Friday, February 5, 2010

Rod Marinelli the Bears New Defensive Coordinator

So, "Rodimus Prime," as someone on the Chicago Bears Message Board calls him, was named Defensive Coordinator today. Funny how inept this organization is. The Bears could have hired both Martz and Marinelli the day of the press conference, but refused to. I don't know whether or not Hot Rod is going to be a good DC, I sure hope he is, I just don't get the Bears.

The Chicago Bears are worth around 1.5 billion dollars. What organization worth that much money do you know of that runs its business so ineptly? If the Bears weren't backed by the NFL and instead had to fend off other competitors, like any other normal business, they probably would have crumbled.

What has it been, 6 weeks? To hire the same people everyone knew you were going to hire day 1? Jesus! If I were Virginia McCaskey I would resist dying everyday simply b/c I knew that as soon as I died George was gonna give me the back of his hand!

Is Tony Dungy the Most Overrated NFL Coach of All-Time?

I just read an article about Tony Dungy predicting the Colts to beat down on the Saints, which I disagree with, and it got me to thinking: Is Tony Dungy the most overrated coach the NFL has ever witnessed?

Well seeing as how I only have a very limited knowledge of NFL coaching, I cannot make a real good argument for ever. But I do think he is the most overrated coach of this era. Yes he came in and gave life to the once lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he couldn't take arguably the best defense of the early 2000's to a Superbowl, let alone win one (yes I know, the Ravens were the best D of the 00's). I mean let's really break this down.

Dungy with the Bucs:

6-10 in 96
10-6 in 97
8-8 in 98
11-5 in 99
10-6 in 00
9-7 in 01

Record with Bucs: 54-42 (.562)
Average finish in NFC Central: 2.5 Take your pick either second or third place
Year after Dungy left: Bucs went to Superbowl and won it.
Year Before Dungy Arrived: Bucs went 7-9 and finished last in the division (really? shocking).

Then, somehow, he gets a gift of a job with the Colts after this very mediocre performance.

Record with Colts:

10-6 in 02 (2nd place)
12-4 in 03 (1st place)
12-4 in 04 (1st place)
14-2 in 05 (1st place)
12-4 in 06 (1st place)
13-3 in 07 (1st place)
12-4 in 08 (2nd place)

Record with Colts: 85-27 (.833)
Average Finish: 1.28 (or first place)
Year before Dungy arrived: 6-10 (4th in AFC East)
Year after Dugny Leaves: Colts are PLAYING FOR A SUPERBOWL

Overall Record: 139-69 (.668)

Look, after a great coach leaves your team is supposed to get worse. Yet somehow, every year after Dungy has left the teams he left have gone to the Superbowl. He could only win one Superbowl with perhaps the best QB of all time and he may have been the reason that the Colts could never beat the Patriots during their run. I honestly believe that he has cost Manning some Superbowl wins. Without Manning, Dungy would be like all of the other coaches that were on his staff: employed and then fired. This of course is excluding one: Lovie Smith (who, notably, should have been fired this year). It seems to me that Dungy just landed in the best position of all, on teams with exceptional talent.

Recruit them while they're young?

Lane Kiffin is making the news again, and this time it’s by recruiting a 7th grader. According to this article (linked below) from ESPN by Ramona Shelburne, 13 year old David Sills committed to play for USC when he graduates high school……in six years.

This brings up an issue I have with college recruiting today in basketball and now football. We have heard stories of basketball coaches offering 8th graders scholarships and now it’s in football. The problem I have with this is that to me it seems like your putting pressure on a young kid to make a decision at a young age. How many decisions did you make that would make an impact in your life at age 13?

Another problem with coaches doing this is you don’t know if that kid will be good at the next level. For example, a kid on the 8th grade basketball that is 6 feet tall is obviously going to be good considering everyone around him is maybe 5’4’’ 5’5’’. Sills is said to be 6 feet which is tall for a 7th grader in my mind of course he’s going to look good. What if these kids don’t grow, that 6 foot basketball player may only grow another inch or two and becomes over matched by the time he is a senior in high school, doesn’t look so good now does he.

The other problem with recruiting this early and having them commit early is that these athletes still have time to change their minds. We see it all the time with IU football recruits, a good recruit that commits when he is a junior and by the time he is senior he realizes that better schools are recruiting them so they go their instead, or they just decide they don’t want to go to IU anymore. We see these athletes change their mind constantly (Jeremy Finch).

It was tough enough for non athletes to make a decision on where to go for their education. What if these coach stop recruiting for this one position cause an athlete commits as a junior and the coach thinks he’s a lock, that athlete could change his mind and now the coach is stuck with nothing (Bruce Weber).

The point being is that there is a problem with recruiting an athlete when he is young and sometimes really young as it is in this case. Recruiting an athlete for any sport men’s or women’s (however I’ve never seen this problem in Women’s collegiate sports) that just became a teenager is wrong in my opinion and needs to be addressed by the NCAA. My way of fixing this is maybe making a rule where you can’t start recruiting (by this I mean showing interest) a kid till maybe after his/her freshman year and can’t offer a scholarship till he/she is a junior in high school. That is just my opinion, anyone else have any thoughts about this?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

MF's Post of the Year

Some of my personal favorites...

BEST PICTURE (my article division): Kevin Shaffer, new Bears tackle.

My Number Nine Sports Moment - March Madness YogiStyle - Not only was this an awesome day, but I had fun writing about it. Someday, we'll go back and finish that Top Ten Sports Moments list.

Five Reasons to Love the NIT - Back in the day, when I wasn't too lazy to put a ton of hyperlinks into my articles.

New Years Day Live Blog - Seriously, this was one of the tougher things I've done in writing. I have a ton of respect for people that live-blog games on the regular.

IU All-Decade Team - Classic 'research project' type piece that got my inner history major going.

The Armchair Superstar Mock Draft (collaboration with Snuffles) - We need to do more of these. Too bad the Bears decided they don't need or want any more draft picks, ever.

Tom Crean Year One in Review - My first piece as a B/R featured columnist for IU basketball.

Anyway, enough memory lane. I honestly don't know which one of these to pick!

A couple more favorite pics...

Purdue Gives Hope for Indiana

Indiana and Purdue had a game that makes this rivalry so much fun. Purdue is clearly the better team, but played a back and forth game with the upstart Hoosiers. I know it was a frustrating loss for the Hoosiers, but hope is just on the other side of the floor.

Matt Painter took over in 2005, he played out Keady's players and then started bringing in his own great recruiting classes. These teams were young and talented but couldn't put it together. Now look at them, they are all upper classmen and making big plays in big moments.

This is going to be the Hoosiers in two years, everyone is good, but not too good to jump to the NBA. This team is going to grow up together and learn from tough losses like this. In two years, I fully expect this IU team to be making a Final Four run just like i expect this year's Purdue team to do the same.

I have talked to my Dad about games like this. It's frustrating to loose them, but we have to remember, they are young and inexperienced. These games are no where near as frustrating as the Marco, DJ or Eric games where we knew our team was better then they were playing.

Don't be down Hoosier fans, hope is on its way, and we can look to our biggest rival for hope.

World Cup 2010: Fantasy Draft

Fodor and I were discussing this earlier and we are both in, I want to see if any other ACSS readers want to be in.

The event would involve 8 people. Each person puts in the same amount and then an order is chosen 1-8. Then each person drafts a Country in a draft in snake order. Whatever person drafts the winning team wins.

I think this is a great idea for very novice soccer fans as it will give them a reason to watch and a team to cheer for. This can allow anyone to get into the world cup.

Fodor and I are going to be in, anybody else out there intrested? Let us know

2010 NBA Free Agency

Well, here we are about half way through the NBA season and the biggest story isn't the Lakers, Cavs, Magic, Celtics, or any other team. It is what is going to happen this offseason. The free agent market is PACKED with Super Stars. You have:

Amare Stoudamire (If he opts out of his current contract)
D'Wayne Wade
Lebron James
Chris Bosh
Joe Johnson
Ray Allen
Paul Pierce
Dirk Nowitzki
Yao Ming
Kobe Bryant
Carlos Boozer

While many of these players do have player options or early termination options, this is still quite an impressive list. The Bulls easily have room to sign one of these guys, the question becomes if the Bulls get rid of Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, or John Salmons, will they have enough money to sign two of these guys?

I think yes. Ideally, with the group of players that they have already, which two should they sign? I don't know. If this was an ideal world, which it's not, I would hope they go with the two best players available IMO. And that is D'wayne Wade and LeBron James. I know, I know, the Bulls need low post scoring. However, you don't need anything when you have these two. That team would probably look like this:

Derrick Rose PG
D'wayne Wade SG
LeBron James SF
Joakim Noah C
Taj Gibson/Tyrus Thomas PF

However, if you are building a complete team than I think the Bulls should go Lebron and Bosh. Imagine if somehow a miracle occurred and the Bulls got rid of Hinrich and Salmons for expiring contracts. This would be their team:

Derrick Rose PG
LeBron James SG
Luol Deng SF
Chris Bosh PF
Joakim Noah C

That is a championship winner right there. There is way too many weapons on that roster. However, what I really think will happen is the Bulls will sign one max free agent and settle for someone like a Joe Johnson (which I have no problem with).

Derrick Rose PG
Joe Johnson SG
Luol Deng SF
Chris Bosh PF
Joakim Noah C

That is a team that can win the East if you ask me. However, I'm still going to hope and pray that the Bulls go balls out!

Armchair Superstar Turns 1

One year ago Mark Fodor and myself decided to embark on an adventure to have our own sports blog. ACSS is what has become of this idea. As of writing this we have had 19,519 hits for our page (so close to 20,000). We all know that 90-95% of these hits are Mark and myself, with the other 5% coming from Mark’s mom (who never posts any comments). It’s been a fun year and it’s time to look back and see some of the good, and not so great moments. Needless to say, enjoy the post, re-read some of the old posts, it’s amazing how good, bad and funny some of the things we have posted on this site. That was the best part of creating this post, just seeing what we were talking about at different times of the year last year.

Stats on Posts

We currently have a stable of 10 different posters who have posted a total of 360 different posts, just shy of Fodor’s year goal for 365. Now, I bet you are wondering, who had the most posts for the year. Including this post Mark Fodor and I are tied at 155.5 (we co-wrote one piece together) posts for the year. Fodor has led the blog in total posts for most the year. I passed him once in the last full week of October, only to have him reclaim the lead the next week. I have caught up to him again at this tie. Here is a breakdown of posts by writer.

Fodor 155.5
Noffke 155.5
Ryan 23
Tim 5
AJ 5
Alec 4
Dan 4
Colin 3
Derek 3
Ben 2

Fodor led the blog with the most posts in one month with 20 posts in February 2009. Who said sports is dead in February? I hold the record for most post in a week with 10. This happened on 11/08-11/15. This is also the record week for ACSS with 18 posts. The ACSS month with the most posts was October with 40. The ACSS record for week with most different posters was 08/30-09/06 where we had 5 different people post an article.

In honor of our one year anniversary I decided to hand out some awards for the blog. I have named the awards the ACeSS (pounced Aces)

Worst Writer of the Year!

The Winner is…Stephen Noffke

I clearly win the award for worst writer. Leaving aside the inconsistent posting with few post over a couple a weeks, one need to go no further then this post to figure out why I am the worst writer. I have 0, that’s right 0, grammar skills. I couldn’t form a cohesive sentence to save my life. We also can’t forget about the numerous typos that are any given post. On top of all this, I also have an inability to finish what I started. Fodor and I did a countdown of our Top 10 sports moments, I stopped at 5. I also was going around the NFL to name which players on each team’s roster would have their number retired or make the hall of fame. I got through 2 of the 8 divisions. So clearly I earn this award.

Laziest Post of The Year!

The Winner is…. Important Story I Can’t Get Through by Mark Fodor

Instead of reading the story, Fodor read the first little bit of it, got bored, and posted it on the website hoping someone would explain. Luckily the ACSS future writer Ryan is in law school and was able to break it down for him. Bravo for Fodor to be too lazy to read the article, and barely explain anything in your post.

The Article with the most Comments!

The Winner is…. A tie Urlacher Out For Season: Paging Derrick Brooks? , posted by Fodor, and Random Trivia of the Week, RB College , posted by me, with 7 each

I would like to give extra credit to the Urlacher post because the Trivia encourages people to post, while the Urlacher post just led to many comments.

Best Pictured Posted

The Winner is….

This picture is found in the Depressing Landscape of College Football by me. I really like this picture, the way it uses all the different football helmets to show where each team is located. I know most of you will not agree with me, but oh well.

Article with the best Pictures Posted

The nomiees are…

Would You Rather: See Notre Dame or Chicago Bears Win this Weekend By Stephen Noffke

Dissecting ESPN’s Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings By Position: The Quarterbacks by AJ Etsch

Dissecting ESPN’s Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings By Position: The Running Backs By AJ Etsch

Dissecting ESPN’s Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings By Position: The Wide Receivers By AJ Etsch

The Winner is…. Dissecting ESPN’s Scouts Inc. NFL Rankings By Position: The Quarterbacks
By AJ Etsch

This one wins by a landslide. The array of comical and painful pictures (depending on who you cheer for) are in a beautiful mix. I believe this article also has the most pictures with help. I honestly couldn’t help but laugh at each and everyone of these pictures.

Best Link Posted

If you have ever read this blog, then you know what choice I am going to go with. The clip of Super Bo on Super Techmo Bowl. This clip has been posted numerous times by myself.

Best Video Posted.

The Nominees

College Baseball Dance-off by Mark Fodor

Miami Dolphins fight song by T-Pain in This One’s for Fodor by Stephen Noffke

Peyton Manning Yells at his Protection By Stephen Noffke

The Winner is…. Miami Dolphins Fight Song!

The song is amazingly catchy, and can easily get stuck in your head. I know it’s been the most listed to song and most watched video we have ever posted.

The other two are solid contenders. The College Baseball Dance-off is hysterical at points and just ok at other. Peyton swearing on TV is also a classic moment.

Most Inappropriate Writer

The Nominees

Ryan Parrent or AJ Etsch

The Winner is….Ryan!

Ryan has gone out of his way to call ESPN mentally challenged (in not as pc ways) numerous times. The entire purpose of this post was to show the picture of Spider-man doing his best Peter North impression. He has used angry and sometimes foul language in his posts and comments, and even a letter he sent to David Stern.

AJ does use a lot of rough language but is not as over the top as Ryan is, congratulations Ryan!

Most Unbelievably Timed Post

The Nominees

Big Ten Expansion By Stephen Noffke

Hard Luck NFL Fans By Stephen Noffke

The Winner is… Big Ten Expansion By Stephen Noffke.

This article wins the award because about a month after I posted this, the Big Ten announced plans to look into expansion. The crazy thing is, I had started this article in June, and put off finishing it forever. One day I decided to do finish it, and couldn’t have timed it better.

The Hard Luck fans had lucky timing too because a week after I posted my article, the Sports Guy posted his.

Longest Article of the Year

The Nominees

Steve’s Bracket by Stephen Noffke

Armchair Superstar Mock Draft By Stephen Noffke and Mark Fodor

Retro Diary: Classic College Football on BTN Illinois at Indiana 1999 By Stephen Noffke

27 Up 27 Down By Stephen Noffke

Outback Bowl – Live Blog Madness By Mark Fodor

The Winner is…. Outback Bowl – Live Blog Madness By Mark Fodor

Technically Fodor split his live blog into two separate entries, but since they were basically one continual entry he gets the nod. The Longest single post was the Retro Diary, and the Longest no diary was Steve’s Bracket. Here is a word count of each article

Outback Bowl – Live Blog Madness By Mark Fodor 3,640
Retro Diary: Classic College Football on BTN Illinois at Indiana 1999 2,853
Steve’s Bracket: 2,516
Armchair Superstar Mock Draft 2,428
27 Up and 27 Down 2,210

Most Heated Post

Letter To David Stern by Stephen Noffke

This article as well as it’s follow up got more heated debates between ACSS writers, friends and family then any other post of the year. Obviously it wasn’t as much about the post as it was about the NBA lack of actions. This article would be the first of many NBA bashing the website would do. Which leads us to

Most Target Topics for Rants

The nominees

College Football Scheduling

NBA Refs

ESPN Hating Jay Cutler

The Winner is…. NBA Refs

NBA Refs took more of a beating throughout the year from our posters and comments then anything else. You can find shots at NBA refs from March through December, even when the NBA was in the off-season. ESPN hating Jay Cutler lead to a lot of other heated posts of its own from multiple sources including some less then flattering words from Ryan (see inappropriate awards). College Football Scheduling was some I personally ranted on a lot but did often enough to make this list.

Now we come to the final two awards; Writer of the Year and Post of the Year.

Writer of the Year:

The Nominees

Mark Fodor

Stephen Noffke

The Winner is…. Mark Fodor

Mark started the blog and convinced me to join. He is tied with me for the most post for the year, but didn’t rely as heavily as I did on posting a link or a trivia questions (Total “Short Posts” as I called them: Noffke 50 Fodor 29). Fodor also got ACSS onto Bleacher Report where he also landed a columnist job for Indiana Basketball. With out Mark Fodor there would be no ACSS so congrats to Mark.

(Editor’s Note: I was going to pick myself, but I don’t think anyone enjoys my writing as much as I do myself)

Post of the Year

I ran into a dilemma with this. When flipping through for Post of the Year, I noticed a trend that every one of my nominations was an article that I had written. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading everyone else’s articles, it was just that I was clearly biased in liking my articles because I know what it took to write them, how long it took to write and they were about topics I liked. So instead of doing Post of the Year, I am going to do Stephen Noffke Post of the Year and leave the other writers to have their own if they so choose.

Stephen Noffke Post of the Year


Sports Stigmas

Case for POY: I felt like this was my first really good article I had written for the site. I had the idea in my head for a few years and finally got the idea on paper. The article discusses a sensitive issue but I think gives everyone a different view of how we look at sports.

How to Pick a Bracket

Case for POY: I did a statistical breakdown of every Final Four since 1985 to prove my point. I have long held onto this theory and finally had the stats to back me up. I though the piece had a good flow to it, a serious, but not too serious tone of suggesting to take it’s advice On top of that, it was proven correct on both accounts this year.

Problems with College Football Schedules and College Football: A Depressing Landscape of out of Conference Games(I know these are two different articles, but they were a few days apart and basically one long rant)

Case for POY: This topic just got me fired up. I have discussed this with friends for years, and I am sure I will continue to rant on the site about this. Both articles had good information and good flows to them.

Home Field Advantage for the World Series

Case for POY: This article got me the best compliment I ever received. While waiting for a movie, I had Jamie read this piece on my Blackberry. Once she was done she noticed my name at the bottom and said, “O you commented on this article.” She didn’t realize until I told her that I wrote this piece that it wasn’t from a major website. I also really liked this article because it was so easy to write; it just came to me naturally and flowed off my fingertips onto the page.

Ode to College Football

Case for POY: I love this article because I couldn’t tell you one reason why I love College Football, so I listed off as many reasons as I could, and I still don’t think it gives it justice. It makes me excited for football every time I read it and I can’t wait to experience more college atmosphere’s live compared to on TV.

Big Ten Expansion

Case for POY: The timing of this couldn’t be beat. The fact I spent so much time on it, and almost everything I discussed in this article has been discussed by every other article I have read about Big Ten Expansion post announcement. I got tons of great feedback on it and how much people enjoyed the in depth look at each team as well as the reason behind the expansion and the problems with it.

Hard Luck NFL Fans

Case for POY: I originally thought this was going to be a throw away article. An article I just write real quickly to get some quick though provocation and then it’s gone. I was surprised how much everyone told me they liked this article and how it was clear to see the amount of research that went into it. Then Sports Guy’s article a few days later made me smile

And the Winner is….

This was such a tough choice; I kept going back and forth between Ode to College Football and Big Ten Expansion I liked each for different reasons. In the end I chose Ode to College Football because I didn’t stop writing it for 3 months like I did with Big Ten Expansion. It took me about an hour to write and I tried to list off everything I love about College Football and what everyone else around the country loves about college football and that’s what came up. It was a close race, but I loved all these articles for different reasons and I think they are all winners.

So there you have it, the ACeSS. Was my choice for POY your favorite too? Did I mess up any other awards? Did I complete forget about some? Am I going to agree with my own awards in 24 hours? Probably Not. Comment or Post away with your thoughts.

Finally, Thank You to all our Readers out there (all 3 of you!).


If you have watched ESPN at all you probably have heard about 20 different superbowl predictions. Mel Kiper says that Reggie Bush is going to have tha game of his life. Mark Schlereth seems to think that the game will be dominated by the Colts defense and Manning will pick apart the Saints.

All of these opinions seem to have some merit, however, this is my 2 cents on the superbowl.

The Colts gave up only 10 sacks all season, which lays out a challenge to New Orleans. However, if you look at the last 2 games the saints have played they have knocked 1 quarterback into retirement and the other into his psuedo-retirement (which may be the norm for Favre now). Even though the Colts O-line is phenomenal I predict that the Saints will get to Manning 2-3 times legally, and probably 1 other time that will cost them 15 yards. Despite getting hit I predict Manning will throw 2 TD's and have only mild trouble with the Saints defense. Tack on a TD on the ground and the Colts offense looks pretty good.

To the other side of the ball, the Colts also have a great defense, however, in my mind it isnt as great as the Saints high powered offense. I believe that Brees will have no trouble at all moving the ball down the feild especially if they decide to spread it out early. The only way I forsee Reggie Bush having the game of his life is if Indianapolis blitzes far to often and Bush is on a short screen route every time. I predict that Brees will throw for 3 TDs and Bush will not score.

After looking at both sides of the ball, I believe that both teams will reach the end zone three times, and that the game will come down to special teams. In the special teams category I have to give the slight advantage to New Orleans. Which makes my final score prediction. 27-24 Saints in either OT or in the closing minutes.

Signing Day 2010 - Northwestern, Notre Dame, Illinois

From our friend abroad, Alec Kinczewski, who loves prep-to-college like I love the NFL Draft :

To cover Northwestern's recruiting class I'm very encouraged. While it doesn't have the 5-star and 4 -star players of other programs, there's one tell tale sign that our program has its act together: there were only 17 scholarships.

Why so few when other schools often sign 25-30? Because no one transfers or drops out of NUs program. While some don't bloom, being able to send out seniors on special teams gives NU a special advantage: for the old timers, that's their big event and they care about it.

Additionally it shows that we don't have the same discontents as other programs, and as I've learned in the Army an office cancer must be given the Moses treatment (banished and forgotten... of course that didn't work out too well for Ramses).

Additionally, the NU class has 13 guys who were team Captains and a collective GPA of 3.5, so as Fitzgerald says in the link these are the guys our program needs.

I still reminisce to how excited I was when Brett Basanez signed with NU (after an epic career at St. Viator including one of the all time great IL HS football games against Joliet Catholic in the playoffs). Who is NU's QB in waiting right now?

Now those three star players take me into my evaluation of Notre Dame's class: it isn't about who you recruit but what you do with them. Kelly made a reputation for developing talent at Cincinnati. I don't think he ever had a top 50 recruiting class there.

Now he has a top 20 (much lower than any of Charlie's) and a couple years of stocked up talent. I'm very curious to see what he does with Charlie's leftovers. While Charlie wasn't known for talent development, he did show how guys like Golden Tate can grown into studs, too bad he couldn't do it with more players.

As for Illinois, they're now in the crapper for all aspects of their football program, lets run up the score against them at Wrigley this fall!,0,1895805.story

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dome Field Advantage

This was a really interesting read from Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci. He discusses how dome's create an unfair advantage and allows player stats to be pumped up because of this advantage. He comments that baseball, Larry Walker is criticized for hitting so well in hitter friendly Coors Field, while Peyton is congratulated for putting up big stats in climate control. A recommended read for all.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Fix the Pro Bowl

I was thinking about this yesterday when everybody was bagging on the Pro Bowl. They definitely have a valid point - exhibition games can be fun, but for the NFL it's tough throwing your most valuable players out there and expecting them to go at each other with anything approaching a game effort.

Here's how I would fix it. Name your All-Pro Teams for the NFC and AFC. Then, have these guys COACH the game.

Your players? The top first and second-year players in the NFL, NFC vs. AFC. Kind of like the Rookie-Sophomore game in the NBA, except it would be conference vs. conference, for a more even game.

Your superstars still get Pro Bowl exposure on the sidelines, while the new generation of players gets a spotlight to make The Leap into prime time.

Imagine Peyton Manning coaching up Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez while Kurt Warner or Brett Favre schemed with Matt Ryan on the other side.

Imagine Ray Lewis huddling with Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, or Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon giving some credit to their main man Reggie Wayne.

That's just scratching the surface.

Good idea?

The Ultimate Big Ten Team (2009-10)

My objective tonight is simple: Pick the thirteen Big Ten basketball players who would make the best team, a team that would dominate the nation and steamroll to a title. Jeff Goodman over at Fox Sports put together his own ultimate team for the whole country a few weeks ago, and we thought it would be fun to put a Midwest twist on things.

Here's your 2009-10 Big Ten Ultimate Team -

G: Trevon Hughes, Wisconsin.
G: Chris Kramer, Purdue.
G/F: Evan Turner, Ohio State.
F: Draymond Green, Michigan State.
F: JaJuan Johnson, Purdue

It's a roster heavy on veterans. Hughes provides strong leadership as a team-first guy who can do a little bit of everything. Kramer barely beat out out fellow defensive aces Jeremiah Rivers and Jeremy Nash. Turner might be the national POY before the year is out. Draymond Green is a huge body, a rock-solid rebounder, and can score, and would pair well with Johnson in the frontcourt.

Reserves were tough, because I had a long list of guys worthy of consideration. Here's who I picked (in order of selection).

Top Subs
Scoring Guard: Talor Battle (over Kalin Lucas, barely)

Scoring Forward: John Shurna (over Robbie Hummel)

Defensive Center: Mike Tisdale (other options: fellow Illinoisian Mike Davis, Dallas Lauderdale, Colton Iverson)

Backup Point Guard: Demetri McCamey (leads Big Ten in assists, can tote the rock when Turner is out of the game. Michael "Juice" Thompson also would do a good job here)

Three-Point Gunner: Jon Diebler (over Blake Hoffarber, Jason Bohannon)

Freshman Guard: Drew Crawford (over Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson from Illinois)

Freshman Forward: Christian Watford (best frosh in the conference)

13th Man: Damian Johnson (tough call, but I'll take the big-play defender from Minnesota over worthy candidates like Durrell Summers or Jeremy Nash)

The young guys are there to provide hope for the future, and are legitimate talents in their own right. With everybody filling a role, I feel like this team could take on and handle anybody in the country.

By the way, it's a tossup between Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan for coach. There a ton of great candidates in the conference.

My brainstorming process gave me the following guys as candidates:

Michigan State: Draymond Green, Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers. Purdue: JaJuan Johnson, Robbie Hummel, Chris Kramer, E'Twaun Moore. Ohio State: Evan Turner, Jon Diebler, William Buford. Wisconsin: Trevon Hughes, Jason Bohannon. Minnesota: Lawrence Westbrook, Ralph Sampson III, Colton Iverson, Blake Hoffarber. Illinois: Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale, DJ Richardson, Mike Davis. Northwestern: Michael Thompson, Jeremy Nash, Drew Crawford, John Shurna. Michigan: Manny Harris, DeShawn Sims. Penn State: Talor Battle. Indiana: Jeremiah Rivers, Christian Watford. Iowa: Matt Gatens.

Thanks to Bleacher Report's Jameson Fleming for proposing this idea!

NFL All-Decade Team. Bears Send Three

ESPN has announced their all 2000s team. The Chicago Bears had 3 players on it, Brian Urlacher, Olin Kruetz and Devin Hester. None of these selections surprise me. Urlacher went to multiple Pro Bowls and won defensive player of the year in 2006.

Olin Kreutz has gone to many Pro Bowls as well, even when the teams offense was not playing well. Hester had the best two year run for a kick returner scoring 12 touchdowns as well as the opening kick off in the Super Bowl. Technically Orlando Pace is a Bear for the all-decade team, but if this were like the Baseball Hall Of Fame, he'd be wearing his Rams helmet.

I can not think of any other Bears deserving to go. Briggs has been good lately, but wasn't for the whole decade. If I did include him I would move out DeMarcus Ware to put him in. Ware has been great the past few seasons, but didn't have the longevity of the decade to give it to him. He benefits from playing for the Dallas Cowboys. I do think Brad Maynard could be considered for punter instead of Brian Moorman, but since he has not been selected to the Pro Bowl one time, it'd be tough to put him on this list.

Players who I think do not belong.

Warren Sapp: Sapp was good at the turn of the century, but was always overrated in my opinion. He produced good, not great years in Oakland before retiring two years ago. In his place. I would probably pick Albert Haynesworth who was good from 2002 on with a few truly dominating stretches. I would also consider Bryant Young (1990s all-decade member) who was a two time pro bowler in the 00s and retired in 2007.

DeMarcus Ware: Previously discussed.

Terrell Owens: He has been a good WR, but is thought of as great because of how much time he spends in the media. He was a game changer for Philly and set the record for catches in a game while with San Francisco. His most famous catch to beat the Packers happened in the 90s so has to be discounted. He led the league in drops while playing in Dallas, and had a basic no show in Buffalo this past year. The problem is, who do you replace him with? My Boss and I have been debating about this the last 10 min or so and here our nominees and then my winner

Debatable, but behind TO

Reggie Wayne: Played in 4 Pro Bowls and 2 Super Bowls (might win both). Lived in Marvin's shadow for most the of decade but was still able to produce. He did benefit from playing with Peyton Manning. Drafted in 2001.

I'd take him over TO

Steve Smith: Started off as a kick returner who caught passes and slowly evolved into one of the most feared WR during the middle of the decade. Still a big play threat every play on the field toward the end of the decade. Played in 1 Super Bowl and 3 Pro Bowls. Drafted in 2001

My selection over TO

Hiens Ward: Hiens was drafted in 1998 so he played the entire decade. He is one of the most reliable wide receivers and is also one of the best blocking wide receivers (underrated skill set for WR). He has won 2 Super Bowls included winning the Super Bowl MVP and played in 4 Pro Bowls.

So what about you? Who would you add or take off? Happy with the Bears selections?

Mike Martz is Bears New OC

The Chicago Tribune and are reporting that the Chicago Bears have hired Mike Martz as their new offense coordinator. Martz is the former OC and Coach of the Rams where he orchestrated their high flying offense into what was nicknamed, "The Greatest Show on Turf." Martz becomes the 3rd OC of the Lovie Smith Era

I for one like the signing. He was always the backup plan for the Bears and I think they are glad they had a backup plan. Martz will bring a stronger emphasis on the passing game which will hopefully let Cutler thrive in the system. Martz has struggle in has last two stops in San Francisco and Detroit. San Francisco he had troubles because his preferred passing attacked did not work well with the 49ers who were better equipped to focus on the run. He ran into similar problems in Detroit where he couldn't find consistent enough QB play to allow his offense to thrive. I hope that he brings new life to the Bears offense. I am concerned that the NFL has caught up to Martz's schemes and that is why he has been failing lately.

Super Bowl Trivia

Drew Brees graduated from Purdue. How many Purdue Quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl? Can you name them?