Monday, October 31, 2011

predicting the national championship

Assumption #1: The winner of LSU/Alabama will win the SEC Championship game.

That SEC Champion will play in New Orleans. Who will join them?

First candidate: Oklahoma State, if they win out. They've got home vs K-State, on the road at Texas Tech, Iowa State, and then home vs Oklahoma. I see them losing one.

Second candidate: Stanford, if they win out. They've got a road game against Oregon State, and then three home games against #8 Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame. Those games are tough. Conventional wisdom says they lose one of those. But if I had to guess, I think they win out.

Third candidate: Boise State. I have no doubt they go 12-0. But they need OSU and Standford to lose. And...

Fourth candidate: Oklahoma if they win out. The way the timing shakes out, if OU beats an undefeated OSU it will be the last game of their season and could be enough to vault them above the Broncos.

- - -

Really though, I'd love it the championship was an undefeated Boise State vs an undefeated SEC team.

3 central division matchups come down to mnf

Savan's got a half point lead with Gates against Stevo with Vincent Jackson.

Burnsy trailing 4.5 with the Chargers D against Cobb with Bowe.

And I need Jackie freaking Battle to get 14 tonight.

4 of my 7 fantasy weeks involved late prime time comebacks. Now it will be 5 of 8. So far I'm 2-2 in those situations. Can my team's running back get 80 yards and a touchdown? Probably not. But we'll see.

avs highlights

Here's an amazing shorthanded wraparound from Kobasew:

Here's the top shelf game winner from Duchene:

Friday, October 28, 2011

colorado inspiration

here are some photos i've gathered from the intertubes

one of the best baseball games I've ever seen

I'm not even sure what else is on the list? I suppose this one, and the 2004 ALCS games 4, 5, 6.

But last night might be the best.

(highlights) (win% graph) (Will Leitch article)

Let's breakdown the Cardinals play-by-play from the 9th on.

Bottom 9th: Rangers 7, Cardinals 5

Theriot strikes out.
Pujols doubles.
Berkman walks.
Craig strikes out.
Two out, two on, down two, 1-2 count: Freese triples, scores two.
Molina lines out.

Bottom 10th: Rangers 9, Cardinals 7

Descalso singles.
Jay singles.
Lohse sacrifices, moves the runners.
Theriot ground out, scores one.
Pujols intentionally walked.
Two out, two on, down one, 1-2 count: Berkman doesn't swing, takes a ball VERY close to the plate. 2-2 count: single, scores one.
Craig grounds out.

Bottom 11th: Rangers 9, Cardinals 9

Freese homers.

- - -

14 at bats
4 unproductive outs
2 outs that moved runners
2 walks
3 singles
1 double
1 triple
1 home run

- - -

The Rangers threw pitches 3 times, 1 strike away from winning the f'ing World Series.

1st chance: Freese triple, tied the game
2nd chance: Berkman takes a ball
3rd chance: Berkman single, tied the game


gamblin' man

Last night for our work Halloween party, they took us to the Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk, CO and gave us $50 to play.

I started by putting $10 into a video poker machine, because that's what my mom always plays.

I played for ten minutes and the $10 was gone.

So then I put $50 down at the Roulette table. I had never played the inside numbers before, sticking to red and black. But it looked fun.

They gave me 50 single dollar chips. It was a $5 minimum table. So every round I put 5 chips out. For example: 29, 22, 11/8, 1, 31/32/34/35.

I hit a few quadrants, that paid 8 bucks. But the real story is that I hit 3 single numbers: 29, 22 and 1. Which pay out 35 bucks each.

I walked away from the Roulette table with $120 dollars. Up $70.

Subtracting the $10 that I lost at the machine, I profited $60 at the casino.

Plus, they gave me $50 to play, so I walked out with $110 more than I walked in with.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Our first Colorado snow

Call me crazy or biased, but I swear the snow is prettier in Colorado. The first four are from yesterday the day it snowed. The next three are from today with blue skies. Here are my best snow pics from Chicago for reference. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

lock of the year

Chargers -3.5 over Chiefs

It's remarkable that the Chiefs are .500 right now. But it's only because of who they played. They still could finish 4-12 or worse.

This one isn't even close.

solving nhl realignment

For the 2012-2013 NHL season something has to give. Because the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and became the new Jets, we've got a geography problem.

We need to get Winnipeg to the Western Conference, which means we need to get a different team to the  East.

Move #1: Nashville Predators goes to the East, Southeast division. 

Solves the vacant SE division spot, creates a border rivalry (Tennessee/Carolina) and Tennessee feels more like a southeast team then a midwest team anyways. (Think SEC football not Big Ten)

Now we could just move Winnipeg to the Central, taking the Predators spot and call it a day. But...

Move #2: Minnesota Wild goes to the Central division. 

In the 80's the North Stars played in the same division as Chicago and Detroit, and just feels more like a midwest division. Minneapolis and Chicago and Detroit are already football, baseball rivals, etc.

Move #3: Winnipeg Jets goes to the Northwest division. 

Now you've got the Jets playing in a division with the three other Western Canadian teams.

Simple, elegant.

- - -

The only team this makes for long travel is...the Colorado Avalanche. There's not a great solution for this. But if you wanted to do one it would be: swap the Sharks and Avalanche.

Reasons for: You could rename the Pacific division, the Southwest. Which fits better for Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado.

Reasons against: It makes sense to keep the California teams together. Colorado is a legacy Canadian team so it makes sense for them to be in the division with 4 Canadian teams.


If you wanted to keep thinking...why not put both Minnesota and Winnipeg in the Northwest? Minnesota feels more Canadian than Colorado. Which means Colorado would slide into the Central and get divisional games against Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit! To me, Denver feels more like a midwestern city--they already play Kansas City in football. I think adding rivalries with the Red Wings and Blackhawks would be awesome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

illini basketball 11-12 preview

Last year, I looked at the Vegas odds for making the Final Four. Illinois was 3rd on the list of Big Ten teams, behind MSU and OSU.

MSU was a #10 seed, losing in the second round.
OSU was a #1 seed but lost in the Sweet 16.
Illinois was a #9 seed, losing in the second round.

So Vegas was a little hit or miss, perhaps overrating MSU's experience.

Regardless, I trust Vegas lines more than I trust a sportswriter's conference preview. I'd prefer odds to win the Big Ten, but I can't find that right now. So I'll rank the odds for the Big Ten teams plus the favorite for reference.

North Carolina 3/1
Ohio State 17/2
Michigan State 25/1
Indiana 30/1
Michigan 35/1
Wisconsin 55/1
Illinois 75/1
Minnesota 75/1
Purdue 75/1

Right now, Vegas has Illinois as tied for 7th best in the Big Ten, with only 3 teams behind them.

- - -

And as opposed to the last three years, the recruits for incoming fall 2012 are not in the top 25. I'm getting my info from A Lion Eye, Jalen James and Malcolm Hill might be good players for us, but it seems that our 2012-2013 roster won't have a ton more talent than our 2011-2012 roster.

Which is sort of a shame, because this year we don't have any seniors. Meaning if we're good this year, we have the chance to go to great next year.

But despite three top-25 recruiting classes in a row:
Juniors: Richardson, Paul, Griffey
Sophomores: Leonard, Head
Freshmen: Henry, Shaw, Abrams, Egwu, Langford, Djimbe
(incoming 2012: Hill, Orris, James)

It doesn't seem that Vegas thinks we're going to be that good, but looking at that list we have a ton of incoming freshmen. So we'll see. Maybe they're better than advertised?

Monday, October 24, 2011

I hate 2-3-2

2-2-1-1-1 is so much better.

Glad that NHL uses 2-2-1-1-1 always. Wish the NBA wouldn't switch to 2-3-2 for the Finals. Figures that baseball always uses 2-3-2.

This is how I watch football now

Notice that it's on mute with closed captions. And it's the Broncos. (though it was a good game to watch the end of.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

my wife is awesome

Not only does she take care of Harrison ALL THE TIME but she's been super great about taking care of him while I'm not working, allowing me to get out of the house and do some fun Colorado stuff.

Just recently I:
Played golf on 10/16
Went to a Saves The Day concert on 10/18
Will be going to the Avs game on 11/6
Attending a Learn to Curl clinic on 1/6 & 1/7


Thursday, October 20, 2011

understanding hockey rosters

So I'm all in on the Avalanche. I got the hat in June. They're winning in October. I want to go to at least one game this year. So I'm learning.

One of the first things I learned is that backup hockey goalies get far more playing time then I imagined. I figured it was like backup quarterbacks. And while it's not quite like a pitching rotation, through 6 the backup has already played twice. Two on, one off for the starter.

The other thing I was curious about was the playing time for lines. So because I'm a huge nerd, I built this chart from scratch.

Takeaways from the chart:

The first three lines all get equal playing time, and the fourth line of forwards gets half the time. The first three lines all have a combined 10 points, while the fourth line has a single point.

On defense, the lines get playing time according to rank, but all three lines get plenty of action. Erik Johnson has the most playing time, most assists, but the worst plus/minus. (I know +/- has its flaws.)

Landeskog was the #2 overall draft pick this year, and through the first six games he's already playing up the level of his peers.

I know it's early, but this was interesting and a good way to learn a team.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recognizing Outstanding Achievement in American Airlines Films

To date, American Airlines Films has produced four quality pictures:

Van Quattro (2004)
Van Quattro 2 (2010)
The Interview (2010)
Glen Undercover (2011)

To honor these films, I present the following awards.

- - -

Best Acting by Dave

And the nominees are:
P.T. Pontino in Van Quattro
Scotch in Van Quattro
P.T. Pontino in Van Quattro 2
The Colonel in Van Quattro 2
Mr. Petérs in The Interview
The Captain in Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Mr. Petérs in The Interview!

A classic comedic performance.

Best Acting by Niraj

And the nominees are:
Van Quattro in Van Quattro
The Professor in Van Quattro 2
Van Quattro in Van Quattro 2
Mr. Pullman in The Interview
Dellamonte in Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Dellamonte in Glen Undercover!

I know I really believed he was a drug dealer with a heart of stone.

Best Guest Actor

And the nominees are:
Katie Byrne as Action 5 Reporter in Van Quattro 2
Matt Horan as Glen in Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Matt Horan as Glen in Glen Undercover!

Taking nothing away from Katie's performance, this was the role Matt was born to play.

Best Writing

And the nominees are:
Dave & Niraj for Van Quattro
Dave for Van Quattro 2
Dave & Niraj for The Interview
Dave for Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Dave for Van Quattro 2!

It 11 minutes long, had multiple flashbacks, and not only connected to Van Quattro 1, but changed viewer's perception of the first film.

Best Accent

And the nominees are:

The Colonel in Van Quattro 2
Dellamonte in Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Dellamonte in Glen Undercover!

When you nail it, you nail it.

Best Editing

And the nominees are:
Niraj for Van Quattro
Niraj for Van Quattro 2
Niraj for The Interview
Niraj & Dave for Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Niraj for The Interview!

A close call with VQ2. But The Interview really showed off his editing skills as there were lots of different takes that had to be cobbled together just right to be seamless. Glen Undercover wins worst editing.)

Best Special Effects

And the nominees are:
Niraj for Van Quattro
Niraj for Van Quattro 2
Niraj for Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Niraj for Van Quattro 2!

Multiple use of green screens, blood splatters, infomercial overlays, chest blurs...this one had it all!

Best Soundtrack

And the nominees are:
Van Quattro
Van Quattro 2

And the winner is...

Van Quattro!

The music may be the best thing about first film. Every time I hear the soundtrack I want to play poker.

Best Direction

And the nominees are:
Dave & Niraj for Van Quattro
Dave & Niraj for Van Quattro 2
Dave & Niraj for The Interview
Matt, Dave & Niraj for Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Dave & Niraj for Van Quattro 2!

This one had tons of cool shots and reveals. I love the shot of me changing clothes in the closet and walking toward the mirror.

Best Production

And the nominees are:
Van Quattro
Van Quattro 2
The Interview
Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Van Quattro!

This one had a ton of shots we were both on screen, with no one behind the camera, and the camera was panning. Technical marvels involving string and wheeled chairs.

Best Picture

And the nominees are:
Van Quattro
Van Quattro 2
The Interview
Glen Undercover

And the winner is...

Van Quattro 2!

This was the most ambitious of all four and the most rewatchable. Humor, drama, action, intrigue. What more could you ask for?

man, i still love rugby

I've rambled on about rugby before, but every time I see it, I can't get enough. The best part is how after they score a try (touchdown) they have to kick the conversion from a spot in line with where they scored. So if you score at the pylon, you're kicking from any spot on the sideline. And because tries are worth 5 and the conversion worth 2, there's a lot of strategy to either score near the center of the field or have a great kicker.

Also, who doesn't love laterals? Every play looks like the last play of an NFL game.

- - -

The 2011 Rugby World Cup is almost over, France will play host nation New Zealand on Sunday. The good news is that there's lots of good video highlights up.

NZ vs ARG: A great Argentine try, and two super-close All Black attempts at the pylon.

NZ vs AUS: Great All Black try right off the bat with a last second pitch.

In general though a little disappointing how many points came from kicks after penalties instead of tries.

healthy food master list

Back on the train. (Healthy train.)

One tool that is super helpful is's food diary.  You just type in what you ate and it has a database of all the calorie info. I've set a daily target of 1700 calories and each day I add it up and make sure that I'm staying on track.

Of course, knowing what to eat is the first step. So for future reference, here's a master list of healthy options:

Fresh lean burgers with jalapeno salsa and roasted asparagus

Trader's Orange Chicken with added vegetables

Green Chile chicken tacos

Turkey hot dogs

lean pockets

roasted potatoes with peppers and onions

mashed potatoes/baked

homemade chicken salad with apples and craisins

broccoli slaw with vinegerette

optimum slim with almond breeze

trader's mutligrain o's

homemade soft pretzels

dried mango slices

arby's regular size beef and cheddar

chick-fil-a sandwich with buffalo sauce

chocolate pudding cups

microwave popcorn

kettle corn

halloween costume ideas

Marty McFly
Cereal Killer
Ceiling Fan (sportsfan)
Catcher in the Rye
Iron Chef (Fe apron)
Price is Right contestant
Where's Waldo
iPod dial around neck
Sims (green diamond above head)
blank Wikipedia Entry shirt

thoughts on last night's Saves The Day show

I've never seen so many children drinking cans of PBR.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

secret to Avs success

Last year the Avalanche didn't make the playoffs. 
This year, they're the hottest team in the league. 

And the only thing that changed is that I bought this hat in June. Me, me, me. 

the way to a man's heart

The silly old cliche is that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. And the reason stupid cliches exist is because THAT IS THE TRUEST STATEMENT OF ALL TIME.

Last night I came home and Brit's mom surprised me with a full Thanksgiving-style dinner from HoneyBaked Ham.

- - -

There are some brands that have a nice name and logo and even reputation that make you think this is something special. Omaha Steaks comes to mind. But once you order, you're like "why did I have meat shipped through the mail?" These aren't anything special. And they're really expensive.

Somewhat related, I've never even tried those take & bake pizza places. They charge as much as a pizzeria but still want me to cook it. Look, I'm either going to pay 4 bucks and get a frozen pizza or pay 9 bucks and get a hot pizzeria pizza.

Anyways. So if you've never had HoneyBaked Ham, you might think it fits into one of this camps. It is fairly expensive. How good could it be?

Really damn good is the answer.

I walked in the door and was greeted with the smell of Thanksgiving. In the oven were 5 side dishes: mac & cheese, broccoli rice casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and whole green bean casserole.

In the fridge was a spiral cut, honey-glazed ham and a sliced honey-glazed turkey breast.

And there were fancy egg buns, and three-pepper mayo as well.

The meat is awesome. Super-premium. The honey glaze adds a nice crunch on the outside.

But I had never had the sides before. The sweet potatoes were my favorite. Crunchy baked brown sugar topping, full of flavor. The mac & cheese was wonderful as expected. The surprise was how good the broccoli rice dish was. I don't even like broccoli. But this was awesome.

So yeah. I'm all about home-cooking at Thanksgiving. But if someone sneaked in the sweet potatoes and broccoli rice casserole on our table, I would not complain.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One day I should write something really long about my dad. But I don't want to put in the effort.

How appropriate.


So I've had this idea for a while: Write a piece of fiction that is designed to be read while listening to a piece of existing music. Sort of a Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz thing for a story/novel.

I thought it would be the future.

Well, turns someone came up with a better way to do that:

a good walk spoiled: part six

I couldn't let 2011 go by without playing at least once.

I picked this course because it was a par 3 that was 2 minutes away. It only cost 9 bucks. The course was fairly nice, water hazards on a couple holes but not too crazy. The only drawback is how cramped the layout is. It's so tight that they have protective screens around many of the tee boxes, as they are often along the fairway/green of surrounding holes.

Funny moment: I'm getting ready to tee off on #2, when the group behind me whistles at me. And points. I was turned the wrong way, aiming for the #9 hole. Whoops.

I didn't play that well, not surprising considering how long it had been. My first shot was great. Then I duffed a chip. Then a great chip and one putt.

Of course I did the worst on the shortest hole. I took out my 7-iron and swung lightly...and still carried over the green, bounced it on the parking lot behind the hole, and landed it on the roof of a garage with a loud clang.

The 5th hole was my best chance for par. My drive was an ugly sort of shot that kept rolling up the left side of the fairway and landed literally on the edge of the green. All I had to do was two-putt for par. My But I went too far past the hole on my 2nd shot, leaving me with an unrealistic par putt. But since there was no one behind me, I replayed my lie from the drive twice, and both times nailed the two-putt. Too bad it didn't count.

The 9th hole was long enough to be a short par 4 on some courses and I had a 6 foot putt to make 4, and I missed it right by an inch.

The worst part of my game is my chipping. Without fail, my first chip on a hole goes three feet. And then usually my second one goes 15 feet past the hole.

The best part of my game is shots 40-90 yards away on the fairway. These seem like they would be hard to get the distance right, but I usually nail them. (Of course, if I have a 80-yard tee shot, I land it on a garage).

My putting and driving are both not that great, but not as bad as my chipping.

- - -

To make me feel better about myself, I want to compile a list of the five greatest holes I've ever played.

5. Hole #9 - Par 4 - 368 yards - Columbus Park, Chicago, IL - 7.5.10

Score: Bogey
Long holes are challenging for me because I lack distance. Scores of 7-9 are typical on par 5s. So a bogey on a 368-yard hole is a notable feat. It took me three shots to get near the green, but a great chip and 1-putt saved bogey.

4. Hole #4 - Par 3 - 113 yards - Walnut Greens, Schaumburg, IL - 8.27.05
Score: Par
I don't have a recollection of my shots. I guess I didn't think it was that notable to get a par (what was I thinking?) I probably landed on the green and two-putted.

3. Hole #6 - Par 4 - 322 yards - Columbus Park, Chicago, IL - 7.5.10
Score: Bogey
This was my only Green In Regulation (on in 2 on a par 4 or on in 3 on a par 5). Of course I three-putted, but still two good shots to get on the green.

2. Hole #6 - Par 3 - 139 yards - Detweiller Golf Course, Peoria, IL - circa 1998
Score: Birdie
This is still the only birdie I've hit after all this years. My drive was short and left. I had a 40-foot approach. I hacked at it and it bounced short of the green, and then rolled right into the cup. Sheer luck.

1. Hole #6 - Par 4 - 322 yards - Columbus Park, Chicago, IL - 10.3.10
Score: Par
My only par on a par 4. My third shot was an 120-yard approach that landed 8 feet from the pin. And I only needed one shot on the green.


On a more serious note, parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done.

And I'm only home with him from 6pm - 11pm on weeknights, and changing 3 diapers during the night. I'm hardly ever alone with him. He's not particularly fussy and doesn't have any special needs. And I basically have a stay at home mom.

And it's still kicking my butt.

This post isn't to complain. It's to say I'm not sure how single parents do it. I'm not sure how my wife does it.

I'm incredibly thankful to have a healthy baby boy who is smiling every day and a wife that keeps him smiling.


I have played 6 weeks of fantasy football. 3 wins, 3 losses.

2 of the wins were late night comebacks, one which needed a stat correction.
2 of my losses were games that I thought I had sewn up and then got the late night comeback pulled on me. (I suppose what's good for the goose is good for the gander.)

But seriously, I figured even if the Bears get a defensive touchdown (6) 4 sacks (4) allow around 14 points (1) and force 4 turnovers (8) that's still only 19 points.

Instead they got a touchdown (6) 5 sacks (5) a safety (2) under 300 yards (4) and under 14 points (4). That's 21. To beat me by 1.5.

All I needed was the Vikings to get 14 more yards OR 4 more points. Not both. Either one. Or not take a stupid safety.

But that's life. Or rather, fantasy football.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Illinois holds Ohio State to one completion for 17 yards!

I'm not even going to bother looking at the rest of the stats, we must have crushed them!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Avs-Red Wings Rivalry

The Avalanche is the easiest Colorado team to adopt. I like hockey and have never had a team. They've had some success but I'm not jumping on a bandwagon.

(The Nuggets are the second easiest as I've never had an NBA team. But outside of the playoffs, basketball can be pretty dull. And they're not even playing this year.

The Rockies are fine. But baseball...sigh. I think I'd prefer to go to a Rapids MLS game.)

Anyways, so to get into the Avalanche mindset, I thought I would break down the history of their rivalry with Detroit.

- - -

Colorado's first year with a hockey team. Detroit's previous Stanley Cup win was in 1955, so I'll disregard any of their pre-95 Cups.

Detroit and Colorado both win their divisions, Detroit's the #1 seed. They meet in the Western Finals.

Colorado wins in 6, CCDCDC.

Then sweeps Florida for the Cup.

Head-to-head: Colorado 1, Detroit 0
Stanley Cups: Colorado 1, Detroit 0

This time Colorado's the #1 seed, Detroit #3. They meet in the Western Finals.

Again the visitor wins, Detroit in 6, CDDDCD. Then sweeps Philly for the Cup.

Head-to-head: Colorado 1, Detroit 1
Stanley Cups: Colorado 1, Detroit 1

Colorado's the #2 seed, Detroit #3.

But the Avalanche lose to Edmonton in the first round. The Wings win the Cup again.

Head-to-head: Colorado 1, Detroit 1
Stanley Cups: Colorado 1, Detroit 2

Again Colorado's the #2 seed, Detroit #3. They meet in the Western Semis.

After losing the first two games at home, Colorado wins in 6. DDCCCC.

But the Avs lost in 7 to Dallas in the Western Finals.

Head-to-head: Colorado 2, Detroit 1
Stanley Cups: Colorado 1, Detroit 2

This year Colorado was the #3 seed, Detroit #4. They meet again in the Western Semis.

Colorado wins in 5, CCDCC.

The Avs fall to Dallas in 7 again.

Head-to-head: Colorado 3, Detroit 1
Stanley Cups: Colorado 1, Detroit 2

These two teams were the best in the West again this year. Colorado #1, Detroit #2.

But the Wings lost in the first round.

The Avs beat the Devils in 7 to take the Cup.

Head-to-head: Colorado 3, Detroit 1
Stanley Cups: Colorado 2, Detroit 2

A year later Detroit is the #1 seed, Colorado #2. They meet in the Western Finals.

The Wings won in 7 in a series that included three OT games, though game 7 was 7-0. DCDCCDD.

Detroit then beat Carolina in 5 to take the Cup.

Head-to-head: Colorado 3, Detroit 2
Stanley Cups: Colorado 2, Detroit 3

- - -

Though the teams would reach the playoffs throughout the 2000s they wouldn't play each other or win a Cup until...

The Wings were the #1 seed, the Avs #6.

They meet in the Western Semis and the Wings sweep. They go on to win the Cup again, defeating the Penguins in 6. (Pittsburgh would beat the Wings in 7 the following year.)

Head-to-head: Colorado 3, Detroit 3
Stanley Cups: Colorado 2, Detroit 4

- - -

Seven years. 5 times Detroit or Colorado won the Cup. 5 times they faced each other in the playoffs. Amazing.

I'm actually surprised it was that close. If you exclude the 2007 season, which featured different players, the total is:

Head-to-head: Colorado 3, Detroit 2
Stanley Cups: Colorado 2, Detroit 3

As a neutral observer it seemed that Detroit usually got the better of Colorado. I suppose the extra championship and the 7-0 shellacking of Roy will do that to someone's memory.

breaking down early season performance

In 2009 I tried to figure out if your record after 5 weeks is make or break for getting to the postseason.

Let's try something new, inspired by an off-hand comment on the BS Report.

I'm going to compare finishes to Simmons' first power poll of the season. Data from 2007-09, since he didn't do an early one last year. I'll take a look at the top 5 teams in the power poll and the final four in the playoffs.

October 5, 2007

1. Patriots (loses in Super Bowl 18-1)
2. Colts (2nd seed in AFC, lost divisional round)
3. Cowboys (1st seed in NFC, lost divisional round)
4. Packers (2nd seed in NFC, lost conference round)
5. Steelers (4th seed in AFC, lost wild-card)

14. Chargers (loses conference round)
19. Giants (wins Super Bowl)

September 19, 2008

1. Cowboys (miss playoffs at 9-7)
2. Eagles (6th seed, loses conference round)
3. Titans (1st seed, loses divisional round)
4. Giants (1st seed, loses divisional round)
5. Chargers (4th seed, loses divisional round)

13. Ravens (11-5, 6th seed, loses conference round)
16. Steelers (wins Super Bowl)
18. Cardinals (loses Super Bowl)

October 2, 2009

1. Giants (misses playoffs at 8-8)
2. Ravens (6th seed, loses divisional round)
3. Colts (loses Super Bowl)
4. Saints (wins Super Bowl)
5. Jets (5th seed, loses conference round)

6. Vikings (2nd seed, loses conference round)

- - -

Pretty interesting. Small sample size so hard to make many conclusions.

2 out of 3 years, the #1 power ranking team missed the playoffs. But the other year the team almost went undefeated.

2 out of 3 years the Super Bowl winner was ranked 16th or lower. But the other year the Super Bowl was #3 v #4 and the final four were ranked in the top 6.

In general, a strong start means you should make the playoffs but doesn't translate to playoff wins. Not the most groundbreaking conclusion, but what can you do?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

thinking about an Illini conference championship

Wouldn't it be sweet to win the first ever Big Ten Championship game? That's something that can never be taken away.

To even play in the game will be a huge challenge as the #4 team in the country stands in our way. If you look at Wisconsin's schedule, I don't see a game they lose. Which means:

1. Illinois has to beat Wisconsin.
2. Since that must happen, Wisconsin would have one loss. Since Illinois would own the tiebreaker, they can afford another loss.

Ohio State, @Purdue, @Penn State, and Michigan are all tough games, Michigan being the hardest. But Illinois only has to win 3 of them.

Because Michigan is in the other division, they don't really matter. They could lose to Michigan State or Nebraska or they could go undefeated. But it doesn't affect Illinois.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

you know your life is different...

when you get excited about sleeping from 12:15a - 6:00a with only one 15-minute interruption.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

all that hullabaloo...

about the Rays making the playoffs. Epic playoff race! One for the ages! Incredible finish!

And it's over.

Two home games. Two losses.

Today 29,000 Rays fans saw the end of their season less than a week after playing 6 months of grind it out baseball.

I'm not saying the MLB playoffs should last longer. I'm saying everyone should cool out when it comes to the wild-card race.

mark sucks

This is new for me. All of my great fantasy wins have always been miracle comebacks and close finishes. Crushing Mark is a new experience.

I'm so proud of my guys. They really showed up to battle Mark.

So being 3-1 is not the same thing as winning the championship. But this is a new feeling and it feels pretty good.

I guess the secret was not drafting live.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Illini Bowling: 2011 Edition

Back in 2007, I examined the bowl possibilities for Illinois. Here were the options back then:

But it's a whole 4 years later and things are a little different: (2011 bowls wiki)

1. National Championship (New Orleans)
2. Rose (Pasadena)
3. Capital One (Orlando)
4. Outback (Tampa)
5. Gator (Jacksonville)
6. Insight (Tempe)
7. Texas (Houston)
8. TicketCity (Dallas)
9. Little Ceasars (Detroit)

I love that Detroit is the last place bowl. Like it's a punishment.

At this point, I think it's safe to assume that the Big Ten will not be represented in the National Championship.

So here's what seems likely to me:

1. Rose - Wisconsin
2. Capital One - Michigan
3. Outback - Nebraska
4. Gator - Illinois
5. Insight - Iowa
6. Meineke of Texas - Michigan State
7. TicketCity - Penn State
8. Little Ceasars - Ohio State

- - -

Here's ESPN's two projectionists:

Rose: Wisconsin / Wisconsin
Capital One: Michigan / Nebraska
Outback: Illinois / Michigan
Gator: Michigan State / Illinois
Insight: Nebraska / Michigan State
Texas: Iowa / Ohio State
Ticket City: Ohio State / Penn State
Little Ceasars: Penn State / Iowa

Are the Illini seriously thinking about playing in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game?

Changing a diaper at 7am on Saturday, way behind on sleep, I looked at the clock and saw that Illinois would be kicking off in three hours. That's Mountain time for you, which actually works out pretty well for the NFL.

Anyways, I couldn't watch the game. The first time I checked the score it was 28-10 Northwestern. So much for being a contender, I thought. Now they're 4-1, but 1-1 against real teams.

An hour later, the phone rang. It was Brit's Dad, super excited about Illinois' victory.

The what now?

- - -

Illinois scores three back to back touchdowns to take the lead 31-28, fumbles away the lead, and then gets it back on a last second drive.

Oh yeah and Jenkins has 3 touchdowns and 268 receiving yards--that's a school record.

ESPN Highlights
Illinois Football Highlights
Big Ten Netwok Highlights

Chiefs won't go 0-16

I've already established that the Chiefs are a garbage dump. 

So I was thinking about the possible outcomes for the Chiefs season.

A. The CEILING for this team is a wild-card berth and losing in the first round.
B. A respectable 7-9 finish.
C. 4-12 or 5-11, picking #5 in the draft.
D. 2-14 and the first pick in the draft.

So obviously, I'll take A over the rest. And if B would win the burger bet, I'd jump at that too. But this year it won't. They're on pace to go 4-12, and at this point are not the front runners in the Luck sweepstakes.

But, this year, with Luck waiting in the wings, is C better than D? It's hard to make that case.

Though it doesn't matter what I think is the best outcome--they'll play the games and it doesn't matter if I'm screaming WIN, or if I'd be happier if we got Luck, or if I'm not watching at all.

- - -

Anyways, it was nice to get a win. There are still 4 teams that haven't done that, including the Rams who I thought had a bunch of promise. And they have the same record as the Eagles and the team with Cam Newton's record-breaking performances. And they've assured they won't tie the Lions for the worst record in all of sport.

- - -

I better hand out some game balls, might not have that many chances this year.

#3: Matt Cassel

260 yards and no picks. Fired the team up at halftime. Seemed like he made some good down the field throws. But his one touchdown was all this guy...

#2: Dwayne Bowe 

Over 100 yards and the touchdown that won the game, and it was Bowe doing all the work.

#1: Ryan Succop

When you go 5/5 that's a game ball. And when you hit two 50+, including a 54-yarder to take the lead late in the 3rd quarter, that's your MVP. Succop's 54-yarder

the elusive triple crown

Is it a mirage?

No, it's a Illini Big Ten Win (5-0, Northwestern), a Chiefs Win (1-3, Vikings), and a Fantasy win over Mark!

Usually the Chiefs win is the highlight of the weekend, but this year, the win over the Vikings is mostly cosmetic. I'll expound in separate posts.

Editor's Note: I put in the current records and opponents not for today's clarity, but so when I look back at all the triple crown posts through the years, I can remember them.