Happy New Year!  For college football fans, mind there is no better way to ring in 2016 than by binge-watching bowl game after bowl game.  For those of us who will be sitting on our couches today watching those games, doctor  the storyline that will be undoubtably be dominating the airwaves is the performances of Clemson and Alabama last night, viagra sale both earning a trip to Arizona for the CFP championship game on January 11th in convincing fashion.  Sadly for Michiagn State fans, the Spartans were beaten 38-0 by Alabama last night.  You have to wonder just how the game would have turned out if MSU’s interception right before halftime hadn’t happened.  It felt like Michigan State was in the game up until that point, but they just couldn’t recover after that interception.  Hats off to Alabama as they looked like a championship caliber team last night.  The Detroit Free Press has a great analysis of not only the game, but what the Spartans need to do in the future to get to the level of a championship-caliber team.

Then there was the matter of Oklahoma vs. Clemson where the Tigers handed the Sooners a 37-17 loss and earned their way to the CFP champsionship game.  Did you know that “Clemsoning” was a word?  The urban dictionary has an actual definition for “Clemsoning.”  It is: “The act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season.”  Well take note, urban dictionary, you may need to update that definition.  Clemson fans were anything but disappointed last night. Despite the fact that Clemson came into the game undefeated and ranked #1 in the country, they were underdogs.  The much under-appreciated, disrespected, and often overlooked Clemson team showed everyone last night that they are the real deal and deserve to be in the champsionship game.

So we are set for the showdown in the desert to decide the 2015 NCAA football national champion.  Will it be the Crimson Tide of Alabama who are trying to win their first title in three years?  Or will the Tigers, who have only won one championship – back in 1981, bring home the title?  This southern duel will surely be a fun one to watch.

And Big Ten and Notre Dame fans, even though Michigan State loss its game last night, you are well represented today as four of the five bowl games feature Big Ten teams and the Fiesta Bowl has Notre Dame going against Ohio State.  The day starts off with Northwestern facing Tennessee in the Outback Bowl.  Then Michigan plays Florida in the Citrus Bowl at the same time Notre Dame and OSU battle it out.  Then Iowa takes on Stanford in the Rose Bowl.  By the way, who would have predicted that Iowa would have been representing the B1G in the Rose Bowl this year!

So get comfy on those couches – you’ve got a lot of football to watch today!




Even though more than a week has passed since our Thanksgiving turkey feasts, sick I’m just now getting back into the swing of things after being off the grid for a while and having to recover from some awful-looking Illini basketball.

The orange and blue completely collapsed on themselves in the second half Wednesday night against Notre Dame during what is one of my favorite events: The Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

This annual event pits teams from the Big Ten and the ACC against one another, viagra and the winning conference gets to take home the Commissioner’s Cup. The ACC won the first 10 Challenges, there but the B1G had won four of the last six through 2014, according to the Big Ten.

And this year, the Big Ten notched its fifth Challenge victory, winning eight of the 14 matchups.

The ACC winners:

  • Wake Forest (over Rutgers)
  • #10 UVA (over OSU)
  • #21 Miami (over Nebraska)
  • #9 UNC (over #2 Maryland)
  • Notre Dame (over Illinois)
  • #7 Duke (over Indiana)

And the Big Ten winners:

  • Minnesota (over Clemson)
  • Michigan (over NC State)
  • Northwestern (over Virginia Tech)
  • #11 Purdue (over Pitt)
  • #3 Michigan State (over #24 Louisville)
  • Wisconsin (over #14 Syracuse)
  • Penn State (over Boston College)
  • Iowa (over FSU)

The Iowa win was especially dramatic, as the Hawkeyes needed to beat Florida State for the B1G to clench a Challenge victory, and it went into overtime. As you can see here, the Iowa fans were…nervous?

But Iowa came out on top in the end, taking down the Seminoles 78-75. So even though the Illini couldn’t get it done, and the Big 10 has just three teams currently in the AP top 25 and the ACC has six, the Midwestern conference still came out on top.

And, speaking of ranked teams losing to unranked upstarts, UCLA just took down the previously undefeated, #1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats Thursday night.

Fun fact from when these two teams faced off last year:

My, how the tables turned. That’s why I love college basketball.

Category: NCAA

The week started out so promising.  The then-14th ranked Indiana Hoosiers descended on the Maui Jim Invitational after a 86-65 victory over Creighton, cheap and most of us who made the trip were eyeing a potential championship match-up with Kansas on the last day of the tournament.  Hoosier Nation came out to Hawaii in full force evidenced by the overwhelming amount of cream and crimson everywhere at the team hotel.  In fact, if you weren’t wearing cream and crimson, you stood out.

By the end of the week, however, after the Hoosiers had dropped two out of three games and finished with a 69-72 loss to UNLV, many fans on social media and reporters in the mainstream media were, well, disgruntled to say the least.  After all, the fans had paid thousands of dollars and traveled extraordinary miles to watch the Hoosiers play, and Hoosier Nation expected nothing less than victory (or least a close defeat) from their players and coaches.  So was the trip worth it?

As we consider that question, let’s remember where this tournament was played: Maui.  Yes, Maui.   So after the heart-breaking loss to Wake Forest on the first day of the tournament, although everyone was miserable, it could not be lost on you that you were in Hawaii.  What better place to be to nurse your team’s loss!  The beach, pool, spa, pool bar, or any one of several activities and excursions available on a moment’s notice were there to distract you and remind you how lucky you were to be on a tropical island while the rest of the Midwest dealt with the first real winter storm.  In fact, I would strongly recommend to the NCAA tournament committee that they consider having every Final Four in Hawaii for the fans’ sakes!

As for whether or not going to the basketball games were worth it, I will say this:  Not since college, have I had the opportunity to be able to sit so close to the court and observe the team.  The Lahina Civic Center is smaller than some high school gyms in Indiana.  You really had the opportunity to see the team up-close, hear the coaches barking out instructions, and watch the team from a view point that only a few get to see on a regular basis.  Even though it’s early in the season and line-ups and schemes will evolve, being able to see your team play three days in a row courtside is amazing for a college basketball fan.  In fact, I feel like I had a three day crash course in Indiana basketball that I wouldn’t have gotten from just watching the games at home (we need to fix our defense, and…ahem…turnovers!)

I had also forgotten how physically intense the game of basketball is – something that you just cannot appreciate on TV.  The speed at which the players move, and sometimes collide with each other – and the hardcourt – is extreme.  Anyone who says basketball is not a contact sport has not watched a game courtside.  And watching plays develop and defensive schemes turn on a dime as the players see it, is remarkably different from the bird’s eye view that we have on our couches.

So was the trip worth it?  For me, the answer is a resounding, Yes.  And that includes the basketball.  As I settle back into my routine, fighting off jet lag and getting ready for the holiday season, the one thing I know for sure – It’s going to be awfully hard to go back to my seats in the balcony after these last three games.




With two weeks to go in the regular season, rx there are several great match-ups that have the potential to shake-up the CFB playoff picture.  None is bigger, however, than the match-up of the B1G season between the Buckeyes and the Spartans on Saturday.  In fact, ESPN College GameDay is headed to Columbus for the first time since 2010 for the big showdown.  The Buckeyes beat out a valiant effort by Virginia Tech who tried to entice College GameDay to come to their campus to honor retiring head coach Frank Beamer one last time.  But alas, the OSU v. MSU match-up was just too big to turn down. So what will the fans of both the Spartans and Buckeyes be in store for when their two teams hit the field?

Honestly, one can only reason a guess at this point in the season. But one thing looks for sure: Whichever team loses will most likely end their hopes of being in the playoff consideration.  Whoever wins, probably just put themselves in the hunt for the CFP.  Some argue that MSU will be primed for a win after losing a heartbreaker to Nebraska last week.  And some believe that OSU has had a cupcake schedule this year and this is their first legitimate challenge.

While the match-up between these two powerhouses on the field is certainly attracting well-deserved attention, the one story that really caught my eye this week was much more personal in nature. It was the feature ESPN did on the relationship between Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo – a football coach and a basketball coach that have fed off of each other, enjoyed each other’s success, and been there for each other during times of struggle.  And that was important last week after MSU lost its chance at an undefeated season.

“We just talked about how to deal with the media and the fans and players. I asked him how he addressed his players Sunday when he got back,” Izzo said. “Mostly, I was just checking up on a friend.” – Tom Izzo via ESPN.

Being a head coach of a Division I college sport, especially a revenue generating sport that is constantly in the national media must be awfully lonely.  You are either a hero who can do “no wrong” or the fans are calling for your job if the season is not going according to plan.  Let’s face it – we are in a “Win Now, Win Often” era of sports, both at the collegiate level and professionally. A college coach who is guiding young men through the bright lights of the wins and the devastation of the losses have to be able to be motivators, comforters, supporters, and to some extent, fathers.

But where do they turn for their own advice and support?  While I’m sure family and close friends provide a much needed support system, no one but another coach in similar situation can really understand. For Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio, they turn to each other.

It probably is not a coincidence that for almost the past ten years that they have been at the helm of the football and basketball programs, MSU has seen a resurgence of success.  If you don’t know a lot about these two coaches, I would highly recommend reading the story.  And for other colleges out there – this is a blueprint waiting to be followed.

Category: NCAA

Those familiar with Chicago sports know all too well that the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. (Heck, no rx let’s be honest, cialis everyone knows that.)  And quite frankly, stuff it is difficult to find any sports records that go beyond that century plus mark.  Well, we found one! For the first time in 112 seasons of Big Ten football, 1903 to be exact, there are three undefeated Big Ten teams headed into Week 10 – Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa.

Seven Big Ten teams have already won the required six wins to qualify for post-season bowl games: Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Northwestern, in addition to the three undefeateds.  And Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana each need two more wins to qualify.  This is familiar territory for the Big Ten and its fans as 2014 saw its best bowl season ever with ten teams receiving invitations. There could be a repeat this year if Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana can each grab two wins and qualify.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, this time of year in college football is the home stretch and a lot can happen.  So here are some Big Ten match-ups to watch this weekend:

  • Penn State at Northwestern. Both teams are coming off big wins, Penn State over Illinois and Northwestern over Nebraska before their bye week last week.  Northwestern’s defense has been strong all year and will need to hold down PSU’s running game.
  • Wisconsin at Maryland. After losing to Iowa, the Badgers need to win out and get help to win the West Division. But getting Corey Clement back last week helps move them in the right direction. Their staunch defense should be able to hold off Maryland.
  • Michigan State at Nebraska. Undefeated MSU takes on a Nebraska team that may be headed for its first losing season since 2007.  MSU’s offense has been on fire, but you can’t count out Nebraska, especially at home.
  • Minnesota at Ohio State. This is Minnesota’s first road game under their  interim coach  who took over the team after their head coach  retired because of his epilepsy.  Minnesota made it a really close game against Michigan at home last week and Ohio State has had anything but an uneventful off-week with their starting quarterback being suspended for driving while impaired on campus.

After this weekend, will the Big Ten standings be shuffled because of upsets, or will we still be looking at three undefeated teams?  All indications are that there will be three undefeated teams heading into week 11 – which makes for an awfully exciting home stretch to the 2015 season.

Category: NCAA

The playoffs for the Blackhawks are looming on, sales but football will be back before we know it. The 2014 NFL Draft starts this Thursday, May 8, and we’ve got plenty of talented players already on our radar. One you should keep an eye out for is Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, our HAM of the Week

The guy is an absolute stud—chisled jaw, a bit of scruff, not to mention a gorgeous physique—we’re smitten.

The 22-year-old Arlington Heights, Illinois native was recruited by Eastern Illinois in 2010. He started eight games his freshman year and passed for 1, 639 yards and 14 touchdowns, which earned him the All-OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) Newcomer Team honors. He started every game in the next three seasons, passing for 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Hello, gorgeous!

By his senior year (this past fall), Garoppolo (pronounced GAH-RAH-POH-LOH) passed for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns.

And when you break the record for former EIU star (and current Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Tony Romo for touchdown passes and have all 32 NFL teams see you play, you know you’re a pretty big deal.

Not to mention he’s the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner and the 2013 college football performance FCS National QB of the Year.


The 6’2”, 226 lbs beauty is rising up the draft boards, and will be one of four quarterbacks in New York for the draft. We know there’s been a lot of talk about Johnny Football, but the Chicago-area product Garoppolo is definitely generating attention, and should be considered a first or second-round pick.

And if you’re an Arlington Heights resident, the town has named Thursday Jimmy Garoppolo Day. As far as we know, there haven’t been many Chicago-area quarterbacks as amazing (and good-looking!) as Garoppolo. Hear us out: the small-school football star is quickly going to become your new favorite—he’s a hidden gem on the brink of a bright future and one of the most-wanted men on any team.

Jimmy Garoppolo at NFL Combine

Jimmy Garoppolo at NFL Combine

Since January’s Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, the latter in which Garoppolo earned MVP honors, he’s been on the rise of many NFL scouts, and we can’t wait to see where he ends up on the big stage.

In an interview with Cox Sports, Garoppolo talks about breaking New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton’s record for total offense at EIU (yes, really), the Romo comparisons and his amazing work ethic:

Football gods, we know it’s a long shot, but if he could play for the Bears so we could see his pretty face on the roster every Sunday, and (maybe) give Cutler a run for his money, that would be great.

Follow Garoppolo on Twitter at @JimmyG_10 and be sure to tune in to the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday, May 8 through Saturday, May 10!

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