Tag:Florida Gators
Posted on: October 23, 2011 11:59 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 9:24 am
 

D.P. NFL Week 6 Flop 10 Poll

(Results independently verified by the accounting firm of Dewey, Cheetam, and Howe)

With the Week 7 kickoffs rapidly approaching, the D.P. is proud to unveil the results of its Week 6 Flop 10 Poll as we work vigorously to catch up from lost time due to our production strike.  The Week 6 Poll does feature two new teams, which means we say goodbye to twice victors the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, losses in the upcoming weeks could easily see them back inside.  As we say goodbye to two long standing members of the NFL's not-so-elite, we bid welcome to newcomers the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns.  The Panthers losing close games finally caught up with them as voters could no longer ignore their 1-5 record.  So here it is, the best of the NFL's worst after week 6.

*The Flop 10 is voted on by 65 D.P. writers, two from each NFL city plus one from Los Angeles, just because it's L.A.  Teams get 10 points for a first place vote down to 1 for a 10th.  And the team in first is the biggest Flop (first place votes in parenthesis, just like this text).

Also receiving votes: Dallas Cowboys 6 (Keith Montgomery of the Ft. Worth Bigger Ledger points out, "Jerry Jones is a mess.  First, he gets on Jason Garrett for not being conservative enough against the Lions.  Now he says Garrett was too conservative against the Patriots.  Jerry obviously wants to have his cake, and eat it as well.  Pick one or the other, and I tend to lean towards the Lions loss being more Garrett's fault."), Philadelphia Eagles 27 (Jeff Ashby of the Buffalo Falls reports, "I'm sure the the Eagles big divisional victory over the Washington Redskins will be enough to take them off most people's ballots.  When I see this team, though, I still don't see a team capable of beating one that makes only half the mistakes Washington did, much less one that plays mistake free."), Seattle Seahawks 59 (Catherine McCovey of the Seattle Coffeetable opines, "Hard to believe the winner of the Seahawks versus Browns game this week will be .500, and likely out of the Flop 10.")

Number 10 - Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) 69 Jason LaPointe of the Boston Heraldry writes, "Hard to believe that after three weeks, this looked like the worst team in the NFL.  As others continue to perform even more poorly, the Chiefs may soon find themselves off most ballots."

Number 9 - Cleveland Browns (2-3) 97 Stacy Billingsly of the Lexington Post Position pens, "Harder for Browns fans to swallow than river water is the fact that Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have led the Cincinnati Bengals to a 4-2 mark."

Number 8 - Denver Broncos (1-4) 217 Dan Freeman of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Gazette says, "The ultimate insult to the Dolphins would be if Tim Tebow leads the Broncos to victory on 2008 Gator National Championship day ... in the home of 'The U.'"

Number 7 - Carolina Panthers (1-5) 223 Stan Ledger of the Charlotte Observatory chimes in, "It is amazing how much Cam Newton has masked the fact that, quite frankly, this Panthers team isn't very good.  One of those best of the worst scenarios."

Number 6 - Minnesota Vikings (1-5) 274 Jessica Addison of the St. Paul Twin Cities Daily Journal laments, "Donovan McNabb has forced Leslie Frazier's hand, and the Christian Ponder era has begun.  The only good thing you could say about the Vikings loss to the Chicago Bears was that this time they didn't have a halftime lead to blow."

Number 5 - Arizona Cardinals (1-4) 357 James Washington of the Baltimore Crabber states, "Not only has this team looked flat out bad, but they've managed to do it against the worst adjusted strength of schedule in the league.  It takes a truly pathetic team to lose against losers."

Number 4 - Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) 486 (3) Wilma Burlington of the San Diego Onion proclaims, "When do you get excited about getting a player who wasn't good enough for the St. Louis Rams?  When you're the Jacksonville Jaguars, that's when.  Mike Sims-Walker at least knows the offense, which is a plus (I guess), but doesn't have a rapport with quarterback Blaine Gabbert.  Wait, that's not a minus, nobody does on that team."

Number 3 - Indianapolis Colts (0-6) 581 (20) Scott Johnston of the Tampa Post-Dispatch states, "At this point in the season, it is really becoming hard to tell which of the three abominations is truly the worst of the NFL.  I'm sure some will vote the Colts as the de facto since they are the only 0-6 team, but all that means is they haven't had their bye, yet."

Number 2 - Miami Dolphins (0-5) 585 (18) Amanda Passenkick of the Miami Beach Spotlight notes, "Speculation here is that if the Dolphins lose to the Broncos, it will be the final straw for coach Tony Sparano.  Hope he has his resume brushed up.  Even if the Dolphins win, it may be their only one, as this appears to be the easiest game on their remaining schedule."

Number 1 - St. Louis Rams (0-5) 594 (24) Roger Vinson of the Detroit Dollar Press-Union ponders, "I wonder if they make vitamins to help cure red-zone deficiency?  I've never seen a team come away with fewer points inside the opponents twenty that what the Rams pulled against the Green Bay Packers.  Josh McDaniels, eat your heart out pull your hair out."

D.P. Archives:
10/22/11 D.P. NFL Week 5 Flop 10 Poll (belated)
10/20/11 D.P. Announces End Of Production Strike
10/6/11 Predictions of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
10/4/11 D.P. NFL Week 4 Flop 10 Poll
10/01/11 The 2011 MLB Disassociated Team of the Year Award
9/27/11 D.P. Week 3 NFL Flop 10 Poll
9/27/11 "@JoeyCora, you're fired! #pinkslip"
9/26/11 Gopher Engineering Students To Fix Things Again

Posted on: December 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2009 8:37 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 30th

As winter quickly approaches us and most of my loyal followers are preparing for bitterly cold nights, snow, and all the other things that come along with it while I sit here in my shorts pecking at my computer (nah nah Tongue out), due to a couple of major college football stories, I feel compelled to break my own rule yet again and extend it to covering Tuesday as well, especially since one affects a certain game on Dec. 5th.  So here are 10 things I learned in the week and a day between 11/24 and 12/1.

1) What an idiot!- How can you, in the week leading up to one of arguably the biggest games in your career, do something so stupid as what Carlos Dunlap did to effectively end his career at the University of Florida.  I honestly don't see him playing another game this year, and he was likely to come out, so this pretty much puts the kabosh on UF's leading pass rusher and defensive MVP from last year's BCS title game.  It remains to be seen as to what effect this has on the Gators on Dec. 5th, as the Gators do have lots of talent, but unlike some of my fellow Gator fans, I realize this will affect them at least somewhat.  There is not another Carlos Dunlap on this team, and his presense and pressure will be missed to some degree, no matter how well everybody else steps up in his absense.  And to those trying to pin this on Urban Meyer somehow, please stop.  What, do you want these teams to have 100 assistant coaches to babysit each player personally all the time?  Notice, I wasn't in here blaming Lane Kiffin for what Richardson and his thug friend did (although I did find it funny that it was the same guy Lane got in trouble with the SEC over).  It's how the coach deals with these situations that you can hold them responsible for, not the actions themselves.  Dunlap is an adult, and he will face the consequences of his poor choices.

2) Bobby deserved better- Yes, I know things haven't been going the Seminoles way recently.  I have NEVER seen a UF-FSU game where the Noles didn't deserve to be on the same field as the Gators until Saturday.  But this is the man that had FOURTEEN straight AP Top 4 finishes.  That's a mark that's very likely never to be duplicated ever again.  The whole Bowden-Fisher situation will be filed away under "How NOT to handle a head coach in waiting."  Depending on who you listen to, Bobby Bowden was either forced out, or given the option to come back, but as little more than a figure head.  Now, while I feel that Bobby should have been allowed to come back next year with no strings, Jimbo did deserve the right to name a defensive coordinator, as that would have been Bobby's last year.  You did have to start preparing for life after Bobby.  Thing is, it's awful hard to be the man who replaces the man.  Why do I get the feeling that if FSU struggles early next year, that firejimbofisher.com is not too far away.  Hopefully FSU sends Bobby out on a winning note in whatever bowl game they end up in.

3) Sorry Charlie- In a move that surprised absolutely no one, Notre Dame cut ties with Charlie Weiss on Monday, ending Notre Dame's worst three year run in their history.  While there is a lot of blame to go around here, where is the blame that should fall squarely on the shoulders of the former athletic director (I forget his name)?  As much of a weasel as he is, Mike Lupica pointed this out on a recent "Sports Reporters" on that four letter network.  He's the one that got played by Charlie Weis and locked him up to a ridiculous 10 year deal that's now going to cost Notre Dame something in the range of $20 million to pay a coach who won't be coaching for them.  And they'll have to pay whoever comes in, likely involving another buy-out.  And where's these strong athletes from ND's alleged top 10 recruiting classes recently?  They have Floyd for one more year, and Teo for two more.  Beyond that, what do they have?  Claussen will be gone.  Tate will be gone.  If you notice, Charlie only won with Willingham's players.  It's going to take a lot for Notre Dame to return to BCS title contender, because as I pointed out before, the reason they had lost 9 bowls in a row before last year was they kept running into superior competition due to them being Notre Dame and drawing well in both fanbase and ratings.  This is not going to change soon, even if they start winning 9-10 games a season.  Those annual bowl blowouts do hurt you when it comes to recruiting.  I don't care if you are Notre Dame.

4) Crash that Tiger- Who the hell is in Tiger Woods P.R. staff and why do they still have jobs?  Look, Tiger owes us the general public absolutely nothing.  No explanation.  And I can see why his lawyers told him not to talk to police (because Elin would be in jail right now if he had).  But if you want to see a playbook of P.R. done right, spin it back to Kobe Bryant.  He had geniuses on his P.R. team.  To think that this would go away just because you're Tiger Woods.  Look, because you ARE Tiger Woods, somebody in the media will dig up the dirt and uncover the story.  And while stonewalling the police is the correct legal tactic, don't think they won't do the same.  Fewer people are going to forgive him for trying this P.R. coverup spin job.  The media, police, and public are not stupid.  We can put two and two together just fine on our own, thanks.  UPDATE: As I was piecing my blog together, Tiger finally came out and admitted some of the stuff, something he should have done on Sunday, but I guess better late than never.  It is my sincere hope though that people can now leave him alone and let his family work it out if they can, or handle what they must if they can't.  I just know I'd find it hard to cheat on Wood's wife, although I'd find it hard to marry her now knowing her temper.  Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned.

5) I've finally found the best team in the NFL- After wondering if it might be the Colts of the Vikings (and I still think the Vikings will be a tough matchup), and as much as it pains me to say it, because of their holier than thou, think they've already won somehting in the past, refusing to take off their Black and Gold glasses and defend Reggie Bush till the end fans, there is no denying that it is the New Orleans Saints.  That was an epic beatdown of a pretty good Patriots team on Monday night, and they did something I never would have thought possible, especially form a Saints team, confuse Tom Brady with their defense.  I was always holding reservation on the Saints, because I just didn't believe in their D (have always believed in their O, even with Reggie Bust).  I always thought somewhere along the way it would revert back to the old Saints D.  Well, now I know better, and unfortunately, it reaffirms my prediction of the Saints winning it all I made a few weeks ago.  I'll be very happy for the Saints players (except Reggie and maybe cocky Shockey), and the city of New Orleans, but god, I dread having to deal with the obnoxious fans thinking that they just might FINALLY win something this year.  By the way, Gregg Williams HAS to be coordinator of the year.

6) So much for that matchup in Tampa- Yeesh.  The ACC has to be thrilled that its two best teams got beat by mid-level SEC teams this past weekend.  Georgia Tech looked from being in line for a Top 5 finish to being just another conference champion.  And that's IF they beat Clemson and win their Orange Bowl game.  I'll have my prediction in point 10.

7) Can we stop with the overrated crap?- After Thursday and Friday in which Texas and Alabama both struggled on the road in rivalry games and Cincinatti's defense got exposed by Illinois, all the threads in here were about just how overrated these three teams are.  And while I can't give a good defense to Cincy (although I still wouldn't call them overrated), the other two, along with Florida and TCU who took care of business on Saturday, are clearly the four best teams in the country.  Look, they are called rivalry games for a reason.  Usually you can throw the records out.  And they all won, which is what counts in the end.  The 2006 Gators didn't earn any style points in the season, but still handled tOSU with ease.  And what I wouldn't give to see TCU play any/all of the other three teams.  They are the real deal, and I think would matchup well.  God, a playoff (even 4 team) would have been nice this year.  And in a side note, I hope if Texas beats Nebraska, the BCS does the right thing and gives an invite to Boise State as well.

8) Some quick college hardwood thoughts- What a start for the University of Florida basketball team, one that most people has going 5th in the SEC East.  Now, while they have yet to play a conference game, and Michigan State followed it up with a disappointing performance in last night's rematch of the title game, you have to like how good they look right now.  It will be interesting to see how they do against Syracuse (another hot team early) in the SEC-Big East challenge game here in Tampa.  Even as a Gator fan, I didn't see a 7-0 start.  I'd love to see Billy's boys make the tournament this year.  And what's happened to UCLA.  They look completely lost out of the gate at 2-4.  Now they have players transferring out.  And it doens't get any easier with a Dec. 6th date at Kansas.

9) Look ahead- The games I'm looking forward to are the conference championship games, which I will predict in my next point, and in the NFL, Patriots Dolphins to see which team can bounce back from devastating losses, Cowboys Giants to see which team ate too much turkey on their Thanksgiving day game (my guess would be the Giants who seemed to load up before their night game with the Broncos), and Packers Ravens.  There's also a couple interesting NBA games coming up with Boston San Antonio on Thursday, and Lakers Heat on Friday with the Heat on the back end of a two in a row situation.  In hockey, you have the Penguins and Avalanche on Thursday, and my Lightning have a tough two game stretch with Boston tonight and New Jersey on Friday.  And on the college hardwood, you have a very interesting Ohio State Florida State matchup tonight as part of the ACC Big Ten challenge.

10) BuccinGator's college football conference championship game predictions- While there are only 5 official conference championship games (3 BCS in SEC, Big 12, and ACC and 2 non in CUSA and MAC), with two conferences having defacto championship games this week with tomorrow's Oregon Oregon State game (which for the first time will decide a Pac-10 champion and Rose Bowl bid between these two) and Saturday's Cincinnati Pitt game, in what has to be a scheduling coup for the Big East and Pac-10.  So, in order of how they are played:

Oregon 38, Oregon State 24 (just think Masoli is too much for the Beavers yet again)
Central Michigan 34, Ohio 17 (LeFevour gets it done)
Houston 45, ECU 20 (Case Keenum way too much for ECU, way too late for Heisman.  Those UTEP and UCF losses will kill him)
Cincinnati 37, Pitt 27 (Although Cincy's defense does scare me.  Pitt could pull this out, but I refuse to bet against Pike)
Florida 31, Alabama 27 (was going to go with last year's score as I think the game will be very similar [still do], but with Dunlap out, give Bama another TD)
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 27 (C.J. Spiller could play spoiler, though.  Just noticed the forecast for here in Tampa calls for thunderstorms that day.  Of course, both these teams love to run anyway)
Texas 21, Nebraska 9 (Nebraska's D will keep this close, quite possibly closer than what I have it).

Hopefully I can go 5-2.  Last year, I think I went 3-2, but I also think it was the mid-majors that tripped me up.
Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:25 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2009 11:40 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 9th

This week, I would like to take the opportunity to give my deepest thanks to the troops, both past and present, who have put/continue to put their lives on the line to protect my freedom to enjoy sports to the point where I might learn a thing or 10 over the week, and then come in here to pass along this knowledge, and the freedoms of Americans everywhere.

1) The uni's weren't the only thing changed this week- Watching the Bucs Packers game at my house, I was telling my dad as he and the announcers on the game kept mentioning how the Bucs were hanging around and fighting hard, "Yeah, but watch, they'll go in at halftime, make no adjustments, and come out and get blown out in the second half."  I had every right to believe what I was saying.  It had happened already in all 7 of their previous games (including winable games against the Redskins and Panthers).  But then the miraculous happened.  I joked with the guys at work I felt like I was watching on old Foldger's coffee commerical.  "We've secretly replaced the Buccaneers coaching staff with one that can make half time adjustments and win a game."  And that they did.  And what's up with the Packers swiss cheese O-line?  Way to make Stylez G. White look like the second coming of Michael Strahan.

2) Irish's BCS dreams sunk by Navy- In addition to thanking the troops this Veteran's Day, how about thanking future troops, the Midshipmen of the Naval Academy, who prevented mine (and every non-Notre Dame fans) worst nightmare of seeing an undeserving and over-matched Irish team in a BCS game only to serve as the sacrificial lamb.  And of course, with Pitt and Stanford both looking to be much better than previously advertised, the Irish could relistically finish the regular season 7-5 and be Charlie Weis' swan song.  For more of my thoughts on the game, Irish fans, and their "mystique" (if interested), I direct you to this thread: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/messag
es/chrono/18150835
.

3) Take advantage of your stellar D- Boy, as a Gator fan I am longing for the days of Dan Mullen.  Steve Adazio's play calling is baffling at best sometimes, and a huge reason for the team's red zone struggles this year.  There was a third and two from the 10 early in the game where Aaron Hernandez, our TE, motioned into the backfield, and in a terrifyingly slow developing play, Tebow fake pitched it to him and was absolutely stuffed.  Field Goal.  It's obvious this year due to the Gators' superior D, he's afraid of opening it up and making mistakes, preferring the D to carry them.  I say, all the more reason to open it up and make a couple mistakes.  You know the defense will be there to clean up for you.  Sure, maybe Charlie Strong gets a little mad at you when the other team ends up putting 10 or 13 on the scoreboard, but so what?  Especially if you end up putting 40+ up.  Is it just me?

4) Anti-SEC angst again directed in the wrong direction- It's been an abysmal season for officiating in the SEC, and I cannot try to defend or justify it.  Previously, I thought we had the best officials in the game along with the Big 12, due to the level of football being played.  Well, maybe this game has become too fast for them.  Another likely blown call was made in the LSU-Alabama game.  But as easy as it is to criticize the replay official and why do we have replay, blah, blah, blah (by the way, ask the Big Ten how replay is going for them) it was AGAIN not the replay official's fault.  Here's why.  You take a look at the replay.  Clearly his left foot was in bounds.  The problem is, it is not obvious when he secures possession (despite what LSU fans say).  To me, it appeared that he did not secure the ball until his left foot was up.  So now we look at the right.  Did I think he had the right down?  Yes, I do.  Gary Danielson did a fantastic job during the replay showing again why I feel he's the best in the game.  He even pointed out the little bit of grass that seemed to come up with the right foot, and no white grass.  But can I conclusively say it was in?  Conclusively being the opporative word.  No, I can't.  And if I can't say he conclusively had his right foot in, and I can't conclusively say he had possession while his left foot was still down, guess what?  Play stands as called.  Again, I point out, PLAY STANDS AS CALLED.  Somehow, fans and media members have twisted this around using converse logic that had it correctly (imo) been called a pick, it would have been overturned on replay.  SIMPLY NOT TRUE.  There would have been equal (if not less) evidence to not overturn a pick call.  Once again, get mad at the officials on the field who were either out of position or simply inept and made a bad call and then expect the replay official to OVERSTEP his bounds and fix what was not as obvious of a mistake as people like to think.

5) Curb your enthusiasm- After tOSU's domination of Penn State in Happy Valley, some Buckeye fans began jumping off the deep end proclaiming that Terrelle Pryor might not lose another game.  Well, I mean, in a sense they are right.  He MIGHT not lose again.  But likely he will.  Still, with the team he has around him, he shouldn't lose many more, especially if he can build off his performance.  But, one good game does not a career make, and he still has things he needs to work on.  Overall, though, great win by the Buckeyes, who I no longer need to win this week, but just might pull for them all the same (more on this, next).

6) General college musings- Iowa's weekly let's play to the level of our competition and come from behind job is mercifully over, although you never want to see a starting QB go down like that, a week after a through dismantling of the Trojans, the Ducks lay an egg against Stanford (although the Cardinal are a good team), the Hoosiers again do just enough to hang in a game and still lose, and the black shirts get some revenge against their formal arch rival in securing 5 picks in a 10-3 victory over the Sooners that mericfully finally pushed OU out of the Top 25.  By the way, what has become with some of the tradition in college football?  I meant to hit on this a few weeks ago, but Bama Tennessee not being on the 3rd Saturday in October? (Bama played the other USC that week, and the Volunteers were off).  And OU Nebraska not playing each other every year since expending to the Big 12?  As I was telling my good Husker fan HuskerTex, I remember EVERY Thanksgiving weekend watching four football games, Florida Florida State, Auburn Alabama, Texas Texas A&M, and Oklahoma Nebraska.

7) General NFL musings- Huge wins by the Cowboys and Steelers this week.  Why did more people not see Cincy beating Baltimore?  They already did it once, and Cedric Benson, an early candidate for comeback player of the year, ran for over 100 yards against them AGAIN.  It's the 3rd time in 4 games the Ravens have allowed a 100 yard back.  Big win also by the Chargers.  How does Vincent Jackson get that wide open.  Well, first the corner thinks he has (and should have had) safety help, and did, but the safety was far too late getting over.  Of course, part of this is on the corner for not rerouting Jackson inside to where the help should have been and allowing him to get outside where the safety had much more ground to cover (and again, was late doing so).  And the Saints and Colts just continue to find ways to win, again in comeback fashion for the Saints.

8) Some thoughts on the hardwood- We may be in line for another Celtics Lakers Finals matchup.  The Magic look great most nights, but lose by 28 to the Thunder.  Also, Magic might be in a tougher division than previously thought as there may be 3 playoff caliber teams, including the resurgent Heat.  And is LeBron already half way out the door?  That 4-3 start won't help.  Also, college bball tipped off for real on Monday, so expect to see more on that in the coming weeks, especially after football winds down.

9) Icy thoughts- The Lightning are an improved 6-4-5, getting points in all four games on a recent road trip.  Should the playoffs had started Monday, the Lightning would be in it.  The Devils are red-hot (hey, they are the Devils) and now are tied with the Penguins in the East Atlantic (I do make mistakes form time to time).  And the Avalanche continue to amaze getting stellar goaltending, although the Sharks have now passed them for the overall lead in the NHL.

10) BuccinGator's stone cold NFL predicitions- Instead of doing a look ahead this week (although I am really looking forward to the Sunday Night game between the Patriots and Colts), I shall bring you my NFL playoff predictions.  Now that all of the teams (except 2 who have gotten in 9) have played exactly half their season, it's far easier to get reads on the teams and who might make some noise come post season.  Sure, waiting like this makes it easy for me to pick teams like the Colts, Vikings, and Saints, but it also makes it easier to identify the Dolphins and Falcons of last year.  Here's a look back at last year's edition:

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.

As you can see, I got 9 out of the twelve teams correct (couldn't see the Colts late season run or the Bucs choke job).  I did also call the Chargers lucking into the AFC West last year.  Don't know what I was thinking taking the Pack and TT's big ego.  And, I had the Jets pegged better than most of the experts.  So here they are, this year's NFL playoff predictions culminating with who I think ends up in Miami.  For the AFC East, it's an easy pick with the Patriots.  South another slam dunk with the Colts.  In the North, I like the Steelers to edge out the Bengals, while both make the playoffs, the loser securing one of the AFC's wild cards.  In the West, gotta go Broncos, although they appear to be slipping somewhat, and the Chargers are hanging around.  For the last wild card spot, I just don't trust the Jets or Ravens enough, so I think it comes down to the Texans and Chargers, with the Chargers winning out.  In the NFC, give me the Eagles to win the East despite their hiccup against the Cowboys, the Saints to win the South (duh), the Vikings in the North (double duh), and in the West, it's got to be the Cardinals with the 49ers disappointing the way they are.  For the two wild cards, I'll take the Cowboys and the Falcons.  So here's how I see the playoffs.  In the AFC, I like #3 Patriots over #6 Chargers and #5 Bengals over #4 Broncos in a revenge game, then, #1 Colts over #5 Bengals and #2 Steelers over #3 Patriots in what should be a great game if it happens.  Home field and defense I think will win out.  For the AFC Championship, I'm going to go with the upset and go #2 Steelers over #1 Colts granting Sixburgh their second consecutive trip to Florida.  For the NFC, I like #3 Cardinals over #6 Cowboys (Cowboys still can't win a playoff game or get revenge for 1998) and #5 Falcons over #4 Eagles in what would be a tight game.  Then, #1 Saints over #5 Falcons and #2 Vikings over #3 Cardinals.  Then in what should be a heck of an NFC Championship game which will most likely be in a dome (will be if my top two seeds are there), #1 Saints over #2 Vikings where home field again becomes a factor.  And for Super Bowl LXIV in Miami, I can't believe I'm saying this as it will make Saints fans more obnoxious than normal (although it'd be a great story for the true Saints fans like some of the ones you see in the Super Dome), I'll take the Saints to beat the Steelers.  They just seem to have enough on defense and have finally realized that Bush is overrated and exactly how and when he needs to be used, that I will go ahead and go with them.  I really hope I'm wrong, however (at least with them).
Posted on: November 3, 2009 11:00 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Nov. 2nd

1) The Sports Media can KMA- For those of you who follow me regularly here, you already know my opinion of the sports media.  Well they did absolutely NOTHING to change that this week.  I give you, the Brandon Spikes youtube video that went viral.  Now, even as a Gator fan, I am not going to sit here and even try to defend Brandon Spikes actions, even though the Georgia running back in an EXTREMELY classy move did.  Honestly, Spikes could have been suspended for the whole Vandy game.  But what gets me, and makes me give a big STFU to Bulldog fans, is that the coverage on this story has been completely one sided, which is a huge shock (not.  Remember, sensationalistic journalism obviously sells these days).  I don't mind people getting on Spikes or asking for punishment or whatever, BUT PLEASE POINT OUT that the Georgia team nearly took his head off during the game, at least twice.  Here's a quote from Mark Richt, who I have a lot of respect for, but obviously received a different version of the game tape than what I witnessed.  Georgia coach Mark Richt said Spikes' "helmet went flying off ... and there was one time he got hit with his helmet off."  Um, coach, what about the time it was going to be third and a half a yard, but you were penalized 15 yards because YOUR OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TRIED REMOVING SPIKES' HELMET WITH HIS HEAD STILL IN IT.  But do we hear about this from the media?  No.  Do we hear an outcry for this guy to be suspended for at least part of a game?  No.  Instead you get the same clueless, classless drivel from Dennis Dodd and Gator Hating onesidedness from John Taylor of collegefootballtalk.com.  Sad thing is, a lot of what Taylor was saying WOULD BE RIGHT, if he just dropped the Gator Hating angle and reported both sides.  He went so far as to say " Even if Spikes was the victim of having his helmet ripped off a couple of times during the game, there's no justification for playing proctologist on a man's eyes.  None."  IF??  IF???  All he has to do is change that "if" to "though" and he'd have a lot more respect.  Georgia fans, you are disqualified because of the people in glass houses rule.  Bama fans, equally disqualified due to sour grapes for Spikes not signing there.  The rest of you, I'm open to your opinions.  Am I just refusing to take off my Orange and Blue colored glasses here, or do I have a point?  By the way, one last thing, Spikes put Urban Meyer in a no win situation here, and can the media please back off of him, too.  Oh, and great win by the Gators, their most complete win of the season.  Joe Cox looks like the new Johnathan Crompton (and ironically, Crompton is lately playing like people thought Jevan Snead would).

2) Quack attack shellacks USC- Wow.  Nearly 400 yards rushing.  Over 600 yards overall.  I thought Oregon would win due to USC's suspect defense that hasn't shown up for 3 weeks now, but I simply did not see that big of a beat down.  A huge thank you to the Ducks for FINALLY taking care of what the pollsters have REFUSED to the past 4 years.  Good luck to the Ducks in Pasadena, most likely on the 1st.  And can we please stop the talk of an Oregon Boise State rematch (unless it is on the 1st).  First off, it would be unfair to Boise State.  What do you do if the Ducks win?  Best 2 out of 3?  Best combined stats?  Secondly, should TCU win out, they will be the more deserving non-BCS team.  Plus, you cannot simply erase the Ducks loss, no matter how well they are playing right now.  Also, I think the Big 10 champ has to be playing on the 7th for the rematch to happen on the 1st.

3) Some Musings on the BCS poll- In a largely cosmetic move, Texas moved up to the number two spot because they played their second complete game in dismantling Okie State while Bama was on a bye leaving pollsters with lasting memories of the squeaker against Tennessee.  Another thing that hurt Bama that's been overlooked by everyone I've seen is that that Va Tech win at the begining of the year just doesn't look so good anymore after they lost to UNC.  Meanwhile a kudos to the poll for having the seven undefeated teams as 1-7 in the poll.

4) Bulls run through the Mountaineers- In a must win to get some respect, the Bulls played one of their most complete games in stopping their annual October swoon and beating the Mountaineers.  They absolutely shut down Noel Devine, and just seem to match up well with them.  While the top 3 in the Big East all have to play each other in the coming weeks, the Bulls are lurking just on the outside with the two loses ALREADY having played the big three.  Depending on how things break, the Bulls could finish second in the Big East with a pretty good bowl game.

5) Indiana must love instant replay- Look, I'm not going to sit here and say it cost them the game, as replay did not score all of those points in the fourth quarter, but HOW does that play get botched, ESPECIALLY WHEN CALLED CORRECTLY ON THE FIELD.  In order to overturn, there (again) HAS TO, HAS TO, HAS TO be INDISPUTABLE video evidence that the call was botched (see, Dustin Doe return for "touchdown" last week).  Still Iowa pulls that junk against most other teams, throwing five picks in a game, and they get buried.  I'll actually be pulling for tOSU come the 14th.  Iowa would be KILLED by the Ducks in Pasadena.

6) The Saints go marching on- What a great game on Monday night, and the Saints just might be the best team in the NFL (although I still think it's the Colts, a close second, though, as much as it pains me to say it).  I must say though that Matt Ryan cost the Falcons by locking in on Tony Gonzalez late in the game.  On the pass that was deflected, Porter already had excellent coverage on Gonzalez (and this was the turning point in the whole game, you go from being potentially up 3 to down 11).  Plus Sharper should have had another pick around the 2 minute mark.  Still, have to give the Falcons credit, too, for never quiting in the game, especially Coy Wire.

7) Favre sticks it to Ted Thompson, Green Bay fans- The whole amazing thing to me (other than Packers fans not wanting to run TT and his tremendous ego out of town) is the quick chemistry that has developed between Lord Favre and Percy Harvin.  People said going into the draft, Harvin had the most upside, it was just a question of would he live up to his potential.  Well, with Favre taking him under his wing, and Percy listening to the grisled vet, the Gator WR/KR could just be the NFL offensive ROY.

8) Other quick lessons taught to me- The Giants are massively struggling on D as one of the games I looked forward to turned into a huge blowout, the Phins swept the Jets (so much for the post week 3 talk of an all NYC Super Bowl) thanks in large part to 2 100+ yard kickoff returns by Ted Ginn Jr. who Dolphin fans were almost ready to run out of town (wonder if Roy Hall held Reggie Nelson for him), and will somebody PLEASE explain to me why JaMarcus Russell is STILL a starting quarterback in an FL that does not start with U, C, or A?

9) The series returns to the Bronx- I know, I'm breaking my own rule a bit here, but in what is turning out to be just like I expected, since it seems the Phillies can only win with Lee on the mound and Chase Utley can only bat with Lee on the mound, I like my Yanks in 6 predicition right now (and I definitely like the Yanks if it goes 7.  Hammels is not the same pitcher any more).

10) The Look Ahead- Next week I do my official NFL playoff predictions, so look for those.  In colleges, give me Notre Dame Navy, to see if the Midshipmen can repeat their performance of two years ago just so I don't have to worry about the Domers cracking the BCS Top 14 and getting an automatic birth, tOSU PSU in a huge Big 10 matchup, and Alabama LSU to decide who will be in Atlanta on Dec. 5th taking on the Gators (seems a little ridiculous that they locked that up on Oct. 31st).  In the pros, it's just Dallas Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Denver.  Oh, and if the Bucs lose again this week, if I can just throw them back along with their throw back uniforms.
Posted on: October 28, 2009 6:31 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2009 10:04 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Oct. 26th

As we enter Halloween Week here at 10TILTW (hey, that's catchy), we have been treated with some epic collapses and great games, been tricked by the ghoulishly sub-standard SEC officiating, and have had to listen to coaches whine like Banshees over how it was somebody else's fault they lost games.  So, here is the knowledge that was imparted to me by the sports world this week, hopefully presented in a way not to zombiefy you.

1) Where has the spread option gone?- As a Gator fan, I feel Tim Tebow's frustration as to the offenses lack of production.  And while people like to point to the receiving core, which is a little part responsible, I by far give more fault to Steve Adazio, the Gators O.C.  Over the past few games, one of our greatest plays, where Tebow sweeps out and has the option to A) keep it, B) pitch it to Demps/Rainey, or C) shovel it inside to Hernandez has completely disappeared from our playbook.  It was instrumental to our BCS title last year, and very few teams have the athletes or the discipline to shut all three options down.  Even Meyer commented after the game they needed to put Tebow in better positions.  While the first pick 6 was totally Tim's fault and led from a 20-3 halftime game to a 13-10 halftime game, there was no reason for him to be throwing 1st and 10 from his own 2.  Also, our offensive line's pass blocking has become suspect.  They're still great run blockers, and we have FIVE people that can run the ball.  Tebow's already proven in the past he can win a game with his arm if he has to.  With the Gators D, I think we need to get back to running it for 300 yards a game, even if it's not "sexy" or will get you 50+ points.

2) Hindsight is always 20/20- I can feel Dan Mullen's pain on the pick return for a "touchdown" call, but he absolutely deserved to be reprimanded for asking for the video replay judge to be suspended, and here's why.  IT WASN'T HIS FAULT!!!!!  He did his job to the best of his ability, and Mullen should know that.  In order to overturn a call on the field, the replay judge MUST MUST MUST have conclusive evidence that the original call was wrong, otherwise he HAS to let the play stand.  And there's the crucial point.  Folks, I want you to pay attention to the next college football game you watch, and listen to what the referee says after a replay.  If he says replay has CONFIRMED the call on the field, then that means that there is conclusive visual evidence to uphold the call.  If he says THE RULING ON THE FIELD STANDS then that means there was not conclusive visual evidence to there being a botched call.  Now was the call botched, absolutely.  And was there conclusive evidence, yes.  Want to know when this conclusive evidence came?  After ESPN had like three minutes to throw their two CRAPPY angles together, sync them up, and show them as one image.  Know when that happened?  AFTER the replay official made his decision.  And it wasn't an in and out, either.  Before then, you could guess all you want.  But you CANNOT guess in replays.  You cannot feel.  Watching it live, I thought it was a TD, although I wanted to throttle Dustin Doe.  Watching the replays, I was like, uh oh, but from ESPN's best angle, it looked like he had it in the endzone.  From the reverse angle, you could speculate that it wasn't a TD.  Like I said, it wasn't until they synced them up that you knew for sure they blew it.  But Dan, if you want to blow a gasket, either A) blow it at the on field officials who were obviously not in position to make the call (which probably still would have gotten you reprimanded) or B) blow it at ESPN.  For a network that paid a whole bunch of money to broadcast the games, would having a camera on the goalline, from either end, hurt?  And then lost in the mix was that it would be a touchback and Mississippi State would have 1st and 10 from the 20.  BUZZZZZZZ.  Mississippi State was called for an illegal shift on the play.  Had it correctly been called a fumble, the Gators enforce the penalty.  We can second guess the results until the cows come home, but honestly, did anybody get the impression that the Bulldog offense was going to do ANYTHING against the Gator D that night.  Be honest, Gator haters.  Didn't think so.  Still, the SEC has a bunch of cleaning up to do, as do the Gators.

3) Mountain of a blocker- In a game that took me back to when Jarvis Moss blocked three kicks against South Carolina during our '06 title run, Terrance Cody of Alabama blocked two kicks against the Volunteers to preserve a 12-10 victory.  Now after the game, Lane whined like a little girl about Cody not being flagged for taking his helmet off.  If you can show me that he did that before the clock hit double zeroes, then by the letter of the rule, he does have a point.  But in a sport, and particularly a conference that is too strict and has bad rules regarding celebrating/personal fouls the like, I was glad to see this one go.  That rule was meant for players immediately after the play expressing their frustration, and by letter celebration, too.  Cody was yards away from the play, near his sideline,  going further away from the action, and was celebrating a great win.  Now, had he done it right after he blocked the kick, while still in the middle of both lines or just coming out, then yes.  But in this case, let it slide.  A good no call in my book, and I have no love for Bama or Nick Saban, although I'm sure Vols fans would vehemently disagree.  Update: I should have realized it at the time, but one thing that led to Kiffin being reprimanded is even if they had called Cody for unsportmanlike, it's a post play foul.  In other words, it would have been Bama's ball 15 yards back from the previous line of scrimmage.  So sorry Vols fans, you lose that game anyway.  Still a great effort put forth.

4) Hope you didn't go to bed at halftime- God, I'm getting tired of having to give love to the Saints.  There is talk of the Saints as the best team in the NFL.  I'm sorry, but the BEST team in the NFL does not get down 24-3.  That being said, only a GREAT team comes back from that defecit, and the Saints are clearly a great team.  And Dolphin fans should want to throttle their coach for making a rookie mistake.  Late in the first half, down by the aforementioned 24-3 and out of timeouts, Brees hits Colston for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but was subsequently (and accurately) overturned to first and goal from the half yard line.  Saints have :05 left on the clock, and the referee announces to the world "The clock WILL start on the ready for play whistle."  New Orleans has their field goal unit already on the field content to get it to 24-6 as they have to snap the ball quickly.  All of a sudden, whistles.  Timeout Miami.  EXCUSE ME??  Timeout for what?  Oh, to let Drew Brees "talk" Sean Peyton into going for it (wasn't much of a conversation, more like a Peyton Manning we're going for it) and getting a touchdown scored against you right before half.  Great job!!!

5) On the Eighth week of football the Huskers gave to me- Eight turnovers against the Cyclones.  And four inside the enemy 5.  And yet they were still remarkably in that game.  That had to hurt big time for Nebraska fans, and I know it did (from reading HuskerTex's blog http://huskertex.blogs.cbssports.co
m/mcc/blogs/entry/6286615/17862580
).

6) Hurricanes start OT strong, quickly fizzle out- Just like some real tropical systems, the Hurricanes received the ball first in OT and hit a 19 yard run on their first play.  From there, they proceeded to gain not another yard and kick a field goal.  Miami could have taken the three off the board as Clemson was offside on the FG, but I agree with the decision to leave the points on the board (would have been fourth and goal from the 3.  Maybe if it was closer).  Then Clemson gets a 26 touchdown on their possession to win the game in what was a closely contested back and forth affair in which both teams trailed several times.

7) Horns hook Mizzou- In what had to be Texas' best, most complete game of the season, they defeated the Tigers 41-7.  Unlike previous Longhorn games where they seemingly flipped the switch at halftime, even in the OU game, McCoy started out 11 for 11 and the Horns put TD's on the board with their first three drives.  And would you believe that the leader in the Big 12 north is Bill Snyder's Kansas State Wildcats???  Whodathunkit?

8) Icy thoughts- The Avalanche are surprisingly leading the league with 20 points, the Devils scored a huge victory over the Pens, who still lead the Eastern conference, and the Ohretchkin [sic] led Capitals have suddenly and drastically (although predictably) seperated themselves in a muddled Southeast division.  And I'm still miffed that the Lightning CANNOT score a goal in a shootout.  This last one against the Sabres, they had SIX cracks at it.  Zero goals.

9) November diamonds- I'm sorry, but as much as I'm hoping for a good, long, competitive World Series, I'm also hoping for miserable weather and unplayable nights.  Something absolutely has to be done about the baseball schedule so that we don't end up in this situation.  The best thing that could happen is that the weather somehow adversely affects the Yankees, and George and his boys get POed.  They need to start sooner, schedule doubleheaders, fix the playoff TV schedule, something.  As for my World Series prediction, as much as I should have learned not to bet against the Phillies, and as much as I can't stand the Yankees, the Yankees have done good for me so far this year, and I see no reason to hop off the bandwagon.  I say Yankees take it in Yankee Stadium in game 6.

10) The look ahead- Things I'm looking forward to this week are USF West Virginia to see if the Bulls can get out of their yearly October swoon, Georgia Florida, which is still the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, no matter where the teams are in the standings, K State Oklahoma to see if the Wildcats just might be for real, Texas Okie State, to see just how much the Cowboys miss Dez Bryant who will be gone for the rest of the season, and Oregon USC, to see if the Ducks can take care of what the pollsters seem unable to year after year.  For the Pros, give me Giants Eagles, Jet Dolphins II, Vikings Packers II, and Saints Falcons to see if the Saints can stay unbeaten.  And obviously, the World Series (of Poker, J/K).
Posted on: October 25, 2009 12:05 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2009 12:36 am
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Oct. 19th

Sorry I'm getting this up very, very late.  Busy week in my personal life.  As always, when I am late like this, I will limit it as though I am posting on Tuesday.  I will not have a look ahead point as most of the things I am looking forward to have already happened.  As we near the half way point in the NFL, after week 9 I make my official NFL playoff predicitions.  Unlike others, I do very well with these as I wait until HALF OF THE SEASON IS PLAYED.  Last year, because of this, I had Miami and Atlanta in the playoffs, unlike all of those publications that try to predict what's going to happen before the season.  Also, I dedicate this week's edition in Memory of Jasper Howard and to the Unversity of Connecticut football program.  How some of those kids were even able to play yesterday.  And major Kudos to the University of West Virginia as well, for all they did yesterday.  Well, on to the blog.

1) The good, the bad, and the ugly- You can just hear the music, can't you?  This my friends, refers to the three critical calls in last week's UF Arkansas game that went against the Razorbacks.  And I realize as a Gator fan, you might not take much stock in what I will tell you, but if you look at it realistically, you'll realize it's the truth.  Now I purposefully avoided the boards after the game because I knew it'd be infested in Gator haters saying Arkansas got jobbed and the fix was in.  Again, blaming things on the refs is loser speak, even when they make bad calls (in which case they made two [not three], one of which is never consitantly called and in the case of the one in question, almost never called, more on this shortly), they almost NEVER directly influence the outcome of the game.  Arkansas had EVERY chance to win that game in spite of the for real and perceived bad calls, and honestly the Gators were VERY lucky to win.  It's not often you turn over the ball four times and are still in the game.  But back to the refs, I've only seen TWO times in my LIFE where the refs have indeed cost the team a game, the Oregon Oklahoma game a few years back and the Colorado 5th down game in 1990.  Even in the Ed Hochuli debacle in San Diego Denver last year, a call that more directly affected the game than anything in UF Arkansas, people forget that after the play, it was 4th and goal from the 13.  San Diego only had to make ONE MORE PLAY, and they couldn't do it.  A bunch of my friends gave me, "Yeah, but San Diego was deflated, they thought the game was over, etc."  Look, how many times to you see a 4th and 13 converted in the NFL?  Not very often.  Folks, in the end, the result of the game comes down to which teams made the plays and which teams didn't.  Now, let's look at the three plays in question.  First the good.  The pass interference on Arkansas in the endzone against Deonte Thompson.  Now I know a lot of people, especially in the media are going, look, what is the kid supposed to do.  Then that means maybe the rule has to be looked at.  But in this case, Thompson was absolutely impeded from coming back for a catchable ball.  IN FACT, it was Tebow's poor throw that caused the PI situation, and how many times do you see that happen?  I'd say AT LEAST half of PI's occur when the ball is thrown somewhere it's not supposed to be.  But look, that flag gets thrown 100% of the time in the NFL where there is faceguarding, and 80-85% of the time in college where there is no face gaurding.  Want to reduce your chance of being flagged?  At least turn around and/or make a play on the ball.  In this case, the defender did neither.  Now for the bad.  This would be the Riley Cooper PI in the end zone that wasn't called.  Could it have been called, absolutely, and I wouldn't have been upset.  But, if we are being honest with ourselves here, how many times do you see that called?  Maybe 20% of the time?  Receivers always get the benefit of the doubt as they are always looking for the ball and making a play on the ball.  Usually the only time you see offensive pass interference called is during a pick(not an interception, BTW, a pick as in two people crossing and one purposefully rubbing off a defender), or the the receiver extends his arms to get clear separation.  That's why you maybe see one a game.  Again, get mad with the rule or the enforcement thereof, but yes, this could have been called.  Now for the ugly, and the call that got the crew reprimanded.  The personal foul on the Arkansas D-Lineman WHILE the play was still happening was atrocious and inexcusible.  If there was one call that cannot be questioned or defended in any way it was that one.  But again, it comes down to teams making plays, and on the subsequent touchdown run by Demps, he was going to score if he was 30 yards out instead of 10, so don't blame the inexcusible call on the ref as to WHY the Gators scored.  Then it got worse as the SEC suspended the crew in question, and everybody again came out of the woodwork to use this as validation as to the two judgement calls (the PI's) in question were also wrong and the Razorbacks were thoroughly jobbed.  Well, as I already explained, only one of the judgement calls was bad, and almsot never called, but folks, this was the SAME CREW that called the UGA LSU game with the phantom celebration call and the even worse makeup call.  And I'm sure there were other mistakes in not such high profile games.  They were suspended for their overall body of work, including the personal foul call in this game.  Okay, I'll get off my soap box now.

2) Just to get right back on it- This time I'll be railing on the coaching staff of my beloved Buccaneers.  I was in attendance for the debacle on Sunday, where after tying the game on a Fake Delhomme pick, the Bucs kick off to the Panthers with about 8:30 left in the game.  At this point, all of the momentum is with the Bucs.  But, after annoucing to the world that they were going to run the ball on every play, the Bucs still did not stop it.  On the one or two plays they did get D Line penetration they couldn't tackle, but more often than not, first contact occured FIVE YARDS down field.  After the game, coach Ra basically blamed it on a tired D using the excuses of the kickoff return for a TD and pick six as reasons why they were out there so much.  No coach, here's what the problem was, and it was blatantly obvious to all of the people I talked to who even watched it on TV, and should show up in the film.  ZERO, and I mean ZERO adjustments by you and Bates and the defensive staff on that last drive.  The whole time, THERE WAS NOT PLAY ONE WHERE THE BUCS HAD EIGHT OR NINE IN THE BOX.  Both safeties played back, the LB's weren't adjusted, and the result is a TD that takes seven minutes off the clock.  THIS COACHING STAFF IS IN WAAAAAAAAY OVER THEIR HEADS, and is exactly what these so called Bucs fans deserve, unfortunately.  And can we stop with the shiny happy BS on the Bucs radio post game show?  Take the positives out of the game??  What positives?  This team is absolutely abismal at 0-6.  Stylez G. White getting his first sack?  Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy!  Yeah, because he and the rest of the line were getting SUCH consitant pressure the whole game.  The only POSITIVE I took out of the game was Aqib Talib, who for the second week had his man on lockdown.  Oh, and I am POSITIVE that Josh Freeman needs to be starting sooner rather than later.  And could coach Ra please shut up around the media?  Every time he talks to them, he says something really stupid, usually calling out players.  Coach, that needs to be done behind closed doors.

3) Red River TO fest- Don't get me wrong, it was still a good game, and very much along the lines of the close defensive game I expected, but EIGHT turnovers in the game just kind of kills the pacing.  Still, great job by the Longhorns, although I'm sure there were Pac-10 fans in here complaining about how boring it was.

4) A look at the first BCS poll- You know, as much as I can't stand the BCS, the first poll did get one thing right.  It rewarded teams that were undefeated, and put the Trojans in their 7th place spot (that loss to UW is looking worse and worse by the week, BTW).  And what is up with the AP poll?  Can somebody PLEASE explain to me WHY oh WHY oh WHY is a THREE LOSS OU team still in the top 25?  Yes, they lost their 3 games against decent competition by a combined five points, but are there REALLY teams out there that aren't more deserving?  There has to be at least 25 zero, one, and two loss teams, right?

5) Who dat, who dat, who dat say they going to beat dem Saints- Wow, what a beat down put on by the Saints against the Giants this week.  The Saints were in control for the entire game and made a huge statement to the rest of the NFL.  I hate to give them props (mostly due to their fans), but in this case, a dominant win is a dominant win, against a pretty good team none the less.

6) Will the real Texans and Bengals please stand up- It's been hard in my Pick 'Em pools to figure out these two teams.  I've only picked one Bengals game right all year.  And the Texans.  I just can't get a read on this team.  It's one thing to be a mediocre team.  It's another thing to have a mediocre record because one week you look like world beaters and the next like a college team.

7) Vikings, Broncos stay undefeated- And what a way for the Vikings having another late Brett Farve comeback and then having to hold your breath as the Ravens miss a kick.  This D allowing 31 points to the Ravens is scary, though, and cause for concern.  And remember when people thought Josh Daniels was the young rookie coach in way over his head???  Nope, we have that guy down here in Tampa.

8) Wreck rambles over Tech- In on of the big college football matches this week, Ga Tech ran roughshot over Va Tech using their triple option to perfection in a huge 28-23 win.  The Hokies just seemed unable to make the adjustments to slow down Nesbitt and Dwyer.  That was a huge statement game for the Jackets and one that just might get them to Tampa on Dec. 5th and Miami on Jan. 5th.

9) Other NCAA football musings- Just some quick hits on the other NCAA games I said I was looking forward to: Alabama dominated South Carolina a lot more than what showed on the scoreboard, Doyle's Heisman frontrunner was (thankfully) not able to get it done in crunch time against the other SC, and the black shirts were able to slow down the Texas Tech offense, but not nearly enough to cover for their struggling offense.

10) The NBA, it's Fan-tastic- Well, not really, at least not for me.  It does start for real, though, so I will look to mix some hoops talk in from time to time.  I'm much more of a fan of the college game.  Somewhat follow the Magic just because they are the closest team.  They seem to be set up for another division title and maybe another long run in the playoffs.  Actually, last year I was playing a little game to see how many coaches got fired during the season.  The NBA is the king of midseason turnover.  Actually, bringing this up makes me surprised that as of yet, no NFL coach has gotten the axe yet.
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: September 23, 2009 10:49 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Week of Sept. 22nd

Day late and a dollar short posting this week's edition.  Must say all of my look ahead games ended up being close, interesting games, so a pat on the back to me.  Hey, I need one since my Infinity League team is tanking.  Can't get any receiver help.  Anyway, on to this week's musings ...

1) What a difference a year makes- 365 little days.  Okay, so that's not how the song goes, but it fits for what happened in the UM-Ga Tech game.  Last year, Miami was lost against the option running attack, allowing something like 1000 yards (actually, closer to 400, but you get the picture).  This year, they absolutely obliterate the Jackets, and reappear in the Top 10 for the first time since Coker was winning with Butch Davis' kids.  Put up the Hurricane warnings in Blacksburg.  That should be one heck of a game.

2) Why can't we be friends- Ugh.  Just when it looked like Meyer and Kiffin might be able to patch things up and move on, they can't.  Saturday's UF UT game ended up being a lot closer than most people thought, thanks in large part to a Tim Tebow fumble that led to a UT touchdown for a 14 point swing and a very good Volunteer defense.  In fact, if UT had some semblance of an offense, especially at the QB position, they would have been in a position to potentially win.  The main thing I noticed between this year's game and last year's is that unlike last year, UT did not quit, although the decision to keep running the ball down 17 late was confusing at best.  In fact, Meyer said to Kiffin during the hand shake that Kiffin's team "Played Hard," which is a nice compliment.  Both coaches handled themselves very well in the immediate post game as well.  But then over the course of the next day or two, Meyer, in an attempt to most likely quell Gator fan and alumni fears after expecting a "Slaughter in the Swamp" mentioned his team was suffering from the flu (which is something you don't make public and come off looking like you are using it as an excuse) and said that he was taking it easy on Tennessee late in the game, something you absolutely don't say (although, again, I believe it was related to the flu thing).  Well, this just opened the door for Lane to become a childish a-hole again, and needless to say, he took the bait and kicked that door wide open.  Meyer, next time don't say things that don't need to be said, and Kiffin, please just go away ... soon.  If you want to see swagger, look at the aforementioned Hurricanes.  What you are doing is instilling false bravado, and the only people it's fooling is YOUR fans and alumni.

3) Oops, we did it again- Way to go, University of Spoiled Children.  Last week, I had to defend both UF and Texas as SC fans were piling on us about our out of conference schedules and they should be ahead of us.  I had to remind these bozos that while yes, I would like to see both these teams play slightly better competition, the fact is that both Texas and UF's IN conference schedules are far superior, and they have to play in a little something called conference championship games.  And I reminded them of their annual Stanford they always pull.  They fired back about how the Pac-10 was 5-0 last year in bowl games, and while the 100% winning percentage is admirable, YOU SENT FIVE FREAKIN TEAMS TO BOWL GAMES.  By comparison, the ACC sent 10 and the Big 10 and SEC sent 8.  Now we always hear from these whiners about an east coast media bias, and there is.  Almost all of your major cities are on or east of the Mississippi River, duh.  But every year it seems USC is not properly punished for their annual choke job.  This year, falling down to number 12, hopefully they will be.

4) Cry me a river- Bama fans, please stop complaining about where you are in the polls and you should be number one.  Yes you beat Va Tech on a neutral field (who just might be 2-2 after this week and barely avoided being 1-2 right now).  Yes, UF and Texas looked less than impressive in games they were expected to do better in.  But you base this on what, looking impressive against a pathetic North Texas team???  Just go out and win your games and you will have your shot at the BCS title game.  In fact, the most impressive team not to lose a game right now just might be ... you got it.  The "U."

5) Sparty comes up short- Arrrrgggghhhh!!!  I thought Michigan State was going to win it driving late in the game and officially start the Charlie Weis death watch, but alas the football gods tease me and give Notre Dame a pick to seal it.  Now I still have to sweat out the Irish making a BCS bowl game and being slaughtered by a team they are clearly overmatched by.

6) One thing I'm not looking ahead to- Is the Detriot Washington suck fest on Sunday.  I actually had to swallow poison and ended up picking the Lions in all of my pick 'ems because they are the home team and in my book, have actually looked better than the Redskins so far this year in their two losses.

7) "Pack" attack- Ugh.  I'm dead in both of my dead pools thanks to the Green Bay Packers.  All preseason all anybody talked about was how good they looked, especially on offense.  Two games into the season, they had to have Jay Cutler hand them their only win, and lost convincingly against a Bengals team where Palmer was attempting for a while to do the same thing.  I don't know who I'm goin to root for when they play Minnesota.  Goes to show preseason means nothing.

8) Tony "Ronoooooooooooo"- This guy will never be an elite quarterback in the NFL, I'm sorry.  And notice, I said elite.  He is a good quaterback.  He is one that has the tools to win you some games and take you to the playoffs most years.  But he will never, ever be one that will get you over the top and win rings for you.  For one thing, it's obvious he doesn't have the work ethic necessary to put in the time to improve himself and become an elite QB.  In fact, if you gave me a choice of NFC East QB's to start a franchise with, Tony Romo would be a distant third, and you can guess who he's in fornt of.

9) Getting close- Pretty soon, the MLB playoffs will be upon us, as will another thing, hockey season!!!  I love the sport of hockey and encourage everyone if they can to just attend one game live to see if you get hooked.  The sport just does not translate well to TV, which is a shame.  I'm hoping my Lightning will be able to win some more games this year as it looks like they'll be able to throw a better set of defensemen on the ice.  Don't think they'll make the playoffs, but hopefully they surprise me.

10) Weekly look ahead- Let's see if I can nail this like last week.  Give me Miami Va Tech as the only game in college to see who has the early hands up in the ACC, and for the professionals, let me see Atlanta and New England, to see if the Patriots can rebound, or, if as I have it, instead if the Falcons are for real.  All in all, not a very good week, and not many baseball races to make MLB interesting.  Oh well.

Oops, forgot to hit on the Mountain West being done after BYU and Utah losing.  Basically my point was going to be that the Mountain West overall is still a quality conference, but they will not be sending any teams to Pasadena this year.  Go Horned Frogs!  And how do you take a team like FSU lightly?  Sorry, Cougars, but that's what you did.  Got too full of yourselves after your big win over Oklahoma and saw the Seminoles limping in after barely beating Jacksonville State, and got smacked around in your home stadium for your efforts.  Your consolation T-Shirts are at the door.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com