Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disgrace

With the forced resignation of Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State, the NCAA now has 3 African American head coaches. That's 3 out of 117. To put it into perspective there are as many African-American head coaches in the AFC North as there are in all of big time college football. To add to the disgrace there's only 2 other minorities (1 hispanic, 1 samoan) head coaches through the landscape. To be fair universities as whole are horrifically under representative as 91% of university leadership positions (e.g., presidents, AD) are white. Nonetheless athletics is the starkest example - given the overwhelming number of minorities that play the game. At major programs there's not even the pretense of attempt to break the old boys club. A prime example is that the highly successful Buffalo's Turner Gill won't get a sniff. Whether a Rooney rule or higher demands diversified assistant coaching staffs or whatever is needed to correct this problem I'm unclear and agnostic. But in this day and age its not an oddity or a quirk over the lack minority representation in the upper reaches of collegiate athletics - it is a disgrace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Week 13 - Revenge of the Turkeys

I think I just realized why I suck so much at picking games this year - I haven't focused enough on teams having revenge. I also haven't focused enough on teams getting embarrassed and then bouncing back (e.g. Buffalo) and teams getting overconfident from winning by large margins (i.e. Green Bay beating Chicago to a pulp then losing to the Saints).

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Pittsburgh @ New England - Suddenly, Matt Cassel might be THE marquee free agent pickup this summer! Of course, after Pittsburgh gets done with him, there may be a totally different story. Since there are not many games to go off of in the NFL, the NFL is unreal at creating hype for potential free agents. My all-time favorite rise-and-fall for a free agent? Anthony Wright, QB for the Baltimore Ravens in 2003. Two solid performances in November 2003 created all kinds of hype... until he went in the tank in December and lost in the playoffs.
Pick: Pittsburgh

Upset of the Week
Giants @ Redskins - Revenge is a bitch! This is where the Redskins get revenge for that opening loss!
Pick: Redskins

Tennessee @ Detroit - Of course someone had to ruin the "undefeated vs. winless" matchup. Damn. Oh well.
Pick: Tennessee

Seattle @ Dallas - Turkey day really has some shitty games! I assume this means people will eat even more turkeys.
Pick: Dallas

Arizona @ Philly - What the hell has happened to Philly? Can they even snap out of this funk? There are so many teams in the NFC in playoff contention that the Eagles may have just given up.
Pick: Arizona

Denver @ Jets - The Jets have won 7 of 8. The question is: when will this run end?
Pick: Jets

San Fran @ Buffalo - I still think of Chris Berman when I see this matchup, seeing as he picked these two teams to play each other in the Super Bowl almost every season between 1989 and 1997.
Pick: Buffalo

New Orleans @ Tampa - The whole NFC South is above .500! The Saints won the first game, so I have to assume Tampa will taste the sweet taste of revenge turkey against the Saints.
Pick: Tampa

CAR @ Green Bay - Both of these teams were completely embarrassed last weekend. Something tells me the Packers are more desperate at this point than the Panthers.
Pick: Green Bay

Miami @ St. Louis - It's the Trent Green Bowl! Loser keeps him!
Pick: Miami

Baltimore @ Cincy - I still don't believe in the Ravens. I watched them sweep Cleveland and in both instances they seemed to only win because of the incompetence of the Browns. I realize that may not mean much.
Pick: Baltimore

Indy @ Cleveland - The Browns were embarrassed last week, but I don't have the heart to pick them. Plus, Jerome Harrison has a bad hamstring, or at least he did last week, and most people don't heal that quickly from a hamstring strain.
Pick: Indy

Atlanta @ San Diego - I've probably picked almost every Falcons game wrong this season. It's really quite remarkable. I've also missed almost every Chargers game. We'll see what happens this week. If you go by desperation, the Chargers should win... but then again, they should have won about 4 other games based on that diagnosis!
Pick: San Diego

KC @ Oakland - Oakland won the first game... it's time for some payback! Plus, the Chiefs were embarrassed last weekend. Herman Edwards plays to win, as we all know. It just seldom happens.
Pick: KC

Chicago @ Minnesota - Battle for 1st place! Chicago beat Minnesota in a very unexpected shootout earlier this season... this time? defensive struggle maybe?
Pick: Minnesota

Jacksonville @ Houston - Eesh... don't think anyone will watch this one. What I do know is that the Jaguars edged out Houston the first time, so Houston should edge them out this time and earn a revenge turkey.
Pick: Houston

Last Week: 7-9 (somebody help me!)
Season: 97-78-1
Manwich: 7-6 (I hit the Giants and missed the Jets)
Upset of the Week: 1-11 (The Chiefs let up the most amount of points in their history! I have no luck this year.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Skynet Championship Series: Week 6 in 2008

As alluded to by many sportswriters and by Mighty Mike - what happens in the computers this time appears to be meaningless. Assuming the same amount of human voters have Oklahoma at #2 and 3 and Texas below Oklahoma, the computers will give Oklahoma enough of a bump from this upcoming victory against Oklahoma State to push Oklahoma ahead of Texas... and into the Big 12 Championship game. Of course, Texas just wants to Oklahoma to lose, and Texas will then seize a #2 ranking. In a strange but true scenario, if Oklahoma were to lose this weekend, it's actually Texas Tech that would go to the Big 12 Championship by virtue of the head-to-head victory over Texas.

Most underrated by the humans: Utah, Texas Tech (remember, the computers can't take into account the lopsided victory)
Most overrated by the humans: Florida, USC

2008 -week of 11/24
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Texas...............1.05....(2)...(1)
2.Alabama..........1.19....(1)...(75)
3.Oklahoma.......2.37....(3)...(30)
4.Utah................2.49....(6)...(87)
5.Tex Tech........2.93....(7)...(51)
6.Florida............5.95....(4)...(23)
7.Penn St...........7.43....(8)...(64)
8.USC................8.86....(5)...(52)
9.Georgia..........9.50....(11)...(13)
10.Boise St.......9.59....(9)...(119)
11.Ohio St.......11.51....(10)...(36)
12.Ok St..........11.98....(12)...(62)
13.TCU............13.42....(14)...(78)
14.Missouri.....14.15....(13)...(53)
15.Ball St.........14.96....(15)...(128)
16.Cincy..........15.11....(16)...(54)
17.BYU............17.23....(18)...(104)
18.Mich St......17.73....(19)...(37)
19.Fla St.........17.94....(20)...(41)
20.Ore St.......18.28....(17)...(35)

Bailout

Can the United States government bail out the Cleveland Browns?
All the banks that are in trouble (except for National City, which is in Cleveland) have received assistance from the federal government. Now, the auto makers are trying to get in on the fun, they want $25 billion in help from the government. Well, if they can apply to the government for help, why can’t the Browns. Let’s be honest, the Banks and Automakers are facing tough times and hardships, but their sadness is dwarfed by the level of crap that sits in Cleveland Browns stadium. From the top-down is a massive black hole of logic and aptitude that seems to waste talent, money, and my time. Let’s look at some of the poster children for a massive government bailout.
1. Phil Savage, this week he sent out an email that contained f-bombs. I haven’t gotten the full story, but deadspin.com reported that some irate fan got under his skin and they got into an email shouting match, and Savage dropped the f-bomb on that guy, which later exploded and the fallout seemed to engorge the entire cleveland media, NICE! Good leadership. You know you may not be the best GM when you allow a drunken irate fan to get so under your skin that you not only respond, but do so in email and manage to sound like a whiny baby. Let’s not forget that its been an entire month since Savage threw himself under the bus by allowing one of the few star players on the team (the No limit Solja Kellen Winslow) to say Savage never visited him in the hospital when Winslow had a staph infection. So, my suggestion for how the government can fix the team in regards to Savage: make him more like his long lost cousin Randy Savage and allow Savage to snap it to a slim jim and dress like the Macho Man.

2. Romeo Crennel, come on government, this one speaks for itself. I mean, for gods sake, we have the spitting image of Sherman Klump as our coach. He has no ability to manage a clock, capitalize on momentum, or adjust to a game as it unfolds. I mean, we lost to the Texans yesterday. The Texans hadn’t won a road game in a year. And we didn’t even come close to winning; we did lost by only 10, but we really shouldve lost by 30 points. We let Sage Rosenfels throw over 250 yards against us. How can the head coach not recognize after 2 drives that giving all their receivers a 5 yard cushion may not be working. What I have to ask is: if we aren’t any pressure on the QB, and our secondary is playing with 5 yard cushions on all receivers, then are you sure there are 11 defenders out there? Also, when are you going to bench Braylon Edwards? The guy obviously has a problem, but if you leave him out there, he aint going to get the message. The guy has something like 22 dropped balls in 10 games. I really don’t think I need to account for the failures of romeo anymore, its pretty self-explanatory. Romeo needs to go. So, my suggestion of how the government can help: give us a new coach. Maybe we can use a government employee who is suited for this job. Someone with leadership experience would be great. You know, former Senator Ted Stevens is out of a job, maybe we could take him off Washington’s hands.
3. Braylon Edwards, oh god how he makes me sad. The guy’s hands are even slipperier than a Brazilian Hooker’s hands. But the ridiculous thing is that whenever he actually does make a catch, its usually one of those that are really tough and you are shocked that any receiver held onto the ball. He can make the crazy catches, but not the easy ones, weird, huh? Plus, he gets at least one false start penalty a game. The most frustrating thing is that you know this guy has talent, you know he’s not a bust, because he did so well last year. Now, I would like the government to provide Edwards with some sort of handout, but I have quid pro quo type arrangement: allow Braylon to be the test subject for some type of government-created hand-adhesive that allows him to catch better, and in exchange he gets to use it in games. Think of all the applications, I’m sure NASA could use it for space as well.
4. Brandon Macdonald-what happened to this guy. Last year he came in to replace an injured cornerback and did really well. But this year, he has been made everyone’s bitch. He is listed as 5'10", but on the field he looks like Webster trying to cover Alex Karras. Teams just keep going over the top on him, but they can just as easily go around him too because he isnt that fast. I take this opportunity to ask the government to robotically engineer Brandon McDonald to give him go-go-Gadget legs so he can do his job. And while we are at it, can you give him a helmet that has a helicopter built in too? That would be great for blocking kicks ands punts.

5. Shaun Rogers, no complaints about this guy, he is fun to watch. So, I would ask the government to clone him twice, and put his clones on the line with him. That would be one hell of a 3-4. That would shut down any running game.
6. The linebackers, on paper, this is a quality squad: McGinest, Wimbley, Da’Quell Jackson, and Andra Davis. However, in each game, what have these guys done? The four of them have a total of 5 sacks all year, that ½ a sack per game form your entire linebacking core. 3 of those are from Wimley alone. And these guys provide nothing in terms of coverage, so the question is what are they doing all game? Please government, send me a purpose for these linebackers.

Well, that’s my wishlist for the government, please bailout the browns.

MMBSD: Intransitive


For those non-math majors out there the transitive property is essentially if A>B and B>C then A>C. Or in College Football mindset if each game represents the true value of the team then Texas Tech should have beaten beaten Oklahoma as they had beaten Texas which had beaten OU. However there's no such thing as the transitive property for college football given we operate in a one game format in a probabilistic sport. Well that and the OU that lost to Texas wasn't the OU team that took the field against Tech. U's star running back has been slowly recovering from a devastating knee injury and the defense has slowly integrated in 9 new starters. Couple that with the home field thing where Bob Stoops is now 60-2 and the end is result was Texas Tech being blown out in Norman. Consequently we have intransitive intransigence with 3 teams locked into a one loss scenario which we would normally overlook. However this year the winner of the Big 12 South has a clear path the Mythical BCS Championship game affects other at large BCS Bowl Bids so we all pay attention.

Given the lateness of the lost and the size of the lost Tech will assume the position and await if it gets any BCS bid at all (probably not). As such you have OU with its "playing the best college football at the moment" momentum versus Texas "we beat OU and the national media licks our balls". Ultimately I imagine the voters will strategically decide who gets it (not your computers Gutsy) and as such style points in beating arch-rivals A&M for Texas and Ok State for OU will matter a great deal as going into next week Texas is ahead of OU by .09 points. Of course since its ESPN's world and we just live in it, I'm its equally possibly the simpler Texas beat OU and we'll forget about that whole Tech thing will dominate the national narrative.

Whither USC?
USC has won the Pac 10 title 6 straight years and been the Pac 10s main representative each of the past 6 years. However despite its slew of 5 star recruits, Pete Carroll's super-serum, and the ultimate in sweater accessories, USC's reign at the top might finally come to an end this week if the other OSU (Oregon State) can win at home against U of Nike, Oregon. While this win wouldn't keep USC from a BCS bowl (its off to the Fiesta if Oregon State wins) it would mark a fairly dramatic milestone.

5 Straight Years

While Penn State crushed MSU to send Happy Valley into ecstasy, OSU won a record 5th straight time over the over-matched Team from Up North. Adding insult to injury it was the largest margin of victory for the Buckeye's since the 1960s. tOSU awaits OSU game to figure out where they are going (likely Jan 1st Capital One v. #2 SEC team (Georgia).

Beached Whale
I've had as much fun as anyone with Notre Dame's suffering, the Fighting Irish might have topped last year's low point of losing to Navy, by losing this year to Syracuse (probably the 2nd worst team in all of College Football). The only reason Weis will keep his job at this point is recessionary economics have buying out such a bloated contract untenable.

NFL

Mercury Morris Will Talk Trash Again
The Titans fell prey to the Favre led Jets. Possibly most surprising were the Titans inability to chew up any kind of yardage on the ground. Relying on Collins to heave it up 35+ times won't end in many victories. Luckily the Lions continue their march towards history after blowing a 17-0 lead. Can anything stop this team of destiny?

End of the Line for McNabb
While the Iggles never got over the hump, they have been one of the more dominant teams of this decade. For the past few years injuries have slowly diminished Mcnabb's skills and when coupled with Andy Reid refusal to use the crazy gadgets of "a running game" has resulted in an team Iggles without an offense. So its worth noting that at the last gasps of Philly's playoff chances Mcnabb was benched in favor of Kolb. I'm curious where he will end up next year, but if this isn't the signal bye bye Mcnabb I don't know what it is

Ugly Football
I'm scanning the games and I'm really struck at how ugly most games are these days. Sure part of my perceptions are colored by rooting for a team with less luck than Titantic but can anyone name the league's MVP at the moment ....other than Warner by default?

Other Odds and Ends
  • Your #1 pick in the 2009 NBA draft will be Blake Griffin, who had 35 points and 21 rebounds on Saturday
  • Early NCAA basketball favorite UNC suffered a major loss when its star Freshman center went down. Their frontcourt is getting thin
  • Saturday also saw a great old school battle in the paint, when Yao Ming outplayed Dwight Howard. When's the last time you remember each teams best player being a center in the NBA?
  • Remember when Bush quit drinking?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Senior Day during Rivalry Week


James Laurinatis going through the tunnel of Pride (Mighty Personal Collection


One of the cool things about collegiate sports is Senior Day. While the idea of student athlete sometimes bends more than the name presupposes there are certain times where the difference from the pros is palatable. Senior Day is one of them. On a cold, windy, frozen day on the banks of the Olentangy the winningest class in OSU history was honored. Not just the superstars like James Laurinitas (pictured above) but everyone. Senior Captain Todd Boekman, who handled his benching with far more class than I could have managed, received a standing ovations as he walked onto the Horseshoe for the final time. Boekman also got meaningful playing time as a reward his years of service in Buckeyeville. Probably most touching of all is that the final senior to take the field wasn't future NFLer Laurinitas, Robiskie or Jenkins but Tyson Gentry. Gentry was a WR/P walk-on that was partially paralyzed during a practice 3 years ago. Gentry came on the field, cheered from the sidelines and was in the front of the pack with the other Seniors as they victoriously sang Carmen, Ohio once last time. Yes, some collegiate athletes aren't some sort of mythically innocent amateur. But college athletics still remains slightly different from the pros were those that spend their time with a team, no matter their athletic contributions, are rewarded and given due respect.

Gentry pictured to the left of Tressel (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Random Late Friday Fun

Bruce Lee and Ping Pong

The Knicks makes me sad

Fresh across the wire is that the Knicks and the Warriors just completed a deal to send Jamal Crawford to Golden States for Al Harrington.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3717209

Is it just me or does every news story about the knicks involve the words: "disgruntled", "suspended", or "unaccomodating". Some stories about the knicks contain 2 of the three magic words, this story actually has all 3, which is why its so special.
While I am not in full NBA-analyzing-mode yet because its too early in the season, the story makes me sad.
Just a side note, basketball and hockey are sports i enjoy, not nearly as much as baseball and football, but i enjoy them. However, with basketball and hockey, i really dont get psyched about the season and the storylines, and thus dont start really following it, until later in the season. for basketball, its usually right before the all-star break, and for hockey, its usually 2 days after the stanley cup finals end.
Anywhoo, i am really sad whenever i read a story about the knicks, because something bad seems to happen to them every week. Now don't get me wrong, i dont want them to overcome their woes, they suck, i've hated that franchise since John Starks. However, they are clearly the sorriest franchise in sports. While i feel bad for teams like the Kansas City Royals, the Mariners, and the Detroit Lions, i think the Knicks bring more tears to my eyes. And here's why, all the sorry baseball and football teams that have a worse chance at making the playoffs than me winning the lottery and dating Jessica Biel in the same weekend, they have no talent. Their players have low expectations and the thought of just making .500 (or for the lions, winning a game) would be a huge confidence boost. However the knicks have talent that turns cancerous as soon as they enter the Knicks locker room. Management, coaching, and player morale are all highly infected across the board, and i dont see an end in sight.
It really is sad.

also, can anyone answer why every single NBA news story for the past two weeks, without exception, has contained trade rumors about Lebron. He still has 2 years left on his contract, can we really speculate ad nauseum for two full seasons? well, the knicks have no other rays of hope, so maybe thats all they got to talk about.
Laz

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Fond Farewell To Michael Cole Mussina

Although he hasn’t officially announced it yet, it appears as though Mike Mussina will call it quits after 18 seasons in the big leagues.

Back in October 2006, I wrote the following about New York Yankees starter Mike Mussina:

“There is no doubt that by the end of 2007, Mussina will be the top statistical pitcher to not make it into Cooperstown, supplanting Jack Morris from atop his perch as the current holder of the “Best of the Rest” trophy. But there is also no doubt that Mike Mussina is not a big game pitcher. He’s had some good moments in his post-season career but the truth is that he’s 7-8 in 21 starts. Sure he’s been bitten by some bad luck. After all, his career post-season ERA is still only 3.40. But when the Yankees needed him most yesterday, he crumbled.”

I grant that part of that was based in frustration after watching the Yanks put on a lackluster performance against the Tigers in the 2006 ALDS. To most, Mussina isn’t a “big game pitcher” the way Curt Schilling or Josh Beckett are reputed to be, but I also don’t believe in the concept of big game pitchers anyway. Playoff performances are overly scrutinized and individual success or failure in those situations often creates mythologies (both positive and negative in nature) that wouldn’t be true on their own merits. Mussina’s won plenty of big games in his career both in the regular season and in the playoffs.


The part of that paragraph that I do believe, however, is that Mike Mussina will now be his generation’s Jack Morris. Going a step further, Mussina will supplant Jack Morris in the following way: Mussina will now be the best pitcher in baseball history to not make the Hall of Fame.

In truth, there are definitely arguments in favor of his enshrinement:

-Mussina is one of 25 pitchers to have won 270 games since 1900. Only five – Lefty Grove, Christy Mathewson, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander – have a higher winning percentage than Mussina’s .638;
-He’s finished in the top six in AL Cy Young Award voting nine times between 1992 and 2008;
-He’s finished among the top nine in AL ERA 11 times between 1992 and 2008;
-Mussina ranks 33rd all-time in wins;
-Mussina ranks 19th all-time in strikeouts;
-Mussina ranks 4th among active pitchers in shutouts and complete games; and
-Mussina ranks 6th and 9th, respectively, among active pitchers in BB/9IP and WHIP.

Essentially his Hall of Fame resume is based on having survived his entire career – during the steroids era, no less – as a pitcher in the dangerous AL East, demonstrating exceptional control but also pitching as a power pitcher in the early part of his career before changing his style and becoming a master of changing speeds and locations. According to Mussina’s Baseball-Reference.com page, of the 10 pitchers who most closely resemble his statistical profile, five are Hall of Famers (Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Carl Hubbell, Clark Griffith and Jim Bunning) and the other five are some of the better pitchers of their era (David Wells, Curt Schilling, Kevin Brown, Jack Morris and Andy Pettitte).

Despite that fact, the Hall of Fame is a baseball museum reflecting the best of baseball history. I don't consider Mussina as the best of baseball history; I consider him a good and occasionally great pitcher in his era, but not one for the ages. Like Jack Morris, both were very good, both had moments of brilliance, and both ultimately were overshadowed by other, better pitchers in their era. Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and Tom Glavine were this generation’s best pitchers and Curt Schilling and John Smoltz will both make the Hall of Fame with these other names because of how they distinguished themselves with legendary playoff performances.

I ran hot and cold on Mussina during his time in New York. He’s a notoriously prickly character whose sarcasm and wit don’t always fit in with the down-home, clubby aspects of baseball’s establishment. For many years, I thought Mussina aloof and selfish. That began to change as Moose himself saw the twilight of his career fast approaching. Over the past two seasons, Mussina was a mentor to New York’s young pitchers and he was a great teammate and representative for the Yankees.

On a personal note, as someone that truly loves good pitching, I always appreciated his idiosyncratic delivery when pitching from the stretch or the way he’d break off his patented nasty knuckle-curveballs, even when behind in the count. Other than Greg Maddux, you won’t find a pitcher that fielded his position better than Moose. Finally, since pitching is truly a thinking man’s art, the fact that Mussina was a master at solving crossword puzzles wasn’t lost on me. He was a Renaissance man on the mound.

And yet, as much as I wish I could say he will join the other great Yankees in Cooperstown, I just don’t see it. I guess the consolation (if you can call purgatory consolation) is that he’ll be – at least for the foreseeable future – the threshold by which Hall of Fame pitchers are measured. If you’re better than Mussina, you’ve had a pretty special career and you’re going to Cooperstown. If you don’t measure up to the Moose, well, take your seat in the line forming behind #35.

Michigan v. OSU: Round 105 Preview

The Game Round 105 starts in a few days. Records aside the Rivalry is still the rivalry. Both sides fans lust for blood and victory and I'm sure only one side with be satiated. As such here's your preview

Key Figures


1) Turnovers Like a small child versus Mickey Mouse both of these offenses have been easily overpowered and reduced to tears. Michigan brings in the worst offense in the Big 10 while OSU brings in the 2nd worse. What that means is that turnovers will play a huge role in this game. I'm not sure either of these teams can come back from large deficits. In particular Michigan needs to avoid turnovers on their end of the field as for all of OSU's offensive problems they are among the most efficient in the Red Zone.

2) Beanie Wells rush numbers - While OSU has wunderkid, Terrel Pryor as their QB its Wells is what makes the offense run. He single handedly won last year's GAME and there's no reason to think he can't this year in his finale at the Horseshoe. Strong rush numbers from Beanie puts pressure on Death err Sheridan to make passes, allows OSU to avoid having to throw, creates manageable 3rd downs, and thereby reduces turnovers. Basically if one team can win both of these two key figures then the game is theirs.
Beware of the Stiff Arm of Justice


Key Matchups

OSU O-Line v. Michigan D-Line
If Michigan is to have a Quantum of Solace, its that they have one of the better D-Lines in the Big 10 and OSU has one of the worst o-lines in college football. Now behind Michigan's front 4 are a bunch of tackling dummies and post-modernist interpretations of football players but the front 4 are solid. OSU's o-line this year has collectively auditioned for various matador positions. Related to the above figure, OSU's line needs to overcome its suckiness as previous quality d-lines (USC, PSU) have shut down the running game.

Michigan WRs v. OSU CBs - Bubble Screen

Michigan's bread and butter offensive play is the bubble screen. The quick outlet and then usage of speed to bust it open for a big play is how Michigan can score with young and erratic Sheridan. What that means is OSU CBs need to make tackles. Broken/missed tackles and well you have long plays and touchdowns. Solid tackling and its 2 yard gains.

Hayden says "Solid Fundamentals" and "Don't Punch Whales in the Head"

Key Facts


  • Wind is occasionally a good thing
  • Since 1980 the team with the better record is 13-12
  • Since 1980 when one team is ranked and the other unranked, the ranked team is 3-5.
  • Overall Michigan leads the series in Columbus 27-22-2
  • Over the last 50 years OSU leads the series 25-23-2


Final Prediction
Pryor and Wells will be too much as the season closes on Michigan 34-20

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who is getting burned by the Hot Stove? Who is getting a good meal?



With this year’s baseball free agency market looking like a pretty good buffet of players to choose from, there are many rumors as to what players will move and to where. This article is my picks as to who is going where.

1. CC Sabathia – it seems like a foregone conclusion that Captain Calorie will be going to the Yankees. Tribe fans have smelled this for a couple years now but never anticipated a detour to Milwaukee along the way. Although, such a detour was beneficial for Chief Cheeseburger because got to play for a playoff team this year, showing the world he can play well for a contender, and also he got to eat a lot of brats. However, Commander Chili proved yet again that he and A-Rod are about as good in October as Rich Rodriguez. But Colonel Chimichanga shouldn’t start backing his bags yet, the word is out that New York City is also called the Big Apple, and there may be serious reservations about him going there as he may accidentally eat a piece of fruit.

2. Mark Teixiera – it sickens me that my first gut reaction is that this guy goes to the Yankees too, so they get the top two free agents this year. But when the Yanks unload Pavano and Giambi, CC and Teixeira seem like good fits for Steinbrenner. Teixeira is a great player to watch. He has a good glove, really good power and a solid hit-getter. If this guy could stay on one team, he could be a franchise player. Im surprised the dodgers aren’t going after him, because losing manny and possibly furcal, they will need him in the lineup. The new rumors are that he’s gonna go to Boston, but the only way that will happen is if they unload Lowell and move the Youk to third for good. Seems reasonable but I think boston needs to spend money on a catcher another starter before they go after infielders. Although, I don’t see any other contenders putting up the bucks for Teixeira and I doubt a mediocre team will land him. I hate to say it but looks like he might be in pinstripes.

3. Ken Griffey Jr. – These rankings are not in any order, so don’t think Griffey is the third best free agent out there. This guy is a definite hall of famer so its sad to see that no one is going to want this guy. He’s just had so many injuries the last few years that no team will really see him as making a big impact. He reminds me of Apollo Creed in Rocky IV, everyone knows he’s way past his prime, but may have that one last jump at glory again. Let’s hope this year goes better for him than Apollo. None of the top contenders are going to eat his contract, so I think that a decent team will hope that he can fill the outfield and put some fans in the seats. It seems likely that a team will scoop him up after they lose a current player to free agency. I’m guessing the Rangers might get him after Milton Bradley leaves; the Rangers are a good team and maybe they’ll think they just need that veteran spark to get them going. Also, its not gonna happen, but I am rooting for the Mariners signing Griffey for his triumphant return to Seattle and then making him a player-manager. I miss player-managers, so cool.

4. Rafael Furcal- I think this guy would be perfect in Cleveland. Move Peralta to third, giving power at the corners, and a solid guy who could lead off with a great glove. By the way, making him leadoff would allow sizemore to hit third, which is inevitable. However, Shapiro inability to spend the big bucks will block this deal from happening. Shapiro is tighter with money right now than Chrysler’s CEO. This guy is only 31 and has a lot of good years ahead of him, which is why I see a team with a lot of talent that didn’t have a good year last year going after this guy. A team that had high expectations and fell on their face could use this guy to really have a comeback season. I think the Cardinals could really use him, making their infield really solid, or the Diamondbacks, or the Braves. Really though, Cleveland makes the most sense. Con sarnit.

5. Derek Lowe- I have to say, this guy exceeded my expectations in LA. He did go 54-48 in LA in four seasons, but his ERA stayed around 3.60, which is better than I thought. I originally thought LA made a huge mistake with him after only having two real solid seasons in boston, but he was a free agent after having a big October and it paid off for him. Now, he’s 35 and a team could get two solid years out of him. Being a good ground ball pitcher, he may get another quality deal and the buzz is that the mets need pitching. With Pedro and Perez probably leaving the Mets, they are going to need lots of starting pitching to back up Johan Santana, and Lowe may be a good fit.

6. Jason Giambi-Honestly, I couldn’t give a crap where he goes. I feel like the media gave him a pass for all his steroid issues, and I cant figure out why. He is just as culpable as Bonds and somehow came out like Teflon, maybe it has something to do with playing in new york (take that MJ). But im certain that some team will pick him up despite being 38 when the season starts and having that weird child molester mustache. He did get 32 homers, but he also had as many strikeouts as he had hits, which is just awesome. Since he’s gonna have to play DH, he may go to Baltimore or Toronto, and moving in the division would not have good results for him. I could see teams like Detroit or Chicago wanting his bat, but they already have professional DHs in Sheffield and Thome respectively. I guess he could go to Oakland and fill the void left by Frank Thomas, if anyone in Oakland notices such a void, I doubt it.

7. K-Rod. This guy is awesome, not doubt about it. He wants a championship, nothing else. He was on the Angels when they won it all in 2002, but was a rookie and only played 5 games that season, but turned the world series into his coming out party. Now, he has the hunger for more championships. I really think that the Cardinals should push for this guy. They need a solid closer to compete with the Cubs and to round out their pitching staff. Isringhausen is not it and Ryan Franklin is a question mark. It seems to me like all the other major contenders have established closers, so the cards would be my best guess. Unless the Cubs give up on Wood and try to woo K-Rod, but I don’t see that happening, yet….

8. A.J. Burnett – This guy went 10-8, then 10-8, then 18-10 in Toronto in 3 seasons, he is a hard throwing guy with good stuff, but I don’t see him being an Ace anywhere or getting Ace money. He’s a solid #2 starter, and a team like the Astros should really go after him. Him and Oswalt would be a great 1-2 combo, and in the NL central, they are going to need consistent pitching to be competitive. Otherwise, I see a team getting desperate and throwing a lot of money at this guy because their pitching stuff laid a big goose egg last year, like the Tigers and trying to make him into the second coming to save the franchise. I don’t think that will work and I think he’ll fail in a place like that. Also, don’t count out the Dodgers, because they are losing Lowe and Penny, he may fill in as the # 2 behind Billingsley, but with all the Manny-Money, they may not be able to afford him.

9. Manny Ramirez- Oh man-ram, will you ever find happiness? This guy is in my opinion the greatest pure hitter in the last thirty years. No one since Willie Mays or Hank Aaron is more solid of a hitter in terms of balancing average and power. I would guess that barring him doing something stupid, he has at least five years of good hitting left and could really end up with nearly 700 home runs. However, he is just so dumb, and just does whatever he can to give the media an F.U. There’s something about red sox outfielders and getting on the media’s bad side that just haunts them (e.g. Ted Williams, Jim Rice). Manny just seems like iconic clown for baseball, kind the equivalent of Tom Green for Hollywood. He makes you laugh and you enjoy him, but you just can’t stop commenting about how there are just too many screws loose to really enjoy his presence, and you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop on his insanity. But manny has cooler hair. I also see Manny as one of those guys who would take celebrating trophies or achievements way too far. For example, if Manny ever won a gold glove, I can foresee him making the award into a hat and wearing it everywhere, or better yet, making a WWF-style belt that says “Left Field Champion” and wearing it during batting practices and lineup introductions. So anyway, he needs a team.
I honestly don’t know what teams are equipped to deal with his personality. I foresee only big markets wanting him and vice-versa. I really feel like Atlanta is a serious possibility, that maybe they’ve been balking on all the Peavy-trade talks so they can invest in manny. Atlanta’s outfield has really been quite awful since Andrew Jones left, but their pitching staff, even though aging, has been pretty solid. While putting Smoltz, Manny, and Chipper Jones on the same field would essentially make them even more decrepit than the Baltimore Ravens (or Ivan’s fantasy team), it may not be a bad move to build for the future.

10. Ben Sheets – This guy is a great pitcher with bad luck. He spents eight years in Milwaukee, slowly making a name for himself around the league and he finally gets on a winning team that has a chance at making the playoffs and he gets hurt. He has been a solid pitcher and had he been healthy, the brewers may have made it further, no probably not. Anyway, this guy has a lot of good stuff, and there are plenty of teams out there that would really benefit from him. He may go to the Mets to fill their pitching disasters, or he may go to the white sox to fill the void by Loizia and they never filled the void left by Garland leaving, so this may help them out.

Well, that’s ten rumors with answers, BAM! Also, this just in, Coco Crisp was traded to Kansas City for a reliever. This is bad for Coco. That team already has no power whatsoever, and its going to take a lot to get them out of the basement.

Fuel to the Fire: Part II

While yesterday old Rich Rodriguez started the flame war, the OSU faithful took the gauntlet and ran with it. On the local sports radio, ex-players and current ESPN individuals Kirk Hebstreit (famous for his successful cloning operation) and Chris Spielman (famous for making small children cry) decided to add all sorts of gasoline to fire.

Herbstreit: “They’re a tough watch, watching that outfit. This is a great example of why I like to see Michigan be a very good, very competitive team. They’re 3-8 on their way to 3-9. And this is like the year somebody told you (the truth) about Santa Claus. This is like taking all the wind out of the sails.

“I know it’s still Ohio State-Michigan, and when the teams run onto the field, it’s still special, but this is just anti-climatic. (Michigan is) going to run onto the field, and ‘Booooooo!’ Who you booing? They’re 3-8.

Now that's bulletin board material. Michigan the ball is in your court now to make outrageous comments to fire up OSU.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Week 12 - It's time to Get Serious

Now that every team has played 10 games, and only 6 remain, there should be some clear trends and some indication as to what the hell is happening out there. Unfortunately, this week has a lot of interesting matchups, so I still have no idea what's going on.

There are 2 servings of Manwich this week - as the top team in each conference takes on a red-hot surprising division leader...

Manwich Matchup of the Week #1
Jets @ Tennessee - I think I genuinely hate both of these teams. In addition, unless there's a tie, everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon of whatever team wins this game. Coach Mangina has found his swagger after somehow surviving last week's Patriots game. Meanwhile, the Titans are completely overachieving. According to a mathematical analysis performed by pro-football-reference.com, this team is supposed to be 8-2, not 10-0. In the end though, I think Favre will throw enough INTs to give away this game. Also? Tennessee plays Detroit next week and I want both to have their perfection streaks going.
Pick: Tenny

Manwich Matchup of the Week #2
Giants @ Arizona - This is a really interesting game. Kurt Warner used to be with the Giants, the tutor to Eli Manning. The Giants are also a team that sacked Kurt Warner like 8 times back in the early part of the decade. Now, short of a disaster, Kurt Warner has the Cardinals on the verge of a division title. Something tells me that even he is not good enough to overcome the defensive line of the Giants. However, what if Brandon Jacobs doesn't play? I'm writing this on Tuesday w/ limited information, so it merits mentioning. The Giants running game is probably in capable hands w/ Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Pick: Giants

Upset of the Week
Buffalo @ KC - Well, the Trent Edwards experiment is falling apart fast. Meanwhile, Tyler Thigpen has been the complete opposite of Trent Edwards - in Thigpen's first 4 appearances, he had 2 TDs and 4 INTs. In his next 4 appearances? 8 TDs and 1 INT.
Pick: KC

Cincy @ Pitt - Cincy will try to tie for two straight weeks, but something tells me they will fail.
Pick: Pitt

Houston @ Cleveland - Last week, I put forth some scathing remarks about the Browns, mainly directed to coach Romeo "I have the shape of a Mott's Applesauce Jar" Crennel and also to the fact that he refuses to play speedy RB Jerome Harrison. A few days later, the Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer, had an article in its Saturday edition stating that Jerome Harrison had stopped going out to dinner because he was sick of everyone asking him "Why don't you play more?" I wish I was joking. Essentially, the entire city knows that Jerome Harrison should be playing more... Don't worry though, Jerome Harrison says he's happy cooking at home. Well, for those who don't know, Harrison ripped off a 70-yard TD run on Monday Night. He still only got 3 carries, and 1 catch for a total of 100 yards. He also now pushed his 7.8 yards per carry to 10.4 yards per carry. In case the Browns needed an extra reason to fire Romeo Crennel, one could argue that he's hurting the local economy by not playing Jerome Harrison as this prevents him from eating at restaurants.
Pick: Cleveland

New England @ Miami - Revenge for the Patriots is probably at the forefront of their minds. However, I still am not sure they have the horses to stop Miami.
Pick: Miami

San Fran @ Dallas - This should be a good game for Romo to get his confidence back. I'm sure Coach Wade Phillips will cue up the "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" for film material.
Pick: Dallas

Tampa Bay @ Detroit - One more week Detroit. Then it's time for you to take down the Titans!
Pick: Tampa

Philly @ Baltimore - I know the Eagles looked like crap last week against the Bungals, but they should be motivated this week. Plus, I hate the Ravens and don't believe in them for a second.
Pick: Philly

Chicago @ St. Louis - Lovie Smith against his old team! Woo.
Pick: Chicago

Minny @ Jacksonville - This is a fun pseudo elimination game for the playoffs among teams that were supposed to be shoe-ins.
Pick: Minny

CAR @ Atl -It seems like a misprint: the Panthers are quietly 8-2 ! The question of course is how good are the Falcons? Can they actually stop the Panthers amazing running game???
Pick: CAR

Oakland @ Denver - Yawn. No DeAngelo Hall to pick on this time for Eddie Royal.
Pick: Denver

Washington @ Seattle- The Redskins get a nice break from their hellacious schedule.
Pick: Washington

Indy @ San Diego - Now that the Chargers are 4-6 and are two games back in the division title chase and in the wild card, the Chargers practically have to win out (unless Denver should stumble). It's been a lot of bad luck for the Chargers, but something tells me they will stave off virtual elimination for another weekend. Philip Rivers also tends to play better in the warm weather at home, where he has a preposterous QB rating of 121 versus his mortal rating of 87.8 on the road.
Pick: San Diego

Green Bay @ New Orleans - Here come the Saints - another pathetic disappointment. At least this game should be entertaining, now that Green Bay's RB, Ryan Grant, is healthy again.
Pick: Green Bay

Last Week: 9-6-1 (ties do exist)
Season: 90-69-1
Manwich: 6-5 (The Cowboys survived against the Redskins)
Upset of the Week: 1-10 (The Bears lost by 34 points. Honestly, I hope everyone goes against me on my "upset" b/c I'm terrible at it.)

Skynet Championship Series: Week 5 in 2008

This week's rankings include something bizarre... the fact that one ranking (Matrix) has Texas at #1 by a wide margin... with Florida at #2! No joke. This wide margin of being #1 boosts Texas into the #2 position (by fractions of a point) in this week's Skynet rankings. However, it should be pointed out that if that Matrix ranking were thrown out, Texas would indeed be #3 in the Skynet rankings.

Most underrated by the humans: Georgia, Utah
Most overrated by the humans: USC, Ohio State

2008 - week of 11/17
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Texas Tech......1.04....(2)...(68)
2.Texas...............1.05....(3)...(2)
3.Alabama..........1.19....(1)...(82)
4.Florida.............4.39....(4)...(3)
5.Utah.................4.79....(7)...(103)
6.Oklahoma........6.07....(5)...(52)
7.Georgia...........7.54....(11)...(8)
8.USC................8.02....(6)...(46)
9.Penn St..........9.69....(8)...(85)
10.Boise St......10.09....(9)...(123)
11.Ok St...........11.20....(12)...(61)
12.OSU............11.26....(10)...(28)
13.Missouri.....13.40....(13)...(49)
14.Mich St.......15.08....(15)...(50)
15.TCU............15.12....(16)...(86)
16.BYU...........15.15....(14)...(117)
17.Ball St........16.21....(17)...(128)
18.Cincy..........16.82....(19)...(60)
19.Pitt.............17.75....(20)...(48)
20.LSU...........18.14....(18)...(58)

Fuel to the Fire: Part I

Like last year I'll be adding various pieces of information to add fuel to the fire for the game, (obviously in a balanced manner). Last year Tressel stole the sun which fired up the Michigan faithful (although that was counteracted by Mike Hart putting a flaming bag of poop on Beanie Well's doorstep).

This year the first shot has been fired across the bow when Michigan's head coach Rich Rodriguez told Michigan fans to "Get a life" Ah the old reverse psychology routine of insulting your own fans. Clever. I'll report tomorrow on how the Buckeyes retaliate.

Hot Stove 2008: Mild Gloating Edition

Nailed it!

(It was probably a combination of a really easy field to handicap and good luck. I’m not normally this prescient).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turkey Time

Since thanksgiving is only 10 days away, I think it's time I share with all of you the fact that I will be in horrible fear and pissed off for the next 10 days. I love thanksgiving, good food, and i get to spend time with family and friends, but there is one part of thanksgiving that causes me utterly gut-wrenching fear and annoyance. That impetus of that fear and anger is John Madden. I can't make it through a thanksgiving without being haunted by John Madden and his Turducken. As you all probably know, it's a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken, and every thanksgiving you hear about this concoction like its the greatest thing ever. Now, first of all, its annoys the crap out of me because its an abomination of taste and happens to ruin 3 foods all at once. I mean, if you want any of these foods, eat them seperate, don't ruin the taste of all 3 by making them one giant glob of meat. Secondly, it scares me because I feel like 1000 years from now, the Turducken will be known as the "missing link" for all modern genetic engineering. Some idiot scientist is going to rely on the 3 animal food to start actually breeding animals that have duck, chicken, and turkey DNA, it will actually be a living breathing animal that has like 14 wings and 8 legs. And you know some idiot is gonna have one as a pet and there will be a weird Charlotte's Web moment in that family where they have to kill the family pet to eat it. Not looking forward to that news story at all.

But the other reason I am petrified is, honestly, John Madden scares me.

Look at that picture. It's from the original Madden game and it scares the crap out of me, and that was like 20 years ago. But look at him, if that ginormous blob was coming at me on the street, i would go the fetal position and soil myself faster than you can say "turducken".
Seriously, he reminds me of that one giant muppet from the muppet show that would barge in and scare everyone else on the show. by the way, that muppet's name is "sweetums" and it took me a good 25 minutes to find that out on google.
Come on, see the resemblance!
Well, i hope you can all enjoy your thanksgiving, you know i will try as well, even though i will probably invest in a bombshelter and spend the whole weekend there to avoid the scariness that lies inside John Madden and his creations.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

MMBSD: Where We Stand


With about 3 weeks to go the Bowl picture (assuming that given the economy we'll still be having Bowl games) is starting to come into focus with only a few key matchups to to go. So here's the Big Games and How it Can Affect the Bowls in decreasing order of importance

1) Alabama v. Florida
The Gamecocks took their 4th ranked defense into Gainesville and were pummeled (I'd say into submission but Urban Meier the New Old Ball Coach and President of Del Bocca Vista Phase II doesn't accept submission) . The Gators averaged over 9 yards a play and put up over 50 once again. That leaves only Alabama and well known philanthropist Nick Saban standing in their way. While Alabama might have the higher rank, Florida will be the favorite. Winner goes to the Championship Game, loser to the Sugar Bowl

2) Texas Tech at OU
Texas Tech has so far ended overcome long history of choking in big games on the road. However they travel to the reigning Big 12 champ for one last giant game. Tech wins and outside of a stunning upset against Mizzou and they're off to the Championship Game. If OU and Cherokee national hero Sam Bradford can win then they still have to win against Ok State and a boost in the polls to go the Big 12 title game and onto the Championship Game. If Tech loses they'll be headed to the Fiesta Bowl while an OU loss will probably send Texas to the Fiesta Bowl.

3) Oregon State at Arizona/home Oregon
As odd as it sounds Oregon State controls the Pac 10. If it wins these two games they are off to the Rose Bowl and force USC into an at large Bid. Lose either of the two and USC is off to the Rose Bowl. There's an outside shot for BCSmagadon of USC going to the BCS championship without winning the Pac 10 so expect that idea to be thrown out there.

4) Michigan State at Penn State
For the first time in a long time the Big 10 won't only be determined by THE GAME. While a tOSU win over that team up North would automatically give it a share of the Big 10 title and an Oregon State loss contigent BCS bid the true marque game of the Big 10 is in Happy Valley. A Penn State win and its off to the Rose Bowl. A MSU win and it, at a minimum, gets a share of the Big 10 and a contigent tOSU loss trip to the Rose Bowl. Its also possible that MSU could get a BCS at large.

NFL

1) Giants crushed the Raven Dropping much to the delight of school children around the world. Th 9-1 Giants seem to be establishing themselves as the NFC favorites (at least among everyone without the initials M and J).

2) The other big statement game in the NFC was by the Packers over the Bears. While Orton's rustiness was apparent the game was won by the Bear's D-Line being manhandled.

3) I'm starting to come around to the idea that yes the Detroit Lions will be winless this year.

4) I'm not as convinced the Titans can go undefeated but its starting seem possible. Which I never thought I'd say

5) I already await Favre playoff 5 INT meltdown. There's nothing that can stop it now except maybe Angels.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cheers and Jeers: Martini Edition

Ingredients:
Well if the internets are to be believed ESPN has laid out $500 million for the entire BCS collection plate. That includes Rose, Orange, Sugar and Mythic. Yes, that horrible BCS, sans playoffs as GameDay is so ought to mention, is apparently worth the agenda setters in Bristol double what Fox paid for it last time. Apparently despite all the "flaws" College Football interest is rising and possibly at all time highs. This of course would mean a few things. One is that for the first time a championship game (however wacky it is) for a major sport could only be viewed on cable. The other of course is that abc/espn thats been leading the playoff charge will have paid gobs of money for the rights to not to show the playoffs. I'm not sure what Mark May will pick on to prove that his testicles are still descended. Nonetheless its certainly noteworthy

Anyway other things to Cheer or Jeer

Cheers: to the Illibuck. The Illibuck. You know the wooden turtle given to the winner of this week's Illinois v. OSU game. On my list of Big 10 trophies its 4th behind the Little Brown Bug, Paul Bunyan's axe, and the Thai Brothel (Michigan State v. Penn State)

Jeers: To Sarah Palin. Why are you still in the news? Can't you have the decency to follow John Edwards and make your illicit affair public and then disappear from all human records?

Jeers: To the 3 ring circus known as the Cleveland Browns. Honestly I didn't think it was possible to make the Bengals look competent and low key but Crennel and Savage have managed to look even worse. Well done guys

Jeers To the possible threat of Killer Cats. Don't I have enough to worry about?

Cheers: To the potential to history repeating itself. Remember the last place team in the NFC South always wins the division the next year. I knew I should've picked Atlanta!

Cheers: Something Something Bond Rules Something Something

The C&J gal of the week....Obviously the first and best Bond Girl...Ursula Anders (twice)

Congrats Cliff Lee

(from Cleveland Plain Dealer Chuck Crow)
Your AL Cy Young Winner. Comeback tales are always heart warming. Congrats Cliff

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week 11 - It's time to get ill!

For no reason other than me hearing one of their songs this evening, we will pay tribute to the Beastie Boys this week, by saying, it's time to get ill!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Dallas @ Washington - Uh-oh... it's revenge time for the Cowboys. Romo will be back and has to start winning games if the Cowboys even intend on making the playoffs. Let Brad Johnson go back to planning his retirement.
Pick: Dallas

Upset of the Week
Chicago @ Green Bay - The Bears are probably the most amazing 5-4 team, considering they've fallen just short so many times.
Pick: Chicago

Jets @ New England - Eesh... i guess i'll go w/ my gut instinct which tells me that after winning a game by 44 points last week, the Jets will be overconfident, and will be exposed for who we thought they were - a bunch of Manginas.
Pick: New England

Denver @ Atlanta - I keep doubting the Falcons and yet they keep winning. Rookie Matt Ryan has a QB rating of 89.9. It seems like the time has come to hop on the bandwagon.
Pick: Atlanta

Oakland @ Miami - Where's Daunte Culpepper? In Detroit that's where.
Pick: Miami

Baltimore @ Giants - I hope the Giants expose the Ravens for the piece of sh*t team that they are. No, i don't have an axe to grind. I miss the hapless days of Cobra Commander.
Pick: Giants.

Houston @ Indy - The Colts keep edging teams out. At some point, there luck will run out. We'll push it for one more week.
Pick: Indy

Tenny @ Jack-o - The Titans will win this game too. The Jaguars may have beaten the Lions, but that doesn't take much.
Pick: Tenny

Philly @ Cincy - The Eagles need to start winning games quickly. 5-4 is not acceptable.
Pick: Philly

New Orleans @ KC - I've been wrong about the Saints so many times, and yet, I can't stop picking them. Finally, I've had enough. The Chiefs deserve to win a game too, after losing the last 3 games by a combined 8 points.
Pick: KC

Detroit @ CAR - Daunte Culpepper needs more than a few days to learn the playbook. It still shouldn't matter this week.
Pick: CAR

Minny @ Tampa - I don't know what to make of this matchup. To be honest, both of these teams have been complete enigmas in my mind. Adrian Peterson is good, but he can't win the game each week for the Vikings.
Pick: Tampa

St. Louis @ San Fran - I just looked at San Fran's schedule and after this game, they play: Dallas, Buffalo, Jets, Miami, and then St. Louis. San Fran could be on an 11-game losing streak next time they meet St. Louis if they don't win this game. They have to. Otherwise Mike Singletary might take his pants off... again.
Pick: San Fran

Arizona @ Seattle - Nobody beats the Whiz in the NFC West!
Pick: Arizona

San Diego @ Pitt - Hey McFly! What's wrong with the Chargers??? They are 4-5, but are luckily only one game back in the stinky AFC West. They only have 1 road win all season, but I think it's time they changed that!
Pick: San Diego

Cleveland @ Buffalo - It's Monday Night Football! It's time for me to make it part of the public record what is wrong with coach Romeo Crennel: he has no balls. He has no backbone. Only when backed into a corner this year, against the Giants, did he allow the team to blitz with reckless abandon. And you know what? The secondary is so bad, you mine as well blitz 75% of the time because it at least gives you a chance, because when you drop 6 or 7 players every down, someone (e.g. Jay Cutler) will pick you apart. While the defense is the latest problem for the Browns, the other thing that really irks me is Romeo's REFUSAL to give RB Jerome Harrison (who is really fast, like a poor man's Reggie Bush) 10 touches every game. No one outside of Cleveland knows who this guy is, so let me present his statistics:
2007 - 23 carries, 6.2 yards per carry.
2008 - 17 carries, 7.5 yards per carry. 6 catches, 13.7 yards per catch.
Whenever he's in the game, he makes things happen. All I know is he should get 10 touches every game, mixed in with Jamal Lewis. Why can't he play more?
I'll tell you why. It's not because the defensive players quit...it's because Romeo Crennel quit. He quit using his brain, started crying, and gave up. On offense and defense. Period.
Pick: Buffalo

Last Week: 8-6 (i suck)
Season: 81-63
Manwich: 5-5 (The Eagle fell short against the Giants)
Upset of the Week: 1-9 (Picking the Lions was probably not smart)

Hot Stove 2008: Idiots Identified

Further to yesterday’s Item #4, the three voters who mistakenly included Edinson Volquez on their NL Rookie of the Year ballot were Jeremy Cothran of the Newark Star-Ledger, John Klima of the Los Angeles Daily News, and Jay Paris of the North County Times in San Diego.

My message to these three idiots is simply this: there are plenty of people out there that would kill to do what they do for a living. If you can’t do your job, get the hell out of the way and let us in.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Radio Legend Passes Away




Of all the sports, radio announcers in baseball I think connect best to the audience. Whether its because of the game, the length of the game, or something else there's nothing quite like your hometown radio announcer for baseball. Herb Score, who called Indians games for over 34 years, passed away today. Score was also an accomplished pitcher, whose talents were unfortunately cut short due to a line drive. Tris Speaker once called him a sure Hall of Famer. While the injury may have shortened his playing career, it didn't keep him from a Hall of Fame announcing career. I have many memories of listening to him somehow make the 1980s Indians seem enjoyable. Which believe me took incredible talent.

Hot Stove 2008: Early Rumblings

Lots to cover:

1. Trades. Matt Holliday was traded from Denver to Oakland for a package of three players. The A’s get an MVP caliber hitter, albeit one that will likely not play more than one season in Oakland. To get him, the A’s gave up relief pitcher Huston Street, back-end starter Greg Smith, and outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez. Here’s what I don’t get: what was Colorado’s hurry? Why rush to trade your best hitter when the off-season hasn’t even begun in earnest? Who knows what else the trade market could’ve yielded the Rockies. I assume they could’ve done better than a demoted closer, a #4 starter, and a very raw outfield prospect.

2. Farewell Trevor? It looks like MLB’s all-time saves leader has pitched his last game for the San Diego Padres. I’m sure someone will offer Hoffman the contract he thinks he deserves but, at this point in his career, I’m not sure a contender will be that interested in a 41-year-old closer.

3. Awards. Starting yesterday and lasting through the rest of the week, baseball will begin doling out the 2008 hardware. As predicted, Evan Longoria and Geovany Soto won the AL and NY Rookie of the Year and in both cases it wasn’t even close. Longoria won unanimously, the first AL rookie to do so since Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. In Soto’s case, he took the NL vote by the largest margin since Albert Pujols won unanimously in 2001. Further, Soto is the first catcher to win the award since Mike Piazza in 1993 and joins an elite list of only seven other catchers to win the ROY vote (Johnny Bench, Earl Williams, Benito Santiago, Mike Piazza, Thurman Munson, Carlton Fisk, and Sandy Alomar Jr. are the others).

4. BBWAA Inanity. By now, everyone that knows me knows three things: I love baseball, I hate Bud Selig, and I hate the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (CAUTION: the BBWAA website is a blinding shade of green that will hurt your eyes. BSD does not have the money to cover your medical expenses if you go blind). Without rehashing all the horrible and idiotic decisions they’ve made over the years (cough, 2006 AL MVP, cough), yesterday’s was perhaps the worst.

Edinson Volquez was Cincinnati’s best pitcher last year. He was also, technically, not a rookie.

“A rookie is formally defined as a player with less than 130 at-bats, a pitcher with less than 50 innings pitched, or anyone with less than 45 days on any Major League roster.”

If you clicked the link to Volquez’s stats, you probably noticed that he logged 80 innings over parts of three seasons with the Texas Rangers. So, if he logged 80 innings, how on earth did he manage to finish in fourth place in the NL ROY vote?

See, this is why I hate the BBWAA: these voters just arbitrarily decide when to follow the rules and when to ignore them. Did anyone in baseball even notice this? It might not have changed the results of the vote, but you never know if another rookie might’ve had a bonus clause in his contract based on the percentage of votes he got. What if these BBWAA clowns just cost another rookie a few thousand dollars?

5. Fond Farewell. Former Brooklyn Dodger lefty Preacher Roe passed away yesterday at the age of 92. Roe was a mainstay on the great late 1940’s and early 1950’s teams for “Dem Bums” along with guys like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Don Newcombe, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider. Roe’s best seasons were from 1949-1951 where he averaged 240 innings and 19 wins a year and finished fifth in the 1951 NL MVP vote with a 22-3 record for the Dodgers. Most baseball fans don’t know Roe’s name anymore but for fans of baseball history, Roe was a colorful character and one of Dodgers GM Branch Rickey’s most astute finds. RIP, Preacher.


(Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, and Preacher Roe)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Skynet Championship Series: Week 4 in 2008

As briefly pointed out earlier today in the comments of Mighty's article, we have come to the conclusion that if Oregon State wins out, both Oregon St and USC will make the BCS party. However, if Oregon State should lose once, USC will win the PAC-10, and Ohio State will get the last at-large berth to the BCS party. Of course, we are assuming lots of teams will win lots of games, but I thought this scenario deserves highlighting.

On to the computer vote...
Texas resume is so damn impressive. I'm curious what the computers will do should Texas Tech lose to Oklahoma and Texas remain with one-loss? One computer ranking, Matrix, allows you to run the "what if" scenario, but you can only add up to 5 hypothetical games (meaning it's not an official approximation, as the other games affect everyone else).

According to Matrix, if Oklahoma beats Texas Tech, Oklahoma St, and then Missouri in the Big-12 championship... Oklahoma will be #1 in the land, and the winner of the SEC championship (Alabama or Florida) will be #2. Of course, I can only put in 5 games, so I am sure something else will screw this up and with Texas being ranked right behind these teams, I am sure there are scenarios where Oklahoma and Texas can end up 1 and 2. Don't worry though, the voters will ensure that does not happen.

Most underrated by the humans: Utah, Boise St.
Most overrated by the humans: USC, Penn St (PSU really took a beating in the computers)

2008 - week of 11/10
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Texas Tech......0.96....(2)...(64)
2.Alabama...........1.08....(1)...(73)
3.Texas...............1.40....(3)...(2)
4.Utah................2.69....(7)...(89)
5.Florida.............5.63....(4)...(9)
6.Oklahoma........5.69....(5)...(44)
7.Boise St............8.35....(9)...(114)
8.Georgia...........8.69....(10)...(11)
9.USC................9.25....(6)...(47)
10.Penn St......10.48....(8)...(78)
11.OSU............12.63....(11)...(22)
12.Ok St..........12.84....(13)...(57)
13.Missouri.....13.46....(12)...(31)
14.Ball St.........13.65....(14)...(129)
15.UNC...........14.41....(16)...(15)
16.TCU...........15.11....(18)...(88)
17.Mich St......15.18....(15)...(54)
18.BYU...........17.30....(17)...(123)
19.Fla St.........17.32....(19)...(74)
20.LSU...........18.55....(20)...(56)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

MMBSD: Unstoppable Forces


Texas Tech's offense needs some sort of nickname as without resorting to hyperbole they are the greatest offense in the history of mankind. The mad pirate, Mike Leach (pictured above with his first mate Shakira) has Tech putting up Maddenesque offensive stats on Texas and Ok State in back to back games. This seems to justify their current slotting as an entrant to the Mythical Championship Game. The only thing standing in their way is the perennial Big 12 Champ OU (they have won 5 out of the past 8 Big 12s Championships). If OU wins then the Big 12 in thrown into some pretty crazy scenarios all depending on OU v. T Boone Pickens game at the end of season. As a public service announcement I believe the tie-breaker of potential 3 way ties is via a chilli cookoff. Oddly enough the Big 12 puts in the hand of voters as the highest ranked would go to the Big 12 Championship game. Umm yeah thats going to work well.....

With PSU throwing in the towel, it appears the SEC Champion has the other slot. Alabama v. Florida already have their calendars marked. Florida's offense looks as unstoppable as Tech's while Alabama's bruising defense has kept it unbeaten. However if this season of unstoppable offenses is any guide it will be Florida taking the division.

Meanwhile the Road to the Rose Bowl (following Hitman's advice I'm going to try to put the pizzazz back into the Rose Bowl) is wide open. Technically if Oregon State wins out they will be going to the Rose Bowl although they still have to beat several top Pac 10 teams (I realize the oxymoron of top and PAC 10). In the soon to be bankrupt Midwest/Big 10 conference oddly enough Michigan State still has a shot at winning a share of the title if it can beat PSU in 2 weeks. Michigan State v. Oregon State...yeah that's a way to put the glitz back into the Rose Bowl.


NFL

Over in the NFL its about time some love was given to the young pup QBs of Flacco and Ryan. Obviously its too early to say they are the real deal and ready to join the upper echelons but given the fact that Gus Ferrotte is leading a team to a division title is all you have to say that QB depth between injuries and disappointing high draft picks is pretty low. Ryan seems to have confidence and skill beyond his years as Atlanta easily gets the "surprise team of the year". Meanwhile Flacco is able to manage the game better than any Baltimore QB since Trent "Anger Management" Dilfer left the scene.

It would be nice to say something stood out this week in the NFL but it appears to have finally settled into a familiar pattern of Buffalo sucking, New Orleans underachieving, and Tennessee using smothering defense to win.

Other Odds Ends

  • Chris Paul has started the season with 6 consequetive games of 20+ points and 10+ assists breaking the Big O's record. Holeee Crap thats impressive
  • Danny Granger is quickly becoming this year's most discussed under-rated player
  • This will not be the year of the freshman in the NCAA as its possibly the weakest incoming class in a loooong time
  • As will be an ongoing theme this week: BOND is released this week. Please freak out accordingly
  • Kate Winslet's Ass is also being released for public consumption. Please freak out accordingly.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

How'd I miss this - Mayor KJ?




In all the election hoopla I somehow missed that ex-Phoenix Sun, Kevin Johnson (D , PG), was elected Mayor of Sacramento. Johnson brings the best Mayoral passing skills and Charles Barkley friendship to City Hall in hopes of reviving the struggling Californian city. Good luck Kevin Johnson.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cheers and Jeers: Sour Death Edition

Ingredients:

This week, brave Pete Carroll stepped into the breach, to issue a public statement against the BCS at a time when USC is being savaged by heartless computers (and voters). You might be wondering what does Carroll normally do that allows him to consider the ethical, metaphysical and ecumenical implications of the BCS system

8 AM Find pants. Typically on co-eds floor
9 AM Enjoy healthy breakfast of egg whites, slice of cantalope, and the souls of defeated Aztec warriors
10 AM Trip over 5 star recruits
11 AM Race Will Farrell
12 PM Plan practical joke on USC team. They always fall for the fake kidnapping routine
1 PM Check BCS standings. Argue against BCS if hurts USC. Have mamosa and be indifferent to BCS if USC doing well
2 PM Begin awesome practical joke on football team
3 PM Practice
7 PM Try women's underwear to see if more comfortable.
8 PM Decide against. Get decked out and prepare for party hopping


and Now for some Cheers and Jeers
Cheers: To the start of NCAA Basketball season. While the true madness doesn't start for awhile, early season is a good way at demarcating which conferences are dominant which in turn determines the allocation of seeds per conference. The ACC headlined by UNC is expected to dominate this year. However watch for UConn and Louisville to be in the mix

Cheers: To being a gangster because damn it feels good to be a gangster

Cheers: To early NBA reactions (and over reactions). Spurs look like they might have finally jumped the shark without Ginobilli. Philly appears to be underachieving and appears that Marc Gasul might be as good as his brother...which paves the way for Gasul and Gasul tv show that Gutsy has been lobbying for.

Cheers: To some national news you might have heard about.

Les Miles will be playing the role of the Bride this weekend

Cheers: Vengeance. Saban left LSU at the alter with a bun in the oven. Now he's back and there will be bloody revenge (or Saban getting away with it. definitely one or the other)


and the C&J gals of the week (given the general cheery nature) Eva Longoria - who has been helping me water the plants

Go West?

Going into this week, the Mountain West Conference had three teams in the top 15 of the BCS: Utah at #8, TCU at #12, and BYU at #15. Now that's going to change after the Utes' W last night over the Horned Frogs...but nevertheless, that's as many teams in the top 15 as the SEC, and only the 5-team Big 12 had more. The Big 10 had two, the Pac 10 and WAC one each, and none for the Big East and ACC - which are BCS Conferences.

So today's question: should the MWC become the 7th BCS conference?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oakland A's To World: We Love To Juice & We Don't Care Who Knows About It!

Talk about MLB teams not getting the message: the Oakland A’s have re-hired Bobby Alejo as their strength and conditioning coach. Alejo previously held the same post with the A’s from 1993-2001.

All along, I’ve been arguing that the players have unfairly borne the brunt of fan, media, and management criticism over the steroids issue when, in fact, all of those aforementioned actors deserved their fair share of the blame.

By hiring Bobby Alejo, more famously known as the personal trainer for Jason Giambi, the Oakland A’s are basically saying “eh, who cares” to the whole issue. I would bet just about anything that Commissioner Bud Selig doesn’t say a word about this hiring and that the whole issue is forgotten in just a few days’ time.

I grant that Bobby Alejo was not named in the Mitchell report. I grant that Alejo’s name did not surface in any of the BALCO grand jury testimony. But I refuse to believe that a personal trainer of any reputation wouldn’t have known that his main client – Jason Giambi – was using performance enhancing drugs. I refuse to believe that the other players in his charge that were on the A’s during this era – Mark McGwire, chief among them – used steroids without his knowing about it.

I am not offended by steroid use in baseball. I am offended by the hypocrisy and the clear double-standards that exist surrounding the steroids issue. The Oakland A’s shouldn’t have been allowed to bring back a guy that had even passing knowledge of what was going on in the A’s team gym.

Sadly, this is more of the same silence from Bud and MLB. It’s why I don’t believe the steroids era is truly over, it’s just been swept under the rug.