Wednesday, December 31, 2008
1. Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (2007)
The game itself wasn't a great one. There was nothing to be gained or lost from either team. By the second quarter, Green Bay had a big lead and the starters were pulled, meaning we got to watch Craig Nall light it up.
The experience, though, was amazing. It was my first time at Lambeau Field, which was utterly breathtaking. It had been snowing the entire week, and the game time temperature was 9 degrees (with a wind chill that took it below zero). We saw Favre throw 2 touchdown passes, which was amazing. As it turned out, it was his last regular season game at Lambeau.
Our seats were four rows back on the 50 yard line, directly behind the Lions sidelines. During the second quarter, Raiola, in a fit of anger, knocked over the Gatorade jug, leading to taunts from our section. He was offended at this, and began yelling back. It went on like this for the rest of the game. It's not often that something like that happens, so it was a lot of fun to be a part of.
We took lots of pictures and spent waaaaay too much money at the pro shop (as well as some of the other stores in the area, all carrying an assortment of Packers gear). My sister almost had full-fledged hypothermia, and my dad befriended a drunk fan with a dead coyote on his head and oven mitts coated with faux-fur on his hands.
We also enjoyed a brat in the Lambeau parking lot, which is something that everyone should try to do at least once; it was fantastic.
All in all, it was a great time. This game will probably be my number one game until the day I die.
2. Detroit Tigers at Philadelphia Phillies (1991?)
I don't really remember the exact year this was. I'm pretty sure it was in '91, but it could've been '90. I guess it doesn't really matter.
I was living in Clearwater, Florida at the time, and the Clearwater Phillies played about 15 minutes from our house. We would go see games there from time to time with my dad and grandpa.
During Spring Training, the Philadelphia Phillies would play their games there. I don't remember going to these very often, but we did go this year. The Tigers were in town.
I had been cheering for the Tigers for years, having been born just outside of Detroit. They had a great team for a number of years, but, by the time I got to the age where I started to follow them, they had fallen off a bit. The first year I can remember paying much attention was around '88 or '89.
Now it was the early 90s. They still had some of the players that led them to their championship in '84 (Whitaker and Trammell are the two that come most readily to mind), but they were quite a bit older, and their skills were starting to dimish. Sparky Anderson was still the manager, but he didn't really seemed like he enjoyed it. The last couple of years were not good years, and he seemed to age more quickly.
But still, there was something about seeing this team, with these players whose cards I had; these players that I wished I could be some day. When I saw Whitaker, Trammell and Fielder jog out for the game, there wasn't any place I'd rather be.
I don't remember who won the game (I think it was the Tigers, but I'm not positive), but I remember going, and I remember seeing my baseball idols on the field, if only for a short time. After the game, my dad took a couple baseballs that we had bought and signed "Sparky Anderson" on them.
3. Green Bay Packers at Cincinatti Bengals (2005)
The Packers lost this game. Favre threw 5 picks. It was fairly disappointing.
But it was my first Packers game, and that's why it makes the list. We were sitting in one of the end zones, and we saw Favre throw a touchdown pass into that end zone. It was quite an experience.
This also happened to be the game where a fan ran out during the final drive and stole the ball from Favre's hand. He ran down the field, holding the ball high...until a security guard laid a hit on him that took him off his feet, and sent his hat flying. Pretty entertaining.
I realized this, though; I hated most of the fans that were there. Just obnoxious people. I left that game thinking, "If I hear someone say 'Who Dey?' one more time, I'll stab them." But I guess most fans are like that.
Like I said, it wasn't the best game in the world, but, seeing as how it was my first Packers game, it makes it higher on the list than it probably deserves.
4. Anaheim Ducks at Nashville Predators (1998)
I know I know...it doesn't sound like a great game. To make things even less cool, it was a preseason game. But it was the Predators first season (I believe it was their second game ever), so that was pretty cool. Like the others, the game itself wasn't great (though the Predators won this game, 3-2), but the experience was. It was my first NHL game, and we went with a group of friends, one of whom died less than a year later, so it's a good memory.
During the course of the game, one of the people we went with began saying, "Quack, quack, quack" really loudly during relatively quiet moments, so that was good for a laugh. Also during this game, a man was hit in the head with an errant puck, producing much blood and fun.
5. Jessamine County High School playoff game (1997?)
I went to Jessamine County High School, and our football team was usually terrible. We had a quarterback that didn't know how to drop back and pass correctly, and had the worst interception-to-pass-attempt ratio I have ever seen (I think it was something like 1 interception to 4 pass attempts). For one season, the special teams and running game carried the team into the playoffs.
We went to that game hoping for the best and expecting the worst. We got the worst. The game was played during a terrible rainstorm, and the Colts (Jessamine County's mascot) got killed. I don't remember the exact score, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-7. By midway through the third quarter, just about everyone had left, leaving me and a handful of friends cheering them on. We were soaked and our team was getting killed, but I had a blast.
6. Rock River Raptors at Lexington Horsemen (2006)
So I'm doing 6. Sue me.
This has to make some sort of list, as it's the only playoff game I have ever tended that wasn't a high school game. The only reason it isn't higher is that it never really felt like a playoff game. It was pretty exciting (the Horsemen won), but it didn't have that playoff atmosphere that I really wanted. Not many people really seemed into the game; it was just something to do that night.
I'm not sure about numbers 4-6, but they were the only ones I could think of. Most of my other live games have been pretty innoccuous; a handful of Reds, Thoroughblades, Horsemen, and Legends games. They were fun, but nothing really stands out about them.
The thing that sets #3 & 5 apart are the stories that came from them. If it had not been raining so hard during that Jessamine County playoff game, I doubt I would have remembered it as I do. If I had gone to the Predators game by myself, I don't think I would've cared that much. The experience surrounding the game is what allows me to remember the game so fondly.
That's true even for my #1. Seeing a Packers game at Lambeau is truly a sight to behold...but it wouldn't have been nearly as great if I had experienced it by myself.
Wow...that sounds terribly cheesy. Too true, though.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I'm eager to hear your thoughts on Chad Johnson. I can guarantee you the Packers make the playoffs if Chad Johnson was suiting up for the Packers. There's not a doubt in my mind the Packers are at least 6-10 if Rodgers is throwing to Ocho Cinco instead of someone like Driver.
The Mangini thing caught me off guard as well. This year Brett Favre cost Mangini his job. In the Jets last four games Favre threw 2 TD's, 8 INT's and went 1-3. That win was over the Bills and due to the fingers of butterfingers of JP Losman. I ask, how does this make you feel as a Packers/Favre fan? Are you said to see him fail or smiling a bit on the inside? I couldn't be happier and really hope this leads Favre to retirement.
Please tell me you saw the story of Bradie James fighting a fan. This cracks me up on so many levels. First, the fact that the fan refused and James ended up breaking his glasses. Second the fact, that this was right outside headquarters. Some other players had to see this sign, yet did nothing. I can only imagine Pacman driving by, rolling down the window to see it, shrugging his shoulders and driving off. Also, is it time to blow that Cowboys team up? I say yes. Phillips can go, Owens can go, Roy Williams should go...both of them. Trade Tashard Choice once you get clearance on the health of Felix Jones and Marion Barber. Get rid of Pacman and Tank. Of course none of this will happen, because Jerry Jones loves the attention. There's been too many anonymous quotes leaked from that locker room. They obviously hate each other.
And what gives with anonymous quotes? For a bunch of men who claim to be tough, I've never heard more anonymous quotes not only from this Cowboys team but....well yea, pretty much from this Cowboys team. Say what you will about Joey Porter, but he says what he has to say and makes no bones about attaching his name to it.
We talked about our MVP choices a couple weeks ago, but I have to reiterate how good Ed Reed is. In a must win game against Jacksonville he had 2 interceptions and 2 more knockdowns. He led the league in INT's with 9 this year, and in the last six games, he had 8. 8 interceptions! The Ravens went 5-1 in that stretch, with only a 4 point loss to Pittsburgh. How can he not be the Most Valuable Player? I'll entertain talks of Michael Turner and even DeAngelo Williams, but I'll hear none of this Peyton Manning talk.
Still pondering those top sporting events you've seen live?
I loved your entry. Such optimism and hope! And who knows? You could be absolutely right. The Bengals could turn their program around and have a great season next year. After all, if the Falcons and Dolphins can do it in a year, why not the Bengals? Every year, half of the playoff teams didn't make it that far the previous year.
Speaking of which...
It was a frustrating year for the Packers. The Favre debacle kicked off before the season even started. By the time the season actually did start, all that was a distant memory, as the Packers started out 2-0. From there they fell apart a little, culminating in losing 5 of their final 6 games in route to a 6-10 record. Their win? Why, against the Lions of course, now considered one of the worst teams in NFL history. Congrats.
Yet, in the same way you can look back fondly on a terrible Bengals season and see hope for next year, so I can do the same with the Packers.
For starters, Rodgers looked great. Sure, there were times when he missed some throws, but for a first year starter, he was terrific. In case you were wondering, here are his stats for the year:
341-546 (63.6% Completion)
28 Touchdowns/13 Interceptions
4 Rushing Touchdowns
Those are pretty great stats, especially for a guy who had never started an NFL game before. And I still think he'll be better next year.
Even though they finished 6-10, they had a positive point differential. Take a look at this: 419 points for, 380 points against. Contrast that with the Vikings, a 10-6 team that is going to the playoffs: 379 points for, 333 points against. The Packers scored 39 more points than its opponents and finished 6-10, while the Vikings scored 46 more points than its opponents and finished 10-6. That shows that the Packers didn't finish games well (something I could've told you without quoting any stats). In most of the losses, the offense did enough to win, yet watched the defense give away the game in the final minutes. If the defense can tighten up (especially at the end of games), the Packers would've been fighting for the division instead of falling by the wayside. As I've said before, the pieces are there, it's just up to someone to get the most out of them. My pick at the moment would have to be Romeo Crennel, but I'd be open to others as well. We need a change...that much is known. I would kill to get Jim Bates back, but I just don't see it happening. It is a possibility, with the shake-up in Denver, but I won't get my hopes up.
I raise my glass in the air: to next year, where the scent of optimism is strong indeed.
On to the coaching changes.
I can understand some of this. Marinelli? Yeah...his team went 0-16 (though they did play hard, which speaks to a lack of talent rather than the fault of a coach). Crennel? You betcha. Shanahan? I can see it. It's a big move, seeing as how he's been there forever, but I'm not as surprised by it as most people seem to be. He seemed to think he was untouchable; "I'm Mike Shanahan...they can't fire me. I made this team!" He made some questionable player moves (especially on the defensive side of the ball) and he never seemed to take any blame for them. After the Broncos fade, I knew it was a distinct possibility that he would be fired, or, at the very least, stripped of his GM duties (much like Holmgren was a couple of years ago). It is by this same line of thinking that wouldn't leave me surprised if Gruden was fired.
But Mangini? That one took me by surprise.
I know they had a terrible end of the season. After their wins over the Titans and the Patriots, they seemed like a lock to make the playoffs. They went on a losing streak and ended up on the outside looking in. It's tough. I know.
But he led them to the playoffs in his first year, had a terrible second year, and just barely missed the playoffs this year. He was 23-26 in his three seasons, which isn't great, but three years is a pretty small sample size, especially considering how much the Jets wanted him just three years ago. Why wouldn't they give him another year? It's obvious that they have a good team, so a couple of small changes should set them up pretty nicely for next year. I would've held on to him for at least one more year to see what he could do.
Let's talk a hockey for 2 seconds:
If you get a chance, check out the Winter Classic on New Year's Day. The game last year was terrific, and this one promises to be great as well. The Blackhawks have a pretty good team this year, so it should be close. Plus, it's a hockey game in Wrigley Field. Who doesn't love that?
Here are my Kanye thoughts (at least at the moment): I hated the album the first couple of times I heard it. It was obnoxious and I couldn't get over the massive amounts of autotune. As I listened to it more, I realized that I liked a lot of the music. After about 7 listens, this is my conclusion: I don't hate it. There are a couple of songs I like pretty well: "Love Lockdown" and paranoid are my favorites. I like "Robo Cop" pretty well, but the repeated chorus gets on my nerves after a while. I don't think it's an album that I'll listen to very much, but I don't hate it as much as I thought, so I guess that's good.
However, his live show still leaves a lot to be desired.
This should be on Kanye's "Note to Self" list: "Learn to carry a tune in a bucket"
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Bengals finish winning 3 in a row to go 4-11-1. I’m not even mad because I got that out of my system weeks ago. Add to the fact that we have more players on IR than anyone in the league and that doesn’t even include Palmer. I also learned something else today that eases the pain. We played the toughest schedule in the league. I knew we had a tough draw but I didn’t know it was the toughest. We played only 4 games against teams with losing records and went 3-1 against them. The only loss was against the Browns and was our first game with Fitzpatrick starting. Eek. We beat the teams we were supposed to beat, came within a touchdown of beating three playoff teams (Ravens, Eagles and Giants) and lost to the rest. Not bad all things considering. We actually have a few bright spots to build on.
1. This defense finished 12th in the league in terms of total yards per game. 12th. That’s amazing considering the amount of time they spent on the field due to the league’s worst offense in terms of total yards. With a healthy Palmer and O-line, we could be in the top 10.
2. Cedric Benson. I figured we wouldn’t get much out of signing him but man was I wrong. I’ve mentioned it several times before but he runs harder than any back in the league, and he’s doing it with an awful line. In the 5 games he got at least 20 carries, we’re 4-0-1. We have to re-sign him.
3. We got some good play from young guys on our line. I am the first to admit that I am no expert on judging an offensive lineman so I go by 2 things. First, the less I hear your name, the better. If I constantly hear you getting flagged or called out by the commentators, that’s not a good thing. If I get through a game and don’t hear your name once because you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, you’re a keeper to me. Second, on 3rd and short, which side does the team run to and how often do they convert. It’s that simple with me.
4. Palmer figures to be back next year, along with the rest of our opening day starters. I heard that our opening day starters played 4 games together. Some continuity should get us a few games and the upgrade from Fitzpatrick to Palmer has to be worth at least 5 games. Seriously.
5. We figure to have an amazing amount of depth next year because of our injuries. As bad as he has played, I would like to bring Ryan Fitzpatrick back. I hope he knows he’s no starter in the league and will take a reasonable offer to come back to us next year. I know I’ve bashed him, but you will be hard pressed to find a backup in the league that knows the system, can a win a game for you, and takes reps with the first team squad. I can’t stress that last point enough because so many backups are use to working with the second team in practice, they get in with the first team in a game and don’t know what to do. You think it’d be easier playing with better players, but you grow accustomed to player’s patterns after working with him every day. Other than Jon Kitna, I can’t think of another reasonable priced backup I’d rather have.
6. Houshmandzadeh is a free agent and we could use the franchise tag on him, but I’d rather we don’t. He’s in his 30’s and we just drafted three WR’s in the last draft. Caldwell looked great today and we still have second round pick Jerome Simpson who was injured most of the season. I appreciate all he’s done with us and will wish him well should he leave for greener pastures.
7. Our schedule looks much better next season. This year we had the AFC South and NFC East who combined to go 76-51-1 and sent four teams to the playoffs. Next year we get the AFC West and NFC North who combined to go 48-80 and sent only the required two teams to the playoffs.
I know I’m probably talking myself into another disappointing season next year, but this heat is off us for at least a few years. We didn’t go 0-16.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
You know, I honestly can’t decide who I want to win between the Lions and your pack. One on hand, I always enjoy seeing history being made, but on the other hand, I kind of like this Lions team. As a Bengals fan, I’ve grown accustomed to rooting for the lovable loser. I’ve watched more of the Lions than I have of any 0-whatever team, and they have some pieces. I haven’t seen any sideline blowups at coaches or at other players. Marinelli seems to be a decent, if not insane for the,”I’m not 0-11, you’re 0-11!” quote and I won’t believe that he is the worst coach in the league. He’s cooking with the groceries he have. Matt Millen might be the worst grocery shopper in history. I think he’s too good of a coach to go 0-16. I have a hard time believing that if you switched Marinelli and Wade Phillips, that their team’s record wouldn’t be similar. Doesn’t Wade Phillips have the look of someone coaching a 0-16 team more so than Marinelli? For that reason I think the Lions pull off the upset.
Speaking of coaches, the Coach of the Year has to be either Mike Smith of the Falcons or Tony Sparano of the Dolphins. The Falcons rise has been great but they did win four times as many games as the Dolphins last year. Miami was an overtime play from being this year’s Lions so I think it has to be Sparano. Both play in competitive divisions, but I think the AFC East is a little more difficult. The Pats and competing and the Bills can be frisky when they want to. In the NFC South, the Panthers are pretty much the only competition. The Bucs have been exposed for having a terrible offense and the Saints for having a terrible defense. Has there ever been a tie for Coach of the Year?
I do enjoy Kanye’s album. I was a bit worried when I heard that AutoTune would be prominently involved, but I don’t think it overpowered the album or Kanye’s voice. “Say You Will”, “Amazin’” and “Paranoid” are probably my favorite tracks. One thing I like about all Kanye albums, is that there are never too many guest appearances. Just a couple here or there. Perhaps this is due to Kanye not wanting to put together a compilation album (The Ludacris album has at least one featured artist on every song except for two, and one is the intro) or the fact that Kanye’s arrogance and that doesn’t want to hear any voice other than his own. Whatever the case may be, I appreciate the fact he doesn’t flood the album with guests. I feel he went deeper on this album than he has on past albums, talking of all he has is material things compared to friends. 808’s wasn’t his best work but definitely a solid album. Tell me you don’t hate this one more than you hated Graduation.
Congrats on your fantasy success (read: I hate you, you lucky bastard). I’m currently duking it out for the consolation championship. I stand by my team. I had no way of knowing the Steelers line would refuse to protect Roethlisberger, Marshawn Lynch would grown content with 52 yards and a TD every week, TO would be useless other than the first and last 3 games of the season and that the Ravens would use the first ever 9 back rotation and kill McGahee’s fantasy value or that Fred Taylor passed away over the offseason and was replaced by James Taylor. Don’t get me started on Roy Williams being traded to one of the better offenses in the league and then being forgotten about. I may be more upset about my fantasy team than I am about the Bengals. Nonetheless I’m still pining for that consolation championship and ready to play again next season.
I leave you with this: What are the top 3 (Use 5 if you’ve seen enough) sporting events you have seen in person? They can be from any sport and from any level. It could per a clutch performance, the atmosphere, the seats, whatever to make it standout to you?
I thought about making picks, but with so many players sitting out, why bother? I may change my mind later.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
To be honest, I'm a little afraid that we're going to lose, and both humiliate ourselves while ruining the Lions' "perfect" season. And, judging from the last 5 weeks, this is how we will lose:
The Packers will take the lead within the final 3 minutes on a field goal. The Lions will get the ball, drive down the field on a series of long passes (probably to Calvin Johnson), and score the go-ahead touchdown with about a minute to play. On the kickoff, the returner will make a terrible decision, giving the Packers the ball inside their own 20 with 1 timeout left. Rodgers will fire a pass into coverage on first down, narrowly missing Driver on what would have been a gorgeous 25 yard completion. On second down, the ball will sail a little high to Jennings and be intercepted, sealing the game.
Just like clockwork.
Still, I like the Packers chances next year. It's obvious that we still have a great offense. Rodgers was great this year (barring a couple of games), and will continue to get better. I'm already excited to see him next year. The defense is a major problem, but it's not like we don't have the pieces to fix it. I know Harris and Woodson aren't getting any younger, but they're still playing at an extremely high level. Woodson played some games at safety this year and looked great there, too. Bigby has been injured pretty much this entire season, but if he is able to come back healthy next year, he and Collins could be a lethal safety tandem. Blackmon looked good as a returner this year, and he also did pretty well in coverage (for the most part). Barnett looked fantastic before he got injured, as did Hawk (who was playing out of position after the Barnett injury). I like Poppinga a lot, and I think Chillar could turn into a pretty solid player. Kampman is one of the better pass-rushers in the league, and a healthy Pickett/Jolly/Harrell rotation at DT would be amazing.
The pieces are there on defense. I really think the problem is the defensive coordinator. There are a number of head coaches that are former defensive coordinators that could be fired after the season. I wouldn't mind taking one of those. My two high picks would be Wade Phillips or Romeo Crennel. In fact, nothing would make me happier than to see a happy Wade Phillips on the sideline after a big defensive stop. It's looking like he may survive with the Cowboys until next year (especially if they make the playoffs), but a man can dream...can't he?
I would like to give myself a big congratulations for winning my NFL fantasy league! That's right...the Waitsian Ramblers have won the championship. And I couldn't have done it without the amazing playoff performances of DeAngelo Williams and Antonio Bryant. Clutch performances fellas.
In fact, let's take a look at my roster, which I didn't make a single change to all throughout the playoffs:
QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB: Marshawn Lynch
RB: DeAngelo Williams
RB/WR: Donald Driver
WR: Randy Moss
WR: Calvin Johnson
WR/TE: Antonio Bryant
TE: Jason Witten
K: Rob Bironas
Thanks for the memories. You lead me to my first ever fantasy championship. Let's do it again next year.
I keep forgetting to ask you: What do you think of the new Kanye album? I'll reserve my thoughts until after you have voiced yours.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I was going to make picks, but I was like, I'm not even sure you would be alive to read them. So far no real surprises, except for San Diego over Tampa Bay. I guess Greg White changing his name to Stylez G. White really affected this team more than I thought. Everyone jumps all over Chad Johnson for changing his name to Chad Ocho Cinco, but this guy can change his name to Stylez G. White and no one bats an eyelash?
I can't see how the MVP could go to anyone on the offensive side of the ball this season. I know it will just because of the offensive bias and Peyton Manning is looking the likely candidate even thought he doesn't deserve to be in the conversation. My choice is Ed Reed. The man is everywhere and seems to be good for at least a turnover a game. And if he gets his hands on the ball, there is a good chance that he's scoring with it. My second choice is Demarcus Ware. 20 sacks this season is ridiculous, and he's masking a very average secondary. Forget Romo, if they lost Ware, this team would fall apart. Third would be a tie between Harrison and Haynesworth. Both lead teams with dynamite defenses and respectable offenses but if Harrison goes down, I have a feeling they can plug in Timmons or someone else and not lose too much. Reed leads an inconsistent offense and has put up points for this team in times where they have needed it. I think Reed should get it, but if Ware/Harrison/Haynesworth got it, it would be well deserved. It's a shame Peyton or Kurt Warner will get it.
The Bengals win in a shutout. I don't care who you are playing or what you are playing for: If you can shut a team out on their home field, you deserve a pat on the back. Fitzpatrick threw 9 times and we won. Coincidence? I think not. Benson rushed for 171 yards, Leon Hall had three picks, and we actually sacked the quarterback. The Browns are terrible but a win is a win and I'll take it. I'm officially off the "If Braylon Edwards could just ___________, he'd be the best WR in the game!" bandwagon. He just doesn't have it. From the comments this week about the Browns fans under appreciating him and his 3 touchdowns, to watching this game, I can tell he just doesn't have it. Dorsey threw some lame ducks and Edwards wouldn't fight for any of them. Hall picked off one pass where Edwards jumped over Hall as he was on the ground and walked the other way. Hall then proceeded to get up and run. Edwards just doesn't care. He can't even pull the "I play when I wanna play" line, because when he wants to play he usually drops the ball and reverts back to his "I don't care" mode. What a shame.
Tubby Smith is 10-0 and is fresh off a victory over the #9 Louisville Cardinals. Billy Gillispie is 8-3 and lost to the only top ten team he faced by 19 points. I'm not saying...I'm just saying.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Cincinnati over Cleveland. They have a good thing going (by that I mean they won a game last weekend). Cleveland is looking a little worse. Also, I'm not sure if I could ever back a team that is going into the game with Ken Dorsey as its starting quarterback.
San Francisco over St. Louis. I refuse to watch NFC West Divisional match-ups.
New Orleans over Detroit. Will Brees throw for 600 yards in this game? It's a possibility.
Tennessee over Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has played some tough games over the past couple of weeks, and Tennessee desperately needs to get back to their winning ways. It'll be close, but the Titans pull this one out.
Miami over Kansas City. After last week's debacle, I don't think I'll ever take the Chiefs again while Herm Edwards is coaching.
New England over Arizona. Sure, the Cardinals would like to win this game...I just don't see it happening. Oh yeah; all this "Warner for MVP" talk needs to stop this instant.
Tampa Bay over San Diego. If Tomlinson were still with us, he would run all over this Bucs line. As it is, Rivers will have to throw more than should be necessary, and it will be their doom.
Oakland over Houston. Houston is playing well lately, so I have a tough time picking against them. For some reason, though, I see Oakland winning this game.
Buffalo over Denver. Arizona and Denver are in a dead heat for the title of worst division winner. Congrats.
New York Jets over Seattle. I have absolutely no desire to see a Seattle game. I know they're supposed to be better, but I'm not buying it. I see the Jets winning by 10.
Atlanta over Minnesota. Turner outruns Peterson.
Philadelphia over Washington. You want to talk about one of the most frustrating teams to watch in the NFL? Washington definitely has to be in the discussion, especially late in a close game. Also in the discussion? The Eagles. My point? There will be at least 7 terrible coaching decisions in this game. NFL Fever...catch it!
Carolina over New York Giants. I'm tempted to take the Giants in a rebound game, but, with the way DeAngelo Williams is running, I just can't pick against him.
Green Bay over Chicago. This is a little different from the last time they met, but, despite their record, the Packers still have a great team, and they can still beat the Bears by a healthy margin.
I mentioned the "Warner for MVP" talk a while back, and now I'd like to stop some more talk: "Peyton Manning for MVP". It's ridiculous. It has everything to do with his name and nothing to do with his performance this year. How about we give it to someone other than a quarterback. I haven't decided on a pick yet, but, with the way the Steelers defense is playing this year, I would say that someone on that squad gets it. I'm leaning towards James Harrison, but I haven't made up my mind just yet.
What say you?
(I'll finally respond to your Chad Johnson comments next time).
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Of course the one time I picked against the Bengals this season, they win. I knew it would happen. These are just a few observations I had during the game.
- Chad is actually invested in this game. He's running crisp routes, talking trash and seems genuinely interested. He got a bogus unsportsmanlike conduct call for handing the ball to Portis, but it shows he still cares. The rest of the team does as well. On Benson's 79 yard catch, TJ and Chris Henry were 80 yards down field blocking for him. They have faith in Fitzpatrick and you can tell it in his demeanor. This team is still playing for something, whether it be Marvin Lewis' job or otherwise.
-Clinton Portis checked out of the game after the second punt. He walked past Zorn shaking his head and sat on the sideline doing the same thing. He had a string of good runs later on, but he had already mentally checked out
-There is not a back in this league running harder than Cedric Benson. Barber included, even before his injury. It seems like with every run he is one block away from breaking it. He fights for tough yardage and if he had a good line, he'd rush for 1500 yards. Seriously. my only concern is that he's doing it for a contract. We have him on a one year deal and I could see him cashing in and splitting town. He's been a model citizen because he knows it may be his last chance to get a decent contract. I'd love to see him back here next year for the right price though.
-Most players but on IR in the league 23, not including Palmer. 5 total players on both sides of ball that played every game.
The Bengals have 5 players on both sides of the ball that have played every game. 5. We have 23 players on IR, which is the most in the NFL. This doesn't include Carson Palmer who won't go on IR but hasn't played in weeks. I defy Belichick or Coughlin to lose his QB and 16 other starters and remain competitive.
-Our makeshift line seems to be playing a little better than our starting line. If only we could get some consistency going.
- Chris Henry blocked 80 yards down field, caught a TD, broke up 2 INTs on bad throws by Fitzpatrick AND I didn't see him bitch at a ref all game. Good Lord, I thought I'd never read or type that sentence.
-Excellent goal line stand by Bengals in 3rd quarter holding the Skins scoreless on a first and goal. This defense isn't bad, I swear it's not. I've said for 2 seasons that our offense is a bigger problem than our defense and hopefully people are starting to see this.
It's that time again for me to eliminate some teams from true contention. This week is the Redskins in the NFC and I was ready to eliminate the Jets after they barely won after three fumbles and three picks by JP Losman, but they've been crossed off the list in previous weeks. For the AFC, I'll go with the Ravens. The Skins looked awful in a game they had to win, especially with the Eagles surging. They looked awful and are about one bad call from completely quitting on Zorn. The Ravens are a bit tougher to eliminate. They have a dynamite defense. I think Ed Reed edges out Demarcus Ware for Defensive Player of the Year. He's always around the ball, and while the play is actually in action too (I'm looking at you Ray Lewis)! He's seems to be good for a interception or fumble recovery a week, and you rarely see him miss a tackle. That offense is bad though. Flacco's not ready and they don't have a steady enough run game to compete this year. They have three seemingly competent running backs, but can't get a good rotation going. Maybe next year fellas.
This was just a random thought I had while in Memorial Coliseum yesterday. I saw the 04-05 UK Basketball team picture on the wall and was shocked at how many good players there were on that team. Rajon Rondo, Kelenna Azuibuike, Randolph Morris and Chuck Hayes are all in the NBA. Shagari Alleyne, Lukasz Obrzut and Ramel Bradley were invited to camps and got some preseason time. Joe Crawford was drafted by the Lakers and is 4th in the NBDL in scoring and has a good chance of getting called up to the NBA this year. The knock on Tubby was that he could coach but couldn't recruit. That's 8 players involved with the NBA. This doesn't include 2 Kentucky Mr. Basketballs in Josh Carrier and Brandon Stockton. That team went to the Elite Eight and lost a double overtime game to Michigan State that would have put them in the Final Four. That off season Azbuike and Morris went pro. Morris wasn't drafted and had to sit out the first half of the next season. After that season Rondo went pro. You can't put all the blame on Tubby's recruiting. Stuff happens. Tubby now pulled in Minnesota's first ever top 25 recruiting class and is 9-0. He's proving his worth as a coach and recruiter.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Bradford got the Heisman, and you'll get no arguments here. I think Tebow should have gotten it, but you can't argue with Bradford. I will point out that there is a reason the Big 12 has so many prolific offense: There is no defense. There's a reason Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Missouri and Oklahoma State are putting up big points. No one in the Big 12 plays consistent defense. Texas and Oklahoma have a few standout players but no solid units. The SEC fields better defenses and Tebow still put up great numbers. I also hear talk of Florida having a terrible defense. While it may not be an elite defense, the difference from last years D to this years D is off the charts. This squad is faster and plays with a mean streak that last years squad lacked. Using Bradford winning the Heisman as fuel, I see Florida's defense playing a lot better than people expect them to.
Now onto the picks.
Tampa Bay over Atlanta- Tampa Bay got embarrassed last week and I think they take their anger out on this Falcons team.
Washington over Cincinnati- Of course the one week I pick against the Bengals, they'll win.
St. Louis over Seattle- Wallace! Bulger! The battle for the worst team in the worst division in football is brought to you live in HD. I'm Jim Nantz and this is Phil Simms. Phil, what would you say the biggest key..."
Miami over San Francisco- If Miami wins this game, they win the division. They lose it, and they don't win the division. It's really that easy.
NYJ over Buffalo- How is Buffalo this bad? they started 4-0 and are now 6-7. What gives? NYJ wins this game by default.
Indy over Detroit- How great would it be to see the Lions win won over Peyton Manning as Manning bitches out anyone within a 10 yard radius? Extremely great to answer that question.
San Diego over Kansas City-Speaking of bad teammates who are media darlings, perhaps karma is rearing its ugly head as LT has an awful season and is probably still on the sideline watching his team lose to the Patriots last year, while someone stole his uniform for this season. Good to know karma is alive and well.
Green Bay over Jacksonville- You think Rodgers and Garrard will get together after the game and cry over awful seasons?
Tennessee over Houston- This game will be too close for comfort. Houston is legit and could be setting themselves up for winning this division next year. Seriously. Tennessee won't be this good next year. Indy is declining and Jacksonville is just awful.
Minnesota over Arizona- Minnesota can taste that division title and they need to win now because they don't know how long they will have the Williams'. Plus its the triumphant return of Tarvaris Jackson. They CAN'T lose.
Carolina over Denver- Carolina looked scary good Monday night. Like "We could beat the Giants" good. Denver needs a win to clinch the division, but they don't get it here.
Pittsburgh over Baltimore- In a game to decide the division I think that Pittsburgh defense baffles Flacco. He has never seen the likes of what Dick LeBeau will throw at him tomorrow. The Steelers win the game and the division.
New England over Oakland- Moss goes back to Oakland. New England fights for a playoff spot. Davis sucker punches Belichick. Which of those subplots are you most interested in?
NYG over Dallas- NYG needs this win to hold on to the top spot in the NFC. Dallas needs this win to keep TO from dismantling Romo on the sideline. NYG are without Plax and Jacobs. Dallas is without any semblance of sanity. Advantage NYG
Philly over Cleveland- Who was the one person in the world that thought Cleveland actually turned the corner last year and decided to give them so many night games? Philly handles them with ease.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tebow, Bradford and McCoy are the Heisman finalists. I think it's a shame that Graham Harrell wasn't at least invited seeing as he had an excellent year and is the only senior among the bunch. McCoy has looked great and deserves to be there but I don't think he's the Heisman winner this year. People talk about how he led Texas in rushing, but they fail to mention that Texas' second leading rusher didn't crack 400 yards. It's not like he was going up against a great rushing attack and came out on top. Plus he didn't make the National Championship game so I think he loses out. Bradford has been dynamite and I think a top pick in the Draft if he decides to declare. (Sidebar: I saw Todd McShay on ESPN talking about how teams, especially the Lions, are in love with Matthew Stafford. Really? I called Matt Ryan a bust, and was wrong but if Stafford goes 1st overall, he will be the biggest bust in the last decade.) Bradford lost 1 game to McCoy's Longhorns, but did his part throwing for nearly 400 yards and 5 touchdowns. Then we have Mr. Tebow. An announcer mentioned that Tebow may be the greatest college player he's seen. It seemed a bit ridiculous at first but when looking at his body of work, it's not out of the question. They don't win that title without him 2 years ago, he was the first sophomore to win the Heisman last year and now Florida is playing better than any team I remember seeing. I'd put them past the Cane's teams of the early 2000's and Leinart-Bush's USC teams just because of the discrepancy in conference play. Tebow doesn't have the passing yards McCoy or Bradford do, but it's because he was so far ahead in most of his last 9 games. He's picked his spots to run this year instead of looking for contact like he did last year, and as a result I think he's a bit fresher. I think he is the best player in college football and deserves to win this year's Heisman.
Tell me you've heard about the latest T.O. saga. Apparently TO is mad at Romo for his close relationship on and off the field. You have got to be kidding me. Can someone tell TO he has been blessed to play with Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and now Tony Romo, and has nearly ruined relationships with all except for Young, and I think it's because Young wasn't around long enough to play more than a season or two with TO. 4 Pro Bowl Quarterbacks, yet Owens still complains. Notice that all have had success without Owens, but he has yet to have success without a Pro Bowl Quarterback. How dare you even put Chad Johnson and TO in the same sentence when speaking of malcontents? Owens is allegedly mad Witten has 9 more catches, even though he has three times as many TD's as Witten. Unbelievable.
Actually, I take that back. It's quite believable when it comes to this character.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Well the Bengals looked just awful yet again. No surprises there. But from our conversation earlier, I think you’re a bit off on Chad Johnson. He is only 30 years old, not the 32 you thought he was. While 30 is hardly great for any player, but wide receivers age more gracefully than running backs. Houshmandzadeh, Moss and Owens are all older than Chad so I don’t think age is a major issue. Johnson has never hit no woman to the best of my knowledge nor has he berated coaches and demanded more coaches as Owens has. I also mentioned earlier that Houshmandzadeh leans on the refs more than any WR this side of Chris Henry, and skipped the same voluntary workouts Chad did earlier this year. Chad was rehabbing an injury, while TJ was just skipping out. Chad’s stats are way down but they are in no way due to age. They are due to being the deep threat on a team with a QB that can’t throw over 25 yards. TJ has more catches and yards, but a worse average of yards per catch and the same number of TD’s as Chad. While Chad isn’t getting the standard double coverage he usually gets, he is still taking attention away from TJ and others. Not to mention Fitzpatrick has an arm that would boost Chad Pennington’s self esteem. We talked about how good Fitzpatrick was a few years ago in spot duty for the Rams. Don't let nostalgia cloud your judgement my friend. He started 4 games and boosted a QB rating of 58.2. He had one dynamite game against a Texans team that won 2 games that season. And Fitzpatrick needed overtime to beat them! Lest we forget this Texans game let David Carr be sacked 7 times in this game and the Rams had Marshall Faulk, Steven Jackson, Torry Holt and Issac Bruce. He was taking over a team fresh off a playoff appearance, not a Bengals team in disarray. The next 3 games he threw 1 TD and 7 interceptions, including a 5 INT beauty, and loss the next 3 games to kill the Rams playoff chances. People aren’t talking about how bad Fitzpatrick is. Only about how much of a distraction Chad is. When a team is 1-11-1 there is no way one person can shoulder all of the blame. You could put golden boy Don Hutson on this team in place of Chad, and we’d be 1-11-1. I know you’re mind is made up on Chad, but I ask that you consider all the factors contributing to this season and not just that people tell you Chad is the reason for our season.
I forgot to eliminate a team from each division from serious playoff contention, so this week I’m doubling up. From the AFC, I kick out the Jets and New England. The Jets are fresh off losses to the Broncos and 49ers, fresh off defeating the Titans and Patriots. That type of inconsistency will get you nowhere in my rankings. The Patriots struggled to beat an awful Seahawks team and got smashed by Pittsburgh. And they just resuscitated Junior Seau just in time to watch him get embarrassed in coverage yesterday. I think that division is Miami’s to win. They finish out against San Francisco, Kansas City and close with the Jets, who they barely lost to in the opening week of the season.
In the NFC, I boot Chicago and Atlanta. Chicago had their chances and if I’m Lovie Smith I plant every bit of evidence I can on the Williams’ of Minnesota to get the suspension enforced. They did not, and now I think Minnesota takes that division, as I called weeks ago. In Atlanta’s case, being eliminated from the contenders is not a bad thing. I and many others expected this team to be terrible. Matt Ryan, Michael turner and Roddy White form a very formidable threesome. I even heard them compared to the Peyton Manning-Edge- Marvin Harrison trio earlier, which seems to be faint praise to me because they never won a Super Bowl together, yet I digress. I don’t know how well ATL will do next year when people see them coming, but they have hope and that’s more than they had last year at this time.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I have never made a list of my favorite athletes, and I don't think I'll start now. Although I think your list was pretty good. And I thoroughly enjoyed the dunk contest video. Just terrific stuff.
I'm a fan of Gallagher, but I don't see Phelps biting on this challenge. It's really lose-lose for him. If he wins, everyone says, "He beat a guy in so-so shape in playground sports. What's the big deal?" If he loses, it's a massive blow to him, as everyone that has been hyping him has to backtrack a little on the "greatest athlete of all-time" tag (which they should be doing anyway). Phelps stands to gain nothing from this. But, if he does end up doing it, I would love to see it televised.
I know you don't follow hockey, but have you heard about the Sean Avery thing? He has been suspended for 6 games for saying that other players in the league have been dating his "sloppy seconds", and that he found that interesting. Now, I've never been a big fan of Avery (he's extremely obnoxious, to say the least), but suspending him for 6 games? Everyone talking about how terrible it was that he said that? That he'll not be back with the Stars? This seems like a MASSIVE overreaction to me. Have Gary Bettman and Roger Goodell been hanging out recently? Whitlock wrote a pretty good article about this earlier in the week. Check it out if you get a chance. I never thought I'd see Whitlock standing up for a white hockey player.
Onto the picks:
Florida over Alabama. For the record, I never said that this game would be close. I said that I thought it would be close in the first half, but that Florida would pull away in the second half. I can see them winning this by at least 2 touchdowns. And if this doesn't put Florida in the National Championship game, I don't know what will.
Now to the NFL:
Chicago over Jacksonville. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the way the Jags got handled by the Texans...but I was. Just a terrible game.
Minnesota over Detroit. The Vikings seem to have gotten into a nice little winning groove. I don't see it stopping here. But you know what? Anything is possible.
Green Bay over Houston. By a touchdown. And I would like to say (again) that Aaron Rodgers is not the reasons for the Packers' struggles this year. Let's take a long hard look at the defense before Rodgers comes into question. He played a fantastic game last week, and it should've been enough to win. So, to all of you announcers who keep bringing it up (I'm looking directly at you, Kornheiser), you really need to stop.
Tennessee over Cleveland. You know, I wouldn't mind taking Romeo Crennel as a defensive coordinator after he gets fired in a couple of weeks.
Cincinnati over Indianapolis. I can (somehow) see this game going down to the wire, with the Bengals defense making a big play at the end of the game.
New Orleans over Atlanta. The Saints win every other week. They lost last week, so they'll win this week. I know it's not very scientific, but it's the only reason I'm picking them.
Philadelphia over New York Giants. The Eagles played them close in the first meeting, and I think they'll stop them this time. I don't know why I believe this (especially since I'm no believer in the Eagles), but I do. It's time for their traditional "too little, too late" push for the playoffs.
Kansas City over Denver. Denver won a big game against the Jets last week. If there's anything I know about the Broncos this year it is this: just when they start looking good and people start believing their amazing, they pull off a stinker of a game and lose to a lesser team.
Buffalo over Miami. Do people in Toronto actually care about football, or will it be one of those London/Mexico City games where the people in the stands are just wearing random jerseys, no matter what team they happen to be?
New York Jets over San Francisco. The Jets will be mad, and they'll take it out on the 49ers. Singletary takes off his shoes and shoves his feet into the faces of each player at halftime.
New England over Seattle. They got beat down by Pittsburgh at home. This will not end well for the Seahawks.
Arizona over St. Louis. Can we please stop the "Kurt Warner for MVP" talk now?
Pittsburgh over Dallas. The Cowboys enjoyed a brief little resurgence with Romo at quarterback. When he's laying in a bloody heap after the game, no one will remember it.
Washington over Baltimore. But I'm not really sure why.
Tampa Bay over Carolina. This could actually be a good Monday Night game. How about that?
Friday, December 5, 2008
1. Deion Sanders- My childhood hero and the source of my arrogance today. What a guy. A Hall of Fame football player, an underrated baseball player and probably the fastest person I've seen in person going from 1st to 3rd, and a surprisingly good dunker, even with the jheri curl weighing him down. Check out this dunk contest with him, Ken Griffey Junior and Mike Conley Senior. Seriously.
2. Bo Jackson- The 2nd best video game athlete in my lifetime. He's second because Tecmo Bowl came out when I was a pup and because Mike Vick changed the way I played Madden when his speed hit the 90's. A great football player, All- Star baseball player and what an actor.
3. LeBron James- I've only seen him play one sport but that's all I need. He was an all-state football player in high school and could pretty much dominate whatever sport he decides to play.
4. Allen Iverson- Another all state football player in high school and an athletic freak in how he hasn't missed at least 40 games a season with his physique and how he plays. And he can dribble a football.
5. Brian Jordan- Rarely mentioned but lest we forget he was a solid DB for the Falcons before a good career in baseball, mostly with the Cardinals.
Now for some picks.
I think Florida handles Alabama, as I've said here for weeks. A healthy Harvin would definitely help, but I don't know if they need him with Demps, Rainey, Murphy and of course Tebow. 38-21 Gators.
Missouri will give a better game than expected but Oklahoma will prove too much. 48-28 OU.
Bears over Jaguars- The Bears need this game and the Jaguars are just awful. With the looming suspensions of the Williams' in Minnesota, Chicago and GB must win every game and hope for the best.
Bengals over Colts- Feh. We could never beat them with Palmer. Let's see if Fitzpatrick works his magic. And by magic I mean looking absolutely befuddled every time a play is called in to him.
Titans over Browns- I didn't even know Ken Dorsey was still among the living. So the Browns have that going for them.
Texans over Packers- I know its in Lambeau. I know the Packers need it. But I just haven't believed in them all year and the Texans get Schaub back. Sorry fella, I think the season ends here.
Vikings over Lions- Daunte Culpepper returns to his old stomping grounds and has a hell of a game! 3 interceptions and a fumble or two. Vikes win.
Saints over Falcons- I can't predict this NFC South and I'm still not a believer in the Falcons.
Giants over Eagles- I think they'll miss Plaxy more than they know right now. They've got Hixon, Toomer, Moss, Smith, etc but all these guys are small guys. Burress ate Al Harris alive last postseason and was unstoppable in the red zone. I don't know if they have anyone that can fill that role.
Jets over Niners- "Coach, who's to blame this week?"
" I think it's quite apparent. A punky QB known as McMahon ios the reason we couldn't get our offense off the ground. He just throws his body all over the field..."
Dolphins over Bills- The Bills are done. The Dolphins are too, but the Bills are doner. Yep, doner.
Broncos over Chiefs- As soon as the Bronco's clinch the division, can we cancel every game the rest of the season involving the AFC West? Please?
Steelers over Cowboys- This was my preseason Super Bowl pick and there's still a slim chance it could happen. Both quarterbacks get sacked a startling number of times but Pitt prevails in a close one.
Patriots over Seahawks- NOW we can officially halt with the Cassel is the QB of the future talks.
Cardinals over Rams- Do you think Warner and Holt cry at midfield over what they used to have or just hug and stare at each other awkwardly remembering what was?
Redskins over Ravens- I don't get the Ravens. Great defense, but a rookie QB and a rotation of 42 running backs. They whooped up on the Bengals but that's hardly worth bragging about. I think the Skins take this one.
Panther's over Bucs-Nothing really to add, but it seems strange that Monte Kiffin would pass on a chance to be the Head Coach of a NFL team, to be an assistant to his son's college team. Maybe he's waiting for Lane to struggle out of the gates and he'll hit him over the head with a chair and resume all coaching duties. It could happen. I can only hope this man is there to announce it.
Monday, December 1, 2008
I'm not even going to get into the Bengals today. Just know that Jordan Palmer finally played and went 0-2 with an interception and was sacked. Beautiful.
Oklahoma won the right to play in the Big 12 Championship. I think Teas should be in there because they kinda beat Oklahoma head to head, but I'm happy to see Oklahoma in there. I think they thrash Missouri to make a point that they should be there. Missouri isn't going to just roll over though: They've only lost three games. Once to Oklahoma State, Texas and Kansas. Still I think Oklahoma handles them. Florida is a little banged up but I still think they handle Alabama, especially if Harvin goes. I'll go crazy if I end up with a Alabama-USC Championship somehow.
Also, how ridiculous is Texas Tech coach Mike Leach's suggestion that they break the tie by going to graduation rates, where Tech ranks first? That's almost as absurd as Plaxico Burress checking in at a New York hospital as "Harris Smith". Um, Plaxy you're 6'5, 235 and play for the World Champs. People know what you look like.
Now to roundball.
Hurrah! UK won a meaningless tournament in Las Vegas! They overcame 31 turnovers against Kansas State and 23 turnovers to West Virginia, hardly tough opponents. The point guard situation is shot to hell. In the 2 games, Michael Porter had 6 assists and 8 turnovers. Deandre Liggins had 3 assists and 5 turnovers, though most came in the West Virginia came. In the K State game, Liggins made a turnover, was pulled by Gillispie and refused to go in the game later. Meeks can't run the point because he's what my father calls a "Black Hole." You throw the ball in to him, but it's not coming back out. He had 2 assists and 14 turnovers in the 2 games as I believe he is going to attempt to win the scoring title. To his credit, his 37 against K State and clutch FT shooting against WV helped us win the game, but still a 1:7 assist to turnover ratio can't happen. Patterson had 15 shot attempts combined in both games, and hit 12 of them. Why not get this man the ball? I don't get this team.
I mentioned this to you the other day, but I still fathom it. LeBron James weighed in at 6'9, 274 pounds and 5% body fat the other day. For his athleticism, that's unreal. I have to wonder if he's getting too big though. His FG% is around 50 percent because he bullies his way to the rim, as he should, but his jumper looks a little off. He's going to need that jumper against the Celtics in the playoffs, and I have to wonder if he's getting too big and it's affecting him. I can't help but think of David Boston. A talented guy who fell in love with the idea of getting too big. I remember reading Boston was up to 260 pounds and running a 4.3. As a wide receiver! Granted, Boston had some, um, illegal help getting that big, but his knees gave out. They couldn't support that weight and it derailed a promising career. I know LeBron is young and an athletic freak, but his knee's can't hold up for 10 more years with 275 pounds going up 40 inches in the air and coming down, can they?
I know you're tired of hearing about LeBron leaving in 2010, as am I, so let's turn to Amare` Stoudemire! Face it, with all the big names, you're not going to get away from the Summer of 2010. You're just not. Amare` is a free agent then, and is upset with the Suns new offense. The offense caters to Shaq, which would be fine if this was 1998, and not 2008. This type of ball may help in the playoffs but that's a long time away and even still I don't think they get past the Lakers or Spurs. Of all the free agents, I think Amare` is most likely to leave. He's a young big man, that's always had to share the spotlight with a couple others, first in Nash and Marion, now Nash and Shaq. If they don't cater to him, he may leave marks getting out of Phoenix. They have to cater to him. He's all they've got. Nash, Shaq and Grant Hill are all old, and will be gone by 2010. If they lose Amare` they could be back at square one with nothing to show for it.
Christmas has come early my friend. That's right. JJ Redick is getting playing time. Not only minutes, but starts. With starter Mickael Pietrus and 6th man Keith Bogans out, JJ has earned some PT. And done nothing with it. The last 5 games, he's averaging 25 minutes per contest, but only 8 points a game on 11-13 shooting and only 6-19 from long range. Eek! Thank goodness he brings lock down defense to the table.
If you thought I was crazy for defending Marbury earlier, you'll think I'm nuts for this one. If the Knicks cut him lose, I'd love to have him in Orlando. We desperately need a backup PG for Jameer Nelson and I think Marbury would play his heart out just to show the Knicks he has something left. Lest we forget, Marbury is THIS close to averaging a 20-8 for his career. I'd give him a contract for the rest of the year and let him play for his next contract. I still can't understand why the Knicks aren't trading him for someone decent. His expiring contract could get them a good player.
We both talked about how bad the Jason Kidd-Devin Harris trade looked last season. It looks even worse now. This season Kidd is averaging 10 points, 8 assists, 7 boards, and is actually hitting threes this year. Not too shabby, but look at what Harris is doing: 25 ppg, 6 assists and is shooting nearly 50 %. Not to mention that 47 points he dropped on Phoenix last night. If I'm LeBron (I promise I'll stop mentioning that fateful summer), wouldn't I rather play with Devin Harris, Vince Carter (who'd be a great third option) and a competent young center in Brook Lopez, than Nate Robinson and Quentin Richardson in New York?
Update! Keeping with the basketball theme, how could I forget this gem of a song. Ladies and Gents, the musical stylings of Ron Artest. Hold your applause.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
As strange as the Burress story is and how tempted I am to make the "Burress has always had trouble with safeties" joke, I have to defend him. I've always liked him for some reason, even dating back to his days as a Spartan. Maybe its because he overcame an awful name to make something of himself. Yet I digress. In wake of the Sean Taylor and Darrent Williams killings and the home invasion and robbery of Dunta Robinson, I think athletes have a right to protect themselves. This very same thing could have happened in his home. Sean Taylor was at home sleeping when he was killed. Darrent Williams hired a limo to prevent any trouble. Dunta Robinson was in his house watching football when his house was broken into. People should stop being so hard on Burress. If you want to get on him for shooting himself, then by all means do so. But to get on him for living his life and protecting himself, seems to be a bit much.
Onto the picks.
Buffalo over San Francisco- Singletary isn't blaming people like he used to, but I'm still having fun picking random names for him to blame in an imaginary situations.
"Coach Singletary, what happened against Buffalo?"
" Our defense couldn't stop anyone, namely Napoleon Bonaparte. Once he gets a head of steam, you just hope for the best."
Cincinnati over Baltimore- Flacco! Fitzpatrick!
Indianapolis over Cleveland- Indy is making their annual run and Cleveland is stuck with Derek Anderson, weeks after benching him for an unproven Brady Quinn. This situation is kinda like running into an old hookup.
"You're....looking well these days"
Carolina over Green Bay- GB needs this more, but Carolina also needs this to keep up in that division.
Miami over St. Louis- I can see Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner going wild in this one. What's that you say? Are you sure they don't play for them anymore? Well, never mind then. Dolphins win.
Tampa Bay over New Orleans- Did you know Tampa was 8-3? I had no idea. I was expecting 6-5 ish but I was wrong. They win this one to pretty much end NO's playoff hopes.
NYG over Washington- A bit ironic that Plaxico misses a game after getting shot in the leg almost a year to the day that the same thing happened to Sean Taylor. Washington will play hard for Taylor but the Giants will prove too much.
Atlanta over San Diego- Who won that Michael Vick-LT trade between the Falcons and Chargers? Neither guys are still in the league. Say what? LT is still in the league? Well, never mind then.
New England over Pittsburgh- Enough with this "Trade Tom Brady and build around Cassell" garbage. Enough I say!
New York Jets over Denver- Old gunslinger against a young gunslinger. I predict a combined 17 INT's in this game.
Oakland over Kansas City- I look at both of these rosters and wonder why both teams aren't better. Sigh.
Minnesota over Chicago- I still think Minny wins this division and a big day from Peterson today will help them get there.
Houston over Jacksonville- Why is this the Monday Night Game? Before any of the past 2 or 3 seasons, have you ever thought, "Man I'd like to see the Jags and Texans duke it out as Hank Williams Jr. wails in the background!"? No, you haven't.
UK lost a tough game to Tennessee in which Randall Cobb was yanked for Mike Hartline of all people. We have to be the worst 6-6 team I've ever seen. After starting 4-0 against cupcakes, we went 2-6 in conference play. I hate to say it but Randall Cobb hasn't been the same since that Georgia interception. I thought he'd use it as fuel to take his game to another level, but it appears he's playing scared. He's just a freshman and still has time to bounce back but I'd really hate to see one play derail such a promising career. This whole season has been strange. How strange? Randall Cobb is second on the team in passing, rushing, receiving and punt returning. This is not high school people. Our leading receiver, Dicky Lyons, hasn't played since October 11. In the last game of the season Tony Dixon and Cobb, took over the #1 and #2 spots at leading rusher. The previous leader, Derrick Locke, hadn't played since October 18. Thank goodness the UK Basketball season has kicked off!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The "Burress accidentally shoots himself in the leg" story is automatically in my top-ten favorite stories of the year. Here's my question: why doesn't every athlete employ someone in their posse whose only job is to say, "Why don't you go see a movie instead of going to a night club?" It seems like every time something crazy happens with an athlete, the words "outside of a night club" always pop up.
I'm sitting here, watching Florida dismantle Florida State, and I just saw the new LeBron/Nike commercial. Why does Lil Wayne show up in that commercial? Does Nike sponsor him, too?
For some reason I haven't grasped, my entire post got deleted before I could post it. So, instead of making my picks with comments, I'm just going to make my picks. Sorry.
Buffalo over San Francisco
Baltimore over Cincinnati
Cleveland over Indianapolis
Green Bay over Carolina
Miami over St. Louis
Tampa Bay over New Orleans
Washington over New York Giants
Atlanta over San Diego
New England over Pittsburgh
New York Jets over Denver
Oakland over Kansas City
Minnesota over Chicago
Jacksonville over Houston
I read Simmons article. If he's right, and LeBron is leaking all this information in order to weaken all the other teams, it may be one of the smartest things an athlete has ever done to win a championship.
But I really don't want to hear about "LeBron to the Knicks" for the next 2 years. I really don't think I'll be able to handle it.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A few picks. This has to be the least excited I've ever been about Thanksgiving football ever. Two good teams play two awful teams. One mediocre team plays another mediocre team. Not to mention this weeks Monday Night game is Jacksonville vs. Houston. Feh.
Titans over Lions- Why? Why do the Lions keep getting to play here? I don't know any Lions fans. The Lions have been playing a bit more competitively as of late, but the Titans are looking for revenge. This won't be as close as the score will indicate.
Dallas over Seattle- Seattle too has looked better lately but as has Dallas. T.O. is mildly interested in the season again and I see another big game from him. How's that Roy Williams trade working out?
Philadelphia over Arizona- This could be the best of the bunch, and that's not a good thing. McNabb has to go crazy here. Has to, or its over. It being the Eagle's season and his career as an Eagle. Warner was sacked only once against the Giants. I don't think he'll have the same success against an equally dangerous team at rushing the quarterback.
Bill Simmons wrote about an intriguing theory today that I hadn't thought of. What if LeBron's people are the one's fueling the stories that he wants to leave town? Perhaps his gang is whispering in the ears of contenders to clear cap space for 2010, and therefore sabotage the next 2 seasons. This makes it easier for LeBron to get a title within the next two seasons. The Pistons are 4-5 since Iverson began suiting up making the Celtics potentially LeBron's only threat. His team is playing better this year and as Simmons' wrote, they could still bring in a player or two. How great would that be if the Knicks have tons of cap space in 2010, but have to waste in on Steve Nash and Ray Allen, also free agents that year?
Have a good Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
This week I will again eliminate two teams, one from each division, as contenders in this league. These are teams with viable shots to make the playoffs but recent performances lead me to believe they will get blasted in their first playoff game, assuming they even make it. For the AFC, it goes to the Denver Broncos. What a shame it is that they've been playing terribly and still have a 2 game lead in the division. A better team like the Ravens or Colts is going to get left out because someone has to win that AFC West division. They could have all but put away the division with a win over the lowly Raiders, but instead chose to make JaMarcus Russell look Roethlisberger-esque, going 10-11 and riding a good running game to an easy win. Maybe next year Broncos. For the NFC, I was ready to give this to the Panthers after losing to the Falcons but had a change of heart. The Green Bay Packers are the choice. I figured the game would be a high scoring one, and I even thought that would favor Green Bay because of Jennings, Driver and a superior defense. I was wrong. Brees picked your gang apart and Jason "Toast" David, even got in on the fun with two interceptions. Of GB, Chicago and Minnesota, GB has the easiest schedule, but they are also a game back. I don't know why but I still think Minnesota emerges from this division.
UK has won two straight since starting the season 0-2. Huzzah! Gillispie finally deemed it appropriate to get the ball to his best player on a consistent basis. Against Longwood last night, who started 4 guards and a 200 pound forward, Patrick Patterson had a field day. 28 points, on 12-15 shooting, 4-4 from the line, 12 boards, 6 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. We've played three teams that play extremely small, yet this is his first great game of the season. He HAS to get the ball more. Gillispie finally switched up the lineup, but it wasn't the move I was hoping for. He started Darius Miller over Ramon Harris. Miller struggled with the start, while Harris did well coming off the bench. Watching Miller, I could have told you he's best suited coming off the bench. He's a good all around player and can score on most second units with ease. Harris does well starting and I can't really see why he'd need to come off the bench. The change I was looking for was sitting Michael Porter for DeAndre Liggins. Liggins didn't exactly help his case with 3 assists and 4 turnovers, but he did hit two 3's. Porter had only 2 assists but only one turnover in his minutes. Next up is Kansas State who has 6 players averaging double digits. If this team is anything similar to the one I watched Michael Beasley play with last year, we should win easily. Then again, you can never assume wins with us anymore.
The BCS picture is getting clearer and clearer. Alabama and Florida will surely decide who plays in the National Championship. As we discussed, we both think it will be Florida. You think it will be close, but I think Florida can win this handily. Alabama beat LSU by 6, Kentucky by 3 and Georgia by 11. Florida beat those same schools by 30, 58 and 39 respectively. However Bama did beat Ole Miss, who Florida lost to. Still, I don't think Alabama has the offense to keep up.
Oklahoma beat Texas Tech, as I predicted, but I picked a close game. Oklahoma slaughtered Texas Tech. I'm really rooting for a Oklahoma-Florida National Championship at this point. but I'm not getting my hopes up and the BCS will trick us again and somehow get USC in the title game.