Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Kicks: Pat Myself on the Back Edition

So I know things have been sparse and spotty on the blog this week, but trust me there is a very good reason. I have been in the Midwest on a business trip, Falco is broadcasting games left and right, and Windsor... is in Disneyworld. Yes, Disneyworld. I am not sure what he ever did to deserve such a joy as the rest of us are slaving away to keep this shop open, but he has decided that Space Mountain trumps Maryland in the Big Dance. If MD hadn't beaten Cal, I might not have blamed him. So for this week you have been left with me, and no I don't post during my meetings (unfortunately). Before I hurry and post a last minute preview for the Memphis game, let’s take a moment to sit back, relax, and line up for the kick…

The Official Patting Myself on the Back Moment

Back on Tuesday, I predicted three major upsets that most of the prognosticators were overlooking. I called (10) Michigan to take down (7) Clemson, (12) Western Kentucky over (5) Illinois, and in the biggest shocker, I thought (13) Cleveland State's defense would be too much for (4) Wake Forest and in doing so I predicted the upset. I was wrong on one count- Cleveland State scored 84 points, far above what I thought. This incredibly lucky swathe of correct predictions deserved a bit of recognition, though even I didn’t think I would hit all three. In retrospect I wish I had had the resolve to go with (11) Dayton over (6) West Virginia; while I thought it would be close I didn’t think Dayton would win. West Virginia could have gone far in this tournament, they just got a bad draw in taking on one of the few solid mid-major teams to get an at-large this year.

Ravens Not Standing Pat as Draft Approaches

Early in this offseason you could have counted the number of draft needs into about half-dozen positions. While the number of positions the Ravens could use long-term help at hasn’t diminished, the need for some of them has taken a back seat. The signing of nickelback and kick returner Chris Carr helps solidify the punt return and kick return depth with the loss of Jim Leonhard, and I love the signing of L.J. Smith. When healthy, Smith is one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL. He hasn’t been healthy much over the last two years, but he won’t be on the field as much as the #2 tight end behind Todd Heap. Heap has been plagued with injuries on his own over the last few seasons, and Smith will help make this unit much deeper- we won’t be caught with Edgar Jones at #1 if Heap goes down. With starting cornerbacks Dominique Foxworth and Fabian Washington set, the Ravens have replaced their top three cornerbacks from this time last year with Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, and (thank God) Corey Ivy off the team. They could still use some help, but this pretty much narrows the 1st round options. I know Ozzie Newsome likes to go with “best player available”, but let’s hope that player is a wide receiver.

Maryland Takes on Memphis, Looking for Sweet 16 Berth
You think I would take this on in a Free Kicks segment? I gotta start on the preview!

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