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Monday, December 04, 2006

Pats, Wise and the BCS

MOTOWN ALMOST TOO MUCH
Gulp. Well a win is a win right? I mean, just because one of the worst franchises in the league marches into your pad and takes you to the wire, it still counts as a dubbya right? Of course it does. Which is why after weeks like this, you simply mark it in the win column and move on. But wow did that make you sweat huh? I'd predicted a 24-0 final score, and all the "experts" had similar predictions, so needless to say it was a little much to watch the score at 21-21 in the fourth quarter. But the defense prevailed again, and with a few key picks by Asante Samuel and Mike Vrabel, all was not lost. It easily could have been though. Despite turning the ball over 5 times in a victory over the Chicago Bears, this was probably an even sloppier win. The usually potent Pats rushing attack mustered only 79 yards on 24 carries while Tom Terrific was 27-38 with 305 yards and an interception. Not bad, but not terrific. Also not helping the cause were 3 fumbles in the game, 2 of which the Patriots lost. Lucky for them, Mike Vrabel alone caused 3 Detroit turnovers (2 picks and one fumble recovery) and Asante Samuel and backup DL Mike Wright also added one each. That's been the story of late for the Pats, surviving despite their own mistakes. And while it's good to know that your team can overcome turnovers, it's not something you want to continue doing. So while it looks like the Pats can just coast into the playoffs at 9-3, they need to work on cutting down their turnovers or they will find themselves watching most of the postseason from home....again. Next week is arguably the game that always gives the Pats the most problems, and that's playing @ Miami. Miami's defense has been very good this year, and if the Pats continue to cough up the bean, it could make for yet another nightmarish adventure in south Florida.

*And just a note worth mentioning even though god for bid I hope it won't happen. With the NC State Wolfpack prying Paul Johnson away from Navy to be their head coach, it means the Midshipmen have an opening. Hmm...can I think of a guy who has achieved everything possible in the NFL and would consider following his father as Navy head coach? That's right Pats fans, none other than Bill Belichick. Hopefully Navy fills the job soon and we can all stop holding our collective breath. But, if that job stays vacant into the NFL off-season, I'm not gonna lie, I'll be a little nervous.

Patriots Update
Last Week: New England Patriots 28 Detroit Lions 21
Record: 9-3, 1st in AFC East, 4th in AFC

Next Week @ Miami Dolphins (5-7) <----sneaky bastards

NFL News and Notes
*I hate to come off as the typical Mass-hole taking pleasure in the meltdown of a New York sports team, but if I must I must. Watching the New York Giants play these days is better than when Danny Bonaduce slit his own wrists on his reality TV show. And that was amazing let me tell you. Whether they are singing in the locker room, dogging it on the field, or just flat out blowing games, these guys are fun to watch. And does any team get more personal foul calls than the G-Men? They hit guys after the whistle, they grab face masks, they hit low, you name it. And their head coach isn't much better. Always known as a disciplinarian, Tom Coughlin appears to be anything but on the sidelines. I have no idea what goes on in his practices, but the way he throws tantrums on the sideline like a 3-year-old with a severe case of diaper rash makes me feel his team is just following his example on the field. These boys are lucky they are in the NFC, cuz even at 6-6 they are still right in the playoff mix. But the real question now seems to be, can they even make it 4 more games without totally imploding? Nah. I'm predicting that by the end of the year Coughlin is as good as gone, and most of the Giant faithful will be calling for Eli's head. Woo hoo!

*I don't read newspapers from the Chicago metro area, but if the headline "Gross-Man!" wasn't used, then someone should slap Jay Mariotti like the smug little journalistic prostitute that he is. When your QB sports a rating of 1.3 in a victory, and his name has the words "gross" and "man" in it, it should make every sports editor's job a little easier. I'll tell you whose job it doesn't make easier though and that's Lovie Smith. Everyone is calling for Brian Greise to replace Rex and some are even calling for (I never thought I'd say this) last year's QB Kyle Orton. But Lovie says his team is 10-2 and he doesn't see a reason to change this far into a season. While I have to agree with team chemistry being important at this point of the season, I'd have to say having an effective QB is more important. The Bears have arguably the best defense in the league, yet they sit behind the Colts, Pats, Cowboys, Chargers and Ravens in the line for Super Bowl favorites. Why? Because Rex is awful. Lovie may be right. The Bears might be good with Rex for the rest of the regular season, but when they go one and done in the playoffs again, who is going to take most of the blame? Do yourself a favor Lovie, put in Greise now. Save your fans, and save your Super Bowl hopes.

*Seeing as I was a little too young to have been able to fully appreciate Barry Sanders, I have no problem saying that LaDanian Tomlinson is the best football player I have ever seen. I know I've said it before, but seriously, WOW. He's just a pimp. Plain and simple. Two more TDs this week puts him just 2 behind the 28 Shawn Alexander put up last year, and now it's only a matter of time before he breaks the record. Only sad part is that he will most certainly be on the cover of Madden next year. But hey, at the rate he's going, if anyone can break the Madden curse, it's LT.

My NFL Picks
Last Week: 2-3-1

2006 Season:
39-34-6 (.532)

*I have to give props to Page 2's Bill Simmons. Right after making my picks this week I read his picks and noticed he picked against the KC Chiefs. His reasoning? Well let's see. A Herm Edwards team was on a roll. Need I say more? Shouldn't I have known that Herm was eventually going to ruin a good thing against a bad team like the Browns? Yes I should have. Shame on me. I deserve all the losses I get when I make irrational picks like that. Screw you Herm.

I don't see the big deal. The number 1 and 2 teams in the polls won, so they meet for the National Title right? Oh, wait. That was in my poll. So sue me. I happen to think the BCS got the match up right. Florida won the toughest conference in the country, so they deserve a shot at Ohio St. But what message is the BCS sending? Did the swing in support for Florida come because people didn't want to see a rematch? Or was it that with their win over Arkansas, the Gators proved they were more worthy than Michigan? I say it's a combination of the Florida win, the fear of a rematch and the fact that Michigan hadn't played in a few weeks. The real question is, would Florida have jumped Michigan if USC had won? That's the real mystery here. It seems obvious to me that the voters decided that they were going to bump Florida ahead simply to avoid a rematch, which isn't how the system is supposed to work. But let's not even get into the "playoff" argument right now. Instead, let's look forward to bowl season....about a month from now. So here are the BCS match ups for the '07 bowl season. Believe me, I think all but one of these games is bogus, but seeing as we have a month to wait for them, you will also have to wait to see which one I think is legit...

BCS Championship: Ohio St. (12-0) vs Florida (11-1)

Fiesta Bowl: Boise St. (12-0) vs Oklahoma (11-2)

Rose Bowl: USC (10-2) vs Michigan (11-1)

Sugar Bowl: LSU (10-2) vs Notre Dame (10-2)

Orange Bowl: Wake Forest (11-2) vs Louisville (11-1)

I'm telling you right now. Florida didn't drop in my poll because they lost. The Gators may have fallen to Florida St. this week, but it was the loss of star F Corey Brewer to mono that led me to evict them from their #1 perch. After all, my poll is a reflection of who I think would win the NCAA tourney if it started today. They would be without him, therefore wouldn't be as good. You follow? Good. While Brewer dropped out of sight this week, Greg "Wise LeBron" Oden made his long awaited debut for Ohio St. to much acclaim. Oden dropped 14 points had 10 boards and 6 blocks in limited action, and mostly using his left hand! Due to a wrist injury that kept him out of the season to this point, Oden was forced to use his left hand for most of his moves around the basket and on free throws. That's just scary. I can't wait till he's healthy, because then his 7-1 Buckeyes will be really tough to stop. As for the rest of the top 10, I'm still in shuffle mode a bit but it's evening out. Texas A&M is for sure the team to watch this week though with match ups against UCLA and LSU, both Final Four teams from a year ago. Also, we'll see how good 'Cuse actually is as they head to their home away from Dome in MSG to tango with my mainest mens, the undefeated OK State Cowboys. Should be a great week of hoops...

College Basketball Top 10
1. Ohio St. (7-1) 2
2. Pittsburgh (8-0) 3
3. Florida (7-2) 1
4. Texas A&M (7-0) 5
5. Alabama (7-0) 7
6. UCLA (6-0) 10
7. UNC (6-1) NR
8. Wisconsin (8-1) 9
9. Kansas (7-2) 4
10. Marquette (8-1) 6

just missed: Wichita St., Butler, LSU, UCONN, Gonzaga, OK State
dropped: (8) Syracuse

Big Games This Week
12/5
Oklahoma St. vs Syracuse (Jimmy V Classic @ MSG)
Louisville vs Arizona (Jimmy V Classic @ MSG)
Texas A&M @ LSU
Gonzaga @ Washington St.

12/6
Providence @ Florida
Memphis @ Tennessee

12/7
Alabama @ Notre Dame

12/9
Wisconsin @ Marquette
Texas A&M vs UCLA (Wooden Classic @ Anaheim)
Washington @ Gonzaga
Arizona @ San Diego St (San Diego Slam)

12/10
Maryland @ Boston College
LSU vs Texas (Houston, TX)

MLB Winter Meetings
*The Texas Rangers just signed Vincente Padilla to a 3 year $34 million deal. Insanity. The 29 year old Padilla has a career line of 66-61 with a 4.06 ERA in 7 seasons, all but one in the NL. Heck, last year for the Rangers he was a mere 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA. Apparently there is ridiculous cash to be had on the free agent market if you can breathe and there is a P next to your name. That's good news for guys like Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt, who were already in line to get big dollars this winter, but even better news for middle of the rotation guys like Gil Meche and Ted Lilly. Lilly was thought to be out of his mind when he was said to be asking for 4 years and $40 million, but now that looks like a bargain! I mean hell, he does have a career mark of 59-58 with a 4.60 ERA. Damn, even Chan Ho Park thinks that contracts have gotten out of control this off-season.

*There's 3 major issues on the hot stove for Red Sox fans during these winter meetings. The perennial, "What's the deal with Manny?" The, "What's the deal with that Japanese dude we paid an ass load of money to talk to?". And lastly, "It's not true that we are really signing JD Drew is it?...Is it?". So, what's the deal with Manny? If Manny knew, then I might have a shot at guessing, but I don't think he even knows. I've heard trade rumors all over the map, so to even speculate at this point would make me dizzy. But let's just say (again) that Manny will likely be traded. I'll deal more with that when and if it actually happens. As for Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Sox have about 9 days left to negotiate a deal or else back to Japan for the Dais-Man. They should get a deal done, but with the inflation of pitching contracts over here in the states, they may end up paying a lot more than they wanted. But it's only money right? And as for Nancy Drew? I pray every day that all the rumors aren't true, but it doesn't seem to be helping. Hey I did my part by signing the petition to try and keep that fool out of town, but it didn't seem to do much. Get used to him in the OF Sox fans, and get used to the WEEI callers constantly comparing his production/salary ratio to that of another JD that recently left for the Bronx. Boooooo Drewwwwww.

*I'm sayin it hear right now to end all speculation. If the awful rumor I heard was true, then the Red Sox have possible interest in Barry Bonds should Manny move onto greener pastures with better outfield "facilities". Should Barry come to the Bean, make no mistake about it, I will forfeit my support for the Boston Red Sox. Simply put, they will have become everything that is wrong with baseball, in essence, the Yankees. I will then use the 2007 season to chose a new team to throw my loyalties too, and I already have a few in mind but I will keep them to myself for now.

*Oh and just one final Sox note. It appears as though former beloved dirt dog Trot Nixon will end up playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates next season. As much as I felt Nixon underperformed while in Boston, I must say that he deserves a much better fate than that. He may have never lived up to lofty expectations in the Bean, but I'll be damned if that guy didn't give 100% on every play. And I know that's cliche to say, but that guy truly looked like he was having fun and he was giving it his all. I won't lie and say I'm going to miss his production, but I will miss his spirit, will to win and his constantly dirty cap. I just plead to the rest of the league...SOMEBODY PLEASE PICK HIM UP SO HE DOESN'T HAVE TO PLAY FOR THE PIRATES!! Hell, I think if that's the only offer he gets, the Sox should ask if he wants to play for Pawtucket. I'd take that over dirty, coal mining, inbreeding western PA any day. That's right, I just chose the "Bucket" over somewhere that isn't a prison, dungeon, downtown Syracuse or Guantanamo Bay.



Big Mac on Cooperstown Menu?

I didn't get to touch on this last week when the Hall of Fame class of 2007 was announced, so I figured I should hit on it this week. Plain and simple, I would vote for Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame. Yea, I'm pretty sure he used roids, and yea I'm pretty sure he lied to Congress, but what does that mean? I look at it this way. The baseball writers knew that Mark was juicing, and chose not to expose him. So now the writers are voting for the Hall of Fame. They allowed this guy's career to flourish, but now they don't want to let him in because it looks like he was probably a cheater? Get over yourselves. You can't have it both ways. You guys chose not to out him when he was playing, and MLB chose not to test for roids while he was playing. They created the environment, and he thrived in it. I don't care for the man for what he did, but I can't say I blame him. Until the writers and the league have enough balls to admit that they were just as guilty in the steroid era as the players, then the players of the "Artificial Age" will have trouble getting in the Hall. Why? Because with each Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa plaque hung in Cooperstown, it will just be a stinging reminder to baseball purists about the era in which they let money and popularity trump "the good of the game", and I don't think they can handle that. At least not yet...


Fantasy Update
Last Week: Otis Nixon's Pubes 61 Team PAPES 81
Record: 7-6-0, 10th place

*It took 4 straight wins for me to move from 10th to 6th, but only one loss to send me right back there. I suppose if you predict your own demise often enough, it's sure to happen. Like I predicted, my team came almost all the way back, only to lose on the final week of the season and miss the playoffs, courtesy of a tiebreaker. Oh well, now I can become immersed in college hoops to the point where I go absolutely insane second guessing myself to death come March. Money in the bank!

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