Friday, September 28, 2007

What to Expect from the Sonics

As it stands now, the 2007-2008 season is dwarfed by a cloud of uncertainty as to whether it is the last season that the SuperSonics play in Seattle. It's almost impossible not to think about, even if the conversation is intended to be solely about basketball, but I'll try anyway.

So Allen and Lewis are gone and have been replaced by the younger Durant and Green. We've also now got a reliable backup guard in West, and a massive (but expiring in 2009) contract in Szczerbiak. Swift is not injured anymore, and Collison has reportedly made leaps and bounds. Also...we have Kurt Thomas (yay).

Down the road, I like how this team is looking and could potentially look, but because of the arena situation (and knowing this could be the last season in Seattle), it's really hard not to just look at the immediate future. Unfortunately, I don't think the 2007-2008 Sonics will make the playoffs. I'm not saying they definitely won't, as it is almost impossible to predict how this team will play together, but I think it's unlikely.

We still have problems at PG that need to be solved. We need someone who can fluidly run the offense (Watson can't) and play a shred of defense (Ridnour can't), and until we fix that, we will lose a lot of games.

If Swift and Collison do end up being as solid as they seem like they could be this year, that could make all the difference in the world, but I don't yet trust Swift at all.

Overall, I think the win count could be anywhere from 25 to 50, but if I had to guess, I think the Sonics will probably have a record that's maybe slightly better than last year's 31-51. Still, I've never had more difficulty predicting how the Sonics would do in any season.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mariners Season in the books, Huskies and Seahawks just starting

Well, the Mariners had a nice run, and stayed competitive into September, more than anyone expected, however, their season is pretty much over. I guess that's what happens when you're manager is crap, and you lose 13 of 14. Anyways, it was fun while it lasted, but part of me is happy because then we can fire McLaren, and then we can't give Bavasi too much credit.

The Washington Huskies football team is finally back. After having a one win season, the Huskies hired Tyrone Willingham, a man many consider a good recruiter, but not a great coach. Well, if you have one win, you'll take the good recruiting coach any day, especially when you were a top 25 team for the better part of 3 decades. In Willingham's first season, he doubled our win total to a whopping 2. Last year, his Huskie's picked up 5 wins, a misleading stat because the Huskies were 4-1 and then lost to USC in a close game, before their starting QB was injured and the team subsequently spiralled downward, made worse by a crushing defeat by winless Stanford. However, the Huskies almost beat UCLA, and beat Washington State to finish the season at a respectable 5-7. This season, we have arguably the toughest schedule in all of college football (ranked no. 1 by ESPN) with a non-conference schedule of @ Syracuse, a decent team with potential, but the 3,000 mile trek doesn't make the game any easier, a game against Boise State, a team that beat Oklahoma in a BCS bowl game last year on their way to an undefeated season, Ohio State, no description needed, and ending the season with Hawaii, an offensive juggernaut ranked in the top 25, with a potential Heisman winning QB in Colt Brennan. This in addition to playing every team in the Pac-10, in which no game is a gimme with the exception of Stanford (whom we lost to last year).

As we all know, the season, and most likely the future success of the Huskies rest solely on redshirt freshman Jake Locker's shoulders, and so far he has not disappointed. He has been the savior of U-Dub football since his junior year of Washington, and if the Mariners had drafted him (as they did with Matt Tuiasosopo when he was considering being a QB at Washington) or had he taken a scholarship offer elsewhere, that surely would have been a big blow to coach Willingham's plans. Luckily for us, Locker, a humble yet amazingly bright and athletic kid has shown that he has the makeup to be a great college quarterback. Blessed with 4.5 40 yard speed, he also has good vision and the potential for great accuracy. Our offensive line is also doing well, as they are all returning from last year, and our RB Louis Rankin is finally health enough, as shown by his 143 yards running against 'Cuse, and his td pass against Boise State. Huskies fever is finally back, and thank God, it's been too long. You never realize how cool it is to have a great football team until it falls from the top 25 to the laughing stock of the Pac 10.

The Seahawks start tomorrow against Tampa Bay, a team I think too many "experts" are taking too lightly. I love that Bill Simmons of ESPN predicts us as the number 2 team in the NFL to his beloved Patriots, but I'd have to say that we are 3 after NE and SD, though pointing to SD's coach is a good reason to knock them down come playoff time. What's different about this year? Well, we no longer have Ken Hamlin and Michale Boulware manning the safety positions. I compare these two to Jose Lopez and Betancourt, because safeties are like middle infielders in that they are an essential part of the defense, but underrated as a whole. Instead we now have Deon Grant, a good coverage safety, and Brian Russell, a smart player. Babineaux is still available off the bench, which is good news. Also new is Patrick Kerney, who pretty much fills in for Wistrom, except he's a supreme pass rusher and decent run defender, and Wistrom is the opposite. The offense should be the same, as we are stacked at the WR, and Branch has more of a rapport with Hasselbeck now, and we'll see how Pollard does with Hasselbeck as well, a key part of this season in my opinion, as I happen to think that Jerramy Steven finally stepping it up and serving as an effective security blanket for 'Beck was a big part the Seahawks making it to the SuperBowl. More to come after the game.