Wednesday, November 17, 2010

College Hoops Extravaganza

Well, the College Hoops 24 hour marathon was a success. I stayed up for much of the night and early morning and watched the games.  Here's a few early and maybe obvious thoughts I have for the season.

Jared Sullinger is the real deal and Ohio State is easily one of the favorites to win it all.

San Diego State could possibly be the next Butler.

Florida is an improved team and will be dangerous in March.

Gonzaga looks like the same old team that will dominate the WCC, pull off some big wins but falter to more physical and talented teams.

Kansas State will be very good, but do they have the depth to be a premier team?

Duke needs more depth in the frontcourt.

Tennessee is overrated.

Delvon Roe will finally live up to his potential and help carry Michigan State to another Final Four run.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

If you can't beat em, buy em

As we all know by now Yankees GM Brian Cashman flew to Arkansas to talk with Cliff Lee.  This is obviously not surprising at all as any MLB fan knew the Yankees would go after Lee during the offseason.

It seems apparent that the Yankees will go after Lee hard.  Their pitching hasn't really worked out for them recently.  Javier Vasquez didn't pan out.  A.J. Burnett is a question mark after a terrible season.  Plus, Andy Pettite is getting old.

Lee is the obvious choice.  The Yankees pitching staff is basically the sole reason they didn't get by the Rangers in the ALCS.  There's really no one else they can go after.  Zach Greinke simply won't go to New York and the next two best choices are Jorge de la Rosa and Carl Pavano.  Who we know the Yanks won't touch.

Some think the Yankees wouldn't go after him because having two aces wouldn't make much sense.  I remind those people that it's the Yankees.  They will do whatever they can to win another World Series, and I don't blame them.

Lee throttled the Yankees.  As we've seen before, the Yankees absolutely hate being embarrassed.  They've brought in Yankee killers before (Tony Womack and Carl Pavano). It may not always work out, but Lee is arguably the best pitcher in the game right now.  It just makes too much sense.  As it seems like it always is for the Yankees, if you can't beat em, buy em.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Attack on Success

Cam Newton has been in the news lately.  Not only has he lead his Auburn Tigers to an undefeated record thus far this season, but he's also passed for 1980 yards, 19 TD and rushed for 1146 yards.  But that's not the only reason.  Newton has been accused of cheating while he was enrolled at Florida two seasons ago.  He's also been accused of discussing a pay-for-play plan with Mississippi State recruiters.

But why is this news just coming out now?  If Auburn was currently 5-5 or 6-4 would this be out right now?  I doubt it.  It just goes to show that when you succeed and doing well, stuff in your past can come out to haunt you.  And people will do just about anything to bring you down.  It's sad really.

I'm not saying Newton is innocent and this stuff didn't happen.  But everybody is just assuming that he's guilty.  What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Even if he did cheat at Florida, who cares?  What does that have to do with Auburn right now?  Would cheating at Florida affect his eligibility at Auburn?  No.  And it shouldn't either.

The more important thing should be whether or not the pay-for-play plan is true.  I'm not saying it didn't happen.  But if it's true, it will eventually come out.  It may be true, I'm just willing to give Newton the benefit of the doubt for now.  It just goes to show, if you succeed at something, there will always be people out there to get you and bring you down.

Friday, November 5, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Predictions

Final Four Predictions:

Stefan Ming's Picks:
Michigan State
Ohio State

2011 National Champion:
Michigan State Spartans

Grittysquirrels Picks:
Ohio State
Michigan State

2011 National Champion: 
Duke Blue Devils

All-American Team:

Stefan Ming:
Jacob Pullen (Kansas St.)
Kalin Lucas (Michigan St.)
Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech)
Harrison Barnes (UNC)

Player of the Year: Jacob Pullen (Kansas State)
Coach of the Year: Billy Donovan (Florida)

Kalin Lucas (Michigan St.)
Jacob Pullen (Kansas St.)
Kyle Singler (Duke)
Marcus Morris (Kansas)
JaJuan Johnson (Purdue)

Player of the Year: Jacob Pullen (Kansas St.)
Coach of the Year: Thad Matta (Ohio St.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hilarious meltdown by Florida Atlantic Color Commentator

This dude was so upset he was screaming out the pressbox and offered to fight anyone in the box who disagreed with him. It really doesn't get any better than that. Looks like this pretty much ruin Dave Lamont's chances of getting promoted to play-by-play at Florida International....oh well. Enjoy.

2010 World Series Prediction

Ok I'm gonna make this a quick one.  Here's my World Series Preview:

We all know by now why the Giants and Rangers are facing off in this years World Series.  The Rangers Offense and the Giants pitching are those reasons.  The Giants face a tall task with Cliff Lee pitching two and maybe even three games if need be.  Good thing they have Tim Lincecum to counter.

The Rangers have been great on the road in the playoffs but several factors will come into play.  AT&T Park is not a hitter friendly park.  Will
the huge McCovey Cove winds blowing in from left hurt Josh Hamilton?  You betcha.   Can Vladimir Guerrero cover the huge RF?  No he cannot.  The decisions of Ron Washington and Bruce Bochy and the way they play a back and forth chess match will be very intriguing.  Look for Bochy to utilize Javier Lopez when Hamilton/Cruz are up.  Both managers have made great decisions all the way, but only one will prevail in the end.

Another factor you cannot overlook is the Giants ability to win close games.  They have such great experience in these close, 1-2 run ball games.   The Rangers seem to struggle playing in close games and they only seem to do well when they're hitting and already up big.  That could be tough going against the best rotation they will face in the Giants.  The Giants have the advantage in the bullpen and with Brian Wilson yet to give up an earned run in the playoffs, this should make for a very compelling World Series.

Giants in 7

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We should have seen this coming

Why didn't anybody see this coming?  The reasons are clear why the San Francsico Giants and Texas Rangers are facing off in the World Series.  Sure, the Rangers have never been here before and the Giants haven't been in the playoffs since 2003, but it's pretty obvious.

The Rangers have the best offense in all of baseball right now.  They're deep, they get base runners and they have huge bats in the heart of their order.  The addition of Vladimir Guerrero and his stellar play (.300 avg, 29 HR, and 115 RBI) put a lot of pressure off of Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young.  Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler have been productive at the top, letting the big boppers drive them in.  This Ranger order is arguably the best in baseball.

I won't forget the pitching either.  Cliff Lee gave them an ace this team desperately lacked.  I always felt they were a couple of solid pitchers away from being a very dangerous team.  C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are young guys who have also stepped up.

As for the Giants, it's clear their pitching is the reason they're still alive. They boast a phenomenal rotation and a very underrated bullpen.  Perhaps the best in all of baseball.  From September until the end of the season Brian Wilson converted 11/12 save opportunities.  Sergio Romo allowed 0 runs and 3 hits in 14 appearances.  Javier Lopez had a 1.59 ERA in 12 games.  Santiago Casilla and Ramon Ramirez combined for .36 ERA in 25 innings.

I also have to mention Cody Ross.  The Philly killer is another reason San Francisco is playing in the W.S.  The Giants also have the potential to hit one out of the park at any point in the game.  We saw Juan Uribe knock out the winning HR in Game 6 and he's their 8 hitter.  The offense may not be potent, but it can do it's fair share of damage.

As we know now, it's clear why these two ball clubs are playing in the World Series.  Texas's Offense and San Fran's pitching.  The only question that remains, is which aspect will prevail in the end.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Helmet hits a part of the game

The NFL decided to go tough on NFL players who commit "dangerous" or "flagrant" hits by suspending them.  Before this players were either fined or ejected for committing these hits.  More specifically it's about the recent helmet-to-helmet hits.

While I agree that players must be protected.  Helmet-to-helmet hits to defenseless players need to continue to be flagged and players fined as long as there was malicious intent.  But with that being said, it's just a huge gray area.  It's hard to tell if a player is maliciously hitting a player to hurt or injure them or if they're just doing their job.

These hits are a part of the game.  Just because you fine or suspend somebody doesn't mean they're going to suddenly stop.  Sure, you can protect players, which is important and a must, but these hits will continue to happen whether we want them to or not.

The NFL is a difficult and dangerous job.  In other words, it's a privilege to play in this league.  Players know the risks with strapping on that helmet.  A lot of people risk their lives with their jobs every single day.  Firefighters know they could die running into a house fire, power line operators know they could be electrocuted at any point.  Same goes with the NFL and taking a bone crushing hit.

What about baseball?  You could say pitchers should be suspended for hitting a batter in the head.  We don't know if they did it with intent or not.  The same goes with the NFL.

I do agree they should be illegal and something needs to be done.  But will suspending players make it stop?  It won't.  Helmet-to-helmet hits are a part of the game.  Players know the risks of playing in this league and taking excruciating hits.  Most players understand that.  The NFL needs to understand that too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Head Examination for the NFL

It seems like concussions have been occurring more than ever through the first 6 weeks of this NFL season. In fact, some sources count 46 known and diagnosed concussions thus far this season. The topic has been nearly unavoidable in the sports media the last few weeks and the NFL just announced that they are going to start suspending players for excessively violent hits to the head. Here is my free head examination for the NFL, its owners, and its players.

I love football. In many cases what happens on Sunday sets the tone for my entire week. I agree that something must be done to protect the game's biggest assets (the players), however I don't believe that suspending players for helmet-to-helmet hits is the correct decision right now.

The NFL is a violent game. It earned its popularity in America by being a violent game and has for many years treated it as a selling point with highlight reels and countdowns of huge hits backed by rock music. To have the first reaction of the league be to attempt to de-violence play on the field seems hypocritical to me, especially when it comes out that the league is selling photos of these violent hits. To try to de-violence the way the game is played is unnecessary at this point. The NFL profits from the violent nature of the league (literally). To me this looks like a panicking, knee-jerk decision by the NFL.

This is a problem that could be taken care of differently by the commissioner, or even by the owners independently. If I were an NFL owner, I would make it mandatory that all my players wear the newer, lighter helmets that have scored the highest in the most recent league safety testing (the Schutt DNA Pro+ scored highest in the NFL's test). These helmets are stronger, have more padding, and are lighter, aka less of a weapon than other helmets. For this to be most effective it should be mandated league-wide so that everybody wears the same helmet.

I would also require all players to wear mouth guards. Wearing a simple mouth guard is one of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself from concussions, yet many players do not wear them today.

Along with the mandatory helmet changes, and mouth guards, I would also mandate all players buckle their chinstraps like the rules are written (the last time I remember the league even addressing the chinstrap rule/issue was 2007!).

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for player safety and I think the NFL's intentions are good; they just aren't the right actions at this point. The league suspending players is unnecessary right now. It just creates more opportunities for judgement calls to be made by league officials that could significantly alter a team's season. The league needs to enforce the current rules it has in place, as well as proactively force owners to protect their players by issuing leaguewide safety regulations like the ones mentioned above. This would be a proactive way to react to the vicious spike in concussions the league has seen this season. Realistically the league shouldn't even have to mandate it. Any smart owner should be more than willing to protect their most valuable assets.

The league should encourage owners to make these safety regulations and monitor the effects on the field. If the problem does not improve or worsens, then something additional may need to be done like suspending players for certain hits. For now, it is in the best interest of the league, its owners, and its players to address this issue at square 1. I believe this starts with somethings as simple as equipment and safety regulations.

Players and owners are constantly referring to the NFL as a business. They are always expecting fans and players to understand that the game is a business. If the game truly is a business then common sense would tell you to protect your revenue generating assets. Enforce safety regulations on the players that you pay to play for you so that you can keep them out on the field! Even if it weren't league mandated like I suggested, any owner taking these steps would be doing themselves, their fanbase, and their players a favor. We all know they can afford it and it is the right thing to do.

Monday, October 18, 2010

NLCS Game 4 Live Blog

Join us on Wednesday as we'll be live blogging NLCS Game 4 at 6:30 CT between the Giants and Phillies. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preseason Rankings 2.0

Here's our latest and up to date rankings.

1. Michigan St.
Key returnees:  Kalin Lucas, Korie Lucious, Draymond Green, Delvon Roe
The Spartans are loaded and experienced.  They're also coming off of back-to-back Final Fours.

2. Duke
Key returnees: Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Mason Plumlee, Miles Plumlee
Duke should have one of the best backcourts in the nation.  With three starters back and the additions of recruit Kyrie Erving and transfer Seth Curry, the Devils have a good shot to repeat.

3. Purdue
Key returnees: Robbie Hummsel, Etwaun Moore, Jajuan Johnson, Lewis Jackson
Purdue was in this same spot in last years preseason rankings. If Robbie Hummel stays healthy who knows how far they go. They may not have much depth, but there's plenty of talent around to make a Final Four run.

4. Pittsburgh
Key returnees: Gilbert Brown, Ashton Gibbs, Brad Wanamaker, Trayvonn Woodall
6 of their top 7 scorers return.

5. Ohio St.
Key returnees: David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Willie Buford, Dallas Lauderdale
Add in recruits Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas with David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Willie Buford, and Dallas Lauderdale, and the Bucks could be just as good as last year.

6. Kansas St.
Key returnees: Jacob Pullen, Curtis Kelly, Jamar Samuels, Wally Judge
The loss of Denis Clemente will hurt, but Jacob Pullen is good enough to have the Cats as the early Big XII favorite.

7. Villanova
Key returnees: Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Antonio Pena, Maalik Wayns
Nova will once again have a solid backcourt lead by Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes.

8. Kansas
Key returnees: Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Tyshawn Taylor, Brady Morningstar
Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry are impossible to replace. But the Jayhawks will still be a very deep team. They just need to find a consistent go-to scorer.

9. Florida
Key returnees: Alex Tyus, Kenny Boynton, Vernon Macklin, Erving Walker
Watch out for Billy Donovan and his Gators. They return the whole squad. Look for Alex Tyus and Kenny Boynton to impress.

10. North Carolina
Key returnees: John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Larry Drew, Dexter Strickland
Regardless of what people might think UNC should be back again next season. Harrison Barnes is already regarded as the number one pick for 2011.  Depth could be an issue though.

11. Baylor
Key returnees: LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Ace, Anthony Jones, A.J. Walton
Ekpe Udoh and Tweety Carter will be big losses but recruit Perry Jones should help keep them as one of the best in the Big XII.

12. Missouri
Key returnees: Kim English, Marcus Denmon, Michael Dixon, Justin Safford
Mike Anderson has people talking again in Columbia. They do lose 3 starters but return their top 3 scorers. Kim English is ready to break out; Tony Mitchell and Phil Pressey lead Zou's best class in several years.

13. Washington
Key returnees: Isiah Thomas, Venoy Overton, Justin Holiday, Matt Bryan-Amaning
The Huskies finally lived up to their potential in the postseason. They do lose Quincy Pondexter, but there's still plenty left in the stable.

14. Illinois
Key returnees: Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis, D.J. Richardson
This will be a senior-laden team that has been scratching the surface waiting to break open. Next year will be that year.

15. Syracuse
Key returnees: Kris Joseph, Brandon Triche, Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson
The loss of Wes Johnson, Arinze Onuaku, and Andy Rautins hurts, but frosh Fab Melo is ready to step up.  The starting five should be one of the best in the land. 

16. Gonzaga
Key returnees: Steven Gray, Robert Sacre, Demetri Goodson, Elias Harris
With a dominant front line and talented backcourt,  this could potentially be the Zags' best team yet.

17. Kentucky
Key returnees: Darius Miller, Darnell Dodson, DeAndre Liggins
They'll be one of the youngest teams in the nation again. But they'll be very good despite losing 5 draft picks.

18. Temple
Key returnees: Juan Fernandez, Lavoy Allen, Ramone Moore, Michael Eric
The Owls lose their stud in Ryan Brooks, but a strong nucleus returns to keep this team a huge threat.

19. Georgetown
Key returnees: Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Jason Clark, Julian Vaughn
This team would have been top 3 had Greg Monroe stayed, but everyone else is back.

20. Virginia Tech
Key returnees: Malcolm Delaney, Dorenzo Hudson, Jeff Allen, J.T. Thompson
This is a senior-laden team ready to make some in the ACC.

Friday, October 8, 2010

2010 MLB Playoff Predictions: World Series

So here it is,  our World Series prediction.  Enjoy!

Phillies vs. Yankees

Here we go again.  Ever since last season ended I predicted the Yankees and Phillies would face off again.  And why not?  Both teams looked so dominant compared to everyone else.  The Phillies have arguably the best lineup in the bigs and now this season they have Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt complementing Cole Hamels.  Last season they had Cliff Lee.  But now they have two aces.  As for the Yankees,  I really couldn't see anybody overtaking them once again.  It really isn't that hard to predict.

As for the game,  I see this as another classic matchup.  The Phillies easily have the pitching edge with Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels.  The Yankees only have CC Sabathia.  If this series were to happen you better not miss game one with Halladay facing off vs. Sabathia.  My oh my.  Both offensive lineups are just stacked and I see them basically evening out.  As for the bullpen,  the Yankees have the advantage there with Mariano and Wood.  Look for another hell of a series if this happens.

Phillies in 7

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 MLB Playoff Predictions: NL

Time for our NL Predictions!


Phillies vs. Reds
The Phillies are the heavy favorite to represent the NL in the World Series.  They have 3 very tough pitchers that will give them an advantage over almost every opponent.  The offense has been inconsistent but the past two seasons they've turned it on for the playoffs.  Keep an eye on Jimmy Rollins as he's not 100%.  As for the Reds, I can see them making this a good series.  They have capable pitching to matchup with Philly.  If Volquez, Cueto, and Arroyo get going Cincy can be very solid.  It remains to be seen whether the Reds' offense can put up enough runs after their up and down September/October.

Phillies in 4

Giants vs. Braves
This is a very intriguing matchup and the most compelling of the the divisional series IMO.  The key here will be how Atlanta plays in San Francisco.  If they sneak away with a split heading to ATL they will win this series.  The Braves finished with the best home record in all of baseball.  We all know about the Giants pitching, but it will come down to their off and on offense.  They are arguably the most inconsistent offense in the playoffs.   The pitching and defense will be there, but it will depend on how many runs the G men can put up consistently.  As for the Braves,  I am not sure if they have the pitching to match up.  But like I said, if they win in San Fran, anything can happen.

Giants in 5


Phillies vs. Giants
I think most people can say that this is the NL matchup they want to see.  The two best pitching staffs in all of baseball matching up in the NLCS.  You've got the two dominant rotations battling and two frivolous offenses squaring up.  Look for low scoring battles that will come down to who makes the least mistakes.

Phillies in 6

Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 MLB Playoff Predictions: AL

It's October folks so you know what that means, playoff baseball!  Here's our AL Playoff predictions.


Twins vs. Yankees
The Twins were looking  at a matchup with the Rangers.  Then the almost unthinkable happened.  The Yankees lost on Sunday so now the two best teams in the AL (IMO) are playing in the ALDS.  The Twins have struggled lately and their two best players have been hampered with injuries.  Their pitching will also need to be spot on.  Meanwhile, the Yankees are always ready in the playoffs and with CC Sabathia going game 1, they should have an edge despite not having home field advantage.  Twins absolutely need to sweep the first two games at home because I don't see them getting a win at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees in 4

Rays vs. Rangers
The Rangers have also been hit with injuries as well.  Josh Hamilton is not 100% and you cannot afford to have your big bat banged up.  I don't know if the Rangers pitching is good enough to advance.  Plus, Cliff Lee hasn't been his self lately.  The Rays have been very consistent in the past month and I see them continuing that trend especially with playing the first two games at home.

Rays in 4


Rays vs. Yankees
If any team wanted to take down the Yankees your best bet would have been to secure home field.  Well, the Rays have just that.  I see this as a great matchup and either team can win it all if they advance to the World Series.  I'm a little unsure about the Rays' bullpen in this, which is the most important unit when it comes to playoff baseball in my opinion.

Yankees in 6

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2010 College Football Power Rankings: Week 4

Our first power rankings of the season.

1. Alabama
They deserve this spot until somebody knocks them off.  Big test this weekend @ Arkansas.  We'll see if they deserve this spot.

2. Ohio St.
Terrelle Pryor looks like a new man.  He has virtually been unstoppable and the defense has been unflappable.

3. Oregon
Best offense in the country.  This is a team that's being a little overlooked when it comes to the BCS National Title picture.

4. Boise St.
Another big test for them this weekend vs. Oregon State.  A win here and they will have a decent argument for a national title game berth.

5. Nebraska
This team looks that much better than last season.  The defense is still very stout and new QB Taylor Martinez has sparked the offense.

6. TCU
Defense looks good despite losing some big names.  Andy Dalton has the offense picking up where they left off in 2009.

7. Florida
Things looked a little bleak early but the offense is starting to click.  Now to stay healthy and keep their guys out of trouble.

8. Oklahoma
Schizophrenic team that can look dominant at times, other times far from that.

9. Texas
Defense still fairly good.  Gilbert looks to be continuing to improve.

10. Arkansas
I've said all along that this team was a big sleeper.  Ryan Mallet just may be the best QB in the country too.  They always seem to play number 1 teams tough.  Look out Bama.

11. Wisconsin
Looked a little iffy vs. Arizona St.  When running game is on they are tough.  We'll see how good they really are soon.

12. South Carolina
Is this the year Spurrier finishes top 2 in the SEC West?  Garcia has been solid at QB and the defense looks good as ever.

13. LSU
LSU is young and has speed.  They should continue to improve.

14. Arizona
Big win over Iowa puts them in this spot.

15. Iowa
Tough road loss to Zona.  They're still a very good team if they can overcome some injuries.

Not far from the pack:
Stanford, Miami, Michigan, Auburn, Utah

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 College Football Preview: Pac-10

So at this point it's not exactly a preview but we'd still like to keep going with our predictions. I've got the Pac-10, Big XII and Big East so should have the other two up later this week, establishing at least a little credibility without the benefit of three weeks of scores to look at.

1. Oregon - Granted, one could look at the score of 72-0 over New Mexico and make a pretty strong case for their ability to challenge for the Pac-10 title. LaMichael James's return only strengthens a team that could contend for the national title if their offense clicks like it has been, even without Jeremiah Masoli.

2. Stanford - losing Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart hurt, but QB Andrew Luck will be a first-round draft pick and has one of the better WR committees in the Pac-10.

3. USC - talent-wise USC is as good as ever, but their defense is young. Sophomore QB Matt Barkley should live up to the hype this year and into the next two seasons, if he stays in college football.

4. Oregon State - RB Jazquizz Rodgers is an early favorite for the Heisman, and if he can come on like he did late last season they could end up higher than 4th.

5. Arizona - They face a tough challenge in week three vs. Iowa. It should tell us a lot about where this team is at and if they could contend for a BCS bowl.

6. Arizona St. - they came on last season but still have some work to do, a tough matchup at #11 Wisconsin could be painful if they can't stop the run.

7. Washington - At this point, if Jake Locker can't live up to all the hype this team is in for a long season, playing three top 25 Pac-10 teams on the road.

8 . Washington State - A lack of playmakers doesn't give WSU much of a dynamic offense.

9 . California - Losing Jahvid Best gave them too much to make up

10. UCLA - A bad loss to Kansas State doesn't bode well for a down year at UCLA.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

2010 College Football Preview: Big Ten

College Football is less than a week away, I'll do a quick preview of each conference.  Nothing to in-depth, but it's time to get back into the college football spirit.  Let's go!

1. Ohio St.
Terrelle Pryor is back and looking to continue his late season success.  Pryor will be in New York for the Heisman presentation and has a great chance to even win it.  The Buckeyes return 17 starters coming off a big Rose Bowl win over Oregon.  Brandon Saine and DeVier Posey are also back to help Pryor win a national title.

2. Iowa
Iowa surprised many last season.  They had a very stingy defense and return the majority of it.  The secondary will be arguably the best in the country.  Ricky Stanzi returns at QB, along with Adrian Clayborn at DE.  Look for the Hawkeyes to get back to a BCS Bowl.

3. Wisconsin
Will UW finally live up to it's preseason hype?  I think so.  18 starters return in all.  RB John Clay is one of the best in the conference.  If the defense can hold it's own and fill some holes, they have a shot to win the Big Ten.

4. Penn St.
Penn St. returns a majority of it's players but they do lose QB Daryl Clark.  Evan Royster will be one of the best backs in the nation.  The defense should be decent again, but I don't think Joe Pa will get his 11 wins for the 4th time in the past 6 seasons.

5. Northwestern
A team that was a sleeper last season and should be again in 2010.  They return a good nucleus of players that should make them very competitive again.  They do lose some key players including QB Mike Kafka and DE Corey Wootton, but look for the Cats to get a big surprise win again and play in another bowl game.

6. Michigan
I really see Michigan improving quite a bit this year.  They're older and more experienced and it took a bit to adjust to Rich Rodriguez's system.  Michigan is a about a year away from competing for the Big Ten title again, but they have a favorable conference schedule to finish in the top half.

7.  Michigan St.
MSU once again returns the majority of it's team but they never seem to live up to the preseason hype.  They will let Spartan nation down once again.  Their Big Ten schedule is fairly tough despite Ohio St. being left off.  Greg Jones leads a tough defense but I just don't see Sparty living up to the hype.

8. Purdue
Look for the Boilermakers to climb up the Big Ten latter again this season lead by WR Keith Smith and Miami QB transfer Robert Marve.

9. Illinois
Illinois has some talent and Ron Zook always recruits well but he never seems to convert that into wins.

10. Minnesota
Gopher fans are starting to get frustrated with Tim Brewster.  He's recruited well the past few seasons, but look for Mini to have another miserable year.

11. Indiana
The Hoosiers have a very talented WR core but that's it.

Offensive Player of the Year: Terrelle Pryor, QB- OSU

Defensive Player of the Year: Greg Jones, LB- MSU

Coach of the Year: Rich Rodriguez- Michigan

Monday, August 9, 2010

Howdy/Fantasy Talk

Howdy guys, I'm Kyle and was invited by Ming to share a few posts on this most prestigious blog. Looking forward to contributing.

So after cracking open the first beer of the football season (if you count the preseason, that is) I got the usual head-rush of fantasy football. We all love it, we all hate the disappointment that comes when Maurice Jones-Drew costs you six points by kneeling on the one-yard line....or maybe that was just me. Anyway, fantasy football is almost as big a part of the excitement as the game itself, and I've put together a quick list of three players you need to draft in the next few weeks.

Ryan Grant, RB Green Bay - Green Bay's biggest liability last year was their offensive line and to their staff's credit they addressed that mightily in the offseason by drafting Bryan Bulaga out of Iowa and Marshall Newhouse from TCU, two lineman who, in addition to signed free agents Nick McDonald (G) and Chris Campbell (OT), look to solidify what was a porous guard line that gave up the most sacks in the NFL. What this means for fantasy owners is that not only will the Packers' running fame be more protected (and let's not forget that Ryan Grant still had a 1,200-yard season), but that with the proclivity of a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers you have to expect teams to adopt a more pass-oriented defense scheme in preparation for a trip to Lambeau. That one-two punch should give Grant plenty of touches in a variety of situations and while I'm not ready to pull the trigger and make him a starter in most situations he'd be a great No. 2 or flex option.

Beanie Wells, RB Arizona - Paul Allen called Wells a potential starter on his KFAN show Friday, and while I'm not buying it Wells does deserve a look as another fallback option at RB. With Kurt Warner's departure Arizona's passing game should wane as Matt Leinart adjusts to his newfound franchise representation, and that means more touches for the ground guys. Carries are mostly going to be split between Tim Hightower and Wells, but don't think the Arizona coaching staff is overlooking Wells' numbers from last season: 4.5 YPC with 7 TDs. Make him a 250-carry kind of guy and those numbers mean big fantasy points.

Jermichael Finley, TE Green Bay - Yes, another Packer. The mojo of Brett Favre is going to hate me but with a guy like Finley you can't go wrong. The aforementioned O-Line addressing of the Packer coaching staff means more protection for QB Aaron Rodgers, and that's going to equate to more catches to every one of his passers, including one guy that came on late in the season - Jermichael Finley. He didn't start for the first half of the season so his impressive stats (55-676-5) are essentially half-season numbers which, combined with another year to adjust to the speed of the NFL should mean Finley could, potentially, be an NFC Pro Bowler TE. Another quick factoid - he missed three games in November due to a knee issue but still ranked 4th in red zone targets in the league.

A short list, yes, but I'll have something else up later in the week. Again, looking forward to contributing here at TSF.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

World Cup Semifinal Predictions

Netherlands vs. Uruguay

If somebody told you a month ago that these were two of the teams to meet in the semi's would you have believed them?  I wouldn't have.  Although I am not too surprised by Uruguay because of their lighter path, I am by the Netherlands. They're a very good squad but Brazil is so dominant.  I expect this to be a close match-up.  Netherlands hasn't really played well until their upset over the Brazilians.  I think Uruguay has some great talent as well and can send the cup back to South American soil.

Prediction: Uruguay 1-0 (Extra Time)

Spain vs. Germany

Two powerhouses clash.  Germany has been the more consistent team in this WC.  Spain has been just merely getting by.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Germany kinda stack their back line and force Spain to win it.  Spain needs to be on it's game from the get go because as Argentina saw, if you don't come out on top of your game right away they will blow you away.

Prediction: Germany 2-1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick NBA Free Agency Predictions

Lebron James
James is looking for the perfect mix of a big market and a chance to win. Could he stay in Cleveland purely for money and loyalty? Yes he could, but I do not see that happening at all. I see Lebron joining young stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in this win-now situation; as he tries to take on Chi-town and the legend of Jordan.

Predicted Destination: Chicago Bulls

Chris Bosh
There were rumors of the Heat acquiring Bosh in a sign-and-trade before the FA period began. Whether it happens in a sign-and-trade of just Free Agency, I feel confident that Bosh will be playing in Miami next year. Think of Bosh as Beasley, only taller, proven, mature, reliable, and much better offensively.

Predicted Destination: Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade
I have never really considered D-Wade a threat to leave Miami. All he has ever wanted is a supporting cast and if my predictions are correct he is going to get it! Flash isn't going anywhere!
Predicted Destination: Miami Heat

Amare Stoudemire
Other than Chris Bosh, Amare is the best FA power-forward available. Obviously the Nets want LeBron, but what team doesn't? The way I see it James will choose Chicago and the Nets will end up with Stoudemire.

Predicted Destination: NJ Nets

Joe Johnson
ESPN is reporting that Johnson is almost surely to take a max deal from the Hawks, and why not?! He would be foolish to not accept that deal.

Predicted Destination: Atlanta Hawks

Dirk Nowitzki
I see Dirk as likely to leave Dallas as Dwyane Wade leaving Miami. I just do not see it happening, especially given his age. If I had to pick somewhere else for him to go I could see him going to the Suns. But I'm going with Dallas all the way on this one.

Predicted Destination: Dallas Mavericks

Carlos Boozer
Boozer would be top priority for Miami if Bosh went elsewhere. However, sticking with my picks thus far I figure the Knicks have to get someone here right? Boozer plays good defense and he fits the Knicks' pick-and-roll offensive style well. He's not what the Knicks want, but I say he's the best they will be able to get.

Predicted Destination: NY Knicks

What do you think about my predictions? Let me know where you see everybody ending up when it all shakes down!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup Quarterfinal Predictions

Brazil vs. Netherlands

Most people were expecting this match-up in the quarters. Netherlands have yet to concede a match but it's their play that has many people worried. Their 4-3-3 format doesn't seem to match-up well with Brazil's aggressive offensive style. It will be hard for the Danes to contain Kaka and Robinho. The defense is good enough to help keep them in check for awhile, but Brazil is just too explosive.

Prediction: Brazil 2-1

Uruguay vs. Ghana

Uruguay has been a pleasant surprise thus far to most people. I actually expected them to make it out of group play and even make the semifinals (Don't believe me check my ESPN bracket). Ghana shocked the United States once again; Utilizing their speed and taking advantage of a weak and inexperienced U.S. defense. Look for this to be a back and forth, fast paced brawl, with both teams about equally possessing the ball.

Prediction: Uruguay 2-1

Germany vs. Argentina

This looks to be the match of the quarters. You have the finesse, smart play of Argentina vs. the strength and size of Germany. Which will prevail? Both teams have looked very impressive up to this point, especially Argentina. Messi has showed why he is arguably the best player in the world right now. This one should be good.

Prediction: Argentina 3-2

Paraguay vs. Spain

Paraguay looks to be the Cinderella in this one. But they are a very pesky team. They play tough defense and don't make a lot of mistakes. On the other hand, Spain has all the talent and is riding high after a big win over Portugal. But the Spaniards have look shaky at times too. Fernando Torres is still not 100% and the back line has struggled at times.

Prediction: Spain 2-0

New York Senate Uses MMA To Cut Deficit And Help State Budget

By Brent Jacobs

Brent Jacobs contacted us on behalf of MMA Industries ( Asking if we would be interested in an article he had written which discusses a major issue taking place right now in the state of New York. NY has been discussing legislation that would legalize Mixed Martial Arts throughout the state. If passed, MMA would generate millions of dollars in revenue that could help with the NY deficit and ailing budget. Additionally, it would earn mixed martial arts popularity amongst a large crowd of New Yorkers that have been relatively distant from the sport up to this point. This being a big opportunity for the industry we offered to submit his article as a guest post and help get the word out. It is also a great opportunity for us to get our readers some content on a sport that we are relatively unfamiliar with. So enjoy!

The New York state budget has had a hard time fighting off a deficit throughout all of the overall economic problems that have plagued the country. This has caused the state to consider any and all ways to save money and help balance the budget, including closing down state parks and creating food and drink taxes on everyday products like soda. Some of these choices have been met with disdain from people of the state so the Senate continues to look for additional ways to raise money. The hopeful news is that they may have just found the perfect option that gives something back to New Yorkers rather than taking it away.

On June 16th, the New York State Senate passed a bill to legalize mix martial arts in the state of the New York. It still needs to be approved by the State Assembly in order to be a law, but passing the State Senate is a big deal for both the Empire State and Mixed Martial Arts. MMA, while being legal in many other states around the country, has been banned in New York since the mid-nineties which meant that prime venues like Madison Square Garden in New York City and the 50,000 seat Carrier Dome in Syracuse were off limits for holding MMA events. This would no longer be the case if the assembly passes the bill. Dozens of great venues in the state would be open to new events that would help grow the already popular sport of MMA even further while helping the state make money.

It's hard to imagine that New York state education and other programs would be a direct beneficiary of MMA, but that would be the exact case if the bill passes. Mixed Martial Arts is one of the most popular sports in the country and its popularity grows with every passing day. This would mean that the dozens of sold out shows that MMA has every year would finally bring revenue to New York.

To put the financial benefits of legalizing MMA into perspective, just look at the numbers of the sport according to

• $340. That was the average ticket price of UFC 81 at the MGM Grand. While this may seem like a lot, people are paying it to see their favorite matches. One could imagine the amount of tax money that would go to directly financing state programs and projects. Also a factor to consider is the amount of revenue brought in by people coming from all across the country for the events that would be spending money on food and accommodations.

• 170 countries broadcast UFC and other MMA events, which brings in huge promotion for some not as well known New York state cities that may hold an event.

• MMA industries like UFC have gone from million dollar companies to billion dollar companies in less than a decade showing just how popular this sport really can be.

These numbers don't even account for New York based MMA gyms that will see new revenue to help train local fighters in a sport that was once outlawed in their home state. This will directly correlate with an increase in local sales of MMA gear, like MMA gloves. Hundreds of retailers will benefit from this boost. The increase in local fan-base will have a direct impact on the sale of MMA t-shirts that display their favorite fighter or industry brand. They have become a hot commodity as the sport has increased in popularity. There is no doubt that the reach of the bill, if passed, is not just huge for New York but is greatly important to its many citizens that are struggling because of the bad economy.

The state and Governor David Paterson have estimated that allowing the sport to be legalized would bring in an extra $2 million after two years for the state's $8 billion deficit and studies have shown that holding an event in Madison Square Garden would generate $11.3 million in economic activity. This may not seem like a lot but it's a step in the right direction for the state. This bill is something that New York has been trying to do for over the last two years but has failed in doing so. Even if the bill doesn't pass the assembly, Governor Paterson has stated he will include it in his emergency extender bill giving it another way to be legalized. Yet, right now is the time for the passing of this bill because now MMA is closer than it's ever been to being a popular and helpful force in the Empire State.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

2010-2011 College Basketball Preseason Rankings

Never too early to talk about next season.

1. Michigan St.- Kalin Lucas, Korie Lucious, Chris Allen, and Delvon Roe are primed to finally win that title.

2. Duke- Duke should have one of the best backcourts in the nation with Nolan Smith, Andre Dawkins, transfer Seth Curry, and top recruit Kyrie Erving. With Kyle Singler and the Plumlee brothers also back the Devils have a good shot to repeat.

3. Purdue- Purdue was in this same spot in last years preseason rankings. If Robbie Hummel stays healthy who knows how far they go. They may not have much depth, but with Hummel, Jajuan Johnson, Etwaun Moore and Lewis Jackson, there's plenty of talent around to make a Final Four run.

4. Kansas St.- Jacob Pullen is good enough to have the Cats as the early Big XII favorite.

5. Ohio St.- Add in recruits Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas with David Lighty, Jon Diebler, Willie Buford, and Dallas Lauderdale, and the Bucks could be just as good as last year.

6. Pittsburgh- 6 of their top 7 scorers return.

7. Villanova- Nova will once again have a solid backcourt lead by Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes.

8. Kansas- Sherron Collins, Cole Aldrich, and Xavier Henry are impossible to replace. But the Jayhawks will still be a very deep team. They just need to find a consistent go-to scorer.

9. Florida- Watch out for Billy Donovan and his Gators. They return the whole squad. Look for Alex Tyus and Kenny Boynton to impress.

10. Kentucky- They'll be one of the youngest teams in the nation again. But they'll be very good again despite losing 5 draft picks.

11. Baylor- Ekpe Udoh and Tweety Carter will be big losses but recruit Perry Jones, LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Ace and Anthony Jones will make them one of the best in the Big XII.

12. North Carolina- Regardless of what people might think UNC should be back again next season. Harrison Barnes is already regarded as the number one pick for 2011.

13. Missouri- Mike Anderson has people talking again in Columbia. They do lose 3 starters but return their top 3 scorers. Kim English is ready to break out; Tony Mitchell and Phil Pressey lead Zou's best class in several years.

14. Washington- The Huskies finally lived up to their potential in the postseason. They do lose Quincy Pondexter, but there's still plenty left in the stable with Isiah Thomas, Venoy Overton and Justin Holiday.

15. Illinois- This will be a senior-laden team that has been scratching the surface waiting to break open. Next year will be that year.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Should Stephen Strasberg be an NL Allstar?

The Sports Flow is back in action! I'm going to start off by tackling a bit of a hot debate as of late. Should Stephen Strasberg be chosen as an all-star representative for the National League? I will address both sides of the argument and then I will give my stance on the dilemma.

The allstar game is an exhibition game played for homefield advantage in the World Series in which the MLB showcases its best, most exciting, and most deserving players to help grow the sport.

Having Strasburg even in the conversation for the All-Star Game, despite pitching in the big leagues for less than a month, may be considered an insult to the game and of some its participants.But you cannot deny that he belongs on the big stage with the best players.

Each team must have one representative in the game, and Ryan Zimmerman is having a nice season -.290, 13 home runs, 37 RBIs. However, Strasburg is the best player on the Washington Nationals right now. So why not have him in the game? He is an electric commodity right now and he can energize the game and boost viewership for the allstar game even if he only pitches an inning!

There's something to be said for actually earning a spot. Strasburg has been dominant since joining the Nationals three weeks ago. Coming in to Monday night’s start against the Braves he had 41 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings against the Pirates, Indians, White Sox and Royals. Many would say that this falls short of All-Star material given who he has pitched against.

If Strasburg goes to Anaheim, some deserving pitcher will stay home.
Yes, the All-Star Game is an event for the fans, and everyone is dying to see Strasburg. However, if Strasburg is as good as he appears he will have many All-Star appearances in his future. To put him in the game already this year would be doing both him and the player he displaces a disservice. Let him go as a legitimate All-Star later and not as an attempt to boost TV ratings now.

Honestly, is there 12 better pitchers in the NL RIGHT NOW than Strasberg? I say No. He is the single biggest spark plug that baseball has right now. He should represent the NL in the allstar game.

What do you think? Is Stephen Strasberg all-star worthy or not?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

2010 Final Four Predictions

Kansas, West Virginia, Duke and BYU will make the Final Four. Yes, that's right. BYU will make the Final Four. I said it. I got a great feeling they will take down Kansas State in the 2nd round and head to Salt Lake City; Where they would then be the favorite in the regional to advance to Indy.

Here me out with my analysis of why BYU and the others will make it:

Every single Final Four team ever participated in the tournament the year before. So that eliminates Kentucky and Kansas State. Every single Final Four team since 1999 (When the rankings started) finished in the Top 25 for defensive efficiency (which computes ppg, fg %, etc). That eliminates Villanova, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Maryland, New Mexico, and Baylor.

So the east bracket comes down to Kansas and Ohio State. OSU isn't deep at all and depends A LOT on Evan Turner. I'll take Kansas.

With Kansas St. being eliminated in the West it comes down to Syracuse and BYU. I think BYU will take down Kansas St with Jimmer Fredette and will be motivated to play in Salt Lake. Syracuse vs. BYU in Salt Lake. Who knows how healthy Onawaku will be and BYU has good size. Advantage BYU.

In the South Nova and Baylor are eliminated for defensive reasons. Purdue is without star Robbie Hummel, so by default Duke advances.

In the East Kentucky is too inexperienced/young. New Mexico is already eliminated. Wisconsin doesn't have the firepower offensively to advance. West Virginia will move on because of their defense, athleticism, and size.

So there you have it. Those four teams including BYU will make the Final Four. Mark it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Giants need to sign Jermaine Dye

Jermaine Dye is still out there. Teams are tending to shy away from him because of his age. But he's proved the past few seasons that he still capable of being a good hitter. The Giants are one big bat away from winning the NL West.

They made some decent pickups to help the offense by signing Mark Derosa and Aubrey Huff and resigning Freddy Sanchez and Bengie Molina.

We already know they have the best 1-2 pitching duo in the league and one of the best rotations. It's time for Brian Sabean to finally get this done for his team by signing Dye to at least one year deal. They've got the roster win now, they're just one bat away from winning their division and maybe even a World Series.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Count On It/Don't Count On It

We have a new addition to the blog titled: "Count on It/Don't Count on It". Today I'll be talking about the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga plays in it's backyard of Spokane

With no teams playing better on the West Coast than Gonzaga and the Pac 10 down this year, will Gonzaga be playing with the hometown crowd on hand?

Count On It

Kansas and Missouri meet up in the Elite 8 in St. Louis
How epic would this be? One of the most heated rivalries in the game and there's a chance they both could meet up in St. Louis. If Missouri finishes the season strong and Kansas holds on to the overall number one seed there's a chance. But...

Don't Count On It

BYU plays in Salt Lake City
Nobody wants to face BYU in Salt Lake City. If they finish the season strong the tournament committee could give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course they'd have to win their first two games to get there but you know they'd play with extra motivation.

Count On It

Purdue plays in Indy for the Final Four
Can the Boilers be this years Michigan State? Can they play in Indianapolis like the Spartans did in Detroit last season? The Final Four is wide open as ever this season and if they get in to the Syracuse bracket, watch out.

Count On It

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

College Basketball Talk: 2/17

Hey guys. Long time no blogging. We've been lagging behind on updating TSF but we're promising to get things going again especially with March Madness coming up. Here's a few thoughts on the NCAA Tournament and College Hoops in general.

Tourney Sleepers

Ohio State
They're peaking at the right time. Evan Turner should be Big Ten player of the year. They have a solid starting five. Turner is a tough match-up, Jon Diebler is a deadly shooter, David Light is finally coming into his own and Dallas Lauderdale is tough down low.

The Bulldogs haven't lost a game since December. They match-up well with a lot of power conference teams. Gordon Hayward and Matt Howard down low is one of the best one-two front court punches in the nation.

The Spiders have a good back court lead by Kevin Anderson. They have great size at each position. They're also battle tested, playing a tough non-conference schedule which included: Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, and Wake Forest.

Nobody should want to play the Bears in the tourney. They're extremely athletic and have great guard play. They'll be a tough match up for just about anybody.

Kansas State
This team has played well on the road and on neutral courts. That's always a good indicator of a great team. They have two quality guards in Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen. The front court isn't terrible either.

They have tremendous size and a great scorer in Jimmer Fredette. This is a team that could make a huge run if they get into the Salt Lake City Bracket.


Texas will probably not make it past the Sweet 16. Especially if they're not in the Houston bracket. They have no true point guard. Dogus Balbay makes mistakes and is afraid to shoot. Plus they rely too heavily on their 3 frosh.

Once they play a more athletic team they'll struggle. They also struggle on the road. They're 4-4 playing away from Cameron. The front court is improved from past seasons, but the Devils will once again fail to make another Final Four.

Georgia Tech
Tech has arguably the best talent in the country. But talent only gets you so far. They're point guard play has been lackluster and Derrick Favors is very limited offensively. Plus, they're young. They remind me of last years Wake Forest team; a lot of talent, little experience. They'll bow out early in the tourney.

My Final Four as of now:
Michigan State