Friday, March 30, 2007

Love the love

ESPN came out with the Ultimate Standings of fan satisfaction from their SportsNation page. This is the complete compelation of all 122 of the MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams.

The categories:
Bang for the Buck: Revenues directly from fans divided by wins in the past three years
Fan Relations: Ease of access to players, coaches & management
Ownership: Honesty; loyalty to players and city
Affordability: Price of tickets, parking and concessions
Stadium Experience: Friendliness of environment; quality of game-day promotions
Players: Effort on the field; likability off it
Coach/Manager: Strong on-field leadership
Title Track: Titles already won or expected -- soon

How did the NFC North do? Let's look.

Packers 23 overall, #4 in NFL
Bears 50 overall, #11 in NFL
Vikings 119 overal, #30 in NFL (4th worst franchise overall)
Lions 122 overall, #32 in NFL (worst franchise overall)

So, as you can see, the Packers are still the class of not only the NFC North, but amongst the elite in the NFL. What did the other teams in? For Chicago, it was that the players want nothing to do with the fans and it costs a lot of money to go to a game at the spaceship stadium; and those trailer-park-living Bears fans need their beer money and money to buy collectables of the '85 Bears team. Minnesota... well their stadium sucks, their team sucks, the fans hate the team, their coach and their owner. As for Detroit, well, it's friggin' Detroit; 'nuff said there. Boy are the Lions and Vikings pathetic.

How about the Brewers? Well, glad you asked. The Brewers were #16 overall (that's right, they are above the Packers). Miller Park is the big reason why. The games are affordable, people have fun there and Miller Park was ranked as the 12th best stadium in all of sports. Not to mention they were tops in their division and #5 overall in MLB. Whoo Hoo!

The Bucks? They didn't do so good and deservedly so. They were #94 and they ranked with the 3rd worst coach in all of sports, who is now gone. This team has a long way to go.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Anyone else bored?

WI sports right now aren't all that exciting.

The Badgers got bounced in the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney, but I've already gone over that.

How many times can I post that the Bucks suck and doing their best to try and get Oden or Durant in the draft.

The Packers have signed a whopping 1 free agent (no surprise) and have not made any trades, although they have been linked to several players out there in this category. But I don't like really speculating on the trade rumor of the day. I like to wait until a move is done, then analyse it, otherwise it's a waste of time. Moss was the exception given the history.

Unless I happen to be in AZ watching the Brewers, it's hard for me to get all that into spring training. I want to see them actually win in the regular season and be healthy for once.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

That's one way to get closer to the #1 pick

The Bucks have put Bogut and Villanueva on the injury list for the rest of the season, which is only 15 games at this point. This tremendously helps the Bucks chances of getting the #1 overall pick in the coming draft. When Larry K was put in as the interim coach after Stotts was fired, the Bucks responded with more effort than we've seen in any 3 previous games combined. Suddenly, the prospect that the Bucks would move up in the overall standings and ruin their chances at a shot at Oden or Durant (my personal choice) was growing more and more likely. But with these latest injuries to these two guys, we can rest easier at night. Now instead of potentially posting a 10-5 record over the last 15 games (look at their schedule, it's easy) they are more likely to go 6-9 or worse, thus keeping the dream of another #1 overall pick. The Bucks have been extremely disappointing this year. How much you wanna bet Redd wishes he signed with Cleveland now?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


NCAA scientist hard at work determining tournament seeding.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one left scratching my head trying to figure out how only three WCHA teams made it into the NCAA tournament last week, while Hockey East and the CCHA got in five and four, respectively. Does this make any sense whatsoever? The numbers confirm that the WCHA, as usual, was the best conference this season, so how in the world did western teams fare so badly in the Pairwise Rankings? How can the CCHA on the whole go 6-16-5 against the WCHA and still get more teams into the tournament? Most frustrating of all, had the NCAA used the KRACH formula (which just about everyone agrees is better than the Pairwise) to determine the tournament field, the WCHA would have had a whopping seven teams in the tournament (Minnesota, St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Denver, Wisconsin, Michigan Tech, and Colorado College).

I'm not trying to be a homer and imply that I think CC should have made the tournament, because frankly, I don't. Tournament teams don't lose opening round home playoff series. However, something is seriously wrong when such a strong conference can get jobbed so badly come selection time. I mean, does anyone really think that St. Lawrence and Miami are better than Denver? Of course, the comeback to that is that if Denver wanted to get in, they shouldn't have laid an egg against Wisconsin in their first round series. At the same time, however, when you look at Denver's season on the whole and take into account strength of schedule, there is no way in hell they should be getting passed over in favor of teams from the CCHA and ECAC.

I would hope that a travesty like this would be the straw that breaks the camels back and forces the NCAA to adopt a new way of seeding teams, but I doubt it will happen. If there's one thing that could make matters even worse for the WCHA, it's that Minnesota and North Dakota ended up in the same region, meaning that one of those two will definitely be out of the Frozen Four (I'd be surprised if they didn't play each other to determine who goes).


* How worried is the NCAA about attendance in Denver? Not only are three of the biggest name teams in the country (Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan) being sent there, but the NCAA even managed to sneak a local team (Air Force) in there as well.

* The NCAA must have been grimacing watching DU and CC's seasons end. DU, which had been as high as 5th in the Pairwise Rankings looked like an absolute lock to make the tourney with just a few weeks left, but fell apart spectacularly down the stretch. CC, even, remained on the bubble as well right up until the end before falling short. When both teams lost their opening playoff series, there must have been some sort of panic going on. At least Air Force managed to give them some consolation.

* How happy is Maine that there's an OOC bonus involved in the Pairwise? Without it, they'd be way on the wrong side of the bubble; with it, they managed to get in. Shows once again the importance of early season non-conference wins - Maine racked up three against Minnesota and North Dakota.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What a weekend

Had a absolute blast with my friends in Milwaukee this weekend. Ate loads of good food: steaks from the 5 O'Clock Supper Club (best steakhouse in Milwaukee), Oakland Gyros, Omega, Sali's (REAL butter burgers, not that Culvers junk), etc. The best part as always was the conversations with the gang. Here are the best lines from the weekend:

"Duke can't shoot in high def!" my quote as our coverage kept going in and out of HD and every time we were in HD, the Dukkies would miss a shot in the final 3 minutes. Poor Duke. Best. game. ever.

"This is Steve, can you bring over a pound of bacon."

"How are we supposed to have a conversation about midgets with you gaying it up over there?"

"You know why the Badgers won? Jack and Coke!" We started drinking these at halftime of the Badgers/Texas A&M CC game. Badgers scored 57 in the second half and won. I rest my case.

The Badgers got outsted by UNLV on Sunday in a game they were doomed to lose early on. Once again they had a slow start and at this level, you cannot do that and continue on. Kudos to UNLV for their good play and clutch 3 pt shooting. Disappointed in the Badgers performance, but completely forseeable even with the CC game. Boy the Badgers missed Butch. With him out, Chappell had to play more minutes and he is painful to watch on the offensive end. The Badgers play 4 on 5 on offense when he is on the floor. With Butch, he's a threat to score both inside and outside. We desperately needed him yesterday, but Ryan would not take a chance on injuring Butch's elbow any further.

I hope you now all join with me in rooting against FL and OSU. OSU was handed the game by the officials. Not calling an intentional foul on Oden at the 12 second mark when he flat out shoved the player about 6 feet out of bounds was ridiculous. He made no attempt at the ball and simply became a thug, and was rewarded for it. I just have a thing against rent-a-player championships. That's what Oden is for OSU. As for FL, I just don't like Noah. Plus, I don't want them to repeat as that will just make the SEC losers just that much more annoying with their bragging.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On The Road Again

Just can't wait to get on the road again...

I'm off for my yearly get-together with my buddies Gabe and Murph for the opening weekend of March Madness. We're on year 14 of this and I've only missed one weekend with the birth of my wonderful daughter. Needless to say, there will be lots of junk food and Coke all weekend. We do go out for a real nice dinner on Saturday night at the 5 O'Clock Supper Club (best steaks in WI), and there's a guy who always brings over rib tips and coleslaw. It's some fine eatin'.

The Badgers have their best seeding ever with a #2 seed in the tourney and it's well deserved. They struggled some at the end of the season, but I'm not too worried as they are a legit Elite 8 team even without Butch. It's all on Tucker and Taylor to come through with some big games for the Badgers to advance, especially Tucker. If he's not scoring 20+/game, Bucky is in trouble.

The Road to the Final Four begins this weekend. Let's hope our Badgers have enough gas to make it.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Is MLB and DirecTV all that bad?

The godfather of Brewers baseball, Rambling Al, posts his thoughts on this issue. Like always, he makes the most complicated things seem, well, simple. Once again he takes the Selig detractors behind the woodshed.

Check it out

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

So long Ahman

I know I'm way late with this, but I've been a bit busy lately (yeah yeah boo hoo and all that). However, I figured that it was time I chimed in on the Ahman Green signing with Texas for 4 yrs and $23 million.

First off, I am sad to see him go. I was hoping he could retire as a Packer as I really like the guy, but that is not to be.

However, there is no need to panic Packer friends. None.

To rationalize this, one must look at some of the facts.

Green is over 30 years old and statistically, RB's start getting worse once they hit this age. It's been proven. Put this together with a RB with a good amount of milage on him already and still recovering from a major injury and one should not break the bank for the guy.

Houston's offer was quite good given this scenario. TT did the right thing by not trying to outbid for his services. No need to gamble that much money on a question mark of a player.

Under the zone blocking system, one does not need a superstar back. Denver has proven this year after year. You find the backs that already have good vision and make the one difinitive cut to make the yardage happen. In other words, this system can make a mediocre back look very good (big cap savings here). Plenty of these backs in the draft as well.

The Packers already have a good back for this system in Vernand Morency. He showed last season that he has the abilities to run in this type of offense. Morency had to learn this on the fly last year and with a year under his belt and a likely improved OL, he'll succeed just fine and I don't see a reason why he cannot have a 1000 yd+ season next year. There's no need to reinvent the RB wheel here by getting a big name FA and then drafting a RB as many are advocating.

I'm not saying we should pass on a RB like Marshawn Lynch should he be available to us in the draft, but I'd rather TT uses his money to get us a pass-catching TE and a safety that doesn't forget he's supposed to STOP receivers from catching the ball. Those positions need far more help than RB does right now.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Tigers Win Gold Pan But Can't Hang On For Season Sweep

Tiger fans were excited last night as CC reclaimed the Gold Pan for the first time in three years, but that excitement faded when the Tigers coughed up a late two-goal lead and lost a chance to sweep the season series against their archrival. With just four seconds left to play, Denver's senior sniper Ryan Dingle completed the improbable comeback as the World Arena went silent. Five minutes later the game was in the books - a 5-5 tie. Disappointing and surprising, to say the least after taking a quick 3-0 lead and holding onto a two goal lead until the final seconds. Not to mention missing an open net in the final minute by just inches that would have put the game well out of reach. But such was the case on Saturday and the Tigers finished the regular season at 5th in the WCHA for the second straight year after a series that was fairly similar to last year's between the two teams. Last year Denver went 3-0-1 against CC after an early season sweep, a win at CC in March, and then a late and somewhat improbable come-from-behind tie in the final matchup. This year, the Tigers went 3-0-1 against the Pioneers after an early season sweep, a win at DU in March, and an enormously improbable come-from-behind tie in the final game.

Chad Rau had another big series against DU, scoring a goal on Friday night and then two on Saturday. Bill Sweatt and Andreas Vlassapoulos kept up their stellar play of late as well with each tallying three assists on Saturday, and Sweatt scoring a nice goal on Friday. Lee Sweatt also continued to lead the Tigers' defense in scoring with a goal and an assist on the weekend. Mike Testwuide tallied yet another goal against his brother's team. Lastly, Matt Zaba had his second shutout of the season with a great effort on Friday.

Overall, the weekend was a good one- but Tiger fans still wanted more after dominating the Pioneers for most of the game on Saturday and squandering a late lead. The weekend results combined with the results around college hockey dropped CC to 16th in the Pairwise Rankings - out of the tournament, for the time being. The one bright spot on the weekend, in my opinion, are the matchups for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. Denver, which finishes the season one point ahead of CC at 4th in the WCHA, will face No. 7 Wisconsin, while the Tigers will host No. 6 Michigan Tech. Technically, of course, Michigan Tech is the better team since they finished ahead of the Badgers, but I still like the Tigers chances more against the Huskies than I would against last year's champs. Michigan Tech is a much improved team this year and is currently on the bubble for NCAA postseason play, but the Tigers record against Tech at the World Arena is impeccable. Add to that the fact that Wisconsin, defending champs of the whole shabang, are desperate to advance and sneak into the tourney, and they have one of the best goalies in the country, and I think they could be a dangerous team late in the season. Wisconsin has already won one at Magness this season - I wouldn't be surprised to see them steal one or even two from DU in the coming series. Michigan Tech, however, is no slouch. The Huskies took three points from CC in Houghton last month and finished the season with an impressive win at Minnesota, which moved them to a tie for 17th in the Pairwise - right on the Tigers' heels. Both teams are playing to extend their season and get an NCAA bid. The Huskies also have one of the country's top goalies - sophomore Michael-Lee Teslak comes into this series with a .913 save percentage and 2.08 GAA. So, I may be wrong to want to face the Huskies, but I have vivid memories of Wisconsin coming to the World Arena last season and putting on a clinic, and I don't think I'd like to see them in a three game series next week.

I like the Tigers chances for next weekend - the boys should be hungry after the debacle at the end of the game on Saturday, and have a great history against Michigan Tech at the World Arena. I'm sure the veteran players on the team remember last year's disappointing playoff loss to St. Cloud State that kept the Tigers out of the Final Five and will be looking to reverse that trend this season. CC could also be playing for another shot at the Pioneers, if they can beat Wisconsin, as the two would play in the Final Five play-in game if they were to advance.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I've never been as unimpressed with the NFL's FA class as I have with this year's one. There's nobody worth spending a bunch of money on and the pickings are pretty slim. Don't expect a big $ FA signing from TT, we're much closer to the cap minimum this year than last year.

My predictions:

We'll likely sign a pass-catching TE given that Franks is so crappy.

A safety signing is all but assured with Manuel sucking like a cheap _____, you get the picture.

Curious, if Manuel covered Franks what would happen? Like two like magnets, they couldn't physically get too close to each other and simply just fall down.

I see us signing a nickel CB as there is no depth at this position.

Don't be surprised if we pick up a mid-range DL, likely DT for some added depth.

We could trade for Moss (I personally hope happens for the right price, but doubtful) or Darrell Jackson (doubtful, too expensive) to help bolster the WR corps. Likely TT signs a released vet, which will be an underwhelming player.

Moral of this post: TT isn't going to be a big spender and don't expect a huge splash either trade or signing. It's just not his nature.