Tuesday, September 29, 2015

NCHC preview

Usually when I predict the NCHC (or WCHA) standings, I go with my gut, and base it mostly on rumblings I've heard or read. This year I went a step further, and actually did some research (I know. How bold of me?) Anyhow, I've reached some conclusions, and hopefully what I will say will hold some water when the dust settles. Here are my rankings of the NCHC teams this year:

1. University of Minnesota-Duluth: Duluth lost very little from a good team that lost in the quarterfinals of the NCAA's a year ago. All the Bulldogs did lose is a few of their middle of the pack scorers and a little defensive depth. Otherwise they return almost all of their scoring and both goalies that had playing time a year ago. The Bulldogs were 21-16-3 overall and 12-9-3 a year ago, and I could see those wins jumping up to 25 and 15 this year, despite a very tough NCHC.

2. St. Cloud State: This could be me being a homer, but even despite losing Johnny Brodzinski and Ethan Prow from a year ago, I think that the Huskies will be much better this year. They return big Chuck Lindgren in goal, and their other four top scorers. They have a strong crop of freshman to pair with  a great senior class. If the Huskies want to make another Frozen Four run, this would be the year to do it.

T-3rd: Denver and University of North Dakota: I couldn't make up my mind which team is better, so I'm just going to say these two teams will tie. The Pioneers lost Joey Laleggia and some secondary scoring, but return Danton Heinen and second scorer Trevor Moore, both goaltenders and most of the rest of their defense. Denver made it to the NCAA with a 24-14 overall record and 13 wins in the NCHC. A similar record would not be out of the question. UND on the other hand lost a lot. The North Dakota squad will be without star goaltender Zane McIntyre as well as a lot of scoring and players in general. The biggest loss of all though might be long-time head coach Dave Hakstol. With Drake Caggiula and Paul LaDue back and a strong defensive lineup, I'd still expect the nameless hockey team to be very good.

5. University of Nebraska-Omaha: It is no secret that Ryan Massa was the big reason that UNO made a Frozen Four run last year. He graduated. The Mavericks do return almost every other player on their lineup, and they will still be a very good team, but a goaltender remains in question. In a loaded NCHC a great goaltender or goaltending duo is a must, and I just don't see them making up for it with everything else to be in conference title contention. That said, an NCAA bid is likely in their future.

6. Miami (Ohio): The Redhawks lose their top three scorers including Austin Czarnik and Blake Coleman, who carried them late last year. Miami lost to the eventual champion in the NCAA, and do return strong goalie Jay Williams, but I foresee scoring to be a big issue for the Redhawks this year. They will play in a lost of close games, and will still likely be looking at a chance at an NCAA berth when all is said and done, especially if they find some scoring.

7. Western Michigan: This is where the NCHC drops off. WMU was 14-18-5 overall last year and had just six wins in conference play. They lost their second and third-leading scorers. They return most of the rest, including most of their defense and their goalie, but it won't be enough to crack into the top six.

8. Colorado College: CC was not very good last year and they lose almost all of their defensive crew and their second leading scorer. They return Cody Bradley at goalie, but I don't foresee them being very good or even getting 10 wins.

I can't wait for the season to begin this weekend. I will hopefully be posting some more updates about the NCHC as the season goes along. #GOHUSKIESWOOOOO

Friday, September 11, 2015

Annual NFL predictions

NFL Predictions

Watching the end of last night's Patriots/Pittsburgh game, I realized I haven't made my predictions for the NFL season. Down and dirty, here they are:

1st round:
3 Green Bay (13-3) over 6 Minnesota (11-5)
5 Philly (11-5) over 4 New Orleans (11-5)
3 Baltimore (10-6) over 6 Miami (9-7)
5 Pittsburgh (9-7) over 4 KC (8-8)

Round 2:
2 Seattle (13-3) over 5 Philly
3 Green Bay over 1 Dallas (14-2)
2 New England (13-3) over 3 Baltimore
1 Indy (13-3) over 5 Pittsburgh

Conference Championships:
Green Bay over Seattle
New England over Indianapolis

Super Bowl: New England over Green Bay 31-24

Also, as a comedic bonus, here is a look at my predictions from last season:

6) Chicago (10-6)
vs. 3) Philadelphia (11-5)

5)Tampa Bay (11-5)
vs. 4) Minnesota (10-6)

1) New Orleans (12-4) bye
2) Arizona (11-5) bye

Second round:
6) Chicago
vs. 1) New Orleans

4) Minnesota
vs. 2) Arizona

NFC Championship:
2) Arizona
vs. 1) New Orleans

6) Tennessee (10-6) 
vs. 3) New England (11-5) 
5) San Diego (11-5) 
vs. 4) Cincinnati (11-5)
1) Indianapolis (13-3) bye
2) Denver (12-4) bye 
Second round: 
5) San Diego 
vs. 1) Indy
3) New England 
vs. 2) Denver
AFC Championship: 
5) San Diego
vs. 2) Denver 
Super Bowl: Denver over New Orleans