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Tag:Raiders
Posted on: December 2, 2008 7:14 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2008 10:51 am
 

10 Things I Learned The Week of Dec. 1st

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 things I learned the week of Nov. 3rd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on: October 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.

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

10 Things I learned the week of Oct. 13th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

10 things I learned the week of Sept. 29th

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Things I learned the week of Sept. 22nd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
 
 
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