Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Day for #33

Let's hear it for Scottie Pippen, everybody. The second best Bull of all time is going into the Hall of Fame today, introduced by somebody named... um, Michael Jordan, or something like that.

Even in Chicago, we tend to forget just how great Scottie was. For at least today, let's recognize the skills of one of the best we've ever gotten to see play ball.



Days Until Football

White Sox Magic Number.

Just as quickly as the White Sox reclaimed first place, they lost it again. I am disapointed, but atleast the Sox did not get swept. Now, let's take 3 in Minny next week.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chicago Sports Power Rankings

Our fine city by the Lake has gone through some tough times in the last decade in sports. Without exception, every single team representing the Chi has absolutely stunk at one time or another. The Sox winning it all in 2005 and the Bears' Super Bowl in '06 were high points, but other than that, the mid-2000s were a bit of a struggle for Superfans.

Now that we're in the offseason for the NHL, NBA, and NFL, and in the stretch run for baseball, it's a good time to see which organizations are doing well, and which ones are flailing.

1. Chicago Blackhawks - They just won the Stanley Cup, and have an excellent young group of stars to build around. New management has turned around fanhood with more accessible games on TV, and hey, everyone likes to back a winner. The 'Hawks bandwagon has never been more full.

On the downside, all of the cost-cutting moves this offseason, while necessary, have left something of a bad taste in fan's mouths. Losing Niemi and Byfuglien reminds me of the Sox having to dump Rowand after the World Series. Still, things are looking good for the Blackhawks going forward.

2. Chicago Bulls - Despite losing out on LeBron James and the rest of Miami Thrice, the Bulls have a new coach, lots of fresh blood, and emerging superstars in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

Top to bottom, this might be the best roster in the NBA (at worst, it's still Top 10), and Tom Thibodeau knows what to do with good depth. (DEFEND! PRESS!) Also, the Bulls have made the playoffs the last two seasons in a row, and fan support barely even wavered during the crappy years.

I expect the Bulls to be a fast-breaking, fiercely aggressive team this year, a joy to watch even if they don't get to the Finals.

3. Chicago White Sox - Ozzie Guillen is the best coach in Chicago, and with his seven years' experience, the dean of Windy City coaching. He has his team, once again, in position to battle it out down the stretch with the Twins for the AL Central crown.

Is this a dominant team? No, but quality pitching and steady leadership (not just Oz, but also Buehrle, Don Cooper, Paul Konerko) make being a Sox fan easy these days. Also, US Cellular has the best food in town, ballpark-wise.

4. Chicago Bears - No doubt, this is OUR team, the team that every sports fan in Chicago really cares about. So why No. 4? Well, they were 7-9 last year. Lovie Smith is gone if they don't make the playoffs. Key players, like Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz, but including many others, are getting old.

This is a make-or-break year for the Bears. Succeed, and reclaim the top spot in Chicago fan's hearts. Fail, and we know we're in for a rough 2010-2020 at Soldier Field.

5. Chicago Cubs -
Yes, it warms the cockles of my evil lil' heart putting the Cubs down here. Seriously though, they are overpaid and terrible, and Lou Pinella is on his way out.

On the bright side, Wrigley still fills up for games, Starlin Castro and Tyler Colvin look like they'll be good, and new ownership is willing to spend.

6. Chicago Rush - In case you hadn't heard, they just got eliminated from the playoffs. You hadn't? Oh. Right.

7. Chicago Wolves - I'll be honest. I have no clue how the Wolves did this year, or are doing. But I do know they signed Chelios for a minute there, so that counts for something. And they've always been a decent AHL/IHL team.

8. Chicago Fire - Technically they play in Naperville, so that's Strike One. Also, they have a losing record this season and are scuffling in their international league. Strike Two. I'm not ready to give up on the Fire yet, but with solid soccer teams emerging in LA, New York, and even Salt Lake City, it looks as if the Fire may be stuck in reverse.

9. Chicago Sky - We have a WNBA team? Yes, and they stink.

Did I miss anything? Lacrosse? Rugby?

Top Chef Power Rankings 08/11/10

Restaurant Wars is normally one of my favorite episodes. It was originally a task given to the team to transform a room into a restaurant concept basically over night. This season, (and last) the refs were given a restaurant and basically had to cook food that loosely tied together. The judges even commented about the restaurants concepts sounding nice, but then receiving something completely different.

Bravo gave us the old switcheroo (I actually called this) and showed us how much the red team was struggling to get along and how there was no way they could win not working together, while the blue team worked hormonally together and with their staff on a way to what looked like an easy victory. Well, not so fast my friends. The red team ended up winning and tempers flared.

Everybody hates Alex. The red team was trying to hide him by giving him mundane tasks, like chopping meat and they didn’t even like that, then sending him to the front of the house so he couldn’t screw up the food. The blue team called him out for not creating a dish, a requirement of the challenge. I honestly can’t say I blame them.

In the end, Kenny was sent home. I can’t say that I blame the judges for this decision. He has been up and down all season and his mistakes on his dishes were the same he always has done. He tried to show off everything he knew, and ending producing too much on one plate that didn’t go together. I personally would have voted Amanda off, but I didn’t eat the food.

On to the power rankings. Not too much movement this week cause no chefs really shined.

1. Angelo Sosa (last week #1)

Angelo looked flustered for the first time this season. He was almost clueless on what to do as the anchor in the quick fire. He also was going crazy at seeing what Alex was doing. In the end he still produced some good food, but nothing special.

2. Kelly Like (last week #2)

Kelly is still in prime position to pass Angelo. She finished the dish in the winning quickfire and her chocolate dessert was one of the judges favorites. She did this on top of doing a decent job as front of the house, even though I have no idea what she was wearing. Saying all that, her corn soup apparently was not so good. She’s still right there ready to pass Angelo, she just needs to take the next step.

3. Tiffany Derry (last week #3)

After going two for two last week, Tiffany had a pretty quiet week. Her food came out good, but nothing spectacular. I think she could very easily win this competition. I think she is one of the most calm chefs in the kitchen, always a good thing, and stays composed in tough situations. She we’ll need to put out some great dishes compared to her normal good dishes to win though.

4. Ed Cotton (last week #5)

Ed gets the win on what looked like a good dish. That win is enough to put him into the top shelf group, but not good enough to pass up Tiffany. I am not really sure what Ed did in the quickfire, so that doesn’t hurt or help him. Right now I have him as a finalist and I think he makes the finals. It wouldn't suprise me to see him move up these rankings more as the season winds down.

Middle of the Pack

5. Kevin Sbraga (last week #6)

Kevin finally seems to have figured the competition out. He has been cooking a lot more consistent these past couple weeks and probably would have won his second elimination challenge in a row if the blue team would have won. The judges loved his fish dish, even though they were a little disappointed he only attempted one dish. I think now the Kenny is gone, Kevin defiantly has a shot to make it to the finals. He is not that far behind Ed in my mind.

Chopping Block

7. Amanda Baumgarten (last week #8)

Yes, there is no 6 this week, we have two sevens. These bottom two chefs shouldn’t be hear. I find it hard to believe that Andrea, Kenny and Arnold are all gone and these two are here. Amanda is our first seven because, even though she didn’t cook her steak well, at least she cooked. The biggest problem for Amanda, was trying to cook something she didn’t know. She was trying to use the wood burning stove, which is good, but she had no idea what to do. For a wood burning stove, you need to be cooking on only coals, and from what I saw, she was cooking on top of flames, which pass a lot of gases to the food. She was also cooking with grass fed beef. Grass fed beef is generally considered better tasting, but she had never cooked it before and it handles differently the corn fed beef.

7. Alex Reznik (last week #7)

I pretty much summed up Alex in the intro, but the Bravo cameras showed us how Alex prepared the staff and seemed to be an jerk for being a jerks sake. He was a very nervous front of the house and even screwed up the presentation to the judges. He didn’t make a dish, and survived. There is a huge gap between Kevin and these two chefs. I don’t see how he will make it to the finals.


White Sox Magic Number

White Sox are tied for the division lead again after a 6-1 victory last night. A win today would take the series and sole possesion of first place.

Days Until College Football

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Days Until College Football

White Sox Magic Number

As you saw, the White Sox got smoked last night. I'm not going to say the season is over, but that was a bad loss. Maybe the magic number was too early, but hopefully it will be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


White Sox Magic Number

White Sox choked away the series against the O's. Well maybe not as much as a choke as unforunatly playing against a hot team. This is a bad O's team that are now 6-1 under Buck Showalter. Bad timing for the White Sox to play them. The White Sox had a lot of opportunites to score and blow this series wide open but left way to many men on base. Because of that, the White Sox are now tied with the Twins who are in town for a three game series.

This Twins series is the most important series of the season for the White Sox. I am not saying it's a must win Series, but haveing a one game lead after the series is over would be nice. Last time these two teams met, the Twins swept them at Targer Field in Minnesota.

Today could be the last day for the magic number. If the Sox win, the number is 49. If they lose, then the magic number is 49 for the Twins.

Days Until College Football

Monday, August 9, 2010

New York Giants on MTV's Silent Libarary

I had never even heard of this show before I saw this. I don't know how many episodes I could watch, but this is hysterical. Also, I would be terrible at this game.


if you don't have 20 minutes, just watch the best clip here.

NCAA Football Preview: Coaches Poll 15-25

So I debated about commenting on the pre-season coaches poll. As most of you know, I think pre-season polls are dumb, especially since they are used as a starting point to determine the national champion. However, I decided these 25 teams are the teams with the most storylines this year, so commenting on each team and not their rankings is acceptable

The first of three parts

Part 1: 15-25

Part 2: 14-7

Part 3: 6-1

Others Receiving Votes

Duke is not listed, Steve Spurrier used to rank them 25 every year until their first loss as a thank you for giving him his start. USA Today told him to stop because it was effecting the credibility of the poll.

Texas A&M

I forgot to list Jerrod Johnson as a player to watch out for this fall in my NCAA preview column.

25. West Virginia

Noel Devine should have an outstanding year this year in Morgantown. I see this team finishing 2nd in the Big East finishing around 8 wins. Their two biggest games of the year are both on the road. They are going to Death Valley at LSU at night as well as at Pittsburgh for the Backyard Brawl.

24. Utah

Utah’s last year in the MWC before moving to the Pac-12 should be a good year for the team. They get both BYU and TCU at home. Pittsburgh (AP and ACSS pick to win the Big East) at home to start the season should be a good game. They do travel to South Bend to play Notre Dame, that could be a good game or a blow out.

23. Auburn

I think Auburn is going to struggle this season. I don’t think it has as much to do with the team, as it does with who they are playing. Auburn, like most SEC teams, have a pretty soft non-conference slate with 1 AQ conference school in Clemson; however they do play in what I feel will be the toughest division in football the SEC West and ending the season vs Georgia and @ Alabama will be a tough way to close out the season. Besides going to Tuscaloosa and Oxford, all their tougher games will be at home, which should help.

22. Oregon State

Oregon State needed a victory in the Civil War to win the Pac-10 and go to the Rose Bowl last year. They should be in the running to the end again. The Rodgers Brothers are another year older and should be one of the top duo’s in the nation this year. I do have to give Oregon State’s AD a lot of credit this year for out of conference scheduling (Yes I know these are done years out, and no one knows how good teams will be, but a schedule like this still deserves praise). Oregon State scheduled two of the premiere no AQ schools along with AQ school Louisville. Home vs TCU to start the year, home vs Louisville, and @ Boise State before heading into the Pac-10 round robin (last season for this). Oregon State will be in a lot of good games this year, so they should be a fun team to watch.

21. Georgia

Georgia should be able to rack up some wins in the down SEC East, I actually am predicting they beat Florida in the World’s Largest outdoor cocktail party on 10/31 in their biggest game of the year. Mark Richt has been a good coach, but has yet been able to develop a team that can get to the national title game. I don’t think this year will be the team, but I think that he has the potential to.

20. Florida State

Florida State should have a pretty good year based solely on their Offense. They will be one of the higher scoring teams, but how well they do in the ACC will depend mostly on their Defense. I could see them winning the ACC, but I feel better about 2 or 3 teams. They have a tough early trip to Oklahoma which should be a good barometer test for how the season will go, as well as a good game.

19. Arkansas

Arkansas is my sleeper team in the SEC West even if ESPN Radio College football junkies Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo disagree. QB Ryan Mallet should have a great year and will keep this team in games they shouldn’t be in. The defense will need to get better, but I like Bobby Petrino as a coach, he took an average at best Louisville program and had them one win away from playing in the NCAA title game. The schedule looks tough mainly from playing in the SEC West. They do get ‘Bama and LSU at home, but have to travel to UGA and Texas A&M

18. North Carolina

Come on and raise up (Petey Pablo anyone?). Butch Davis has done a great job recruiting for this school. I have heard a lot of people predict that they could be the team that wins the ACC. I think they will have a good, but not great year centered around good, fundamental defense. They kick off their season in what should be a great game with LSU coming to Chapell Hill at night.

17. Georgia Tech

Paul Johnson is probably my favorite NCAA coach there is. The one issue I see with his Triple Option system, is a good defense that properly prepares, can shut it down, and they have no second option. Saying that, they are still my pick to win the ACC this year. They do get Miami at home, but have to travel to Virginia Tech and North Carolina

16. LSU

Look, another SEC west team. LSU is going to have to find a way to win games against some pretty tough competition, and I don’t see that happening. I see LSU losing 3-4 games. On top of the SEC West, one of their crossover SEC games is @ Florida. They are also going to UNC and have West Virginia coming to them. Lucky for them ‘Bama is coming to Death Valley at night, one of the toughest places and times to play in NCAA. This is probably why all their home games are night games. Actually looking at their schedule, any game time that is not TBD is a is a night game. So get ready to watch a lot of LSU games while you are going out to the bars on a Saturday night. Biggest question for LSU this year is how the Mad Hatter Les Miles will handle the clock this season.

15. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is my pick to win the Big East. Dave Wannstedt has one of the best backs in the country in Dion Lewis who should be putting up big stats again behind a solid offensive line. They have road games at Utah and Notre Dame while getting Miami at home. In Big East Play they get West Virginia at home in the Backyard Brawl, while they are on the road for the river city rivalry against Cincinnati. I see them winning around 10 games this year along with the Big East Title.


White Sox Magic Number

The White Sox lost and the twins won, which means no movement to the White Sox Magic Number.

Days Until College Football

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Which One Would You Guess Are Brothers

Which two do you think look more like brothers

Peyton and Eli Manning

Or the men they get the ball from Jeff Saturday and Shaun O'Hara


White Sox Magic Number

Days Until Football

NFL Rookies: Overpaid?

From the Chicago Tribune:,0,3680187.story : "Are rookies getting too much money too soon?"

Uhm, I can answer that one for you, guys.


I'm not sure if NHL has a rookie wage scale, but I know the NBA does, and MLB does not. The Lions, between Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh, have committed a guaranteed $80 million to a rookie and a second-year QB who has yet to do much on the pro level.

Just to compare, the entire Detroit Pistons team will make $63 million next year. Hell, LeBron's six year deal in Miami is only worth $15 mill more!

JaMarcus Russell, legendary bust, can live off his rookie contract for the rest of his life, chillin' and drinkin' purple drink.

The simple fact is, about half or more of your first rounders every year will be busts or at least underachievers. And yet the guaranteed money keeps on coming.

As the Trib article points out, veterans are strongly opposed to the system. Agents, on the other hand, are pretty much in favor, which means the guaranteed contract culture is just fostering a system of corruption in college athletics. Instead of playing for the team, guys can just play for that first megadeal.

Hell, Sam Bradford missed all of last year, and got $50 mill guaranteed from the Rams as the No. 1 pick.

In my mind, this is the top issue that needs to be resolved in the upcoming, and highly dramatic, 2011 offseason.

The problem is that the players, as Hunter Hillenmeyer put it for the Tribune, don't want to see that money go away from the players and back to the owners. If you start guys off getting less, then they end up getting less. That's the idea.

My philosophy would be similar to the NBA's: First rounders get 3 year deals, second rounders get 2 year deals, third through fifth rounders get 1 year deals, all with a set dollar amount based on leaguewide average at the position (like the franchise and transition tags, but lower amounts for rookies). Then these guys can renegotiate while they are still in prime position to get paid in their second and hopefully third contracts.

Anyway, it's a thorny issue. But I think it's insane that JaMarcus Russell is still making more money than me.