Friday, November 29, 2013

9 Thoughts on Iowa vs. Nebraska

My thoughts going into this Nebraska game is surprisingly confident. Nebraska is a team that needs to run the ball to be successful, and Iowa does an excellent job of shutting the running game down. Iowa's offense started to show some dynamic trends last week, even with the three interceptions. Nebraska is prone to turnovers, so as long as Iowa doesn't badly lose that turnover battle, I see them having more ways to win in this game.

1. Hitchens's interception was just a nice job of dropping into a zone and reading the quarterback's eyes. He really didn't have much of an idea of where the receiver was, but he saw where the quarterback wanted to throw and cut it off before it could get to the receiver.

2. Iowa was busting up Nebraska early on in this game as the offensive line was creating holes and Weisman was punishing defenders who came up to make the tackle.

3. I know I mentioned this last week, but Rudock's increased pocket awareness is a huge development for the Hawkeyes. He is hanging in the pocket and waiting for receivers to work their way open instead of panicking and trying to scramble. On the Hawks first touchdown drive, it got him sacked on second and goal. On third down, it gave him enough time to scan the field and find CJF crossing the field for the touchdown.

4. The defense was not threatened by Nebraska's pass attack which made things a whole lot easier for them. If Ameer Abdullah isn't getting yards on those early downs, Nebraska's offense really provides no threats and Iowa took advantage of that.

5. To start the second half, Nebraska just beat the shit out of the Hawkeyes. There is no other way to put it. They ran it right down Iowa's throat, they handled the pass rush and marched right down the field for a touchdown.

6. There was nothing that filled my heart with more joy than seeing Iowa stop a fake punt.

7. Iowa has done a great job of mixing up their defenses. Everybody has noticed that Iowa has blitzed a lot more this year, but it doesn't end there. Iowa is mixing in zone and man coverage to keep giving quarterbacks different looks. They are letting their corners hang with wide receivers down the field instead of having to decide whether to pass them off to the safeties. Last year, that caused major issues as the cornerbacks were left looking for help from safeties that never came. There is much better communication and coverage from the Hawks defensive backfield.

8. Along that line, Tanner Miller has made such a tremendous step forward from last year to this year. I'm not saying he's an All-B1G talent, but he's gone from bad to solid, and that is not an easy transition to make.

9. I was grumbling a little bit as Iowa only called Weisman runs as they tried to run out the clock, but it set up the bootleg from Beathard, which was a great call as Nebraska sold out to stop Weisman.

Overall, it was one of Iowa's best performances as the defense did not let Nebraska build any momentum, and the offense grinded out enough to keep putting points on the board. There is a decent chance of the Outback Bowl against a member of the SEC. Obviously that can mean only one thing: We Want Bama.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

8 Thoughts on Iowa vs. Michigan

Thoughts going into this game: Mostly fear. I can't believe Iowa is 6.5 point favorites. Of course, I have been much higher on Michigan this entire year. Even when they were struggling with Akron and UConn, I still felt they would pull through. I still think Devin Gardner has some great tools to be successful, but that Michigan offense has not been able to put it together.

1. Obviously, the first Rudock interception was bad. Michigan had a perfect call for that play, but had they had a different call, Hamilton was running open for what probably would have been close to a first down. But yeah, that Favrean interception was not fun.

That second interception from Rudock actually looked worse than the first when I watched it live as it looked like he threw it to three Michigan defenders. It was obviously bad, but it is a mistake that a lot of quarterbacks make. He expected Countess to hang with Hamilton, but since he drifted back, he was right in the passing lane for Rudock. It's bad, but it's also a mistake that he can learn from.

The third interception was another play where he thought he could get the ball off, but he got hit just a split second too early. I thought it was going to get overturned, but I don't see this as a big worry going forward.

Outside of that, I really liked some of his decisions. He was willing to wait in the pocket to attack downfield which is not something I had seen enough of early on in the season. It really paid off as he threw some deep (by Iowa standards) balls down the sideline. He also made some quick throws where he made the proper pre-snap reads. You can tell he's getting more comfortable as a quarterback. Before, it was clear that when he had a thought of running, he made the decision to run. On that first touchdown, he ran hard to the outside, but turned his body and delivered a nice ball to Fiedorowicz. Early in the season, he runs that ball, and I think he may have gotten a first, but highly doubt he would have made it into the end zone.

2. I'm falling in love with Jordan Canzeri. He has shown an excellent ability to find the best running lane and just squirt through holes to turn no gains into 3-4 yards.

3. That being said, it's also still fun to see Mark Weisman rumbling down the field. He is basically Mike Alstott in that he is a downhill runner who will always fall forward and offer very little else.

4. That Iowa defense was swarming to the ball. The thing that really helped was Iowa trusting their secondary to make plays. This allowed them to blitz which caused happy feet from Gardner and a lack of space for their running game. Gardner was able to get away a few times and do some damage, but overall, I thought they played very well.

5. Desmond King is definitely my favorite Hawkeye. He sticks to receivers on intermediate routes. He is not the most athletic guy, so he can get beat deep, but his aggressiveness is really paying off. He may not be betting interceptions, but he is breaking passes up and helping to get the defense off the field. The way he was able to hang with Jeremy Gallon was very impressive.

6. Devin Gardner has some talented players around him, but he just can't get the job done. The offensive line is below average in pass protection (worse in run blocking), but I don't think they are awful in handling a regular four-man rush. Fitzgerald Toussaint is a very poor running back. He has all the physical tools, but he is incredibly indecisive in every decision he makes. I like Gallon as a receiver as he knows how to get open. He's not a top prospect, but he's a guy to use a late round pick on and use as a third or fourth receiver to have a reliable option for the quarterback.

7. That final offensive play before Iowa downed the ball was a thing of beauty. Iowa went out and won the game instead of trying to avoid losing. Running on the first two downs was smart, but they had the option of burning 40 seconds of clock or not giving Michigan any chance of winning the game. They chose the latter and it paid off. I was one of the biggest Greg Davis haters last year, and I can fully recognize that he is a good offensive coordinator for Iowa. Kirk puts the shackles on any offensive coordinator, but he has learned to complement the running system with some option-based passing plays. I'd still like to see more passing down the field, but they did go down the sidelines 15-20 yards today, so it was a positive step forward.

8. The Iowa offensive line is fun to watch. That is the number one reason that Iowa is better this year than last year, and I feel like they do not get nearly enough love. One huge reason is that Scherff is a monster. There are so many plays you could point to of him dominating the defense to spring a big play. On the first play of the final Iowa possession, Scherff made it to the second level and sealed off the outside linebacker. Since he's such a huge human being, he also stopped the middle linebacker from being anywhere near Weisman as the running back had an easy 22 yards. An underrated aspect of Iowa's offensive line is that everyone is good. There is no weak link. No team can depend on getting consistent pressure from a basic four-man rush, and they have opened up holes for a variety of running backs all year long. Yes, the stretch left is always going to be the number one play, but the fact that teams can't overload that side in fear of getting destroyed going to the right is crucial to Iowa's success on the ground. Only nerds watch offensive line play, but it is still pretty damn fun to watch Iowa plow forward. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Looking For Jobs on Craigslist

As I stated earlier this week, I moved from Iowa to Florida recently, and I am still looking for employment. Now, being unemployed and single is great, but being unemployed and married loses its luster pretty quickly. The whole "caring about someone and wanting to be somewhat useful in the relationship" makes the lack of a job a lot less hilarious. 

I have been searching all over for a job and still haven't nailed anything down. I decided to expand my search and go down a road that I was simply not ready for. Yes, I decided that the normal job sites were not fulfilling my needs, so it was time to search for jobs on Craigslist. I'm so glad I did. I found some great opportunities.

 Male Models needed for TOMORROW! (Miami)

Searching for male underwear models for an event TOMORROW. Model will wear underwear and a bowtie for the event passing out orderves to guests and taking photos. Event is from 7pm-9:30pm. Please submit CURRENT photos in the email with full name and clothing measurements including height, Client needs photos. MUST BE MUSCULAR!!

This one was eerie, as it was like they specifically wrote this job listing for me. I'm motivated to work soon, and this job is tomorrow (today, by the time this posts). Plus, I am always looking for new challenges. This job offers me a couple as I rarely wear underwear and never wear a bow tie. Finally, the last line, "MUST BE MUSCULAR." Yeah, that definitely won't be an issue. 

Only issue: They spelled hors d'oeuvres as orderves. If only you had spell check, you could have had your new employee of the month. 

Attractive Males needed for upcoming ADULT FILMS!

Recruiting GUYS for an Adult Website!

We only want to work with the best and our starting pay for male models is $2,000.00 for a solo production.

If you think you have what it takes, send your pictures (face and body, either shirtless and/or nude please), include a contact number and I will get back to you to discuss further details.

Models should:
-Have NO previous experience in the adult industry!
-Have six-pack abs
-Ages 18-35ish
-Have an athletic/muscular body
-Be very handsome

Before you email please make sure you read the list of requirements above. Yes six packs are required, yes you must show face. We do use stage names for all of our models. No resumes please. 

Ah, an attractive male is needed for an adult film. Getting two grand for a solo project doesn't sound too bad to me. This is another job that I am almost overqualified for. No experience in the adult industry, check. Six pack abs, I just hope I can fatten up so only six of my abs are showing. Athletic/muscular body, we went over that in the last post. And again, being very handsome may be difficult, as I'm usually referred to as extremely handsome. 

Now I'm guessing that most people believe the issue is that I must "show face," but I'd be happy to have my face on a film starring me. My only problem is that they use stage names for all of their models. Sorry, but I've got to keep my Hott Joe brand strong. A stage name simply won't due.

I kind of wanted to take this job just so I could finish up and say, "Two grand for this? You should see me at home; I do it for free." I bet everyone would have laughed really hard, and I probably would have started up a huge career as a comedy porn star.

Looking for straight males for video (North Dade)

I'm looking for open minded straight males who are in shape and under 30 years for a gay production, only serious replies please, if interested send stats and pictures to be contacted with more details

Uh, straight males for a gay production? You're not exactly making an appealing offer. I mean, you probably shouldn't discriminate against homosexuals if you want us all to have a gay old time. I mean. have you seen homosexuals? They're like the happiest people ever. Good luck, I guess.

And finally, the last job, which isn't a job at all, but may be the best thing ever.


Now Casting New Show w/ "The Rock".

Seeking family members who are in a big fight or misunderstanding and can't seem to reconcile on their own... we are here to lend a helping hand!!!!

Call 310-360-2580

OR submit your story here w/ photos and a contact phone number.

Must live in S. Florida

OH MY GOD! When I saw this, my initial thought was to immediately called my wife a bitch to try to start a fight (I decided against it). I know they are looking for problems with siblings or parents, but I'm willing to take a chance for a special episode and have The Rock save my marriage. Now, it may be insane that I would jeopardize my marriage to hang out with The Rock, which is exactly the reason I need to be on this show. I prioritize The Rock over my own wife. Please help me, The Rock. 

So, yeah, overall, it was a pretty successful day of job hunting. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The 10 Brightest Futures in the WWE

For the first time in a long time, it seems the WWE has an influx of young talent making their way up the ranks. This is exciting in that all wrestlers eventually become stale. Of course, in the WWE, if you remove those old talents for a while, the staleness reverses and it becomes super exciting to see them again. This is why I am very excited about the possibility of Hulk Hogan back in the WWE. Although he appears to be an awful human being, he's got nostalgia on his side. Still, the WWE cannot depend on Hogan, Rock, and Undertaker comebacks to help them forever.

1. Now, whether these guys are actually young is not important, but I did want to pick guys who have not quite established themselves. Fandango is Fandango forever, so he's not on the list. Antonio Cesaro is unlikely to be a Real American in a year so he is on the list.

2. I only included the top two guys on the NXT roster in terms of their place in NXT and not their future. This means I was unable to write about guys like Alexander Rusev, Aiden English, and Tyler Breeze.

Now onto the list:

10. Erick Rowan - He is a big bruiser, and the WWE can always use guys like that. He's a future tag champion, and has a shot at a lower-tier singles title. Still, he's kind of a poor man's version of the next guy on this list.

9. Luke Harper - Don't underestimate how awesome Luke Harper is in the ring. He's a large human being who does a great job at making what he does look like it hurts...a lot. His match a couple weeks ago on NXT against Kassius Ohno was tremendous, and it was so different than what the WWE usually produces in their matches. Since he brings something different than others in the WWE, I think he can definitely be a bruising singles champion down the line after a run with the tag titles.

8. Antonio Cesaro - I am an unabashed mark for Antonio Cesaro. I never fast forward through any of his matches, because he's so good that he can make any match entertaining. Pound for pound, there is nobody close to as strong as he is, which means he can toss around smaller guys and easily pick up the bigger guys. I hate putting him this low, but can he ever rise to the top tier? He has two things that oppose each other, and that is that he is foreign but awesome. I recognized early on that he was awesome, but now everybody is starting to come around on that front with The Giant Swing. He's getting cheered despite being a heel. And when was the last time a foreigner got a real push as a face? Sheamus is the closest thing they've done, and even he is from an English speaking country. The odds are stacked against him, but let us never forget this wonderful moment.

7. Bo Dallas - I love Bo Dallas in NXT. I am a huge BOliever. That being said, I can't believe I'm putting him higher than Cesaro. He's going to get a huge push when he gets up to the main show, and I'm guessing that he will win a Money in the Bank match in the next two years. Because of that, I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't the first person on this list to hold a top tier title, but I only see his ceiling as the World Heavyweight Champion (not too shabby).

6. Bray Wyatt - Wyatt can be a poor man's Kane. He doesn't have that size, but he's a monster, and he can sell himself being a monster to an audience. He's going to laugh at pain, and that makes him a legitimate challenger to anyone.

5. Dean Ambrose - Probably my most controversial ranking. When The Shield came in, Ambrose seemed to be the guy with the brightest future of the trio, and I think he's going to be great. I could see him having a CM Punk like career, but I don't know if it's likely. This is still really good, as if I made him eligible, I think Dolph Ziggler would be right around this range.

4. Seth Rollins - Maybe a homer pick, but one of my thoughts while making this list is whether this guy could beat Cena. Out of the guys below Rollins on this list, I think Cesaro has the best chance, and that would be in a non-title match, because I do think Cena recognizes really great wrestling and wants to help out those guys who stand out. Rollins can beat Cena, because he brings something very different to the table in his offense. Another thing that helps him is that any moment that he and Daniel Bryan are in the ring together is absolutely awesome.

3. Big E Langston - He just got the Intercontinental Title, but bigger things are ahead for him. He used to do a five count in NXT where he pinned his opponents for five seconds instead of three, and it was awesome. Since they don't care about the IC title as much anymore, isn't this the perfect time to let Big E defend his title by pinning guys for five seconds? This gives the WWE a good guy who is a beast, and if he's pinning guys for five seconds for six months, it legitimizes a run at the top titles. Also on his side is that he is actually entertaining on Twitter, and he has shown his charisma in bursts. He might have the highest ceiling of anybody on this list.

2. Roman Reigns - He came in with the least hype out of any member from The Shield, but he has gotten so much better in such a short time that it's hard not to see his sky-high potential. He's the new Batista, and I don't see any way that he doesn't fulfill that role with the company. He's going to be a multiple time WWE Champion, and I don't see anybody else on this list that you can definitely say that about. He may not have the highest ceiling, but he is the surest bet to be a dominant top tier champion.

1. Sami Zayn - Before you shout me down for trying to be too much of a smark about this list, hear me out. Zayn can be the WWE's most valuable asset in that he can be a babyface that even the internet wrestling community loves. Everybody sees Cena as the new Hogan, but Cena's gimmick is what Hogan did in low level feuds. He makes dick jokes and calls people gay. Hogan loved to call people gay, but in real feuds, Hogan was just super positive about how Hulkamania could conquer all. That's what Zayn brings to the table. He just states things matter-of-factly, and he believes that he's going to overcome everything. He reminds me of GSP in that he is just a super polite dude who is incredibly talented at what he does. Usually, the internet wrestling community would hate something like this, but he's so good in the ring that it's impossible to not get behind him. The WWE has always focused on large muscular guys as their lead dogs, but they may finally be ready to change that. The UFC's biggest star is GSP, and boxing's stars are Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. You no longer need the larger than life guys to carry the sport, and I think Zayn has what it takes to rise to the top. He's going to be a star, and if done correctly, he could be the face of the WWE.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Goodbye, Quad Cities

Goodbye, Quad Cities.

That is a something that I have wanted to say for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Quad Cities, on the eastern border of Iowa, and despite my family being from there and most remaining there, I can never remember a time where I thought I would grow old there. I hated the area, and I was going to do my best to leave.

Since I didn't want a massive debt, I stayed in state for college and went to the University of Iowa. It was less than an hour from my hometown, but it felt like a world away. It had a thriving nightlife with college girls, tailgating, alcohol, and college girls. For an 18-22 year old, good looking college women could make Siberia seem like Paradise. It was not too bad.

When I graduated, I was wiling to move anywhere for my first job. I really lucked out as I got a job in Seattle, one of the best places on the planet. If I were a single guy and found any job in that area, I would move out there in a heartbeat. In fact, if you are young and single, do that. Move to Seattle. The rain is way overblown and the summers are perfect. 

So why did I leave? Well, the main reason is that my bosses hated me. That meant I had no chance of being promoted, and even if I were promoted, the long-term job prospects of the Seattle SuperSonics were not the best (Spoiler alert: They moved to Oklahoma City). Because of that, I had to look around for jobs. Luckily, the guy who originally hired me for the Sonics really liked me and he took a job with a different sports team. Unluckily, he happened to move from Seattle to the minor league baseball team in my hometown. Back to the Quad Cities, it was. I was happy to have a good job, but it was bittersweet for the area I was moving back to. 

This next go-around wasn't so bad. The most positive thing was that I worked so much that I barely had any free time. Because of that, where I lived really didn't matter. When I did have free time in the fall, I could go to Iowa football games to tailgate, but still, I knew that the area was not made for me.

After two years, I quit my job and decided to move to Albuquerque. This was my "Be young and stupid" phase of life. Surprisingly, my young and stupid phase did not involve drugs or alcohol. But I moved to Albuquerque, tried to write a screenplay (I finished it; it has potential, but needs a major overhaul, something I have not done three years later) and trained in mixed martial arts. It was a great experience overall, but I knew I was never going to be a fighter (I'm a pussy), so it had no long-term potential. I got my ass kicked for the better part of a year before moving back to Iowa, but this time, it was at least West Des Moines.

West Des Moines was good; I lived with my brother, and since we are practically the same person, we got along really well. But there was a girl that I had been on and off with, but we were going to try to be on again, and she convinced me to move back to the Quad Cities for the sake of love. I packed up and headed back.

She dumped me two weeks later. 

So I was back in the place I wanted to be the least, with no job, no lady friend, and living with my parents (pretty cool roommates, but not exactly an ideal situation for a single guy). The best job offer I had was a part-time tennis instructor for children. The job was great, the money was not, and I was still in limbo with life, just hanging out in the QCA, not really doing much of anything. 

Don't get me wrong. When things lined up nicely, and a big group of people came out or something special was going on, I had some fun times. But for the most part? Going out in the Quad Cities is awful. There wasn't a single place that delivered more fun times than times where I was staring at my phone hoping for the night to end. It was miserable.

But this story does have a happy ending. I got a job and got promoted twice in a year. That on-again, off-again lady friend became on again. I proposed, and we got married in September. 

Since we both hate the cold weather, we quit our jobs and moved to Florida last week. I have finally left the Quad Cities, and this time, it's permanent. Hooray, me. I finally did it.

And yet, as much as I hate living in the Quad Cities. This moment is still bittersweet. It's 80 degrees down here and has snowed and been in the teens up there, so the weather is really, really sweet. But it's still tough.

Although a lot of friends have moved around the country, there are still some awesome people in the Quad Cities that I am going to miss. Those people don't hate the Quad Cities. They go out and have a blast, and there's nothing wrong with that. Just like I am doing what makes me happy by moving away, they are doing what makes them happy and staying in a place that they thoroughly enjoy with people they love to spend time with. I will always look forward to going back and hanging out with those people, and I hope they're smart enough to come visit me during the winter.

As much as I love my friends, there are two people I am going to miss even more, and those are my parents. My parents are the nicest people ever, and none of my bad traits should be attributed to them. They have gone above and beyond in helping me out in every way imaginable, and I am going to miss them only being a 15 minute drive away. I would not be where I am today without their love and support, and for that I am forever grateful.

The one thing that makes this easy is the number one person in my life. My wife is an amazing person, and I am incredibly lucky that she settled for me. We're going at life together, and although there is still a lot of uncertainty in our immediate future (we should probably try to get jobs soon), there is nobody I would rather face this uncertainty with than her. 

In my hometown, there is a saying that runs on the local news where people get on TV and say, "Hello, Quad Cities." Today, I say, "Goodbye, Quad Cities." Although this is definitely a happy moment, I am going to miss my family and friends. But with my wife by my side, it's hard to not be excited about the future, and I'm really happy with where things are going.

Oh, and the weather is going to be pretty sweet too.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Johny Hendricks Did Not Get Robbed

So the overwhelming majority of people who watched the GSP-Johny Hendricks fight felt that Hendricks was robbed when the decision went GSP's way. I hate to break it to you, but Johny Hendricks was not robbed in that fight. It was close, and the decision did not go his way. This isn't an issue with the judging; this is simply a case where the judges watched a very close fight and two of them favored GSP over Hendricks. It's a defensible position and not a robbery.

The issue that people have is that there were a few things working heavily in Hendricks's favor. The first is that the crowd was behind him, because he is the first guy to give GSP a competitive fight in six years. That means that the crowd was reacting more to his shots than they were to GSP's which made them feel more powerful.

The second thing that was working for Johny was Joe Rogan. I'm not saying that Rogan is biased towards Hendricks; I really think he just got caught up in the moment, but either way, his commentary was definitely biased towards Hendricks. When GSP hit a strike, he would note that it was a nice shot by Georges. When Hendricks landed a shot, he would say, "That was a HARD shot from Hendricks." It made Hendricks's shots seem like they were a lot more powerful than GSP's. Now I think that judging the power behind shots from television is incredibly difficult, so it may have been than Johny was landing harder shots, but I do not believe that the difference was as pronounced as Rogan made it sound.

Finally, the third thing working for Johny is that he doesn't bruise easy and GSP does. GSP has always bruised easy (Fedor Emelianenko had this same issue), so even if he was landing better shots, he was the one who looked worse at the end of fights. This gave the impression that Hendricks did far better in his strikes but basic skin damage is not a way to judge who won a fight.

Because of all of these factors, people thought that there was going to be a new welterweight champion in the UFC. There wasn't, and I have no issue with this. According to FightMetric, Hendricks outlanded GSP in strikes by 17 through the fight, but GSP outlanded Hendricks in significant strikes by 16. Just because the majority of people leaned towards Hendricks in a close fight does not make this a robbery.

It was a close fight and GSP got the win. The judges don't need to be fired for that. There are a lot of really awful decisions in MMA, but this isn't one of them.

With all that being said, I would have given the edge to Hendricks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

UFC 167 Predictions

Since it's the 20th Annivesary card for the UFC, I feel that I can grace the UFC with my picks and maybe give them some publicity to help out their brand. With the massive reach of this blog, I wouldn't be surprised if Dana White decided to send me some swag in gratitude of my effort. I'll review all the fights I have opinions on, so I apologize if you are a big fan of someone like Cody Donovan.

Sergio Pettis vs. Will Campuzano
I'm very excited about this fight, as Sergio Pettis is basically being labeled as a smaller version of his brother, Anthony Pettis. Campuzano is a solid fighter but has struggled against top-level competition. He may have the experience advantage, but I'll take Pettis in the first round via TKO.

Erik Perez vs. Edwin Figueroa
The UFC wants Perez to succeed, so they have given him a favorable matchup. Expect him to bounce back from his loss to Mizugaki with a highly entertaining TKO in the first round.

Rick Story vs. Brian Ebersole
Rick Story is one of the most interesting fighters in the UFC. Not that his style is super exciting, but in that he beat Johny Hendricks and Thiago Alves in back-to-back fights and looked on his way to a title shot. Then he got dominated by Charlie Brenneman, lost to Martin Kampmann, and has then gone back and forth between wins and losses in his last four fights. Ebersole has tremendous size for 170 (and tremendous chest hair for any weight class), and I think he can counter Story's wrestling to take a decision.

Thales Leites vs. Ed Herman
Remember when Leites fought Anderson Silva for the title? You don't? Consider yourself lucky, because it was awful. He got released and won enough on the independent scene to get called back up. Ed Herman isn't the most athletic guy in the world, but he knows how to pressure opponents. I think this match is super boring, and we see a lot of clinch work, but I don't think Leites has what it takes to get the takedowns and finish the fight, so let's go with Herman by decision.

Donald Cerrone vs. Evan Dunham
This is my pick for fight of the night. Both of these guys go all out and are not afraid to fight in all aspects. I would give Dunham the edge on the ground and Cerrone the edge on the feet. Cerrone's wrestling has gotten leaps and bounds better than it was in the WEC. Because of that, I think he does enough to keep distance and outstrike Dunham in an exciting, back and forth decision.

Josh Koscheck vs. Tyron Woodley
I see the exact same fighters in this match. Tyron Woodley is a wrestler who can occasionally land a big right hand and put people out. Koscheck has been doing that for years. But Koscheck is the much more decorated wrestler, and he has been more impressive using his wrestling in MMA. He has lost 5 of his last 10 fights, but one was a split to Hendricks, one was to GSP, and he got caught a couple times by Robbie Lawler and Paulo Thiago. He only really looked bad against Alves, since GSP makes everyone look bad. Meanwhile, everyone started freaking out when Woodley knocked out Jay Hieron, but he looked awful against Nate Marquardt before that, and he lost a decision to Jake Shields who hasn't been all that impressive since coming over to the UFC. I'm not on the Woodley bandwagon, so I'll take Kos by decision.

Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler
I'm taking Rory in an easy win here. I know that Lawler has looked good since moving to 170. His win over Koscheck is a good win, but it's quite a step up from Bobby Voelker to Rory MacDonald. His only loss was to Carlos Condit, and had the fight been 10 seconds shorter, he would still be undefeated. The dude has just ran through everyone, and I don't expect that to change, as he gets a submission in the second round.

Rashad Evans vs. Chael Sonnen
I'm an unabashed Chael Sonnen supporter. I picked Sonnen in his first fight against Anderson Silva, and I am still bitter over him losing that one. If you recognize that Chael Sonnen is a pro wrestling character and not a real person, he's wildly entertaining and totally fun. I also love wrestlers in the UFC, so Chael has a lot of things going for him in my mind. Rashad Evans is a good fighter. I want to be clear about that, because I am about to tear apart his entire career. It just seems like he has fought everyone at the right time for the best chance to succeed. He fought new era Tito Ortiz twice and manged one win and one draw out of it. He fought Liddell after Chuck had lost a step. He fought Rampage after he lost a step. He won the title by beating Forrest Griffin, who, let's face it, has a lot of heart, but also may be one of the least talented champions in UFC history (he was a champion; that's still amazing). He also fought Phil Davis before Davis had progressed enough in striking. In his last three fights, he's beaten a 42 year-old Dan Henderson, and looked terrible against Jon Jones (everyone looks terrible against him) and Lil' Nog, which is not as easy to explain. Rashad is good and taken advantage of opportunities, so good for him, but I say his luck runs out and Chael gets the victory.

Georges St. Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks
Is Johny Hendricks a legit contender to GSP's title? Yeah, he's earned the shot, but unless GSP treats him like Matt Serra, I don't see a great chance of Hendricks winning tonight's fight. Out of his last five fights, he has won three decisions, two of them split decisions. I do think he has gotten better as time has gone on, especially the two years since he won a split decision over Mike Pierce, but it was just a year ago that he barely beat Josh Koscheck. GSP beats everyone by decision which makes people underestimate how great he is. He is not squeaking by in these decisions, he is dominating, just not finishing. It is another fight where people are doubting GSP, but there's no need to. GSP will outstrike Hendricks on the feet, and the only guy I see having a chance to outwrestle him in the welterweight division just got released by Bellator. GSP is great, and he's still going to be champ after winning all five rounds against Johny Hendricks.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

6 Thoughts on Iowa vs. Purdue

Okay, initial thoughts going into this game can be summed up with, "Oh God, please don't blow this, please don't blow this, please don't blow this..." Purdue is so bad at football, but they really can't play any worse than last week, so they're bound for a bounce back. Still, even if they bounce to their best previous performance, Iowa should still win. I just want you to know that I was terrified going into this game, and that is strictly caused by Iowa's incompetence.

1. Purdue's whole game plan in the first quarter was attack Iowa on the outside. It's a very reasonable strategy, because Iowa really lacks great athletes, so beating them with speed is a solid plan. Iowa struggled early with it, but they made adjustments by keeping contain on the outside and funneling them back in where help can take care of the play.

2. The last play of the first quarter was a thing of beauty by Canzeri. That spin move was the most athletic thing I have seen from a Hawkeye in a long time.

3. That 34 yard pass from Rudock to Shumpert was one of the most depressing big gains a team can have. Shumpert had 5 yards on his defender, because Purdue decided to set a pick on their own team, but the ball was so badly underthrown that Shumpert had to do a 180 while catching the ball.

4. Rudock made up for it with that strike to Kevonte Martin-Manley. It wasn't the smartest throw, but he got it in there, so bravo to Rudock.

5. One thing that really stood out in this game is that holes seemed to be opening up earlier than normal. It made Canzeri the best running option as he is the best at accelerating quickly through a hole, where Bullock and Weisman take a little bit longer to get going, so the holes were closing before they could make it through. I'm looking forward to more Canzeri at the end of this season.

6. Honestly, this wasn't a pretty game by any standards, but Iowa did what they had to do. They ran until they wore down Purdue, and then they could basically do whatever they wanted in the second half. Nothing really stood out; Purdue just doesn't have the talent to compete in the B1G. Honestly, I'm not even sure if they could compete in the MAC.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

7 Thoughts on Iowa vs. Wisconsin

Spoiler alert: Iowa lost to Wisconsin. Just like always, they hung around for three quarters before clearly not having enough in the tank to compete in the fourth. Even though there were a lot of negatives, there were still some positives mixed in there.

1. The biggest thing that stood out from the first quarter was Kirk Ferentz's decisions on fourth down. He went for one but punted on two occasions where they definitely should have gone for it. It's frustrating, but it's Iowa, and it's always been Iowa. He has shown more willingness to go for it as time has gone on, but it's still frustrating how often he punts, especially, because Iowa's plodding offense puts them in 4th and 4 or less more than most teams.

2. Iowa trusted their secondary a lot more than they have in past games. This is an area where I wish I had the All-22 tape, because everything with receiving and secondary work is near impossible to judge from what you see on television. I haven't watched enough of Wisconsin to know how their passing game operates, but Iowa felt comfortable trusting their secondary and sending blitzes, and it really paid off. 

3. With that being said, Stave is not a real dangerous quarterback, and the Hawkeyes were also able to do that due to the great job they did on first and second downs by stopping the run and forcing them into 3rd and long situations.

4. Wisconsin's first touchdown was on Tanner Miller. It looked like Cover-3 (Corners take deep outside thirds, with a safety taking the deep middle third of the field), and Desmond King plays the outside third, so his job is to filter him to the middle and let his safety take care of things. Miller got fooled by Stave's eyes and committed to one side of the field, Stave looked back and put a nice throw out to Pederson for the touchdown. 

5. Impressive thing about CJ Beathard is that he has excellent pocket presence. He can wait until the very last second to throw the ball. Bad things about CJ Beathard is he throws the ball too low which caused some issues. The bigger problem that I see is that he seemed to stare down his receivers before throwing the ball. Some deceptive eye movement could treat him very well down the line.

6. The big run by James White near the end was caused by John Lowdermilk just being late to close up that hole. That's the problem with Iowa's roster, they have to be perfect on technique, because they are not the most athletic guys in the world. 

7. It's the same old story with Iowa. Although I feel the offense is leaps and bounds better than last year. There is still the gigantic issue of them not involving their most talented group of players which is tight end. Why not just keep three tight ends, put them in a trips formation and mess people's worlds up. Not only would it be a dominant run formation, but you can vary their routes enough to confuse coverage and get the ball out to your best receivers. 

Iowa needs to understand that they can recruit/develop tight ends. The only great athletes that they get are going to come from the island of misfit toys. Damond Powell is a great athlete, but they got him from a JUCO, and he can apparently only run two routes. They're not getting game breaking tight ends, so Greg Davis needs to adjust his scheme to fit his personnel, because the personnel is clearly not going to fit his scheme.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Guide For Grooms: Dealing with Bridezilla

Okay, was my bride a Bridezilla? No, not really at all. She only got mad at me twice throughout the whole week, and considering how big of an idiot I am, especially with my idiot friends around, that’s a hell of an accomplishment. We did really well throughout the entire week. I asked her what she wanted me to do, and I did it without any complaints. I am a giant pussy when it comes to heights, but my lady said that she wanted me to repeatedly climb a ladder and hang things from the ceiling, and I said okay while only thinking about falling and breaking my arm from the moment I took my first step on the ladder until both feet had finally gotten back to the ground. Still, I did it, and even if I fell, I would have been fine, as I have seen dozens of WWE ladder matches.

The first thing you need to do is pay attention to your bride. That seems simple enough, but I managed to forget it. Whoops. She gave me the simple task of getting all of my groomsmen on our bus to go to the hotel to get ready for pictures. I did this with no issues, but I made the mistake of not thinking about anything else. We were drinking on the bus and having a great old time. Unfortunately, I forgot that she was probably going to need help hauling some things on the bus. I see her carrying a ton of bags right after she got her hair done while trying to keep an umbrella over her head since it was raining. She was not pleased, so I gave her a little space and finished my beer quietly in the back of the bus. That was my bad.

You know all those sayings about how communication is key. Yeah, it’s true. And for the wedding weekend, you definitely want to overcommunicate. I thought I did a pretty good job of communicating with my wife and doing the rounds with her so I could meet a bunch of people that I would immediately forget. Once I got done with those rounds, I figured I was good to go. If I would have just asked her about things, she would have told me that there were a few other pictures she wanted, but I didn’t do that. I disappeared from my own wedding. Once was completely justified, because I took a monster dump in a bathroom. When I exited the stall, I saw a groomsman and a husband of a bridesmaid. We laughed and high-fived about the damage I did. This is a situation where it is fine to not check in with your bride. However, shortly after that, I decided to smoke cigars that my uncle brought with all of my groomsmen which meant that I left the reception hall to go outside. She of course wanted to find me for a picture with a group of approximately 50 people and had no clue where I was. She finally found me, and brought me up to the picture where everyone was already waiting. The combination of me disappearing and reeking of cigar smoke was not a combination that put a smile on my lady’s face. This was also my bad.

But both times, she let me know that she was displeased, I apologized, and she let it go in about 15 minutes. So learn from my mistakes and make sure that you pay attention to your bride and communicate with her. Life will be much happier for the both of you.