Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mike Leach Fired by Texas Tech

Well, he went to court today seeking an injunction that would allow him to coach the Red Raiders in the Alamo Bowl, but instead Mike Leach got the pink slip.

Tech officials handed his lawyer a notification of his firing 'with cause' before either side could enter the courtroom.

This story has an unusual Indiana connection, because Texas Tech gave Bobby Knight his second chance to coach after all of the goings-on at IU, yet canned Leach, the most successful coach in program history with an 84-43 record, after just one incident. Plus, the two kind of resemble each other, no?

CNNSI's Stewart Mandel has a great indepth piece here.

And yes, you can add another name to the list of people I'd love to see (A) as IU's next football coach or (B) as the Bears offensive coordinator! How sweet would that be? You think he couldn't work magic with Cutler and the undersized Bears receivers, not to mention a running back who is money catching the ball out of the backfield?

Anyway, just a thought.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Maurice Creek Out for Season


That pretty much describes the scene in Bloomington last night after Indiana's leading scorer (and the top freshman scorer in the country!) went down with what was later diagnosed as a broken knee.

Yeah, Maurice Creek is done for the season. IU was up 57-23 when he got fouled on a layup attempt and landed awkwardly.

It's really a shame because he was having one hell of a season so far, averaging over seventeen points a game including the 31-point outburst that kept Indiana alive against Kentucky.

More on this later, but I just wanted to get the news out there and get myself off of the writer's block that's been holding me down since two weeks ago.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Downfall of Notre Dame

I came across this article today. It does a really nice job of summarizing the downfall of Notre Dame. The nice thing about it is it requires minimal reading as it is pretty self explanatory. I'd suggest taking a look!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bear Fans United

Basically, what I am writing about today is a newly formed organization called Bear Fans United. Bear Fans United is asking Bear fans to donate money in order to put up a bill board and take out full page ads in both the Tribune and Sun-Times asking that the McCaskeys fire Lovie, Angelo, and even Phillips. This is a legit organization, and tomorrow's story from David Haugh of the Tribune is going to mention the organization:

"Whatever happens in the next two weeks, the anti-Lovie Smith brigade has mobilized, even if reported Friday night that Smith will return for a seventh season regardless of the final three games. They are raising funds online for billboards and newspaper ads urging the Bears to clean house. They are organizing anti-Lovie protests, like the guy who sat in a lawn chair along 1000 Football Drive for hours last Wednesday holding up a sign that said, "SOS.""

So, I thought I'd just mention this in case anyone was interested. I am unable to donate money as I'm basically broker than a joke. Anywho, the website is: (Notice it says BEAR not BEARS). Donations will go towards bringing in da chin!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Big Ten Trivia

I heard an intresting statement today while watching this on Did you know that every Big 10 school has won atleast 1 National champisonsip in at least 1 NCAA sponsored sport over the last 11 years? So I am trying to think of the title for each school. My Answers in the comments, and I will post the answer later in the week.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bengals' Chris Henry In Fatal Wreck

Chris Henry was in a fatal Car Crash today on his way home from visiting his fiance in Charlotte. That's sad. The guy had a ton of talent but just seemed like he was too troubled to ever get together. I pray for his family and fiance.

On a related side note, and in all respects to the Henry family, you will notice that we here at Arm Chair Superstar have reported his death before ESPN. However, I don't mean to cheapen his death. I hope the Henry family the best in getting through this horrible tragedy.

UPDATE: Apparently, he was in a fight with his fiance and jumped into the bed of her pickup truck as she was driving away from her house. Only to later be thrown out of the truck.

UPDATE: CBS apparently lied to me. And ESPN was right, in this case it was for the better. Henry is currently still alive.

SN UPDATE: Chris Henry was pronouced dead at 6:30 am Thursday Morning after falling out of the back of the pick up truck after a domestic dispute. Chris Henry was 26.

Back From Hawai’i

As you might have notice, I kind of disappeared from writing for almost 3 weeks. The reason, I got married on November 28th, 2009. Fellow ACSS writers Fodor, Ryan, AJ, Shark Colin, Ben and Derek were all in attendance (we are one big family here after all) at probably the most fun day I can remember. After the wedding my Wife and I took our honeymoon in Hawai’i. So here are more sports related thoughts to Hawai’i.

Weird Game Times.

Hawai’i is currently 4 hours behind Chicago and 5 hours behind the Eastern time zone (Hawai’i is one of two states that no longer use DST so in the summer is 5 and 6 hours behind CST and EST respectively). Because of this, all of a sudden Monday Night Football starts at 3:30. 3:30! And it’s over by 6:45-7. Normally I am just finishing dinner by this point. Think if you work a 9-5 (not really common in Hawai’i but still) you’d miss half the game. Saying that, there is plenty to do in Hawai’i and the locals don’t seem to mind. Since I was out and about most of the day, I had to rely on Sportscenter (which I am sorry, has way to much analysis for me. I’d rather watch ESPNews and watch 25 mins of 1-2 minute highlights then a 30 second highlight and then 5 minutes of breakdown, yawn) to catch up on my sports.

The plus side of this odd time, when I woke up on Saturday morning at 7 o’clock local time, Cincinnati at Pittsburgh was already on. No waiting or watching pre game, just live football as soon as I am up. So that was cool.

Warriors Football

Wisconsin played at Hawai’i while I was out there and won 51-10. We were originally planning on leaving that night so were unable to go to the game. I would have loved to go and watch them do their pre game war dance (I still like to watch Colt do the Haka, but they retired it due it being deemed unsportsmanlike like and having the team receive a 15 yard penalty).

I used to wonder why Hawai’i would start it’s football games at night while they are already so far behind the rest of the country. Well, I found out the reason. Apparently it’s deemed too hot so they want to play night games when it is cooler. It does get warm in the sun, but nothing I don’t think football players can’t handle. Plus this would be an advantage to Hawai’i as they are used to the heat. The late starts is the reason I believe Colt Breenan did not win the Heisman 3 season ago (counting this one as over).

Pro Sports in Hawai’i.

I don’t think pro sports could work in Hawai’i. Honolulu is not a very large city (around 910K) but I think they could support a team. We have already discussed the issue with time, but the biggest problem with a pro team in Hawai’i is the nearest US State is a 4 hour plane flight away. The NFL teams complain about jet lag going to England, what would they say about going to Hawai’i. The travel would be too unbearable. I think Hawai’i’s best hope is to have events (like formerly the pro bowl) but will never have a 100% dedicated team.

Sports I Did.

Sports I participated in while in Hawai’i. I went surfing on the North Shore of Oahu, biked down a volcano and active volcano, went offroading in Kaua'i and Snorkeled (swimming) in a top 10 spot on the planet near Kona. Kona is also where the Ironman triathlon takes place.

The pier the NCL boat docks at is actually the same pier used for the start of the triathlon. I also played darts, but that doesn’t sound as cool as the other items on this list.

So that’s my sports takes on my trip to Hawai’i. It is one of the greatest places on earth and I hope everyone can get out there some time.

Chicago Athlete of the Year (Nominees)

Time of the year to do the fun lists like, Chicago athlete of the year, I have a few ideas of who I would put in the rankings, but before I release my pick, I want to hear what you out there think. Please let me know who I am forgetting and why they should be nominated.

Chicago Bears:

Lance Briggs: Took over as leader on Defense, likely only Pro Bowler from starting 22
Robbie Gould: Most accurate kicker in NFL through 13 weeks

Chicago Bulls:

Derrick Rose: 2009 ROY, NBA Rookie record for points in the first round playoff game.
Ben Gordon: Leading scorer on 2009 Bulls.

Chicago White Sox:
Mark Buehrle: Pitched a Perfect Game

Chicago Cubs:
Am Ram: Once he got went down, so did the Cubs

Chicago Blackhawks:
Patrick Kane: Hatrick in 2nd round of playoffs
Toews: Captain of the Western Conference runner up.

Chicago Fire

Jon Busch: Goal Keeper of the Year Runner Up
Cuauhtemoc Blanco: Best player on Semi-finalist team

I am debating about throwing in High School and Colleges (aka Depaul and Northwestern, U of I does not count) If you want to add some of them feel free.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big Ten To Explore Expansion

According to this article on, the Big Ten is exploring expansion options. Must have read my article.

[Add-on from MF: Stewart Mandel has his take up on, readable here. Important note: The negative effect adding a twelfth team would have on every school's shared revenue, as well as the probability of losing the 2nd BCS bid that the B10 has had 9 out of 12 years. And Mandel's pick for expansion target: Nebraska. I still think Mizzou fits better geographically, but no doubt the 'Huskers are much more prestigious in football history.]

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I don't normally read or enjoy Steve Rosenbloom, but he mined this gem today...
Former Packer and former Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung told the "Mully and Hanley’’ show on WSCR-AM 780 [actually, it's 670 - thanks Shark!] why he left Florida quarterback Tim Tebow off his Heisman ballot: "I wanted to vote for Tebow. I had for the last two years. He's a great kid, but I don't think you need to cry after a football game. That just killed me when I saw that."
Way to go, Tebow.

And just for the record, this is what a *real* Heisman Trophy winner looks like, apparently...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Ten Basketball Power Rankings

It may be early in the college basketball season, but the Big Ten pecking order has already begun to take shape. Star-laden Purdue is no surprise at the top of the rankings, but they are joined by a Wisconsin squad that is better than anyone expected, and Northwestern, after losing senior star Kevin Coble and sixth man Jeff Ryan for the season, has been impressive in victories over Notre Dame, Iowa State, and NC State.

The entire conference got a major prestige boost last week by winning the Big Ten/ACC Challenge 6 to 5, the Big Ten's first victory in the decade-old series. Wisconsin and Illinois clinched the win with inspiring efforts against Duke and Clemson.

These power rankings are based on the votes of seven Bleacher Report featured columnists. Thanks to Dan Karell, Tim Cary, Nick Mordowanec, Kevin Lindsey, Aaron Morse, and Jameson Fleming for contributing votes and commentary! If you are interested in voting, please send me a message.

Here are the rankings. Numbers in parentheses reflect a team's ranking in the B/R Top 25, Pomeroy Index rating (go to for more - a great site for basketball fans!), and record.

1. Purdue (#5 B/R, #8 Pomeroy, 7-0)

Mark Fodor: Purdue has lived up to the hype, with big wins against Tennessee and Wake Forest headlining an unbeaten start. An upcoming road game at Alabama is the Boilermakers' sole remaining test before the start of conference play, although West Virginia comes to West Lafayette on New Years Day for what should be a great matchup.

Veterans E'Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel and Chris Kramer have been playing together for years, and have their sights set on a Big Ten title.

2. Wisconsin (#21, #37, 6-1)

Nick Mordowanec: Wisconsin had a nice win against Duke in the Challenge, although I think the Blue Devils weren't that great to begin with.

MF: Predicted to finish ninth in the Big Ten before the season began, the Badgers have taught us all an important lesson; you can never count out a Bo Ryan team. Do-everything guard Jason Bohannon and senior Trevon Hughes have paced Wisconsin to a strong start including quality wins against Duke, Maryland, and Arizona.

3. Ohio State (#13, #6, 7-1)

MF: An upcoming road game against #20 Butler (Saturday, noon) will tell us exactly how much Thad Matta is going miss Evan Turner this season.

Kevin Lindsey: The loss of Turner to a broken back will undoubtedly hurt, but the Buckeyes stay high on the list as the cupboard in Columbus is not bare. Jon Diebler will lead the way, and three other players are averaging over ten points a game.

4. Michigan State (#11, #44, 7-2)

NM: The Spartans drop to number four after playing poorly against North Carolina.

MF: For a team that wants to return to the Final Four, Michigan State has not looked good early. Their best win was a close one against Gonzaga in East Lansing, and that young UNC team dominated most of the way against a more experienced Spartans squad.

5. Northwestern (#32, #77, 6-1)

MF: The Wildcats are the surprise of the Big Ten season in early play. After battling their way to an NIT berth last year, Northwestern expected to play well, led by star forward Kevin Coble. It didn't quite work out that way. Coble was lost to a season ending foot injury in practice, but the 'Cats haven't even thought about folding in his absence.

Senior point guard Michael "Juice" Thompson has stepped up big time, averaging over 17 points a game and pacing a feisty group of no-name Wildcats to a strong start including wins against three major-conference opponents and the Chicago Invitational Tournament title.

6. Illinois (#26, #75, 7-2)

KL: The Illini's 23 point comeback against Clemson in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge was epic and historic. Freshman D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul have shown maturity beyond their years.

MF: Despite an epic fail in the Las Vegas Invitational, where Illinois fell to Utah and Bradley, those freshman and double-double machine Mike Davis are giving this team some fight. Good size and a veteran point guard in Demetri McCamey make this a squad that will contend in Big Ten play.

7. Minnesota (#33, #12, 6-3)

KL: Nice comeback with a blowout of Brown at home. C Ralph Sampson III had his best game of the season, and Gophers fans hope it is a sign of good things to come.

MF: Tubby Smith's Minnesota squad may have been overhyped in the preseason, when they were ranked in the top 20. A win over Butler in the 76 Classic gives them an out of conference victory to hang their hats on, but their next three games against decent opponents (Portland, Texas A&M, Miami) resulted in losses.

With four in a row against soft opponents at home (starting with a win tonight against Morgan State), Minnesota has a good chance to get it together heading into conference play.

8. Penn State (N/R, #143, 6-3)

MF: Penn State and G Talor Battle finished last year with an NIT title. That's the bright side. They also lost a ton of scoring as seniors Jamelle Cornley, Stanley Pringle, and Danny Morrissey all graduated. That's the not-so-bright side. The result is a young team in flux. They did beat Virginia in the Challenge, but followed that victory up with a road loss at Temple in which they scored only 42 points.

The Nittany Lions will go exactly as far as Battle can carry them.

9. Michigan (N/R, #121, 4-3)

MF: The Wolverines were ranked #15 by ESPN in the preseason. Manny Harris is a great player, and Michigan has some good talent around him. But after a few early wins against weak opposition, Harris and Co. got crushed by Marquette in the Old Spice Classic, starting a three-game losing streak that included narrow losses to Alabama and Boston College.

They play Utah tomorrow, and go on the road to Lawrence, Kansas to face the nation's #1 team on Dec. 19. Utah is a must-win, and just avoiding a blowout against the potent Jayhawks may be a moral victory.

10. Indiana (N/R, #173, 4-4)

MF: Tom Crean's Hoosiers are stacked with young talent, and got a huge 74-64 win tonight against Pittsburgh in the Jimmy V Classic. Freshmen Christian Watford and Maurice Creek have legitimate major-conference skills, and junior Georgetown transfer Jeremiah Rivers looks like the real deal as a big, smart, physical point guard. Indiana also benefits from a deep bench - there are at least ten players who can contribute, and possibly more.

The key for them is going to be hanging tough both in games, where they tend to lose focus late, and in the lengthy conference season. Can Rivers and senior guard Devan Dumes emerge as vocal leaders for this team? If they can, and the young fellas can keep scoring, Indiana may surprise some people.

11. Iowa (N/R, #151, 3-6)

KL: The Hawkeyes haven't had two consecutive wins this season. They face both Northern Iowa and Iowa State this week.

MF: Iowa just got blown out by Northern Iowa 67-50. UNI is a good team, but you never want to lose state bragging rights to a directional school. On the upside, coach Todd Lickliter is out of the hospital after surgery yesterday. He might have wanted to stay in there, the way this team is playing. You can pencil in the Hawks for the #11 spot all season long.

There you have it. Thanks again to everybody that voted and sent in comments! We'll do it again before Christmas.

PS- Armchair Superstars - I would also love your votes in this... Snuffles, Ryan, Tim, this means you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Bears Offensive Coordinator

While I think it is high time Lovie and Co. get the hell outta Chicago, I'm not sure that the McCaskey's are ready to do that just yet. Recent reports of Charlie Weis and Mike Martz have been flying around as the rumored next offensive coordinator of the Bears. Listen, if the Bears are going with Lovie Smith than all but four coaches need to be fired, and that includes Lovie firing himself as the Defensive Coordinator. The four guys are:

Darryl Drake WR Coach - He doesn't draft them, he just coaches them, and I'd say he's done an excellent job considering what he is working with.

Rod Marinelli D-Line Coach - He does seem to have this team getting pressure more consistently. I think actual talent would help him. And I think Tommie can return to form next year as long as he stays healthy for the rest of this year and doesn't require any offseason surgery. That way he can work out and regain some of that power he once had, and stay in shape.

Bob Babich LB Coach - I would not have wanted him back after last year's performance as the D-coordinator. However, considering that he just got done with a game where his linebackers played darn good and there were 0 starting LB's from earlier this season, I'd say he's done a darn good job.

Dave Toub Special Teams Coach - This guy is awesome. I understand he called that lousy fake field goal, but if it weren't for great discipline by the Rams player Greg would have taken that to the house. Also, you run a fake what? Like once or twice a year? His special teams consistently are one of the best in the league, thus he deserves to stay.

That means the remaining spots are open for next year.

Defensive Coordinator
Offensive Coordinator
Defensive Backs Coach
Offensive Line Coach
QB Coach
Running Backs Coach
If there is a tight ends coach than him too.

Now, as to what this article was truly about. While the rumors have been swirling about the Bears' next offensive coordinator (Weis or Martz) a third name will be uncovered tonight, on Monday Night Countdown by Adam Schefter. So far he has given us hints: it is a college coach with NFL experience and current ties to some Chicago Bears players. The likely guy I think is Jeremy Bates, but the thing about him is that he will likely go where ever Shannahan goes. But who knows.

Northwestern Gets Auburn in Outback Bowl

Bowl matchups were finalized tonight, and the Wildcats jumped Wisconsin in a surprise move, landing in the Outback bowl against the 7-5 Auburn Tigers and their first-year head coach Gene Chizik.

I'm very excited about this matchup. For one, it's the best bowl the 'Cats have played in since '97 (Citrus Bowl vs. Tennessee). For two, Auburn and Northwestern have never played each other. And third, this is a winnable game. I'm sure Auburn will be favored, since they are from the almighty unstoppable SEC, but I have faith in my Wildcats.

Fitz will have the guys ready to go. And Auburn doesn't do anything particularly well this year.

Anyway, it's a New Years Day game, so it will be one heck of a showcase for Northwestern, especially if they can pull out a W. More analysis coming soon.

The other Big Ten bowls:

Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Oregon
Orange Bowl: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech
Capital One Bowl: Penn State vs. LSU
Outback: NU vs. Auburn
Champs Sports Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Miami
Insight Bowl: Minnesota vs. Iowa State
Alamo Bowl: Michigan State vs. Texas Tech

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Glory Week: Heisman Hopefuls Come To Play

What a great week of College Football matchups. I really wish the Big Ten would suck it up, add a twelfth team, and go for the title game setup, because it has now been two weeks of college football action with no sort of Midwestern coverage (well, except Wisconsin @ Hawaii, Illinois @ Cincinnati, Illinois vs. Fresno State).

On that note, Wisco @ Hawaii is tonight at 11:30 on ESPN2. Sweet.

Anyway, the slate of championships and huge games this weekend includes the final regular season games of many Heisman hopefuls. Let's take a look at who's in action and what they've done to state their cases for Heisman hardware.

The Civil War: #7 Oregon vs. #16 Oregon State, Thursday. Oregon won 37-33.

This was a great game to watch. The Beavers led through much of the evening, and were hoping to get revenge for last year's drubbing at the hands of the Ducks, who denied them a Rose Bowl berth.

No such luck. The Pac-10's second leading rusher, sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers, went for 64 yards and a touchdown, giving him twenty TDs and 1,377 ground yards on the season. Rodgers was a trendy dark horse Heisman pick in the preseason, and has had a great year. However, I don't think this showing was nearly enough for him to leapfrog fellow Pac-10 running back Toby Gerhart for a spot in the top four Heisman finalists.

Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, another Heisman dark horse, had yet another solid game in passing for 201 yards with a TD and an INT. His yearly totals look pretty good, with 2,066 passing yards, a 15:5 TD:INT ratio, and another 12 touchdowns rushing to go with an impressive 659 yards.

Still, I think his team's strength at running back, with freshman LaMichael James (166 yards against the Beavs, over 1,400 on the season) and The Mad Puncher, LeGarrette Blount, have hurt his chances, because he's had to share the ball so much. Still, with a 10-2 record and a Rose Bowl bid coming, Masoli is a lock to battle Stanford's Gerhart for the Pac-10 MVP award.

Central Michigan 20, Ohio 10

Okay, let's talk about real dark horses. Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour has led the Chippewas to an 11-2 season and, by the way, is also the NCAA all-time leader in combined passing, rushing, and receiving touchdowns with 148. He broke Chad Pennington's (from??) mark in this game.

LeFevour gets no Heisman love because he plays in the MAC. But you have to give him some credit for beating Michigan State earlier this year and playing tough games on the road at Arizona and Boston College. Not to mention, CMU beat good MAC teams - Temple, Ohio, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois all have winning records, and all felt the wrath of the LeFevour this season.

His final stats? 3,043 pass yards on 285-401 attempts (71.1%). 27 touchdowns versus 6 interceptions. Oh, and 174 rush attempts, yielding 701 yards (4.0ypc) and an impressive 14 TDs. Those numbers stand up against anybody in the country.

SEC Title Game: Florida 13, Alabama 32

This was a game featuring two true Heisman threats in Florida's Tim Tebow and Alabama's Mark Ingram. Tebow, who already has one stiff-arm trophy in his display case, didn't play terribly. He totalled 247 passing yards and 63 on the ground, with a touchdown and a pick.

But this game illustrated Florida's problems with the running game beyond Timmy, as nobody else carried the ball more than twice. Tebow will not be repeating as the Heisman winner, but at least he has a BCS bowl in his immediate future to make his case to NFL scouts.

His 30:4 TD:TO ratio for the year is extremely impressive, and between that and his name, I wouldn't be surprised if he is one of the finalists.

Mark Ingram, on the other hand, took advantage of this Heisman showcase. Already touted as a possible winner, the sophomore carried 28 times for 112 yards against a supposedly stout Florida defense, racking up three TDs. He also broke a huge 69-yard pass play on a dumpoff near the line of scrimmage, one of his pair of receptions in this game.

You can go ahead and pencil Ingram in for a spot in New York. His stats on the year?

221 carries for 1,429 yards, a 6.5 ypc average. 28 receptions for 289 yards, an 8.8per average. Fifteen total touchdowns. No fumbles. All while sharing time in the Crimson Tide backfield, and against tough competition including the SEC and Virginia Tech. This kid is for real.

Big 12 Title Game: Nebraska vs. Texas

It's too bad Nebraska has no offense, because their defense has been suffocating all night. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Huskers are finally driving and trail 10-6.

Golden Boy Colt McCoy has less than 100 yards and two interceptions, but he does have Texas' lone TD on a rush near the goal line. Ten rushes for -24 yards and a TD is nothing to write home about, however.

Season stats: 3,328 yards, 27 TD:9 INT, 71.8 completion pct., 561 rush yards, 11 rush TD.

I don't think Texas has been all that impressive in their undefeated run thus far, and Nebraska's D is giving Colt fits tonight. But is he a Heisman finalist? Probably. He could even win, if enough people vote on name recognition.

Meanwhile, Nebraska's amazing DT Ndamukong Suh, the keystone to the Husker's #3 ranked defense, has eight tackles and 3.5 sacks tonight. Shining on the biggest stage is the best way to impress Heisman voters.

Suh is approaching 80 tackles, at least 16 for loss, with at least 11 sacks, a forced fumble, an INT, and multiple pass deflections on the year. Oh yes, and 22 quarterback hurries. He's going to be a top-ten NFL pick. Heisman finalist? Maybe. He has a better chance if he can make a game-changing play in this fourth quarter. Really, Nebraska's entire defensive line is full of NFL prospects.

Georgia Tech 33, Clemson 27 (ACC Title Game)

The only Heisman hopeful in this one is Clemson's superb RB C.J. Spiller. If I had a vote, this is the guy that gets it. Even though his Wildcats are trailing tonight, Spiller is the reason they're still alive. He has FOUR touchdowns, on rushes of 3, 41, 36, and 9 yards. He is averaging almost ten yards per carry.

For the season, Spiller's pure rushing stats may not look that amazing. Including this game so far, he has 11 TDs and close to 1,100 yards. But C.J. is really a triple threat. He also has 32 receptions for 440 yards and four TDs, and has taken an amazing five kicks to the house.

If you're counting, that's over 2,000 all purpose yards and 20 TDs. Spiller IS Clemson this year.

I've gone way over my word count and haven't even mentioned Houston's Case Keenum, who lost at East Carolina today. Quite a weekend for college football!!

If you've made it all the way through this post, thanks for your patience. I swear, I'll get some pictures up soon. For now, it's time to watch the exciting conclusions of the Big 12 and ACC title games!

My Heisman Finalists:

Mark Ingram
Ndamukong Suh
C.J. Spiller (just made another HUGE run midway through the fourth! 54 yards all the way inside the 10-yard line!)
Colt McCoy/Tim Tebow

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Film Study 101: Hoosiers vs. Terps

Last night, while putting off my essay for class, I tried a little experiment. With MacBook in hand and remote nearby, I put on the DVR'd Indiana v. Maryland game from last night and tried to really dig in to the details of what, exactly, was happening.

As a non-athlete (at least not past high school) I have never really made a serious effort at Peyton Manning-style film study before. But here are a few unusual things that occurred to me in the first half (second half coming after I finish this paper!):

1) When the starters or top eight guys (including Dumes, Hulls, Elston) are in the game, defense was fairly good. Rivers was doing an outstanding job on Greivis Vasquez early in the game. Creek also played him tough, but both he and Dumes let General Greivis slip over screens to take open threes that really put Maryland back in the game.

Still, the zone was very solid with all of these guys. Capobianco and Jobe are defensive liabilities. I was pleasantly surprised at how hard Jordan Hulls worked on the defensive end, and also at how mobile Tom Pritchard looked at times.

2) Devan Dumes made at least two great leading passes (to Jones and Creek, I believe) that both ended up not counting in his favor thanks to misses or blocks. He looked very heady running the fastbreak on these occasions and also showed exceptional range from beyond the arc. If he's still not 100%, then he's going to be a factor for this team once he gets there.

3) Christian Watford is an amazing athlete. Elston has a similar game but just isn't as springy or dominant. Elston needs to capitalize on his chances - he hurried several putbacks which resulted in wasted possessions. Still, his energy is excellent.

4) Jeremiah Rivers made three Top-Ten caliber plays. His block near the 10-minute mark on Moseley, then his flying steal on the ensuing inbound and fast-break throwdown were all just awesome moments. Actually, make that four, because that twisting reverse layup early in the game was great, too.

5) Hulls looked solid coming in and running the offense. He is more of a three-point threat than Rivers, which could be an X-factor going forward.

6) Verdell Jones looks like a man without a position. He and Creek have very similar skill sets, but Creek may already be as good of a defender and a better three point shooter. Verdell needs to keep driving the basket and taking those pull-ups that he is so good at. He also needs to finish stronger. He failed to draw several should-have-been fouls near the hole. Still, his mistakes are down somewhat.

7) Pritchard, despite a lack of stats, actually played well in the first half alongside Watford. He's one of the team's best pick and roll options.

Anyone else watch the game? Agree? Disagree? Let me know below.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kevin Coble and the Ewing Theory

I don't want to get too excited about this.


But Northwestern just took down the ACC's North Carolina State 65-53. Last week, they beat ranked Notre Dame and a good Iowa State team to win the Chicago Invitational Tournament.

This is a team that, after losing both 6-foot-8 star Kevin "Big Bird" Coble and top sixth man Jeff Ryan to freakish season-ending injuries, was supposed to be cooked. Done. Dead and buried.

Instead, they are currently 6-1 with their only loss coming to Butler. The Bulldogs will be a 2- or 3- seed come March. And Northwestern was actually in the game for at least a half. Juice Thompson, John Shurna (pictured), Jeremy Nash, and Luka Mirkovic can all really play. Hell, even Kyle Rowley has looked competent at center!

Is it maybe possible that the 'Cats are better without Coble to lean on? Or is this just a fluke? With four games left until the Big Ten season, all of them pretty much automatic W's except Stanford, a 9-2 nonconference schedule is a sure thing.

Anyway, just some food for thought... Northwestern bandwagon, plenty of seats available.

The Indiana Hoosiers' All-Decade Team: Assembly Hall Superstars 2000-2009

It sure has been a long ten years for fans of Indiana basketball. Just a decade ago, Bobby Knight was still working the sidelines in Bloomington. Since Knight's 2000 firing, Indiana has experienced a true roller coaster of highs and lows, leaving fans elated and/or throwing up in their mouths, sometimes in the same season!

A fairy-tale run to the national championship game in '02 under Mike Davis gave way to a series of early-round ousters, the departure of Davis (also known as "Not The General" by Knight faithful), the much-anticipated hiring of Kelvin Sampson and his cell phone collection, a ranking as high as eighth nationally in '08, the ensuing train wreck (I don't wanna talk about it), and the high hopes of the Crean era, which have been seasoned with a healthy dose of humble pie in the form of a 6-25 season, the worst in Hoosiers history.

Yeah, it's been one heck of a decade. So let's take a minute to recognize the players who have done the Cream and Crimson proud through both good and bad.

PG Tom Coverdale (1999-2003)

It seemed like Coverdale was at least thirty by the time he graduated from IU. During a lengthy four-year career, Tom accumulated 500 assists, averaging almost five per game. He is third all-time in Indiana history in the category, and his 178 dimes during the '01-'02 season marked the second-best passing season by a Hoosier.

He was also no slouch while taking his own shots. Coverdale scored over 1,200 points in his career, and his marks of 200-555 from behind the three point line make him second all-time in both categories.

His leadership was also key during the Indiana run to the 2002 title game, and he was named South regional MVP during that tourney.

Honorable Mention: AJ Guyton, Marshall Strickland, Earl Calloway

SG Bracey Wright (2002-05)

If you like me-first shooting guards, then this ten year period in Indiana history has got to be one of your all time favorites. Bracey averaged 17.6ppg throughout his three year career at the Hall, but his .405 shooting percentage indicated the sheer number of possessions Wright claimed in racking up all those points (#15 all-time in scoring).

Bracey gets the nod at SG because Eric Gordon was even more of a ball hog in his one year at Indiana (amazingly enough), and because Wright and Mike Davis actually won an NCAA tournament game (vs. Alabama, 2003), something Gordon couldn't manage.

Honorable Mention: Eric Gordon, Roderick Wilmont, Kyle Hornsby

SF Jared Jeffries (2000-02)

The tall, skinny, and talented Jeffries spent just two years at Indiana before jumping to the NBA. In his sophomore year, he was a second team All-American while averaging 15 points, 7.6 rebounds, and almost three combined blocks/steals per game. He was also the Big Ten MVP that year.

A Bloomington native, Jeffries started all seventy games of his too-brief collegiate career. (picture: we call this the "I shoulda stayed at Indiana!" shot.)

Honorable Mention: Robert Vaden

PF Kirk Haston (1998-2001)

A 'tweener for the All-Decade team, since he only played a season and a half of the 'oughts, Haston nevertheless earned this spot. During the '00-'01 year, Haston was a monster, and helped Mike Davis start out reasonably well in replacing the legendary Bobby Knight.

He averaged 19 points per game while stuffing the stat sheet in every category. He even added an outside shot to his repertoire, shooting almost 38% from beyond the arc on the way to being the first-round pick of the Charlotte Hornets in the 2001 NBA Draft.

Honorable Mention: Jeff Newton, A.J. Moye (led team in rebounds in 2004 despite being only 6'3" - that earns you a picture, man!)

PF/C D.J. White (2004-08)

I have to be honest: D.J. is my favorite player in Hoosiers history. He may not have won a championship, or even gone deep in the tourney, but he became Indiana's bulwark during a tumultuous four year career during which he played for three different coaches.

White averaged around 13ppg and almost 5ppg as a freshman before missing most of the '05-'06 year due to injury.

A solid junior year during which he was paired with the jumbo-sized Marco Killingsworth gave way to a senior season in which Indiana and Kelvin Sampson had some extremely high expectations. Throughout the awful mess that that season would become, White was Indiana's rock.

All he did was come to work every day and dominate every big man he played against. Twenty-two rebounds at Michigan. The sixth-best single season rebounding total in Indiana history. Meanwhile, DJ upped his scoring as well, hitting over 17 a game and showing off a solid jump shot to go with his dominant post moves.

His 17.4-10.6 (pt/reb) season average was, statistically, the best for anybody in the Cream and Crimson, ever. That includes Walt Bellamy, George McGinnis, and Alan Henderson.

Honorable Mention: George Leach, Marco Killingsworth.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Exclusive Preview: The Hoosiers All-Decade Team

This one is exclusive to Armchair Superstar - I'm currently working on the IUBB All-Decade Team and crunching the numbers to figure out who makes the cut. The way it works is... this is a work in progress! First name listed is the current leader for first team. Italics is the second team guy, tentatively, any names below are also in the running.

Please let me know ASAP if you have any feedback, I'm trying to get this polished and in Cheesecake Slideshow Form for B/R and here by tonight!

Point Guard: Tom Coverdale - 503 career assists. #30 in career scoring. Two ten-plus assists games. 200 career 3 pointers.
AJ Guyton - just one year in the 2000's or he'd be in. 16.4ppg over career, #4 on all time scoring list.
Marshall Strickland
Earl Calloway

Shooting Guard: Bracey Wright - led team in scoring x3. #15 in all-time scoring.
Eric Gordon - one of the best single-year scoring in history. Just a single year though.
Roderick Wilmont - was co-Indiana MVP with White one year.
Devan Dumes - led team in scoring last year.

Small Forward: Jared Jeffries - over 1,000 points in just two seasons, and a good rebounder.
Robert Vaden

Power Forward: Kirk Haston - over 1,400 pts for career in 3yr.
Jeff Newton - led team in blocks 2000-2002, #1 total blocks career.

Center: DJ White - best single game rebounding (at Michigan, 1/8/08) by far of the decade. All-American, Big Ten POY 2008, led team in blocks 2005, 2007, 2008.
George Leach - #83 on all time scoring list, 3 7-block games, 3 6-block games
Marco Killingsworth - led team in scoring 2006, blocks 2006.

Sixth Man: AJ Moye - 15 boards at 6-foot-3 once. Still, he may give way to...
Dane Fife (all-time steals leader!)
Kyle Hornsby

Coach: Mike Davis
Tom Crean

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Here Come the Hawks

About a week ago Noffke asked me to write a Blackhawks post, so I decided to end my vacation from the golf season early (Hey Noffke the Masters is coming up soon). With the NHL season just a bit over a quarter of the way done, we are beginning to see the identity of each team.

The Blackhawks are on a tear right now. They are riding a 7 game winning streak going into tonight’s game in San Jose. The Hawks are half way through their circus trip and are perfect so far. They enter tonight’s game with a record of 15-5-2 with 32 points, 4 points behind the sharks in the Western Conference. Marion Hossa is set to make his Blackhawks and season debut tonight.

The Blackhawks big 3 (Towes, Kane, and Keith) are set to get extensions that I have been hearing are close to being done but have to work out some cap issues, i.e. trade someone first. With that news out of the way here is what I think about the Blackhawks so far.


Cristobal Huet and Antti Niemi have been solid, but I’m still not sold on them yet. Huet has played better his last few games. Well better is an understatement, he has played exceptional. After the rocky start to the season many were calling for Huet's head and were ready to appoint Niemi as the number 1.

The problem with Huet if you watch is he goes down so early that it leaves the top corners open. If players wait a bit longer with their shot they would be able to put the puck right where Grandma keeps the peanut butter. Huet has been doing better with this recently, but whether or not he can play like this all season I’m not sure yet.

Niemi has played well as the number 2. He got the shutout Sunday night in Vancouver and has some other good games. Niemi though is still a number 2 as of right now. Can he be a number 1? Yeah, he might be able to one day, but to think he can be the number 1 now is asking too much. He is still a rookie and don’t know is can handle the game load of a number 1 goalie let alone a playoff just yet.


Part of the reason the goalies have played well is because they have the defense in front of them. Keith and Seabrook have become top blue liners in the league. There are some who think they could be starting for team Canada in the Olympics this February.

As for the others, Nikolas Hjalmarsson has become a decent defenseman for the Hawks. Cam Barker and Brian Campbell are more offensive defenseman with Barker being a sniper and Campbell being able to move the puck up the ice. These two aren’t the best defenseman, but they are still good enough to make this a solid defense group for the Hawks.


With the return of Marion Hossa tonight he will only add to an offense that already has no trouble scoring (like the massacre they put on Calgary last Thursday). Hossa could join the line of Toews and Kane which could already make a talented first line even better.

Speaking of Toews, it is blatantly obvious how much he means to this team. With him out of the lineup with a concussion a couple of weeks ago we saw the Hawks offense struggle more often than not. They still scored but not as much as they were. After Toews returned they went on this current 7 win streak.

Kane is an electric playmaker that has good hands. My friend and I always comment on how well he moves the puck and you can notice it more in shutouts. The Hawks offense also includes Kris Versteeg, Patrick Sharp, and Big Dustin Byfuglien. This core group on the offense provides the Hawks with enough scoring.

Overall I think the Hawks are one of the better teams in the West and maybe even the league. They are playing the best hockey right now and I see them making a deep run in the playoffs. It’s still early, but this is a solid team stocked with talent.

Since everyone will be going out tonight since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, watch the Hawks. It will be an exciting game tonight. Most of you will be at a bar anyways, so it will most likely be on already. The Blackhawks are really the only positive thing in Chicago sports these days.

Lance Briggs Has A Hobby

... and you'll never guess what it is.

Full coverage from the Tribune here.

And I feel a little better about my nerdiness. Hooray!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Top Chef Power Rankings

In the finale of the Las Vegas portion of Top Chef, the Chef’s had short time to prepare food for a world class competition full of world class judges. Eli had an ok night, but was clearly #5 in a four person race. The other four get some much needed time off as the head off to Napa Valley for the Finals.

Top Shelf

Kevin "Red Beard" Gillespie

Red Beard took a huge gamble this week, he cooked a way he has never cooked before in his life. Bryan Voltaggio helped him the night before, but the entire time I was watching the episode I was screaming, “Stick with what you know!” His food came out good though and he ended up winning the competition. I think this competition shows the key to winning Top Chef. Red Beard was not the most creative or used the most creative techniques (especially compared to the Voltaggio’s). He was even criticized for “playing it safe” durning judges table. The key though, is he made no mistakes and cooked his food properly. That’s it. That’s why he won this elimination challenge. That’s also how you win the show, cook good food and cook it properly, do that and you’ll win. Richard Blaize probably would have won Top Chef Chicago with his creativity, technique and cooking ability. In the final, he even said it, “I chocked.” He had better ideas and technique but he didn’t cook the food properly.

Bryan Voltaggio

Big props for him for helping out Red Beard. If I was him, I would have said, this is how you do it, but I don’t know if I’d try doing that for my first time 1 challenge away from the final. Bryan did cook a solid meal, but looked a little flustered for only the second time in the season. I think the discussion at the table put it best, if he had had more time, then he would have probably created the winning dish. They could see his dish continuing to develop. I still feel him and Red Beard are the chef’s to beat, I could see either of them winning it all.

They could win, but I’m not putting money on them.

Michael Voltaggio

Micheal was the only chef of the 5 who had been in a cooking competition before. He felt confident in his ability and for the most part did a good job. The thing that cost him his chance to win was when one of the guests at the table found a bone in his fish. Instantly all the judges commented on how that would be throw out immediately in any real competitions. It seemed like his over all dish was good overall. I feel if the Napa Valley he could win if the challenges are more towards his style of cooking, but I feel his brother cooks that style better. I don’t want to doubt Michael, but I don’t think he can over take the top two.

Jen Carroll

Jen had an ok night. She won the quickfire which allowed her to get an extra 30 minutes of cooking. She seemed more organized and didn’t really need the extra 30 minutes and ended up helping out the fellow competitors. I think this break will benefit her the most. She had clearly hit a wall a few episodes ago when she was saying she was ready to go home. She started off the competition as one of the top competitor’s showing her potential in the army episode where she ran the kitchen. I think if she gets back on her game she could win it all, but like I said about Michael, I don’t see her over taking the top two.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Have Tom Crean's Hoosiers Settled on a Rotation?

The Indiana University men's basketball team saw their undefeated season end tonight, as the Runnin' Rebels of Mississippi spotted the Hoosiers an early nine point lead before settling down and dominating in the schools' first round Puerto Rico Tipoff matchup.

Indiana led 20-11 at the 14:14 mark, but relinquished the lead just four minutes later and eventually fell 89-71.

At 2-1, Crean and the youthful Hoosiers have begun to settle into the grind of a major-conference schedule. As fans, we're starting to figure out who the stars are, and who will be relegated to a season spent wearing the candy-striped pants and chatting with assistant coaches.

Let's take a look at the Hoosiers' rotation as it stands today:

Point Guard: Jeremiah Rivers

Doc's kid has started all three games (Crean has gone with the same starting five thus far), but before Ole Miss he was pretty quiet on the stat sheet, totalling just eight points and a 9:8 Assist:Turnover ratio in heavy minutes. Tonight, we saw why Rivers, the 6'5", 210lb Georgetown transfer, is so highly regarded by his teammates.

In 27 minutes of action, largely limited by foul trouble, Jeremiah scored fourteen points on 6-6 shooting, and added seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals. His turnovers are still troubling (four tonight), but Rivers looked like a natural PG bringing the ball up and handling good defense from a high-major opponent.

His rebounding abilities may allow Crean to go smaller at the 2 as the season progresses, but he needs to improve his defense if he wants to stay out of foul trouble and on the floor for 30+ minutes a game.

Shooting Guard: Verdell Jones III

Ah, Verdell. As the Hoosiers wound down last year's 6-25 schedule, it was Jones that emerged as Indiana's star in the making. Last year, I called him "a joy to watch on defense and simply nerve-wracking to watch with the ball," and although the 6'5" SG has put on weight and made his mark as a slashing scorer and spot-up shooter, he's still a work in progress while, um, dribbling.

His turnovers are down this season since he's been able to move to the 2 and bring the ball up less, but he still has a tendency to get too flashy and, say, bounce the ball off his own foot and out of bounds. Or throw it over somebody's head.

Jones scored 17 tonight on 8-15 shooting, and gives the Hoosiers a legitimate threat from midrange and driving the ball. But he needs to accept a role as a catch-and-shoot (or drive) type of player if he wants to really help the offense grow.

His long-armed defense is still very good as long as he doesn't get caught in transition.

Swingman: Maurice Creek

The 6'5" true freshman from Maryland has stepped into the starting rotation and led the Hoosiers in scoring through three games, averaging almost 20ppg. He's an athletic player who seems to thrive as a scorer and can bang down low when needed.

In his first real test against Ole Miss, Creek turned the ball over four times. He had only one total turnover in the first two games. As Indiana's secondary ball-handler, Creek needs to be able to slow down and run the offense with confidence.

His obvious talent and poise makes Creek a virtual lock to hold down this position throughout the season, but the frosh still has a lot of growing up to do. He's going to have to guard a ton of good players as the year wears on, and needs to step up on the defensive end.

Forward: Christian Watford

Watford exploded for double-doubles in his first two games against Howard (14-11) and USC Upstate (17-10), but was held in check tonight, shooting 20% for a mere 5 points. Although his rebounds were also down (5 tonight), it should be noted that four of those were on the offensive glass.

Watford, at 6'8" and 220lbs, was recruited as a small forward-type. But undersized Indiana needs him to post up this year, playing the role that the since departed Nick Williams filled last season.

He can be a force on the glass and has good range (2-5 from outside the arc this year), making him a tough matchup for traditional power forwards. An important factor for Watford going forward is free throw shooting. He will be going to the line a lot this year, and needs to convert his opportunities.

Forward/Center: Tom Pritchard

Pritchard started his freshman year strong, averaging a double-double through the first third of the season before fading down the stretch. He was burdened with being the Hoosiers' sole legitimate big man, battling with the best of the Big Ten as an eighteen-year old.

The key for Pritchard this year? Consistency. He played just ten minutes against USC Upstate and struggled against their 7'3" center Nick Schneiders, racking up four quick fouls. Ole Miss was a better gauge of what Tom can bring to the table. He played a solid thirty minutes, chipping in eight points to go with eight rebounds (four offensive). His thunderous dunk early set the tone for the opening Hoosiers run.

Pritchard needs to stay out of foul trouble. He is the best of IU's big men at running the pick-and-roll sets that make up so much of Crean's offense, and is crucial to Indiana's scoring potential in the half court game. With much of last year's weight off his shoulders, the 6'8" Pritchard has to continue to work hard on both ends of the court, or he risks losing minutes to Indiana's other big men.

Key Reserves:

Senior ju-co transfer Devan Dumes was Indiana's most reliable scorer last year and one of their best deep threats. He is still coming back from an offseason injury, and has yet to find his shot, going 2-10 from deep in the first three games. If he can get healthy, I expect Dumes to play a lot of minutes at SG, especially alongside Rivers, who has the size to make up for Devan's 6'2", 192lb frame. Dumes can also handle the ball and plays competent defense on the opposing point guard, making him the top option off of the IU bench.

Derek Elston, the true frosh from tiny Tipton, Indiana, has made a big impact in his first three games. At 6'9" and 220lbs with the frame to add more bulk, Elston is athletic and tough on the inside. He has played an average of 17 minutes so far this year and put up some major numbers in limited time, averaging over 9 points, 5 rebounds, and a steal per game. He is more athletic than Pritchard and nearly as much of an offensive threat as Watford. Expect Elston to play around twenty minutes a game as the #3 big man.

Jordan Hulls, Indiana's Mr. Basketball and the leader of Bloomington South's state championship team last year, has a problem. He is barely six feet tall. Against inferior competition, this isn't so much of a problem, and Hulls gave Indiana good minutes against Howard and Upstate spelling Jeremiah Rivers. But against the larger players of Ole Miss, Hulls looked lost running the offense, and was harassed into three turnovers and an 0-3 shooting performance in twelve minutes. Hulls is going to have to work on his outside shot and his confidence if he wants to survive the Big Ten grind.

Bench Contributors:

Matt Roth is the Hoosiers' token gunner, the Steve Kerr of the team if you will. The sophomore needs to accept fewer minutes this season and be ready to come off the bench and provide instant offense.

Bobby Capobianco, the freshman from Loveland, Ohio, looks like he is a grade or two below Watford, Pritchard, and Elston as a big man. In eighteen total minutes so far, he has yet to score or make an impact on the glass. Frankly, I expected more from Capobianco, and hopefully he will develop as the season goes on, since IU needs more than a three-man 4/5 rotation.

Tijan Jobe is seven feet tall. He is also slow and can't shoot. Jobe got dominated by Upstate's Nick Schnediers, the 7'3" German.

An undersized jitterbug from Carmel, Daniel Moore is another guy who will have to make the best of his spot minutes. He has better speed than Hulls, but lags behind his fellow PG elsewhere. On the upside, he has gotten a couple of rebounds so far this year, which shows some toughness.

Bawa Muniru was cleared to play later than most of his fellow freshmen, but Indiana could really use him as a backup center. At 6'11" and 242lbs, Muniru has excellent size and athleticism. He has made a few plays (a block and two points vs. Howard, three rebounds vs. Upstate) in his handful of minutes, but is buried on Tom Crean's bench until he learns the schemes.

Brett Finklemeier, Stephen Gambles, and Kory Barnett round out the roster. One of them must emerge as Indiana's lead cheerleader and the first man off the bench and high-fiving at timeout time. None figure to get much time this year.

Breakdown: Here's what I hope for the Hoosiers to accomplish this year.

Rivers: 27 mpg, improve A:TO ratio, stay active on the boards.
Hulls: 10 mpg, run the offense when Rivers sits.
Moore: 3 mpg, be an energy and fastbreak threat guy.

Jones: 23 mpg, score around 14ppg, don't turn it over, be smart off the ball.
Creek: 25 mpg, keep scoring, help run offense as secondary ball-handler.
Dumes: 22 mpg, be a threat off the bench, push Jones for a starting spot.
Roth: 10 mpg, spread the floor as a 3pt threat.

Watford: 25 mpg, continue to develop as post-up force, work on defense.
Pritchard: 25 mpg, be consistent on the boards! Stay out of foul trouble.
Elston: 20 mpg, bring energy off the bench, crash the boards and score a bunch off the bench.
Muniru: 7 mpg, guard dominant big men for stretches. Continue growth.
Capobianco/Jobe: 3 mpg, give the top three some rest without much of a fall-off.

Hoosiers in Puerto Rico - You Don't Need Your Passport!

Wait, so you don't need a passport? Why didn't I make this trip? Damn our low Armchair Superstar travel budget. We blew it all on IU Football?? What were we thinking?

Indiana was looking great in the first five minutes of the Ole Miss game today. They seemed to catch the Runnin' Rebels off guard with their athleticism and intensity, but this has settled down into a much closer game at a pace that favors the Rebs. They are doing a nice job at forcing IU into the halfcourt offense where we struggle when denied the pick and roll.

It looks like turnovers are going to be an issue again this year - Jordan Hulls is getting treated like the little white kid playing on the front court at the HPER, and Verdell needs to stop trying to dribble behind his back and off his foot. 11 turnovers at the 8:14 mark in the first half. Ouch. Still down just six, but need to stop the bleeding.

That said, Jeremiah Rivers has looked a lot better this game than I have seen him before - calm, confident, and with solid moves to the basket. He might be our primary point guard by the time the Big Ten season rolls around.

I'm floating some stuff around for my next Featured Columnist article at B/R (and here, of course), so please let me know today if you have any must write ideas! I'm trying to get one posted tonight while I'm at the library writing yet another history essay.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Ten Bowls

So the Big Ten has 7 teams bowl eligible, 3 teams that will not be bowl eligible this year (IU, Illinois and Purdue) and Michigan with an outside shot. To fill the 8 bids the Big Ten is likely to receive, we will assume Michigan beats Ohio State

Before I go through the projections, a quick explanation of how the Big Ten receives it’s bowl berths. As a member of BCS, the Big Ten champion receives an automatic berth with a tie-in to the Rose Bowl. There is a possibility that a second Big Ten team gets selected to the BCS as at-large bid. As for the non-BCS bowls that the Big Ten is affiliated with, the Bowls are not obligated to choose their teams in exact order of standings. For example Big Ten #3 does not mean the team that finished 3rd, in the Big Ten, but has the 3rd choice of all Big Ten teams available. A bowl can only select a 6-6 team from a conference if no 7-5 from that conference are still available.

Rose (Big Ten Champion): Ohio State

Date: January 1st

Ohio State’s victory over Iowa and Penn State the past two weeks guarantees them the Big Ten Championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl. Even if they do fall to Michigan this week, they own the tie-breakers for the championship. After another crazy weekend in the Pac-10, Oregon remains in the driver seat towards a Pac-10 championship and will most likely be the team that faces Ohio State. Oregon vs Ohio State should be a good match-up between teams that have been up and down this season.

Fiesta Bowl (BCS At-large): Iowa

Date: January 4th

This has been the big topic of debate, which Big Ten team will get selected and where will they go. Stewart Mandel has it leaning this way, but warns if the Fiesta Bowl picks TCU, the Orange would probably grab Penn State. This article does a pretty good job summing up the possibilities of how the BCS will breakdown. In my own opinion I think Boise State should play in this game, but would not be surprised if Oklahoma State is chosen as Iowa’s opponent. I would like to see Iowa play Boise to see Boise play against another power conference school. Boise would try to recreate the magic from their last appearance here when they shocked Oklahoma. Oklahoma State would be a good game as well, even if they are playing without their best WR. Zac Johnson is a duel threat Quarterback who has been playing well all year.

Capital One Bowl: (Big Ten #2) Penn State vs (SEC #2)

Date: January 1st

Penn State is likely to play LSU in this game. It would be a match-up between the two third place finishers in their conference. I’d be concerned with Penn State’s weak offensive line against LSU usually stingy defense. LSU’s offense has been underwhelming this year. I could see this game going either way.

Outback Bowl: (Big Ten #3) Wisconsin vs (SEC)
Date: January 1st

Champs Sports: (Big Ten #4) Northwestern vs (ACC #4)
Date: January 1st

Alamo Bowl: (Big Ten #5) Michigan vs (Big 12 #4)
Date: January 2nd

Insight Bowl: (Big Ten #6) Minnesota vs (Big 12 #6)
Date: December 31st

Little Ceasers: (Big Ten #7) Michigan State vs (MAC)
Date: December 26th

Trivia: First to win X Number of Super Bowls

Can you name the first team to win 1 Super Bowl? 2 Super Bowls? 3 Super Bowls? 4 Super Bowls? 5 Super Bowls? 6 Super Bowls?

Answers will be in the comments later in the week.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend Watch (11/13/09)

This should be a good weekend for football with games Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Throw in a little Hockey, Basketball and NASCAR (WHAT!) and it should be for a good weekend.

West Virginia at #5Cincinnati 8 PM ET ESPN2

The state of Ohio has two exciting games in two days. The first one is West Virginia playing at Cincinnati. Cincinnati is still playing without Pike (who is expected to return next week vs Illinois) but that hasn’t slowed down the offense. The defense let up around 50 last week against a better then it’s record UConn team. The D will need to play better if Cincy wants to win. Slowing down Noel Devine will be no easy task though. If Cincinnati wins they will remain the next in for the title game behind Florida, ‘Bama and Texas.

Who I want to win: Cincinnati

Who I think will win: Cincinnati

LA Lakers at Denver Nuggets: 10:30 ET ESPN

A rematch of last years Western Confrence Finals. Carmelo has been playing well this year, good enough that Scoop Jackson thinks he should be in the discussion with Kobe, Lebron and Wade. Well tonight is his night to prove it.

Who I want to win: Nuggets

Who I think will win: Lakers


College Gameday 10 AM ET ESPN

College Gameday will be in Fort Worth Texas for the Utah vs TCU game. I hope they discuss the absurd line for this game; Utah -20 that seems scary high for a game between two top 16 teams. I don’t think Gameday has ever been to Forth Worth so it should be a fun day for all.

Who I want Corso to pick: TCU

Who I think Corso will pick: Utah

Northwestern vs Illinois Noon ET ESPN or ESPN2 or ESPN Classic

Honestly this game would not normally make the watch, but the A.C.S.S. report team might be live on the scene. Northwestern needs to win another game to ensure they are invited to a bowl, while Illinois needs to keep winning to hang on to their outside chance of making a bowl. Illinois lost something like 17 straight games to FBS teams and now have 2 in the past 2 weeks. Crazy. O, BRING BACK THE SWEEET SUIX TOMAHAWK, this will be the first time in 64 meetings the trophy won’t be played for. The trophy was retired out of respect for the Native Americans. I like the trophy, and sad to see it go. Saying that, the Land of Lincoln Trophy actually looks kind of cool; it is by far the best trophy choice out of the other 3 considered (President's Trophy (named after the state's four presidents), Popcorn Bowl (named after the Illinois state snack) and the Graham-Grange Fire Bell (named after two of the greatest players at each school. Read the rest of the article about the trophies here).

Who I want to win: Northwestern

Who I think will win: Northwestern

#10 Iowa at #11 THE Ohio State University 3:30 ET ABC

This game is the unofficial Big Ten Title game. The winner of this game has the clear path to the title. Iowa is coming into game after having their perfect season ended last week by Northwestern. The biggest part of the loss for Northwestern is that Stanzi is done for the rest of the regular season. Ohio State comes in after playing very well against Penn State last week. I think with the loss of Stanzi it could make for a long day for Hawkeye fans. Wish A.C.S.S. Sr Hockey reporter (even though he doesn’t write anymore, lazy) Colin luck as he heads to Columbus wearing all of his Iowa gear. With the way he likes to trash talk, I give it 50/50 to ever see him alive again.

Real Salt Lake vs Chicago Fire 6 ET

This is the Eastern Conference finals and the winner heads to the MLS championship. Chicago lost at Columbus in the conference finals but look to win at home this year. The fire haven’t won a conference title game since 2003. Cuauhtemoc Blanco is looking to end his fire career (retiring or heading back to Mexico after the season) with a championship and has played well everytime he has played RSL. RSL is in the Western Confrence but got in the East as a wild card because they had a better record then any east team playing for the spot (I know confusing, but Canadian Football League does the same thing so not unheard of). RSL has never been to the cup final so they are looking to send Blanco home unhappy.

Who I want to win: Chicago Fire

Who I think will win: Chicago Fire

#16 Utah at #5 TCU: 7:30 ET

(Picture by Kurt SNIBBE of This is why I love College Gameday. They go to the week’s biggest game, and doesn’t care if it’s on ABC/ESPN. Kirk will do the morning game and then fly off to do another game that night (I believe Norte Dame at Pitt). Utah is coming into the game as a 20 point underdog which boggles my mind (my loan bet for the weekend, wagered legally in Las Vegas). I think the game will be a lot closer then that. The story line for the game will probably primarily focus on last year’s BCS buster playing this year’s most likely BCS buster.

Who I think will win: TCU

Who I want to win: TCU

Notre Dame at #12 Pitt 8 ET ABC
Notre Dame is coming off a loss to Navy (2nd straight time in Notre Dame Stadium) and needs this game to avoid a free fall. The Offense has been good all year, but Pittsburgh’s might be the most undereated in the nation. Expect to see a lot of Pittsburgh running to keep Norte Dame’s offense off the field.

Who I want to win: Notre Dame

Who I think will win: Pitt


NASCAR NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix pres. by Goodyear 3:15 ET ESPN

Apparently if Jimmy Johnson finishes outside the top 10 and Mark Martin wins, Mark Martin will be the leader heading into the final race next weekend. Oh yeah, he’s doing this at 50.

Who I want to win: Mark Martin

Who I think will win: Jimmy Johnson

Philadelphia Eagles at San Diego Chargers 4:15 ET FOX

The last time the Eagles flew west, they lost to the Oakland Raiders, and it wasn’t pretty. San Diego looks to beat it’s second straight NFC East team after a comeback victory last week against the Giants. Should be a fun game to watch.

Who I want to win: Eagles

Who I think will win: Charges

San Jose Sharks at Chicago Blackhawks 7 ET

Blackhawks are currently in first in central division while San Jose is currently leading the NHL. Should be some fierce action that down the line could be a Western Conference Finals preview.

Who I want to win: Blackhawks

Who I think will win: Blackhawks

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts 8:20 NBC

Two of the three best teams of the decade got at it for the 7th consecutive year. Last year’s game lacked with Brady being out. Now that he is back and hitting his stride, the Patriots look to stop the Colts perfect season. Peyton Manning has been very efficient all year working with is young reciving core. I expect Bellick to try to come out with a defense that will confuse the young wide outs.

Who I want to win: Colts

Who I think will win: Colts

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tom Crean Year Two: The Early Season Guide

Between now and New Years Eve, the fledgling Indiana Hoosiers basketball team will face ten opponents ranging from pushovers (hello, Bryant University!) to a possible powerhouse (rival Kentucky). After opening the season with exhibition wins over Grace College and St. Joseph's (Indiana), it's time to find out just how good this youthful team can be.

Let's take a look at IU's first twelve games of 2009-10:

Nov. 13: Howard

The Bison hail from the MEAC, and finished last year with a 8-23 record reminiscent of IU's own 6-25. Their leading scorer from last year, Eugene Myatt, is no longer on the roster. Belgian junior forward Kandi Mukole and Indianapolis native Kyle Riley, a guard, will lead the attack, but I expect this one to be a blowout at Assembly Hall.
PROJECTION: Indiana cruises, 1-0

Nov. 16: USC Upstate

In their third year as a D-I program, the Spartans of Spartanburg, SC don't appear to pose much of a threat. However, they do have a cool media guide available online! They also have experienced head coach Eddie Payne, who is entering his 25th year as a head coach. So that's nice.
PROJECTION: Indiana wins in a walk, 2-0

Nov. 19: Ole Miss (O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff)
*Nov.20: Kansas State/Boston University
*Nov. 22: TBA

The Hoosiers will travel to sunny Puerto Rico to take part in the Tipoff this year. Ole Miss is a quality opponent hovering just outside the Top 25, and Hoosier transfer Nick Williams (traitor!) will get to observe his former teammates from the Runnin' Rebels bench.

The tourney features a tough field including ranked Villanova, Georgia Tech, and Dayton, as well as Mississippi and Kansas State. Really, the only soft teams are Boston U. (Indiana's likely Round Two opponent) and George Mason. The website (linked above) is a good resource if you want to dig deeper into the field.
PROJECTION: L vs. Ole Miss, W vs. BU, L vs. Georgia Tech, 3-2.

Nov. 28: Northwestern State

From the Southland Conference, the Demons are another team that struggled last year. They have games against Texas Tech and Indiana in their early schedule, so we'll have a better idea of if they pose any threat after the Red Raiders get their shot.

Dec. 1: Maryland

Senior Greivis Vasquez leads a seasoned Terrapins team that lost to Memphis in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament. Maryland is lacking in quality big men but is deep at guard and swingman, and will test the defense of Verdell Jones, Jeremiah Rivers, and the rest of the Hoosiers backcourt. This is a home game for IU and I expect Assembly Hall to be rocking for the Big 10/ACC Challenge.

Maryland has a cakewalk through its early schedule before coming to a truly hostile environment.
PROJECTION: Close L, 5-2

Dec. 8: Pittsburgh

Despite losing its top three players in Sam Young, DeJuan Blair, and Levance Fields, the Panthers may still be a tough opponent for the young Hoosiers. Coach Jamie Dixon gets his teams ready to contend year in and year out and runs a tough offense and defense. This one will come down to whose young players are ready to step into the limelight first. However, the Hoosiers may actually have the advantage in experience, as Dixon is going with an entirely new starting lineup to open 2009-10.

Dec. 12: #5 Kentucky

Another awesome game at Assembly Hall. I remember the last time the Wildcats came to town in 2007, when Jordan Crawford schooled his big brother Joe and paced IU to a win.

Patrick Patterson probably remembers, too, which can't be good for Indiana. I expect the junior big man and Kentucky's top notch gang of freshmen to put on a show in what could be a great game for fans of high-flying, fast paced play.

Dec. 19: North Carolina Central

They opened the season with an 89-42 loss at North Carolina. In just their third year as part of Division 1, they just aren't ready for major conference talent.

Dec. 22: Loyola (Maryland)

Part of the MAAC, they started out well last season before losing 8 of their final 9 games. The Greyhounds will have started conference play by the time this Christmas Break matchup rolls around, and I'm seeing... hang on...

Dec. 28: Bryant University

Like NC Central and USC Upstate, Bryant is a newcomer to the Division One scene. Still, they won eight games last year, including upsets at Yale and against Long Island at home. Seniors Nick Pontes and Cecil Gresham are capable players. But this team was blown out by every major-conference opponent they faced last year, scoring only 36 at Iowa, and I don't expect a whole lot to have changed.

So there you have it. Heading into their New Year's Eve home date with Michigan, the Hoosiers should have a bunch of wins under their belts, and hopefully one or two upsets against major-conference opposition to grow a little bit of swagger.

It's a major bonus to have virtually all of their tough matchups at Assembly Hall, aside from the Puerto Rico tourney, and the home court advantage will definitely play a role.

This early schedule ought to give Indiana fans a good chance to see who's for real among the bumper crop of freshmen, and who has improved from last year's core of Jones, Devan Dumes, and Tom Pritchard.