Michael’s College Football Predictions

One of Michael’s favorite times of year was awaiting after he returned from camp…the start of the college football season. He loved the hype, the predictions, College GameDay and watching all the action.

He was getting ready to start something new on his blog and that would have included some video-blogging. In preparation for that, he spent some time earlier this summer working on a few of his predictions for the season. He completed predictions for eight teams in total, including his two favorites, Michigan and Oregon. We watched Michael work on these eight teams and saw him meticulously balance the wins and losses as he started this process, paying close attention to detail which would have carried through to those teams that he had yet to do.

We will be eagerly watching Michael’s predictions as this season gets underway!

We love you Michael and will be rooting for your teams❤️
IMG_8530Something tells us he would have snuck in a “Go Blue” here

IMG_8537And a “Go Ducks” here

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Michael Brindley, just1mike.com a memorial tribute

Known for his kind heart, passion for sports and zest for life, Michael Brindley passed away suddenly and unexpectedly this summer at the age of 16 from natural causes.Michael.Soph.Photo

A rising high school junior, Michael created this blog three years ago when he was just 13 as a place to begin his dream of sports writing and broadcasting. His passion for sports was contagious and he was described by many as having an encyclopedic mind for stats and sports knowledge. Since the inception of just1mike.com, Michael published 110 posts with his last post on June 18, 2016, just days before he died.

IMG_7855Michael’s sports passion started at a very early age and his allegiance to certain teams was no secret. He absolutely loved the Oregon Ducks, Michigan Wolverines, Buffalo Bills, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Cubs. His favorite sports were undeniably football, baseball and basketball. He was also a fierce supporter of his two brothers and their football teams, the Nazareth Academy Roadrunners and the Saint Xavier University Cougars as well as his beloved high school teams, the Hinsdale Central Red Devils.

While this blog was Michael’s main vehicle for writing, he was also a student writer for the Daisy Field Life Magazine in his hometown community, contributing regularly with an “Athlete of the Month” column. After completing a high school journalism course last year, he interviewed for and was brought on staff to start writing this school year for The Devil’s Advocate, an award winning publication from his high school.

IMG_3666 (1)Michael’s favorite times of year were undoubtedly “March Madness” with college football season playing a very close second. His passion for college sports was always electric but caught even more fire during March Madness. His ability to master information on all the teams and his own form of bracketology dazzled us all. What we will never forget is the enthusiasm, big smile and the twinkle in his eye when he was so happily wrapped up in all the excitement.  He shared his bracket and predictions for this year’s tournament on his blog. On April 5, 2016 he predicted Villanova to win the tournament by two….Villanova won this year by three points.

Before Michael left for camp this summer he worked on his college football predictions and had those ready to post at the end of the summer. We will post those predictions before the start of the college football season this weekend.

IMG_0043Attending games and sporting events was naturally one of Michael’s favorite past times and he went to some great events….the BCS National Championship game in 2011 to watch his Ducks take on Auburn, the Big 10 Football Championship in December of this year where we also went to the College GameDay broadcast (his favorite show), some great games at Wrigley Field cheering on his beloved Cubs and several Michigan basketball games, to mention just a few. He missed getting to a couple meaningful places on his wish list….watching Michigan football at the Big House in Ann Arbor and seeing the Buffalo Bills play a home game in Buffalo.

IMG_8520Some very special things in the world of sports took place in the days following Michael’s passing through the help of his cousin Meghan who works in social media. Seth Davis, @sethdavishoops, writer for Sports Illustrated, host of Campus Insiders and in-studio analyst for CBS’ NCAA men’s college basketball coverage tweeted about Michael…

 

IMG_9797Mike Golic,@espngolic, co-host of ESPN’s radio show Mike & Mike and Adnan Virk, @adnanESPN, an anchor for ESPN’s Baseball tonight honored Michael with a photo holding up Michael’s blog name, just1mike.

On July 1st, the day of Michael’s memorial service, the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts added a just1mike sign to the NBA championship display for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That night, the dome was illuminated in red to honor and remember Michael. We can just see the smile on our boy’s face as he saw these wonderful tributes and the red dome that night.

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IMG_8516Michael was all in when it came to sports, but he had another very strong interest and passion as well and that was his team, his company at Culver Military Academy Summer School. This six week summer camp is a unique and wonderful leadership opportunity that draws kids from around the world to the campus of Culver Academies on the shore of Lake Maxincukee in Indiana. Michael had just started his third and final summer of the program in June and would have graduated with a First Class rank from Culver at the end of July. He was in the Naval School and a devoted member of the unit Naval Two, affectionately known as Super Two.

IMG_8525Michael loved Culver and the brotherhood of Super Two. He formed friendships around the globe and became both a leader and a great friend to so many kids from his company and throughout the camp. We traveled back to Culver at the end of July to represent Michael at an important end of camp event and his favorite event, the Naval School Communications Relay. The boys of Naval Two lost a friend and a brother this summer. They are a very special group of young men who dedicated their summer to Michael and honored him in many beautiful ways.They designed a special Com Relay shirt and dog tags which they wore for Michael during the race. We were presented shirts and dog tags before the race by two of Michael’s dear friends of Naval Two which is something that will stay with us forever.

IMG_8474 3We are a family of five and will always be a family of five. Michael is the youngest of three boys and has grown up surrounded by the love of his two devoted parents, his brothers Robbie and Jack along with two dogs, Lucy and Hunter. He brought so much love, joy and laughter to our family. Our house was filled with sports banter, and endless loop of ESPN on TV followed by the countless games we watched together. We have been a divided house when it comes to Chicago baseball with Michael and his mom rooting for northside Cubbies and his dad and brothers cheering on the White Sox. This year though, our family has united for Michael to cheer on the Cubs. We are so hoping that this is the year for the Cubs to take it all…GO CUBS GO!

 

Michael, was a passionate sports fan with a love for writing and dreams of working for ESPN one day. More importantly, he was a loving son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and dear friend to so many. He was and will always be a gift and tremendous blessing to our family. Our lives are forever changed by the life and loss of our beloved Michael. A bright light to all who knew him, Michael touched the lives of so many people with his beautiful smile and friendly ways. While his life on this earth was much too short, he packed it full of love, passion, affection, laughter and loving kindness.

We love you so very much Michael and know your light will shine forever❤️

Your loving family,

Mom, Dad, Robbie & JackIMG_7328

 

 

March Madness Elite 8

The Elite 8 starts today, and I am here to break down the biggest game of the day. The West Regional Championship between  #1 Oregon and #2 Oklahoma is the game you don’t want to miss. Chalk has played out in the West, and the Ducks and the Sooners will face off for a chance to play in the Final Four.
This will be one of the most exciting games we will see all year. These are two of the most explosive offensive teams in the country. Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield is the best player in the country and is most likely the Player of the Year.
hield-020316Hield and Oklahoma’s other guards will have their points, but the key for Sooners is to get their big men going against Oregon’s tough shot blockers. Ryan Spangler and Khadeem Lattin will have to assert their presence in the paint to make this Oregon defense honest.
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Oregon is the most well rounded team in the tournament. They are balanced at every position on the court, and extremely athletic. Sophomore forward Dillion Brooks has been a monster throughout the year and especially in March Madness. His motor is nonstop, and he will burst through the defense straight to the hoop. Brooks has been playing with a chip on his shoulder and now that he faces off against Buddy Hield, he will be very motivated. Oregon is so deep, they have their star Brooks, and you add on the likes of Tyler Dorsey, Chris Bouchier, Elgin Cook, and more. This team is very dangerous.
I think Oregon will over power Oklahoma’s big men, and will be the better coached team today. I am sticking with my championship pick, Oregon.
Prediction: Oregon 96, Oklahoma 92

Top Seed Controversy

march_madnessIt is that time of the year again… The weather is changing, flowers are blooming, and best of all March Madness is on its way. The Selection show will be airing at 4:30 CT on CBS. Every time the brackets are revealed, the teams on the bubble draw all the attention. This would make sense, these teams are waiting on their postseason future. The bubble teams absolutely deserve all of the drama and attention, but with all of the parity in college basketball this year I thought it would be appropriate to focus on the top of the line.
Most years we have a pretty clear picture of which team will be the #1 seeds, but in this crazy season, there might be 10 teams deserving of a top seed. Going into Saturday, there seemed to be a clear picture of the top seeds. North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, and Villanova. Once Seton Hall’s Isaiah Whitehead banked a last second layup plus the foul, full chaos broke out. The Wildcats were knocked off their Big East throne and opened the gate for another team to sneak into a top seed.
While the Pirates sunk Villanova’s ship in Madison Square Garden, North Carolina and Virginia were amidst a heavy weight battle in our Nation’s capital. The Tarheels held on to their early lead, and were able to escape D.C. with a number one seed as a lock. Virginia was not able to say the same thing.  Although Virginia lost in the ACC Championship they still looked like one of the top teams in the country. It seemed very possible that even with a loss Virginia would be a number one seed.
That was until the Oregon Ducks absolutely obliterated the Utah Utes 88 to 57, completing their sweep on the Pac-12 regular season, and tournament titles. Oregon has quietly been having an incredible year. They ran right through the Pac-12 conference, and I believe right into a number one seed. Oregon has been playing some of the best ball, and their up tempo run and gun offense is almost impossible to stop. Oregon dropped 88 points on Utah,  the top defensive unit in the Pac-12. When the Pac-12 champ has the fifth hardest schedule in the country, and dominated the competition, it would hard placing them anywhere lower than a one seed.
Michigan State also has a great chance of being at the top of the seeding, but they still have to beat Purdue today in the B1G Championship game. No matter if you are on the bubble or a top team, everybody will be anxious leading into the Selection Show.

College Basketball Stock

March Madness is only a month away and no teams have really separated themselves from the pack. I’m sorting out some of college hoops most confusing teams and offering a look as if they were commodities on the NY stock exchange. Here are my thoughts, what would you do?
Texas Longhorns, BUYimgres
Coach Shaka Smart has his Longhorns playing fantastic basketball. Texas is one of the elite defensive teams in the country with great size. Texas has been on a two game loosing streak, but both games were to top 15 teams on the road. Isaiah Taylor has been playing out of his mind on both sides of the ball. It took a couple of years, but it seems Taylor has truly blossomed to his full potential and has stepped up as the leader of this team. Come March Texas will have a great chance to make a run. Buy high for these Longhorns.
imgres-1Texas A&M Aggies, SELL
It was only a couple weeks ago that Texas A&M was a top 5 team and a popular pick to make it to the Final Four. Since then, the Aggies have been a completely different team, loosing 4 in a row to unranked opponents. A&M has struggled having the target on their back. This team has a ton of talent of their team, but they seem to not get it done time after time. Aggie fans will hate to hear me make this comparison, but A&M reminds me a lot of last years Texas team. Texas was chalk full of talented players, but they were not ready for the spot light. If the Aggies can’t even take being the team to beat in the terrible SEC, there is no way they can handle the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament.
imgresOregon Ducks, BUY 
It may be a year early, but the Oregon Ducks have established themselves as the class of the Pac-12. Although they have lost their past two games on the road, this Duck squad is for real. This team has a great balance of young talent and experienced players. It also helps to have a super star in Dillion Brooks on your team. Brooks has been the bet player in the conference, putting up 30 point games with ease. Freshman point guard Tyler Dorsey is the key for this team’s success. He is a great young player who has a bright future in college ball and beyond. Success in the NCAA Tournament comes with great guard play. Dorsey is the man to take the Ducks to Houston for their first Final Four in a long time.
imgresMichigan Wolverines, BUY
I am going to be on record saying, I think the Wolverines can make the Final Four. I know I sound crazy and a little biased, but here me out. I am not saying they will, but there is a chance. Michigan has been a tough team to figure out this year. They have looked like a top 10 team, but they have also looked like a team that doesn’t even belong in the NIT. Injury has been most to blame for Michigan’s inconsistency. Losing Caris LeVert for a long stretch of the season was tough for this team, but it has also been good as other players including Duncan Robinson and Muhammed-Ali Abdur-Rahkman have stepped up to add great depth. Now the Caris LeVert is finally back into the line up Michigan has gone from a okay team to a team that is down right scary. Michigan is on of the best shooting teams in the country and they live and die by the three point shot. If the Wolverines become hot during March, watch out.
imgres-1Purdue, SELL 
Yes I am selling on Purdue, a team that has consistently been in the top 25 week after week. The Boilermakers are tough, physical, and have some of the best big men in the country. They are a great team, but they have on major flaw that will be their Achilles heel in March. Purdue does not have consistent guard play. As I mention earlier that is crucial if you want to make a good run in the NCAA Tournament. I am selling on Purdue and look for the Boilermaker to be upset and make a early exit from March Madness.

Alamo Bowl Preview

When they released the bowl games, the Alamo Bowl looked like it was going to be a great one. Football fans were excited to see two star quarterbacks face off. Sadly this will not be the case because TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin has been suspended for the game. TCU has had a season crippled by injury o both sided of the ball. Without Boykin to lead them, coach Gary Patterson has to get his defense ready for the high flying duck offense.
Oregon’s season has also been affected by injury. Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr is one the most exciting players to watch in the country. I truly believe if Adams did not break his finger against Michigan State, they would have won that game, be in the Playoff, and he would be the Heisman Trophy winner. Adams is that electrifying. 920x920
I think TCU will be able to put up a lot of numbers and score a lot angainst Oregon’s struggling defense, but without Boykin, they will not he able to keep up with Vernon Adams and the Fighting Ducks.
Prediction: Oregon 61, TCU 41

PAC 12 Preview

Hi everyone. I’m back and no I have not taken the entire summer off, I was at a very long camp at Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana. I am now back in business and this blog is going to be a preview of the Pac 12 conference. I will be previewing each of the other power conferences in other blogs so stay tuned.

Dark Horse: USC

Nelson+Agholor+UCLA+v+USC+wLHwkuf9n4mlUSC is my dark horse pick to win the Pac 12. They have a great new coach. Cody Kessler is finally their stable quarterback, and their defense is nasty. The only hole they need to fill is the explosive play maker but I think Nelson Agholor is the perfect fit. The Trojans are a very dangerous team that has the potential to spoil their rivals UCLA’s season and punch their ticket to maybe a playoff birth.

131129.RJK_.OEM_.FBC_.OregonState.0673-980x653Defensive Player of the Year: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu,CB,Oregon

Ekpre-Olomu is one of the best cornerbacks in the nation and it seems like he is poised to have a career year. Ekpre-Olomu has the ability to shut down even the elite wide receivers in the country with ease. His most impressive attribute is his eyes. Olomu sees everything on the field, which leads to him picking off many passes. This is one of the reasons Ekpre-Olomu is a projected top 5 pick in this upcoming NFL draft.

Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota,QB,OregonMarcus+Mariota+Arizona+v+Oregon+jEYd3UlXRqWl

It is a no brainer that the reigning offensive player of the year is my preseason pick to win the award once again. Also what made this decision that much easier is that he is everybody’s preseason Heisman Trophy winner and that he is projected to be the number one overall pick in the next NFL draft. Mariota had a very tough decision to make at the end of last year, to enter the NFL draft and probably be the first quarterback taken off the board or come back to the University and have a chance to win a National TItle and many other prestigious individual awards. Having made the decision to come back to the Ducks made the sun actually shine in Oregon.

Conference Championship: UCLA vs OregonUnknown-7

It just seems like these two West coast power houses are destined to meet up in the championship. North vs South, Mariota vs Hundely what better story could be written.

Conference Champions: Oregon

images-4It just feels like this is the make or break season for the Fighting Ducks. They have all of the perfect pieces in place. Coach Mark Helfrich has just been given keys to a sports car but now he has to drive them. This season is Playoffs or bust for the Ducks, no it’s more like National Championship or bust, that’s how much pressure will be lying on their shoulders. It’s a good thing they have the best player in the country, who also thrives under pressure with their high powered prolific offense and their shutdown defense. Anything short of a championship would be a disappointment. They have to live up to it, but there’s something in the water that telling me this is finally the year Oregon gets it done. Fast, Hard, FINISH!

Match Up of the Day

Like last year, I will be doing a Match Up of the Day blog everyday for the rest of March Madness.  Today’s match up of the day is the 2 seeded Wisconsin Badgers vs the 7 seeded Oregon Ducks.

7 Oregon keys: 

The Oregon Ducks are the most prolific offensive team in America.  They run a up tempo images-13fast offense which is very similar to the play of their football team.  The X-factor for the Ducks is big man Elgin Cook. Cook just came off of playing the game of his life.  Cook was so ecstatic about playing in his home town of Milwaukee and I am waiting for an encore for him today in Milwaukee.  Cook also has a huge challenge in containing the pride and joy of Benet Academy, Frank Kaminsky the all BIG Ten 1st team center.  It will be a struggle to contain him for Cook because of Kaminsky’s range from the 3 pt.  Jason Calliste also has to play well if the Ducks want to pull of the upset.  He is probably the best 6th man in the country and he has a beautiful stroke from beyond the arch.  He had a monster game in the regular season to help the Ducks take down Arizona and I am looking for him to have the same impact.  By the way, he’s my favorite Oregon player.

2 Wisconsin keys: 

images-14The Wisconsin Badgers are one of the top defensive teams in all of college basketball but their weak link is their own offense.  The Badgers struggle to score and they have the slowest offensive production.  Frank the Tank is going to have to carry the load for this heavily favored Wisconsin team.  Wisconsin’s defense has to step up against this high powered offense.  For Wisconsin to win the game they have to slow down the tempo and not let the Ducks get any fast break opportunities.

Prediction: I believe the Oregon Ducks offense is going to be too much to handle for the Badgers.  Oregon 74 Wisconsin 65

My BCS Standings

There were some big shake ups in week 11 that will affect the BCS standings.  When the official standings come out, there will be a lot of controversy, but for now I am going to tell you what I think should be the BCS standings.

1.) Alabama: 

The Tide made a huge statement last Saturday night by rocking the Bayou Bengals.  LSU Unknowntied the game in the third quarter, but after a surprising fake punt, Bama scored 21 unanswered points.  The Tigers failed to score a single point after that, and Alabama rolled 39-17.  This was the kind of game that voters needed to see from the Tide.  They have not had a statement win yet, until the LSU game.  The key to Alabama’s success is star QB AJ McCarron.  McCarron isn’t the flashiest player.  He doesn’t run around and make huge plays, all AJ does is win championships.  McCarron has been amazing every game, but running back TJ Yeldon was the true reason the Tide rolled the Tigers.  The Alabama run game has been the weak part of this team, but if last Saturday was the first time you tuned in, you would never guess that. Yeldon carried the ball for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns.  In the second half Saban changed the game plan and ran the ball down the Tigers throat.  I have been doubting this Bama team all year, but now that they have a solid run game and I have finally jumped on the Tuscaloosa bandwagon.  This team is legit.

2.) Florida State: 

In my opinion, Florida State is the most complete team in college football.  First off, they imageshave arguably the best player in the nation, Jameis Winston.  Winston is remarkable, he plays like he is a five year senior but he is only a freshman.  Scary right? They have one of the best receiving cores, which makes Winston look even better then he really is.  Junior WR, Rashad Greene, has been sensational, leading the team in receiving yards with 820 YDS on the season and he also leads the team with 8 receiving TDs.  Last week, what impressed me the most was the Noles defense.  Against Wake Forest, they forced 6 interceptions and 7 total turnovers.  Wake Forest also only threw 7 complete passes.  Yes they had only one more completed pass then they had interceptions.  This defense is stifling and they also take the weight off the Winston’s shoulders.  Jimbo Fisher has done a great job making this team believe they can win.  WATCH OUT BAMA!

3.) Oregon: 

The Ducks suffered their first loss of the season Thursday night in Palo Alto against Unknown-1Stanford.  You might think I am crazy for keeping the Ducks in the top three just after a loss, but Oregon didn’t play Oregon football.  I give Stanford a lot of credit, but Oregon just had a bad game until 3 minuets left in the 4th quarter.  The Ducks played horrid and still only lost 20-26 to a very good Stanford team.  The Ducks have the best player in all of the land and the greatest offense.  Mariota and his Ducks need a whole lot to happen to make the National Championship but there is still a chance.  This team is way better then how they played against the Cardinals.  Trust me, this Oregon team is still very talented.

4.) Baylor: 

A couple years ago if you said the Baylor Bears are one of the best teams in the country, someone would check you into a mental institution to see if you were insane.  The Bears images-1are what many people are calling the Oregon of the South.  The fancy uniforms, the offense, and the that they just flat out win ball games.  The Bears had a statement win, last thursday vs Oklahoma.  The Baylor Bears are for real.

5.) Stanford

6.) Auburn

7.) Missouri

8.) Ohio State

9.) Clemson

10.) UCLA

11.) Texas A&M

12.) South Carolina

13.) Northern Illinois

14.) Oklahoma State

15.) Texas

16.) Michigan State

17.) UCF

18.) Fresno State

19.) Louisville 

20.) Wisconsin 

21.) LSU

22.) Arizona State

23.) Miami (FL)

24.) Oklahoma

25.) Georgia

 

 

 

 

How To Roll Back the Tide

For the past couple years Alabama has been the king of college football.  Nick Saban is imagesthe best coach and every year they get new superstars.  Some people think Bama is unstoppable.  This is false.  The last two years that they have won the National Championship they have lost a game each year.  The key to shredding the suffocating Tide defense is if you have a mobile quarterback.  In 2011 they lost to LSU who had Jordan Jefferson at QB.  In 2012 they lost to the Texas A&M Aggies who of course have Johnny Hotshot.  Even Michigan with Denard Robinson scored a lot of points on them.

ole-miss-footballThe truth is Saban and his trees are not perfect, in fact, they are far from it.  I think that the reigning champs will make it to the National Title, but they will have one loss.  Last year one of the only teams they struggled with was the Ole Miss Rebels.  This year they had the best recruiting class in the country, and they have a dime at half back.  I predict the Tide will slip up against the young guns of Mississippi.  This is a bold statement but Ole Miss has had some impressive wins against Vanderbilt and Texas.  Although anyone could smash their way through the disgrace of a Texas defense, they are still the Longhorns.

It is highly unlikely that this upset would take place but I have my reasons.  I predicted that Unknowneven with a loss Bama will make the BCS National Championship. I also believe they will loose that game.  Yes the SEC reign of terror will end.  The team that will ruin the Tide’s dream of a three peat is the Oregon Ducks.  Right now I think they are hands down the best team in the nation.  You need a running QB to beat Bama and the Ducks have Marcus Mariota.  Mariota can fly but he has a cannon of an arm to expose Saban’s weak secondary.  The tempo of the Ducks would effect Alabama also.  They are the fastest offense in the nation and Bama’s big boys up front will be gassed after the first quarter.