Tag:Al Davis
Posted on: October 13, 2009 7:58 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2009 5:44 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week of Oct.12th

With Halloween fast approaching, this week, I give you, my loyal fans, the treat of a baker's dozen of topics that enlightened me in the sports world this week.  Usually, I keep these to 10, so as not to get too verbose, but certain weeks (I had one last year around Thanksgiving), no matter how hard I try and combine up my points, 10 just isn't enough.  And looking ahead to next week's slate of games, it might very well happen again.  The remote will be smokin' this weekend.

1) Huskers shuck Mizzou- In a game played under a heavy downpour, Nebraska could have easily packed it in going into the fourth quarter down 12-0, but instead amped up the D and used two picks to help Zac Lee throw 3 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to ringing up 27 unanswered (missed a 2 pt. conversion) and a huge 27-12 victory over Big 12 north rivals Missouri.  Now the game later this year against Kansas looms big time and could determine who goes into Cowboys stadium on Dec. 5th.

2) Badgers/Tigers not yet ready for primetime- No, I'm not talking about the good ol' days of SNL, I'm talking about the current season of Saturday college football.  Two teams that were struggling for early respect despite being undefeated went down on Saturday afternoon.  I knew that Auburn's defense was inconsitent at best and Arkansas could score, but the fact that Auburn's offense took until the second half to show up, and by then it was already far too late, was a huge surprise.  As for Wisconsin, if you look at the pure stats, you'd think that they won the game, but they did just enough not only to keep tOSU in it, but win it convincingly.  You'd think there was no way since tOSU's offense had less than 200 yards, but there was all kinds of hidden return yardage for both the tOSU defense and special teams.  In fact, they accounted for three touchdowns for the Buckeyes.  Further proof that stats can lie.  The showdown in the Horseshoe on Nov. 14th looks huge now, and will likely decide who plays in Pasadena (no, not on the 7th).

3) Where's Johnathan Crompton and what have you done with him?- Look, I've already been on UGA's offense this year, looking basically lost losing Stafford and Moreno from last year, but I thought it was an absolute physical IMPOSSIBILITY for ANYBODY to make Johnathan Crompton look like the second coming of Peyton Manning.  Afterall, I forget if it was going into this game or the Auburn game last week, but here was a QB who's coach had ZERO faith in him as reflected by the offensive play calling, and had thrown 8 TD's and NINE PICKS on the season.  If I was Mark Richt, who I love as a coach, I'd want to hide after that defensive showing.  I do love ANYTHING that humiliates the Bulldog program, though, even if it is seeing Lane get his first SEC win.  Wonder if he was up all night Saturday singing "Rocky Top?"

4) Some "Snead" remarks about Jevan- Ugh!  So much for all that talk about Heisman darkhorse and number 1 overall draft pick.  This kid looks absolutely lost this season.  And his frustration is showing more and more every game.  Now, as much as I'd like to hang it all around his neck, okay, so not really, but a lot of the media and Ole Miss fans do, it's simply not ALL his fault.  First off, he needs some people around him to start to step up and make some plays.  But most of all, AT LEAST half of his problems I hang firmly around the necks of his offensive linemen.  Todd McShay ran a good piece on ESPN's College Gameday showing two clips from the South Carolina game.  On the first clip, South Carolina rushed TWO, count 'em, TWO people on the play, and Snead was still sacked.  That's unforgivable.  And so what does Houston Nutt do in response to this?  Well, since we can't block two with five, we'll keep BOTH running backs in for extra protection.  The result of this play?  South Carolina rushes three people against the seven, and while Snead had plenty of time, he has THREE receivers going up against EIGHT men in coverage!  Do you think anybody was open?  Nope, didn't think so.  So say what you will about the kid buying into his own hype, whatever, but there are some serious issues with one of the media darlings who was supposed to contend with Alabama for the SEC West this year.

5) Hold that Tiger- Really.  Did the experts not see this one coming?  Well, seeing as how Darst was the only one on this website to pick the Gators, and Kirk Herbstreit was the only one on Gameday to call it (more on this in a bit), even getting ribbed by Corso, obviously not.  Everybody was so wrapped up in the Tebow/No Tebow/Will he play/Won't he play (more on this next point) what effect will it have on the Gators that they somehow forgot that the Gators sported going into the game, the NUMBER 1 DEFENSE in the nation and the NUMBER 1 running game in the nation.  These remain whether Tebow or Brantley is under center.  Overall, a brilliant game plan by Urban Meyer to get a tough SEC road victory.  Florida was ABSOLUTELY DOMINANT of both sides of the line of scrimmage.  It's one thing to let your opponent know you're going to run dive plays 80% of the time early on.  To still do it and do it effectively against a team with the athletes on defense that the LSU Tigers possess is another.  And kudos to Herbstreit, for not only pointing out that Tebow will play (according to Herbstreit, he thought Tebow would play great.  I thought he played well, and as good as could be expected due to the concussion), but calling out the Gator defense, specifically Carlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes and predicting they would play great and carry the Gators to the win.  While Dunlap played well, Spikes was a man amongst boys, and word came out that Herbstreit's comments made their way to the Tim Tebow of the Gators D, and he used it as motivation.  In fact, Meyer came out today and said if anybody else in the media wants to make similar comments about Tebow or Riley Cooper, to be his guest.  And to all the people (in particular Pac-10 fans who have absolutely no grounds to stand on whatsoever) who were calling this a boring game and the SEC overrated, this was good clean defensive, ram the ball down your throat and you can't stop us football.  And, it was the perfect gameplan for the situation.  If you don't believe that, just ask the previous 32 Saturday night opponents of LSU in death valley and ask them what their result was.  Offense is sexy, sells tickets, and can win you games, but defense wins championships.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  PERIOD.  If you don't believe it, look up who's won the last three BCS National Titles and will likely be favored to do so a fourth time. 

6) I'm not a neuropathologist, but I'll darn sure play one in the newspaper/internet- Can the media stop already with the ridiculous pre-guessing and second guessing involved with Tebow playing the LSU game?  I'm sorry, Greg Doyle and William Rhoden, but I'll darn sure take the UF medical staff's opinion over yours any day.  I guess your journalism degrees somehow came with a minor in sports medicine.  I mentioned after the Kentucky game that it wasn't going to be Urban Meyer or Tim Tebow who decided on whether Tebow would be able to play, it would be the doctors.  None of the ridiculous speculation by these Web MD's changed that.  And honestly, with the D and running game, I believe that UF wins the game with John Brantley, so why risk it if he's not 100%.  I think the fact Tebow was on the field meant that he was (although obviously the playbook was scaled back a bit.  Sure didn't seem to shy away from contact, though, did he?).  Oh, and guess what?  Tate Forcier of Michigan has a concussion and has already been stated he will start if cleared.  Where's the outcry against Rich Rodriguez and Forcier should not play articles?

7) Horns Hooked in AP- Had to calm down a bunch of Longhorn fans this week who got their panties in a bunch because Alabama overtook them at number 2 in the AP poll.  First off, in the two human polls that are used in the BCS formula, Texas is still number 2.  Secondly, should the big three keep winning out, there's this little game in Atlanta on Dec. 5th that either Alabama or Florida will have to lose, so even at number three, keep taking care of your own business, and everything will work itself out.  Honestly, I'm not impressed by the fact that Texas seemingly has to throw the switch in the second half every week.  And if you don't think Florida and Alabama are the two best teams right now, we'll show you on Dec. 5th and again on Jan. 7th, IMHO (of course, one of them can lose before then, and I'll look pretty stupid.  I'll take my chances right now, though).  However, worrying about these things on Oct. 11th when any/all (we already know at least one will have to) of them can still lose is pointless.

8) DolphinMania runs wild(cat) on the Jets- Wow, what a game last night.  Another classic MNF in the rivalry between these two teams.  Honestly, I was a bit surprised that with defenses on both teams I would consider to be in the top half of the NFL, that neither team seemed to really be able to stop the other.  In the end, though, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski seemed to be the only ones outside the Dolphins offense who realized that on 3rd and goal from the three, with ten seconds left AND A TIMEOUT, that Miami just might run the ball.  As they both astutely pointed out, you get stopped, you call the TO and go for it on fourth down.

9) The best and worst of the NFL so far- Can you believe that the two best teams in the NFL right now might have met in week one, with one taking a miracle play to beat the other in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals?  Honestly, you look at all the undefeated teams, and nobody's played anybody except for these two, and they are still winning (yes, obviously the Bengals have the one loss).  On the flip side, I believe the Rams are the worst team, but if I had to pick a team to go winless this season, the team with the best chance based on their schedules is my Bucs.  And somebody PLEASE explain to me how a team has a QB go 2 for 17 passing and still wins the game?  And why is JaMarcus Russell still a starting QB in this league?  Just how many wasted first rounders are the Raiders going to have (that DHB pick looks awesome right now)?  Couldn't happen to a more hapless, senile owner.

10) Some NHL thoughts- Well, the Lightning pulled off the 4 point minimum I wanted last week (although not the way I expected) going 1-0-2, then picked up a huge win against the Panthers last night.  Right now, they are currently in first place in their division and have more points than the Redwings.  The Bolts D is playing better as of late.  The fact that this team still remains unable to score in shootouts, however, is bothersome at best.  The defending champion Penguins are off to a hot start amassing 10 points already.

11) A special look ahead to Thursday night's NCAA game- I usually don't take a whole point for a look ahead, but this week's Thursday night game is huge for the Big East.  Regardless of who wins, they need these two teams to put on a great show to bring some respect and interest back to the league, and I believe they'll do it.  It was mentioned during a recent Big East broadcast I was watching that the league needs Pitt to win to carry this league, but I just don't argee with it.  I think both Cincinnati and USF are perfectly capable of performing this function, and I think the winner of this game is likely to play in Miami on January 5th.  Of course, Pitt being undefeated in the conference is still not out of conversation, but I also think West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers when they play well, can all help this league.

12) Weekly look ahead- Wow, let's see.  In college, give me the aforementioned Bearcat Bulls game, the Red River shootout to see if OU's vastly improved D can carry their struggling (by their standards) O, Arkansas Florida to create a second common opponent for UF and Alabama to compare them better (I think UF had a better showing at Kentucky than Alabama did which somehow gets overlooked), Alabama South Carolina to see where these two teams really stack up, USC Notre Dame to see just how Doyle's number one QB in the land does against a real defense (a lot of people are picking the Irish in this game, which would be a huge blow to both the Pac-10 and my keep ND out of the BCS hopes), Nebraska Texas Tech to see if the black shirts can slow down the suddenly revamped and rerevved Red Raiders offense, and Virginia Tech Georgia Tech in what should be one of the better ACC matchups of the year.  If the Hokies dominate, look for them to enter the title picture if one of the big 3 slips up.  Like I said, the remote will be smoking.  For the pros, give me Carolina Tampa Bay sorry, I'll actually be in attendance for that debacle (although it could be worse, I could have tickets to KC Washington), the Giants Saints to see which nts team stays unbeaten, Vikings Ravens to see if Baltimore can recover from two straight tough losses, Bears Falcons to see which one of these teams is likely for real and wild card material, and finally Broncos Chargers to see if Denver can keep it going with a tough road game.  Good slate for the paid athletes as well.

13) MLB LDS look back and LCS predicitions- Well, I got three out of four right, although I had all of them going longer than what they did.  I knew Boston had some holes, but didn't expect them to get exposed that thoroughly by LA, especially since I thought playing in the AL East would toughen them up.  TBS lost a lot of money by all of the series ending so quick.  But that can happen in short series.  I know last year, Philly beat LA in the LCS, but I just think the Dodgers have too much for them this year.  Don't see it going less than 6, however (in fact, I'll call it Dodgers in 6), and as much as I hate to, I'll go Yankees in 5 setting up the LAD NYY series you know baseball is praying for for not only the east coast west coast thing, but also the Torre back to New York thing and Manny against the Yankees.
Posted on: December 2, 2008 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 10:51 am
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Dec. 1st

Ah, December.  The time of year that brings us the presents of college conference championship and bowl games and the NFL playoff push.  As we plow (well, not us here in Tampa) our way toward the end of another fantasic year, I bring you my regular reflection of the week that was in sports.

1) I warned you - Meatloaf once said (sang) to not feel sad, cause two out of three ain't bad.  Well, that I was on the Thanksgiving Day NFL games, although I was 3 for 3 on my prediction of them all being turkeys.  But honestly, could we all not see it coming (except for the Eagles debacling {thanks, Emmitt} the Cardinals, and even that wasn't that much of a stretch)?  The NFL either needs to do a better job scheduling, or start rotating the games (or both).  With the parity in the league on an almost yearly basis, the latter just might be easier than the former.

2) Thank you, Clifton Smith and Reggie Bush - Still in the spirit of giving thanks, I would personally like to thank Bucs return man Clifton Smith and Saints return man Reggie Bush.  On a day where a sloppy field led to a field position battle, these two single-(double?)handedly flipped the field in the Bucs favor.  Both of Tampa's second half TD's were set up by great returns by Smith, one on a kickoff, the other on a punt, because he does this fascinating thing called running north.  Bush, on the other hand, had two punt returns for the awesome total of NEGATIVE SIXTEEN yards.  And I don't want to hear anything about it was his first game back from injury.  If you saw the returns, his first move was backwards, and then sideways.  Reggie, this is the NFL.  Everybody has your speed.  This sets up a huge game this week for the Buccos (more on this later).

3) Storming the Cassel - Wow, here were the Patriots drives in the second half.  Punt, fumble, fumble, pick, pick, end of game.  And this doesn't even count the kickoff they fumbled away.  Not going to win too many games doing that.  After two straight weeks of 400 yard performances, that even had me wondering if Cassel had cashed a $14 million lottery ticket (the amount he'd make as a franchised QB), he came back to earth in the face of a tough defense and looked more like the guy I saw in the preseason on NFLN against the Bucs where everybody wondered what would happen if Brady went down.  Thanks to the Jets losing (horribly at home to a Broncos team that had lost horribly a week before), the Pats still have a shot at the division, but are definitely on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.

4) Cancel my Cable subscription - Ah yes, after a flukey week where I had to give love to both the Saints and Raiders, everything is right in the world, and I can go back to ripping them to shreds.  What was Cable thinking calling for a fake FG to 865 pound kicker Sebastian Janikowski (emphasis on the "kow") on fourth and ten, that looked like it was going to be a run no less?  Instead, Sebas (who does look and act like an ill-tempered, mutated sea bass.  Dr. Evil, eat your heart out) couldn't handle the flip from the holder, and it was returned for a Kansas City touchdown.  Instead of letting the kicker with the strongest (even if not the most accurate) leg in the league most likely put you up 6-3, you go down 10-3 and the wheels fall off from that point on.  I'm sure Al Davis called that play down himself.

5) Iron defeciency - Man, has the Iron Bowl lost it's luster.  They may as well call it the Rust Bowl, now.  After six straight losses in the series, the Nickonator and his Crimson Tide manhandled a clearly overmatched Auburn Tiger team.  Fact is, this game has just not been as competetive most of these last seven years, although now the balance of power has at least shifted.  Maybe next year this game can return to national prominence.

6) 3 in a row at Ron Zook field at Doak Campbell stadium - Another rivalry that has lost its luster, although showed signs of returning to prominence next year is the UF-FSU series.  FSU will be a great team to watch ... next year, but this year were clearly overmatched.  I'd hate to think about what would have happened had the weather been good.  Of course, had the weather been good, Harvin wouldn't have gotten hurt (and thank you FSU fans for your Eagle fan impressination impersonation {man, I just pulled an Emmitt.  Guess I was caught between that and impression} when that happened.  I have the utmost respect for your coach and program, and but quite frankly, that was WAY beneath you and quite honestly, unexpected).

7) Absolute Bedlam - The annual Bedlam game produced just that, not only on the field where 102 total points were dropped, but in the BCS (more on that later).  The Sooners have scored 60+ now in four straight games, which I hope their fans realize by now is the byproduct of both a phenominal offense, and subpar defense.  It set the stage for what we all knew would happen Sunday where the Coaches were forced to reveal their votes, and the Longhorns jumping the Gators in some coaches efforts to try to avoid a perceived travesty of leaving Texas out of Kansas City due to the head-to-head win (there are solid arguements on both sides, but in the end, I think the correct team is playing Missouri).  The Big 12 put undue pressure on the people who make up the BCS due to their strange conference tie-breaker system.  Most conferences that use the BCS as a guideline do so to kick the bottom team out and then go to head-to-head.  In that case, Texas would have come out on top (hence the great arguement for them).  The Big 12 was one of the conferences strongly opposed to the "and 1" system proposed this year by ACC (and BCS head) commissioner John Swafford and SEC commissioner Mike Slive or any form of a playoff.  Now they might be rethinking it.  And they will definitely rethink their conference tie breaker.  Even Stoops is against it.

8) The B(C)S keeps getting deeper - My regular readers know where I stand on the whole BCS mess and the need for a playoff system, but I read a great blog by the user HuskerTex who I met on the official OU-OkSU game thread.  It is one of the best thought out, put together, and informative blogs I've seen on this site.  It is a great history of the BCS, and the controversies and backstories, some of which I had even forgotten about.  It is a great read, and I highly recommend it to all of my regulars, and to those of you who happened to stumble across my weekly rantings as well.  Here's the link: http://huskertex.blogs.sportsline.c
om/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/12007228

9) Finally, an MNF game that means something - This is where I would usually put my weekly look ahead, and that's what this will be, despite the title.  But I do want to hit hard and heavy on one game in particular, and its implications.  When Disney ponied up the money years ago to get the rights to MNF and move it to ESPN, I doubt they foresaw SNF eventually (actually, that very same year) becoming the premier game of the week with the premier matchups.  It seems the NFL schedules it this way to begin with, and recently it has become more so with the advent of flex scheduling.  ESPN is probably thanking its lucky stars that it finally has a game that means a lot when the 9-3 Buccaneers visit the 9-3 Carolina Panthers for first place in the NFC NASCAR division (which I still say is best top to bottom and is in line right now for 3 playoff teams).  This game is giant for both teams, but mostly for the Panthers, and here's why.  First off, the NFC South teams have been almost unbeatable at home going 22-2, including both the Bucs and Panthers at 6-0.  But the Panthers must hold serve, and here's why.  First off, if the Bucs win, they will have swept the Panthers and will be a game plus the tiebreaker up.  This means they will only need to go 2-1 in their last three to secure a first round bye.  But the main reason is the schedule.  The Bucs last two home games?  Visits by AFC West doormats San Diego and Oakland.  The Panthers, conversely, have games remaining against the Broncos, Giants, and Saints, and would have to win the last two to force the tie break against the Bucs to common opponents and the other obscure ones (assuming the Bucs beat the Falcons in Atlanta, which might not happen because Atlanta is hot).  As you can see, they have a much tougher road to hoe regardless.  The other NFL games I'm looking forward to are Dallas Pittsburgh and Baltimore Washington.  And I am looking forward to the entire CFB slate.

10) Buccingator's confernce championship predictions - In the ACC Championship game, I like BC over Virginia Tech 24-20, in the BCS semi-final, er SEC Championship Game I like Florida over Alabama 31-13, and in the Big 12 Championship I like Oklahoma over Missouri 63-38.

Posted on: November 25, 2008 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2008 10:33 pm
 

10 (plus 3) Things I Learned the Week Of Nov. 24

Well, here we are at Thanksgiving time, and as we all get together with family and friends and enjoy our feasts, I realized after this huge week in sports, that I had way too much on my mind to fit into merely ten points.  So I present to you this week, a baker's dozen of items that I felt worthy of discussion (and I combined things to limit it to that).  So while we all ponder on what we are truly thankful for, let me mention that I am thankful for being given a forum to express my opinions (even if they are not those of CBS.  They should be, though, darn it!), and for those of you who have found your way to reading my thoughts on a weekly basis.  While many of you have found your way here through iamyo's blog http://iamyo.blogs.sportsline.com/m
cc/blogs/view/10646011
, for those of you who followed a tag, or have me as one of your favorites, I encourage you to return the favor.  Currently, he is running a contest of the worst songs of all time.  So, I hope you enjoy this week's installment, guaranteed to be more powerful than tryptophan!!!

1) Gotta give the love - While I admit that like all of us, I have my biases, I do my best to be as even handed as possible.  There really isn't any team I hate, although there are a few owners or coaches who would fall into that category.  No, if you see a team listed under my hated section, it is most likely the fan base of said team that has earned them their spot there.  As any of you who have read my blog before know, the New Orleans Saints fall into this category.  But, I have to give credit where credit is due.  That was a phenominal performance in what was, quite frankly, a must win game.  Your defense (for once) stepped up to be HUGE (and please tell me I did not see Sedrick Ellis celebrating a sack by doing the "Pee Wee Herman")!  Packers fans, what happened to your defense?  And while A Rod 2 (or A Rodge) has been having a good year, quite frankly the fact remains that you are 5-6, while the guy your management ousted is 8-3 (more on them in a bit).  I know this move was made for the future, but Brett had 1, maybe two years left.  I think you would have been better off this year had you kept him.  For his part, though, A Rod 2 reminded me very much of one Jet Favre last night.  Rifling it into receivers when finesse was needed.  Making Jason "Toast" David look like a pro bowler.  3 costly picks (where have we heard that before?).  The fact is Favre's numbers are better, with a better QB rating, and most importantly, a better W-L.  This leads us to ...

2) B b b bretty and the Jets - Speaking of huge wins, knocking off the only previously undefeated team definitely falls into that category.  Of course, it helped that the Titans inexplicably ran the ball a grand total of 11 times, only one of which went to powerhouse LenDale White.  Coupled with the Giants dismantling of the Cardinals, could this be the year of a subway Super Bowl?  I'm still not totally sold on the Jets.  Memories of the Raiders game keep popping into my head.  But still, it just might happen.  Now, speaking of the Raiders and giving credit where it is due ...

3) Just win baby - I have been very hard on the Raiders this year as well.  Most of this comes from my disdain of owner Al Davis, who I still feel is too meddlesome and has lost all touch with reality.  Does anybody want to win the AFC West?  You have the Broncos pulling off this near weekly defensive debacle, and the Chargers who just seem to find ways to lose the game on the last possession.  I mean, shoot, even Oakland is only 3 out with 5 games to go.  Stranger things have happened.  I seriously think 8-8 wins this atrocious division.

4) Cry Iggles Cry - Wow.  As Andy Reid was watching his playoff chances being constantly turned over by one Donovan McNabb, who was responsible for 7 in the last 2 games (well, game and a half), Reid decided it was time to pull the plug and throw Kolb to the wolves that are the Baltimore Ravens defense.  He went out, and produced very similar numbers, including throwing a pick on second and goal from inches away that was returned for a record 108 yards by Ed Reed.  What on earth are you doing throwing it to the back middle of the end zone on second and short?  I realize you have little running game (especially power running game), but still, damn!  Ever heard of a QB sneak?  A hand off to the FB?  I realize the problems in Philly go far deeper than McNabb, but trust me, had Kolb shown any signs of being able to move the team/score/not turn over the ball, he would be starting Thursday night and not McNabb.

5) More NFL Musings - Wow, what a great week, I've already hit on the four games I wanted to go heavy on, and I still have a lot of thoughts.  Huge win for the Cowboys and Tony Romo.  They are back in the playoff picture.  Huge win by the Patriots over the Dolphins.  And what a game for Matt Cassel (a $14 million game, maybe).  Memo to the Dolphins and 49ers.  You just might want to consider giving safety help to whoever is covering Randy Moss and TO.  They consistantly torched your single coverage all game long and you still made no adjustment.  Also have to give a quit yer b$%!hing to Dolphins NT Jason Ferguson who accused the Patriots of running up the score.  Hey buddy, you're a NT.  They were running run plays.  Maybe you should concentrate on stopping them instead of wanting them to do it for you.  No team can blow a lead like the Detriot Lions, watching a 17 point first quarter advantage evaporate in 35 unanswered allowed, 21 of which were in the 2nd quarter alone.  0-16 is still possible.  The Bucs might wish they were back in the old NFC Norse, going 4-0 against them this year.  Huge props to the Falcons.  Panthers fans should be worried because this is 3 bad games in a row.  You just finally ran into a team that could finish you off.  Bucs and Saints fans thank you, Falcons.  It's amazing the turnaround.  Instead of rebuilding, they are just recovering from the worst head coach of all time.  How Rich McKay still has a job with the team (yes, I know he's not the GM anymore, thank god) is beyond me.  And also, is the NFC South the best division in football?  I'm really starting to believe that it is.  Case in point, the aforementioned Saints, at 6-5, are in LAST PLACE.

6) Turkey games on Thanksgiving day - One of the things I've always looked forward to on Thanksgiving was being able to sit down in front of the television and enjoy a day of NFL football.  Well, unfortunately this year, I see three quality teams playing against three teams in tail spins.  Don't get me wrong, I'll still watch, I'm just not likely to be very interested.

7) Boomer Sooner - Wow!  Didn't see that blow out coming.  What was Oklahoma able to do defensively that Texas and Oklahoma State were not?  This game had huge implications on not only the BCS, where Texas holds a very slim lead at number 2, but the Big 12 south picture as well.  We all know by now that if there is a three way tie, it is the BCS standings that will determine who wins the south, and I have a feeling that by beating Oklahoma State, the Sooners would be that team.  Of course, the amusing thing is, and a point that is not receiving much discussion, that Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech all have to hope the team they beat is not the victim of an upset this week, otherwise the arguement is moot.  Should one team get upset, it would go to head to head, which Texas would win if Tech loses, Oklahoma would win if Texas loses, and Tech would win if Oklahoma loses.  Wouldn't that be interesting?

8) Orange you glad the 'Cuse won - One thing I am overly thankful for this holiday season is the fact that I will not have to watch the Fighting Irish on January 1st playing in a bowl game they do not deserve to be in getting their 10th straight loss by a team that, simply put, is vastly more talented.  I was extremly worried, and somewhat in disbelief when I heard the reports that both the Cotton and Gator bowls would be interested in taking a 7-5 Irish team, just because they draw well and get good ratings.  Well, after getting beat by what just might be the worst BCS school not located in the state of Washington, the Irish will take their trip to El Paso and like it.  Funny thing is, this might be the best thing for all parties involved.  From what I hear, the El Paso area is heavily catholic, and as I have said, Notre Dame draws well and gets good ratings.  But they will be matched up against a PAC 10 team, and might be able to put up a decent game, and not one I will have turned off by half time.  Also, didn't Notre Dame fire Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham for similar (actually, probably slightly better) performances as Charlie Weiss?  I said last week he did nothing to get of the hot seat, and this definitely doesn't help matters.  And Irish fans, turn your snowballs on your coach, or better yet, your administration for acting like this is okay.  Anyway, for us fans of the sport of college football, and not just our favorite teams, thank you, Syracuse, from the bottom of out hearts.  UPDATE:  It has come out that Mike Tranghese (god I hope I spelled his name right), Big East commissioner, has made it VERY PUBLICLY KNOWN, that the bylaws for the conference tie-ins clearly state that a 6-6 Notre Dame team cannot be taken over a 7-5 Big East member institution.  That means that if Rutgers beats Louisville, The Irish are on the outs at the Sun Bowl.  As J. Darin Darst has pointed out, this leaves the Irish with very few options.  It's a good read.  http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs
/entry/5814809/11914863

9) USC no longer fears the Big 10 - It started coming out that some of the Los Angeles media, and some USC fans and even Pac 10 fans are hoping that Oregon State beats Oregon (which will be harder without the services of Jacquizz Rodgers most likely) so that they can enter the BCS as an at large and face a Big 12 team or an SEC team.  First off, I find it highly amusing, considering all you hear about is the tradition of the Rose Bowl.  Secondly, I find this to be a HUGE slap in the face to the Nittany Lions of Penn State, who are not at all a bad team (as evidenced by their beat down of Michigan State this week).  The Nittany Lions have had a phenominal season (remember, they were supposed to be a middle of the pack Big Ten team this year.  On the flip side, though, congrats to Michigan on their first 9 loss season in history.  WVU fans are laughing at you.  And Rich Rod looks like a bigger clown every time he opens his mouth.  And wasn't Wisconsin supposed to contend for the Big 10 title?  I thought I saw them need three missed PAT's to beat an FCS Cal Poly team this week in OVERTIME.  Horrible.  But I digress).  PSU would give USC as much as they could handle (although I do think USC would win).  Be careful what you wish for, USC fans.  You might not like the results if you get it.  It's also ironic that tOSU hopes USC ends up in the Rose Bowl so THEY can get into a BCS game.

10) Somewhere, David Letterman and Jason Whitlock are smiling - As one of the games I gave you to look forward to last week, I gave you Ball State versus Central Michigan (also noting that Ball State was probably wishing it was Michigan on their schedule instead of Central Michigan.  I believe that still might be true.).  Boy, did it live up to my billing (shameless pat on the back).  That was one of the better college football games I've seen (not Texas Tech versus Texas good, but good none the less).  The road doesn't get easier for the Cardinals, as they face Western Michigan and then the MAC championship game (assuming they win.  They need the win to make it).  Congrats Ball State.  One of the true feel good, come out of nowhere stories of the year.

11) Is the NBA trying to outdo the NFL - Wow, two midseason coaching changes.  P.J. Carlissimo was dumped by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Eddie Jordan just got the axe from the Wizards.  And here I thought MLB was the sport with the midseason ousters.

12) The "One and Done" Rule needs to be abolished - Dick Vitale said something during the UCLA versus Michigan broadcast that made a world of sense to me.  He said that the NBA should allow high school kids the opportunity to be drafted, but if you choose to go to college, or simply not drafted, you should have to stay three years a la college football.  He asked if we were dumb enough to think that the Greg Oden's or Kevin Durant's (I throw their names out because I am ignorant of this years freshman phenoms) were actually taking their educations seriously knowing this was just a stop off on their way to guaranteed NBA millions.  Plus, it would benefit the stability and quality of both sports.  Dicky V, amen, brother, amen!

13) Weekly look ahead - The games I'll be looking forward to this week are FSU Florida (duh), Alabama Auburn (hey, it's still the Iron Bowl, and as a Gator fan, I have to root for Bama), and obviously, Oklahoma Oklahoma State.  In the NFL, give me Bucs Saints and Steelers Patriots (and some better games on Thanksgiving, PLEASE!)

Posted on: November 5, 2008 10:11 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2008 12:31 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Nov. 3rd

Well here we are.  I opened this popsicle stand in August, and still going strong in November.  I hope I'm keeping you all entertained.

1) Partying like it's 1980 - In all seriousness, though, official congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies.  Great job in a great series.  Unfortunately, I think some of Maddon's quirky decisions may have cost him.  What I don't understand was some of the pundits saying the Rays had to win the series to validate their season.  Um, excuse me.  They validated their season when they made the playoffs.  What kind of moronic drivel is that?  Good luck to the Rays in 2009.  I see another playoff birth in their future.

2) So long Pavan"oh, no" - In a rare two take MLB week for me, the Yankees cut ways with Carl Pavano, and what a deal he was for them.  He was paid somewhere around $5 million per START and $10 million per WIN.  Phenominal.  That's what you get for overpaying for a career .500 pitcher.  Now the medical issues you couldn't predict (at least not this bad), but the results on the diamond, you should have known that before you ponied up ridiculous jack to get him.  Hell, I would have pitched more games for the Yankees nearly as well for 1/100th of what they paid him.  Investments in the housing and stock markets are outperforming the return that organization got on him.

3) The answer for the Pistons? - I'm not exactly sure if A.I. fits the style of basketball that Detroit plays.  This move really doesn't make sense to me except for maybe the cap room it will clear up once Iverson clears the books after this year.  Maybe someone with more basketball knowledge than me (which is pretty much everyone) can chime in and explain it to me.  To me, especially in the short term, this deal seems to favor the Nuggets (although I doubt it's enough to put them over the top).

4) One of the best games I've ever seen, period - Wow.  That was all I could say after watching the Texas, Texas Tech game this weekend.  One person on a thread in here wondered why the Texas defender didn't just play the ball.  Well, for those two of you who did not see that play at the very least on replay, it was because Harrell (who is now my frontrunner for the Heisman) read the defender who had his back to the ball the whole way, expecting the pass to go to the endzone.  He then threw a beautiful ball to the correct spot, short and outside, and the DB had absolutely NO CHANCE.  That was a pro caliber throw and catch.  Now, the kid could have tackled better, but it was going to be a first down with Tech still having a TO, so NO ESPN, the game would not have been over had he done that like the Scoreboard crew was insinuating (god I hope I spelled that correctly).  The clock stops on the first down, Tech calls their TO and attempts a chip shot (although in the college game, there really is no such thing, especially at the extreme angle the kick was going to be from).  I expect Mark May (who played college football) and Rece Davis to know the rules and the situation a little better than what they displayed on Saturday night.  Kudos to Crabtree for breaking away from the defender to get into the endzone as well, capping off a spectacular play.

5) Revenge is a dish best served with D - And two timeouts.  There was some Bama fan insinuating (there I go again) that what Urban Meyer did this year was FAR worse than what Mark Richt did last year.  If by far worse, you're talking about the beatdown they gave to each other over the past two years respectively, then yes, you are correct, it was far worse.  Otherwise, I'll direct you all to my response to said comment here http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/messa
ges/chrono/11443317/0/0/11443490#ID
11443490
.  Thankfully, Richt is far more understanding and classy than some Georgia fans, as was evidenced by his response to the media when asked about the situation.  All I know is this.  Florida is the best one loss team in football and playing the best football CURRENTLY.  If I was another team, I would not want the Gators on my schedule the rest of the year.  I will say this, though.  Florida does NOT deserve to make the BCS title game over an undefeated PSU team, even though I think UF is better.  The reason being, you HAVE to punish them for the fact they lost a game.  Now if Florida PLAYS an undefeated PSU, or PSU loses to say Michigan State, then that's another story.  I was amazed that my top 10 this week matched the AP top 10 exactly until number 10 where I have TCU ahead of Utah.  No, I wasn't already giving them the win, I just think they're better.  Their only loss is to Oklahoma.

6) So long Phillip - Unfortunately, as a Gator fan, I'm sad to see Philip go.  Reason being, I knew he gave us a decent chance to win EVERY game against his team.  The series was starting to reach Georgiaesque levels as far as being one sided in recent history.  The reason for this though was not the man's coaching, but his recruiting.  I'm fearful than the Vols will find somebody who can actually handle that end of things, now.

7) The bad teams stay bad - Well, all except for Cincinnati who were playing an equally pathetic Jaguars team.  The Chiefs had my Bucs down by 21 points at one point, only to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and speaking of which, hoo boy, Detriot.  You're our last shot at an 0-16 team.

8) Chokeland Faiders - This team's so bad, they get their own point to themselves.  301 to -2.  That was how badly Oakland was outgained in the first half.  30 to 3.  No, worse than the final score, that was the first downs, of which Oakland had ZERO in the first half.  10.  Net passing yards by the Raiders.  I had only ten less yards than that sitting at home laughing my ass off at that debacle.  31.  Gross passing yards by JaMarcus Russell on 6 for 19, who played the whole game.  Somewhere, Lane Kiffin is smiling and Faider fans are anxiously awaiting for Al Davis to expire.  But hey, at least they're putting the "fun" in dysfunctional.

9) Weekend look ahead - The games I will be watching this weekend include Texas Tech Oklahoma State, Alabama LSU (which as a Gator fan I hope Bama wins), TCU Utah tomorrow night, Steelers Colts, and Saints Falcons to see which of those teams is for real, which I hope is Atlanta.

10) Buccingator's official NFL playoff predictions - Now that we are officially at the half way point of the NFL season, with every team having played 8 games (except for 4 that have played 9), here go my picks for the twelve teams that will be playing come January for a chance to visit my home town of Tampa, Florida on Feb. 9th.  In the AFC, I like the Patriots to hang on to the East, the Titans to win the South (duh), the Steelers to take the north, and the Chargers to luck into the West with no better than a 9-7 record.  For the wild card teams, give me the Ravens (even though they face a brutal schedule including all the teams from the NFC East), and I'll go with a team from the East, give me the Dolphins in a surprise.  The Bills have looked lost recently for some unknown reason and I just don't trust Jet Favre to be careful enough with the ball on what I think is a mediocre team.  In the NFC, I'll take the Giants to win the East, the Packers to squeak by in the North (with no better than a 10-6 record), the Cardinals in the West (another duh).  I'll take the Bucs as one of my wild cards, and the other will obviously go to a team in the East, so let's make it the Eagles, who I think edge out the Redskins.  But wait a minute, I haven't picked my division winner in the South, you might be saying.  Well, the easy thing to do is take the Panthers, who in the end I think will take it (especially if they can handle the Bucs in Carolina), but my official pick on my blog is ... the Atlanta Falcons.  Yes, the worst to first trend continues with a team that everyone thought would be rebuilding, but instead are just recovering from a horrible coach.  So there you have it.  I'll pick official playoff winners once the playoffs are set, but based on these picks, I'll go #3 Patriots over #6 Ravens, #5 Dolphins over #4 Chargers, #1 Titans over #5 Dolphins, #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots, #2 Steelers over #1 Titans.  In the NFC, give me #5 Buccaneers over #4 Packers, #6 Eagles over #3 Cardinals, #1 Giants over #6 Eagles, #5 Buccaneers over #2 Falcons (hey, how about that, two divisional matchups in the divisional round.  Wouldn't that be neat?) #1 Giants over #5 Buccaneers, and finally, in Tampa, Giants over Steelers.  There you have it, folks.

Posted on: October 14, 2008 6:38 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2008 11:25 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Oct. 13th

Wow, one of the great things about being on vacation is I get to post my blog on time.  Here goes this week's edition.  Hope you all enjoy.  And hope I can keep it to ten.

1) Game Over - Well, it just came down that Roger Goodell has suspended Adam Jones for at least 4 games.  I still hang on to two contentions that I've been hearing from Cowboy apologists.  One, they are hanging on to that allegedly the bodyguard started this and that it was a "verbal" altercation, even citing the police report.  Well, first off, even if it is the bodyguard that started it, it's Jones' previous behavior that made the bodyguard necessary and even if he started it, Jones HAS to realize with the short leash he's on, he has to be the better man and just ignore it.  Now, on to this being a "verbal" altercation, my response to that is, man when your heard as a kid that words can hurt, I guess they really meant it.  Jones showed up at practice Wednesday with obvious facial bruising.  Man, those F-Bombs can be rough on the complexion.  Also, how big of an idiot is Jerry Jones for not stepping up and doing SOMETHING in the first place.  If he does do something to Adam, I don't think Goodell comes down as hard.  He still comes down, but now it's a MINIMUM of 4 games.  And Jones non-chalantly acted like this was no big deal.  Of course it's a big deal, and thinking that nothing was going to happen shows that Jerry just might be as senile as good old Al Davis.

2) Basic Cable - Yup, it was all Lane's fault.  The Raiders went out and proved that by performing WORSE than what they were doing.  First off, it was the Raiders D that was choking away games, and yet Rob Ryan is still employed.  Also, great job by Cable throwing JaMarcus Russell under the bus today.  It's obvious he's Al's puppet.  And this also proves that Al was on a senile rant in his goodbye speech to Lane.  Remember, Lane was the one who didn't want Russell.  Well, last week we found out they were still talking, and this week, Al, via Cable, throws JaMarcus to the wolves.  The Raiders are a mess.

3) Wild week in the NFL - Last second finishes.  Big time upsets.  And an impressive, impressive victory by my beloved Buccaneers.  Big props to the Rams, Browns, and Falcons as well.

4) NFC NASCAR division - I'm starting to wonder if this isn't the best division in the NFL.  The south's only loss was to a team from the south, while the NFC East was inexplicable playcalling by the 49ers away from pulling the 0fer.  Guess only time will tell.

5) Hook 'Em Horns - What a great game turned in by Colt McCoy and Texas this week.  They fought hard the whole game and were rewarded with a win.  While I would have ranked Alabama ahead of them, I can't find an arguement against them being number one.  Their upcoming schedule is brutal, so we'll see if they can hold on to it.  Meanwhile, why is Oklahoma still a top 5 team?  Yes, I know they lost to number 5 Texas on a neutral site, but still.  I would have them around number 7 myself.  And Sooner fans, your season isn't done, yet, although you will need two losses by Texas.  I know there is no rule saying you have to play in your conference championship game to play in the BCS title game, but it will most likely be a case of out of sight, out of mind.

6) How 'bout them Cowboys - No, not the ones from Dallas.  The ones from Stillwater.  I haven't seen very many better defensive performances this year.  Nobody thought anybody would be able to harass Chase Daniels into a bad game.  Absolutely outstanding.  And now maybe people will recognize Mike Gundy for the good coach he is, and not his press conference blow up at that reporter who ran a bad story.

7) It's great to be a Florida Gator - Wow.  Didn't see that blow out coming.  LSU looked lost against their first real defense they've played all year.  And wow, what a difference a running game that doesn't rely on Tim Tebow makes.  Rainey and Demps look fantastic.  The fan piece on the expert picks section of this site said that this game would catapult Charles Scott to the Heisman.  Oooh, so close.  What, did you think he was going to put up 200 yards and 4 TD's against this defense (similar to what some Georgia fans thought Knowshon Moreno was going to do to Alabama)?  The defenses in the SEC are just too darn good.  With Vandy losing this week, I'd love to see an Alabama-Florida SEC championship game, especially if at least one of them has a shot at the BCS title game.

8) Are the Cowboys ready to implode? - No, not the ones from Stillwater.  This time I am talking about the team from Dallas.  Injuries are starting to mount.  And now they have to go with Statue er, Brad Johnson at QB, behind that line that failed to protect Romo from the Cardinals?  And with the Rams, Bucs, and Giants as their next three games?  And how long before T.O. melts down?  Romo would try to placate him.  Johnson will do no such thing.  He'll try to get the ball to the open man, whoever that is.  But, it might be hard to deliver the ball from his butt.

9) Madden not making the trip to Tampa - John Madden is taking a two week vacation, citing not wanting to make another cross country trip.  Madden's idol Brett Favre called him a wuss.  He had called nearly 300 games in a row.

10) My Apologies to Phillies fans - Well, I knew that pick had a decent chance to come back and haunt me.  Even mentioned it in my post.  I know they still have to win one more game, but I think it's clear that Philly is indeed the better team and should move on.  And what a melt down by the Dodgers.  I still love Joe Torre, but he made some extremely questionable decisions last night.  Meanwhile, what a huge win by the Rays knocking around Lester.  Hey, Papi, do the Rays still look scared to you.  Despite the baserunning mistake by Upton, what a performance he has put on this post season.  He cleared the park on that shot (and Baldelli would have, too, if not for the Sports Authority sign).  Still a long way to go in this series, though.  Being able to beat Wakefield tonight would be huge.  If not, wow, what a series.

 

Posted on: October 1, 2008 6:35 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2008 10:53 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

1) The Polls are full of "Bull"oney and the Razorbacks were "Nutt"s to get rid of Houston - Does anyone want to explain to me how on God's green Earth the USC Trojans are a top ten team?  Based on what?  Being previously gifted with the number one ranking?  Pollsters (especially those in the Harris poll, that has USC SEVENTH and unfortunately is factored in to the BCS) should hide their heads whole bodies in shame.  First off, USC pulling this garbage year after year is inexcusible, but then not to be punished for it?  I swear if I see USC in any bowl game not named Rose (providing they don't collapse), I'll throw a gigantic playoff rant on my blog.  Let's just compare USC to 4 other teams, shall we.  1) tOSU Yes, I know USC beat them head to head, and Trojan fans are going to get on me for suggesting this, but right now, I'd rank tOSU ahead of them.  Why?  Because tOSU only loses in the big games, not against teams they should beat up on (yes, I realize they struggled against Ohio earlier this year).  An based on Quizz's running, there's nothing that makes me think tOSU can't win a rematch on a neutral field with Wells back despite getting blasted earlier.  2) USF I don't care that they are USF and choked under the pressure of a premature number 2 ranking last year.  This team is undefeated and just crushed NC State on the road without their best defensive players.  3) UGA they just got beat by a VERY, VERY good Alabama team (more on them later).  How is that not better than choking against Oregon State?  4) UF yes, they got beat.  Yes, I wouldn't say Ole Miss is that much better than Oregon State.  And while I'm on Ole Miss, what was Arkansas thinking getting rid of Houston Nutt?  Um, he's BETTER than Bobby Petrino.  Ole Miss has a very bright future ahead of them.  I wish them well in the coming years.  Anyway, back to UF, AT LEAST THEY SHOWED UP TO PLAY AND DIDN'T EXPECT OLE MISS TO LIE DOWN JUST BECAUSE THEY WERE FLORIDA.  The reason Florida lost was because they put the ball on the turf 5 times.  No team that does that deserves to win against anybody.  But Florida is one blown defensive assignment (and that was the CB's fault, Raycom), or one Tebow overthrow away from winning that game.  USC was not at any point winning/going to win/gave you any confidence they were playing (other than a short spurt in the third)/gave you any indication that they were going to figure out Jacquizz Rodgers/okay, I think I made my point.  If I had to rate these 5 teams right now, I would have them in this order: 1) USF, 2) UGA, 3) tOSU, 4) UF, and a VERY DISTANT 5) USC.  Pollsters, please WAKE UP!!!  At least the Pac 10 schedule will weigh USC down in the computer polls.  Can't wait till those come out and USC fans wonder why their at 15 or less.  End of USC rant.

2) "Rays"ing expectations - Congratulations to the Rays on winning the toughest division in baseball by two games.  I expect good things from them this post season, and everyone will see what team baseball is all about.  Remember, defense does not go dry like hitting or go cold like pitching can on occasion.  I think they are poised to make a long run (more on this later).

3) Lane Kiffin Death Watch is mercifully over - Now that Lane is out from under the thumb of senile Al Davis, maybe he can concentrate on putting his life and career back on track.  Davis obviously has no pulse on his team not realizing that the players loved him and were playing hard for them (as several of them have come out and stated).  And who are Raider fans going to blame the next time their D chokes away a game?  NOTE: I forgot to mention that Al fired Kiffin "with cause," which is code for I'm going to try to be cheap and not pay you another cent.  UPDATE: It looks like Kiffin might end up sueing Al in addition to his greivance with the league.  Personally, I think Al has no shot with the grievance, since the burden of proof is on him, but I'll be interested to see where the lawsuit goes, especially since the burden of proof will be on Lane.  Personally, I hope he hits Al up for a lot of money.

4) The Scott Linehan Psychic Hotline - Before the game against the Bills, Linehan came out and said that if he lost, he felt he would be fired.  Well, the Rams lost, and Linehan was fired.  There were far more problems on this team than just Marc Bulger (or Linehan for that matter), but to alienate and lose your locker room, the move had to be made.

5) D's the Key - Defense wins championships.  This is true in any sport, and most so in football.  You hear it all the time, and yet people and the media always fall in love with offense and overlook bad D.  Well, look at the three undefeated teams in the NFL right now, and what do they all have?  Stellar D.  Yes, I know people will bring up soft schedules, but do you truly think that the Titans don't easily have a top 5 D and the Giants and Bills a top 10 D.  A top 10 D will give you a chance to win most games, and will definitely give you an excellent shot at not only making the playoffs, but doing something once you get there.

6) The NFC playoffs - In the NFC, you have two divisions that have no team under .500.  One of these two divisions has every team playing the Bengals, Browns, and Rams and has lost only one game against non division foes.  The other division has every team playing the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions and has ALSO lost only one game out of division.  Then, you have two divisions that do not have a team over .500 (for those of you who can't figure it out, the first division is the East, the second the South, and then the North and West are the other two).  Not to sound too much like Hank Whinebrenner, but is it too late to strip them of their playoff spots and give them to the other two?  Maybe they'll turn it around, but if not ...

7) Roll Tide - I am extremely impressed at the start Alabama has gotten out to.  That win between the hedges was huge.  Unfortunately, the only chance of an SEC team going undefeated is Alabama or LSU, and they have to play each other, because the only team in the east without a loss that has played a conference game in Vandy.  Wouldn't it be something to see Vandy in the SEC championship game?  Could happen.  But I would also love to see an undefeated SEC team versus an undefeated Big 12 team (Oklahoma, Missouri) in Miami on Jan 8th.  That would be an epic game.

8) A Look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this weekend (besides the MLB playoffs) are the Philly/Washington game in the NFL and the Auburn/Vanderbilt game in college.  Time to find out if Vandy is for real.  Go 'Dores!

9) It's faceoff time - For 4 teams (the Rangers, Lightning, Penguins, and Senators), the season kicks off this weekend overseas (for everyone else, it's next week).  If you live in/near an NHL city, I ask you to go and attend a game live.  Hockey is the greatest sport that few people south of the border care about.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of it is due to the fact that Hockey doesn't translate well to the TV, and most people just want to stay at home/go to the bar.  Watch one game live, and if you still don't like it, well then at least you experienced it once.  But a lot of people become hooked once they see their first live action.

10) My fearless (and perhaps biased) MLB playoff predictions - For the first round, I'm picking Phillies in 4 (CC gets Milwaukee's only win, and can't get the ball back to him), the Cubs in 4 (just too good of a staff.  Good pitching will silence good hitting, but Manny can mash), the Angels in 5 (having home field is key.  I think they both take one at the other's park, and then the Angels take game 5 at home), and the Rays in 4 (they steal one at US Cellular).  Then for the LCS's, I pick the Cubs in 5 (just better than the Phils.  Again, good pitching will silence good hitting), and the Rays in 7 (Rays match up well.  Rays take one in LA, Angels win one at the Trop, Angels win game 6 to force game 7, but then the Rays come up with game 7 on the road).  Then, in the World Series, I'm going Rays in 6 (Rays take all 3 at home, steal one in Chicago).  Yes, some of my personal bias may be coming through, but I seriously think it can happen this way.  We'll see how it goes.

Posted on: September 24, 2008 6:22 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2008 9:24 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 22nd

1) Saints still have no D and no north south running game - As a Bucs fan, I always love a chance to pile on the team with the most ridiculous fans in the NFC South who somehow think they have a tradition of winning and are clearly superior to the rest of the teams based on two years ago.  All I heard was we fixed our D.  Well after 3 weeks, WRONG!  You are one horrible Jeff Garcia read/pass away from being 0-3.  On the play where Fujita picked him off, he had TWO receivers wide open in the end zone and didn't see either one for some inexplicable reason.  But hey, you made the plays and won the game.  Secondly, I got in heated discussions about Reggie Bush being a bust.  While I may have been premature in that assessment, I was correct on two other things fans refused to take off their black and gold colored glasses to see.  1) Without a north south running game, your offense is predictable and one dimensional.  You still lack this key component.  2) Reggie Bush is, and will always be a WR who lines up behind the QB.  They should just make the change and be done with it.  And he still dances too much.  Bust, no.  But does he make the Saints a winner, no.  Cheer up, Saints fans, you still have to play the Chiefs, Raiders, and Lions.  There's 3 wins right there.  Oh, but the Bucs and Panthers still have to play the Lions, Raiders, and Chiefs, too.  Nevermind.

2) The balance of power has shifted - For years, the AFC has been the dominant conference.  That has now shifted to the NFC, and specifically, the East.  You could have 3 teams from that division making the playoffs again this year, especially since they all play the Bengals, Browns, and Rams.

3) "Lee"ding your team to a dramatic win - In my first segment of this blog, I commented on whether UCLA threw Craft's jersey over another kid.  Well, did LSU do the same thing this week?  It's amazing the difference in performance between the two halves.  Hat's off to LSU for that outstanding victory on the road.

4) The Pac 10 is done - I commented on their horrific record against the Mountain West here last week, but after Boise State beat Oregon on the road (yes, I realize the Ducks had their 24th string QB in there), stick a fork in this conference.  USC fans should really worry.  While I doubt it will be enough to keep them from Miami on Jan 8th, they will be heavily penalized in the computer polls for their schedule, especially when compared to a potentially undefeated SEC or Big 12 team.

5) Look Ma, 67 pass attempts and no grass stains - How did the Bears stack the box and force the Bucs to pass on nearly every down, and not get a sack?  The only times they even got pressure on him was via the blitzing LB.  I guess they react much better to run plays than pass plays.  Give a QB time, and he will shred you, whether he's Joe Montana or Joe Schmoe.  Kudos to the Bucs O Line, who was still without Davin Joseph.

6) The face of frustration - As a Gator fan, nothing made me feel better than watching Tennessee make mistake after mistake, and then showing coach Phillip's facial expressions on the side line.  And what was up with Crompton thinking they should have won that game?  It was 17-0 before they could blink (or move the ball for that matter).  While I don't "hate" Tennessee (although their band could learn a couple more songs than playing Rocky Top 265,326 times a game, although I think I heard it less than 10 times in this game), I do "hate" Fulmer.  The only good thing is he has a losing record against the Gators.  In fact, in recent history, this is starting to reach Georgia levels.  And Georgia (who I do hate), appears to be turning it around under Mark Richt (who I love, go figure).  I'm also looking forward to a peed off Auburn team continuing the Volunteers woes this week.

7) Another coach I love to hate in the SEC - While I have no love for Nick Saban, I loved seeing his team go into Arkansas and CRUSH the Razorbacks and Bobby Petrino.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

8) Weekly Kiffin death watch - a few people have noted this story has started to reach Favreian levels.  The problem is Davis wants Kiffin gone, but doesn't want to pay him.  Kiffin has made it clear (and rightfully so) that he won't quit, and Davis' lawyers I'm sure have explained to him that they have no legal recourse if they fire him.  This is a no win situation, for Kiffin, Davis, but most of all, for the Raiders team.  And what's up with Rob Ryan's act?  Aren't you the DC?  Want to actually get your team to, oh I don't know, DEFEND SOMEBODY!!!!

9) A look ahead - I am really looking forward to the Bama Georgia game between the hedges this week.  With Bama's great start, this should be a fun game.  Off the tails of the Tiger bowl, this looks like another epic ESPN SEC showdown brewing.

And finally (expect to see this again next week) ...

10) "Rays"ing the bar - Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays securing their first postseason birth in franchise history.  This team is absolutely fun to watch, and will be a force in the MLB playoffs, especially at the Trop.  With a magic number of 2 (yes, I know as of 9/22 it was 4, I can break my own rules every once in a while), I look forward to congratulate them on winning the East on my post for the week of Sept. 29th.  Go Rays!!!

 
 
 
 
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