Friday, September 30, 2011

2011 MLB Playoff First Round Preview with

American League

When TRE, from the latest and greatest Gopher blog Still Got Hope? reached out to me to ask if I wanted to do a co-MLB playoff preview with him my first though was "jesus that sounds like work." Then I remembered that I've seen TRE in real life and he's a gigantic monster man who would probably rip my arms out my sockets and beat me over the head with them wookie-style if I angered him, so I figured I better do it.

TRE in his natural element
So here's the protocol - I'm previewing the AL, he's previewing the NL which works well for me because my knowledge of the NL is on par with Super Sioux Fan's knowledge of cooking - NOT ALL THAT MUCH. Then we'd each write a paragraph in response to the other's original paragraph.

Will we agree? Disagree? Fight? Will we come to blows? TOO SOON TO TELL. But it should be exciting. My pants are already half-off in anticipation.

Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays

DWG: Classic match-up here of momentum vs. unstoppablenessittude. The Ranger offense is really good at hitting and scoring, much like Bobby Brown, and really has no holes. But that's the fun thing about good pitching, it creates those holes. Tampa has the two best pitchers in this deal in Shields and Price, and in a short series sometimes that's all you need. Evan Longoria is looking sexy and mashing baseballs, and the Rays have heaps of karma from playing the role of Will Hunting to the Sox Carmine Scarpaglia, and saving the world from the hoards of Boston douchefans that always come out of the woodwork for the playoffs. THAT ROBAHT ANDINO IS WICKED GOOD! This should be a dogfight, but I give the edge to pitching and karma. Verdict:  Rays in Five.

TRE:  Evan Longoria is as good a hitter as he is a dreamboat.  On Wednesday he basically willed the Rays into the playoffs and it was amazing.  TREbro cried like a river when the Sox missed the playoffs. (he's a longtime fan, don't try and make sense of it)  TREbro's wife bombarded facebook with Red Sox propaganda too.  None of that could make Carl Crawford not suck extremely hard.

The Rays and Rangers did this dance last year and it took five games for the Rangers to take them down.  They're a year wiser and a year better.  Rangers noob Napoli had a monster second half (.383 AVG, .706 SLG) and co-noob Adrian Beltre has returned from the hamstring injury and has destroyed in September. (Player of the Month I guess!) Tampa may have a slight edge in starting pitching, but Texas has a TRE's head sized edge in the bullpen.  Especially with Ogando and Holland joining the pen for the playoffs.


DWG is right that the edge should go to pitching, but wrong in choosing Tampa for having the edge.  This series goes to the Rangers.  Ron Washington will do a head spin on that bald pate of his afterwards.  Verdict: Rangers in four.
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers

DWG: Obviously nobody likes the Yankees, that's a universal law like water or dinosaurs, but the question is do the Tigers have enough to knock them off? Both teams have a stone cold ace at the front of the rotation and a bunch of question marks to follow so game 1 is even more important than it usually is in a 5-game series. Just like the Death Star, Justin Verlander has one weakness, and his is giving up home runs. If that comes into play with the 230 foot right field fence in Yankee Stadium and a bunch of power-hitting lefties the Tigers could get shoved in a hole they can't climb out of, especially since Jim Leyland has already said he won't pitch Verlander on short rest in Game 4 even if Detroit is facing elimination (Sabathia is already slated for Game 4) which makes so little sense to me I'm convinced Leyland was replaced with Ron Gardenhire. Easily the most difficult series to pick. It's either Yankees in four or Tigers in five. I say Detroit gets two wins from Verlander and squeaks one out somewhere else. Verdict: Tigers in five.

TRE:  I love Verlander and think he's the best pitcher in baseball.  All of the cool kids are saying that now, but if you ask Doctor Detroit, I've been saying this for awhile.  I get this feeling though that the Tigers believe too much.  Fans think Doug Fister is the new Bob Welch.  A lot rides on CC Sabathia.  Can that big SOB that was somehow robbed once on the street get the best of Verlander?  If he does, it's freaking over.  Doug Fistplay will curl up into the fetal postion.  The bad news for the Yankees is they're not playing the Twins.  Since 2002, they're 12-2 in ALDS games against the Twins and 5-12 against everyone else.  Last time I checked though, former Twin Delmon Young was batting in the 3-hole.  Even Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia can get Delmon out.  The Tigers are ready for this.  They're going to join the Twins in the slop bucket of AL Central victims by leg sweep.  Verdict: The Jeterses in three.

National League

In the dark, desolate world of the blogosphere there are few that you can look to for support.  We at SGH were lucky enough to stumble through the dark into the waiting arms of  DWG took us in his strong arms and wiped the tears from our bloggy eyes.  Now we have the type of relationship where he's like that old bald monk on Kung Fu that teaches Michael Carradine (us) how to do cool kicks and stuff.  Of course, this means later we'll die of auto-erotic asphyxiation. 

DWG teaches us how to play with fire.

DWG agreed to doing a MLB playoff preview blog post.  Which is a different outcome from when I first emailed him and asked him if we could do a Gopher football preview on his blog and was promptly ignored.  He claimed that he doesn't use that email account. We just think he was worried about his "blog brand." (it's a thing, you guys)

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies

TRE:  The Cards snuck into the playoffs on the last day of the season.  They were down 8.5 games from Atlanta on September first, but went 18-8 in the month and watched Atlanta piss the bed.  The Phillies get an opponent that they struggled with in 2011; going 3-6 against them.  It sounds like we'll see Roy Halladay against Kyle Lohse in game 1 and Cliff Lee against Edwin Jackson in game 2.  So, that's basically 2-0 Phillies.  Since this is a best of 5 series, the Cardinals are pretty much screwed at this point. I assume they'd throw Chris Carpenter in game 3 against Cole Hamels; perhaps on short rest.  That might get them a win, but then they'd lose to Roy Oswalt in game 4 against Jaime Garcia.  Matt Holliday has an injured hand/wrist and is unlikely to start the series, but Allen Craig has played well of late.  In my opinion the Cardinals lineup just doesn't stack up with the Phillies. It's basically Pujols and The Big Puma and pray for HBP.  The Phillies have a lineup that's solid from top to bottom and they even have some decent depth on their bench.  I suppose that explains the franchise record 102 wins. Verdict: Phillies in four.

Heidi Hamels will console Cole if he loses game 3.
DWG: Ok great, the Cards went 6-3 against the Phillies this year. That's awesome and everything but I mean, come on. Nobody really thinks the Cardinals can win, do they? It's taking every ounce of restraint and personal responsibility I have to not put the largest wager of my lifetime down on the Phils to win this series at -300. Then again, the last time I discounted a Cardinals team this badly they ended up winning the World Series after the Tigers pitchers took turns playing the smash hit game "Throw the ball into the dugout." Still though, the Phil's worst pitcher (of four) is better than the best St. Louis can trot out there and outside of Pujols their second string offense might be better than the Cards' starters. Verdict: Phillies sweep.

Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Milwaukee Brewers

TRE: This is an intriguing series and sadly will probably be the least watched due to market size.  The Brewers have a solid lineup headed by my NL MVP choice Ryan Braun.  Prince Fielder, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks all bring a lot to the table as well.  Casey McGehee took the year off, but I give him a break because he's bald and ugly like me.

Casey McGehee and Family
The Brewers led the NL in homeruns and did it while posting a decent average, OBP and a relatively low strikeout total.  They also brought in some pitching that doesn't blow goats.  Shawn Marcum and Zack Grienke joined with Yovanni Gallardo to provide a solid top 3.  Lefties Randy Wolf and Chris Narveson round out the rotation. They also have a solid bullpen with Saito and K-Rod joining Axford for the late innings.

Arizona also packs a pop with Justin Upton, Chris Young (the black one, not the tall dork from Princeton) and Miguel Montero being the core run producers.  They also have a solid top 4 starters with Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders.  This is a five game series to me.  Kennedy went 21-4 and will likely start the series against Gallardo.  I really dislike that the Diamondbacks abbreviate themselves with "D-Backs".  That's a little too close to d-bags. Verdict: Brewers in five.


DWG: I agree that this will be an interesting series because these teams are pretty evenly matched. Milwaukee has more star power with Braun, Fielder, Greinke, and Weeks and seem more glamorous, or at least as glamorous as anything from dirty, dirty Wisconsin can be, but Arizona is a surprisingly good, and complete, team. Kennedy, Hudson, Collmenter, and Saunders might not sound like much, but they're one of the best starting groups in the NL. I know, I didn't believe it either, but every single one of them has an ERA under 3.70 and a WHIP under 1.32. Not really a true ace in the group, sorry Kennedy but I'm not buying it yet, but that really plays well for them. They can reasonably expect to hold Milwaukee to 3 runs per game, so all they have to do is score 4 runs three times in five games. They have one of the highest scoring offenses in baseball, so that shouldn't be a problem, and Justin Upton is the Patrick Jane of baseball. Verdict: D-Bags in five and TRE is an idiot and a traitor.

This thing was exhausting, but maybe we'll see you in round two.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Minnesota Twins Season Recap and State of the Organization: Outfield

This is the fifth in a series of Twins blog posts.
See: Catchers
See: First Base
See:  Middle Infield
See: Third Base

There were some musical chairs in the 2011 Twins outfield due to trades (Delmon Young) and injuries (Span, Young, Kubel, etc).  Due to the injuries and September call-ups we got to see several young outfielders (Ben Revere, Rene Tosoni, Joe Benson, etc).  Michael Cuddyer was the best bat in the outfield, but injuries often forced him to move to other positions.  Kubel was also good for a stretch early in the year.  Both are likely gone. 

With Span out, Ben Revere was able to play a lot of center field.  He stole a bunch of bases, setting a new Twins rookie record, and he also made some highlight reel catches in center.  He has no arm to speak of, doesn't walk and still can't hit all that well.  Other than that, he rules.  That being said, I was for moving Span before the year when I thought his value was at a peak.  Looking into the minor leagues, the Twins have Aaron Hicks, Joe Benson and Oswaldo Arcia as solid outfield prospects.  Hicks is a center fielder and Benson has good speed in the outfield as well.

Ben Revere is FAST

For 2012, I'm going to assume both Kubel and Cuddy are gone.  The Twins will likely go with Revere, Span and a Tosoni/?? platoon.  Please sweet baby Jesus don't let it be that donk Jason Repko. Brian Dinkelman is an option.  Joe Benson will also get a long look in the spring, but he may spend some time in AAA a la Chris Parmalee.  I really like Benson's combination of pop, speed and plate discipline though.  This is a position where the cupboard is not bare as far as young players are concerned.  I mentioned Nady and Hinske in the 1st base blog.  Again, this is a spot where they could fill in with some experience, but wouldn't command full time plate appearances. Cody Ross, Raul Ibanez and Ryan Ludwick are some veteran outfielders that could be brought in to provide a little pop.  The Twins' best hope here though is that young players develop quickly; or Kubel agrees to a deal in the 6-7MM per year area.

Kubel doing the Running Man

Minnesota Twins Season Recap and State of the Organization: Third Base

This is the fourth in a series of Twins blog posts.
See: Catchers
See: First Base
See:  Middle Infield

Third Base has been giving the Twins the gas face for most of their existence.  Corey Koskie and Gary Gaetti were the only players that have been able to hold down the position for any length of time it seems. After a solid half season in 2010, Danny Valencia appeared to have a chance to do the same.  In 2011, the average and on base percentage too massive hits. Valencia got less strikes and had more misses on swings than in 2010.  In other words, he swings at bad pitches and pitchers know it.  Also, his success against hitting the fastball in 2010 went by the wayside.  Still, in his first full year Valencia is going to have an average in the neighborhood of .250 with 15 homers and 72 RBI.  He plays a passable third base and does have some room for improvement; especially in the throwing department where the majority of his errors occurred.

I see Valencia holding down 3B again.  Still a couple years away, but worth mentioning is Miguel Sano.  He's 18 and already 6'3" and 230lbs and likely going to move from shortstop to third base as he develops.  Here's what John Sickels says about him:

"Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins: Just 18 years old but hit .292/.352/.637 with 20 homers for Elizabethton, making a devastating one-two punch with Rosario in the lineup. Enormous power earned him $3.15 million in 2010. Superstar potential with the bat, but will have to watch strikeouts and sharpen up his defense."


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Minnesota Twins Season Recap and State of the Organization: Middle Infield

This is the third in a series of Twins blog posts.
See: Catchers
See: First Base

You can sum up 2011 with the following: J.J. Hardy hit 30 homers for the Baltimore Orioles.  Never mind that he couldn't hit at all in Target Field, the guy was still a very good defensive shortstop.  The Twins gave him away in order to get a couple of relievers including Jim "Moon Shot" Hoey and his sparkling 1.9 whip. 

Hoey, No!
The majority of the year the Twins went with Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  Casilla at least was a decent player considering the awfulness that was the 2011 middle infielder.  Nishioka followed up his near MVP year in Japan with an awful first year as a major leaguer.  The Nish was not unleashed and may be looking at performing hari kari by bat in the off-season.

No Way Nish's Wrists are Strong Enough for Hari Kari by Bat

If the Twins can produce anything, it's a series of mediocre utility players.  Denny Hocking, Nick Punto, Al Newman; the list goes on and on.  This year everyone tried out for the role including Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dinkelman and Matt Tolbert.  Hughes and Plouffe can't field a lick, but have some pop.  Dinkelman is raw, can play second base poorly and outfield less poorly and is probably a slang term for a bathroom act. Tolbert is what he is and that's not much.  Butera was totally jealous of Tolbert's .198 batting average though.

In 2012 we're likely in for more Casilla; perhaps back at shortstop.  Nishioka should start in AAA, but it is unlikely the Twins will go that route because they gave him a decent sized contract.  If they did, you could see Plouffe and Hughes battle it out for the second base job, with the other going to the utility.  I know, pretty gross. It's no surprise that the Twins used their #1 pick in this year's draft to select Levi Michael, a 20 year old shortstop from North Carolina.  The switch hitter apparently has a little power, but needs to work on his defense.  He's at least a couple of years away.  Free agent middle infielders are pretty risky and there are really no sure things.  This is an area where I expect the Twins to not spend any additional money.  They may go for a spring invitation type of player, like say thirty-seven year old Jamey Carroll.  In other words, we're screwed.

Save us, Levi

See: Third Base


Minnesota Twins Season Recap and State of the Organization: First Base

This is the second in a series of Twins blog posts.
See Catchers

First Base

Continuing the magical injury tour for the Twins, we have first baseman Justin Morneau.  In 2010, Morneau was cruising in an MVP-type season when complications due to concussion ended his season around the halfway point.  In case you've forgotten, he had a 345/437/618 triple slash and had 18 homers and 56 RBI.

John MacDonald's Flying Knee

In 2011, Morneau worked very hard to get back on the field.  Unfortunately, he battled nagging injuries all year and is still feeling the effects of the concussion.  He reported that diving for a ball caused some of these symptoms to return.  Ouch.  Justin played just 69 games in 2011 and like Mauer, he was extremely hampered.  He hit just 227/285/333 with only 4 home-runs.  While Drew Butera was totally jealous; everyone else considered this season a total loss.  Michael Cuddyer got a lot of the time at 1B with Morneau out and did quite well.  Cuddyer's solid offensive season and multi-positional ability put him in line for a decent pay day as a free agent this off-season.  At age 32, it is unlikely he stays in Minnesota as I expect a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 years, $40-45 million.  Others that saw time at first base this year include Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Joe Mauer and Chris Parmalee.  Parmalee is the only one with upside as a true first baseman, but he could use a year in Rochester to hone his skills.  Hughes and Plouffe appear to be in the hunt for a utilty role with the team in 2012.

Morneau signed a six-year, $80 million dollar deal in January of 2008.  This means he has one more year left on his deal and will make $14 miillion in 2012.  So, Morneau has all of the incentive in the world to come back and play well.  However, Twins fans may recall Corey Koskie having to retire early due to concussions and it's possible Morneau has the same problem.  After Morneau, the Twins have a couple of options here.  Assuming they don't sign Cuddyer as I mentioned above, Joe Mauer would likely see some time.  It would be unlikely that they would sign free agent that is a full time player with Morneau looming.    However, there's really only Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols and Carlos Pena who are full-season types.  Other options are Russell Branyan, Casey Kotchman, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay and Xavier Nady.  Eric Hinske also would be there if the Braves don't pick up his 1.5MM option.  Hinske and Nady may be intriguing as they bring an ability to play some outfield as well as first base and are used to a bench role.  Plus, check out Hinske's tat:

Awesome tats, plus check out the belt!

The Twins should have Chris Parmalee in the minors for 2012; although he's hitting very well during his September call up.  Still, he'll be just 24 in February and has not had any time at AAA as of yet.  He's showing good power in September, but posted a 287/366/435 with 13 home-runs in AA. If Morneau succumbs to cranial issues, 2013 could be Parmalee's year.

Aaron Bates, 27, is a veteran minor leaguer that hit .316 this year after being picked up in May.  The Red Sox let him go after spring training.  He doesn't have much pop in his bat, but could be a reserve first base option if they don't sign anyone and aren't ready to go to Parmalee yet.

See:  Middle Infield

Minnesota Twins Season Recap and State of the Organization: Catcher

Baseball is winding down and since we are not discussing the team that shall not be named; you get Twins blog post! I'll take a look at each position in 2011 and look ahead to the likely situation for 2012 and beyond.

It's hard to pinpoint where this season went wrong because it went wrong at virtually every position.  Catcher is no exception.  What a dumpster fire 2011 was; is there any hope for 2012 and beyond? 


I wouldn't be surprised if Joe Mauer held a press conference tomorrow and announced he has some terrible debilitating disease.  Can adults get rickets? A cloud of mystery surrounded him all season.  He was constantly sick or injured and when he was playing he was a shell of his former self.  In recent (steroid years) history, this has been the prime for many players.  However, these days (non-roid) we're starting to see players crap out in their early 30s. At the start of the 2012 season Mauer will be 29 years old and in the second year of his 8-year, $184 million dollar contract.  So he has plenty of Magic Johnson-cure-disease-money. 

You can beat this, Joe.

As of this article Mauer had 85 hits in 82 games; 67 of which were singles.  For his first time since his rookie year, he struck out (11.4%) more than he walked (9.6%).  Mauer posted a 287/360/368 triple slash line. (AVG/OBP/SLG).  The scariest part of Mauer is that he only played 52 games at the catcher position which meant we were subjected to a lot of Drew Butera, who is a historically awful hitter.  Twenty (20!) pitchers hit higher than Drew's .163 batting average in 2011. (min 40 PAs)  Drew is average to good defensively and homers like Twins announcer Dick Bremer love to hang their hat on that.  Get this though: in 2011, Butera was a whopping -23 runs below a replacement level player as a hitter.  With consideration for his position and defense, he's still a net -8.6 runs below replacement level.  Brutal.  Rene Rivera has also been seen at the position and carries a lot of the same issues that Butera does.

The catcher position is up in the air for 2012.  Can we expect Mauer to even play half of the time at catcher?  Mauer tried some right field and first base in 2011, but he can't slug .368 in power hitting positions like these.  Especially on a team that's lacking for power to begin with.  Butera and Rivera can't and shouldn't be starting in the major leagues and probably shouldn't even be backups.  There are no other options in the minor leagues.  Daniel Rams has power but is only in A-ball and might not even end up a catcher when all is said and done.

The Twins need a trade or a free agent catcher additions for next season.  There is a Pu Pu platter of catching garbage available; all of which are better options than Butera/Rivera.  Such luminaries as Josh Bard, Rod Barajas, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder (both have options), Gerald Laird and Dioner Navarro are available. Heck, maybe get two of them depending on the cost.

Only the Pu Pu can save us now.

More positions to come, rapid-fire style!

See: First Base

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Walking Dead on AMC - Season 2 Preview

This week on stillgothope? we're branching out.  The team that shall not be named has hurt us too much to write about them for the time being.  Since they stumbled around like zombies last Saturday, I thought it apropos that I post something about the upcoming season of The Walking Dead.

On October 16th, season 2 of The Walking Dead returns to AMC.  In case you missed it last fall, the first season opened on October 31st and ran for just six weeks.  It was six weeks of kick-ass though.  Now, for those of you that might have seen it, you're probably saying, "But TRE, the writing was bad and predictable."  I know that, you guys.  The writing wasn't the best in season one.  However, the comic book series apparently has a decent plot line to follow and the images were awesome... And the zombies.  The sweet, sweet, zombies!

The makeup and effects were top notch in season one.  The downtown Atlanta scenes were great.  The zombies are the slow moving variety for the most part; they just shuffle to and fro unless they get your scent or hear a loud noise.  If that happens, all bets are off and they start moving with a quickness.

The series is based on the comic book by the same name written by Robert Kirkman and a couple of other dudes.  Of course they borrow a lot of George A. Romero's classic zombie movie formula.  So some of the stuff may seem redundant, but if you're like me you'll love it anyway.

The main character is Rick Grimes, a former sheriff's deputy that was shot in the line of duty and awakens from a coma to a zombie apocalypse. If you've seen 28 Days Later, you've seen this before.

28 Days Later Was Actually Written After The Walking Dead Comic

Grimes gets out of the hospital and runs into Token Black Guy Surviving on His Own With His Son.  From there he learns that the CDC has set up a "safe zone" in Atlanta and since he has a missing wife and son (of course) he determines that he should go there even though it should be obvious that the place is overrun by zombies.  He leaves Token and Son and heads to the city after arming himself at the police station.  Oh, he rides in on a horse, which is pretty cool too. 

Meanwhile his wife and kid are alive and surviving at a little campsite deal outside the city.  His wife has given up on Rick and is now banging Rick's former partner. (oh no she di'n't.) Rick's wife is played by Sarah Wayne Callies, who you may remember from Prison Break as Sara Tancredi.  So, we know she's turned on by dudes that constantly speak in a whisper.

T-Bag form Prison Break would make a great zombie
In the city, Grimes gets himself in a sticky wicket and is saved by the Asian kid from the Goonies in adult form. Goonies hooks Rick up with the rest of their group that is in the city for a supply run and just happens to be a part of the camp that his wife and kid are at.  Rick has to lay down the law on token racist KKK guy who is beating on a new black guy (not black guy with son).  I should remember their names, but you get the idea.  They end up handcuffing fundamentalist KKK guy to the roof of a building and getting back to the camp without him because of a zombie attack.

Goonies Kid is apparently named Glenn

At the camp, there is the reunion between Rick and his wife and kid.  Best buddy/wife humper Shane is all sulky because his insta-family is now gone.  KKK guy has a brother at camp that is pissed off that they left his Aryan bro behind.  He appears to be slightly less racist than his bro.  So, Rick feels bad that they chained up KKK guy so they go back for him and Rick's guns which he left behind when Goonies helped him out of a jam.  They cruise back out there and lo and behold KKK guy sawed his hand off and is gone.  They do get the guns and head back to camp.  Zombies attack the camp and one of them gets injured, so they make their way to the CDC to get assistance.  Once there they find that one Doctor remains, but he's gone nutso and tries to blow up the building with everyone in it.  Just before he triggers the explosion he whispers a secret into Rick's ear - he's probably telling him he looks great in his sheriff's uniform.  So, CDC blows up and some of the people part ways and go in different directions.  Rick is all like, "the city sucks let's go to the country."  So, now you're up to date.  Check out the trailer:

Some questions I'll be looking for answers to in Season 2 (keep in mind I haven't read the comics):

  • Will a zombie get killed by pitchfork on a farm?
  • Are new characters going to be added because we're running low on hot chicks?
  • Supposedly the intensity is going to pick up in season 2, but will they go Game of Thrones and start killing off main characters?
  • Will any zombies record a quarterback sack?
  • Does KKK no-hand guy make a re-appearance?

There's a drinking a game in here somewhere too.  Maybe I'll revisit this with some rules before October 16th.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zombie Bronko Nagurski vs. North Dakota State Bison

It was in 1928, a rivalry game between Minnesota and Wisconsin that Bronko Nagurski remembered as "the greatest day I had in college football." Wisconsin needed just a tie to win the Big Ten championship. Nagurski entered the game wearing a steel corset to protect a vertebra cracked four weeks earlier. Tackle Nagurski recovered a Wisconsin fumble at the Badgers 17, and fullback Nagurski carried six straight times to bang home the touchdown. Then he caught a Wisconsin receiver from behind to protect the lead. Late in the game he intercepted a desperation pass.

"He is the only player I ever saw who could have played every position" --Knute Rockne

Following a big win for the Gophers against the Miami Redhawks, the Maroon and Gold host the Bison of North Dakota State.  The Bison are an FCS school, which stands for Football Championship Subdivision.  In 2007, these guys beat the Gophers 27-21 on the back of nearly 400 yards on the ground. 

Beating FBS teams isn't something out of the ordinary for the Bison.  They have a 4-3 record in their last seven (since 2006).  Ball State, Central Michigan and Kansas are the other victims.  Multiple sources have said the Bison fans will show up in great numbers at TCF on Sept 24th.  Some projections predict more than half of the 50,805 capacity stadium will be NDSU supporters.  This isn't just because NDSU is relatively close to Minnesota; but also because of the great number of players from Minnesota.  A quick scan shows 36 Minnesotans on the roster.

According to Coach Craig Bohl, these players that are ranked #12 in FCS were not wanted by Big Ten schools.


 “I do know that there’s not a guy on our squad that was offered a scholarship from a Big Ten school. Not one.  You’ve got a bunch of small-town guys from small Minnesota communities," Brohl said.

Okay, so they're good, and they're pissed off at us for discounting them.  And to top it off, Bohl appears to like to make the "the claw" with his hand during press conferences.


In this week's scouting effort I wandered over to  Here are my notes from scouting the opponent's fans:
  • There is a 34 page thread on tickets to the Gopher game. 34!  They're coming...
  • Another thread is entitled "Sounds Like These Girls Want Some Type Of Rumble At The Fairgrounds?"  Some knob going by "Bison Up" found his bizarro knob twin on that goes by "supadupafly".   
  •  Many posters reference the Gophers as the "Goofs".  Stay classy, middle of nowhere land.
  • Gebhart and Eaves are out for the game.  I'm not sure if they're part of the halftime entertainment or players. (I guess it's a rFR Wide Receiver and a SR Free Safety)

Gebhart and Eaves Play the Classics

  • BisonNeil posted that the Gophers have a formidable rush defense and I choked on my adult beverage.
  • A few Bison faithful are posting as they make the drive to Minneapolis.  #respect
  • Burke42 is in Section 105 - row 8 - 4 seats.  We'll need to have this guy removed.  Here's a link to find out if there are Bison in your vicinity
  • "As of September 17, NDSU is rated 65.10 (89th out of 246 teams) by Jeff Sagarin and UMN is rated 61.28 (110th). The home team gets 3 pts in his system to predict who should be favored, thus, NDSU is basically a one point favorite in the game, for what that is worth."  Oh crap.
Zombie Bronko Rating

Brock Jensen Hip Thrust

The Gopher defense hasn't shown much at all this year, which leads one to believe the Bison will be able to score the ball.  The question is can the Bison defense slow down Marqueis Gray and Donnell Kirkwood?   We should get to see a lot of smash mouth type football and we'll see if the little guy can once again beat up the big oaf.  This is a 2.5 Zombie Bronko matchup, similar to the Miami Redhawk game last week.  It's a game  the Gophers should and could win, but they need to make plays.  NDSU has played two FCS cream puffs so far this year. QB Brock Jensen and RB Sam Ojuri shredded their opponents. DJ McNorton appears to be a goal line back type with 3 TDs in the two games, but not a ton of carries. Warren Holloway leads receivers with 3 TDs and 10 receptions.  The defense has amassed 10 sacks and 2 interceptions in the two games.

1/2 Zombie Bronko

Three Days Later Live Blog - Miami (OH) Edition

Also the six days later edition. I was in charge of it this week, while TRE was on the oxygen tank getting his breath back. A combination of epic drunjery and laziness made my first foray an epic fail. Enjoy my suckitude:

8.41 drinking beer 1. A hamm's. Too Short rapping. Still hammed from last night. Whaaaaaa! Kevin (meaty beans) doing wife check already. Bad omen.

9.05 Meaty Beans cooking. Subwoofer in trouble. It may be a hip hop treble party. SFTG is packed.

9.10 Hamm's is like esophageal gonorrhea.

9.23 first other tailgaters showed up. Interest seems to gave waned in the program. Weird.

9.49 realized I forgot the goldschlager. Failure for life.

10.28 TRE, who will be drunk for the remainder of his short, short life "Oh, Hamm's!! Fuck!"

11.25 Jenga! It's way more fun when it's taller than the short players.

11.54 Douches come over. Want to choke slam badly.

12.50 Drunken Jenna waaaay harder than quasi-sober Jenga.    Also, what kind of spray wears plaid slippers to tailgating?

1.05 Penn St losing. To Temple. That may actually be happening or I could just be effing bombed.

1.34 great times holding the f-in tent good food great playlist X

2.12 Headed to stadium. #blackout

2.58 Tied up. We can take teh lead.

3.33 3 and 3 here we go. And...awful. Here we go for a fg.  Yay.

3.54 And here it is before teh half.

4.28 Drunk. Driving well [the Gophers, not me, you guys]. Too drunj to know better.

4.30 Awful call. Fouling see it coming

4.31 Hawthorne has to make this

4.36 10 yards, he's a red. A filthy, commie Szerbiak.

4.40 and we're losing. GD it.


4.48 and we're driving.

4.49 and we're winning. Holy effing shit.

5.06 and we're still winning

5.07 and we're not losing. Effing eff.

5.11 And Gray apparently overthrew him. Eff.

5.18 Hello security guard. nwork, iceman

5.21 great catch by Harwell. Won't bet against him in teh future.

5.22 Lewis. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck

5.24 that is totally something that happens to the Gophs

5.25 F my m effing life. Eff. Eff. Eff.

5.27 eff. We has teh ball. No one believes.

5.29 Kirkland.

5.30 huge huge huge

5.31 awful awful awful awful

5.34 eff. Eff. Eff. Eff. Eff. I just want to win. Win.

5.37 kill me with a hammer

5.39 eff my life on our defense

5.41 eff me

5.42 and per the norm, the QB rushes for greatness.

5.50 if they score here, i'm diving off the roof of the stadium

5.52 ugh. We win. Holy eff. Exhausted.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday Sonnet - Now on Monday!

A win is a win, we'll take it for sure,
MarQueis was the man, #QBGAZE in doubt.
Our D was not sparkling, offense not pure.
With game on the line though, our pass D was stout.
After the Aggies, I'd given up hope,
And spent last week drinking, drowning in swills.
I became a cutter, slicing to cope,
Then hit 'Tuss, glue and meth, all for cheap thrills.
Big plays were sweet, crapped my pants at the end,
Now Bison come to town, hide the children.
Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, a beautiful land,
Zoophilic 'Sconnies are closest brethren.
Enjoy this week, as we'll likely lose next,
I'll drink self to death, please send wife a text.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zombie Bronko Nagurski vs. Miami Red Hawks

Early in 1933, wrestler Tony Stecher, who managed his wrestler brother Joe, convinced Bronko Nagurski to try professional wrestling. Nagurski made his debut in February and took only four minutes to pin his opponent, Tag Tagerson. Tony Stecher became his manager, and Nagurski began wrestling regularly, sometimes even during the football season.

This week's opponent is the Red Hawks of Miami No, not the fun place in Florida with the beaches and clubs. This place:

Which way to the beach?

Going into this week I was aware of two things Miami Ohio related. First, current quarterback Zac Dysert played as a freshman and did pretty well in spot start situations for my fantasy college football team. Second, Wally Szczerbiak played there before having a mediocre career in the NBA. I thought about matching up Zombie Bronko against Zombie WallyWorld, but then my buddy Swan informed me that Wally is still alive. My bad, Wally. Given my limited knowledge, I went back to the trusty internet for my information.

I would be remiss if I didn't include a Shannon Szczerbiak Pic

Instead of a blog, I found a Red Hawk football message board: Miami Hawk Talk Here's a list of things I've learned from the board:

  • "RedSea" says the Gophers could be looking at a 0-12 or 1-11 season.
  • Several posters including "redskins4ever" have noted that they should throw a lot against the Gophers. They're on to us!
  • MrG" fancies himself an Xs and Os guy. Uses words like "weak side" and "SAM".
  • There's a lot of gnashing of teeth over the Gold-Out. Gold-out video being called "stupid". "Muhawk" questions why a gold-out for an unranked non-conference opponent. Because we can, Muhawk.
  • The "predict the score" thread has two pages of homer picks and one rebel that picked Minnesota to win. "Elpalito" points out that has the Red Hawks winning 24-21. Oh crap.
  • Sounds like the Miami Ohio offensive line is on the small side. Does this mean the Gophers can finally bust through for a sack? Holding my breath.
  • There are numerous comments about how brutal their kicker is. This is definitely a plus if this game is as close as I think it may be.
  • DL Mwanza Wamulumba is likely out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Not sure if this guy is any good, but that's an all-world name. Try yelling it out loud; it's fun. MWANZA WAMULUMBA!
  • "We beat Minnesota on Saturday...straight the bet is a "lock." Your farms will reap great harvests...especially with all the added land you should acquire...This line having us at +5 is as close to a lock as you can get...." I imagine this guy looks and talks like Kane from Poltergeist. Come to the light, Carol Anne.
  • The last time Miami won in the stadium of a non-conference opponent was at Colorado State (41-21) on Sept 20, 2003. Since that time, the Red Hawks have lost 14 consecutive non-conference road games. IT'S A TRAP!
Typical MiamiHawkTalk Poster

Zombie Bronko Rating

This is going to be a tough opponent for the Gophers. Dysert can throw the ball for sure. This game would be a great time for the defensive line to step up and put on some pressure. Perhaps some madcap blitzing would help. I'm giving Miami a 2.5 ZB rating. By all accounts they are a better team than last week's opponent; and I think most of us are trying to forget what happened there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BroodBlog - Post-NMSU Catharsis

Shit. What a goddamned dumpster fire Saturday was, eh? Eff me.

At any rate, I think I’ve finally emerged from the permabrood enough to again become a ‘productive’ member of the blogosphere.  I’m still in uber reflective mode though, so eff off If you’re not interested in a pensive, stream-of-consciousness screed.

I’m just not sure where it all went wrong, both with the team and me. In my case, I felt like I did all the right things: I set a low win total for the season (between three and five); I bought part and parcel into Kill’s statements that the Gophers were lacking depth and talent at multiple positions and that it would be a long road back to respectability; I even calmed the hype of some casual fans who thought we were B1G contenders after a strong second-half showing against USC. Let’s see how they play this week, I said. The Gophers have a penchant for losing these sorts of games, I continued.

I didn’t really believe it, though. I mean, we’re talking about New Mexico Effing State. They’re awful, pathetic, a disgrace of a program…no way we lose that game. Derp.

I felt what a crack fiend must go through when he knows he’s got another eight ball wrapped up in a sock in the glove compartment, only to realize he smoked it in a Robitussin-filled bender the night before.  The fiend’s surety of pleasure that comes from freebasing that last rock of 95% baking soda is replaced with the knowledge that he will now have to blow dudes in a damp, dimly-lit back alley to get his next hit. Enough despair and regret to leave him a broken and bitter shell of a fiend. That’s how I felt at 6.30 on Saturday evening. Minus the blowing dudes, though, you guys.

Of course, all of that is my own fault. Based on the wins over Illinois and Iowa last year and the competitive nature of the USC game, I felt we were inherently better than NMSU: we had more talent, we had better coaches and we had all of the resources available to a BCS-conference school. Hubris won out over reason and I set myself up for abysmal disappointment when the upset was pulled.

So, finding my fault in the madness is pretty straightforward, I guess, in that I bought into the quark of hype around the program and got burned.

A bigger question, though, is where it went wrong with the team. Meandering through the Gopher ‘tronz over the last few days, blame has shot about like an errant jizzbomb. Reasons for the embarrassing result include: the coaching staff for dreadful play calling, the players for taking NMSU too lightly, MarQueis Gray for being indecisive, Tim Brewster for being Tim Brewster, the offensive line for ineptitude, Glen Mason for the 2006 recruiting class, TC the Bear, Maturi, the defensive line for historic ineptitude, NMSU being much better this year, the players for not caring, the student section for non-attendance, the CBs for playing with too much of a cushion and Raiden from Mortal Kombat.

Now, I don’t really have the expertise to opine on any of that stuff and most of the game was a drunken haze for me, so I’ll leave my thoughts at this. From top to bottom, coaching staff to kicker, the team looked awful on Saturday. The Gophers seemed ill prepared for the schemes NMSU threw at them, the fundamentals of blocking and tackling were poorly executed and the coaches made some very questionable decisions in key situations. Suffice it to say, there’s plenty of blame to go around to all members of the Gopher football organization.

There’s no excuse that makes a loss in that game acceptable. But it’s not the end of the world, either. We’re game two into the Kill regime so I reckon it’s a wee bit early to declare his tenure at Minnesota a failure. Other than brutally slaying the interest of casual fans like a hooker and the extermination of my liver from the post-game hatewaste, there really aren’t any negative long-term consequences from this loss. We all know the team has to get better and, frankly, we have no choice but to trust the coaches to make those improvements. Ain’t no one getting canned, regardless of how the team does the rest of the year, so we may as well just sit back, enjoy the tailgating and drink more if the pain becomes too intense to bear. And the next time I start to feel the slightest bit good about the Gophers, I’ll kill it with fire.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three Days Later Live Blog: Gophers vs NMSU


Man, what a weekend.  There were a series of things that went wrong on Saturday, but there were also some highlights (mostly not football related).  The Gopher's loss to the Aggies is most likely directly related to the fact that I forgot the Gopher flag for tailgating. I left it in my garage.  Sorry about that bros and broettes.

Per usual, we were the first truck to arrive in our Saint Paul tailgate lot.  Despite an exhaustive search (seriously, this probably should be a whole separate blog post), we chose to roll into the lot playing UGK - International Players Anthem (I Choose You) for the 3rd year in a row.  Check out this sweet SIMS version of the video:

When I pulled into our spot and parked I quickly realized and then announced that "I forgot the flag".  Swan bellowed a "NOOOOOOOO" that shook grandstand nearby.  Other than that though, tailgating went really well.  Giant Jenga was in play as well as the cornhole boards.  A lot of our old friends returned, including a group that gets a pretty big game of flippy (tippy?) cup going.  Our good buddy Lumpy who joined us for the game decided to get in on the flip cup action.  I'd like to apologize to all of the folks that were forced to witness the explosive vomiting that occurred shortly thereafter.  At least it was all beer.  Good times.

Let's go to the LIVE blog:

?:?? Late for kick-off as usual.

3:25 7-7, some questionable play calling by the Gophers.

?:??pm Pick by Queis, hate everyone. Also, Lumpy puked everywhere and is still at my truck with my keys.  (I know this is redundant but I think it's awesome that I was still thinking about it during the game)

3:29pm Wide open post for Aggie touchdown; crowd is silent.

?:??pm Worried about Gray: passes suck, no runs.

?:??pm  My brother says "they're a bunch of pussies" as they blow it on a 4th and 1.

?:??pm 20-7 Aggies, oh hell, we do suck.

3:44pm So effing HOT in the 105. (our section)

3:56pm Queis throws a pick right after the Gophers picked the ball off from NMSU?????


4:06pm TD just before half-time, mood improves, women dancing.

Swan's arm there on the right.

4:16pm 21-14 NMSU - text received from asking if we still got hope? Of course we do, traitor.  Shortly thereafter I sent DWG this vid (the uber loud guy is Swan):

4:24pm Not quite ready to dominate.

4:30pm Shortell in the game. (apparently due to more cramping what the hell?)  Sun is out, he runs a great zone read to kick off the second half.

4:56pm Crowd cheers for punt, apparently unaware we're getting crushed.

5:02pm Miserable pass defense by Rallis


5:03pm BS pass interference call on MN

5:19pm Brutal third down call, lob right, however pass on 4th down works!

5:42pm Kim (Royston) and Christyn (Lewis) all chick name safety unit in!

5:44pm TREbro makes his second call to the wife from the stands.  "No, I love you more schmoopy"

5:50pm 5 minutes left on the clock and Swan is telling me he's ready to go.  WTF?

5:51pm NMSU inexplicably passes with 2:14 left on the clock.

?:?? Minnesota at their own 10 with 2:02 left.  At the 28 wth 1:49 to go.

6:00pm Refs hate us.  4th and 10 with :20 left.

<end transmission>

This was where Coach Kill collapsed.  It was crazy eerie in the stadium; pure silence.  We were frantically working mobile devices.  I even went up and talked with our security buddy we affectionately call "The Iceman".  He said they were running to get the defibrillator.  How scary is that?  Props to @MVofDT for giving some info out via Twitter.  I'm sure everyone knows by now that he's fine and is expected to coach this Saturday.  The seizures have happened before and could (please no) happen again.  Let's get Kill and Queis IVs every half.  Who's with me?

This was an amazingly tough loss for this team.  To get beat so badly in so many phases was just painful; the secondary, the defensive line, the offensive line and running game.  And the drops! C'mon guys.  Hope springs eternal for a moron like me though and at least we have a sweet stadium and a great tailgate going, right?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Zombie Bronko Nagurski vs. New Mexico State Aggies

Nagurski was born on November 3, 1908 near the small Canadian border town of Rainy River, just across from International Falls, Minnesota. His parents, Michael and Amelia Nagurski, were Ukrainian immigrants and farmers; Bronislau was one of four children. Surrounded by wilderness and enduring long, cold winters, the brawny young boy loved the outdoors and athletics. He ran four miles each day to and from school.

Week 2 Opponent: New Mexico State University Aggies

The Aggies play in the WAC and in 2010 they were 2-10 with a 1-7 conference record.  In case you didn't know, the WAC is the conference that Boise State is in.  They get to mow through the likes of these guys and then complain that they don't have a chance at the national title game because the NCAA is too stupid to put together a little tournament. NMSU's last bowl win was an impressive 20-13 win over the Utah State Aggies in 1960.  Hot Aggie on Aggie action right there.

In 2010, the Aggies were last in total offense (yards) and in their first game against Ohio they managed a whopping 6 rushing yards.  Six!  Their sophomore quarterback, Andrew Manley did manage to throw for 362. Plus he's Hawaiian even though he's whiter than I am.

Andrew Manley, Hawaiian

This week I decided to do some reconnaissance on our opponent by finding a blog that follows them.  This was probably a terrible week to come up with this idea because there can't be any blogs that follow this historically bad program, can there be?  Luckily Teddy Feinberg of the Lac Cruces Sun-News has a blog.

Teddy gave us a few interesting tidbits in his blog to consider.  First, Senior WR Taveon Rogers apparently is an asset in the return game.  So much so that Tedder suggests that teams will kick away from him or squib kick.  As you can see in the 2010 video below, Rogers can be dangerous on the returns, so Jay Sawvel better have the coverage team prepared.

Apparently the NMSU offensive line sucked last week and they're looking at some big changes for the Minnesota game.  Snaps were an issue so, they're moving the dude that played center for them most of the last 3 seasons back.  Also a true freshman might see some time.  If there were ever a time for the Gopher defensive line to get some sacks, this could be it.  Teddy also points out weaknesses on the defensive line and the special teams (other than Taveon).  It would be great to see our offensive line grind this Aggie defensive line into a pulp.  Word on the street is that their sideline discipline blows too.

Zombie Bronko Rating

The line is floating around -20 points for the Gophers, so they're getting a lot of credit for last week's performance at the LA Coliseum.  On a scale of 1 to 5, this is a 1.25 Zombie Bronko opponent.  It would just take one angry, just crawled from his grave in International Falls, MN and shambled all of the way to TCF Bank Stadium Zombie Bronko Nagurski to beat the Aggies.  That and maybe a ZB arm reaching out from beneath the ground to trip up the running game and put on a pass rush. (All ZBs play both ways)  I assume to ZB, Hawaiian quarterbacks taste like pineapple. 

1/4 Zombie Bronko

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Three Days Later Live Blog: Gophers vs USC

So, Swan says to me last week, "We should do a podcast of the game!" 

After lolling I mentioned that was way too aggressive for our level of laziness, so I proposed we just sort of take notes and maybe record some live clips while we watch the game at the bar.  So, of course we never recorded any clips (maybe next time?), but I did managed to take some notes on my phone.  What follows are my notes from the hours of 11am to 6pm during Saturday's Gophers/USC tilt.

12:30pm  I remember that I was going to take notes.

12:40  Pat Fitzgerald, the Northwestern HC has a huge case of Cowher Chin Syndrome. He really juts that thing out there.

This is the closest pic I could find showing the CCS.

12:50  Time of first bourbon.  Maker's Mark...I ordered it neat to see what kind of pour they were doling out. It shows up on the rocks and the pour is weak.  It's still delicious.

1:15  Ohio State's Bauserman to Stoneburner connection is an epic name combo.

2:13  NW Soph RB Mike Trumpy absolutely eats a safety's shoulder and is KO'd. 

2:14  That same safety, RS Frosh Sean Sylvia comes up huge with a short yardage stop.  Gophers should trade for him.

2:15 38-35 Utah state. Aggies going to do this?

2:17  BC driving to tie...

2:19  Bc with :18 left. 3 shots at the EZ?

2:20  Qb gets mowed to end it. I suck at capping.(had BC -2.5)

2:25 TRE's Keys to the USC Game:
                     1.  Don't get lost in Matt Barkley's eyes.   (This dreamboat is deadly!)
                     2.  The Gopher Secondary should grow 2-3 inches each.
                     3.  Release MarQueis!

2:31 Trojan dude throws sword in field

Kick-ass Tevas, Dude

2:36  Kickoff oh fuck

2:?? Strange decision to kick by Gophs - first drive fail - might have been tipped.

2:50  3 tackles in a row for Vereen.  Good that he's making the tackles, bad that it means a series of completions.

2:54  7-0 USC. Puke (not a real puke, SGH?.com holds their liquor)

3:12 Du'ane looks quick for the first time in 3 years.

?:??  12-3 USC.  Gophers actually drive for a bit.  Fun.

?.??  19-3 USC, two consecutive incompletions for Matt, he's a man, not a machine.

4:33  Minnesota scores, 19-10!  I pour Swan a beer and spill all over his phone.

4:37 Discussion on how bad boxer beer is.

5:15 Queis may be dead, Gingerballs: activate. Jameson: activate.

5:16  Gingerballs slinging 

?:??  Gingy hysteria

Don't Touch Me!

5:23   Yd1  <--(Not sure on that one)

?:??  Notre Dame old guy getting  love.  (There was this creepy old dude dressed in all ND gear that was trying to make friends with everyone there. He buddied up with a table of gals here.)

5:27 Swan screams die in a fire

?:?? USC continues to not use Thierry (who?), their best RB. God Bless them.

5:32 Queis may return, but do we want it?

5:34 3 mins left, Gophs need a stop.  Waitress annoying us by saying she's leaving and giving us tab.

5:37 just 2:08 left and the Gophers have a chance to win. 19-17

?:??  Gingy throws a pick, but it's not a terrible pass.

19-17 final. Cover!

My T-Shirt Adjustment

Notes:  It looks like Senser's in Roseville is not the place to watch games if you're a Gopher fan.  There were maybe 10 Gopher fans there and a boatload of Nebraska and Iowa fans.(and one special ND fan)  It was a really weird vibe.  All in all, it was a fun game and an exciting finish.  You could already tell that this team is better coached as there where *gasp* halftime adjustments! Both the defense and offense buckled down in the second half and really made things interested.  Can't wait for next week!

Evangelizing Goldy - Post-USC Talking Points

Here's our take on the weekend's happening to help evangelize Gopher Nation/Gold Country/KILL Zone/47-years of Despair-ville. If there's one thing we've become good at, it's rationalizing our shortcomings. Use these fact nuggets and rhetorical questions to respond to the h8rs and convert the non-believers.
  1. Did you really think the Gophers would lose to USC at the Coliseum by two points, with a chance to win late. Did you really? If you did, I hope you pounded the Gophers +24 line to dust last week.
  2. The first half of the USC Game was a cluster, for sure. It reminded me of Brewsterball Redux as well. But weren't you impressed with the second-half adjustments that held the Trojans scoreless? When was the last time we saw coaching like that?
  3. Max Shortell looked really poised after Gray came out, didn't he? The Gophers may legitimately have two quality QBs. It's been a while since that happened, amirite? Still, Gray should be the starter, given his athleticism and familiarity with the offense. Still, it'll be great to see if Max gets a couple of series per game to continue his development. Can you imagine having to put a game plan together for both of those dudes?
  4. Yeah, no sacks and we didn't get much pressure on Barkley. But that was based more on USC's scheme than anything else. Lots of short passes and WR screens that allowed him to get rid of the ball in three seconds. Plus, Barkley is the most pro-ready QB we've seen all year and it was USC, after all. You think we should wait for a few weeks to declare a defensive line crisis? Me too.
  5. The Gophers play New Mexico state this week. They are a historically bad program, so it should be a pretty easy win. They did throw for over 300 yards in a home loss to Ohio last week, which means we should get a chance to see if our secondary and d-line have some potential. By the way, it's our home opener and there are tickets available. Will you stop by and play giant Jenga with us in the tailgate lot?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Sonnet - Valiant Defeat

Every Sunday, we'll hit you with a recap of the Gophers football game in the form of a sonnet. Here's the first installment:

The booze was smooth; the beer was cold as ice,
At Senser’s bar, we watched the Gophers play.
Gray fumbled once, it did not happen twice,
And Hacksaw fifty one did Trojans slay.
Bob Woods’ first half gave Barkley too much steam,
Though in the second half, their pride was cropped.
‘Twas close, but no cigar for Goldy’s team,
We fought them hard and Tailback U was stopped.
A moral victory is still a loss,
We’ll watch the film and make improvements soon.
In Kill’s first game, he showed why he’s the boss,
And gingerballs Shortell made cougars swoon.
The story of the game was we got beat,
But pride is found in valiant defeat.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zombie Bronko Nagurski vs. USC Trojans

Bronislau "Bronko" Nagurski was a former Gopher football star and a true American hero.  At TCF Stadium, he's in the Gopher Ring of Fame. He played for the Chicago Bears in the NFL and was the only player to be named All-Pro in three different non-kicking positions (FB, LT, DT)  He was also a successful professional wrestler, recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion.  Bronko was a 6'2", 235lb wrecking ball.  He has the largest ever recorded NFL Championship ring size at 19 1/2.  Bronko Nagurski's ghost still makes Chuck Norris wet his bed on occasion. Check out this story from Wikipedia:

"A time-honored and perhaps apocryphal story about Nagurski is a scoring gallop that he made against the Washington Redskins, knocking two linebackers in opposite directions, stomping a defensive halfback and crushing a safety, then bouncing off the goalposts and cracking Wrigley Field's brick wall. On returning to the huddle for the extra point try, he reportedly said: 'That last guy hit me awfully hard.'"

Bronko was so great back in the day that if he were reanimated his zombie corpse would be unstoppable.  Rather than eating brains he would destroy offensive lineman and tackle quarterbacks... then eat their brains. Each week we'll analyze the opponent and determine how many Zombie Bronkos (ZBs) it would take to defeat them.  Since Zombie Bronko is a holy terror from the underworld, even the best of teams would not be able to stand up to five ZBs playing both ways.  So we'll use a 1 to 5 ZB scale.

Zombie Bronko Poised for the Attack

Week 1 Opponent: USC Trojans

The Trojans offense is going to be very good in 2011.  They have one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Matt Barkley.  Matt is a golden haired angel that the ladies love and secondaries fear.  Zombie Bronko Nagurski would key in on Matt's beauty and it would be the first thing that his tortured soul would want to destroy.  Matt threw for 26 TDs and nearly 3000 yards in 2010 and those numbers are expected to increase for this campaign.  Sophomore Robert Woods is an incredible talent at wide receiver.  Gopher cornerbacks will struggle to keep up with him; but not Zombie Bronko.  Zombie Bronko would stand Woods up at the line while snapping at his neck like a turtle.  The offensive line has several unproven players alongside elite tackle Matt Kalil; so a an undead monster from the depths of hell should be able to find openings.

In 2010 the Trojan defense was in the neighborhood of the Gopher defense with regard to awfulness.  They allowed a whopping 3300 yards via pass.  Something called Nickell Robey is their best cornerback and TJ McDonald was first team all Pac10 as a safety. Now Zombie Bronko doesn't really have the ligaments for a lot of passing, but the ZB short passing game might excel here.  USC is shuffling around some linebackers and they have some young defensive lineman that look promising.  I would expect the zombie running game to have some opportunities to break off some big runs against this defense.

Zombie Bronko Rating

So, on a scale of one to five, how many Zombie Bronkos are needed to beat USC?  Well, despite USC being ranked #25, they can be beat and it would only take 3.5 Zombie Bronkos to do so.  What's a half a ZB you ask?  That would be a legless Zombie Bronko that lost his lower half in a wood chipper or a piece of farming equipment.  Legless ZB could still do damage in the trenches and you'd half to be careful lest he latch on to your achilles tendon.

Legless Zombie Bronko Still Very Dangerous

Good luck to the Gophers in their week 1 match-up!