Scott Levine.jpg

Scott Levine

Associated Press

Major League Baseball’s regular season couldn’t finish fast enough.

Sure, the last week was as wild as I’ve ever seen it, with two teams coming from behind and grabbing playoff spots. But as a Chicago White Sox fan, the month of October is a welcomed sight.

I’m assuming many Chicago Cubs fans feel the same way, especially since the Cubs were never really a factor in the National League Central Division. Milwaukee and St. Louis look to be the class of the division, with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh showing a little life.

The Cubs will have to do some major work in the farm system to get back into the race in the coming years.

For the White Sox, an era ended toward the end of the season with the release of manager Ozzie Guillen. This year’s team was supposed to compete for a division title, but other than a few bright spots, this campaign was a dismal failure and the roster isn’t getting any younger.

As a fan of entertainment, I believe Ozzie should always be involved in baseball. As a fan of the White Sox, I believe his antics should be someplace else.

When the White Sox were winning, it was much easier to tolerate Ozzie’s constant sound bites. However, when the team didn’t do well (which has been prevalent during these past few years) his act grew tiresome.

Ozzie isn’t a bad manager. I will always hold a special place in my heart for him for his managerial abilities during the White Sox’s 2005 World Series run. I will never forget that stretch and how wonderful it was to see an actual title.

As a Vikings and Cyclones fan, I’ve only been painfully close to successful seasons. In 2005, the White Sox avoided the meltdown that I’m accustomed to, providing me with my one and only championship.

The White Sox also made another playoff appearance during Ozzie’s tenure, only to lose to the eventual American League World Series representative, Tampa Bay. I, along with my dad and uncles, attended the home games of that series, creating another great memory of the White Sox during Ozzie’s career.

I’m not sure how Ozzie will be remembered during his time with Chicago. It will take some time to figure out if people know him better for his mouth or his victories on the field. Regardless, there’s no denying that Ozzie ushered in one of the most successful eras of White Sox baseball.

But it was time for a change for everyone involved. The White Sox still have enough weapons to make a case for a better 2012, and Ozzie has plenty of youth to mold in Florida. One thing is for certain, South Beach will get a lot louder during the summer.

Weekly picks

I’m starting to think I need to travel to Las Vegas. Last week I recorded a 23-2 mark, which was far above what I expected. Needless to say, this week will probably crash my ego back to earth.

The Hawks have a week off and the Cyclones have a big test at home against Texas. I’m looking forward to see how well Iowa State is prepared for Texas. Both teams had a week off, so there shouldn’t be any lingering effects from previous weeks.

A win against Texas would be a large statement for the Cyclones. Most prognosticators are predicting Iowa State to come back down to reality this week. But I wouldn’t go that far. Mostly because I’m a homer, I’m picking Iowa State this week. But that pick isn’t all about my allegiance to my favorite team.

Texas may have plenty of star recruits, but the quarterback position is still a question mark, and they’ve looked pretty average in games this year. Sure, they destroyed UCLA, but the Bruins would have difficulty coming within three touchdowns of most Big 12 teams.

There’s no arguing that the Big 12 conference is loaded this year with talented teams, and Iowa State needs to pick up a few of these wins to remain in the hunt for a bowl bid.

• Winners are in bold: go to to participate in the challenge:

Alabama at Florida; Texas A&M vs. Arkansas; Auburn at South Carolina; Minnesota at Michigan; Northwestern at Illinois; Mississippi State at Georgia; Penn State at Indiana; Rutgers at Syracuse; Texas Tech at Kansas; Kentucky at LSU; Buffalo at Tennessee; Akron at Eastern Michigan; Bowling Green at West Virginia; Baylor at Kansas State; SMU at TCU; Western Michigan at UConn; Marshall at Louisville; Michigan State at Ohio State; Clemson at Virginia Tech; Ball State at Oklahoma; Texas at Iowa State; North Texas at Tulsa; UAB at Troy; Rice at Southern Miss; Notre Dame at Purdue.

Scott Levine is the Associate Editor of the Clinton Herald.

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