Friday, November 30, 2007

What an offseason

Hey TSF readers, I am back to lay some more baseball insight into this fine fine blog. Back in July I wrote a post judging the trade deadline deals, and I'm back to look at what has gone on this offseason so far, and what could potentially take place.

Santana Mania
We all know that the best pitcher to throw a baseball since Roger Clemens was in his prime is on the market, but where will Johan Santana end up? This whole situation is about to get very interesting, because not only are the Red Sox and Yankees the only realistic options out there, but no one knows if they're actually trying to trade for Johan or just jacking up the price for the other team.

I say that the Yankees and Sox are the only real contenders because unlike anyone else on the current trade market, Johan Santana controls his own destiny. He can veto a trade if the team the Twins agree to terms with doesn't give him the extension he wants (rumored at around 23-25 million per year for 5-6 years). This makes this trade difficult in two ways - sure the Angels and Dodgers have the prospects to get a deal done, but they then have to sign Johan to a long term deal. If I were to guess, the Yankees eventually cave in and give up Ian Kennedy AND Philip Hughes, with Melky Cabrera and another minor leaguer (possibly Eric Duncan?) and get Johan. Trading that many prospects is completely against Theo Epstein's and Brian Cashman's philosophy, but the difference will be that Cashman isn't running the show anymore, and Theo is.

WTF White Sox?
What in the world were the White Sox thinking in giving Scott Linebrink that ridiculous contract? No one knows, but what we do know is that it has skyrocketed the reliever's market, and that is shown by Francisco Cordero's contract with the Reds. My prediction: They work out for a year, and then the contracts become albatross's hanging around both team's necks for the remainder of them. Thanks for setting back baseball a few years Kenny Williams.

Twins get a bat, Rays get an arm
Yes the Twinkies finally got another bat to stick in the lineup I like to call M&M and 7 random guys. Morneau and Mauer power that offense now that the Angels overpaid for ANOTHER aging center fielder (let's not forget Gary Matthews Jr.'s ridiculous contract from last year) when they signed away Torii Hunter. The problem is, Mauer doesn't hit for power, and while Cuddyer has been solid, they stil found their offense to be anemic at times even with Hunter having a contract year. Delmon Young will be for real, and he will help the Twins for however long he can keep his head on.
I still give this trade to the Rays, however, because the shortstops traded in this trade dramatically favors the Rays, and the prospect the Rays got will eventually be a solid 10th or 11th arm in the bullpen. The two players the Twins got back are bench players at best. Matt Garza also isn't too shabby, and I think Garza and Kazmir will make a solid 1-2 punch for the Rays.

Really LAA?
I already mentioned my thoughts on this signing above, but I will say this: If Torii Hunter is worth 90 million over 5 years, I'm good for about 750,000 over 3, and I didn't even play baseball my senior year of high school.

Cabrera Sweepstakes
Not since the Clippers and the Lakers fought to sign Shaq have two L.A. teams fought for the right to complain about how overweight a player on their roster is. Eating habits aside, Cabrera is a STUD, and while the Dodgers and Angels are being leveraged against each other by the Marlins (ask the LA Angels' owner how he feels about that), I think the Angels come out on top. Another reason why the Angels don't get Johan - they will trade their prospects to get Cabrera.

With so much happening so far this offseason (I didn't even delve into the Yankees re-signings drama), this offseason has promised to be a great one. When was the last time we saw two teams trade top prospect for top prospect like the Rays and Twins did? And when was the last time THIS MUCH top pitching talent has been available (make the right offer, the A's will give you Joe Blanton and Cy Young runner-up Dan Haren). As a baseball enthusiast, I am loving this offseason, and with the Winter Meetings around the corner, it should just get even better.

Play of the Year?

Gateway High laterals it's way to force overtime vs. Central Catholic in the Pennsylvania AAAA Football Championship. Central Catholic ended up winning but this is still one heck of a play. Can you say play of the year?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

R.I.P Sean Taylor (1983-2007)

Today was going to be a "Happy Youtube Tuesday", however given the circumstances I feel it only right that I pay tribute to Sean Taylor.

Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor died Tuesday after he was shot in his home by an apparent intruder, leaving everybody, including myself in shock. The 24-year-old player died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he had been airlifted after the shooting early Monday. Taylor, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft following an All-American season at the University of Miami, was shot early Monday in the upper leg, damaging the key femoral artery and causing significant blood loss.

I would first like to send out my deepest condolences to the Taylor family, the Washington Redskins, and the Miami Hurricanes. Most people know Sean as the flamboyant, hard-hitting, fine-gathering player he was in his first 3 or 4 years in the league. What many people don't realize is that he is also a father of a 1 year old baby girl named Jackie, and a maturing man and emerging leader on and off the field (and his teammates and coaches noticed).

"It's hard to expect a man to grow up overnight, but ever since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child." -Clinton Portis-

I can't imagine what it would be like to be 24 and have to leave your 1 year old daughter and girlfriend behind. As for the Redskins, who must somehow absorb the raw emotions from this tragedy and prepare to play two games during a critical five-day stretch next week, the reality is that an already-struggling team quickly must find a way to compensate for the loss of a Pro Bowl-caliber defender. And while dealing with replacing Taylor in the lineup won't be quite the same as confronting the specter of having lost the fourth-year veteran as a friend, it is still an imperative that must be addressed.

I loved watching Sean as a player. I never get sick of seeing his hard hits and amazing interceptions. He was really emerging in his pass coverage game this year as he had nine pass deflections and an NFC-best five interceptions in nine games before suffering a sprained knee that kept him out of the last two games. I really feel like Taylor was taking the next step to being an elite player and I was very excited to watch him and LaRon Landry play along side each other. i felt like they could have become the most prolific SS & FS duos in the NFL.

I had other ideas for a post today but keeping with the theme I would like to offer up some of my favorite YouTube videos of Sean Taylor - the fearless hitter that will forever be missed.

Forgot to tell Taylor it was the Pro Bowl?

Sticks and Picks

Taylor at Da U

Obviously this does Sean and the situation no justice. However, it's the best I can do on this day of mourning for the NFL and football fans everywhere.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Here comes Texas

The Texas Longhorns basketball team is picking up where it left off last season, without Kevin Durant.

Texas has started the 2007-2008 season strong and fast, rattling off 5 impressive wins thus far, with the most impressive win coming against the 7th ranked Tennessee Volunteers Saturday night, 97-78.

Their first win was against lowly Texas-San Antonio, but after that they've shown they're indeed a force to be reckoned with again in the Big XII. They then beat UC-Davis 73-42 with Jr. guard A.J. Abrams shooting 9-15 from the field and finishing with 21 points. Abrams decided to put on another show, putting up 30 on Arkansas-Monticello while going 8-12 from three point land. Then after going up against a decent New Mexico St. team, Abrams put down 31 and went 9-12 from behind the arc, while sophomore sensation D.J. Augustin piled up 25 of his own.

Yes, you can say those teams weren't very formidable opponents, but Texas shot over 54% in 3 of those games and their defense clamped down on these opponents all night long. But yes, it was still Texas-SA, Arkansas-Monticello, and UC-Davis.

Then came the Vol thrashing...

Four starters put up at least 21 points against Tennessee and this time it was Augustin who was on fire from behind the arc, going 4-8 and finishing with 23 points. Abrams went 3-8 from 3 point land and ended up with 21 of his own. And it's not these two doing all the work, Connor Atchley put up 22 and Justin Mason had 21 while the Longhorns cruised 97-78 over the Vols.

I was impressed, very impressed as they shot 64% from the field while holding Chris Lofton and Co. to 39% shooting.

They have another chance to show they're the real deal when they travel to play UCLA on December 2nd.

I was one of those who questioned in the pre-season whether Texas would be able to hang with the big boys without Kevin Durant, and they showed it after their win over Tennessee. They shouldn't slow down and will be there in not only the Big XII race, but the national race as well, till the end.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkeyday!

I would like to wish a happy thanksgiving and safe travels to all of our readers on behalf of The Sports Flow Team!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

FCS (1-AA) Playoff Predictions

With FCS being the highest division of College Football with a playoff system, it seems fitting to do some predictions; It's too bad my fellow 10-1 NDSU Bison can't be a part of this...

First Round
Northern Iowa 38
New Hampshire 24

Delaware 30
Delaware St. 20

Southern Illinois 31
Eastern Illinois 18

UMass 24
Fordham 16

McNeese St. 27
Eastern Washington 21

Appalachian St. 34
James Madison 24

Montana 34
Wofford 26

Richmond 32
E. Kentucky 30

Northern Iowa 27
Delaware 23

Southern Illinois 18
UMass 16

Appalachian St. 27
McNeese St. 24

Richmond 34
Montana 31

Southern Illinois 27
Northern Iowa 21

Appalachian St. 37
Richmond 32

FCS Final
Appalachian St. 26
Southern Illinois 23

Appalachian St. will win their 3rd straight FCS (Formerly 1-AA) Title. Half way through the season they struggled a bit, even after beating Michigan, and they were unhealthy as well with their QB Armanti Edwards being out. But now their team is fully healthy again and are looking to be a top FCS football once again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

TSF Heisman Watch

This has been anything but the standard Heisman Race. I'd like to weigh in quickly with what has become increasingly obvious to me over the last few weeks.

Coming into the week I really liked Dennis Dixon to win. I even watched this commercial profusely taking great entertainment from it:

With my top candidate Dennis Dixon out of contention, how many legitimate players are out there that can satisfy that general voter urge to choose a contender from a highly-ranked squad? Here's what I see:
I'm reluctant to say it but i see Time Tebow as the front-runner to win the Heisman right now...even with 3 losses! In the midst of a roller-coaster ride of a season I think voters are just starting to warm up to the idea of the underclassman winning it with 3 losses. Tebow is set to go down with Archie Griffin in Heisman lore. That's good for Tebow, good for the Heisman and good for college football. If he wins I don't think that automatically means that we'll start seeing underclassmen win it every year so i don't have a problem with it.

Look at the stats he is the first EVER 20/20 man in NCAA Football history and is on pace for over 3,000 passing yards and 850 rushing yards and a combined 50 touchdowns. Because of the sheer weight of his numbers, name recognition, team-profile, television exposure and personality, he is the overwhelming favorite for this year's Heisman right now.

In my opinion if anyone is going to beat him it will be Chase Daniel from Mizzou. Although he's an outside shot right now I feel like he is in the best position to make a run at the Heisman. Daniel is on pace for the following stats: 3,916 passing yards, 33 touchdown passes, 69 per cent completions, 10 interceptions, 300 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns. Here's what I see as necessary for him to win it:
1. Daniel has a big game and Missouri beats Kansas.
2. Daniel has a big game and Missouri beats Oklahoma.
3. Missouri wins berth in BCS title game.
4. Tebow flops as Florida loses to FSU would cement it.

If I had to pick a third candidate I would pick Darren McFadden.
Overall this is what I see:
1. Tim Tebow
2. Chase Daniel
3. Darren McFadden

What's your Heisman race look like right now?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Week 11 NFL QuickPicks

Sorry for no post yesterday. We had a TSF reunion up in Grand Forks between Ming and I. Now it's back to business. Here's what you should expect for tomorrow.

Eagles beat the Dolphins
Buccaneers beat the Falcons
Jaguars beat the Chargers
Browns beat the Ravens

Saints beat the Texans
Colts beat the Chiefs
Packers beat the Panthers
Vikings beat the Raiders
Steelers beat the Jets
Seahawks beat the Bears
Rams beat the 49ers
Cowboys beat the Redskins
Patriots beat the Bills
Cardinals beat the Bengals
Titans beat the Broncos

Closest Call
Giants beat the Lions

Naysayers? What are your picks?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not the "BS" Standings this week

As I look at the current BCS Standings this week, I can't really disagree. It seems pretty accurate to me.

Here's the current standings Top Ten for this past week:
1. LSU
2. Oregon
3. Kansas
4. Oklahoma
5. Missouri
6. West Virginia
7. Ohio St.
8. Arizona St.
9. Georgia
10. Virginia Tech

In my eyes, LSU is the best team in the country, they are the most talented and have gone through their tough schedule nearly unblemished, with just one loss coming at a good Kentucky team.

As for Oregon they've played great as well and to me, are the 2nd best team in the land. The Ducks have had some pretty good wins as well in the 2nd best conference in the country (Pac 10) over USC, at Washington, and Arizona St. Their lone loss came against Cal and lost by about a foot.

As for Kansas, they are where they belong. I am not ready to put them in the top two, first of all when you play Central Michigan, SE Louisiana, Toledo, Florida International, and Baylor you're not going to get much props from me. Go out and schedule some formidable opponents. If Kansas beats Missouri and OU in the Big XII Title game, then I will give them the respect they deserve.

To me the rest of the standings seem pretty fair, except one minor change I would fix is switch around Missouri and West Virginia. Other then that it seems pretty fair and accurate. But with the way the season has gone, we may finish the year with a split national champion again and nobody wants that. There's going to be disaster again at the end of this season with the BCS and everybody knows it; which is another reason College Football needs a minor playoff and another reason why the BCS is still B.S.

(Want to talk some NCAA Football or the BCS? Well join us at the new Sports Flow Site and sign up for the Forum!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

MLB Free Agent Rankings and Speculation

Fire up the Hot Stove it's time to talk free agency in the world of Major League Baseball! I'm going to give you a list of top free agents ranked accordingly plus a small blurb on my thoughts on the player and where I think they'll wind up.

1. Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Who else did you think was going to be first? Expect to see a really high number wherever he lands as A-Rod's price tag reportedly starts at 10 years, $350 million.
Predicted Destination: Dodgers, Giants, Angels

2. Jorge Posada - C
Sure he's old, but the market for catchers is EXTREMELY thin this year. Word on the street is that the Yankees are offering 4 years at 52 million to wrap him up before he can even talk to other teams. That seems like a lot of money and a long period of time, but with Arod gone how else are the Yanks gunna spend their $$?!
Predicted Destination: Yankees

3. Torii Hunter - CF
Great on Defense and an underrated offensive player as well. He'd be a great addition to any team. If the Twins let Johan slip that would put them in a position to have enough moeny to resign Hunter - in which case would be in their best interest. However, he has the option to opt out.
Predicted Destination: Braves, Twins, Yankees

4. Mike Lowell - 3B
He followed up a nice 2006 season with a superb 2007 season and put himself in great position for the offseason. He hit .324 last year at age 34, but had never hit over .300 in any other season, and hitters typically do not add new skills at this late age. He is definately worth the money for a 2 year deal but I would shy away from anything more than that. Look for him to stay in Boston unless if someone offers him contract length that he can't resist.
Predicted Destination: Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies

5. Barry Bonds - OF/DH
Barry is a below-average outfielder but in the world of the DH he ranks highly in my opinion. He is definately looking for a 1-year contact right now and I see it happening somewhere where he can DH. When looking at his power, and plate discipline he looks like the next best pure hitter to Arod in this market.
Predicted Destination: A's, Padres

6. Francisco Cordero - RP
He owns the free-agent market as far as closers are concerned. Coming off of a 44 save season for the Brew Crew look for him to draw a healthy 4 year deal. Brewers GM Doug Melvin has verbalized resigning Cordero as his #1 objective for the offseason.
Predicted Destination: Brewers, Astros

7. Andy Petite - SP
Pettitte just completed his third straight season of at least 210 innings and 33 starts giving me every reason to believe that he can come back and be a middle of the rotation workhorse. He looks to me to be the best SP Available. He declined his option with the Yanks so don't expect him back in pinstripes.
Predicted Destination: Astros, Mets, Dodgers

8. Andruw Jones - CF
Could possibly still be classified as an "elite" CFer although he's coming off his worst season. The power is there and his defense is still good (although declining). Coming off such a poor 2007 season (40-point drop in average, 15 fewer homers and 35 fewer RBIs) makes me think that it would make sense for him to sign for 1 year somewhere and then try to hit the market again next season.
Predicted Destination: Dodgers, Rangers, Astros

9. Mariano Rivera - RP
He's aging but his control is still phenominal and his velocity is slipping minimally. He is still a good groundball pitcher who will still earn his fair share of strikeouts. He can still close games but due to his age I would expect nothing more than a 2year deal from someone.
Predicted Destination: Cubs, Yankees, Giants

10. Kosuke Fukudome - OF
While not incredibly well-known (I had to research him myself) Fukudome is probably the only impact player who'll be coming over from Japan this winter. His game has been compared to a current Bobby Abreau. I think you can look for him to attract a lot of attention and a 3 or 4 year deal without arbitration eligibility (this puts him back on the market at the age of 33 or 34).
Predicted Destination: Cardinals, Royals, Tigers

Monday, November 12, 2007

TSF College Basketball Predictions

Even though the College Hoops season has already started we would like to do a little preview of our Final Four Picks and such. Like Complete Sports, we never finished our conference predictions so we will scrap those as well, Sorry for the inconvenience.

Final Four Predictions

Stefan Ming's Picks:
North Carolina

2008 National Champion:
Memphis Tigers

Grittysquirrels Picks:


2008 National Champion:
Tennessee Vols

All-American Team:

Stefan Ming:
Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)
Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis)
Stephen Curry (Davidson)
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
Chris Lofton (Tennessee)

Player of the Year: Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)
Coach of the Year: Rick Pitino (Louisville)

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
Chris Lofton (Tennessee)
Darren Collison (UCLA)
O.J. Mayo (USC)

Player of the Year: Tyler Hansbrough (UNC)

Coach of the Year:
Bruce Pearl (Tennessee)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

NFL Quickpicks: Week 10

Sorry for the lack of postage lately, here's some NFL predictions for tomorrow. Also, tomorrow w will have TSF's Final Four Predictions.

Chiefs over Broncos
Bills over Dolphins
Packers over Vikings
Steelers over Browns
Saints over Rams
Jaguars over Titans
Eagles over Redskins
Panthers over Falcons
Bengals over Ravens
Bears over Raiders
Cardinals over Lions
Giants over Cowboys
Colts over Chargers

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

2007 College Basketball Conference Previews: SEC

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Predicted Order of Finish:

1. Tennesse Volunteers
I love Bruce Pearl and his painted chest. He's had this program on the rise for the last few years and this is their year to take it from the Gators. Vols return four starters and eight letter winners to a team poised to make a move. Pearl has experience and depth and the East is theirs to lose.

2. Vanderbilt Commadores
Vanderbilt finished a distant second with a decent record in the east and is looking to get a steady improvement this year. The commodores return three starters and seven letter winners from last year’s squad. Shan Foster will be back as the team leader in points but the Commodores will need the new youngsters to take a serious role if they expect to have a shot at being the team to beat in the East.

3. Florida Gators
Will they reload or rebuild? They lost 10 letter winners from last year losing five starters. Billy Donovan jumped to Orlando before coming right back to Florida may have hurt his recruiting. Marreese Speights will lead the list of newcomers trying to make a difference for the Gators. They'll be a good team but I think it's safe to say that they won't 3-peat.

4. Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky basketball can only hope to make the splash that the Kentucky football team has made this year. They have headed in the right directions with the recent changes starting with the head coach Billy Gillispie who brings experience and a winning attitude. They're going to need a better road record, which was the Achilles heel of this team last year as they posted a weak road record of 4-6. For the team to be successful they must avoid the injury bug that already has bitten this team. They return three starters and an injury to Joe Crawford is already an issue. If they stay healthy and win on the road Kentucky could return to prominence.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks
The only place to go is up for a South Carolina team that finished with just four victories in conference play. The news may just get worse as they lose their top three scorers from a year ago. The good news is that they do have some transfers that are eligible to play this season and that should help this team out, the bad news is it looks like another long season for the Game Cocks as they miss the post season again.

6. Georgia Bulldogs
The Georgia Bulldogs are off a horrible year where they went .500 in the SEC and managed to get ousted in the second round of the NIT. The good news is they return four starters from last year’s squad and this will bring some much needed experience to a team that needs to improve. The catch is that Georgia suspended three pivotal players for a big chunk of the season due to academic reasons. Georgia will have a lot of work to do to compete in an East division crowded with talent. Maybe next year....

1. Arkansas Razorbacks
John Pelphrey
starts his first year at the helm for the Razorbacks and so far his recruiting has been excellent. This team plays really good defense and they bring back all five starters from a year ago and nine top scorers and six of those nine scorers are seniors. The team made the big dance again and with the new coaching methodology and the youth mixed with experience the post season is a reality for the hogs. In fact the hogs are off back to back appearances at the big dance and 20 win seasons.

2. Auburn Tigers
Auburn Auburn remembers last year very well and how close they were to winning the west. In fact they were 40 seconds shy of winning the division. This year they return all five starters from a team that defeated five nationally ranked clubs and is ready to make a run at the dance. They return all eight starters so will have depth and five of those eight averaged a double-double. This team is stocked with experience as it carries three seniors and four juniors. Auburn will look to play an up tempo game and use their depth and experience to make a run at the dance.

3. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Mississippi St. played above most expectations last year by being Co-champions of the West and going to the semi finals in the NIT. This year they will have to work to improve on that with just two returning starters. The depth will be in place even though they lost some starters with seven letter men returning to this year’s squad. Jamont Gordon and the dogs will compete for the top spot in the West again

4. Ole Miss Rebels
They only have two returning starters and will look to replace Todd Abernethy who led the SEC in assist to turnover ratio. The Rebels had a huge turn around in last year’s campaign, but this year they have too much to overcome with the loss of great players and lack of experience. Don't expect anything more than a possible NIT bid.

5. LSU Tigers
LSU finished a woeful sixth in the West and only have three starters returning to the fold. The Tigers feel flat last year after only being two years removed from an unbelievable run in the big dance and are looking for redemption this year. With lack of experience to help them out look for them to shift the game plan and try to play to their strengths. Freshman Anthony Randolph has potential to crack the starting five out the gate. This team will have a shot of being a team in the big dance if the chemistry and patience is there but I'm not seeing it.

6. Alabama Red Tide
Alabama is off a very tough year and it does not look to get better this year at least not any time soon. They had troubles on the road last year finishing the season at 1-7 on the road in SEC games and the schedule makers were not kind to them this year making them play the last six out of nine games on the road. That schedule and lack of a point guard will keep them out of the post season altogether.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2007 College Basketball Conference Previews: Big XII

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By Stefan Ming

Predicted Order of Finish:Brandon Rush

1. Kansas
KU is loaded with veteran players and are looking to get over the hump and reach the Final Four for the first time since 2003. Gone is versatile forward Julian Wright, who will be missed greatly, but the experience and ever-talented Jayhawks are still one of the top teams in the country. KU returns 4 starters in Brandon Rush, Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, and Sasha Kaun. Sixth man Darrell Arthur will start for Wright and will be one of the top sophomores in the nation. Also, a rather deep bench should keep them atop the Big XII.

2. Kansas St.
KSU did lose 3 starters, but their in-coming recruiting class is their best ever. Clent Stewart and David Hoskins are the two returning starters, but Michael Beasley and Bill Walker will help fill in for the other losses. Beasley is a great talent and will most likely be one and done. Dominique Sutton is another recruit who will make some noise and can shoot the long ball as well.

3. Texas
It will be interesting to see how Texas does with Kevin Durant gone. They still have some good talent remaining and the other 4 starters are back. D.J. Augustin was very impressive as a freshman PG last season and should be one of the best in the Big XII. A.J. Abrams is also another guard who will be counted to lead the Longhorns. Justin Mason and Damion Jones are two young forwards with a lot of promise. They will hurt a bit downlow and it doesn't help that their top recruit, Gary Johnson (who is a PF), is out for the sCurtis Jerrellseason with a heart condition.

4. Texas A&M
Texas A&M lost one of the premier guards in the nation in Acie Law, but return 3 starters with plenty of talent and ability. Dominique Kirk is back at SG after averaging 7.2 PPG and will be heavily counted on to lead the backcourt. Forwards Josh Carter and Joseph Jones are back as well and will be a big part of the offense with Law gone. 7-0 recruit DeAndre Carter is supposedly the top recruit ever to sign with the Aggies. It will be interesting to see how the new PG, whoever it is, performs.

5. Missouri
Mizzou returns 4 starters from a team that barely missed the NIT. They would have 5 back but center Kalen Grimes was dismissed from the the team for assault charges. They have some issues down low with not much size, and it won't help either with Grimes gone. Stefhon Hannah was the Tigers' main guy last season averaging 15.4 PPG, but will need the other players to help him with more consistent play. Vanderbilt transfer DeMarre Carroll should provide immediate help inside.

6. Oklahoma
OU has 4 starters back and is a pretty balanced team. Their defense was pretty good last season and should only get better. 7-0 center Longar Longar impressed many last season and is one of the best big men in the conference. They should also have a very good backcourt with 3 solid guards/forwards in Tony Crocker, Austin Johnson, and Taylor Griffin.

7. Texas Tech
The Red Raiders lost some key players that included one of the best guards in the nation in Jerrius Jackson. One starter is back which could be a cause for a concern. Martin Zeno is the lone starter returning but he was one of their main threats averaging about 16 PPG. He will be their main guy and Tech will need to find some depth if they want to finish higher in the standings. But you can never count out a Bobby Knight coached team.

8. Baylor
Baylor is the most experienced team in the Big XII this season with their top 8 players back. The Bears looked better and better as the season went on last year, they should have some great guard play in Curtis Jerrells and Aaron Bruce.

9. Oklahoma St.
The Cowboys looked good at the beginning of the season but lost their way as the season went on. Gone is Mario Boggan, one of the top scorers in the conference and JamesOn Curry. But back is PG Byron Eaton, SG Terrel Harris and F Marcus Dove. Obi Muonelo is back from a broken leg after missing 18 games last season and should make an immediate impact.

10. Iowa St.
ISU will be loaded in the frontcourt with Rahshon Clark, Jiri Hubalek back, plus they added some good recruits in Craig Backins and Iowa transfer Alex Thompson. But a lot will depend on the backcourt with no clear-cut PG and an offense that ranked last in scoring and FG% in the Big XII last season.

11. Nebraska
The Huskers improved as the season went along last year and the 2nd year coach has the program looking pretty promising. 3 starters are back but they need to improve on defense more and find a little more depth.

12. Colorado
CU does have 4 starters back but they never won back to back conference games last season. The new coach from Air Force, Jeff Bzdelik is in for a long run and it should take a few years before he gets the program back on its feet.

Player of the Year: Brandon Rush, G- Kansas

Freshman of the Year: Michael Beasley, F- Kansas St.

Three Big Games: Kansas at USC- Dec. 2, Kansas at Kansas St.- Jan. 30, Texas at Texas A&M- Jan, 30

Monday, November 5, 2007

2007 College Basketball Conference Previews: Big Ten

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By Stefan Ming

Predicted Order of Finish

D.J. White pumped up1. Indiana
Indiana returns some key players to a team that lost in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament to UCLA. D.J. White, one of the best posts in the nation is back along with PG Armon Bassett, SF Lance Stemler, G A.J. Ratliff, and F Mike White; not to mention the new addition of freshman Eric Gordon, who is already looking to be one of the best guards in the country. Gordon will provide the Hoosiers with even more stellar guard play and depth.

2. Michigan St.
Last year was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Spartans, but they surprised many of us losing in the 2nd round to UNC and finished with a 23-12 record. The top 6 scorers are back, plus they added a stellar recruiting class with a top recruit in Chris Allen. Drew Neitzel is back for one last time and is looking to lead this team deep into the NCAA Tournament...

3. Ohio St.
OSU lost big time players in Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook, but returns some key impact players in Jamar Butler, David Lighty, Othello Hunter, and Mark Terwilliger. The new addition of 7-0 Kosta Koufos will provide immediate help in the post.

4. Wisconsin
The Badgers disappointed towards the end of the season last year and played pretty poorily in the tournament. Gone is one of the best players in the nation in Alando Tucker, along with PG Kammron Taylor. C Brian Butch and forwards Michael Flowers and Marcus Landry are back to help anchor the team. Also, F Joe Krabbenhoft will be another go to player. Wisconsin needs to find some depth as their bench looks awfully thin.

5. Purdue
The Boilermakers return 3 experienced guards in Chris Kramer, Keaton Grant, and Tarrance Crump, who helped them to a 22-12 record and an NCAA Tournament berth last season. It will hurt a lot to lose leading scorer Carl Landry, who averaged 18.9 PPG 7.3 RPG., also David Teague is another player who will be missed dearly.Shaun Pruitt dunking

6. Illinois
Illinois should have one of the best frontcourts in the Big Ten with Brian Randle and Shaun Pruitt leading the way. Chester Frazier is also a very capable guard and Jamar Smith returns after pleading guilty to a DUI in May. They don't have much for depth which will hurt them once conference play begins.

7. Iowa
Iowa stuggled to put up points last season and never really found any rhythm on offense. They don't have many options on offense outside of Tony Freeman.

8. Minnesota
5 starters are back for a promising team that is now under former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith. We should see some surprises this season in the Big Ten with Tubby now at hand. G/F Lawrence McKenzie should be one of the top players in the conference.

9. Michigan
Jerret Smith
will be looked upon to lead an inexperienced Wolverines team. He is the lone starter returning, with not much after that, but they do indeed have plenty of size with three players listed at 6'10 and two listed at 6'8. Look for freshman Manny Harris to provide some spark on offense.

10. Penn St.
The one positive thing about this Nittany Lions team is that they have plenty of experience. Surprisingly, they have one of the better one-two punches in the conference in Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley, but they don't have much after that.

11. Northwestern
In order for the Wildcats to compete they need to play defense, which is something they didn't do much of last season. They lack the talent of most other Big Ten teams. The lone bright spot for this team is F Kevin Coble.

Player of the Year: Drew Neitzel, G- Michigan St.

Freshman of the Year: Eric Gordon, G- Indiana

Three Big Games: Indiana at Illinois- Feb. 7, Michigan St. at Wisconsin- Feb. 28, Indiana at Michigan St.- Mar. 2

Saturday, November 3, 2007


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Friday, November 2, 2007

College Footbal Weekend Preview

This week I'm in charge of the weekend preview. I'll do it a little differently than Stefan, but it'll look a lot like what you are accustomed to.

(21) Wisconsin at (1) Ohio St.
I like the Buckeyes in this one. OSU has really surprised me this season. I thought they were a much more talent team last year. However, they've done nothing thus far to tell me they won't beat Wisconsin by double digits on Saturday.
The Pick: Ohio St.

(24) Wake Forest at (23) Virginia
This is going to be a great game. I like Virginia because they're at home and despite last week's close loss, I feel like they're relatively hot coming in. I like the Cavaliers in a close one.
The Pick: Virginia

Rutgers at (13) Conneticut
UCONN is extremely underrated. A lot of people forget that their only loss of the season was by 1 point to a very good Virginia team. However, this game might be a lot closer than one would think because I think Rutgers matches up really well against the Huskies, and the Scarlet Knights have shown us what they can do as an underdog/spoiler (think USF).
The Pick: Conneticut

(3) LSU at (17) Alabama
On paper and looking at the rankings this looks like a good game. I don't think it will be very close. 'Bama's saving grace may be the fact that they play at home.
The Pick: LSU

Game of the Week
(4) Arizona St. at (5) Oregon
I really like the Ducks in this one, although it should be a really close game (and very entertaining to watch). The game is going to be played in Eugene, and Carpenter is still beat up from last weekend. I like the Ducks in a great game nonetheless.
The Pick: Oregon

D1-AA (FCS) Game of the Week
GA Southern-Wofford
I like Wofford in the matchup but it should be a great game in the Southern Conference
The Pick: Wofford

Upset of the Week
Cincinatti over (18) South Florida
It look like the wheels have fallen off the bandwagon for the Bulls. The kicker is that it's been basically the same for the Bearcats too. But if there's gunna be an upset this week I think this will be it.