Saturday, February 7, 2009

Northwestern Goes Down in Iowa City

Winning on the road in college basketball is tough. This is true in every conference and as a Big Ten fan first and foremost, I can definitely verify that it holds true here. Northwestern, with a solid record and an outside shot at an NCAA bid (ESPN's Bracketology lists them as one of the "Next Four Out" this week), came into Iowa's house trying to break the trend.

Unfortunately, the 'Cats fell prey to the away curse, falling 56-51 today. They are now 13-8, 4-6 in the Big Ten. But are their tourney hopes done for? I don't think so. This would have been a good game to have for record purposes, but an Iowa victory isn't going to do a whole heck of a lot to help your resume come March. Now Northwestern gets to come home to Evanston, where they play their next three against Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio State. Three good teams, three tough matchups. Illinois is ranked, Michigan just took #1 Connecticut down to the wire, and Ohio State is looking great against Minnesota as I write. If NU can win two of three at Welsh-Ryan Arena, it could be huge in determining their eventual fate.

They are going to need more from Kevin Coble, for sure. Coble couldn't seem to get anything done against the Hawkeyes tonight, finishing with only eight points. Indeed, in the last several games it has seemed like Coble has really been struggling on the offensive end. Senior guard Craig Moore, no doubt, is a great scoring option and a heady player, but you can't win with only one go-to guy in this league. All of NU's players struggled against Iowa's defense, which is troubling when you think about the other solid D's they are going to have to face soon. Bill Carmody is going to have to get these guys in the film room and look at how to run the Princeton offense to score effectively. Rebounding is also a concern for this team. On the bright side, freshman center Luka Mirkovic looked good today, with nine points off the bench, and he and Moore seem to work well together. Their screen-and-roll late in the second half, especially, was a pretty play to watch.

Northwestern is at a crossroads, and the upcoming three-game homestand is going to go a long way towards deciding how this season will (or won't) be remembered. Kevin Coble, especially, has got to stand up and assert himself. Hopefully the Wildcats don't hang their heads after the tough loss, and can pull themselves together for a solid three games.

Crean's First Big Ten Win

I'm not quite ready to post Number Nine All-Time Moment yet. It's coming. But in lieu of that, let me tell you about a game that damn near broke open my personal Top Ten. As mentioned earlier, I took advantage of $5 balcony seats to go see Tom Crean and IU in the flesh for the first time this year against Iowa. This was easily the best ten dollars (Alli came with me) that I have ever spent. Easily. IU, riding an eleven-game losing streak, caught an Iowa squad that might charitably be described as 'average' off guard on Wednesday night. IU led by as much as twenty at times in the second half before making things interesting, letting the Hawkeyes close to within three at 59-56 before Devan Dumes (who was absolutely clutch all night long) drained a trey and forced a turnover, earning the Hoosiers their first conference win.

This was a great moment because rarely have I ever seen as much sheer joy out of a victorious team in a regular season game. After the game, the players walked along the elated student section on the south baseline, high-fiving and celebrating with fans that Crean called "the best in the world" when he took the mic at center court immediately postgame. Tom was just ridiculously happy. He told radio announcer Don Fisher after the game that it felt like a 75lb weight had been lifted from his back. There is no question that this was the win that really marked the start of the Crean era at IU.

I took the opportunity, since this was my first time seeing the IU Kids up close, to sort of scout out the young fellas, see how they compared to my expectations from previous games, and whatnot. In no particular order...

Devan Dumes - This former juco guard has taken the leadership mantle at Indiana and is running with it. He dropped 27 on Iowa after a huge game against Northwestern and is leading the team in scoring. Good shooting stroke from range and a decent handle, although he seems eager to defer the point guard duties to either Verdell Jones III or Daniel Moore. I'm not sure whether this is intentional or not, but I'd bet that he's playing a 2-guard style on purpose. This is a little frustrating, because Verdell... well, he just makes me nervous!

Verdell Jones III - The stringbean freshman point guard is a joy to watch on defense and simply nerve wracking to watch with the ball. It seems like he's borderline traveling every time he starts to move. But he's got a good eye for open teammates and will certainly improve with another offseason. And, as Alli noted, "Hey, he's got a cute smile!"

Tom Pritchard only played around fifteen minutes against Iowa, as he got in foul trouble against their seemingly more athletic bigs and did very little. Pritchard really needs DJ White to come back to IU and give him some intensive 1-on-1 coaching. I would love to see this happen.

Lastly, Nick Williams confirmed my sense that he has the best upside of any of the Hoosiers' frosh. With 14 points and 9 boards, he showed off athleticism, good defense, excellent midrange shooting touch, and an instinctive ability to go inside on both ends of the floor. I'm really excited to see him improve over the next several years. Malik Story and Daniel Moore both looked good. Matt Roth is a beast from behind the three point line, but his defense is just a joke. I have seen better defense played at the HPER in pickup games. Actually, in almost every pickup game. He sags off his man habitually and is slow to respond. It ain't good. But hey, he's only 18. Plenty of time to work on that.

This game was clearly a cathartic experience for the whole IU basketball program, and a joy to watch. I definitely got a little misty up there in the stands as they celebrated their first big win. Will definitely be trying to get to the Feb. 15 game vs. ranked Illinois, if nothing else so I can heckle that pain in the a** Bruce Weber with the rest of the Hoosiers faithful.

Oh, and the "HEEEEEY, YOU SUCK!" cheer is back! Anyone know what I'm talking about? They stopped playing this song after some tightwad alumnus complained last year, but it returned on Wednesday, so that was great. I was also reminded of Shark steadfastly refusing to do any of the motions for the IU standard songs during all of last season. Good times!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Second Greatest Month of the Year (Noffke #9)

I always tell my friends that March is my second favorite month of the year. Why is that, one reason March Madness, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. From the conference tournaments (still props for the Ivy League for not selling out and having one) to the national championship game (yes in April) I would spend countless hours watching it and soaking it all in. Also, it always seemed like there would be an institute day on that first Friday of the tournament meaning if you could make it through school till 3 o'clock not watching any games, you could stay up late and watch Thursday's late games and then you were good for the weekend. My first pool was 1993 with just my mom, dad and sister. I picked UNC over Michigan in the final. Guess what happened? That was the best I ever did. Guess how much $$$ I won? 1 dollar!!! Yes. But honestly is there anything better then filling out the brackets (Editors note, Steve has a theory on picking brackets and is working on a statics breakdown of it right now. This piece will be coming out after the countdown of top ten moments) from doing the dumb who has better colors, which mascot is would win in a fight, who has the shortest names to my stubbornness and putting Kansas in the final four every year since 2000; I love it all. I do have a dilemma this year, now that Kansas has finally won it do I keep putting them in the final four? Only time will tell.
So kind of like the draft this gets a lifetime’s achievement award for making my top moments. But since this is a top moments list, I had to pick one moment and I am going to go with 2007 just barely beating out 2008 and the all day drink fest at Yogi’s.

2007 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament: March 2007; Various Cities and location USA.
This one stands out for one main reason. This was the first year I joined my dad in Game NCAA Collegiate Basketball Draft Game . This is basically like fantasy football. Everybody drafts a team of 25 players from the teams that made the NCAA tournament. Whoever players score the most points wins the game. Pretty simple right? Well some strategy goes into it, like should I pick player X who scores 20 a game, but won’t make it out of the first round or should I take player Y who will see about 5 min a game for the number 1 seed.

The Draft itself take place at my Dad’s Fraternity Brother’s house. He has DirectTV which is hooked up to 5, that’s right 5 TVs in his basement. We had all sorts of action going one will drinking beer eating Italian beef, pizza and all other types of great food. The first day of the tournament that is where I watched the games. Fantastic place.
Our team was pretty good. We had a couple of Tennessee and Memphis players who did extremely well for us. We were leading after the first round, and a bigger lead after the second round. The big problem was we were starting to lose a bunch of players. We still had the lead after the second weekend, but going into the final four; we had no players left. Can you say LET’s GO DEFENSE!! Going into the title game our lead was just six points. Obviously we didn’t win. But now that I did this once I am addicted. And will continue to do this for years to come.
A couple of other things that made this year memorable.
I was reading Sports Guys running diary in real time. Here I just couldn’t stop laughing
Also in this year, Indiana beat Gonzaga for a round one victory but did end up losing to eventual runner up UCLA in the second round.
So now you might be asking. What is the greatest month of the year you ask? Clearly December. My birthday starts off a month that includes Christmas, New Years Eve, has football, basketball, and hockey in full swing. Everybody still likes the snow. It's just easily the best month ever.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Number Ten Moment

I'm kind of playing these by ear. Made a list of thirteen or fourteen great memories yesterday, but haven't gone through and ranked them all the way just yet. Still, this one is a good fit at Number Ten.

War of the Crawfords
Who in their right mind would tailgate college basketball games in the Midwest? Well, nobody. But that didn't stop five or six of us with season tickets for last year's ill-fated IU Basketball team from showing up hours early for several games before it all fell apart. Noffke, Alli, Tim 'Shark' Transon, Zach 'Sandman' Sandler, and myself (note: not sure if anyone else was there, if I missed you, be sure to yell at me) arrived at Assembly Hall in some fairly cold early-December conditions with delicious crock-pot chili and lots and lots of libations. We played hillbilly golf. We drank from Solo cups. We debated whether an IU squad missing both starting guards, Eric Gordon and Armon Bassett, could handle Kentucky and Patrick Patterson. As game time rolled around, we made our way in to a packed Hall (I narrowly avoided being flagged down by several police officers wandering around the main concourse looking for drunks) and to our 8th row (!) seats by the south end goal. I think Noffke and Co. were farther up. It's all a little hazy.

Anyway, the crowd was very seriously hyped by the time this one tipped off. And for 15th ranked IU, what a game it was. Freshman Jordan Crawford matched up against his senior brother Joe for the first and last time, and all by his lonesome, the kid showed everyone which Crawford was indeed the real deal. Jordan dropped 20 on big bro, and the crowd loved it, howling "JOR-DAN'S BET-TER" over and over as their family looked on and Joe seethed on court. He was seriously pissed off - at one point the bro's went at each other. This was not a close game. IU, which at this early point in the season was looking like a shoo-in for at least a 4 seed in the tourney, crushed Kentucky 70-51. Beloved Indiana superstar DJ White went over 1,000 points for his career with yet another double-double. Between his play and Crawford's, it might have been the most enjoyable game of the season for me personally. No Eric Gordon crashing into the lane to be double teamed and either fouled or turn the ball over? Oh yes. I can't tell you how many times I watched this happen. But not this game. This game was perfect. Most of what I remember is jumping up and down and hollering at top volume. I was hoarse for at least a day.

Sadly, this season ended up going seriously downhill. Thanks, Kelvin Sampson. But for a few shining months, we got to experience Hoosier Basketball at its finest. And oh man, was it great.

EDIT: About to head to the Iowa-Indiana game. $5 Balcony Seats, sweet!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Top Ten Moments (Noffke #10)

So on armchairsuperstar we are doing a top ten countdown of our favorite sports moments over the next ten days.

Before we get to my top ten let’s take a look at moments also receiving consideration.

Broncos at Bears: November 25, 2007; Solider Field, Chicago IL. I was at this game. Devin Hester becomes first player to return a Kickoff and a Punt for a touchdown in a NFL game. Game goes into Overtime and the Bears pull it out.

North Carolina at Notre Dame: Love them or hate them, first game at Notre Dame Stadium is pretty cool.

Downers Grove South High School vs Naperville Central High School: November 24, 2001; Memorial Stadium, Champaign IL. Played in state title game. Would have made the list had I seen significant playing time or had we won.

Game Day and Michigan State at Indiana: February 17, 2008; Assembly Hall, Bloomington IN. Game Day comes to IU, they spend most the day talking about the Sampson scandal. Get to see Erin Andrews in person. DJ White gets named to Game Day’s “All-Star” Squad. DJ gets hurt in the game. Eric Gordon plays big and IU Rolls

Connecticut at Indiana: February 4, 2006; Assembly Hall, Bloomington IN. Number 22 Indiana hosting Number 1 UConn. I had tickets on the floor behind the basket. Unbeatable view of a fantastic game.

And on to the top ten

#10 2008 NFL Draft

NFL Draft as a top moment. I know it sounds a bit odd, but as my colleague Mr. Fodor calls it Christmas II or Christmas III. I have always watched the draft, many times way too long, but I have always enjoyed it.

This particular year stands out for many reasons.

First off, the best decision the NFL Draft has ever made, shortening the draft clock from 15 min, to 10 min. This made the down time between each pick go by so much faster even if it was only 5 minutes left.

Fodor and I along with a few other friends got together and decided we were going to watch the draft; we got together a plethora food and drinks to devour over the course of the draft. We decided we would wager a dollar on every pick. We flipped a coin and Fodor got the first choice. Of course he took Jake Long leaving me to take Chris Long and well Fodor won my dollar relatively easily. After that we went back and forth guessing which player each team would take. We got a surprising 9 out of the first 10 right between the two of us. After that we kind of struggled and switched to positions and did well again. The bragging rights alone would make it fun, and to see how well we did was even better. I do not claim to be a draft expert I will leave that to Fodor.

Another reason I enjoyed the draft so much was there were two highly rated IU players that ended up getting drafted high #40 Tracy Porter and #41 James Hardy. Seeing them go off the board after watching them play 3-4 years at college was awesome.

Lastly, it was a beautiful day outside which just made the day that much better.

Stayed tuned to tomorrow, if you want a hint it deals with Fodor’s other Christmas.

Daily News and Notes

So, there I was in the middle of a loooooong work day, delivering pizzas in snowy, frigid Bloomington, when out of the blue I received the following text message from my mother: "Bears sign Brett?!"


Now that would be some news!

As it turns out, the Brett to whom she was referring was not, in fact, the former Bears nemesis and potential two-time winner of the Emmitt Smith "I Just Don't Know When to Quit" Award. No indeed, this particular Brett hails from much closer to home. The Chicago Tribune reports that former Northwestern University standout QB Brett Basanez just signed a two-year contract with his hometown team (Basanez is from Arlington Heights). Baz had been a member of the Carolina Panthers (on and off the practice squad, mostly) since leaving college. I gotta say, I absolutely love seeing NU players on pro rosters, especially when that roster is the Bears'. Does anyone else still fondly recall Darnell Autry's brief star turn during the '97 preseason? And then we have linebacker Nick Roach, who up and grabbed Hunter Hillenmeyer's starting job this season. Good stuff.

Here's wishing Brett Basanez a sucessful career wearing the navy and orange. Watch out Caleb Hanie, your roster spot is officially up for grabs.

In other news, Big Ten Network is currently airing the 2004 Iowa vs. Indiana double overtime duel at Assembly Hall. At times like this, when just one Big Ten win would seem like a miracle for IU basketball (as Mr. Noffke pointed out earlier today), it's fun to look back on better days. Semi-legendary 6'2" power forward AJ Moye just hit two three-balls in a row in overtime! Hey, I've played at Bryan Park with that guy! I think I'm goanna go ahead and change the channel before Iowa pulls ahead here. No use ruining reminiscence time.

Next up. Over the next week and a half or so, Steve and I will be counting down our own personal Top Ten Sports Memories (Moments?). I won't ruin any surprises today, but it was definitely fun racking my brain as I ran through all those years of Chicago, Northwestern, and Indiana athletics-watching. Some suffering, some joy, some more suffering... guess it comes with the territory!

One final note. To the South Carolina cops that are supposedly thinking about pressing charges against 8-time gold medalist Michael Phelps after pictures of him hitting a bong surfaced this week, all I can say is - Get a *bleeping* life. Sheriff Leon Lett, your shameless grab for publicity just reeks of filth. Aren't there meth labs you should be busting?

That's all for now. IU has Iowa at home tomorrow. According to (as well as our own experts here at Armchair Superstar), this is Crean and Company's best remaining shot to win a game this season. Go Hoosiers.

Abreu to Change his (Pin)Stripes?

The rumor mill is a' turning. It is being reported by the New York Daily News that the White Sox are offering a 1 year $8 million deal to Bobby Abreu. As of posting he has not signed the deal. Also, Chicago ESPN Radio 1000's Bruce Levine says that signing is not imminent. This all could be a ploy by Abreu’s agent to try to increase market value, but let’s just assume he does sign the deal, what does this mean for the White Sox?

The first change would be the Sox would have to move Jermaine Dye. Apparently there have been talks about a Dye for Figgins trade, but the Angels did not want to go through with it and that’s how far the talks have gone. I think the Angels are holding out hope they can sign Manny, and if he goes to the Dodgers then Dye becomes a much more attractive player.

Now you might be saying, isn’t signing Abreu basically like changing him for Dye, why would the Sox go through with it.

First, Dye signed a 2 year 22 million dollar extension going into the 2008 season with an option for 2010. So if the Sox do sign Abreu for $8 million, he is obviously cheaper.

Second do a quick comparison of stats. Abreu is 34, Dye is 35, both don’t miss many games, Abreu gets more hits, runs, RBI’s (as the linked article points out he has driven 100 runs each of the last 6 seasons, only A-Rod and Pujols have done that as well) and stolen bases. Abreu’s HR numbers have gone down since he won the derby a few years back, but if you know this White Sox team you know HR are not what they need to add. Abreu fits into “Ozzie Ball” more than Dye.

Finally, even if you want to say that Abreu over Dye is a push, you have to consider Abreu + whatever you can get for Dye over just Dye. Even though Dye can’t bring in Figgins now, if the Angels can’t sign Manny or a big bat they might be interested (Why the Angels don’t offer Abreu a deal is beyond me but I digress). There has also been talk of trading Dye for pitching - at the moment the 4 and 5 starters need to be determined

In my ideal world, the Sox sign Abreu and trade Dye for Figgins (If you know me I’ve wanted him for about 3 years now) and we instantly have our 1 and 2 hitters in the lineup. Let’s hope for the best.

11 Game Losing Streak

Really? Really? 11 game losing steak. That’s impressive

I was surfing on on my blackberry yesterday and it always gives you a fun fact near the top of the page. Yesterday’s fun fact was… Indiana has tied a school record with an 11 game losing streak. Good times.

I mean I knew, like everyone else, that Indiana basketball was going to have a terrible year this year thanks to the ramifications of the Sampson fall-out. This 11 game losing streak is the proof of that. I’m not going to complain about the bad year because we all expected this. All I want from this Indiana team is to win 1 Big Ten basketball game. You heard me right 1. Not asking for much.

Looking at the schedule earlier in the year, I thought maybe we could beat Penn State at home, given that Penn State has never won in Bloomington. WRONG! Alright, Northwestern is better but we were winning most the game we can pull this one out right? WRONG! To quote ESPN Radio host and Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, “Watching Iowa basketball could make you eyes bleed.” So they are bad, we could beat them right! WRONG!

So Indiana has 10 more Big Ten games, 11 if you count the Big Ten Tournament. They can win one of them right? Looking ahead at the schedule ; it seems the best chance for IU to get its win is tomorrow night in Bloomington when the face Iowa. They are also having a down year, we played them close in Iowa City, and they always play better at home. If they don’t win tomorrow night, the future does not look as promising. Wisconsin is down this year so maybe they could get that one. The only other game on the schedule they might win would be Northwestern at home because of how close the game was up in Evanston (This would upset my colleague greatly and potentially knock NU out of the tourney).

So I’m not asking for much, just 1 lousy big ten win. A 1-21 stretch to finish the season would make me happy. Wow, now that’s depressing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Everybody Loves TJ - TJ Loves Range Rovers! Perfect

For the last several weeks, I've been preaching to anyone in earshot that the Bears should really be thinking about going after Cincinnati free-agent-to-be TJ Houshmandzadeh. Well, it turns out I'm not alone. Not by a long shot. A quick Google News search turns up articles from at least four or five major markets whose teams are being sold the Housh hype - including the Seahawks, Bears, Eagles, Giants, and Raiders. Almost everybody in the NFL could use a rock-solid possession wideout with great hands and speed. Which is why TJ is looking at a major payday this offseason. So where is the 31-year old, whose play was one of the few bright spots on a terrible Bengals squad last year, actually going to end up? According to ultra-reliable running mate Chad Ocho Cinco, he'll be back in stripes next year. To which I have to say; Run, TJ. Run as fast as you can, far, far away.

Housh had 92 receptions for 902 yards and 4 TDs last year, very solid numbers, especially when you consider that most of the year he had Ryan "I'm a total stiff and my teammates secretly (maybe not so secretly) think i suck" Fitzpatrick trying to get him the ball. Of course, I drafted him in my touchdown-only fantasy league where he spent the year on the bench while I was forced to trade for Randy Moss (for Marshawn Lynch in week 3, straight up) and Dallas Clark (for Roy Williams right after the 'Boys trade). Hey, no grudges here. Those numbers would look fantastic if Houshy was just putting 'em up in a Bears uniform. Say what you will about Kyle Orton - his arm looks like an absolute cannon next to Fitzy's. I guess the real question with TJ is, who's going to pony up the 9 or 10 mill a year it will take to sign the guy? I mean, that's a lot of money, but this guy is no Muhsin Muhammed, so please stop with the comparisons. TJ has better hands, more speed, and a lot fewer miles on him. I know we're supposed to be a 'WR Graveyard' (thanks Moose, ya big douche), but I feel like this guy really oozes Bears-type toughness and attitude every time he gets the ball. Which, on this team, would be extremely often, like 10-12 times per game. That's how you put up Pro Bowl numbers right there. So step on up, Mr. Jerry Angelo. Let's get ourselves a target! And let's get him six or seven more Range Rovers while we're at it. The hybrid model, please. It's a down economy.

Super Steelers

Super Sunday was a success.

First off Congrats to the Steelers and Congrats to Santonio Holmes.

What a fantastic game it was last night. At first it seemed like the Steelers were going to dominate the game (Arizona only had 1 possession in the 1st Quarter) for most the way. Then Arizona started showing life only to lead to a pick and score by Harrison. Speaking of that, was it just me or did Harrison look like he was dead after that run. I mean I don’t blame the guy, running a 100 yd dash while avoiding people and breaking tackles is probably extremely tiring, but he looked like he was shot. Lucky for him it was halftime.

Finally Arizona got over the hump and put a couple scores into the endzone thanks to Mr. Fitzgerald. I think he ran that 64 yards on his TD in like 4 seconds. The man was flying down the field. I still think Andre Johnson is a better WR, but Fitz can flat out play.

The Safety was exciting as well. I was talking with my buddy Ryan, and I said watch out for holding in the end zone. Sure enough 2 seconds later a Steelers’ O-Line man is tackling a Cardinal in the end zone. I thought this was the big moment for the Cards comeback. Had this holding not occurred, it would have been Steelers ball first and 10 on there 20. Now the Cards get the ball which allows them to go back down the field and score.

The Steelers last drive of the game was phenomenal. Big Ben somehow avoiding all Cardinal rushers and throwing darts to his WR. I thought the play of the drive was the 2nd and 20; Ben drops back, avoids like 3 rushers and then throws a laser for a completion and a first down. If he doesn’t buy himself some extra time and goes down, it’s 3rd and at least 25. There is no way Pittsburgh gets that, game over and Super Bowl to the Cards.

The final catch was just phenomenal. Ben threw a perfect pass into triple coverage none the less where only his WR could catch it and Holmes did a great job grabbing and dragging his feat. You may say that the drag is so natural for WR that he should do it every time. Well he admitted the play before that he dropped the ball cause he was thinking too much about dragging his feat. Great adjustment and great catch.

The Game did end on a little bit of a sour note. Kurt Warner’s fumble should have at least been reviewed. I mean it’s the Super Bowl for crying out loud. Take the extra 5 minutes to make sure you get it right. Sure the Cards probably wouldn’t have scored with the amount of time left. But who knows with Fitz and Boldin jumping up for the ball anything can happen. I think it was an incomplete pass but I have heard others say it was a fumble. I can live with the call; I just wish they would have taken a look at it.

Alright let’s see how my predictions errr uh guessing went.

Game will be like Broncos Falcons or Rams Titans.

This game had a lot of similarities with Rams Titans; Steelers got a pretty significant lead, with the Cardinals coming all the way back. Then the Steelers reclaimed the lead giving enough time for one final drive that wasn’t meant to be.

Prop Bets

Coin Flip: Cards

Got this one right. Did you know that is 13 straight years for the NFC! 13 that’s nuts. 1-0

First Play: Pass

It was a run. 1-1

First Score: Cards

It was the Steelers. 1-2

Longest FG: 45+

Nope: 1-3

First Commercial: Beer
First Beer Commercial: Bud

Yes it was, a pretty good one too with the guy flying out the window (Video ). 3-3

Will Warner break the record for passing yards in a Super Bowl: No

Yes he did. He has thrown for 300+ in every Super Bowl he has been in with one 400+. So I am dumb 3-4

How many different players will attempt a pass: 3+

Only Warner and Ben 3-5

Over/Under on Jersey number of first score (38.5): Under

It was #33 Gary Russell. 4-5

Steelers 31 Cardinals 20
Steelers (-7) and the Under (53.5)

Final Score: Steelers 27 Cardinals 23.

So I was pretty close on the score, and I hit the under; but the Steelers did not cover.

So Grand Total 5-6. And none of my squares hit. Oh well.

It was a great game, and thank you to everyone who came to my party yesterday. The bring beer to share idea I feel worked out great. (Editor’s Note: Steve asked everybody who came to the party to bring their own 6-pack of a non generic beer which then was shared with everyone).

Finally two notes about the Pre-Game that I liked. The Gatorade bath piece was a nice fun piece. I am glad that they provided the two sides of the story that claim they started it (Giants and Bears). The Bears did it earlier and Hampton said they didn’t do it in the Super Bowl because they expected to win. This allowed the Giants to get Parcells a few years later with the first Gatorade bath in the Super Bowl which led to becoming a tradition for big winners.

Also interesting note I learned from the pre-game. The most downloaded song in ITunes history is…………
DON’T STOP BELIEVEING by Journey!!!!! And Dan Patrick correctly pointed out that it is because of the 2005 White Sox!!!!!!

Bring Back Bobby

There have been rumors (STORY) that Bob Knight has said he would be interested in taking the head coaching job at Georgia. From Georgia’s standpoint I can’t see why they wouldn’t want to go through with this. Knight is a big name coach whose mere presence on the sidelines will attract more attention and the fans would be sure to follow. He has won everywhere he’s been (Army, Indiana, Texas Tech); and most importantly he graduates players. He does come with his share of issues, like throwing a chair or hitting a player under the chin.

As for the SEC it would be great for the conference. It brings a big name coach to a conference that has struggled mightily this year, including multiple weeks with 0 teams ranked in the Top 25.

I could see UGA getting a little impatient with Bobby Knight though. Bobby Knight wants a certain type of player to fill his roles. He is a very team oriented coach and doesn’t like a lot of Me first guys. He also doesn’t land many top 'one and done' freshman. So even though he might get more out of their current players, it could take him a few years to get the program set up to how he likes it.

As for the move for Bob Knight. I don’t think he will mind coaching at a football school in the most intense college football conference in America. I am just surprised that he would be going to the south. From what I’ve read and heard, he wanted to return to some school in the Midwest. That is where he played (Ohio State) and where he won three of his titles (Indiana). I guess I thought that after his Texas Tech experience he would come back to the Midwest (Not with the Big Ten, Commish Delaney stopped him from coaching Ohio St after being let go from Indiana, I bet he would stop any school from trying to get him).

I also think he enjoys being an announcer. I am pretty sure that ESPN lets him do whatever he wants. Watch game day some time. The four other guys will be in shirt and tie (with matching highlighter for Digger) while Bobby sits there in a windbreaker or a sweater vest. But a discussion on GameDay is another article for another day.

I do wish Bobby the best whether he chooses to stay as an announcer or goes on to coach UGA and I am sure he will thrive, as he always has, at whatever he chooses.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Merry Super Sunday

Merry Super Sunday everybody.

So I didn’t have very much time to write this a Super Bowl Preview with planning my own Super Bowl party among other things so I came up with the idea of writing my entire Super Bowl preview in the first 30 min of the 900 hour pregame show. So I apologize in advance for crummy grammar and randomness that is about to follow.

Its Noon and I just turned on the pre-game show, I’ve already watched roughly 2 hours of those 30 minute ESPN Superbowl highlights this morning, my squares picked, my Bettis Jersey is about to be put on (so much for the suspense of who I’m cheering for) and my drinking glass already picked out, so needless to say I am sufficiently psyched for the last meaningful football for 7 months.

Just heard this quote about the Cardinals on the pre-game show; “Coach Wiz told the Cardinals do what you did to get here.”

This led to this quote from my Finace Jamie “Well Cardinals, do what you did in the Playoffs that got you here; actually win or lose, the Cardinals will have done what they did to get there.” Good call.

I guess this is good spot for my non football tangent. Congrats to Nadal for winning his first hard court major by beating Fedorer. I DVR’d it and it was a fantastic match again. I would recommend watching the encore if you get a chance. The match went to the 5th set with Nadal just dominating after the 3rd game. I’m glad that tennis is getting competitive again because after seeing Fedorer dominate the sport for a couple of years it did get a little old. I still would like to Fedorer set the record, I don’t want to see him go non competitive but it is a welcome change.

Alright back to the Super Bowl XLIII Analysis. Steelers vs Cardinals. Like most the experts think the Cardinals will keep it close for awhile, but I think the Steelers are the better team and will go on and win with a dominating second half. I feel this game will go one of two ways.

1. Broncos Falcons: Falcons got hot in the playoffs and knocked off some good teams before getting completely overmatched by the Broncos. OR

2. Rams Titans: Titans had a solid regularly season and then got hot in the playoffs and played a tight down the one yard line Super Bowl game.

I am cheering for a #2 scenario. As much as I would like to see the Steelers win, if the Cards do win I would not be upset. I would feel good for the fans of the team that has stuck with them since the move to the desert. The Steelers fans could use their 5 Super Bowl titles to console themselves.

On to Prop Bets

Coin Flip: Cards

First Play: Pass

First Score: Cardinals

Longest FG: 45 Yards+

First Commercial (Beer of Non Beer): Beer

First Beer Commercial (Bud or the field): Bud

Will Warner Break the record for most passing yards in Super Bowl history: NO

And for the two coolest Prop bets

How Many different players will attempt a Pass: 3+

I like this for a few reasons. First we all know coach Wiz likes trick plays and last time he was in a Super Bowl Randel El threw a TD pass to Ward. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a similar play involving Boldin and Fitzgerald. Another reason I like the over is that the Steelers biggest weakness has been their O-Line play. They have finally gotten healthy and have played better as of late but I still can’t get the word Ben and spinal concussion out of my head. It also wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a Byron Leftwhich sighting.

Over/Under Players Jersey who Scores first TD (38.5): Under

I love this bet and love the line. Especially the fact the Willie Parker’s number 39 is just over that. I am taking the under because Holmes with his big play ability and return skill is 10 and Fitz (Who is the 2nd yes 2nd best WR in the NFL behind Andre Johnson) numbers are lower.

Prediction: I Think the Cards will score first and keep it close in the first but then the Steelers will come out and dominate the 2nd half and cruise to an easy victory with the cardinals scoring some garbage points late. So I’m taking the Steelers and laying the 7 and the under (53.5).

Final: Steelers 31 Cardinals 20

Also breaking news. Penn St. just beat Michigan St. Sorry Fodor, but PSU might be more of a bubble team then NU.

Marv Albert Can't Wait...

Around this time of year, faithful NFL fans around the country are fixated on only one thing. The biggest event of the football year. That's right... less than three months 'til Christmas II, the NFL Draft! (Maybe Christmas III, now that I think about it. The NCAA Tourney is a wonderful time of year)

Meanwhile, casual fans, lovers of the Boss, Steelers and Cards fanatics... well, I don't really know what you're on about. I'm working a double tomorrow, delivering pizzas. Apparently, we're going to be busy for some reason?

(Man, that is some inspiring music.)

Yeah, yeah, okay. I'm going to listen to the Big Game on the radio. Marv Albert is the man! However, my fellow Bears fans and I have more pressing concerns. Specifically, who is Bears GM Jerry Angelo going to get for us this year? Now, I've been asking around, and can't seem to find much consensus on what position Da' Bears should focus on, let alone any individual players. The Trib's Huddle Up blog had a nice article yesterday where they point out that Kiper's Mock Draft has the Bears taking DE Tyson Jackson from LSU. Pure rushing end... oookay... I guess we didn't get many sacks last year (28, close to the bottom of the league), but didn't we just re-up on Alex Brown? And what happened to Mark Anderson?? Not to mention that Marcus Harrison was really coming on at D-Tackle, Tommie Harris is supposed to be a beast... is Adewale washed up? Oh boy. The Bears defensive line is a subject for a different post. Anyways, other mocks I've seen have us taking a wideout, an o-lineman, even linebackers or corners.

We will have plenty of time to debate the draft over the next several months, but I just wanted to throw one specific name out there, for fun. How scary would Percy Harvin be opposite Devin Hester, or spelling Forte? He'll probably be there at Number 18... just sayin'. You can get big bodies for Lovie to work with at any time in the draft. This kid would instantly make us watchable on offense. Maybe even exciting! And that would really be something for Bears fans to be happy about. So there it is. Three months early, and I'm calling it. Jerry, get Percy's agent on the phone! Maybe you guys can meet up at one of Tampa's many fine dining establishments! Marv can come too!