Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sir Charles

In case you haven't heard, Charles Barkley was arrested at 1:30 last night in Arizona on suspicion of drunken driving. Now, of course, he is innocent until proven guilty, a concept I am quite familiar with, but I thought a great way to end the year was to display some quotes and pictures of one of sports' most colorful characters: Sir Charles.
Barkley was clearly in innovator in colorful antics on and off the playing field and really paved the way for some of today's superstars.

Here are some real Barkley quotes (and random pictures thrown in):

"I don't know what that gas is made of, but it can't smell any worse than Ernie Johnson 's gym bag."

"I got superstar treatment. Every else got bologna and water. I got bologna and milk (while in a Milwaukee jail)."
"Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a while."

"The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not."

"If the politically correct police ever came into a professional locker room ... Oh my God ... we could start World War III every day in there."

"I was asked for years about being a Republican, probably because most black people are Democrats. My mother heard it once and called me and said "Charles, Republicans are for the rich people." And I said, "Mom, I'm rich."
"I am not a role model. I am paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court. Parents should be role models. Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

"What does politically correct mean? If you're fat, don't ask me if you're fat, because I'm gonna tell you the truth. You're fat."

"When I speak to kids I tell them, "Hey, you think your parents are a pain in the ass now, but they're going to get smarter as you get older." (huh?)

"Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train."


"The main thing to do is relax and let your talent do the work."

"We don't need refs, but I guess white guys need something to do."

"If I weren't earning $3 million a year to dunk a basketball, most people on the street would run in the other direction if they saw me coming."




"I think that the team that wins game five will win the series. Unless we lose game five." (did he steal that from Bill Walton)

"I don't create controversies. They're there long before I open my mouth. I just bring them to your attention."

"I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It." (I think that's the title of this book......yeah, he wrote book)

"Any time a little midget does something like this, you gotta give him a 10 (regarding a Nate Robinson dunk at All-Star weekend)!."

"Thank God for Jerry Springer's show. I thought only black folks were that screwed up until I watched Jerry Springer."

"I came to the realization a couple months ago that I am fat. If you get tired from walking - and that's all that golf is - then you are officially fat."
Have a good new year all

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Welcome to the 2008 NFL Playoffs!

It's time for the NFL Playoffs, one of my favorite times of the year. Let's do it!

3-Miami vs. 6-Baltimore - This certainly was not expected by anyone. Two first year coaches. Two teams that thought they had long rebuilding projects. In the end though, my hatred of the Ravens is the difference maker, as is usual. I just don't trust Flacco, and no one else should either because we all know he's Cobra.
Pick: Miami

4-San Diego vs. 5-Indy - This is, far and away, the game of the week. The Chargers and Colts keep having clashes. Let's recap:
2008 - Indy wins during reg. season (23-20)
2007 - SD wins during reg. season behind multi-INT game by Cromartie, and SD upsets the Colts in the playoffs
2005 - SD ruins the Colts perfect season, sending the Colts into a weird tailspin to end the season that ends in a loss to the Steelers.
However, before anyone gives me the whole, "the Chargers are 8-8, you can't seriously be considering them!" I want to remind everyone that the Chargers have already: (1) lost in the last second to CAR, (2) lost to Denver when Hochuli got on his knees and blew the call; (3) lost by 7 to Miami, 1 to Pittsburgh, 3 to Indy, and 6 to Atlanta. What does this all mean? It means the Chargers are much better than just "some 8-8 team."
As further proof of that, Pro Football Reference runs an expected win-loss formula... and the Chargers are expected to be better than 10-6 (10.2-5.8). The Colts? They are also "expected" to be 10.2-5.8 ! This game is a complete toss-up also because both teams are red-hot, and the Steelers (Roethlisberger concussion) and the Titans (QB = Kerry Collins?) have issues. In a lot of ways... the winner of this game can determine the AFC's super bowl participant!
So how do I determine the winner of this game? Here's my arbitrary method this time: the Colts haven't played a tough team since November! The Chargers meanwhile, already were in two ridiculous games against teams that were desperate (Tampa and then Denver). Of course, both Tampa and Denver failed to make the playoffs. Before the Colts easy end to the season (Cleveland, Cincy, Detroit, Jacksonville, Tennessee w/o starters), the Colts had already beaten Minnesota, Baltimore, New England, and Pittsburgh. Again, my method has proved useless... so, I'm doing the unthinkable.
Pick: San Diego

3-Minnesota vs. 6-Philly - This should be an interesting game, but I still can't figure out the Eagles - they've beaten the Cowboys by 38, lost by 29 to the Ravens, tied the Bengals, and beaten the Steelers! I think that Minnesota's steady running game and defense and homefield should prevail.
Pick: Minnesota

4-Arizona vs. 5-Atlanta - This is another completely unexpected playoff matchup. In the end, the Cardinals are 6-0 in their crappy division and 3-7 versus everyone else. At least they get a home playoff game.
Pick: Atlanta

Now I’m going to pick the whole playoff tree, but I’ll be back each week to pick the matchups. So, it’s time to get to what I’m seeing in my crystal ball (which never actually happens)…

AFC
3-Miami vs. 2-Pittsburgh - Wildcat! It's the word of the year! I think the dream-ride comes to an end though. Will Roethlisberger still be shaken up from the concussion? No one knows, but I'll assume he's okay.
Pick: Pittsburgh

1-Tennessee vs. 4-San Diego - Last year, the Chargers beat the Titans in a slugfest. I say, "encore, encore!"
Pick: San Diego

4-San Diego vs. 2-Pittsburgh - remember, I'm assuming Roethlisberger is okay.
Pick: Pittsburgh

NFC
3-Minnesota vs. 2- CAR - Both of these teams can run and play defense. However, the Panthers just need to hit Steve Smith on one or two home-runs and that should be the difference.
Pick: CAR

1-Giants vs. 4-Atlanta - I assume the Falcons dream-ride comes to an end.
Pick: Giants

1-Giatns vs. 2-CAR - Rematch city! My theory on rematches is that the lost comes back to bite the winner in the arse.
Pick: CAR

Super Bowl:
CAR vs. Pittsburgh
Pick: CAR
-I don't know how anyone will stop the Panthers duo of RBs. I think this year is more wide-open than ever, hence my unconventional picks and I really wouldn't be surprised by anything at this point.

Final Stats From the Regular Season
Last Week: 11-5
Yahoo “Average”: 160-95 (I found out that this is not an average, it’s just that if 51% of the nation picks a team, than that counts as one game correct. Basically, this is almost the same as “picking the favorites.”)
Me: 149-106-1 (as I’ve said before, I’m like the San Antonio Spurs, and I only pick well in the odd years for some reason.)
Manwich: 11-8 (thanks Chargers)
Upset Special: 1-16 (I jinxed the Chiefs into losing to the Bungals)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Disturbing

Check out this article:
http://proxy.espn.go.com/nfl/sportsnation/ratings
It is the ratings of all the NFL coaches from the "from the 2008 SportsNation NFL Head Coach Approval Ratings". There are a number of disturbing things in this article.
1. Jeff Fisher's mustache
2. The look on Marvin Lewis' face.
3. How drunk Sean Payton looks
4. How cross-eyed Mike McCarthy looks.
okay, aside from the "asthetic" problems, there are many problems with these rankings. Such as:
1. Wade Phillips got a 13% rating, and Rod Marinelli got a 29% rating. That means 16% of the people in this poll thought Marinelli was a better coach than Wade Phillips. Absurd. Wade Phillips went 9-7 and almost made the playoffs, but Marinelli didn't get a win. Apparently, 16%, or one of every 6 people doing this survey felt that going above .500 and barely missing the playoffs was more disappointing than being the first winless team EVER.
2. 19% of those people approved of Romeo Crennel. That's 1 out of every 5 people. I swear to god, do not let me drink alcohol around any of those people, because I will cut them. Who on earth thinks Romeo did well this year? Was it his stellar clock managment or his awesome play calling? If his "approval" rating had shown up as like 5% or something, I would think that's just a few people that were really drunk, dont know how to work a computer, or are steeler fans just trying to make us feel worse, but 19%, thats just crazy. To be honest, i doubt 19% of the browns players would approve of Romeo this year. Clearly, Randy Lerner is part of the 81%, hahah.
3. Jim Haslett got a 38% rating, with a 2-14 record. That is over 3 times the rating received by Dick Jauron who had a 7-9 record. What? are you kidding?
4. Tom Cable got a 74% rating. For those of you who didn't know, Tom Cable is the Raiders coach. Yeah, I don't i would've known that if it weren't in the article? Are the raiders still in the league? Apparently 3 out of 4 people not only know the raiders exist, but like them. Weird.
5. Mike Singletary received an 88%. This number clearly should be higher, it should be around 98% simply because he is driving force behind Mustache Monday.
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3789504
Yeah, and if you want a kick, google Ray Wersching or Kevin Fagan to see a mustache that would make Ned Flanders jealous.
Laz

More Browns

The two newest articles are that Crennel has been fired (big shock) and that Cowher is not interested.
http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2008/12/cleveland_browns_fired_romeo_c.html
http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2008/12/fox_cowher_not_interested_in_c.html
I can only think of that one scene in Anchorman, after that fight between all the news stations, and Burgundy and the other guys are sitting around drinking (at work), and one of them goes, "That really escalated quickly".
Considering how bad yesterday's game was, it actually has been an exciting and rumor-clad 12 hours.
Laz

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Suck it, Phil

Dear Phil Savage,
Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Despite having a huge hand in creating one of the lowest point (if not THE lowest) in the Browns fandome history I can honestly say you're a worse human being than you were a GM .......

I can only hope you never work with people ever again....

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Parting Gifts for Every College Football Player in a Bowl Game!

This is the first time I've found one article listing all of the different gifts that college football players get for playing in a specific bowl game. Apparently, the College Football Bowl games are actually a longer gift-giving event than Hannukah, as the Bowl games are spread out over 19 days!

I think many of you will find this list entertaining.

Some highlights:
1) Las Vegas Bowl (Arizona vs. BYU) - Nintendo Wii sports bundle package, a watch, and a hat.
2) St. Petersburg (Memphis vs. So. Florida) AND Papajohns.com (NC State vs. Rutgers)- Camcorder, Noise-canceling headphones, Ogio bag
3) Hawaii (Notre Dame vs. Hawaii) - Kicker iKick500 iPod/iPhone Dock, Silk tie, Oakley sunglasses, Kahala aloha shirt, Beach chair, Beach towel, T-shirt, Calendar, Hat, Visor, Backpack, Luggage tags - I think the players should have to try to wear all this stuff at once and use it all at once!
4) Insight (Kansas vs. Minnesota) - Vizio 26" LCD HD TV, watch, Snack pack, hat - I don't know why the snack pack gets listed when they are also giving away 26" TVs !!!!

Lowlights:
1) Motor City (C. Michigan - Florida Atlantic) - souvenir watch, 2-piece leather travel set
2) International (Buffalo vs. UConn) - football, watch, duffel, backpack - Sounds like leftovers to me!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Year End: Things to Watch

Well like most of the world I'll be shutting down till the end of the year save for a random post if something big comes along.

So a few things to keep an eye on

Next day or two
BSD will pass the 50,000 visitor mark. Now most of these are me hitting refresh every 3 seconds but its still a pretty cool accomplishment. Thanks to all this year that contributed, may 2009 be even better.

Dec 25th
Celtics v. Lakers. The Celtics are obviously on a historic pace to crush the Bulls record win total and not lose another game for the rest of the century. Or that's I assume what will be declared if they beat the Lakers in LA on Christmas Day.

Dec 27th
North Carolina v. West Virgina; Wisconsin v. FSU. The ACC has slowly but surely been creeping back into respectability and seem poised to at least challenge the notion of 2 conference college football dominance. The spring board starts on the 27th

December 28th
Last day of pro football with lots still on the line. Miami v. Jets in the Pennington Bowl; Dallas v. Philly in the last stand of Wade Phillips Bowl; and of course Denver v. San Diego in the 2 QBs that really really hate each other bow. Should be awesome

December 30th
Every year Gutsy and I pick one random bowl to watch. This year its Oklahoma State v. Oregon. Both teams average well over 40 points and 67205 yards of offense per game. Stewart Mandel of CNNSI is predicting both teams score over 50. If you like offense and no defense this should be the trackmeet you want

December 31st
I nice quiet evening for Lucy and I but for the rest of you I recommend a nice bottle of the bubbly, some quality appetizers and a random pie fights.



Happy Holidays to all you BSDers out there from Lucy Pinder and I

49ers Growing Tribute Moustaches!

Need another reason to jump on the 49ers' bandwagon as they finish off the 2nd half strongly?

They are all growing MOUSTACHES in honor of photos of the team's greats.

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, Happy Festivus, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Week 17 - We Are The Champions

This week is the last week in the NFL season. This week is dedicated to all the fantasy football champions and real football champions out there... especially to my one fantasy football team that captured my first championship since I joined the league... back in 1992. No joke.
Random things that happened last time I won a fantasy football championship (courtesy of wikipedia):
-The English Premier League was formed!
-Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in the election
-Windows 3.1 was released... this is when your computer probably started up in DOS and you had to type in all of those weird commands, like: "cd dir"
-Silence of the Lambs won Best Picture
-Jay Leno became host of the Tonight Show


Manwich Matchup of the Week
Opening Round Playoff Game #10
Denver @ San Diego- I have to personally thank Philip Rivers for his 4-touchdown performance... he's my fantasy team's MVP. He's also the Chargers MVP and he will need to deliver again to complete the dramatic turn-around from 4-8, to 8-8 division champions! I will say it now... I don't think that the Chargers should be taken lightly in the playoffs.
Pick: San Diego

Upset of the Week #1
Opening Round Playoff Game #11
Miami @ Jets- Why are the Jets 3 point favorites at home? I'm snatching this up as my upset of the week. And yes... I've only hit one upset all season. However, the Dolphins are a great rags-to-riches story and Chad Pennington should play well and rub it in all of New York's faces, and yell out: "You cut me for that old bum Brett Favre... who's your daddy now!"
Pick: Miami

Upset of the Week #2
KC @ Cincy - Why are the Bungals 3 point favorites at home? I'm snatching this up as my SECOND upset of the week. KC's QB Tyler Thigpen has had a sweet 2nd-half... though the Chief hardly ever win, even though Coach Edwards keeps reminding his team that that's why they play the game. To win.
Pick: KC

Opening Round Playoff Game #12
Dallas @ Philly - Dallas somehow controls its own destiny. As MJ said earlier in the week, they are certainly the most talented team in the league. Let's just hope they stop allowing 70 and 80-yard TD runs.
Pick: Dallas

Oakland @ Tampa - Antonio Bryant was my pickup of the year. He's been a monster the last few weeks of the season... with 5 TDs and 498 yards in the last 4 games! I believe Tampa will win this game... but it probably won't matter as Tampa also needs a loss by Dallas to get in.
Pick: Tampa

Detroit @ Green Bay - Well... I really want to pick Detroit in this toilet bowl.. the Packers have lost 5 straight and the Lions have lost 16 straight dating back to last season... something tells me they will pull this out. They are desperate, right?!?
Pick: Detroit

Giants @ Minny- The Giants already have locked up homefield, so they may rest some people, which will allow Minny to clinch a division title.
Pick: Minny

Chicago @ Houston- The Bears play in the same 1PM slot as Minny, so logic would say the Bears will be playing very hard.
Pick: Houston

CAR @ New Orleans- CAR actually still needs to win to clinch a division title. However, the Panthers are shitty on the road, and the Saints are still 6-1 at home... so we mine as well predict more chaos with the Falcons getting a dramatic division title. In addition, this will continue the BIZARRE NFC South tradition of worst-to-first... as this would be the 5th time in 6 years. (2007 - Tampa, 2006 - New Orleans, 2004 - Atlanta, 2003 - CAR).
Pick: New Orleans

St. Louis @ ATL- See above... the ATL Falcons are a team of destiny (for the NFC South division title).
Pick: ATL

Jacksonville @ Baltimore- Unfortunately, even I know that the injured Jags probably stand no chance against the Ravens on the road. This will transport the Baltimore Cobras into the playoffs.
Pick: Baltimore

Tennessee @ Indy- Tennessee already has home field and should rest some players... The Colts are also locked in at #5 due to a victory over Baltimore, a victory over New England, a better conference record than Miami, and a 2-game lead over everyone else. Neither team has anything to play for, so I'll just go with the home team. I do also want to send my congratulations to Tennessee Rookie RB Chris Johnson for making the Pro Bowl and for helping my fantasy team win the championship.
Pick: Indy

Cleveland @ Pittsburgh- I think the Browns will score their first offensive TD since November 17th, simply because:
1) Pittsburgh has nothing to play for (they are locked in at #2) and
2) Ken Dorsey won't be playing.
Pick: Pittsburgh

New England @ Buffalo- The Patriots can still beat the Bills (while playing at 1PM), but then upon the Dolphins winning and the Ravens winning, the Patriots will become the first 11-5 team to NOT qualify for the playoffs!!! I don't even feel bad for them, and Bill Simmons and everyone else from Boston have no right to complain after Boston has won all of these Super Bowl titles, World Series titles, and NBA Championships in the last 7 years.
Pick: New England

Seattle @ Arizona- Arizona should play everyone because they need to at least try to find their groove again before the playoffs. Granted, I think they just can't beat any good teams.
Pick: Arizona

Washington @ San Fran- Washington became eliminated at some point. I don't know when. Meanwhile, the 49ers actually have a lot to play for, as they would become one of the hottest teams to end the season (and not make the playoffs).
Pick: San Fran

Last Week: 9-7 (there were a lot of upsets last weekend)
Season: 138-101-1
Manwich: 10-8 (I hit the Giants, but missed on the Steelers)
Upset of the Week: 1-15 (The Lions were miles away from that first win against the Saints. There's always next week.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

MMBSD: Wintery Goodness

Every year we're told about Dallas' talent. Heck every week someone says something about Romo's smile healing Zimbabwe or how they're the best defense in the NFC or whatever. However for several years now come December Dallas yanks the football away from the average Cowboyphiliac to lay a giant dud on the ground. It doesn't particularly matter anymore why or against who (in this case giving up 33 to the Ravens) but the bottom line is the team doesn't have the Heart to be a winner and shame on you to believe Cowboys are anything but a mirage.

Speaking of mirages....Brett Favre has begun his swan dive. After beating the Titans, which feels like last season at this point, the Jets were mentioned as AFC Championship material. Whether they were playing over their head, or the season wore them down or the cold weather got into the aging former superstar the Jets seem hell bent on giving away their playoff spot.

Shh..Favre is resting so he has enough energy not to retire...again

I was impressed.... and surprised by the Titans win. They had stumbled as of late, had an injured star in Haynesworth, and were playing the Steelers who seemed poised to take homefield advantage. Now I'm not sure if the Titans can recover 5 fumbles in the playoffs but its hard at this point not to have the Titans as the de facto favorite or at least until 5 minute from now.

A close game... between the Giants and Carolina. I'm still perplexed why Tom Coughlin doesn't cover his face as I swear at this point he's suffered frost bite on his frost bite. That said outside of perhaps Atlanta its unclear who could stop a playoff rematch between these teams as no one of the other potentials would I predict to win on the road.

NBA Notes
The Lakers, one of the supposed premier teams, are failing on their big road trips. Well maybe not failing but showing that they aren't one of those historically great teams. A good team but still soft in the middle, the same problem that led to their undoing last year. Andrew Bynum hasn't stepped up into the next level of play and without him the Lakers simply will not be able to defeat whoever comes out of the East

I maintain the Pistons made their trade of Billups for Iverson as part of a rebuilding move but that doesn't mean we have to ignore the NBA until 2010. So at least for this year the Pistons sans Billups and with Iverson seem quickly falling out of the ranks of the elite or potential elite as symbolized by their loss to the Hawks.

College Football

While I will be doing a quick bowl preview later this week just a few bowl games before the main serving of bowl fun starts. On Tuesday two of the best of the non-BCS go toe to toe with #11 TCU v. #9 Boise State. Outside of Utah these are probably the two best non-BCS schools. On Wednesday get a helping of schadenfreude as Notre Dame tries to break it 14 year bowl losing streak (It hasn't won since 1994 in the Cotton Bowl)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lendale White stomps stupid steeler rag

While totally immature, will probably come back to haunt them and totally based on sheer bitterness of a broken Browns season, I think this might be the best moment of the week. Who can't enjoy a good old fashioned terrible towel stomping....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cromeo Rennel

http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd174/delts636/Humor/WAC_01.jpg

happy festivus to cleveland. tonight im getting the pole out of the crawlspace. you should all prepare for the heiring of grievances.

El Zilcho

on tuesday night i was at a bar and like all good bars, they have a tv with espn on that i was watching from a distance instead of listening to my girlfriend. for some reason, women's ncaa basketball was on the tv, but that is irrelevant. on the ticker at the bottom, i saw a report that "sources say the cavs are discussing a possible trade with the suns where varajeo and sczerbiak could be traded for amare stoudamire." that was really awesome. so when i got home, i searched all around for any more info on the story. for the last two days i've found nothing whatsoever. does anyone have any info on this?
laz

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cheers and Jeers: Winter of Discontent

  • Booze (lots)




Well we're nearing the holidays and this year its probably best to grab a carton of cigs and a bottle of your favorite winter booze (C&J recommends the brownest of the brown) to try to handle the Winter of Discontent (I assume next winter will be the Winter of Depression or Rage depending on which stage we of coping we are in)

Jeers: to Boston dominance. Its the holidays where I believe spreading the wealth is a virtue or some bullshit like that. Last year the Patriots won more regular season games then any other team in NFL history. This year is ending it with the Celtics on pace to set the NBA record for all time wins. Just remember every time the Celtics win, an angel loses its wings

File photo of KG

Jeers: To the Economy. Yes there's lots of bigger issues than bowl games but its an awfully stark marker that you can get bowl tickets for cheaper than the aforementioned pack of cigs. Its going to be even more when bowl after bowl looks like an ACC Championship game.

C&J sees empty seats on Jan 1

Jeers: To 0-16. C&J doesn't have a big enough love of historic accomplishments to wish that level of suffering on any franchise. The Lions suffering masks how putrid some of the teams are this year. In the past 7 years there are around 2-3 teams with 4 or less losses as of Week 16 there are 8. Good thing the NFL trademarked the term "parity" otherwise the term would ring rather hollow.

Jeers: To Arkansas allowing Dick to be released. I think there are laws against that.

Remember its always darkest before the light or before things go pitch black. In either event while you contemplate if that light is the end of the tunnel or an oncoming training try to find some solace in the fact that the C&J gal of the Winter of Discontent is Kelly Brook

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Hot, Crusty Breath Of An Old Man Lingers...

Three more years? At what point does Penn State have the courage to dip their toe into the future? With all due respect to Joe Paterno – a great man, a good coach, and the leader of a generally honorable program (recent news-making incidents notwithstanding) – how can Penn State believe that their program is best-led by an 82 year old man?

Obviously the world of college football is a troubled place, where coaches make Faustian bargains with the lives, health, and futures of young adults. A lot of these coaches make their names and their money through the exploitation of these kids and don’t think twice about it. In that sense, Paterno is a nice change of pace. But there are other honorable people in college football too. I think Penn State shouldn’t be afraid to find out about these people.

In a way, Penn State’s successful 2008 season might’ve been the worst thing to happen to them. They’re now nominally committed to Paterno for three more seasons because, I believe, they’re just too scared to let go of the past and embrace the future.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Week 16 - Let's Get Dangerous!

I caught part of a Batman movie this week which somehow reminded me of Darkwing Duck in my mind. As a result, this week's games are dedicated to Darkwing Duck, a fantastic show that should be brought back for the joy of all American youth. For those who don't know, Darkwing Duck was a spinoff from the DuckTales series as it included the worst pilot ever, Launchpad McQuack. The focus of Darkwing Duck was essentially to be a Batman spoof, starring Darkwing Duck who had a cape and all sorts of gadgets including a gas gun, a motorcycle, and even a theme song that said: "When there's trouble you call DW!" Darkwing Duck battled villains that were eerily similar to Batman's (i.e. Dr. Bushroot = Poison Ivy ; Quackerjack = The Joker).
Note: The following Darkwing Duck quotes come from a wikiquote webpage.

Manwich Matchup of the Week #1
CAR @ Giants - The schedule-makers are looking like geniuses with BOTH conferences having homefield advantage on the line this week. Personally, I still like the Giants to get their act back together.
Pick: Giants

Manwich Matchup of the Week #2
Pitt @ Tennessee - The Titans are who we thought they were... an average playoff team.
Pick: Pitt

Upset of the Week
New Orleans @ Detroit -"I could've had a life, but no-oo, I chose to be a clown, in a mask and a cape! All I need are floppy shoes and a bozo nose!"
It's time for everyone to stop laughing at the Lions... this is their chance to avoid being immortalized as a winless team!
Pick: Detroit

Opening Round Playoff Game #5
Baltimore @ Dallas - "Suck gas, Evildoer!"
I hope QB Tony Romo says that to the Ravens, as the Cowboys further damage the Ravens playoff chances. The loser of this game may very well be on the outside looking in of the playoff picture.
Pick: Dallas

Opening Round Playoff Game #6
Philly @ Washington - "You'd think criminal masterminds would be more punctual!"
That quote is completely irrelevant, but so are the Redskins at this point, whose playoff chances are hanging by a thread.
Pick: Philly

Opening Round Playoff Game #7
Arizona @ NE- "Oh great. Another pun obsessed supervillian."
Again, I don't think the Cardinals are going to be acting as desperate this week, what with the Patriots' backs against the wall.
Pick: New England

Opening Round Playoff Game #8
ATL @ Minny -Now this game is a doozy! The Vikings got a huge win last weekend, but a loss would cause all kinds of problems for them. The Falcons are still desperate for yet another win. Who would have thought a Matt Ryan vs. Tavaris Jackson matchup would determine the NFC playoffs? This is an extremely difficult game to pick, so I will just go with the home team.
Pick: Minny

Opening Round Playoff Game #9
SD @ Tampa- "I am the zit that forms when you've got a really big date!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
I think the "zit" for Tampa is their injury problems to QB Jeff Garcia. Also, I just want to see a SD-Denver matchup in the final weekend with a win-or-go-home scenario.
Pick: SD

Indy @ Jacksonville - "I am the itch you cannot reach!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
Pick: Indy

San Francisco @ St. Louis- "I am the papercut that ruins your morning!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
Pick: San Fran

Cincy @ Cleveland- "I am the lollipop that sticks in your hair!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
I've never seen a QB more scared than QB Ken Dorsey this past Monday... also, the Browns never sweep the Bengals, and this season will certainly be no different. Just to complain a little bit more, the Browns were in a prevent defense for about 90% of Monday's game where they dropped 8 guys every down. The funny thing about it was that the 8 guys each would go to a specific spot on the field w/o regard for where the receivers were. I think there are 13-year olds who know how to run a zone better than these guys.
Pick: Cincy

Miami @ KC -"I am the special news bulletin that interrupts your favorite show!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
Pick: Miami

Houston @ Oakland- "I am the cholesterol that clogs your arteries!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
Apparently, according to NFL.com, the Texans have already been eliminated. If you go back in the season, I think that hearbreaking close losses to the Jags and Colts early on were the ones they'd regret. However, we've seen in the past that huge winning streaks do usually carry over to the next season. Don't forget also - the Texans were an 8-8 team last season, so this isn't completely out of nowhere.
Pick: Houston

Jets @ Seattle- "I am the auditor that wants to look at your books!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
Pick: Jets

Buffalo @ Denver-"I am the fast food that comes back to haunt you!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
I just want to see a SD-Denver matchup next weekend, with a win-or-go-home scenario, so that way, the Chargers can seek revenge for that controversial week 2 loss.
Pick: Buffalo

Green Bay @ Chicago- "I am the electrician who short-circuits the power lines of crime!... I am Darkwing Duck!"
I think that Chicago can take care of business here.
Pick: Chicago

Last Week: 12-4 (by far, my best week of the year)
Season: 129-94-1
Manwich: 9-7 (the Cowboys came through against the Giants)
Upset of the Week: 1-14 (The Saints fell short against the Bears.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

MMBSD: Late Edition

Well a little bit of a late edition for MMBSD some technical difficulties involving some invading Mongols. Anyway a few quick thoughts on recent sports developments

The Heisman: I suppose similar to the great Big 12 debate there were no right or wrong answers. Mccoy, Tebow and Bradford all had historically outstanding years. Bradford's efficiency was the best so I would have voted for him but its hard to argue with any sort of passion for or against any of the 3 finalist. The interesting question I think is what does this portend for the national championship game. The past decade or so the Heisman winner has crashed and burned in the BCS Big bowl but Bradford is not your normal heisman as supposable has potential 1st rounder status (and lets be honest Tebow is not). Its hard to imagine the Tebow v. Bradford matchup not being the center of attention for the game.

The Inside Job If anyone had any ideas that college football hiring practices are a mess I give you the Auburn Tigers who brought in local product turned bust Gene Chizik and his impressive 5-19 record (also 10 straight losses at one point). Now I never know exactly what goes on in decisions but as Charles Barkley raises there's an 800 lb gorrilla in the room as to why Auburn ignored actually succesful Turner Gill

Favorites and Fields : With Pittsburgh win over Baltimore, the conventional wisdom seems to be that Steelers are the de facto favorite. However as opposed to previous years the bets for the field will be heavily skewed. Nobody seems to have much consistency, few teams have elevated themselves heads and shoulders better than others, and as these are one game do are die situations who knows whats happening?

Axe Man Cometh: Well its mid-December and we have hit the 6th coach firing in the NBA with the latest head to be lopped off being Reggie Theus. Its unclear why the sudden purge (diffusion? copy cat? position of Mars and Jupitor? ) but I'm willing to go out on a limb and say fears over the economy mean changes and high needs for product saliency mean owners are going to be quick to fire......

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NBA Prospects in Europe

Two of the most hyped point guards in the world went head-to-head in the Euroleague on Thursday. Ricky Rubio, the young PG who was the sixth man for Spain in the Olympics this summer, went head-to-head against Brandon Jennings, the first prominent high schooler to go straight to Europe (and supposedly ranked as the #1 high school prospect).

The game was not televised in the United States, but I will formulate a story based on a number of sources:

1) Rubio had been injured, so he only played 8 minutes. So, this hyped matchup was not exactly what it was supposed to be (extensive court time for both).

2) Jennings' coach sounds crazy and ended up resigning earlier in the week! The ESPN article I cited states that the coach would change his starting lineup every half of every game and that sometimes, he wouldn't even play Brandon Jennings. Basically, it sounds like he should write a book on how to get fired.

3) Brandon Jennings actually is playing SG over there while Rubio is playing PG. Jennings got 23 minutes of playing time, 12 points, and two assists. Rubio was held scoreless but did get 3 assists and his team won.

The most educational thing about all this? That in Europe, "According to NBA scouts, 3 assists in Europe are the equivalent of roughly 5.5 in the NBA because a European assist requires no dribbling by the scorer, whereas NBA players are allowed as many as two dribbles."

It sounds to me that while there is a conversion rate between Euros and dollars, the same is true for Euro assists and American assists! Who knew?!?

Mad Dog 20/20 and the Man of Steal

I haven't posted in that long because I have been underneath a ton of school work and family stuff but I figured I would post some praise about two players that are will headed to the HOF.  

The first, Mad Dog, aka The Professor aka Gurg Schmezer Maddux recently announced that he will be hanging up his glove and retiring.  Greg Maddux exemplified the intelligence in the game of baseball.  While being shrouded by the steroid epidemic, Greg used his brains on the mound.   With 4 Cy Youngs under his belt, 17 straight Gold Gloves, 355 career wins (8th all time)  and 3371 Ks (10th all time)he easily deserves to be in the HOF.  The question is whether he will gain the most percentage of votes by of the writers since Tom Seaver.  I mean who could not vote for Mad Dog.  Even Kitsch's bitches are familiar with Mad Dog.   But I guess we are talking about the same people who voted for Edinson Volquez for Rookie of the Year when he wasn't even eligible.  I look forward to listening to the Professor's lecture from the podium in a few years.








The second person is a slight contradiction to the Professor.  It was announced earlier that he was going to placed on the ballot.  I am sure that Rickey Henderson will be a first ballot winner as well.  He might not be the most well spoken person, but he sure could steal bases.    And even he did not lead the ML in bases stolen, runs, have 3000 hits, and an MVP award, he should be in the HOF because of his oratory abilities.  When asked about why he chose to steal bases head first he said, " wanted to know how to dive into the base because I was getting strawberries on my knees and strawberries on my ass... I was thinking about head-first versus feet-first, and wondering which would save my body." 

The man who refers to himself in the third person will grace the HOF next summer, and I will most definately TIVO the speech that he makes, it will be fantastic.




Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What is Michael Jordan Doing?!?

Michael Jordan is currently the "managing partner" of the Charlotte Bobcats. And one has to ask the question: what in the world is Jordan doing?!?!? Jordan was hired to get the Bobcats to the playoffs, which is why he went out and traded for Jason Richardson in 2007 and hired coach Larry Brown in 2008. Currently, the Bobcats are 7-14 and not playing well. The Bobcats' leading scorer, Jason Richardson, is still shooting 44% from the field and 46% from 3-point land. Yet, the Bobcats traded Richardson, which would be okay if they had either: a) gotten something to help them in return or b) received salary cap relief.

The Bobcats received neither! The Bobcats received F Boris Diaw, aging SG Raja Bell, and a 3rd-string PG. The Bobcats received slight salary cap relief after next season, when Raja Bell's $5 million contract expires... but Boris Diaw has the same length of a contract as Richardson, and Diaw even has a player option for $9 million for 2011-2012. Thus, the Bobcats actually took on more financial obligations in the long-term. Boris Diaw is 6'8", very lanky, and is a very good passer for a big-man. But is he going to rebound well? No, he never has, and that's what the Bobcats supposedly wanted from this trade.

Perhaps even better than my puzzled reactions to this trade is Bobcats' coach Larry Brown's quotes in reaction to the trade, as published in the AP Article:
1) "We're losing a pretty darn good player and the way Phoenix is trying to make their team, they just added an unbelievable piece."
2) "I think it's going to be a little bit of a shock to those guys [Bell, Diaw] when you start a season and you have a legitimate chance to win a championship and all of a sudden go with a team that's trying to go and find an identity and get better"
3) Richardson "averaged 20 a game for us this year without a true post game. When you put him with Shaq, who can pass the ball and commands double teams, and Stoudemire as well, and you got a guy like Steve Nash, they got a pretty formidable weapon."

What's even more frustrating from my selfish perspective? The Cavs could have gotten Jason Richardson for the price of Wally's expiring contract and that would have been a better trade for the Bobcats, rather than rolling the dice with Diaw and Raja Bell. I hope Diaw and Raja Bell can prove me wrong.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sports and Economics: Local Papers

In a new (oddly serious ) feature I plan on randomly doing is sports and economics. In the first piece is trying to get a grip on the potential impact of at least the short term disappearing local newspapers.

For those that are unaware newspapers, specifically your local papers, are dying. Newspaper circulation peaked in 1985 and with the increased popularity of the internet their revenue has plummeted (average ad revenue down 18% from last year, classified down 31%). This general trend isn't even touching the number of awful debt maneuvers that are felling even those newspapers in the black such as the Tribunes recent bankrupcy or the Times borrowing $225 to handle cash flow issues.As a number of recent business projections have put it -its a question of when not if a major market will be de facto newspaperless (the leading candidate is Miami to get there first).

What does this for a city not to have a de facto newspaper? I've outlined a few ideas

Good/Neutral
It's distinctly possible that the internet and local blogs will simply replace local papers. Certainly the benefit can be a far more competitive marketplace of ideas where better analysis will rise to the top. These blogs might even be able to get press accrediation and therefore at worst coverage of the local sports team will be no different than currently and at best, the coverage could actually be better.

Bad
There are a number of potential downsides though to the disappearance of the local press. The first is that newspaper provides a common starting ground for the community of local sportsfans. I'd argue sports serves two purposes in American society: the first an opiate to distract from reality but equally if not more important is its community building activity..the connection of locals to a specific point of shared understanding. The downside of the internet and blogs is that the readership and hence the shared understanding is simply less than a mass marketed newspaper. To what extent does a disappearing focal point of fandom decrease the community experience?

The second and related issue to the possible decline in fandom experience is that newspapers far better than television develope fans interest in non-star players. For all our favorite teams , there is typically a corresponding local fan favorite that falls far short of being a star. Newspapers often can develope the personalized stories that allow for the emotional connection to the non-star which televisions with limited time frames simply do not. Again a possible issue in decreasing the fan experience.

The final and possibly most serious issue of the current decline in newspapers is that the vacuum might not be filled no matter the desire. But doesn't capitalism mean that unserved markets will eventually be satisfied? Not necessarily. Its ironic that Paul Krugman recently got the Nobel Prize (in economics) as his work speaks directly to this. What Professor Krugman's work speaks to is that for a number of reasons businesses will often design their product for the largest market and ignore less developed areas which can create a self-reinforcing equilibrium. For example, let us assume that ESPN replaces the vaccuum of sports communication left by newspapers. Let us further assume that they focus their baseball coverage on the largest market (the Red Sox v. Yankees rivalry...a stretch I know). What can easily transpire is that over time given the constant news saturation on the topic more fans gain an interest in these teams, less on the local, thus creating a feedback loop for less non-East Coast baseball coverage. In essence, even if ABC-ESPN is completely profit motivated (and I have my doubts), there can a dramatic change in the types of information flows that are occurring with local interest outside of the megalopis drying up and replaced with something else. Ultimately its a seperate issue if this is a good or bad evalution (personally I think bad) but its hard to ignore the possible distributive effects of disappearing newspapers IF national media replaces it.

So what's your thoughts on what (if any) are the effects of city losing its newspaper?

Week 15 - Desperation Time

With only 3 weeks to go, I will try to perform better this week by going with the teams that have more to play for. This will probably backfire, as everything else I touch seems to backfire this season!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Giants @ Dallas - The Cowboys have to be considered the more desperate team at this point, especially with the Giants already having clinched at least a division title. Next week, the Giants play the Panthers to essentially determine home field anyways. So, because the Cowboys are at home and appear to more desperate, they are the choice.
Pick: Dallas

Upset of the Week
Opening Round Playoff Game #2 (the first one took place back in week 4 when Cleveland took out Cincy)
New Orleans @ Chicago - This matches up two 7-6 teams who both need to win to really have any chance of making the NFC playoffs which will require 10 wins (if not 10 wins and tiebreakers). The Saints have won 3 of 4, including last week's do-or-die against red-hot Atlanta. The early weather report? 45 degrees and a chance of rain. That's probably not a reliable weather report, but it's better than snow, which would kill the Saints chances.
Pick: Saints

Opening Round Playoff Game #3
Tampa @ ATL - Tampa beat Atlanta in week 2. Atlanta already has 4 conference losses, and a 5th would probably knock it out of any tiebreaking scenarios. A win for Tampa would give them 10 wins, which should get them in, as well as giving them a sweep over Atlanta. Basically, a lot is on the line. When all else fails, go with the more desperate team, which also happens to be at home.
Pick: ATL

Opening Round Playoff Game #4 (for playoff seeding)
Denver @ CAR - This game is probably more for playoff seeding, as Denver will get in with any win or any Charger loss the rest of the season, and CAR only needs one more win (if that). However, I think CAR will be more desperate in this game, because they still have to play the Giants and then the Saints, which will both be desperate for wins I'm guessing.
Pick: CAR

Minny @ Arizona - This is not exactly an opening round playoff game, as Arizona is already clinched and Minny is fighting for its life. This game has many intriguing story lines:
1) We can name the game after Dennis Green, as he coached both teams: the "They Are Who We Thought They Were Game!"
2) At the time of my writing this, it's unclear if Gus Frerotte or Tarvaris Jackson will be starting, which is yet another interesting sub-plot. Granted, rallying against the Lions last week, Mr. Jackson, is something that should be expected.
3) If both teams win their divisions, the winner of this game would likely get a #3 seed, as opposed to a #4 seed.
In the end, I think Minnesota has more to lose, and should be more motivated.
Pick: Minny

Green Bay @ Jacksonville - The Pack already lost 5 of 6 to take themselves out of contention. The Jags were out of contention in October, after losing 4 offensive linemen.
Pick: Green Bay

Detroit @ Indy - The quest for perfection continues! In an interesting sub-plot, the two best QBs from 2004 (Peyton and Culpepper) get to have a shootout. If we can call it that, with the Lions.
Pick: Indy

Washington @ Cincy - The Redskins have lost 4 of 5 to fall to 7-6. Portis is banged up, the passing game is nonexistent. At least the Bungals are the opponent, which should keep Washington in contention for one more week.
Pick: Washington

San Fran @ Miami - Even though all of us may have made fun of the 49ers and their silly "interim" coach Mike Singletary, he actually has gotten them to win 3 of 4, including wins over Buffalo and the Jets. Here comes Miami, which is San Fran's 3rd straight AFC East foe. It seems highly improbable for the 49ers to get to knock off all 3 in a row, all in upsets.
Pick: Miami

Seattle @ St. Louis - I think the Rams players already went on vacation and they hired stunt doubles to finish the season for them. Since this game has a few losers in it, I wanted to take this time to talk about another loser... Minnesota Timberwolves GM Kevin McHale. This week, the T-wolves coach Randy Wittman was fired, McHale was named coach of the team that he assembled. I think I've read this story before: GM is hired based on credentials as player, GM runs team into the ground, GM tries to coach team he assembled. The main in the first installment of the story? Isiah Thomas!
Pick: Seattle

San Diego @ KC - San Diego is still mathematically alive, so long as they win out, and Denver loses out. They do play Denver the last week, which could be really exciting.
Pick: San Diego

Buffalo @ Jets - well, the Bills are definitely done now! Hence, I have to choose the Jets now, who are still in contention.
Pick: Jets

Tennessee @ Houston - Tennessee still needs to lock up home field advantage. I wonder if the Houston Texans will be angry this week because the WNBA's Houston Comets were disbanded? Probably not. Apparently, the NBA let some teams become privately owned... and for some reason, the NBA was not rushing in to save the team. The lack of support for women's basketball is probably low though on the list of industries to be bailed out. Call it a hunch.
Pick: Tennessee

Pitt @ Baltimore - My two least favorite teams duking it out. The Ravens have to be the worst 9-4 team ever. The Ravens will actually be tied for first if they win this game! That would make them the more desperate team, but I hate them too much.
Pick: Pitt

New England @ Oakland - I'm half-tempted to say the Super Bowl curse goes into affect for this game! Don't worry... there's still next week against Arizona for the Patriots to mess up and not make the post-season dance.
Pick: New England

Cleveland @ Philly - The Eagles are the more desperate team, clearly, seeing as they are still in contention. But you have to ask yourself - can the Eagles overcome Ken Dorsey, the Browns' undefeated record on Monday Night (2-0) and the Browns amazing road record (3-3)? yes, they can.
Pick: Philly

Last Week: 10-6 (another respectable week)
Season: 117-90-1
Manwich: 8-7 (the weather in Pittsburgh probably didn't help Romo and the Cowboys)
Upset of the Week: 1-13 (Damn Ravens.)

Cleveland is really close to having Wood

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081209&content_id=3708244&vkey=hotstove2008&fext=.jsp

That's right, there's a possibility that in 2009 the Indians will get Wood. Not really sure what i think about this move yet (even though its way smarter than getting Hoffman and cheaper than getting K-Rod), but i just wanted to allusions to an erection joke.

I'm Begging You, Please Don't Beg

With apologies to Cubs fans who I hope will not be offended by this column, it’s really rather unbecoming of Ron Santo to be lobbying so hard for enshrinement into Cooperstown. His credentials notwithstanding, it never looks good to make public statements about why you think you should be a Hall of Famer.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Skynet Championship Series: Judgment Day 2008

Judgment Day is upon us... and Skynet has demanded a Big-12 rematch between Texas and Oklahoma!

It's years like this that I'm glad the humans are in charge, because the last thing I want to see is a conference rematch. A cross-conference rematch is okay, but I don't want to see a game that happens every year in conference.

Most underrated by the humans: Texas Tech (computers won't take into account 40 point loss); Boise St
Most overrated by the humans: Alabama, USC

Skynet Championship Series
2008 -Judgment Day
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Oklahoma.......0.93....(1)...(9)
2.Texas..............1.19....(3)...(4)
3.Florida............2.21....(2)...(13)
4.Tex Tech........2.68....(7)...(61)
5.Utah................2.93....(6)...(87)
6.Alabama.........6.28....(4)...(66)
7.Boise St...........7.24....(9)...(114)
8.USC................8.03....(5)...(62)
9.Penn St..........8.10....(8)...(73)
10.Ohio St.......10.95....(10)...(41)
11.TCU.............12.58....(11)...(80)
12.Cincy...........12.65....(12)...(63)
13.Okl St..........14.61....(13)...(48)
14.Geo Tech....14.98....(14)...(38)
15.Georgia......15.35....(15)...(22)
16.Va Tech.....16.01....(19)...(12)
17.Pitt..............16.02....(20)...(17)
18.BYU...........16.50....(16)...(101)
19.Mich ST.....16.99....(18)...(37)
20.Oregon......18.59....(17)...(70)

MMBSD: Bowls, Playoffs, and Extremes

SEC is going for 3 in a row. Sigh

Another grand installment of Monday Morning Back Seat Driver in which our hero, Mighty Mike, attempts to figure out where the sports world is heading. However before actual analysis, I offer Frank Beamer (coach of V-tech) getting punched in the face.

College Football
Bowl : Equality v. Equity
While the discussion of who "deserves" to go the bowl games has been beaten to death like a government mule (who evidently were beaten quite severely) I want one last shot given the whining going on in Austin. Was Texas hosed on grounds of equality (i.e. treated the same as other teams) ...absolutely. Does anyone doubt if Texas beat OU after OU beat Tech that the outcome would be the same? However no different than Texas has a gripe so does Utah, USC, Penn State, Tech and a host of other teams. Playing an easy schedule doesn't change how good the team is - it merely reduces our ability to discern their ability. However on grounds of equity (i.e. standard procedural rules for everyone) OU and Florida certianly "deserve" to go. They won the BCS rules sweepstakes by being the top 2 teams (no matter how absurd the rules are going in) as they won the most games with the toughest SOS.

At the end of the day its a silly debate as bowls are nothing more than wonderfully glorious exhbition games with lots of money but questionable reflections on teams' talents (how many times have we heard a playoff team had too long of layoff affecting their first game and yet somehow we're to believe a 4-6 week layoff doesn't affect some teams? To what extent is the homefield advantage of the certain teams (ahem USC) in their bowl games affect outcomes? To what extent does unhappines over being slighted at going to an "inferior" bowl affect things, etc.,etc.) Nonetheless I'm already circling my calendar for some very enjoyable games - Rose, Fiesta, Holiday (my random bowl game) and Mythical Championship and a host of others for the faux conference rivalry bragging rights ( Big 12 v. SEC, Big 10 v. SEC) that will beamed into my home while I am in various stages of hangover.


NFL Playoff Run
As we reach the 3/4 quarters mark the playoff picture in NFL land is becoming clear. In the AFC the Titans and Steelers are the juggernaughts with the Colts the hot team nobody wants to play. The AFC East has a semi-interesting dance of death between the wounded perenial power (Pats), upcomer (Miami) and the shooting star (Jets. does anyone believe the Jets with Favre at QB will get better than they are now?) On the NFC side, per usual, there's a bit more confusion with few teams standing heads and shoulders above the others. Tampa v. Carolina could clear up some of the rank ordering as will next week's Giants v. Cowbitches but generally the NFC makes me throw up my hands in confusion.

NBA Extreme Challenge
While for the past 2 years the NFL has been the sport of record winning/losing runs the NBA is starting to get on the action. The Lakers, Celtics, and Cavaliers are oddly enough all on pace to challenge the 1995/1996 Bulls record season of 72 wins. This is symmetrically happening with the OK City Thunder challenging the putrid 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers 73 loss season. I'm guessing the hype machine on wins/losses is mostly a function of ESPN needing story lines but its hard not to dismiss the possibility that the financial changes, strategic "rebuilding" policies or other factors could also be a causal mechanism in parallel pro tracks. If baseball picks up on the act then perhaps more systematic factors are at play.

It's unclear if she goes to the team that breaks the Bulls' record

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Like a Stroll Through Baghdad on a Friday Afternoon

I understand it's been a tough season in Cleveland, but this is just a bad idea.

Good grief. I like Marty. He seems to be a decent guy and a hard worker. But how can anyone legitimately believe that he can bring any long-term success anywhere? Will Browns fans be happy if they become a chronic 10-6 team that can't win a single game in January? Doubtful.

Come on, Cleveland. You can do better.

Suck It CBS

(special guest post from Mad Mark and His Magical Romp Through College Football)

I think we need to rename CBS sports to the SEC network.

Gary Danielson and Verne Lundquist have done everything short of calling Tim Tebow the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ himself. During the Florida v. Alabama game, they referred to Tebow as "The greatest short-yardage running back in college football" and "The greatest football player to ever play quarterback" I had to stop taking notes on the game at that point as I had to go throw up.

You can see a nice interaction of how Lundquist & Danielson trash the Big 12 here: http://blog.newsok.com/sportsmedia/2008/12/02/cbs-sportscasters-bash-big-12/

I can't believe anyone who's watched Big 12 football this year thinks that their defenses are 2nd rate. The lovely media at the SEC network simply refuses to believe that anyone other than those chasing down the Messiah know how to make a tackle. I'll let the stupidity of those broadcasters slide, because they all seem to get dumber every year. (With all the communications majors coming out of college lately, you would think we could do better than the current state of sports broadcasters.... but that may be another article). Oklahoma has put up over 60 points in their past 4 games. And the game before that streak began - they put up 58 points. No team in history has done that. I don't think that Tebow's 50 yards of rushing and 3 TDs stands a chance against Oklahoma if OU puts up 60 points again.

It looks like Florida, led by the son of God himself, will play Oklahoma for the title game. Let's hope that OU can break their streak of s#*!!ing the bed in their bowl games over the past few years. Texas should be playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl which will be another test of how good the big 12 really is. Texas Tech is likely going to play Mississippi, and I don't evny them... TTU is pissed off that they can't get a BCS bid and teams like Cincinatti will end up playing in one of the biggest bowls. That will be the true test of Big 12 vs. SEC, as its not supposed to be the top team from either conference.

I look forward to what Vern & Gary can say on the SEC network as the Big 12 destroys their precious savior and the rest of his fish-eating friends.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Betting for Bowl Predictions


On Sunday, following the various conference title games, the various bowls will announce their lineups starting with the big bad BCS bowls. How does selection work you ask? Well the basic ground rules are that 5 out of 6 conferences have tie ins to specific bowls (the ugly step child being the Big East) with the at large being selected in the following order this year: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange (note the same order applies to filling in for conference champions that are in the BCS Championship Game). So here are my bowl predictions with the implicit predictions for this weekends games.


National Championship (Jan 8th)
What I'm Willing to Bet: Colonel's House
Teams: Oklahoma v. Florida

I'm willing to go on with the overwhelming evidence that OU will win out over Mizzou which leaves the other spot in the Mythical Championship to Alabama/Saban or Florida/Meyer. It truly is an intriguing match-ups with two of the giants of college football. Saban gets a bad rap sometimes for being a high class call girl. In fairness that really isn't his motivation. Saban simply wants to be worshiped as a demi-god. So his various forays around the football landscape were simply attempts at being the center of the universe and his escape from the pro's was inevitable once he discovered that he's simply is a small fish in a big pond there. Now Meyer, on the other hand, would suck off a corpse if it would further his goals. I'm not entirely sure what Meyer wants: money, power, wins, a hug but he wouldn't think twice about injecting steroids directly into his pupil if he thought for a second it could help him.

Now this difference between the two coaches is important as their teams reflect the psychological dementia that afflict their head coaches. While Saban's teams want to dominate and take the will away from opposition through a pounding running game and a suffocating defense, Meyer's team relies on escape velocity and unexpected maneuvers. In the end Saban's short tenure means the talent needed to overcome Meyer's whoredom isn't there....at least not yet.

Fiesta (Jan 5th)

What I'm Willing to Bet: A Blue Ray Version of Batman: Dark Knight
Teams: Texas v. tOSU
Texas will be picked to fill OU's vacant spot so the question the Fiesta bowl folks is do they want the bi-annual tOSU hordes or the closer but smaller Utah contigent? Banking on massive travel from a region that's ground zero for the US's attempt to best Spain's record time of a super power turning into a shithole might be risky but unless the Sugar or Orange bribe the hell out the Fiesta the giant alumni base and tv ratings will win out.

Sugar (Jan 2nd)
What I'm Willing to Bet: Hitman's Blue Ray Player
Teams: Alabama v. Utah
The Sugar will first take the Florida/Alabama loser after which they will consider who else? Now why would the Sugar Bowl bribe the Fiesta for the rights to tOSU? If they don't they're stuck with either Utah or Cinci. The only way to have a more uncomfortable and less profitable bowl then having tons of Mormons interacting with New Orleans is if suddenly the Mormon church adopted kosher eating guidelines. That said the alternative is Cincinnati and I'm uncertain if anyone recognizes its existence. So the Sugar will bank on Saban and his band of Pan the Goat god worshippers v. Utah for the David v. Goliath storyline.

Rose Bowl (Jan 1st)
What I'm Willing to Bet: US National Debt (somewhere north of 10 trillion dollars)
Teams: USC v. PSU
Just to rub it in USC players will only use their left hand against UCLA and you know what ...they'll still win.

Orange (Jan 1st)
What I'm Willing to Bet: A device that is able to measure my indifference to this game
Teams: BC v. Cinci
Short of Fox using its national security powers and allows the ACC winner (who I'm predicting is BC over V-Tech) to be shifted so that you can have an old fashioned in-state doneybrook of Cinci v. OSU the Orange bowl will be stuck with the bottom feeders of the BCS teams. Luckily the Orange Bowl hosts the national championship so they'll end up making money over the course of the week.

Capital One (Citrus Jan 1)
Cotton (Jan 1)
What I'm Willing to Bet: 3 buffalo chicken wings
Teams: Capital One: Michigan State v. Georgia
Cotton: Texas Tech v. Ole Miss

Its pretty much locked in for the biggest of the non-BCS bowls.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Really?

Listen up, people. I’m about to blog hockey for perhaps the only time this season.



The NHL has decided to suspend Dallas Stars defenseman Sean Avery for an indefinite period of time due to remarks he made about two of his ex-girlfriends (Elisha Cuthbert (above) and Rachel Hunter (below)).




I just don’t see the big deal here. It may not be what you say in polite conversation at an office cocktail party or at a formal dinner. But I just don’t get why what he said was deemed so inappropriate. I mean, it’s not like he’s lying, is it? Several NHL players are dating his sloppy seconds (and what fantastic sloppy seconds they are, might I add).

What does that say about me that I’m totally indifferent to Avery’s comments? I guess I’ve either been desensitized by the ever-increasing crudeness of our culture or, more likely, I just think we have to pick our battles a little more carefully. Censorship of this variety seems petty to me. Avery didn’t slur anyone, didn’t disrespect his employers, and didn’t commit any crime.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman seems to be taking a page from his counterparts at the NFL and NBA. It seems like this is a precedent that screams “I’ve got sand in my vag and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Week 14 - Playoffs?!?

Playoffs should be on every person's mind. Whether it's real football, or fantasy football, the playoffs are either upon us (if you are in an 8-team playoff) or coming soon (for those in 4-team playoffs or actually fortunate enough to have their own team in the playoffs).

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Dallas @ Pitt- I truly believe in Dallas' high-powered offense to get the job done in Pittsburgh this week. The early early weather report is 30 degrees and snow, which probably doesn't bode well for the Cowboys aerial attack. Sometimes though, you just have to believe.
Pick: Dallas

Upset of the Week
Washington @ Baltimore- Cobra is 8-4?!? What the?!? I still can't believe in this team. Meanwhile, the Redskins have looked like Absolut Poo.
Pick: Washington

Oakland @ San Diego- My steadfast belief in the Chargers, and picking them every week, is only one of the many reasons I'm terrible at picking games this year. It's time for one of those analogies:
MJ's Hatred of Eli : NY Giants' winning record
Gutsy's Continual Picking the Chargers : San Diego Chargers' losing record
Pick: San Diego

Cincy @ Indy- The Colts really got a nice schedule with back-to-back games against the Buckeye state.
Pick: Indy

Jacksonville @ Chicago- Yawn.
Pick: Chicago

Houston @ Green Bay- This game is kind of interesting in my mind... the Packers have been completely falling apart, while the Texans are suddenly hot. They both have the same record, but they probably won't tie this week.... Plus, Ahman Green gets to go back home! (Yes, Ahman Green is still playing, but on the Texans)
Pick: Green Bay

Cleveland @ Tennessee- Wilting under the expectations of playoffs = Romeo Crennel. Unfortunately for the Browns, Ken Dorsey will be at QB for the Browns.
Pick: Tennessee

Minnesota @ Detroit -The Lions really can't catch a break, drawing the Vikings who are 7-5 and still needing to win some games to get in the playoffs.
Pick: Minny

Philly @ Giants- The Eagles came back to life last week. The Giants should show them it's too little too late.
Pick: Giants

Atlanta @ New Orleans- what a crushing defeat for the Saints last week. 6-6 in the NFC is big trouble.
Pick: Atlanta

Jets @ San Fran- The expectations of playoffs (or bowl games in college) can be the downfall of a coach, as we all know. This past week, my alma mater, the Miami University Redhawks, had their head coach, Shane Montgomery, "resign" last week after taking a successful program and only winning one third of his games. Research shows that he's only the third coach since 1911 to leave Miami football to leave with a losing record. The last coach to pull off the dubious feat, Tim Rose, who coached from 1983-1989, may have been a worse coach but he at least took the team to a very sucessful 1986 season. The other coach with a losing record? Some guy named Edwin Sweetland, who for some reason only coached the 1911 season and went 2-4-2. Clearly, there was more of a focus on academics back then, judging by the lack of games. Perhaps more interesting, is that the name Edwin Sweetland should be relevant for everyone... he was the head coach at The Ohio State University in 1904... when they lost to Oberlin by the score of 4-2!
Pick: Jets

Miami @ Buffalo- The Bills started 5-1... and may end it at 6-10. No Trent Edwards? That could be a big problem.
Pick: Miami

KC @ Denver- Denver lost to KC earlier in the season, and I know that revenge will be on their mind.
Pick: Denver

St. Louis @ Arizona- After 10 days off from the Rams Thanksgiving debacle, I'm sure the Cardinals will be focused once again on claiming their inevitable division title.
Pick: Arizona

New England @ Seattle- I'm so jealous of the Patriots easy schedule.
Pick: New England

Tampa @ CAR -Tampa beat the snot out of CAR back on Oct 12th by the score of 27-3. Payback can be such a bitch!
Pick: CAR

Last Week: 10-6 (a respectable week and it only took 13 weeks to get there!)
Season: 107-84-1
Manwich: 8-6 (Steelers over Pats was easy)
Upset of the Week: 1-12 (The Redskins really had no chance against the Giants.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Skynet Championship Series: Have the Computers Been Compromised?

Let's first recap what happened in the actual BCS standings this past week. Because of the incompetence of the Big 12 in NOT providing enough tiebreakers, the BCS Standings are determining who goes to the Big 12 Championship game. Of course, drawing lines between Texas and Oklahoma is probably arbitrary and the difference is slight.

The human voters were a virtual deadlock with the Coaches giving the edge to Oklahoma 1397-1396, and the Harris poll voters giving the edge to Texas 2575 to 2569. The SIX computer polls still count for a third of the votes, and the computers gave the edge to Oklahoma.

Now, for those long-time readers who have been following all along, you know that I only use four of the SIX computer polls to compute the "Skynet Championship Series"... because the other two (Billingsley & Massey) start with the bias of rankings before the season begins.

Normally, this would not be a big deal. Until I made the most startling discovery when computing the "Skynet" rankings for this week - the Skynet rankings choose TEXAS (as you can see by scrolling to the bottom), NOT Oklahoma.

This then begs the question: do the other two polls favor Oklahoma because of the original rankings?
Answer: We don't know exactly. There's no way for mere mortals like myself to determine if the these two rankings chose Oklahoma over Texas because of the "human pre-rank" before the season... or if it's because of some other more appropriate reason in the formula (i.e. strength of schedule, quality victories, quality losses, etc.) These "computer" polls have varying length descriptions. Let's take a look at both of the polls and see what we can gather:

Billingsley
What I can present is this: Billingsley states that starting position only makes a "slight difference in my rankings." He also states that "Each year the #1 team starts at 270 points; #2, 269 points; #3, 268 points and so forth all the way to #120 starting at 151 points." In Week 1, Oklahoma was ranked #10, Texas ranked #11, meaning that Billingsley only has given Oklahoma a 1-point advantage. Texas is currently trailing by 9 points in the Billingsley poll, so I believe that Billingsley has not been "compromised."
Conclusion: Billingsley NOT compromised

Massey
Massey states that "Preseason ratings are typically derived as a weighted average of previous years' final ratings. As the current season progresses, their effect gets damped out completely. The only purpose preseason ratings serve is to provide a reasonable starting point for the computer. Mathematically, they guarantee a unique solution to the equations early in the season when not enough data is available yet." Unlike Billingsley, this is not enough of a description to accurately determine if they have Oklahoma two spots ahead of Texas for valid reasons. Currently, Massey has Oklahoma at 2.593, Texas Tech at 2.508, and Texas at 2.505.
Conclusion: Unclear, though probably NOT compromised, assuming Massey's statement is true that the effect "gets damped out" as the season progresses.

Now that that mystery has been addressed, a second question is appropriate:

How do my "Skynet" rankings differ from the BCS computer rankings???
Answer: In simple terms, the BCS formula only merely averages the standing of each team. For example, in the Sagarin ranking this week, Oklahoma is ahead of Texas by a very thin margin, but this only gets valued as a "1" in the BCS formula, versus a "2" for Texas. Because I'm normalizing each of the 4 rankings and then averaging them, I'm actually accounting for the actual difference between each team in each ranking, just like the Harris poll is counted by the exact number of votes that each team gets (as opposed to just being awarded all the points for being ranked #2).
Proposed BCS Adjustment: The BCS should not just award teams whole numbers for their standings in the BCS computers. It does not take into account the actual difference between teams and is an additional error on the system. Of course, one could argue that the differences in computer rankings is arbitrary, but it seems as if that's a losing argument when teams are closely bunched together. It seems more appropriate to me to count the actual worth each team is earning in each computer ranking.

This leads to a third question:
Would Texas leapfrog Oklahoma if the "Proposed BCS Adjustment" were adopted?
Answer: No. The BCS formula involves throwing out the highest and lowest computer ranking. I didn't feel like doing this for every team, but here's the top 5 in that scenario (using all 6 polls, so that only 4 polls are left and awarding specific points to each team based on specific ranking):
1. Oklahoma-1.103
2.Texas-1.315
3.Alabama-2.068
4.Texas Tech-2.281
5.Utah-2.625

And finally...

Skynet Championship Series
2008 -week of 12/1
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Texas...............1.19....(3)...(4)
2.Oklahoma.......1.33....(2)...(13)
3.Alabama.........2.07....(1)...(82)
4.Utah................2.53....(6)...(86)
5.Tex Tech........2.67....(7)...(56)
6.Florida............5.36....(4)...(31)
7.Boise St...........6.96....(9)...(114)
8.Penn St...........8.01....(8)...(72)
9.USC................8.22....(5)...(52)
10.Ohio St.......11.21....(10)...(41)
11.TCU............12.65....(11)...(81)
12.Ball St.........13.45....(12)...(126)
13.Cincy..........14.49....(13)...(66)
14.Ok St..........15.02....(14)...(47)
15.Georgia......15.12....(16)...(16)
16.Geo Tech...15.29....(15)...(37)
17.Bos Coll......16.09....(17)...(38)
18.BYU...........16.65....(18)...(101)
19.Missouri....17.65....(20)...(54)
20.Oregon......18.68....(19)...(69)

and as a fun bonus... I computed Skynet rankings if ALL 6 polls were used!
USING ALL 6 POLLS
..............................SCS....BCS...Sched Rnk
1.Oklahoma.......1.18....(2)...(13)
2.Texas..............1.47....(3)...(4)
3.Alabama.........2.00....(1)...(82)
4.Tex Tech.......2.52....(7)...(56)
5.Utah...............2.72....(6)...(86)
6.Florida............5.03....(4)...(31)
7.Boise St..........7.52....(9)...(114)
8.USC................7.53....(5)...(52)
9.Penn St..........8.88....(8)...(72)

DATA SOURCES
The 4 polls I use for "Skynet" are:
Sagarin -
1-Oklahoma-93.94
2-Texas-93.50
3-Texas Tech-92.90
4-Alabama-90.68

Anderson
1-Alabama-.811
2-Texas-.800
3-Oklahoma-.798

Colley's Matrix
1-Texas-.940002
2-Oklahoma-.921550
3-Alabama-.912339

Wolfe
1-Oklahoma-10.215
2-Texas-10.186
3-Texas Tech-10.008
4-Alabama-9.904

The polls I don't use are:

Billingsley
1. Alabama-325.926
2.Oklahoma-322.918
3.Florida-314.792
4.Texas-313.293

Massey
1.Oklahoma-2.593
2.Texas Tech-2.508
3.Texas-2.505
4.Alabama-2.424

Cheers and Jeers: Out of Order Edition

Romulan Ale

Ingredients:


CAUTION: This drink is extremely alcoholic and quite flammable! Do NOT expose to open flame and drink responsibly!
Cheers/Jeers: OU over Texas. Ultimately there was no fair way to decide the Big 12 South . The teams had identical records, strength of schedules, margin of victories, etc, etc. There just wasn't a way to pick short of a coin flip. In theory they should play each other as opposed to Missouri for the Big 12 Championship but the Big 12 irrationally continues to insist on the existence of a Big 12 North. Nonetheless OU being selected was predicted here (mwahaha) with the computer giving the decisive bounce to OU when the voters more or less came away with a draw. That said one of the oddest things out of all of this is was this odd blame the BCS knee jerk reaction. Umm this is the Big 12s stupidity of relying on an odd ranking system to figure out the mess its division had. Having a playoffs, short of eliminating the Big 12 conference, wouldn't change the quirks the Big 12 built into its system. And certainly eliminating the BCS wouldn't bring any more clarity into who would be deserving for the playoffs (without relying on the BCS formula that vaulted OU over Texas, anyone want to explain why Texas is more deserving than conference champions like USC or Penn State? )



Jeers: To Oregon State choking.Oregon State was one game away from its first Rose Bowl in over 40 years. One game away from ending USC's stranglehold over the Pac 10. One game away from doing both on the home field of their arch-rival. Well they just couldn't do it. The defense gave up nearly 700 yards and 51 points. Rather than seize the challenge and make the most of it Oregon State crashed and burned to the tune of 65-38. So once against USC gets to host a home game at the Rose Bowl and humiliate Penn State (its coming we all know it)

Cheers: SEC Fail. For years now I've had the SEC Speed and its supposed dominance shoved so far down my throat it made me want to puke. I've been saying this year the SEC just hasn't been that special. But I needed the evidence. Enter the ACC who staged a 4 game challenge against the SEC this week. Florida v. FSU, Clemson v. SC, G-Tech v. UGA and Vandy v. Wake Forrest (FYI all teams with .500 or better records in their respective conferences). Fortunately, the ACC delivered by winning 3 out of the 4 games. Yes the top 2 SEC teams are better than the ACC's best but after Florida and Alabama, the SEC simply does not have any depth of quality teams, at least compared to the ACC. Hardly the mark of ultra-superior conference.
Jeers: Yinzers looking strong. The most impressive victory of the week, outside of Yamilla Diaz's bikini over gravity (how does it stay up?)was Pittsburgh over New England. The Steelers crushed New England at New England by scoring 30 unanswered on the vaunted defending AFC champs (where's your genius now, Bill? ). The past few years its been a QB league, so do you think the Titans D can compensate for the Steelers advantage at QB?
Jeers: MJ's reverse voodoo. Over in the NFC the defending Super Bowl champs are now 11-1, Eli threw for over 300 yards, and MJ continues his Detroitesque losing streak at picking Giants' games (19 losses out of the last 20 games by my rough count for both) . Sure no team has ever won a Super Bowl the same year one of its players accidentally shoots himself (yeah"accidentally" we all know MJ is behind that) but can anything stop the momentum of the MJ reverse jinx? Honestly I think Obama should consider hiring MJ to root against his economic policy given the success MJ has had at creating the nearly invincible NY Giants.

Cheers: To the Pierce Triplets. Three times the hotness. Anymore and it would be wasted; any less and it would just be a boring menage a trois with uber-hot twins. While basketball is never this exciting, it has its own version with three dominant teams. The Lakers, Celtics and Cavs are all on pace for well over 60 wins. All 3 have outstanding offenses and defenses. All 3 have playoff experience, superstars and strong surrounding casts. Boston has the weakest of the 3s benches, they are the defending Champs so no dismissing hem. While the NBA might not really start till May, positioning yourself for home court, might be even harder than normal this year.