Tag:Ohio State Buckeyes
Posted on: March 17, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2010 5:41 pm
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10 Things I Learned the Week of March 15th

Hello fans.  Yes, I skipped a week.  Was too busy trying to get ready for selection Sunday.  Started by watching the Big East tournament on Tuesday.  Some great, great basketball being played.  So here are 10 things I learned this past week, all college b-ball style.  Hey, what else is going on right now anyways.  March Madness is second only to the Super Bowl in my book (and please, nobody bring up the BCS Championship game, either.  This right here is the route FBS football should be going).

1) Expanding waistline field - One of the hot (and hot button) topics is expanding the field.  Look, if you expand the field to 96, you make the regular season practically irrelevant.  Winning 20 games is no longer the bar.  Winning 17 and going .400 or better in conference will be enough to do you in most cases.  That means all of the garbage teams in the NIT would make the big dance (and sorry, there are some bad teams there.  Fancy North Carolina or Connecticut making it this year?).  At 96, you're inviting nearly 1/3 of all schools, so why not half?  All of them??  Now if you are talking expansion to 68 or 72, I'm fine with that (would prefer 68 so you have one day of 4 play in games and just the number 1 seeds get these teams that have played the extra game).  But can we please stop the talk of going past this?  It's going to take one of the great things in sports and dilute it to the point of insignificance.  Yes, it's all about the money, but at some point, common sense must prevail.  Also, this would introduce 32 teams getting one bye (or 24 two, which would be worse).  Do you think #7 and #8 seeds deserve byes (or in the second scenario, #12 seeds?  Fancy Florida getting a bye?  How about Cornell?  Could happen if you take 96.)?  I am prefectly happy with where we are today, so please, stop the nonsense and think.

2) .1 away - Don't know how many of you saw the SEC tournament, but Mississippi State was .1 second away from making the tournament instead of being a #1 seed in the NIT.  Personally, I thought they had played their way into the dance with their run (although not at the expense of Florida as ESPN was suggesting.  I want to know how a team you had safely as being in some 7,8 spots up the ladder before beating Auburn [yes, I know, they were supposed to beat Auburn, but still] was suddenly out on Sunday.  Did I miss something happening?  Am I suprised Florida ended up on the 10 line?  Yes I am.  I thought they'd be an 11 or 12.  But they beat Michigan State on a neutral court, beat Florida State, beat Tennessee, and before losing to the Bulldogs in the tournament, beat them in Starkville.  And while you don't want to go in losing 4 of your last 5, the only one of those loses in which they were clear cut favorites was the Georgia game [at Georgia], who had been playing everybody tough the past two months.  The last 10 does not count as much as it used to, although maybe it should.  But that's an arguement for another day).  But, Mississippi State desevred to lose, not for their poor performance from the charity stripe, but their absolute inability to box out when it counted.  I haven't played a lick of basketball in my life, but could clearly see the guy missing on purpose to the right.  So what are the Mississippi State players doing?  Standing around RIGHT AROUND THE CYLINDER.  All four were in the paint jammed up against each other.  Rebound comes out wide right.  Only a UK player there.  Then they don't rebound the missed three.  Game over.

3) Some gritty conference tournament performances - Hats off to Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, West Virginia, Mississippi State, and Ohio State for some of the statements they made in their conference tournaments (although for the Bulldogs, it didn't amount to much).  And for those of your who missed them, the endings of the Ohio State Michigan and West Virginia Cincinnati games were classics.

4) Breaking down the number 1's - No surprise as to the four number one seeds, although I think Syracuse's early exit from the Big East dropped them from #3 overall to #4 and shifted them out West with a potential matchup with Kansas in the Final Four.  Honestly, I think Kansas is the most complete, balanced team in the tournament and will be your winner.  Kentucky is young, and shows it from time to time.  Plus, they are not good from beyond the arc.  A team can play zone and pack it and MAKE them try to win from outside.  Eventually it will cost them (West Virginia, maybe?) although when Wall wants to take over a game, he does.  Duke is Duke.  I made the mistake of picking them last year after promising myself never again, and won't anytime soon.  They always seem to find a way to choke, and I'm afraid this year will be no different.  The Cuse you have to watch out for the injury to Onuaku.  They have the talent to get by the first week without him, but not sure how much longer they can last past that.  I have them as a Final Four team, but that could easily change.

5) Go West Young Man - Beginning my breakdown of the regions, in the West, I have Syracuse beating Pittsburgh in the Final, although I would not be surprised if A) K State was here instead of Pittsburgh or B) Syracuse isn't, especially if without Onuaku.  For everything being equal, though, this is how I think it will shape up.

6) Midwestern Plains - In the Midwest, I have Kansas beating Georgetown, although I would again not be surprised if they beat Ohio State instead.  Just think Georgetown has the better all around team from the better all around conference, but Evan Turner is a special kid, as he proved against Michigan.

7) Dirty South - In the South, I have Villanova beating Duke, although it would not surprise me to see Duke gone sooner.  Nova, especially if their three point shooting is on, just has too much for ANY of these teams, including Duke.

8) East Coast Bias - In the East, I have Kentucky beating West Virginia, although I originally picked it the other way.  No matter what, though, I see these as your two teams in the Final and would be shocked if this wasn't the matchup, regardless of outcome.  As a side note, the potential game between Kentucky and Texas could be interesting as Texas was the #1 ranked team earlier this year, and now an 8 seed.  That's the first time this has happened (a former #1 seeded so low) in a LONG time.

9) Sweet 16 Predictions - As your teams surviving the first week, I have Kansas, Michigan State*, Georgetown, Ohio State, Syracuse, VillanovaVanderbilt*, Pitt, Kansas State, Kentucky, Temple*, New Mexico, West Virginia, Duke, Texas A&M, Baylor*, and Villanova.  The teams with the asterisks are the ones that wouldn't surprise me if they weren't playing into the second week.

10) Final Four Predictions - I have Kansas beating Syracuse 78 - 67 in one game and Villanova beating Kentucky 82 - 78.  For the Championship game, give me Kansas 75 Villnova 69.
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: 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: September 15, 2009 6:32 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2009 7:03 am
 

10 Things I learned the week of Sept 15th

Well, week 1 of the NFL season is in the books, with a lot of close games decided in the last two minutes (stupid Bungles costing me a shot at winning week 1 of the pick 'em pool I'm in).  Here is the next weekly installment of 10 things I gleaned from the sports world in general.

1) How 'Bout Them Cowboys?- Well, one week after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs at home, The Oklahoma State Cowboys come out and lay an egg against the Houston Cougars.  What, were they looking ahead to that epic clash against Rice?  Indefensible.  I love Mike Gundy, but whenever a team fails to get up for a game, it falls squarely on his shoulders.  And how about the set of stones on Lee Corso?  He picked this upset on ESPN's College Gameday.  Kirk Herbstreit had to check and make sure the coach was actually picking them to win outright, and not just putting Okie State on upset alert (which it seems Herbstreit had them there as well, just didn't think there was any way they'd lose that game at home without even an opponent to "Look Ahead" to).  The one week dream of challenging for a national title is dead (unless Oklahoma loses one more, Texas would likely have to lose two, and several other things would have to break their way).  I know they're not completely out of it yet, but you can't come out of this game as say Oklahoma did last week losing to BYU on a neutral field.

2) A shot at Todd Blackledge- This is something I never thought I'd do, especially since when it comes to college football colormen, he's probably second only to Gary Danielson in my book, but not knowing a basic rule WHEN YOU'VE PLAYED THE GAME is inexcusable.  I gave him a pass last week for not being able to analyze the situation of everything that had happened after FSU's missed PAT (more on the Noles in a bit), but this I cannot forgive him for.  Come with me to this week's UCLA-Tennessee game which he was calling.  3rd down from their own 1 yard line late in the game up 19-13.  UCLA's quarterback falls asleep in the end zone and dives trying to avoid the safety.  Blackledge starts screaming for a booth review because part of the ball was out past the goal line.  Here's the problem.  THE GOAL LINE IS PART OF THE ENDZONE.  EVERYTHING ALONG THAT PAINTED STRIPE IS IN THE END ZONE.  Whereas you simply have to break the plane to get a TD, to avoid a safety THE ENTIRE BALL MUST BE OUTSIDE THE ENDZONE.  Clearly A LOT of the ball was still in the end zone on that play.  Safety.  I do have to give credit to Blackledge and Nessler for explaining what UCLA would have liked to do in that situation with running as much clock as possible which would have required them getting it to fourth down (although I wouldn't even bother sending the punt team in.  I'd have the QB take the hike from under center and have him run around as much as he could.  You risk snapping it over the punters head [see South Carolina versus Georgia, Southern California versus Ohio State]).  I was kind of hoping Tennessee would win that game so that maybe they would come into the swamp this week with a false sense of confidence and maybe bravado.  But, thanks to Crompton, and his three picks (god I hope he starts this week), that didn't happen.  On a side note, how many safeties were there this week?  I could count four in just the games I watched at least a part of.

3) Tressel logic: p->q=F- I sure wish somebody would explain to me why for somebody with the reputation of being as conservative of a coach as he is gets these quirky moments at the worst times, especially in big games.  I still remember his decision on January 8th, 2007 of after being absolutely blown up on a third and one from his own 29 down 10 and possibly still in the game of going for it on 4th and 1, getting stuffed, and eight plays later it's 34-14 (I still thank him for that, by the way).  Now, come forward to Saturday night.  Late in the first half, up 3, ball again deep in your own territory.  And you're throwing downfield???  His explanation to Holly Rowe was you can never have enough points, especially against USC or something to that effect.  While true, there is a way to go about this (which Pete Carroll, coincidentally, followed to a T to tie it up and almost go in up 14-10).  You don't take your shots downfield there.  You run and use short passes to try to get down to about the 50.  If you don't go anywhere, the clock has very little time on it.  If you get to around the 50, you start thinking FG, and maybe open up intermediate routes and quicken the pace.  Should you get down to the 20-25, then you start thinking TD.  This tried and true method has worked many a time.  Carroll was perfectly happy to try to get off the field only down 3 and regroup in the locker room, but tOSU fell asleep on defense, allowed a run to about midfield, and you all know what happened from there.  Tressel needs to learn to dance with the girl that brought him there, because if you're not good enough to win with talent alone, strange decisions like this will almost never help, and often hurt you instead.  Something similar happened to Charlie Weis at the end of the ND game ...

4) May the Forcier Be With You- Thank you Michigan, from the bottom of my heart!!!  For those of you who followed me last year, you know my opinion of the ND Fighting Irish, or more specifically, their fans.  God, they were getting full of themselves based on what?  Two wins over Hawaii and Nevada?  It all came crashing down this week, and made people like the four letter network's Lou Holtz and Shaun King look ridiculous.  I said after the Hawaii game last year that Notre Dame would go 9-3 this year due to their soft schedule, return to a BCS bowl where they would be completely over matched, and get blown out starting their new 9 game bowl losing streak.  I've seen nothing to change this (altough they may not lose less than 4 games, which would be fine by me).  And to Michigan, I hope this is a sign you are turning things around after last year's debacle.  Your D still needs major work, but Forcier is fun to watch, and will keep you in most games this year.

5) Tough start for the Almost Competitive Conference- Sorry, Bradman, but after watching FSU go into the last minute against Jacksonville State, there is no denying that the ACC is off to a rough start.  The good news is, they were off to a bad start last year, and ended up rebounding and sending 10 teams to bowl games.  You can't lose two and nearly a third game to FCS competition, though.

6) Fake Delhomme strikes again- Suprised John Fox didn't break down into a "Playoffs?" rant after that performance.  Jake is responsible for a whopping ELEVEN turnovers in his last two games, which simply cannot happen in the NFL.  This might be the begining of the end.

7) Is it okay to call Bush a bust now?- Something that will likely get lost in the Saints throttling of the Lions and Brees' SIX touchdown passes (and Stafford's three picks) was what Reggie Bush did.  Or more specifically, what he didn't do.  I have said all along that this guy is playing the wrong position in that same way the Mike Vick was a RB lining up with his hands under the center's butt, Bush is a WR lining up behind the QB.  In a game in which Pierre Thomas didn't play due to injury, Bush had his obligatory 5 receptions for 50 some odd yards, but only achieved 18 yards rushing.  Saints fans will turn a blind eye and say it was because of how effective Mike Bell was running the ball, but, you must remember that you drafted this guy SECOND overall, not in the second round, and are paying him the money as such.  You HAVE to get more production from him than just a receiving threat that once in a blue moon breaks the big play.

8) The Falcons continue the momentum- In my look ahead point last week, I pegged this game for this reason.  It was a huge win by the Falcons to establish forward momentum into this season in the hopes of stringing back to back winning seasons together for the first time in franchise HISTORY.  I'm POed, though, because in my real fantasy league, I have three Falcons on my team (and no Bucs, which is painful for me, but, can't pick with your heart) and ironically started the wrong one (one's Elam, my kicker, so he doesn't count).  Never would have guessed that Tony Gonzalez would out perform Michael Turner, but maybe I should have.  Tony looks to be a HUGE pick up for the dirty birds (and hopefully for me as well).  By the way, in my real league, TE's are optional and are considered a receiver and not their own position, so there was a huge risk/reward factor.  And I won by two, so all in all it wasn't too bad.  Just wouldn't have had to sweat out Nate Kaeding last night.

9) Take this ball and shove it down your bleeping throat, I ain't playin' here no more- Wow!  Talk about two people who have to know the situation and have to handle it WAY better than what they did.  First, the lineswoman cannot make that call in that situation unless it is obvious.  Honestly, Williams was unlikely to come back, but now we'll never know.  And Serena, you CANNOT let your flustrations get the best of you and you ABSOULTELY must handle yourself in a more professional manner.  Come on.  Bad calls happen in every sport.  Lou Pinella may kick some dirt, but I doubt he's out there threatening to shove a baseball down an umpire's throat.  Two wrong's never make a right (although two Wright's did make an airplane), but in this case, Serena's wrong far outweighs that of the lineswoman.  While I'm talking tennis, last week I said I was looking forward to how far Melanie Oudin could go.  Then comes the story on the day after she's ousted that her mom is having an affair with her coach.  Apparently, divorce paperwork was filed by Melanie's dad nearly a year ago, and somehow the story is just now breaking.  I'm glad it didn't break during the tournament, but you do have to question the timing of it.  And way for yet another tennis parent to get in the way of their kid's career.  We should be celebrating Melanie's accomplishment's, not putting her in tabloids.

10) The look ahead- The things I'm looking forward to this week are UF Tennessee (obviously) to see if Monte Kiffin can keep the game within 50 (seriously doubt he can cash the check his kid's mouth wrote), Notre Dame Michigan State to see which team can bounce back, Nebraska Va Tech to see if the Huskers are for real (or if the Hokies potentially aren't), and Texas Tech Texas in a rematch of an absolute classic last year, and in the pros, the Giants and Cowboys to see how many punts hit the scoreboard (and it should be a good game).

Moo, your Mizzou Tigers took nearly the whole game to wake up against Bowling Green.  What was up with that?  Using cyclical logic (which would give us an FCS team winning the title every year) that makes Bowling Green much better than the Fighting Zooks.
Posted on: January 13, 2009 6:55 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2009 10:24 pm
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Jan. 12th

Hello there sports fans.  Don't know how many of you caught it, but due to being ill, I initially ran a shortened version of my blog last week, but went back and updated it (and still missed on one thing I definitely wanted to hit on, which I shall do so this installment) on Saturday.  So if you like what you see here (and Bamaman, if you read this, I posed a question to you after I updated), please feel free to check back on the completed edition of last week (also feel free to check out all the rest if you're really bored and/or suffering from insomnia).  Here's the link: http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/
entry/10264446/12793505

1) Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships - Okay, so technically this should fall under things I relearned this week for the hundredth time yet some people still fail to grasp.  It doesn't matter the sport, but this is ESPECIALLY true in football.  Defense wins championships.  PERIOD, PERIOD, PERIOD.  First off, a huge kudos to the Oklahoma Sooners who came out and played an inspired game, especially on defense.  When the game was on the line, though, and Tebow went Tebow (more on him in a moment), they simply didn't have enough of an answer.  I am sick and tired of the know nothing media (and I know it's not all of them) wondering how in the world somebody's going to shut down this unstoppable offense when it's happened time, and time, and time again.  Thankfully, the public (60%), and Vegas, and people who have played the sport have figured it out.  I loved how in one thread an Oklahoma fan phooied off somebody (don't even think it was a Gator fan) who pointed out the line went off at UF -6 despite being at -4 1/2 all week, and opening at -3.  The OU fan said that Vegas moves the line based on the money coming in (correct) and that it was the public pushing it that way (incorrect).  The public pushed it from the initial 3 to the 4 1/2.  Most of that late betting, however, is sharp money coming in.  The TRUE experts had the game pegged right the whole way.  Also, I finally nailed a prediction of a low scoring game, and while not as big of a factor as I thought they could be, a wasted timeout, a false start penalty (which was later wiped out by a roughing the kicker call), and a blocked FG, special teams did come into play.  By the way, one of the most telling stats was third down efficiency, especially in the Red Zone.  Oklahoma was 2-4 in the Red Zone and came away with zero points on 2 of their trips.  The Gators, on the other hand, were 4 or 4 in the promised land and 12 of 17 overall.  Oklahoma just couldn't get off the field when it mattered.  Also, what was that play call right before the half where Bradford got picked by Major Wright?  Even if he completes that, he would have been tackled at the two yard line and time would have run out on the half because they had no timeouts left.  INEXCUSIBLE.  Don't know if that was coaching, or execution, but somebody needed to be held accountable for that.

2) The Play of the game - In line with the defense wins championships theory (fact in my book), the single biggest play of the game had to be Ahmad Black ripping the ball away from Juaquin Iglesias for one of the best interceptions I've ever seen.  The look on Bradford's face after that play was priceless.  He thought he had completed the pass and set his team up at the Gators 24 only to have his heart ripped out.  By the way, what were Thom Brennamen (sp?) and Charles Davis watching (more on this later).  It took them almost a minute to realize the Gators had come up with the ball.

3) A Gritty, Gutsy Performance - Huge Kudos to Percy Harvin, who must have been running on pure adrenaline with his slightly bummed ankle.  They said in pregame warmups, you could tell he wasn't 100%, but it sure didn't show on the field, ripping off two huge runs of 40+ yards, one from his own 3 yard line.  He singlehanded flipped the field twice, and ripped momentum back away from Oklahoma after they had tied the game at 14 early in the fourth quarter.

4) A repeat performance - Tim Tebow announced this weekend that he was returning for his senior season, which set off a tidal wave of Tebow hating on the boards.  Everyone was talking about having to go through another year of the Tebow lovefest from all the broadcasters.  Look at it from my angle, though.  The rest of us have to put up with another year of all the haters drinking their haterade.  While I admit some of the stories/attention is overblown, the fact is the kid is a phenominal leader, and a proven winner.  And no matter what you think of how he'll perform at the next level, what position he'll play, etc., you know that almost all of these people spewing their venom at the kid would die to have him as the QB of their team.  I have to believe that it's 75% jealousy, and 25% of tiredness due to media overkill.  Instead of hating on the kid, hate the media and check the mirror.

5) Fox's coverage of big game very apropos for the BCS - God, Fox's coverage of the BCS Championship game was horrible, and not even because of the reason most people pointed to, which was the perceived (and to some extent true) Tebowfest, which by the way wasn't nearly as bad as most made out and didn't even start until the second half when Tebow started to go Tebow on the OU defense.  You want to talk about love fests?  How about the love fest for the OU offense (offense sells tickets, remember?)?  Was there anything more utterly useless and annoying than the garbage of the OU time between snap clock and the quad screen that they went to dozens of times?  Also, did the producer ever hear of this thing fans like called game content?  You know, like mixing in a replay or three during the course of the game.  And did Brennamen and Davis miss Barry Alvarez that much???  I thought the three did an admirable job in 2007 broadcasting the BCS Championship game between tOSU and UF, but this game the duo was LOST.  Most notable of which was the goal line stand series where Brennamen was a down ahead the entire time and Davis did NOTHING to correct him (and seemed unaware of the down himself).  Yeah, that was a HUGE decision to go for it on 3rd and goal from the 1, NOT!  Also, were the people in the truck asleep all game.  Don't they have people who tell these guys stuff and spotters and crap?  How come ABSOLUTELY nobody corrected them that whole time?  Overall, an absolutely horrendous job by FOX.

6) Something I missed last week - Wanted to give Kudos to the Buckeyes for the great game they played against Texas in the Fiesta Bowl.  In fact, it was a shame that the tOSU coaching staff (most notably DC Jim Heacock {sp?}) cost that game for the kids who absolutely played their hearts out.  I actually felt bad for Buckeye fans getting their hearts ripped out for the third time, since it happened in this fashion.  Overall, an extremely hard fought, well played game by both teams, and one that proved A) the Buckeyes belonged and B) Texas deserved that #4 ranking in the AP that I predicted they would get.

7) Cry me a river - God, I could not believe the whining going on by Titans fans after their game against the Ravens.  Several threads popped up about the Titans getting jobbed and the botched delay of game penalty COSTING them the game.  Yes, it was a missed call.  But the penalties and the TURNOVERS, especially those in the red zone, COST the Titans the game.  As I tried to explain to the whiners, A) Delay of Game does not come with a loss of down, so what makes them think Baltimore doesn't just convert the first down anyway and the arguement is moot.  B) Say they do stop them, what's to stop the Titans from turning the ball over again and the Ravens winning, or the game going to OT and the Ravens winning.  Honestly, even if the proper call had been made, the Titans still had a better chance of losing than winning IMHO C) Todd Heap was still double covered on the play, so it wasn't like the Titans gave up and weren't playing defense.  Plus, I've seen situations where teams have gotten a play off after the clock hit :00 where they threw a pick.  Think the offense would have liked the 5 yard penalty in that case?  I later started a thread after the Steelers Chargers game making fun of said crybabies (which not all Titan fans were doing, just to be fair) and one blasted me that I'd do the same if it were my team.  Let me make this perfectly clear.  I will NEVER, EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE blame officiating on losing a game.  For one, that's loser speak in my book and for two, even with Ed Hochuli's blown call in the Chargers Broncos game that had a MILLION TIMES more to do with deciding the outcome of that game than some missed delay of game call EVER will, the Broncos were still faced with a 4th and goal from about the 10.  The Chargers still had a chance to make a play and win the game and did not.  That fact gets overlooked sometimes.  By the way, it came out Monday that the officials blew another call in the game, in FAVOR of the Titans.  The Ravens should have had a safety when Chris Johnson failed to get the ball COMPLETELY out of the endzone (it's the exact opposite of going in.  If the ball breaks the plane, it breaks the plane, TD wise or safety wise).  As it was put by the NFL when posed a question about that play, "The Ravens failed to challenge it."  In other words, it was a safety.  Of course, we won't hear about THAT one from Titan fans.

8) Fake Delhomme - Wow, I must have missed where the Panthers were secretly matched up against the Ravens or Steelers last week.  I could have swore both teams were in other games of their own.  But how else to you explain the sudden defensive dominance of the Cardinals (yes, some of it needs to be hung around Jake's neck like an albatross)?  Delhomme turned in the worst playoff performance since Rich Gannon decided the Bucs offense wasn't scoring enough so why not give their defense three touchdowns as well and only topped by the playoff game in which Jet Favre completed six passes to Rams players masquerading as Packers.  In other playoff debacle news, the Giants seemed absolutely content to just kick field goal after field goal (and not very successfully, I might add), and it ended up costing them big time.  A big congratulations to the Eagles.  Oh, and just as we had the NFL's first ever 11-10 game earlier this year when the Steelers had a TD taken away at the end of the game while beating the Chargers (in the regular season game), this was the NFL's first 23-11 final score.

9) Midseason Lightning report card - Well, we've hit the midseason point of the NHL, and my beloved Bolts earn themselves a big F, mostly due to their front office.  From the bold predictions which they seem destined to fall short of, to trading away Dan Boyle for basically a bag of Cheetos, and a roll of Mentos, to now doing nothing to quell rumors of Lecavalier to Montreal, I'm quickly getting sick of GM Brainless Lawton and owner Oren Klueless.  If they do trade Vinny, I might just become a Wings fan.  That's how despondent I'd be (j/k Diva, I'd never stoop that low ).  I'll give out complete NHL midseason report cards next week.

10) BuccinGators weatherman-like results and clueless conference championship game predicitions - Well, I finished bowl season a stellar 18-16, while pulling down 57.5% of the available points in my bowl pool, and am so far batting .250 in the NFL, going 1-3 each week.  So you may want to bet the opposite of what I say, but I am predicting (and praying for I might add) an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl XLIII here in Tampa.  I get the feeling, though, that the real Super Bowl is being played this week in Pittsburgh.  I could (EASILY) be wrong, though.  NFC Eagles 24, Cardinals 17.  AFC Steelers 13 Ravens 8.

Posted on: January 7, 2009 10:28 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2009 8:25 pm
 

10 Things I learned the week of Jan. 5th

I'm a little under the weather and under the gun this week, so I'm only doing a half dose.  Update: Now that I'm feeling better, and over my celebratory hangover from Thursday night (Go Gators!!!), I'm expanding this week's installment back to 10.  There were other things I definitely wanted to hit on.  I considered doing part 2 of this week under next week's entry, but decided instead to finish it, and just post a link next week back to this one.

1) Just exactly how good is the Big 12 Conference - A strange thought entered my head during the Fiesta Bowl in the final moments before Ohio State's defensive coordinator suffered a mental lapse of epic proportions.  Had Ohio State held on to that game, the Big 12 conference would have been 3-3 going into the BCS Championship game.  The real funny thing would have been, though, that all three wins would have come from teams in the north, which was the inferior division this year.  Now while these games have no bearing on the title game and the better team should win, it makes me question just how strong the "strongest" conference was this year.  Update:  I think the answer to this question is now clearly a resounding, "Not as strong as everybody (including myself) thought they were!"  Still doesn't change the fact that they were the best conference this year (or that the SEC had a down year despite 6-2), but sheesh!

2) Could Mack Brown and Pete Carroll please STFU - Oh my god!!!!  Are these two coaches clueless.  Hey Mack, there's no way that IMPRESSIVE victory on THE LAST PLAY over a tOSU team you were SUPPOSED to destroy is going to convince voters in the AP to vote Texas number 1.  In fact, they might be lucky to be voted number 4 behind the winner of the title game, Utah, and USC.  When you say there will be a split title come Friday, that may be, but it won't be the Longhorns splitting it, genius.  Now, on to Carroll, who's team might get some first place votes.  You come out and say "Nobody can beat this USC team"?  Not, I think this team is the best in the country?  Not, nobody's playing better right now than we are?  Guess what.  Somebody DID beat this USC team, which is why they were playing in the ROSE BOWL.  You might have remembered them.  They were called Oregon State.  Honestly, if there is a split title on Friday (doubt it, especially if Florida wins since they are already number 1 in that poll), the team with the best case is Utah.  Afterall, they are the only undefeated team in all of the FBS.

3) My Predictions are going south - I don't want to look at what my bowl record is, and my NFL predictions were 1-3 after amazingly 2 home teams won (and not the one I picked to do so, sorry Yo) despite all 4 road teams being favored.  Honestly, the most suprising was San Diego over Indy (and Jay Cutler, please come on down for your dose of STFU).  Honestly, if it wasn't for the Chargers mistakes, Indy wouldn't have even been in that game.  Just goes to show that the any given Sunday rule applies even to the playoffs.  Since I picked all four home teams this round anyway, I won't bother repicking (since they should {hopefully} win).

4) The forgotten third team - I'm surprised by all the OU and UF fans who think this game will be a blowout, with their team reaching potentially the 60's in scoring.  I just don't see it.  I see it being a close game with both teams in the thirties (for a total in the sixties).  First off, I'm tired of UF and OU fans defending thier team/conference by using the "Big 12 plays no defense" and "The SEC has no offense" lines.  Simply put, OU will be the best offense that UF will play this year, and UF will be the best defense OU will play this year, and anybody not accepting this is just refusing to take off their homer glasses.  But if my predicition is correct of it being a close, potentially lower scoring game, then special teams could play a huge role, and this is where UF has a clear advantage and will hopefully cash in big time.  People tend to easily overlook it, but special teams can put up huge hidden numbers.  With all they're great returns and punt blocks, how many times did the Gators have a short field this year?  Not only does starting from the 50+ greatly increase your chances of a TD, but it's hard to rack up huge offensive numbers when you do so 25% of the time.  The only way OU is likely to operate on a short field is if they force turnovers, something they are very good at doing, but UF is very good at avoiding.  Now maybe this won't be a factor in the game, and maybe OU wins anyway, but I feel this will lead to ...

5) BuccinGator's BCS Championship Game Prediction - UF 37 OU 31

6) Geaux LSU - Wow, I did not see that beat down coming on Dec. 31st.  In fact, to my embarassment, I had it completely the other way.  After watching Georgia Tech just manhandle Miami and Georgia, getting something like 400+ yards rushing in EACH GAME, I thought LSU would be completely overmatched, especially since they struggled defensively this year.  This, and I felt Georgia Tech was the best team in the ACC (guess it really was Virginia Tech.  By the way, is there a conference that is stronger in the middle but weaker at the top than the ACC?  Simply put, no).  Well, I'll happily eat my crow on this one.  Part of the problem is I used cyclical logic on this one, which I should know better than to do.  I figured since GT destroyed Georgia, and Georgia destroyed LSU ... well you see where that went.  It's the same logic that most year's will allow you do say that a FCS school should be national champs (because they beat team W that beat team X that beat team Y that beat team Z that beat the national champs).  Ugh.

7) Utes in (and display some) good hands at Allstate Sugar Bowl - What a great game for Utah.  I think Alabama was surprised by the speed and tenacity that Utah displayed.  Alabama did show some guts in cutting it from 21-0 to 21-17 in the second half, but honestly, the only time Bama was really close in that game was the opening coin toss.  To some degree, this was caused by Utah realizing that this game was their Super Bowl.  With as good as the Mountain West was this year, maybe next year Utah and/or TCU will start off high enough in the polls that they will have a legitimate shot at Pasadena next year.  The rest of this might have been caused by ...

8) Andre the Giant Mistake - Where the heck was this kid's head?  Talking to an agent BEFORE he plays his final game?  I think he was a senior (Bamaman, feel free to add a comment and correct me if I'm wrong), which means he won't be in the Senior Bowl, either.  Now while he has the talent where he'll still be a first rounder, this didn't help him at all.  More over, it hurt his team, big time.  You can't do anything this blatantly silly, especially right before a major bowl game.  Way to go, Smith!

9) Rebeling against the Raiders - What a game put in by Ole Miss (Arkansas fans ... again, you wanted Petrino over Nutt?  I'm going to keep hammering this until it sinks in.  Not only is Nutt a better coach, but Petrino is a certifiable TRAITOR.  You'll learn the hard way soon enough when he realizes the SEC is over his head, just like the NFL was).  I had this game as being much closer than most people thought, and the Rebs did not disappoint.  I was telling everyone who would listen (SEC fans {especially Georgia fans}, Big 12 fans {especially Texas Tech fans}, and Big 10 fans {especially Iowa fans, because I wanted to see them here in Tampa}) that Ole Miss was the third best team in the SEC this year, and they went out and proved it on the field.  Jevan Sneed will be a stud.  In a down year for SEC QB play, he was a bright spot.

10) Matt Ryan will be a great QB, but don't crown him yet - There was talk about the midway point of the NFL season of considering Matt Ryan for NFL MVP.  I quickly pointed out on a thread that such talk was ridiculous and WAY too early, but he was a deserving offensive ROY (although I told people then not to forget about Forte.  I had Ryan winning it back then, be he was CLEARLY deserving after the season).  The point here, though, maybe Michael Turner was more worthy of MVP talk.  After all, in the games where I saw him get shut down (the first Panthers and Buccaneers games for ATL), Matt Ryan looked VERY MUCH like a lost rookie.  HUGE kudos to the Arizona Cardinals for doing the same thing and getting the same result. 

Posted on: October 21, 2008 8:39 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2008 9:20 pm
 

10 things I learned the week of Oct. 20th

1) Kissing your sister - God what an awful game.  In a game that set the NFL back at least 25 years, Sebastian Janikowski kicked a FIFTY FREAKIN' SEVEN yard field goal (that would have been good from at least 63) with 2:30 left in OT to beat the Jets.  Anybody paying attention to that game should have been hoping for that game to end in a tie (which would have been the first since I believe the Steelers and Falcons tied a game back in 2002 ).  What a horrible display of football.  And when are coaches going to learn to stop calling a TO the millisecond before the ball is snapped to ice the kicker?  You want to do it?  Call it right after they get set, not right before they hike it.  All it does is give the kicker a free practice swing at it.  Unfortunately, both the Raiders and Cardinals won a game that that boneheaded move should have cost them.

2) West Coast Love - Yes, I truly believe that for the most part, there is an east coast media bias.  Why?  Because most of your largest cities are east of the Mississippi (duh).  So what on earth is everybody's fascination with USC?  Why are they fifth in the first BCS poll?  They play in THE WORST conference (yes, worse than the ACC and Big East.  Even the Mountain West has more teams in the top 25) and have THE WORST loss of ANY of the one loss teams.  I shouldn't have to worry about them playing in any game other than the Rose Bowl, and yet I have to because the pollsters are freakin' idiots.  Why are they not being punished for their schedule that was put together by silkworms and NEVER being in a game they were like a billion point favorites?  Again, and being a Gator fan, I HATE tOSU, but I would a million times MORE rather see them in the BCS championship game than the Trojans, especially if they beat Penn State this week.  Speaking of Penn State, I have yet to mention them on my blog, and to their fans who might read it, I apologize.  I cannot begin to say enough about the job that they and Joe Pa have been doing.  This appears to be their last obstacle, and that the winner of this game will go on to win the Big Ten.  Good luck to you all.  Anyway, back to the University of Southern Chokeifornia, you pull this yearly choke job, and I for one am sick and tired of it.  As much as I HATE Notre Dame (which is more than I hate tOSU, by the way), I will be the world's BIGGEST Domer Homer the week they play you, and if there is a god, they will win that game.

3) Dallas' implosion is on - How 'bout them Cowboys.  I especially chuckled when people were saying that they didn't miss Romo when they took their first drive of the game for a TD.  How did the rest of the game work out?  Their secondary is a wreck (and now they've lost the Roy Williams that matters for the season), and their offense looks lost.  I'm hoping my Buccaneers pile on to their misery this week.

4) Another firing - Mike Nolan was the latest coach to get the axe.  What amazes me is that, while I don't hate this move, the amount of misdirected hate coming from Niner fans toward Nolan and their unreasonable expectations.  I heard many of them say that he underachieved with their talent.  Talent?  What talent?  Beyond Patrick Willis, exactly what talent has he been "underachieving" with?  He has no QB (through partial fault of his own due to Alex Smith being a bust).  Niner fans, vent your angst where it belongs, and just like your friends across the bay, you need to be looking at your owner, Dr. York.  He is BY FAR one of the worst owners in the league.  I know, you can't fire the owner, but you need to be wishing you could.  I do wish Mike Singletary the best of luck.

5) Weekend look ahead - Other than the World Series, the games I'm looking forward to are the aforementioned Penn State-Ohio State, Georgia-LSU and Texas-Oklahoma State in college, and the Steelers-Giants and of course the Cowboys-Buccaneers in the NFL.

6) Tebow to McCoy ... Heisman - Earlier, Tim Tebow was asked who he was voting for for the Heisman trophy, as being a former winner he gets a vote.  He rightfully pointed to Colt McCoy of the Longhorns.  An EIGHTY ONE completeion percentage?  Are you kidding me?  I mean, yes, he doesn't play SEC defenses every week, but still, that's phenominal.  What he and the Longhorns have accomplished so far is beyond words, absolutely DESTROYING the Missouri Tigers.  And Chase, you can go ahead and unpack that bag, because you won't be going to New York.  The Longhorns continue their brutal schedule this week against a very good Oklahoma State Cowboys team.

7) Yurgh!!! - The horrible start for my Bolts continues (talking NHL Charger fans).  Not scoring a single goal in a game, not even in the SHOOTOUT portion.  Inexcusible.  They need to get it turned around, and quick.  Update: Yea!  They finally won one.  Now they just need to string about 10 more in a row, and then go about .600 the rest of the way.

8) An interesting theory - Well, the rest of these will be baseball takes.  I heard a theory today that Vegas made the Rays -135/+115 favorites to try to recoup impending losses on Rays early season bets at 100:1 in case they win.  Two problems with this.  Even at 100:1, they only need 100 bets on TWENTY NINE other teams, including two from Chicago, two from New York, two from LA, Boston, Philadelphia, and a Detriot team that was supposed to do better than what it did.  I can't imagine there were THAT many Rays bets to not have it covered.  Secondly, even if that is true, it still makes no sense.  As anybody who does any sports betting will tell you, Vegas wants equal action on both sides.  If they PURPOSEFULLY set the line to get all the money on one side, and then the Phillies WIN (which is very possible), now you're paying out all these +115 bets, plus whatever bets you had on the Phillies to win it all at the start of the season (let's say it was 10:1).  Now Vegas IS losing money.  They are not in this to LOSE money.

9) Another interesting theory - Yes, this isn't the LA-Boston series that everybody wanted, but why does everyone think that nobody will watch this series.  First, they were the two best teams, period.  Secondly, both cities are very passionate and will watch.  Which brings me to the fact that Philadelphia is the FOURTH largest market, and Tampa/St. Pete the THIRTEENTH.  Those aren't bad numbers.  Plus, yes, Boston was involved, but game 7 was the highest rated baseball game on cable EVER.  That's EVER.  And maybe some of the people watching that game outside of Boston/Tampa/St. Pete will want to continue to watch this fascinating team.  I'll tell you one thing, this series will feature a lot of speed.  The Rays were first in stolen bases, the Phillies were fourth.  Could put a lot of pressure on the batteries.  Both teams can mix in the long ball, too.

10) World Series predicition - Well, so far I'm batting exactly .500.  So this one will decide if I'm successful or not.  The Phillies will win any game that they can get to Madsen and Lidge with the lead in the 8th and 9th.  Clearly this is where the Phillies have their advantage.  The problem will be getting it there, because I believe the Rays have the advantage everywhere else.  Their biggest advantage might come in starting pitching.  Cole Hamels is lights out, but the rest, eh.  Plus I think the Rays have SLIGHT advantages in speed, hitting, power, and defense.  All this will amount to Rays in Six.  I heard that this has the softest odds in Vegas of all the possible combinations, so I'm going with it.

 
 
 
 
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