Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Laugh at the 1990s With Me




Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ari Gold's Top 3 Moments

The visuals from todays podcast

3. Ari Gold Firing Compilation

2. Ari Gold declares war on Bobby Flay

It's still "Fuck Bobby Flay" over here. Check the video here.

1. Ari Gold gets Fired

Video would not let me embed, but you can watch it here. It's worth it.

Honorable Mention: Ari Gold eviscerates Josh Weinsten

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nikola Vucevic: $53 Million Dollars Richer

News broke today that the Orlando Magic re-signed C Nikola Vucevic to a 4 year/$53 million dollar contract extension. I've detailed my love for Vucevic in this space so it's no surprise that I love this deal. He's the first of Orlando's group of young guys to get an extension, so he's clearly someone Orlando feels is a building block moving forward and I agree.

He turns 24 on Friday. Let's take a look at the number of guys that have had multiple seasons of at least 13 PPG/11 RPG on 50% FG shooting before age 24.

  • Kareem Abdul Jabbar
  • Charles Barkley
  • Walt Bellamy
  • Elton Brand
  • Dwight Howard
  • Al Jefferson
  • Bob McAdoo
  • Shaquille O'Neal
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Nikola Vucevic
  • Buck Williams
Not terrible company. Only five guys in the league last season put up at least 14/11 a night: Love, Dwight, Demarcus, Aldridge and Vuc. And he did it on 12 field goal attempts a game. With Afflalo, Davis and Nelson gone from last seasons squad, I could see that number creep towards 15 or 16, and that scoring average make its way towards 17 or 18 PPG. Vuc will also find himself paired with Channing Frye, a true stretch 4, this season. I think this helps his game in a couple of ways. One, with Frye drawing another big away from the basket, Vuc will have more freedom to work around the rim where he shot 56% last season. He'll also get to work in the paint more, due to the fact that he'll have another legit shooter on the floor. Two, with Frye standing  18+ feet away from the basket, Vuc will have an opportunity to grab a couple of more boards. I could easily see a 18/12 on 53% FG type of season for him. And you gladly pay $54 mill if your 24 year old center gives you that every night.

The deal averages out to $13.5 million a year. Vuc's deal doesn't kick in until next season, but let's take a look at what some of the other centers in the league make this season:

Omer Asik: $14.8 million
Roy Hibbert: $14.8 million
Tyson Chandler: $14.5 million
Al Jefferson: $13.5 million
Derrick Favors : $12.9 million
Andrew Bogut: $12.9 million
Kevin Garnett: $12 million
Deandre Jordan: $11.4 million
Javale McGee: $11.2 million
Larry Sanders: $11 million
Tiago Splitter: $9.1 million
Kendrick Perkins $9.1 million

To be fair, a couple of these guys are in the last years of a deal. But at the same time, I wouldn't pay Kendrick Perkins $9 million dollars over the next nine seasons, damn one season. Vuc is a young center who's trajectory is headed up. With the news of the salary cap rising, this deal has a chance at being a steal in a couple of years. Especially when you see what guys like Jordan, Hibbert and Jefferson ask for next summer in free agency. Those are guys not binded by restricted free agency like Vuc was, and I expect them to shoot for the moon in their next contracts.

As much as I enjoy Vuc, he's not without his faults. He has a couple of things to work on to really make that contract look like a steal. The first, and most critical, is his protection of the rim. Simply put, he hasn't been very good at it. Opponents hit on over 56% of their shots at the rim against him, a brutal number in line with other defensive stalwarts like Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Spencer Hawes and Nikola Pekovic. By comparison, the best guys in the league over a full season, Hibbert, Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Serge Ibaka, were all under 45%. Vuc is neither the behemoths that Hibbert/Lopez or the athletes that Gibson/Ibaka are, so I wouldn't expect him to be in their territory, but him getting that number under 50% would be a big step in the right direction. Teammate Kyle O'Quin allowed about 47% conversion so hopefully he can help rub off on Vuc. That, combined with his third year in Jacque Vaughn's system, and better perimeter defenders (Payton, Oladipo, Gordon all figure to be defensive improvements over their predecessors) should help Vuc take the next step to improving his defense.

The second thing I'd like to see Vuc improve on, is his free throw trips. He got to the line just 2.4 times per game last season, progress from 1.6 per game the year prior, but he can do better. Those bigs that I mentioned earlier that averaged 14/11 along with Vuc? Love gets to the line 8 times a game. Howard? 9 times. Cousins? 8. Aldridge? 5. At the very least, you'd like to see Vuc get to the line five times a game. I think his game shifting towards the post along with an increase of touches, will help him get there. His free throw percentage has jumped from 53% to 68% to 77% in his three years in the NBA and I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit 80% this year. If he does that, 20 PPG isn't out of the question and a good deal would look that much better.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week 7 Picks

The Wildcats football team turned back into a pumpkin last night. And that's all I have to say about that. Next week, #1 Mississippi State, fresh off a bye week, pays a visit to Lexington. I actually think we'll have a decent shot, as the young Cats are undefeated at home, and should be able to pressure Heisman candidate Dak Prescott without blitzing. Either way, it should be better than a 41-3 loss where the Cats didn't turn the ball over at all and the time of possession battle was very close (UK-27, LSU-33). Just an all around beating. But again, that's all I have to say about that.


Ravens over Falcons- The Falcons just aren't very good this season. That defense can't stop anyone and the offense can't overcome it anymore. It also may be time to move on from Steven Jackson. As an opposing fan, he scares me the least of any of the Falcons RBs with the ball in his hands. Smith, Freeman and Rodgers are all more of a threat to break a big play, which the Falcons need in the worst way.

Jigskins over Titans- This will be the game Kirk Cousins goes for 328 yards, 3 TDs and runs one in that has people talking themselves into him being a better QB than a healthy Robert Griffin III. And yes, the "a healthy" is a part of Griffin's name now. I don't make the rules.

Seahawks over Rams- Because the Rams pass rush is non-existent. This shouldn't be much of a game, so let me talk a little about Percy Harvin. How does a man his size (5'10, 180) run around delivering fades like the morning paper?? He's been rumored to have been in fights with coaches at Florida and Minnesota, and teammates now in Seattle. Is he just an abnormally good fighter? Or he just knows the same shit he tries with Golden Tate isn't gonna fly with Kam Chancellor? Either way, I'm looking forward to "Harvin/Geno Smith separated during halftime skirmish" as the Seahawks go on a 6-1 run.

Browns over Jaguars- I'm starting to fear the Browns. They've won two straight, have only lost their two games this season by five combined points, have Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay as their next three games. And each week that goes by is a week closer to Josh Gordon's return.

Colts over Bengals- I don't trust this defense at all. Two straight games of allowing well over 400 total yards, one sack in both games combined and now we're down two starting linebackers (Lamur and Maualuga). That may not necessarily be a bad thing as Lamur/Maualuga have been awful this season, but replacement Vincent Rey hasn't been much better  and this will force either Jayson Dimanche/Taylor Mays onto the field more to help with depth. RG Kevin Zeitler is expected to return, which is good, but this is his first game since week two so expecting him to be in midseason form is a bit much. I think Luck carves up the secondary because our pass rush has been disappointing. Dalton has another solid game here without three of his top receivers but it won't be enough.

Bills over Vikings- Teddy Bridgewater was sacked eight times and knocked down 12 times last week against Detroit. This week he gets to go against....the team tied for second in the league in sacks. When you get a minute, comb through this. As Bill Barnwell noted, someone took the time to go through each of Vikings LT Matt Kalil's snaps this and wrote a comprehensive report on how much he's been stinking. Some of those .gifs are incredible. NFL Reddit is an amazing place. Normal Reddit is a terrifying place.

Bears over Dolphins- I don't have a single thing to say about this game.

Lions over Saints- Saints are coming off a bye and looking to turn things around. I don't think it starts here. That Detroit pass rush will be enough to keep Brees making throws before he's ready and the Lions steal another one without Calvin Johnson.

Packers over Panthers- These may be the two of the three best QBs (Rivers) in the league thus far this season squaring off. Cam played as well of a game against Cincy as I've seen him play. And he's working with absolutely nothing. Rodgers has been shifting it back into God Tier over the last couple of weeks and has had 10 days of prep time off. And he has, ya know, actual weapons.

Chiefs over Chargers- I love Gio/J. Hill, but I see guys like Branden Oliver succeed out in San Diego and just wonder if you should ever draft a RB before day three again. That Chiefs pass rush is potent, but Rivers will negate that with quick throws. Oliver has another big day, Alex Smith has an 12/23, 181 yards type of day and the Chargers win easily.

Cardinals over Raiders- Carson Palmer came back from injury and looked great against Washington. He gets another week of practice against the Raiders, and gives his former team three TDs as the Cards go to 5-1.

Cowboys over Giants- No analysis. Let's just enjoy this while it happens. If the wheels fall off, we get to laugh. If they don't, we get to watch the narrative change on Tony Romo. I'm interested either way.

Broncos over 49ers- Hey, a Sunday night game that SHOULD be a Sunday night game! Kaepernicks numbers have looked good this year, but they feel misleading to me. He's struggled hitting open guys the last two weeks and that was without Von Miller trailing him in pursuit. I like Denver at home here as Peyton Manning becomes the all time leader in passing touchdowns.

Texans over Steelers- I'm all for watching JJ Watt on national television. Even better, when he's doing it against the Steelers. There's also a slight chance, Jadeveon Clowney returns to action this week. I'm hopeful that he does. Should be a long game for Roethlisberger either way.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6 Picks + Kentucky Combine

Gotta show some love to the 5-1 Wildcats of Kentucky football. Things looked grim after a terrible start against Louisiana Monroe, but they reeled off 45 unanswered points, including two pick sixes and two touchdowns of 55+ yards. Next week the Cats head into the Bayou for a night game at LSU, and the schedule doesn't get much easier after that. Still, being one game away from bowl contention after only winning four combined games in the last two seasons feels good.

While we're talking Kentucky, I have to mention the NBA combine...I mean, televised practice Kentucky teamed up with ESPNU to televise this past Friday. That's right. I watched a team of college kids practice for two hours on Friday afternoon and I'm not ashamed AT ALL. I'm clearly biased, but I loved it. 90 NBA scouting members from all 30 teams filled the gym to watch the Cats run through a "regular practice". They also took their own measurements of players, so there shouldn't be any "Alex Poythress measured an inch shorter than listed. How will this affect his draft stock??" around the end of May. It was a controlled setting so it's hard to draw conclusions, but I still managed to pick up a couple. Imagine that.
  • Everyone is in great shape. Dakari Johnson dropped 25 pounds and it showed. He looked noticeably slimmer and looked much better getting up and down the court.
  • The Harrisons looked good. Andrew consistently beat the full court pressure of Tyler Ulis, and showed much more hustle defensively. Aaron may be the winner of the combine though. Word is, he measured around 6'7 (taller than the 6'5 I had seen him listed at ), has his vertical north of 40 inches (great news for a guy not considered an elite athlete by any means) and his shot seemed to fall with some consistency.
  • Karl Towns can really shoot. Not shoot for a big man, he can SHOOT. He nailed 78 shots in the 5 minute shooting drill, and has legit 3P range.
  • Great to see Willie Caulie-Stein and Trey Lyles on the court after they missed the Bahamas tour with injuries.
  • Tyler Ulis is going to be very good.
Now for what you really came here for. Terrible picks!

Titans over Jaguars- I'm hoping Zach Mettenberger gets the start here. Locker is still battling injuries and Charlie Whitehurst is still Charlie Whitehurst. I wanted Cincinnati to draft Mettenberger late in the draft this year and was bummed to see us go with AJ McCarron over him. I've got an eye on Mettenberger for this reason.

Bucs over Ravens- The Bucs have been on the road three straight games, and put up good efforts in the last two. They beat the Steelers two weeks ago, and lost to the Saints in OT last week after blowing an 11 point lead in the 4th quarter. I think they hold on here and knock the Ravens to 3-3. I like the limited bit of what I've seen from Mike Glennon and a Ravens defense that gave up 400+ yards last week in Indianapolis doesn't scare me.

Broncos over Jets- Geno may not be the answer in New York, but neither is Mike Vick. I don't think he gives the Jets a better chance in the short term or the long term. I rock with Geno right into a 3-13 season and top 5 pick next year. Then we get a chance to put Jameis Winston in New York media. Fun.

Vikings over Lions- It's looking like Teddy Ballgame is back for the Vikings. Which means Christian Ponder won't be playing. That's enough for me to go with Minnesota here. More than enough. 

Patriots over Bills- Jim Schwartz requesting to be carried off on the shoulders of his players and then seeing his wish come true is the story of the year in the NFL. More than Ray Rice. More than Peterson. It's Jim Schwartz requesting to be carried off on the shoulders of his players after a week 5 game that saw his team go one game above .500.

Bengals over Panthers- The injury bug is relentless. AJ Green is out with a reaggravation of turf toe, No Marvin Jones who was supposed to play last week. Tyler Eifert is still about a month away. Kevin Zeitler will probably miss this week too. The good news is that Vontaze Burfict is expected to start after missing the last two games. The Panthers have a terrible run game, which is great because we have a terrible run defense. Their line is terrible and Newton is a little banged up, so I'm hoping he has to drop back 50 times and we can get some good shots at him. On the flip side, that Panthers defense has been a far cry from last season. They haven't been able to stop the run or pass consistently, and I think that bodes well for us. I expect a lot of Gio/Hill, and wouldn't be surprised to see Gio line up at WR as a way to get both on the field at the same time and minimize the time that Tate/Sanzenbacher sees at WR. Put this next bit in stone: There will be a play where Jermaine Gresham has Luke Kuechly in a one on one situation and embarrasses him. Maybe he pancakes him on a block. Goes over top of him for a catch. Trucks him. Something to make you say, "Gresham isn't that bad". Then he's going to mess it up. He'll get called for holding after a 48 yard Gio run. Or drop the pass he shook Kuechly free to catch. And you'll say, "Tyler was right". Just you watch.

Browns over Steelers- The Browns have a great offensive line, Hoyer is doing exactly what they need him to do and they have a healthy Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate to throw in the mix. They win a low scorer over the Steelers after winning the turnover battle 2-0.

Packers over Dolphins- If Aaron Rodgers looks the way he has the past two weeks, it's going to be some time before I pick against the Packers again.

Chargers over Raiders- Cruel.

Seahawks over Cowboys- I'm tempted to pick the Cowboys here, and if this was in Dallas, I probably would. Romo and Murray are playing extremely well right now and that defense is getting by somehow. The Seahawks just got the best pro game I've seen out of Russell Wilson, and were only up 7 points with a little over 3 minutes left to go against Washington on Monday night. This should be a great game and I'm hoping for a lot of Dez vs. Sherman.

Cardinals over Redskins- Logan Thomas is not a good quarterback. He wasn't last week. He wasn't in college. The Redskins defense isn't a dominant bunch, but they should be ashamed of themselves if Thomas completes over 50% of his passes here and they dont come away with at least two turnovers.

Bears over Falcons - Ugh. The local game here. I don't really care who wins because I see both of these teams finishing 8-8 or 9-7 and just missing the playoffs. Both have "franchise QBs" who aren't quite franchise QBs, dynamic duos at WR and little else. The Bears defense is better, but they haven't shown it in the last two weeks. Though to be fair, there wasn't a defense alive stopping Rodgers in that game two weeks ago. I don't trust that Falcons defense and I damn sure don't trust that Falcons offensive line.

Giants over Eagles- The Eagles needed two TDs last from D/ST to beat a 1 win Rams team by six. Three D/ST TD's the week before composed all of their 21 points against the 49ers. The week before that, a kickoff return TD proved the difference in a 3 point win against Washington. Three weeks, six touchdowns from the Eagles defense/special teams. Maybe they are a historically great bunch at getting the ball in the endzone. Or maybe the wheels come off here with no D/ST touchdowns and things get ugly against a division rival that has won three straight games by double digits. I'm betting on the latter.

Rams over 49ers- I'm going with the upset. The Rams are at home. They've lost their last two games by a combined nine points. Austin Davis has been playing better by the week. On the flipside, the Eagles turned the ball over four times last week and didn't score a single point on offense, and San Fran only won by five points at home. The Rams have allowed the least passing yards per game in the league, and I can see them getting hold of an errant Kaepernick pass or two. 27-19 Rams. Call it a hunch.

Baseball predictions: Anyone but the Cardinals, God. Anyone at all.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 5 Picks

True to the regular season, the Tigers bullpen has melted down in spectacular fashion, and Ausmus has made some questionable decisions (like taking Sanchez out after only 2 innings).  Down 0-2 in the series.  It's not over, but they're going to have to really turn it on now if they want any chance of winning.

Great slate of games yesterday.  As you mentioned, UK pulled off a huge win over South Carolina, and I was actually able to watch it.  That was fun.
Within 5 minutes, UK beat SC and Arizona State pulled off a Hail Mary against USC.  Then Utah raced out to a lead and held on to beat UCLA.  A very good night for college football.

I took a couple weeks off from picks because I've had a terrible season picking so far.  Time to dust myself off and try again.

Bears over Panthers
With Greg Hardy out, the Panthers defense doesn't look the same.  The Bears defense doesn't look good either - particularly their run game - but the Panthers offense is hurting right now.

Titans over Browns
I guess this sounds right.

Rams over Eagles
I don't think the NFL has "figured out" Chip Kelly's offense, but I do think that their offensive line is beat up, and that Nick Foles isn't as good as he looked at times last season.  The Rams defensive line will wreak havoc and pull out a close win here at Philadelphia.

Falcons over Giants
I thought the Falcons were on their way back to the top, but they look extremely inconsistent.  I think they'll have a big game here and destroy the Giants.

Saints over Bucs
This game is in New Orleans.  Bucs lose by a lot.  A LOT.

Cowboys over Texans
I like that the Cowboys are using their running game more than they had in the past.  That's where their strength lies, anyway.   Still, there's a decent chance they'll kill Murray if they keep running him this much.

Lions over Bills
I don't put much faith in the Lions defense, but I trust them enough to think they'll beat Kyle Orton.

Colts over Ravens
Colts have been racking up points.  That'll continue here.

Steelers over Jaguars
I actually picked up the Steelers defense in fantasy this week just to be able to pick up some Jags points.  I predict it will work out well for me.

Cardinals over Broncos
In Cardinals defense I trust.

49ers over Chiefs
Although the Chiefs did put on a pretty impressive showing against the Patriots on Monday Night.  I'm no believer in the Patriots this year, but that was still quite a show.

Chargers over Jets
Philip Rivers goes nuts.

Bengals over Patriots
That Bengals defense is going to have a fantastic day.

Seahawks over Redskins
This could get ugly in a hurry.

Week 5 NFL Picks

First things first, shout out to the the 4-1 Kentucky Wildcats. The Kentucky Wildcats that have four wins already after having two ALL OF LAST SEASON. The Kentucky Wildcats that have two conference wins this season after losing 16 straight conference games (two entire seasons). The Kentucky Wildcats that should be 5-0, with a signature win in The Swamp if the below was called correctly:

The Kentucky Wildcats that are home next week against Louisiana Monroe and have a decent shot to crack the top 25 with a win, if EVERYONE in the top 25 loses again like they did this past week. What's so great about this team is how young everyone is. Kentucky Sports Radio took a look at what percentage of guys getting snaps on both sides of the ball are coming back next year and things look promising. A bright future could get brighter with a commitment from 5 star, #10 overall recruit Damien Harris expected to visit Kentucky later this month. He's from Berea and was very excited on the Twitter for UK's win last night so I'm hoping for a commitment soon. Either way, Coach Stoops has the start of something potentially great going on.


Bears over Panthers- The Panthers have looked awful these past two weeks, losing by 18 to the Steelers and 28 to the Ravens. The Bears didn't look much better after getting spanked by the Packers last Sunday. Still, they were victim to Aaron Rodgers being Aaron Rodgers. The Panthers were victim to Steve Smith SR, but not a 28 point beatings worth. The Panthers can't run the ball and have limited receiving options on offense. They can't stop the run on defense. The slide continues.

Browns over Titans- The Browns are coming off a week of rest. The Titans are coming off a week of Charlie Whitehurst starting. And now they get Jake Locker back with a bum wrist. No thank you please.

Eagles over Rams- You think the Rams can still end up with RG3? Like throw the Jigskins a conditional pick or something and hope for the best? Because I'd certainly try that, though Austin Davis hasn't looked terrible in limited time.

Giants over Falcons- The Giants are looking better by the week and the Falcons are...not. The Giants pass rush isn't but it once was but they'll be able to get home against a Falcons offensive line that had their starting TE lining up at RT last week due to injuries. Might get ugly for Matty Ice, even if the score won't reflect it.

Bucs over Saints- I'm on board with the Saints ship sinking. The best part of a terrible secondary, Jairus Byrd, is out for the season and this is New Orleans first week without him. I think Doug Martin/Bobby Rainey will be able to control the clock, Glennon will be able to hit on a deep pass or two to Jackson/Evans and full panic touches down in New Orleans.

Cowboys over Texans- Going with the home team here in what should be a good one. Romo's QB rating has gone up every week since that week 1 disaster against the 49ers, and he's even running a little bit too. Demarco Murray has rushed for all of the yards and Dez Bryant hasn't had a Dez Bryant game yet. Romo has only been touched three times in the last two weeks, so I think the Cowboys will be able to keep him upright (read: out of JJ Watt's way). Fitzpatrick hands over a pair of picks to boot.

Lions over Bills- While I haven't watched any Bills games this season (praises due), I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that EJ Manuel was benched after only 14 games. His numbers look so-so, but I've heard he's been terrible and I won't dispute that. Still, there's a reason Kyle Orton is best suited at backup. He may have a couple of decent games, but we're going to remember why he's Kyle Orton soon.

Colts over Ravens- The Colts, and Andrew Luck in particular, have looked great the past two weeks against bums. The Ravens are coming off a game where all they had to do was not mess up and let Steve Smith SR do the rest. I don't think a weak Baltimore pass rush (four sacks in as many games) will be able to slow down Luck and Trent Richa....ok, Andrew Luck.

Steelers over Jaguars- Blake Bortles has looked surprisingly (to me, at least) competent in his limited snaps. He's much more mobile than I gave him credit for and keeps his eyes downfield while avoiding the rush. Fortunately for him, the Steelers pass rush is middle of the pack. I think he'll be able to make some plays, but it won't be enough.

Broncos over Cardinals- Drew Stanton on the road against Peyton Manning. No thank you please.

Chiefs over 49ers- REVENGE FOR ALEX SMITH! I mean, not really. He got paid and took his new team to the playoffs, like Kaepernick but yeah I do think KC wins here. That defense looks like they're getting back to last years form, and I think Kaepernick puts one too many up for grabs here. Sidebar: That new 49ers stadium looks amazing.

Chargers over Jets- That Jets defense has been phenomenal, but Phillip Rivers has been phenomenal-ler.

Bengals over Patriots- I'm terrified for many reasons. Dalton in primetime. Night game in New England. Patriots won't look as bad as they looked on MNF. Burfict is doubtful. Marvin Jones had a setback in practice and is also doubtful. We can't really stop the run, but it hasn't been an issue because we get up early and teams have to pass. But there are a few things on our side, and that's why I'm going with us. The Bengals have the top ranked pass defense in the league, and Tom Brady is coming off a terrible week. Dwayne Bowe had some success against Darrelle Revis last week, which gives me hope for AJ. Brandon Browner won't be active after he was supposed to come back this week and the Patriots cut a WR that started two games for them this season. The Patriots can't stop the run, so I'm thinking Gio and Jeremy Hill can keep the chains moving. Dalton's been touched one time in three games, and hasn't been sacked at all. We already won a game without AJ on the field, so even if Revis limits his impact, I think we can manufacture points. Defensively, we can't stop the run, but the Patriots don't really run much. I can see us escaping Foxboro with something like a 24-17 victory.

Seahawks over Redskins- Lol