Thursday, September 30, 2010

College football Week 5

Earlier tonight, Sports Editor Mark Podolski was asking what three games I was going to analyze this week, so let's get right into it (and avoid talking about my awful 4-15-1 showing last week [although I am still in first place, but it's unfortunate that now I won't want to score fewer than 4 so I can keep that as my drop week]).

  • Texas (21) +3.5 at Oklahoma (8). Boy, this is difficult. That's not much of a spread, and the game between two Big 12 heavyweights is going to be a good one. I'm hesitant about my decision, but I'm going to go with the undefeated, at-home Sooners.
  • Wisconsin (11) at Michigan State (24) +2. Both of these Big 10 teams are undefeated and on track to have stand-out seasons. Wisconsin SMASHED Austin Peay last week, 70-3, but who in the heck is Austin Peay? Expect this to be a close game, with the Spartans squeaking out on top.
  • Penn State (22) +7 at Iowa (17). Two top 25, 3-1 Big 10 teams, and the spread is a touchdown. I'm going again with the home team and picking Lake Catholic grad, fifth-year senior Ricky Stanzi and the Hawkeyes over the freshman quarterback Rob Bolden and the Nittany Lions.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Monday, September 27, 2010

View from the #TribeSocialDeck

I mentioned Thursday that I was invited that night to the Tribe Social Deck, which is 10 seats next to the Home Run Porch with wireless Internet and a TV. The deck seats people active in social media so they can communicate with each other and their social media followers throughout the game. Rob Campbell (who works with Indians PR) invited me via Twitter, and I brought my good friend Molly O'Hare to take part in the social media experience.

I felt pretty VIP on the Social Deck, which is an actual deck. Although I would have preferred a better view of the entire field (right field was mostly obscured by the Social Deck banner), I liked that we had our own space, and the HD TV tuned in to STO caught me up each time I missed a play because I was tweeting or chatting (the cable feed is 10 seconds behind). I also got to meet someone I had been following on Twitter, who also had been following me. It's sort of a surreal, bizarre experience to meet someone in real life after you've been learning about them through 140-character bits and pieces.

The strangest thing about the Social Deck might not have even been related to the Social Deck at all. In the ninth inning, the Indians were down 4-2. I tweeted that the game had looked promising earlier on (because I was predicting [correctly] that they weren't getting this one). A minute or two after I sent the message, a male voice from rows up and behind us loudly said, "It's still a pretty close game." I immediately felt a little self-conscious that he might have been responding to my negative tweet but didn't want to identify himself by replying directly to me on Twitter. 

Other than that somewhat awkward moment, I really enjoyed being on the Social Deck and am looking forward to going to more games on it next year. I would love to see more teams doing stuff like this to get fans involved in conversation. What an easy way to get immediate feedback about your team, your stadium, your service and more.

Oh and about the Indians ... They lost, 4-2, so it wasn't an awful game. And my often used phrase of the night: Trevor Crowe, the new Grady Sizemore. I hope we keep that guy around. (But Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps is telling me that he wouldn't be a starter on another team and just happens to be because the Indians haven't been that great.)

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have been invited to join the #TribeSocialDeck tonight and will be tweeting throughout the game. Follow me @nhcheryl.

-- Cheryl Sadler


College football Week 4

Three weeks into the college football season, and I am tied for first, 24-14 in my college pick'em, dropping 10 points for my lowest week (which was Week 3). It's not as good as my lowest week of 12, but 10 still isn't too shabby.

Tough games to pick this week:
  • Nevada at BYU (+4): I mentioned before that I like picking BYU because I always pick BYU. They were good to me the first week when they were favorites, but they let me down the past two weeks when they were underdogs. I almost picked Nevada, but I'm going to stick with the Cougars and hope that they can give me a win (or at least lose by a field goal or less).
  • Eastern Michigan (+42.5) at Ohio State: I keep thinking Ohio State is not going to cover, and each week they cover. The point spread seems way too big for this game. But as co-worker Dom Anselmo just pointed out to me, even with Ohio State's second and third string playing, the Buckeyes are still using players that went to Ohio State to play football. The Ohio State football players who are not top tier are still Ohio State football players. I'm going with the scarlet and gray this week.
  • Stanford at Notre Dame (+4.5): Stanford has been crushing their opponents, and Notre Dame is 1-2. But the Fighting Irish have lost incredibly close games that come down to the last play. So I'm picking them at home this week. If they don't win, they'll at least be within four points.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Penalties and turnovers

Browns writer Jeff Schudel tweeted from coach Eric Mangini's press conference Monday and started with this message:

#Browns Eric Mangini reiterates to his team penalties and turnovers are hurting the Browns, he said at the start of his press conference.

Ain't that the truth.

The Browns' first games this season were both games they could have won. I don't know if I'd say they should have won the games, though, because they committed stupid errors that contributed to their losses. Mangini apparently knows that penalties and turnovers are what is really hurting them when they have the opportunity to take the lead or win the game. But I wonder what he is going to do about it. Those mistakes could be contributed to immature, undisciplined players and poor coaching.

Those issues aren't affecting the entire team because there are mature, disciplined, talented players on the team (like Josh Cribbs). But if the Browns want to have a winning season, they need to get the stupid mistakes figured out soon -- otherwise we'll all be just waiting until next year, again.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

College football Week 3

My name is Cheryl, and I am an Ohio State fan.

I've said this several times before and am proud to admit it. But lately I have felt that, as an alumna of Ohio University, that I need to justify my desire to cheer my heart out for the scarlet and gray.

A column Tuesday by the sports editor of my college paper (which also is my former employer) blasts the Bobcat-student/Buckeye-fan, whom he presumes will be cheering against the Green & White when they play Saturday in Ohio Stadium. He complains a lot because people attending school in Athens happen to cheer for a team for a college in Columbus. I suppose he expects all Ohio U students to have so much university pride that they couldn't imagine cheering for anyone else, and he's tired of it.

I'm tired of people making assumptions about why I cheer for my favorite football team.

Many people grow up cheering for the hometown team -- as did I. I loved going to Columbus Clippers, Columbus Chill and Columbus Crew games, and quickly became a fan of baseball, hockey and soccer. (And because I grew up watching the AAA affiliate of the Yankees, I don't hate that New York team as much as I probably should as an Indians fan.) My love for football came later. And when I started to pay attention to football, I watched my hometown Buckeyes. The state capital, after all, had just one major league sport before the Blue Jackets -- and I don't think most people consider soccer to be one of the big leagues anyway (N-H Sports Writer Chris Lillstrung excluded).

The Northeast Ohioans I have met seems to be split between loving and loathing the Buckeyes, and personally I could care less if anyone else cheers for the team I want to cheer for. But you can't blame people for latching on to a good team when they don't have a professional team in their own hometown. So maybe people cheer for Ohio State because it's state pride or state unity or whatever. Or maybe they just found a team to watch in the fall.

So this Saturday I'll be watching my alma mater vs. my hometown team. I'll be wearing an OU T-shirt and hoodie, and cheering for the Green & White to score enough to prevent the Scarlet & Gray from covering. That's right, I'm picking the Bobcats this week -- even though I really hope the Buckeyes go undefeated so they can return to the National Championship game.

Speaking of my picks this week ...

I went 12-8 again in Week 2. I should have gone with my instinct to pick Virginia in their game against USC because the Trojans only won by 3, when they were giving 19.5. I said last week that it was going to be a tough game to pick. But two weeks in a row with 12 wins? Not too shabby of a start.

Tough games for this week include BYU getting 9 at Florida State, and Air Force getting 17 at Oklahoma. I love picking BYU. I pretty much always pick BYU. But lately the Cougars have been letting me down, and I might have to go with the Seminoles this week. The point spread in Air Force-Oklahoma seems far too big, after the great two weeks Air Force has had. And TCU giving 21.5 to Baylor? That's more than three touchdowns, but the Horned Frogs have been smashing their opponents. Here's hoping to keeping my 12-point weeks going ...

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

College football Week 2

Week 1 of college football is in the books, and I went 12-7 on my picks in my Yahoo college pick'em league, to finish 1/14 by 1 point. In this league we're dropping the lowest week, so it's always good to start out strong. (Sorry to my competitor "karen's gonna win this year!", who went 5-14.)

Week 2 has some tough picks. USC is giving 19.5 to Virgina, and while the Trojans are a great team and play really well at home, the Cavaliers beat Richmond 34-13 last week. Michigan (+3.5) at Notre Dame also is a toss-up. The Wolverines and the Irish had two-score wins last week, and this Ohio State fan surely will have trouble deciding which one should be the favored in this contest. And speaking of Ohio State, the 9.5 they're giving to Miami (FL) is pretty tricky. I didn't expect Ohio State to cover their 29 points over Marshall last week, so I suppose we could expect Jimmy T to keep in the first string until the Buckeyes have a solid lead over Miami. But I'm generally a little unsure about what to expect from Florida teams. For sure, this will be a great game for two teams that haven't met since a triple OT national title game.

Do I sound like I actually know something about college football? I've been trying to trick the guys in The News-Herald Sports department and my boyfriend for the past two seasons.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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