Time to break out the early 2009 College Football Preseason Rankings!
1. Florida- The defending national champs return QB Tim Tebow, the Pouncey Twins on the line, and Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody, and Chris Rainey on the offensive end. The defense will be the best in the nation. The top 22 defensive players are ALL back, including LB Brandon Spikes and FS Major Wright.
2. Texas- The offense is virtually all back lead by QB Colt McCoy and WR Jordan Shipley. The defense has some holes, but that's what D-Coordinator Will Muschamp is for.
3. Oklahoma- Heisman winner Sam Bradford is back along with RB stud DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. Look for the defense to be even better with 9 starters back.
4. Alabama- The defense returns 9 starters and the offense returns RB Mark Ingram and one of the best WRs in the nation in Julio Jones.
5. USC- USC returns a lot of talent. They will have 10 starters back on offense, but will need a QB to step up. The defense will need to reload, but they have backups that can step up.
6. Mississippi- They return loads of talent and depth. QB Jevan Snead has the potential to be one of the best in the country.
7. Virginia Tech- The Hokies looked impressive in their Orange Bowl win. They're ready to make another national title run with QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Darren Evans and 7 returning starters on defense.
8. Ohio St.- The Buckeyes should be the favorite in the Big Ten. QB Terrelle Pryor is really going to be something. He could have a huge break out year.
9. LSU- You really think Les Miles will have another down year? Think again... QB Jordan Jefferson is coming along well and veteran RB Charles Scott is a bruiser in the backfield.
10. Oklahoma State- The Pokes had one of the most potent offenses in the country last season and QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter, and WR Dez Bryant remain intact. The defense will be more experienced.
Just missed the cut:
Utah, Oregon, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Boise St., Penn St., TCU, and Oregon St.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Time to break out the early 2009 College Football Preseason Rankings!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I realize that the playoffs actually started last night but I had a big test at 8 AM this morning. So, a little belated, (and taking last night's 4 games into consideration) here are my 1st round predictions!
While the Anaheim Ducks are currently on a hot streak, they barely made the playoffs. The San Jose Sharks, on the other hand, won the Presidents' Trophy for being the team with the best regular season record in the 2008-09 season. Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller has been impressive at times, but nothing he has faced in his career will prepare him for the pressure of the playoffs. San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov has plenty of playoff experience under his belt, and that should make the difference.
PREDICTION: Sharks in 5.
BLUE JACKETS-RED WINGS
Honestly, I'd love to see the Red Wings lose this one. But realistically, it's just not going to happen. The Columbus Blue Jackets are making their first-ever playoff appearance in their nine-year existence, and like I said with the Ducks vs. Sharks series, playoff experience is going to reign supreme. Detroit has legions of players who can run up the scoreboard and Columbus has, well, Rick Nash. That's about it. Oh, and congratulations to rookie goalie Steve Mason. The guy had a great year.
PREDICTION: Wings in 5.
The Blues had the most momentum of all teams heading into the playoffs and after being eliminated from contention three years in a row, the motivation level of St. Louis to win is high. And I would love to pick them in 7 games here (I'm a BIG TJ Oshie fan). However, down 1-0 at this point and playing a nearly-equally hot Canucks team. To Luongo is so tough in net in crunch time. I think the Sedin brothers and Co. will have enough to move on. However, look for the Blues to make a deep run next year!
PREDICTION: Canucks in 7.
Speaking about not making the playoffs for … years, how about the Chicago Blackhawks? The Blackhawks, despite their youthfulness, have been sharp all season. They finished very hot with two wins over the Red Wings to cap off their season and put the icing on the cake. The Calgary Flames were leading the Northwestern Division, but then went south in the standings. Yes, the 'Hawks' youth is a concern for me but Look for Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to step up and get them through the first round as the Flames take another downward dip here.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks in 6.
The Boston Bruins vs. the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs? Sounds familiar and bound to be a classic, right? Wrong. This year's rendition of the Canadiens were disappointing to say the least and they barely held on for the eighth playoff spot. And this year's Bruins are much, much better than the No. 8-seeded version that beat the No. 1-seeded Canadiens the last time around. Boston plays much too well as a team and they have the star power to go deep. I smell a sweep!
PREDICTION: Bruins in 4.
The New York Rangers started off the season great and looked like they were going to have a great year. That quickly proved to be false. The Rangers, like the Canadiens, nearly failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Even with knowing the Rangers are up 1-0 on the Caps right now, I have no problem saying that it won't be long before Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals send them out. Dont' be surprised if this serves as the wake-up call this Capitals team needs and they beat them the next 4 straight. I'll give it 6 games just to be safe.
PREDICTION: Capitals in 6.
The New Jersey Devils' season will come down to whether the Marty Brodeur who wins shows up or the one who loses makes the appearances when games matter most. And if the Carolina Hurricanes, who came out on the top half of a 2-1 decision against the Devils on March 28 during a recent nine-game win streak, have any say, the bad Marty will show up. Also the Hurricanes are very under-rated at home. However, I think the good Marty Brodeur shows up enough to move the Devils forward. This will be a great series to watch!
PREDICTION: Devils in seven.
The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers meet in the playoffs, again. And in my opinion, the two teams are as evenly matched as ever. Don't believe me? Check the standings (99 points apiece). While it's tough to separate the two, the Penguins have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. And the Flyers don't have two names to equalize the equation. Still, the series will go deep. But the star power will prevail here for the Pens!
PREDICTION: Penguins in seven.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
One of the best voices in all of the MLB, Harry Kalas passed away Monday, April 13, 2009.
Kalas was the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies and NFL Films. He had some very unique calls and his voice brought excitement, joy, and refreshment to the game of baseball.
Harry Kalas, you will be missed.
Tribute to Harry Kalas:
Sunday, April 12, 2009
To me it's never too early to speculate about next season. Sure, we don't know who is officially in and out of the draft yet, but that's what revisions are for... I'll try my best.
Preseason Top 25:
1. Michigan St.- Sure they lose Suton and Walton, but Kalin Lucas, Chris Allen, and Raymar Morgan are back. Look for the in-coming 6-10 recruits to make an impact.
2. Kansas- It looks as all five starters will return, add in some solid recruits that could potentially include Xavier Henry or Lance Stephenson.
3. Syracuse- The Orange will likely return everybody. Johnny Flynn will arguably be the best PG in the country.
4. Duke- They become a title threat again if Gerald Henderson returns. Look for frosh Mason Plumlee to finally give them a valuable inside presence.
5. Purdue- Will Purdue be 2009's Spartans? The 2010 Final Four is in home state Indianapolis and return 7 of their top 8 scorers.
6. Villanova- Nova will once again have a dominant backcourt lead by Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher.
7. North Carolina- This will be a totally different Heel team but there will still be plenty of talent.
8. Texas- The Longhorns were a PG away from being an elite team, Florida transfer Jai Lucas should help fill that void.
9. West Virginia- If Devin Ebanks returns they will be one of the best in the Big East. Da'Sean Butler, Darryl Bryant, Joel Mazzula, and Kevin Jones are back.
10. Kentucky- The Cats are on the rise once again with John Calipari taking over. Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson will likely return. Add-in recruit DeMarcus Cousins too.
11. Connecticut- Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, and Stanley Robinson will be back. A decent recruiting class is coming in as well to help fill some voids.
12. Clemson- 3 of the top 4 scorers are back including ACC POY Trevor Booker. Plus star recruit Milton Jennings should help.
13. Wake Forest- Wake could go from a top 15 team to nothing. They already lost James Johnson, but look for Jeff Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu to return.
14. Louisville- They lose Terrence Williams and Earl Clark, but still have plenty in the stable. Samardo Samuels should have a breakout year.
15. Butler- This past season was supposed to be a rebuilding year after losing a lot. All five starters are back.
16. Illinois- With another year of experience under sophomores Demetri McCamey, Mike Davis, and Mike Tisdales' belts, they'll improve.
17. Xavier- Sure, they lose salty veterans CJ Anderson and BJ Raymond, but they'll reload with Derrick Brown (assuming he stays), Dante Jackson, Terrence Holloway, and IU transfer Jordan Crawford.
18. Washington- Look for Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Pondexter to keep the Huskies atop the Pac 10.
19. Gonzaga- The Zags will reload with Demetri Goodson, Matt Bouldin, Stephen Gray and potentially Austin Daye all back.
20. Siena- A nice nucleus (5 of Top 6 scorers) returns for the Saints.
21. Ohio St.- The Buckeyes will be good and I mean that.
22. Tennessee- the Vols had some problems last year, but there's still too much talent to go around.
23. Minnesota- Keep an eye on the Gophers. Royce White is a top recruit who will make the Gophers a top contender in the Big Ten.
24. Dayton- I will probably have this team higher in my next rankings. The Flyers are flat-out athletic and talented.
25. California- This will be a senior-laden team that has been scratching the surface waiting to break open. Next year will be that year...
Just missed the cut:
Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A&M, Oklahoma St., Michigan, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Mississippi St., Florida, Georgetown, Creighton, UNLV, UCLA, Oakland
Monday, April 6, 2009
North Carolina vs Michigan St.
The Spartans have done the unthinkable. They were a pretty inconsistent team at times this season but turned on their game in March. Give credit to MSU coach Tom Izzo, he always has his team ready to play in the Big Dance. Defense, rebounding, and offensive efficiency have gotten them over the top.
Michigan St. will get to play in front of their home faithful in Detroit. With 40K+ Spartan fans in attendance to watch MSU try to win a fourth national championship, will that spark them to the top? Well they have to first beat the UNC Tar Heels, who demolished them by 32 back in December.
3 Reasons why UNC will win:
1. Ty Lawson
Lawson is the best PG in the nation and he's what makes this Heel offense go. He is such a great distributor and is so good in the open court with the ball in his hands. If Lawson is on his game and MSU lets the Heels get easy buckets in transition, it could be a long night for the green and white.
2. Offensive Firepower
The Tar Heels have arguably the best offense in the country. They're so good in transition and that's when they're at their best. This is where the Spartans need to make their shots and rebound in order to keep the Heels at bay.
3. Perimeter Shooting
When Danny Green, Wayne Ellington, and Ty Lawson are making their shots from the outside (like we saw vs. Villanova) this team is unbeatable. The Spartans do not wont to see these 3 guys making most of their shots from the arc.
3 Reasons why Michigan St. will win:
1. Tom Izzo
Izzo is one of the top coaches in the country. He always has his team playing their best ball during the tourney and he's one of the best strategists out there. You know he will have a pretty good gameplan to stop the Heels.
The Spartans have one of the best defenses out there and are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. We saw them clamp down on UConn, making them earn their shots and not giving them too many extra opportunities. If they can guard the perimeter against UNC and not give them extra scoring opportunities, they will have a great shot to win this game.
3. Raymar Morgan
This team pretty much comes and goes as Morgan does. Morgan had 18 points vs. UConn and it is a must that he play well vs. the North Carolina. They're a tough team to beat when he's getting it done. As we know the Heels' aren't that dominate on the defensive side, they tend to give up a good amount of points at times and if Morgan's on, he's another component they'll need to keep in check.
This should be a close game. The home court advantage and momentum of Michigan St. will be a factor. It all depends on who is hot and who's not tonight. I can guarantee it will be a complete different game then from the first time they met. But UNC has been on a mission this whole season, Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington all came back to get a ring. Which is why I like the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Tar Heels firepower and talent alone will get it done. But expect a very close game that will be decided at the buzzer.