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Winter Warriors

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Gus Lopez

Whoa. The Holidays came up pretty quick… I feel as though only last week I was day-raging during syllabus week. But, alas, the weather has turned and our attention must now be on staying warm through the coming months. So, what I have for you this week is my annual guide for how not to look like a high-schooler once it gets chilly out. Warriors, listen up.

I have a life philosophy that the true hallmark of being an adult is being comfortable no matter what. I say that, because a truly responsible and mature adult has enough experience, income, and self-respect to dress, and behave, appropriately regardless of climate. The question is, how do we do that?

First. You are in college now. You will be expected to have professional attire, and that means you’ll need a nice jacket or topcoat. Gentlemen, you are especially guilty of this. If you have a job/internship interview in December, showing up in a shirt and tie means nothing if you wore a ratty hoodie over it (in fact, I think hoodies should be relegated as solely workout gear). Don’t give me that, “But, Gus, I can’t afford it!” baloney. I bought a great peacoat from Old Navy for $25 freshman year, and I still have it. Peacoats are warm, comfortable, and they’ve been around FOREVER. Believe me, it won’t be going out of style any time soon. One thing, though, if you’re going to wear a peacoat, or topcoat, over a suit… Please, make sure its longer than your suit coat.

Second. Unless you actively have snowboarding boots on your feet and are on a slope, you can’t wear those huge puffy gloves. Primarily, because it makes you look like a child. Go to the TJ Maxx downtown, and you can find nice leather gloves for about $15. Get them in brown, black looks like you’re going to murder someone and don’t want to leave prints. $15 is too much? Walgreens sells those knit-stretchy things for $2. Buy a pair in navy blue. Yes, I know that neither of the above are great for snowballs, but… come on. You’re 20 now. (If you really must throw snowballs, go ahead and bring the puffys.)

Third. Ladies, wear a coat. Wear real pants. And stop, please stop, wearing Uggs. If I see one more girl out on a Friday night shivering because a coat was “too much to carry,” I’ll lose it. If its cold, wear a coat. I get that it might not allow you to show off some skin… But maybe reevaluate your outfit, and overall outlook on life, if that’s the case. I know I’m fighting a losing battle on the leggings front, so I’ll just ask nicely, please understand they aren’t really pants. And, you do realize “Ugg,” is not an ironic title, right? They are, in fact, ugly. But seriously, I am a gentleman, and if you are cold I will gladly offer my coat. But understand that then, I’M cold, and less likely to buy drinks.

Fourth. For some reason, although only a handful of us are qualified to climb mountains, a North Face fleece is essentially required on this campus. I love all of mine, and its one of my go-to gifts for Christmas, so go ahead and drop the cash on that. But realize, there are other similar and more inexpensive options. Almost every retailer has a fleece on their racks and most are much less of a hit on your wallet. Don’t get wrapped up in a label.

Fifth, and finally, let’s say you have your own style, which I advocate and admire, and wearing a coat isn’t really your thing… Two words: Long. Underwear. It isn’t just for guys sitting in a tree stand anymore. Buy the silk/polyester kind that’s really thin and you can comfortably wear it under almost anything. No one can tell, and they’re fairly inexpensive (again, see TJ Maxx).

There’s no reason you can’t look good when it gets all Wisconsin-y out, just follow the above rules, and your parents will be pleasantly surprised when you make it home for Christmas. So, with that, I close out my last column of the year, I wish y’all all the best for the Holidays.

Also, Follow me on Twitter: @GusElTigreLopez, I’m generally amusing and sometimes it isn’t even offensive!

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Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA finals

Posted on 18 November 2009 by James Hedman

Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA Finals
James Hedman
Well, sort of. With the impressive start they are on, Milwaukee could very well be contenders for a playoff spot this year. And with 20 year-old Euro-leaguer Brandon Jennings on the court, the possibilities are more than endless. That’s right, Jennings found a loophole: he was the first high-school kid to ditch college and go for the pros since the NBA instituted the age restriction rule. The pros so far as the Italian team, Lottomatica Roma, which although it may not be an NBA franchise these guys still know how to ball. In the first seven games Jennings has averaged 34 minutes in which he scored 25.6 points per game. After just dropped a two point nail-biter to the Dallas Mavericks in OT, the Bucks are 5-3 and are right behind Cleveland  for control of the Central division.  That’s right King James and the Cleveland Cavs are the only better team in a tough division right now. I have not not even mentioned the 55 he just dropped against Golden State. Heck, he did not even score in the first quarter so that is 55 in just three quarters!
Let’s do some comparing around the league to show just how impressive Jennings has been: Dirk Nowitzski averages 25.7 ppg, 37.5 mins for Dallas, Manu Ginobili averages 15.6 ppg, 25.5 mins for the Spurs, and Paul Pierce has 18.4 ppg with 34.5 minutes for the Celtics. Aside from being superstars in the NBA, these players have led all their teams to the NBA finals over the past four years. When the Mavericks went in 2006, Jennings was just 16 years of age.
If he keeps this up, he can expect a hefty pay raise once his contract with Milwaukee nears an end. Let us check those previous stars’ bank accounts: Nowitzski’s payroll: $19.8 million, Ginobili’s payroll: $10.7 million, Pierce’s payroll: $19.8 million. Brandon Jennings? $2.2 mil. Congratulations Milwaukee, your eye for bargain young superstars won out this time. This diamond in the rough has been a rare gold mine for Milwaukee – seriously, we get more bang for the Buck.
All dull puns aside, the Bucks have a lot of work to do, with upcoming matches against Charlotte, San Antonio, and Orlando through the end of November. We will have to see what this Italian Stallion lefty, who’s  probably younger than most people reading this article, has in store for his new town.  After dropping 55 on Golden State, who knows what kind of limit is in the sky for this diaper dandy. Finals, perhaps? Playoffs, at least? I think so.
Move over, Michael Redd: this young’n straight outta Compton is finding himself among the high-rises and stars of Milwaukee – and will probably be there for a while.

Well, sort of. With the impressive start they are on, Milwaukee could very well be contenders for a playoff spot this year. And with 20 year-old Euro-leaguer Brandon Jennings on the court, the possibilities are more than endless. That’s right, Jennings found a loophole: he was the first high-school kid to ditch college and go for the pros since the NBA instituted the age restriction rule. The pros so far as the Italian team, Lottomatica Roma, which although it may not be an NBA franchise these guys still know how to ball. In the first seven games Jennings has averaged 34 minutes in which he scored 25.6 points per game. After just dropped a two point nail-biter to the Dallas Mavericks in OT, the Bucks are 5-3 and are right behind Cleveland  for control of the Central division.  That’s right King James and the Cleveland Cavs are the only better team in a tough division right now. I have not not even mentioned the 55 he just dropped against Golden State. Heck, he did not even score in the first quarter so that is 55 in just three quarters!

Let’s do some comparing around the league to show just how impressive Jennings has been: Dirk Nowitzski averages 25.7 ppg, 37.5 mins for Dallas, Manu Ginobili averages 15.6 ppg, 25.5 mins for the Spurs, and Paul Pierce has 18.4 ppg with 34.5 minutes for the Celtics. Aside from being superstars in the NBA, these players have led all their teams to the NBA finals over the past four years. When the Mavericks went in 2006, Jennings was just 16 years of age.

If he keeps this up, he can expect a hefty pay raise once his contract with Milwaukee nears an end. Let us check those previous stars’ bank accounts: Nowitzski’s payroll: $19.8 million, Ginobili’s payroll: $10.7 million, Pierce’s payroll: $19.8 million. Brandon Jennings? $2.2 mil. Congratulations Milwaukee, your eye for bargain young superstars won out this time. This diamond in the rough has been a rare gold mine for Milwaukee – seriously, we get more bang for the Buck.

All dull puns aside, the Bucks have a lot of work to do, with upcoming matches against Charlotte, San Antonio, and Orlando through the end of November. We will have to see what this Italian Stallion lefty, who’s  probably younger than most people reading this article, has in store for his new town.  After dropping 55 on Golden State, who knows what kind of limit is in the sky for this diaper dandy. Finals, perhaps? Playoffs, at least? I think so.

Move over, Michael Redd: this young’n straight outta Compton is finding himself among the high-rises and stars of Milwaukee – and will probably be there for a while.

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Baseball: An American love affair

Posted on 02 April 2008 by Robert Fafinski

From my earliest memories of being with my parents and listing off the starting lineup for the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins, I have been a full-fledged member of America’s love affair with baseball. But how is it that this seemingly boring game captures the imaginations of millions, enthralling them for months at a time?

In an era of flashy talents like LeBron James and inhuman 350 pound offensive linemen, what is it that we love so much about a sport in which a pitcher can throw a perfect game while “half-drunk,” as David Wells claims he did against my beloved Minnesota Twins?

First, the intricate nature of the game. To the casual fan, as Tim Robbins’ character in “Bull Durham” said, “[Baseball] is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball.” But things like shading the fielders, wasting an 0-2 pitch, moving the runner over, bringing a lefty in to face a lefty, watching a pitcher save a run by backing up home or actually seeing a suicide squeeze live are all lost on the non-discerning fan.

This is why baseball may be the one sport you have to have played to truly understand it. The intricacies involved are such that the casual fan – who’s used to the constant excitement of football, basketball and hockey – finds it boring. The rules of baseball can be learned by some, but for the rest of us who’ve played, we know it’s tough to explain that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach the moment you realize you’ve been picked-off or the beauty in a sacrifice bunt.

And second: the memories we associate with it… Being a Twins and Cubs fan (go ahead and hate me doubly White Sox fans), my memories of baseball almost always include my dad. He took me on long road trips in which we’d drive to Chicago to watch a Cubs series at Wrigley and then catch a Twins-Brewers series at Milwaukee County Stadium. While at one Cubs game, we stumbled across Harry Carey, cocktail in hand, hours before first pitch. He signed a Budweiser advertisement I had.

And, in perhaps the favorite memory I have of my childhood, I watched at home as the late Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 11th inning in game 6 of the 1991 World Series, forcing a game 7 and leading to Jack Buck’s famous call, “And we’ll see you, tomorrow night!”

The next night, I did see them. My parents had three tickets to game 7 and brought me along. And at game 7, while waving my “Homer Hanky,” I saw the most dominating sports performance I ever have. Jack Morris pitched 10 innings of shutout baseball, repeatedly telling manager Tom Kelly he wouldn’t leave the game. The Twins won 1-0 in the 10th inning on a walk-off hit. Greatest World Series ever.

So what is it about baseball? I think America’s love affair with baseball boils down the beauty of simplicity: sunflower seeds, double headers, the hanging curveball, Johan Santana’s change-up, suicide squeezes, tailgating, Wrigley Field, 162 game season, switch hitters, the seventh inning stretch, Joe Mauer, playing catch with dad in the parking lot before the game, the wildcard, on base percentage, dugouts, infield chatter, the hot corner, pepper, Texas-leaguer singles, rosin bags, no-hitters, complete games, hit and runs, town ball, and strike-him-out-throw-him-outs. What’s more American than that?

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From the Tailgate Master: What kind of meat should you eat?

Posted on 06 December 2006 by Brian Henry

Grill… check. Grilling utensils… check. Coals… check. I think it is finally time we confront the apex of tailgating decisions. What kind of meat do we grill? Continue Reading

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For every holiday there is a sport

Posted on 06 December 2006 by Luke Fuller

Thanksgiving goes with football like exam week goes with caffeine. Odds are most of us got a strong dose of football over Thanksgiving break, whether it was one of the three NFL games played Thursday, one of the great college football match-ups the rest of the weekend or some personal playing time with family and friends. This partnership is a great one, but it makes me wonder, why are other holidays in my calendar lacking a companion sport? Well, to right this wrong, let me offer a few possible pairings that could make sports a bigger and better part of your holiday traditions. Continue Reading

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The Bowl Championship Series

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Patrick Kurish

With the college football season about 75 percent over, it is that magical time of year once again: bowl season. Who will be playing where? Who will be the BCS’s blunder be this year? All will be answered in due time. For now we can do nothing but speculate, and to be honest, that is probably one of the more entertaining parts of the process.Something new for 2006 is a national championship game to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Obviously with an added game comes two extra teams to the BCS bowl picture, broadening the field from eight teams to 10. This championship game certainly is an improvement from the BCS bowl format of previous years. Not only is a distinguished national champion crowned, but two more schools will receive major bowl game revenue shares and fans of successful NCAA football programs stand a smaller chance of being snubbed by the demon that is the BCS.

Now for what we have all been waiting for: the projections for the 2006 Bowl Championship Series.

Rose Bowl
Pasadena, Calif.
Ohio State over Cal
Ohio State will drop a late season game against Michigan but will run all over Cal in Pasadena.

Fiesta Bowl
Glendale, Ariz.
Notre Dame over Texas

Notre Dame will be a rare two-loss (USC, Michigan) BCS competitor but will play a tight game against a talented Texas team.

Orange Bowl
Miami, Fla.
Auburn over West Virginia

Auburn will make it out of the SEC on top and will have their way with a weaker West Virginia squad.

Sugar Bowl
New Orleans, La.
USC over Florida

The Trojans will recover well from a heart breaking and championship destroying loss to Oregon State and take the Sugar Bowl for the Pac-10.

BCS Championship
Glendale, Ariz.
Michigan over Louisville

Two underdog teams meet up in an unlikely championship bout in the desert. Although Louisville has played some impressive football, the Wolverines will be too much in the end. Expect the Sears Trophy in Ann Arbor this year.

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The Future of Rivals: Brady vs Manning

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Luke Fuller

Here we are in our 20s, and our generation is still lacking its signature rivalry. Our parents were in their twenties for the epic trilogy between Ali and Frasier as well as the glorious days of Magic and Bird following the 1979 NCAA title game. Sure, we had Sosa-McGwire for a few summers in our youth, but with all the controversy about drugs, it would be sad if that is the sports rivalry we find ourselves incoherently telling to our grandchildren in another 50 years. Fortunately, help is on the way: Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. These two are going to be inducted into Canton someday as two of the greatest to ever take a snap in the NFL. Brady has a shot of surpassing Terry Bradshaw and John Elway in terms of winning championships and games. Manning has a good chance to exceed Dan Marino and Brett Favre in terms of statistical greatness.

But the differences between Brady and Manning will likely continue to fuel the lively debate surrounding these two “rivals.” Is Brady the greatest quarterback of the modern era because of his 3 Superbowl rings in 4 years? Or is it Manning, because of his NFL record forty-nine touchdown passes in a single season? Brady’s critics will claim that surely the Patriots defense and Bill Belichick should be given credit for the Patriots remarkable winning ways. Manning’s detractors will claim the Colts all-star offense featuring Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison, Brandon Stokley and until recently, Edgerrin James, has to be credited with much of Manning’s offensive proficiency.

A lot has also been made of the differences between Brady and Manning in terms of NFL pedigree. Brady sat on the bench his first two years at Michigan and was then selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft in 2000 by the Patriots. Brady did not become an NFL starter until Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001. His path to NFL stardom could not differ more radically from Manning’s. Peyton Manning, along with his brother Eli Manning and his father Archie Manning have all been NFL quarterbacks. Peyton Manning attended Tennessee where he finished second in the Heisman balloting in 1997 and was then selected with the first overall pick by the Colts in 1998.

The hype surrounding Brady and Manning has gained momentum as the two have lead their teams to continued success. Last year’s regular season match up made the cover of Sports Illustrated, and the most recent game between the two was met with anticipation that is normally reserved for the playoffs. In terms of the all-time head-to-head meetings between the two Brady has bested Manning six times out of eight, with Manning getting his only wins in the two most recent meetings.

After watching last Sunday’s game on NBC, it seems clear that right now, Manning is the superior quarterback. Manning finished the game completing 20 of 36 passes for 326 yards with two scores and an interception. Brady on the other hand, completed 20 of 34 passes with four interceptions and no touchdowns.

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Which school has a better football team: Ohio State

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Paul Nadolski

Brian, it is easy to be a homer. Picking a team from your home state is the simple way out. Why don’t you try making an original move? And besides that, how can you compete with a team whose mascott is a nut? Thats right. A buckeye is nut. November 18th should be a day forever remembered in the annals of college football. This will be the day, if everything goes as it should, an undefeated No. 2 Michigan will take on an undefeated No. 1 Ohio State. The winner of this upcoming game pretty much gets a guaranteed ticket to the National Championship.

Michigan is a very good football team. They defeated No. 11 Notre Dame at Notre Dame’s South Bend, in front of Touchdown Jesus. Their defense makes the opposite team’s offense look silly. But Ohio State is a great team and not one of the other teams has come close to beating them.

Ohio State is lead by Heisman candidate Troy Smith. As a quarterback, Smith is a dual threat. He can run as well as pass. He has a quarterback rating of 166, he has completed 158 passes for 2006 yards and thrown 22 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. He also has 206 yards on the ground. Then again, you would not have much trouble passing when you have Teddy Ginn Jr., a candidate for the Fred Biletnikoff award given to the nation’s top wide receiver who runs a 4.35 40-yard dash against the wind, and has 44 receptions for 611 yards for an average of 13.9 yards per catch as well as seven touchdowns on the year, and Tony Gonzalez (not of the Kansas City Chiefs) as your main two targets.

Michigan has the No. 4 ranked defense in the nation, but they have a struggling offense. Michigan’s offense has not been the same since they lost their top wide out, Mario Manningham. Although he is slated to return by this game, he will most likely not be at 100 percent since he is coming off knee surgery. His return will help a struggling offense, but Michigan is still going against the No. 1 scoring defense in the NCAA, which allows only 7.3 points a game (the OSU offense is averaging 36.1 points a game). If Manningham is going to be used at all, it will most likely be a decoy, and he won’t get that many looks or passes thrown in his general direction.

This game has the potential to be one of the greatest games in Big Ten or possibly NCAA history. Although this should be a closely contested game, Ohio State has no reason to lose. But that’s why football games are played. As NFL coach Dennis Green said, you don’t want to “crown them” too early.

Sources:
Sports Illustrated

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Which school has a better football team: Michigan

Posted on 08 November 2006 by Brian Henry

Paul, Paul, Paul, my poor misguided comrade. We share so much: a love of sports, a devotion to Marquette, a passion to write and a soft spot for fruit snacks. It hurts me to see your mind polluted with bad taste and poor reasoning. I think you’ve watched one too many ESPN All-Access packages about how unbeatable that team from Columbus is. Are they a very good team? Absolutely. Are they a great team? Not yet. In order to become that great team, Ohio State needs a victory over the most successful program in the history of college football. In order to win a Big Ten title, it must vanquish a program that has won 42 Big Ten titles.

If the history lesson doesn’t do much for you, then let’s learn how the Michigan Wolverines will be the end of the “unstoppable” Buckeyes.

To beat Michigan, one thing must be done: stop the run. They’ve been doing it well for over 100 years, so it’s no secret. Yes, they have game breaking wide receivers like Steve Breaston and Mario Manningham, but this offense is carried by its running backs. First Team All-Big Ten running back Mike Hart and his five-yards-per-carry will wreak havoc on the Buckeye defense. Wasn’t OSU rolled up by the likes of 5’5” Garret Wolfe for 171 yards? Now, I take nothing away from Wolfe; he’s proven himself as a heck of a runner. But don’t tell me the Buckeye front seven were overmatched by the “powerful” NIU offensive line. C’mon, Paul.

If you want to play the fluke card on this, I’ll take you back to the Texas game. This time a “worthy opponent” put up 172 yards of rushing. And what about the 150-plus the Fighting Paternos put up? Concerned yet? Hart and Kevin Grady provide one of the best one-two punches in the nation. Michigan’s offensive line is arguably the best in the country, with All-Big Ten and All-American candidates at every position. Ohio State’s defense, despite eleven weeks to mesh, is still young and has not seen a group as experienced and as talented as this.

Looking at intangibles, Coach Carr has the karma flowing. Yes, I know his record against “Coach Vest” is nothing to brag about, and Troy Smith has diced Michigan the last two years. But teams that beat Michigan last year have not had the same results this season. Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota were all beaten by two touchdowns or more (in ND’s case, a lot more). The Buckeyes can yell and scream about how fast Ted Ginn is and how they can run the ball, but they will quickly learn that Michigan has added some speed across their defense as well. Smith will still do his thing, but he will be prevented from taking over the game like he has the last two years.

It’ll be a nail-biter, but the Maize and Blue will put the exclamation point on their season on the foot of Garrett Rivas: Michigan 24 Ohio State 21.

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Something to cheer about

Posted on 25 October 2006 by Luke Fuller

Like the news, it is too easy to focus on the negative in the sports world. While thinking of a topic for this column, I kept coming back to the Miami-FIU brawl. Since the incident, I see a clip of it every time I turn on my TV. It is a shame that this story is getting so much attention when there are a lot of positive stories to focus on instead. Last year, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast and forced the Saints on the road for their entire season. This year, the Saints have given their fans something to cheer about. Through some clever scheduling work and the Saints’ strong commitment to play their home games in the Superdome, the team is currently undefeated at home after three games and will play a full contingent of eight home games this year at the Superdome.

Just getting the Saints to play games in New Orleans might have been enough good news, but they have also been downright good. The Saints are 5-1, and coming off their bye week, they sit atop the NFC South, a division that is supposed to be one of the strongest in the NFL. Drew Brees has been amazing in his first year, leading an impressive offense that has made the Saints an exciting team even for the non-fan to cheer about.

Even though Reggie Bush has not been quite as much of a game breaker as he is on Madden 2007, he has been a perfect example of how NFL stars should act. After falling to the second overall pick back in April, it would have been easy for Bush to complain about going to New Orleans. Instead, after a brief contract holdout, Bush came to practice and has acted with the utmost respect for the Saints organization. He has not whined about having to split playing time with Deuce McAllister, or opened his mouth to the media to voice any petty complaints. Instead, he has made the best of the situation, allowing the team to utilize him as a decoy and a receiver. After week six of the NFL season, Bush had 38 receptions, tying him for the third most in the NFL. More importantly, Bush has made headlines and turned heads by pledging to donate 25 percent of his share from the sale of his jersey this year.

Bush has also teamed with Diet Pepsi to raise money to rebuild New Orleans. Diet Pepsi has pledged to donate money to Rebuilding Together for every yard Bush gains. Diet Pepsi and Bush have also combined to auction items on e-Bay to further aid rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region. This effort is collectively called “Yard by Yard,” and donations can be made through their Web page, www.yardbyyard.com.

Saints games have also been exciting. (Many of us recall the Packers-Saints game that ended in dramatic fashion.) Five of the Saints’ six games have been determined by seven or fewer points. The Saints are 4-1 over that span with their only loss being against the Carolina Panthers, a potential Superbowl contender.

I bet it feels good to be a Saints fan these days; I cannot wait to try it out in week eight.

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