BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stanley Cup Finals Recap Game 1

Game 1 is already in the books and hockey fans still can't believe it's the New Jersey Devils vs the  Los Angeles Kings. To be quite honest, the first two periods of game 1 were rather dull. We had Dustin Brown running into Martin Brodeur for an interference penalty and a cheap LA goal by Colin Fraser. In the second period, there was an Anton Volchenkov goal that either deflected off his head or off of King's defenseman Slava Voynov's chest. Finally, in the third period we got what we wanted. Late in the third period, Martin Brodeur's pad stack save reenergized the Devil crowd, as well as a majority of it's television audience. The rest of the third period was exciting and eventually landed the two teams into overtime tied at 1-1.

Just when we thought nothing could get by 40-year-old Brodeur in the first overtime, at the 8:13 mark the New Jersey defenseman got sucked up to far and that left a breakaway for Anze Kopitar. Brodeur never even had a chance on the Kopitar shot. Before we knew it, Kopitar had won game 1 for the Kings. Good for Los Angeles's 9th straight win on the road in the playoffs. This LA team just finds ways to win games and there were only 17 shots total on King's goaltender Jonathan Quick. Quick, of course, came up with the big saves when his team needed him most. As much as people didn't necessarily want this New Jersey-LA match-up, these teams are very even. Both teams exemplify great goaltending and have a lot of players who are great defensively and can put the puck in the net. This is shaping up to be a great series. It might not be as exciting as last year's Bruins and Canucks fight night, but these teams have proven why they belong here. Game 2 is on Saturday night in New Jersey. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spurs and Thunder square off in Western Conference Finals.

A lot of people who know me, know that I still talk about the NBA of the 90's. I dwell on the days of Michael Jordan and his six NBA championships. The physical and intensity of when the Bulls, Knicks, and Heat would face-off against each other. I still talk about game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals when Jordan went off against the Blazers. I brag about the Paxson shot against the Suns in 1993, the Kerr shot in 1997, and of course the Jordan "flu game" and his game winner in the 1998 Finals. I have not been the biggest fan of the NBA since those days. I'm more about watching Lebron James not succeeding these days. But, I am actually excited to see the Thunder take on the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

Who would have thought three years ago someone would be excited to see this type of match-up? Really, Oklahoma City vs San Antonio. But, what one of my friends said last night, which is absolutely right on, "It's the new vs the old." It's the team of the future vs the old guys, who know what it is like to win NBA Championships. I mean who is not excited to see the Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook match-up? These two players have been absolutely dominant in the playoffs. The match-up between Serge Ibaka and Tim Duncan will be interesting as well. We'll see if Ibaka can handle Duncan for a whole series. Lastly, you have players like Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Manu Ginobili in this series as well. What else can you really ask for at this point in the NBA playoffs? There is a lot of talent on both sides and I feel the winner of this series wins the NBA Championship. These teams are so talented offensively and defensively. They both have a lot of depth on their benches as well. This series will for sure be one of the most exciting series we have seen in awhile. Game 1 is on Sunday in San Antonio.

College Football GameDay Experience #9 (Madison)

And the countdown of College Football GameDay experiences continues. I liked the feedback I received about the Iowa City experience at number ten. For number nine, I had to go with Madison, WI, and Camp Randall Stadium.

GameDay in Madison- Wisconsin Badgers (Camp Randall Stadium)

The Wisconsin Badgers have been a dominant team the past two season appearing in two consecutive Rose Bowls. Names that stick out to me when I think of Wisconsin football is current AD Barry Alvarez, who coached the Badgers from 1990-2005, and 1999 Heisman winner Ron Dayne. I have honestly only experienced Wisconsin football twice. Both times this past season. So I am still learning about what Wisconsin football is all about.

First, I just want to let you know how awesome the city of Madison is. You have the Capital building and next to the UW campus is Lake Mendota. It really would be an awesome place to go to school. They also have a ton of bars you can go to as well. On gameday, it is a great place to be and you see a lot..I mean alot of Miller Light and brats being grilled. I even noticed in their student union that there was beer on tap. Welcome to one of the biggest party schools in the country. 

Camp Randall Stadium, which seats a capacity of 80,321, is a very cool atmosphere to be apart of. I was not able to attend a night game there, but I bet that Ohio State game in 2010 and the Nebraska game last year were crazy. The stadium definitely needs a facelift though, this place is old and the concourses specifically need to be upgraded. The game experience consisting of the band and student section is what makes a game at Camp Randall so memorable though. The game experience starts with the Wisconsin Marching Band filing onto the field where they play “On Wisconsin”. The band by the way is one of the most important parts of the Wisconsin gameday experience. They are so important that at the end of the game they get their own “Fifth Quarter.” This is the reason why you are obligated to stay until the end of the game, because the band plays a selection of songs and the students have choreographed dances to all of them. 

The student section is probably one of the best in the country. They are crazy and can get pretty nasty to opposing teams and their fans. Student section “O” can be heard starting the chant “F*ck You” and the rest of the student section chanting back “Eat S*it.” They also have a choreographed wave during the game and of course last but not least “Jump Around” between the third and fourth quarter. Jump Around is definitely in my top 10 for coolest traditions in college football. Honestly, the main reason I wanted to see a game at Camp Randall was to see “Jump Around” live. The crowd at Camp Randall stadium goes nuts and the student section singing and jumping up and down is quite a sight to see in person. The Wisconsin gameday tradition is one of a kind, from the great city of Madison to the cool traditions that occur during and after the game, Wisconsin places at an easy number nine on my list. 

Game attended in Madison:

9/10/2011   CFB  Wisconsin 35, Oregon State 0

Field level at Camp Randall

Rock outside of Camp Randall Stadium

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rangers net three in third, lead series 2-1

Just when you thought no one would ever score a goal and Martin Brodeur was twenty years old again, the Rangers put two goals in early in the third period. Dan Girardi put a power play goal in at the 3:19 mark and Chris Kreider helped put another in at the 5:16 mark. Before these two quick goals in the third, this game was a defensive showcase. This was some of the best goaltending I've seen in one game for awhile. Brodeur was sprawling out for everything and making miraculous saves. Henrik Lundqvist was at the top of his game, just as usual. Lundqvist had a 36 save shutout. If you love hockey, it's not all about goals being scored. The defensive play and goaltending made this particular game so exciting and fun to watch.

One of the aspects that needs to be recognized about the New York Rangers is their ability to block shots. Head Coach John Tortorella has emphasized this the whole season. I don't know if any of you watched the HBO special leading up to the Winter Classic, but it showed Tortorella demanding that his players block anything shot their way. It looks extremely painful and I'm sure is, but it is crucial to the Rangers winning games. With a minute left in the game today, Ryan Callahan blocked a slapshot and it led to his empty net goal. The stat for blocked shots in game 3: Rangers 19 and Devils 6. Talk about leaving it all on the ice, these Ranger players dive in front of everything. When you have players like this and an outstanding goaltender like Lundqvist, it makes you a difficult team to beat.

The Rangers 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils today puts them in a good position. If the Rangers keep it up and win game 4 in New Jersey on Monday night, I feel they go back to MSG and wrap it up in game 5. But, there is a lot of hockey to be played and we will see what happens. In this series, you just never know what can happen. Unlike the Kings-Coyotes series, where it is pretty clear that the Kings are heading to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Source: http://scores.espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=400264443

Thursday, May 17, 2012

College Football GameDay Experience #10 (Iowa City)

Besides blogging about the NHL and NBA playoffs for the next month, I will be counting down the top ten College Football venues I have been to and give you my game day experiences. For the next ten weeks, each week I will give you a new gameday experience leading up to my projections and analysis of the 2012 college football season. To start off the countdown, at number ten is gameday in Iowa City. 
10. GameDay in Iowa City- Iowa Hawkeyes (Kinnick Stadium) 
The Iowa Hawkeyes have struggled as of recent, but that doesn’t stop Iowa fans from having a good time IC style. On gameday in Iowa City you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone without a beer in their hand. Hawkeye nation doesn’t care if kickoff is at 11 in the morning, these people get up at 6 or 7 in the morning and are already feeling good by kickoff. Then after the game they will of course drink even more. Now it’s clear as to why the Iowa marching band performs “The Victory Polka” aka “ In Heaven there is no Beer”. Iowa City gets an A+ for drinking, that is for damn sure. Melrose Avenue is absolutely crazy. You have to stroll down Melrose before the game. Also, make sure you get a “BIG A$$ TURKEY LEG” on Melrose before the game to go with your beer(s) before kick off. Yes, I know Chuck Ford is no longer there to yell “Big A$$ Turkey Leg”, but I’m still getting one every time I go to a game at Kinnick. It’s tradition. 
Kinnick Stadium is one of the smaller venues I have been in, besides Autzen Stadium, with a seating capacity of 70,585. This place can get loud, especially at night. In 2007, when ESPN College GameDay was in for the Ohio State game, it was absolutely deafening during pre-game. Of course, it got much quieter when Troy Smith and the Buckeyes started to manhandle the Hawkeyes in the third quarter. It was also rather loud in 2009 when Michigan came to Iowa City and played a night game. Student section was rockin’ and a majority of the students...extremely intoxicated. I have gone to three Michigan and Iowa games in my life, it never gets old when I get heckled by the Iowa fans with my maize and blue gear on. The students will let you hear about it if you are not wearing black and gold, then offer you to do a keg stand. The tailgating is fun and Kinnick is always fun to watch a game at, but overall the tradition of Iowa football is average to say the least. But hey! at least you went to Orange Bowls in 2002 and 2010. If my math is correct that is one more BCS Bowl than what Nebraska has this decade. Correct? Yeah I know the Nebraska fans struggled to figure that one out. Husker nation still thinks they are living in the 1990’s and that their national championship in 1997 just happened. 
Overall, Kinnick Stadium definitely cracks into the top 10 experiences as of now, mainly because of the tailgating scene. A lot of people go to Iowa City to tailgate and don’t even go to the game, it’s that good. But, Kinnick Stadium is enjoyable to watch a game at especially after they renovated it. Even though I am usually pulling for the opposing team at Kinnick and get yelled at by crazy Iowa fans, I can deal with it. The fans support their team and pretty much sellout Kinnick every game. What else can you really ask for? 
Games Attended in Iowa City:
10/04/2003 CFB   Iowa 30, Michigan 27
11/06/2004 CFB   Iowa 23, Purdue 21
10/22/2005 CFB   Michigan 23, Iowa 20
9/30/2006   CFB   Ohio State 38, Iowa 17   * ESPN College GameDay
11/04/2006 CFB   Northwestern 21, Iowa 7
9/08/2007   CFB   Iowa 35, Syracuse 0
10/10/2009 CFB   Iowa 30, Michigan 28

Tailgating on Melrose Ave.
Syracuse vs Iowa 2007
Michigan vs Iowa in 2009