Defending Big Ten Champs, Wisconsin are definitely one of the favorites to go back to the Rose Bowl. The Badgers only have 12 returning starters, yet somehow Wisconsin appears to be even stronger heading into 2011. Russell Wilson is arguably the most talented QB in Wisconsin history. How fast Wilson adapts to the new system and his new team will determine whether the Badgers are able to make another run for the Roses. Wisconsin is becoming a national power that reloads rather than rebuilds, so a lack of returning starters doesn’t mean a lack of returning talent.
Best Bar To Watch Wisconsin Badgers in Chicago:
As always, what’s a Chicago college football preview without letting people know the best spot to party? For Badger games in 2011, the place to be is Will’s Northwoods Inn. This place is as Wisconsin as it gets. Badgers and Packers sports bar heaven. Good food, great drink specials, and they even have a Wisconsin girl “beauty pageant”. Its definitely the place to get your jump around on this fall.
RB Montee Ball. Even though Russell Wilson received all the headlines this offseason, its the running game that still makes the Badgers offensive go. If Wisconsin is going to be a dominant force again this year, it’ll be because Montee Ball is one of the nation’s premier running backs. Both Ball and sophomore James White will receive a ton of carries, but Ball is more of the bruising back that Wisconsin historically loves to deploy. Look for Ball to go over 1000 yards for the first time in his career and he should also be a Doak Walker finalist.
LB Mike Taylor. Mike Taylor has started all each of the 19 games he has been in uniform for as a Badger. The Redshirt junior seemed to get better every week in 2010. Taylor’s 2009 season was cut short after suffering a season ending injury in week 7. Taylor should be back to full health and full speed in 2011. Look for Taylor to be the leader of the Badger defense from his Will LB position.
Offensive New Name-To-Know:
OT Rob Havenstein. The easy play here would have been Russell Wilson, but everyone already knows his name. Wisconsin is becoming “Offensive Tackle U”. Joe Thomas graduates…no big deal, the Badgers just replaced him with another NFL First round pick in Gabe Carimi. Havenstein certainly looks the part of the next great Wisconsin tackle. After red-shirting in 2010, the 6’8″ 345-pound freshman is currently number two on the depth chart, but will definitely see time as a part of the tackle rotation. Havenstein is athletic for his size and will soon be paving the way for Ball and White.
Defensive New Name-To-Know:
LB Chris Borland. Chris Borland isn’t necessarily a new name, but is perhaps a forgotten one in many Big Ten circles. Borland was Big Ten freshman of the year in 2009, but has disappeared after a series of shoulder injuries forced him out of action. Borland’s health and play-making ability are two huge keys to the Badger’s defense in 2011. If Borland can stay healthy, his versatility and leadership will go a long way to help Wisconsin morph into more than just an average defense.
Schedule and Predictions:
Oregon St– W
N. Illinois– W
S. Dakota– W
@ Mich St– W
@ Ohio St– L
@ Minnesota– W
@ Illinois– W
Penn State– W
Total: 11-1. I think the Badgers will end up having one of their best offensive seasons in school history. Russell Wilson and Nick Toon will prevent opposing defenses from stacking the box with 8 or 9 guys. The powerful Wisconsin running game combined with a dynamic Quarterback should give the Badgers the most explosive offense in the B1G. Wisconsin’s month of October is brutal though. They will play the three most talented teams in the conference including back to back road games against Michigan State and Ohio State. I don’t think Wisconsin’s defense is good enough to make it through that month unblemished. However, a trip to the Big Ten Championship and a BCS game still seem likely.
Bowl Prediction: Rose Bowl.
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(Independent)–Russia appears to be edging closer to giving the go-ahead for an underwater tunnel which could one day allow vacationers in Alaska to take a day trip to Siberia in Russia. The tunnel, which would reportedly be 65 miles (105 km) long and bored under the icy waters of the narrow Bering Strait which separates Russia from North America above the Pacific Sea, was reportedly backed by high-profile Russian politician Aleksandr Levinthal this week. London’s The Times reported that Levinthal endorsed the idea at a conference on developing Russia’s north-eastern rail infrastructure – although it was first mooted by Tsar Nicholas II over a hundred years ago. At twice the length of the Channel Tunnel that connects Britain and France, it will be an ambitious engineering project – but one which could bring considerable benefits for travelers. It could mean, for example, a spectacular overland train journey from Europe to New York City, traveling through Moscow and the icy landscapes of Siberia and Alaska before heading down to warmer climes.
So the Russians are building a tunnel from Siberia to Alaska. Oh, but don’t worry…its not so they can transport an invasion force, its only so Russia can easily send us all of their tourists who are just dying to vacation in northern Alaska. That makes perfect sense, right? Lots of people dream about visiting the Alaskan arctic circle….WRONG!!! Putin is making a fool out of all of us. I don’t care if he does sing like an angel. I don’t trust the guy.
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This is the first installment of the 2011 Big Ten Football season. This will give you all the essential information on each team. The season kicks off in about a week and I am going to try to get to all 12 teams, a general overview preview, and a Notre Dame preview as well. That’s a lot of blogs in not a lot of time, so if I don’t get to your BigTen team…its because you suck. Sorry in advance Indiana, but college football needs ditch diggers too. I am going to go ahead and get newbies, Nebraska, out of the way first.
Best Bar In Chicago To Watch Nebraska Football:
First things first…where to eat, drink, and watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Chicago: Kirkwood Bar in Wrigleyville on the corner of Sheffield and Oakdale. Very solid food, great beer garden, and a decent beer selection. Kirkwood is the official bar of Nebraska football. Sea of Red packs the place pretty good on Saturdays. Also, judging by Kirkwood’s photo gallery, Nebraska’s fan base has plenty of sexbomb girls rocking red on game day. Plenty to look at on commercials.
The offensive MVP for Huskers in 2011 will be Rex Burkhead. With tension between Polini and QB Taylor Martinez boiling over(wouldn’t surprise me to see Brion Carnes get snaps at QB at some point), Burkhead needs to be the straw that stirs the drink, rudder on the ship, or whatever other cliche you want to use. Nebraska also lacks experience at running back behind Burkhead, so he will get a ton of touches. If Nebraska is going to play in the Big Ten Championship, Burkhead will need to carry the offense.
Defensive Tackle Jared Crick would have been a first round pick in the NFL draft if he decided to declare after last year. Crick has a great chance to be B1G defensive player of the year in 2011, and is a likely first team All American. Nebraska is a top ten team nationally based upon the dominance of the “Black Shirts” defense. That dominance starts up front with Crick. He will be the focus of every offensive line in the Big Ten, and I can’t wait to see how power running Wisconsin handles him in Nebraska’s first Big Ten game.
New Offensive Name-to-know:
True freshman running back, Aaron Green, has a real chance to contribute offensively as Burkhead’s back-up. Green is a little under-sized, but is also very explosive. He could be a great change of pace back to Burkhead. Due to Nebraska’s depth issues at the position, Green has a great chance to contribute both on offense and in the return game.
New Defensive Name-to-Know:
Linebacker Lavonte David. Ok, not really a new name to know for the die-hard Husker fans. Lavonte David doesn’t get nearly enough national recognition and is probably a name most Big Ten fans don’t yet know. A JUCO transfer in 2010, David burst on to the scene for the Huskers and made a school record 153 tackles. David is a dynamic athlete that flies and around bashing people’s skulls in. Look for David to make more game changing plays in 2011 as he becomes more comfortable in his new position.
Schedule and Predictions:
Fresno State- W
Ohio State- W
Michigan State- W
@ Penn State- W
@ Michigan- W
Total: 11-1. Part of me thinks I am giving Nebraska too much respect with this 11-1 showing. The schedule makers certainly didn’t make it easy on them as they start off against the two most talented teams in the conference. If Nebraska’s offense struggles to produce consistently then games against Ohio St, Michigan St, and even @Michigan could give the Huskers trouble. Best case scenario is 11-1, worst case scenario is probably 9-3.
Bowl Game: I don’t see Nebraska beating Wisconsin in the regular season, nor do I think they beat Wisconsin in the conference championship game should they qualify. 11-2 with a loss in the Big Ten Championship Game is probably still good enough for an at-large BCS berth. If not, Nebraska will be in the Capital One Bowl.
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The Miami Hurricanes have suspended 13 players, including QB Jacory Harris, after Yahoo! released the least shocking college football scandal of all time. Sorry Miami, suspending your loser QB and 12 other guys cited in the Yahoo! isn’t going to save you. People are talking about giving Miami Hurricanes the “Death Penalty”. Miami fans and fans of cheating everywhere are screaming that it’s not Miami’s fault that they have been brazenly cheating since 1983, but it’s really just College Football in general that’s broken. My official stance on this issue is that if anyone deserves the Death Penalty its Miami. You can’t have players getting bar tabs, cars, sex parties, abortions, yacht trips, and all kinds of swag paid for and live to tell about it. I hate the NCAA as much as the next guy. I’d like to give them the death penalty too, but there’s a difference between paying for a kid’s laundry and paying for head from a stripper. If Miami gets the Death Penalty they have nobody to blame but themselves.
So yeah, outwardly I am a Notre Dame, BigTen, Wing-T, Power-I kinda guy so…fuck Miami…but double secret full disclosure, I sneaky LOVE the Hurricanes and all of their swag. When Miami is “The U” they move the needle more than anybody. I don’t want Miami to go away and I don’t want them to become this clean-cut boring ass team that plays by the rules. I want the 2LiveCrew Miami ESPN’s 30 for 30 documented. Bad boys who love being bad. Kicking ass on Saturday afternoon, and getting ass on Saturday night.
Here is the truth though…there is no chance in hell that Miami gets the Death Penalty. There is just too much money on the line. The city of Miami is the 13th largest TV market in the country, and Florida has five other cities that rank in the top 65. The only other school to receive the Death Penalty was SMU back in 1987 and 1988. 25 years later they are still completely irrelevant. Killing Miami, and effectively closing themselves off from those markets would take money out of the NCAA’s wallet. There is nothing the NCAA loves more than money. So Miami’s existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to the NCAA, saves College Football. The NCAA doesn’t want to tell the truth because deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties, they want The U in the BCS, they NEED The U in the BCS.
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Oh poor Puerto Rico has sharks swimming in the streets…boo hoo. That’s nothing compared to the mutant killers in Lake Michigan
Everyone and their mother is freaking out about how Hurricane Irene is the deadliest hurricane ever because its dropping sharks in people’s driveways or whatever down in Puerto Rico. So people in New York and Boston are freaking out like a bunch of bitches per usual. “Holy deah gawd!!! What if a wicked big gawd damn shahk swims right next to my cah? I could be just driving up Comm Ave about to give it the fingah, but then it might bite my ahm off. Call the National Gauhd!!!“. Earthquakes, hurricanes, sharks oh my!!! What a bunch of little bitches. Those guys have NO IDEA what real problems are. You know what is like a billion times worse than a shark…a Lamprey. What’s a Lamprey you ask…it can most accurately be described as the scariest mother-fucker on the planet…
(wikipedia)–Adults physically resemble eels, in that they have no scales, and can range anywhere from 13 to 100 centimetres (5 to 40 inches) long. Lacking paired fins, adult lampreys have large eyes, one nostril on the top of the head, and seven gill pores on each side of the head. The unique morphological characteristics of lampreys, such as their cartilaginous skeleton, suggest that they are the sister taxon (see cladistics) of all living jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and are usually considered the most basal group of the Vertebrata. They feed on prey as adults by attaching their mouthparts to the target animal’s body, then using their teeth to cut through surface tissues until they reach blood and body fluid.
(io9.com)–Lampreys are parasites that look like slimy eels with mouths that are ringed with several layers of jagged teeth. In some areas, like the Great Lakes of the United States, they’ve become an invasive pest that kills local trout and other valuable fish. So Michigan State researchers decided to come up with a foolproof lamprey repellant. After discarding several ideas, they hit upon the idea that nothing is scarier than smelling your own dead. So they whipped up a fluid that they describe as a “semiochemical mixture produced by the putrefying carcasses of sea lampreys.” Yes, they liquified rotting sea lampreys and poured the goo into a bathtub full of perfectly innocent lampreys.
Thanks a lot Michigan State scientists. If you dump Lamprey repellent on the Michigan side of the Lake guess where all of your flesh-eating vampire eels are going to go…right to North Ave Beach. So while Boston and NYC are crying because they could get a shark in their streets, Chicago DOES have mutants making a beeline for our shore. Those guys don’t know what real problems are. I would take a bath with shark before I would get into Lake Michigan with lampreys swimming around. Which sucks because Chicago is a summer city and needs summer dollars
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Doesn’t get more American than that. Eat your heart out Mike Richter’s old mask, a new standard has been set for patriotic hockey masks. Declaration of Independence…check, Ben Franklin…check, Liberty Bell…check. Even giving Betsy Ross some serious love. Maybe there can be peace between Russia and America after all.
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What a joke this is. Basketball players are so soft its ridiculous. One quick little jab by Steve Blake and then the guys square off and dance around like they are in the nut cracker…good thing their teammates stepped in to “break it up” and “hold them back”. I am sure they just about to get tough. I am by no means a “tough guy”, but if you put me in a fight against a basketball player I win 1000 times out of a 1000. Shaq, Ron Artest/Meta World Peace, Ben Wallace, you name it and I am taking them down.
Basketball players need fighting lessons. Here is a tutorial from the great PJ Stock
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