Monday, October 31, 2005

Battle for the ILLIBUCK

Forget the fact that Ohio State has won 54 games of this series dating back to 1902, ILLINOIS has won 8 of the last 15. Yes, that's a trend - at least this year in Champaign. We still believe Ronnie! Did I mention this game is in Columbus. Ugh!

ILLIBUCK was a turtle destined for long - life. He died in the spring of 1927 after all of those miles between Champaign and Columbus. The exchange of ILLIBUCK ususally happens at halftime and traditional peace pipes are smoked at mid-field.

This one shouldn't be close.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mirek's Week 9 Pick Em Wrap

Looks like Mr. Scarvie has assumed the top slot in Pick - em. Alth0ugh, Mr. Patriacca hung 50 points on the rest of us. Mr. Hamiliton learned how easy it can be to lose ground (33 points, ouch-babe). How does SC beat UT in Knoxville? 9-3 in the 4th quarter! Ugh!. It just gets wilder and wilder every week. Just when it looked like Texas, Florida State, and UCLA all might lose on the same day......

Here we go:

1) This just in - it's hard t0 stay unbeaten. Just ask Georgia! UCLA knows how to win. 4 of 5! Dew Olsen for Heisman - same for Maurice Drew! Never turn these games off.

2) UCLA with the 30-27 win against the CARDS tonight in OT. Wow! The December 3rd showdown in LA is really starting to take shape now. USC blitzed WSU in the Coliseum.

3) Texas, from behind this week. The Polks led 28-12 at the half. Mr. Young ran for 267 yds. tonight. Vince also threw f0r 239 yds. They won by a mile! Slow start. Vince is great. Over 500 yds. of total offense. Texas will not lose in 2k5!

4) Florida beats UGA. Ug!. What an ugly game. Leak was 15-20 for the game. Georgia just gave up too many 1st-half points, too early. It was Tereshinski's fault. What an amazing flee-flicker back to the QB in the 3rd quarter. Gators have won 14 of 16 against the DAWGS. Urban now looks like a genius again. I'm still not sold on the Gators this year. Georgia needs DJ Shockley. Florida came out ready to go! Kudos to Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators. Sh0ckley is ready for Auburn!

5) Michigan routs NW. OSU the same against Minnesota. With their win, Penn State remains in the driver's seat for the BIG-10 Title this year.

6) SC over TN; in Knoxville. Whow Nelly. Spurrier to the rescue. I'm sure all 107k at Rocky Top were stunned. The Vols are now 3-4 on the season, what? That's not supposed to happen on the night they retire Peyton Manning's jersey.

7) Oklahoma hangs on to beat Nebraska. I think this is the first time in a long while that this match-up featured two un-ranked teams. The Sooners had 9 sacks on Taylor. When was the last time Nebraska had 9 sacks in a season? Of course, they never used to pass either.

8) With their win yesterday over Carolina, the Canes can now look forward to the big match-up in Blacksburg (Vicksburg) next weekened against the Hokies. Both teams feature awesome defenses. And right now, both teams are playing some offense too. I still think the Hokies will roll with VICK as QB and that stifling defense. I did like the throw-back uniforms for Miami. They kind of looked like Notre Dame out there.

9) Georgia Tech / Clemson - enough said. 10-9 in Atlanta. What a difficult game to watch. Tons of errors and penalties on both sides. Then again, this is the ACC and you never really know what you're going to get. At least I only lost 1 point here.

10) And BYU put up 62 against the Falcons of Air Force last night. Wow, what an offensive display. How many black athletes play for the Cougars, Fisher?

My Top 10:

1) SC
2) Texas
3) Va. Tech.
4) Bama
5) Miami
6) LSU
8) Penn State
9) Notre Dame
10) Florida State

Bring on Week 10 and another opportunity:

Miami at Va. Tech
A&M at Texas Tech
Tennessee at Notre Dame, hmmmmm......
Illinois at Ohio State, uh oh! Don't watch!
Wisconsin at Penn State

And stop with the ACC in pick-em, please ESPN. That conference should be banned from the selections.

What IF? What IF? The Fighting Zookers....Ugh!

When will this season end? I guess you can call today's 41-24 loss to Wisconsin a moral victory. I mean, at least we didn't give up 60 points again at home. The defense continues to look pathetic. We lack the talent, the speed, and the size to make plays when we need to.

On the positive front, recruiting continues to go well. Zook was text-messaged again today during the day from a father of a possible signee. That's called multi-tasking. Zook works 24/7. He's always on!

Actually, the offense looked good today at times. The game should have been a lot closer than the final score. The punt block and TD set-up was too easy for the Badgers. That didn't help us much either. Our kicker was 0-3 again. Each one of those drives should have ended in 7 points and not 0 points. Brasic (QB) was accountable for more than 400 yards himself as he threw for ~ 300 and ran for ~ 125 yds. Thomas had another great game. I need to remind myself that while we stink we are the youngest team in the game, only starting 4 seniors this year.

It's broken. Zook will fix it. We're moving in the right direction. But, it's going to take a few more years. Hang in the nation. The Chief will rise again! Good to see Memorial Stadium packed again, at least until the game was over late in the 4th quarter. That win over Rutgers (now bowl eligible) seems so long ago!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It's been 88 long years - no more!

You can put it on the board, YES! 1-0 SOX, as in WHITE SOX! In a clean sweep, sweep home Chicago. It's been way way way too long, 88 years to be exact. But, the City of Chicago now can add World Series Champion White Sox to the list of great teams from the windy city.

Give credit to Houston and their great team. They easily could have won each and every one of the 4 games they lost. Kudos to the ASTROS - great competitors.

How was it done? SMART BALL. Heart and Effort, Man! The same as it was all year on route to 99 wins. Should have been more like 110 wins, but who cares now? No mas. Ozzie Guillen's boys broke the barrier of the perrenial loser to bring it back to sweet home.

It was done with PITCHING, awesome defense, and timely hitting. It was done with heart, soul, brains, and braun. Make no mistake about it, this was not a power team. But this was a dominating team. They knew how to manufacture runs. OZZIE was the wizard - got love his charisma. They went 11-1 in the post-season. Fitting, that 88 years after Harry Caray was born (1917) the SOX bring it back to the south side for the people of Chicago. No more second city tonight, we are #1!

I remember going to those south-side games at 35th and Shields in the OLD Comiskey Park. What an awesome place. My dad and I always had a great time, despite the fights, the beer falling from the upper-deck, and the naked fans taking showers in right field. That place had character. Then came the new Comiskey (US Cellular Field). At its time in the early 90's, it was state of the art. There is no better ball-park food in baseball than what they serve at Comiskey Park. Dogs, Brats, Sausages, Italian beefs, deep-dish pizzas, and ice-cold Budweiser. Gotta love it!

The strength of this team was its pitching: Buerhle, Garcia, Garland, Contreras, Politte, Cotts, Hernandez, and of course Bobby 'Big-Boy' Jenks! When the experts were writing them off a month ago as the biggest collapse in baseball history, Ozzie kept the boys together through the toughest of times only to lead them back again to the very top of the game. Wow! What an amazing year!

Give credit to the front office as well: Kenny Williams made some big moves in the off-season after losing Ordonez and Lee. Kudos to Jerry Reinsdorf (the boy from Brooklyn) as well. Then, the BIG HURT goes down with a broken foot in July. What an awesome squad: Konerko, Rowand, Crede, Uribe, and Jermaine Dye (WS MVP). Best record in MLB history over the past 3 weeks. What a way to close it all out! Kudos to the entire organization.

For the North Side, West Side, and the South SIDE this win was for you! Watch out Daley, Guillen wants your Mayor's seat. Jimbo's Bar on the South Side is going to be Rockin' for a long time. What a great atmosphere. What a great Sport's town. Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, hey hey hey.....Good Bye!

This won was for Harry Caray, Bill Veck, showers in the bleachers, those who hated disco, Bo Jackson, and most of all the fans of Chicago. What a genuine team - just like the folks from the windy city. This party will go on for a long time tonight.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mid - Season Conference Comparison

FOX Sports takes a look at the best and worst of the power conferences this year. Looks like everybody hands-down thinks the ACC is the power conference this year. Hard to argue with teams like Miami, FSU, BC, and Va. Tech. Wow, that sounds impressive.

But, don't overlook the SEC and BIG-10. I would agree with most experts that the BIG-10 has the most depth, top to the very bottom (ILLINOIS rests there). I would also agree that the BIG-EAST is at the bottom of the list in terms of conferences. Strange to see the BIG-12 so far down towards the bottom. With the exception of TEXAS at the top, this conference has lost a lot of power with Oklahoma, A&M, and others being down this year.

When I look at the PAC-10, I don't see much anymore besides SC and UCLA. What happened to CAL and ASU. Oregon is now in trouble with Clemmens on the sideline for the year. WSU, OSU, and U of A are all marginal at best. Which brings me to my favorite conference: the SEC.

I love this conference. They have it all: Speed, Strength, Size, great food, atmosphere, tradition, pride, love, and the best fans in the game (no disrespect to Penn State). Bama, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, and Florida are all tough places to play at as the visiting team. Even though they are down this year, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Vandy also bring the game.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Love those White Sox

You can put it on the board - YES. Podsednik - 500 at bats this year and no home runs. Then, the blast to right-center field in the bottom of the 9th: 7-6. What a game! How about Konerko's jolt in the bottom of the 7th; down 4-2 with the bases loaded. Love those White Sox who now take a 2-0 lead on the Astros as the SERIES shifts to Houston. This team does not quit. There is no mountain high enough. Talk about blue collar - this team just knows how to win. They manufacture runs and wins better than any other production machine of the day.

It was a cold and rainy night at Comiskey (US Cellular)Park on the South Side. The gametime temperature was in the 30's. Chilllllll-eeeeee! Then, the shot heard around Chicago in the bottom of the 9th. What a game! What a battle! He put some good wood on that pitch. Talk about post-season power. Not a better time.

It's been 88 long years (1917 to be exact). Give credit to Houston. They just don't quit. But neither do the WHITE SOX. Bring it home guys. Two more to go.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mirek's Week 8 Pick Em Wrap

Well well well - we suck. I mean, I'm embarrassed. How bad is Illinois Football? Let me offer a few comparisons:

1) Nixon
2) Universal Health Care
3) New Orleans Politics (ain't there some corruption?)

We suck. The Zookers stink! WE SUCK. WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE SUCK! Up 3-0. We lose 63-10. Ugh! 56-3 to Penn State tonight at the HALF. Oh, good GOD, help me. I mean, put the season to rest already. Bring on basketball and South Dakota State at the HALL. I don't want to hear about ILLINOIS football until at least 2007. All we have basketball.

If you believe in stock you buy low and sell high. It doesn't get any cheaper than this right now for ILLINOIS football. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All of the greats have had tough moments in the careers. Barry Alvarez only won 1 game in his first year. Kirk Ferentz only 3. Paterno hasn't had a great run of late until this year. There is hope. We need to bring in the young recruits and fast.

341 -341 - 341: Mirek, Horton, Scarvie. Pick - Em is a flat-out mess. Love it! 4 more weeks to go. The group is doing well this year. 9 players at 90% or above. Wow! Herrington lights it up for 54 points. Good j0b! Another 50 point week.

How about the SEC? Which is the best conference in the land? The SEC. No doubt. They have the best fans, the best food, the best stadiums, and the best atheletes, not to mention the best teams. Who plays the best defense in the land? No, not the PAC -10, but the SEC. Hail to the SEC. I submit to you the following evidence: Bama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Tennesse, Florida, and everybody else. The rest of America only hopes to be as good as the SEC. Case in point tonight in Baton Rouge - there were over 200k fans at the game tonight; only 92K made it inside the gates to watch LSU and Auburn. The other 110k were in the parking lot tail-gating all day with ribs, chicken, and a few spirits. There is college football and SEC college football. I submit to you that unless you have witnessed the latter you don't know what the game is about.

Finally, NW Wildcats? Who? What? Where? When? Why? Yes, they are good - in football. At East Lansing today against SPARTY. Today, it was a 35-point road blowout. They are good. Hail to the Evanston faithful. Anybody with 330 still has a chance. Plasma or bust!

Pick - Em is a Mess!

Here we go:

1) On the banks of the old red CEDAR. Northwestern Wildcats - how good are they? Well, they slobber-knocked the SPARTY today in East Lansing: 49-14. Embarrasment. Call them out. Come on John L. Smith. Holy smoke!. This was the biggest surprise of the week and possibly of the year. I thought SPARTY was good. I thought wrong. The Evanston faithful have a team; and the best unknown running back in the land: Sutton. They will beat ILLINOIS: 1 Million to ZERO! We SUCK! Basenez, Basenez, Basenez! Beatdown! Spartans leave homecoing early. 3 wins in a row for the Wildcats. I should have accepted my WILDCAT scholarship. Ugh! Most dynamic in the country? Right up there with SC.

2) BAMA - roll tide over Tennessee. What a game. Defense rules the day. Bama hasn't beaten Tennessee in Tuscaloosa since 1930. What? Yes, it's true. What a great defensive battle. Tough loss for the VOLS. Great win at home for the TIDE. Roll TIDE. Brodie Croyle is a real QB - in the mold of Brett Favre. Who is tougher? Who has more will? Answer: Nobody. Condi Rice (Secretary of State) was their to flip the coin. I love Condi.

2.5) Michigan. Now 5-3. The BIG -10 is a mess. Who wins? Why? Purdue sucks. Not so much. Pur-d0ne.

3) Mt. Union lost today (21-14); first time since 1994 or 110 games. Arkansas State beat Florida Atlantic 3-0 in OT. First time in a long-time a game has gone 0-0 after 60 minutes.

4) Texas whipped-up on TT today: 1 BILLION to Zero! or something like that. The Red Raiders were exposed on a national scale today. Ranked in the top -10 for the first time since 1977. It might be another 28 years for the RED RAIDERS. They won't be ranked high for much longer. TEXAS is for real. Bring on SC in the Rose Bowl. Vince had a great day.

5) The Upright game - LSU beats Auburn 20-17 at home in Death Valley at night. The SEC is the BEST. Ping, off the left upright - victory to the TIGERS from LSU. Sorry Pauly! Auburn should have won this game; and would have had it not been for lousy field goal kicking. They were 1 for 6. Yikes! Cajun Voo Doo Magic!

6) ND, TEXAS, and USC all romped today. Georgia skated past Arkansas but lost their QB, Shockley. Uh oh! The DAWGS won the game but did they lose the war, MCL? Interesting developement. The DAWGS need DJ to win. He won't play next weekend against Florida. Wow! Is Quinn a Heisman candidate? He had 6! See the wrap below. The Catholics beat the Mormons. Hook 'EM HORNS! Austin rocks!

7) White Sox win Game 1 of the Series! Jenks, Contreras, Crede, and the crew. Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie. 99 - 100 - 99 - 100 - 99 - 100 - 99 - 100 Wow! The Bull-pen was solid. Exclellent! Ridiculous. Go South Side. First championship since 1917? We'll see!

8) Oregon to Leaf. Clemmons done for the year. Dixon was alson knocked out. Ugh! The DUCKS loudest quack has been registered. It's over for the Eugene crew.

9) Huskers beat the Tigers 25 of 26 over the past years. Not today. The Lincoln crew loses to Missouri today. Ugh! I had 3 points on BIG RED. The romp was on. Yikes! And Oklahoma beat Baylor tody in 2OT.

10) Drew Olson had 6 today. Same as Brady! UCLA and USC. Bring 0n the Tr0jans and the Bruins.

Mirek's Top - 10:

1) USC
3) Va. Tech
5) Georgia
6) Miami
7) LSU
8) Notre Dame
9) FSU
10) UCLA

Your Heisman Winner: BUSH (84-yard punt return), YOUNG, LEINART, Quinn, and Drew.

Looking ahead to week 9, here are a few match-ups I'll be watching:

Ohio State @ Minnesota
Oklahoma @ Nebraska
Georgia @ Florida
Michigan @ Northwestern

Pick-Em is shaping up to be a run to the wire this year, unlike year's past where 1 or 2 contestants held the year all along. We'll see if they (ESPN) add the 13th week back to the schedule - right now it's at 12 games.

As we come into the final turn (last 4 weeks) the race is indeed on. While it seems as the pack appears to be inseparable at times, the upcoming rivalry weekends usually serve to separate the pretenders from the champion. I'm sure this year won't be any different.

There are still 9 contestants within 11 points of the lead (4%). Good Luck men. I'm sure we're in for another great finish. Page 1 or bust!

Monday, October 17, 2005

First BCS Rankings this year - 2005

Here they are, the much-awaited BCS rankings for 2005. This one includes the new Harris Poll. Not too many surprises. USC, TEXAS, and VA TECH hold down the top-3 spots. Texas Tech seems a bit high at #7, but that won't last after this week. And looky there, is that Nebraska at #23? Oregon chimes it at a very respectful #13. Still no sign of ILLINOIS.

On a slightly different note, I will no longer be forecasting separation Saturdays. After last week, I'm convinced they don't exist. It's a real mess at the top of the pick-em pile. This coming week (#8) looks equally as challenging. Lots of opportunity for regression, little room for advancement - in my opinion. More tough games on the agenda for 10/22.

Tennesse plays at Alabama.
Auburn collides with LSU in the bayou.
Nebraska takes the circus to Columbia to play Missouri.
TCU hits the road to take on Air Force.

Good Luck!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hail to the South Side!

Baby, don't you want to go! Come on....It's been 16,825 some odd days since the White Sox have won the AL pennant. Let's call it 17K. September 22, 1959 to be exact against the Cleveland Indians. Al Lopez was your manager. Holy Cow - 46 years ago. They are the 2005 AL champs. Bring on the NL. Jose Contreras goes all 9 innings. Same for the the last three starters in this series. the World Series begins in Comiskey Park this Saturday, sweet home Chicago! Ozzie Guillen and Company are amazing. No more choke here - bring on the senior circuit.

The numbers are amazing. 4 consecutive complete games to wrap it up. The starting pitching in this series was awesome. We held the Angels to 0.177 hitting in this series. What a great season. One more obstacle to go. No one deserves it more, perhaps for the CUBS. Congrats to Reinsdorf. 6 NBA Championships for the BULLS and now baseball. It's off to the fall classic. Peace Out!

This is a no name team. No big super stars on this squad. They are fundamentally solid. They believe. Heart. Character. We're full of it! No words can describe the pitching in this series. This one was for Bill Veck and company. It's been a long time!

Your Week 7 AP Poll - SC still #1

I can't argue with the AP top - 25 this week, at least with spots 1-4. I question BAMA at #5 after barely squeaking past Ole Miss in Oxford. I mean come on, that should have been a behind the wood-shed beat- down of historic proportions.

Also, LSU and UCLA seem a little high to me at #7 and #8, respectively. Notre Dame still belongs in the top - 10 in my opinion despite the home loss. Tough to believe that the great Charlie Weiss has lost his first two home games at Notre Dame. Both, heartbreak defeats.

Other than that, the poll looks reasonable. Texas Tech - yes Caesar, the Red Raiders are moving up the poll as they should to #10. We'll see what happens after they play Texas next Saturday in Austin.

Florida State dropped 7 points after the big road loss to Virginia. Penn State holds steady at #12. I also think BC is slightly UNDER-ranked at #13. In my mind they are a top-10 squad right now going into the big game next weekend in Blacksburg.

Oregon is slotted just ahead of Auburn at #15. Florida is sinking like a rock at #18. The rest of the top-25 looks pretty routine.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Mirek's Week 7 Pick EM Wrap

What a great day in sports. What a Saturday of Grid-Iron action! Sox up 3 games to 1 over LA. Crazy Crazy NUTS......lay me down on a couch and close the door. I need some therapy. God Bless the BIG - 10!

Just glad to be a witness to it all. Of course, the SC - ND game was another instant classic. A game for the ages. But if you missed how Wisconsin, Michigan, BC, and West Virginia won their games you missed a lot of awesome action in this the best week of the year to date. Wow....oh those special teams plays! How big are they? Just ask Michigan State and Minnesota.

Pick EM is a mess at the top. Instead of separation, there is congestion. Scarvie and Hamilton made big moves today in the ranks. Horton, on the back of BYU, moves into first - for now. Congrats to all. Page 1 or bust!

How did Minnesota lose the AXE at home with a 10-point lead to the loley Badgers? How did Michigan come back against Joe Pa's squad with only 18 seconds in the game? BC mounted an amazing 2nd half-comeback in the rain of Boston to beat Wake Forest. And I still don't know how Louisville gave away their lead to West Virginia in the foothills (and my 7 points to boot). I mean Louisville was up by 17 points at one point only to have some freshe score 6 TD's in the 2nd half and win it for the Mountaineers. least my ILLINI didn't lose today (they didn't play either). Is that right, Virginia over FSU? What a crazy Saturday in college football. Here we go with the wrap:

1) In probably the biggest game of the year to date, SC mounted an amazing 4th quarter comeback (twice) to put the IRISH to bed once and for all. Wow - how about the 4th and 8 conversion which almost went the distance - Leinart to Jarrett? Then there was the gutsy goal-line call with time running out that game the Trojans a 34-31 victory. Matt Leinart was heroic. But, Reggie Bush probably won the Heisman Trophy tonight on the biggest stage in college football. The guy is flat-out electric and fun to watch. The Trojans march on with #28 in a row. Tough loss for the IRISH and their faithful. With 7 lead changes today, this is as good as it gets in sports. ND has never beaten a #1 - ranked SC squad. Jesus had 9 points on SC as well.

Was this the best regular - season college game ever? Maybe, but don't forget the following:

a) ND 31 - FSU 24 (1993)
b) ND 31 - Miami 30 (1988)
c) BC 47 - Miami 45 (1984)
d) Neb 35 - Okla 31 (1971)

To answer my own question, with so much on the line - probably yes.

2) Bama squeaked past Ole Miss today. Are you kidding me? This was my 10-point game. A sure thing. The Rebels almost cost me 10 points. But in the end Bama was just good enough to win it in regulation on a last second field-goal. Not an impressive victory, but a win nonetheless. The dream season continues for another week. How long with it last?

3) Wisconsin somehow retains the AXE for another year in probably the greatest collapse of the season. Up 10 points with 2 minutes to go, how do you give up 14 points? Minnesota dominated the game, especially in the 2nd half with their running game. Maroney and Russell were amazing. Then the blocked punt which went for a TD (and not a safety). Hello - take the safety next time. Ugh - this one cost me 3 points. What a wild game. I can't remember a bigger collapse in modern times. This one has to hurt. The metro-dome is still stunned!

4) Thank you Michigan - I'm not sure how you did it but thank you for my 1 point today. You finally came through for me after 3 losses. What an amazing comeback at home to beat a solid Penn State Squad on a TD with no time left on the clock. Why do you kick to Breaston with the game on the line and a 4 point lead? I thought for sure it was over when Robinson scored leaving BIG BLUE only 18 seconds ont he game clock. I love freshmen receivers on slant plays with no time left. Tough loss for the LIONS. Sorry Mark.

5) Ah, West Virginia - you cost me 7 points today. Rather, what happened to Louisville? Ugh! How do you blow a 17 point lead in the 2nd half to WV? I mean it was 24-7 Louisville in the 4th quarter until their freshmen stud (Slaton) had 6 TD's in the 2nd half in a 3OT thriller for the ages. This had to be the most exciting game of the day. Louisville continues to prove that they struggle on the road in big games.

6) The TEXAS schools looked good today, especially the Longhorns and the Red Raiders. Both had convincing victories. Next week they face each other. Vince Young and Cody Hodges had ridiculous numbers today (643 passing yards for Cody, what?). Vince Young only went 25-29 for 339 yds, whoa nelly! This should be a good game. And when the BCS numbers come out this week, TEXAS should be #2 and not VA TECH.

7) Boston College showed me something today in their comeback victory against WAKE FOREST at home in the rain. It didn't look good until late in the 2nd half after being down 20points early. But, that was a gutty comeback by the EAGLES under difficult circumstances. Good teams find ways to win at all costs. A little luck never hurts either.

8) LSU hung on to beat a weak Florida offense today, but just barely surviving 5 turnovers. I thought this was going to cost me 8 points and be a repeat of Tennesse there for a while. LSU did their best to lose this game in the first 3 quarters. But Florida is so anemic on offense these days that it what wasn't meant to be. Geaux Tigers! It wasn't pretty, but it was a win.

9) Northwestern beat Purdue today in West Lafayette. Wow, this is another big win for the program. Nobody in the BIG -10 right now wants to play the Wildcats, especially in Evanston. They could be undefeated in BIG-10 play were it for not an amazing Nittany Lion comeback a few weeks ago. The purple crew is back.

10) Ohio State found a way to beat Michigan State today. That field-goal block/return before halftime was the spark the BUCKS needed. Leave it to SPARTY to find a way to beat itself. There is something about Michigan State which is Cougaresque. I almost expect them to shoot one or both feet off at some point during a big game. Another total collapse on special teams. The coaching staff really had a hand in this loss; thank you. John L. Smith was furious, and rightly so. Holy Cow! What great Audio by the Spartan head coach heading into the halftime break. Gotta love it. Ohio State had 12 sacks in this game. Wow!

11) Auburn looks to be for real this year. BIG win today over Arkansas. UCLA also had a good win in OT today against Wazzu. The Cougars are great at finding ways to lose games. They 'coug'd' it again! That USC matchu-up in LA is looking better and better each week. Both the DUCKS and BEAVS won today. OSU had an impressive road victory in Strawberry Canyon today over the BEARS. Will be interesting to see how high the ducks climb in the polls this week.

12) Linfield College (McMinnville). Congrats on 50 straight winning seasons of college football. Very impressive.

Mirek's Top - 10:

1) USC
4) Georgia
6) BC
8) Texas Tech
9) LSU
10) UCLA (Notre Dame a close #11).

Your Heisman Winner: Reggie BUSH (for now). Leinart, Vick, and Young still have an outside chance. Everybody else is just figting for a seat in New York.

Bring on week 8 and the following match-ups:

TT @ Texas
Auburn @ LSU
Penn State @ ILLINOIS
Tennessee @ Alabama
Northwestern @ Michigan State
Princeton @ Harvard

Don't forget the BCS comes out this week. Let the controversy begin.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Love those Catholics

Will the streak end in South Bend? Go White Sox - beat the Angels. Jesus has 9 points on Southern Cal. How 'bout those White Sox? Like Apple Pie and Chevrolet. Chevy and baseball just go together. The real thing - John Garland! I love Saturday mornings in the fall.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Another Separation Saturday...

Have you made your pix yet? Wow - this is going to be a week of movement.

Michigan State @ Ohio State
Notre Dame hosting USC
Wisconsin @ Minnesota
Louisville @ WV
Penn State @ Michigan
Auburn @ Arkansas
Florida @ LSU
Colorado State @ BYU

All of these games could go either way. I find myself having to put a lot of points on teams and match-ups that might not be so favorable. I suspect others are in the same position. With so much at stake this late in the season, a BAD week could mean the end of your championship hopes.

Of course a great weekend could mean first place by yourself and a comfortable margin. This could be my greatest moment or my total undoing. Bring it on!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mid-Year Pick Em Focal

I debated as to whether or not I should release the reviews now or after week 7. While I reserve the right to go back next week and change the rankings, here is your mid-year focal message. I see 5 clear rank groups with Frey in a class by himself. While I hated to do it, it seemed appropriate. The bell curve has no home here. Don't shoot the messenger. Just hate your performance and seek to improve. Remember, these are just mid-year messages. Here we go:

Photonic Cowboy - Outstanding, especially after a 9 - point surge on Saturday. Very impressive, and he roots for BC to boot. Welcome to first place, the target on your back is clearly visible to all.

Fighting Illini '71 - Exceeds Expectations. Not a bad start to the first half of the year but clearly some work to do. Page 1 or bust. I won't be happy until the plasma is in my family room.

BYU-OLD is NEW - Exceeds Expectations. Off to a good start at 97.3%. Still room for improvement. Needs to work on tolerance to ambiguity.

Sabbatical Recovery - Exceeds Expectations. At 97.3% and tied for 2nd place did anybody expect this from Jesse? Surely - yours truly is very impressed.

Mighty Oregon ' 91 - Exceeds Expectations. You knew there had to be a DUCK in bucket 1.

DUCKSBCSBOWL - Exceeds Expectations. Make that 2 ducks in bucket 1.

OSU Parent - Successful start to the year. Plenty of room for improvement going forward. Nobody is better picking the close games.

Olivertwist - Successful. Although, somewhat disappointing this isn't an Exceeds Expectations. Hmm....will the IRISH beat SC?

Triton Power - Successful. No idea what the name neams. Successfull nonetheless. Ignorance is no excuse.

Buckeye Convert - Successful. It hurts me to say Buckeye and succesful in the same sentence. I'll make the exception for Doctor Larsen.

Soccer Sucks - Successful. Hey, what do you expect? He moved overseas and all they have over there is Guiness, soccer, and Padraig Herrington. Hang in there Mark. There is a place in Happy Valley for you.

Red Raider Alum - Below expectations. You have to play every week, especially if you went to Texas Tech and admit it.

Dam Building Quacker - see above. BE.

BIG 12 Champ - BE. See DBQ.

L.O.S.T - BE. What does this mean? Please explain.

HUSKER Nation - BE.

BritAdams - IR

Will the Dawgs Suck? - Yes, and IR.

Your AP TOP-25, Penn State's BIG MOVE!

Not sure the Nittany LIONS deserve a TOP-10 just yet. AP seems to have really bought-in to Joe Pa Pa. They're ranked ahead of LSU, Florida, and Notre Dame? Hmmm...interesting. We'll see how long that lasts with some very tough BIG-10 road games coming up soon, starting next week at Michigan. It's amazing how one really big win can affect the polls. Good for the LIONS.

Oregon, Colorado, and Texas Tech also made some big moves this week. TT looks for real - at least with Cody Hodges and that passing game. Same for Georgia after beating the VOLS at Rocky Top. What happened to A&M?

Auburn is sneaking its way back up into the top -25. Northwestern is knocking on the door after lighting - up the Badger D. And with their little brown jug win, Minnesota reappears. The BIG-10 has 5 teams in the TOP-25 right now. It's going to be hard to keep it that way since they all beat up on each other.

What another great week of college grid-iron. Can't wait for next Saturday.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Mirek's Week 6 Pick Em Wrap

Let me begin by saying thank you Michigan. What the hell? I mean come on - we're talking Minnesota. Patriacca had 5 points on the Gophers. Ridiculous. He also took Penn State and UCLA. Gutsy picks. What a charge today! How can UM beat MSU and then lose to the Gophers (a rodant team) at home. Yikes - Ugh - Umh! Congrats to Patriacca on a great weekend.

It's interesting to me that with a score of 39 points I moved up 1.5% in the national rankings. Must have been a blood bath at the top of the National Leaderboard yesterday. I bet a lot of people lost some serious points on Michigan, ASU, and Ohio State. Figure in close games with CAL, Nebraska, and Georgia and you get some big movements in the rankings. What a mess at the top of our group. 10 of us are within 17 points of the lead. Bring - on week 7. OK, here we go:

1) Yes, the little brown jug goes back to Minnesota for the first time in like 20 years (1986 to be exact). I know, unbelieveable to say the least. Michigan is really hard to figure out this year. The oldest trophy in the game goes to the Gophers for the next year. Yuck....and so do my 6 points.

2) Hook-em Horns! Texas rolls over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. In - VINCE - ible young was awesome. Texas is loaded. Can anybody stop them? Taylor, Sweed, Charles, and Young. Too good for most. Maybe - we'll see. Who is the in the Heisman lead ahead of Vince Young of Texas?

3) Illinois lost today to Indiana. It doesn't get much lower than this. The Hoosiers are a senior squad - but still. Yikes. We're #11 in the BIG-10 this year. Not good. Send in the National Guard. Forget about rebuilding New Orleans. We need it more in Champaign. Pape' Jam in two months.

4) Texas Tech won a game today. They beat a good Nebraska team. Cody Hodges is a freak - no make that a magician. Caesar - I'm sorry. You were right. TT is for real. They can move the ball at will with their passing game. Hodges threw for 1 MILLION yards despite turnovers and penalties. TT won a great game. Nebraska really showed me something today. They are on the way back to the top despite this set-back. But for two years in a row, the Red Raiders beat the HUSKERS. Sure, it wasn't by 60 points, but it was homecoming in LINCOLN; big win for TT. Heart-break loss for the HUSKERS.

5) How about those BULLDOGS from Georgia? Wow - a very impressive win on the road at Rocky Top. They are a good squad. It's hard to win there. But, they've done it 3 straight times now. The road team really owns this series of late. Wuff Wuff! Tennessee contiues to struggle at HOME against the top -10.

6) What's up with Purdue? They are in free-fall with 3 straight losses after going down again at home today to IOWA. Wow - how fast is terminal velocity anyway? How about those NW Wildcats? Wis-who? NW gashed WIS today. How about Tyrell Sutton? He's only a freshmen. That's right - the BIG-10 is wide open right now.

7) So - CAL, Va. Tech, BC, Miami, FSU, and Florida all cruised today in good wins. Hmmmmm...... are the men of Troy beatable? We'll find out next week in South Bend. Good game - good game. Who wins? Will SC play a full 60 minutes? If yes - give it to the men of Troy. Otherwise - lookout!

8) Colorado opened-up a can of WHOOP - ASS on A&M today. It was old, stinky, and very nasty. They dominated the Aggies in Boulder. Wow! A&M looks aweful. Yikes, do I hear a coach buy-out option? I did see a plate of money being passed around by the alumns in Boulder. Uh -0h! This was a beat-down.

9) Penn State and the cool was it to see 1/3 of the stadium in total white. Actually, about 20k of the student body wore white to confuse the BUCKS. And it worked. Wow - very impressive. Penn State ha sa linebacker who makes plays (Pusluszny?). Gotta love Joe Pa Pa and the Nittany LIONS. Ohio State and Penn State battled in the 2nd - half. It was a defensive struggle all night long. Penn State prevailed. Congrats to the Nittany LIONS. How about that defense? That was a struggle. But looky looky, Penn State has the 3rd longest winning streak in the land behind SC and TEXAS. Joe Pa Pa is back. If you ask him, he never left.

10) PAC-10 update - Maurice Jones Drew had 4 TD for UCLA against CAL. What a game. Almost as good as Nebraska and TT. Both of these squads are legit. Either can beat SC later this season. This is the last time I listen to Triton Mike. What the hell? You promised me a CAL victory on Friday.

Your Heisman Update: If it were awarded today it would to go VINCE YOUNG of TEXAS. Also in the mix include Reggie BUSH, Matt LEINART, Marcus VICK, and Brady QUINN.

My TOP 10:

1) SC
5) FSU
8) LSU
9) Notre Dame
10) Penn State

Big games for next week include:

SC @ Notre Dame
Michigan State @ Ohio State
Wisconsin @ Minnesota
Colorado @ Texas
Florida @ LSU
Oregon State @ CAL
Penn State @ Michigan

What's up with CBS? Carve Pumpkins Instead

Instead of Georga and Tennesse I get some charity-auction fundraising event for the Oregon Humane Society. Ugh!

Carve pumpkins at the attached link instead. Pretty cute for the kids! I recommend trying this first before you actually perform the real deal with your kids.

Another ILLINI Loss - Ouch!

This one was a litmus test of how bad we really are. Generally speaking, when you lose to Indiana in the BIG-10 it can only mean one thing: YOU STINK. The second thing it usually means is that your are #11 in the BIG-10. That's where the ILLINI find themselves right now mid-way through the season. It doesn't look good. If there is any good news, we can't lose next weekend. We have a bye week before Penn State comes to Champaign.

We hung in there for 3 quarters before Indiana put it away in the 4th. They do have a veteran squad. Hoeppner is a good coach. Give credit to Blake Powers (QB) who threw 4 TD passes against our 'Defense'. At least we only gave up 36 points today. Thank God we didn't play Texas Tech today.

The difference seemed to be too many miscues by the ILLINI offense. Timmy was 22-39 for 230yds but also had a fumble and a pick. Ugh - we stink. We need to make plays but can't. Our fundamentals are strong, but it appears to me that this team lacks two important elements: skill and chemistry. At times, we move the ball but struggle to convert the momentum into points. We are now having trouble scoring. Ugh - what else can go wrong? I can only hope the recruiting effort is in full swing. We definitely have 'opportunities' to play right away at ILLINOIS. That might be our best selling point.

Basketball season starts on November 18th against South Dakota State. We play 4 cream-puffs before going back to Chapel Hill to take on the Tarheels on November 29th. Bring on the hardwood I'm ready for it to start again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Little wager between Governors?

Governor Brad Henry (OK) and Governor Rick Perry (TX) have a little something extra riding on the outcome of Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday. What they are wagering isn't as important as the words they've been using lately. What do you expect for the 100th meeting between these two schools? It's Texas and Oklahoma. Hook-em Horns!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Top College Traditions

These are the top 10 college traditions in the game.

College football is known for its pageantry, rivalries, and traditions more than any other American sport. From coast to coast, college football programs have their own quirky ways of celebrating the game with unique rituals that can only come from decades of games, along with a deeply rooted passion from the alumni and fans.
So which traditions are the most unique in college football? Which ones are the most identifiable, and which ones inspire the most excitement and stir the deepest feelings? Compiled by the staff of, here are the 10 most unique traditions based on what they mean to the game, what they mean to each school, and above all else, how cool they are. From the awe-inspiring sights of a 1,300-pound buffalo and 20,000 students jumping around, to the drama of a flaming spear plunged into the ground, to the parties and social gatherings that bring fans together, here's our very debatable list of the 10 most unique traditions.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Your Heisman Update

Leinart's lead is shrinking over team-mate Reggie BUSH! Honestly, if the award were given today, it would have to go to Mr. BUSH. Vince Young isn't too far behind and 1 good weekend against USC and Brady Quinn is right there. Everybody else is on the outside looking in.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

FOXSPORTS Weekend Summary

FOX usually does a good job putting the final wrap on Saturday's grid-iron action. With Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Alabama all returning to form these days there is a lot of excitement coming back into the national picture. It's not just about the left or right coast anymore.

As we move into the meaty part of the season (with conference play in full swing these days), here are a few games I'll be paying attention to this week:

Ohio State @ Penn State
Illinois @ Indiana
Oklahoma @ Texas
Georgia @ Tennessee
Texas Tech @ Nebraska
A&M @ Colorado
Oregon @ ASU
Iowa @ Purdue
Minnesota @ Michigan

USA Today Coaches Poll - 10/2/2005

Penn State enters the list for the first time in a while at #18 after whipping - up on the Might Gophers from Minnesota (44-14). Next week they host the BUCKS in State College. I think the AP poll has them at #16.

Texas Tech is way too high at #13, even after beating a strong Kansas squad yesterday. They only scored 30 points! What gives?

Bama cracks the TOP - 10. Nebraska looks to be just outside the Top - 25 looking in. Notre Dame is at #12 with a bye week coming up before hosting the Trojans on the 15th. Seems like old - times with Bama, Nebraska, Penn State, and Notre Dame returning to form so far this season. The times are a changin' - that's for sure.

But USC is still the team to beat. Yesterday's win in the desert marks 13 straight wins over ranked teams dating back to 2002 when they last lost to #17 Washington State. Wow! These guys are still good. But they need to start playing 60 minutes of football or - uh oh!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Mirek's Week 5 Pick Em Wrap

Saturday's are so much fun! What another great Saturday of College football. How about those Tide? And those Nittany Lions? And those Wolverines from Ann Arbor? And those Huskers from Nebraska? And, of course - those Trojans from So-Cal. How good are they? Here's my week 5 wrap - a week which saw Mirek assume the lead in PICK EM; note this date - October 1st 2005. This was one of those tough weekends in PICK EM. It's good to win and not so good when you lose. I love SATURDAY! Lou Holtz is an idiot! Give me liberty or give me death.

1) Wow - how good is Alabama? I mean come on - 31 to 3 over a good Florida team. Very impressive - they will be moving up in the polls this week. I never would have figured Brodie's Boys would have lit up that Gator defense like they did. And what about that Florida offense and Chris Leak? Where was he all day? Bama is back, and that's a good thing. That defense is impressive. Congrats ont he win Mr. Shula. But what a loss in Prothro and his broken leg. BAMA just can't avoid the devastating injury. This could be big! I love PROTHRO. Get well fast!

2) OK - this just in; USC is very very good. After toying with ASU like they did with the ducks last week, the men of Troy woke up in the 2nd half and scored 35 points. Very cool, and very strong even though it was very hot - like 1 MILLION degrees. Punishment. SC has a dominant O-Line. No mental mistakes. They know what to do. COMOSURE, yes sir. 277 yards rushing in the 2nd half. Give me VA TECH and SC in Pasadena !

This is not a good message for the rest of the teams out there. ASU is a great squad. And, it was hot today in the valley of the sun. I can't remember a team being this dominant in college football. They have so many weapons and obscene amount of depth at just about every position. They can beat you in so many ways. Will they lose before January - probably not. Bring on Notre Dame. These guys don't believe they can be beat. How calm and how confident. How cool!

3) Texas looked good today over Missouri - especially late (51-20 winners). Next week they get Oklahoma. Could this be the year? I think so.

3b) FSU won impressively today. Weatherford is getting better week by week. Watch-out ACC. Here come the NOLES.

4) Penn State and Joe Pa Pa - what can be said? A strong win today for the Nittany Lions who improve to 5-0. Joe Pa Pa is a genius (44-14 winner). They beat a strong squad from Minnesota. Maroney only had 48 yards - 14 in the 2nd half. That is a big - time stuff job on a great back. Penn State ran 97 plays to only 63 for Minnesota. The get Ohio State next weekend at home in State College. Go LIONS. STATE vs. STATE. Wo Nelly! Gosh All - Mighty! Keep in mind the BUCKS were off this week.

5) Thank you SPARTY. After whipping up on my ILLINI last week you laid an egg at home against Michigan today. Shame on you. You should have won today. Too much trickeration and crap for your own good. Focus on the basics next time like kicking, and blocking, and lining-up correctly. I mean come on already. You cost me 6 points today. Shame on you. I won't put points on SPARTY again this year. Phooh Yah! Welcome back Michael Hart. You saved the Wolverine season.

6) Congrats to those HUSKERS for beating a very good IOWA STATE bunch. They won ugly - but they won me 1 point today.

7) This just in - VA TECH is not bad. Watch-out world for those HOKIES. They might just provide the toughest test for USC in the ROSE BOWL this year.

8) Both the DUCKS and the BEAVS won today - both lost last week. Looks like the BEAVS had 21 points in the 4th quarter of a great comeback against the Cougars - very cool.

9) MTSU (Middle Tennessee State) beat Vandy today on the road. The streak comes to an end. The commodores lost and are now 4-1 on the season. Will they make a bowl game this year? We'll have to wait and see.

10) Welcome to DIV 1 football Texas Tech. Congratulations on that hard-earned victory today over Kansas. Tomato cans, marshmellows, and cupcakes. You only scored 30 points today. What happened? Same to Texas A&M - what a great win over BYALOR. Yikes! We were lucky!

10b) I will never pick against Notre Dame again - unless they play USC. What a total domination tonight over Purdue in West Lafayette. They get USC in two weeks and Tennessee at home after that. Hmm....very interesting Dr. Watson. Where does Purdue go from here? The Catholics had 5 million yards of offense tonight against a 'great' defense. How good is Jeff Semardja?

10c) OK - here is how you fix OT in College Football. Place the ball at the 35 yard-line instead of the 25 yard-line. Done. I fixed it. Send me the check.

My TOP - 10:

1) USC
4) Florida State
5) Ohio State
6) Georgia
7) Miami
8) Tennessee
9) Notre Dame
10) Alabama

Heismann Hopefuls:

Vince Young, Reggie BUSH, Marcus Vick, Brady Quinn

ILLINI fall to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City

It wasn't a rosy day for the ILLINI in Iowa City today as we lost 35-7. Not much went right. Our defense continues to under perform. We need speed and size in order to contend in the BIG - 10. Iowa got out to an early lead and never looked back. Zook had high hopes for this one as we looked to bounce-back after the Sparty loss. Wasn't in the cards today. Hopefully our recruiting efforts will begin to pay off next year. This is going to be a project for Zook and the ILLINI. Don't look for anything spectacular for a few more seasons. Too many missed opportunites (blocked kicks and the like). We played like we dressed in pink locker rooms. The defense is really low on confidence these days and it shows.

Iowa out-rushed us 300 to 150. We out-passed them 233 to 175. We were 0-3 on field goals - not good at all. Coach says we're not as far away as people think. It's not about effort. Our guys are trying. They're not quitters. We're chasing and pursuing with 8 and 9 guys around the ball on defense. Right now, we're tinkering with the chemistry and the personnel schemes. Our linebackers need to improve collectively as a unit. They know it and we know it. Well done is better than well said. Just do it. We need to learn and apply those learnings going forwad.

This should have been a 16-14 game (ILLINOIS) at the half. Woulda / Coulda / Shoulda. The 2nd-half was history. We just need to get over the peverbial bar, the hurdle, the roadblock. Next week we travel to Bloomington to play those mighty Hoosiers of Indiana. It's amazing what a win can do for a program. God help us. When does basketball season start?

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