Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NFL Week 17 - Playoff Scenarios of Insanity!

I received my holiday wish - for the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos to lose creating insane playoff scenarios in the AFC! SEVEN AFC teams are still alive for the final two spots, including two 7-8 teams! I think my favorite part of the whole thing is the fact that because of the plurality of teams... the Denver Broncos have TEN ways that they can qualify! TEN! I don't ever remember seeing a team w/ that many combinations for reaching the playoffs. To make sure that years from now I can look this up, I'm going to place all 10 scenarios here along with my arbitrary estimated odds of happening. Also note, that some scenarios aren't even dependent on the Broncos winning or losing!:
  • 1) 15% chance - a win (vs. Kansas City) and a N.Y. Jets loss loss or tie (vs. Cincinnati) and a Baltimore loss or tie (vs. Oakland) OR
  • 2) 25% chance - a win and a N.Y. Jets loss or tie and a Pittsburgh loss or tie (vs. Miami) OR
  • 3) 25% chance - a win and a N.Y. Jets loss or tie and a Houston win (vs. New England) OR
  • 4) 10% chance - a win and a Baltimore loss or tie and a Pittsburgh loss or tie OR
  • 5) 5% chance - a win and a Baltimore loss or tie and a Houston win OR
  • 6) 1% chance - a Pittsburgh loss and a Baltimore loss and a Houston loss and a Jacksonville loss (vs. Cleveland) OR
  • 7) 3% chance - a Pittsburgh loss and a Baltimore loss and a Houston loss and a N.Y. Jets loss OR
  • 8) 2% chance - Pittsburgh loss and a Baltimore loss and a Jacksonville loss and a N.Y. Jets loss OR
  • 9) 12% chance - Pittsburgh loss and a Houston loss and a Jacksonville loss and a N.Y. Jets loss OR
  • 10) 1% chance - Miami loss or tie (vs. Pittsburgh) and a N.Y. Jets loss and a Baltimore loss and a Houston loss and a Jacksonville loss or tie

For some reason, the Broncos are currently in 5th, but would lose if Baltimore and the Jets both win. Basically, the Ravens and Jets control their own destinies.

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Philly @ Dallas - Winner gets the division. Loser gets the wildcard. There's also a strong possibility of these two teams having to play each other again next weekend. Eesh. Philly lost their center to a torn ACL, so I'm guessing that will become a problem.
Pick: Dallas

Upset of the Week
Cincy @ Jets - I know the Jets just need to win to get in. However, I'm pretty certain the Ravens are going to beat the Raiders for one playoff spot, and things would be dull and boring if the Jets also won.
Pick: Bungals
(Note: As I'm typing this, the jets are a whopping 10 point favorite!; The Bengals could still earn the #3 seed as opposed to the #4 seed)

Opening Round Playoff Game #18
Teams that have been eliminated: Cincy (against Denver in week 1)!, St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo (twice), Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland, Detroit, San Fran, Atlanta (twice), Pittsburgh, Giants, Miami (twice), and now Baltimore:
Pittsburgh @ Miami - Both teams are on the ropes. Hell, both teams need help to even reach the playoffs. I don't understand how Pittsburgh could play so awful for a month before knocking off Green Bay and Baltimore. Miami seems to be riddled w/ injuries though...
Pick: Pittsburgh

Fantasy Football Season is Over. Congrats to the Champions!

Other Games
Green Bay @ Arizona - How bizarre... these two teams could also end up playing each other next week as well. Arizona still has an outside chance at a #2 seed. Something tells me both teams just take it easy this week.
Pick: Arizona
Indy @ Buffalo - Pick: Indy ( I think the backups will do okay this time)
New Orleans @ CAR - Pick: CAR (the Saints already have homefield and nothing to play for)
Jacksonville @ Cleveland - Pick: Jacksonville
Chicago @ Detroit - Pick: Chicago
New England @ Houston - Pick: Houston (I'm very torn on this game... but Houston would have to win to give the Bengals something to play for in the night game, as far as I understand... and I've missed every Houston game this year, but it seems like they should win this game, in what is the biggest home game since they became the Texans).
Giants @ Minny - Pick: Minny (Minny needs to win to get a bye)
San Fran @ St. Louis - Pick: San Fran
ATL @ Tampa - Pick: Tampa
KC @ Denver - Pick: Denver (Denver has an easy game... but will they hit one of their 10 scenarios???)
Baltimore @ Oakland - Pick: Baltimore (I'm calling it my "lock" of the week!)
Washington @ San Diego - Pick: San Diego
Tennessee @ Seattle - Pick: Tennessee

Under these picks... the Ravens and the Broncos (under scenario #3) will make the playoffs!

Last Week: 10-6
Season: 155-85
Manwich: 9-7 (Eagles beat the broncos)
Upset of the Week: 8-8 (The Colts benched their players to say "screw you undefeated record!")

NBA games of the Week-
last week's "Games of the Week" - The Nuggets beat the Hawks by 20 with 41 pts from JR Smith on TEN three-pointers; The Celtics beat the Magic by outrebounding them and holding the Magic to 33% from the field; The Cavs were clicking on all cylinders as they beat the Lakers by 15 (and got under the Lakers skin as well as they committed multiple technical fouls); the Blazers beat the Nuggets behind 41 pts from Brandon Roy and Juwan Howard starting at center (yes, both Blazers centers have now ruptured their patella tendons); the Cavs beat the Hawks behind a superior rebounding advantage, the defense of Delonte West, and the hot shooting of Mo, Z and Delonte.

This week...
ATL @ Cleveland - 12/30
Boston @ Phoenix - 12/30
Dallas @ Lakers - 1/3
Houston @ Lakers - 1/5

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Urban Meyers Retires, Unretires, Tackles Meaning of Life

See I had an entire post ready about Meyers and what retiring would mean for college football. Now its being reported that he isn't retiring just taking an indefinite leave of absence. Wait now it's being reported that he's only missing the Sugar Bowl. Wait now he's out until 2011. It's like reading what if Brett Favre became head coach at UF. By the time you read this he could have retired, unretired, built a new robot body to inhabit, eaten Bobby Petrino's heart to gain his strength, and then retired again to a farm in Mississippi. Unfortunately the BSD psychic division is down during the Christmas season so I can't give any mind readings or attempt at it. So its entirely possible that Meyers will be back recruiting and coaching in February. It's also possible that he tries and blacks out again for a heart problem and quits again. Who knows....

I'll leave a few questions but feel free commenting on the entire thing....

1) How Does this Affect the SEC?
It's hard to imagine these days an SEC Champion not getting a shot at the national title. Saban's victory over Meyers at the time seemed to at minimum represents a UF v. Alabama annual rivalry for that spot. Will Florida be able to stay on pace with the ever improving Saban team? If not who will (or will anyone) challenge Alabama in the SEC?

2) How Does this Affect Florida Recruiting?
It's not a coincidence that a team from Florida has been a dominant team in each of the past 3 decades. Miami, Florida State, and UF have all taken turns soaking up the richest recruiting state. If UF takes a step back, history points to the fact that would mean a step forward for FSU or Miami. The other major program to keep an eye on, oddly, is tOSU. No out of state school recruits as well in Florida as Ohio State - which has consistently recruited well in Florida. This year tOSU is locked into a battle with UF for at least 6 top 150 recruits. Does Meyers retirement/leave of absence open the door for big recruiting wins for the Buckeyes?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

As my Christmas present to everyone...highlights of the greatest running back in the modern era. Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mighty Bets on the BCS Bowls

There are five BCS Bowls. Five chances to make some money, five chances to make an ass out of my self. So without further ado, MahaMighty's BCS bowl picks. In decreasing order of certainty.....

Sugar Bowl
What I'm Willing to Bet: Boba Fett Action Figure
Pick: Florida over Cinci
You know I'm certain if I'm willing to risk the Fett man. Cinci was overmatched coming in. Then they have the coaching fiasco of coaching fiascos their ex-coach at Notre Dame, their future coach in waiting, and their interim coach out the door to Buffalo. You really think a team with no defense and with a coaching staff in maximum flux is going to beat Florida?

National Championship
What I'm Willing to Bet: Colonel's Home
Alabama over Texas
As Stewart Mandel notes in the 3 games against top 40 defenses Texas has averaged 192 yards passing and has only thrown 2 TDs (and 5 INTs). I mean did anyone else notice what Nebraska's D did to Texas' offensive line? Then you factor in that Nick Saban has had an entire month to scheme on stopping Colt McCoy. Maybe if Texas' D shuts Alabama down and McCoy morphs into Vince Young the Longhorns can win. However I feel confident in risking Colonel's fortress monastery home.

Fiesta Bowl
What I'm Willing to Bet: James Buster Douglas KnockOut for Sega Genesis

TCU over Boise State
This is the classic offense versus defense game. TCU's #1 ranked defense faces off against Boise State's #1 scoring offense. However I'm pretty confident in going with TCU. First, I always pick defense over offense. Secondly, TCU has a pretty good offense (5th in the nation in scoring). Between those two factors I'm pretty certain in TCU beating Boise State in a bowl game for the second consecutive year.

Rose Bowl
What I'm Willing to Bet: A tiny glass trinket that represents the pain an Ohio State loss will bring me

Oregon over Ohio State
Once again a classic offense versus defense. Oregon's 6th ranked rushing attack against tOSU's 5th ranked rush defense. tOSU potentially has an advantage when they pit their power rushing attack against Oregon's undersized (but fast) defense. However Oregon has beaten the two teams Ohio State lost to (USC and Purdue). Secondly, after 3 straight years of bowl losses the luster is off Tressel's big game capabilities. So a close Texas style heartbreak at the end kinda game I'm guessing is in the cards. While an Ohio State victory is possible...I'm going with Oregon.

Orange Bowl
What I'm Willing to Bet: 3 Chicken Fingers

G-Tech over Iowa
If anyone is confident in predicting this game I laugh at your nonsense. Georgia Tech runs its unique Triple-Option and generally has done very well. Iowa gets an entire month to prepare for it and posseses the defensive line to stop it. They also get back their starting QB Stanzi. They also get a month to see if they can find a running game that could challenge G-Tech's porous rush defense. If anyone thinks G-Tech is unstoppable, take a look at Georgia's stomp down of them. As bad as the Big 10 has been the ACC has only 1 BCS victory this decade (and that's over the Big East). That said has anyone looked at an Iowa game this year and say that's a dominant team? I'll pick G-Tech but I'm not willing to bet a lot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Week 16 - Who in the NFL Deserves a 10-year contract?

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Denver @ Philly - Wow. The Broncos are in real trouble. The Eagles still have a lot to play for as they have yet to lock up the division. I'm hoping the Broncos and Ravens lose this week so we can receive a multitude of playoff scenarios. My favorite season for playoff scenarios was in 2002. Many teams were still alive, and while the Browns ended up advancing that year, the insanity was fantastic.
Pick: Philly

Upset of the Week
Jets @ Indy - Indy doesn't want to be undefeated.
Pick: Jets

Opening Round Playoff Game #16
Teams that have been eliminated: Cincy (against Denver in week 1)!, St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo (twice), Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland, Detroit, San Fran, Atlanta (twice), Pittsburgh, Giants, and now Miami:
Baltimore @ Pittsburgh - Just like a month ago... it's another playoff game between these two! If Baltimore or Denver loses, that would open the door for one of the SIX 7-7 teams in the AFC (Miami, Jets, Pitt, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Houston).
Pick: Baltimore

Opening Round Playoff Game #17
Houston @ Miami - Both teams are 7-7. Miami already lost last week... so something tells me they will rebound this week.
Pick: Miami

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Jacksonville @ New England - Maurice Jones-Drew and Tom Brady and Randy Moss and Wes Welker could all swing a fantasy championship game.
Pick: New England

Other Games
San Diego @ Tennessee - I'm not sure why the Titans are favored. I think the Chargers still need another win to lock up a bye, right? But I suppose desperation is supposed to trump all else?
Pick: San Diego
Seattle @ Green Bay - Aww.. how fitting, Holmgren's former teams are playing each other the same week that he became President Mustard of the Browns.
Pick: Green Bay
Oak @ Cleveland - All I have to say is that Holmgren, or any other person for that matter in the NFL, does not need a TEN year contract! Browns owner Randy Lerner likes to spend money. In other news, the Browns will probably have 3 coaches and 3 GMs on the payroll next year. Pick: Oakland
KC @ Cincy - Pick: Cincy
Buff @ ATL - Pick: ATL
CAR @ Giants - Pick: Giants
TB @ New Orleans - Pick: New Orleans
St. Louis @ Arizona - Pick: Arizona
Detroit @ San Fran - Pick: San Fran
Dallas @ Washington - Something tells me the Cowboys are going to party all week after beating the Saints... and then lose to the Redskins! Pick: Washington
Minnesota @ Chicago - Pick: da Bears

Last Week: 10-6
Season: 145-79
Manwich: 8-7 (Chargers won)
Upset of the Week: 7-8 (The Cowboys knocked off the undefeated Saints in a shocker)

NBA games of the Week-
last week's "Games of the Week" - The Blazers knocked off the Suns after being down 15 points thanks in part to Jerryd Bayless' career-high 29 off the bench; The Rockets beat the Mavs in OT after Dirk got injured and Houston played PGs Aaron Brooks and Kyle Lowry together and got 25 and 26 points respectively; The Mavs beat the Cavs w/o Dirk thanks to Tim Thomas getting 22 points; The next night the Cavs became the first team to beat the Suns behind Mo Williams' 24 and LeBron's 29.

Random Absurd Moment of the Week-
The Bulls were up 79-44 in the 3rd quarter and lost to the Sacramento Kings... yes the Bulls blew a 35-point game... in only 21 minutes!

This week...
ATL @ Denver - Wed 12/23
Boston @ Orlando - Fri 12/25
Cavs @ Lakers - Fri 12/25
Denver @ Portland - Fri 12/25
Dallas @ Denver - Sun 12/27
Cavs @ ATL - Tue 12/29

Monday, December 21, 2009


I've redone the comments and they are now being run by blogger. That way everyone doesn't have to post 3 times for a single thought or not be able to use the moniker of their preferences....

Any other issues or problems please contact the IT department....

MMBSD: Season's End

Due to a combination of an executive decision to take a small vacation as well as honoring my Mithraism heritage...this will be the last MMBSD until the new year. As such this version will try to include a few predictions....

While the Saints and the Vikings both dropped games this week, I'd caution anyone from over-reacting. Maybe this will start a pattern of losses, but more likely both of teams will finish with 13+ wins, hardly something to scoff at. As such unless some other team can demonstrate the consistency the Saints and Vikings have demonstrated I have to predict that they will meet in the NFC Championship Game.

I think the Chargers might be the toughest team to judge for the playoffs. On paper they seem to have everything you could want. A nearly unstoppable offense headed by a Pro Bowl QB. A defense with quality CBs and better than average pass rush. Most importantly they seem to be red hot going into the end of the year. On the other hand...Norv Turner. Let me repeat Norv Turner. So where will the Chargers end up? I'm going with bowing out in the AFC Championship game but I'm incrediably uncertain...

The oddest and grossest injury report of the year might go to Dirk Nowitzki who was out with teeth fragments in his elbow.

It's pretty easy to predict that Tyreke Evans will be rookie of the year. Only two other people are averaging 20-5-5 this year (Lebron and Wayde) which puts Evans in elite company as a rookie. My other prediction is that the Atlanta Hawks will be a top 3 team in the East (i.e. finish with a better record than out the previously thought of super teams). The Hawks have taken their game to another level with Joe Johnson putting up superstar numbers and Joe Smith finally becoming effecient.

College Basketball
With the College Football season nearly finished, it is almost time to embrace college basketball. I've already noted Kentucky, Syracuse, and Kansas as elite teams. I still haven't watched Purdue but there's no reason not to believe if they stay healthy, they are Final 4 material. Let me add another - Texas. After watching the deep and physical Longhorn team control UNC - it's hard not to add Texas to the list. They are stocked with upperclassmen and freshmen who bring both outside shooting and strong rebounding. Since this is a predicting MMBSD...I will say this will be one of the widest open tournaments on record.

Alice Goodwin
Will still be hot in 2010

Sunday, December 20, 2009


We are currently testing out a new Comments system. Please let me know how you like. At present I'm having difficulties importing the old comments. Please bear with me as I search for a solution - and/or feel free to have people contact me that have suggestions........

Friday, December 18, 2009

Up for debate!

According to the Detroit Free Press, Darko Milicic is leaving the NBA next season to go to Eurpoe.


If you remember, he was the #2 overall pick in 2003, behind Lebron James. What is more shocking is the three players after him: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade.

All four of those are high quality players, and future hall of famers (probably) in James and Wade.
Which opens up the debate, was Darko the biggest bust EVER. I think that in light of high quality of players around him, it can be said he's the worst.

Some people will look at Michael Olowkandi (1998), the #1 overall pick. But in light of who came after him, I dont think comparitively he's THAT big of a bust (next players are: mike bibby, raef lafrentz, antwan jamison, vince carter).

But those are my thoughts. what do you think?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Death of Haloscan

Dear All,

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your propensity to enjoy the random smiley face in the comments) haloscan is being discontinued and being replaced by a paid service. As such in the next two weeks I will be changing the commenting system to something new. If you have any suggestions or preferences - please pass it along. In the meantime please bear with us during the implementation of the new commenting system.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Week 15 - Madden Curse Complete

I wonder if either John Madden or the programmers at EA Sports pop open champagne each year once the "Madden Curse" has been completed? This year's cover had Troy Polamalu (who's already been injured repeatedly) and WR Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has gone relatively unscathed... until this week. As a true believer in the "Madden Curse" (I place the players on my "don't draft list"), I can say nothing is crueler than having Fitzgerald all season... and the not having him during your fantasy playoffs, which take place this week.

On to the games...

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Cincy @ San Diego - This is a VERY important matchup. The winner is almost assured of getting a bye which is a huge deal. The thing is... I don't see the Bengals slowing the Chargers down.
Pick: San Diego

Upset of the Week
Dallas @ Saints - The Cowboys always have a December swoon... so it could continue right? But... I think the Cowboys should be desperate enough to end the Saints winning streak.
Pick: Dallas

Opening Round Playoff Game #15
Teams that have been eliminated: Cincy (against Denver in week 1)!, St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo (twice), Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland, Detroit, San Fran, Atlanta (twice), and Pittsburgh, and now the Giants:
Miami @ Tennessee - This is a bona fide play-in game. The Dolphins are 7-6. The Titans 6-7. A loss is absolutely fatal for both of these teams probably. The Titans are a putrid 3-7 in conference so not only do they need to win out, they would need every head-to-head tiebreaker they can get... like this one!
Pick: Titans

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Indy @ Jacksonville- The Colts already clinched homefield... so will they lay off the gas? Will Jones-Drew have a big day if the Colts take it easy? Will WR Sims-Walker for the Jags be healthy, or continue to piss off fantasy owners by being injured during the critical time of the year?
Pick: Indy

Other Games
Green Bay @ Pitt - Pick: Green Bay
New England @ Buff - Pick: New England
Arizona @ Detroit - Pick: Arizona
San Fran @ Philly - Pick: Philly
ATL @ Jets - Pick: Jets
Chicago @ Baltimore - Pick: Baltimore
Cleve @ KC - Pick: KC
Houston @ St. Louis - Pick: Houston
Oak @ Denver - Pick: Denver
Tampa @ Seattle - Pick: Seattle
Minny @ CAR - Pick: Minny
Giants @ Wash - Pick: Giants

Last Week: 11-5 ( I forgot to pick the Saints over Falcons, but that's what I would have done)
Season: 135-73
Manwich: 7-7 (Vikings stuck it to the Bungals)
Upset of the Week: 6-8 (The Chargers beat the Cowboys - 2 teams in 2 different directions)

NBA games of the Week-
last week's "Games of the Week" - The Suns edged out the Magic powered in part by a surprise 19 points off the bench from Jared Dudley; The Mavs needed OT to beat the Bobcats (behind 36 points from Dirk and a large rebounding advantage); The Cavs beat Ok City behind 44 from LeBron and an insane Mo Williams half-court 3-pointer to break open the game;

This week...
Phoenix @ Portland - Thurs 12/17
Houston @ Dallas - Fri 12/18
Cleveland @ Dallas - Sun 12/20
Cleveland @ Phoenix - Mon 12/21
ATL @ Denver - Wed 12/23

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mighty's 2009-2010 Bag o' Bowl Predictions

Finally it's Bowl season. As in year's past I MahaMighty , seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators, owner of Colonel's home will look into my crystal ball to pick not only which games will be fun, but also who wins and what foods go best with each game. Please note this is only non-BCS games (BCS predictions will be coming later) and betting should be for recreational purposes only - unless you really need the money.

In order to get in the right state of mind to pick games Mighty dresses up like
Radioactive Man

Dec 22nd BYU v. Oregon State
Yes, officially bowl season kicks off December 19th but BYU v. OSU is the first great game. If you want to see how a mid-major does against a BCS team - this game has it. You want an offensive slugfest - this game has it. If you want to see a live Donkey Show - this game has it. As it's really the appetizer for the Bowl season I recommend mini-hamburgers to munch on during the game.

Pick: Oregon State

Ollie Williams was consulted for all predictions

Dec 26th North Carolina v. Pitt
It's not too often you get two former assistants of Jimmy Johnson squaring off on Boxing Day. In fact according to the research department this is the first time that's happened. UNC seems to be slowly ascending in the ACC while the Mustache bristles with rage this time of year. I recommend bbq chicken wings in honor of the game being played in Charlotte

Pick: UNC

Dec 29th Miami v. Wisconsin
This game might be the epitome of clashing styles. Honestly can you think of two more different places/cultures in the US than Wisconsin versus Miami? Heck even their football teams reflect that as the speed/swagger/ long throws of Miami are near exact opposite of the straight ahead rushing attack/usage of flannel of Wisconsin. I recommend bratwurst in honor of Wisconsin and empanadas in honor of Miami.

Pick: Miami

Brett Bielama's secret weapon The Predator will not be enough to win out

Jan 1
While National Hangover Day has lost some of its luster there's still plenty of bowl games. Here's 3 of my recommended non-BCS Jan 1 games

Northwestern v. Auburn (11am) /Penn State v. LSU (1 pm)
Starting at 11 am there will be nearly 7 straight hours of Big 10 football. Most of it will be filled with hot Big 10 on SEC action. The forces of Light meeting the Forces of Darkness on the gridiron. Northwestern and Auburn represent the two biggest surprises of each of the respective conferences. Both having high powered offenses and crappy defenses. Meanwhile PSU and LSU face off in the former Citrus Bowl. While both teams are highly ranked neither have beaten ranked opponents. So this game should expose one as a fraud. As its early and you have a long day of watching I recommend lots of protein: Corn Beef Hash and Eggs

Picks: Auburn and Penn State

U of M was unable to afford to go to a bowl game due to semen related costs

Florida State v. West Virginia (1pm)
For Bobby Bowden's retirement present the Gator Bowl will be pitting Bowden's current team (FSU) and his former team (West Virginia). Yes West Virginia wasn't technically a state when Bowden coached there but I think that just adds intrigue to the matchup. Nonetheless if PSU v. LSU isnt enjoyable switch to this game as who knows what Bowden might do (mistakenly start coaching West Virginia?) If your watching FSU v. WV you are bored so snack foods is in order I recommend Cool Ranch Doritos

Pick: West Virginia

Jan 6 Troy v. Central Michigan
At this point you might be bowled out. Only the Championship game remains after Troy v. Central Michigan but let me try to sell you on it. First its a match-up of Mac v. Sunbelt champions - both of whom have dominated their conferences. Secondly it is a game of outstanding offenses. Dan LeFovour (CMU) holds the record for most NCAA touchdowns. Troy is ranked 6th in total offense. Thirdly, Gutsy has promised to give everyone who watches the game a pony. So watch! Also I recommend Fajitas - umm because

Pick: Central Michigan

Monday, December 14, 2009

MMBSD: Team December - The Super-Chargers

Thoughts, commentary and more....

It almost seemed apropos that the Chargers and Cowboys faced off. The Chargers have been Team December, winning 15 straight in the month of December. On the flip side have been the Cowboys who struggle and choke later in the year. Sure enough the Chargers found a way to win and seem to be positioned for the second seed in the AFC. The Cowboys seem on pace for another year without a win in the playoffs - one way or the other.

I was particular impressed by the Vikings D this week. Coming off a showing that made a number of people (MMBSD included) wonder how good the Vikings were the Vikings absolutely beat down the Bengals. Their mastery of Cinci I think, at minimum, suggested that Cinci isn't in the elite category and Minnesota is.

Every week seems to bring more issues for New England. It's hard to peg them as not potential Super Bowl material but between charges of Moss quitting on the team, key defensive players (Thomas) unhappy with Belichek...the Pats are seemingly very unPat - i.e. locker-room turmoil in public.

College Basketball
A lot of hype in the last week has been lauded onto John Wall, the uberfreshman PG at Kentucky. Its all deserving. He will be the #1 pick in the NBA draft and from this writer's perspective is much better than Derek Rose was at this stage. However if you are hoping to find another freshman than can stop John Calipari from winning a championship look a little farther west to Kansas where Xavier Henry is putting up great numbers (17 pts a game). Henry will be a top 5 pick in the next NBA draft so watch him in college while you can.

Xavier Henry knows how to party
If you are randomly perusing the NBA standings you will notice that if the season ended today the Spurs would be out of the playoffs. Yes the perennial elite Spurs and supposed off-season champion Spurs sit barely over .500 and at the #9 spot. Partly this is due to a tough schedule and partly due to injuries. However the Spurs additions - specifically Jefferson and McDyess have added far less than predicted. Both aren't being efficient or picking up the slack when oft-injured Parker or Ginobilli have gone down.

Zoe Saladanna thinks the days of the Spurs as a potential NBA champion are finished

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ambassador Mutumbo or Senator Jar-Jar Binks?

The Associated Press has reported that finger-wagging Dikembe Mutumbo has been "recently hired" as the NBA's ambassador and the article dubs him "Ambassador Mutumbo." I know Dikembe Mutumbo has done a lot of great work... but calling him "Ambassador Mutumbo" just makes me laugh. All I can think of is him bumping his elbow accidentally into the face of someone who's 5'6" tall and then wagging his finger back and forth and saying "No, no, no, no, no!"

I'm not sure what makes me laugh more: Ambassador Mutumbo or Senator Jar-Jar Binks?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Week 14 - Playoff Push

It's time for the playoff push! I apologize for the brevity...

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Cincy @ Minny - Not really sure what will happen in this matchup... I think it will tell us a lot about both teams though.
Pick: Minny

Upset of the Week
SD @ Dallas - The Cowboys always have a December swoon... so it could continue right?
Pick: SD

Opening Round Playoff Game #14
Teams that have been eliminated: Cincy (against Denver in week 1)!, St. Louis, Washington, Buffalo (twice), Jacksonville, Tampa, Oakland, Detroit, San Fran, Atlanta (now twice), and Pittsburgh:
Eagles @ Giants - The Eagles obliterated the Giants last time... this time, the Giants backs are pretty much against the wall.
Pick: Eagles

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Denver @ Indy - Lots of players in this one (and on Indy)
Pick: Indy

Other Games
Pitt @ Clev - Pick: Pitt
Jets @ Tampa - Pick: Tampa
Buff @ KC - Pick: KC
GB @ Chicago - Pick: GB
Detroit @ Baltimore - Pick: Baltimore
Miami @ Jack-o- Pick: Miami
CAR @ New England - Pick: New England
SEattle @ Houston - Pick: Houston
St. Louis @ tenn - Pick: Tenn
Wash @ Oak - Pick: Oakland (Gradkowski's on fire!)
Arizona @ San Fran - Pick: Arizona

Last Week: 8-8
Season: 124-68
Manwich: 6-7 (Packers took down the Ravens)
Upset of the Week: 5-8 (Picking the Titans over the Colts was stupid)

NBA games of the Week-
last week's "Games of the Week" - Boston beat up on the Spurs; The Nuggets also beat down the Spurs on Saturday, The Hawks edged out the Mavs in a surprise defensive game; and the Lakers beat the Suns by 20 to prove they are supreme
This week...

Orlando @ Phoenix - Fri 12/11
Charlotte @ Dallas - Sat 12/12
Cleveland @ Ok City - Sun 12/13
Phoenix @ Lakers - Sun 12/6

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Skynet Championship Series: Judgment Day 2009

Judgment Day is upon us... and Skynet has demanded a game between the undisputed #1 team in the nation, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and... Big East Champion Cincinnati!

It's years like this that I wish the computers are in charge, because the last thing I want to see is Texas get pummeled by 20 points. For the record, Florida also finished ahead of Texas.

For the record, there are two computer polls (Massey & Billingsley) I don't include in Skynet's ranking. I don't include them due to the fact that they start with the bias of a human literally ranking all the teams in week 1. Both Massey & Billingsley have Texas at #2. Sagarin has Texas at #5, Anderson has Texas at #3, Matrix has Texas at #2, and Wolfe has Texas at #3. In a season like this, the results only further validate Skynet's supremacy... and the biases that humans hold onto and why Massey & Billingsley don't belong in Skynet's ranking.

Most underrated by the humans: Cincy, LSU, Arizona, West Virginia
Most overrated by the humans: Texas, TCU, Ohio State, Penn State

Skynet Championship Series
2009 -Judgment Day
SCS BCS Sched Rnk Harris Coaches
1 Alabama 0.32 1 30 1 1
2 Cincy 1.56 3 66 4 4
3 Florida 2.16 5 32 5 5
4 Texas 2.30 2 42 2 2
5 TCU 4.02 4 94 3 3
6 Boise St 6.03 6 108 6 6
7 Oregon 6.18 7 6 7 7
8 Geo Tech 9.75 9 40 10 10
9 LSU 11.59 12 21 13 13
10 Iowa 11.90 10 45 11 11
11 Va Tech 13.27 11 8 12 12
12 Ohio St 13.49 8 50 8 8
13 Miami (FL) 14.69 15 31 15 15
14 W. Va 15.23 16 36 18 17
15 BYU 15.73 14 87 14 14
16 Arizona 15.92 20 9 24 23
17 Penn St 15.93 13 81 9 9
18 Pitt 16.44 17 47 16 16
19 Ore St 16.45 18 17 19 20
20 Ok St 16.81 19 41 17 18

Week 14: College Football Review

The regular season is over and wacky bowl season is about to start. To avoid the normal recency affect that so dominates college football I've decided that this week to review the season that was in college football.

Pac 10

Surprise: Stanford - picked next to last and finished in 2nd
Disappointment: USC - their reign of terror ended with a thud
Player of the Year: Toby Geirhart - RB Stanford from out of nowhere

Big 12

Surprise - K-State. The return of coach Bill Snyder moved them from last to respectability
Disappointment: Oklahoma - In many ways a mirror image of USC. Yes Bradford was injured but if he had left like Sanchez had would there season have been any different?
Player of the Year – Ndamukong Suh- The star DT for the ‘Huskers. Colt didn’t exactly show up against average team while Suh anchored a team than came within a second of winning the Big 12 thanks in no small part to his 4.5 sacks.


Surprise – Boston College – Expected to finish near the bottom, certainly after they lost their star LB to cancer BC somehow finished the year 5-2 in the ACC
Disappointment – Florida State – Picked to finished first in the Atlantic Division FSU stumbled so badly they needed to fire Bobby Bowden
Player of the Year – CJ Spiller – Short of also coaching the team there’s nothing more this running back/returner/athletic trainer could have done to help Clemson win the ACC


Surprise: Auburn – Auburn seemed at low ebb after a terrible season and then hiring an ex-Iowa State coach who had only slightly more wins than I have. However Auburn finished with respectability and gave Alabama far more of a game than Florida did.
Disappointment: Ole Miss – Given all of the hype and expectations to finish basically exactly where they did last year (Cotton Bowl) is a disappointment.
Player of the Year : Rolando McClain – The middle linebacker for Alabama was the heart and soul of the most dominating defense in college football.

Big 10

Surprise: After thinking long and hard I’m going with Northwestern. Picked to finish at the bottom of the Big 10, Northwestern went 5-3 and was selected to the better bowl over Wisconsin (Outback).
Disappointment: There’s really two: Illinois and Michigan. Both were expected to be around .500 and both finished near the bottom of the Big 10. Yes Illinois had a more veteran team than Michigan but they also finished with a better record – which makes them equal disappointments.
Player of the Year: Kurt Coleman. Safety for tOSU. The team MVP, the defensive MVP, the senior leader. Ohio State won the conference by defense so Coleman deserves the accolades.

Barry Sanders Player of the Year Award

Since the Heisman Trophy has largely evolved into the award for the most prominent quarterback or running back in the national championship game I’ve decided to start my own trophy for the best player in college football. This year that award goes to Ndamukong Suh. For a defensive tackle to lead one of the better defenses is impressive. However Suh put up Barry Sanders type crazy numbers. I mean a defensive tackle with 82 tackles, 23 tackles for losses 12 sacks, 1 INT and 3 blocked kicks is ridiculous. He gets the first annual Barry Sanders Player of the Year Award.

Monday, December 07, 2009

MMBSD: Alabama Coronation and Other Thoughts

As always Mighty's thoughts on the week of Sports

College Football

Coronation for Saban - Ye on the last day of the regular season the Tebow Child fought the Demon Saban on the Highest Mountain in the Highest Mountain Range near a Chick-fil-A. While the Tebow Child tried valiantly the Saban Demon tossed the Tebow Child from the mountain and crushed Herbie's dreams of anointing the Tebow Child the greatest College Football player ever. And the Tebow Child Cried. Not for himself but for those that will now have to suffer through the Era of Saban.

The true image of the Demon Saban

Ugly Wins - I've gone back and forth who had the uglier win Cinci or Texas. Cinci's defense looked horrendous -giving up 40+ to a team whose only offensive play was run straight ahead. Texas meanwhile combined a displaying its' degree from Les Miles School of Time Management with a completely absent running game. Neither look like they have a chance in their respective bowl games. I will say I feel a little for Nebraska fans as losing after seemingly getting a miracle win gets the full nut punch award.
Mighty is concerned that the bowl games will all be boring

Insulting - I wish I could characterize Matt Millen being on tv as anything other than insulting. While covering the Pitt v. Cinci game Millen repeatedly compared Pitt's RB (Dion Lewis) to Barry Sanders. Barry Sander's stats in college are the things of legend. Make believe. Kind of like a failure at everything other than being tapped as an elite by the plutocracy that decides on announcers getting a job calling Pitt v. Cinci. Just not believable.

Mainly Positive
In the end I'm actually happy the Fiesta Bowl selected TCU to play Boise State. I think it'll be a good match-up and this way I don't have to deal with is the Big 10 better than a mid-major type comments. For those unaware TCU beat Boise State last year 17-16 in the Poinsettia Bowl.


Fork I think we officially put a fork in the Steelers playoff hopes. Much like after the last time the Steelers won the Super Bowl, this year the team has been beset by injuries and lethargy. I'm not sure if the only thing wrong with that defense is a missing Polamalu

Pats Reeling - It's one thing to lose to the Colts and the Saints...it's an entirely different matter to lose to the Dolphins who don't have Ronnie Brown. I think it's safe to say that the Patriots aren't elite status at the moment. In fact I think it's fair to question if they are anything other than average in a crappy division.

Troubling - The NFL is apparently pulling the plug on revenue sharing. I'm not certain if this (as well as next year's uncapped status) is merely a negotiating manuever or Jerry Jones is finally getting his wet dream of turning the NFL into the MLB. In either event I find it troubling.

With Greg Oden unfortunately going down yet again it appears we can cross Portland off the list of teams that can challenge the Lakers out West. Frankly I don't think anyone can but I'm willing to consider Denver. I (and a lot of people) felt last year was a fluke. However Denver is back this year with the 2nd best record in the West. How? Well the addition of Ty Lawson is a big reason but a bigger reason is the transformation of Carmelo Anthony from all-star to superstar. Anthony simply seems unstoppable this year as he's obviously put in the time in the off-season to get physically stronger and faster.

World Cup

I really don't much to add about World Cup other than one interesting story line to follow is how South Africa continues to get ready to host the event. I believe native South African, Charlize Theron, is in charge of security. Don't let us down Charlize.

Umm...what was I saying again?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sometimes When You Win, You Actually Lose

Let me start by applauding the BCS selectors and bowls for getting the 10 most deserving teams into the five big BCS games. Given how the end of the season played out, giving the at-large berths to TCU, Florida, Boise St., and Iowa was absolutely the right call.

Now: as you all know, I've been a big proponent of Boise State this season. I think they're one of the best teams in the country, and that they rightfully earned their place in the Fiesta Bowl - even though, under the BCS' weighted rules, the Broncos had no guarantee of a berth.

But the matchup against TCU is a hollow victory. The main thrust of my advocacy was that Boise State and TCU deserve a chance to prove that they can run with the big boys. They're missing that chance now. The Fiesta Bowl might end up being an incredible football game between two outstanding teams - but it has no long-term value for either side because what they really need, and deserve, is a chance to show what they can do against the bigger names.

I suspect that the Fiesta Bowl's organizers decided that TCU and BSU fans would travel, thereby making this matchup a financial success. But it is a curious decision, especially given that the Fiesta Bowl had the 2nd and 4th picks of the 5 slots - and in any event, even if the Fiesta Bowl wins, the Horned Frogs and Broncos will inevitably both lose.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

World Cup 2010: Breakdown by SPI and FIFA Rank

Mighty Mike introduced to me the greatest invention in soccer: ESPN's SPI (Soccer Power Index) rankings. For a quick explanation, FIFA's international rankings are based on an absurd 6-years of games. That means that the rankings for these teams still reflect outcomes from 2003 and 2004. In soccer, most of the teams and dominant players change greatly over such a long period of time (i.e. Zidane is no longer on France). Very briefly, ESPN developed the SPI, which is based on recent games but also based largely on player ratings. The ratings of the players not only are based on international games, but also reflect their play on their club teams. A more detailed explanation is also provided on ESPN.

I was even more excited when I discovered that ESPN already used the SPI to determine the average chance of advancing for each team in next year's World Cup! Please note that the SPI is giving a bonus to the African teams, as it assumes that each of these teams will have more fans at the games in World Cup 2010 since it takes place in South Africa.

I'm very intrigued by how much better the SPI can be in comparison to the FIFA rankings. I've gathered a lot of data, shown below.

Based on Average SPI ranking, Group H (Spain) is the toughest group. As Mighty Mike pointed out though, Chile may be ranked artificially high from playing in the mountains and beating everyone there. Groups E(Netherlands) and Group D (Germany) are close behind.

Based on Standard deviation by SPI, Group D (Netherlands) has the 4 teams closest to the same rank.

Based on Average FIFA ranking, it's Group H again, followed by Groups E, D, and C. What's interesting is how different the rankings are between FIFA and SPI. For example, in Group H, Chile is ranked 9 spots higher in the SPI and Honduras 13 spots. Switzerland is ranked 13 spots lower though.

Based on Standard Deviation by FIFA, Group C (England) has the 4 teams closest to the same rank.

If you look strictly at SPI vs. FIFA to determine who would advance there would only be 2 differences if using the SPI (Uruguay over Mexico and Nigeria over Greece)

Of course there's one fact that remains true no matter what: the toughest 3 teams are in Brazil's Group: Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Portugal should be an amazing three-team race as each are capable of making the quarter-finals at least.

Group A

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Uruguay 10 62% 19 Uruguay France
France 11 60% 7 France Mexico
Mexico 19 40% 15 Mexico Uruguay
South Africa 65 38% 86 South Africa South Africa

SPI Group Avg 26.3

FIFA Group Avg 31.8

SPI Group STDev 26.1

FIFA Group STDev 36.5

Group B

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Argentina 5 77% 8 Argentina Argentina
Nigeria 33 58% 22 Nigeria Greece
Greece 34 36% 12 Greece Nigeria
South Korea 42 29% 52 South Korea South Korea

SPI Group Avg 28.5

FIFA Group Avg 23.5

SPI Group STDev 16.2

FIFA Group STDev 19.9

Group C

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
England 3 82% 9 England England
USA 16 48% 14 USA USA
Algeria 46 35% 28 Slovenia Algeria
Slovenia 36 35% 33 Algeria Slovenia

SPI Group Avg 25.3

FIFA Group Avg 21.0

SPI Group STDev 19.4

FIFA Group STDev 11.3

Group D

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Germany 6 65% 6 Germany Germany
Serbia 13 49% 20 Serbia Serbia
Ghana 37 45% 37 Australia Australia
Australia 22 41% 21 Ghana Ghana

SPI Group Avg 19.5

FIFA Group Avg 21.0

SPI Group STDev 13.4

FIFA Group STDev 12.7

Group E

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Netherlands 4 72% 3 Netherlands Netherlands
Cameroon 15 63% 11 Cameroon Cameroon
Denmark 20 40% 26 Denmark Denmark
Japan 35 25% 43 Japan Japan

SPI Group Avg 18.5

FIFA Group Avg 20.8

SPI Group STDev 12.9

FIFA Group STDev 17.6

Group F

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Italy 12 83% 4 Italy Italy
Paraguay 18 78% 30 Paraguay Paraguay
Slovakia 50 32% 34 Slovakia Slovakia
New Zealand 91 8% 77 New Zealand New Zealand

SPI Group Avg 42.8

FIFA Group Avg 36.3

SPI Group STDev 36.2

FIFA Group STDev 30.2

Group G

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Brazil 1 84% 2 Brazil Brazil
Ivory Coast 9 57% 16 Portugal Portugal
Portugal 7 55% 5 Ivory Coast Ivory Coast
North Korea 92 4% 84 North Korea North Korea

SPI Group Avg 27.3

FIFA Group Avg 26.8

SPI Group STDev 43.3

FIFA Group STDev 38.6

Group H

Team SPI Rank SPI % Advance FIFA Rank Teams Sorted by SPI Teams Sorted by FIFA
Spain 2 84% 1 Spain Spain
Chile 8 57% 17 Chile Chile
Honduras 25 30% 38 Honduras Switzerland
Switzerland 31 29% 18 Switzerland Honduras

SPI Group Avg 16.5

FIFA Group Avg 18.5

SPI Group STDev 13.7

FIFA Group STDev 15.2