Friday, November 16, 2007

Screaming For A Playoff System!

If there’s ever been a year that screamed for a college football D-1 playoff system, this may end up being the case. With so many upsets occurring on a weekly basis, it shows that there is now a lot of parody in college football these days. #2 Oregon is the latest upset victim, as they lost to unranked Arizona on Thursday night 34 – 24 after losing QB Dennis Dixon to a knee injury in the 1st quarter. I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself right now, but there has to be a case made for Kansas at this point. If they can roll this weekend past Iowa State, which should be expected….even considering the number of upsets we’ve seen this year, it would setup a Big XII championship matchup against the south champion, Oklahoma.

As of now, it appears that Oklahoma has the inside line towards meeting LSU in the national championship game, which means there could be a lot of emphasis put on the Big XII championship. Kansas beats Oklahoma, then Kansas should be in the championship game, right? What happens if Oklahoma beats Kansas? That would create even more questions about other teams across the country who would have a valid gripe. Ohio State, Missouri, West Virginia, & Oklahoma would all have valid arguments that they should be in the championship game.

At this point, I haven’t even addressed the LSU side of this argument. They don’t have a clear path to the championship game either at this point. It’s possible they could end up playing Georgia in the SEC championship & that would be a tough match-up for them. Georgia is playing as well as any team in the country right now & if they were to take LSU down in the SEC championship, CHAOS!!!!!

Considering the most chaotic scenario, which for this year seems very possible, would it be enough for Division 1 college football analysts, organizers, & managers to seriously consider setting up a playoff system? If this year doesn’t’ show it’s needed, I will be the first to tell you that we as fans of the game will NEVER see a playoff system in this great game that is……college football.

Monday, November 12, 2007

MSU Becomes Bowl Eligible! UofM/OSU Game…..Could Have Been Nice!!!

Michigan State became bowl eligible this past weekend with a defeat of the Purdue Boilermakers, 48-31 in West Lafayette. Brian Hoyer arguably put together his best performance as an MSU starter going 22-31 for 266 yards. Hoyer made good decisions all game & offensive coordinator Don Treadwell called a great game. MSU was able to control most of the game by holding the ball for more than 38 minutes. It was nice to see MSU put together a full game.

What’s next for MSU? A 2007 regular season finale with defensive juggernaut Penn St awaits. The early line on the game is Penn St. by 3 points. This should be a fantastic game considering the matchup. MSU’s offense is clicking on all cylinders right now & Penn St. has one of the best defenses in the Big Ten behind Ohio St. The key to this game will be the MSU defense. They have been up and down this year but they will face an inconsistent Penn St. offense this weekend which should help them out. I expect a great game & based on MSU’s performance this year, I’m going to predict a Spartan 7th win & bowl game.

Prediction: Penn St. – 21 MSU – 24

Ohio St. @ University of Michigan

Wow!!!! This game really took a blow over this past weekend with the loss of Ohio St. at the hands of Illinois & UofM’s loss to Wisky. The meaning of this game to a substantial hit with each team losing to inferior opponents & now becomes the Rose Bowl play-in game. Michigan will come to the Big House hobbling with injuries to Chad Henne & Mike Hart. Ohio State will be in good condition across the board. A lot of this game will depend on whether or not Henne & Hart can play at a high level. There’s no doubt in my mind that both will play, but that could hurt the team in the long run.

Michigan will put up a good fight either way in this game because they always do in this annual battle, however, I don’t think they’ll have the defensive prowess to match the Ohio St. offense. Also, with Henne & Hart hurt, they will not be able to put as many points on the board as they’ll need to to keep up with Ohio St.

Prediction: Ohio St. – 28 UofM – 17

(Prediction in honor of my brother-in-law – Eric – Longtime UofM fan)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

November Detroit Sports Roundtable

Question 1 - The Lions are 6-2. Hold on let me type that again. The LIONS are 6-2 and near the top of the NFC. The next half of the season gets considerably tougher with Green Bay (twice), Dallas, New York and San Diego on the schedule. After it's all said and done what do you think the Lions record will be at the end of the year? Will they make the playoffs?

Sitting at 6-2 is quite a feat for the Lions considering their defense. I think everyone & their mother realized that the Lions finally have a top tier offense, after years of top offensive picks. The icing on the cake was the Calvin Johnson pick during the last NFL draft. The question mark for me is the defense. Don’t get me wrong, that was quite a defensive performance against Denver, but we really didn’t see the true Denver offense. They had to put second string QB Patrick Ramsey on the field after Jay Cutler took a hard hit from the entire D-Line of the Lions. Even if Denver had their full offensive product on the field, they’re not a top notch offense like they’ll see in the 2nd half of the season. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with facing inferior competition early in the year. It will give the Lions confidence moving forward into the 2nd half.

Another key point of the 1st half is that they’ve not had to endure many injuries on either side of the ball. If they can stay healthy & positive, it’s going to be a great year.

All things considered, I see the Lions supporting John Kitna’s 10 win prediction, but that’s it. My prediction at the end of the end of this season is a wildcard berth with a record of 10-6. The roar WILL be restored!

Question 2 - Michigan and Michigan State played another classic this weekend, but after it was over both sides seem to be talking a lot of trash. Do you think this is a healthy development for the rivalry and where do you see Michigan and Michigan State going the rest of the year? Will Sparty make a bowl? Can Michigan beat the Vest?

There is no doubt in my mind that this is a healthy development for both teams & also, for the Big Ten. This rivalry has always been a ‘Michigan’ rivalry, not a Big Ten rivalry. It shouldn’t be that way. The trash talking will get both teams more exposure & hopefully, attract more attention (& hopefully recruits) to both teams. This is especially good for MSU, but they need to back up the trash talking.

As for the rest of this year, I believe that the outcome & extracurricular activities of the MSU/Michigan game will help MSU. They will play the rest of the year with something to prove & with good effort, will perform well both against Purdue & Penn St. Even though they will perform well, I still don’t see them winning both games (which is what they’ll need to make a bowl this year). I believe MSU will lose to Purdue in a close game & beat Penn St. at home. The Penn St. win will drive them into the off-season on a positive note.

As for Michigan, the road is tough without a doubt. Games against Wisconsin & THE Ohio State are about as tough as it gets in the conference right now. I believe Michigan will beat Wisconsin in an ugly game as both teams are hobbling right now. In the Michigan/Ohio St. finale, Michigan will bow down to the Buckeyes tough defense and lose in a close game. The only reason I think it will be close is because this game is always a good matchup, regardless of the team’s talent or injury situations. From there, Michigan will make it into a New Year’s Day bowl.

Question 3 - The Pistons are off to a 3-0 start and two of those wins were without Richard Hamilton. Are you happy with what the Pistons did in the offseason and what do you think they are going to do this year?

I was ecstatic with the way the Pistons handled their offseason moves. Chauncey Billups is the heart of this team & bringing him back was a must. That was the first great move. The second great move was sending Chris Webber packing. Webber is way past his prime & doesn’t fit the blue collar work ethic that the Pistons thrive on. They made a couple good draft picks, mainly Rodney Stuckey, which will sure up their backcourt in the future. Joe Dumars has done a fantastic job with the talent he’s acquired & is now showing his plans for the future. Jason Maxiell was a force in the pre-season & can challenge for the starting spot at power forward.

Overall, the Pistons again are contenders in the East & also in the run for the NBA championship. The main challengers in the east will be Boston of course, with their additions of Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen. Boston has started to build a team similar to the Piston’s foundation & the city of Boston is yearning for a run back to the NBA finals. They haven’t had a team this talented since the days of Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, & Robert Parish. I believe that Boston is the only other team in the east that can match-up with the Pistons & challenge for the east crown.

My prediction is the Pistons will make the NBA finals again….but will have to face the superior opponent in the San Antonio Spurs. I really want to give the Pistons the nod in this match-up, but I can’t. The Spurs are too strong across the board. Spurs win….again, in 6 games.

Question 4 - The Wings are also off to a hot start this season. Can they return the Stanley Cup to Detroit? Do you think Hasek will be durable enough for another run? If not do you think Osgood is the goalie to take them there?

The Wings are as good as any other team in the West, no doubt. The issue this year is that there really isn’t a clear cut best team in the West. I think the title is up for grabs as much as any other year. That being said, the Wings have a great chance to make a run at the cup. Dominik Hasek will be a key part of that run though. He’s getting up there in age & durability is definitely a concern. Even though Hasek is a concern, there is an excellent backup in the mix being Chris Osgood. He can definitely carry the load if necessary & has shown that so far this year.

Keeping Henrik Zetteberg & Pavel Datsuyk healthy are keys to a successful offensive season. They will carry the load on on the scoring side of things for the Wings. Tomas Holmstrom will also play a key role. Keeping all three of these guys healthy is a key to making a run.

All things considered, I think the Wings will make a run into the playoffs, but probably will not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The reason I say this is that this team is not as dominant a team as there have been in the past. Also, they are lacking some leadership in my opinion. I think they’ll make the playoffs, but not make it to the finals. The team looks good so far, but it’s still early in the season.

Question 5 - Last but not least the Tigers head into what could be called a very pivotal offseason. They have already acquired Edgar Renteria and Joel Zumaya has been lost to either a box or a dirt bike (don't know about the dirt bike...heard that rumor from some blog). What do you think should be the number one priority this offseason for the Tigers? Do you think they should go after A-Rod, Schilling or Mariano? If you were Dombrowski what are the moves you make? How much more are Hot and Ready Pizza's going to be if we sign A-Rod? (by the way...if you guys watch Sports Final Edition and saw Rob Parker make that joke....he got it from joke).

First of all, let me make a comment on the Edgar Renteria signing…..PHENOMINAL! This was a great pick-up for the Tigers. I realize there are a lot of people out there who are against sending some prime talent away, but let me tell you….the Tigers change to win the World Series is NOW. They have a great core group of players that can take them all the way next year. There are, however, some areas they’ll need to address during the rest of the off-season, but finding someone to play shortstop in place of Carlos Guillen was a #1 priority. Now that that issue has been resolved, they can address one other area….pitching.

The pitching staff has a good core of youngsters, but they’re one starter away from being solid again. As much as I love Nate Robertson as a person & team mascot, we need to sure up the #5 in the starting rotation. Verlander & Rogers are solid. Bonderman has shown Cy Young potential, but appears to fall off towards the end of the year. Andrew Miller will be a stud in the next couple years. That leaves one spot open. Nate Robertson is a great guy like I said, but he doesn’t have the power or the movement needed to be a shutdown starter. I think he’d be effective coming out of the pen.

Now, the question is who to go after? If there’s a year for free-agent pitching, this is it. I would love to see the Tigers make a run at Tom Glavine, as another left-handed starter. As of now, he’s a desirable free agent for many teams, including his old team the Atlanta Braves. He’s heading towards the end of his career, but if I were him, I would want to be playing for a contender as my career was coming to an end. This would sure up the starting rotation & also fit the Tigers current roster….as an older, experienced player. I’m sure there are many people though who would not like Glavine, but I stick with my feelings about the Tigers’ situation…they need to win now!

As for A-Rod, I really don’t see that happening. I would really love to see A-Rod at 3rd base in Detroit, but is it really necessary? You can argue either way, but my feeling is no. That’s a hefty investment on one player to make & I don’t think Mike Illich will do it. That money can be spent in other places, like pitching, & get a better overall outcome. Additionally, Jim Leyland loves Brandon Inge as a fielder. He might not be the best hitter for average, but he’s got good pop in his bat for someone hitting 9th in the line-up.

In summary, looking at their current situation, they need to address a starting pitcher & possibly another long reliever. They could also move Robertson to the pen & just address the 5th starter. Bottom line is that they have some options. Other than that, I believe the Tigs are contenders…..again.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Got The Big Ten Network Yet????

To all of you people who are stuck with Comcast as your cable provider, I sincerely feel for you. Michigan State opens their 2007/2008 men’s basketball campaign on Friday with a home exhibition opener against THE Grand Valley State University. In year’s past, there is no way that anybody in Michigan, or the rest of the alumni & fans across the country would get the opportunity to see this game on TV. This year, it’s different….& I’m ecstatic about it! Luckily for me, I now live in Texas & invested my hard earned money into a DirecTv system which will allow me to see this game, among many others this season. I am one of many people who made this move and I highly suggest you consider it too, if you’re a true sports fan.

I ain’t mad at ya!

Ever since the Big Ten Network began broadcasting, I’ve found it funny in reading many comments on sports forums about how people who don’t have the Big Ten Network….hate the Big Ten Network. My question to you is….why? Just because you don’t have it is no reason to hate it. You really need to hate Comcast & the laws governing cable TV these days. The fact of the matter is that the root cause of you not getting the Big Ten Network & also not having a wired cable choice is all because of governmental regulations on the cable TV market. That being said, when it’s all said and done, you DO have a choice. Those choices are centered around your local cable provider, the Dish Network, DirecTv, or AT&T U-Verse. There is nothing wrong with changing to the dish & through my personal experience so far, I highly recommend it. Yeah, you may pay a little more in the long run for the service, but at least you can get the Big Ten Network & also have more of a choice on which channels you want to pay for.

The Time Is NOW!

We are T-1 day from the start of the MSU Basketball season so you’re actually already to late to make the switch & see the first game of the year. The only complaint I had about DirecTv is how long I had to wait for an install appointment, but that’s now OK because I have it. This goes to show how many people are switching. With some many people going dish, it can’t be all that bad, can it? For those of you who don’t switch, why aren’t you? I’d love to hear your reasoning…..if you’re a true fan. Go Green!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MSU Men's Basketball Preview

Seth David (CNN-SI) recently made a visit to the land of Sparty to take a first hand look at the Spartan basketball team of 2007-2008. His remarks about the team & his outlook for this upcoming season were right on target in my opinion. All of us Spartan fans, & much of the nation’s college basketball fans know about Tom Izzo’s coaching techniques & philosophy during his tenure. Some of these philosophies include running, rebounding, leadership, & hard work….all of which this year’s team will incorporate. The Spartans are primed for a run to the NCAA championship this year behind some veteran leadership, new faces, & another year of great coaching by Tom Izzo and his staff.


Starting Lineup
Travis Walton -PG
Drew Neitzel - SG
Raymar Morgan - SF
Marquise Gray - PF
Goran Suton - C/PF

Projected Back-Ups
Kalin Lucas - PG
Chris Allen - SG
Durrell Summers - SG/SF
Isiah Dahlman - SF
Drew Naymick - PF/C
Tom Herzog - C
Idong Ibok - C

When you look at the roster & potential line-up, there are a lot of areas that players can be interchangeable. This will be a huge strength for this team this year & will allow the team to go back to running the floor like the great Spartan teams of the past. The biggest question mark is that of the players in the low post. This could be the Achilles heal of the team this year. A lot of their success is going to depend on how Marquise Gray performs along with Goran Suton. Both players have showed signs of brilliance in the past, but on an inconsistent basis.

Big Ten - My Prediction
I believe this team will take the Big Ten fairly easily. The only team that will give them some problems is Indiana. MSU doesn’t match up well in the low post with Indiana considering the presence of DJ White. That being said, I still believe if MSU can get consistent scoring out of the 1, 2, & 3 positions….they should be OK.

As for the NCAA tournament, I believe this team has a shot at winning a championship this year. There aren’t many other teams nationally that can match up with MSU in depth. Going late into the season, this will be the Spartans biggest strength.

Overall (Biased Prediction Being an MSU Alum): The only place I don't agree with Mr. Davis......MSU will bring another championship trophy back to East Lansing this year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Renteria Traded to Tigers For Prospects

Another great move by Tigers G.M. Dave Dombrowski….{Applause}. The Tigers brought in another all-star caliber player in that of the Atlanta Braves’ Edgar Renteria. Renteria will replace Carlos Guillen as the Tigers’ full-time short stop for the 2008 season. The move will allow the aging Carlos Guillen to become the full-time first baseman for the Tigers. I love this move for the simple fact that the Tigers’ plan is to win now with the core of players that they are currently working with. Players like Guillen, Pudge, Sheffield, Polanco, etc. are starting to get past their prime so the time is now to make a world series run.

There has been a lot of flack given on this move because the Tigers had to send Jair Jurrgens along with minor league up-comer, Gorkys Hernandez. To many, this was a lot to give up for a +30 year old Renteria. I understand the argument, but I fully believe the Tigers are in a position to make a World Series run now & if they can pick up another starting pitcher, or sure up their bullpen, it’s going to be great for the city of Detroit. I think the point needs to be made that the Tigers are in a position to make Detroit a “desirable” city to play in. If a winning attitude can be built in Detroit, it only spells as a positive for the team and the city.

Potential Line-Up for 2008
Curtis Granderson – CF
Placido Polanco – 2B
Gary Sheffield – DH
Magglio Ordonez – RF
Edgar Renteria – SS
Carlos Guillen – 1B
Ivan Rodriguez – C
Timo Perez – LF
Brandon Inge – 3B

*Key point of the move allows Pudge to be moved down in the line-up & additionally, Renteria is a player who can be moved around the line-up on off-days for other players. He can fit in as a hit for average or power hitter. I’d be happy to see him anywhere from 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6 in the lineup.

Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos – Lions Impact

Although the Denver Broncos/Green Bay Packers game really has nothing to do with this site initially, it really does. The Lions are now one game behind the Packers for the NFC North division lead. Additionally, the Lions will be facing the Broncos at Ford Field this coming Sunday in a battle between teams which are very similar in some senses. The Lions are a team on the rise this year, however they do have some concerns on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary played very well against the Bears this past weekend due in part to a Chicago offense lead by that of University of Michigan alum, Brian Griese. Griese struggled all day & in my opinion, it was not because of a stellar Lions defense but rather a product of his inability to throw to the open man. Don’t get me wrong, the Lions defense played well enough to get by, but Denver could pose other problems.

The Broncos will come into Detroit hobbling on one leg with injuries to Travis Henry, and many defensive players. For Denver, luckily they’ve found a decent replacement in that of Selvin Young. Young performed great against Green Bay & could pose problems for the Lions. Should the Broncos be able to establish a running game early, it could open up the passing game leaving potential one-on-one matchups with average Lions corners. I still believe they’ll put enough of a positive product on the field to get by, but it should be an interesting game. The Lions offense will need to score with the run & hold on to the ball in order to win this game.

· Lions Offense vs. Broncos Defense --- EDGE: Lions
· Lions O-Line vs. Broncos D-Line --- EDGE: Lions
· Lions WRs vs. Broncos Secondary --- EDGE: Broncos
· Broncos Offense vs. Lions Defense --- EDGE: Broncos
· Broncos O-Line vs. Lions D-Line --- EDGE: Lions
· Broncos WRs vs. Lions Secondary --- EDGE: Broncos

My Spread: EVEN – Slight edge to Lions for playing at Ford Field

Prediction: Broncos – 17 Lions - 21