Thursdays With Raider- World Champions


Raider Thoughts

In an attempt to write some things down for this week, my brain can only come up with basically the same sentence.

The Giants are World Champions (again).

The Giants are World Champions (again).

Sunday night after Sergio Romo completed a postseason where he didn’t give up a single baserunner–not just a hit, but a mere baserunner; stop and think about that for a moment vis a vis a guy like Mariano Rivera–I ran through the various things that could have stopped the run to this second title dead in its tracks.  Consider:

1. Melky Cabrera getting suspended.  Yes, I know, he’s been “blamed” for the reason why the NL and in turn the Giants got home field in the World Series, but everyone conveniently forgets that if Pablo Sandoval hits a fly ball off of Justin Verlander about 15 feet further, he’s the All Star Game MVP and not Melk.  Besides, Matt Cain was the winning pitcher for the NL anyway, so my guess is that national sportswriters need something to get clicks on their webpages and certain fan bases need something to whine about.  I’m looking at you, A’s Fan, Dodger Fan, and Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who threw a monumental temper-tantrum on Twitter after Sandoval was voted the All Star starting third baseman over David Wright.

2. The Dodgers buying up items in what has to be the most expensive yard sale in history from the Red Sox, including two annoyances to Giants and the faithful everywhere, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett.  Part of this is our own fault, because a few days before they made that deal, the Giants went out and decided to sweep them in a 3 game set at Dodger Stadium.  It’ll be kind of humorous to see them keep Beckett, Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford along with Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Andre Ethier and whoever will manage them after Don Mattingly runs his course.

3. Winning the Division Series against the Reds after getting beat to a pulp in the first two games and witnessing Buster Posey crush a grand slam in Game 5 off yet another Giants nemesis, Mat Latos.  Just like the NLCS ten years ago, Scott Rolen and Dusty Baker could do no wrong for the Giants.

4.  Barry Zito pitching the game of his career in Game 5 against the Cardinals.  I typed that sentence, and you read it.  I apologize for nothing.  There’s also the fact that Lance Lynn literally made a perfect throw to 2nd base in that game, and it was on like Donkey Kong from there.

5. The Kung Fu Panda hitting three home runs off of the best pitcher in the game.  This just doesn’t happen.  Not to Sandoval and certainly not to Verlander.  Not to disparage the Tigers, because I think they are better than they looked in the World Series, but I wasn’t terribly intimidated by a team that swept a Yankee team that is a shadow of its former self.  My advice to sports fans would be to just not watch ESPN from now until next August because it could inevitably be “all ‘A-Rod’, all the time”.

But really, I owe it to my sister taking a picture of my nephew Garrett in his first Giants t-shirt and hat and sending it to me before Game 5 of the Division Series.  Rally Garrett, as he shall now be known, did most of the lucky superstitious work from my end, so I’ll be more than happy to give him the credit for Title #2.

Here’s some other things to chew on:

–Say, have you noticed the mobile QBs that are in this conference?  Brett Hundley, Zack Maynard, Keith Price to some degree.  Well, that gives me some major hope with Travis Wilson.  He can take off and escape the pocket for positive yardage, he has a good arm…he’s Brett Elliott, but taller.

–I’m going to mention for the 75,000,00th time how much I love this conference.  UCLA beats an Arizona State team that dismantled our defense, USC couldn’t score fast enough to beat Arizona, and Oregon State loses in Seattle–or, as I’m assuming you will put it, “thereby giving the Huskies a transplant back to 1991.”  All of that happened in the span of several hours on Saturday.  Perhaps I have a short memory, but I don’t remember this happening as often in the Mountain West.  Or it could be that such unpredictability didn’t really matter as much back then?

–Reggie Dunn running back two 100 yard kickoffs is great and all, but there is one particular set of records I would like to see smashed and that’s the roughly 700 passing records that Scott Mitchell still has at the U.  I don’t have anything against Mitchell, and unless you’re a Detroit Lions fan, I’m sure he’s a pleasant fellow.  But can we find someone in the not too distant future who can throw for at least 9,000 yards in a career?

–When it comes to adults wearing Halloween costumes, I tend to fall on the “nay” side of it, but I’m not beneath costumed humor and any time Bama fan gets to be lampooned, I’m all in favor of it:

I will now finish by giving the Internet this opportunity to make fun of the Kansas City Chiefs:


Since the Angels decided to have the worlds slowest start and then the damn A’s kept winning regular season games only to lose post season games, this was another hard baseball year for me.  But as baseball teams go, I find the Giants very unoffensive, so good for you.  And this one was unexpected so that has to feel extra good.

But to talk about the Dodgers for a moment,  it’s rare when a franchise manages to destroy itself in the way the Dodgers did.  If you go back to the late 1980’s early 1990’s, L.A. was truly a Dodger town.  I mean they would front run with the Lakers and other things would pop up, but the Dodgers were the one thing you could always talk about.  To wreck that to a point where the Angels have serious thoughts about taking over the entire city.  WOW.

I’m not sure even Magic saves that.

As for the Pac-12/MWC difference.  I think what we were seeing was the BCS money really taking its toll on other MWC schools.  We managed to survive somehow (thank you St. Urban).  But the talent disparity started to become so much, that the lower schools couldn’t over come the big schools.

Here in the Pac-12, 10 of the teams, and I’m including us, could beat almost everyone else, (ok maybe not Oregon) given the right set of mistakes and circumstances.  It took so much more to cause an upset in the MWC.  It has also shown us how important playing mistake free football is.  You can’t overcome mistakes in the Pac-12.

Right now, I think Travis Wilson is the most talented QB coming into the program ever.  He certainly has a better pedigree than even Alex.  So seeing what he can do with it will be impressive.  That being said, the two freshmen coming in would have been the starters for Utah in most year in the history of our program.  It’s hard to believe at one point our QB’s were T.D. Crowshaw, Lance Rice and Darnell Arceneaux.


Washington v. Cal

Raider Thoughts

I’m going out on a limb here and state that Cal is dead on arrival from here on out, so let’s set up a possible bowl scenario: if the Utes and Huskies finish at 6-6, will it come down to next week’s game to determine who will end up in a bowl game?  Or will it be entirely possible that Oregon going to the title game nullify any either/or situation?  Also, looking ahead a little, Keith Price still strikes me as a guy who can give the Ute defense trouble.  What say you?

MAC Thoughts

Will the Pac-12 have more eligible teams than bowl slots?  If it’s to go someplace like the Pointsettia Bowl or the God forasken New Mexico bowl, I have to think Utah would get that bid as Husky fans simply aren’t going to go to one of those bowls.  I mean Husky fans still like to think they’re above that sort of thing, and in the Pac-12 we’re country come to town.

Stanford v. Colorado

Raider Thoughts

For your weekly dose of CU schadenfreude, the Buffs rank a stellar 119th in the country in points scored this season (18.9).  By the way, that’s a word you need to use more often in this blog.  I know you knoit, just make it happen.  Anyway, since I have failed to do much in the way of gambling prognostications, you’d take Stanford at -28, right?  (Insert entertainment purposes disclaimer here).

MAC Thoughts

I hate to hate on CU because my wife was a nanny to their head coaches kids about a decade ago, and I so rarely have hook ups anymore that I’d hate for it to go away.  As for the giant point spreads, they’ve been killing Mandi all season.  What do you do with a 47 point spread.  As for 28, Stanford didn’t score 28 against Wazzu, not that that means anythings.  In short I’m a bit gun shy.

Oregon v. USC

Raider Thoughts

Humor me for a minute while I concoct a scenario where Oregon loses this game.  Silas Redd getting 100 yards while Matt Barkley stays upright most of the night and completes a whole bunch of 3rd and somewhat longs to Marquise Lee and Robert Woods andthe Ducks are down a touchdown late in the ballgame.  Do the Ducks comeback and win and keep the hopes of all of America to slay the Bammers?

Mac Thoughts

Maybe it’s my hatred of Alabama that I’ve talked about this week but I have to believe this Oregon team is a team of destiny.  One that plays defense and can do all the things to win.  I can’t like in a world where we have to depend upon K-State or God Forbid Notre Dame stands between the Bammers and another crystal football.

Arizona v. UCLA

Raider Thoughts

I have to think that the Wildcats are playing so well offensively (Matt Scott is closing in on 3,000 yards passing this year, by the way) that it could spell trouble for UCLA.  However, I’m not going out on as big of a limb as I did with my Washington/Cal paragraph when I say there will be a whole bunch of points scored.  Consider as well that both of these teams average more than 500 yards per game in total offense.  Averaging, let alone achieving, that many yards just seems about as likely as putting a man on Neptune.  Just hard for me to wrap my head around it.

MAC Thoughts

First, I must confess I’m an Arizona season ticket holder so maybe I’m sipping Kool Aid all over the place.  But think about this.  If Oregon Beats USC and Arizona beats UCLA.  If Arizona wins out they are Pac-12 South Champions.  To win out, after UCLA they have Colorado at home, at Utah, Arizona St. at home.  If Oregon St. collapses, Rich Rod has to be coach of the year right.

Arizona State v. Oregon State

Raider Thoughts

OSU is favored and by all accounts, they probably ought to be.  SCody Vaz will start for the Beavs, and I’ll defer to you as to whether or not there’s enough Beaver Belief remaining for you to say that they’ll get to 10 wins and the Holiday Bowl bid thatas a Ute fan for a while now, I have coveted since the 1994 season. 

Mac Thoughts

Now the Washington game might have caused me a moment of concern.  Here is the question, is it just Washington being awesome at home.  Was it a mistake to go to Mannion.  Or has OSU been a bit of smoke and mirrors.  If OSU drops this one, I’m off the Beaver Juice.

Washington State v. Utah

Raider Thoughts

Oh, boy…I know you have written here that WSU has kept their losses relatively close.  But Mike Leach made a very telling comment about Wazzu’s team and in particular their seniors.  He said (paraphrasing) “that a lot of the seniors have quit on this team…which is why we had to build a youth movement”.  Does that concern you at all?  For this year and any other time we have to play the non-Zoobs after this season?

As for the Utes, keep on keeping on offensively and force turnovers.  It seemed to work with every other victory this year, why not this one?

MAC Thoughts

That seems like a dick move by Leach, at least to me.  I mean those seniors have put up with a lot of crap at Wazzu and then to just be pushed aside.  There is something similar in Ute hoops how Larry kind of crapped on almost anything that was attached to Jim Boylen, (unless it was at least 6′ 10″).  And now that he’s got his own guys, he’s not a complete asshat.  I think it’s a terrible way to coach just terrible.  Frankly it makes me question everything about this Leach move being a good idea.