four playoff participants correctly, but both had the BoSox winning the East and the Yankees claiming the Wild Card. VaJayJay hit 3 of 4 playoff teams (but he, too, had the Red Sox in the East), and so did SBTG ('cept he hit the Yankees in the East and the Sox as the Wild Card). FPMKE and Gunt limped to the finish by picking 2 of the 4 playoff teams, and Reid faceplanted with a majestic 1 for 4 performance. (Reid was also the only Buffeter not to pick the Angels in the West. Way to think outside the box with that A's pick, slapnuts.)

The NL, to put things mildly, was a massive clusterfuck. $ again led the field by picking three of four playoff teams (he had the Cards as the Wild Card). D3, SBTG, VaJayJay, and FPMKE got 2 of the 4 playoff teams, while Reid, Gunt, Kirby and I embarrassed ourselves with 1 for 4 performances. (Actually, I was 1 for 3, as I picked both the Dodgers or D-backs in the West. I said both sounded shitty. I was half-right.)

As for Brewer predictions: $, Gunt, and Kirby came the closest, as each called an 82-80 record. VaJayJay was in the ballpark with an 84-win prediction (and correctly predicted that the Crew would finish in third in the Central), and FPMKE pussy-footed it with a lame "over .500" prediction. The rest of us, though, must've been huffing some serious paint, as Reid, SBTG, and I went ALL IN on the 2009 Crew. SBTG had the Brewers at 87-75, and Reid and I both had 'em as the Wild Card winner. This, of course, just goes to show you: things are much better around here when I'm a grouchy, whiny pessimist.

So, what have we learned? $'s pretty good at this, Reid is comically bad at it, and the rest of us didn't have much of a clue, either.

Coming soon: stay tuned for MVP and Cy Young predictions (and be sure to watch the ballots closely to see if Kirby's Ervin Santana Cy prediction plays out), and for our World Series predictions.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Packers-Vikings Game Moved to 3:15 Start...

Interesting take on the move from Mike Florio of

Vikings-Packers moves to 4:15 p.m. on November 1
Posted by Mike Florio on October 13, 2009 11:23 AM ET
The annual NFL flex schedule, with games potentially moving from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night on NBC (and vice-versa) and from early afternoon to late afternoon (and vice-versa) doesn't begin until November 22.

But the NFL has pulled an early flip-flop of Sunday games, due ostensibly to the possibility of a World Series game being played in Philadelphia on November 1.

So the Giants-Eagles game slides from 4:15 p.m. ET to 1:00 p.m. ET.

In its place lands the Return of the Favre -- Vikings-Packers at Lambeau Field.

Though Giants-Eagles is still a great game, it's not as if Eli Manning has talked about retiring for five years, retired, unretired, was spurned in his attempt to return to the Giants, was traded to a team out of the conference, played a year, retired again, was released by the team in the other conference, hinted at unretiring again to play for the Eagles, told the Eagles no after weeks of anticipation, changed his mind again after training camp closed, and then helped lead the Eagles to a 5-0 record.

So i's a significant move for FOX, since it pulls the latter portion of the football game into prime time, giving FOX a great ratings boost for its evening lineup, which presumably includes the World Series.

Monday, October 12, 2009

For Whatever It's Worth, And That's Probably Not Much.

So, VaJayJay signed us up to be part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance -- which is funny for a few reasons. First, because any time the word "alliance" is used, I think of this. And, second, because well-informed, intelligent people are apparently interested in our half-baked opinions on topics like: "Who should win the Manager of the Year Award in the National League?"

Not that it matters a lick (and acknowledging that Manager of the Year is probably the second-most preposterous post-season award out there after Comeback Player of the Year), but, if I had to cast a vote, I'd go:

(3) Fredi Gonzalez, Florida Marlins, who, rumor had it, was potentially on the chopping block after leading the team with the smallest payroll in baseball to an 87-75 record. Yeah, that seems fair.

(2) Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants, for having the largest dome in the game (now that Kevin Mench has been put out to pasture). And, yes, I know he's got Lincecum and Cain, but he also had, by my count, twelve guys over the age of 40 on his roster. (Note: I'm bad at counting.) How that group ever scored more than 2 runs in a game is beyond me.

(1) Jim Tracy, Colorado Rockies. I don't follow the Rockies, so I don't know, for sure, what (if anything) he did to turn this ship around. But the numbers are kind of overwhelming here: 18-28 pre-Jimbo, 74-42 after he took the reins. Applying the immutable Laws of Causation -- if event Y happened after event X, then event X caused event Y -- the inescapable conclusion is that Jim Tracy is a genius. Or something like that.

I'm not ranking the rest of the them, but, in case you wondered, last place goes to Dusty Baker.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NBA Promos...

A pretty funny one for fans of Dwight Howard, the Bucks, or The Office (omg...can't believe Jim and Pam are actually getting married).

Flip, Meet Flop.

It's MikeHunt. Would you expect any less?

Remember, back in January, when Mike proudly took up the flag for the "Trade Prince Fielder" brigade? In case you don't:

So, yes, the Brewers should avoid delaying the inevitable by trading Fielder as soon as a sensible opportunity presented itself. For example, on the off chance a pitching-rich team like Boston would be willing to give up a presentable starter, you do that and you do it now.

Today? (Like you don't know what's coming.)

Do not trade Prince Fielder. Do not blow that gaping hole into the middle of the lineup until absolutely necessary, the 2011 trading deadline or the end of that season ...

Here's the part that confuses me:

MikeHunt was in favor of moving Prince before spring training, when the big man was coming off a year where he OPS'ed under .900 and "only" hit 34 bombs. Relatively speaking, Prince's trade value was probably at its lowest.

Now, though, when Prince is coming off a 6.7 WAR season, having hit 46 homers and driven in 141, MikeHunt thinks the Brewers should hang on to him.

Please understand: I am not in favor of moving Prince this off-season, and I never have been. I'm merely saying: if you think it might be a good idea to trade Prince for pitching, doesn't a trade make more sense
now, when his value is probably at or near its peak?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Setting The Odds.

Yesterday was the monthly Grammar Obliteration Fest at the Journal Sentinel -- or, as it more commonly known, the Anthony Witrado JSOnline chat. Normally, I'm just a voyeur during Tony's chats. Yesterday, though, I felt compelled to comment -- and, for some reason, Tony felt equally compelled to respond.

Here's what happened:

Apparently, Witrado went on 'SSP the other day, and, at the end of the interview, he made a cryptic remark about the Brewers trading Ryan Braun, a possibility that Tony's suggested on 'SSP before. Jonathan from Brewers Daily has the exact quote:
"I've talked to some people who are involved with making decisions with this organization," said Witrado. "And, as your baseball insider, I will tell you that the idea that I floated out there about trading Ryan Braun, I'm not alone."
Now, this type of "I've got access and I'm not afraid to flaunt it" attitude is nothing new from Tony -- and it rubs a lot of people the wrong way, as Brandon from Milwaukee showed during yesterday's chat:
when the hell are you going to shut up about trading prince fielder and ryan braun? Nobody is unhappy with anything, those guys are just dissapointed and they expected better (and rightfully so). ... again, braun DID NOT ask for a trade, so my advice to you is to put a damn sock in it, and stop it with these ridiculous rumors about trading fielder and braun because it WILL NOT HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!
Retorted Tony:
Bitter much? ... Also, I'm nowhere near the only person saying these things, including some in the Brewers organization. You might have separation anxiety if these guys leave, but there are docs who can help out with that kind of stuff, I hear.
It was at this point that I, your most humble servant, decided to enter the fray. (Why, you ask? I dunno. Pot-stirring, I suppose.) I submitted a smart-ass comment that I never expected Witrado to post:
Not a question, more of an FYI, re: this trading Ryan Braun nonsense. Beer vendors don't count as "some in the Brewers organization."
No doubt, it's not exceptionally clever, but, like I said, I didn't expect a response. But then Tony wrote:
I don't think people in Brewers uniforms are selling beer. Although, I don't follow their every move so I guess I wouldn't know for sure.
I was immediately struck by two things: (1) they must be getting some really shitty questions during these chats if a blatant cockhead question/comment like mine sees daylight; and (2) Witrado suggesting that "people in Brewers uniforms" are talking about trading Braun.

What, exactly, does that mean? After consulting with some of my most trusted advisers, I've settled on the following possibilities, and I've assigned the following odds to each:
  • 250-to-1: Tony has a source in the front office, but he's operating under the mistaken impression that GMs (and other front office types) wear uniforms, just like the manager does. I don't think he's bright, but even I doubt he's this dense. He did play pro ball, you know -- he should have an idea that the guys upstairs wear suits. (Presumably, it was one of those guys-in-suits who told young, professional-ballplayer Tony to stop coming to the ballpark.)
  • 50-to-1: Tony's got a source in the clubhouse, and it's Ken Macha. Some of my advisers think this is likely the answer, but I'm skeptical. For one, can you picture Macha confiding in Anthony Witrado? I mean, how would that discussion even start? "Hey, Tony -- cool FUBU jacket. I was thinking of getting one myself." "Oh, yeah?" "Yeah, it's 'tight,' as the kids say. Hey, do you have a minute? I'd like to bitch about Braun to you -- off the record, of course." "Oh, sure, Ken. Let's rap." Seems a little far-fetched, doesn't it?
  • 5-to-1: The "people in Brewers uniforms" who have talked about Braun being traded are other players. See, I think this one is more likely. Maybe Casey McGehee asked for a Remetee, and Braun gave it to him but asked Casey to pay for it. Maybe MC Lung tried to "friend" Brauny on Facebook, and Braun ignored him. Maybe Braun slept with -- well, "everybody" seems to be the most probable answer. And then those players got pissed and told Tony: "It'd be a lot cooler if that little fucker wasn't on the team anymore. I'm not the only one who thinks so." Presto -- trade rumor.
  • 2-to-1: Tony took an off-the-cuff remark from someone -- a front office person, Macha, Randolph, or another player -- and turned it into something much bigger. I've set this one as the favorite because of Tony's penchant for making mountains out of molehills. Witness, of course, his first-hand account of Prince bullrushing the Dodgers' clubhouse -- an event that he didn't actually, um, see. As it applies here: someone was pissed at Braun, made an off-hand comment about trading him, Tony heard it, Tony ran with it.
So, place your bets. And, if you've got other possibilities you'd like to suggest, leave 'em in the comments. (It should be noted that "he made the whole thing up" is still available.)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

D3's Top 25 Picks of the Week for Gambling Degenerates Too Lazy to Do Their Own Research

21 Nebraska (-3) @ 24 MissouriTake it away George Lucas and your feathered pen of repetitive movie dialogue. Nerfherders!

As discussed in The Red Recap, I don’t have much confidence in the Huskers here. Missouri is an easy pick.

1 Florida (-7) @ 4 LSU
The whole world is waiting, just waiting, to see if Tim Tebow plays on Saturday. Look for Urban Meyer to maximize the drama to A) keep LSU guessing and B) further cement Tim Tebow’s legacy. LSU has looked very ordinary this year, particularly on offense. LSU is tough in night home games, but Florida has enough to come away with the win. I can’t believe the spread is 7, but I still believe the Gators will get it done.

Colorado @ 2 Texas (-32)
Colorado is just not good. Texas will crush them in preparation for the Red River Shootout next week.

3 Alabama (-6.5) @ 20 Ole Miss
I think Alabama is a machine this year. The main question is when Greg McElroy will screw up. He handled VT and @ Kentucky well. Vaught-Hemingway isn’t the most imposing edifice in college football, but maybe he’ll be distracted by the coeds. Check out Julio Jones in this game. He’s been hurt/quiet this year and has basically ceded his “Badass SEC Wide Receiver” mantle to AJ Green. The only thing that worries me about this game is the “giggity” factor as well documented by EDSBS.
Nothing like this being the #1 Google image of you.
Boston College @ 5 Virginia Tech (-13.5)
Iowa East faces off against a resilient BC team. You know the drill, expect multiple safeties, countless field goals and BEAMERBALL! Some how, some way Tyrod Taylor passed for 300 yards last week, alas, that was against Duke. Expect another Coors Field slugfest, 19-11.

Wisconsin @ 9 Ohio St (-16)
I reviewed this game in depth in The Red Report. I really like tOSU this year, but UW will keep it close, but not as close as the score would indicate. Pryor will take off the Tressel shackles for a play or two to make the difference. This will be entertaining – I would tune in if I could.

10 TCU (-10.5) @ Air Force
TCU will cough one up this year, maybe it's this week. Their offense is too inconsistent for me to truly believe they are the #10 team in the nation.

Florida A&M @ 11 Miami
Unlike the panty-waists below, Miami deserves this lay-up after facing FSU-GT-VT-OU in the first four weeks. FAMU is D1-AA (your uniforms embarrass Craig Sager), so there’s no line for this game.

Michigan @ 12 Iowa (-8)
A beleaguered nation cries out in despair during these tough economic times for something, anything to take their minds off their insipid lives, creeping debt, forthcoming downsizing and the looming specter of nationalized healthcare. ABC delivers with…Depression era football…in primetime! Who’s up for some punts on 3rd downs? Anyone else titillated by safeties and jumbled scores? “Me!” you say? Then this game, sponsored by Brylcreem and Shurfine Cream of Celery Soup, is just your ticket.
I can just hear Musburger now, “You’re looking live at Kinnick Stadium, where, where, the grass is 8 inches high, the field is poorly lit and, and (beer can opens, Keystone Light, no doubt), fuck it Kirk, no one is watching, why the fuck aren’t we in Baton Rouge? I thought we had enough of Iowa after the Penn St game. How do you stay awake during these games?”
“Blow jobs, Brent, blow jobs. In fact, I’m getting one now, actually there are two girls down here; I just count that as one BJ, though. Could you pass the bronzer? Easy with the teeth there Mandy.”
Iowa wins 12-3 on the strength of 6 safeties. UM gets a safety and a point for punting the ball through the uprights like in the CFL. DON’T WATCH THIS GAME, FOR THE LOVE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN, DON’T WATCH THIS GAME!!!

13 Oregon (-6.5) @ UCLA
UO QB Jeremiah Masoli is questionable. UCLA is already down to their #2 QB, 2008’s Jonathan Crompton, Kevin Craft. Oregon gets the wins and steams toward their Halloween showdown with USC.

Eastern Illinois @ 14 Penn St
Penn St completes their arduous non-conference slate by facing the fearsome Eastern Illinois I-Don’t-Even-Know-What-the-Fuck-They’re-Calleds. I don’t know how PSU has survived the previous gauntlet of Akron-Temple-Syracuse in the non-conference, but they were obviously too beat up from that to show up against Iowa. This game is on ESPN Classic – Army must be pissed at PSU for taking their comfy TV home for a week. Don’t piss off Army. Back to the game, Eastern is D1-AA, so there’s no line.

15 Oklahoma St (-8) @ Texas A&M
As I predicted before the season, OSU is overrated, but after watching A&M yip the game away last week against Arkansas, I find it tough to side with them. When in doubt, pick against Mike Sherman.

Iowa St @ 16 Kansas (-20)
KU’s running back, Jake Sharp, may be back this week. Regardless, Iowa St is not good and KU has an explosive offense, led by Todd Reesing. KU will put up more gaudy numbers, but they haven’t played a legit team yet. Judgment day is coming, Jayhawks.

17 Auburn (-2.5) @ Arkansas
Outside of the ownage in Tuscaloosa, Arkansas has been unstoppable offensively. Surprisingly, so has Auburn. This one is too close to call, so I’ll side with the better QB and the homefield advantage.

18 BYU (-17) @ UNLV
UNLV gave up 170 yards rushing last week – to THREE different players against a winless Nevada team. They also have Oregon St a close game in Vegas. The Mormons won’t be distracted by the Vegas fun and will get a big win.

Baylor @ 19 Oklahoma (-25.5)
I hope Baylor enjoyed their 3 weeks of relative prosperity. Now, Baylor’s football Jeebus has a torn-up knee and Baylor has no prayer of a winning season. Either Landry Jones or Sam Bradford will rip up the Bears and cover. Don’t mess with angry Sooners.

22 Georgia Tech @ Florida St (-2.5)
Really? FSU is 2-3, the trustees are calling for Bowden’s head and they are still a favorite against a ranked Georgia Tech team? I guess FSU did hang 50 on BYU in Provo. I can’t figure these guys out, but with all the negativity surrounding the program this week, I have to go with the unhappiest guy in football, Paul Johnson.

Kentucky @ 25 South Carolina (-9.5)I flipped a coin on this one. You can never figure out South Carolina, particularly under Spurrier. I guess Stephen Garcia will have a big game.

The Red Recap

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Last Week’s Opponent: Bye

Last Week’s Result: No injuries, no arrests, all is good

This Week’s Opponent: @#24 Missouri. This is a HUGE game for both teams. Mizzou, Nebraska and Kansas are the best teams in the north division and NU plays both opponents on the road. Missouri hasn’t played a strong opponent yet, blowing out Illinois and Furman, coming back to beat Bowling Green and blowing Nevada out in the second half. They are led by freshman QB Blaine Gabbert, a one-time Husker commit. Gabbert’s brother is now committed to NU, but Gary Pinkel is flying to his games in helicopters to get him to switch.

Gabbert hasn’t thrown a pick all year and leads the Big XII in passing efficiency. He hasn’t been helped by an anemic run game (11th in the conference) and a porous offensive line. Missouri’s defense is led by the massively annoying Sean Witherspoon. NU has the nation’s #1 ranked scoring defense, but they haven’t faced an offense like Mizzou will bring.
Then, we have the history, NU hasn’t won at MU since Eric Crouch was a Heisman winner and has surrendered 41 points in each loss. Here’s a nightmarish trip down memory lane for any Husker fan. The aughts have been shitty.




This Week’s Predicted Result: Missouri 34-20. Nebraska’s defense is still not back to Blackshirt form and will struggle to stop Mizzou’s short passing game. Look for Gabbert to rack up a lot of yards and big plays. A couple Zac Lee turnovers will lead to Missouri scores and they will, once again, own the Huskers.

Current Season Outlook: The storm has finally arrived, how will the Huskers weather it? Can Zac Lee be consistent on the road? Can the defense hold up against a viable offense? Those questions will be answered on Thursday. A win, and a 4-0 start in Big XII play is likely with Texas Tech, Iowa St & Baylor due next.

Predicted Bowl: Alamo – holding steady here

Wisconsin Badgers

Last Week’s Opponent: Minnesota. The two darlings of the 11 am ESPN timeslot met in the first ever Big 11 game at TCF Bank Stadium. The television audience was subjected to Chris Spielman’s concussed meathead brain and Bob Griese’s growing dementia.

Last Week’s Result: UW won 31-28. Once again, UW dominated an inferior team, but barely scraped out a victory. It was obvious watching the game that UW was the better team, but despite a few key Minnesota red zone breakdowns, UW couldn’t put them away. That has to be a lingering concern for Badger fans as expectations have risen considerably over the past two weeks.

This Week’s Opponent: #9 Ohio St This is a very intriguing match-up. Can UW move the ball against OSU’s stout defense? Can Scott “The Fleshy Chris Klein” Tolzien continue to run an efficient offense? I believe the answer is no as they won’t get 7 yards a pop on first down like they are accustomed to and OSU has enough speed to disrupt UW’s glacial play action pass plays. On the other side of the ball, UW hasn’t done a great job defensively and Terrelle Pryor should be able to make enough plays to pull out the win.

This Week’s Predicted Result: Ohio St wins 23-17. It will be a close game, but you have to go with the best defense and/or best quarterback. OSU has the upper hand in both areas and the game is in Columbus.

Current Season Outlook: Much sunnier. This is a no-lose situation for UW and they have a winnable game at home against Iowa (Virginia Tech West) next week. A 7-1 or 6-2 season is certainly doable with no Penn St (cough, sham, cough) on the schedule.

Predicted Bowl: Outback – the Badgers are moving on up. I expect Iowa to lose a few games (including in Madison) to give the Badgers a New Year’s Day berth.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dear Brett Favre,

Congratulations on a great game. I'm a Packer fan first and foremost and as a Packer fan I've seen a lot of your 273 games and I think tonight's performance might be one of the top 5 football games of your career. You were nearly flawless going 24-31, 274 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. You've got one hell of a running back in the backfield with you, an offensive line that gives you literally all day to make plays, and receivers that catch the ball when the ball is thrown where it needs to be. As much as I wanted you to fail tonight it was a nice stroll down memory lane and you are a great quarterback, despite being a selfish, egotistical pre-madonna who held our franchise hostage for the last 6 years of your career with all the retirement talk. I think after you finally do retire and get enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a Packer (I hope), I'll love you again, but I stand by my team and my general manager and still believe we made the right decision in going with Aaron Rodgers.

I only have one request, one wish for the rest of your season. Please stay healthy for 4 more weeks. You owe it to the fans to show up in Lambeau, start the game, take your boo's like a man, and try and beat us on our turf which maybe the last thing to check-off on your career to-do list, aside from winning another Super Bowl. The weather might not be as nice as the air conditioned dome. Our defense is going to have a new game plan to stop the offense. We may not hold AP to only 55 yards but you can't possibly look as good as you did last night. Aren't you contractually obligated to make a Brett Favre bone-headed play at-least once during a game?

Be ready, the Packers are going to use the bye week to get everyone healthy and focused for the rest of the year and take care of business against the Lions and Browns before the Rematch of the Century. Hopefully our offensive and defensive play callers will figure out what the hell they are doing. Our offensive line is bad, but I doubt we'll give up 7 sacks again as Clifton will give Jared Allen a little more of a fight. Our QB is going to learn to throw the ball away, not force things ala 1994 Brett Favre, and not turn the ball over essentially 3 times if you include the goal line stand.

So Brett, enjoy your 40th birthday and good luck against the Rams, Ravens, and Steelers and we'll see ya back in your old stomping grounds on November 1st.


Softball's Tony Gwynn (on behalf of most Packer fans...I think)

News Alert: Green Bay Coaching Staff Loses Spines on Way to Minneapolis

Don't have time to get into too much here, but what a traveshamockery this game has been. ZERO, absolutely ZERO pass rush. No complicated blitz packages, and when they did send more than 4, they didn't even get close to Brett. I think Brett's been hit once. And what was with that play where Brett danced around for over 7 seconds while Green Bay's 3 D-lineman just stood there and watched. Are they afraid to go after their friend Brett? He is 40 years much mobility does he have? So calling Dom Capers! Where the fuck is this creative scheme that we've been hearing so much about!

Also, Coach McCarthy, what the hell is with spreading the offense out and going shotgun on 4th and goal from the 2 foot line? I mean, if you're going to man up and go for it, fucking man up and either pound the ball or at least make it look like running could be a distince possibility. Our O-line has done nothing to show anyone that they can protect Rodgers for more than 3 seconds so why on earth would you not at least have a RB back there to at least protect. Further, down 2 td's with 11 min's to play, 3rd and long, and you run some statue of liberty play? Jesus Crizzle! Why don't you take off that white skirt you're wearing and wave it so we can concede the game and at least prevent further embarassment than you have already provided in this game. This just in.....7th sack of Aaron Rodgers tonight....19 on the year! I am fucking sick to my stomach. Just put in Brohm now.

Favre just accomplished what he said he wanted to do, that is, stick it to those who doubted him.

Sheets VaJ - The fire Mike McCarthy level in my apartment is yellow right now. If I these spineless performances continue much longer, I am on full board.

1st Half Recap...

Ok so its 21-14 Vikings after one hell of a half. What an awesome game thus far, but the Pack is doing everything it couldn't do if it wanted to win this game:

Biggest State of the Half: Vikings have 14 points off of 2 A-Rodg turnovers. One of those was negated with the Matthews fumble-six towards the end of the half.

Favre vs. Rodgers: Favre is spot on with everything he's doing right now (14-17, 154 yards, 2 touchdowns). He's picking apart the Packers secondary and every throw is right where it needs to be. The defense needs to get more pressure on Favre and not let him go through his progressions and get comfortable in the pocket. A-Rodg is looking good (12=18, 174 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) but is not playing smart. He's holding on to the ball too long (which lead to the fumble and a few sacks) and forcing the issue on the interception. I feel like I'm yelling at young Brett Favre for trying to hard to make a play.

Stop AP: He carried the load on the first drive but the defense has really sucked it up and stuffed him the last few drives, which has probably helped Favre have more time and tear us up in the passing game.

Discipline: Packers have had 6 penalties for 47 yards and the Vikings have had no flags. Its a good thing that there was a defensive offsides on the Woodson pick in the end zone or I would have gone ape shit on that touchy call.

Overall its been one hell of a game and I hope the second half is just as entertaining. I could go without all the gushing over the Vikings and Favre by the announcing team. Someone needs to highlight the item in the announcer notes about Favre retiring in a tearful press conference at Lambeau only to call a few weeks later to ask about un-retireing only to re-retire a few days later only to re-unretire later in the summer (after mini and training camps with A-Rodg at the healm).

Key to the game is getting a stop on this first drive and we need to have a turnover at some point. Wow halftime goes by quick when you spend the whole time typing a blog entry.

What's the Plan for Tonight?

Anyone want to get together to watch the game?

Fine, Let's Get This Over With.

If you care (and I think I'm just about tapped when it comes to caring about a washed-up hick who held my favorite team hostage for the last five years), your predictions for the Vikings - Packers game in the comments.

My (brief) take: the Vikings are the better team; our run defense sux; and Favre won't throw enough picks to change the outcome. 'Queens, 28-17.

An Entreaty To The Powers-That-Be.

I don't like to beg. I'd much rather come at ya with an argument backed up by statistics and reason, and eventually wear you down to the point that you're compelled to agree with me. In this case, however, it's no holds barred; I will resort to whatever means necessary to make my point.

So, Mssrs. Attanasio, Melvin, Macha, and anyone else who's got a vote in this (potential) decision:


Now, it's possible that my pleading is being influenced by the results of yesterday's season-ender vs. The Upright Citizens Brigade in St. Louis, when the big man capped off a preposterous individual season with a two-homer, three-RBI day. In the process, Prince jacked his OPS to a new single-season high (1.014), both for him and the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.

The way I see it, next season is going to play out one of two ways, and, whatever path the 2010 season takes, I want Prince around. Here's why:

(1) For reasons I'm still not able to fully comprehend, the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers went 80-82 while running out two starting pitchers who posted below-replacement level numbers while making 30+ starts. According to FanGraphs, Jeff Suppan's WAR for the season was (-0.5), and, not to be outdone, Braden "B.P." Looper came up with a WAR of (-0.7). These are stunningly bad numbers for a team that came within a game of .500.

Just for comparison's sake, consider a couple of other teams who finished around .500: the White Sox and Reds. Here's the Sox rotation:
  • Mark Buehrle: 3.4 WAR
  • John Danks: 2.9 WAR
  • Gavin Floyd: 4.6 WAR
  • Jose Contreras (before being dealt to the Rockies): 2.3 WAR
  • Clayton Richard (before being dealt to the Padres): 1.3 WAR
And here's the Reds:
  • Johnny Cueto: 1.4 WAR
  • Aaron Harang: 2.3 WAR
  • Bronson Arroyo: 1.6 WAR
  • Homer Bailey: 1.3 WAR
  • Micah Owings (in 20 starts): (-0.4) WAR
  • Justin Lehr (11 starts): (-0.5) WAR
And, just for more context: the only rotation as bad as Milwaukee's, at least in terms of ERA, was Baltimore's. The Orioles won 64 games. The Indians' starters, collectively, had an ERA 0.07 lower than the Brewers' starters. The Indians won 65 games.

This is all a long way of saying: the Brewers came within a whisker of .500 while two of the mainstays of the rotation were having historically-awful seasons. If Soup and Loop can come anywhere near their career averages next year, and if Manny Parra can get his head screwed on straight, and if Yo Gallardo continues to develop, and if Bushie's boo-boo gets better ... I'm not sayin' it's a lock, but stranger things have happened. And if we're going to make any noise next year, we need the big man anchoring the middle of the line-up.

(2) Of course, it's much more likely that we'll see more of the same next year. Odds are: Soup continues his death spiral; Looper gives you (approximately) replacement-level pitching; Manny is Manny; and Yo remains solid to very good. There's not going to be much pitching available via the free agent market, and teams will be lining up to overpay the few serviceable pitchers who are out there.

If that's the case, we're looking at near-.500 ball again next year. And if that's the case, I'm gonna need a reason to tune in every night.

(Anthony Witrado-style one-sentence paragraph comin' up!)

Prince Fielder is that reason.

The guy is a force of nature. Before the season started, I wrote that Prince had established his high water mark in '07, and that it was silly to expect him to put up comparable numbers -- and then he went out and compiled a .299/.412/.602 line, with 46 bombs and 141 driven in. He's put up two of the four 1.000+ OPS seasons in Brewers' history (Braun's got one [in '07, too], and Molitor had the other in 1987). Prince has the franchise record for homers in a year (and now he's got the No. 2 slot, as well) and for RsBI.

This is purely selfish, I know, but I want to see what Prince can do over the next two years. Can he hit 55 homers? Can he out-OPS Pujols for a year? Can he drive in 150? After this year, who knows? I thought I knew what his ceiling was. Now, I'm not so sure.

Point is: if your team isn't going to be in contention, you need to have a once-in-a-generation player to put butts in the seats and eyes on the TV. Prince did that this season, and he can do it again next year. Please give him the chance. Please, please, please, please, please.