Tag:New York Jets
Posted on: November 27, 2009 4:16 pm
 

10 Things I Learned the Weeks of 11/16 and 11/23

As we reach the point in the year where we give thanks for what we are appreciative of, I'm giving thanks that after 2 of the busiest weeks I've had at work, I am now on a week's vacation, and have a chance to get caught up.  So this time, for the first time ever, I'm running two editions in the same post.  Now obviously I'm going to have to check back and try to remember everything I wanted to hit on.  I know Notre Dame is at the top of my list.  The LSU debacle from last week will definitely be there.  And the coaching carousel finally began to turn in both the NFL and NBA.  So sit back and enjoy two weeks and 20 tidbits worth of sports knowledge.

11/16-

1) And so it begins ...- After last year of watching "As the Lane Turns" and seeing Scott Linehan call his shot, the NFL's coaching front was very quiet.  The hammer finally fell on Dick Jauron of the Bills.  He was done in by the simply unrealistic expectations caused by the fast start that the team got out to last year.  It does go to prove just how important the QB position is in the NFL, and just what a lack of depth there is there currently.

2) ... again- Last year the first two coach firings in the NBA occurred about this time, and this year we already have one.  Byron Scott was let go by the New Orleans Hornets, and hearing some of the reasons as to why, they sound to me more like reasons as to why this move was made far too soon.  To me, it all seems like a power play by team president and NBA no-nothing Hugh Weber.

3) Even as one of the biggest ND haters- I was completely confused at the end of the Notre Dame Pitt game and exactly what the replay official saw.  To me, it seemed clear that Claussen's hand was firmly clutched around the football during the entire forward motion.  Now, I won't say the Domers got jobbed, as had the play stood (which IMO it should have), it would have been 4th and 16 and tough to overcome.  Remember, I'm of the mind that blaming losses on the officials is loser speak and I site that I have only seen two games where officials have difinitively decided a game, the Oklahoma Oregon game a few years back, and the Colorado fifth down game.  But to me, this was a clearly blown call.  Remember, it was called incomplete on the field.  I was watching an NFL game earlier this year where this exact play happened, and it was initially ruled a fumble and was OVERTURNED on replay to an incomplete pass.  Plus, several people have pointed out to me that the whistle blew before Pitt had possession of the "fumble," calling into question whether or not the play was even reviewable (at least to the point where Pitt could even be awarded the ball).

4) Jay Cutler is horrible- Watching the 49ers Bears game, it made me realize one thing.  The Broncos gave the Bears the worst fleecing sinec the Lions fleeced the Cowboys in the Roy Williams trade.  I mean, the trade would have been bad had it just been picks given up for Cutler, but throw in Orton, too.  And some Bears fans were asking what happened to their running game.  That's simple.  Jay Cutler.  Yes, the O-line is also not playing as well, but Forte didn't all of a sudden suck.  Jay Cutler thinks it's all about him.  And as far as building for the future, the Bears can forget about that one as well.  Somebody suggested they need to draft a great receiver.  The problem with that is they don't have a pick until at least the third round.  The Bears have no future.  They mortgaged it for Cutler (and Gaines Adams).

5) Pats 4th and out- I can understand where some people are coming from trying to defend coach Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down late and on his own side of the field.  Afterall, it was essentially a playoff game and will go a long way toward deciding home field.  That one game represented a three game swing, two for the points in the standings, and another 1/2 each way for the tie breaker.  Still, to me it was very odd, and I'd much rather try to make Peyton drive much longer, no matter how well he had been driving it against you recently.  Huge win by the Colts.

6) Trojans defense snapped- I had pointed out going into the Oregon game that the prior two weeks the Trojans defense looked flat and were not playing up to USC standards.  Ever since then, they've done nothing to improve, proving that sometimes it is hard to just reload instead of rebuild, even if you are Pete Carroll.  The loses on defense over the years have clearly caught up, and this will be USC's first year not in a BCS bowl game in a long time.

7) Horned Frogs roll- TCU continued to roll, destroying their toughest remaining opponent in Utah by a 55-28 score.  Should Texas lose, or should Bama or Florida lose before the SEC Championship game, I can only hope the BCS does the right thing and sends the lizards to Pasadena on the 7th.

8) Houston loses another it shouldn't- As much as I like Case Keenum and the huge numbers he's been putting up this year, you cannot afford to lose to UTEP and UCF.  That just cannot happen, especially after beating Oklahoma State.

9) tOSU going to the Rose Bowl- By beating Iowa in overtime, Ohio State will be making it's first trip to Pasadena since something like 1999.  Hard to believe, but a lot of the years they won the Big 10, they went to the Championship game.  And remember, Penn State won last year.

10) Another reason I hate Gary Bettman- The Lightning were screwed out of a point on 11/14 while playing the Kings.  On what should have been a game winning goal by the Lightning in OT, the up ice official ruled that the Kings goalie was interfered with on the play and waved off the goal.  Here's the problem.  The Lightning player was clearly pushed in there by a Kings player.  How is this kind of play not reviewable?  Bettman either needs to revisit his horrible rules, or send these officials back to school.

11/23-

1) Hold that Tiger timeout- Wow, what a horrible series of play calling and clock management displayed by the LSU coaching staff at the end of the Ole Miss game.  You have it first and 10 at the 29 with around :40 seconds left and two timeouts.  First play: incompletion.  Okay, not too bad, although with two timeouts and in field goal range, you can run or use the middle of the field.  Second play: sack.  Cannot happen in that situation.  Now you're out of field goal range.  First timeout.  33 seconds left.  Next play, some ill-conceived screen play that loses like seven yards.  Now it's fourth and forever.  The clock is at 27 seconds.  Somehow, as you are discussing whatever on the sidelines, you let the clock run all the way down to 9 seconds before calling the timeout.  Now, you throw a hail-mary.  And in the most improbable situation, you complete it at the five, but there is only one second left.  And you are caught completely unready.  Your field goal unit is not ready to go, although there may have not been enough time to get them on.  So, your QB attempts a SPIKE??  With one second left on the clock???  And the great thing is in the hurry up confusion, it was discovered on video that Miles was the one telling him to spike it.  You have to run a play.  You have to hike it and throw it to the endzone.  Even in Death Valley, the final second runs off the clock on a spike.  It was clear the coaching staff was lost, and even more so on a play that was probably meant to go into the endzone ends up completed on the 5 instead.  It is your responsibility as a coach to be ready for every possibility, and to have your team ready.  One fan suggested they should have celebrated the play, as it would have stopped the clock.  Now, while I have no experience actually calling a college game with college rules, I'm pretty sure the clock starts on the ready for play just like it would normally.  He did have an interesting idea, though, as the clock WOULD stop as they march it off, and maybe have given them enough time to get the FG unit on.  Still, all in all, some of the worst coaching I've seen, EVER, and inexcusible from a BCS champion winning coach.  That last TO had to be called right after the screen play.  You have to extend the game.

2) Weis' swan song- I think the second consecutive loss on senior day by the Fighting Irish pretty much spells the end for Charlie Weis.  Afterall, his winning percentage is right up there with Davie and Willingham, and I can't remember the last ranked opponent he's beaten.  On the flip side, it was good to see the Huskies win their first game since losing Jasper Howard.  Seeing coach Edsall's emotions during the post-game was touching, especially knowing how heart-felt they were.

3) Some absolutely inexcusible NFL performances- Wow, Steelers lose to Chiefs (I know, Moo, you saw it coming the whole way).  The Bengals get a gift to move another game up, only they turnover the game against the Raiders on a late TD and then fumble the ensuing kickoff.  And the Cowboys take a late TD and only hang 7 on the lowly Redskins in a win.

4) The Jets crash land and the Broncos pull up lame- After starting off 3-0 and fueling speculation again of an all NY Super Bowl (the Giants haven't been performing much better), they have only won 1 of the last 7 and Sanchez is looking very much like a rookie.  And the Broncos after their 6-0 start have dropped 4 in a row and now find themselves looking up at the Chargers.

5) Redemption for VY- Ever since being forced back into the lineup by owner Bud Adams (who probably gave coach Jeff Fisher the double barrelled single finger salute in the process), the Titans have not lost a game and have suddenly found themselves back in the playoff hunt, although they probably dug themselves too deep a hole to begin with.

6) Oregon Arizona classic- In one of the most interesting games of the year that I could only see via ESPN360.com thanks to ABC thinking that because I live in Florida the Texas beatdown of Kansas would be more interesting to me, DESPITE the fact that their number 1 crew was at THIS game, Oregon won in double OT in come back fashion, setting up this week's rivalry week matchup with Oregon State with the winner getting a trip to Pasadena on Jan 1st to play tOSU.

7) Huskers Shuck Kansas State to win Big 12 north- Nebraska's defense again looked dominant in setting up a trip to Arlington to play Texas on Dec. 5th.  I'm looking forward to see how well the blackshirts match up against Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.  In an ironic twist, had K State won, they would have been playing against Texas.  By losing, not only will they not, but they also will not be bowling.

8) ACC Championship game set, too- I'm actually looking forward to seeing C.J. Spiller coming here to Tampa to take on Georgia Tech and the triple option.  The good thing is I think this game should sell better than last year's Va Tech BC game.  Short of getting FSU and/or Miami in the game, this was the best we could do, and should at least generate some more local interest as the teams are much closer.

9) To all the SEC haters- Yes, ramble on about how we are two deep (we are).  Pile on us for how we are down for the second year in a row (we are).  Get on us for scheduling weak teams late in the year (only because we start our conference season earlier than anybody other than the ACC, which starts out the gate).  The SEC has TEN, count 'em, TEN teams that are bowl eligible.  Yes, we might not have the great teams outside of UF and BAMA, but we have a WHOLE LOTTA good ones.  And we have to play eight games against said teams.  And I would argue that just about every conference is down this year.  That's why you had a C-USA school in the Top 15 for most of the year.

10) Turkey games on turkey day- I'll break my rule because I was going to get on this point anyway, but even the one slightly intriguing NFL game on Thanksgiving turned out to induce more yawns than the trytophan in your Thanksgiving turkey (unless you were a Broncos fan).  Honestly, I was watching the Texas Texas A&M game and just flipping between commercials.  The Lions sucked and have for years.  Then you match them up against one of the top 6 teams in the conference.  Conversely, you match up the Cowboys against the Raiders???  Seriously, the Raiders???  The NFL really needs to revisit it's Thanksgiving day policy, as "tradition" is quickly turning in to the "tradition" of people turning their TV sets off early.
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: October 6, 2009 7:51 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2009 9:02 pm
 

10 Things I learned the Week of Oct. 5th

Welcome again, my friends, to another installment of that sports knowledge that was imparted upon me this week which I shall now share with all of you.  And just to show that I'm not all about the Gators and/or the SEC (although those who read regularly already know), my verbose point of the week shall be about a certain team from Tallahassee and their coach whom I have a world of respect for, even coaching the enemy.

1) NHL season underway- But not the start for my Bolts that I was hoping for, dropping their opener 6-3 against the Thrashers.  I'm still hoping for a better defense and more points this season.  That was a little disappointing giving up 6 goals, though.

2) The "U" upgraded from Tropical Storm to category 3- Wow, huge win for the Canes and Jacory Harris, who rebounded very nicely after throwing two early picks.  What a leader this kid is turning out to be.  The Hurricanes could have let last week's horrid performance and early troubles inundate them, but instead held it together for an impressive win.  The Hurricanes could possibly lose only the one game and be a second representative for the ACC in the BCS (unless Va Tech loses a couple in conference, in which case they could be THE representative).  By the way, can we please abolish preseason polls?  Oklahoma is still in the Top 25 with two loses because of what?  Oh yeah, they started number 2.  How can you rank them and not an undefeated Wisconsin team?  Now, don't get me wrong, in no way am I suggesting that the Badgers are better.  Most likely, Oklahoma beats them.  But until Wisconsin loses a game, how can a TWO loss team be in front of them.  And what if the Badgers don't lose?  Eventually they have to leapfrog the Sooners, right?  Right???  Actually, unfortunately, it's not likely to happen.

3) The football gods officially have it in for me- Gyah!!!!  That was heartwrenching to watch Washington choke away two shots close to the goalline like that and have the domers come back and beat them, extending my worries that ND will make a BCS bowl game.  Kudos to the Irish defense for stepping up like that, but come on Sark!!!  The runs to the middle were not working.  Mix in a roll out with a run/pass option.  I'm not going to get on the officials for blowing the two point conversion call which I immediately saw on the first replay that he was down.  Afterall, I think Sark had his challenge left.  But that didn't cost them the game.  The ineffeciency I previously mentioned did.

4) Speaking of Gyah's- I pick my Bucs to win over the hapless Redskins, and what thanks do I get?  Missed FG's, no adjustments, and a loss.  This team's best (and possibly only) shot of winning a game is in two weeks when the Panthers come to town.  If they lose there, 0-16 is not out of the question.  And could we please throw Josh Freeman to the wolves already and see what we might have in our first round draft pick from this year?  This season is lost, and Josh Johnson is not the answer.  Sure he gives you mobility and a faster delivery, but lacks everything else Leftwich brings to the table.  Honestly, Leftwich never should have been pulled until Freeman was ready to play, which even in that case is hopefully sooner rather than later.

5) Giving credit where it is due- Have to give props to the Saints, which is hard for me because I can't stand their win nothing, think their crap doesn't stink fans, but that was a huge win over the J-E-T-S.  I'm still not sold the Saints D will be able to stand up for a whole season, but for one game, they won it for them.

6) Cal Bleakly- Boy, what a fraud this team was.  People thought they were going to be the ones to challenge USC?  People figured out if you shut down Jahvid Best, whose Heisman Hopes are now officially zero, there isn't anybody else on this offense that's going to beat you.  And who is the leader of the Pac-10 at this point in the season?  Would you believe it's the Stanford Cardinal?  No joke.

7) Keep the yellow in the pocket, part 1- Well, at least unlike the Pac-10's head of officiating who defended the worst call in history last year, the SEC's head ref stepped up and admitted they screwed up throwing a flag on Georgia Bulldog receiver A.J. Green after making one of the most incredible catches I've ever seen, the fact is that that flag has to stay in the pocket in the first place.  Actually, more likely the rule needs to be changed, but as the 90,000 people in attendance and millions watching at home clearly saw, Green made no jesture.  It would have been kind of hard from the middle of the mass of humanity that was his teammates congratulating him on his spectacular play.  But don't get me wrong, UGA fans.  this DID NOT cost you the game.  Again, blaming it on officials is loser speak, and there is the little matter of kicking off TO Trendon Holliday and giving up a 40+ yard return which likely would have happened regardless of kicking from the 30 or the 15, and not being able to wrap up on Charles Scott and everybody else seemingly giving up on the play when the defender SHOULD have had him on the turf.  THAT cost you the game, and LSU DESERVED to win.  And the only thing worse than all of this?  The make up call on Scott after his touchdown.  Under NO circumstance should you EVER compound one horrific call with another trying to level the field.  And deny it all you want, but if that wasn't a make up call, then I'm not a Gator fan.  Remember, two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left.  Point is, you don't ever want to be worried about your team scoring a touchdown because some ref might get a little overzealous.

8) Keep the yellow in the pocket, part 2- I had the Pats-Ravens football field thingy on NFL.com several times during Sunday as I had the Ravens in my Pick 'Em pools and knew it would be an important swing game.  Twice I saw as the Pats had the ball just past the 50, Personal Foul, Roughing the Quartback on the Ravens.  Then I heard about Ray Lewis' remarks after the game.  Even being right, I figured he was going to be fined for speaking his mind, especially since he was questioning the officiating, which is a definite no-no in the NFL.  Shoot, on one play, it looked like the flag was thrown simply because Tom Brady whined for it.  Well, I heard today on the radio that Ray Ray will not be fined for what he said, which means one of two things.  Either A) Our Refs really F'ed up, or B) Our rules are F'ed up and need to be revisited after the season.  Most likely, it's the latter, and to me, and to many other people, it appears that the league has far too many rules in the name of "Protecting the Player" that is detracting from the game.  Pretty soon, football will become 7 on 7 where the offensive and defensive lines are eliminated, and it's man on man, including a defender to shadow the QB who can't touch him until he gets near the line of scrimmage.  Seems this is what they want.  Oh, and no making a good hard hit on the receiver, either.

9) Bored of Untrustees- First off, I will make this clear.  Even as a Gator fan, I have a huge amount of respect for Bobby Bowden and what he has accomplished.  I was adminantly PO'ed this offseason as it was suggested he lose 14 wins for playing players that to the best of his knowledge that were eligible, while the school which allowed itself to get swallowed up in an academic scandal that encompassed SIXTY ONE of its athletes in NINE sports got off with nary a slap on the wrist.  To me, nothing screamed lack of institutional control more than this case, and made me yearn for the days of bowl probations and losing t.v. revenue.  You want to stem something like this, hit the university in the pocketbook, don't punish a coach by vacating wins.  Not like Duke is going to show a victory for that game anyway.  Now word comes from Monday of the head of the Seminoles Board of Trustees, who I can only define as a world class moron.  Here are the quotes that came from his way. 

"We've got too many bosses out there," Smith said.

"Jimbo is in a very, very tough situation where people assume he has a whole lot more authority than he really has," Smith told the Associated Press. "He's getting blamed for a lot of things that's just not his fault."


Really, too many bosses?  I count one.  A coach in waiting does not count as a boss.  And if coordinators count as bosses, then yes, there are too many as this would make Mickey Andrews and the special teams coach a boss, too, but no team is run like that.  Fisher's situation is clearly outlined to him, and as far as getting blamed for a lot of things that just are not his fault, I'll blame him for one thing that is his fault.  He is the offensive coordinator, correct?  He, or one of HIS OWN assistants call the plays, correct?  Then I blame him for having a offense that has the consistancy of an elderly man's bowel movements on a low fiber diet!  And don't give me recruiting, either.  Yes, it hasn't been up to standards at FSU recently, but do you really think Fisher has no input, especially with offensive players?  Give me a break!!!  And he continues:

Smith said Fisher should take over following Florida State's last game this season.


Too bad this isn't the board of trustees' decision and you have no direct say in it whatsoever.

Smith said that arrangement has resulted in division among the Florida State staff, an accusation Seminole coaches have vehemently denied.

"I know coaches are sniping at each other and that's just terrible," Smith said Monday. "There are too many mixed signals."


Really???  And you know this from what?  Your close, intimate, first hand knowledge of the team?  You'd swear HE was a coach at FSU.  Yeah, I'm sure there's a lot of dissent between Bowden and Andrews, life long friends.  And if there is division between Fisher and Bowden, which I don't believe there is, especially since Jimbo has yet to produce on his end of the field, well then, there might be another agenda at work there, so forgive me if I put absolutely no stock in it whatsoever.

He also said fundraising has slowed significantly, and the school has an obligation to fans and alumni to be competitive.

"I take absolutely no pleasure in this," Smith said. "I love Bobby Bowden, but I tell you what, I love FSU more."


Ah, and at last we arrive at the only true statement from this genius, and the true crux of his problem.  Fundraising is down.  Imagine that.  First off, Bobby can't go out there and play for these kids, so I apologize for the sudden downturn in which you have your first losing record since Bowden's first year.  Yes, that hurts a little, but, clown, fundraising is down everywhere.  There's this thing called the economy, which maybe you're not up on current events, but it hasn't been doing all too great as of late.  The fact of the matter is you have little power and no immediate knowledge of the current situation there, so dude, please, STFU (and no, I'm not talking about John Cena's finishing move).  If anybody's earned the right to go out on his own terms, it's Bobby.  Besides, sure didn't hear you or any of the other Nole faithful complaining as he was delivering a record 14 straight top 4 finishes to you, and I'm sure ALL KINDS of fundraising dollars.  Guess you didn't invest wisely when you had the money.

10) Weekly look ahead- The things I am looking forward to this week are, surprise, surprise, the Florida LSU game to see who can stake early lead to conference supremacy, Alabama Ole Miss to see if Jevan Sneed can rebound or if the Tide continue to roll, Nebraska Missouri to see who's the early leader for the Big 12 North, and Ohio State Wisconsin to see if the Badgers are for real, or if they're simply Badgering me wanting to put them ahead of two loss Oklahoma.  In the NFL, give me New England Denver, Jets Miami, and Redskins Panthers wait, that's another suckfest.  Also give me the start of the MLB playoffs, which is really underway right now with a tight one going on in Minnesota.  Also, my Bolts play three games this week against teams currently 0-2.  They need to take at least 4, preferably 5 or 6 points from them.  I'll update after today to give you my MLB playoff predictions.

Update: MLB Playoff Predictions- Wow what a game tonight in Minnesota.  Unfortunately, I don't think it bodes well for them having to turn around and play tomorrow in New York.  At least they get a day off after that.  Anyways, here's what I think for the playoff series.
Philadelphia over Colorado in 5
Los Angeles over St. Louis in 5 (both cases just because of home field.  Think the NL is very evenly matched)
New York over Minnesota in 4 (Yankees should win game 1)
Boston over Los Angeles in 4 (I know LA will be out for revenge after last year, just don't think it'll work)
Posted on: December 31, 2008 12:15 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2009 9:00 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Dec. 29th

Well, I'm doing better with my bowl picks, although still around .500 overall, better than .333, though.  After starting off 2-4, it quickly became 2-6 going into Saturday.  Then I rattled off 7 straight winners before tanking both games last night and currently sit at 9-8.  I'll need some help down the stretch if I want to obtain my usual Meatloaf accuracy rating.  Anyway, here goes what I learned this week.

1) Opening up on the ice - As I will be doing this more and more after both football seasons wind down, I figured I'd open with a hockey take.  I'm really looking forward to the Wings Blackhawks game tomorrow at historic Wrigley Field.  Should be an interesting matchup.  I liked last year's edition between the Penguins and Sabres, especially since snow and wind were affecting the game and created for interesting conditions.  In fact, they changed the way the teams were skating half way through each period to make it equal.  This should be a fun contest.

2) Firing Squad - As usual, the NFL season closes with a flurry of head coaching changes.  Guess Mangini isn't "Mangenius" anymore.  Expect a couple more over the next few days, although not as many as usual since so many got dumped mid season.  I know a lot of people in Tampa are calling for Gruden's head, and he definitely has some culpability for what happened, but to me that's a very nearsighted view.  Besides, unless you have Cowher already lined up, who are you going to get in here that's better than Gruden.  Nobody in my book.

3) Late season choke jobs - Wow, how badly did the seasons end for my Bucs, the Broncos, the Jets, and the Cowboys (more on them in a sec).  The Bucs uncharacteristicly lost 4 games in which they either led or were tied at some point in the 4th quarter, the Jets couldn't win on the west coast, and the Broncos just needed 1 win or a Chargers loss in the last 3 weeks, and couldn't do it.  By the way, look for the Chargers Broncos to be cranked up a few notches next year.  With Jay Cutler's moronic rantings after the game (BTW, Jay, if the Chargers are as bad as you say they were, why did you just get smoked by them?  Keep your mouth shut next time.  This wasn't the first time Jay's said something completely asinine, either) and the Chargers sending out playoff notices for ticket sales BEFORE the game was officially over (yes, I know a comeback was unlikely, but still, would have it killed you to wait the extra ten or so minutes of real time?), things could get very ugly.

4) Putting the "Fun" in dysfunctional - Is there a more dysfunctional organization than the Cowboys?  I do know this for a fact.  There is definitely not one more undisciplined.  And Jerry Jones needs to realize A) this isn't fantasy football.  Throwing the best collection of talent at different positions almost NEVER equates into the best team and B) The best owners in football are the hands off owners, who allow football decisions to be made by football people.  And he wonders why he hasn't won squat since the people JJ put in place have gone.  In fact, this is the ninth year in a row that Dallas has lost it's final game of the season and 12th in a row without winning a single playoff game.  Cowboy fans, how long will this remain acceptable to you?

5) When Irish eyes are smiling - Notre Dame fans reminded me why I can't stand them again this week.  They're already proclaiming "they're back" after winning ONE GAME against a mediocre Hawaii team.  Even if this is a sign of things to come, and even if they do win 9 games to become BCS eligible as they should with THAT schedule that features Pac 10 powerhouses USC Washington AND Washington State, first off, put together SEVERAL 9+ win seasons and then get back to me and secondly, you do realize the reason you won your first bowl game in TEN tries is because you were matched up against a team with similar or slightly less talent, correct?  When you do become BCS eligible next year, you will once again be over matched and start your NEW bowl losing streak.  Congratumafrigginlations!!!!!

6) Remember when Jan. 1st was "Man Day" - I got this idea from a thread started by another community member on the NCAA page, but it got me thinking back to when there were like 10 bowl games on New Years Day, packed from morning to night on all the major networks, often with three different ones going on at the same time so you would have to get extra TV's or abuse your picture in picture.  I miss all that.  Maybe it's just me, but that was fun.  I realize they are trying to avoid the game's going on at the same time, but would it really kill them to compact the bowl schedule a little and put more games back on the 1st?  And what's with these minor bowls being played after the 1st?  Either move them before the 1st where they belong, or axe them all together.  Sheesh.

7) Weekly look ahead - The games I'm looking forward to this week are the aforementioned New Year's day outdoor NHL game, The Rose Bowl (which I believe will be closer than most people think), the Cotton Bowl (again, I believe will be closer than most think), and the NFL playoffs (more on these in a moment)

8) Buccingator's continuing Bowl Picks - Here's my picks for all the remaining games besides the BCS Championship game.  I'll have a whole big point or two on next week's edition.

Armed Forces Bowl - Air Force 41 Houston 27

Sun Bowl - Pitt 27 Oregon State 20

Music City Bowl - Boston College 23 Vanderbilt 20

Insight Bowl - Kansas 38 Minnesota 17

Chik-Fil-A Bowl - Georgia Tech 41 LSU 17 

Outback Bowl - South Carolina 17 Iowa 14 (don't know why I'm picking against Shonn Greene.  Just a gut feeling.  Only gave this game a 3 confidence)

Capital One - Georgia 28 Michigan State 20

Gator - Nebraska 20 Clemson 10

Rose Bowl - USC 20 PSU 17

Orange Bowl - Cincinnati 31 Virginia Tech 21

Cotton Bowl - Texas Tech 31 Mississippi 30

Liberty Bowl -Kentucky 20 ECU 13

Sugar Bowl - Alabama 27 Utah 13

International Bowl - UConn 24 Buffalo 21

Fiesta Bowl - Texas 34 tOSU 17

GMAC Bowl - Tulsa 38 Ball State 24

9) A Look Back - 8 weeks ago, I gave everyone my NFL postseason predictions, and I must say I was 9 for 12 on getting the participants correct, and even had some of the seeds correctly figured.  A local newspaper columnist asked who had Miami and Atlanta making the playoffs and if you raised your hand, you were lying.  My response was when.  Before the season, NO WAY would have I had Miami or Atlanta making the playoffs.  That's why I wait until after week 9 when everybody's played half their schedule.  By doing so, I had both Miami and Atlanta in the playoffs (although I had the wrong one as division champs).  The only picks I missed on were I had New England in instead of the Colts in the AFC (didn't see the Colts 9 game winning streak coming), and I had the Bucs over Carolina and the Packers over the Vikings in the NFC (don't know what I was thinking with that Pack pick, ugh).  See, if you wait to do it at the right time, you don't make stupid picks like the Cowboys running away with the NFC or the Browns making noise in the AFC (and I still curse the NFL for scheduling so many of their games on TV.  That was putrid).

10) A Look Ahead - Okay, time for my official NFL playoff predictions.  Back 8 weeks ago, I had the Giants facing the Steelers in my home town of Tampa on Feb. 1st, and I see no reason to back off that now.  Also see no reason to back off the high number of wild card teams winning in the first round.  I had three of four winning back then, I almost had four of four winning now.

Wild Card Round - Ravens 16 Dolphins 10, Colts 27 Chargers 20, Falcons 27 Cardinals 13, Vikings 24 Eagles 21 (I almost went Eagles, and would have if the game were in Philly)

Divisional Round - Titans 17 Ravens 13 (although I could see the Ravens winning), Steelers 24 Colts 20, Panthers 27 Vikings 14, Giants 24 Falcons 20

Championship Round - Steelers 17 Titans 10, Giants 27 Panthers 24

Super Bowl - Giants 24 Steelers 23

Posted on: December 9, 2008 8:59 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2008 2:39 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Dec. 8th

1) A look back, Meatloafed it again - Went two for three in my conference championship game predictions (good thing I didn't pick the CUSA and MAC championship games, otherwise I would have been 2 for 5, and everyone would stop reading my blog {of course, that would imply people actually started reading it in the first place}).  I was amazed, however, at how closely I was able to get the two I called right, especially the SEC game (more on this in a bit).  In the Big 12 game, I overvalued Mizzou's offense some by calling it 63-38, but you just knew Oklahoma was going to put up 60+ again in an effort to legitimize their pressence in Kansas City.  In the SEC game, I was one Alabama TD (lets call it the third quarter one where the Gators seemed to suffer a momentary defensive lapse) away from nailing it.  Called it 31-13 UF.  I knew Florida was no where near going to put up the 50+ most of my bretheren were predicting, but also knew Alabama should struggle to score.

2) SEC game of the ages - I did want to go more thouroughly into this one.  I thought Gary Danielson (one of the best colormen in any sport, IMHO) did a great job analogizing (I hope that's a real word.  If not, call me Emmitt) the game to the great Ali Frazer fights of old.  Half way through the game, he was counting the scores (which were hard to come by) as rounds, saying Florida won round 1, Alabama round 2 and 3, and Florida rounds 4 and 5.  This was a back and forth game, with momentum swings, and both teams taking each other's best shots and responding.  I knew it would come down to which team would be able to impose its will on the other, and get the other out of their game plan.  This did not occur until 8:00 left in the game, when Alabama finally ditched theirs, and it was all over from there.  Also, to those of you who question Tim Tebow's ability as a QB, yes, he does have mechanical issues that he'll need to work out at the next level, but did you see his game clinching completion to Louis Murphy in the 4th?  Or how about all three of his TD passes.  Danielson was left speechless after the last one to Riley Cooper.  He had definite zip, and threw it to the only location possible.  Two things you absolutely cannot question about Tebow, though, are his leardership and his heart.  If Florida pulls off this national championship, his post Ole Miss speach will go down along side "Win one for the Gipper."  I do want to tip my hat to the University of Alabama for a game that I will remember for all time, and in particular want to compliment John Parker Wilson (he played better than his stats suggested), Glen Coffee, and Julio Jones.  The only thing I question is why they didn't go to Jones more, because it seemed like when he made big plays, the momentum shifted in the Tide's favor.  For all the pregame hype, though, I don't think Andre Smith or Terrance Cody lived up to it.  Both seemed to be virtual nonfactors, and Alabama's best runs all came to the offensive RIGHT side, which quite honestly, surprised me.

3) The BCS, who has gripes, and who doesn't - Well, time to complain about the BCS again, even though it worked out for the Gators this year.  The two teams with with the most obvious and biggest gripes are Texas and Boise State.  They both have great arguements, but their fans are venting their frustration on the wrong teams/people.  I shall explain.  First off, let's handle the Broncos, shall we.  They are absolutely bent about being left out, as they should be.  They are venting said frustration, however, at tOSU and their fans.  WRONG DIRECTION!!!  Instead, vent it towards the ACC and the fact that A) Their best team is playing in the Chik-Fil-A Bowl because when it came down to it, nobody wanted to step up and claim that conference and B) They are guaranteed of an automatic bid.  The rules state that a non-BCS school can get in if they are rated ahead of one of the automatic qualifiers and that qualifier is not in the Top 16.  Let's change that rule, shall we?  Let make it where if a conference champion is not in the Top 16, and there is a non-BCS school with a Top 10 rating, that conference LOSES it's automatic bid to the non-BCS school with the Top 10 ranking.  It makes perfect sense (except the ACC will not be happy about losing its piece of the pie.  To that I say, "Tough Toenails!")  Fact is, Boise State, it's all about the money, and the Buckeyes travel well, will get better ratings, and most likely, provide a better game.  And honestly, even though you are rated ahead of them, I can't honestly say you are the better team.  I will defend you to the degree of these tOSU fans saying schedule somebody and/or join a better conference.  If it were only that easy.  Now, on to Texas.  Texas fans are bent that they are not playing in the national championship game.  They are venting their frustration at UF and its fans, pointing out everything they can (SOS, quality of loss, this, that, the other).  Quite honestly, I can't argue most of their points other than SOS, where while better, it is not glaringly better (also, I could play the we won our conference card).  But again, you are venting in the WRONG DIRECTION!!!  Instead, turn your anger on your own conference!!!  THAT'S RIGHT!!!  GET PO'ED AT THE BIG 12!!!  It's your own LAME tie breaker that put you in this spot.  Instead of settling it in some manner in house, you let a bunch of SID's and media people DECIDE IT FOR YOU.  Simple fact is, were you in the SEC, you would have played Mizzou, and YOU would be playing UF in Miami on Jan. 8th.  And don't give me anything about a rematch!!!  Nobody outside Texas and maybe some of the rest of Big 12 country wants to see it.  And let's say you get said rematch, and you lose said rematch (which you would be favored to do so).  Then what?  Two out of three??  Total margin???  You do realize this would actually be unfair to you, correct?

4) Rainy days and Mondays always get me down - Hey, iamyo.  Is this one of the songs we get to vote on?  Anyway, what a debacle last night.  I have honestly NEVER seen a Monte Kiffin defense get handled and tackle as poorly as last night.  That being said, HUGE props to the Panthers, who now control their own destiny for a #1 overall seed in the NFC.  Get that kind of running game the rest of the year, and you will have a great chance to play one more game in Tampa before the season is over.  Congrats on that butt-whipping last night.

5) Pittsburgh "Steal"ers - Wow, talk about stealing a victory.  Yikes.  Coming back from 10 down with very little time left and winning on a pick six.  When the Steelers were stuffed on that fourth and goal, I thought there was no way they would win that one.  Now they have a HUGE game against Baltimore, with the winner likely to be one of the favorites along with the Titans in the AFC.

6) Jet-lag - The New York Bretts are now 0-3 when visiting the west coast this year, losing to both the Raiders, and the Niners.  They better figure out something fast, because if they don't win their trip to Seattle this week, their season is over.  So much for that possible "Subway Superbowl" people were talking about just a couple weeks ago.  Update: Whoopsie.  The game in Seattle is next week.  Same principals apply, though.

7) Fly, Eagles, Fly - In the mantra of giving credit where it is due, huge win by the Eagles this week.  Stellar defensive performance, and they also finally figured out that running the ball is a good thing.  A very good thing when Brian Westbrook is the one doing it.  It will be interesting to see exactly what that tie to Cincinnati does as far as the playoffs go.  Some think it will help (as nobody will be tied in the standings with them) while others believe that it will hurt (as they are still 1/2 game behind the Cowboys and Falcons).

8) Return to prominence? - As the football seasons being to wind down, I will try to get into basketball more, especially the college game.  All I can say is, "Wow!"  Rich Rod, eat your heart out.  While you struggle to win games, your basketball bretheren have now pulled off upsets against perennial powerhouses UCLA and Duke (although Duke did beat Michigan earlier in one of those early season tournaments).  Could this be a sign of rebirth for the Wolverine basketball program?  I actually hope so.  It would be good for the game.

9) An Axe to Grind - Well, not really, but a couple more NBA coaches got the axe recently, the most notable, Randy Wittman of the Minnesota Timblerwolves.  Okay, mostly notable because of who is taking over for him.  Ex Celtics great Kevin McHale steps downstairs and presumably adds this to his list of jobs.  Let's see if he's better on the bench, than in an office.

10) Weekly Look Ahead - The things I will be looking forward to this week are Tampa Bay Atlanta (the Bucs need to bounce back on a short week), Pittsburgh Baltimore, and the Giants and Dallas.

Bonus shot - I will be predicting all 34 college bowl games in the coming weeks.  Also, I predict Sam Bradford will win the Heisman Trophy (although it will be hard since it is highly regionalized and there are three from his region alone.  He's got the best numbers, plus part of me wants him to win it because Trophy winners typically don't fare well in bowl games due to all the obligations).  I also was considering doing a point about Green Bay "Pack"ing it in, but with the Jets loss, it was harder to make fun of Ted Thompson.  Still, it will be hilarious to see them with at best a .500 record and no playoffs. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com