Monthly Archives: July 2008

Big Papa is on a Roll

Well, about a month ago I called for the Bears to sign Kevin Jones to be an effective two-headed monster with rookie runner Matt Forte.  It appeared they weren’t even looking at him and at the last minute Bears GM Jerry Angelo swooped in and nabbed him.

Several days ago I wrote a post about Manny being Manny in LA.  Some liked my idea while a majority of others thought it wouldn’t happen.  After analyzing the situation I knew he had to go and LA was the perfect locale for him.  He respects Torre and would reunite with Nomar and Lowe.  The big question was what were the Red Sox going to get back.  Pittsburgh’s Jason Bay was the perfect replacement and LA had the prospects to surrender.  Now, while I don’t claim to be a great prognosticator  I did nail these two square on the head.

Oh, and I almost forgot about Favre.  Until the Manny trade went down I was going to post a Favre Update because it is what’s hot.  According to the Milwaukee Sentinel the Packers are exploring trades “within the division”.  Now several weeks ago when Favre got the itch to play again I thought for sure either Minnesota or Chicago was the perfect fit for him.  I had a lot of Bears fans in agreement with me but the rest of the nation thought the Packers would be nuts for doing that.  Now it appears the Packers are considering either trading him to one of their rivals or releasing him.  On a personal note, if Favre finds his way to Chicago I am going to purchase a BLUE #4 Bears jersey and watch the Bears-Packers game at the Brat Stop in Wisconsin.  Sweet revenge after a decade of torment. 

So, while I am on fire I will throw this prediction out there for you.  REX GROSSMAN FOR BRETT FAVRE STRAIGHT UP.  I think it works.  Chicago moved in front of Green Bay in the NFL Draft to get Rex.  Green Bay liked him then and I assume they still like him now.  He would be able to come in and be an experienced backup for Aaron Rodgers.  In the event Aaron sucks, Rex has experience and could step in and be a starter.  And there is little risk because if Rex is bad there is only one year remaining on his deal anyway.  And, as I have mentioned before, Brett automatically makes Chicago a 9 to 11 win team.  Brett is getting up there but statistically he is still in the Top 10.  I do like Orton a lot but I think a season or two behind Brett will do him a world of good.  Not to mention Orton hasn’t been on speaking terms with Rex and the competition hasn’t been a good one to this point. 

The Bears defense and special teams are Superbowl quality but the offense has been a let down.  With the acquisition of Kevin Jones, the emergence of young receivers like Earl Bennett and acquisition of Brett, the Chicago Bears are a better offensive team and playoff contender.

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Themes Songs for Our Chicago Teams

Everything seems to have a theme song these days.  A song or jingle just helps capture the image…the moment.  Let’s face it the CHiPs and Dukes of Hazzard theme songs are chiseled into our brains whether we like it our not.  How many times does a song come on the radio, we look to our friend and say the name of the movie or show it was in.  I think sports and music have the same effect.  I can’t listen to Jump without thinking of the 1984 Chicago Cubs.  I hear Tessie by Dropkick Murphys and think of the wonderful ride the 2004 Red Sox took us on.  But this season in Chicago I look at the baseball teams and it is too quiet.  The Cubs fans re-hash Jump and Go Cubs Go but those were songs from a different era about different teams.  The White Sox fans still belt out that pathetic Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers classic Go Go White Sox.  Sorry, there was one team known as the Go Go Sox and you are not it.  They were a fast, base stealing bunch.  Most of this team you could time with a sun dial.  So, I think it is important we give them songs that fit their current state.

The Cubs started the 2nd half on the road and had a very uninspiring trip.  Some fans didn’t think much of it because the Cubs have struggled on the road all season.  Other fans started thinking, here we go again.  Hmmmm, that is it, “Here We Go Again” by Whitesnake.  I can’t think of a better song for their journey.  Time and time again they have been close.  They have won divisions and wildcards and were as close as 5 outs away from the promised land.  So here the Cubs go again on their own.  The are going down the only road they have ever known.  They have the same park and will win in thrilling fashion and lose heartbreakers.  I think they can win it all this season so let’s hope they have made up their minds and they’re not wasting no more time.

The White Sox are on borrowed time.  They have had all-world performances from Dye and Quentin, timely pitching from young, untested pitchers and those are the only reason they are in 1st place at this time.  They waltz into Minnesota a little banged up but confident.  They grab an early lead and squander it.  Last night was an example of how this season has been for the South Siders.  They have been really good and just plain terrible.  Round and round they go, which Sox team you get you’ll never know.  Hey, “Spinning Wheel” by Blood, Sweat and Tears is perfect for them.  First off, they have the spinning wheel scoreboard so right there it is a perfect fit.  Seriously though, it is a sad but true tale of this team.  Hey Kenny, what goes up must come down.  Ozzie is talkin’ about his troubles, ain’t it a crying shame.  The Sox spinning wheels are spinning.  So much so that when they stop they will say, “Why are we in second and how did Minnesota get to ride the painted pony.”  Sorry Sox fans, it is coming down.

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Manny Being Manny Being Annoying

As a Red Sox fan outside the city of Boston I must say Manny’s act is growing old.  Over the years, about this time of year, Manny starts rattling his sabre about getting a new deal or getting out of town.  For years I thought that there wasn’t much behind it.  My thought was Manny was simply creating some contraversy to take media heat off of his team. 

While that might be true lately I have seen Manny’s colors.  He is so FULL of himself it is ridiculous.  It isn’t Manny being playful, it is about Manny being a self-centered jack ass. 

Your team is in the fight for their lives this season.  NY acquired some talent in a ridiculous trade I think the league should look into (different post all together) and Tampa’s kids simply won’t go away.  It is possible they could win 90 games and miss the playoffs all together.  Boston needs to be on their A Game with their stars on the field giving it their all.

Instead Manny feuds with Youks in the dugout, then picks a fight with a trainer, then has a war of words with management and now is demanding a trade saying that the Red Sox are “getting tired of him and he is getting tired of them.”  Wow, that is really great Manny.  Nice comments in the middle of a pennant race.

Manny has gone from a minor irritant to a full blown infection in a matter of a couple of years.  You simply can’t let him continue to “be Manny” and challenge for championships any more.  He wants to go and is willing to go any where.  My advice is to go and send him some place that will take him.  I am thinking a three way deal would work nicely.  How about sending Manny Ramirez and a player to be named later to the LA Dodgers, the LA Dodgers send OF Matt Kemp, AA 2nd Basemen Adolfo Gonzalez and AA starting Pitcher James McDonald to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Pirates send OF Jason Bay and SS Jack Wilson to the Boston Red Sox.  The deal works for everyone.

LA gets the big bat that they need in the middle of the order.  Now they also get a guy with an attitude but being back with Nomar and having Joe Torre as his coach might make him happy…for now. 

Pittsburgh gets an outfielder (Matt Kemp) that is a can’t miss prospect along with two others that are solid prospects.  That is pretty much what Pittsburgh does.  They cultivate talent until they can’t afford it and then they cut them loose for prospects. 

Finally, Boston gets a low key all-star in Jason Bay.  A guy who is constantly comes up with the ‘big hit’.  They would also get SS Jack Wilson who would immediately be better at that position than anyone on the current roster.

Let Manny be Manny somewhere else.  Please!

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Let the Favrestakes Begin

Brett Favre is the most wanted Hall of Famer in the history of the NFL.  Ok, that isn’t quite right. 

Teams are knocking down the door to speak with the Packers about Brett Favre.  No, that doesn’t work either. 

The Packers are begging teams to take Brett Favre but are asking for too much and Brett won’t unretire until something he likes is in the works.  That is about right.

Brett wants to play but the Packers don’t want him to go to Minnesota or Chicago.  That is all it comes down to.  They don’t want to risk seeing Brett twice a year, once a year or in the playoffs.  The Packers have insisted they have moved on with Aaron Rodgers.  That is great.  If you are so confident in your move than why would you care where he went.  If you can send him to the AFC or out of the division great but if you can’t do it for what you want then they need to do the right thing and let him go.

However, they won’t and now Brett is re-thinking the whole waiting thing.  He is threatening showing up at camp and I think that is a great idea.  Because the second the Bears or Vikings defense start pounding on Aaron Rodgers they are going to be screaming for BRETT…BRETT…BRETT!

But they will try to deal him this week and I think there are maybe four teams with a realistic shot of landing him.

Why the NY Jets make sense?  Because Mangini has to start winning to save his job.  They took a mighty leap backwards last season and with some offensive line additions to help Thomas Jones succeed, a top notch QB might help the J-E-T-S get back to the post-season.

Why the NY Jets won’t work?  The GM Mike Tannenbaum needs his picks and trades to start panning out to save his own butt.  Now while acquiring Favre would be lauded by some, for others it would be a sign that the Jets don’t have confidence in either Pennington or Clemens.  That is an indictment of Mike’s ability to judge talent and build a champion.  The Jets are more than likely a year or two away from the playoffs and should continue to concentrate on the future.

Why the Tampa Bay Bucs make sense?  Coach Jon Gruden loves veteran QBs and has a history with Brett Favre.  Tampa Bay has problems with QB Jeff Garcia and needs leadership at the QB position.  Brett Favre would automatically make this team the best in the NFC South.

Why the Tampa Bay Bucs don’t make sense?  Shortly after the Brett Favre saga began he was asked about teams he would like to play for.  For the most part he has kept his desires close to the vest except for a comment he made about Tampa Bay.  He stated that he wouldn’t consider going to Tampa because it was too hot.  He wanted to play for a cold weather team.

Why the Kansas City Chiefs make sense?  Kansas City have the most to offer Green Bay.  They still have multiple extra picks over the next few years.  The Chiefs under Herm Edwards are in the position to be a force in the AFC for years to come.  They won’t compete for a playoff spot this season but next season, with Favre in the fold, KC becomes a legitimate threat to go to the Superbowl. 

Why the Kansas City Chiefs don’t make sense?  The organization’s committment to Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard.  The timing for all of this is terrible.  Most teams have made plans all off-season to prepare for 2008.  KC is excited about the future and are certain one of the two men above will lead them to the promised land.  Acquiring Brett would allow for immediate gratification and long term headaches.

Why the Washington Redskins make sense?  Because Daniel Snyder throws money around like water and will always take things to the extreme chasing division titles and Superbowl glory.  Now, to this point he has been a miserable failure, but his pursuit is relentless.  He needs new coach Jim Zorn to be successful.  The only way he can do that is with a veteran QB at the helm.  The NFC East looks to be very competitive again and with a Brett in the mix they would turn a few of the losses against their division rivals into wins.

Why the Washington Redskins don’t make sense?  Because Daniel Snyder wants Jason Campbell to succeed.  It shows a commitment to his young QB despite the coaching changes.  They also have veteran Todd Collins who came off of his best pro season and they drafted Hawaii standout Colt Brennan.  On paper they appear set at QB.  Not to mention the Redskins may also be up against the cap.  Acquiring Favre takes a huge chunk out of cap space they might not have.

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Big Time Teams on the Outside Looking In

After analyzing the teams this season and coming up with my Top 25 I figured there were going to be fans wondering…what happened to Florida State, where’s Pittsburgh and is Fresno State going to get any love?  That being the case I have 5 schools some experts are predicting will be in the Top 25 that I guarantee won’t see the Top 25.

#1 Boston College – The defense should be pretty good.  They have a very good front 7 but they have a new, inexperienced QB coming off of Matt Ryan and a freshman runner.  They are also weak in the defense backfield.  They should do well enough to get to a bowl (Emerald Bowl maybe) but I see them just outside the Top 25. 

#2 Florida State – This team has managed to disappoint the last several seasons.  Not too mention the academic scandal that will shelve half the team for the first three games.  The offense is a complete mess.  QB Drew Weatherford has been a major disappointment and I look for him to continue to struggle.  They have a fair running game at best and on defense the line is a disaster.  There is some talent in the defensive backfield and at linebacker but not too much more.  I see them right around .500, maybe the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

#3 Pittsburgh – What is amazing to me is how some preseason polls pick the Panthers as high as Top 10.  The Panthers haven’t made a bowl game since Wannstedt showed up on the scene and they might be hard pressed to make it again this season.  Most of the key offensive positions haven’t been decided yet.  The defense should be good again but they lost their talented defensive coordinator to Auburn in the off-season.  In my opinion the best case scenario is 7-5 and a birth in the Sun Bowl against Oregon or Oregon St.

#4 Virginia Tech – I like this team but I think they have a couple of issues that is the difference between finishing 9-3 and 7-5.  The biggest issue is that the success of this team is driven by the Frank Beamer defense.  The Hokies lost almost all of its starters from last season, most to the NFL.  They are going to have a lot of youth and inexperience on the defensive side of the ball.  The other issue is WR and RB.  They lost their skill position players and will be depending on almost all freshmen to carry the load on offense.  The schedule isn’t too bad so they should win 8 games.  I am thinking just out of the Top 25.  They might squeak in if Notre Dame or Penn State falter.  Should end up in the Champs Bowl vs. Purdue/Penn St.

#5 South Carolina – I want to like the Gamecocks this season.  I think Smelley is going to be a good QB and he has quite a few targets to throw to.  Unfortunately the offensive line isn’t very good or experienced so the QB and runners will struggle.  They also have a brutal schedule.  Georgia, LSU and Tennessee are all at home but they finish out the season at Florida and Clemson.  The young line and defense should gain experience as the season goes on but the tough back end of the schedule could kill their bowl hopes.  A 7-5 record and a birth in the Independence Bowl vs. Oklahoma State/Kansas State are possible.

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NCAA Football Pre-Season Predictions 5-1

#5 West Virginia

QB and Heisman hopeful Patrick White will lead this powerful offense back to an BCS game.  The offensive line is stellar and replacing RB Steve Slaton is Noel Devine.  Noel has a nice balance of power and speed.  The defense is only returning 4 starters and if anything trips up this team it could be the inexperience on that side of the ball.  However they are very fast and have a good young corp of linebackers.  The schedule works in their favor as well.  A mid-season matchup against Auburn should be their only obstacle until they get to Pittsburgh and South Florida in the final two weeks.  11-1

#4 Ohio State

QB Todd Boeckman returns to lead a championship quality team back to the BCS.  Todd is surrounded with NFL quality talent in RB Beanie Wells, WR Brian Robiskie and WR Brian Hartline.  Not to mention 4 of the 5 offensive line are coming back.  Not to be out done, the defense is loaded with fast, hard-nosed players.  Lawrence Wilson will be the standout in that unit if he can stay healthy.  The only thing standing in their way of playing for a National Championship is the schedule.  They play at USC, at Wisconsin and at Illinois.  Not to mention the Michigan game at the end of the season.  Somewhere along the line they will trip up once.  11-1

#3 Florida

 

Tim Tebow leads the most potent offense in college football to the promised land?  Well, maybe not this season but they are going to come very close.  They are definitely BCS bowl bound.  WR Percy Harvin is a stud pure and simple.  He has great hands and ridiculous speed.  Look for USC transfer RB Moody to make an impact in the run game as well.  The defense was very inexperienced last year and cost them a big bowl.  This season they are all a year older and hopefully wiser.  The schedule is a real bear!  The Gators will have a really hard time running the table with this schedule.  Games at Tennessee, home against LSU and the big game against Georgia are their biggest stumbling blocks.  The Georgia game could decide who plays for the National Title this season.  11-1

#2 Oklahoma

The Oklahoma offense will be awesome in 2008.  QB Sam Bradford is back along with the entire offensive line and RB Demarco Murray.  The offense averaged 42 points a game last year and should improve upon that mark this season.  The only question mark is the youth on the defensive side of the ball.  However they should worry too much because they are fast and talented.  Look for defensive back Dominique Franks to become a star.  The schedule also works for Oklahoma.  The non-conference schedule isn’t very difficult, they play Kansas and Texas Tech at home and they don’t play Missouri.  The toughest game will probably be Texas in Dallas.  12-0

#1 Georgia

   

The Bulldogs were awesome last season and they should be better this season.  The team is loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball.  Sophomore QB Matt Stafford was good in 07 and should be even better this season.  The star of the offense should be runner Knowshon Moreno.  He is a future stud NFL back waiting to happen.  What seperates Georgia from some of the other top contenders is it’s defense.  They are absolutely loaded.   The front seven will be very intimidating led by linemen Roderick Battle and Jeremy Lomax.  They also have the best group of linebackers in the SEC.  The schedule is as tough as it comes though.  They play at Arizona State, Tennessee, at LSU, Florida at Jax and at Auburn.  It is possible they could lose one single game to Florida or Auburn and not play in the National Championship.  However, I go back to the old adage that defense wins championships.  12-0

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NCAA Football Pre-Season Predictions 10-6

#10 Wisconsin

Wisconsin will have a very solid team in 2008.  They are led offensively by RB P.J. Hill and TE Travis Beckum.  They also have a tremendous offensive line and that is good for whatever young QB they decide to go with.  Wisconsin QBs are game managers so if Hill has a big year and the line stays healthy than the offense should be very efficient.  The defense is not as strong as the offense but they do have some big playmakers.  DE Matt Shaughnessy, LB Jonathan Casillas and S Shane Carter will be counted on to be the leaders on this team.  The Badgers also have one other thing working for them and that is Camp Randall.  It has become one of the more difficult places to play in all of college football and this season Wisconsin gets to play Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State at home.  9-3

#9 Missouri

 

Missouri is a very talented team and should make it to the BCS in 2008.  They are led by QB and Heismann hopeful Chase Daniel.  The team is loaded at WR led by Sophomore Jeremy Maclin.  The only possible weakness is at running back and it isn’t so much weakness as it is lack of experience.  Tailback Jimmy Jackson should do fine.  Not to be out done, the defense isn’t flashy but it is very talented.  Ziggy Hood and Sean Weatherspoon should abuse opposing running backs and QBs.  Missouri does have a unique opportunity to run the table and play for a national title because they don’t play Oklahoma this season.  However, they do have a few tough games like the Illini at the RCA to open the season, at Texas in the middle of the season and they wrap up against Kansas in Kansas City.  10-2

#8 Auburn

Auburn is another very talented team that should be playing in the BCS this season.  Offensively they have the youngest, most talented line in football.  RBs Ben Tate and Brad Lester should be a very effective two-headed monster behind that line.  Defensively they lost Quentin Groves and a slew of others to the NFL so the younger kids will have to step up.  Not too mention they will have to step it up under a new coordinator because Muschamp left for Texas in the off season.  Lucky for the Tigers they don’t have to play Florida this season but they do have to go to West Virginia in the middle of the season and play Georgia at the tale end.  10-2

#7 Clemson

The Clemson Tigers are back in the National Title picture.  First off RBs Davis and Spiller might be the best one-two punch in the country.  The Tigers have some inexperience on the offensive line but these two kids should have big years.  I look for QB Cullen Harper to step up and have a huge year, possibly garnering Heismann votes with a couple of big time victories.  The defense should be fantastic.  They have 8 returning starters for a defense that only gave up 18 points per game.  The mid-season road trip versus bowl bound teams Wake Forest, Florida State and Boston College will be a real test.  If they can run the table on that trip they may be in the title hunt.  10-2

#6 USC

You can’t talk BCS and not include the Trojans.  However, this season will not be a walk for the Trojans.  They should continue to have one of the better defenses in college football.  Linebackers Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga are back and Maualuga had a more productive season last year than Keith Rivers, who was a top ten draft pick.  They are a little inexperienced on the interior defensive line but they are very deep in defensive talent.  Offensively they have a lot of questions.  They have no idea what QB Mark Sanchez can do and Mitch Mustain, the Arkansas transfer behind Mark, could push him for playing time if he struggles early.  Look for USC to run more than ever this season and with RBs Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson, why wouldn’t you.  The schedule is as tough as it comes and they are bound to trip up a little along the way.  How about this for a stretch of games…Ohio State, at Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State.  They could have two losses after their first 6 games.  10-2

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