Previewing the Rest of Week 1

Well yesterday didn’t turn out the way I expected.  Washington State got blown out 30-6 by BYU and people are calling for Leach’s head.  Well people Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this turnaround might be an even bigger challenge than that.  With that in mind though, let’s look at the rest of the big games.

Michigan State Versus Boise State

(24) Boise St

(0-0, 0-0 away)

(13) Michigan St

(0-0, 0-0 home)

I’m only going to be previewing games featuring two ranked teams this week because the rest of the match ups pretty much involve cupcake teams against big college programs.  Time to look at this match up in East Lansing, Michigan.  The Michigan State Spartans have gained a lot of national respect over the last few years, and the same can be said for the Boise State Broncos as well.  With that in mind though, home field advantage is huge in college football, and Boise State is going to realize just how much it misses Kellen Moore.

My Pick:  Michigan State

Michigan Versus Alabama

(8) Michigan

(0-0, 0-0 away)

(2) Alabama

(0-0, 0-0 home)


If my dad sees this he’s probably going to skin me alive after reading this (graduated from U of M).  Michigan Wolverine quarterback Denard Robinson is a Heisman candidate, and a great quarterback who can both run and pass.  That being said though, break-out running back Fitzgerald Toussaint will not start in tomorrow’s game.  Alabama did lose practically half their defense to the NFL so this will be closer than people think, but they should have enough talent to contain Denard.  Sorry dad but I’m gonna let you down here.

My Pick:  Alabama

I sure hope I’m wrong.

Washington versus San Diego State

San Diego St

(0-0, 0-0 away)

Washington

(0-0, 0-0 home)

OK maybe I lied a little.  I’m previewing this game because I despise UW fans and all they stand for.  That’s right I’m calling you out, but this is a free country so get used to it.  That being said though I recognize the rebuilding effort Steve Sarkisian put in at this program has been phenomenal considering that they went 0-12 in 2008.  I’m probably going to be wrong but I’m just gonna pick whoever is playing the Huskies for the heck of it.

My Pick:  San Diego State

I hope I’m right.

Anyways those are my picks, let me know what I can do to improve and I’ll just go from there.

I got my icons and information from ESPN. 

My record:  0-1

Let’s get a few wins!

HOHOHO

  

College Football is Back

Well ladies and gentlemen it’s that time of year again. It is the time of year for people to armchair Quarterback and coach. It is time of year for people to rejoice in upsets and agonize over narrow losses. It is the time of year for people to ditch social norms, at least for a day. But mostly it is the time for college football fans to rejoice because college football is back.
Fans will watch as new head coaches break in their schemes, as some coaches initiate total program rebuilds, as some coaches find immediate success with the players left behind by their predecessor. Some fans will watch as their team’s head coach (and his staff) gets canned and others will see their head coach earn a contract extension. 
Outside of the holiday season this is probably the most exciting time of year for college sports fans. As we get ready for the first kickoff of the 2012 (which South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 4:00 pm PST) the anticipation will grow and productivity [attention spans] will drop. Productivity will especially drop on the Palouse, especially in Pullman, especially with this author. 

I have eagerly been awaiting the kickoff of the Cougars at Cougars game ever sense the final whistle in the 2011 Apple Cup. Little did I know at that time that the upset over Arizona State had not saved Paul Wulff’s job; in fact I thought it had and as I watched the Cougs punt on 4thand 17, with 3:17 left in the game, down 17 I was fuming at the very thought that Wulff was going to retain his job. Low and behold I was wrong and now I get to watch one of the most entertaining offenses with one of the most entertaining coaches in college football. 
But my Cougs aren’t the only ones breaking in a new coach this season. Four Pac-12 schools are also bringing in new coaches; Rich Rodriguez at Arizona, Jim Mora Jr. at UCLA, Todd Graham at Arizona State and Mike Leach at Washington State. These four coaches are four of 28 new coaches that joined the FBS ranks (the most in D1a history). 
There will be a lot of optimism this season and a lot of heartbreak. But by goodness the 2012 college football season is finally here and I am ready for it to get under way.
Oh by the way one more thing, Go Cougs, Beat BYU.

Welcome to College Football!

As a Cougar fan I’ve been looking forward to this new season for a very long time.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past six months you probably know that Mike Leach is the new head coach of the Washington State Cougars.

BOY AM I EXCITED!!!!!

It’s great because there’s not the usual pessimism that comes with an average Cougar football season, especially now that derpy derp Paul Wulff isn’t coaching our team anymore.  There may be ups and downs this season, but it’s going to be great regardless of the final record.

With that being said BYU is still favored to win tomorrow and if the Cougs lose the rest of the nation will still look at us as that crappy team in 2008 who lost every game by at least 30 points.  We’re pretty much flying under the radar here at the beginning of the season. 

To heck with that though, how about some optimism, you never know how good you are until you line up on the field for that first game.  Let’s start off 2012 with a win.

MY PICK:  WASHINGTON STATE

My record this season:  0-0 (hopefully 1-0 after tomorrow)

Either way “Cougs” win.

HOHOHO!

Weekend Review

In the main event of a Showtime televised program unbeaten prospect Randy Caballero (16-0 8KO) outpointed game fighter Manuel Roman (15-2-3 6KO) through 10 rounds in the bantamweight division (118 Ibs.). Caballero fought at a distance by throwing accurate jabs and straight right crosses. Roman was able to clinch Caballero from time to time but he wasn’t able to land enough punches or more powerful punches in order to beat the undefeated fighter.
Caballero managed to knock down Roman in the second round with a right-hook combination but Roman was able to fight back effectively in the last two rounds of the fight. The fight was scored 97-92 and 96-93(twice). Caballero showed promise in the fight and it will be interesting to see if he can develop into a serious threat in the bantamweight division and beyond.

In the super middleweight division (168 Ibs.) Arthur Abraham (35-3 27KO) defeated Robert Stieglitz (42-3 23KO) by unanimous decision, winning the WBO title from Stieglitz in the process. This win is the most significant of Abraham’s career since he kayoed Jermain Taylor over two years ago. Since the Taylor victory, Abraham had struggled immensely in the Super Six tournament, losing to the elite of the division including Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, and Andre Ward.

In this hotly contested bout, the fight was difficult to score as Stieglitz was the aggressor and Abraham was the puncher. Abraham showed that he still has a tendency to over depend on his power as he conserved energy and fought in spurts. Stieglitz proved his toughness by absorbing Abraham’s best punches and he was able to take advantage of his inactivity by putting pressure on Abraham at points. In fact, it appeared as though Stieglitz won the first three rounds at least.

Abraham was able to find his range in the fourth round and it seemed he couldn’t miss with the right hand. Stieglitz fought back but it was obvious whose punches were harder and more effective. Stieglitz landed effective left and right hooks and was able to keep up with Abraham at times. Uncharacteristically, Abraham pressed the action in the eighth and ninth rounds and clearly won them.

Stieglitz suffered a cut above his right eye in the 10thround and Abraham used that as a mark in order to land left hands. Abraham coasted in the 12th round; correctly believing he didn’t need to win the 12th in order to win the fight. Abraham gained back some of the luster he had before the Super Six Tournament but it is clear that he’ll need to gain at least one more significant victory in order to regain the respect he lost. A rematch with Stieglitz would be appealing considering the competitiveness of the bout but matches with Lucian Bute and Geroge Groves are also welcoming.

Looking At Their Schedules; The Arizona Schools

Now that we’ve taken a look at the Power Rankings it is time to take a look at Pac-12 team’s schedules and determine the win probability of each game. This will be pretty easy and quick. There will be two teams per-post, for simplicities sake we will go with the school they face in their end of the regular season rivalry game. These schools schedules will be laid out and then their games will be sorted into five categories; Should Lose, Probably Will Lose, Toss-up, Probably Will Win, and Should Win. Pretty simple stuff right?
Alright, let’s dive into the first post with the Arizona Schools, starting right after the jump.

                Date; Opponent; Time
September 1st; Toledo; 7:30 pm PT*
September 8th; Oklahoma State; 7:30 pm
September 15th; South Carolina State; 7:30 pm
September 22nd; @Oregon; TBA
September 29th; Oregon State; TBA
October 6th; @Stanford; TBA
October 20th; Washington; TBA
October 27th; USC; TBA
November 3rd; @UCLA; TBA
November 10th; Colorado; TBA
November 17th; @Utah; TBA
November 23rd; Arizona State; 8:00 pm MT**
Should Lose: USC, Oregon, Stanford, and Oklahoma State
Probably Will Lose: South Carolina State, Washington, and Utah
Toss-up: UCLA, Colorado, Toledo, Oregon State, and Arizona State
Probably Will Win: n/a
Should Win: n/a
Analysis: The Wildcats won four games last year and it doesn’t look like things will be looking up after they saw their starting QB graduate after throwing for nearly 4300 yards. Add in the fact that their defense was pretty much a sieve last year and it definitely seems like Rich Rodriguez will have his work cut out for him down in Tucson.  For the Wildcats to get to a Bowl Game they would have to win all of their toss-up games AND snag a couple of the Probably Will Lose games as well; basically it is unlikely that we will see the Wildcats playing past the Governor’s Cup. 
Date; Opponent; Time
Thursday August 30th; Northern Arizona; 7:30 pm PT*
Saturday September 8th; Illinois; 7:30 pm
Saturday September 15th; @Missouri; 4:00 pm
Saturday September 22nd; Utah; TBA
Saturday September 29th; @California; TBA
Thursday October 11th; @Colorado; 6:00 pm PT
Thursday October 18th; Oregon; 6:00 pm
Saturday October 27th; UCLA; TBA
Saturday November 3rd; @Oregon State; TBA
Saturday November 17th; Washington State; TBA
Friday November 23rd; @Arizona; 8:00pm MT**
Should Lose: Oregon, USC, and Missouri
Probably Will Lose:Illinois, Utah, and California
Toss-up: UCLA, Washington State, Oregon State, and Arizona
Probably Will Win: Colorado
Should Win: Northern Arizona
Analysis: The Sun Devil’s path to a Bowl Game looks much easier than their in-state brethren. They have more returning talent and an easier schedule. Their hardest road game is probably going to be going up against Missouri, whom they beat in Tempe last season. Missouri is now in the SEC and is going to be looking to for revenge AND to prove they belong. If they win the two games that I’m sure they will be heavy favorites in and sweep their toss-up games the Sun Devils should be bowling come December.
* PT is Pacific Standard Time
** MT is Mountain Time

A Quick Update on the Radio Show

Some of my readers may have forgotten but the original reason this blog was created was to help me reiterate what I was talking about on my Radio Show. Fortunately I did not and I went to KUGR Studios to talk to some people and figure out when applications and training would happen again. I found out some important information that I am now passing on to you guys. To the information!… after the jump.

The first major point is that the KUGR General Meeting is on August 29th and shows will kick off on Sunday, September 2nd. That’s like only three weeks away! 
As for the actual time of the show, the time is in limbo. I have signed up to be part of the WSU Sports Crew. Therefore, I very well could be, busy all day on Saturdays moving equipment around for the broadcast and the show could be on a totally different day. I will be sure to keep you guys updated. 
The final update is about call-ins. I tried several times last year but for some reason I couldn’t get the phone to work. But, to me, it quickly became obvious that I wasn’t the only one with the problem; I would listen in on shows and would hear my fellow DJs and Host struggle to get calls come through on the phone and, if they did get calls through, they would have their calls drop. Today I suggested downloading Skype on to the Voxpro computer (the computer where I am able to surf the internet and get the sound bites you listened on the last broadcast back in April). Orion (KUGR’s Programs Director) liked the idea and will bring it up at the next board meeting. 
So there are the updates, stay tuned for more information as Sports With Neil gets ready to go back on air!

The Overall Pac-12 Pre-Season Power Rankings

The Conference of Champions
So we’ve taken a look at my Power Rankings for the North and the South Divisions of the Pac-12. Now how does the entire Pac-12 Conference power ranking look? Who (in my opinion) is the best team, in the Pac-12, going into the season? Who is the overall bottom feeder? Have no fear; the overall power rankings are here! We’ll take a look at how my preseason overall Conference power rankings stack up after the jump. 

Pac-12 Conference:
  1. USC Trojans: Unlike the team beneath them in the power rankings USC has their starting QB returning. And that, in my opinion, is a deciding factor; especially when both of the teams are pretty good at running the ball and playing defense (okay…good defense by Pac-12 standards). 
  2. Oregon Ducks: A strong running game plus a good defense, what’s not to like about the Ducks? Despite losing their top RB and QB the Ducks still look like they are in good hands and we should see them and the Trojans play each other twice this season.
  3. Stanford Cardinal: The next four teams all could very easily swap spots in the power rankings. But I like the fact that Stanford has a strong Defense and a star running back. As LSU proved last year, a good defense can stop one of the most potent offensive attacks in the country. 
  4. Utah Utes: A good Defense and a solid running back very well could equal a lot of wins in Utah. Especially when you consider the fact that they play against four of the worst teams in the Conference this season. 
  5. California Golden Bears: Again a strong defense and a good stable of running backs are Cal’s primary strengths. And I believe that Zach Maynard has indeed improved and learned from his mistakes last season. That’s why they are ahead of the next squad in the power rankings.
  6. Washington Huskies: A power runner in Chris Polk is gone and now the running game goes threw a back, in Bishop Sankey, who is an east-west runner. And an east-west runner needs a strong offensive line, which the Husky’s don’t have. Not to mention their atrocious defense, that’s why they are bellow the Golden Bears.
  7. Oregon State Beavers: The Beavers and the team below them are very, very similar. And in reality the other team should be in the seven spot. But I just can’t get the image of OSU blowing the Cougs doors off at CenturyLink Field out of my mind.
  8. Washington State Cougars: The Cougars had one of the most potent passing attacks in the country last year. And it only got a lot better with the hiring of Mike Leach. The Cougs also have a decently talented secondary but their linebackers and defensive leave much to be desired.
  9. UCLA Bruins: The Bruins managed to win a couple of games they shouldn’t have and ended up playing in the Pac-12 Championship game last year. Don’t expect much of the same as the QB situation still isn’t worked out and there defense still needs to be whipped into shape. All while installing a new coaching staff and offensive and defensive system. 
  10. Arizona State Sun Devils: They lost their star QB and Middle LB to the NFL and they have a new coach. Looks like the Sun Devils are looking at a rebuild as Todd Graham tries to install his system.
  11. Arizona Wildcats: A very similar situation to their in-state rivals. The Wildcats lost their starting QB and are reeling after their head coach was fired. But fortunately for them they had their head coach for this year hired midway through the season. Rich Rod will try and install his system. But it’s going to be a while before Wildcat fans see the results they want.
  12. Colorado Buffaloes: Just think back to the 2009 Washington State squad.

Weekend Review

On Friday night, Carlos Molina (20-5-2 6KO) dominated and outboxed  Cuban southpaw Damian Frias (19-5-1 10KO) to a unanimous decision victory in the main event of the season finale of Friday Night Fights on ESPN. Molina won the bout with in-and-out movement and a busier offense as he outworked Frias for the win. Frias was unable to land in combination as Molina proved to be slick and crafty. It’s those kinds of attributes Molina possesses that probably have every other super welterweight (154 Ibs.) uneager to fight him.

After the win, Molina expressed interests in fighting the elite of the weight class such as Miguel Cotto, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, James Kirkland, and Floyd Mayweather. A rematch with Kirkland would seem most appropriate considering that Molina suffered a controversial 10th round disqualification loss to Kirkland. At that point in the fight, Kirkland had managed to knock down Molina but was being outhustled and outboxed throughout the rest of the fight.

In the co-featured bout of the ESPN broadcast, Don George (23-2-1 20KO) rebounded from his decision loss to Edwin Rodriguez by stopping late replacement Dionisio Miranda (21-8-2 18KO) after six rounds. George stalked and put immense pressure on Miranda by moving forward, firing his left jab and powerful straight right hand. George had his most dominant round in the sixth and Miranda elected to quit on his stool after the round. It was most likely a wise decision considering the amount of punishment he was taking and his inability to hurt George.

On Saturday night, IBF 130Ibs. champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1-1 16KO) made the sixth defense of his title against Jonathan Victor Barros (34-3-1 18KO) by winning a unanimous decision. This victory puts Salgado in position to challenge the only man to have beaten him, WBA champion Takashi Uchiyama (18-0-1 15KO). If that doesn’t happen, bouts between Yuriorkis Gamboa, the Donaire-Nishioka winner, or Orlando Salido are also possible.

Pre-Season Pac-12 South Power Rankings

Here is the Pac-12 North’s power rankings

The Pac-12 North is arguably the strongest and deepest division in the Pac-12. Really the only good news that the South has provided is that USC is off of its Bowl ban and is ready to make another run at a BCS game. USC topped the South last year but couldn’t play in the Champion Ship Game and I fully expect the Trojans to remain at the top of the South this season. The South’s Power Rankings right after the jump.

Pac-12 South:

  1. Southern California Trojans: Matt Barkley’s decision to return for his senior season made it nearly impossible to put the Trojans at anywhere but number one in the South. Add in an offensive line that is mainly returning starters with one of the best groups of Wide Receivers in the on Country and you’re looking at an offense that is unstoppable. While the defensive line is probably the weakest unit on the Trojans roster, a strong secondary and pretty good linebacker core should make up for some of the deficiencies on the defensive side of the ball.
    Despite heavy sanctions that prevented them from going to bowl games USC has still managed to recruit well enough to have a good two deep roster. And that is why USC tops the Pac-12 South. 
  2. Utah Utes: In their first season in a BCS Conference the Utes not only made it to a bowl game, they also became the first Pac-12 representative to win a Bowl Game. Now they return their starting QB and their starting running back and most of their defense. Granted there are some questions about their quarterback but John White IV did alright last season and the Utes defense was one of the better ones in the conference.
    Add in the fact that most of their conference games are against the South and what you get is an expectation for a lot of wins from this squad. And that is why I have them sitting in second in the Pac-12 South.  
  3. UCLA Bruins: They ditched Rick Neuheisel, who is probably responsible for the decline of two Pac-12 programs. Now they have the defensive minded Jim Mora, a direct contrast with the offensive minds that the Pac-12 is teeming with. And in a year or two he’ll have a really effective defense that should help contain some of the Pac’s top offenses. 
    But presently he is dealing with a talented, but lack luster, squad. He’s dealing with a defense that Marshal Lobestael threw for 285 yards against, an offense that still doesn’t have an effective QB, and a special teams unit that leaves much to be desired. While Mora has done a pretty good job of instilling a new mentality down in Westwood, it is going to be a tough, up-hill battle for Mora and his staff to fix the damage that has been done over the last decade. 
  4. Arizona State Sun Devils: The Sun Devils started out last year right. They knocked off Mizzou and USC rising all the way to the top 25; but somewhere down the line something fell apart and the Sun Devils lost their last four games after starting out 6-2.  Dennis Erickson was fired and (after a disastours search) a Todd Graham was hired to coach the Devils in 2012.
    He has a defense that lost its star middle Line Backer, Vontaze Burfict, and an offense that watched its star, in QB Brock Osweiler, get drafted into the NFL.  There isn’t a whole lot of depth in Tempe right now and it is going to take a while for Graham to be able to fix that. The bottom line is that ASU’s collapse last year was very indicative of the mess that the Pac-12 South is and will continue to be. 
  5. Arizona Wildcats: Last year was very disappointing and lead to the mid-season firing of Head Coach Mike Stoops. The Cats did have a couple of highlights last season; the more impressive one was beating eventual Pac-12 South “Champions” UCLA.  As for players the only real star was QB Nick Foles and now he’s gone after graduating. Fortunately for Wildcat fans, their AD had a plan in place after he canned Stoops. 
    The Cats AD hired Rich Rodriguez (an offensive genius) as their head coach. He’ll have time to fix a program, which had risen and then collapsed, under Stoops.  Cats fans shouldn’t expect much out of this team this year as Rich Rod has a long rebuild under his belt.
    This may or may not have happened
  6.  Colorado Buffaloes: The rebuild ahead of the Colorado Buffaloes makes the Sark’s rebuild at UW look easy (wait it was). The depth isn’t there (when they played the Cougs they had back up wide receivers playing as corner backs), the talent is only there in spots and they are dealing with a Coach who only has one year of experience at the FBS level (last year). 
    Did I mention their head coach is a Buffalo alum? Sound familiar Coug fans? Needless to say Colorado is in bad shape and it is going to be a tough year up in Boulder.

Pre-Season Pac-12 North Power Rankings

Here is the Pac-12 South’s power rankings
 

All of College football has started their Fall Camps and as a result it is time for us at Sports With Neil to kick-off our college football coverage for the 2012 season, mainly Pac-12 coverage. Now this coverage will mainly be based off of our observations and what the fantastic SBNation blogs for all the schools in the Pac-12 (Minus BruinsNation, that place is a mess). As for observations we will have the new Pac-12 Network and its website to help us keep up with the comings and goings of Pac-12 football.
Speaking of Pac-12 football on August 30th a Pac-12 team becomes the second college football squad in the country to kick off their season. That Pac-12 team would be the Washington State Cougars at Brigham Young University Cougars; these two squads will be the second game of the night on August 30th, being the night cap of ESPN’s Opening Night Coverage. And since we are so close to kick-off (not) I thought now would be a good time to take a look at my Pac-12 pre-fall camp power rankings

Pac-12 North:
  1. Oregon Ducks: The only thing that could really have threatened Oregon’s position at the top of the Pac-12 North was if Chip Kelly actually went to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite the loss of LaMichael James and Darron Thomas to the NFL (well LMJ was drafted, Darron Thomas wasn’t drafted but is trying out for NFL squads).  The Ducks appear to be in good hands as they have the ever talented burner in DeAnthony Thomas (whom set several Oregon Freshmen records) to step into LMJ’s shoes. And at Quarterback they have Brian Bennett (whom saw a lot of playing time against the Pac-12 last year) and highly touted and talented Red Shirt Freshmen Marcus Mariota battling for the starting spot. 
    Add in the fact that there are a bunch of returning starters on each side of the ball and the fact that Chip Kelly is indeed staying in Eugene and it looks like the Ducks are poised for another epic year near the top of the Pac-12.
  2. Stanford Cardinal: Despite the loss of their head coach to the NFL prior to the 2011 season the Cardinal managed to win 11 games and advance to a BCS game. Now Stanford is trying to replace a first overall draft pick in Quarterback Andrew Luck. They also lost several key members of their defense last year. However, it doesn’t look like Stanford will be dealing with a rebuild; it looks like Stanford will be going through a restock instead. 
    The Defense and their offensive line still appears to be strong/deep and Stanford is returning their 1,000 yard rusher from last year in Stefan Taylor who ran for 1,330 yards and was just as crucial to the success of the Cardinal offense as Andrew Luck. All of this adds up to a nice comfy landing spot for the QB who will try and fill some giant shoes, whether it be Brett Nottingham or Josh Nunes. A strong defense plus a good running game is why I feel comfortable keeping the Cardinal in second in the Pac-12 North.
  3. California Golden Bears: The Bears have a pretty good defense and a solid offensive line and core of running backs. In other words the same thing that I expect to keep Stanford as dominate as they were under Andrew Luck.  But unlike Stanford Cal gets to retain their starting QB from last year, but that doesn’t make Cal fans all that excited. 
    Zach Maynard made several key miss throws last year that cost Cal a couple of games late (the game in Seattle for example). But those are throws that a second year quarterback should make. He should learn from his mistakes and as a result Cal’s offensive should be more effective. That’s why I expect Cal to finish higher in the north and win more ball games this year than they did last year. 
  4. Washington Huskies: One of six teams that beat the Golden Bears last season and they are returning most of their starting offense from last year. So why do I have the Golden Bears ranked higher than the Huskies? Its cause of three things; the loss that the Husky offense did suffer, their weak offensive line. The second thing would be their atrocious defense that failed so spectacularly during the Alamo Bowl
    The loss that the Husky offense sustained is Chris Polk’s decision to enter the NFL draft. Polk was a one man wrecking crew and the weak Husky offensive line couldn’t even stop him. Now that Polk has left you have Sophomore Bishop Sankey who is a good back; but he’s a bit of a side to side runner and those kind of runners do best behind strong offensive lines. Also a strong offensive line can keep Keith Price on his feet, kind of necessary for the Huskies to score points and win games with their bad defense
  5. Oregon State Beavers: We very well could be seeing the last of Mike Riley’s days as the head coach of the Beavers. After a 5-7 season in 2010 and a 3-9 season in 2011, Riley’s seat has become rather warm. Startinga Red Shirt Freshmen Sean Mannion over Junior Ryan Katz last year made a few eyebrows rise. Now the team that finished fifth in the Pac-12 North looks to have a second year QB who has improved to go along with their still strong running game. 
    This is why I expect the Beavers to remain in fifth in the Pac-12 North, right above the team they absolutely humiliated last year. 
  6. Washington State Cougars: The Cougs had reason for optimism before last season and they watched it all go up in smoke when Jeff Tuel went down. But Marshall Lobestael wasn’t that bad and the Cougs seemed to be in the thick of their games, finally. Unfortunately for Paul Wulff that was too little too late and he got the axe and Offensive genius Mike Leach was hired in his place. 
    It’s not like the Cougs had any issues with offense last season; they had the 9th most passing yards per-game the country, and that was without their starting QB, it was their defense that let them down. The talent just isn’t there on the Cougar defense and the offensive line is just a sieve. Not the best combination when you want to win ball games. We’ll see how Leach’s system works with the talent available, but as of right now I expect them to remain at the bottom of the Pac-12 North.

    Poor Tyree Toomer

Royalty in Seatlle: Felix Hernandez Delivers a Crowning Moment in Mariners Baseball

Monarchy and the United States usually don’t mix, considering the history of this country. But on August 15th, Mariner’s fans would have most likely welcomed one king in particular to govern the city of Seattle. “King” Felix Hernandez delivered a pitching performance worthy of royalty as he dominated and embarrassed the Tampa Bay Rays by throwing the 23rdperfect game in the history of baseball.

Before this perfect game, Hernandez was already considered to be the crown jewel of Seattle, as he’s already won the Cy Young Award, appeared in three All-Star games, and delivered countless brilliant pitching performances. What makes this perfect game extra special was who he did it to, how he did it, and the circumstances of the game itself.

Forget all the statistics about how the Rays have been perfect gamed three times in their history and have been the victim of a few no-hitters as well. The fact is the Rays are an excellent team, and Felix dominated them.  Against the likes of B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena, and Ben Zobrist, Hernandez threw 113 pitches and struck out 12, including five of the last six batters.


Another thing to consider is the immense pressure Felix was on. If throwing a perfect game isn’t enough at stake, consider that the M’s won the game 1-0. From the third inning on, when Brendan Ryan scored from third after a single by Jesus Montero, Hernandez was constantly being pressured by the notion that not only could he lose his perfect game, but that he could the game itself as well. Fortunately for M’s fans and for baseball fans in general, Hernandez kept his cool throughout the game and the Rays were rarely able to even threaten to make it safely on-base.

Felix Hernandez is only 26 years old and yet it seems he’s been a part of the Mariners forever. Maybe August 15th will be the peak of his career, or maybe he’ll deliver something even more special. World Series anyone? It is stretch, but with Felix Hernandez on your team, great things can happen. Let us hope that any further trade rumors regarding the King stay rumors.

He’s Ours and You Can’t Have Him; Felix Hernandez Throws a Perfect Game

Until August 15th, 2012 only one Mariner pitcher had made a serious (past 7 innings of perfect ball) bid at a Perfect Game. That pitcher’s name was Bob Holman and he threw 8 2/3rds of perfect baseball, 26 up 26 down, on April 20th, 1990. The 27th batter was one Ken “Digger” Phelps. Phelps ended Holman’s bid for immortality with a blast at the Oakland Coliseum. 
Felix is Officially Perfect
On August 15th, 2012 another Mariner made a serious bid at a perfect game and unlike Brian Holman this Mariner completed it. And it was an impressive performance that allowed for Felix Hernandez to become the 23rd pitcher to toss a Perfect Game in Major League History, the third pitcher to toss a perfect game this year and the second pitcher to toss a perfect game at Safeco Field this season. This is also the third perfect game tossed against the Tampa Bay Rays since 2009. 
Felix’s slow start earlier this year didn’t make me think that this was going to happen this year. It had me worried about him. He himself pointed out that his form wasn’t quite right; add in the back injuryand I thought that this was just going to be an off year for the King. But I was wrong. Felix came back from his back ordeal on June 12th and ever since then he has been lights out. 

So it wasn’t a surprise when I checked the Mariner game yesterday and heard Dave Sims say; “12 up and 12 down for Felix Hernandez”. Instead of going to Wal-Mart my roommates and I stayed and watched the rest of King Felix’s Royal Gem. And it was probably the best sports related decision I’ve ever made. 
Felix was so dominate yesterday and the Ray’s looked completely lost at the plate. It was clear to me sitting at home that if the defense played to its usual standards then Felix was going to get the perfecto. I don’t really have any super awesome analysis or stats about what happened yesterday, just pure awe and excitement. He finally got one, King Felix, finally threw a no-hitter. Better yet he threw a perfect game. 
And for most baseball fans it wasn’t a huge shocker. They (we) expected Hernandez to throw a no-hitter and/or a perfect game. To us it was never a question of if, but when. I don’t understand why but that expectation has always been there for him. Now he has met that expectation and that particular pressure is off. 
And he did it in spectacular fashion. And, as Jack Zdurienck said in a crowded media elevator after the game; “He’s ours and you can’t have him.”

Meet the New Author: Arthur

Hello everyone I’m Arthur or HOHOHO.  I’m going to be covering college football for the blog.  I’m also looking forward to the new college football season as I hopefully watch my Cougs get glory this year.  Glad to be a part of the team, hohoho!

Meeting the New Author: Gibson "Gibby" Lisk

Co-host on Sports with Neil. Currently a sophomore at Washington State University. My major is still undecided but right now the fight is between Communications and Psychology. Got involved, because i enjoy radio and sports, and put those together and we get Sports With Neil blog and radio. Covering soccer, MLB, and NFL.

The King County Council Moves Forward on SODO Arena and the Seattle City Council Takes Center Stage Anyway

On Monday July 30th, 2012 the King County Council voted “Yes”, with a six to three vote, on Chris Hansen’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Chief Executive Dow Constantine about a new arena involving public construction bonds. On Monday July 30th, 2012 the Seattle City Council sent a letter to Chris Hansen with several request about modifying of the MOU. The City Council wants better financial protection for the city and taxpayers; they also want some of the Arena revenues to help pay for traffic improvements around the SODO Area.  
The City Council is basically grandstanding and (it feels like) trying to be the center of attention. Hansen’s plan calls for arena revenues and rent to pay back the bonds, and after the bonds are paid off some of the arena revenue can be rolled over into the City’s general funds.  If there is a short fall in the Arena’s annual income Hansen and his ownership group will make up the difference putting no extra stress on the city’s finances. 

The MOU gives the city as much financial security as it can possibly get from getting involved in an arena deal, but the city is petrified. After all the Rose Garden in Portland went bankrupt in 2004 and the issues with the 1995 Key Arena renovation are the primary drivers for the city’s fear of getting involved in another arena deal.[1]And the Port of Seattle’s traffic concerns are the perfect way for the City Council to drag their heels on agreeing to Hansen’s proposal. 
Granted traffic in South Downtown Seattle (SODO) is horrible on a regular work day and it could use some improvements. But those traffic issues are not a reason for holding up the creation of a few thousand construction, usher, concessioners and security jobs. And the Seattle City Council should not be holding Chris Hansen and his ownership group responsible for “paying” (redirecting Arena revenues) for improvements that the City promised the Port it would do a decade ago
Again I don’t disagree that SODO needs some massive improvements in traffic. I was down there in the middle of the game where the M’s inducted Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson into the Mariner Hall of Fame and it took me eight to ten minutes to move a city block. But making Chris Hansen and his ownership group finance improvements that have been promised (and needed) for a decade is just wrong.
Especially since Hansen’s ownership group wouldn’t be the only major employers down in the region. There is an interesting collection of industries down there that include (but aren’t limited to) Starbucks headquarters, the Seattle Mariners, the Seattle Seahawks, the Seattle Sounders FC, and the Port of Seattle. These are all multi-million dollar industries that employ a lot of people down in the area. Since all would benefit from improvements that Hansen and his group would have to pay for, why not make them also help pay for it?
I mean it’s only fair (especially since the Port of Seattle has raised the biggest stink about traffic issues). The other corporations that would benefit from traffic improvements should also have to pay for it. Clearly the City Council doesn’t want to deal with financing improvements they promised to make long ago, somebody else does. And that somebody else shouldn’t have to be one ownership group that is already planning on employing a lot of Seattleites and creating a new tax revenue source for the City.


[1]The Rose Garden’s bankruptcy came from a dispute between Paul Allen’s ownership group and the private financers who helped fund the construction of the building