Monday, October 4, 2010

Nebraska Is In Control of it's Destiny: Humility is the Key

By Kraig Lundberg
Eric Francis/Getty Images
A week off probably did the Huskers some good.

After a dishearteningly weak win over South Dakota State, the Cornhuskers learned a valuable lesson: stay humble, even in victory.

After a 56-21 beatdown of Washington two weeks ago, which is looking gorgeous after a 32-31 Huskies win over 18th-ranked USC at USC, the Huskers got overconfident and lost their focus against a severely over-matched opponent.

Now, the Huskers enter the October gauntlet. The past two seasons, the Huskers sputtered and stumbled during the 10th month, and with the way the schedule is aligned, this season has the ability to play out the same way.

The Huskers face Kansas State in Manhattan this Thursday, and will get a serious test from one of the best running backs in the nation in Daniel Thomas. Nebraska has been leaky at times against the run this season, and KSU is very well coached.

This game will set the pace for Nebraska's season. If they can beat Kansas State, and stay humble, they have a shot at an undefeated regular season. Lose at KSU, and hopes of a BCS game are all but dashed.

The next Saturday, the Huskers host the stumbling Texas Longhorns in a matchup that was supposed to be a possible preview of the Big 12 title game. Instead, UT will be coming off a two-game losing streak and will do all it can to take down Nebraska.

How will the Huskers fare in October?

Beat Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State
Beat Kansas State and Texas but lose to Oklahoma State
Beat Kansas State and Oklahoma State but lose to Texas
Beat Oklahoma State and Texas but lose to Kansas State
Beat Kansas State but lose to Oklahoma State and Texas
Lose to Kansas State, Texas, and Oklahoma State
Total votes: 907
Texas will have a tough time generating any offense against Nebraska, but the same might be said about Nebraska's offense against the Longhorns. It all depends on which Texas defense shows up: the one that stopped Texas Tech cold, or the one that got run over by UCLA. My bet is on the former.

A week after that, the Huskers must travel to Stillwater to take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State, a surprisingly good team with a ton of offensive firepower that will provide a stiff test for the Husker defense.

OSU's defense isn't incredible, but it is definitely better than, say, Washington's. This matchup has all the makings of a trap game. The Huskers have not won in Stillwater since 1995, and Nebraska may be vulnerable after an emotional game against Texas the prior week.

This stretch will be much more difficult than each of the opponents' rankings suggest. To get through October unscathed, the Huskers will have to hang onto their humility and will have to show a consistency that they have not yet shown under Bo Pelini.

Nebraska needs to sustain the level of play they found against Washington throughout the Big 12 schedule. And that will be extremely difficult. The Huskers have a shot, however.
Cont'@ Source

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NY Yankees An Imperfect Team

This year's team has a weakness at starting pitching and maybe now in the bullpen with middle relief. I don't think you will really know if this team is actually good until the playoffs start in a few days. Joe Girardi has been running the last month of the season, like it was Spring training. He seemed to be determining, who would make the post-season roster and who would stand under the pressure of the post-season experience.
With the Yankees it is all about winning the World Series, whether they actually win the division or get in as the wild card is in-material. I have no idea, how many division titles they have; that sees to be badge of honor for the braves, who seem to win it every year and then get whacked in the playoffs. The Yankees are strong only in their first two starters; CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Phil Hughes is a very weak third starter and AJ Burnett, who knows if Girardi will even let him pitch.
I still believe it or not have faith in Burnett. He has the stuff to compete with any of the top tier pitchers in the league as he demonstrated last year for the Yankees in the playoffs. That is it in the nutshell; Burnett has won in the playoffs and world series; something that Vazquez has never done or will never do. Time to shoot Vazquez thank him for putting up some innings, give him a pat on the head and cut him. He has no use in the playoffs and I would not give him the chance. The man that broke the curse of the Bambino, does not deserve a second chance. Ivan Nova on the other hand, does deserve to be included on the playoff roster. This kid has lights out stuff, although he was miserable in his lone relief appearance on Saturday in the Nightcap of the doubleheader, I saw it as a result of the unfamiliarity of the role and he was over-throwing trying to be more than he needs to be.
I see the Yankees fortunes resting on the shoulders of A.J. Burnett to repeat his playoff performances of last year. The Yankees have the lineup to beat anyone on any given day and they do have excellent, late in relievers in the trio of Wood, Chamberlain and Rivera, but the starting pitching. It always comes down to pitching come October.

Detroit Lions and Victim Consciousness
I sat here and watch the Lions outplay the Packers and then lose by 2 points. It is not that this team can get a break, it is that they actively do exactly the wrong thing at the wrong moment. Let's forget the dumb-ass penalties and the unforced turnovers. Let's take Shaun Hill who had an excellent game, he threw for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns, but when it came down to a chance to score in the Red zone in the 4th quarter, Hill chose to throw the ball rather than run in it for a Touchdown. This is a function of victim psychology. The Bears are 4-0 only because the Lions threw away the first game as a result of a bad call by the ref, but the truth is that game, they outplayed the Bears and it was only turnovers and penalties that did them in.
It’s our job to get over the hump. We’re right on it, we just can’t get over the hump.” Jim Schwartz Lions Coach It is my prediction that the Lions are going to upset quite a few top tier teams this year when Stafford gets back, they need his positive frame of mind. Stafford is a leader and Hill has not shown that quality up to this point; although he is a very competent quarterback. You could almost say that the Lions fans themselves are the liability here.
They expect their team to fail, they are great at creating self-fulfilling prophecies. This team is a lot better than their 0-4 record represents. I would even say that they still have an outside shot at the playoffs this year. Green Bay did not impress me that much, nor do the Vikings with creaky old Favre, who is one hit away from the nursing home eating gerber food.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

American League Cy Young Prediction

J. Meric/Getty Images
Let's start with who will not win the Cy Young. Carl Pavano. He is having an impressive year at 17-11 with a 3.60 era in Minnesota. Baseball writers would be afraid that Yankee fans would shoot Carl on site, for having been the worst dog in franchise history. To have been with the team for like 5 years and never actually play. He is another Kenny Rogers cannot play in a large market. He really wasn't a legitimate candidate, but I needed to get that dig in.
The most impressive pitcher of the bunch with the best stuff is Felix Hernandez of Seattle. I saw him shut the Yankees out 6-0 at Yankee Stadium, with an outing reminiscent of Pedro Martinez or a young Dwight Gooden. He is electric and may be the best pitcher in baseball for years to come, but not just yet. A 12-11 record does not make one the MVP of pitchers which is the Cy Young award. Cy Young was known for his wins above all else and Hernandez, just does not have them. An ERA title is not always synynmous with Cy Young. You have to have wins as a starter and be a workhorse.
Clay Buchholz of Boston has an impressive Era, 2.39 and a nice win record 16-7, but he does not have the innings pitched only 165; coupled with the fact that Boston is a distant third in the American League East. Jon Lester of Boston? Stats similar to Buchholz, but Boston is not going anywhere. Trevor Cahill of Oakland, yea they are in a tight pennant race. That leaves David Price of the Devil Rays and C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees. Sabathia has three more wins and has been the workhorse of the contenders, while Price has a better ERA. Both Tampa and NY are still neck and neck in the pennant race with the Yankees leading by a game and a half. In their last head to head match up, it was a draw with neither pitcher giving up a run in Tampa. Fittingly, Sabathia and Price match up again tomorrow night at Yankee stadium with the division title within the grasp of the Yankees. Whoever wins this matchup should walk off with the Cy Young award. Let's Play ball.

Apmex- Jump on the Silver bandwagon before it is too late.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New York Yankees Will Win their 28th World Championship

Why do I think the Yankees will win their 28th World Championship? Yes, they do have the best record in baseball, but the main reason is how they have accomplished that record. This is not a team that has sweated anything, even though they have been neck and neck with the Tampa Devil Rays all season. Yesterday for instance, the Yankees have added to their first place lead with Ivan Nova throwing great for 5 innings and lapsing in rookie land with a purely mental breakdown. Two middle relievers that were brought in next Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin promptly continued the wildness streak and began to make the game interesting.
The point being here is that Joe Girardi has been running the Yankees like it is still Spring training; this is a good thing. He has for the last month been determining who is going to be the guys that make the post-season roster and who can trusted in crunch time. I guarantee you, it will not be either Logan or Gaudin; they failed their audition tonight. Although the starting pitching of the Yankees is no where nears as strong as the late 1990's group of Pettitte, Wells,Hernandez and Cone.
This group has 2 solid starters in C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte. Both Pettitte and Sabathia are having career years and both have won in the clutch. You throw in head case A.J. Burnett, who may just show up in time for the playoffs and the Yankees are actually in better shape pitching wise than they were last year. The Arizona Diamondbacks have recently shown that you can win the World Series with just two top starters, they carried the team to Nirvana with Randy Johnson and Curt Shilling's performance in the 1998 against the Yankees.
The Yankees bullpen is loaded this year with much less question marks once the roster is cleared of all the riff-raff that is competing for the last spot or two in the bullpen. It turns out that the dog that everyone loves to kick, Javier Vasquez is a very competent reliever in long relief.He is great when the Yankees are pitching from behind and they need a reliever to go 3-4 innings to cover the starter that got kicked out of the box early. This has some value, because of the Yankees potent offense; the Yankees have a knack for coming from behind to win. This has been true over the course of their entire history. The Arizona series in my mind was lost because the Yankees failed to sign lefty specialist Jeff Nelson. The Yankees over-used Mariano Rivera, forcing him to go 2 innings rather than his usual one during the pennant stretch. Come World Series time, Rivera's arm was a bit tired and the Yankees lost on a broken bat base hit. Penny wise and Pound foolish they were that year, not wanting to splurge the extra million on Nelson.
This year the secret addition to the club is former stud starter Kerry Wood, who has been the most reliable set-up man since well, Rivera in 1995. Wood is carrying a 0.42 ERA since joining the Yankees. Do you think this guy wants a Championship having languished with the Cubs his whole career? Joba Chamberlain has also been performing better this season after finally shaking off the great Starter experiment. Chamberlain is becoming the phenom again of his rookie season where he was tabbed as the heir apparent to Rivera as the Yankees future closer. He is a high-strung personality that loves to lay it all out for 2 innings. His makeup is not geared to be a starter. You could make a case that the Yankees have the best bullpen ever, with Wood, Chamberlain and Rivera, With Vasquez in long relief and rookie Ivan Nova. His stuff is way too good not to include on the postseason roster and if you eliminate his middle innings meltdown as a starter, you have another version of Chamberlain.
The new addition of Curtis Granderson is starting to pay off. His swing has been re-worked by the team hitting coach and his is learning plate patience and beginning to understand he does not have to carry the team like he did in Detroit. He has speed, a big upgrade over johnny Damon and he has been hitting in the clutch over the last month with two homers last night against Tampa Bay. Lance Berkman another Kerry Wood type, this man hit 41 homers in Houston last year and wants to win. He looks like a Yankee and I expect big things from him in the post season especially against the National league pitchers he has faced his whole career. energy enhancement for success, wealth and health

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Will "T-Magic" Taylor Martinez lead Nebraska to National Championship?

Taylor Martinez reminds me of a young Michael Jordan or a Joe Montana. He has that cool presence under pressure that Montana had. He has all the tools as good a running Quarterback this side of Michigan's Denard Robinson and potentially solid passer as the best of the A-list, such as Jake Locker of Washington or Boise State's Kellen Moore. Al McGuire the former Marquette coach said when watching Michael Jordan as a freshman for North Carolina that he was going to be the best Basketball player ever. Martinez already has a nickname T-Magic and it is fitting as watching him is like watching any of the greats. The amazing part is that he will get better, much better and I am going to predict that you will see a BCS title game against Alabama, who is the Nebraska of 1995. Nebraska on the defensive side has an excellent pass defense having destroyed two top-tier Quarterbacks in the last two weeks in Idaho's NFL bound Nathan Enderle who threw 5 interceptions and was removed from the game. Washington's Jake Locker did not fare much better 4-20, 79 yards and 2 interceptions with a third called back because of a marginal holding penalty on Nebraska side. Locker has been projected to be a top 5 pick in the upcoming draft. Locker may be a good NFL quarterback, but what you may be witnessing with Nebraska is the development of one of the best passing defenses ever.
Taylor Martinez has thrown his hat in the ring as a potential Heisman trophy candidate. Certainly at this point Denard Robinson is the leader with an unbelievable display at Notre Dame, but for him to hold up the entire season and carry Michigan on his back may cause a late season breakdown. Martinez does not have that problem as he plays within a system that has many weapons. Coach Bo Pelini is the real secret to Nebraska's success where he turned a porous defensive squad into the number one defensive team in college football. His defense has gotten better from game to game. Expect this defense too get even better, and with the return of Will Compton within three weeks; their run defense should improve. My prediction is that Nebraska will beat Alabama in a title game in a role reversal of the 1984 Orange Bowl, where the heavily favored Cornhuskers were upset by the upstart Miami Hurricanes with the Pro-set offense. The superior skills of Bo Pelini and the magic of Taylor Martinez will be the difference. In the final game against Georgetown, Michael Jordan hit the winning shot to win the NCAA title game. I believe that we have the same type of player with Martinez who wears the number of the great Bambino who was probably the most magical player of all-time.