Monday, October 10, 2011

Time to Un-Hook 'Em

Mack Brown has made a living off of bringing in some of the nation's best talent by attempting to close the borders on Texas recruiting and keeping the top Texas ranked recruits in house and wearing the burnt orange. He has never been considered the greatest coach, you'll find several more coaches roaming the sidelines on Saturdays with far more talent in the proverbial X's and O's, but there have been few coaches that could recruit against Mack. After Mack retires from the University of Texas he should run for political office. A natural politician, he has a silver tongue, charisma, charm, and can promise you the moon and make you believe he'll deliver on it. But the problem is that what has made Mack's success at recruiting is out dated and no longer sufficient, thus making Mack expendable.

Over the years Coach Mack has locked up the top tier recruits by his philosophical approach of, "Sign 'em early." Mack is enfamous for having the majority of his next year's recruiting class signed by their junior year in high school, keeping a year ahead of the competition. However many of the recruits do not pan out as projected, and who is to blame a 16-17 year old kid for not continuing to progress? Blame it on their genes, work ethic, attitude, or what have you but many do not meet Mack's or Longhorn faithful's expectations. And from what I witnessed in my athletic career, the kids that sign early do stop working as hard as they did before they had a scholarship and their attitudes do become inflated. They feel that "they've arrived." The fruits of their labor came early so doing an extra 10 wind sprints after practice to work on their burst is beneath them, drills are not as important so they glide through them and go through the motions, and anyone, including their high school coach, that questions them, they point at the piece paper they signed as their ticket out and proof I'm better than everyone here. This may be why Texas has not had a power running game or defense the past several seasons. In order to have that you need the biggest and most mature physical specimens with tenacious attitudes, and if you think you can rely on a 16 year old to mature exactly how you expect them to in high school you should give your secret to all the parents of teenagers out there.

Also there are several recruits that get overlooked or do not get a chance of signing on with Texas because they do not mature or get a chance to play until their senior year in high school. And where do those kids end up? TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and several other Big 12 or Texas schools. That is why all the schools around Texas have improved over the last few years while Texas has been slowly degrading, a fact that has been masked by superior college quarterbacks like Vince Young and Colt McCoy, who could win games nearly singled handedly, hide a poor offensive line and running game, and keep the Texas defense off the field. A coach's success is largely predicated on the skill of his players. A good coach can make an average player an above average player, but like I've stated before Mack's skills aren't on the field, they're off of it. So don't hold your breath that the overrated recruit will somehow find a role and produce solid playing time because Mack "coached 'em up." No, he's already looking for the next junior in high school to replace him two years down the line.

Mack's charisma and charm, which helps him sell his program, nourishes his ability to help push the brand of the University of Texas as a whole, and as head coach of the Longhorns he has a huge platform. Mack has become more than just a football coach, but he's almost like the CEO of big corporation. He is the face of the Longhorns, a figure head that keeps those machines down in the University's basement printing money. With the help and influence of Mack Brown, UT has become the topped ranked university in net worth, passing Notre Dame. They are also the annual leaders in merchandise sold every year. This is why Mack continues to recieve salary raises to keep him among the highest paid coaches, or the highest. But what the President or the Athletic Director of Texas may not see is that they've created a bubble, and if the football team continues it's current down turn in wins the money recieved from merchandise, bowl games, television exposure, alumni, and several other channels will stop flowing in.

Following a 55-17 blood bath to bitter rival #3 OU, and their head coach Bob Stoops, this past Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, Mack Brown needs to be put on notice. The times of having the most talented team that any coach could win with have ended, unless Mack changes his recruiting philosophy, but at his age I doubt it. After last years 5-7 record, where their nation leading streak of 9 consecutive years of a 10 win seasons ended, Mack cleaned house and brought in several new, rising star coaches on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. They provide the "coach 'em up" while he continues to "sign 'em young." It could work but getting beat by your arch rival by over five touchdowns should make you second guess your strategy or the University's decision to retain you.

Here's what needs to happen Texas: make Mack Brown your athletic director or give him some kind of position where he can continue to help further the Longhorn brand (similar to former head football coach of Wisonsin and now their athletic director, Barry Alvarez) , but he can no longer be the head coach of the University of Texas. His time has passed. Thank him for it and move on. Bring in a solid X's and O's coach who has experience, a fiery will to win, and can continue to bring in big time recruits. That is easier said than done, but it is the University of Texas and several coaches would love the chance at landing that dream job. I could think of one coach who fits the bill and is currently available--Jon Gruden, AKA Chucky (for his fiery hair color and attitude).

Gruden could install a pro-style offense, and with his background in the west coast offense in the NFL, he could make it a modified spread offense, much to the likes of Oklahoma's offense (love them or hate them, their offense is ideal for the college football game.) Gruden's name has appeared in multiple conversations in coach vacancies, being linked to University of Miami, Michigan, Oregon (offensive coordinator), and a possible chance at the Ohio State head coaching job if interim head coach Luke Fickell isn't retained after this season. Since his firing as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, he has remained in the public eye as a color commentor for Monday Night Football and his QB Camp with prospective college quarterbacks preparing for the NFL combine and draft, which is aired on ESPN before each year's NFL Draft.  He has big name recognition, respective success (a Superbowl ring with the Buccaneers), a no nonsense attitude, and has a great talent in teaching young football players the X's and O's and the nuances of the game. Most importantly however he would give immediate credibility to the new direction of the University of Texas football program. Plus, I'd love to see Bob Stoops face when he looks across the opposing sidelines and sees Chucky.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Jolting Revelation about Joltin' Joe

Not only was Joe DiMaggio an All-Star player and The Yankee Clipper, he was an American Icon. Songs were written about him, little boys wanted to be him, and women wanted to be with him, including America's sweetheart Marilyn Monroe. Tall. Dark. Handsome. And a swing like poetry. He was larger than life. During his tenure with the New York Yankees, they won 9 World Championships, including four straight.  In 1941, he had the longest hit streak of all-time, totaling 56 games over a three month period, a mark many predict will never be approached again. Even though his hit streak was amazing, amounted almost as many championship rings as fingers, and produced like an all-star consistently,  I believe he is the most overrated player to ever play the game.

Looking at his career statistics I am impressed, but they are not Hall of Fame worthy, and nowhere near legendary. DiMaggio did finish in the top 10 in MVP voting every season he played but two, winning three of the awards. And although he was an All-Star every year in his 13 year career (the only player to ever achieve all-star status every season in which they played) and missed three seasons because of World War II, I still don't see it. I know I'm desecrating sacred baseball grounds but the fact is he didn't reach any of the benchmark numbers Hall of Fame voters look at in the voting process: 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. He had 2,214 hits and 361 home runs respectively. At the time of his retirement however he was ranked fifth all-time in home runs. Even if you take his great average season stats of 170 hits and 28 home runs (Dimaggio averaged 130 games a season) and multiply it by three for the seasons he missed during the war and add it to his career totals, he still wouldn't reach 3,000 hits or 500 home runs (projected stats: 2724 hits, 445 home runs). Now take best case scenario with his career high in hits (215) and home runs (46) and do the same, he would be close (best case scenario projected stats: 2,859 hits and 499 home runs). However he only had 200 or more hits twice in his big league career, his first and second seasons (1937-1938), and only had two seasons over 35 home runs twice (1937 and 1948), making it highly unlikely that he could average his career highs in the three consecutive seasons he missed during the war. In WWII he served as a sergeant in the US Air Force where he instructed physical education while stationed at Santa Ana, California, Hawaii, and Atlantic City, New Jersey from 1943-1945.

Many say DiMaggio's power numbers were handicapped by the fact that at the time he played in Yankee Stadium the left-center field fence was an astonishing 457 feet from home plate, which is the right handed hitters' power alley. Fellow teammates and Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford proclaim that many of DiMaggio's hard hit balls to the power alley would have been home runs at any other stadium. Heralded statistician Bill James claims that he calculated that no other hitter in the history of the game lost more chances at home runs due to their home field than Joe DiMaggio. But where there is more space, there are more hits because of more ground to cover. What he may have lost in home runs, he gained in hits due to the large gap between left field and center field. And like the old saying goes, "close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades."  Any calculated home runs do not count. Mantle himself had over 500 home runs in his career and played at the same stadium.

Late in DiMaggio's career he suffered from knee and leg injuries, greatly depreciating his speed, defensive ability, and hitting base. He retired at just 37 years old and 13 career big league seasons, saying that, "I was full of aches and pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it's no longer a game, and so, I've played my last game." He went on to explain that even if he had a career season (only hitting .263 with 109 hits and 12 home runs in his last year) he would have retired anyway due to the everyday pain of playing. It is admirable that he walked away when he wanted to instead of lumbering through a few more seasons in an attempt to build his numbers and collect more paychecks, but many great players have been cut down earlier than they anticipated, missing out at a chance of the glory of the Hall of Fame. But somehow DiMaggio's short sightings were overlooked.

If you take DiMaggio's numbers and compare them to other players in history of the game, who do you get who has almost identical statistics? Larry Walker, the former Colorado Rockies' great. Walker amassed 2,160 (54 less than DiMaggio),383 home runs (22 more than DiMaggio), and a .313 average (Dimaggio had a career average of .325).  I know Larry Walker was a country music fan but I've never heard any songs about him. The Canadian slugger, who did not play baseball until high school because he was a hockey player, did not have near the team success Joe DiMaggio had, reaching the playoffs three times in his career (twice with the St. Louis Cardinals in his last two seasons). He also didn't marry America's sweetheart or play for the most historic franchise in the Major Leagues. However he won the 1997 NL MVP award, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 4 times (it is harder to be nominated for the MVP today due to the fact that there are twice as many teams in the league as there were in DiMaggio's playing days meaning there are twice as many players, decreasing
the already minute odds of being an MVP by half compared to DiMaggio's time), 7 time Gold Glove winner (best fielder at his position), 3 time Silver Slugger winner (best hitter in his position), 1998 ESPY Best Baseball Player (voted by the fans), 3 time NL batting champion, and 1997 home run champion. A very impressive career.

Larry Walker became eligible for the Hall of Fame this year and only recieved 20.3% of the Hall of Fame votes. A candidate must recieve 75% of the votes to gain election in the Hall of Fame. In comparison, DiMaggio recieved 88.4% of the votes in his third year on the ballot. It is possible Walker will eventually gain 55% more votes to become a Hall of Famer, but probably not in less than a decade, let alone gaining 68.1% to match DiMaggio in two more years. Even though his numbers are nearly identical to DiMaggio and has similar individual achievements, he will most likely not be elected to the Hall of Fame.

I understand that DiMaggio was more than numbers on a sheet. Ernest Hemigway made several references to "the great DiMaggio" (his favorite baseball player) in his classic novel, The Old Man and The Sea. Woody Guthrie, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, and several other musicians sang songs about him. His name or likeness has appeared in multiple prominent television series: I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Frasier, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, and Mad Men. He's been a pop icon for over six decades. His legacy transcended the game and continues to do so. But it only makes his career that much more overrated. Lacking the career length and the aggregate numbers I don't see how his time on the playing field merits a ranking of the 10th best player of all-time by Sporting News Magazine.  Objectively it'd be hard to rank him in the top ten in just the history of Yankee players. Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gerhig, Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra (similar career numbers but a catcher which is the harderst defensive position and normally not counted on for offense) Alex Rodriguez (I know, steroids), Dave Winfield (you laugh, but he had almost 900 more hits, accumulating over 3,000, and 134 more home runs), Mariano Rivera, and Gary Sheffield (I know, not a true Yankee and possibly PED enhanced) all have better career numbers than DiMaggio .

If you remove his mystique and glamour, ignore the songs and other pop culture references, discount who he was married to, and look simply at the player and his production, you'd find a very good player that lacked the overrall career statistics to be considered in the elite players in the history of the game. I'm not saying he was a bad player at all but to recieve that much praise for below Hall of Fame or legendary statistics you have to be overrated. Remember, he isn't the Babe or Mickey, he's Larry Walker.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pujols Lite

We are possibly witnessing the greatest hitter to ever play the game in Albert Pujols. There are several legends that could be argued to be comparable, but the two closest would be Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. The Babe did not play against minorities, play night games, travel constantly from coast to coast, or have as much competition. Bonds used performance enhancement drugs, and in the opinions that matter the most in baseball, his statistics are omitted from common acceptance and are not legitimate. In my opinion, no one will ever eclipse The Babe as the best hitter of all-time or the best player of all-time. The guy not only has a career line of .342 average (10th all-time), 714 home runs (2nd), 2213 RBI (2nd) but his pitching statistics are extroadinary as well: 94-46 record with a  2.23 ERA . He was a God.

 Now in the argument of Bonds, I really don't care if he used steroids or not. The only thing we've learned from the whole Steroid Era is that a lot of guys were using and we will never know who all was using. So yes, Barry juiced a record amount of home runs out of the ballpark while dominating his league in almost every offensive category annually, but who's to say he didn't hit the majority of those home runs against pitchers that juiced? Couldn't that be like simple mathematics, a negative times a negative equals a positive? In my opinion they should count reguardless. If you want to put an asterisk next to his name or stats you should do it for everyone that played during his time and have their own wing at the Hall of Fame. Negro League players and Dead Ball players like Babe Ruth already have their own seperate wings at the HOF. Should we hold it against the Babe for playing during segregation? No. Ball players, and men in general, have always been victims of their times. Sorry, end of soap box.

I have digressed. Back to what this blog is really about. This is the Era of Pujols and ever since he had his mind blowing rookie season, .329 average, 37 home runs, and 130 RBI, we've been fed a steady diet of Pujols is the greatest, an unrivaled talent. He has won three MVP awards and finished second three times. I imagine now being like as if Mike Schmidt didn't have George Brett as his contemporary and positional rival. Schmidt put up better career offensive numbers and is believed by most to be the best offensive third baseman in the history of the game, but they were always compared. It must have been a great sight during their all-star games, Schmidtty runs in the dugout to go hit while Brett runs by him to man the hot corner. They are almost linked together, it's hard to mention one without the other. Just look at where they were drafted in the 1971 MLB draf second round: George Brett (29th overall) to Kansas City Royals, and Mike Schmidt (30th overall) . Just take a quick moment and think about how baseball history would have changed if those picks were swapped. That's evidence that the baseball gods do indeed talk to us. However, most look at Pujols and say he has no match. And here's where I beg to differ. The essence of this article, finally!

If I said I'm thinking of a first baseman whose average season is one where he hits .317 with 33 home runs and 118 RBI, would you think Pujols? Or if I said this first baseman hit .344 with 30 home runs 105 RBI and is in the playoffs right now? Would you say, "Bro, I already said Pujols...?" Well you would be wrong and after doing some minor research most people have come to that same conclusion or a different player all together. No, this player is not Albert Pujols, or Joey Votto, or Adrian Gonzalez. It is another latin first baseman by the name of Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. And his name wasn't mentioned once in the research. I often refer to him as the "American League Albert Pujols," or the "poor man's Albert Pujols." His numbers are very comparable to Albert's, however Albert's average season is a .328 batting average, 41 home runs, 121 RBI but no one else mentions them in the same breath.

Like Pujols (who begin his career at 3B and LF), Cabrera did not come up to the majors as a first baseman, but rather a short stop. It's hard to imagine such a big man at short stop but he was much slimmer when he first arrived on the scene, hitting a walk off home run in his big league debut no less (he also played some RF and a few seasons at 3B). Cabrera not only has struggled with his weight but he does have a highly publicised alcohol problem. I believe this is why he has not recieved nearly as much fan fare or admiration as Pujols. If only Cabrera lived in a different time where reporters did not delve into baseball players' private life he would of benefitted as much the same as Babe Ruth did. Also the rivalry between  Pujols and Cabrera would be of more note, like Schmidt and Brett.

Cabrera has played 8 full seasons in the big leagues, while Albert has 10. Also Cabrera turns 29 next April while Albert turns 32 in Janurary. If you go by average player peak career years in the ages from 27-33 Cabrera still has four more seasons in his prime, while Albert has two. This is also Albert's first year in his career that he hasn't reach a .300 average and a 100 RBI. He did miss some time due to a wrist injury and endured a beginning of the year slump, but it may be a sign that this statue of Greek God is cracking, or it may just be a "down" year for him. It's almost tragic to say that a player hitting .299, with 37 home runs and 99 RBI is down season but in Pujols's world, it is indeed a sub-par season. This is also a contract year for Albert who will be a free agent at the end of the World Series. Cabrera is locked up through 2015 but will be the same age as Pujols is now, so in theory he should get a comparable sized contract. However I've never heard anyone project Cabrera's annual salary climbing to 30 million dollars a year like it is rumored Pujols will recieve.

Love him, hate him, or overlook him Cabrera is just as much of a force at the dish right now as Pujols is and maybe one day he will get recognized for it. But in a year where he was a batting champion (.344 average) with 30 home runs and over a 100 RBI, his ace pitcher Justin Verlander recieved more hype for the American League MVP than he did.  To me that is tragic.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Prince and his Braun

 During the baseball offseason the Milwaukee Brewers acquired 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from the Kansas City Royals. The move was overshadowed by the Boston Red Sox adding Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, and Cliff Lee going to the Philidelphia Phillies, but I predicted that with that move the Brewers had just locked up the next World Championship. I also predicted that they'd be playing against the Red Sox in that championship, but by now everyone knows of their historic collapse. I did predict Jacoby Ellsbury would have a much better season than Carl Crawford however. Although I was wrong about the Red Sox, I am still standing by the Brew Crew.

Most people believe the Phillies are unstoppable with their fantasy like rotation of  Doc Halladay (2 time Cy Young award winner), Cliff Lee (2008 Cy Young award winner), and Cole Hamels (2007 World Series MVP), but what's overlooked is how their offensive production has decreased this year and they have some questions in the bullpen.

The Brewers have neither. They have an extroadinary offense anchored by the best 3-4 combination in Ryan Braun (.332/33/111 and 33 stolen bases) and Prince Fielder (.299/38/120), both in contention for the National League MVP. However they have great talent surrounding their two super-stars. All-star Rickie Weeks is at second and provides the rare skill set of power and speed at the top of the order. Nyjer Morgan, although often a controversial character, is a stellar leadoff man with exceptional speed and a flare for the dramatic. Corey Hart packs a big bat in right field, smacking 26 home runs out of the ball park after a career year last season where he had 31 round-trippers and 102 RBI. Although his stats are down from last year as well, third baseman Casy McGehee has great potential at the hot corner and when he's on his game the Brewers are tough to beat. He produced 23 home runs and 102 RBI last season, but only 13 home runs and 67 RBI this year.

Prince Fielder has been the heart and soul of Brewers since his arrival in the big leagues in 2005 but may be leaving for a historically lucrative contract this offseason. Instead of upsetting the chemistry of the team, they have rallied around Prince in efforts to persuade Prince that money is not everything and he should stay with a winner. Fielder has hit well against Halladay and Lee this season, .429 (3-7, 1 RBI) against Halladay and .800 (4-5, 2 doubles, 2 RBI) against Lee. His fellow basher Braun has success against the duo as well .667 (4-6, 1 HR, 1 RBI) against Halladay and .333 (2-6) against Lee. However they have gone a combined 1-8 against Hamels in 2011.

 With the addition of Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets at the trading deadline to set up closer John Axford, they now have arguably best 8th and 9th inning duo in the game.
Axford has not blown a save since April and amassed very impressive stats with an ERA of 1.95, 46 saves in 48 opportunities, and had 86 strikeouts in 73 innings. K-Rod added proved to be a solid set up man after years as a closer, putting up a 2.64 ERA, recorded 17 holds, racked up 79 strikeouts in 71 innings and did not give up a run in the month of September. He has been somewhat controversial in the clubhouse, upset with the fact he has not had an opportunity to close out a few games as promised by the Milwakuee front office, but he has still performed exceptionally well.

Another Brewer acquisition that went overlook was the addition of Shaun Marcum to the starting rotation from the Toronto Blue Jays. Marcum went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 158 strikeouts in 200.1 innings, and went an impressive 8-3 in away games with a 2.22 ERA. The radar gun does not light up when Marcum is on the mound but he is a crafty pitcher with a plus change up and has provided great stability in the number 3 spot in the rotation. Veteran lefty Randy Wolf has been an above average number four starter, going 13-10, 3.69 ERA, and 134 strikeouts in 212.1 innings.

But the real story, and the reason why I believe the Brewers should start getting sized for rings, is their two aces, Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke. Gallardo went 17-10 with a 3.52 ERA while striking out 202 in 207 innings. Their number 1b, Zack Greinke, went 16-6, 3.83 ERA, 201 K's in 172 innings. Now I know their numbers are not nearly as impressive as Halladay and Lee, or even Lee and Hamels, but combine their strong arms with their powerful bats and shut down bullpen and they are a better overall team than the Phils.  Pitching does win championships but if it was decided on pitching alone then the Atlanta Braves of the 90's should of had five World Series Championships. Stuff wise, Greinke and Gallardo, are just as good as Halladay and Lee, and they don't have to face their own line up.Gallardo was dominant in game one in the National League Division series, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks at home, throwing eight strong innings, allowing one earned run while striking out nine.

The Brewers will most likely have to defeat the Phillies to get to the World Seires, and it will take seven epic games. But they will win. And they will be facing the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Due to the National League winning the All-Star game, the Brew Crew will have home field advantage where they have a major league best 57-24 record this season. If I'm right on this prediction, as well as the University of Wisconisn winning the National Championship, the state of Wisconsin will have experienced the winning of the Super Bowl (Green Bay Packers), the National Championship, and the World Series in one year. What a great time to be a cheesehead.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Welcom to the House of Pain

Before the college football season began I picked the Wisconsin Badgers to win the National Championship. With the addition of Russell Wilson at quarterback, a transfer from North Coralina State, the Badgers finally have a complete quarterback to go along with their trademarked power run game and solid defense. Wilson, who was a minor league baseball player and led a mediocre North Caroliona State team to second in the ACC last season, is a pure passer with a good running instinct complemented by his speed. Contrary to most stellar mobile quarterbacks, he sticks in the pocket and only scrambles on designed runs or if he needs to extend the play. This is rare in young quarterbacks who have big play ability with their legs, which shows his maturity and knowledge of his offense. So not only is he an exceptional athlete, he has a high football IQ--a deadly combination to any opponent. He currently ranks second in FBS in pass efficiency with 218.4, and has amounted 1,134 passing yards, 11 touchdowns to one interception, with a 75.8% completion percentage. Heisman voters may have an early favorite.

Wisconsin lost to an undefeated TCU team last year in the Rosebowl and are defending Big 10 co-champions. They are currently ranked 6th in total offense and 7th in total defense, beating their opponents by an average of 40 points, averaging 48.5 points per game which ranks them 6th in points per game. Over the past six years, Wisconsin has been nearly unbeatable at home, going 32-4. With a sea of red adrenaline filled fans jumping up and down to their unofficial school song, "Jump Around by House of Pain," an imposing scene is set to any visiting team at defeaning volumes. The jumping and singing fans literally make Camp Randall Stadium shake, which at one time caused the University to ban the playing of the song until sensory data and computer modeling determined it did not threaten the integrity of the stadium. How's that for home field advantage?

Wisconsin's first big test this season will be tonight at home against the #8 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. This has all the markings of a new high profile rivalry in the Big 10.Nebraska left the Big 12 Conference last year with their infamous "Black Shirts" in efforts to return to their previous rank of heralded football juggernaut. Led by Coach Bo Pelini, Nebraska has returned to producing elite NFL football players and the ranks of the top 10. Tonight they look to build on their aspirations of their first Big 10 Conference championship and a shot at another National Championship, a feat they haven't accomplished in 14 years--an eternity in the land of Big Red.

Like Mr. T predicted in Rocky III, there will be, "Pain!" Wilson will control the game with his arm and legs, reinforced by a sensational home crowd, and his stand up defense. Nebraska's young quarterback Taylor Martinez is also an exceptional talent, but is primarily a scrambling quarterback. The imposing crowd will be very intimidating to the young play caller, combine that with his high tendency to fumble the football, and I see many turnovers and a complete lack of ability to move the football down the field. Although Nebraska does have a tenascious defense full of hard hitters, Wisconsin will win big at home on their way to become Big 10 Champs and their first National Championship. Jump around about that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wild Wednesday: The Greatest Night for the Greatest Game

Now is the time to kneel at the altar of the baseball Gods and thank them for such an unforgettable night. Imagine watching six heavy weight championship fights in one night at the same time. That is how it felt tonight with both wild cards and one home field advantage up for grabs on the final night of the regular season. Six games were played that had playoff impact. All but one game went down to the final out, two went to extra innings, two had blown saves, two teams capped of collapses of eight games leads in September, two had historic comebacks, and there were two walk off wins. It is possible that there have been multiple games to go into extras or down to the final out but not with so much riding on the line. Four teams were trying to push the sun back up for at least one more day of summer. Three teams tried to play the role of spoiler with nothing to lose. If a writer tried to submit this script to a Hollywood producer they would rip it up and tell them it was impossible, and until tonight I would of agreed. This will go down as the single greatest night for baseball in the history of the game.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Oracle Says:

"Someone pick up recently released running back Stevel Slaton. He's a 1,000 yard back looking for a job."

The former West Virginia running back lost his job because of a case of "fumblitis," inconsistency on the practice field, and the arrival of last year's NFL leading rusher Arian Foster and the solid back up play of Ben Tate, who has recieved the majority of the carries this season due to Foster's hamstring injury in training camp. Foster is expected to return this week thus making Slaton despensible.

Slaton had a terrific rookie season in 2008 where he rushed for nearly 1,300 yards, scored 10 total touchdowns and recieved nearly 400 yards out of the backfield. So anyone needing a solid back up call the 25 year old talented running back who is desperately looking for a second chance.