Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This Totally Rules

Seriously, this is awesome. If you're tired of seeing Ohio State blow it in the BCS year and year, throw some spare change in this group's direction.

Also, the Sporting News is reporting that the BCS has hired Ari Fleischer to defend its image, apparently predicting that there'll be an uproar after Iowa and Oklahoma State are picked to play in the BCS over an undefeated Boise State. Hey, BCS, the only reason anyone thinks Fleischer is competent is because he was followed in his job by Scott McClellan. I think 90% of the world's employees would look extra-competent in hindsight if they were replaced by Scott McClellan. Also, Fleischer was the guy the Packers hired to "manage" the Favre retirement/unretirement debacle 16 months ago. How'd the Packers look coming out of that one? Hmmm, not a ringing endorsement. Seriously, how does this guy keep getting work.

Predictably, Fleischer's first comments on behalf of the BCS didn't defend the current ridiculous system, but rather criticized playoff proponents for not having a coherent alternative. Hey Fleischer, the fact that there are a bunch of good playoff options doesn't mean that the BCS doesn't suck. Continuing your dishonest BS, even off the White House podium. Booo Bush apparatchiks.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FARVPOCALYPSE

Favre can play for whoever he wants. But I don't have to like it. And if I had been there last Sunday I would have boo'd loudly. He gets to have fun playing, and I get to have fun rooting. And accepting him in a vikings helmet is not fun for me. So, eat shit hillbilly. We can talk about what you did for Wisconsin after you're finished undoing it. We are talking about the vikings. I have rules.
One thing was very apparent to me on Sunday afternoon; Brett Favre could not be happier playing for the vikings. He hasn't been this focused since the 90's (except for the 4-12 season when he was trying to get Antonio Chatman to the probowl). He's found Jesus. Purple Jesus. He wants to win. Maybe he even pays attention watching film this year. Or maybe it just looks like that because he's not throwing up interceptions like they're punts. You don't have to when you aren't your teams best player. He's enjoying himself and trying, at the same time. Too bad he had to play us to do that.
He sure is enjoying making us watch it though; waving off the incompletion that Greg Jennings barely got one hand on; saying that this 7-1 viking team (that needed a missed field goal and a hail mary to win two home games) is more talented than the 96-97 Packers; it's all a bit enthusiastic. Especially the comments about the Reggie White-led World Champion 1997 Green Bay Packers. It sounds needy. Favre trying to pump his teammates up at the expense of the one team too good to let him lose. Be quiet.
The media here in LA hammered Packer fans for booing. "Classless". Which is rich, coming from grown men that scream about college football 80% of the time. They love to talk about what Favre did for the Packers. So do I. They don't talk about what the Packers did for Brett Favre. First, Ron Wolf got him out of Jerry Glanville's basement. He was a drunk punk hick and the Packers gave him the softest landing in the league. Then they had a hall of fame receiver carry him for four years; then they kept him well protected the whole time he was a Packer; and somewhere in there they signed Reggie White to help him win a Superbowl, but of course, he wouldn't start for these 09' Vikings.
Maybe this is revenge for the yahoos that crashed his dad's funeral like it was a tailgate party. Maybe he was put out playing for the Packers.
This is bullshit.
I didn't realize until Sunday, that Favre really did want out of Green Bay. He definitely wanted to play for the Vikings, and what really bothers me is how he's pretending like he had no choice. He retired before the draft. That was his decision; let the Packers draft knowing that he would come back and they would have to cut him loose. Then it could be Thompson's fault that he had to go play for the Vikings so that when he fails, he can come crawling back to his championship legacy without having to admit that he really cared way more about winning a championship than alienating the people that supported him through alcohol, vicodin, life, death, playoff disasters, and the most interceptions in the history of the league. What competitor wouldn't?
Only, Thompson stuck him with the Jets for a year. Thank god. And he stuck us with Aaron Rodgers. Who currently has 16 tds and 2 interceptions (!). And a rushing touchdown. Last year he threw 12 interceptions. Favre did that in 2 playoff games. I totally understand him wanting to beat us, but he could've toned it down a bit. And I wont listen to any asshole tell me that I shouldn't hate watching it. We have rivals to hate them. It's almost as fun hating them as it is rooting for our team. He can never take my hatred away. Fuck that. He'll never be that good. Ever.
I was totally ok with Favre going to the Vikings. I kind of wanted it. Just for the spectacle of it. And I also felt that Favre had earned the right to get paid 12 million dollars to do what he loves to do. Wherever he wanted. Honestly I didn't think he would sweep us. I thought we'd be better than this.
If he wins a Superbowl with the Vikings, he's dead to me.

Monday, November 02, 2009

It's the Players, Stupid

Let's be frank. Childress may have some awful personal grooming, and definitely needs someone to take him aside and tell him not to wear polo shirts that highlight his man-boobs. (McCarthy, whose own rack is likely far more prodigious, has the good sense to wear nylon jackets.) But for all the fun that's been made of Childress, the coaching between the two teams is basically a draw, even with Capers at the defensive helm. Childress may not take advantage of the most obvious gimmie in football (Peterson on short-distances behind Hutchinson and McKinnie) as often as he should, but McCarthy keeps letting Rodgers take 7-step drops with two neophyte tackles and has allowed his team to become utterly penalty-ridden. Who's dumber? I can't tell.

Given the draw in equally-dunderheaded coaches, the difference between the Vikings and the Packers is personnel. Namely, the Vikings are on a ridiculous hot streak in player acquisition, especially compared to the Packers.

Consider the Vikings' hit list. First, the draftees: Harvin (1st rd. 2009), Loadholt (2nd rd. 2009), J. Allen (acquired for 2008's 1 and 2), Peterson (1st rd. 2007), Rice (2nd rd. 2007), Greenway (1st rd. 2006). Peterson is a superstar, maybe the best player in the league, certainly the best back. Favre has turned Rice into an All-Pro wideout. Harvin may be the best returner in the game. Loadholt stoned Aaron Kampman twice now, as a rookie. Greenway is a well-above average starter. Jared Allen is simply a great pass rushing right end and is in the prime of his career. He's at a much higher level than Kampman. And even the year they traded for Allen, they found two other starters in late rounds that year. They haven't had a "bad draft" since 2005.

And in the years' prior to current GM Rick Spielman (Chris's brother) taking over, the Vikings made some excellent free agent signings-- notably Pat Williams and Antonio Winfield, and, of course, Steve Hutchinson, who even though he's fading this season, is still the best guard in the division, at the least.

Plus, they've held onto prior draft hits, like E.J. Henderson, Bryant McKinnie, and Kevin Williams, and managed to get some adequate starters out of random picks, like starting safety Tyrell Johnson, and starting center John Sullivan (who has replaced former Pro Bowl Center Matt Birk without a hitch). And, of course, getting Favre at no cost took their offense to an entirely higher level.

Now compare the Packers. No impact free agents since Woodson and Pickett several years ago. Chillar is pretty good, but not great. So the drafts have needed to produce excellent players. But, until Matthews this season, Thompson's five drafts have produced exactly two above-average players-- Rodgers and Jennings. Take a look at the other high picks: 2006-- Hawk, Colledge; 2007-- Justin Harrell, Brandon Jackson; 2008-- Jordy Nelson, Brian Brohm, and Pat Lee. Ooof. Not one even one "solid starter" in that bunch. The Vikings kicked the Packers' asses in those drafts.

This is why you saw what you did on the field last night. The Vikings are simply, top to bottom, a better team. Favre is the cherry on top of the sundae. Thompson's been excellent at improving the team's depth, no doubt, and a disproportionate number of discarded Thompson draft picks have found places in the league (like Hunter Hillenmeyer, Aaron Rouse, David Clowney, Tony Moll, and Dave Tollefson). But he just hasn't found many top of the line players. He needs to do better.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

D Day


The one decision Ted Thompson made that I still can't get over was the one to not give up a 3rd round draft choice for Randy Moss. We would have won a superbowl. Certainly. That is a serious black eye on his record, due to the way Randy Moss has continued to "tear up the N F L" since then. In Thompson's defense, Moss was awful for the Raiders with recurring hamstring issues, and Greg Jennings emerged the following season as an absolute star receiver. But it would have been glorious. I would have bought a jersey.
As far as Thompson's decision to transition to Aaron Rodgers following Favre's retirement and unretirement, he has my unending support and gratitude. Aaron Rodgers is playing unbelievable football right now. In the last three games he's completed 70 of 94 passes for 9 tds and 2 ints. And he gets the crap beat out of him. I could not be more excited to watch this guy run our offense for the next 10 years. Favre is my favorite player ever, but in all honesty, who's to say he'd have anywhere near this level of desire and passion if TT had just left him in there to go through the motions with the Packers. For everyone who says the Packers abandoned him, may I suggest that he was kind of done with the Packers. Would you imagine he would've made it through last year healthy with us? Either way he would have retired. Hurt or healthy. Him being 'wronged' by management is exactly what had to happen. In his mind, I'm sure its the reason he got hurt, and all the justification he needs to come back from the injury to play for the vikings. If he hadn't been treated so poorly by the Packers he wouldn't have gotten hurt and he wouldn't have had to play for the vikings. I'm sure. I guarantee he fantasized about handing the ball off to Adrian Peterson before he retired. Sometime right around when he lost the feeling in his face as he realized it was on him to win the NFC championship and take the Packers back to the superbowl.
Fine. Good for him. But all this talk about who was at fault is ridiculous. The way it went down was a gift to both sides. And by both sides I mean just Brett Favre. Favre needed this. If TT hadn't locked the door behind him, Brett wouldn't be 6-1 right now. He wouldn't still be being the ultimate legend's legend. He'd be rehabbing from shoulder surgery and we'd be blaming our offensive lines terrible play on the inexperienced Aaron Rodgers.
I'll feel good if the crowd cheers him on sunday. I'll also feel good if they boo him mercilessly. He brought a lot of money into the state. That's kind of a bottom line deal. You have to applaud that and you have to applaud his dependability and level of play. It's undeniably legendary. But if he gets to have fun playing, then I get to have fun rooting. That's what it's all about right? It's why we love to watch right? Well right now I'm having alot of fun hating Brett Favre. And I will continue to hate him until he stops wearing that awful uniform. I hated the vikings long before I idolized Brett Favre. So get body-slammed on your hillbilly face, old man. I'm sure you understand. Love ya'.
As far as the actual game goes on sunday, our defense looks to finally be in place. I think its good. Really good. And not just because they put up consistent fantasy points (sacks/turnovers/touchdowns). But it helps.
I think Clay Matthews is a stud. He also happens to have been chosen with the pick we traded the pick we traded Brett Favre for if I'm not correct. Our line play is solid (Johnny Jolly is having a probowl season) and our secondary sits and waits. Patient. Calm. honestly I'm anticipating a season defining performance out of a talented, well coached, well built defense. They've looked good against awful teams, but the defense has been new. The last 2 weeks they've given up 3 points. Its the NFL. Sooo. I understand it was cleveland and detroit, but I'm still excited. I think we win and I think our defense wins it for us. 2 picks, 3 sacks, 20 points. Pack wins. And covers. 27-20.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

17 Point Dogs

BBBWWWHHAAAT?

I am appalled and dismayed. It's not that Vegas knows anything, its that Nobody is betting the Badgers at +15. This is unbelievable.

I've been all over the internets this week, gathering reports. The main theme is that the Badgers are a running team and the Buckeyes are great at stopping the run. I'm happy about this. They don't believe we can throw. Let's go to the air early.

Let's have our Defense get after them. We rotate 5 ends and 4 DTs. Then we can bring Borland as a rush end late. Hopefully we can contain the running Terrelle Pryor.

Let's go get this Big Ten.




Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bruising the Buckeyes

The Badgers are a physical group, and the coaching staff continues to bring in big, strong athletic players. Anybody else get the feeling that Wisconsin plays some serious ball upfront? The Buckeyes sure do. Apparently, from their point of view we gave them there most intense physical battle last year. Expect more of the same on Saturday.

Also, note the goodies at the end. The Buckeyes might be down a few big uglies this weekend, including at the LT and DT spots.

Bucky Heads to the Horseshoe

So the Badgers are 5-0. They are heading into a battle against Ohio State for a game, which (collect yourself) is for the lead in the BigTen. If the Badgers win this game, they are well-positioned to LEAD the BigTen.

The best part is, this Ohio State team is beatable. We can matchup with this version of the Ohio State EchoChamberHeads.

Our D-line is coming together and we have a rotation. A D-line rotation. It's so nice to have one of those. By now, Badger fans are on to JJ Watt, and they should be recognizing the standout year from O'Brien Schofield. But how about Nzegwu? That kid can run, and he looks like a DE.

Our O-line appeared to come together running the ball. This could be due to some continuity forming, but it could also be that we just know how to put the Gophers in the mindtrap and run all over them. I LOVE to see us run the ball so forcefully. We run 6 plays in a row, and then all of a sudden guys on the other team don't wanna get up from the turf and its injury timeout time. Old school Badgers bodying people.

This leads us to the RB position. Clay needs to get worked into a game. He gets stronger as the game goes on. SO we obviuosly need a #2. Zach Brown has been a disappointment, and his terrible fumble PLUS his terrible "challenge that! I was down!" when he was clearly lying. I didn't need to see the replay to know he was lying. I knew when they showed the replay it would show a fumble and it did. Not even that close. Bottom line, when you fumble in a huge situation you take ownership of it, you don't act like a child. Zach acted poorly and I am convinced it impacted his oncoming demotion.

So this leads us to the enjoyably named Montee Ball. Montee will get his shot on the BIG stage this Saturday. Hopefully he can relax on his way to the hole, allowing him to use his gifts on the way out of the hole. In his few carries against Minny, he was nervous and it shrunk his vision.

I hope we continue to throw it around in the first quarter. I love throwing early and pounding them late. Also, Ohio State does not fuck around with the schemes. They have routinely challenged us with 8 and 9 in the box. After 5 games of film on us, maybe they believe in our passing attack, but probably not. Let's throw it early and run it late. We can push them around man on man, I have seen it before.

McFadden and St. Jean are not great tacklers, its noticeable. We Need them to tackle better against Terrelle Pryor. If we can contain Pryor on 3rd down, I like our chances on defense.

So the BigTen title is on the line on Saturday. Get your game face on Badger fans! Let's Go!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

After 10 hours of reflection

- Favre is a self-obsessed douche. Even NPR gave him a twenty-second quote, in which he rhapsodized about how he went to church and prayed before the game. Now, after years of philandering, boozing, drugging, and being a spoiled ass, he's found God. Give me a flippin' break.

- Vikings fans-- I highly doubt he'll last the season, although Sage Jacksonfelds would have looked great with that much protection.

- If the teams' switch offensive lines, the Packers dominate that game.

- The Vikings have a top-ten left tackle in McKinnie, and a top-five left guard in Hutchinson. All of their other guys are either rookies or replacement level guys. But the Packers couldn't get any pressure, even when operating against the weak side of the Vikings' line. This shows that coaching matters. Maybe if you just switched the teams' offensive line coaches, the Packers win. The Vikings have Jim Hueber, who was Wisconsin's offensive line coach for a decade, from 1995 to 2005. Think of all the great linemen he produced. At least three first-round draft picks (Gibson, McIntosh, Thomas). Hueber has almost 40 years of coaching experience. Compare that to James Campen, who was a solid player, but has very little experience, and was coaching at a high school four years ago. Ridiculous. (Hat tip-- Bob McGinn in a recent Packer Insider article.)

- As Randy mentioned, Rodgers held onto the ball far too long, far too many times. He should have run more. He generally seems to be holding the ball too long when the Packers are running limited patterns and holding guys back to pass protect. Thus, there aren't a lot of options down the field, and he waits, hoping someone's going to get open. Just run for a few yards or throw the ball away. (I wonder if after last game, McCarthy tried to talk him out of running so much.) He needs to get a clock in his head.

- I think Rodgers has been sacked more in the past four games than Favre was for the entirety of the 2007 season. What's the NFL record for sacks allowed through four games? Seriously, the Packers have got to be close.

- Rushing the passer, for both sides, that's what it came down to. Favre was able to convert a ton of third downs because he had all day. The offense was in fits and starts because Rodgers either had no time or nobody open. Ugh. Thank goodness the bye is here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Quick Post-Debacle Thoughts

- Sorry, James Campen. You need to be fired. Like three weeks ago.

- Generally excellent run defense. But where the hell did the blitzes go? When they were called they went nowhere.

- Nick Barnett is awful on essentially every pass play.

- I predict Colledge will be okay. Just looked like a bad banging of the knee.

- However, I predict Will Blackmon is done for the year.

- Will Blackmon's injury problems are actually a good example of the problem of overrelying on young players-- you don't know which ones are durable enough to make it in the league. Blackmon has proven that he isn't. I think this may be a career-ender for him. Sad, because he was a fine punt-returner.

- Woodson was robbed. If that play stands, how much different is the game? If the Packers convert from the 1, how much different is the game?

- With the penalties (esp. Woodson's and Kuhn's non-existent hold) didn't it feel like the fix was in?

- Muffed punt aside, Jordy Nelson looks good. Jermichael is jerkick-ass.

- Clifton will come back after the bye. I predict Colledge will as well. I hope James Campen doesn't come with them.

- Now I know why every other NFL fan hates Favre. I am no longer apathetic. Boo forever until he apologizes for not retiring.

US AGAINST THE WORLD running commentary

PREGAME: Steve Young picked us. Only clown on the countdown. Much better that way.

Also, love the state by state percentage map of where thinks who's gonna win.
Wisconsin was the only red state. We were the only republicans. Call me John Boehner.

side note - we're all for pink, but does it have to be hot pink? yes. I think it does. Nice shoes.

FIRST TURNOVER:
Colledge made a half an effort. I suppose the play call was a quick pass and Rodge didn't like what he saw. Too bad. We might not move the ball like that again. Looked good early.

DEANNA FAVRE:
I've never said this, but your forehead is enormous.

GET JER POPCORN READY
Its a Jermichael party up in here. Say it Loud!

GOPHERS NEW STADIUM:
Is perfect for outdoor hockey. Awful for football. Perfect for outdoor hockey.

ANOTHER 3RD DOWN FOR THE VIKES. GOOD SIGN.

JOHNNY JOLLY;
Is playing probowl football. Every week.

ANOTHER 3RD DOWN CONVERSION:
We spoke too soon. 3 in a row ending in a touchdown. Yikes. That's not beatable.

CLAY MATTHEWS:
Is making plays whenever I see him. Huge heady play. 14 is alot of points. We continue to be in a position to win this game.
3rd down conversions are still a problem. Favre is focused.


2ND HALF


SOOOOO...
Favre wants it. And I still don't know exactly why we cut Aaron Rouse.

KICKOFF AFTER VIKING TD
Holding penalty. Didn't get to see it, but the Packers continue to be highly penalized. The PI on Woodson earlier was gross. And you can't call taunting in this game.

NOTHING WORSE THAN:
John Gruden Fellating Jared Allen.

4TH DOWN FIELD GOAL DECISION @ THE 1:
Please kick the field goal. Our defense is scoring points. Give Favre a reason to choke. KEEP HOPE ALIVE !!!!

AARON RODGERS:
Has got to THROW. THE. BALL. AWAY. At this point he has to start taking as much credit as the offensive line for sacks. They aren't giving him much time, but the time they are giving him is consistent. He is showing very poor awareness.

THEY:
Dusted of the Viking fight song. Didn't know there was one. Cheerleaders in the endzone. This is a victory party viking parade and brett Faver is the drum major. Its gonna be hard to forget this.

DRIVE:
We went 95 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Take more care of the ball and score when you get the cance. This game is dead even. Adrian Peterson has 55 yards with 3:10 left in the game. COME ON COACHING STAFF!! I MEAN GOOD WORK COACHING STAFF!!

8 Sacks. WTF. I thought we had paid professionals on our team.

Stuart Scott. Which eye is glass?

1 Score game. 1 minute to go. Get u this ONSIDE

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Imagine if...

So this weekend is the Minnesota-Wisconsin football showdown on both the amateur and professional levels. In both instances, the games occur on the Western side of the Mississippi. In both instances, the home teams are breaking out a shiny new bauble that they are certain will propel them to victory over their hated rivals. In the Gophers' case, it's their brand new (minature) stadium. And maybe those repellent all golden uniforms that show the sweat stains so nicely. In the Queens' case, well, it's the tarnished, dated, but still shiny penny that is Brett Favre (pronounced like Ben Stiller says it in "There's Something About Mary"). Vegas certainly values these new playthings, as it favors the home teams by about the same margin (Vikings by 3.5 and Gophers by 3).

The blunt truth is, that's probably right. A neutral third-party would likely say that the Gophers rely on their passing game (and the crotch-puncher) to win a close one in an emotional game to take back the axe for the first time in several years. That same "reasonable man" would note that the Packers haven't played a complete game this season, can't really run the ball or pass protect, are missing their left tackle, and made Cedric Benson look like a superstar two weeks ago in concluding that the Vikes will likely take this round. Maybe by more than the line.

Knowing this, let's approach this football weekend (that includes Monday night) with an open mind. If the Wisconsin teams lose, really, so what, it's expected. The tide is turning on the Northeastern prairie. The past is prolouge and all that. This is what Minnesota is telling itself. So if they sweep, expect some crowing come Tuesday, but don't be downtrodden. A sweep is what the genius odds-makers are predicting.

For now, instead, think about the other option. Given these shiny new toys that have finally addressed each team's most deep-seeded excuses, imagine if they fail. Oh boy. If the long-sought, on-campus, outdoor, non-Metrodome stadium doesn't lead to axe reclamation. If the HOF-bound, grizzly-bear quarterback doesn't cure all your football team's ills. A reverse sweep. A Minnesota flop of epic proportions. That idea is just so delicious, I could chew on it all day. Of course, it probably won't come to fruition, but it is a tasty treat to imagine while we wait out the next 45 hours. Hoooo, nelly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Hate Him

So I tried to be diplomatic about it. I tried to ignore it. I tried to act like I didn't care. Not any more.
Today made it impossible to ignore. Watching him prance around in that awful purple jersey as if he had been doing it his whole career was too much. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to punch him in the face.

Brett is now a Viking. I hate him.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Badger Preseason Over

After a sloppy 44-14 drubbing of the smallest I-AA football school in the country, and a wild overtime win over California's largest junior college, the Badgers' preseason is over. Sparty, now coming off two consecutive close and embarrassing losses, comes to the Camp next Friday.

Every college football season is a mystery unfolding-- it's a several-months-long process of discovering who your team is. If things unfold they way you want them to, at the end of the season you've learned that your team is BCS-bowl eligible, or a league champion. But things usually don't work out that way. Last year, Wisconsin also went into the Big Ten undefeated with a couple of decent looking victories, but promptly lost four straight games due to various combinations of unclutchness, tough scheduling, poor defense, and awful quarterbacking. So this year, what do we know so far? How much of the cloud has lifted from the team? Yeah, not much.

The team can pass the ball. Kendricks, Graham and Toon are the real deals. (What a catch Lance made in the back of the end zone yeserday!) Tolzien throws a nice, hard, flat, generally accurate ball (still no interceptions, knock on wood), and when he has protection does a decent job of going through his progressions although he's not infallible. (No one is.) Carimi is a legit NFL left tackle should he stay healthy, so Tolzien's blind side should be okay when the defense brings four. What's missing is a solid bookend receiver. Isaac Anderson, coming off two excellent games, looked iffy yesterday (drop on an easy pass, killer holding penalty). Gilreath, besides two kick returns and a run against Fresno, has looked poor. Kyle Jefferson has caught one short pass. Kraig Appleton, the much touted frosh, hasn't gotten the chance to show himself, and now may not get one this season. Maurice Moore could be it, I guess. But I'm quibbling. Three really good receiving options, a fine LT and a smart accurate quarterback are enough to make this unit well above average.

We also know that there's more consistency and lots of potential on defense. Despite Wofford's lack of impressive physical talent, and the one touchdown drive against the first team defense to start yesterday's second half, this year's defense is more assignment sure, especially in the front seven. Plus, it has some fun guys to watch. It's hard to believe Mike Taylor is only a redshirt frosh. Maragos is a solid leader and seems very good at playing the ball in the air. O'Brien Schofield (OB), if he keeps this up, should be a lock to be taken in the first three rounds by a 3-4 NFL team (as a stand-up outside LB). St. Jean actually looked like a linebacker yesterday, maybe for the first time in his college career. McFadden is playing more instinctively and getting off blocks better. Devin Smith's diving interception in the end zone was a great individual play. JJ Watt is enormous and will bat many more passes before the year is over (and is only a redshirt sophomore). By the way, I don't think it's any coincidence that Wofford's one touchdown drive against the first team defense came after Watt left the game with a turned ankle. (Heal up soon.) The DL depth should be better, which was a huge problem last season.

Also, we know that Chris Borland rules. That punk block was amazing, especially for someone shorter than six feet. He created two turnovers yesterday. A huge recruiting find. Barring injuries, he's got a great future in Madison.

But I think that's all we know so far. The defense as a unit has not looked solid for an entire game and has given up some big plays to every team UW has played. The offense produced no big runs yesterday (this is against Wofford), though Moffit and Nagy both played and looked fine, so maybe the line-play will improve. But Clay's fumbilitis was hugely worrying. And this was his first game after being named a starter at Wisconsin. Uh oh. Brown looked better yesterday, and Smith is an interesting option (though he runs backwards too often), but no one else on the team can drive the pile forward like Clay can. We need Clay performing and protecting the ball. There's not enough depth at safety with Pleasant and Carter booted off the team, apparently for having too many parties at their apartment, or at cornerback. The pass rush, besides OB and Taylor on blitzes, has been iffy. Nzegwu needs to come back soon and show the explosion he did in the spring. The special teams coverage remains poor, and will seriously burn UW sometime this season.

In short, much remains unknown. And a pissed-off, and decently talented, Sparty is looming. More will be revealed next Saturday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Football

I need to start with the NFL network. It replays the games of the week. Great, we love this. Obvious call. But what I wanna know is: who is the guy who came up with the idea to splice in the relevant post-game interviews into the gameplay. You see I'm so Johnny I'm Jolly sniff out a middle screen like a bear sniffing a cheeseburger in the forest. You see him display paranormal athleticism to intercept a pass and hilariously try to get up and run for a TD and only make it 2 feet. Then a window pops up and it's Charles Woodson at his locker discussing the play you just watched. He is talking and giving you insight and yet the rest of the screen continues to show gameplay. So I ask, who is the guy who invented this and can I send him a thank-you note?




Saturday, September 12, 2009

Chinatown Sneak-ball WEEK 1

Let's jack-knife some kidneys.

I'm most concerned about Matt Forte, but he can't do as much damage as our offense, so winning to me comes down to one player, Devin Hester. If we can shut him out, which we've been able to do recently, we'll win. Devin Hester has 3 catches for 19 yards over his career vs. Green Bay. He'll do better than that. If we can keep the improvement minimal, they can't score with us, unless he causes problems on special teams. Green Bay special teams have fared relatively well against Hester; In 6 games vs. the pack he's returned 15 punts for 192 yards including an 84 yarder @ Lambeau 3 years ago. This needs to continue, because if they start every possession on the 50, the bears offense might be as improved as it's been said to be.
Thankfully, (and it seems almost as a direct result of Hester re-acquiring his duties as leagues most amazing punt returner), the packers place a high level of importance on special teams play. Several personnel decisions this year, directly emphasized this priority. Instead of a third quarterback, Tyrell Sutton, Ruvell Martin and/or an extra line-backer for the new defense, the Packers decided in favor of younger athletes that apparently have been making a significant difference on special teams. Brett Swain and TE/LB Spencer Havner are 2 players touted as most suitable for the STs, along with the third full-back, beast headcrackerwedgebuster Quinn Johnson.
Hester is a very scary football player. He made the superbowl they lost a good game. Danielle Manning led the league in Kick returns as Hester made the shift to receiver, but you can't tell me that Devin Hester returning punts is not one of the most threatening weapons in the league. It's a great thing that the idiot Bears ever gave that job to someone else. Hopefully now that he's back, the Packers attention to special teams will pay off, and he wont sneak up on us. That would be a prototype Bear victory.
But really they're gonna have to score 40 points to beat us because our offense is going in through the mouth so-whatever.


Apparently our punt returner has a quad contusion and might not play. Which would be unfortunate. Jordy Nelson would assume return duties if Blackmon can't go, but Blackmon had a punt return for a touch down in last years home opener. And I want that to happen again. He's excited about playing (the end of that interview is hilarious).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Packers Down to 53

Seasons are rarely won and lost in the last weekend before the season starts. That said, I generally like what the Packers have done with their roster, and like the guys they were able to stash on their practice squad. Namely, the practice squad has enabled the Packers to keep an eye on (and keep developing) draft picks Brian Brohm and Jamon Meredith, in the hope that they start living up to their talent. (Brohm was eligible because he didn't play in a game last season. Also, I love the fact that the Packers have quasi-retained a guy whose first name translates as "Ham.") There was also likely some debate between developmental 3-4 outside linebackers Brad Jones (a late round draft pick this April) and Cyril Obiozior. The team kept Jones on the roster, but managed to stash Obi on the practice squad. Again, a success from my perspective.

The one loss, I suppose, is former Northwestern Wildcat Tyrell Sutton, who was claimed by the Carolina Panthers and put on their active roster. He ran decisively during the preseason, and looked to be a solid fit in the zone blocking system. Personally, I think they made the right decision in keeping DeShawn Wynn, who's a great blitz pick-up guy, and has shown (when he's been healthy) that he can bust some big plays. Sutton just didn't have much wiggle or speed.

I also like the decision to give Justin Harrell a full-on medical redshirt year. Next year's training camp will probably be make it or break it time, career-wise. With the rookie Wynn and Montgomery looking like decent back-ups, and the Packers able to stash the squatty run-stopper Anthony Toribio on the practice squad, this made sense to me.

See the full practice squad members here.

Of the unretained, the one guy I'm sad to see go is Ruvell Martin. He was a fine blocker and by all accounts an excellent teammate. With his nice preseason interceptions, the decision to release Anthony Smith is a bit of a puzzler, but I guess we fans don't notice all of the mistakes and missteps. With Rouse's life story, I've always been pulling for him, so I'm glad he's still a Packer.

Northern Illinois: Good and Bad

A wild opener for Wisconsin full of good and bad. Some fun new discoveries, and some recurring issues. How about we go through this with a compare and contrast-type lay out?

Good: 28 to 6 in the Fourth Quarter
Bad: 28 to 20 with 2 minutes left and Northern Illinois driving to tie the game

Good: Nick Toon looking like everything we hoped he'd be-- big, strong, fast, plucking the ball out of the air with his hands. Isaac Anderson finally looking like the Minnesota state sprint champion.
Bad: Isaac Anderson's generally poor run-blocking (i.e., on the bubble screen to Toon that ended up in a loss); Toon alligator-arming a high Phillips pass

Good: True freshman Travis Frederick starting at center, but no fumbled exchanges
Bad: Frederick's holding penalty killing a drive; several blown blocks or missed blitzers; (Heal up, Moffitt)

Good: Zach Brown and Clay looking like a decent one two punch; Clay's two touchdowns
Bad: Brown's inability to break tackles; no long runs (poor wide receiver blocking?)

Good: Defensing racking up lots of tackles for loss; NIU 3 of 12 on third down
Bad: Still giving up yards in big chunks at times; horribly unclutch defensive penalties (i.e., McFadden's awful face mask when he and two other defenders had a back cornered for a loss on third down; Fenelus not needing to interfere on fourth down in the red zone-- the ball was overthrown)

Good: Phillips has wheels and is great at getting past defenders in the open field; having his running threat in the backfield noticeably opened up the rushing game
Bad: Phillips throwing too high to open receivers; some near interceptions; no points on the drives when he was in at quarterback

Good: Tolzien starting 11 for 11; generally good accuracy and decision-making; great strike to Toon on crossing pattern where he got drilled right after throwing; Good deep ball to Anderson on first play (what a great way to begin your career as a starter!); cheering on Phillips from the sidelines, joking with Sherer
Bad: Two picks-- on first, somebody probably should have picked up the corner blitz, but Tolzien needs to see that guy coming and hit his hot read, the guy wasn't coming from his blind side; on second, the defender made a great play, but it looked like he was forcing the ball to Toon-- Anderson was open deep behind the coverage, was a guy open on the right sidelines; both picks occurred at really bad times-- in red zone, on first play from scrimmage after other team scores.

Good: Graham looking like All-Big Ten player both receiving and blocking
Bad: No receptions for Kendricks, failing to pick up blitzes several times

Good: JJ Watt is pretty damn good and only a redshirt sophomore; Schoenfield looks great playing the run-- refs stole a fumble from him that would have ended the game
Bad: No other plays from other D-linemen, pass rush iffy when not blitzing (really need Nzegwu healthy)

Good: Gilreath's one long kickoff return
Bad: All other kickoff returns and punt returns; Gilreath running backwards several times; generally awful blocking-- Bielema may need to fire himself

Just Bad: Welch missing two field goals (shouldn't have attempted the first), only one touchback.

Almost Just Good: Mike Taylor-- blitzing, making tackles for loss, ripping that ball out for UW's lone turnover
One bad play: reacting late to a fullback wheel route, and giving up a 20 plus yard pass play to a guy he's definitely faster than.

Sorry for the shorthand. Generally, the game was fun to watch, and UW looked (with some better run blocking and blitz recognition when Moffitt returns) like it could have a pretty exciting offense. The defense seems like it has a chip on its shoulder and has some talented, heady players. But if anything, this game emphasized that even against non-BCS conference opponents, how small UW's margin for error is. The defense can't give opponents fresh sets of downs when it has them beat. The offense needs to take care of the ball, not beat itself and at least work the clock some when it has the lead. The special teams, don't get me started. Beside Nortman, there's nowhere to go but up. The main thing for this team is whether they improve as the season progresses. The ceiling certainly seems quite high.

Anyhow, much uncertainty remains. Could be a great year. Could be rough, could be mediocre. Fresno State is up next. They won their opener 51-0. Of course, they were playing Divsion I-AA UC-Davis in Fresno. But still. After this performance, I think that game looks like a toss-up. One twelfth of the journey in the books.

Friday, September 04, 2009

2009 Badger Football

Let me make myself clear: I like this year's Badgers.

I like our schedule. I like our running game. I like the attitude of our players and coaches.

I like our secondary more than I have in years. Jay Valai makes plays. Aaron Henry is an All-BigTen talent. I like our guys back there.

I think our LBs are underrated. I like what I hear about Mike Taylor. I worry about our DLine, but i don't tell anybody about that.

There is no way our QBs can be worse than last year. Our starting QB from last year is now #3 on the depth chart. I love Garret Graham.

Nobody with a press pass in the entire country like the Badgers this year. I do.

I will be not be in U-65 much this year. I will be at the LA Coliseum and it will be weird (I'm attending USC Marshall MBA). But that can't stop, and won't stop, my unabashed homerism.

I am psyched for the new year. I think Northern is pretty good, but fuck'em, Bucky. We are more talented than most people give us credit for. We're like a sneaky badger, with sharp claws, hiding behind a mud hill. Come forth and bleed, foes!

It's always hard to project in college FB, when you don't see any preseason action and you have to go on newspaper reports, and the whispers from program insiders. But I like the whispers, and newspapers are dying dodo birds anyway.

Chilly


Welcome to Minnesota, make I take your order please?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What does 3-0 mean?

So I don't usually care about preseason NFL football, and I still don't really. The Lions were 4-0 in the preseason last year, and that turned out pretty well for them. However, I can't ignore the success the Packers have had in their first three games. I have only managed to see bits and pieces of games, so I can't make a completely legitimate analysis. That said here are some thoughts:

1. Offense: I believed from the start last year, and I continue to believe, that Aaron Rodgers is the real deal. Is he going to be the Packers version of Steve Young? I don't know. Is he going to be a top 5 NFL QB? Yes. He is top 10 now, and he will get better. The O-line is a work in progress, and it will be interesting to see how they do when opposing defenses play more than their base packages. The running game, as always, is the key. Grant looks better this year, and we need a full year out of him. I was impressed by Tyrell Sutton, who heretofore shall be known as Wildcat. He runs downhill, and has a good sense of space and how to read the zone blocking schemes. I hope Jermichael Finley continues to show the promise he has shown this preseason. TE seems to have been our weak spot in the receiving game, so we could us another presence down the middle.

2. Defense: So far so good. If we can force 3-4 turnovers per game, we will have no problem winning games. Obviously that won't happen. However, in the interview I saw with Charles Woodson he seems happy with the new system. He is more comfortable in read coverage than the previous press coverage. I'm hoping for a huge season from him. Nick Collins is motivated by his contract situation, he fortunately is not named Brandon Marshall, and is out to prove that he fits the new system. Kampman is still learning, but I remain hopeful that he can make the same transition that Jason Taylor made and continue to destroy people. As I said, so far so good, but I'm a bit more reserved in my enthusiasm for the defense. I think more will be revealed in the early regular season. That said, I did draft the Packers D as my back up in Fantasy this year.

3. Special Teams: I have not paid enough attention to make a comment. I continue to wait for Crosby to be given a shot at a 65 yarder. He will make one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Reason the Vikings (and their fans) Suck #43872

http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=ap-vikings-favreeffect&prov=ap&type=lgns

How is it possible that the Vikings hadn't sold all of their season tickets already? AP isn't enough for 'Queens fans? That franchise should hang its head in shame.

I've noticed nobody has rushed to post in re Captain Narcissus. I was going to, then I reread Mr. Man's post from 7/29 and realized that there was nothing more to add. Nothing has changed except it's August, not November. Even the media can't get excited this time. They seem to be doing their due diligence, but certainly aren't going crazy.

Question: Was there a game of significance (i.e. close playoff game) after the Super Bowls in which Brett didn't throw a pick that changed the course of the game? I can't think of one.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

You stay classy, Rick!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4392828

Don't you wish this guy was our coach?

Make sure you read about the incredibly romantic story of how this woman met her husband. Classic.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Give Break Please

Right, right so Favre says he's staying retired. But then he qualified it with baloney like this, as relayed by Peter King:

"I passed up the greatest chance I could have had right now, and it hurts,'' Favre said. "By saying no, I know I'm leaving an incredible opportunity on the table, and that opportunity is not coming back.'' There's no sense in asking the question about whether this is it for Favre. He said he was finished 17 months ago in Green Bay, and he insisted he was finished five months ago after leaving the Jets. Even he knows his gut feeling can't be trusted right now. "Very unlikely,'' he said. "I really believe this is it. I truly, truly believe it's over. But if someone calls Nov. 1, who knows?''

Dear God. Here's what he's really saying:

(1) I'm old;
(2) I'm spoiled;
(3) Playing football is hard, especially when the fans are mean to you and the team you're on isn't that good and everyone doesn't cowtow to you;
(4) I'm not interested in participating in a training camp or really practicing at all, especially not for a full season; and
(5) After Tom Brady shredded his knee in the first game of the regular season last year, I realized I should have waited to demand to be traded, so I could have selected a better situation for myself.

Sigh...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Favre Tidbits

According to this article, John Elway had the same biceps-disfiguring surgery as Favre just had, before he and Terrell Davis led the Broncos to two Super Bowl victories. Crap. The toothy car salesman from the San Fernando Valley is also egging on Favre to return. Haven't you done enough, Elway?

Also, providing further fuel for the "Favre is really just in it for the money" theory, Favre has filmed a commercial for Sears, featuring him, wait for it, waffling over a purchase at Sears. Sigh. I guess it makes fun of him, so that's good. But the man has no shame. Or at least, he has no shame now, when he knows he's nearing the end of his commercial viability. How much do you want to bet that he gets fat, and then gets thin again and jumps on board with Marino's Nutrisystem ads?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Singularize me

How come people covering sports teams with plural team names reference the individual member of these teams in the plural? This happens all the time and it's always absurd.

Follow me. Let's take for example the White Sox. We know that Sox is just a fun spelling of Socks. The team name is undeniably referencing socks. When Mark Buehrle throws a perfect game, he is not the first White Sox to do so in 80 years. He is the first White Sock, or the first Member of the White Sox to do so. Definitely not the first White Sox.

I hear this garbage all the time on sports shows and every time it sounds awkward and you can tell that the speaker is forcing themselves to give the individual a plural reference. Whose terrible convention is this? I often take issue with public nomenclature and this particular form of usage really annoys me more than most. Webster's dictionary adds roughly 100 new words a year. It's not as though all these journalists really need to follow this ridiculous protocol(1). We can change this and let's start now.

Reason No. 5 Why Fantasy Sports Are Great: I played fantasy baseball this year for the first time. I drafted Mark Buehrle in the late rounds and he has been good even though he has few Ks and gives up HRs. I was home packing to move west yesterday, and I decided to watch the White Sox game because I had Buehrle going. That's the only reason. I watched the entire game yesterday. I would NEVER have done that without Fantasy. I saw a perfect game from start to finish with an amazing HR saving catch in the 9th that I dreamed about in Little League whenever I was in the outfield.

I'm working on a thesis that uses sex and sports to explain how fantasy is like alcohol. It's not finished, but here's the outline. Lots of people love having sex and lots of people love following sports. Now even though having sex is enjoyed by everyone, alcohol came along and aided the experience. It made people relax it and it made people's vision worse. It does innumerable things to catalyze the sexy time. It's come so far that most mates meet while drinking or have drinks on their first 2 dates. We drink to get in the mood and we drink to get others in the mood.

Now let's look back at sports. Most guys like sports. We enjoy following sports. Now here comes along fantasy. And it allows guys to have more reasons and more opportunities to enjoy sports. It brings more people in. It gives me a reason to send an email to AJ. It makes us watch. It also gets the ladies more willing. I date a girl that has been playing fantasy football for 2 years now and she has done so on her own volition. She will rootlikeHELL against the opposing players if they touch the ball. She won't watch all the games, but she will check the scores. She has dipped her toe in the water. Fantasy has given her a reason to get in the pool, she can outdraft her boss and beat him on Sunday. The girls want it the boys want it. Fantasy is the sizzurp of sports.


(1) I'm not actually sure what the defense for this pluralization of the singular is, but I'm sure it's out there and I'm referring to whatever it is as "protocol"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jackie I: Freed!

Unsurprisingly, Jack Ikegwuonu joins his brother Bill in being acquitted on the ridiculous "burglary" charges the Dekalb County State's Attorney's Office charged them with. Again, they were found in a townhouse that Bill's friend was renting, allegedly holding an XBox, by Bill's friend's roommate, who was drunk and freaked out, and they ran off. That's the worst case scenario of what occurred. The Ikegwuonus said that they had plans to meet up with Bill's friend and saw a light on inside, so they went in. In any event, this seems like typical college male stupidity. Did you ever borrow anything from a friend's apartment or dorm room without asking? Probably. Did you get charged with burglary? Uhh, no.

I hate to say it, but throwing the book at two African-American scholarship football players in this sort of questionable circumstance reeks of overreaction. But why? Did Dekalb State's Attorney John Farrell think it'd be good press to persecute (not prosecute) two out of state black college students by charging them with a felony? (To be fair, Ron Matekaitis, now--horrifyingly-- a judge, was State's Attorney at the time of the brothers were charged.) Did he not want to look soft on athletes in a college town like Dekalb? Did he have something against guys with African last names? Who knows. What I do know is they should have offered some deferred prosecution agreement, like Madison has, where the charges should have been dropped in exchange for community service. And they certainly never should have charged the Ikegwuonus with a felony. Jesus. A conviction would have ruined these guys' lives. Ridiculous.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Change?

I'm pretty sure that this article means that Barry has changed the person in the UW athletic department who oversees ticket sales. (I believe that Vince Sweeney used to be in charge, and at the bottom of that portion of the article it says he's moved on to a different position.) If that's the case, hallelujah. Time for some new blood in there to shake up the policies, especially, as has been oft-noted here, those regulating student tickets.

If they're looking for some new ideas, take a look at those proposed in the post by the oddly named "LynxRufus" (down toward the end of the page) here. Those all make sense to me.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Theory

So. Before the '07 football season, you know, the season where Favre played like a rock star (except for any game with inclement weather), and was runner-up in the NFL MVP voting (only because one smart ass sportswriter decided to protest the deserved Tom Brady unanimity), he apparently spent the off-season working with a personal trainer. I believe this was a personal trainer the Packers paid for, whom they sent down to Mississippi to live with Favre and hound him on a daily basis. Allegedly, he then came into training camp "in the best shape of his life."

Then, before the '08 season, he seemed to spend most of his free time sending vague texts to Peter King and Chris Mortenson, and then occasionally worked out with a local high school team. He then played decently before getting injured and stinking up the joint the back third of the season, blowing the Jets' playoff chances.

And now, before the '09 season, the one where he wants to, allegedly, sign with the Vikings, make them into legitimate Super Bowl contenders, and shove his Peter Panology down Ted Thompson's throat ("Hey, Ted: Fame! I'm gonna live forever!"), he's . . . occasionally working out with a local high school team again. In cargo shorts. And he's another year older, and coming off shoulder surgery. On his throwing arm. Hmmm . . .

Monday, July 06, 2009

Whither Student Tickets?

So the Wisconsin State Journal's sports editors have finally caught onto the fact that something is amiss with Wisconsin's student ticket policies. This dawning realization led to this article, with its implied criticism of students who buy football season tickets and then immediately turn around and scalp them. My thoughts on that extremely common phenomenon are as follows.

First, there's the general and irrefutable truth that every year, at least some students are going to try to resell their student tickets. They're in college, they need money, standing for three hours in tiring, sobering up in the middle of the day isn't pleasant, all the games are on TV anyway, Wisconsin v. Wofford isn't particularly compelling, etc. So I don't begrudge kids' efforts to resell tickets and make some money. Indeed, I've bought scalped student tickets on several different occasions myself. (I do, however, begrudge the idiot student in the article who insisted that he isn't being "selfish" by buying tickets and then immediately scalping them. Dude, you're doing this to make money for yourself, and in doing so, making some other fan (like the incoming freshman mentioned in the article), pay more for tickets. That's selfish. Get a dictionary. And it's okay-- capitalism is based on selfishness. Just embrace it, you coward.)

Anyway, given that fact, the question is what to do about it. It seems to me, that the university currently has policies that tacitly encourage scalping, and I'm talking about the way that they allocate tickets and how they admit "students" to Camp Randall. In regard to allocation, until this past month, the university had a pure lottery for tickets. This year, they changed the policy to a first come, first served sale, but held the sale online at 8 am on a weekday-- not the most convenient time for students who have summer jobs. (The system didn't work particularly well as the University apparently cheaped out with their contract with Ticketmaster, but that's another matter.) In any event, neither method of allocation works that well. If you want to discourage scalping, you need to make getting tickets kind of a pain in the ass-- making people who want them do something a bit difficult, like wait in line for a long time. Certainly, making people sit in front of their computers for an hour is more difficult then just having them submit their names to a lottery, but they're still making it far too easy for the commercially-minded to buy tickets.

Second, I have never understood how anyone can walk up to the student gates, submit a voucher, get a ticket and waddle into the student section without any proof that that person is actually a student. Hell, an eighty-three-year-old who doesn't speak English can use a "student" voucher. It's ridiculous. Because of this complete lack of verification that the users of student vouchers are in fact students, the resale market for scalped student tickets is unlimited. If the UW did what other schools do without too much hassle, that is, simply ask for student IDs along with a voucher, the market for scalped vouchers would be halved, at least. Apparently spending three seconds to glance at a student ID is too much to ask of the ticket takers though. Sigh.

I'll make it plain-- in combination with the documented neutering of the "Grateful Red"-- it's clear that whoever runs UW's student ticket program for the major sports is doing a piss-poor job. Folks, this is a down economy. People are scrambling for work, the state (like most states) has serious budget problems, the university is looking to save money-- how about firing whatever half-assed, uncreative, and overpaid simpleton is handling student ticket policies? I'm guessing you could hire some young turk with fresh ideas to replace that person at 60% of the cost. Maybe a recent graduate of UW's MBA program? Hell, they could have a competition for that job among second year MBA students, with applicants needing to submit proposals to revamp the system. But that would be far too fun and unorthodox for the athletic department under Barry's reign.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Anatomy 101

The biceps muscle of the arm (the hamstring is also a biceps) is called this because it has two muscle bellies. At the shoulder there are two places that the biceps inserts into the scapula. The two bellies merge and form one attachment below the elbow. This makes the biceps a "two-joint" muscle. As we all know, it flexes the forearm, but it also helps in flexing the arm at the shoulder (raising the arm in front of you). The tendon that Farve had released was likely the long tendon that attaches at the front of the shoulder. He will still be able to raise his arm becuase he still has his deltoid and the 4 rotator cuff muscles to help with this. His other tendon at the shoulder is also probably intact, and the insertion below the elbow (the one primarily responsible for showing your guns) is definitely intact, otherwise Mr. Favre would not be throwing a ball any time soon.

Basically, his throwing motion should not be greatly impacted, nor should the power behind his throws, which comes primarily from his legs and core. Releasing that tendon will serve to relieve the pain he felt in his shoulder that limited the amount of torque he could apply with each throw. The risk to him is that his shoulder will be less stable without that attachment and could and likely will eventually lead to rotator cuff problems.

As for hoping that Stan Van Gundy would out coach Phil Jackson...one listen to his pep-talks during time-outs should clue you in to his coaching deficiencies.

I agree with the Kobe-face moratorium. However, I like to think of it as the "Angry Wallace Face", (referencing Wallace and Gromit).



Monday, June 08, 2009

I Need a Consult

I am definitely not a doctor. And one reason I know this, besides my failure to take any science classes in college or spend four years of my life in medical school (though if I had to go, I'd choose this one: Dominica is phenomenal), is that I am befuddled by the descriptions of Favre's recent shoulder surgery. That is, the procedure doesn't make sense to me, and I don't see how it's going to allow Favre to be a decent quarterback.

Getting into specifics now, apparently the reason Favre was gargling raw sewage for the last third of the '08 season was that he partially tore the bicep tendon in his throwing arm. That is, he partially tore the portion of his biceps muscle that connected it (I believe) to his shoulder bone. As you would think, this injury hurt and made Favre less effective as a quarterback. That much seems straightforward. So one would think that the solution to this injury would either be physical therapy, to help the tendon heal up on its own, or surgery where doctors would stitch up the tendon and reattach it to the shoulder. However, early reports said that Favre wasn't interested in that type of surgery, as it would be quite invasive and the rehab would be too arduous and lengthy. All this makes sense to me.

But then this weird second option emerged--- instead of having the partially torn tendon fixed, Favre could just have it completely severed. And this, it seems, would alleviate the pain he'd have in his shoulder and allow him to throw the ball at "100%" again while also allowing for a far simpler surgery and quicker recovery. So Favre consulted with the doctor in Alabama everyone talks with (Why is the nation's most preeminent sports orthopedic surgeon living in Alabama by the way? Low malpractice insurance rates?) and now news reports have surfaced that he apparently had the surgery done last month. (I guess Favre's entourage got nervous after more than 8 days passed without some useless, anonymous bit of Favre news leaking out.)

But I still don't understand how this is going to work. I mean, Favre now has a completely unattached biceps in his throwing arm. First off, how does he bend his arm up? Are there other, smaller muscles that get used? And second, in the football world, you'd think that not having a funcational biceps in his throwing arm would, at the least, make that arm a lot weaker than it was before. When one winds up to throw, you use your biceps, so I don't see how it wouldn't affect his throwing motion or accuracy. Plus, you especially rely on that muscle to secure the ball when you get tackled. So you'd think he might have increased problems with ball security. But this is all speculation. Really, I don't understand how this surgery "fixes" the problem or how it might impact Favre's abilities.

Can Papa Sal, the site's resident physician, provide some explanation?

p.s. I guess it was too much to hope that Stan Van Gundy would be able to top Phil Jackson in the NBA finals, eh? Also, Kobe's PR guys need to tell him to stop making that weasel/unrepetant rapist face.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Randomness

Mike Vick will be great in the wildcat. He was the wildcat before the league knew his phylum. 7 plays a game of hell to pay for the defense. I would love to have a green&gold Mike Vick beat Benedict Favre in the snow at Lambeau. He's done it before. He will be effective for someone in a limited role.

Also, I hope there aren't any people who object to him for moral reasons. Atleast any people who eat meat. Now, I don't condone his behavior and am glad our society prohibits it, but let's leave our EXPENSIVE jails for criminals who are threats to society. Mike Vick has paid a tremendous price for thinking that dog-fighting was normal behavior. Time to move on.

TO got the key to the city of Buffalo yesterday. That is so pathetic. So pathetic. Buffalo looks like the downtrodden loser who just spent his life savings on a pair of diamond earrings for the fickle, bitchy, self-absorbed and aging girl who just moved into town after being discarded by men in other cities. The girl also fumbles balls and cries a lot. Buffalo.

On second thought, this might be totally acceptable behavior from Buffalo considering that they are in mortal fear of LOSING THEIR NFL TEAM. That is a seriously bad outcome. I suppose Buffalo fans that have to be self-conscious because of a Canadian city (read that again) have good reason to delude themselves so thoroughly. Take the key TO! Our doors are open to you! Did you see him! That's the real TO!

What spectral plane does Geno Malkin see light through? He makes passes that my brain can't process quickly. When he skates through the neutral zone he does so with such fluidity that he appears to be kayaking. He can skate into the offensive zone while stick handling every time. Crosby and Malkin on Versus! Making the NBA unwatchable this year. 






Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Oh its comin'



I can't wrap my brain around this. It hurts me on my insides. I can't not root for Favre. He's my hero and my favorite player of any sport of all time (Close second- Tracey Webster). I didn't care what happened to him on the Jets. I mean I didn't want him to get hurt. I loved touchdowns and liked the interceptions. I didn't have to worry about him hurting the Packers at least. Some said that it finally allowed them to fully enjoy his game. I agreed. I felt like I was moving on. In the back of my head knowing, that soon, he would be released, and available to the dirtdome trashtown scumcolored boatpirate waitressmolesters.
Now I have a choice to make. And it will get less and less difficult to make as the season nears and as footage of Favre throwing out routes to Bobby Wade start flyin around. I'm gonna want to see him get fucking body slammed. Period. Screw this shit.
Because he'll be good. He's still great!! He's a top 10 qb easy. He was hurt for half of the season last year. Torn throwing biceps tendon. Before that he was going to the probowl. A week ago, I texted my viking buddy that he was coming, and he asked me, "do we want him?". HILARIOUS. That's the worst part; he'll go up there and be awesome. Visanthe Shianco will go to the probowl, and Purple Jesus will gang rape gang tacklers. This is NOT a good thing. Sentimentality aside, this could keep us out of the playoffs. Or have us playing against Favre in the dome. Which would actually be the easiest draw in the playoffs come to think of it. Yeah he's got to get through the year. But he's definitely, I GUARANTEE, suiting up against us twice.
I hope he gets fucking body slammed. I hope he gets absolutely body slammed. What would be a good injury? Broken collarbone. Painful, but healable.


Top 10 Worst things about Favre playing for the vikings

1. Adrian Peterson.

2. It'll be for 2 years.

3. Purple 4 jerseys.

4. Whiney Viking fans that hold a grudge and wont have the class to appreciate a
real legend.

5. There will be at least one suicide in Wisconsin (actually hilarious).

6. Watching him get hurt.

7. "Zygi" Wilf's pronunciation of Favre. Faaf. I'm guessing.

8. The gay comrodery shit that he'll try and pull to undo the image he had in NY
as someone that wasn't a team guy. Starring Jared Alan as, Mark Chmura/white
gorilla.

9. Having cable.

10. Idiot packer fans that will blame Ted Thompson.



Top 10 best things about Favre playing for the vikings

1. Brad Childress will keep his job.

2. Hopefully Ted Thompson's vindication.

3. Watching Raji swallow him like a chicken.

4. Favre shitting on the bears still.

5. Charles Woodson owning his tired ass arm.

6. The horn operator will be totally confused.

7. Getting him back out in the cold in the playoffs.

8. Watching him under throw Bernard Berrian.

9. Favre getting confused by our 3-4.

10. Aaron Rodgers.

I'm over it. Get body slammed, old man. Lets do this.

G B P

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Neat Look Inside Tryout Process

So the Washington Post followed a University of Maryland senior, offensive lineman Dane Randolph, through his tryout (and eventual signing) with the Packers. Of course, Randolph faces seriously long odds in making the Packers regular season roster, but the story's a neat look inside the tryout process, and a decent read for the fellow football-starved. See here.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Kevin Greene...

is hilarious. But I don't think his line about concussions is a joke.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Feel a Draft In Here

I enjoyed this draft immensely. The junction of college football and pro football (my two favorite spectator sports) is tons of funs to watch. The NFL will soon air the first round on its own night and then show round 2 and 3 the next night. And for good reason, because it's good football fun at the halfway-until-football-comes-back mark.

Now I'm not a paid NFL talent evaluator, but I thought several teams did well. I will start with the ACME Meat Employees.

I wanted Raji a month ago. Of all weakness, I hate to be run on the most. Getting the biggest fattest guy in the draft was my hope. I am glad to have had the choice and I am glad we selected him. Give me D-line depth please. He was the consensus #1 D-Linemen. Ours. Minnesota has led the lead in rushing D for 3 years because they have 2 huge fat guys. It's not even disputed. Glad to have a highly rated fat guy.

When the jingle came on and I heard (of all things!) the Packers traded up I was all aflutter.

The Packers select Clay Matthews
Warrior of Troy
Son of Clay, and Clay before him
Nephew to Bruce Matthews, Master of Durability

Needless to say, I love this pick. He plays like a downhill long jump skier, with a forward lean. We need a blitz/cover OLB and we TRADED up to get him. With our first 2 picks we filled 2 major holes. The defense became so much easier to envision in 2 hours. Matthews as weak OLB, opposite of Kampman playing over the tight end. Hawk and Nick in the middle. Viola. Raji, Pickett, Jenkins, Jolly, Harrell. On the line. I like it.

Then in later rounds we get bigger. Big strong tackle, and then we sneak up and get another big tackle. Big FB to lead Block. Then a D-Line pick.

I also like the Underwood pick. Underwood was on his way to being a stud at Ohio State, but he flunked out. That's what we need is guys who are too dumb to stay at Ohio State. That's talent.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank Goodness

The UW athletic department finally gives in--- and scraps the stupid student ticket lottery. Although it's only for football, sadly. Now tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis, but done online only. I guess the embarrassment of a 70% empty student section at the start of every game, even for night games against decent opponents, was enough to shame them into action.

Hopefully, this change will lead to more kids who actually want to go to the games getting tickets, and thus there being more kids in the seats and more intensity from the student section during games, resulting in a better, more intimidating home environment. Okay, maybe it won't be a sea change. But it's got to help. And the kids who keep getting shut out of the lottery will finally have some recourse.

The policy change will also likely mean that for fans looking to buy a scalped student ticket every once in a while, like myself, prices will be a bit higher. But don't worry, the online sales method ensures that people who aren't really interested in going to the games will still try to buy season tickets just to resell them. We couldn't have kids camping out or anything, could we? Nooooo, never. That'd be way too much fun.

Dean Wormer said it best: "No more fun of any kind!"

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Draftiness

What a wild moment with Michael friggin' Crabtree and BJ Raji still on the board, eh? Fun stuff. I kind of wanted Crabtree, thinking about him on one side and Jennings on the other for the next six years, but Raji makes far more sense. Honestly, I think drafting another wideout would have forced the Packers to make a losing trade of either Driver, Jones or Jordy Nelson, and probably would have ruffled Jennings' feathers in a serious manner-- not good given the team and his agent are in the middle of contract negotiations. Plus, I read somewhere that Jennings and Crabtree have the same agent. What weirdness that would be. Finally, if the team drafted Crabtree and reupped Jennings, that would be devoting a ton of money to the two players at the same position. Kind of a weird scenario.

My main concerns with Raji were (after reading far too many comments from Greg Bedard over at the Journal-Sentinel's Packer blog) (1) I was skeptical that he'd make a good 3-4 nose tackle, and was more suited to be a run stopped in a 4-3 front, and (2) the general fact that defensive tackles have a pretty high bust rate. (Ahem.) But he was the consensus top defensive tackle in the draft, and the Packers d-line totally let them down last season. Plus, that for someone who loathes Notre Dame, that remarkable highlight against the Irish is about the funniest thing ever.

The Clay Matthews pick is fascinating. First, there's just him as a player-- three immediate relatives were great NFL players, a walk-on at USC, redshirting, kicking ass on special teams, growing taller and gaining a ton of good weight, earning a schollie and then turning into a stud in his last season. Yeah, and he graduated with an International Relations degree four months ago. Whoa. His tapes make him look pretty relentless, with fine change of direction, and good ability to flight off blocks-- a big weakness for the team's current crop of linebackers. I suppose he's someone who could eventually supplant Poppinga, or replace Kampman after this next season, if the plan to move him to an LB position doesn't work out. Cool stuff.

My enthusiasm for the pick is tempered by the opinion of a close friend who covers USC football as a beat writer for a SoCal paper. He didn't trust Matthews, in large part, because of his lack of experience (he only started about 80% of one season), and because of his sudden weight gain-- something like 20 pounds of muscle in about a year. Of course, the three top notch USC linebackers were drafted in the exact opposite order of how he thought they should have gone-- since he also thought Cushing was injury prone, dumb, and on a Bill Romanowski like regime of performance-enhancing substances.

Then there's the cost of the Matthews pick-- both third round picks and the team's second rounder. Pretty damn steep. And when you hear it's the Pats on the other side-- well, you have to think your guys have been hood-winked. Hell, even Thompson said the way things worked out on the draft value chart weren't "great." But two things make me okay with it. First off, Thompson (and some other folks) seem to believe that the Packers have a pretty solid core, and don't have a ton of holes. (Whether this is an accurate view is something to be debated.) Second, there was the cacophony of opinions that this was a historically weak draft. If that's the case, and Matthews, as Thompson said, was a guy they had been talking about for weeks and thinking of ways to acquire, then I applaud their decision. Seriously. When confronted with a weak draft, moving up and sacrificing quantity for quality makes sense. What good are three picks in a crappy draft? How do they compare to one pick for a guy that you viewed as a legitimate talent and have been targeting and thinking about for weeks? Makes good sense to me. Of course, history will be the ultimate judge. It's quite likely some guys taken after Matthews or when the Packers would have picked in the second and third round will turn out to be excellent players.

But in defense of my theory, this morning, after taking a hard look at the guys available, the Pats went out and traded away two of their third round picks, for two second round picks next year. Maybe this draft is weak, and the Matthews trade did make sense, eh?

Friday, April 24, 2009

If this is true...

then the DeKalb County State's Attorney is a colossal jackass. Yeah, I'm talking about the almost never-ending saga that is criminal case against former Wisconsin cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and his brother Bill. Bill was tried separately this week, and acquitted. See here. Ha.

Given the facts laid out by the article, which I'm assuming tracks the evidence presented by both sides at trial, this whole thing should never have gotten to the point of felony charges. Bill's roommate was friends with the victim's roommate, and the two Ikegwuonu's went over there thinking there was a party. They let themselves in, and when the victim came home he saw the two of them in there and freaked out, and they ran off. After talking to his roommate and Bill's roommate, the "victim" tried to get the charges dropped, going to see the police, writing a letter, and calling the prosecutors. All to no avail. The "victim" actually testified in Bill's defense. This is a ridiculous overreaction by the State's attorneys, who were probably trying to show "how tough" they were by throwing the book at an NIU football player. They should be embarrassed. They nearly ruined Jack's career with this crap, and have ruined Bill's college career. He was playing for Northern Illinois at the time, but was suspended from school, and I doubt he managed to graduate after getting mired in this garbage.

And Jack is still set to go to trial the first week of May. What a load. Drop the charges already, you total nitwits.
Here's another article about the trial from the Dekalb daily paper. See the comments below the article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hope against Hope

I am holding out hope, my fingers tightly crossed, that the Packers will be in position to use the ninth overall pick to draft this guy:


I'm not joking.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Draft in the Attic

Momentous events, like the signing of ex-Steeler safety Anthony Smith, the tendering of Atari "Sega" Bigby, and, yes, the blockbuster trade of triple J, aka JJ Jansen Golden Domer long-snapper extraordinaire, have passed without comment on this website. For that, I apologize fecitiously. I do somewhat regret letting the UW Spring Game and the build up to the NFL Draft (the best "watch while lifting weights" sporting event ever) go by without comment. But, what can you do? Life jumps up on you like a drooling, overeager Neapolitan Mastiff, and certain things fall by the wayside.

Anyhow, I'll try to make up for the hiatus by starting some discussion on the Spring Game, the general state of the UW football program and the NFL Draft over the next few weeks. I suppose I'll begin by being lazy and sharing what I'm reading and enjoying, these days.

To begin, I found this "scout's take" on the Packers and their draft needs, as related by Bob McGinn, to be quite fascinating. Whoever McGinn talked to didn't see a lot of holes in the team, which is encouraging. But at the same time, although this might not have been what McGinn asked him to do, he didn't ladle out strong praise for any Packer players. That seems to be the problem with this team. Solid, but lacking in the star/difference-maker department. Or maybe I'm wrong and Woodson, Collins, and Jennings are all legitimate stars, and A-Rodg is on his way? Hmmm.

I also stumbled across this fascinating piece in Football Outsiders, doing a full-on rehashing of the '03 draft, six years down the road. That was the draft where the Packers tabbed Nick Barnett at the end of the first round. Although they misstate Barnett's accomplishments slightly (he was not a Pro Bowl alternate this past season), they seem to think that the choice was a solid one. They also liked the Javon Walker pick in the '02 draft. I guess Sherman's picks weren't always so bad, eh? Anyhow, the analysis suffers a bit by only doing comparisons of picks within each position-- thus concluding that Barnett was a good pick for '03 linebackers, and Walker was the best of the '02 receiver class. A more critical look might redo the entire draft based on actual contributions, or, more harshly, show which players your team could have had at their spots instead of the guys they took. For example, instead of Barnett, Sherman could have drafted the league's current top corner Nnamdi Asomugha, current top tight end Jason Witten, or the agitating but fabulous wideout Anquan Boldin. Or, hell, even repeat Pro Bowl LB Lance "Rance" Briggs. (It looks like FO thinks Barnett's career has topped Rance's. I don't buy that one.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A PACKER FAN IS BORN

Camp Lambeau Loyalists and human being fans across the land, let it be known that at 9:28 pm on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, Dashiell Adrian Gansner was brought into this world screaming about the Minnesota Vikings awful uniforms. For the record, he is 7 lbs. 15 oz., and has small birthmarks shaped like the Vince Lombardi trophy on both bisceps.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Man. We are proud of you, we love you, and are thankful for the new addition. He is chosen. DA DA DEE DA NAH NAH NAH GO PACK GO!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ah, #&$%#%@!

The Sid Luckman era may have finally come to an end. The only way this trade flops for the Bears is if Jerry Angelo would have spent both of the teams ' '09 and '10 picks on defensive players.

A-Rodg may be back to being the second best quarterback in the division.

Two Outbreaks of Total Hilarity

Hilarious story number one: Are you kidding me? That would be sooooo appropriate.

Hilarious and awesome story number two: Nick Barnett rules. Now go sign Kevin Carter already.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Perhaps, Appropriate

Well, Wisconsin gave it a ride. They were there for quite a while, but eventually the X-Men were just a little too much. Too much sizeable strength in the front court, too much strong cleaning of the defensive glass, too many well contested shots.

This game was a bit of the microcosm of the issues with this year's team, honestly. When Leuer and Nankivil were playing decently, the team was right in the thick of things. When they started fouling (Leuer), and bricking decent shot after shot in the post (Nankivil), and blowing defensive assignments (both, but most plainly Nankivil on that wide open dunk), things broke down. Pop and Landry kept them in it for a bit, with Hughes drawing fouls, and Marcus scoring on some nice post moves, but Xavier adjusted on Landry, Pop stopped getting the calls and couldn't really convert on most of his shots. Thus, the offense dried up, the lead evaporated, and the season trickled to an end.

In order to beat better teams this year, and there's no doubt in my mind that Xavier was a slightly better team, UW either needed a great team effort, or for someone to be on fire. When the production from your five spot is poor, when you don't have anyone hitting their shots (like Bohannon was against FSU in the second half), when your team's heart and best rebounder (Krabby) is hampered by fouls the entire game and you're playing against a big team with excellent rebounders, well, that's a sure recipe for a loss. Thus, this loss highlighted the issues with this team once more:
- The lack of quality depth.
- The lack of a go-to scorer on offense.
- The revolving door at the third frontcourt spot.
- The lack of physicality, athleticism and size up front.

So they went out like they played. They were who we thought they were, to paraphrase Denny Green. The failure of JP Gavinski to develop in his third year in the program and provide the team with a serviceable big guy, the failure to land a true impact player in the last few years of recruiting, the lack of depth due to the impatience of guys like Mickey Perry (who certainly would have played just about as much on this year's team as he did for Dayton--- 14 minutes a game), Leuer and Nankivil's slow grasping of the team's defensive principles, the bill on all of this stuff came due, again. Of course, there was a big positive in this game-- except for some loosening down the stretch, they held a pretty darn good Xavier team to less than 40% from the field. That's solid defense any way you slice it, and bodes well for the future, especially since Krabby was on the bench for a fair amount of the game.

It was nice to see Landry have a solid game in his last college outing-- stepping up on the boards and getting a double-double. He's had some serious times in Madison, and seems to have matured immensely. He will be missed. Good luck to him and his family.

I felt the worst for Krabby-- no points, just a few rebounds, fouling out, and (worst of all for him) going out with a loss. But remember Joe, unless you play in the Ivy League, or win the Tourney, the NIT, or that other weird tournament, every squad ends the season on the right hand side. Good luck to Krabby, as well.

More forward-looking thoughts later on this week.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

YYYYYYESS!... YEAH.


Much needed.
That game was the exact opposite of every big game that the Badgers had played all season. Slow start; two come backs from 7 or more down; clutch shooting and rebounding; effective substitutions; great play calling and execution at the end of the game and in over time; and most importantly a FINISH.

A couple observations:

I felt like FSU's fatal mistake was not maintaining their defensive intensity in the second half. This might have been due to an active offense that frankly tired them out by the end. Maybe that was why we got as many open threes as we did. Or maybe it was because we were bombing from 40 feet.

Jason Bohannon's clutch 3's were not only huge tonight, but they are huge for next year. He seemed to be battling on and off with confidence problems all season. Can't think of a better time to get over those.

Being the 12 seed was nice. It sounded like we were getting the support of the neutral fans that were there. It helped late.

We should've won in regulation. Douglas fell. That was a horrible call.

Keaton Nankivil was the only thing that could've happened to that game. He has a certain switch that I haven't seen since Ty Calderwood. Yeah, I just said that. When he's hot he needs to be shooting everything. He's legit. I eat my words in regards to Keaton Nankivil. I love Keaton Nankivil. Too bad he didn't touch the court for the last 3 weeks of the season (including 0 minutes in the Big Ten Tourney match-up w/ Ohio St.).

Bo's clearout for Hughes after Douglas' 3, when he shuffled the ball down to Taylor to get within 1, was an odd play. It looked like poor communication by FSU. Nonetheless, Bo made his time-outs count down the stretch. The execution was refreshing.

Lastly,

Not to be hack about the apparent lack of emphasis put on academics at Florida State University, but did you pay attention to the majors on some of their players? There were several good ones, but the best belonged to Jordan Demercy, who is getting his degree in "Recreation and Leisure administration". Might as well say water park techniciary. Gorgeous. Two losses to FSU in one year would've been rough.

Bring on the Jesuits!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA

We are here, We are gears, get used to it. 

Where the hell can I go on the internet to get some good ole fashioned homer journalism? Everybody is down on the Badgers. I love this #12 seed. On Selection Sunday I was nervous after the first two regions went by. Then we got the #12 and that meant we almost missed the tourney.

But hi ho! We made it and we get an ACC team. Fine by me as long as its not the big 2. This feels like an 8-9 matchup to me except that if we win we get the #4 not the #1. So I'm excited and I think we can play.

Everybody seems convinced we're gonna take it on the chin. But I don't. (what, that isn't enough for you?) Okay also Vegas doesn't. We're 2.5 point dogs. That means it's even almost and I can see why. We may be unclutch, but we're sticky. I think we can easily stick with these guys and hopefully shut them down.

Anyway, I'll have some rose colored glasses analysis for you tomorrow. 

Pick Your First Day Upsets

Since I'm trying to ignore the fact that in about 36 hours, Wisconsin will likely cement its bizarrely frustrating season by getting at least five shots blocked against Florida State, taking more three pointers than foul shots, and losing by double digits, I'm going to focus on today, and living in the now. And thus, I'm setting my sights on enjoying the spectacle that is the tournament, and have decided to make a list of today's likely upsets:

- Western K-Tuck over Illinois. Why? Because I'd really like it to happen. No seriously, Westbound K-Tuck has some good perimeter guys named Sergio and Orlando (hot-blooded, fiery Latins, no doubt), and uh, ahh hell. Western K-Tuck can't really play defense (as per Pomeroy), and is likely going to lose by ten points. Honestly, I'd just really like to see this upset happen, and I think Illinois was overseeded. Pomeroy has Illinois's odds of winning at 83%, though I'm given hope by the fact they're down senior leader and solid defender/ballhandler Chester Frazier. I'm getting psyched for fabulous Orlando to do some tooling of Michael Jordan's kid.

- Conversely, I like Michigan over Clemson. Clemson is certainly deeper, but Michigan's zone is kind of weird, and they have a bunch of hyper-motivated senior guards who are decent outside shooters-- exactly the kind of guys the tournament is made for. Seriously now, Clemson isn't all that big, and it's teams with size inside that have really bedeviled the Wolverines.

- Finally, I like ten seed Maryland over Cal. Why? Well, I did just read that series on Maryland coach Gary Williams, and now have come around to the turtle. But seriously, they start a kid named Greveis, who is actually really good. Isn't that the name of a general from one of the awful new Star Wars movies? Plus, the Turtle just beat NC State, Wake Forest, and gave Duke a hard run. Also, the kids at Cal are clearly dirty hippies. I mean, that's just a given.

Anyhow, enjoy the first day of the Madness, my friends. Yee haw.