Monday, December 31, 2007

16-0 and NFL Playoff Predictions

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope you all had a great Christmas and enjoy the upcoming New Year. As December comes to a close, the best football games of the year begin to unfold. First, the college bowl season heats up and then the NFL Playoffs begin. On that note, this past weekend a Michigan hero, Tom Brady, made history and led his New England Patriots to a perfect regular season at 16-0! This feat is not complete unless they can win the Super Bowl because they will simply be a footnote in history if they can't come through in the playoffs. Brady has secured his status as a legend and in my mind, he is the best quarterback of all-time. Once he solidifies this fourth Super Bowl win, Montana (the only man I would consider possibly ahead of him) and Brady would both have 4 Super Bowl rings. Way to make Michigan proud Tom!

Alright, well the purpose of this post was to update the Detroit sports scene and make my playoff predictions for the NFL. First, an update on Detroit sports:

Red Wings - Continuing to roll through the entire NHL. They go into their final game of December tomorrow night at 12-1-1 for the month, with four of those games without Zetterberg or Holmstrom. Incredible.
Pistons - Since a rough 8-5 start, the Pistons have gone 15-2 and shown that they are still the class of the Eastern Conference with a win in Boston against the "high and mighty" Celtics. The win was too close to take any real significance from it but it has basically shown the matchup for the Eastern Conference Finals come playoff time. Should be a great series.
Lions - Finished the season today with another embarrassing loss to the Packers, finalizing their record at 7-9. One heck of an improvement from last year (3-13) but when the team loses more games to a lack of effort than to a lack of talent, there is definitely a big problem. Let's try this again, FIRE MILLEN, please.

Alright, now that everyone is caught up, here are my predictions for the NFL playoffs:

AFC Wild Card --> Jacksonville over Pittsburgh, San Diego over Tennessee
NFC Wild Card --> Washington over Seattle, New York over Tampa Bay

AFC Divisional --> New England over Jacksonville, Indianapolis over San Diego
NFC Divisional --> Washington over Dallas, Green Bay over New York

AFC Championship --> New England over Indianapolis
NFC Championship --> Green Bay over Washington

Super Bowl --> New England over Green Bay

Yay...circa 1997 Super Bowl when Green Bay beat the Bledsoe-led Pats but this time, the Pats show the NFL that they really are the best team in history and finish out their 19-0 run.

I'll be back with a full overview in a few days after the result of the Capital One Bowl...until then, Goodbye 2007 and Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Michigan Wrap Up and Rivers Cuomo

I cannot fully express my excitement about Rich Rodriguez being the new coach at Michigan. I think he will end up being an even better choice than Les Miles and definitely better than Greg Schiano. Being the man who basically invented the spread offense, Rodriguez will bring that to Michigan and get their offense to the 21st century. This hiring is the best the country has seen since Florida picked up Urban Meyer a couple years back. Many traditionalists have criticized the way Michigan had to go out and hire someone rather than groom a "Michigan Man" replacement for Carr, but I think that this will work much better. I mean, the last time Michigan went out and hired someone who had no ties to Michigan was Bo Schembechler over 40 years ago. For those of you who don't know, he's the most highly regarded coach and probably most well-known in Michigan football history...so since that turned out incredibly well, you can't blame me for being optimistic about Michigan's future. Although it pains me to admit that Michigan will probably have another sub-par season next year as the transition begins (probably a 9-3 or 8-4 record)...I'm confident that with Rodriguez and his recruits, national championships (PLURAL) are on the way.

On a musical note, Weezer's lead man Rivers Cuomo released his solo album today, titled Alone - The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Even though it is not quite as amazing as a full Weezer album with the whole band, it is definitely worth buying/downloading for any Weezer fan. The album comprises 18 songs and the breakdown is like this:

- Songs 1-6 were recorded before Weezer's first studio album was released in 1994 (Weezer - The Blue Album)
- Songs 7-9 and 11-12 were demos for the rumored secret project titled Songs from the Black Hole, recorded in 1994-95.
- Track 10 was recorded for the movie Angus in 1995 but later replaced.
- Tracks 13-14 were recorded in 1997-98 during Weezer's hiatus.
- The origins of songs 15-17 are unknown.
- Track 18 was written for Weezer's latest album, Make Believe

All of this and more can be found on Wikipedia, or Weezer.com so go out and GET IT! It's awesome. Oh, Weezer is also in the studio to produce their sixth album set to release sometime in 2008, possibly springtime.

Have a good week everyone, Christmas is only a week away!! :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Welcome to the Big House Rich Rodriguez!

BREAKING NEWS ON THE MICHIGAN COACHING FRONT:

The Detroit Free Press, ESPN, and other sources are now reporting that Rich Rodriguez, the Head Coach at West Virginia University, has accepted the offer to become Michigan's new head football coach. YES! Finally...I'm so excited. Now, after this hiring, Michigan has taken West Virginia's two main sports head coaches. Last year, they lured head basketball coach, John Beilein, away from WVU and brought him to replace Tommy Amaker and now this. Let me pass on a thank you to West Virginia. Rodriguez is a great coach and more importantly, a great recruiter and I'm extremely happy that Bill Martin got this deal done. An official announcement is supposed to happen at 3pm today, about 5 minutes from now, but according to the Detroit Free Press, Rodriguez has already met with his team and announced his departure. Oh this is such good news...Michigan's rebirth as an elite football program begins today. We can finally put the past 13 embarrassing months behind us and move forward with a great new coach.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rodriguez on the Horizon? Also, Movies and Music

The Michigan coaching search just got more interesting today when the Detroit Free Press reported that Rich Rodriguez, the head coach at West Virginia, was meeting with the team today. If you recall from my previous post about the coaching search, he was my number two guy for the job still left. I like Brian Kelly's body of work more but I would be very satisfied if Bill Martin can pull off a miracle and hire Rich Rodriguez. The main problem is his rather high $4 million buyout from West Virginia...but if Michigan thinks he is really the guy, they'll pay it.


Now, after I sat awhile contemplating what to do with my Friday afternoon, I decided to knock another movie off of my "To Watch" list. This time, it was Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. I must say it is a wonderful work of cinema and Phoenix does a great job portraying Johnny Cash. His "Best Actor" Oscar nomination was definitely merited, though I still vote for Jamie Foxx's incredible impersonation of Ray Charles. I understand now what Cash's drug problem was, with his addiction to amphetamines and barbiturates, but throughout the movie I continued to wonder what kinds of pills he was taking, since it was never explicitly said. Other than that, I found the movie to be very well directed and the acting was brilliant. Witherspoon's character was incredibly well cast and really made me feel like she was June Carter. I would rate this movie highly, on the Sam Garland scale, it would probably be about a 90 out of 100.

On a different note, there's some more good music I thought I'd throw in for you. Green Day recently released a "secret project" record featuring six songs under the band name the Foxboro Hot Tubs. You can listen to the songs on the band's myspace page, they're all pretty good and sound a lot more like the Strokes or the Hives than the older Green Day stuff. It's worth a listen if you like Green Day and it's about time they came out with some new stuff since their last album, American Idiot. Also, I would recommend these songs and albums:

All Kinds of Time by Fountains of Wayne
Phantom Limb by the Shins
Pinch Me by the Barenaked Ladies
Drive In, Drive Out by Dave Matthews Band
Chase This Light by Jimmy Eat World
Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too by the New Radicals
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace by the Foo Fighters

One final note, if you haven't seen it already, check out the video below (also found on YouTube) of my buddy Brant eating a burger with cookies for buns on a bet. Enjoy...it's long but if you watch his eyes for many different funny looks, it's worth it.

video

Have a good weekend everybody! Adios for now..

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Thoughts on the NHL, NFL, and More

NHL: The Red Wings are on an absolute tear. They are far and away the best team in the league at 22-6-2 and have yet to lose in December (5 games played). The entire Central Division has been surprisingly good this year, with the Blackhawks, Blues, and Blue Jackets all overachieving and in the midst of the playoff race. I think that Anaheim will slowly crawl back up towards the top and will face the Wings in the Conference Finals again this year...only this time, they won't get a lucky goal in game five and go on to win the Cup. The 2007-2008 Wings look like they will not be stopped come playoff time. There will be a bit of a goalie controversy though...my vote's for Osgood right now...how can you argue with a 14-1-1 record?

NFL: The Lions looked again like the Picasso of all choke-artists in their loss to the Cowboys this weekend. A missed field goal (35 yards) by a consistent kicker in Hanson ultimately did the Lions in but a nice fumble recovery on the Cowboys final drive would have easily won them the game as well. In sum, you know you're a Lions fan when your team pulls the stunner of the season and leads an 11-1 team for 99.5% of the game, only to lose in the final 18 seconds.

Meanwhile, the Patriots continued their unstoppable run at history and Tom Brady, a Michigan man, threw four touchdown passes. I swear, if Brady went anywhere else, the Pats would be in complete disarray. Only a man of such great college background could do what he's doing this season. The point spread this week against the Jets is 27...and if they don't cover it Belichick will probably eat his hoodie.

College Hockey: Michigan swept its weekend series against a good Bowling Green team and moved into the #1 spot in the College Hockey polls. They're 16-2-0 on the year and I'm very excited to see some solid goaltending out of Billy Sauer since he has underachieved the past two years (Of course, when you're a 19-year-old junior playing for a nationally famous program, you do deserve a little slack, just don't to me for it). UNH has struggled recently, but they will turn it around this weekend against Maine and probably come out on top of the Hockey East. If Northeastern is really as good as they have been so far this year, they deserve to win the conference but seriously...you can't blame me if I'm not completely convinced.

Oh, and one more thing...Tim Tebow. Tim, you may have deserved the Heisman because you were responsible for a ridiculous 51 touchdowns in 12 games this year, but be ready for the upset of the bowl season when Michigan knocks you on your ass on New Year's Day. This season has been a complete failure but if the Wolverines can somehow manage to send Urban Meyer home crying...there will be some vindication for Hart, Henne, Long, and company.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Music to Check Out

Here are ten songs and eight albums I've been listening to lately....

Songs:
Brighter than Sunshine by Aqualung
Nada Valgo Sin tu Amor by Juanes
Say by John Mayer
Human by Jon McLaughlin
Hey Julie by Fountains of Wayne
On Your Porch by The Format
Look What You've Done by Jet
Friends & Family by Trik Turner
Stolen by Dashboard Confessional
Winter by Joshua Radin

Albums:
Try by John Mayer Trio
Heavier Things by John Mayer
X&Y by Coldplay
Mi Sangre by Juanes
Sawdust by The Killers
When Your Heart Stops Beating by (+44)
Across the Universe Soundtrack by Various Artists
Nothing Left to Lose by Mat Kearney

Michigan Coaching Search

Thus far, the search for Michigan's next coach has been less than ideal. Bill Martin's failure to contact Les Miles tells me that he wasn't Martin's first choice because Michigan has plenty of money and could have easily contacted him before Miles made his decision. I think that with input from Carr, Martin simply didn't choose to pursue him...now whether or not that is the right decision, we'll never know. All the rumors that continue to circulate about Miles still leaving are preposterous, mostly because he has signed a contract with LSU through 2012 and if he backs out of that to go to Michigan, I don't want him. Who would want a guy whose word is as authentic as Fogel's fake ID?

My thoughts toward Greg Schiano are as follows: he's a good coach, but if he wants to stay at Rutgers instead of coach Michigan, for football let me remind you, he's obviously waiting for something else. *Cough* Penn State head coaching job when Paterno leaves *Cough*. There is no other logical explanation to pick Rutgers over Michigan and Schiano has been explicit in saying he loves Penn State (of which he is an alumnus) and would strongly consider the job if open. So for all the sports writers and "expert" columnists like Woody Paige and Tim Cowlishaw, this is not an embarrassing situation for Michigan. Yes, the coaching search has looked bleak thus far. Yes, the list of possible candidates going forward isn't very long. But before you pass judgment, you have to look at the fact that Miles did NOT "turn down" Michigan as you all said. If Miles was never contacted by UM, which he verified to multiple sources, how could Michigan have made an offer to be turned down? I've heard that Schiano was given an unofficial offer, so his rejection to Michigan was warranted but, like I said earlier, he is waiting for Penn State's post-Paterno era and if he took the Michigan job, he would be tied up for at least the next five years. That would very likely leave him without a chance to apply for his dream job. In sum, this has been stressful and has looked unfortunate at times, but Michigan will find a coach before the end of January and that coach will have to prove himself in the 2008 season, regardless of his credentials coming in. Before I end this first post, I will give a short list of candidates I like and dislike as the search moves forward...

Top 3 Possibilities (Future holds rebirth and Big Ten titles):
1. Brian Kelly (Cincinnati Head Coach)
2. Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia Head Coach)
3. Jim Harbaugh (Stanford Head Coach)

Bottom 3 Possibilities (Future holds a fiery apocalypse):
1. Brady Hoke (Ball State Head Coach)
2. Brady Hoke (Ball State Head Coach)
3. Brady Hoke (Ball State Head Coach)