Once again, WELCOME to another college football season!!! WOO-HOO!!!
Irish Shu is here to offer his game-by-game predictions for the just-started Notre Dame football season...yeah, I know, I’m late. The first game has already taken place. Shut up.
Anyway, this year’s schedule is another tough one. At N.D. they always are…question is, will the Irish rise and conquer all 12 like they did last year? Last year I doubted…and this year I, ever the pessimist in spite of my hard core Irish fandom, doubt again.
Why? Well, because that’s just me…and also because of some personnel losses at key positions including in the offensive backfield and at linebacker…but part of why I doubted last year was because the Irish had an unproven secondary that I thought would get picked on and picked apart and, well, it didn’t turn out that way much to my delight! We shall see.
I’ll digress a moment here and comment on the “Shamrock Series” uniforms that were unveiled recently. The Irish will wear these “plan B” duds for the October 5th game vs. Arizona State at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Much less colorful than the ones worn vs. Miami last year, they look like this:
My opinion? Don’t like. I call this the “surrender look” – too much white. It looks weak. Granted, many a team have shown-up wearing surrender look gear and have kicked ass in them anyway. Still, I don’t like all-white or almost all-white. I think they’d look better with a green shamrock on the helmet instead of gold-on-gold. Also, green pants would have made this! Why not? They’ve used green jerseys in rare past games. Oh, well. It’s done and it’s just one game. Many teams pick a game a year where they tweak the uniforms, so I have no beef with ND doing it, too, as long as it’s not permanent.
With that, here are my predictions for this year in my usual poetic form…ahem:
8/31 vs. Temple: The game is over, played and done, a milquetoast effort made. But Irish won, I knew they would, so call a spade a spade!
9/7 @ #17 Michigan: Last year I predicted right…Denard Robinson contained! But it’s on the road at the Big House, and Devin Gardner will bring pain.
Wolverines win…this prediction is the one I’ll be happiest to be wrong about should that happen.
9/14 @ Purdue: ND will look to rebound in road game number 2. Purdue will have no answer for the mighty gold and blue.
Irish win…and it could be BIG.
9/21 vs. Michigan State: Sparty plays the Irish tough and beats them here and there, but they don’t have the usual horses to make this one a scare.
9/28 vs. #16 Oklahoma: Last year in Norman the Irish amazed and caused some Sooner moans. This year the game is in South Bend, and there’s no Landry Jones.
Irish win…it’ll be close, though.
10/5 vs. Arizona State: The Shamrock Series heads down south for mighty ASU. They say in Tempe “fear the fork”, but in Texas Irish don’t fear you.
10/19 vs. #24 USC: Well-rested Irish come off a bye to face the men of Troy. The Trojans aren’t what they once were, and ND will destroy.
10/26 @ Air Force: God bless the men of service, and thank you for our rights. But the Irish and their weapons will have YOU in their sights.
11/2 vs. Navy: The infamous option ground attack gave the Irish defense fits…that’s in the past, and Irish tough D will give the Middies shits.
11/9 @ Pitt: Last year the Panthers gave ND a tough overtime scare. This year at Pitt at old Heinz Field this game will not compare.
11/23 vs. BYU: Another bye, just like last year, before Cougars came to town. That team was tough but lack the D, they’ll leave with tails hanged down.
11/30 @ #4 Stanford: Defending Pac-12 champs will fight, revenge be on their mind. The Irish face their biggest test and will find themselves behind.
And then: BCS will be the game the Irish will play in. They’ll bring their best and finish strong, and bring…
…an Irish win.
Some may say I’m being bold and letting the success of last year dictate my prediction of a 10-win regular season…maybe I am, but it feels right.
Montana Grizzlies: A lousy year the Griz had last, crime and scandal purged the team. This year they leave that all behind, and fulfill the playoff dream.
Nebraska: The Huskers aren’t quite stacking-up with the Big 10’s best so far. They need to bring the “Blackshirt D” or they won’t even be on-par.
Colorado State: The Rams of old that won most games have been gone some years ago…if they are to turn the program around, this is the year to show!
While eagerly anticipating tomorrow night like a 5 year old at Xmas...
Pittsburgh Pirates - While the current Pirates team continues to ride along in first place in the NL Central Division, a member of their glorious past, Dave Parker, announced last week that he is dealing with Parkinson's Disease.
I had a lot of individual baseball heroes growing up and they came from a lot of different teams. And one such hero was Dave Parker. I remember buying baseball cards and hoping to get a Pirates card for Willie Stargell or Bill Madlock, but most especially hoping for a Dave Parker card.
To me, he was the National League version of Jim Rice. Just a badass baseball player who could mash the ball over the fences.
So here's hoping that Parker's battle with Parkinson's can be won someday with the medical research they are doing in search of a cure.
St. Louis Cardinals - The Cardinals were in the news late in the week and sadly it wasn't for anyting that occurred on the field. In fact it was all due to Cardinal alumni that St. Louis was the epicenter of the latest PED brouhaha.
And of course, it was a firestorm started by another of my childhood baseball heroes. It seems Jack Clark (Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox) started a new gig as a sports talk radio host. And he got off to a running and highly controversial start.
He kicked off his new career at WGNU 920 AM by claiming that former Cardinal Albert Pujols and Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander had used PEDs in the past.
And while this would be incredibly shocking even in this day and age where it seems everyone is on PEDS, Clark picked two targets who aren't afraid to fight back. And then he offered scant proof or "testimony" to coincide with his accusations. What little he did offer was instantly denied by his supposed sources.
Justin Verlander hasn't said anything about suing Clark, but as part of a response to the story he said, “It’s moronic, look at the source. It’s moronic to talk about something you know nothing about and clearly … he’s not watching.”
While he deserves what he has gotten for the utter lack of proof provided to back his allegations and for going about things in a manner befitting a candidacy for Jackass of the Year, I'm still bummed out about one of "my guys" from childhood blowing that rose colored image that in a way I still try to maintain about them. But reaping what you sow is now kicking Jack Clark's ass.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Tennessee Lady Vols - Head coach Holly Warlick had a good week this week as the school announced she'd been given a one year contract extension to run her deal through 2017 and given her a $65,000 dollar raise as well.
Chicago Sky - The Sky had another split week for their game results. They lost to the Indiana Fever 64-58. Sylvia Fowles led the team with 14 points and 17 rebounds.
But they blew out the Connecticut Sun 77-61 with Epiphanny Prince scoring 23 points. Elena Delle Donne had 19 points and 9 boards and Fowles had 14 points and 10 boards.
The team is now 14-7 and they continue on a course that seems likely to result in their first playoff berth in team history.
New York Liberty - The Liberty also had an up and down week. Things started off great with a 93-88 win over the Washington Mystics. Cappie Pondexter had 21 points and 8 assists while Alex Montgomery had a big game with 21 points and 5 boards. She's been struggling this year and this was a breakout performance that everyone is hoping carries over.
Kara Braxton had 16 points and 5 boards against the Mystics. Plenette Pierson had 8 points and 10 assists. Katie Smith (pictured below) had 11 points and 4 assists in 30:28 of action.
Unfortunately, as has been the case for much of this season, New York couldn't capitalize on getting one win to build momentum going into their next game. They got blown out by the Sparks losing 85-67. Pondexter had 22 points as the Liberty dropped to 9-13. Pierson had 12 points. Katie Smith saw 23:20 in game time, scoring 7 points.
ORR - My ex-player Jillian had sent me a message via Facebook that the team had a playoff game this past Monday night. The kind of cool thing about the note was that it wasn't in response to an inquiry I initiated asking about her game. This note came unbidden, so I'm guessing that she wanted me to come to the game of her own accord.
Which of course I did. Unfortunately, I saw that their opponent was Apponequet. I'd seen an earlier game between the two teams and Apponequet's ball movement was superb on their way to a 45-34 win.
This time around, the score started off quite low. It was just 17-12 at halftime in favor of Apponequet. This despite the fact that the offense of ORR was atrocious. I don't know who the coach is but he kept calling for the ball to be put into the hands of his daughter. She's an incoming freshman and while she does have talent, she is very raw and it shows in shot selection. She also has a slight frame and can be easily overmatched physically. And she's supposed to be the point guard in the winter?
Anyway, the game turned early in the fourth quarter. ORR had cut the lead to 17-14 and had the ball. They blew a chance to make it 17-16 and then didn't get back on defense to stop a fast break. So instead, the score was 19-14 and the blowout went on from there.
ORR lost two of its better players (a relative term based on what I've seen of their play) during the game and the team just fell apart throughout the second half. They lost 40-21 to end their summer season.
One of my former boys players is Cody. He's been at a lot of the games as he is dating one of the recently graduated girls basketball players. On the way out I asked him if the team on the floor was what the team was likely to be during the winter. He said yes which caused me to reply, "They are going to get hammered."
Why do I say that? Well because they don't share the ball well. Basically three girls control the ball and everyone else is like junkyard dogs fighting over the scraps. And the three that control the ball aren't all that great. They have huge weaknesses in terms of taking care of the ball and shot selection. I know that the varsity coach will likely straighten that stuff out in the preseason, but given that the best returning player to the team has apparently shuffled off to a private school instead, they are going to be in for a long season.
There were a couple of players (not including Jillian) that I did like. The girl most likely to be the center is named Morgan and she can board with the best of them. She seems very fundamentally sound around the basket. There was another girl whose name I wasn't able to learn but during her limited time on the floor she attacked the basket with authority. It didn't always work but she went in unafraid and that is never a bad thing.
As for Jillian, she has tools but she gets ignored on the court. This is especially vexing when she is so wide open that she could set up a campsite and still not be near anyone. I know that she loves basketball but in order for her to develop more she needs to become more assertive in her game.
During the loss, she shot 1-6 from floor for two points. She had 4 rebounds and a steal to go with two fouls and two turnovers.
After the game, I told her I'd see her in the winter. She should be able to easily make the varsity team this season given the graduation of most of the top line players.
Wareham - The Lady Vikings had a decent but unsatisfactory season. They lost in the semifinals. And they did it despite having just 6 players for the playoffs. They blew out Bishop Stang in the quarters but lost to New Bedford in the semis.
Five of the 6 players on the team are ex-players of mine and were heavily featured in the photo gallery for the local paper. (All photos by Adam Ellis)
Books - I finished reading the C.J. Box mystery Savage Run this week. The second book in the Joe Pickett series was another entertaining read.
I picked up three books this week as well. The fourth and fifth books from C.J. Box are Trophy Hunt and Out of Range. I also got the second book in the Lorna Barrett Booktown series called Bookmarked for Death.
MOVIES - I had been thinking of going to see that new movie Elysium this weekend but between hearing not so good reviews of the film and figuring that I was going to buy it on DVD anyway because Jodie Foster is in it, I ended up passing.
TV - I know most people will be excited about the final 8 episodes of the AMC series Breaking Bad starting tonight at 10 pm, but it was a show that never interested me so I won't be tuning in.
However, AMC did get my eyeballs last night during the two hour third season premiere of their admittedly lesser series Hell on Wheels. It won't ever be as popular as Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Mad Men, but it was a good reset after the first two seasons and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.
You can check out the teaser trailer for the season below:
Music - I had hoped to have a new CD review to link to, but I just didn't have the time to get it written. It would've tied into the big concert event I'm going to be attending tomorrow night.
I'll be heading to the Great Woods (it goes by a suckass corporate name that I refuse to use) in Mansfield MA to see Black Sabbath live in concert! Ozzy, Tony and Geezer (with substitute drummer) are back together and touring in support of a well received new studio album called 13. The album went to #1 on the charts, the band's first album to accomplish that feat.
Given that Ozzy could go on a drug bender at any time and Tony Iommi is battling cancer, the chance to see them live after 35 years apart had to be taken. You can check out the video from their lead track off of 13 below. It's called "God Is Dead?"
A NEW SPORTS FAN COMETH
This week brought about a new sports fan. My buddy J.D. and his wife Colleen are now the proud parents of a baby boy named Rocco. Since they are Philadelphians, I can just see Rocco decked out in little baby sports clothes for the Eagles and Phillies. Congrats to the new mom and dad and welcome to the party Rocco!
Ain't that the truth! Might be what the Chicago Blackhawks are saying to the LA Kings...The 'Hawks have taken a 2-0 lead on the Kings and will now head to LA to play games 3 and 4...Chicago's speed and skill has shown some weaknesses in the Kings game...And Goalie Johnathan Quick who has been so impressive through the playoffs, suddenly looks very human...I expect the Kings to take one game at home, but the way this series looks, I think it may be over in 5...That would be good for me since months ago I was saying Chicago would be in the Finals...
In the East, Boston went up 1-0 after shutting out the Penguins...Pittsburgh seem unsure of their goalies, and they got out of their own game, and tried to get physical with the Bruins...That's not a battle they're going to win...
And of course, where there is Penguins forward Matt Cooke, there is contraversy...Cooke who was a decent, player with some skill, at some point decided to be a shithead and make his career all about trying to injure people...Cooke started with knee shots...Then moved up to head shots...So when he called for this penalty Saturday, no one should have been surprised...
Yet, Penguins fans were unhappy...Odd...Later, the Bruins Brad Marchand made a similar hit on James Neal, and Boston fan didn't seem to get up in arms about the call...But it was the reaction from a Pittsburgh fan...A Pittsburgh citizen, that really caught people's attention on the internet...Meet Jordan Kuruc...
I have said some awful shit to people online...Hell, I've said awful shit to their face...But this douchebag didn't seem to get why people were so mad about this tweet...And then when he apologized, and deleted it, he expressed the reason he felt bad was because "a kid died" in the bombing...This douche just couldn't get why people turned and attacked him on Twitter...Then, come Sunday he began to enjoy the role...Saying how he "Always wanted to be a heel in the WWE."
Jordan Kuruc felt bad that "a kid died" in the Boston bombing...Imagine this Jordan...You're a little girl...Ha! he does look like a bitch...Anyways...You're there, the bomb goes off...Your brother dies...Your mother suffers severe head trauma...Oh, and you lose your leg...Just imagine that...That's just one little girl's story...Now can you get why people are pissed...You got your 15 minutes for being a total fucking asshole...
I'm a dickhead, and I wouldn't have said that about a hockey game...Especially defending a piece of shit like Cooke...I want to wish pain and suffering on Kuruc....You know, like some awful shit...Like him and everyone he loves, get AIDS....But screw it...I'll rise above...You're fucking asshole, and everyone knows it....Oh, and thanks for giving me another reason to hate you're asshole city!
In other Hockey news, The New York Rangers fired their coach, John Tortorella...His abrasive style wasn't going to last much longer, even if the Rangers did beat the Bruins...Torts had his guys, and they bought into his system, and style he wanted them to play...Those that didn't, were bounced...Yet, he still found ways to shit all over the guys he had...The only people that got more shit were the media...So, this is why you hear no one arguing against his firing...He's a good coach...But shitting all over grown men is going to get old quick...I'm surprised it took as long as did before the players had enough...
But I have another question...Why is GM, Glen Sather not on the hot-seat...He's been with the Rangers for 13 years...He's had 6 coaches...The best the team has done is getting to one conference final...Now there is talk that he is looking at two of his old boys to be the next coach...Wayne Gretzky, who's first stint as a head coach wasn't a very good one...And Mark Messier...Messier's only coaching experience is coaching his son's pee-wee team...Yes, the fans would love it...Sure, some players might get a thrill out of it...But I don't think it's a good move...This team needs a proven coach...Not a couple of old super stars who are missing the spotlight...
-As for my weekend...It was pretty uneventful...Friday I was suppose to meet some old friends out for drinks...Sadly, I fell asleep with Molls while I was trying to get her down...
Saturday we had a baseball practice...The team is coming along well...Then we relaxed at home...Pizza, hockey, and a jam session...
Little Beeze finding the Groove...
Molls was a heck of a band leader...
That's it for now...Oh, and say hello to our NEWEST member...
Welcome to this edition of the world according to… oldharry here with my faithful talented and opinionated sidekick. Some of you know shorty, who uses parody, sarcasm, innuendo, insult and pain to nail the heads of his adversaries to the floor.
Let’s get one thing straight, the rumors circulating that say oldharry was holed up at the Tavern for the better part of two years pacing and ranting that it was Josephine’s fault or it was France’s fault are somewhat exaggerated…just happened to be checking in and looking for my car keys…to the Rambler Classic, she just won’t start without the keys, when Mo ventured in…a total coincidence I’ve been assured…and as for the
hors d’oevres ?… perhaps another time
I’m excited to be filling in at the Gab from one of the catbird seats at the end of the bar at Mo’s.
No, it’s not the Bandits ergonomically correct high back leather stool.
Anyway, it’s a real honor…I don’t need an actual seat, as many of you know, ole shorty serves the purpose quite well.
where are the snacks? chex mix is not a snack!
It’s been a while since shorty has been seen at the Gab but he’s kept himself busy pursuing his own interests…
He worked as a diet guru after being asked to leave the Tavern with some nice gentlemen dressed in blue a couple of years back. His Atty, Jackie Chiles Esquire was able to work out a plea agreement and keep shorty on the street with just a few hours of community service. Terms of the agreement forbid shorty from telling Irish or blond jokes in public.
This past weekend saw the NCAA get down to the final four…shorty finally got around to doing his brackets on Tuesday and has been remarkably accurate…picked the final four! Shorty’s predictions for the rest of the tournament : Michigan will play Syracuse and Wichita State will take on Louisville on Saturday in Atlanta
Louisville and Michigan will square off in the finals and Michigan will take it by a score of 74-67
Prayers for Kevin Ware for a speedy and full recovery.
Major League Baseball season opened this week and fantasy baseball here at the Gab is in full swing as well,
Them Astros won the seasons first game with that AAA payroll. They looked like a triple A team vs Darvish in the second game.
Right now every team has at least an outside shot of winning it all
my Red Sox are two and oh.
Their are a few teams that are still trying the old George Steinbrenner method of buying a championship.
The most “brennerized” teams are:
#1 New York Yankees $ 228,835,000.00
#2 L A Dodgers $ 216,597,000.00
#3 Phila Phillies $ 165,385,000.00
#4 Bostahn Red Sox $ 150,655,000.00
#5 Detroit Tigers $ 148,414,000.00
And last and least, Houston Astros $ 23,000.000
I guess now is when I throw out my MLB predictions,
Atlanta will beat Detroit 4 games to 3 in the World Series some time in early November
Shorty is all about being = and doesn’t want the ankle bracelet back on so
A Brunette joke.
A young and beautiful brunette walks into her doctors office,
and says, “ doctor you have to help me, my body hurts wherever I touch it”
“That’s strange and highly unlikely, show me” . he says
At that she poked herself on the elbow and screams in agony, pokes her knee and doubles over in pain, touches her forehead and screams out again…
The doctor looks her in the eye and says, “you’re not really a brunette are you?
Between tears she says,” no I’m really a blond”.
The doctor says, “I thought so…and… your finger is broken”
NHL, the Boston Bruins traded prospects and a conditional 2nd round pick for Jaromir Jagr to beef up their struggling power play, how much the 41year old Jagr has left in the tank remains to be seen but it can’t hurt the Bruins with the small price they paid.
Jagr has been in the NHL longer than teammates Dougie Hamilton age 19 and Tyler Seguin age 21 have been alive.
The question most of us Boston guys have though is, what will Mumbles Menino, our out going Mayor, call Jaromir if the B’s win the cup.
One of my sons says Mumbles will refer to him as Mick Jagger.
With Crosby out the Penguins aren’t as strong but as we know, read NJ Devils, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If you’re in you can win. The Blackhawks and Montreal will both be in the mix.
NFL, the SF 49ers have signed corner Nnamdi Asomugha for about 3 million to help or hope to shore up the secondary, also sent a late round draft pick to Cleveland for perennial back up QB Colt McCoy
And speaking of Irishmen…
There was this Irishman named O’Brien, he walked into a Boston Tavern.
The Bartender say’s to O’Brien, “what can I get you” O’Brien says,” get me three shots of your finest Irish whiskey my friend” and the bartender does.
Every day O’Brien does the same thing and after about a week the bartender says, “O’Brien, wouldn’t it be easier if I put all three shots in one glass?”
O’Brien replies, “not really, you see I have two dear brothers back in Ireland, Kevin and Timmy and whenever I’m in a bar or tavern, to remember the times when we were together, I order a shot for each of us.
A couple of weeks later O’Brien comes to the bar and orders just two shots of whiskey, the bartender, concerned that something has happened to one of O’Brien’s brothers says, “ O’Brien my friend, is everything alright back home with your brothers?” O’Brien says, “their is no problem at all, my brothers are just fine, it’s that I’ve decided it’s time I stop drinking”
I just got the Rambler back from the body shop,
You gotta admit…she’s a real lady!
Thanks for the visit and the comments.
Hey…that’s my buddy Lanz over there…and he’s talking sports ----------->
There are very things in sports that are more sacred to athletes than the money they make. They covet it. They scrounge for it. They fight for every last cent that they feel they are entitled to. If you mess with what a man holds sacred, you might as well be painting a bulleye right in the center of your back.
Such has been the case with Tom Brady, the quarterback and unchallenged leader of the New England Patriots. Earlier in the week, Tom Brady restructured his contract with the Patriots. The new deal takes the $27 million previously due to Brady in his old contract and converts it to a signing bonus and replaces it with a 5-year, $57 million deal. More importantly, the new deal pays the quarterback a salary that will represent a much smaller hit for the Patriots in regards to the NFL Salary Cap.
Fans should applaud such a deal right?
Fans and players alike are taking Brady to the woodshed over the deal. Fans are saying he and the Patriots are subverting the salary cap system. Players are complaining that by taking a below market deal, Brady is in turn driving the market down for other free agents (see Flacco, Joe). Never have I seen an uproar over a player trying to do something to help his team win!
Let's be honest here, Brady isn't being a martyr. He's guaranteeing himself more money in the long run. Brady is also making sure that he is controlling his own fate through the end of his career. As ESPN points out, by taking less money over a longer period of time, Brady takes the money out of the equation. He takes the Peyton Manning-type decision out of the process. As the article states, Brady didn't want things to come down to the Patriots having to decide if his skills merited the size of his contract or if that money would be better spent elsewhere. By restructuring now, Brady puts a clock on his window with the Patriots and his career, without the threat of money interrupting that legacy.
At the same time, Brady realizes that if he wants to win during that window, the Patriots are going to need all the flexibility they can create. What that means for other quarterbacks who are seeking big money, like Joe Flacco or Drew Brees, that doesn't matter. Brady and the Patriots saw an opportunity to give this team a chance to stay competitive and allow them to add the pieces they would need to do so.
As fans, we should appreciate that kind of foresight, both on the part of the Patriots and Brady or Ben Roethisberger and the Steelers. We scream day and night about players selfishly putting themselves against the long-term prospects of their teams. So why are we villainizing this deal?
So what if it marks a change in how things are done. So what if Joe Flacco gets $1 million less if the Ravens slap him with the franchise tag. Are we that hung up on burning all figureheads at the stake that we want to look a gift horse in the mouth? I don't know if I can pull myself together long enough to live in a world where athletes are willing to take less money in order to keep their teams competitive.