Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just Win, Baby!

A new football season has begun in earnest this week and all that the Bison (pronounced Bizzon) is win. We here in North Dakota are proud of the little school that could. The Bison are the 2-time defending Bowl Championship Division Champions. NDSU can't get on the schedule of Big Ten teams anymore. Why? Because the Bison rise up and beat those teams on their home fields. Minnesota came up with some lame excuse not to play NDSU after getting beat by them three times in a row. The excuse was they didn't have the schedule flexibility to schedule the Bison, but yet the Golden Chokers can schedule UNLV.

The reason that I bring this up? Friday night, NDSU rolled into Manhattan, Kansas. They went there to play the Kansas State Wildcats out of the Big-12. The defending Big-12 Champions. And tonight more than half the state of North Dakota is celebrating a 24-21 win over those Wildcats. It wasn't a typical win for the Bison. They fell behind by 14 points to the Wildcats and clawed their way back to within 4 points and then went on a 18 play, 80 yard drive that took 8 and a half minutes, with the QB scoring on a busted running play with 28 seconds left in the game.

Al Davis had the saying "Just Win, Baby!" That is what NDSU is doing right now. We fans are sky high and expecting our annual trip to Frisco, TX for the Championship game. There are fans saying it will be an undefeated season already. I'm not that far over the moon yet, but I am expecting an appearance in Frisco at the very least. I am also expecting some difficulty in the Bison scheduling teams from the major BCS conferences in the future. Why? They are good enough to beat those teams that aren't on top of their game and they will give a fight to those teams that are on top of their game.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Brent's NFL Picks

My predictions are usually wrong. That is the easiest way to put it. So let's see how I perform this year. I am sure that when the season is over, that there will be some things that I say here that will seem real stupid.

1. New England - There is not a team in this division that should even come close.
2. Buffalo - I am convinced that the talent is there to have the Bills in the Wildcard hunt.
3. Miami - I am not convinced that the Free Agents will gel for the Phins.
4. NY Jets - A coin flip between them and the Raiders for the worst team in the NFL.

1. Cincinnati - The Bengals could be a sleeper team to make the Super Bowl with the talent that they have.
2. Baltimore - The defending Champs shouldn't have much of a fall-off after a hectic off-season.
3. Pittsburgh - The Steelers are rebuilding, not reloading.
4. Cleveland - Somethings never change in the World, the Browns in last of the AFC North is one of them.

1. Houston - Can they figure out how to have playoff success this year?
2. Indianapolis - They could be good, they could be bad. I believe more towards the good.
3. Tennessee - They have Chris Johnson and play in the same division as the Jags. Good enough for 3rd place.
4. Jacksonville - Blaine Gabbert has Alex Smith disease. A different Offensive Coordinator each and every year.

1. Denver - The odds on favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
2. San Diego - They could make the playoffs just because of their schedule.
3. Kansas City - Andy Reid will make a difference in the Heartland, just not this year.
4. Oakland - Still trying to get the ship righted after Al Davis and his regime.

AFC Wild Card Weekend
Baltimore over Houston
Cincinnati over Buffalo

AFC Divisional Playoffs
Denver over Baltimore
Cincinnati over New England

AFC Championship
Denver over Cincinnati

1. Dallas - The underachievers finally win a division title.
2. NY Giants - The best team of the rest of this division.
3. Washington - I might be the only person in America that doesn't believe in RG III.
4. Philadelphia - Chip Kelly will have a rough year, I don't think that Michael Vick is the answer for his offense.

1. Green Bay - The big problem again is going to be the offensive line.
2. Chicago - Marc Tressman should bring the best out of surly Jay Cutler.
3. Minnesota - Matt Cassel isn't better than Christian Ponder. The Vikings need to find better QB's.
4. Detroit - I believe that change is coming for this franchise yet again. No, Matt Millen, you are not coming back.

1. Atlanta - Matt Ryan won a playoff game last year. Let's see him do it again.
2. Tampa Bay - I predict that Josh Freeman puts it all together this year.
3. New Orleans - Something tells me that the Saints will need to continue to improve their defense.
4. Carolina - Cam Newton isn't able to sav Ron Rivera's job after this year.

1. Seattle - The Seahawks have the defense and running attack to withstand a sophmore slump from Russell Wilson.
2. Arizona - I believe that Carson Palmer will look like the 2nd coming of Kurt Warner.
3. San Francisco - Everything broke the 49ers way last year. Not this year.
4. St Louis - You have to hope that Jeff Fisher can get Sam Bradford to become an upper echelon QB this year.

NFC Wild Card Weekend
Seattle over Tampa Bay
Arizona over Dallas

NFC Divisional Playoffs
Atlanta over Seattle
Green Bay over Arizona

One of the reasons that the Falcons make the Super Bowl
NFC Championship
Atlanta over Green Bay

Super Bowl
Denver over Atlanta

Saturday, August 17, 2013

R.J.’s Fearless Football Predictions

I deserved getting called out by Zeb this morning. I absolutely don’t care who’s going to win the Super Bowl this season because it’s going to be a tough one to watch.

My Oakland Raiders, who are paying a lot of dead money to clear the deck of overpaid, over the hill players, will likely win two to four games this season. If they’re lucky, they will win the Clownin’ for Clowney sweepstakes and have the opportunity to select South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick next Spring. But it all depends on how incompetent the Cleveland Browns are this year. I call them the Clowns for a good reason!

If I had a choice, I’d rather be ranking the top sixteen pairs of shoes in my closet than football teams but here I am with some picks that I’m sure we’ll all get a huge laugh out of by the time the NHL season begins:

AFC EAST: Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Jets. The Patriots have no excuse to go less than 5-1 within their division. The Dolphins are mediocre, the Bills don’t have a decent QB, and the J-E-T-S Suck! Suck! Suck!

AFC NORTH: Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, Browns. The Ravens should win the division, but the Bengals are on the rise. The Steelers are getting old, and no one expects anything out of the Clowns this year.

AFC SOUTH: Texans, Colts, Titans, Jaguars. The Texans are a lock to win the division, and the Colts will get a wild card. No one knows which Chris Johnson will show up, so the Titans are hard to nail down. Playoff team? Maybe, but most likely not. The Jaguars? I think they’re more concerned about extending their brand to London than finding an NFL quarterback.

AFC WEST: Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders. The Broncos are AFC Championship bound unless Peyton Manning gets hurt. Like the AFC East, the rest of the division is mediocre at best with the Chiefs being the best of the worst. The Chargers and the Raiders have three contests this season – two NFL games and the race to see who plays next season in Los Angeles. Ha!

WILD CARDS: Bengals and Colts



NFC EAST: Giants, Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles. Easily the most competitive division in the NFL. You could flip a coin with the Giants as heads, the Redskins as tails, and there’s your division winner. The only guarantees I give is the Eagles will finish fourth and Tony Romo won’t win a playoff game this year.

NFC NORTH: Vikings, Packers, Bears, Lions. I’m sticking my neck out on this one because the Packers can win the division, but the Vikings are loaded. Both team could go 11-5 or better. The Bears will still be middle of the road and the Lions are a mess.

NFC SOUTH: Falcons, Saints, Panthers, Buccaneers. None of these teams stink, but only the Falcons are guaranteed a postseason berth. The Saints have experience and should hold off the Panthers for second place.

NFC WEST: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals. The top two teams could easily play each other in the NFC Championship. The Rams are rebuilding and the Cardinals are… the Cardinals.

WILD CARDS: Seahawks and Redskins. The Packers will probably get punked by one of those frivolous tiebreakers.


SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: Seahawks. Trust me. I hate saying that because I think Pete Carroll is a weasel and deserves a much worse fate.

Friday, August 16, 2013

2013 NFL Predictions

I need to give due credit to Colin Cowherd for this idea because I was listening to him the other day and he laid out four strata of predictions for where teams will finish in the upcoming season:  Super Bowl favorites, Super Bowl contenders, playoff contenders and those who will be staying home come playoff time.
So you can tinker with the categories a little and save the link and take your time responding (I know it's still early preseason) but I wanted to at least get this out there while I was thinking of it.  As usual, my picks will be without any research and off the cuff.  I just thought it would be fun to have everyone's predictions saved for later.

SUPER BOWL FAVORITES:  I think a couple of teams are going to be in this category simply because I think there aren't that many true favorites in the AFC to get to the Super Bowl but there's always a surprise team or a bad matchup for a favorite in the playoffs.  Nevermind, I'm contradicting myself...those teams belong in the contender list.  And just to be clear, these are favorites to get there, not necessarily favorites to win it.
I really feel like there are only two AFC teams who should be expected to make it to the Super Bowl, the Patriots and the Broncos, anybody else would be an upset.
SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS:  Again though, in my opinion this is a short list.  I think the NFC is by far the deeper conference.  But if the Texans finally put it all together, I wouldn't be surprised  they make it there, especially if they get someone else to knock off one of the two favorites.  The defending Super Bowl champs by law have to be in this list, even though I expect them to fall back a bit this year.  So add the Ravens to this list.  Who else has a legit chance to get there from the AFC?  Boy, I'd fall out of my seat if anyone other than the 4 above got there.  The Colts, Steelers and Bengals are good teams and I'd expect them to make the playoffs but that's it, isn't it?
PLAYOFF CONTENDERS:  Colts, Steelers and Bengals should get there and maybe they can even win a game but that's it.  Add to them a few teams who could find there way there, even if you don't expect them to do anything once they're there:  Dolphins (because they get to play the Jets and Bills twice each), the Chargers have "always" had the talent and maybe now with a new coach things will change, everyone's on the Chiefs' bandwagon this year but is a new QB and head coach enough?  Maybe.
AIN'T GOT NO SHOT:  This'll be the one that bites us the hardest but I'm still not seeing the Titans, Jets, Jags, Bills, Raiders or Browns having a shot this year.  Did I leave anyone out?  Nope, I believe that's 16.

SUPER BOWL FAVORITES:  Off the top of my head I expect this list to be longer than the AFC but let me actually look at the teams.   As I look at the teams in the NFC, I find the line between SB favorites and contenders a little more blurry, other than the SF 49ers, who I consider the true favorite to win it all; but then I have 5 teams you could argue would be favorites if they were playing in the AFC (or damn near it).  So are they favorites or just strong contenders?  I'm going to have to split hairs and put a couple in this category to cover my arse and to be realistic -- the 49ers are not yet the 49ers of yore.  Screw it, I'm going out on a limb...the 49ers are the favorite for me and everyone else is a contender.
SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS:  Very strong contenders and, as I said, likely favorites if they were playing in the AFC.  There's a lot of talent and promise here (and experience.)  Give me the Packers, Giants, Falcons, Saints and Seahawks in this category.  Would it really be a complete shock if any one of them got there?  I don't think so.  Doesn't live much meat on the bone for anyone else to slip into the playoffs though.  So as strong as the 49ers are, there are some serious contenders for them to get beyond.
PLAYOFF CONTENDERS:  So I have 6 NFC teams whom I think are SB contenders.  How does anyone get beyond them or who stumbles enough to leave the door open?  Well, I have to put someone in this category, so how about the Cowboys -- well, maybe I should at least look at the divisions in case someone else has to make it in.  Nope, that works.  So even though I really don't expect anyone other than the above six to make it, let's throw some hope to the fans of the Cowboys, Bucs, Redskins (I expect to hear some hollerin' from DC and ND on these two) -- wow, this is tough.  I respect the teams I've already mentioned in this category and a couple others (Carolina and Chicago) but how do they win enough games, especially those who have two SB contenders in their division, to get into the playoffs?  Good luck with that.
AIN'T GOT NO SHOT:  I think that leaves the Eagles, Lions, Cardinals and Rams playing only 16 games this year.

Boy, that was hard but I think it would be harder if you actually tried to research it.  I hope to see a good many of you leave your predictions in the comments to this post or at the very least rip me for my lousy picks.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Kid Goes Into The Mariners Hall Of Fame

I remember seeing Ken Griffey Jr. play. One of the best players that I have ever seen. He made it look like playing professional baseball was the easiest thing in the world. And while he will never be considered the best player of all time, I would put him on my roster of 25. That does include 10 pitchers on my roster.

Monday, August 05, 2013

MLB Goes Too Far On A-Rod Punishment

I am starting to think that there is a conspiracy against me that is making argue for people and things that I do not like. A-Rod is in the top 5 of that list. While I respect him for the talent he has in playing baseball, his arrogance and attitude that I have seen from afar put me off. And while I believe that he should be vilified for his conduct, MLB took his suspension too far for his involvement in Biogenesis.

Friday, August 02, 2013

And Yet Again, Racism Intersects With Sports

The major story right now in the world of sports is Riley Cooper from the Philadelphia Eagles saying the N-word at a Kenny Chesney concert when he was drunk and with his friends. and everybody in the sports world is wondering if and when the Eagles will get rid of him. That should be the secondary story to what has been a bane in America since it's formation. The fact that racism and tribalism still exist in America over 225 years after we became a nation.

It is easy to play the victim here. Cooper could play the victim. His teammates could play the victim, like LeSean McCoy, who said that he has lost respect for Cooper. The black community could play the victim, although I hope that it doesn't. I am watching Around The Horn on ESPN and shaking my head listening to the sportswriters showing their indignation about this situation. They should be saying that Cooper lives in the NFL where this word is heard each and every week. Read Jason Whitlock's article on Fox Sports about Cooper's faux pas. You start to understand that this sort of language has been tolerated in sports for a while. That doesn't forgive the language that Cooper used. However, let's get real here.

If we are going to eliminate this word from the English vocabulary, then all people need to stop using this word. I don't care who says it. Racism will always be a part of the human condition. It is ingrained in human beings. We fear and distrust anything that does not look and act like us. History has shown us that. Society uses it in subtle ways. Just look around. Black Heritage Month. Really? Every month should be where achievements are celebrated and if the people that did those achievements are black, then they get celebrated. But yet, society doesn't do that. We separate people based on the color of their skin and what their interests might be. The best chef in Jamestown ND works at a place called the Depot. People are amazed when they find out that he is black. Why? Because of the fact that we have it ingrained into our heads that a chef is a big fat white guy who will keel over at age 54 because of his arteries being blocked.

The fact that a 3rd string WR for the Eagles said that word shouldn't be shocking. 70% of the NFL players are black. In banter back and forth, they freely flow with that word. Hell, Jay Z has a song with Justin Timberlake where the only word that Jay Z says is that word.

Basically what I am trying to say is that the double-standards that are in play here need to stop. Instead of vilifying Riley Cooper, use this as a teaching moment. Tell kids of all races and ages that this is not a word that we use in any neighborhood. Show kids that this is not acceptable from a white person or a black person or a person of Asian descent. Start showing the entertainment industry that we demand more from our entertainers than the basest of language. Until that happens, this stuff will flair up periodically and we will hear from people that this is wrong but do nothing about it. That is today's America. I fear for our future.