Thursday, September 30, 2010

Week 4 - Let's Get Dangerous!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Balt @ Pitt- Should be a great game... even if Ray Rice is missing. Something tells me I should just go with homefield advantage here.
Pick: Pitt

Upset of the Week
Denver @ Tenn - There are some byes this week, and I don't know what else to pick. I hope the Titans QBs mess everything up!
Pick: Denver

Opening Round Playoff Game #4
Teams that have been eliminated: Cleveland, St. Louis, Oakland
Detroit @ GB - Look, there isn't really any horrible matchup on the entire schedule. So... I will use this week to assume that Green Bay can put the nail in the Lions coffin and put them in an 0-4 hole.
Pick: GB

Game of Interest -
Wash @ Philly - McNabb's return. Should be an interesting game. Not sure how the fans will react? Philly fans are usually brutal... even when it wasn't McNabb's fault.
Pick: Philly

Other Games
Cincy @ Cleve- Pick: Cincy
CAR @ NO - Pick: CAR
SF @ ATL- Pick: ATL
Seattle @ St. Louis- Pick: Seattle
Jets @ Buff - Pick: Jets
Indy @ Jack - Pick: Indy
Houston @ Oakland - Pick: Houston
Ariz @ SD - Pick: SD
Chicago @ Giants - Pick: Giants (the bears are the worst 3-0 team... ever. The Giants better stop them).
New England @ Miami - Pick: Miami (I can't tell what to do in any of these AFC East divisional games. I'm just going with the home team).

Last Week: 8-8 (ouch!)
Season: 26-22
Manwich: 2-1 (The Dolphins fell short against the Jets)
Upset of the Week: 2-1 (The Falcons did it! They took advantage of the Saints kicker missing a gimme!)

Ochocinco Strikes Again

Have you seen this ridiculous story? STORY
Apparently Ochocinco created a cereal, and the proceeds were supposed to go to children. The cereal has a phone number in which you can make a charitable donation. However, the number was printed wrong and it went to a phone sex line.
So awesome. Is there anyone else who thinks that Ochocinco owns the phone sex company too?

College Football Trend Watching : Week 4

Week 4 is in the books so a little wrap up and a little look ahead to week 5 of college football

What You Know (A Summary of the Previous Week)
Boise is going undefeated, Mark Richt is on the really hot seat, Mallet has an INT problem, Cam Newton of Auburn is a name you will know, Pryor is a man that likes diversity (6 TDs 3 different ways), Texas has serious problems

What You Might Have Missed (Under the Radar Stories)/ Looking Ahead
The trends coming into week 5 can and will be different very different from the trends coming out of week 5. So rather than focus on the little things out of context...let's look at the little things going into these big games

Florida at Alabama
Florida's offense got on track with QB Trey Burton playing the Freshman Tebow role (i.e., red zone t-formation). Burton scored 6 TDs against Kentucky that way. Alabama, while it got the win, was torched in the secondary by blown assignments by it's inexperienced secondary.

Pick : Alabama - Florida is 90th in passing and can't take advantage of Alabama's vulnerability

Stanford at Oregon
Clash of styles of Stanford's old fashion run and pass action offense versus Oregon's run spread. While Oregon get's the hype (2nd in the nation in scoring)but Stanford is right behind them (4nd in scoring) Last year Stanford got the better of Oregon and won 51-42...with all signs pointing to a high scoring repeat.

Pick - Umm No Clue/Pass/Physical Challenge - Stanford's D has improved.. as demonstrated when they shut down the UCLA rush attack that decimated Texas so if push comes to shove...Stanford

Texas v. OU
The movable object versus the stoppable force. Texas' offense is 68th overall in points scored . OU's defense is 65th overall in points allowed. For the record Mack Brown has had Stoops number lately (UT has won 4 of the last 5)
Pick: OU...If they can't beat Texas when they're down...will they ever be able?

Wisconsin at Michigan State
There's actually 2 BIG Big 10 games (Penn State at Iowa being the other). However this game I think has more intrigue. More or less these teams are mirror images of one another. MSU on average out rushes teams 235-80 while Wisconsin has on average outrushed teams 260-94. Umm not much difference. Add on the fact that D'Antonio will be back from a heart attack and sitting/coaching from on high and this game is unpickable.

Pick: MSU D'antonio return and home field advantage are enough in a close game.

Big Picture Prediction Time 9/23

BCS Championship: Alabama v. Nebraska
Orange Bowl : Miami v. Boise State
Sugar Bowl: Florida v. TCU
Fiesta: West Virginia v. Oklahoma
Rose Bowl: Stanford v. Ohio State

Monday, September 27, 2010

MMBSD: The Hair Makes a Difference

The Steelers are back. Or at least their D is. I (and others) were ready to pile dirt on the Steelers season but they now sit at 3-0. I think at this point it would hard to overstate the difference Troy Polalamalu. Pitt's D after being pedestrian at best last year, is back to being smothering.

Damn You Carroll . I really want Pete Carroll to fail. I have to admit my biases up front. But operating in an utterly pathetic NFC West...Carroll might.... hell probably will end up in the playoffs by simply being average. And as horrible as a person as Carroll is...he has the Seahawks poised to be average....

No Run Away Trains - For the first time in awhile, the number of undefeated teams is pretty slim going into Week 4. I'll be shocked if by the halfway point there are any left. New Orleans seems human, Texans were reminded they are the Texans, and New England's D gave up 30 to Ryan Fitzpatrick. While again anything is possible, this season seems to continually reinforce the message...there are no favorites.

College Football
Haters Beware Rick Neuheisel has a signature win with a 34-12 beat down of Texas (in Texas). Partly Texas' offensive trouble caught up with them. 5 turnovers and only 1 TD in garbage time will make it tough for any team to win. But UCLA also ground out 265 yards rushing (and only 27 yards passing)

Another Top QB Prospect bites the dust. Last week it was Jake Lockler, this week Ryan Mallet step on down. Yes Mallet's box score wasn't awful but in a crucial game Mallet threw 3 INTs, all of which were inexcusable. One of the INTs Mallet standing in the red zone forced a pass over the middle of the end zone (always a no-no). The other Mallet failed to throw a ball out of bounds. And not the took the sack fail but under threw a throw away pass...ending Arkansas' last try. Ok Andrew Luck...step on up....

The Nevada Factor I think an under-rated factor of this weekend is that Nevada is now in the top 25. Why is this big? Boise will play at Nevada in one of the last weekends of the year. If Nevada can move up the ranks, then Boise will be able to return to the spotlight. A big win at Nevada could also be a big boost for Boise in the computers....

The Carmelo Trade - As of writing this the trade of Carmelo to New Jersey is still in a holding pattern. It's unclear what the exact hold up is. Carmelo only wants the Knicks/Bulls ? Worldwide Wes is waiting for his ring to be kissed? Paul trying to coordinate with Carmelo. Who knows. What is assured (or at least what I'm willing to bet Colonel's home on) is that Carmelo will be somewhere other than Denver when the season starts...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

College Football Trend Watching : Week 3

Onwards and upwards to a summary of week 3 and what to look for in week 4....

What You Know (A Summary of the Previous Week)

Dantonio has testicular fortitude, Nebraska smashed Washington (of the non Saint Louis based version), Iowa's offensive line collapsed, Ryan Mallet is getting some Heisman love

What You Might Have Missed (Under the Radar Stories)

  • Andrew Luck, who I've mentioned a few time, is leading the Pac 10 in TDs, passing efficiency, and YPA..and with the 2nd fewest attempts. Stanford's offense is legit. Watch for his coming out party this week against ND
  • For the first time since 2004 the Big 10 has 6 teams in the top 25 (same number as the SEC). While once the meatgrinder that is the Big 10 season starts, it's doubtful that number will remain but for now the Big 10 is assuredly getting the nationwide respect via the polls
  • Florida is currently ranked 52nd in the nation in rushing , 103rd in passing. Texas is ranked 71st in passing, 65th in rushing. While both have outstanding that enough for BCS trips?

Looking Ahead (Games of the Week)
Oregon State at Boise State (remember TCU beat Oregon State 30-21)
Alabama at Arkansas (last year Mallet was destroyed by Saban's D)
South Carolina at Auburn
Miami (Fl) at Pittsburgh (The U versus The 'Stache)

Prediction Time 9/23

BCS Championship: Alabama v. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl : Miami v. Boise State
Sugar Bowl: Florida v. TCU
Fiesta: West Virginia v. Nebraska
Rose Bowl: Oregon v. Ohio State

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 3 - Vick or Kolb?

The endless debate of Vick or Kolb has caused even the coach of the Eagles to change his mind in just a span of 24 hours. Granted, I think either decision is defensible. It's an interesting decision because on one hand, you have a former all-pro (Vick), but on the other hand, you are paying $12 million (Kolb) for someone that you wanted to do more than hold a clipboard. I think it will be interesting to see what happens with the Eagles every week from here on out.

On to the games!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Jets @ Dolphins - Honestly, who made the NFL schedule for the Jets??? They've already faced the Ravens and the Patriots and now get the Dolphins. This is a game that is a complete tossup. I think I'm going to give the Dolphins the edge, only because the Dolphins I think can physically take advantage of the Jets... and Revis is dinged up... and Jets' WR Braylon Edwards committed a DUI. I will take this brief moment to discuss how Braylon's DUI disgusts me more than the normal DUI... because Braylon was with Donte Stallworth drinking all night... and Donte ended up accidentally killing someone at the end of that night. How could Braylon go drinking and driving after that awful experience hitting so close to home?
Pick: Dolphins

Upset of the Week
ATL @ New Orleans - This is a very important divisional matchup for both teams... The Falcons are 4-point underdogs... and I think they can do this! Especially because the Saints have looked rather normal through their first two games... as they've been unable to put up that many points.
Pick: ATL

Opening Round Playoff Game #3
Teams that have been eliminated: Cleveland, St. Louis
Oakland @ Arizona - Oakland survived last week's elimination game versus St. Louis by benching Jason Campbell and going with... Bruce Gradkowski! Wow. Just for the record, Gradkowski has 16 career starts... and a lousy career rating of 66.0! Meanwhile, Arizona's suddenly realizing that gunslinging Derek Anderson can be quite inconsistent... but their alternative is a rookie QB named Max Hall, who sounds like some kind of action hero from a Saturday morning cartoon. I have no idea who he is, so I looked it up, and it turns out he's from BYU, and put up solid numbers there for whatever it's worth. Eesh. Something tells me I should go with the home team here.
Pick: Arizona

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Dallas @ Houston - This game is of interest not just for fantasy purposes (Romo, Dallas RBs???, Austin, Schaub, Foster, Andre Johnson, K. Walter) but for determining the best team in Texas. And for seeing if Houston can get another amazing win... and if the Cowboys can really start out at 0-3! I will be very curious to see how this plays out...
Pick: Houston

Other Games
Tenn @ Giants- Pick: Giants (sidenote - the Brandon Jacobs story of throwing his helmet into the stands by accident is one of my favorite stories of this young season! Sadly this has led to him not playing as Coach Tom Coughlin does not put up with that kind of nonsense. On a sidenote, I cut him from my fantasy team this week.)
Buff @ Pats- Pick: Pats
Cleve @ Baltimore - Pick: Ravens by 17
Pitt @ Tampa - Pick: Pitt ( I would be really, really surprised if Tampa starts 3-0)
Cincy @ CAR - Pick: Cincy
San Fran @ KC - Pick: San Fran (I would be really, really surprised if KC starts 3-0. Note that Tampa and KC are both undefeated because they take advantage of playing the Cleveland Browns)
Detroit @ Minny- Pick: Detroit (does anyone else realize how incredibly close Detroit is to being 2-0?!?!? I would love it if Detroit beats Minnesota to make the Vikings 0-3!)
Wash @ St. Louis- Pick: Washington
Philly @ Jacksonville- Pick: Philly
Indy @ Denver - Pick: Indy
SD @ Seattle- Pick: SD
GB @ Chicago- Pick: Green Bay (early showdown of two 2-0 teams... but Bears didn't deserve victory in week 1 against Detroit)

Last Week: 9-7 (not so hot, again)
Season: 18-14
Manwich: 2-0 (The Colts took some of their aggression over week 1's loss on the Giants)
Upset of the Week: 1-1 (The Dolphins did it! They took advantage of enough Favre mistakes to spring the upset)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Oldest Trick In the Book

Apparently Brandon Hanning pulled off one of the oldest tricks in the book. The old year long become a mascot so you can attack another mascot trick. I can't believe anyone fell for that one. Ok maybe. In any event enjoy the video/inside story of the intricate plot to try to take down Brutus the Buckeye..

Monday, September 20, 2010

MMBSD: Transitive Property

It's Monday so let's do some back seat driving....

Transitive Property
I think we all know that the transitive property doesn't hold in football but it's rare that key teams in back to back weeks show it so aptly. The Ravens beat the Jets who beat the Patriots who beat Cinci who beat the Ravens. Huh? So what does it all mean? Unknown but probably the AFC favorite won't emerge until late into the season.

Panic Time? Only 10% of the NFL teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. So of course the overhyped, overcovered Cowboys are getting the red alert treatment. My biases aside their offensive coordinator has called horrible games and the o-line has been less than spectacular. Without a solid line and poor play calling all the skill position talent in the world can't bring you playoff wins.

Almost Convinced.... Go to the Dolphins and Bears...both have strong starts but both have huge inter-divisional matchups (Dolphins v. Jets, Bears v. Packers) that I will good markers as to how improved and how for real the teams are.

Prayer Time...Could this really be the year Favre falls apart and nobody will feel his skills are worth his ego issues? Could it be? Much like his various "retirements" I'll hope but will have to wait before I believe it is real....

College Football

Locker Hype Mercifully Euthanized - It's been awhile since I've done some good old fashioned back seat driving...questioning stupid decisions. Whatever scouts (I'm looking at you Todd McShay) had Jake Locker as the #1 overall pick can now officially stop it and report to the pillories. At home against Nebraska Locker was 4-20 for 70 yards and 2 Ints (that's a microscopic 45.9 QB rating). Locker sucks. He sucks in college. He will suck in the Pros. Deal with it.

Opening At Georgia - In the unforgivable SEC, Mark Richt has made the mistake of succeeding early in his career and regressing. The loss to South Carolina makes UGA 0-2 for the first time with several tough games remaining. Last year Richt was forced to hire his assistants, this year signs are pointing to Richt getting the axe.

Get Well Soon
- Sparty's Coach D'Antonio made a ballicious call for a fake FG to defeat Notre Dame. Soon thereafter D'Antonio suffered a heart attack. He seems to be resting comfortably but best wishes on a speedy recovery......

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Love You Peyton But You're Wrong

There’s nothing wrong with a little brotherly love and, if nothing else, it’s heartening to see how much Archie and Olivia Manning’s sons genuinely care about and support eachother. I’m an only child so I can’t imagine how great it must to know that someone other than your parents always has your back.

But there’s a fine line between public support and outright bullshitting and I think this quote from Peyton about younger brother Eli falls into the latter category:

“I think Eli is at the top,” said the Colts quarterback. “I’ve never said that I know it better than anybody else, and sometimes people assume things or give me credit for things that may not necessarily be true. Eli is an experienced NFL quarterback that plays probably in the toughest division in football. He sees tremendously complicated defenses every single week, but always twice a year from Philadelphia, the Redskins and the Cowboys. He’s seen three different [defensive] coordinators on his team the past three years, which every day in practice, he is seeing different looks. He hasn’t missed a start. It’d be hard to find a guy who knows more about defense and is experienced like Eli.”

Does Eli play in a tough division? Sure. Do the Eagles, Redskins and Cowboys usually have good defenses from year to year? I’d say so. Has he had to go against three different defensive coordinators in practice? It’s four, actually (Tim Lewis, Steve Spagnuolo, Bill Sheridan and, now, Perry Fewell), but the general point is made. Does Eli make his starts? Yes, he does. Only Brett Favre (286) and big brother Peyton (193) have made more consecutive starts at the QB position than Eli (88) since the youngest Manning joined the league in 2004.

But does all of this amount to anything? For all of Eli Manning’s supposed toughness, experience and exposure to seemingly trying conditions, what does it all add up to? Statistically, he’s still a below-average QB, with a career 57.1% completion percentage, a meager 1.4/1 TD-to-INT ratio and an abysmal QB Rating of 79.3.

So, while its nice to hear Peyton lavish his little brother with praise, Im afraid Ill simply have to call bullshit on the final implication of all this lovely prose from Peyton. Eli isnt a good QB, no matter how much Peyton says he is.

College Football Trend Watching : Week 2

Well Week 2 has passed moving on to Week 3. Here at CFTW (sounds catchy, no?) we're introducing a new format for those that don't follow college football with tons of intensity. So here we go

What You Know (A Summary of the Previous Week)
OU got back on track, Shoelaces Robinson is putting up Heismanesque numbers, the ACC sucks, Oregon has scored 120 points in 120 minutes of football, James Madison crushed Boise' BCS Championship Hopes (oddly)

What You Might Have Missed (Under the Radar Stories)

  • T-Magic, T-Mobile, T-Something. Nebraska's multi-named freshman QB is putting on a Denard Robinson-lite show for the Huskers and finally giving them offense to go with their amazing defense.
  • South Carolina's freshman RB (Lattimore) roughed up Georgia's D for 32 rushes and 187 yards. With the Gamecocks stiffling d, decent Qbing, the freshman gives South Carolina (for the first time) a gamechanger. That's short hand for South Carolina is probably the only SEC school that can challenge Florida for #2 in the conference
  • Iowa has a running game . 2 different runners (Hamption and Robinson) have rushed for over 125 yards in each of Iowa's 2 games.

Looking Ahead (Games of the Week)
This week in big games can be summarized as the Pac 10 versus the Once and Future Big 10. 4 games between the Pac 10 and teams that will be in the Big 10 next year. The key is Iowa @ Arizona as both have Conference Title aspirations

Nebraska @ Washington
Wisconsin @ Arizona State
Minnesota @ USC
Iowa @ Arizona

Prediction Time 9/16

BCS Championship: Alabama v. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl : Miami v. Iowa
Sugar Bowl: Florida v. TCU
Fiesta: West Virginia v. Nebraska
Rose Bowl: Oregon v. Ohio State

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 2 - The Return of Vick as a Starter?

I think one of the strangest turn of events from last week is the fact that new Eagles QB, Kevin Kolb, suffered a concussion... resulting in Vick becoming an NFL starter (at least temporarily). It should be an interesting experiment to say the least.

I feel as though the injuries from Week 1 may have been even more significant than most of the outcomes. The Packers lost RB Ryan Grant for the season, the Lions lost QB Matt Stafford for a month, the Jets lost DT Kris Jenkins, the Eagles also lost their center... and those are just the injuries off the top of my head! Sheesh... on to the games:

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Giants @ Indy- This game became even more intriguing because the Colts lost their first game... and could suddenly be in an 0-2 hole. Granted, it's very early, but it definitely puts more pressure on this game.
Pick: Indy

Upset of the Week
Miami @ Minnesota - I think Favre is going to take some time to get the rust out... plus it was really hard to find an upset this week.
Pick: Miami

Opening Round Playoff Game #2
Teams that have been eliminated: Cleveland
St. Louis @ Oakland - Well... I've been touting the potential of the Raiders during the summer, but they looked like garbage against the Titans last week. It's time to put up or shut up I think!
Pick: Oakland

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Seattle @ Denver - If only because I have no idea who the starting RBs or WRs are on either team!
Pick: Seattle

Other Games
KC @ Cleveland- Pick: Cleveland
Buff @ GB - Pick: Green Bay
Balt @ Cincy - Pick: Baltimore
Pitt @ Tennessee- Pick: Tennessee
Philly @ Detroit- Pick: Philly
Chicago @ Dallas - Pick: Dallas
TB @ CAR - Pick: CAR
Ariz @ ATL- Pick: ATL
Houston @ Washington - Pick: Houston
Jacksonville @ San Diego - Pick: San Diego
NE @ Jets- Pick: New England (the Jets could be 0-2 very quickly!)
New Orleans @ SF - Pick: New Orleans

Last Week: 9-7 (not so hot)
Season: 9-7
Manwich: 1-0 (The Ravens defensively dominated the Jets)
Upset of the Week: 0-1 (The Raiders didn't play well at all against the Titans)

Monday, September 13, 2010

MMBSD: Football Is Back

  • There's an old adage is you don't win Super Bowls in September but you do lose them. I'm sure there's some statistical probability behind it that I'm too lazy check up on but I think it's safe to once again eliminate the Browns by the end of Week 1. Still QB problems, still no playmakers (on offense) and still no offensive coordinator.
  • Hmm. What to make of the Texans first ever win versus the Colts? On one hand it's the culmination of a slow building process. On the other, how long have we been hearing this is the Texans year? At minimum the win does I think say to me to keep a closer eye as maybe just maybe...this year is different.
  • It seemed fitting that no matter who the QB is for the Eagles they still can't convert on short yardage plays. Bad play calling from Andy Reid doomed the Iggles against the Packers. With Kolb out with a concussion and a defense not really dominant I'm willing to eliminate the Eagles from the Super Bowl conversation as well.

College Football
  • The ACC Sucks - I hate making generalizations about an entire conference but the ACC was simply horrid this past week. Miami and FSU lost definitively, G-Tech choked against Kansas, and V-Tech lost to James Fucking Madison. Let me repeat that James Madison. The ACC's futility can only harm Boise State's (or James Madison's) march to the national championship.
  • Changing with the wind - That's me with Oklahoma. Initially I had them in the championship game, then after an awful week 1 I jumped ship, now after demolishing FSU..umm...not sure. Perhaps week 1 was a fluke or maybe week 2 was...they are I think headed for a collision with Nebraska to win the Big 12 and that I'll stick with...until next week...
  • Western Speed - Outside of 'Bama, has any team down South looked that good? Maybe South Carolina, possibly Florida but everyone else has looked mediocre at best. The team that has stood out to me (at least in terms of speed) so far this year has been Oregon. Their offensive output the past two weeks could put them into a darkhorse role for the BCS Championship game.

  • Kevin Durant was the key figure in USA gold medal at the FIBA Championship. I wonder with a number of NBA stars throwing their popularity down the toilet if Durant will become immensely more popular this year
  • Rumor has it that the Bulls are considering trading for Carmelo Anthony (in exchange for Noah/Deng/insert name). I hate concern trolling but I don't think this move will work out in the Bulls favor
  • If your into that whole baseball thing I recommend following the NL West chase. 3 teams, .5 game (as of writing this), and I believe the losers are fed to the Rancor.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Week 1 of the 2010 Football Season!

Well, unbelievably, summer is almost gone, Labor Day has passed, and now... it's time for some football!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Baltimore @ Jets- Both of these teams have gathered serious Super Bowl hype. I'm not sure what to expect from this opening game... but I tend to believe the more likely scenario is the Ravens embarrassing QB Mark Sanchez on national TV.
Pick: Baltimore

Upset of the Week
Oakland @ Tennessee - As I said in my NFL Preview, I really believe that having a somewhat competent QB (Jason Campbell) will do wonders for improving the team in comparison to the performance with the incompetent QB of last year (JaMarcus Russell).
Pick: Oakland

Opening Round Playoff Game #1
Cleveland @ Tampa - Odds of either of these teams making the playoffs: slim to none! At least one of these two bottom-feeders gets to start the season 1-0 and dream of greener pastures.
Pick: Cleveland

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Green Bay @ Philly - Kevin Kolb's first start is quite a doozy. It seems like all of the position-players on both these teams were drafted highly, so this game will probably be determining a lot of fantasy matchups this weekend.
Pick: Green Bay

Minnesota @ New Orleans - Of course, this game also has some studs, like Adrian Peterson and Drew Brees. There also is a pathetic past-his-prime loser involved, named Brett Favre.
Pick: New Orleans

Other Games
CAR @ Giants - This game intrigues me... it seems like a lot of people don't trust CAR's QB Matt Moore because he's an undrafted QB in 2007 who suddenly is the starter, and the Panthers also drafted Jimmy Clausen as a QB of the future. However, it needs to be pointed out... Matt Moore actually posted 8 TDs, 2 INTs last year and a 98.5 rating in 7 appearances, which includes going 4-1 as a starter! We should find out soon if this will continue...
Pick: Giants

Miami @ Buff - Pick: Miami
ATL @ Pitt - Pick: ATL
Detroit @ Chicago - Pick: Chicago
Cincy @ New England - Pick: New England
Denver @ Jacksonville - Pick: Jacksonville
Indy @ Houston - Pick: Houston (I really think they are going to win at home vs the Colts this year)
SF @ Seattle - Pick: SF
Arizona @ STL - Pick: Arizona
Dallas @ Washington - Pick: Dallas
SD @ KC - Pick: SD

Past Years - I'm good in the odd years, just like the San Antonio Spurs

2004 – 150-106
Manwich Matchup: 7-11
Upset Special: 7-9

2005 – 160-96
Manwich Matchup: 10-7
Upset Special: 3-14 (That’s not a misprint)

2006: 148-108
Manwich Matchup: 12-7
Upset Special: 5-12

2007 - 166-90
Manwich Matchup: 13-4
Upset Special: 8-9

2008 - 149-106-1
Manwich Matchup: 11-8
Upset Special: 1-16 (that's also not a misprint)

2009 - 165-91
Manwich Matchup: 10-7
Upset of the Week: 8-9

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

FIBA World Championships: Previewing the Quarterfinals and Beyond

For some reason, no one seems to be paying attention to the FIBA World Championships. Granted other than the US games, a lot of the games are on NBATV which certainly didn't help for creating any media buzz. However, some games will be on ESPN and on ESPN2 as they advance in the tournament. Nonetheless, with the tournament ready to have quarterfinals on Wednesday-Thursday, semis on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday, things are about to get crazy.

Someone with much more time on their hands did an extensive, professional preview of the FIBA World Championships. Just to show how exciting this tournament is and how unpredictable it is, only 6 of his top 8 made the quarterfinals... and Turkey was ranked only #7 but has been far and away the best story of the tournament (outside of the US dominating and only being tested by Brazil). However, after the group stage games, the same website declared USA, Spain, Serbia, and Turkey as the top-4 teams in the tournament (and other than the US, the other three are in the same part of the single-elimination bracket)

For a brief reason why Turkey has been so dominant, it's mainly because they have two 6-9 forwards capable of running the floor and hitting 3s (Turkoglu and the Milwaukee Bucks' breakout star of Ersan Ilyasova). In addition, they have two 7-foot centers who are playing in the NBA this fall for the first time. Even the preview by the other website above said that they did not have much info on these two centers (Omer Asik of the Bulls ; and Semih Erden of the Celtics). Well, Asik is averaging 10.2 pts and 7.7 rebs on 63.4% FG% in only 20 minutes/game and Erden is averaging 9.7 pts and 5.2 rebs on 61.8% FG% in under 20 minutes/game. Furthermore, the Turks are playing a crazy 2-1-2 zone supposedly and no one has had much success attacking it.

Turkey is on the opposite side of the bracket as the US, and I suppose that means they should meet in the finals. We shall see.

Here are the games for the rest of the tournament:

Wed 9/8 -
Spain vs. Serbia - 11AM EST - I still can't believe how Serbia's Nenad Kristic has been playing so well, since returning from his chair-throwing suspension last week from a fight during an exhibition against Greece (the Serbs and Greeks got in a bit of an argument you might say). Anyway, Kristic looked old, past his prime, and almost immobile during the NBA season on Ok City... but he looks mobile and fresh now! Serbia is actually led by a lot of youngsters. Nonetheless, I have to assume Spain wins.
Slovenia vs. Turkey - 2PM EST - Turkey can't be stopped at this point. They also have the homecourt advantage, in case I didn't mention that earlier. Slovenia does have Goran Dragic, but that won't be nearly enough against all of the big-men of Turkey.

Thursday 9/9
Russia vs. United States - 11AM EST - This will give most people a chance to see the Knicks newest center, Timo Mozgov. He started out slowly, but outside of his 1-point game against Turkey when he got in foul trouble. The Russians actually have an interesting coaching situation, which is something I talked about previously, as his name is David Blatt and he always has his team playing better than its talent level (i.e. they won a European championship unexpectedly once under Blatt). Nonetheless, the US should win, with few problems. If the US loses, the NY media will probably have Mozgov slated as an NBA All-star for this upcoming season.

Lithuania vs. Argentina - 2 PM EST - Linas Kleiza of Lithuania has been playing out of his mind! He's averaging 19.5 ppg, 7.2 rebs, and shooting 61.9% from the field. However, I think Lithuania's surprise amazing run will come to an end because Argentina has been sensational led by the one-two punch of Carlos Delfino (17.8 ppg, 5 rpg) and Luis Scola (30.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 61.7% FG%).

Saturday 9/11 - ? - 11AM EST-
Saturday 9/11 - ? - 2PM EST -
Spain vs. Turkey - Should be a colossal matchup.

United States vs. Argentina - Should be another great matchup.

Sunday 9/12 - 2:30PM EST -
The US took down Spain in the Olympics, albeit with Wade, LeBron, and company doing the damage. I'm not sure what will happen if the US were to make the finals and play against Spain or Turkey. The US is not a big team, so I'd imagine that playing Turkey would result in a loss. Spain also has Marc Gasol which would be superior to anything the US could throw at him. I'm forecasting the relatively easy draw thus far for the US (only being tested by Brazil) to result in a loss in the final game or in the semi-finals... and then all sorts of ESPN commentators hypothesizing on the reasons for the loss, how to prevent it, etc., etc., etc.

Granted, I think FIBA should have scheduled this tourney a week earlier than the start of the NFL season. Are they even trying to get viewers in the US???

College Football Trend Watching : Week 1

Welcome Back to College Football Trend Watching...the best Tuesday blog post before a Jewish New Year or your money What what are the trends...err data points after week 1


  • Deja Vu....As Stewart Mandel correctly points was deja vu all over again in terms of themes in week 1. It seemed like Michigan found a QB, Florida's offense struggled, and Notre Dame was back. However most prognosticators said the exact same thing last year...only to be found out totally wrong. So will this time be any different?
  • Boise State.... Whether you want to call it a choke by V-Tech (fourth straight opening game loss) or a brilliant come back or some combination Boise State is sitting pretty at the moment. They get Oregon State at home and well next to nothing. Will the V-Tech win be enough? Looking like we will finally get an answer as to how much respect an undefeated Boise will get in the BCS Championship race.
  • Freshmen QBs - Two old powerhouses (Nebraska and Penn State) were powered to victories by freshmen. Both Nebraska and Penn State are expected to have pivotal rolls in the BCS this year so look to how these freshmen do

  • Oklahoma - I admit I bought into the OU bounce back hype and sure it's only 1 week and yes OU won it's game but they looked awful. Simply awful. Jones shows no progress, they are one dimensional on offense, and the defense doesn't look up to snuff
  • Ole Miss - House McNutt's squad lost to a subdivision girl's volleyball team. Still waiting on those SEC chants guys.
  • Oregon State - The other other OSU. I feel like they're regular fodder at this point for Non-BCS teams looking to score a cheap win. When's the last time Oregon State actually beat anyone semi-decent?

Games of the Week
Michigan at Notre Dame 3:30
Miami at OSU 3:30
FSU at Oklahoma 3:30
Penn State at Alabama 8:00

Prediction Time 9/7

BCS Championship: Alabama v. Boise State
Orange Bowl : Virginia Tech v. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl: Florida v. TCU
Fiesta: West Virginia v. Nebraska
Rose Bowl: Oregon v. Ohio State

Monday, September 06, 2010

NFL Preview 2010: The Year Before the Lockout?

I'm excited to write yet another NFL Preview. As a warning, my previous picks are not great, by any means. In 2009, I picked San Diego over Green Bay, but both lost in the divisional playoffs; in 2008, I picked Dallas over New England, and neither made the playoffs; in 2007, I picked New England over New Orleans - the Pats at least went undefeated, interestingly, New Orleans did win a couple of years later finally; in 2006, I had Indy over Giants - I actually hit the Colts, and the Giants ended up winning in 2007; in 2005, I had Carolina over Indy, but Indy lost in that crazy game to Pittsburgh, and CAR stumbled in the conference championship; and 2004 is not archived anywhere but I'm sure it was poor.

This year, I feel as though as I have less of an idea of who to pick. I know that Peter King for Sports Illustrated has picked the Steelers to win, so I'm immediately saying that won't happen. I will work my way through the divisions, and see who I'm left with...

AFC East (plays AFC and NFC North)
4-NY Jets - The Jets are absolutely loaded. They added WR Santonio Holmes (available in Week 5) and CB Antonio Cromartie to an already talented team. I still think the biggest question mark is the QB, Mark Sanchez. He played better down the stretch in the playoffs but the expectations are sky-high and I'm not sure if he's up to the challenge.
5-New England - The Pats should be right in the playoffs again. They don't appear dominant defensively or frightening in the running game, but should still be good enough to make the playoffs.
Miami - I really like this team and think they should be fighting for a playoff spot up until the last week. In 2008 they were 11-5 and I think that this team could re-find some of that magic.
Buffalo - They are awful. A complete mess.

AFC North (plays AFC East and NFC South)
1-Baltimore - sadly, this team looks really good. I hate them, but I can't deny the fact that adding WRs Boldin, Donte Stallworth (injured until week 8?), and Houshmandzadeh makes things interesting. I'm not sure why they've added all old and injury-prone WRs but this was a solid team last year... and QB Flacco keeps looking better and better.
Cincy - I don't believe Carson Palmer can continue to stay healthy.
Pittsburgh - It's a messed up season... and plus, the Steelers may take a step back as they reload the talent defensively.
Cleveland - I'm only expecting 4 wins for the season for my Brownies, but 2 of them could come in the first two weeks! (KC, Tampa)

AFC South (plays AFC West and NFC East)
2-Indy - Super Bowl losers tend to be star-crossed the next season... but it's really hard to pick against this juggernaut.
6-Houston - I think this is the year the Texans break into the playoffs! Boy, I'm sick of saying that.
Jacksonville - This is a good team, which could be a darkhorse for the playoffs if things break right.
Tennessee - I've never believed in Vince Young. A lot of changes on defense in two short years make this team nothing like the force they were in 2008.

AFC West (plays AFC South and NFC West)
3-San Diego - they get the division by default! They still are pretty talented.
Oakland - I'm expecting a big improvement from Oakland only because I'm expecting competent QB play from Jason Campbell (in comparison to the performance of former starter QB JaMarcus Russell). Little known fact: Campbell posted a 84.3 and a 86.4 QB rating the last 2 years. In comparison, Russell had a 77.1 and a 50.0 rating the last 2 years. The Raiders supposedly have an above-average defense and if that's true, they should post an amazing improvement from last year's 5-win campaign.
KC - If Cassel plays well, this is another team that could surprise some and get some extra wins in the perceived weak division.
Denver - I hate their coach, they have no idea who their WRs are, the RBs are already injured, and the best defensive player (Dumervil) is out for the season. Plus... they used a 1st-round pick on Tebow, who's not really an NFL QB! It's going to be a long year.

NFC East (plays AFC South and NFC North)
1-Dallas - This team is very talented, as always.
6-Philly - I like Philly. I'm irrationally expecting Kolb to step in and have no problems, even though he's only played 2 games.
Giants - I still think the Giants will be in the playoff race until the end of the season.
Washington - I don't believe that plugging in McNabb will do much for this team.

NFC North (plays AFC East and NFC East - that's brutal!)
3-Green Bay - Great team, brutal schedule.
5-Minnesota - I hate Favre, but the defense is excellent, and should carry them, even with some injures at the WR position.
Chicago - I just don't have faith in Mike Martz succeeding as an offensive coordinator anymore.
Detroit - Detroit should be a lot better, but no better than the other teams in their division. As a Browns fan, this also works for the Lions: it's not about the win total, but whether you are competitive in the games!

NFC South (plays AFC North and NFC West)
2-ATL - RB Michael Turner should be fresh this year after recovering from an ankle injury. In addition, I still like QB Matt Ryan to further develop.
New Orleans - Drew Brees is on the cover of Madden. The curse is inescapable, so I will irrationally not place them in the playoffs.
CAR - Great team, tough division. Plus, it's hard to pick them with the QB position up in the air (Matt Moore is the starter for now, but they may try rookie Jimmy Clausen).
Tampa - No way.

NFC West (plays AFC West and NFC South)
4-San Fran - best of a bad bunch
Arizona - lost too many players from Super Bowl team... and are now starting QB Derek Anderson. Granted, in DA's one successful season on the Browns, he was very effective because Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow allowed DA to throw the ball off-target. If Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston are talented enough, they may allow DA to look decent.
Seattle - Too many changes.... looking forward to the QB Charlie Whitehurst era
Rams - No way.

Wild-Card Weekend
4-Jets over 5-Pats
3-San Diego over 6-Houston
5-Minnesota over 4-San Fran
3-Green Bay over 6-Philly

Divisional Playoffs
1-Baltimore over 4-Jets
3-San Diego over 2-Indy
1-Dallas over 5-Minnesota
2-ATL over 3- Green Bay

Champ Weekend
1-Baltimore over 3-San Diego
2-ATL over 1-Dallas (gotta pick an upset)

Super Bowl: Baltimore over ATL (this will make me sad if this happens, but I have to pick someone).

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Better Know College Football 2010: Predictions

Once again we reached the start of the College Football season . Once again I again venture into the land of crappy predictions (see last year) I figure any idiot can randomly throw out stuff and at least today ...I'm that idiot. So without further ado.....

1) A Race
As opposed to last year, I think this year will be highly competitive race for the BCS Championship Game. I'm expecting all of the Big favorites (tOSU, Bama, Florida, OU, Texas, V-Tech, Boise) to lose at least one game. However at the end of the day history and perception will run the day as the Big 12 and SEC will match up again in a championship game. I've picked Oklahoma and Alabama to win their respective conferences so we'll be treated to another SEC Championship.

2) The Hammer
The NCAA emerged from it's dormant sleep and swung the hammer on USC. I'm predicting that they will do so again...this time on UNC. The list of players involved in agents, with academic scandals, with anteater issues, are too long to list. Suffice to safe the dreaded "loss institutional control" will be thrown at UNC .

3) Kelly
The perpetual issue of will Notre Dame rise from mediocrity is upon continues. This time in the Kelly era. They have a brutal schedule but I'm predicting Kelly wins more games then Weis did in his last year.

4) Non-BCS Buster
At this point I think it's safe to say there will be a BCS Buster . Hell I'm not even sure if buster if the correct term anymore. Boise State is loaded and a win at V-Tech I think would mean an undefeated season and a trip to the BCS Championship Game. But I'm expecting V-Tech to win which means the Non-BCS flag bearer will be TCU this year. In fact, don't be surprised if TCU makes it to the BCS Championship game.

My Predictions

Stacey is demonstrating how best to use a compound bow..see it's a metaphor for boobs umm accuracy

BCS Championship: Alabama v. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl : Virginia Tech v. Wisconsin
Sugar Bowl: Florida v. TCU
Fiesta: West Virginia v. Nebraska
Rose Bowl: Oregon v. Ohio State

What are your predictions/story lines for the 2010 year?