9-29-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 5

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to a Wednesday.

Usually this is the spot where I say something clever and entertaining about something that doesn't have much to do with the rest of the column.

But after watching the Twins lose five in a row, and look gawd-awful doing it, I really don't feel all that chipper frankly.

I know I shouldn't panic. I know that the club is resting guys and trying to get things in order for the Division Series. But I can't help but be a little unsettled.

What did I just see on Twitter?


I love life.

Let's get to the football picks while life is still good, shall we? We shall...

Right after the quote.

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”
- Niels Bohr (1885 - 1962), Danish physicist

I may have used this one before, but trust me, it's apropos for today!


9-27-10: Monday Notes

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another work week. I hope your weekend was a good one, and that those of you here in the upper Midwest got a chance to enjoy some of the perfect Fall weather we had on Sunday!

Me? I stayed pretty sedentary, minus a trip to the Xcel Energy Center for a Wild preseason game on Saturday night. Other than that, there was copious amounts of sleep and couch time whilst I tried to kick “Cold Virus 2.0”.

You'll recall that I told you I usually catch a sniffle when the seasons turn from Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. So I was surprised when I got a cold a few weeks ago while it was still fairly Summer-ish out there. This cold, while far less virulent (insert Dan knocking furiously on wood here), is still fairly annoying, so forgive me my weekend sloth.

There was plenty of eventful sports news to talk about from the weekend, and as is usually the case when that happens... it's Notes time!

Right after the quote...

“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
- Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), Irish writer, poet and prominent aesthete

Jeff in Des Moines couldn't believe I was willing to give up my (whom I hate) tag in reference to the Red Sox. There's a method to my madness, Jeff!


9-24-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've done it again! Another week in the books and another weekend looms before us... presuming those of us in the upper Midwest own an ark.

Yeah, there's been a little bit of rain the past couple of days, but never let it be said that a little moisture deterred a column, right?!

Nope. There's a long list of stuff that has deterred them, but rain isn't on it!

Since it's a Friday, I'll keep the pre-column rambling to a minimum, okay?

After all, what you've really come here for is to get Updated, right?

And Updated you shall be...

Right after the quote!

“The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on the truth.”
- Edith Sitwell (1887 - 1964), British poet and critic

Not that I feel the need to embellish on occasion just to be believed. Nope, no, not at all...

It's Friday, and that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-22-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 4

Hello again everybody...

First off, apologies for getting this up so late.

As fate would have it, I ended up at Target Field last night as the Twins clinched their 6th division championship in the last nine years, and the festivities ran a little late. On the plus side, I got to see the press box and the clubhouse for the first time, and as with everything else at Target Field, the Twins did things absolutely right.

It was a great experience and I can't wait to do more of it next season.

But don't think I forgot about you, my dear readers. No, no, no.

Instead of scrapping the column all together, I'm writing a special Wednesday night edition for you!

And this time of year, Wednesdays mean college football predictions here at Writing for the Cycle! So let's get to the pickin'...

Right after the quote!

“Critics search for ages for the wrong word, which, to give them credit, they eventually find.”
- Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004), English actor, writer and dramatist

Personally, I search ages for my college football picks... (insert punchline here).


9-20-10: 2010 Peek at the Picks, Vol. 4

Hello again everybody...

Welcome back. I hope your weekend was as restful and relaxing as mine was.

Fortunately/unfortunately (depending on how you want to look at it), I was in attendance for the only win of the Twins three-game set against the A's. It was a brilliant fall Saturday and a great time was had by all.

The news wasn't all great this weekend, however. We here at Writing for the Cycle would like to pass along our best wishes to a couple of sports figures who've had better weekends.

First of all, Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio, who just Saturday night directed his club to a dramatic overtime win over Notre Dame, had a heart attack after the game which required surgery. As you can see in the article, the heart attack was described as “mild” (if there is such a thing as a “mild” heart attack), the surgery was successful and he's expected to make a full recovery. All the best to coach Dantonio and his family.

Secondly, Chicago Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was pierced in the chest by a shard from a broken bat. Colvin has also been stabilized and is expected to recover soon. Maybe this will be the incident that finally motivates Major League Baseball to do something about their broken bat issue. I hesitate to call it a “maple bat” issue, because I think it goes a little deeper than that. I've heard some experts say that the emphasis needs to be on the quality of the wood being used, not the type.

Whatever it is, some of you may recall a little over two years ago when I wrote this column in which I talked about umpire Brian O'Nora getting gashed on the neck by a shard from a broken bat. At the time I was all for a methodical study of the issue with reasonable guidelines as a result. But, like many, I'd since forgotten about that study. Either it's taking entirely too long, or it wasn't done correctly. Either way, this is a problem baseball needs to address now. We've had a guy nearly collapse a lung due to a bat shard. If that's not enough to bring about some change, then I fear for the player who's going to have to be killed before this gets fixed.

Get better soon, Tyler.

So ends the depressing part of a Monday column... I hope. Today we're taking a penultimate look at my pre-season baseball picks. The final look will be coming in a couple of weeks after the regular season has ended. The playoff teams have all but been decided in the American League. The National League is another matter entirely.

We'll check out how I'm doing...

Right after the quote.

“Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes.”
- Edgard Varese (1883 - 1965), French-born composer

I'd like to think I kept mine for far longer than that! Now, if I can just remember where I put it...


9-17-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of another week! And hey, I actually get two straight weekend days off! Will wonders never cease?!

Actually, I've got no reason to complain. Things with the job are going fairly well at the moment. For those of you who've caught me on the air and passed along your praise and support, I couldn't be more appreciative, really.

For those of you who haven't had the chance to hear me, what the devil are you waiting for?!

I'm kidding of course... mostly... kind of... in a way...

Anyway. Things are going well so far, and hopefully they stay that way.

It's the weekend after all, what's not to feel positive about?!

Speaking of it being Friday, you all know what that means! So let's get to the Updating...

Right after the quote.

“The most dangerous strategy is to jump a chasm in two leaps.”
- Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881), British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure

If you're going to do something, just do the damned thing... right?

So let's get to it!

It's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-15-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 3

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday...

One down and two to go.

The Twins beat the White Sox last night to all but wrap things up in the Central. Worst case scenario, the Whities win tonight and tomorrow and the Twins still have a five game lead.

It was a close one for a while last night, with the teams trading leads several times. That was, until the Chicago bullpen imploded in the 8th. That five-run inning sent the south-side masses heading for the exits, which may turn out to be a metaphor for the end of Chicago's season.

I'm not putting the fork in them yet - though I'll wager you'll hear a lot of that in the media today - but the fork is poised, and I won't have much trouble sticking it in if the Twins can get even one more win out of this series.

But more of that on Friday in the DFTU.

Today's dedicated to college football. More specifically, my picks. And we'll get to those...

Right after the quote.

“A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”
- Anonymous

See? You regular readers are some of the wisest folks around!


9-13-10: Notes

Hello again everybody...

Have a good weekend? Mine's not quite over yet actually.

Yep, that's right, I'm writing you from the Writing for the Cycle home offices today on the home-stretch of a three-day weekend.

I don't have anything particularly special planned. Just burning a vacation day so I don't wrap up the year giving any back. I'm sure most of you can sympathize.

In any case, it was a beautiful weekend and there was plenty going on in the world of sports.

How to recap? Yep, that's right, it's a Notes column.

So let's get to it...

Right after the quote.

”When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway.”
- Clyde B. Aster

Did you see the call at the end of the Bears/Lions game? That play defied desc... wait...


9-10-10: DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've made it to the end of another week. If just barely...

Speaking of “barely”... this column is going to be “barely” adequate...

I say that because I got caught up watching the Vikings game last night, and ended up spacing writing for today. I'm working an early shift today, so I'm scrambling to throw something together for your weekend perusal.

Forgive me then if I cut the usual pre-column nonsense short.

Let's do some Updating...

Right after the quote.

”The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.”
- James Baldwin (1924 - 1987), American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist

I chuckled when I read this one. It hit home with the recent change in my job. So far I haven't found a truly “ugly side” of being on air. But I don't doubt I'll stumble across it eventually!

It's Friday... and that means it's time... once again... for everybody's favorite segment...


9-8-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 2

Hello again everybody...

Welcome to another Wednesday. The best thing I can say about today? The State Fair is finally over.

I know many of you thoroughly enjoy the Fair, and I understand why. But due to my job, I'm just not one of you. Being out there Saturday and getting barked at by some old codger because I wasn't aware of the “husband and wife team” he was sure used to be on WCCO radio (to the best of my knowledge there hasn't been one in at least the last 20 years), wasn't a lot of fun.

Yes, that's only one incident, but it's an example of the kind of nonsense we have to go through for twelve straight days every year.

So yeah, the best day of the Fair for us? The day after it's over.

One other quick note before we get going today. I mentioned a little over a week ago that I'd soon be appearing in an on-air capacity for WCCO radio, I just wasn't sure when. Well it sounds like that day is imminent. I got word last night that it could be as early as today as a matter of fact. I wish I could be more specific, but I can only tell you what I'm being told.

So again, if you're curious to hear my nonsensical ramblings as part of Chad Hartman's, Michele Tafoya's and/or Mike Max's shows, tune in to WCCO radio between noon and 8pm Monday through Friday, or you can listen to the webstream here. When I get a more specific “go time” I'll let you know...

But enough of the shameless self-promotion!

You came here to find out how my college football picks turned out and who I'm picking this week, right? Okay, maybe you came here despite that. Either way, that's today's subject, so strap in, because here we go!

Right after the quote...

“It matters not whether you win or lose; what matters is whether I win or lose.”
- Darrin Weinberg

No idea who he is, but it seemed appropriate given today's subject!


9-6-10: Labor Day Notes

Hello again everybody...

I know most of you are enjoying a well-earned respite today thanks to the federal holiday, but seeing as the State Fair is still technically in progress, I have to be at work, and that means I might as well bang out a column, right?

Especially since I left you hanging on Friday!

Sorry about that and all, but I got some last-minute access to Twins tickets Thursday night, and 13 innings later, I left Target Field around 12:15am, hence, no time to write for Friday.

I know you all understand.

But I'm back today and there's plenty to get caught up on. That means it's Notes time...

Right after the quote.

”The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955), theoretical physicist, philosopher and author

Perhaps this is a bit lofty when I'm about to discuss sports, but if anybody else can figure out the mystery of baseball, I'd love to hear their explanation. Actually, I sort of hope they can't. Like Einstein said, the mystery is part of the beauty!


9-1-10: 2010 College Football Picks, Week 1

Hello again everybody...

I'm baaaaaaaaaaack...

Many apologies for the unplanned break in my writing, but I ran into an odd case of a late-Summer cold virus that had me coming home from work, grabbing a bowl of soup, two shots of NyQuil and heading straight to bed for about a week.

Usually I get a cold around the first cold-snap of Fall and the first warm-snap of Spring, so where this late-August nonsense is coming from, I have no idea!

Fortunately, I'm nearly back to 100 percent, so I'm able to be back and at it today. I had to be back with you today because the 2010 College Football season kicks off tomorrow!

I know, it's crazy that it's that time already isn't it? But the pigskin season is upon us, and that means I need to start making picks again! I can't do any worse than last year... or can I?

I'll discuss and give you the first week's slate of games...

Right after the quote.

”The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”
- William James (1842 - 1910), American psychologist and philosopher

There are a lot of ways to look at this one. Yes the spot on the Twins Tradition Wall cost a few pennies, but odds are, that inscription will outlast me. And yes, this blog isn't ever likely to make me any money, but the impressions it makes on one or two of you fine folks might just outlast me as well. If that's not reason enough to do something... I don't know what is.