Bye Week Grab Bag – MVP Race, Cutler, CFB Picks and More

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September 21, 2012 by MarkHanrahan20

Cyclones get a bye, so you get my random thoughts on EVERYTHING 



A lot of talk about Miguel Cabrera for the AL MVP, mostly centered on his quest for the Triple Crown.  Miggy has been great in September, but this award needs to reflect the entire year.  While his home run and RBI totals are impressive, so are Mike Trout’s totals in runs scored and stolen bases, despite 20 less games.  Mike Trout is an elite leadoff hitter, probably the best we have seen in years, but I also believe that you throw him in the three or four spot and he can be an elite run producer.   It doesn’t look like either the Angels or Tigers will make the playoffs, but if one of them sneaks in; their MVP deserves the league MVP.  If Miggy hits the Triple Crown, he may get the honors but when I think of who is the most valuable, it’s Trout.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are on the verge of another historic collapse after a tremendous first half of the season.  There have been a ton of theories thrown around on what exactly happened, but when I look at the season as a whole two things jump out.  First, inability to rest the starting rotation.  Right around the All Star break, James McDonald was starting to show some fatigue and A.J. Burnett was already racking up a ton of innings.  The Pirates decided to play around with the rotation by going to a four man, then six man rotation giving guys an extra day here and there.  I would have rather seen guys get full starts skipped, one for each guy and maybe two for McDonald.  The second issue that jumps out at me has to do with the bullpen.  Every year, contending teams look to strengthen their bullpen, even if it already seems strong.  Depth wins games late in the year.  But, the Pirates traded away a major bullpen insurance policy in Brad Lincoln and replaced him with a couple of castaways.  I would have rather seen the Pirates keep Lincoln AND go get another solid lefty to strengthen an already strong unit to make sure they remained strength through the end of the year.

We have all been waiting for the Baltimore Orioles to fall off and out of contention, but it hasn’t happened.  I would love to see someone compare and contrast all of the moves the Orioles have made this year compared to those of the Pirates.  It seemed like whenever a problem arose, they Orioles were determined to solve it the absolute best they could.   Sometimes those solutions didn’t work out, but they showed their fans that they saw an opportunity and were going to do anything in their power to grasp it.  The call up of top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy is a perfect example of this.  They need help in the bullpen and got the best guy they could think of to fill that hole.  Think the Pirates bullpen could use Gerritt Cole right about now?

Congrats to Ryan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Edwin Jackson and the rest of the Washington Nationals for clinching a playoff spot.  It’s been a long time since post season baseball hit D.C. and the Nats certainly earned it.



There has been a lot of talk about Jay Cutler and his leadership skills, or lack thereof.  Personally, I have no issue at all with him getting in J’Marcus Webb’s face and even less of an issue with him bumping him.  Webb is twice Cutler’s size and if he showed half the toughness that Cutler did in challenging him then there wouldn’t be a problem.  Offensive line has been a major issue in Chicago for far too long and guess who feels it every time they fail…  Let’s see how they play from here on out, hopefully with a little fire. 

Robert Griffin complaining about the Rams going after him and playing dirty, but failed to come up with a real example of either.  Something about a rookie complaining about the guys picking on him just doesn’t sit well with me.  Toughen up RGIII.

 I forgot to start Victor Cruz in my fantasy football lineup again due to the Thursday night game.  Luckily I got away with it.


You have one of the most loyal hard core fan bases of any sport, but with multiple work stoppages you are starting to play with fire.  Players need to realize that the money isn’t there to get paid like NFL and MLB players and the owners need to realize they aren’t Arena Football players either.  Get a reasonable deal done now, and make sure it is a long term one…


NCAA Football

Cyclones Undefeated

The Cyclones have an off week and last week went just about like I predicted.  I would have liked to have seen Jantz get through a game without a turnover and also would have liked to have seen Barnett play like he gives a damn.  It looks like the writing is on the wall and Richardson will be the guy next year, I just hope Barnett can accept the role of backup quarterback which in all reality isn’t a bad role to have.   I seriously can’t wait for conference play to start and see how this defense matches up against the electrifying offenses in the Big 12.

Last week’s PBR Tall Boy goes to…

James White, five carries for 72 yards including a 56 yard touchdown run and three catches for 24 yards.  If the Cyclones are going to make some noise this year they are going to need both Johnson and White.

Iowa Football

AIRBHG Strike again and the Hawkeyes have two more running backs go down last week.  Neither looks serious and it looks like the offense will get a new toy this week with Jordan Canzeiri available.  This will be a huge game for the Hawkeyes to establish an identity going in to conference play.  I think Greg Davis and James Vanderberg would love to sling it around and throw the ball 45+ times again, I just don’t think they have the WR personnel to do it.  Mark Weisman showed to be a decent option to run downhill and allow the offensive line to show what they can do.  This team needs to get back to running the ball with a good mix of play action, which is tough to say for a guy who loves the spread offense.  If the Hawkeyes are going to make noise in the Big 10 it’s going to be on the backs of the boys up front, including Fiedorowicz.

Weekly Pick Seven – (last week 6-1, season 10-3-1)

Iowa (-14) over Central Michigan.  Central Michigan has trouble throwing the ball and can barely run it.  The maturing Hawkeye defense will feast on this and the offense starts to pick up some steam.  Iowa 24 Central Michigan 6.

Florida (-24) over Kentucky.  I really don’t like this line, in fact I think it is right on the number and the over under of 53 isn’t much better.  But, I told myself I would always pick the Gator game, no matter what.  Kentucky is a pass heavy team and Florida always has speed in the secondary.  I’m taking Florida to win 41-16… I guess…

South Carolina (-10.5) over Missouri.  Mizzu has their first SEC road game and first road game period.  Both teams come into the game with some issues at QB so this could be interesting, but South Carolina just has too much talent for the Tigers on both sides of the ball.  South Carolina 27 Missouri 10.

Alabama (-48.5) over Florida Atlantic.  FAU defensive end, Cory Henry called out Alabama, even after the Owls were trounced by Georgia.  Nick Saban loves his defense and will make sure they put on a show.  Alabama 60  Florida Atlantic 0

TCU and Virginia under (54.5) TCU wins easy, but neither offense really lights it up and the Frogs go conservative late.  TCU 34 Virginia 17

Kansas State (+15) over Oklahoma.  I have two reasons for this pick, Collin Klein and Bill Snyder.  Klein might be the best offensive weapon in the conference and Snyder might be one of the top big game strategists of all time.  Oklahoma wins, but Kansas State makes it interesting.  Oklahoma 31 Kansas State 28.

*Louisville (-13) over Florida International.  If I were to have a “best bet” this would be it.  Charlie Strong is building a very legitimate program in Louisville and to do it he will need to recruit South Florida.  Strong wants to make a statement against Florida International and the Cardinals roll, 42-17.


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