Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Detroit Rocks, Chicago Shocks

I'm not going to lie and say I saw this coming. Nor am I going to lie and say I can remember the last time the Detroit Tigers were in the World Series, even though I was technically alive. To say that this World Series run by the Detroit Tigers is surprising just doesn't do it justice, and something tells me they aren't done quite yet. From a team that lost 119 games in 2003 and 91 a year ago, to one that nearly blew their chances at the playoffs down the stretch this year, to American League champs. The Tigers absolutely blew by the Oakland A's, sweeping them in impressive fashion, and capping it all off with a walk off LCS homer by Magglio Ordonez. That makes 7 straight win for Detroit and a long rest before having to battle either New York or St. Louis. And at this point, it's looking like whoever the Tigers do face is going to have more than their hands full. Detroit out pitched and out hit both the Yankees and A's in a league that has been considered the stronger of the two all season long. There's no reason to think they can't do the same to either the Mets or Cards, especially with the rest. They can set their rotation any way they want it, while the other two teams are having trouble deciding who they are going to send to the mound on any given night, even with the aid of 2 rain cancellations.

*In the other LCS, the Cardinals are giving the Mets all they can handle and then some. After the rain cancelled two games, Albert Pujols backed up his earlier smack talk on Tom Glavine with a HR that helped the Cards grab a 3-2 series lead heading back to New York. To be completely honest, for whatever reason I have lost all interest in this series. I want to say there is no real story line to grab the average fans attention, but that's not entirely true seeing as neither team has won a World Series in quite some time. But regardless, the series doesn't really interest me, so I will hold off on any further comment until the World Series is set.

Patriots Update
Last Week: Bye
Record: 4-1

Next Week @ Buffalo Bills (2-4)

*Even with the Patriots off this week, they still managed to make some news. The first was in a positive way, with the signing of free agent WR Jabaar Gaffney. I can't say that Gaffney will bring any help to the Pats passing game, but I guess adding another body couldn't hurt. Then again, there are reasons why guys get cut by the Texans and spend most of the first half of the season watching games with their wife. But moving on. The more pressing issue in New England these days seems to be the condition of the field. Anyone that has seen a Pats game this year has uttered the same phrase: "What the hell is up with the middle of the field?!" Well I still really don't have an answer to that question, and for that matter, neither do the Patriots. But the NFL has a solution. After watching numerous players slip on the slop down the center of Gillette Stadium, the NFL is ordering the Patriots fix their field. Apparently, sod will be flown in from Delaware for the next home game, and after that new Field Turf will be installed. You know, the stuff that sends little rubber pellets flying from it every time someone slides on it. The real question has been, did the Patriots keep their field in a sloppy state on purpose? And why didn't they take the initiative to change it instead of waiting for the league to tell them to do so? Well my conspiracy loving friends, I got some bad news for ya. I'm pretty sure the only reason the Pats hadn't changed their field is because they don't have the time. Between all the concerts and soccer games going on at the stadium, it just hasn't been feasible to put down new turf. An while I realize that in the past Bill Belichick has been known to keep his field in a certain state in order to gain a homefield advantage, (example: growing the grass longer to slow down faster teams) this just doesn't make sense. The Pats biggest strengths are their running game and their defensive line, both of which require good footing to perform properly. Hopefully the change will be soon, if only for the fact that we won't have to stare at that ugly strip down the middle of the field for another week.

Can't Bear To Watch
It was all set. The Cardinals were at home, on Monday Night Football, with a 23-3 lead in the second half against the 5-0 Chicago Bears, and your prized free agent RB who was brought in to run out the clock to protect leads. They had it in the bag! Problem is, the "bag" that they had it in, was actually a strainer, and they let the game slip through it faster than Dennis Green's sanity left him right after the game. After all, that became the real story. Nevermind that the Cardinals had a season defining, check that, franchise defining win well within their grasp. Green straight flipped out in his press conference following the game, ranting and raving Jim Mora style about how the media was "crowning their (Bears) asses" and that Chicago was "who we thought they were!!". Now, I'm no press conference expert, but if I was on the Cardinal's and I saw my head coach do that, I'd have to think he was pretty insane. Luckily for them, I have a solution to the whole problem...FIRE DENNIS GREEN! I'm not saying it's his fault that Arizona is 1-5, or the reason they lost on Monday without giving up an offensive touchdown, but there has never been a better time for them to start over. They have a young QB, a strong running back, a trio of WRs that can't be beat anywhere in the NFL and a brand new stadium. To top that off, they have drafted some of the best young defenders in the past few yearsin the form of DT Darnell Dockett, LB Carlos Dansby and DB Antrelle Rolle. So why can't they win? They have no offensive line and they can't coach. So, bring in a new coach, and spend all your off season money and all of your draft picks on offensive lineman. Hell, I couldn't coach football for the life of me, but if you put me in Arizona, that's what I would do. And you know what? I guarantee a 10 win season. So get Dennis Green out of there ASAP, and do everyone a favor. Besides, how tired did he look even the day after the Monday night fiasco? Maybe tired is the wrong word, because he looked like he had been hittin' the pipe for about 4 days in a row without sleep.

NFL News and Notes
*It's a miracle what 3 touchdown receptions will do for a person's state of mind isn't it? Last week, all we heard coming out of Dallas was how T.O was set to blow this team up if he didn't start getting the ball. Now, after a rout of the lowly Houston Texans, all the talk is about T.O destroying America's Team has subsided. But have we heard the last from him? We would all be silly to think it's that simple. Matter of fact, I think his performance this week may be actually hurting his relationship with the guy that matters most in Big D, the Big Tuna. Just like he split the locker rooms in San Fran and Philly with his antics, he is poised to do the same in Dallas. Tuna made it more than clear he never wanted Owens in the first place. After T.O pissed people off over the last few weeks, maybe it looked like Parcells had reason to not want him, but now the story has changed. With T.O producing this past week, there will be plenty of support for him both in and out of the locker room, not a good thing for the Tuna. How can he discipline Owens now for any bad moves he makes? Answer: He can't. Truth is, the next time the two of them get into it, for any reason, will be the last. T.O will complain, some players will back him and other Parcells, and we will be fully engulfed in WW III, T.O style.

*More bad news out of the great Northwest for both the Seattle Seahawks and fantasy owners alike. It seems that Seattle star RB and last season's MVP, Shaun Alexander, will miss an additional 2 weeks with his foot injury. And while it may look on the surface like Seattle is still cruising along at the top of the NFC West, you better look again. The refs gift wrapped a victory against the Rams this past weekend, and who can forget the smackdown laid on them by the Bears on national TV? There's trouble in Seattle, and it goes beyond Alexander that's for sure.

*I'm not sure if this has ever happened before, but leave it to Herm Edwards to make the impossible reality. It was only 2 weeks ago that the Kansas City Chiefs laid a 41-0 smackdown on the San Francisco 49ers. But this week, Herm and friends were throttled themselves at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers, 45-7. I mean I know the NFL is full of parity these days, but that's pretty impressive. Maybe Herm needs to hire someone to make sure they don't lose by too much, because it seems he has someone on his staff to take care of everything else. And what's the deal with losing anyway Herm? I thought you played to win the games?

My NFL Picks
Last Week:

Overall: 19-14-4 (.578)

*As any gambler will tell you, anytime you break even for a week it's not a bad thing. I'd like to pat myself on the back for taking the Bucs, while at the same time scold myself for getting mixed up in the Falcons/Giants game. Oh well, a .500 week never hurt anyone, so I'm gonna keep my head up, and continue marching on.
*Well, the BCS standings are officially out, so let the nit-picking begin! Personally, while everyone basically calls me foolish for doing so, I'm sticking with West Virginia at #2, despite their being nowhere close to that in the BCS. Honestly, like many of you I think the BCS is totally over rated anyway. But, it's the system that the NCAA is using now, so I guess we will have to live with it until they break their totally money hungry ways and do a playoff. So moving on, the season is looking more and more like it's going to come down between Michigan and Ohio St. Even thought one of them is bound to lose to the other when they meet in November, as long as they have no other losses on their resume I can't see any way for them not to meet for the BCS title. While i have contended, and still believe, that the SEC is the best conference, it's looking more and more improbable that any team will be able to run that gauntlet with fewer than 2 losses, which will make it impossible for them to be a National champ. It's a perfect example of why there really needs to be a playoff, but again, that's just fantasy for now. So, before I get too caught up in how the BCS sucks, here's a look at the new top 10...*

College Football Top 10
1. Ohio St. (7-0) 1
2. West Virginia (6-0) 2
3. Michigan (7-0) 4
4. USC (6-0) 5
5. Auburn (6-1) 7
6. Florida (6-1) 3
7. Notre Dame (5-1) 6
8. Texas (6-1) 8
9. Louisville (6-0) 9
10. Georgia Tech (5-1) 10

just missed: Tennessee, California, Boise St., Arkansas, Boston College
dropped: none

Putting the U in UGLY
Everyone loves a good brawl. We get to watch our favorite professional athletes just let loose and lose control like we often do. It's often refreshing actually to see such human emotions from people you hold in high esteem. And don't tell me you don't turn the channel when you hear there's a brawl on, or even look for the clips online or on Sportscenter so you can show your friends or simply watch it again and again, because I know you do. It's what happens after, however, that usually gets more pub, and that's the suspensions. Everyone wants to deal with the brawlers in a different way. Some want to kick them out for good, some want to suspend the university's involved, while others see a simple slap on the wrist as an appropriate punishment. Personally, while I can't directly point the finger at the head coaches, ultimately they are the ones responsible. Especially at Miami where they have made a living the past couple decades basically bragging about how tough and arrogant they are. Whether it's Michael Irvin flapping his gums on ESPN about "the U", or the various arrests of prominent Miami stars like Ray Lewis or Sean Taylor, Miami has built this reputation of being the tough, arrogant bully. Now it's time to clip their wings. Larry Coker has got to go. Their athletic director, has got to go. It might even be time to put that program back on probation and have them start from scratch. It's one thing to have confidence, but it's another when your team is brawling on the field and an alum calling the game on TV (Lamar Thomas) is saying how he wishes he was down there so he could show the boys how they should really be fighting. News flash to "the U". When you're winning, a lot of your stupid actions get overlooked, but when you aren't, you don't look confident, you look stupid. Swinging helmets at other players? Stomping on them in the middle of a scrum? Please. We are all sick of your act. I'm calling for former coach Butch Davis to be brought back. He cleaned that place up once, and last time I checked, he's not too busy to start doing it again. Come on 'Canes. We love to watch your speed and athleticism and Lord knows you've supplied the NFL with some great talent over the years, but we've had enough. Get back to me when you start living the mantra of your former coach, Jimmy Johnson. It's time to walk that walk, instead of constantly running your mouth and trying to live up to a "bad ass" reputation.

Games to Watch this Week
Iowa @ Michigan
*This game may have looked bigger a few weeks ago before Iowa got blown out by Ohio St., but every game from here on out is huge for the Wolverines. With Mario Manningham still out, Chad Henne and Mike Hart will have to step up and lead the team to another tough conference victory. Should Michigan lose, their only shot at a National title will come when they play the Buckeyes, and you don't want to put all of your eggs in that basket that's for sure.

Texas @ Nebraska
*The Big XII has lost a lot of clout over the past few years. Despite the continued success of both Texas and Oklahoma, perennial powers like Nebraska, Colorado, and Texas A&M have fallen off considerably. While this win would be big for either team, a victory for the Huskers could help them restore a sense of worthiness in the Big XII and help balance the conference out. That being said, Texas could care less about the strength of the conference these days and is just hoping to stay in the National title picture and stay a step ahead of the slew of one-loss teams in their midst.

Alabama @ Tennessee
*Every game in the SEC is a big one these days. Tennessee has been a real sleeper in this whole race behind Florida and Auburn, but a win over the Tide would go a long way towards making it a 3 horse race in the SEC for a National Championship spot.

Georgia Tech @ Clemson
*The ACC has been a mystery so far this season, but this game should go a long way towards helping to solve it. Both Georgia Tech and Clemson are in the top 15 this week, and both are potentially dangerous teams with only one loss. The winner, takes the lead as the highest ranked team in the ACC, the loser, will be forced to scramble for a major bowl spot.

Boston College @ Florida St.
*Another ACC "heavyweight" matchup, but is either of these teams for real? I'm not sure, but I will leave that judgment up to Bird and Sco, who will be attending the game this weekend. I expect a detailed report upon their return, but more than likely all I will get is drunken tales that may or may not involve farm animals and/or one of them in the street naked.

Fantasy Update
Week 6:
Open Back Door 65 Steaming Pile of Shit 66
Record: 2-4-0

Next Week vs Bird Squad (2-4-0)

*Going into Monday Night, all I needed was 3 points to tie and 4 points to win. Well, much like the Arizona Cardinals, I had trouble closing the deal. Bernard Berrian managed only 2 points in the offensive disaster for the Bears, leaving me at 2-4 after 6 games. It's truly go time now. Hopefully I can string together a few wins soon and put up a respectful record. After all, it is my league and I don't think it's too much to ask that I at least get a sniff of the playoffs.


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