"And that's the Dagger!"
It's a phrase commonly used by Wayne Larrivee whenever a game seems to be out of reach. And with three quarters of the 2008 Packers season in the books, I think it might be appropriate to use that term after their 35-31 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
This was a game that Packers all but needed to win if they were going to keep pace in the NFC North, especially with the Bears and Vikings facing each other later in the day. Basically, a loss would put the Pack two games behind in their division, a deficit which would be pretty tough to recover from with just four games left to play.
Things could have started out better for the Packers, who found themselves down 21-10 at half-time, courtesy of two DeAngelo Williams touchdowns and another by Jake Delhomme. But, in a reversal from last week's loss to the Saints, the Packers made the most of their offensive opportunities in the second half.
After already finding Donald Driver in the first half, Aaron Rodgers found both Donald Lee and Greg Jennings in the second. The Packers added a two-point conversion to rally from an 11 point deficit, to being tied at 28 with three minutes to go.
And that's when things got interesting.
The Packers were driving better than I've seen them drive down the field all season late in the fourth quarter, as they were trying both to take the lead as well as take time off the clock. Brandon Jackson, who filled in effectively after an injury to Ryan Grant, helped get the Packers all the way down to the Panthers' one-yard line.
But on three straight running attempts, the Packers were unable to get the ball into the end zone.
Looking back, perhaps the Packers should have tried to hit somebody in the corner of the end zone, a play which had previously worked twice in this one. Perhaps they should have just passed the ball in general. But instead, on a third and one with the season on the line, Mike McCarthy decided to hand the ball off to John Kuhn. End result: A fourth and goal with just under two minutes to play.
This was one of the more interesting experiences I've ever had a Packer game, as I was lucky enough to attend this one. Everyone was kind of perplexed in unison, asking their neighbors in front and behind them, "What do we do?"
And what do you do, really? A tie game with two minutes to go, and you have two options. Do you go for it on 4th-and-1, leaving the other team at their own one yard line if you can't punch it in? Or do you take the points that you've earned, and rely on your defense to preserve a three point lead?
Normally, I would say take the points. That puts you in the lead, and you then control your own destiny. But judging the mood of the crowd, and the tempo of the game, I would have elected to go for it. I think the crowd was probably 50/50 on this, and it must have been a difficult decision for McCarthy to make. Especially since the whispers calling for his head are intensifying, even though I think they are a tad premature.
Mikey Mac elected to take the points, and put it in the hands of his defense. Can't really blame him either way. So with just under two minutes to go, in a game where Aaron Rodgers strapped the team to his back and carried them, it was now up to the defense.
The two guys who had beat us all game where the two guys who beat us on this drive. Mark Jones returned the ball to midfield, after averaging nearly 40 yards per kick return in the game. And then Steve Smith made his second acrobatic catch that put the Panthers down to the one yard line, and pretty much sealed the deal. What's odd is that in a game where someone rushed for four touchdowns against the Packers defense, it was a wide receiver and a kick returner that provided the dagger.
With their final chance, the Packers couldn't pull off the miracle drive to win the game. As good as Rodgers played on Sunday, the one thing he is not yet is a clutch quarterback, and he threw an interception to seal the Packers fate. Despite how big of an Aaron Rodgers homer I am, and how well he played today, I couldn't help but have the feeling that a game-killing interception was inevitable.
In the end, another home loss for the Packers, who fall to 5-7 on the season. The best case scenario for the Packers now becomes a 9-7 season where they somehow get enough help to win the NFC North and host a playoff game. That's the best we can do at this point.
With games against Houston, Jacksonville, Chicago, and Detroit, it's definitely achievable. It's achievable the Packers can win out and go 9-7.
And even though both the Bears and Vikings have collapsed before to help us sneak in the playoffs, for some reason it just doesn't feel as likely to happen this year.
No matter what the Packers do, they are no where close to controlling their own destiny. And with four games to go, it's not quite the dagger, but it's pretty damn close.
"And that's the Dagger!"
Well, that's a shame.
If this year's Marquette Golden Eagles squad is known for their up-tempo style of play, the Dayton Flyers are going to be known as the team that beat Marquette at it's own game.
"We had to play on all cylinders and tonight that's what happened," said Brian Gregory, coach of the Dayton Flyers.
"Marquette is very physically tough. If we didn't match it, you've seen what happens. So we did, we matched it. ... We play 12 guys and people keep asking, 'Can you do that?' We're going to keep doing it, because we've been fresh."
The end result was a 89-75 score tilted in favor of the Flyers, who remain undefeated. Marquette was down just one point heading into the locker rooms at half-time, but then just couldn't keep up with a team loaded with depth.
It's a disappointing loss for the Golden Eagles, there's really no other way to put it. Once again it's going to be a tough conference schedule for Marquette, and you'd like to win as many of these early games as possible. But it's probably a good gut-check for Marquette, who will try to regroup against Central Michigan this week before taking on the Badgers.
This picture describes alot of what the Bucks and Bucks fans must be feeling at this point. The Bucks dropped another game Saturday night falling to 7-12 to the 14-3 Cavs in a 97-85 loss.
If you notice the Box Score, you'll see Michael Redd made an appearance. He played 35 minutes and scored 20 points off the bench. He did look rusty shooting, hitting only 5 of 16 shots. Session and CV were seen in the starting lineup, and Bogut sat out again with a knee issue.
Poor shooting, turnovers and a huge rebound differential were the keys in tonight's loss. Most of the game the team really looked out of sync, with the exception of a short time in the 4th quarter when the Bucks made a run to get within 2 points. However, that was short lived and the Cavs ran away towards the end. Oh and LeBron as usual owned us.
The Red Out attempt was on a level of pathetic I cannot begin to describe. There looked to be about 20 people in the stands wearing red. These jerseys are sweet though.
TBC's Player of the Game: Luke Ridnour - He had 15 points including 4 big 3 pointers in the second half to bring the Bucks close. Redd looked much to rusty and Sessions shooting percentage was a bit rough.
(AP Photos by Morry Gash)
The Badgers had a 23-1 record against the UW-Milwaukee Panthers heading into Saturday's contest, and they weren't about to add another blemish to that scorecard. It was relatively smooth sailing for Wisconsin, rolling over Milwaukee 67-46.
Not really a surprise here by any means. First off all, the Badgers are a much bigger program and can recruit a lot better than a school like UW-M. Even though high school hoops in and around Milwaukee are quite competitive, many of those kids think about Marquette before they would Milwaukee. The end result is guys like James Eayrs, the 6'7", 340 pounder you see in the picture above, who looks like he has no business playing division one ball.
This state rivalry doesn't really carry the weight of a UW/MU rivalry, either. The game was played at the too early on a Saturday hour of 11am, and wasn't even available on state television. Even so, it's a good litmus test for a school like Milwaukee, who drops to 3-4 on the season with the loss.
For you numbers lovers out there, Trevon Hughes lead the way with 16 points, while Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft each chipped in with 12. Krabbenhoft did work on the boards as well, grabbing ten rebounds.
Next up for the Badgers is the Big Ten / ACC Challenge, where they will take on Virginia Tech this Monday night on ESPN2.
Elsewhere in state basketball, Marquette steam rolled over Kurt Warner's Alma-mater 73-43 in the Chicago Invitational. Next up for the Golden Eagles is a Saturday night match up with the undefeated Dayton Flyers.
As soon as I saw that Allen Iverson had manned up and apologized to his team and coaches I knew he would play at some point in Detroit's game against the Bucks.
Sure enough, out he trotted late in the first quarter. Until that point Rodney Stuckey, his more than competent backup, was taking the Bucks(7-11) to the proverbial woodshed. Once Iverson walked on to the court, the Bucks could no longer keep up with the 10-5 Pistons who went on to win 107-97.
Jefferson collected his staple 20 points while Danny G. pitched in a solid double double effort with 10, 12 and 3 blocks. Although his field goal percentage was an abomination he did end up with 5 offensive rebounds, a stat that the Bucks have been among the best in all year. Once again Session and CV brought double figure scoring off the bench which is encouraging to see.
It is always going to be tough to win against one of the East's top teams when arguably your two most important players were hurt. Bogut sat out with a bruised knee, and Redd was still out with the most severely sprained ankle in the history of man.
The Bucks will try to get back on track tonight against Cleveland (13-3) at 8 pm on FSN. It's a pretty tall order but a big win at home could go long way.
By the way, the Bucks are running a RED'D' OUT promotion tonight. The Bucks encourage all Bucks fans to sport red'd' tonight, and the Bucks will be wearing their red'd' jerseys. IS this Michael Redd's coming out party, will he play? Doubtful but it could be a Red'd' Alert for the Bucks if they fall 5 game under .500......here all night folks. (Maybe the single worst paragraph in TBC's short history?)
Stats spreadsheet courtesy of YAHOO!
TBC's Buck of the Game: Dan Gadzuric - The big fella for playing well while Bogut was out with a knee.
(AP photo by Duane Burleson)
How bad were the games the NFL served up for Thanksgiving this year? So bad that Vince Young came back to our television screens in a garbage time appearance.
I'm not necessarily saying bad teams like the Lions and Seahawks shouldn't be spotlighted on the holiday, but at least put up a fight, you know? The Lions are a complete joke, Mike Holmgren's tearful farewell tour has made the Seahawks soft, and I'm still trying to figure out how far back the Cardinals regressed Thursday night.
If there is one glaring problem with my picks, it's that too often I pick I want to happen, and not what I think will happen. That couldn't have been more evident than in my picks for Thanksgiving Day, when I put 16 points on the Cardinals to win in Philly. I should have known that the Eagles would rebound coming off an embarrassing couple of weeks. I also should have known that no team from the West has won in the Eastern Time Zone this year.
Hopefully I can make up for it with a good weekend this weekend. Here's the rest of the picks:
1 point - San Diego over Atlanta
As much as I love Matt Ryan, and need him to do well this weekend, I still can't shake my habit of always picking the Chargers. Their 4-7 record, and my addiction for picking them, is another reason why my picks have struggled this season. I still can't believe San Diego is 4-7. Phillip Rivers is one of the better quarterbacks in this league, and he's got plenty of weapons. I think the biggest problem with that team this season is that maybe I'm not the only one putting too much stock into the Chargers. Maybe the Chargers have been over-inflating their own worth this season as well.
That, and LaDanian Tomlinson hasn't looked good at all this year.
2 points - New England over Pittsburgh
There were a lot of tough games to pick this week, but I have to go with the Patriots at home. I just don't feel like the Steelers ever pull out these kind of games, and the Patriots have finally pieced together how to win with Matt Cassell. Then again, I'm rooting for New England to catch the Jets, so that played a factor here.
3 points - Washington over New York Giants
Went with my gut on this one. The Giants are probably going to win the Super Bowl, but I don't think they'll finish 15-1 this season. This game in Washington will be their second, and last, loss of the season.
4 points - Chicago over Minnesota
I already talked about why the Bears need to win this week for the Packers sake earlier this week, so let's put up another one of those literal music videos.
5 points - New York Jets over Denver
Do I hate Brett Favre? Yes, it's pretty clear that I do. However, despite my animosity, I have to admit that I'm finally ready to admit that the Jets are a good football team. In fact, I really think they are the best team in the AFC right now. They stumbled a bit out of the gates, but showed just how good they can be with a win over the Titans last week. The scary thing, for me, is that I think they might just be good enough to overcome the inevitable Brett Favre playoff collapse.
Last year, when the Giants won the Super Bowl, I said I was not ready to live in a world where the New York Giants were NFL Champions, because of how they beat the Packers at Lambeau Field. For the most part, I am over that.
But I'll tell you, I don't know how I would ever live in a world where Brett Favre won a Super Bowl with a team other than Green Bay.
6 points - Houston over Jacksonville
Does anyone need me for Monday night, for any reason? Need a bedroom painted? Need to me drive something to your aunt's house in Menominee to pick up something you forgot at Thanksgiving? Need someone to go drinking with? Someone please, find me a reason, any reason, that allows me to do something other than watch this game.
7 points - Green Bay over Carolina
In a rare move of me being generous, I turned down tickets to this game so that my brother, who has never been to a regular season Packer came, could go. Even though I hope he has a good time I have a) been regretting this decision since I made it and b) decided to pour the guilt trip on him until at least Christmas.
8 points - Tampa Bay over New Orleans
I don't know what it is about the NFC South, but I'm never excited about their inter-divisional games.
9 points - Indianapolis over Cleveland
Let's switch gears for a moment. I just read Daulerio's article over on Deadspin about how Black Friday is also one of the most common days for high school reunions. Pretty good read. It got me thinking, though. I have been out of high school for a little more than six years. I've gotten fatter, more obnoxious, and have had worse luck with the ladies since I graduated. I pretty much have nothing to show for myself, prime example being that I'm writing this from my parents house.
And not because I'm home for the holidays. But because I live here.
The thing is, my high school class decided not to have the five year reunion, and we didn't really need one. For some reason, a lot of us from my high school are closer than ever, and still hang out all the time. They say the friends you meet in college are the ones that are your friends for life, but for us here in Fondle Sac, it's the high school friends we keep in touch with. Mainly because a lot of us are still townies. But that's besides the point.
So I'm not really worried about seeing old people I never wanted to see again. That happened enough on Blackout Wednesday. The thing I'm worried about is what will be written about me in the book that gets passed out at our ten year reunion. You know, the one that gives you updates on all your classmates.
If we did have a five year reunion, the book would have said that I am a graduate from UW-La Crosse, who is now working for WKBT-TV as a news reporter. I would have brought my girlfriend, and would have been viewed as successful.
If there was such a thing as a six year reunion, the book would say I live at the same address I lived at in high school, and that I haven't been with a girl since the five year reunion. And that I went from being on TV everyday to serving people breakfast.
Basically, I have about four years to change that before our ten year reunion. I don't care if my friends and classmates think that I'm a loser. I just don't want them to have proof.
10 points - Baltimore over Cincinnati
We already know Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren won't be back next year, because they have announced they'll be stepping down. I think it's safe to add Marvin Lewis to the list of coaches that will be out of work next season. Also Rod Marinelli, Brad Childress, Wade Phillips (trust me), Mike Singletary, Romeo Crennel, Tom Cable, and possibly Jack Del Rio. One of these men will be able to take Bill Cowher's spot on CBS, because he's surely going to be taking theirs.
11 points - Kansas City over Oakland
73 percent of people took the Raiders in this one. Call me crazy, but even though the Chiefs are 1-10, and the game is in Oakland, I'd rather be one of the 27 percent that takes KC.
12 points - Miami over St. Louis
I don't see any possible way more than 50 percent of the Edward Jones Dome is filled this weekend.
13 points - Buffalo over San Francisco
Happy Thanksgiving, RickRoll style! (Wait for it, it's worth it).
I wanted to make some reference to The Mighty Ducks movie and say something snappy about the Hawks getting a win and Gordon Bombay couldn't even help us, but lets face it.... It makes no sense. So instead I went with a quote that the Ducks used, "Ducks fly together." This still doesn't make sense, but lets just go with it, ok? The Bucks traveled to Atlanta on Turkey-Day Eve, where they were beaten 102-96. Atlanta(9-5) held on to win even though the Bucks (7-10) made several attempts during the game to try and grab the lead.
It was a common theme during the game, the Bucks would get down by 10 then would claw back to even and then would seem to run out of steam and allow the Hawks get back their lead. Ramon Sessions played key minutes off the bench scoring 21 points on 9-15 shooting while acquiring 8 assists and 7 rebounds. What you don't believe me well here is the Box Score then.
A quick look at the game stats show the Bucks and Hawks were nearly even in all statistical categories. The one stat that really stood out, and you could definitely get a sense of it during the game, was the amount of 3 pointers the Hawks hit in comparison to the Bucks. Atlanta hit 8 more treys than the Bucks showing where the perimeter defense broke down some tonight.
Jefferson added 25 points and CV had 19 off the bench which was encouraging to see. I know I sound like a broken record, but Charlie Bell just cannot do the same things Redd can do on the floor. This team needs Redd back in a bad way. Michael Redd is like Adam Banks. Would the Ducks, Team USA, or the JV team at some Prep-School be able to do any real damage without him. Think about it.
The Bucks play at (9-5) Detroit on Friday night 7 pm. No worries the game will be on FSN.
TBC's Buck of the Game: Ramon Sessions. Lets go with Ramon for his stellar bench contributions.
(AP photo by John Amis)
First and foremost, I'd like to take this chance to wish everyone a happy Blackout Wednesday. If you're not familiar with the holiday, it's the day where everyone travels back to their hometown for Thanksgiving, but then gets hammered the night before. It's a holiday I thought I made up, until I found out they've been doing this in Chicago for years.
Well, I didn't know about that, so I'm still claiming it as my own.
Of course, a successful Blackout Wednesday means an awful Thanksgiving, but that comes with the territory. I, however, have to work on Thanksgiving for the first time in the history of my life, so I'll have to let others enjoy tonight's holiday. Nothing wrong with spreading the holiday cheer.
For the rest of you, you'll probably be waking up sometime during the middle of the first game on Thursday. I respect you for that. While I'm not sure just how much of the games I'll be able to watch tomorrow, I am going to go all out on them for my picks. As you know, I use confidence points each week when picking games, and this week I'm going to put all my stock in the Thursday games.
I'll have the rest of my picks up sometime on Friday.
14 points - Dallas over Seattle
Not only is it Thanksgiving weekend, it's also the last weekend of many of your regular seasons for fantasy football. I'm in four leagues this year, and I've already clinched a bye in one of them. But the other three are basically "Win and I'm in" or "Lose and I'll Booze" scenarios. In two of those leagues I'm depending on Tony Romo, but I can't have him throw to Terrell Owens. It's going to be a tense weekend all around, especially because four leagues is probably too many. I'd tell you more about my fantasy teams, but then I remembered no one cares.
And oh, before I forget. Since I might not be able to watch this game, please don't spoil for me who wins the Galloping Gobbler.
15 points - Tennessee over Detroit
There's been some speculation as to whether or not the Lions should be stripped of their Thanksgiving Day privileges, because of how much they suck as a franchise. But like Dashiell Bennett over at Deadspin, I don't think that would be a good idea. Lions at home on Thanksgiving is a tradition, which is what Thanksgiving is all about.
Some traditions need to be changed, like the lack of extra replay in baseball. Some traditions should never be tampered with, like the Lions at home on Thanksgiving.
Even though they are awful.
16 points - Arizona over Philadelphia
Partly because I need to start taking risks if I'm going to win this league. Partly because I want more of a reason to watch the nightcap. Mainly because I think the Eagles are done.
Even though the Cardinals aren't very reliable on the road, and the Eagles are very intimidating at the Linc, I still think 'Zona pulls this one out. Not because I think they are the better team, but rather because Donovan McNabb sucks.
Is it just me, or is it that every time the Packers play on Monday Night Football, the pregame show usually never focuses on them? It sure didn't this week, as ESPN spent the majority of their time covering the Donovan McNabb story, or lack thereof. Sure, he got benched, but what's really the big deal? He was sucking, and he's now starting this week. Not that interesting.
Anyway, enjoy the real holiday tomorrow as well as the fake one Wednesday night. Especially if you have Thanksgiving off (which you should). I do have Friday off, so if any of you are up for it, I'd be more than happy to start a new tradition with you.
Blackout Thursday, anyone?
For the Packers offense, it was a tale of two halves.
For their defense, it was one of their worst overall performances in a long time.
In their first true home game in more than one month, the New Orleans Saints sure did give their fans their money's worth. The Saints put up 51 points on the Packers defense, making each drive look easier than the last.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense did all they could to keep up with the firepower of Drew Brees and the Saints, but came out both flat and almost shell shocked in the second half. A game that looked like it would go down to the wire quickly turned in an embarrassment for the Packers on national television.
Our friends at The Daily Drink gave out no shortage of FAIL marks this morning, and I agree with all of them. Bob Sanders and his defense, especially their tackling technique, have been put on notice. Derrick Frost is probably the worst punter in Packers history, and that includes B.J. Sander. Mike McCarthy needs to stop being so conservative in his play calling. AJ Hawk did not look up to the task.
And, in the both, Tony Kornheiser needs to just shut up already.
If the Packers don't make the playoffs this season, it will forever go down in history as "The Year They Didn't Make the Playoffs Because They Traded Brett Favre", but this shouldn't be the case. There is no reason to show a comparison of stats between Rodgers and Favre at the end of every Packers loss, it doesn't work that way. The comparisons need to stop, and they need to stop now.
Look, the Packers are a mess right now. They have been inconsistent all season. They are one of the youngest teams in the league, and they haven't been very clutch. At this point, it may even be fair to call last season a fluke. But Aaron Rodgers has played to, and even above, his level of expectation, and I think he is still in the running for a Pro Bowl nod.
The Jets, on the other hand, are not good just because of Brett Favre. Sure, he brings the "Oh my God, I'm playing with Brett Favre" mentality to the Jets players, and that is probably for the better. But the Jets also have a great offensive line, and playmakers like Leon Washington and Kris Jenkins. The Jets are a complete football team, even at quarterback, and they showed that in their victory against the Titans.
The Packers are a team in disarray, and they showed that in their loss to the Saints.
So where do they go from here? They are currently a game behind in the NFC North, behind both the Vikings and Bears. Those two teams match up on Sunday Night Football this week, and I think we have to root for the Bears in this one, if only because we still have a game on the schedule against them.
The Packers have five games left on the schedule, starting with a home game this week against Carolina. They then host Houston, fly down to Jacksonville, pay a visit to the Bears, and then end the season against the Lions. Realistically, the Packers should be able to go at least 4-1 in this stretch, if not 5-0. That is, if the Packers have it in them to be as a good of a team as I think they are.
Meanwhile, the Bears have Minnesota, Jacksonville, New Orleans, the Pack, and then Houston.
The Vikings face Chicago, Detroit, Arizona, Atlanta, and the New York Giants.
The road to the playoffs actually isn't that daunting for the Packers, if you think about it. But then again, the playoffs for the Packers basically start next week.
Go crazy UConn! Your men's basketball program just won the 2008 Paradise Jam!
The Badgers put up a good fight for most of the first half, but ultimately the Huskies proved why they are the second best ranked team in the nation. If the Badgers were going to win this one, they had to convert better on empty possessions by Connecticut, something they just couldn't do much of tonight. The result: a 76-57 win for UConn.
I was really excited for this game, more for the fact the Badgers were playing the number two team than for any hopes of being Paradise Jam champions. I thought the Badgers might be able to pull off the upset before the game tipped off, but they just couldn't match up as well as they would have liked to. Despite the loss, however, there is plenty to be happy about coming out of this one.
I was actually surprised at how many other people were into this game. I was at a bar on Monday night to watch the Packers game, but there were also TV's tuned into the Badgers matchup (As for that Packers game, I'll have my take on the game sometime Tuesday afternoon. Being at said bar all night as made me quite tired, and sleep is in order).
It seemed like between every commercial break or stop in the action of the Packers game, people quickly switched their eyes to Bucky. Even though I was focused in on the Pack for the most part, I knew everything that was going on in the Badgers game because of the annoying fan next to me. And yes, fans of your own team can be just as annoying as fans of the opponent.
The guy one table over from us was one of those guys that try a little too hard when it comes to cheering. After every non-call or foul, he would have something to say (slash yell). Whenever anyone would hit a shot, he'd make sure to shout the player's name, as if proving he knew exactly was on the team. If I could make any comparison, think of a friendgirl of yours that watches sports with you and talks too much as she's trying to prove that she belongs with the guys.
But as you can tell I've gotten off on a bit of a sine over cosine (think about it), and should probably get to bed.
Before I do though, I'd like to give a special thanks for what had to be Tim Duncan's former YMCA for holding the Paradise Jam tournament. Thanks, Virgin Islands!
How about that title? Taking a page from my counterpart Bear's playbook with that one, and I don't think it's too shabby. Although a little predictable. Almost as predictable as Monday night's game between the Bucks and the Magic.
Yeah, it would have been nice for the Bucks to get a win down in Orlando and move to .500, but that just wasn't going to happen. The Bucks are still a little shorthanded, with both Luke Ridnour and Michael Redd out with injuries.
The good thing about Ridnour being hurt, however, is more minutes for Ramon Sessions. But you take that with the bad, which is more minutes for Tyronn Lue.
And to make matters worse, the Bucks lost Andrew Bogut in the third quarter with a knee injury.
But the thing I like the most about the Bucks this year is that even though they couldn't come away with the victory, they leave no doubt that they did indeed give it their best shot. Tonight, they trailed the Magic for basically the entire game, but pulled to within three when Richard Jefferson hit a jumper with 24 seconds left. But the Magic, one of the East's best teams, were able to come away with the win.
The Bucks are still trying to get back to .500, and I have a feeling they'll be able to pull it off. Sooner, rather than later.
TBC's Player of the Game: Richard Jefferson
Since they are one of the five teams that make up the header of The Bucky Channel (or, The Eagle Channel, for the time being), I suppose it's time to take a look at how the Golden Eagles are doing so far this season.
Currently, Trenni's alma-mater is ranked number 15 in the country, in both polls. They've gone 3-0 in the young season with wins over Houston Baptist, Chicago State, and in the big crosstown battle against UW-Milwaukee.
Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews each knocked down 25 against UWM last weekend, while Jerel McNeal added 22. Dominic James added 16 of his own, as well as notching eight assists.
If there is one thing the Golden Eagles have this year, it's going to be homefield advantage. Marquette only leaves Milwaukee three times before we need new calendars, and one of those trips is only to Chicago.
There are some tests along the way, however. Marquette hosts the annual game between them and Wisconsin this season, which will take place on Decemeber 6th. They then head to Nashville to take on Tennessee as part of the Big East / SEC Invitational.
Best of luck though to the Golden Eagles this season. With four of their Big East opponents currently ranked in the Top Ten, they might need it.
After a brief scare against Iona on Friday night, the Badgers were able to roll past San Diego on Sunday.
Up next, a date in the tournament finals with UConn, one of the best teams in the country.
“I just know they’re good,” coach Bo Ryan said after the game. “They’re not No. 2 by accident.”
"It's going to be tough," added Trevon Hughes.
It was Hughes' 22 points that were able to lead Wisconsin to a 64-49 victory against San Diego. Keaton Nankivil added 10 points, while Marcus Landry chipped in with nine.
Between the Packers and the Bucks game on Monday night, the Badgers game might get lost in the shuffle of Wisconsin sports. At this time, I'm not even sure if the game will be able to be found anywhere on television. But it's a game that could play a large role come seeding time for the NCAA tournament, even though it is so early in the season.
You don't get many chances to play the best in the country, and the game against UConn will be a pretty good litmus test for this Badgers squad.
I know this has been brought up in various conversations between Brewers fans this offseason, but I feel it's worth mentioning here. Even though there are likely more teams that will join the CC Sweepstakes in the upcoming weeks, the only that have officially entered are the Brewers and the Yankees.
The Brewers offered a contract many see as window dressing, but it's still a large contract for a small market club. Five years, $100 million. The Yankees offer appears a little more daunting, a six year deal for $140 million. If it's about the money, CC would pick the Yankees, right?
Not necessarily. According to payscale.com, the cost of living in New York is +119% the cost of living in Milwaukee. So if CC re-signed with the Brewers, he'd be making $20 million per year. And according to Payscale, $20 million per yeah in Milwaukee equates to roughly $24 million per year in New York, which is just about what the Yankees plan on paying him.
So basically it's a horse a piece, at least money wise. But there a lot more factors than money that are going to go into this decision. Will the team be competitive? Will he fit in with the community? Is Mike Cameron going to be there?
The Brewers may also be contemplating some other moves as well. Per MLB Trade Rumors' recap of the latest Joel Sherman article:
Sherman also feels the Brewers could swoop in and snatch up a top-tier closer away from the Mets. The Brewers have shown a willingness to pay for this position (offering Francisco Cordero a four-year, $40MM contract, and then signing Eric Gagne to a one-year, $10MM deal when Cordero went to the Reds). Sherman offers a scenario where the Ben Sheets accepts the Brewers' arbitration offer to re-build his reputation on a one-year, $15MM deal, which could alleviate the need for starting pitching and lead to the Brewers signing a top-tier closer.Bring on those Winter Meetings!
I'm starting to feel like Trenni Kusnierek is to us at The Bucky Channel as Erin Andrews is too Awful Announcing. By that I mean, a girl we write about a lot but will never meet. Well, for those of you that weren't happy with the size of the pictures we posted earlier, we have some video for you courtesy of the Sports Bubbler.
The video is shot by our good friend Dan Walsh, who graduated with her from Marquette... back in the day. Walsh does a pretty good job of shooting her so it looks like she's talking right to you, which is probably a good thing. Here's the interview that appears to have been shot in some sort of campus lounge.
(I know we have a lot of UW-Oshkosh graduates that visit this site, and keep your eye out for when Trenni kind of slams your school.)
What's the biggest problem with soccer in America today? Alright, don't answer that. The possibilities could be endless. But if you ask me, I would say the biggest problem is that the biggest game of the year, the MLS Cup, takes place on a Sunday afternoon opposite the NFL.
If you are trying to attract even the most casual of fans, why put the game on during any NFL game, the biggest sport in this country? Throw the game on a Wednesday night or something, and air it on ESPN2. I'd rather watch that on some idle Wednesday than repeats of the 2006 World Series of Poker.
But, if you are interested in the culmination of the MLS Cup Playoffs, you can catch it today on ABC at 2:30pm Central Time. It's a matchup between the Columbus Crew (Eastern Conference Champions) and Red Bull New York (Western Conference Champions). New York comes out of the West, even though they are in the East. Something with playoff seeding. Whatever, it works.
So the teams both make their first MLS Cup appearance today, and likely you won't be watching.
That's ok, neither will anyone else.
When you see 79-74 as an NBA score, it means either one of three things. 1) It's a defensive battle. 2) Nobody is hitting shots. 3) It's only the third quarter.
In Saturday's Bucks/Bobcats game, it was more poor shooting than anything else. But it really didn't matter how bad the Bucks may or may not have shot, because the Bobcats are a terrible basketball team. Weren't they supposed to be good by now? Wasn't that the goal, to not spend a lot of money at first, groom the young guys, and eventually be competitive? When is that going to happen?
As for the Bucks, these back-to-back wins in the last couple of nights have them back to one game under .500. Tonight they were lead by Ramon Sessions and his 10-10 free throw shooting, which helped keep the Bucks in front for much of the game. He finished with 18 on the night, while Villanueva and Jefferson each had 15.
Sessions gets The Bucky Channel Player of the Game, and here's the box score for B.
I wouldn't say that I was rooting against the Badgers as they took on Division I-AA Cal Poly on Saturday, but I definitely was not rooting for them. In fact, after the Badgers 36-35 win over the Mustangs, I was kind of upset. Here's why, Bucky Five style.
5. It's embarrassing - Seriously, how excited are we as a fan base about a one point win over a Division I-AA school? Even if they are regarded as a decent team, we are in one of the BCS conferences! While it's not as bad as Michigan's loss to Applachian State a year ago, it still ranks up there as reasons why the Big Ten has turned into a joke.
4. My Madison buddies - Here's the thing. I went to school at UW-La Crosse. Many of my friends went to UW-Madison. Now, even though I enjoyed the hell out of my visits to Madison, and have been a Badger fan all my life, I used to have a pretty big chip on my shoulder when it came to my high school friends that went there.
Even though everyone turns into a douchebag when they go to college (because they are finally free to do whatever they want, and become more "cultured"), that seems to happen at a greater pace in Madison. Back me up on this. People that go to Madison think they are better than you. It's bad freshman year, but it eventually fades away, and our friends return back to being normal.
But for that reason, it would have been nice to see Bear's Badgers fall to Cal Poly.
3. The future of our coach - For the Bielema haters out there... there is no way Bielema isn't fired if the Badgers lose that game. A loss on Saturday, no matter how unfathomable it may have been, would have doomed his tenure and possibly put this program back on track.
2. Act like you've been there before - Speaking of d-bags that go to Madison, meet Andy Kemp. He's the obnoxious lineman who celebrated the win like he was in Grant Park on Election Night. Even the announcers on the Big Ten network mentioned that it had appeared as if the Badgers had just beaten Ohio State for the Big Ten title, with the way the guys were celebrating. You guys just beat a Division I-AA school on an extra point, and that's how you celebrate? I know it was the seniors' last game and all, but that might have been the most embarrassing part of the whole affair.
But Kemp is from Menasha, so that explains some of it.
1. I feel for Andrew Gardner - How could you not feel bad for the Mustangs kicker who missed three extra points, as well as a potential game winner in regulation? I'm not usually one to feel bad for the other team, but as someone who has constantly let down people in his life, I feel Gardner's pain.
Despite this being a recap about the Milwaukee Bucks, even the most diehard of Bucks fans can admit that the story Friday night was their opponent, the New York Knicks. Because of two separate trades the Knicks made earlier in the day, the 'Bockers came to Milwaukee with just eight players eligible to step on the court.
Of course, one of those players was the disgruntled Stephon Marbury, who reportedly turned down an opportunity to play for the first time this season. So that makes seven.
The end result, not surprisingly, was a 104-87 victory for the Milwaukee Bucks. Charlie Villanueva was back from injury, tying a season high with 20 points. Bogut put down 14 points and collected 17 rebounds, Mbah a Moute had eight points and 13 boards.
"They're so depleted, obviously it's a game we have to have," coach Scott Skiles said after the game.
Step one, you put a score in the box.
TBC's Buck of the Game: Didn't see much (/any) of this one, so we're going by stats alone. Bogut. although Bucks fans deserve a close second place for chanting Marbury's name with 7:25 left in the game, and then again near the end of the contest.
Could the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team end up having a similar season to their football counterparts? As in, be ranked to start the year, then barely slip past bad teams, then just get embarrassed all season long? I don't think that will happen to Bo Ryan's squad, but it didn't look good on Friday night.
I say this despite the fact the Badgers actually won their opening game in the Paradise Jam, knocking off Iona 60-58. That's probably to close of a score to be too excited about, and the Badgers needed overtime to do it. The Badgers never trailed in the extra session, but Iona nearly won the game in regulation, as they had two shots bounce off the rim in the final 15 seconds.
Nevertheless, the Badgers got the win, and will face San Diego tonight at 7:30. The game is not televised, but you can probably find it online somewhere.
Anyone recognize that handsome guy second from the left? Could it be a former Packers receiver whose career was cut short due to injury, perhaps? If you guessed Terrence Murphy, you are correct. Good work.
Now, why on earth would I pull a T-Murph picture off of Facebook and post it on this weeks picks column? Simply, to make a point. That point being that I was better off starting Terrence Murphy than I was Lee Evans this week.
I'm still quite pissed off about the fantasy week that was week eleven. Throughout the entire picks column last week, I agonized between starting Wes Welker or Lee Evans. I ultimately picked Lee Evans because of my ill-advised "Always start people that play on Monday night" rule.
The difference? Lee Evans had one pass thrown his way the entire night. Wes Welker had seven catches for more than 100 yards, and had I started him I would have won the week by one point.
The real tragedy? That I sat through an entire Bills/Browns game on Monday night.
1 points - Jacksonville over Minnesota
It's the Paper Champions Super Bowl this week as two teams that are always projected to be good meet up in week twelve. Winner gets to be projected as the real Super Bowl champions for next season, loser moves to L.A.
2 points - San Diego over Indianapolis
Speaking of Paper Champions, no matter how hard I try, I just can't pick against the Chargers. They have basically no shot of making the playoffs anymore, and the Colts are finally playing like the Colts, so I'm not sure why I'm going with the Chargers in this one. As you can see, it's this lack of reason why my picks column is regarded as one of the least accurate projection columns in all of sports.
3 points - Green Bay over New Orleans
I was going to write a mini-Packers preview here, but then I heard my dad sing this, to the tune of Red Hot Chili Peppers "Under the Bridge", and I thought it was funnier:
I'm stuck in this house....
I can't go nowhere.
Got nothing to do....
Except dry my hair.
These are the experiences you have when you are a 24 year old living with your parents.
Speaking of being 24, I just took a survey today for an advertising agency, and the final question was, "What age group are you in?" Well, just like I've been doing for the last six years, I clicked the button next to "18-24". But soon, I'll have to be clicking "25-34".
New goal: Move out of parents house before I have to click "25-34".
4 points - Tennessee over New York Jets
There is this girl I work with (you don't know how good it is to say that again) and her boyfriend is driving to Nashville to go to the Jets game this weekend, to see Favre. Look, if you want to be one of those d-bags that buys a Favre Jets jersey, then fine. But to picking driving to Nashville for a Jets game instead of a Packers game when they both play at Tennessee in the same season just lacks any sense of reason.
And in hindsight, why did Ted Thompson have to trade Favre to a team whose nickname rhymes with Brett. Does anyone even call them the Jets anymore, or have we all settled on New York Bretts?
I hate that I hate you, Brett Favre.
5 points - Atlanta over Carolina
If you didn't see this link at the bottom of this week's Winks Thinks, I have to share it with you again. Why wasn't this column posted a day earlier to ensure more people would read it? I was too busy watching this:
6 points - Philadelphia over Baltimore
"Rules are overrated. What we have here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback knows the rules of the game - black coaches and black quarterbacks knowing the rules about ties."
- Donovan McNabb quoting his inner Rush Limbaugh
Seriously though, McNabb legitimately has to be the most overrated quarterback of all-time, besides maybe Johnny Unitas (Have you ever seen him play? No? Me neither. So why do we always mention his name when we're talking about the top quarterbacks of all time?) Warren Sapp said it best when he said McNabb's NFL legacy will be puking in the Super Bowl, Rush Limbaugh, and not knowing about ties.
There was a time when McNabb used to be one of my favorite quarterbacks. I had a mini-McNabb bobblehead and jersey t-shirt. I collected McNabb football cards.
Then I realized he sucked and I burned those things.
7 points - Cleveland over Houston
Right now my Google Analytics says I only had 26 visitors come to The Bucky Channel today, and it's 10:07 pm. If that number is correct, I'm probably going to quit this blog.
8 points - Buffalo over Kansas City
I don't think it's fair to Bills fans to compare their missed field goal against the Browns last week to the field goal Scott Norwood missed to cost them the Super Bowl. This is a team that is three years away from Toronto, can't we cut them some slack?
9 points - Denver over Oakland
See? I told you couldn't watch that Tears For Fears knock-off video more than once. This one's not bad either, a new version of A-ha's "Take On Me".
I mean, that's better than a write up about the Broncos and Raiders, right?
10 points - Washington over Seattle
There are some teams that I don't really care for, but I like when they are good. The Washington Redskins are one of those teams. So is Notre Dame. I hate Notre Dame, but I think it's better for college football when they are good, just like it's better when Duke is good for college hoops, and the Yankees are good in a baseball.
The Seahawks, however, are a team I wish didn't exist.
11 points - Dallas over San Francisco
Terrell Owens during his interview with Deion Sanders on the NFL Network:
That shirt looks awfully similar to the former logo of the Philadelphia Eagles, doesn't it?
12 points - Chicago over St. Louis
I don't know if this is a game that deserves 12 points, but I'm at least 100 points back in this pick 'em league of mine, so I might as well take a few chances. Although this isn't really that much of a risk.
I mean, how are the Rams this bad? I know their defense sucks, but isn't their offense still pretty similar to the Greatest Show on Turf? I guess I am just overrating guys like Torry Holt, Steven Jackson (when he plays), and Marc Bulger. Here's a question. How much better is this team with Kurt Warner under center? Any? Much? Something to ponder.
13 points - New York Giants over Arizona
The Cardinals may have already wrapped up their division, but I'm pretty sure the Giants have already wrapped up the Super Bowl.
14 points - New England over Miami
You know, I'm not all that sure about this game, either.
Earlier I had said I used to be a pretty big Donovan McNabb guy, and I have to also admit that I used to be a fan of the Patriots. I proudly wore a Drew Bledsoe jersey in 1996, but that was before they would end up meeting the Pack in the Super Bowl.
What's harder to admit is that I liked New England for one of the worst reasons ever, a reason that no true fan should ever use to justify themselves. Yes, I like New England because I liked their colors.
After they switched from Pat the Patriot to "Flying Elvis", I just thought that was the coolest things. Although the jerseys they wore in the mid-90's look hideous now compared to their current kits.
When they won the Super Bowl against the Rams after the 2001 season, I was genuinely excited. Then they won another one, and another one, and kept winning. That got really annoying.
You know what else got annoying? Boston.
15 points - Tampa Bay over Detroit
Despite the joke of the franchise that is the Lions, I still think one of the Thanksgiving Day games should always be played in Detroit. As well as Dallas, of course. I'm still not sure how I feel about the new third Thanksgiving Day game. It rotates, it lacks tradition, and it's on the NFL Network. Even though I've always had a cable system which carried NFL Network, it still kind of cheapens the day.
16 points - Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
Always good to start the week off right.
It's been a slow week here at The Bucky Channel, and that has everything to do with the fact that I am working again. Rough, I know. I should have a new NFL Picks column out by Saturday morning, so come back for that.
In the meantime, a friend of mine forwarded me some pictures I thought you might find interesting. We're all going to miss Trenni Kusnierek as she embarks to the Big Apple, there's no question about that. But apparently not as much as Brewers beat writer Anthony Witrado. These are pictures of him bringing gangsta back as he says goodbye to TK.
Of course, the real reason I posted those pictures is because of how flat-out gorgeous Trenni looked. I think from now on, every girl I meet that is a) cute, b) knowledgeable about sports, and c) not annoying about the fact she's knowledgeable about sports will be known as a "Trenni".
Now, as far as Anthony Witrado goes, these weren't the most embarrassing pictures to have ever been posted on the internet. But I have a new rule here at The Bucky Channel, which is if I post an embarrassing photo of someone else, I have to post one about myself. So here goes...
I thought I'd switch it up this week and intro the column with the actual logo. But aesthetics aside, here's the link to this week's Winks Thinks. If you're new to the site, it's a column that is, well, really hard to explain. I'd just recommend checking it out. Also, it's the last new posting until after Thanksgiving, so make sure you savor it.
If, for some reason, this week's Thinks fails to live up to your expectations, then you're probably going to want to check out the video "klwillis45" posted in the comments. If you even remotely like Tears For Fears, you'll love the video.
And as always, thanks for reading.
Poor first and fourth quarters kill Bucks (5-8) as they lose 105-94 to Utah (8-4).
Once again, more fouls, less free throws and allowed the Jazz to shoot 51.4% from the field. Pretty weak. Loved how they came back to score 37 in the 2nd period, briefly held a 10 point lead, but that quickly dissolved. This team needs Redd back.
TBC Buck of the Game: Andrew Bogut - 16 points, 20 rebounds, 3 assists.
Noah Herron was one of "the good guys", and I was disappointed to see him cut from the Packers earlier this season. He was never the best running back on the team, but he was always efficient for the Green and Gold, especially on third downs. But after a few months out of the league, Noah Herron has resurfaced with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs were in need of another running back after one-hit wonder Earnest Graham going down for the season. Warrick Dunn will be the go-to guy down there, but expect Herron to play a similar role in Tampa as he did with the Packers.
All Herron needs to do now is make sure these two guys don't find his new address...
No the foul stench wasn't Richard Jefferson's "Fromunda" cheese as this picture may suggest, but from the fact that the Bucks were in foul trouble early and often tonight.
I'm going to mail this one in. Seriously, not a whole lot to say. All you need to know is the Bucks(5-7) lost 114-105 to the Denver Nuggets(7-4) in Denver and our leading scorers were Charlie Bell and Austin Croshere. Here's the Points Container.
Believe me when I say the score was much closer than the actual game itself. The story once again in the loss, which is becoming a theme in Bucks losses, is that the Bucks put the Nuggets at the FT line 48 times, as opposed to getting to the line 24 times themselves. The defense didn't show up either, allowing the Nuggets to hit .507 from the field.
Bell scored 25, Croshere hit 17, Session had 6 boards and 6 assists, Jefferson had 3 fouls within four minutes of the start of the game. Those are your highlights folks. We need Robert Stack from Unsolved Mysteries to come out and give a story on the 'whereabouts' of Milwaukee Bucks sharpshooter, Michael Redd. Don't look for him to play tomorrow night against the Jazz either. CV will probably be out as well.
ON TAP: @ Utah Jazz, 9 pm Wednesday.
TBC Player of the Game: Charlie Bell, someone had to score after Jefferson decided he would mail it in on defense tonight, and start fouling.
(AP Photo/Dave Zalubowski)
Meet Terrance Williams, star basketball player of SIU-Edwardsville. Star as in, he played seven minutes and had zero points in their game against the Badgers on Tuesday night. The only reason he's getting any pub from our site is that it's the only picture I could find of SIU-Edwardsville, especially since there were more game photos available when I wrote this.
Truth is, what can I really say about the Badgers 88-58 victory that I haven't already said about the Badgers in an early season recap? 1) It's early. 2) It's a good time to figure out your lineups. 3) So far, so good.
The most interesting thing about the Badgers victory tonight was that fourteen different players saw the floor. So congratulations Ian Markolf and Wquinton Smith! Here's to providing bodies in practice and getting your chances next season! I guess you never know, though. They could get some more chances depending on how the Badgers do in the Paradise Jam tournament this weekend.
Overall, a good win for the Badgers early in the season. Got the chance to figure out their lineups, and so far, so good.
And best of luck to you this season, Terrance Williams.
The NL MVP award may have ultimately went to Albert Pujols, even though I don't think you should be able to win such an award if you don't make it to the playoffs. It's the second award for Pujols, who is high on my list of "Players I Would Like if They Weren't in the Same Division of My Favorite Team" (see: Adrian Peterson). Nevertheless, congrats to the big man.
Pujols beat out Ryan Howard for the award, 369 points to 308. Coming in third? Milwaukee Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun.
I was actually a bit surprised by this news, because I don't think Braun was even the MVP of his own team. Granted, Sabathia was only with the Brewers for half a season, but I still think he was the most valuable player to that club this season.
Nevertheless, Braun finished with two second-place votes and three third-place votes, earning a total of 139 points. As Brewers fans, we all know that Braun had one hell of a season, but his success has never really been a secret. Last year, of course, Braun was named the NL Rookie of the Year. This year, he takes third in the MVP voting and is a Silver Slugger.
As for the aforementioned Sabathia, he took sixth in the NL MVP voting with 121 points, and was the highest pitcher on the list. Prince Fielder also garnered 11 points in the voting.
Just wanted to pass along some information about FSN Wisconsin's programming for Tuesday Night. Before the Bucks take on the Nuggets tomorrow night at 8pm, you can settle in early for a new FSN special.
"Spotlight: Bucks Go To China" is a 30 minute special that is exactly what it sounds like it is. You'll see the Bucks behind the team experiences at the 2008 China games, including the team visiting museums and landmarks.
If you miss it, don't worry. FSN Wisconsin has a tendency to rebroadcast things to the death. How many times did you stumble upon that Brewers special with seven or eight players being interviewed by Craig Coshun as they sat in the stands this year? You know, that won that featured Geoff Jenkins even though he was a year removed from the team?
One week after a heart-breaking loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers were back at Lambeau Field to take on their oldest rival. It was the 175th meeting between the two clubs in a rivalry that is nearly 90 years old. For the Packers to have any sort of shot at winning the division and/or making the playoffs, they would have to beat a team that has beat them at Lambeau in four straight attempts.
They did just that, and they couldn't have made it look easier.
The scoring came slowly to start, kicked off by an Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings three yard strike in the first quarter. Robbie Gould would kick a field goal for the Bears in the second, but that was all the Bears would get as the Packers routed Chicago 37-3.
A Ryan Grant four yard run in the second quarter. A Donald Lee five yard pass from Rodgers in the third. And a Jason Hunter fumble return - the Packers 9th return for a touchdown this season - was the dagger in the fourth. Add three Mason Crosby field goals, and you have the Packers best performance of the 2008 season (best performance of the season, so far.)
Was it flawless? No, of course not. No victory ever will be. But it was about as solid of a victory as you are going to see in the National Football League, and the Packers should pride themselves on that.
What really impresses me is that this was a game the Packers absolutely had to win. They came into the game one game back to both the Vikings and the Bears in the NFC North, and this was their opportunity to even the score. They took care of business when they needed to, and that's a very encouraging sign as we head into the final six weeks. This win, coupled with a Vikings loss to Tampa Bay, and we now have a three way tie atop the NFC North.
All teams might be a mediocre 5-5, but that's the luck of the draw. One of those three teams - Green Bay, Minnesota, or Chicago - will be going to the postseason, and that doesn't currently sit well with some people. You know how every year you hear whispers of why the NFL should revamp their playoff structure because of the chance an 8-8, or worse 7-9, team could win their division and make the playoffs?
Thankfully, that hasn't happened yet.
Just wanted to quickly mention the beginning of the season that will be the '08-'09 edition of the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers knocked off Long Beach State on Sunday afternoon, but could only do so by eight points.
Their 68-61 win was due in large part to Marcus Landry, who ended the game with 23 points. Jason Bohannon, who had the most minutes on the floor, was the team's second leading scorer with 12 points.
I spoke with my brother (and loyal Bucky Channel reader) Brent, who was able to make it to the season opener. He spoke very highly of Landry, who hit a clutch three and then had a huge block on the next possession to secure the game. Brent also adds that the Badgers looked pretty sluggish from the start of this one, and that Bo Ryan experimented with a lot of different lineups.
I'm not too worried about how close this game was, as the season is just getting underway. I may be a fair-weather Badgers football fan, but I stick by the basketball program through times good and bad.
Earlier in the week, the Atlanta Hawks traveled to Boston to take on the Celtics in a rematch of an Eastern Conference Playoff series. The Celtics ended up victorious once again, but it was the Hawks that were praised for their play nearly every where you looked, especially on ESPN.
Don't expect the same kind of treatment to come the Bucks way after their gritty performance in a 102-97 overtime loss against Boston, even though they deserve it just the same. This was a Bucks team without the likes of Michael Redd and Charlie Villaneuva, as well as a team that is still figuring out what works best and when. Despite this, they played the Celtics about as tough as I've seen them play a team. Unfortunately, all they have to show for it is another notch in the loss column.
If nothing else, this game showed that this Bucks team is going to be competitive, and not just another easy victory for their opponents. Never was that more evident than in the 4th quarter, when the Bucks came back from a 12 point deficit to send the game to overtime.
Unfortunately for the Bucks though, they went to the extra session without the services of Andrew Bogut, who fouled out in the 4th quarter after a mix up with Kevin Garnett. Things got a little heated between the two when Bogut sort of hit KG across the face after getting hacked, and then Garnett retaliated. It was in this exchange where KG showed just what kind of bitch he is, and quietly a rivalry between the Bucks and Celtics started to emerge.
But don't expect to read about it on ESPN.
TBC's Buck of the Game: Andrew Bogut
Heading into the fourth quarter of their game against Minnesota, the Wisconsin Badgers football program found itself down 24-17 against one of their biggest rivals. If the Badgers were going to be bowl-eligible, they'd need to find a way to clutch up and be clutch, something they have been doing the opposite of all season. With their season, and I guess you could say dignity, on the line, the Badgers came back and beat the Golden Gophers 35-32.
The comeback started with a one yard touchdown run from P.J. Hill, who had 117 yards rushing with two TD's on the day. The Badgers took the lead, and then earned another couple of points with two fourth quarter safeties.
Last week I was amazed to see two safeties in one game when the Vikings beat the Packers in the Metrodome, and now the Badgers just accomplished the same feat in a game six days later. Is it just me, or is this the year of the safety? Not just in college football, but in the NFL, too. I used to honestly get jazzed up every time I saw the rare occurrence that was a safety, now I feel as if they happen in every game I watch.
After the impressive work of the defense, a John Clay touchdown extended the Badgers lead to 11. Minnesota attempted a late comeback, but the Badgers were able to secure the victory.
With the victory, the Badgers become bowl-eligible, which has become somewhat of a buzz word amongst Badger fans here in Wisconsin. As in, "Seriously, we're fighting to become bowl-eligible?" Dave Heller of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel does a decent job of predicting where exactly the Badgers might be headed.
No matter where they end up, I have to say I'm not that excited. I've told you before I'm a fair-weather Badgers football fan, mainly because of the current structure of college football. I usually jump ship after the first loss, so you can imagine what it's like to try to root for a five loss team.
With that in mind, what is everyone doing for next week's game against Cal-Poly???
Ten games into the season, it's probably fair to say the Bucks aren't anywhere near they want to be as a team. They're still adapting to the new faces, including coach Scott Skiles. They've been without Michael Redd for about half of those games, and Charlie Villaneuva is a bit dinged up as well. But ten games into the season, I'm feeling pretty good about this Bucks team.
Honestly, if you sat through and agonized during nearly every Bucks telecast last year, you are loving what is happening this season. The Bucks found themselves in a pretty big hole against the Grizzles last night, and last year's team may have not have had what it takes to come back. This year's team, however, was able to do just that.
The Bucks fought and clawed their way back into this one, getting 20 points from one of their emerging stars in Ramon Sessions. Sessions had the game tying free throws with 42.3 second left to send the Bucks into overtime, where they won 101-96.
The Bucks also got 26 points and 10 boards out of Richard Jefferson, 12 points and 15 board out of Andrew Bogut, 14 points out of Luke Ridnour, and playing time out of Austin Croshere. But the star of Friday night's game has to be the Cameroon prince, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
This is a guy that was drafted for his defense in the 2nd round. It's a pick that probably isn't made if new Warriors assistant coach Larry Harris is still at the helm. Some thought Mbah a Moute might not even make the active roster, but he has turned into the Bucks best defensive player, and has started the last two games. Last night, he didn't disappoint, with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
My buddy Gweeds and I have been joking about Mbah a Moute having the potential to win the NBA's scoring title. We even made up a back story about how he averaged 40 points per game in high school, and was forced to change his game at UCLA. It was in the pros, we said, where Mbah a Moute would revert to his old scoring ways.
Granted, that's a little far fetched, but not only did he have 19 points on Friday, but he almost started as the two guard (aka shooting guard). If Charlie Bell wouldn't have been able to go, Malik Allen would have got the start and the Cameroon prince would have been inserted for bell. Mbah a Moute still delivered though, both on the floor and in the box score. Clearly, he is getting the night's honors for Bucky Channel Player of the Game.
A second round pick that has become the team's best player. A big name trade for Richard Jefferson that hasn't disappointed. The bench players stepping up in the absence of Mikey Redd. And the philosophy of the coach reaching through the minds of the players.
None of these things came close to happening last year, and that's what makes this season so exciting.
These Bucks are Ready to Rise!
While it would appear the Yankees are the front runner for CC Sabathia's services, I still have a feeling he's going to end up in SoCal. Nevertheless, it's becoming pretty apparent Sabathia will not be donning a Brewers uniform next season.
First up to the plate is the New York Yankees, who have reportedly offered a 6 year, $140 million contract to Sabathia. That equates to more than $23 million dollars per year, which would be the richest ever for a pitcher. That's going to be pretty hard to turn down.
Brewers' GM Doug Melvin says he's expecting to hear back from Sabathia sometime next week regarding the 5 year, $100 million offer the Brewers made at the start of free agency. Apparently, Melvin also made a pretty funny joke about how the Yankees are overbidding, but you won't find that in the Haudricourt article I just linked to. He's saving it for the Saturday morning edition of the Journal Sentinel! That tricky bastard, always finding new ways to sell newspapers!
Either way, I think it's pretty safe to say that Sabathia's days as a Brewer are over. Which isn't necessarily a terrible thing. Sure, he single-handily lifted the Brewers into the playoffs, but if he accepted Milwaukee's offer it would cripple the team financially in the years to come.
Still, it's going to be hard to see the man leave. We knew what we were getting into when we traded for him. We knew he was just a rental. Yet, because of how he quickly emerged as the face of Wisconsin sports, we're clinging to false hope that he will stay with us.
One thing is for certain, however. No matter he ends up, CC gonna get paid.
The Brewers coaching staff is finally complete, as former Nashville Sounds pitching coach Stan Kyles has been named the team's bullpen coach. The above picture is only there because when I typed "Stan Kyles" into a Google search, that was the best picture that came up.
Kyles has been with the Sounds for the past eight seasons, with the last four of them being as the pitching coach. This is Kyles' first coaching job in the big leagues. He previously spent time as a coach in the Cubs and Rockies farm systems.
I found a couple of interesting articles regarding college football that I thought I'd pass along as we (aka you) wind down your work week.
The first comes courtesy of a man who goes by the handle "Polish Pickle". In the article, he lays out his suggestion for a revamped college football postseason. At this point, I'm beginning to believe there may never be a college football playoff. The network executives and conference presidents seem so set in their ways, I'm just not sure what it's going to take to change that.
The second one is just as compelling. It's often been rumored that Notre Dame will join the Big Ten, but at times that seems more unlikely than a college football playoff. Well, Brian Carriveau of Railbird Central disagrees, saying that it will happen this decade. As he says, "One day you're going to wake up, and it's going to have happened."
Look into this man's eyes. There's pure determination in those things. Minus the fact that he's wearing a milk mustache, Wes Welker is ready to dominate that Jets defense. The question is, is he more ready to dominate the Jets defense than Lee Evans is ready to dominate the Browns defense?
This the question I've been wrestling with all week, and I just can't seem to make the decision of who to start. Welker is the possession guy. Evans is the big play threat, more likely to score. I play in a reception league, and being 5-5 with three weeks to go until the playoffs, I need every point I can get. Oh fantasy, how you frustrate me.
1 point - New England over New York Jets
Just like I can't make the Wes Welker decision, I'm also having a hard time making a decision about this game. To be honest though, there are a lot of seemingly easy games to pick on the schedule this week, which is always a recipe for disaster. Especially when I am picking.
However, there are sixteen games this week, as bye weeks are officially over for the 2008 NFL Season. That means there are an extra 31 points to play with every given week, and judging how I am down 100 points in my pick 'em league standings, I need every point I can get.
Kind of like in fantasy!
As for the game, I've been pretty hard on Brett Favre this season, that's no secret. Yet his team sits in pretty good position to either make the playoffs or win the AFC East, and there's something to be said for that. And even though I also get mad about how Jets games are always on TV and how annoying that is, I'm having a mini-party tonight to watch the game. And it's not because we're interested in the Patriots.
I hate that I hate you, Brett Favre.
2 points - Tennessee over Jacksonville
I'm not really sure how to describe what got into Jacksonville this year, but then again, I'm not really sure how to describe what got into Tennessee. The Titans have had two close games in a row that they were lucky to win. First against the Packers, last week against the Bears. I'm going to pick them to win, because that's all they've been doing all year. But the bubble has to burst sometime, so I'm not placing too much confidence on them.
And say what you what about Jevon Kearse, but I thought this was a pretty clever way to brag about your current record:
3 points - Washington over Dallas
I'm not really sure how Dallas in the favorite in this game, but then again, people have been hard for them all year. The game is in Washington, and Washington is the better team. That's enough for me. Yeah, Tony Romo is coming back, but he's slowly become exposed as the overrated quarterback that is he is this season. Unless I'm forgetting about him being clutch in the playoffs? Nope, I'm not.
4 points - Atlanta over Denver
The Welker/Evans decision is one I've been wrestling with all week, but the Romo/Ryan decision is one I haven't been. I can't believe how good this Matt Ryan kid is, and I'm going to try to make it a rule that he's automatically on my team every season. He's a big reason why the Falcons are 6-3, and I'm pretty convinced this team is making the playoffs (which makes the Packers loss to the Falcons a little easier).
I'm also pretty convinced that Denver is pretty bad, and won't make the playoffs.
5 points - San Diego over Pittsburgh
I just keep picking San Diego week after week, even though Pittsburgh may very well be the AFC's Super Bowl representative. Still, San Diego is the horse I rode in on, and I'm not getting off until the last possible moment.
6 points - Green Bay over Chicago
I honestly would have put whatever little life savings I had left (+/- $600) on the Packers to beat the Vikings last week, but they couldn't pull through. Thank God I didn't. As much as I have been complaining about the safety calls or the Adrian Peterson helmet removal (though not nearly as much as PFT), the Packers offense couldn't have played worse last week. Don't expect that trend to continue this week, as the Packers will beat the Bears to get back into a three way tie for the NFC North.
But as you can see, I'm not nearly as confident about a victory as I was last week.
7 points - New Orleans over Kansas City
Another year, another disappointment in New Orleans. Even though they won the game, I still can't believe they were chosen as the "home" team in the NFL's now annual London game. It was bad enough when they had to play a home game against the Giants in the Meadowlands, but apparently the NFL has a short memory.
I wonder if this is going to become an annual tradition in the NFL, with the league rotating who loses a home game. Could you imagine what the uproar would be in Green Bay if the Packers were forced to play a home game in London? It's bad enough that there's a season ticket split between fans by the Bay and fans in Milwaukee. Although Packers fans do travel pretty well...
8 points - Tampa Bay over Minnesota
You wouldn't hire a clown to fix a leak in the john, would you? So why hire a hooligan to tear down the biz? (Translation: I hate the Vikings, so why find a reason to root for them this week?)
9 points - San Francisco over St. Louis
I kind of put a lot of points on a team that really butchered the final seconds of their game last week. I'm not sure what Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz was thinking with his clock delay and run up the gut from 2 1/2 yards out strategy, but to each his own. By the way, is Mike Singletary on some kind of mission to destroy his reputation as quickly as possible?
10 points - Buffalo over Cleveland
When I have a tough decision to make in fantasy, I usually resort to the most surefire tiebreaker: Which of my guys play on national television? Unfortunately, it's Welker on the NFL Network, and Lee Evans on ESPN. Welker? Evans? Welker? Evans? WELKER? EVANS?
11 points - New York Giants over Baltimore
Can we just have the Giants and Titans meet in the Super Bowl and get this over with already?
12 points - Arizona over Seattle
Can't think of anything to write for this game, mainly because I've been distracted by both Home Improvement and Just Shoot Me on TBS. Why is it that there is no way I would watch comedies like this in prime time anymore, yet I'll spend my whole day watching them five days a week? Oh, multi-camera sitcoms.
13 points - Indianapolis over Houston
Alright, NFL. The Houston Texans experiment was cute for awhile, but now it's growing a little tired. Any chance we can move these guys to L.A.?
14 points - Philadelphia over Cincinnati
Remember when Marvin Lewis, Romeo Crennel, and Charlie Weis were the hottest assistant coaches in the game? Good times.
15 points - Miami over Oakland
Bill Parcells is going to go down as one of the smartest minds in football history, if not the smartest. Likewise, Tony Sparano is going to become known as the "next Bill Parcells".
As you can see, I'm sort of running out of things to write about this week, so let me plug a little Thursday night soccer. The Chicago Fire are taking on the Columbus Crew tonight in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kick-off is set for 6:30 CT on ESPN2. If you can't watch that game, be sure to check out the Western Conference Finals this Saturday on... (wait, what's that? The Western Conference Final isn't even on television?)... Oh, nevermind.
16 points - Carolina over Detroit
The Lions remaining schedule: at Carolina, vs. Tampa, vs. Tennnessee, vs. Minnesota, at Indy, vs. New Orleans, and at Green Bay. Everyone is predicting an 0-16 season for the Lions, and that scares the hell out of me. I don't want an 0-15 Lions team coming into Green Bay, with a possible playoff birth on the line. Who am I kidding, the Lions are terrible.
Sixteen games, sixteen easy decisions, yet the decision of Welker vs. Evans remains. But I've made up my mind, and I'm going with Lee Evans. He plays against a worse defense, and I could use those points come Monday night.
Then again, I am the commissioner of the league. So if Welker does well tonight, I can always change it!
I highly recommend checking out NFL Predictions and out Free College Football Picks from the legendary National Sports Advisors as well as updated daily NFL Odds and College Football Odds this football season. NSAwins.com posts updated 2013 Super Bowl Futures Odds and Super Bowl Betting Props in addition to BCS Championship Odds and College Bowl Odds throughout the season. Also be sure to get Free NFL Picks and the best Sportsbook Reviews daily from NSAwins.com.
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