Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Picture is worth 1,000,000,000 words

You da man Kitna. If you predict the Lions to go 10-6 and your prediction comes true, my man, you can wear whatever the heck you want. (How could Joe Cullen not laugh about this?)

Best Costume of the Year? Oh, and Wendy's not looking bad either.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I think of...

...every time I hear Tony Romo's name mentioned:

Hobo1: "Let's give a friendly welcome to this new robo."
Bender: "What did you call me?!"
Hobo2: "A Robo. You know ... a robot hobo."
Bender: "Oh, ok, I thought you said romo."

From Futurama, "The 30% Iron Chef".

Running It Up

Did the Pats run up the score on the 'Skins? Undoubtedly. The conventional wisdom is that Belichick is pissed about getting caught red-handed stealing defensive signals and has instituted a scorched earth policy with the rest of the NFL, which only serves to further the impression that the Patriots are bullies. So will good guy Tony Dungy and his Colts stand up and punch the bully in the mouth? I hope so.

Play of the Week

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Crisis Avoided

ABC will air the UM-MSU game at 3:30 pm ET, so you don't have to head to the Big Ten Network's doorstep with pitchforks and torches this week. Maybe next week.

London Calling

The Dolphins-Giants game was in London? They must have talked about this somewhere, right? Nobody told me. I was standing in the kitchen wondering why they were singing "God Save the Queen" at an NFL game. Besides the setting it sounds like it was a typical NFL game. So far no reports or hooliganery from angry English Dolphin fans.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Don't Pack Your Bags

Prediction: MSU will not be going to a bowl game this year. A team that can't win games in OT versus the likes of NU and Iowa isn't going to beat Michigan, Purdue, or Penn State. When you factor in that MSU really needs to win 2 of those games, MSU players better start making other plans for Christmas break.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How to NOT Make Friends

Wondering what time the UM-MSU game will be next week? Me too. ABC has decided to wait a week to decide which game it will show that weekend, leaving everyone in limbo. The best part? If ABC chooses one of the other Big Ten games that weekend (Ohio State-Wisconsin or Purdue-Penn State), the Big Ten Network might (no one knows right now) have the second pick. So, conceivably, UM-MSU might only be available in about 4 households in the entire state of Michigan, which would cause a little controversy and would probably leave Comcast with hordes of enraged customers to deal with. Glad I have tickets...

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Transformers is an awesome movie. I'm pretty shocked that a film based on a line of toys, which was itself pieced together from various Japanese toys, is so entertaining. Don't get me wrong, there's some groan-inducing humor and a few spots where you have to work hard to suspend your disbelief, but overall it's a lot of fun. They took the concept fairly seriously and ended up with a movie that's a great time. Unless you don't like giant robots, then you'll hate it.

PS: Deere needs to get in on the Transformers sequel. Look at how much publicity it got GM. Plus, a 9030 tractor or a 950J Crawler Dozer would make a great robot.

The Monkey King

There's a restaurant in Davenport called Monkey King Buffet. I suspect it serves Thai food and that the amount of monkeys would be disappointing.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

More Toast

After watching the first quarter of MSU-OSU, I'm reminded of a question I've been asking since NU beat the Spartans: why would you ever, EVER, try and run the ball on MSU? Why not pass every down? It seems pretty unlikely they can hold a team to less than 10 on four passes, and over the course of the game you're practically guaranteed to break 3 for TDs. So why run? The MSU secondary is so bad, you don't even have to keep them honest. Bombs away!

Who's Money?

That money you worked so hard to earn? Well, according to the governor of Michigan, it's not really yours:

"It's not just about me, me, me. It's about investing in Michigan. Where's the notion of the common good? It's been lost over decades because there's been ... this idea that it's your money, it's your money. What happened to, 'It's your schools, and it's your roads and it's your parks, your libraries?'"

So you see, that's the real problem with the state; everyone's too greedy, except, presumably, the governor herself. If only you fall in line, Michigan would be a great place to live, work, etc. I guess the tax increase makes more sense this way. After all, it's not your money anyway...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Better Pro?

I came across an interesting question on Terry Foster's blog last night: Between Mike Hart and Javon Ringer, who will be the better pro RB?

Current stats for comparison:
Mike Hart: 200 car, 1078 yds, 5.4 YPC, 61 long, 12 TDs.
Javon Ringer: 132 car, 932 yds, 7.1 YPC, 80(TD) long, 6 TDs. (It should be noted here that Ringer plays with the battering ram that is Jehuu Caulcrick, who has 13 TDs, some of which would certainly have been Ringer's if he was the feature back like Hart.)

You're not likely to find much argument that Hart will end up with a greater college career, though a few more spectacular performances like the past 2 weeks will certainly increase people's awareness of Ringer. Foster says that Ringer is bigger, though their profiles list identical heights and only a 2-lb. difference in weight. He also says Ringer is faster, which I think is a fair assessment. Hart is the top senior RB in the nation and UM's all-time leading rusher. Projecting RBs to the pros is easier than some other positions, but it's still not a sure-thing. Cedric Benson hasn't proven his worth yet. Reggie Bush is amazing, but hasn't changed the NFL or made the Saints unbeatable. Larry Johnson sat on the bench for a while before he played. Who had heard of Willie Parker? In short: Hart seems like the obvious answer; but is he the right one?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007



Mandy and I finally have the internet. Well, hopefully. We've had it hooked up for two weeks but has only worked 2 days at the beginning. Some techies were supposed to fix it this morning as I left to substitute teach at Lakers (which is how I'm able to get caught up on all my posting).

Fall Ball

I didn't think this would ever happen...well, maybe a little, just not for a few years, but I umpired my first ever College baseball game. Don't get excited, it was an intrasquad game between Central Michigan's players. But, it's still college ball. "IT'S DIVISION I BASEBALL! IT AIN'T INTRAMURALS!" I'm not necessarily looking to get into college umpiring because geographically speaking...I'm not within an hours drive of any college team. So, it's not worth all the drive time and gas money...or a big ego.

Anyway, I had a ton of fun. I umpired for free but got a T-shirt and flex-fitted CMU hat (and I kept one of the game balls). Whoopie! Then again, after my umpiring performance, I should have been paying them (more on that later).

This all started because last spring I umpired with a young guy (I say young because he's actually a high school umpire younger than me...and is a student at EMU) who went to Pro Umpire School and worked in the Arizona league and the New York Penn League which is Single-A Minor League baseball. He told me after umpiring a Capac baseball game about looking into going to the College Baseball Umpires Association, CBUA, meeting next year. Last year it was in Indianapolis for our region and in 2008 would be held in Cleveland. He said I do a pretty good job and should look into it. So, I've kept that in the back of my mind for a long time and keep checking the website for information. I decided I wouldn't do it but emailed my umpire buddy from Caro DJ Svacha who has helped me the last 8 years and I know he's done a lot of college umpiring. In fact, when the Minor League umpires went on strike a year or two ago, he umpired many games, some for the Lansing Lugnuts.

I asked DJ in the email if he was going to the meeting. He said he's semi-retired from college ball because of all the travel required. Then he said, "if you want some college games, you can do weekend." He was talking about the weekend of October 6 and 7. Central Michigan was doing a "Fall Series" between Maroon and Gold. DJ was going to umpire some games and so he said I could go with him. So, DJ and and I umpired on Saturday, October 6 in the 85 degree heat. I umpired all 9 innings behind the plate and he did the field.

Oh, my performance. Again, I'm not looking to rise up in the college level, but I certainly don't want to suck. It's not an audition, but like all fields of work, it's networking, networking, networking. So no pressure, just don't suck. Thankfully it was pretty laid back because it wasn't a regular season game. DJ and I covered a few details before the game and some of the differences between NCAA and High School. But he forgot to mention (and I forgot to ask) the NCAA strike zone. Well, let's just say the pitchers loved me. I had a high school strike zone for wayyyyy to long. Yeah, the belt buckle...that's considered the top of the zone. My zone was about letter high, below the armpits. DJ finally had to talk to me inbetween the 6th inning to inform me the zone is not the armpits or letters at this level. But come to think of it, he never told me specifically until after the game that it was the belt buckle. If I would have known that, my life would have been soooo much easier. A belt is a much better reference point than letters on a jersey.

On the day, I was very impressed with how I was treated. I'm sure there was some chirping going on in the field or bases, but no one disrespected me. I could have and should have been chewed up at times. I only had 1 or 2 "Oh my God" blasts in the batters box. They were all good hitters, so the big zone didn't matter because I think only 3 guys struck out all day out of 54 outs. The hitting was better than the pitching.

Would I like to do it again? Heck yeah. I was still nervous in the 6th inning. It took a long time to settle down. I might have been better if my first college game could have been at the NAIA or D-3 or D-2 level. But, I'm glad it wasn't. I'm not afraid to do college ball, but I've got my work cut out for me. D-1 guys are studs. Rockets for arms. Be on your toes. So, I'll stick with Little League and high school baseball and for the time being, won't push the collegiate level.


A megachurch is defined as a church with 2000+ people in attendance. Apparently it is the latest buzz going around, especially with megachurch preacher Joel Osteen. Apparently he preaches to an average of 42,000 people at the Lakewood Church in Houston. There was a "60 Minutes" story on him and his ministry on Sunday night. Then, on Tuesday morning the "ABC Morning Show" did a segment with his wife. Then this morning the "ABC Morning Show" did a segment about Joel Osteen.

Now, I've seen him on TV for the last few years preaching in that stadium in Texas on ABC Family channel or something like that. I've noticed his best-selling books on the book shelves. But, I have to be honest, I'm getting a little weary of this guy. Again, I don't know him at all and I've never watched one of his sermons for more than 15 minutes. But, guys like Rick Warren and anyone else leading a megachurch make me nervous. Especially when they have books they are promoting that seem more like self-help Dr. Phil books. I'm I alone on this issue? I don't want to look too much into the Sunday night CBS/60 Minutes interview, but they didn't paint a great picture of the guy's preaching style.


Life in Ohio

You know, life might not be all that bad for a sports Ohioian. Think about the year they have had or are having now.

Pro Basketball: Cleveland Cavs reach 2007 NBA Finals.
Pro Baseball: Clevland Indians will probably reach the 2007 World Series.
College Football: Ohio State Buckeys reach 2007 BCS National Championship.
College Basketball: Ohio State Buckeye reach 2007 NCAA National Championship.

The Buckeyes replace anything the Cleveland Browns do (or can't do). Think about it, the whole state is either a Buckeye lover or Michigan hater...actually, probably both. They don't have division in their state. In Michigan, people are Wolverine fans, Spartan fans, and in some places Central Michigan fans. In Ohio, there is only Ohio State and hating Michigan.

By the way, I'd like to go on record that my preseason World Series favorite was the Cleveland Indians. I can somewhat back that statement up later with a post of something I did back in April/May of 2007. Basically it was whenever I was given the Detroit Tigers schedule. So, it could have been earlier.

Either way, not a bad time to be an Ohio sports nut.

But Ohio still sucks.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


The Spartans did the unthinkable Saturday and lost to the Northwestern Wildcats. That's right, the same NU team that lost to Duke. Duke. Let that sink in for a moment. This was a loss that goes right up there with last year's loss to ND as far as sheer embarassment. It's a good thing it was on the Big Ten Network and no one saw it. So, what went wrong?

1. Defensive Secondary: Just a sec... okay, I'm back. I had to go throw up just remembering MSU's pass defense yesterday. It was the single worst display of pass coverage I've seen in my entire life, including high school football. In fact, they looked like a bad high school team trying to defend the pass. They played soft coverage, 5-10 yds of the WRs, all day and waved at the ball carriers instead of trying to tackle them. They gave up 520 yards passing and 5 TDs to a QB who hadn't thrown a TD pass in 3 games. I'd say they played like a bunch of little girls, but I've coached powder puff football and those girls played with more ferocity and enthusiasm for tackling than the Spartans did yesterday. "Spartans! What is your profession?"

"Playing with paper dolls?"
"I like kittens."


The Spartans also dropped at least 4 possible interceptions.

2. Offense: Sure, they scored 41 pts, but it wasn't enough. They could score to tie the game, but every time they had a chance to take the lead they couldn't get it done. That pretty much describes the QB, Hoyer, too. He makes some good plays, but comes up short when it matters.

3. Play-calling in OT: The coaching staff has been clear that they wanted to establish a run-first identity for this team. So what did they do in OT? Four-straight long passes, zero points, one big L.

4. Refs: Hopefully the refs never make too much of a difference in the game and the Spartans had plenty of chances to win this one. However, the refs missed at least two very obvious holding calls, despite 67,000 people pointing them out. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference, but as hard as defensive stops were to come by, maybe it would have.

Homecoming against Indiana is now a gut-check game. NU and IU should have been guaranteed wins that would have put MSU well on their way to a bowl game, now the Spartans are going to struggle to not be a laughingstock.

Monday, October 01, 2007

NCAA All-Name Team '07

Watching MSU football last Saturday inspired me to start a list of the best names in college football this year, the "All-Name Team '07". I'll add outstanding names as I encounter them. Feel free to make suggestions for additions in the comments.

Our first member: Swayze Waters, K, UAB. Overheard at the MSU-UAB game: "His parents must have been big Roadhouse fans."

I can't believe I've watched 2 MSU games and not thought to add Sir Darean Adams, LB, MSU.

Limas Sweed, WR, Texas. His QB, Colt McCoy, has a cool name. Well, cool if you're an Old West sheriff or a UT quarterback. Luckily, he's a Texas QB. But if you're going to name your kid after a bean, isn't there a more masculine one? Hmm, soy, kidney, green, lentil. Maybe not. How about navy?

Golden Tate, WR, ND. He's a Golden Domer? That's just too good.

While I'm thinking about names, I have to bring up the name of a US Women's soccer player I heard on PTI: Hope Solo. I hate to bring up soccer, but that might be the coolest female name I've ever heard.

"The Hit"

Most of your are probably familiar with "the hit" that took place just before halftime of the MSU-Wisconsin game on Saturday. Nehemiah Warrick laid a huge hit on Kyle Jefferson as he caught a pass coming across the middle. Watching it live on TV, you could almost anticipate the train wreck. Here are my thoughts on the play, watching it on TV from a college football fan perspective and also from the viewpoint "if I were to be a MSU fan."

1st Viewpoint = College FB fan:
WOW! Ouch. Unbelievable hit. Awesome hit. It was pretty good and plays you like to see. Here is my problem. The commentators for the game (Brad Nessler and Bob Griese) practically crucified Warrick for his hit. They were saying, "In the NFL, that would be a penalty for leading with the helmet and a fine."..."Kids, if you are watching at home, that is absolutely not the way you make a tackle."...etc. Come on Brad Nessler, he's just a kid who had the chance to light someone up, so he did. Give him a break. You can't sit there and not be excited about that play.

2nd Viewpoint = If I were an MSU Fan:
Hey idiot, what are you doing moron? Quit celebrating and get on the fumble. Because you were an idiot, they recovered the fumble and kicked a field goal...which technically had something to do with you losing the game. You lost by 3, that field goal gave them 3. Seriously, after he made the field goal to put the Badgers up by 6 at the half, I wondered if somehow that "hit" would come back to haunt the team. Was there anyway this was a bad thing? And then it hit me. Because he was celebrating and could have jumped on the fumble, those 3 points were going to decide the game. Sure enough, it did.

All in all, it was a bang-bang play and I'm not totally convinced he would have been able to change his direction and reverse all his momentum after the collision to get on the ball that wasn't exactly bouncing around.