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#MakeEmBelieve…

#MakeEmBelieve…

March Madness has finally arrived…and no thanks to the worst Selection Show in the history of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Who would have thought that the entire bracket would get leaked during a TWO HOUR Selection Show (ME…I totally called this)…well, apparently not the people at CBS (idiots). While most people were already throwing things at their television sets or across their living rooms…as Charles Barkley fumbled his way through his picks on the touch screen…someone “in the know” decided enough was enough…and leaked the entire bracket out before CBS was even halfway through unveiling it on live television. To that person, I say…THANK YOU! They should be promoted!

While the next three weeks are guaranteed to be absolute madness (especially with this year’s parity)…let’s look back at last year’s NCAA Tournament. A run for the Wisconsin Badgers, that was truly one for the ages…especially with all the pressure from the previous season’s Final Four trip. So, sit back and reminisce…on a tournament run that feels like it was WAY MORE than just one year ago. The following clips are guaranteed to give you goosebumps! Enjoy!

Second Round – (1) Wisconsin 86, (16) Coastal Carolina 72.

 

3rd Round – (1) Wisconsin 72, (8) Oregon 65.

 

Sweet Sixteen – (1) Wisconsin 79, (4) North Carolina 72.

 

Elite Eight – (1) Wisconsin 85, (2) Arizona 78.

 

Final Four – (1) Wisconsin 71, (1) Kentucky 64.

 

National Championship – (1) Duke 68, (1) Wisconsin 63. I was actually at this game…and I wake up almost every single day thinking about being up 9 points in the second half. I’m not sure Wisconsin will ever be in that position again during my lifetime…but if they are, you can guarantee I’ll be there to watch.

And don’t think I’ve forgotten about these two calls…#DuckFuke

No call...Winslow clearly steps out!

No call…Winslow clearly steps out!

Duke ball...and Winslow was clearly the last to touch it!

Duke ball…and Winslow was clearly the last to touch it! They reviewed this and still got it wrong!

 

And March Madness is never complete without “One Shining Moment.”

 

To the 2014-15 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team…thanks again for that incredible run! On Wisconsin!

T&F…

T&F…

It was the spring of 1992…that was the last spring that I did not participate in the sport of track & field as either an athlete or as a coach. Tomorrow, the track & field season begins for all high schools in the state of Wisconsin. It’s hard to believe that last year at this time, I was beginning my first season as head coach at Kewaskum High School…and what a fun season it was!

A lot has (obviously) changed between last March and today…but I have to admit, I already miss the track & field season. From the indoor meets at UW-Oshkosh to the triangulars/quadrangulars and invitationals along the way during the outdoor season…track & field is truly what spring (for me) is all about in the state of Wisconsin. The Conference meets, Regionals, and Sectionals are two of the greatest weeks of the school year…and the State Meet at UW-La Crosse, there is simply nothing like it…in the nation!

I always thought one of my greatest track & field memories would be winning a State title, but when I got into coaching and started having athletes of my own qualify for the State meet…that feeling was quickly matched, as nothing beats seeing the reaction of a high school athlete that just punched their ticket to La Crosse…a celebration I was lucky enough to witness just last year…as four hard-working individuals accomplished this unforgettable feat (I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you four).

Well, good luck to all the high school track & field athletes that begin their journeys tomorrow…especially, YOU…Kewaskum High School. I will be “tracking” your success as close as I can from California. You can and will do great things!

Go Indians!!!

 

Make memories this season!

Make memories this season!

Steph Curry…

Steph Curry…

There are simply no words for this! I mean…Steph Curry is just flat out ridiculous! Curry is a like watching a human video game…actually he’s better than the video game! But that hasn’t stopped NBA 2K16 from trying…this is almost as awesome as the real thing!

My wife and I took in last night’s game at Drake’s Dealership in Oakland…and I must say, I WAS IMPRESSED! Not only was Drake’s a really cool place to hang out, but the crowd there last night was fabulous! The fans were SO into the basketball game (I mean, this was simply game 58 of an 82-game schedule)…the atmosphere at Drake’s reminded me of all the fun we had during the last two Final Four runs by the Badgers. It was really energetic…and made me realize I need to go out for more Golden State Warriors games.

As for the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls 72-win mark…there was part of me that wanted that record to remain intact, but after last night…I realized it will probably be more fun (A LOT more fun) to watch the record go down…especially if I get the opportunity to witness more games in an atmosphere like last night (and since the Bucks are officially done).

Special shout-out…before we went to Drake’s yesterday, we took in Fieldwork Brewing Co. and The Rare Barrel…both were super! I literally can’t wait to get back to Berkeley!

In the meantime, more Curry please! MVP! MVP! MVP! GOAT?

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J-Mac and PDW…

J-Mac and PDW…

Dear ESPN,

MORE OF THIS PLEASE!!!

Jason McElwain (or J-Mac) stole our hearts way back in February of 2006 when he scored 20 points during a high school varsity basketball game. McElwain, who is autistic, was the team manager for the Greece Athena High School basketball team and was inserted into the game for the final 4 minutes and 19 seconds. McElwain wasted no time and drained six three-pointers and one two-point basket and quickly became a national sensation.

 

It’s hard to believe that moment was 10 years ago already…time truly does fly by. Well, over the weekend, ESPN did a look back at where Jason McElwain is today…and I must say, it did not disappoint. Tom Rinaldi is simply the best at this type of storytelling (he did both pieces) and Elizabeth Merrill’s story which accompanied the piece was perfect. The world needs more kids (sorry, men) like Jason McElwain and thank you ESPN for this wonderful follow-up!

Pete Weber (or PDW)…I can’t really say that I’m a huge fan of his, but I have followed the PBA Tour over the years thanks to my Dad and uncles (my wife and I even went to a live PBA Tour event at the U.S. Cellular back in the day…it was pretty cool). Being an avid bowler for the last 15 years or so, I still tune into ESPN on Sundays when bowling is televised.

With all that being said, this 30 for 30 Shorts: The Bad Boy of Bowling is fantastic! ESPN really needs to do more of this…I never would have even found this piece (if I hadn’t been sequestered to the bedroom so my wife could watch her shows in the living room), but thanks to the WatchESPN app on our Apple TV…I was able to watch this 30 for 30 Shorts (and it even made me miss bowling…a little bit).

So, to reiterate…ESPN, please find a way to put the above content on during regular programming hours. Less SportsCenter on repeat and less talking (or screaming) heads’ shows would be nice. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

 

A loyal follower (and your target audience)

 

 

Duck Fuke…

Duck Fuke…

I HATE DUKE!!!

Over the weekend, I was reminded (AGAIN) why I hate Duke so much. In this play, Grayson Allen CLEARLY travels, but no call from the officials (typical Duke). Shockingly, Duke fans were clamoring for a foul on the play…WHERE?! And Speaking of Allen, maybe he shouldn’t have been playing in Saturday’s game to begin with…as this is what he did in the previous game…looks pretty intentional to me (again, typical Duke)…even Jay Bilas, who went to Duke, AGREED!

My hatred for Duke began on March 30th, 1991…when Duke knocked off defending National Champion UNLV (who was undefeated at 34-0) in the 1991 NCAA National Semifinal. At that time, I loved the Runnin’ Rebels with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, and George Ackles. My hatred for Duke increased the following season…when Duke took down Kentucky in double overtime in the East Regional Final (f’ing Laettner) and went on to beat Michigan’s Fab Five (another team I absolutely loved with Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson) in the 1992 NCAA National Championship.

Some people say…I Hate Christian Laettner.

Well, I also hate…

Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Thomas Hill, Brian Davis, Cherokee Parks, Marty Clark, Chris Collins, Antonio Lang, Jeff Capel, Trajon Langdon, Erik Meek, Ricky Price, Steve Wojciechowski, Greg Newton, Chris Carrawell, Roshown McLeod, William Avery, Elton Brand, Shane Battier, Chris Burgess, Corey Maggette, Nate James, Jason Williams, Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, Dahntay Jones, Daniel Ewing, J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Shavlik Randolph, Luol Deng, Sean Dockery, DeMarcus Nelson, Josh McRoberts, Greg Paulus, Lee Melchionni, Jon Scheyer, Gerald Henderson, Brian Zoubek, Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith, Lance Thomas, Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry, Andre Dawkins, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, and the entire 2014-15 team (Jahlil Okafor, Quinn Cook, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, Amile Jefferson, Matt Jones, Grayson Allen, Rasheed Sulaimon, Marshall Plumlee, Semi Ojeleye, Nick Pagliuca, and Sean Kelly)!

And welcome to the hate club…2015-16 members, Brandon Ingram, Luke Kennard, and Derryck Thornton.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t miss anyone…as how can you forget some of those douchebags. Also, I’m not bitter…I’m not jealous…I just hate Duke! I think this almost four-year old parody sums things up about Dook…I mean Duke.

Here's hoping we see this look again come tournament time.

Here’s hoping we see this look again come tournament time.

So yeah, FUCK DUKE!!!

 

UPDATE: This is a fun little game…

 

NBA All-Star Weekend…

NBA All-Star Weekend…

I love the NBA All-Star Weekend (in Toronto this year)…from the festivities on Friday and Saturday, to the game on Sunday, I love everything about this particular weekend. Back in the day, there were no Friday night events and the slam dunk contest and three-point contest actually took place on Saturday afternoon. In fact, as a kid, I can remember getting home from my YMCA basketball games and sitting down and watching both of these events live. It is probably that early love of basketball, that has hooked me to this notable weekend ever since. Now, let’s look back at some of the more memorable NBA All-Star Weekends…

The Three-Point Contest

While usually not as exciting (until recently) as the slam dunk contest, it has always been a nice little appetizer. In the beginning of the three-point contest, it was simply Larry Bird and Craig Hodges. Through the years, no one has owned the event like Bird and Hodges (although Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojaković, and Jason Kapono each have had back-to-back wins)…maybe now is the time for Stephen Curry to turn this into his own personal shooting clinic. Time will tell, and Curry will have to beat his own teammate, Klay Thompson, to do it…just like last year. But my all-time favorite three-point contest moment came in 2001, when Ray Allen took home the title as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks (it was almost their year). Can Khris Middleton do that this year…good luck (because he’s gonna need it)!

The Slam Dunk Contest

Here are my top five slam dunk contests…

  • Spud Webb. It was 1986 and probably the first year that I picked up this event. At 5 feet 7 inches, Webb made us all believe that we had the chance to dunk one day.
  • Michael Jordan. Jordan’s first win in the slam dunk contest came in 1987. MJ defeated Jerome Kersey in the final that year and set the stage for the epic 1988 dual with Dominique Wilkins.
  • Dee Brown. In 1991, Brown secured his win over Shawn Kemp by doing the no-look dunk. Brown also used his Reebok Pumps to his advantage during this contest, and I remember everyone wanted to get those shoes immediately afterwards.
  • Vince Carter. The year was 2000, and probably the last slam dunk contest that was really worth watching. I know there have been some decent contests since, but what Carter did on this night was simple amazing. Every dunk kept getting better and better…no one wanted it to end.
  • Dominique Wilkins vs Michael Jordan. February 6th, 1988 (I can’t believe it has been 28 years already)…easily, the best slam dunk contest ever…and it’s not even close. The event probably should have been canceled after this.

The All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game is usually very entertaining (sometimes the dunks in this game are better than the ones in the slam dunk contest), with very little defense being played until late in the 4th quarter…so basically, just like every other NBA game. While there have been many highlights over the years…only ONE GAME stands out above all others for me. In the 1992 All-Star Game, Magic Johnson (in his first game back since announcing he had contracted the HIV virus and saying that this would be his last) stole the show (winning the MVP)…I will forever remember that game (Dick Enberg was on the call too). And Vanilla Ice was the halftime show!

The best NBA All-Star uniforms...please go back to these!

Circa 1980’s…the best NBA All-Star Game uniforms ever…

 

And seen again in 2003.

And seen again in 2003…please go back to these!

 

So, sit back and relax this weekend…and don’t forget to take in some of the newer NBA All-Star Weekend festivities…the Rising Stars Challenge (represent, Jabari) on Friday night and the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.

And the NBA Developmental League will be busy this weekend as well, with their Dream Factory and All-Star Game (Saturday night)…you may recognize some of these players from past NCAA tournaments (as these guys can really play).

NBA action, it’s…FANtastic! (wait, was that O.J.)

 

 

 

The Big Game…

The Big Game…

Super Bowl L (I mean 50), is SLOWLY creeping its way here. I say slowly, because living in the Bay Area has been constant Super Bowl coverage on just about every network for well over a week. Between the countdowns and the live shots from downtown San Francisco and Levi’s Stadium, I simply CANNOT take any more coverage of this game (and don’t get me started on this song). Even if the Packers were in the Super Bowl, it wouldn’t matter that much (okay, it would be slightly more tolerable)…because all the stories being told by these “reporters” are nothing new to the average sports fan…it’s all fluff!

With all that being said…I still would love to go to the game. I have never been to a Super Bowl or even lived so close to one…I feel that it is my duty to find a way into this game (as I may never have this opportunity again). So, with a budget of $500, I took to StubHub to find a single seat for the “big” game.

Absolutely…NO DICE! At last check…the lowest ticket price was…$3,000! Maybe it’s a good thing that the Packers didn’t make it to the Super Bowl. At that price, a Super Bowl ticket would have hurt the old pocket book…just a little bit.

Well, since I (obviously) can’t afford a ticket to the game…maybe I could check out a cool Super Bowl party…I’m sure that would be a lot of fun (maybe even more fun than the game itself).

Here is a list of ticket prices (according to StubHub) to Super Bowl parties being promoted (heavily) in the Bay Area:

  • Super Bowl Playboy Party with DJ Alesso ($875)
  • Maxim Super Bowl Party with A$AP Rocky and Lil Wayne ($1,080)
  • Leather and Laces Super Bowl Party ($825)
  • Rolling Stone Super Bowl Party with Avicii, Elle King, and Travis Scott ($800)

Priced out…again!

I did happen to find a couple Super Bowl parties in my price range though…

  • Live Taping of the 17th Annual Super Bowl Gospel Celebration ($100)
  • Ne-Yo and T.I. Super Bowl Friday ($130)
  • Sean Diddy Combs Friday Super Bowl 50 Party ($100)
  • Golden Anniversary Concert with 50 Cent and more Hosted by Chris Brown ($56)
  • Super Bowl 50 Launch Party featuring Travis Scott ($56)

Do I roll the dice on one of the above events…or should I save my money for the single most affordable Super Bowl 50 ticket on StubHub…

A PARKING PASS to Super Bowl 50 ($50)!

Nothing like a Sunday drive to Santa Clara (there will still be traffic) and abiding by these rules…TAILGATING WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN  SUPER BOWL 50 PARKING LOTS. Are you kidding me?!

As for the game itself…sports are often (usually) against me. The teams that I want to win, usually don’t win (it’s actually quite painful). In this case, the Denver defense will probably make Cam Newton do things that he hasn’t done all season long (they did it to Tom Brady…so I’m a believer), and HGH neck (I mean Peyton Manning), will do just enough to allow himself to ride off into the sunset…a two-time Super Bowl champion. Just the thought of this makes me sick…and that’s why I’m (mentally) getting myself ready now. Sports are cruel, and yet, they are still the greatest reality show on television. Broncos 24, Panthers 20.

 

 

Now what…

Now what…

On Saturday night, as Larry Fitzgerald walked into the end zone for the game’s winning score, a sick feeling passed through my entire body (and no, it wasn’t my alcohol consumption). This feeling, was the same feeling I had a almost a year ago, to the day, when the Packers lost a different type of heartbreaker to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship. This is a pain…that takes longer and longer to recover from with each passing season (and also, probably the reason why I am finally getting around to this post today).

As a Packers fan, I invest A LOT into a season (some would say too much), but the Green Bay Packers are a part of me…always have, and always will be (I am an owner). To me, the Packers (and all sports for that matter) are the greatest dose of reality that this world has to offer (it’s also a great escape from the daily grind going on around us). Going into this season, it felt like destiny for the Packers (and me) as Super Bowl L (ahem, 50) would be held in (kind of nearby…depending of traffic, of course) Santa Clara, California, but as things would have it…it just wasn’t meant to be. And while the season had many ups and downs along the way, there was always a part of me that continued to believe (although things were very bleak at times)…that the Packers would make their way to the Super Bowl.

Now that the season is over (and I try to recover), let’s look back at some of the pictures that helped define the 2015 Green Bay Packers.

I think everyone knew the Packers were in trouble when Jordy went down, but I don't think ANYONE believed they would struggle so much on offense without him. Here's hoping the Jordy of old returns next season.

I think everyone knew the Packers were in trouble when Jordy Nelson went down, but I don’t think ANYONE believed they would struggle so much on offense without him. Here’s hoping the Jordy of old returns next season.

 

6-0...it felt so great! While there were signs of struggles on offense, the winning definitely hid some of those issues. Going into the bye week at 6-0, everything seemed to be falling into place for a spot in Super Bowl L.

6-0…it felt so great! While there were signs of struggles on offense, the winning definitely hid some of those issues. Going into the bye week at 6-0, everything seemed to be falling into place for a spot in Super Bowl L.

 

Three straight losses and a home loss to, of all teams, the Lions. At this stage, the offensive struggles were real...evidence shown as Davante Adams couldn't catch a cold.

Three straight losses and a home loss to (of all teams) the lowly Lions (it was Detroit’s first win at Lambeau since 1991). At this stage, the offensive struggles were real…evidence shown as Davante Adams couldn’t catch a cold in this game despite 21 targets.

 

Losing at home, on Thanksgiving night, to the Bears, during Brett Favre's #4 retirement, with Bart Starr in the house...I still don't know how this happened.

Losing at home, on Thanksgiving night, to the Bears, during Brett Favre’s #4 retirement, with Bart Starr in attendance…I still don’t know how this happened.

 

The Packers were a complete dumpster fire in the early part of this game, but this Hail Mary had us forget all about it...and made us believe once again. This play is the definition of sports fandom.

The Packers were a complete dumpster fire in the early part of this game, but this Hail Mary on the last play of the game had us forget all about that…and made us believe, once again, that the Packers weren’t dead yet. This play, truly is, the definition of sports fandom.

 

After a brutal start, the offense came alive over the final three quarters to win on Wild Card Weekend and had us starting to believe again.

After a brutal 1st quarter, the offense came alive over the final three quarters to win on Wild Card Weekend, and gave us hope in their rematch with Arizona.

 

Another Hail Mary...and this time, to Jeff Janis (the People's Champion). It felt like destiny was on our side...until just moments later.

Another Hail Mary (INSANE as Al Michaels called it)…and this time, to Jeff Janis (the People’s Champion). It felt like destiny was on our side…until just moments later, and two separate plays by Fitzgerald.

 

Another wasted season?

Another wasted season…is the prime of Rodgers career flashing before our eyes?

 

So…now what? Where do the Green Bay Packers go from here. While I think (actually, I know) we all have opinions on a number of different decisions…we can probably expect (and wholeheartedly disagree) that the Packers will stick to their plan of course. As for us, the fans, the recovery process after a season like this (heck, just the Divisional game alone), will take some time. Unfortunately, this year, we don’t have the Wisconsin Badgers to take our minds of this loss…and the Milwaukee Bucks, while playing better lately, are still a long ways back from the 8th seed…and the Milwaukee Brewers, it will be a LONG time before they are even competitive again.

So, Green Bay Packers, while this offseason is sure to be long (for all of us)…here’s hoping that we are not in this exact same position AGAIN come next season. GET IT RIGHT!!!

Do-over…

Do-over…

According to Merriam-Webster, a do-over is…a new attempt or opportunity to do something after a previous attempt has been unsuccessful or unsatisfactory. The following organizations are getting an opportunity for a do-over or surely would like the chance at one…and badly.

The Green Bay Packers: Green Bay plays at Arizona in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday night. In week 16, the Packers lost at Arizona 38-8…and the game really wasn’t even that close. So, can the Packers (7 point underdogs) pull off the upset…I highly doubt it (my expectations are still very low), BUT if Arizona’s Carson Palmer becomes Carson Hoyer (the Stave of the NFL), the Packers do have a legitimate chance. Palmer, in only 1+ career playoff games (he tore his ACL in the first quarter of his first career playoff start) has these playoff numbers…19 for 37 (51.35%), 212 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, and a passer rating of 66.5. Not exactly numbers that should strike fear in the Green Bay Packers, but Palmer just completed an MVP type season…342 for 537 (63.7%), 4671 yards, 35 TD/11 INT, and a passer rating of 104.6…so which Palmer will show up on Saturday night and can the Packers continue their offensive rhythm from last week…this is the suspense that is making this week SO long.

The Los Angeles Rams: The Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, and in my opinion, that is where they belong. The St. Louis Rams (in the NFC West) just didn’t make sense…besides, St. Louis is a baseball town with a little bit of hockey sprinkled in. Growing up, I enjoyed watching the LA Rams (Ram It!)…they were an exciting team to watch with the likes of Eric Dickerson, Jim (don’t call me Chris) Everett, Henry Ellard, Flipper Anderson, and Kevin Greene. Now that the Rams are going to call Los Angeles home again, I hope they go back to their old color scheme as well…a chance at a double do-over!

CLASSIC!

I love the classic look!

I also enjoyed this piece on the @LaraMS Twitter handle…sometimes you really can’t make this stuff up.

The WIAA: Oh boy, where do I even begin here. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that the WIAA is getting absolutely pummeled in the PR department (it is the second time this week, where I was asked in California, what is wrong with Wisconsin…the other, Making a Murderer, of course). The WIAA’s fun started way back on December 22nd with a sportsmanship email to schools (Seasons Greetings¡). Then on January 4th, April Gehl took to the Twitterverse to express her opinion about said email…

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Last Friday (January 8th) a five-game suspension was handed down to Gehl and the WIAA hasn’t been the same ever since. Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) continues to pile on and Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) is going to have his take (One Big Thing) on SportsCenter tomorrow night (be sure to tune in).

While SO MUCH has already been discussed on this topic (ad nauseam), here is my final take (I hope)…

To the WIAA…lay off the Twitter (and all social media) for a LONG while…every time you have posted something in the past few days, you have been lambasted (and rightfully so)…as NO ONE is taking you seriously right now. Give this till at least March or April…by then, people will have already forgotten about this fiasco (or moved onto something else).

To Hilbert High School…you may want to look at your code of conduct. A five-game suspension for a tweet seems kind of harsh (is this the norm…what do other schools in your area have in place). Also, I hope you are having a good and thorough discussion with your entire student body on what is appropriate for social media. Kids will be kids…but let’s try to be more proactive in the future.

To April Gehl…your 15 minutes of fame are long passed. DELETE the tweet and move on with your high school career. Do you really want to be known as this girl for the rest of your life? We all make mistakes (especially as teenagers), but showing a little remorse may have gotten you less of a suspension (and a follow-up apology tweet is long overdue).

 

 

 

Blind QB Resume…

Blind QB Resume…

It’s time for America’s favorite game…Blind Quarterback Resume! The following 8 quarterbacks will be competing in this weekend’s Wild Card games. See if you can figure out who each quarterback is…as the numbers are based off the 2nd half of the season (8 games).

 

              Cmp/Att         Cmp%          Yards         TD/Int        Rating

QB 1:     173/235          73.62            2,212          19/2            126.1

QB 2:     168/249          67.47            2,146          25/2            124.3

QB 3:     137/202          67.82            1,517          11/4             99.8

QB 4:     79/119            66.39             854             6/2              97.1

QB 5:     143/215          66.51            1,561           8/3              94.4

QB 6:     224/335          66.87            2,764          16/11           94.4

QB 7:     95/154            61.69            1,025           6/4              83.4

QB 8:     184/320          57.50            1,884          12/5             80.5

 

And the answers are….

 

 

 

QB 1 – Kirk Cousins (ranked 1st in the league over the final 8 games), QB 2 – Russell Wilson (ranked 2nd), QB 3 – Alex Smith (ranked 6th), QB 4 – A.J. McCarron (ranked 8th), QB 5 – Teddy Bridgewater (ranked 12th), QB 6 – Ben Roethlisberger (ranked 13th), QB 7 – Brian Hoyer (ranked 26th), and QB 8 is…Aaron Rodgers (the 27th ranked quarterback over the final eight games of the season).

And if you want to dig even deeper…Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a quarterback rating in the 100’s since week 6 versus San Diego (107.7). But hey, according to Aaron…he’s still confident…and proud that they kept it together and didn’t create any distractions. Talk about cryptic…

Anyways, I would like to have the Sun back (as Steve “The Homer” True has dubbed Rodgers)…

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And also…THE REAL SUN!

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Winter in California has officially gotten old…

But as Puddy, I mean Mike McCarthy (follow @McPackersBot) would say…it’s time to showcase who the hell we are. So, please sunS…start showcasing! Because I need some Good Day Sunshine!

 

The Oakland Double…

The Oakland Double…

One of the neat things about living in California is that your hometown teams (the teams you grew up rooting for…and still avidly follow and cheer for) come and visit once in awhile. This past weekend, it worked out to perfection…the Bucks played the Warriors on Friday night and the Packers played the Raiders on Sunday afternoon. We now have officially checked off the “Oakland Double” on the list of things to do in the Bay Area.

To put into perspective...Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum are neighbors that share parking lots.

To put into perspective…Oracle Arena (right) and O.co Coliseum are neighbors that share parking lots.

Bucks vs Warriors

Not a bad seat in the house.

Not a bad seat in the house.

We took BART to the game, and due to the rain, we went straight into the game instead of checking out nearby bars for our pregame. Oracle Arena opened at 6pm and we got the opportunity to explore everything the arena had to offer…as the game was still 90 minutes from tip-off. We witnessed something, that if you ever get the chance, you absolutely must do…watch Steph Curry’s pregame warm-up. I’m not sure what Michael Jordan’s warm-up included back in the day, but Curry’s is simply amazing and fun to watch…including this shot.

As for the game itself, it was quite possibly the best regular season NBA game I have ever attended. Watching a game at Oracle is fabulous…as the arena reminds me a little bit of The Kohl Center in terms of layout. The fans are super into the game and the arena gets really loud (something you don’t often experience at the Bradley Center)…and you get to stand up A LOT (something I love). The Bucks played their hearts out (please play like this all the time), but fell short in the 4th quarter, when none other than Steph Curry, took control of things. Clara and I were two of just a handful of Bucks fans at the game, but we represented, and we’re treated very cordially by the Warrior fans. As for Draymond Green, he’s still the same whiny little bitch that he was at Michigan State…grow up!

Final: Bucks 112, Warriors 121

2-0 vs the Warriors would have been amazing.

2-0 vs the Warriors would have been amazing…but the Bucks are still the only blemish on Golden State’s record.

Packers vs Raiders

Great seats...I could watch all Packer games like this.

Great seats…I could watch all Packer games like this (home and road).

Thank you Grant for the tickets! Who would have thought that Mike Tice (yes, him) would one day be our connection to getting Packers tickets (in Oakland). Well, thank you sir! With our tickets in hand, we set out early to enjoy the full Wisconsin tailgate experience…cheese, brats, and cold Miller Lite. Of course, it started to rain during the tailgate and into most of the game…as I’m now 0 for 2 in terms of nice weather for Packer games (I’ve attended) this season.

As for the game, it was nice to see lots of Green and Gold (Lambeau West?)…and the GO PACK GO chant late in the game, made me smile. Our seats were wonderful (players section), and we even had another Packer fan next to us (they’re everywhere). The Packers once again struggled offensively and at times it was really hard to watch the futility of the offense, but it was nice to see another win…and it was nice to leave O.co Coliseum in one piece (thankfully we weren’t anywhere near The Black Hole). This was my second time at O.co as I took in an A’s vs Dodgers game there last summer…and it truly makes you appreciate Lambeau Field even more when you attend a game at an out-dated facility like O.co.

Grant dressed like a Raiders fan, but didn't hold back when the Go Pack Go chants started.

Grant dressed like a Raiders fan, but didn’t hold back when the GO PACK GO chants started.

Final: Packers 30, Raiders 20

All in all, a very successful Oakland Double…a sweep would have been awesome (and almost un-thinkable as the Bucks were 19.5 underdogs), but the Packers probably needed to win the most. I can’t wait to do it again sometime…and I’m still holding out hope for Super Bowl L (because you never know) as the Packers are officially in the playoffs.

 

 

 

Charlie Wills Award…

Charlie Wills Award…

Otherwise known as…the least favorite Badger. Going back to my college days, Wisconsin has always had a player on their roster (that played major minutes) that my friends and I really did not like. The first such player that my friends and I absolutely despised was none other than Charlie Wills (hence the award’s name).

Charlie Wills was the type of player that just didn’t look like he belonged playing college basketball (especially at the Division I level)…and Wills played during an era where Wisconsin basketball was just starting to make a name for itself. The early 2000’s were not like the 1980’s and 1990’s where Wills would have been just another guy on a really bad team. Charlie Wills actually played 19 freaking minutes in the Final Four as a sophomore (finishing with 2 points and 1 rebound). That fact…still amazes me to this day!

So, this year’s least favorite Badger is…Vitto Brown. So why is Vitto Bad (I mean Brown) this year’s selection? Case in point…during Wednesday night’s home loss to UWM (simply inexcusable), the 6-8 forward pulls down a rebound and decides to awkwardly (key word) dribble three quarters of the court with the basketball (there’s little over a minute left in the game, mind you), only to pick-up (you guessed it) a CHARGE! Not smart, and just one, of many reasons (Vitto was also 1 for 9 from the field vs UWM) why Brown is the recipient of this year’s Charlie Wills Award…and a heavy favorite to repeat next year (he wouldn’t be the first).

Here is a look back at past winners of the Charlie Wills Award during the Bo Ryan era…

2015-16: Vitto Brown
2014-15: Traevon Jackson
2013-14: Traevon Jackson
2012-13: Ryan Evans
2011-12: Ryan Evans
2010-11: Tim Jarmusz
2009-10: Tim Jarmusz
2008-09: Jordan Taylor
2007-08: Greg Stiemsma
2006-07: Jason Chappell
2005-06: Jason Chappell
2004-05: Andreas Helmigk
2003-04: Dave Mader
2002-03: Dave Mader
2001-02: Charlie Wills

As you can see, there have been many repeat winners, and only two players…Jordan Taylor (who later became a 2nd team All-American) and Greg Stiemsma (who is currently in his fourth year in the NBA) were able to recover from winning the Wills Award. Today, Charlie is doing just fine, and the good news for Vitto…at least he can sing.

Go Badgers! #BeatMarquette

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Give Up…

Don’t Ever Give Up!

The 9th annual Jimmy V Week, for cancer research, kicks off today (December 2, 2015). This weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs features special content to help raise funds for cancer research. (Editors note: Clara…save the date).

For those of you that don’t know who Jimmy Valvano is…you can read all about his life here. There was also a great ESPN Films 30 for 30 (imagine that) about Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack team that won the 1983 NCAA National Championship titled…Survive and Advance.

Valvano is probably known to most for the courageous speech that he gave at the 1993 ESPY Awards while accepting the inaugural Arthur Ashe Courage Award (let’s just not talk about the 2015 winner at this time). It was during that speech, that Valvano announced the creation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. I used to show Valvano’s speech to my freshman health students when we talked about setting goals (it was actually quite moving to most 14 and 15 year olds…that think they know all there is to know about life).

So today, with the tragedy taking place in San Bernardino, CA (when is this nonsense going to stop)…take the time to watch Jimmy V’s speech and if you have some extra time…check out Stuart Scott’s speech from when he accepted the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award. Easily, two of the greatest speeches ever and great examples of how we all should lead our lives…because you never know when your time will be up.

 

Happy Thanksgiving…

Happy Thanksgiving…

Or should I say…Happy Th4nksgiving! May your day be filled with lots of family, food, football, and Favre…lots and lots of Favre! Like John Madden slobbering levels of Favre…one has to wonder if Madden (or Frank Caliendo) will be at the retirement ceremony and in the booth…please make this happen NBC.

Gobble, gobble, gobble...

Gobble, gobble, gobble…

Here’s hoping the Packers pull out the win (they better…as they’re playing against, arguably, the 4th greatest QB in Packers history) and all can finally be 4given with Brett…as it is time to put the past in the past (and make Favre 4ever). I really can’t wait to see Bart Starr back at Lambeau Field either…it is bound to be a special evening and I wish I could be there to witness this in person (I want pictures, Rau). Instead, my DVR is all set to record the three greatest quarterbacks in Packers history, on the same field, one final time.

GO PACK GO!!!

Hoodie Power…

Hoodie Power…

Who knew all it would take to break a 3-game losing streak was a simple hoodie. While James Jones’ hoodie look may have reminded me of a JV football player standing on the sidelines watching the Varsity play on a Friday night (a look I have seen all to often over the years)…his six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown was just the type of performance the Packers needed to get back on track and takeover the NFC North lead. Heck, the hoodie is so popular now it even has its own Twitter account.

Speaking of hoodies, Clara and I (coincidentally) both wore hoodies to watch the Packers game yesterday at our home away from home…The Good Time Tavern.

Official Packers bar in Livermore, CA

Official Packers bar in downtown Livermore, CA

Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to watch all the Packer games from home (stupid 49ers and Raiders), I went to Packers Everywhere to find a nearby bar that would show all the Packers games each week. We found The Good Time Tavern in downtown Livermore and pre-scouted it on the Friday night before the Packers vs Chargers game…and the second we walked in, we knew that this was our place to watch Packers games. The Good Time Tavern is a classic Wisconsin dive bar…and with that description, it needs no further explanation.

Robert is a great host and a life-long Packers fan.

Robert is a great host each week and a life-long Packers fan. He also loves to talk Fantasy Football.

$3 Miller Lites in the Steinie bottle...you can't go wrong!

The GTT even has $3 Miller Lites…and in the new Steinie bottle…you simply can’t go wrong (especially in CA)!

SNOW…Thanks to all my friends and family that sent pictures of Friday night’s/Saturday morning’s snowfall. California wins! I don’t miss that crap one bit…especially when it is snowing days before Thanksgiving…that is just wrong! While I must admit, it really doesn’t feel like late November around here (as people are already putting up Christmas lights), I think I’ll be able to adjust to the Christmas season without snow rather nicely (although it is strange seeing commercials with snow). As for El Nino…let’s just hope that doesn’t happen (for the sake of my job…if I’m not on strike).

I must admit...I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

I must admit…I did chuckle when I saw this pic Saturday morning.

BAN REPLAY…After Saturday’s debacle in Madison, I’ve officially had it with instant replay! It is time to finally get rid of it altogether. Replay is doing nothing but extending games and destroying pace of play…and (too often), replay STILL doesn’t get the call correct after the review! Look, if we can live with pass interference calls being decided on the field…we can live with ALL calls being decided on the field. If football (and all sports for that matter) don’t want to ban replay, then rules and interpretations need to be simplified…because week after week, the officials are merely choking when it comes to making decisions and replay is not doing its job to avoid Monday apologies…or in the Big Ten’s case, standing up for unacceptable officiating because they don’t want to look bad.

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football...and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

I have no idea what a catch is anymore in football…and this, was ruled a catch on the field!

So to sum up…I guess not all hoods were created equal.

SI…

SI…

As a kid, Wednesday was one of the best days of the week. Wednesday meant that the new Sports Illustrated would be arriving in the mail later that afternoon. Back then, Sports Illustrated had the coolest sports photos (that we usually ripped out of the school library’s magazine because we didn’t want to ruin our own) and provided instant reading material for the entire week (I’d bring my SI with me everywhere all school day long…hoping to sneak a read in during study hall or when the teacher wasn’t looking…this was before the days of SSR).

During the late 1980’s is when I started to fall in love with sports and I remember reading my uncle’s Sports Illustrated magazines whenever I visited my grandparents’ house…sometimes I was even given older issues to take home and read…and I instantly became a fan of SI. As a result, I still remember getting my first Sports Illustrated subscription as a kid…my first ever issue was in January of 1989 and Tony Rice of Notre Dame was on the cover.

During this pre-Internet/social media era, Sports Illustrated was THE source for sports news and knowledge. In fact, I used to treat my SI’s as if they were gold…I wouldn’t throw any of them away…often looking back at old issues for articles and pictures from time to time. One year, during my college winter break, I spent almost an entire day sorting through over 10 years of Sports Illustrated magazines…I was like a hoarder when it came to them…as they were such a part of my childhood. I still remember certain childhood events by the SI cover of that week…call me (sports) crazy!

Obviously, times have changed. Eventually I let my subscription run out…as Sports Illustrated soon became a shell of itself due to the world wide web. But, just recently, I decided to subscribe to SI again (getting a free subscription helped). It is, however, way different now…my issues no longer come on Wednesday (thanks California¡) and I now read them on my iPad. And while I no longer read them cover to cover, like in the past…my favorite section now is the Digital Bonus section…A Look Back – This Week in SI’s Cover History. This section takes a look back at issues from that same week…5, 10, 20, and 40 years ago. Of course, I enjoy the 20-year look backs the best…as it brings me back to my childhood and when following sports (and everything else for that matter) was much simpler.

Who remembers this one from 20 years ago this week…

Elvis Grbac and Russell Maryland...the Niners and Cowboys would like to turn back the clock as well...

Russell Maryland and Elvis Grbac…I’m sure the Cowboys and 49ers would like to turn back the clock as well.

Shout-out: SPORT magazine was a pretty epic magazine as well…a once a month magazine that had (at times) even better photos than Sports Illustrated…and a year subscription was only like 10 bucks. And don’t forget about Sports Illustrated for Kids…while the articles were geared for kids…the posters and trading cards were must gets from the school library. And who can forget the Sports Illustrated posters…they are still hanging up in my old room at my parents’ house.

Last add…I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms anymore (none really), but I really enjoy Wednesday nights on ABC…if I can’t find any good sports to watch. The following three shows…The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Modern Family really crack me up. It must be all the nostalgia…I guess.

 

 

 

TNF…

TNF…

Thursday Night Football…why do I keep watching this crap?!?! (By the way…what happened to that intro?). Seriously…I need a life! Or maybe…I need to find a Thursday night bowling league to distract me from these games (it definitely worked in the past)…words I never thought I’d say last year at this time…I actually miss bowling (at least the camaraderie).

It seems like each Thursday night, the product on the field gets even worse than the previous week…coincidence? The NFL preaches player safety, but yet it continues to allow teams to play on three days rest…I just don’t get it.

Here’s a closer look at this year’s Thursday night clunkers (er, games) so far…

Week 2 – Broncos 31 at Chiefs 24…good finish (FUMBLE!)

Week 3 – at Giants 32 Redskins 21…two crap teams in this year’s crap division

Week 4 – Ravens 23 at Steelers 20 (OT)…probably, the best of this bunch

Week 5 – Colts 27 at Texans 20…see Week 3

Week 6 – at Saints 31 Falcons 21…same old Falcons in primetime

Week 7 – Seahawks 20 at 49ers 3…GROSS!

Week 8 – at Patriots 36 Dolphins 7…Aqua Stave

Week 9 – at Bengals 31 Browns 10…classic Johnny Rebab…I mean Football

*Note…I did not include Week 1 – Steelers 21 at Patriots 28…due to each team coming off the preseason schedule and being fully rested.

Not exactly instant classics…basically yawners, blowouts, with lots of ugliness mixed in…and the crazy part is that these games are all DIVISIONAL MATCHUPS! These are the opponents that should know each other better than any others…yet, you wouldn’t know it, watching most of these games.

And the NFL is officially trying too hard when they revealed their “Color Rush” uniforms to us tonight (Ditka plug). Guess what NFL…you are not college football! If you want to be like college football…give them their Thursday night football back…all to themselves!

I think this tweet sums up tonight’s uniforms the best…

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 6.40.41 PM

Hey, Christmas is only 42 days away…I’ll take some Packers attire (dammit…I’m feeding the beast).

We’re still doing that…

We’re still doing that…

In case you haven’t noticed, the Milwaukee Brewers have already started releasing their 2016 All-Fan Giveaway schedule…and they’re using this whole week to do it¡ Isn’t the suspense just killing you…I can hardly wait to see what new and innovative ideas they have in store for this year¡

As you may have guessed, the all-fan giveaway line-up is littered with bobbleheads. Now, to preface, I have a rather large collection of bobbleheads myself (and I never pass up the opportunity to grab a free one from my sister or friends)…but another Hank the Dog bobblehead (this one barks¡)…REALLY?!?! I love animals, and the Hank story was really great (AT THE TIME!), but I don’t understand why the Brewers are continuing to honor this stray dog…AGAIN! This is year THREE of this mutt (sorry, I’m calling him a mutt, because he has brought ZERO on-field success to the Milwaukee Brewers organization). It is time to cut the cord (er, leash) on this experiment.

A quick check of eBay reveals that there have already been THREE Hank the Dog bobbleheads done by the Brewers alone (and don’t forget the Hank towel) plus another Hank bobblehead done by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (the Brewers Single A ballclub). Hank bobbleheads have become like The Voice episode on Seinfeld. To quote Elaine and Kramer (skip to 2:30 mark)…”still?!” and “played…SO played!” Hank, you are the voice hello…it is time to go, LA, LA, LA!!!

Tidbits…If you are not listening to the Tauscher and Kuhn show (and Greg) on 620 WTMJ, you are missing out. Check it out, Tuesdays at 6pm…it is really good. Last night’s 30 for 30, The Gospel According to Mac, was once again…FANTASTIC! Every one of these films are SO well done. My wife tells me I don’t watch enough movies…well, if they were as good as EVERY 30 for 30…I’d definitely watch more. Lastly, Steph Curry is amazing! Golden State basketball is so fun to watch. The Warriors may win 70 games this year and could threaten Chicago’s 72 wins in a season…they are that good!

Rutgers and Jerrysota…

Rutgers and Jerrysota…

Rutgers SUCKS!!! I think we all knew that, but after the Scarlet Knights pitiful performance against the Badgers yesterday, my friends and I are boycotting ALL future Wisconsin vs Rutgers football matchups. If the Scarlet Knights are on the Badgers home slate…we will not be attending Camp Randall that day (I know, easy for me to say…as I currently live in California, but I am still a season ticket holder). It just really annoys me that Rutgers (and Maryland) are even in the Big Ten to begin with. They just don’t belong…especially their football teams! I guarantee Rutgers (and Maryland) WILL NOT win one Big Ten title in my lifetime. In my best George Zimmer voice…I guarantee it!

As I watched yesterday’s game, I wondered aloud…how does Rutgers even have three wins? Then I checked the Scarlet Knights schedule…they beat Norfolk State (a FCS school with only two wins) in their season opener and a game that Rutgers only led 21-13 at half. They beat a winless Kansas team at home (yawn), and their third victory came against Indiana…a 55-52 win (maybe Rutgers belongs in the Big 12). So, not exactly the most impressive resume. I know Rutgers was without their best receiving target in Leonte Carroo yesterday, but outside of a pick six (Stave¡) in the third quarter, the Scarlet Knights did absolutely nothing (offensively and defensively)…and this year’s Wisconsin team is, by no means, a world beater…although it was nice to finally have Corey Clement back (so this is what a real running back looks like).

Last add on the Wisconsin/Rutgers game…I saw the Badgers tweet out that the attendance was 74,575 for the game…it sure didn’t look like that on television. Then again, I had to watch the game in standard definition because XFINITY doesn’t carry the Big Ten Network in HD. It’s almost 2016…why isn’t everything available in HD?!

More…the Minnesota Golden Gophers will now be referred to as the Jerrysota Golden Gophers moving forward. I feel for Jerry Kill and I’m sure he is a great man, but when you have flags saying Jerrysota…you aren’t really honoring a guy…you are simply providing EASY material for your opponent and rivals (That’s Gold, Jerry! Gold!)…because your product on the field is basically Rutgers-ish. And of course, Jerrysota lost to Michigan last night by mismanaging the clock in the final minute and getting stuffed at the one yard line as the game clock expired. Classic Jerrysota!

The Jerrysota Golden Gophers!

The Jerrysota Golden Gophers!

Jerry¡ Jerry¡ Jerry¡

Jerry¡ Jerry¡ Jerry¡

 

Who’s gonna win it…

Who’s gonna win it…

The Bucks! The Bucks! I am SO excited for the 2015-16 Milwaukee Bucks basketball season. Although I am always excited about Bucks basketball, this is probably the most excitement I have had since that 2000-01 season (and we all know that the Eastern Conference Finals were fixed that year). I really wish I could attend tonight’s season opener in person (Pat, I want a towel). It feels like yesterday that I attended last season’s home opener on Halloween night…the energy that night in the BC was amazing! The bars afterward in MKE…let’s just say never go as Jordy Nelson for Halloween.

Here are a few things that I am looking forward to this Bucks season…

  • New uniforms (it was about time…the Christmas colors had grown stale)…plus alternate black uniforms (I would liked to have seen throwback uniforms of some kind, but maybe in time…the new owners seem to know what they’re doing).
  • New court design (while I liked the last design, the new design is even better and fresher)…plus the NBA’s first alternate court to be used during the four alternate jersey dates. Very cool idea!
  • New players…Greg Monroe, Greivis Vasquez, Chris Copeland, and the Rook…Rashad Vaughn (I can’t wait to see these four in action).
  • New announcers…GUS (need I say more) and Marques Johnson. While I wish Paschke and McGlocklin were completely out of the picture…this is a good start (at least Moncrief is gone).
  • New arena…while a shovel hasn’t hit the ground yet and it likely won’t be ready until the 2018-19 season…this is definitely something to look forward to. Hopefully the Bucks will be at their peak when the new arena opens.

I am really going to miss attending Bucks games this year (remember, I saw 26 games (it really was amazing) during the worst season in franchise history in 2013-14…and I saw 9 of the 15 overall wins). I will now have to wait until December 18th to check out the Bucks in person. On that date, the Bucks travel to Oakland to take on the World Champion, Golden State Warriors (a team I won’t mind being forced to watch in the Bay Area…they are so fun to watch). Also, if things work out, I would like to head to Sacramento in February to see the Bucks take on the Kings. And hopefully, the Bucks will live up to expectations, and I will be able to take in a couple of key games in March when I am back in Wisconsin for…Spring Break. Either way, I’ll be watching the Bucks all season long thanks to the Fox Sports GO app…it will be my lifesaver (special shoutout to my parents for letting me steal their TWC password).

Obviously with this new season, there are new expectations. The Bucks will not sneak up on anyone this season…they will be the hunted at times. With that being said, I am predicting a 4-6 seed in the Eastern Conference (44-48 wins) and the Bucks WILL win a playoff series for the first time since 2001. I still believe the Bucks are a season or two (maybe three) away from really contending in the East. Remember, the Bucks are still Green and Growing!

So…#FearTheDeer and #OwnTheFuture

As for my NBA Finals prediction (I know you all care)…I am going to go out on a limb and predict Cleveland over Golden State. Come on LeBron, do it for Cleveland…end the championship drought for the city of Cleveland (50+ years has been long enough).