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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Recap: Vanderbilt 77 - Marquette 76

Ryan Ellerbusch

With a 9-4 record heading into Big East play on Saturday, the Marquette men’s basketball team fell Wednesday night to the Vanderbilt Commodores 77-76 in their final non-conference matchup of the 2010-11 campaign. Marquette’s nine wins on the season thus far have all come against relatively easy opponents, while their four losses were suffered against nationally ranked opponents including Duke, Gonzaga, Wisconsin, and Vanderbilt, though each game was close with Maquette losing each game by five points or less.

Against Vanderbilt (10-2), the Golden Eagles got off to a slow start as did Vanderbilt’s leading scorer, John Jenkins, who is averaging 18.2 points per game. Jenkins finished the night going 4 for 21 from the field, but the Commodores got a strong performance from their post players who were both active in the paint by scoring and rebounding. Although Vanderbilt’s largest lead of the game was 11 points early in the first half, Marquette battled back to take a 37-34 lead at halftime using a 13-3 run in the closing minutes to gain the advantage and momentum heading into the locker room.

Five Golden Eagles scored in double-digits with Jimmy Butler (15) and Darius-Johnson Odom (14) leading the potent scoring attack as the team shot 56.1% from the field. Marquette led by as much as seven points before each team exchanged runs in the second half as they battled down to the wire inside Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym, which is known for its unusual design where the team benches are positioned on the baseline rather than the standard sideline, which in turn creates a unique home court advantage.

Trailing at this particular point in the second half, Marquette inched closer with three consecutive steals and fast-break layups, courtesy of Vander Blue, converting the final takeaway with a 3-point play with 6 minutes remaining. With just a few minutes left to play, Dwight Buycks also led the Marquette comeback with a long two-pointer from the top of the key to lead briefly by a point. However, Vanderbilt’s Andre Walker made a layup on the ensuing possession over Chris Otule’s outstretched hand with 4.1 seconds left to play to give Vanderbilt the 77-76 lead. Marquette had one last chance after Buzz Williams used his last two timeouts, as Johnson-Odom received the pass and drove the court, but seemed to trip and lost the ball as time expired making Wednesday night’s game yet another disappointing, close defeat. Marquette has already lost three games this season in which they have had the ball with a chance to either tie or win the game, but have failed to do so.

January 1, 2011 vs. West Virginia @ The Bradley Center - 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Packers vs. Giants recap

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Before I even begin to explain the events that transpired Sunday night, I should admit that I was going to have a hard time falling asleep no matter what happened.  Lambeau Field is magical, it just is.  It has this magical way of pulling you in, making you want to cheer at the top of your lungs, and making you jump out of your seat during every play that shows potential.  It has been over thirty hours since I left Lambeau, and my throat is still sore, and my voice is still hoarse.  I bonded with many fans last night, and I realized afterwards that that was bound to happen regardless of where I sat; the magic of Lambeau is intoxicating.
Aaron Rodgers had a career day last night, throwing for over 400 yards and four touchdowns.  My first key to the game in the preview was keeping his jersey clean, and the offensive line did just that.  Rodgers was sacked only two times, and head coach Mike McCarthy said afterwards that that was the best game the offensive line has played all season.
My second key to the game was that defensive coordinator Dom Capers had to come up with innovated defensive schemes to stop Eli Manning.  Not only did Capers succeed, but he forced the New York Giants into six turnovers, four of which were interceptions by Manning.  If not for the fluky 85 touchdown pass by Manning to Mario Manningham, the Packers would have held the Giants to ten points.
My third and final key to the game was that the Packers special-teams would have to step up against the Giants weak special-teams.  In this aspect of the game the Giants prevailed, but only because there was no point in the game in which the special-teams switched the momentum.
Overall the Packers played a very solid game on both sides of the ball.  I will have to give the game ball to Rodgers and John Kuhn, who came in and got the job done every time the fans called for him by yelling "Kuhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnn!" at the top of their lungs; Kuhn scored three touchdowns and recorded several first downs during the game.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Green Bay Packers host the New York Giants tomorrow at 3:15 pm.  This game is a must-win for both teams because if either loses, then they will be left out of the playoffs.  Aaron Rodgers will be back in the lineup after sitting out last week with a concussion, and the Packers will be looking to keep his jersey clean the entire game.  Here are the keys to tomorrow's game.
1) Keep Rodgers Clean
Rodgers will need to be 100% healthy if the Packers want to win this game.  He has already shown that he is a bit fragile, so keeping him from getting hit will be huge for Green Bay.  New York's defensive line has been devastating all year, and they will look to knock Rodgers to the ground early and often.  If this happens, this could be a longer day than expected for Packer fans.
2) Dom Capers' Innovative Scheming
Capers has been considered a defensive guru for some time now, and this is as good a time as ever for him to shine.  The way Eli Manning differs from his older brother Peyton, is that he gets rattled easily.  If the defense hits him a few times, chases him out of the pocket, and makes him jumpy, he is way more likely to throw interceptions.  B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews have to break through the pocket on many occasions tomorrow for the Packers to have a chance.  Capers will have to bring new-look blitzes for this injury-riddled defensive line to have a chance.
3) Kicking Problems
Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes has not missed a field goal since week four, but he will have to continue his trend in blustery Green Bay, something he will have to adjust to since he has been kicking mostly in warm weather or domed stadiums.  Punter Matt Dodge has obviously had his problems, most notably last week.  Dodge has a strong leg, but he struggles with hang-time since his net average on punts is 10 yards below his distance average.  Special teams play a bigger role than most people realize, they cost New York the game last week against Philadelphia.
All things considered, the Packers have a tough test this Sunday.  I would be cautiously optimistic, but because I will be attending this game I am willing to go out on a limb and predict that the score will be Packers 28 Giants 10

Friday, December 24, 2010

The NCAA is not my daddy

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

What is the NCAA's problem? Not only do they refuse to allow players to sell their own jerseys, but they are now suspending five Ohio State players because they allegedly sold their own awards, and traded their signatures for tattoos. The NCAA is telling players that they should not be able to benefit from their popularity, even though their college makes millions by showcasing the very same players. The players are expected to market for the college, give their lives, bodies, and hearts to the college, and expect nothing in return.
Each year big time universities make over a hundred million dollars each from the football program alone, and yet the players are not even given a stipend. If a team makes a BCS bowl game, its conference gets 5-10 million, yet the players who got the college there get nothing. Each football player is required to spend almost three hours a day practicing football, and that doesn't even count the amount of time put into studying film and working out. Players are required to devote a large portion of each day to football, and yet they are given nothing. If a player is taking a full credit load (as required), spending three hours a day on football, and spending extra time preparing for games, how is a player supposed to work and support him/herself outside of school? How do players go out to eat, grocery shop, purchase clothing, or go to the movies with friends? They don't.
Each player from Ohio State being suspended by the NCAA is a legal adult. These players have the right to sell their awards, signatures, or whatever else they own. Why should players not be able to personally profit from something that their employers are profiting greatly from? Do not tell me that they are getting to go to college for free and that is their reward. I know several people who go to college for free and still need to work outside of school because they need money for other things. Besides, only the players on a full-ride scholarship get to go for free.
Playing football is not an unpaid internship; it requires players to put in hours of work each and every day of the year, and most internships (that I know of) allow you to trade your signature for tattoos. It is time to stop treating college athletes like unpaid laborers. Sorry universities, but your “free education” is not enough; perhaps it would be if it were actually free.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thoughts on the Giants game, Rodgers, and Flynn.

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Aaron Rodgers will be back for the game against the New York Giants this Sunday. He has passed all of the concussion tests required by the league, and he expects to be fully ready come Sunday. Some Packers fans wonder whether his return will be a classic case of too little, too late.
The Chicago Bears have already won the NFC North division, but one of the two wild-card spots is still up for grabs. The Giants are one game ahead of the Packers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are tied with the Packers. If all three teams finish with the same record, Green Bay will end up in the playoffs based on strength of schedule. The Packers control their own destiny, and it all begins with the game this Sunday. Green Bay is currently favored over the Giants, and they should certainly win the game at home (I will be able to provide a detailed report on the game since I will be in attendance).
Now instead of providing a detailed view on the upcoming game, which I will do on Saturday, I would like to put a rumor that I have heard to rest. Matt Flynn played incredibly on Sunday night when he almost led the Packers to victory in New England. While that may be the case, he is by no measure a better quarterback than Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a proven starter in the NFL, and he is already considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. NFL teams have already seen his game, and have adjusted to it. In Rodgers' first three games, he threw for 707 yards, accounted for six touchdowns, zero interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 112.4. After those games, the NFL started to adjust to him, and the following two games he threw for 455 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 68. The NFL is a league of constant adjustments, and Rodgers has shown the ability to adjust with the best of them. Flynn has not had NFL defensive coordinators scheme against him yet, he has not had defenses exploit his weaknesses. It would be silly to think that he will be the better quarterback after he had the entire week to watch film, and the Patriots had no choice but to prepare for Rodgers. Even if they did prepare for Flynn, they only had video of exhibition games and his days at Louisiana State University, and he is not even remotely the same player as his college days.
I refuse to listen to the illogical idea that Flynn will be better than Rodgers. I love Flynn, and I feel much more comfortable with him as a backup now, and that is what he should remain.

Marquette Recaps

Ryan Ellerbusch

The Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball team wrapped up their 5 game, season-long, home-stand with a pair of easy victories against Centenary on Saturday afternoon and Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday evening at The Bradley Center.

Marquette defeated the winless Centenary Gents 81-53 and were led by Jimmy Butler’s fifth career double-double that included 10 points and 12 rebounds. Also seeing extensive playing time was sophomore forward Erik Williams who contributed 7 points and 10 rebounds in place of Joe Fulce (knee) and Davante Gardner (shoulder). Jamail Jones provided a spark for the Golden Eagles off the bench in 11 minutes of action as the freshman tallied 11 points while making 3-4 from beyond the arc. Marquette out-rebounded Centenary 51-29, which contributed to Marquette being able to jump out of the gates quick, scoring the first 8 points of the game and never looking back. Centenary’s poor shooting from both the floor (37%) and the free-throw line (34.8%) made it extremely difficult for the Gents to compete with Marquette's high tempo offense and dynamic scoring lineup thanks to four Marquette Golden Eagles (Butler, Jones, Darius Johnson-Odom, and Vander Blue) scoring in double figures.

Jae Crowder’s career high 22 points paced Marquette as the Golden Eagles defeated assistant coach Scott Monarch’s alma mater Mississippi Valley State with a 102-77 victory. Late in the first half, Crowder scored 12 straight points for the Golden Eagles and found his shooting sweet spot from the top of the arc where he drained a trio of 3-pointers on the night. Marquette shot 50% from the field in the win and put up some good numbers offensively, evenly distributing the ball for a final point total of 102, which is the highest recorded by a Buzz Williams coached team since beating Chicago State 106-87 on November 17, 2008. Dwight Buycks, Blue, and Johnson-Odom all finished with at least 5 assists in the game as they filled in at point guard because both Reggie Smith and Junior Cadougan fell ill before the game. Mississippi Valley State turned the ball over 17 times and Marquette was able to capitalize with a 27-10 points off turnovers advantage.

Marquette (9-3) will play one last non-conference game at Vanderbilt on December 29th before returning home to The Bradley Center to begin Big East competition bright and early on New Year’s Day at 10 a.m. against West Virginia on ESPN2.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wisconsin vs. TCU

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

The Wisconsin Badgers are going against undefeated and third ranked Texas Christian University in the Rose Bowl on January 1st. This game, in my opinion, will be the most exciting bowl game this season. TCU has not had an opportunity to really prove itself against a quality opponent until now, and Wisconsin gets to show why many people believed that the Badgers should have been in the title game.
These two teams play drastically differently, which should make for an interesting game. TCU has many small and fast players, while Wisconsin is big, strong, and unafraid to hit an opponent in the mouth.
The key to this game for TCU will be to get ahead early, play fast, and score relentlessly. The Badgers have been slow starters this season, but their bruising style of play wears down opponents by the second half and they are big winners by the end. TCU will need to take advantage of their mobile quarterback Andy Dalton, and run away from the Badgers instead of running through them. TCU has had a great defense this year, allowing their opponents to score 11.4 points per game (1st in the FBS), but the offenses they have faced have been suspect and do not begin to compare to Wisconsin's.
If Wisconsin is to win this game, they will need to pound the ball early, controlling the clock and scoring on 10-15 play drives. Star running back John Clay will be ready for this game, so rushes should be divided fairly equally between Clay, Montee Ball, and James White. Quarterback Scott Tolzein, winner of the 2010 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (nations top senior quarterback, beat out Dalton for award), will have to have another effective game, which shouldn't be a problem.
As of today I am definitely leaning towards Wisconsin as the favorites to win this game. Wisconsin is the bigger, stronger, more seasoned team, and I believe that they will not be fazed by TCU's undefeated record. Though I wish that TCU and Boise State (MAACO bowl) would win their bowl games to give the mid-major conferences some more recognition, I just can not see TCU running around this big Wisconsin team all day long.
My prediction as of today: Wisconsin going away, 38-21.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Zach Greinke

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

I have to admit that even I did not see this coming.  Zach Greinke has been acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers, along with Yuniesky Betancourt, to fill out the rotation.  Greinke, 2009 AL Cy Young winner, was the best pitcher on the market and the Brewers did not get him for cheap.  Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Jake Odorizzi, and Jeremy Jeffress, are no longer a part of the organization.
Though I feel as though I should be jumping for joy, a part of me wonders whether or not this truly makes the Brewers a better team.  Greinke had a down year last year, posting a 4.18 ERA, and hasn’t had a dominationg season other than 2009.  We gave up our shortstop of the future in Escobar, and in return got Betancourt, a player that has underachieved his entire career.  We also gave up Cain, a centerfield prospect who had a serious chance at winning the job from Carlos Gomez this year.  Jay Pucek, a Brewers fan, says: “Cain showed tremendous skills on the base-paths, and range in the field.  The question was whether his bat could stand up to major league pitching.”  While his bat was a question mark, he showed promise at one of the premier positions in baseball.  Jeffress and Odorizzi both were young pitchers who had not yet shown what they were capable of in the majors.  Odorizzi was a class A player, while Jeffress had a chance of making the big league squad.
Greinke has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the major leagues, but he also has a question mark when it comes to mental health.  He battled an anxiety disorder for most of the 2006 season, and he even admits that he struggles with depression.  Even with the question marks, he will be a solid number-one starter, something that the Brewers were lacking.
It is clear that Doug Melvin is trying to save his job.  Brewers fans have not been shy about voicing their displeasure with him and his recent acquisitions (I am no different).  It seems to me that the Brewers brass came up to him this offseason and told him that his job was on the line.  Why else would he risk the Brewers farm system all in one offseason?  Melvin is pushing all of his chips to the center, and he is praying for a good result.
Brewers fans everywhere will be praying right along with him.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tim Tebow

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Two-time Heisman winner Tim Tebow will be making his first NFL start tomorrow at Oakland. Welcome to the NFL, kid. Oakland is known for having one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL along with Green Bay and Minnesota; this will be a much bigger challenge for Tebow than going into the Georgia dome or Jordan-Hare stadium.
Tim Tebow was a rock star at Florida, where he broke multiple records in both rushing and passing. Tebow is considered by many to be the best college quarterback to ever play the game, but this isn't college anymore. In the NFL the defenses are far more complex, and the players really are faster. Only the best of the best get to play in the NFL, and that means he is getting hit harder, quicker, and more often.
Allow me to be blunt, Tebow is not ready to start in the NFL. When he was drafted (surprisingly) in the first round of last year's draft, he was taken with the intent of grooming him into an NFL quarterback, not starting him his rookie year. Though I believe that Tebow will never be a top of the line starter in the NFL, I concede that he may be a serviceable backup for teams that wish to run the wishbone offense on special occasions.
I love what Tebow represents, the guy who may not be the strongest or the fastest, but he outworks everybody else in the locker room. It is a great story, Disney quality really, but these stories do not translate to the NFL; in reality it is more of a fairy tale. The great quarterbacks in the NFL today are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Aaron Rodgers. What do these guys have in common? They all came from a college that ran a pro-style offense. They all have the arm strength to get the ball where it needs to go quickly, and the accuracy to fit it into any window. They all look to pass first, second, and third. They all had great quarterback coaches. Tim Tebow came from a college where they run the spread offense, he does not have great arm strength or accuracy, he looks to run when things go bad, and his coach has been fired before the end of his first season.
I wish you the best Tim Tebow, I really do. I know that you will give it your all come Sunday, you will leave it all on the field. Just try not to get hurt doing so.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Packers vs. Patriots Preview

Ryan Ellerbusch

As the NFL regular season comes to a close, and the playoffs quickly approaching, the Green Bay Packers (8-5) may be on the outside looking in.

Losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a concussion in the second quarter of last week’s 7-3 loss against the lowly Detroit Lions, Mike McCarthy and the Packers medical staff announced today that Rodgers is ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the New England Patriots (11-2).

Starting in place of Rodgers will be third year quarterback Matt Flynn, the 7th round 2008 draft pick out of LSU. Flynn has thrown just 43 passes in his NFL career thus far, but will be asked to lead the Packers into Foxborough and keep the Packers in playoff contention.

Countering Flynn at quarterback for New England will be Tom Brady, the NFL's top-rated quarterback with a 109.9 passer rating. With the Packers’ Cullen Jenkins and Frank Zombo also ruled out for Sunday’s game, it is going to be a tough task indeed for the Packers’ defense to stop the high powered Patriots offense who rank first in the NFL in points scored per game.

With Flynn making his first NFL start and a lackluster Packers running game consisting of James Starks, Brandon Jackson, and John Kuhn, the Packers playoff hopes will dwindle this week if they lose and the NFC North leading Chicago Bears can beat the Brett Favre-less Vikings too.

The difference makers for Green Bay on offense and defense will need to be Greg Jennings and the linebacking core of Clay Matthews and AJ Hawk, who have been consistent performers for the Packers all season long.

The line for Sunday night’s game may be 13 points in the Patriots’ favor, but the Packers feel that if they can upset the New England Patriots without Aaron Rodgers, anything is possible heading into the playoffs down the stretch.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The NBA and their ageism

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Starting with the 2006 NBA draft David Stern, commissioner, decided to change eligibility requirements for NBA players. High school players now had to wait until they were a year removed from school to declare for the draft. Stern said that players coming straight from high school were not prepared for the NBA and needed a year of preparation in (hopefully) college. I have many problems with Stern's decision, not just because he is stunting the growth of many superstars, but because he is forcing families that need the money to wait an extra year.
Since the NBA started allowing players to join the draft straight out of high school in 1962, there have been 41 players who have been drafted and played in the NBA. Of those 41 you have fifteen players who I would say have enjoyed considerable success in the NBA; those fifteen players are Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'neal, Tracy McGrady, Al Harrington, Rashard Lewis, Tyson Chandler, Amar'e Stoudemire, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, JR Smith, Andrew Bynum, and Monta Ellis. Bryant and James are considered the face of the NBA, having won the last three Most Valuable Player awards. If you throw Garnett's MVP in 2004 then you have four of the last seven MVP trophies won by players who never went to college. There is no way that Howard, James, Bryant, Garnett, or Stoudemire needed the seasoning or experience that players get from college. It would have held them back a year, held them back from the best competition in the world, the best trainers in the world, and the best coaches in the world.
Most players who jump from high school to the pros choose that path because it is their only option. Brandon Jennings was the latest victim of this rule; Jennings planned on going to the University of Arizona, but after he found out that he was ineligible for academic reasons, he had to play overseas. While playing for Lottomatica Roma in Europe, he barely got any playing time, he had to deal with coaches and trainers who hated him because he was American and did not speak their language, and he often got mistreated by his teammates. Europe was his only option because of the new rule, and his growth as a basketball player suffered because of it.
I understand wanting to protect young adults from doing stupid things that could affect their future negatively, but that does not mean that David Stern should have free-reign over every basketball player just because the NBA has a monopoly on the market. Some of the greatest basketball players that ever lived skipped college, but apparently that means nothing to my friend Dave.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2011 World Series

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

I would like to personally apologize now to the other thirty teams in Major League Baseball. The 2011 World Series has already been decided, and it will be the Boston Red Sox vs the Philadelphia Phillies. With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies now have what very well could be the best rotation ever seen in baseball. Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels are all part of the 2011 rotation for the Phillies; with Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt, you have three of the top ten pitchers in baseball, and Hamels is debatably in the top fifteen. The Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, two of the best players at their respective positions.
The Red Sox and the Phillies contend for the World Series every year even without the three best players on the market, so how is any team going to beat either of these teams? After one National League general manager was told about the Phillies signing Lee, he responded with three words: “” Oh my God indeed. How in the world did these two teams pull this off? I never once thought that I would type these words, but the New York Yankees are actually jealous of the rosters of these two teams. No other team in the world matches up to the rosters that the Red Sox and Phillies run onto the field on any given night.
The San Francisco Giants, the reigning World Series champions, won last year because they had the best pitching in the postseason with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Johnathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner. Compare those four pitchers to the Phillies' top four, and the numbers aren't even close. There could be an argument made for Lincecum and Cain matching up with Halladay and Lee, but Oswalt and Hamels are far better than Sanchez and Bumgarner.
The Texas Rangers, the representatives of the American League in last season's World Series, got there partly because of the outstanding pitching of Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter. The biggest reason for their success, though, was their offensive firepower in Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Vladamir Guerrero, and Josh Hamilton. The Red Sox's lineup now consists of Dustin Pedroia, Carl Crawford, Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Jacoby Ellsbury. This lineup is packed with speed, power, veterans, and youth. The Red Sox will consistently score more than ten runs in a game if everybody stays healthy.
MLB may be better off forgoing the 2011 season and creating a 162 game schedule of just these two teams playing each other; do not tell me that you wouldn't love watching this game every night. It would be comparable to watching an all-star game every night. Yes, this is unreasonable, but it would also be awesome. And besides, we are going to finish the season watching these two teams duke it out anyways, so why not stretch it out a bit?
Making a World Series prediction on December 14th may seem absurd, but the Boston Red Sox will be your World Champions after beating the Phillies in six games.

Number four.... From Southern Miss... Quarterback... BRETT....... FAVREEEEE

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Whether you love Brett Favre or hate him, you have to respect him. Favre has been one of the most exciting athletes in football for most of our lives now, he has been leading ESPN's Sportscenter since I was a year old. September 27th, 1992, was the date of his first NFL start, and he had been the starting quarterback for whichever team he has played for, whether it was the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, or Minnesota Vikings.
To start 297 consecutive games at quarterback is incredible, as well as unheard of. After suffering injuries to his back, side, left elbow, right elbow, left knee, right knee, left ankle, right ankle, right thumb, hamstring, right hand, right forearm, head, brain (concussion), right arm, right pinkie finger, left shoulder, hip, groin, left foot, chin, calf, and neck, he has been defeated by a sprained SC joint. The iron-man of the National Football League has finally sat out of a football game.
I personally dislike Brett Favre because of the way he left the Packers. I know many people blame Ted Thompson, general manager of the Green Bay Packers, for giving Favre no other choice but to leave, but I place the blame solely on Favre. He let his pride come before the organization by refusing to let Aaron Rodgers take his place as the starting quarterback, instead retiring and coming back a few weeks later, forcing the Packers to trade him to the Jets. I remember believing without a doubt that Favre would lead the Packers back to the Super Bowl, but time after time he left Packer fans with a sour taste in their mouth after a mind-numbing interception. I dislike him for the way he left, but I love him for the heart and soul that he left on the field each and every game. He gave this game everything he had, and it has finally bested him.
Brett Favre, in my opinion, is the best quarterback to ever play the game. He will finish at the top of the list in nearly every significant passing record. He played every game like it was his last, and you could count on him to show up for every game. With him on your team, a second-string quarterback was unnecessary.
I will never forget the hopes and dreams that were inspired by Brett Favre before the start of each football season; nor will I ever forget the heartbreak he caused by not knowing when to call it quits. Brett, go back to the bayou, spend time with your family, and know that Packer fans everywhere will always be grateful for what you gave us: 16 years of pure heart.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Dear Humpty-Dump,
I wish I could say that it has been fun, but it hasn’t.  I hated you and everything you stood for, with your obnoxiously loud crowds, the suction effect that you made when fans walked inside of you, and your terribly ugly outer appearance.
What was the reason for your demise?  Was it because this was the first year that you spent without the Minnesota Twins?  Or was it because Brett Favre ripped your heart out, along with the hearts of Vikings fans everywhere?
I like to believe that it was a divine intervention of sorts.  The Metrodome has long been regarded as the ugliest stadium in the country, and if you ever saw it, you understood why.  It  literally looked like a giant egg sticking out of downtown Minneapolis.
You had your history of troubles, Humpty-Dump: 1982 (before you even opened), 1983, and 1986.  In each of those years you had to be deflated because of a tear due to either snow or heavy winds.  I only visited you once, when I attended a Twins-Pirates game in 2009, and I must say it was a terrible experience.  Watching people run inside, I mistakenly thought that it was a tradition, or that everybody was just incredibly excited and couldn’t wait.  I decided that since I was a Packers fan and dreaded being there, that I would defy the evident tradition and walk in slowly and calmly.  As I approached, I felt something pulling at me, softly at first, but with each step the force became stronger and stronger.  I could not help but be sucked into you.  Despite my despair, I decided to go ahead and attend the baseball game; I quickly regretted the decision.  The lack of leg room was incredible.  I literally had to stand up for half of the game because it was so uncomfortable to sit down.  You were not meant to be a baseball stadium; that was evident.
Even the food was terrible.  I wanted a snack after the 4th inning, and decided to go and get a hot dog.  What a mistake.  Apparently when somebody asks for a hot dog, they give you a Chicago style hot dog.  When I order a hot dog I expect a piece of meat (debatable) and a bun.  I did not expect to get a foot long hot dog, with pickles, jalapenos, mustard, relish, and ketchup.  I gave it to some Twins fan who was ecstatic to be getting the “hot dog” that I was giving away, though I am pretty sure he ended up throwing it away.
You lacked exciting teams, plays, and championships.  Basically, you sucked.  I hope that this latest tear in your quilt-like exterior is your last and it convinces the people of the twin cities to vote for a new stadium.  If there is a sweepstakes for your demolition like they had for Texas Stadium, I will surely enter, and I will lose sleep praying that I win.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Packers vs. Lions Preview

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

The Green Bay Packers are traveling to Michigan to face the cellar-dwelling Detroit Lions this Sunday at noon. This game is expected to be an easy win for the Pack, even though this is considered a classic “trap” game with three tough games coming up (Patriots, Giants, and Bears). They have to win this game to remain in the playoff hunt, and they should leave Detroit with a victory if they accomplish these five things:
Limit Ndamukong Suh
Suh is the front-runner for defensive rookie of the year, and the 6'4" 310 pound behemoth has been wreaking terror on quarterbacks all year. Suh has been flagged several times for unnecessary roughness, which on the surface makes it seem like he is hurting the team, but in reality it makes every quarterback flinch every time he collapses the pocket. Daryn Colledge, Josh Sitton, and Scott Wells are going to have their hands full this game; don't worry too much though, they have been solid all year.
Frustrate Calvin Johnson
Dom Capers is not the kind of coordinator to change his strategy for one player. That is why when the 6'5” athletic freak that is known as Calvin Johnson lines up, our defense will look the same as it always does. Tramon Williams is considered one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league, and when Charles Woodson isn't on Johnson, he will have to prove it. Woodson, reigning defensive player of the year, has helped negate Johnson in their past meetings.
It's Raji Time
B.J. Raji should be on his way to Hawaii this year for his first appearance in the Pro Bowl. Raji has been a force inside, even though he is always double or triple-teamed. The Lions offensive line is weak, and the Packers are going to need to spend most of the day in the backfield in order to disrupt the speedy Jahvid Best.
Take Away the Big Play
The Lions offense is built around the big play. Best is always dangerous, but because of his offensive line he rarely has anywhere to go. However, when he has gotten free he has shown the ability to turn a good play into a great one. Drew Stanton is young and can't win a football game by himself, but he can throw a decent deep ball; all he needs to do is throw it in the direction of Johnson, and he will often make a big-time play.
A Stark of Fire
James Starks showed last week that he has the potential to be a reliable back. He had been on injured reserve before last week, and hopefully he can build off of his 73 yard performance against a Lions defense that is ranked 25th in opposing rushing yards.
Predicted Score: 35-17 Packers.

Marquette University vs. Wisconsin mens basketball recap

Ryan Ellerbusch

In the 117th series meeting in program history, the Marquette Golden Eagles came up short against the in-state rival Wisconsin Badgers 69-64 in front of 19,074 fans at the Bradley Center on Saturday afternoon.

Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and his very unique style of half-court offense set the tempo early and frustrated Marquette throughout the game as the Badgers were able to slowly capitalize on 21 second-chance points. Wisconsin controlled the glass, grabbing both short and long rebounds with ease.

“We got beat because they got twelve offensive rebounds in the second half.... Because we are small, you got to take up the space between you and your man when the shot goes up and then use your speed and athleticism to chase after the ball,” said Marquette head coach Buzz Williams.

Despite the Badgers' dominance in rebounding the basketball, they were only leading Marquette by two points at halftime. Marquette was looking desperately for someone to step up and assume the role as the go-to-guy on offense.

Jimmy Butler and Dwight Buycks led their team in scoring with 15 and 13 points respectively and nearly staged a comeback in the closing minutes as Butler’s clutch three-pointer brought the Golden Eagles to within striking distance. However, Dwight Buycks’ turnover, with 2.6 seconds left, sealed the deal for the Badgers as Jordan Taylor sunk five of six free-throws with 20 seconds remaining in the game to cap off the victory.

The Badgers (8-2) led by as many as 12 points throughout the course of the game, even with Jon Leuer (a 2011 NBA Draft prospect) on the bench cheering his team on, as the Badgers worked the 35-second shot clock well late in the game and took Marquette out of its typical rhythm and fast break style of play.

Marquette was in bonus the majority of the second-half and slowly crawled their way back into the game going to the free-throw line 22 times and converting 16. However, Wisconsin’s offense and rebounding was just too much, regaining the momentum with crucial baskets down the stretch.

Even though Marquette’s late surge wasn’t enough to defeat Wisconsin, conference play kicks off on New Year’s Day against West Virginia at 10 a.m. Attendance and fan support is rapidly increasing at the Marquette basketball home games, and we encourage you to stop on by and cheer on our Golden Eagles to victory.

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