Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sweet 16

Since a few days ago I opened the book on D3 hoops, I figured I would continue the updates. The NCAA tourny has indeed started and I am happy to announce that Carthage won their first two games. The team was lead over the weekend by MVP point guard who scored 50+ points and had 20 assists between the two games.

In other tournament news, the two time defending champion, Washington University was beaten this weekend by Illinois Wesleyan (the very same team that lost the CCIW championship to Carthage). Hopefully I will continue to have updates, but I believe that the two favorites right now are Williams, Gulford and UW Stevens Point.

It should be mentioned that Carthage won both games on their home court. Even though it's spring break, the dean of students kept the dorms open and student government paid for all students tickets, so a definite home court advantage was held. We will have to wait and see how they do on the road for the remainder of the tournament.

I finally found a bracket for the tournament. It looks as if the next game for carthage will be a rematch of the CCIW championship. should be a great game.
The bracket isnt completely updated, but here is the link.

Two More Free Agents Needed, Jerry

While it's great that the Bears have gone out and made a splash in free agency so far, there are two more spots where we need starters for next year. One is interior offensive line - Frank Omiyale was a flop, Garza is old, and Kreutz is, well, also old.

To my mind, unrestricted free agent Rex Hadnot (G) is one name to consider. Another is Chester Pitts. Pitts is an unrestricted guard who has been on the Texans.

Free safety is the other spot where the Bears need to improve through free agency. They don't have a single quality FS on the roster right now, and as the Giants' dropping 33 million on Antrel Rolle shows, it's a position of high demand in the NFL.

OJ Atogwe is a restricted free agent, which means the Bears would either have to trade for him (Greg Olsen?) or give up some draft picks. Miami released Gibril Wilson today, but he has been overpaid and underperformed for both Oakland and Miami in the last two years. Maybe a change of scenery would do him good?

In my mind, Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark is maybe the best option. An unrestricted free agent, he can be gotten for a lower price than Rolle, and has been good for the Steelers.

But hey, then again, Mike Brown is out there too! Anybody wanna walk down memory lane?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chester Taylor and the Chicago Bears Agree

I didn't want to keep the focus solely on Peppers when it's been announced Chester Taylor has agreed to a contract with the Bears. The deal is a four year 12.5 million dollar contract with 7 million guaranteed. Sorry for the waste of posts fellow posters/readers.

Report: Julius Peppers Signing to be Announced at a Press Conference Later this Afternoon.

It is being reported that the signing of Julius Peppers will be announced this afternoon at a press conference. It is also being reported that the deal will be worth 12-14 million dollars per year for six years. Expensive? Yes, but it certainly isn't 15-20 million like many people speculated. Also, it is being reported that the Bears will also announce the signing of Chester Taylor in the press conference as well. So, in the first 13 hours the Bears signed the top DE, a RB, a TE and yet we are not supposed to believe they are going to go hog wild? LOL. GO BEARS!


No it's not Peppers, and heck it's not even a splash. The Bears have signed 30 yr old TD Brandon Manumaleuna to a 5 year deal. My first thought was WHO? Then when I realized who it was I asked why? Why did we make this deal? I don't get it. I am also excited to see Greg Olson thrive somewhere next year and make 5 pro bowls. Especially for a 2nd round pick that has a 50/50 shot of working out.

Anyways, Mike and Mike are saying that they fully expect Julius Peppers to be a Bear by the end of the day. So that makes me feel better.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Julius Peppers to visit Bears Tomorrow!

According to Julius Peppers will fly in and visit Halas Hall tomorrow! Does this mean he will sign, I think so! Also Bears are the front runners!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: Chester Taylor is also coming for a visit tomorrow.

UPDATE: Bears have bowed out of the Antrel Rolle sweepstakes. OJ Atogwe anyone?

UPDATE: Apparently Lovie Smith flew down to Charolette in the Bears private jet to pick up Julius Peppers and his agent and fly them back to Halas Hall. Hopefully he signs that contract on the way! Btw, haven't these people ever heard of a new invention called a FAX machine?

UPDATE: Brandon Manumaleuna will visit Friday.

UPDATE: Bears may actually still be in the Rolle sweepstakes. They may have just set them aside to secure Peppers. Reports now are that the talks are heating up between Bears and Rolle.

UPDATE: Peppers' Agent says that this is the Bears' deal to lose.

UPDATE: Brandon Manumaleuna has signed a 5 year deal with the Bears.

Free Agency Starts in 30 minutes; Julius Peppers; Antrel Rolle

Well here we are 30 minutes away from the start of Free Agency. My personal hopes are the Bears sign Julius Peppers and a free safety. That free safety is none other than... OJ Atogwe. I know everyone expects us to go hard after Rolle but Atogwe is better in my opinion and he was offered the lowest tenure as a restricted free agent. That means the Bears can offer him enough money where the Rams say screw it. Imagine that offseason. More free agency information as it comes.

Some quick tidbits:

Redskins favored to get Julius Peppers
Dolphins or Giants favored for Rolle
No word on Atogwe.

IU Gameday Traditions - An email to Mr. Rittenberg

If any of you readers out there are like me, the Big Ten blog on ESPN is probably at the top of your website favorites. Adam Rittenberg is my hero! Recently he was running a series of “Gameday Traditions” for Big Ten teams. I noticed this morning that he posted a new series called “Spring Superlatives”…and wondered if IU wasn’t worthy of its own “Gameday Traditions” entry. I felt compelled to write him a note and let him in on the Gameday Traditions I was a part of during my time as a Hoosier.

“Hey Adam! But I digress...

No gameday tradition entry for my beloved Indiana? How about this:

7:30am: Wake up hungover from the night before.
8:00am: Swing by the liquor store because for some reason the booze you bought the night before ended up getting drank.
8:15am: Arrive at the grass fields to find a spot close to the stadium...but away from those annoying frats.
8:16am: Shotgun the first beer.
8:18am: Set up the grill and beer pong table.
8:19am: Start the first beer pong game...everyone knows that breakfast can wait.
8:30am: After a victorious beer pong game the grill is fired up for some breakfast burritos.
8:45-10:00am: Continue the drinking...throw the bags...hit on any girl that walks past...
10:01am: Walk over to the line at the port-a-potty.
10:05am: Continue to wait in line (always come prepared with a beer in your hand and one in your pocket).
10:15am: Finally leave the port-a-potty. By this time you decide that the frats aren't THAT annoying so you decide to head over and see what your buddy from Pi-Kapps is doing. It's important that you have an in so you aren't the GDI hitting on the sorority girls, that can lead to fights.
11:00am: Kick-off. The following exchange can be heard at various locations in the grass lots:

Friend 1: "Wait, the game started?"
Friend 2: "I guess so, I don't have a ticket"
Friend 1: "Yea me neither"
Friend 2: "Can you hold this funnel while I take this beer bong?"

11:45am: Fireworks go off, IU scored! Fans in the grass lots cheer with no idea what is happening. This doesn't typically occur more than twice during a game.
12:30pm: Lunch time - fire up the grill again.
2:00pm: Game is over - IU played well in the first half and kept it close...lost by 25.
2:10pm: Convince yourself that you can make it to Yogi's for a little bit in the afternoon...end up walking home and passing out for 4 hours. Sometimes this happens to be on the front porch couch because you can't find your keys...
7:00pm: Off to Nick's, Kilroy's, Sports, Bluebird, Upstairs, Brothers.....etc.
10:00pm: Creep out some girl at the bar. This will happen about 10 more times the rest of the night.
1:00am: Pizza Express!
11:00am: Wake up and realize that college is the greatest time ever. And hangovers suck.”

Anything I missed? I expect this to be the most entertaining comments section on the blog so far...

I'm Just Going... leave this here. Please enjoy. And thanks to Simmons for mentioning it in his most recent:

"I would wager on Tiger coming back in severe Eff You Mode, like a seething MJ in Game 1 of the 1992 Finals. The greatest ones have a way of channeling negativity and fueling it toward whatever makes them great. Jordan made a habit of it. So did Ali. But they were also larger-than-life personalities, whereas Tiger was always just someone who was freakishly good at golf and that's it."

[Edit: How did I miss this? "Regardless, I probably shouldn't do chats anymore -- not because I screwed up but because it's dumb to waste points better served in a larger format such as this column." So, Noffke, you made it into Sports Guy's last chat. Nice.]

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

NHL Trade Deadline

So the NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone with the Blackhawks only making so small moves. They traded for defensmen Kim Johnsson before the olympic break, and aquired Nick Boynton last night. Don't know much about Boynton, but he was assigned to the Hawks minor league affiliate. Johnsson has been decent in the 3 games he has played for the Hawks so far. He has been described as a big minutes D guy which is good because he can help with taking some minutes from Keith and Seabrook and keep them fresh for the playoffs.

What is most dissapointing about this deadline is that they didnt really do much to help out their goalie situation. Huet lets get his head get in the way and I believe the Niemi is showing that he might not be ready to take on the work load of a number 1 goalie just yet. The Blackhawks were rumored to be looking to aquiring various goaltenders, but not sure if they werent looking or couldnt get anything done. So the Hawks will be going into the playoffs with Huet and Niemi as their goalies and one of them will have to stand out for the Hawks to have a chance at the cup but its not impossible. We will just have to wait and see.

Hustle Up the Hancock

This Sunday I participated in an atletic event called the Hustle up the Hancock. The event is pretty much as is sounds, people climb the stairs to the top of the John Hancock building in Chicago Illinois. Indviduals could choose to do the full climb (94 floors) or the half climb (52 floors). By the time I signed up, the full climb was full, so I did the half climb. My official time was 12 minutes and 46 seconds, well behind the winner with a time of 5:51. My half climb time would actually finish 9th in the full climb event. The winner of the full climb came in at 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

Did I really expect to compete for first in this event? No, I just wanted to be able to say I climbed to the top of th Hancock building. It was challengeing, but I still feel like I could have completed the full climb had that option been available to me.

I was suprised how quickly the climb went. I was getting pretty tired and asking myself why I had decided to do it, when I noticed I was already at floor 80. The worst part of the climb was the last two flights of stairs. Floors 42-92 had about 15steps per floor. To get to 93 and 94 the flights had closer to 25 or 30. Oh well. It was a fun event and I have a medal to prove it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trading Greg Olsen

Okay, it has been widely speculated that Greg Olsen may be traded. But NBC Chicago is reporting that the Bears have talked to both the Cardinals and New England involving a possible trade. NBC Chicago speculates that perhaps we are trying to trade Olsen for Rolle so we don't have to outbid teams. Are you f'n kidding me? Are you really that scared to outspend someone Chicago? If Rolle is truly your guy you go out there and make it happen. Unless of course this is a move that allows you to nab Julius Peppers as well. Otherwise, Rolle for Olsen is a no go in my book unless they send us like a 4th or 5th rounder as well.

One move I wouldn't mind seeing is Olsen for Boldin. It makes sense and would give the Bears an even better weapon on offense, especially under Martz anti-TE scheme. The move that I would dread is Olsen for one of New England's Second Rounders. You know Olsen can play in the NFL, whether or not he ever can become a Superstar is another question. So, why trade someone who is a pretty good pass catching TE for a player to be named later. Just as it goes in the MLB, many of these player's to be named later (aka a draft pick) just flat out suck. See Dan Bazuin. I just hope the Bears aren't making this move just because. This coaching staff could very likely be out of here after this year, and I'd hate to see us lose Olsen b/c we decided he was expendable under Mike Martz's system (who would be fired for his 4th time).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chicago Bears Shopping List

Every offseason NFL teams use free agency and the draft as ways to build their teams and begin their quest for the Lombardi trophy. There are three main categories teams fall into during this time:

“Shoppers” – These teams spend heavy dollars on a free agent spending spree that would make Johnny Weir jealous. They go for the big splash to re-ignite a dwindling fan base or live up to demanding fans expectations. Teams like Washington, Vikings, and Cowboys typically fall into this category.

“Drafters” –These teams have established an identity and are adept at scouting and drafting players that will thrive in their system. The Colts and Patriots are two of the best at this. They draft players that most teams view as late round talents but are able to develop these players into every-down contributors at the NFL level. Their free agency spending is usually minimal and used only as a way to deepen the current roster.

“The Lions” – This one is self explanatory. Two words: Mike Williams…two more words: Charles Rodgers…

Typically the Bears fall into the second category as Drafters. Jerry Angelo prides himself on his drafting ability – which for the most part has been successful, but seems to have fallen off in the past couple years. Last year the Bears made headlines by mortgaging their future and trading a slew of draft picks for Jay Cutler. While I still think this trade will be looked upon in the future as a success, it left the draft pick cupboard bare for 2010. With no draft picks until the third round this year, the Bears are going to have to take a new “Spenders” approach for this offseason to be a success in the fans’ eyes.

The 2010 offseason is going to be an interesting one to follow as the NFL prepares to enter into an uncapped season due to the owners opting out of the collective bargaining two years early. There are quite a few intriguing free agents out on the market who will incite some serious bidding wars – and I fully expect the Bears to kick the tires on at least a couple of them.

Without further ado I give you what should be the Bears 2010 offseason shopping list. If August rolls around and the players below are in Bourbonnais for Bears camp the offseason will have been a huge success.

1a) Julius Peppers – One of the most athletic defensive ends in football, Peppers will command an 8 figure salary but would be well worth it. The Bears sorely lacked a consistent pass rush last season and Peppers would provide immediate help. If the Bears aren’t able to sign Peppers look for them to make a serious push for Aaron Kampman who would be a decent pick up in his own right.

1b) Antrel Rolle – News broke today that the Cardinals will release Rolle to avoid paying the $12M total he would be owed this season. It’s not very often that a 27 years old play-making free safety finds himself on the open market like this – He should immediately be a target for the Bears. The secondary was a bit of a mess last season and signing Rolle would be a giant step in the right direction. Zachary Bowman and Peanut Tillman are a solid corner duo who paired with Rolle and Al Afalava would make a talented secondary.

2) Brian Westbrook – Last year the Bears running game was non-existent. Matt Forte followed up his sensational rookie year with a sub-par sophomore campaign. His YPC number dropped from 3.9 to 3.6 and he had two 100 yard games – both against the Lions…not the type of stats you are looking for from your starting RB. Westbrook would be a great pick-up for the Bears. Getting him 10-15 touches a game in a Martz run offense would bring a whole new dimension to the Bears.

Any of the three free agents mentioned above would be a great fit for the Bears. There will be some less significant signings due to the lack of draft picks; however I don’t think that the Bears will use free agency to sign any more starters. They are also all but out of the running for any restricted free agents without picks to trade.

As for the draft itself, unless you get paid to follow the hundreds of draft eligible prospects like Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, it is pretty much a crapshoot from rounds 3-7. I glanced through the current ESPN/Scouts, Inc player rankings and put together a quick Bears draft that I would call a success.

3rd Round, Pick 11: Zane Beadles (OG, Utah) – A tough run blocker who could provide depth for the Bears aging offensive line.

4th Round, Pick 11: Tyson Alualu (DT, Cal) – A high motor player who might not be around at this point in the draft, but if he is the Bears will consider him. DT is a definite position of need this year.

5th Round, Pick 10: Jeff Byers (C, USC) – Olin Kruetz is getting older and looked the part for much of last season. Replacing a perennial pro bowler will not be easy, but Byers has some potential.

6th Round, Pick 12: Adam Ulatoski (OT, Texas) – A massive tackle at 6’8” has room in his frame to fill out. Could use an NFL “redshirt” year to bulk up but could potentially anchor the right side of the line with Chris Williams manning the left side.

7th Round, Pick 11: Clifton Geathers (DE, South Carolina) – Like Alualu above, Geathers might not be available at this pick. He is a physically imposing DE whose raw abilities have not led to on field production. Worth a 7th round flyer if he’s out there.

UFA: Ray Fisher (CB/KR, Indiana) – The obligatory Hoosier on the list. Fisher would bring some speed to the return game if the Bears are unable to retain Danieal Manning. He also showed flashes at CB this year, the only season he played it while at IU.

The Bears have plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the ball but the offseason outlined above would go a long way in filling them. The McCaskey’s have never been one to open up the checkbook to lure in the top free agents; I’m looking for this year to be different. Bears fans: Who do you think should be at the top of the Bears shopping list? What would be a successful offseason in your eyes?

CCIW Champions

I have had the goal for quite awhile now that I always have wanted to rush the floor either after a major upset or after a championship. Just always seemed like a cool thing to do for me. Well last night, Carthage basketball gave me that opportunity. After winning the regular season title, Carthage(16) had the number one seed in the CCIW tournament. Friday night they held of a scrappy Augustana team with a big three from their conference MVP point guard Steve Djerokovic. Last night after being down 5 with 3 minutes to go to Illinois Wesleyan, Carthage came back to win on the back of Mitch Thompson our freshman power forward, who nailed 4 clutch free throws and also had 2 key blocks. Overall, it was an intense game and helped fulfill my goal. And on top of that its was the first time ever that Carthage has won the CCIW tournament. For the full tournament notes check out here.

I wish I was more clear on D3 procedures, but I believe from here Carthage will move onto the regional tournament, and then onto nationals. That could be completely wrong but the D3 website is very hard to read at this point. from what I can gather it appears that Carthage will be the (or a) number 1 seed in the midwest regional tournament.