Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

A flurry of great-looking games are in store this week as conference play hits full swing. The only bad thing about the NCAA streak I've been on is that I never had actual money on any of these games. Will the run continue? Only one way to find out. Home teams in CAPS.

Texas (+3.5) over Oklahoma (Neutral Site)
The Red River Rivalry never fails to be intriguing, and this year we're all wondering which two teams are going to show up in Dallas on Saturday. Texas was caught napping at home last week by UCLA, while Oklahoma beat Cincinnati and Air Force by a combined 5 points in the past two weeks. I really wonder what the line would have been if the Longhorns didn't fall into the trap against UCLA, because the 3.5 on a neutral field seems like a public overreaction to that game. Come for the classic uniforms, stay for the great quarterback names - Garrett Gilbert and Landry Jones. Smells like October to me.

ALABAMA (-8) over Florida
The Tide was in a real tough spot last week at Arkansas but escaped 24-20. I was kind of surprised to see a line this high but the gut says to go with Alabama at home in a game that is equally big for both teams. The under is a good play here as Bama is likely to give the Gators a hefty dose of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to keep the clock churning and the game under control. Despite the downfield ability of Julio Jones, I don't like Alabama in a touchdown-trading game if it gets to that point. The Crimson Tide defense, as has been its knack, should be able to create a turnover or two and cover this thing 24-13ish.

MICHIGAN STATE (+2) over Wisconsin
As most of you have probably heard, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio will return and coach this game from the booth, two weeks after the mild heart attack he suffered following the win over Notre Dame. This is Wisconsin's first game this year where they are not a huge favorite, and the Badgers could have their hands full if Michigan State comes out swinging like they are expected to. If you're one for cliché and traditionalism, then expect a close, old fashioned Big Ten brawl.

Stanford (+7) over OREGON
My popcorn is ready for good old fashioned shootout in this one. Neither team has scored fewer than 35 points thus far in going a combined 8-0. I said last week that I wasn't ready to buy Stanford, and I should have been. This game has the feel of a "last team to have the ball wins" matchup, one where it sometimes looks like the field is 75 yards wide and there's only 9 guys on defense. I'll take the team with the better pure passer.

IOWA (-7) over Penn State
My anti-Penn State bias is pretty well pronounced, but how is this line only 7 points? Did the oddsmakers not see the Nittany Lions play 3 quarters shadow-boxing with Temple and Kent State at home the past two weeks? It maybe because Iowa is considered a ground-and-pound team, but Ricky Stanzi is quietly averaging 250 passing yards a game and we've already seen what Penn State does against quality competition, especially in prime time.

Last Week: 4-1-0
Season: 14-4-2

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Celebrity Revenge

We have all seen the show TMZ. It involves a bunch of smug loser reporters going around and hassling big time celebrities.  It's essentially a live-action tabloid.  These insignificant dickweeds with no careers try to bait stars into doing or saying something stupid.  Give me a break.  Meanwhile, all the holier-than-thou viewers sit at home and talk about how they cant believe the particular celebrity victim reacts poorly to punches below the belt.  Typically, these TMZ people seek out celebrities as they are trying to go about their daily business such as shopping, arriving at an airport, going out to eat, etc.  America loves it's also loves to see them in an ugly light whenever possible.  Granted, if an unlikable character like Lindsay Lohan gets a DWI I want that splashed all over the news.  However,  leave people with talent alone.  I don't care what sort of person my favorite actors and athletes are.  Just produce a quality product and I'll love you forever.  Despite what many people think, these stars DO NOT want to be your friend.  They WILL NOT be joining you at the Sizzler for some grub.   So don't begrudge a star if you heard he's cold to fans.  Furthermore, do not try to turn a nice guy into an asshole by hassling him at the supermarket and asking smartass questions.  Is it fair that all us regular folk get to have our privacy?

Imagine if the roles were reversed.  Take the average American family.  Mom and Dad may go to work, the kids go to school and so on.  This particular family lives life it seems.  Privacy is a luxury that is taken for granted.  I propose a show that flips the role of celebrity and common cheesedick.  My idea is to have a show that has celebrities hassling regular people.  Imagine a show in which celebrities tortured common people.  I think the concept would work best with comedic stars since they are more likely to be smug.   Basically, these stars target totally random common folk and exploit them.  They follow them around randomly, egging them on with stupid questions and picture taking.  The show could also have a sister publication that spreads rumors about randomly selected common people targeted for celebrity treatment.  Those selected will be subjected to constant embarassing headlines, loss of privacy, and lots of general harassment. 

Hey, it will never happen.  But its a funny thought.  My other idea is to have the cast of 300 go around kicking the living shit out of TMZ members.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Trite Utterances of Subpar Sports "Fans," Revisited

By now you know about Braylon Edwards' DWI this past Monday night, in which he blew a .16 BAC. Nearly as bad as the act itself is the common man's reaction where he moans and groans about "oh, he gets to play on Sunday but I'd be fired if it happened at my job," or "who are my kids supposed to look up to?" Let's make it clear. There is no comparing your job to that of a professional athlete. None. They are in two different universes so let's keep them there. We've covered this before so no need to dive back in.

What annoys me is the whole "role model" thing, and don't worry, I'm not going to go Charles Barkley on you. I have a slightly different spin on the matter. If you ask "who are the kids supposed to look up to?" the obvious answer is their parents, but let's keep that aside for the moment. As kids, we all looked up to rock stars, actors, athletes, etc. in addition to our parents - you can't not want to be like the famous people you root for and see on TV or in movies. So let it be a given that kids are going to look up to other people in addition to their family.

The American without perspective says he can't in good conscience have his kids look up to pro athletes because of people like Braylon Edwards. And that's not incorrect, but I offer this counterpoint. What walk of life, what certain occupation, is totally clean of unsavory people? Police? Um, next. How about doctors and/or nurses? Maybe not. Elected politicians and statesmen? You already know where that one's going. How about the seemingly highest of all callings, the priesthood? Not exactly.

So are pro sports really that especially bad? Every certain sample of people is going to have its share of good and bad, a proportionate number of saints and dirtbags. If you say that you can't let 8 year old Timmy root for the Jets anymore since Braylon Edwards got a DWI, and you wonder who he can ever look up to, then by your logic, there is no one to look up to. And please don't say it's a pro athlete's responsibility to be a role model because of all the exposure and money. If anything, the Braylon Edwards fiasco this week provided an opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about how stupid he was to get behind the wheel, and discuss the hundreds of better ways to have handled the situation. Am I wrong?

5 for Sunday

To borrow some baseball speak, Joe Torre used to say that Game 3 was always the most important game of a playoff series - it either swings the momentum of an even 1-1 series, brings the outcome back into question if it goes from 2-0 to 2-1, or pretty much solidifies things if it ends up making it a 3-0 series either way. Week 3 of the NFL season is quite similar. A 2-0 team can start thinking about big things if it gets to 3-0 or can start doubting itself if it goes to 2-1. A 1-1 team gets a much better idea of who it is, and an 0-2 team either starts to breathe life back into its season or digs itself firmly into its division basement. As always, home teams in CAPS and all spreads provided by

BALTIMORE (-10.5) over Cleveland
Even with the Ravens' lackluster 1-1 start to the season, how could you possibly put money on Cleveland? It really says something about your franchise when your starting QB (Jake Delhomme) is ruled out and the line actually moves 1/2 point in your favor - this happened last week when the Browns went from a 2-point favorite to 2.5-point favorite after Seneca Wallace was named the starter vs. the Chiefs (of course, they lost outright). Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, et al should have a stat-padding afternoon, and I'd be surprised to see Cleveland even crack double digit points here.

Tennessee (+3) over NY GIANTS
The Giants are one of those 1-1 teams who will find out a great deal about themselves in Week 3. Are they the team who shadow boxed with god-awful Carolina for 3 quarters before turning the switch on, or are they the team that got its doors blown off by Indy last week? The Giants offensive line, for years its unquestioned strength, is looking old and slow, and the Titans boast one of the league's best pass defenses. Sure, Tennessee has quarterback issues of its own, but they should only come into play if the Giants stop Chris Johnson like Pittsburgh did last week, which is asking a whole lot.

Detroit (+11.5) over MINNESOTA
Give the Lions some credit - they have fight in them. The touchdown-that-was-but-then-wasn't in Week 1 robbed them of a thrilling victory in Chicago, and they led a ferocious comeback in the fourth quarter against the Eagles last week before running out of bullets. Brett Favre looked about 55 years old last week in turning the ball over four times, all seemingly right near one of the goal lines. Add that to the fact that Favre's top target in this game may be Greg Camarillo, and you have what looks to be a pretty low-scoring affair. Give me 11.5 points all day.

Oakland (+4.5) over ARIZONA
The Cardinals shouldn't be more than a 3-point favorite to anybody right now. Not to mention, the Raiders are once again riding the Bruce Gradkowski train that took them to a respectable 2-2 record with him under center last year. If Nnamdi Asomugha can neutralize Larry Fitzgerald, please tell me where Arizona has any real edge in this game, especially with Beanie Wells still out. If the Raiders make me look like an idiot by laying an egg here, I vow not to take them again until their annual late-season victory over Denver.

MIAMI (-2.5) over NY Jets
I think the Dolphins enjoy the anonymity they have in their own division. The Jets are the headline-hogging motormouths, the Patriots will command a ton of attention as long as Brady and Belichick are still in town, and the Bills are so flat-out bad that you can't not marvel at them. Meanwhile, the Fish are a sneaky 2-0 and have the classic look of a team rebuilt by Bill Parcells. The impressive rapport growing between Jets QB Mark Sanchez and TE Dustin Keller is enough to make you think "hmm, maybe these guys can move the ball a little bit after all," but in a game like this, give me the less mistake-prone team at home. (see - I didn't mention Braylon Edwards! Don't worry, that's on its way.)

Last Week: 3-2-0
Season: 5-5-0

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

A few tasteful games on tap this week, or at least, considerably better than last week. Alabama visits Arkansas in Saturday afternoon's biggest game, with the West Virginia Mountaineers' first trip to Baton Rouge being the highlight of the night games. In my silent protest of Andy Reid doing his best John Kerry flip-flop impression and naming Michael Vick the Eagles' starting QB, I'm going with nothing but dogs this week.

NOTRE DAME (+4.5) over Stanford
Even though I rode them to a comfortable win a few weeks ago over UCLA, I'm still not totally ready to buy Stanford. Not that I have the utmost confidence in Notre Dame either, but they do have the quick-strike ability on offense that will keep them in every game they play and are two or three plays away from being 3-0. Even though Stanford is probably the better team, I'm not crazy about laying more than a field goal in South Bend with a sophomore QB and re-tooled offense.

ARKANSAS (+7) over Alabama
My first thought was to go with Alabama until they give you a reason not to, but you have to give the Razorbacks a puncher's chance at home. This could be the national breakout for Ryan Mallett if Arkansas can put a scare into the Tide in the 3:30 feature game. It sounds cliché, but if Arkansas can control the game's pace and provide a respectable defensive effort against the Alabama running game, we could have an interesting one until the end.

West Virginia (+9.5) over LSU
The money has been pouring in on LSU this week (the Tigers opened as a 7-point favorite) with conceivable reason. West Virginia faces a tall task in Death Valley, and simply getting the ball to Noel Devine in space won't be enough. However, these isn't the LSU of JaMarcus Russell-Jacob Hester-Glenn Dorsey anymore, and the Mountaineer offense may just be multi-faceted enough for the first time in 3 years to keep it within single digits. Keeping my fingers crossed that WVU cornerback Brandon Hogan gets the nod to play from Bill Stewart after his day at the Braylon Edwards Driving School last week.

Oregon State (+17.5) over BOISE STATE
Echoing Kevin's sentiment about the Boise hype, I'm pulling for Oregon State here. I also think this line is 4-5 points too high so my decision is easy. This is Boise's last game against a real opponent before it goes back to facing the likes of Louisiana Tech and Idaho, and Oregon State has an alarming recent history of knocking off Top-3 opponents, so something's gotta give. Bonus points to the Beavers for painting their practice field blue this week to mimic Boise State's turf. And of course, any writeup on Oregon State would be incomplete without saying it.....Jacquizz Rodgers!

ARIZONA STATE (+11.5) over Oregon
The Ducks are 3-0 ATS this year and have covered some big numbers along the way. Of course you can also say this is the first time they're playing a team that's worth a damn, but we'll find that out late Saturday night. The Sun Devils gave Wisconsin all they could handle last week, and former Michigan QB Steven Threet looks now to be in an offense that compliments his abilities. Oregon is going to have to watch its step here in Tempe if it is to remain on the fringe of the title conversation. I think the Ducks win ugly.

Last Week: 3-1-1
Season: 10-3-2


Could this kid pass as Ochocinco?

They are so many ways to rob and scam people.  When you think you have heard all the schemes, think again.  Try falsifying yourselfs as a fake national team to earn an upfront payday.  This is what happened in African soccer.  A former Togo national team coach approached the Bahrain Football Association with the idea to play an international friendly (exhibition game) in Bahrain.  Bahrain agreed to pay an undiclosed up front fee to the Togo national team to play.  The former Togo coach who was previosuly banned for pulling simialr hijinx in the past falsified documents from the Togo Fedreation to give the go ahead.  He provided the real Togo National teams passports and infromation and submitted an official roster.  The real team stayed home a bunch of impostors took the field minutes before the match at which point the entire roster was changed. Natuarly the impostors lost 3-0.

The Togo Federation was shocked to find that the event took place because they never autorized the event and were disapointed to see their country lose 3-0.  They have just figured out that former national team coach Bana Tchanile organized, prepared, and followed up on all proceedings that took place on Septemeber 7th.  He has been suspended four years.  No word yet on where all that money went.  I'd be suprised if he acted alone on all this.  I know little about Africa but I doubt they could be dupped so badly. When not one player was recognized on Togo doesn't that mean something is up.

This takes replacement players to a whole new level.  Can you imagine how prevalent scams like this were before television when you had no real clue who people actually were?  Imagine if an NFL team disguised under their helments played a game in Europe with a college team or an Arena League team.  Do you think they would notice? Would they care?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

5 for Saturday

Still hanging on to an early lead at 10-4-1 on the season.  The first game is Thursday night.

Miami @ Pittsburgh (+3.5)  Thurs. 7:30 ESPN

I know I've said in the pass bet against Wanstauche but I'll take em here at home.

Alabama @ Arkansas (+7)  3:30 CBS

Chances are this is a much stiffer test for Bama then the preseason game of the year against Florida.  Part of me thinks Arkansas can win part of me see Bama but two touchdowns.  I find myself rooting for Mallet even though I shouldn't.  I'll root for an upset before Bama's tilt with Florida so I can get a cheaper ticket.

South Carolina (+2.5) @ Auburn 7:45 ESPN

I think this game has low scoring written all over it.  It should be your game of the week because the winner will keep hope alive for a divisional crown.  It will be a hard hitting defensive struggle and whichever QB crumbles the least will win the game.

Oregon State (+16.5) @ Boise State  8 PM ABC

You probably shouldn't be bothering with this game but its on ABC so some will be fooled.  I going against Boise St. because the hype must die.  This shouldn't be a classic football game and Boise St. should be able to score at will.

West Virginia @ LSU (-6.5) 9:15 ESPN 2

One of our readers will be attending the game and reporting back to us about the atmosphere in death valley.  You should watch this game over Boise St. and its close to the South Carolina game.  Flip it over here when that is done because Ron "I still buried on ESPN" Franklin is calling the game and he is a treat to listen to.  You never really know what you are going to get out of West Virginia these days but this game should be entertaining.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Can't Do It Yourself

E-Trade, Scottrade, Ameritrade, Turbo Tax, WebMD,,, How-to books, home hair color, do-it-yourself haircut kits, and the list goes on. These days there are resources available to empower people to do things that should require the assistance of a professional. Yes, times are tough and people are trying to cut costs. However, just because you diagnosed your rectal warts by checking out WebMD doesn't mean you can start wearing a white coat and start telling your real doctor their business. It's no
secret that 4 of 5 human beings are complete morons. No offense, but it's true. What is scary is that 5 of 5 given people think they are competent to be their own doctor, financial advisor, accountant, contractor, car expert, personal trainer, and hair stylist. What a joy it must be to be so gifted with so many talents.

Online trading:
It's a good thing. It allows people to take managing their portfolios into their own hands. The site comes equipped with various tools to track the market or a particular company with ease. However, purchasing individual stocks is gambling, I don care what you read in the Wall Street Journal or what your brother-in-law says about a company. Sites like E-Trade try to
demonize brokers and financial professionals as greedy dunces. Granted, this is sometimes reality. However not every doctor out there is a saint, just like any profession. We live in a buyer beware world, so it's important people do their homework, but at the same time realize they are not the professor.

This site is great for diagnosing your poison ivy or finding out why it burns when you piss. However, your doctor is your doctor, give the poor bastard some credit. I realize money is tight, think of how much tighter it is when you overlook something serious. I can't stand armchair doctors. Don't tell me what the eleven o'clock news says is killing me.

Turbo Tax:
Unless you majored in accounting at uni, do not attempt to do your own taxes. I dabbled myself in Turbo Tax this past year and it worked out far as I know. It's a complex undertaking, alot of ins and alot of outs. Leave this work to a professional. They are better equipped to help you help yourself.

Do-it-yourself handymen:
These are the guys who wear alot of Carhart gear, tailgate you in their monstrous Ford F-350, and maintain a garage the way the Rainman manages his baseball cards. Alot of guys are passionate about spending hours upon hours on these arduous projects involving power tools, trucks and breathing masks. I like spending hours upon hours drinking beer, watching sports, and doing other non-labor activities. Am I crazy?

Personal Trainers:
We all know delusional out of shape gym goers that think they are the almighty Oracle of working out. They have all the nutrition advice you need, tell you your business at the gym. To these people I say go find out what Men's Health says about fucking yourself.

The point is, find a professional you trust and stick to them. Don't live in your fortress of distrust and excessive self reliance. Let your walls down and allow yourself to be helped. Our society has become very introverted and anti-outsider. After the most recent economic crash, various medical malpractice cases, and other cases of professionals being disgraced, it's easy to see why people are skeptical. However, I wonder how many people who lost half their retirement savings in 2008 consulted with their advisor (if they have one) within 2 years of the slide. How many people have not seen a doctor in the past year or two? Or how about taking your car in for a tune up? People need to get over themselves and accept help.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Charlie Weis Given 5 Year Extension

From NAGAYT Wire Reports

Charlie Weis has been given a 5 year contract extension after the Kansas City Chiefs started the season 2-0.  Weis was so excited about the extension he was able to stand up with the assistance of crutches.  "I came here with the goal in mind to fix the quarterback situation.  I believe it's pretty clear that I have done that while providing my team with a decided schematic advantage."   Matt Cassel is blowing up right now and Weis has clearly fixed the QB situation.  Cassel a QB rating of 55.8 and has yet to throw a touchdown pass. 

Many respected colleagues have credited Charlie Weis with making Tom Brady a star.  "As you can see Tom has been slipping a little lately.  He was the MVP in the NFL when I left him."

Columnists and talking heads are comparing the premature extension to the 10 yr extension he received at Notre Dame following the famous "Bush Push".  "Well first of all I'm certain USC cheated in the game, and USC has since vacated all wins from that season so that's one less loss I had at Notre Dame. Secondly, you saw how Kelly won the first game this year with my players.  Finally, when the Chiefs make the playoffs this year you will know who was the difference maker."

Weis is slated to make $2 million per season, but will be subjected to staying under 450 lbs.  He will be allowed to work in any motorized cart but will not receive guaranteed money.  The Chiefs have promised to honor the contract no matter how hard Weis is breathing as long as he is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Movies It's OK to Cry At

Some of you may be a bit weary of reading posts about football and gambling, so allow me to offer a slight change of pace. Here at the blog we try to be as real as possible, so none of us would have trouble admitting that, yes, there are a few movies out there that produce tears on a consistent basis. The following are a few such movies off the top of my head, and, amazingly, not all of them are sports movies.

Forrest Gump
The end is what gets me, when Forrest is standing and talking to Jenny's gravestone. It's not so much about Jenny passing away that's so sad; it's more that Forrest lived his whole life devoted to Jenny, despite the fact that she was a slutty cokehead who paid him no mind except for when she needed him for something. Then, when everything had fallen into place and Forrest finally had the life he'd wanted with her, she was gone. The breaking point is the emotion in Forrest's voice (one of a select few times he shows any real emotion in the movie) as he talks about how he's raising their son and how smart little Forrest is. It's something about how the love that Forrest had for Jenny for so many years had now been directed toward their son that just makes you really happy - in a sad way. (Couldn't find the specific scene on Youtube, sorry.)

You knew this would be on here, but doesn't make it any less worthy. The plight of the undersized football player obviously resonates with me more than many other people, but you don't have to be a sports fan for this story to grip you. The final scene, built up by the background score and the growing "Rudy, Rudy" chant, delivers a haymaker of emotion at its apex when Rudy is put into the game, despite the fact that everyone watching the movie knows what's coming. The nicest touch of the ending is the shots of all of the family and friends who have been a part of Rudy's quest, all getting to witness the moment. Bonus points for it being a true story.

This movie probably scared the hell out of our generation as children (my hand is certainly raised), between the first encounters of E.T. and Elliot in the woods, the ghastly white and dying E.T. toward the end, and who could forget the government taking over Elliot's family's home and turning it into an alien medical center. But even a child can grip the power of the story. You get softened up by the lovable kid-like nature of E.T., you're downright disturbed when E.T. is being given the defibrillator, and your heart is warmed during the climactic government agent chase scene. That's what sets you up on a tee to absolutely lose it when E.T. and Elliot have to say their goodbyes outside the spaceship. Elliot is an outcast with a slightly shaken-up family situation, his only friend in the universe is a 3 foot tall alien, and yet the ultimate outcome of the movie is to find a way to send that friend back home a million miles away. John Williams' score deserves just as much credit as Steven Spielberg's story. (Once again, the final scene was no where to be found on Youtube.)

A League of Their Own
The last few scenes of the movie (immediately after the flashback ends) take an unexpectedly sharp turn. I think the heaviest moment comes around the 3:45 mark of the scene where music drops and the camera tilts to the bottom of Jimmy Dugan's display to show he had died in 1987. However, it's not all sad, because the shot of Jon Lovitz's aged character with a cigar in his mouth is hilarious, and the final exchange between Dottie and Kit leaves you on a very high note (and implies pretty well that their relationship had been fractured for a long time). The movie goes from an entertaining, downright funny baseball movie to a seven minute essay on the power of memories and the fragility of life (or, in a certain respect, the inevitability of death).

Rain Man
The character forces in Rain Man are great. Ray, a man who remains strictly in his same ways and routines, causes his brother Charlie, a self-centered money-hungry yuppie that's pissed off at the world, to do a 180 on his personality and priorities. Over the course of the movie, you see Charlie make emotional strides as he gets to know the brother he just found out he had, yet the closer he tries to get to Ray, the clearer it is made that Ray's world is largely impenetrable. In an annoying trend, the final scenes were unable to be found on Youtube, but the tearjerker is the moment when Charlie and Ray touch heads before Ray is about to be sent back to Walbrook. The exchange between the two as Ray gets on the train back to Cincinnati, where Charlie simply smiles after he tries to give Ray a heartfelt goodbye and Ray replies along the lines of "of course, 11 minutes til Wapner" provides a bittersweet yet satisfying ending.

Honorable Mention: Field of Dreams (it's become cliché), American History X, Cinderella Man, It's a Wonderful Life (I have to let other take the reigns on that one since I'm not as well-versed in that movie)

Dishonorable Mention: War of the Worlds, Slumdog Millionaire (I wanted to cry during each of these because I paid actual earned dollars to see these two pieces of crap.)

I know I've left a few deserving movies off the list. That's what the comments section is for. Have at it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

5 for Sunday

Week #2 in the league where they play for pay. We'll try to peek over .500 after a lackluster 2-3 last week. Home teams in CAPS:

GREEN BAY (-13) over Buffalo
After seeing the Eagles put Aaron Rodgers on his back several times last week, I'd be a little apprehensive about the Packers here, but there may not be a number too large to lay with Green Bay in their home opener against a putrid Buffalo team. Should the Pack get up by anything more than 7 points early, this game can be put to bed. Buffalo, armed with a head coach (Chan Gailey) and quarterback (Trent Edwards) who've never met a 3-yard dump pass they didn't like, appears to lack both the athletes and the attitude to come back from any sort of deficit.

Miami (+5.5) over MINNESOTA
I know the Vikings were undefeated at home last year, but the team we saw last Thursday against New Orleans didn't look very much like the 2009 Vikings. Brett Favre looked every bit the part of a banged up, ancient quarterback who skipped camp and didn't get the time to re-develop a rapport with his depleted receiving corps. Adrian Peterson ran well but part of me thinks the Vikings miss Chester Taylor more than they let on, because it looked like they were still gun-shy about AP's fumble-itis. Miami seems like a team who will play a ton of close games this year and may be able to run the ball a little bit here if the Saints' second half from last week is any indication.

New England (-2.5) over NY JETS
Say it with me: the Jets are not that good. Last Monday night's game was a nice refresher on exactly who the Jets are - a plodding offensive team that rides the coattails of its defense and fails to take advantage of its opportunities to take control of games (see the sack-fumble on Baltimore's 10 yard line that resulted in only a field goal, as well as the 68-yard interception return by Antonio Cromartie followed by Shonn Greene fumbling the ball back to the Ravens 2 plays later). The Pats looked like they dialed back the clock to 2007 last week against Cincinnati, and succeeded in making me look like a moron for taking the Bungles. Hopefully they don't do that to me two weeks in a row.

INDIANAPOLIS (-5) over NY Giants
Anyone who has paid attention to NFL wagering in the past few years knows that you don't go against Peyton Manning in a primetime regular season game. The Giants were bumbling all over the field with the Panthers last week for 2.5 quarters until Matt Moore started coughing the ball up like a hairball, so the G-Men victory looked a lot prettier than it actually was. Hakeem Nicks, who scored three touchdowns last week for the Giants, is likely a gametime decision for this one.

New Orleans (-5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO (Monday Night)
Gambling history says to go to town on home underdogs in Monday Night games, but it is quite possible that axiom goes out the window when said home dog just took a 25-point whipping at the hands of Seattle and has the whole Schwarzenegger State wondering where exactly all that preseason hype came from. Simply put, the Saints have reached "ride them until they lose" status and will be quite rested after an 11-day gap between games. Anyone else want to see Reggie Bush strike a Heisman pose if he scores a touchdown in this game?

Last Week/Season: 2-3-0

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

It's going to be tough to replicate last Saturday's 5-0 run in college football, but you can't win if you don't play. Like Kevin said, this week pales in comparison to last week in terms of intriguing matchups, with only one game between ranked teams on the slate. (Home teams in CAPS)

WEST VIRGINIA (-10) over Maryland
I would have bet the farm against WVU last week laying 12 at Marshall because Bill Stewart is such a dead fish of a coach that he often fails to get his team up for games against lesser opponents, even if it is an in-state rival who treats the WVU game like their Super Bowl. The Mountaineers seem to do everything better on the fast track at Milan Puskar Stadium, and Maryland's 2-0 record coming into this game should keep WVU from looking past this game and toward next week's date with LSU. The Terps figure to look exactly like the fat turtles they are as they try to tackle Noel Devine. Cheers, beers, and the Mountaineers - by 13 or more.

Florida (-14) over TENNESSEE
I'm backing the Gators by the same logic I used in betting against the Vols last week. You can have all the tradition, all the rivalry, and all the rowdy fans you want, but if you don't have good enough players on the field, you won't be singing "Rocky Top" at the end of the day. Matt Simms (yes, Phil's son) looked lost much of the time against Oregon and won't exactly be in for an easy day here. Tennessee has to play mistake-free to keep themselves in a game like this for 60 minutes. The game seems likely to be close after two quarters but lopsided after four quarters.

Clemson (+7.5) over AUBURN
Tough call here - the only thing I knew for sure was that I'd be taking the Tigers in this game (get it?). Kevin took the other side on this game so having us go opposite ways on the same game would be nice for competition. Auburn QB Cameron Newton attracted a lot of attention with his game against Mississippi State last week, and it will be interesting to see him in true prime time. The line opened at Auburn -6, which tells you the money has come in fairly significantly on the Auburn side now that the going rate is Auburn -7 or -7.5. Kevin has his bet in for Auburn -6, but I think this is a 4-point game either way. If a problem comes up with me using a line that much different from the one he used (i.e. if Auburn wins by 7 and we technically both win), we'll deal with it then.

Iowa (-1.5) over ARIZONA
Neither of these teams has faced a real test yet in this young season, but in what amounts to a coin flip of a game I'll take the team that's less of an upstart. It's only a one time-zone difference for the Hawkeyes traveling to the desert, so what the heck.

Texas (-3) over TEXAS TECH
I feel obligated to pick a side in this game since I'll be in the great state of Texas when it's being played and will probably be unable to avoid it wherever I go - not that that's a bad thing, because this matchup generally provides one of the better games of the weekend. Neither team has played a very significant game yet and I don't think I've seen hardly any of the Longhorns' or the Red Raiders' two games this year, but the gut says go with Mack Brown and the program that is a little more consistent in replenishing its talent. I'll bite my nails and lay the 3 here, but a push or even a Tech upset in Lubbock could very well happen (See what I did there? How's that for a hedge?).

Last Week 5-0-0
Season 7-2-1

5 for Saturday

Last week both Lou and I managed to go 5-0 in college games.  It's a shame we didn't have a parlay in place.   Anyways, don't get used to it but for the season I am 7-2-1.  This week's games aren't as powerful as last but I found some games worth watching and betting on.  All games are on Saturday.

Arkansas (+2.5) @ Georgia Noon ESPN

This feels like a trap.  I'm am going to fall for it anyways because A.J. Green is still out and Ryan Mallet should be able to put up enough points to lead the Razorbacks to victory.

Nebraska (-4.5) @ Washington 3:30 ABC/ ESPN 2

I'm pretty high on Nebraska right now so what the hell.  Locker is going to have to have a game where he lives up to his Top 5 draft pick potential to win this one.

Clemson @ Auburn (-6)  7 PM ESPN

For some reason Gameday is there this week. I think Auburn wins by at least a touchdown.

Texas (-3) @ Texas Tech 8 PM ABC/ ESPN 2

Tommy Tuberville got fired for his failed attempt at the spread at Auburn.  He can instantly become a fan favorite if he hooks the horns.  The offense has remained Leachesque thus far, maybe Tuberville can bring the defense Tech has been missing.  I need to see more evidence though.

Iowa (-1.5) @ Arizona 10:30 ESPN

This folks is probably your game of the week. It's the only one with 2 ranked opponents and smells like a down to the wire game. I got a chance to see Arizona in person this year and was impressed with their improvements on the defensive side of the ball.  The offense however is a paper tiger and struggled against Toledo for a large part of the game. Although I'm not sold on Iowa I think they win on a late field goal.

Goodbye Heisman

One Man... Goodbye Hello Heisman!.  By now you have heard that Reggie Bush has become the first man to give up his Heisman trophy.  He surrendered his Heisman trophy amid public pressure and before he could be stripped of the trophy.  Big deal.

Reggie Bush only needs to go through a few weeks of bad publicity and surrender his Heisman trophy.  Seems like he took alot more from USC, whom he handled satteled with sanctions and bowl bans.  USC may take a few years to recover from the penalties or may even find themselves falling deeper in the pit with Kiffin at the helm.  No matter where you stand on the NCAA paying its players, it's hard to side with Bush here.  He took over 300K from agents he promised to sign with, then didn't sign with them.  Bush was not a starving kid either, he just couldn't wait until his NFL payday.  He is scum and should be treated as such.  His situation is similar to Chris Webber, and I hope USC struggles at least half as hard as Michigan has after sanctions.  Don't worry though, Reggie is going to make things right.

Bush is going to work with the Trustees of the Heisman to establish an educational program in order to educate athletes and assist families to avoid the same mistakes he did.  Hey kids you can go to USC bang mad bitches, get paid, get sweet rides for free, and free Las Vegas hotel rooms.  It' no thang really and the best part is, nothing happens to you when your in the NFL.  Clearly, their needs to be more of a punishment for Bush, who knowingly broke the rules.  Personally, I'd love to see him end up in jail but I'd settle for a professional organization actually helping out an amateur one for once.  You certainly wouldn't expect David Stern to help college basketball, but perhaps heavy handed Goddell could suspend Bush for his actions.  Bottom line is that their is little the NCAA can do to a player they catch after he is a pro and yet it feels so wrong when the only thing they get is negatively publicity for a few weeks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Justifications of Bad Bettors

Football season is here, and, more importantly to some, so are the 5 most active months in terms of sports betting. It's no secret that football is king when it comes to sports gambling in this country, and because of that, everyone wants to get after a piece or two of the action. What's interesting is that with the wealth of information we have at our disposal today when it comes to handicapping games (weather reports, injury reports, team blogs updated round the clock, statistics out the wazoo, etc.), the harder it ultimately becomes to make a good bet, because there's simply too much information out there. Your mind can become clouded quite easily.

That being said, there is no secret formula, and if there were, it would have been discovered by now. All you can ask of yourself is to make an informed decision on which team you want to back, because, hey, it's called gambling for a reason. But what cracks me up is when people think they have everything figured out, when all they're really doing is throwing money around with nothing but hollow reasoning. Bad bettors come in all shapes and sizes, but their justifications seem to fit a select few molds.

-"They were due!" Really? Were they due? You hear this a lot when someone bets on a team thinking they're going to snap a losing streak. Chances are, they're not "due," they just stink. It works the other way too - people try to bet on a hot team to lose simply because they're "due." How many people got crushed on that thinking with the 2008 Lions or 2007 Patriots - it's like a guy who's lost 5 straight $20 dollar blackjack hands and tries throwing $100 on the next hand because his luck has eventually got to change. Obviously, streaks come and go, but if you're throwing money out there with only the logic that a team is "due" and nothing else, you might as well go play roulette. (An exception would be when a team is blatantly underperforming or overperforming its talent level, i.e. last year when the Broncos started 6-0 and the Titans started 0-6. It was clear the Broncos were not that good and the Titans were not that bad. But tread that line carefully.)

-Basing this week's game too heavily on last week's game. How many times do you hear "they're mad after getting blown out last week," or "they had an emotional win last week and this will be the letdown" from dimwits that you work with or hear on the radio. People who say this have never played real football before. It's one thing to be extra motivated for a game, but let's make something clear: you always have to be "mad" when you step on a football field. If you're not in some sort of altered mental state, you're going to the hospital. The team that's supposedly "mad" in a game after a 35-point loss was probably just as "mad" when they took the field before that very 35-point loss. I find it hilarious when uninformed people try to all of a sudden enter the psyche of a group of coaches and athletes they've never met personally. One exception is a blatantly disadvantageous travel scenario or short week, especially if team turmoil is somehow involved (i.e. 2008 Thanksgiving, the Cardinals had zero chance coming East to Philly on about two days' rest from their game that past Sunday).

-Finding asinine stats to back up whatever conclusion you want to believe in. Stats are there to allow you to draw a conclusion, not the other way around, because there are so many numbers at our hands that you can hand pick and manipulate almost any stat that supposedly supports your thinking., the website I like to go to for spreads and other information, has on each matchup page a sometimes-useful "trends" section and lists the ten prior meetings between the teams in question (which does you zero good if you have interconference opponents who meet every four years - yeah, those times when Miami and Minnesota met in 2006 and 2002 are really going to help me find an edge for Week 2 in 2010). Some people put so much stock in this stuff, it's amusing. I'd like to meet the guy who reads a stat like "Tampa is 6-1-1 against the spread in its last 8 daytime home games when getting 1.5 points or more" and takes something so obscure as reason enough to plunk money down on the Bucs. That guy is out there somewhere. Hell, that guy is everywhere.

-Blind faith in your own team/blind hatred for your team's rivals. Fandom and betting are a tough mix. I'm not saying you have to ever bet against your favorite team or bet for your most hated team, but money tends to stay in the pockets of those who are objective. Don't allow your biases (and we ALL have biases) to distort your vision. For instance, Dallas has opened between an 8- and 9-point favorite at home against Chicago this coming week. Does the fan in me think they can beat the Bears by double digits? Yes. But the observer in me knows the team is poorly coached, lacks discipline, and most of the time does not do the little things right. I wouldn't even bet on them this week with someone else's money. Show me a guy who bets with his heart instead of his eyes and ears, and I'll show you a guy who helped build Vegas.

In conclusion, all you can ever want is to be above .500. And yes, sometimes lucky is better than good. We're all guilty of this stuff from time to time (you're talking to a guy who once lost $50 in Vegas two years ago because he thought he had a feeling about Boof f*ing Bonser and the Twins in a late May game against the Tigers. The Twinkies only lost that game for me by about 16 runs). But, until next time, remember that there is a difference between a losing bet and a stupid bet.

You're Not Idiots, They Treat You Like One: Speeding

Driving for 6 plus years I had yet to be stopped for speeding, so I was due.  Last week I was stopped in a speed trap on our trek to Michigan's opener against UConn.  I was written a ticket for driving 75 mph in a 65 mph zone in Everett, PA.  The cop didn't ask me any questions but rather took my license and registration and wrote a ticket.  I actually wasn't that pissed despite the $137 charge.  My only concern was do I get points because I can't afford to take off from work drive 3 plus hours to Whogivesashit, PA. I'm still not certain how that works but I'll bet they just wan the money. If any of you have gotten a ticket recently you can probably see the breakdown.  Only $52 of the ticket was for the offense, the rest went to Medicare, Emergency Medical Services, and the courts.   Obviously this is crap but the real issue is that police are so desperate to raise funds they are handing out more tickets.  As usual I have a better idea using common sense.

If you have enough cops to set up speed traps, you have too many cops.  Goodbye, here is your pink slip.  I'll give the police departments the benefit of the doubt that they crunched the numbers and believe that monetarily handing out X amount of tickets equals a profit.  Amid the costs of the cop's salary, fuel, and radar detector,court, and clerical costs they may still turn a profit.  However, do you really need to be breaking the balls of decent citizens by issuing tickets.  Does anyone under the age of 25 have a good opinion of cops? Do many people over it? How many times have officers truly protected and served you for the salaries you provide to them?  I'll be happy to here someone make a counter argument, but I do not feel that overall its in the best interest of anyone to have cops in speed traps.  Its just not worth being the bad guy.  When I hear people raising money for municipal organizations I never help because taxes dollars already assist these groups.

The new policy for getting people for speeding should be if a cop happens to be on the road he can pull you over for speeding.  It should not be the cop's sole job though.  There will still be the element of obeying the law because you never know if someones watching but it wouldn't be this sneaky gotcha bullshit. 

Speed Limits also need to increase in the northeast.  Other states have wised up.  I realize death rates go up when speed limits rise, but that couldn't surprise me less. People need to be able to go faster on Turnpikes when no one is around.  If you can safely operate your vehiciles at high speeds than what's the problem.  throw in another driving test on the highway and you will have lines out the door at the DMV longer than the ones now.  Go ahead and put sticker's on the back of the license plates to allow the good drivers to go faster (it was OK to profile teenagers wasn't it New Jersey), you could even charge an extra fee for the right to speed.  That will be sure to generate some income. That's the whole point anyways isn't it?

As an aside, I was charged a convienience fee to pay me bill online after I was told would I like to add this ticket to my cart?  Apparently I was ordering tickets through Ticketmaster.

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 for the Weekend, Part Two

Ah, Week One of the NFL Season. That first Sunday is akin to Christmas morning. Conventional wisdom says it's the toughest week of all to bet, since your knowledge of each team is limited. Unconventional wisdom says it's the best week to take advantage of relatively tame point spreads. (as usual, home teams in CAPS)

Cincinnati (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Tom Brady's car accident and contract notwithstanding, the Pats just don’t have the defense at the moment. T.O. and Ochocinco should have a day against the very inexperienced New England secondary, and last time we saw the Pats, they were getting the bowling-pin treatment from Ray Rice and the Ravens ground game in the playoffs. I still think the Patriots are overall the better team, but Cincinnati has enough defense (and possibly the best coordinator in the league in Mike Zimmer) to keep New England in the low 20s.

Indianapolis (-2.5) over HOUSTON
Ride the Colts until they buck ya. Houston is in its third year of being “the next up and coming team,” but I’m going to wait for them to actually beat Peyton Manning once before I ever bet on them to do so. If it were 3.5 I’d probably be scared away because this game has a good chance to be close, but the Colts giving less than a field goal is an inviting bet.

Oakland (+6.5) over TENNESSEE
Maybe this is the year the Raiders shed the doormat image. You can argue that no team underwent a bigger quarterback upgrade than Oakland did this year (because they went from “awful” in JaMarcus Russell to “average” with Jason Campbell), plus their defense has quietly been built into a respectable unit. You don’t expect Vince Young to accomplish hardly anything through the air in the game, and a team that has to win by running many times ends up playing close games. I’d still be a little surprised if the Raiders won, but a 20-16ish game smells right.

Green Bay (-3) over PHILADELPHIA
This is a case of the Week 1 tame lines. If this game were to be played in Week 7, the Pack would be a 7-7.5 point favorite in Philly. Give the 3 all day and all night. The Green Bay offense has the ability to put up some pinball numbers and the Eagles did not upgrade their defense in its problematic areas (the sans-blitz pass rush and the straight-ahead run game). Throw in Kevin Kolb playing with some real expectations for the first time and you could easily see the crowd booing and chanting for Michael Vick if Kolb is 1 for 7 in the second quarter.

Baltimore (+2) over NY JETS (Monday Night)
Don’t believe the hype just yet with Gang Green. Believe the hype with Baltimore. The Jets insist they can win all their games 16-13, but the Ravens should be able to get to 20 points in this game, which is a taller order for the Jets. I don’t know if they trust Mark Sanchez enough yet to try to win the game by taking advantage of Ed Reed’s absence, and simply running Shonn Greene between the tackles won’t be enough.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 for the Weekend, Part One

This week brings us the first full slate of football of the year, so now I'll be submitting 5 NCAA as well as 5 NFL games a week. Like Kevin, I went 2-2-1 in college games last week in an apparent celebration of mediocrity.

Saturday (Home teams in CAPS)

Michigan (+4) over NOTRE DAME
This line looks like it's giving Notre Dame about 2-2.5 points too much credit. I was able to watch a good chunk of each of these teams' games last week, and I came away with this: Michigan played like they knew they were better than UConn, while Notre Dame did not play like they knew they were better than Purdue. Even though the Irish won 23-12, they failed to put the game to bed several times in the second half and got a big break from an excessive celebration penalty after a Purdue TD made it 20-12 late. In my amateur opinion, these teams are a pretty even match in terms of talent, but I don't know if Notre Dame has the athletes on defense to contain Wolverines QB Denard Robinson. Games between inexperienced quarterbacks are won on discipline and raw playmaking ability. There's no question Robinson holds the edge on playmaking ability, so if he can take care of the football there's no reason Michigan can't win the game.

OKLAHOMA (-7) over Florida State
I may end up kicking myself here for going against my first instinct, but I cannot get over the fact that the public has been going to town on FSU all week (most books have had the line move about 2.5-3 points in favor of the Seminoles in the past 72 hours). Oklahoma looked like garbage last week and has many of the makings of a slight downturn in the Big 12, but on the same token that does not exactly mean Florida State is totally ready for prime time yet. I do like the overall outlook for the Seminoles program this year, but you may have to chalk this one up as a valuable learning experience for Christian Ponder and Jimbo Fisher, one that they can draw upon come November. If my one-eye-on-the-TV 11pm research has been accurate, Oklahoma has not lost in Norman since 2005.

ALABAMA (-12) over Penn State
True Freshman QB + defending national champs + Bryant-Denny Stadium + night game = Roll Tide. If I were Nick Saban I'd wear a Bear Bryant houndstooth hat to disorient Joe Paterno and make him think it's 1979 again. Alabama by at least two touchdowns here, even without Mark Ingram.

Oregon (-12) over TENNESSEE
These two teams won their openers by a combined score of 122-0, so this is the first test either team will face this year. For me this is an example of how you can't let history blind you too much. Normally you'd be all over Tennessee plus double digits in a night game with 100,000+ fired up fans in Knoxville, but the only thing normal about this Tennessee team is the uniforms. The Ducks should run circles around the depleted, post-Kiffin Volunteers. I won't discount the fact that Tennessee has a lot to prove, so a close game after 3 quarters wouldn't shock me.

Stanford (-5.5) over UCLA
I have to be honest and say I'm throwing a blind dart here by taking a Pac-10 late game, but Stanford is a very well coached team under Jim Harbaugh and has one of the better (and significantly experienced) sophomore QB's in the country in Andrew Luck. UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince is about as banged up as Ricky at the end of Not Another Teen Movie, so that's enough to make me lay the 5.5 on the road with Stanford.

NFL Week 1 picks coming out on Friday

5 for Saturday

2-2-1 Last Week. That's how we roll around here so get used to it.  This week is as jam packed a non conference slate as I can remember. There is not one single titanic clash but several good matchups. All games are Saturday

Georgia @ South Carolina (-2.5) Noon ESPN

WR A.J. Green is supspended for Georgia and I am high on South Carolina this year for no real reason other than its time.  Perhaps this is the year Spurrier finally gets them to the SEC Championship.

Michigan (+4) @ Notre Dame 3:30 NBC

History says take the dog to win straight up.  I'll let you decide whether to do that or take the points. Michigan's defense is still likely a house of horrors but the offense was a chained pit bull last week and will be unleashed.  For Notre Dame, we'll see how good QB Dayne Crist is this week because he could be a differance maker.

Florida State @ Oklahoma (-9) 3:30 ESPN 2/ ABC

Call this taking advantage of the public's knee jerk reaction to Oklahoma's close game with Utah State last week.

Miami @ Ohio State (-10) 3:40 ESPN

First off why is this game not on ABC?  It's begging for a national audience. Anyways, I have been hearing all week that Miami looks great against this line and could even win.  I hope they are right but I don't think the Canes are prepared for this.  When Tressel feels his hand is forced he isn't afraid to turn his team loose. This doesn't seem like a Tresselball game where it's all run the ball and defend.

Penn State @ Alabama (-11.5)  7 PM ESPN

Again why is this not on ABC?  I don't know if this will be the blowout so percieve it to be.  2 touchdowns seem likely even if Penn State is close late.  I'll probably be rooting for them anyways.

What Belt Have You Earned?

If you haven't been able to tell already we are obsessed with sports fandom here at the blog. A concept of badges in fandom was introduced at my favorite site that is often linked here. I wanted to introduce you to the concept and take it a step further.  The concept is simple.  There are degrees of sports fans based on your interest in the sport and devotion to your team.  There are teams that you root for no matter what and pledge your allegiance to always.  There are other teams where you are casually interested in their success and do not follow as closely. Hence I present the karate belt system for sports fans. The karate system is as here.

White Belt (lowest rank)-  You are aware that your team exist but can't name more than the star players and you lack the knowledge of your division/conference or schedule.  You have never purchased tickets using your own money to go to a game. 

Yellow Belt- You gather your news from ESPN and local affiliates and assume this is sufficient. You do not bother listening to talk radio much but can generally follow a conversation about the team. You would prefer to listen to music when you drive because that is what you are really into.  You are not even aware how devoid of knowledge local sports radio station is or main stream media. You have a generally idea of when games should be but you don't know the time or station because if you miss the game, that's ok. You would rather drink and go out anyways.

Orange Belt- You own 1 t-shirt of the team you like.  You can talk about you favorite team with the average sports fan and not sound like an idiot.    You have paid to go to a game before.  However, your friend had an extra ticket and was giving you a ride.  He was able to show you around and the drive was less than an hour from your house.  You keep tabs on the team by reading the box scores.  The season doesn't get interesting until the playoffs or until it reaches national significance.  In the playoffs you are closely following and watching games.

Green Belt-  You have a baseball mini plan for your team if they are near by or you make sure to catch every nationally televised game.  You enjoy the MLB network but won't pay extra for it or any other network to watch your team. You enjoy watching the games because to you they are just that: games.  It doesn't ultimately mean more to you than this.  When the game is over you can move onto whatever is next.  The feeling of excitement or disappointment lives in the bubble of the game you watch.

Blue Belt- You're a pretty good fan of your team, few people will dispute this.  However, amid your dedication to your team you can lose interest in the eyes of defeat.  Down by 2 touchdowns with 3 minutes left, you are no longer watching.  Baseball team is out of playoff contention late in the year, your doing something else. When your team loses to Appalachian State you go in to sports fan hibernation. Basically you are not going to live with the wretched ups and down of a sports fan.  You prefer to shield yourself from certain unnecessary pains.  Females can distract you from the game, and if the girl is hot enough you'll skip the game for her.

Brown Belt- By all accounts you a great sports fan.  You hardly miss a game. You will watch all the games you can but if you have something important to do you can grit your teeth and miss the game. Family does come first with you. When there is an important family event to go you go to the event.  you throw the girlfriend a bone on occasion and miss a game if A) the game isn't the be all end all and B) you'll be in the chateau bow wow if you don't.  You are knowledgeable and generally waste hours of you work day and free time discussing sports with other fans online and in person.  You make it a point to go to as many games as you can afford to go to.  Your cable/satellite package is selected based on your team.  To put things into prospective, you are a major fan, but remain reasonable and realistic when it comes to other aspects of your life.

Black Belt- People classify you as insane or nuts.  People who know you will never forget who your allegiance is to.  You will shun family and friends to watch the game alone if you have to.  "Hey we have to go to a wedding on Saturday." I'm not going, Michigan is playing UMass at 3. They should know better than to even ask me.  If your a black belt in sports things like 3-9 don't deter you.  A Matt Beech start is worthy of watching in September when your team is 25 games back.  Driving 10 hours or getting on a plane to see a game is par for the course.  Taking off work and standing in line for standing room tickets is something you don't question but just do. You will go through great lengths to watch your team play. You know where to find your team online/portable TV/Slingbox. 

You are irrational at times and will purchase tickets for games you know you can't go to because the idea of holding the tickets gives you a possibility of attending the game.  You are a masochist and will watch games when your team is getting embarrased.  You will suffer along with them because you feel it is your duty.  You can fully appreaciate the thrill of pure joy that other bandwagon jumpers cannot, and you have the emotional scars from painful defeats.  Your mood is heavily affected by your teams performance.


The system tries to reach broadly across all major sports, however it is impossible to compare baseball and football.  Watching all 9 inning of a 162 games season is unrealistic for anyone. 4 hours 13 times a year is a different story. If your like me it is probable that for different teams that fall into different categories. I root for the Phillies differently than I do for Michigan. 

This system was difficult to create you may find yourself in a few categories for certain situations.  However, your pattern of behavior is what I am judging here so assign accordingly. Generally assumptions are that the positives of each belt will carry over to the higher ranking.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

5 Others for the Weekend

Last year I became a fan of Kevin's weekly college football prognostications from his old blog, so this past week I asked him if we could do a running head-to-head picks feature this year. So here goes. Each week we'll both pick 5 college and 5 NFL games ATS (against the spread), and we'll keep track of the standings as we go and maybe make it interesting enough to entertain people besides ourselves. Sometimes we'll pick the same games, sometimes we won't - as a general rule I'll stick to the higher profile games and/or games with local flavor, no Alabama/San Jose State cupcakes here. Kevin's locked Week 1 of college football in for himself already (see below), so now it's my turn.

Home teams in CAPS, all spreads courtesy of

Villanova (+6) over TEMPLE
I generally root against Villanova any chance I get, but 6 points just seems like a lot here. Not sure how much of a "home" game it will really be for Temple, considering they never fill the Linc and there are probably a ton of Nova kids who've already spent Mommy and Daddy's weekly check on tickets, Corona Light (ultimate douchebag beer), and brand new tattered hats in anticipation of this one. Should be a pretty fair matchup, as Temple turned many heads last year by getting to a bowl game, and Villanova of course won the FCS national title. Smells like a one-possession game either way, I'll take the 6 and run in this Friday night game.

NOTRE DAME (-11) over Purdue
Stop me if you've seen this before: new Notre Dame coach comes out with a lot to prove, and does so with a bang in his first year or at least the first half of the year, thanks in large part to a generous schedule. Purdue is a decidedly average team that did a good job last year of sneaking up on some teams that weren't necessarily ready for a fight. This day has been circled on Brian Kelly's calendar for a good while. Irish by two Touchdown Jesuses.

Oregon State (+13.5) over TCU
The Horned Frogs are playing a field trip of a home game at Cowboys Stadium and would like to do nothing more than to justify their preseason #6 ranking against a team that may end up being the only ranked opponent on TCU's 2010 schedule. Oregon State comes in at #24 but boasts possibly the most electrifying (overused term, sorry) runner in the nation in Jacquizz Rodgers - watching him with the ball in his hands is almost as much fun as saying his name 3 times fast. This early in the season it's tough to tell what the difference really is between #24 and #6, but my gut tells me the Beavers stand to be competitive in the up-for-grabs Pac 10 and in this game as well.

BYU (-2.5) over Washington
I had to take this game because it's the two-year anniversary of the Jake Locker post-TD controversy that put the Huskies' 2008 season in the tubes. Now, Locker is a big-time draft prospect and gets a shot to exact his revenge in Provo, where I guarantee he'll merely flip the ball to the official if he scores a touchdown. This is one of two early-season games against legit opponents for BYU before their Week 7 date with TCU, and their potential impending entrance into the Top 25 hangs in the balance. The departure of Max Hall brings an unproven QB into a team traditionally known for whipping the ball all around the field, but I think the Cougars have enough on this night. This line opened at BYU -7, which tells you that people have been hammering away on Washington since. I'll bet against the public here.

VIRGINIA TECH (+2) over Boise State
Going the same way as Kevin on this one for many of the same reasons he provided. In any event, it should be a fun game to watch on Monday night. I have a feeling that "Beamerball" will rear its head at some point, maybe in the form of a blocked punt or a turnover deep in Boise territory. Unless they decide to paint the sod at FedEx Field blue, I'll grit my teeth and go VT here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5 for Saturday

Every week I will pick five college football games against the spread.  Last year I was 25-23-2 so I can't promise I will be much help.  I typically pick the 5 games to watch provided by  I will only deviate from this if I am personally attending games, in which case I will be sure to include these games.

Pitt @ Utah (-3) 8:30 Versus Thursday

This seems like the smart play.  Utah has a fortress at home and Pitt are notoriously slow starters under Wanstasche.

Arizona @ Toledo (+15.5) 8 PM ESPN Friday

The first of two games we will be attending this weekend.  Toledo somehow managed to get Arizona to come to the Glass Bowl.  Arizona narrowly missed out on the Rose Bowl last year and are determined to achieve their goal this year. I know Toledo is expected to be a decent MAC team so maybe they will cover.

UConn @ Michigan (-3) 3:30 Saturday ABC

While its difficult to predict opening games, this one is almost guaranteed to see points in bunches.  Michigan's offense should be a top 20 offense this year, but the defense on paper looks the worst of the Rich Rod era.  UConn should be able to put some points up but doesn't appear to have a solid defense either.  Whatever bad happens on Saturday, at least one good thing will happen.  Brock Mealer will walk.

LSU(-1) vs. North Carolina 8 PM ABC in the abortion that is the Georgia Dome

Wow does this game look alot less appealing than it did when scheduled.  This teams are both under fire from the NCAA.  It's uncertain at this point who will be eligible to play. I'll take LSU to be the more ready of the two teams for this one.

Boise State  vs. Virginia Tech (+2.5) @ a stupid "neutral" site in Landover, Maryland Monday 8 PM ABC

Probably the most interesting Labor day Monday night football game ever staged. The last couple of years that's its been done its been painful to watch Florida State. Anyways I was surprised to see Boise State as an outright favorite in this game.  I was actually going to pick them to win but I can't see myself rooting for them. It's a de facto home game for Va Tech.  Maybe Bud Foster will have the defense ready enough to kill the Boise hype early this year.