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Sunday, October 25, 2009

NASCAR Chase Update

Let's revisit my post from a few weeks ago before the 2009 Chase started. Things have mostly played out just like they did all season, except Brian Vickers has lost all that consistency and is already nearly eliminated.

Today's race was 500 laps at the half-mile, paperclip-shaped track known as Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. It marked race 6 in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup. Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson fought most of the race, but Hamlin prevailed. Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon also had strong runs to keep their Chase hopes alive.

So I name-dropped a few people in my last post. Here's an update on each:

Jimmie Johnson - Started the Chase in a tie for 2nd with 3 wins...he's doubled that number with wins in races 2, 4, and 5 of the Chase. Winning is king in NASCAR, and it doesn't hurt that all his Chase finishes are top 10s. Jimmie has an average finish of 3.0 in these 6 races. He came home 2nd to Denny Hamlin today and now has a 118 point lead over....

Mark Martin - Started the Chase in 1st and won the first race of NASCAR's playoffs. He's run well, but with only 1 win and an average finish of 6.5, he's fallen back a bit. The real problem came last week in Charlotte where Martin finished 17. Points drop off if you miss the top 5, and they plummet outside the top 10.

Tony Stewart - Won Chase race #3 at Texas Motor Speedway, a track that's been good to Tony before. He's been a bit inconsistent, but still has some fight left. Talladega is a track Tony has historically run well. He needs another big day next week to get back in the Chase. Currently, Tony sits 4th, 192 points back of Jimmie.

Carl Edwards - Carl broke his foot right before the Chase started. Whether or not that accounts for his poor performance, I can't say for certain. Nonetheless, Carl's average finish has been 17.167...not worthy of Chase status. He did have a blown engine a few weeks back resulting in a 39th, but without that he's still averaging 12.8 which isn't good enough. Carl is now 413 points back of JJ in 10th.

As I mentioned, next week is Talladega...the wildcard/crapshoot/lottery racetrack of NASCAR. I usually end my NASCAR blogs with endorsements to watch a certain race. I don't blog about NASCAR much, but if I do, you know a big event is coming. 'Dega is always nerve-wracking for the drivers and fans, because at any moment, a tiny mistake can result in a 10 to 20 car pile-up, known affectionately as "The Big One."

Though some drivers in the Chase have had problems that have pretty much eliminated all hopes of a Championship, a bad crash by Jimmie Johnson at Talladega would likely cost him 150 points off his lead over any other Chasers who finish up front. Drivers still alive for the Championship and looking to capitalize on possible mistakes are Martin, Gordon, Stewart, Montoya, and Kurt Busch. However it all goes down, we should have a clear picture of who's Chase is over, and who still has a shot at stopping Jimmie from 4-in-a-row!


NCAA Top 25 - Week 7

Nebraska makes me now are my picks:

1. Florida - Another unpretty victory. Really hope they can pull it together for games at South Carolina and the SEC title...
2. Texas - Just when I thought the North was catching up in the Big XII...Missouri makes Texas look studly again.
3. Alabama - Maybe Al Davis was right, cuz that was the worst managed final 45 seconds by Lane Kiffin...I think Tennessee had 'em.
4. Boise State - Big blowout of Hawaii...not the easiest place to play. Remaining games aren't difficult, but can the Broncos stay focused?
5. TCU - Impressive over BYU. They can be this year's version of Boise State...if Boise State isn't.
6. USC - Next, at Oregon...I will be watching this one.
7. Cincinnati - Won easily with their backup. Still have 2 BIG Big East games versus West Virginia and Pitt to finish out their season.
8. Iowa - I was in the shower and Anderson was giving me updates through the door. I still can't believe the final drives by both teams in this one.
9. LSU - Kinda thought Auburn would be a spoiler here. I hate the Bayou Bengals, and now ESPN says they're in position to control their own destiny to the BCS title....that sucks.
10. Georgia Tech - Survived the unpredictable Mountaineers. I like this GaTech team.
11. Oregon
12. Virginia Tech
13. Penn State
14. Oklahoma State
15. Ohio State
16. Pitt
17. Central Michigan
18. Utah
19. Houston
20. Miami (FL)
21. West Virginia
22. BYU
23. South Carolina
24. Arizona
25. Notre Dame
(Just out: Cal, Ole Miss)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NCAA Top 25 - Week 7

Lots of things surprised me this week. For some of the games it was the winner, for others, the score blew my mind. Nebraska looked awful. Watch for a NASCAR update later tonight.

1. Florida - As I said before, I'm not taking away their spot at #1 until somebody beats them...I don't care how bad they look.
2. Texas - I don't understand how they couldn't put up more against Oklahoma after all the Sooners have given up to others.
3. Alabama - Maybe the AP has them #1, but they've got to play Florida at the end of the year anyway, so stop complaining.
4. Boise State - Not a pretty victory, but that's how it works sometimes. I'm not sure they can win out, so you won't have the BCS-Buster title shot that many think they will get.
5. TCU - I'm amazed that they put up so many points this week. What will happen against BYU?
6. USC - I am not impressed by the win over Notre Dame. I understand the Irish are decent this year and Clausen is pretty good, but I really expected a double-digit victory.
7. Cincinnati - I watched a good part of this game, and I thought South Florida would win. Now that I've seen them in action, I think the Bearcats are legit and deserving of this spot.
8. Iowa - Struggled early, but put Wisconsin away in the 2nd half. Road wins are not easy to come by in the Big Ten...see Purdue.
9. Miami - I know they lost to VaTech and are now ahead of them in my poll, but weather was a factor and I always consider how highly ranked the opponent was.
10. LSU - Bye week pays dividends. 2 spots? I'm breaking my own rules.
11. Georgia Tech
12. Virginia Tech
13. Oregon
14. Penn State
15. Oklahoma State
16. BYU
17. Ohio State
18. Pitt
19. Central Michigan
20. Idaho
21. Utah
22. Houston
23. West Virginia
24. Texas Tech
25. Kansas
(Just out: South Florida, South Carolina)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

NCAA Top 25 - Week 6

Not much in the way of surprises this week. Thank God LSU finally won't have to be in the top 5 and I can kick Georgia out of my poll once-and-for-all.

1. Florida - We all knew Florida's defense was good and LSU's offense was bad, but could they have won without Tebow???
2. Texas - First half was scary for the Horns, but eventually they pulled away like they should.
3. Alabama - I see the AP has jumped you over Texas...I cannot do this until you beat someone of significance by a lot or Texas loses. Next 3 games are at home, so you don't want to lose focus now.
4. VaTech - Another stomping handed out by Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies...jump the idle Broncos.
5. Boise State - Put yourselves in the Mountain West or schedule harder non-conf opponents...this is why you keep missing out on BCS Title games!
6. Ohio State - Made Wisconsin look bad...3 weeks of "gimmes" before heading to Happy Valley.
7. TCU - That was close...I just don't see them continuing to win every game when they're this close.
8. USC - Will probably destroy Notre Dame because, that's just what they do to Notre Dame now.
9. Cincinnati - I'll give them the bump because they are still undefeated and LSU is still overrated, but watch out Thursday at South Florida!
10. Iowa - Sure, they were at home, but Michigan is still good and I honestly thought the Hawkeyes would lose that one.
11. Kansas
12. LSU
13. Miami
14. Oregon
15. Penn State
16. Oklahoma
17. Nebraska
18. Oklahoma State
19. South Florida
20. Georgia Tech
21. South Carolina
22. BYU
23. Missouri
24. Pitt
25. Central Michigan
(Just out: Notre Dame, Idaho)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

NCAA Top 25 - Week 5

A few teams took the "bye", and for the first time this year, a top 5 didn't fall...maybe that's because 2 went down last week. Looking forward to Nebraska vs. Missouri for the Bell Thursday night. Join me at Kirkwoods if you live in the Chicagoland area!

1. Florida - Bye week for a recovering Tebow. Up next: LSU that will NOT look good two weeks in a row.
2. Texas - Bye week for the Longhorns as well. Up next: Guaranteeing Dan Hawkins gets fired after Colorado loses their worst game in school history (please?)
3. Alabama - The only team with a shot at Florida right now. Easily took care of Kentucky to keep this spot.
4. LSU - Finally proved they deserve a top ranking with a tough road win against a decent Georgia team.
5. Boise State - Should have won by more against a Division 1-AA school, but they'll keep 5 because...
6. Virginia Tech - After making Miami look silly, Tech should have done much worse to Duke...but they didn't.
7. Ohio State - Another strong defensive performance against the Hoosiers, holding them to 18 yards rushing.
8. TCU - Rolls SMU...surprised they scored 39, but still didn't cover that huge spread. Getting ready for BYU in a few weeks.
9. USC - Destroyed Cal to prove who is best in the Pac-10. Can Oregon give them a run for their money?
10. Cincinnati - Easily handled Miami (OH). Now Anderson can stop saying they're ranked too low. Lets see them back it up at South Florida next Thursday.
11. Kansas
12. Iowa
13. Miami (FL)
14. Oregon
15 . Missouri
16. Penn State
17. Oklahoma
18. Oklahoma State
19. South Florida
20. Auburn
21. Wisconsin
22. Nebraska
23. Georgia Tech
24. South Carolina
25. Georgia
(Just out: BYU, Ole Miss)