Saturday, January 30, 2010

State of the Union Address: Kansas Jayhawks

I'd like to start by accepting the shout out from ol' Billy Boy Self for reading the blog and yanking Tyshawn from the starting lineup, even though he had to go and one up me by choosing Brady Morningstar over Tyrel Reed- eh, the Tighty Whiteys are interchangeable. This move has resulted in, or at least contributed to, the best two-game stretch of the season (@Iowa St, Missouri) from the team, with only the Temple game being comparable. This should come as no surprise, as this is the time of year that KU always gets it in gear, right at the start of conference season. And since some of the players are confused about what's expected of them, and the fact that Self loves to read my blog so much, I will now lay out the roles for each player (ranked in importance to the team's success):

Sherron Nasty- The man. Has the balls necessary to lead a team to a National Championship. Doing a great job of figuring out when to take over games, and when to defer to teammates. Think of his legacy if he can lead Kansas to a National Championship this year.

'Cus Morris- Turning on beast mode. Averaging 19 and 8 in conference games so far. I rated him as more important than Cole because he has a better chance of becoming the go to low-post scorer. To win it all, you need a man you dump the ball down to and expect a basket. Shadyyyyyy.

Colehelm Aldrich- The Funnelcake. I've given up on Cole at the offensive end, and Herm Edwards tells me that's okayyyyy. It's okkkkk. Just focus on the defensive end. The rest of the defense funnels the offense into Cole sitting right under the basket for some sweet swat action. Funnelcakez.

Brady 'Cornbread' Morningstar- Dude does it all. Every KU fan would understand why he is this high on the list. Every non-KU fan would be confused why he's this high. Defense, passing, and court awareness are the reasons why. A mere 9 points as a season-high causes the confusion. There's more to basketball than scoring.

Xavier Henry- X-Man. The Phader. The Snipah. Has been in a shooting slump for a while now, but I prescribe for him to just shoot his way out of it. Needs his confidence to be high come tournament time.

Tyshawn Taylor- The Pine Cone. Should thrive coming off the bench. Seems to be playing with more passion since his inoffensive demotion, especially on the defensive end. At the beginning of the season, I wanted him to be the steady hand of Russ Rob from '07. Didn't work. Now he needs to become Sherron's spark off the bench from '07.

'Kief Morris- Rebound da ball like a man.

Tyrel Reed- Shoot 3's.

Jeff 'Kill' Whitey- I like him off the bench before Thomas Robinson. Needs to be ready in every first half in case two bigs pickup two fouls.

C.J. Henry- Kid X. Kid Snipah. I'm convinced he might be the best shooter on the team. I'm also convinced that he is definitely the worst defender on the team.

Thomas Robinson- Still makes too many dumb plays. Will be the man next year along with...

Elijah Johnson- Study Sherron's every move (except for elevator behavior).

Conner Teahan- Look pretty. And change your name if you ever want to play.

Chase Buford- Keep rockin that 'stache.

Jordan Juenemann- Work on those cankles Ju Wanna Man.

Prediction for tonight: Kansas @ Kansas St~~I feel like all the pressure is on Kansas State in this game. College Gameday. Just beat Texas. Kansas has the rematch at home to fall back on. I think the fans will be ready, I don't think the team will be. KU does not fear K-State in anyway. This is a game Kansas wins.

Kansas 71, Kansas State 64

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 NFL Championship Round Predictions

Dirkness missed his deadline last night so these predictions are coming at you too fast and too furious. BOOM!

Indianapolis-NY Jets: I see the Jets confusing Peyton Manning all day with exotic blitzes. I see Darelle Revis shutting down Reggie Wayne in a bad way. I see Shonn Greene finding some running room against Indy's defense. I see the Jets playing with the swagger necessary to win this game. I don't see it being enough. I don't see the Jets being able to mount anything of a passing attack. Combine that with the fact that Peyton is in his prime and won't take unnecessary chances today, and I'll take the Colts pulling it out at the end.

Indianapolis 13, NY Jets 10

New Orleans-Minnesota: Props to both home teams this week for playing in a dome so that we are deprived of real football for the weekend. I see an Adrian Peterson break out game against a Saints defense that is waiting to be pounded. I see Brett Favre outplaying Drew Brees. I see the Vikings playing a bend but don't break defense and shutting the Saints down in the red zone. I see Reggie "Don't call me Ramsey" Bush being a non-factor. I see Visanthe Shiancoe looking BIG. I see Jared Allen being the most important player in the game. I see you Prince (although your new Vikings song is so incredibly lame). I see the Vikes.

Minnesota 34, New Orleans 23


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2010 College Basketball Rankings


His Dirkness' Top 10 (ANNNNNNNND 1-Cole Aldrich wilhelm scream):

1. Kentucky- Convinced John Wall is the next D-Wade- Will the SEC provide a big enough challenge to get them tournament ready?
2. Syracuse- The best team from the best conference
3. Kansas- Lack of a go-to scorer down low could be their downfall- Sherron Collins could be their savior
4. Villanova- The least talked about of the five best teams separating themselves from the rest of the country
5. Texas- Very unimpressive reign as number 1- Played like a top flight team for exactly 4 minutes against Kansas St.
6. Michigan State- Overinflated due to experience- Typical Spartans team with 5 players averaging double digs
7. Kansas State- Specializes in taking you out of your comfort zone- Beat up Texas and may have country's deepest frontcourt- Can they avoid letdown after big win?
8. Pittsburgh- Best pair of road wins in the country ('Cuse and Conn)
9. Ohio State- Evan Turner (pictured) is the BEST player in the country- Oh, and he BROKE HIS BACK this year- They've only lost two games with him playing
10. Duke- Awesome wins- Just not seeing it
11. Tennessee- Won't be on this list the next time I make it- Enjoy it while you can Skylar McBee

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2010 NFL Divisional Round Playoff Predictions

I was planning on making predictions for every playoff game this year through the Dirkness, but couldn't find time before the annual ski trip commenced, and couldn't find a computer (or enough brain cells) while on the trip. Let's just say I dominated them though, and anyone who says I went 0-4 can answer to my fadeaway. And no, I will not be answering any questions regarding Dirk's conquest of ruining his legacy by cutting his hair. Warum?!?!?!?!

On to the picks...

Arizona-New Orleans: The Saints are the most vulnerable of all the teams with the bye week. Atleast the Colts porous ending was self-induced, the Saints just plain fell apart. The Cardinals are clearly the weirdest team in the NFL, they fully depend on what side of the bed Kurt Warner rolls off on. These two teams seem the exact same to me, so where's the advantage? The Saints are playing at home? eh. This same Cardinals team went to the Super Bowl last year? Closer. Drew Brees hasn't really proved it in the playoffs and Kurt Warner has? There it is. Oh yea, and don't eff with Kurt Warner in the playoffs!

Arizona 31, New Orleans 27

Baltimore-Indianapolis: The Colts have seemed destined for a stellar regular season followed by a disappointing postseason since about Week 3. The Ravens are led by Avon Lewis and Stringer Reed (praise The Wire). Oh, and they beat up the falsely feared faux-Faderiots (T-minus 389 days until Belichick heads to Kansas City). They got on them early though, and Joe Flacco was never asked to make a play. The Ravens will want to pound away again this week, and will win if they can, but Flacco will definitely have to make some throws. I don't think he can handle the heat from Marlo Freeney and the rest of the new boys in town. Remember, the Colts own the Ravens. They have beaten them 7 times in a row with much of the same personnel on both sides. The only thing that changes is that this is the playoffs, that's never been a problem for Peyton and the Colts has it? Not that I can remember...

Indianapolis 23, Baltimore 13

Dallas-Minnesota: The Cowboyz are purely the hottest team in the league right now. The Vikings are purely the best team in the league right now. The winner of the Super Bowl comes from this game. How do they match-up? Favre's best is better than Romo's best, but Favre's worst is worse than Romo's worst. Read that again. So, I would say heavily dependent on Favre. The Boys have the second best defense left in the league (Jets), but I think they're more suited to shut down wide-open passing attacks, akin to the Eagles and Saints. Can they shut down Adrian Peterson? Will AD's hush-hush case of 'Adrian has the fumbles' rear its head (6 this year)? The Cowboys won't be able to run the ball, but should find some room through the air, and if they can set up the run through that, will be able to win the game. For the Cowboys-I love Tony Romo, Felix Jones, DeMarcus Ware (the most underrated player in the league), and for the fact that we get to see Keith Brooking's pregame pump-up speech. For the Vikings-I love Jared Allen, Chester Taylor, Sidney Rice, and the aesthetics of Visanthe Shiancoe. For the game-I love the unders and that it's the toughest game to choose. I'm going against my Super Bowl pick of about Week 10, and I'm going all in with Tony Romo.

Cowboys 17, Vikings 13

NY Jets-San Diego: The Jets have the best defense and, perhaps, the best coach left in the playoffs. (There is a severe lack of top coaches left in the postseason, and for that matter the whole league. I think you only have 3 elite coaches left with Andy Reid being a rung below Billy Goat Belichick and Jeff Fisher. Who else?) The Chargers have the best mix of consistency and hotness coming into the playoffs, which makes them dangerous. They have been hearing about Darelle Revis all week (deservedly so - screwed out of Defensive Player of the Year), but will surely have a plan to counter him. I expect the Jets to roll the safeties to the other corner's side, which will result in Vincent Jackson getting opportunities for one-on-one jump balls against Revis. I see him winning a couple of them. The Chargers offense thrives off the deep ball more than any other. The problem with the Jets is if they get behind in this game at all, they are done. This is the week you see great teams with bad quarterback play go out.

San Diego 24, NY Jets 13

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reaction to Kansas Jayhawks first loss vs. Tennessee


The loss to Tennessee is nothing to fret about, even if they were severely undermanned. In the short-term that can bring teams together, and they certainly played fired up on Sunday. Don't freak when Tennessee starts to plummet because they won't be able to keep that effort up in the long-term. It will catch up to them.

Losses happen. The way to win it all in College Basketball is to respond well to losses. You have to be able to build from them. I'm sure Bill Self didn't mind seeing a loss at all, and is now able to get his point across to his players. They all have gigantic heads now (cough cough, Tyshawn), and now its time for Self to shrink those. I see no reason to think that Self won't get his team to respond well from this loss, and see little chance that KU isn't a number 1 seed come March.

Now why did KU lose? If I had to put blame on one soul, which is hard to do, I'd go with Xavier Henry. He took but 1 shot in the second half of the game, which happened to be an impressive blow by and easy layup. He has to be more aggressive. He looked scared, along with a number of other players, which forced Sherron Collins to take shot after shot. I'd blame Sherron, but he's seeing the same things I'm seeing, that nobody else WANTED to take a shot. We also might have to start admitting the fact that Cole Aldrich isn't the player that he was last year for whatever reason. He seems disinterested in getting involved on the offensive end.

I look for KU to implement the style of basketball that they hope leads to a championship this year starting Wednesday against Nebraska. Look for them to go high-low and hammer the ball inside until all 5 defensive players collapse, and then dish out it to any of the shooters on the outside. Self knows the way to win in March is with inside toughness. He thought that long before his National Championship proved the point. I predict a season-high in points for Cole Aldrich against Nebraska (19).

I would also suggest making a change to the starting lineup. I would insert Tyrel Reid in place of Tyshawn Taylor. The results of this are three-fold. First, I believe Taylor's ego is a little out of control, most likely from playing on the under-19 USA team, and this shrinks it down a bit. Second, they need more of a spark coming off the bench, not Reid and Morningstar, who are too similar of players (racist jokes aside). Think Sherron coming off the bench for the 2007-08 team. You need a scoring threat, an instigator, to come off the bench. This fits Tyshawn perfectly. He can be the main threat on the floor that he's looking to be and do it against the other team's bench, who he's more apt to go against. Thirdly, this frees up all the scoring threats to get more of their looks, and puts the best pure shooter just floating in the corner for when any of them get double-teamed. Reid has finally gotten big enough that he is no longer a liability on the defensive end. Think Lee Humphrey from the Florida Gators' championship teams.

In the long run, this loss is not a big deal to where KU wants to be come the end of the season. Nobody will look back at this season and remember anything about this game really. It's best chance to be remembered will be as the turning point in a National Championship season.

P.S. I smell upset-city in either Kentucky-Florida tonight or Texas-Iowa St. tomorrow

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 NFL Week 17 Running Diary

I thought I'd steal a page from The Sports Guy and keep a running diary of thoughts while enjoying a full slate of the final week's worth of games in the NFL:

Games on: Noon~Steelers-Dolphins, Vikings-Giants, 3PM~Chiefs-Broncos

~Wes Welker gives support to the strategy of resting starters by going down with what has to be a season-ending knee injury. This is huge. He has been a bigger factor than Randall Gene Moss this year-his actual middle name.

~A Tyler Thigpen sighting on the Dolphins sidelines- almost forgot he still existed.

~I like Chad Henne a lot in his first year of starting. He reminds me of an old Carson Palmer pre-knee injury. Even more proof that Bill Parcells knows what he's doing on draft day. I expect the Dolphins to be in the playoffs next year.

~Anyone who thinks safety isn't an important position in the NFL needs to watch the season in review tape of the Pittsburgh Steelers this year and pay attention to them with and without Troy Polamalu. Helloooooo Eric Berry!

~Why aren't networks quicker to switch games when they aren't close and there are no regional ties? Can't they just put a person in charge of choosing which games are being shown? Can I apply for this job? I put the blame for this not existing squarely on Roger Goodell.

~Visanthe Shiancoe is unfairly anatomically gifted. This guy knows what I'm talking about...

~Brett Favre is definitely a rhythm passer and seems to have found it today. If he stays in that rhythm, nobody will beat the Vikings.

~The Rams starting quarterback is some guy named Keith Null. How could they be 1-14?

~I would check out the Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator, Dan Henning. They are one of the most exciting and creative offenses in the league without top talent.

~At first I just saw Tyler Thigpen on the sideline. He is now in the game and has led two touchdown drives in about 3 minutes. This is bittersweet to watch because I like Thiggy, but well obviously...Somewhere Chan Gailey is smiling.

~Thigpen makes a terrible decision in the Red Zone and throws a pick. Seems very familiar. I sure do miss the excitement he brings to Sundays though.

~Thankfully Jacksonville lost to the Browns ending any shot at a playoff berth. They would've been blown out by whoever they played and I'm glad I don't have to sit through it.

~I'm basing my NFC Super Bowl pick on who gets the 2nd seed. If Philly beats Dallas tonight then I'm going with Philly. If they lose, I'm going with Minnesota.

~First play of Chiefs game defies all conventional wisdom. Terrence Copper catches a pass. Champ Bailey gets burnt. Matt Cassel throws successful deep pass. And the Chiefs have their first offensive touchdown of the first quarter ALL YEAR!!!

~A day of firsts- The first sack of the season for Glenn Dorsey!!!

~One of my favorite things to see in football is the punt returner who is nowhere near breaking a good return gets up and acts like he was oh so close to breaking it. Lets call it the Dante Hall post goodness syndrome.

~Two good plays by Brandon Carr already, crashing the block and tripping Knowshown on a 3rd and 1 run, and a 3rd down pass breakup.

~The Chiefs are driving down the field with a chance to go up two scores and Haley calls for a trick play pass to Matt Cassel?!?!?! I officially have zero confidence left in Todd Haley. He is a joke of a coach. What a loser. Could've challenged the catch too.

~The Pass Interference rules need to be adjusted. It's the most inconsistently called penalty in the game, and you can't have minor touches resulting in 40 yard gains. There needs to be a major and a minor infraction. Major-spot foul. Minor-10 yard penalty. Boom Boom Pow. Terrible call on my man B. Carr.

~Denver's in-com-plete chant is the lamest cheer in all of sports. It is the only play of no consequences. Nothing happens. It's a reset. It would be like having a cheer for a missed shot in basketball. Or a cheer for a foul ball in baseball.

~I don't care if it worked this time, add lining up in shotgun on 3rd and 1 to the list of continuously stupid moves made by Haley.

~Jamaal Charles is a stud. He has figured out how to read blocks and use his electric speed. Throw in just a decent bigger back (easy to find) to back him up and we are set at running back.

~How many times are we going to see Bobby Wade and Todd Haley almost come to blows on the sideline this year?

~These refs are doing an atrocious job. Pick up the pass interference flag on Denver for "not enough contact" and then throw another terrible one on Brandon Flowers on a 3rd and 20.

~Haley not prepared to go for 2 to try for a 14 point lead with 9 minutes left. Mistake.

~Derrick Johnson--where have you been all my life?

~Tamba Hali owns Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady. He has 4 sacks on him this year and has been in the backfield all day today. That's a bright spot for the future. I predicted 10 sacks on the year for Hali, he finished with 8.5, but the point was made.

~Nobody, and i mean NOBODY, blows the last game of the the Denver Broncos! 49ers, Chargers, Chiefs.

~The curse is broken...Chiefs snap an 8 game losing streak at the fake Mile High!

I'm out,
His Dirkness

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 Holiday Bowl Reaction: Nebraska-Arizona


What Could Have Been

The biggest thought going through my head during the game, aside from the excitement of watching Nebraska put the BEATDOWN on Arizona, was a curiosity of what could have been. Nebraska was much much better than what their year end record showed. You have to look not only at the closeness of the losses this year, but the circumstances that surrounded them. O'Hanlon falls asleep and allows an 80 yard pass with under a minute left vs. Virginia Tech. They lose to Iowa St in the most Ndominant loss I've ever seen. Finally, they somehow lose to Texas after leading with no time left in the game. Texas Tech is the only game of the season that the Huskers had no business winning, and I'd still take Nebraska in that game 7 times out of 10. Obviously, this isn't how games get recorded though, so where does blame find itself?

Bo Pelini- I would say that when you lose games you should be winning, you blame coaching. Bo Pelini may have some short-term concerns, but looking at the big picture I am extremely impressed. Not only did he turn one of the worst defenses in the country(2007) into THE best(right now), but you can see dramatic improvements from them throughout the year. The Blackshirts went from a below mediocre defense to a pretty good defense in 2008. In 2009, they started out as a pretty good defense and ended as the most Ndominant in the country. The defense is so good right now that I want to line up the best offenses in the country and give them one drive to try and score a touchdown, similar to a Madden mini game. Aside from the Top 5 coaches in the country (Stoops-dropping, Saban-afraid of commitment, Meyer-afraid of life after Tebow, Carroll-overrated, Tressel-underrated), I cannot think of anyone that I'd replace Pelini with if given the opportunity.

2010- Everyone talks about how the defense next year could be even better than this year. I won't go that far, especially at the beginning of the year, but they will still be a top 20 defense in the country, even without the Man-boy named Suh. Suh even nominated the next version of himself in sophomore Jared Crick. Pair him with 5-star recruit Baker Steinkuhler and the middle of the defense is already set. Find some safeties to play and the defense looks stacked. The offense will return 10 starters and only loses center Jacob Hickman. You have to stick with the Wildman at quarterback and hope that he improves dramatically. Cody Green just hasn't shown enough to be handed the job right now. The offense should have earned back some of the trust in the bowl game that it had lost following the Iowa St game this year, and with playmakers Roy Helu, Rex Burkhead, Niles Paul, and Mike McNeill all returning, it will be much more dynamic and allowed more opportunities to score points. With a schedule where every game is very winnable, I hate to say it, but here it goes, keep an eye on Nebraska running the table next year and earning the honor of getting whooped by the best SEC team in the National Championship.

I just noticed I went the whole post without even really talking about the game that just occurred against Arizona. That was one of the most thorough beatdowns I've seen amongst two supposedly even-matched teams. Their quarterback was from Austin and received texts from his friends all week warning him about Ndamukong Suh, and I think it worked. I've never seen a quarterback so scared going into a game. Thanks Matt Jones' coked out friends. There's not much else to say except that I'd like a shot at a BCS team to see what we could do. I'll just have to take solace in the beating Colt McCoy is about to take in T-minus 5 days.