Links of the Day 10/24/14

The week has come to an end, and you only have these links to take you into the weekend.

Both Serbia and Albania were sanctioned for the brawl at their Euro qualifying match.

The Wild are working on a Mikael Granlund contract too.

Kansas City seems like quite the wild place. Like some weird fever dream, really.

Miami 30, Virginia Tech 6 – Not that the Hurricanes aren’t great, but this really makes Ohio State look bad.
Minnesota 2, Arizona 0 – Darcy Kuemper is the man. He’s an animal. He’s… a manimal.

The Wild are locking down their future


Part of what made the Wild so appealing last year and in the off season coming into this season were not only the superstars that the Wild had added, but also the influx of youthful talent. It was going to be important for the immediate success that those players develop rapidly. It would be important to the long term success that those players extract all the knowledge they can from their older, veteran teammates, and then are themselves locked up for the long haul.

In the last few weeks, the Wild have done the legwork. Seemingly satisfied with their potential star power, Minnesota has signed Jonas Brodin and now Charlie Coyle to extensions, keeping those two in the fold for another 6 and 5 years, respectively. It’s clearly a testament to their development that improvement is so widely assumed that the Wild were willing to commit resources to them and their potential.

It’s perhaps more important, even, that the Wild front office are taking the long view with the team even after the big free agency splashes of the last couple years. They aren’t losing sight on building a successful franchise for the luster of one or two good seasons. This is a team to be excited about.

Links of the Day 10/23/14

Just a heads up. In exactly a week, the site will be taking a bit of a hiatus. There will be a few posts here and there, but not the daily updates you have grown accustomed to. Next Wednesday will be the last regular update for a while, and we will be taking our break until Tuesday, November 11th. You see, I’m getting married, and have no desire to post while on a honeymoon. I’m still posting today, so let’s look at some daggum links.

The Royals evened the World Series yesterday, and Hunter Strickland was a little irritated by that. 

Jared Burton has been turned loose. 

Pittsburgh played O Canada to honor the neighbors to the north after yesterday’s tragedy in Ottawa.


NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 7

Seems like there is a lot of parity in the NFL this year, doesn’t it?  The Broncos and Colts have looked very good lately, but they have also shown some weakness earlier this year.  The Cowboys and Eagles each only have 1 loss, but a lot of their wins have not been very impressive (and they both lost to the 49ers).  After blowing out the Steelers and showing some momentum, the Browns turned around and got crushed by 0-6 Jacksonville.  Even the Raiders have been relatively feisty in their 6 losses.  The NFL is truly turning into a league where anyone can beat anyone, which can be both good and bad, because it keeps fans of all teams interested and gives them hope, but it also makes the whole league look bad if there are no dominant teams and makes big upsets seem not quite as big.

On that note, following the Chargers loss to the mediocre Chiefs, the new #1 team is the Green Bay Packers, who looked downright awful after the first 3 weeks but have now managed to win 4 in a row.  Are they the best team in the league? Maybe, but we’ll see what next week brings.  The Packers jumped 6 spots to take over #1 after their dominant win over the Panthers, and the Chargers loss bumped up the new #4 Cardinals and #5 Colts.  The Broncos huge win over the 49ers on Sunday night caused them to swap places with the Cowboys for the #2 spot.

On the bottom, somehow, the Jaguars actually won a game and climbed all the way to #30, dropping the still winless Raiders to last and the Jets to #31.  The Redskins’ narrow win over equally awful Tennessee allowed them to escape the bottom 5, dropping Tampa to #29 and the Falcons to #28.

The biggest gainers this week were the above mentioned Packers.  They were followed by the Chiefs, Bills, and Dolphins who each jumped 5 spots.  The biggest losers were the Bears, who lost yet again at home, this time to the Dolphins.  They fell 6 spots, followed by the Chargers, who fell 5.

Playoff Projections:

1st Round Byes: #1 Packers, #3 Cowboys
#10 Lions @ #4 Cardinals
#9 Eagles @ #20 Panthers
Top 5 Out: #11 49ers, #13 Seahawks, #19 Giants, #22 Bears, #23 Saints

1st Round Byes: #2 Broncos, #5 Colts
#12 Chiefs @ #7 Ravens
#6 Chargers @ #8 Patriots
Top 5 Out: #14 Bengals, #15 Browns, #16 Bills, #17 Steelers, #18 Dolphins

Week 8 Look-Ahead
Game of the Week: #6 Chargers @ #2 Broncos (Thursday Night Football is the game of the week? What is the world coming to?….)
Mismatch of the Week: #27 Redskins @ #3 Cowboys (….and the mismatch of the week is on Monday Night Football, but ESPN loves them some NFC East action)
Pillow Fight of the Week: #25 Vikings @ #29 Buccaneers

Full Ranks

Week 7
1 GB 77.77 6
2 DEN 76.51 1
3 DAL 76.47 -1
4 AZ 74.38 1
5 IND 73.29 1
6 SD 71.34 -5
7 BAL 71.28 -3
8 NE 69.05 2
9 PHI 67.54 0
10 DET 64.57 3
11 SF 62.27 -3
12 KC 58.71 5
13 SEA 55.41 1
14 CIN 54.34 -3
15 CLE 54.31 -3
16 BUF 53.09 5
17 PIT 53.08 3
18 MIA 52.04 5
19 NYG 47.49 -4
20 CAR 45.40 -2
21 HOU 44.32 -2
22 CHI 39.99 -6
23 NO 36.54 -1
24 TEN 33.80 1
25 MIN 33.02 1
26 STL 31.31 1
27 WAS 30.63 2
28 ATL 26.6 -4
29 TB 22.22 -1
30 JAX 20.94 2
31 NYJ 18.46 -1
32 OAK 15.01 -1


Links of the Day 10/22/14

Good morning, and welcome to the links. Tough game for the Kansas City Royals, last night.

If you don’t stop by Barry Melrose Rocks every day, why don’t you start? It’s updated daily.

Darren Wolfson says the Twins are hiring Paul Molitor. 

The Falcons are unsure of European geography.

Football League Championship
Blackburn 1, Birmingham City 0 – Ben Marshall is really good for me on FIFA 2014, and he scored, so video games are real.

Entertainment Roundup: Here, in less than a minute, is how to ruin halloween

As a refresher, here is how Savers/Value Village reminded you that they had costumes. It was one commercial, but on Youtube it only comes as two videos.

They did so at every commercial interlude. It was worse on the radio. Now with Halloween approaching, Savers is dead set on ruining the holiday again. This time, they did an even MORE annoying job.

I don’t even know where there is a Savers (Value Village is in Canada) around here. I DO know the location of a couple of Goodwills, however, and

Ugh. In conclusion, Party City has costumes!

Links of the Day 10/20/14

If anyone needs to know how to fix their washing machine, just let me know.

Peyton Manning now holds the record for most touchdowns thrown in a career.

 Erik Walden was ejected from yesterday’s game. If the Colts are lucky, he will be suspended too!

The Rams got a little crazy in their victory over Seattle. Gutsy playcalling.

Green Bay 38, Carolina 17 – This game wasn’t even as close as the numbers suggest.
Indianapolis 27, Cincinnati 0 – Bjoern Werner’s emergence as a defender has helped, but in this game, having the Bengals’ two best offensive players hurt was the biggest aid.
Buffalo 17, Minnesota 16 – Buffalo wins with a touchdown in the final second. Put in Ponder!
Denver 42, San Francisco 17 – Denver is better than last year, and the 49ers are less good than last year. Analysis.
Rosenborg 3, Valerenga 2 – RBK was down 2-0 early, but came charging back, winning it with a Tomas Malec finish. Love that guy.
Los Angeles 2, Minnesota 1 – The Wild DID win 41-16 on shots, though.

College Football Promotion and Relegation: 2010 Simulation

This week, we continue the concept of a tiered NCAA Football Promotion and Relegation system.  Last week, we published the results of the initial 2009 simulation, and now we will simulate the 2010 season once again using Below is a recap of each tier using the 2010 version of the teams playing each other as aligned in the previous post.  We’ll start at Tier 5 and work our way up and show the 2011 alignment at the end….

Tier 5
East Champ: UAB (9-3)
West Champ: UTEP (10-2)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Kansas State (9-3), FIU (8-4)
Other Playoff Teams: South Florida (8-4), New Mexico State (7-5)
Relegated Teams: None, because no Tier 6 yet. Would have been Arkansas State (4-8), Western Kentucky (3-9), Eastern Michigan (1-11), and New Mexico (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: UAB took the East and got promoted a year after going 2-10 and would have been relegated had a Tier 6 existed. New Mexico State also made the playoffs after a relegation-worthy season.  Major tiebreakers existed to determine the playoff teams.  South Florida’s 40-21 win over Indiana put them in the playoffs, and in the West, Washington State, San Jose State, and Iowa State were also 7-5, but New Mexico State won the tiebreaker.  Louisiana-Monroe beat Arkansas State in a hypothetical relegation-avoiding game, and Michigan State put up it’s 2nd consecutive 1-11 relegation worthy season.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
FIU 52, New Mexico State 22 – Big plays led the way for the Golden Panthers, who kicked off the game with a 46-yard end around TD run by T.Y. Hilton. Later in the game Wesley Carroll hooked up with Jonathan Faucher for a 52-yard TD pass
Kansas State 37, South Florida 31 – Kansas State held off a late South Florida rally to advance.  Daniel Thomas led the way for the Wildcats with 180 yards rushing and 2 TDs
FIU 26, UTEP 17 – In a pretty uneventful game, FIU scored 2 TDs in the 2nd quarter to take a 20-17 lead.  In the 2nd half, the Golden Panthers held UTEP scoreless  and added 2 FGs of their own
Kansas State 29, UAB 28 – UAB took an early 14-0 lead before K-State scored 19 unanswered points.  UAB finally answered with 2 more TDs to give them a 28-19 lead in the 4th. After a FG by the Wildcats with 3 minutes to go, Carson Coffman hit Andre McDonald with a 18-yard TD pass as time expired to tie it, and  the extra point gave Kansas State the win
FIU 35, Kansas State 31 – The FIU Golden Panthers are the Tier 5 champs!  Wesley Carroll connected with 2 70+ yard TDs to Greg Ellingson and T.Y. Hilton before K-State even knew what hit them. They added another score to take a 21-0 lead early.  K-State stormed back from a 28-7 defecit led by 2 Daniel Thomas 4th quarter TDs to take it to OT.  In OT, K-State kicked a FG on their first posession but FIU won it with a Darriet Perry TD run

Tier 4
East Champ: Louisville (10-2)
West Champ: Air Force (9-3)
Promoted Playoff Teams: UCF (10-2), Baylor (8-4)
Other Playoff Teams: Duke (9-3), Colorado State (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Northwestern (3-9), Louisiana-Lafayette (3-9), Ohio (2-10), Army (2-10)
Notes on Regular Season: The Louisville Cardinals, a program definitely on the rise, earned promotion to Tier 3 by beating UCF and winning the division.  UCF eventually joined them and earned promotion for the 2nd year in a row.  The service academies also made some waves with Air Force taking the West and earning promotion while the awful Army program earned their rightful spot in Tier 5 (no disrespect to our armed forces, of course).  Northwestern joined Indiana as the 2nd real-life Big Ten team in Tier 5.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Baylor 31, Duke 16 – Robert Griffin III led the way for the Bears, throwing for 327 yards and 2 TDs and rushing for a TD of his own.  Duke made it close in the 3rd (14-13) until Baylor blew it open
UCF 13, Colorado State 12 – Odd game here.  Colorado State took an early 12-0 lead after 2 FGs and a missed extra point.  UCF answered with a FG and TD of their own, but made the extra point.  This set up Nick Cattoi to hit the 45-yarder with 2 minutes to go to give UCF the win
Louisville 27, Baylor 13 – Louisville started the game up 14-0 following 2 Bilal Powell TDs.  After Baylor made it 14-13 the Cardinals didn’t look back. The Louisville defense did a great job shutting down RGIII, who only had 145 yards passing and negative rushing yards
Air Force 30, UCF 13 – In a game where both QBs had less than 100 yards passing, Air Force ran the ball much better (371 yards total), capped by a 64 yard TD run by Jonathan Warzecka and 65 TD yard run by Asher Clark
Louisville 27, Air Force 24 – In a back and forth game, Air Force scored a late TD to send the game to OT.  In OT, only Louisville managed to score a FG, which gave them the win.  Bilal Powell ran for 139 yards and a TD for the Cardinals

Tier 3
East Champ: Florida State (11-1)
West Champ: Hawaii (12-0)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Oklahoma State (11-1), Iowa (10-2)
Other Playoff Teams: Virginia (8-4), Maryland (8-4)
Relegated Teams: Toledo (3-9), Buffalo (3-9), Ball State (3-9), Kansas (2-10)
Notes on Regular Season:  The Florida State Seminoles, one of the best programs of the past 25 years but with not that much history to earn them a spot in a higher tier to start, finally woke up and moved up up in 2010.  In the West, Hawaii steamrolled the competition, scoring in the upper 40s or 50s in nearly every game to go 12-0.  Oklahoma State and Iowa also dominated, with OSU only losing to Hawaii and Iowa only losing to Hawaii and OSU.  The bottom was a complete mess. Kansas earned relegation with their 2-10 season, but 7 teams finished 3-9, setting up multiple tiebreaker games.  Tiebreakers were used to rank the East and West teams in their own divisions, then 3 cross-division games were played in a winner advances, loser is eliminated format.  Buffalo defeated Ball State in the first game, and in the 2nd, Tulsa defeated Buffalo, then Tulsa defeated Toledo in the 3rd.  As a result, Bowling Green, Purdue, and Minnesota avoided having to play in relegation playoff.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Iowa 53, Virginia 24 – The Hawkeyes demolished Virginia in this one.  They took an early 27-0 and were up 43-3 early in the 3rd quarter.  Virginia scored 2 garbage time TDs at the end.  Adam Robinson for Iowa ran for 231 yards and 2 TDs
Oklahoma State 59, Maryland 31 – The Cowboys win another Tier 3 blowout. Oklahoma State took a 31-17 lead into the half and didn’t stop there, adding 3 Kendall Hunter TDs in the 2nd half.  In total, Brandon Weeden had 372 yards and 3 TDs, Hunter had 188 yards and 4 TDs, and Justin Blackmon had 222 yards receiving and 2 TDs
Iowa 27, Hawaii 20 – Following an undefeated season, Iowa dealt Hawaii it’s first loss of the year.  Hawaii took a 20-3 lead into the 4th, and appeared to be in control until Iowa exploded for 3 TDs and a safety in the 4th, all 3 TDs were passes from Ricky Stanzi
Oklahoma State 31, Florida State 23 – The final score looks closer than it was. Kendall Hunter scored 2 early TDs and the Cowboys had a 21-3 lead.  Florida State’s comeback was stopped by a 40 yard TD by Justin Blackmon
Oklahoma State 31, Iowa 17 – The Cowboys are the Tier 3 champs.  Oklahoma State had a 20-6 lead in the 3rd before Iowa came back to make it 20-17.  a FG and the 2nd TD catch of the game by Justin Blackmon sealed the win for the Cowboys

Tier 2
East Champ: Auburn (10-2)
West Champ: Boise State (11-1)
Promoted Playoff Teams: Stanford (10-2), Syracuse (9-3)
Other Playoff Teams: North Carolina (9-3), Texas Tech (7-5)
Relegated Teams: Troy (3-9), Southern Miss (2-10), Fresno State (2-10), Navy (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: The real life national champs from 2010, Auburn, were only in Tier 2 this year, but their (less than) perfect season earned them a trip back to Tier 1 (for the record, they lost to Michigan State at home and at Clemson).  Boise State earned promotion yet again, and finally achieved their dream of playing with the “big boys” in Tier 1.  In a tiebreaker more fitting for the NCAA basketball tournament, North Carolina beat Michigan State to earn a playoff spot and in the much more balanced West, Texas Tech won a tiebreaker over Oregon State, Wisconsin, and Texas A&M to earn a playoff spot.  On the bottom end, BYU beat Troy (how were they even there?) to stay in Tier 2.  After getting relegated from Tier 1, Navy is on the move again, sliding to Tier 2.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Syracuse 38, Texas Tech 31 – Somehow, Syracuse is back in Tier 1.  In a back and forth game, the Red Raiders scored to take a 31-30 lead late in the 4th that was immediately answered by a 55 yard TD by Delone Carter to seal the win for Syracuse. Carter finished with 192 yards
Stanford 37, North Carolina 13 – Andrew Luck delivered a beating to the Tar Heels, taking a 34-3 lead into the half. In total, he through for 329 yards and 3 TDs
Boise State 51, Syracuse 6 – Beatdown city here.  Boise scored early and often.  Kellen Moore threw for 434 yards and 3 TDs
Stanford 37, Auburn 24 – In a nice showdown between Cam Newton and Andrew Luck, Luck got the upper hand.  After a Luck TD run in the 2nd to make it 17-7, Auburn was essentially 1 score behind for most of the rest of the game. Stanford’s defense kept Newton in check, which strongly contributed to the win
Boise State 34, Stanford 29 – The Broncos are the Tier 2 champs.  After taking an early 17-0 lead, Stanford fought back to make it 24-23.  A Titus Young TD put the game out of reach.  Doug Martin for Boise State ran for 164 yards and a TD

Tier 1
East Champ: Alabama (10-2)
West Champ: Oklahoma (10-2)
Other Playoff Teams: Virginia Tech (9-3), Ohio State (9-3), Arkansas (8-4), TCU (8-4)
Relegated Teams: Miami (FL) (3-9), LSU (3-9), Georgia Tech (2-10), Texas (1-11)
Notes on Regular Season: A lot of parity near the top, as everyone had at least 2 losses and Arkansas and TCU (in their Tier 1 debut) made the playoffs at 8-4.  At the bottom, Penn State beat LSU (who were 11-2 in real life) in a playoff to remain in Tier 1.  The other 3 relegated teams were about average in real life, but their records indicate how much harder Tier 1 is than any current conference.
Playoff Recaps:
1st Round
Arkansas 54, Ohio State 20 – The Razorbacks had their way with Ohio State’s D, led by Ryan Mallett’s 4 TDs and 197 yards and 2 TDs by Knile Davis
TCU 26, Virginia Tech 24 – The Horned Frogs are advancing.  Missed 2-point conversions sunk the Hokies.  After a Ryan Williams TD made it 23-18 TCU, VT missed the 2 pointer.  Following a TCU field goal and a Darren Evans TD with 38 seconds to go, VT missed another 2-pointer to lose the game
Arkansas 44, Alabama 37 – The Razorbacks 4th quarter heroics took them to the title game.  Alabama  took a 37-26 lead into the 4th until a Knile Davis TD followed by a 73 yard punt return put Arkansas in the lead 41-37.  Ryan Mallett outpassed Greg McElroy 402-353 and Knile Davis had 3 total TDs for Arkansas.  Julio Jones had 177 yards and 2 TDs in the loss
TCU 34, Oklahoma 24 – TCUs huge 2nd quarter, where they scored 20 points, led them to the win.  No one really stood out statistically.  Matthew Tucker from TCU probably had the best day with 96 yards and 2 TDs
National Championship
Arkansas 34, TCU 15 – The Razorbacks are the national champs!  After an opening Matthew Tucker TD for TCU, Arkansas scored 31 unanswered points, led by 2 Joe Adams’ TD catches.  Ryan Mallett had 316 yards and 2 TDs

2011 Division Alignment

Tier 1 East Tier 1 West Tier 2 East Tier 2 West
Alabama Arkansas Miami (FL) LSU
Virginia Tech TCU Georgia Tech Texas
Ohio State Oklahoma North Carolina Texas Tech
Notre Dame Missouri Michigan State Oregon State
Florida USC South Carolina Texas A&M
Pittsburgh Arizona Wisconsin Washington
Tennessee Oregon Boston College Colorado
Georgia California Clemson Arizona State
West Virginia Nebraska Cincinnati BYU
Penn State Utah Michigan Oklahoma State
Auburn Boise State Ole Miss Iowa
Syracuse Stanford Florida State Hawaii


Tier 3 East Tier 3 West Tier 4 East Tier 4 West
Navy Troy Toledo Kansas
Virginia Southern Miss Ball State Colorado State
Maryland Fresno State Buffalo San Diego State
Central Michigan Nevada Duke Mississippi State
Miami (OH) Houston Illinois Idaho
NC State UCLA East Carolina Louisiana Tech
Kentucky Vanderbilt Wake Forest SMU
Connecticut Minnesota Western Michigan Tulane
Rutgers Purdue Marshall Northern Illinois
Bowling Green Tulsa Middle Tennessee Utah State
Louisville Air Force FIU Kansas State


Tier 5 East Tier 5 West
Northwestern Louisiana-Lafayette
Ohio New Mexico State
Army Washington State
South Florida San Jose State
Indiana Iowa State
Kent State UNLV
Memphis Rice
Temple Wyoming
Florida Atlantic North Texas
Akron Louisiana-Monroe
Western Kentucky Arkansas State
Eastern Michigan New Mexico

Following the Compass: Louisiana Tech – Texas San Antonio – Closer than expected


In a game that seemed as though it was a strong defense versus an explosive offense, we instead had a half of good defense and a half of offense between UTSA and Louisiana Tech in Ruston. The commentators on FSN made note of the fact that this game, an 11AM start, was much earlier than either team is accustomed to, and that may actually account for the sluggish start offensively.

And make no doubt, it was sluggish early. The Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio slowly drove down the field for a field goal and an early lead, but otherwise, there were 4 punts and little to show for the first quarter, with only 29 yards gained, combined, between the two teams. The best sign of life came from UTSA in the second quarter, when third string quarterback Austin Robinson saw some space and scrambled for 53 yards.

Robinson was the starter because Tucker Carter, the starter, was battling shoulder injuries in both arms, and backup Blake Bogenschutz broke his hand last week. Robinson, a red shirt freshman, looked pretty good to me though. he threw for only 138 yards, and tossed two costly interceptions, but he did add an element the team didn’t have early in the season. He ran for 88 yards, including the 53 yard touchdown, and, if you remove the 39 yards he lost when getting sacked, he was the leading rusher for UTSA.

The long touchdown played a big role in UTSA having the momentum through most of the first half, but so too did Louisiana Tech’s lack of discipline. They kept getting whistled for being offsides, holding, pass interference and finally, some personal fouls, and their focus turned to the officiating rather than UTSA. Eventually, both teams started to get frustrated by their inability to move the ball and with each other, and after nearly every play, there was pushing and shoving. Louisiana Tech was falling apart, mentally, but at least they were dragging UTSA down with them as well.

I don’t like to declare officiating good or bad based on the quality of their calls, but the officials in this game were doing a bad job of controlling the game. There was far too much extracurricular activity. It ultimately worked to Louisiana Tech’s advantage though. By the time the second half ended, UTSA had lost their momentum to the mire the game found itself in. Skip Holtz did a better job of calming his players during the break, it appeared. Despite an early interception on the first drive that Louisiana Tech had in the second half, they remained poised. Robinson fumbled the snap at his own 2, and Terrell Pinson picked up the ball and walked into the end zone, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. Pinson also intercepted Robinson twice.

UTSA threw two more interceptions after the fumble (in what ended up being 4 drives ending in a row with a turnover) and each time, Lousiana Tech scored a touchdown, and seemed to blow the game wide open. It was 27-10 by the end of the 3rd quarter. The game had completely turned on it’s head.

Stumbling Louisiana Tech returned for the 4th quarter, but in truth, they were never that good offensively. UTSA was done turning the ball over, and started scoring some points, including a 35 yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Brady Jones to Kenny Harrison to pull the game to within 7. The explosive 3rd quarter was enough for Louisiana Tech to stave off defeat, and they remain in first place in Conference USA – West.