NFL Playoffs

NFC

San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers
The 49ers should be able to win this game without problem.  The Green Bay defense is simply too weak to keep up.  Not just the talent on the field but Green Bay will be thoroughly outcoached by Harbaugh and staff.  I don’t think even Rodgers can bail them out of this one.    Niners by 4.

New Orleans Saints vs Philadelphia Eagles
I dont think the Saints will have too much problem taking care of the Eagles.   Eagles have the worst passing defense in the league.  Kyle Orton had 65% completion with 358 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 Ints.  Brees should have a field day.  While I don’t trust the Saints run-d and their ability to stop McCoy, I’ll take the Saints offense over the Eagles offense any day. Saints by 7

AFC

Kansas City Chiefs vs Indianapolis Colts
The Colts’ success purely depends on the success of the pass-rush.  Their pass-rush is how they were able to beat all the great teams that they did.   If they haven’t earned your respect after beating KC, Denver, SF, and Seattle, I don’t know what else you want.  Luck is still developing but clearly he has the clutch gene.   I think the linebackers are fast enough to keep up with charles, and I think the pass-rush can obliterate Alex Smith.  I love the KC defense, but I simply don’t think Alex Smith has it in him to perform in the clutch.  I think this will be a close game that comes down to the end.  Colts by 2.

San Diego Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals 
While the Chargers have upset ability, I don’t think the Bengals will lay an egg at home.  People love to criticize Dalton but don’t realize how good the defense actually is.   5th in the league in rushing defense, 5th in the league in passing defense.   Put Dalton’s inconsistency up against the Chargers’ 29th ranked passing defense, and he should be okay for this game.  Bengals by 4.

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Madden-Dude’s Guide to do Well in School

-Study to learn and understand – Comprehension is the most important thing. You should attack every class like, “This is my opportunity to master this subject”.  If you follow no other piece of advice, at least follow this one and you’ll be okay.

These are the steps I take in trying to master a class:

-Read the syllabus – Know what the teacher expects from the class, know the details of the class, know the resources the teacher recommends and look them up on Amazon reviews.

-Acquire my resources – Look up alternative books and websites I could use. Teachers sometimes recommend horrible overly dense books. Acquire the best possible resources that will work for you. Keep it limited. Ex: Teacher recommended a physiology book, way too much detail, would’ve taken me forever to read, especially since I’m a slow reader. I was recommended Costanzo – Physiology, read a chapter and loved it, that book got me a solid A in the class. Outside of your class notes, you have Wikipedia, and I think its a good idea to have at least 1 textbook that you would read.

-Plan out how to take notes – Does the teacher use power-point, does he write on the board, does he not give us his power-point presentation, do I want to use my iPad, pen and paper, do I want to go to class or podcast the lecture? All these questions can be answered within the first week of class. Usually I prefer FoxIt reader to annotate PDFs of the lectures on my computer in class. Some classes I prefer to listen to the teacher on podcast. These are all options for you to consider. But I think its important to listen to each lecture at least once. When they aren’t reading off the slides, they give their own input and they are, after all, experts in their field. Much can be learned from their side-comments. I noticed when I prepare ahead of time, those side-comments tend to stick with me. When I go into class with no prior exposure, much of what the teacher says is in 1 ear and out the other, with no recall of him mentioning those things.

-Pre-Read – I briefly flip through the lectures for the upcoming week, then I read those topics in my textbook. I use Google/Wikipedia to clarify any questions. Then I read through the class-notes and compare what I just learned to what I need to know, and how that extra information helps fill in the gaps in the lecture slides. Pre-reading is the single best thing I’ve ever done in any class. You can’t be a lazy bum about it. You have to prioritize getting it done. For example: Normally people study throughout the week and use the weekend to fill in the gaps and review what they learned. I used Sat and Sun to get ahead for the upcoming week, then I used Thur and Fri to review that week. I found this to be SO much more efficient.

-Frequent Quality Exposure – I think its good to aim for 5 exposures. My 6 were: 1) Pre-reading the textbook + Wiki 2)Reading class-notes 3) Paying attention in class 4) Reviewing at home on that day, comparing textbook with lecture 5) Reviewing thur/fri 6) Lab(Sometimes). I think equally important to exposure is the quality time you spend learning the thing. I treated each of my exposures as if they were my last and I would take the test the next day. When I pre-read the textbook, I told myself, I have to understand it now, there’s no 2nd chance. By the time I even got to class, I pretty much knew everything. #3-6 were really just solidifying it. When you do that, you’re able to be that guy who asks brilliant questions in class or that guy who sounds like he did research n this stuff, why does he know everything?!

-Practice Questions – From #4 and #5 in the above paragraph (reviewing at home), much of my reviewing would be doing practice questions. I cannot stress how helpful this really is. When you try to apply your knowledge you understand what you know and what you don’t know. It really integrates your understanding with multiple topics. If you don’t have practice questions, ask the teacher, or find a question book from Amazon.

-Personal Notes and Diagrams – Each time I sit down to study, I make a diagram or drawing of difficult concepts. I try to map out all the concepts to relate them to each other. This is essentially how I visualize it in my mind and its how I integrate my knowledge. I try to aim for 1 paper per lecture, I map out all the concepts, then I map out all the details. When I go back to study for midterms, or if I want to review the material in a future class, I just have to pull out my diagrams and it all comes back to me. Im super glad I started doing this early on in my education. I have so many diagrams, it keeps all my knowledge fresh. People wonder how I remember stuff in so much detail from so long ago, this is how. I’m a visual learner so this works for me. I don’t usually do this until #2 when I’m reading through my class notes for the first time. The purpose is, everything I need to memorize, is mapped out on a piece of paper. It makes memorizing large amounts of information very easy.

-Research above and beyond – Once you know everything, take your knowledge above and beyond with Google, search professional journals, Wikipedia, you should be able to explain the topic for the layman to understand.

-Study for midterms very early – I try to aim to be ready for midterms 1 week before the test day. The last week is purely for review and group studying. I explain stuff to my peers and it really solidifies my understanding for long term.

Summary: The best piece of advice I can give is study to learn and understand. The 2nd best piece of advice I can give is, get ahead and build your foundation of knowledge very early in the class (I used a textbook to do this), that way any discussion, lecture, lab, homework, can all augment your knowledge. You don’t be listening to the teacher like, “We don’t have to know this.” “Ehhh I’ll look this up later.” “What the heck, when did she teach that.”

-Stay focused and study hard – Building “smarts” is much like working out. You cant walk into the weight room on your first day and bench 300 lbs, so don’t expect to blaze through your material understanding everything. You might feel dumb at first, needing to read through very slowly just to understand it, and not getting it on your first try. Eventually you’ll get so good that everything you learn sticks with you and automatically integrates with what you know.

San Francisco Gameplan:
-Run the ball non-stop throughout the entire game.   Seattle’s 1 weakness is its run defense.  They give up a solid amount of yards-per-carry.  Thats why Seattle’s gameplan is to take shots and get ahead early…to make the other team abandon the run.  Thats why Seattle ends up winning in so many blow-outs against good teams.   Seattle is built with speed up front.  Their speed makes for gang-tackles on every play, to make up for their lack of power.  Niners need to lineup in I-form and just pound it.  Use the power and strength of the O-line, dont be intimidated by speed. When they least expect it, take shots, and complete those big passes to Davis or Crabtree that we always see.  But immediately after, go back to the run.  Kaepernick should have 22 attempts, and 70% completion, and half of those should be 15+ yard first down passes.

Seattle Gameplan:
-Make SF play your game, not vice-versa.   Like I said, Seattle forces their game on other teams to cover up their weaknesses.  They look invincible on TV, but they do have weaknesses.

Result:
I still think Seattle is the better team because I dont particularly like Kaepernick’s passing progression throughout the season.  I dont think Harbaughs done a good job of facilitating it.  If kaepernick got better at the same pace as Russell Wilson, the niners would be the clear number 2 team, borderline number 1, in the NFC.  I think the team is that good.   I also think Gore is not as good as he used to be.  He benefits from huge holes created by his O-line.  I dont think “home field advantage” or “extra effort” will be enough for the niners.  I’m still taking seattle by a large margin lol.

Seattle 28 San Francisco 13

Random thoughts about the game:

-Harbaugh likes to keep it conservative throughout the season, then towards the end he likes to open up the playbook in the passing game.  This does 2 things: It gets Gore fresh for the playoffs, and it doesn’t let Pete Carroll to get too much game-film on his playbook.  Guys say he’s the most paranoid coach in the NFL, and his biggest paranoia is Seattle.  The point: This IS the superbowl for the niners.  Harbaugh will bring out everything.  The players will be playing like its a playoff game.

-Seattle is cruising to 1st seed.  This game is essentially meaningless in the standings.  But it does two things: San francisco is essentially down right now….they’ve lost to every good team they’ve faced.  I can’t imagine their confidence being too high.   Seattle has a chance to go for the kill.  If the niners lose this game, I dont see them having enough guts to come back and win again in the playoffs at seattle, I can even imagine a team like Detroit giving them trouble…they wouldnt be able to stop CJ, and the Detroit run-D will be able to shut down gore.    Its also personal for seattle.  But with very little playoff implications for them, I can’t imagine seattle treating it like a playoff game, whereas SF will.

-Niners homefield is overrated, lets get that out of the way. Both Indy and Carolina were able to beat them at San Francisco.  But regardless of how dumb the email sounds, I think the fans will come out extra loud…but i just dont see it effecting the seahawks.

NFL Power Rankings

The season is winding down and at this point, we’ve seen what most contending teams have to offer.  When making these power-rankings, I think in terms of head-to-head matchups, in other words, ‘if both these teams brought their best, who would win’. Other things are balance, leadership, likelihood to advance in the playoffs, talant on the depth chart, injuries, and anything else.

Tier 1

1. Seattle Seahawks – As I’ve mentioned before, I think this is the best team I’ve seen in years.  They remind me alot of the super-bowl winning Steelers teams of the recent past.   Dominant defense, dominant running-game, creative playmaking QB.  When this team brings its best, they can beat anyone.   I can list a bunch of stats or I can link you to this article that does it for me.   Its just a matter of watching them play.  Every aspect of the team is balanced and exceptional.  They can win in so many different ways.  Their biggest challenge will be New Orleans.  Beyond that, I think they can convincingly beat Denver in the superbowl.

2.New Orleans Saints – I think there are two teams in the NFL who are elite on both sides of the ball, and both those teams I put at 1 and 2.   In a pass-happy league, they are the 2nd best passing offense and have the 3rd best passing defense.  The key-word is balance.  Head to head I think the difference between the saints and seahawks is the running-games.  I think Lynch would be the difference maker.   I would take the Saints O vs Den D as opposed to Den O vs Saints D.  Its really as simple as that.  People still have the image in their minds that the Saints defense is soft.  They are a completely different team this year.  Last year they were by FAR the worst defense in the league.  They gave up the most rushing yards a game, and 2nd most passing yards a game, as well as the 2nd most points per game.   This year they are the 5th best scoring defense.

3. Denver Broncos – Even though I think this is too much of a 1-sided team, this is one of the best offenses I’ve ever seen.  Its comparable to the 07 patriots.  But even the 07 patriots fell victim to a great pass-rush.  But the fact is, when trying to beat the broncos, you need to have some degree of luck, hoping that Manning makes mistakes and you play a flawless game.  I think the elite 4-man rush combined with the lock-down defensive backs of the Seahawks can slow the Broncos just enough to let the offense outscore Manning.

Tier 2

4.  Carolina Panthers – One of the best, if not the best defense in the league.  Combined with a solid run game, combined with a nice set of receivers, veteren leadership with the one and only Steve Smith, and a QB who continues to get better.  I’m not a fan of Newton, but I gotta give it to him, he’s been playing better and better.   I think this teams weakness is its passing defense.  Brady was able to exploit it, and Brees will be able to as well.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints take both games versus Carolina.  But I think their defense will keep em in any game.  They robbed the patriots but what goes around comes around, the Patriots robbed the Saints, Saints robbed the Niners, Niners robbed the Packers.  The Packers’ cheap victory is yet to come.  I feel like thats how they’ll beat the Lions.

6. San Francisco 49ers – Its as if you have to be a niners homer or niners hater.  It makes no sense.  This is where they deserve to be.  Tier 2 of NFL teams.  A great defense no doubt, a good running game, and banged up receivers who are returning soon.  Davis, Crabtree, Boldin, Manningham should be an effective bunch when all healthy.  I’m not a big Kaepernick fan, I’ll post about this later, but I think he’s good enough in that offense, with that playcalling to put up more points than most opposing teams.  More points than KC, not as many points as carolina.  I think this is where they belong.

7. New England – Still an elite offense, especially with Gronk back.  The defense is just way too banged up.  They were playing scrubs against carolina.  But the fact is the Belichick and Brady combo is always a threat to win and always a threat in the playoffs.  They got robbed against Carolina, otherwise that would mean they’d have beaten the Saints and Panthers.  Brady’s offense made the Panthers defense look weak.  Since about half-way through the 2nd quarter, the Patriot offense looked like they were going to drive at will.

8.  Kansas City Chiefs – Kind of the same reasons as the Panthers, great defense, good rushing attack, good coaching, good receivers, but I would take Newton and Kaepernick over Smith.  Simple as that.  I think Newton and Kaepernick’s playmaking abilities would be enough to allow their teams to score points while their defenses hold solid.  I dont think Alex Smith would be able to move the ball effectively on any of the 6 teams above.  I trust the New England offense vs KC def more than I do the KC Offense vs New England D.

Tier 3.

9. Indianapolis Colts
10. Green Bay Packers
11. Cincinnati Bengals
12. Detroit Lions
13. Chicago Bears

Tier 4:

14. Arizona Cardinals
15. New York Giants
16. Philadelphia Eagles
17. Dallas Cowboys

NFL Futures Predictions

I’ve recently started checking Bovada for their NFL lines. I think anyone can make bold predictions, but once you suggest putting money on it, people back down.    With the money factor, I realized the way I analyse the game changes.  I put all emotions aside and think as objectively as possible.  I will make a later post discussing what exactly I look for and how I judge outcomes, but for now I’m going to make a few predictions of my own.

Things I would put money on:

1. Giants win the division (+500)

The Giants have been a joke all year, but they’ve had a dysfunctional defense and the worst run game in the NFL.  As of late, their defense has been playing much better and they look like they’ve finally found the answer to their running problems in Andre Brown.  Its just a matter of time before the offense gets it together.  I think theres a higher probability of that than the dallas defense coming together.  With the loss of Sean Lee, I think Dallas is done, I believe the team is too one dimensional.  I have the same problem with philly.  Ultimately record and schedule aside, I feel like the Giants are the best team in the division, and thats why I feel like the 5/1 odds of winning the division are worth it.

2. Seahawks win the superbowl (+375)

I started watching the seahawks mid-way through last season and every time I see them bring their A-game, I just think wow, this is one of the best teams I’ve ever seen.   I dont see anyone beating them when they play their best.  Unfortunately they didn’t show up to the falcons playoff game until half-time.   And in that second half, the seahawks scored a TD on every drive except 1.  Since right after that game, I’ve been picking the Seahawks to win the superbowl this year.  When I see em bring their best, I’m still amazed.  If you take away the garbage time TD with a minute something left, they beat the niners in their last 2 meetings with a combined score of 71-9 forcing a total of 7 turnovers with Wilson scoring 5 TDs and Lynch scoring 3.   Their biggest challenge will be New Orleans, I would guess in the NFC championship.   That will be a game of the ages.  Denver is much too one sided to win the superbowl, but I will talk about them next.

Things I would NOT put money on:

1. Denver winning the superbowl (+333)

They are much too one-sided to win the superbowl.  You absolutely need a balanced team to win it all.  They’re so powerful on offense that they can get through the regular season with 3 losses maximum.  But from the NFC they will face teams with elite pass defenses like the Seahawks, Saints, Panthers, all of whom have top 5 pass-defenses. (Which is also the reason I feel the niners can’t get through any of those teams, with an already weak passing offense, they are rendered completely inept against those teams.)

An elite pass-rush can take out any pocket quarterback.  That was the formula the Colts used to beat the broncos.  That was the formula the Giants used to beat the Patriots, which looked like one of the greatest offenses ever.   None of those games were flukes.  Bronco fans will be quick to mention the Hillman fumble at the goal-line, but even more fluky was Trent Richardson losing the first fumble of his NFL career right before that drive that gave them the ball.  As great as the offense is, I see too many flaws on defense, I see the loss of Ryan Clady hurting them big-time. Its what allowed Mathis to have 2 sacks and 4 QB hits, its why Mannings has been getting hit alot lately to the point where he’s questionable every week now.  Its known that his ankles are weak, one bad hit could put him out for a week or two, which could lose them the division to the chiefs, forcing them to go on the road at Foxborough and Arrowhead.  I honestly believe they split 1-1 with the Chiefs this season.

2. The Niners winning anything important – SB (+1000), NFC (+550), Division(+400), Big Regular Season Games

I absolutely don’t believe in the niners, and I absolutely don’t believe in Kaepernick as a passing QB.   I need to see them pass the ball effectively before I pick them for anything.  They have a brilliant defense, a declining run-game, a decimated receiving corps, and a poor-vision passer who is as good as the playcalling.   Thats enough to keep them out of the top tier of teams.  I put them in the tier of Carolina with an elite defense and an offense that will dominate weak defenses and struggle against good ones.   I picked the Seahawks and Panthers to beat em, and I’m picking the Saints to beat em as well, and then the Seahawks to beat them again in San Francisco.

Conclusion

Theres a few teams I really believe in, including the Saints, Panthers, Chiefs, and Colts, in that order, to be contenders.   But I’m still weighing out whether its worth putting down the money or not.  Thats the only thing that holds me back.  

12 Study Tips for Doing Your Best in College

UPDATE:
-I wouldn’t follow this advice, its just random ideas that worked for me in the past, alot of em don’t work anymore.  I’m making a new post about advice in school.

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The general rule for every class is simply to listen to your teacher. Don’t shortcut their methods and listen to the advice they give you. Do the homework and reading they recommend to you, and most importantly, do it on time. At the end of the day, they aren’t trying to take you down because they hate you, as sometimes it would seem, they’re trying to take you down to challenge you to achieve your full potential.

To rise up to this challenge, I modified and polished up my studying techniques. Every class I took in college taught me something different. I’m going to share with you all of what I learned. Now the advice I give primarily applies to Biology related majors, specifically something related to Molecular Biology, but try to think how this would apply to you.

I’m going to skim over the basics:

1. Always Attend Class
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not attending class. You might be dead tired, wanting to sleep in, hung over like your head is going to explode. You should man it out and go to class. As you hear things in class for the first time, whether you understand them or not, they will register in your head as things the professor said. When you go back and study the material, these random details will pop into your head and you’ll be thanking yourself for going to class. You’ll find it much easier to understand material the second time around, however half-ass the first time around was.

2. Make an attempt to listen
As I said, whether you understand the material or not, keywords and phrases will register in your mind, and you’ll know later on that the professor mentioned it and so you should probably know it. Random phrases the professor says will pop into your mind as you study for your midterm as well. If you can understand the entire lecture on the spot, then it will probably cut the studying time outside of class in half, and it will make it so much less stressful.

3. Take Proper Notes
Write down everything on the board, anything the teacher says, and anything you’re thinking. Don’t rely on others for notes. You’ll find that most people don’t take good notes, and even if they do, it’s hard to decipher other people’s notes sometimes. If you write it down yourself, you’re far more likely to remember what you’re writing, and you’ll have an easier time understanding the material.

Its important to build a note taking strategy that you are efficient with. I have found that the best note taking strategy for me is to be organized and color coded. By organized I mean, I write the date and lecture number before every lecture, I begin a new lecture on the right side of my notebook, and I take notes neatly leaving alot of space in my notebook. Don’t squeeze things. The teacher might look to make a small diagram and it might turn into a 2 page drawing, you never know. If you think you’ll run out of paper in your notebook, don’t worry about it, you can just get another notebook and call it Part 2. I also color code all my notes with 4 colors. I will have black, blue, red, and green pens ready to go. Usually black is what the teacher writes on the board, blue is what the teacher explains, green is notes to myself, and red is if the teacher specifically says something is important.

Ok, all that is pretty obvious stuff, now these are the things that helped me in some class:

4. Podcasting
Most teachers will podcast, I recommend going back every weekend and listening to the podcast, while taking notes in your notebook. I usually write these extra notes in pencil. I’ll usually write down all the details that the teacher explains that seem to be common sense on the spot, but end up being difficult and important. Always make time to podcast, you’ll find listening to it the second time around makes it stick in your mind like glue. Many of my fellow pre-med students do this as well. These are the guys that set the class curves and take all the A+’s and A’s away from everyone else. I recommend speeding up the podcasts, which you can do on Windows Media Player. Depending on how fast the professor speaks, you can speed it up anywhere from 1.5x to 2x the speed. I began to do this in my upper divison classes mostly, where reading the book was less important than listening to the teacher.

5. Wikipedia
This seems like common sense too, but you’ll be surprised by how little people use the internet as a resource. Sometimes common words are not always what they seem. A really simple example is lets say your professor is talking about ADH and suddenly starts calling it Vasopressin, a word you’ve never heard before. If you wikipedia it, you’d know that they are the same thing. In one molecular biology class, I was literally using Wikipedia to look up every protein name. So when the teacher throws out a bunch of CDCs, CDKs, Cyclins, with random numbers associated, what seems like complete gibberish and confusion, can be broken down and organized simply by wikipedia. Out of all the times I’ve used wiki, it’s been inaccurate on my a few times, usually only because it cites certain evidence that our professor overrules with the latest research, usually because he does the research. You can’t really complain about that. I use this in mostly upper division classes where some of the nomeclature gets very complicated, but I wish I had used it throughout college in all of my classes.

6. No Study Groups, Yet
I’ve learned that its best to study everything on your own. If you don’t understand something, power through it, do research, go to office hours, and figure it out. When you feel like you are done with all of the material, then join a study group and try to help others. If you can teach the information you self, it proves you really understand it, meaning you’ll probably ace the test.

7. Go to Office Hours on Off Days
I have been on both sides of the table in office hours, as a student and as a TA. I can tell you this, from a TAs perspective, we wait there every day for students to come and ask questions so we can help you. We want to be good TAs and we want the students who actually come to us to do well. This means, if a student comes in and asks me a simple question, I’ll give him not only the answer, but I’ll explain the reasoning behind it better than the professor. Not only that but since I have most likely taken that class before, and TA’d it before, I know what type of questions are likely to appear on the test. We usually sit there bored for most of the days, until about a week before a midterm, then students rush in for practice test answers. At this point theres so many kids that its hard to give any single student full attention, but rather I have to give quick and concise answers to keep everything moving. So go to office hours on the first week of class, go on random days, go after the midterm.

8. Do All Homework and Practice Tests
This is the best indication of what information the teacher wants you to know and in how much depth. Theres many angles you can take at certain material, some teachers simply test for memorization, others tests critical thinking, and some take critical thinking a couple steps more and ask you to do some serious problem solving where you really need to know the information. Homework and Practice Tests get you in that critical thinking mindset that is necessary to do well on test day. Getting as many of these angles down is key to developing your critical thinking.

9. Study to Learn, Not to Pass Tests
This is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. It’s all about understanding the material. If you study to pass tests, you’re limiting yourself on test day. Teachers will always put curveball questions on tests to create a standard distribution. With proper understanding, you can take these questions down with ease. If you only studied to pass the test, these questions might be beyond your scope, leaving you complaining like most other students that it was unfair. At the end of the day, your complaints are probably useless. Beat the system at its own game, instead of trying to take the system down, because thats impossible. Plus this is your major, you should probably find it interesting.

10. Study Early
Start studying on day 1. There is always something to study. You can read ahead, read wiki, read extra, whatever it may be. Start as strong as you can. In the first 2 weeks of school, study every hour you can during the day. You might be the only fool in the library on the first day, but you’ll be laughing once test day comes around. The average student will probably be playing video games, sleeping in, watching TV. Doing something productive during this day time will give you lee-way to free up your nights, as well as your weekend, and nights and weekends are the best social times. This way you can manage having a life and doing well in school, something thats becoming rare, especially with tougher majors.

11. Manage Your Supplements Wisely
Coffee, Soda, Energy Drinks, Adderall. All of these can help you stay awake and focus while you study. I can tell you this from personal experience, this is a slippery downhill road. Once you start coffee, you’ll become dependent. Eventually you’re going to need to increase your caffeine intake as your tolerance increases. This might lead you to energy drinks, and this might eventually lead you to adderall. Now most important here is your health, so I don’t recommend any of these. Energy drinks are notoriously bad for you, I would stay away completely. But the day will come when you ended up slacking and become piled up in work, and need to pull an all-nighter. At this point, coffee and energy drinks are your friends. I would highly recommend going with the sugar free ones or black coffee. In my opinion, energy drinks from weakest to strongest are, Sobe Energy, Red Bull, Monster, Amp, Rockstar. My personal favorite is Rockstar Blue. Now if you’re in a worst case scenario situation, and its the day before your final and you don’t even know what your class is called yet, then you might want to consider Adderall. I will make another post later detailing how I would use it, and exactly how it effects you. But this is the easiest to become dependent on. Tolerance builds surprisingly fast. Most important with all of this stuff is, drink alot of water with it. For however much coffee or monster you drink, I would recommend drinking 3-4 times that much in water throughout the night. You’ll be pissing every half an hour, but it will keep your body from turning into a raisin.12. Its All About Your Mindset
College is about thinking outside the box, this is what your teachers are going to try to get you to do, its what you should do on your own if you want to reach your fullest potential. Your mindset while studying is one of the most important things. Approach the material with an open mind, map things out in your mind or on paper, and how they connect with each other. Always ask WHY, and make sense of everything you learn in a real life perspective. In Medical school, sometimes teachers will take the first lecture just to talk about this, because really, your Mindset will determine everything. So for example, A causes B, C causes D, now upon further research you realize B = D, now A causes D and C causes B, etc. And beyond that, why and how does A cause B? Etc. The connections might be different but you get my point. This is the path to truly understanding the material and having it stick with you forever, instead of it fading away after a year.

If all of this stuff seems obvious to you, at least understand why it is obvious, and understand why it is not as easy as it seems. That is the point I am going for in this article. Not doing well in school is one of the most stressful things for a college student. You will find that putting in the work to do well in school and not being lazy will pay off big.

The State of Oakland Sports

Oakland Athletics

After years of false promises, trading away our top players for prospects, believing in Billy Beane that one day things will turn around, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to become visible. Our rotation is one of the best in the league, featuring Cahill, Anderson, Gonzalez, Braden, and Mazzaro. The team ERA at 3.54 is the best in the American League, and 4th best in the Majors. Team WHIP at 1.26 is also 4th best in the majors. One option I’ve heard thrown out there was acquiring an experienced pitcher next year, and demote Mazzaro, not only to save his arm, but for injury insurance. This is not a bad idea, to have some experience, if we are serious about a playoff run.

The biggest question has been our offense. We are in the bottom half in nearly every batting statistic, including dead last in home runs. The foundation of our lineup needs some serious building, and not just patches from year to year as we have been doing. We need serious 3-4-5 hitters who can drive in runs. There has been talk to acquiring Carl Crawford in the off-season, but personally I don’t think he is the answer. He’s a fast guy who can get on base and get home, but he is more of a supplement to a primary hitter in the lineup. He won’t drive in many runs or hit any out of the park. If we pair him with a power guy like Adam Dunn, then we’re in business. The man has wheels though, he fits our small ball scheme perfectly.

As for now, we are 8 games back of Texas for the AL West. There are 39 games left in the season, 7 against Texas and 6 against Anaheim. Last week Texas lost 5 games, and this week they get the twins, who have been very hot this month. We get cleveland, before we start a series with Texas. This should give us momentum. This week should determine where we go from this point as a team, for the rest of the season.

Oakland Raiders

We have been the laughing stock of the NFL for most of the decade. But the atmosphere is finally changing. The biggest change has been new QB Jason Campbell. He’s shown alot of intelligence on the field in making the right decisions. He moves well in the pocket to avoid the sack. He’s very accurate on his short to mid range passes. My concern is his deep ball, I have yet to see a clean deep ball from Campbell, caught for a large gain. I have much confidence in Campbell though, I think he is someone we can put our faith in, someone we haven’t had since Gannon. Also on the offensive side, the offense line has finally been coming into place, things aren’t great, but they aren’t bad either. Zach Miller has been a beast on the field. Now with a legitimate passer, he will come out onto the national scene as one of the premiere tight ends in the game. The offense will be exciting this year to watch, a bunch of guys who seem like they will play as a unit, and not just ‘a bunch of guys.’

On the defensive side of the ball, we have 2 of our top draft picks Houston and McClain. McClain played under Nick Saban at Alabama, a defensive linebacker specialist. McClain is impressing the coaches at training camp, he should quickly rise as a leader on the defensive side by the end of this year, and he understands that role. The Defensive line looks exciting this year. Houston has already been making an impact in pre-season. Wimbley had a career game with 4 sacks in the first half against the bears. Tommy Kelly looks like he lost alot of weight, as he looks like he’s taking his job seriously now. But in my opinion one of the biggest changes is losing defensive coordinator Ryan. This defense should have a completely new attitude of playing solid and aggressive.

Oakland was the 5th worst team in Offensive time of possession, that means the defense was always on the field. It was obvious from watching games that the defense was able to hold their own only for so long. But they couldn’t hold both the defense and the offense up. It was an impossible situation. Yet under these circumstances the still kept us in games. We had 5 wins in 2009. Four of our loses were by a touchdown or less.

This year there is a change, this isn’t the same patched up Raider team of the past. We have been trying for changes that give us instant success. But finally we have a young team who want to do something with this team. 2010 will be the turnaround year for the Raiders, how drastically we turn we will have to see.