Desktop Sportsman (09/21/09)Desktop Sportsman - Exclusive on the Pierce County Herald website this week.
By: Sean Scallon, Pierce County Herald
- With the prep volleyball season heating up here's a couple of notes about a a pair of new coaches in the Middle Border Conference. New Richmond's new head coach Bob Fisher has extensive experience coaching volleyball in Junior Olympics and Somerset's new coach isn't really "new" it's Sarah Praschak who coached the Spartans in the 1990s and led Somerset to the 1993 state championship. It just goes to show how wide open and competitive the MBC will be in volleyball this fall. The championship, whomever wins it, will be an earned one and Ellsworth is a quarter of the way there, now 2-0 after beating Amery Tuesday. The Panthers have a big match with Praschak and the Spartans on Thursday at Ellsworth starting at 7 p.m. In afct the title could very well be decided in the league tournament which is Oct. 17 in Baldwin.
- The Dynasty of Danielson continues. Freshman Casey Danielson shot a 34 on Osceola's own Krooked Kreek Golf Course Monday and is well on her way to winning the MBC individual title barring a bad day Thursday at the league meet in Amery. Brother Charlie won the individual title on the boys' side last spring and is a sophomore and older sister Lindsay is a freshman at UW-Madison playing golf for the Badgers. UW hosts the Lady Northern Invitational at University Ridge Golf Course this weekend.
- Local prep football fans may want to reserve their spots around Plum City High School's football field early for the coming showdown between top ranked and undefeated PC and Elmwood Oct. 8
- Ellsworth's Morgan Place will try for her second Griak title this weekend in Minneapolis. After two meets this season she's finished first and has already broken two course records.
- Amazing how momentum and outlook in the NFL just suddenly switch within a week's time. The Packers went from being an alternative "chic" pick for the Super Bowl after beating the Bears and now look like they'll be lucky to beat the Lions after a horrible loss to the Bengals at home. Such switches can make one's head spin in wonderment but those who study the league closely could see this coming, or at least be aware of potential problems. No defense, no matter what the scheme, can survive the loss of talented personnel like Atari Bigby and Nick Collins and Chad Clifton's injury exposes a weak offensive line. Oh, and once again the Packers are the youngest team in the league for the fourth consecutive season. Now, Green Bay can right themselves this week playing the woeful Rams but last week's NFL games show clearly and without a doubt, both the division and the NFC as a whole are the Vikings' to lose and that can easily happen as well in a short amount of time.
- Imagine going to some 200 level English class at 7:30 a.m. in the morning and having all the students in the large lecture hall, not to mention half the state and the entire college football world, wondering what's wrong with you. That's John Clay's life right now, and while its a better situation than some, one does not blame John for wishing he could just hide in his seat somewhere away from it all. I don't recall a UW football player ever receiving this much scrutiny from amateur sports psychologists wondering why Clay wasn't into Saturday's game and why he fumbled three times. Maybe he just had a bad day, we all do. In any case, since Clay is not a chronic fumbler and the fact he gained six yards carry against Wofford leads one to ask that we leave the kid alone and let his coaches coach him until he shows he simply cannot do what is asked of him. This is not the pros after all and John Clay is not Terelle Owens. Just let him be. Madison can be a tough town for star athletes to compete in, let alone worry about school.
- U head football coach Tim Brewster deserves credit for bringing in quality opponents to the new TCF Bank Stadium like California for example. The Gophers have gone out and scheduled home dates vs. Texas and USC as well. Maybe they won't win these games, but they'll have a far better read on how good their team is than playing the Woffords or Charleston Southerns' of the world. And at the U, you almost have to schedule such opponents in order to attract attention and get people fired up about college football in the Twin Cities which isn't always easy to do as Gopher fans well know. If school like Florida can still sell out Ben Hill Griffin stadium playing an FCS opponent they will do so. It's a good thing then that some UW fans voted with their feet and snapped UW's home sellout streak by not attending the Wofford game. It may very well be that UW has to schedule such opponents to pay the bills but at least they should schedule BCS opponents too so that season ticket holders have some value for the money they're shelling out. It looks like they're getting the message at 1440 Monroe St. looking at UW's future schedules.
- The stars could be lining up for a big sports weekend her in the Upper Midwest Oct. 3-5: 4-0 UW vs. 3-1 Minnesota at TCF Stadium for Paul Bunyan's Ax; Twins' playoff game with the Tigers for AL Central title at the Metrodome and of course the Packers vs. the Minnesota Favre's Monday Night.
- Speaking of which, one benefit of the new Twins and Gophers stadiums is no more conflicts between sports over scheduling. Remember the Twins-Indians game a few years ago that had to be stopped because the 'Dome had to be given enough time to switch over to host a Gopher football game later that evening? Talk about bush league. No more of that.
- Ahh, the benefits of playing in a weak division. The underachieving Twins can still play for the title because the equally mediocre Tigers and fading White Sox, whose manager hates his own players, can't close the deal. Certainly winning the division will be an accomplishment, especially for a small market team like the Twins but let's not kid ourselves here. Having seen the way the Twins played against the Yankees and Angels, don't expect miracles in the playoffs. Three and out.
- There's a proposal to add a second Wild Card team to baseball's playoffs which I will come out in favor for. That will help balances things out in case one division has two strong teams. The Blue Jays for example, would certainly benefit from having another wild card spot and it will give the team with the best record a few days rest as a reward for playing well in the regular season. Or you could have the two Wild Card teams square off in a Best of Five series and then have it play the divisional champs.