Friday, December 20, 2013

TGIF Tidbits

*Greetings and happy Friday!

*We start today with an absolutely filthy game-winning goal by Casey Johnson of Grand Forks Central.

The best high school goal I've seen in person

*It's not everyday a ESPN anchor tweets about a high school goal.
*Not only was it to beat rival Red River, Casey said it was the first time he's beaten Red River in ANY sport in high school.

*It was the first time Central beat Red River in hockey since 2011. Red River is not the same state champion it was last year. We knew that early in the season. I thought that with the Riders getting Aaron Sauve back in net for the first time of the year, they could hold off the Knights and that looked to be the case early with Red River going up 1-0. But the Knights fought back to score two straight to win it at Purpur. Congrats to the Knights.

*Speaking of hockey, the US women's team is playing an exhibition with Canada Friday night at the Ralph. Grand Forks will have the joy of watching two of their own with the Lamoureux twins.
*Here the twins are practicing those "one-timers" that the WCHA is all too familiar with.

*Warroad native Gigi Marvin also returns to the area sporting the red, white, and blue. Marvin will be playing as a defenseman, the position she played in "squirts"-Judging from when I interviewed her, she won't care, as long as she is playing hockey.

*I think it's neat that the Ralph gets to host a game, even if it is an exhibition. It was too bad the arena lost out on not getting a women's Frozen Four. It's too nice of an arena and the passion for hockey in North Dakota makes that unacceptable.

*WDAZ is having an online vote for "Team Of The Year"-The vote is between 15 area high school teams that  finished the 2013 calendar year as section champs or made at least the semifinals. In just three days, we've received over 7,000 votes!
You can vote here
*Thanks for the read and have a great weekend!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday Munchies-What a weekend for UND, Famous Jameis, WDAZ's Team Of The Year

*Greetings and good Monday to all of you, hope the weekend treated you well!

*It certainly treated UND well. Both men's and women's hockey teams completed sweeps. The women's basketball team beat rival NDSU to now make it four straight over the Bison with Bismarck native Madi Buck pouring in 37 points. The men's hoops team ended its losing streak with a win over Presentation on Sunday.

*Let's start with the big rivalry win for North Dakota over NDSU Saturday at The Betty. We knew both teams were evenly matched and that proved to be true. Both squads played very well in a very clean game that went down to the wire. The difference in the end was UND's Madi Buck. In what was an incredible display of shooting, Madi "Buckets" went 10-15 from the field, 5-6 from deep, and chipped in with nine rebounds. Certainly, not a bad day at the office. She also landed the "dagger" three when UND and NDSU were tied at 81 with just over a minute to play.

*Madi was the talk of the town but some of the chatter should include the name "Leah Szabla." The freshman from Brooklyn Park had 13 points on only six shots, nine assists, and five rebounds. For a point guard, that is a great stat line.

*The home team was tested going down by eight with seven minutes to go in front of a crowd of 2,261. But Brew's Crew responded and took over in the final minutes. Big win for UND.

*The UND men's basketball team got back to its winning ways with a beat down of Presentation. The UND fans usually stand until the opponent scores. Well, after UND went up 18-0, they gave up and just sat down. After falling in five straight games away from home, a 78-32 blowout win was exactly what the doctor ordered. UND gets South Dakota State at home on Saturday. That should make for a very entertaining game.

*The men's hockey team has now made it five straight. Sweeps over Western Michigan and Northern Michigan are exactly what the doctor ordered going into break. Dave Hakstol's team has a reputation of playing better in the second half of the season it's looking like that might be the case again this year. UND is finally starting to get some production from its younger players, the likes of Grand Forks native Luke Johnson. Although again unranked in the latest polls, UND is starting to claw its way back to where they should be.

                                       UND adds the finishing touch on the weekend sweep

*The women's hockey team also got a sweep this past weekend, this time over Minnesota State. That means the team, at 12-4-2, has got off to its best start EVER. It just shows how great of a job Brian Idalski has done since taking over the program.

*Speaking of women's hockey, the USA Olympic team will have an exhibition with Canada at the Ralph this Friday night. To add to that, the Lamoureux twins make their return to Grand Forks. This should make for a great night on Friday night. The Ralph should be packed.

*I was fortunate enough to have a vote in this year's Heisman. I had a lot of people agree with me as I had Winston one, McCarron two, and Lynch three.

*It does seem as the "glammer" of the Heisman has gone down for whatever reason. This year we saw six finalists, the first time in almost 20 years. Didn't matter for "Famous Jameis" as he won in a cakewalk.

*Within the next few days, we will reveal our list for the "WDAZ Team of the Year" Like the Heisman, it will be up to you to vote who the team is. List will be revealed soon.

*Have a good week all!

Friday, December 13, 2013

TGIF Tidbits

*Greetings and Happy Friday!
*We start with #ChuckThePigskin and the next Nick Saban, Chris McComas. If you're wondering who the heck Chris McCumas is, you're not alone.
*Just watch the link. Hilarious.
Chucking The Controller For Coaching
*My favorite part of the resume is the section, "What they are saying about me.."
"You are really good..."-Some random guy playing football online with PS3
"I like your new hair cut!"-My mom
And my favorite, "Hurry up with this damn PowerPoint and lets go to Starbucks." A guy I work with

*Can you imagine if this kid and McCumas got together and coached a team? They would never lose! #ChuckThePigskin #AnnexationOfPuertoRico #Domination
*As I said in the story, it would be a "Hail Mary" if this guy did get the job but the response around the UND community has been great. They too, like McComas, are having fun.
A pledge for Chris to come to Grand Forks
*All I know is, it was a blast to do the story and he has a lot of peoples votes in The Frozen Tundra.
*McComas says coaching isn't for him and if he saw the local forecast, he would say North Dakota isn't for him.
*I can't wait to go out in the Grand Forks nightlife and see someone rocking one of these bad boys. Classic.
*Have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Applicants For UND Head Coaching Job

Ian Shields
Jeff Mills
Bart Andrus
Bryant Soland
Kyle Schweigert
Michael Cummings
Norman Joseph
Ed Meierkort
Jason Kremer
Chris Stein
Todd Hoffner
Darrius Smith
Lane Powell
Joe Hagins
Howard Feggins
Sean Embree
Stephen Axman
Tony Coaxum
Lenny Doerfler
Michael Bath
Luis Rodriguez
Zach Shay
Chris McComas
Kevin Magouirk
Clyde Gregory
Jamie Marshall
Bruce Barnum
John Klacik
Glen Young
David Kenny
Vince Okruch
Bill Bleil
Anthoney Hill
Robin Pflugrad
Michael Markuson
Andrew Jordan
Larry Cole
Bob Connelly
Brian Bottenfield
Lacy McBeath
Maurice Drayton
Jake Moreland
Robin Ross
Robert Keys
Stephen Settle
Reg Trotter
Nick Calcutta
Ken Knapczyk
Efrain Martinez
Louis Esposito
Daren Wilkinson
Charrles Coe
Michael Kelly
Damian Mincey
Mario Felix
Doug Madoski
Jovan Dewitt
Ryan Held
Robert Lancaster
Eric Young
Robert Ianello
Nick Siciliano
Seth Wallace
Marcus Patton
Alex Pateras
Camm Richmond
Steven Smith
Dale Carlson
Larry Willis
David Taynor
Nick Garrett

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Munchies

*What a weekend it was for the Red River Valley. The UND men's hockey team gets its first sweep of the season at Western Michigan. The UND men's basketball team plays at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse while the women's team takes Minnesota to the wire. The biggest news coming from Fargo where after the Bison crushed Furham, it leaked out that head coach Craig Bohl is leaving for Wyoming.

*This was news that shocked all of the FCS world, not just NDSU fans. We knew the move was coming. When and to where were the question marks. Saturday night, we found those out.

*Although Wyoming doesn't sound "sexy" on paper, the chance to coach at an FBS school and have the CHANCE to play in a BCS game, is worth the move for Bohl. Yes, winning NC after NC at an FCS school is great. But there comes a time in a coaches career, as we've time and time again, where they have to move on.

*Bohl has done so much for the program, NDSU, and Fargo. Did anyone ever see GameDay coming to Fargo? You would be lying to yourself if you said yes. Did anyone see NDSU going back to back at the FCS level, say 15 years ago. No. A lot of the Bison success, if not all of it, can be attributed to Bohl.

*It is too bad that the story leaked out on social media and not officially by NDSU. That is the age we live in, however. Bison fans should not be bitter by that OR THE TIMING of the move. As Gene Taylor said Sunday in his press conference, there is NO GOOD TIMING for something like this. Yes, it puts the Bison in a unique position as they go for their third straight title, in which Bohl will coach the rest of the way.

*Yes, I believe it will be a distraction. No, I don't think it will impact the team and their pursuit for a third straight title. We saw today, for example, with Bohl not making his weekly press conference, that it is already having some impact on the daily schedule. I believe this senior class is mature enough to get past the distractions and win it all in Frisco.
*Personally, I wish the best for anyone who served on the Solich staff at Nebraska. Bohl was fired as the defensive coordinator when the Husker program started to slip. Although the move seemed right at the time, Nebraska fans might look back and wonder if it was indeed the right move.

*While it was a noisy weekend in Fargo, literally (take a look of the decibel level graphic @NDSUAthletics tweeted out of the FargoDome on Saturday) all was quiet in Grand Forks.

*The men's and women's hockey teams were out of town as were the basketball teams. It was a big weekend for the men's hockey team as it finally got its first sweep of the year. If UND can take care of business at home this weekend against Northern Michigan, the team will have a ton of momentum going into the break. Momentum they need going into the second half of the schedule. It was nice to see UND get some scoring from the "young guns" including NCHC rookie of the week, Luke Johnson. The young players on the team are going to be the difference makers in whether this team can make another push at a Frozen Four. There is concern with the team even making REGIONALS but I think they get in, and as we all know, anything can happen.

*It is nice to see a UND goalie put together two nice games in a row. TRF native Zane Gothberg had a monster save to finish off the sweep and put the exclamation point on a good weekend. Let's see if those games can string into weekends.

*It was another tough test for the men's basketball team Saturday night in front of a national audience on FoxSports1. Although Butler won handily, I think UND proved some things. The biggest being they don't give up. I thought UND played decent in the half court which is not their game at all. Knowing that, I thought Brian Jones would throw on the press throughout. It wasn't until the second half when UND really tried to speed up the game by slapping on the press.

*North Dakota needs to learn a few things-How to get stops when they need them and how to get scoring when Troy Huff isn't dropping 30.

*Although it wasn't the result UND fans wanted to see, all these tough games do is help UND in March.

*It was a tough one to grasp for the UND women's basketball team who had rival Minnesota on the ropes at their house. It shows that Travis Brewster's squad can play with the "big teams" but it is hard to win when you struggle as much as the team did in the second half.

*The Heisman finalists were announced this afternoon and there are six finalists, the most candidates since 1994. Having a vote, I'm glad that all three on my list will be going to New York City.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

UND Travels To Butler, Visits Historic Hinkle

*Here is a quick preview before you watch the game on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m.
*This is the first meeting between the two teams and the first time UND has ever played a Big East team.
*Butler is 5-2 as UND is 2-4.
*Butler is averaging 73 a ballgame while giving up 67.
*Butler went 14-2 on their home floor while the Bulldogs are 229-34 at Hinkle in the last 18 seasons.
*Both Butler losses have come by two points, both at the Old Spice Classic.
*Although not ranked, the Bulldogs look as if they might be that typical "Butler" team that will make a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.
*Let's talk x's and o's-
*Butler posts a great one, two punch in Kellen Dunham(6-6 Sophomore) and Khyle Marshall(6-6 Senior) Both players are coming off great performances at the Old Spice Tournament where Dunham dropped 32 against Washington State(Averaged 20 in the three tournament games) while Marshall dropped 30 against the Cougars(Averages 17 PPG, 7 RPG)
*The Bulldogs are pretty top heavy with these two but also get plenty of production from 6-9 Junior Kameron Woods who averages 11 and 9.
*The question is, who guards these guys? I don't think UND coach Brian Jones plays zone because of Dunham's ability to shoot the three (Attempts almost 7 a game) I think probably Huff gets Dunham, Nash guards Marshall.
*Kameron Woods is going to be today's difference maker. UND has to find someone who can guard the big man. When UND traveled to Wisconsin, I thought Kaminsky would have a big game because UND didn't have anyone who could match up with the 7-footer. Luckily, Woods won't fire up any threes but North Dakota must find a way to limit him in the paint. Getting him in foul trouble would be huge.
*I don't think UND goes zone but I say Butler does. UND struggled big time against the zone when Pacific threw it at them in Oregon. I'm sure the UND coaching staff is anticipating zone and practiced against it all week. Although a good outside shooting team, UND cannot rely on the three ball today. Yes, if Huff gets hot like he did at Wisconsin, you feed him the ball and let him shoot it. But the green and white must find a way to break down the zone by swinging the basketball and getting penetration in the paint(this could help with getting Woods in foul trouble)
*North Dakota must be ready to play defense. Marshall shoots 55 percent from the field which is the staple of Butler basketball-work the offense, get high percentage shots. It would be nice if UND threw on the press to speed the game up as UND wants to see over 160 points combined, Butler would take 100 points combined.
*I think UND puts together one of its best games of the year. It doesn't mean they're going to win but I think it is close. Another thing to keep in mind is Butler is not a great free throw shooting team(65%) so if it does go down to the wire, I think it helps UND.
*I'll say Butler wins it 83-76 but I wouldn't be shocked if North Dakota pulls off the upset. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

T.G.I.F Tidbits

*Greetings and Happy Friday!

*We start with UND volleyball. On Wednesday, we learned that head coach Ashley Hardee resigned from his position after five years. This coming after he was placed on administrative leave Monday. It was reported that Hardee was the driver of a hit and run accident early Sunday morning in Portland, Oregon while his team was out there for the Big Sky Tournament. No one was injured and allegedly he and five of his players were on their way to the airport. There are still a lot of questions surrounding the incident but the details are starting to file in.

*Hardee's statement that the University released:  “I would like to extend a sincere apology to the program, the university and the community for a serious lapse in judgment." I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work at the University of North Dakota, and I thank the entire community for its tremendous support over the past five years.”

*Here is what the Portland State Vanguard reported:
"Officer Rominger responded to University Place Hotel at 5:05 a.m. and contacted non-student Patricia Sorensen, who reported a hit and run. It was learned by non-student Dave Krueger that the head coach for the women’s volleyball team from the University of North Dakota, William Ashley “Ash” Hardee, was responsible. Non-student Ellen Krueger told her father, Dave, that Hardee was visibly intoxicated and crashed a rental GMC Yukon into the Volkswagen Jetta before driving her and another to Portland International Airport"

*Story from WDAZ Sports
*Story from The Grand Forks Herald

*A source informed WDAZ Sports Hardee "probably should not have been driving" but would not elaborate. We don't know if the incident was alcohol related. Hardee did receive a DUI in June of 2012.

*I will say this: In my short time working with Hardee, (covering his team, interviewing him, etc.) he was always willing to cooperate. The players liked him and played hard for him. His success at UND cannot be ignored. 110 wins to just 44 loses. Three conference championships. The University's first Big Sky championship. The buzz around Grand Forks with the volleyball team this past fall was great. It is too bad, no matter the details yet to come, that it had to end this way.

*The UND men's basketball team is trying to get back on track as the green and white head out to the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
*If you're a true basketball player, this is where you want to play. Names like Wooden, Robertson, and Bird all laced up the sneakers and put it on the line in the barn. The movie "Hoosiers" was filmed there. The state of Indiana bleeds hoops and this place is the heart of that. With all the tradition, Butler has had some recent success of it's own, you know. Two straight runner-ups. A fantastic coach in Brad Stevens. Players such as Gordon Hayward, Matt Howard, and Shelvin Mack. UND might be a little starstruck when they play tomorrow. 
Coach Brian Jones needs to do this

*I think this is the game where UND puts it together. The win over NDSU was great but it was the perfect trap for UND. The team was getting pats on the back all week leading up to the tournament out in Oregon and it showed. Some North Dakota fans were drinking the green kool-aid a little too much saying that UND WAS GOING TO SWEEP in Eugene. They did not win a game. The squad looked much better against Oregon and in the first half of Pacific than they did in the Cal Poly game. Pacific might have found the weak spot of UND and that is the zone defense. UND has a lot of players that can take you one on one but now they need to learn how to play as a unit because you can bet zone is going to be thrown at them. UND can take another note from "Hoosiers"
How many passes?! Four! 

*I think regardless of the struggles against the zone, coach Jones is happy where his offense is. He is NOT happy with his defense. The squad is giving up almost 84 points a game and it they do want to make the tournament, they have to learn to get stops and turnovers. Preview of the game coming sometime soon. Game is at five on Fox Sports 1.

*Hopping on the ice-The UND men's hockey team is in desperate need of a sweep. They get that chance tonight and tomorrow at Western Michigan. North Dakota has yet to get the brooms out this year and I think they do it this weekend. Two wins gets them back to .500 and I think coach Hakstol and the players would take that going into the break at this point. UND has to get these conference wins for later in the season and after the "all-players" meeting they had this past weekend, the light switch might have flipped on. Let's hope so. 

*One thing that we are pretty sure about-The East Grand Forks boys hockey team is the real deal. Tyler Palmiscno's Green Wave are 4-0 and have only allowed one goal. They are also in the driver's seat to win the Gambucci Cup after beating Central and Red River by a combined score of 8-1. They look like the favorite's to win Section 8A and get back to "The X" and with St. Thomas now in AA, who knows what can happen.

*To get ready to cover high school wrestling, I think I'm going to watch the top ten wrestling movies out there. Here they are, one thru ten. 

*This is just ridiculous.
*Have a good weekend everyone and bundle up!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beatdown Of The Bison-What We Learned

*In one of the biggest basketball games EVER in the state of North Dakota, the Betty was rocking as UND knocked off rival NDSU, 95-77. Here are a couple of exclamation points.

Troy Huff landing the final punch to the Bison
Jaron Nash landing on the runway after taking flight
*Herald sports writer Tom Miller had an article not to long ago warning fans to get comfortable at the Betty. He was right. With the new way college basketball is being called with the hand checking fouls, we saw 57 fouls yesterday. 57!! Although the fans are groaning, UND was 33-41 from the charity stripe. Anytime you can sink 33 free throws, you put yourself in the drivers seat to win.
*As I pointed to in my last blog entry, the game was about free throws and the players who were fouling. NDSU coach Saul Phillips saw four of his players foul out making the Bison go deep into their bench. At the end, they didn't have the horses. The UND bench was sensational scoring 27 points and giving rest to the starters. Coach Jones hit on this saying it was nice having his starters go 26, 27 minutes as opposed to 32, 33. As any basketball coach will tell you, this does wonders for your team.
*Something else coach Jones liked? His team having a 14-9 assist to turnover ratio while holding NDSU to a 4-11 assist to turnover ratio. Although that stat might be skewed by the offense the Bison were running in the second half (Letting Taylor Braun go one on five which was very efficient) that makes has to make a coach pleased.
*I thought Troy Huff might have a down game but the hot shooting from the senior continued. The line on the scorers sheet is beautiful: 8-12 from the field, 3-6 from three, 13-17 from the line, 32 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes.
*We knew that Huff would have a great season but he is off to a sensational start. He is sixth in all of Division I in scoring at an even 29 points per ball game. Not bad going up against Wisconsin and NDSU, two teams expected to make The Dance.
*The great citizens of North Dakota now know who Jaron Nash is, if they didn't before. The TT transfer took flight for three dunks against the Bison making the Betty rock.
*The fans are going to drool over Huff and Nash and rightfully so. But the team's rock might be Aaron Anderson. When I think of Anderson, I think of this scene from Rudy. You're five feet nothing, A hundred and nothing. You know what else I see? A great point guard. Anderson's statline was also a thing of beauty, 3-4 from the field, 2-2 from deep, and 10-12 from the line. Anderson knows when to break, slow it down, and run the offense. Huff and Nash might be the transmission and the motor but Anderson is the driver.
*Looking at the tape, I was impressed with Jamal Webb playing the one spot. He also took command of the UND offense when they were forced to go half court. Despite going 1-5 from the field and not getting to the foul line, Webb had five assists and directed the offense well when he was at point. Nice to know UND can go Anderson, Webb, and freshman Quinton Hooker at the point.
*Give credit to the UND big men for battling. The strength of the NDSU team is down low and despite being over matched, Salmonson, Calcaterra, and Traylor played great. Between the three, 6-12 from the field, 9-10 from the line and 21 points. Nothing sexy but UND fans will take it.
*I thought the atmosphere at the Betty was great. The place was packed and although whistle after whistle halted play, the place was rocking. Not every home game for UND is going to have such high stakes but I hope the fans who pack the Ralph every weekend will help pack the Betty because this team is GOOD.
*I stand by my prediction of UND making the NCAA Tournament and yesterday only boosted my confidence. Wouldn't it be a treat if BOTH teams from the Peace Garden State made the Dance? 
*With the men's hockey team struggles in the early going, is UND basketball getting more buzz around Grand Forks than the hockey team? If so, has that ever happened?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

UND-NDSU preview

*Well, here we go! In probably the biggest game EVER between the men's basketball teams of North Dakota and North Dakota State, we are set to see a dandy. Sure, these two have had some big games in the past but nothing can compare to this one. Why? Both programs are now DI...BOTH have a realistic shot at making "The Dance"
*The atmosphere will be fantastic tonight at the Betty..It might not register as the biggest crowd to ever see a game in the gym but it will be sold out and it will be the LOUDEST the building has ever reached.
*Bison fans will chant, "Let's play football." UND fans will chant, "Let's play hockey." How about we just play basketball.
*UND is coming off a strong showing against nationally-ranked Wisconsin and NDSU snapped a two-game skid when they knocked off Western Michigan. Both teams have momentum going into the matchup.
*I think this game goes down to the wire and with the new rule everyone at the coffee shop has been chatting about, this game could come down to free throws.
*We know UND has the guards..we know NDSU has the posts...and we know both teams are veteran.
*UND is going to try and attack off the dribble. If they can get Braun and Bjorklund in foul trouble early, that helps the green and white. Same goes for NDSU. If Braun and Bjorklund can get UND's big men in trouble, the Bison will see success.
*That being said, how are the refs going to call the game? Due to it being a heated rivalry, will we see a lot of fouls? I hope not. As Coach Boone said in 'Remember The Titans', "Let 'Em Play."
*Troy Huff was absolutely sensational in his return to Wisconsin. Sometimes after a great shooting performance like that, we see the player struggle the next game. If Huff is shooting like he did at the Kohl Center, it might be a long night for the Bison defense.
*Braun and Bjorklund might combine for 50 points tonight. If UND can keep them around 35-40 combined, they have a good shot.
*Game will come down to who shoots better from the line and what players get in foul trouble.
*My prediction: UND-69 NDSU-66 in a thriller.
*See you at the Betty!

Friday, November 22, 2013

TGIF Tidbits

*Greetings and Happy Friday!

*It is sad to see the high school football season end, as always, but what a year it was. It was a blast covering all the area teams and I hope everyone enjoyed the new show DAZ Football Friday. The show allowed us to make it to games where we never would of made it before and cover small schools, that in the past, may not of received as much coverage.

*One of those teams was the Bearcats of Kittson County Central. As part of the "8 In 8" promotion, KCC was put on the map and #BearcatNation did not disappoint. KCC had a great year. Here are some pictures of me and the KCC fans along the way.
 In the FargoDome after KCC knocked off Win-E-Mac with my own sign and fathead.
 In Bemidji as KCC beat Ada-Borup in a Winter Wonderland (Usually instead of "The Man" it's "The Idiot"
At the KCC pep rally I was invited to speak at. It was a blast.

*I never could of imagined a fan base actually making multiple signs with my name on it and a fathead of me but Bearcat Nation did. Trust me KCC fans, it was just as much fun covering you guys as you enjoyed the coverage. That goes for all the small towns we were able to cover throughout the year. I could spend 50 years in this business and I don't know if I will ever see more love from a fan base than that of KCC's.

*Last week, Cavalier tore through Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn in the Dakota Bowl 9-man championship, winning 54-6. Tornado senior quarterback Ryan Chrest had a Dakota Bowl record 377 rushing yards and one of the most impressive runs you will see. Filthy at the 2:00 mark.

*On Tuesday, the East Grand Forks girls hockey team beat Warroad for the first time EVER. The powerhouse that is Warroad is now 1-3. Uffda. The Green Wave are now a perfect 4-0. Could this be the year someone OTHER than the Warriors win Section 8A? It should be a fun year!
                                  *Doesn't ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ this look fun?

*On Sunday, UND and NDSU square off in men's basketball in what is sure to be a great one at the Betty(preview coming tomorrow) I fully expect to see some Bison fans with 'Better Call Saul' shirts in tribute to NDSU head coach Saul Phillips.

*I'm off to talk to the UND men's basketball team and we will have a preview tonight on WDAZ. Blog preview comes tomorrow! Have a good weekend all and stay warm!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wisconsin: What We Learned

*There is no such thing as a moral victory in sports, especially at the Division I level. But if you're the North Dakota men's basketball team, you have to be feeling pretty good after the 103-85 loss to Wisconsin.
*UND hung around early and actually led midway thru the first half. Troy Huff was absolutely on fire scoring 26 points in the first half en route to a career-high 37. But Huff was outdone by the seven-footer Frank Kaminsky. "Frank The Tank" was trending on Twitter and the top story on SportsCenter after dropping a school-record 43 against UND. "Kaminsky The UND Killa" could not miss. You figured with UND's lack of post play that the Badger big man could have a big game. No one saw him having a career game. Although the defense was not what coach Jones wanted, to hang around all game with a guy having a career game, UND had to feel pretty good on the bus ride back to Grand Forks.
*Although the defense was in mid-November form, the offense looked like it was March ready. Sure, Huff going off from deep helped open up the offense, but UND was able to drive in on Wisconsin and get baskets in the lane. We knew the strength of UND was driving to the basket and Tuesday night only encouraged that speculation. With UND's backcourt that Big Ten guards were having a tough time guarding, you can expect the UND guards to get to the basket at will in the Big Sky. This might mean a lot of trips to the free throw line, which is just fine for UND.
*Teams always talk about the "x-factor"-UND has one and his name is Jaron Nash. Nash did have some difficulty guarding Sam Dekker but that might be the best player he will guard all season. Nash was still able to get to the basket and score the ball. You could tell one thing right away when Nash "came off the bench" early on-Number one can play with the "big boys." Nash had 19 points in 24 minutes. Yes, the four turnovers are something that need to be addressed. But the athletic Nash looks like he has found his place with the team.
*More on Troy Huff. In a game that saw him play in front of about 20 family members and his mother and father, the guy went absolutely off. In maybe one of the most impressive performances EVER by a UND basketball player. 15-22 from the field, 4-6 from deep, and nine rebounds. Even Norm Dale would be tickled. After the game, Huff seemed very upbeat about the performance and where his team is headed.
*UND has the Bison on Sunday in what is going to be an absolutely great game in a great atmosphere at the Betty. Preview in a later blog.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why UND can beat Wisconsin

*No one just waltzes into the Kohl Center and wins, especially when you're a Big Sky team and I'm not saying UND is going to beat Wisconsin tonight..but there is a chance. So you're telling me there's a chance. Yes, Mr. Christmas, although the Big Ten Network will probably refer to North Dakota as NDSU or the "Fighting Sioux" five times tonight, UND has a shot at the Badgers. Here is why-
*Veteran Leadership: UND is a veteran squad, the muscle of the team. Between Troy Huff, Aaron Anderson, Jamal Webb, Josh Schuler, the green and white should not be rattled by the Kohl Center crowd of 17,000. They have been to Madison before, losing their freshman year. They have been to the Octagon of Doom. They have seen "big time" crowds. Now they must play well in front of one.
*Newcomer Nash: This is a big night for Texas Tech transfer Jaron Nash. If I had to guess, he will be the one guarding 6-7 sophomore Sam Dekker. Dekker should be All-Big Ten this season and probably an All-American by the time he steps off the Wisconsin campus. Nash is 6-8 and athletic meaning he might be the one who is called upon to shut down the Badgers best scorer. The Waterloo East grad showcased his skills at the Betty when he threw down multiple dunks. UND needs some of those tonight. If Nash can limit Dekker and score some buckets of his own, this gives UND a great shot.
*Three Point Threat: Speaking of shots, UND has proven they can shoot the three. They need to tonight. Wisconsin has held its opponents to just 22% from long range, giving up only an average of only three long-range shots a game. The way UND is built (very guard-oriented), they need to knock down 10-plus against the Badgers. If UND shoots well, they will stay in it. If not, it could get ugly..and fast.
*Style Of Play: UND needs to play their style of basketball...the old Wooden strategy comes into play here in concentrating on what you're doing, not what the other team is doing. Wisconsin will want to play half-court all night. If they do that, Wisconsin will win by 25. If UND can get out and run, they have a great shot to keep this thing close. To do that, they will have to play good defense to force missed Wisconsin shots. Rebounds lead to fast breaks, fast breaks for UND, leads to points. UND will probably need 70 to win.
*Drive The Ball: UND is great at driving to the hoop. They need to do that well tonight. Why? They (A) Need to get to the free throw line and (B) get the 7-footer, Frank Kaminsky in foul trouble. Kaminsky is having a breakout year and has the potential to be all-conference. UND has limited numbers in the post and has to get, has to get Wisconsin in foul trouble.
This begins a brutal stretch of tough opponents for UND-Wisconsin, NDSU, the Oregon Tournament, at Butler. Uff-da! This is a great chance for coach Brian Jones to see where his team is and a nice little appetizer for NDSU!
*My prediction is in the ballpark of Wisconsin-75 UND-61.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

GameDay in Fargo, Lets play hockey, UND reeling

*Welcome back sports fans..
*What a day it was for North Dakota State and the city of Fargo last Saturday as ESPN's "College GameDay" headed to The Frozen Tundra.
*First off, it was crazy that GameDay even came to "The Peace Garden State"..but why not? The "BiZon" deserve it and so did Fargo and the state.
*When ESPN announced that Herbie and the boys were headed north, it was a question of where it should be held..on campus..or downtown? They chose downtown which raised blood pressure for some. Some NDSU fans wanted to have it in the dome or somewhere on campus. Ridiculous. Here's the thing. The show has been to Death Valley, College Station, Ann Arbor, Lincoln, etc. Places that know a thing or two about tailgating and football. I'm not saying that Bison fans don't know how to tailgate and to play football, because they clearly do. But ranking the NDSU tailgating scene to Alabama's is like the two squaring off in the actual game of football.
*ESPN knew what they were doing the entire time when they announced that it was going to be downtown. Feature the small-town USA feel(even though Fargo is not a small town) and show off Fargo's beautiful downtown.
*As most of us assumed, Bison fans came in flocks to be part of the show. Countless tweets and comments during the show, complimented the fans and the city of Fargo over and over, also adding that they will be back. Not sure they will be back year after year but the nation now knows about NDSU football(if they didn't before)(which they probably didn't)
*Text from a buddy in Iowa-"Is GameDay seriously in North Dakota? Is this real life?"
*Today the Grand Forks Herald had its UND hockey preview. If you haven't picked one up, do so. Fantastic stuff.
*It's no secret that UND loses a huge senior class with the likes of Kristo and Knight(two Hobey Baker finalists) now fighting for spots with the Rangers and the Flames. UND enters its new conference, the NCHC, which has created a buzz around town. The conference is loaded. Miami, Denver, UND, CC, Omaha, and the list goes on. We are going to see a lot of .500 teams that could win other conference's.
*UND is at Miami the 18th and 19th of October giving fans an early taste of what to expect for fans. Although Minnesota and Wisconsin are not on this year's schedule, this winter's slate serves up a lot of great weekends.
*The UND football team sits at 1-2 after their bye week with yet another ranked opponent coming to the Alerus Center. Montana State, another team reeling after a loss to SFA, visits Grand Forks for the first time since 1983. He is questionable, but more than likely, All-American quarterback Denarius McGee will not play.
*It's no question-UND must win one of these big games if they want to make the playoffs. The magic number seems to seven for UND if they want to make the playoffs. Technically, they could lose to Montana State and Eastern Washington, run the table, and get to seven. But is that good enough to make it into the postseason? They need a good win and hopefully for UND fans, it can come this Saturday against a beat up Bobcat team.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fear The FCS, Happy For Bohl, UND

*Welcome back football fans..
*Feels good to say that!
*What a weekend it was for the FCS! First it was NDSU Friday night and then it was Eastern Washington Saturday night. All in all, eight FCS teams knocked off FBS teams over the weekend. Not bad for the "little brother" of college football.
*The North Dakota State win over Billy S and the boys in Manhattan was incredible. The Bison won that game, Kansas State did not lose that game. Big difference. Head coach Craig Bohl could hardly enjoy it as it seemed that he was on every sports show over the weekend. Well-deserved. I'm so happy for Bohl. Manhattan hasn't treated Bohl well. Bohl served as Nebraska defensive coordinator for a few years before the entire NU coaching staff was let go in a matter of two years.
*The link below makes me sick to my stomach.
Still have nightmares
*Remember when this wasn't a penalty?
*In '02, the last gas for Bohl and many Husker coaches roaming the Nebraska sidelines, Kansas State kept scoring on Nebraska when the game was well out of reach. For many years of Nebraska crushing Kansas State, I'm sure it felt good for EMAW Nation. 
*Forgive me of my Husker rants..all in all, I'm happy for Bohl.
*NDSU was trending on Twitter all night and I'm sure the Bison party lasted well into the weekend..and rightfully so. If fans didn't know about the back-to-back FCS champs, they do now.
*Eastern Washington kept the party going when the Eagles strolled into number 25 Oregon State and walked out with a dub. EWU QB Vernon Adams only went for over 500 yards and six touchdowns. He visits the Alerus Center October 12th for UND's homecoming.
*Let's put it this way: B1G commish Jimmy might be on to something when he said he doesn't want his conference playing these smaller schools. Luckily, I've know both sides of the spectrum..absolutely nothing can come of these games with the FCS teams. Nothing. You win, you did your job. You lose, you're the laughing stock of college football. Especially with the BCS gone and a playoff format among us, the strength of the non-conference becomes vital. Here's the thing: With these FCS teams in Dennis Dodd's power rankings, shouldn't the playoff committee consider some of these teams good competition. Food for thought. Fear The FCS
*One team that is trying to make that jump and become a household name in the FCS is UND. They will have a chance to make a splash this weekend when they host seventh-ranked South Dakota State. UND opened up the season by throttling Valpo 69-10. What we learned: Not a lot. We were just reminded that wide receiver Greg Hardin is very, very fast.
Highlight video of UND-Valpo
*The green and white have their work cut out for them. South Dakota State is good. Real good. When they're not handing it off to their All-American running back Zach Zenner, quarterback Austin Sumner is slicing defenses through the air.
*UND knows what's on the platter this Saturday night. From what I can gather, the program needs this win. Mussman needs this win. More on UND throughout the week.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Rest of my top 25

*Welcome back sports fans
*I know you've been losing sleep so here is the rest of my top 25!
16. Florida-Head coach Will Muschamp is coming off his best season at Florida. The Gators saw only one loss in the regular season and could have easily been playing for the Natty title. The loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl put a sour taste in the Gators mouth heading into this year. The team returns quarterback Jeff Driskel and a great wide receiving corps. The biggest questions we find, are on the defensive side of the ball. Only a handful of starters return on that side of the ball, a defense that was lit up by Teddy Bridgewater. Not a huge concern as Bridgewater lights up a lot of defenses. The schedule is challenging. Very challenging. At Miami, at LSU, at Missouri, at South Carolina. Home against Tennessee and Florida State. If Florida splits there, I would call it a win.
Regular season record: 9-3

15. Michigan State-I’ve been sold on this team all off-season. Mark Dantonio is coming off a tough 7-6 season last fall but returns a lot of talent that could take the Spartans to new heights. The talk around Big Ten Country has been the qb spot. It was just assumed by the general public that senior Andrew Maxwell would get the job. Maxwell started all 13 games last year but didn’t put up the numbers Spartan Nation wanted to see. Enter sophomore Connor Cook. Cook has put the pressure on Maxwell all summer but it was announced recently that Maxwell will get the start in game one against Western Michigan. Whoever is at qb, they will have a great offensive line in front of them. That’s the key this year for Sparty, the lines. Both the lines are in position to have great years. The Michigan State defense should be salty and the green and white should be undefeated going into a late September game at Notre Dame. If they can get past the Irish and a trip to Iowa City, that should set up a great matchup with rival Michigan in early November. That is followed by trips to Nebraska and then Northwestern, a possible split.
Regular season record: 10-2

14. Virginia Tech-We will find out what the Hokies are about right away in the season opener in Atlanta against Alabama. Do I see them winning this game? No. But I do see them coming back from it and reeling off  8-10 straight wins. Frank Beamer will rely heavily on his senior quarterback Logan Thomas. The duel-threat qb helped Va. Tech put up great numbers offensively last fall, but saw his defense get gashed through the air a few games. That must improve if the Hokies want to return to the Big Boy Bowls.
Regular season record: 10-2

13. Nebraska-Well, this is the season that Huskers fans hope it comes together for sixth year head coach Bo Pelini. The schedule is favorable as Nebraska has their best skill players since 2001. UCLA presents a threat early in Lincoln, but if the Huskers can win against the Bruins, they should be 8-0 heading into Ann Arbor. That’s where the schedule gets salty for senior quarterback Taylor Martinez and the crew. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa all follow a home contest with Northwestern. That’s five pretty tough opponents. By then, the Nebraska faithful is hopeful that the young defense has grown up.
Regular season record: 10-2

12. Florida State-Head coach Jimbo Fisher recently named Jameis Winston their starting if it was ever a question. Seminole fans are banking on the athletic abilities of Winston to take that next step and play for a national title. Many thought it would come last year but a one point loss and a late season loss to rival Florida put them in the Orange Bowl..where they stomped Northern Illinois. The offense will be good..real good. The defense will need to find some fillers up front, but if they can do so, this season could see the same success as last season. At Pitt to open up this Monday, and trips to Clemson and The Swamp..two very tough road trips for a freshman quarterback.
Regular season record: 10-2

11. South Carolina-The ‘Ol Ball Coach and the gang opened up the season last night in a 27-10 win over North Carolina. We expected a win like that. What we didn’t expect was Jadeveon Clowney sucking air while it seemed that the Heisman candidate was out of shape. He says it will come with time. It better come quickly, the Gamecocks play at Georgia two Saturdays from now. Shaw seemed to play well and they will need a performance like that when they face Georgia. I see this as a loss for South Carolina and another one late in the season.
Regular season record: 10-2

10. Louisville-It’s no secret for the Cardinals. They must run the table to be in the national title hunt. The regular season slate ends with a trip to Cincy on a Thursday. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is a Heisman candidate but this team reminds me of Boise State and the position that they were in for so many years. You need to destroy your opponent every week and even if you do, for 12 straight games, you still might not play for a national title. This team could easily go undefeated but I see them losing at least one game.
Regular season record: 11-1

9. LSU-The Tigers open up another season with a bang as they face TCU in Arlington Saturday. LSU also goes to Georgia and Bama but if there is any coach that can pull off wins such as, it would be Les Miles. You have to figure at this point that the LSU defense will always be also have to figure that there will always be a question mark at the quarterback spot no matter who is under center. This year, the plan is that senior Zach Mettenberger will be the one to get the job done.
Regular season record: 10-2

8. Boise State-The era is over where the Broncos come in and surprise people. Now, they’re just a top-10 contender every year. This year the blue will rely on quarterback Joe Southwick. Last year, Boise had some ugly loses..and some ugly wins. Although Washington isn’t expected to do to much, the Boise-U-Dub game is one to keep an eye on this Saturday. After that, a trip to Fresno might be the only game that presents the Broncos with much trouble.
Regular season record: 11-1

7. Oregon-The Chip Kelly era is over and Mark Helfrich might have walked in at the perfect time. The schedule is easy…really easy except for one guessed it, Stanford. They go to the Cardinal on a Thursday night in what will be one of the best games of the year in college foortball. If they can beat Stanford, they very well could run the table. Like LSU, you come to expect certain things from certain teams. With Oregon, it’s you know that their uniforms are going to be ridiculous…and that they will have a dynamic backfield.
Regular season record: 11-1

6. Clemson-They start the season with a tough game..they end the season with a tough game. In between, is Florida State. Those three games will define the Clemson season led by Tajh Boyd. Boyd could win the Heisman, especially if he leads the Tigers to a national title. I have Clemson up there as I think it all comes together for them this year. Out of those three I just mentioned, I see them going 2-1.
Regular season record: 11-1

5. Stanford-I find it impossible to hate Stanford. The defense should be locked and loaded this year to go along with a pretty good offense. The team proved last season that when the defense gives up a lot of points, they can overcome it by scoring more than the other team. I have the Cardinal beating Oregon, but have them getting tripped up along the way. At USC, Notre Dam might present a headache for head coach David Shaw.
Regular season record: 11-1

4. Ohio State-After coming off an undefeated season, many are predicting the Buckeyes to go to the Natty championship…and rightfully so. With Braxton Miller back, Carlos Hyde back(eventually) and a lot of returners coming back. Somewhere along the way..I see a loss. Would I be surprised if they go 12-0 again? Absolutely not. If there is one quarterback that could handle the pressure that that would bring, it’s Miller. Whether it’s at Northwestern, Wiscy, or at Michigan, I see a loss for OSU.
Regular season record: 11-1

3. Alabama-Here we go again. Another great season for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Can they win four in five? They have the talent to do so, and possibly the schedule. I think they beat Texas A&M, maybe handily. You know Georgia is gunning for them after the SEC Championship. Alabama will end up in a BCS bowl. But will it be for the National Title?
Regular season record: 12-0

2. Georgia-It’s the reason why Aaron Murray is back. To beat Alabama. I think he and Georgia will get their shot in the SEC Championship. LSU, USC, and Clemson are the only ones who will present a threat to the Dogs but I believe number 11 is on a mission after that 32-28 loss in Atlanta. Georgia had their title hopes dashed in a matter of seconds and I think they play for it this year.
Regular season record: 12-0

1. Texas-This brings us to number one..surprised??Yea, so am I. Even the biggest Longhorn fans aren’t picking them to win the national title, and believe me, it pains me to do so. But I like being different and this Texas team is loaded. Ash and McCoy at QB..and just about everyone else returning at every spot for Mack Brown. The team held on in last year’s Alamo Bowl and Brown even said in a postgame interview that it was a building block for this year. Oklahoma has absolutely owned Texas over the last few years but this is the year where the Horns win back the Red River and the national championship.
Regular season record: 12-0

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Two-A-Days No More, Wildcats On The Prowl, Wegher, Shatel's Article on Husker Fans

 *Hey sports fans..The blog has been slacking as of late as I'm sure most of you don't care about my top 25 so I'm going to try and pick it up.
*Iowa high school football teams have dropped the "two-a-day" practices and have went to a single practice a day due to the boys in Boone ending the multiple practices in a single day. I never played a down of high school football so I would like to hear what some of you former/current high school players think of this. I'm sure coaches do the best to find ways around the rule. Some questions to ponder...does it hurt the overall performance of high school football? Are the teams more "even" at the end of fall practice?
*I think the boys in B-Town have one question and one question only: Does this make practice "safer" for the kids? I think the answer to that is, yes. Whether you think they're being to "soft" on the kids or not getting them game ready, it's hard to argue that there will be less kids fainting/heat exhaustion, etc. Here's something to chew on: How about a running back faints in a game because he wasn't conditioned well enough where he could of been better conditioned better with two-a-days as opposed to one. Interesting.
*Former Sioux City Bishop Heelan running back Brandon Wegher is headed to Morningside. I touched on this a little in a previous blog. In my mind, Wegher is a NFL talent. Things didn't work out at Iowa...or Oklahoma...or Iowa Western.
*Here is the story by KCAU. Watching this, you want to root for the guy. He never killed anyone..He didn't get busted for coke...He made a few mistakes, we all do.
Saying All The Right Things
 *Hard to imagine the last time he touched a football in uniform, it was for the game-clinching TD against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl..Remember those days, Iowa fans? Here's a reminder: USA NUMBER 1!!!
 *Flipping over to the Huskers...Here is an absolutely great read by Omaha World Herald's Tom Shatel on Nebraska fans and the hope for the upcoming season.
Husker Fans Need Hope
*Shatel writes contrasting the anticipation of a past season compared to the outlook for this season, "If a Husker team had a four-year starter at quarterback, along with this arsenal of offensive weapons, and the 2013 schedule, nobody would be worrying about a young defense. People would be making their Jan. 1 hotel reservations.Alas, I think Husker fans have forgotten how to make those plans. And I think some of them are forgetting how to hope." BINGO. If the year was 1998 with the schedule Nebraska had and with the starting QB and running game coming back, Husker fans would have already had every hotel room checked out in Pasadena. Will that hope ever return for Nebraska fans?
*We have arrived at #17 on my college football top 25 poll: Northwestern
*Did you think you would ever see the Cats picked above Oklahoma, USC, AND Michigan? That must be why no one reads my blog.
*This is hands-down the best Pat Fitzgerald team that has ever put on the purple. The problem is they play one of the toughest schedules in the B1G. Ohio State to open up Big Ten play, at Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State.
*The Northwestern backfield is incredible. Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian will be the qbs, both very dangerous. Venric Mark will be the one who they will be handing the ball off to, the most underrated back in America. Northwestern returns just about everyone at the skill position and the defense has a chance to be decent.
*October 5th might be the biggest day in Northwestern football history. Homecoming. Ohio State comes to town. Both will be undefeated. Night game. Game Day will be there. Should be fun.
*Regular season: 9-3

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Top 25 countdown, Bills a Super Bowl favorite, Ending golf season with a yawn.

*Hey sports fans..
*Doing a neat little sports promo here at WDAZ where we're giving a chance for the smaller schools to get some love. Often times, the smaller schools don't get as much TV coverage as the bigger schools so we're giving all the teams in our viewing area a chance to be covered. "8 in 8" is what it is called where you can vote on our website and the top 8 vote-getters will be previewed. People bring the argument, "Well, all the bigger schools are going to win." Funny that after two days, Grand Forks Red River and Grand Forks Central(two of the biggest schools in it) have 43 combined votes. Win-E-Mac of Minnesota(enrollment of around 120) has 145 votes. Got to love Small Town, USA.
*My Top 25 countdown rolls on to the number 18 spot with UCLA.
*I really don't think this is the 18th best team in America but I think with the division they're in(the Pac-12 South) and the coach that they have(Jim Mora) that this team is going to end up in a better bowl.
*The team is set at quarterback with sophomore Brett Hundley. As many Nebraska fans know, number 17 is a fantastic talent. UCLA, like most teams, can't afford to see their qb get hurt.
*The Bruins face a very tough schedule. They go to Nebraska, Utah on a Thursday, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona, and USC(technically a road game but not really). That's about as bad as you can get it playing in the Pac-12. I think they make a clean sweep at home and beat SC for the second year in a row. That gives them seven wins. If they can win two more on the road, that gives them nine wins and playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If by that time they've improved on defense, UCLA could pull of the upset and end up in a BCS game.
*Regular season record: 9-3
*On Sunday, EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills rolled to a 44-20 win over the Colts. It's a question of why to even play the season at this point. The Bills are clearly the Super Bowl favorites and they should just hand the Rookie of the Year award to Manuel. a Bills fan, you have to be optimistic right?
*Also on Sunday, Jason Dufner won his first major golf championship. Good for him. To bad it was the most boring golf major ever to watch. For what was an exciting golf season, it surely ended on a boring note. When is The Masters again?
*Have a good week all!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Top 25 countdown rolls into Ann Arbor, Wegher to Morningside, UND football notes

*Greetings football fans..our top 25 countdown rolls on as we get to the 19th ranked in Michigan
*Coming off a very disappointing fall where the Wolverines went just 85 in Brady Hoke's second year, Devin Gardner and the bunch is looking to have a breakout season. They get the Irish at home in the second game of the season and since I'm not high on the Irish, I have Michigan winning this game. The blue should be undefeated heading into November when the Wolverines open up the month at rival Michigan State. Sparty will have revenge on their minds after a THRILLING up and down win for Michigan last year(12-10) in the Big House. In their last five games of the season, I see Hoke going 3 and 2. The question is, will they end up in the Big Ten Championship game? If so, they could face Ohio State in back to back weeks...wouldn't that be fun for both the fan bases.
*If they want to get there, they need to improve on their turnover ratio where they were minus nine last year. That falls on the junior Gardner, a season in which the expectation for him goes way up. The running game will be solid behind a veteran offensive line. The biggest question is, can they adjust to Hoke's new style, the pro-style offense. This is where it gets tricky because Gardner can run like the wind and you don't want to bottle that up. Gardner, like Denard Robinson, can expand the defense and is the key to make the offense go.
*You also want to keep Gardner healthy as we saw the wheel fall off last season when he went down with injury. The battle for the legends division is in the air with three maybe four teams reaching for it(Mich, MSU, Neb, and Northwestern)
*Regular season record: 9-3
*So former Bishop Heelan star and Iowa Hawkeye Brandon Wegher is back in the news..this time it's for getting back on the football field. Wegher is set to play for Morningside College(NAIA) in Sioux City. Since leaving Iowa, Wegher has been in the news several times, none in which were positive. Not a knock against the NAIA, but Wegher giving 50 percent would break NAIA rushing records. I wish him the best.
*UND football stories

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top 25 rolls on, FCS coaches release their top 25, UND football

*Hey sports fans..
*We have arrived at the number 20 on my top 25 preseason countdown. Now this pick was made before their star quarterback was in the news..again. #20 Texas A&M
*This team doesn't know what to expect for the upcoming season. Their quarterback, last year's Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, is once again in the national spotlight..this time the NCAA is investigating "Johnny Football" profiting off of signing autographs.
*No one knows at this point if number three will even be Texas A&M's quarterback this year. Coach Sumlin is praying every night that this storm passes through and Manziel is still under center for the Aggies(at least for this year)
*Let's say the ship does sail and Manziel is still their qb...the spotlight will be on him every week. It wasn't like that last season. Sure, later in the season it was. Defense's now know him..spending all summer to prepare for him after he torched their defense. Alabama, in College Station, September 14th..what a game that will be.
*The Aggies do return a lot of talent on offense including Jake Matthews of that great offensive line. The defense is young in spots but they shouldn't have to much pressure with what figures to be a high-powered offense for A&M.
*Regular season record: 9-3

UND football stories

Monday, August 5, 2013

USC comes in at lucky 21, UND football media day

 *Hey sports fans...the top 25 countdown rolls on to lucky number 21: USC
*The Matt Barkley era is over in Southern California for Lane Kiffin and the bunch. The question is, who is going to replace number seven? Freshman Max Browne or Max Wittek? Cody Kessler is trying to make a run for the spot as well. Whoever starts, Marqise Lee will be there top target. He has put up video game-like numbers the past two years and looks to do so this year.
*Kiffin enters his fourth year with USC and this is the year he has to show something. He has posted a 25-13 record at USC going 0 for 1 in bowl games which doesn't cut it. The schedule cuts them a break with Stanford coming to the Rose Bowl and the slate is a fairly easy one with no Oregon. They do go to Oregon State on a Friday night which could spell trouble as I think the Beavers are a sleeper team.
*If USC goes 7-6 again, the Lane Kiffin era might be over. Regular season record: 10-3
Good read on Manziel by columnist Gregg Doyel Johnny Football to Canada?

*Pat Sweeney and I were at UND football media day and have about 45 minutes worth of interviews. Expect a lot of pigskin in your sportscast over the next week.
*Some notes:
*Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg are some cool cats for being freshmen. As the two battle it out at the quarterback position, the anticipation for who is going to start is only to grow. Both say all the right things but more importantly, their teammates are saying all the right things about them. Teammates are saying Bartels and Mollberg are showing great leadership in the huddle and Ryan and Joe said they're embracing the role of being team leaders.
*The keys to this year's defense is stopping the run and forcing turnovers. Just ask them. Carr, Goodman, and Finley all said those were the keys to this year's defense being better than last.
*More on UND tomorrow and we take a look at the number 20 team.

Motivation Monday, Top 25 countdown moves on, Manziel

*Happy Monday everyone. I hope the weekend treated you well.
*If you need something to wake you up Some motivation for you on this Monday
*Let's get to it.
*My top 25 countdown rolls on as we reach the number 22 team in Oklahoma
*This one goes out to the biggest OU fan out there, "Dusty" from the movie Twister.
*The Sooners are reeling after they were throttled by Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. They made some changes bringing in assistants hoping to help Stoops get back to the next level. They go to Notre Dame, Kansas State, and play Okie State in Stillwater. Texas, of course, is in Dallas. They should win all other games. They have dominated Texas the last two years and have beat the rival Cowboys three out of the last four seasons. I'm high on the Longhorns so I say they lose that game. Why? I say Texas controls the game with their offensive line going against OU's very young d-line.
*Boomer Sooner has some weapons on offense but the offense will be dictated by junior quarterback Blacke Bell. A healthy Damien Williams could have a breakout year at the running back spot and the wide receivers bring back some big numbers. Just like their rival OSU, this team could end the year with one loss. Much to Dusty's displeasure, I see them losing three. Regular season record: 9-3
*Johnny Manziel is back in the spotlight, as "Outside The Lines" is looking at Manziel signing autographs for money. O, boy. If you're bored at work
*That's it for this morning. The UND football team has its media day today. Blog to follow.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day One of UND football, my top 25 rolls on with Notre Dame

Hey football fans..
*Day one is in the books for the UND football team and you could not ask for a better day to start the 2013 campaign.
Some notes:
*The quarterback race between Detroit Lakes, MN. native Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels out of Illinois has only just begun. There is no clear-cut number one and I'm guessing there won't be(at least announced to the media) until you see either #6 or #14 trot onto the field for UND's first drive against Valparaiso.
*Both have their own qualities and I'll dive into that the closer we get to kickoff. It seems that they've built a friendship, which is healthy for the team, and both realize the race is only going to make the team better. Story coming tomorrow on the two on WDAZ/WDAY.
*Sophomore wide receiver Kenny Golladay told me that he was NOT one of the 60-65 players that stayed up here in Grand Forks and worked out with teammates. He went back to Chicago and worked out with a personal trainer and focused on his footwork. Many think KG will have a break out year and watching his stuff from last year, I can see why and he says he's faster than last season. Scary. He made some terrific catches on Saturday and I have a feeling I'll be saying that a lot this fall.
*Tempo seems to be a big thing the coaches are harping on. Getting in the play, hustling to the line,
getting the snap off. UND knows they have the weapons on offense and they're playing to their strengths there.

*My college football top 25 countdown rolls on as we arrive at the number 23 slot: Notre Dame
*Many are projecting Notre Dame to finish just outside the top 10. I’m not buying it. Last year was the typical Brian Kelly third year success. The Irish went undefeated before getting smashed in the National Championship. The “Luck of the Irish” was in full effect last season as Notre Dame snuck out several close games.
*I believe this season, the luck will turn against them. Let’s take a look at the schedule:
Trips to Michigan, Pitt, and Stanford. Home stands against Michigan State, Oklahoma, USC, and BYU. Not to mention a contest with Arizona State in Arlington. Good luck. You could make an early argument of at least five losses on that schedule.
*The defense is stacked, I’ll give the Irish that. Notre Dame caught a bad break with Golson but Tommy Rees brings experience and Kelly has already named him the number one at the QB spot and the starter against Temple in the season opener. Rees must cut down on the turnovers. If he doesn’t, the defense will be put in bad situations like they were two seasons ago when the offense turned the ball over almost 30 times.
*Regular season record: 8-4

Friday, August 2, 2013

Top 25 countdown continues, UND football notes

*Happy Friday football fans!
*The Top 25 college football countdown continues today as we reach my preseason #24 team-
#24 Oklahoma State
*This is a typical Mike Gundy squad with a lot of offensive power. The Cowboys have been picked atop the Big 12 and rightfully so. WR Josh Stewart helps whoever will be starting at the quarterback position. Stewart is a great deep threat going for over 1,200 yards last year. Running back Jeremy Smith is coming off a mid-season injury that cut his 2012 season short. This fall, he finds himself on the Doak Walker watch list.
*The quarterback battle is a good one in Stillwater. Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh had similar numbers last year. Walsh went 2-1 as a starter last year and was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Chelf traveled a different road last season starting the season as the number three quarterback. He went on to start the last five games and win the Cowboys bowl MVP. I think JW will start the entire year unless the wheels fall off.
*The defense has some talent but needs to improve greatly if they want to win the Big 12. In last year's losses(5), the team gave up 59, 41, 44, 51, 41. Yikes.
*The schedule starts off August 31st with Mississippi State in Houston 2:30 on ABC/ESPN2. They should win that one and sweep through the non-conference with ease. I see at least two or three loses in that Big 12 schedule. At Texas and rounding out the season with OU will be their biggest games..and I think two L's.
*Regular season record: 9-3
*UND starts practice tomorrow and all eyes will be on the quarterback battle. It's been the buzz around town and I'm guessing it will be until the first kickoff. From what I say in spring ball, I would say Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels are dead even. The recent depth chart agrees with me. The "Pre-Fall Depth Chart" has Mollberg OR Bartels listed as the one(the only position to do so). Like Okie State, whoever does get the job will have great wide receivers to throw to.
*As Grand Forks Herald sports writer Tom Miller and I discussed, the quarterback isn't the only position battle for the green and white. Give a listen.
Tom Miller of The Grand Forks Herald and I discuss UND Football
*I'll be at tomorrow's practice bright and early. Blog to follow. Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Football season is here, Top 25 countdown, Tix promotion

*Greetings and happy August 1st football fans!
*August means we have finally reached football season. Camp has started for the NFL teams, most college teams start practice within a week. Four weeks until the college football season begins.
*First weekend of college football: Thursday, Valparaiso at North Dakota. Friday, North Dakota State at Kansas State. Saturday, Bama-Va. Tech, Georgia-Clemson, and LSU-TCU. I'm also intrigued by Washington-Boise State. Monday night also features Fla. State at Pitt. Nothing to crazy, but some solid matchups to open up the season.
*My Top 25 countdown begins today and starting the list is...Wisconsin
*The biggest reason the Badgers made it into my top 25 is because of their soft schedule. They miss out on Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State. They do travel to Ohio State, a night game in Columbus. They should be undefeated going into that game where anything can happen when those two face each other. Ill, Indiana, Minnesota, and Purdue should be wins..that gets them to seven. I say they split Penn State, Iowa, BYU, and Iowa. taking them to 9 wins.
*The schedule is a blessing for first year coach, Gary Anderson(who comes from Utah State)GREAT HIRE.
*Stave or Phillips is the big question coming into the fall as they battle it out at QB. No matter who earns the spot, they will have a great wide receiving core to throw to.
*I don't think Wisconsin gets to the Rose Bowl this year breaking their 3-year run but I see them doing well in Anderson's first year.
*Regular season record: 9-3
*The University of North Dakota had a neat little promotion to try and sell football season tickets.
'30 Minutes or Less'
*UND coaches and players hand delivered season tickets yesterday to fans. In its first year-trial run, they sold 57 season tickets, bumping them up to the most season tickets sold since 2005. The home schedule sells itself.
*Can you imagine if a team like Alabama did something like this? The number would be in the THOUSANDS.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Johnny Manziel, Kauker, UND football, College football chat

"Ok, listen up everybody, turn up your volumes. Announcement-I got good news..This is the last Sunday without football the rest of the year."
*Most of my readers(all 10 of you) live in the Midwest. This weather has been great(especially if you haven't turned on your AC all summer.) The temps in the 40's are teasing us..making us think football is here. Can't come soon enough.
*Here's Johnny
*Johnny Manziel has been in the media a lot as of late...and here's Johnny again making the news.
*Everyone is going to have different opinions on Manziel's actions and my view won't change your view. But I will say this-There has never been a college athlete that has been under OR will be under the microscope than Johnny Manziel. Johnny Manziel is to college football as LeBron James is to the NBA in regards to being under the watchful eye.
*Alabama-Texas A&M might be the most watched college football regular season game ever...or any college game at that. (September 14th, 2:30, ABC) Man, will College Station be rockin' that weekend.
*Meet K-Dawg
*This is a story I did on "Grand Forks Super Fan" Mark Kauk. I've never seen anything like it..guy is at one leave before him to go to another game..and he beats you to that next game. I think every town has a Mark..just maybe not as committed as Mark.
*The UND football season opens up on a Thursday night, at home, against Valpo. It would be easy to look past Valpo with SDSU, Montana, and Montana State coming to the Alerus the next three games. Those first four games are going to tell us a lot about this team. We know they have one of the best wide receiving cores in the FCS..but what about starting a freshman quarterback(Mollberg or Bartels)..what about the defense that was gashed over and over again last year. I think going 3-1 might be a lot to ask for in that four game stretch to open up the season..anything less than 2-2 would be a blow. The perfect over/under for UND this year is 7 wins. Get 7, beat either SDSU, Montana, or Montana State and I think you make the playoffs.
*As far as BCS goes, I have picked my national champion..and it's a team not in the SEC. I will be dropping my top 25 starting August 1st.
*A quick preview-Notre Dame will have a tough time getting to 7 wins,  Indiana will make a bowl game, Michigan State scares me, and Iowa State and Iowa have the same expectations this year.
*Expect more blog posts this fall.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NBA Finals, Because It's The Cup, Hawks-Clones-Skers over/under

*Welcome back sports fans..
*It's been awhile so let's get to it
*I don't know if you could've asked for a better NBA and Stanley Cup Finals.
*Let's go opposite of the "four-lettered network" and start on the ice.
*Two original squads, three overtime games, and the two hottest teams in hockey clashing for the cup led to a very entertaining series between the Blackhawks and the Bruins. The NHL needed a great series and they got just that-ratings were up all across the board.
*This year's Cup Finals pulled in the "non-traditional hockey fans" who learned there is nothing better than playoff hockey. I know a couple of my non-hockey buddies had a good time playing the #BucciOvertimeChallenge.
*I was back in Iowa for most of the Finals and restaurant servers looked at me weird when I asked if they had "Hockey Night in Canada." Too bad. Their openings were awesome.
*Although ratings were up for the NHL, it still couldn't touch how many viewers gathered around the TV to watch the veteran Spurs take on King James and the Heat. It looked like Miami was done in Game 6 until Ray (Jesus Shuttlesworth) Allen made Daddy Denzel proud and buried a three that saved LeBron from an off season of being blamed. That's two for James now...
*This year's NBA draft is a yawner...
 *To college football..Here are the over/under's on this years upcoming season.
*Iowa and Iowa State are 5.5..How does that make you feel Hawkeye fans??
*Nebraska is at 9.5
*(Me drinking the kool aid)
*I think Iowa goes OVER, Iowa State OVER, Nebraska OVER.
*CPR will somehow sneak out a win in the last game of the season to once again become bowl eligible. Question is Cyclone fans, how long do you let these seasons fly?
*Ferentz knows this is a critical year..With an unproven quarterback it will be hard for Kirk to manage six wins but I think the running game and defense will carry the Hawkeyes to a bowl game. Look for running back Michael Malloy to get A LOT of playing time behind Mark Weisman.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Playoffs, Touchdown Tommie, TV Ramblings, Tornado Season, and more.

*The NBA and NHL playoffs are not college football season or March Madness, but they sure are a lot of fun. The intensity grows with every round and you can find a good game on the court or the ice(most times multiple contests) on the tube every night. The crowds are electric, the intensity by the players is full-throttle, and the "do or die" games is what sports is all about.
*Saturday night we got to see a game seven in the NBA with the Bulls and Nets. The Nets were at home, the Bulls were "RoseHinrichDengless" and Jay-Z's own Brooklyn Nets are much better on paper. Chicago won. That's good stuff. The Bulls have their work cutout for them in the next round, however. The Heat are waiting.
*As great as the NBA playoffs are, the NHL postseason is superb. Even though you can say this for any sport, it holds especially true in hockey-One mess up by one player in one-split second can cost you a game and/or a series.
*Husker fans can "live in the past" for yet another day. Finally, Tommie Frazier is headed to the College Football Hall Of Fame. Tommie's career was magnified by one run
"Eddie George stole my Heisman"
*TV thoughts-
Over a game of golf, another TV sports reporter/anchor were chatting it up about the biz. I mentioned to him that I thought it was incredible how someone in this business can go without having/using a Twitter account. One night during the Boston Marathon coverage, we saw the cable news networks get owned by the website. Absolutely owned. Twitter is a great way of getting/sharing information from and to your viewers. It is hard, more than viewers would estimate, how hard it is to tweet while you're at the scene of a fire or any news story. You're getting video, information, etc. TV stations always pride themselves on being the FIRST to report a story whether it be on-air or online. That's where Twitter can go wrong..reporters are want to be the first to get it out without getting their facts straight. The internet is a dangerous game.
*Recently, as most of my Iowans have dealt with, Fargo was preparing for a flood. Luckily, it didn't get as bad as they thought it would. It is fun watching TV stations slug it out on the coverage of such a big event. A, B, and C blocks are all about that one event...aka the beginning of the news until after the weather. Live shots, multiple paks, it's what the TV business is all about.
*A great story idea for a news reporter would be the overhype of these events. Does a TV station or the news over blow an event that has not arrived. For example, in Iowa where the state is on the borderline of the freezing mark, meteorologists have a hard time predicting if a winter storm will be all snow or ice/snow or rain/ice/snow..failing to predict snow fall. But all the time, we see a TV say something is arriving...a flood or a storm..and then it never comes. It's not the TV station's fault..but they're the one relaying the message. How much money/time is lost preparing for these events that never actually happen.
*Speaking of storms, "Tornado Season" is finally here. "It's the Wonder of Nature Baby!!" 1:49-1:55
*Next blog I will present the fourth best hoops movie of all time.