Friday, February 29, 2008

Las Vegas Nascar Predictions

Last week at California we made the following predictions. We have also listed under their name how they actually finished. Except for Denny Hamlin and Dale Jr., it was a great week.

1. Matt Kenseth

2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kyle Busch
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Carl Edwards

6.Denny Hamlin
7. Tony Stewart
8. Jeff Burton
9. Kurt Busch
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Kasey Kayne
12. Jeff Gordon

This week we head to Las Vegas and with their higher banking this should be an exciting week. Here is how we see it this week.

1) Jimmie Johnson
Won the last three races here. Starting position isn't as important here.
2) Jeff Gordon
2nd last year and has been consistent as of late.
3) Matt Kenseth
Roush is good here and he has won twice at this track.
4) Carl Edwards
Won last week and will do well again this week.
5) Kasey Kayne
Will be in the Chase this year. Much improved over a year ago.
6) Denny Hamlin
He is too good not to rebound this week.
7) Tony Stewart
"Smoke" is always a contender.
8) Mark Martin
Won the Busch race and likes the track.
9) Greg Biffle
He's back!!!
10) Jeff Burton
Veteran driver who has done well on this track.
11) Kyle Busch
This aggressive driver will be in the top ten if he stays out of trouble.
12) Kurt Busch
Same as Kyle.

Nebraska baseball looks much improved; especially the pitching. After getting behind 17-0 against Stanford in the first game a week ago, NU has played real well. Johnny Dorn looks like an All-American. The rest of the staff has done well also. Defensively the overall have played pretty well. DJ Belfonte has led the hitting. Mitch Albeita has two home runs this season and with Dave Stewart and Cody Neer will lead the power department although this team won't win with the home run.

Nebraska basketball took a little bit of a hit today losing to Oklahoma St. by 14 points. They shot well but had way too many turnovers. Alex Maric didn't have one of his better games. You have to love Doc Sadler though. He's a hardworking, genuine guy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sports Shorts

Cookie Miller did not separate his shoulder. This is great news for NU basketball. The MRI shows a shoulder sprain. He could be back in a week.

Also, how are the NU football players doing at the combine. Purify is doing well.
  • Husker Extra

  • This writer watched the NU baseball team play its double header at Stanford last Friday. Really hard to tell how good Stanford is, but NU has some good promise. Johnny Dorn was sensational and looked mid-season form. He did throw a lot of pitches for the first game(118). Dan Jennings pitched well also on Saturday and Sunday.

    Offensively, DJ Belfonte looks like the real deal. He was 6-11 on Friday with five RBI's and a double. Defensively he played very well. Nebraska has a lot of hitters and hit well in the double header except when they faced Jeremy Bleich. Hopefully Bleich is an excellent pitcher because the Huskers struggled against him. When he left the game the Cornhuskers hit well.

    NU played well considering they haven't been able to practice outside.

    This writer had the opportunity to meet many of the Husker Sports Network personnel. Jim Rose is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. He is a genuine guy who knows sports extremely well. Matt Davison is fun and can tell interesting stories without end. Greg Sharpe is very knowledgeable and is a really good guy. He will do very well in 2008 announcing Nebraska football. Lane Grendel is very good at what he does. He is an up and coming star. He told me that he owes a lot to Jason Hale, his former football and basketball coach at his high school in Iowa. Hale is now the head coach at Holdrege High School.

    What are great bunch of people who leave their egos in check and care about NU sports!

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    Predictions for the Nascar California Race!

    Last week we made the following predictions for the Daytona 500.
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Finished 9th
    2. Tony Stewart
    Finished 3rd
    3. Jimmie Johnson
    Finished 27th
    4. Jeff Gordon
    Finished 39th
    5. Michael Waltrip
    Finished 29th
    6. Kyle Busch
    Finished 2nd
    7. Kurt Busch
    Finished 4th
    8. Ryan Newman
    Won the race
    9. David Ragan
    Finished 42nd
    10. Dave Blaney
    Finished 38th
    11. Mark Martin
    Finished 31st
    12. Reed Sorenson
    Finished 5th

    Not a real good week but had six of the top ten in a very unpredictable race.

    This week, its California. Here's how we see the driver's finishing.
    1. Matt Kenseth
    Won the last two Auto Club 500 races. Tested well. Rousch runs well here.
    2. Jimmie Johnson
    Won on this track last fall. Usually rebounds well. This is his home track so he could be a winner.
    3. Kyle Busch
    Our prediction to win the cup this year. His trouble will be being getting himself into too much trouble by being too aggressive. He'll do well this week.
    4. Clint Bowyer
    Tested well. An up and coming racer.
    5. Carl Edwards
    Has the second best record in the past eight races. At the top of the chart in testing.
    6.Denny Hamlin
    Does well at this distance
    7. Tony Stewart
    The "smoke" is always at the top.
    8. Jeff Burton
    Finished in the Top 5 in both races last year. Has the experience to get it done. Almost won at Daytona.
    9. Kurt Busch
    Should be in the Top 10.
    10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    The new aggressive Earnhardt will do well with his new owner.
    11. Kasey Kayne
    He is back!
    12. Jeff Gordon
    Won three times in California. This is also his home track. Should have a good week.

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Nebraska baseball starts Friday!

    Picture courtesy of Scott Bruhn/Husker Media Relations

    The Nebraska baseball team opens its season on Friday vs. Stanford in a doubleheader at Stanford. The Cornhuskers have a lot of new players this year. Should be an interesting season. Johnny Dorn is the top returner for Nebraska. He leads a pitching staff that also includes Thad Weber and Dan Jennings.

    Mitch Albeita is back at catcher. Cody Neer, the transfer from Florida, should start at first base. Tyler Farst will play first base and the outfield. Cody Neer will back up Mitch Albeita at catcher. At second base there is Jake Opitz. Both Jeff Tezak and Ben Kline will play shortstop. Jake Mort should be at third base. In the outfield, NU has DJ Belfonte and Bryce Nimmo. Also Nick Sullivan, Farst, and David Stewart will all start at times.

    The schedule is made for younger players. The pitching and speed will be team assets. Power is not expected to be a positive. Hopefully some players will step up.

  • Saturday, February 16, 2008

    2008 Daytona 500 predictions

    The season is about to start! Who will win this year. Normally the race is won with a starting position in the Top 15. Here is how we see it.

    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    The best plate driver. Has joined the best team in Hendricks. Has won two races at Daytona already in the last week. Needs to stay out of the "Big One".

    2. Tony Stewart
    Won the Busch race today. Smoke is a great driver in the plate races. Now if he can keep his temper down.

    3. Jimmie Johnson
    Has the pole. Always a contender to win. Another Hendricks' team driver.

    4. Jeff Gordon
    Gordon has won six times on this track. Another Hendrick's driver. Has been the top COT driver.

    5. Michael Waltrip
    Has come a long ways from a year ago with his Toyota engine. He likes the plate races.

    6. Kyle Busch
    A great driver. He is more mature. Has switched to the Gibbs Racing team.

    7. Kurt Busch
    Does well in plate races. Will contend.

    8. Ryan Newman
    He performs better in a plate race than people give him credit for. He is good enough to win this event.

    9. David Ragan
    Has the best finishing average of all drives in the Daytona 500.

    10. Dave Blaney
    Tested and practiced well for this race.

    11. Mark Martin
    One of my favorite all-time drivers. Tons of skill and has great temperament for this race.

    12. Reed Sorenson
    Starts fifth and races well at the Daytona Speedway.

    Other contenders are Casey Mears, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle

    Who are your top three choices?

    The NU basketball team will probably win two or three more games this year but they are still fun to watch. They need to be more consistent to be a contender. It is hard to believe they will be that much better next year losing Alex Maric but with Roburt Sallie joining them, they should be better shooters.

    Have you seen "Corner Gas" yet on WGN. Great show!

    Sunday, February 10, 2008

    2008 Nebraska Baseball Season

    The Nebraska baseball team start their season at Stanford in less than two weeks in a double header. They play two games on 2/22; then play single games on 2/23 and 2/24.

    Nebraska has four transfers that should contribute right away. Cody Neer was the starting catcher for Florida last year. With Mitch Albeita coming back as the starting catcher, Neer may be the starting first baseman. He should hit in the middle of the lineup. Joe Hataski is a left handed pitcher who transferred from Arizona State. Tyler Farst, an outfielder, and Erik Anderson, a right handed reliever, have transferred from junior colleges.
  • Husker Extra

  • Sean Ratliff of Stanford is on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch list. He was chosen as on the first team of the Pac 10 last year. Stanford has three of their four starters back from last year. Stanford returns 29 players from last year's squad.

  • Stanford Baseball
  • Wednesday, February 06, 2008

    Did the 2008 NU Football Team fill needs?

    The 2008 recruiting class been announced. NU may add a player or two to the class but for the most part, we know who the class will be. Let's take a look at how we filled future needs.

    In 2008 we will have seven defensive and seven offensive players back. However for the purposes of analyzing the 2008 recruits, we have actually moved forward to the 2009 season.

    Here was our assumptions at that time. Joe Ganz, Marlon Lucky, Nate Swift, Zach Potter, Barry Turner and the many others are graduated. These are the guys that generally you want this year's recruits to replace and or move up the depth charts. Who is left and are we bringing in the right players. Of course with this analysis, we have to make some assumptions. We have also made some guesses as to what positions the new recruits will play.

    This year's class includes fifteen offensive players and thirteen defensive players.

    Let's start with the offense for the 2009 season.

    1) Patrick Witt
    2) Zac Lee

    Kody Spano

    Picking up Kody Spano is huge for the Huskers. He has passed for 4000 yards, rushed for 900 yards, and has been involved with 75 TD's the past two seasons. He was originally a commit to Oklahoma State. He is 6'2"202 lbs and runs the 40 in 4.7. He has good feet and with two years of development, he could be our QB.

    Kody Spano will play some football at Nebraska in two to three years.

    Rating 6 (A high number reflects how Nebraska filled the need for this position this year.)

    Running Back
    1) Quentin Castille
    2) Roy Helu

    Collins Okafor
    Lester Ward
    Justin Rogers

    Nebraska ended up with three commits at this position this year. We have good talent at this position but it is a position where you could lose two or three to injuries. No four or five star recruits this year but we should be in pretty good shape at this position.
    Rating 7.5

    1) Quentin Castille??
    2) Justin Mackovicka

    Kyler Reed

    We have three other walk-on FB's that will be on the team. The fullback needs to touch the ball by running or receiving 5-8 times each game. We have 11 men on the field and we need to utilize all of them. Remember the time Steve Kriewald ran the ball in 2004? He went 55 yards on one play against Oklahoma. He ran three times that year for 54 yards. An 18 yard average. Dane Todd ran one time in 2006 and that is four attempts for 54 yards the past four years. Look to Castille to move to fullback in 2008 so we can get him on the field. At the very least, he should play a little fullback. Kyler Reed is a good addition but he could be a tight-end, linebacker, or defensive end.
    Rating 7 Depends on what recruit plays fullback in the future.

    H-Back/Tight End

    1) Mike McNiel
    2) Dreu Young

    Ben Cotton
    Tyson Hetlzer
    Kyler Reed

    The addition of Cotton boost this position. McNiel and Young should develop well. Hetzler and Reed are food additions. Reed could play other positions as stated above. Walk-on Damon Bechtold of Omaha Westside is scholarship quality.
    Rating 9

    Wide Receiver (X)

    1) Menelik Holt
    2) Will Henry

    Wide Receiver (Y)
    1) Niles Paul
    2) Curenski Gilleylen

    1) Antonio Bell
    2) Khiry Cooper
    3) Tim Marlowe
    4) Steven Marlowe

    We signed four wide receivers thanks to the staff's late push. In two years, our depth will be surprising thin. The new recruits are a good group and will play football in two years.

    Matt Donahue, who will transfer from Ohio and walk on at NU, is a good. He will redshirt next year and then he should see some playing time.

    Rating 8

    Left Tackle
    1) Mike Smith

    Left Guard
    1) Keith Williams

    1) Jacob Hickman

    Right Guard
    1) DJ Jones

    Right Tackle
    1) Jaivorio Burkes

    Rick Henry
    Baker Steinkuhler
    Brandon Thompson
    David Grant

    We have some good talent in the line in two years. We also have a good recruiting class in this area. The good news is that we have four commits. Henry and Steinkuhler will have a huge impact in two years. Walk-on Brian Thorsen is very good. He was previously going to Buffalo on a scholarship.

    Rating 8

    Offensively, the recruiting class is very good. Spano will need to be good as one quarterback is usually not enough.

    DEFENSE in 2009

    Left defensive End

    Right Defensive end
    1) Pierre Allen

    Cameron Meredith
    Josh Williams

    Five recruits non-committed in December that played for defensive end. Defensive is the key position on defense. NU may have to switch some players around to beef up this position. Cameron Meredith and Josh Williams are both excellent recruits. Walk-ons in clude Kenny Anderson (Millard West), Conor McDermott (Creighton Prep), and Josh Molek (Omaha Skutt). At least one of the walk-ons will need to step up. McDermott could be the one.

    Rating 7 (Lower rating based on the number of recruits not quality of our recruits)

    Nose Tackle
    1) None

    Quentin Toailoa

    We will need to depend on other existing players to develop. It is possible that a defensive end recruit will develop into a line position. Toailoa is this year's diamond in the rough.

    Rating 4

    Defensive Line
    1) Ty Steinkuhler
    2) Ben Martin

    Quentin Toailoa

    Again, we could use a couple of recruits in the defensive line to shore up this position. Quentin Toaliloa is a fine player out of California. He has been the main addition since we named our new coach.
    Eddie Brown, out of Texas, is visiting next week. NU has not made an offer to him yet, but don't be surprised if he ends up at NU. Justin Jackson of Norris is our walk-on recruit. Nebraska has a commitment from Cole Pensick at this position in the 2009 class.

    Rating 4.

    Sam linebacker

    1) Blake Lawrence

    Will linebacker
    1) Major Culbert

    Mike Linebacker
    1) Philip Dillard

    1)Will Compton
    2)Sean Fisher
    3)Micah Kreikemeier
    4) Alonzo Whaley

    Great recruits. Add four walk-on that will play linebacker and this position should be covered pretty well.

    Rating 8.5

    Left Cornerback

    1) Anthony Blue

    Right Cornerback
    1) Anthony West

    1) David Whitmore
    2) Alfonso Dennard

    Blue and West will be exceptional players. Adding Whitmore and Dennard will help. Prince Amukamaru is the fastest man on the team and will be a factor on special teams and defense in 2008.

    Rating 8

    Strong Safety

    1) Larry Asante

    Free Safety
    1) Ricky Thenarse
    2) Ricky Hagg

    1) Mason Wald
    2) John Leverson
    3) PJ Smith
    4) Courtney Osborne

    Can you imagine how good Thenarse will be for Bo Pelini? Talk about the perfect fit. Our four recruits will be impact players in two to three years.

    Rating 9


    1) Alex He
    2) Adi Kunalic


    We will need to recruit a punter in the next year or so. A walk-on this year would give us some experience. Walk-on Brett Maher from Kearney could be our kicker after Henery leaves.

    Nebraska filled needs at most positions with strengths being the offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back. The biggest weakness in this year's class is in the quantity of defensive ends and defensive linemen we signed. Linebacker could be a concern also. Signing only one quarterback is a concern also.

    Also the walk on program seems to be back in force and will be a factor in the future. The walkons will fill in nicely where we have the weaknesses.


    Sunday, February 03, 2008


    Our football fantasy ultimate loser was awarded this last week. To get this cherished award, you have to place LAST in the Orleans League of fantasy football. The person that finished LAST was Jeff Cox of Holdrege. He managed to place almost 400 points behind the winner this year, Charles Wiiest.

    Jeff mismanaged his team the whole year and was without a doubt the easy winner. Even with Brett Favre he couldn't come close. We would name the rest of his team but you wouldn't recognize any of the names.

    Last year's winner was Dr. Jeff Berney! In the above captions, Dr. Berney is presently Jeff with the green coat. Jeff is ready to cry at this point but feels better later when Dr. Berney hands over the FFUL award.

    The award was established by Brad Hartzog and will continue on for many years. My guess this award will be in the Cox house for a good part of the next decade.


    The Patriots win today 35-24!! Brady, Moss, and the defense are just too good. A couple of mistakes by Eli Manning late in the game will be the difference. Give Eli Manning credit for becoming a great NFL player at the end of this season.


    Anybody that predicts the exact score will win $25.