Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thoughts on 2 Big NHL shakeups

The First is the firing of John MacLean in New Jersey.  MacLean is a rookie NHL coach.  And let's face it, we all should have known that it would be a tough year for the Devils.  The salaries that the Devils are carrying are causing many of the problems that they are experiencing.  When 15 of your players have a Salary Cap hit of $1.5 Million or higher (and 11 of those are $3 Million or higher), you know that there isn't flexibility in setting up your roster.  The problem is the defense and Goaltending.  The defense has been porous this year.  It appears like they don't want to touch anybody, let alone get mean and nasty.  Also when your defense isn't playing well, you expect your $5 Million Goalie to start saving the bacon.  Brodeur hasn't this year.  He has the lowest SV% of all the Devil's goalies.  And none of them are above 90%.  The coaching change won't mean a thing in my opinion.  Going back to Jacques Lemaire will stop giving the players an excuse, but it won't help in the long run.  The man responsible for this is Lou Lamoriello.  He is the one that has signed all this dead weight.  Getting rid of Brian Rolston was a start at fixing this mess, but he will sit back and collect all of the $5 Million that is owed him by the Devils.  The Kovalchuk contract is an albatross around the Franchise's neck.  Basically, if you look at the history of the NHL, the Devils have become Toronto East.  They keep bringing in veterans for lots of money and that fact along with the minors not producing top line talent for the NHL team causes the salary cap problems for teams that try and stay competitive year after year by signing those veterans.  And the excuse that Lemaire would be able to teach the young players, is laughable.  MacLean was an assistant for 7 years and guided the New Jersey farm team at Lowell last season.  It appears like he should be able to coach young players.  Lamoriello is the bad man here and MacLean is the scapegoat.  I hope that the Devils continue to mire in the depths of the Eastern Conference until Lamoriello is no longer the GM of the team.

The second is Darryl Sutter resigning as GM of the Calgary Flames.  It is about time for this to happen.  The Flames have went from one of those teams that were good in the regular season and a tough out in the playoffs to a mediocre team at best.  The full rebuild that should have taken place 2 years ago might actually start now.  And the Sutter clan won't be populating the offices of the Flames past the end of this year at most.  It is time to trade Iggy and Kiprusoff at the trade deadline this year.  Get what you can for these two commodities and possibly get a good young Goalie along with 3 or 4 serviceable forwards or defensemen.  The Flames can't get much lower than they are now.  And Jay Feaster has put together a good roster before down in Tampa.  The fans of Calgary deserve better than what they have gotten over the past 3-4 years.  Now let's hope that the management team of the Flames takes the longer but more astute route of rebuilding from the ground floor up.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Path To The Postseason

Jason CampbellI would love to say that the Oakland Raiders control their own destiny and all we need is Jason Campbell and his right arm to lead us to victory. Unfortunately it’s not that simple.

The Raiders had their chances to win the AFC West division but a few things happened along the way. Sebastian Janikowski and his three missed field goals cost us a win against the Arizona Cardinals. The offense couldn’t find the end zone against the San Francisco 49ers. The inability of Michael Huff to cover anyone in the Raiders recent defeat against the Jacksonville Jaguars. There were too many times when the Raiders gave up games that they should have won and now they need the help of others to get into the postseason.

How can that happen? They can get there if they end the season as the AFC West champion. But the road to the title has a lot of twists and turns starting with this week’s schedule:

TENNESSEE TITANS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: This is the “early morning” game for us on the West Coast and it won’t be on television here in San Diego. Everyone is picking the Chiefs to win, but the Titans are still mathematically eligible for the playoffs so they’ll be fired up to compete. The Titans won both of their last two road games in Kansas City (2007 and 2008) and it’s been forever since the Chiefs have played a meaningful game in late December. If the Chiefs beat the Titans, then they will eliminate the Raiders from the playoffs since they cannot get in as one of the two AFC wildcard entries. But if the Titans pull off the upset and beat the Chiefs then that’s when things get interesting.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at OAKLAND RAIDERS: This is a “must win” game for the Raiders and the Colts are there for the taking. They have the fourth-worst defense against the run, which will allow Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, and Marcel Reece to have great games. The weather might be a factor, something that the Colts historically have problems with. There’s a 40% chance of showers in the Bay Area, and add a 10mph wind and that could wreak havoc on Peyton Manning’s passes.

SAN DIEGO CHARGERS at CINCINNATI BENGALS: The Chargers have to lose one out of their last two games to let the Raiders control their own destiny. Why not this one? Antonio Gates is out with a lingering foot injury and the rest of the wide receiver corps is banged up. The weather will be a huge factor for San Diego. The high temperature in Cincinnati will be below freezing. The wind will be howling at 15mph and there’s a 30% chance of snow showers. That’s certainly not weather the Chargers are accustomed to playing in. The Bengals are also coming off a win in which they established their running game. It’s very possible Cedric Benson could carry the Bengals to victory in this cold weather game.

It’s not a fatal blow if the Chargers win. It only means they control their own destiny in their final game against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos since the Raiders play the Chiefs next weekend. I’ll have more on that next weekend.

Assuming the Raiders win tomorrow, of course.

He Said It

"Hopefully the league can figure it out one day to go back to the situation it was in the '80s, when you had three or four All-Stars, three or four superstars, three or four Hall-of-Famers on the same team. The league was great. It wasn't as watered down as it is. You had more (All-Star) players on a team, which made almost every game anticipated -- not just a Christmas Day game, not just a Halloween game." – Miami Heat forward LeBron James, December 23, 2010.

LeBron JamesI have to preface this post by saying I can’t stand LeBron James. I firmly believe he is the most narcissistic athlete in professional sports, and when I see news items like sponsorship opportunities for his upcoming birthday party all I can do is shake my head and think this coddled man-child is Exhibit A of what is wrong with today’s professional athlete. But when he told reporters the NBA would be better off with fewer teams, I thought to myself how the NBA was back in Larry Bird and Magic Johnson’s rookie year and realized King James might be onto something.

Back in the 1979-80 season, the NBA was a twenty-two team league. Every team had at least one All-Star caliber player and it was common for even the bottom feeders to have a Hall of Famer on their roster. Even my sorry San Diego Clippers had World B. Free and Bill Walton, when healthy, in their lineup. The Detroit Pistons, who were the worst team in the league that year with a 16-66 record, boasted a lineup with Hall of Famers Bob Lanier and Bob McAdoo.

Maybe the NBA should contract up to eight teams so the bottom feeders have a chance to field a halfway decent team? Do we really need the Toronto Raptors? The Memphis Grizzlies, who failed in Vancouver? The New Orleans Hornets, who failed in Charlotte? The Los Angeles Clippers, who failed in San Diego and Buffalo? The Charlotte Bobcats? The Minnesota Timberwolves? We don’t. In fact, we didn’t need any of the expansion teams that entered the NBA after the 1979-80 season.

If I were the NBA Commissioner I’d keep the strongest 26 teams and hold a dispersal draft of the players on the other teams that would be contracted by the NBA. If that choice were up to me these are the teams that can take a hike:

  1. Charlotte Bobcats – This team is nothing more than a depository of failed first round draft picks and underachievers. The New Orleans Hornets need an owner. I’m willing to bet they would be welcomed back to Charlotte with open arms with George Shinn out of the picture.
  2. Toronto Raptors – Has this team ever been competitive? After the Leafs, Blue Jays and the CFL’s Argonauts the Raptors are an afterthought in Toronto.
  3. Los Angeles Clippers – The NBA never should have allowed Donald Sterling to buy this franchise. His twenty-six year reign of error in Los Angeles is legendary only because no one will force him to give up control of the team or sell it.
  4. Memphis Grizzlies – This team failed in Vancouver and it’s not exactly tearing up the league in Memphis. Like the Bobcats, it has no history.

Some might argue the Sacramento Kings should be on the chopping block but they have solid ownership in the Maloof Family and have had a history of success in Cincinnati, Kansas City and in Sacramento in recent years.

Which teams would you contract if you were the NBA Commissioner?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Week 16 NFL Predictions and Week 15 Results

Carolina at Pittsburgh (-12):  I cannot see taking the worst team in the NFL against one of it's elite franchises.

Dallas (-6.5) at Arizona:  Dallas is rolling this last part of the season.  To tell you how bad Arizona is this year, they have been eliminated from the NFC West.

New England (-9) at Buffalo:  The way that the Patriots played against the Packers, look for Belichick to ensure that the Bills get blown out early and the accelerator will not be let up on.

NY Jets at Chicago (-1):  The Jets have had distraction after distraction and Mark Sanchez is having problems with his throwing shoulder.  I'll take the Bears and that defense.

Baltimore (-3.5) at Cleveland:  The Ravens will know that they need to win to keep the AFC North title hopes alive.  Watch for the Defense to show up.

Washington at Jacksonville (-8):  Does Mike Shanahan know that he isn't a god?  The McNabb and Haynesworth fiascos have continued to tarnish his reputation.  The Redskins aren't a good enough team to play well with those distractions.

Tennessee (+5) at Kansas City:  I can see a real close game here.  The Titans might not win, but they will keep it close.

Detroit (+3) at Miami:  The Phins have been eliminated from the playoffs.  Look for the Lions to legitimately win a road game this year.

San Francisco (+1.5) at St Louis:  The 49ers have the better talent out of these two teams.  The pressure of playing for the Division might be too much for the Rams.

Houston (-2.5) at Denver:  Houston isn't a good team, but they are better than the Broncos, who look like they have regressed in the 2 games since McDaniels was fired.

Indianapolis (-3) at Oakland:  The Colts can taste the Division title that is out there waiting for them to grab it.  Watch them dissect the Raiders defense.

San Diego (-9) at Cincinnati:  The Bengals are self-destructing.  TO and Ochocinco have thrown Marvin Lewis under the bus.  The natives in the Jungle are restless and this will only fuel their lust for new blood.

Seattle at Tampa Bay (-7):  The Bucs are furious about having the game stolen from them last week with the phantom Pass Interference call on Kellen Winslow.  The Seahawks aren't a road warrior type of team.  Bucs big.

NY Giants at Green Bay (-2.5):  Aaron Rodgers is back for the Pack.  And who knows how the Giants respond to the choke job against the Eagles last week.  I'll take the home team and watch for the thin ice under Tom Coughlin.

Minnesota at Philadelphia (-15.5):  I see a 30 point victory by the Eagles.  And revenge will be the incentive.  Brad Childress and Andy Reid are great friends.  I'm sure that Reid thinks that Chilly got a raw deal in Minnesota this year, so he will go for the jugular.  I also predict that the Vikings quit by the middle of the 2nd Quarter.

New Orleans at Atlanta (-1):  I will take Matt Ryan and his record in Atlanta against anybody.  It will be close and nasty, but give me the Dirty Birds and they clinch the NFC South.

Record For Week 15: 62.5% Winning Percentage

Overall: 10-6 Favorites: 8-3. Road Favorites: 3-0. Home Favorites: 5-3. Underdogs: 2-3. Road Underdogs: 1-3. Home Underdogs: 1-0.

Season:  56.7% Winning Percentage

Overall Record: 125-95-3. Favorites: 83-70-2. Road Favorites: 40-25-2. Home Favorites: 43-45. Underdogs: 43-25-1. Road Underdogs: 28-20-1. Home Underdogs: 16-5.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Coaching Changes In College Football

And my take on why the new coach will or won't succeed in their new homes.

Maryland Terrapins:  If you go beyond the PR nightmare and the perception that the Maryland Athletic Department has no clue about anything after firing Ralph Friedgen with an 8-4 record this year and a Bowl game yet to be played, the Administration did themselves a favor.  Nothing against Coach Friedgen, but when your history shows that 4 out of your last 7 years are losing records, you don't have a long leash.  And I am sure that the administration was worried that he couldn't pull another 8-4 record out of his hat next year.  Add to the fact that the coach's contract is up after next year and he wants an extension at a heftier price, it makes sense to boot his ass out now.  I am also sure that the marketability of the Terps football program played a role in this.  When the bowls can choose the team that they invite from your conference and with Maryland in 3rd place in the ACC and getting bypassed until the 7th ACC school choice, the coach needs to be good and be able to get the program to look better than it does now.  And Coach Friedgen cannot do that.  If Mike Leach is the pick, then the Terps have a chance to become a sexy pick with the flinging the football around and might become a program that Bowl games want at their game.

Minnesota Golden Gophers:  After being teased by the AD saying that he was looking to make a splash with the hiring of a coach that had the stature of Tubby Smith, the fans revolted when the name Jerry Kill became the choice for Head Football coach.  And after the uproar has died down and doing some research on the new coach, I think that this is a good hire.  He has shown that he can coach in the lower levels (Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois).  He has a fast-paced offenseive scheme that will cause recruits to actually look at Minnesota.  His assistants and he are loyal to one another and I think that he can bring the Gophers back from the depths of the Big 10 into a 4th or 5th place team that every five years might have a shot at a Big 10 title.

Pittsburgh Panthers:  Um, let's start with the positives here.  Dave Wannstedt is gone.  He should have been fired a couple of years ago.  The new coach does have enthusiasm which Wannstedt didn't have.  But the replacement is almost a complete unknown.  Mike Haywood won during his 2 years at Miami (Ohio), but hasn't shown over a period of time that he can recruit or continuously have his teams playing for conference titles.  His game management skills are shaky.  The MAC Championship game against Northern Illinois showed his shakiness.  It was luck not his in game coaching that had Miami winning that title.  That said, if he can get the Pitt program that should be a national power up and feeling good about itself and playing in BCS Bowl Games, then it is a good hire.  Otherwise, it is just another young hot coach that needed more seasoning before he came to play with the big boys.

Miami Hurricanes:  The U fired Randy Shannon saying that a 28-22 record and cleaning up the cesspool that was the Miami football program wasn't what they expected.  That they expected to be playing for conference and National Championships.  The Administration has too many expectations.  Look at the programs that are playing for National Championships.  They are on the shadier side of the rules.  The firing of Shannon might have been warranted, but I wouldn't have done it.  So they bring in Al Golden from Temple.  And while Golden did good things at Temple, they are overblown in my mind.  Yes, he got Temple to a Bowl Game.  But he wasn't playing in the Big East.  He was coaching in the MAC.  And that says that yes, he can coach and even get some players to a Mid-Major school.  Now the job Golden has to do will be magnified 20 fold.  Does the "U" get back to it's glory days?  Not with this hire.

Florida Gators:  Will Muschamp is a very excited guy.  So excited that other Head Coaches that were watching his inaugural press conference at the Gator's Head Coach were texting him to tell him to settle down a little bit.  And while Urban Meyer was seen as an offensive coach, Muschamp is the architect of a BCS winning defense for Texas in 2005 and is known as a defensive guru.  He was the Longhorns' coach-in-waiting, but jumped at this chance.  Florida has youth and experience coming into this season.  31 Freshmen or Redshirted-freshmen played for the Gators last year and that experience will help with the Gators rising up back into an Elite program for the near future.  Muschamp is a great choice by the Gators and I cannot wait to see what he does with the program.  All I know is that I will be rooting for Florida's opponent each and every weekend.

And as for the other Head Coaching changes like Kent State, Indiana, Vanderbilt and others, they aren't in this discussion because they are perennial bad teams, or they aren't major college programs and I don't see any of them rising up and becoming the cram of the crop anywhere except in their own little world.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Long, Cold Winter in Packerland

I had the feeling that instead of a "Pats Are the Greatest" blog entry, I was going to write a "Fire McCarthy" entry. Two pivotal play was Flynn's pick-six where no one could tackle Arrington; and, of course, Connolly's 71-yard return near the end of the 1st half in which the Pats were able to convert and cut the lead to 17-14 at half-time. Tackle the fucker, Peprah, and don't let him rumble on for another 30 yards.

Yeah, this was Flynn's first start basically as a third year rookie, but he held on to the ball too long on those sacks. I blame McCarthy because they had the Pat's defense tired and being shredded with the ground game, and instead they throw the ball, get sacked, incompletions, and give the ball back to Brady. Then, instead of putting pressure on Brady, they sit back and allow him all day to make completions -- UUgghhh. And then, when you got 1st and goal at the 2, why line up Kuhn as the fullback and give him dive calls and then allow the corner to come in and make the play?

So I so during the game, the terrible talking heads said something about Belichick being in his 11th year of coaching the Pats and McCarthy being in his 5th. How many rings did Belichick have after 5 years? I bet you a lot more than McCarthy at the same time. McCarthy can't win the close ones. Did you see the stat about since 2008 that the Pack is the worst at loses of 8 pts or less with zero wins this season? He needs to go. Ahhh, stop me before I puke.

The Pack need to win out their last two games to make it to the playoffs. I seriously doubt that, and that will make it a long, cold winter in Packerland.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week 15 NFL Predictions and Week 14 Results

San Francisco at San Diego (-10):  I will take my chances on giving double digits to the 49ers based on the Chargers MO over the past years.

New Orleans (+1) at Baltimore:  The ravens defense has given up too many scoring drives and let teams back into games.  The Saints are 10-3 and the defending Super Bowl Champions.  They know how to play against good teams on the road.

Arizona at Carolina (-2.5):  All the numbers point to Arizona.  But I'm playing a hunch that Steve Smith calling out Jimmy Clausen last week will have the Panthers in a feisty mood.

Cleveland (+1.5) at Cincinnati:  If the Browns do fire Eric Mangini after this year, it will be without cause.  The Browns roster stinks and Mike Holmgren is showing why he was a failure in Seattle as a GM.

Washington at Dallas (+7):  Even a 5th Down couldn't get the Redskins a victory last week.  Now they play Dallas who is looking like the team we thought they would be at the beginning of the year.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-4.5):  The Jags are playing over their heads and the Colts are slumming this year.  It doesn't matter in this game though.  Watch for Manning to have a great day throwing the ball against the Jags secondary.

Buffalo (+5) at Miami:  The Dolphins season is essentially over now.  The Bills are fighting for respectability.  I can see the Bills going home with a straight out victory here.

Philadelphia at NY Giants (-2):  Both teams need this win badly.  The Eagles a little more than the Giants.  But the talent is better on the Blue sideline than the Green.  Look for the running game of the Giants to power this win.

Kansas City at St. Louis (NL):  No lines because of the uncertainty of Mat Cassel.  I say that he plays and the Chiefs regain the swagger that was missing last week in San Diego.

Detroit at Tampa Bay (-5.5):  The Lions have a Defensive Line and skill positions working for them.  It won't be enough against the Bucs that are on a Race to 10 that might not be enough to get them into the playoffs.

Houston (+1) at Tennessee:  It is starting to look like Jeff Fisher is losing the team and the support of his owner.  I don't like a team that gives up on their coach to do much.

Atlanta (-7) at Seattle:  I am going against my gut on this one and going with conventional wisdom.  Seattle usually plays well at home and the Falcons aren't great on the road.

Denver at Oakland (-7):  The Raiders offense looks good.  Now if the defense could do something, the Raiders would be in business.  The Broncos have quit and it is easy to see on the field.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh (-5.5):  It is starting to look like Matt Sanchez will be the second coming of Carson Palmer.  And that isn't a good thing.  Meanwhile the Steelers continue to roll down their schedule.

Green Bay at New England (NL):  The only question is how many points do the Packers give up.  If it is over 7, then they lose.  And I think that it will be more than 7.

Chicago at Minnesota (NL):  Take any Minnesota QB and have them face the Bears.  Not a good picture for the Purple.  The Monsters of the Midway might have the Division wrapped up after this week.

Record For Week 14: 62.5% Winning Percentage

Overall: 10-6 Favorites: 9-5. Road Favorites: 4-4. Home Favorites: 5-1. Underdogs: 1-1. Road Underdogs: 0-1. Home Underdogs: 1-0.

Season:  56.3% Winning Percentage

Overall Record: 115-89-3. Favorites: 75-67-2. Road Favorites: 37-25-2. Home Favorites: 38-42. Underdogs: 41-22-1. Road Underdogs: 27-17-1. Home Underdogs: 15-5.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Better Get Your Popcorn For This One

This is Colton Orr’s fight against Zack Stortini from last night’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Firing Line

I haven't had a rant about things that have irritated me over the past month or 2 about sports.  So I decided that after 2 incidents this past weekend that had me wanting having people get their jobs taken away, that I would post about it.

Person That Should Be Fired:  Jets Assistant Coach Sal Alosi.

The game of football is brutal and you need to keep a constant watch out for cheapshots that happen each and every game.  However, you shouldn't have to watch out for an Assistant coach on the sideline making knee-on-knee contact and possibly destroying your NFL career.  But that is exactly what happened to Dolphins Cornerback Nolan Carroll.  He was covering a punt, the 2 Jets defenders pushed him out of bounds and then the Assistant stuck his leg out to trip Carroll.  He should have been fired on Sunday night and while the NFL cannot fire him, they should suspend him for 20 games and also fine the Jets $750,000.  Might get lots of people's attention and make it known that this is not acceptable behavior from the word go.

Group That Should Be Fired:  Chain Gang From the Bucs-Redskins Football game. 

This piece of cheating almost cost the Buccaneers a victory on Sunday.  The person that had the 1st Down marker instead of extending the chains all the way, went 1 yard short.  So the Redskins achieved a 1st Down when on a 1st Down play they got 9 yards.  And the NFL is complicit in this as well.  They are saying that nothing went wrong.  Well, to the NFL and the employers of the chain gang.  Bite me.  They tried to cheat the visiting team out of a victory.  That is not acceptable.

Person That Should Be Fired:  Ed Wade

God, if I wasn't such a big Astros fan, I would be a free agent with all the mistakes that Ed Wade has made with the roster of the Astros.  I shook my head when he was made GM by Drayton McLane.  And now look at the roster that he has.  Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence are the top stars.  Michael Bourn might develop into a good leadoff player, but the infield and Pitching is in shambles.  Brett Wallace at 1st?  Manzella or Sanchez at SS?  Chris Johnson at 3B and 4 possibilities at 2B.  Nice to see that we are non-players in the Free agent market.  And after Wandy Rodriguez, the starting staff is suspect at best.   Wade should be fired and bring in a President of Baseball Operations that will hire a GM that actually knows what they are doing, before we become the Pittsburgh Pirates.

People That Should Be Fired:  NCAA President Mark Emmert, SEC Commissioner Mike Silve, Auburn AD Jay Jacobs, and Auburn Coach Gene Chizik.

All for the Cam Newton fiasco which is currently ongoing.  Emmert for not requiring the SEC to follow their own bylaws.  Silve and the Auburn poeple for not abiding by the SEC bylaws.  See the post that I did about this here.

Person That Should Be Fired:  Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford.

This is the hardest one on my list.  He made shrewd moves in the past and actually got the Hurricanes a Stanley Cup.  But now look at what the product has become over the past 3 years.  We either have no shot at the playoffs or barely squeak in.  And the surprise run to the Eastern Conference finals against the Flyers a few years ago was more luck than anything.  We have a legitimate superstar in Eric Staal and a Stanley Cup winning Goalie in Cam Ward, but there has been very little other help that we have received.  The young players still need seasoning and the veterans that they have brought in on the cheap haven't helped.  I respect Mr. Rutherford for his accomplishments, but the time has come for the Hurricanes to have a new captain in the Front Office.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The price of not having a salary cap

I feel bad for the fans of the middle and small market teams in Major League Baseball, I really do.  Am I excited about the players the Red Sox picked up at the Winter Meetings?  Absolutely.  Who wouldn't be excited to add Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their teams.  The problem is that fans of most major league teams can't even fantasize about that possibility.  In fact, they get to look forward to losing great stars like these if they came up with their franchises.
As a life-long, multi-generation Red Sox fan, I know this is the only way we can compete with the Yankees.  I'm absolutely convinced that within the constraints of a salary cap the Red Sox management more often than not would build a better team than the Yankees, who get to rely having much more money than anyone else, including the Red Sox, and that tradition of winning, a tradition that'll never end as long as they can always outspend.  They can afford to make mistakes on these huge salaries, essentially eating the cost, and just go out and buy more talent.  Don't fool yourselves into thinking the Red Sox can do that.
At least the Red Sox have the wherewithal to shoot a big wad on occasion, something most teams can't do; but they cannot afford to do it every year, make a mistake or have bad luck.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Week 14 predictions and Week 13 results

Indianapolis (-3.5) at Tennessee:  I predict that Peyton gets things turned around against the Titans.

Cleveland (+1) at Buffalo:  I think that Mangenius has the Browns pointing the right way for the future. 

Atlanta (-9) at Carolina:  The Falcons should have no problems with this game.

Green Bay (-7) at Detroit:  I like what Jim Schwartz is doing in Detroit.  That said, don't expect the Packers to be seriously challenged here.

Oakland at Jacksonville (-4):  The Raiders are still in the AFC West chase.   Unbelieveable.  After this week, I don't think they will be.

NY Giants (-2) at Minnesota:  Leslie Frazier is 2-0 as the Vikings head coach.  Now he has some real competition.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh (-9.5):  Come one, come all!  See the last four games of Marvin Lewis as Bengals head coach starting with this game against the Steelers and see the losing continue.

Tampa Bay (-2) at Washington:  Tampa is the youngest team in the league and is more talented than the Redskins.  Maybe the Haynesworth drama being over will help the Redskins, maybe not.

St Louis at New Orleans (-10):  Drew Brees should have a good day against the Rams secondary.

Seattle at San Francisco (-5.5):  Two teams that are not good but still in the NFC West title contention.  I don't like even thinking about taking Seattle on the road.

New England (-3) at Chicago:  Best team in the NFL will beat the Bears.

Denver (-4) at Arizona:  Arizona has quit on the season.  The Broncos have stopped all the drama by firing Josh McDaniels.  They should be able to win.

Miami at NY Jets (-5.5):  Imagine how  angry the Jets are since New England embarrassed them.  And the Dolphins need a good quarterback.

Kansas City at San Diego (-7):  If Matt Cassel did not have an appendectomy, I would have went with the Chiefs.  But him being out or limited means that the chargers will control this game.

Philadelphia at Dallas (+3.5):  I am starting to believe in Jason Garrett.  We will see how well he is with this game.

Baltimore (-2.5) at Houston:  The Ravens are a real dangerous team coming off a loss.  Watch for them to blow out the Texans.

Record For Week 12:

Overall: 11-5 Favorites: 6-2. Road Favorites: 2-1. Home Favorites: 4-1. Underdogs: 5-3. Road Underdogs: 4-1. Home Underdogs: 1-2.


Overall Record: 105-83-3. Favorites: 66-62-2. Road Favorites: 33-21-2. Home Favorites: 33-41. Underdogs: 40-21-1. Road Underdogs: 27-16-1. Home Underdogs: 14-5.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Hate on that, Jet fans

Just a little clinic.  Wanna see what a team that runs its mouth before accomplishing anything looks like when it starts to get its ass kicked?  See the Jets in the second half of this game.
A little tidbit stat for you.  Tom Brady just moved into 13th all time in TD passes with 252.  Do you know who he passed, as it were?  Another very fine and underrated Patriot quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, who doesn't get nearly enough credit for where this franchise is right now.
Final score:  Patriots-45 Jets-3

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Just Sweep The Chargers, Baby!

IMG_5117The graphic on the above picture says it all. Jason Campbell (pictured) led the Oakland Raiders to their second straight victory over the Los Angeles -- oops, San Diego Chargers, dealing San Diego a near death blow in their chances to win the AFC West division crown. If the Chargers don’t beat the Kansas City Chiefs next weekend, it’s all over and we’ll have a new division champion.

The Raiders are two games behind the Chiefs with four games left in the season, but they’re 4-0 against the AFC West and still have to play the Broncos and Chiefs head-to-head so it’s still a two-horse race leading up to their showdown in Kansas City on Week 17.

BOOM: Raiders rookie linebacker Rolando McClain is developing a reputation as a ferocious tackler and today he made Chargers running back Darren Sproles go “lights out” with a clean tackle late in the second quarter.

Things That Make BoSox Fans Shriek In Horror

IMG_5110I rummaged through a box of old trading cards this morning and found this button along with one for Tony Armas and Tom Seaver. Why I kept this particular one for the past quarter century and how it survived without meeting the business end of a ball pien hammer I have no idea.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Nazem Kadri Has Magic Hands, And So Does Tim Thomas

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is not only having an MVP-type season, but he may end up with one of the best seasons a goalie has ever had in my lifetime. In what would be a great effort for most goalies, Thomas had a minor hiccup and gave up two goals in regulation against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight.

After a ho-hum overtime period, both teams went to a shootout to determine the winner. Leafs rookie/superstar in training Nazem Kadri showed us what Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry meant when he said Kadri has “magic hands”.

That is one sick goal on a top flight goalie. To be fair, you *must* see this save Thomas made on Francois Beauchemin in overtime that I doubt any other NHL goalie would have made.

That was incredible! Great game by both teams.

Cam Newton Situation Is A NCAA Scandal

“If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference… such student-athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career."

That is from the SEC Bylaws.  And if you read this in plain English, it would read:

If a student or a member of their family receives or agrees to receive anything in addition to the scholarship of the student by any school of the conference, the student is ineligible to play sports in the SEC for their lifetime.

But with Auburn being on the cusp of the National title game and Newton bringing home the Heisman in a couple of weeks, neither the school or the SEC Commissioner Mike Silve is willing to do what is required of them.  That is to declare Cam Newton ineligible to play collegiate sports in the SEC for his entire life.   It is what is right and what the rules of the SEC says need to be done.  But they are worried more about the money than what is right to do for this kid and others.

And that is where the NCAA should step in.  Auburn, the SEC and the NCAA all agree that Newton's dad solicited money from Mississippi State to have his kid enroll at that university.  So what does the NCAA do?  They go to Auburn and tell them to declare Newton ineligible on a Tuesday, so they can reinstate him on Wednesday.  What?!  According to the NCAA talking point, this is routine in an investigation and happens every week in the NCAA conferences.  Really?  So why haven't we ever heard of this before?  And why do we have potential All-Americans in basketball from Kentucky and Kansas that have their eligibility cases go on month after month where they don't know what is going on, but Auburn gets this thing done at light speed? 

My personal belief is that there was actual money that changed hands here.  But it isn't from institution to a family.  It is from an institution to the governing body.  I will never be able to prove it, but I believe that Auburn has paid off the NCAA in this investigation.  I can see a wealthy booster from Auburn or a couple of boosters talking to someone in the investigation that has power and slipping him money or other things to have this blow over.  Because what happens after Auburn possibly wins the National Championship and Newton wins the Heisman doesn't matter.  Because Auburn will always have a national championship.  You can take away the trophy and strike the records, but every week for the rest of time, there will be at least one person that sees Auburn winning the National Championship for this year.  The same thing for Newton winning the Heisman.  He will always have that moment in the spotlight of winning the award, no matter what happens to him later in life.

The NCAA has put their head in the sand here and I am sure that there will be more potentially damaging things that come out about the Newton's shakedowns at Mississippi State and possibly other schools.  And I would suspect that Cam knew all about what was going on.  The NCAA might not have the rule or bylaw that would make Cam Newton ineligible to play football for the rest of the season, but they should force their member conferences to follow their bylaws.  Otherwise, why do we need the NCAA? 

And the last point that I will make is that this opens the Pandora's Box for recruiting and additional benefits for families.  If the standard for this is that the student doesn't know and he is still eligible and the family can request all of these things, then imagine a 5-Star recruit out of Florida.  The family can request cruises, cars, homes, cash, and other things and then lie to the student and it is all legal under the NCAA standard that is being shown here.  But don't actually give a kid a ride in a golf cart across campus because that will cause the kid to be ineligible.  The NCAA needs to take a hard look at their rules and figure out whether or not they are going to enforce them or just play games.  Because this situation with Cam Newton stinks to high heaven and they are the main cause.  I only hope that the NCAA makes the right decision and starts enforcing the rules on everyone.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Week 13 NFL Predictions and Week 12 Results

Houston at Philadelphia (-9.5):  Asanti Samuel appears like he will play.  That is the key to a big Eagles victory.

New Orleans (-7) at Cincinnati:  I'll take the team that has something to play for.

Chicago at Detroit (+3):  Something is telling me that the Lions come out and play the Bears real hard.

San Francisco at Green Bay (-10):  I believe that the Packers will make a statement after losing to the Falcons last week.

Denver at Kansas City (-10):  Think Josh McDaniels seat is warm now, just wait until the Broncos stumble in December.

Cleveland (+4.5) at Miami:  I am taking Payton Hillis over the Dolphins backfield and say that the Brownies keep it close.

Buffalo (+5.5) at Minnesota:  I was less than enthused about the Vikings victory last week.  I expect the same bad offense from the purple and the defense isn't facing the Redskins again this weekend.

Washington at NY Giants (-8):  Both teams have looked bad the past couple of weeks.  The talent level is so much greater on the Giants, that they are able to turn it around faster.

Jacksonville at Tennessee:  No lines on this game.  Take the Jaguars to win this game.

Oakland (+13.5) at San Diego:  I'm going out on a limb here.  The Chargers are in their 2nd half of the season juggernaut mode and the Raiders are doing the same things that they have done the past 5 years.  No way Oakland wins, but I'll say that they keep it close.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (+2):  The Bucs almost beat the Falcons in Atlanta where Matt Ryan is 19-1 as the starter.  I'll take Tampa at home and tightening up that NFC South race.

St. Louis (-3) at Arizona:  My heart wants the Cardinals to win so we possibly could have a 7-9 division winner.  The head says that the Cardinals have quit on the season.

Dallas (+5) at Indianapolis:  The Colts don't look like their usual selves and the Cowboys under Jason Garrett have impressed me.  Give me the upset.

Carolina at Seattle (+7):  The Panthers are on the road and don't really care.  The 12th Man in Seattle will be rockin'.

Pittsburgh (+2.5) at Baltimore:  Toss up on this one.  I look for the Steelers to come out and play as nasty as the Ravens.  I think Roethlisberger will be the difference in this game.

NY Jets at New England (-3.5):  Another Toss Up.  I think that Belichick wants to prove that he, not Rex Ryan is the genius in the division. 

Record For Week 12:

Overall:  9-7  Win Pct:  56.3%  Favorites:  5-6.  Road Favorites:  2-2.  Home Favorites:  3-4. Underdogs:  4-1.  Road Underdogs:  3-1.  Home Underdogs:  1-0.

Overall Record:  94-78-3.  Winning Percentage:  54.6%  Favorites:  60-60-2.  Road Favorites:  31-20-2.  Home Favorites:  29-40.  Underdogs:  35-18-1.  Road Underdogs:  23-15-1.  Home Underdogs:  13-3.  

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

That's what a great coach looks like

Even a month and a half before his death Jimmy V was ebullient in his love of life.

Just watched this on ESPN for probably the 10th time. If you've never seen this speech, it is a must-see. It is the greatest speech I've ever seen. It is profound in its courage, wisdom and hope. I dare you not to tear up and smile at the same time. The man was infectious.  Wouldn't you wish your coach or your father was like this man, someone who could help give a young person the confidence in themselves to be their best that is the rarest and most precious commodity of the human spirit.