Archive for the 'Sam' Category

17
Mar
11

March Madness!!!

The day has finally come folks–the culmination of a season’s worth of college basketball trials and tribulations begin today. There has been A LOT going on in sports lately (the NFL is officially locked out, the Bulls are on fiya, baseball is around the corner, Serena Williams almost died, lacrosse season is in full swing¬†and Sidney Crosby skated for the first time since his concussion to name a few) and we know we have a good Sports Digest in us for later this week. But we won’t delay in what is the most important–March Madness, which, if you haven’t picked up on, kicks off today ūüėÄ I for one, couldn’t be more ecstatic (especially since I don’t work on Friday and can be glued to the madness and importantly, the¬†Syracuse game!)

I usually fare pretty well in my bracket selections and am confident in this group of winners¬†(I would be lying though if I said I wasn’t nervous about that pesky SouthEast bracket.) So below, before tip-off I’m inking my picks in the blogosphere. For those of you that don’t know, I fill out one bracket every year. ONE. and I enter it in every pool, for fun, for money, for beer etc. So believe it or not, there is a method to my madness–and I smell a crazy year of upsets. ¬†So here goes:

My theory this year is that the Big East tends¬†to disappoint in the tourney–they always seem to take it out of each other in the Big East¬†tournament and it wouldn’t be March Madness without a few Cinderellas.¬†¬†So before you ask, I’m taking Penn State and Talor¬†Battle¬†over Temple (Let’s Go State!), Utah State over K-State and Richmond over Vandy in the first round Crazy? Maybe. But there’s just something SO annoying about people taking all four one seeds to the Final Four.

Elite Eight

OSU, Washington, Texas, San Diego State, Kansas, Texas A&M, Old Dominion, BYU

¬†Old Dominion (Or Butler, 50/50 on that one) will take out Pitt in the second round. Pitt is a perennial choke artist and I expect them to over look their second round opponent. I’m taking Washington in a shocking second round upset over UNC. I think BYU will have a difficult road but will make it to far, given the fact that I expect these strong lower-seeded teams to make a statement and knock out some power houses.

Final Four:

BYU, Texas, OSU, Kansas

It may be insane to take BYU this far, especially with the loss of a key player, but as I mentioned, the team will have some help from a few Cinderella stories, as well as time to regroup and focus on opponents.

National Champion

Kansas

Yes, OSU¬†is the favorite, but Kansas is steady and hasn’t forgotten the loss to UNI and Faroukmanesh last year. They will enter the tourney with additional focus and drive and are poised to win another championship.

What are your first round upsets? Whose your final four? What is your method of picking brackets?

Buckle up folks, it’s going to be a wild ride! ūüôā

–Sam

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11
Feb
11

Super Bowl Wrap Up

So I know I’m definitely behind on my reaction the Super Bowl, but in my defense, I’m a fan in grieving. Before I go into depth, I’d like to make it clear: It’s always good to be a Steelers fan. Always. Especially when they win, but you know what? Even when they lose too.

I wish we had a Super Bowl do-over. Before you knew it, we were in the hole against a great team (like most of our playoff games.) While I never gave up hope that we’d be ok and that Ben could pull out another two-minute drill for the ages, time expired and it just didn’t happen this time. Simply put–we played poorly. Yes, Ben threw costly picks but he also was having trouble hitting people when they were wide open. As much talent as Mike Wallace has–he proved he’s not a big time receiver yet ( paging Santonio.) ¬†What’s perhaps the most telling for me,–the defense was mute. With the exception of Lamar Woodley in the first half, you didn’t hear a peep from Harrison, Farrior, Clark or Polamalu. As we all know, you put yourself in a difficult position to win any game if you cough up the ¬†ball three times which results in 21 points.

What’s encouraging is that, despite the above–we still had a good chance to win the game. Seriously. It came down to the last drive. A drive that Ben makes nine out of ten times. A drive that legends are made of. He’s done it before, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been able to do it again. It just wasn’t in the cards this time. Playing from behind–which the Steelers did the entire game–never allowed Ben or the offense to settle down and take control ¬†the way they wanted. The Packers did what they had to do to win the game-which is nothing¬†spectacular–they took care of the ball and didn’t make any stupid plays (they DID allow 25 points though). ¬†In this situation they deserved to win the game.

All of that being said, I couldn’t be prouder of the Steelers,¬†a team which most people, outside of fans, had written off this year with Ben out the first four games. We listened to how people predicted the Ravens and Bengals (REALLY?) as their AFC North pick. After the Steelers went (an unsurprising) 3-1 without Ben, we still listened to how we weren’t a good team–even with the number one defense in the league. We were supposed to lose to the Ravens and the Jets at home. We weren’t supposed to make a game out of it down 11 points at half time. We just couldn’t pull it out in the end and while I’m not happy about it, I’m ok with it.

I’ll tell you what though. There’s still no other QB I’d rather take than Ben Roethlisberger. For all of his mistakes and poor play, he STILL had us in a position to win that game (I say if it was Holmes and not Wallace we’d have our seventh ring). He doesn’t panic, he doesn’t freak out and he shoulders the appropriate amount of the blame for the loss. I do not expect perfection from Ben (and everyone reading this would say–DUH). I’m optimistic about how our offensive line played–for all the hoopla surrounding the loss of Maurkice Pouncey–Legursky stepped in fine and the offensive line played GREAT only allowing one sack (in which Ben didn’t actually end up on the turf). I’ll take an O-line that plays like that ANY day.

More importantly, I’m proud of the way the Steelers acted as a team this year. Always banding together, rising to the challenge and silencing their critics. While I’m sad, I have NO doubt that we will be back to the Super Bowl (and soon!) and that Pittsburgh will get a seventh ring in the near future. It’s been a fun season and it’s just further proof why it’s always good to be a Pittsburgh fan. Chins up Steelers, your town and your fans love you and we can’t wait for the next journey to begin in September.

05
Feb
11

Super Bowl 45: A Preview

As I write this post, I am sitting at O’Hare International Airport awaiting my flight to Pittsburgh for the big game. So yes, up front, I’m taking the Steelers to win tomorrow (and feel that I’m remaining as unbiased as possible in that selection). I’ve taken the past two weeks off this sports blog for two reasons: 1) ¬†to try to wrap my head around what is sure to be a legendary Super Bowl and 2) I’ve also started another pr blog with some friends of mine which has required a little more attention (Ok shameless self promotion complete.) Let’s let’s get right down to it:

Steelers 24-20 over the Green Bay Packers.

I’m going to go with Pittsburgh for a few reasons. The first being that this team has experience and has worked together through adversity at various times throughout the year. They scraped together a 3-1 record in their first four wins, had an amazing comeback against the Ravens twice and scooted their way to a 12-4 record. And true, it wasn’t always pretty. The defense has, much like any other year, been the glue that has held the Steelers together–headed by AP Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu. But with a defense like this, you don’t need your offense scoring 30 points a game.

I think that the Steelers will benefit from their multiple offensive weapons–Mendenhall (who has developed into a work-horse for team), Wallace (who is the fastest receiver in the NFL), Ward and Miller (who make huge plays in the clutch–if not as often as they used to) are the¬†usual suspects, but the Steelers have done a great job of incorporating rookies Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders into the mix. These two additions to the offense have proven that they can make the big plays when necessary in play-off games and give Ben two more weapons to utilize on offense–it’s impossible to cover EVERYBODY that Ben may be able to get the ball off to. That is, if he decides to hand the ball off at all. Ben has become an increasingly mobile quarterback (a necessity since our O-line is depleted) and has no problem scrambling for first downs.

And yes, Green Bay is a good team. Aaron Rodgers is a good QB, Clay Matthews is a beast, Tramon¬†Williams is clutch and Jordy¬†Nelson has been on fire lately. In my opinion, the Steelers have a player that matches toe for toe with every one of them (Roethlisberger, Polamalu, Clark and Miller) not to mention Harrison, Woodley, and Wallace.¬†Yes, I worry about our pass protection and our secondary–and Aaron Rodgers has an ungodly amount of 20+ yard completions this post-season. I mean really it’s ridiculous. And¬†yes, I’m¬†slightly uncomfortable about the state of our¬†offensive line–especially with the loss of key center Maurkice¬†Pouncey. But¬†I’m not scared of the¬†Packers in the slightest. I think they are an absolutely beatable team. They beat up on NFC fools and let’s not forget that¬†they couldn’t exactly close out the NFC¬†Championship against a third string QB in Chicago. The ONLY difference in that game was an understandable¬†pick six¬†by an unexpecting¬†BJ¬†Raji¬†to¬†preserve the lead. The Packers struggled against a Bears defense that is similar to Pittsburgh–except that Pittsburgh’s is better. Yes, I expect them to get burned once by the long-ball but I also expect defensive genius Dick Lebeau to be able to adjust.

Roethlisberger has¬†Super Bowl experience and is a proven leader for his team (if you want my personal take on him¬†in general, check out¬†a great read on 15¬†Minutes Blog that¬†features a variety of¬†blogger¬†opinions on the subject)¬†and is unlikely to¬†choke–in fact, I expect this to be his best Super Bowl performance to date (and God help us if it’s worse than his first Super Bowl performance.) I don’t think Aaron Rodgers will choke either–but expect nerves to get to him the first quarter before he settles down.

Let’s not forget either that everyone is picking the sexy pick of the Packers, which undoubtedly adds fuel to the fire. No one ever gives Pittsburgh its due–and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Of the¬†45 analysts at ESPN, 32 picked the¬†Packers to win tomorrow.¬†Lil Wayne puts out ‘Green and Yellow’ a song aimed squarely at Pittsburgh and the Packers are favored by 2.5¬†in Vegas. ¬†See the Steelers have that extra drive to play for now–much like they did in ’09 and ’06 and they’re going to be fired up beyond belief wanting to prove the haters wrong–haven’t people learned yet that its Ben who is proven himself time and time again in the clutch–NOT Aaron?¬† Personally, I’d never bet on the Steelers to lose a game, being a fan aside,¬†more often than not, they¬†manage to find a way to get it done (in the final two minutes to give you a heart attack). Again, I don’t think this is a blow out by any means on either side–both teams can win the game and the victor will need to put together a damn near perfect ball-game to do so. But I give the Steelers the edge because I think their defense will allow for at least seven points off turnovers and that will be the difference in the game.

Who do you have tomorrow—and why??

It’s gonna be fun to watch (except for the Black Eyed Peas at halftime) so everybody enjoy the game and, of course, HERE WE GO STEELERS!! ‚̧

ÔĽŅ

17
Jan
11

Sports Digest 1.17.2011

A little over two weeks into the new year and I am in sports glory–play-off football is great, college basketball is in full swing, the NHL is chugging along and the Australian open is underway.¬†The Steelers are in their 4th AFC Championship game in the past 7 years, Chicago is electric¬†with the¬†NFC¬†Championship game and a huge¬†Blackhawks game this weekend, ¬†Being on this sports cloud-nine–why not dish up our first sports digest of the year?

Syracuse Orange vs. Pitt Panthers

Everyone knows this is going to be a good game. Tonight, you have the unbeaten #3 ranked Orange against perennial Big East powerhouse #5 Pitt. As much as I love the Orange, and as good as they are looking (#1 seed come tourney time) they always struggle against the Panthers, losing the last four meetings. I don’t think that this is going to change tonight–I think that Syracuse has a mental block against Pitt..they just don’t bring their A-game until it’s too late. Add in the loss of lead scorer Kris Joseph for the game tonight and I think it spells extra trouble. Hope I’m wrong and we pull off the W¬† (as Pitt is the only team from the ‘Burgh that I actively root against, and just can’t stand) but¬†the odds aren’t¬†looking good. That’s alright though, we’ll rebound to beat Villanova on Saturday at the Dome with in front of a record crowd.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Right before the NFL Championship game the NHL’s national game of the week is a rematch of the Stanley Cup last year. The Flyers have had a pretty dominant season and currently hold the #1 power ranking. The Hawks have had a lethargic start to the season but are finally finding their mojo. With a tough game Saturday vs. the Red Wings, look for the Hawks to turn the tide on a national stage and upend the Flyers on home ice.

The Demise of the Patriots

There are few things I enjoy more than watching the Patriots get outplayed. And that’s exactly what happened yesterday. After a shaky first quarter, Mark Sanchez settled down and maintained the tempo of the game and the Jets just, for lack of a better term, laid the smackdown¬†on the Patriots. They got lazy in the fourth quarter and started playing too conservatively, and showed no modicum of class during their on-field celebrations but they got the job done. And I’m pretty sure I saw Tom Brady cry during the game, which just added to my joy. Hard to believe, as Adam Schefter put it, that Tom Brady has now lost three consecutive play-off games. Looking back, it all started going “south” when they lost the Super Bowl in the last seconds to the Giants–(or has it been since his¬†knee injury?)¬†Will Tom ever get another ring? Hard to say, but none of it diminishes that he (in my opinion) is the best QB to play the game..as much as I HATE to admit it. So we’ll have to wait another eight months (or longer) to discuss his Bieber haircut.

The Steelers NOT beating themselves

I’m STILL pumped about that Steelers win on Saturday. The team showed so much resolve coming back to dominate the second half–allowing the Ravens a TOTAL of 28 yards throughout the end of the game. Yes, they had their heads up their asses in the first half, and they won’t be able to play like that again and expect to move on but the determination of the steel curtain defense, as well as some AWESOME play by my boy Big Ben solidified the W. You can say what you want, but Ben Roethlisberger is a top 3 QB in the league (in my opinion two) He has the same number of playoff wins as Peyton Manning (9) with six years less experience. He plays hard, he scrambles, he takes control of the offense, he’s tough¬†and he delivers. As long as there’s time on the clock, if the ball is in Ben’s hands, I honestly think we have a shot to win. Off-field drama aside, I don’t know that there’s another QB I’d take if I could have my pick–Brady gets frazzled–doesn’t seem like Ben does. He’s a great leader and he makes things happen. I like our chances on Sunday.

Are you on as much as a sports high as we have been this week? What’s been the highlight for you?

Let’s us know … we’re always up for a chat ūüôā

07
Jan
11

Wild Card Weekend

Football playoffs are upon us-cue all the “win or go home” and “leave it all on the field” clich√©s. The NFL has been so enjoyable to watch this season and, since we don’t exactly know if there’s going to be a 2011 season, CDS is excited to take in the final eleven football games and relish every.single. second. of it. We didn’t do too great with our regular season predictions–correctly predicting TWO conference winners–we did have some insight and hope for many of the teams that did make it in but didn’t do well over all–but mostly importantly, our two teams that we expected to play in the Super Bowl — the Packers and the Jets are still alive.

Below you’ll find our predictions for this week’s games–let’s hope we have some better insight than 17 weeks ago.

New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks

I am not in the camp that the Seahawks¬†shouldn’t be in the playoffs. They won their division, simple as that. Yes, they are an abysmal 7-9 and the Giants and Bucs¬†had better record, but the Seahawks¬†won their division, and the Giants and Bucs¬†lost key games at significant points in the season to keep them from the playoffs. That being said, I think the Saints will have a pretty easy time disposing of the Seahawks on Saturday and will comfortably advance to the divisional round.

New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts

I’m going with the Jets on this one–for no other reason that my brain already has the Jets playing the Pats next week (Thanks for pointing it out Mike!) Both teams¬†backed into the playoffs–the Jets have been spotty all year and¬†¬†the Colts have struggled this season¬†with a myraid of injuries. I’d never count out Peyton Manning, but I think this can–and will be–a marquee playoff-win for Sanchez and the Jets and hey, I have to take ’em since they’re my Super Bowl pick.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Kansas City Chiefs

This game seems to be pretty over-looked and I think it is going to be an even-keeled match. The Chiefs have an awful offensive line but the Ravens recorded a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010. Since his break-out season in New England a few years ago, Cassel has flown fairly under the radar. He’s a solid quarterback that can scramble to make necessary plays. The Ravens are always tough though, and Flacco–who I’ll never be sold on as a quarterback and Ray Rice and his explosive nature–are competent enough to put up enough points against the Chiefs for a W. And then hopefully swing up to Foxboro next week–knock off the Pats and meet Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. (What a best case scenario for Pittsburgh! ;))

Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

I’m going to take Green Bay in this one. While Michael Vick had an amazing season and is super fun to watch and the Eagles have what can only be described as an explosive offense (New Meadow Lands Miracle anyone?) but the Eagles have proven that they can be contained–with losses to Bears and Cowboys. The Green Bay Packers have looked sharp the last two weeks of the season, with key wins against the Giants and Bears. I expect Aaron Rodgers to finally take the spotlight and use this post-season to develop into the qb we all know he can be. Add in Clay “The Beast” Matthews and I think the Packers are going to come out on the top of this dog fight.

Who do you have in the games this weekend? Who in the AFC has a shot of stopping the pats? Who do you have in the Super Bowl?

As always, we love to hear your thoughts! ūüôā

–Sam

02
Jan
11

New Year’s Hangover 2011 Edition

Happy 2011 Everyone!

I’m not exactly sure when New Year’s Day morphed into the ultimate sporting day. Yes, there have always been bowl games–but in recent years the better bowl games have slid through until the middle of the month and other sports have staked their claim in the day. Whenever this transfiguration happened, I know that there was nothing I enjoyed more yesterday than having some sauerkraut and pork, Bloody Marys and watching 12 solid hours of sports.

Outback Bowl–Penn State vs. Florida

Oy vey Penn State. Oy Vey. What looked like a promising game–leading 17-14 at half time– turned into a train wreck right in front of our eyes. McGloin’s five interceptions marked the second lowest point of the PSU football season this year (only the loss to Illinois at homecoming ranks worse). What kills me about my favorite walk-on from Scranton is that he just is not a smart ball player. I counted no less than three times that the lane was clear and he could have rushed two or three yards for a first down–instead, he scrambles and tries a short pass to a receiver who isn’t looking–and gets picked off…FIVE times. Defenses can read him like a book. That being said, I do firmly believe he’s the best option Penn State has and I support JoePa’s decision to keep him in. There’s something a quarterback (should) learn when they get drummed like that and hopefully he can take this loss and use it to become a better QB for what is sure to be an ugly Penn State football season next year.

TCU vs. Wisconsin-Rose Bowl

Easily the best game of the day–TCU cemented their spot as an elite program in college football. Having knocked off Boise State last year, and a super-strong Wisconsin team this year. In my opinion, the final score of 21-19 does not accurately represent the complete and solid 60 minutes of football that TCU put together yesterday and I’m excited to see them dominate the Big East in 2012.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals

Is there anything better than the winter classic? The NHL has done an awesome job of thinking outside the box and branding a marquee game to excite fans and make the sport relevant half-way through the season. Heinz field looked awesome and even though the weather didn’t cooperate, and the Pens ended up losing, the game delivered on the hype and was really enjoyable to watch. I could complain about the refs, or the fact that Ovechkin is the biggest douche bag I’ve seen in a long time–but where is the fun in that? The winter classic isn’t so much about the game as it is the experience and I’m not worried for one second about the state of the Pens this years.

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame

The Syracuse Orange rolled to a 15-0 start this season–which sets up nicely for the January 17th showdown at Pitt. Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson are playing phenomenally and the team is deserving of their #5 ranking with quality wins against two top 20 teams (Michigan State and Notre Dame) and I’m excited to see where the season takes them. Hopefully Fab Melo will live nurse his achilles and live up to all the hype– I’m not quiiite ready to jump on the National Championship train–but man are they looking good ūüôā

What was your favorite sporting event yesterday–any surprises on how the games went? Learn anything new?¬†We’ll make sure to keep our BCS Bowl Fever tally up to date–but are running considerably far ahead of last year’s record.

Once again, Happy New Year!

–Sam

30
Dec
10

We’re #1 (Today!)

Hello Everyone!

Well…we did it! What started out as a pet project last December — Chicks Dig Sports Too is officially one year old today!! It has been a fun, roller-coaster ride as we have documented 2010 in the sports world. While we don’t post as often as we want to (a New Year’s resolution!) we had fun looking into a variety of amazing sporting experiences this year–from best sports themes, to the Chicago Sports Challenge, to adding a new chick, The Vancouver Olympics, Ben Roethlisberger’s sticky situations and even covering Wrestlemania-we have had a blast writing our opinions and meeting so many AWESOME people! ūüôā

We’re looking forward to the sporting events of 2011 and continuing a lively and genuine debate next year and hopefully continuing to meet such amazing people while doing it ūüôā We have some fun things planned in 2011 and can’t wait to share our sporting experiences with you–we promise to post more–come hell or high water.

It’s a tough call, but our best sports experience this year was meeting JT Thomas and Robin Cole from the Pittsburgh Steelers while shopping in the strip district of daaaahntahhhn Pittsburgh unexpectedly in November and seeing the Super Bowl 13 ring up close and personal…even if the pics came out blurry!

JT Thomas, Yours Truly, Robin Cole

Cole's SB 13 Ring...and a Black & Gold Cheesecake

So a big THANK YOU to everyone that reads this lil ol’ blog…and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

–Sam

P.S. If you haven’t read our second annual BCS Bowl Fever Post…what are you waiting for? ūüôā




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