- Michigan State made an excellent hire by bringing in Mark Dantonio to coach the football team. He has Ohio roots which will help the Spartans tremendously on the recruiting scene. A lot had been made of the Spartans looking at Georgia Tech’s John Tenuta but Dantonio brings all of the things Tenuta would have brought and more.
- I would rather watch Michigan play South Florida in the Rose Bowl than watch Michigan have to play Notre Dame again. How could it possibly be a good idea to set up a rematch between two teams when the road team won the first game by 26 points? Some reward for going 11-1 with a three point loss on the road against the number one team in the country.
- The NBA MVP award is going to be won by Steve Nash for the third year in a row or LeBron James. My money is on LeBron.
- I think the ACC is going to win the ACC/Big Ten challenge for the 8th year in a row. I think this will be the fifth time out of the eight years that the ACC will win by one game.
Maryland over Illinois
Georgia Tech over Penn State
Duke over Indiana
Miami over Northwestern
Virginia over Purdue
Clemson over Minnesota
Big Ten Wins:
Michigan over NC State
Wisconsin over Florida State
Michigan State over Boston College
Iowa over Virginia Tech
Ohio State over North Carolina
- The Houston Astros just pulled a “Ben Wallace” by handing $100 million over to Carlos Lee for six years. I still have the Chicago Bulls in the “who is going to be more disgusted with themselves in four years sweepstakes?” but the Astros are a close second. The most disturbing aspect of the signing was this comment by Lee, “I know this is a team where I have a good chance to win a championship.” If by “good chance” Lee means less than a 5% chance, then he is correct.
- It looks like the Ford Clan is going to finally get rid of Matt Millen. I’m actually disappointed by this development. It looks like this will finally be the year that Millen achieved the coveted number one pick in the draft. That has been the envy of Lions fans for decades. I was hoping the Lions could go for the repeat next season but the dismissal of Millen will likely thwart those dreams.
- I’m pretty sure the Super Bowl will include Indianapolis, San Diego, or Baltimore from the AFC and either Chicago, Dallas, or Carolina from the NFC. I don’t think New England can beat Indianapolis again until the Patriots find Tom Brady wide receivers that people have actually heard of. Carolina doesn’t look very strong right now but I think they’ll get things going in the last three weeks of the season. If I had to narrow it down right now, I’d go with either Indy or SD against Dallas. At least there will be some new blood this year.
- If USC beats Ohio State in the BCS Championship game, then USC will be the preseason number one team next season. If USC loses to Ohio State, then I think Michigan will be the preseason number one team. As of right now, I expect the 2007 preseason top ten to look something like this:
7) West Virginia
10) Ohio State
- I’m pretty sure the Miami Heat will win the NBA Championship again. I find it maddening that after a few weeks of basketball, just about every basketball analyst pulls out “the sky is falling” card for any good team that struggles early. There is no league in professional sports where the regular season means less than in the NBA. The Miami Heat couldn’t care less if it ends up the 8th seed or the 1st seed in the playoffs. Shaq is currently taking his annual mid-season vacation. All of his injuries will magically disappear come playoff time and the Heat will dominate a weak Eastern Conference. The Heat will either play San Antonio, Dallas, or Phoenix in the NBA Finals. My bet is on a Miami/San Antonio match-up with Miami repeating.
- It has become cliché to say that a D-1 college football playoff will never happen. I guess if people hear things enough, they start to believe them. But, there will be a playoff. The SEC holds a lot of clout. Every year that the conference gets shafted by the BCS only exacerbates its anger towards the current system. As annoying as it is to hear Urban Meyer whine about Florida’s merits, coaches like him are the key to a playoff. If there is enough noise, the NCAA will have to move on it. The only question is how long it will take. I think there will be some form of a playoff (a minimum of a plus one system) within five years.
- For the few of you out there (i.e. Billy Packer) that think the Missouri Valley Conference isn’t quickly becoming a “major” D-1 college basketball conference, wake up! The MVC deserved at least four teams in the NCAA Tournament last year and possibly more. It will get at least two bids for the eight straight season this year and probably more than the three bids that it got last season. It isn’t even December yet and the MVC has the following non-conference wins:
Wichita St. 72 George Mason 66 @ George Mason
Wichita St. 57 #6 LSU 53 @ LSU
S. Illinois 69 Minnesota 53
S. Illinois 69 Virginia Tech 64
Creighton 58 George Mason 56
Bradley 78 DePaul 58
Bradley 101 Rutgers 72
Missouri St. 66 #7 Wisconsin 64
Illinois St. 78 St. John’s 65 @ St. John’s
- I don’t mind an Ohio State/USC match-up in the BCS Championship game. What I do mind are the silly arguments that are floating around the media about USC deserving to be in the title game. First of all, Michigan didn’t “already have its chance” any more so than USC had its chance against Oregon State. Every other sports organization (NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, D-1 basketball, D-II football, all high schools sports etc.) has a high likelihood of rematches. The idea that a regular season road game somehow constitutes a team’s “chance” is just a ridiculous excuse to support one’s belief that USC should be in the championship game. Someone said on TV that if Ohio State and Michigan play again and Michigan wins, Ohio State should go out and purchase championship rings because they will have gotten screwed. So I guess the Cincinnati Bengals should have made their own “Championship” rings because they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last season in the NFL regular season but still had to play them again in the playoffs where they promptly lost the rematch. Or, maybe the 1989 Illinois Fighting Illini basketball team should have proclaimed itself the real National Champion because it beat Michigan twice during the regular season but lost in the tournament.
Second, the fact that USC jumped Michigan in the polls is a bit ridiculous. Michigan already finished its season. Michigan already beat Notre Dame on the road by 26 points. USC beat Notre Dame by 20 points at home. If Michigan had any game against any caliber of team, USC probably wouldn’t have jumped Michigan in the polls. Perception and media fueled speculation are huge in college football. Just one week ago, Kirk Herbstreit was dead set on wanting to see a rematch. One week later, after USC beat Notre Dame in less dominating fashion than Michigan did, Herbstreit is leading the USC bandwagon. All of this despite Michigan not even playing this week. Had this happened during any other week of the season, USC would have stayed behind Michigan. Of course all of this just makes the fact that there is no playoff all the more absurd. Like I said, I don’t mind Michigan being left out. What I do mind are the vast amounts of illogical beliefs that seem to be mistaken for sound reasoning. Michigan would not beat Ohio State in a rematch. I don’t necessarily want to see a rematch. But, that doesn’t mean stupid arguments need to be masked as brilliant analysis.
- Things change so much in just a matter of weeks in the sporting world. It was less than a month ago when the fellas on ESPN speculated that this season was going to mark a disastrous end to Bill Parcells’ coaching career. A Donovan McNabb season-ending injury and a couple Eli Manning meltdowns later, Dallas looks like a sure-bet to win the NFC East. The most interesting aspect of that whole scenario is the fact that Tony Romo is rapidly becoming a superstar. I’ve been hearing about this guy for three plus seasons in Dallas but never thought I’d actually get to see him play. Now it makes sense why Drew Henson didn’t last long in Dallas. Romo is going to be very good.
- I’m going out on an unstable limb by saying this but I think the Big Ten will be the best basketball conference in America in two or three years. Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, and Purdue are all programs that have extremely bright futures. With Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa solid programs, the Big Ten just might become the premier conference in America again.
- Somebody is going to get extremely lucky by drafting Troy Smith. He is not a college-only quarterback. There isn’t anything he isn’t above average at. I have heard projections that he will be no better than a second or third round selection. If I’m an NFL team in need of a quarterback, I don’t care if I have the first pick in the draft, I am taking Troy Smith.
- Does anyone feel comfortable ranking Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson, USC’s Dwayne Jarrett, and Ohio State’s Ted Ginn in order? I don’t. Teams might literally have to split hairs to differentiate between those three come NFL draft day.
- If Bobby Bowden steps down and the Florida State, Miami (FL) and Alabama coaching jobs are open a) would Steve Spurrier be crazy to turn all three down and b) if he did decide to leave South Carolina for one of those schools, which school should he pick? I have no clue where I’d begin on that one.
- At first, I thought the NBA minimum age rule was going to hurt the “mid-majors” because that meant the majors were going to get an influx of supreme talent that would have otherwise gone to the NBA straight out of high school. However, the big-time schools that recruit the “one and done” players will always be stuck with young teams and more “rebuilding” teams than in years passed. That leaves the door open for senior-laden mid-majors to take advantage of their experience. One of the great things about college sports is seeing players start off as kids and maturing physically and emotionally. The minimum age rule does nothing to enhance that experience so I have to say that the rule does nothing to help the NCAA which is in stark contrast to how I felt when the rule was initially put into play.
- The first team to wrap up a “lock” for the 2007 NCAA Tournament is none other than Butler. Here is what Butler has done in November en route to a 7-0 record while being ranked 8th by the RPI:
Butler 71 Notre Dame 69 @ Notre Dame
Butler 60 Indiana 55
Butler 56 #21 Tennessee 44 @ Tennessee
Butler 79 #23 Gonzaga 71
Butler 83 Kent State 80
That is by far the most remarkable non-conference run I have ever seen by a mid-major this early in a season. Though, no mid-major will ever equal George Mason’s run in the NCAA Tournament last year.