Friday, December 31, 2010

5 for Sunday

Week 17 is no fun to try to handicap at all, but this time a month from now we'd kill to still have this amount of football still to watch, so what the heck. Home teams in CAPS.

NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Tampa Bay
The Bucs have had a great year, but what kept them out of the playoffs was their inability to beat good teams (0-5 against teams that are above .500). The Saints are peaking at the right time and have Pierre Thomas back in and with early-season freshness to get them those tough yards that seemed to elude them at times this year. The Saints are playing to secure the 5th spot in the NFC and a date next week with whoever wins the NFC West. I think they'll keep their foot on the gas long enough in this game to cover this number.

HOUSTON (+2.5) over Jacksonville
The Jags have emptied their sack this year, and despite exceeding most people's expectations are entering Week 17 a long shot for the playoffs. Not helping matters is the fact that David Garrard is out and MJD is doubtful. Despite the Houston situation being so bad that they might even resort to Wade Phillips after the inevitable firing of Gary Kubiak, I'll take the 2.5 at home with the Texans in what figures to be their annual "oh wait, maybe these guys are actually pretty decent, I'm going to pick them as a playoff dark horse next year" game.

INDIANAPOLIS (-9.5) over Tennessee
If the Jags-Texans game were at 1:00, I'd never touch this game. The Colts still need a win or a Jacksonville loss to take the AFC South, but there is a strong likelihood that the instant either one of those outcomes becomes imminent that you will see Peyton Manning put the baseball cap on for the rest of this game. In a normal situation, one would be pretty certain that the Colts, who have manufactured something of a running game in recent weeks, should beat the Titans handily. I think the other AFC South game will remain close for long enough that the Colts will be able to make it a double-digit affair.

Chicago (+10) over GREEN BAY
I don't believe the speculation that the Bears will lay down in this game, despite having the #2 seed and first-round bye locked up. Green Bay needs this game to secure a Wild Card spot and Chicago would love to spoil that party. Also, if you saw any of the Bears game with the Jets last week, you took two things away from it going into Week 17. One, the Chicago defense has kinks it needs to work out before the playoffs. Two, the Chicago offense would be ill-advised to let themselves get stale by taking two weeks off. All in all, these teams are pretty fairly matched so give me the 10 points.

St. Louis (-3) over SEATTLE
The feel-good story of the week has been flexed to Sunday Night, and the likelihood that the Seahawks will be turning to Charlie Whitehurst in this game is enough to make me declare this one a nationally-televised Rams party. Seattle has lost 5 of its last 6 games by an average of over 18 points, and the Rams have done a good job this year of beating the teams that they are supposed to beat. As nice as it would be for the Rams to make the playoffs one year removed from 1-15, it would more importantly ensure some semblance of order in the world because they'd be 8-8 and we won't have to see a 7-9 team host a playoff game.

Last Week: 1-4-0
Season: 40-38-2

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

70 games over the course of 14 weeks were not enough to settle the friendly competition between Kevin and me, and each of us going 4-1 for Championship Weekend at the beginning of this month has the end of our NCAA season resembling the end of Rocky II. We decided our tiebreaking strategy would be to each take 5 games on New Year's weekend and then see where we stood. If we are still tied after that, then we'll take the remaining BCS games and hope it works itself out from there. For fun, and in light of the inordinate proportion of the Rockythons I caught on Versus last weekend, I'm going to draw a parallel between each game I pick and its closest Rocky equivalent. Obviously, all games are neutral sites so there are technically no home teams.

Notre Dame (+3) over Miami (Sun Bowl, Friday)
-Rocky counterpart: Rocky II
Rocky II was tagged "The Rematch of the Century," and this Notre Dame-Miami game is the first meeting between the two programs since both were perennial powers 20 years ago. Also in that movie, Rocky Balboa was forced to switch up and fight right-handed in order to avoid further damage to his right eye that he'd sustained fighting Apollo Creed lefty the first time around. In this game, Notre Dame would be well-served to switch up their offensive thinking, which for most of this year has consisted of living and dying by the over-the-top passing game. However, the Irish aren't potent enough to beat Miami's stellar pass defense but should be able to find running lanes against the Hurricanes, who gave up - this is not a misprint - 231 yards per game on the ground in their last three games of the regular season. The long layoff before bowl games has been known to be a momentum-stopper, but I can't ignore the disparity between how these two teams played toward the end of the season.

Michigan State (+10) over Alabama (Capital One Bowl, Saturday)
-Rocky counterpart: Rocky IV
You know if I'm comparing a game to Rocky IV, then I expect it to be entertaining. Alabama reminds me a bit of Ivan Drago in that has killed its overmatched opponents this year but seemingly has had everything else handed to them on reputation. Even though the Crimson Tide's running game can be powerful like Drago's 1,850-Psi punch, their offense can sometimes be one-dimensional. Michigan State represents the Big Ten in the arms race against the SEC (yes I did just compare the SEC to communist Russia but let's just go with it) and boasts an offense that can wear you down if you let them get too close, which is just what Alabama's defense had happen to it against Auburn and LSU. All Rocky set out to do was take everything Drago had and be left standing at the end, and all the Spartans have to do is be standing at the end of this one. There's no reason they can't keep it close. Now all we have to do is invent a drinking game to go with this.

Penn State (+7) over Florida (Outback Bowl, Saturday)
-Rocky counterpart: Rocky Balboa
This might have been the easiest bowl game to compare to a Rocky movie, just because seeing 84-year-old Joe Paterno on the sidelines conjures the same "isn't he way too old for this?" thought that seeing 60-year-old Rocky Balboa in the ring did. On the field, the only real edge that Florida has over Penn State is (you guessed it!) speed, and the Nittany Lions' best chance to win would be with good old fashioned blunt-force trauma, namely Evan Royster and his 4.9 yards per carry. The Gators didn't show nearly enough in their last few games to make you feel confident in laying anything more than 2-3 points.

TCU (-3) over Wisconsin (Rose Bowl, Saturday)
-Rocky counterpart: Rocky III
Try to tell me that Rocky's run of 10 title defenses in the beginning of Rocky III doesn't remind you of TCU running the table this year over its relatively mediocre competition. And try to tell me that Wisconsin, with their nuts-and-bolts, beat-the-hell-out-of-you-the-old-fashioned-way style and their status as a slight underdog from the Midwest doesn't make you think of Clubber Lang a little bit. The Horned Frogs are out to show that they are no paper champion and a BCS bowl victory before they bolt for the Big East would accomplish that. I must admit I'm not crazy about this pick, especially when the line is begging you to take Wisconsin, but my prevailing thought is to take the team with the better defense since the long pre-bowl layoffs can put rust on even the best offenses for a quarter or so. If TCU is up to the challenge presented by the Badgers' three-headed backfield monster (and more importantly, the five-headed offensive line monster), then I like their chances in the Granddaddy of Them All.

Oklahoma (-16.5) over Connecticut (Fiesta Bowl, Saturday)
-Rocky counterpart: Rocky
The long-established power Oklahoma goes up against a relative upstart (UConn is in just their 9th season as a Division I-A, I mean FCS, team) whose mere presence in the game is questioned by many (we don't need to delve any further into the matter of the Big East's automatic bid this year). Sound a little bit like Apollo Creed giving the unknown Rocky Balboa a shot at the title, for little reason beyond Rocky a.) living in Philly, and b.) having a cool nickname? Unfortunately for the Huskies, the similarities between the 2011 Fiesta Bowl and the original Rocky pretty much end there. UConn has zero passing game and will be in big trouble if they get behind by two scores or more. This Oklahoma team showed me enough in the late part of the season (especially against Oklahoma State and Nebraska) for me to ignore some of the deuces that Bob Stoops' teams have dropped in BCS games in recent years. I echo Kevin's sentiment - Sooners by 3 TD's or more.

Two things of note. One, I know I chose not to include Rocky V in my bowl game comparisons. That is because Rocky V represents about 75% of the bowl season altogether - barely watchable and unnecessary. Two, in the first time all year that Kevin and I have taken the same five games, we are different on the Sun Bowl and on the Rose Bowl, so provided there are no pushes, someone is winning this thing by two games or else we'll see you back here next week.

Last Week: 4-1-0
Season: 38-28-4

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sites of Future Bowl Games: Yemen

When: December 30 or 31th, it depends on atmospheric conditions (i.e. artillery flying through the air, grenades)

Who: A stodgy Big Ten team (three yards in a cloud of dust has a whole new meaning)  vs. Kentucky or another team sure to be 6-6.

What: We're Safer than Somalia Bowl.  Sponsored by Gatorade (because you have no H2O)

Where: San'a', Yemen.  Specifically the Ali Muhesen Stadium (Capacity 25,000).  San'a' is the largest city in Yemen but yet the first to run out of water.  When checking through airport security make sure you bring plenty of your own water.  O yeah you can't do that, but it's Yemen so there are not real strict on WMDs so there's that.

If You Go: 
  • Pretend your are Muslim, and act like you hate all world powers.  Cozy up with some warlords and enjoy some of the finest dining and house you can find.
  • There is no rail system so use mini buses to transport your way around the city.  They usually hold about 10 people.
  • The average temperature is 68 degrees in December so you should be comfortable, weather wise at least
  • The beach is just about everywhere so ladies will enjoy the trip.  Where else can women get a tan, and men shop for guns in the same place?
  • Bowl activities include praying five times a day, occasionally running for your life, sleeping with one eye open, and cowering in a corner while civilians are terrorized
  • You are a real fan of exhibition football if you are brave enough to attend this game, and will be rewarded with 500 virgins if you do not return.

5 for the Mythical National Title

Lou and I finished in a virtual dead heat.  We were 10 games over .500.  I was 39-29-2 and he was 38-28-4. Lou suggested that we pick some new years day games to sort out a winner and hey were trying to get to 300 posts for the year so why not?  In reality we both did very well picking for the season and should consider gambling for real.  Anyone know a good bookie?

Outback Bowl: Penn State (+7) @ Florida.

A virtual home game for the Gators but seriously how are they touchdown favorites?  Urban Meyer's last game blah blah blah.  Penn State has been stellar in bowl games recently and I think the case will be the same here.  I expect PSU to win outright but will gladly take the 7 points.

Capital One Bowl: Alabama vs. Michigan State (+10)

I know I have a Big Ten Bias, but I could see Michigan State keeping this game close. Yes they are clearly the 3rd best team in the conference but Alabama is not going to run circles around you offensively.  If Michigan State can keep their tailbacks active and work play action they will hang around.

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma(-16.5) vs. UConn

Remember when Big Game Bob was Big Game Bob.  I think this game will remind you why Bob Stoops was so highly touted 5 years ago.  Oklahoma should torch a weak UConn secondary forcing UConn to open things up with Zach Frazier.  I don't like the Huskies chances if they can't pound Jordan Todman 40 times in this game.  Oklahoma by 3 touchdowns.

Sun Bowl: Miami (-3) vs. Notre Dame

This is a virtual toss up but me thinks Notre Dame has been lucky to have finished the season so strong.  Its so easy for me to root against Notre Dame and I will be sitting at home watching this one so I'll root for Miami.

Rose Bowl:  Wisconsin (+3) vs. TCU

I feel really confident about this pick which could be bad news.  Wisconsin has been the best team in the Big Ten for my money.  Gary Patterson is a good defensive mind who has figured out ways to shut down spread teams where other coaches fail.  I could get into X's and O's here but basically TCU loves them some undersized ends who can do multiple things.  One thing they won't be able to do, stop Wisconsin from running student body right, student body left, and running right down there throat.  I like the over in this game because I think TCU will get theirs too.  However, Wisconsin should win this one and take their 4th straight Rose Bowl, something the entire Big Ten is envious about.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Like A Da YouTubes, Volume IV

This is what you do when you're outside shoveling snow and your iPod battery dies and you have no choice but to come back inside and charge it. Hope you enjoy.

I caught wind of this one a few weeks ago. Men and women alike will find this funny as hell.

Many of you have seen this before and may even remember it making Sportscenter back in 1994 when it happened. It's an unbelievable comeback in a Texas high school state championship game, only to be followed by...well, you'll find out.

I came across the last video for this installment about a month or so ago. Some of my favorite finds on YouTube are great moments in sporting events filmed from a person's seat. They're fairly prevalent now with the rise in phone-camera quality, but back in 2001 that wasn't the case. We've all seen the famous Derek Jeter flip play in Oakland a million times, but starting around the 1:00 mark, here's a look at the play from seats right behind the action.

NAGAYT's Official Unofficial Post-Christmas List

Now that the wrapping paper has been thrown away, the 24 hours of A Christmas Story have passed, and the sounds of Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, and Andy Williams are giving way to normal music again, allow me, on behalf of all of us here at NotAsGoodAsYouThink, to wish our followers the best for the remainder of this holiday season. And now I'm going to tell you a bunch of stuff that we'd all like to see in the coming year. Consider it an unofficial post-Christmas list.

-A definitive, authentic, well-written, compelling, authoritative movie made about Babe Ruth. The Babe starring John Goodman was terrible, and 1948's The Babe Ruth Story is only remembered today for how cheap and tacky it was. The technology is there, the expanded knowledge of the man's life is there thanks to new biographies and documentaries that have come out in the past decade-plus, and the void for a solid baseball movie is certainly there. Obviously the thing won't go from tee to green in a year, but to even hear that the wheels are in motion for such a project would be great. Who's with me?
-Jon Gruden to do us all a favor and step out of the Monday Night Football broadcast booth and back onto the sidelines. Maybe even in Dallas.
-NFL Network to find a way to get Gus Johnson onto its broadcast team. It may make their coverage borderline watchable.
-The St. Louis Rams to get to 8-8 and win the NFC West, if for no other reason than the country has already had enough of the "REVAMP THE NFL PLAYOFF SYSTEM!" outcry from every corner of the media. Think the overtime debate of the past few years, and multiply it by 10. No thanks.
-The Miami Heat to lose in the first round of the playoffs.
-Keep the baseball playoffs the way they are. This idea of adding a second wild card team is idiotic. You have 162 games to assert yourself as one of the top four teams in your league - that's more than enough of a sample size.
-A Super Bowl that goes to overtime. We've come close to seeing one several times in the recent past. Come on, wouldn't that be fun?
-For once and for all, anyone who ever, ever, ever talks about the Super Bowl in written form uses it as two words. It's the "Super Bowl." It is not the "Superbowl." Get it right. It's not that hard; bloody Toby could do it.
-A one-way plane ticket to Tonga for A.J. Burnett.
-On that same token, one more year for Andy Pettitte.
-The Arrested Development movie. Please.
-If a sequel to The Hangover does come out, please let it not be an embarrassment to the first one.
-For those of us who have become Chris Lilley fans over the course of 2010 (and that includes all of our contributors and a good amount of our followers), we would want nothing more than for his new series Angry Boys, due to air on HBO in March, to include Phil Olivetti as a main character. This really needs to happen.
-The Northeast to finally learn how not to overreact to a snowstorm.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

5 for Sunday

If it weren't for the easiest betting decision of the year last week (Bears-Vikings on Monday Night) I'd have thrown up a donut. So much for being able to coast in with an assured over-.500 season. Home teams in CAPS.

Dallas (-6.5) over ARIZONA (Saturday Night)
I've avoided going too Dallas-heavy this year in this space, but I had trouble finding a fifth game and couldn't come up with enough funny foot puns about Rex Ryan to put together an adequate writeup on the Jets-Bears game, so to the old default I'll go on Christmas Night. Dallas has been terrible on defense lately but has found an identity on offense since Jon Kitna got comfortable and Jason Garrett quit trying to be outsmart everyone and started playing to the team's strengths. The Cardinals are the perfect antidote for the Cowboys' defensive problems - they have rookie John Skelton playing quarterback and have averaged less than 150 yards passing per game in their last three. On a side note, does anyone else find it funny how you haven't heard the usual outcry this year from people who can't get NFL Network? Their slate of games has been beyond putrid.

Detroit (+3.5) over MIAMI
The Dolphins have been terrible at home this year and their offense has thrown up three straight stinkers. The Lions won their first road game since 2007 last week at Tampa Bay and are probably as scary as a 4-10 team could possibly be right now. As a result of having Drew Stanton start at quarterback, Detroit has rushed for 168 yards per game in the last three weeks in victories over the Bucs, Packers, and a near miss against the Bears. I like the Lions' chances of making it two road wins in a row this week.

NY Giants (+3) over GREEN BAY
This game is an example of why you can't put too much stock in last week. Yes, the Giants put together a monumental collapse against the Eagles. And yes, the Packers had the Patriots on the ropes in Foxboro until Matt Flynn showed that he's a graduate of the Les Miles School of Clock Management in a game where many didn't give them a chance (my hand is raised). So now that Aaron Rodgers is likely to return for Green Bay, conventional wisdom would tell you to take the Packers at home. After watching both games, I saw a Giants team that moved the ball at will and rushed the quarterback very well for 52 minutes. I've seen a lot of the Packers this year and their ineffective running game often hamstrings their offense - before you go crazy about the 27 they put up against the Pats, remember that is still one of the worst pass defenses in the league. The Giants have a good chance to win the game in any weather.

San Diego (-8) over CINCINNATI
Very Good Team, say hello to Very Bad Team. Oh, and don't worry about having to go on the road - their stadium won't be close to full. This game should be gift-wrapped for the Chargers, and if the weather is remotely manageable Vincent Jackson is likely to eat the depleted Bengal defense for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Bolts by at least 10.

ATLANTA (-2.5) over New Orleans (Monday Night)
The Falcons seem to be getting all the same types of breaks that the Saints were getting last year, and are very very tough to bet against at home. If you need more than Matt Ryan's 19-1 home record, then consider the already-suspect Saints run defense was worn down for 208 yards last week and the Falcons run it as well as anyone. Giving less than a FG with a 12-2 team that's undefeated at home this year seems logical enough to me.

Last Week: 1-4-0
Season: 39-34-2

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Make an Appointment Dr. Jack: Colin Cowherd

Colin Cowherd has his own radio show on ESPN radio from 10 AM -1 PM.  He is also on a show called Sportsnation on ESPN.  Somehow he is scheduled to have a series made based on his life that will air on CBS.  He is clearly spreading worse than the bed bug epidemic.  Sometimes good things happen to bad people in life. It's approriate that the post beneath this is about the wonderlic test.  The same wonderlic test questions were read aloud on his radio show a few years back.  That had to have been a thrill for MZone right?  Well you see Cowherd read the questions without giving any retribution.  Yea the guy is plagaristic dickhead.

If you have ever heard Colin Cowherd's radio program you would know how much he likes to create controversy and unsubstantiated rumors. Just ask A.J. Burnett who is suing him. 

Cowherd attributed said struggles of A.J. Burnett last season were due to “the worst divorce in the history of divorces.”  Hours later, Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker, said, “Colin Cowherd has no idea what he’s talking about … not in the process nor was he ever in the process of getting a divorce.” (via Big Lead)

Ask Cliff Lee who was a recent victim of Cowherd's lies.

After being told of Cowherd's ridiculous accusations - namely that he "doesn't like Texas," "doesn't care about Texas," and "mails it in" against bad teams - Lee responded with comments on the local ESPN website and in the Star-Telegram's morning edition:
"It's a lie," Lee was quoted as saying. "Write that. Are you writing? Write that it's a lie. I did not say that and nobody close to me would say that. Either say who the source is or shut up because I am saying it is not true."

Anyone remember what he said about Sean Taylor?

"Sean Taylor, great player, has a history of really really bad judgment, really REALLY bad judgment. Cops, assault, spitting, DUI. I'm supposed to believe his judgment got significantly better in two years, from horrible to fantastic? 'But Colin he cleaned up his act.' Well yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn't mean you get everything out. Sometimes you've got stains, stuff so deep it never ever leaves....They were after a guy, not stuff....I think you have to be naive to think it's random. " (via D.C. Sports Blog)

Yea he was wrong about that and never apologized.

Cowherd also like to pick on the little guy.  Just ask the website the Big Lead.  Cowherd encourged listeners of his syndicated show to flood the sports blog called The Big Lead, which got so many hits that the Web site went offline for about 48 hours.  He along with others in the main stream media are becoming more desperate to create news and be more controversial because sports fans are turning to blogs for more reputable information.

ESPN can continue to apologize for the guy's behavior and lack of ethics but they keep writing his checks.  They continue to give him more airtime with shows like Sportsnation and segments on Sportscenter.  ESPN approves of stirring the pot because they want ratings.  You should have your TV and radio off before you tune into Cowherd.  We hope Colin Cowherd makes appointment with the good doctor, we promise he will be quick and painless.

NFL Wonderlic Test

I got this idea from the MZone's Wonderlic Test

In my attempt to appeal to the audience that watches the NFL more frequently, I have created at NFL Wonderlic for future NFL Draft prospects to study from. Roger Goodell has been stepping up the punishments so a great deal of questions revolve around his new enforcement.

1. You get caught video taping your opponents practice, what are the consequences?

A. You get fined $50,000 because you didn't actually use the tape
B. Suspended for 1 game
C. You have to coach from the press box
D. You wear over sized hoodies with cut off sleeves and are immune to punishment

2. Which of the numbers in the group is the largest?

A. 12 x 6 x 9
B. 723+25-213
C. Rex Ryan's Cholesterol Level
D. 527

3. You spend were involved in a dog fighting ring and were responsible for killing dogs.  How quickly will Eagles fans forgive you?

A. As soon as you sign with them
B. After you score your first touchdown
C. You never had to apologize
D. When you become the starting QB

4. If you watch a Brett Farve game on TV, which adjective will be used the most to describe him?

A. Legend
B. Tough
C. Sexter

5. How many relevant games will the NFL Network broadcast per year?

A. All are relevant silly
B. 1, but only if you team is playing
C. Do replays of games count?

6. Who will spend more time in jail, a man who drunkenly killed a man with his car, or a man who accidentally shot himself in the thigh?

7. You're watching NFL Today on CBS, how long before Shannon Sharpe puts a sentence together?

A. Within 5 minutes of the start of the show
B. By the Picks segment
C. Before the end of the show
D. Has he ever put a sentence together?

8. If you watch ESPN Monday Night football, how many times will a John Gruden comment be proven wrong by replay?

A. 2
B. 0
C. 5
D. 7

9. If you are drafted by the Washington Redskins, what will the amount of your first check be?

B. 15,000
C. 250,000
D. Fill in the Blank, write the amount you feel you deserve

10.  The Lions are projected to make the post season by the main stream media.  How long until those dreams are dashed?

A. Week 1, Screwed out of victory
B. Week 3, QB out for season
C. Week 15, not good enough
D. Barry Sanders walks through that door, Wild Card!

My Sports Moment of the Year

I am an American.  I love sports.  Rooting for United States Men's National Team (USMNT) is natural.  Next to rooting for Michigan, it's the only thing I feel that I was born into.  Supporting the United States soccer team is different from supporting the U.S. in the Olympics.  Outside of US Men's hockey, the Olympics rarely suffice when because they don't seem competitive and they are largely individual.  You know Michael Phelps is going to dominate before you watch.  The US Softball team will destroy teams, and the medal count feels like a forced tally that largely people don't care about.  The US Men's basketball team is so good but they rarely bring their best players and anything less than Gold is unacceptable.  This is why I enjoy US Soccer so much.  The team is good, but rooting for them doesn't feel like jumping on the bandwagon.  I'll rock a Claudio Reyna or Clint Dempsey jersey any day of the week and scoff at Americans that wear a jersey of a country they have never been to.

The USMNT is America in its infancy.  They haven't quite reached world dominance but you want to be there when they do.  It will probably feel something like the 1980 US Hockey team defeating USSR in the Olympics.  I want to be there to watch the team grow into that and deliver a moment we will never forget.  2010 South Africa was a start.

The team was minutes away from heading out of the World Cup in what would have been failure.  Then suddenly, it's Howard to Donovan to Altidore to Dempsey, and Donovan for the goal.  Success, jjubilation, relief, top of the group.  It was ugly, but it was done the American way with hard work, belief, and desire.    For me, this was the sports moment of the year and well worth scheduling a "doctors appointment" months in advance to watch this one.  US Reaction   The Goal

What was you favorite sports moment of the year?  Roy Halladay no hitter in playoffs? Eagles score 28 points in 7 minutes to beat Giants? The Flyers chase for the cup? Auburn's comeback against Bama? Something else?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Previewing the Bowl Games: Putin Bowl

The NCAA has decided to allow a 36th bowl game this year because two eligible teams were left at home and its all about the children.  Temple and Western Michigan were originally told their programs were staying home for bowl season.  Temple Coach Miami Coach Al Golden was working with his agent and lawyers to retroactively get his bowl game bonus.  Vladimir Putin decided to create a bowl game when he was told if he paid the NCAA $1 million dollars they will agree to just about anything.  The NCAA just want to reward the players student-athletes.  Putin was pleased to learn that an 8-4 Temple team was available to come to his bowl where they will play 6-6 Georgia.  The schools' athletic directors expect each school to lose $2 million dollars due to travel costs, hostels to fill, and seats they don't expect to sell.  In Russia, bowl invites you, accept you shall. 

Putin was surprised that Georgia has accepted the bid given the history the two countries have had.  Putin said "We want to put the past behind us.  The last invasion of their country was really quite inappropriate.  We hope this invitation will help our countries move forward.  Besides Temple has a better record and will crush them!"

Where to Stay: Inside, we hear its cold as shit in Russia right now. But seriously, Moscow, Russia is one of the better places to be.  We hear Napoleon and Hitler stayed at Kadat's.  It's one of the nicest hotels you have never seen.

What to See: VODKA for miles and miles.  Drink heavily to forget you spent $3K to attend this bowl game and also to stay warm. Also plenty of ruble and various things made of lead that will get you sick.

What to Avoid:  Going. Seriously you are going to travel across, the world to watch Temple?  You wouldn't go to a Temple game for $10 when its a short subway ride away.

Avoid Russian tanks, women with 5 o clock shadows, women who want to take you back to their place they would rather react the movie Hostel.

Prediction:  Georgia will be leading 27-21 with :02 seconds left.  Temple will have the ball and the clock will malfunction on the last play until what's suppose to happen happens.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

5 for Sunday

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the league, not a team was playing well, except two or three. OK, that's enough for the attempted rhymes. Home teams in CAPS.

Jacksonville (+4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS
All week, I've been going back and forth on this game like Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Initially I loved the points, then I thought maybe people were too heavy on the Jags bandwagon and considered taking Indy coming off of 10 days' rest. I'm going to go with my gut here and take Jacksonville. The last 6 meetings between these familiar foes have been decided by 7 points or less. MJD should be able to gut the Colts' horrid run defense enough so that it won't turn into a matter of trading touchdowns with Peyton Manning. A likely field-goal game either way.

DALLAS (-6) over Washington
The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS under Jason Garrett and are playing with much more discipline than I've seen since the Parcells days. This December is the third annual "Tashard Choice Makes Everyone Wonder Why He Doesn't Get the Ball More" month, and the new life he has given the Cowboys' running game is enough to make me forgive him for getting Mike Vick's autograph last week. Two words about the Redskins: Rex Grossman.

PITTSBURGH (-5.5) over NY Jets
Injuries to Troy Polamalu and Big Ben make this a bit of an iffy spot for the Steelers, who failed to score an offensive touchdown against the Bengals last week but won thanks to two defensive scores. However, the Jets put together an offensive performance last week that made them look far from a 9-win team that is only missing one starter on that side of the ball. The Jets' meal-ticket running game has gone south and Mark Sanchez has refueled the "can this guy play in adverse weather?" debate. Ride the under in this one if you're so inclined - I think the Jets make it 3 straight games without a touchdown. Pittsburgh by something ugly, like 17-9.

NEW ENGLAND (-14) over Green Bay
Congratulations to those who were able to get a bet in on this game when it was 4.5 early this week before going off the board until the status of Aaron Rodgers became official. Honestly, I'd have laid 10 even if Rodgers were playing. The Packers don't run the ball, don't protect the passer, and are heavily reliant on the sacks and turnovers created by their defense. The Patriots are....well, they're the Patriots again.

Chicago (-7.5) over MINNESOTA (Monday Night)
By now, you know that this game has been moved to the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium as a result of the Metrodome being involuntarily converted into an open-air facility. By now, you know that the stadium holds 10,000 fewer people than the dome and seats will be first-come, first-serve as a result. By now, you also know that alcoholic beverages will not be sold or permitted on the premises. By now, you also know that Brett Favre is out, Tarvaris Jackson is on IR, and the Vikings are sidling rookie Joe Webb with the task of handing off to Adrian Peterson three times and then jogging off the field while the punt team jogs on. By now, you should know that the Bears are winning this game.

Last Week: 4-1-0
Season: 38-30-2

Monday, December 13, 2010

30 for 30

ESPN deserves every bad thing that gets said about them.  However, they deserve credit for when they get things right.  They embarked on an ambitious mission to produce documentaries on the level of HBO.  They reached out to the best filmmakers and you know what they put on a few documentaries on par with HBO.  They limited commericals and for the most part stayed away from stories that were already overplayed. 

Pony Excess is the last of the 30 for 30 series.  Due to the success of the series, ESPN will extend their documentary series and if your not on board yet you should be.  I remember watching the first one, Kings Ransom when it debuted in October 2009. I was as bored as can be staying in a hotel in Honesdale, PA.  I have seen all the ones that I'm am going to watch and missed just 2 of 30.  I decided to lump them into viewing priorities for you to catch up. 

The Elite 

"Into the Wind" The Terry Fox Story- 
Steve Nash was actually a big part of making this film.  Terry Fox is a Canadian Hero who decided to run across the country to raise awareness of cancer in children.  You may have heard the story but there is some great footage that will have you fighting back the tears.

"The 16th Man"
The story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup.  The film follows the impact of Nelson Mandela in South Africa and his attempt to unite the country through sport.  It's Invictus without Matt Damon playing a 6-5 South African.  in otherwards, it doesn't suck.  The film chronicles the emotions of the people in the country throughout the tournament.  It's interesting to see the people who cheered together after years of fighting and even those who despised Nelson Mandela for what he did.

"The Two Escobars"
Groundbreaking from ESPN and worthy of the full two hours the network gave it.  The relationship between Pablo Escobar and Colombian Soccer and their deaths.

"The Best That Never Was"
The 1981 recruiting of high school football player Marcus Dupree and his life.  The film behind the book that changed college recruiting forever.  This is my favorite documentary thus far but the margin is small.

"The U"
This is one most people have seen.  It discusses the impact of the University of Miami football in the 1980s. Good news is a sequel is on the way.

The Very Good -I'll admit there is not much difference between the solid and very good.

"Winning Time"

Reggie Miller vs. the Knicks in the mid 1990s when M.J. was away.

"The King's Ransom"
Wayne Gretzky's Babe Ruth like sale to L.A. The doc examines the reason for the Great One being sold to the Kings and the heartbreak it caused.  It also focuses on the typical L.A trend that followed.

"June 17th 1994"
This is essential just a well but together montage of clips, but for someone who was old enough to understand the gravity of situation but too young to really understand what was happening its interesting how the day unfolded.


Pony Excess"

Even though I don't feel this quite lived up to the hype, it's still good.  I disagree with those in the doc who said that SMU didn't deserve the death penalty and the everybody was doing it, and everybody does it attitude, but that's not to take away from the amount of interviews they got for this.  A

"Tim Richmond: To the Limit"
This has several good interviews and outlines the reluctance to accept AIDS in this country.  This doc loses some points for not going after Richmond more and not answering about those he had sex with.

Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?
Wow Donald Trump is a dickhead.  If you didn't already think so, you probably will after watching this doc.  There is some nice insight into the USFL but it leaves you wanting more.

"Guru of Go"
Paul Westhead and the Run and Gun offense at Loyola Marymount.  There is a special mention of Hank Gathers and his tragic death but chances are you know that story.  The strength of the documentary is the interviews with Paul Westhead.

"Muhammad and Larry"
There is some quality footage that was unearthed for this documentary.  It was interesting seeing Ali near the end of the line and and his mental capacity before and after the fight.  You can tell that Larry Holmes is pained to be figthing Ali when hes not 100%.

"The Birth of Big Air"
I wasn't sure about this one because I'm not into extreme sports.  I started watched casually but it roped me in.  Matt Hoffman's passion for what he did and the home footage of his jumps were awesome.  Check this one out and I think you will be surprised too.

"Once Brothers"
The story of Croatian Dražen Petrović and Serbian Vlade Divac, NBA players and Yugoslavian national teammates, and how upheaval in their homeland adversely and irretrievably affected their friendship.

"Fernando Nation"
I can remember my Dad telling me about Fernando and how good he used to be.  I only saw Fernando play for the Phillies so I found this hard to believe.

Without Bias"
Although this doc feels like a rerun because I've seen the story quite a few times, it's still solid, especially if your not familiar with the story.


"The Legend of Jimmy the Greek"
Maybe I had higher hopes for this but it wasn't as interesting as I was expecting.  The fake Jimmy the Greek voice overs were frustrating to listen to.

"Jordan Rides the Bus"
Probably another doc that didn't need to be made due to the high profile of the story at the time.  There are good interviews with Terry Francona and Phil Jackson though.


"Run Ricky Run"
 I've heard people say this one is awesome.  I guess I expected more from a guy claiming to have 6 years of footage to sift through.  If you saw the 60 minutes on Ricky Williams, you basically saw this doc.

"House of Steinbrenner"
I know this may offend about half the readership, but I felt this documentary should not have been made.  It's unclear what its purpose ultimately is.  Are they talking about Steinbrenner, the fans, the new regime?  Perhaps the project was started before George's death ( I'm certain it was but this felt slapped together) but it comes off as lame to me.  The interviews with Hank Steinbrenner were interesting as was the little nugget about Joe DiMaggio, but this did not need to be done by ESPN.  The YES network would have been the perfect forum for this.

"One Night in Vegas"
Ok so Tupac and Tyson were kinda sorta friends.  This doesn't exactly break ground on Tupac's death but gives some back story on the relationship between Tupac and Tyson while talking about the two individually.  The rapping done but no names in this video to explain the story was painful to listen do and killed this for me. 

"No Crossover"
A.I.'s upbringing and his trial.  The guy in charge of the doc goes out of his way to thrust himself into the story and its painful to watch.

"The Band that Wouldn't Die"
This was just boring to me.  Its an unexplored topic but I would have preferred to see more fan reaction about the Colts leaving Baltimore than the band.

"Straight Outta L.A."

This belonged on BET more than ESPN.  Dear Ice Cube and Snoop, you guys aren't major Raider fans so don't be tossing around stories in the Coliseum. 


"Marion Jones: Press Pause"
Is it possible to have less respect for Marion Jones?  After watching this documentary I wanted to smack her.  It's a brutal hour of her publicly defending herself.

"Four Days in October"
Really ESPN, did we really need a Red Sox documentary on one of the most publicized stories of all time.  This product was watched rather reluctantly, and I would bet Red Sox fans would struggle to argue it was better than an extra on a DVD.

Not Viewed

This is probably a good documentary if you like women's tennis.  Full interviews with Nartolova and Evert.

"Silly Little Game"
Fantasy baseball and dorky reenactments.  I passed on this one. I can't see it being good even if you like fantasy sports.

Look Yourself in the Mirror

When you think of Pittsburgh, what do you think of? You think of steel mills. You think of a town with a blue-collar attitude. You think of the Steelers, the Terrible Towel, the Rooney family, and Troy Polamalu's hair. You think of Sidney Crosby (deservedly so or not). You think of PNC Park (but not necessarily the team that plays there). And if you've ever been there, you think of Primanti Brothers. You know what you don't necessarily think of? College football.

That's not a knock on the Pitt Panthers' program, because they've been more than respectable over the years. What it is, is an indictment of those who essentially ushered head coach Dave Wannstedt out the door this week. It's not that I'm a huge fan of Wannstedt (or "Wannstache," as the popular nickname goes), although as defensive coordinator with Dallas he presided over the best defense of the first half of the '90s. He was also the one who, during the 1992 NFC Championship Game, noted the 49ers' defensive backs were slipping in the middle of the field and urged Norv Turner to try to take advantage of it (skip to the 1:00 mark) at a key moment, resulting in the play that singlehandedly put the game to bed. My problem lies with college football programs that have an inflated sense of self-worth.

Wannstedt had a 42-31 record in six seasons at Pitt, including a 26-12 mark in the past 3 years. Not bad, right? Right. And when you consider it was the best 3-year run that Pitt has had since Dan Marino led them to three straight 11-1 records from 1979-81, it's certainly not too shabby. I know they play in the perennially weak Big East and failing to grab that chip-shot of a BCS berth is a slight disappointment, but come on. Have a sense of perspective. Understand that your program has not been successful enough over the years to have the right to thumb your noses at 26-12. If you're Oklahoma, Alabama, or Texas, then 26-12 might not cut it. At a place like Pitt, it should be considered a nice step forward. Yes it's a double standard, but it's nonetheless true.

Remember Jaff Jagodzinski? Sure you do. He was the head football coach at Boston College two years ago when he got fired for interviewing with the Jets for their then-vacant head coaching position. I went nuts about this when it happened and it still riles me up. Who the hell is BC to be offended if their coach pursues a chance with an NFL team? You do realize that these guys start out as grad assistants working for peanuts in hopes that one day they can sit down in a room with an NFL owner and GM for a few hours, just to have that chance, right? Boston College, which is on a similar level as Pitt - a competent program in a weak conference that has produced a fair share of NFL stars - does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to this stuff. Once again, if you're a school like LSU, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State, then ok, your head coaching job is almost as big as an NFL job would be. But no one grows up saying their dream is to be the head coach at Boston College. It just isn't the way things go. Probably about 85% of FBS coaches are working right now to try to make a big score on their next job. No one likes being a stepping stone, but if your coach wins for you and does things the right way while he's at your school, you have nothing else to really ask for.

The other thing is, college programs rarely can justify firing a successful coach on the grounds of a lack of a championship. It's just not the same deal as it is in the pros, especially considering the rate at which you have to constantly replenish your team's talent. If you win consistently and keep your program visible for the right reasons, you're doing your job. Remember, the underlying purpose of college sports as a whole is to bring positive attention to the academic institution itself. Of course it's big business, but not as big a business as the professional ranks are (at least in theory - I'm sure if you looked at the NBA's books they'd suggest otherwise).

Like the title says, Pitt needs to look itself in the mirror. OK, you're a respectable program. But you play in the Northeast, where college football is not nearly as big a priority as it is in other parts of the country. You play your home games at the Big Ketchup Bottle and don't exactly fill it. The athletic department's meal ticket, for the most part, is still basketball. Who do you think you're going to get to replace Dave Wannstedt that is really going to be any better than he was? To paraphrase Rick Pitino - Bob Stoops is not walking through that door. Mack Brown is not walking through that door. Nick Saban, Les Miles, Mike Gundy, Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh - none of them are walking through that door. I do know a guy who'd come through that door, but you may have to widen it first. And he might not be actually "walking" through that door, he may be cruising in on a little motorized shopping cart.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

5 for Sunday

It's getting cold out there, and it's now the time of year where the weekly NFL slate will feature an odd mix of edge-of-your-seat games between playoff-bound teams (i.e. New England at Chicago) and games that make you say "holy shit, I can't believe this is actually professional football," (i.e. Denver at Arizona). Home teams in CAPS.

JACKSONVILLE (-3.5) over Oakland
The Jags can run the ball (150 ypg, including 258 last week), and like I've said before - if you can run the ball, you can do pretty much anything you want. Jacksonville needs this game to keep pace with the Colts in the AFC South and maintain their hopes of securing themselves a blacked-out home game on Wild Card Weekend. The Raiders baffle me week in and week out, seemingly with alternating great performances and miserable performances. Especially this late in the year, the 1pm East Coast game for a team from out west is not a factor to be ignored. Interestingly, both of these teams have a tight end named Zach Miller.

Atlanta (-7.5) over CAROLINA
The Panthers appear to have their running game back, but the ability to put four solid quarters together is something that just hasn't been there this year. Atlanta is in the driver's seat for homefield throughout the playoffs in the NFC and doesn't seem likely to trip up here. From the few games I've seen Atlanta play this year, they do a good job of minimizing their mistakes, and mistakes are the only way that Carolina would have a chance in this game. If the Falcons are as good as they're supposed to be, they win it by 17 points or so.

Seattle (+5.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
I was all set to take the Giants -3 in Minnesota, but I like to know a team will actually be able to get to the game before I pick them. The long and the short of this dogcrap NFC West game is that San Francisco shouldn't be a 5.5-point favorite to anybody, let alone a team with a record two games better than them and who has already taken them to the woodshed this year. Oh, (sarcasm ahead) that's right, it must be because Alex Smith has been restored as the starting quarterback! I'm not exactly a believer in the 6-6 Seahawks, but they're good enough to at least make this a field goal game.

SAN DIEGO (-9.5) over Kansas City
I liked this game at -7 when there was a chance Matt Cassel would play, so I'll stick with it at -9.5 now that Cassel is most likely out after having an appendectomy this week. The Chiefs' defense doesn't play nearly as well on the road as they do at home, and if they do have to turn to Brodie Croyle, he's 0-9 for his NFL career as a starter. That's enough to make me back the Chargers one more time.

DALLAS (+3.5) over Philadelphia
I've been reluctant to get on the Jason Garrett bandwagon to this point because in my opinion he was as almost much to blame as Wade Phillips was for the team's 1-7 start, but to say the team hasn't turned around in a big way under his watch would be ignorant. If Mike Jenkins can cover DeSean Jackson like he did in all three meeting last year, then it may give DaMarcus Ware a chance to get in Michael Vick's face once or twice. Asante Samuel will not be playing for the Eagles, which would be huge if Dez Bryant didn't break his ankle last week. If they are going to win, Dallas will need to run the ball like they did last week against Indy and especially like they did in the last two meetings of last season against the Eagles. I really don't know if the Cowboys have a great chance, but I'm just glad this team is still watchable. Give me the 3.5.

Last Week : 2-3-0
Season: 34-29-2

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gruden to Work Mutltiple Jobs

From NAGAYT wire reports

John Gruden, current Monday Night Football analyst and former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach has accepted multiple positions today.  Gruden has agreed to accept the head coaching vacancy at the University of Florida  He has retained Bill Cowher as his defensive coordinator, and Tony Dungy as his special consultant and part time coach.  Gruden will also teach Sociology 201 at Florida, and continue serving as a Monday Night Football analyst.

"I'm thrilled with the opportunities that have been presented to me today. The chance to coach and teach at Florida was something I couldn't pass up. I can stay close to my family.  I can continue to pretend to know how to do color commentary. I can get back to doing what doing which is something I have missed."

The media already grasping at straws, will have to work extra hard to churn up bullshit coaching candidates in the future.  With their three favorite former NFL coaches accepting new positions, the media may stumble upon real candidates but don't count on it.

Dan Mullen is the most realistic first choice for those really in the know.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Guilt Trip of the Year: Avatar

Americans are bad, bad, bad people. Shame on us for just about eveything we do in our conscious lives. We're bad because we like baseball, build things out of plastic, advance our culture, and mow our lawns. Capitalism is the devil. The citizens of the United States should abandon the lives they know, quit their jobs, stop all production, and move into the trees. It's wrong to accumulate wealth and live in comfort. Do not bother seeing James Cameron's glorified cartoon feature "Avatar". I just saved whoever read the above paragraph 2 plus hours of green-happy Hippy bullshit.

I will not go on and on about my disdain for excessive use of computerized graphics in cinema. All I will say is that Avatar is a monument to the abuse of CGI and the death o true filmmaking.

Avatar went overboard with the incrimination of free enterprise as the culprit of all the worlds problems, painted the US military as bloodlusting savages, and frankly did nothing in terms of plot. I believe in recycling paper and aluminum, but recycled storylines don't do much for society. Avatar was merely a fusion of Dances With Wolves and Return of the Jedi. Sorry Avatar, you don't fool me.

Bowl Games Gifts

Your looking at the most surprising gift of bowl season.  Miami and Notre Dame will both be receiving Helen of Troy Blow Dryers at the Hyundai Sun Bowl.  Racial overtones would suggest one team will be using them more than the next, but that may be decieving. 

Other stand out gifts include a gift suite valued at $500 from the BCS National Championship game.  This likely include a television and Blue ray player. Most bowls are also offering a gym bag and apperal of some sort along with a watch.  

The Alamo Bowl offers the following  
Microsoft Xbox 360 with Kinect; $20 Game Stop gift card; Kicker 541 headphones; Apple iPod shuffle.  They also include a watch and some other swag.

The Champs Sports Bowl and Capital One Bowl probably win though.  $420 Best Buy Shopping Spree and a Watch.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

5 for Sunday

Sometimes I'm glad I don't live in Nevada, because with the NFL run I've been on lately, I definitely would have taken my winnings and spent it irresponsibly. Home teams in CAPS.

GREEN BAY (-9.5) over San Francisco
Let's make this quick. Green Bay beats up on bad teams (don't let last Monday fool you, the 49ers are quite the bad team). The 49ers are on a short week, playing their second straight road game, and have to fly across two time zones and play a 1:00 game. Frank Gore is out for the season and there's a reason Brian Westbrook barely saw the field all year until five days ago. Sunday's forecast in Green Bay is 26 degrees. Why is this line not 11.5-12?

New Orleans (-6.5) over CINCINNATI
The weather conditions in Cincy kind of scare me, considering the Saints are the quintessential dome team, but sign me up for laying one score to this Bengal team that's lost 8 in a row. Bengal fans right now must feel like James Caan at the end of The Program (the video isn't the scene I'm talking about but it'll do) when he looks into Lattimer's eyes and knows that he's back on steroids - all of their suspicion is confirmed and they know that their team's 2009 season was a fraud.

Buffalo (+5.5) over MINNESOTA
That dome-field advantage for the Vikings isn't quite what it was last year, but at least we know the "FIRE CHILDRESS" chants will be no more. Talking heads say the Vikings have to start Tarvaris Jackson to see if they have a QB they can work with or not, but there's no way that interim coach Leslie Frazier does that, considering he has to win in this audition to improve his chances at a head coaching job, wherever it might be. You can't ask a man trying to get to the pinnacle of his profession to voluntarily put someone like Tarvaris Jackson on the field. Jackson gives them zero chance to win, but fortunately for Buffalo, Brett Favre doesn't do the Vikings a ton of favors either. The Bills are somehow still undervalued despite doing nothing but playing close games for almost 2 months now.

BALTIMORE (-3) over Pittsburgh
The last seven games between these teams (including an AFC Championship meeting) have been decided by a grand total of 31 points, so no one's going out on a limb telling you to expect a close one. However, if Ben Roethlisberger's foot is half as bad as it's made out to be, he won't be able to buy as much time on broken passing plays by running away from defenders like they're bouncers at a college bar. I'd love to see Big Ben roll right and throw the ball across the field and across his body right into Ray Lewis' or Ed Reed's hands a few times. Ravens by something like 23-17.

NEW ENGLAND (-3.5) over NY Jets (Monday Night)
The Jets aren't really going to sweep the Pats, are they? New England should let Darrelle Revis cover Deion Branch all he wants and just dink and dunk their way down the field all night. The Jets love to blitz, which plays right into the Pats' hands considering how often they throw hitches and slants to Wes Welker out of the shotgun. As long as Tom Brady can get the ball out of his hands quickly enough, the Jets may have problems tackling the likes of Welker and New England's two tight ends in the open field, especially now that safety Jim Leonhard broke his leg in practice this week. I don't know that the Jets will score enough in this one and it's going to take at least 24 points to win.

Last Week: 4-1-0
Season: 32-26-2

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cinq Pour Samedi

Championship Weekend is here, and with it, probably the last edition of our weekly NCAA entries for 2010. After digging a huge midseason deficit, Kevin has made things a virtual tie and is threatening to make me look like the Mets of 2007 and 2008. If we end up tied we'll break it either with Army-Navy next week or during the Bowl season. In any event, home teams in CAPS.

WEST VIRGINIA (-20) over Rutgers
Ordinarily I'd be petrified of laying this many points with the Mountaineers, a team who has played down to its competition several times this year and is not nearly well-coached enough for me to be sure that they're going to come down from the high of smacking Pitt around last week. However, this game means everything for West Virginia as they would grab the least deserving BCS bowl bid of all time with a win and a UConn loss. Here's hoping the Morgantown faithful can find a way to put off all that studying this Saturday (tall task, I know) and keep the place rocking to the point that Rutgers maintains the form that has seen them lose 5 straight and give up 109 points in their last two. Cheers, beers, and the Mountaineers.

Oregon (-16.5) over OREGON STATE
The Ducks' offensive sputtering lasted all of six quarters, put promptly to an end by a 34-point second half last week against Arizona. A win in this latest installment of the Civil War puts Oregon in the BCS Championship, while Oregon State has lost 3 of 4 in increasingly ugly fashion. Many times you'd love the 16.5 with a home team in a rivalry game, but as long as Oregon can play its game, nobody can score with them over the course of 60 minutes.

Auburn (-5.5) over South Carolina (SEC Championship - neutral site)
I originally had a strong feeling to take South Carolina, but that was when I thought the spread was going to come out at something like 8 or 8.5. If Auburn was going to be denied on their way to the title game this year, I think it would have happened already, with the cloud of the Cam Newton case following them, in addition to the 24 points they spotted Alabama in Tuscaloosa last week. Something you have to like about the Tigers is that they are more than their Heisman-candidate quarterback. They got contributions from all phases last week (especially their defense in the second half) and took big advantage of Alabama's mistakes (a dropped pass at the goal line, shanked punts, a substitution penalty on Nick Saban). South Carolina has had a great year and is deserving of their #16 ranking, but they're still only the fourth best team in the SEC. I have no problem with Auburn giving less than six in the Georgia Dome.

Nebraska (+4.5) over Oklahoma (Big 12 Championship - neutral site)
If defense wins championships, it's going to win this one. Oklahoma has been scoring like the Bob Stoops teams of old the past 3 weeks (145 points), but they give up yards almost as easily as they gain them, giving their games the potential to reach higher point totals than most womens' college basketball games that don't involve Tennesee or UConn. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez and head coach Bo Pelini are said to have buried the hatchet after Pelini's embarrassing sideline tirade two weeks ago, but the win last week over sleep-walking Colorado isn't a conclusive indication. To win this game the Huskers will need to control the ball with the multitalented Martinez and force Oklahoma into a mistake or two on the other side of the ball, but Nebraska came devastatingly close to pulling the upset at Cowboys Stadium in this spot last year and my gut says their chances now are just as good, if not better.

Florida State (+4) over Virginia Tech (ACC Championship - neutral site)
I'm going head-to-head against Kevin here in the game that could end up deciding our friendly competition, and I may end up kicking myself for going against VT in an ACC game, especially the ACC Championship. However, for everything I hear about Florida State's supposedly terrible defense, it's the Hokies who are the ones giving up over 150 yards per game on the ground. Not to mention, I am tired of Tyrod Taylor and his broken play, "two steps back, oh shit there's no one wide open, let me run" style of play. It's part of the reason ACC football has been unwatchable for at least 3 years. I said back in September that Fisher, Ponder & Co. may be able to draw on their early-season tests when the games got big, and they did so in crushing Florida last week. It has been a season of conquests for the Seminoles, so maybe they can take it a step farther and at least give Virginia Tech a run for their money at Bank of America Stadium, where the football has been so pitiful this year that I hear they give you 5 free shares of BAC stock just for buying a ticket these days.

Last Week: 2-3-0
Season: 34-27-4

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Campus Police Reports: Texas

This will be a new reoccuring series on the blog.  I will search high and low for funny campus police reports and post them here on a semi regualr basis.  The first one comes from the University of Texas. tipped me off to the most hilarious story that follows.  Note you should read all Non-UT subjects as Texas A&M fans. 

The full report can be found here

November 30, 2010
Campus Watch: Below is a summary of campus activity reported to or observed by the University Police Department between Wednesday, 11/24/10 and Tuesday, 11/30/10.

BRAZOS PARKING GARAGE, 200 East Martin Luther King Blvd.

Possession of Marijuana / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: A UT Police Officer and a Travis County Sherriff�s Deputy discovered two UT students sitting inside a stairwell. Prior to the students realizing two police officers were watching them, the officers watched as one student began loading a glass pipe with a green leafy substance, placed the pipe in his mouth, then ignited the substance with a lighter. During the investigation, the officers located a Kleenex with a small amount of marijuana and confiscated it also with the glass pipe. The officers issued the student a field release citation for Possession of Marijuana. Both students were referred to the Dean of Student�s Office. Occurred on: 11-29-10, at 7:49 PM.


Assault on a Public Servant / Resisting Arrest: A non-UT subject was reported to have been pouring beer on other patrons attending the Texas v Texas A&M football game. The officers were in the process of ejecting the subject from the stadium when he pulled his arms away from the officers and refused to leave. The subject than began fighting with the officers, kicking one officer in the head. The subject was taken into custody for Assault on a Public Servant / Resisting Arrest and was transported to Central Booking, after a short visit to Brackenridge Hospital. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 9:58 PM.


Public Intoxication: A non-UT subject was reported being obnoxious and cursing at several patrons that were sitting around him. During the investigation, the officer noticed several empty beer cans under the subject�s seat as well as a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject�s breath. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and was transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 10-25-10, at 10:45 PM.


Possession of Marijuana / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: Police Officers responded to a reported disturbance. A non-UT subject was being verbally abusive towards patrons sitting around him. Officers located the subject and escorted him from the area. During the investigation, the subject attempted to discard a clear plastic baggie containing a green leafy substance and a glass pipe. The subject was taken into custody for Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after the substance tested positive for marijuana. The subject was transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 7:50 PM.


Public Intoxication: A non-UT adult female was observed laying in a fetal position yelling and crying. The female became more emotional when she explained that she could not find her dad and her dad was mad at her for being an Aggie. The officers detected a very strong odor of alcohol on her breath and noted other signs of intoxication. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and was transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 7:43 PM.

That is the sign of a true parent.  I mean she should be lucky that her Dad even speaks to her from time to time given that she betrayed her father like that.


Possession of Alcohol by a Minor: A non-UT subject was observed attempting to enter the stadium with bulging pockets and wet pants. The officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject�s person. The officer soon discovered the subject was attempting to bring in a plastic baggie containing alcohol and the baggie had opened inside his pants. The yellow and blue tabs did not make green. The officer determined the subject was under the legal age of 21 and issued him a court appearance citation for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 6:50 PM.
MANOR PARKING GARAGE, 2017 Robert Dedman Dr.

Public Intoxication / Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor: A UT Police Officer observed a UT student being supported by two other UT student while he was having an extreme physical reaction to the over consumption of alcohol. During the investigation, the officer learned the student was only 19 years of age, even though the student insisted he was 21. The subject was a member of a fraternity and had been pre-gaming at several tail-gate parties. The officers learned the subject had taken 11 shots of whiskey and had consumed several beers. Due to the student�s condition, Austin EMS was requested and treated the subject for alcohol poisoning. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 10:15 PM.

MANOR PARKING GARAGE, 2017 Robert Dedman Dr.

Public Intoxication: A non-UT subject was reported to have been staggering in a state of confusion. During the investigation, the officers located the subject staggering and swaying back and forth. The officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject�s breath. The subject informed the officer that she had parked her vehicle inside a parking garage then walked a short distance to the stadium. The subject told the officer that she had parked inside a garage on 17th Street. The officer noted the subject was several blocks away and did not know where she was currently. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and was transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 10:06 PM.

PARKING LOT 103, 2100 Comal

Public Intoxication / Failure to Identify / Criminal Trespass Warning (3 Counts): A UT Police Officer heard the sounds of firecrackers exploding and discovered three non-UT subjects standing next to a tree lighting another firecracker. The officer stopped all three subjects as they attempted to walk away from the area. During the investigation, the officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on their breaths. One non-UT subject began yelling at the officers and did not want to comply with their requests. The subject provided the officers with a name and date of birth that had been made up. The officers took her into custody for Public Intoxication and transported her to Central Booking. In addition to the law enforcement action taken, all three subjects were issued written Criminal Trespass Warnings. Occurred on: 11-24-10, at 10:40 PM.


Public Intoxication: A non-UT subject was reported sitting on the ground repeating the name �Jimmy� over and over. During the investigation, the officers detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject�s breath and noted other signs of intoxication. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication and was transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 11-25-10, at 8:51 PM.


Driving While Intoxicated / Assist Outside Agency: A UT Police Officer observed a white Chevy collide with the middle high-way barrier with enough force that the rear tires of the vehicle came off the ground. The driver and vehicle left the area prior to the officer being able to get back to the scene. The surrounding area was searched and the smoking vehicle was located in a parking lot. During the traffic investigation, the non-UT driver was located walking around the vehicle. The officer detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the driver�s breath. The officer administered the Standardized Field Sobriety test to the driver. The driver displayed several clues that indicated he was intoxicated. The subject was taken into custody for Driving While Intoxicated and was transported to Central Booking. In addition to the law enforcement action taken, the officer learned the subject had three outstanding Outside Agency arrest warrants for various traffic violations. Occurred on: 11-17-10, at 3:00 AM.


Non-Criminal Calls: In addition to the above criminal cases, the University of Texas Police Department responded to 77 Alarm Calls, 6 Medical Emergency Assists, 7 Suspicious Activity Reports, 6 Suspicious Persons Reports, 4 Fire Alarm Activation, 1 Fire Call, 5 Welfare Concern Reports, 2 Call Box Activation, and 24 Unsecured Door Report between 11/24/10 and 11/30/10.

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5 for Championship Weekend

4-1 last week sets up a showdown between Lou and I for the championship.  35-28-2 on the season.

Miami (Not that Miami) vs. Northern Illinois (-16) Thursday 7 ESPN 2

Northern Illinois has been by far the best team in the conference all year long.  With the MAC title a win away, the Huskies will dominate. 

South Carolina vs. Auburn (-5) 3:30 CBS Saturday

While I have rode South Carolina all year, this is where we part ways.  The Gamecocks are capable of winning but I feel like this spread should be more than 5. 

Oregon (-16) @ Oregon State  3:30 ABC

This is a tricky game for Oregon.  Oregon State usually plays up to their level of competition and they are desperate to go bowling.  It seems like this will play out like most Oregon games, close for a half and the opponent fades in the second half as Oregon pulls away.

Virgina Tech (-4) vs. Florida State 7:45 ESPN

Attendance records are about to be shattered for the ACC Championship.  The stadium may reach 75% capacity.  As always in the ACC Roulette, bet on Va Tech.

Nebraska (+4) vs. Oklahoma 8 PM ABC

What a perfect way for Nebraska to leave the Big 12.  I'm a little disappointed though because I thought I saw the last matchup between the two schools.  Last year's game was a defensive struggle with Nebraska winning 10-3 in Lincoln.  Landry Jones was terrible in the game with 5 picks.  He was young then and has had about 14 more games under his belt since then.  There will be more scoring in this years edition, but I see this game as a toss up so I'll take the 4 points Nebraska is getting.