Monday, December 26, 2011

NBA Preview 2011-2012: The NBA, It's Back!

I can't resist doing another NBA Preview. The 7 days of free agency have been insane, with David Stern completely overstepping his bounds, vetoing a trade, and then eventually letting Chris Paul go to the Clippers. More importantly we have like 66 games in 123 days approximately, and every team has about 3 back-to-back-to-backs. Let's take a look at what we have:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
4-NY- (major moves: added C Tyson Chandler, PG Mike Bibby; Lost PG C. Billups)- The Knicks have a huge whole at PG. Bibby is too old to be a successful PG. But yes, they have a nucleus of Stoudemire, Carmelo, and Chandler. Should be good enough for a low seed in the playoffs. The backcourt is ridiculously weak though now, but if Baron Davis comes back healthy that will be huge for them.
6-Boston- (major moves: added two Purdue rookies (j. Johnson, E. moore), PF B. Bass; Lost: D. West, PF big baby Davis, Jeff Green (heart surgery - hope he has a good recovery))- Well, the bench got shorter than last year. Jeff Green being out for the season does not help, as there's no way Pierce, KG, and Ray Allen are going to be able to make it through this sprint of 66 games in 122 days. Should be a middling seed, and a tough out in the early rounds... but this could be the last hurrah for this bunch.
7-Philly- (major moves: lost Kapono, 3-point specialist) - I think this young team (outside of Elton Brand), with two young PGs (Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams), along with Evan Turner and T. Young is the kind of team that may be athletic enough and deep enough to survive the sprint through the season.
NJ- (major moves: amnesty of Outlaw, who they just signed last year) - The team is thin now. Traded most of the assets to get PG Deron Wiliams, may trade C Brook Lopez still to get Dwight Howard, though they got Mehmet Okur, who's coming off a major injury. I can't expect much from them this season.
Toronto- (major moves: added a bunch of spare parts; rookie #5 pick Jonas V. not here yet) - This is not going to be a good team. Not in the least. I said it last year, and it still holds true this year!

Central Division
1-Chicago- (major moves: added Rip Hamilton; ) - This is still a great team. MVP Derrick Rose trained hard all summer again with the same guy as last year, alongside his buddies R. Westbrook, K. Love, and A. Horford. Sky's the limit again for these guys. The best thing about them, is that they have Taj Gibson, and Omer Asik, to help soak up minutes in this sprint of an NBA season, who are more than capable of succeeding.
3-Indiana- (major moves: added PF D. West, Lost: Dunleavy, PF McRoberts, PG TJ Ford and waived Posey) - This is a great team, and they got a nice upgrade in PF David West, assuming he's recovered from his knee injury. With the East being so incredibly weak (relatively) after Chicago/Miami, it's not out of the realm of possiblity for the Pacers, yes the Pacers, to grab the 3rd seed.
Milwaukee- (major moves: added Mike Dunleavy, Stephen Jackson (yes, the guy who throws haymakers!), ; Lost Corey Maggette) - I think their crazy coach, Scott Skiles has once again lost his team. This happens in every stint (Phoenix, Chicago). First, he overachieves, then they do around .500, then the bottom falls out and he gets fired. This year's team, as far as I can tell, has PF-gooden/ilyasova; C-Bogut, SF S. jackson, SG Dunleavy, and PG B. Jennings
Cleveland- (major moves: added rookie PG Kyrie Irving, rookie PF T. Thompson, SF O. Casspri; Lost PF Hickson, PG Baron Davis) - I think the Cavs will be battling for the last playoff spot all season long (assuming they don't deal out Jamison and Mo). This team is much better than the forecast everyone else is saying, i.e. this is not the worst team in the East. Not by a long shot. They should be just below .500 and hit around 40 wins because a) they are going to be running all night long in their new system under Byron Scott and b) they still have some solid players in Jamison, Varejao, Mo, JJ Hickson and super fast PG Ramon Sessions.
Detroit- (major moves: added rookie PG B. Knight, ; Lost Rip Hamilton) - It's just an older team (Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince) with some players who don't play defense (Villaneuva, Ben Gordon) and then a few interesting younger players (Jerebko, B. Knight, A. Daye). This is not actually a winning formula. (note, I used the same recap as last year!)

Southeast Division
2-Miami- (major moves: added rookie PG N. Cole, SF S. Battier; the corpse of Eddy Curry; Lost Mike Bibby, Z, and Magloire) - Yes, they have Bosh, Wade, and LeBron. Mike Miller is the best player after that. At Center, they are in trouble. It's their only weakness... but it could really only be exploited by teams that have offensive centers (i.e. Orlando and the Lakers).
5-Atlanta- (major moves: added T. McGrady, V. Radmonovic; Lost J. Crawford)- The Hawks have seen their best days already I think... though I do think they have more athleticism than other teams, so surviving the regular season is more likely.
8-Orlando- (major moves: added Big Baby Davis, Lost PF Bass; Arenas) - It's hard to handicap them since traindg Howard is still possible... I still think they eke out a playoff appearance, though I have no idea who will be on the team by that point.
Washington- (major moves: added rookie J. Vesley (not sure if he's in the states though); PG S. Mack; LOST Josh Howard) - This team smartly decided not to amnesty Rashard Lewis, because it would have forced them to spend additional money to get back to the minimum. Instead, they can suck it up this year, get a good draft pick, then move forward with getting some free agents in next year's better class to surround John Wall with some talent (and hopefully not as crazy as A. Blatche).
Charlotte- (major moves: added PG Kemba Walker; SG R. Williams; SF C. Maggette; LOST SF S. Jackson) - May be one of the worst teams... they just have Kemba Walker and Maggette, and Maggette breeds losing.

Western Conference

Mountainous Division
1-Ok City- (no major moves) - All-World Durant plus super awesome PG Westbrook plus C Perkins and defensive force Ibaka plus Harden means they are the prohibitive favorites out West.
6-Denver- (major moves: added rookie PF K. Faried (he's got dreadlocks and was huge in that NCAA upset in the 1st round over Louisville); PG A. Miller; SG R. Fernandez, LOST (JR Smith, Wilson Chandler,); PG R. Felton ) - Interestingly, they were the top team after the Carmelo trade in offensive AND defensive efficiency. Granted, that team had Felton, JR Smith, and Chandler (all gone). So... I know they won't be the best team, but they should be good enough to mak the playoffs still. Ty Lawson is now the starting PG, they still have Nene, Afflalo, and Gallinari.
8-Portland- (added PG R. Felton, SG J. Crawford; lost PG A. Miller, B. Roy (retired), Oden (knee? - should I even mention this, or do we assume it?)) - This is a solid team, amazingly, despite all of the losses. They have PF Aldridge, SF G. Wallace, C Camby/ K. Thomas, SG W. Matthews, and PG Felton; plus Batum, and J. Crawford off the bench.
Utah- (added SF J. Howard, rookie SG A. Burks; LOST SG R. Price) - this is a retooling time... but if D. Favors pans out, they should be ecstatic about he D. Williams trade last year.
Minnesota- (major moves: added rookie stud SF D. Williams; PG R. Rubio; PG JJ Barea, C B. Miller ) - #2 overall pick Derrick Williams is coming off the bench. Rubio is finally here, so it will at least be interesting for these guys.

Texas Division
2-Memphis- (major moves: lost SF Battier (it's not that big a deal because he's old)) - I suppose this team has more athleticism and more weapons than Dallas, so they edge them out for a division title.
3-Dallas- (major moves: added PF L. Odom, SG V. Carter, SG D. West; LOST C T. Chandler, PG JJ Barea, ) - I think they will fall short of the division title, but will still be a tough out in the playoffs.
7-Houston- (major moves: added rookie PF Marcus Morris; PG J. Flynn; LOST PF/C C. Hayes, Yao; C B. Miller) - I still think Scola, Kevin Martin, and the defensive presence of Samuel Dalmbert should be good enough to make the playoffs!
San Antonio- (major moves: added rookie SF K. Leonard; PF TJ Ford; LOST PG G. Hill ) - Last year, I thought the spurs were done and took them out of making the playoffs. Instead, they got a #1 seed... then promptly got stomped in the 1st round. This year, I just think their stars will be injured and they won't have enough frontcourt depth to make it through the season.
New Orleans- (major moves: added C Kaman, SG E. Gordon; LOST PG C. Paul, PF D. West) - I think this division is brutal. The Eric Gordon, Kaman, Emeka Okafor team shouldn't be that bad... but they won't be that great either.
Pacific Division
4-Lakers- (major moves: SG J. Kapono, PF McRoberts; LOST PF Odom, SG S. Brown) - This is the end of the Lakers, in its current form. I'm just not sure how far they can go with their old players in this abbreviated season.
5-Clippers- (major moves: added PG C. Paul, PG Billups; SF C. Butler; LOST C Kaman; SG E. Gordon) - The Clippers are exciting, yes. However, it's all contingent on Chris Paul's knee holding up.
Phoenix- (major moves: added SG S. Brown, SG R. Price; LOST SG V. Carter; PG A. Brooks (in china)) - I'm guessing this is the year the Suns trade Nash to a contender? Not sure what will happen, but outside of Gortat dominating suddenly, I don't think they can make the playoffs.
Sacramento- (major moves: added rookie PG Jimmer (i hate him); PF/C C. Hayes; PF JJ Hickson; SG J. Salmons; LOST SF Casspri; PG. Udirh; C Dalembert) - If Tyreke Evans is healthy and re-finds his rookie year, this team could be dangerous. No idea if they will play defense (Tyreke, Jimmer, JJ Hickson, Salmons, Thornton), which will be a problem.
Golden State- (major moves: added rookie Klay Thompson; C Kwame Brown; LOST Radmonovic; Al Thornton; SG R. Williams) - This team is very hard to evaluate. They also don't play defense. They also wasted their amnesty on a $4 million player , in hopes of getting a big center. Instead, they chose backup Kwame Brown over Dalembert. Why is the entire league black-balling Dalembert? I don't get it.

1st Round
1-Chicago over 8-Orlando
4-NY over 5- ATL (Baron davis should be good by then)
3-Indiana over 6-Boston
2-Miami over 7-Philly
1-Ok City ove 8-Portland
5-Clippers over 4-Lakers (oh boy)
3-Dallas over 6-Denver
2-Memphis over 7-Houston

2nd Round
1-Chicago over 4-NY
2-Miami over 3-Indiana
1-Ok City over 5-Clippers
2-Memphis over 3-Dallas
Conf Finals
2-Miami over 1-Chicago- The biggest question I want to know is this: why can't the Bulls beat the Heat? Everyone remembers the fact that the Heat steamrolled the Bulls last year 4-1, but during the season, the Bulls went 3-0 against the Heat. Unraveling this matchup is the key to determining this year's NBA champion I believe. The Heat are the favorite, but the Bulls in my opinion, might be the only team capable of beating them. Luol Deng is one of the few players who can, for whatever it's worth, hang around with Lebron. Derrick Rose gives the Heat problems. Plus, the Bulls have lots of size which is a problem for the soft Bosh, Anthony/Haslem frontline. The 1st game took place on 1/15/11, but Chris Bosh got hurt during the game in the 3rd quarter and Lebron didnt play, and the Bulls won by 3, while outrebounding Miami 42-30. The 2nd game was another close one - a 4 point Bulls win. The Bulls outrebounded Miami 53-39. The Heat played a short 8-man rotation, but were missing Udonis Haslem. The Bulls Omer Asik caused many problems, getting 11 rebounds, going +17, in 21 minutes of play. The Bulls won the 3rd game, played 3/6/11 by only 1 point. In this game, the Bulls only outrebounded the Heat 36-30. Udonis Haslem was still not in this game either.
In game 1 of the playoffs, the Bulls won by 21, behind a 45-33 rebounding edge, Deng, Noah, and Taj Gibson all had huge games. In game 2, the Heat won by 10, won the rebounding advantage, played great defense, and shot well. It was pretty perfect. In game 3, the Heat won by 11, In game 4, the Heat won a nailbiter in OT. In game 5, the Heat won by 3. I also computed the following stats... the Bulls somehow had Chris Bosh chipping in at 60% FG% during the playoff series (well above his 47% for the playoffs last year). However, they held Lebron and Wade slightly below their playoff averages: Lebron was down from 46.6, to 44.6, but averages more assists (6.6 to 5.9); Wade was really down - from 48.5 to 40.5 and averaged even less assists than normal (4.4 to 3.7).
However, none of this information really matters. What does matter? The Heat and the Bulls have each shed one of their top 8 (Bibby, Bogans). The scary thing is, I wante to ask the question of whether Bibby's performance in the Heat relative to the rest of the team. If you throw out his garbage time in game 1's blowout, the Heat were exceptionally worse with Bibby in the lineup (i.e. Bibby always had a worse +/- compared to the team's performance for that day). Bogans? Other than the strange game 1, he did performed rather consistently with the outcome, if not slightly better. The most fascinating thing is this - Bibby posted a NEGATIVE win/shares in the playoffs last year (-0.029), despite his team winning most of their games! This is really hard to do. Bogans? He posted a respectable 0.117 w/share per 48 (where 0.1 is considered the average player). The question then becomes this - the minutes lost by Bogans are now taken by Rip Hamilton. Is Rip, at his age, going to perform that much better than Bogans? I'm not sure. However, the minutes lost by Bibby, are now taken by rookie PG Norris Cole. Is Norris Cole going to play better defense than Mike Bibby? I can answer that emphatically and say yes. Is Norris Cole going to help the Heat run even more fast breaks? I can answer that emphatically and say yes - because he's much faster than Bibby at this point. So, the switch of Norris Cole for Mike Bibby seems to help the Heat even more than the one of Rip Hamilton for Bogans. Now, one could argue that the addition of Omer Asik will really turn the tables for the Bulls. However, I don't think that's going to be the case because Asik, even though he was great for rebounding and defense last year, can probably only help with Bosh and/or the center position. So, sadly, I'm left with the outcome I dread, which is that Lebron overcomes his stagefright and wins the NBA Championship.

1-Ok City over 2-Memphis

NBA Finals
2-Miami over 1-Ok City

All-Gutsy Team
PF - B. Griffin, Clippers
SF - Durant, Ok City
C - M. Gasol, Memphis
SG - Wade, Miami
PG - LeBron, Miami

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Skynet Championship Series: Judgment Day in the Year 2011

Judgment Day is upon us... and Skynet is once again in disagreement with the humans as it demands to see a game of LSU vs. Oklahoma State!

In case anyone was curious, this is the 6th version of Skynet... Skynet has only agreed with the humans ONCE (last year - Auburn vs. Oregon).

Here are the other years, if anyone was curious:
2010: Skynet and Humans: Auburn vs. Oregon
2009: Skynet: Bama vs. Cincy (got destroyed by Florida in a different game); BCS: Bama vs. Texas (got smoked by Bama)
2008: Skynet: Oklahoma vs. Texas; BCS: Oklahoma vs. Florida (won champ, despite Skynet snub)
2007: Skynet: LSU vs. Va. Tech; BCS: LSU vs. Ohio State
2006: Skynet: Ohio St vs. Michigan; BCS: Ohio St vs. Florida (won champ, despite Skynet snub)

What is most interesting is the narrow difference this year in the actual BCS rankings. The difference between Bama and Ok State was a mere .08 points (in the actual BCS). In Skynet this year Ok State finished ahead by 0.64 points. How does that rank relative to past years? Take a look at this table:

2009 - Cincy over Texas by 0.6
2008 - Texas over Florida by 1.02
2007 - Va. Tech over Ohio State by 1.6 (and over LSU - but this year was all screwed up with upsets)
2006 - Michigan over Floriday by only 0.03
Conclusion: It's a fairly big margin, but not that big in comparison to the limited data we have

If people were curious what the margins were in each of the computer polls (in terms of normalized values, in Skynet) here is the table:

Sagarin Anderson Matrix Wolfe
Bama 1.394 2.648 3.126 1.659
Ok State 2.129 0.798 0.437 2.925

But if anyone was curious, the two other computer rankings that are "biased" because they use human rankings at the beginning of the season for the initial rankings and are tainted, had normalized values of: Massey - Ok State - 1.740, Bama 1.988; Billingsley - Ok State 2.511, Bama 3.411. Amazingly, even in those rankings, Ok State was better than Bama!

But the thing that concerns me most about the computer polls? How in the world did Sagarin and Wolfe not end up with a greater change from Ok State beating Oklahoma? This is a strange question. Because the way the BCS is calculated, the computers only take 4 of the 6 computer rankings - throwing out the highest and lowest values. However, while the BCS takes into account every single vote, it merely just averages the values for the computer rankings (i.e. if you are 2nd in Sagarin, you get 24 points; if you are 3rd you get 23 points - no matter how close or far away the two teams are). So, let's play a BCS hypothetical: what happens if the BCS is still worth 1/3 but it uses a methodology to take into account normalized values? For this hypothetical I'll consider all 6 computer rankings:

Total Harris Coaches Computers - normalized
Bama 0.94713 0.9471 0.9485 0.94579
Ok State 0.939373 0.9231 0.9268 0.96822

Thus, it puts Ok State 0.002 closer to Bama. Not by as much as I thought it would actually! The more interesting part is how it would take very few ballots to be switched for Ok State to have made the big game. Once again, we realize that Skynet is supreme, because it's the only system where we can be certain that no one is paid off to switch their vote or keep their vote a certain way! That's it for this year. Skynet will have to remain angry once again!

Most underrated by the humans: Ok St, K STate, Oklahoma, Baylor, Georgia (The Big 12 was easily the best conference this year, unanimous by all the computers; the Big 12 won like 90% of its games out of conference)
Most overrated by the humans: Stanford, Oregon, Boise St, Wisconsin, Va. Tech, Mich St (wow, how things have changed. Boise State ended up on the overrated chart!)

SCS BCS Sched Rnk Harris Coaches
1 LSU 0.10 1 14 1 1
2 Ok St 1.57 3 5 3 3
3 Bama 2.21 2 26 2 2
4 K St 6.32 8 13 10 10
5 Arkansas 6.99 6 34 7 7
6 Stanford 7.51 4 49 4 4
7 Oklahoma 8.36 14 2 19 19
8 Oregon 9.86 5 31 5 5
9 Baylor 9.99 12 7 16 16
10 Boise St 10.00 7 72 6 6
11 So. Car 10.82 9 33 9 9
12 Michigan 13.18 13 30 12 12
13 Georgia 13.45 16 22 18 18
14 Wisconsin 13.92 10 63 8 8
15 Va. Tech 14.18 11 52 11 11
16 Houston 15.64 19 100 17 17
17 Clemson 16.01 15 41 14 14
18 TCU 16.46 18 80 15 15
19 Nebraska 16.57 20 24 20 20
20 Mich St 17.65 17 61 13 13

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Skynet Championship Series: Season Six, 1 week to go

Most underrated by the humans: Ok St (wow! everyone hates them, but the computer love them.); Oklahoma, Kansas State, (the computers LOVE the Big 12!). My best guess is that each of these teams beat their "marquee" out of conference opponents, though they weren't great (Arizona, Miami(FL), TCU, UConn, Florida St)
Most overrated by the humans: Stanford, Virginia Tech, Mich St, Wisconsin

What does this mean? If Oklahoma State can beat Oklahoma, the computers will be choosing them this weekend to match up with LSU, not Alabama. Judgment Day is almost upon us!

SCS BCS Sched Rnk Harris Coaches
1 lsu 0.15 1 16 1 1
2 ok state 2.02 3 5 5 5
3 bama 2.19 2 24 2 2
4 oklahoma 7.08 10 23 10 11
5 k st 7.32 11 13 15 15
6 arkansas 7.43 8 34 9 10
7 stanford 7.61 4 49 3 4
8 houston 8.19 6 112 6 6
9 boise st 9.45 7 53 8 8
10 so. Car 10.31 12 28 14 13
11 va tech 10.64 5 70 4 3
12 oregon 11.23 9 33 7 7
13 baylor 12.16 17 7 18 18
14 georgia 12.39 14 39 12 14
15 michigan 13.26 16 30 16 16
16 mich st 16.07 13 73 11 9
17 tcu 17.01 18 74 17 17
18 nebraska 17.05 19 27 19 19
19 wisconsin 17.22 15 77 13 12
20 clemson 18.25 20 43 20 21

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Week 11 - Injuries galore

Well, it's the middle of November, and it suddenly seems like most NFL teams are nursing numerous injuries, as is usually the case.

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Cincy @ Baltimore - Well, the Bengals lost last week to Pitt at home. The Bengals need to win here to keep pace... though they do get a 2nd crack at baltimore the last week of the season.
Pick: Baltimore

Upset of the Week
San Diego @ Chicago - Maybe this is the week the Chargers finally turn it around. I'm blindly suckered in at this point.
Pick: Chicago

Opening Round Playoff Game #11
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville, Miami, Washington, Seattle, Cleveland
Jets @ Denver - The Jets have to win to keep pace. The Broncos... I just don't believe in the option as working at the professional level.

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
KC @ New England - It's on monday night... and the amount of points the Pats are going to score is surely to keep a number of people on edge.

Other Games
Tenn @ Atl - ATL
Buff @ MIAMI - Buff
Jack-o @ Cleve - Jack-o
Oak @ Minny - Oak
CAR @ Det - Det
TB @ GB - GB
Dallas @ Wash - Dallas
Arizona @ SF - SF
Sea @ STL - Sea
Philly @ Giants - Giants

Last Week: 6-10 (ouch!)
Season: 83-62
Manwich Matchup: 7-3 (The Saints came through in OT)
Upset of the Week: 3-7 (The Bengals couldn't do it)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 10 - Return of Stupid Thursday Games

I'm not a fan of the Thursday games... but they are back. I apologize for the late posting.

Manwich Matchup of the Week
NO @ ATL - Saints are 6-3, Falcons 5-3 entering the game. This game is very important in the crowded NFC South and surprisingly, one of the teams will get knocked down to 4 losses, leaving even less room for error in the 2nd half. The stakes are high, but I tend to think the Falcons still don't have the firepower to get through this.
Pick: NO

Upset of the Week
OPitt @ Cincy - I think the Bengals are going to shock the world and beat the Steelers and continue to be in the playoff chase. I think the Bengals defense has been great, but this will be a tougher test.
Pick: Cincy

Opening Round Playoff Game #10
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville, Miami, Washington, Seattle
St. Louis @ Cleveland - Well... this game is actually perfect for this point of the season. It's usually hard to find a perfect play-in game between bad teams, but I found one. Both teams have had injuries that have really hurt. The Rams keep losing WRs, the Browns keep losing RBs. Should be an ugly game, but I may watch it since it's one of the few left where the Browns could actually compete.
Pick: Cleveland

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
Buffalo @ Dallas - The Bills high-flying offense has been grounded the last few weeks. Not sure what the truth is, but this is a pivotal game for both teams (Bills are 5-3 now, Cowboys 4-4). Both need to win to keep pace.
Pick: Dallas

Other Games
Oak @ SD - SD (the Chargers, as usual, keep shooting themselves in the foot. Hopefully, the bleeding ends tonight!)
Denver @ KC - KC
Jack-o @ Indy - Indy (to get a win, no one likes to be winless)
Houston @ Tampa - this is an interesting game, but I think I like Tampa because they are ridiculously hard to predict. Tampa
Tenn @ CAR - CAR
Wash @ Miami - Miami (2 game winning streak!, nice!)
Detroit @ Chicago - Detroit (this is a huge game in the NFC)
Arizona @ Philly - Philly
Balt @ Seattle - Baltimore
New England @ Jets - NE
Minny @ GB - GB

Last Week: 8-5
Season: 77-52
Manwich Matchup: 6-3 (The Bills disappointed me again. Eesh.)
Upset of the Week: 3-6 (The Ravens did it and swept the Steelers).

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Week 9 - Lots of good games!

This week has lots of great games... and also lots of bad teams facing each other.

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Jets @ Bills - Wow. The Bills-Jets play each twice this month... and that will go a really long way to determining one of the AFC wildcards. Are the Bills for real? We are about to find out!
Pick: Bills (picking w/ my heart of course)

Upset of the Week
Baltimore @ Pitt - Usually, I'd just go with revenge. But after Polamalu's illegal play last week to end their game against the Pats, where Polamalu INTENTIONALLY batted the ball forward 20 yards, I just have no sympathy for Pitt. Hope Baltimore beats them by 30 again.
Pick: Baltimore

Opening Round Playoff Game #9
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville, Miami, Washington
Seattle @ Dallas - Both teams really need a win... should be an easy way to get Seattle eliminated.
Pick: Dallas

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
GB @ SD - Hope Rivers gets his head on straight! If GB wins this, their divisional games will be the only chance for them to lose.
Pick: GB

Other Games
Tampa @ NO - NO
ATl @ Indy - ATL
Miami @ KC - KC
SF @ Wash - Wash
Clev @ Hou - Hou
Cincy @ Tenn - Cincy
Denver @ Oakland - Oak
St. Louis @ Ariz - Ariz
Giants @ NE - NE
Chic @ Philly - Phily

Last Week: 8-5
Season: 69-47
Manwich Matchup: 6-2 (I still don't believe in the steelers, despite them beating the Pats. Yes, I'm blinded by hatred)
Upset of the Week: 2-6 (The Cowboys got killed by the Eagles. Oops).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Skynet Championship Series: Season Six, Week 2

Most underrated by the humans: Ok St (wow! everyone hates them, but the computer love them.); K St, Va Tech, Houston

Most overrated by the humans: LSU (relatively speaking... computers have LSU at #3 by a slim margin); Stanford (Andrew Luck love); Oregon; Michigan State

SCS BCS Sched Rnk Harris Coaches
1 ok st 0.83 3 15 3 4
2 bama 1.31 2 37 2 2
3 LSU 1.73 1 39 1 1
4 clemson 3.07 5 68 6 6
5 k st 3.13 8 66 10 12
6 boise st 4.11 4 49 5 5
7 arkansas 9.84 10 69 9 8
8 oklahoma 10.28 9 14 8 9
9 stanford 10.62 6 94 4 3
10 va tech 11.11 12 47 15 15
11 so. Car 12.13 13 40 14 14
12 tx a&M 12.20 16 5 17 16
13 houston 12.39 17 104 18 18
14 oregon 12.99 7 52 7 7
15 penn st 15.21 19 76 19 19
16 michigan 15.61 18 59 16 17
17 mich st 15.89 11 74 11 10
18 tx tech 16.63 20 35 21 22
19 nebraska 17.16 14 80 13 13
20 wisconsin 18.44 15 117 12 11

Week 8 - Last week QBs this week RBs

The NFL is vicious. Last week, QBs were blowing up. This week... RBs. McFadden, E. Graham, P. Hillis (though he really doesn't count because Madden warned us first), Felix Jones, Beanie Wells, Ryan Mathews, Tim Hightower, J. Addai's hamstring, Jahvid Best's concussion, and Jerome Harrison had a brain tumor. It was a rough week. I wish I made up that tumor.

Anyways, let's hope there's less carnage this week:

Manwich Matchup of the Week
New England @ Pitt - Everyone thinks Pittsburgh is good because they've been so good for the last 15 years. I don't think they are very good though. And... the Pats own the Steelers for reasons I can't comprehend. It's been like that for 10 years.
Pick: New England

Upset of the Week
Dallas @ Philly - I think this game is a toss-up... and honestly, there really aren't any other upsets to pick this week. Whoever loses this game is going to have a lot of drama.
Pick: Dallas

Opening Round Playoff Game #8
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville, Miami
Washington @ Buffalo - Well... the Bills gotta put up. I think the Redskins season is slipping away, so I hope the Bills put the Redskins into elimination!
Pick: Buff

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
SD @ KC - If only because I still can't figure out which players are going to score TDs for these teams.
Pick: SD

Other Games
INdy @ Tenn - Pick: Tenn
Jack @ Hou - Pick: Hou
Ariz @ balt - balt
NO @ STl - NO
Minny @ Car - CAR
Miami @ NYG - NYG
Det @ Denver - detroit (i'm sick of Tebow)
Cleve @ SF - SF'
Cincy @ Sea - Cincy

Last Week: 6-7
Season: 61-42
Manwich Matchup: 6-1 (My love of the chargers burned me again as they blew it against the jets)
Upset of the Week: 2-5 (The Texans beat the Titans in an "upset"; but it was not a big line).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Week 7 - QBs are twirling, twirling

The Raiders are insane. Carson Palmer is washed up... and the Raiders gave a minimum of a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pici. That's just crazy. They at least checked on Garrard, who needed back surgery. In other QB changes, the Broncos get Tebow this week, the Redskins switch from sexy Rexy to John Beck (for now), and the Vikings have already benched McNabb in favor of rookie C. Ponder.

Manwich Matchup of the Week
SD @ Jets - Both teams haven't exactly been sharp thus far. The Jets are highly unpredictable, but have looked awful enough, that I'm going with the Chargers.
Pick: SD

Upset of the Week
Houston @ Tenn - This game will go a long way to deciding who will win the AFC South... the Texans have to finally push through, right?!?
Pick: Houston

Opening Round Playoff Game #7
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona, Jacksonville
Denver @ Miami - Both teams stink. Both teams are on their 2nd QBs. The Dolphins haven't won yet and they are FAVORED this week! Ha.
Pick: Miami

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
ATL @ Detroit - should be a fun shootout, because the Falcons haven't been able to play much defense this year for some reason... they gave up 28 points to the Seahawks!
Pick: Detroit

Other Games
Wash @ CAR - CAR
Chi @ TB - TB (the most inconsistent team this year... they beat good teams, lose to bad ones, and got creamed by 40 by the 49ers)
Sea @ Cle - Sea
KC @ Oak - Oak
Pitt @ Ariz - Pitt
GB @ Minny - GB
ST. Louis @ Dallas - Dallas
Indy @ NO - NO
Balt @ Jac - Balt

Last Week: 9-3
Season: 55-34
Manwich Matchup: 6-0 (The Pats beat the Cowboys barely!)
Upset of the Week: 1-5 (The Bills fell just short against the Giants)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Skynet Championship Series: Season Six

I can't believe it's the 6th season that I've been doing this...

Skynet is back! A wise machine, Agent Smith, once said in the Matrix: “Never send a Human to do a machine’s job.” These inspiring words ring true with the BCS. The time has now come to achieve the BCS purpose – by providing OBJECTIVE rankings. I realize this may be counter to my rooting interests, but it is the only fair way to determine two teams.

So, to be clear, here’s how I devise the standings each week:
1) I take the top 20 of the BCS standings.
2) I input each of the top 20's computer standings from each of 4 computer rankings (Sagarin, Anderson, Colley-Matrix, Wolfe; the other two aren't included because they input human rankings to start and are therefore biased).
3) I let excel calculate the standard deviation for each computer ranking distribution of the top 20. Then, Excel normalizes the distribution, and fits EACH computer ranking onto a 1-20 scale.
4) Finally, the normalized-computer averages are determined (i.e. if Florida is ranked 5.76, 2.55, 2.21, 5.77 in 4 of the polls, which is an average of 4.07, which equals their SCS ranking. This means that according to the polls, they are approximately the 4th-best team in the country).

Most underrated by the humans: Ok St (wow! everyone hates them, but the computer love them.); Houston (undefeated and a ridiculous 12th in the computers, but just 22nd and 20th in the human polls); Va. Tech, Auburn, Kansas St

Most overrated by the humans: Wisconsin, Stanford, Nebraska, W. Va., Michigan St

Of course, there is a long time until the end of the season though. And remember, these are not my rankings, they are the rankings of the only objective entity in the universe... Skynet!

2011 Skynet Rankings - Week of 10/19
SCS BCS Sched Rnk Harris USA Today
1 OK St 1.07 4 8 6 6
2 Alabama 1.27 2 36 2 3
3 LSU 2.06 1 56 1 2
4 Oklahoma 2.75 3 20 3 1
5 Clemso 2.77 7 77 8 8
6 boise st 4.18 5 42 5 7
7 Kansas St 5.56 11 67 12 16
8 wisconsin 10.62 6 129 4 4
9 Arkansas 11.55 9 61 10 10
10 Stanford 11.61 8 112 7 5
11 Va tech 12.76 12 37 16 14
12 Houston 13.57 19 125 22 20
13 So. Car 13.86 14 59 13 12
14 Oregon 14.48 10 41 9 8
15 Nebraska 14.76 13 40 11 11
16 Auburn 15.24 20 24 21 23
17 Michigan 15.56 18 52 17 17
18 Texas A&M 16.10 17 2 19 18
19 W. Va. 17.32 15 78 14 14
20 Mich St. 18.18 16 88 15 13

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 6 - The Rise of Tim Tebow?

Now that it's the rise of Tim Tebow, can we start a new controversy involving Brady Quinn?

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Dallas @ New England - I think this is the kind of game Tony Romo plays unusually well in... the game against a team that he should lose to. However, I think New England will score 49 points, and Dallas will only score 42.
Pick: Pats

Upset of the Week
Buff @ NYG - Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills! I just don't believe in these Giants at all. If Seattle was scoring lots of points on them... that's just trouble.
Pick: Buff

Opening Round Playoff Game #6
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Arizona
Jacksonville @ Pitt - There really wasn't any game this week involving two shitty teams (well, Indy vs. cincy, but I think Cincy may be good and I already ousted both of those teams)
Pick: Pitt

Fantasy Football Game of Interest:
New Orleans @ Tampa - Tampa has been the most inconsistent team this year (blown out by Lions, beat the Falcons, blown out by 49ers, almost lost to the Vikings). Should be an interesting game.
Pick: New Orleans

I can't believe it's not Spam Game:
San Fran (4-1) @ Detroit (5-0) - I don't think anyone had this game being this amazing. It should be a fun game... because I still am not sure what to make out of either of these teams.
Pick: Detroit

Other Games
Philly @ Wash - Philly (this is the week they do rebound!)
CAR @ Atl - Atl
Indy @ cincy - cincy
Hous @ Balti - Balt
Cleve @ Oak - Oak
Minny @ chi - chi
Miami @ jets - Jets

Last Week: 6-7
Season: 46-31
Manwich Matchup: 5-0 (The Pats beat the Jets handily!)
Upset of the Week: 1-4 (The Bears let up two, long, costly plays against the lions)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Week 5 - Mission: Impossible

For some reason, I can't seem to figure out any of the games this week... they are all toss-ups, and I just hope I can hit the .500 mark!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Jets @ Pats - Always a big game. The Jets come in under a 2-game losing streak... a loss here puts them in yet another poor position of having to get a wildcard. It seems like the stakes are high already! However, I always believe in REVENGE.... and the Pats will be looking for some relentless, ruthless revenge after the Jets beat them in the playoffs last year.
Pick: Pats

Upset of the Week
Chicago @ Detroit - This game seems like a complete toss-up to me. The Vegas line is currently 6 points for the Lions. SIX POINTS?!? I like the Lions... but something tells me that not having Romo in there to gift-wrap a victory will have them crashing back to earth this week.
Pick: Chicago

Opening Round Playoff Game #5
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota
Arizona @ Minnesota - Well, the vikings got "eliminated" last weekend. I think this is the weekend they finally win!
Pick: Minnesota

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Philly @ Buff - Should be an interesting game... the Eagles are desperate too and the Bills have to prove that they are no fluke.
Pick: Buffalo (I don't believe in the Philly O-line or D-Line)

Other Games
KC @ Indy - Pick: Indy
Oak @ Houston - Pick: Houston
CIncy @ Jack - Cincy
Tenn @ Pitt - Tennessee
Seattle @ NYG - NYG
Tampa @ SF - Tampa
SD @ Denver - Denver
Last Week: 9-7
Season: 40-24
Manwich Matchup: 4-0 (The Texans stomped on the Steelers!)
Upset of the Week: 1-3 (The Jets were awful against the ravens)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 4 - Fumble-itis and snap counts

I really enjoyed that insane Buffalo win last weekend! I think that is one of the more memorable upsets I've picked... though I certainly had no confidence in it when the Bills were down 21-0.

I also really enjoyed the Cowboys and Redskins accusations this week that the Redskins were messing with the snap count (not allowed), and the Redskins accusations that the Cowboys are pathetic liars. Good stuff!

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Pitt @ Houston - The Texans lost a crazy shootout last week... I think this is the week that they prove they are legitimate playoff contenders!! (especially since Pitt's line is banged up)
Pick: Houston

Upset of the Week
Jets @ Ravens - The Jets are coming off a surprising loss to the Raiders... the Ravens are coming off a thrashing of the Rams where they unleased a new weapon, their 2nd-round WR, Torrie Smith, who is super-fast. Could be a decoy the rest of the season, and that alone would make him successful. I think I like the Jets in an upset this week... mainly because there are so few other upsets to pick this week!
Pick: Jets

Opening Round Playoff Game #4
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy, Cincy
Minnesota @ KC - They are both winless. The loser will be 0-4 and certainly won't make it! Who will be in more despair??? It's a tossup
Pick: Minnesota

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
New England @ Oakland -
I'm expecting a crazy shootout! Buckle up! No one plays defense in this one.
Pick: New England

Other Games
NO @ Jac - NO
Det @ Dallas - Pick: Dallas (should be an interesting game)
Bills @ Bungals - Bills
Wash @ St. Louis - St. Louis
SF @ Philly - Philly
Tenn @ Cleve - Pick: Clev
CAR @ Chi - Pick: Chi
NYG @ Ariz - NYG
Denver @ GB - GB
Miami @ SD - SD
Indy @ Tampa - Pick: Tampa
Last Week: 11-5 (hooray for respectability)
Season: 31-17
Manwich Matchup: 3-0 (The Saints beat the Texans)
Upset of the Week: 1-2 (The BIlls came through huge for me!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 3 - As usual... we don't know what's happening!

The Redskins, Lions, and Bills are all undefeated! It's a good thing I bet on that before the season began. Yeah, right. The stranger thing? I think I'm picking Bills, Lions, and Redskins to be 3-0...

Manwich Matchup of the Week
Houston @ New Orleans - Wow. The Saints have a brutal schedule to start (Green Bay, Chicago, now Houston). This is one of those games where if the Texans win... everyone in the nation will jump on their bandwagon. I just don't think they're ready for that kind of treatment yet.
Pick: New Orleans

Upset of the Week

New England @ Buffalo - The Patriots are coming off of a huge win against San Diego. The Bills are also 2-0... but honestly the Patriots defense hasn't been that great. Yes, they forced some turnovers against San Diego, but I think the Bills are going to surprise the Patriots.
Pick: Buffalo

Opening Round Playoff Game #3
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee, Indy
SF & Cincy - I realize the Bengals weren't too far away from winning last week, as well as the 49ers, but I have no faith in either of these teams. None.
Pick: SF

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
GB &
Chi - Well, outside of Houston & New Orleans it's pretty slim pickings this week in terms of amazing fantasy matchups, especially with both Philly & Dallas nursing injuries.
Pick: GB

Other Games
Detroit @ Minny - 3-0 for the lions!
Giants @ Eagles - Pick: Eagls
Jags @ Panthers - Pick: Panthers
Denver @ Titans - Pick: Titans
Miami @ Cleve - Pick: Browns
KC @ SD - Pick: SD
Baltimore @ St. Louis - Pick: BAltimore
Jets @ Oakland - Pick: Jets
GB @ Bears - Pick: Bears
ATL @ TB - Pick: ATL
Arizona @ Seattle - Pick: Arizona
Pitt @ Indy - Pick: Pitt
Washington @ Dallas - Pick: Washington

Last Week: 13-3 (hooray for respectability)
Season: 20-12
Manwich Matchup: 2-0 (The Pats beat my beloved Super-chargers)
Upset of the Week: 0-2 (The Cardinals looked good... then they blew it against the Redskins)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

NCAA conference realignments: A lesson in history, leading to a scary conclusion

I'm not as big into college football as other readers/writers on our blog. However, I've been extremely intrigued by the endless turmoil over the last 1.5 years.

I was reading an article on Yahoo which led me to an amazing, well-researched, historical piece on the , chronicling all of the insanity of the NCAA. Some of my favorite moments:
1) in 1939, freshman players at Pitt went on strike because they were getting paid less than their upperclassman teammates. "Embarrassed, the NCAA in 1948 enacted a “Sanity Code,” which was supposed to prohibit all concealed and indirect benefits for college athletes", but the 'Sanity code' was repelaed within a few years
2) In 1951, the NCAA hired Walter Byers as executive director. Then: " he lobbied a University of Kentucky dean—A. D. Kirwan, a former football coach and future university president—not to contest the NCAA’s dubious legal position (the association had no actual authority to penalize the university), pleading that college sports must do something to restore public support. His gambit succeeded when Kirwan reluctantly accepted a landmark precedent: the Kentucky basketball team would be suspended for the entire 1952–53 season. Its legendary coach, Adolph Rupp, fumed for a year in limbo."
3) At the 1951 NCAA convention, there was a vote of "161–7 to outlaw televised games except for a specific few licensed by the NCAA staff." At this time, they were more concerned that people would stay at home and not attend games (and di not realize how much moeny could be made from advertising on the broadcasts).
4) Then... "On June 6, 1952, NBC signed a one-year deal to pay the NCAA $1.14 million for a carefully restricted football package. Byers routed all contractual proceeds through his office. He floated the idea that, to fund an NCAA infrastructure, his organization should take a 60 percent cut; he accepted 12 percent that season. (For later contracts, as the size of television revenues grew exponentially, he backed down to 5 percent.) Proceeds from the first NBC contract were enough to rent an NCAA headquarters, in Kansas City. "
5) In 1961, Byers "negotiated the NCAA’s television package up to $3.1 million per football season—which was higher than the NFL’s figure in those early years."
6) "In 1981 a rogue consortium of 61 major football schools threatened to sign an independent contract with NBC for $180 million over four years. With a huge chunk of the NCAA’s treasury walking out the door, Byers threatened sanctions." However, Georgia and Oklahoma responded with an antitrust suit, which led to a landmark 1984 case. " NCAA v. Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the NCAA’s latest football contracts with television—and any future ones—as an illegal restraint of trade that harmed colleges and viewers. Overnight, the NCAA’s control of the television market for football vanished." This decision allowed the schools to each sell any games they wanted to... and perhaps more relevant to today's happenings, there was no requirement to share revenues with smaller schools.
7) Interestingly though, basketball revenue from the NCAA tourney COVERED the losses of the football revenue (because the NCAA was just taking a % cut of the football, as opposed to who knows what amount of the revenues from the NCAA tourney). "During the 1980s, income from the March Madness college basketball tournament, paid directly by the television networks to the NCAA, grew tenfold. The windfall covered—and then far exceeded—what the organization had lost from football. "
8) The touches on a lot of different topics, including the NCAA's "amateurism," and how it never has been accomplished, the fact that NFL players association gets paid $35 million per year for use of their likenesses by EA sports but college athletes themselves get paid nothing, as well as the Ed O'Bannon case, which is trying to get money paid to college athletes for use of their likenesses on jerseys, video games, etc.... but the article all culminates with one theory... the NCAA receives 95% of its revenues from the men's baksetball tournament. ... which leads to some chilling truths:
a_ "if the big sports colleges don’t need the NCAA to administer a national playoff in football, then they don’t need it to do so in basketball. In which case, they could cut out the middleman in March Madness and run the tournament themselves. Which would deprive the NCAA of close to $1 billion a year, more than 95 percent of its revenue."
b) "To alienate member colleges would be to jeopardize its own existence. Long gone are television bans and the “death penalty” sentences (commanding season-long shutdowns of offending teams) once meted out to Kentucky (1952), Southwestern Louisiana (1973), and Southern Methodist University (1987). Institutions receive mostly symbolic slaps nowadays. Real punishments fall heavily on players and on scapegoats like literacy tutors."

Which leads me to one frightening conclusion... what is stopping the 4 super conferences (I'm assuming Big East and Big 12 case to exist, or no longer get a spot at the BCS table) from breaking away from the NCAA... AND ALSO forming their own basketball tournament? Suddenly, there are millions more (or whatever it is that the NCAA keeps from that $771 million contract) for the 4 super conferences to split for themselves (ACC, Big10, Pac16, SEC16). I suppose the alternative to this scenario is that the NCAA makes a deal with the Big 4 to save itself... and continue to let the Big 4 do whatever it wants in football. What would be stopping the Big 4 from making a grab for the basketball money too? Not that I want them too, but the Big 4 could even spin it as a way for ALL of the schools to get paid MORE (with of course paying out more money to schools that go farther which, most of the time other than Butler time, is going to be a school from the Super-4).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Week 2 - I'm Really Doing picks now!

All right... a bit of a snafu last week, and that's not even counting my awful picks. Week 1 of the season is always an eye-opener as you start to get a gauge on where everyone is at.

Manwich Matchup of the Week
San Diego @ NE - I think I'm still angry about how the Pats ruined the Chargers magical 14-2 season back in like 2006. I really wish the Chargers could win, but it seems like too much to ask at this point, especially if Belichick has the Pats passing for 500 yards every game.
Pick: NE

Upset of the Week

Arizona @ Washington - The Redskins are 4.5 point favorites? I just don't get it. I'll go with Kolb and the Cardinals. Otherwise, Rex Grossman will win 2 starts in a row. Speaking of Sexy Rexy, did anyone out there have Rex Grossman (Washington), Luke McCown (Jacksonville), AND Andy Dalton (Cincy) as winning their games last week? Those were probably the 3 most questionable starters on the board and they all won!
Pick: Arizona

Opening Round Playoff Game #2
Teams already eliminated: Tennessee
Cleveland @ Indy - With the Browns choking last week against the awful Bengals, and the Colts laying a big fat egg against the Texans, I think both teams will be going for broke this week. It would seem really unlikely that either 0-2 team could make a run to the playoffs. I've got to believe in the Shurminator... he came from the future to save the Browns (or at least i hope that's what's going on).
Pick: Cleveland

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Philly @ ATL -
Vick against his old team! Plus, Michael Turner, Roddy White and all the other Falcons. Should be a fun Sunday night game for sure.
Pick: Philly

Other Games
Chicago @ New Orleans - Saints rebound
KC @ Detroit - Go Lions!
Jacksonville @ Jets - Jets keep winning
Oakland @ Buffalo - someone gets to go 2-0... I'll go with Buffalo
Baltimore @ Tenn -
Pick: Baltimore
Seattle @ Pitt -
Pick: Pitt
GB @ CAR -
Pick: GB
Tampa @ Minnesota - Not sure why minny's favored, I'll go with Tampa
Dallas @ SF - Pick: Dallas
Houston @ Miami - Pick: Houston
Cincy @ Denver - Pick: Denver
St. Louis @ Giants - Pick: Giants (both teams really banged up sadly)

Last Week: 7-9 (yowsers!)
Season: 7-9
Manwich Matchup: 1-0 (Baltimore gave Steelers a wedgie, the coach a wedgie, and the coach's son an atomic wedgie)
Upset of the Week: 0-1 (Dallas had the Jets right where they wanted them... then they blew it)

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

2010 - 159-97
Manwich: 10-8
Upset of the Week: 9-9

Friday, September 09, 2011

Week 1 of the NFL Season

I apologize for the late posting... I had Green Bay over New Orleans in the coin flip game on Thursday night... without much further ado... let's welcome the 1st week of the season!

Manwich Matchup of the Week

Pitt @ Baltimore - Since GB and New Orleans already played, and it seems cheap of me to use that as tthe Manwich game, we'll just use Pitt and Baltimore. Always a slugfest. Always injuries. Boy, I hate both of these teams. However, just for the record, both teams play the NFC West and AFC West this year, which should give each of them at least 7 wins, plus 2 wins each against the Bengals. Meaning... they are both going to the playoffs barring something crazy.
Pick: Baltimore
Upset of the Week
Dallas @ Jets - the cowboys offens is awesome... nothing like some drama for the jets to start the season!
Pick: Dallas

Opening Round Playoff Game #1
Tennessee @ Jacksonville - Not sure what to make of these teams. Tennesee has hasselbeck and a rookie qB; Jags starting a rookie Qb. who knows.
Pick: tennesseee

Fantasy Football Game of Interest
Philly @ Rams -
Vick, Bradford, some new rams WRs to pick up!
Pick: Philly

Det @ TB - TB
Buf @ KC - KC
ATL @ Chi - ATL
Indy @ Hou - Hou (should win the division sans Manning, Garrard, right?)
Cincy @ Cleve - clev
CAR @ Ariz - ariz
Minny @ SD - sd
Giants @ redskins - giants
Sea @ SF - Sea
NE @ Miami - NE
Oakland @ Denver - Oak

Next week, I'll actually take some time on this!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Congratulations MJ

I want to be the first on this blog to congratulate our resident sports enthusiastic and rage-a-holic on his wonderful wedding. Hopefully MJ will be getting some much needed R&R on his honeymoon and come back fully charged with his plethora of sports knowledge and sports rage.

Congrats Bro!

Monday, September 05, 2011

2011 NFL Preview - Back to Football, and Back to Goodell's Iron Fist

I'm excited to write yet another NFL Preview. As a warning, my previous picks are not great, by any means. In 2010, I picked Baltimore over ATL (both at least made the playoffs, and ATL was a surprise 1-seed), 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.

So... if past seasons are any indication, my PREDICTED super bowl losers (every year but 2008), end up ascending to win the Super Bowl the next season! It's a rather strange phenomenon that I wasn't aware of until just now.

AFC - I think the Pats, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, and Chargers are all HEAVY favorites to make the playoofs...

AFC East
3-New England - Another year, another 1st round exit. In 2010, it was their hated rivals, the Jets. In 2009, it was Baltimore who just thrashed the Patriots. In 2008, they somehow didn't make the playoffs. In 2007, they got upset by the Giants. It will be interesting to see what the Patriots do this year, because, as always, the only goal is to win the super bowl. Maybe less emphasis on the regular season? Not sure what the answer is, because there is no simple answer for their dilemma.
5-NY Jets - They are still bona fide contenders... but I still think the Pats can perform better over a season than the Jets.
Buffalo - Should be fun to watch at least, because QB Ryan Fitzpatrick played great in the 2nd half last year, as did WR Stevie Johnson
Miami - The QB situation is shaky, so I have to downgrade them to last place prediction.

AFC North
2- Baltimore - Added WR Lee Evans opposite WR Boldin which is an upgrade. Should be contenders all season.
6-Pittsburgh - Made the Super Bowl last year, and lost. In the last decade, only two teams (seattle, and Arizona) were able to make the playoffs the year after losing in the super bowl. The Steelers seem too good though... and barring injury, I'm guessing they'll grab the last spot.
Cleveland - Pro Bowl guard Steinbach is out for the season, and they are starting a rookie in his place. The defensive linemen have 2 rookies and another starter with few NFL experience. Plus a new coach means the Browns are still in transition.
Cincy - really in transition! Their surprise division title in 2009 seems like some kind of mythical fantasy.

AFC South
4-Houston - I'm getting suckered in once again, that this year, will finally be the year for the Texans! I'm banking on Manning's health being a major reason why (plus the Texans somehow got lucky and drew Indy for the 1st season)
Indy - It's a really bad division, and the other 2 teams drafted rookie QBs who may play this year, so the colts still get 2nd place.
Tennessee - I like Hasselbeck stepping in with RB Chris Johnson and their defense to edge out the Jags for the cellar.
Jacksonville - They spent lots of money in the offseason, but the QB situation is unsettled so I'm not sure what to expect.

AFC West
1-San Diego - The Chargers finished last year 1st in offensive yardage, 1st in defensive yardage, but had a -6 turnover differential (23rd) and gave up a bunch of return TDs, resulting in a disappointing 9-7 finish. That's pretty much worst-case scenario (in terms of turnovers and special teams), so I expect the Chargers to do big, BIG things this year!
KC - It was fun seeing them unexpectedly win the division then get creamated in the playoffs by Baltimore. Just remember that this year when they play more to their level.
Oakland - there are slight rumors of Oakland being a surprise team this year. They finished in the top-10 in offense and defense, surprisingly. Still couldn't tell you exactly what the WR depth chart is. They actually were 7-5 with QB Jason Campbell starting, who posted another 84 QB rating. He really is consistent, not great, but if he plays a little bit, Oakland can make things interesting.
Denver - Kyle Orton has been playing well, but this year, they have John Fox as the coach, so the offense won't be nearly as offensive (but the defense won't be nearly as porous).

NFC - I think Philly, GB, ATL, New Orleans are HEAVY favorites to make the playoffs. This leaves one wildcard for Chicago, Tampa, Giants, Cowboys, Lions; and one division title for the NFC West...

NFC East -
2 - Philly - Philly just went on a crazy shopping spree during the offeseason, picking up the best available DB Asomugha, the Giants best WR Steve Smith (who's recovering from a knee injury), among others. This team is downright scary, so long as Vick is healthy.
6-Cowboys - they can't be any worse than last year defensively, plus they finished the season 5-3. This is a team to watch, because offensively they are just flat out dangerous.
Giants - they had to rebuild the offensive line after dumping out 3 starters. They lost their top CB to injury. I smell lots of trouble here and the tailspin from that DeSean Jackson punt return TD that ruined their season last year looks to be irreversible.
Redskins - should be the worst team in the league with either John Beck or Rex Grossman at QB. It needs to be mentioned, John Beck wasn't able to enter practice the 1st day back because not even security recognized him!

NFC North -
3-GB - Still a very solid team. Earn a super bowl title and they were worthy of it.
Lions - If Stafford stay s healthy, this could be the surprise team of the year!
Bears - played over their heads for a division title... then got ousted by GB in the playoffs.
Vikings - McNabb is the QB temporarily which should provide shaky results.

NFC South-
1-NO- Should rebound from their sub-par showing during the season and loss to 7-9 Seattle in the playoffs.
5-ATL - Solid team still. Gave up too much for WR Julio Jones, but they clearly are in super bowl or bust mode.
TB - Young team built almost entirely through the draft. Division is brutal, so it's hard to say what their chances are of breaking through.
CAR - They hired Rob Chudzinski as offensive coordinator, who was the off. coordinator for the Browns in 2007. You know who else he brought with him? QB Derek Anderson, who had that one magic-in-a-bottle season! They claim they are starting #1 pick Cam Newton, but honestly, with just Jimmy Clausen standing in the way, we may not be that far away from seeing lots of 2007 Browns highlights!

NFC West - (last year, had a 7-9 champ!)
4- St. Louis - I fully expect Sam Bradford, reinvigorated by new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (who's now had offensive success at New England and St. Louis), to help lead the Rams to a division record with at least 8 wins. You heard it hear first!
Arizona - Could pull off a big surprise depending on how well Kolb plays with Fitzgerald and the other young WRs (Breaston is now gone too).
Seattle - I'm not sure why they signed WR Sidney Rice AND QB Tarvaris Jackson. T. Jackson is their starter now... and I'm not sure what to expect. He has 20 starts, with a 10-10 record. I'm not too optimistic though.
SF - New coach Jim Harbaugh (of the first borther combination in NFL coaching history), as is work cut out for him. He's planning on starting QB Alex Smith only temporarily.

AFC Playoffs
3- New England vs. 6- Pittsburgh - Well, here's something that will cure New England's playoff drought... the Steelers. The Pats own them for reasons I can't determine.
Pick: New England
4- Houston vs. 5-Jets - The Texans make the playoffs... but I don't think the run will last long.
Pick: Jets
1 -San Diego vs. 5-Jets - LT and Antonio Cromartie get to play their old team! Okay, seriously though, the Chargers can handle this task. I'm sure of it.
Pick: SD
2- Baltimore vs. 3 - New England - This game is a doozy. I'm sure the Pats will be fired up by their loss in 2009. I love revenge and payback!
Pick: New Engalnd

1-SD vs 3- New England - in the last decade, the Chargers have lost to the Pats twice in the playoffs. Because I love revenge, I think this is the year the Chargers break through!
Pick: SD

NFC Playoffs
3-GB vs 6- Cowboys - the packers will win a wildly entertaining game, forcing Tony Romo to puke in his mouth.
4-St Louis vs 5- ATL - An old NFC West showdown! ATL makes sure their run lasts more than one game this time.
1- NO vs. 5 - ATL - These divisional matchups are complete tossups. However, I picked ATL to lose in the super bowl last year, so they are destined for great things.
2-Philly vs. 3- GB - It's only fitting that the Eagles draw the Packers again. Last year's game went to the wire. I don't see why this would be any different, except with a new outcome.
2-Philly vs. 5-ATL - Vick vs his old team. This could fetch the highest ratings of any playoff game ever. No matter what the outcome, it sure will be a great game on both offense and defense.
Pick: ATL

Super Bowl
ATL over SD - If only because I've become self-aware that my picks are able to forecast the future! Honestly, you can make a case for any of NE, Jets, Steelers, Ravens, Chargers, Philly, GB, NO, or ATL winning the super bowl, and it would be completely reasonable!

Good luck to everyone and hope we have a great season!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Meet Your 2011 NFL Rookie Coaching Class

Nothing is more informative (and fun) than looking at the new head coaches in the NFL! The 2010 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 editions of the NFL Rookie Coaching Classes are also fun reads, if you are curious. My favorites from past editions are still Coach Mangina (Eric Mangini, class of 2006), The Whizzenator, aka nobody beats the Whizz (Ken Whisenhunt, class of 2007), and the Todd (Todd Haley, class of 2009).

After a lackluster year in 2010, where all the new coaches were actually people who already had experience, we have some new, actually first-time coaches this year.

1. Cleveland Browns- Pat Shurmur
Proposed nickname: The Shurminator

With Mike Holmgren being in charge of the Browns, this new coach obviously has to be connected to the great Holmgren coaching tree, and Shurmur was QB coach of the Eagles from 1999-2008 before being the Rams offensive coordinator for two seasons. Those weren't great seasons, though he did get to coach Sam Bradford last year, but all of the WRs got injured and he had a rookie QB, so the results were mixed. I see no way of avoiding calling this coach the Shurminator: he is a sophisticated coach, sent back in time to change the future for one lucky franchise (or so I hope). It's been a long time since I've seen American Pie, which had the original Sherminator, so here's a clip of that awesome moment.

2. Tennessee Titans - Mike Munchak
Proposed Nickname: Munchie
He's been the offensive line coach for the Titans/Oilers (yes, that long) since 1997. His Titans profile has a lot of the usual information, plus the fact that he secured regional distribution rights to Snapple and became the owner of a number of Gold Gyms in Texas.

3. Oakland Raiders - Hue Jackson
Proposed Nickname: Hue Downs
I really didn't know much about this guy. He's only 45, but he's already held 12 different coaching positions from Pacific, Cal State Fullerton, London Monarchs (yes, the defunct World League of American Football!), Arizona State, California, USC, Redskins, Bengals, Falcons, Ravens, and was the offensive coordinator for Oakland last year. Most notably, he was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins in 2003 (22nd in points, w/ Ramsey and TIM Hasselbeck starting, under Steve Spurrier), the Falcons in 2007 (29th in points, w/ Harrington, Redman, and Leftwich starting, while head coach Petrino quit midway through), and the Raiders in 2010 (6th in points, w/ Jason Campbell and Gradkowski). I don't know what to make of this guy. He's worked for some of the craziest people ever (Spurrier, Petrino, Al Davis), and installs college offenses. Last year, he was successful with it, so who knows.

4. Dallas Cowboys - Jason Garrett
Proposed Nickname: The Gunslinger
He was the interim coach, and now is finally the coach. He has been with the Cowboys since 2007 as the offensive coordinator and has seen them score lots of points. No idea what will hapen with the defense, but it should be a fun season!

5. Minnesota Vikings - Leslie Frazier
Proposed Nickname: Drebin!
He actually was a head coach once upon a time, at Trinity College from 1988-1996. He's been defensive coordinator with the Vikings since 2007, and was defensive coordinator with the Bengals from 2003-2004. With a first name of Leslie, he must carry the namesake of Leslie Nielsen from Naked Gun and be dubbed, Drebin! Lt. Frank Drebin if we are acting professional.

6. Carolina Panthers - Ron Rivera
Proposed Nickname: Ron-Ron
He was the defensive coordinator with the Bears from 2004-2006, and with the Chargers from 2008-2010. He also was a linebacker on the 1985 Bears championship team! His wife was an assistant coach in the WNBA. Love the weird facts some teams include in the bios.

7. San Francisco 49ers - Jim Harbaugh
Proposed Nickname: Captain Comeback
The most famous of the entire list, he was the coach at Stanford just from 2007-2010, after being the coach at San Diego from 2004-2006. He's had a meteoric rise. He is most famous for being a Chicago Bears QB, but I always remember him for a crazy postseason run with the Colts when he almost completed a hail mary to beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. According to wikipedia, Harbaugh and his brother John are the first brothers to be coaches in the NFL. The nickname Captain Comeback is from that ridiuclous 1995 NFL postseason run, 2 come-from behind victories, and the almost hail mary. Im open to other suggestions, such as "Little Brother Jim."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Welcome Back NFL!

I was originally going to try to do some kind of free agency preview for the NFL, but it's literally impossible with 400 free agents, plus who knows how many people are going to be salary cut victims. It could mean about 500 players changing hand, which is just preposterous... plus this is taking place over a mere 5 to 10 days.

Anyways, my favorite headlines of the first half day of free agency...

1) The Seahawks signing QB Tavaris Jackson, not Hasselbeck

2) The Seahawks signing QB Matt Leinart to reunite him with his old coach from USC. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Reggie Bush.

3) The Redskins outbidding themselves for WR Santana Moss's services... and finding out that Santana Moss is only 32, despite the fact that I thought he was 36.

4) The Eagles deciding not to re-sign ANY of their free agents! (I also have to give a shout-out to RB Jerome Harrison- please come back to Cleveland, the Browns still need a change-of-pace back, because everyone knows our bruising RB Peyton Hillis isn't going to survive the Madden curse)