Posted on: February 17, 2011 2:06 pm
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2011 Spring Training TV Schedule

This is a work in progress, but here's the TV listings for the srping training games...


Go to this link

https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc
?key=0AmF1oIAyTPDndG9jMVlvNzR5TWt6Vk
xsVnFIenZBMVE&hl=en



Posted on: August 29, 2010 3:26 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 1:34 pm
 

Can Uconn Win a National Championship?


Yep, you heard it here first.  This nine-year division I school has a real opportunity to make some noise in 2010-2011.  There are several variables that absolutely must fall into place, but they are lining up nicely.  Head coaching, personnel, schedule, and the landscape of college football are all swirling into the perfect storm for a team like Connecticut to have a crack at the NCAA’s AFCA trophy and the $18 million that goes with it.

Here’s how I break it down..

Randy Edsall is the real deal, with real NFL coaching experience. Only one other school has ever gone from Division 1-AA to an AP ranking as fast as Uconn.  Edsall has been the coach for 12 years, so he definitely has a clue as to what is going on both with his players, with the university, recruiting, and with the NCAA.  I know winning the Big East Championship in football isn’t quite the same as winning the SEC, but it’s progress during a time when several perennial powerhouses like Notre Dame are struggling.  The real threat passed last year when several big time schools unsuccessfully wooed Edsall into leaving Uconn.  Luckily, he is now signed through 2012, and the timing couldn’t be better for him to make a serious bowl bid.

The Players

Uconn has acquired some big league talent, and seem to have many pieces of the puzzle coming together.  Zach Frazer will lead the team this year, but is not in the same situation as he was a year ago.  He is not the backup this time. He now has job security and it’s amazing what that will do for your confidence.  Cody Endres was still putting pressure on him to win the job, but now that Endres is suspended for violating team rules, Frazer is clearly the #1 signal caller.  “He’s definitely matured,” center Moe Petrus said of Frazer. “He’s taken on more of a leadership role. He’s got guys organized for 7-on-7s, he’s at every one, he’s directing the group, making sure guys are on time, holding guys accountable. I think he has one interception in 350 passes this camp. He’s doing really well. He’s come a long way since last year and the year before that.”

Jordan Todman is clearly the centerpiece for this offense.  He is a good bet to be an elite running back.  With Dixon gone, his carries and production should increase from an already impressive 14 TD’s and 1300 yards from scrimmage in 2009.  USC transfer D.J. Shoemate may get some work in as well, but Edsall has been pimping Robbie Frey lately.  He said he wished he had 105 Robbie Freys.  Sweet.  There are also rumors that Shoemate might be lining up outside ala Reggie Bush, and I like that.  The bottom line is that there is some serious talent in the backfield.

The receiving corps is not getting a lot of props from the powers that be, but as mentioned, Shoemate could bring an added threat to the passing game.  Kashif Moore, Michael Smith, Isiah Moore are clearly the Huskies' top three. Smith could become the new Marcus Easley, and Kashif Moore could have a huge year. And then there is a wildcard in Leon Kinnard. Yes, the same one.  I read a quote somewhere saying “he's not 100 percent quarterback and he's not 100 percent wide receiver. But there's about a 90 percent chance he'll make you say `Wow!' at least once this year.”

On Defense, the Huskies will lean heavily on the linebacker duo of Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus. The two fifth year seniors are in their fourth years as starters. Both have been All-Big East selections. They will need to play up to their potential, as UConn will be without linebacker Greg Lloyd (knee) and defensive end Marcus Campball (knee) for the season due to injury. The secondary, which was awful last season, will look for some stability from corners Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and safeties Jerome Junior and Kijuan Dabney. If the secondary can play well the Huskies will have one of the best defenses in the Big East. 

Schedule

Of course, a perfect schedule is necessary to penetrate the elite, especially if you are going to come out of the Big East.  Let’s face facts, the Big East isn’t going to get the benefit of any doubts.  To be national champions, I think they still have to run the table.  But I think a big bowl bid would still be a possibility with a quality loss or two.

You can’t just breeze over this schedule.  In order to see where this team can go, let’s look at them one at a time. 

1.    @ Michigan- This is huge.  Even though Michigan officially holds the record for highest college football attendance ever, I think they have a chip on their shoulder because, unofficially, Notre dame beat USC at Soldier field in 1929 in front of 112, 912 fans.  The official capacity is listed at 109,901, but they can squeeze another thousand or two when you count the band, staff, security, and volunteers.  Some expect the Uconn/Michigan game to break the all time record.  So, this is already a nationally televised game with the potential to be a game of historical significance.  What a fantastic way to put Connecticut on the radar, and into the minds of BCS voters.  Of course, for my scenario to play out, Uconn needs to win.  But here’s the real story. They can’t just win, Michigan also has to end up being a good football team by season’s end.  Anytime a (football) team from the Big East gets to play a “Michigan” it gives them a chance to validate their program to the powers that be.  There is simply to much “reward” for winning a game like this, and you better expect Uconn to come at them with everything they have got.  Dating back to 2009, Michigan has lost 7 of their last 8, while Uconn is on a 5 game winning streak. They even had a possibility of having an undefeated season, (losing nail biters to Cincy, Rutgers, West Virginia, and, yes, I am not counting the bogus safety in the loss to North Carolina in early September).  On the other hand, Edsall has never beaten Rodriguez, going back to the WVU days.  But think about the pressure on Rodriguez.  Starting the season with a loss to a Big East team could be devastating to Michigan.  As much as Uconn needs this victory, Michigan can’t afford a loss either.  Both teams have a weakish secondary, especially now that Michigan has lost their best D-back in Woolfork. 
The early Vegas line had Michigan favored by 4, probably because it’s a road game for a Big East school.  But it seems as more time passes, people are figuring out that Uconn is not a joke.  It’s down to 3 as I write, and I suspect that trend to continue.  So the bottom line is that this will be a great game, and both teams need this win.
2.    Texas Southern – This should be a blowout win for the Huskies.
3.    @ Temple- Temple has recently played Uconn close, and their program appears to be improving, but Uconn should be able to handle them.
4.    Buffalo- This is the other slam dunk blowout win for Uconn.  Record goes to 4-0.
5.    Vanderbilt- Ok, I never underestimate an SEC team, even if they did go 2-10 in 2009.  However, it appears that Vandy has done nothing to improve their offense, and the offensive line coach has stepped into the head coach role vacated by Bobby Johnson in July.  I can’t see a Vanderbilt win here, Uconn wins their second game all-time vs an SEC opponent and goes to 5-0.
6.    @ Rutgers- Rutgers is predicted to be a .500 team in the Big East.  I do realize that they beat Uconn last year on that fluke 81-yd pass with seconds left in the game, but Rutgers played really well that day and still has a solid program.  They lost a lot of talent to graduation, but also have some good young talent coming up.  I think a lot depends on QB Savage maturing, but I see no way Uconn losing this game. Uconn goes 6-0.
7.    @ Lousiville- The Cards are not expected to get 6 wins.  The have no quarterback, a new offensive scheme, and only 6 returning defensive players.  I guess maybe if they can get everyone on the same page fast, they can be a surprise in the Big East, but it doesn’t look like a safe bet at this point.  Uconn wins.  7-0
8.    West Virginia-Well, at least it’s a home game. But let’s face facts, they have 18 out of 22 starters returning.  One of them is Geno Smith, and he’s coming back from a broken foot.  But all reports indicate that he appears to be healthy and has looked sharp in scrimmages.  Who knows how this game plays out, but I know that WVU is 5-7 in away games under head coach Stewart. I’m giving Uconn the win just for home field advantage.  8-0.
9.    Pittsburgh-So, if Uconn doesn’t win the Big East this season, then it’s going to be Pitt.  We almost had them last year before giving up 17 in the last quarter(umm, and 12 seconds).  This is also a pivotal game because it WILL be for the Big East title.  Now the question is, can Uconn win this game?  Well, again, at least it’s at home.  I am not sure Pitt is circling this game on their calendar, but I think Uconn is.  I can’t realistically say Uconn is going to win this game, but I’m not saying they can’t either.  They will need to win this game to get that big BCS game.  And if I am right, this could be a battle of the undefeateds.  So indulge me with this game, and it’ll be my mulligan if I am wrong.  9-0
10.    @ Syracuse- Syracuse could possibly be worst team in the conference.  Mcnabb is long gone, and way too many question marks to merit a long inspection here. 10-0.
11.    Cincinnati- Another tough game, but again it’s at home.  Cincy has a lot of returning playmakers.  And if the defensive secondary is Uconn’s soft spot, I expect the Bearcats to be able to score often.  But like last year, they are far from a defensive juggernaut.  The huskies lost to them last year, but also exposed the defensive unit when they started airing the ball out.  Scoring 45, and more notably, 21 in the fourth quarter, they almost won.  However, Cincy kept the lead.  I’m expecting another shootout here, which means it’s anyone’s game, and I’m giving the edge to the home team.  Uconn 11-0
12.    South Florida- Should be an easy away game, but they aren’t a pushover.  Uconn wins.  12-0

So worst case scenario I see a 9-3 season, upside being 12-0.  If Uconn can win the big 3 games, it still may not be enough for the BCS voters to put them into the championship, or can it?

Landscape of NCAA Football

First, there are a lot of changes going on in college football these days, or at least a lot of talks about change.  BCS voting, playoff systems, and a reconfiguration of conferences seem to receive a lot of press.  But it’s still all about money and how it gets distributed.  The question is: Can a team like Uconn get a chance at the National Championship?  The short answer is, probably.
I am not a BCS expert, but the reason we saw teams jumping in and out of conferences this past offseason is simple.  BCS voters won’t shut out a team in a BCS conference.  But they can, and have, done it to non-BCS teams in the past.  Look what happened to the 2006 Boise St team.  The 2006 Boise State football team was a team that the voters didn't quite believe. They went undefeated and dominated all their opponents. The fact that they were a small school and played in the WAC was held against them and many felt they would lose the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners and would show once and for all that they weren't worthy of being included with the "big boys". However, the Broncos proved they were worthy by not only taking the Sooners to overtime, but by beating them 43-42 to finish the season undefeated. Boise State finished the season as the only NCAA Division I football team without a loss, but did not win the National Championship. 
It happened again in 2009 when 5 teams were actually undefeated in the regular season.  Texas played Alabama in the title game, and Cincinnati finished third in the BCS rankings only to lose in the Sugar Bowl .  But Boise St and TCU were also undefeated in the regular season, and some feel it was a slap in the face to make them play each other in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.  Why?  In 2008 and 2009, TCU and Boise State played in a non-BCS game which both teams were ranked higher than both participants in another BCS bowl game in the same season.  Since both teams were not “automatic”, they were placed in the same bowl game, and the bowl has been since called names like the “Separate but Equal” Bowl, the “Quarantine Bowl”, The “Fiasco Bowl”, or the “BCS kids table”.  There were talks of boycotts and wide speculation that the BCS bowl selection committees maneuvered TCU and Boise State into the same bowl to deny them the chances to "embarrass" two BCS conference representatives in separate bowls. 
My point?  Uconn is “automatic” since they are in a BCS conference.  If Uconn goes 12-0, and one or no other team is undefeated, I believe they get to play in the title game.  If 2 other teams are also undefeated, they will probably refer to strength of schedule and whatever else the BCS uses to rank teams. 
Miami is a good example of how a good NCAA team can use the Big East to capture the national championship.  They were unstoppable for a few years, especially in 2001.  The 2001 Miami Hurricanes dominated teams all year long, ending up going undefeated with a record of 12-0 and winning the Rose Bowl over Nebraska. The Hurricanes only played one game all season long that was decided by less than ten points.  But they also only played one ranked opponent in their first eight games before they finished out the regular season against 3 ranked teams, 2 of which were Big East teams (Syracuse and Virginia Tech).  The key is that you not only need to show the BCS that you are a good team playing against other good teams, but you need to be in a BCS conference.  That’s why the SEC gets so much respect, and it’s also why it’s so hard for a team from the SEC/Big 12/Big 10 to go undefeated. I ask myself often how the move to the ACC has worked out for Canes?
Another factor that could benefit the Huskies is the media.  There has been a wave of media warmth covering Connecticut, and it seems like it’s just heating up.  I don’t know how many game points it is worth to a school or program, but being a media darling definitely has an intangible effect.  The Huskies have been there before in basketball when they won their first basketball championship by cutting off the head of the ACC Dragon known as the mighty Duke Blue Devils at the Trop in 1999. The mainstream public love cinderella stories, and someone needs to tell them one.  Nowadays, ESPN is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, headquartered in, you guessed it:  Bristol, Connecticut.  I have no doubt Uconn can produce a perfect media storm.

So that’s it.  Yes, it’s a stretch, but not completely off the wall.  It’s not like I am predicting Prairie View to win 5 titles back to back again.  But if you take anything out of this, it’s that Uconn is making a lot of noise.  Also take note that Uconn fans travel well, which may be a point to consider if you are a BCS big-wig.
 I see way too many college football fans and teams looking past that Uconn game on the schedule.  I wish I could be the guy that said it first, but I would be lying.  Most of this information comes from my buddy the Murph, and I just happen to be lucky enough to pick his brain once in awhile.  

Peace
 




Posted on: June 11, 2010 8:07 pm
 

SEE ID

Ok, this is a small rant, and for no reason in particular, so if this is you, I mean no disrespect..

As someone who swipes alot of credit cards, I think people who put "SEE ID" instead of signing their card are going just a little overboard.  Do they really lack that much self esteem, that they feel the need to remind themselves how much smarter they are than the average credit card user every time they use your card? Or... Is this a way for them to make themselves feel kind of important, even just a little?  I just don't get it.  I always check for ID, and while most people eventually say thank you and make a comment about how few people actually check, more than half of them actually get annoyed with me.  I feel like saying, "Really??  That sigh is for me? Are you serious?"  Plus, you get the eerie feeling they are really just setting you up just to walk out the door and say," see, they never check, someone could have stolen my card, blahblahblah."  Who are these people that feel the need to judge others on such a trifle?  Nowadays I wait for people to sign their slip, put away their card and wallet, and then before giving them their legitimate copy, then I ask to see their ID, so now they have to go back into their purse and get their license.  Gotta love it when they come in with those purses that look like an 8-year old's bedroom.  Anyway, it's kinda my way of saying, "Hey, get over yourself..".  What's even funnier is near half the time, and I kid you not, THEY FORGOT TO BRING THEIR ID.  Now that's irony..  What do you do then???  Don't panic, yes, we will still take the card, but one day I sure would like to say, "Sorry....Ma'am/Sir you'll have to get some ID before you can have these delicious buffalo wraps" 

Then there's some who are too lazy to even go pick up your own purchases, but instead send your kids or boy/girlfriend in with your card.  "SEE ID."  Hahahahahahha.. Ok, I guess now I am being judgmental, but you get the idea..

But wait, there's more...  First off, merchants, "technically", are NOT allowed to accept credit or debit cards that are not signed.  But, lucky you, they are generally going to take them anyway.  So unless your name is "See ID", the merchant could simply say your card is invalid, and you both have a crappy experience.  You should thank them in the future for accepting your card without it being signed, they are sticking their neck out for you.

Second, I'm seriously considering making the staff write down all your information on your license when presented with a card that says "See ID", i.e. address, birth date, license #, weight (LOL!!!) just to point out that it's a ridiculous idea to write "SEE ID" on your credit card.  Then we could send you all kinds of junk mail, or post your weight on facebook.  And umm...Yeah, I want that toothless guy with the blood stains on his knuckles at the gas station knowing where I live..

Third, Visa/MC and your bank will not hold you liable for fraudulent charges. And in most cases, they will know what's going on before you even notice your card is missing. So stop worrying. I know identity theft is a real problem.  But if you are really that concerned, stop hanging around drug addicts.  Putting "SEE ID" on your card is about as useless as a one-legged dude in a butt kickin' contest.
My point.... don't be obnoxious with your credit card.  Most people swiping them are decent people.

Too Much Coffee in Manchester

Category: General
Posted on: December 22, 2009 3:51 pm
 

PBF

Congrats to Dirt dogs, 2009 Champs!


Category: Fantasy Baseball
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com