Ice Down your Friday 6 Pack

1-PSU was handed its penalties from the NCAA and the Big Ten Monday.  No Bowl for 4 years, a 60 million dollar fine, reduction of 40 scholarships and any athlete can transfer and not be penalized.  Joe Pa also lost wins from 1998-2011 making him only the 5th winningest coach now.  Is this enough or should the death penalty been given?
Matt – First off no punishment will ever be enough for the victims.  I never thought the Death Penalty should be levied on the Nittany Lions but this penalty is a critical shot to their program.  It will affect their depth and structure for football for a time to come.  The hit to JoePa was significant too.  His legacy is forever tarnished.
Wendt – The penalty that was handed down was plenty, I was happy with the punishment
PainterIt's hard for me to say the death penalty should have been given or not.  Yes a statement needed to be sent but the people currently involved shouldn't be punished.  I'm somewhat OK with what the NCAA handed down and am waiting to see what, if anything, the B1G does.  That may be the crippling blow
BlakeI think this is as close to the death penalty as we'll ever see again.  With interwoven TV contracts, streaming games online, and games planned years in advance, I'm not sure how you shut down a program or give it a TV ban.  I think the penalties given were perfect
MajorsThis is a tough situation. I think the penalties were pretty severe, sounds like their other option was a 4 year death penalty. It is hard to say what is fair and not. I am glad those responsible are gone, it seems like a long road ahead for them. Another example of why you should just tell the truth

2-Team USA beat Spain yesterday, the team who is supposed to be its closest competitor, fairly easy.  Kobe spouted off that this Team USA could beat the Dream Team.  In a matchup that can only take place with the help of EA Sports, who would win?
Matt – The Dream Team would cruise by this team.  Sorry Kobe, Lebron and Durant but no way it’s within 20.
Wendt – In a one game matchup, I still like the 1992 team but in a best of seven series? That could be a good run
PainterI don't see how any team could beat MJ, Magic, and Bird at the level they were playing back then.  I have no problem with Kobe thinking this year's team would win, that's exactly what he should think
BlakePippen guards LeBron.  Jordan guards Kobe, Malone and Barkley out muscle Durant and 'Melo.  Anyone in the paint gets sucked up by Robinson and Ewing.  Oh, and that doesn't even consider the starters of Bird and Magic (liabilities on D but can still bring their offense).  I don't think it's even that close and the 92'ers win easily
MajorsThe Dream Team. There is no other team, but the Dream Team. It would be fun, don't get me wrong, but the Dream Team in 92 is the GOAT. The PGs pf today might give them trouble, Deron & CP3 are tough, but as a whole, it would be Michael & the boys taking it. 

3-Ichiro is a Yankee and Hanley Rameriz is a Dodger.  Do these moves, in your mind, put both the Yankees and Dodgers in the leader spot to getting to the World Series from the AL and NL respectively?
Matt – It definitely doesn’t hurt.  I think the Yankees are the clear cut favorite in the AL.  It will come down to them and the Rangers.  The Dodgers have more work to do with the Giants there and then the rest of the NL will be a fight.
Wendt – The Dodgers and Yankees still need starting pitching and now with A-Rod out for the Yankees and Matt Kemp's health in question I'm still not sure they are the teams to beat
PainterNo, never know how it will affect the teams and the players
BlakeIchiro helps.  Now we'll have to see how the Yankees do with A-Rod on the DL, but the Yankees seem to be the head of the class in the AL.  The Dodgers could still be challenged by the Giants if Lincicum returns to form, but the fact that the Dodgers have been as injured as they have and still won should scare some teams
MajorsToo much can still happen. Ichiro is a role player now, so his impact will not be as big as it would have been 5-6 years ago. I think Texas is still tough, especially if they get Josh Johnson, and Detroit could be a factor

4-Ernie Els snatched the Claret Jug away from Adam Scott this past weekend.  The past few years we’ve seen the leader struggle down the end in the British Open, Jean Van de Velde and Tom Watson to name a few.  Do you blame the pressure of the Open Championship, the courses or something else?  Also final thoughts on the 2012 Open?
Matt – I think it’s a combination of both.  The pressure of The Open or Masters is a lot different than that of the John Deere Classic.  It’s why they are called majors.  Also the courses and the weather play a ton of havoc.  Augusta is pretty basic, you know the holes yearly and where to hit and the weather is usually nice.  These old courses are from pastures and 100s of years old and the weather is always a factor.  Scott will win a major someday too.
Wendt – Adam Scott put himself in position to at least go to a playoff, he choked. End of story 
PainterWhile there is some pressure involved but these guys are professionals and should handle it with no problem.   The Open presents the challenges of the weather conditions and the links setup is completely different from what most of these guys play on most of the year.  It was fun to watch Ernie make his charge and watch Adam fall (I've been an Els fan for a long time).  I'm glad the weather finally turned to "normal" Open conditions for Sunday
BlakeI think the British, unlike other tournaments has so many equalizers.  The roughs and the weather can swing rounds or even back nines like no other tournament.  Start making some mistakes and negative momentum in golf is a real bitch
MajorsThe pressure in that tournament is unreal. The bunkers get in your head, no doubt. I enjoyed the tournament this year. I like Adam Scott, tough way to lose, but Ernie is a great guy, and FIGJAM didn't win, which is always a great day in my book

5-After the events that took place in Aurora with the movie theater massacre, what are your thoughts on gun control and gun laws?  The shooter had apparently from one report enough ammo for a small army.  Should there be more lax or strict laws on semi automatic guns?
Matt – First off you can’t control crazy and this dude was obviously off his rocker.  Though I asked this question, I don’t know the correct answer, there’s the right to bare arms which I agree in but criminals don’t care about the laws.  It’s just a sad incident that happened.  I was glad to see that Christian Bale went to the hospital in Denver/Aurora to visit the victims on his on time. 
Wendt – I still don't know where I sit on this issue. Part of me has no problem with our rights to bare arms and the other half wonders if we had tougher laws to get guns if this stuff would stop happening. 
PainterThe issue isn't gun control/gun laws, it's about this country's inability to help people who may have a mental illness, and that's where a lot of focus should be placed.  We need to be able to provide people with the help they need to beat the disease
BlakeHe didn't have a permit.  You mean criminals don't follow laws?  Shocking
MajorsOf course the media will spin it and say he could have started a small army. He very well could have, but take the news with a grain or so of salt. I have no problem with legal ownership of guns. I have a couple, and I am responsible about them. The issue is the illegal ones. If we could get the drug dealers & thugs to go away, we would all be better off. That's a big "if" though

6-Hey, it’s HOT out.  Best way to beat the heat?
Matt – Kiddie pool, ice, water and 12 pack of beer.
Wendt – Air Conditioning
Painter – Playing in the snow at Mickey's Irish Pub patio on a Wednesday morning!
Blake – Duh, go naked
MajorsGo to the beach. I do it nearly every day. Cold beer, bikinis, and surf, what could be better?

2012 Big Ten Predictions

Getting to be that time of year again…the magazines hitting the shelves and the pundits are all weighing in with their opinions on who’s going to win what titles and going bowling where. 
Here’s my 2012 Big Ten Predictions
Nebraska 11-1 / 7-1
Michigan 9-3 / 7-1
Iowa 9-3 / 5-3
Michigan State 8-4 / 5-3
Minnesota 6-6 / 2-6
Northwestern 5-7 / 1-7

Wisconsin 11-1 / 7-1
Ohio State 9-3 / 5-3
Illinois 8-4 / 5-3
Penn State 7-5 / 3-5
Purdue 4-8 / 1-7
Indiana 3-9 / 0-8

Wisconsin over Nebraska

As a result of their head to head win over Michigan, Nebraska heads to Indianapolis. I have Nebraska losing at Ohio State.   The second year in a row I’m picking an all red Indy for the title game and this year I'm taking Wisconsin.
Sparty is still good but losing Cousins will drop them from the Legends top spot.
I think Denard has another huge year in Ann Arbor, Monte Ball rushing td’s drop a bit this year from last year.
Iowa is kind of hovering in that spot of 8-4 and could be as good as 10-2 but also not shocked if they would have another 7-5 season.
Jerry Kill gets the Gophers bowling in 2012.
Fitzgerald can’t pull another miracle bowl in Evanston this year.
If only Zook could coach like he could land recruits, Illinois will benefit from 3 easy wins vs Purdue, Indiana & Northwestern. 
Indiana and Purdue battle to stay out of the cellar.

TICKET CITY – NO Big Ten School available
LITTLE CEASARS – NO Big Ten School available

Coach of the Year – Bo Pelini:Nebraska
Off Player of the Year – Denard Robinson:Michigan
Def Player of the Year - William Gholston:Michigan State


The Dark Knight Rises

So I’m trying to think how I’d rate “The Dark Knight Rises 

A few things I liked.  The fight scenes with Batman and Bane were intense all the way through.  Bale as Batman was great as expected.  He’s the best actor to put on the mask.  Bane was done really well.  Nolan not only made him someone with great strength, but also with substance.  I liked the way that Anne Hathaway portrayed Catwoman.  I don’t think she was pushed into story lines to much, and added something to the story.  Gordon-Levitt did a great job in his role to as a cop/detective.  The regulars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman were great as usual.  The Batmobile was destroyed in 2 and well there was no new tumbler but the bike was still there.

A few things I didn’t like.  Matthew Modine’s character felt forced and not really well introduced.  The mayor didn’t have a huge role in the film unlike he did in the previous 2.  The Bat (aka plane) was pushed in there I think for the Batman geeks. 

Now with that being said I’m giving it 8/10 (same as Batman Begins).  There was no way it was going to be better than The Dark Knight in my opinion.  Heath Ledger’s Joker and the interactions with Bale have that as one of my favorite movies of all time.  I want to see stories with this Batman and the Riddler.  The ending left me with wanting more from this story; I didn’t feel this was a conclusion.   I felt he’d be a great villain in the world that Nolan built.  I do hope this makes enough money to maybe “coax” the main players back. 

So that’s my thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises, really good movie.  Enjoy it, this is the Batman series that we all wanted to see. 

8/10 Stars


Friday 6 Pack

1-The All-Star Game is this week in Kansas City, and still according to Bud Selig “Now it Matters.”  Do you like the ASG being the determining factor of home field advantage in the World Series?
Matt – No, I hate it.  It’s an exhibition game.  It’s for the fans.  Home field advantage should go to the team with the best record.  Bud should have made it so that there is something more the players want for the all-star game winner than home field advantage.  Make it something they want to play for. 
Wendt – There seems to be so many replacements that it doesn't feel like the best players will all be there, so no I don't like it
Painter – It's an exhibition game and should be treated like one by the league and the fans.  If it ends in a tie then so be it.  Nothing should be determined by an all-star game. 
Blake – I go back and forth on this.  My current feelings are the game is supposed to be fun.  It's for the fans.  And the 2nd and 3rd tier players are the ones in at the end of the game.  Let's just make it for fun again and take away home field advantage. 
Majors – I enjoy the ASG, but not sure about the deciding factor. If it is, then the players should play the whole game, or at least more of it. I enjoy the exhibition of it, not the deciding outcome of it

2-If the season ended today, the NL would have 5 teams in the playoffs who weren’t in the playoffs last year. (Nats-East / Pirates-Cent / Dodgers-West / Braves & Reds-WC)  Of the 5 which one will have the most difficulty making the post season come October?
Matt – All of them could be out come October.  I think the Pirates are learning from last season and will make it to the post season.  I’m going to say the young Nationals.  They’ve not experienced this before and the pressure will grow.  Obama would love it though to have a White Sox-Nationals World Series.
Wendt – I just can't see the Pirates keeping things together this season, I'll go ahead and predict they'll end up in 3rd when the dust settles in the Central
Painter – Will - Dodgers.  Doesn't - Braves. 
Blake – Pirates just because we saw this last year, and nobody is getting a Wild Card from the Central in my opinion.
Majors – I think the Pirates, because the Reds & Cardinals both are in that division, even Milwaukee. Not too many worries coming regarding the Cubs, though, haha!

3-Since we last met you, there needs to be a power point presentation on what NBA players are going where.  Kidd to the Knicks, Nash to the Lakers, Lin to Houston maybe?  And then there is the Dwightmare going on.  The latest one has Ray Allen taking his talents to the Heat to make a Big 4.  What team in the crazy off season has improved the most?
Matt – I want to say the Lakers.  Who was their PG last year?  Fisher ended up in OKC.  This I think helps Kobe out and if they can get Dwight they are a force to be reckoned with.
Wendt – I like Nash to the Lakers but the biggest fish in the market is still Dwight Howard
Painter – Ok, of the teams making moves I'll go with the Lakers because of Nash
Blake – As long as Dwight to the Nets is truly dead, I think the Lakers and the Heat both improved greatly.  Did you see what happened to the Heat when their role players stepped up.  They now have role players.  And Nash will only reenergize Kobe.  That offense will be insane. 
Majors – Not trying to sound like a Laker fan here, but with Nash they really have improved. He can score, dish, and is smart and never gives up. I think he will really help Bynum & Gasol, and especially Kobe. That being said, I do not expect Gasol and/or Bynum to be there next year. Too much drama, money, etc. We shall see, though

4-News this morning that Phil Mickelson and partners will put a bid in to buy the San Diego Padres.  Other than your favorite teams, what sports franchise would you put a bid in to buy if you had the money?
Matt – Gonna sound crazy, but the Minnesota Wild.  They love their hockey up there in the twin cities and the Xcel Energy Center is a great arena. 
Wendt – I think it might be fun to own a minor league team to be honest with ya, maybe the Iowa Cubs? I'm not sure I'd want the headache of a professional franchise
Painter – New Orleans Hornets.  Fun town and I'm sure you can get them on the cheap
Blake – Dolphins.  No reason such a historic franchise in that City should be so crappy. 
Majors – Can I say the broncos or chiefs, so that I can burn the stadiums to the ground? No? Ok, ummm... the Cubbies. Why? Because they are the friggin Cubbies. Someone needs to get them going & win a Ring!!! Plus it would be REALLY cool to go to work everyday at a MLB ballpark, and Wrigley would rock!!! A close second would be the Bears

5-Big Brother starts this week on CBS, would this be a reality show you would try out for?  Would you like cameras on you 24-7 for up to 3 months?
Matt – In college I wanted to apply for this one, but now a days I don’t think I could do it.  I think after a few weeks I’d go nuts in there, especially without TV or internet.
Wendt – I am ashamed to admit that I watched it a ton last season (including the web streams and the like) I think it might be fun to try out for but having a camera on you 24/7? Yeah, not a fan.
Painter – I have no desire to be on one of these game shows (it's not reality television
Blake – No way.  I don't have a mouth filter long enough for 24-7 cameras. 
Majors – Nah. Ends up ruining too many people, just not interested. I would do Survivor, though!

6-The Amazing Spiderman opened last week to the tune of around 160 million +, excited about the reboot or would you have rather seen a 4th installment from Sam Rami and Tobey Maguire?
Matt – After the debacle of Spiderman 3 I was skeptical on the direction Rami was going.  Spiderman 2 is one of my favorite super hero movies ever.  This was a good reboot and gives a different look at Spidey.  I think this takes a bit of the Dark Knight – Nolan series too with establish your hero but don’t waste the main villain on the first movie.  I think we’ll see the Goblin in the next movie but maybe it would be cool to build up to that in the final one?  I just don’t want to see reboots every 10 years.  Make a good series of movies, maybe 3-4-5 of this group, then let it sit for a bit.  I don’t think that will ever happen because of the money the movies make. 
Wendt – I'm trying to get in on the superhero franchise stuff I really am but........well I just can't, not sure why
Painter – Not real excited about either option actually.  Sony had to do something to keep up with Disney having the other Avengers
Blake – Ugh, I'm so over super hero movies. 
Majors – I liked Tobey, but the reboot is kinda cool. It will be neat to see where they go


Conference Commissioners Ruin the Regular Season

So I’ve blogged on this before (just search my tags at the bottom) but with the powers that be came to an agreement on the college football playoff and after looking at it, I’m wondering how this is good for the sport compared to the BCS?  Now let me start with the pros; it’s a playoff and it will make a ton of money.  Ok that’s about it.

The commissioners said they didn’t want to diminish the regular season the way that college basketball is diminished BUT with this top 4 model have totally made 75% of the college football season worthless.  They will argue saying that they opened up the championship to more than 2 teams.  Yes they did, congrats on that.  But they’ve also opened it up to a lot of scrutiny and meaningless football. 

Here’s where they went wrong.  They made the regular season worthless.  How you say?  The Championship is now open to about 15 teams per year.  The teams will be selected by people (who have biases) not on the field.  Remember we griped that Auburn didn’t have a chance to prove it on the field in 2004?  That’s what we want, play it out on the field.  Not in polls or computers or anything.  Do games in the ACC matter?  Nope.  Do half the games in each conference matter anymore?  Nope.  Thank you commissioners of the major college football, you gave us this --- most of the season means NOTHING now:

Here's what I'd do to fix their mistake.

I would like to see all major conferences have a championship game, either you all have it or you don’t have it.  So Big XII, look for a few more teams.  And you can see that I don’t include the Big East or Mountain West here or Notre Dame.  The Big East (like the WAC) is a going the way of extinction in FBS.  Schools are hoping to the Big East for 1-2 years of AQ status chances and then they get to fight over the Pinstripe Bowl. 

I think you’ll also get to 14-16 team conferences too, the SEC and ACC are already there.  Here’s how I would see it falling.

Notre Dame as much as I’d hate to see it would be in the Big XII with Louisville (UL-KU basketball fans start drooling).

Boise State & BYU join Utah in the Pac-12.  Now there are some teams in the Big East, Conference USA and the MWC that are left out, but you just don’t matter in major college football.  I’m sorry but you don’t.  If they could create a huge Conference USA and become relevant somehow then maybe give them a shot in there.  Maybe the lower tier FBS schools have their own playoff, FCS has theirs. 

Now with my model of only conference champions allowed, the National Championship is now opened up to 66 teams.  That’s a lot of games that now have meaning.  Then you play out the season.  The conference title means something!  Getting to the conference championship game means something and winning it means something.  You advance! 

Now what I did here obviously can be rotated by conferences and who gets the byes and who needs to play the extra game but how is this not what college football should be?   The conferences get to control the title games.  The other games should be played on campus then or if you want to do them in lower tier bowl locations or bid them out, do it.  Let the losers of the conference title games continue to the traditional bowls.  But the champions would play on for the National Championship!    


The Amazing Spiderman

This afternoon I went and checked out The Amazing Spiderman.  The reboot of the series after the Sami Rami/Tobey Maguire 3.  Now the comics have a couple "history" lines of the way superheroes came about and there is the Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman, the Sensational Spiderman.  All with little twists and turns of the way the web crawler came to be and who he is today.  

This is where this movie goes right.  Its not a Superman Returns type movie that is basically Superman 1 all over again.  It's a new take on Spidey.  

The first thing I liked is that in this movie where they are trying to build the background of Spidey is they didn't pit him vs his main arch nemesis such as the first one with Tobey did with the Green Goblin.  This gives us time to learn about Peter and Spidey, and along with him how he is going to grow with Gwen Stacey and Aunt Bea.  It's kind of reminiscent of the Nolan Batman series where the Joker is teased in Batman Begins at the end and then is the main villain in The Dark Knight. 

So introduce the Lizard as the bad guy.  He wasn't in the previous series as the villain.  He tests Spidey and his new found abilities and also gives us a tragedy.  

With out giving the film away at all that's all I'll go in on the plot.  The actors I though were great.  Andrew Garfield was a great Peter Parker and Emma Stone was almost the opposite of Kirsten Dunst.  Sally Field and Martin Sheen and Dennis Leary were cast great too, and the Lizard was creepy as Doc Connors.

Overall this is one of the best Spidey flicks made, if not the best its up there with Spiderman 2, and I'm excited where the direction is going.  

7/10 Stars